Golden Chain 13418
13418 Jn 14,18-21
AUG. That no one might think, because our Lord was about to give the Holy Spirit, that He would therefore not be present Himself in Him, He adds, I will not leave you comfortless. The Greek word signifies "wards." Although then the Son of God has made us the adopted sons of the Father, yet here He Himself shows the affection of a Father towards us.
CHRYS. At the first He said, Where I go you shall come; but as this was a long time off, He promises them the Spirit in the interval. And as they knew not what that was, He promises them that they most desired, His own presence, I will come to you, but intimates at the same time that they are not to look for the same kind of presence over again:
Yet a little while, and the world sees Me no more: as if He said, I will come to you, but not to live with you every day as I did before. And, I will come to you alone, He says, thus preventing any inconsistency with what He had said to the Jews: Henceforth you shall not see Me.
AUG. For the world saw Him then with the carnal eye, manifest in the flesh, though it did not see the Word hidden under the flesh. But after the resurrection He was unwilling to show even His flesh, except to His own followers, whom He allowed to see and to handle it: Yet a little while, and the world sees Me no more; but you shall see Me.
But, inasmuch as the world, by which are meant all who are aliens from His kingdom, will see Him at the last judgment, it is better perhaps to understand Him here as pointing to that time, when He will be taken for ever from the eyes of the wicked, to be seen thenceforth by those who love Him. A little while, He says, for that which seems a long lime to men, is but a moment in the eyes of God.
Because 1 live, you shall live also.
THEOPHYL. As if He said, Though I shall die, I shall rise again. And you shall live also, i.e. when you see Me risen again, you will rejoice, and be as dead men brought to life again.
CHRYS. To me however he seems to refer not only to the present life, but to the future; as if He said, The death of the cross shall not separate you from Me for ever, but only hide Me from you for a moment.
AUG. But why does He speak of life as present to Him, future to them? Because His resurrection preceded, theirs was to follow. His resurrection was about so soon to take place, that He speaks of it as present; theirs being deferred till the end of the world, He does not say you live, but you shall live. Because He lives, therefore we shall live: As by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead (1Co 15,21).
It follows: In that day (the day of which He said, you shall live also) you shall know, i.e. whereas now you believe, then you shall see, that I am in the Father, and you in Me, and I in you. For when we shall have attained to that life in which death is swallowed up, then shall be finished that which is now begun by Him, that He should be in us, and we in Him.
CHRYS. Or, in that day, on which I shall rise again, you shall know. For His resurrection it was that established their faith. Then the powerful teaching of the Holy Spirit began. His saying, I am in the Father, expresses His humility; the next, And you in Me, and I in you, His humanity and God's assistance to Him. Scripture often uses the same words in different senses, as applied to God and to men.
HILARY. Or He means by this, that whereas He was in the Father by the nature of His divinity, and we in Him by means of His birth in the flesh; He on the other hand should be believed to be in us by the mystery of the Sacrament: as He Himself testified above: Whosoever eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, dwells in Me, and I in Him.
ALCUIN. By love, and the observance of His commandments, that will be perfected in us which He has begun, viz. that we should be in Him, and He in us. And that this blessedness may be understood to be promised to all, not to the Apostles only, He adds, He that has My commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves Me.
AUG. He that has them in, and keeps them in life; he that has them in words, and keeps them in works; he that has them by hearing, and keeps them by doing; he that has them by doing, and keeps them by persevering, he it is that loves Me. Love must be strewn by works, or it is a mere barren name.
THEOPHYL. As if He said, You think that by sorrowing, as you do, for my death you prove your affection; but I esteem the keeping of My commandments the evidence of love. And then He shows the privileged state of one who loves: And he that loves Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him.
AUG. I will love him, as if now He did not love him. What means this? He explains it in what follows: And will manifest Myself to him, i.e. I love him so far as to manifest Myself to him; so that, as the reward of his faith, he will have sight. Now He only loves us so that we believe; then He will love us so that we see. And whereas we love now by believing that which we shall see, then we shall love by seeing that which we have believed.
AUG. He promises to show Himself to them that love Him as God with the Father, not in that body which He bore upon earth, and which the wicked saw.
THEOPHYL. For, as after the resurrection He was to appear to them in a body more assimilated to His divinity, that they might not take Him then for a spirit, or a phantom, He tells them now beforehand not to have misgivings upon seeing Him, but to remember that He shows Himself to them as a reward for their keeping His commandments; and that therefore they are bound ever to keep them, that they may ever enjoy the sight of Him.
13422 Jn 14,22-27
AUG. Our Lord having said, A little while, and the world sees Me no more: but you shall see Me: Judas, not the traitor named Iscariot, but he whose Epistle is read among the Canonical Scriptures, asks His meaning: Judas said to Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that you will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?
Our Lord in reply explains why He manifests Himself to His own, and not to aliens, viz. because the one love Him, the other do not. Jesus answered and said to him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words.
GREG. If you would prove your love, show your works. The love of God is never idle; whenever it is, it does great things: if it do not work, it is not.
AUG. Love distinguishes the saints from the world: it makes men to be of one mind in an house; in which house the Father and the Son take their abode; who give that love to those, to whom in the end they will manifest themselves. For these is a certain inner manifestation of God, unknown to the ungodly, to whom there is no manifestation made of the Father and the Holy Spirit, and only could be of the Son in the flesh; which latter manifestation is not as the former, being only for a little while, not for ever, for judgment, not for joy, for punishment, not for reward.
And We will come to him: They come to us, in that we go to Them; They come by succoring, we go by obeying; They come by enlightening, we go by contemplating; They come by filling, we go by holding: so Their manifestation to us is not external, but inward; Their abode in us not transitory, but eternal. It follows, And will make Our abode with him.
GREG. Into some hearts He comes, but not to make His abode with them. For some feel compunction for a season and turn to God, but in time of temptation forget that which gave them compunction, and return to their former sins, just as if they had never lamented them. But whoever loves God truly, into his heart the Lord both comes, and also makes His abode therein: for the love of the Godhead so penetrates him, that no temptation withdraws him from it. He truly loves, whose mind no evil pleasure overcomes, through his consent thereto.
AUG. But while the Father and the Son make Their abode with the loving, soul, is the Holy Spirit excluded? What means that which is said of the Holy Spirit above: He dwells with you, and shall be in you, but that the Spirit makes His abode with us? Unless indeed a man be so absurd as to think that when the Father and the Son come, the Holy Spirit departs, as if to give place to His superiors.
Yet even this carnal thought is met by Scripture, in that it says, Abide with you for ever. He will therefore be in the same abode with Them for ever. As He did not come without Them, so neither They without Him. As a consequence of the Trinity, acts are sometimes attributed to single persons in it: but the substance of the same Trinity demands, that in such acts the presence of the other Persons also be implied.
GREG. In proportion as a man's love rests upon lower things, in that proportion is he removed from heavenly love: He that loves Me not, keeps not My sayings. To the love then of our Maker, let the tongue, mind, life bear witness.
CHRYS. Or thus Judas thought that he should, see Him, as we see the dead in sleep: How is it, that you will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world? meaning, Alas, as you art to die, you will appear to us but as one dead. To correct this mistake, He says, I and My Father will come to him, i.e. I shall manifest Myself, even as My Father manifests Himself. And will make our abode with Him; which is not like a dream. It follows, And the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's which sent Me; i.e. He that hears not My words, inasmuch as he loves not Me, so loves he not My Father. This He says to show that He spoke nothing which was not the Father's, nothing beside what seemed good to the Father.
AUG. And perhaps there is a distinction at bottom, since He speaks of His sayings, when they are His own, in the plural number; as when He says, He that loves Me not, keeps not My sayings: when they are not His own, but the Father's, in the singular, i.e. as the Word, which is Himself. For He is not His own Word, but the Father's, as He is not His own image, but the Father's, or His own Son, but the Father's.
CHRYS. These things have I spoken to you, being yet present with you. Some of these things were obscure, and not understood by the disciples.
AUG The abode He promised them hereafter is altogether a different one from this present abode He now speaks of. The one is spiritual and inward, the other outward, and perceptible to the bodily sight and hearing.
CHRYS. To enable them to sustain His bodily departure more cheerfully, He promises that that departure shall be the source of great benefit; for that while He was then in the body, they could never know much, because the Spirit would not have come: But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you.
GREG. Paraclete is Advocate, or Comforter. The Advocate then intercedes with the Father for sinners, when by His inward power He moves the sinner to pray for himself. The Comforter relieves the sorrow of penitents, and cheers them with the hope of pardon.
CHRYS. He often calls Him the Comforter, in allusion to the affliction in which they then were.
DIDYMUS. The Savior affirms that the Holy Spirit is sent by the Father, in His, the Savior's, name; which name is the Son. Here an agreement of nature and propriety, so to speak, of persons is strewn. The Son can come in the Father's name only, consistently with the proper relationship of the Son to the Father, and the Father to the Son.
No one else comes in the name of the Father, but in the name of God, of the Lord, of the Almighty, and the like. As servants who come in the name of their Lord, do so as being the servants of that Lord, so the Son who comes in the name of the Father, bears that name as being the acknowledged only-begotten Son of the Father. That the Holy Spirit then is sent in the Son's name, by the Father, shows that He is in unity with the Son: whence He is said too to be the Spirit of the Son, and to make those sons by adoption, who are willing to receive Him.
The Holy Spirit then, Who comes in the name of the Son from the Father, shall teach them, who are established in the faith of Christ, all things; all things which are spiritual, both the understanding of truth, and the sacrament of wisdom. But He will teach not like those who have acquired an art or knowledge by study and industry, but as being the very art, doctrine, knowledge itself. As being this Himself, the Spirit of truth will impart the knowledge of divine things to the mind.
GREG. Unless the Spirit be present to the mind of the hearer, the word of the teacher is vain. Let none then attribute to the human teacher, the understanding which follows in consequence of his teaching: for unless there be a teacher within, the tongue of the teacher outside will labor in vain. Nay even the Maker Himself does not speak for the instruction of man, unless the Spirit by His unction speaks at the same time.
AUG. So then the Son speaks, the Holy Spirit teaches: when the Son speaks we take in the words, when the Holy Spirit teaches, we understand those words. The whole Trinity indeed both speaks and teaches, but unless each person worked separately as well, the whole would be too much for human infirmity to take in.
GREG. But why is it said of the Spirit, He shall suggest all stings to you: to suggest being the office of an inferior? The word is used here, as it is used sometimes, in the sense of supplying secretly. The invisible Spirit suggests, not because He takes a lower place in teaching, but because He teaches secretly.
AUG. Suggest, i.e. bring to your remembrance. Every wholesome hint to remember that we receive is of the grace of the Spirit.
THEOPHYL. The Holy Spirit then was both to teach and to bring to remembrance: to teach what Christ had forborne to tell His disciples, because they were not able to bear it; to bring to remembrance what Christ had told them but which on account of its difficulty, or their slowness of understanding, they were unable to remember.
CHRYS. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you: He says this to console His disciples, who were now troubled at the prospect of the hatred and opposition which awaited them after His departure.
AUG. He left no peace in this world; in which we conquer the enemy, and have love one to another: He will give us peace in the world to come, when we shall reign without an enemy, and where we shall be able to avoid disagreement. This peace is Himself, both when we believe that He is, and when we shall see Him as He is. But why does He say, Peace I leave with you, without the My, whereas He puts in My in, My peace 1 give to you? Are we to understand My in the former; or is it not rather left out with a meaning?
His peace is such peace as He has Himself; the peace which He left us in this world is rather our peace than His. He has nothing to fight against in Himself, because He has no sin: but ours is a peace in which we still say, Forgive us our debts (Mt 6,12). And in like manner we have peace between ourselves, because we mutually trust one another, that we mutually love one another. But neither is that a perfect peace; for we do not see into each other's minds. I could not deny however that these words of our Lord's may be understood as a simple repetition.
He adds, Not as the world gives, give I unto you: i.e. not as those men, who love the world, give. They give themselves peace, i.e. free, uninterrupted enjoyment of the world. And even when they allow the righteous peace, so far as not to persecute them, yet there cannot be true peace, where there is no true agreement, no union of heart.
CHRYS. External peace is often even hurtful, rather than profitable to those who enjoy it.
AUG. But there is a peace which is serenity of thought, tranquillity of mind, simplicity of heart, the bond of love, the fellowship of charity. None will be able to come to the inheritance of the Lord who do not observe this testament of peace; none be friends with Christ, who are at enmity with the Christians.
13427 Jn 14,27-31
CHRYS. After saying, Peace I leave with you, which was like taking farewell, He consoles them: Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid: the two feelings of love and fear were now the uppermost in them.
AUG. Though He was only going for a time, their hearts would be troubled and afraid for what might happen before He returned; lest in the absence of the Shepherd the wolf might attack the flock: you have heard how I said to you, I go away, and come again to you. In that He was man, He went; in that He was God, He stayed.
Why then be troubled and afraid, when He left the eye only, not the heart? To make them understand that it was as man that He said, I go away, and come again to you; He adds, If you loved Me you would rejoice, because I said, I go to My Father; for My Father is greater than I. In that the Son then is unequal with the Father, through that inequality He went to the Father, from Him to come again to judge the quick and dead: in that He is equal to the Father, He never goes from the Father, but is everywhere altogether with Him in that Godhead, which is not confined to place.
Nay, the Son Himself, because that being equal to the Father in the form of God, He emptied Himself, not losing the form of God, but taking that of a servant, is greater even than Himself: the form of God which is not lost, is greater than the form of a servant which was put on. In this form of a servant, the Son of God is inferior not to the Father only, but to the Holy Ghost; in this the Child Christ was inferior even to His parents; to whom we read, He was subject. Let us acknowledge then the twofold substance of Christ, the divine, which is equal to the Father, and the human, which is inferior.
But Christ is both together, not two, but one Christ else the Godhead is a quaternity, not a Trinity. Wherefore He says, If you loved Me, you would rejoice, because I said, I go to the Father; for human nature should exult at being thus taken up by the Only Begotten Word, and made immortal in heaven; at earth being raised to heaven, and dust sitting incorruptible at the right hand of the Father. Who, that loves Christ, will not rejoice at this, seeing, as he does, his own nature immortal in Christ, and hoping that He Himself will be so by Christ.
HILARY. Or thus: If the Father is greater by virtue of giving, is the Son less by confessing the gift? The giver is the greater, but He to whom unity with that giver is given, is not the less.
CHRYS. Or thus: The Apostles did not yet know what the resurrection was of which He spoke when He said, I go, and come again to you: or what they ought to think of it. They only knew the great power of the Father. So He tells them: Though you fear I shall not be able to save Myself, and do not trust to My appearing again after My crucifixion; yet when you hear that I go to My Father, you should rejoice, because I go to one greater, one able to dissolve and change all things. All this is said in accommodation to their weakness: as we see from the next words:
And now I have told you before it comes to pass; that when it does come to pass, you may believe.
AUG. But is not the time for belief before a thing takes place? Is it not the praise of faith, that it believes what it does not see? according to w hat is said below to Thomas: Because you have seen, you has believed. He saw one thing, believed another: what he saw was man, what he believed was God. And if belief can be talked of with reference to things seen, as when we say that we believe our eyes; yet it is not mature faith, but is merely preparatory to our believing what we do not see.
When it has come to pass, then He says, because after His death they would see Him alive again, and ascending to His Father; which sight would convince them that He was the Christ, the Son of God; able as He was to do so great a thing, and to foretell it. Which faith however would not be a new, but only an enlarged faith; or a faith which had failed at His death, and been renewed by His resurrection.
HILARY. He next alludes to the approach of the time when He would resume His glory. Hereafter 1 will not talk much with you.
BEDE. He says this because the time was now approaching for His being taken, and given up to death: For the Prince of this world comes.
AUG. i.e. the devil; the prince of sinners, not of creatures; as the Apostle said, Against the rulers of this world. Or, as He immediately adds by way of explanation, this darkness, meaning, the ungodly. And has nothing in Me. God had no sin as God, nor had His flesh contracted it by a sinful birth, being born of the Virgin. But how, it might be asked, can you die, if you have no sin: He answers,
But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence. He had been sitting at table with them all this time. Let us go, i.e. to the place, where He, Who had done nothing to deserve death, was to be delivered to death. But He had a commandment from His Father to die.
AUG. That the Son is obedient to the will and commandment of the Father, no more shows a difference in the two, than it would in a human father and son. But over and above this comes the consideration that Christ is not only God, and as such equal to the Father, but also man, and as such inferior to the Father.
CHRYS. Arise, let us go hence, is the beginning of the sentence which l, follows. The time and the place (they were in the midst of a town, and it was night time) had excited the disciples' fears to such a degree, that they could not attend to any thing that was said, but rolled their eyes about, expecting persons to enter and assault them; especially when they heard our Lord say, Yet a little while I am with you; and, The prince of this world comes. To quiet their alarm then, He takes them to another place, where they imagine themselves safe, and would be able to attend to the great doctrines which He was going to set before them.
13501 Jn 15,1-3
HILARY. He rises in haste to perform the sacrament of His final passion in the flesh (such is His desire to fulfill His Father's commandment) and therefore takes occasion to unfold the mystery of His assumption of His flesh, whereby He supports us, as the vine does its branches: I am the true vine.
AUG. He says this as being the Head of the Church, of which we are the members, the Man Christ Jesus; for the vine and the branches are of the same nature. When He says, I am the true vine, He does not mean really a vine; for He is only called so metaphorically, not literally, even as He is called the Lamb, the Sheep, and the like; but He distinguishes Himself from that vine to whom it is said, How you are turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine to me (Jr 11,21). For how is that a true vine, which when grapes are expected from it, produces only thorns?
HILARY. But He wholly separates this humiliation in the flesh from the form of the Paternal Majesty, by setting forth the Father as the diligent husbandman of this vine: And My Father is the husbandman.
AUG. For we cultivate God, and God cultivates us. But our culture of God does not make Him better: our culture is that of adoration, not of plowing: His culture of us makes us better. His culture consists in extirpating all the seeds of wickedness from our hearts, in opening our heart to the plow, as it were, of His word, in sowing in us the seeds of His commandments, in waiting for the fruits of piety.
CHRYS. And forasmuch as Christ was sufficient for Himself, but His disciples needed the help of the Husbandman, of the vine He says nothing, but adds concerning the branches, Every branch in Me that bears not fruit, He takes away. By fruit is meant life, i.e. that no one can be in Him without good works.
HILARY. The useless and deceitful branches He cuts down for burning.
CHRYS. And inasmuch as even the best of men require the work of the husbandman, He adds, And every branch that bears fruit, He purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit. He alludes here to the tribulations and trials which were coming upon them, the effect of which would be to purge, and so to strengthen them. By pruning the branches we make the tree shoot out the more.
AUG. And who is there in this world so clean, that he cannot be more and more changed? Here, if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. He cleans then the clean, i.e. the fruitful, that the cleaner they be, the more fruitful they may be. Christ is the vine, in that He said, My Father is greater than I; but in that He said, I and My Father are one, He is the husbandman; not like those who carry on an external ministry only; for He gives increase within.
Thus He calls Himself immediately the cleanser of the branches: Now you are clean through the word, which I have spoken to you. He performs the part of the husbandman then, as well as of the vine. But why does He not say, you are clean by reason of the baptism wherewith you are washed? Because it is the word in the water which cleans. Take away the word, and what is the water, which but water.
Add the word to the element, and you have a sacrament. Whence has the water such virtue as that by touching the body, it cleans the heart, but by the power of the word, not spoken only, but believed? For in the word itself the passing sound is one thing, the abiding virtue another. This word of faith is of such avail in the Church of God that by Him who believes, presents, blesses, sprinkles the infant, it cleanses that infant, though itself is unable to believe.
CHRYS. You are clean through the word which I have spoken to you, i.e., you have been enlightened by My doctrine, and been delivered from Jewish error.
13504 Jn 15,4-7
CHRYS. Having said that they were clean through the word which He had spoken to them, He now taught them that they must do their part.
AUG. Abide in Me, and I in you: not they in Him, as He in them; for both are for the profit not of Him, but them. The branches do not confer any advantage upon the vine, but receive their support from it: the vine supplies nourishment to the branches, takes none from them: so that the abiding in Christ, and the having Christ abiding in them, are both for the profit of the disciples, not of Christ; according to what follows, As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can you, except you abide in Me.
Great display of grace! He strengthens the hearts of the humble, stops the mouth of the proud. They who hold that God is not necessary for the doing of good works, the subverters, not the asserters, of free will, contradict this truth. For he who thinks that he bears fruit of himself, is not in the vine; he who is not in the vine, is not in Christ; he who is not in Christ, is not a Christian.
ALCUIN. All the fruit of good works proceeds from this root. He who has delivered us by His grace, also carries us onward by his help, so that we bring forth more fruit. Wherefore He repeats, and explains what He has said: I am the vine, you are the branches. He that abides in Me, by believing, obeying, persevering, and I in Him, by enlightening, assisting, giving perseverance, the same, and none other, brings forth much fruit.
AUG. But lest any should suppose that a branch could bring forth a little fruit of itself, He adds, For without Me you can do nothing. He does not say, you can do little. Unless the branch abides in the vine, and lives from the root, it can bear no fruit whatever. Christ, though He would not be the vine, except He were man, yet could not give this grace to the branches, except He were God.
CHRYS. The Son then contributes no less than the Father to the help of the disciples. The Father changes, but the Son keeps them in Him, which is that which makes the branches fruitful. And again, the cleansing is attributed to the Son also, and the abiding in the root to the Father who begot the root. It is a great loss to be able to do nothing, but He goes on to say more than this: If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, i.e. shall not benefit by the care of the husbandman, and withers, i.e., shall lose all that it desires from the root, all that supports its life, and shall die.
ALCUIN. And men gather them, i.e., the reapers, the Angels, and cast them into the fire, everlasting fire, and they are burned.
AUG. For the branches of the vine are as contemptible, if they abide not in the vine, as they are glorious, if they abide. One of the two the branch must be in, either the vine, or the fire: if it is not in the vine, it will be in the fire.
CHRYS. Then He shows what it is to abide in Him. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done to you. It is to be shown by their works.
AUG. For then may His words be said to abide in us, when we do what He has commanded, and love what He has promised. But when His words abide in the memory and are not found in the life, the branch is not accounted to be in the vine, because it derives no life from its root. So far as we abide in the Savior we cannot will any thing that is foreign to our salvation.
We have one will, insofar as we are in Christ, another, insofar as we are in this world And by reason of our abode in this world, it sometimes happens that we ask for that which is not expedient, through ignorance. But never, if we abide in Christ, will He grant it us, Who does not grant except what is expedient for us. And here we are directed to the prayer, Our Father. Let us adhere to the words and the meaning of this prayer in our petitions, and whatever we ask will be done for us.
13508 Jn 15,8-11
CHRYS. Our Lord showed above, that those who plotted against them should be burned, inasmuch as they abode not in Christ: now He shows that they themselves would be invincible, bringing forth much fruit; Herein is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit: as if He said, If it appertains to My Father's glory that you bring forth fruit, He will not despise His own glory. And he that brings forth fruit is Christ's disciple: So shall you be My disciples.
THEOPHYL. The fruit of the Apostles are the Gentiles, who through their teaching were converted to the faith, and brought into subjection to the glory of God.
AUG. Made bright or glorified; the Greek word may be translated in either way. In Greek it signifies glory; not our own glory, we must remember, as if we had it of ourselves: it is of His grace that we have it; and therefore it is not our own but His glory. For from whom shall we derive our fruitfulness, but from His mercy preventing us.
Wherefore He adds, As My Father has loved Me, even so love I you. This then is the source of our good works. Our good works proceed from faith which works by love: but we could not love unless we were loved first: As My Father has loved Me, even so love I you. This does not prove that our nature is equal to His, as His is to the Father's, but the grace, whereby He is the Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. The Father loves us, but in Him.
CHRYS. If then I love you, be of good cheer; if it is the Father's glory that you bring forth good fruit, bear no evil. Then to rouse them to exertion, He adds, Continue you in My love; and then shows how this is to be done: If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love.
AUG. Who doubts that love precedes the observance of the commandments? For who loves not, has not that whereby to keep the commandments. These words then do not declare whence love arises, but how it is shown, that no one might deceive himself into thinking that he loved our Lord, when he did not keep His commandments. Though the words, Continue you in My love, do not of themselves make it evident which love He means, ours to Him, or His to us, yet the preceding words do: I love you, He says: and then immediately after, Continue you in My love.
Continue you in My love, then, is, continue in My grace; and, If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love, is, Your keeping of My commandments will be evidence to you that you abide in My love. It is not that we keep His commandments first, and that then He loves; but that He loves us, and then we keep His commandments. This is that grace, which is revealed to the humble, but hidden from the proud. But what means the next words, Even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love: i.e., the Father's love, wherewith He loves the Son.
Must this grace, wherewith the Father loves the Son, be understood to be like the grace wherewith the Son loves us? No; for whereas we are sons not by nature, but by grace, the Only Begotten is Son not by grace, but by nature. We must understand this then to refer to the manhood in the Son, even as the words themselves imply: As My Father has loved Me, even so love I you.
The grace of a Mediator is expressed here; and Christ is Mediator between God and man, not as God, but as man. This then we may say, that since human nature does not pertain to the nature of God, but does by grace pertain to the Person of the Son, grace also pertains to that Person: such grace as has nothing superior, nothing equal to it. For no merits on man's part preceded the assumption of that nature.
ALCUIN. Even as 1 have kept My Father's commandments. The Apostle explains what these commandments were: Christ became obedient to death, even the death of the cross (Ph 2,8).
CHRYS. Then because the Passion was now approaching to interrupt their joy, He adds, These things have I spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you: as if He said, And if sorrow fall upon you, I will take it away, so that you shall rejoice in the end.
AUG. And what is Christ's joy in us, but that He deigns to rejoice on our account? And what is our joy, which He says shall be full, but to have fellowship with Him? He had perfect joy on our account, when He rejoiced in foreknowing, and predestinating us; but that joy was not in us, because then we did not exist: it began to be in us, when He called us. And this joy we rightly call our own, this joy wherewith we shall be blessed; which is begun in the faith of them who are born again, and shall be fulfilled in the reward of them who rise again.
Golden Chain 13418