St. John Chrysostom

Homilies 40 –88

Homily 41 on the Gospel of John

John 5:39–40

Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think you have eternal life; and they are they which testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me that you might have [eternal ] life.

1. Beloved, let us make great account of spiritual things, and not think that it is sufficient for us to salvation to pursue them anyhow. For if in things of this life a man can gain no great profit if he conduct them in an indifferent and chance way, much more will this be the case in spiritual things, since these require yet greater attention. Wherefore Christ when He referred the Jews to the Scriptures, sent them not to a mere reading, but a careful and considerate search; for He said not, Read the Scriptures, but, Search the Scriptures. Since the sayings relating to Him required great attention, (for they had been concealed from the beginning for the advantage of the men of that time,) He bids them now dig down with care that they might be able to discover what lay in the depth below. These sayings were not on the surface, nor were they cast forth to open view, but lay like some treasure hidden very deep. Now he that searches for hidden things, except he seek them with care and toil, will never find the object of his search. For which cause He said, Search the Scriptures, because in them ye think you have eternal life. He said not, You have, but ye think, showing that they gained from them nothing great or high, expecting as they did to be saved by the mere reading, without the addition of faith. What He says therefore is of this kind: Do ye not admire the Scriptures, do ye not think that they are the causes of all life? By these I confirm My claims now, for they are they which testify of Me, yet ye will not come to Me that you may have eternal life. It was thus with good reason that He said, ye think, because they would not obey, but merely prided themselves on the bare reading. Then lest owing to His very tender care He should incur among them the suspicion of vainglory, and because He desired to be believed by them, should be deemed to be seeking His own; (for He reminded them of the words of John, and of the witness of God, and of His own works, and said all He could to draw them to Him, and promised them life; ) since, I say, it was likely that many would suspect that He spoke these things from a desire of glory, hear what He says:

John 5:41

I receive not honor from men.

That is, I need it not: My nature, He says, is not of such a kind as to need the honor which is from men, for if the sun can receive no addition from the light of a candle, much farther am I from needing the honor which is from men. Why then, asks some one, do you say these things, if you need it not? That ye may be saved. This He positively asserted above, and the same He implied here also, by saying, that you might have life. Moreover, He puts another reason:

John 5:42

But I know you that you have not the love of God in you.

For when under pretense of loving God they persecuted Him because He made Himself equal with God, and He knew that they would not believe Him, lest any one should ask, why do you speak these words? I speak them, He says, to convict you of this, that it is not for the love of God that you persecute Me, if it be so that He testifies to Me both by works and by the Scriptures. For as before this when you deemed Me an enemy of God ye drove Me away, so now, since I have declared these things, you ought to have hastened to Me, if you had really loved. God. But ye love Him not. And therefore have I spoken these words, to show that you are possessed with excessive pride, that you are vainly boasting and shading over your own enviousness. And the same He proves not by these things only, but by those that should come to pass.

John 5:43

I have come in My Father's name, and you receive Me not; if another shall comei in his own name, him will you receive.

2. Do you see that He everywhere declares that He has been sent, that judgment has been committed to Him by the Father, that He can do nothing of Himself, in order that He may cut off all excuse for their unfairness? But who is it that He here says shall come in his own name? He alludes here to Antichrist, and puts an incontrovertible proof of their unfairness. For if as loving God ye persecute Me, much more ought this to have taken place in the case of Antichrist. For he will neither say that he is sent by the Father, nor that he comes according to his will, but in everything contrariwise, seizing like a tyrant what belongs not to him, and asserting that he is the very God over all, as Paul says, «Exalting himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, showing himself that he is God.» 2 Thessalonians 2:4 This is to »come in his own name.» I do not so, but have come in the Name of My Father. That they received not One who said that He was sent of God, was a sufficient proof that they loved not God; but now from the contrary of this fact, from their being about to receive Antichrist, He shows their shamelessness. For when they received not One who asserts that He was sent by God, and are about to worship one who knows Him not, and who says that he is God over all, it is clear that their persecution proceeded from malice and from hating God. On this account He puts two reasons for His words; and first the kinder one, That ye may be saved; and, That ye may have life: and when they would have mocked at Him, He puts the other which was more striking, showing that even although His hearers should not believe, yet that God was wont always to do His own works. Now Paul speaking concerning Antichrist said prophetically, that God shall send them strong delusion – that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:11–12 Christ said not, He shall come; but, if He come, from tenderness for His hearers; and because all their obstinacy was not yet complete. He was silent as to the reason of His coming; but Paul, for those who can understand, has particularly alluded to it. For it is he who takes away all excuse from them.

Christ then puts also the cause of their unbelief, saying . . .

John 5:44

How can you believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that comes from God only?

Hence again He shows that they looked not to the things of God, but that under this pretense they desired to gratify private feeling, and were so far from doing this on account of His glory, that they preferred honor from men to that which comes from Him. How then were they likely to entertain such hostility towards Him for a kind of honor which they so despised, as to prefer to it the honor which comes from men?

Having told them that they had not the love of God, and having proved it by what was doing in His case, and by what should be in the case of Antichrist, and having demonstrated that they were deprived of all excuse, He next brings Moses to be their accuser, going on to say,

John 5:45–47

Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father; there is one that accuses you, even Moses, in whom you trust. For had ye believed Moses, you would have believed Me; for he wrote of Me. But if you believe not his writings, how shall you believe My words?

What He says is of this kind: It is Moses who has been insulted more than I by your conduct towards Me, for you have disbelieved him rather than Me. See how in every way He has cast them out from all excuse. You said that you loved God when you persecuted Me; I have shown that you did so from hatred of Him: ye say that I break the Sabbath and annul the Law; I have rid Me of this slander also: ye maintain that you believe in Moses by what ye dare to do against Me; I on the contrary show that this is most to disbelieve in Moses; for so far am I from opposing the Law, that he who shall accuse you is none other than the man who gave you the Law. As then He said of the Scriptures, in which ye think you have eternal life, so of Moses also He says, in whom you trust; everywhere conquering them by their own weapons.

And whence, says some one, is it clear that Moses will accuse us, and that you are not a boaster? What have you to do with Moses? You have broken the Sabbath which he ordained that we should keep; how then should he accuse us? And how does it appear that we shall believe in another who comes in his own name? All these assertions you make without evidence. Now in truth all these points are proved above. For (Christ would reply) since it is acknowledged that I came from God, both by the works, by the voice of John, and by the testimony of the Father, it is evident that Moses will accuse the Jews. For what says he? If a man come doing miracles and leading you to God, and truly foretelling things future, you must hearken unto him with all readiness. Now Christ had done all this. He wrought miracles in very truth, He drew all men to God, and (so that He ) caused accomplishment to follow His predictions.

But whence does it appear that they will believe another? From their hating Christ, since they who turn aside from Him who comes according to the will of God will, it is quite plain, receive the enemy of God. And marvel not if He now puts forward Moses, although He said, I receive not witness from man, for He referrs them not to Moses, but to the Scriptures of God. However, since the Scriptures terrified them less, He brings round His discourse to the very person (of Moses), setting over against them their Lawgiver as their accuser, thus rendering the terror more impressive; and each of their assertions He refutes. Observe: they said that they persecuted Him through love for God, He shows that they did so through hating God; they said that they held fast to Moses, He shows that they acted thus because they believed not Moses. For had they been zealous for the law, they ought to have received Him who fulfilled it; if they loved God they ought to have believed One who drew them to Him, if they believed Moses they ought to have done homage to One of whom Moses prophesied. But (says Christ) if Moses is disbelieved before My coming, it is nothing unlikely that I, who am heralded by him, should be driven away by you. As then He had shown from their conduct towards Himself that they who admired John (really) despised him, so now He shows that they who thought that they believed Moses, believed him not, and turns back on their own head all that they thought to put forward in their own behalf. So far, He says, am I from drawing you away from the Law, that I call your Lawgiver himself to be your accuser.

That the Scriptures testified of Him He declared, but where they testify He added not; desiring to inspire them with greater awe, and to prompt them to search, and to reduce them to the necessity of questioning. For had He told them readily and without their questioning, they would have rejected the testimony; but now, if they gave any heed to His words, they needed first of all to ask, and learn from Him what that testimony was. On this account He deals the more largely in assertions and threats, not in proofs only, that even so He may bring them over by fear of what He says; but they even so were silent. Such a thing is wickedness; whatsoever a man say or do it is not stirred to move, but remains keeping its peculiar venom.

Wherefore we must cast out all wickedness from our souls, and never more contrive any deceit; for, says one, To the perverse God sends crooked paths Proverbs 21:8, Septuagint; and, The holy spirit of discipline will flee deceit, and remove from thoughts that are without understanding. Wisdom 1:5 For nothing makes men so foolish as wickedness; since when a man is treacherous, unfair, ungrateful, (these are different forms of wickedness,) when without having been wronged he grieves another, when he weaves deceits, how shall he not exhibit an example of excessive folly? Again, nothing makes men so wise as virtue; it renders them thankful and fair-minded, merciful, mild, gentle, and candid; it is wont to be the mother of all other blessings. And what is more understanding than one so disposed? For virtue is the very spring and root of prudence, just as all wickedness has its beginning in folly. For, the insolent man and the angry become the prey of their respective passions from lack of wisdom; on which account the prophet said, There is no soundness in my flesh: my wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness Psalm 38:3–4: showing that all sin has its beginning in folly: and so the virtuous man who has the fear of God is more understanding than any; wherefore a wise man has said, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 1:7 If then to fear God is to have wisdom, and the wicked man has not that fear, he is deprived of that which is wisdom indeed – and deprived of that which is wisdom indeed, he is more foolish than any. And yet many admire the wicked as being able to do injustice and harm, not knowing that they ought to deem them wretched above all men, who thinking to injure others thrust the sword against themselves – an act of extremest folly, that a man should strike himself and not even know that he does so, but should think that he is injuring another while he is killing himself. Wherefore Paul, knowing that we slay ourselves when we smite others, says, Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? 1Corinthians 6:7 For the not suffering wrong consists in doing none, as also the not being ill-used in not using others ill; though this assertion may seem a riddle to the many, and to those who will not learn true wisdom. Knowing this, let us not call wretched or lament for those who suffer injury or insult, but for such who inflict these things; these are they who have been most injured, who have made God to be at war with them, and have opened the mouths of ten thousand accusers, who are getting an evil reputation in the present life, and drawing down on themselves severe punishment in the life to come. While those who have been wronged by them, and have nobly borne it all, have God favorable to them, and all to condone with, and praise, and entertain them. Such as these in the present life, shall enjoy an exceeding good report, as affording the strongest example of true wisdom, and in the life to come shall share the good things everlasting; to which may we all attain through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

Homily 42 on the Gospel of John

John 6:1–4

After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, into the parts of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed Him, because they saw the miracles which He did on them that were diseased. And Jesus departed into a mountain, and there sat with His disciples. And the Passover of the Jews was near.

1. Beloved, let us not contend with violent men, but learn when the doing so brings no hurt to our virtue to give place to their evil counsels; for so all their hardihood is checked. As darts when they fall upon a firm, hard, and resisting substance, rebound with great violence on those who throw them, but when the violence of the cast has nothing to oppose it, it soon becomes weaker and ceases, so is it with insolent men; when we contend with them they become the fiercer, but when we yield and give ground, we easily abate all their madness. Wherefore the Lord when He knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, went into Galilee, to quench their envy, and to soften by His retirement the wrath which was likely to be engendered by these reports. And when He departed for the second time into Galilee, He comes not to the same places as before; for He went not to Cana, but to the other side of the sea, and great multitudes followed Him, beholding the miracles which He did. What miracles? Why does he not mention them specifically? Because this Evangelist most of all was desirous of employing the greater part of his book on the discourses and sermons [of Christ]. Observe, for instance, how for a whole year, or rather how even now at the feast of the Passover, he has given us no more information on the head of miracles, than merely that He healed the paralytic and the nobleman's son. Because he was not anxious to enumerate them all, (that would have been impossible,) but of many and great to record a few.

Ver. 2 . A great multitude followed Him beholding the miracles that He did. What is here told marks not a very wise state of mind; for when they had enjoyed such teaching, they still were more attracted by the miracles, which was a sign of the grosser state. For miracles, It says, are not for believers, but for unbelievers. The people described by Matthew acted not thus, but how? They all, he says were astonished at His doctrine, because He taught as one having authority. Matthew 7:28–29

And why does He occupy the mountain now, and sit there with His disciples? Because of the miracle which was about to take place. And that the disciples alone went up with Him, was a charge against the multitude which followed Him not. Yet not for this only did He go up into the mountain, but to teach us ever to rest at intervals from the tumults and confusion of common life. For solitude is a thing meet for the study of wisdom. And often does He go up alone into a mountain, and spend the night there, and pray, to teach us that the man who will come most near to God must be free from all disturbance, and must seek times and places clear of confusion.

John 6:4

And the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near.

How then, says some one, does He not go up unto the feast, but, when all are pressing to Jerusalem, goes Himself into Galilee, and not Himself alone, but takes His disciples with Him, and proceeds thence to Capernaum? Because henceforth He was quietly annulling the Law, taking occasion from the wickedness of. the Jews.

John 6:5

And as He lifted up His eyes, He beheld a great company.

This shows that He sat not at any time idly with the disciples, but perhaps carefully conversing with them, and making them attend and turn towards Him, a thing which peculiarly marks His tender care, and the humility and condescension of His demeanor towards them. For they sat with Him, perhaps looking at one another; then having lifted up His eyes, He beheld the multitudes coming unto Him. Now the other Evangelists say, that the disciples came and asked and besought Him that He would not send them away fasting, while St. John says, that the question was put to Philip by Christ. Both occurrences seem to me to be truly reported, but not to have taken place at the same time, the former account being prior to the other, so that the two are entirely different.

Wherefore then does He ask Philip? He knew which of His disciples needed most instruction; for this is he who afterwards said, Show us the Father, and it suffices us John 14:8, and on this account Jesus was beforehand bringing him into a proper state. For had the miracle simply been done, the marvel would not have seemed so great, but now He beforehand constrains him to confess the existing want, that knowing the state of matters he might be the more exactly acquainted with the magnitude of the miracle about to take place. Wherefore He says . . .

John 6:5

Whence shall we have so many loaves, that these may eat?

So in the Old [Testament] He spoke to Moses, for He wrought not the sign until He had asked him, What is that in your hand? Because things coming to pass unexpectedly and all at once, are wont to throw us into forgetfulness of things previous, therefore He first involved him in a confession of present circumstances, that when the astonishment should have come upon him, he might be unable afterwards to drive away the remembrance of what he had confessed, and thus might learn by comparison the greatness of the miracle, which in fact takes place in this instance; for Philip being asked, replied,

John 6:7

Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. And this He said to prove him: for He Himself knew what He would do.

2. What means, to prove him? Did not He know what would be said by him? We cannot assert that. What then is the meaning of the expression? We may discover it from the Old [Testament]. For there too it is said, And it came to pass after these things that God did tempt Abraham, and said to him, Take your beloved son whom you love Genesis 22:1–2; yet it does not appear in that place either, that when He says this He waited to see the end of the trial, whether Abraham would obey or not, (how could He, who knows all things before they come into existence? but the words in both cases are spoken after the manner of men. For as when (the Psalmist ) says that He searches the hearts of men, he means not a search of ignorance but of exact knowledge, just so when the Evangelist says that He proved (Philip), he means only that He knew exactly. And perhaps one might say another thing, that as He once made Abraham more approved, so also did He this man, bringing him by this question to an exact knowledge of the miracle. The Evangelist therefore, that you may not stop at the feebleness of the expression, and so form an improper opinion of what was said, adds, He Himself knew what He would do.

Moreover we must observe this, that when there is any wrong suspicion, the writer straightway very carefully corrects it. As then in this place that the hearers might not form any such suspicion, he adds the corrective, saying, For He Himself knew what He would do: so also in that other place, when He says, that the Jews persecuted Him, because He not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God, had there not been the assertion of Christ Himself confirmed by His works, he would there also have subjoined this correction. For if even in words which Christ speaks the Evangelist is careful that none should have suspicions, much more in cases where others were speaking of Him would he have looked closely, had he perceived that an improper opinion prevailed concerning Him. But he did not so, for he knew that this was His meaning, and immovable decree. Therefore after saying, making Himself equal with God, he used not any such correction; for the matter spoken of was not an erroneous fancy of theirs, but His own assertion ratified by His works. Philip then having been questioned,

Ver. 8, 9 . Andrew, Simon's brother, said, There is a lad here, which has five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

Andrew is higher minded than Philip, yet had not he attained to everything. Yet I do not think that he spoke without an object, but as having heard of the miracles of the Prophets, and how Elisha wrought a sign with the loaves 2 Kings 4:43; on this account he mounted to a certain height, but could not attain to the very top.

Let us learn then, we who give ourselves to luxury, what was the fare of those great and admirable men; and in quality and quantity let us behold and imitate the thriftiness of their table.

What follows also expresses great weakness. For after saying, has five barley loaves, he adds, but what are they among so many? He supposed that the Worker of the miracle would make less out of less, and more out of more. But this was not the case, for it was alike easy to Him to cause bread to spring forth from more and from less, since He needed no subject-matter. But in order that the creation might not seem foreign to His Wisdom, as afterwards slanderers and those affected with the disease of Marcion said, He used the creation itself as a groundwork for His marvels.

When both the disciples had owned themselves at a loss, then He wrought the miracle; for thus they profited the more, having first confessed the difficulty of the matter, that when it should come to pass, they might understand the power of God. And because a miracle was about to be wrought, which had also been performed by the Prophets, although not in an equal degree, and because He would do it after first giving thanks, lest they should fall into any suspicion of weakness on His part, observe how by the very manner of His working He entirely raises their thoughts of it and shows them the difference (between Himself and others). For when the loaves had not yet appeared, that you may learn, that things that are not are to Him as though they were, (as Paul says, who calls the things that be not as though they were Romans 4:17) He commanded them as though the table were prepared and ready, straightway to sit down, rousing by this the minds of His disciples. And because they had profited by the questioning, they immediately obeyed, and were not confounded, nor said, How is this, why dost Thou bid us sit down, when there is nothing before us? The same men, who at first disbelieved so much as to say, Whence shall we buy bread? began so far to believe even before they saw the miracle, that they readily made the multitudes to sit down.

3. But why when He was about to restore the paralytic did He not pray, nor when He was raising the dead, or bridling the sea, while He does so here over the loaves? It was to show that when we begin our meals, we ought to give thanks unto God. Moreover, He does it especially in a lesser matter, that you may learn that He does it not as having any need; for were this the case, much more would He have done so in greater things; but when He did them by His own authority, it is clear that it was through condescension that He acted as He did in the case of the lesser. Besides, a great multitude was present, and it was necessary that they should be persuaded that He had come according to the will of God. Wherefore, when He does miracles in the absence of witnesses, He exhibits nothing of the kind; but when He does them in the presence of many, in order to persuade them that He is no enemy of God, no adversary of Him who has begotten Him, He removes the suspicion by thanksgiving.

And He gave to them that were set down, and they were filled.

Do you see how great is the interval between the servants and the Master? They having grace by measure, wrought their miracles accordingly, but God, who acts with free power, did all most abundantly.

Ver. 12 . And He said unto His disciples, Gather up the fragments which remain; – and they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets.

This was not a superfluous show, but in order that the matter might not be deemed a mere illusion; and for this reason He creates from matter already subsisting. But why gave He not the bread to the multitudes to bear, but (only) to His disciples? Because He was most desirous to instruct these who were to be the teachers of the world. The multitude would not as yet reap any great fruit from the miracles, (at least they straightway forgot this one and asked for another,) while these would gain no common profit. And what took place was moreover no ordinary condemnation of Judas, who bore a basket. And that these things were done for their instruction is plain from what is said afterwards, when He reminded them, saying, Do ye not yet understand – how many baskets ye took up? Matthew 16:9 And for the same reason it was that the baskets of fragments were equal in number to the disciples; afterwards, when they were instructed, they took not up so many, but only seven baskets. Matthew 15:37 And I marvel not only at the quantity of loaves created, but besides the quantity, at the exactness of the surplus, that He caused the superabundance to be neither more nor less than just so much as He willed, foreseeing how much they would consume; a thing which marked unspeakable power. The fragments then confirmed the matter, showing both these points; that what had taken place was no illusion, and that these were from the loaves by which the people had been fed. As to the fishes, they at this time were produced from those already subsisting, but at a later period, after the Resurrection, they were not made from subsisting matter. Wherefore? That you may understand that even now He employed matter, not from necessity, nor as needing any base (to work upon), but to stop the mouths of heretics.

And the multitudes said, that this is of a truth The Prophet.

Oh, excess of gluttony! He had done ten thousand things more admirable than this, but nowhere did they make this confession, save when they had been filled. Yet hence it is evident that they expected some remarkable prophet; for those others had said (to John), Are you that Prophet? while these say, This is that Prophet.

Ver. 15 . When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain.

Wonderful! How great is the tyranny of gluttony, how great the fickleness of men's minds! No longer do they vindicate the Law, no longer do they care for the violation of the Sabbath, no longer are they zealous for God; all such considerations are thrown aside, when their bellies have been filled; He was a prophet in their eyes, and they were about to choose Him for a king. But Christ flees. Wherefore? To teach us to despise worldly dignities, and to show us that He needed nothing on earth. For He who chose all things mean, both mother and house and city and nurture and attire would not afterwards be made illustrious by things on earth. The things which (He had) from heaven were glorious and great, angels, a star, His Father loudly speaking, the Spirit testifying, and Prophets proclaiming Him from afar; those on earth were all mean, that thus His power might the more appear. He came also to teach us to despise the things of the world, and not be amazed or astonished by the splendors of this life, but to laugh them all to scorn, and to desire those which are to come. For he who admires things which are here, will not admire those in the heavens. Wherefore also He says to Pilate, My Kingdom is not of this world John 18:36, that He may not afterwards appear to have employed mere human terror or dominion for the purpose of persuasion. Why then says the Prophet, Behold, your King comes unto you, meek, and sitting upon an ass? Zechariah 9:9 He spoke of that Kingdom which is in the heavens, but not of this on earth; and on this account Christ says, I receive not honor from men. John 5:41

Learn we then, beloved, to despise and not to desire the honor which is from men; for we have been honored with the greatest of honors, compared with which that other is verily insult, ridicule, and mockery. And as the riches of this world compared with the riches of that are poverty, as this life apart from that is deadness, (for let the dead bury their dead Matthew 8:28) so this honor compared with that is shame and ridicule. Let us then not pursue it. If they who confer it are of less account than a shadow or a dream, the honor itself much more so. The glory of man is as the flower of the grass 1 Peter 1:24; and what is meaner than the flower of the grass? Were this glory everlasting, in what could it profit the soul? In nothing. Nay, it very greatly injures us by making us slaves, slaves in worse condition than those bought with money, slaves who obey not one master only, but two, three, ten thousand, all giving different commands. How much better is it to be a free man than a slave, to be free from the slavery of men, and subject only to the dominion of God? In a word, if you will desire glory, desire it, but let it be the glory immortal, for that is exhibited on a more glorious stage, and brings greater profit. For the men here bid you be at charges to please them, but Christ, on the contrary, gives you an hundredfold for what you give Him, and adds moreover eternal life. Which of the two then is better, to be admired on earth, or in heaven? By man, or by God? To your loss, or to your gain? To wear a crown for a single day, or for endless ages? Give to him that needs, but give not to a dancer, lest you lose your money and destroy his soul. For you are the cause of his (coming to) perdition through unseasonable munificence. Since did those on the stage know that their employment would be unprofitable, they would have long ago ceased to practice it; but when they behold you applauding, crowding after them, spending and wasting your substance upon them, even if they have no desire to follow (their profession), they are kept to it by the desire of gain. If they knew that no one would praise what they do, they would soon desist from their labors, by reason of their unprofitableness; but when they see that the action is admired by many, the praise of others becomes a bait to them. Let us then desist from this unprofitable expense, let us learn upon whom and when we ought to spend. Let us not, I implore you, provoke God in both ways, gathering whence we ought not, and scattering where we ought not; for what anger does not your conduct deserve, when you pass by the poor and givest to a harlot? Would not the paying the hire of sin and the bestowing honor where it were meet to punish have been a charge against you, even had you paid out of your just earnings? But when you feed your uncleanness by stripping orphans and wronging widows, consider how great a fire is prepared for those who dare such things. Hear what Paul says, Who not only do these things, but also have pleasure in them that do them. Romans 1:32

Perhaps we have touched you sharply, yet if we touch you not, there are actual punishments awaiting those who sin without amendment. What then avails it to gratify by words those who shall be punished by realities? Do you take pleasure at a dancer, do you praise and admire him? Then are you worse than he; his poverty affords him an excuse though not a reasonable one, but you are stripped even of this defense. If I ask him, Why have you left other arts and come to this accursed and impure one? he will reply, because I can with little labor gain great profits. But if I ask you why you admire one who spends his time in impurity, and lives to the mischief of many, you can not run to the same excuse, but must bow down your face and be ashamed and blush. Now if when called by us to give account, you would have nothing to reply, class="greek">couldest reply nothing. «}--> when that terrible and inexorable Judgment comes where we shall render account of thoughts and deeds and everything, how shall we stand? With what eyes shall we behold our Judge? What shall we say? What defense shall we make? What excuse reasonable or unreasonable shall we put forward? Shall we allege the expense? The gratification? The perdition of others whom by means of his art we ruin? We can have nothing to say, but must be punished with a punishment having no end, knowing no limit. That this come not to pass, let us henceforth guard all points, that having departed with a good hope, we may obtain the everlasting blessings; to which may we all attain through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, now and ever and world without end. Amen.

Homily 43 on the Gospel of John

John 6:16–18

And when even was now come, His disciples went down unto the sea and entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come unto them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.

1. Christ provides for the good of his disciples not only when He is present in the body, but also when far away; for having abundance of means and of skill, He effects one and the same end by contrary actions. Observe, for instance, what He has done here. He leaves His disciples, and goes up into a mountain; and they, when even had come, went down unto the sea. They waited for Him until evening, expecting that He would come unto them; but when even had come, they could no longer endure not to seek their Master; so great a love possessed them. They said not, It is now evening, and night has overtaken us, whither shall we depart? The place is dangerous, the time unsafe; but, goaded by their longing, they entered into the ship. For it is not without a cause that the Evangelist has declared the time also, but by it to show the warmth of their love.

Wherefore then does Christ let them go, and not show Himself? And again, wherefore does He show Himself walking alone upon the sea? By the first He teaches them how great (an evil) it is to be forsaken by Him, and makes their longing greater; by the second, again, He shows forth His power. For as in His teaching they heard not all in common with the multitude, so in the case of the miracles they saw them not all with the mass of people, since it was needful that they who were about to receive in charge the presidency of the world, should have somewhat more than the rest. And what sort of miracles, says some one, saw they by themselves? The Transfiguration on the mount; this on the sea, and those after the Resurrection, which are many and important. And from these I conjecture that there were others also. They came to Capernaum without any certain information, but expecting to find Him there, or even in mid passage; this the Evangelist implies by saying that it was now dark, and Jesus was not yet come to them.

And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. What did they? They were troubled, for there were many and various causes which forced them to be so. They were afraid by reason of the time for it was dark, of the storm for the sea had risen, of the place for they were not near land; but,

John 6:19

Had rowed about five and twenty furlongs.

And, lastly, by reason of the strangeness of the thing, for,

They see Him walking upon the sea. And when they were greatly troubled,

John 6:20

He says unto them, It is I, be not afraid.

Wherefore then appears He? To show that it was He who would make the storm cease. For this the Evangelist has shown, saying,

John 6:21

They were willing to receive Him, and immediately the ship was near the land.

He not only gave them a safe passage, but also one with a fair wind.

To the multitude He shows not Himself walking upon the sea, for the miracle was too great to suit their infirmity. Indeed, even by the disciples He was not seen long doing this, but He appeared, and at once retired. Now this seems to me to be a different miracle from that found in Matthew xiv .; and that it is different is clear from many reasons. For He works often the same miracles, in order to cause the beholders not merely to count them very strange, but also to receive them with great faith.

It is I, be not afraid. As He spoke the word, He cast out fear from their souls. But at another time not so; wherefore Peter said, Lord, if it be Thou, bid me to come unto You. Matthew 14:28 Whence then was it that at that time they did not straightway admit this, but now were persuaded? It was because then the storm continued to toss the bark, but now at His voice the calm had come. Or if the reason be not this, it is that other which I have before mentioned, that oftentimes working the same miracles, He made the second to be readily received by means of the first. But wherefore went He not up into the ship? Because He would make the marvel greater, would more openly reveal to them His Godhead, and would show them, that when He before gave thanks, He did not so as needing aid, but in condescension to them. He allowed the storm to arise, that they might ever seek Him; He stilled the storm, that He might make known to them His power; He went not up into the ship, that He might make the marvel greater.

John 6:22

And the people that were there saw that there was none other boat there save the one into which the disciples had entered, and that Jesus went not into the boat, but His disciples.

And why is John so exact? Why said he not that the multitudes having passed over on the next day departed? He desires to teach us something else, namely, that Jesus allowed the multitudes if not openly, at least in a secret manner, to suspect what had taken place. For, They saw, says he, that there was none other boat there but one, and that Jesus went not into it with His disciples.

John 6:24

And embarking in boats from Tiberias, they came to Capernaum seeking Jesus.

What else then could they suspect, save that He had arrived there crossing the sea on foot? For it was not possible to say that He had passed over in another ship. For there was one, says the Evangelist, into which His disciples entered. Still when they came to Him after so great a wonder, they asked Him not how He crossed over, how He arrived there, nor sought to understand so great a sign. But what say they?

John 6:25

Master, when did You come here?

2. Unless any one affirm that the when is here used by them in the sense of how. But it is worth while also to notice here the fickleness of their impulses For they who said, This is that Prophet; they who were anxious to take Him and make Him a king, now when they have found Him take no such counsel, but having cast out their astonishment, they no longer admire Him for His former deeds. They sought Him, desiring again to enjoy a table like the first.

The Jews under the guidance of Moses passed over the Red Sea, but that case is widely different from this. He did all with prayer and as a servant, but Christ with absolute power. There when the south wind blew, the water yielded so as to make them pass over on dry land, but here the miracle was greater. Exodus 14:21 For the sea retaining its proper nature so bare its Lord upon its surface, thus testifying to the Scripture which says, Who walks upon the sea as upon a pavement. Job 9:8

And with reason, when He was about to enter into stubborn and disobedient Capernaum, did He work the miracle of the loaves, as desiring not only by what took place within, but also by the miracles which were wrought without the city, to soften its disobedience. For was it not enough to soften even any stone, that such multitudes should come with great eagerness to that city? Yet they had no such feeling, but again desired food for the body; for which also they are reproached by Jesus.

Let us then, beloved, knowing these things, give thanks to God for things of sense, but much more for things spiritual; for such is His will, and it is on account of the latter that He gives the former, leading in, as it were, by these the more imperfect sort, and giving them previous teaching, because they are yet gaping upon the world. But when such persons having received these worldly things, rest in them, then are they upbraided and rebuked. For in the case of him that had the palsy, Christ wished first to give that which was spiritual, but they that were present endured it not; for when He said, Your sins be forgiven you, they exclaimed, This man blasphemes. Matthew 9:2 Let us not, I entreat you, be so affected, but let us make more account of those (spiritual) things. Wherefore? Because when spiritual things are present with us, no harm arises from the absence of fleshly things; but when they are not, what hope, what comfort, shall then remain to us? Wherefore it is for these we ought always to call upon God, and entreat Him for them. And for such has Christ also taught us to pray; for if we unfold that Prayer, we shall find that there is nothing carnal in it, but all spiritual, and that even the small portion which seems to relate to sense, becomes by the manner spiritual. For to bid us ask no more than our successive, that is, our daily, bread, would mark a mind spiritual and truly wise. And consider what goes before that, Hallowed be Your Name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done as in heaven so on earth; then, after naming that temporal (need), He quickly leaves it, and brings us again to the spiritual doctrine, saying, Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Nowhere has He put in the Prayer riches or glory or dominion, but all things contributing to the benefit of the soul; nothing earthly, but all things heavenly. If then we are bidden to refrain from the things of this present life, how could we help being wretched and miserable, asking from God those things which even having He bids us cast away, to free us from care about them, and for which He bids us take no pains. This is the using vain repetition; and this is why we effect nothing by our prayers. How then, says some one, do the wicked grow rich, how the unjust and impure, plunderers and covetous? Not by God's giving; (away with the thought!) but by plundering, and taking more than their due. And how does God allow them? As He allowed that rich man, reserving him for greater punishment. Luke 16:25 Hear what (Abraham) says to him; Son, thou in your lifetime received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things, but now he is comforted, and you are tormented. Therefore that we also come not to hear that voice, by living softly and idly, and gathering together for ourselves many sins, let us choose the true riches and right wisdom, that we may obtain the promised good things; to which may we all arrive, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory, now and ever and world without end. Amen.

Homily 44 on the Gospel of John

John 6:26–27

Jesus answered them, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, You seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled. Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures unto everlasting life.

1. The mild and gentle is not always useful, but there are times when the teacher needs sharper language. For if the disciple be dull and gross, then, in order to touch his dullness to the quick, we must rouse him with a goad. And this the Son of God has done in the present as well as in many other cases. For when the crowds had come and found Jesus, and were flattering Him, and saying, Master, when did You get here? to show that He desires not honor from men, but looks to one thing only, their salvation, He answers them sharply, wishing to correct them not in this way only, but also by revealing and exposing their thoughts. For what says He? Verily, verily, I say unto you, (speaking positively and with a confirmation,) You seek Me, not because ye saw miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled. He chides and reproves them by these words, yet does not so abruptly or violently, but very sparingly. For He says not, O you gluttons and belly-slaves, I have wrought so many wonders, and you never have either followed Me, or marveled at My doings; but mildly and gently somewhat in this manner; You seek Me, not because ye saw miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled; speaking not only of the past, but also of the present miracle. It was not, He says, the miracle of the loaves that astonished you, but the being filled. And that He said not this of them by conjecture they straightway showed, for on this account they came the second time, as being about to enjoy the same (food) as before. Wherefore they said, Our fathers did eat manna in the wilderness. Again they draw Him to (the subject of) carnal food, which was the chief accusation and charge against them. But He stops not at rebukes, but adds instruction also, saying, Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures unto everlasting life.

Which the Son of Man gives unto you; for Him has God the Father sealed.

What He says, is of this kind: Make no account of this earthly, but of that spiritual food. But since some of those who desire to live in doing nothing have abused this speech, as though Christ would entirely abolish working, it is seasonable to say somewhat to them. For they slander, so to speak, all Christianity, and cause it to be ridiculed on the score of idleness. First however, we must mention that saying of Paul. What says he? Remember the Lord, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35 Now how can it be possible for him to give who has not? How then says Jesus to Martha, You are careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful, and Mary has chosen that good part? Luke 10:41–42; and again, Take no thought for the morrow. Matthew 6:34 For it is necessary now to resolve all these questions, not only that we may check men if they would be idle, but also that the oracles of God may not appear to bring in what is contradictory.

Now Paul in another place says, But we beseech you, brethren, that you increase more and more, that you study to be quiet, and to do your own business; that you may walk honestly toward them that are without 1 Thessalonians 4:10–12; and again; Let him that stole, steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his own hands, that he may have to give to him that needs. Ephesians 4:28 Here the Apostle bids not simply work, but to work so vigorously and laboriously, as to have thereby somewhat to give to others. And in another place the same says again; These hands have ministered to my necessities, and to them that were with me. Acts 20:34 And writing to the Corinthians he said, What is my reward then? Verily, that when I preach the Gospel, I may make the Gospel of Christ without charge. 1Corinthians 9:18 And when he was in that city, he abode with Aquila and Priscilla, and wrought, for by their occupation they were tentmakers. Acts 18:3

These passages show a yet more decided opposition as to the letter; we must therefore now bring forward the solution. What then must be our reply? That to take no thought, does not mean not to work, but not to be nailed to the things of this life; that is, to take no care for tomorrow's ease, but to deem that superfluous. For a man may do no work, and (yet) lay up treasure for the morrow; and a man may work, yet be careful for nothing; for carefulness and work are not the same thing; it is not as trusting to his work that a man works, but, that he may impart to him that needs. And that too which was said to Martha refers not to works and working, but to this, that it is our duty to know the right season, and not to spend on carnal things the time proper for listening. Thus Christ spoke not the words as urging her to idleness, but to rivet her to listening. I came, says He, to teach you needful things, but you are anxious about a meal. Do you desire to receive Me, and to provide for Me a costly table? Provide another sort of entertainment, by giving me a ready hearing, and by imitating your sister's longing for instruction. He said not this to forbid her hospitality, (away with the thought! How could that be?) but to show that she ought not in the season for listening be busy about other matters. For to say, Labor not for the meat that perishes, is not the expression of one implying that we ought to be idle; (in fact, this most especially is meat that perishes, for idleness is wont to teach all wickedness;) but that we ought to work, and to impart. This is meat that never perishes; but if any be idle and gluttonous, and cares for luxury, that man works for the meat that perishes. So too, if a man by his labor should feed Christ, and give Him drink, and clothe Him, who so senseless and mad as to say that such an one labors for the meat that perishes, when there is for this the promise of the kingdom that is to come, and of those good things? This meat endures forever. But at that time, since the multitudes made no account of filth, nor sought to learn who it was that did these things, and by what power, but desired one thing only, to fill their bellies without working; Christ with good reason called such food, meat that perishes. I fed, He says, your bodies, that after this ye might seek that other food which endures, which nourishes the soul; but you again run after that which is earthy. Therefore ye do not understand that I lead you not to this imperfect food, but to that which gives not temporal but eternal life, which nourishes not the body but the soul. Then when He had uttered such great words concerning Himself, and had said that He would give this food, in order that what was spoken might not stand in their way, to make His saying credible He attributes the supply to the Father. For after saying, Which the Son of Man shall give you; He adds, Him has God the Father sealed, that is, has sent Him for this purpose, that He might bring the food to you. The saying also admits of another interpretation; for in another place Christ says, He that hears My words, has set to his seal that God is true John 3:33, that is, has showed forth undeniably. Which indeed the expression seems to me to hint at even in this place, for the Father has sealed, is nothing else than has declared, has revealed by His testimony. He in fact declared Himself too, but since He was speaking to Jews, He brought forward the testimony of the Father.

2. Learn we then, beloved, to ask of God the things which it is meet for us to ask of Him. For those other things, those, I mean, which belong to this life, whichever way they may fall out, can do us no injury; for if we be rich, it is here only that we shall enjoy our luxury; and if we fall into poverty, we shall suffer nothing terrible. For neither the splendors nor the pains of the present life have much power in respect either of despondency or pleasure, they are contemptible, and slip away very swiftly. Wherefore they are called a way, with reason, because they pass away, and by their very nature do not long endure, but the things which are to come endure eternally, both those of punishment and those of the Kingdom. Let us then in regard of these things use much diligence to avoid the first and to choose the last. For what is the advantage of this world's luxury? Today it is, and tomorrow it is not; today a bright flower, tomorrow scattered dust; today a burning fire, tomorrow smouldering ashes. But spiritual things are not so, they ever remain shining and blooming, and becoming brighter every day. That wealth never perishes, never departs, never ceases, never brings with it care or envy or blame, destroys not the body, corrupts not the soul, is without ill will, heaps not up malice; all which things attend on the other kind of wealth. That honor lifts not men into folly, does not make them puffed up, never ceases nor is dimmed. Again, the rest and delight of heaven endures continually, ever being immovable and immortal, one cannot find its end or limit. This life then let us desire, for if we do so we shall make no account of present things, but shall despise and mock at them all, and though one should bid us enter into kingly halls, we shall not while we have this hope choose to do so; yet nothing (earthly) seems more near to happiness than such a permission; but to those who are possessed by love of heaven, even this seems little and mean, and worthy of no account. Nothing which comes to an end is to be much desired; whatever ceases, and today is and tomorrow is not, even though it be very great, yet seems to be very little and contemptible. Then let us not cling to fleeting things which slip away and depart, but to those which are enduring and immovable. To which may we all attain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory, now and ever and world without end. Amen.

Homily 45 on the Gospel of John

John 6:28–30

Then said they unto Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent. They said therefore unto Him, What sign do you show then, that we may see and believe you? What do you work?

1. There is nothing worse, nothing more shameful, than gluttony; it makes the mind gross, and the soul carnal; it blinds, and permits not to see clearly. Observe, for instance, how this is the case with the Jews; for because they were intent upon gluttony, entirely occupied with worldly things, and without any spiritual thoughts, though Christ leads them on by ten thousand sayings, sharp and at the same time forbearing, even thus they arise not, but continue groveling below. For consider; He said to them, You seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the bread, and were filled; He touched them by the reproof, He showed them what food they ought to seek, saying, Labor not for the meat that perishes; He set before them the prize, saying, but that which endures unto everlasting life; then provided a remedy for what might have been an objection, by declaring that He was sent from the Father.

What then did they? As though they had heard nothing, they said, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? This they said, not that they might learn and do them, (as the sequel shows,) but to induce Him again to supply them with food, and desiring to persuade Him to satisfy them. What then says Christ? This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent. On this they asked, What sign do you show, that we may see and believe?

John 6:31

Our fathers did eat manna in the wilderness.

Nothing more senseless, nothing more unreasonable, than these men! While the miracle was yet in their hands, as though none had been done, they spoke after this manner, What sign do you show? and having thus spoken, they do not even allow Him the right of choosing the sign, but think to force Him to exhibit none other than such a one as was wrought in the days of their fathers; wherefore they say, Our fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, thinking by this to provoke Him to work such a miracle as might supply them with carnal nourishment. Else why did they mention none other of the miracles of old, though many took place in those times, both in Egypt and at the sea and in the wilderness, but only that of the manna? Was it not because they greatly desired that one by reason of the tyranny of their bellies? You who when you saw His miracle called him a Prophet, and attempted to make Him a king, how is that now, as though none had been wrought, you have become thankless and ill-minded, and ask for a sign, uttering words fit for parasites, or hungry dogs? Does the manna now seem wonderful to you? Your soul is not now parched up.

Mark too their hypocrisy. They said not, Moses did this sign, what doest thou? thinking it would annoy Him; but for a while they address Him with great reverence, through expectation of food. So they neither said, God did this, what doest thou? that they might not seem to make Him equal with God; nor did they bring forward Moses, that they might not seem to lower Him, but put the matter in an intermediate form, Our fathers did eat manna in the wilderness. He indeed might have replied, I, but now, have wrought greater wonders than did Moses, requiring no rod, having no need of prayer, but doing all of Myself; and, if you call to remembrance the manna, see, I have given you bread. But this was not the season for such speeches; and the one thing He earnestly desired was, to bring them to spiritual food. And observe His infinite wisdom and His manner of answering.

John 6:32

Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.

Why said He not, It was not Moses that gave it to you, but I; but puts God in the place of Moses, and Himself instead of manna? Because the infirmity of His hearers was great. As is seen from what follows. For not even when He had spoken thus did He secure their attention, although He said at first, You seek Me, not because ye saw the miracle, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. John 6:26 Now because they sought these (carnal) things, He would have corrected them by His succeeding words, yet not even so did they desist. When He promised the Samaritan woman that He would give her the water, He made no mention of the Father. What says He? If you knew who it is that says unto you, Give Me to drink, you would have asked of Him, and He would have given unto you living water John 4:10; and again, The water which I shall give. He referrs her not to The Father. But here He makes mention of The Father, that you may understand how great was the faith of the Samaritan woman, and how great the infirmity of the Jews.

Was then the manna not from heaven? How then is it said to be from heaven? In the same manner as Scripture speaks of fowls of heaven Psalm 8:8; and again, The Lord thundered from heaven. Psalm 18:13 And He calls that other the true bread, not because the miracle of the manna was false, but because it was a type, and not the very truth. But in mentioning Moses, He does not compare Himself to him, for the Jews did not as yet prefer Him to Moses, of whom they still had a higher opinion. So that after saying, Moses gave not, He adds not that I give, but says that The Father, and not Moses, gives. They, when they heard this, replied, Give us this bread to eat; for they yet thought that it was something material, they yet expected to gratify their appetites, and so hastily ran to Him. What does Christ? Leading them on little by little, He says,

John 6:33

The bread of God is He which comes down from heaven, and gives life unto the world.

Not, says He, to Jews alone, but to all the world, not mere food, but life, another and an altered life. He calls it life, because they all were dead in sins. Yet they still kept downward bent, saying,

John 6:34

Give us this bread.

Then He, to rebuke them, because while they supposed that the food was material they ran to Him, but not when they learned that it was a spiritual kind, said,

John 6:35–36

I am the bread of life; he that comes to Me shall never hunger, and he that believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you, that you also have seen Me, and believe Me not.

2. Thus also John cries, saying beforehand, He speaks that He knows, and testifies that He has seen, and no man receives His testimony John 3:32; and again Christ Himself, We speak that We do know, and testify that We have seen John 3:11, and you believe not. This He does to prevent them, and to show them that the matter does not trouble Him, that He desires not honor, that He is not ignorant of the secrets of their minds, nor of things present, nor of things to come.

I am the bread of life. Now He proceeds to commit unto them mysteries. And first He discourses of His Godhead, saying, I am the bread of life. For this is not spoken of His Body, (concerning that He says towards the end, And the bread which I shall give is My flesh,) but at present it referrs to His Godhead. For That, through God the Word, is Bread, as this bread also, through the Spirit descending on it, is made Heavenly Bread. Here He uses not witnesses, as in His former address, for He had the miracle of the loaves to witness to Him, and the Jews themselves for a while pretending to believe Him; in the former case they opposed and accused Him. This is the reason why here He declares Himself. But they, since they expected to enjoy a carnal feast, were not disturbed until they gave up their hope. Yet not for that was Christ silent, but uttered many words of reproof. For they, who while they were eating called Him a Prophet, were here offended, and called Him the carpenter's son; not so while they ate the loaves, then they said, He is The Prophet, and desired to make Him a king. Now they seemed to be indignant at His asserting that He came down from heaven, but in truth it was not this that caused their indignation, but the thought that they should not enjoy a material table. Had they been really indignant, they ought to have asked and enquired how He was the bread of life, how He had come down from heaven; but now they do not this, but murmur. And that it was not this which offended them is plain from another circumstance. When He said, My Father gives you the bread, they exclaimed not, Beseech Him that He give; but what? Give us that bread; yet He said not, I give, but, My Father gives; nevertheless, they, from desire of the food, thought Him worthy to be trusted to for its supply. Now how should they, who deemed Him worthy of their trust for giving, be afterward offended when they also heard that the Father gives? What is the reason? It is that when they heard that they were not to eat, they again disbelieved, and put forth by way of a cloak for their disbelief, that it was a high saying. Wherefore He says, You have seen Me, and believe not John 5:39; alluding partly to His miracles, partly to the testimony from the Scriptures; For they, He says, are they which testify of Me c. v. 43, 44; and, I have come in My Father's Name, and you receive Me not; and, How can you believe which receive honor of men?

John 6:37

All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and him that comes to Me I will in nowise cast out.

Observe how He does all things for the sake of them that are saved; therefore He added this, that He might not seem to be trifling and speaking these things to no purpose. But what is it that He says, All that the Father gives Me shall come unto Me John 6:37, and I will raise it up in the last day? John 6:40 Wherefore speaks He of the common resurrection, in which even the ungodly have a part, as though it were the peculiar gift of those who believe in Him? Because He speaks not simply of resurrection, but of a particular kind of resurrection. For having first said, I will not cast him out, I shall lose nothing of it, He then speaks of the resurrection. Since in the resurrection some are cast out, (Take him, and cast him into outer darkness, Matthew 22:13) and some are destroyed. (Rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.) Matthew 10:28 And the expression, I give eternal life John 10:28, declares this; for they that have done evil shall go forth to the resurrection of damnation, and they that have done good to the resurrection of life. John 5:29 This then, the resurrection to good things, is that which He here designed. But what means He by saying, All that the Father gives Me, shall come to Me? He touches their unbelief, showing that whosoever believes not on Him transgresses the will of the Father. And thus He says it not nakedly, but in a covert manner, and this He does everywhere, wishing to show that unbelievers are at variance with the Father, not with Him alone. For if this is His will, and if for this He came, that He might save man, those who believe not transgress His will. When therefore, He says, the Father guides any man, there is nothing that hinders him from coming unto Me; and in another place, No man can come unto Me, except the Father draw him. John 6:44 And Paul says, that He delivers them up unto the Father; When He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father. 1Corinthians 15:24 Now as the Father when He gives does so without first depriving Himself, so the Son when He delivers up does so without excluding Himself. He is said to deliver us up, because through Him we have access (to the Father).

3. And the by whom is also applied to the Father, as when the Apostle says, By whom you were called unto the fellowship of His Son 1Corinthians 1:9: and, By the will of the Father. And again; Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you. Matthew 16:17 What He here intimates is something of this kind, that faith in Me is no ordinary thing, but needs an impulse from above; and this He establishes throughout His discourse, showing that this faith requires a noble sort of soul, and one drawn on by God.

But perhaps some one will say, If all that the Father gives, and whomsoever He shall draw, comes unto You, if none can come unto You except it be given him from above, then those to whom the Father gives not are free from any blame or charges. These are mere words and pretenses. For we require our own deliberate choice also, because whether we will be taught is a matter of choice, and also whether we will believe. And in this place, by the which the Father gives Me, He declares nothing else than that the believing on Me is no ordinary thing, nor one that comes of human reasonings, but needs a revelation from above, and a well-ordered soul to receive that revelation. And the, He that comes to Me shall be saved, means that he shall be greatly cared for. For on account of these, He says, I came, and took upon Me the flesh, and entered into the form of a servant. Then He adds;

John 6:38

I came down from heaven not to do My own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.

What sayest Thou? Why, is Your will one, and His another? That none may suspect this, He explains it by what follows, saying;

John 6:40

And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes in Him, may have everlasting life.

Is not then this Your will? And how sayest Thou, I have come to send fire upon the earth, and what have I desired to see, if that be already kindled? Luke 12:49 For if Thou also desirest this, it is very clear that Your will and the Father's is one. In another place also He says, For as the Father raises up the dead and quickens them, even so the Son quickens whom He will. John 5:21 But what is the will of the Father? Is it not, that not so much as one of them should perish? This Thou willest also. Matthew 18:14 So that the will of the One differs not from the will of the Other. So in another place He is seen establishing yet more firmly His equality with the Father, saying, I and My Father "will come, and will make Our abode with him.» John 14:23 What He says then is this; I came not to do anything other than that which the Father wills, I have no will of My own different from that of the Father, for all that is the Father's is Mine, and all that is Mine is the Father's. If now the things of the Father and the Son are in common, He says with reason, Not that I might do My own will. But here He speaks not so, but reserves this for the end. For, as I have said, He conceals and veils for a while high matters, and desires to prove that had He even said, This is My will, they would have despised Him. He therefore says, that I co-operate with that Will, desiring thus to startle them more; as though He had said, What do you think? Do ye anger Me by your disbelief? Nay, you provoke My Father. For this is the will of Him that sent Me, that of all which He has given Me I should lose nothing. John 6:39 Here He shows that He needs not their service, that He came not for His own advantage, but for their salvation; and not to get honor from them. Which indeed He declared in a former address, saying, I receive not honor from men John 5:41; and again, These things I say that you may be saved. John 5:34 Since He everywhere labors to persuade them that He came for their salvation. And He says, that He obtains honor to the Father, in order that He may not be suspected by them. And that it is for this reason He thus speaks, He has more clearly revealed by what follows. For He says, He that seeks his own will seeks his own glory; but He that seeks His glory that sent Him is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. John 7:18 And this is the will of the Father, that every one which sees the Son, and believes in Him, may have everlasting life. John 6:40

And I will raise him up at the last day. Why does He continually dwell upon the Resurrection? Is it that men may not judge of God's providence by present things alone; that if they enjoy not results here, they become not on that account desponding, but wait for the things that are to come, and that they may not, because their sins are not punished for the present, despise Him, but look for another life.

Now those men gained nothing, but let us take pains to gain by having the Resurrection continually sounded in our ears; and if we desire to be grasping, or to steal, or to do any wrong thing, let us straightway take into our thoughts that Day, let us picture to ourselves the Judgment-seat, for such reflections will check the evil impulse more strongly than any bit. Let us continually say to others, and to ourselves, There is a resurrection, and a fearful tribunal awaits us. If we see any man insolent and puffed up with the good things of his world, let us make the same remark to him, and show him that all those things abide here: and if we observe another grieving and impatient, let us say the same to him, and point out to him that his sorrows shall have an end; if we see one careless and dissipated, let us say the same charm over him, and show that for his carelessness he must render account. This saying is able more than any other remedy to heal our souls. For there is a Resurrection, and that Resurrection is at our doors, not afar off, nor at a distance. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Hebrews 10:37 And again, We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ 2Corinthians 5:10; that is, both bad and good, the one to be shamed in sight of all, the other in sight of all to be made more glorious. For as they who judge here punish the wicked and honor the good publicly, so too will it be there, that the one sort may have the greater shame, and the other more conspicuous glory. Let us picture these things to ourselves every day. If we are ever revolving them, no care for present things will be able to sting us. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2Corinthians 4:18 Continually let us say to ourselves and to others, There is a Resurrection, and a Judgment, and a scrutiny of our actions; and let as many as deem that there is such a thing as fate repeat this, and they shall straightway be delivered from the rottenness of their malady; for if there is a Resurrection, and a Judgment, there is no fate, though they bring ten thousand arguments, and choke themselves to prove it. But I am ashamed to be teaching Christians concerning the Resurrection: for he that needs to learn that there is a Resurrection, and who has not firmly persuaded himself that the affairs of this world go not on by fate, and without design, and as chance will have them, can be no Christian. Wherefore, I exhort and beseech you, that we cleanse ourselves from all wickedness, and do all in our power to obtain pardon and excuse in that Day.

Perhaps some one will say, When will be the consummation? When will be the Resurrection? See how long a time has gone by, and nothing of the kind has come to pass? Yet it shall be, be sure. For those before the flood spoke after this manner, and mocked at Noah, but the flood came and swept away all those unbelievers, but preserved him who believed. And the men of Lot's time expected not that stroke from God, until those lightnings and thunderbolts came down and destroyed them all utterly. Neither in the case of these men, nor of those who lived in the time of Noah, was there any preamble to what was about to happen, but when they were all living daintily, and drinking, and mad with wine, then came these intolerable calamities upon them. So also shall the Resurrection be; not with any preamble, but while we are in the midst of good times. Wherefore Paul says, For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:3 God has so ordered this, that we may be always struggling, and be not confident even in time of safety. What do you say? Do you not expect that there will be a Resurrection and a Judgment? The devils confess these, and are you shameless? Have You come, they say, to torment us before the time? Matthew 8:29; now they who say that there will be torment; are aware of the Judgment, and the reckoning, and the vengeance. Let us not then besides daring evil deeds, anger God by disbelieving the word of the Resurrection. For as in other things Christ has been our beginning, so also has He in this; wherefore He is called the first-born from the dead. Colossians 1:18 Now if there were no Resurrection, how could He be the first-born, when no one of the dead was to follow Him? If there were no Resurrection, how would the justice of God be preserved, when so many evil men prosper, and so many good men are afflicted and die in their affliction? Where shall each of these obtain his deserts, if so be that there is no Resurrection? No one of those who have lived aright disbelieves the Resurrection, but every day they pray and repeat that holy sentence, Your Kingdom come. Who then are they that disbelieve the Resurrection? They who have unholy ways and an unclean life: as the Prophet says, His ways are always polluted. Your judgments are far above out of his sight. Psalm 10:5 For a man cannot possibly live a pure life without believing in the Resurrection; since they who are conscious of no iniquity both speak of, and wish for, and believe in it, that they may receive their recompense. Let us not then anger Him, but hear Him when He says, Fear Him which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell Matthew 10:28; that by that fear we may become better, and being delivered from that perdition, may be deemed worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven. Which may we all attain to, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, now and ever and to the endless ages of eternity. Amen.

Homily 46 on the Gospel of John

John 6:41–42

The Jews then murmured at Him, because He said, I am the Bread which came down from heaven; and they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, I came down from heaven?

1. Whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame Philippians 3:19, said Paul of certain persons, writing to the Philippians. Now that the Jews were of this character is clear, both from what has gone before, and from what they came and said to Christ. For when He gave them bread, and filled their bellies, they said that He was a Prophet, and sought to make Him a King: but when He taught them concerning spiritual food, concerning eternal life, when He led them away from objects of sense, and spoke to them of a resurrection, and raised their thoughts to higher matters, when most they ought to have admired, they murmur and start away. And yet, if He was that Prophet as they before asserted, declaring that he it was of whom Moses had said, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren like me, unto Him shall you hearken Deuteronomy 18:15; they ought to have hearkened to Him when He said, I came down from heaven; yet they hearkened not, but murmured. They still reverenced Him, because the miracle of the loaves was recent, and therefore they did not openly gainsay Him, but by murmuring expressed their displeasure, that He did not give them the meal which they desired. And murmuring they said, Is not this the son of Joseph? Whence it is plain, that as yet they knew not of His strange and marvelous Generation. And so they still say that He is the son of Joseph, and are not rebuked; and He says not to them, I am not the Son of Joseph; not because He was his son, but because they were not as yet able to hear of that marvelous Birth. And if they could not bear to hear in plain terms of His birth according to the flesh, much less could they hear of that ineffable Birth which is from above. If He revealed not that which was lower to them, much less would He commit to them the other. Although this greatly offended them, that He was born from a mean and common father, still He revealed not to them the truth, lest in removing one cause of offense He should create another. What then said He when they murmured?

John 6:44

No man can come unto Me, except the Father which has sent Me draw Him.

The Manichæans spring upon these words, saying, that nothing lies in our own power; yet the expression shows that we are masters of our will. For if a man comes to Him, says some one, what need is there of drawing? But the words do not take away our free will, but show that we greatly need assistance. And He implies not an unwilling comer, but one enjoying much succor. Then He shows also the manner in which He draws; for that men may not, again, form any material idea of God, He adds,

John 6:46

Not that any man has seen God, save He which is of God, He has seen the Father.

How then, says some one, does the Father draw? This the Prophet explained of old, when he proclaimed beforehand, and said,

John 6:45

They shall all be taught of God. Isaiah 54:13

Do you see the dignity of faith, and that not of men nor by man, but by God Himself they shall learn this? And to make this assertion credible, He referred them to their prophets. If then "all shall be taught of God,» how is it that some shall not believe? Because the words are spoken of the greater number. Besides, the prophecy means not absolutely all, but all that have the will. For the teacher sits ready to impart what he has to all, and pouring forth his instruction unto all.

John 6:44

And I will raise him up in the last day.

Not slight here is the authority of the Son, if so be that the Father leads, He raises up. He distinguishes not His working from that of the Father, (how could that be?) but shows equality of power. As, therefore, after saying in that other place, The Father which has sent Me bears witness of Me, He then, that they might not be over-curious about the utterance, referred them to the Scriptures; so here, that they may not entertain similar suspicions, He referrs them to the Prophets, whom He continually and everywhere quotes, to show that He is not opposed to the Father.

But what of those, says some one, who were before His time? Were not they taught of God? Why then the special application of the words here? Because of old they learned the things of God by the hands of men, but now by the Only-begotten Son of God, and by the Holy Ghost. Then He adds, Not that any man has seen the Father, save He which is of God, using this expression here not with reference to the cause, but to the manner of being. Since had He spoken in the former sense, we are all of God. And where then would be the special and distinct nature of the Son? But wherefore, says some one, did He not put this more clearly? Because of their weakness. For if when He said, I have come down from heaven, they were so offended, what would they have felt had He added this?

John 6:48

The bread of life.

He calls Himself, the bread of life, because He maintains our life both which is and which is to be, and says, Whosoever shall eat of this bread shall live forever. By bread He means here either His saving doctrines and the faith which is in Him, or His own Body; for both nerve the soul. Yet in another place He said, If a man hear My saying, he shall never taste of death. John 8:51 And they were offended; here they had no such feeling perhaps, because they yet respected Him on account of the loaves which had been made.

2. And observe how He distinguishes between His bread and the manna, by causing them to hear the result of each kind of food. For to show that the manna afforded them no unusual advantage, He added,

John 6:49

Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

He then establishes a thing most likely to persuade them, that they were deemed worthy of greater things than their fathers, (meaning those marvelous men who lived in the time of Moses,) and so, after saying that they were dead who ate the manna, He adds,

Ver. 51 . He that eats of this bread, shall live forever.

Nor has He put in the wilderness without a cause, but to point out that the supply of manna was not extended to a long time, nor entered with them into the land of promise. But this bread was not of the same kind.

And the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Here one might reasonably enquire, how this was a fit season for these words, which neither edified nor profited, but rather did mischief to those who had been edified; for from that time, says the Evangelist, many of His disciples went back, saying, This is a hard saying; who can hear it? John 6:60; since these things might have been entrusted to the disciples only, as Matthew has told us that He discoursed with them apart. Mark 4:34; see Matthew 13:36 What then shall we say? What is the profit of the words? Great is the profit and necessity of them. Because they pressed upon Him, asking for bodily food, reminding Him of the food provided in the days of their forefathers, and speaking of the manna as a great thing, to show them that all those things were but type and shadow, but that the very reality of the matter was now present with them, He mentions spiritual food. But, says some one, he ought to have said, Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, but I have given you bread. But the interval between the two miracles was great, and the latter of them would have appeared inferior to the former, because the manna came down from heaven, but this, the miracle of the loaves, was wrought on earth. When therefore they sought food coming down from heaven, He continually told them, I came down from heaven. And if any one enquire why He introduced the discourse on the Mysteries, we will reply, that this was a very fitting time for such discourses; for indistinctness in what is said always rouses the hearer, and renders him more attentive. They ought not then to have been offended, but rather to have asked and enquired. But now they went back. If they believed Him to be a Prophet, they ought to have believed His words, so that the offense was caused by their own folly, not by any difficulty in the words. And observe how little by little He led them up to Himself. Here He says that Himself gives, not the Father; The bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

But, says some one, this doctrine was strange to them and unusual. And yet John at an earlier period alluded to it by calling Him Lamb. John 1:29 But for all that, they knew it not. I know they did not; nay, neither did the disciples understand. For if as yet they had no clear knowledge of the Resurrection, and so knew not what, Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up John 2:19, might mean, much more would they be ignorant of what is said here. For these words were less clear than those. Since that prophets had raised men from the dead, they knew, even if the Scriptures have not spoken so clearly on the subject, but not one of them ever asserted that any man had eaten flesh. Still they obeyed, and followed Him, and confessed that He had the words of eternal life. For this is a disciple's part, not to be over-curious about the assertions of his teacher, but to hear and obey him, and to wait the proper time for the solution of any difficulties. How then, says some one, was it that the contrary came to pass, and that these men "went back»? It was by reason of their folly. For when questioning concerning the how comes in, there comes in with it unbelief. So Nicodemus was perplexed, saying, How can a man enter into his mother's womb? So also these are confounded, saying,

Ver. 52 . How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

If you seek to know the how, why asked not you this in the matter of the loaves, how He extended five to so great a number? Because they then only thought of being satisfied, not of seeing the miracle. But, says some one, their experience then taught them. Then by reason of that experience these words ought to have been readily received. For to this end He wrought beforehand that strange miracle, that taught by it they might no longer disbelieve what should be said by Him afterwards.

3. Those men then at that time reaped no fruit from what was said, but we have enjoyed the benefit in the very realities. Wherefore it is necessary to understand the marvel of the Mysteries, what it is, why it was given, and what is the profit of the action. We become one Body, and members of His flesh and of His bones. Ephesians 5:30 Let the initiated follow what I say. In order then that we may become this not by love only, but in very deed, let us be blended into that flesh. This is effected by the food which He has freely given us, desiring to show the love which He has for us. On this account He has mixed up Himself with us; He has kneaded up His body with ours, that we might be a certain One Thing, like a body joined to a head. For this belongs to them who love strongly; this, for instance, Job implied, speaking of his servants, by whom he was beloved so exceedingly, that they desired to cleave unto his flesh. For they said, to show the strong love which they felt, Who would give us to be satisfied with his flesh? Job 31:31 Wherefore this also Christ has done, to lead us to a closer friendship, and to show His love for us; He has given to those who desire Him not only to see Him, but even to touch, and eat Him, and fix their teeth in His flesh, and to embrace Him, and satisfy all their love. Let us then return from that table like lions breathing fire, having become terrible to the devil; thinking on our Head, and on the love which He has shown for us. Parents often entrust their offspring to others to feed; but I, says He, do not so, I feed you with My own flesh, desiring that you all be nobly born, and holding forth to you good hopes for the future. For He who gives out Himself to you here, much more will do so hereafter. I have willed to become your Brother, for your sake I shared in flesh and blood, and in turn I give out to you the flesh and the blood by which I became your kinsman. This blood causes the image of our King to be fresh within us, produces beauty unspeakable, permits not the nobleness of our souls to waste away, watering it continually, and nourishing it. The blood derived from our food becomes not at once blood, but something else; while this does not so, but straightway waters our souls, and works in them some mighty power. This blood, if rightly taken, drives away devils, and keeps them afar off from us, while it calls to us Angels and the Lord of Angels. For wherever they see the Lord's blood, devils flee, and Angels run together. This blood poured forth washed clean all the world; many wise sayings did the blessed Paul utter concerning it in the Epistle to the Hebrews. This blood cleansed the secret place, and the Holy of Holies. And if the type of it had such great power in the temple of the Hebrews, and in the midst of Egypt, when smeared on the door-posts, much more the reality. This blood sanctified the golden altar; without it the high priest dared not enter into the secret place. This blood consecrated priests, this in types cleansed sins. But if it had such power in the types, if death so shuddered at the shadow, tell me how would it not have dreaded the very reality? This blood is the salvation of our souls, by this the soul is washed, by this is beautiful, by this is inflamed, this causes our understanding to be more bright than fire, and our soul more beaming than gold; this blood was poured forth, and made heaven accessible.

4. Awful in truth are the Mysteries of the Church, awful in truth is the Altar. A fountain went up out of Paradise sending forth material rivers, from this table springs up a fountain which sends forth rivers spiritual. By the side of this fountain are planted not fruitless willows, but trees reaching even to heaven, bearing fruit ever timely and undecaying. If any be scorched with heat, let him come to the side of this fountain and cool his burning. For it quenches drought, and comforts all things that are burnt up, not by the sun, but by the fiery darts. For it has its beginning from above, and its source is there, whence also its water flows. Many are the streams of that fountain which the Comforter sends forth, and the Son is the Mediator, not holding mattock to clear the way, but opening our minds. This fountain is a fountain of light, spouting forth rays of truth. By it stand the Powers on high looking upon the beauty of its streams, because they more clearly perceive the power of the Things set forth, and the flashings unapproachable. For as when gold is being molten if one should (were it possible) dip in it his hand or his tongue, he would immediately render them golden; thus, but in much greater degree, does what here is set forth work upon the soul. Fiercer than fire the river boils up, yet burns not, but only baptizes that on which it lays hold. This blood was ever typified of old in the altars and sacrifices of righteous men, This is the price of the world, by This Christ purchased to Himself the Church, by This He has adorned Her all. For as a man buying servants gives gold for them, and again when he desires to deck them out does this also with gold; so Christ has purchased us with His blood, and adorned us with His blood. They who share this blood stand with Angels and Archangels and the Powers that are above, clothed in Christ's own kingly robe, and having the armor of the Spirit. Nay, I have not as yet said any great thing: they are clothed with the King Himself.

Now as this is a great and wonderful thing, so if you approach it with pureness, you approach for salvation; but if with an evil conscience, for punishment and vengeance. For, It says, he that eats and drinks unworthily of the Lord, eats and drinks judgment to himself 1Corinthians 11:29; since if they who defile the kingly purple are punished equally with those who rend it, it is not unreasonable that they who receive the Body with unclean thoughts should suffer the same punishment as those who rent it with the nails. Observe at least how fearful a punishment Paul declares, when he says, He that despised Moses» law dies without mercy under two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing? Hebrews 1:28 Take we then heed to ourselves, beloved, we who enjoy such blessings; and if we desire to utter any shameful word, or perceive ourselves hurried away by wrath or any like passion, let us consider of what things we have been deemed worthy, of how great a Spirit we have partaken, and this consideration shall be a sobering of our unreasonable passions. For how long shall we be nailed to present things? How long shall it be before we rouse ourselves? How long shall we neglect our own salvation? Let us bear in mind of what things Christ has deemed us worthy, let us give thanks, let us glorify Him, not by our faith alone, but also by our very works, that we may obtain the good things that are to come, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, now and ever and world without end. Amen.

Homily 47 on the Gospel of John

John 6:53–54

Jesus therefore said to them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you have not eternal life in yourselves. Whoever eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, has life in himself.

1. When we converse of spiritual things, let there be nothing secular in our souls, nothing earthy, let all such thoughts retire, and be banished, and let us be entirely given up to the hearing the divine oracles only. For if at the arrival of a king all confusion is driven away, much more when the Spirit speaks with us do we need great stillness, great awe. And worthy of awe is that which is said today. How it is so, hear. Verily I say unto you, Except a man eat My flesh, and drink My blood, he has not eternal life in him. Since the Jews had before asserted that this was impossible, He shows not only that it is not impossible, but that it is absolutely necessary. Wherefore He adds, He that eats My flesh and drinks My blood, has eternal life.

And I will raise him up at the last day. For since He had said, He that eats of this bread shall not die for ever John 6:50, not verbally quoted, and it was likely that this would stand in their way, (just as they before said, Abraham is dead, and the prophets are dead; and how sayest Thou, that he shall not taste of death? John 8:52, not verbally quoted) He brings forward the Resurrection to solve the question, and to show that (the man who eats) shall not die at the last. He continually handles the subject of the Mysteries, showing the necessity of the action, and that it must by all means be done.

John 6:55

For My flesh is true meat, and My blood is true drink.

What is that He says? He either desires to declare that this is the true meat which saves the soul, or to assure them concerning what had been said, that they might not suppose the words to be a mere enigma or parable, but might know that it is by all means needful to eat the Body. Then He says,

John 6:56

He that eats My flesh, dwells in Me.

This He said, showing that such an one is blended with Him. Now what follows seems unconnected, unless we enquire into the sense; for, says some one, after saying, He that eats My flesh, dwells in Me, what kind of a consequence is it to add,

John 6:57

As the living Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father.

Yet the words harmonize perfectly. For since He continually spoke of eternal life, to prove this point He introduces the expression, dwells in Me; for if he dwells in Me, and I live, it is plain that he will live also. Then He says, As the living Father has sent Me. This is an expression of comparison and resemblance, and its meaning is of this kind, I live in like manner as the Father lives. And that you may not deem Him unbegotten, He immediately subjoins, by the Father, not by this to show that He needs, in order to live, any power working in Him, for He said before, to remove such a suspicion, As the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son also to have life in Himself; now if He needs the working of another, it will be found that either the Father has not given Him so to have it, and so the assertion is false, or if He has so given it, then He will need no other one to support Him. What then means the, By the Father? He here merely hints at the cause, and what He says is of this kind: As the Father lives, so I live, and he that eats Me shall live by Me. And the life of which He speaks is not life merely, but the excellent life; for that He spoke not simply of life, but of that glorious and ineffable life, is clear from this. For all men live, even unbelievers, and uninitiated, who eat not of that flesh. Do you see that the words relate not to this life, but to that other? And what He says is of this kind: He that eats My flesh, when he dies shall not perish nor suffer punishment; He spoke not of the general resurrection, (for all alike rise again,) but concerning the special, the glorious Resurrection, that which has a reward.

John 6:58

This is that bread which came down from heaven; not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead; he that eats of this bread shall live forever.

Continually does He handle the same point, so as to imprint it on the understanding of the hearers, (for the teaching on these points was a kind of final teaching,) and to confirm the doctrine of the Resurrection and of eternal life. Wherefore He mentions the Resurrection since He promises eternal life, showing that that life is not now, but after the Resurrection. And whence, says some one, are these things clear? From the Scriptures; to them He everywhere referrs the Jews, bidding them learn these things from them. And by saying, Which gives life to the world, He incites them to jealousy, that from very vexation that others should enjoy the gift, they may not stay without. And continually He reminds them of the manna, showing the difference, (between it and His bread,) and guiding them to the faith; for if He was able to support their life for forty years without harvest, or grain, or other things in course; much more now will He be able to do so, as having come for greater ends. Moreover, if those things were but types, and yet men collected what came down without sweat or labor; much more shall this be the case, where the difference is great both in the never dying, and in the enjoying the true life. And rightly has He spoken often of life, since this is desired by men, and nothing is so pleasing to them as not to die. Since even under the old Covenant, this was the promise, length of life and many days, but now it is not length merely, but life having no end. He desires at the same time to show, that He now revokes the punishment caused by sin, annulling that sentence which condemns to death, and bringing in not life merely, but life eternal, contrariwise to the former things.

John 6:59

These things said He in the synagogue, as He taught in Capernaum.

2. The place where most of His marvels had been done, so that He ought there especially to have been listened to. But wherefore taught He in the synagogue and in the Temple? As well because He desired to catch the greatest number of them, as because He desired to show that He was not opposed to the Father.

John 6:60

But many of the disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is a hard saying.

What means hard? Rough, laborious, troublesome. Yet He said nothing of this kind, for He spoke not of a mode of life, but of doctrines, continually handling the faith which is in Him. What then means, is a hard saying? Is it because it promises life and resurrection? Is it because He said that He came down from heaven? Or that it was impossible for one to be saved who ate not His flesh? Tell me, are these things hard? Who can assert that they are? What then means hard? It means, difficult to be received, transcending their infirmity, having much terror. For they thought that He uttered words too high for His real character, and such as were above Himself. Therefore they said,

Who can hear it?

Perhaps making excuse for themselves, since they were about to start away.

John 6:61–62

When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples murmured at it, (for this is an attribute of His Godhead to bring secret things to light,) He said to them, Does this offend you? What and if you shall see the Son of Man ascend up where He was before?

This also He does in the case of Nathanael, saying, Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig-tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these. John 1:50 And to Nicodemus, No man has ascended up to heaven but the Son of man which is in heaven. John 3:13 What then, does He add difficulties to difficulties? No, (that be far from Him,) but by the greatness of the doctrines, and the number of them, He desires to bring them over. For if one had said simply, I have come down from heaven, and added nothing more, he would have been the more likely to offend them; but He who said, My body is the life of the world; He who said, As the living Father has sent Me, so I live by the Father; and who said, I have come down from heaven, solves the difficulty. For the man who utters any one great thing concerning himself may perhaps be suspected of feigning, but he who connects together so many one after another removes all suspicion. All that He does and says is intended to lead them away from the thought, that Joseph was His father. And it was not with a wish to strengthen, but rather to do away that stumbling-block, that He said this. For whosoever deemed that He was Joseph's son could not receive His sayings, while one that was persuaded that He had come down from heaven, and would ascend there, might more easily give heed to His words: at the same time He brings forward also another explanation, saying,

John 6:63

It is the Spirit that quickens, the flesh profits nothing.

His meaning is, You must hear spiritually what relates to Me, for he who hears carnally is not profited, nor gathers any advantage. It was carnal to question how He came down from heaven, to deem that He was the son of Joseph, to ask, How can he give us His flesh to eat? All this was carnal, when they ought to have understood the matter in a mystical and spiritual sense. But, says some one, how could they understand what the "eating flesh» might mean? Then it was their duty to wait for the proper time and enquire, and not to abandon Him.

The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.

That is, they are divine and spiritual, have nothing carnal about them, are not subject to the laws of physical consequence, but are free from any such necessity, are even set above the laws appointed for this world, and have also another and a different meaning. Now as in this passage He said spirit, instead of spiritual, so when He speaks of flesh, He meant not carnal things, but carnally hearing, and alluding at the same time to them, because they ever desired carnal things when they ought to have desired spiritual. For if a man receives them carnally, he profits nothing. What then, is not His flesh, flesh? Most certainly. How then says He, that the flesh profits nothing? He speaks not of His own flesh, (God forbid!) but of those who received His words in a carnal manner. But what is understanding carnally? It is looking merely to what is before our eyes, without imagining anything beyond. This is understanding carnally. But we must not judge thus by sight, but must look into all mysteries with the eyes within. This is seeing spiritually. He that eats not His flesh, and drinks not His blood, has no life in him. How then does the flesh profit nothing, if without it we cannot live? Do you see that the words, the flesh profits nothing, are spoken not of His own flesh, but of carnal hearing?

John 6:64

But there are some of you that believe not.

Again, according to His custom, He adds weight to His words, by foretelling what would come to pass, and by showing that He spoke thus not from desire of honor from them, but because He cared for them. And when He said some, He excepted the disciples. For at first He said, You have both seen Me, and believe not John 6:36; but here, There are some of you that believe not.

For He knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray Him.

John 6:65

And He said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me except it were given unto Him from above from My Father.

3. Here the Evangelist intimates to us the voluntary character of the Dispensation, and His endurance of evil. Nor is the, from the beginning, put here without a cause, but that you may be aware of His foreknowledge from the first, and that before the words were uttered, and not after the men had murmured nor after they had been offended, He knew the traitor, but before, which was an attribute of Godhead. Then He added, Except it be given him from above from My Father; thus persuading them to deem God His Father, not Joseph, and showing them that it is no common thing to believe in Him. As though He had said, Unbelievers disturb Me not; trouble Me not, astonish Me not. I know of old before they were created, I know to whom the Father has given to believe; and do thou, when you hear that He has given, imagine not merely an arbitrary distribution, but that if any has rendered himself worthy to receive the gift, he has received it.

John 6:66

From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.

Rightly has the Evangelist said, not that they departed, but that they went back; showing that they cut themselves off from any increase in virtue, and that by separating themselves they lost the faith which they had of old. But this was not the case with the twelve; wherefore He says to them,

John 6:67

Will ye also go away?

Again showing that He needs not their ministry and service, and proving to them that it was not for this that He led them about with Him. For how could He when He used such expressions even to them? But why did He not praise them? Why did He not approve them? Both because He preserved the dignity befitting a teacher, and also to show them that they ought rather to be attracted by this mode of dealing. For had He praised them, they might, supposing that they were doing Him a favor, have had some human feeling; but by showing them that He needed not their attendance, He kept them to Him the more. And observe with what prudence He spoke. He said not, Depart ye, (this would have been to thrust them from Him,) but asked them a question, Will ye also go away? the expression of one who would remove all force or compulsion, and who wished not that they should be attached to Him through any sense of shame, but with a sense of favor. By not openly accusing, but gently glancing at them, He shows what is the truly wise course under such circumstances. But we feel differently; with good reason, since we do everything holding fast our own honor, and therefore think that our estate is lowered by the departure of those who attend on us. But He neither flattered nor repulsed them, but asked them a question. Now this was not the act of one despising them, but of one wishing them not to be restrained by force and compulsion: for to remain on such terms is the same as to depart. What then says Peter?

John 6:68–69

To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Do you see that it was not the words that caused offense, but the heedlessness, and sloth, and wrong-mindedness of the hearers? For even had He not spoken, they would have been offended, and would not have ceased to be ever anxious about bodily food, ever nailed to earth. Besides, the disciples heard at the same time with the others, yet they declared an opinion contrary to theirs, saying, To whom shall we go? An expression indicating much affection, for it shows that their Teacher was more precious to them than anything, than father or mother, or any possessions, and that if they withdrew from Him, they had not then whither to flee. Then lest it should seem that he had said, to whom shall we go? because there were none that would receive them, he straightway added, You have the words of eternal life. For the Jews listened carnally, and with human reasonings, but the disciples spiritually, and committing all to faith. Wherefore Christ said, The words which I have spoken unto you are spirit; that is, do not suppose that the teaching of My words is subject to the rule of material consequences, or to the necessity of created things. Things spiritual are not of this nature, nor endure to submit to the laws of earth. This also Paul declares, saying, Say not in your heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down;) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) Romans 10:6–7

You have the words of eternal life. These men already admitted the Resurrection, and all the apportionment which shall be there. And observe the brotherly and affectionate man, how he makes answer for all the band. For he said not, I know, but, We know. Or rather, observe how he goes to the very words of his Teacher, not speaking as did the Jews. They said, This is the son of Joseph; but he said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God; and You have the words of eternal life; having perhaps heard Him say, He that believes in Me has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For he showed that he retained all that had been said, by recalling the very words. What then did Christ? He neither praised nor expressed admiration of Peter, though He had elsewhere done so; but what says He?

John 6:70

Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

For since Peter said, We believe, Jesus excepts Judas from the band. In the other place Peter made no mention of the disciples; but when Christ said, Whom say ye that I am? he replied, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God Matthew 16:15; but here, since he said, We believe, Christ with reason admits not Judas into that band. And this He did afar off, and long before the time, to check the wickedness of the traitor, knowing that He should avail nothing, yet doing His own part.

4. And remark His wisdom. He made not the traitor manifest, yet allowed him not to be hidden; that on the one hand he might not lose all shame, and become more contentious; and on the other, that he might not, thinking to be unperceived, work his wicked deed without fear. Therefore by degrees He brings plainer reproofs against him. First, He numbered him too among the others, when He said, There are some of you that believe not, (for that He counted the traitor the Evangelist has declared, saying, For He knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray Him;) but when he yet remained such, He brought against him a more severe rebuke, One of you is a devil, yet made the fear common to them all, wishing to conceal him. And here it is worth while to enquire, why the disciples at this time said nothing, but afterwards were afraid and doubted, looking one upon another, and asking, Lord, is it I? Matthew 26:22, when Peter beckoned to John to find out the traitor, by enquiring of their Teacher which was he. What is the reason? Peter had not yet heard, Get behind me, Satan, wherefore he had no fear at all; but when he had been rebuked, and though he spoke through strong affection, instead of being approved of, had even been called Satan, he afterwards with reason feared when he heard, One of you shall betray Me. Besides, He says not even now, One of you shall betray Me, but, One of you is a devil; wherefore they understood not what was spoken, but thought that He was only reflecting upon their wickedness.

But wherefore said He, I have chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? It was to show that His teaching was entirely free from flattery. For that they might not think that He would flatter them, because when all had left Him they alone remained, and confessed by Peter that He was the Christ, He leads them away from such a suspicion. And what He says is of this kind. Nothing abashes Me from rebuking the bad; think not that because you have remained I shall choose to flatter you, or that because you have followed Me I shall not rebuke the wicked. For neither does another circumstance abash Me, which is much more powerful than this to abash a teacher. For he that remains affords a proof of his affection, while one that has been chosen by a teacher, being rejected, attaches to him a character for folly among senseless persons. Still neither does this cause Me to refrain from My reproofs. This at least even now the heathen frigidly and senselessly urge against Christ. For God is not wont to make men good by compulsion and force, neither is His election and choice compulsory on those who are called, but persuasive. And that you may learn that the calling compels not, consider how many of these who have been called have come to perdition, so that it is clear that it lies in our own will also to be saved, or to perish.

5. Hearing therefore these things, learn we always to be sober and to watch. For if when he who was reckoned among that holy band, who had enjoyed so great a gift, who had wrought miracles, (for he too was with the others who were sent to raise the dead and to heal lepers,) if when he was seized by the dreadful disease of covetousness, and betrayed his Master, neither the favors, nor the gifts, nor the being with Christ, nor the attendance on Him, nor the washing the feet, nor the sharing His table, nor the bearing the bag, availed him, if these things rather served to help on his punishment, let us also fear lest we ever through covetousness imitate Judas. Thou betrayest not Christ. But when you neglect the poor man wasting with hunger, or perishing with cold, that man draws upon you the same condemnation. When we partake of the Mysteries unworthily, we perish equally with the Christ-slayers. When we plunder, when we oppress those weaker than ourselves, we shall draw down upon us severest punishment. And with reason; for how long shall the love of things present so occupy us, superfluous as they are and unprofitable? Since wealth consists in superfluities, in which no advantage is. How long shall we be nailed to vanities? How long shall we not look through and away into heaven, not be sober, not be satiated with these fleeting things of earth, not learn by experience their worthlessness? Let us think of those who before us have been wealthy; are not all those things a dream? Are they not a shadow, a flower? Are they not a stream which flows by? A story and a tale? Such a man has been rich, and where now is his wealth? It has gone, has perished, but the sins done by reason of it stay by him, and the punishment which is because of the sins. Yea, surely if there were no punishment, if no kingdom were set before us, it were a duty to show regard for those of like descent and family, to respect those who have like feelings with ourselves. But now we feed dogs, and many of us wild asses, and bears, and different beasts, while we care not for a man perishing with hunger; and a thing alien to us is more valued than that which is of our kin, and our own family less honored than creatures which are not so, nor related to us.

Is it a fine thing to build one's self splendid houses, to have many servants, to lie and gaze at a gilded roof? Why then, assuredly, it is superfluous and unprofitable. For other buildings there are, far brighter and more majestic than these; on such we must gladden our eyes, for there is none to hinder us. Will you see the fairest of roofs? At eventide look upon the starred heaven. But, says some one, this roof is not mine. Yet in truth this is more yours than that other. For you it was made, and is common to you and to your brethren; the other is not yours, but theirs who after your death inherit it. The one may do you the greatest service, guiding you by its beauty to its Creator; the other the greatest harm, becoming your greatest accuser at the Day of Judgment, inasmuch as it is covered with gold, while Christ has not even needful raiment. Let us not, I entreat you, be subject to such folly, let us not pursue things which flee away, and flee those which endure; let us not betray our own salvation, but hold fast to our hope of what shall be hereafter; the aged, as certainly knowing that but a little space of life is left us; the young, as well persuaded that what is left is not much. For that day comes so as a thief in the night. Knowing this, let wives exhort their husbands, and husbands admonish their wives; let us teach youths and maidens, and all instruct one another, to care not for present things, but to desire those which are to come, that we may be able also to obtain them; through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, now and ever and world without end. Amen.

Homily 48 on the Gospel of John

John 7:1–2

After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill Him. Now the Jews» feast of tabernacles was at hand.

1. Nothing is worse than envy and malice; through these death entered into the world. For when the devil saw man honored, he endured not his prosperity, but used every means to destroy him. Wisdom 2:24 And from the same root one may everywhere see this same fruit produced. Thus Abel was slain; thus David, with many other just men, was like to have been so; from this also the Jews became Christ-slayers. And declaring this the Evangelist said, After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He had not power to walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill Him. What do you say, O blessed John? Had not He power, who was able to do all that He would? He that said, Whom do you seek? John 18:6 and cast them backward? He who was present, yet not seen John 21:4, had not He power? How then afterwards did He come among them in the midst of the temple, in the midst of the feast, when there was an assembly, when they that longed for murder were present, and utter those sayings which enraged them yet the more? Yea, this at least men marveled at, saying, Is not this He, whom they seek to kill? And, lo, He speaks boldly, and they say nothing unto Him. Ver. 25, 26 What mean these riddles? Away with the word! The Evangelist spoke not so that he might be supposed to utter riddles, but to make it plain that He shows proofs both of His Godhead and His Manhood. For when he says, that He had not power, he speaks of Him as a man, doing many things after the manner of men; but when he says, that He stood in the midst of them, and they seized Him not, he shows to us the power of the Godhead, (as man He fled, as God He appeared,) and in both cases he speaks truly. To be in the midst of those who were plotting against Him, and yet not be seized by them, showed His unrivaled and irresistible nature; to yield strengthened and authenticated the Dispensation, that neither Paul of Samosata, nor Marcion, nor those affected with their maladies, might have anything to say. By this then he stops all their mouths.

After these things was the Jews» feast of tabernacles. The words, after these things, mean only, that the writer has here been concise, and has passed over a long interval of time, as is clear from this circumstance. When Christ sat on the mountain, he says, that it was the feast of the Passover; while here the writer mentions the feast of tabernacles, and during the five months has neither related or taught us anything else, except the miracle of the loaves, and the sermon made to those who ate them. Yet He ceased not to work miracles, and to converse, both in the day, and in the evening, and oftentimes at night; at least, it was thus that He presided over His disciples, as all the Evangelists tell us. Why then have they omitted that interval? Because it was impossible to recount everything fully, and moreover, because they were anxious to mention those points which were followed by any fault-finding or gainsaying of the Jews. There were many circumstances like those which here are omitted; for that He raised the dead, healed the sick, and was admired, they have frequently recorded; but when they have anything uncommon to tell, when they have to describe any charge seemingly put forth against Him, these things they set down; such as this now, that His brethren believed Him not. For a circumstance like this brings with it no slight suspicion, and it is worth our while to admire their truth-loving disposition, how they are not ashamed to relate things which seem to bring disgrace upon their Teacher, but have been even more anxious to report these than other matters. For instance, the writer having passed by many signs and wonders and sermons, has sprung at once to this.

John 7:3–5

For, says he, His brethren said to Him, Depart hence, and go into Judæa, that Your disciples also may see the works that You do; for there is no man that does anything in secret, and he himself seeks to be known openly. Show yourself to the world. For neither did His brethren believe in Him.

2. What unbelief, says some one, is here? They exhort Him to work miracles. It is great deed; for of unbelief come their words, and their insolence, and their unseasonable freedom of speech. For they thought, that owing to their relationship, it was lawful for them to address Him boldly. And their request seems forsooth to be that of friends, but the words were those of great maliciousness. For in this place they reproach Him with cowardice and vainglory: since to say, no man does anything in secret, is the expression of persons charging Him with cowardice, and suspecting the things done by Him as being not really done; and to add, that he seeks to be known, was to accuse Him of vainglory. But observe, I pray you, the power of Christ. Of those who said these things, one became first Bishop of Jerusalem, the blessed James, of whom Paul says, Other of the Apostles saw I none, save James, the Lord's brother ; and Judas also is said to have been a marvelous man. And yet these persons had been present also at Cana, when the wine was made, but as yet they profited nothing. Whence then had they so great unbelief? From their evil mind, and from envy; for superiority among kindred is wont somehow to be envied by such as are not alike exalted. But who are those that they call disciples here? The crowd that followed Him, not the twelve. What then says Christ? Observe how mildly He answered; He said not, Who are you that counsel and instruct Me thus? but,

John 7:6

My time is not yet come.

He here seems to me to hint at something other than He expresses; perhaps in their envy they designed to deliver Him up to the Jews; and pointing out this to them, He says, My time is not yet come, that is, the time of the Cross and the Death, why then hasten ye to slay Me before the time?

But your time is always ready.

As though He had said, Though you be ever with the Jews, they will not slay you who desire the same things with them; but Me they will straightway wish to kill. So that it is ever your time to be with them without danger, but My time is when the season of the Cross is at hand, when I must die. For that this was His meaning, He showed by what followed.

John 7:7

The world cannot hate you; (how should it hate those who desire, and who run for the same objects as itself?) but Me it hates, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.

That is, because I upbraid and rebuke it, therefore I am hated. From this let us learn to master our anger, and not to give way to unworthy passion, though they be mean men who give us counsel. For if Christ meekly bore with unbelievers counseling Him, when their counsel was improper and not from any good intention, what pardon shall we obtain, who being but dust and ashes, yet are annoyed with those who counsel us, and deem that we are unworthily treated, although the persons who do this may be but a little humbler than ourselves? Observe in this instance how He repels their accusation with all gentleness; for when they say, Show Yourself to the world, He replies, The world cannot hate you, but Me the world hates; thus removing their accusation. So far, He says, am I from seeking honor from men, that I cease not to reprove them, and this when I know that by this course hatred is produced against and death prepared for Me. And where, asks some one, did He rebuke men? When did He ever cease to do so? Did He not say, Think not that I will accuse you to the Father? There is one that accuses you, even Moses. John 5:45 And again; I know you, that you have not the love of God in you: and How can you believe, who receive honor from men, and seek not the honor that comes from God only? Do you see how He has everywhere shown, that it was the open rebuke, not the violation of the Sabbath, which caused the hatred against Him?

And wherefore does He send them to the feast, saying,

John 7:8

Go up to the feast: I go not up yet.

To show that He said these things not as needing them, or desiring to be flattered by them, but permitting them to do what pertained to Jews. How then, says some one, went He up after saying, "I go not up»? He said not, once for all, I go not up, but, now, that is, not with you.

For My time is not yet fulfilled.

And yet He was about to be crucified at the coming Passover. How then went He not up also? For if He went not up because the time was not yet come, He ought not to have gone up at all. But He went not up for this purpose, that He might suffer, but that He might instruct them. But wherefore secretly? Since He might by going openly both have been amidst them, and have restrained their unruly impulses as He often did. It was because He would not do this continually. Since had He gone up openly, and again blinded them, He would have made His Godhead to shine through in a greater degree, which at present behooved not, but He rather concealed it. And since they thought that His remaining was from cowardice, He shows them the contrary, and that it was from confidence, and a dispensation, and that knowing beforehand the time when He should suffer, He would, when it should at length be at hand, be most desirous of going up to Jerusalem. And methinks by saying, Go up, He meant, Think not that I compel you to stay with Me against your will, and this addition of, My time is not yet fully come, is the expression of one declaring that miracles must be wrought and sermons spoken, so that greater multitudes might believe, and the disciples be made more steadfast by seeing the boldness and the sufferings of their Master.

3. Learn we then, from what has been said, His kindness and gentleness; Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart Matthew 11:29; and let us cast away all bitterness. If any exalt himself against us, let us be humble; if any be bold, let us wait upon him; if any bite and devour us with mocks and jests, let us not be overcome; lest in defending ourselves we destroy ourselves. For wrath is a wild beast, a wild beast keen and angry. Let us then repeat to ourselves soothing charms drawn from the holy Scripture, and say, You are earth and ashes. Why is earth and ashes proud? Sirach 10:9, and, The sway of his fury shall be his destruction Sirach 1:22: and, The wrathful man is not comely Proverbs 11:25, Septuagint; for there is nothing more shameful, nothing uglier than a visage inflamed with anger. As when you stir up mud there is an ill savor, so when a soul is disturbed by passion there is great indecency and unpleasantness. But, says some one, I endure not insult from mine enemies. Wherefore? Tell me. If the charge be true, then you ought, even before the affront, to have been pricked at heart, and thank your enemy for his rebukes; if it be false, despise it. He has called you poor, laugh at him; he has called you base-born and foolish, then mourn for him; for He that says to his brother, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Matthew 5:22 Whenever therefore one insults you, consider the punishment that he undergoes; then shall you not only not be angry, but shall even shed tears for him. For no man is angry with one in a fever or inflammation, but pities and weeps for all such; and such a thing is a soul that is angry. Nay, if even thou desire to avenge yourself, hold your peace, and you have dealt your enemy a mortal blow; while if you add reviling to reviling, you have kindled a fire. But, says some one, the bystanders accuse us of weakness if we hold our peace. No, they will not condemn your weakness, but admire you for your wisdom. Moreover, if you are stung by insolence, you become insolent; and being stung, compel men to think that what has been said of you is true. Wherefore, tell me, does a rich man laugh when he is called poor? Is it not because he is conscious that he is not poor? If therefore we will laugh at insults, we shall afford the strongest proof that we are not conscious of the faults alleged. Besides, how long are we to dread the accounts we render to men? How long are we to despise our common Lord, and be nailed to the flesh? For whereas there is among you strife, and envying, and divisions, are you not carnal? 1Corinthians 3:3 Let us then become spiritual, and bridle this dreadful wild beast. Anger differs nothing from madness, it is a temporary devil, or rather it is a thing worse than having a devil; for one that has a devil may be excused, but the angry man deserves ten thousand punishments, voluntarily casting himself into the pit of destruction, and before the hell which is to come suffering punishment from this already, by bringing a certain restless turmoil and never silent storm of fury, through all the night and through all the day, upon the reasonings of his soul. Let us therefore, that we may deliver ourselves from the punishment here and the vengeance hereafter, cast out this passion, and show forth all meekness and gentleness, that we may find rest for our souls both here and in the Kingdom of Heaven. To which may we all attain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Spirit be glory, now and ever and world without end. Amen.

Homily 49 on the Gospel of John

John 7:9–10

When He had said these words unto them, He abode still in Galilee. But when His brethren had gone up, then went He up also unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.

1. The things done by Christ after the manner of men, are not so done only to establish the Incarnation, but also to educate us for virtue. For had He done all as God, how could we have known, on falling in with such things as we wished not, what we must do? As, for instance, when He was in this very place, and the Jews would have killed Him, He came into the midst of them, and so appeased the tumult. Now had He done this continually, how should we, not being able to do so, and yet falling into the like case, have known in what way we ought to deal with the matter, whether to perish at once, or even to use some contrivance in order that the word might go forward? Since, therefore, we who have no power could not have understood what to do on coming into the midst of our foes, on this account we are taught this very thing by Him. For, says the Evangelist, Jesus, when He had said these words, abode in Galilee; but when His brethren had gone up, then went He up also unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. The expression, when His brethren had gone up, is that of one showing that He chose not to go up with them. On which account He abode where He was, and manifested not Himself, although they in a manner urged Him to do so. But why did He, who ever spoke openly, do so now as it were in secret? The writer says not secretly, but, as it were in secret. For thus, as I have said, He seemed to be instructing us how to manage matters. And, apart from this, it was not the same to come among them when heated and restive, as to do so afterwards when the feast was ended.

John 7:11

Then the Jews sought Him, and said, Where is He?

Excellent truly the good deeds at their feasts! They are eager for murder, and wish to seize Him, even during the feast. At least, in another place they speak thus, Think ye that He will not come to the feast? John 11:56; and here they said, Where is He? Through their excessive hatred and enmity they would not even call Him by name. Great was their reverence towards the feast, great their caution. By occasion of the very feast they wished to entrap Him!

John 7:12

And there was much murmuring among the people concerning Him.

I think they were exasperated by the place where the miracle had been wrought, and were greatly infuriated and afraid, not so much from anger at what had gone before, as from fear lest He should again work something similar. But all fell out contrary to what they desired, and against their will they rendered Him conspicuous.

And some said, He is a good man; others said, Nay, but He deceives the people.

Methinks the first of these opinions was that of the many, the other that of the rulers and priests. For to slander Him suited their malice and wickedness. He deceives, say they, the people. How, tell me? Was it by seeming to work, not really working miracles? But experience witnesses the contrary.

John 7:13

Howbeit no man spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews.

Do you see everywhere the ruling body corrupted, and the ruled sound indeed in judgment, but not having that proper courage which a multitude especially lacks?

John 7:14

Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up and taught.

By the delay He made them more attentive; for they who had sought Him on the first days and said, Where is He? when they saw Him suddenly present, observe how they drew near, and were like to press upon Him as He was speaking, both those who said that He was a good man, and those who said that He was not such; the former so as to profit by and admire Him, the latter to lay hold on and detain Him. One party then said, He deceives the people, by reason of the teaching and the doctrines, not understanding His meaning; the other on account of the miracles said, He is a good man. He therefore thus came among them when He had slackened their anger, so that they might hear His words at leisure, when passion no longer stopped their ears. What He taught, the Evangelist has not told us; that He taught marvelously, this only he says, and that He won and brought them over. Such was the power of His speech. And they who had said, He deceives the people, altered their opinion, and marveled. Wherefore also they said,

John 7:15

How knows this man letters, having never learned?

Do you observe how the Evangelist shows here also their marveling to be full of wickedness? For he says not, that they admired the teaching, or that they received the words, but simply that they marveled. That is, were thrown into a state of astonishment, and doubted, saying, Whence has this man these things? When they ought from this very difficulty to have known that there was nothing merely human in Him. But because they would not confess this, but stopped at wondering only, hear what He says.

John 7:16

My doctrine is not Mine.

Again He answers to their secret thoughts, referring them to the Father, and so desiring to stop their mouths.

John 7:17

If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself.

What He says is this, Cast out from yourselves the malice and wrath and envy and hatred which has without cause been conceived against Me, then there is nothing to hinder you from knowing that My words are indeed the words of God. For at present these things cast a darkness over you, and destroy the light of right judgment, while if you remove them this shall no longer be your case. Yet He spoke not (plainly) thus, (for so He would have confounded them exceedingly,) but implied it all by saying, He that does His will shall know of the doctrine, whether it is of God, or whether I speak of Myself; that is, whether I speak anything different and strange and contrary to God. For, of Myself is always put with this meaning, that I say nothing except what seems good to Him, but all that the Father wills, I will also.

If any man do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.

What means, If any man do His will? If any man be a lover of the life which is according to virtue, he shall know the power of the sayings. If any man will give heed to the prophecies, to see whether I speak according to them or not.

2. But how is the doctrine His and not His? For He said not, This doctrine is not Mine; but having first said, it is Mine, and having claimed it as His own, He then added, it is not Mine. How then can the same thing be both His and not His? It is His, because He spoke it not as one who had been taught; and it is not His, because it was the doctrine of the Father. How then says He, All that is the Father's is Mine, and Mine His? John 17:10 For if because the doctrine is the Father's, it is not yours, that other assertion is false, for according to that it ought to be yours. But the is not Mine, affords a strong proof that His doctrine and the Father's are one; as if He had said, It has nothing different, as though it were another's. For though My Person be different, yet so do I speak and do as not to be supposed to speak or do anything contrary to the Father, but rather the very same things that the Father says and does. Then He adds another incontrovertible argument, bringing forward something merely human, and instructing them by things to which they were accustomed. And what is that?

John 7:18

He that speaks of himself seeks his own glory.

That is, He that desires to establish any doctrine of his own, desires to do so only that he himself may enjoy the glory. Now if I desire not to enjoy glory, wherefore should I desire to establish any doctrine of My own? He that speaks of himself, that is, who speaks anything peculiar or different from others, speaks on this account, that he may establish his own glory; but if I seek the glory of Him that sent Me, wherefore should I choose to teach other things? Do you see that there was a cause wherefore He said there too that He did nothing of Himself? c. v. 19, and 8:28 What was it? It was that they might believe that He desired not the honor of the many. Therefore when His words are lowly, I seek, He says, the glory of the Father, everywhere desiring to persuade them that He Himself loves not glory. Now there are many reasons for His using lowly words, as that He might not be deemed unbegotten, or opposed to God, His being clothed with flesh, the infirmity of His hearers, that He might teach men to be modest, and to speak no great thing of themselves: while for speaking lofty words one could only find one reason, the greatness of His Nature. And if when He said, Before Abraham was, I am John 8:58, they were offended, what would have been their case if they had continually heard high expressions?

John 7:19

Did not Moses give you the Law? And yet none of you keeps the Law? Why go ye about to kill Me?

And what connection, says some one, has this, or what has this to do with what was said before? The Jews brought against Him two accusations; one, that He broke the Sabbath; the other, that He called God His Father, making Himself equal with God. And that this was no imagination of theirs, but His own declared judgment, and that He spoke not as do the many, but in a special and peculiar sense, is clear from this circumstance. Many often called God their Father; as Have we not all one Father, has not one God created us? Malachi 2:10, but not for that was the people equal to God, on which account the hearers were not offended. As then when the Jews said, This man is not from God, He often healed them, and made defense for the violation of the Sabbath; so now had the sense they assigned to His words been according to their imagination, not according to His intention, He would have corrected them, and said, Why suppose ye Me equal to God? I am not equal; yet He said nothing of the kind, but, on the contrary, declared by what followed, that He is equal. For, As the Father raises up the dead, and quickens them, so also the Son John 5:21; and That all may honor the Son as they honor the Father; and The works which He does, the same does the Son likewise; all these go to establish His equality. Again, concerning the Law He says, Think not that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. Matthew 5:17 Thus He knows how to remove evil suspicions which are in their minds; but in this place He not only does not remove, but even confirms their suspicion of His equality. On which account also, when they said in another place, You make yourself God, He did not remove their suspicion, but even confirmed it, saying, That ye may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins, He says to the sick of the palsy, Take up your bed, and walk. Matthew 9:6 This then He first aimed at, to make Himself equal with God, showing that He was not God's adversary, but that He said the same and taught the same with Him, and afterwards He sets Himself to the breach of the Sabbath, saying, Did not Moses give you the Law, and none of you keeps the Law? As though He had said, The Law says, You shall not kill; but you kill, and yet accuse Me as transgressing the Law. But wherefore says He, None of you? Because they all sought to kill Him. And if, He says, I even have broken the Law, it was in saving a man, but you transgress it for evil. And if My action was even a transgression, yet it was in order to save, and I ought not to be judged by you who transgress in the greatest matters. For your conduct is a subverting of the whole Law. Then also He presses it farther, although He had said many things to them before, but at that former time He spoke after a loftier manner, and more suitably to His own dignity, while now He speaks more humbly. Wherefore? Because He would not continually irritate them. At present their anger had become intense, and they went on to murder. And therefore He continues to check them in these two ways, by reproving their evil daring, and saying, Why go ye about to kill Me? and by modestly calling Himself, A Man that has told you the truth John 8:40, and by showing that murderers in heart are not worthy to judge others. And observe both the humility of Christ's question, and the insolence of their answer.

John 7:20

You have a devil; who goes about to kill you?

3. The expression is one of wrath and anger, and of a soul made shameless by an unexpected reproof, and put to confusion before their time, as they thought. For just as a sort of robbers who sing over their plots, then when they desire to put him against whom they are plotting off his guard, effect their object by keeping silence, so also do these. But He, omitting to rebuke them for this, so as not to make them more shameless, again takes in hand His defense with respect to the Sabbath, reasoning with them from the Law. And observe how prudently. No wonder, He says, if you disobey Me, when you disobey the Law which you think ye obey, and which you hold to have been given you by Moses. It is therefore no new thing, if you give not heed to My words. For because they said, God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow we know not whence he is John 9:29, He shows that they were insulting Moses as well as Himself, for Moses gave them the Law, and they obeyed it not.

John 7:21

I have done one work, and you all marvel.

Observe how He argues, where it is necessary to defend Himself, and make His defense a charge against them. For with respect to that which had been wrought, He introduces not the Person of the Father, but His own: I have done one work. He would show, that not to have done it would have been to break the Law, and that there are many things more authoritative than the Law, and that Moses endured to receive a command against the Law, and more authoritative than the Law. For circumcision is more authoritative than the Sabbath, and yet circumcision is not of the Law, but of the fathers. But I, He says, have done that which is more authoritative and better than circumcision. Then He mentions not the command of the Law; for instance, that the Priests profane the Sabbath, as He had said already, but speaks more largely. The meaning of, You marvel Matthew 12:5 is, You are confused, are troubled. For if the Law was to be lasting, circumcision would not have been more authoritative than it. And He said not, I have done a thing greater than circumcision, but abundantly refutes them by saying,

John 7:23

If a man receive circumcision.

Do you see that the Law is most established when a man breaks it? Do you see that the breaking of the Sabbath is the keeping of the Law? That if the Sabbath were not broken, the Law must needs have been broken? So that I also have established the Law. He said not, You are angry with Me because I have wrought a thing which is greater than circumcision, but having merely mentioned what had been done, He left it to them to judge, whether entire health was not a more necessary thing than circumcision. The Law, He says, is broken, that a man may receive a sign which contributes nothing to health; are you vexed and indignant at its being broken, that one might be freed from so grievous a disease?

John 7:24

Judge not according to appearance.

What is, according to appearance? Do not, since Moses has the greatest honor among you, give your decision according to your estimation of persons, but according to the nature of things; for this is to judge rightly. Wherefore has no one of you reproved Moses? Wherefore has no one disobeyed him when he orders that the Sabbath be broken by a commandment introduced from without into the Law? He allows a commandment to be of more authority than his own Law; a commandment not introduced by the Law, but from without, which is especially wonderful; while you who are not lawgivers are beyond measure jealous for the Law, and defend it. Yet Moses, who orders that the Law be broken by a commandment which is not of the Law, is more worthy of confidence than you. By saying then, (I have made) a whole man (healthy), He shows that circumcision also was partial health. And what was the health procured by circumcision? Every soul, It says, that is not circumcised, shall be utterly destroyed. Genesis 17:14 But I have raised up a man not partially afflicted, but wholly undone. Judge not, therefore, according to appearance.

Be we persuaded that this is said not merely to the men of that time, but to us also, that in nothing we pervert justice, but do all in its behalf; that whether a man be poor or rich, we give no heed to persons, but enquire into things. You shall not pity, It says, the poor in judgment. Exodus 23:3 What is meant? Be not broken down, nor bent, It says, if he that does the wrong be a poor man. Now if you may not favor a poor man, much less a rich. And this I say not only to you who are judges, but to all men, that they nowhere pervert justice, but preserve it everywhere pure. The Lord, It says, loves righteousness; and, he that loves iniquity hates his own soul. Psalm 11:7, Septuagint Let us not, I entreat, hate our own souls, nor love unrighteousness. For certainly its profit in the present world is little or nothing, and for the world to come it brings great damage. Or rather, I should say, that not even here can we enjoy it; for when we live softly, yet with an evil conscience, is not this vengeance and punishment? Let us then love righteousness, and never look aside from that law. For what fruit shall we gain from the present life, if we depart without having attained unto excellence? What there will help us? Will friendship, or relations, or this or that man's favor? What am I saying? This or that man's favor? Though we have Noah, Job, or Daniel for a father, this will avail us nothing if we be betrayed by our own works. One thing alone we need, that is, excellency of soul. This will be able to carry you safe through, and to deliver you from everlasting fire, this will escort you to the Kingdom of Heaven. To which may we all attain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, now and ever and world without end. Amen.

Homily 50 on the Gospel of John

John 7:25–27

Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? But, lo, he speaks boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? Howbeit we know this man whence he is.

1. Nothing is placed in the Holy Scriptures without a reason, for they were uttered by the Holy Ghost, therefore let us enquire exactly into every point. For it is possible from one expression to find out the entire meaning (of a passage), as in the case before us. Many of them of Jerusalem said, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? But, lo, he speaks boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Now why is added, them of Jerusalem? The Evangelist by this shows, that they who had most enjoyed His mighty miracles were more pitiable than any; they who had beheld the greatest proof of His Godhead, and yet committed all to the judgment of their corrupt rulers. For was it not a great proof of it, that men furious and bent on murder, who went about and sought to kill Him, should be quiet of a sudden, when they had Him in their hands? Who could have effected this? Who thus quenched their absolute fury? Still after such proofs, observe the folly and the madness of the men. Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? See how they accuse themselves; whom, It says, they seek to kill, and yet they say nothing to him. And not only do they say nothing to Him, but nothing even when He speaks boldly. For one who spoke boldly and with all freedom would naturally have the more angered them; but they did nothing. Do they know indeed that this is the very Christ? What do you think? What opinion do you give? The contrary, It says. On which account they said, We know this man whence he is. What malice, what contradiction! They do not even follow the opinion of their rulers, but bring forward another, perverse, and worthy of their own folly; We know him whence he is.

But when Christ comes, no man knows whence He is. Matthew 2:4

Yet your rulers when asked replied, that He should be born in Bethlehem. And others again said, God spoke unto Moses, but as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. John 9:29 We know whence he is, and we know not whence He is; observe the words of drunken men. And again, Does Christ come out of Galilee? John 7:41 Is He not of the town of Bethlehem? Do you see that theirs is the decision of madmen? We know, and, we know not; Christ comes from Bethlehem; When Christ comes, no man knows whence He is. What can be plainer than this contradiction? For they only looked to one thing, which was, not to believe. What then is Christ's reply?

John 7:28

You both know Me, and you know whence I am: and I am not come of Myself, but He that sent Me is true, whom you know not.

2. And again, If you had known Me, you should have known My Father also. John 8:19 How then says He, that they both know Him, and whence He is, and then, that they neither know Him, nor the Father? He does not contradict, (away with the thought,) but is very consistent with Himself. For He speaks of a different kind of knowledge, when He says, ye know not; as when He says, The sons of Eli were wicked sons, they knew not the Lord 1 Samuel 2:12; and again, Israel does not know Me. Isaiah 1:3 So also Paul says, They profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him. Titus 1:16 It is therefore possible, knowing, not to know. This then is what He says: If you know Me, you know that I am the Son of God. For the whence I am does not here denote place. As is clear from what follows, I am not come of Myself, but He that sent Me is true, whom you know not, referring here to the ignorance shown by their works. [As Paul says, They profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him.] For their fault came not merely of ignorance, but of wickedness, and an evil will; because even though they knew this, they chose to be ignorant. But what manner of connection is there here? How is it that He, reproving them, uses their own words? For when they say, We know this man whence he is, He adds, ye both know Me. Was their expression, We know him not? Nay, they said, We know him. But (observe), they by saying the, We know whence he is, declared nothing else than that He was of the earth, and that He was the carpenter's son; but He led them up to heaven, saying, You know whence I am, that is, not thence whence ye suppose, but from that place whence He that sent Me (has sent Me). For to say, I am not come of Myself, intimates to them, that they knew that He was sent by the Father, though they did not disclose it. So that He rebukes them in a twofold manner; first, what they said in secret He published aloud, so as to put them to shame; after that He revealed also what was in their hearts. As though He had said, I am not one of the abjects, nor of those who come for nothing, but He "that sent Me is true, whom you know not.» What means, He that sent Me is true? If He be true, He has sent Me for the truth; if He be true, it is probable that He who is sent is true also. This also He proves in another way, vanquishing them with their own words. For whereas they had said, When Christ comes, no man knows whence He is, He proves from this that He Himself is the Christ. They used the words, No man knows, with reference to distinction of some definite locality; but from the same words He shows Himself to be the Christ, because He came from the Father; and everywhere He witnesses that He alone has the knowledge of the Father, saying, Not that any man has seen the Father, save He which is from the Father. John 6:46 And His words exasperated them; for to tell them, You know Him not, and to rebuke them because knowing they pretended to be ignorant, was sufficient to sting and annoy them.

John 7:30

Then they sought to take Him, and no man laid his hand upon Him, because His hour was not yet come.

Do you see that they are invisibly restrained, and their anger bridled? But wherefore says It not, that He had restrained them invisibly, but, Because His hour was not yet come? The Evangelist was minded to speak more humanly and in a lowlier strain, so that Christ might be deemed to be also Man. For because Christ everywhere speaks of sublime matters, he therefore intersperses expressions of this kind. And when Christ says, I am from Him, He speaks not as a Prophet who learns, but as seeing Him, and being with Him.

John 7:29

I know Him, for I am from Him, and He has sent Me.

Do you see how He continually seeks to prove the, I am not come of Myself, and, He that sent Me is true, striving not to be thought an enemy of God? And observe how great is the profit of the humility of His words; for, it says, after this many said,

John 7:31

When Christ comes, will He do more miracles than these which this man has done?

How many were the miracles? In truth, there were three, that of the wine, that of the paralytic, and that of the nobleman's son; and the Evangelist has related no more. From which circumstance it is plain, as I have often said, that the writers pass by most of them, and discourse to us of those alone on account of which the rulers ill-treated Him. Then they sought to take Him, and kill Him. Who sought? Not the multitude, who had no desire of rule, nor could be made captives by malice; but the priests. For they of the multitude said, When Christ comes, will He do more miracles? Yet neither was this sound faith, but, as it were, the idea of a promiscuous crowd; for to say, When He comes, was not the expression of men firmly persuaded that He was the Christ. We may either understand the words thus, or that they were uttered by the multitudes when they came together. Since, they may have said, our rulers are taking every pains to prove that this man is not the Christ, let us suppose that he is not the Christ; will the Christ be better than he? For, as I ever repeat, men of the grosser sort are led in not by doctrine, nor by preaching, but by miracles.

John 7:32

The Pharisees heard the people murmuring, and sent servants to take Him.

Do you see that the violation of the Sabbath was a mere pretense? And that what most stung them was this murmuring? For here, though they had no fault to find with Him for anything said or done, they desired to take Him because of the multitude. They dared not do it themselves, suspecting danger, but sent their hired servants. Alas! For their tyranny and their madness, or rather, I should say, for their folly. After having often attempted themselves, and not prevailed, they committed the matter to servants, simply satisfying their anger. Yet He had spoken much at the pool John 5, and they had done nothing of the kind; they sought indeed occasion, but they attempted not, while here they can endure it no longer, when the multitude is about to run to Him. What then says Christ?

John 7:33

Yet a little while am I with you.

Having power to bow and terrify His hearers, He utters words full of humility. As though He had said, Why are you eager to persecute and kill Me? Wait a little while, and even though you should be eager to keep Me back, I shall not endure it. That no one should (as they did) suppose that the, Yet a little while am I with you, denoted a common death, that no one might suppose this, or that He wrought nothing after death, He added,

John 7:34

And where I am, there ye cannot come.

Now had He been about to continue in death, they might have gone to Him, for to that place we all depart. His words therefore bent the simpler portion of the multitude, terrified the bolder, made the more intelligent anxious to hear Him, since but little time was now left, and since it was not in their power always to enjoy this teaching. Nor did He merely say, I am here, but, I am with you, that is, Though you persecute, though ye drive Me away, yet for a little while I shall not cease dispensing what is for your good, saying and recommending the things that relate to your salvation.

John 7:33

And I go unto Him that sent Me.

This was enough to terrify and throw them into an agony. For that they should stand in need of Him, He declares also . . .

John 7:34

You shall seek Me, He says, (not only you shall not forget Me, but you shall even seek Me,) and shall not find Me.

3. And when did the Jews seek Him? Luke says that the women mourned over Him, and it is probable that many others, both at the time and when the city was taken, remembered Christ and His miracles, and sought His presence. Luke 23:49 Now all this He added, desiring to attract them. For the facts that the time left was short, that He should after His departure be regretfully desired by them, and that they should not then be able to find Him, were all together sufficient to persuade them to come to Him. For had it not been that His presence should with regret be desired by them, He would not have seemed to them to be saying any great thing; if, again, it was about to be desired, and they able to find Him, neither so would this have disturbed them. Again, had He been about to stay with them a long time, so also they would have been remiss. But now He in every way compels and terrifies them. And the, I go to Him that sent Me, is the expression of one declaring that no harm will happen to Him from their plotting, and that His Passion was voluntary. Wherefore now He uttered two predictions, that after a little while He should depart, and that they should not come to Him; a thing which belonged not to human intelligence, the foretelling His own death. Hear for instance, David saying, Lord, make me to know mine end and the number of my days, what it is, that I may know what time I have. Psalm 39:4 There is no man at all that knows this; and by one the other is confirmed. And I think that He speaks this covertly to the servants, and directs His discourse to them, thus specially attracting them, by showing them that He knew the cause of their arrival. As though He had said, Wait a little, and I shall depart.

John 7:35

Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go?

Yet they who had wished to be rid of Him, who did all in their power not to see Him, ought not to have asked this question, but to have said, we are glad of it, when will the departure take place? but they were somewhat affected at His words, and with foolish suspicion question one another, whither will he go?

Will he go unto the dispersion of the Gentiles?

What is, the dispersion of the Gentiles? The Jews gave this name to other nations, because they were everywhere scattered and mingled fearlessly with one another. And this reproach they themselves afterwards endured, for they too were a dispersion. For of old all their nation was collected into one place, and you could not anywhere find a Jew, except in Palestine only; wherefore they called the Gentiles a dispersion, reproaching them, and boasting concerning themselves. What then means, Whither I go ye cannot come? For all nations at that time had intercourse with them, and there were Jews everywhere. He would not therefore, if He had meant the Gentiles, have said, Where ye cannot come. After saying, Will he go to the dispersion of the Gentiles? they did not add, and ruin, but, and teach them. To such a degree had they abated their anger, and believed His words; for they would not, had they not believed, have enquired among themselves what the saying was.

These words were spoken indeed to the Jews, but fear there is lest they be suited to us also, that where He is we cannot come on account of our life being full of sins. For concerning the disciples He says, I will that they also be with Me where I am John 17:24, but concerning ourselves, I dread lest the contrary be said, that, Where I am, you cannot come. For when we act contrary to the commandments, how can we go to that place? Even in the present life, if any soldier act unworthily towards his king, he will not be able to see the king, but being deprived of his authority will suffer the severest punishment; if therefore we steal, or covet, if we wrong or strike others, if we work not deeds of mercy, we shall not be able to go there, but shall suffer what happened to the virgins. For where He was, they were not able to enter in, but retired, their lamps having gone out, that is, grace having left them. For we can, if we will, increase the brightness of that flame which we received straightway by the grace of the Spirit; but if we will not do this, we shall lose it, and when that is quenched, there will be nothing else than darkness in our souls; since, as while a lamp is burning the light is strong, so when it is extinguished there is nothing but gloom. Wherefore the Apostle says, Quench not the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 And It is quenched when It has not oil, when there is any violent gust of wind, when It is cramped and confined, (for so fire is quenched,) and It is cramped by worldly cares, and quenched by evil desires. In addition to the causes we have mentioned, nothing quenches It so much as inhumanity, cruelty, and rapine. For when, besides having no oil, we pour upon it cold water, (for covetousness is this, which chills with despondency the souls of those we wrong,) whence shall it be kindled again? We shall depart, therefore, carrying dust and ashes with us, and having much smoke to convict us of having had lamps and of having extinguished them; for where there is smoke, there needs must have been fire which has been quenched. May none of us ever hear that word, I know you not. Matthew 25:12 And whence shall we hear that word, but from this, if ever we see a poor man, and are as though we saw him not? If we will not know Christ when He is an hungered, He too will not know us when we entreat His mercy. And with justice; for how shall he who neglects the afflicted, and gives not of that which is his own, how shall he seek to receive of that which is not his own? Wherefore, I entreat you, let us do and contrive everything, so that oil fail not us, but that we may trim our lamps, and enter with the Bridegroom into the bride-chamber. To which may we all attain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, now and ever and world without end. Amen.

Homily 51 on the Gospel of John

John 7:37–38

In the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

1. They who come to the divine preaching and give heed to the faith, must manifest the desire of thirsty men for water, and kindle in themselves a similar longing; so will they be able also very carefully to retain what is said. For as thirsty men, when they have taken a bowl, eagerly drain it and then desist, so too they who hear the divine oracles if they receive them thirsting, will never be weary until they have drunk them up. For to show that men ought ever to thirst and hunger, Blessed, It says, are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness Matthew 5:6; and here Christ says, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. What He says is of this kind, I draw no man to Me by necessity and constraint; but if any has great zeal, if any is inflamed with desire, him I call.

But why has the Evangelist remarked that it was on the last day, that great day? For both the first day and the last were great, while the intermediate days they spent rather in enjoyment. Wherefore then says he, in the last day? Because on that day they were all collected together. For on the first day He came not, and told the reason to His brethren, nor yet on the second and third days says He anything of this kind, lest His words should come to nought, the hearers being about to run into indulgence. But on the last day when they were returning home He gives them supplies for their salvation, and cries aloud, partly by this showing to us His boldness, and partly for the greatness of the multitude. And to show that He spoke not of material drink, He adds, He that believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. By belly he here means the heart, as also in another place It says, And Your Law in the midst of my belly. Psalm 40:10; Theodotion But where has the Scripture said, that rivers of living water shall flow from his belly? Nowhere. What then means, He that believes in Me, as the Scripture says? Here we must place a stop, so that the, rivers shall flow from his belly, may be an assertion of Christ. For because many said, This is the Christ; and, When the Christ comes will He do more miracles? He shows that it behooves to have a correct knowledge, and to be convinced not so much from the miracles as from the Scriptures. Many, in fact, who even saw Him working marvels received Him not as Christ, and were ready to say, Do not the Scriptures say that Christ comes of the seed of David? and on this they continually dwelt. He then, desiring to show that He did not shun the proof from the Scriptures, again referrs them to the Scriptures. He had said before, Search the Scriptures John 5:39; and again, It is written in the Prophets, And they shall be taught of God John 6:45; and, Moses accuses you John 5:45; and here, As the Scripture has said, rivers shall flow from his belly, alluding to the largeness and abundance of grace. As in another place He says, A well of water springing up unto eternal life John 4:14, that is to say, he shall possess much grace; and elsewhere He calls it, eternal life, but here, living water. He calls that living which ever works; for the grace of the Spirit, when it has entered into the mind and has been established, springs up more than any fountain, fails not, becomes not empty, stays not. To signify therefore at once its unfailing supply and unlimited operation, He has called it a well and rivers, not one river but numberless; and in the former case He has represented its abundance by the expression, springing. And one may clearly perceive what is meant, if he will consider the wisdom of Stephen, the tongue of Peter, the vehemence of Paul, how nothing bare, nothing withstood them, not the anger of multitudes, not the risings up of tyrants, not the plots of devils, not daily deaths, but as rivers borne along with a great rushing sound, so they went on their way hurrying all things with them.

John 7:39

But this spoke He of the Spirit, which they that believe in Him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given.

2. How then did the Prophets prophesy and work those ten thousand wonders? For the Apostles cast not out devils by the Spirit, but by power received from Him; as He says Himself, If I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Matthew 12:27 And this He said, signifying that before the Crucifixion not all cast out devils by the Spirit, but that some did so by the power received from Him. So when He was about to send them, He said, Receive the Holy Ghost John 20:22; and again, The Holy Ghost came upon them Acts 19:6, and then they wrought miracles. But when He was sending them, the Scripture said not, that He gave to them the Holy Ghost, but that He gave to them power, saying, Cleanse the lepers, cast out devils, raise the dead, freely you have received, freely give. Matthew 10:1–8 But in the case of the Prophets, all allow that the Gift was that of the Holy Spirit. But this Grace was stinted and departed and failed from off the earth, from the day in which it was said, Your house is left unto you desolate Matthew 23:38; and even before that day its dearth had begun, for there was no longer any prophet among them, nor did Grace visit their holy things. Since then the Holy Ghost had been withheld, but was for the future to be shed forth abundantly, and since the beginning of this imparting was after the Crucifixion, not only as to its abundance, but also as to the increased greatness of the gifts, (for the Gift was more marvelous, as when It says, You know not what Spirit you are of Luke 9:55; and again, For you have not received the Spirit of bondage, but the Spirit of adoption Romans 8:15; and the men of old possessed the Spirit themselves, but imparted It not to others, while the Apostles filled tens of thousands with It,) since then, I say, they were to receive this Gift, but It was not yet given, for this cause he adds, The Holy Ghost was not yet. Since then the Lord spoke of this grace, the Evangelist has said, For the Holy Ghost was not yet, that is, was not yet given,

Because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Calling the Cross, glory. For since we were enemies, and had sinned, and fallen short of the gift of God, and were haters of God, and since grace was a proof of our reconciliation, and since a gift is not given to those who are hated, but to friends and those who have been well-pleasing; it was therefore necessary that the Sacrifice should first be offered for us, that the enmity (against God) which was in our flesh should be done away, that we should become friends of God, and so receive the Gift. For if this was done with respect to the promise made to Abraham, much more with respect to grace. And this Paul has declared, saying, If they which are of the Law be heirs, faith is made void – because the Law works wrath. Romans 4:14–15 What he says, is of this kind: God promised that He would give the earth to Abraham and to his seed: but his descendants were unworthy of the promise, and of their own deeds could not be well-pleasing unto God. On this account came in faith, an easy action, that it might draw grace unto it, and that the promise might not fail. And It says,

Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace, to the end the promise might be sure. Romans 4:16 Wherefore it is by grace, since by their own labors they prevailed not.

But wherefore after saying, according to the Scriptures, did He not add the testimony? Because their mind was corrupt; for,

John 7:40–42

Some said, This is the Prophet. Others said, He deceives the people; others said, Christ comes not from Galilee, but from the village of Bethlehem.

Others said, When Christ comes, no man knows whence He is John 7:27; and there was a difference of opinion, as might be expected in a confused multitude; for not attentively did they listen to His words, nor for the sake of learning. Wherefore He makes them no answer; yet they said, Does Christ come out of Galilee? And He had praised, as being an Israelite indeed, Nathanael, who had said in a more forcible and striking manner, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? John 1:46 But then these men, and they who said to Nicodemus, Search and look, for out of Galilee arises no prophet John 7:52, said it not seeking to learn, but merely to overturn the opinion concerning Christ. Nathanael said this, being a lover of the truth, and knowing exactly all the ancient histories; but they looked only to one thing, and that was to remove the opinion that He was the Christ, on which account He revealed nothing to them. For they who even contradicted themselves, and said at one time, No man knows whence He comes, at another, From Bethlehem, would manifestly even if they had been informed have opposed Him. For be it that they knew not the place of His birth, that He was from Bethlehem, because of His dwelling in Nazareth, (yet this cannot be allowed, for He was not born there,) were they ignorant of His race also, that He was of the house and lineage of David? How then said they, Does not Christ come of the seed of David? John 7:42 Because they wished to conceal even this fact by that question, saying all that they said with malicious intent. Why did they not come to Him and say, Since we admire you in other respects, and you bid us believe you according to the Scriptures, tell us how it is that the Scriptures say that Christ must come from Bethlehem, when you have come from Galilee? But they said nothing of the kind, but all in malice. And to show that they spoke not enquiringly, nor as desiring to learn, the Evangelist straightway has added, that,

John 7:44

Some of them would have taken Him, but no man laid his hand upon Him.

This, if nothing else, might have been sufficient to cause compunction in them, but they felt it not, as the Prophet says, They were cleft asunder, and were not pricked in heart. Psalm 35:15, Septuagint

3. Such a thing is malice! It will give way to nothing, it looks to one thing only, and that is, to destroy the person against whom it plots. But what says the Scripture? Whoever digs a pit for his neighbor, shall fall into it himself. Proverbs 26:27 Which was the case then. For they desired to kill Him, to stop, as they thought, His preaching; the result was the opposite. For the preaching flourishes by the grace of Christ, while all that was theirs is quenched and perished; they have lost their country, their freedom, their security, their worship, they have been deprived of all their prosperity, and have become slaves and captives.

Knowing then this, let us never plot against others, aware that by so doing we whet the sword against ourselves, and inflict upon ourselves the deeper wound. Hath any one grieved you, and desires thou to avenge yourself on him? Avenge not yourself; so shall you be able to be avenged; but if you avenge yourself, you are not avenged. Think not that this is a riddle, but a true saying. How, and in what way? Because if you avenge not yourself on him, you make God his enemy; but if you avenge yourself, no longer so. Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord. Romans 12:19 For if we have servants, and they having quarreled with each other, do not give place to us for judgment and for punishment, but take it upon themselves; though they come to us ten thousand times, we not only shall not avenge them, but shall even be angry with them, saying, Thou runaway, you flogging-post, you ought to have submitted all to us, but since you have prevented us and avenged yourself, trouble us no farther; much more shall God, who has bidden us commit all unto Him, say this. For how can it be otherwise than absurd, when we demand from our servants so much minding of wisdom and obedience, but will not yield to our Master in those matters in which we desire our domestics to yield to us? This I say because of your readiness to inflict punishment one upon another. The truly wise man ought not to do this even, but to pardon and forgive offenses, though there were not that great reward proposed, the receiving in return forgiveness. For, tell me, if you condemn one who has sinned, wherefore do you sin yourself, and fall into the same fault? Hath he insulted? Insult not thou again, or you have insulted yourself. Hath he struck? Strike not thou again, for then there is no difference between you. Hath he vexed you? Vex him not again, for the profit is nothing, and you will in your turn be placed on an equality with those who have wronged you. Thus, if you bear with meekness and gentleness, you shall be able to reprove your enemy, to shame him, to weary him of being angry. No man cures evil with evil, but evil with good. These rules of wisdom give some of the heathen; now if there be such wisdom among the foolish heathen, let us be ashamed to show ourselves inferior to them. Many of them have been injured, and have borne it; many have been maliciously accused, and not defended themselves; have been plotted against, and have repaid by benefits. And there is no small fear lest some of them be found in their lives to be greater than we, and so render our punishment severer. For when we who have partaken of the Spirit, we who look for the Kingdom, who follow wisdom for the sake of heavenly things, who fear (not) hell, and are bidden to become angels, who enjoy the Mysteries; when we reach not to the virtue unto which they have attained, what pardon shall we have? If we must go beyond the Jews, (for, Unless your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven Matthew 5:20) much more the heathen; if the Pharisees, much more the unbelievers. Since if when we go not beyond the righteousness of the Jews, the Kingdom is shut against us, how shall we be able to attain unto it when we prove ourselves worse than the heathen? Let us then cast out all bitterness, and wrath, and anger. To speak the same things, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe, Philippians 3:1 For physicians also often use the same remedy, and we will not cease from sounding the same things in your ears, reminding, teaching, exhorting, for great is the tumult of worldly things, and it causes in us forgetfulness, and we have need of continual teaching. Let us then, in order that we meet not together in this place uselessly and in vain, exhibit the proof which is by works, that so we may obtain the good things to come, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, now and ever and world without end. Amen.

Homily 52 on the Gospel of John

John 7:45–46

Then came the officers to the Chief Priests and Pharisees; and they said to them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spoke like this Man.

1. There is nothing clearer, nothing simpler than the truth, if we deal not perversely; just as (on the other hand) if we deal perversely, nothing is more difficult. For behold, the Scribes and Pharisees, who seemed forsooth to be wiser than other men, being ever with Christ for the sake of plotting against Him, and beholding His miracles, and reading the Scriptures, were nothing profited, but were even harmed; while the officers, who could not claim one of these privileges, were subdued by one single sermon, and they who had gone forth to bind Him, came back bound themselves by wonder. We must not only marvel at their understanding, that they needed not signs, but were taken by the teaching alone; (for they said not, Never man wrought miracles thus, but, Never man spoke thus;) we must not, I say, merely marvel at their understanding, but also at their boldness, that they spoke thus to those that had sent them, to the Pharisees, to His enemies, to men who were doing all with a view to gratify their enmity. The officers, says the Evangelist, came, and the Pharisees said to them, Why have ye not brought him? To come was a far greater deed than to have remained, for in the latter case they would have been rid of the annoyance of these men, but now they become heralds of the wisdom of Christ, and manifested their boldness in greater degree. And they say not, We could not become of the multitude, for they gave heed unto Him as unto a prophet; but what? Never man spoke as this Man. Yet they might have alleged that, but they show their right feeling. For theirs was the saying not only of men admiring Him, but blaming their masters, because they had sent them to bind Him whom it behooved rather to hear. Yet they had not heard a sermon either, but a short one; for when the long mind is impartial, there is no need of long arguments. Such a thing is truth. What then say the Pharisees? When they ought to have been pricked at the heart, they, on the contrary, retort a charge on the officers, saying,

John 7:47

Are ye also deceived?

They still speak them fair, and do not express themselves harshly, dreading lest the others should entirely separate themselves, yet nevertheless they give signs of anger, and speak sparingly. For when they ought to have asked what He spoke, and to have marveled at the words, they do not so, (knowing that they might have been captivated,) but reason with them from a very foolish argument;

John 7:48

Wherefore, has none of the rulers believed on Him?

Do you then make this a charge against Christ, tell me, and not against the unbelievers?

John 7:49

But the people, which knows not the Law, are accursed.

Then is the charge against you the heavier, because the people believed, and you believed not. They acted like men that knew the Law; how then are they accursed? It is ye that are accursed, who keep not the Law, not they, who obey the Law. Neither was it right, on the evidence of unbelievers, to slander one in whom they believed not, for this is an unjust mode of acting. For you also believed not God, as Paul says; What if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God of none effect? God forbid. Romans 3:3–4 For the Prophets ever rebuked them, saying, Hear, you rulers of Sodom; and, Your rulers are disobedient Isaiah 1:10, 23; and again, Is it not for you to know judgment? Micah 3:1 And everywhere they attack them vehemently. What then? Shall one blame God for this? Away with the thought. This blame is theirs. And what other proof can a man bring of your not knowing the Law than your not obeying it? For when they had said, Hath any of the rulers believed on him? and, These who know not the Law, Nicodemus in fair consequence upbraids them, saying,

John 7:51

Does our law judge any man before it hear him?

He shows that they neither know the Law, nor do the Law; for if that Law commands to kill no man without first hearing him, and they before hearing were eager for this deed, they were transgressors of the Law. And because they said, None of the rulers has believed on him John 7:50, therefore the Evangelist informs us that Nicodemus was one of them, to show that even rulers believed on Him; for although they showed not yet fitting boldness, still they were becoming attached to Christ. Observe how cautiously he rebukes them; he said not, You desire to kill him, and condemn the man for a deceiver without proof; but spoke in a milder way, hindering their excessive violence, and their inconsiderate and murderous disposition. Wherefore he turns his discourse to the Law, saying, Except it hear him carefully, and know what he does. So that not a bare hearing, but careful hearing is required. For the meaning of, know what he does, is, what he intends, on what account, for what purpose, whether for the subversion of the order of things and as an enemy. Being therefore perplexed, because they had said, None of the rulers has believed on him, they addressed him, neither vehemently, nor yet with forbearance. For tell me, after he had said, The Law judges no man, how does it follow that they should say,

John 7:52

Are you also of Galilee?

2. When they ought to have shown that they had not sent to summon Him without judgment, or that it was not fitting to allow Him speech, they take the reply rather in a rough and angry manner.

Search, and look: for out of Galilee has arisen no prophet.

Why, what had the man said? That Christ was a prophet? No; he said, that He ought not to be slain unjudged; but they replied insolently, and as to one who knew nothing of the Scriptures; as though one had said, Go, learn, for this is the meaning of, Search, and look. What then did Christ? Since they were continually dwelling upon Galilee and The Prophet, to free all men from this erroneous suspicion, and to show that He was not one of the prophets, but the Master of the world, He said,

John 8:12

I am the light of the world.

Not of Galilee, not of Palestine, nor of Judæa. What then say the Jews?

John 8:13

You bear record of yourself, your record is not true.

Alas! For their folly, He continually referred them to the Scriptures, and now they say, You bear record of yourself. What was the record He bare? I am the light of the world. A great thing to say, great of a truth, but it did not greatly amaze them, because He did not now make Himself equal to the Father, nor assert that He was His Son, nor that He was God, but for a while calls Himself a light. They indeed desired to disprove this also, and yet this was a much greater thing than to say,

He that follows Me, shall not walk in darkness.

Using the words light and darkness in a spiritual sense, and meaning thereby abides not in error. In this place He draws on Nicodemus, and brings him in as having spoken very boldly, and praises the servants who had also done so. For to cry aloud, is the act of one desirous to cause that they also should hear. At the same time He hints at these who were secretly contriving treacheries, being both in darkness and error, but that they should not prevail over the light. And He reminds Nicodemus of the words which He had uttered before, Every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. John 3:20 For since they had asserted that none of the rulers had believed on Him, therefore He says, that he that does evil comes not to the light, to show that their not having come proceeds not from the weakness of the light, but from their own perverse will.

They answered and said to Him, Do you bear witness to yourself?

What then says He?

John 8:14

Though I bear record of Myself, My record is true; for I know whence I come, and whither I go; but you cannot tell whence I come.

What He had before said, these men bring forward as if it had been specially asserted. What then does Christ? To refute this, and to show that He used those expressions as suitable to them and to their suspicions, who supposed Him to be a mere man, He says, Though I bear record of Myself, My record is true, for I know whence I come. What is this? I am of God, am God, the Son of God, and God Himself is a faithful witness unto Himself, but you know Him not; ye willingly err, knowing ye pretend not to know, but say all that you say according to mere human imagination, choosing to understand nothing beyond what is seen.

John 8:15

You judge after the flesh.

As to live after the flesh is to live badly, so to judge after the flesh is to judge unjustly. But I judge no man.

John 8:16

And yet if I judge, My judgment is true.

What He says, is of this kind; You judge unjustly. And if, says some one, we judge unjustly, why dost Thou not rebuke us? Why dost Thou not punish us? Why dost Thou not condemn us? Because, He says, I came not for this. This is the meaning of, I judge no man; yet if I judge, My judgment is true. For had I been willing to judge, you would have been among the condemned. And this I say, not judging you. Yet neither do I tell you that I say it, not judging you, as though I were not confident that had I judged you, I should have convicted you; since if I had judged you, I must justly have condemned you. But now the time of judgment is not yet. He alluded also to the judgment to come, saying,

I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent Me.

Here He hinted, that not He alone condemns them, but the Father also. Then He concealed this, by leading them to His own testimony.

John 8:17

It is written in your Law, that the testimony of two men is true.

3. What would the heretics say here? (They would say,) How is he better than man, if we take what he has said simply? For this rule is laid down in the case of men, because no man by himself is trustworthy. But in the case of God, how can one endure such a mode of speaking? How then is the word "two» used? Is it because they are two, or because being men they are therefore two? If it is because they are two, why did he not betake himself to John, and say, I bear witness of myself, and John bears witness of me? Wherefore not to the angels? Wherefore not to the prophets? For he might have found ten thousand other testimonies. But he desires to show not this only that there are Two, but also that they are of the same Substance.

John 8:19

Then said they unto Him, Who is your father? Jesus answered, You neither know Me, nor My Father.

Because while they knew they spoke as though they knew not, and as if trying Him, He does not even deem them worthy of an answer. Wherefore henceforth He speaks all more clearly and more boldly; drawing His testimony from signs, and from His teaching of them that followed Him, and by the Cross being near. For, I know, He says, whence I come. This would not greatly affect them, but the adding, and whither I go, would rather terrify them, since He was not to remain in death. But why said He not, I know that I am God, instead of, I know whence I come? He ever mingles lowly words with sublime, and even these He veils. For after saying, I bear witness of Myself, and proving this, He descends to a humbler strain. As though He had said, I know from whom I am sent, and to whom I depart. For so they could have had nothing to say against it, when they heard that He was sent from Him, and would depart to Him. I could not have spoken, He says, any falsehood, I who have come from thence, and depart there, to the true God. But ye know not God, and therefore judge according to the flesh. For if having heard so many sure signs and proofs ye still say, "your witness is not true,» if you deem Moses worthy of credit, both as to what he speaks concerning others and what he speaks concerning himself, but Christ not so, this is to judge according to the flesh. But I judge no man. He says indeed also that the Father judges no man. John 5:22 How then does He here declare, that, If I judge, My judgment is just, for I am not alone? He again speaks in reply to their thoughts. The judgment which is Mine is the judgment of the Father. The Father, judging, would not judge otherwise than as I do, and I should not judge otherwise than as the Father. Wherefore did He mention the Father? Because they would not have thought that the Son was to be believed unless He received the witness of the Father. Besides, the saying does not even hold good. For in the case of men when two bear witness in a matter pertaining to another, then their witness is true, (this is for two to witness,) but if one should witness for himself, then they are no longer two. Do you see that He said this for nothing else but to show that He was of the same Substance, that He needed no other witness, and was in nothing inferior to the Father? Observe at least His independence ;

John 8:18

I am One that bear witness of Myself; and the Father that sent Me bears witness of Me.

Had He been of inferior substance, He would not have put this. But now that you may not deem that the Father is included, to make up the number (of two), observe that His power has nothing different (from the Father's). A man bears witness when he is trustworthy of himself, not when he himself needs testimony, and that too in a matter pertaining to another; but in a matter of his own, where he needs the witness of another, he is not trustworthy. But in this case it is all contrary. For He though bearing witness in a matter of His own, and saying that witness is borne to Him by another, asserts that He is trustworthy, in every way manifesting His independence. For why, when He had said, I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent Me, and, The testimony of two men is true, did He not hold His peace, instead of adding, I am One that bear witness of Myself? It was evidently to show His independence. And He places Himself first; I am One that bear witness of Myself. Here He shows His equality of honor, and that they were profited nothing by saying that they knew God the Father, while they knew not Him. And He says that the cause of this (ignorance) was that they were not willing to know Him. Therefore He tells them that it was not possible to know the Father without knowing Him, that even so He might draw them to the knowledge of Him. For since leaving Him they even sought to get the knowledge of the Father, He says, You cannot know the Father without Me. John 8:19 So that they who blaspheme the Son, blaspheme not the Son only, but Him that begot Him also.

4. This let us avoid, and glorify the Son. Had He not been of the same Nature, He would not have spoken thus. For had He merely taught, but been of different Substance, a man might not have known Him, and yet have known the Father; and again, it would not have been that one who knew Him, would have altogether known the Father; for neither does one who knows a man know an Angel. Yes, replies some one, he that knows the creation, knows God. By no means. Many, or rather I should say, all men know the creation, (for they see it,) but they know not God. Let us then glorify the Son of God, not with this glory (of words) only, but that also which is by works. For the first without the last is nothing. Behold, says St. Paul, you are called a Jew, and restest in the Law, and makest your boast of God – thou therefore that teachest another, teachest class="greek">judgest. «}--> thou not yourself? Thou that makest your boast of the Law, through breaking of the Law do you dishonor God? Romans 2:17–23 Beware lest we also who make boast of the rightness of our faith dishonor God by not manifesting a life agreeable to the faith, causing Him to be blasphemed. For He would have the Christian to be the teacher of the world, its leaven, its salt, its light. And what is that light? It is a life which shines, and has in it no dark thing. Light is not useful to itself, nor leaven, nor salt, but shows its usefulness towards others, and so we are required to do good, not to ourselves only, but to others. For salt, if it salt not, is not salt. Moreover another thing is evident, that if we be righteous, others shall certainly be so also; but as long as we are not righteous, we shall not be able to assist others. Let there be nothing foolish or silly among us; such are worldly matters, such are the cares of this life. Wherefore the virgins were called foolish, because they were busy about foolish, worldly matters, gathering things together here, but laying not up treasure where they ought. Fear there is lest this be our case, fear lest we too depart clothed with filthy garments, to that place where all have them bright and shining. For nothing is more filthy, nothing more impure, than sin. Wherefore the Prophet declaring its nature cried out, My wounds stink, and are corrupt. Psalm 38:5 And if you will fully learn how ill-savored sin is, consider it after it has been done; when you are delivered from the desire, when the fire no longer troubles you, then shall you see what sin is. Consider anger, when you are calm; consider avarice, when thou dost not feel it. There is nothing more shameful, nothing more accursed, than rapine and avarice. This we continually say, desiring not to vex you, but to gain some great and wonderful advantage. For he who has not acted rightly after hearing once, may perhaps do so after hearing a second time; and he who has passed by the second time, may do right after the third. God grant that we, being delivered from all evil things, may have the sweet savor of Christ; for to Him, with the Father and the Holy Ghost is glory, now and ever and world without end. Amen.

Homily 53 on the Gospel of John

John 8:20

These words spoke Jesus in the treasury, as He taught in the Temple; and no man laid hands on Him, for His hour was not yet come.

1. Oh the folly of the Jews! seeking Him as they did before the Passover, and then having found Him in the midst of them, and having often attempted to take Him by their own or by others» hands without being able; they were not even so awed by His power, but set themselves to their wickedness, and desisted not. For it says, that they continually made the attempt; These words spoke He in the treasury, teaching in the Temple; and no man laid hands on Him. He spoke in the Temple, and in the character of teacher, which was more adapted to rouse them, and He spoke those things because of which they were stung, and charged Him with making Himself equal to the Father. For the witness of two men is true, proves this. Yet still He spoke these words, It says, in the Temple, in the character of teacher, and no man laid hands on Him, for His hour was not yet come; that is, it was not yet the fitting time at which He would be crucified. So that even then the deed done was not of their power, but of His dispensation, for they had long desired, but had not been able, nor would they even then have been able, except He had consented.

John 8:21

Then said Jesus unto them, I go My way, and you shall seek Me.

Why says He this continually? To shame and terrify their souls; for observe what fear this saying caused in them. Although they desired to kill Him that they might be rid of Him, they yet ask, whither He goes, such great things did they imagine from the matter. He desired also to show them another thing, that the deed would not be effected through their force; but He showed it to them in a figure beforehand, and already foretold the Resurrection by these words.

John 8:22

Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself?

What then does Christ? To remove their suspicion, and to show that such an act is sin, He says,

John 8:23

You are from beneath.

What He says, is of this kind: It is no wonder that you imagine such things, you who are carnal men, and have no spiritual thoughts, but I shall not do anything of the kind, for,

I am from above; you are of the world.

Here again He speaks of their worldly and carnal imaginations, whence it is clear that the, I am not of this world, does not mean that He had not taken upon Him flesh, but that He was far removed from their wickedness. For He even says, that His disciples were not of the world John 15:19, yet they had flesh. As then Paul, when he says, You are not in the flesh Romans 8:9, does not mean that they are incorporeal, so Christ when He says, that His disciples are not of the world, does nothing else than testify to their heavenly wisdom.

John 8:24

I said therefore unto you that...if you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sins.

For if He came to take away the sin of the world, and if it is impossible for men to put that off in any other way except by the washing, it needs must be that he that believes not must depart hence, having the old man; since he that will not by faith slay and bury that old man, shall die in him, and shall go away to that place to suffer the punishment of His former sins. Wherefore He said, He that believes not is judged already John 3:18; not merely through his not believing, but because he de parts parts hence having his former sins upon him.

John 8:25

Then said they unto Him, Who are you?

Oh folly! After so long a time, such signs and teaching, they ask, Who are you? What then says Christ?

The same that I told you from the beginning.

What He says, is of this kind; You are not worthy to hear My words at all, much less to learn who I am, for you say all that you do, tempting Me, and giving heed to none of My sayings. And all this I could now prove against you. For this is the sense of,

John 8:26

I have many things to say and to judge of you.

I could not only prove you guilty, but also punish you; but He that sent Me, that is, the Father, wills not this. For I have come not to judge the world, but to save the world, since God sent not His Son to judge the world, He says, but to save the world. John 3:17 If now He has sent Me for this, and He is true, with good cause I judge no one now. But these things I speak that are for your salvation, not what are for your condemnation. He speaks thus, lest they should deem that it was through weakness that on hearing so much from them He went not to extremities, or that He knew not their secret thoughts and scoffings.

John 8:27

They understood not that He spoke to them of the Father.

Oh folly! He ceased not to speak concerning Him, and they knew Him not. Then when after working many signs, and teaching them, He drew them not to Himself, He next speaks to them of the Cross, saying,

John 8:28–29

When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you shall know that I Am, and that I speak not of Myself, and that He that sent Me is with Me. And the Father has not left Me alone.

2. He shows that He rightly said, the same that I said to you from the beginning. So little heed they gave to His words. When you have lifted up the Son of Man. Do ye not expect that you then shall certainly rid yourselves of Me, and slay Me? But I tell you that then you shall most know that I Am, by reason of the miracles, the resurrection, and the destruction (of Jerusalem). For all these things were sufficient to manifest His power. He said not, Then you shall know who I am; for, when you shall see, He says, that I suffer nothing from death, then you shall know that I Am, that is, the Christ, the Son of God, who govern all things, and am not opposed to Him. For which cause He adds, and of Myself I speak nothing. For you shall know both My power and My unanimity with the Father. Because the, of Myself I speak nothing, shows that His Substance differs not (from that of the Father), and that He utters nothing save that which is in the mind of the Father. For when you have been driven away from your place of worship, and it is not allowed you even to serve Him as hitherto, then you shall know that He does this to avenge Me, and because He is angry with those who would not hear Me. As though He had said, Had I been an enemy and a stranger to God, He would not have stirred up such wrath against you. This also Esaias declares, He shall give the wicked in return for His burial Isaiah 53:9, Septuagint; and David, Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath Psalm 2:5; and Christ Himself, Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. Matthew 23:38 And His parables declare the same thing when He says, What shall the Lord of that vineyard do to those husbandmen? He shall miserably destroy those wicked men. Matthew 21:40–41 Do you see that everywhere He speaks thus, because He is not yet believed? But if He will destroy them, as He will, (for, Bring hither, It says, those which would not that I should reign over them, and slay them,) wherefore says He that the deed is not His, but His Father's? He addresses Himself to their weakness, and at the same time honors Him that begot Him. Wherefore He said not, I leave your house desolate, but, it is left; He has put it impersonally. But by saying, How often would I have gathered your children together – and you would not, and then adding, is left, He shows that He wrought the desolation. For since, He tells them, when you were benefited and healed of your infirmities, you would not know Me, you shall know by being punished who I am.

And the Father is with Me. That they may not deem the who sent Me to be a mark of inferiority, He says, is with Me; the first belongs to the Dispensation, the second to the Godhead.

And He has not left Me alone, for I do always those things that please Him.

Again He has brought down His discourse to a humbler strain, continually setting Himself against that which they asserted, that He was not of God, and that He kept not the Sabbath. To this He replies, I do always those things that are pleasing unto Him; showing that it was pleasing unto Him even that the Sabbath should be broken. So, for instance, just before the Crucifixion He said, Think ye that I cannot call upon My Father? Matthew 26:53 And yet by merely saying, Whom do you seek? c. xviii. 4, 6 He cast them down backwards. Why then says He not, Think ye that I cannot destroy you, when He had proved this by deed? He condescends to their infirmity. For He took great pains to show that He did nothing contrary to the Father. Thus He speaks rather after the manner of a man; and as He has not left Me alone, was spoken, so also was the, I do always those things that are pleasing unto Him.

John 8:30

As He spoke these words, many believed on Him.

When He brought down His speech to a lowly strain, many believed on Him. Do you still ask wherefore He speaks humbly? Yet the Evangelist clearly alluded to this when he said, As He spoke these things, many believed on Him. By this all but proclaiming aloud to us, Oh hearer, be not confounded if you hear any lowly expression, for they who after such high teaching were not yet persuaded that He was of the Father, were with good reason made to hear humbler words, that they might believe. And this is an excuse for those things which shall be spoken in a humble way. They believed then, yet not as they ought, but carelessly and as it were by chance, being pleased and refreshed by the humility of the words. For that they had not perfect faith the Evangelist shows by their speeches after this, in which they insult Him again. And that these are the very same persons he has declared by saying,

John 8:31

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If you continue in My word.

Showing that they had not yet received His doctrine, but only gave heed unto His words. Wherefore He speaks more sharply. Before He merely said, You shall seek Me John 7:34, but now He adds what is more, You shall die in your sins. John 8:21 And He shows how; because ye cannot when you have come to that place afterwards entreat Me.

These things which I speak unto the world. By these words He showed that He was now going forth to the Gentiles. But because they still knew not that He spoke to them of the Father, He again speaks of Him, and the Evangelist has put the reason of the humility of the expressions.

3. If now we will thus search the Scriptures, exactly and not carelessly, we shall be able to attain unto our salvation; if we continually dwell upon them, we shall learn right doctrine and a perfect life. For although a man be very hard, and stubborn, and proud, and profit nothing at other times, yet at least he shall gain fruit from this time, and receive benefit, if not so great as to admit of his being sensible of it, still he shall receive it. For if a man who passes by an ointment-maker's shop, or sits in one, is impregnated with the perfume even against his will, much more is this the case with one who comes to church. For as idleness is born of idleness, so too from working is generated a ready mind. Although you are full of ten thousand sins, although you are impure, shun not the tarrying here. Wherefore, it may be said, when hearing I do not? It is no small profit to deem one's self wretched; this fear is not useless, this dread is not unseasonable. If only you groan that, hearing I do not, you will certainly come also to the doing at some time or other. For it cannot be that he who speaks with God, and hears God speak, should not profit. We compose ourselves at once and wash our hands when we desire to take the Bible into them. Do you see even before the reading what reverence is here? And if we go on with exactness, we shall reap great advantage. For we should not, unless it served to place the soul in reverence, have washed our hands; and a woman if she be unveiled straightway puts on her veil, giving proof of internal reverence, and a man if he be covered bares his head. Do you see how the outward behavior proclaims the inward reverence? Then moreover he that sits to hear groans often, and condemns his present life.

Let us then, beloved, give heed to the Scriptures, and if no other part be so, let the Gospels at least be the subjects of our earnest care, let us keep them in our hands. For straightway when you have opened the Book you shall see the name of Christ there, and shall hear one say, The birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise. When His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, she was found with Child of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 1:18 He that hears this will immediately desire virginity, will marvel at the Birth, will be freed from earthly things. It is not a little thing when you see the Virgin deemed worthy of the Spirit, and an Angel talking with her. And this upon the very surface; but if you persevere to go on unto the end, you shall loathe all that pertains to this life, shall mock at all worldly things. If you are rich, you shall think nothing of wealth, when you hear that she who was (the wife) of a carpenter, and of humble family, became the mother of your Lord. If you are poor you shall not be ashamed of your poverty, when you hear that the Creator of the world was not ashamed of the meanest dwelling. Considering this, thou will not rob, you will not covet, you will not take the goods of others, but will rather be a lover of poverty, and despise wealth. And if this be the case, you shall banish all evil. Again, when you see Him lying in a manger, you will not be anxious to put golden garments about your child, or to cause your wife's couch to be inlaid with silver. And if you care not for these things, you will not do either the deeds of covetousness and rapine, which are caused by them. Many other things you may gain which I cannot separately enumerate, but they will know who have made the trial. Wherefore I exhort you both to obtain Bibles, and to retain together with the Bibles the sentiments they set forth, and to write them in your minds. The Jews because they gave no heed were commanded to suspend their books from their hands; but we place them not even in our hands but in our house, when we ought to stamp them on our heart. Thus cleansing our present life, we shall obtain the good things that are to come to which may we all attain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

Homily 54 on the Gospel of John

John 8:31–32

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

1. Beloved, our condition needs much endurance; and endurance is produced when doctrines are deeply rooted. For as no wind is able by its assaults to tear up the oak, which sends down its root into the lower recesses of the earth, and is firmly clenched there; so too the soul which is nailed by the fear of God none will be able to overturn. Since to be nailed is more than to be rooted. Thus the Prophet prays, saying, Nail my flesh by Your fear Psalm 119:120, Septuagint; do Thou so fix and join me, as by a nail riveted into me. For as men of this kind are hard to be captured, so the opposite sort are a ready prey, and are easily thrown down. As was the case of the Jews at that time; for after having heard and believed, they again turned out of the way. Christ therefore desiring to deepen their faith that it might not be merely superficial, digs into their souls by more striking words. For it was the part of believers to endure even reproofs, but they immediately were angry. But how does He this? He first tells them, If you continue in My word, you are My disciples indeed: and the truth shall make you free. All but saying, I am about to make a deep incision, but be not ye moved; or rather by these expressions He allayed the pride of their imagination. Shall make you free: from what, tell me? From your sins. What then say those boasters?

John 8:33

We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man.

Immediately their imagination dropped, and this happened from their having been fluttered about worldly things. If you continue in My word, was the expression of One declaring what was in their heart, and knowing that they had indeed believed, but had not continued. And He promises a great thing, that they should become His disciples. For since some had gone away from Him before this, alluding to them He says, If you continue, because they also had heard and believed, and departed because they could not continue. For many of His disciples went back, and walked no more openly with Him. John 6:66

You shall know the truth, that is, shall know Me, for I am the truth. All the Jewish matters were types, but you shall know the truth from Me, and it shall free you from your sins. As to those others He said, You shall die in your sins, so to these He says, shall make you free. He said not, I will deliver you from bondage, this He allowed them to conjecture. What then said they?

We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man. And yet if they must needs have been vexed, it might have been expected that they would have been so at the former part of His speech, at His having said, You shall know the truth; and that they would have replied, What! Do we not now know the truth? Is then the Law and our knowledge a lie? But they cared for none of these things, they are grieved at worldly things, and these were their notions of bondage. And certainly even now, there are many who feel shame at indifferent matters, and at this kind of bondage, but who feel none for the bondage of sin, and who would rather be called servants to this latter kind of bondage ten thousand times, than once to the former. Such were these men, and they did not even know of any other bondage, and they say, Bondsmen do you call those who are of the race of Abraham, the nobly born, who therefore ought not to be called bondsmen? For, says one, we were never in bondage to any man. Such are the boastings of the Jews. We are the seed of Abraham, we are Israelites. They never mention their own righteous deeds. Wherefore John cried out to them, saying, Think not to say that we have Abraham to our father. Matthew 3:9 And why did not Christ confute them, for they had often been in bondage to the Egyptians, Babylonians, and many others? Because His words were not to gain honor for Himself, but for their salvation, for their benefit, and toward this object He was pressing. For He might have spoken of the four hundred years, He might have spoken of the seventy, He might have spoken of the years of bondage during the time of the Judges, at one time twenty, at another two, at another seven; He might have said that they had never ceased being in bondage. But He desired not to show that they were slaves of men, but that they were slaves of sin, which is the most grievous slavery, from which God alone can deliver; for to forgive sins belongs to none other. And this too they allowed. Since then they confessed that this was the work of God, He brings them to this point, and says,

John 8:34

Whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin.

Showing that this is the freedom of which He speaks, the freedom from this service.

John 8:35

The servant abides not in the house, but the Son abides forever.

Gently too from this He casts down the things of the Law, alluding to former times. For that they may not run back to them and say, We have the sacrifices which Moses commanded, they are able to deliver us, He adds these words, since otherwise what connection would the saying have? For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace Romans 3:23–24, even the priests themselves. Wherefore Paul also says of the priest, that he ought as for the people so also for himself to offer for sins, for that he also is compassed about with infirmity. Hebrews 5:3 And this is signified by His saying, The servant abides not in the house. Here also He shows His equal honor with the Father, and the difference between slave and free. For the parable has this meaning, that is, the servant has no power, this is the meaning of abides not.

2. But why when speaking of sins does He mention a house? It is to show that as a master has power over his house, so He over all. And the, abides not, is this, has not power to grant favors, as not being master of the house; but the Son is master of the house. For this is the, abides forever, by a metaphor drawn from human things. That they may not say, who are you? All is Mine, (He says,) for I am the Son, and dwell in My Father's house, calling by the name of house His power. As in another place He calls the Kingdom His Father's house, In My Father's house are many mansions. Hebrews 14:2 For since the discourse was of freedom and bondage, He with reason used this metaphor, telling them that they had no power to set free.

John 8:36

If the Son therefore shall make you free.

Do you see the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father, and how He declares that He has the same power as the Father? If the Son make you free, no man afterwards gain-says, but you have firm freedom. For it is God that justifies, who is He that condemns? Romans 8:33–34 Here He shows that He Himself is pure from sin, and alludes to that freedom which reached only to a name; this even men give, but that God alone. And so he persuaded them not to be ashamed at this slavery, but at that of sin. And desiring to show that they were not slaves, except by repudiating that liberty, He the more shows them to be slaves by saying,

You shall be free indeed.

This is the expression of one declaring that this freedom was not real. Then, that they might not say, We have no sin, (for it was probable that they would say so,) observe how He brings them beneath this imputation. For omitting to convict all their life, He brings forward that which they had in hand, which they yet desired to do, and says,

John 8:37

I know that you are Abraham's seed but you seek to kill Me.

Gently and by little does He expel them from that relationship, teaching them not to be high-minded because of it. For as freedom and bondage depend on men's actions, so also does relationship. He said not directly, You are not the seed of Abraham, you the murderers of the righteous; but for a while He even goes along with them, and says, I know that you are Abraham's seed. Yet this is not the matter in question, and during the remainder of this speech He uses greater vehemence. For we may for the most part observe, that when He is about to work any great thing, after He has wrought it, He uses greater boldness of speech, as though the testimony from His works shut men's mouths. But ye seek to kill Me. What of that, says some one, if they sought to do so justly. But this was not so either; wherefore also He puts the reason;

Because My word has no place in you.

How then was it, says some one, that they believed on Him? As I before said, they changed again. On which account He touched them sharply. If you boast the relationship of Abraham ye ought also to show forth his life. And He said not, You do not contain my words, but, My word has no place in you, thus declaring the sublimity of His doctrines. Yet not for this ought they to have slain, but rather to have honored and waited on Him so as to learn. But what, says some one, if you speak these things of yourself? On this account He added,

John 8:38

I speak that which I have seen with My Father, and you do that which you have heard from your father.

As, He says, I both by My words and by the truth declare the Father, so also do ye by your actions (declare yours). For I have not only the same Substance, but also the same Truth with the Father.

John 8:39–40

They said to Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus says unto them, If you had Abraham to your father, you would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill Me.

He here repeatedly handles their murderous intention, and makes mention of Abraham. And this He does desiring to draw off their attention from this relationship, and to take away their excessive boasting, and also to persuade them no longer to rest their hopes of salvation in Abraham, nor in the relationship which is according to nature, but in that which is according to the will. For what hindered their coming to Christ was this, their deeming that relationship to be sufficient for them to salvation. But what is the truth of which He speaks? That He is equal with the Father. For it was on this account that the Jews sought to slay Him; and He says,

You seek to kill Me because I have told you the truth, which I have heard of My Father.

To show that these things are not opposed to the Father, He again betakes Himself to Him. They say unto Him,

John 8:41

We be not born of fornication, we have one Father, even God.

3. What do you say? You have God for your Father, and do ye blame Christ for asserting this? Do you see that He said that God was His Father in a special manner? When therefore He had cast them out of their relationship to Abraham, having nothing to reply, they dare a greater thing, and betake themselves to God. But from this honor also He expels them, saying,

John 8:42–44

If God were your Father, you would love Me; for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do ye not understand My speech? Even because ye cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do: he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth: when he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own.

He had driven them out of their relationship to Abraham, and when they dared greater things, He then adds a blow, telling them that they not only are not Abraham's children, but that they are even children of the devil, and inflicting a wound which might counterbalance their shamelessness; nor does He leave it unsupported, but establishes it by proofs. For, He says, to murder belongs to the wickedness of the devil. And He said not merely, ye do his works, but, ye do his lusts, showing that both he and they hold to murder, and that envy was the cause. For the devil destroyed Adam, not because he had any charge against him, but only from envy. To this also He alludes here.

And abode not in the truth. That is, in the right life. For since they continually accused Him of not being from God, He tells them that this also is from thence. For the devil first was the father of a lie, when he said, In the day that you eat thereof your eyes shall be opened Genesis 3:5, and he first used it. For men use a lie not as a thing proper, but alien to their nature, but he as proper.

John 8:45

And because I tell you the truth, you believe Me not.

What kind of consequence is this? Having no charge against Me, you desire to kill Me. For because you are enemies of the truth, therefore ye persecute Me. Since had this not been the reason, you would have named your charge. Wherefore He added,

John 8:46

Which of you convinces Me of sin?

Then they said, We be not born of fornication. Yet in fact many of them were born of fornication, for they practiced unbefitting unions. Still He does not convict them of this, but sets Himself to the other point. For when He has proved them to be, not of God, but of the devil, by all these signs, (for to do murder is of the devil, and to lie is of the devil, both which you do,) then He shows that to love is the sign of being of God. Why do ye not understand My speech? Since they were always doubting, saying, What is it that he says, "Whither I go ye cannot come»? therefore He tells them, You do not understand My speech, because you have not the word of God. And this comes to you, because that your understanding is groveling, and because what is Mine is far too great for you. But what if they could not understand? Not to be able here means not to be willing; for you have trained yourselves to be mean, to imagine nothing great. Because they said that they persecuted Him as being themselves zealous for God, on this account He everywhere strives to show that to persecute Him is the act of those who hate God, but that, on the contrary, to love Him is the act of those who know God.

We have one Father, even God. On this ground they pride themselves, on their honor not their righteous deeds. Therefore your not believing is no proof that I am an enemy to God, but your unbelief is a sign that you do not know God. And the reason is, from your being willing to lie and to do the works of the devil. But this is the effect of meanness of soul; (as the Apostle says, "For whereas there is among you envying and strife, are you not carnal?») 1Corinthians 3:3 And why is it that you cannot ? Because you will to do the lusts of your father, you are eager, you are ambitious (to do them). Do you see that ye cannot express a want of will? For this did not Abraham. What are his works? Gentleness, meekness, obedience. But ye set yourselves on the contrary part, being hard and cruel.

But how came it into their thoughts to betake themselves to God? He had shown them unworthy of Abraham; desiring therefore to escape this charge, they mounted higher. For when He reproached them with murder, they said this, making it, as it were, a kind of excuse for themselves that they were avenging God. Therefore He shows that this very thing is the act of men opposing God. And the, I came forth, shows that He was from thence. He says, I came forth, alluding to His arrival among us. But since they would probably say to Him, Thou speaks certain things strange and new, He tells them that He had come from God. And therefore with good reason ye hear them not, because you are of the devil. For on what account would ye kill Me? What charge have ye to bring against Me? If there be none, why do ye not believe Me? Thus then having proved them to be of the devil by their lying and their murder, He shows them also to be alien from Abraham and from God, both because they hated One who had done no wrong, and because they would not hear His word; and in every way He proves that He was not opposed to God, and that it was not on this account that they refused to believe, but because they were aliens from God. For when One who had done no sin, who said that He came from God and was sent of God, who spoke the truth, and so spoke it as to challenge all to the proof, after this was not believed, it is clear that He was not believed because of their being carnal. Since sins do use, yea they do use to debase a soul. Wherefore It says, Seeing you have become dull of hearing. Hebrews 5:11 For when a man cannot despise earthly things, how shall he ever be wise concerning heavenly things?

4. Wherefore, I exhort you, use we every means that our life may be righteous, that our minds may be cleansed, so that no filthiness be a hindrance to us; kindle for yourselves the light of knowledge, and sow not among thorns. For how shall one who knows not that covetousness is an evil, ever know the greater good? How shall one who refrains not from these earthly things ever hold fast to those heavenly? It is good to take by violence, not the things that perish, but the Kingdom of heaven. The violent, it says, take it by force. Matthew 11:12 It is then not possible to attain to it by sluggishness, but by zeal. But what means the violent? There is need of much violence, (for strait is the way,) there is need of a youthful soul and a noble. Plunderers desire to outstrip all other, they look to nothing, neither to conviction, nor accusation, nor punishment, but are given up to one thing only, the getting hold of what they desire to seize, and they run past all that are before them in the way. Seize we then the Kingdom of heaven, for here to seize is no fault but rather praise, and the fault is the not seizing. Here our wealth comes not from another's loss. Haste we then to seize it. Should passion disquiet us, should lust disquiet us, let us do violence to our nature, let us become more gentle, let us labor a little, that we may rest forever. Seize not thou gold, but seize that wealth which shows gold to be but mud. For tell me, if lead and gold were laid before you, which would you take? Is it not clear that you would take the gold? Do you then, where one who seizes is punished, prefer that which is the more valuable, but where one who seizes is honored, give up what is the more valuable? If there were punishment in both cases, would you not rather aim at this latter ? But in this case there is nothing like punishment, but even blessedness. And, How, says some one, may one seize it? Cast away the things which you have already in your hands; for so long as you grasp them you will not be able to seize the other. For consider, I pray you, a man with his hands full of silver, will he be able, as long as he retains it, to seize on gold, unless he first cast away the silver, and be free? Because he that seizes a thing must be well-girt so as not to be detained. And even now there are adverse powers running down against us to rob us, but let us fly them, let us fly them, trailing after us nothing that may give a hold, let us cut asunder the cords, let us strip ourselves of the things of earth. What need of silken garments? How long shall we be unrolling this mockery? How long shall we be burying gold? I desired to cease from always saying these things, but you will not suffer me, continually supplying me with occasions and arguments. But now at least let us desist, that having instructed others by our lives, we may obtain the promised good things, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, now and ever and world without end. Amen.

Homily 55 on the Gospel of John

John 8:48–49

Then answered the Jews, and said to Him, Say we not well that you are a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honor My Father.

1. A shameless and a forward thing is wickedness, and when it ought to hide itself, then is it the fiercer. As was the case with the Jews. For when they ought to have been pricked by what was said, admiring the boldness and conclusiveness of the words, they even insult Him, calling Him a Samaritan, and saying that He had a devil, and they ask, Said we not well that you are a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Because when He utters anything sublime, this is thought among the very senseless to be madness. Yet nowhere before did the Evangelist say that they called Him a Samaritan; but from this expression it is probable that this had been often asserted by them.

You have a devil, says some one. Who is it that has a devil? He that honors God, or he that insults Him that honors Him? What then says Christ, who is very meekness and gentleness? I have not a devil, but I honor Him that sent me. Where there was need to instruct them, to pull down their excessive insolence, to teach them not to be proud because of Abraham, He was vehement; but when it was needful that He being insulted should bear it, He used much gentleness. When they said, We have God and Abraham for our Father, He touched them sharply; but when they called Him a demoniac, He spoke submissively, thus teaching us to avenge insults offered to God, but to overlook such as are offered to ourselves.

John 8:50

I seek not My own glory.

These things, He says, I have spoken to show that it becomes not you, being murderers, to call God your Father; so that I have spoken them through honor for Him, and for His sake do I hear these reproaches, and for His sake do ye dishonor Me. Yet I care not for this insolence ; to Him, for whose sake I now hear these things, you owe an account of your words. For "I seek not My own glory.» Wherefore I omit to punish you, and betake Myself to exhortation, and counsel you so to act, that you shall not only escape punishment, but also attain eternal life.

John 8:51

Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death.

Here He speaks not of faith only, but of a pure life. Above He said, shall have everlasting life, but here, shall not see death. John 6:40 At the same time He hints to them that they could do nothing against Him, for if the man that should keep His saying should not die, much less should He Himself. At least they understood it so, and said to Him,

John 8:52

Now we know that you have a devil; Abraham is dead, and the Prophets are dead.

That is, they who heard the word of God are dead, and shall they who have heard yours not die?

John 8:53

Are you greater than our father Abraham?

Alas for their vainglory! Again do they betake themselves to his relationship. Yet it would have been suitable to say, Are you greater than God? Or they who have heard you than Abraham? But they say not this, because they thought that He was even less than Abraham. At first, therefore, He showed that they were murderers, and so led them away from the relationship; but when they persevered, He contrived this in another way, showing that they labored uselessly. And concerning the death, He said nothing to them, neither did He reveal or tell them what kind of death He meant, but in the meantime He would have them believe, that He is greater than Abraham, that even by this He may put them to shame. Certainly, He says, were I a common man I ought not to die, having done no wrong; but when I speak the truth, and have no sin, am sent from God, and am greater than Abraham, are you not mad, do ye not labor in vain when you attempt to kill Me? What then is their reply? Now we know that you have a devil. Not so spoke the woman of Samaria. She said not to Him, You have a devil; but only, Are you greater than our father Jacob? John 4:12 For these men were insolent and accursed, while she desired to learn; wherefore she doubted and answered with proper moderation, and called Him, Lord. For one who promised far greater things, and who was worthy of credit, ought not to have been insulted, but even admired; yet these men said that He had a devil. Those expressions of the Samaritan woman were those of one in doubt; these were the words of men unbelieving and perverse. Are you greater than our father Abraham? so that this (which He had said) makes Him to be greater than Abraham. When therefore you have seen Him lifted up, you shall confess that He is greater. On this account He said, When you have lifted Me up, you shall know that I Am. John 8:28 And observe His wisdom. Having first rent them away from Abraham's kindred, He shows that He is greater than Abraham, that so He may be seen to be very exceedingly greater than the Prophets also. Indeed it was because they continually called Him a prophet that He said, My word has no place in you. John 8:37 In that other place He declared that He raises the dead, but here He says, He that believes shall never see death, which was a much greater thing than not to allow believers to be holden, by death. Wherefore the Jews were the more enraged. What then say they?

Whom makest you yourself?

And this too in an insulting manner. You are taking somewhat upon yourself, says one of them. To this then Christ replies;

John 8:54

If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing.

2. What say the heretics here? That He heard the question, Are you greater than our father Abraham? and dared not to say to them, Yea, I am greater, but did so in a covert manner. What then? Is His honor nothing? With respect to them it is nothing. And as He said, My witness is not true John 5:31, with reference to the opinion they would form of it, so also does He speak here.

There is One that honors Me.

And wherefore said He not, The Father that sent Me, as He did before, but,

Of whom you say that He is your God.

John 8:55

Yet you have not known Him.

Because He desired to show that they not only knew not His Father, but that they knew not God.

But I know Him.

So that to say, «I know Him,» is not a boast, while to say, »I know Him not,» would be a falsehood; but you when you say that you know Him, lie; as then ye, when you say that you know Him, lie, so also should I, were I to say that I know Him not.

If I honor Myself. Since they said, Whom makest you yourself? He replies, If I make (Myself anything,) My honor is nothing. As then I know Him exactly, so ye know Him not. And as in the case of Abraham, He did not take away their whole assertion, but said, I know that you are Abraham's seed, so as to make the charge against them heavier; thus here He does not remove the whole, but what? Whom ye say. By granting to them their boast of words, He increases the force of the accusation against them. How then do ye not know Him? Because ye insult One who says and does everything that He may be glorified, even when that One is sent from Him. This assertion is unsupported by testimony, but what follows serves to establish it.

And I keep His saying.

Here they might, if at least they had anything to say, have refuted Him, for it was the strongest proof of His having been sent by God.

John 8:56

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad.

Again, He shows that they were aliens from the race of Abraham, if they grieved at what he rejoiced in. My day, seems to me to mean the day of the Crucifixion, which Abraham foreshowed typically by the offering of the ram and of Isaac. What do they reply?

John 8:57

You are not yet forty years old, and have You seen Abraham?

So that we conclude that Christ was nearly forty.

John 8:58–59

Jesus says unto them, Before Abraham was, I Am. Then took they up stones to cast at Him.

Do you see how He proved Himself to be greater than Abraham? For the man who rejoiced to see His day, and made this an object of earnest desire, plainly did so because it was a day that should be for a benefit, and belonging to one greater than himself. Because they had said, The carpenter's son Matthew 13:55, and imagined nothing more concerning Him, He leads them by degrees to an exalted notion of Him. Therefore when they heard the words, You know not God, they were not grieved; but when they heard, before Abraham was, I Am, as though the nobility of their descent were debased, they became furious, and would have stoned Him.

He saw My day, and was glad. He shows, that not unwillingly He came to His Passion, since He praises him who was gladdened at the Cross. For this was the salvation of the world. But they cast stones at Him; so ready were they for murder, and they did this of their own accord, without enquiry.

But wherefore said He not, Before Abraham was, I was, instead of I Am? As the Father uses this expression, I Am, so also does Christ; for it signifies continuous Being, irrespective of all time. On which account the expression seemed to them to be blasphemous. Now if they could not bear the comparison with Abraham, although this was but a trifling one, had He continually made Himself equal to the Father, would they ever have ceased casting stones at Him?

After this, again He flees as a man, and conceals Himself, having laid before them sufficient instruction: and having accomplished His work, He went forth from the Temple, and departed to heal the blind, proving by His actions that He is before Abraham. But perhaps some one will say, Why did He not paralyze their strength? So they would have believed. He healed the paralytic, yet they believed not; nay, He wrought ten thousand wonders; at the very Passion He cast them to the ground, and darkened their eyes, yet they believed not; and how would they have believed if He had paralyzed their strength? There is nothing worse than a soul hardened in desperation; though it see signs and wonders, it still perseveres in retaining the same shamelessness. Thus Pharaoh, who received ten thousand strokes, was sobered only while being punished, and continued of this character until the last day of his life, pursuing those whom he had let go. Wherefore Paul continually says, Lest any of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13 For as the callosities of the body, when formed, become dead, and possess no sensation; so the soul, when it is occupied by many passions, becomes dead to virtue; and apply what you will to it, it gets no perception of the matter, but whether you threaten punishment or anything else, continues insensible.

3. Wherefore I beseech you, while we have hopes of salvation, while we can turn, to use every means to do so. For men who have become past feeling, are after that in the blind state of despairing pilots, who give up their vessel to the wind, and themselves contribute no assistance. Thus the envious man looks to one thing only, that is, to satisfy his lust, and though he be like to be punished or even slain, still he is possessed solely by that passion; and in like manner the intemperate and avaricious. But if the sovereignty of the passions be so great, much greater is that of virtue; if for them we despise death, much more for this; if they (sinners) regard not their own lives, much less ought we to do so in the cause of our salvation. For what shall we have to say, if when they who perish are so active about their own perdition, we for our own salvation manifest not even an equal activity, but ever continue wasting with envy? Nothing is worse than envy; to destroy another it destroys itself also. The eye of the envious wastes away in grief, he lives in a continual death, he deems all men, even those who have never wronged him, his enemies. He grieves that God is honored, he rejoices in what the devil rejoices in. Is any honored among men? This is not honor, envy him not. But is he honored by God? Strive and be thou like him. You will not? Why then do you destroy yourself too? Why do you cast away what you have? Can you not be like him, nor gain any good thing? Why then do you besides this take for yourself evil, when you ought to rejoice with him, that so even if you be not able to share his toils, you may profit by rejoicing with Him? For often even the will is able to effect great good. At least Ezekiel says, that the Moabites were punished because they rejoiced over the Israelites, and that certain others were saved because they mourned over the misfortunes of their neighbors. Ezekiel 25:8 Now if there be any comfort for those who mourn over the woes of others, much more for those who rejoice at the honors of others. He charged the Moabites with having exulted over the Israelites, yet it was God that punished them; but not even when He punishes will He have us rejoice over those that are punished. For it is not His wish to punish them. Now if we must condole with those who are punished, much more must we avoid envying those who are honored. Thus, for example, Corah and Dathan perished with their company, making those whom they envied brighter, and giving themselves up to punishment. For a venomous beast is envy, an unclean beast, a deliberate vice which admits not of pardon, a wickedness stripped of excuse, the cause and mother of all evils. Wherefore let us pluck it up by the roots, that we may be freed from evil here, and may obtain blessings hereafter; through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory now and ever and world without end. Amen.

Homily 56 on the Gospel of John

John 9:1–2

And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man which was blind from his birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

1. And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man which was blind from his birth. Being full of love for man, and caring for our salvation, and desiring to stop the mouths of the foolish, He omits nothing of His own part, though there be none to give heed. And the Prophet knowing this says, That You might be justified when You speak, and be clear when You are judged. Psalm 51:4 Wherefore here, when they would not receive His sublime sayings, but said that He had a devil, and attempted to kill Him, He went forth from the Temple, and healed the blind, mitigating their rage by His absence, and by working the miracle softening their hardness and cruelty, and establishing His assertions. And He works a miracle which was no common one, but one which took place then for the first time. Since the world began, says he who was healed, was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. John 9:32 Some have, perhaps, opened the eyes of the blind, but of one born blind never. And that on going out of the Temple, He proceeded intentionally to the work, is clear from this; it was He who saw the blind man, not the blind man who came to Him; and so earnestly did He look upon him, that even His disciples perceived it. From this, at least, they came to question Him; for when they saw Him earnestly regarding the man, they asked Him, saying, Who did sin, this man, or his parents? A mistaken question, for how could he sin before he was born? And how, if his parents had sinned, would he have been punished? Whence then came they to put this question? Before, when He healed the paralytic, He said, Behold, you are made whole, sin no more. John 5:14 They therefore, having understood that he was palsied on account of sin, said, Well, that other was palsied because of his sins; but concerning this man, what would You say? Has he sinned? It is not possible to say so, for he is blind from his birth. Have his parents sinned? Neither can one say this, for the child suffers not punishment for the father. As therefore when we see a child evil entreated, we exclaim, What can one say of this? What has the child done? not as asking a question, but as being perplexed, so the disciples spoke here, not so much asking for information, as being in perplexity. What then says Christ?

John 9:3

Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents.

This He says not as acquitting them of sins, for He says not simply, Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents, but adds, that he should have been born blind – but that the Son of God should be glorified in him. For both this man has sinned and his parents, but his blindness proceeds not from that. And this He said, not signifying that though this man indeed was not in such case, yet that others had been made blind from such a cause, the sins of their parents, since it cannot be that when one sins another should be punished. For if we allow this, we must also allow that he sinned before his birth. As therefore when He declared, neither has this man sinned, He said not that it is possible to sin from one's very birth, and be punished for it; so when He said, nor his parents, He said not that one may be punished for his parents» sake. This supposition He re moves by the mouth of Ezekiel; As I live says the Lord, this proverb shall not be, that is used, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge. Ezekiel 18:3 And Moses says, The father shall not die for the child, neither shall the child die for the father. Deuteronomy 24:16 And of a certain king Scripture says, that for this very reason he did not this thing, observing the law of Moses. But if any one argue, How then is it said, "Who visits the sins of the parents upon the children unto the third and fourth generation»? Deuteronomy 5:9; we should make this answer, that the assertion is not universal, but that it is spoken with reference to certain who came out of Egypt. And its meaning is of this kind; Since these who have come out of Egypt, after signs and wonders, have become worse than their forefathers who saw none of these things, they shall suffer, It says, the same that those others suffered, since they have dared the same crimes. And that it was spoken of those men, any one who will give attention to the passage will more certainly know. Wherefore then was he born blind?

That the glory of God should be made manifest, He says.

Lo, here again is another difficulty, if without this man's punishment, it was not possible that the glory of God should be shown. Certainly it is not said that it was impossible, for it was possible, but, that it might be manifested even in this man. What, says some one, did he suffer wrong for the glory of God? What wrong, tell me? For what if God had never willed to produce him at all? But I assert that he even received benefit from his blindness: since he recovered the sight of the eyes within. What were the Jews profited by their eyes? They incurred the heavier punishment, being blinded even while they saw. And what injury had this man by his blindness? For by means of it he recovered sight. As then the evils of the present life are not evils, so neither are the good things good; sin alone is an evil, but blindness is not an evil. And He who had brought this man from not being into being, had also power to leave him as he was.

2. But some say, that this conjunction is not at all expressive of cause, but relates to the consequence of the miracle; as when He says, For judgment I have come into this world, that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind John 9:39; and yet it was not for this He came, that those who saw might be made blind. And again Paul, Because that which may be known of God is manifested in them, that they may be without excuse Romans 1:19–20; yet He showed it not unto them for this, that they might be deprived of excuse, but that they might obtain excuse. And again in another place, The Law entered, that the offense might abound Romans 5:20; yet it was not for this that it entered, but that sin might be checked. Do you see everywhere that the conjunction relates to the consequence? For as some excellent architect may build part of a house, and leave the rest unfinished, so that to those who believe not he may prove, by means of that remnant, that he is author of the whole; so also God joins together and completes our body, as it were a house decayed, healing the withered hand, bracing the palsied limbs, straightening the lame, cleansing the lepers, raising up the sick, making sound the crippled, recalling the dead from death, opening the eyes that were closed, or adding them where before they were not; all which things, being blemishes arising from the infirmity of our nature, He by correcting showed His power.

But when He said, That the glory of God might be manifested, He spoke of Himself, not of the Father; His glory was already manifest. For since they had heard that God made man, taking the dust of the earth, so also Christ made clay. To have said, I am He who took the dust of the earth, and made man, would have seemed a hard thing to His hearers; but this when shown by actual working, no longer stood in their way. So that He by taking earth, and mixing it with spittle, showed forth His hidden glory; for no small glory was it that He should be deemed the Architect of the creation.

And after this the rest also followed; from the part, the whole was proved, since the belief of the greater also confirmed the less. For man is more honorable than any created thing, and of our members the most honorable is the eye. This is the cause that He fashioned the eyes, not in a common manner, but in the way that He did. For though that member be small in size, yet it is more necessary than any part of the body. And this Paul showed when he said, If the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 1Corinthians 12:16 For all indeed that is in us is a manifestation of the wisdom of God, but much more the eye; this it is that guides the whole body, this gives beauty to it all, this adorns the countenance, this is the light of all the limbs. What the sun is in the world, that the eye is in the body; quench the sun, and you destroy and confound all things; quench the eyes, and the feet, the hands, the soul, are useless. When these are disabled, even knowledge is gone, since by means of these we know God. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. Romans 1:20 Wherefore the eye is not only a light to the body, but beyond the body to the soul also. On which account it is established as in a royal fortress, obtaining the higher condition, and presiding over the other senses. This then Christ forms.

And that you may not deem that He needs matter when He works, and that you may learn that He had not need at all of clay, (for He who brought into being the greater existences when as yet they were not, would much more have made this without matter,) that I say you may learn that He did not this through necessity, but to show that He was the Creator at the beginning, when He had spread on the clay He says, Go, wash, that you may know that I need not clay to create eyes, but that My glory may be manifested hereby. For to show that He spoke of Himself when He said, That the glory of God may be manifested, He added,

John 9:4

I must work the works of Him that sent Me.

That is, I must manifest Myself, and do the things which may show that I do the same things with the Father; not things similar, but, the same, an expression which marks greater unvaryingness, and which is used of those who do not differ ever so little. Who then after this will face Him, when he sees that He has the same power with the Father? For not only did He form or open eyes, but gave also the gift of sight, which is a proof that He also breathed in the soul. Since if that did not work, the eye, though perfected, could never see anything; so that He gave both the energy which is from the soul, and gave the member also possessing all things, both arteries and nerves and veins, and all things of which our body is composed.

I must work while it is day.

What mean these words? To what conclusion do they lead? To an important one. For what He says is of this kind. While it is day, while men may believe in Me, while this life lasts, I must work.

The night comes, that is, futurity, when no man can work.

He said not, when I cannot work, but, when no man can work: that is, when there is no longer faith, nor labors, nor repentance. For to show that He calls faith, a work, when they say unto Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? John 6:28, He replies, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent. How then can no man work this work in the future world? Because there faith is not, but all, willingly, or unwillingly, will submit. For lest any one should say that He acted as He did from desire of honor, He shows that He did all to spare them who had power to believe here only, but who could no longer there gain any good thing. On this account, though the blind man came not to Him, He did what He did: for that the man was worthy to be healed, that had he seen he would have believed and come to Christ, that had he heard from any that He was present, he would not even so have been neglectful, is clear from what follows, from his courage, from his very faith. For it was likely that he would have considered with himself, and have said, What is this? He made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, "Go, wash;» could he not have healed me, and then have sent me to Siloam? Often have I washed there with many others, and have gained no good; had he possessed any power, he would while present have healed me. Just as Naaman spoke respecting Elisha; for he too being commanded to go wash in Jordan, believed not, and this too when there was such a fame abroad concerning Elisha. 2 Kings 5:11 But the blind man neither disbelieved, nor contradicted, nor reasoned with himself, What is this? Ought he to have put on clay? This is rather to blind one the more: who ever recovered sight so? But he used no such reasonings. Do you see his steadfast faith and zeal?

The night comes. Next He shows, that even after the Crucifixion He would care for the ungodly, and bring many to Himself. For it is yet day. But after that, He entirely cuts them off, and declaring this, He says,

John 9:5

As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.

3. As also He said to others, Believe while the light is with you. John 12:36 Wherefore then did Paul call this life night and that other day? Not opposing Christ, but saying the same thing, if not in words yet in sense; for he also says, The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Romans 13:12 The present time he calls night, because of those who sit in darkness, or because he compares it with that day which is to come, Christ calls the future night, because there sin has no power to work; but Paul calls the present life night, because they are in darkness who continue in wickedness and unbelief. Addressing himself then to the faithful he said, The night is far spent, the day is at hand, since they should enjoy that light; and he calls the old life night. Let us put away, he says, the works of darkness. Do you see that he tells them that it is night? Wherefore he says, Let us walk honestly as in the day, that we may enjoy that light. For if this light be so good, consider what that will be; as much as the sunlight is brighter than the flame of a candle, so much and far more is that light better than this. And signifying this, Christ says, that the sun shall be darkened. Because of the excess of that brightness, not even the sun shall be seen.

If now in order to have here well-lighted and airy houses, we expend immense sums, building and toiling, consider how we ought to spend our very bodies themselves, that glorious houses may be built for us in the heavens where is that Light ineffable. Here there are strifes and contentions about boundaries and walls, but there will be nothing of the kind there, no envy, no malice, no one will dispute with us about settling boundaries. This dwelling too we assuredly needs must leave, but that abides with us forever; this must decay by time, and be exposed to innumerable injuries, but that must remain without growing old perpetually; this a poor man cannot build, but that other one may build with two mites, as did the widow. Wherefore I choke with grief, that when so many blessings are laid before us, we are slothful, and despise them; we use every exertion to have splendid houses here, but how to gain in heaven so much as a little resting-place, we care not, we think not. For tell me, where would you have your dwelling here? In the wilderness, or in one of the smaller cities? I think not; but in some of the most royal and grand cities, where the traffic is more, where the splendor is greater. But I will lead you into such a City, whose Builder and Maker is God; there I exhort you to found and build, at less cost [with less labor ]. That house the hands of the poor build, and it is most truly building, just as the structures made here are the work of extreme folly. For if a man were to bring you into the land of Persia, to behold what is there and to return, and were then to bid you build houses there, would you not condemn him for excessive folly, as bidding you spend unseasonably? How then do you this very same thing upon the earth which you shall shortly leave? But I shall leave it to my children, says some one. Yet they too shall leave it soon after you; nay, often even before you; and their successors the same. And even here it is a subject of melancholy to you that you see not your heirs retain their possessions, but there you need apprehend nothing of the sort; the possession remains immovable, to you, to your children, and to their descendants, if they imitate the same goodness. That building Christ takes in hand, he who builds that needs not to appoint care-takers, nor be thoughtful, nor anxious; for when God has undertaken the work, what need of thought? He brings all things together, and raises the house. Nor is this the only thing wonderful, but also that He so builds it as is pleasing to you, or rather even beyond what is pleasing, beyond what you desire, for He is the most excellent Artist, and cares greatly for your advantage. If you are poor, and desirest to build this house, it brings you no envy, produces against you no malice, for none of those who know how to envy behold it, but the Angels who know how to rejoice at your blessings; none will be able to encroach upon it, for none dwell near it of those who are diseased with such passions. For neighbors you have there the saints, Peter and Paul with their company, all the Prophets, the Martyrs, the multitude of Angels, of Archangels. For the sake then of all these things, let us empty our substance upon the poor, that we may obtain those tabernacles; which may we all obtain through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, now and ever and world without end. Amen.

Homily 57 on the Gospel of John

John 9:6–7

When Jesus had thus spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.

1. Those who intend to gain any advantage from what they read, must not pass by even any small portion of the words; and on this account we are bidden to search the Scriptures, because most of the words, although at first sight easy, appear to have in their depth much hidden meaning. For observe of what sort is the present case. Having said these words, It says, He spat on the ground. What words? That the glory of God should be made manifest, and that, I must work the works of Him that sent Me. For not without a cause has the Evangelist mentioned to us His words, and added that, He spat, but to show that He confirmed His words by deeds. And why used He not water instead of spittle for the clay? He was about to send the man to Siloam: in order therefore that nothing might be ascribed to the fountain, but that you might learn that the power proceeding from His mouth, the same both formed and opened the man's eyes, He spat on the ground; this at least the Evangelist signified, when he said, And made clay of the spittle. Then, that the successful issue might not seem to be of the earth, He bade him wash. But wherefore did He not this at once, instead of sending him to Siloam? That you may learn the faith of the blind man, and that the obstinacy of the Jews might be silenced: for it was probable that they would all see him as he departed, having the clay spread upon his eyes, since by the strangeness of the thing he would attract to himself all, both those who did and those who did not know him, and they would observe him exactly. And because it is not easy to recognize a blind man who has recovered sight, He first makes by the length of way many to be witnesses, and by the strangeness of the spectacle exact observers, that being more attentive they may no longer be able to say, It is he: it is not he. Moreover, by sending him to Siloam, He desires to prove that He is not estranged from the Law and the Old (Covenant), nor could it afterwards be feared that Siloam would receive the glory, since many who had often washed their eyes there gained no such benefit; for there also it was the power of Christ that wrought all. On which account the Evangelist adds for us the interpretation of the name; for having said, in Siloam, he adds,

Which is, Sent.

That you may learn that there also it was Christ who healed him. As Paul says, They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 1Corinthians 10:4 As then Christ was the spiritual Rock, so also was He the spiritual Siloam. To me also the sudden coming in of the water seems to hint an ineffable mystery. What is that? The unlooked for (nature) of His appearance, beyond all expectation.

But observe the mind of the blind man, obedient in everything. He said not, If it is really the clay or the spittle which gives me eyes, what need of Siloam? Or if there be need of Siloam, what need of the clay? Why did he anoint me? Why bid me wash? But he entertained no such thoughts, he held himself prepared for one thing only, to obey in all things Him who gave the command, and nothing that was done offended him. If any one ask, How then did he recover his sight, when he had removed the clay? he will hear no other answer from us than that we know not the manner. And what wonder if we know it not, since not even the Evangelist knew, nor the very man that was healed? What had been done he knew, but the manner of doing it he could not comprehend. So when he was asked he said, that He put clay upon my eyes, and I washed, and do see; but how this took place he cannot tell them, though they ask ten thousand times.

John 9:8–9

The neighbors therefore, and they which had seen him, that he was a beggar, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he.

The strangeness of what had been brought to pass led them even to unbelief, though so much had been contrived that they might not disbelieve. They said, Is not this he that sat and begged? O the lovingkindness of God! Whither did He descend, when with great kindness He healed even beggars, and so silenced the Jews, because He deemed not the illustrious, nor the distinguished, nor the rulers, but men of no mark to be fit objects of the same Providence. For He came for the salvation of all.

And what happened in the case of the paralytic, happened also with this man, for neither did the one or the other know who it was that healed him. And this was caused by the retirement of Christ, for Jesus when He healed always retired, that all suspicion might be removed from the miracles. Since how could they who knew not who He was flatter Him, or join in contriving what had been done? Neither was this man one of those who went about, but of those who sat at the doors of the Temple. Now when all were doubting concerning him, what says he?

I am he.

He was not ashamed of his former blindness, nor did he fear the wrath of the people, nor did he decline showing himself that he might proclaim his Benefactor.

John 9:10–11

They said to him, How were your eyes opened? He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus.

What do you say? Does a man work such deeds? As yet he knew nothing great concerning Him.

A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes.

2. Observe how truthful he is. He says not whence He made it, for he speaks not of what he does not know; he saw not that He spat on the ground, but that He spread it on he knew from sense and touch.

And said to me, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.

This too his hearing witnessed to him. But how did he recognize His voice? From His conversation with the disciples. And saying all this, and having received the witness by the works, the manner (of the cure) he cannot tell. Now if faith is needed in matters which are felt and handled, much more in the case of things invisible.

John 9:12

They said to him, Where is he? He said, I know not.

They said, Where is he? having already murderous intentions against Him. But observe the modesty of Christ, how He continued not with those who were healed; because He neither desired to reap glory, nor to draw a multitude, nor to make a show of Himself. Observe too how truthfully the blind man makes all his answers. The Jews desired to find Christ to bring Him to the priests, but when they did not find Him, they brought the blind man to the Pharisees, as to those who would question him more severely. For which reason the Evangelist remarks, that it was the Sabbath John 9:14, in order to point out their wicked thoughts, and the cause for which they sought Him, as though forsooth they had found a handle, and could disparage the miracle by means of what appeared to be a transgression of the Law. And this is clear from their saying immediately on seeing him nothing but, How opened he your eyes? Observe also the manner of their speech; they say not, How did you receive your sight? but, How opened he your eyes? thus affording him an excuse for slandering Jesus, because of His having worked. But he speaks to them shortly, as to men who had already heard; for without mentioning His name, or that He said to me, Go, wash, he at once says,

John 9:15

He put clay upon my eyes, and I washed, and do see.

Because the slander was now become great, and the Jews had said, Behold what work Jesus does on the Sabbath day, he anoints with clay! But observe, I pray you, how the blind man is not disturbed. When being questioned he spoke in the presence of those others without danger, it was no such great thing to tell the truth, but the wonder is, that now when he is placed in a situation of greater fear, he neither denies nor contradicts what he had said before. What then did the Pharisees, or rather what did the others also? They had brought him (to the Pharisees), as being about to deny; but, on the contrary, that befell them which they desired not, and they learned more exactly. And this they everywhere have to endure, in the case of miracles; but this point we will more clearly demonstrate in what follows. What said the Pharisees?

John 9:16

Some said, (not all, but the more forward,) This man is not of God, because he keeps not the Sabbath day; others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?

Do you see that they were led up by the miracles? For hear what they say now, who before this had sent to bring Him. And if all did not so, (for being rulers through vainglory they fell into unbelief,) yet still the greater number even of the rulers believed on Him, but confessed Him not. Now the multitude was easily overlooked, as being of no great account in their synagogue, but the rulers being more conspicuous had the greater difficulty in speaking boldly, or some the love of rule restrained, others cowardice, and the fear of the many. Wherefore also He said, How can you believe who receive honor from men? John 5:44 And these who were seeking to kill Him unjustly said that they were of God, but that He who healed the blind could not be of God, because He kept not the Sabbath; to which the others objected, that a sinner could not do such miracles. Those first maliciously keeping silence about what had taken place, brought forward the seeming transgression; for they said not, He heals on the Sabbath day, but, He keeps not the Sabbath. These, on the other hand, replied weakly, for when they ought to have shown that the Sabbath was not broken, they rely only upon the miracles; and with reason, for they still thought that He was a man. If this had not been the case, they might besides have urged in His defense, that He was Lord of the Sabbath which Himself had made, but as yet they had not this opinion. Anyhow, none of them dared to say what he wished openly, or in the way of an assertion, but only in the way of doubt, some from not having boldness of speech, others through love of rule.

There was therefore a division among them. This division first began among the people, then later among the rulers also, and some said, He is a good man; others, Nay, but he deceives the people. John 7:12 Do you see that the rulers were more void of understanding than the many, since they were divided later than they? And after they were divided, they did not exhibit any noble feeling, when they saw the Pharisees pressing upon them. Since had they been entirely separated from them, they would soon have known the truth. For it is possible to do well in separating. Wherefore also Himself has said, I have come not to bring peace upon the earth but a sword. Matthew 10:34 For there is an evil concord, and there is a good disagreement. Thus they who built the tower Genesis 11:4, agreed together to their own hurt; and these same again were separated, though unwillingly, yet for their good. Thus also Corah and his company agreed together for evil, therefore they were separated for good; and Judas agreed with the Jews for evil. So division may be good, and agreement may be evil. Wherefore It says, If your eye offend you, smite it out, if your foot, cut it off. Matthew 5:29, and 18:8 Now if we must separate ourselves from an ill-joined limb, must we not much more from friends united to us for evil ? So that agreement is not in all cases a good, just as division is not in all cases an evil.

3. These things I say, that we may shun wicked men, and follow the good; for if in the case of our limbs we cut off that which is rotten and incurable, fearing lest the rest of the body should catch the same disease, and if we do this not as having no care for that part, but rather as desiring to preserve the remainder, how much more must we do this in the case of those who consent with us for evil? If we can set them right without receiving injury ourselves, we ought to use every means to do so; but if they remain incorrigible and may injure us, it is necessary to cut them off and cast them away. For so they will often be gainers rather (than losers). Wherefore also Paul exhorted, saying, And you shall put away from among yourselves that wicked person; and, that he that has done this deed may be put away from among you. 1Corinthians 5:13 A dreadful thing, dreadful indeed, is the society of wicked men; not so quickly does the pestilence seize or the itch infect those that come in contact with such as are under the disease, as does the wickedness of evil men. For evil communications corrupt good manners. 1Corinthians 15:33 And again the Prophet says, Come out from among them, and be ye separate. Isaiah 52:11 Let no one then have a wicked man for his friend. For if when we have bad sons we publicly disclaim them, without regarding nature or its laws, or the constraint which it lays upon us, much more ought we to fly from our companions and acquaintances when they are wicked. Because even if we receive no injury from them, we shall anyhow not be able to escape ill report, for strangers search not into our lives, but judge us from our companions. This advice I address to young men and maidens. Providing, It says, things honest, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of all men. Romans 12:17 Let us then use every means that our neighbor be not offended. For a life, though it be very upright, if it offend others has lost all. But how is it possible for the life that is upright to offend? When the society of those that are not upright invests it with an evil reputation; for when, trusting in ourselves, we consort with bad men, even though we be not harmed, we offend others. These things I say to men and women and maidens, leaving it to their conscience to see exactly how many evils are produced from this source. Neither I, perhaps, nor any of the more perfect, suspect any ill; but the simpler brother is harmed by occasion of your perfection; and you ought to be careful also for his infirmity. And even if he receive no injury, yet the Greek is harmed. Now Paul bids us be without offense, both to Jews and Greeks, and to the Church of God. 1Corinthians 10:32 (I think no evil of the virgin, for I love virginity, and love thinks no evil 1Corinthians 13:5; I am a great admirer of that state of life, and I cannot have so much as an unseemly thought about it.) How shall we persuade those that are without? For we must take forethought for them also. Let us then so order what relates to ourselves, that none of the unbelievers may be able even to find a just handle of accusation against us. For as they who show forth a right life glorify God, so they who do the contrary cause Him to be blasphemed. May no such persons be among us: but may our works so shine, that our Father which is in Heaven may be glorified, and that we may enjoy the honor which is from Him. To which may we all attain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Homily 58 on the Gospel of John

John 9:17–18

They say unto the blind man again, What do you say of him, that he has opened your eyes? He said, He is a Prophet. The Jews then did not believe.

1. We must go over the Scriptures not in a chance way or carelessly, but with all exactness, that we be not entangled. Since even now in this place one might with show of reason question, how, when they had asserted, This man is not of God, because he keeps not the Sabbath, they now say to the man, What do you say of him, that he has opened your eyes? and not, What do you say of him, that he has broken the Sabbath? but put now that which was the ground of the defense, not that of the accusation. What then have we to reply? That these (who speak) are not the men who said, This man is not of God, but those who separated themselves from them, who also said, A man that is a sinner cannot do such miracles. For desiring to silence their opponents the more, in order that they may not seem to be partisans of Christ, they bring forward the man who had received proof of His power, and question him. Observe now the wisdom of the poor man, he speaks more wisely than them all. First he says, He is a Prophet; and shrank not from the judgment of the perverse Jews who spoke against Him and said, How can this man be of God, not keeping the Sabbath? but replied to them, He is a Prophet.

And they did not believe that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they had called his parents.

Observe in how many ways they attempt to obscure and take away the miracle. But this is the nature of truth, by the very means by which it seems to be assailed by men, by these it becomes stronger, it shines by means of that by which it is obscured. For if these things had not taken place, the miracle might have been suspected by the many; but now, as if desiring to lay bare the truth, so do they use all means, and would not have acted otherwise, supposing they had done all in Christ's behalf. For they first attempted to cast Him down by occasion of this mode (of cure), saying, How opened he your eyes? that is, was it by some sorcery? In another place also, when they had no charge to bring against Him, they endeavored to insult the mode of the cure, saying, He does not cast out devils save by Beelzebub. Matthew 12:24 And here again, when they have nothing to say, they betake themselves to the time (of cure), saying, He breaks the Sabbath; and again, He is a sinner. Yet He asked you, who would slay Him, and who were ready to lay hold of His actions, most plainly, saying, Which of you convinces Me of sin? John 8:46; and no man spoke, nor said Thou blaspheme because you make yourself without sin. But if they had had it in their power to say so, they would not have held their peace. For they who because they heard that He was before Abraham would have stoned Him, and said that He was not of God, who boasted that they, murderers as they were, were of God, but who said that One who did such wonders, after that He had wrought a cure, was not of God, because He kept not the Sabbath, if they had had but a shadow of a charge against Him, would never have let it pass. And if they call Him a sinner because He seemed to break the Sabbath, this charge also is shown to be unsound, when those who are ranked with them condemn their great coldness and littleness of soul. Being therefore entangled on every side, they afterwards betake themselves to something else more shameless and impudent. What is that? They did not believe, It says, that he had been blind, and received his sight. How then did they charge Christ with not keeping the Sabbath? Plainly, as having believed. But why gave ye not heed to the great number of people? To the neighbors who knew him? As I said, falsehood everywhere defeats itself by the very means by which it seems to annoy the truth, and makes the truth to appear more bright. Which was now the case. For that no one might say that his neighbors and those who had seen him did not speak with precision, but guessed from a likeness, they bring forward his parents, by whom they succeeded against their will in proving that what had taken place was real, since the parents best of all knew their own child. When they could not terrify the man himself, but beheld him with all boldness proclaim his Benefactor, they thought to wound the miracle by means of his parents. Observe the malice of their questioning. For what says it? Having placed them in the midst so as to throw them into distress, they apply the questioning with great severity and anger,

John 9:19

Is this your son? (and they said not, who once was blind, but) of whom you say that he was born blind?

As if they were acting deceitfully, and plotting on behalf of Christ. O you accursed, utterly accursed! What father would choose to invent such falsehoods against his child? For they almost say, Whom you have made out blind, and not only so, but have spread abroad the report everywhere.

How then does he now see?

2. O folly! Yours, says one, is the trick and the contrivance. For by these two things do they attempt to lead the parents to a denial; by using the words, Whom ye say, and, How then does he now see? Now when there were three questions asked, whether he was their son, whether he had been blind, and how he received his sight, the parents only acknowledged two of them, but do not add the third. And this came to pass for the sake of the truth, in order that none other save the man that was healed, who was also worthy of credit, should acknowledge this matter. And how would the parents have favored (Christ), when even of what they knew some part they spoke not through fear of the Jews? What say they?

John 9:20–21

We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but by what means he now sees we know not, or who has opened his eyes we know not; he is of age, he shall speak for himself.

By making him to be worthy of credit, they begged off themselves; He is not a child, say they, nor incapable, but able to testify for himself.

John 9:22

These words spoke they, because they feared the Jews.

Observe how the Evangelist again brings forward their opinion and thoughts. This I say, because of that speech which they before uttered, when they said, He makes Himself equal to God. John 5:18 For had that also been the opinion of the Jews but not the judgment of Christ, he would have added and said, that it was a Jewish opinion. When therefore the parents referred them to him that had been healed, they called him again the second time, and did not say openly and shamelessly, Deny that Christ healed you, but would fain effect this under a pretense of piety.

John 9:24

Give the glory to God.

For to have said to the parents, Deny that he is your son, and that he was born blind, would have seemed very ridiculous. And again, to have said this to himself would have been manifest shamelessness. Wherefore they say not so, but manage the matter in another way, saying, Give God the glory, that is, confess that this man has wrought nothing.

We know that this man is a sinner.

Why then did ye not convict Him when He said, "Which of you convinces Me of sin?» John 8:46 Whence know ye that He is a sinner? After that they had said, Give God the glory, and the man had made no reply, Christ meeting praised him, and did not rebuke him, nor say, Wherefore have you not given glory to God? But what said He? Do you believe in the Son of God? John 9:35, that you may learn that this is to give glory to God. Now had He not been equal in honor to the Father, this would not have been giving glory; but since he that honors the Son honors the Father also, the blind is with good reason not rebuked. Now while they expected that the parents would contradict and deny the miracle, the Pharisees said nothing to the man himself, but when they saw that they profited nothing by this, they again return to him, saying, This man is a sinner.

John 9:25

He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not; one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.

Surely the blind man was not terrified? That be far from him. How then does he who said, He is a Prophet John 9:17, now say, Whether he be a sinner, I know not? He said so, not as being in such a state of mind, nor as having persuaded himself of this thing, but desiring to clear Him from their charges by the testimony of the fact, not by his own declaration, and to make the defense credible, when the testimony of the good deed done should decide the matter against them. Since if after many words when the blind man said, Except this were a righteous man he could not do such miracles John 9:33, they were so enraged as to reply, You were altogether born in sin, and do you teach us? what would they not have said, if he had spoken so from the beginning; what would they not have done? Whether he be a sinner or not, I know not; as though he had said, I say nothing in this man's favor, I make no declaration at present, yet this I certainly know and would affirm, that if he were a sinner he could not have done such things. Thus he kept himself free from suspicion, and his testimony uncorrupted, as not speaking from partiality, but as bearing witness according to the fact. When therefore they could neither upset nor remove what had been done, they again return to their former plan, making trifling enquiries about the manner of the cure, like men who search on every side about a prey which is before them, and cannot be hurt, hastening round now in one direction, now in another; and they recur to the man's former assertions, in order now to make them unsound by continual questions, and say,

John 9:26

What did he to you? How opened he your eyes?

What was his reply? Having conquered and cast them down, he no longer speaks to them submissly. As long as the matter needed enquiry and arguments he spoke guardedly, while he supplied the proof; but when he had conquered and gained a splendid victory, he then takes courage, and tramples upon them. What says he?

John 9:27

I have told you once, and you did not hear; wherefore would ye hear it again?

Do you see the bold-speaking of a beggar towards Scribes and Pharisees? So strong is truth, so weak is falsehood. Truth, though she take hold but of ordinary men, makes them to appear glorious; the other, even though it be with the strong, shows them weak. What he says is of this kind: You give no heed to my words, therefore I will no longer speak or answer you continually, who question me to no purpose, and who do not desire to hear in order to learn, but that you may insult over my words.

Will ye also be His disciples?

3. Now he has ranked himself among the band of disciples, for the will you also? is the expression of one who is declaring himself to be a disciple. Then he mocked and annoyed them abundantly. For since he knew that this struck them hard, he said it, wishing to upbraid them with exceeding severity; the act of a soul courageous, soaring on high and despising their madness, pointing out the greatness of this dignity, in which he was very confident, and showing that they insulted him who was a man worthy to be admired, but that he took not the insult to himself, but grasped as an honor what they offered as a reproach.

John 9:28

You are his disciple, but we are Moses» disciples.

But this cannot be. You are neither Moses» nor this Man's; for were ye Moses», you would become this Man's also. Wherefore Christ before said to them, because they were continually betaking themselves to these speeches, Had ye believed Moses, you would have believed Me, for he wrote of Me. John 5:46

John 9:29

We know that God spoke unto Moses.

By whose word, whose report? That of our forefathers, says one. Is not He then more to be believed than your forefathers, who confirms by miracles that He came from God, and that He speaks things from above? They said not, We have heard that God spoke to Moses, but, We know. Do ye affirm, O Jews, what you have by hearing, as knowing it, but deem what you have by sight as less certain than what you have by hearing? Yet the one ye saw not, but heard, the other ye did not hear, but saw. What then says the blind man?

John 9:30

Why herein is a marvelous thing, that you know not whence He is, and He does such miracles.

That a Man, who is not one of the distinguished or noble or illustrious among you, can do such things; so that it is in every way clear that He is God, needing no human aid.

John 9:31

We know that God hears not sinners.

Since they had been the first to say, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? John 9:16, he now brings forward even their judgment, reminding them of their own words. This opinion, says he, is common to me and you. Stand fast now to it. And observe, I pray you, his wisdom. He turns about the miracle in every way, because they could not do away with it, and from it he draws his inferences. Do you see that at first he said Whether he be a sinner or not, I know not? Not doubting (God forbid!) but knowing that He was not a sinner. At least now, when he had an opportunity, see how he defended Him. We know that God hears not sinners:

But if any man be a worshiper of God, and does His will.

Here he not only has cleared Him from sin, but declares that He is very pleasing to God, and does all His will. For since they called themselves worshipers of God, he added, and does His will; since, says he, it is not sufficient to know God: men must also do His will. Then he magnifies what had been done, saying,

John 9:32

Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.

If now ye acknowledge that God hears not sinners, and this Person has wrought a miracle, and such a miracle as no man ever wrought, it is clear that He has surpassed all things in virtue, and that His power is greater than belongs to man. What then say they?

John 9:34

You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us?

As long as they expected that he would deny Christ, they deemed him trustworthy, calling upon him once and a second time. If you deemed him not trustworthy, why did ye call and question him a second time? But when he spoke the truth, unabashed, then, when they ought most to have admired, they condemned him. But what is the, You were altogether born in sins? They here unsparingly reproach him with his very blindness, as though they had said, You are in sins from your earliest age; insinuating that on this account he was born blind; which was contrary to reason. On this point at least Christ comforting him said, For judgment I have come into the world, that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind. John 9:39

You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us? Why, what had the man said? Did he set forth his private opinion? Did he not set forth a common judgment, saying, We know that God hears not sinners? Did he not produce your own words?

And they cast him out.

Have you beheld the herald of the truth, how poverty was no hindrance to his true wisdom? Do you see what reproaches, what sufferings he bare from the beginning, and how by word and by deed he testified?

4. Now these things are recorded, that we too may imitate them. For if the blind man, the beggar, who had not even seen Him, straightway showed such boldness even before he was encouraged by Christ, standing opposed to a whole people, murderous, possessed, and raving, who desired by means of his voice to condemn Christ, if he neither yielded nor gave back, but most boldly stopped their mouths, and chose rather to be cast out than to betray the truth; how much more ought we, who have lived so long in the faith, who have seen ten thousand marvels wrought by faith, who have received greater benefits than he, have recovered the sight of the eyes within, have beheld the ineffable Mysteries, and have been called to such honor, how ought we, I say, to exhibit all boldness of speech towards those who attempt to accuse, and who say anything against the Christians, and to stop their mouths, and not to acquiesce without an effort. And we shall be able to do this, if we are bold, and give heed to the Scriptures, and hear them not carelessly. For if one should come in here regularly, even though he read not at home, if he attends to what is said here, one year even is sufficient to make him well versed in them; because we do not today read one kind of Scriptures, and tomorrow another, but always and continually the same. Still such is the wretched disposition of the many, that after so much reading, they do not even know the names of the Books, and are not ashamed nor tremble at entering so carelessly into a place where they may hear God's word. Yet if a harper, or dancer, or stage-player call the city, they all run eagerly, and feel obliged to him for the call, and spend the half of an entire day in attending to him alone; but when God speaks to us by Prophets and Apostles, we yawn, we scratch ourselves, we are drowsy. And in summer, the heat seems too great, and we betake ourselves to the market place; and again, in winter, the rain and mire are a hindrance, and we sit at home; yet at horse races, though there is no roof over them to keep off the wet, the greater number, while heavy rains are falling, and the wind is dashing the water into their faces, stand like madmen, caring not for cold, and wet, and mud, and length of way, and nothing either keeps them at home, or prevents their going there. But here, where there are roofs over head, and where the warmth is admirable, they hold back instead of running together; and this too, when the gain is that of their own souls. How is this tolerable, tell me? Thus it happens, that while we are more skilled than any in those matters, in things necessary we are more ignorant than children. If a man call you a charioteer, or a dancer, you say that you have been insulted, and use every means to wipe off the affront; but if he draw you to be a spectator of the action, you do not start away, and the art whose name you shun, you almost in every case pursue. But where you ought to have both the action and the name, both to be and to be called a Christian, you do not even know what kind of thing the action is. What can be worse than this folly? These things I have desired continually to say to you, but I fear lest I gain hatred in vain and unprofitably. For I perceive that not only the young are mad, but the old also; about whom I am especially ashamed, when I see a man venerable from his white hairs, disgracing those white hairs, and drawing a child after him. What is worse than this mockery? What more shameful than this conduct? The child is taught by the father to act unseemly.

5. Do the words sting? This is what I desire, that you should suffer the pain caused by the words, in order to be delivered from the disgrace caused by the actions. For there are some too far colder than these, who are not even ashamed at the things spoken of, nay, who even put together a long argument in defense of the action. If you ask them who was Amos or Obadiah, or what is the number of the Prophets or Apostles, they cannot even open their mouth but for horses and charioteers, they compose excuses more cleverly than sophists or rhetoricians, and after all this, they say, What is the harm? What is the loss? This is what I groan for, that you do not so much as know that the action is a loss, nor have a sense of its evils. God has given to you an appointed space of life for serving Him, and do you while you spend it vainly, and at random, and on nothing useful, still ask, What loss is there? If you have spent a little money to no purpose, you call it a loss: when you spend whole days of yours upon the devil's pageants, do you think that you are doing nothing wrong? You ought to spend all your life in supplications and prayers, whereas you waste your life and substance heedlessly, and to your own hurt, on shouts, and uproar, and shameful words, and fighting, and unseasonable pleasure, and actions performed by trickery, and after all this you ask, What is the loss? not knowing you should be lavish of anything rather than time. Gold, if you shall have spent, you may get again; but if you lose time, you shall hardly recover that. Little is dealt out to us in this present life; if therefore we employ it not as we ought, what shall we say when we depart there? For tell me, if you had commanded one of your sons to learn some art, and then he had continually stayed at home, or even passed his time somewhere else, would not the teacher reject him? Would he not say to you, You have made an agreement with me, and appointed a time; if now your son will not spend this time with me but in other places, how shall I produce him to you as a scholar? Thus also we must speak. For God will say also to us, I gave you time to learn this art of piety, wherefore have ye foolishly and uselessly wasted that time? Why did ye neither go constantly to the teacher, nor give heed to his words? For to show that piety is an art, hear what the Prophet says, Come, you children, hearken unto me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Psalm 34:11 And again, Blessed is the man whom You instruct, Lord, and teachest him out of Your Law. Psalm 94:12 When therefore you have spent this time in vain, what excuse will you have? And why, says some one, did He deal out to us but little time? O senselessness and ingratitude! That for which thou were most bounden to give thanks to Him, for that He has cut short your labors and abridged your toils, and made the rest long and everlasting, for this do you find fault, and art discontented?

But I know not how we have brought our discourse to this point, and have made it so long; we must therefore shorten it now. For this too is a part of our wretchedness, that here if the discourse be long, we all become careless, while there they begin at noon, and retire by torch and lamp light. However, that we be not always chiding, we now entreat and beseech you, grant this favor to us and to yourselves; and getting free from all other matters, to these let us rivet ourselves. So shall we gain from you joy and gladness, and honor on your account, and a recompense for these labors; while you will reap all the reward, because having been aforetime so madly riveted to the stage, you tore yourselves away, through fear of God, and by our exhortations, from that malady, and broke your bonds, and hastened unto God. Nor is it there alone that you shall receive your reward, but here also you shall enjoy pure pleasure. Such a thing is virtue; besides giving us crowns in heaven, even here it makes life pleasant to us. Let us then be persuaded by what has been said, that we may obtain the blessings both here and hereafter, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, now and ever and world without end. Amen.

Homily 59 on the Gospel of John

John 9:34–36

And they cast him out. And Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, Do you believe in the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is He, Lord, that I might believe in Him? And the rest.

1. They who for the sake of the truth and the confession of Christ suffer anything terrible and are insulted, these are especially honored. For as he who loses his possessions for His sake, the same it is who most finds them; as he who hates his own life, the same it is who most loves it; so too he who is insulted, is the same who is most honored. As fell out in the case of the blind man. The Jews cast him out from the Temple, and the Lord of the Temple found him; he was separated from that pestilent company, and met with the Fountain of salvation; he was dishonored by those who dishonored Christ, and was honored by the Lord of Angels. Such are the prizes of truth. And so we, if we leave our possessions in this world, find confidence in the next; if here we give to the afflicted, we shall have rest in heaven; if we be insulted for the sake of God, we are honored both here and there.

When they had cast him out from the Temple, Jesus found him. The Evangelist shows, that He came for the purpose of meeting him. And observe how He recompenses him, by that which is the chiefest of blessings. For He made Himself known to him who before knew Him not, and enrolled him into the company of His own disciples. Observe also how the Evangelist describes the exact circumstances; for when Christ had said, Do you believe in the Son of God? the man replied, Lord, who is He? For as yet he knew Him not, although he had been healed; because he was blind before he came to his Benefactor, and after the cure, he was being worried by those dogs. Therefore, like some judge at the games, He receives the champion who had toiled much and gained the crown. And what says He? Do you believe in the Son of God? What is this, after so much arguing against the Jews, after so many words, He asks him, Do you believe? He spoke it not from ignorance, but desiring to make Himself known, and showing that He gently valued the man's faith. This great multitude, He says, has insulted Me, but of them I make no account; for one thing I care, that you should believe. For better is one who does the will of God, than ten thousand transgressors. Do you believe in the Son of God? As having both been present, and as approving what had been said by him, He asks this question; and first, He brought him to a state of longing for Himself. For He said not directly, Believe, but in the way of an enquiry. What then said the man? Lord, who is He, that I might believe in Him? The expression is that of a longing and enquiring soul. He knows not Him in whose defense he had spoken so much, that you may learn his love of truth. For he had not yet seen Him.

John 9:37

Jesus says unto him, You have both seen Him, and it is He that talks with you.

He said not I am He, but as yet in an intermediate and reserved manner, You have both seen Him. This was still uncertain; therefore He adds more clearly, It is He that talks with you.

John 9:38

He says, Lord, I believe; and he worshipped Him (straightway ).

He said not, I am He that healed you, that bade you, Go, wash in Siloam; but keeping silence on all these points, He says, Do you believe in the Son of God? and then the man, showing his great earnestness, straightway worshipped; which few of those who were healed had done; as, for instance, the lepers, and some others; by this act declaring His divine power. For that no one might think that what had been said by him was a mere expression, he added also the deed. When he had worshipped, Christ said,

John 9:39

For judgment I have come into the world, that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind.

So also says Paul; What shall we say then? That the Gentiles which followed not after righteousness have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of the faith of Jesus; but Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Romans 9:30–31 By saying, For judgment I have come into this world, He both made the man stronger respecting the faith, and aroused those who followed Him; for the Pharisees were following Him. And the, For judgment, He spoke with reference to a greater punishment; showing that they who had given sentence against Him, had received sentence against themselves; that they who had condemned Him as a sinner, were themselves the persons condemned. In this passage He speaks of two recoveries of sight, and two blindnesses; one sensible, the other spiritual.

John 9:40

Some of them that followed Him, say unto Him, Are we also blind?

As in another place they said, We were never servants to any man; and, We be not born of fornication c. viii. 33, 41; so now they gape on material things alone, and are ashamed of this kind of blindness. Then to show that it was better for them to be blind than seeing, He says,

John 9:41

If you were blind, you should have no sin.

Since they deemed the calamity a matter to be ashamed of, He turns this back upon their own head, telling them, that this very thing would have rendered your punishment more tolerable; cutting away on every side their human thoughts, and leading them to a notion high and marvelous.

But now ye say, We see.

As He says in that other place, Of whom you said that He was your God John 8:54; so too here, Now ye say that you see, but you see not. He shows that what they deemed a great matter for praise, brought punishment upon them. He also comforted him who was blind from his birth, concerning his former maimed state, and then speaks concerning their blindness. For He directs His whole speech to this end, that they may not say, We did not refuse to come to you owing to our blindness, but we turn away and avoid you as a deceiver.

2. And not without a cause has the Evangelist mentioned, that they of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things, and said, Are we blind also? but to remind you that these were the men who first withdrew from and then stoned Him, for they were persons who followed Him superficially, and who easily changed to the contrary opinion. How then does He prove that He is not a deceiver, but a Shepherd? By laying down the distinguishing marks both of the shepherd, and of him who is a deceiver and a spoiler, and from these affording them opportunity of searching into the truth of the matter. And first He shows who is a deceiver and a spoiler, calling him so from the Scriptures, and saying,

John 10:1

Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

Observe the marks of a robber; first, that he does not enter openly; secondly, not according to the Scriptures, for this is the, not by the door. Here also He referrs to those who had been before, and to those who should be after Him, Antichrist and the false Christs, Judas and Theudas, and whatever others there have been of the same kind. And with good cause He calls the Scriptures a door, for they bring us to God, and open to us the knowledge of God, they make the sheep, they guard them, and suffer not the wolves to come in after them. For Scripture, like some sure door, bars the passage against the heretics, placing us in a state of safety as to all that we desire, and not allowing us to wander; and if we undo it not, we shall not easily be conquered by our foes. By it we can know all, both those who are, and those who are not, shepherds. But what is into the fold? It refers to the sheep, and the care of them. For he that uses not the Scriptures, but climbs up some other way, that is, who cuts out for himself another and an unusual way, the same is a thief. Do you see from this too that Christ agrees with the Father, in that He brings forward the Scriptures? On which account also He said to the Jews, Search the Scriptures John 5:39; and brought forward Moses, and called him and all the Prophets witnesses, for all, says He, who hear the Prophets shall come to Me; and, Had ye believed Moses, you would have believed Me. But here He has put the same thing metaphorically. And by saying, climbs up some other way, He alluded to the Scribes, because they taught for commandments the doctrines of men, and transgressed the Law Matthew 15:9; with which He reproached them, and said, None of you does the Law. John 7:19 Well did He say, climbs up, not enters in, since to climb is the act of a thief intending to overleap a wall, and who does all with danger. Have you seen how He has sketched the robber? Now observe the character of the shepherd. What then is it?

John 10:2–4

He that enters in by the door, the same is the shepherd of the sheep; to him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own by name. And when he has brought them out, he goes before them.

3. He has set down the marks of the shepherd, and of the evil doer; let us now see how He has fitted to them what follows. To him, He says, the doorkeeper opens; He continues in the metaphor to make the discourse more emphatic. But if you should be minded to examine the parable word by word, there is nothing to hinder you from supposing Moses to be the doorkeeper, for to him were entrusted the oracles of God. Whose voice the sheep hear, and he calls his own by name. Because they everywhere said that He was a deceiver, and confirmed this by their own unbelief, saying, Which of the rulers has believed on him? John 7:48 He shows that they ought not on account of the unbelief of those persons to call Him a spoiler and deceiver, but that they, because they gave no heed to Him were consequently even excluded from the rank of sheep. For if a shepherd's part is to enter through the usual door, and if He entered through this, all they who followed Him might be sheep, but they who rent themselves away, hurt not the reputation of the Shepherd, but cast themselves out from the kindred of the sheep. And if farther on He says that He is the door, we must not again be disturbed, for He also calls Himself Shepherd, and Sheep, and in different ways proclaims His dispensations. Thus, when He brings us to the Father, He calls Himself a Door, when He takes care of us, a Shepherd; and it is that you may not suppose, that to bring us to the Father is His only office, that He calls Himself a Shepherd. And the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep, and leads them out, and goes before them. Shepherds indeed do the contrary, for they follow after them; but He to show that He will lead all men to the truth, does differently; as also when He sent the sheep, He sent them, not out of the way of wolves, but in the midst of wolves. Matthew 10:16 For far more wonderful is this manner of keeping sheep than ours. He seems to me also to allude to the blind man, for him too, having called, He led out from the midst of the Jews, and the man heard His voice, and knew it.

John 10:5

And a stranger will they not follow, for they know not the voice of strangers.

Certainly here He speaks of Theudas and Judas, (for all, as many as believed on them, were scattered [ Acts v. 36 ], It says,) or of the false Christs who after that time should deceive. For lest any should say that He was one of these, He in many ways separates Himself from them. And the first difference He sets down is His teaching from the Scriptures; for He by means of these led men to Him, but the others did not from these draw men after them. The second is, the obedience of the sheep; for on Him they all believed, not only while He lived, but when He had died; the others they straightway left. With these we may mention a third difference, no trifling one. They did all as rebels, and to cause revolts, but He placed Himself so far from such suspicion, that when they would have made Him a king, He fled; and when they asked, Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar? He bade them pay it, and Himself gave the two drachm piece. Matthew 17:27 Besides this, He indeed came for the saving of the sheep, That they might have life, and that they might have more abundantly John 10:10, but the others deprived them even of this present life. They betrayed those who were entrusted to them and fled, but He withstood so nobly as even to give up His life. They unwillingly, and by compulsion, and desiring to escape, suffered what they suffered, but He willingly and by choice endured all.

John 10:6

This parable spoke Jesus unto them, but they understood not what things they were which He spoke unto them.

And wherefore spoke He obscurely? Because He would make them more attentive; when He had effected this, He removes the obscurity, saying,

John 10:9

I am the door, by Me if any man enter in, he shall go in and out, and find pasture.

As though He had said, shall be in safety and security, (but by pasture, He here means His nurturing and feeding the sheep, and His power and Lordship,) that is, shall remain within, and none shall thrust him out. Which took place in the case of the Apostles, who came in and went out securely, as having become lords of all the world, and none was able to cast them out.

John 10:8

All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.

He does not here speak of the Prophets, (as the heretics assert,) for as many as believed on Christ did hear them also, and were persuaded by them; but of Theudas and Judas, and the other exciters of sedition. Besides, He says, the sheep did not hear them, as praising them; now nowhere is He seen to praise those who refused to hearken to the Prophets, but, on the contrary, to reproach and accuse them vehemently; whence it is evident that the, did not hear, refers to those leaders of sedition.

John 10:10

The thief comes not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.

Which then took place when all (their followers) were slain and perished.

But I have come that they might have life, and that they might have more.

And what is more than life, tell me? The kingdom of heaven. But He does not as yet say this, but dwells on the name of life, which was known to them.

John 10:11

I am the good Shepherd.

Here He next speaks concerning the Passion, showing that this should be for the salvation of the world, and that He came to it not unwillingly. Then again He mentions the character of the shepherd and the hireling.

For the shepherd lays down his life.

John 10:12

But he that is an hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf comes and catches them.

Here He declares Himself to be Master even as the Father, if so be that He is the Shepherd, and the sheep are His. Do you see how He speaks in a more lofty tone in His parables, where the sense is concealed; and gives no open handle to the listeners? What then does this hireling? He sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and the wolf comes, and scatters them. This those false teachers did, but He the contrary. For when He was taken, He said, Let these go their way, that the saying might be fulfilled c. xviii. 8, 9, that not one of them was lost. Here also we may suspect a spiritual wolf to be intended; for neither did Christ allow him to go and seize the sheep. But he is not a wolf only, but a lion also. Because our adversary the devil, It says, walks about as a roaring lion. 1 Peter 5:8 He is also a serpent, and a dragon; for, Tread ye on serpents and scorpions. Luke 10:19

4. Wherefore, I beseech you, let us remain pasturing beneath this Shepherd; and we shall remain, if we obey Him, if we hear His voice, if we follow not a stranger. And what is His voice? Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the pure in heart, blessed are the merciful. Matthew 5:3–8 If thus we do, we shall remain beneath the Shepherd, and the wolf will not be able to come in; or if he come against us, he will do so to his own hurt. For we have a Shepherd who so loves us, that He gave even His life for us. When therefore He is both powerful and loves us, what is there to hinder us from being saved? Nothing, unless we ourselves revolt from Him. And how can we revolt? Hear Him saying, You cannot serve two masters, God and mammon. Matthew 6:24 If then we serve God, we shall not submit to the tyranny of mammon. And truly a bitterer thing than any tyranny is the desire of riches; for it brings no pleasure, but cares, and envyings, and plottings, and hatred, and false accusations, and ten thousand impediments to virtue, indolence, wantonness, greediness, drunkenness, which make even freemen slaves, nay, worse than slaves bought with money, slaves not to men, but even to the most grievous of the passions, and maladies of the soul. Such a one dares many things displeasing to God and men, dreading lest any should remove from him this dominion. O bitter slavery, and devlish tyranny! For this is the most grievous thing of all, that when entangled in such evils we are pleased and hug our chain, and dwelling in a prison house full of darkness, refuse to come forth to the light, but rivet evil upon ourselves, and rejoice in our malady. So that we cannot be freed, but are in a worse state than those that work the mines, enduring labors and affliction, but not enjoying the fruit. And what is in truth worse than all, if any one desire to free us from this bitter captivity, we do not suffer it, but are even vexed and displeased, being in this respect in no better case than madmen, or rather in a much more miserable state than any such, inasmuch as we are not even willing to be delivered from our madness. What? Was it for this, O man, that you were brought into the world? Was it for this that you were made a man, that you might work in these mines, and gather gold? Not for this did God create you in His Image, but that you might please Him, that you might obtain the things to come, that you might join the choir of Angels. Why now do you banish yourself from such a relationship, and thrust yourself into the extreme of dishonor and meanness? He who came by the same birth pangs with you, (the spiritual birth pangs I mean,) is perishing with hunger, and you are bursting with fullness: your brother goes about with naked body, but you provide garments even for your garments, heaping up all this clothing for the worms. How much better would it have been to put them on the bodies of the poor; so would they have remained undestroyed, would have freed you from all care, and have won for you the life to come. If you will not have them to be moth-eaten, give them to the poor, these are they who know how to shake these garments well. The Body of Christ is more precious and more secure than the coffer, for not only does It keep the garments safe, not only does It preserve them unconsumed, but even renders them brighter. Oftentimes the coffer taken with the garments causes you the utmost loss, but this place of safety not even death can harm. With It we need neither doors nor bolts, nor wakeful servants, nor any other such security, for our possessions are free from all treacherous attacks, and are laid up under guard, as we may suppose things laid up in heaven would be; for to all wickedness that place is inaccessible. These things we cease not continually to say to you, and you hearing are not persuaded. The reason is, that we are of a soul which is mean, gaping upon the earth, groveling on the ground. Or rather, God forbid that I should condemn you all of wickedness, as though all were incurably diseased. For even if those who are drunk with riches stop their ears against my words, yet they who live in poverty will be able to look clearly to what I say. But what, says some one, has this to do with the poor? For they have no gold, or any such garments. No, but they have bread and cold water, but they have two obols, and feet to visit the sick, but they have a tongue and speech to comfort the bedridden, but they have house and shelter to make the stranger their inmate. We demand not from the poor such and such a number of talents of gold, these we ask from the rich. But if a man be poor, and come to the doors of others, our Lord is not ashamed to receive even an obol, but will say that He has received more from the giver, than from those who cast in much. How many of those who now stand here would desire to have been born at that time, when Christ went about the earth in the flesh, to have conversed and sat at meat with Him? Lo, this may be done now, we may invite Him more than then to a meal, and feast with Him, and that to greater profit. For of those who then feasted with Him many even perished, as Judas and others like him; but every one of those who invite Him to their houses now, and share with Him table and roof, shall enjoy a great blessing. Come, it says, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungered, and you gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and you took Me in; sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came unto Me. Matthew 25:34–36 That then we may hear these words, let us clothe the naked, let us bring in the stranger, feed the hungry, give the thirsty drink, let us visit the sick, and look upon him that is in prison, that we may have boldness and obtain remission of our sins, and share those good things which transcend both speech and thought. Which may we all obtain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and the might forever. Amen.

Homily 60 on the Gospel of John

John 10:14–15

I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father knows Me, even so know I the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

1. A great matter, beloved, a great matter it is to preside over a Church: a matter needing wisdom and courage as great as that of which Christ speaks, that a man should lay down his life for the sheep, and never leave them deserted or naked; that he should stand against the wolf nobly. For in this the shepherd differs from the hireling; the one always looks to his own safety, caring not for the sheep; the other always seeks that of the sheep, neglecting his own. Having therefore mentioned the marks of a shepherd, Christ has put two kinds of spoilers; one, the thief who kills and steals; the other, one who does not these things, but who when they are done does not give heed nor hinder them. By the first, pointing to Theudas and those like him; by the second, exposing the teachers of the Jews, who neither cared for nor thought about the sheep entrusted to them. On which account Ezekiel of old rebuked them, and said, Woe, ye shepherds of Israel! Do the shepherds feed themselves? Do not the shepherds feed the sheep? Ezekiel 34:2, Septuagint But they did the contrary, which is the worst kind of wickedness, and the cause of all the rest. Wherefore It says, They have not turned back the strayed, nor sought the lost, nor bound up the broken, nor healed the sick, because they fed themselves and not the sheep. Ezekiel 34:4 As Paul also has declared in another passage, saying, For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's Philippians 2:21; and again, Let no man seek his own, but every man his neighbor's. 1Corinthians 10:24 From both Christ distinguishes Himself; from those who came to spoil, by saying, I have come that they might have life, and that they might have more abundantly John 10:10; and from those who cared not for the sheep being carried away by wolves, by never deserting them, but even laying down His life for them, that the sheep might not perish. For when they desired to kill Him, He neither altered His teaching, nor betrayed those who believed on Him, but stood firm, and chose to die. Wherefore He continually said, I am the good Shepherd. Then because His words appeared to be unsupported by testimony, (for though the, I lay down My life, was not long after proved, yet the, that they might have life, and that they might have more abundantly, was to come to pass after their departure hence in the life to come,) what does He? He proves one from the other; by giving His mortal life (He proves) that He gives life immortal. As Paul also says, If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled we shall be saved. Romans 5:10 And again in another place, He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:32

But wherefore do they not now bring against Him the charge which they did before, when they said, You bear witness of yourself, your witness is not true? John 8:13 Because He had often stopped their mouths, and because His boldness towards them had been increased by His miracles. Then because He said above And the sheep hear his voice, and follow him, lest any should say, What then is this to those who believe not? hear what He adds, And I know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As Paul declared when he said, God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew Romans 11:2; and Moses, The Lord knew those that were His 2 Timothy 2:19; comp. Numbers 16:5; those, He says, I mean, whom He foreknew. Then that you may not deem the measure of knowledge to be equal, hear how He sets the matter right by adding, I know My sheep, and am known of Mine. But the knowledge is not equal. Where is it equal? In the case of the Father and Me, for there, As the Father knows Me, even so know I the Father. Had He not wished to prove this, why should He have added that expression? Because He often ranked Himself among the many, therefore, lest any one should deem that He knew as a man knows, He added, As the Father knows Me, even so know I the Father. I know Him as exactly as He knows Me. Wherefore He said, No man knows the Son save the Father, nor the Father save the Son Luke 10:22, speaking of a distinct kind of knowledge, and such as no other can possess.

2. I lay down My life. This He says continually, to show that He is no deceiver. So also the Apostle, when he desired to show that he was a genuine teacher, and was arguing against the false apostles, established his authority by his dangers and deaths, saying, In stripes above measure, in deaths oft. 2Corinthians 11:23 For to say, I am light, and I am life, seemed to the foolish to be a matter of pride; but to say, I am willing to die, admitted not any malice or envy. Wherefore they do not say to Him, You bear witness of yourself, your witness is not true, for the speech manifested very tender care for them, if indeed He was willing to give Himself for those who would have stoned Him. On this account also He seasonably introduces mention of the Gentiles;

John 10:16

For other sheep also I have, which are not of this fold, them also must I bring.

Observe again, the word must, here used, does not express necessity, but is declaratory of something which will certainly come to pass. As though He had said, Why marvel ye if these shall follow Me, and if My sheep shall hear My voice? When you shall see others also following Me and hearing My voice, then shall you be astonished more. And be not confounded when you hear Him say, which are not of this fold , for the difference relates to the Law only, as also Paul says, Neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision.

Them also must I bring. He shows that both these and those were scattered and mixed, and without shepherds, because the good Shepherd had not yet come. Then He proclaims beforehand their future union, that,

They shall be one fold.

Which same thing also Paul declared, saying, For to make in Himself of two one new man. Ephesians 2:15

John 10:17

Therefore does My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again.

What could be more full of humanity than this saying, if so be that on our account our Lord shall be beloved, because He dies for us? What then? Tell me, was He not beloved during the time before this; did the Father now begin to love Him, and were we the causes of His love? Do you see how He used condescension? But what does He here desire to prove? Because they said that He was alien from the Father, and a deceiver, and had come to ruin and destroy He tells them, This if nothing else would persuade Me to love you, namely, your being so beloved by the Father, that I also am beloved by Him, because I die for you. Besides this He desires also to prove that other point, that He came not to the action unwillingly, (for it unwillingly, how could what was done cause love?) and that this was especially known to the Father. And if He speaks as a man, marvel not, for we have often mentioned the cause of this, and to say again the same things is superfluous and unpleasant.

I lay down My life, that I might take it again.

John 10:18

No man takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.

Because they often took counsel to kill Him, He tells them, Except I will, your labor is unavailing. And by the first He proves the second, by the Death, the Resurrection. For this is the strange and wonderful thing. Since both took place in a new way, and beyond ordinary custom. But let us give heed exactly to what He says, I have power to lay down My life. And who has not power to lay down his life? Since it is in the power of any that will, to kill himself. But He says it not so, but how? I have in such a way the power to lay it down, that no one can effect this against My will. And this is a power not belonging to men; for we have no power to lay it down in any other way than by killing ourselves. And if we fall into the hands of men who plot against us, and have the power to kill us, we no longer are free to lay it down or not, but even against our will they take it from us. Now this was not the case with Christ, but even when others plotted against Him, He had power not to lay it down. Having therefore said that, No man takes it from Me, He adds, I have power to lay down My life, that is, I alone can decide as to laying it down, a thing which does not rest with us, for many others also are able to take it from us. Now this He said not at first, (since the assertion would not have seemed credible,) but when He had received the testimony of facts, and when, having often plotted against Him, they had been unable to lay hold on Him, (for He escaped from their hands ten thousand times,) He then says, No man takes it from me. But if this be true, that other point follows, that He came to death voluntarily. And if this be true, the next point is also certain, that He can take it again when He will. For if the dying was a greater thing than man could do, doubt no more about the other. Since the fact that He alone was able to let go His life, shows that He was able by the same power to take it again. Do you see how from the first He proved the second, and from His death showed that His Resurrection was indisputable?

This commandment have I received of My Father.

What commandment was this? To die for the world. Did He then wait first to hear, and then choose, and had He need of learning it? Who that had sense would assert this? But before when He said, Therefore does My Father love Me, He showed that the first motion was voluntary, and removed all suspicion of opposition to the Father; so here when He says that He received a commandment from the Father, He declared nothing save that, this which I do seems good to Him, in order that when they should slay Him, they might not think that they had slain Him as one deserted and given up by the Father, nor reproach Him with such reproaches as they did, He saved others, himself he cannot save; and, If you be the Son of God, come down from the cross Matthew 27:42; yet the very reason of His not coming down was, that He was the Son of God.

3. Then lest on hearing that, I have received a command from the Father, you should deem that the achievement does not belong to Him, He has said preventing the, The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep; showing by this that the sheep were His, and that all which took place was His achievement, and that He needed no command. For had He needed a commandment, how could He have said, I lay it down of Myself? For He that lays it down of Himself needs no commandment. He also assigns the cause for which He does this. And what is that? That He is the Shepherd, and the good Shepherd. Now the good Shepherd needs no one to arouse him to his duty; and if this be the case with man, much more is it so with God. Wherefore Paul said, that He emptied Himself. Philippians 2:7 So the commandment put here means nothing else, but to show His unanimity with the Father; and if He speaks in so humble and human a way, the cause is the infirmity of His hearers.

John 10:19

There was a division therefore among the Jews. And some said, He has a devil (and is mad ). Others said, These are not the words of him that has a devil: can a devil open the eyes of the blind?

For because His words were greater than belonged to man, and not of common use, they said that He had a devil, calling Him so now for the fourth time. For they before had said, You have a devil, who seeks to kill you? John 7:20; and again, Said we not well that you are a Samaritan, and hast a devil? John 8:48; and here, He has a devil and is mad, why hear ye him? Or rather we should say, that He heard this not for the fourth time, but frequently. For to ask, Said we not well that you have a devil? is a sign that they had said so not twice or thrice, but many times. Others said, These are not the words of him that has a devil: can a devil open the eyes of the blind? For since they could not silence their opponents by words, they now brought proof from His works. Certainly neither are the words those of one that has a devil, yet if you are not persuaded by the words, be ye shamed by the works. For if they are not the acts of one that has a devil, and are greater than belong to man, it is quite clear that they proceed from some divine power. Do you see the argument? That they were greater than belonged to man is plain, from the Jews saying, He has a devil; that He had not a devil, He showed by what He did.

What then did Christ? He answered nothing to these things. Before this He had replied, I have not a devil; but not so now; for since He had afforded proof by His actions, He afterwards held His peace. For neither were they worthy of an answer, who said that He was possessed of a devil, on account of those actions for which they ought to have admired and deemed Him to be God. And how were any farther refutations from Him needed, when they opposed and refuted each other? Wherefore He was silent, and bore all mildly. And not for this reason alone, but also to teach us all meekness and long-suffering.

4. Let us now imitate Him. For not only did He now hold His peace, but even came among them again, and being questioned answered and showed the things relating to His foreknowledge; and though called demoniac and madman, by men who had received from Him ten thousand benefits, and that not once or twice but many times, not only did He refrain from avenging Himself, but even ceased not to benefit them. To benefit, do I say? He laid down His life for them, and while being crucified spoke in their behalf to His Father. This then let us also imitate, for to be a disciple of Christ, is the being gentle and kind. But whence can this gentleness come to us? If we continually reckon up our sins, if we mourn, if we weep; for neither does a soul that dwells in the company of so much grief endure to be provoked or angered. Since wherever there is mourning, it is impossible that there should be anger; where grief is, all anger is out of the way; where there is brokenness of spirit, there is no provocation. For the mind, when scourged by sorrow, has not leisure to be roused, but will groan bitterly, and weep yet more bitterly. I know that many laugh on hearing these things, but I will not cease to lament for the laughers. For the present is a time for mourning, and wailings, and lamentations, since we do many sins both in word and deed, and hell awaits those who commit such transgressions, and the river boiling with a roaring stream of fire, and banishment from the Kingdom, which is the most grievous thing of all. When these things then are threatened, tell me, do you laugh and bear you proudly? And when your Lord is angered and threatening, do you stand careless, and do you not fear lest by this thou light for yourself the furnace to a blaze? Do you not hear what He cries out every day? You saw Me an hungered, and gave Me no meat; thirsty, and you gave Me no drink; depart ye into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25 And these things He threatened every day. But, says some one, I did give Him meat. When, and for how many days? Ten or twenty? But He wills it not merely for so much time as this, but as much as you spend upon earth. For the virgins also had oil, yet not sufficient for their salvation; they too lighted their lamps, yet they were shut out from the bridechamber. And with reason, since the lamps had gone out before the coming of the Bridegroom. On this account we need much oil, and abundant lovingkindness. Hear at least what the Prophet says, Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your great mercy. Psalm 51:1 We therefore must so take pity upon our neighbor, according to His great mercy towards us. For such as we are towards our fellow-servants, such shall we find our Lord towards ourselves. And what kind of mercy is great? When we give not of our abundance, but of our deficiency. But if we give not even of our abundance, what hope shall there be for us? Whence shall we have deliverance from those woes? Where shall we be enabled to flee and to find salvation? For if the virgins after so many and so great toils found no comfort anywhere, who shall stand forth for us when we hear those fearful words of the Judge Himself, addressing and reproaching us, because I was an hungered, and you gave Me no meat; for inasmuch, It says, as you did it not unto one of the least of these, you did it not unto Me; saying this not merely of His disciples, nor of those who have taken upon themselves the ascetic life, but of every faithful man. For such an one though he be a slave, or one of those that beg in the market-place, yet if he believes in God, ought by right to enjoy all our good will. And if we neglect such an one when naked or hungry, we shall hear those words. With reason. For what difficult or grievous thing has He demanded of us? What that is not of the very lightest and easiest? He says not, I was sick, and you restored Me not, but, and you visited Me not. He says not, I was in prison, and you delivered Me not, but, and you came not unto Me. In proportion therefore as the commands are easy, so is the punishment greater to them that disobey. For what is easier, tell me, than to walk forth and enter into a prison? And what more pleasant? For when you see some bound, others covered with filth, others with uncut hair and clothed in rags, others perishing with hunger, and running like dogs to your feet, others with deep ploughed sides, others now returning in chains from the market-place, who beg all day and do not collect even necessary sustenance, and yet at evening are required by those set over them to furnish that wicked and savage service; though thou be like any stone, you will certainly be rendered kinder; though you live a soft and dissipated life, you will certainly become wiser, when you observe the nature of human affairs in other men's misfortunes; for you will surely gain an idea of that fearful day, and of its varied punishments. Revolving and considering these things, you will certainly cast out both wrath and pleasure, and the love of worldly things, and will make your soul more calm than the calmest harbor; and you will reason concerning that Judgment seat, reflecting that if among men there is so much forethought, and order, and terror, and threatenings, much more will there be with God. For there is no power but from God. Romans 13:1 He therefore who permits rulers to order these things thus, will much more do the same Himself.

5. And certainly were there not this fear, all would be lost, when though such punishments hang over them, there are many who go over to the side of wickedness. These things if you wisely observe, you will be more ready-minded towards alms-doing, and will reap much pleasure, far greater than those who come down from the theater. For they when they remove from thence are inflamed and burn with desire. Having seen those women hovering on the stage, and received from them ten thousand wounds, they will be in no better condition than a tossing sea, when the image of the faces, the gestures, the speeches, the walk, and all the rest, stand before their eyes and besiege their soul. But they who come forth from a prison will suffer nothing of this kind, but will enjoy great calm and tranquillity. For the compunction arising from the sight of the prisoners, quenches all that fire. And if a woman that is an harlot and a wanton meet a man coming forth from among the prisoners, she will work him no mischief. For becoming for the time to come, as it were, incapable of molding, he will thus not be taken by the nets of her countenance, because instead of that wanton countenance there will then be placed before his eyes the fear of the Judgment. On this account, he who had gone over every kind of luxury said, It is better to go into the house of mourning than into the house of mirth. Ecclesiastes 7:2 And so here you will show forth great wisdom, and there will hear those words which are worth ten thousand blessings. Let us then not neglect such a practice and occupation. For although we be not able to bring them food, nor to help them by giving money, yet shall we be able to comfort them by our words, and to raise up the drooping spirit, and to help them in many other ways by conversing with those who cast them into prison, and by making their keepers kinder, and we certainly shall effect either small or great good. But if you say that the men there are neither men of condition, nor good, nor gentle, but man-slayers, tomb-breakers, cut-purses, adulterers, intemperate, and full of many wickednesses, by this again you show to me a pressing reason for spending time there. For we are not commanded to take pity on the good and to punish the evil, but to manifest this lovingkindness to all men. Be, It says, like to My Father which is in heaven, for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45 Do not then accuse other men's faults bitterly, nor be a severe judge, but mild and merciful. For we also, if we have not been adulterers, or tomb-breakers, or cut-purses, yet have we other transgressions which deserve infinite punishment. Perchance we have called our brother fool, which prepares for us the pit; we have looked on women with unchastened eyes, which constitutes absolute adultery; and what is more grievous than all, we partake not worthily of the Mysteries, which makes us guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ. Let us then not be bitter enquirers into the conduct of others, but consider our own state, so shall we desist from this inhumanity and cruelty. Besides this, it may be said that we shall there find many good men, and often men worth as much as all the city. Since even that prison-house in which Joseph was had in it many evil men, yet that just man had the care of them all, and was, with the rest, concealed as to his real character; for he was worth as much as all the land of Egypt, yet still he dwelt in the prison-house, and no one knew him of those that were within it. Thus also even now it is likely that there are many good and virtuous men, though they be not visible to all men, and the care you take of such as these gives you a return for your exertions in favor of the whole. Or if there be none such, still even in this case great is your recompense; for your Lord conversed not with the just only, while He avoided the unclean, but received with kindness both the Canaanitish woman, and her of Samaria, the abominable and impure; another also who was a harlot, on whose account the Jews reproached Him, He both received and healed, and allowed His feet to be washed by the tears of the polluted one, teaching us to condescend to those that are in sin, for this most of all is kindness. What do you say? Do robbers and tomb-breakers dwell in the prison? And, tell me, are all they just men that dwell in the city? Nay, are there not many worse even than these, robbing with greater shamelessness? For the one sort, if there be no other excuse for them, at least put before themselves the veil of solitude and darkness, and the doing these things clandestinely; but the others throw away the mask and go after their wickedness with uncovered head, being violent, grasping, and covetous. Hard it is to find a man pure from injustice.

6. If we do not take by violence gold, or such and such a number of acres of land, yet we bring about the same end by deceit and robbery in lesser matters, and where we are able to do so. For when in making contracts, or when we must buy or sell anything, we dispute and strive to pay less than the value, and use our utmost endeavors to have it so, is not the action robbery? Is it not theft and covetousness? Tell not me that you have not wrested away houses or slaves, for injustice is judged not by the measure of the things taken, but by the intention of those who commit the robbery. Since just and unjust have the same force in great and in little things; and I call cut-purses alike the man who cuts through a purse and takes the gold, and him who buying from any of the market people deducts something from the proper price; nor is he the only house-breaker who breaks through a wall and steals anything within, but that man also who corrupts justice, and takes anything from his neighbor.

Let us not then pass by our own faults, and become judges of other men's; nor let us, when it is time for lovingkindness, be searching out their wickedness; but considering what our own state was once, let us now be gentle and kind. What then was our state? Hear Paul say; For we ourselves also were sometime foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, hateful, and hating one another Titus 3:3; and again, We were by nature children of wrath. Ephesians 2:3 But God seeing us as it were confined in a prison-house, and bound with grievous chains, far more grievous than those of iron, was not ashamed of us, but came and entered the prison, and, though we deserved ten thousand punishments, both brought us out from hence, and brought us to a kingdom, and made us more glorious than the heaven, that we also might do the same according to our power. For when He says to His disciples, If I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet; for I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you John 13:14, He writes this law not merely for the washing the feet, but also in all the other acts which He manifested towards us. Is it a manslayer who inhabits the prison? Yet let not us be weary in doing Him good. Is it a tomb-breaker, or an adulterer? Let us pity not his wickedness, but his calamity. But often, as I before said, one will be found there worth ten thousand; and if you go continually to the prisoners, you shall not miss so great a prize. For as Abraham, by entertaining even common guests, once met with Angels, so shall we meet with great men too, if we make the action a business. And if I may make a strange assertion, he who entertains a great man is not so worthy of praise as he who receives the wretched and miserable. For the former has, in his own life, no slight occasion of being well treated, but the other, rejected and given up by all, has one only harbor, the pity of his benefactor; so that this most of all is pure kindness. He, moreover, who shows attention to an admired and illustrious man, does it often for ostentation among men, but he who tends the abject and despairing, does it only because of the command of God. Wherefore, if we make a feast, we are bidden to entertain the lame and halt, and if we do works of mercy, we are bidden to do them to the least and meanest. For, It says, inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, you have done it unto Me. Matthew 25:45 Knowing, therefore, the treasure which is laid up in that place, let us enter continually, and make it our business, and turn there our eager feelings about theaters. If you have nothing to contribute, contribute the comfort of your words. For God recompenses not only him that feeds, but him also who goes in. When you enter and arouses the trembling and fearful soul, exhorting, succoring, promising assistance, teaching it true wisdom, you shall thence reap no small reward. For if you should speak in such manner outside the prison, many will even laugh, being dissipated by their excessive luxury: but those who are in adversity, having their minds humbled, shall meekly attend to your words, and praise them, and become better men. Since even when Paul preached, the Jews often derided him, but the prisoners listened with much stillness. For nothing renders the soul so fit for heavenly wisdom as calamity and temptation, and the pressure of affliction. Considering all these things, and how much good we shall work both to those within the prison, and to ourselves, by being continually mixed up with them, let us there spend the time we used to spend in the market-place, and in unseasonable occupations, that we may both win them and gladden ourselves, and by causing God to be glorified, may obtain the everlasting blessings, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 61 on the Gospel of John

John 10:22–24

And it was at Jerusalem, the Feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about Him, and said to Him, How long do you make us to doubt?

1. Every virtue is a good thing, but most of all gentleness and meekness. This shows us men; this makes us to differ from wild beasts; this fits us to vie with Angels. Wherefore Christ continually expends many words about this virtue, bidding us be meek and gentle. Nor does He merely expend words about it, but also teaches it by His actions; at one time buffeted and bearing it, at another reproached and plotted against; yet again coming to those who plotted against Him. For those men who had called Him a demoniac, and a Samaritan and who had often desired to kill Him, and had cast stones at Him, the same surrounded and asked Him, Are you the Christ? Yet not even in this case did He reject them after so many and so great plots against Him, but answered them with great gentleness.

But it is necessary rather to enquire into the whole passage from the beginning.

It was, It says, at Jerusalem, the Feast of the dedication, and it was winter. This feast was a great and national one. For they celebrated with great zeal the day on which the Temple was rebuilt, on their return from their long captivity in Persia. At this feast Christ also was present, for henceforth He continually abode in Judæa, because the Passion was near. Then came the Jews round about Him, and said, How long do you make us to doubt?

If you be the Christ, tell us plainly.

He did not reply, What enquire ye of Me? Often have ye called Me demoniac, madman, and Samaritan, and have deemed me an enemy of God, and a deceiver, and you said but now, You bear witness of yourself, your witness is not true; how is it then that you seek and desire to learn from Me, whose witness ye reject? But He said nothing of the kind, although He knew that the intention with which they made the enquiry was evil. For their surrounding Him and saying, How long do you make us to doubt? seemed to proceed from a certain longing and desire of learning, but the intention with which they asked the question was corrupt and deceitful. For since His works admitted not of their slander and insolence, while they might attack His sayings by finding out in them a sense other than that in which they were spoken, they continually proposed questions, desiring to silence Him by means of His sayings; and when they could find no fault with His works, they wished to find a handle in His words. Therefore they said, Tell us; yet He had often told them. For He said to the woman of Samaria, I Am that speak unto you John 4:26; and to the blind man, You have both seen Him, and it is He that talks with you. John 9:37 And He had told them also, if not in the same, at least in other words. And indeed, had they been wise, and had they desired to enquire aright, it remained for them to confess Him by words, since by works He had often proved the point in question. But now observe their perverse and disputations temper. When He addresses them, and instructs them by His words, they say, What sign do you show us? John 6:30 But when He gives them proofs by His works, they say to Him, Are you the Christ? Tell us plainly; when the works cry aloud, they seek words, and when the words teach, then they betake themselves to works, ever setting themselves to the contrary. But that they enquired not for the sake of learning, the end showed. For Him whom they deemed to be so worthy of credit, as to receive His witness of Himself, when He had spoken a few words they straightway stoned; so that their very surrounding and pressing upon Him was done with ill intent.

And the mode of questioning was full of much hatred. Tell us plainly, Are you the Christ? Yet He spoke all things openly, being ever present at their feasts, and in secret He said nothing; but they brought forward words of deceit, How long do you make us to doubt? in order that having drawn Him out, they might again find some handle against Him. For that in every case they questioned Him not in order to learn, but to find fault with His words, is clear, not from this passage only, but from many others also. Since when they came to Him and asked, Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar or not? Matthew 22:17, when they spoke about putting away a wife Matthew 19:3, when they enquired about her who, they said, had had seven husbands Matthew 22:23, they were convicted of bringing their questions to Him, not from desire of learning, but from an evil intention. But there He rebuked them, saying, Why do you tempt Me, you hypocrites? showing that He knew their secret thoughts, while here He said nothing of the kind; teaching us not always to rebuke those who plot against us, but to bear many things with meekness and gentleness.

Since then it was a sign of folly, when the works proclaimed Him aloud, to seek the witness of words, hear how He answers them, at once hinting to them that they made these enquiries superfluously, and not for the sake of learning, and at the same time showing that He uttered a voice plainer than that by words, namely, that by works.

John 10:25

I told you often, and you believe not: the works that I do in My Father's Name, they are they that bear witness of Me.

2. A remark which the more tolerable among them continually made to one another; A man that is a sinner cannot do such miracles. And again, A devil cannot open the eyes of the blind: and, No man can do such miracles except God be with him. John 3:2 And beholding the miracles that He did, they said, Is not this the Christ? Others said, When Christ comes, will He do greater miracles than those which this Man has done? John 7:31 And these very persons as many as then desired to believe in Him, saying, What sign do you show us, that we may see, and believe you? John 6:30 When then they who had not been persuaded by such great works, pretended that they should be persuaded by a bare word, He rebukes their wickedness, saying, If you believe not My works, how will you believe My words? So that your questioning is superfluous.

John 10:26

But I told you, and you believe not, because you are not of My sheep.

For I on My part have fulfilled all that it behooved a Shepherd to do, and if you follow Me not, it is not because I am not a Shepherd, but because you are not My sheep.

John 10:27–30

For My sheep hear My voice, and follow Me; and I give unto them eternal life ; neither can any man pluck them out of My hand. The Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand. I and the Father are One.

Observe how in renouncing He excites them to follow Him. You hear Me not, He says, for neither are you sheep, but they who follow, these are of the flock. This He said, that they might strive to become sheep. Then by mentioning what they should obtain, He makes these men jealous, so as to rouse them, and cause them to desire such things.

What then? Is it through the power of the Father that no man plucks them away, and have you no strength, but art too weak to guard them? By no means. And in order that you may learn that the expression, The Father which gave them to Me, is used on their account, that they might not again call Him an enemy of God, therefore, after asserting that, No man plucks them out of My hand, He proceeds to show, that His hand and the Father's is One. Since had not this been so, it would have been natural for Him to say, The Father which gave them to Me is greater than all, and no man can pluck them out of My hand. But He said not so, but, out of My Father's hand. Then that you may not suppose that He indeed is weak, but that the sheep are in safety through the power of the Father, He adds, I and the Father are One. As though He had said I did not assert that on account of the Father no man plucks them away, as though I were too weak to keep the sheep. For I and the Father are One. Speaking here with reference to Power, for concerning this was all His discourse; and if the power be the same, it is clear that the Essence is also. And when the Jews used ten thousand means, plotting and casting men out of their synagogues, He tells them that all their contrivances are useless and vain; For the sheep are in My Father's hand; as the Prophet says, Upon My hand I have pictured your walls. Isaiah 49:16 Then to show that the hand is One, He sometimes says that it is His own, sometimes the Father's. But when you hear the word hand, do not understand anything material, but the power, the authority. Again, if it was on this account that no one could pluck away the sheep, because the Father gave Him power, it would have been superfluous to say what follows, I and the Father are One. Since were He inferior to Him, this would have been a very daring saying, for it declares nothing else than an equality of power; of which the Jews were conscious, and took up stones to cast at Him. John 10:31 Yet not even so did He remove this opinion and suspicion; though if their suspicion were erroneous, He ought to have set them right, and to have said, Wherefore do ye these things? I spoke not thus to testify that my power and the Father's are equal; but now He does quite the contrary, and confirms their suspicion, and clenches it, and that too when they were exasperated. For He makes no excuse for what had been said, as though it had been said ill, but rebukes them for not entertaining a right opinion concerning Him. For when they said,

John 10:33–36

For a good work we stone you not, but for blasphemy; and because that thou being a man makest yourself God; hear His answer; If the Scripture called them gods unto whom the word of God came, blasphemest, «&c., N.T. The comment looks as if this had been read.}--> how say ye that I blaspheme, because I said, I am the Son of God?

What He says is of this kind: If those who have received this honor by grace, are not found fault with for calling themselves gods, how can He who has this by nature deserve to be rebuked? Yet He spoke not so, but proved it at a later time, having first relaxed and yielded somewhat in His discourse, and said, Whom the Father has sanctified and sent. And when He had softened their anger, He brings forward the plain assertion. For a while, that His speech might be received, He spoke in a humbler strain, but afterwards He raised it higher, saying,

John 10:37–38

If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not; but if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe the works.

Do you see how He proves what I said, that He is in nothing inferior to the Father, but in every way equal to Him? For since it was impossible to see His Essence, from the equality and sameness of the works He affords a proof of unvaryingness as to Power. And what, tell me, shall we believe?

3. That I am in the Father, and the Father in Me.

For I am nothing other than what the Father is, yet still Son; He nothing other than what I am, yet still Father. And if any man know Me, he knows the Father, and if he knows the Father, he has learned also the Son. Now were the power inferior, then also what relates to the knowledge would be false, for it is not possible to become acquainted with one substance or power by means of another.

John 10:39–41

Therefore they sought again to take Him, but He escaped out of their hands, and went away again beyond Jordan, into the place where John at first baptized. And many resorted unto Him, and said, John did no miracle, but all things that John spoke of this man were true.

When He has uttered anything great and sublime, He quickly retires, giving way to their anger, so that the passion may abate and cease through His absence. And thus He acted at that time. But wherefore does the Evangelist mention the place? That you may learn that He went there to remind them of the things there done and said by John, and of his testimony; at least when they came there, they straightway remembered John. Wherefore also they said, John indeed did no miracle, since how did it follow that they should add this, unless the place had brought the Baptist to their memory, and they had come to remember his testimony. And observe how they form incontrovertible syllogisms. John indeed did no miracle, but this man does, says some one; hence therefore his superiority is shown. If therefore men believed him who did no miracles, much more must they believe this man. Then, since it was John who bore the witness, lest his having done no miracle might seem to prove him unworthy of being a witness, they added, Yet if he did no miracle, still he spoke all things truly concerning this man; no longer proving Christ to be trustworthy by means of John, but John to be so by what Christ had done.

John 10:42

Many therefore believed on Him.

There were many things that attracted them. They remembered the words which John had spoken, calling Christ mightier than himself, and light, and life, and truth, and all the rest. They remembered the Voice which came down from heaven, and the Spirit which appeared in the shape of a dove, and pointed Him out to all; and with this they recollected the demonstration afforded by the miracles, looking to which they were for the future established. For, says some one, if it was right that we should believe John, much more ought we to believe this man; if him without miracles, much more this man, who besides the testimony of John, has also the proof from miracles. Do you see how much the abiding in this place, and the being freed from the presence of evil men, profited them? Wherefore Jesus continually leads and draws them away from the company of those persons; as also He seems to have done under the old Covenant, forming and ordering the Jews in all points, in the desert, at a distance from the Egyptians.

And this He now advises us also to do, bidding us avoid public places, and tumults, and disturbances, and pray peacefully in the chamber. For the vessel which is free from confusion, sails with a fair wind, and the soul which is separated from worldly matters rests in harbor. Wherefore women ought to have more true wisdom than men, because they are for the most part riveted to keeping at home. So, for instance, Jacob was a plain man, because he dwelt at home, and was free from the bustle of public life; for not without a cause has Scripture put this, when It says, dwelling in a house. Genesis 25:27 But, says some woman, even in a house there is great confusion. Yes, when you will have it so, and bringest about yourself a crowd of cares. For the man who spends his time in the midst of the market-places and courts of justice is overwhelmed, as if by waves, by external troubles; but the women who sits in her house as in some school of true wisdom, and collects her thoughts within herself, will be enabled to apply herself to prayers, and readings, and other heavenly wisdom. And as they who dwell in deserts have none to disturb them, so she being continually within can enjoy a perpetual calm. Nor even if at any time she need to go forth, is there then any cause for confusion. For the necessary occasions for a women to leave her house are, either for the purpose of coming hither, or when the body need to be cleansed in the bath; but for the most part she sits at home, and it is possible for her both to be herself truly wise, and receiving her husband when agitated to calm and compose him, to abate the excess and fierceness of his thoughts, and so to send him forth again, having put off all the mischiefs which he collected from the market-place, and carrying with him whatever good he learned at home. For nothing, nothing is more powerful than a pious and sensible women to bring a man into proper order, and to mould his soul as she will. For he will not endure friends, or teachers, or rulers, as he will his partner advising and counseling him, since the advice carries even some pleasure with it, because she who gives the counsel is greatly loved. I could tell of many hard and disobedient men who have been softened in this way. For she who shares his table, his bed, and his embraces, his words and secrets, his comings in and goings out, and many other things, who is entirely given up and joined to him, as it is likely that a body would be joined to a head, if she happen to be discreet and well attuned, will go beyond and excel all others in the management of her husband.

4. Wherefore I exhort women to make this their employment, and to give fitting counsel. For as they have great power for good, so have they also for evil. A women destroyed Absalom, a woman destroyed Amnon, a woman was like to have destroyed Job, a woman rescued Nabal from the slaughter. Women have preserved whole nations; for Deborah and Judith exhibited successes worthy of men; so also do ten thousand other women. Wherefore Paul says, For what do you know, O wife, whether you shall save your husband? 1Corinthians 7:16 And in those times we see Persis and Mary and Priscilla taking part in the labors of the Apostles Romans 16; whom we also needs must imitate, and not by words only, but also by actions, bring into order him that dwells with us. But how shall we instruct him by our actions? When he sees that you are not evilly disposed, not fond of expense or ornament, not demanding extravagant supplies of money, but content with what you have, then will he endure you counseling him. But if you are wise in word, and in actions doest the contrary, he will condemn you for very foolish talking. But when together with words you afford him also instruction by your works, then will he admit you and obey you the more readily; as when you desire not gold, nor pearls, nor costly clothing, but instead of these, modesty, sobriety, kindness; when you exhibit these virtues on your part and requirest them on his. For if you must needs do somewhat to please your husband, you should adorn your soul, not adorn and so spoil your person. The gold which you put about you will not make you so lovely and desirable to him, as modesty and kindness towards himself, and a readiness to die for your partner; these things most subdue men. Indeed, that splendor of apparel even displeases him, as straitening his means, and causing him much expense and care; but those things which I have named will rivet a husband to a wife; for kindness and friendship and love cause no cares, give rise to no expense, but quite the contrary. That outward adornment becomes palling by use, but that of the soul blooms day by day, and kindles a stronger flame. So that if you would please your husband, adorn your soul with modesty, piety, and management of the house. These things both subdue him more, and never cease. Age destroys not this adornment, sickness wastes it not. The adornment of the body length of time is wont to undo, sickness and many other things to waste, but what relates to the soul is above all this. That adornment causes envy, and kindles jealousy, but this is pure from disease, and free from all vainglory. Thus will matters at home be easier, and your income without trouble, when the gold is not laid on about your body or encircling your arms, but passes on to necessary uses, such as the feeding of servants, the necessary care of children, and other useful purposes. But if this be not the case, if the (wife's) face be covered with ornaments, while the (husband's) heart is pressed by anxiety, what profit, what kind of advantage is there? The one being grieved allows not the marvelous beauty of the other to be seen. For you know, you know that though a man see the most beautiful of all women, he cannot feel pleasure at the sight while his soul is sorrowful, because in order to feel pleasure a man must first rejoice and be glad. And when all his gold is heaped together to adorn a woman's body, while there is distress in his dwelling, her partner can have no pleasure. So that if we desire to be agreeable to our husbands, let us give them pleasure; and we shall give them pleasure, if we remove our ornaments and fineries. For all these things at the actual time of marriage appear to afford some delight, but this afterwards fades by time. Since if when the heaven is so beautiful, and the sun, to which you can not name any body that is equal, so bright, we admire them less from habitually seeing them, how shall we admire a body tricked out with gewgaws? These things I say, desiring that you should be adorned with that wholesome adornment which Paul enjoined; Not with gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becomes women professing godliness) with good works. 1 Timothy 2:9–10 But do you wish to please strangers, and to be praised by them? Then assuredly this is not the desire of a modest woman. However, if you wish it, by doing as I have said, you will have strangers also to love you much, and to praise your modesty. For the woman who adorns her person no virtuous and sober person will praise, but the intemperate and lascivious; nay, rather neither will these praise her, but will even speak vilely of her, having their eyes inflamed by the wantonness displayed about her; but the other all will approve, both the one sort and the other, because they receive no harm from her, but even instruction in heavenly wisdom. And great shall be her praise from men, and great her reward with God. After such adornment then let us strive, that we may live here without fear, and may obtain the blessings which are to come; which may we all obtain through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 62 on the Gospel of John

John 11:1–2

Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, of the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment.

1. Many men, when they see any of those who are pleasing to God suffering anything terrible, as, for instance, having fallen into sickness, or poverty, and any other the like, are offended, not knowing that to those especially dear to God it belongs to endure these things; since Lazarus also was one of the friends of Christ, and was sick. This at least they who sent said, Behold, he whom You love is sick. But let us consider the passage from the beginning. A certain man, It says, was sick, Lazarus of Bethany. Not without a cause nor by chance has the writer mentioned whence Lazarus was, but for a reason which he will afterwards tell us. At present let us keep to the passage before us. He also for our advantage informs us who were Lazarus» sisters; and, moreover, what Mary had more (than the other), going on to say, It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment. Here some doubting say, How did the Lord endure that a woman should do this? In the first place then it is necessary to understand, that this is not the harlot mentioned in Matthew Matthew 26:7, or the one in Luke Luke 7:37, but a different person; they were harlots full of many vices, but she was both grave and earnest; for she showed her earnestness about the entertainment of Christ. The Evangelist also means to show, that the sisters too loved Him, yet He allowed Lazarus to die. But why did they not, like the centurion and the nobleman, leave their sick brother, and come to Christ, instead of sending? They were very confident in Christ, and had towards Him a strong familiar feeling. Besides, they were weak women, and oppressed with grief; for that they acted not in this way as thinking slightly of Him, they afterwards showed. It is then clear, that this Mary was not the harlot. But wherefore, says some one, did Christ admit that harlot? That He might put away her iniquity; that He might show His lovingkindness; that you might learn that there is no malady which prevails over His goodness. Look not therefore at this only, that He received her, but consider the other point also, how He changed her. But, (to return,) why does the Evangelist relate this history to us? Or rather, what does he desire to show us by saying,

John 11:5

Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

That we should never be discontented or vexed if any sickness happen to good men, and such as are dear to God.

John 11:3

Behold, he whom you love is sick.

They desired to draw on Christ to pity, for they still gave heed to Him as to a man. This is plain from what they say, If you had been here, he had not died, and from their saying, not, Behold, Lazarus is sick, but Behold, he whom you love is sick. What then said Christ?

John 11:4

This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

Observe how He again asserts that His glory and the Father's is One; for after saying of God, He has added, that the Son of God might be glorified.

This sickness is not unto death. Since He intended to tarry two days where He was, He for the present sends away the messengers with this answer. Wherefore we must admire Lazarus» sisters, that after hearing that the sickness was not unto death, and yet seeing him dead, they were not offended, although the event had been directly contrary. But even so they came to Him, and did not think that He had spoken falsely.

The expression that in this passage denotes not cause, but consequence; the sickness happened from other causes, but He used it for the glory of God.

John 11:6

And having said this, He tarried two days.

Wherefore tarried He? That Lazarus might breathe his last, and be buried; that none might be able to assert that He restored him when not yet dead, saying that it was a lethargy, a fainting, a fit, but not death. On this account He tarried so long, that corruption began, and they said, He now stinks.

John 11:7

Then says He to his disciples, Let us go into Judea.

Why, when He never in other places told them beforehand where He was going, does He tell them here? They had been greatly terrified, and since they were in this way disposed, He forewarns them, that the suddenness might not trouble them. What then say the disciples?

John 11:8

The Jews of late sought to stone You, and You are going there again?

They therefore had feared for Him also, but for the more part rather for themselves; for they were not yet perfect. So Thomas, shaking with fear, said, Let us go, that we also may die with Him John 11:16, because Thomas was weaker and more unbelieving than the rest. But see how Jesus encourages them by what He says.

John 11:9

Are there not twelve hours of the day?

He either says this, that he who is conscious to himself of no evil, shall suffer nothing dreadful; only he that does evil shall suffer, so that we need not fear, because we have done nothing worthy of death; or else that, he who "sees the light of this world» is in safety; and if he that sees the light of this world is in safety, much more he that is with Me, if he separate not himself from Me. Having encouraged them by these words, He adds, that the cause of their going there was pressing, and shows them that they were about to go not unto Jerusalem, but unto Bethany.

John 11:11–12

Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may awake him out of sleep.

That is, I go not for the same purpose as before, again to reason and contend with the Jews, but to awaken our friend.

John 11:12

Then said His disciples, Lord, if he sleep he shall do well.

This they said not without a cause, but desiring to hinder the going there. Sayest Thou, asks one of them, that he sleeps? Then there is no urgent reason for going. Yet on this account He had said, Our friend, to show that the going there was necessary. When therefore their disposition was somewhat reluctant, He said,

John 11:14

He is dead.

2. The former word He spoke, desiring to prove that He loved not boasting; but since they understood not, He added, He is dead.

John 11:15

And I am glad for your sakes.

Why for your sakes? Because I have forewarned you of his death, not being there, and because when I shall raise him again, there will be no suspicion of deceit. Do you see how the disciples were yet imperfect in their disposition, and knew not His power as they ought? And this was caused by interposing terrors, which troubled and disturbed their souls. When He said, He sleeps, He added, I go to awake him; but when He said, He is dead, He added not, I go to raise him; for He would not foretell in words what He was about to establish certainly by works, everywhere teaching us not to be vainglorious, and that we must not make promises without a cause. And if He did thus in the case of the centurion when summoned, (for He said, I will come and heal him, Matthew 8:7) it was to show the faith of the centurion that He said this. If any one ask, How did the disciples imagine sleep? How did they not understand that death was meant from His saying, "I go to awake him?» for it was folly if they expected that He would go fifteen stadia to awake him; we would reply, that they deemed this to be a dark saying, such as He often spoke to them.

Now they all feared the attacks of the Jews, but Thomas above the rest; wherefore also he said,

John 11:16

Let us go, that we also may die with Him.

Some say that he desired himself to die; but it is not so; the expression is rather one of cowardice. Yet he was not rebuked, for Christ as yet supported his weakness, but afterwards he became stronger than all, and invincible. For the wonderful thing is this; that we see one who was so weak before the Crucifixion, become after the Crucifixion, and after having believed in the Resurrection, more zealous than any. So great was the power of Christ. The very man who dared not go in company with Christ to Bethany, the same while not seeing Christ ran well near through the inhabited world, and dwelt in the midst of nations that were full of murder, and desirous to kill him.

But if Bethany was fifteen furlongs off, which is two miles, how was Lazarus dead four days? Jesus tarried two days, on the day before those two one had come with the message, (on which same day Lazarus died,) then in the course of the fourth day He arrived. He waited to be summoned, and came not uninvited on this account, that no one might suspect what took place; nor did those women who were beloved by Him come themselves, but others were sent.

John 11:18

Now Bethany was about fifteen furlongs off.

Not without cause does he mention this, but desires to inform us that it was near, and that it was probable on this account that many would be there. He therefore declaring this adds,

John 11:19

Many of the Jews came to comfort them.

But how should they comfort women beloved of Christ, when they had agreed, that if any should confess Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue? It was either because of the grievous nature of the calamity, or that they respected them as of superior birth, or else these who came were not the wicked sort, many at least even of them believed. The Evangelist mentions these circumstances, to prove that Lazarus was really dead.

3. But why did not [Martha,] when she went to meet Christ, take her sister with her? She desired to meet with Him apart, and to tell Him what had taken place. But when He had brought her to good hopes, she went and called Mary, who met Him while her grief was yet at its height. Do you see how fervent her love was? This is the Mary of whom He said, Mary has chosen that good part. Luke 10:42 How then, says one, does Martha appear more zealous? She was not more zealous, but it was because the other had not yet been informed, since Martha was the weaker. For even when she had heard such things from Christ, she yet speaks in a groveling manner, By this time he stinks, for he has been dead four days. John 11:39 But Mary, though she had heard nothing, uttered nothing of the kind, but at once believing, says,

John 11:21

Lord, if You had been here, my brother had not died.

See how great is the heavenly wisdom of the women, although their understanding be weak. For when they saw Christ, they did not break out into mourning and wailing and loud crying, as we do when we see any of those we know coming in upon our grief; but straightway they reverence their Teacher. So then both these sisters believed in Christ, but not in a right way; for they did not yet certainly know either that He was God, or that He did these things by His own power and authority; on both which points He taught them. For they showed their ignorance of the former, by saying, If you had been here, our brother had not died; and of the latter, by saying,

John 11:22

Whatsoever you will ask of God, He will give it you.

As though they spoke of some virtuous and approved mortal. But see what Christ says;

John 11:23

Your brother shall rise again.

He thus far refutes the former saying, Whatsoever you will ask; for He said not, I ask, but what? Your brother shall rise again. To have said, Woman, thou still lookest below, I need not the help of another, but do all of Myself, would have been grievous, and a stumblingblock in her way, but to say, He shall rise again, was the act of one who chose a middle mode of speech. And by means of that which follows, He alluded to the points I have mentioned; for when Martha says,

John 11:24

I know that he shall rise again in the last day, to prove more clearly His authority, He replies,

John 11:25

I am the Resurrection and the Life.

Showing that He needed no other to help Him, if so be that He Himself is the Life; since if He needed another, how could He be the Resurrection and the Life? Yet He did not plainly state this, but merely hinted it. But when she says again, Whatsoever you will ask, He replies,

He that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

Showing that He is the Giver of good things, and that we must ask of Him.

John 11:26

And whosoever lives and believes in Me, shall never die.

Observe how He leads her mind upward; for to raise Lazarus was not the only thing sought; it was necessary that both she and they who were with her should learn the Resurrection. Wherefore before the raising of the dead He teaches heavenly wisdom by words. But if He is the Resurrection, and the Life, He is not confined by place, but, present everywhere, knows how to heal. If therefore they had said, as did the centurion, Speak the word, and my servant shall be healed Matthew 8:8, He would have done so; but since they summoned Him to them, and begged Him to come, He condescends in order to raise them from the humble opinion they had formed of Him, and comes to the place. Still while condescending, He showed that even when absent He had power to heal. On this account also He delayed, for the mercy would not have been apparent as soon as it was given, had there not been first an ill savor (from the corpse). But how did the woman know that there was to be a Resurrection? They had heard Christ say many things about the Resurrection, yet still she now desired to see Him. And observe how she still lingers below; for after hearing, I am the Resurrection and the Life, not even so did she say, Raise him, but,

John 11:27

I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God.

What is Christ's reply? He that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, (here speaking of this death which is common to all. ) And whosoever lives and believes in Me, shall never die John 11:26, signifying that other death. Since then I am the Resurrection and the Life, be not thou troubled, though your brother be already dead, but believe, for this is not death. For a while He comforted her on what had happened; and gave her glimpses of hope, by saying, He shall rise again, and, I am the Resurrection; and that having risen again, though he should again die, he shall suffer no harm, so that it needs not to fear this death. What He says is of this kind: Neither is this man dead, nor shall you die. Believest thou this? She says, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God.

Which should come into the world.

The woman seems to me not to understand the saying; she was conscious that it was some great thing, but did not perceive the whole meaning, so that when asked one thing, she answered another. Yet for a while at least she had this gain, that she moderated her grief; such was the power of the words of Christ. On this account Martha went forth first, and Mary followed. For their affection to their Teacher did not allow them strongly to feel their present sorrow; so that the minds of these women were truly wise as well as loving.

4. But in our days, among our other evils there is one malady very prevalent among our women; they make a great show in their dirges and wailings, baring their arms, tearing their hair, making furrows down their cheeks. And this they do, some from grief, others from ostentation and rivalry, others from wantonness; and they bare their arms, and this too in the sight of men. Why doest thou, woman? Do you strip yourself in unseemly sort, tell me, thou who art a member of Christ, in the midst of the market-place, when men are present there? Do you pluck your hair, and rend your garments, and wail loudly, and join the dance, and keep throughout a resemblance to Bacchanalian women, and do you not think that you are offending God? What madness is this? Will not the heathen laugh? Will they not deem our doctrines fables? They will say, There is no resurrection – the doctrines of the Christians are mockeries, trickery, and contrivance. For their women lament as though there were nothing after this world; they give no heed to the words engraven in their books; all those words are fictions, and these women show that they are so. Since had they believed that he who has died is not dead, but has removed to a better life, they would not have mourned him as no longer being, they would not have thus beaten themselves, they would not have uttered such words as these, full of unbelief, "I shall never see you more, I shall never more regain you,» all their religion is a fable, and if the very chief of good things is thus wholly disbelieved by them, much more the other things which are reverenced among them. The heathen are not so womanish, among them many have practiced heavenly wisdom; and a woman hearing that her child had fallen in battle, straightway asked, And in what state are the affairs of the city? Another truly wise, when being garlanded he heard that his son had fallen for his country, took off the garland, and asked which of the two; then when he had learned which it was, immediately put the garland on again. Many also gave their sons and their daughters for slaughter in honor of their evil deities; and Lacedæmonian women exhort their sons either to bring back their shield safe from war, or to be brought back dead upon it. Wherefore I am ashamed that the heathen show true wisdom in these matters, and we act unseemly. Those who know nothing about the Resurrection act the part of those who know; and those who know, the part of those who know not. And ofttimes many do through shame of men what they do not for the sake of God. For women of the higher class neither tear their hair nor bare their arms; which very thing is a most heavy charge against them, not because they do not strip themselves, but because they act as they do not through piety, but that they may not be thought to disgrace themselves. Is their shame stronger than grief, and the fear of God not stronger? And must not this deserve severest censure? What the rich women do because of their riches, the poor ought to do through fear of God; but at present it is quite the contrary; the rich act wisely through vainglory, the poor through littleness of soul act unseemly. What is worse than this anomaly? We do all for men, all for the things of earth. And these people utter words full of madness and much ridicule. The Lord says indeed, Blessed are they that mourn Matthew 5:4, speaking of those who mourn for their sins; and no one mourns that kind of mourning, nor cares for a lost soul; but this other we were not bidden to practice, and we practice it. What then? says some one, Is it possible being man not to weep? No, neither do I forbid weeping, but I forbid the beating yourselves, the weeping immoderately. I am neither brutal nor cruel. I know that our nature asks and seeks for its friends and daily companions; it cannot but be grieved. As also Christ showed, for He wept over Lazarus. So do thou; weep, but gently, but with decency, but with the fear of God. If so you weep, you do so not as disbelieving the Resurrection, but as not enduring the separation. Since even over those who are leaving us, and departing to foreign lands, we weep, yet we do this not as despairing.

5. And so do thou weep, as if you were sending one on his way to another land. These things I say, not as giving a rule of action, but as condescending (to human infirmity). For if the dead man have been a sinner, and one who has in many things offended God, it behooves to weep (or rather not to weep only, since that is of no avail to him, but to do what one can to procure some comfort for him by almsgivings and offerings; ) but it behooves also to rejoice at this, that his wickedness has been cut short. If he have been righteous, it again behooves to be glad, that what is his is now placed in security, free from the uncertainty of the future; if young, that he has been quickly delivered from the common evils of life; if old, that he has departed after taking to satiety that which is held desirable. But you, neglecting to consider these things, incitest your hand-maidens to act as mourners, as if forsooth thou were honoring the dead, when it is an act of extreme dishonor. For honor to the dead is not wailings and lamentings, but hymns and psalmodies and an excellent life. The good man when he departs, shall depart with angels, though no man be near his remains; but the corrupt, though he have a city to attend his funeral, shall be nothing profited. Will you honor him who is gone? Honor him in another way, by almsdeeds, by acts of beneficence and public service. What avail the many lamentations? And I have heard also another grievous thing, that many women attract lovers by their sad cries, acquiring by the fervor of their wailings a reputation for affection to their husbands. O devilish purpose! O Satanic invention! How long are we but dust and ashes, how long but blood and flesh? Look we up to heaven, take we thought of spiritual things. How shall we be able to rebuke the heathen, how to exhort them, when we do such things? How shall we dispute with them concerning the Resurrection? How about the rest of heavenly wisdom? How shall we ourselves live without fear? Knowest not thou that of grief comes death? For grief darkening the seeing part of the soul not only hinders it from perceiving anything that it ought, but also works it great mischief. In one way then we offend God, and advantage neither ourselves nor him who is gone; in the other we please God, and gain honor among men. If we sink not down ourselves, He will soon remove the remains of our despondency; if we are discontented, He permits us to be given up to grief. If we are thankful, we shall not despond. But how, says some one, is it possible not to be grieved, when one has lost a son or daughter or wife? I say not, not to grieve, but not to do so immoderately. For if we consider that God has taken away, and that the husband or son which we had was mortal, we shall soon receive comfort. To be discontented is the act of those who seek for something higher than their nature. You were born man, and mortal; why then do you grieve that what is natural has come to pass? Grievest thou that you are nourished by eating? Seekest thou to live without this? Act thus also in the case of death, and being mortal seek not as yet for immortality. Once for all this thing has been appointed. Grieve not therefore, nor play the mourner, but submit to laws laid on all alike. Grieve for your sins; this is good mourning, this is highest wisdom. Let us then mourn for this cause continually, that we may obtain the joy which is there, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 63 on the Gospel of John

John 11:30–31

Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met Him. The Jews then which were with her, and what follows.

1. A great good is philosophy; the philosophy, I mean, which is with us. For what the heathen have is words and fables only; nor have these fables anything truly wise in them; since everything among those men is done for the sake of reputation. A great good then is true wisdom, and even here returns to us a recompense. For he that despises wealth, from this at once reaps advantage, being delivered from cares which are superfluous and unprofitable; and he that tramples upon glory from this at once receives his reward, being the slave of none, but free with the real freedom; and he that desires heavenly things hence receives his recompense, regarding present things as nothing, and being easily superior to every grief. Behold, for example, how this woman by practicing true wisdom even here received her reward. For when all were sitting by her as she mourned and lamented, she did not wait that the Master should come to her, nor did she maintain what might have seemed her due, nor was she restrained by her sorrow, (for, in addition to the other wretchedness, mourning women have this malady, that they wish to be made much of on account of their case,) but she was not at all so affected; as soon as she heard, she quickly came to Him. Jesus was not yet come into the town. He proceeded somewhat slowly, that He might not seem to fling Himself upon the miracle, but rather to be entreated by them. At least, it is either with an intention of implying this that the Evangelist has said the, rises up quickly, or else he shows that she ran so as to anticipate Christ's arrival. She came not alone, but drawing after her the Jews that were in the house. Very wisely did her sister call her secretly, so as not to disturb those who had come together, and not mention the cause either; for assuredly many would have gone back, but now as though she were going to weep, all followed her. By these means again it is proved that Lazarus was dead.

John 11:32

And she fell at His feet.

She is more ardent than her sister. She regarded not the multitude, nor the suspicion which they had concerning Him, for there were many of His enemies, who said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? John 11:37; but cast out all mortal things in the presence of her Master, and was given up to one thing only, the honor of that Master. And what says she?

Lord, if You had been here, my brother had not died.

What does Christ? He converses not at all with her for the present, nor says to her what He said to her sister, (for a great multitude was by, and this was no fit time for such words,) He only acts measurably and condescends; and to prove His human nature, weeps in silence, and defers the miracle for the present. For since that miracle was a great one, and such as He seldom wrought, and since many were to believe by means of it, lest to work it without their presence should prove a stumbling-block to the multitude, and so they should gain nothing by its greatness, in order that He might not lose the quarry, He draws to Him many witnesses by His condescension, and shows proof of His human nature. He weeps, and is troubled; for grief is wont to stir up the feelings. Then rebuking those feelings, (for He groaned in spirit means, restrained His trouble,) He asked,

John 11:34

Where have ye laid him?

So that the question might not be attended with lamentation. But why does He ask? Because He desired not to cast Himself on (the miracle), but to learn all from them, to do all at their invitation, so as to free the miracle from any suspicion.

They say unto Him, Come and see.

John 11:35

Jesus wept.

Do you see that He had not as yet shown any sign of the raising, and goes not as if to raise Lazarus, but as if to weep? For the Jews show that He seemed to them to be going to bewail, not to raise him; at least they said,

John 11:36–37

Behold how he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?

Not even amid calamities did they relax their wickedness. Yet what He was about to do was a thing far more wonderful; for to drive away death when it has come and conquered, is far more than to stay it when coming on. They therefore slander Him by those very points through which they ought to have marveled at His power. They allow for the time that He opened the eyes of the blind, and when they ought to have admired Him on account of that miracle, they, by means of this latter case, cast a slur upon it, as though it had not even taken place. And not from this only are they shown to be all corrupt, but because when He had not yet come, nor exhibited any action, they prevent Him with their accusations without waiting the end of the matter. Do you see how corrupt was their judgment?

2. He comes then to the tomb; and again rebukes His feelings. Why does the Evangelist carefully in several places mention that He wept, and that, He groaned? That you may learn that He had of a truth put on our nature. For when this Evangelist is remarkable for uttering great things concerning Christ more than the others, in matters relating to the body, here he also speaks much more humbly than they. For instance, concerning His death he has said nothing of the kind; the other Evangelists declare that He was exceedingly sorrowful, that He was in an agony; but John, on the contrary, says, that He even cast the officers backwards. So that he has made up here what is omitted there, by mentioning His grief. When speaking of His death, Christ says, I have power to lay down My life John 10:18, and then He utters no lowly word; therefore at the Passion they attribute to Him much that is human, to show the reality of the Dispensation. And Matthew proves this by the Agony, the trouble, the trembling, and the sweat; but John by His sorrow. For had He not been of our nature, He would not once and again have been mastered by grief. What did Jesus? He made no defense with regard to their charges; for why should He silence by words those who were soon to be silenced by deeds? A means less annoying, and more adapted to shame them.

John 11:39

He says, Take ye away the stone.

Why did not He when at a distance summon Lazarus, and place him before their eyes? Or rather, why did He not cause him to arise while the stone yet lay on the grave? For He who was able by His voice to move a corpse, and to show it again endowed with life, would much more by that same voice have been able to move a stone; He who empowered by His voice one bound and entangled in the grave-clothes to walk, would much more have been able to move a stone; why then did He not so? In order to make them witnesses of the miracle; that they might not say as they did in the case of the blind man, It is he, It is not he. For their hands and their coming to the tomb testified that it was indeed he. If they had not come, they might have deemed that they saw a vision, or one man in place of another. But now the coming to the place, the raising the stone, the charge given them to loose the dead man bound in grave-clothes from his bands; the fact that the friends who bore him from the tomb, knew from the grave-clothes that it was he; that his sisters were not left behind; that one of them said, He now stinks, for he has been dead four days; all these things, I say, were sufficient to silence the ill-disposed, as they were made witnesses of the miracle. On this account He bids them take away the stone from the tomb, to show that He raises the man. On this account also He asks, Where have ye laid him? that they who said, Come and see, and who conducted Him, might not be able to say that He had raised another person; that their voice and their hands might bear witness, (their voice by saying, Come and see, their hands by lifting the stone, and loosing the grave-clothes,) as well as their eyes and ears, (the one by hearing His voice, the other by seeing Lazarus come forth,) and their smell also by perceiving the ill-odor, for Martha said, He now stinks, for he has been dead four days.

Therefore I said with good reason, that the woman did not at all understand Christ's words, Though he were dead, yet shall he live. At least observe, that she speaks as though the thing were impossible on account of the time which had intervened. For indeed it was a strange thing to raise a corpse which had been dead four days, and was corrupt. To the disciples Jesus said, That the Son of Man may be glorified, referring to Himself; but to the woman, You shall see the glory of God, speaking of the Father. Do you see that the weakness of the hearers is the cause of the difference of the words? He therefore reminds her of what He had spoken unto her, well near rebuking her, as being forgetful. Yet He did not wish at present to confound the spectators, wherefore He says,

John 11:40

Said I not unto you, that if you would believe, you should see the glory of God?

3. A great blessing truly is faith, great, and one which makes great those who hold it rightly with (good) living. By this men (are enabled) to do the things of God in His name. And well did Christ say, If you have faith you shall say unto this mountain, Remove, and it shall remove Matthew 17:20; and again, He that believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do. John 14:12 What means He by greater? Those which the disciples are seen after this to work. For even the shadow of Peter raised a dead man; and so the power of Christ was the more proclaimed. Since it was not so wonderful that He while alive should work miracles, as that when He was dead others should be enabled to work in His name greater than He wrought. This was an indisputable proof of the Resurrection; nor if (that Resurrection) had been seen by all, would it have been equally believed. For men might have said that it was an appearance, but one who saw that by His name alone greater miracles were wrought than when He conversed with men, could not disbelieve unless he were very senseless. A great blessing then is faith when it arises from glowing feelings, great love, and a fervent soul; it makes us truly wise, it hides our human meanness, and leaving reasonings beneath, it philosophizes about things in heaven; or rather what the wisdom of men cannot discover, it abundantly comprehends and succeeds in. Let us then cling to this, and not commit to reasonings what concerns ourselves. For tell me, why have not the Greeks been able to find out anything? Did they not know all the wisdom of the heathen? Why then could they not prevail against fishermen and tentmakers, and unlearned persons? Was it not because the one committed all to argument, the others to faith? And so these last were victorious over Plato and Pythagoras, in short, over all that had gone astray; and they surpass those whose lives had been worn out in astrology and geometry, mathematics and arithmetic, and who had been thoroughly instructed in every sort of learning, and were as much superior to them as true and real philosophers are superior to those who are by nature foolish and out of their senses. For observe, these men asserted that the soul was immortal, or rather, they did not merely assert this, but persuaded others of it. The Greeks, on the contrary, did not at first know what manner of thing the soul was, and when they had found out, and had distinguished it from the body, they were again in the same case, the one asserting that it was incorporeal, the other that it was corporeal and was dissolved with the body. Concerning heaven again, the one said that it had life and was a god, but the fishermen both taught and persuaded that it was the work and device of God. Now that the Greeks should use reasonings is nothing wonderful, but that those who seem to be believers, that they should be found carnal, this is what may justly be lamented. And on this account they have gone astray, some saying that they know God as He knows Himself, a thing which not even any of those Greeks have dared to assert; others that God cannot beget without passion, not even allowing Him any superiority over men; others again, that a righteous life and exact conversation avail nothing. But it is not the time to refute these things now. 4. Yet that a right faith avails nothing if the life be corrupt, both Christ and Paul declare, having taken the more care for this latter part; Christ when He teaches, Not every one that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven Matthew 7:21; and again, Many will say unto Me in that day, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your Name? And I will profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you that work iniquity Matthew 22:23; (for they who take not heed to themselves, easily slip away into wickedness, even though they have a right faith;) and Paul, when in his letter to the Hebrews he thus speaks and exhorts them; Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14 By holiness, meaning chastity, so that it behooved each to be content with his own wife, and not have to do with any other woman; for it is impossible that one not so contented should be saved; he must assuredly perish though he have ten thousand right actions, since with fornication it is impossible to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Or rather, this is henceforth not fornication but adultery; for as a woman who is bound to a man, if she come together with another man, then has committed adultery, so he that is bound to a woman, if he have another, has committed adultery. Such an one shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven, but shall fall into the pit. Hear what Christ says concerning these, Their worm shall not die, and the fire shall not be quenched. Mark 9:44 For he can have no pardon, who after (possessing) a wife, and the comfort of a wife, then acts shamelessly towards another woman; since this is henceforth wantonness. And if the many abstain even from their wives when it be a season of fast or prayer, how great a fire does he heap up for himself who is not even content with his wife, but mingles with another; and if it is not permitted one who has put away and cast out his own wife to mingle with another, (for this is adultery,) how great evil does he commit who, while his wife is in his house, brings in another. Let no one then allow this malady to dwell in his soul; let him tear it up by the root. He does not so much wrong his wife as himself. For so grievous and unpardonable is this offense, that if a woman separate herself from a husband which is an idolater without his consent, God punishes her; but if she separate herself from a fornicator, not so. Do you see how great an evil this is? If, It says, any faithful woman have a husband that believes not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 1Corinthians 7:13 Not so concerning a harlot; but what? If any man put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, he causes her to commit adultery. Matthew 5:32 For if the coming together makes one body, he who comes together with a harlot must needs become one body with her. How then shall the modest woman, being a member of Christ, receive such an one, or how shall she join to herself the member of an harlot. And observe the excess of the one (fornication) over the other (idolatry). The woman who dwells with an unbeliever is not impure; (for, It says, the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife 1Corinthians 6:15) not so with the harlot; but what? Shall I then make the members of Christ the members of an harlot? In the one case sanctification remains, and is not removed though the unbeliever dwells with his wife; but in the other case it departs. A dreadful, a dreadful thing is fornication, and an agent for everlasting punishment; and even in this world it brings with it ten thousand woes. The man so guilty is forced to lead a life of anxiety and toil; he is nothing better off than those who are under punishment, creeping into another man's house with fear and much trembling, suspecting all alike both slave and free. Wherefore I exhort you to be freed from this malady, and if you obey not, step not on the sacred threshold. Sheep that are covered with the scab, and full of disease, may not herd with those that are in health; we must drive them from the fold until they get rid of the malady. We have been made members of Christ; let us not, I entreat, become members of an harlot. This place is not a brothel but a church; if then you have the members of an harlot, stand not in the church, lest you insult the place. If there were no hell, if there were no punishment, yet, after those contracts, those marriage torches, the lawful bed, the procreation of children, the intercourse, how could you bear to join yourself to another? How is it that you are not ashamed nor blushest? Do you not know that they who after the death of their own wife, introduce another into their own house, are blamed by many? Yet this action has no penalty attached to it: but you bring in another while your wife is yet alive. What lustfulness is this! Learn what has been spoken concerning such men, Their worm, It says, shall not die, and the fire shall not be quenched. Mark 9:44 Shudder at the threat, dread the vengeance. The pleasure here is not so great as the punishment there, but may it not came to pass that any one (here) become liable to that punishment, but that exercising holiness they may see Christ, and obtain the promised good things, which may we all enjoy, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 64 on the Gospel of John

John 11:41–42

Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me; and I knew that You hear Me always, but because of the people which stand by, I said it. And what follows.

1. What I have often said, I will now say, that Christ looks not so much to His own honor as to our salvation; not how He may utter some sublime saying, but how something able to draw us to Him. On which account His sublime and mighty sayings are few, and those also hidden, but the humble and lowly are many, and abound through His discourses. For since by these men were the rather brought over, in these He continues; and He does not on the one hand utter these universally, lest the men that should come after should receive damage, nor, on the other hand, does He entirely withhold those, lest the men of that time should be offended. Since they who have passed from lowmindedness unto perfection, will be able from even a single sublime doctrine to discern the whole, but those who were ever lowminded, unless they had often heard these lowly sayings, would not have come to Him at all. In fact, even after so many such sayings they do not remain firm, but even stone and persecute Him, and try to kill Him, and call Him blasphemer. And when He makes Himself equal with God, they say, This man blasphemes Matthew 9:3; and when He says, Your sins be forgiven you John 10:20, they moreover call Him a demoniac. So when He says that the man who hears His words is stronger than death, or, I am in the Father and the Father in Me John 8:51, they leave Him; and again, they are offended when He says that He came down from heaven. c. vi. 33, 60 If now they could not bear these sayings, though seldom uttered, scarcely, had His discourse been always sublime, had it been of this texture, would they have given heed to Him? When therefore He says, As the Father commanded Me, so I speak John 14:31; and, I am not come of Myself John 7:28, then they believe. That they did believe then is clear, from the Evangelist signifying this besides, and saying, As He spoke these words, many believed on Him. John 5:30 If then lowly speaking drew men to faith, and high speaking scared them away, must it not be a mark of extreme folly not to see at a glance how to reckon the sole reason of those lowly sayings, namely, that they were uttered because of the hearers. Since in another place when He had desired to say some high thing, He withheld it, adding this reason, and saying, Lest we should offend them, cast a hook into the sea. Matthew 17:27 Which also He does here; for after saying, I know that You hear Me always, He adds, but because of the multitude which stands around I said it, that they might believe. Are these words ours? Is this a human conjecture? When then a man will not endure to be persuaded by what is written, that they were offended at sublime things, how, when he hears Christ saying that He spoke in a lowly manner that they might not be offended, how, after that, shall he suspect that the mean sayings belonged to His nature, not to His condescension? So in another place, when a voice came down from heaven, He said, This voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes. John 12:30 He who is exalted may be allowed to speak lowly things of himself, but it is not lawful for the humble to utter concerning himself anything grand or sublime. For the former arises from condescension, and has for its cause the weakness of the hearers; or rather (it has for its cause) the leading them to humblemindedness, and His being clothed in flesh, and the teaching the hearers to say nothing great concerning themselves, and His being deemed an enemy of God, and not being believed to have come from God, His being suspected of breaking the Law, and the fact that the hearers looked on Him with an evil eye, and were ill disposed towards Him, because He said that He was equal to God. But that a lowly man should say any great thing of Himself, has no cause either reasonable or unreasonable; it can only be folly, impudence, and unpardonable boldness. Wherefore then does Christ speak humbly, being of that ineffable and great Substance? For the reasons mentioned, and that He might not be deemed unbegotten; for Paul seems to have feared some such thing as this; wherefore he says, Except Him who did put all things under Him. 1Corinthians 15:27 This it is impious even to think of. Since if being less than Him who begot Him, and of a different Substance, He had been deemed equal, would He not have used every means that this might not be thought? But now He does the contrary, saying, If I do not the works of Him that sent Me, believe Me not. John 10:37 Indeed His saying, that I am in the Father and the Father in Me John 14:10, intimates to us the equality. It would have behooved, if He had been inferior, to refute this opinion with much vehemence, and not at all to have said, I am in the Father and the Father in me John 10:30, or that, We are One, or that, He that has seen Me, has seen the Father. John 14:9 Thus also, when His discourse was concerning power, He said, I and the Father are One; and when His discourse was concerning authority, He said again, For as the Father raises up the dead and quickens them, even so the Son quickens whom He will John 5:21; which it would be impossible that He should do were He of a different substance; or even allowing that it were possible, yet it would not have behooved to say this, lest they should suspect that the substance was one and the same. Since if in order that they may not suppose Him to be an enemy of God, He often even utters words unsuited to Him, much more should He then have done so; but now, His saying, That they should honor the Son even as they honor the Father John 5:23; His saying, The works which He does, I do also John 5:19; His saying that He is the Resurrection, and the Life, and the Light of the world c. xi. 25; 100:viii. 12, are the expressions of One making Himself equal to Him who begot Him, and confirming the suspicion which they entertained. Do you see how He makes this speech and defense, to show that He broke not the Law, and that He not only does not remove, but even confirms the opinion of His equality with the Father? So also when they said, Thou blaspheme, because you make yourself God John 10:33, from equality of works He established this thing.

2. And why say I that the Son did this, when the Father also who took not the flesh does the same thing? For He also endured that many lowly things should be said concerning Him for the salvation of the hearers. For the, Adam, where are you? Genesis 3:9, and, That I may know whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it Genesis 18:21; and, Now I know that you fear God Genesis 22:12; and, If they will hear Ezekiel 3:11; and, If they will understand Deuteronomy 5:29; and, Who shall give the heart of this people to be so? and the expression, There is none like You among the gods, O Lord Psalm 80:29; these and many other like sentences in the Old Testament, if a man should pick them out, he will find to be unworthy of the dignity of God. In the case of Ahab it is said, Who shall entice Ahab for Me? 2Chronicles 18:19 And the continually preferring Himself to the gods of the heathen in the way of comparison, all these things are unworthy of God. Yet in another way they are made worthy of Him, for He is so kind, that for our salvation He cares not for expressions which become His dignity. Indeed, the becoming man is unworthy of Him, and the taking the form of a servant, and the speaking humble words, and the being clothed in humble (garments), unworthy if one looks to His dignity, but worthy if one consider the unspeakable riches of His lovingkindness. And there is another cause of the humility of His words. What is that? It is that they knew and confessed the Father, but Him they knew not. Wherefore He continually betakes Himself to the Father as being confessed by them, because He Himself was not as yet deemed worthy of credit; not on account of any inferiority of His own, but because of the folly and infirmity of the hearers. On this account He prays, and says, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. For if He quickens whom He will, and quickens in like manner as does the Father, wherefore does He call upon Him?

But it is time now to go through the passage from the beginning. Then they took up the stone where the dead man lay. And Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I knew that You hear Me always, but because of the people that stand by I said it, that they might believe that You have sent Me. Let us then ask the heretic, Did He receive an impulse from the prayer, and so raise the dead man? How then did He work other miracles without prayer? Saying, Thou evil spirit, I charge you, come out of him Mark 9:25; and, I will, be thou clean Mark 1:41; and, Arise, take up your bed John 5:8; and, Your sins be forgiven you Matthew 9:2; and to the sea, Peace, be still. Mark 4:39 In short, what has He more than the Apostles, if so be that He also works by prayer? Or rather I should say, that neither did they work all with prayer, but often they wrought without prayer, calling upon the Name of Jesus. Now, if His Name had such great power, how could He have needed prayer? Had He needed prayer, His Name would not have availed. When He wholly made man, what manner of prayer did He need? Was there not then great equality of honor? Let Us make, It says, man. Genesis 1:26 What could be greater sign of weakness, if He needed prayer? But let us see what the prayer was; I thank You that You have heard Me. Who now ever prayed in this manner? Before uttering any prayer, He says, I thank You, showing that He needed not prayer. doest all things, whatsoever I will, He saith. «}--> And I knew that You hear Me always. This He said not as though He Himself were powerless, but to show that His will and the Father's is one. But why did He assume the form of prayer? Hear, not me, but Himself, saying, For the sake of the people which stand by, that they may believe that You have sent Me. He said not, «That they may believe that I am inferior, that I have need of an impulse from above, that without prayer I cannot do anything; but, That You have sent Me. For all these things the prayer declares, if we take it simply. He said not, You have sent me weak, acknowledging servitude, and doing nothing of Myself; but dismissing all these things, that you may have no such suspicions, He puts the real cause of the prayer, That they may not deem Me an enemy of God; that they may not say, He is not of God, that I may show them that the work has been done according to Your will. All but saying, Had I been an enemy of God, what is done would not have succeeded, but the, You heard Me, is said in the case of friends and equals. And I knew that You hear Me always, that is, in order that My will be done I need no prayer, except to persuade men that to You and Me belongs one will. Why then prayest Thou? For the sake of the weak and grosser sort.

John 11:43

And when He had thus spoken, He cried with a loud voice.

Why said He not, In the name of My Father come forth? Or why said He not, Father, raise him up? Why did he omit all these expressions, and after assuming the attitude of one praying, show by His actions His independent authority? Because this also was a part of His wisdom, to show condescension by words, but by His deeds, power. For since they had nothing else to charge Him with except that He was not of God, and since in this way they deceived many, He on this account most abundantly proves this very point by what He says, and in the way that their infirmity required. For it was in His power by other means to show at once His agreement with the Father and His own dignity, but the multitude could not ascend so far. And He says,

John 11:43

Lazarus, come forth.

3. This is that of which He spoke, The hour is coming, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. John 5:28 For, that you might not think that He received the power of working from another, He taught you this before, and gave proof by deeds, and said not, Arise, but, Come forth, conversing with the dead man as though living. What can be equal to this authority? And if He does it not by His own strength, what shall He have more than the Apostles, who say, Why look ye so earnestly on us as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? Acts 3:12 For if, not working by His own power, He did not add what the Apostles said concerning themselves, they will in a manner be more truly wise than He, because they refused the glory. And in another place, Why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions as you. Acts 14:15 The Apostles since they did nothing of themselves, spoke in this way to persuade men of this; but He when the like opinion was formed concerning Him, would He not have removed the suspicion, if at least He did not act by His own authority? Who would assert this? But in truth Christ does the contrary, when He says, Because of the people which stand by I said it, that they might believe; so that had they believed, there would have been no need of prayer. Now if prayer were not beneath His dignity, why should He account them the cause of His praying? Why said He not, I do it in order that they may believe that I am not equal to You; for He ought on account of the suspicion to have come to this point. When He was suspected of breaking the Law, He used the very expression, even when they had not said anything, Think not that I have come to destroy the Law Matthew 5:17; but in this place He establishes their suspicion. In fact, what need was there at all of going such a round, and of using such dark sayings? It had been enough to say, I am not equal, and to be rid of the matter. But what, says some one, did He not say that, I do not My own will? Even this He did in a covert way, and one suited to their infirmity, and from the same cause through which the prayer was made. But what means That You have heard Me? It means, That there is nothing on My part opposed to You. As then the, That You have heard Me, is not the saying of one declaring, that of Himself He had not the power, (for were this the case, it would be not only impotence but ignorance, if before praying He did not know that God would grant the prayer; and if He knew not, how was it that He said, I go that I may awake him, instead of, I go to pray My Father to awake him?) As then this expression is a sign, not of weakness, but of identity of will, so also is the, You hear Me always. We must then either say this, or else that it was addressed to their suspicions. If now He was neither ignorant nor weak, it is clear that He utters these lowly words, that you may be persuaded by their very excess, and may be compelled to confess, that they suit not His dignity, but are from condescension. What then say the enemies of truth? He spoke not those words, You have heard me, says some one, to the infirmity of the hearers, but in order to show a superiority. Yet this was not to show a superiority, but to humble Himself greatly, and to show Himself as having nothing more than man. For to pray is not proper to God, nor to the sharer of the Throne. Do you see then that He came to this from no other cause than their unbelief? Observe at least that the action bears witness to His authority.

He called, and the dead man came forth wrapped. Then that the matter might not seem to be an appearance, (for his coming forth bound did not seem to be less marvelous than his resurrection,) Jesus commanded to loose him, in order that having touched and having been near him, they might see that it was really he. And He says,

John 11:43

Let him go.

Do you see His freedom from boastfulness? He does not lead him on, nor bid him go about with Him, lest He should seem to any to be showing him; so well knew He how to observe moderation.

When the sign had been wrought, some wondered, others went and told it to the Pharisees. What then did they? When they ought to have been astonished and to have admired Him, they took counsel to kill Him who had raised the dead. What folly! They thought to give up to death Him who had overcome death in the bodies of others.

John 11:47

And they said, What do we? For this man does many miracles.

They still call Him man, these who had received such proof of His divinity. What do we? They ought to have believed, and served, and bowed down to Him, and no longer to have deemed Him a man.

John 11:48

If we let him thus alone, the Romans will come, and will take away both our nation and city.

What is it which they counsel to do? They wish to stir up the people, as though they themselves would be in danger on suspicion of establishing a kingdom. For if, says one of them, the Romans learn that this Man is leading the multitudes, they will suspect us, and will come and destroy our city. Wherefore, tell me? Did He teach revolt? Did He not permit you to give tribute to Cæsar? Did not ye wish to make Him a king, and He fly from you? Did He not follow a mean and unpretending life, having neither house nor anything else of the kind? They therefore said this, not from any such expectation, but from malice. Yet it so fell out contrary to their expectation, and the Romans took their nation and city when they had slain Christ. For the things done by Him were beyond all suspicion. For He who healed the sick, and taught the most excellent way of life, and commanded men to obey their rulers, was not establishing but undoing a tyranny. But, says some one, we conjecture from former (impostors). But they taught revolt, He the contrary. Do you see that the words were but a pretense? For what action of the kind did He exhibit? Did He lead about with Him pompous guards? Had He a train of chariots? Did He not seek the deserts? But they, that they may not seem to be speaking from their own ill feeling, say that all the city is in danger, that the common good is being plotted against, and that they have to fear the worst. These were not the causes of your captivity, but things contrary to them; both of this last, and of the Babylonish, and of that under Antiochus which followed: it was not that there were worshipers among you, but that there were among you those who did unjustly, and excited God to wrath, this caused you to be given up into bondage. But such a thing is envy, allowing men to see nothing which they ought to see, when it has once for all blinded the soul. Did He not teach men to be meek? Did He not bid them when smitten on the right cheek to turn the other also? Did He not bid them when injured to bear it? To show greater readi ness to endure evil, than others have to inflict it? Are these, tell me, the signs of one establishing a tyranny, and not rather of one pulling a tyranny down?

4. But, as I said, a dreadful thing is malice, and full of hypocrisy; this has filled the world with ten thousand evils; through this malady the law courts are filled, from this comes the desire of fame and wealth, from this the love of rule, and insolence, through this the roads have wicked robbers and the sea pirates, from this proceed the murders through the world, through this our race is rent asunder, and whatever evil you may see, you will perceive to arise from this. This has even burst into the churches, this has caused ten thousand dreadful things from the beginning, this is the mother of avarice, this malady has turned all things upside down, and corrupted justice. For gifts, It says, blind the eyes of the wise, and as a muzzle on the mouth turn away reproofs. Sirach 20:29, Septuagint. and marg. of E.V. This makes slaves of freemen, concerning this we talk every day, and no good comes of it, we become worse than wild beasts; we plunder orphans, strip widows, do wrong to the poor, join woe to woe. Alas! That the righteous has perished from the earth! Micah 7:1–2 It is our part too henceforth to mourn, or rather we have need to say this every day. We profit nothing by our prayers, nothing by our advice and exhortation, it remains therefore that we weep. Thus did Christ; after having many times exhorted those in Jerusalem, when they profited nothing, He wept at their hardness. This also do the Prophets, and this let us do now. Henceforth is the season for mourning and tears and wailing; it is seasonable for us also to say now, Call for the mourning women, and send for the cunning women, that they may cry aloud Jeremiah 9:17; perhaps thus we shall be able to cast out the malady of those who build splendid houses, of those who surround themselves with lands gotten by rapine. It is seasonable to mourn; but do ye take part with me in the mourning, you who have been stripped and injured, by your mournings bring down my tears. But while mourning we will mourn, not for ourselves but for them; they have not injured you, but they have destroyed themselves; for you have the Kingdom of heaven in return for the injustice done you, they hell in return for their gain. On this account it is better to be injured than to injure. Let us bewail them with a lamentation not of man's making, but that from the Holy Scriptures with which the Prophets also wailed. With Isaiah let us wail bitterly, and say, Woe, they that add house to house, that lay field to field, that they may take somewhat from their neighbor; will you dwell alone upon the earth? Great houses and fair, and there shall be no inhabitants in them. Isaiah 5:8–9

Let us mourn with Nahum, and say with him, Woe to him that builds his house on high. Perhaps Jeremiah 22:13 Or rather let us mourn for them as Christ mourned for those of old. Woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation. Luke 6:24 Let us, I beseech you, not cease thus lamenting, and if it be not unseemly, let us even beat our breasts for the carelessness of our brethren. Let us not weep for him who is already dead, but let us weep for the rapacious man, the grasping, the covetous, the insatiable. Why should we mourn for the dead, in whose case it is impossible henceforth to effect anything? Let us mourn for these who are capable even of change. But while we are lamenting, perhaps they will laugh. Even this is a worthy cause for lamentation, that they laugh when they ought to mourn. For had they been at all affected by our sorrows, it would have behooved us to cease from sorrowing on account of their promise of amendment; but since they are of an insensible disposition, let us continue to weep, not merely for the rich, but for the lovers of money, the greedy, the rapacious. Wealth is not an evil thing, (for we may use it rightly when we spend it upon those who have need,) but greediness is an evil, and it prepares deathless punishments. Let us then bewail them; perhaps there will be some amendment; or even if they who have fallen in do not escape, others at least will not fall into the danger, but will guard against it. May it come to pass that both they may be freed from their malady, and that none of us may ever fall into it, that we all may in common obtain the promised goods, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 65 on the Gospel of John

John 11:49–50

And one of them, Caiaphas, being the High Priest that same year, said to them, You know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not, etc.

1. The heathen are stuck fast in the destruction which they made; in the trap which they hid is their foot taken. Psalm 9:15, Septuagint This has been the case with the Jews. They said that they would kill Jesus, lest the Romans should come and take away their place and nation; and when they had killed Him, these things happened unto them, and when they had done that by doing which they thought to escape, they yet did not escape. He who was slain is in Heaven, and they who slew have for their portion hell. Yet they did not consider these things; but what? They desired, It says, from that day forth to kill Him John 11:53, for they said, The Romans will come, and will take away our nation; and a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being High Priest that year, said, (being more shameless than the rest,) You know nothing. What the others made matter of doubt, and put forth in the way of deliberation, this man cried aloud, shamelessly, openly, audaciously. For what says he? You know nothing, nor consider that it is expedient that one man should die, and that the whole nation perish not.

John 11:51

And this spoke he not of himself, but being High Priest he prophesied.

Do you see how great is the force of the High Priest's authority? Or, since he had in any wise been deemed worthy of the High Priesthood, although unworthy thereof, he prophesied, not knowing what he said; and the grace merely made use of his mouth, but touched not his accursed heart. Indeed many others have foretold things to come, although unworthy to do so, as Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh, Balaam; and the reason of all is evident. But what he says is of this kind. You still sit quiet, you give heed but carelessly to this matter, and know not how to despise one man's safety for the sake of the community. See how great is the power of the Spirit; from an evil imagination It was able to bring forth words full of marvelous prophecy. The Evangelist calls the Gentiles children of God, from what was about to be: as also Christ Himself says, Other sheep I have John 10:16, so calling them from what should afterwards come to pass.

But what is, being High Priest that year? This matter as well as the rest had become corrupt; for from the time that offices became matters of purchase, they were no longer priests for the whole period of their lives, but for a year. Notwithstanding, even in this state of things the Spirit was still present. But when they lifted up their hands against Christ, then It left them, and removed to the Apostles. This the rending of the veil declared, and the voice of Christ which said, Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. Matthew 23:38 And Josephus, who lived a short time after, says, that certain Angels who yet remained with them, (to see) if they would alter their ways, left them. While the vineyard stood, all things went on; but when they had slain the Heir, no longer so, but they perished. And God having taken it from the Jews, as a glorious garment from an unprofitable son, gave it to right-minded servants of the Gentiles, leaving the others desolate and naked. It was, moreover, no small thing that even an enemy should prophesy this. This might draw over others also. For in respect of his will, matters fell out contrariwise, since, when He died, the faithful were on this account delivered from the punishment to come. What means, That He might gather together those near and those afar off John 11:52? He made them one Body. The dweller in Rome deems the Indians a member of himself. What is equal to this gathering together? And the Head of all is Christ.

John 11:53

From that day forth the Jews took counsel to put Him to death.

And, in truth, had sought to do so before; for the Evangelist says, Therefore the Jews sought to kill Him John 5:18; and, Why do you seek to kill Me? John 7:19 But then they only sought, now they ratified their determination, and treated the action as their business.

John 11:54

But Jesus walked no more openly in Jewry.

2. Again He saves Himself in a human manner, and this He does continually. But I have mentioned the reason for which He often departed and withdrew. And at this time He dwelt in Ephratah, near the wilderness, and there He tarried with His disciples. How do you think that those disciples were confounded when they beheld Him saving Himself after the manner of a man? After this no man followed Him. For since the Feast was near, all were running to Jerusalem; but they, at a time when all others were rejoicing and holding solemn assembly, hide themselves, and are in danger. Yet still they tarried with Him. For they hid themselves in Galilee, at the time of the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles; and after this again during the Feast, they only of all were with their Master in flight and concealment, manifesting their good will to Him. Hence Luke records that He said, I abode with you in temptations; and this He said, showing that they were strengthened by His influence.

John 11:55

And many went up from the country to purify themselves.

John 11:57

And the High Priests and Pharisees had commanded that they should lay hands on Him.

A marvelous purification, with a murderous will, with homicidal intentions, and bloodstained hands!

John 11:56

And they said, Think ye that he will not come to the feast?

By means of the Passover they plotted against Him, and made the time of feasting a time of murder, that is, He there would fall into their hands, because the season summoned Him. What impiety! When they needed greater carefulness, and to forgive those who had been taken for the worst offenses, then they attempted to ensnare One who had done no wrong. Yet by acting thus they had already not only profited nothing, but become ridiculous. For this end coming among them continually He escapes, and restrains them when they take counsel to kill Him, and makes them to be in perplexity, desiring to prick them by the display of His power; that when they took Him, they might know that what had been done was done, not by their power, but by His permission. For not even at that time could they take Him, and this though Bethany was near; and when they did take Him, He cast them backwards.

John 12:1–2

Then six days before the Passover He came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, and feasted with them; and Martha served, but Lazarus sat at meat.

This was a proof of the genuineness of his resurrection, that after many days he both lived and ate. And Martha ministered; whence it is clear that the meal was in her house, for they received Jesus as loving and beloved. Some, however, say, that it took place in the house of another. Mary did not minister, for she was a disciple. Here again she acted in the more spiritual manner. For she did not minister as being invited, nor did she afford her services to all alike. But she directs the honor to Him alone, and approaches Him not as a man, but as a God. On this account she poured out the ointment, and wiped (His feet) with the hairs of her head, which was the action of one who did not entertain the same opinion concerning Him as did others; yet Judas rebuked her, under the pretense forsooth of carefulness. What then says Christ? She has done a good work for My burying. But why did He not expose the disciple in the case of the woman, nor say to him what the Evangelist has declared, that on account of his own thieving he rebuked her? In His abundant longsuffering He wished to bring him to a better mind. For because He knew that he was a traitor, He from the beginning often rebuked him, saying, Not all believe, and, One of you is a devil. John 6:64 He showed them that He knew him to be a traitor, yet He did not openly rebuke him, but bare with him, desiring to recall him. How then says another Evangelist, that all the disciples used these words? Matthew 26:70 All used them, and so did he, but the others not with like purpose. And if any one ask why He put the bag of the poor in the hands of a thief, and made him steward who was a lover of money, we would reply, that God knows the secret reason; but that, if we may say something by conjecture, it was that He might cut off from him all excuse. For he could not say that he did this thing from love of money, (for he had in the bag sufficient to allay his desire,) but from excessive wickedness which Christ wished to restrain, using much condescension towards him. Wherefore He did not even rebuke him as stealing, although aware of it, stopping the way to his wicked desire, and taking from him all excuse. Let her alone, He says, for against the day of My burying has she done this. Again, He makes mention of the traitor in speaking of His burial. But him the reproof reaches not, nor does the expression soften him, though sufficient to inspire him with pity: as if He had said, I am burdensome and troublesome, but wait a little while, and I shall depart. This too he intended in saying,

John 12:8

But Me you have not always.

But none of these things turned back that savage madman; yet in truth Jesus said and did far more than this, He washed his feet that night, made him a sharer in the table and the salt, a thing which is wont to restrain even the souls of robbers, and spoke other words, enough to melt a stone, and this, not long before, but on the very day, in order that not even time might cause it to be forgotten. But he stood out against all.

3. For a dreadful, a dreadful thing is the love of money, it disables both eyes and ears, and makes men worse to deal with than a wild beast, allowing a man to consider neither conscience, nor friendship, nor fellowship, nor the salvation of his own soul, but having withdrawn them at once from all these things, like some harsh mistress, it makes those captured by it its slaves. And the dreadful part of so bitter a slavery is, that it persuades them even to be grateful for it; and the more they become enslaved, the more does their pleasure increase; and in this way especially the malady becomes incurable, in this way the monster becomes hard to conquer. This made Gehazi a leper instead of a disciple and a prophet; this destroyed Ananias and her with him; this made Judas a traitor; this corrupted the rulers of the Jews, who received gifts, and became the partners of thieves. This has brought in ten thousand wars, filling the ways with blood, the cities with wailings and lamentations. This has made meals to become impure, and tables accursed, and has filled food with transgression; therefore has Paul called it idolatry: Colossians 3:5, and not even so has he deterred men from it. And why calls he it idolatry? Many possess wealth, and dare not use it, but consecrate it, handing it down untouched, not daring to touch it, as though it were some dedicated thing. And if at any time they are forced to do so, they feel as though they had done something unlawful. Besides, as the Greek carefully tends his graven image, so thou entrusts your gold to doors and bars; providing a chest instead of a shrine, and laying it up in silver vessels. But thou dost not bow down to it as he to the image? Yet you show all kind of attention to it.

Again, he would rather give up his eyes or his life than his graven image. So also would those who love gold. But, says one, I worship not the gold. Neither does he, he says, worship the image, but the devil that dwells in it; and in like manner thou, though thou worship not the gold, yet you worship that devil who springs on your soul, from the sight of the gold and your lust for it. For more grievous than an evil spirit is the lust of money-loving, and many obey it more than others do idols. For these last in many things disobey, but in this case they yield everything, and whatever it tells them to do, they obey. What says it? Be at war with all, it says, at enmity with all, know not nature, despise God, sacrifice to me yourself, and in all they obey. To the graven images they sacrifice oxen and sheep, but avarice says, Sacrifice to me your own soul, and the man obeys. Do you see what kind of altars it has, what kind of sacrifices it receives? The covetous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, but not even so do they fear. 1Corinthians 6:10 Yet this desire is weaker than all the others, it is not inborn, nor natural, (for then it would have been placed in us at the beginning;) but there was no gold at the beginning, and no man desired gold. But if you will, I will tell you whence the mischief entered. By each man's envying the one before him, men have increased the disease, and he who has gotten in advance provokes him who had no desire. For when men see splendid houses, and extensive lands, and troops of slaves, and silver vessels, and great heaps of apparel, they use every means to outdo them; so that the first set of men are causes of the second, and these of those who come after. Now if they would be sober-minded, they would not be teachers (of evil) to others; yet neither have these any excuse. For others there are also who despise riches. And who, says one, despises them? For the terrible thing is, that, because wickedness is so general, this seems to have become impossible, and it is not even believed that one can act aright. Shall I then mention many both in cities and in the mountains? And what would it avail? You will not from their example become better. Besides, our discourse has not now this purpose, that you should empty yourselves of your substance: I would that you could do so; however, since the burden is too heavy for you, I constrain you not; only I advise you that you desire not what belongs to others, that you impart somewhat of your own. Many such we shall find, contented with what belongs to them, taking care of their own, and living on honest labor. Why do we not rival and imitate these? Let us think of those who have gone before us. Do not their possessions stand, preserving nothing but their name; such an one's bath, such an one's suburban seat and lodging? Do we not, when we behold them, straightway groan, when we consider what toil he endured, what rapine committed? And now he is nowhere seen, but others luxuriate in his possessions, men whom he never expected would do so, perhaps even his enemies, while he is suffering extremest punishment. These things await us also; for we shall certainly die, and shall certainly have to submit to the same end. How much wrath, tell me, how much expense, how many enmities these men incurred; and what the gain? Deathless punishment, and the having no consolation; and the being not only while alive, but when gone, accused by all? What? When we see the images of the many laid up in their houses, shall we not weep the more? Of a truth well said the Prophet, Verily, every man living disquiets himself in vain Psalm 39:11, Septuagint; for anxiety about such things is indeed disquiet, disquiet and superfluous trouble. But it is not so in the everlasting mansions, not so in those tabernacles. Here one has labored, and another enjoys; but there each shall possess his own labors, and shall receive a manifold reward. Let us press forward to get that possession, there let us prepare for ourselves houses, that we may rest in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 66 on the Gospel of John

John 12:8

Much people of the Jews therefore knew that He was there, and they came, not for Jesus» sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom He had raised from the dead.

1. As wealth is wont to hurl into destruction those who are not heedful, so also is power; the first leads into covetousness, the second into pride. See, for instance, how the subject multitude of the Jews is sound, and their rulers corrupt; for that the first of these believed Christ, the Evangelists continually assert, saying, that many of the multitude believed on Him John 7:31–48; but they who were of the rulers, believed not. And they themselves say, not the multitude, Hath any of the rulers believed on Him? But what says one? The multitude who know not God are accursed John 7:49; the believers they call accursed, and themselves the slayers, wise. In this place also, having beheld the miracle, the many believed; but the rulers were not contented with their own evil deeds, they also attempted to kill Lazarus. Suppose they did attempt to slay Christ because He broke the Sabbath, because He made Himself equal to the Father, and because of the Romans whom you allege, yet what charge had they against Lazarus, that they sought to kill him? Is the having received a benefit a crime? Do you see how murderous is their will? Yet He had worked many miracles; but none exasperated them so much as this one, not the paralytic, not the blind. For this was more wonderful in its nature, and was wrought after many others, and it was a strange thing to see one, who had been dead four days, walking and speaking. An honorable action, in truth, for the feast, to mix up the solemn assembly with murders. Besides, in the one case they thought to charge Him concerning the Sabbath, and so to draw away the multitudes; but here, since they had no fault to find with Him, they make the attempt on the man who had been healed. For here they could not even say that He was opposed to the Father, since the prayer stopped their mouths. Since then the charge which they continually brought against Him was removed, and the miracle was evident, they hasten to murder. So that they would have done the same in the case of the blind man, had it not been in their power to find fault respecting the Sabbath. Besides, that man was of no note, and they cast him out of the temple; but Lazarus was a person of distinction, as is clear, since many came to comfort his sisters; and the miracle was done in the sight of all, and most marvelously. On which account all ran to see. This then stung them, that while the feast was going on, all should leave it and go to Bethany. They set their hand therefore to kill him, and thought they were not daring anything, so murderous were they. On this account the Law at its commencement opens with this, You shall not kill Exodus 20:13; and the Prophet brings this charge against them, Their hands are full of blood. Isaiah 1:15

But how, after not walking openly in Jewry, and retiring into the wilderness, does He again enter openly? Having quenched their anger by retiring, He comes to them when they were stilled. Moreover, the multitude which went before and which followed after was sufficient to cast them into an agony; for no sign so much attracted the people as that of Lazarus. And another Evangelist says, that they strewed their garments under His feet Matthew 21:8, and that the whole city was moved Matthew 21:10; with so great honor did He enter. And this He did, figuring one prophecy and fulfilling another; and the same act was the beginning of the one and the end of the other. For the, Rejoice, for your King comes unto you meek Zechariah 9:9, belonged to Him as fulfilling a prophecy, but the sitting upon an ass was the act of one prefiguring a future event, that He was about to have the impure race of the Gentiles subject to Him.

But how say the others, that He sent disciples, and said, Loose the ass and the colt Matthew 21:2, while John says nothing of the kind, but that having found a young ass, He sat upon it? Because it is likely that both circumstances took place, and that He after the ass was loosed, while the disciples were bringing it, found (the colt), and sat upon it. And they took the small branches of palm trees and olives, and strewed their garments in the way, showing that they now had a higher opinion concerning Him than of a Prophet, and said,

John 12:13

Hosannah, blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.

Do you see that this most choked them, the persuasion which all men had that He was not an enemy of God? And this most divided the people, His saying that He came from the Father. But what means,

John 12:15

Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion.

Because all their kings had for the most part been an unjust and covetous kind of men, and had given them over to their enemies, and had perverted the people, and made them subject to their foes; Be of good courage, It says, this is not such an one, but meek and gentle; as is shown by the ass, for He entered not with an army in His train, but having an ass alone.

John 12:16

But this the disciples knew not, that it was written of Him.

2. Do you see that they were ignorant on most points, because He did not reveal to them? For when He said, Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up John 2:19, neither then did the disciples understand. And another Evangelist says, that the saying was hid from them Luke 18:34, and they knew not that He should rise from the dead. Now this was with reason concealed from them, (wherefore another Evangelist says, that as they heard it from time to time, they grieved and were dejected, and this because they understood not the saying concerning the Resurrection,) it was with reason concealed, as being too high for them: but why was not the matter of the ass revealed to them? Because this was a great thing also. But observe the wisdom of the Evangelist, how he is not ashamed to parade their former ignorance. That it was written they knew, that it was written of Him they knew not. For it would have offended them if He being a King were about to suffer such things, and be so betrayed. Besides, they could not at once have taken in the knowledge of the Kingdom of which He spoke; for another Evangelist says, that they thought the words were spoken of a kingdom of this world. Matthew 20:21

John 12:17

But the multitude bore witness that He had raised Lazarus.

For so many would not have been suddenly changed, unless they had believed in the miracle.

John 12:19

The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? Behold, the world is gone after Him.

Now this seems to me to be said by those who felt rightly, but had not courage to speak boldly, and who then would restrain the others by pointing to the result, as though they were attempting impossibilities. Here again they call the multitude the world. For Scripture is wont to call by the name world both the creation, and those who live in wickedness; the one, when It says, Who brings out His world by number Isaiah 40:26; the other when It says, The world hates not you, but Me it hates. John 7:7 And these things it is necessary to know exactly, that we may not through the signification of words afford a handle to the heretics.

John 12:20

And there were certain of the Greeks that came up to worship at the Feast.

Being now near to become proselytes, they were at the Feast. When therefore the report concerning Him was imparted to them, they say,

John 12:21

We would see Jesus.

Philip gives place to Andrew as being before him, and communicates the matter to him. But neither does he at once act with authority; for he had heard that saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles Matthew 10:5: therefore having communicated with the disciple, he refers the matter to his Master. For they both spoke to Him. But what says He?

John 12:23–24

The hour has come, that the Son of Man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone.

What is, The hour has come? He had said, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, (thus cutting away all excuse of ignorance from the Jews,) and had restrained the disciples. When therefore the Jews continued disobedient, and the others desired to come to Him, Now, says He, it is time to proceed to My Passion, since all things are fulfilled. For if we were to continue to wait for those who are disobedient and not admit these who even desire to come, this would be unbefitting our tender care. Since then He was about to allow the disciples to go to the Gentiles after the Crucifixion, and beheld them springing on before, He said, It is time to proceed to the Cross. For He would not allow them to go sooner, that it might be for a testimony unto them. Until that by their deeds the Jews rejected Him, until they crucified Him, He said not, Go and make disciples of all nations Matthew 28:19, but, Go not into the way of the Gentiles Matthew 10:5, and, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel Matt 15:24, and, It is not meet to take the children's bread and give it unto dogs. Matthew 15:26 But when they hated Him, and so hated as to kill Him, it was superfluous to persevere while they repulsed Him. For they refused Him, saying, We have no king but Cæsar. John 19:15 So that at length He left them, when they had left Him. Therefore He says, How often would I have gathered your children together, and you would not? Matthew 23:37

What is, Except a grain of grain fall into the ground and die? He speaks of the Cross, for that they might not be confounded at seeing, that just when Greeks also came to Him, then He was slain, He says to them, This very thing specially causes them to come, and shall increase the preaching of Me. Then since He could not so well persuade them by words, He goes about to prove this from actual experience, telling them that this is the case with grain; it bears the more fruit when it has died. Now, says He, if this be the case with seeds, much more with Me. But the disciples understood not what was spoken. Wherefore the Evangelist continually puts this, as making excuse for their flight afterwards. This same argument Paul also has raised when speaking of the Resurrection.

3. What sort of excuse then will they have who disbelieve the Resurrection, when the action is practiced each day, in seeds, in plants, and in the case of our own generation? For first it is necessary that the seed die, and that then the generation take place. But, in short, when God does anything, reasonings are of no use; for how did He make us out of those things that were not? This I say to Christians, who assert that they believe the Scriptures; but I shall also say something else drawn from human reasonings. Of men some live in vice, others in virtue; and of those who live in vice, many have attained to extreme old age in prosperity, many of the virtuous after enduring the contrary. When then shall each receive his deserts? At what season? Yea, says some one, but there is no resurrection of the body. They hear not Paul, saying, This corruptible must put on incorruption. 1Corinthians 15:53 He speaks not of the soul, for the soul is not corrupted; moreover, resurrection is said of that which fell, and that which fell was the body. But why will you have it that there is no resurrection of the body? Is it not possible with God? But this it were utter folly to say. Is it unseemly? Why is it unseemly, that the corruptible which shared the toil and death, should share also the crowns? For were it unseemly, it would not have been created at the beginning, Christ would not have taken the flesh again. But to show that He took it again and raised it up, hear what He says: Reach hither your fingers John 20:27; and, Behold, a spirit has not bones and sinews. Luke 24:39 But why did He raise Lazarus again, if it would have been better to rise without a body? Why does He this, classing it as a miracle and a benefit? Why did He give nourishment at all? Be not therefore deceived by the heretics, beloved: for there is a Resurrection and there is a Judgment, but they deny these things, who desire not to give account of their actions. For this Resurrection must be such as was that of Christ, for He was the first fruits, the first born of the dead. But if the Resurrection is this, a purifying of the soul, a deliverance from sin, and if Christ sinned not, how did He rise again? And how have we been delivered from the curse, if so be that He also sinned? And now says He, The prince of this world comes, and had nothing in Me? John 14:30 They are the words of One declaring His sinlessness. According to them therefore He either did not rise again; or that He might rise, He sinned before His Resurrection. But He both rose again, and did no sin. Therefore He rose in the Body, and these wicked doctrines are nothing else than the offspring of vainglory. Let us then fly this malady. For, It is says, evil communications corrupt good manners. 1Corinthians 15:33 These are not the doctrines of the Apostles; Marcion and Valentius have newly invented them. Let us then flee them, beloved, for a pure life profits nothing when doctrines are corrupt; as on the other hand neither do sound doctrines, if the life be corrupt. The heathen were the parents of these notions, and those heretics reared them, having received them from Gentile philosophers, asserting that matter is uncreated, and many such like things. As then they asserted that there could be no Artificer unless there were some uncreated subject matter, so also they disallowed the Resurrection. But let us not heed them, as knowing that the power of God is all sufficient. Let us not heed them. To you I say this; for we will not decline the battle with them. But the man who is unarmed and naked, though he fall among the weak, though he be the stronger, will easily be vanquished. Had you given heed to the Scriptures, had you sharpened yourselves each day, I would not have advised you to flee the combat with them, but would have counseled you to grapple with them; for strong is truth. But since you know not how to use the Scriptures, I fear the struggle, lest they take you unarmed and cast you down. For there is nothing, there is nothing weaker than those who are bereft of the aid of the Spirit. If these heretics employ the wisdom of the Gentiles, we must not admire, but laugh at them, because they employ foolish teachers. For those men were not able to find out anything sound, either concerning God or the creation, and things which the widow among us is acquainted with, Pythagoras did not yet know, but said that the soul becomes a bush, or a fish, or a dog. To these, tell me, ought you to give heed? And how could it be reasonable to do so? They are great men in their district, grow beautiful curls, and are enfolded in cloaks; thus far goes their philosophy; but if you look within there is dust and ashes and nothing sound, but their throat is an open sepulcher Psalm 5:9, having all things full of impurity and corruption, and all their doctrines (full) of worms. For instance, the first of them said that water was God, his successor fire, another one air, and they descended to things corporeal; ought we then, tell me, to admire these, who never even had the thought of the incorporeal God? And if they did ever gain it afterwards, it was after conversing in Egypt with our people. But, that we bring not upon you much confusion, let us here close our discourse. For should we begin to set before you their doctrine, and what they have said about God, what about matter, what about the soul, what about the body, much ridicule will follow. And they will not even require to be accused by us, for they have attacked each other; and he who wrote against us the book concerning matter, made away with himself. Therefore that we may not vainly delay you, nor wind together a labyrinth of words, leaving these things we will bid you keep fast hold of the listening to the Holy Scriptures, and not fight with words to no purpose; as also Paul exhorts Timothy 2 Timothy 2:14, filled though he was with much wisdom, and possessing the power of miracles. Let us now obey him, and leaving trifling; let us hold fast to real works, I mean to brotherly-kindness and hospitality; and let us make much account of almsgiving, that we may obtain the promised good things, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for endless ages. Amen.

Homily 67 on the Gospel of John

John 12:25–26

He that loves his life shall lose it, and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve Me, let him follow Me.

1. Sweet is the present life, and full of much pleasure, yet not to all, but to those who are riveted to it. Since, if any one look to heaven and see the beauteous things there, he will soon despise this life, and make no account of it. Just as the beauty of an object is admired while none more beautiful is seen, but when a better appears, the former is despised. If then we would choose to look to that beauty, and observe the splendor of the kingdom there, we should soon free ourselves from our present chains; for a kind of chain it is, this sympathy with present things. And hear what Christ says to bring us in to this, He that loves his life shall lose it, and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal; if any man serve Me let him follow Me; and, Where I am, there is My servant also. The words seem like a riddle, yet they are not so, but are full of much wisdom. But how shall he that loves his life, lose it? When he does its unseemly desires, when he gratifies it where he ought not. Wherefore one exhorts us, saying, Walk not in the desires of your soul Sirach 18:30; for so will you destroy it since it leads away from the path leading to virtue; just as, on the contrary, he that hates it in this world, shall save it. But what means, He that hates it? He who yields not to it when it commands what is pernicious. And He said not, he that yields not to it, but, He that hates it; for as we cannot endure even to hear the voice of those we hate, nor to look upon them with pleasure, so from the soul also we must turn away with vehemence, when it commands things contrary to what is pleasing to God. For since He was now about to say much to them concerning death, His own death, and saw that they were dejected and desponding, He spoke very strongly, saying, What say I? If you bear not valiantly My death? Nay, if you die not yourselves, you will gain nothing. Observe also how He softens the discourse. It was a very grievous and sad thing to be told, that the man who loves life should die. And why speak I of old times, when even now we shall find many gladly enduring to suffer anything. in order to enjoy the present life, and this too when they are persuaded concerning things to come; who when they behold buildings, and works of art, and contrivances, weep, uttering the reflection, How many things man invents, and yet becomes dust! So great is the longing after this present life. To undo these bonds then, Christ says, He that hates his soul in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal. For that you may know that He spoke as exhorting them, and dissipating their fear, hear what comes next.

If any man serve Me, let him follow Me.

Speaking of death, and requiring the following which is by works. For certainly he that serves must follow him who is served. And observe at what time He said these things to them; not when they were persecuted, but when they were confident; when they thought they were in safety on account of the honor and attention of the many, when they might rouse themselves and hear, Let him take up his cross, and follow Me Matthew 16:24; that is, Be ever, He says, prepared against dangers, against death, against your departure hence. Then after He had spoken what was hard to bear, He puts also the prize. And of what kind was this? The following Him, and being where He is; showing that Resurrection shall succeed death. For, says He,

Where I am, there is My servant also.

But where is Christ? In heaven. Let us therefore even before the Resurrection remove there in soul and mind.

If any man serve Me, the Father shall love him.

Why said He not, I? Because they did not as yet hold a right opinion concerning Him, but held a higher opinion of the Father. For how could they imagine anything great concerning Him, who did not even know that He was to rise again? Wherefore He said to the sons of Zebedee, It is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared by my Father Mark 10:40, yet He it is that judges. But in this passage He also establishes His genuine sonship. For as the servants of His own Son, so will the Father receive them.

John 12:27

Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour.

But surely this is not the expression of one urging them to go even to death. Nay, it is that of one greatly so urging them. For lest they should say, that He being exempt from mortal pains easily philosophizes on death, and exhorts us being himself in no danger, He shows, that although feeling its agony, on account of its profitableness He declines it not. But these things belong to the Dispensation, not the Godhead. Wherefore He says, Now is My soul troubled; since if this be not the case, What connection has that which was spoken, and His saying, Father, save Me from this hour? And so troubled, that He even sought deliverance from death, if at least it were possible to escape. These were the infirmities of His human nature.

2. But, He says, I have not what to say, when asking for deliverance.

For for this cause came I unto this hour.

As though He had said, Though we be confounded, though we be troubled, let us not fly from death, since even now I though troubled do not speak of flying; for it behooves to bear what is coming on. I say not, Deliver Me from this hour, but what?

John 12:28

Father, glorify Your Name.

Although My trouble urges Me to say this, yet I say the opposite, "Glorify Your Name,» that is, Lead Me henceforth to the Cross; which greatly shows His humanity, and a nature unwilling to die, but clinging to the present life, proving that He was not exempt from human feelings. For as it is no blame to be hungry, or to sleep, so neither is it to desire the present life; and Christ indeed had a body pure from sin, yet not free from natural wants, for then it would not have been a body. By these words also He taught something else. Of what kind is that? That if ever we be in agony and dread, we even then start not back from that which is set before us; and by saying, Glorify Your Name He shows that He dies for the truth calling the action, glory to God. And this fell out after the Crucifixion. The world was about to be converted, to acknowledge the Name of God, and to serve Him, not the Name of the Father only, but also that of the Son; yet still as to this He is silent.

There came therefore a Voice from Heaven, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

When had He glorified it? By what had been done before; and I will glorify it again after the Cross. What then said Christ?

John 12:30

This Voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes.

They thought that it thundered, or that an Angel spoke to Him. And how did they think this? Was not the voice clear and distinct? It was, but it quickly flew away from them as being of the grosser sort, carnal and slothful. And some of them caught the sound only, others knew that the voice was articulate, but what it meant, knew not. What says Christ? This Voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes. Why said He this? He said it, setting Himself against what they continually asserted, that He was not of God. For He who was glorified by God, how was He not from that God whose name by Him was glorified? Indeed for this purpose the Voice came. Wherefore He says Himself, This Voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes, not that I may learn by it anything of which I am ignorant, (for I know all that belongs to the Father,) but for your sakes. For when they said, An Angel has spoken unto Him, or It has thundered, and gave not heed to Him, He says, it was for your sakes, that even so ye might be led to enquire what the words meant. But they, being excited, did not even so enquire, though they heard that the matter related to them. For to one who knew not wherefore it was uttered, the Voice naturally appeared indistinct. The Voice came for your sakes. Do you see that these lowly circumstances take place on their account, not as though the Son needs help?

John 12:31

Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast down.

What connection has this with, I have glorified, and will glorify? Much, and closely harmonizing. For when God says, I will glorify, He shows the manner of the glorifying. What is it? That one should be cast down. But what is, the judgment of this world? It is as though He said, there shall be a tribunal and a retribution. How and in what way? He slew the first man, having found him guilty of sin, (for "by sin death entered» Romans 5:12) but in Me this he found not. Why then did he spring upon Me and give Me over to death? Why did he put into the mind of Judas to destroy Me? (Tell me not that it was God's dispensation, for this belongs not to the devil, but His wisdom; for the present let the disposition of that evil one be enquired into.) How then is the world judged in Me? It shall be said, as if a court of justice were sitting, to Satan, Well, you have slain all men, because you found them guilty of sin. But why did you slay Christ? Is it not clear that you did it wrongfully? Therefore in Him the whole world shall be avenged. But, that this may be still more clear, I will make it plain by an exam ple. Suppose there is some cruel tyrant, bringing ten thousand evils on all those who fall into his hands. If such a one engaging with a king, or a king's son, slay him unjustly, his death will have power to get revenge for the others also. Suppose there is one who demands payment of his debtors, that he beats them and casts them into prison; then from the same recklessness that he leads to the same dungeon one who owes him nothing: such a man shall suffer punishment for what he has done to the others. For that one shall destroy him.

3. So also it is in the case of the Son; for of those things which the devil has done against us, of these shall the penalty be required by means of what he has dared against Christ. And to show that He implies this, hear what He says; Now shall the prince of this world be cast down, by My Death.

John 12:32

And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me.

That is, even those of the Gentiles. And that no one may ask, How shall he be cast down, if he is stronger even than You are? He says, He is not stronger; how can he be stronger than One who draws others to Him? And He speaks not of the Resurrection, but of what is more than the Resurrection, I will draw all men to Myself. For had He said, I shall rise again, it was not yet clear that they would believe; but by His saying, they shall believe, both are proved at once, both this, and also that He must rise again. For had He continued dead, and been a mere man, no one would have believed. I will draw all men to Myself. John 6:44 How then said He that the Father draws? Because when the Son draws, the Father draws also. He says, I will draw them, as though they were detained by a tyrant, and unable of themselves alone to approach Him, and to escape the hands of him who keeps hold of them. In another place He calls this spoiling; no man can spoil a strong man's goods, except he first bind the strong man, and then spoil his goods. Matthew 12:29 This He said to prove His strength, and what there He calls spoiling, He has here called drawing.

Knowing then these things, let us rouse ourselves, let us glorify God, not by our faith alone, but also by our life, since otherwise it would not be glory, but blasphemy. For God is not so much blasphemed by an impure heathen, as by a corrupt Christian. Wherefore I entreat you to do all that God may be glorified; for, Woe, it says, to that servant by whom the Name of God is blasphemed, (and wherever there is a woe, every punishment and vengeance straightway follows,) but blessed is he by whom that Name is glorified. Let us then not be as in darkness, but avoid all sins, and especially those which tend to the hurt of others, since by these God is most blasphemed. What pardon shall we have, when, being commanded to give to others, we plunder the property of others? What shall be our hope of salvation? You are punished if you have not fed the hungry; but if you have even stripped one who was clothed, what sort of pardon shall you obtain? These things I will never desist from saying, for they who have not heard today perhaps will hear tomorrow, and they who take no heed tomorrow perhaps will be persuaded the next day; and even if any be so disposed as not to be persuaded, yet for us there will be no account to give of them at the Judgment. Our part we have fulfilled; may we never have cause to be ashamed of our words, nor you to hide your faces, but may all be able to stand with boldness before the judgment-seat of Christ, that we also may be able to rejoice over you, and to have some compensation of our own faults, in your being approved in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory forever. Amen.

Homily 68 on the Gospel of John

John 12:34

The people answered Him, We have heard out of the Law that Christ abides for ever; and how do you say, The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?

1. Deceit is a thing easily detected, and weak, though it be daubed outside with ten thousand colors. For as those who whitewash decayed walls, cannot by the plastering make them sound, so too those who lie are easily found out, as in fact was the case here with the Jews. For when Christ said to them, If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto Me; We have heard, says one of them, out of the Law, that Christ remains forever; and how do you say, that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man? Even they then knew that Christ was some Immortal One, and had life without end. And therefore they also knew what He meant; for often in Scripture the Passion and the Resurrection are mentioned in the same place. Thus Isaiah puts them together, saying, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter Isaiah 53:7, and all that follows. David also in the second Psalm, and in many other places, connects these two things. The Patriarch too after saying, He lay down, He couched as a lion, adds, And as a lion's cub, who shall raise Him up? Genesis 49:9 He shows at once the Passion and the Resurrection. But these men when they thought to silence Him, and to show that He was not the Christ, confessed by this very circumstance that the Christ remains forever. And observe their evil dealing; they said not, We have heard that Christ neither suffers nor is crucified, but that He remains forever. Yet even this which has been mentioned, would have been no real objection, for the Passion was no hindrance to His Immortality. Hence we may see that they understood many of the doubtful points, and deliberately went wrong. For since He had before spoken about death, when they now heard in this place the, be lifted up, they guessed that death was referred to. Then they said, Who is this Son of Man? This too they did deceitfully. Think not, I pray, says one, that we say this concerning you, assert not that we oppose you through enmity, for, lo, we know not concerning whom you speak, and still we declare our opinion. What then does Christ? To silence them, and to show that the Passion is no impediment to His enduring forever, He says,

John 12:35

Yet a little while is the light with you.

Signifying that His death was a removal; for the light of the sun is not destroyed, but having retired for a while appears again.

Walk while you have the light.

Of what season does He here speak? Of the whole present life, or of the time before the Crucifixion? I for my part think of both, for on account of His unspeakable lovingkindness, many even after the Crucifixion believed. And He speaks these things to urge them on to the faith, as He also did before, saying, Yet a little while I am with you. John 7:33

He that walks in darkness knows not whither he goes.

How many things, for instance, even now do the Jews, without knowing what they do, but walking as though they were in darkness? They think that they are going the right way, when they are taking the contrary; keeping the Sabbath, respecting the Law and the observances about meats, yet knowing not whither they walk. Wherefore He said,

John 12:36

Walk in the light, that you may become children of the light.

That is, My children. Yet in the beginning the Evangelist says, Were born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God John 1:13; that is, of the Father; while here Himself is said to beget them; that you may understand that the operation of the Father and the Son is One. Jesus having spoken these things, departed from them, and did hide Himself.

Why does He now hide Himself? They took not up stones against Him, nor did they blaspheme Him in any such manner as before; why then did He hide Himself? Walking in men's hearts, He knew that their wrath was fierce, though they said nothing; He knew it boiling and murderous, and waited not till it issued into action, but hid Himself, to allay their ill-will. Observe how the Evangelist has alluded to this feeling; he has immediately added,

John 12:37

Though He had done so many miracles, they believed not on Him.

2. What so many? So many as the Evangelist has omitted. And this is clear also from what follows. For when He had retired, and given in, and had come to them again, He speaks with them in a lowly manner, saying, He that believes in Me, believes not on Me, but on Him that sent Me. John 12:44 Observe what He does. He begins with humble and modest expressions, and betakes Himself to the Father; then again He raises His language, and when He sees that they are exasperated, He retires; then He comes to them again, and again begins with words of humility. And where has He done this? Nay, where has He not done it? See, for instance, what He says at the beginning, As I hear, I judge. John 5:30 Then in a loftier tone, As the Father raises up the dead, and quickens them, so also the Son quickens whom He will John 5:21; again, I judge you not, there is another that judges. Then again He retires. Then coming to Galilee, Labor not, He says, for the meat that perishes John 6:27; and after having said great things of Himself, that He came down from Heaven, that He gives eternal life, He again withdraws Himself. And He comes in the Feast of Tabernacles also, and does the same. And one may see Him continually thus varying His teaching, by His presence, by His absence, by lowly, by high discourses. Which He also did here. Though He had done so many miracles, it says, they believed not on Him.

John 12:38

That the saying of Esaias might be fulfilled which he spoke, Lord, who has believed our report, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? And again,

John 12:39–41

They could not believe, it says, because that Esaias said, You shall hear with your ears, and not understand. These things he said, when he saw His glory, and spoke of Him.

Here again observe, that the because, and spoke, refer not to the cause of their unbelief, but to the event. For it was not because Isaiah spoke, that they believed not; but because they were not about to believe, that he spoke. Why then does not the Evangelist express it so, instead of making the unbelief proceed from the prophecy, not the prophecy from the unbelief? And farther on he puts this very thing more positively, saying, Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said. He desires hence to establish by many proofs the unerring truth of Scripture, and that what Isaiah foretold fell not out otherwise, but as he said. For lest any one should say, Wherefore did Christ come? Knew he not that they would give no heed to him? he introduces the Prophets, who knew this also. But He came that they might have no excuse for their sin; for what things the Prophet foretold, he foretold as certainly to be; since if they were not certainly to be, he could not have foretold them; and they were certainly to be, because these men were incurable.

And if, they could not, is put, instead of, they would not, do not marvel, for He says also in another place, He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. Matthew 19:12 So in many places He is wont to term choice, power. Again, The world cannot hate you, but Me it hates. John 7:7 This one may even see observed in common conversation; as when a man says, I cannot love this or that person, calling the force of his will, power. And again, this or that person cannot be a good man. And what says the Prophet? If the Ethiopian shall change his skin, or the leopard his spots, this people also shall be able to do good, having learned evil. Jeremiah 13:23, Septuagint He says not that the doing of virtue is impossible to them, but that because they will not, therefore they cannot. And by what he says the Evangelist means, that it was impossible for the Prophet to lie; yet it was not on that account impossible that they should believe. For it was possible, even had they believed, that he should remain true; since he would not have prophesied these things if they had been about to believe. Why then, says some one, did he not say so? Because Scripture has certain idiomatic phrases of this kind, and it is needful to make allowance for its laws.

The seethings he spoke when he saw His glory. Whose? The Father's. How then does John speak of the Son? And Paul of the Spirit? Not as confounding the Persons, but as showing that the Dignity is one, they say it. For that which is the Father's is the Son's also, and that which is the Son's is the Spirit's. Yet many things God spoke by Angels, and no one says, as the Angel spoke, but how? as God spoke. Since what has been said by God through the ministry of Angels would be of God; yet not therefore is what is of God, of the Angels also. But in this place John says that the words are the Spirit's.

And spoke of Him. What spoke he? I saw the Lord sitting upon a high throne Isaiah 6:1, and what follows. Therefore he there calls glory, that vision, the smoke, the hearing unutterable Mysteries, the beholding the Seraphim, the lightning which leaped from the throne, against which those powers could not look. And spoke of Him. What said he? That he heard a voice, saying, Whom shall I send? Who shall go? And I said, Here am I, send me. And He said, You shall hear with your ears, and shall not understand, and seeing you shall see, and not perceive. Isaiah 6:8–10 For,

John 12:40

He has blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, lest they at any time should see with their eyes, and understand with their heart.

Here again is another question, but it is not so if we rightly consider it. For as the sun dazzles the eyes of the weak, not by reason of its proper nature, so it is with those who give not heed to the words of God. Thus, in the case of Pharaoh, He is said to have hardened his heart, and so it is with those who are at all contentious against the words of God. This is a peculiar mode of speech in Scripture, as also the, He gave them over unto a reprobate mind Romans 1:28, and the, He divided them to the nations, that is, allowed, permitted them to go. For the writer does not here introduce God as Himself working these things, but shows that they took place through the wickedness of others. For, when we are abandoned by God, we are given up to the devil, and when so given up, we suffer ten thousand dreadful things. To terrify the hearer, therefore, the writer says, He hardened, and gave over. For to show that He does not only not give us over, but does not even leave us, except we will it, hear what He says, Do not your iniquities separate between Me and you? Isaiah 59:2, Septuagint. And again, They that go far away from You shall perish. Psalm 73:27, Septuagint And Hosea says, You have forgotten the law of your God, and I will also forget you Hosea 4:6, Septuagint; and He says Himself also in the Gospels, How often would I have gathered your children – and you would not. Luke 13:34 Esaias also again, I came, and there was no man; I called, and there was none to hearken. Isaiah 50:2, Septuagint These things He says, showing that we begin the desertion, and become the causes of our perdition; for God not only desires not to leave or to punish us, but even when He punishes, does it unwillingly; I will not, He says, the death of a sinner, so much as that he should turn and live. Ezekiel 18:32, Septuagint Christ also mourns over the destruction of Jerusalem, as we also do over our friends.

3. Knowing this, let us do all so as not to remove from God, but let us hold fast to the care of our souls, and to the love towards each other; let us not tear our own members, (for this is the act of men insane and beside themselves,) but the more we see any ill disposed, the more let us be kind to them. Since we often see many persons suffering in their bodies from difficult or incurable maladies, and cease not to apply remedies. What is worse than gout in foot or hand? Are we therefore to cut off the limbs? Not at all, but we use every means that the sufferer may enjoy some comfort, since we cannot get rid of the disease. This also let us do in the case of our brethren, and, even though they be diseased incurably, let us continue to tend them, and let us bear one another's burdens. So shall we fulfill the law of Christ, and obtain the promised good things, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 69 on the Gospel of John

John 12:42–43

Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

1. It is necessary for us to avoid alike all the passions which corrupt the soul, but most especially those, which from themselves generate numerous sins. I mean such as the love of money. It is in truth of itself a dreadful malady, but it becomes much more grievous, because it is the root and mother of all mischiefs. Such also is vainglory. See, for instance, how these men were broken off from the faith through their love of honor. Many, it says, of the chief rulers also believed on Him, but because of the Jews they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue. As He said also to them before, How can you believe which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that comes from God only? John 5:44 So then they were not rulers, but slaves in the utmost slavery. However, this fear was afterwards done away, for nowhere during the time of the Apostles do we find them possessed by this feeling, since in their time both rulers and priests believed. The grace of the Spirit having come, made them all firmer than adamant. Since therefore this was what hindered them from believing at this time, hear what He says.

John 12:44

He that believes in Me, believes not on Me, but on Him that sent Me.

As though He had said, Why fear ye to believe in Me? Faith passes to the Father through Me, as does also unbelief. See how in every way He shows the unvaryingness of His Essence. He said not, He that believes Me, lest any should assert that He spoke concerning His words; this might have been said in the case of mere men, for he that believes the Apostles, believes not them, but God. But that you might learn that He speaks here of the belief on His Essence, He said not, He that believes My words, but, He that believes in Me. And wherefore, says some one, has He nowhere said conversely, He that believes in the Father, believes not on the Father but on Me? Because they would have replied, Lo, we believe in the Father, but we believe not on you. Their disposition was as yet too infirm. Anyhow, conversing with the disciples, He did speak thus: You believe in the Father, believe also on Me John 14:1; but seeing that these then were too weak to hear such words, He leads them in another way, showing that it is not possible to believe in the Father, without believing on Him. And that you may not deem that the words are spoken as of man, He adds,

John 12:45

He that sees Me, sees Him that sent Me.

What then! Is God a body? By no means. The seeing of which He here speaks is that of the mind, thence showing the Consubstantiality. And what is, He that believes in Me? It is as though one should say, He that takes water from the river, takes it not from the river but from the fountain; or rather this image is too weak, when compared with the matter before us.

John 12:46

I have come a light into the world.

For since the Father is called by this name everywhere both in the Old (Testament) and in the New, Christ uses the same name also; therefore Paul also calls Him, Brightness Hebrews 1:3, having learned to do so from this source. And He shows here His close relationship with the Father, and that there is no separation between them, if so be that He says that faith on Him is not on Him, but passes on to the Father. And He called Himself light, because He delivers from error, and dissolves mental darkness.

John 12:47

If any man hear not Me, and believe not, I judge him not, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

2. For lest they should think, that for want of power He passed by the despisers, therefore spoke He the, I came not to judge the world. Then, in order that they might not in this way be made more negligent, when they had learned that he that believes is saved, and he that disbelieves is punished, see how He has also set before them a fearful court of judgment, by going on to say,

John 12:48

He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has One to judge him.

If the Father judges no man, and you are not come to judge the world, who judges him? The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him. For since they said, He is not from God, He says this, that, they shall not then be able to say these things, but the words which I have spoken now, shall be in place of an accuser, convicting them, and cutting off all excuse. And the word which I have spoken. What manner of word?

John 12:49

For I have not spoken of Myself, but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak?

Surely these things were said for their sakes, that they might have no pretense of excuse. Since if this were not the case, what shall He have more than Isaiah? For he too says the very same thing, The Lord God gives me the tongue of the learned, that I should know when I ought to speak a word. Isaiah 50:4, Septuagint What more than Jeremiah? For he too when he was sent was inspired. Jeremiah 1:9 What then Ezekiel? For he too, after eating the roll, so spoke. Ezekiel 3:1 Otherwise also, they who were about to hear what He said shall be found to be causes of His knowledge. For if when He was sent, He then received commandment what He should say, you will then argue that before He was sent He knew not. And what more impious than these assertions? If (that is) one take the words of Christ in this sense, and understand not the cause of their lowliness? Yet Paul says, that both he and those who were made disciples knew what was that good and acceptable and perfect will of God Romans 12:2, and did the Son not know until He had received commandment? How can this be reasonable? Do you see not that He brings His expressions to an excess of humility, that He may both draw those men over, and silence those who should come after. This is why He utters words befitting a mere man, that even so He may force us to fly the meanness of the sayings, as being conscious that the words belong not to His Nature, but are suited to the infirmity of the hearers.

John 12:50

And I know that His commandment is life everlasting; whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said to Me, so I speak.

Do you see the humility of the words? For he that has received a commandment is not his own master. Yet He says, As the Father raises up the dead and quickens them, even so the Son quickens whom He will. John 5:21 Hath He then power to quicken whom He will, and to say what He will has He not power? What He intends then by the words is this; The action has not natural possibility, that He should speak one set of words, and I should utter another. And I know that His commandment is life everlasting. He said this to those that called Him a deceiver, and asserted that He had come to do hurt. But when He says, I judge not, He shows that He is not the cause of the perdition of these men. By this He all but plainly testifies, when about to remove from, and to be no more with, them, that I converse with you, speaking nothing as of Myself, but all as from the Father. And for this cause He confined His discourse to them to humble expressions, that He might say, Even until the end did I utter this, My last word, to them. What word was that? As the Father said to Me, so I speak. Had I been opposed to God I should have said the contrary, that I speak nothing of what is pleasing to God, so as to attract the honor to Myself, but now I have so referred all things to Him, as to call nothing My own. Why then do ye not believe Me when I say that «I have received a commandment,» and when I so vehemently remove your evil suspicion respecting rivalry? For as it is impossible for those who have received a commandment to do or say anything but what their senders wish, as long as they fulfill the commandment, and do not forge anything; so neither is it possible for Me to say or do anything except as My Father wills. For what I do He does, because He is with Me, and »the Father has not left Me alone.» John 8:29 Do you see how everywhere He shows Himself connected with Him who begot Him, and that there is no separation? For when He says, I am not come of Myself, He says it not, as depriving Himself of power, but as taking away all alienation or opposition. For if men are masters of themselves, much more the Only-begotten Son. And to show that this is true, hear what Paul says, He emptied Himself, and gave Himself for us. Philippians 2:7 But, as I said, a terrible thing is vainglory, very terrible Ephesians 5:2; for this made these men not to believe, and others to believe ill, so that the things which were said for the sake of those men, through lovingkindness, they turned to impiety.

3. Let us then ever flee this monster: various and manifold it is, and everywhere sheds its peculiar venom, in wealth, in luxury, in beauty of person. Through this we everywhere go beyond needful use; through this arises extravagance in garments, and a great swarm of domestics; through this the needful use is every where despised, in our houses, our garments, our table; and extravagance prevails. Will you enjoy glory? Do almsdeeds, then shall Angels praise you, then shall God receive you. Now the admiration goes no farther than the goldsmiths and weavers, and thou departest without a crown, often seeing that you receive curses. But if you put not these things about your body, but expend them in feeding the poor, great will be the applause from all sides, great the praise. Then shall you have them, when you give them to others; when you keep them to yourself, then you have them not. For a house is a faithless treasury, but a sure treasury are the hands of the poor. Why do you adorn your body, while your soul is neglected, possessed by uncleanness? Why do you not bestow so much thought on your soul, as your body? You ought to bestow greater; but anyhow, beloved, we ought to bestow equal care upon it. For tell me, if any one asked you which you would choose, that your body should be fresh and of good habit and surpassing in beauty, and wear mean raiment, or having the body deformed and full of diseases, to wear gold and finery; would you not much prefer to have beauty depending on the nature of your person, than on the raiment with which you are clothed? And will you choose this in the case of your body, but the contrary in the case of your soul; and, when you have that ugly and unsightly and black, do you think to gain anything from golden ornaments? What madness is this! Shift this adorning within, put these necklaces about your soul. The things that are put about your body help neither to its health nor to its beauty, for it will not make black white, nor what is ugly either beautiful or good looking. But if you put them about your soul, you shall soon make it white instead of black, instead of ugly and unsightly, you shall make it beautiful and well-favored. The words are not mine, but those of the Lord Himself, who says, Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow Isaiah 1:18, Septuagint; and, Give alms– and all things shall be clean unto you Luke 11:41; and by such a disposition you shall beautify not yourself only, but your husband. For they if they see you putting off these outward ornaments, will have no great need of expense, and not having it, they will abstain from all covetousness, and will be more inclined to give alms, and you too will be able boldly to give them fitting counsel. At present you are deprived of all such authority. For with what mouth will you speak of these things? With what eyes will you look your husbands in the face, asking money for alms, when you spend most upon the covering of your bodies? Then will you be able boldly to speak with your husband concerning almsgiving, when you lay aside your ornaments of gold. Even if you accomplish nothing, you have fulfilled all your part; but I should rather say, that it is impossible that the wife should not gain the husband, when she speaks by the very actions. For what do you know, O woman, whether you shall save your husband? 1Corinthians 7:16 As then now you shall give account both for yourself and for him, so if you put off all this vanity you shall have a double crown, wearing your crown and triumphing with your husband through those unalloyed ages, and enjoying the everlasting good things, which may we all obtain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 70 on the Gospel of John

John 13:1

Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.

1. Be imitators of me, said Paul, as I also am of Christ. 1Corinthians 11:1 For on this account He took also flesh of our substance, that by means of it He might teach us virtue. For (God sending His own Son) in the likeness of sinful flesh, it says, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh. Romans 8:3 And Christ Himself says, Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart. Matthew 11:29 And this He taught, not by words alone, but by actions also. For they called Him a Samaritan, and one that had a devil, and a deceiver, and cast stones at Him; and at one time the Pharisees sent servants to take Him, at another they sent plotters against Him; and they continued also insulting Him themselves, and that when they had no fault to find, but were even being continually benefited. Still after such conduct He ceases not to do well to them both by words and deeds. And, when a certain domestic smote Him on the face, He said, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil, but if well, why do you smite Me? John 18:23 But this was to those who hated and plotted against Him. Let us see also what He does now towards the disciples, or rather what actions He now exhibits towards the traitor. The man whom most of all there was reason to hate, because being a disciple, having shared the table and the salt, having seen the miracles and been deemed worthy of such great things, he acted more grievously than any, not stoning indeed, nor insulting Him, but betraying and giving Him up, observe in how friendly sort He receives this man, washing his feet; for even in this way He desired to restrain him from that wickedness. Yet it was in His power, had He willed it, to have withered him like the fig-tree, to have cut him in two as He rent the rocks, to have cleft him asunder like the veil; but He would not lead him away from his design by compulsion, but by choice. Wherefore He washed his feet; and not even by this was that wretched and miserable man shamed.

Before the feast of the Passover, it says, Jesus knowing that His hour had come. Not then knowing, but (it means) that He did what He did having known long ago. That He should depart. Magnificently the Evangelist calls His death, departure. Having loved His own, He loved them unto the end. Do you see how when about to leave them He shows greater love? For the, having loved, He loved them unto the end, shows that he omitted nothing of the things which it was likely that one who earnestly loved would do. Why, then did He not this from the beginning? He works the greatest things last, so as to render more intense their attachment, and to lay up for them beforehand much comfort, against the terrible things that were about to fall on them. St. John calls them His own, in respect of personal attachment, since he calls others also His own, in respect of the work of creation; as when he says, His own received Him not. John 1:11 But what means, which were in the world? Because the dead also were His own, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the men of that sort, but they were not in the world. Do you see that He is the God both of the Old and New (Testament)? But what means, He loved them unto the end? It stands for, He continued loving them unceasingly, and this the Evangelist mentions as a sure proof of great affection. Elsewhere indeed He spoke of another (proof), the laying down life for His friends; but that had not yet come to pass. And wherefore did He this thing now? Because it was far more wonderful at a time when He appeared more glorious in the sight of all men. Besides, He left them no small consolation now that He was about to depart, for since they were going to be greatly grieved, He by these means introduces also comfort to the grief.

John 13:2

And supper being ended, the devil having now put it into the heart of Judas to betray Him.

This the Evangelist has said amazed, showing that Jesus washed the man who had already chosen to betray Him. This also proves his great wickedness, that not even the having shared the salt restrained him, (a thing which is most able to restrain wickedness;) not the fact that even up to the last day, his Master continued to bear with him.

John 13:3

Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God, and went to God.

Here the Evangelist says, even wondering, that one so great, so very great, who came from God and went to Him, who rules over all, did this thing, and disdained not even so to undertake such an action. And by the giving over, methinks St. John means the salvation of the faithful. For when He says, All things are given over to Me of My Father Matthew 11:27, He speaks of this kind of giving over; as also in another place He says, Yours they were, and You gave them Me John 17:6; and again, No man can come unto Me except the Father draw him John 6:44; and, Except it be given him from heaven. John 3:27 The Evangelist then either means this, or that Christ would be nothing lessened by this action, since He came from God, and went to God, and possessed all things. But when you hear of giving over, understand it in no human sense, for it shows how He honors the Father, and His unanimity with Him. For as the Father gives over to Him, so He to the Father. And this Paul declares, saying, When He shall have given over the kingdom to God, even the Father. 1Corinthians 15:24 But St. John has said it here in a more human sense, showing His great care for them, and declaring His unutterable love, that He now cared for them as for His own; teaching them the mother of all good, even humblemindedness, which He said was both the beginning and the end of virtue. And not without a reason is added the, He came from God and went to God: but that we may learn that He did what was worthy of One who came thence and went there, trampling down all pride.

John 13:4

And having risen from supper, and laid aside His garments.

2. Observe how not by the washing only, but in another way also He exhibits humility. For it was not before reclining, but after they had all sat down, then He arose. In the next place, He does not merely wash them, but does so, putting off His garments. And He did not even stop here, but girded Himself with a towel. Nor was He satisfied with this, but Himself filled (the basin), and did not bid another fill it; He did all these things Himself, showing by all that we must do such things, when we are engaged in well doing, not merely for form's sake, but with all zeal. Now He seems to me to have washed the feet of the traitor first from its saying,

John 13:5

He began to wash the disciples» feet, and adding,

John 13:6

Then comes He to Simon Peter and Peter says unto Him, Lord, do You wash my feet?

With those hands, he says, with which You have opened eyes, and cleansed lepers, and raised the dead? For this (question) is very emphatic; wherefore He needed not to have said any more than the, Thou; for even of itself this would have sufficed to convey the whole. Some one might reasonably enquire, how none of the others forbade Him, but Peter only, which was a mark of no slight love and reverence. What then is the cause? He seems to me to have washed the traitor first, then to have come to Peter, and that the others were afterwards instructed from his case. That He washed some one other before him is clear from its saying, But when He came to Peter. Yet the Evangelist is not a vehement accuser, for the began, is the expression of one implying this. And even if Peter were the first, yet it is probable that the traitor, being a forward person, had reclined even before the chief. For by another circumstance also his forwardness is shown, when He dips with his Master in the dish, and being convicted, feels no compunction; while Peter being rebuked but once on a former occasion, and for words which he spoke from loving affection, was so abashed, that being even distressed and trembling, he begged another to ask a question. But Judas, though continually convicted, felt not. John 13:24 When therefore He came to Peter, he says unto Him, Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?

John 13:7

He says unto him, What I do you know not now, but you shall know here after.

That is you shall know how great is the gain from this, the profit of the lesson, and how it is able to guide us into all humblemindedness. What then does Peter? He still hinders Him, and says,

John 13:8

You shall never wash my feet. What doest thou, Peter? Rememberest thou not those former words? Did you not say, «Be merciful to Yourself,» and heardest thou not in return, »Get behind Me, Satan»? Matthew 16:22 Are you not even so sobered, but are you yet vehement? Yea, he says, for what is being done is a great matter, and full of amazement. Since then he did this from exceeding love, Christ in turn subdues him by the same; and as there He effected this by sharply rebuking him, and saying, You are an offense unto Me, so here also by saying,

If I wash you not, you have no part with Me. What then says that hot and burning one?

John 13:9

Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.

Vehement in deprecation, he becomes yet more vehement in acquiescence; but both from love. For why said He not wherefore He did this, instead of adding a threat? Because Peter would not have been persuaded. For had He said, Suffer it, for by this I persuade you to be humbleminded, Peter would have promised it ten thousand times, in order that his Master might not do this thing. But now what says He? He speaks of that which Peter most feared and dreaded, the being separated from Him; for it is he who continually asks, Where are You going? John 13:36 Wherefore also he said, I will give even my life for You. John 13:37 And if, after hearing, What I do you know not now, but you shall know hereafter, he still persisted, much more would he have done so had he learned (the meaning of the action). Therefore said He, but you shall know hereafter, as being aware, that should he learn it immediately he would still resist. And Peter said not, Tell me, that I may suffer You, but (which was much more vehement) he did not even endure to learn, but withstands Him, saying, You shall never wash my feet. But as soon as He threatened, he straightway relaxed his tone. But what means, You shall know after this? After this? When? When in My Name you shall have cast out devils; when you shall have seen Me taken up into Heaven, when you shall have learned from the Spirit that I sit on His right hand, then shall you understand what is being done now. What then says Christ? When Peter said, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head, He replies,

John 13:10–11

He that is washed, needs not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit; and you are clean, but not all. For He knew who should betray Him.

And if they are clean, why washes He class="greek">washest thou. «}--> their feet? That we may learn to be modest. On which account He came not to any other part of the body, but to that which is considered more dishonorable than the rest. But what is, He that is washed? It is instead of, he that is clean. Were they then clean, who had not yet been delivered from their sins, nor deemed worthy of the Spirit, since sin still had the mastery, the handwriting of the curse still remaining, the victim not having yet been offered? How then calls He them clean? That you may not deem them clean, as delivered from their sins, He adds, Behold, you are clean through the word that I have spoken unto you. That is, In this way you are so far clean; you have received the light, you have been freed from Jewish error. For the Prophet also says, "Wash you, make you clean, put away the wickedness from your souls» Isaiah 1:16, Septuagint; so that such a one is washed and is clean. Since then these men had cast away all wickedness from their souls, and had companied with Him with a pure mind, therefore He says according to the word of the Prophet, he that is washed is clean already. For in that place also It means not the washing of water, practiced by the Jews; but the cleansing of the conscience.

3. Be we then also clean; learn we to do well. But what is well? Judge for the fatherless, plead for the widow; and come, let us reason together, says the Lord. Isaiah 1:7 There is frequent mention in the Scriptures of widows and orphans, but we make no account of this. Yet consider how great is the reward. Though, it says, your sins be as scarlet, I will whiten them as snow; though they be red like crimson, I will whiten them as wool. For a widow is an unprotected being, therefore He takes much care for her. For they, when it is even in their power to contract a second marriage, endure the hardships of widowhood through fear of God. Let us then all, both men and women, stretch forth our hands to them, that we may never undergo the sorrows of widow-hood; or if we should have to undergo them, let us lay up a great store of kindness for ourselves. Not small is the power of the widow's tears, it is able to open heaven itself. Let us not then trample on them, nor make their calamity worse, but assist them by every means. If so we do, we shall put around ourselves much safety, both in the present life, and in that which is to come. For not here alone, but there also will they be our defenders, cutting away most of our sins by reason of our beneficence towards them, and causing us to stand boldly before the judgment-seat of Christ. Which may it come to pass that we all obtain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 71 on the Gospel of John

John 13:1

And He took His garments, and having sat down again, said to them, Know ye what I have done to you? And what follows.

1. A grievous thing, beloved, a grievous thing it is to come to the depths of wickedness; for then the soul becomes hard to be restored. Wherefore we should use every exertion not to be taken at all; since it is easier not to fall in, than having fallen to recover one's self. Observe, for instance, when Judas had thrown himself into sin, how great assistance he enjoyed, yet not even so was he raised. Christ said to him, One of you is a devil John 6:71; He said, Not all believe John 6:65; He said, I speak not of all, and, I know whom I have chosen John 13:18; and not one of these sayings does he feel. Now when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and sat down, He said, Know ye what I have done unto you? He no longer addresses Himself to Peter only, but to them all.

John 13:13

You call Me Lord and Master, and you say well, for so I am.

You call Me. He takes to Him their judgment, and then that the words may not be thought to be words of their kindness, He adds, for so I am. By introducing a saying of theirs, He makes it not offensive, and by confirming it Himself when introduced from them, unsuspected. For so I am, He says. Do you see how when He converses with the disciples, He speaks revealing more what belongs unto Himself? As He says, Call no man master on earth, for One is your guide Matthew 23:8–9, so also, And call no man father upon earth. But the one and one is spoken not of the Father only, but of Himself also. For had He spoken excluding Himself, how says He, That ye may become the children of the light? And again, if He called the Father only, Master, how says He, For so I am; and again, For one is your Guide, even Christ? John 12:26

John 13:14–15

If I then, He says, your Lord and Master have washed your feet, you ought also to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

And yet it is not the same thing, for He is Lord and Master, but you are fellow-servants one of another. What means then the as? With the same zeal. For on this account He takes instances from greater actions that we may, if so be, perform the less. Thus schoolmasters write the letters for children very beautifully, that they may come to imitate them though but in an inferior manner. Where now are they who spit on their fellow-servants? Where now they who demand honors? Christ washed the feet of the traitor, the sacrilegious, the thief, and that close to the time of the betrayal, and incurable as he was, made him a partaker of His table; and are you highminded, and do you draw up your eyebrows? Let us then wash one another's feet, says some one, then we must wash those of our domestics. And what great thing if we do wash even those of our domestics? In our case slave and free is a difference of words; but there an actual reality. For by nature He was Lord and we servants, yet even this He refused not at this time to do. But now it is matter for contentment if we do not treat free men as bondmen, as slaves bought with money. And what shall we say in that day, if after receiving proofs of such forbearance, we ourselves do not imitate them at all, but take the contrary part, being in diametrical opposition, lifted up, and not discharging the debt? For God has made us debtors one to another, having first so done Himself, and has made us debtors of a less amount. For He was our Lord, but we do it, if we do it at all, to our fellow-servants, a thing which He Himself implied by saying, If I then your Lord and Master – so also do ye. It would indeed naturally have followed to say, How much more should ye servants, but He left this to the conscience of the hearers.

2. But why has He done this now? They were for the future to enjoy, some greater, some less honor. In order then that they may not exalt themselves one above the other, and say as they did before, Who is the greatest Matthew 18:1, nor be angry one against the other, He takes down the high thoughts of them all, by saying, that although you may be very great, you ought to have no high thoughts towards your brother. And He mentioned not the greater action, that if I have washed the feet of the traitor, what great matter if you one another's? but having exemplified this by deeds, He then left it to the judgment of the spectators. Therefore He said, Whosoever shall do and teach, the same shall be called great Matthew 5:19; for this is to teach a thing, actually to do it. What pride should not this remove? What kind of folly and insolence should it not annihilate! He who sits upon the Cherubim washed the feet of the traitor, and do you, O man, you that are earth and ashes and cinders and dust, do you exalt yourself, and are you highminded? And how great a hell would you not deserve? If then you desire a high state of mind, come, I will show you the way to it; for thou dost not even know what it is. The man then who gives heed to the present things as being great, is of a mean soul; so that there can neither be humility without greatness of soul, nor conceit except from littleness of soul. For as little children are eager for trifles, gaping upon balls and hoops and dice, but cannot even form an idea of important matters; so in this case, one who is truly wise, will deem present things as nothing, (so that he will neither choose to acquire them himself, nor to receive them from others;) but he who is not of such a character will be affected in a contrary way, intent upon cobwebs and shadows and dreams of things less substantial than these.

John 13:16–18

Verily I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord, neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If you know these things, happy are you if you do them. I speak not of you all – but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, He that eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.

What He said before, this He says here also, to shame them; For if the servant is not greater than his master, nor he that is sent greater than him that sent him, and these things have been done by Me, much more ought they to be done by you. Then, lest any one should say, Why now do You say these things? Do we not already know them? He adds this very thing, I speak not to you as not knowing, but that by your actions ye may show forth the things spoken of. For to know, belongs to all; but to do, not to all. On this account He said, Blessed are you if you do them; and on this account I continually and ever say the same to you, although ye know it, that I may set you on the work. Since even Jews know, but yet they are not blessed; for they do not what they know.

I speak not, He says, of you all. O what forbearance! Not yet does He convict the traitor, but veils the matter, hence giving him room for repentance. He convicts and yet does not convict him when He says thus, He that eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me. It seems to me that the, The servant is not greater than his lord, was uttered for this purpose also, that if any persons should at any time suffer harm either from domestics or from any of the meaner sort, they should not be offended; looking to the instance of Judas, who having enjoyed ten thousand good things, repaid his Benefactor with the contrary. On this account He added, He that eats bread with Me, and letting pass all the rest, He has put that which was most fitted to restrain and shame him; he who was fed by Me, He says, and who shared My table. And He spoke the words, to instruct them to benefit those who did evil to them, even though such persons should continue incurable.

But having said, I speak not of you all, in order not to attach fear to more than one, He at last separates the traitor, speaking thus; He that eats bread with Me. For the, not of you all, does not direct the words to any single one, therefore He added, He that eats bread with Me; showing to that wretched one that He was not seized in ignorance, but even with full knowledge; a thing which of itself was most of all fitted to restrain him. And He said not, betrays Me, but, has lifted up his heel against Me, desiring to represent the deceit, the treachery, the secrecy of the plot.

3. These things are written that we bear not malice towards those who injure us; but rebuke them and weep for them; for the fit subjects of weeping are not they who suffer, but they who do the wrong. The grasping man, the false accuser, and whoever works any other evil thing, do themselves the greatest injury, and us the greatest good, if we do not avenge ourselves. Such a case as this: some one has robbed you; have you given thanks for the injury, and glorified God? By that thanksgiving you have gained ten thousand rewards, just as he has gathered for himself fire unspeakable. But if any one say, How then, if I "could» not defend myself against him who wronged me, being weaker? I would say this, that you could have put into action the being discontented, the being impatient, (for these things are in our power,) the praying against him, who grieved you, the uttering ten thousand curses against him, the speaking ill of him to every one. He therefore who has not done these things shall even be rewarded for not defending himself, since it is clear that even if he had had the power, he would not have done it. The injured man uses any weapon that comes to hand, when, being little of soul, he defends himself against one who has injured him, by curses, by abuse, by plotting. Do thou then not only not do these things, but even pray for him; for if you do them not, but will even pray for him, you have become like God. For, pray, it says, for them, that despitefully use you – that you may be like your Father which is in Heaven. Matthew 5:44–45 Do you see how we are the greatest gainers from the insolence of others? Nothing so delights God, as the not returning evil for evil? But what say I? Not returning evil for evil? Surely we are enjoined to return the opposite, benefits, prayers. Wherefore Christ also repaid him who was about to betray Him with everything opposite. He washed his feet, convicted him secretly, rebuked him sparingly, tended him, allowed him to share His table and His kiss, and not even by these was he made better; nevertheless (Christ) continued doing His own part.

But come, let us teach you even from the example of servants, and (to make the lesson stronger) those in the Old (Testament), that you may know that we have no ground of defense when we remember a wrong. Will you then that I tell you of Moses, or shall we go yet farther back? For the more ancient the instances that can be pointed out, the more are we surpassed. Why so? Because virtue was then more difficult. Those men had no written precepts, no patterns of living, but their nature fought, unarmed, by itself, and was forced to float in all directions unballasted. Wherefore also when praising Noah, God called him not simply perfect, but added, in his generation Genesis 7:1; signifying, at that time, when there were many hindrances, since many others shone after him, yet will he have nothing less than they; for in his own time he was perfect. Who then before Moses was patient? The blessed and noble Joseph, who having shone by his chastity, shone no less by his long suffering. He was sold when he had done no wrong, but was waiting on others, and serving, and performing all the duties of domestics. They brought against him an evil accusation, and he did not defend himself, though he had his father on his side. Nay, he even went to carry food to them in the desert, and when he found them not, he did not despair or turn back, (yet he had an excuse for doing so had he chosen,) but remained near the wild beasts and those savage men, preserving the feeling of a true brother. Again, when he dwelt in the prison house, and was asked the cause, he spoke no evil of them, but only, I have done nothing, and, I was stolen out of the land of the Hebrews; and after this again, when he was made lord, he nourished them, and delivered them from ten thousand dangers. If we be sober, the wickedness of our neighbor is not strong enough to cast us out of our own virtue. But those others were not like him; they both stripped him, and endeavored to kill him, and reproach him with his dream, though they had even received their meat from him, and planned to deprive him of life and of liberty. And they ate, and cared not for their brother lying naked in the pit. What could be worse than such brutality? Were they not worse than any number of murderers? And after this, having drawn him up, they gave him over to ten thousand deaths, selling him to barbarian and savage men, who were on their journey to barbarians. Yet he, when he became ruler, not only remitted them their punishment, but even acquitted them, as far at least as relating to himself, of their sin, calling what had been done a dispensation of God, not any wickedness of theirs; and the things which he did against them he did not as remembering evil, but in all these he dissembled, for his brother's sake. After this, when he saw them clinging to him, he straightway threw away the mask, and wept aloud, and embraced them, as though he had received the greatest benefits, he, who formerly was made away with by them, and he brought them all down into Egypt, and repaid them with ten thousand benefits. What excuse then shall we have, if after the Law, and after grace, and after the addition of so much heavenly wisdom, we do not even strive to rival him who lived before grace and before the Law? Who shall deliver us from punishment? For there is nothing, there is nothing more grievous than the remembrance of injuries. And this the man has showed that owed ten thousand talents; from whom payment was at one time not demanded, at another time again demanded; not demanded, because of the lovingkindness of God; but demanded, because of his own wickedness, and because of his malice toward his fellow-servant. Knowing all which things, let us forgive our neighbors their trespasses, and repay them by deeds of an opposite kind, that we too may obtain mercy from God, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 72 on the Gospel of John

John 13:20

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receives whomsoever I send, receives Me: and He that receives Me, receives Him that sent Me.

1. Great is the recompense of care bestowed upon the servants of God, and of itself it yields to us its fruits. For, he that receives you, it says, receives Me, and he that receives Me, receives Him that sent Me. Matthew 10:40 Now what can be equal to the receiving Christ and His Father? But what kind of connection has this with what was said before? What has it in common with that which He had said, If you do these things happy are you, to add, He that receives you? A close connection, and very harmonious. Observe how. When they were about to go forth and to suffer many dreadful things, He comforts them in two ways; one derived from Himself, the other derived from others. For if, He says, you are truly wise, ever keeping Me in mind, and bearing about all both what I said, and what I did, you will easily endure terrible things. And not in this way only, but also from your enjoying great attention from all men. The first point He declared when He said, If you do these things happy are you; the second when He said, He that receives you receives Me. For He opened the houses of all men to them, so that both from the sound wisdom of their manners, and the zeal of those who would tend them, they might have twofold comfort. Then when He had given these directions to them as to men about to run through all the world, reflecting that the traitor was deprived of both of these things, and would enjoy neither of them, neither patience in toils, nor the service of kind entertainers, He again was troubled. And the Evangelist to signify this besides, and to show that it was on his account that He was troubled, adds,

John 13:21

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.

Again He brings fear on all by not mentioning (the traitor) by name.

John 13:22

But they are in doubt; although conscious to themselves of nothing evil; but they deemed the declaration of Christ more to be believed than their own thoughts. Wherefore they looked one on another.

By laying the whole upon one, Jesus would have cut short their fear, but by adding, one of you, He troubled all. What then? The rest looked upon one another; but the ever fervent Peter beckons to John. Since he had been before rebuked, and when Christ desired to wash him would have hindered Him, and since he is everywhere found moved indeed by love, yet blamed; being on this account afraid, he neither kept quiet, nor did he speak, but wished to gain information by means of John. But it is a question worth asking, why when all were distressed, and trembling, when their leader was afraid, John like one at ease leans on Jesus» bosom, and not only leans, but even (lies) on His breast? Nor is this the only thing worthy of enquiry, but that also which follows. What is that? What he says of himself, Whom Jesus loved. Why did no one else say this of himself? Yet the others were loved too. But he more than any. And if no other has said this about him, but he about himself, it is nothing wonderful. Paul too does the same, when occasion calls, saying thus, I knew a man fourteen years ago; yet in fact he has gone through other no trifling praises of himself. Seems it to you a small thing that, when he had heard, Follow Me, he straightway left his nets, and his father, and followed; and that Christ took him alone with Peter into the mountain, Matthew 17:1, and another time again when He went into a house? Luke 8:51 What high praise also has he himself passed on Peter without concealment, telling us that Christ said, Peter, do you love Me more than these? Luke 21:15, and everywhere he shows him warm, and nobly disposed towards himself; for instance, when he said, Lord, and what shall this man do? he spoke from great love. But why did no other say (this ) concerning him? Because he would not himself have said it, unless he had come to this passage. For if after telling us that Peter beckoned to John to ask, he had added nothing more, he would have caused considerable doubt, and have compelled us to enquire into the reason. In order therefore himself to solve this difficulty, he says, He lay on the bosom of Jesus. Do you think that you have learned a little thing when you have heard that he lay, and that their Master allowed such boldness to them? If you desire to know the cause of this, the action was of love; wherefore he says, Whom Jesus loved. I suppose also that John does this for another reason, as wishing to show that he was exempt from the charge and so he speaks openly and is confident. Again, why did he use these words, not at any other point of time, but only when the chief of the Apostles beckoned? That you might not deem that Peter beckoned to him as being greater, he says that the thing took place because of the great love (which Jesus bore him). But why does he even lie on His bosom? They had not as yet formed any high surmises concerning Him; besides, in this way He calmed their despondency; for it is probable that at this time their faces were overclouded. If they were troubled in their souls, much more would they be so in their countenances. Soothing them therefore by word and by the question, He makes a way beforehand, and allows him to lean on His breast. Observe too his modesty; he mentions not his own name, but, whom He loved. As also Paul, when he said, I knew a man about fourteen years ago. Now for the first time Jesus convicted the traitor, but not even now by name; but how?

John 13:26

He it is, to whom I shall give a sop when I have dipped it.

Even the manner (of the rebuke) was calculated to put him to shame. He respected not the table, though he shared the bread; be it so; but the receiving the sop from His own hand, whom would not that have won over? Yet him it won not.

John 13:27

Then Satan entered into him.

Laughing at him for his shamelessness. As long as he belonged to the band of disciples he dared not spring upon him, but attacked him from without; but when Christ made him manifest and separated him, then he sprang upon him without fear. It was not fitting to keep within one of such a character, and who so long had remained incorrigible. Wherefore He henceforth cast him out, and then that other seized him when cut off, and he leaving them went forth by night.

Jesus says unto him, Friend, that you do, do quickly.

John 13:28

Now no man at the table knew with what intent He spoke this unto him.

3. Wonderful insensibility! How could it be that he was neither softened nor shamed; but rendered yet more shameless, went out. The do quickly, is not the expression of one commanding, nor advising, but of one reproaching, and showing him that He desired to correct him, but that since he was incorrigible, He let him go. And this, the Evangelist says, no man of those that sat at the table knew. Some one may perhaps find here a considerable difficulty, if, when the disciples had asked, Who is it? and He had answered, He to whom I shall give a sop when I have dipped it, they did not even so understand; unless indeed He spoke it secretly, so that no man should hear. For John on this very account, leaning by His breast, asked Him almost close to His ear, so that the traitor might not be made manifest; and Christ answered in like manner, so that not even then did He discover him. And though He spoke emphatically, Friend, that you do, do quickly, even so they understood not. But he spoke thus to show that the things were true which had been said by Him to the Jews concerning His death. For He had said to them, I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again: and, No man takes it from Me. John 10:18 As long then as He would retain it, no man was able (to take it); but when He resigned it, then the action became easy. All this He implied when He said, That you do, do quickly. Yet not even then did He expose him, for perhaps the others might have torn him in pieces, or Peter might have killed him. On this account no man at the table knew. Not even John? Not even he: for he could not have expected that a disciple would arrive at such a pitch of wickedness. For since they were far from such iniquity themselves, they could not suspect such things concerning others. As before He had told them, I speak not of you all John 13:18, yet did not reveal the person; so here, they thought that it was said concerning some other matter.

It was night, says the Evangelist, when he went out. Why tellest thou me the time? That you may learn his forwardness, that not even the time restrained him from his purpose. Yet not even did this make him quite manifest, for the others were at this time in confusion, occupied by fear and great distress, and they knew not the true reason of what had been said but supposed that He spoke thus, in order that Judas might give somewhat to the poor. For He cared greatly for the poor, teaching us also to bestow much diligence on this thing. But they thought this, not without a cause, but because he had the bag. Yet no one appears to have brought money to Him; that the female disciples nourished Him of their substance, it has said, but this it has nowhere intimated. Luke 8:3 But how did He who bade His disciples bear neither scrip, nor money, nor staff, Himself bear a bag to minister to the poor? That you may learn, that it behooves even him who is exceedingly needy and crucified, to be very careful on this point. For many things He did in the way of dispensation for our instruction. The disciples then thought that He said this, that Judas should give something to the poor; and not even this shamed him, His not being willing even to the last day to make him a public example. We too ought to do the like, and not parade the sins of our companions, though they be incurable. For even after this He gave a kiss to the man who came to betray Him, and endured, such an action as that was, and then proceeded to a thing of far greater daring, the Cross itself, to the death of shame, and there again He manifested His lovingkindness. And here He calls it glory, showing us that there is nothing so shameful and reproachful which makes not brighter him who goes to it, if it be done according to the will of God. At least after the going forth of Judas to the betraying, He says,

John 13:31

Now is the Son of Man glorified.

In this way rousing the dejected thoughts of the disciples, and persuading them not only not to despond, but even to rejoice. On this account He rebuked Peter at the first, because for one who has been in death to overcome death, is great glory. And this is what He said of Himself, When I am lifted up, then you shall know that I Am John 8:28; and again, Destroy this Temple John 2:19; and again, No sign shall be given unto you but the sign of Jonas. Matthew 12:39 For how can it be otherwise than great glory, the being able even after death to do greater things than before death? For in order that the Resurrection might be believed, the disciples did work greater things. But unless He had lived, and had been God, how could these men have wrought such things in His Name?

Ver. 32 . And God shall glorify Him.

What is, And God shall glorify Him in Himself? It is by means of Himself, not by means of another.

And shall straightway glorify Him.

4. That is, simultaneously with the Cross. For it will not be after much time, He says, nor will He wait for the distant season of the Resurrection, nor will He then show Him glorious, but straightway on the Cross itself His glories shall appear. And so the sun was darkened, the rocks rent; the veil of the temple was parted asunder, many bodies of saints that slept arose, the tomb had its seals, the guards sat by, and while a stone lay over the Body the Body rose; forty days passed by, and the Gift of the Spirit came, and they all straightway preached Him. This is, shall glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him; not by Angels or Archangels, not by any other power, but by Himself. But how did He also glorify Him by Himself? By doing all for the glory of the Son. Yet the Son did all. Do you see that He referrs to the Father the things done by Himself?

Ver. 33 . Little children, yet a little while I am with you – and as I said to the Jews, Whither I go ye cannot come, so now I say to you.

He now begins words of sorrow after the supper. For when Judas went forth it was no longer evening, but night. But since they were about to come shortly, it was necessary to set all things before the disciples, that they might have them in remembrance; or rather, the Spirit recalled all to their minds. For it is likely that they would forget many things, as hearing for the first time, and being about to undergo such temptations. Men who were weighed down to sleep, (as another Evangelist says, Luke 22:45) who were possessed by despondency, as Christ says Himself, Because I have said these things unto you, sorrow has filled your hearts John 16:6, how could they retain all these things exactly? Why then were they spoken? It became no little gain to them with respect to their opinion of Christ, that in after times when reminded they certainly knew that they had long ago heard these things from Christ. But wherefore does He first cast down their souls, saying, Yet a little while I am with you? To the Jews indeed it was said with reason, but why do You place us in just the same class with those obstinate ones? He by no means did so. Why then said He, "As I said to the Jews»? He reminded them that He did not now, because troubles were upon them, warn them of these things, but that He had foreknown them from the first, and that they were witnesses who had heard that He had said these things to the Jews. Wherefore He added also the word, little children, that when they heard, As I said to the Jews, they might not deem that the expression was used in like sense towards themselves. It was not then to depress but to comfort them that He thus spoke, that their dangers might not, by coming upon them suddenly, trouble them to excess.

Whither I go, you cannot come. He shows that His death is a removal, and a change for the better to a place which admits not corruptible bodies. This He says, both to excite their love towards Him, and to make it more fervent. You know that when we see any of our dearest friends departing from us, our affection is warmest, and the more so, when we see them going to a place to which it is not even possible for us to go. These things then He said, terrifying the Jews, but kindling longing in the disciples. Such is the place, that not only not they, but not even you, My best beloved, can come there. Here He shows also His Own dignity.

So now I say to you. Why now? In one way to them, to you in another way; that is, not with them. But when did the Jews seek Him, when the disciples? The disciples, when they fled the Jews, when they suffered miseries unendurable and surpassing all description at the capture of their city, when the wrath of God was borne down upon them from every side. To the Jews therefore He spoke then, because of their unbelief, but to you now, that troubles might not come upon you unexpected.

Ver. 34 . A new commandment I give unto you.

For since it was likely that they would be troubled when they heard these things, as though they were about to be deserted, He comforts them, investing them with that which was the root of all blessings and a safeguard, love. As though He had said, Grieve ye at My departure? Nay, if you love one another, you shall be the stronger. Why then said He not this? Because He said what profited them more than this.

Ver. 35 . By this shall all men know that you are My disciples.

5. By this He at the same time showed that the company should never be extinguished, when He gave them a distinguishing token. This He said when the traitor was cut off from them. But how calls He that a new commandment which is contained also in the Old (covenant)? He made it new Himself by the manner; therefore He added, As I have loved you. I have not paid back to you a debt of good deeds first done by you, but Myself have begun, He says. And so ought you to benefit your dearest ones, though you owe them nothing; and omitting to speak of the miracles which they should do, He makes their characteristic, love. And why? Because it is this which chiefly shows men holy; it is the foundation of all virtue; by this mostly we are all even saved. For this, He says, is to be a disciple; so shall all men praise you, when they see you imitating My Love. What then? Do not miracles much more show this? By no means. For many will say, Lord, have we not in Your Name cast out devils? Matthew 7:22 And again, when they rejoice that the devils obey them, He says, Rejoice not that the devils obey you, but that your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:20 And this indeed brought over the world, because that was before it; had not that been, neither would this have endured. This then straightway made them perfect, the having all one heart and one soul. But had they separated one from the other, all things would have been lost.

Now He spoke this not to them only, but to all who should believe in Him; since even now, there is nothing else that causes the heathen to stumble, except that there is no love. But, says some one, they also urge against us the absence of miracles. But not in the same way. But where did the Apostles manifest their love? Do you see Peter and John inseparable from one another, and going up to the Temple? Acts 3:1 Do you see Paul disposed in a like way towards them, and do you doubt? If they had gained the other blessings, much more had they the mother of them all. For this is a thing that springs from a virtuous soul; but where wickedness is, there the plant withers away. For when, it says, iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Matthew 24:12 And miracles do not so much attract the heathen as the mode of life; and nothing so much causes a right life as love. For those who wrought miracles they often even called deceivers; but they could have no hold upon a pure life. While then the message of the Gospel was not yet spread abroad, miracles were with good reason marveled at, but now men must get to be admired by their lives. For nothing so raises respect in the heathen as virtue, nothing so offends them as vice. And with good reason. When one of them sees the greedy man, the plunderer, exhorting others to do the contrary, when he sees the man who was commanded to love even his enemies, treating his very kindred like brutes, he will say that the words are folly. When he sees one trembling at death, how will he receive the accounts of immortality? When he sees us fond of rule, and slaves to the other passions, he will more firmly remain in his own doctrines, forming no high opinion of us. We, we are the cause of their remaining in their error. Their own doctrines they have long condemned, and in like manner they admire ours, but they are hindered by our mode of life. To follow wisdom in talk is easy, many among themselves have done this; but they require the proof by works. Then let them look to the ancients of our profession. But about them they by no means believe; they enquire concerning those now living. For, show me, it says, your faith by your works James 2:18; but this is not the case; on the contrary, seeing us tear our neighbors worse than any wild beast, they call us the curse of the world. These things restrain the heathen, and suffer them not to come over to our side. So that we shall be punished for these also; not only for what we do amiss ourselves, but because the name of God is blasphemed. How long shall we be given up to wealth, and luxury, and the other passions? For the future let us leave them. Hear what the Prophet says of certain foolish ones, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. Isaiah 22:31 But in the present case we cannot even say this, so many gather round themselves what belongs to all. So chiding them also, the Prophet said, Will ye dwell alone upon the earth? Isaiah 5:8 Wherefore I fear lest some grievous thing come to pass, and we draw down upon us heavy vengeance from God. And that this may not come to pass, let us be careful of all virtue, that we may obtain the future blessings, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory now and forever, and world without end. Amen.

Homily 73 on the Gospel of John

John 13:36

Simon Peter said to Him, Lord, where are you going? Jesus answered him, Whither I go you can not follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterwards.

1. A great thing is love, and stronger than fire itself, and it goes up to the very heaven; there is no hindrance which can restrain its tearing force. And so the most fervent Peter, when he hears, Whither I go ye cannot come, what says he? Lord, where are you going? and this he said, not so much from wish to learn, as from desire to follow. To say openly, I go, he dared not yet, but, Where are you going? Christ answered, not to his words, but to his thoughts. For that this was his wish, is clear from what Christ said, Whither I go you can not follow Me now. Do you see that he longed for the following Him, and therefore asked the question? And when he heard, you shall follow Me afterwards, not even so did he restrain his longing, and, though he had gained good hopes, he is so eager as to say,

John 13:37

Why cannot I follow You now? I will lay down my life for You.

When he had shaken off the dread of being the traitor, and was shown to be one of His own, he afterwards asked boldly himself, while the others held their peace. What do you say, Peter? He said, you can not,» and you say, "I can»? Therefore you shall know from this temptation that your love is nothing without the presence of the impulse from above. Whence it is clear that in care for him He allowed even that fall. He desired indeed to teach him even by the first words, but when he continued in his vehemence, He did not indeed throw or force him into the denial, but left him alone, that he might learn his own weakness. Christ had said that He must be betrayed; Peter replied, Be it far from You, Lord; this shall not happen unto You. Matthew 16:22 He was rebuked, but not instructed. On the contrary, when Christ desired to wash his feet, he said, You shall never wash my feet. John 13:8 Again, when he hears, You can not follow Me now, he says, Though all deny You, I will not deny You. Since then it was likely that he would be lifted up to folly by his practice of contradiction, Jesus next teaches him not to oppose Him. This too Luke implies, when he tells us that Christ said, And I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not Luke 22:32; that is, that thou be not finally lost. In every way teaching him humility, and proving that human nature by itself is nothing. But, since great love made him apt for contradiction, He now sobers him, that he might not in after times be subject to this, when he should have received the stewardship of the world, but remembering what he had suffered, might know himself. And look at the violence of his fall; it did not happen to him once or twice, but he was so beside himself, that in a short time thrice did he utter the words of denial, that he might learn that he did not so love as he was loved. And yet, to one who had so fallen He says again, Lovest thou Me more than these? So that the denial was caused not by the cooling of his love, but from his having been stripped of aid from above. He accepts then Peter's love, but cuts off the spirit of contradiction engendered by it. For if you love, you ought to obey Him who is beloved. I said to you and to those with you, "You can not»; why are you contentious? Do you know what a thing it is to contradict God? But since you will not learn in this way that it is impossible that what I say should not come to pass, you shall learn it in the denial. And yet this appeared to you to be much more incredible. For this thou did not even understand, but of that you had the knowledge in your heart. Yet still that came to pass which was not even expected.

I will lay down my life for You. For since he had heard, Greater love than this has, no man, he straightway sprang forward, insatiably eager and desirous to reach even to the highest pitch of virtue. But Christ, to show that it belonged to Himself alone to promise these things with authority, says,

John 13:38

Before the cock crow.

That is, now; there was but a little interval. He spoke when it was late at night, and the first and second watch was past.

John 14:1

Let not your heart be troubled.

This He says, because it was probable that when they heard they would be troubled. For if the leader of their band, one so entirely fervent, was told that before the cock crew he should thrice deny his Master, it was likely that they would expect to have to undergo some great reverse, sufficient to bend even souls of adamant. Since then it was probable that they considering these things would be astounded, see how He comforts them, saying, Let not your heart be troubled. By this first word showing the power of His Godhead, because, what they had in their hearts He knew and brought to light.

You believe in God, believe also in Me. That is, All dangers shall pass you by, for faith in Me and in My Father is more powerful than the things which come upon you, and will permit no evil thing to prevail against you. Then He adds,

John 14:2

In My Father's house are many mansions.

As He comforts Peter when bewildered by saying, but you shall follow afterwards, so also He gives this glimpse of hope to the others. For lest they should think that the promise was given to him alone, He says, In My Father's house are many mansions.

If it were not so I would have said to you, I go to prepare a place for you.

That is, The same place which receives Peter shall receive you. For a great abundance of dwellings is there, and it may not be said that they need preparation. When He said, You cannot follow Me now, that they might not deem that they were finally cut off, He added,

John 14:3

That where I am, there ye may be also.

So earnest have I been concerning this matter, that I should already have been given up to it, had not preparation been made long ago for you. Showing them that they ought to be very bold and confident. Then that He may not seem to speak as though enticing them, but that they may believe the thing to be so, He adds,

John 14:4

And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

Do you see that He gives them proof that these things were not said without a meaning? And He used these words, because He knew in Himself that their souls now desired to learn this. For Peter said what he said, not in order to learn, but that he might follow. But when Peter had been rebuked, and Christ had declared that to be possible which for the time seemed impossible, and when the apparent impossibility led him to desire to know the matter exactly, therefore He says to the others, And the way ye know. For as when He has said, You shall deny Me, before any one spoke a word, searching into their hearts, He said, Be not troubled, so here also by saying You know, He disclosed the desire which was in their heart, and Himself gives them an excuse for questioning. Now the, Where are You going? Peter used from a very loving affection, Thomas from cowardice.

John 14:5

Lord, we know not whither You go.

The place, he says, we know not, and how shall we know the way leading there? And observe with what submissiveness he speaks; he says not, tell us the place, but, we know not whither You go; for all had long yearned to hear this. If the Jews questioned among themselves when they heard (of His departure), although desirous to be rid of Him, much more would those desire to learn, who wished never to be separated from Him. They feared therefore to ask Him, but yet they asked Him, from their great love and anxiety. What then says Christ?

John 14:6

I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no man comes unto the Father, but by Me.

Why then, when He was asked by Peter, «Where are You going,» did He not say directly, »I go to the Father, but you cannot come now»? Why did He put in a circuit of so many words, placing together questions and answers? With good reason He told not this to the Jews; but why not to these? He had indeed said both to these and to the Jews, that He came forth from God, and was going to God, now He says the same thing more clearly than before. Besides, to the Jews He spoke not so clearly; for had He said, You cannot come to the Father but by Me, they would straightway have deemed the matter mere boasting; but now by concealing this, He threw them into perplexity. But why, says some one, did He speak thus both to the disciples and to Peter? He knew his great forwardness, and that he would by reason of this the more press on and trouble Him; in order therefore to lead him away, He hides the matter. Having then succeeded in what He wished by the obscurity and by veiling His speech, He again discloses the matter. After saying, Where I am, no man can come, He adds, In My Father's house are many mansions; and again, No man comes to the Father but by Me. This He would not tell them at first, in order not to throw them into greater despondency, but, now that He has soothed them, He tells them. For by Peter's rebuke He cast out much of their despondency; and dreading lest they should be addressed in the same way, they were the more restrained. I am the Way. This is the proof of the, No man comes to the Father but by Me; and, the Truth, and the Life, of this, that these things shall surely be. There is then no falsehood with Me, if I am «the Truth»; if I am »Life» also, not even death shall be able to hinder you from coming to Me. Besides; if I am «the Way,» you will need none to lead you by the hand; if I am also »the Truth,» My words are no falsehoods; if I am also "Life,» though ye die you shall obtain what I have told you. Now His being the Way, they both understood and allowed, but the rest they knew not. They did not indeed venture to say what they knew not. Still they gained great consolation from His being the Way. If, says He, I have sole authority to bring to the Father, you shall surely come there; for neither is it possible to come by any other way. But by saying before, No man can come to Me except the Father draw him; and again, If I be lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all men unto Me John 12:32; and again, No man comes to the Father but by Me John 14:6; He shows Himself equal to Him who begot Him. But how after saying, Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know, has He added,

John 14:7

If you had known Me, you should have known My Father also; and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him?

He does not contradict Himself; they knew Him indeed, but not so as they ought. God they knew, but the Father not yet. For afterwards, the Spirit having come upon them wrought in them all knowledge. What He says is of this kind. Had ye known My Essence and My Dignity, you would have known that of the Father also; and henceforth you shall know Him, and have seen Him, (the one belonging to the future, the other to the present,) that is, by Me. By sight, He means knowledge by intellectual perception. For those who are seen we may see and not know; but those who are known we cannot know and not know. Wherefore He says, and you have seen Him; just as it says, was seen also of Angels. 1 Timothy 3:16 Yet the very Essence was not seen; yet it says that He was seen, that is, as far as it was possible for them to see. These words are used, that you may learn that the man who has seen Him knows Him who begot Him. But they beheld Him not in His unveiled Essence, but clothed with flesh. He is wont elsewhere to put sight for knowledge; as when He says, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8 By pure, He means not those who are free from fornication only, but from all sins. For every sin brings filth upon the soul.

3. Let us then use every means to wipe off the filthiness. But first the font cleanses, afterwards other ways also, many and of all kinds. For God, being merciful, has even after this given to us various ways of reconciliation, of all which the first is that by alms-doing. By almsdeeds, it says, and deeds of faith sins are cleansed away. Sirach 3:30 By alms-doing I do not mean that which is maintained by injustice, for this is not alms-doing, but savageness and inhumanity. What profits it to strip one man and clothe another? For we ought to begin the action with mercy, but this is inhumanity. If we give away everything that we have got from other people, it is no gain to us. And this Zacchæus shows, who on that occasion said, that he propitiated God by giving four times as much as he had taken. Luke 19:8 But we, when we plunder unboundedly, and give but little, think that we make God propitious, whereas we do rather exasperate Him. For tell me, if you should drag a dead and rotten ass from the waysides and lanes, and bring it to the altar, would not all stone you as accursed and polluted? Well then, if I prove that a sacrifice procured by plunder is more polluted than this, what defense shall we obtain? Let us suppose that some article has been obtained by plunder, is it not of fouler scent than a dead ass? Would you learn how great is the rottenness of sin? Hear the Prophet saying, My wounds stank, and were corrupt. Psalm 38:5, Septuagint And do you in words entreat God to forget your misdeeds, and do you by what you yourself do, robbing and grasping, and placing your sin upon the altar, cause Him to remember them continually? But now, this is not the only sin, but there is one more grievous than this, that you defile the souls of the saints. For the altar is but a stone, and is consecrated, but they ever bear with them Christ Himself; and do you dare to send there any of such impurity? No, says one, not the same money, but other. Mockery this, and trifling. Do you not know, that if one drop of injustice fall on a great quantity of wealth, the whole is defiled? And just as a man by casting dung into a pure fountain makes it all unclean, so also in the case of riches, anything ill-gotten entering in makes them to be tainted with the ill savor from itself. Then we wash our hands when we enter into church, but our hearts not so. Why, do our hands send forth a voice? It is the soul that utters the words: to that God looks; cleanness of the body is of no use, while that is defiled. What profits it, if you wipe clean your outward hands, while you have those within impure? For the terrible thing and that which subverts all good is this, that while we are fearful about trifles, we care not for important matters. To pray with unwashed hands is a matter indifferent; but to do it with an unwashed mind, this is the extreme of all evils. Hear what was said to the Jews who busied themselves about such outward impurities. Wash your heart from wickedness, how long shall there be in you thoughts of your labors? Jeremiah 4:14 Let us also wash ourselves, not with mire, but with fair water, with alms-doing, not with covetousness. First get free from rapine, and then show forth almsdeeds. Let us decline from evil, and do good. Psalm 37:27 Stay your hands from covetousness, and so bring them to almsgiving. But if with the same hands we strip one set of persons, though we may not clothe the others with what has been taken from them, yet we shall not thus escape punishment. For that which is the groundwork of the propitiation is made the groundwork of all wickedness. Better not show mercy, than show it thus; since for Cain also it had been better not to have brought his offering at all. Now if he who brought too little angered God, when one gives what is another's, how shall not he anger Him? I commanded you, He will say, not to steal, and do you honor Me from that you have stolen? What do you think? That I am pleased with these things? Then shall He say to you, You thought wickedly that I am even such an one as yourself; I will rebuke you, and set before your face your sins. Psalm 50:21, Septuagint But may it not come to pass that any one of us hear this voice, but having wrought pure almsdeeds, and having our lamps burning, so may we enter into the bride-chamber by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 74 on the Gospel of John

John 14:8–9

Philip says unto Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it suffices us. Jesus says unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me, has seen the Father.

sayest thou then, Show us the Father? »



1. The Prophet said to the Jews, You had the countenance of a harlot, thou were shameless towards all men. Jeremiah 3:3, Septuagint Now it seems fitting to use this expression not only against that city, but against all who shamelessly set their faces against the truth. For when Philip said to Christ, Show us the Father, He replied, Have I been so long time with you, and have you not known Me, Philip? And yet there are some Who even after these words separate the Father from the Son. What proximity do you require closer than this? Indeed from this very saying some have fallen into the malady of Sabellius. But let us, leaving both these and those as involved in directly opposite error, consider the exact meaning of the words. Have I been so long time with you, and have you not known Me, Philip? He says. What then? Replies Philip, Are you the Father after whom I enquire? No, He says. On this account He said not, have you not known Him, but, have you not known Me, declaring nothing else but this, that the Son is no other than what the Father is, yet continuing to be a Son. But how came Philip to ask this question? Christ had said, If you had known Me, you should have known My Father also John 14:7, and He had often said the same to the Jews. Since then Peter and the Jews had often asked Him, Who is the Father? since Thomas had asked Him, and no one had learned anything clear, but His words were still not understood; Philip, in order that He might not seem to be importunate and to trouble Him by asking in his turn after the Jews, Show us the Father, added, and it suffices us, we seek no more. Yet Christ had said, If you had known Me, you should have known My Father also, and by Himself He declared the Father. But Philip reversed the order, and said, Show us the Father, as though knowing Christ exactly. But Christ endures him not, but puts him in the right way, persuading him to gain the knowledge of the Father through Himself, while Philip desired to see Him with these bodily eyes, having perhaps heard concerning the Prophets, that they saw God. But those cases, Philip, were acts of condescension. Wherefore Christ said, No man has seen God at any time John 1:18; and again, Every man that has heard and has learned from God comes unto Me. John 6:45 You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape. John 5:37 And in the Old Testament, No man shall see My face, and live. Exodus 33:20 What says Christ? Very reprovingly He says, Have I been so long time with you, and have you not known Me, Philip? He said not, have you not seen, but, have you not known Me. Why, Philip might say, do I wish to learn concerning You? At present I seek to see Your Father, and You say unto me, have you not known Me? What connection then has this with the question? Surely a very close one; for if He is that which the Father is, yet continuing a Son, with reason He shows in Himself Him who begot Him. Then to distinguish the Persons He says, He that has seen Me has seen the Father, lest any one should assert that the same is Father, the same Son. For had He been the Father, He would not have said, He that has seen Me has seen Him. Why then did He not reply, you ask things impossible, and not allowed to man; to Me alone is this possible? Because Philip had said, it suffices us, as though knowing Christ, He shows that he had not even seen Him. For assuredly he would have known the Father, had he been able to know the Son. Wherefore He says, He that has seen Me, has seen the Father. If any one has seen Me, he shall also behold Him. What He says is of this kind: It is not possible to see either Me or Him. For Philip sought the knowledge which is by sight, and since he thought that he had so seen Christ, he desired in like manner to see the Father; but Jesus shows him that he had not even seen Himself. And if any one here call knowledge, sight, I do not contradict him, for, he that has known Me, says Christ, has known the Father. Yet He did not say this, but desiring to establish the Consubstantiality, declared, he that knows My Essence, knows that of the Father also. And what is this? says some one; for he who is acquainted with creation knows also God. Yet all are acquainted with creation, and have seen it, but all do not know God. Besides, let us consider what Philip seeks to see. Is it the wisdom of the Father? Is it His goodness? Not so, but the very whatever God is, the very Essence. To this therefore Christ answers, He that has seen Me. Now he that has seen the creation, has not also seen the Essence of God. If any one has seen Me, he has seen the Father, He says. Now had He been of a different Essence, He would not have spoken thus. But to make use of a grosser argument, no man that knows not what gold is, can discern the substance of gold in silver. For one nature is not shown by another. Wherefore He rightly rebuked him, saying, Am I so long with you? Have you enjoyed such teaching, have you seen miracles wrought with authority, and all belonging to the Godhead, which the Father alone works, sins forgiven, secrets published, death retreating, a creation wrought from earth, and have you not known Me? Because He was clothed with flesh, therefore He said, Have you not known Me?

2. You have seen the Father; seek not to see more; for in Him you have seen Me. If you have seen Me, be not over-curious; for you have also in Me known Him.

John 14:10

Do you not believe that I am in the Father?

That is, I am seen in that Essence.

The words that I speak, I speak not of Myself,

Do you see the exceeding nearness, and the proof of the one Essence?

The Father that dwells in Me, He does the works.

How, beginning with words, does He come to works? For that which naturally followed was, that He should say, the Father speaks the words. But He puts two things here, both concerning doctrine and miracles. Or it may have been because the words also were works. How then does He them? In another place He says, If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not. John 10:37 How then says He here that the Father does them? To show this same thing, that there is no interval between the Father and the Son. What He says is this: The Father would not act in one way, and I in another. Indeed in another place both He and the Father work; My Father works hitherto, and I work John 5:17; showing in the first passage the unvaryingness of the works, in the second the identity. And if the obvious meaning of the words denotes humility, marvel not; for after having first said, Do you not believe? He then spoke thus, showing that He so modeled His words to bring him to the faith; for He walked in their hearts.

John 14:11

Believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me.

You ought not, when you hear of «Father» and »Son,» to seek anything else to the establishing of the relationship as to Essence, but if this is not sufficient to prove to you the Condignity and Consubstantiality, you may learn it even from the works. Had the, he that has seen Me, has seen My Father, been used with respect to works, He would not afterwards have said,

Or else believe Me for the very works» sake. And then to show that He is not only able to do these things, but also other much greater than these, He puts them with excess. For He says not, I can do greater things than these, but, what was much more wonderful, I can give to others also to do greater things than these.

John 14:12

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go to the Father.

That is, it now remains for you to work miracles, for I go away. Then when He had accomplished what His argument intended, He says,

John 14:13

Whatsoever you shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in Me.

Do you see again that it is He who does it? I, says He, will do it; not, I will ask of the Father, but, that the Father may be glorified in Me. In another place He said, God shall glorify Him in Himself John 13:32, but here, He shall glorify the Father; for when the Son shall appear with great power, He who begot shall be glorified. But what is, in My Name? That which the Apostles said, In the Name of Jesus Christ, arise and walk. Acts 3:6 For all the miracles which they did He wrought in them, and the hand of the Lord was with them. Acts 11:21

John 14:14

I will do it, He says.

Do you see His authority? The things done by means of others Himself does; has He no power for the things done by Himself, except as being wrought in by the Father? And who could say this? But why does He put it second? To confirm His own words, and to show that the former sayings were of condescension. But the, I go to the Father, is this: I shall not perish, but remain in My own proper Dignity, and Am in Heaven. All this He said, comforting them. For since it was likely that they, not yet understanding His discourses concerning the Resurrection, would imagine something dismal, He in other discourses promises that He will give them such things, soothing them in every way, and showing that He abides continually; and not only abides, but that He will even show forth greater power.

3. Let us then follow Him, and take up the Cross. For though persecution be not present, yet the season for another kind of death is with us. Mortify, it says, your members which are upon earth. Colossians 3:5 Let us then quench concupiscence, slay anger, abolish envy. This is a living sacrifice. Romans 12:1 This sacrifice ends not in ashes, is not dispersed in smoke, wants neither wood, nor fire, nor knife. For it has both fire and a knife, even the Holy Spirit. Using this knife, circumcise the superfluous and alien portion of your heart; open the closedness of your ears, for vices and evil desires are wont to stop the way against the entrance of the word. The desire of money, when it is set before one, permits not to hear the word concerning almsgiving; and malice when it is present raises a wall against the teaching concerning love; and some other malady falling on in its turn, makes the soul yet more dull to all things. Let us then do away these wicked desires; it is enough to have willed, and all are quenched. For let us not, I entreat, look to this, that the love of wealth is a tyrannical thing, but that the tyranny is that of our own slackmindedness. Many indeed say that they do not even know what money is. For this desire is not a natural one; such as are natural were implanted in us from the first, from the beginning, but as for gold and silver, for a long time not even what it is was known. Whence then grew this desire? From vainglory and extreme slackmindedness. For of desires some are necessary, some natural, some neither the one nor the other. For example, those which if not gratified destroy the creature are both natural and necessary, as the desire of meat and drink and sleep; carnal desire is natural indeed but not necessary, for many have got the better of it, and have not died. But the desire of wealth is neither natural nor necessary, but superfluous; and if we choose we need not admit its beginning. At any rate, Christ speaking of virginity says, He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. Matthew 19:12 But concerning riches not so, but how? Except a man forsake all that he has, he is not worthy of Me. Luke 14:33 What was easy He recommended, but what goes beyond the many He leaves to choice. Why then do we deprive ourselves of all excuse? The man who is made captive by some more tyrannical passion shall not suffer a heavy punishment, but he who is subdued by a weak one is deprived of all defense. For what shall we reply when He says, You saw Me hungry and fed Me not? Matthew 25:42; what excuse shall we have? We shall certainly plead poverty; yet we are not poorer than that widow, who by throwing in two mites overshot all the rest. For God requires not the quantity of the offering, but the measure of the mind; and that He does so, comes from His tender care. Let us then, admiring His lovingkindness, contribute what is in our power, that having both in this life and in that which is to come obtained in abundance the lovingkindness of God, we may be able to enjoy the good things promised to us, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 75 on the Gospel of John

John 14:15–17

If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, neither knows Him.

1. We need everywhere works and actions, not a mere show of words. For to say and to promise is easy for any one, but to act is not equally easy. Why have I made these remarks? Because there are many at this time who say that they fear and love God, but in their works show the contrary; but God requires that love which is shown by works. Wherefore He said to the disciples, If you love Me, keep My commandments. For after He had told them, Whatsoever you shall ask, I will do it, that they might not deem the mere asking to be availing, He added, If you love Me, then, He says, I will do it. And since it was likely that they would be troubled when they heard that, I go to the Father, He tells them to be troubled now is not to love, to love is to obey My words. I have given you a commandment that you love one another, that you do so to each other as I have done to you; this is love, to obey these My words, and to yield to Him who is the object of your love.

And I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter. Again His speech is one of condescension. For since it was probable, that they not yet knowing Him would eagerly seek His society, His discourse, His presence in the flesh, and would admit of no consolation when He was absent, what says He? I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that is, Another like Me. Let those be ashamed who have the disease of Sabellius, who hold not the fitting opinion concerning the Spirit. For the marvel of this discourse is this, that it has stricken down contradictory heresies with the same blow. For by saying another, He shows the difference of Person, and by Paraclete, the connection of Substance. But why said He, I will ask the Father? Because had He said, I will send Him, they would not have so much believed and now the object is that He should be believed. For afterwards He declares that He Himself sends Him, saying, Receive the Holy Ghost John 20:22; but in this place He tells them that He asks the Father, so as to render His discourse credible to them. Since John says of Him, Of His fullness have all we received John 1:16; but what He had, how receives He from another? And again, He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. Luke 3:16 But what had He more than the Apostles, if He was about to ask It of His Father in order to give It to others, when they often even without prayer appear to have done thus? And how, if It is sent according to request from the Father, does It descend of Itself? And how is that which is everywhere present sent by Another, that which divides to every man severally as He will 1Corinthians 12:11, and which says with authority, Separate Me Paul and Barnabas? Acts 13:2 Those ministers were ministering unto God, yet still It called them authoritatively to Its own work; not that It called them to any different work, but in order to show Its power. What then, says some one, is, "I will ask the Father?»? (He says it) to show the time of Its coming. For when He had cleansed them by the sacrifice, then the Holy Ghost lighted upon them. And why, while He was with them, came it not? Because the sacrifice was not yet offered. But when afterwards sin had been loosed, and they were being sent forth to dangers, and were stripping themselves for the contest, then need was that the Anointer should come. But why did not the Spirit come immediately after the Resurrection? In order that being greatly desirous of It, they might receive It with great joy. For as long as Christ was with them, they were not in tribulation; but when He departed, being made defenseless and thrown into much fear, they would receive It with much readiness.

He remains with you. This shows that even after death It departs not. But lest when they heard of the Paraclete, they should imagine a second Incarnation, and expect to see It with their eyes, He sets them right by saying, Whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not. He will not be with you as I have been, but will dwell in your very souls; for this is the, shall be in you. He calls it the Spirit of truth; thus explaining the types in the Old Testament. That He may be with you. What is, may be with you? That which He says Himself, that I am with you. Matthew 28:20 Besides, He also implies something else, that the case of the Spirit shall not be the same as Mine, He shall never leave you. Whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not. Why, what is there belonging to the other Persons that is visible? Nothing; but He speaks here of knowledge; at least He adds, neither knows Him. For He is wont, in the case of exact knowledge, to call it sight; because sight is clearer than the other senses, by this He always represents exact knowledge. By world, He here speaks of the wicked, thus too comforting the disciples by giving to them a special gift. See in how many particulars He raised His discourse concerning It. He said, He is Another like Me; He said, He will not leave you; He said, Unto you alone He comes, as also did I; He said, that He remains in you; but not even so did He drive out their despondency. For they still sought Him and His society. To cure then this feeling, He says,

John 14:18

I will not leave you orphans, I will come unto you.

2. Fear not, He says, I said not that I would send you another Comforter, as though I were Myself withdrawing from you for ever; I said not that He remains with you, as though I should see you no more. For I also Myself will come to you, I will not leave you orphans. Because when commencing He said, Little children, therefore He says also here, I will not leave you orphans. At first then He told them, You shall come whither I go; and, In My Father's house there are many mansions; but here, since that time was long, He gives them the Spirit; and when, not knowing what it could be of which He spoke, they were not sufficiently comforted, I will not leave you orphans, He says; for this they chiefly required. But since the, I will come to you, was the saying of one declaring a presence, observe how in order that they might not again seek for the same kind of presence as before, He did not clearly tell them this thing, but hinted at it; for having said,

John 14:19

Yet a little while, and the world sees Me not; He added, but you see Me.

As though He had said, I come indeed to you, but not in the same way as before, ever being with you day by day. And lest they should say, How then did You say to the Jews, Henceforth you shall not see Me? He solves the contradiction by saying, to you alone; for such also is the nature of the Spirit.

Because I live, you shall live also.

For the Cross does not finally separate us, but only hides for a little moment; and by life He seems to me to mean not the present only, but the future also.

John 14:20

At that day you shall know that am in the Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

With regard to the Father, these words refer to Essence; with regard to the disciples, to agreement of mind and help from God. And how, tell me, is this reasonable? says some one. And how, pray, is the contrary reasonable? For great and altogether boundless is the interval between Christ and the disciples. And if the same words are employed, marvel not; for the Scripture is often wont to use in different senses the same words, when applied to God and to men. Thus we are called gods, and sons of God, yet the word has not the same force when applied to us and to God. And the Son is called Image, and Glory; so are we, but great is the interval between us. Again, You are Christ's, and Christ is God's 1Corinthians 3:23, but not in like manner as Christ is God's are we Christ's. But what is it that He says? When I am arisen, He says, you shall know that I am not separated from the Father, but have the same power with Him, and that I am with you continually, when facts proclaim the aid which comes to you from Me, when your enemies are kept down, and you speak boldly, when dangers are removed from your path, when the preaching of the Gospel flourishes day by day, when all yield and give ground to the word of true religion. As the Father has sent Me, so send I you. John 20:21 Do you see that here also the word has not the same force? For if we take it as though it had, the Apostles will differ in nothing from Christ. But why says He, Then you shall know? Because then they saw Him risen and conversing with them, then they learned the exact faith; for great was the power of the Spirit, which taught them all things.

John 14:21

He that has My commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves Me.

It is not enough merely to have them, we need also an exact keeping of them. But why does He frequently say the same thing to them? As, If you love Me, you will keep My commandments John 14:15; and, He that has My commandments and keeps them; and, If any one hears My word and keeps it, he it is that loves Me – he that hears not My words, loves Me not. John 14:24 I think that He alluded to their despondency; for since He had uttered many wise sayings to them concerning death, saying, He that hates his life in this world shall save it unto life eternal John 12:25; and, Unless a man take his cross and follow Me, he is not worthy of Me Matthew 10:38; and is about to say other things besides, rebuking them, He says, Think ye that you suffer sorrow from love? The not sorrowing would be a sign of love. And because He wished all along to establish this, as He went on He summed up His discourse in this same point; If you loved Me, He says, ye would have rejoiced, because – I go to My Father John 14:28, but now you are in this state through cowardice. To be thus disposed towards death is not for those who remember My commandments; for you ought to be crucified, if you truly loved Me, for My word exhorts you not to be afraid of those that kill the body. Those that are such both the Father loves and I. And I will manifest Myself unto him. Then says Judas,

John 14:22

How is it that You will manifest Yourself unto us?

Do you see that their soul was close pressed with fear? For he was confounded and troubled, and thought that as we see dead men in a dream, so He also would be seen. In order therefore that they might not imagine this, hear what He says.

John 14:23

I and the Father will come unto him, and make Our abode with him.

All but saying, As the Father reveals Himself, so also do I. And not in this way only He removed the suspicion, but also by saying, We will make Our abode with him, a thing which does not belong to dreams. But observe, I pray you, the disciple confounded, and not daring to say plainly what he desired to say. For he said not, Woe to us, that Thou diest, and will come to us as the dead come; he spoke not thus; but, How is it that You will show Yourself to us, and not unto the world? Jesus then says, that I accept you, because ye keep My commandments. In order that they might not, when they should see Him afterwards, deem Him to be an apparition, therefore He says these things beforehand. And that they might not deem that He would appear to them so as I have said, He tells them also the reason, Because ye keep My commandments; He says that the Spirit also will appear in like manner. Now if after having companied with Him so long time, they cannot yet endure that Essence, or rather cannot even imagine It, what would have been their case had He appeared thus to them at the first? On this account also He ate with them, that the action might not seem to be an illusion. For if they thought this when they saw Him walking on the waters, although His wonted form was seen by them, and He was not far distant, what would they have imagined had they suddenly seen Him arisen whom they had seen taken and swathed? Wherefore He continually tells them that He will appear, and why He will appear, and how, that they may not suppose Him to be an apparition.

John 14:24

He that loves Me not keeps not My sayings; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's which sent Me.

So that he that hears not these sayings not only does not love Me, but neither does he love the Father. For if this is the sure proof of love, the hearing the commandments, and these are of the Father, he that hears them loves not the Son only, but the Father also. And how is the word «yours» and »not yours»? This means, I speak not without the Father, nor say anything of Myself contrary to what seems good to Him.

John 14:25

These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

Since these sayings were not clear, and since some they did not understand, and doubted about the greater number, in order that they might not be again confused, and say, What commands? He released them from all their perplexity, saying,

John 14:26

The Comforter, whom the Father shall send in My Name, He shall teach you.

Perhaps these things are not clear to you now, but "He» is a clear teacher of them. And the, remains with you John 14:17, is the expression of One implying that Himself will depart. Then that they may not be grieved, He says, that as long as He should remain with them and the Spirit should not come, they would be unable to comprehend anything great or sublime. And this He said to prepare them to bear nobly His departure, as that which was to be the cause of great blessings to them. He continually calls Him Comforter, because of the afflictions which then possessed them. And since even after hearing these things they were troubled, when they thought of the sorrows, the wars, His departure, see how He calms them again by saying,

John 14:27

Peace I leave to you.

All but saying, What are you harmed by the trouble of the world, provided ye be at peace with Me? For this peace is not of the same kind as that. The one is external, is often mischievous and unprofitable, and is no advantage to those who possess it; but I give you peace of such a kind that you be at peace with one another, which thing renders you stronger. And because He said again, I leave, which was the expression of One departing, and enough to confound them, therefore He again says,

Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Do you see that they were affected partly by loving affection, partly by fear?

John 14:28

You have heard how I said to you, I go away, and come again unto you. If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, I go unto the Father; for My Father is greater than I.

4. And what joy would this bring to them? What consolation? What then mean the words? They did not yet know concerning the Resurrection, nor had they right opinion concerning Him; (for how could they, who did not even know that He would rise again?) but they thought that the Father was mighty. He says then, that If you are fearful for Me, as not able to defend Myself, and if you are not confident that I shall see you again after the Crucifixion, yet when you heard that I go to the Father, you ought then to have rejoiced because I go away to One that is greater, and able to undo all dangers. You have heard how I said to you. Why has He put this? Because, He says, I am so firmly confident about the things which come to pass, that I even foretell them, so far am I from fearing. This also is the meaning of what follows.

John 14:29

And now I have told you before it come to pass, that when it has come to pass, you might believe that I Am.

As though He had said, You would not have known, had I not told you. And I should not have told you, had I not been confident. Do you see that the speech is one of condescension? For when He says, Think ye that I cannot pray to the Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of Angels Matthew 26:53, He speaks to the secret thoughts of the hearers; since no one, even in the height of madness, would say that He was not able to help Himself, but needed Angels; but because they thought of Him as a man, therefore He spoke of twelve legions of Angels. Yet in truth He did but ask those who came to take Him a question, and cast them backwards. John 18:6 (If any one say that the Father is greater, inasmuch as He is the cause of the Son, we will not contradict this. But this does not by any means make the Son to be of a different Essence.) But what He says, is of this kind: As long as I am here, it is natural that you should deem that I am in danger; but when I have gone "there,» be confident that I am in safety; for Him none will be able to overcome. All these words were addressed to the weakness of the disciples, for, I Myself am confident, and care not for death. On this account, He said, I have told you these things before they come to pass; but since, He says, you are not yet able to receive the saying concerning them, I bring you comfort even from the Father, whom you entitle great. Having thus consoled them, He again tells them sorrowful things,

John 14:30

Hereafter I will not talk with you. Wherefore? For the ruler of this world comes, and has nothing in Me.

By ruler of this world, He means the devil, calling wicked men also by the same name. For he rules not heaven and earth, since he would have been subverted, and cast down all things, but he rules over those who give themselves up to him. Wherefore He calls him, the ruler of the darkness of this world, in this place again calling evil deeds, darkness. What then, does the devil slay You? By no means; he has nothing in Me. How then do they kill You? Because I will it, and,

John 14:31

«That the world may know that I love the Father.»

For being not subject, He says, to death, nor a debtor to it, I endure it through My love to the Father. This He says, that He may again rouse their souls, and that they may learn that not unwillingly but willingly He goes to this thing, and that He does it despising the devil. It was not enough for Him to have said, Yet a little while I am with you John 7:33, but He continually handles this painful subject, (with good reason,) until He should make it acceptable to them, by weaving along with it pleasant things. Wherefore at one time He says, I go, and I come again; and, That where I there ye may be also; and, You cannot follow Me now, but afterwards you shall follow Me; and, I go to the Father; and, The Father is greater than I; and, Before it come to pass, I have told you; and, I do not suffer these things from constraint, but from love for the Father. So that they might consider, that the action could not be destructive nor hurtful, if at least He who greatly loved Him, and was greatly loved by Him, so willed. On this account, while intermingling these pleasant words, He continually uttered the painful ones also, practicing their minds. For both the, remains with you John 16:7, and, My departure is expedient for you, were expressions of One giving comfort. For this reason He spoke by anticipation ten thousand sayings concerning the Spirit, the, Is in you, and, The world cannot receive, and, He shall bring all things to your remembrance, and, Spirit of truth, and, Holy Spirit, and, Comforter, and that It is expedient for you, in order that they might not despond, as though there would be none to stand before and help them. It is expedient, He says, showing that It would make them spiritual.

5. This at least, we see, was what took place. For they who now trembled and feared, after they had received the Spirit sprang into the midst of dangers, and stripped themselves for the contest against steel, and fire, and wild beasts, and seas, and every kind of punishment; and they, the unlettered and ignorant, discoursed so boldly as to astonish their hearers. For the Spirit made them men of iron instead of men of clay, gave them wings, and allowed them to be cast down by nothing human. For such is that grace; if it find despondency, it disperses it; if evil desires, it consumes them; if cowardice, it casts it out, and does not allow one who has partaken of it to be afterwards mere man, but as it were removing him to heaven itself, causes him to image to himself all that is there. Acts 4:32, and 2:46 On this account no one said that any of the things that he possessed was his own, but they continued in prayer, in praise, and in singleness of heart. For this the Holy Spirit most requires, for the fruit of the Spirit is joy, peace – faith, meek ness. Galatians 5:22–23 And yet spiritual persons often grieve, says some one. But that sorrow is sweeter than joy. Cain was sorrowful, but with the sorrow of the world; Paul was sorrowful, but with godly sorrow. Everything that is spiritual brings the greatest gain, just as everything that is worldly the utmost loss. Let us then draw to us the invincible aid of the Spirit, by keeping the commandments, and then we shall be nothing inferior to the Angels. For neither are they therefore of this character, because they are incorporeal, for were this the case, no incorporeal being would have become wicked, but the will is in every case the cause of all. Wherefore among incorporeal beings some have been found worse than men or things irrational, and among those having bodies some better than the incorporeal. All just men, for instance, whatever were their righteous deeds, did them while dwelling on earth, and having bodies. For they dwelt on earth as those who were pilgrims and strangers; but in heaven, as citizens. Then say not thou either, I am clothed with flesh, I cannot get the mastery, nor undertake the toils which are for the sake of virtue. Do not accuse the Creator. For if the wearing the flesh make virtue impossible, then the fault is not ours. But that it does not make it impossible, the band of saints has shown. A nature of flesh did not prevent Paul from becoming what he was, nor Peter from receiving the keys of heaven; and Enoch also, having worn flesh, was translated, and not found. So also Elias was caught up with the flesh. Abraham also with Isaac and his grandson shone brightly, having the flesh; and Joseph in the flesh struggled against that abandoned woman. But why speak I of the flesh? For though thou place a chain upon the flesh, no harm is done. Though I am bound, says Paul, yet the word of God is not bound. 2 Timothy 2:9 And why speak I of bonds and chains? Add to these the prison, and bars, yet neither are these any hindrance to virtue; at least so Paul has instructed us. For the bond of the soul is not iron but cowardice, and the desire of wealth, and the ten thousand passions. These bind us, though our body be free. But, says some one, these have their origin from the body. An excuse this, and a false pretense. For had they been produced from the body, all would have undergone them. For as we cannot escape weariness, and sleep, and hunger, and thirst, since they belong to our nature; so too these, if they were of the same kind, would not allow any one to be exempt from their tyranny; but since many escape them, it is clear that such things are the faults of a careless soul. Let us then put a stop to this, and not accuse the body, but subdue it to the soul, that having it under command, we may enjoy the everlasting good things, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 76 on the Gospel of John

John 14:31–15:1

Arise, let us go hence. I am the true Vine, (you are the branches, ) and My Father is the Husbandman.

1. » Ignorance» makes the soul timid and unmanly, just as instruction in heavenly doctrines makes it great and sublime. For when it has enjoyed no care, it is in a manner timid, not by nature but by will. For when I see the man who once was brave, now become a coward, I say that this latter feeling no longer belongs to nature, for what is natural is immutable. Again, when I see those who but now were cowards all at once become daring, I pass the same judgment, and refer all to will. Since even the disciples were very fearful, before they had learned what they ought, and had been deemed worthy of the gift of the Spirit; yet afterwards they became bolder than lions. So Peter, who could not bear the threat of a damsel, was hung with his head downwards, and was scourged, and though he endured ten thousand dangers, would not be silent, but enduring what he endured as though it were a dream, in such a situation spoke boldly; but not so before the Crucifixion. Wherefore Christ said, Arise, let us go hence. But why, tell me? Did he not know the hour at which Judas would come upon Him? Or perhaps He feared lest he should come and seize them, and lest the plotters should be upon him before he had furnished his most excellent teaching. Away with the thought! These things are far from His dignity. If then He did not fear, why did He remove them, and then after finish ing His discourse lead them into a garden known to Judas? And even had Judas come, could He not have blinded their eyes, as He also did when the traitor was not present? Why did He remove them? He allows the disciples a little breathing time. For it was likely that they, as being in a conspicuous place, would tremble and fear, both on the account of the time and the place, (for it was the depth of night,) and would not give heed to His words, but would be continually turning about, and imagining that they heard those who were to set upon them; and that more especially when their Master's speech made them expect evil. For, yet a little while, He says, and I am not with you, and, the ruler of this world comes. Since now when they heard these and the like words they were troubled, as though they should certainly be taken immediately, He leads them to another place, in order that thinking themselves in safety, they might listen to Him without fear. For they were about to hear lofty doctrines. Therefore He says, Arise, let us go hence. Then He adds, and says, I am the Vine, you are the branches. What wills He to imply by the comparison? That the man who gives no heed to His words can have no life, and that the miracles about to take place, would be wrought by the power of Christ. My Father is the Husbandman. How then? Does the Son need a power working within? Away with the thought! This example does not signify this. Observe with what exactness He goes through the comparison. He says not that the root enjoys the care of the Husbandman, but, the branches. And the foot is brought in in this place for no other purpose, but that they may learn that they can work nothing without His power, and that they ought to be united with Him by faith as the branch with the vine.

John 15:2

Every branch in Me that bears not fruit the Father takes away.

Here He alludes to the manner of life, showing that without works it is not possible to be in Him.

And every branch that bears fruit, He purges it.

That is, causes it to enjoy great care. Yet the root requires care rather than the branches, in being dug about, and cleared, yet about this He says nothing here, but all about the branches. Showing that He is sufficient to Himself, and that the disciples need much help from the Husbandman, although they be very excellent. Wherefore He says, that which bears fruit, He purges it. The one branch, because it is fruitless, cannot even remain in the Vine, but for the other, because it bears fruit, He renders it more fruitful. This, some one might assert, was said with relation also to the persecutions then coming upon them. For the purges it, is prunes, which makes the branch bear better. Whence it is shown, that persecutions rather make men stronger. Then, lest they should ask concerning whom He said these things, and lest He should throw them back into anxiety, He says,

John 15:3

Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

Do you see how He introduces Himself as tending the branches? I have cleansed you, He says; yet above He declares that the Father does this. But there is no separation between the Father and the Son. And now your part also must be performed. Then to show that He did not this as needing their ministry, but for their advancement, He adds,

John 15:4

As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, so neither can he who abides not in Me.

For that they might not be separated from Him by timidity, He fastens and glues to Himself their souls slackened through fear, and holds out to them good hopes for the future. For the root remains, but to be taken away, or to be left, belongs to the branches. Then having urged them on in both ways, by things pleasant and things painful, He requires first what is to be done on our side.

John 15:5

He that abides in Me, and I in him.

Do you see that the Son contributes not less than the Father towards the care of the disciples? The Father purges, but He keeps them in Himself. The abiding in the root is that which makes the branches to be fruit-bearing. For that which is not purged, if it remain on the root, bears fruit, though perhaps not so much as it ought; but that which remains not, bears none at all. But still the purging also has been shown to belong to the Son, and the abiding in the root, to the Father, who also begot the Root. Do you see how all is common, both the purging, and the enjoying the virtue which is from the root?

2. Now it were a great penalty, the being able to do nothing, but He stays not the punishment at this point, but carries on His discourse farther.

John 15:6

He is cast forth . . .

No longer enjoying the benefit of the husbandman's hand. And is withered. That is, if he had anything of the root, he loses it; if any grace, he is stripped of this, and is bereft of the help and life which proceed from it. And what the end? He is cast into the fire. Not such he who abides with Him. Then He shows what it is to abide, and says,

John 15:7

If My words abide in you.

Do you see that with reason I said above, that He seeks the proof by works? For when He had said, Whatsoever you shall ask I will do it c. xiv. 14, 15, He added, If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And here, If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you.

You shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.

This He said to show that they who plotted against Him should be burnt up, but that they should bear fruit. Then transferring the fear from them to the others, and showing that they should be invincible, He says,

John 15:8

Herein is My Father glorified, that you be My disciples, and bear much fruit.

Hence He makes His discourse credible, for if the bearing fruit pertains to the glory of the Father, He will not neglect His own glory. And you shall be My disciples. Do you see how he that bears fruit, he is the disciple? But what is, In this is the Father glorified? He rejoices when you abide in Me, when you bear fruit.

John 15:9

As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you.

Here at length He speaks in a more human manner, for this, as spoken to men, has its peculiar force. Since what a measure of love did He manifest, who chose to die, who counted worthy of such honor those who were His slaves, His haters, His open enemies, and led them up to the heavens! If then I love you, be bold; if it be the glory of My Father that you bear fruit, imagine nothing ill. Then that He may not make them supine, observe how He braces them again,

Continue ye in My love.

For this you have the power to do. And how shall this be?

John 15:10

If you keep My commandments, even as I have kept my Father's commandments.

Again, His discourse proceeds in a human way; for certainly the Lawgiver would not be subject to commandments. Do you see that here also, as I am always saying, this is declared because of the infirmity of the hearers? For He chiefly speaks to their suspicions, and by every means shows them that they are in safety, and that their enemies are being lost, and that all, whatever they have, they have from the Son, and that, if they show forth a pure life, none shall ever have the mastery over them. And observe that He discourses with them in a very authoritative manner, for He said not, abide in the love of My Father, but, in Mine; then, lest they should say, when You have set us at war with all men, Thou leavest us, and departest, He shows that He does not leave them, but is so joined to them if they will, as the branch in the vine. Then, lest from confidence they should become supine, He says not that the blessing cannot be removed if they are slack-minded. And in order not to refer the action to Himself, and so make them more apt to fall, He says, Herein is My Father glorified. For everywhere He manifests His own and His Father's love towards them. Not the things of the Jews, then, were glory, but those which they were about to receive. And that they might not say, we have been driven from the possessions of our fathers, we have been deserted, we have become naked, and destitute of all things, Look, He says, on Me. I am loved by the Father, yet still I suffer these things appointed. And so I am not now leaving you because I love you not. For if I am slain, and take not this for a proof of not being loved by the Father, neither ought ye to be troubled. For, if you continue in My love, these dangers shall not be able to do you any mischief on the score of love.

3. Since then love is a thing mighty and irresistible, not a bare word, let us manifest it by our actions. He reconciled us when we were His enemies, let us, now that we have become His friends, remain so. He led the way, let us at least follow; He loves us not for His own advantage, (for He needs nothing,) let us at least love Him for our profit; He loved us being His enemies, let us at least love Him being our friend. At present we do the contrary; for every day God is blasphemed through us, through our plunderings, through our covetousness. And perhaps one of you will say, Every day your discourse is about covetousness. Would that I could speak about it every night too; would that I could do so, following you about in the market-place, and at your table; would that both wives, and friends, and children, and domestics, and tillers of the soil, and neighbors, and the very pavement and walls, could ever shout forth this word, that so we might perchance have relaxed a little. For this malady has seized upon all the world, and occupies the souls of all, and great is the tyranny of Mammon. We have been ransomed by Christ, and are the slaves of gold. We proclaim the sovereignty of the one, and obey the other. Whatever he commands we readily obey, and we have refused to know family, or friendship, or nature, or laws, or anything, for him. No one looks up to Heaven, no one thinks about things to come. But there will be a time, when there will be no profit even in these words. In the grave, it says, who shall confess to You? Gold is a desirable thing, and procures us much luxury, and makes us to be honored, but not in like manner as does Heaven. For from the wealthy man many even turn aside, and hate him, but him who lives virtuously they respect and honor. But says some one the poor man is derided, even though he be virtuous. Not among men, but brutes. Wherefore he ought not so much as to notice them. For if asses were to bray and daws chatter at us, while all wise men commended us, we should not, losing sight of this latter audience, have regard to clamors of the brutes; for like to daws, and worse than asses, are they who admire present things. Moreover, if an earthly king approve you, you make no account of the many, though they all deride you; but if the Lord of the universe praise you, do you seek the good words of beetles and gnats? For this is what these men are, compared with God, or rather not even this, but something viler, if there be anything such. How long do we wallow in the mire? How long do we set sluggards and belly-gods for our judges? They can prove dicers well, drunkards, those who live for the belly, but as for virtue and vice, they cannot imagine so much as a dream. If any one taunt you because you have not skill to draw the channels of the watercourses, you will not think it any terrible thing, but will even laugh at him who objects to you ignorance of this kind; and do you, when you desire to practice virtue, appoint as judges those who know nothing of it? On this account we never reach that art. We commit our case not to the practiced, but to the unlearned, and they judge not according to the rules of art, but according to their own ignorance. Wherefore, I exhort you, let us despise the many; or rather let us desire neither praises, nor possessions, nor wealth, nor deem poverty any evil. For poverty is to us a teacher of prudence, and endurance, and all true wisdom. Thus Lazarus lived in poverty, and received a crown; Jacob desired to get bread only; and Joseph was in the extreme of poverty, being not merely a slave, but also a prisoner; and on this account we admire him the more, and we do not so much praise him when he distributed the grain, as when he dwelt in the dungeon: not when he wore the diadem, but when the chain; not when he sat upon the throne, but when he was plotted against and sold. Considering then all these things, and the crowns twined for us after the conflicts, let us admire not wealth, and honor, and luxury, and power, but poverty, and the chain, and bonds, and endurance in the cause of virtue. For the end of those things is full of troubles and confusion, and their lot is bound up with this present life; but the fruit of these, heaven, and the good things in the heavens, which neither eye has seen, nor ear heard; which may we all obtain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

Homily 77 on the Gospel of John

John 15:11–12

These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.

1. All things good then have their reward, when they arrive at their proper end, but if they be cut off midway, shipwreck ensues. And as a vessel of immense burden, if it reach not the harbor in time, but founder in the midst of the sea, gains nothing from the length of the voyage, but even makes the calamity greater, in proportion as it has endured more toils; so are those souls which fall back when near the end of their labors, and faint in the midst of the struggle. Wherefore Paul said, that glory, and honor, and peace, should meet those who ran their course with patient continuance in well-doing. A thing which Christ now effects in the case of the disciples. Romans 2:7 For since He had accepted them, and they rejoiced in Him, and then the sudden coming of the Passion and His sad words were likely to cut short their pleasure; after having conversed with them sufficiently to soothe them, He adds, These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be fulfilled; that is, that you might not be separated from Me, that you might not cut short your course. You were rejoicing in Me, and you were rejoicing exceedingly, but despondency has fallen upon you. This then I remove, that joy may come at the last, showing that your present circumstances are fit cause, not for pain, but for pleasure. I saw you offended; I despised you not; I said not, "Why do ye not continue noble?» But I spoke to you words which brought comfort with them. And so I wish ever to keep you in the same love. You have heard concerning a kingdom, you rejoiced. In order therefore that your joy might be fulfilled, I have spoken these things unto you. But this is the commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Do you see that the love of God is intertwined with our own, and connected like a sort of chain? Wherefore it sometimes says that there are two commandments, sometimes only one. For it is not possible that the man who has taken hold on the first should not possess the second also. For at one time He said, On this the Law and the Prophets hang Matthew 22:40; and at another, Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12 And, Love is the fulfilling of the Law. Romans 13:10 Which He says also here; for if to abide proceeds from love, and love from the keeping of the commandments, and the commandment is that we love one another, then the abiding in God proceeds from love towards each other. And He does not simply speak of love, but declares also the manner, As I have loved you. Again He shows, that His very departure was not of hatred but of love. So that I ought rather to be admired on this account, for I lay down My life for you. Yet nowhere does He say this in these words, but in a former place, by sketching the best shepherd, and here by exhorting them, and by showing the greatness of His love, and Himself, who He is. But wherefore does He everywhere exalt love? Because this is the mark of the disciples, this the bond of virtue. On this account Paul says such great things of it, as being a genuine disciple of Christ, and having had experience of it.

John 15:14–15

You are My friends – henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knows not what his lord does. You are My friends, for all things which I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.

How then says He, I have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now? John 16:12 By the all and the hearing He shows nothing else, but that He uttered nothing alien, but only what was of the Father. And since to speak of secrets appears to be the strongest proof of friendship, you have, He says, been deemed worthy even of this communion. When however He says all, He means, whatever things it was fit that they should hear. Then He puts also another sure proof of friendship, no common one. Of what sort was that?

John 15:16

You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.

That is, I ran upon your friendship. And He stayed not here, but,

I set you, He says, (that is, I planted you,) that you should go, (He still uses the metaphor of the vine,) that is, that you should extend yourselves; and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.

Now if your fruit remain, much more shall you. For I have not only loved you, He says, but have done you the greatest benefits, by extending your branches through all the world. Do you see in how many ways He shows His love? By telling them things secret, by having in the first instance run to meet their friendship, by granting them the greatest blessings, by suffering for them what then He suffered. After this, He shows that He also remains continually with those who shall bring forth fruit; for it is needful to enjoy His aid, and so to bear fruit.

That whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in My Name, He may give it you.

Yet it is the part of the person asked to do the thing asked; but if the Father is asked, how is it that the Son does it? It is that you may learn that the Son is not inferior to the Father.

John 15:17

These things I command you, that you love one another.

That is, It is not to upbraid, that I tell you that I lay down My life for you, or that I ran to meet you, but in order to lead you into friendship. Then, since the being persecuted and insulted by the many, was a grievous and intolerable thing, and enough to humble even a lofty soul, therefore, after having said ten thousand things first, Christ entered upon this matter. Having first smoothed their minds, He thus proceeds to these points, showing that these things too were for their exceeding advantage, as He had also shown that the others were. For as He had told them that they ought not to grieve, but rather to rejoice, because I go to the Father, (since He did this not as deserting but as greatly loving them,) so here also He shows that they ought to rejoice, not grieve. And observe how He effects this. He said not, I know that the action is grievous, but bear for My sake, since for My sake also ye suffer, for this reason was not yet sufficient to console them; wherefore letting this pass, He puts forward another. And what is that? It is that this thing would be a sure proof of their former virtue. And, on the contrary, you ought to grieve, not because you are hated now but if you were likely to be loved; for this He implies by saying,

John 15:19

If you were of the world, the world would love its own.

So that had ye been loved it would be very clear that you had shown forth signs of wickedness. Then, when by saying this first, He did not effect his purpose, He goes on again with the discourse.

John 15:20

The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.

He showed that in this point they would be most His imitators. For while Christ was in the flesh, men had war with Him, but when He was translated, the battle came in the next place upon them. Then because owing to their fewness they were terrified at being about to encounter the attack of so great a multitude, He raises their souls by telling them that it was a special subject of joy that they were hated by them; For so you shall share My sufferings. You should not therefore be troubled, for you are not better than I, as I before told you, The servant is not greater than his lord. Then there is also a third source of consolation, that the Father also is insulted together with them.

John 15:21

But all these things will they do unto you for My Name's sake, because they know not Him that sent Me.

That is, they insult Him also. Besides this, depriving those others of excuse, and putting also another source of comfort, He says,

John 15:22

If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin.

Showing that they shall do unjustly both what they do against Him and against them. Why then did You bring us into such calamities? Did You not foreknow the wars, the hatred? Therefore again He says,

John 15:23

He that hates Me, hates My Father also.

From this also proclaiming beforehand no small punishment against them. For, since they continually pretended that they persecuted Him on account of the Father, to deprive them of this excuse He spoke these words. They have no excuse. I gave them the teaching which is by words, that by works I added, according to the Law of Moses, who bade all men obey one speaking and doing such things, when he should both lead to piety, and exhibit the greatest miracles. And He spoke not simply of signs, but,

John 15:24

Which none other man did.

And of this they themselves are witnesses, speaking in this way; It was never so seen in Israel Matthew 9:33; and, Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind John 9:32; and the matter of Lazarus was of the same kind, and all the other acts the same, and the mode of wonder-working new, and all beyond thought. Why then, says one, do they persecute both You and us? Because you are not of the world. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. John 15:19 He first reminds them of the words which He spoke also to His own brethren John 7:7; but there he spoke more by way of a reflection, lest He should offend them, while here, on the contrary, He revealed all. And how is it clear that it is on this account that we are hated? From what was done to Me. For, tell Me, which of My words or deeds could they lay hold on, that they would not receive Me? Then since the thing would be astounding to us, He tells the cause; that is, their wickedness. And He stays not here either, but introduces the Prophet Psalm 35:19; 69:4, showing him proclaiming before of old time, and saying, that,

John 15:25

They hated Me without a cause.

3. Which Paul does also. For when many wondered how that the Jews believed not, he brings in Prophets foretelling it of old, and declaring the cause; that their wickedness and pride were the cause of their unbelief. Well then; if they kept not Your saying, neither will they keep ours; if they persecuted You, therefore they will persecute us also; if they saw signs, such as none other man wrought; if they heard words such as none other spoke, and profited nothing; if they hate Your Father and You with Him, wherefore, says one, have You sent us in among them? How after this shall we be worthy of belief? Which of our kindred will give-heed to us? That they may not therefore be troubled by such thoughts, see what sort of comfort he adds.

John 15:26–27

When the Comforter has come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceeds from the Father, He shall testify of Me. And ye also shall bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

He shall be worthy of belief, for He is the Spirit of Truth. On this account He called It not Holy Spirit, but Spirit of Truth. But the, proceeds from the Father, shows that He knows all things exactly, as Christ also says of Himself, that I know whence come and whither I go John 8:14, speaking in that place also concerning truth. Whom will send. Behold, it is no longer the Father alone, but the Son also who sends. And ye too, He says, have a right to be believed, who have been with Me, who have not heard from others. Indeed, the Apostles confidently rely on this circumstance, saying, We who ate and drank with Him. Acts 10:41 And to show that this was not merely said to please, the Spirit bears witness to the words spoken. Acts 10:44

John 16:1

These things have I spoken unto you, that you should not be offended.

That is, when you see many disbelieve, and yourselves ill-treated.

John 16:2

They shall put you out of the synagogues.

(For the Jews had already agreed, that if any one should confess Christ, he should be put out of the synagogues John 9:22)

Yea, the time comes, that whosoever kills you will think that he does God service.

They shall so seek after your murder, as of an action pious and pleasing to God. Then again He adds the consolation,

John 16:3

And these things will they do, because they have not known the Father, nor Me.

It is sufficient for your comfort that you endure these things for My sake, and the Father's. Here He reminds them of the blessedness of which He spoke at the beginning, Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven. Matthew 5:11–12

John 16:4

These things have I told you, that when the time shall come, you may remember them.

So, judging from these words, deem the rest also trustworthy. For you will not be able to say, that I flatteringly told you only those things which would please you, nor that the words were words of deceit; for one who intended to deceive, would not have told you beforehand of matters likely to turn you away. I have therefore told you before, that these things might not fall upon you unexpectedly, and trouble you; and for another reason besides, that you might not say, that I did not foreknow that these things would be. Remember then that I have told you. And indeed the heathen always covered their persecutions of them by a pretense of their wickedness, driving them out as corrupters; but this did not trouble the disciples who had heard beforehand, and knew for what they suffered. The cause of what took place was sufficient to rouse their courage. Therefore He everywhere handles this, saying, they have not known Me; and, for My sake they shall do it; and, for My Name's sake, and for the Father's sake; and, I suffered first; and, from no just cause they dare these things.

4. Let us too consider these things in our temptations, when we suffer anything from wicked men, looking to the Beginner and Finisher of our faith Hebrews 12:2, and considering that it is by wicked men, and that it is for virtue's sake, and for His sake. For if we reflect on these things, all will be most easy and tolerable. Since if one suffering for those he loves is even proud of it, what feeling of things dreadful will he have who suffers for the sake of God? For if He, for our sake, calls that shameful thing, the Cross, glory John 13:31, much more ought we to be thus disposed. And if we can so despise sufferings, much more shall we be able to despise riches, and covetousness. We ought then, when about to endure anything unpleasant, to think not of the toils but of the crowns; for as merchants take into account not the seas only, but also the profits, so ought we to reckon on heaven and confidence towards God. And if the getting more seem a pleasant thing, think that Christ wills it not, and straightway it will appear displeasing. And if it be grievous to you to give to the poor, stay not your reckoning at the expense, but straightway transport your thoughts to the harvest which results from the sowing; and when it is hard to despise the love of a strange woman, think of the crown which comes after the struggle, and you shall easily bear the struggle. For if fear diverts a man from unseemly things, much more should the love of Christ. Difficult is virtue; but let us cast around her form the greatness of the promise of things to come. Indeed those who are virtuous, even apart from these promises, see her beautiful in herself, and on this account go after her, and work because it seems good to God, not for hire; and they think it a great thing to be sober-minded, not in order that they may not be punished, but because God has commanded it. But if any one is too weak for this, let him think of the prizes. So let us do in respect of alms-doing, let us pity our fellow-men, let us not, I entreat, neglect them when perishing with hunger. How can it be otherwise than an unseemly thing, that we should sit at the table laughing and enjoying ourselves, and when we hear others wailing as they pass through the street, should not even turn at their cries, but be angry with them, and call them cheat? What do you mean, man? Does any one plan a cheat for a single loaf of bread? Yes, says some one. Then in this case above all let him be pitied; in this case above all let him be delivered from his need. Or if you are not minded to give, do not insult either; if you will not save the wreck, do not thrust it into the gulf. For consider, when you push away the poor man who comes to you, who you will be when you call upon God. With what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you again. Matthew 7:2 Consider how he departs, crushed, bowed down, lamenting; besides his poverty having received also the blow from your insolence. For if you count the begging a curse, think what a tempest it makes, begging to get nothing, but to go away insulted. How long shall we be like wild beasts, and know not nature itself through greediness? Many groan at these words; but I desire them not now, but always, to have this feeling of compassion. Think, I pray you, of that day when we shall stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, when we shall beg for mercy, and Christ, bringing them forward, shall say, For the sake of a single loaf, of a single obol, so great a surge did ye raise in these souls! What shall we reply? What defense shall we make? To show that He will bring them forward, hear what He says; Inasmuch as you did it not to one of these, you did it not to Me. Matthew 25:45 They will no more say anything to us, but God on their behalf will upbraid us. Since the rich man saw Lazarus too, and Lazarus said nothing to him, but Abraham spoke for him; and thus it will be in the case of the poor who are now despised by us. We shall not see them stretching out their hands in pitiful state, but being in rest; and we shall take the state which was theirs (and would that it were that state only, and not one much more grievous) as a punishment. For neither did the rich man desire to be filled with crumbs there, but was scorched and tormented sharply, and was told, You in your lifetime received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things. Luke 16:25 Let us not then deem wealth any great thing; it will help us on our way to punishment, if we take not heed, just as, if we take heed, poverty also becomes to us an addition of enjoyment and rest. For we both put off our sins if we bear it with thankfulness, and gain great boldness before God.

5. Let us then not be ever seeking security here, in order that we may enjoy security there; but let us accept the labors which are in behalf of virtue, and cut off superfluities, and seek nothing more than we need, and spend all our substance on those who want. Since what excuse can we have, when God promises heaven to us, and we will not even give Him bread? When He indeed for you makes the sun to rise, and supplies all the ministry of the Creation, but thou dost not even give Him a garment, nor allow Him to share your roof? But why speak I of sun and moon? He has set His Body before you, He has given you His Precious Blood; and do you not even impart to Him of your cup? But have you done so for once? This is not mercy; as long as, having the means, you help not, you have not yet fulfilled the whole duty. Thus the virgins who had the lamps, had oil, but not in abundance. Why, you ought, even did you give from your own, not to be so miserly, but now when you give what is your Lord's, why do you count every little? Will ye that I tell you the cause of this inhumanity? When men get together their wealth through greediness, these same are slow to give alms; for one who has learned so to gain, knows not how to spend. For how can a man prepared for rapine adapt himself to its contrary? He who takes from others, how shall he be able to give up his own to another? A dog accustomed to feed on flesh cannot guard the flock; therefore the shepherds kill such. That this be not our fate, let us refrain from such feasting. For these men too feed on flesh, when they bring on death by hunger. Do you see not how God has allowed to us all things in common? If amid riches He has suffered men to be poor, it is for the consolation of the rich, that they may be able by showing mercy towards them to put off their sins. But thou even in this hast been cruel and inhuman; whence it is evident, that if you had received this same power in greater things, you would have committed ten thousand murders, and would have debarred men from light, and from life altogether. That this might not take place, necessity has cut short insatiableness in such matters.

If you are pained when you hear these things, much more I when I see them taking place. How long shall you be rich, and that man poor? Till evening, but no farther; for so short is life, and all things so near their end, and all things henceforth so stand at the door, that the whole must be deemed but a little hour. What need have you of bursting storehouses, of a multitude of domestics and house-keepers? Why have you not ten thousand proclaimers of your almsdoing? The storehouse utters no voice, yet will it bring upon you many robbers; but the storehouses of the poor will go up to God Himself, and will make your present life sweet, and put away all your sins, and you shall gain glory from God, and honor from men. Why then grudgest you yourself such good things? For you will not do so much good to the poor, as to yourself, when you benefit them. You will right their present state; but for yourself you will lay up beforehand the glory and confidence which shall be hereafter. And this may we all obtain, by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be the glory and the might forever. Amen.

Homily 78 on the Gospel of John

John 16:4–6

These things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go My way to Him that sent Me; and none of you asks Me, Where are You going? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow has filled your heart.

1. Great is the tyranny of despondency, and much courage do we need so as to stand manfully against the feeling, and after gathering from it what is useful, to let the superfluous go. It has somewhat useful; for when we ourselves or others sin, then only is it good to grieve; but when we fall into human vicissitudes, then despondency is useless. And now when it has overthrown the disciples who were not yet perfect, see how Christ raises them again by His rebuke. They who before this had asked Him ten thousand questions, (for Peter said, Where are You going? [ c. xiii. 36 ]; and Thomas, We know not whither You go, and how can we know the way? [100:xiv. 5 and 8]; and Philip, Show us Your Father;) these men, I say, now hearing, they will put you out of the synagogues, and will hate you, and whosoever kills you will think that he does God service, were so cast down as to be struck dumb, so that they spoke nothing to Him. This then He makes a reproach to them, and says, These things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you; but now I go unto Him that sent Me, and none of you asks Me, Where are You going? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow has filled your heart. For a dreadful thing is immoderate sorrow, dreadful and effective of death. Wherefore Paul said, Lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up by overmuch sorrow. 2Corinthians 2:7

And these things, says He, I told you not at the beginning. Why did He not tell them at the beginning? That none might say that He spoke guessing from the ordinary course of events. And why did He enter on a matter of such unpleasantness? I knew these things, He says, from the beginning, and spoke not of them; not because I did not know them, but «because I was with you.» And this again was spoken after a human manner, as though He had said, Because you were in safety, and it was in your power to question Me when you would, and all the storm blew upon Me, and it was superfluous to tell you these things at the beginning. But did He not tell them this? Did He not call the twelve, and say unto them, »You shall be brought before governors and kings for My sake,» and, «they shall scourge you in the synagogues»? Matthew 10:18. How then says He, »I told you not at the beginning»? Because He had proclaimed before the scourgings and bringing before princes, still not that their death should appear so desirable that the action should even be deemed a service to God. For this more than anything was suited to terrify them, that they were to be judged as impious and corrupters. This too may be said, that in that place He spoke of what they should suffer from the Gentiles, but here He has added in a stronger way the acts of the Jews also, and told them that it was at their doors.

But now I go to Him that sent Me, and no man of you says, Where are You going? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow has filled your heart. It was no slight comfort to them to learn that He knew the excess of their despondency. For they were beside themselves from the anguish caused by their being left by Him, and from their awaiting the terrible things which were to come, since they knew not whether they should be able to bear them manfully. Why then after this did He not tell them that they had been vouchsafed the Spirit? That you might learn that they were exceedingly virtuous. For if, when they had not yet been vouchsafed the Spirit, they started not back, though overwhelmed with sorrow, consider what sort of men they were likely to be after having enjoyed the grace. If they had heard this at that time, and so had endured, we should have attributed the whole to the Spirit, but now it is entirely the fruit of their own state of mind, it is a clear manifestation of their love for Christ, who applies a touchstone to their mind as yet defenseless.

John 16:7

But I tell you the truth.

Observe how He consoles them again. I speak not, He says, to please you, and although you be grieved ten thousand fold, yet must ye hear what is for your good; it is indeed to your liking that I should be with you, but what is expedient for you is different. And it is the part of one caring for others, not to be over gentle with his friends in matters which concern their interests, or to lead them away from what is good for them.

For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come.

What here say those who hold not the fitting opinion concerning the Spirit? Is it expedient that the master depart, and the servant come? Do you see how great is the honor of the Spirit?

But if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And what the gain?

John 16:8

He, when He has come, will reprove the world.

That is, they shall not do these things unpunished if He come. For indeed, the things that have been already done, are sufficient to stop their mouths; but when these things are also done by Him, when doctrines are more perfect and miracles greater, much more shall they be condemned when they see such things done in My Name, which make the proof of the Resurrection more certain. For now they are able to say, "this is the carpenter's son, whose father and mother we know»; but when they see the bands of death loosed, wickedness cast out, natural lameness straightened, devils expelled, abundant supply of the Spirit, and all this effected by My being called on, what will they say? The Father has borne witness of Me, and the Spirit will bear witness also. Yet He bore witness at the beginning. Yea, and shall also do it now. But the, will convince,

John 16:9

Of sin.

This means, will cut off all their excuses, and show that they have transgressed unpardonably.

John 16:10

Of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you see Me no more.

That is, I have exhibited a blameless life, and this is the proof, that, «I go to the Father.» For since they continually urged this against Him, that He was not from God, and therefore called Him a sinner and transgressor, He says, that the Spirit shall take from them this excuse also. For if My being deemed not to be from God, shows Me to be a transgressor, when the Spirit shall have shown that I have gone there, not merely for a season, but to abide there, (for the, »You see Me no more,» is the expression of one declaring this,) what will they say then? Observe how by these two things, their evil suspicion is removed; since neither does working miracles belong to a sinner, (for a sinner cannot work them,) nor does the being with God continually belong to a sinner. So that you can no longer say, that «this man is a sinner,» that »this man is not from God."

John 16:11

Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

Here again He moots the argument concerning righteousness, that He had overthrown His opponent. Now had He been a sinner, He could not have overthrown him; a thing which not even any just man had been strong enough to do. But that he has been condemned through Me, they shall know who trample on him hereafter, and who clearly know My Resurrection, which is the mark of Him who condemns him. For he was not able to hold Me. And whereas they said that I had a devil, and that I was a deceiver, these things also shall hereafter appear to be false; for I could not have prevailed against him, had I been subject to sin; but now he is condemned and cast out.

John 16:12

I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now.

Therefore it is expedient for you that I depart, if you then will bear them when I departed. And what has come to pass? Is the Spirit greater than You, that now indeed we bear not, but It will fit us to bear? Is It working more powerful and more perfect? Not so; for He too shall speak My words. Wherefore He says,

John 16:13–15

He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak; and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father has are Mine.

For since He had told them, that "He shall teach you, and bring to your remembrance» John 14:26, and shall comfort you in your afflictions, (which He Himself did not,) and that it is expedient for you that I should depart John 16:7, and that He should come, and, "now you are not able to bear» John 16:12, but then ye shall be able, and, that He shall lead you into all truth John 16:13; lest hearing these things they should suppose the Spirit to be the greater, and so fall into an extreme opinion of impiety, therefore He says, He shall receive of Mine, that is, whatsoever things I have told you, He shall also tell you. When He says, He shall speak nothing of Himself, He means, nothing contrary, nothing of His own opposed to My words. As then in saying respecting Himself, I speak not of Myself John 14:10, He means that He speaks nothing beside what the Father says, nothing of His own against Him, or differing from Him, so also with respect to the Spirit. But the, of Mine, means, of what I know, of My own knowledge; for the knowledge of Me and of the Spirit is one.

And He will tell you things to come. He excited their minds, for the race of man is for nothing so greedy, as for learning the future. This, for instance, they continually asked Him, Where are you going? Which is the way? To free them therefore from this anxiety, He says, He shall foretell you all things, so that you shall not meet with them without warning.

He shall glorify Me. How? In My name He shall grant His inward workings. For since at the coming of the Spirit they were about to do greater miracles, therefore, again introducing the Equality of Honor, He says, He shall glorify Me.

What means He by, all truth? For this also He testifies of Him, that He shall guide us into all truth. John 16:13 Because He was clothed with the flesh, and because He would not seem to speak concerning Himself, and because they did not yet know clearly concerning the Resurrection, and were too imperfect, and also because of the Jews, that they might not think they were punishing Him as a transgressor; therefore He spoke no great thing continually, nor plainly drew them away from the Law. But when the disciples were cut off from them, and were for the future without; and when many were about to believe, and to be released from their sins; and when there were others who spoke of Him, He with good reason spoke not great things concerning Himself. So that it proceeded not from ignorance of Mine, He says, that I told you not what I should have told you, but from the infirmity of the hearers. On this account having said, He shall lead you into all truth, He added, He shall not speak of Himself. For to show that the Spirit needs not teaching, hear Paul saying, So also the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God. 1Corinthians 2:11 As then the spirit of man, not learning from another, knows; so also the Holy Spirit "shall receive of Mine,» that is, shall speak in unison with what is Mine.

All things that the Father has are Mine. Since then those things are Mine, and He shall speak from the things of the Father, He shall speak from Mine.

3. But why did not the Spirit come before He departed? Because the curse not having yet been taken away, sin not yet loosed, but all being yet subject to vengeance, He could not come. It is necessary then, says He, that the enmity be put away, that we be reconciled to God, and then receive that Gift. But why says He, I will send Him? John 16:7 It means, I will prepare you beforehand to receive Him. For, how can that which Is everywhere, be sent? Besides, He also shows the distinction of the Persons. On these two accounts He thus speaks; and also, since they were hardly to be drawn away from Himself, exhorting them to hold fast to the Spirit, and in order that they might cherish It. For He Himself was able to have wrought these things, but He concedes to the Spirit the working of miracles, on this account, that they might understand His dignity. For as the Father could have brought into being things which are, yet the Son did so, that we might understand His power, so also is it in this case. On this account He Himself was made Flesh, reserving the inward working for the Spirit, shutting up the mouths of those who take the argument of His ineffable love for an occasion of impiety. For when they say that the Son was made flesh because He was inferior to the Father, we will reply to them, what then will you say of the Spirit? He took not the flesh, and yet certainly on this account ye will not call Him greater than the Son, nor the Son inferior to Him. Therefore, in the case of baptism also the Trinity is included. The Father is able to effect the whole, as is the Son, and the Holy Ghost; yet, since concerning the Father no man doubts, but the doubt was concerning the Son, and the Holy Ghost, They are included in the rite, that by Their community in supplying those unspeakable blessings, we may also fully learn Their community in dignity. For that both the Son is able by Himself to do that which in the case of baptism He is able to do with the Father, and the Holy Ghost the same, hear these things said plainly. For to the Jews He said, That ye may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins Mark 2:10; and again, That ye may become children of light John 12:36: and, I give to them eternal life. John 10:28 Then after this, That they might have life, and might have it more abundantly. John 10:10 Now let us see the Spirit also performing the same thing. Where can we see it? But the manifestation of the Spirit, it says, is given to every man to profit withal 1Corinthians 12:7; c. vi. 63; He then that gives these things, much more remits sins. And again, It is the Spirit that quickens; and, Shall quicken you by His Spirit which dwells in you Romans 8:11; and, The Spirit is Life because of righteousness Romans 8:10; and, If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Galatians 5:18 For you have not received the Spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption. Romans 8:15 All the wonders too which they then wrought, they wrought at the coming of the Spirit. And Paul writing to the Corinthians, said, But you have been washed, but you have been sanctified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God. 1Corinthians 6:11 Since then they had heard many things of the Father, and had seen the Son work many things, but as yet knew nothing clearly of the Spirit, that Spirit does miracles, and brings in the perfect knowledge. But (as I said before) that He may not thence be supposed to be greater, on this account Christ says, Whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak; and He will show you things to come. Since, if this be not so, how could it be otherwise than absurd, if He was about to hear then, and on account of those who were being made disciples? For according to you, He would not even then know, except on account of those who were about to hear. What could be more unlawful than this saying? Besides, what would He have to hear? Did He not speak all these things by the Prophets? For if He was about to teach concerning the dissolution of the Law, it had been spoken of: if concerning Christ, His Divinity and the Dispensation, these had been spoken of also. What could He say more clearly after this?

And shall show you things to come. Here most of all Christ shows His Dignity, for to foretell things to come is especially the property of God. Now if He also learn this from others, He will have nothing more than the Prophets, but here Christ declares a knowledge brought into exact accordance with God, that it is impossible that He should speak anything else. But the, shall receive of Mine, means, shall receive, either of the grace which came into My Flesh, or of the knowledge which I also have, not as needing it, nor as learning it from another, but because it is One and the same. And wherefore spoke He thus, and not otherwise? Because they understand not yet the word concerning the Spirit, wherefore He provides for one thing only, that the Spirit should be believed and received by them, and that they should not be offended. For since He had said, One is your Teacher, even Christ Matthew 23:10, that they might not deem that they should disobey Him in obeying the Spirit, He says, His teaching and Mine are One; of what I should have taught, of those things shall He also speak. Do not suppose His words are other than Mine, for those words are Mine, and confirm My opinion. For One is the will of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Thus also He wills us to be, when He says, That they may be one, as You and I are One. John 17:11

4. There is nothing equal to unanimity and concord; for so one is manifold. If two or ten are of one mind, the one is one no longer, but each one is multiplied tenfold, and you will find the one in the ten, and the ten in the one; and if they have an enemy, he who attacks the one, as having attacked the ten, is vanquished; for he is the mark not for one, but for ten opponents. Is one in want? No, he is not in want, for he is wealthy in his greater part, that is, in the nine; and the needy part, the lesser, is concealed by the wealthy part, the greater. Each of these has twenty hands, twenty eyes, and as many feet. For he sees not with his own eyes alone, but with those of others; he walks not with his own feet alone, but with those of others; he works not with his own hands alone, but with theirs. He has ten souls, for not only does he take thought for himself, but those souls also for him. And if they be made a hundred, it will still be the same, and their power will be extended. Do you see the excess of love, how it makes the one both irresistible and manifold, how one can even be in many places, the same both in Persia and in Rome, and that what nature cannot do, love can? For one part of him will be here, and one there, or rather he will be wholly here and wholly there. If then he have a thousand or two thousand friends, consider again whither his power will extend. Do you see what an increase-giving thing is love? For the wonderful thing is this, its making one a thousand. Why then do we not acquire this power and place ourselves in safety? This is better than all power or riches, this is more than health, than light itself, it is the groundwork of good courage. How long do we set our love on one or two? Consider also the action in the contrary way. Suppose a man without a friend, a mark of the utmost folly, (for a fool will say, I have no friend,) what sort of life will such a one lead? For though he be infinitely rich, in plenty and luxury, possessed of ten thousand good things, yet is he desolate and bare of all. But in the case of friends not so; though they be poor men, yet are they better provided than the wealthy; and the things which a man undertakes not to say for himself, a friend will say for him, and whatever gratifications he is not able to procure for himself, he will be enabled to obtain by means of another, and much more; and it will be to us the groundwork of all enjoyment and safety, since one who is guarded by so many spearmen cannot suffer harm. For the king's body guards are not equal in their strictness to these. The one perform their watch through compulsion and fear, the others through kindness and love; and love is far mightier than fear. The king fears his own guards; the friend is more confident in them than in himself, and by reason of them fears none of those that plot against him. Let us then engage in this traffic; the poor man, that he may have consolation in his poverty; the rich, that he may possess his wealth in safety; the ruler, that he may rule with safety; the ruled, that he may have benevolent rulers. This is the source of kindness, this the groundwork of gentleness; since even among beasts, those are the most fierce and untamable which are not gregarious. For this cause we dwell in cities, and have public places, that we may converse with one another. This also Paul commanded, saying, Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together Hebrews 10:25; for no evil is so great as solitariness, and the state which is without compact and intercourse. What then, says some one, of the solitaries, and of those who have occupied the summits of the mountains? That neither are they without friends; they have indeed fled from the turmoil of common life, but they have many of one soul with them, and closely bound together one to another; and they have retired that they might rightly accomplish this thing. For since the rivalry of business causes many disputes, therefore, removing from among men, they cultivate love with much exactness. But how, says some one, if a man be alone can he have ten thousand friends? I, for my part, desire, if it be possible, that men should know how to dwell one with another; but for the present let the properties of friendship remain unshaken. For it is not place which makes friends. They, for instance, have many who admire them; now these would not have admired had they not loved them. Again, they pray for all the world, which is the greatest proof of friendship. For this cause we salute one another at the Mysteries, that being many we may become one; and in the case of the uninitiated, we make our prayers common, supplicating for the sick, and for the produce of the world, for land and sea. Do you see all the power of love? In the prayers, in the Mysteries, in the exhortations? This is that which causes all good things. If we hold carefully to this, we shall both rightly dispense things present, and also obtain the Kingdom; which may we all obtain through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 79 on the Gospel of John

John 16:16–17

A little while, and you shall not see Me: and again, a little while, and you shall see Me, because I go to the Father. Then said some of His disciples among themselves, What is this that He says? [And what follows. ]

1. Nothing is wont so to cast down the soul that is anguished and possessed by deep despondency, as when words which cause pain are continually dwelt upon. Why then did Christ, after saying, I go, and, Hereafter I will not speak with you, continually dwell on the same subject, saying, A little while, and you shall not see Me, because I go to Him that sent Me? When He had recovered them by His words concerning the Spirit, He again casts down their courage. Wherefore does He this? He tests their feelings, and renders them more proved, and well accustoms them by hearing sad things, manfully to bear separation from Him; for they who had practiced this when spoken of in words, were likely in actions also, easily to bear it afterwards. And if one enquire closely, this very thing is a consolation, the saying that, I go to the Father. For it is the expression of One, who declares that He shall not perish, but that His end is a kind of translation. He adds too another consolation; for He says not merely, A little while, and you shall not see Me, but also, A little while, and you shall see Me; showing that He will both come to them again, and that their separation would be but for a little while, and His presence with them continual. This, however, they did not understand. Whence one may with reason wonder how, after having often heard these things, they doubt, as though they had heard nothing. How then is it that they did not understand? It was either through grief, as I suppose, for that drove what was said from their understanding; or through the obscurity of the words. Because He seemed to them to set forth two contraries, which were not contrary. If, says one of them, we shall see You, where are You going? And if You go, how shall we see You? Therefore they say, We cannot tell what He says. That He was about to depart, they knew; but they knew not that He would shortly come to them. On which account He rebukes them, because they did not understand His saying. For, desiring to instill in them the doctrine concerning His death, what says He?

John 16:20

Verily, verily, I say unto you, That you shall weep and lament – which belonged to the Death and the Cross–but the world shall rejoice.

Because by reason of their not desiring His death, they quickly ran into the belief that He would not die, and then when they heard that He would die, cast about, not knowing what that little meant, He says, You shall mourn and lament.

But your sorrow shall be turned into joy. Then having shown that after grief comes joy, and that grief genders joy, and that grief is short, but the pleasure endless, He passes to a common example; and what says He?

John 16:21

A woman when she is in travail has sorrow.

And He has used a comparison which the Prophets also use continually, likening despondencies to the exceeding pains of childbirth. But what He says is of this kind: Travail pains shall lay hold on you, but the pang of childbirth is the cause of joy; both confirming His words relative to the Resurrection, and showing that the departing hence is like passing from the womb into the light of day. As though He had said, Marvel not that I bring you to your advantage through such sorrow, since even a mother to become a mother, passes in like manner through pain. Here also He implies something mystical, that He has loosened the travail pangs of death, and caused a new man to be born of them. And He said not, that the pain shall pass away only, but, she does not even remember it, so great is the joy which succeeds; so also shall it be with the Saints. And yet the woman does not rejoice because a man has come into the world, but because a son has been born to her; since, had this been the case, nothing would have hindered the barren from rejoicing over another who bears. Why then spoke He thus? Because He introduced this example for this purpose only, to show that sorrow is for a season, but joy lasting: and to show that (death) is a translation unto life; and to show the great profit of their pangs. He said not, a child has been born, but, A man. For to my mind He here alludes to His own Resurrection, and that He should be born not unto that death which bare the birth-pang, but unto the Kingdom. Therefore He said not, a child has been born unto her, but, A man has been born into the world.

John 16:22–23

And ye now therefore have sorrow– [but I will see you again, and your sorrow shall be turned into joy]. Then, to show that He shall die no more, He says, And no man takes it from you. And in that day you shall ask Me nothing.

Again He proves nothing else by these words, but that He is from God. For then you shall for the time to come know all things. But what is, You shall not ask Me? You shall need no intercessor, but it is sufficient that you call on My Name, and so gain all things.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever you shall ask My Father in My Name.

He shows the power of His Name, if at least being neither seen nor called upon, but only named, He even makes us approved by the Father. But where has this taken place? Where they say, Lord, behold their threatenings, and grant unto Your servants that with boldness they may speak Your word Acts 4:29–31, and work miracles in Your Name. And the place was shaken where they were.

John 16:24

Hitherto you have asked nothing.

2. Hence He shows it to be good that He should depart, if hitherto they had asked nothing, and if then they should receive all things whatsoever they should ask. For do not suppose, because I shall no longer be with you, that you are deserted; My Name shall give you greater boldness. Since then the words which He had used had been veiled, He says,

John 16:25

These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs, but the time comes when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs.

There shall be a time when you shall know all things clearly. He speaks of the time of the Resurrection. Then,

I shall tell you plainly of the Father.

(For He was with them, and talked with them forty days, being assembled with them, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God Acts 1:3–4)– because now being in fear, you give no heed to My words; but then when you see Me risen again, and converse with Me, you will be able to learn all things plainly, for the Father Himself will love you, when your faith in Me has been made firm.

John 16:26

And I will not ask the Father.

Your love for Me suffices to be your advocate.

John 16:27–28

Because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world; again I leave the world, and go to the Father.

For since His discourse concerning the Resurrection, and together with this, the hearing that I came out from God, and there I go, gave them no common comfort, He continually handles these things. He gave a pledge, in the first place, that they were right in believing on Him; in the second, that they should be in safety. When therefore He said, A little while, and you shall not see Me; and again a little while, and you shall see Me John 16:17, they with reason did not understand Him. But now it is no longer so. What then is, You shall not ask Me? You shall not say, «Show us the Father,» and, »Where are You going?» for you shall know all knowledge, and the Father shall be disposed towards you even as I am. It was this especially which made them breathe again, the learning that they should be the Father's friends wherefore they say,

John 16:30

speakest Thou plainly, and speakest no parable. «



Now we know that You know all things.

Do you see that He made answer to what was secretly harboring in their minds?

And needest not that any man should ask You.

That is, Before hearing, You know the things which made us stumble, and You have given us rest, since You have said, "The Father loves you, because you have loved Me.» After so many and so great matters, they say, Now we know. Do you see in what an imperfect state they were? Then, when, as though conferring a favor upon Him, they say, Now we know, He replies, You still require many other things to come to perfection; nothing is as yet achieved by you. You shall presently betray Me to My enemies, and such fear shall seize you, that you shall not even be able to retire one with another, yet from this I shall suffer nothing dreadful. Do you see again how con descending His speech is? And indeed He makes this a charge against them, that they continually needed condescension. For when they say, Lo, now You speak plainly, and speakest no parable John 16:29, and therefore we believe You, He shows them that now, when they believe, they do not yet believe, neither does He accept their words. This He says, referring them to another season. But the,

John 16:32

The Father is with Me.

He has again put on their account; for this they everywhere wished to learn. Then, to show that He did not give them perfect knowledge by saying this, but in order that their reason might not rebel, (for it was probable that they might form some human ideas, and think that they should not enjoy any assistance from Him,) He says,

John 16:33

These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace.

That is, that you should not cast Me from your thoughts, but receive Me. Let no one, then, drag these words into a doctrine; they are spoken for our comfort and love. For not even when we suffer such things as I have mentioned shall your troubles stop there, but as long as you are in the world you shall have sorrow, not only now when I am betrayed, but also afterwards. But rouse your minds, for you shall suffer nothing terrible. When the master has gotten the better of his enemies, the disciples must not despond. And how, tell me, have You "conquered the world»? I have told you already, that I have cast down its ruler, but you shall know hereafter, when all things yield and give place to you.

3. But it is permitted to us also to conquer, looking to the Author of our faith, and walking on that road which He cut for us. So neither shall death get the mastery of us. What then, shall we not die? says some one. Why, from this very thing it is clear that he shall not gain the mastery over us. The champion truly will then be glorious, not when he has not closed with his opponent, but when having closed he is not holden by him. We therefore are not mortal, because of our struggle with death, but immortal, because of our victory; then should we have been mortal, had we remained with him always. As then I should not call the longest-lived animals immortal, although they long remain free from death, so neither him who shall rise after death mortal, because he is dissolved by death. For, tell me, if a man blush a little, should we say that he was continually ruddy? Not so, for the action is not a habit. If one become pale, should we call him jaundiced? No, for the affection is but temporary. And so you would not call him mortal, who has been for but a short time in the hands of death. Since in this way we may speak of those who sleep, for they are dead, so to say, and without action. But does death corrupt our bodies? What of that? It is not that they may remain in corruption, but that they be made better. Let us then conquer the world, let us run to immortality, let us follow our King, let us too set up a trophy, let us despise the world's pleasures. We need no toil to do so; let us transfer our souls to heaven, and all the world is conquered. If you desire it not, it is conquered; if you deride it, it is worsted. Strangers are we and sojourners, let us then not grieve at any of its painful things. For if, being sprung from a renowned country, and from illustrious ancestors, you had gone into some distant land, being known to no one, having with you neither servants nor wealth, and then some one had insulted you, you would not grieve as though you had suffered these things at home. For the knowing clearly that you were in a strange and foreign land, would persuade you to bear all easily, and to despise hunger, and thirst, and any suffering whatever. Consider this also now, that you are a stranger and a sojourner, and let nothing disturb you in this foreign land; for you have a City whose Artificer and Creator is God, and the sojourning itself is but for a short and little time. Let whoever will strike, insult, revile; we are in a strange land, and live but meanly; the dreadful thing would be, to suffer so in our own country, before our fellow citizens, then is the greatest unseemliness and loss. For if a man be where he had none that knows him, he endures all easily, because insult becomes more grievous from the intention of those who offer it. For instance, if a man insult the governor, knowing that he is governor, then the insult is bitter; but if he insult, supposing him to be a private man, he cannot even touch him who undergoes the insult. So let us reason also. For neither do our revilers know what we are, as, that we are citizens of heaven, registered for the country which is above, fellow-choristers of the Cherubim. Let us not then grieve nor deem their insult to be insult; had they known, they would not have insulted us. Do they deem us poor and mean? Neither let us count this an insult. For tell me, if a traveler having got before his servants, were sitting a little space in the inn waiting for them, and then the innkeeper, or some travelers, should behave rudely to him, and revile him, would he not laugh at the other's ignorance? Would not their mistake rather give him pleasure? Would he not feel a satisfaction as though not he but some one else were insulted? Let us too behave thus. We too sit in an inn, waiting for our friends who travel the same road; when we are all collected, then they shall know whom they insult. These men then shall hang their heads; then they shall say, This is he whom we fools had in derision. Wisdom 5:3

4. With these two things then let us comfort ourselves, that we are not insulted, for they know not who we are, and that, if we wish to obtain satisfaction, they shall hereafter give us a most bitter one. But God forbid that any should have a soul so cruel and inhuman. What then if we be insulted by our kinsmen? For this is the burdensome thing. Nay, this is the light thing. Why, pray? Because we do not bear those whom we love when they insult us, in the same way as we bear those whom we do not know. For instance, in consoling those who have been injured, we often say, It is a brother who has injured you, bear it nobly; it is a father; it is an uncle. But if the name of father and brother puts you to shame, much more if I name to you a relationship more intimate than these; for we are not only brethren one to another, but also members, and one body. Now if the name of brother shame you, much more that of member. Have you not heard that Gentile proverb, which says, that it behooves to keep friends with their defects? Have you not heard Paul say, Bear ye one another's burdens? Do you see not lovers? For I am compelled, since I cannot draw an instance from you, to bring my discourse to that ground of argument. This also Paul does, thus saying, Furthermore we have had fathers in our flesh, which corrected us, and we gave them reverence. Hebrews 12:9 Or rather, that is more apt which he says to the Romans, As you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity, even so now yield your members servants to righteousness. For this reason let us confidently keep hold of the illustration. Now do you not observe lovers, what miseries these suffer when inflamed with desire for harlots, cuffed, beaten, and laughed at, enduring a harlot, who turns away from and insults them in ten thousand ways; yet if they see but once anything sweet or gentle, all is well to do with them, all former things are gone, all goes on with a fair wind, be it poverty, be it sickness, be it anything else besides these. For they count their own life as miserable or blessed, according as they may have her whom they love disposed towards them. They know nothing of mortal honor or disgrace, but even if one insult, they bear all easily through the great pleasure and delight which they receive from her; and though she revile, though she spit in their face, they think, when they are enduring this, that they are being pelted with roses. And what wonder, if such are their feelings as to her person? For her very house they think to be more splendid than any, though it be but of mud, though it be falling down. But why speak I of walls? When they even see the places which they frequent in the evening, they are excited. Allow me now for what follows to speak the word of the Apostle. As he says, As you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness, so yield your members servants unto righteousness; so in like manner now I say, as we have loved these women, let us love one another, and we shall not think that we suffer anything terrible. And why say I, one another? Let us so love God. Do ye shudder, when you hear that I require as much love in the case of God, as we have shown towards a harlot? But I shudder that we do not show even thus much. And, if you will, let us go on with the argument, though what is said be very painful. The woman beloved promises her lovers nothing good, but dishonor, shame, and insolence. For this is what the waiting upon a harlot makes a man, ridiculous, shameful, dishonored. But God promises us heaven, and the good things which are in heaven; He has made us sons, and brethren of the Only-begotten, and has given you ten thousand things while living, and when you die, resurrection, and promises that He will give us such good things as it is not possible even to imagine, and makes us honored and revered. Again, that woman compels her lovers to spend all their substance for the pit and for destruction; but God bids us sow the heaven, and gives us an hundred-fold, and eternal life. Again, she uses her lover like a slave, giving commands more hardly than any tyrant; but God says, I no longer call you servants, but friends. John 15:15

5. Have ye seen the excess both of the evils here and the blessings there ? What then comes next? For this woman's sake, many lie awake, and whatever she commands, readily obey; give up house, and father, and mother, and friends, and money, and patronage, and leave all that belongs to them in want and desolation; but for the sake of God, or rather for the sake of ourselves, we often do not choose to expend even the third portion of our substance, but we look on the hungry, we overlook him, and run past the naked, and do not even bestow a word upon him. But the lovers, if they see but a little servant girl of their mistress, and her a barbarian, they stand in the middle of the market-place, and talk with her, as if they were proud and glad to do so, unrolling an interminable round of words; and for her sake they count all their living as nothing, deem rulers and rule nothing, (they know it, all who have had experience of the malady,) and thank her more when she commands, than others when they serve. Is there not with good reason a hell? Are there not with good reason ten thousand punishments? Let us then become sober, let us apply to the service of God as much, or half, or even the third part of what others supply to the harlot. Perhaps again ye shudder; for so do I myself. But I would not that you should shudder at words only, but at the actions; as it is, here indeed our hearts are made orderly, but we go forth and cast all away. What then is the gain? For there, if it be required to spend money, no one laments his poverty, but even borrows it to give, perchance, when smitten. But here, if we do but mention almsgiving, they pretend to us children, and wife, and house, and patronage, and ten thousand excuses. But, says some one, the pleasure is great there. This it is that I lament and mourn. What if I show that the pleasure here is greater? For there shame, and insult, and expense, cut away no little of the pleasure, and after these the quarreling and enmity; but here there is nothing of the kind. What is there, tell me, equal to this pleasure, to sit expecting heaven and the kingdom there, and the glory of the saints, and the life that is endless? But these things, says some one, are in expectation, the others in experience. What kind of experience? Will you that I tell you the pleasures which are here also by experience? Consider what freedom you enjoy, and how you fear and tremble at no man when you live in company with virtue, neither enemy, nor plotter, nor informer, nor rival in credit or in love, nor envious person, nor poverty, nor sickness, nor any other human thing. But there, although ten thousand things be according to your mind, though riches flow in as from a fountain, yet the war with rivals, and the plots, and ambuscades, will make more miserable than any the life of him who wallows with those women. For when that abominable one is haughty, and insolent, you needs must kindle quarrel to flatter her. This therefore is more grievous than ten thousand deaths, more intolerable than any punishment. But here there is nothing of the kind. For the fruit, it says, of the Spirit is love, joy, peace. Galatians 5:22 Here is no quarreling, nor unseasonable pecuniary expense, nor disgrace and expense too; and if you give but a farthing, or a loaf, or a cup of cold water, He will be much beholden to you, and He does nothing to pain or grieve you, but all so as to make you glorious, and free you from all shame. What defense therefore shall we have, what pardon shall we gain, if, leaving these things, we give ourselves up to the contrary, and voluntarily cast ourselves into the furnace that burns with fire? Wherefore I exhort those who are sick of this malady, to recover themselves, and return to health, and not allow themselves to fall into despair. Since that son also was in a far more grievous state than this, yet when he returned to his father's house, he came to his former honor, and appeared more glorious than him who had ever been well-pleasing. Let us also imitate him, and returning to our Father, even though it be late, let us depart from that captivity, and transfer ourselves to freedom, that we may enjoy the Kingdom of heaven, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 80 on the Gospel of John

John 17:1

These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and says, Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You.

1. He that has done and taught, it says, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of heaven. And with much reason; for to show true wisdom in words, is easy, but the proof which is by works is the part of some noble and great one. Wherefore also Christ, speaking of the endurance of evil, puts Himself forth, bidding us take example from Him. On this account too, after this admonition, He betakes Himself to prayer, teaching us in our temptations to leave all things, and flee to God. For because He had said, In the world you shall have tribulation, and had shaken their souls, by the prayer He raises them again. As yet they gave heed unto Him as to a man; and for their sake He acts thus, just as He did in the case of Lazarus, and there tells the reason; Because of the people that stand by I said it, that they might believe that You have sent Me. John 11:42 Yea, says some one, this took place with good cause in the case of the Jews; but wherefore in that of the disciples? With good cause in the case of the disciples also. For they who, after all that had been said and done, said, Now we know that You know John 16:30, most of all needed to be established. Besides, the Evangelist does not even call the action prayer; but what says he? He lifted up His eyes to heaven, and says rather that it was a discoursing with the Father. And if elsewhere he speaks of prayer, and at one time shows Him kneeling on His knees, at another lifting His eyes to heaven, be not thou troubled; for by these means we are taught the earnestness which should be in our petitions, that standing we should look up, not with the eyes of the flesh only, but of the mind, and that we should bend our knees, bruising our own hearts. For Christ came not merely to manifest Himself, but also about to teach virtue ineffable. But it behooves the teacher to teach, not by words only, but also by actions. Let us hear then what He says in this place.

Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You.

Again He shows us, that not unwilling He comes to the Cross. For how could He be unwilling, who prayed that this might come to pass, and called the action glory, not only for Himself the Crucified, but also for the Father? Since this was the case, for not the Son only, but the Father also was glorified. For before the Crucifixion, not even the Jews knew Him; Israel, it says, has not known Me Isaiah 1:3; but after the Crucifixion, all the world ran to Him. Then He speaks also of the manner of the glory, and how He will glorify Him.

John 17:2

As You have given Him power over all flesh, that nothing which You have given Him should perish.

For to be always doing good, is glory to God. But what is, As You have given Him power over all flesh? He now shows, that what belongs to the preaching is not confined to the Jews alone, but is extended to all the world, and lays down beforehand the first invitations to the Gentiles. And since He had said, Go not into the way of the Gentiles Matthew 10:5, and after this time is about to say, Go, and make disciples of all nations Matthew 28:19, He shows that the Father also wills this. For this greatly offended the Jews, and the disciples too; nor indeed after this did they easily endure to lay hold on the Gentiles, until they received the teaching of the Spirit; because hence arose no small stumblingblock for the Jews. Therefore, when Peter after such a manifestation of the Spirit came to Jerusalem, he could scarcely, by relating the vision of the sheet, escape the charges brought against him. But what is, You have given Him power over all flesh? I will ask the heretics, When did He receive this power? Was it before He formed them, or after? He himself says, that it was after that He had been crucified, and had risen again; at least then He said, All power is given unto Me Matthew 28:18, and, Go and make disciples of all nations. What then, had He not authority over His own works? Did He make them, and had He not authority over them after having made them? Yet He is seen doing all in times of old, punishing some as sinners, (for, Surely I will not hide, it says, from My servant Abraham, that which I am about to do Genesis 18:17, Septuagint) and honoring others as righteous. Had He then the power at that time, and now had He lost it, and did He again receive it? What devil could assert this? But if His power was the same both then and now, (for, says He, as the Father raises up the dead and quickens them, even so the Son quickens whom He will John 5:21) what is the meaning of the words? He was about to send them to the Gentiles; in order therefore that they might not think that this was an innovation, because He had said, I am not sent, save unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel Matthew 15:24, He shows that this seems good to the Father also. And if He says this with great meanness of circumstance, it is not wonderful. For so He edified both those at that time, and those who came afterwards; and as I have before said, He always by the excess of meanness firmly persuaded them that the words were those of condescension.

2. But what is, Of all flesh? For certainly not all believed. Yet, for His part, all believed; and if men gave no heed to His words, the fault was not in the teacher, but in those who received them not.

That He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.

If here also He speaks in a more human manner, wonder not. For He does so both on account of the reasons I have given, and to avoid the saying anything great concerning Himself; since this was a stumblingblock to the hearers because as yet they imagined nothing great concerning Him. John, for example, when He speaks in his own person, does not so, but leads up his language to greater sublimity, saying, All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made c. i. 3, 4, 9, 11; and that He was Life; and that He was Light; and that He came to His own: he says not, that He would not have had power, had He not received it, but that He gave to others also power to become sons of God. And Paul in like manner calls Him equal with God. But He Himself asks in a more human way, saying thus, That He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. Philippians 2:6

John 17:3

And this is life eternal, that they might know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

The only true God, He says, by way of distinction from those which are not gods; for He was about to send them to the Gentiles. But if they will not allow this, but on account of this word only reject the Son from being true God, in this way as they proceed they reject Him from being God at all. For He also says, You seek not the glory which is from the only God. John 5:44 Well then; shall not the Son be God? But if the Son be God, and the Son of the Father who is called the Only God, it is clear that He also is true, and the Son of Him who is called the Only true God. Why, when Paul says, Or I only and Barnabas 1Corinthians 9:6, does he exclude Barnabas? Not at all; for the only is put by way of distinction from others. And, if He be not true God, how is He Truth? For truth far surpasses what is true. What shall we call the not being a true man, tell me? Shall we not call it the not being a man at all? So if the Son is not true God, how is He God? And how makes He us gods and sons, if He is not true? But on these matters we have spoken more particularly in another place; wherefore let us apply ourselves to what follows.

John 17:4

I have glorified You on the earth. Well said He, on the earth; for in heaven He had been already glorified, having His own natural glory, and being worshipped by the Angels. Christ then speaks not of that glory which is bound up with His Essence, (for that glory, though none glorify Him, He ever possesses in its fullness,) but of that which comes from the service of men. And so the, Glorify Me, is of this kind; and that you may understand that He speaks of this manner of glory, hear what follows.

I have finished the work which You gave Me that I should do it.

And yet the action was still but beginning, or rather was not yet beginning. How then said He, I have finished? Either He means, that I have done all My part; or He speaks of the future, as having already come to pass; or, which one may say most of all, that all was already effected, because the root of blessings had been laid, which fruits would certainly and necessarily follow, and from His being present at and assisting in those things which should take place after these. On this account He says again in a condescending way, Which You gave Me. For had He indeed waited to hear and learn, this would have fallen far short of His glory. For that He came to this of His own will, is clear from many passages. As when Paul says, that He so loved us, as to give Himself for us Ephesians 5:2; and, He emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant Philippians 2:7; and, As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. John 15:9

John 17:5

And now, O Father, glorify Me with Your Own Self, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Where is that glory? For allowing that He was with reason unhonored among men, because of the covering which was put around Him; how seeks He class="greek">seekest Thou. «}--> to be glorified with the Father? What then says He here? The saying refers to the Dispensation; since His fleshly nature had not yet been glorified, not having as yet enjoyed incorruption, nor shared the kingly throne. Therefore He said not on earth, but with You.

3. This glory we also shall enjoy according to our measure, if we be sober. Wherefore Paul says, If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. Romans 8:17 Ten thousand tears then do they merit, who through sluggishness and sleep plot against themselves when such glory is set before them; and, were there no hell, they would be more wretched than any, who, when it is in their power to reign and to be glorified with the Son of God, deprive themselves of so great blessings. Since if it were necessary to be cut in pieces, if to die ten thousand deaths, if to give up every day ten thousand lives and as many bodies, ought we not to submit to such things for such glory? But now we do not even despise money, which hereafter, though unwilling, we shall leave: we do not despise money, which brings about us ten thousand mischiefs, which remains here, which is not our own. For we are but stewards of that which is not our own, although we receive it from our fathers. But when there is hell besides, and the worm that dies not, and the fire that is not quenched, and the gnashing of teeth, how, tell me, shall we bear these things? How long will we refuse to see clearly, and spend our all on daily fightings, and contentions, and unprofitable talk, feeding, cultivating earth, fattening the body and neglecting the soul, making no account of necessary things, but much care about things superfluous and unprofitable? And we build splendid tombs, and buy costly houses, and draw about with us herds of all kinds of servants, and devise different stewards, appointing managers of lands, of houses, of money, and managers of those managers; but as to our desolate soul, we care nothing for that. And what will be the limit to this? Is it not one belly that we fill, is it not one body that we clothe? What is this great bustle of business? Why and wherefore do we cut up and tear to pieces the one soul, which we have had assigned to us, in attending to the service of such things, contriving for ourselves a grievous slavery? For he who needs many things is the slave of many things, although he seem to be their master. Since the lord is the slave even of his domestics, and brings in another and a heavier mode of service; and in another way also he is their slave, not daring without them to enter the agora, nor the bath, nor the field, but they frequently go about in all directions without him. He who seems to be master, dares not, if his slaves be not present, to go forth from home, and if while unattended he do but put his head out of his house, he thinks that he is laughed at. Perhaps some laugh at us when we say this, yet on this very account they would be deserving of ten thousand tears. For to show that this is slavery, I would gladly ask you, would you wish to need some one to put the morsel to your mouth, and to apply the cup to your lips? Would you not deem such a service worthy of tears? What if you required continually supporters to enable you to walk, would you not think yourself pitiable, and in this respect more wretched than any? So then you ought to be disposed now. For it matters nothing whether one is so treated by irrational things, or by men.

Why, tell me, do not the Angels differ from us in this respect, that they do not want so many things as we do? Therefore the less we need, the more we are on our way to them; the more we need, the more we sink down to this perishable life. And that you may learn that these things are so, ask those who have grown old which life they deem happiest, that when they were helplessly mastered, or now when they are masters of these things? We have mentioned these persons, because those who are intoxicated with youth, do not even know the excess of their slavery. For what of those in fever, do they call themselves happy when, thirsting much, they drink much and need more, or when, having recovered their health, they are free from the desire? Do you see that in every instance the needing much is pitiable, and far apart from true wisdom, and an aggravation of slavery and desire? Why then do we voluntarily increase to ourselves wretchedness? For, tell me, if it were possible to live uninjured without roof or walls, would you not prefer this; wherefore then do you increase the signs of your weakness? Do we not for this call Adam happy, that he needed nothing, no house, no clothes? Yes, says some one, but now we are in need of them. Why then do we make our need greater? If many persons curtail many of the things actually needed, (servants, I mean, and houses, and money,) what excuse can we have if we overstep the need? The more you put about you, the more slavish do you become; for by whatever proportion you require more, in that proportion you have trenched upon your freedom. For absolute freedom is, to want nothing at all; the next is, to want little; and this the Angels and their imitators especially possess. But for men to succeed in this while tarrying in a mortal body, think how great praise this has. This also Paul said, when writing to the Corinthians, But I spare you, and, lest such should have trouble in the flesh. 1Corinthians 7:28 Riches are called usables, that we may use them rightly, and not keep and bury them; for this is not to possess them, but to be possessed by them. Since if we are going to make this our aim how to multiply them, not that we may employ them rightly, the order is reversed, and they possess us, not we them. Let us then free ourselves from this grievous bondage, and at last become free. Why do we devise ten thousand different chains for ourselves? Is not the bond of nature enough for you, and the necessity of life, and the crowd of ten thousand affairs, but do you twine also other nets for yourself, and put them about your feet? And when will you lay hold on heaven, and be able to stand on that height? For a great thing, a great thing is it, that even having cut asunder all these cords, you should be able to lay hold on the city which is above. So many other hindrances are there; all which that we may conquer, let us keep to the mean estate [and having put away superfluities, let us keep to what is necessary.] Thus shall we lay hold on eternal life, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 81 on the Gospel of John

John 17:6

I have manifested Your Name unto the men which You gave Me out of the world; Yours they were, and You gave them Me, and they have kept Your word.

1. "Messenger» of great counsel Isaiah 9:6, Septuagint, the Son of God is called, because of the other things which He taught, and principally because He announced the Father to men, as also now He says, I have manifested Your Name unto the men. For after having said, I have finished Your work, He next explains it in detail, telling what sort of work. Now the Name indeed was well known. For Esaias said, You shall swear by the true God. Isaiah 65:16. But what I have often told you I tell you now, that though it was known, yet it was so only to Jews, and not to all of these: but now He speaks concerning the Gentiles. Nor does He declare this merely, but also that they knew Him as the Father. For it is not the same thing to learn that He is Creator, and that He has a Son. But He manifested His Name both by words and actions.

Whom You gave Me out of the world. As He says above, No man comes unto Me except it be given him John 6:65; and, Except My Father draw him John 6:64; so here too, Whom you gave Me. John 14:6 Now He calls Himself the Way; whence it is clear that He establishes two things by what is said here, that He is not opposed to the Father, and that it is the Father's will to entrust them to the Son.

Yours they were, and You gave them Me. Here He desires to teach that He is greatly loved by the Father. For that He needed not to receive them, is clear from this, He made them, He cares for them continually. How then did He receive them? This, as I said before, shows His unanimity with the Father. Now if a man choose to enquire into the matter in a human manner, and as the words are spoken, they will no longer belong to the Father. For if when the Father had them, the Son had them not, it is evident that when He gave them to the Son, He withdrew from His dominion over them. And again, there is a yet more unseemly conclusion; for they will be found to have been imperfect while they yet were with the Father, but to have become perfect when they came to the Son. But it is mockery even to speak thus. What then does He declare by this? That it has seemed good to the Father also that they should believe in the Son.

And they have kept Your word.

John 17:7

Now they have known that all things whatsoever You have given Me are of You.

How did they keep Your word? By believing in Me, and giving no heed to the Jews. For he that believes in Him, it says, "has set to his seal that God is true.» John 3:33 Some read, Now I know that all things whatsoever You have given Me are of You. But this would have no reason; for how would the Son be ignorant of the things of the Father? No the words are spoken of the disciples. From the time, He says, that I told them these things, they have learned that all that You have given Me is from You; nothing is alien, nothing peculiar to Me, with You. (For whatever is peculiar, puts most things in the condition of being alien. They therefore have known that all things, whatsoever I teach, are Your doctrines and teachings. And whence have they learned it? From My words; for so have I taught them. And not only this have I taught them, but also that I came out from You. For this He was anxious to prove through all the Gospel.

John 17:9

I pray for them.

What sayest Thou? Do You teach the Father, as though He were ignorant? Do You speak to Him as to a man who knows not? What then means this distinction? Do you see that the prayer is for nothing else than that they may understand the love which He has towards them? For He who not only gives what He has of His own, but also calls on Another to do the same, shows greater love. What then is, I pray for them? Not for all the world, He says, but for them whom You have given Me. He continually puts the hast given, that they might learn that this seems good to the Father. Then, because He had said continually, they are Yours, and, You gave them unto Me, to remove any evil suspicion, and lest any one should think that His authority was recent, and that He had but now received them, what says He?

John 17:10

All Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I am glorified in them.

Do you see the equality of honor? For lest on hearing, You have given them Me, you should deem that they were alienated from the authority of the Father, or before this from that of the Son, He removed both difficulties by speaking as He did. It was as though He said, Do not when you hear that «You have given them to Me,» deem that they are alienated from the Father, for what is Mine is His; nor when you hear, »Yours they were,» think that they were aliens from Me, for what is His is Mine. So that the, You have given, is said only for condescension; for what the Father has is the Son's, and what the Son has is the Father's. But this cannot even be said of a son after the manner of man, but because They are upon a greater Equality of honor. For that what belongs to the less, belongs to the greater also, is clear to every one, but the reverse not so; but here He converts these terms, and the conversion declares Equality. And in another place, declaring this, He said, All things that the Father has are Mine, speaking of knowledge. And the hast given Me, and the like expressions, are to show that He did not come as an alien and draw them to Him, but received them as His own. Then He puts the cause and the proof, saying, And I am glorified in them, that is, either that I have power over them, or, that they shall glorify Me, believing in You and Me, and shall glorify Us alike. But if He is not glorified equally in them, what is the Father's is no longer His. For no one is glorified in those over whom he has no authority. Yet how is He glorified equally? All die for Him equally as for the Father; they preach Him as they do the Father; and as they say that all things are done in His Name, so also in the Name of the Son.

John 17:11

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world.

That is, Although I appear no longer in the flesh, yet by these am I glorified. But why does He say continuously, that, I am not in the world; and that, because I leave them I commit them to You; and that, when I was in the world I kept them? For if one should take these words in their simple sense, many absurdities will follow. For how could it be reasonable to say, that He is no longer in the world, and that when He departs He commits them to another? Since these are the words of a mere man parting from them forever. Do you see how He speaks for the most part like a man, and in a way adapted to their state of mind, because they thought that they had a greater degree of safety from His presence? Wherefore He says, While I was with them, I kept them. John 14:28 Yet He tells them, I come to you; and, I am with you till the end. Matthew 28:20 How then says He these words, as if about to be parted from them? He addresses Himself, as I said before, to their thoughts, that they may take breath a little when they hear Him speaking thus, and delivering them over to the care of the Father. For since, after hearing many exhortations from Him, they were not persuaded, He then holds converse with the Father, manifesting His affection for them. As though He had said, Since You call Me to Yourself, place these in safety; for I come to You. What sayest Thou? Are You not able to keep them? Yea, I am able. Wherefore then do You speak thus? That they may have My joy fulfilled John 17:13; that is, may not be confounded, as being imperfect. And by these words He showed that He had spoken all these things so, to give them rest and joy. For the saying appears to be contradictory. Now I am no longer in the world, and these are in the world. This was what they were suspecting. For a while therefore He condescends to them, because had He said, I keep them, they would not have so well believed; wherefore He says, Holy Father, keep them through Your own Name; that is, by your help.

John 17:12

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your Name.

Again He speaks as a man and as a Prophet, since nowhere does He appear to have done anything by the Name of God.

Those that You gave Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

And in another place He says, Of all that You gave Me, I will surely lose nothing. John 6:39 Yet not only was he lost, but also many afterwards; how then says He, I will in nowise lose? For My part, I will not lose. So in another place, declaring the matter was more clearly, He said, I will in nowise cast out. John 6:37 Not through fault of Mine, not because I either instigate or abandon them; but if they start away of themselves, I draw them not by necessity.

John 17:13

But now I come to you.

Do you see that the discourse is composed rather in a human manner? So that should any wish from these words to lower the Son, he will lower the Father also. Observe, in proof of this, how from the beginning He speaks partly as though informing and explaining to Him, partly as enjoining. Informing, as when He says, I pray not for the world; enjoining, as, I have kept them until now, and none of them is lost; and, do Thou therefore now keep them, He says. And again, Yours they were, and You have given them unto Me and While I was in the world I kept them. But the solution of all is, that the words were addressed to their infirmity.

But after having said that none of them was lost but the son of perdition, He added, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. Of what Scripture does He speak? That which foretells many things concerning Him. Not that He perished on that account, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But we have before spoken at length on this point, that this is the peculiar manner of Scripture, which puts things which fall out in accordance with it, as though they were caused by it. And it is needful to enquire exactly into all, both the manner of the speaker, his argument, and the laws of Scripture, if at least we are minded not to draw wrong conclusions. For, Brethren, be not children in your minds. 1Corinthians 14:20

3. This it is necessary to consider well, not only for the understanding the Scriptures, but also for earnestness in one's way of life. For so little children do not desire great things, but are wont to admire those which are worth nothing; they are pleased at seeing chariots, and horses, and the muleteer, and wheels, all made out of earthenware; but if they see a king sitting upon a chariot, and a pair of white mules, and great magnificence, they do not even turn their heads. And they deck out as brides dolls made of the same material, but the actual brides, real and beautiful, they do not even notice; and this is their case in many other matters. Now this many men also undergo at this time; for when they hear of heavenly things, they do not even give heed to them, but toward all the things of clay they are as eager as children, and stupidly admire the wealth which is of earth, and honor the glory and luxury of the present life. Yet these are just as much toys as those; but the other are the causes of life, and glory, and repose. But as children deprived of their playthings cry, and do not know how even to desire the realities, so also are many of those who seem to be men. Wherefore it says, Be not children in your minds. 1Corinthians 14:20 Desirest thou riches, tell me, and do you not desire the wealth that lasts, but childish toys? If you should see a man admiring a leaden coin, and stooping to pick it up, you would pronounce his penury to be extreme; and do you, who collectest more worthless things than this, number yourself among the rich? How can this consist with reason? We will call him rich who despises all present things. For no one, no one will choose to laugh at these little things, silver and gold, and other things of show, unless he have the desire of greater things; just as the man would not despise the leaden coin, unless he possessed coins of gold. Do thou, therefore, when you see a man running by all worldly things, deem that he does so from no other motive than because he looks to a greater world. So the husbandman despises a few grains of wheat, when he expects a larger harvest. But if, when the hope is uncertain, we despise things which are, much more ought we to do so in a case where the expectation is sure. Wherefore I pray and beseech you not to bring loss on yourselves, nor, keeping hold of mire, rob yourselves of the treasures which are above, bringing your vessel to port laden with straw and chaff. Let each say what he will concerning us, let him be angry at our continual admonitions, let him call us silly, tedious, tiresome, still we will not desist from exhorting you on these matters continually, and from continually repeating to you that of the Prophet, "Break off your sins by almsgiving, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor» Daniel 4:27, and bind them upon your neck. Do not act in this way today, and desist tomorrow. For even this body has need of daily food; and so too has the soul, or rather that much more; and if it give not, it becomes weaker and more vile. Let us then not neglect it when it is perishing, choking. Many wounds it receives each day, by being lustful, angry, slothful, reviling, revengeful, envious. It is therefore necessary to prepare also remedies for it, and no small remedy is that of almsgiving, which can be placed on every wound. For, Give alms, it says, of such things as you have, and behold all things are clean unto you. Luke 11:41 Alms, not covetousness, for that which proceeds from covetousness endures not, though thou give to those who need. For almsgiving is that which is free from all injustice, this makes all things clean. This is a thing better even than fasting, or lying on the ground; they may be more painful and laborious, but this more profitable. It enlightens the soul, makes it sleek, beautiful, and vigorous. Not so does the fruit of the olive hold up the athletes, as this oil recovers the combatants of piety. Let us then anoint our hands, that we may lift them up well against our adversary. He that practices showing mercy to him that needs, will soon cease from covetousness, he who continues in giving to the poor, will soon cease from anger, and will never even be high-minded. For as the physician continually tending wounded persons is easily sobered, beholding human nature in the calamities of others; so we, if we enter upon the work of aiding the poor, shall easily become truly wise, and shall not admire riches, nor deem present things any great matter, but despise them all, and soaring aloft to heaven, shall easily obtain the eternal blessings, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ; to whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 82 on the Gospel of John

John 17:14

I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

1. When having become virtuous we are persecuted by the wicked, or when being desirous of virtue we are mocked at by them, let us not be distracted or angry. For this is the natural course of things, and everywhere virtue is wont to engender hatred from wicked men. For envying those who desire to live properly, and thinking to prepare an excuse for themselves if they can overthrow the credit of others, they hate them as having pursuits opposite to their own, and use every means to shame their way of life. But let not us grieve, for this is a mark of virtue. Wherefore Christ also says, If you were of the world, the world would love its own. John 15:19 And in another place again, Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you. Luke 6:26 Wherefore also He says here, I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them. Again He tells the reason for which they were worthy to obtain much care from the Father; For Your sake, He says, they have been hated, and for Your word's sake; so that they would be entitled to all providential care.

John 17:15

I pray not that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil.

Again He simplifies His language; again He renders it more clear; which is the act of one showing, by making entreaty for them with exactness, nothing else but this, that He has a very tender care for them. Yet He Himself had told them, that the Father would do all things whatsoever they should ask. How then does He here pray for them? As I said, for no other purpose than to show His love.

John 17:16

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

How then says He in another place, Which You gave Me out of the world; Yours they were? John 17:6 There He speaks of their nature; here of wicked actions. And He puts together a long encomium of them; first, that they were not of the world; then, that the Father Himself had given them; and that they had kept His word; and that on this account they were hated. And if He says, As I am not of the world, be not troubled; for the as is not here expressive of unvarying exactness. For as, when in the case of Him and the Father the as is used, a great Equality is signified, because of the Relationship in Nature; so when it is used of us and Him, the interval is great, because of the great and infinite interval between the respective natures. For if He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth 1 Peter 2:22, how could the Apostles be reckoned equal to Him? What is it then that He says, They are not of the world? They look to another world, they have nothing common with earth, but have become citizens of heaven. And by these words He shows His love, when He commends them to the Father, and commits them to Him who begot Him. When He says, Keep them, He does not speak merely of delivering them from dangers, but also with regard to their continuance in the faith. Wherefore He adds,

John 17:17

Sanctify them through Your truth. Make them holy by the gift of the Spirit, and of right doctrines. As when He says, You are clean through the word which I spoke unto you John 15:3, so now He says the same thing, Instruct them, teach them the truth. And yet He says that the Spirit does this. How then does He now ask it from the Father? That you may again learn their equality of Honor. For right doctrines asserted concerning God sanctify the soul. And if He says that they are sanctified by the word, marvel not. And to show that He speaks of doctrines, He adds,

Your word is truth.

That is, there is no falsehood in it, and all that is said in it must needs come to pass; and again, it signifies nothing typical or bodily. As also Paul says concerning the Church, that He has sanctified it by the Word. For the Word of God is wont also to cleanse. Ephesians 5:26 Moreover, the, sanctify them, seems to me to signify something else, such as this, Set them apart for the Word and for preaching. And this is made plain from what follows. For, He says,

John 17:17

As You have sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

As Paul also says, Having put in us the word of reconciliation. 2Corinthians 5:19 For the same end for which Christ came, for the same did these take possession of the world. In this place again the as is not put to signify resemblance in the case of Himself and the Apostles; for how was it possible for men to be sent otherwise? But it was His custom to speak of the future as having come to pass.

John 17:19

And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified in the truth.

What is, I sanctify Myself? I offer to You a sacrifice. Now all sacrifices are called holy, and those are specially called holy things, which are laid up for God. For whereas of old in type the sanctification was by the sheep, but now it is not in type, but by the truth itself, He therefore says, That they may be sanctified in Your truth. For I both dedicate them to You, and make them an offering; this He says, either because their Head was being made so, or because they also were sacrificed; for, Present, it says, your bodies a living sacrifice, holy Romans 12:1; and, We were counted as sheep for the slaughter. Psalm 43:22 And He makes them; without death, a sacrifice and offering; for that He alluded to His own sacrifice, when He said, I sanctify, is clear from what follows.

John 17:20

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe.

2. For since He was dying for them, and said, that For their sakes I sanctify Myself, lest any one should think that He did this for the Apostles only, He added, Neither pray I for these only, but for them also who believe in Me through their word. By this again He revived their souls, showing that the disciples should be many. For because He made common what they possessed peculiarly, He comforts them by showing that they were being made the cause of the salvation of others.

After having thus spoken concerning their salvation, and their being sanctified by faith and the Sacrifice, He afterwards speaks of concord, and finally closes his discourse with this, having begun with it and ended in it. For at the beginning He says, A new commandment I give unto you John 13:34; and here,

John 17:21

That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I in You.

Here again the as does not denote exact similarity in their case, (for it was not possible for them in so great a degree,) but only as far as was possible for men. Just as when He says Be merciful, as your Father. Luke 6:36

But what is, In Us? In the faith which is on Us. Because nothing so offends all men as divisions, He provides that they should be one. What then, says some one, did He effect this? Certainly He effected it. For all who believe through the Apostles are one, though some from among them were torn away. Nor did this escape His knowledge, He even foretold it, and showed that it proceeded from men's slack-mindedness.

That the world may believe that You have sent Me.

As He said in the beginning, By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you love one another. And how should they hence believe? Because, He says, You are a God of peace. If therefore they observe the same as those of whom they have learned, their hearers shall know the teacher by the disciples, but if they quarrel, men shall deny that they are the disciples of a God of peace, and will not allow that I, not being peaceable, have been sent from You. Do you see how, unto the end, He proves His unanimity with the Father?

John 17:22

And the glory which You gave Me, I have given them.

That by miracles, that by doctrines, and, that they should be of one soul; for this is glory, that they should be one, and greater even than miracles. As men admire God because there is no strife or discord in That Nature, and this is His greatest glory, so too let these, He says, from this cause become glorious. And how, says some one, does He ask the Father to give this to them, when He says that He Himself gives it? Whether His discourse be concerning miracles, or unanimity, or peace, He is seen Himself to have given these things to them; whence it is clear that the petition is made for the sake of their comfort.

John 17:23

I in them, and You in Me.

How gave He the glory? By being in them, and having the Father with Him, so as to weld them together. But in another place He speaks not so; He says not that the Father comes by Him, but, that He and the Father come, and take up their abode with him, there removing the suspicion of Sabellius, here that of Arius.

That they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me. John 14:23

He says these latter words immediately after the other, to show that peace has more power to attract men than a miracle; for as it is the nature of strife to separate, so it is that of agreement to weld together.

And I have loved them as You have loved Me.

Here again the as means, as far as it is possible for a man to be loved; and the sure proof of His love is His giving Himself for them. After having told them that they shall be in safety, that they shall not be overturned, that they shall be holy, that many shall believe through them, that they shall enjoy great glory, that not He alone loved them, but the Father also; He next tells them of what shall be after their sojourning here, concerning the prizes and crowns laid up for them.

John 17:24

Father, I will that they also whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am.

Then dost Thou gain by prayer, and dost Thou not yet possess that concerning which they enquired continually, saying, «Where are You going?» What sayest Thou? How then did You say to them, »You shall sit upon twelve thrones»? Matthew 19:28 How did You promise other things more and greater? Do you see that He says all in the way of condescension? Since how would He have said, You shall follow afterwards? John 13:36 But He speaks thus with a view to a fuller conviction and demonstration of His love.

That they may behold My glory which You have given Me.

This again is a sign of His being of one mind with the Father, of a higher character than those former, for He says, Before the foundation of the world, yet has it also a certain condescension; for, You have given Me, He says. Now if this be not the case, I would gladly ask the gainsayers a question. He that gives, gives to one subsisting; did the Father then, having first begotten the Son, afterwards give Him glory, having before allowed Him to be without glory? And how could this be reasonable? Seest that the He gave, is, He begot?

3. But why said He not, That they may share My glory, instead of, That they may be hold My glory? Here He implies, that all that rest is, the looking on the Son of God. This certainly it is which causes them to be glorified; as Paul says, With open face mirroring the glory of the Lord. 2Corinthians 3:18 For as they who look on the sunbeams, and enjoy a very clear atmosphere, draw their enjoyment from their sight, so then also, and in much greater degree, this will cause us pleasure. At the same time also He shows, that what they should behold was not the body then seen, but some awful Substance.

John 17:25

O righteous Father, the world has not known You.

What means this? What connection has it? He here shows that no man knows God, save those only who have come to know the Son. And what He says is of this kind: I wished all to be so, yet they have not known You, although they had no complaint against You. For this is the meaning of, O righteous Father. And here He seems to me to speak these words, as vexed that they would not know One so just and good. For since the Jews had said that they knew God, but that He knew Him not, at this He aims, saying, For You loved Me before the foundation of the world; thus putting together a defense against the accusations of the Jews. For how could He who had received glory, who was loved before the foundation of the world, who desired to have them as witnesses of that glory, how could He be opposed to the Father? This then is not true which the Jews say, that they know You, and that I know You not; on the contrary, I know You, and they have not known You.

And these have known that You have sent Me.

Do you see that He alludes to those, who said that He was not from God, and all is finally summed up to meet this argument?

John 17:26

And I have declared unto them Your Name, and will declare it.

Yet you say that perfect knowledge is from the Spirit. But the things of the Spirit are Mine.

That the love wherewith You have loved Me may remain in them, and I in them.

For if they learn who You are, then they shall know that I am not separated from You, but one of the greatly beloved, and a true Son, and closely knit to You. And those who are rightly persuaded of this, will keep both the faith which is on Me and perfect love; and while they love as they ought, I remain in them. Do you see how He has arrived at a good end, finishing off the discourse with love, the mother of all blessings?

4. Let us then believe and love God, that it may not be said of us, They profess that they know God, but in their works they deny Him. Titus 1:16 And again, He has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. 1 Timothy 5:8 For when he helps his domestics and kinsmen and strangers, while thou dost not even succor those who are related to you by family, what will henceforth be your excuse, when God is blasphemed and insulted by reason of you? Consider what opportunities of doing good God has given to us. Have mercy on one, He says, as a kinsman, on another as a friend, on another as a neighbor, on another as a citizen, on another as a man. And if none of these things hold you, but you break through all bonds, hear from Paul, that you are worse than an infidel; for he having heard nothing of almsgiving, or of heavenly things, has overshot you in love for man; but thou who art bidden to love your very enemies, lookest upon your friends as enemies, and art more careful of your money than of their bodies. Yet the money by being spent will sustain no injury, but your brother if neglected will perish. What madness then to be careful of money, and careless about one's kindred? Whence has this craving for riches burst in upon us? Whence this inhumanity and cruelty? For if any one could, as though seated on the highest bench of a theater, look down upon all the world – or rather, if you will, let us for the present take in hand a single city – if then a man seated on an elevated spot could take in at a glance all the doings of the men there, consider what folly he would condemn, what tears he would weep, what laughter he would laugh, with what hatred he would hate; for we commit such actions as deserve both laughter, and the charge of folly, and tears, and hatred. One man keeps dogs to catch brute animals, himself sinking into brutality; another keeps oxen and asses to transport stones, but neglects men wasting with hunger; and spends gold without limit to make men of stone, but neglects real men, who are becoming like stones through their evil state. Another, collecting with great pains golden quarries, puts them about his walls, but when he beholds the naked bellies of the poor, is not moved. Some again contrive garments over their very garments, while their brother has not even wherewithal to cover his naked body. Again, one has swallowed up another in the law-courts; another has spent his money on women and parasites, another on stage-players and theatrical bands, another on splendid edifices, on purchases of fields and houses. Again, one man is counting interest, another interest of interest; another is putting together bands full of many deaths, and does not enjoy rest even at night, lying awake for others» harm. Then, when it is day, they run, one to his unjust gain, another to his wanton expense, others to public robbery. And great is the earnestness about things superfluous and forbidden, but of things necessary no account is taken; and they who decide questions of law have indeed the name of jurymen, but are really thieves and murderers. And if one should enquire into law suits and wills, he would find there again ten thousand mischiefs, frauds, robberies, plots, and about these things is all time spent; but for spiritual things there is no care, and they all inconvenience the Church, for the sake of seeing only. But this is not what is required; we need works, and a pure mind. But if you spend all the day in grasping after riches, and then coming in sayest a few words, you have not only not propitiated God, but hast even angered Him more. Would you conciliate your Lord, exhibit works, make yourself acquainted with the mass of woes, look upon the naked, the hungry, the wronged; He has cut out for you ten thousand ways of showing love for men. Let us not then deceive ourselves by living aimlessly and to no purpose, nor presume, because we now are in health; but bearing in mind, that often when we have fallen into sickness, and have reached the extreme of debility, we have been dead with fear and the looking for things to come, let us expect to fall again into the same state, let us get again the same fear, and let us become better men; since what is done now deserves infinite condemnation. For those in the courts of justice are like lions and dogs; those in the public places like foxes; and those who lead a life of leisure, even they do not use their leisure as they ought, spending all their time on theaters and the mischiefs arising from them. And there is no one to reprove what is being done; but there are many who envy, and are vexed that they are not in the like condition, so that these in their turn are punished, though not actually doing wicked things. For they not only do these things, but also have pleasure in them that do them. Because what belongs to their will is alike corrupt; whence it is plain, that the intention also will be punished. These things I say each day, and I will not cease to say them. For if any listen, it is gain; but if none give heed, you shall then hear these things, when it will avail you nothing, and you shall blame yourselves, and we shall be flee from fault. But may it never come to pass that we should only have this excuse, but that you may be our boast before the judgment-seat of Christ, that together we may enjoy the blessings, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 83 on the Gospel of John

John 18:1

When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which He entered, and His disciples.

1. An awful thing is death, and very full of terror, but not to those who have learned the true wisdom which is above. For he that knows nothing certain concerning things to come, but deems it to be a certain dissolution and end of life, with reason shudders and is afraid, as though he were passing into non-existence. But we who, by the grace of God, have learned the hidden and secret things of His wisdom, and deem the action to be a departure to another place, should have no reason to tremble, but rather to rejoice and be glad, that leaving this perishable life we go to one far better and brighter, and which has no end. Which Christ teaching by His actions, goes to His Passion, not by constraint and necessity, but willingly. These things, it says, Jesus spoke, and departed «beyond the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which He entered, and His disciples.»

John 18:2

Judas also, which betrayed Him, knew the place; for Jesus ofttimes resorted there with His disciples.

He journeys at midnight, and crosses a river, and hastes to come to a place known to the traitor, lessening the labor to those who plotted against Him, and freeing them from all trouble; and shows to the disciples that He came willingly to the action, (a thing which was most of all sufficient to comfort them,) and places Himself in the garden as in a prison.

These things spoke Jesus unto them. What do you say? Surely He was speaking with the Father, surely He was praying. Why then do you not say that, "having ceased from the prayer,» He came there? Because it was not prayer, but a speech made on account of the disciples. And the disciples entered into the garden. He had so freed them from fear that they no longer resisted, but entered with Him into the garden. But how came Judas there, or whence had he gained his information when he came? It is evident from this circumstance, that Jesus generally passed the night out of doors. For had He been in the habit of spending it at home, Judas would not have come to the desert, but to the house, expecting there to find Him asleep. And lest, hearing of a garden, you should think that Jesus hid Himself, it adds, that Judas knew the place; and not simply so, but that He often resorted there with His disciples. For ofttimes He was with them apart, conversing on necessary matters, and such as it was not permitted to others to hear. And He did this especially in mountains and gardens, seeking a place free from disturbance, that their attention might not be distracted from listening.

John 18:3

Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the Chief Priests and Pharisees, comes there with lanterns, and torches, and weapons.

And these men had often at other times sent to seize Him, but had not been able; whence it is plain, that at this time He voluntarily surrendered Himself. And how did they persuade the band? They were soldiers, who had made it their practice to do anything for money.

John 18:4

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him, went forth, and said, Whom do you seek?

That is, He did not wait to learn this from their coming, but spoke and acted without confusion, as knowing all these things. But why come they with weapons, when about to seize Him? They feared His followers, and for this reason they came upon Him late at night. And He went forth, and said to them, Whom do you seek?

John 18:5

They answered Him, Jesus of Nazareth.

Do you see His invincible power, how being in the midst of them He disabled their eyes? For that the darkness was not the cause of their not knowing Him, the Evangelist has shown, by saying, that they had torches also. And even had there been no torches, they ought at least to have known Him by His voice; or if they did not know it, how could Judas be ignorant, who had been so continually with Him? For he too stood with them, and knew Him no more than they, but with them fell backward. And Jesus did this to show, that not only they could not seize Him, but could not even see Him when in the midst, unless He gave permission.

John 18:7

He says again, Whom do you seek? What madness! His word threw them backward, yet not even so did they turn, when they had learned that His power was so great, but again set themselves to the same attempt. When therefore He had fulfilled all that was His, then He gave Himself up.

John 18:8

He answered, I told you that I Am. ( John 18:5 And Judas also which betrayed Him stood with them.)

See the forbearance of the Evangelist, how he does not insult over the traitor, but relates what took place, only desiring to prove one thing, that the whole took place with His own consent. Then, lest any one should say that He Himself brought them to this, by having placed Himself into their hands, and revealed Himself to them; after having shown to them all things which should have been sufficient to repulse them, when they persevered in their wickedness, and had no excuse, He put Himself in their hands, saying,

If therefore ye seek Me, let these go their way.

Manifesting until the last hour His lovingkindness towards them. If, He says, ye want Me, have nothing to do with these, for, behold, I give Myself up.

John 18:9

That the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, Of those which You gave Me have I lost none.

By loss He does not here mean that which is of death, but that which is eternal; though the Evangelist in the present case includes the former also. And one might wonder why they did not seize them with Him, and cut them to pieces, especially when Peter had exasperated them by what he did to the servant. Who then restrained them? No other than that Power which cast them backward. And so the Evangelist, to show that it did not come to pass through their intention, but by the power and decree of Him whom they had seized, has added, That the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, that not one, etc. John 17:12

2. Peter, therefore, taking courage from His voice, and from what had already happened, arms himself against the assailants, And how, says some one, does he who was bidden not to have a scrip, not to have two coats, possess a sword? Methinks he had prepared it long before, as fearing this very thing which came to pass. But if you say, How does he, who was forbidden even to strike a blow with the hand, become a manslayer? He certainly had been commanded not to defend himself, but here he did not defend himself, but his Master. And besides, they were not as yet perfect or complete. But if you desire to see Peter endued with heavenly wisdom, you shall after this behold him wounded, and bearing it meekly, suffering ten thousand dreadful things, and not moved to anger. But Jesus here also works a miracle, both showing that we ought to do good to those who do evil to us, and revealing His own power. He therefore restored the servant's ear, and said to Peter, that All they that take the sword shall perish by the sword Matthew 26:52; and as He did in the case of the basin, when He relaxed his vehemence by a threat, so also here. The Evangelist adds the name of the servant, because the thing done was very great, not only because He healed him, but because He healed one who had come against Him, and who shortly after would buffet Him, and because He stayed the war which was like to have been kindled from this circumstance against the disciples. For this cause the Evangelist has put the name, so that the men of that time might search and enquire diligently whether these things had really come to pass. And not without a cause does he mention the right ear, but as I think desiring to show the impetuosity of the Apostle, that he almost aimed at the head itself. Yet Jesus not only restrains him by a threat, but also calms him by other words, saying,

John 18:11

The cup which My Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?

Showing, that what was done proceeded not from their power, but from His consent, and declaring that He was not one opposed to God but obedient to the Father even unto death.

John 18:12–13

Then Jesus was taken; and they bound Him, and led Him away to Annas.

Why to Annas? In their pleasure they made a show of what had been done, as though forsooth they had set up a trophy.

And he was father-in-law to Caiaphas.

John 18:14

Now Caiaphas was he which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

Why does the Evangelist again remind us of his prophecy? To show that these things were done for our salvation. And such is the exceeding force of truth, that even enemies proclaimed these things beforehand. For lest the listener, hearing of bonds, should be confounded, he reminds him of that prophecy, that the death of Jesus was the salvation of the world.

John 18:15

And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple.

Who is that other disciple? It is the writer himself. And wherefore does he not name himself? When he lay on the bosom of Jesus, he with reason concealed his name; but now why does he this? For the same reason, for here too he mentions a great good deed, that when all had started away, he followed. Therefore he conceals himself, and puts Peter before him. He was obliged to mention himself, that you might understand that he narrates more exactly than the rest what took place in the hall, as having been himself within. But observe how he detracts from his own praise; for, lest any one should ask, How, when all had retreated, did this man enter in farther than Simon? he says, that he was known to the high priest. So that no one should wonder that he followed, or cry him up for his manliness. But the wonder was that matter of Peter, that being in such fear, he came even as far as the hall, when the others had retreated. His coming there was caused by love, his not entering within by distress and fear. For the Evangelist has recorded these things, to clear a way for excusing his denial; with regard to himself, he does not set it down as any great matter that he was known to the high priest, but since he had said that he alone with Jesus went in, lest you should suppose that the action proceeded from any exalted feelings, he puts also the cause. And that Peter would have also entered had he been permitted, he shows by the sequel; for when he went out, and bade the damsel who kept the door bring in Peter, he straightway came in. But why did he not bring him in himself? He clung to Christ, and followed Him; on this account he bade the woman bring him in. What then says the woman?

John 18:17

Are you not also one of this man's disciples? And he says, I am not.

What do you say, Peter? Did you not declare but now, If need be that I lay down my life for You, I will lay it down? What has happened then, that you can not even endure the questioning of a doorkeeper? Is it a soldier who questions you? Is it one of those who seized Him? No, it is a mean and abject doorkeeper, nor is the questioning of a rough kind. She says not, Are you a disciple of that cheat and corrupter, but, of that man, which was the expression rather of one pitying and relenting. But Peter could not bear any of these words. The, Are you not also, is said on this account, that John was within. So mildly did the woman speak. But he perceived none of this, nor took it into his mind, neither the first time, nor the second, nor the third, but when the cock crew; nor did this even bring him to his senses, till Jesus gave him the bitter look. And he stood warming himself with the servants of the high priest, but Christ was kept bound within. This we say not as accusing Peter, but showing the truth of what had been said by Christ.

John 18:19

The high priest then asked Jesus of His disciples, and of His doctrine.

3. O the wickedness! Though he had continually heard Him speaking in the temple and teaching openly, he now desires to be informed. For since they had no charge to bring, they enquired concerning His disciples, perhaps where they were, and why He had collected them, and with what intention, and on what terms. And this he said, as desiring to prove Him to be a seditious person and an innovator, since no one gave heed to Him, except them alone, as though His were some factory of wickedness. What then says Christ? To overthrow this, He says,

John 18:20

I spoke openly to the world, (not to the disciples privately,) I taught openly in the temple.

What then, said He nothing in secret? He did, but not, as they thought, from fear, and to make conspiracies, but if at any time His sayings were too high for the hearing of the many.

John 18:21

Why do you ask Me? Ask them which heard Me.

These are not the words of one speaking arrogantly, but of one confiding in the truth of what He had said. What therefore He said at the beginning, If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true John 5:31, this He now implies, desiring to render His testimony abundantly credible. For when Annas mentioned the disciples, what says He? Do you ask Me concerning Mine? Ask Mine enemies, ask those who have plotted against Me, who have bound Me; let them speak. This is an unquestionable proof of truth, when one calls his enemies to be witnesses to what he says. What then does the high priest? When it would have been right thus to have made the enquiry, that person did not so.

John 18:22

And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by smote Him with the palm of his hand. Answerest thou the high priest so? » N.T.}-->

What could be more audacious than this? Shudder, O heaven, be astounded, O earth, at the long-suffering of the Lord, and the senselessness of the servants! Yet what was it that He said? He said not, Why do you ask Me, as if refusing to speak, but wishing to remove every pretext for senseless behavior; and being upon this buffeted, though He was able to shake, to annihilate, or to remove all things, He does not any one of these, but speaks words able to relax any brutality.

John 18:23

And He says, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil. smitest thou Me? «N.T.}-->

That is, If you can lay hold on My words, declare it; but if you can not, why do you strike Me? Do you see that the judgment-hall is full of tumult, and trouble, and passion, and confusion? The high priest asked deceitfully and treacherously, Christ answered in a straightforward manner, and as was meet. What then was next to be done? Either to refute, or to accept what He said. This however is not done, but a servant buffets Him. So far was this from being a court of justice, and the proceedings those of a conspiracy, and a deed of tyranny. Then not having even so made any farther discovery, they send Him bound to Caiaphas.

John 18:25

And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself.

Wonderful, by what a lethargy that hot and furious one was possessed, when Jesus was being led away! After such things as had taken place, he does not move, but still warms himself, that you may learn how great is the weakness of our nature if God abandons. And, being questioned, he denies again.

John 18:26

Then says the kinsman of him whose ear Peter cut off, (grieving at what had taken place,) Did I not see you in the garden?

But neither did the garden bring him to remember what had taken place, nor the great affection which Jesus there had shown by those words, but all these from pressure of anxiety he banished from his mind. But why have the Evangelists with one accord written concerning him? Not as accusing the disciple, but as desiring to teach us, how great an evil it is not to commit all to God, but to trust to one's self. But do thou admire the tender care of his Master, who, though a prisoner and bound, took great forethought for His disciple, raising Peter up, when he was down, by His look, and launching him into a sea of tears.

john 18:28

They lead Him therefore from Caiaphas to Pilate.

This was done, in order that the number of His judges might show, even against their will, how fully tested was His truth. And it was early. Before cock crow He was brought to Caiaphas, early in the morning to Pilate; whence the Evangelist shows, that being questioned by Caiaphas during an entire half of the night, He was in nothing proved guilty; wherefore Caiaphas sent Him on to Pilate. But leaving these things for the others to relate, John speaks of what follows next. And observe the ridiculous conduct of the Jews. They who had seized the innocent, and taken up arms, do not enter into the hall of judgment, lest they should be polluted. And tell me, what kind of pollution was it to set foot in a judgment-hall, where wrong-doers suffer justice? They who paid tithes of mint and anise, did not think they were polluted when bent on killing unjustly, but thought that they polluted themselves by even treading in a court of justice. And why did they not kill Him, instead of bringing Him to Pilate? In the first place, the greater part of their rule and authority had been cut away, when their affairs were placed under the power of the Romans; and besides, they feared lest they should afterwards be accused and punished by Him. But what is, "That they might eat the Passover?» For He had done this on the first day of unleavened bread. Either he calls the whole feast the Passover, or means, that they were then keeping the Passover, while He delivered it to His followers one day sooner, reserving His own Sacrifice for the Preparation-day, when also of old the Passover was celebrated. But they, though they had taken up arms, which was unlawful, and were shedding blood, are scrupulous about the place, and bring forth Pilate to them.

John 18:29

And having gone out, he said, What accusation bring ye against this man?

4. Do you see that he was free from fondness for rule and from malice? For seeing Jesus bound, and led by so many persons, he did not think that they had unquestionable proof of their accusation, but questions them, thinking it a strange thing that they should take for themselves the judgment, and then commit the punishment without any judgment to him. What then say they?

John 18:30

If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto you.

O madness! For why do ye not mention His evil deeds, instead of concealing them? Why do ye not prove the evil? Do you see that they everywhere avoid a direct accusation, and that they can say nothing? That Annas questioned Him about His doctrine, and having heard Him, sent Him to Caiaphas; and he having in his turn questioned Him, and discovered, nothing, sent Him to Pilate. Pilate says, What accusation bring ye against this man? Nor here have they anything to say, but again employ certain conjectures. At which Pilate being perplexed says,

John 18:31–32

Take ye him and judge him according to your law. They therefore said, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death. But this they said, that the saying of the Lord might be fulfilled, which He spoke, signifying by what death He should die.

And how did the expression, "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death,» declare this? Either the Evangelist means that He was about to be slain not by the Jews only, but by the Gentiles also, or that it was not lawful for them to crucify. But if they say, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death, they say it with reference to that season. For that they did slay men, and that they slew them in a different way, Stephen shows, being stoned. But they desired to crucify Him, that they might make a display of the manner of His death. Pilate, wishing to be freed from trouble, does not dismiss Him for a long trial, but,

John 18:33–34

Having entered in, he asked Jesus, and said, Are you the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Do you say this thing of yourself, or did others tell it you of Me?

Wherefore did Christ ask this? Because He desired to expose the evil intentions of the Jews. Pilate had heard this saying from many, and, since the accusers had nothing to say, in order that the enquiry might not be a long one, he desires to bring forward that which was continually reported. But when he said to them, Judge him according to your law, wishing to show that His offense was not a Jewish one, they replied, It is not lawful for us. He has not sinned against our law, but the indictment is general. Pilate then, having perceived this, says, as being (himself) likely to be endangered, Are you the King of the Jews? Then Jesus, not from ignorance, but from a desire that the Jews should be accused even by him, asked him, saying, Did others tell it you? Sayest thou this thing of thyself or did others tell it thee of Me? «N.T.}--> On this point then declaring himself, Pilate replied,

John 18:35

Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you unto me; what have you done?

Here desiring to clear himself of the matter. Then because he had said, Are you the King? Jesus reproving him answers, This you have heard from the Jews. Why do you not make accurate enquiry? They have said that I am a malefactor; ask them what evil I have done. But this you do not, but art simply framing charges against Me. Jesus answered him, Do you say this thing of yourself, or from others? Pilate then cannot at once say that he had heard it, but simply goes along with the people, saying, They have delivered you unto me. I must needs therefore ask you what you have done. What then says Christ?

John 18:36

My Kingdom is not of this world.

He leads upwards Pilate who was not a very wicked man, nor after their fashion, and desires to show that He is not a mere man, but God and the Son of God. And what says He?

If My Kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews.

He undoes that which Pilate for a while had feared, namely, the suspicion of seizing kingly power, Is then His kingdom not of this world also? Certainly it is. How then says He it «is not»? Not because He does not rule here, but because He has his empire from above, and because it is not human, but far greater than this and more splendid. If then it be greater, how was He made captive by the other? By consenting, and giving Himself up. But He does not at present reveal this, but what says He? If I had been of this world, »My servants would fight, that I should not be delivered.» Here He shows the weakness of kingship among us, that its strength lies in servants; but that which is above is sufficient for itself, needing nothing. From this the heretics taking occasion say, that He is different from the Creator. What then, when it says, He came to His own? John 1:11 What, when Himself says, They are not of this world, as I am not of this world? John 17:14 So also He says that His kingdom is not from hence, not depriving the world of His providence and superintendence, but showing, as I said, that His power was not human or perishable. What then said Pilate?

John 18:37

Are you a king then? Jesus answered, You say that I am a King. To this end was I born.

If then He was born a king, all His other attributes are by Generation, and He has nothing which He received in addition. So that when you hear that, As the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son also to have life John 5:26, deem of nothing else but His generation, and so of the rest.

And for this cause came I, that I should bear witness unto the truth.

That is, that I should speak this very thing, and teach it, and persuade all men.

5. But do thou, O man, when you hear these things, and see your Lord bound and led about, deem present things to be nought. For how can it be otherwise than strange, if Christ bore such things for your sake, and you often cannot endure even words? He is spit upon, and do you deck yourself with garments and rings, and, if you gain not good report from all, think life unbearable? He is insulted, bears mockings, and scornful blows upon the cheek; and do you wish everywhere to be honored, and do you not bear the reproaching of Christ? Do you not hear Paul saying, Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ? 1Corinthians 11:1 When therefore any one makes a jest of you, remember your Lord, that in mockery they bowed the knee before Him, and worried Him both by words and deeds, and treated Him with much irony; but He not only did not defend Himself, but even repaid them with the contraries, with mildness and gentleness. Him now let us emulate; so shall we be enabled even to be delivered from all insult. For it is not the insulter that gives effect to acts of insult, and makes them biting, but he who is little of soul, and is pained by them. If you are not pained, you have not been insulted; for the suffering from injuries depends not on those who inflict, but on those who undergo them. Why do you grieve at all? If a man has insulted you unjustly, in this case surely you ought not to grieve at all, but to pity him; if justly, much more ought thou to keep quiet. For should any one address you, a poor man, as though thou were rich, the praise contained in his words is nothing to you, but his encomium is rather mockery; and so if one insulting you utter things that are untrue, the reproach is nothing to you either. But if conscience takes hold of what has been said, be not grieved at the words, but make correction in deeds. This I say with regard to what really are insults. For if one reproach you with poverty or low birth, laugh at him. These things are a reproach not to the hearer, but to the speaker, as not knowing true wisdom. But, says some one, when these things are said in the presence of many who are ignorant of the truth, the wound becomes unbearable. Nay, it is most bearable, when you have an audience present of witnesses praising and applauding you, scoffing at and making a jest of him. For not he that defends himself, but he that says nothing, is applauded by sensible persons. And if none of those present be a sensible person, then laugh at him most of all, and delight yourself in the audience of heaven. For there all will praise and applaud and welcome you. For one Angel is as good as all the world. But why speak I of Angels, when the Lord Himself proclaims you? Let us exercise ourselves with these reasonings. For it is no loss to be silent when insulted, but it is, on the contrary, to defend one's self when insulted. Since were it a fault silently to bear what is said, Christ would never have told us, If one smite you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Matthew 5:39 If then our enemy say what is not true, let us on this account even pity him, because he draws down upon him the punishment and vengeance of the accusers, being unworthy even to read the Scriptures. For to the sinner God says, Why do you declare My statutes, and takest My covenant in your mouth? Thou sat and spoke against your brother. Psalm 50:16–20, Septuagint And if he speak the truth, so also he is to be pitied; since even the Pharisee spoke the truth; yet he did no harm to him who heard him, but rather good, while he deprived himself of ten thousand blessings, enduring shipwreck by this accusation. So that either way it is he that suffers injury, not thou; but thou, if you are sober, will have double gain; both the propitiating God by your silence, and the becoming yet more discreet, the gaining an opportunity from what has been said to correct what has been done, and the despising mortal glory. For this is the source of our pain, that many gape upon the opinion of men. If we are minded to be thus truly wise, we shall know well that human things are nothing. Let us learn then, and having reckoned up our faults, let us accomplish their correction in time, and let us determine to correct one this month, another next month, and a third in that which follows. And so mounting as it were by steps, let us get to heaven by a Jacob's ladder. For the ladder seems to me to signify in a riddle by that vision the gradual ascent by means of virtue, by which it is possible for us to ascend from earth to heaven, not using material steps, but improvement and correction of manners. Let us then lay hold on this means of departure and ascent, that having obtained heaven, we may also enjoy all the blessings there, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily 84 on the Gospel of John

John 18:37

To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears My Voice.

1. A marvelous thing is longsuffering; it places the soul as in a quiet harbor, fleeing it from tossings and evil spirits. And this everywhere Christ has taught us, but especially now, when He is judged, and dragged, and led about. For when He was brought to Annas, He answered with great gentleness, and, to the servant who smote Him, said what had power to bring down all his insolence; thence having gone to Caiaphas, then to Pilate, and having spent the whole night in these scenes, He all through exhibits His own mildness; and when they said that He was a malefactor, and were not able to prove it, He stood silent; but when He was questioned concerning the Kingdom, then He spoke to Pilate, instructing him, and leading him in to higher matters. But why was it that Pilate made the enquiry not in their presence, but apart, having gone into the judgment hall? He suspected something great respecting Him, and wished, without being troubled by the Jews, to learn all accurately. Then when he said, What have you done? on this point Jesus made no answer; but concerning that of which Pilate most desired to hear, namely, His Kingdom, He answered, saying, My Kingdom is not of this world. That is, I am indeed a King, yet not such an one as you suspect, but far more glorious, declaring by these words and those which follow, that no evil had been done by Him. For one who says, To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth, shows, that no evil has been done by Him. Then when He says, Every one that is of the truth hears My voice, He draws him on by these means, and persuades him to become a listener to the words. For if, says He, any one is true, and desires these things, he will certainly hear Me. And, in fact, He so took him by these short words, that he said,

John 18:38

What is truth?

But for the present he applies himself to what was pressing, for he knew that this question needed time, and desired to rescue Him from the violence of the Jews. Wherefore he went out, and what said he?

I find no fault in him.

Consider how prudently he acted. He said not, Since he has sinned, and is deserving of death, forgive him on account of the Feast; but having first acquitted Him of all guilt, he asks them over and above, if they were not minded to dismiss Him as innocent, yet as guilty to forgive Him on account of the time. Wherefore he added,

John 18:39–40

You have a custom that I should release unto you one at the Passover; then in a persuasory way, Will ye therefore that I release the king of the Jews? Then cried they all, Not this man, but Barabbas.

O accursed decision! They demand those like mannered with themselves, and let the guilty go; but bid him punish the innocent. For this was their longstanding custom. But do thou all through observe the lovingkindness of the Lord in these circumstances. Pilate scourged Him John 19:1 perhaps desiring to exhaust and to soothe the fury of the Jews. For when he had not been able to deliver Him by his former measures, being anxious to stay the evil at this point, he scourged Him, and permitted to be done what was done, the robe and crown to be put on Him, so as to relax their anger. Wherefore also he led Him forth to them crowned John 19:5, that, seeing the insult which had been done to Him, they might recover a little from their passion, and vomit their venom. And how would the soldiers have done this, had it not been the command of their ruler? To gratify the Jews. Since it was not by his command that they at first went in by night, but to please the Jews; they dared anything for money. But He, when so many and such things were done, yet stood silent, as He had done during the enquiry, and answered nothing. And do thou not merely hear these things, but keep them continually in your mind, and when you behold the King of the world and of all Angels, mocked of the soldiers, by words and by actions, and bearing all silently, do thou imitate Him by deeds yourself. For when Pilate had called Him the King of the Jews, and they now put about Him the apparel of mockery, then Pilate having led Him out, said,

John 19:4–5

I find no fault against him. He therefore went forth, wearing the crown.

But not even so was their rage quenched, but they cried out,

John 19:6

Crucify him, crucify him.

Then Pilate, seeing that all was done in vain, said,

Take ye him, and crucify him.

Whence it is clear that he had permitted what had been done before, because of their madness.

For I, he says, find no fault in him.

2. See in how many ways the judge makes His defense, continually acquitting Him of the charges; but none of these things shamed the dogs from their purpose. For the, Take ye him and crucify him, is the expression of one clearing himself of the guilt, and thrusting them forward to an action not permitted to them. They therefore had brought Him, in order that the thing might be done by the decision of the governor; but the contrary fell out, that He was rather acquitted than condemned by the governor's decision. Then, because they were ashamed,

John 19:7

We have, they said, a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

How then when the judge said, «Take ye him, and judge him according to your law,» did ye reply, »It is not lawful for us to put any man to death,» while here ye fly to the law? And consider the charge, "He made himself the Son of God.» Tell me, is this a ground of accusation, that He who performed the deeds of the Son of God should call Himself the Son of God? What then does Christ? While they held this dialogue one with the other, He held His peace, fulfilling that saying of the Prophet, that He opens not his mouth: in His humiliation His judgment was taken away. Isaiah 53:7–8, Septuagint

Then Pilate is alarmed when he hears from them, that He made Himself the Son of God, and dreads lest the assertion may possibly be true, and he should seem to transgress; but these men who had learned this, both by His deeds and words, did not shudder, but are putting Him to death for the very reasons for which they ought to have worshipped Him. On this account he no more asks Him, What have you done? but, shaken by fear, he begins the enquiry again, saying, Are you the Christ? But He answered not. For he who had heard, To this end was I born, and for this came I, and, My Kingdom is not of this world, he, when he ought to have opposed His enemies and delivered Him, did not so, but seconded the fury of the Jews. Then they being in every way silenced, make their cry issue in a political charge, saying, He that makes himself a king, speaks against Cæsar. John 19:12 Pilate ought therefore to have accurately enquired, whether He had aimed at sovereignty, and set His hand to expel Cæsar from the kingdom. But he makes not an exact enquiry, and therefore Christ answered him nothing, because He knew that he asked all the questions idly. Besides, since His works bore witness to Him, He would not prevail by word, nor compose any defense, showing that He came voluntarily to this condition. When He was silent, Pilate says,

John 19:10

Do you not know that I have power to crucify you? Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? «N.T.}-->

Do you see how he condemned himself beforehand; for, if the whole rests with you, why dost not thou let Him go, when you have found no fault in Him? When then Pilate had uttered the sentence against himself, then He says,

John 19:11

He that delivered Me unto you has the greater sin.

Showing that he also was guilty of sin. Then, to pull down his pride and arrogance, He says,

You would have no power except it were given you.

Showing that this did not come to pass merely in the common order of events, but that it was accomplished mystically. Then lest, when you hear, Except it were given you, you should deem that Pilate was exempt from all blame, on this account therefore He said, Therefore he that delivered Me unto you has the greater sin. And yet if it was given, neither he nor they were liable to any charge. Thou objectest idly; for the «given» in this place means what is »allowed»; as though He had said, "He has permitted these things to be, yet not for that are you clear of the wickedness.» He awed Pilate by the words, and proffered a clear defense. On which account that person sought to release Him; but they again cried out, saying,

John 19:12

If thou let this man go, you are not Cæsar's friend.

For when they profited nothing by bringing charges drawn from their own law, they wickedly betook themselves to external laws, saying,

Every one that makes himself a king speaks against Cæsar.

And where has this Man appeared as a tyrant? Whence can you prove it? By the purple robe? By the diadem? By the dress? By the soldiers? Did not He ever walk unattended, save by His twelve disciples, following in every point a humble mode of living, both as to food, and clothing, and habitation? But O what shamelessness and ill-time cowardice! For Pilate, deeming that he should now incur some danger were he to overlook these words, comes forth as though to enquire into the matter, (for the sitting down showed this,) but without making any enquiry, he gave Him up to them, thinking to shame them. For to prove that he did it for this purpose, hear what he says.

John 19:14–15

Behold your king! But when they said, Crucify him, he added again, Shall I crucify your king? But they cried out, We have no king but Cæsar.

Of their own will they subjected themselves to punishment; therefore also God gave them up, because they were the first to cast themselves out from His providence and superintendence; and since with one voice they rejected His sovereignty, He allowed them to fall by their own suffrages. Still what had been said should have been sufficient to calm their passion, but they feared, lest, being let go, He should again draw the multitudes, and they did all they could to prevent this. For a dreadful thing is love of rule, dreadful and able to destroy the soul; it was on account of this that they had never heard Him. And yet Pilate, in consequence of a few words, desired to let Him go, but they pressed on, saying, Crucify him. And why did they strive to kill Him in this manner? It was a shameful death. Fearing therefore lest there should afterwards be any remembrance of Him, they desired to bring Him to the accursed punishment, not knowing that truth is exalted by hindrances. To prove that they had this suspicion, listen to what they say; We have heard that that deceiver said, After three days I will rise again Matthew 27:63; on this account they made all this stir, turning things upside down, that they might ruin matters in after time. And the ill-ordered people, corrupted by their rulers, cried out continually, Crucify him!

3. But let us not merely read of these things, but bear them in our mind; the crown of thorns, the robe, the reed, the blows, the smiting on the cheek, the spittings, the irony. These things, if continually meditated on, are sufficient to take down all anger; and if we be mocked at, if we suffer injustice, let us still say, The servant is not greater than his Lord John 13:16; and let us bring forward the words of the Jews, which they uttered in their madness, saying, You are a Samaritan, and hast a devil John 8:48; and, He casts out devils by Beelzebub. Luke 11:15 For on this account He bare all these things, in order that we might walk in His footsteps, and endure those mockings which disturb more than any other kind of reproach. Yet nevertheless He not only bare these things, but even used every means to save and deliver from the appointed punishment those who did them. For He sent the Apostles also for their salvation, at least you hear them saying, that, We know that through ignorance you did it Acts 3:17; and by these means drawing them to repentance. This let us also imitate; for nothing so much makes God propitious as the loving enemies, and doing good to those who despitefully use us. When a man insults you, look not to him, but to the devil who moves him, and against him empty all your wrath, but pity the man who is moved by him. For if lying is from the devil, to be angry without a cause is much more so. When you see one turning another into ridicule, consider that it is the devil who moves him, for mockings belong not to Christians. For he who has been bidden to mourn, and has heard, Woe, you that laugh Luke 6:25, and who after this insults, and jests, and is excited, demands not reproach from us, but sorrow, since Christ also was troubled when He thought on Judas. All these things therefore let us practice in our actions, for if we act not rightly in these, we have come to no purpose and in vain into the world. Or rather we have come to our harm, for faith is not sufficient to bring men to the Kingdom, nay, it even has power in this way most to condemn those who exhibit an ill life; for He which knew his Lord's will, and did it not, shall be beaten with many stripes Luke 12:47; and again, If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin. John 15:22 What excuse then shall we have, who have been set within the palace, and deemed worthy to stoop down and enter into the sanctuary, and have been made partakers of the releasing Mysteries, and who yet are worse than the Greeks, who have shared in none of these things? For if they for the sake of vainglory have shown so much true wisdom, much more ought we to go after all virtue, because it is pleasing to God. But at present we do not even despise wealth; while they have often been careless of their life, and in wars have given up their children to their madness about devils, and have despised nature for the sake of their devils, but we do not even despise money for the sake of Christ, nor anger on account of God's will, but are inflamed, and in no better state than the fevered. And just as they, when possessed by their malady, are all burning, so we, suffocated as by some fire, can stop at no point of desire, increasing both anger and avarice. On this account I am ashamed and astonished, when I behold among the Greeks men despising riches, but all mad among ourselves. For even if we could find some despising riches, we should find that they have been made captive by other vices, by passion or envy; and a hard thing it is to discover true wisdom without a blemish. But the reason is, that we are not earnest to get our remedies from the Scriptures, nor do we apply ourselves to those Scriptures with compunction, and sorrow, and groaning, but carelessly, if at any time we chance to be at leisure. Therefore when a great rush of worldly matters comes, it overwhelms all; and if there has been any profit, destroys it. For if a man have a wound, and after putting on a plaster, do not tie it tight, but allow it to fall off, and expose his sore to wet, and dust, and heat, and ten thousand other things able to irritate it, he will get no good; yet not by reason of the inefficacy of the remedies, but by reason of his own carelessness. And this also is wont to happen to us, when we attend but little to the divine oracles, but give ourselves up wholly and incessantly to things of this life; for thus all the seed is choked, and all is made unfruitful. That this may not be the case, let us look carefully a little, let us look up to heaven, let us bend down to the tombs and coffins of the departed. For the same end awaits us, and the same necessity of departure will often come upon us before the evening. Prepare we then for this expedition; there is need of many supplies for the journey, for great is the heat there, and great the drought, and great the solitude. Henceforth there is no reposing at an inn, there is no buying anything, when one has not taken all from hence. Hear at least what the virgins say, Go to them that sell Matthew 25:9; but they who went found not. Hear what Abraham says, A gulf between us and you. Luke 16:26 Hear what Ezekiel says concerning that day, that Noah, and Job, and Daniel shall in nowise deliver their sons. Ezekiel 14:14 But may it never come to pass that we hear these words, but that having taken hence sufficient provision for our way to eternal life, we may behold with boldness our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, dominion, honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

Homily 85 on the Gospel of John

John 19:16–18

Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led Him away. And He, bearing His Cross, went forth into a place called the place of a skull, where they crucified Him.

1. Successes have terrible power to cast down or draw aside those who take not heed. Thus the Jews, who at first enjoyed the influence of God, sought the law of royalty from the Gentiles, and in the wilderness after the manna remembered the onions. In the same way here, refusing the Kingdom of Christ, they invited to themselves that of Cæsar. Wherefore God set a king over them, according to their own decision. When then Pilate heard these things, he delivered Him to be crucified. Utterly without reason. For when he ought to have enquired whether Christ had aimed at sovereign power, he pronounced the sentence through fear alone. Yet that this might not befall him, Christ said beforehand, My kingdom is not of this world; but he having given himself wholly up to present things, would practice no great amount of wisdom. And yet his wife's dream should have been sufficient to terrify him; but by none of these things was he made better, nor did he look to heaven, but delivered Him up. And now they laid the cross upon Him as a malefactor. For even the wood they abominated, and endured not even to touch it. This was also the case in the type; for Isaac bare the wood. But then the matter stopped at the will of his father, for it was the type; while here it proceeded to action, for it was the reality.

And He came to the place of a skull. Some say that Adam died there, and there lies; and that Jesus in this place where death had reigned, there also set up the trophy. For He went forth bearing the Cross as a trophy over the tyranny of death: and as conquerors do, so He bare upon His shoulders the symbol of victory. What matter if the Jews did these things with a different intent. They crucified Him too with thieves, in this also unintentionally fulfilling prophecy; for what they did for insult contributed to the truth, that you may learn how great is its power, since the Prophet had foretold of old, that He was numbered with the transgressors. Isaiah 53:12 The devil therefore wished to cast a veil over what was done, but was unable; for the three were crucified, but Jesus alone was glorious, that you may learn, that His power effected all. Yet the miracles took place when the three had been nailed to the cross; but no one attributed anything of what was done to either of those others, but to Jesus only; so entirely was the plot of the devil rendered vain, and all returned upon his own head. For even of these two, one was saved. He therefore did not insult the glory of the Cross, but contributed to it not a little. For it was not a less matter than shaking the rocks, to change a thief upon the cross, and to bring him unto Paradise.

John 19:19

And Pilate wrote a title.

At the same time requiting the Jews, and making a defense for Christ. For since they had given Him up as worthless, and attempted to confirm this sentence by making Him share the punishment of the robbers, in order that for the future it might be in no man's power to prefer evil charges against him, or to accuse him as a worthless and wicked person, to close moreover their mouths and the mouths of all who might desire to accuse Him, and to show that they had risen up against their own King, Pilate thus placed, as on a trophy, those letters, which utter a clear voice, and show forth His Victory, and proclaim His Kingdom, though not in its completeness. And this he made manifest not in a single tongue, but in three languages; for since it was likely that there would be a mixed multitude among the Jews on account of the Feast, in order that none might be ignorant of the defense, he publicly recorded the madness of the Jews, in all the languages. For they bore malice against Him even when crucified. Yet what did this harm you? Nothing. For if He was a mortal and weak, and was about to become extinct, why did you fear the letters asserting that He is the King of the Jews? And what do they ask? Say that «he said.» For now it is an assertion, and a general sentence, but if »he said» be added, the charge is shown to be one arising from his own rashness and arrogance. Still Pilate was not turned aside, but stood to his first decision. And it is no little thing that is dispensed even from this circumstance, but the whole matter. For since the wood of the cross was buried, because no one was careful to take it up, inasmuch as fear was pressing, and the believers were hurrying to other urgent matters; and since it was in after times to be sought for, and it was likely that the three crosses would lie together, in order that the Lord's might not be unknown, it was made manifest to all, first by its lying in the middle, and then by the title. For those of the thieves had no titles.

2. The soldiers parted the garments, but not the coat. See the prophecies in every instance fulfilled by their wickednesses; for this also had been predicted of old; yet there were three crucified, but the matters of the prophecies were fulfilled in Him. For why did they not this in the case of the others, but in His case only? Consider too, I pray you, the exactness of the prophecy. For the Prophet says not only, that they parted, but that they did not part. The rest therefore they divided, the coat they divided not, but committed the matter to a decision by lot. And the, Woven from the top John 19:23 is not put without a purpose; but some say that a figurative assertion is declared by it, that the Crucified was not simply man, but had also the Divinity from above. Others say that the Evangelist describes the very form of the coat. For since in Palestine they put together two strips of cloth and so weave their garments, John, to show that the coat was of this kind, says, Woven from the top; and to me he seems to say this, alluding to the poorness of the garments, and that as in all other things, so in dress also, He followed a simple fashion.

John 19:24

These things the soldiers did.

But He on the Cross, commits His mother to the disciple, teaching us even to our last breath to show every care for our parents. When indeed she unseasonably troubled Him, He said, Woman, what have I to do with you? John 2:4 And, Who is My mother? Matthew 12:48 But here He shows much loving affection, and commits her to the disciple whom He loved. Again John conceals himself, in modesty; for had he desired to boast, he would have also put in the cause for which he was loved, since probably it was some great and wonderful one. But wherefore does He converse on nothing else with John, nor comfort him when desponding? Because it was no time for comforting by words; besides, it was no little thing for him to be honored with such honor, and to receive the reward of steadfastness. But do thou consider, I pray, how even on the cross He did everything without being troubled, speaking with the disciple concerning His mother, fulfilling prophecies, holding forth good hopes to the thief. Yet before He was crucified He appears sweating, agonized, fearing. What then can this mean? Nothing difficult, nothing doubtful. There indeed the weakness of nature had been shown, here was being shown the excess of Power. Besides, by these two things He teaches us, even if before things terrible we be troubled, not on that account to shrink from things terrible, but when we have embarked in the contest to deem all things possible and easy. Let us then not tremble at death. Our soul has by nature the love of life, but it lies with us either to loose the bands of nature, and make this desire weak; or else to tighten them, and make the desire more tyrannous. For as we have the desire of sexual intercourse, but when we practice true wisdom we render the desire weak, so also it falls out in the case of life; and as God has annexed carnal desire to the generation of children, to maintain a succession among us, without however forbidding us from traveling the higher road of continence; so also He has implanted in us the love of life, forbidding us from destroying ourselves, but not hindering our despising the present life. And it behooves us, knowing this, to observe due measure, and neither to go at any time to death of our own accord, even though ten thousand terrible things possess us; nor yet when dragged to it, for the sake of what is pleasing to God, to shrink back from and fear it, but boldly to strip for it, preferring the future to the present life.

But the women stood by the Cross, and the weaker sex then appeared the manlier