Golden Chain 12521
12521 Jn 5,21-23
AUG, Having said that the Father would show the Son greater works than these, He proceeds to describe these greater works: For as the Father raises up the dead, and quickens them, even so the Son quickens whom He will. These are plainly greater works, for it is more of a miracle that a dead man should rise again, than that a sick mall should recover. We must not understand from the words, that some are raised by the Father, others by the Son; but that the Son raises to life the same whom the Father raises. And to guard against any one saying, The Father raises the dead by the Son, the former by His own power, the latter, like an instrument, by another power, He asserts distinctly the power of the Son: The Son quickens whom he will. Observe here not only the power of the Son, but also His will. Father and Son have the same power and will. The Father wills nothing distinct from the Son; but both have the same will, even as they have the same substance.
HILARY. For to will is the free power of a nature, which by the act of choice, rests in the blessedness of perfect excellence.
AUG. But who are these dead, whom the Father and Son raise to life? He alludes to the general resurrection which is to be; not to the resurrection of those few, who were raised to life, that the rest might believe; as Lazarus, who rose again, to die afterwards. Having said then, For as the Father raises up the dead, and quickens them, to prevent our taking the words to refer to the dead whom He raised up for the sake of the miracle, and not to the resurrection to life eternal, He adds, For the Father judges no man; thus showing that He spoke of that resurrection of the dead which would take place at the judgment. Or the words, As the Father raises up the dead, &c. refer to the resurrection of the soul; For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son, to the resurrection of the body. For the resurrection of the soul takes place by the substance of the Father and the Son, and therefore it is the work of the Father and the Son together: but the resurrection of the body takes place by a dispensation of the Son's humanity, which is a temporal dispensation, and not co-eternal with the Father. But see how the Word of Christ leads the mind in different directions, not allowing it any carnal resting place; but by variety of motion exercising it, by exercise purifying it, by purifying enlarging its capacity, and after enlarging filling it. He said just before that the Father showed what things soever He did to the Son. So I saw, as it were, the Father working, and the Son waiting: now again I see the Son working, the Father resting.
AUG. For this, viz. that the Father has given all judgment to the Son, does not mean that He begat the Son with this attribute, as is meant in the: words, So has He given to the Son to have life in Himself. For if so, it would not be said, The Father judges no man, because, in that the Father begat the Son equal, He judges with the Son. What is meant is, that in the judgment, not the form of God but the form of the Son of man will appear; not because He will not judge Who has given all judgment to the Son; since the Son says of Him below, There is one that seeks and judges, but the Father judges no man; i.e. no one will see Him in the judgment, but all will see the Son, because He is the Son of man, even the ungodly who will look on Him Whom they pierced.
HILARY. Having said that the Son quickens whom He will, in order that we might not lose sight of the nativity, and think that He stood upon the ground of His own unborn power, He immediately adds, For the Father judges no man, but has given all judgment to the Son. In that all judgment is given to Him, both His nature, and His nativity are shown; because only a self-existent nature can possess all things, and nativity cannot have any thing, except what is given it.
CHRYS. As He gave Him life, i.e. begot Him living; so He gave Him judgment, i.e. begot Him a judge. Gave, it is said, that you may not think Him unbegotten, and imagine two Fathers: All judgment, because He has the awarding; both of punishment and reward.
HILARY. All judgment is given to Him, because He quickens whom He will. Nor can the judgment be looked on as taken away from the Father, inasmuch as the cause of His not judging is, that the judgment of the Son is His. For all judgment is given from the Father. And the reason for which He gives it, appears immediately after: That all men may honor the Son even as you honor the Father.
CHRYS. For, lest you should infer from hearing that the Author of His power was the Father, any difference of substance, or inequality of honor, He connects the honor of the Son with the honor of the Father, showing that both have the same. But shall men then call Him the Father? God forbid; he who calls Him the Father, does not honor the Son equally with the Father, but confounds both.
AUG. First indeed, the Son appeared as a servant, and the Father was honored as God. But the Son will be seen to be equal to the Father, that all men may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. But what if persons are found, who honor the Father, and do not honor the Son? It cannot be: He that honors not the Son, honors not the Father which has sent Him. It is one thing to acknowledge God, as God; and another to acknowledge Him as the Father. When you acknowledge God the Creator, you acknowledge an almighty, supreme, eternal, invisible, immutable Spirit. When you acknowledge the Father, you do in reality acknowledge the Son; for He could not be the Father, had He not the Son. But if you honor the Father as greater, the Son as less, so far as you gives less honor to the Son, you take away from the honor of the Father. For you in reality think that the Father could not or would not beget the Son equal to Himself; which if He would not do, He was envious, if He could not, He was weak. Or, That all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father; has a reference to the resurrection of souls, which is the work of the Son, as well as of the Father. But the resurrection of the body is meant in what comes after: He that honors not the Son honors not the Father that sent Him. Here is no as; the man Christ is honored, but not as the Father Who sent Him, since with respect to His manhood He Himself says, My Father is greater than I. But some one will say, if the Son is sent by the Father, He is inferior to the Father. Leave your fleshly actions, and understand a mission, not a separation. Human things deceive, divine things make clear; although even human things give testimony against you, e.g. if a man offers marriage to a woman, and cannot obtain her by himself, he sends a friend, greater than himself; to urge his suit for him. But see the difference in human things. A man does not go with him whom he sends; but the Father Who sent the Son, never ceased to be with the Son; as we read, I am not alone, but the Father its with Me.
AUG. It is not, however, as being born of the Father, that the Son is said to be sent, but from His appearing in this world, as the Word made flesh; as He says, I went forth from the Father, and am come into the world: or from His being received into our minds individually, as we read, Send her, that she may be with me, and may labor with me.
HILARY. The conclusion then stands good against all the fury of heretical minds. He is the Son because He does nothing of Himself: He is God, because, whatsoever things the Father does, He does the same; They are one, because They are equal in honor: He is not the Father, because He is sent.
12524 Jn 5,24
GLOSS. Having said that the Son quickens whom He will, He next shows that we attain to life through the Son: Verily, verily, I say to you, He that hears My word, and believes in Him that sent Me, has everlasting life.
AUG. If, in hearing and believing is eternal life, how much more in understanding? But the step to our piety is faith, the fruit of faith, understanding. It is not, Believes in Me, but in Him that sent Me. Why is one to hear His word, and believe another? Is it not that He means to say, His word is in Me? And what is, Hears My word, but hears Me? And it is, Believe in Him that sent Me; as to say, He that believes in Him, believes in His Word, i.e. in Me, because I am the Word of the Father.
CHRYS. Or, He did not say, He that hears My words, and believes in Me; as they would have thought this empty boasting and arrogance. To say, Believes in Him that sent Me, was a better way of making His discourse acceptable. To this end He says two things: one, that he who hears Him, believes on the Father; the other, that he who hears and believes shall not come into condemnation.
AUG. But who is this favored Person? Will there be any one better than the Apostle Paul, who says, We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ? Now judgment sometimes means punishment, sometimes trial. In the sense of trial, we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ: in the sense of condemnation we read, some shall not come into judgment; i.e. shall not be condemned. It follows, but is passed from death into life: not, is now passing, but has passed from the death of unbelief, into the life of faith, from the death of sin, to the life of righteousness. Or, it is so said perhaps, to prevent our supposing that faith would save us from bodily death, that penalty which we must pay for Adam's transgression. He, in whom we all then were, heard the divine sentence, You shall surely die; nor can we evade it. But when we have suffered the death of the old man, we shall receive the life of the new, and by death make a passage to life. But to what life? To life everlasting: the dead shall rise again at the end of the world, and enter into everlasting life. For this life does not deserve the name of life; only that life is true which is eternal.
AUG. We see the lovers of this present transitory life so intent on its welfare, that when in danger of death, they will take any means to delay its approach, though they can not hope to drive it off altogether. If so much care and labor then is spent on gaining a little additional length of life, how ought we to strive after life eternal? And if they are thought wise, who endeavor in every way to put off death, though they can live but a few days longer; how foolish are they who so live, as to lose the eternal day?
12525 Jn 5,25-26
AUG. Some one might ask you, The Father quickens him who believes in Him; but what of you? do you not quicken? Observe you that the Son also quickens whom He will; Verily, verily, I say to you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live.
CHRYS. After, The hour comes, He adds, and now is; to let us know that it will not be long before it comes. For as in the future resurrection we shall be roused by hearing His voice speaking to us, so is it now.
THEOPHYL. Here He speaks with a reference to those whom He was about to raise from the dead: viz. the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue, the son of the widow, and Lazarus.
AUG. Or, He means to guard against our thinking, that the being passed from death to life, refers to the future resurrection; its meaning being, that he who believes is passed: and therefore He says, Verily, verily, I say to you, The hour comes, (what hour?) and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. He said not, because they live, they hear; but in consequence of hearing, they come to life again. But what is hearing, but obeying? For they who believe and do according to the true faith, live, and are not dead; whereas those who believe not, or, believing, live a bad life, and have not love, are rather to be accounted dead. And yet that hour is still going on, and will go on, the same hour, to the end of the world: as John says, It is the last hour.
AUG. When the dead, i.e. unbelievers, shall hear the voice of the Son of God, i.e. the Gospel: and they that hear, i.e. who obey, shall live, i.e. be justified, and no longer remain in unbelief.
AUG. But some one will ask, Has the Son life, whence those who believe will fire? Hear His own words: As the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself. Life is original and absolute in Him, comes from no other source, depends on no other power. He is not as if He were partaker of a life, which is not Himself; but has life in Himself: so as that He Himself is His own life. Hear, O dead soul, the Father, speaking by the Son: arise, that you may receive that life which you have not in yourself, and enter into the first resurrection. For this life, which the Father and the Son are, pertains to the soul, and is not perceived by the body. The rational mind only discovers the life of wisdom.
HILARY. The heretics, driven hard by Scripture proofs, are obliged to attribute to the Son at any rate a likeness, in respect of virtue, to the Father. But they do not admit a likeness of nature, not being able to see that a likeness of virtue, could not arise but from a likeness of nature; as an inferior nature can never attain to the virtue of a higher and better one. And it cannot be denied that the Son of God has the same virtue with the Father, when He says, What things soever (the Father) does, the same does the Son likewise. But an express mention of the likeness of nature follows: As the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself. In life are comprehended nature and essence. And the Son, as He has it, so has He it given to Him. For the same which is life in both, is essence in both; and the life, i.e. essence, which is begotten from life, is born; though not born unlike the other. For, being life from life, it remains like in nature to its origin.
AUG. The Father must he understand not to have given life to the Son, who was existing without life, but so to have begotten Him, independently of time, that the life which He gave Him in begetting, was co-eternal with His own.
HILARY. Living born from living, has the perfection of nativity, without the newness of nature. For there is nothing new implied in generation from living to living, the life not coming at its birth from nothing. And the life which derives its birth from life, must by the unity of nature, and the sacrament of a perfect birth, both be in the living being, and have the being who lives it, in itself. Weak human nature indeed is made up of unequal elements, and brought to life out of inanimate matter; nor does the human offspring live for some time after it is begotten. Neither does it wholly live from life, since much grows up in it insensibly, and decays insensibly. But in the case of God, the whole of what He is, lives: for God is life, and from life, can nothing be but what is living.
AUG. Given to the Son, then, has the meaning of, begat the Son; for He gave Him tines life, by begetting. As He gave Him being, so He gave Him to have life in Himself; so that the Son did not stand in need of life to come to Him from without; but was in Himself the fullness of life, whence others, i.e. believers, received their life. What then is the difference between Them? This that one gave, the other received.
CHRYS The likeness is perfect in all but one respect, viz. that, in point of essence, one is the Father, the other the Son.
HILARY. For the person of the receiver, is distinct from that of the giver: it being inconceivable that one and the same person, should give to and receive from Himself. He who lives of Himself is one person: He who acknowledges an Author of His life is another.
12527 Jn 5,27-29
THEOPHYL. The Father granted the Son power not only to give life, but also to execute judgment. And has given Him authority to execute judgment.
CHRYS. But why does He dwell so constantly on these subjects; judgment, resurrection, and life? Because these are the most powerful arguments for bringing men over to the faith, and the most likely ones to prevail with obstinate hearers. For one who is persuaded that he shall rise again, and be called by the Son to account for his misdeeds, will, though he know nothing more than this, be anxious to propitiate his Judge. It follows, Because He is the Son of man, marvel not at this. Paul of Samosata reads it, Has given Him power to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man. But this connection has no meaning; for He does not receive the power to judge because He is man, (as, on this supposition, what would prevent all men from being judges:) but because He is the ineffable Son of God; therefore is He Judge. We must read it then, Because He is the Son of man, marvel not at this. As Christ's hearers thought him a mere man, and as what He asserted of Himself was too high to be true of men, or even angels, or any being short of God Himself, there was a strong obstacle in the way of their believing, which our Lord notices in order to remove it: Marvel not, He says, that He is the Son of man: and then adds the reason why they should not marvel: For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God. And why did He not say, Marvel not that He is the Son of man: because in truth He is the Son of God? Because, having given out that it was He who should raise men from the dead, the resurrection being a strictly divine work, He leaves His hearers to infer that He is God, and the Son of God. Persons in arguing often do this. When they have brought out grounds amply sufficient to prove the conclusion they want, they do not draw that conclusion themselves; but, to make the victory greater; leave the opponent to draw it. In referring above to the resurrection of Lazarus and the rest, he said nothing about judgment, for Lazarus did not rise again for judgment; whereas now, that He is speaking of the general resurrection, He brings in the mention of the judgment: And (they) shall come forth, He says, they that have done good to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation. Having said above, He that hears My words, and believe in Him that sent Me, has everlasting life; that men might not suppose from this, that belief was sufficient for salvation, He proceeds to speak of works: And they that have done good, - and they that have done evil.
AUG. Or thus: Inasmuch as the Word was in the beginning with God, the Father gave Him to have life in Himself; but inasmuch as the Word w as made flesh of the Virgin Mary, being made man, He became the Son of man: and as the Son of man, He received power to execute judgment at the end of the world; at which time the bodies of the dead shall rise again. The souls then of the dead God raises by Christ the Son of God, their bodies by the same Christ, the Son of man. Wherefore He adds, Because He is the Son of man: for, as to the Son of God, He always had the power.
AUG. At the judgment will appear the form of man, that form will judge, which was judged; He will sit a Judge Who stood before the judge; He will condemn the guilty, Who was condemned innocent. For it is proper that the judged should see their Judge. Now the judged consist of both good and bad; so that the form of the servant will be strewn to good and bad alike; the form of God to the good only. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
AUG. None if the, founders of false religious sects have been able to deny the resurrection of the soul, but many have denied the resurrection of the body; and, unless You, Lord Jesus, had declared it, what answer could we give the gainsayer? To set forth this truth, He says, Marvel not at this; (i.e. that He has given power to the Son of man to execute judgment,) for the hour is coming, &c.
AUG. He does not add, And now is, here; because this hour would be at the end of the world. Marvel not, i.e. marvel not, men will all be judged by a man. But what men? Not those only, whom He will find alive, For the hour comes, in which all that are in their graves shall hear His voice.
AUG. What can be plainer? Men's bodies are in their graves, not their souls. Above when He said, The hour comes, and added, and now is; He proceeds, When the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God. He does not say, All the dead; for by the dead are meant the wicked, and the wicked have not all been brought to obey the Gospel But in the end of the world all that are in their graves shall hear His voice, and come forth. He does not say, Shall live, as He said above, when He spoke of the eternal and blessed life; which all will not have, who shall come forth from their graves. This judgment was committed to Him because He was the Son of man. But what takes place in this judgment? They that have done good shall go to the resurrection of life, i.e. to live with the Angels of God; they that have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. Judgment here meaning damnation.
12530 Jn 5,30
AUG. We were about to ask Christ, you will judge, and the Father not judge: will not you then judge according to the Father? He anticipates us by saying, I can of Mine own Self do nothing.
CHRYS. That is, nothing that is a departure from, or that is unlike to, what the Father wishes, shall you see done by Me, but as I hear, I judge. He is only showing that it was impossible He should ever wish any thing bat what the Father wished. I judge, His meaning is, as if it were My Father that judged.
AUG. When He spoke of the resurrection of the soul, He did not say, Hear, but, See. Hear implies a command issuing from the Father. He speaks as man, who is inferior to the Father.
AUG. As I hear, I judge, is said with reference either to His human subordination, as the Son of man, or to that immutable and simple nature of the Sonship derived from the Father; in which nature hearing and seeing is identical with being. Wherefore as He hears, He judges. The Word is begotten one with the Father, and therefore judges according to truth. It follows, And My judgment is just, because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which has sent Me. This is intended to take us back to that man who, by seeking his own will, not the will of Him who made him, did not judge himself justly, but had a just judgment pronounced upon him. He did not believe that, by doing his own will, not God's, he should die. So he did his own will, and died; because the judgment; of God is just, which judgment the Son of God executes, by not seeking His own will, i.e. His will as being the Son of man. Not that He has no will in judging, but His will is not His own in such sense, as to be different from the Father's.
AUG. I seek not then Mine own will, i.e. the will of the Son of man, in opposition to God: for men do their own will, not God's, when, to do what they wish, they violate God's commands But when they so do what they wish, as at the same time to follow the will of God, they do not their own will. Or, I seek not Mine own will: i.e. because I am not of myself, but of the Father.
CHRYS. He shows that the Father's will is not a different one from His own, but one and the same, as a ground of defense. Nor marvel if being hitherto thought no more than a mere man, He defends Himself in a somewhat human way, and shows his judgment to be just on the same ground which any other person would have taken; viz. that one who has his own ends in view, may incur suspicion of injustice, but that one who has not cannot.
AUG. The only Son says, I seek not Mine own will: and yet men wish to do their own will. Let us do the will of the Father, Christ, and Holy Ghost: for these have one will, power, and majesty.
12531 Jn 5,31-40
CHRYS. He now brings proof of those high declarations respecting Himself. He answers an objection: If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. These are Christ's own words. But does not Christ in many places bear witness of Himself? And if all this is false, where is our hope of salvation? Whence shall we obtain truth, when the Truth Itself says, My witness is not true. We must believe then that true, here, is said, not with reference to the intrinsic value of His testimony, but to their suspicions; for the Jews might say, We do not believe You, because no one who bears witness to himself is to he depended on. In answer then, he puts forth three clear and irrefragable proofs, three witnesses as it were, to the truth of what He had said; the works which He had done, the testimony of the Father, and the preaching of John: putting the least of these foremost, i.e. the preaching of John: There is another that bears witness of Me: and I know that the witness which he witnesses of Me is true.
AUG. He knew Himself that His witness of Himself was true, but in compassion to the weak and unbelieving, the Sun sought for candles, that their weak sight might not be dazzled by His full blaze. And therefore John was brought forward to give his testimony to the truth. Not that there is such testimony really, for whatever witnesses bear witness to Him, it is really He who bears witness to Himself; as it is His dwelling in the witnesses, which moves them so to give their witness to the truth.
ALCUIN. Or thus; Christ, being both God and man, He shows the proper existence of both, by sometimes speaking according to the nature he took from man, sometimes according to the majesty of the Godhead. If I bear witness of Myself; My witness is not true: this is to be understood of His humanity; the sense being, If I, a man, bear witness of Myself, i.e. without God, My witness is not true: and then follows, There is another that bears witness of Me. The Father bore witness of Christ, by the voice which was heard at the baptism, and at the transfiguration on the mount. And I know that His witness is true; because He is the God of truth. How then can His witness be otherwise than true?
CHRYS. But ac cording to the former interpretation, they might say to Him, If your witness is not true, how say You, I know that the witness of John is true? But His answer meets the objection: You sent to John, and he bore witness of the truth: as if to say: You would not have sent to John, if you had not thought him worthy of credit. And what is more remarkable, they did send to him, not to ask Him about Christ, but about himself: For they who were sent out did not say, What say you of Christ? but, Who are you? what say you of yourself? In so great admiration did they hold him.
ALCUIN. But he bore witness not to himself, but to the truth: as the friend of the truth, he bore witness to the truth, i.e. Christ. Our Lord, on His part, does not reject the witness of John, as not being necessary, but shows only that men ought not to give such attention to John as to forget that Christ's witness was all that was necessary to Himself. But I receive not, He says, testimony from men.
BEDE. Because I do not want it. John, though he bore witness, did it not that Christ might increase, but that men might be brought to the knowledge of Him.
CHRYS. Even the witness of John was the witness of God: for what he said, God taught him. But to anticipate their asking how it appeared that God taught John, as if the Jews had objected that John's witness might not be true, our Lord anticipates them by saying, "you sought him yourselves to inquire of him; that is why I use his testimony, for I need it not." He adds, But these things I say that you might be saved. As if He said, I being God, needed not this human kind of testimony. But, since you attend more to him, and think him more worthy of credit than any one else, while you do not believe me, though I work miracles; for this cause I remind you of his testimony. But had they not received John's testimony? Before they have time to ask this, He answers it: He was a burning and a shining light, and you were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. He says this to show, how lightly they had held by John, and how soon they had left him, thus preventing him from leading them to Christ. He calls him a candle, because John had not his light from himself; but from the grace of the Holy Spirit.
ALCUIN. John was a candle lighted by Christ, the Light, burning with faith and love, shining in word and deed. He was sent before, to confound the enemies of Christ, according to the Psalm, I have ordained a lantern for Mine Anointed; as for His enemies, I shall clothe them with shame.
CHRYS. I therefore direct you to John, not because I want this testimony, but that you may: for I have greater witness than that of John, i.e. that of my works; The works which the Father hash given Me to finish, the same works that I do bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.
ALCUIN. That He enlightens the blind, that He opens the deaf ear, looses the mouth of the dumb, casts out devils, raises the dead; these works hear witness of Christ.
HILARY. The Only-begotten God shows Himself to be the Son, on the testimony not of man only, but of His own power. The works which He does, bear witness to His being sent from the Father. Therefore the obedience of the Son and the authority of the Father are set forth in Him who was sent. But the testimony of works not being sufficient evidence, it follows, And the Father Himself which has sent Me, has borne witness of Me. Open the Evangelic volumes, and examine their whole range: no testimony of the Father to the Son is given in any of the books, other than that He is the Son. So what a calumny is it in men now saying that this is only a name of adoption: thus making God a liar, and names unmeaning.
BEDE. By His mission we must understand His incarnation. Lastly, He shows that God is incorporeal, and cannot be seen by the bodily eye: You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape.
ALCUIN. The Jews might say, We heard the voice of the Lord at Sinai, and saw Him under the appearance of fire. If God then bears witness of You, we should know His voice. To which He replies, I have the witness of the Father, though you understand it not; because you never heard His voice, or saw His shape.
CHRYS. How then says Moses, Ask - whether there has been any such thing as this great thing is: did ever people hear the voice of God, speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard and seen? Isaiah too, and many others, are said to have seen Him. So what does Christ mean here? He means to impress upon them the philosophical doctrine, that God has neither voice, or appearance, or shape; but is superior to such modes of speaking of Him. For as in saying, You have never heard His voice, He does not mean to say that He has a voice, only not an audible one to them; so when He says, Nor have even His shape, no tangible, sensible, or visible shape is implied to belong to God: but all such mode of speaking is pronounced inapplicable to God.
ALCUIN. For it is not by the carnal ear, but by the spiritual understanding, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, that God is heard. And they did not hear the spiritual voice, because they did not love or obey Him, nor saw they His shape; inasmuch as that is not to be seen by the outward eye, but by faith and love.
CHRYS. But it was impossible for them to declare that they had received, and obeyed God's commands: and therefore He adds, You have not His word abiding in you; i.e. the commandments, the law, and the prophets; though God instituted them, you have them not. For if the Scriptures every where tell you to believe in Me, and you believe not, it is manifest that His word is gone from you: For whom He has sent, Him you believe not.
ALCUIN. Or thus; they cannot have abiding in them the Word which was in the beginning, who came not to keep in mind, or fulfill in practice, that word of God which they hear. Having mentioned the testimonies of John, and the Father, and of His works, He adds now that of the Mosaic Law: Search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and they are they which testify of Me: as if He said, you think you have eternal life in the Scriptures, and reject Me as being opposed to Moses: but you will find that Moses himself testifies to My being God, if you search the Scripture carefully. All Scripture indeed bears witness of Christ, whether by its types, or by prophets, or by the ministering of Angels. But the Jews did not believe these intimations of Christ, and therefore could not obtain eternal life: You will not come to Me, that you may have life; meaning, The Scriptures bear witness of Me, but you will not come to Me notwithstanding, i.e. you will not believe in Me, and seek for salvation at my hands.
CHRYS. Or the connection may be given thus. They might say to Him, How, if we have never heard God's voice, has God borne witness to you? So He says, Search the Scriptures; meaning that God had borne witness of Him by the Scriptures. He had borne witness indeed at the Jordan, and on the mount. But they did not hear the voice on the mount, and did not attend to it at the Jordan. Wherefore He sends them to the Scriptures, when they would also find the Father's testimony. He did not send them however to the Scriptures simply to read them, but to examine them attentively, because Scripture ever threw a shade over its own meaning, and did not display it on the surface. The treasure was, as it were, hidden from their eve. He does not say, For in them you have eternal life, but, For in them you think you have eternal life; meaning that they did not reap much fruit from the Scriptures, thinking, as they did, that they should be saved by the mere reading of them, without faith. For which reason He adds, You will not come to Me; i.e. you will not believe on Me.
BEDE. That coming is put for believing we know, Come to Him, and be lightened. He adds, That you might have life; For, if the soul which sin dies, they were dead in soul and mind. And therefore He promises the life of the soul, i.e. eternal happiness.
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