Augustin on John 45

Tractate XLVI.

46 (Jn 10,11-13.

1). The Lord Jesus is speaking to His sheep-to those already so, and to those yet to become such-who were then present; for in the place where they were, there were those who were already His sheep, as well as those who were afterwards to become so: and He likewise shows to those then present and those to come, both to them and to us, and to as many also after us as shall yet be His sheep, who it is that had been sent to them. All, therefore, hear the voice of their Shepherd saying, “I am the good Shepherd.” He would not add “good,” were there not bad shepherds. But the bad shepherds are those who are thieves and robbers, or certainly hirelings at the best. For we ought to examine into, to distinguish, and to know, all the characters whom He has here depicted. The Lord has already unfolded two points, which He had previously set forth in a kind of covert form: we already know that He is Himself the door, and we know that He is Himself the Shepherd. Who the thieves and robbers are, was made clear in yesterday’s lesson; and to-day we have heard of the hireling, as we have heard also of the wolf. Yesterday the porter was also introduced by name. Among the good, therefore, are the door, the doorkeeper, the shepherd, and the sheep: among the bad, the thieves and robbers, the hirelings, and the wolf.

2. We understand the Lord Christ as the door, and also as the Shepherd; but who is to be understood as the doorkeeper? For the former two, He has Himself explained: the doorkeeper He has left us to search out for ourselves. And what doth He say of the doorkeeper? “To him,” He saith, “the porter [doorkeeper]1 openeth.” To whom cloth he open? To the Shepherd. What doth he open to the Shepherd? The door. And who is also the door? The Shepherd Himself. Now, if Christ the Lord had not Himself explained, had not Himself said, “I am the Shepherd,” and “I am the door,” would any of us have ventured to say that Christ is Himself both the Shepherd and the door? For had He said, “I am the Shepherd,” and had not said, “I am the door,” we should be setting ourselves to inquire what was the door, and perhaps, mistaken in our views, be still standing before the door. His grace and mercy have revealed to us the Shepherd, by His calling Himself so; have revealed to us also the door, when declared Himself such; but He hath left us to search out the doorkeeper for ourselves. Whom, then, are we to call the doorkeeper? Whomsoever we fix upon, we must take care not to think of him as greater than the door itself; for in men’s houses the doorkeeper is greater than the door. The doorkeeper is placed before the door, not the door before the doorkeeper; because the porter keepeth the door, not the door the porter. I dare not say that any one is greater than the door, for I have heard already what is the door: that is no longer unknown to me, I am not left to my own conjecture, and I have not got much room for mere human guess work: God hath said it, the Truth hath said it, and we cannot change what the Unchangeable hath uttered.

3. In respect, then, of the profound nature of this question, I shall tell you what I think: let each one make the choice that pleases him, but let him think of it reverently; as it is written, “Think of the Lord with goodness, and in simplicity of heart seek Him.”2 Perhaps we ought to understand the Lord Himself as the doorkeeper: for the shepherd and the door are in human respects as much different from each other as the doorkeeper and the door; and yet the Lord has called Himself both the Shepherd and the door. Why, then, may we not understand Him also as the doorkeeper? For if we look at His personal qualities,3 the Lord Christ is neither a shepherd, in the way we are accustomed to know and to see shepherds; nor is He a door, for no artisan made Him: but if, because of some point of similarity, He is both the door and the Shepherd, I venture to say, He is also a sheep. True, the sheep is under the shepherd; yet He is both the Shepherd and a sheep. Where is He the Shepherd? Look, here thou hast it; read the Gospel: “I am the good Shepherd.” Where is He a sheep? Ask the prophet: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter.”4 Ask the friend of the bridegroom: “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.”5 Moreover, I am going to say something of a still more wonderful kind, in accordance with these points of similarity. For both the lamb, and the sheep, and the shepherd are friendly with one another, but from the lions as their foes the sheep are protected by their shepherds: and yet of Christ, who is both sheep and Shepherd, we have it said, “The Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed.”6 All this, brethren, understand in connection with points of similarity, not with personal qualities. It is a common thing to see the shepherds sitting on a rock, and there guarding the cattle committed to their care. Surely the shepherd is better than the rock that he sits upon; and yet Christ is both the Shepherd and the rock. All this by way of comparison. But if thou askest me for His peculiar personal quality:7 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”8 If thou askest me for the personal quality peculiarly His own: The only Son, from everlasting to everlasting begotten of the Father, the equal of Him that begat, the Maker of all things, unchangeable with the Father, unchanged by the assuming of human form, man by incarnation, the Son of man, and the Son of God. All this that I have said is not figure, but reality.

4. Therefore, let us not, brethren, be disturbed in understanding Him, in harmony with certain resemblances, as Himself the door, and also the doorkeeper. For what is the door? The way of entrance. Who is the doorkeeper? He who opens it. Who, then, is He that opens Himself, but He who unveils Himself to sight? See, when the Lord spoke at first of the door, we did not understand: so long as we did not understand, it was shut: He who opened it is Himself the doorkeeper. There is no need, then, of seeking any other meaning, no need; but perhaps there is the desire. If there is so, quit not the path, go not outside of the Trinity. If thou art in quest of some other impersonation of the doorkeeper, bethink thee of the Holy Spirit; for the Holy Spirit will not think it unmeet to be the doorkeeper, when the Son has thought it meet to be Himself the door. Look at the doorkeeper as perhaps the Holy Spirit: about Him the Lord saith to His disciples, “He shall guide you into all truth.”9 What is the door? Christ. What is Christ? The Truth. Who, then, openeth the door, but He who guideth into all truth?

5. But what are we to say of the hireling? He is not mentioned here among the good. “The good Shepherd,” He says, “giveth His life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the Shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth; and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.” The hireling does not here bear a good character, and yet in some respects is useful; nor would he be called an hireling, did he not receive hire from his employer. Who then is this hireling, that is both blameworthy and needful? And here, brethren, let the Lord Himself give us light, that we may know who the hirelings are, and be not hirelings ourselves. Who then is the hireling? There are some in office in the church, of whom the Apostle Paul saith, “Who seek their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ’s.” What means that, “Who seek their own”? Who do not love Christ freely, who do not seek after God for His own sake; who are pursuing after temporal advantages, gaping for gain, coveting honors from men. When such things are loved by an overseer, and for such things God is served, whoever such an one may be, he is an hireling who cannot count himself among the children. For of such also the Lord saith: “Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward.”10 Listen to what the Apostle Paul says of St. Timothy: “But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your circumstances; for I have no man like-minded, who will naturally11 care for you. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.”12 The shepherd mourned in the midst of hirelings. He sought some one who sincerely loved the flock of Christ, and round about him, amongst those who were with him at that time, he found not one. Not that there was no one then in the Church of Christ but the Apostle Paul and Timothy, who had a brother’s13 concern for the flock; but it so happened at the time of his sending Timothy, that he had none else of his sons about him; only hirelings were with him, “who sought their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.” And yet he himself, with a brother’s anxiety for the flock, preferred sending his son, and remaining himself amongst hirelings. Hirelings are also found among ourselves, but the Lord alone distinguisheth them. He that searcheth the heart, distinguisheth them; and yet sometimes we know them ourselves. For it was not without a purpose that the Lord Himself said also of the wolves: “By their fruits ye shall know them.”14 Temptations put many to the question, and then their thoughts are made manifest; but many remain undiscovered. The Lord’s fold must have as overseers, both those who are children and those who are hirelings. But the overseers, who are sons, are the shepherds. If they are shepherds, how is there but one Shepherd, save that all of them are members of the one Shepherd, to whom the sheep belong? For they are also members of Himself as the one sheep; because “as a sheep he was led to the slaughter.”

6. But give heed to the fact that even the hirelings are needful. For many indeed in the Church are following after earthly profit, and yet preach Christ, and through them is heard the voice of Christ; and the sheep follow, not the hireling, but the Shepherd’s voice speaking through the hireling. Hearken to the hirelings as pointed out by the Lord Himself: “The scribes,” He saith, “and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: do what they say; but do not what they do.”15 What else said He but, Listen to the Shepherd’s voice speaking through the hirelings? For sitting in Moses’ seat, they teach the law of God; therefore God teacheth by them. But if they wish to teach their own things, hear them not, do them not. For certainly such seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s; but no hireling has dared to say to Christ’s people, Seek your own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. For his own evil conduct he does not preach from the seat of Christ: he does injury by the evil that he does, not by the good that he says. Pluck the grapes, beware of the thorn. It is well I see that you have understood; but for the sake of those that are slower, I shall repeat these words with greater plainness. How said I, Pluck the bunch of grapes, beware of the thorn; when the Lord saith, “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles”? That is quite true: and yet what I said is also true, Pluck the bunch of grapes, beware of the thorn. For sometimes the grape-cluster, springing from the root of the vine, finds its support in a common hedge; its branch, grows, becomes embedded among thorns, and the thorn bears other fruit than its own. For the thorn has not been produced from the vine, but has become the resting-place of its runner. Make thine inquiries only at the roots. Seek for the thorn-root, thou wilt find it apart from the vine: seek the origin of the grape, and from the root of the vine it will be found to have sprung. And so, Moses’ seatwas the vine; the morals of the Pharisees werethe thorns. Sound doctrine cometh through the wicked, as the vine-branch in a hedge, a bunch of grapes among thorns. Gather care. fully, so as in seeking the fruit not to tear thine hand; and while thou art to hear one speaking what is good, imitate him not when doing what is evil. “What they tell you, do,”-gather the grapes; “but what they do, do not,”-beware of the thorns. Even through hirelings listen to the voice of the Shepherd, but be not hirelings yourselves, seeing ye are members of the Shepherd. Yea, Paul himself, the holy apostle who said, “I have noone who hath a brother’s concern about you; for all seek their own, not the things which l are Jesus Christ’s,” draws a distinction in another place between hirelings and sons; and see what he saith: “Some preach Christ even of envy and strife, and some also of good will: some of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel; but some also preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds.” These were hirelings who disliked the Apostle Paul. And why such dislike, but just because they were seeking after temporal things? But mark what he adds: “What then, notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached: and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”16 Christ is the truth: let the truth be preached in pretense by hirelings, let it be preached in truth by the children: the children are waiting patiently for the eternal inheritance of the Father, the hirelings are longing for, and in a hurry to get, the temporal pay of their employer. For my part let me be shorn of the human glory, which I see such an object of envy to hirelings: and yet by the tongues both of hirelings and of children let the divine glory of Christ be published abroad, seeing that, “whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached.”

7. We have seen who the hireling is also. Who, but the devil, is the wolf? And what was said of the hireling? “When he seeth the wolf coming, he fleeth: but the sheep are not his own, and he careth not for the sheep.” Was the Apostle Paul such an one? Certainly not. Was Peter such an one? Far from it. Was such the character of the other apostles, save Judas, the son of perdition? Surely not. Were they shepherds then? Certainly they were. And how is there one Shepherd? I have already said they were shepherds, because members of the Shepherd. In that head they rejoiced, under that head they were in harmony together, with one spirit they lived in the bond of one body; and therefore belonged all of them to the one Shepherd. If, then, they were shepherds, and not hirelings, wherefore fled they when suffering persecution? Explain it to us, O Lord. In an epistle, I have seen paul fleeing: he was let down by the wall in a basket, to escape the hands of his persecutor.17 Had he, then, no care of the sheep, whom he thus abandoned at the approach of the wolf? Clearly he had, but he commended them by his prayers to the Shepherd who was sitting in heaven; and for their advantage he preserved himself by flight, as he says in a certain place, “To abide in the flesh is needful for you.”18 For all had heard from the Shepherd Himself, “If they persecute you in one city, flee ye into another.”19 May the Lord be pleased to explain to us this point! Lord, Thou saidst to those whom Thou didst certainly wish to be faithful shepherds, and whom Thou didst form into Thine own members, “If they persecute you flee.” Doest Thou, then, injustice to them, when Thou blamest the hirelings who flee when they see the wolf coming! We ask Thee to tell us what meaning lies hid in the depths of the question. Let us knock, and the keeper of the door, which is Christ, will be here to reveal Himself.

8. Who is the hireling that seeth the wolf coming, and fleeth? He that seeketh his own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. He is one that does not venture plainly to rebuke an offender.20 Look, some one or other has sinned-grievously sinned; he ought to be rebuked, to be excommunicated: but once excommunicated, he will turn into an enemy, hatch plots, and do all the injury he can. At present, he who seeketh his own, not the things that are Jesus Christ’s, in order not to lose what he follows after, the advantages of human friendship, and incur the annoyances of human enmity, keeps quiet and does not administer rebuke. See, the wolf has caught a sheep by the throat; the devil has enticed a believer into adultery: thou holdest thy peace-thou utterest no reproof. O hireling, thou hast seen the wolf coming and hast fled! Perhaps he answers and says: See, I am here; I have not fled. Thou hast fled, because thou hast been silent; thou hast been silent, because thou hast been afraid. The flight of the mind is fear. Thou stoodest with thy body, thou fleddest in thy spirit, which was not the conduct of him who said, “Though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit.”21 For how did he flee in spirit, who, though absent in the flesh, yet in his letters reproved the fornicators? Our affections are the motions of our minds. Joy is expansion of the mind; sorrow, contraction of the mind; desire, a forward movement of the mind; and fear, the flight of the mind. For thou art expanded in mind when thou art glad; contracted in mind when thou art in trouble; thou movest forward in mind when thou hast an earnest desire; and thou fleest in mind when thou art afraid. This, then, is how the hireling is said to flee at the sight of the wolf. Why? “Because he careth not for the sheep.” Why “careth he not for the sheep”? “Because he is an hireling.” What is that, “he is an hireling”? He seeketh a temporal reward, and shall not dwell in the house for ever. There are still some things here to be inquired about and discussed with you, but it is not prudent to burden you. For we are ministering the Lord’s food to our fellow-servants; we feed as sheep in the Lord’s pastures, and are fed together. And just as we must not withhold what is needful, so our weak hearts are not to be overcharged with the abundance of provisions. Let it not then annoy your Charity that I do not take up to-day all that I think is still here to be discussed; but the same lesson will, in the Lord’s name, be read over to us again on the preaching days, and be, with His help, more carefully considered.

1 Ostiarius.
2 Wisdom 1,1.
3 Proprietates.
4 (Is 53,7,
5 Chap. 1,29).
6 (Ap 5,5,
7 Proprietatem.
8 Chap. 1,1.
9 Chap. 16,13.
10 (Mt 6,5,
11 Germane, like a brother.
12 (Ph 2,19-21.
13 Germane, like a brother).
14 (Mt 7,16,
15 (Mt 23,2-3.
16 (Ph 1,15-18).
17 (2Co 11,33,
18 (Ph 1,24,
19 (Mt 10,23,
20 (1Tm 5,20,
21 (Col 2,5,

Tractate XLVII.

47 (Jn 10,14-21.

1. Those of you who hear the word of our God, not only with willingness, but also with attention, doubtless remember our promise. Indeed the same gospel lesson has also been read to-day which was read last Lord’s day; because, having lingered over certain closely related topics, we could not discuss all that we owed to your powers of understanding. Accordingly, what has been already said and discoursed about we do not inquire into today, lest by continual repetitions we should be prevented from reaching what has still to be spoken. You know now in the Lord’s name who is the good Shepherd, and in what way good shepherds are His members, and therefore the Shepherd is one. You know who is the hireling we have to bear with; who the wolf, and the thieves, and the robbers we have to beware of; who are the sheep, and what is the door whereby both sheep and shepherd enter: how we are to understand the doorkeeper. You know also that every one who entereth not by the door is a thief and a robber, and cometh not but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. All these sayings have, as I think, been sufficiently handled. To-day we ought to tell you, as far as the Lord enables us (for Jesus Christ our Saviour hath Himself told us that He is both the Shepherd and the door, and that the good Shepherd entereth in by the door), how it is that He entereth in by Himself. For if no one is a good shepherd but he that entereth by the door, and He Himself is preeminently the good Shepherd, and also Himself the door, I can understand it only in this way, that He entereth in by Himself to His sheep, and calleth them to follow Him, and they, going in and out, find pasture, which is to say, eternal life.

2. I proceed, then, without more delay. When I seek to get into you, that is, into your heart, I preach Christ: were I preachingsomething else, I should be trying to climb up some other way. Christ, therefore, is my gate to you: by Christ I get entrance, not to your houses, but to your hearts. It is by Christ I enter: it is Christ in me that you have been willingly hearing. And why is it you have thus willingly hearkened to Christ in me? Because you are the sheep of Christ, purchased with the blood of Christ. You acknowledge your own price, which is not paid by me, but is preached by my instrumentality. He, and only He, was the buyer, who shed precious blood-the precious blood of Him who was without sin. Yet made He precious also the blood of His own, for whom He paid the price of blood: for had He not made the blood of His own precious, it would not have been said, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”1 So also when He saith, “The good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep,” He is not the only one who has done such a deed; and yet if those who have done so are His members, He only Himself was the doer of it. For He was able to do so without them, but whence had they the power apart from Him, who Himself had said, “Without me ye can do nothing”?2 But from the same source we can show what others also have done, for the apostle Jn himself, who preached the very gospel you have been hearing, has said in his epistle, “Just as Christ laid down His life for us, so ought we also to lay down our lives for the brethren.”3 “We ought,” he says: He made us debtors who first set the example. To the same effect it is written in a certain place, “If thou sittest down to sup at a ruler’s table, make wise observation of what is set before thee; and put to thy hand, knowing that it will be thy duty to make similar provision in turn.”4 You know what is meant by the ruler’s table: you there find the body and blood of Christ; let him who comes to such a table be ready with similar provision. And what is such similar provision? As He laid down His life for us, so ought we also, for the edification of others, and the maintenance of the faith,5 to lay down our lives for the brethren. To the same effect He said to Peter, whom He wished to make a good shepherd. not in Peter’s own person, but as a member of His body: “Peter, lovest thou me? Feed my sheep.” This He did once, again, and a third time, to the disciple’s sorrow. And when the Lord had questioned him as often as lie judged it needful, that he who had thrice denied might thrice confess Him, and had a third time given him the charge to feed His sheep, He said to him, “When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shall be old, thou shall stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.” And the evangelist has explained the Lord’s meaning: “But this spake He, signifying by what death he should glorify God.”6 “Feed my sheep” applies, then, to this, that thou shouldst lay down thy life for my sheep.

3. And now when He saith, “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father,” who can be ignorant of His meaning? For He knoweth the Father by Himself, and we by Him. That He hath knowledge by Himself, we know already: that we also have knowledge by Him, we have likewise learned, for this also we have learned of Him. For He Himself hath said: “No one hath seen God at any time; but the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.”7 And so by Him do we also get this knowledge, to whom He hath declared Him. In another place also He saith: “No one knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any one the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.”8 As He then knoweth the Father by Himself, and we know the Father by Him; so into the sheepfold He entereth by Himself, and we by Him. We were saying that by Christ we have a door of entrance to you; and why? Because we preach Christ. We preach Christ; and therefore we enter in by the door. But Christ preacheth Christ, for He preacheth Himself; and so the Shepherd entereth in by Himself. When the light shows the other things that are seen in the light, does it need some other means of being made visible itself? The light, then, exhibits both other things and itself. Whatever we understand, we understand with the intellect: and how, save by the intellect, do we understand the intellect itself? But does one in the same way with the bodily eye see both other things and [the eye] itself? For though men see with their eyes, yet their own eyes they see not. The eye of the flesh sees other things, itself it cannot [see]: but the intellect understands itself as well other things. In the same way as the intellect seeth itself, so also cloth Christ preach Himself. If He preacheth Himself, and by preaching entereth into thee, He entereth into thee by Himself. And He is the door to the Father, for there is no way of approach to the Father but by Him. “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”9 Many things are expressed by a word: all that I have just said, I have said, of course, by means of words. If I were wishing to speak also of a word itself, how could I do so but by the use of the word? And thus both many things are expressed by a word, which are not the same as the word, and the word itself can only be expressed by means of the word. By the Lord’s help we have been copious in illustration. Remember, then, how the Lord Jesus Christ is both the door and the Shepherd: the door, in presenting Himself to view; the Shepherd, in entering in by Himself. And indeed, brethren, because He is the Shepherd, He hath given to His members to be so likewise. For both Peter, and Paul, and the other apostles were, as all good bishops are, shepherds. But none of us calleth himself the door. This-the way of entrance for the sheep-He has retained as exclusively belonging to Himself. In short, Paul discharged the office of a good shepherd when he preached Christ, because he entered by the door. But when the undisciplined sheep began to create schisms, and to set up other doors before them, not of entrance to their joint assembly, but for falling away into divisions, saying, some of them, “I am of Paul;” others, “I am of Cephas;” others,” I of Apollos;” others, “I of Christ:” terrified for those who said, “I am of Paul,”-as if calling out to the sheep, Wretched ones, whither are you going? I am not the door,-he said, “Was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?”10 But those who said, “I am of Christ,” had found the door.

4. But of the one sheepfold and of the one Shepherd, you are now indeed being constantly reminded; for we have commended much the one sheepfold, preaching unity, that all the sheep should enter by Christ, and none of them should follow Donatus. Nevertheless, for what particular reason this was said by the Lord, is sufficiently apparent. For He was speaking among the Jews, and had been specially sent to the Jews, not for the sake of that class who were bound up in their inhuman hatred and persistently abiding in darkness, but for the sake of some in the nation whom He calls His sheep: of whom He saith, “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”11 He knew them even amid the crowd of His raging foes, and foresaw them in the peace of believing. What, then, does He mean by saying, “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” but that He exhibited His bodily presence only to the people of Israel? He did not proceed Himself to the Gentiles, but sent: to the people of Israel He both sent and came in person, that those who proved despisers should receive the greater judgment, because favored also with the sight of His actual presence. The Lord Himself was there: there He chose a mother: there He wished to be conceived, to be born, to shed His blood: there are His footprints,12 now objects of adoration where last He stood, and whence He ascended to heaven: but to the Gentiles He only sent.

5. But perhaps some one thinks that, as He Himself came not to us, but sent, we have not heard His own voice, but only the voice of those whom He sent. Far from it: let such a thought be banished from your hearts; for He Himself was in those whom He sent. Listen to Paul himself whom He sent; for Paul was specially sent as an apostle to the Gentiles; and it is Paul who, terrifying them not with himself but with Him saith, “Do ye wish to receive a proof of Him who speaketh in me, that is, of Christ?”13 Listen also to the Lord Himself. “And other sheep I have,” that is, among the Gentiles, “which are not of this fold,” that is, of the people of Israel: “them also must I bring.” Therefore, even when it is by the instrumentality of His servants, it is He and not another that bringeth them. Listen further: “They shall hear my voice.” See here also, it is He Himself who speaks by His servants, and it is His voice that is heard in those whom He sends. “That there may be one fold, and one shepherd.” Of these two flocks, as of two walls, is the corner-stone formed.14 And thus is He both door and the corner-stone: all by way of comparison, none of them literally.

6. For I have said so before, and earnestly pressed it on your notice, and those who comprehend it are wise, yea, those who are wise do comprehend it; and yet let those who are not yet intellectually enlightened, keep hold by faith of what they cannot as yet understand. Christ is many things metaphorically, which strictly speaking15 He is not. Metaphorically Christ is both a rock, and a door, and a corner-stone, and a shepherd, and a lamb, and a lion. How numerous are such similitudes, and as many more as would take too long to enumerate! But if you select the strict significations of things as you are accustomed to see them, then He is neither a rock, for He is not hard and senseless; nor a door, for no artisan made Him; nor a corner-stone, for He was not constructed by a builder; nor a shepherd, for He is no keeper of four-footed animals; nor a lion, as it ranks among the beasts of the forest; nor a lamb, as it belongs to the flock. All such, then, are by way of comparison. But what is He properly? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God [God was the Word].” And what, as He appeared in human nature? “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us [in us].”16

7. Hear also what follows. “Therefore doth my Father love me,” He saith, “because I lay down my life. that I might take it again.” What is this that He says? “Therefore doth my Father love me:” because I die, that I may rise again.17 For the “I” is uttered with special emphasis: “Because I lay down,” He saith, “I lay down my life,” “I lay down.” What is that “I lay down”? I Lay it down. Let the Jews no longer boast: they might rage, but they could have no power: let them rage as they can; if I were unwilling to lay down my life, what would all their raging effect? By one answer of His they were prostrated in the dust: when they were asked, “Whom seek ye?” they said, “Jesus;” and on His saying to them, “I am He, they went backward, and fell to the ground.”18 Those who thus fell to the ground at one word of Christ when about to die, what will they do at the sound of His voice when coming to judgment? “I, I,” I say, “lay down my life, that I may take it again.” Let not the Jews boast, as if they had prevailed; He Himself laid down His life. “I laid me down [to sleep],” He says [elsewhere]. You know the psalm: “I laid me down and slept; and I awaked [rose up], for the Lord sustaineth me.” What of that-“I lay down”? Because it was my pleasure, I did so. What does “I lay down” mean? I died. Was it not a lying down to sleep on His part, who, when He pleased, rose from the tomb as He would from a bed? But He loves to give glory to the Father, that He may stir us up to glorify our Creator. For in adding, “I arose, for the Lord sustaineth me;” think you there was here a kind of failing in His power, so that, while He had it in His own power to die, He had it not in His power to rise again? So, indeed, the words seem to imply when not more closely considered. “I lay down to sleep;” that is, I did so, because I pleased. “And I arose:” why? “Because the Lord sustaineth [will sustain] me.”19 What then wouldst Thou not have power to rise of Thyself? If Thou hadst not the power, Thou wouldst not have said, “I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again.” But, as showing that not only did the Father raise the Son, but the Son also raised Himself, hear how, in another passage in the Gospel, He saith, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” And the evangelist adds: “But this He spake of the temple Of is body.”20 For only that which died was restored to life. The Word is not mortal, His soul is not mortal. If even thine dieth not, could the Lord’s be subject to death?

8. How can I know, thou wilt say, that mine dieth not? Slay it not thyself, and it cannot die. How, thou asketh, can I slay my soul? To say nothing. meanwhile of other sins, “The mouth that lieth, slayeth the soul.”21 How, thou sayest, can I be sure that it dieth not? Listen to the Lord Himself giving security to His servant: “Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.” But what in the plainest terms does He say? “Fear Him who hath power to slay both soul and body in hell.”22 Here you have the fact that it dieth, and that it doth not die. What is its dying? What is dying to thy flesh? Dying, to thy flesh, is the losing of its life: dying to thy soul, is the losing of its life. The life of thy flesh is thy soul: the life of thy soul is thy God. As the flesh dies in losing the soul, which is its life, so the soul dieth in losing God, who is its life. Of a certainty, then, the soul is immortal. Manifestly immortal, for it liveth even when dead. For what the apostle said of the luxurious widow, may also be said of the soul if it has lost its God, “she is dead while she liveth.”23

9. How, then, does the Lord lay down His life [soul]?24 Let us, brethren, inquire into this a little more carefully. The time is not so pressing as is usual on the Lord’s day: we have leisure. and theirs will be the profit who have assembled to-day also to wait on the Word of God. “I lay down my life,” He says. Who lays down? What lays He down? What is Christ? The Word and man. Not man as being flesh alone: but as man consists of flesh and soul, so, in Christ there is a complete humanity. For He would not have assumed the baser part, and left the better behind, seeing that the soul of man is certainly superior to the body. Since, then, there is entire manhood in Christ, what is Christ? The Word, I repeat, and man. What is the Word and man? The Word soul, and flesh. Keep hold of that, for there has been no lack of heretics on this point also, expelled as they were some time ago from the catholic truth, but still persisting, like thieves and robbers who enter not by the door, to lay their snares around the fold. These heretics are termed Apollinarians,25 and have ventured to assert dogmatically that Christ is only the word and flesh, and contend that He did not assume a human soul. And yet some of them could not deny that there was a soul in Christ. See their intolerable absurdity and madness. They would have Him to possess an irrational soul, but deny Him a rational one. They allowed Him a mere animal, they deprived Him of a human, soul. But they took away Christ’s reason by losing their own. Let it be otherwise with us, who have been nourished and established in the catholic faith. Accordingly, on this occasion I would remind your Charity, that, as in former lectures, we have given you sufficient instruction against the Sabellians and Arians,-the Sabellians, who say, The Father is the same as the Son-the Arians, who say, The Father is one being, the Son is another, as if the Father and Son were not of the same substance-and also, provided you remember as you ought, against the Photinian heretics, who have asserted that Christ was mere man, and destitute of Godhead:26 and against the Manicheans, who maintain that He was God only without any true humanity: we may, on this occasion, in speaking about the soul, give you some instruction also in opposition to the Apollinarians, who say that our Lord Jesus Christ had no human soul, that is, a rational intelligent soul,-that soul, I mean, by which, as men, we differ from the brutes.

10. In what sense, then, did our Lord say here, “I have power to lay down my soul [life]”? Who lays down his soul, and takes it again? Is it as being the Word that Christ does so? Or is it the human soul He possesses that lays down and resumes its own existence? Or is it His fleshly nature that lays down its life and takes it again? Let us sift each of the three questions I have suggested, and choose that which conforms to the standard of truth. For if we say that the Word of God laid down His soul, and took it again, we should have to fear the entrance of a wicked thought, and have it said to us: Then there was a time when that soul was separated from the Word, and a time, after His assumption of that soul, when He was without a soul. I see, indeed, that the Word was once without a human soul, but only so, when “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” But from the time that the Word was made flesh, to dwell amongst us,27 and manhood was assumed by the Word, that is, our whole nature, soul and flesh, what more could His passion and death do than separate the body from the soul? It separated not the soul from the Word. For if the Lord died, yea, because He died (for He did so for us on the cross), doubtless His flesh breathed out that which was its life: for a short time the soul forsook the flesh, although destined by its own return to raise the flesh again to life. But I cannot say that the soul was separated from the Word. He said to the soul of the thief, “To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”28 He forsook not the believing soul of the robber, and did He abandon His own? Surely not; but when the Lord took that of the other into His keeping, He certainly retained His own in indissoluble union. If, on the other hand, we say that the soul laid down and reassumed itself, we fall into the greatest absurdity; for what was not separated from the Word, was inseparable from itself.

11. Let us turn, then, to what is true and easily understood. Take the case of any man, who does not consist of the word and soul and flesh, but only of soul and flesh; and let us inquire how any such man lays down his life. Can no ordinary man do so? Thou mayest say to me: No man has power to lay down his life [soul], and to take it again. But were not a man able to lay down his life, the Apostle Jn would not say, “As Christ laid down his life for us, even so ought we also to lay down our lives for the brethren.”29 Therefore may we also (if only we are filled with His courage, for without Him we can do nothing) lay down our lives for the brethren. When some holy martyr has laid down his life for the brethren, who laid it down, and what laid he down? If we understand this, we shall perceive in what sense it was said byChrist, “I have power to lay down my life.”Art thou prepared, O man, to die for Christ? I am prepared, he replies. Let me repeat the question in other words. Art thou prepared to lay down thy life for Christ? And to these words he makes me the same reply, I am prepared, as he had, when I said, Art thou prepared to die? To lay down one’s life [soul], is, then, the same as to die. But in whose behalf is the sacrifice in this case? For all men, when they die, lay down theirlife; but it is not all who lay it down for Christ. And no one has power to resume what he has laid down. But Christ both laid it down for us, and did so when it pleased Him; and when it pleased Him, He took it again. To lay down one’s soul then, is to die. As also the Apostle Peter said to the Lord: “I will lay down my life [soul] for Thy sake;”30 that is, I will die for Thy sake. View it, then, as referable to the flesh: the flesh layeth down its life, and the flesh taketh it again; not, indeed, the flesh by its own power, but by the power of Him that inhabiteth it. The flesh, then, layeth down its life in expiring. Look at the Lord Himself on the cross: He said, “I thirst:” those who were present dipped a sponge in vinegar, fastened it to a reed, and applied it to His mouth; then, having received it, He said, “It is finished;” meaning, All is fulfilled which had been prophesied regarding me as, prior to my death, still in the future. And because He had the power, when He pleased, to lay down His life, after He had said, “It is finished,” what adds the evangelist? “And He bowed His head, and gave up the spirit.”31 This is to lay down the soul [life]. Only let your Charity attend to this. “He bowed His head, and gave up the spirit.” Who gave up what gave He up? He gave up the spirit; His flesh gave it up. What means, the flesh gave it up? The flesh sent it forth, breathed it out. For so, in becoming separated from the spirit, we are said to expire. Just as getting outside the paternal soil is to be expatriated, turning aside from the track is to deviate; so to become separated from the spirit is to expire; and thatspirit is the soul [life]. Accordingly, when the soul quits the flesh, and the flesh remains without the soul, then is a man said to lay down his soul [his human life]. When did Christ lay down His life? When it pleased the Word. For sovereign authority resided in the Word; and therein lay the power to determine when the flesh should lay down its life, and when it should take it again.

12. If, then, the flesh laid down its life, how did Christ lay down His life? For the flesh is not Christ. Certainly in this way, that Christ is both flesh, and soul, and the Word; and yet these three things are not three Christs, but one. Ask thine own human nature, and from thyself ascend to what is above thee, and which, if not yet able to be understood, can at least be believed. For in the same way that one man is soul and body, is one Christ both the Word and man. Consider what I have said, and understand. The soul and body are two things, but one man: the Word and man are two things, but one Christ. Apply, then, the subject to any man. Where is now the Apostle Paul? If one answer, At rest with Christ, he speaks truly. And likewise, should one reply, In the sepulchre at Rome, he is equally right. The one answer I get refers to his soul, the other to his flesh. And yet we do not say that there are two Apostle Pauls, one who rests in Christ, another who was laid in the sepulchre; although we may say that the Apostle Paul liveth in Christ, and that the same apostle lieth dead in the tomb. Some one dieth, and we say, He was a good man, and faithful; he is in peace with the Lord: and then immediately, Let us attend his obsequies, and lay him in the sepulchre. Thou art about to bury one whom thou hadst just declared to be in peace with God; for the latter regards the soul which blooms eternally, and the other the body, which is laid down in corruption. But while the partnership of the flesh and soul has received the name of man, the same name is now applied to either of them, singly and by itself.

13. Let no one, then, be perplexed, when he hears that the Lord has said, “I lay down my life, and I take it again.” The flesh layeth it down, but by the power of the Word: the flesh taketh it again, but by the same power. Even His own name, the Lord Christ, was applied to His flesh alone. How can you prove it? says some one. We believe of a certainty not only in God the Father, but also in Jesus Christ His Son, our only Lord: and this that I have just said contains the whole, in Jesus Christ His Son, our only Lord. Understand that the whole is here: the Word, and soul, and flesh. At all events thou confessest what is also held by the same faith, that thou believest in that Christ who was crucified and buried). Ergo, thou deniest not that Christ was buried; and yet it was the burial only of His flesh. For had the soul been there, He would not have been dead: but if it was a true death, and its resurrection real, it was previously without life in the tomb; and yet it was Christ that was buried. And so the flesh apart from the soul was also Christ, for it was only the flesh that was buried. Learn the same likewise in the words of an apostle. “Let this mind,” he says, “be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” Who, save Christ Jesus, as respects His nature as the Word, is God with God? But look at what follows: “But emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant; being made in the likeness of men, and found in fashion as a man.” And who is this, but the same Christ Jesus Himself? But here we have now all the parts, both the Word in that form of God which assumed the form of a servant, and the soul and the flesh in that form of a servant which was assumed by the form of God. “He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death.”32 Now in His death, it was His flesh only that was slain by the Jews. For if He said to His disciples, “Fear not them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul,”33 how could they do more in His own case than kill the body? And yet in the slaying of His flesh, it was Christ that was slain. Accordingly, when the flesh laid down its life, Christ laid it down; and when the flesh, in order to its resurrection, assumed its life, Christ assumed it. Nevertheless this was done, not by the power of the flesh, but of Him who assumed both soul and flesh, that in them these very things might receive fulfillment.

14. “This commandment,” He says, “have I received of my Father.” The Word received not the commandment in word, but in the onlybegotten Word of the Father every commandment resides. But when the Son is said to receive of the Father what He possesses essentially in Himself, as it is said, “As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself,”34 while the Son is Himself the life,there is no lessening of His authority, but the setting forth of His generation. For the Father added not after-gifts as to a son whose state was imperfect at birth, but on Him whom He begat in absolute perfection He bestowed all gifts in begetting. In this manner He gave Him equality with Himself, and yet begat Him not in a state of inequality. But while the Lord thus spake, for the light was shining in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not,35 “there was a dissension again created among the Jews for these sayings, and many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad: why hear ye him?” This was the thickest darkness. Others said, “These are not the words of him that hath a devil; can a devil open the eyes of the blind?” The eyes of such were now begun to be opened).

1 Ps 116,15.
2 Chap. 15,5).
3 (1Jn 3,16,
4 (Pr 23,1-2, according to the Septuagint, whose reading of verse 2 must have been somewhat different from that of the present Hebrew text, with which our English version pretty closely agrees: “And thou shalt put a knife to thy throat, if thou art a man of appetite” (or perhaps, “if thou hast control over thy appetite,” hT;a; Ťp,n< lx'KAµai
). So somewhat similarly the Vulgate, which makes the last clause, “if thou hast power over thy life.”-Tr.
5 This clause, “for the edification,” etc., is wanting in many of the Mss.
6 Chap. 21,15-19).
7 Chap. 1,18).
8 (Mt 11,27).
9 (1Tm 2,5,
10 (1Co 1,12-13).
11 (Mt 15,24,
12 Of Christ’s footprints on Mount Olivet, impressed on the ground, there is mention made in the works of Jerome, in the book on “Hebrew places,” and in Bede, in the names of places in the Acts of the Apostles; as likewise in the sacred history of Sulpitius Severus, Book ii.-Migne. The text is somewhat uncertain, but indicates the existence of “holy places” in Augustin’s day, and certain acts of worship performed in their honor.-Tr).
13 (2Co 13,3).
14 (Ep 2,11-22.
15 Per proprietatum).
16 Chap. 1,1, 14.
17 Migne says that “there is, perhaps, in this passage something either superfluous or lacking.” But there does not seem any real cause for such a supposition.-Tr.
18 Chap. 18,4-6.
19 (Ps 3,5, need scarcely be said that this psalm cannot bear the Messianic interpretation attached to it by Augustin, any more than Pr 23,1, Pr 2, similarly applied in Sec. Pr 2 of this lecture; and frequently elsewhere. But the accommodation at the will of the writer of all Old Testament Scripture equally to such purpose was characteristic of the age.-Tr ).
20 Chap. 2,19, 21).
21 (Sg 1,11).
22 (Mt 10,28, and Lc 12,4-5).
23 (1Tm 5,6).
24 The word anima, according to Augustin’s explanation of it above, may be rendered in these sections either “soul” or “life.” The original also is yuvch.-Tr.
25 From Apollinaris, bishop of Alexandria, who held that the body which Christ assumed had only a sensitive, and not a rational soul, and that His divine nature supplied the place of the latter. His doctrines were condemned by the Council of Alexandria, A.D. 362, and he himself was deposed by the Council of Rome, A.D. 378.-Tr.
26 Sine deo: which, however, is wanting in all the Mss).
27 Chap. 1,1, 14.
28 (Lc 23,43,
29 (1Jn 3,16,
30 Chap. 13,37.
31 Chap. 19,28-30).
32 (Ph 2,6-8.
33 (Mt 10,28,
34 (Jn 5,26,
35 Chap. 1,5.

Augustin on John 45