Augustin on John 29
1. The passage of the holy Gospel of which we have before discoursed to you, beloved, is fo lowed by that of to-day, which has just now been read. Both the disciples and the Jews heard the Lord speaking; both men of truth and liars heard the Truth speaking; both friends and enemies heard Charity speaking; both good men and bad men heard the Good speaking. They heard, but He discerned; He saw and foresaw whom His discourse profiled and would profit. Among those who were then, He saw; among us who were to be, He foresaw. Let us therefore hear the Gospel, just as if we were listening to the Lord Himself present: nor let us say, O happy they who were able to see Him! because there were many of them who saw, and also killed Him; and there are many among us who have not seen Him, and yet have believed. For the precious truth that sounded forth from the mouth of the Lord was both written for our sakes, and preserved for our sakes, and recited for our sakes, and will be recited also for the sake of our prosperity, even until the end of the world. The Lord is above; but the Lord, the Truth, is also here. For the body of the Lord, in which He rose again from the dead, can be only in one place; but His truth is everywhere diffused. Let us then hear the Lord, and let us also speak that which He shall have granted to us concerning His own words.
2. “Did not Moses,” saith He, “give you the law, and vet none of you doeth the law? Why do ye seek to kill me?” For ye seek to kill me just for this reason, that none of you doeth the law; for if ye did do the law, ye would recognize Christ in its very letters, and ye would not kill Him when present with you. And they answered: “The crowd answered Him;” answered as a tumultuous crowd,1 things not pertaining to order, but to confusion; in a word, the crowd was disturbed. See what answer it made: “Thou hast a devil: who seeks to kill thee?” As if it were not worse to say, “Thou hast a devil,” than to kill Him. To Him, indeed, was it said, that He had a devil, who was casting out devils. What else can a turbulent disorderly crowd say? What else can filth stirred up do but stink? The crowd was disturbed; by what? By the truth. For the eyes that have not soundness cannot endure the brightness of the light.
3. But the Lord, manifestly not disturbed, but calm in His truth, rendered not evil for evil nor railing for railing;2 although, if He were to say to these men, You have a devil, He would certainly be saying what was true. For they would not have said such things to the Truth, unless the falsehood of the devil had instigated them. What then did He answer? Let us calmly hear, and drink in the serene word: “I have done one work, and ye all marvel.” As if He said, What if ye were to see all my works? For they were His works which they saw in the world, and yet they saw not Him who made them all: He did one thing, and they were disturbed because he made a man whole on the Sabbath-day. As if, indeed, when any sick man recovered his health on the Sabbath-day, it had been any other that made such a man whole than He who offended them, because He made one man whole on the Sabbath-day. For who else has made others whole than He who is health itself,-He who gives even to the beasts that health which He gave to this man? For it was bodily health. The health of the flesh is repaired, and the flesh dies; and when it is repaired, death is only put off, not taken away. However, even that same health, brethren, is from the Lord, through whomsoever it may be given: by whose care and ministry soever it may be imparted, it is given by Him from whom all health is, to whom it is said in the psalm, “O Lord, Thou wilt save men and beasts; as Thou hast multiplied Thy mercy, O God.” For because Thou art God Thy multiplied mercy reaches even to the safety of human flesh, reaches even to the safety of dumb animals; but Thou who givest health of flesh common to men and beasts, is there no health which Thou reservest for men? There is certainly another which is not only not common to men and beasts, but to men themselves is not common to good and bad. In a word, when he had there spoken of this health which men and cattle receive in common, because of that health which men, but only the good, ought to hope for, he added as he went on: “But the sons of men shall put their trust under the cover of Thy wings. They shall be fully satisfied with the fatness of Thy house; and Thou shalt give them drink from the torrent of Thy pleasure. For with Thee is the fountain of life; and in Thy light shall they see light.”3 This is the health which belongs to good men, those whom he called “sons of men;” whilst he had said above, “O Lord, Thou shall save men and beasts.” How then? Were not those men sons of men, that after he had said men, he should go on and say, But the sons of men: as if men and sons of men meant different things? Yet I do not believe that the Holy Spirit had said this without some indication of distinction. The term men refers to the first Adam, sons of men to Christ. Perhaps, indeed, men relate to the first man; but sons of men relate to the Son of man.
4. “I have done one work, and ye all marvel.” And immediately He subjoined: “Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision.” It was well done that ye received circumcision from Moses. “Not that it is of Moses, but of the fathers;” since it was Abraham that first received circumcision from the Lord.4 “And ye circumcise on the Sabbath-day.” Moses has convicted you: ye have received in the law to circumcise on the eighth day; ye have received in the law to cease from labor on the seventh day;5 if the eighth day from the child’s birth fall on the seventh day of the week, what will ye do Will ye abstain from work to keep the Sabbath, or will ye circumcise to fulfill the sacrament of the eighth day? But I know, saith He, what ye do. “Ye circumcise a man.” Why? Because circumcision relates to what. is a kind of seal of salvation, and men ought not to abstain from the work of salvation on the Sabbath-day. Therefore be ye not “angry with me, because I have made a manevery whit whole on the Sabbath-day.” “If,” saith He, “a man on the Sabbath-day receiveth circumcision that the law should not be broken” (for it was something saving that was ordained by Moses in that ordinance of circumcision), why are ye angry at me for working a healing on the Sabbath-day?
5. Perhaps, indeed, that circumcision pointed to the Lord Himself, at whom they were indignant, because He worked cures and healing. For circumcision was commanded to be applied on the eighth day: and what is circumcision but the spoiling of the flesh? This circumcision, then, signified the removal of carnal lusts from the heart. Therefore not without cause was it given, and ordered to be made in that member; since by that member the creature of mortal kind is procreated. By one man came death, just as by one man the resurrection of the dead;6 and by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.7 Therefore every man is born with a foreskin, because every man is born with the vice of propagation; and God cleanses not, either from the vice with which we are born, or from the vices which we add thereto by ill living, except by the stony knife, the Lord Christ. For Christ was the Rock, Now they used to circumcise with stone knives, and by the name of rock they prefigured Christ; and yet when He was present with them they did not acknowledge Him, but besides, they sought to kill Him. But why on the eighth day,unless because after the seventh day of the week the Lord rose again on the Lord’s day? Therefore Christ’s resurrection, which happened on the third day indeed of His passion, but on the eighth day in the days of the week, that same resurrection it is that doth circumcise us. Hear of those that were circumcised with the real stone, while the apostle admonishes them: “If then ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting on the right hand of God; set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”8 He speaks to the circumcised: Christ has risen; He has taken away from you carnal desires, evil lusts, the superfluity with which you were born, and that far worse which you had added thereto by ill living; being circumcised by the Rock, why do you still set your affections on the earth? And finally, for that “Moses gave you the law, and ye circumcise a man on the Sabbath-day,” understand that by this is signified the good work which I have done, in that I have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath-day; because he was cured that he might be whole in body, and also he believed that he might be whole in soul.
6. “Judge not according to personal appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” What is this? Just now, you who by the law of Moses circumcise on the Sabbath-day are not angry with Moses; and because I made a man whole on the Sabbath-day you are angry with me. You judge by the person; give heed to the truth. I do not prefer myself to Moses, says the Lord, who was also the Lord of Moses. So consider us as you would two men, as both men; judge between us, but judge a true judgment; do not condemn him by honoring me, but honor me by understanding’ him. For this He said to them in another place: “If ye believed Moses ye would certainly believe me also, for he wrote of me.”9 But in this place He willed not to say this, Himself and Moses being as it were placed before these men for judgment. Because of Moses’ law you circumcise, even when it happens to be the Sabbath-day, and will ye not that I should show the beneficence of healing during the Sabbath? For the Lord of circumcision and the Lord of the Sabbath is the same who is tile Author of health; and they are servile works that ye are forbidden to do on the Sabbath; if ye really understand what servile works are, ye sin not. For he that committeth sin is the servant of sin. Is it a servile work to heal a man on the Sabbath-day? Ye do eat and drink (to infer somewhat from the admonition of our Lord Jesus Christ,and from His words); at any rate, why do ye eat and drink on the Sabbath, but because thatwhat ye do pertains to health? By this ye show that the works of health are not in any wise to be omitted on the Sabbath. Therefore “do not judge by person, but judge righteous judgment.” Consider me as ye would a man; consider Moses as a man: if ye will judge according to the truth, ye will condemn neither Moses nor me; and when ye know the truth ye will know me, because I am the Truth.
7. It requires great labor in this world, brethren to get clear of the vice which the Lord has noted in this place, so as not to judge by appearance, but to keep right judgment. The Lord, indeed, admonished the Jews, but He warned us also; them He convicted, us He instructed; them He reproved, us He encouraged. Let us not imagine that this was not said to us, simply because we were not there at that time. It was written, it is read; when it was recited we heard it; but we heard it as said to the Jews; let us not place ourselves behind ourselves and watch Him reproving enemies, while we ourselves do that which the truth may reprove in us. The Jews indeed judged by appearance, but for that reason they belong not to the New Testament, they have not the kingdom of heaven in Christ, nor are joined to the society of the holy angels; they sought earthly things of the Lord; for a land of promise, victory over enemies, fruitfulness of child-bearing, increase of children, abundance of fruit,-all which things were indeed promised to them by God, the True and the Good, promised to them, however, as unto carnal men,-all these things made for them tile Old Testament. What is the Old Testament? The inheritance, as it were, belonging to the old man. We have been renewed, have been made a new man, because He who is the new man has come. What is so new as to be born of a virgin? Therefore, because there was not in Him what instruction might renew, because He had no sin, there was given Him a new origin of birth. In Him a new birth, in us a new man. What is a new man? A man renewed from oldness. Renewed unto what? Unto desiring heavenly things, unto longing for things eternal, unto earnestly seeking the country which is above and fears no foe, where we do not lose a friend nor fear an enemy; where we live with good affection, without any want; where no longer any advances, because none fails; where no man is born, because no man dies; where there is no hungering nor thirsting; where immortality is fullness, and truth our aliment. Having these promises, and pertaining to the New Testament, and being made heirs of a new inheritance, and co-heirs of the Lord Himself, we have a far different hope from theirs: let us not judge by appearance, but hold right judgment.
8. Who is he that judges not according to the person? He that loves equally. Equal love causes that persons be not accepted. It is not when we honor men in diverse measure according to their degrees that we ought to fear lest we are accepting persons. For where we judge between two, and at times between relations, sometimes it happens that judgment has to be made between father and son; the father complains of a had son, or the son complains of a harsh father; we regard the honor which is due to the father from the son; we do not make the son equal to the father in honor, but we give him preference if he has a good cause: let us regard the son on an equality with the father in the truth, and thus shall we bestow the honor due, so that equity destroy not merit. Thus we profit by the words of the Lord, and that we may profit, we are assisted by His grace).
2 (1P 3,9).
3 (Ps 36,7-10.
4 (Gn 17,10,
5 (Ex 20,10,
6 (1Co 15,21,
7 (Rm 5,12,
8 (Col 3,1-2).
9 (Jn 5,46,
1. You remember, beloved, in the former discourses,-for it was both read in the Gospel and also discussed by us according to our ability,-how that the Lord Jesus went up to the feast-day, as it were in secret, not because He feared lest He should be laid hold of,-He who had the power not to be laid hold of,-but to signify that even in that very feast which was celebrated by the Jews He Himself was hidden, and that the mystery of the feast was His own. In the passage read to-day then, that which was supposed to be timidity appeared as power; for He spoke openly on the feast-day, so that the crowds marvelled, and said that which we have heard when the passage was read: “Is not this he whom they sought to kill? And, lo, he speaketh openly, and they say nothing. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the Christ?” They who knew with what fierceness He was sought after, wondered by what power He was kept from being taken. Then, not fully understanding His power, they fancied it was the knowledge of the rulers, that these rulers knew Him to be the very Christ, and that for this reason they spared Him whom they had with so much eagerness sought out to be put to death.
2. Then those same persons who had said, “Did the rulers know that this is the Christ?” proposed a question among themselves, by which it appeared to them that He was not the Christ; for they said in addition, “But we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.” As to how this opinion among the Jews arose, that “when Christ comes, no man knoweth whence He is” (for it did not arise without reason), if we consider the Scriptures, we find, brethren, that the Holy Scriptures have declared of Christ that “He shall be called a Nazarene.”1 Therefore they foretold whence He is. Again, if we seek the place of His nativity, as that whence He is by birth, neither was this hidden from the Jews, because of the Scriptures which had foretold these things. For when the Magi, on the appearing of a star, sought Him out to worship Him, they came to Herod and told him what they sought and what they meant: and he, having called together those who had knowledge of the law, inquired of them where Christ should be born:they told him, “In Bethlehem of Judah,” andalso brought forward the prophetic testimony.2 If, therefore, the prophets had foretold both the place where the origin of His flesh was, and the place where His mother would bring Him forth, whence did spring that opinion among the Jews which we have just heard, but from this, that the Scriptures had proclaimed beforehand, and had foretold both? In respect of His being man, the Scriptures foretold whence He should be; in respect of His being God, this was hidden from the ungodly, and it required godly men to discover it. Moreover, they said this, “When Christ comes, no man knoweth whence He is,” because that which was spoken by Isaiah produced this opinion in them, viz. “And His generation, who shall tell?”3 In short, the Lord Himself made answer to both, that they both did, and also did not know whence He was; that He might testify to the holy prophecy which before was predicted of Him, both as to the humanity of infirmity and also as to the divinity of majesty.
3. Hear, therefore, the word of the Lord, brethren; see how He confirmed to them both what they said, “We know this man whence he is,” and also what they said, “When Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence He is. Then cried Christ in the temple, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but He that sent me is true, whom ye know not.” That is to say, ye both know me, and ye know me not; ye both know whence I am, and ye know not whence I am. Ye know whence I am: Jesus of Nazareth, whose parents also ye knew. For in this case, the birth of the Virgin alone was hidden, to whom, however, her husband was witness; for the same was able faithfully to declare this, who was also able as a husband to be jealous. Therefore, this birth of the Virgin excepted, they knew all that in Jesus pertains to man: His face was known, His country was known, His family was known; where He was born was to be known by inquiry. Rightly then did He say, “Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am,” according to the flesh and form of man which He bore; but according to His divinity, “And I am not come of myself, but He that sent me is true, whom ye know not;” but yet that ye may know Him, believe on Him whom He has sent, and ye will know Him. For, “No man has seen God at any time, except the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him:”4 and, “None knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”5
4. Lastly, when He had said, “But He that sent me is true, whom ye know not,” in order to show them whence they might know that which they did not know, He subjoined, “I know Him.” Therefore seek from me to know Him. But why is it that I know Him? “Because I am from Him, and He sent me.” Gloriously has He shown both. “I am from Him,” said He; because the Son is from the Father, and whatever the Son is, He is of Him whose Son He is. Hence we say that the Lord Jesus is God of God: we do not say that the Father is God of God, but simply God: and we say that the Lord Jesus is Light of Light; we do not say that the Father is Light of Light, but simply Light. Accordingly, to this belongs that which He said “I am from Him.” But as to my being seen of you in the flesh, “He sent me.” When thou hearest “He sent me,” do not understand a difference of nature to be meant, but the authority of Him that begets.
5. “Then they sought to take Him: but no man laid hands on Him, because His hour was not yet come;” that is, because He was not willing. For what is this. “His hour was not yet come”? The Lord was not born under fate. This is not to be believed concerning thee, much less concerning Him by whom thou wast made. If thy hour is His good will, what is His hour but His good will? He meant not therefore an hour in which He should be forced to die, but that in which He would deign to be put to death. But He was awaiting the time in which He should die, for He awaited also the time in which He should be born. The apostle, speaking of this time, says, “But when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son.”6 For this cause many say, Why did not Christ come before? To whom we must make answer, Because the fullness of time had not yet come, while He by whom the times were made sets their bounds; for He knew when He ought to come. In the first place, it was necessary that He should be foretold through a long series of times and years; for it was not something insignificant that was to come: He who was to be ever held, had to be for a long time foretold. The greater the judge that was coming, the longer the train of heralds that preceded him. In short, when the fullness of time came, He also came who was to deliver us from time. For being delivered from time, we shall come to that eternity where there is no time: there it is not said, When shall the hour come, for the day is everlasting, a day which is neither preceded by a yesterday, nor cut off by a morrow. But in this world days roll on, some are passing away, others come; none abides; and the moments in which we are speaking drive out one another in turn, nor stands the first syllable for the second to sound. Since we began to speak we are somewhat older, and without doubt I am just now older than I was in the morning; thus, nothing stands, nothing remains fixed in time. Therefore ought we to love Him by whom the times were made, that we may be delivered from time and be fixed in eternity, where there is no more changeableness of times. Great, therefore, is the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, in that for our sakes He was made in time, by whom the times were made; that He was made among all things, by whom all things were made; that He became what He made. For He was made what He had made; for He was made man who had made man, lest what He had made should perish. According to this dispensation, the hour of His birth had now come, and He was born; but not yet had come the hour of His suffering, therefore not yet had He suffered.
6. In short, that ye may know that the words refer, not to the necessity of His dying, but to His power,-I speak this for the sake of some who, when they hear “His hour was not yet come,” are determined on believing in fate, and their hearts become infatuated;-that ye may know, then, that it was His power of dying, recollect the passion, look at Him crucified. While hanging on the tree, He said, “I thirst.” They, having heard this, offered to Him on the cross vinegar by a sponge on a reed. He received it, and said, “It is finished;” and, bowing His head, gave up the ghost. You see His power of dying, that He waited for this-until all things should be fulfilled that had been foretold concerning Him-to take place before His death. For the prophet had said, “They gave me gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”7 He waited for all these things to be fulfilled: after they were completed, He said, “It is finished;” and He departed by power, because He came not by necessity. Hence some wondered more at this His power to die than at His ability to work miracles. For they came to the cross to take the bodies down from the tree, for the Sabbath was drawing near, and the thieves were found still living. The punishment of the cross was so much the harder because it tortured men so long, and all that were crucified were killed by a lingering death. But the thieves, that they might not remain on the tree, were forced to die by having their legs broken, that they might be taken down thence. The Lord, however, was found to be already dead,8 and the men marvelled; and they who despised Him when living, so wondered at Him when dead, that some of them said, “Truly this was the Son of God.”9 Whence also that, brethren, where He says to those that seek Him, “I am He;” and they, going backward, all fell to the ground?10 Consequently there was in Him supreme power. Nor was He forced to die at an hour; but He waited the hour on which His will might fittingly be done, not that on which necessity might be fulfilled against His will.
7. “But many of the people believed on Him.” The Lord made whole the humble and the poor. The rulers were mad, and therefore they not only did not acknowledge the Physician, but even were eager to slay Him. There was a certain crowd of people which quickly saw its own sickness, and without delay recognized His remedy. See what that very crowd, moved by His miracles, said: “When Christ cometh will He do more signs than these?” Surely, unless there will be two Christs, this is the Christ. Consequently, in saying these things, they believed on Him.
8. But those rulers, having heard the assurance of the multitude, and that murmuring noise of the people in which Christ was being glorified, “sent officers to take Him.” To take whom? Him not yet willing to be taken. Because then they could not take Him while He would not, they were sent to hear Him. teaching. Teaching what? “Then said Jesus, Yet a little while I am with you.”What ye wish to do now ye will do, but not just now; because I am not just now willing. Why am I now as yet unwilling? Because “yet a little while I am with you; and then I go unto Him that sent me.” I must complete my dispensation, and in this manner come to my suffering.
9. “Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.” Here He has already foretold His resurrection; for they would not acknowledge Him when present, and afterwards they sought Him when they saw the multitude already believing on Him For great signs were wrought, even when the Lord was risen again and ascended into heaven. Then mighty deeds were done by His disciples, but He wrought by them as He wrought by Himself: since, indeed, He had said to them, “Without me ye can do nothing.”11 When that lame man who sat at the gate rose up at Peter’s voice, and walked on his feet, so that men marvelled, Peter spoke to them to this effect, that it was not by his own power that he did this, but in the virtue of Him whom they slew.12 Many pricked in the heart said, “What shall we do?” For they saw themselves bound by an immense crime of impiety, since they slew Him whom they ought to have revered and worshipped; and this crime they thought inexpiable. A great wickedness indeed it was, the thought of which might make them despair; yet it did not behove them to despair, for whom the Lord, as He hung on the cross, deigned to pray. For He had said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.13 He saw some who were His own among many who were aliens; for these He sought pardon, from whom at the time He was still receiving injury. He regarded not that He was being put to death by them, but only that He was dying for them. It was a great thing that was forgiven them, it was a great thing that was done by them and for them, so that no man should despair of the forgiveness of his sin when they who slew Christ obtained pardon. Christ died for us, but surely He was not put to death by us? But those men indeed saw Christ dying by their own villany; and yet they believed on Christ pardoning their villanies. Until they drank the blood they had shed, they despaired of their own salvation. Therefore said He this: “Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, ye cannot come;” because they were to seek Him after the resurrection, being pricked in their heart with remorse. Nor did He say “where I will be,” but “where I am.” For Christ was always in that place whither He was about to return; for He came in such manner that He did not depart from that place. Hence He says in another place, “No man has ascended into heaven, but He who came down from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven.”14 He said not, who was in heaven. He spoke on the earth, and declared that He was at the same time in heaven. He came in such wise that He departed not thence; and He so returned as not to abandon us. What do ye marvel at? This is God’s doing. For man, as regards his body, is in a place, and departs from a place; and when he comes to another place, he will not be in that place whence he came: but God fills all things, and is all everywhere; He is not held in places according to space. Nevertheless the Lord Christ was, as regards His visible flesh, on the earth: as regards His invisible majesty, He was in heaven and on earth; and therefore He says, “Where I am, thither ye cannot come.” Nor did He say, “Ye shall not be able.” but “ye are not able to come;” for at that time they were such as were not able. And that ye may know that this was not said to cause despair, He said something of the same kind also to His disciples: “Whither I go ye cannot come.”15 Yet while praying in their behalf, He said, “Father, I will that where I am they also may be with me.”16 And, finally, this He expounded to Peter, and says to him, “Whither I go thou canst not follow me now, but thou shalt follow me hereafter.”17
10. “Then said the Jews,” not to Him, but “to themselves, Whither will this man go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersion among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?” For they knew not what they said; but, it being His will, they prophesied. The Lord was indeed about to go to the Gentiles, not by His bodily presence, but still with His feet. What were His feet? Those which Saul desired to trample upon by persecution, when the Head cried out to him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”18 What is this saying that He said, “Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come?” Wherefore the Lord said this they knew not, and yet they did predict something that was to be without knowing it. For this is what the Lord said that they knew not the place, if place however it must be called, which is the bosom of the Father, from which Christ never departed; nor were they competent to conceive where Christ was, whence Christ never withdrew, whither He was to return, where He was all the while dwelling. How was it possible for the human heart to conceive this, least of all to explain it with the tongue? This, then, they in no wise understood; and yet by occasion of this they foretold our salvation, that the Lord would go to the dispersion of the Gentiles, and would fulfill that which they read but did not understand. “A people whom I have not known served me, and by the hearing of the ear obeyed me,”19 They before whose eyes He was, heard Him not; those heard Him in whose ears He was sounded.
11. For of that Church of the Gentiles which was to come, the woman that had the issue of blood was a type: she touched and was not seen; she was not known and yet was healed. It was in reality a figure what the Lord asked: “Who touched me?” As if not knowing, He healed her as unknown: so has He done also to the Gentiles. We did not get to know Him in the flesh, yet we have been made worthy to eat His flesh, and to be members in His flesh. In what way? Because He sent to us. Whom? His heralds, His disciples, His servants, His redeemed whom He created, but whom He redeemed, His brethren also. I have said but little of all that they are: His own members, Himself; for He sent to us His own members, and He made us His members. Nevertheless, Christ has not been among us with the bodily form which the Jews saw and despised; because this also was said concerning Him, even as the apostle says: “Now I say that Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.20 He owed it to have come to those by whose fathers and to whose fathers He was promised. For this reason He says also Himself: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”21 But what says the apostle in the following words? “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.” What, moreover, saith the Lord Himself? “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold.22 He who had said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” how has He other sheep to which He was not sent, except that He intimated that He was not sent to show His bodily presence but to the Jews only, who saw and killed Him? And yet many of them, both before and afterwards, believed. The first harvest was winnowed from the cross, that there might be a seed whence another harvest might spring up. But at this present time, when roused by the fame of the gospel, and by its goodly odor, His faithful ones among all nations believe, He shall be the expectation of the Gentiles, when He shall come who has already come; when He shall be seen by all, He who was then not seen by some, by some was seen; when He shall come to judge who came to be judged; when He shall come to distinguish who came not to be distinguished. For Christ was not discerned by the ungodly, but was condemned with the ungodly; for it was said concerning Him, “He was accounted among the wicked.”23 The robber escaped, Christ was condemned. He who was loaded with criminal accusations received pardon; He who has released from their crimes all who confess Him, was condemned. Nevertheless even the cross itself, if thou considerest it well, was a judgment-seat; for the Judge being set up in the middle, one thief who believed was delivered, the other who reviled was condemned.24 Already He signified what He is to do with the quick and the dead: some He will set on His right hand and others on His left. That thief was like those that shall be on the left hand, the other like those that shall be on the right. He was undergoing judgment, and He threatened judgment.
1 (Mt 2,23,
2 (Mt 2,6,
3 (Is 8,8).
4 (Jn 1,8,
5 (Mt 11,27,
6 (Ga 4,4,
7 (Ps 69,21).
8 (Jn 19,28-33.
9 (Mt 27,54,
10 (Jn 18,6,
11 (Jn 15,5,
12 (Ac 3,2-16.
13 (Lc 23,34,
14 (Jn 3,13).
15 (Jn 13,33,
16 (Jn 17,24,
17 (Jn 13,36,
18 (Ac 9,4,
19 (Ps 18,44,
20 (Rm 15,8,
21 (Mt 15,24).
22 (Jn 10,16).
23 (Is 53,12,
24 (Lc 22,43,
Augustin on John 29