Augustin on John 72

Tractate LXXIII. \IAgain on the same passage.

Jn 14,10-14.

1. The Lord, by His promise, gave those whose hopes were resting on Himself a special ground of confidence, when He said, “For I go to the Father; and whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, I will do it.” His proceeding, therefore, to the Father, was not with any view of abandoning the needy, but of hearing and answering their petitions. But what is to be made of the words, “Whatsoever ye shall ask,” when we behold His faithful ones so often asking and not receiving? Is it, shall we say, for no other reason but that they ask amiss? For the Apostle James made this a ground of reproach when he said, “Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”1 What one, therefore, wishes to receive, in order to turn to an improper use, God in His mercy rather refuses to bestow. Nay, more, if a man asks what would, if answered, only tend to his injury, there is surely greater cause to fear, lest what God could not withhold with kindness, He should give in His anger. Do we not see how the Israelites got to their own hurt what their guilty lusting craved? For while it was raining manna on them from heaven, they desired to have flesh to eat.2 They disdained what they had, and shamelessly sought what they had not: as if it were not better for them to have asked not to have their unbecoming desires gratified with the food that was wanting, but to have their own dislike removed, and be made themselves to receive aright the food that was provided. For when evil becomes our delight, and what is good the reverse, we ought to be entreating God rather to win us back to the love of the good, than to grant us the evil. Not that it is wrong to eat flesh, for the apostle, speakingof this very thing, says, “Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused which is received with thanksgiving;3 but because, as he also says, “It is evil for thatman who eateth with offense;”4 and if so,with offense to man, how much more so if to God, to whom it was no light offense, on the part of the Israelites, to reject what wisdom was supplying, and ask for that which lust was craving: although they would not actually make the request, but murmured because itwas wanting. But to let us know that the wrong lies not with any creature of God, but with obstinate disobedience and inordinate desire, it was not in swine’s flesh that the first man found death, but in an apple;5 and it was not for a fowl, but for a dish of pottage, that Esau lost his birthright.6

2. How, then, are we to understand“Whatsoever ye shall ask, I will do it,” if there are some things which the faithful ask, and which God, even purposely on their behalf, leaves undone? Or ought we to suppose that the words were addressed only to the apostles? Surely not. For what He has got the length of now saying is in the very line of what He had said before: “He that believeth in me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do;” which was the subject of our previous discourse. And that no one might attribute such power to himself, but rather to make it manifest that even these greater works were done by Himself, He proceeded to say, “For I go to the Father; and whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, I will do it.” Was it the apostles only that believed on Him? When, therefore, He said, “He that believeth on me,” He spake to those, among whom we also by His grace are included, who by no means receive everything that we ask. And if we turn our thoughts even to the most blessed apostles, we find that he who labored more than they all, yet not he, but the grace of God that was with him,7 besought the Lord thrice that the messenger of Satan might depart from him, and received not what he had asked.8 What shall we say, beloved? Are we to suppose that the promise here made, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, I will do it,” was not fulfilled by Him even to the apostles? And to whom, then, will ever His promise be fulfilled, if therein He has deceived His own apostles?

3. Wake up, then, believer, and give careful heed to what is stated here, “in my name:” for in these words He does not say, “whatsoever ye shall ask” in any way; but, “in my name.” How, then, is He called, who promised so great a blessing? Christ Jesus, of course: Christ means King, and Jesus means Saviour! for certainly it is not any one who is a king that will save us, but only the Saviour-King; and therefore, whatsoever we ask that is adverse to the interests of salvation, we do not ask in the name of the Saviour. And yet He is the Saviour, not only when He does what we ask, but also when He refuses to do so; since by not doing what He sees to be contrary to our salvation, He manifests Himself the more fully as our Saviour. For the physician knows which of his patient’s requests will be favorable, and which will be adverse, to his safety; and therefore yields not to his wishes when asking what is prejudicial, that he may effect his recovery. Accordingly, when we wish Him to do whatsoever we ask, let it not be in any way, but in His name, that is, in the name of the Saviour, that we present our petition. Let us not, then, ask aught that is contrary to our own salvation; for if He do that, He does it not as the Saviour, which is the name He bears to His faithful disciples. For He who condescends to be the Saviour of the faithful, is also a Judge to condemn the ungodly. Whatsoever, therefore, any one that believeth on Him shall ask in that name which He bears to those who believe on Him, He will do it; for He will do it as the Saviour. But if one that believeth on Him asketh something through ignorance that is injurious to his salvation, he asketh it not in the name of the Saviour; for His Saviour He will no longer be if He do aught to impede his salvation. And hence, in such a case, in not doing what He is entreated to do, His way is kept the clearer for doing what His name imports. And on that account, not only as the Saviour, but also as the good Master, He taught us, in the very prayer He gave us, what we should ask, in order that, whatsoever we shall ask, He may do it; and that we, too, might thereby understand that we cannot be asking in the Master’s name anything that is inconsistent with the rule of His own instructions.

4. There are some things, indeed, which, although really asked in His name, that is, in harmony with His character as both Saviour and Master, He doeth not at the time we ask them, and yet He faileth not to do them. For when we pray that the kingdom of God may come, it does not imply that He is not doing what we ask, because we do not begin at once to reign with Him in the everlasting kingdom: for what we ask is delayed, but not denied. Nevertheless, let us not fail in praying, for in so doing we are as those that sow the seed; and in due season we shall reap.9 And even when we are asking aright, let us ask Him at the same time not to do what we ask amiss; for there is reference to this also in the Lord’s Prayer, when we say, “Lead us not into temptation.”10 For surely the temptation is no slight one if thine own request be hostile to thy cause. But we must not listen with indifference to the statement that the Lord (to prevent any from thinking that what He promised to do to those that asked, He would do without the Father, after saying, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, I will do it”) immediately added, “That the Father may be glorified in the Son: if ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” In no respect, therefore, does the Son act without the Father, since He so acts for the very purpose that in Him the Father may be glorified. The Father, therefore, acts in the Son, that the Son may be glorified in the Father: and the Son acts in the Father, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; for the Father and the Son are one.

1 (Jc 4,3,
2 (Nb 11,32).
3 (1Tm 4,4,
4 (Rm 14,20,
5 (Gn 3,6,
6 (Gn 25,34,
7 (1Co 15,10,
8 (2Co 12,8).
9 (Ga 6,9,
10 (Mt 6,9-13.

Tractate LXXIV.

74 (Jn 14,15-17.

1. We have heard, brethren, while the Gospel was read, the Lord saying: “If ye love me, keep my commandments: and I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter [Paraclete], that He may abide with you for ever; [even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye shall know Him; for He shall dwell with you, and shall be in you.”1 There are many points which might form the subject of inquiry in these few words of the Lord; but it were too much for us either to search into all that is here for the searching, or to find out all that we here search for. Nevertheless, as far as the Lord is pleased to grant us the power, and in proportion to our capacity and yours, attend to what we ought to say and you to hear, and receive, beloved, what we on our part are able to give, and apply to Him for that wherein we fail. It is the Spirit, the Comforter, that Christ has promised to His apostles; but let us notice the way inwhich He gave the promise. “If ye love me,” He says, “keep my commandments: and I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever: [even] the Spirit of truth.” We have here, at all events, the Holy Spirit in the Trinity, whom the catholic faith acknowledges to be consubstantial and co-eternal with Father and Son: He it is of whom the apostle says, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given unto us.”2 How, then, doth the Lord say, “If ye love me, keep my commandments: and I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter;” when He saith so of the Holy Spirit, without [having] whom we can neither love God nor keep His commandments? How can we love so as to receive Him, without whom we cannot love at all? or how shall we keep the commandments so as to receive Him, without whom we have no power to keep them? Or can it be that the love wherewith we love Christ has a prior place within us, so that, by thus loving Christ and keeping His commandments, we become worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit, in order that the love, not of Christ, which had already preceded, but of God the Father, may be shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given unto us? Such a thought is altogether wrong. For he who believes that he loveth the Son, and loveth not the Father, certainly loveth not the Son, but some figment of his own imagination. And besides, this is the apostolic declaration, “No one saith, Lord Jesus,3 but in the Holy Spirit:4 and who is it that calleth Him Lord Jesus but he that loveth Him, if he so call Him in the way the apostle intended to be understood? For many call Him so with their lips, but deny Him in their hearts and works; just as He saith of such, “For they profess that they know God, but works they deny Him.”5 If it is by works He is denied, it is doubtless also by works that His name is truly invoked. “No one,” therefore, “saith, Lord Jesus,” in mind, in word, in deed, with the heart, the lips, the labor of the bands,-no one saith, Lord Jesus, but in the Holy Spirit; and no one calls Him so but he that loveth, And accordingly the apostles were already calling Him Lord Jesus: and if they called Him so, in no way that implied a feigned utterance, with the mouth confessing, in heart and works denying Him; if they called Him so in all. truthfulness of soul, there can be no doubt they loved. And how, then, did they love, but in the Holy Spirit? And yet they are i commanded to love Him and keep His commandments, previous and in order to their receiving the Holy Spirit: and yet, without having that Spirit, they certainly could not love Him and keep His commandments.

2. We are therefore to understand that he who loves has already the Holy Spirit, and by what he has becomes worthy of a fuller possession, that by having the more he may love the more. Already, therefore, had the disciples that Holy Spirit whom the Lord promised, for without Him they could not call Him Lord; but they had Him not as yet in the way promised by the Lord. Accordingly they both had, and had Him not, inasmuch as they had Him not as yet to the same extent as He was afterwards to be possessed. They had Him, therefore, in a more limited sense: He was yet to be given them in an ampler measure. They had Him in a hidden way, they were yet to receive Him in a way that was manifest; for this present possession had also a bearing on that fuller gift of the Holy Spirit, that they might come to a conscious knowledge of what they had. It is in speaking of this gift that the apostle says: “Now we have received, not the spirit of this world, but the spirit which is of God, that we may know the things that are freely given to us of God.”6 For that same manifest bestowal of the Holy Spirit the Lord made, not once, but on two separate occasions. For close on the back of His resurrection from the dead He breathed on them and said, “Receive ye the Holy Spirit.”7 And because He then gave [the Spirit], did He on that account fail in afterwards sending Him according to His promise? Or was it not the very same Spirit who was both then breathed upon them by Himself, and afterwards sent by Him from heaven?8 And so, why that same giving on His part which took place publicly, also took place twice, is another question: for it may be that this twofold bestowal of His in a public way took place because of the two Commandments of love, that is, to our neighbor and to God, in order that love might be impressively intimated as pertaining to the Holy Spirit, And if any other reason is to be sought for, we cannot at present allow our discourse to be improperly prolonged by such an inquiry: provided, however, it be admitted that, without the Holy Spirit, we can neither love Christ nor keep His commandments; while the less experience we have of His presence, the less also can we do so; and the fuller our experience, so much the greater our ability. Accordingly, the promise is no vain one, either to him who has not [the Holy Spirit], or to him who has. For it is made to him who has not, in order that he may have; and to him who has, that he may have moreabundantly. For were it not that He was possessed by some in smaller measure than byothers, St. Elisha would not have said to St. Elijah, “Let the spirit that is in thee be in a twofold measure in me.9

3. But when Jn the Baptist said, “For God giveth not the Spirit by measure,”10 he was speaking exclusively of the Son of God, who received not the Spirit by measure; for in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead.11 And no more is it independently of the grace of the Holy Spirit that the Mediator between God and men is the man Christ Jesus:12 for with His own lips He tells us that the prophetical utterance had been fulfilled in Himself: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because He hath anointed me, and hath sent me to preach the gospel to the poor.”13 For His being the Only-begotten, the equal of the Father, is not of grace, but of nature; but the assumption of human nature into the personal unity of the Only-begotten is not of nature, but of grace, as the Gospel acknowledges itself when it says, “And the child grew, and waxed strong, being filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was in Him.”14 But to others He is given by measure,-a measure ever enlarging until each has received his full complement up to the limits of his own perfection. As we are also reminded by the apostle, “Not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, but to think soberly; according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”15 Nor is it the Spirit Himself that is divided, but the gifts bestowed by the Spirit: for there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.16

4. But when He says, “I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Paraclete,” He intimates that He Himself is also a paraclete. For paraclete is in Latin called advocatus (advocate); and it is said of Christ, “We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”17 But He said that the world could not receive the Holy Spirit, in much the same sense as it is also said, “The minding of the flesh is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God; neither indeed can be;”18 just as if we were to say, Unrighteousness cannot be righteous. For in speaking in this passage of the world, He refers to those who love the world; and such a love is not of the Father.19 And thus the love of this world, which gives us enough to do to weaken and destroy its power within us, is in direct opposition to the love of God, which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us. “The world,” therefore, “cannot receive Him, cause it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him.” For worldly love possesseth not those invisible eyes, whereby, save in an invisible way, the Holy Spirit cannot be seen.

5. But ye,” He adds, “shall know Him; for He shall dwell with you, and be in you.” He will be in them, that He may dwell with them; He will not dwell with them to the end that He may be in them: for the being anywhere is prior to the dwelling there. But to prevent us from imagining that His words, “He shall dwell with you,” were spoken in the same sense as that in which a guest usually dwells with a man in a visible way, He explained what “He shall dwell with you” meant, when He added the words, “He shall be in you.” He is seen, therefore, in an invisible way: nor can we have any knowledge of Him unless He be in us. For it is in a similar way that we come to see our conscience within us: for we see the face of another, but we cannot see our own; but it is our own conscience we see, not another’s. And yet conscience is never anywhere but within us: but the Holy Spirit can be also apart from us, since He is given that He may also be in us. But we cannot see and know Him in the only way in which He may be seen and known, unless He be in us.

1 Augustin has cognoscetis for the second “know,” and scit for that immediately preceding. The Greek text, however, has ginwvskw in both places, and in the present tense. He has also manebit et in vobis erit. The tense of menei, whether, present or future, depends simply on the place of the accent, mevnei, or menei`: while, as between the two readings ejsti;n and e]stai, the preponderance of Ms. authority seems in favor of the latter, although the present gimwvskete in the principal clause would be more naturally followed by an equally proleptic present in those which follow.-Tr.
2 (Rm 5,5,
3 Or, “Jesus is Lord.” The weight of authority is clearly in favor of the reading followed by Augustin-levgei, Kuvrios jIhsou`", giving the direct utterance of the speaker; and not the indirect accusative, Kuvrion jIhsou`n, followed by our English version.-Tr.
4 (1Co 12,3).
5 (Tt 1,16,
6 (1Co 2,12,
7 Chap. 20,22.
8 (Ac 2,4,
9 (2R 2,9,
10 Chap. 3,34.
11 (Col 2,9,
12 (1Tm 2,5,
13 (Lc 4,18-21.
14 (Lc 2,40,
15 (Rm 12,3).
16 (1Co 12,4,
17 (1Jn 2,1,
18 (Rm 8,7, marg.
19 (1Jn 2,16,

Tractate LXXV.

Jn 14,18-21.

1. After the promise of the Holy Spirit, lest any should suppose that the Lord was to give Him, as it were, in place of Himself, in any such way as that He Himself would not likewise be with them, He added the words: “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” Orphani [Greek] are pupilli [parent-less children] in Latin. The one is the Greek, the other the Latin name of the same thing: for in the psalm where we read, “Thou art the helper of the fatherless” [in the Latin version, pupillo], the Greek has orphano.1 Accordingly, although it was not the Son of God that adopted sons to His Father, or willed that we should have by grace that same Father, who is His Father by nature, yet in a sense it is paternal feelings toward us that He Himself displays, when He declares, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” In the same way He calls us alsohe children of the bridegroom, when He says, “The time will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall the children of the bridegroom fast.”2 And who is the bridegroom, but Christ the Lord?

2. He then goes on to say, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more.” How so the world saw Him then; for under the name of the world are to be understood those of whom He spake above, when saying of the Holy Spirit, “Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neitherknoweth Him.” He was plainly visible to the carnal eyes of the world, while manifest in the flesh; but it saw not the Word that lay hid in the flesh: it saw the man, but it saw not God: it saw the covering, but not the Being within. But as, after the resurrection, even His very flesh, which He exhibited both to the sight and to the handling of His own, He refused to exhibit to others, we may in this way perhaps understand the meaning of the words, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye shall see me: because I live, ye shall live also.”

3. What is meant by the words, “Because I live, ye shall live also”? Why did He speak in the present tense of His own living, and in the future of theirs, but just by way of promise that the life also of the resurrection-body, as it preceded in His own case, would certainly follow in theirs? And as His own resurrection was in the immediate future, He put the word in the present tense to signify its speedy approach: but of theirs, as delayed till the end of the world, He said not, ye live; but, “ye shall live.” With elegance and brevity, therefore, by means of two words, one of them in the present tense and the other in the future, He gave the promise of two resurrections, to wit, His own in the immediate future, and ours as yet to come in the end of the world. “Because I live,” He says, “ye shall live also:” because He liveth, therefore shall we live also. For as by man is death, by man also is the resurrection of the dead, For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.3 As it is only through the former that every one is liable to death, it is only through Christ that any one can attain unto life. Because we did not live, we are dead; because He lived, we shall live also. We were dead to Him, when we lived to ourselves; but, because He died in our behalf, He liveth both for Himself and for us. For, because He liveth, we shall live also. For while we were able of ourselves to attain unto death, it is not of ourselves also that life can come into our possession.

4. “In that day,” He says, “ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” In what day, but in that whereof He said, “Ye shall live also”? For then will it be that we can see what we believe. For even now is He in us, and we in Him: this we believe now, but then shall we also know it; although what we know even now by faith, we shall know then by actual vision. For as long as we are in the body, as it now is, to wit, corruptible, and encumbering to the soul, we live at a distance from the Lord; for we walk by faith, not by sight.4 Then accordingly it will be by sight, for we shall see Him as He is.5 For if Christ were not even now in us, the apostle would not say, “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead indeed because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness.”6 But that we are also in Him even then, He makes sufficiently clear, when He says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches.”7 Accordingly in that day, when we shall be living the life, whereby death shall be swallowed up, we shall know that He is in the Father, and we in Him, and He in us; for then shall be completed that very state which is already in the present begun by Him, that He should be in us, and we in Him.

5. “He that hath my commmandments,” He adds, “and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.” He that hath [them] in his memory, and keepeth them in his life; who hath them orally, and keepeth them morally; who hath them in the ear, and keepeth them in deed; or who hath them in deed, and keepeth them by perseverance;-“he it is,” He says, “that loveth me.” By works is love made manifest as no fruitless application of a name. “And he that loveth me,” He says, “shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” But what is this, “I will love”? Is it as if He were then only to love, and loveth not at present? Surely not. For how could the Father love us apart from the Son, or the Son apart from the Father? Working as They do inseparably, how can They love apart?8 But He said, “I will love him,” in reference to that which follows, “and I will manifest myself to him.” “I will love, and will manifest;” that is, I will love to the very extent of manifesting. For this has been the present aim of His love, that we may believe, and keep hold of the commandment of faith; but then His love will have this for its object, that we may see, and get that very sight as the reward of our faith: for we also love now, by believing in that which we shall see hereafter; but then shall we love in the sight of that which now we believe).

1 (Ps 10,14,
2 (Mt 9,15).
3 (1Co 15,21-22.
4 (2Co 5,7,
5 (1Jn 3,2,
6 (Rm 8,10,
7 Chap. 15,5.
8 Separabiliter.

Tractate LXXVI.

76 (Jn 14,22-24.

1. While the disciples thus question, and Jesus their Master replies to them, we also, as it were, are learning along with them, when we either read or listen to the holy Gospel. Accordingly, because the Lord had said, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye shall see me,” Judas-not indeed His betrayer, who was surnamed Iscariot, but he whose epistle is read among the canonical Scriptures-asked Him of this very matter: “Lord, how is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” Let us, too, be as it were questioning disciples with them, and listen to our common Master. For Judas the holy, not the impure, the follower, but not the persecutor of the Lord, has inquired the reason why Jesus was to manifest Himself to His own, and not to the world; why it was that yet a little while, and the world should not see Him, but they should see Him.

2. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings.” Here we have set forth the reason why He is to manifest Himself to His own, and not to that other class whom He distinguishes by the name of the world; and such is the reason also why the one loveth Him, and the other loveth Him not. It is the very reason, whereof it is declared in the sacred psalm, “Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an unholy nation.”1 For such as love are chosen, because they love: but those who have not love, though they speak with the tongues of men and angels, are become a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal; and though they had the gift of prophecy, and knew all mysteries and all knowledge, and had all faith so that they could remove mountains, they are nothing; and though they distributed all their substance, and gave their body to be burnt, it profiteth them nothing.2 The saints are distinguished from the world by that love which maketh the one-minded3 to dwell [together] in a house4 In this house Father and Son make their abode, and impart that very love to those whom They shall also honor at last with this promised self manifestation; of which the disciple questioned his Master, that not only those who then listened might learn it from His own lips, but we also from his Gospel. For he had made inquiry about the manifestation of Christ, and heard [in reply] about His loving and abiding. There is therefore a kind of inward manifestation of God, which is entirely unknown to the ungodly, who receive no manifestation of God the Father and the Holy Spirit: of the Son, indeed, there might have been such, but only in the flesh; and that, too, neither of the same kind as the other, nor able under any form to remain with them, save only for a little while; and even that, for judgment, not for rejoicing; for punishment, not for reward.

3. We have now, therefore, to understand, so far as He is pleased to unfold it, the meaning of the words, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye shall see me.” It is true, indeed, that after a little while He was to withdraw even His body, in which the ungodly also were able to see Him, from their sight; for none of them saw Him after His resurrection. But since it was declared on the testimony of angels, “He shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven;”5 and our faith stands to this, that He will come in the same body to judge the living and the dead; there can be no doubt that He will then be seen by the world, meaning by the name, those who are aliens from His kingdom. And, on this account, it is far better to understand Him as having intended to refer at once to that epoch, when He said, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more,” when in the end of the world He shall be taken away from the sight of the damned, that for the future He may be seen only of those with whom, as those that love Him, the Father and Himself are making their abode. But He said, “a little while,” because that which appears tedious to men is very brief in the sight of God: for of this same “little while” our evangelist, John, himself says, “Little children, it is the last time.”6

4. But further, lest any should imagine that the Father and Son only, without the Holy Spirit, make their abode with those that love Them, let him recall what was said above of the Holy Spirit, “Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye shall know Him; for He shall dwell with you, and shall be in you” (ver. 17). Here you see that, along with the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit also taketh up His abode in the saints; that is to say, within them, as God in His temple. The triune God, Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, come to us while we are coming to Them: They come with help, we come with obedience; They come to enlighten, we to behold; They come to fill, we to contain: that our vision of Them may not be external, but inward; and Their abiding in us may not be transitory, but eternal. The Son cloth not manifest Himself in such a way as this to the world: for the world is spoken of in the passage before us as those, of whom He immediately adds, “He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings.” These are such as never see the Father and the Holy Spirit: and see the Son for a little while, not to their attainment of bliss, but to their condemnation; and even Him, not in the form of God, wherein He is equally invisible with the Father and the Holy Spirit, but in human form, in which it was His will to be an object of contempt in suffering, but of terror in judging the world.

5. But when He added, “And the saying which ye have heard is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me,” let us not be filled with wonder or fear: He is not inferior to the Father, and yet He is not, save of the Father: He is not unequal in Himself, but He is not of Himself. For it was no false word He uttered when He said, “He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings.” He called them, you see, His own sayings; does He, then, contradict Himself when He said again, “And the saying which ye have heard is not mine”? And, perhaps, it was on account of some intended distinction that, when He said His own, He used “sayings” in the plural; but when He said that “the saying,” that is, the Word, was not His own, but the Father’s, He wished it to be understood of Himself. For in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.7 For as the Word, He is certainly not His own, but the Father’s: just as He is not His own image, but the Father’s; and is not Himself His own Son, but the Father’s. Rightly, therefore, does He attribute whatever He does, as equal, to the Author of all, of whom He has this very prerogative, that He is in all respects His equal.

1 (Ps 43,1,
2 (1Co 13,1-3.
3 Unanimes.
4 (Ps 68,6, according to Augustin’s translation and adaptation of the words ht;yÒB' µyriyjiy ]byVi/m, and which the Vulgate has also rendered somewhat similarly, qui inhabitare facit unius moris in domo. The English version is rather more accordant with the context, “who setteth the solitary in families,” or rather, “who maketh the solitary [lit. those standing alone] to dwell in a house,” marg.; that is, if dyhoy ;
 might not even here retain its proper meaning of “only one,” and, hence “beloved one.” At all events, the word thus used, and its place in the context (see (especially the preceding verse), may warrant the combination of both meanings,-that those who are “ones standing alone,” friendless, cast off from others, in a human sense, are µyr iyhyÒ
, “only ones,” “beloved ones” in the heavenly Father’s sight, to whom He extends a special protection, and provideth a home.-Tr.
5 (Ac 1,11).
6 (1Jn 2,18,
7 Chap. 1,1.

Augustin on John 72