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Chapter 14

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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.

 

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.

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.

 
 

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 1 Corinthians 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 1 Corinthians 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 unto 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 unto 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.

 
 

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.

 
 
 
 
 
Subpages (1): Chapter 15
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