Augustin on John 47
1. As I have already charged you, beloved, you ought steadfastly to bear in mind that Saint Jn the evangelist would not have us be always nourished with milk, but fed with solid food. Still, whoever is hardly able as yet to partake of the solid food of God’s word, let him find nourishment in the milk of faith; and the word which he cannot understand, let him not hesitate to believe. For faith is the deserving: understanding, the reward. In the very labor of intent application the eye of our mind struggles1 to get rid of the foul films of human mists, and be cleared up to the word of God. Labor, then, will not be declined if love is present; for you know that he who loves his labor is insensible to its pain. For no labor is grievous to those who love it. If cupidity on the part of the avaricious endures so great toils, what in our case will not love endure?
2. Listen to the Gospel: “And it was at Jerusalem the Encoenia.”2 Encoenia was the festival of the dedication of the temple. For in Greek kainos means new; and whenever there was some new dedication, it was called Encoenia.3 And now this word is come into common use; if one puts on a new coat, he is said “encoeniare” (to renovate, or to hold an encoenia). For the Jews celebrated in a solemn manner the day on which the temple was dedicated; and it was the very feast day when the Lord spake what has just been read.
3. “It was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. Then came the Jews round about Him, and said unto Him, How long dost thou keep our mind in suspense? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.” They were not desiring the truth, but preparing a calumny. “It was winter,” and they were chill; because they were slow to approach that divine fire. For to approach is to believe: he who believes, approaches; who denies, retires. The soul is not moved by the feet, but by the affections. They had become icy cold to the sweetness of loving Him, and they burned with the desire of doing Him an injury. They were far away, while there beside Him. It was not with them a nearer approach in believing, but the pressure of persecution. They sought to hear the Lord saying, I am Christ; and probably enough they only thought of the Christ in a human way. The prophets preached Christ; but the Godhead of Christ asserted in the prophets and in the gospel itself is not perceived even by heretics; and how much less by Jews, so long as the vail is upon their heart?4 In short, in a certain place, the Lord Jesus, knowing that their views of the Christ were cast in a human mould, not in the Divine, taking His stand on the human ground, and not on that where along with the assumption of humanity He also continued Divine, He said to them, “What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is He?” Following their own opinion, they replied, “Of David.” For so they had read, and this only they retained; because while they read of His divinity, they did not understand it. But the Lord, to pin them down to some inquiry touching the divinity of Him whose apparent weakness they despised, answered them: “How, then, doth David in spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand, till I put Thine enemies under Thy feet? If David, then, in spirit call Him Lord, how is He his son?”5 He did not deny, but questioned. Let no one think, on hearing this, that the Lord Jesus denied that He was the Son of David. Had Christ the Lord given any such denial, He would not have enlightened the blind who so addressed Him. For as He was passing by one day, two blind men, who were sitting by the wayside, cried out, “Have mercy upon us, thou Son of David.” And on hearing these words He had mercy on them. He stood still, healed, enlightened them;6 for He owned the name. The Apostle Paul also says, “Who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;”7 and in his Epistle to Timothy, “Remember that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, [He that is] of the seed of David, according to my gospel.”8 For the Virgin Mary drew her origin, and hence our Lord also, from the seed of David.
4. The Jews made this inquiry of Christ, chiefly in order that, should He say, I am Christ, they might, in accordance with the only sense they attached to such a name, that He was of the seed of David, calumniate Him with aiming at the kingly power. There is more than this in His answer to them: they wished to calumniate Him with claiming to be the Son of David. He replied that He was the Son of God. And how? Listen: “Jesus answered them, I tell you, and ye believe not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me: but ye believe not; because ye are not of my sheep.” Ye have already learned above (in Lecture XLV). who the sheep are: be ye sheep. They are sheep through believing, sheep in following the Shepherd, sheep in not despising their Redeemer, sheep in entering by the door, sheep in going out and finding pasture, sheep in the enjoyment of eternal life. What did He mean, then, in saying to them, “Ye are not of my sheep”? That He saw them predestined to everlasting destruction, not won to eternal life by the price of His own blood.
5. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life.” This is the pasture. If you recollect, He had said before, “And he shall go in and out, and find pasture.”have entered by believing-we go out at death.9 But as we have entered by the door of faith, so, as believers, we quit the body; for it is in going out by that same door that we are able to find pasture. The good pasture is called eternal life; there no blade withereth-all is green and flourishing. There is a plant commonly said to be ever-living; there only is it found to live. “I will give,” He says, “unto them,” unto my sheep, “eternal life.” Ye are on the search for calumnies, just because your only thoughts are of the life that is present.
6. “And they shall never perish:” you may hear the undertone, as if He had said to them, Ye shall perish for ever, because ye are not of my sheep. “No one shall pluck them out of my hand.” Give still greater heed to this: “That which my Father gave me is greater than all.”10 What can the wolf do? What can the thief and the robber? They destroy none but those predestined to destruction. But of those sheep of which the apostle says, “The Lord knoweth them that are His;”11 and “Whom He did foreknow, them He also did predestinate; and whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified;”12 -there is none of such sheep as these that the wolf seizes, or the thief steals, or the robber slays. He, who knows what He gave for them, is sure of their number. And it is this that He says: “No one shall pluck them out of my hand;” and in reference also to the Father, “That which my Father gave me is greater than all.” What did the Father give to the Son that was greater than all? To be His own only-begotten Son.What, then, means “gave”? Was He to whom He gave previously existent, or gave He in the act of begetting? For if He previously existed to whom He gave the gift of Sonship, there was a time when He was, and was not the Son. Far be it from us to suppose that the Lord Christ ever was, and yet was not the Son. Of us such a thing may be said: there was a time when we were the sons of men, but were not the sons of God. For we are made the sons of God by grace, but He by nature, for such was He born. And yet not so, as that one may say, He did not exist till He was born; for He, who was coeternal with the Father, was never unborn. Let him who is wise understand: and whoever understands not, let him believe and be nourished, and he will come to understanding. The Word of God was always with the Father, and always the Word; and because the Word, therefore the Son. So then, always the Son, and always equal. For it is not by growth but by birth that He is equal, who was always born, the Son of the Father, God of God, coeternal of the Eternal. But the Father is not God of13 the Son: the Son is God of14 the Father; therefore in begetting the Son, the Father “gave” Him to be God, in begetting He gave Him to be coeternal with Himself, in begetting He gave Him to be His equal. This is that which is greater than alI. How is the Son the life, and the possessor of life? What He has, He is: as for thee, thou art one thing, thou hast another. For example, thou hast wisdom, but art thou wisdom itself? In short, because thou thyself art not that which thou hast, shouldst thou lose what thou hast, thou returnest to the state of no longer having it: and sometimes thou re-acquirest, sometimes thou losest. As our eye has no light inherently in itself, it opens, and admits it; it shuts, and loses it. It is not thus that the Son of God is God-not thus that He is the Word of the Father; and not thus is He the Word, that passes away with the sound but that which abides in its birth. In such a way hath He wisdom that He is Himself wisdom, and maketh men wise: and life, that He is Himself the life, and maketh others alive. This is that which is greater than all. The evangelist Jn himself looked to heaven and earth when wishing to speak of the Son of God; he looked, and rose above them all. He thought on the thousands of angelic armies above the heavens; he thought, and, like the eagle soaring beyond the clouds, his mind overpassed the whole creation: he rose beyond all that was great, and arrived at that which was greater than all; and said, “In the beginning was the Word.” But because He, of15 whom is the Word, is not of the Word, and the Word is of Him, whose Word He is; therefore He says, “That which the Father gave me,” namely, to be His Word, His only-begotten Son, the brightness of His light, “is greater than all.” Therefore, “No one,” He says, “plucketh my sheep out of my hand. No one can pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
7. “Out of my hand,” and “out of my Father’s hand.” What is this, “No one plucketh them out of my hand,” and “No one plucketh them out of my Father’s hand”? Have the Father and Son one hand, or is the Son Himself, shall we say, the hand of His Father? If by hand we are to understand power, the power of Father and Son is one; for their Godhead is one. But if we mean hand in the way spoken of by the prophet, “And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?”16 the Father’s hand is the Son Himself, which is not to be so understood as if God had the human form, and, as it were, bodily members: but that all things were made by Him. For men also are in the habit of calling other men their hands, by whom they get done what they wish. And sometimes also the very work done by a man’s hand is called his hand; as one is said to recognize his hand when he recognizes what he has written. Since, then, there are many ways of speaking of the hand of a man, who literally has a hand among the members of his body; how much rather must there be more than one way of understanding it, when we read of the hand of God, who has no bodily form? And in this way it is better here, by the hand of the Father and Son, to understand the power of the Father and the Son; lest, in taking here the hand of the Father as spoken of the Son, some carnal thought also about the Son Himself should set us looking for the Son as somehow to be similarly regarded as the hand of Christ. Therefore, “no one plucketh them out of my Father’s hand;” that is, no one plucketh them from me.
8. But that there may be no more room for hesitation, hear what follows: “I and my Father are one.” Up to this point the Jews were able to bear Him; they heard, “I and my Father are one,” and they bore it no longer; and hardened in their own way, they had recourse to stones. “They took up stones to stone Him.” The Lord, because He suffered not what He was unwilling to suffer, and only suffered what He was pleased to suffer, still addresses them while desiring to stone Him. “The Jews took up stones to stone Him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?And they answered, For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy, and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God,” Such was their reply to His words, “I and my Father are one.” You see here that the Jews understood what the Arians understand not. For they were angry on this account, that they felt it could not be said, “I and my Father are one,” save where there was equality of the Father and the Son.
9. But see what answer the Lord gave to their dull apprehension. He saw that they could not bear the brilliance of the truth, and He tempered it with words. “Is it not written in your law,” that is, as given to you, “that I said, Ye are gods?”17 And the Lord called all the Scriptures generally, the law: although elsewhere He speaks more definitely of the law, distinguishing it from the prophets; as it is said, “The law and the prophets were until John;”18 and “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”19 Sometimes, however, He divided the same Scriptures into three parts, as where He saith, “All things must be fulfilled which were written in the law, and the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me.”20 But now He includes the psalms also under the name of the law, where it is written, “I said, Ye are gods. If He calleth them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken: say ye of Him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world. Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” If the word of God came to men, that they might be called gods, how can the very Word of God, who is with God, be otherwise than God? If by the word of God men become gods, if by fellowship they become gods, can He by whom they have fellowship not be God? If lights which are lit are gods,is the light which enlighteneth not God? If throughbeing warmed in a way by saving fire they are constituted gods, is He who gives them the warmth other than God? Thou approachest the light and art enlightened, and numbered among the sons of God; if thou withdrawest from the light, thou fallest into obscurity, and art accounted in darkness; but that light approacheth not, because it never recedeth from itself. If, then, the word of God maketh you gods, how can the Word of God be otherwise than God? Therefore did the Father sanctify His Son, and send Him into the world. Perhaps some one may be saying: If the Father sanctified Him, was there then a time when He was not sanctified? He sanctified in the same way as He begat Him. For in the act of begetting He gave Him the power to be holy, because He begat Him in holiness. For if that which is sanctified was unholy before, bow can we say to God the Father, “Hallowed be Thy name”?21
10. “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye will not believe me, believe the works; that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in Him.” The Son says not, “the Father is in me, and I in Him,” as men can say it. For if we think well, we are in God; and if we live well, God is in us: believers, by participating in His grace, and being illuminated by Himself, are in Him, and He in us. But not so is it with the only-begotten Son: He is in the Father, and the Father in Him; as one who is equal is in him whose equal he is. In short, we can sometimes say, We are in God, and God is in us; but can we say, I and God are one? Thou art in God, because God contains thee; God is in thee, because thou art become the temple of God: but because thou art in God, and God is in thee, canst thou say, He that seeth me seeth God; as the Only-begotten said, “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father also;”22 and “I and the Father are one”? Recognize the prerogative of the Lord, and the privilege of the servant. The prerogative of the Lord is equality with the Father: the privilege of the servant is fellowship with the Saviour.
11. “Therefore they sought to apprehend Him.” Would they had apprehended by faith and understanding, not in wrath and murder! For now, my brethren, when I speak thus, it is the weak one wishing to apprehend what is strong, the small what is great, the fragile what is solid; and it is we ourselves-both you who are of the same matter as I am, and I myself who speak to you-who all wish to apprehend Christ. And what is it to apprehend Him? [If] thou hast understood, thou hast apprehended. But not as did the Jews: thou hast apprehended in order to possess, they wished to apprehend in order to make away with Him. And because this was the kind of apprehension they desired, what did He do to them? “He escaped out of their hands.” They failed to apprehend Him, because they lacked the handof faith. The Word was made flesh; but it was no great task to the Word to rescue His own flesh from fleshy hands. To apprehend the Word in the mind, is the right apprehension of Christ.
12. “And He went away again beyond Jordan, into the place where John at first baptized; and there He abode. And many resorted unto Him, and said, John, indeed; did no miracle.” You remember what was said of John, that he was a light, and bore witness to the day.23 Why, then, say these among themselves, “Jn did no miracle”? John, they say, signalized himself by no miracle; he did not put devils to flight, he drove away no fever, he enlightened not the blind, he raised not the dead, he fed not so many thousand men with five or seven loaves, he walked not upon the sea, he commanded notthe winds and the waves. None of these things did John, and in all he said he bore witness to this man. By lamp-light we may advance to the day. “Jn did no miracle: but all things that Jn spake of this man were true.” Here are those who apprehended in a different way from the Jews. The Jews wished to apprehend one who was departing from them, these apprehended one who remained with them. In a word, what is it that follows?
“And many believed on Him.”
1 Desudat, struggles to sweating.
2 Encaenia, ejgkoivnia, from ejn and kainov", new.
3 It was a feast, however, instituted by Judas Maccabaeus, to commemorate his purification of the temple, after its profanation by Antiochus.-Tr.
4 (2Co 3,15).
5 (Mt 22,42-45).
6 (Mt 20,30-34.
7 (Rm 1,3).
8 (2Tm 2,8).
9 The pasture, and the going in and out, refer rather to Christ’s guidance and nourishment of His people in this present life.-Tr.
10 There is a considerable difference in these words, as rendered by Augustin, from that which is found in our English version: “My Father who gave them me is greater than all.” The latter is certainly the more intelligible and suitable to the context. But the variation of the Mss. between the two readings, “o(…mei`zon” and “o("…meivzwn,” is somewhat remarkable. The far larger number are certainly in favor of the latter, as followed by our English Bibles, but the former is countenanced by some of the more important; while others which have o(" have at the same time mei`zon (neut). and vice versa. Thus the Sinaitic reads o( (neut)., and mei`zwn (masc).; while the Alexandrian has o(" (masc)., and mei`zon (neut).. The Vulgate, and some of the other early versions, have Augustin’s reading; but the Peshito (Syriac), which is the earliest of them all, supports the other, its literal rendering being, “For my Father, who gave to me, than all greater [is] He.” Modern critics have generally adopted the masc. reading,-Griesbach, Bengel, and others, almost ignoring the other, and Stier dismissing it as wholly inadmissible; while Alford, in a very strange and unsatisfactory way, gives the neuter in his Greek text, and not a syllable of explanation in his notes. It seems to us that the transcriber had first let o( creep into the text, perhaps from the previous similar expression in chap. 6,39; and then mei`zon was made neuter by some other to agree with it. This is more likely than the reverse; and our English reading is every way more satisfactory than Augustin’s.-Tr.
11 (2Tm 2,19,
12 (Rm 8,29-30).
16 Is 53,1.
17 (Ps 82,6,
18 (Lc 16,16,
19 (Mt 22,40).
20 (Lc 24,44,
21 (Mt 6,9,
22 Chap. 14,9.
23 Chap. 5,35, 33.
1. Among all the miracles wrought by our Lord Jesus Christ, the resurrection of Lazarus holds a foremost place in preaching. But if we consider attentively who did it, our duty is to rejoice rather than to wonder. A man was raised up by Him who made man: for He is the only One of the Father, by whom, as you know, all things were made. And if all things were made by Him, what wonder is it that one was raised by Him, when so many are daily brought into the world by His power? It is a greater deed to create men than to raise them again from the dead. Yet He deigned both to create and to raise again; to create all, to resuscitate some. For though the Lord Jesus did many such acts, yet all of them are not recorded; just as this same St. Jn the evangelist himself testifies, that Christ the Lord both said and did many things that are not recorded;1 but such were chosen for record as seemed to suffice for the salvation of believers. Thou hast just heard that the Lord Jesus raised a dead man to life; and that is sufficient to let thee know that, were He so pleased, He might raise all the dead to life. And, indeed this very work has He reserved in His own hands till the end of the world. For while you have heard that by a great miracle He raised one from the tomb who had been dead four days, “the hour is coming,” as He Himself saith, “in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth.” He raised one who was putrid, and yet in that putrid carcase there was still the form of limbs; but at the last day He will by a word reconstitute ashes into human flesh. But it was needful then to do only some such deeds, that we, receiving them as tokens of His power, may put our trust in Him, and be preparing for that resurrection which shall be to life and not to judgment. So, indeed, He saith, “The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”2
2. We have, however, read in the Gospel of three dead persons who were raised to life by the Lord, and, let us hope, to some good purpose. For surely the Lord’s deeds are not merely deeds, but signs. And if they are signs, besides their wonderful character, they have some real significance: and to find out this in regard to such deeds is a somewhat harder task than to read or hear of them. We were listening with wonder, as at the sight of some mighty miracle enacted before our eyes, in the reading of the Gospel, how Lazarus was restored to life. If we turn our thoughts to the still more wonderful works of Christ, every one that believeth riseth again: if we all consider, and understand that more horrifying kind of death, every one who sinneth dies.3 But every man is afraid of the death of the flesh; few, of the death of the soul. In regard to the death of the flesh, which must certainly come some time, all are on their guard against its approach: this is the source of all their labor. Man, destined to die, labors to avert his dying; and yet man, destined to live for ever, labors not to cease from sinning. And when he labors to avoid dying, he labors to no purpose, for its only result will be to put off death for a while, not to escape it; but if he refrain from sinning, his toil will cease, and he shall live for ever. Oh that we could arouse men, and be ourselves aroused along with them, to be as great lovers of the life that abideth, as men are of that which passeth away! What will a man not do who is placed under the peril of death? When the sword was overhanging their heads, men have given up every means of living they had in reserve. Who is there that has not made an immediate surrender of all, to escape being slain? And, after all, he has perhaps been slain. Who is there that, to save his life, has not been willing at once to lose his means of living, and prefer a life of beggary to a speedy death? Who has had it said to him, Be off to sea if you would escape with your life, and has delayed to do so? Who has had it said to him, Set to work if you would preserve your life, and has continued a sluggard? It is but little that God requires of us, that we may live for ever: and we neglect to obey Him. God says not to thee, Lose all you have, that you may live a little time oppressed with toil; but, Give to the poor of what you have, that you may live always exempt from labor. The lovers of this temporal life, which is theirs, neither when, nor as long as they wish, are our accusers; and we accuse not ourselves in turn, so sluggish are we, so lukewarm about obtaining eternal life, which will be ours if we wish it, and will be imperishable when we have it; but this death which we fear, notwithstanding all our reluctance, will yet be ours in possession.
3. If, then, the Lord in the greatness of His grace and mercy raiseth our souls to life, that we may not die for ever, we may well understand that those three dead persons whom He raised in the body, have some figurative significance of that resurrection of the soul which is effected by faith: He raised up the ruler of the synagogue’s daughter, while still lying in the house;4 He raised up the widow’s young son, while being carried outside the gates of the city;5 and He raised up Lazarus, when four days in the grave. Let each one give heed to his own soul: in sinning he dies: sin is the death of the soul. But sometimes sin is committed only in thought. Thou hast felt delight in what is evil, thou hast assented to its commission thou hast sinned; that assent has slain thee but the death is internal, because the evil thought had not yet ripened into action. The Lord intimated that He would raise such a soul to life, in raising that girl, who had not yet been carried forth to the burial, but was lying dead in the house, as if sin still lay concealed. But if thou hast not only harbored a feeling of delight in evil, but hast also done the evil thing, thou hast, so to speak, carried the dead outside the gate: thou art already without, and being carried to the tomb. Yet such an one also the Lord raised to life. and restored to his widowed mother. If thou hast sinned, repent, and the Lord will raise thee up, and restore thee to thy mother Church. The third example of death is Lazarus. A grievous kind of death it is, and is distinguished as a habit of wickedness. For it is one thing to fall into sin, another to form the habit of sinning. He who falls into sin, and straightway submits to correction, will be speedily restored to life; for he is not yet entangled in the habit, he is not yet laid in the tomb. But he who has become habituated to sin, is buried, and has it properly said of him, “he stinketh;” for his character, like some horrible smell, begins to be of the worst repute. Such are all who are habituated to crime, abandoned in morals. Thou sayest to such an one, Do not so. But when wilt thou be listened to by one on whom the earth is thus heaped, who is breeding corruption, and pressed down with the weight of habit? And yet the power of Christ was not unequal to the task of restoring such an one to life. We know, we have seen, we see every day men changing the very worst of habits, and adopting a better manner of life than that of those who blamed them. Thou detestedst such a man: look at the sister of Lazarus herself (if, indeed, it was she who anointed the Lord’s feet with ointment, and wiped with her hair what she had washed with her tears), who had a better resurrection than her brother; she was delivered from the mighty burden of a sinful character. For she was a notorious sinner; and had it said of her, “Her many sins are forgiven her, for she has loved much.”6 We see many such, we know many: let none despair, but let none presume in himself. Both the one and the other are sinful. Let thine unwillingness to despair take such a turn as to lead thee to make choice of Him in whom alone thou mayest well presume.
4. So then the Lord also raised Lazarus to life. You have heard what type of character he represents; in other words, what is meant by the resurrection of Lazarus. Let us now, therefore, read over the passage; and as there is much in this lesson clear already, we shall not go into any detailed exposition, so as to take up more thoroughly the necessary points. “Now a certain man was sick, [named] Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and Martha, his sisters.” In the previous lesson you remember that the Lord escaped from the hands of those who sought to stone Him, and went away beyond Jordan, where Jn baptized.7 When the Lord therefore had taken up His abode there, Lazarus fall sick in Bethany, which was a town lying close to Jerusalem.
5. “But Mary was she who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore his sisters sent unto Him, saying.” We now understand whither it was they sent, namely, where the Lord was; for He was away, as you know, beyond the Jordan. They sent messengers to the Lord to tell Him that their brother was ill. He delayed to heal, that He might be able to raise to life. But what was the message sent by his sisters? “Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick.” They did not say, Come; for the intimation was all that was needed for one who loved. They did not venture to say, Come and heal him: they ventured not to say, Command there, and it shall be done here. And why not so with them, if on these very grounds the centurion’s faith was commended? For he said, “I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof; but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.”8 No such words said these women, but only, “Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick.” It is enough that Thou knowest; for Thou art not one that loveth and forsaketh. But says some one, How could a sinner be represented by Lazarus, and be so loved by the Lord? Let him listen to Him, when He says, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”9 For had not God loved sinners, He would not have come down from heaven to earth.
6. “But when Jesus heard [that], He said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified.” Such a glorifying of Himself did not add to His dignity, but benefited us. Hence He says, “is not unto death,” because even that death itself was not unto death, but rather unto the working of a miracle whereby men might be led to faith in Christ, and so escape the real death. And mark how the Lord, as it were indirectly, called Himself God, for the sake of some who deny that the Son is God. For there are heretics who make such a denial, that the Son of God is God. Let them hearken here: “This sickness” He says. “is not unto death, but for the glory of God.” For what glory? For the glory of what God? Hear what follows: “That the Son of God may be glorified.” “This sickness,” therefore, He says, “is not unto death. but for the glory of God, that the Son of God maybe glorified thereby.” By what? By that sickness.
7. “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus.” The one sick, the others sad, all of them beloved: but He who loved them was both the Saviour of the sick, nay more, the Raiser of the dead and the Comforter of the sad. “When He heard therefore that he was sick, He abode then two days still in the same place.” They sent Him word: He abode where He was: and the time ran on till four days were completed. And not in vain, were it only that perhaps, nay that certainly, even the very number of days has some sacramental significance. “Then after that He saith again to His disciples, Let us go into Judea:” where He had been all but stoned, and from which He had apparently departed for the very purpose to escape being stoned. For as man He departed; but returned as if in forgetfulness of ’all infirmity, to show His power. “Let us go,” He said, “into Judea.”
8. And now see how the disciples were terrified at His words. “The disciples say unto Him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone Thee, and goest Thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? “What means such. an answer? They said to Him, “The Jews of late sought to stone Thee, and goest Thou thither again” to be stoned? And the Lord, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? if any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world: but if he walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.” He spoke indeed of the day, but to our understanding as if it were still the night. Let us call upon the Day to chase away the night, and illuminate our hearts with the light. For what did the Lord mean? As far as I can judge, and as the height and depth of His meaning breaks into light, He wished to argue down their doubting and unbelief. For they wished by their counsel to keep the Lord from death, who had come to die, to save themselves from death. In a similar way also, in another passage, St. Peter, who loved the Lord, but did not yet fully understand the reason of His coming, was afraid of His dying, and so displeased the Life, to wit, the Lord Himself; for when He was intimating to the disciples what He was about to suffer at Jerusalem at the hands of the Jews, Peter made reply among the rest, and said, “Far be it from Thee, Lord; pity Thyself: this shall not be unto Thee.” And at once the Lord replied, “Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” And yet a little before, in confessing the Son of God, he had merited commendation: for he heard the words, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven.”10 To whom He had said, “Blessed art thou,” He now says, “Get thee behind me, Satan;” because it was not of himself that he was blessed. But of what then? “For flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven.” See, this is how thou art blessed, not from anything that is thine own, but from that which is mine. Not that I am the Father, but that all things which the Father hath are mine.11 But if his blessedness came from the Lord’s own working, from whose [working] came he to be Satan? He there tells us: for He assigned the reason of such blessedness, when He said, “Flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven:” that is the cause of thy blessedness. But that I said, “Get thee behind me, Satan, hear also its cause. For thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Let no one then flatter himself: in that which is natural to himself he is Satan, in that which is of God he is blessed. For all that is of his own, whence comes it, but from his sin? Put away the sin, which is thine own. Righteousness, He saith, belongeth unto me. For what hast thou that thou didst not receive?12 Accordingly, when men wished to give counsel to God. disciples to their Master, servants to their Lord, patients to their Physician, He reproved them by saying, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not.” Follow me, if ye would not stumble: give not counsel to me, from whom you ought to receive it. To what, then, refer the words, “Are there not twelve hours in the day”? Just that to point Himself out as the day, He made choice of twelve disciples. If I am the day, He says, and you the hours, is it for the hours to give counsel to the day? The day is followed by the hours, not the hours by the day. If these, then, were the hours, what in such a reckoning was Judas? Was he also among the twelve hours? If he was an hour, he had light; and if he had light, how was the Day betrayed by him to death? But the Lord, in so speaking, foresaw, not Judas himself, but his successor. For Judas, when he fell, was succeeded by Matthias, and the duodenary number preserved.13 It was not, then, without a purpose that the Lord made choice of twelve disciples, but to indicate that He Himself is the spiritual Day. Let the hours then attend upon the Day, let them preach the Day, be made known and illuminated by the Day, and by the preaching of the hours may the world believe in the Day. And so in a summary way it was just this that He said: Follow me, if ye would not stumble.
9. “And after that He saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.” It was true what He said. To his sisters he was dead, to the Lord he was asleep. He was dead to men, who could not raise him again; but the Lord aroused him with as great ease from the tomb as one arouseth a sleeper from his bed. Hence it was in reference to His own power that He spoke of him as sleeping: for others also, who are dead, are frequently spoken of in Scripture as sleeping; as when the apostle says, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others who have no hope.”14 Therefore he also spoke of them as sleeping, because foretelling their resurrection. And so, all the dead are sleeping, both good and bad. But just as, in the case of those who sleep and waken day by day, there is a great difference as to what they severally see in their sleep: some experience pleasant dreams; others. dreams so frightful that the waking are afraid to fall asleep for fear of their recurrence: so every individual sleeps and wakens in circumstances peculiar to himself. And there is a difference as to the kind of custody one may be placed in, who is afterwards to be taken before the judge. For the kind of custody in which men are placed depends on the merits of the case: some are required to be guarded by lictors, an office humane and mild, and becoming a citizen; others are given up to subordinates;15 some, again, are sent to prison: and in the prison itself all are not thrust together into its lowest dungeons, but dealt with in proportion to the merits and superior gravity of the charges. As, then, there are different kinds of custody among those engaged in official life, so there are different kinds of custody for the dead, and differing merits in those who rise again. The beggar was taken into custody, so was the rich man: but the one into Abraham’s bosom; the other, where he thirsted, and found not a drop of water.16
10. Therefore, to make this the occasion of instructing your Charity, all souls have, when they quit this world, their different receptions. The good have joy; the evil, torments. But when the resurrection takes. place, both the joy of the good will be fuller and the torments of the wicked heavier, when they shall be tormented in the body. The holy patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, and good believers, have been received into peace; but all of them have still in the end to receive the fulfillment of the divine promises; for they have been promised also the resurrection of the flesh, the destruction of death, and eternal life with the angels. This we have all to receive together; for the rest, which is given immediately after death, every one, if worthy of it, receives when he dies. The patriarchs first received it-think only from what they rest; the prophets afterwards; more recently the apostles; still more lately the holy martyrs, and day by day the good and faithful. Thus some have now been in that rest for long, some not so long; others for fewer years, and others whose entrance therein is still less than recent. But when they shall wake from this sleep, they shall all together receive the fulfillment of the promise.
11. “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said His disciples”-according to their understanding they replied-“Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.” For the sleep of the sick is usually a sign of returning health. “Howbeit Jesus spake of his death, but they thought that He spake of the taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly,”-for He said somewhat obscurely, “He sleepeth; “-therefore He said plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe.” I even know that he is dead, and I was not there: for he had been reported not as dead, but sick. But what could remain hid from Him who had created it, and into whose hands the soul of the dying man had departed? This is why He said,” I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe;” that they might now begin to wonder that the Lord could assert his death, which He had neither seen nor heard of. For here we ought specially to bear in mind that as yet the disciples themselves, who already believed in Him, had their faith built up by miracles: not that a faith, utterly wanting till then, might begin to exist; but that what had previously come into being might be increased; although He made use of such an expression as if only then they would begin to believe. For He said not, “I am glad for your sakes,” that your faith may be increased or confirmed; but, “that ye may believe;” which is to be understood as meaning, that your faith may be fuller and more vigorous.
12. “Nevertheless, let us go unto him. Then said Thomas, who is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with Him. Therefore Jesus came, and found that he had [lain] in the grave four days already.” Much might be said of the four days, according to the wont of the obscure passages of Scripture, which bear as many senses as there is diversity of those who understand them. Let us express also our opinion of what is meant by one four days dead. For as in the former case of the.. blind man we understand in a way the human race, so in the case of this dead man many perhaps are also to be understood; for one thing may be signified by different figures. When a man is born, he is born already in a state of death; for he inherits sin from Adam. Hence the apostle says: “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so that passed upon all men, wherein all have sinned.”17 Here you have one day of death because man inherits it from the seed stock of death. Thereafter he grows, and begins to approach the years of reason that he may know the law of nature, which every one has had implanted in his heart: What thou wouldst not have done to thyself, do not to another. Is this learned from the pages of a book, and not in a measure legible in our very nature? Hast thou any desire to be robbed? Certainly not. See here, then, the law in thy heart: What thou art unwilling to suffer, be unwilling to do. This law also is transgressed by men; and here, then, we have the second day of death. The law was also divinely given through Moses, the servant of God; and therein it is said,” Thou shall not kill; thou shall not commit adultery; thou shall not bear false witness; honor thy father and mother; thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s property; thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife.”18 Here you have the written law, and it also is despised: this is the third day of death. What remains? The gospel also comes, the kingdom of heaven is preached, Christ is everywhere published; He threatens hell, He promises eternal life; and that also is despised. Men transgress the gospel; and this is the fourth day of death. Now he deservedly stinketh. But is mercy to be denied to such? God forbid; for to raise such also from the dead, the Lord thinks it not unfitting to come.
13. “And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him; but Mary sat [still] in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if Thou badst been here, my brother had not died. But I know that even now, whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God will give it Thee:” She did not say, But even now I ask Thee to raise my brother to life again. For how could she know if such a resurrection would be of benefit to her brother? She only said, I know that Thou canst, and whatsoever Thou art pleased, Thou doest: for Thy doing it is dependent on Thine own judgment, not on my presumption. “But even now I know that, whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God will give it Thee.”
14 “Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.” This was ambiguous. For He said not, Even now I will raise thy brother; but, “Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection, at the last day.” Of that resurrection I am sure, but uncertain about this. “Jesus saith unto her, I am the resurrection.” Thou sayest, My brother shall rise again at the last day: true; but by Him, through whom he shall rise then, can he rise even now, for “I,” He says, “am the resurrection and the life.” Give ear, brethren, give ear to what He says. Certainly the universal expectation of the bystanders was that Lazarus, one who had been dead four days,19 would live again; let us hear, and rise again. How many are there in this audience who are crushed down under the weighty mass of some sinful habit! Perhaps some are hearing me to whom it may be said, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess;”20 and they say, We cannot. Some others, it may be, are nearing me, who are unclean, and stained with lusts and crimes, and to whom it is said, Refrain from such conduct, that ye perish not; and they reply, We cannot give up our habits. O Lord, raise them again. “I am,” He says, “the resurrection and the life.” The resurrection because the life.
15. “He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” What meaneth this? “He that believeth in me, though he were dead,” just as Lazarus is dead, “yet shall he live;” for He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Such was the answer He gave the Jews concerning their fathers, long ago dead, that is, concerning Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob: I am the! God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and! the God of Jacob: He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for all live unto u Him.”21 Believe then, and though thou wert dead, yet shalt thou live: but if thou believest not, even while thou livest thou art dead. Let us prove this likewise, that if thou believest not, though thou belivest thou art dead. To one who was delaying to follow Him, and saying, “Let me first go and bury my father,” the Lord said, “Let the dead bury their dead; but come thou and follow me.”22 There was there a dead man requiring to be buried, there were there also dead men to bury the dead: the one was dead in the flesh, the others in soul. And how comes death on the soul? When faith is wanting. How comes death on the body? When the soul is wanting. Therefore thy soul’s soul is faith. “He that believeth in me,” says Christ, though he were dead in the flesh, yet shall he live in the spirit; till the flesh also rise again, never more to die. This is “he that believeth in me,” though he die, “yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth” in the flesh, “and believeth in me,” though he shall die in time on account of the death of the flesh, “shall never die,” because of the life of the spirit, and the immortality of the resurrection. Such is the meaning of the words, “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto Him, Yea, Lord, I have believed that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, who hast come into the world.” When I believed this, I believed that Thou art the resurrection, that Thou art the life: I believed that he that believeth in Thee, though he die, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Thee, shall never die.
16. “And when she had so said, she went ’ her way, and called Mary her sister silently, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.” It is worthy of notice the way in which the whispering of her voice was denominated silence. For how could she be silent, when she said, “The Master is come, and calleth for thee”? It is also to be noticed why it is that the evangelist has not said where, or when, or how the Lord called for Mary; namely, that in order to preserve the brevity of the narrative, it may rather be understood from the words of Martha.
17. “As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto Him. For Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was still in that place where Martha met Him. TheJews, then, who were with her in the house,and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily, and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave, to weep there.” What cause had the evangelist to tell us this? To show us what it was thatoccasioned the numerous concourse of people to be there when Lazarus was raised to life. For the Jews, thinking that her reason for hastening away was to seek in weeping the solace of her grief, followed her; that the great miracle of one rising again who had been four days dead, might have the presence of many witnesses.
18. “Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying unto Him, Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping, who were with her, He groaned in the spirit, and troubled Himself,23 and said, Where have ye laid him?” Something there is, did we but know it, that He has suggested to us by groaning in the spirit, and troubling Himself. For who could trouble Him, save He Himself? Therefore, my brethren, first give heed here to the power that did so, and then look for the meaning. Thou art troubled against thy will; Christ was troubled because He willed. Jesus hungered, it is true, but because He willed; Jesus slept, it is true, but because He willed; He was sorrowful, it is true, but because He willed; He died, it is true, but because He willed: in His own power it lay to be thus and thus affected or not. For the Word assumed soul and flesh, fitting on Himself our whole human nature in the oneness of His person. For the soul of the apostle was illuminated by the Word; so was the soul of Peter, the soul of Paul, of the other apostles, and the holy prophets,-the souls of all were illuminated by the Word; but of none was it said, “The Word was made flesh;”24 of none was it said,” I and the Father are one.”25 The soul and flesh of Christ is one person with the Word of God, one Christ. And by this [Word] wherein resided the supreme power, was infirmity made use of at the beck of His will; and in this way “He troubled Himself.”
19. I have spoken of the power: look now to the meaning. It is a great criminal that is signified by that four days’ death and burial. Why is it, then, that Christ troubleth Himself, but to intimate to thee how thou oughtest to be troubled, when weighed down and crushed by so great a mass of iniquity? For here thou hast been looking to thyself, been seeing thine own guilt, been reckoning for thyself: I have done this, and God has spared me; I have committed this, and He hath borne with me; I have heard the gospel, and despised it; I have been baptized, and returned again to the same course: what am I doing? whither am I going? how shall I escape? When thou speakest thus, Christ is already groaning; for thy faith is groaning. In the voice of one who groaneth thus, there comes to light the hope of his rising again. If such faith is within. there is Christ groaning; for if there is faith in us, Christ is in us. For what else says the apostle: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.”26 Therefore thy faith in Christ is Christ Himself in thy heart. This is why He slept in the ship; and why, when His disciples were in danger and already on the verge of shipwreck, they came to Him and awoke Him. Christ arose, laid His commands on the winds and waves, and there ensued a great calm.27 So also with thee; the winds enter thy heart, that is, where thou sailest, where thou passest along this life as a stormy and dangerous sea; the winds enter, the billows rise and toss thy vessel. What are the winds? Thou hast received some insult, and art wroth: that insult is the wind; that anger, the waves. Thou art in danger, thou preparest to reply, to render cursing for cursing, and thy vessel is already nigh to shipwreck. Awake the Christ who is sleeping. For thou art in commotion, and making ready to render evil for evil, because Christ is sleeping in thy vessel. For the sleep of Christ in thy heart is the forgetfulness of faith. But if thou arousest Christ, that is, recallest thy faith, what dost thou hear said to thee by Christ, when now awake in thy heart? I [He says] have heard it said to me, “Thou hast a devil,”28 and I have prayed for them. The Lord hears and suffers; the servant hears and is angry! But thou wishest to be avenged. Why so? I am already avenged. When thy faith so speaks to thee, command is exercised, as it were, over the winds and waves, and there is a great calm. As, then, to awaken Christ in the vessel is just to awaken faith; so in the heart of one who is pressed down by a great mass and habit of sin, in the heart of the man who has been a transgressor even of the holy gospel and a despiser of eternal punishment, let Christ groan, let such a man betake himself to self-accusation. Hear still more: Christ wept; let man bemoan himself. For why did Christ weep, but to teach man to weep? Wherefore did He groan and trouble Himself, but to intimate that the faith of one who has just cause to be displeased with himself ought to be in a sense groaning over the accusation of wicked works, to the end that the habit of sinning may give way to the vehemence of penitential sorrow?
20. “And He said, Where have ye laid him?” Thou knewest that he was dead, and art Thou ignorant of the place of his burial? The meaning here is, that a man thus lost becomes, as it were, unknown to God. I have not ventured to say, Is unknown-for what is unknown to Him? but, As it were unknown. And how do we prove this? Listen to the Lord, who will yet say in the judgment, “I know you not: depart from me.”29 What does that mean, “I know you not”? I see you not in that light of mine-in that righteousness which I know. So here, also, as if knowing nothing of such a sinner, He said, “Where have ye laid him?” Similar in character was God’s voice in Paradise afterman had sinned: “Adam, where art thou?”30 “They say unto Him, Lord, come and see.” What means this “see”? Have pity. For the Lord sees when He pities. Hence it is said to Him, “Look upon my humility [affliction] and my pain, and forgive all my sins.”31
21. “Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how He loved him!””Loved him,” what does that mean? “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”32 “But some of them said, Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not die?” But He, who would do nought to hinder his dying, had something greater in view in raising him from the dead.
22. “Jesus therefore again groaning in Himself, cometh to the tomb.” May His groaning have thee also for its object, if thou wouldst re-enter into life! Every man who lies in that dire moral condition has it said to him, “He cometh to the tomb.” “It was a cave, and a stone had been laid upon it.” Dead under that stone, guilty under the law. For you know that the law, which was given to the Jews, was inscribed on stone.33 And all the guilty are under the law: the right-living are in harmony with the law. The law is not laid on a righteous man.34 What mean then the words, “Take ye away the stone”? Preach grace. For the Apostle Paul calleth himself a minister of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit; “for the letter,” he says, “killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”35 The letter that killeth is like the stone that crusheth. “Take ye away,” He saith, “the stone.” Take away the weight of the law; preach grace. “For if there had been a law given, which could have given life, verily righteousness should be by the law. But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”36 Therefore “take ye away the stone.”
23. “Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto Him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been [dead] four days.37 Jesus saith unto her, Have I not said unto thee, that, if thou believest, thou shalt see the glory of God?” What does He mean by this, “thou shall see the glory of God”? That He can raise to life even one who is putrid and hath been four days [dead]. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;38 and, “Where sin abounded, grace also did superabound.”39
24. “Then they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, Father, I thank Thee, that Thou hast heard me. And I knew that Thou hearest me always: but because of the people that stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent me. And when He had thus spoken, He cried with a loud voice.” He groaned, He wept, He cried with a loud voice. With what difficulty does one rise who lies crushed under the heavy burden of a habit of sinning! And yet he does rise: he is quickened by hidden grace within; and after that loud voice he riseth. For what followed? “He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And immediately he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with bandages;40 and his face was bound about with a napkin.” Dost thou wonder how he came forth with his feet bound, and wonderest not at this, that after four days’ interment he rose from the dead? In both events it was the power of the Lord that operated, and not the strength of the dead. He came forth, and yet still was bound. Still in his burial shroud, he has already come outside the tomb. What does it mean? While thou despisest [Christ]. thou liest in the arms of death; and if thy contempt reacheth the lengths I have mentioned, thou art buried as well: but when thou makest confession, thou comest forth. For what is this coming forth, but the open acknowledgment thou makest of thy state, in quitting, as it were, the old refuges of darkness? But the confession thou makest is effected by God, when He crieth with a loud voice, or in other words, calleth thee in abounding grace. Accordingly, when the dead man had come forth, still bound; confessing, yet guilty still; that his sins also might be taken away, the Lord said to His servants: “Loose him, and let him go.” What does He mean by such words? Whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.41
25. “Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him. But some of them went away to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.” All of the Jews who had come to Mary did not believe, but many of them did. “But some of them,” whether of the Jews who had come, or of those who had believed, “went away to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done:” whether in the way of conveying intelligence, in order that they also might believe, or rather in the spirit of treachery, to arouse their anger. But whoever were the parties, and whatever their motive, intelligence of these events was carried to the Pharisees.
26. “Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we?” But they did not say, Let us believe. For these abandoned men were more occupied in considering what evil they could do to effect His ruin, than in consulting for their own preservation: and yet they were afraid, and took counsel of a kind together. For “they said, What do we for this man doeth many miracles: if we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him; and the Romans shall come, and take away both our place and nation.” They were afraid of losing their temporal possessions, and thought not of life eternal; and so they lost both. For the Romans, after our Lord’s passion and entrance into glory, took from them both their place and nation, when they took the one by storm and transported the other: and now that also pursues them, which is said elsewhere, “But the children of the kingdom shall go into outer darkness.”42 But this was what they feared, that if all believed on Christ, there would be none remaining to defend the city of God and the temple against the Romans; just because they had a feeling that Christ’s teaching was directed against the temple itself and their own paternal laws.
27. “And one of them, [named] Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself; but being high priest that year, he prophesied.” We are here taught that the Spirit of prophecy used the agency even of wicked men to foretell what was future; which, however, the evangelist attributes to the divine sacramental fact that he was pontiff, which is to say, the high priest. It may, however, be a question in what way he is called the high priest of that year, seeing that God appointed one person to be high priest, who was to be succeeded only at his death by another. But we are to understand that ambitious schemes and contentions among the Jews led to the appointment afterwards of more than one, and to their annual turn of service. For it is said also of Zacharias: “And it came to pass that, while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, according to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.”43 From which it is evident that there were more than one, and that each had his turn: for it was lawful for the high priest alone to place the incense on the altar.44 And perhaps also there were several in actual service in the same year, who were succeeded next year by several others, and that it fell by lot to one of them to burn incense. What was it, then, that Caiaphas prophesied? “That Jesus should die for the nation; and not for the nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.” This is added by the evangelist; for Caiaphas prophesied only of the Jewish nation, in which there were sheep of whom the Lord Himself had said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”45 But the evangelist knew that there were other sheep, which were not of this fold, but which had also to be brought, that there might be one fold and one shepherd.46 But this was said in the way of predestination; for those who were still unbelieving were as yet neither His sheep nor the children of God.
28. “Then, from that day forth, they took counsel together for to put Him to death. Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with His disciples.” Not that there was any failure in His power, by which, had He only wished, He might have continued His intercourse with the Jews, and received no injury at their hands; but in His human weakness He furnished His disciples with an example of living, by which He might make it manifest that it was no sin in His believing ones, who are His members, to withdraw from the presence of their persecutors, and escape the fury of the wicked by concealment, rather than inflame it by showing themselves openly).
1 Chap. 20,30.
2 Chap. 5,28, 29.
3 Another reading of this sentence may be: “If we reflect, it is by a more wonderful work of Christ that every one who believeth rises again to life: if we reflect all, and understand, it is by a more horrible death that every sinner dieth.”
4 (Mc 5,41-42.
5 (Lc 7,14-15.
6 (Lc 7,37-47. Augustin is mistaken here, although his error has been followed by many ancient writers, and some in more recent times. The time, place, and circumstances make it impossible for the incident here referred to, to be the same as that which took place in Bethany immediately before our Lord’s crucifixion. On that last occasion only was it Lazarus’ sister, Mary, who anointed Jesus. Lc here speaks only of a woman that was a sinner, and there is little evidence to connect her with any of the other Scripture women, even with Mary of Magdala, as is often done, and who is first mentioned by Luke in a different connection in the following chapter (viii. 2).-Tr.
7 Chap. 10,39, 40).
8 (Mt 8,
9 (Mt 9,13,
10 (Mt 16,16-23).
11 Chap. 16,15.
12 (1Co 4,7,
13 (Ac 1,26,
14 (1Th 4,13,
15 Optionibus, assistants, underlings. In the Mss., it is written, but incorrectly, optionibus; for Varro, Isidorus, and others think the optiones were so called ab optando, as being doubtless chosen as assistants to the decuriones and military adjutants. They were also attached to various offices: and hence there were artisan optiones, and those belonging to official or prison life, in which last signification they are used here; as also in Ambrose’s works (Commentary on the Ephesians, chap. 4) in these words: “Nor did Paul and Silas delay to baptize the jailor (optionem carceris).”
16 (Lc 16,22-24).
17 (Rm 5,12,
18 (Ex 20,12-17).
19 That is (Augustin here would suggest the emblem) of one who was lying under the fourth and most terrible form of spiritual death referred to before.-Tr.
20 (Ep 5,18,
21 (Mt 22,32, and Lc 20,37-38.
22 (Mt 8,21-22).
23 As in margin of English Version.
24 Chap. 1,14.
25 Chap. 10,30.
26 (Ep 3,17,
27 (Mt 8,24-26.
28 Chap. 7,30).
29 (Mt 7,23,
30 (Gn 3,9,
31 (Ps 25,18,
32 (Mt 9,13,
33 (Ex 31,18,
34 (1Tm 1,9).
35 (2Co 3,6,
36 (Ga 3,21-22.
37 Quatriduanus est.
38 (Rm 3,23,
39 (Rm 5,20,
40 Institis: Gr). keirivai").
41 (Mt 16,19,
42 (Mt 8,12,
43 (Lc 1,8-9.
44 (Ex 30,7,
45 (Mt 15,24,
46 Chap. 10,16.
Augustin on John 47