Augustin on John 103
104 (Jn 17,1.
1). Before these words, which we are now, with the Lord’s help, to make the subject of discourse, Jesus had said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace;” which we are to consider as referring, not to the later words uttered by Him immediately before, but to all that He had addressed to them, whether from the time that He began to account them disciples, or at least from the time after supper when He commenced this admirable and lengthened discourse. He gave them, indeed, such a reason for speaking to them, that either all He ever spake to them may with the utmost propriety be referred to that end, or those especially, as His last words, which He now spake when on the eve of dying for them, after that he who was to betray Him had quitted their company. For He gave this as the cause of His discourse, that in Him they might have peace, just as it is wholly on this account that we are Christians. For this peace will have no temporal end, but will itself be the end of every pious intention and action that are ours at present. For its sake we are endowed with His sacraments, for its sake we are instructed by His works and sayings, for its sake we have received the earnest of the Spirit, for its sake we believe and hope in Him, and according to His gracious giving are enkindled with His love: by this peace we are comforted in all our distresses, by it we are delivered from them all: for its sake we endure with fortitude every tribulation, that in it we may reign in happiness without any tribulation. Fitly therewith did He bring His words to a close, which were proverbs to the disciples, who as yet had little understanding, but would afterwards understand them, when He had given them the Holy Spirit of promise, of whom He had said before: These things have I spoken unto you being yet present with you. But the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (Jn 14,25-26) Such, doubtless, was to be the hour, wherein He promised that He would no more speak unto them in proverbs, but show them openly of the Father. For these same words of His, when revealed by the Holy Spirit, were no more to be proverbs to those who had understanding. For when the Holy Spirit was speaking in their hearts, there was not to be silence on the part of the only-begotten Son, who had said that in that hour He would show them plainly of the Father, which, of course, would no longer be a proverb to them when now endowed with understanding. But even this also, how it is that both the Son of God and the Holy Spirit speak at once in the hearts of their spiritual ones, yea the Trinity itself, which is ever inseparably at work, is a word to those who have, but a proverb to those who are without, understanding.
2. When, therefore, He had told them on what account He had spoken all things, namely, that in Him they might have peace while having distress in the world, and had exhorted them to be of good cheer, because He had overcome the world; having thus finished His discourse to them, He then directed His words to the Father, and began to pray. For so the evangelist proceeds to say: “These things spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son.” The Lord, the Only-begotten and coeternal with the Father, could in the form of a servant and out of the form of a servant, if such were needful, pray in silence; but in this other way He wished to show Himself as one who prayed to the Father, that He might remember that He was still our Teacher. Accordingly, the prayer which He offered for us, He made also known to us; seeing that it is not only the delivering of discourses to them by so great a Master, but also the praying for them to the Father, that is a means of edification to disciples. And if so to those who were present to hear what was said, it is certainly so also to us who were to have the reading of it when written. Wherefore in saying this, “Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son,” He showed that all time, and every occasion when He did anything or suffered anything to be done, were arranged by Him who was subject to no time: since those things, which were individually future in point of time, have their efficient causes in the wisdom of God, wherein there are no distinctions of time. Let it not, then, be supposed that this hour came through any urgency of fate, but rather by the divine appointment. It was no necessary law of the heavenly bodies that tied to its time the passion of Christ; for we may well shrink from the thought that the stars should compel their own Maker to die. It was not the time, therefore, that drove Christ to His death, but Christ who selected the time to die: who also fixed the time, when He was born of the Virgin, with the Father, of whom He was born independently of time. And in accordance with this true and salutary doctrine, the Apostle Paul also says, “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son;” (Ga 4,4) and God declares by the prophet, “In an acceptable time have I heard Thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee;” (Is 49,8) and yet again the apostle, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2Co 6,2) He then may say, “Father, the hour is come,” who has arranged every hour with the Father: saying, as it were, “Father, the hour,” which we fixed together for the sake of men and of my glorification among them, “is come, glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee.”3. The glorification of the Son by the Father is understood by some to consist in this, that He spared Him not, but delivered Him up for us all. (Rm 8,32) But if we say that He was glorified by His passion, how much more was He so by His resurrection! For in His passion our attention is directed more to His humility than to His glory, in accordance with the testimony of the apostle, who says, “He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross:” and then he goes on to say of His glorification, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.” This is the glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ, that took its commencement from His resurrection. His humility accordingly begins in the apostle’s discourse with the passage where he says, “He emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant;” and reaches “even to the death of the cross.” But His glory begins with the clause where he says, “Wherefore God also hath exalted Him;” and reaches on to the words, “is in the glory of God the Father.” (Ph 2,7-11) 6 For even the noun itself, if the language of the Greek codices be examined, from which the apostolic epistles have been translated into Latin, which in the latter is read, glory, is in the former read, doxa: whence we have the verb derived in Greek for the purpose of saying here, doxason (glorify), which the Latin translator renders by “clarifica” (make illustrious), although he might as well have said “glorifica” (glorify), which is the same in meaning. And for the same reason, in the apostle’s epistle where we find “gloria,” “claritas” might have been used; for by so doing, the meaning would have been equally preserved. But not to depart from the sound of the words, just as “clarificatio” (the making lustrous) is derived from “claritas” (lustre), so is “glorificatio” (the making glorious) from “gloria” (glory). In order, then, that the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, might be made lustrous or glorious by His resurrection, He was first humbled by suffering; for had He not died, He would not have risen from the dead. Humility is the earning of glory; glory, the reward of humility. This, however, was done in the form of a servant; but He was always in the form of God, and always shall His glory continue: yea, it was not in the past as if it were no more so in the present, nor shall it be, as if it did not yet exist; but without beginning and without end, His glory is everlasting. Accordingly, when He says, “Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son,” it is to be understood as if He said, The hour is come for sowing the seed-corn of humility, delay not the fruit of my glory. But what is the meaning of the words that follow: “That Thy Son may glorify Thee”? Was it that God the Father likewise endured the humiliation of the body or of suffering, out of which He must needs be raised to glory? If not, how then was the Son to glorify Him, whose eternal glory could neither appear diminished through human form, nor be enlarged in the divine? But I will not confine such a question within the present discourse, or draw the latter out to greater length by such a discussion.
6 So Augustin, with a few others of the early fathers, incorrectly renders the last clause instead of that given by our English version, which is alone grammatically and textually correct: “That Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory (eij" dovxan) of God the Father.”-Tr.
105 (Jn 17,1-5.
1). That the Son was glorified by the Father in His form of a servant, which the Father raised from the dead and set at His own right hand, is indicated by the event itself, and is nowhere doubted by the Christian. But as He not only said, “Father, glorify Thy Son,” but likewise added, “that Thy Son may glorify Thee,” it is worthy of inquiry how it was that the Son glorified the Father, seeing that the eternal glory of the Father neither suffered diminution in any human form, nor could be increased in respect of its own divine perfection. In itself, indeed, the glory of the Father could neither be diminished nor enlarged; but without any doubt it was less among men when God was known only in Judea:1 and as yet children2 praised not the name of the Lord from the rising of the sun to its going down.3 But inasmuch as this was effected by the gospel of Christ, to wit, that the Father became known through the Son to the Gentiles, assuredly the Son also glorified the Father. Had the Son, however, only died, and not risen again, He would without doubt have neither been glorified by the Father, nor have glorified the Father; but now having been glorified through His resurrection by the Father, He glorifies the Father by the preaching of His resurrection. For this is disclosed by the very order of the words: “Glorify,” He says, “Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee;” saying, as it were, Raise me up again, that by me Thou mayest become known to all the world.
2. And then expanding still further how it was that the Father should be glorified by the Son, He says: “As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to all that Thou hast given Him.” By all flesh, He meant every man, signifying the whole by a part; as, on the other hand, the whole man is signified by the superior part, when the apostle says, “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers.”4 For what else did He mean by “every soul,” save every man? And this, therefore, that power over all flesh was given to Christ by the Father, is to be understood in respect of His humanity; for in respect of His Godhead all things were made by Himself, and in Him were created all things in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible.5 “As,” then, He says, “Thou hast given Him power over all flesh,” so may Thy Son glorify Thee, in other words, make Thee known to all flesh whom Thou hast given Him. For Thou hast so given, “that He should give eternal life to all that Thou hast given Him.”
3. “And this,” He adds, “is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” The proper order of the words is, “That they may know Thee and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent, as the only true God.” Consequently, therefore, the Holy Spirit is also understood, because He is the Spirit of the Father and Son, as the substantial and consubstantial love of both. For the Father and Son are not two Gods, nor are the Father and Son and Holy Spirit three Gods; but the Trinity itself is the one only true God. And yet the Father is not the same as the Son, nor the Son the same as the Father, nor the Holy Spirit the same as the Father anti the Son; for the Father and Son and Holy Spirit are three [persons], yet the Trinity itself is one God. If, then, the Son glorifies Thee in the same manner “as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh,” and hast so given, “that He should give eternal life to all that Thou hast given Him,” and “this is life eternal, that they may know Thee;” in this way, therefore, the Son glorifies Thee, that He makes Thee known to all whom Thou hast given Him. Accordingly, if the knowledge of God is eternal life, we are making the greater advances to life, in proportion as we are enlarging our growth in such a knowledge. And we shall not die in the life eternal; for then, when there shall be no death, the knowledge of God shall be perfected. Then will be effected the full effulgence of God, because then the completed glory, as expressed in Greek by doxa. For from it we have the word doxason, that is used here, and which some Latins have interpreted by “clarifica” (make effulgent), and some by “glorifica” (glorify). But by the ancients, glory, from which men are styled glorious, is thus defined: Glory is the widely-spread fame of any one accompanied with praise. But if a man is praised when the fame regarding him is believed, how will God be praised when He Himself shall be seen? Hence it is said in Scripture, “Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house; they will be praising Thee for ever and ever.”6 There will God’s praise continue without end, where there shall be the full knowledge of God; and because the full knowledge, therefore also the complete effulgence or glorification.
1 (Ps 76,1
2 (Ps 113,3 Ps 113,1: pueri, from the LXX. pai`de". The Hebrew is yrenÒx', “servants.”-Tr.
3 (Ps 113,3 Ps 113,1: pueri, from the LXX. pai`de". The Hebrew is yrenÒx', “servants.”-Tr.
4 (Rm 13,1,
5 (Col 1,16,
6 (Ps 84,4).
4. But God is first of all glorified here, while He is being made known to men by word of mouth, and preached through the faith of believers. Wherefore, He says, “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.” He does not say, Thou orderedst; but, “Thou gavest:” where the evident grace of it is commended to notice. For what has the human nature even in the Only-begotten, that it has not received? Did it not receive this, that it should do no evil, but all good things, when it was assumed into the unity of His person by the Word, by whom all things were made? But how has He finished the work which was committed unto Him to do, when there still remains the trial of the passion wherein He especially furnished His martyrs with the example they were to follow, whereof, says the apostle Peter, “Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow His steps:”7 but just that He says He has finished, what He knew with perfect certainty that He would finish? Just as long before, in prophecy, He used words in the past tense, when what He said was to take place very many years afterwards: “They pierced,” He says, “my hands and my feet, they counted8 all my bones;”9 He says not, They will pierce, and, They will count. And in this very Gospel He says, “All things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you;”10 to whom He afterward declares, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”11 For He, who has predestinated all that is to be by sure and unchangeable causes, has done whatever He is to do: as it was also declared of Him by the prophet, “Who hath made the things that are to be.” (Is 45,11) 12
7 1P 2,21.
8 (Ps 22,16-17). Dinumeraverunt (they counted), in accordance with a reading of the Septuagint-that found in the printed text--ejxhriqmhsan. A better reading, however, is also found in Mss., ejxhvriqmhsa, conforming in person, though not in tense, to the Hebrew rBeb'a) (I may count).-Tr.
9 (Ps 22,16-17). Dinumeraverunt (they counted), in accordance with a reading of the Septuagint-that found in the printed text--ejxhriqmhsan. A better reading, however, is also found in Mss., ejxhvriqmhsa, conforming in person, though not in tense, to the Hebrew rBeb'a) (I may count).-Tr.
10 Chap. 15,15).
11 Chap. 16,12).
12 , according to the Septuagint. See note, Tract. LXVIII. sec. 1).
5. In a way similar, also, to this, He proceeds to say: “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” For He had said above, “Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee:” in which arrangement of the words He had shown that the Father was first to be glorified by the Son, in order that the Son might glorify the Father. But now He said, “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do; and now glorify Thou me;” as if He Himself had been the first to glorify the Father, by whom He then demands to be glorified. We are therefore to understand that He used both words above in accordance with that which was future, and in the order in which they were future, “Glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee:” but that He now used the word in the past tense of that which was still future, when He said, “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.” And then, when He said, “And now, O Father, glorify Thou me with Thine own self,” as if He were afterwards to be glorified by the Father, whom He Himself had first glorified; what did He intimate but that, when He said above, “I have glorified Thee on the earth,” He had so spoken as if He had done what He was still to do; but that here He demanded of the Father to do that whereby the Son should yet do so; in other words, that the Father should glorify the Son, by means of which glorification of the Son, the Son also was yet to glorify the Father? In fine, if, in connection with that which was still future, we put the verb also in the future tense, where He has used the past in place of the future tense, there will remain no obscurity in the sentence: as if He had said, “I will glorify Thee on the earth: I will finish the work which Thou hast given me to do; and now, O Father, glorify Thou me with Thine own self.” In this way it is as plain as when He says, “Glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee:” and this is indeed the whole sentence, save that here we are told also the manner of that same glorification, which there was left unnoticed; as if the former were explained by the latter to those whose hearts it was able to stir, how it was that the Father should glorify the Son, and most of all how the Son also should glorify the Father. For in saying that the Father was glorified by Himself on the earth, but He Himself by the Father with the Father’s very self, He showed them assuredly the manner of both glorifications. For He Himself glorified the Father on earth by preaching Him to the nations; but the Father glorified Him with His own self in setting Him at His own right hand. But on that very account, when He says afterward in reference to the glorifying of the Father, “I have glorified Thee,” He preferred putting the verb in the past tense, in order to show that it was already done in the act of predestination, and what was with perfect certainty yet to take place was to be accounted as already done; namely, that the Son, having been glorified by the Father with the Father, would also glorify the Father on the earth.
6. But this predestination He still more clearly disclosed in respect of His own glorification, wherewith He was glorified by the Father, when He added, “With the glory which I had, before the world was, with Thee.” The proper order of the words is, “which I had with Thee before the world was.” To this apply His words, “And now glorify Thou me;” that is to say, as then, so also now: as then, by predestination; so also now, by consummmation: do Thou in the world what had already been done with Thee before the world: do in its own time what Thou hast determined before all times. This, some have imagined, should be so understood as if the human nature, which was assumed by the Word, were converted into the Word, and the man were changed into God; yea, were we reflecting with some care on the opinions they have advanced, as if the humanity were lost in the Godhead. For no one would go the length of saying that out of such a transmutation of the humanity the Word of God is either doubled or increased, so that either what was one should now be two, or what was less should now be greater. Accordingly, if with His human nature changed and converted into the Word, the Word of God will still be as great as He was, and what He was, where is the humanity, if it is not lost?
7. But to this opinion, which I certainly do not see to be conformable to the truth, there is nothing to urge us, if, when the Son says, “And now, O Father, glorify Thou me with Thine own self, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was,” we understand the predestination of the glory of His human nature, as thereafter, from being mortal, to become immortal with the Father: and that this had already been done by predestination before the world was, as also in its own time it was done in the world. For if the apostle has said of us, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world,”13 why should it be thought incongruous with the truth, if the Father glorified our Head at the same time as; He chose us in Him to be His members? For we were chosen in the same way as He was glorified; inasmuch as before the world was, neither we nor the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,14 were yet in existence. But He who, in as far as He is His Word, of His own self “made even those things which are yet to come,” and “calleth those things which are not as though they were,”15 certainly, in respect of His manhood as Mediator between God and men, was Himself glorified on our behalf by God the Father before the foundation of the world, if it be so that we also were then chosen in Him. For what saith the apostle? “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren: and whom He did predestinate, them He also called.”16
13 (Ep 1,4,
14 (1Tm 2,5,
15 (Rm 4,17,
16 (Rm 8,28-30.
8. But perhaps we shall have some fear in saying that He was predestinated, because the apostle seems to have said so only in reference to our being made conformable to His image. As if, indeed, any one, faithfully considering the rule of faith, were to deny that the Son of God was predestinated, who yet cannot deny that He was man. For it is rightly said that He was not predestinated in respect of His being the Word of God, God with God. For how could He be predestinated, seeing He already was what He was, without beginning and without ending, everlasting? But that, which as yet was not, had to be predestinated, in order that it might come to pass in its time, even as it was predestinated so to come before all times. Accordingly, whoever denies predestination of the Son of God, denies that He was also Himself the Son of man. But, on account of those who are disputatious, let us also on this subject listen to the apostle in the exordium of his epistles. For both in the first of his epistles, which is that to the Romans, and in the beginning of the epistle itself, we read: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called [to be] an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, which He had promised afore by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was made for Him of the seed of David according to the flesh, who was predestinated the Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”17 In respect, then, of this predestination also, He was gloried before the world was, in order that His glory might be, by the resurrection from the dead, with the Father, at whose right hand He sitteth. Accordingly, when He saw that the time of this, His predestinated glorification, was now come, in order that what had already been done in predestination might also be done now in actual accomplishment, He said in His prayer, “And now, O Father, glorify Thou me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was:” as if He had said, The glory which I had with Thee, that is, that glory which I had with Thee in Thy predestination, it is time that I should have with Thee also in sitting at Thy right hand. But as the discussion of this question has already kept us long, what follows must be taken into consideration in another discourse).
17 (Rm 1,1-4: oJrisqejnto", determined, declared, not “predestinated,” which is a mistake of the Latin version used by Augustin.-Tr.
106 (Jn 17,6-8.
1). In this discourse we purpose speaking, as He gives us grace, on these words of the Lord which run thus: “I have manifested Thy name unto the men whom Thou gavest me out of the world.” If He said this only of those disciples with whom He had supped, and to whom, before beginning His prayer, He had said so much, it can have nothing to do with that clarification, or, as others have translated it, glorification, whereof He was previously speaking, and whereby the Son clarifies or glorifies the Father. For what great glory, or what like glory, was it to become known to twelve, or rather eleven mortal creatures? But if, in saying, “I have manifested Thy name unto the men whom Thou gavest me out of the world,” He wished all to be understood, even those who were still to believe on Him, as belonging to His great Church which was yet to be made up of all nations, and of which it is said in the psalm, “I will confess to Thee in the great Church [congregation];”1 it is plainly that glorification wherewith the Son glorifies the Father, when He makes His name known to all nations and to so many generations of men. And what He says here, “I have manifested Thy name unto the men whom Thou gavest me out of the world,” is similar to what He had said a little before, “I have glorified Thee upon the earth” ,(vet. 4); putting both here and there the past for the future, as One who knew that it was predestinated to be done, and therefore saying that He had done what He had still to do, though without any uncertainty, in the future.
2. But what follows makes it more credible that His words, “I have manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest me out of the world,” were spoken by Him of those who were already His disciples, and not of all who were yet to believe on Him. For after these words, He added: “Thine they were, and Thou gavest them me; and they have kept Thy word. Now they have known that all things, whatsoever Thou hast given me, are of Thee: for I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send me.” Although all these words also might have been said of all believers still to come, when that which was now a matter of hope had been turned into fact, inasmuch as they were words that still pointed to the future; yet we are impelled the more to understand Him as uttering them only of those who were at that time His disciples, by what He says shortly afterwards: “While I was with them, I kept them in Thy name: those that Thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (ver. 12); meaning Judas, who betrayed Him, for He was the only one of the apostolic twelve that perished. And then He adds, “And now come I to Thee,” from which it is manifest that it was of His own bodily presence that He said, “While I was with them, I kept them,” as if already that presence were no longer with them. For in this way He wished to intimate His own ascension as in the immediate future, when He said, “And now come I to Thee:” going, that is, to the Father’s right hand; whence He is hereafter to come to judge the quick and the dead in the self-same bodily presence, according to the rule of faith and sound doctrine: for in His spiritual presence He was still, of course, to be with them after His ascension, and with the whole of His Church in this world even to the end of time.2 We cannot, therefore, rightly understand of whom He said, “While I was with them, I kept them,” save as those only who believed on Him, whom He had already begun to keep by His bodily presence, but was now to leave without it, in order that He might keep them with the Father by His spiritual presence. Thereafter, indeed, He also unites with them the rest of His disciples, when He says, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for those also who shall believe on me through their word.” Where He shows still more clearly that He was not speaking before of all who belonged to Him, in the passage where He saith, “I have manifested Thy name unto the men whom Thou gavest me,” but of those only who were listening to Him when He so spake.
3. From the very outset, therefore, of His prayer, when “He lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee,” on to what He said a little afterwards, “And now, O Father, glorify Thou me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was,” He wished all His disciples to be understood, to whom He makes the Father known, and thereby glorifies Him. For after saying, “That Thy Son may glorify Thee,” He straightway showed how that was to be done, by adding, “As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him: and this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” For the Father cannot be glorified through any knowledge attained by men, unless He also be known by whom He is glorified, that is to say, by whom He is made known to the nations of the world. The glorification of the Father is not that which was displayed in connection with the apostles only, but that which is displayed in all men, of whom as His members Christ is the head. For the words cannot be understood as applied to the apostles only, “As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him;” but to all, assuredly, on whom, as believing on Him, eternal life is bestowed.
4. Accordingly, let us now see what He says about those disciples of His who were then listening to Him. “I have manifested,” He says. “Thy name unto the men whom Thou gavest me.” Did they not, then, know the name of God when they were Jews?And what of that which we read, “God is known in Judah; His name is great in Israel”?3 Therefore, “I have manifested Thy name unto these men whom Thou gavest me out of the world,” and who are now hearing my words: not that name of Thine whereby Thou art called God, but that whereby Thou art called my Father: a name that could not be manifested without the manifestation of the Son Himself. For this name of God, by which He is called, could not but be known in some way to the whole creation, and so to every nation, before they believed in Christ For such is the energy of true Godhead, that it cannot be altogether and utterly hidden from any rational creature, so long as it makes use of its reason. For, with the exception of a few in whom nature has become outrageously depraved, the whole race of man acknowledges God as the maker of this world. In respect, therefore, of His being the maker I of this world that is visible in heaven and earth around us, God was known unto all nations even before they were indoctrinated into the faith of Christ. But in this respect, that He was not, without grievous wrong being done to Himself, to be worshipped alongside of false gods, God was known in Judah alone. But in respect of His being the Father of this Christ, by whom He taketh away the sin of the world, this name of His, previously kept secret from all, He now made manifest to those whom the Father Himself had given Him out of the world. But how had He done so, if the hour were not yet come, of which He had formerly said that the hour would come, “when I shall no more speak unto you proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of my Father”?4 Can it be supposed that the proverbs themselves contained such a plain anouncement? Why, then, is it said, “I will declare to you openly,” but just because that “in proverbs” is not “openly”? But when it is no longer concealed in proverbs, but uttered in plain words, then without a doubt it is spoken openly. How, then, had He manifested what He had not as yet openly declared? It must be understood, therefore, in this way, that the past tense is put for the future, like those other words, “All things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you:”5 as something He had not yet done, but spoke of as if He had, because His doing of it He knew to be infallibly pre-determined.
5. But what are we to make of the words. “Whom Thou gavest me out of the world”? For it is said of them that they were not of the world. But this they attained to by regeneration, and not by generation. And what, also, of that which follows, “Thine they were, and Thou gavest them me”? Was there a time when they belonged to the Father, and not to His only-begotten Son; and had the Father once on a time anything apart from the Son? Surely not. Nevertheless, there was a time when God the Son had something, which that same Son as man possessed not; for He had not yet become man of an earthly mother, when He possessed all things in common with the Father. Wherefore in saying, “Thine they were,” there is thereby no self-disruption made by God the Son, apart from whom there was nothing ever possessed by the Father; but it is His custom to attribute all the power He possesses to Him, of whom He Himself is, who has the power. For of whom He has it that He is, of Him He has it that He is able; and both together He always had, for He never had being without having ability. Accordingly, what ever the Father could [do], always side by side with Him could the Son; since He, who never had being without having ability, was never without the Father, as the Father never was without Him. And thus, as the Father is eternally omnipotent, so is the Son co-eternally omnipotent; and if all-powerful, certainly all-possessing.6 For such rather, if we would speak exactly, is the word by which we translate what is called by the Greeks pantokratwr which our writers would not interpret by the term omnipotent, seeing that pantokratwr is all-possessing, were it not that they felt it to be equivalent in meaning. What, then, could the eternal all-possessing ever have, that the co-eternal all-possessing had not likewise? In saying, therefore, “And Thou gavest them me,” He intimated that it was as man He had received this power to have them; seeing that He, who was always omnipotent, was not always man. Accordingly, while He seems rather to have attributed it to the Father, that He received them from Him, since all that is, is of Him, of whom He is; yet He also gave them to Himself, that is, Christ, God with the Father, gave men to the manhood of Christ, which had not its being with the Father. Finally, He who says in this place, “Thine they were, and Thou gavest them me,” had already said in a previous passage to the same disciples, “I have chosen you out of the world.”7 Here, then, let every carnal thought be crushed and annihilated. The Son says that the men were given Him by the Father out of the world, to whom He says elsewhere, “I have chosen you out of the world.” Those whom God the Son chose along with the Father out of the world, the very same Son as man received out of the world from the Father; for the Father had not given them to the Son had He not chosen them. And in this way, as the Son did not thereby set the Father aside, when He said, “I have chosen you out of the world,” seeing that they were simultaneously chosen by the Father also: as little did He thereby exclude Himself, when He said, “Thine they were,” for they were equally also the properly of the Son. But now that same Son as man received those who belonged not to Himself, because He also as God received a servant-form which was not originally His own.
6. He proceeds to say, “And they have kept Thy word: now they have known that all things, whatsoever Thou hast given me, are of Thee;” that is, they have known that I am of Thee. For the Father gave all things at the very time when He begat Him who was to have all things. “For I have given unto them,” He says, “the words which Thou gavest me; and they have received them;” that is, they have understood and kept hold of them. For the word is received when it is perceived by the mind. “And they have known truly,” He adds, “that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send me.” In this last clause we must also supply “truly;” for when He said, “They have known truly,” He intended its explanation by adding, “and they have believed.” That, therefore, “they have believed truly” which “they have known truly;” just as “I came out from Thee” is the same as “Thou didst send me.” When, therefore, He said, “They have known truly,” lest any might suppose that such a knowledge was already acquired by sight, and not by faith, He subjoined the explanation, “And they have believed,” so that we should supply “truly,” and understand the saying, “They have known truly,” as equivalent to “They have believed truly:” not in the way which He intimated shortly before, when He said, “Do ye now believe?The hour cometh, and is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone.8 But “they have believed truly,” that is, in the way it ought to be believed, without constraint, with firmness, constancy, and fortitude: no longer now to go to their own, and leave Christ alone. As yet, indeed, the disciples were not of the character He here describes in words of the past tense, as if they were so already, but as thereby declaring beforehand what sort they were yet to be, namely, when they had received the Holy Spirit, who, according to the promise, should teach them all things. For how was it, before they received the Spirit, that they kept that word of His which He spake regarding them, as if they had done so, when the chief of them thrice denied Him,9 after hearing from His lips the future fate of the man who denied Him before men?10 He had given them, therefore, as He said, the words which the Father gave Him; but when at length they received them spiritually, not in an outward way with their ears, but inwardly in their hearts, then they truly received them, for then they truly knew them; and they truly knew them, because they truly believed.
7. But what human language will suffice to explain how the Father gave those words to the Son? The question, of course, will appear easier if we suppose Him to have received such words in His capacity as the Son of man. And yet, although thus born of the Virgin, who will undertake to relate when and how it was that He learned them, since even that very generation which He had of the Virgin who will venture to declare? But if our idea be that He received these words of the l Father in His capacity as begotten of, and co-eternal with, the Father, let us then exclude all such thoughts of time as if He existed previous to His possessing them, and so received the possession of that which He had not before; for whatever God the Father gave to God the Son, He gave in the act of begetting. For the Father gave those things to the Son without which He could not be the Son, in the same manner as He gave Him being itself. For how otherwise would He give any words to the Word, wherein in an ineffable way He hath spoken all things? But now, in reference to what follows, you must defer your expectations till another discourse.
1 (Ps 35,18,
2 (Mt 28,20).
3 (Ps 76,1,
4 Chap. 16,25.
5 Chap. 15,15).
7 Chap. 15,19.
8 Chap. 16,31, 32.
9 (Mt 26,69-74.
10 (Mt 10,33,
Augustin on John 103