Augustin on John 86

Tractate LXXXVII.

87 (Jn 15,17-19.

1). In the Gospel lesson which precedes this one, the Lord had said: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, He may give it you.” On these word you remember that we have already discoursed, as the Lord enabled us. But here, that is, in the succeeding lesson which you have heard read, He says: “These things I command you, that ye love one another.” And thereby we are to understand that this is our fruit, of which He had said, “I have chosen you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain.” And what He subjoined, “That whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, He may give it you,” He will certainly give us if we love one another; seeing that this very thing He has also given us, in choosing us when we had no fruit, because we had chosen Him not; and appointing us that we should bring forth fruit,-that is, that we should love one another,-a fruit that we cannot have apart from Him, just as the branches can do nothing apart from the vine. Our fruit, therefore, is charity, which the apostle explains to be, “Out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned.”1 So love we one another, and so love we God. For it would be with no true love that we loved one another, if we loved not God. For every one loves his neighbor as himself if he loves God; and if he loves not God, he loves not himself. For on these two commandments of love hang all the law and the prophets:2 this is our fruit. And it is in reference, therefore, to such fruit that He gives us commandment when He says, “These things I command you, that ye love one another.” In the same way also the Apostle Paul, when wishing to commend the fruit of the Spirit in opposition to the deeds of the flesh, posited this as his principle, saying, “The fruit of the Spirit is love;” and then, as if springing from and bound up in this principle, he wove the others together, which are “joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”3 For who can truly rejoice who loves not good as the source of his joy? Who can have true peace, if he have it not with one whom he truly loves? Who can be long-enduring through persevering continuance in good, save through fervent love? Who can be kind, if he love not the person he is aiding? Who can be good, if he is not made so by loving? Who can be sound in the faith, without that faith which worketh by love? Whose meekness can be beneficial in character, if not regulated by love? And who will abstain from that which is debasing, if he love not that which dignifies? Appropriately, therefore, does the good Master so frequently commend love, as the only thing needing to be commended, without which all other good things can be of no avail, and which cannot be possessed without bringing with it those other good things that make a man truly good.

2. But alongside of this love we ought also patiently to endure the hatred of the world. For it must of necessity hate those whom it perceives recoiling from that which is loved by itself. But the Lord supplies us with special consolation from His own case, when, after saying, “These things I command you, that ye love one another,” He added, “If the world hate you, know that it hated me before [it hated] you.” Why then should the member exalt itself above the head? Thou refusest to be in the body if thou art unwilling to endure the hatred of the world along with the Head. “If ye were of the world,” He says, “the world would love its own.” He says this, of course, of the whole Church, which, by itself, He frequently also calls by the name of the world: as when it is said, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.”4 And this also: “The Son of man came not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”5 And Jn says in his epistle: “We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also [for those] of the whole world.”6 The whole world then is the Church, and yet the whole world hateth the Church. The world therefore hateth the world, the hostile that which is reconciled, the condemned that which is saved, the polluted that which is cleansed.

3. But that world which God is in Christ reconciling unto Himself, which is saved by Christ, and has all its sins freely pardoned by Christ, has been chosen out of the world that is hostile, condemned, and defiled. For out of that mass, which has all perished in Adam, are formed the vessels of mercy, whereof that world of reconciliation is composed, that is hated by the world which belongeth to the vessels of wrath that are formed out of the same mass and fitted to destruction.7 Finally, after saying, “If ye were of the world, the world would love its own,” He immediately added, “But because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” And so these men were themselves also of that world, and, that they might no longer be of it, were chosen out of it, through no merit of their own, for no good works of theirs had preceded; and not by nature, which through free-will had become totally corrupted at its source: but gratuitously, that is, of actual grace. For He who chose the world out of the world, effected for Himself, instead of finding, what He should choose: for “there is a remnant saved according to the election of grace. And if by grace,” he adds, “then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.”8

4. But if we are asked about the love which is borne to itself by that world of perdition which hateth the world of redemption; we reply, it loveth itself, of course, with a false love, and not with a true. And hence, it loves itself falsely, and hates itself truly. For he that loveth wickedness, hateth his own soul.9 And yet it is said to love itself, inasmuch as it loves the wickedness that makes it wicked; and, on the other hand, it is said to hate itself, inasmuch as it loves that which causes it injury. It hates, therefore, the true nature that is in it, and loves the vice: it hates what it is, as made by the goodness of God, and loves what has been wrought in it by free-will. And hence also, if we rightly understand it, we are at once forbidden and commanded to love it: thus, we are forbidden, when it is said to us, “Love not the world;”10 and we are commanded, when it is said to us, “Love your enemies.”11 These constitute the world that hateth us. And therefore we are forbidden to love in it that which it loves in itself; and we are enjoined to love in it what it hates in itself, namely, the workmanship of God, and the various consolations of His goodness. For we are forbidden to love the vice that is in it, and enjoined to love the nature, while it loves the vice in itself, and hates the nature: so that we may both love and hate it in a right manner, whereas it loves and hates itself perversely).

1 (1Tm 1,5,
2 (Mt 22,40,
3 (Ga 5,22)
4 (2Co 5,19,
5 (Jn 3,17,
6 (1Jn 2,1-2.
7 (Rm 9,21 Rm 9,23.
8 (Rm 11,5-6.
9 (Ps 11,5, Tract. LXXXIII. sec. 3, note 4.
10 (1Jn 2,15,
11 (Lc 6,27,

Tractate LXXXVIII.

Jn 15,20-21.

1). The Lord, in exhorting His servants to endure with patience the hatred of the world, proposes to them no greater and better example than His own; seeing that, as the Apostle Peter says, “Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow His steps.”1 And if we really do so, we do it by His assistance, who said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” But further, to those to whom He had already said, “If the world hate you, know that it hated me before it hated] you,” He now also says in the word you have just been hearing, when the Gospel was read, “Remember my word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord: if they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” Now in saying, “The servant is not greater than his lord,” does He not clearly indicate how He would have us understand what He had said above, “Henceforth I call you not servants”?2 For, you see, He calleth them servants. For what else can the words imply, “The servant is not greater than his lord: if they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you”? It is clear, therefore, that when it is said, “Henceforth I call you not servants,” He is to be understood as speaking of that servant3 who abideth not in the house for ever,4 but is characterized by the fear which love casteth out;5 whereas, when it is here said, “The servant is not greater than his lord: if they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you,” that servant is meant who is distinguished by the clean fear which endureth for ever.6 For this is the servant who is yet to hear, “Well done, thou good servant: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”7

2. “But all these things,” He says, “will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent me.” And what are “all these things” that “they will do,” but what He has just said, namely, that they will hate and persecute you, and despise your word? For if they kept not their word, and yet neither hated nor persecuted them; or if they even hated, but did not persecute them: it would not be all these things that they did. But “all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake,”-what else is that but to say, they will hate me in you, they will persecute me in you; and your word, just because it is mine, they will not keep? For “all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake:” not for yours, but mine. So much the more miserable, therefore, are those who do such things on account of that name, as those are blessed who suffer such things in its behalf: as He Himself elsewhere saith, “Blessed are they that suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake.”8 For that is on my account, or “for my name’s sake:” because, as we are taught by the apostle, “He is made of God unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and santification, and redemption; that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”9 For the wicked do such things to the wicked, but not for righteousness’ sake; and therefore both are alike miserable, those who do, and those who suffer them. The good also do such things to the wicked: where, although the former do so for righteousness’ sake, yet the latter suffer them not on the same behalf.

3. But some one says, If, when the wicked persecute the good for the name of Christ, the good suffer for righteousness’ sake, then surely it is for righteousness’ sake that the wicked do so to them; and if such is the case, then also, when the good persecute the wicked for righteousness’ sake, it is for righteousness’ sake likewise that the wicked suffer. For if the wicked can assail the good with persecution for the name of Christ, why cannot the wicked suffer persecution at the hands of the good on the same account; and what is that, hut for righteousness’ sake? For if the good act not so on the same account as that on which the wicked suffer, because the good do so for righteousness’ sake, while the wicked suffer for unrighteousness, so then neither can the wicked act so on the same account as that for which the good suffer, because the wicked do so by unrighteousness, while the good suffer for righteousness’ sake. And how then will that be true, “All these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake,” when the former do it not for the name of Christ, that is, for righteousness’ sake, but because of their own iniquity? Such a question is solved in this way, if only we understand the words,

All these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake,” as referring entirely to the righteous, as if it had been said, All these things will ye suffer at their hands for my name’s sake, so that the words, “they will do unto you,” are equivalent to these, Ye will suffer at their hands. But if “for my name’s sake” is to be taken as if He had said, For my name’s sake which they hate in you, so also may the other be taken for that righteousness’ sake which they hate in you; and in this way the good, when they institute persecution against the wicked, may be rightly said to do so both for righteousness’ sake, in their love for which they persecute the wicked, and for that wickedness’ sake which they hate in the wicked themselves; and so also the wicked may be said to suffer both for the iniquity that is punished in their persons, and for the righteousness which is exercised in their punishment.

4. It may also be inquired, if the wicked also persecute the wicked, just as ungodly princes and judges, while they were the persecutors of the godly, certainly also punished murderers and adulterers, and all classes of evil-doers whom they ascertained to be acting contrary to the public laws, how are we to understand the words of the Lord, “If ye were of the world, the world would love its own”? (ver. 19). For those whom it punisheth cannot be loved by the world, which, we see, generally punisheth the classes of crimes mentioned above, save only that the world is both in those who punish such crimes, and in those that love them. Therefore that world, which is to be understood as existing in the wicked and ungodly, both hateth its own in respect of that section of men in whose case it inflicts injury on the criminal, and loveth its own in respect of that other section in whose case it shows favor to its own partners in criminality. Hence, “All these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake,” is said either reference to that for the sake of which ye suffer, or to that on account of which they themselves so deal with you, because that which is in you they both hate and persecute. And He added, “Because they know not Him that sent me.” This is to be understood as spoken of that knowledge of which it is also elsewhere recorded, “But to know Thee is perfect intelligence.”10 For those who with such a knowledge know the Father, by whom Christ was sent, can in no wise persecute those whom Christ is gathering; for they also themselves are being gathered by Christ along with the others.

1 1P 2,21.
2 Chap. 15,15, 13,16.
3 See above, Tract. LXXXV. sec. 3.
4 Chap. 8,35.
5 (1Jn 4,18,
6 (Ps 19,9,
7 (Mt 25,21,
8 (Mt 5,10,
9 (1Co 1,30-31).
10 (Sg 6,16,

Tractate LXXXIX.

89 (Jn 15,22-23.

1. The Lord had said above to His disciples, “If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent me.” And if we inquire of whom He so spake, we find that He was led on to these words from what He had said before, “If the world hate you, know ye that it hated me before lit hated] you;” and now in adding, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin,” He more expressly pointed to the Jews. Of them, therefore, He also uttered the words that precede, for so does the context itself imply. For it is of the same parties that He said, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin;” of whom He also said, “If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also; but all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent me;” for it is to these words that He also subjoins the following: “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin.” The Jews, therefore, persecuted Christ, as the Gospel very clearly indicates, and Christ spake to the Jews, not to other nations; and it is they, therefore, that He meant to be understood by the world, that hateth Christ and His disciples; and, indeed, not those alone, but even these latter were shown by Him to belong to the same world. What, then, does He mean by the words, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin”? Was it that the Jews were without sin before Christ came to them in the flesh? Who, though he were the greatest fool, would say so? But it is some great sin, and not every sin, that He would have to be understood, as it were, under the general designation. For this is the sin wherein all sins are included; and whosoever is free from it, has all his sins forgiven him: and this it is, that they believed not on Christ, who came for the very purpose of enlisting their faith. From this sin, had He not come, they would certainly have been free. His advent has become as much fraught with destruction to unbelievers, as it is with salvation to those that believe; for He, the Head and Prince of the apostles, has Himself, as it were, become what they declared of themselves, “to some, indeed, the savour of life unto life; and to some the savor of death unto death.”1

2. But when He went on to say, “But now they have no excuse for their sin,” some may be moved to inquire whether those to whom Christ neither came nor spake, have an excuse for their sin. For if they have not, why is it said here that these had none, on the very ground that He did come and speak to them? And if they have, have they it to the extent of thereby being barred from punishment, or of receiving it in a milder degree? To these inquiries, with the Lord’s help and to the best of my capacity, I reply, that such have an excuse, not for every one of their sins, but for this sin of not believing on Christ, inasmuch as He came not and spake not to them. But it is not in the number of such that those are to be included, to whom He came in the persons of His disciples, and to whom He spake by them, as He also does at present; for by His Church He has come, and by His Church He speaks to the Gentiles. For to this are to be referred the words that He spake, “He that receiveth you, receiveth me;”2 and, “He that despiseth you, despiseth me.”3 “Or would ye,” says the Apostle Paul, “have a proof of Him that speaketh in me, namely Christ.”4

3. It remains for us to inquire, whether those who, prior to the coming of Christ in His Church to the Gentiles and to their hearing of His Gospel, have been, or are now being, overtaken by the close of this life, can have such an excuse? Evidently they can, but not on that account can they escape damnation. “For as many as have sinned without the law, shall also perish without the law; and as many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law.”5 And these words of the apostle, inasmuch as his saying, “they shall perish,” has a more terrible sound than when he says, “they shall be judged,” seem to show that such an excuse can not only avail them nothing, but even becomes an additional aggravation. For those that excuse themselves because they did not hear, “shall perish without the law.”

4. But it is also a worthy subject of inquiry, whether those who met the words they heard with contempt, and even with opposition, and that not merely by contradicting them, but also by persecuting in their hatred those from whom they heard them, are to be reckoned among those in regard to whom the words, “they shall be judged by the law,” convey somewhat of a milder sound. But if it is one thing to perish without the law, and another to be judged by the law; and the former is the heavier, the latter the lighter punishment: such, without a doubt, are not to have their place assigned in that lighter measure of punishment; for, so far from sinning in the law, they utterly refused to accept the law of Christ, and, as far as in them lay, would have had it altogether annihilated. But those that sin in the law, are such as are in the law, that is, who accept it, and confess that it is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good;6 but fail through infirmity in fulfilling what they cannot doubt is most righteously enjoined therein. These are they in regard to whose fate there may perhaps be some distinction made from the perdition of those who are without the law: and yet if the apostle’s words, “they shall be judged by the law,” are to be understood as meaning, they shall not perish, what a wonder if it were so For his discourse was not about infidels and believers to lead him to say so, but about Gentiles and Jews, both of whom, certainly, if they find not salvation in that Saviour who came to seek that which was lost,7 shall doubtless become the prey of perdition; although it may be said that some shall perish in a more terrible, others in a more mitigated sense; in other words, that some shall suffer a heavier, and others a lighter penalty in their perdition. For he is rightly said to perish as regards God, whoever is separated by punishment from that blessedness which He bestows on His saints, and the diversity of punishments is as great as the diversity of sins; but the mode thereof is accounted too deep by divine wisdom for human guessing to scrutinize or express. At all events, those to whom Christ came, and to whom He spake, have not, for their great sin of unbelief, any such excuse as may enable them to say, We saw not, we heard not: whether it be that such an excuse would not be sustained by Him whose judgments are unsearchable, or whether it would, and that, if not for their entire deliverance from damnation, at least for its partial alleviation.

5. “He that hateth me,” He says, “hateth my Father also.” Here it may be said to us, Who can hate one whom he knows not? And certainly before saying, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin,” He had said to His disciples, “These things will they do unto you, because they know not Him that sent me.” How, then, do they both know not, and hate? For if the notion they have formed of Him is not that which He is in Himself, but some unknown conjecture of their own, then certainly it is not Himself they are found to hate, but that figment which they devise or rather suspect in their error. And yet, were it not that men could hate that which they know not, the Truth would not have asserted both, namely, that they both know not, and hate His Father. But such a possibility, if by the Lord’s help we are able to show it, cannot be demonstrated at present, as this discourse must now be brought to a close.

1 2Co 2,16.
2 (Mt 10,40,
3 (Lc 10,16,
4 2Co 13,3.
5 (Rm 2,12,
6 (Rm 7,12,
7 (Lc 19,10,

Tractate XC.

90 (Jn 15,23.

1). The Lord says, as you have just been hearing, “He that hateth me, hateth my Father also:” and yet He had said a little before, “These things will they do unto you, because they know not Him that sent me.” A question therefore arises that cannot be overlooked, how they can hate one whom they know not? For if it is not God as He really is, but something else, I know not what, that they suspect or believe Him to be, and hate this; then assuredly it is not God Himself that they hate, but the thing they conceive in their own erroneous suspicion or baseless credulity; and if they think of Him as He really is, how can they be said to know Him not? It may be the case, indeed, with regard to men, that we frequently love those whom we have never seen; and in this way it can, on the other hand, be none the less impossible that we should hate those whom we have never seen. The report, for instance, whether good or bad, about some preacher, leads us not improperly to love or to hate the unknown. But if the report is truthful, how can one, of whom we have got such true accounts, be spoken of as unknown? Is it because we have not seen his face? And yet, though he himself does not see it, he can be known to no one better than to himself. The knowledge of any one, therefore, is not conveyed to us in his bodily countenance, but only lies open to our apprehension when his life and character are revealed. Otherwise no one would be able to know himself, because unable to see his own face. But surely he knows himself more certainly than he is known to others, inasmuch as by inward inspection he can the more certainly see what he is conscious of, what he desires, what he is living for; and it is when these are likewise laid open to us, that he becomes truly known to ourselves. And as these, accordingly, are commonly brought to us regarding the absent, or even the dead, either by hearsay or correspondence, it thus comes about that people whom we have never seen by face (and yet of whom we are not entirely ignorant), we frequently either hate or love.

2. But in such cases our credulity is frequently at fault; for sometimes even history, and still more ordinary report, turns out to be false. Yet, it ought to be our concern, in order not to be misled by an injurious opinion, seeing we cannot search into the consciences of men, to have a true and certain sentiment about things themselves. I mean, that in regard to this or that man, if we know not whether he is immodest or modest, we should at all events hate immodesty and love modesty: and if in regard to some one or other we know not whether he is unjust or just, we should at any rate love justice and abhor injustice; not such things as we erroneously fancy to ourselves, but such as we believingly perceive according to God’s truth, the one to be desired, the other to be shunned; so that, when in regard to things themselves we do desire what ought to be desired, and utterly avoid what ought to be avoided, we may find pardon for the mistaken feelings which we at times, yea, at all times, entertain regarding the actual state of others which is hidden from our eyes. For this, I think, has to do with human temptation, without which we cannot pass through this life, so that the apostle said, “No temptation should befall you but such as is common to man.”1 For what is so common to man as inability to inspect the heart of man; and therefore, instead of scrutinizing its inmost recesses, to suspect for the most, part something very different from what is going on therein? And although in these dark regions of human realities, that is, of other people’s inward thoughts, we cannot clear up our suspicions, because we are only men, yet we ought to restrain our judgments, that is, all definite and fixed opinions, and not judge anything before the time, until the Lord come, and bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall every man have praise of God.2 When, therefore, we are falling into no error in regard to the thing itself, so that there is an accordance with right in our reprobation of vice and approbation of virtue; surely, if a mistake is committed in connection with individuals, a temptation so characteristic of man is within the scope of forgiveness.

3. But amid all these darknesses of human hearts, it happens as a thing much to be wondered at and mourned over, that one, whom we account unjust, and who nevertheless is just, and in whom, without knowing it, we love justice, we sometimes avoid, and turn away from, and hinder from approaching us, and refuse to have life and living in common with him; and, if necessity compel the infliction of discipline, whether to save others from harm or bring the person himself back to rectitude, we even pursue him with a salutary harshness; and so afflict a good man as if he were wicked, and one whom unknowingly we love. This takes place if one, for example’s sake, who is modest is believed by us to be the opposite. For, beyond doubt, if I love a modest person, he is himself the very object that I love; and therefore I love the man himself, and know it not. And if I hate an immodest person, it is on that account, not him that I hate: for he is not the thing that I hate; and yet to that object of my love, with whom my heart makes continual abode in the love of modesty, I am ignorantly doing an injury, erring as I do, not in the distinction I make between virtue and vice, but in the thick darkness of the human heart. Accordingly, as it may so happen that a good man may unknowingly hate a good man, or rather loves him without knowing it (for the man himself he loves in loving that which is good; for what the other is, is the very thing that he loves); and without knowing it, hates not the man himself, but that which he supposes him to be: so may it also be the case that an unjust man hates a just man, and, while he opines that he loves one who is unjust like himself, unknowingly loves the just man; and yet so long as he believes him to be unjust, he loves not the man himself, but that which he imagines him to be. And as it is with another man, so is it also with God. For, to conclude, had the Jews been asked if they loved God, what other answer would they have given but that they did love Him, and that not with any intentional falsehood, but because erroneously fancying that they did so? For how could they love the Father of the truth, who were filled with hatred to the truth itself? For they do not wish their own conduct to be condemned, and it is the truth’s task to condemn such conduct; and thus they hated the truth as much as they hated their own punishment, which the truth awards to such. But they know not that to be the truth which lays its condemnation on such as they: therefore they hate that which they know not; and hating it, they certainly cannot but also hate Him of whom it is born. And in this way, because they know not the truth, by whose judgment they are condemned, as that which is born of God the Father; of a surety also they both know not, and hate [the Father] Himself. Miserable men! who, because wishing to be wicked, deny that to be the truth whereby the wicked are condemned. For they refuse to own that to be what it is, when they ought themselves to refuse to be what they are; in order that, while it remains the same, they may be changed, lest by its judgment they fall into condemnation).

1 (1Co 10,13,
2 (1Co 4,5,

Tractate XCI.

91 (Jn 15,24-25.

1. The Lord had said, “He that hateth me, hateth my Father also.” For of a certainty he that hateth the truth must also hate Him of whom the truth is born; on which subject we have already spoken, as we were granted ability. And then He added the words on which we have now to discourse: “If I had not done among [in] them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin.” To wit, that great sin whereof He also says before, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin.” Their sin was that of not believing on Him who thus spake and wrought. For they were not without sin before He so spake to them and did such works among them; but this sin of theirs, in not believing on Him, is thus specially mentioned because really inclusive in itself of all sins besides. For had they been clear of this one, and believed on Him, all else would also have been forgiven.

2. But what is meant when, after saying, “If I had not done among them works,” He immediately added, “which none other man did”? Of a certainty, among all the works of Christ, none seem to be greater than the raising of the dead; and yet we know that the same was done by the prophets of olden time. For Elias did so;1 and Elisha also, both when alive in the flesh,2 and when he lay buried in his sepulchre. For when certain men, who were carrying a dead person, had fled thither for refuge from an onset of their enemies, and had laid him down therein, he instantly came again. to life.3 And yet there were some works that Christ did which none other man did: as, when He fed the five thousand men with five loaves, and the four thousand with seven;4 when He walked on the waters, and gave Peter power to do the same;5 when He changed the water into wine;6 when He opened the eyes of a man that was born blind,7 and many besides, which it would take long to mention. But we are answered, that others also have done works which even He did not, and which no other man has done. For who else save Moses smote the Egyptians with so many and mighty plagues,8 as when He led the people through the parted waters of the sea,9 when he obtained manna for them from heaven in their hunger,10 and water from the rock in their thirst?11 Who else save Joshua the son of Nun12 divided the stream of the Jordan for the people to pass over,13 and by the utterance of a prayer to God bridled and stopped the revolving sun?14 Who save Samson ever quenched his thirst with water flowing forth from the jawbone of a dead ass?15 Who save Elias was carried aloft in a chariot of fire?16 Who save Elisha, as I have just mentioned, after his own body was buried, restored the dead body of another to life? Who else besides Daniel lived unhurt amid the jaws of famishing lions, that were shut up with him?17 And who else save the three men Ananias, Azariah, and Mishael, ever walked about unharmed in flames that blazed and did not burn?18

3. I pass by other examples, as these I consider to be sufficient to show that some of the saints have done wonderful works, which none other man did. But we read of no one whatever of the ancients who cured with such power so many bodily defects, and bad states of the health, and troubles of mortals. For, to say nothing of those individual cases which He healed, as they occurred, by the word of command, the Evangelist Mc says in a certain place: “And at even, when the sun had set, they brought unto Him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And He healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils.”19 And Matthew, in giving us the same account, has also added the prophetic testimony, when he says: “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sickness.”20 In another passage also it is said by Mark: “And whithersoever He entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought Him that they might touch if it were but the border of His garment: and as many as touched Him were made whole.”21 None other man did such things in them. For so are we to understand the words in them, not among them, or in their presence; but directly in them, because He healed them. For He wished them to understand the works as those which not only occasioned admiration, but conferred also manifest healing, and were benefits which they ought surely to have requited with love, and not with hatred. He transcends, indeed, the miracles of all besides, in being born of a virgin, and in possessing alone the power, both in His conception and birth, to preserve inviolate the integrity of His mother: but that was done neither before their eyes nor in them. For the knowledge of the truth of such a miracle was reached by the apostles, not through any onlooking that they had in common with others, but in the course of their separate discipleship. Moreover, the fact that on the third day He restored Himself to life from the very tomb, in the flesh wherein He had been slain, and, never thereafter to die, with it ascended into heaven, even surpasses all else that He did: but just as little was this done either in the Jews or before their eyes; nor had it yet been done, when He said, “If I had not done among them the works which none other man did.”

4. The works, then, are doubtless those miracles of healing in connection with their bodily complaints which He exhibited to such an extent as no one before had furnished amongst them: for these they saw, and it is in reproaching them therewith that He proceeds to say, “But now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father: but [this cometh to pass] that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause [gratuitously].” He calls it, their law, not as invented by them, but given to them: just as we say, “Our daily bread;” which, nevertheless, we ask of God in conjoining the words “Give us.”22 But one hates gratuitously who neither seeks advantage from the hatred nor avoids inconvenience: so do the wicked hate the Lord; and so also is He loved by the righteous, that is to say, gratuitously [gratis, freely,] inasmuch as they expect no other gifts beyond Himself, for He Himself will be all in all. But whoever would be disposed to look for something more profound in the words of Christ, “If I had not done among them the works which none other man did” (for although such were done by the Father, or the Holy Spirit, yet no one else did them, for the whole Trinity is one and the same in substance), he will find that it was He who did it even when some man of God did something similar. For in Himself He can do everything by Himself; but without Him no one can do anything. For Christ with the Father and the Holy Spirit are not three Gods, but one God, of whom it is written, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things.”23 No one else, therefore, really himself did the works which He did amongst them; for any one else who did any such works, did them only through His doing. But He Himself did them without any doing on their part.

1 (1R 17,21-22.
2 (2R 4,35,
3 (2R 13,21,
4 (Mt 14,15-21, and Mt 15,32-38.
5 (Mt 14,25-29.
6 (Jn 2,9,
7 (Jn 9,7,
8 (Ex 7,12.
9 (Ex 14,21-29.
10 (Ex 16.
11 (Ex 17,6,
12 “Jesus Nave”: Ihsou`" (uijo;") Nauh`, Sept., Jos 1,1.
13 (Jos 3.
14 (Jos 10,12-14.
15 (Jg 15,19,
16 (2R 2,11,
17 (Da 6,22,
18 (Da 3,23-27.
19 Mc 1,32-34.
20 (Mt 8,17,
21 (Mc 6,56).
22 1 Mt 6,11.
23 2 Ps 72,18.

Augustin on John 86