Augustin on John 106

Tractate CVII.

107 (Jn 17,9-13.

1). When the Lord was speaking to the Father of those whom He already had as disciples, He said this also among other things: “I pray for them. I pray not for the world, but for those whom Thou hast given me.” By the world, He now wishes to be understood those who live according to the lust of the word, and stand not in the gracious lot of such as were to be chosen by Him out of the world. Accordingly it is not for the world, but for those whom the Father hath given Him, that He expresses Himself as praying: for by the very fact of their having already been given Him by the Father, they have ceased to belong to that world for which He refrains from praying.

2. And then He adds, “For they are Thine.” For the Father did not lose those whom He gave, in the act of giving them to the Son; since the Son still goes on to say, “And all mine are Thine, and Thine are mine.” Where it is sufficiently apparent how it is that all that belongs to the Father belongs also to the Son; in this way, namely, that He Himself is also God, and, of the Father born, is the Father’s equal: and not as was said to one of the two sons, to wit, the elder, “Thou art ever with me; and all that I have is thine.”1 For that was said of all those creatures which are inferior to the holy rational creature, and are certainly subordinate to the Church; wherein its universal character is understood as including those two sons, the elder and the younger, along with all the holy angels, whose equals we shall be in the kingdom of Christ and of God:2 but here it was said, “And all mine are Thine, and Thine are mine,” with this meaning, that even the rational creature is itself included, which is subject only to God, so that all beneath it are also subject to Him. As it then belongs to God the Father, it would not at the same time be the Son’s likewise, were He not equal to the Father: for to it He was referring when He said, “I pray not for the world, but for those whom Thou hast given me: for they are Thine, and all mine are Thine, and Thine are mine.” Nor is it morally admissible that the saints, of whom He so spake, should belong to any save to Him by whom they were created and sanctified: and for the same reason, everything also that is theirs must of necessity be His also to whom they themselves belong, Accordingly, since they belong both to the Father and to the Son, they demonstrate the equality of those to whom they equally belong. But when He says, speaking of the Holy Ghost, “All things that the Father hath are mine; therefore said I, that He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you,”3 He referred to those things which concern the actual deity of the Father, and in which He is equal to Him, in having all that He has. And no more was it of the creature, which is subject to the Father and the Son, that the Holy Spirit was to receive that whereof He said, “He shall receive of mine;” but most certainly of the Father, from whom the Spirit proceedeth, and of whom also the Son is born.

3. He proceeds: “And I am glorified in them.” He now speaks of His glorification as already accomplished, although it was still future; while a little before He was demanding of the Father its accomplishment. But whether this be the same glorification, whereof He had said, “And now, O Father, glorify Thou me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was,” is certainly a point worthy of examination For if “with Thee,” how can it be “in them”? Is it when this very knowledge is imparted to them, and, through them, to all who believe them as His witnesses? In such a way we may clearly understand Christ as having said of the apostles, that He was glorified in them; for in saying that it was already accomplished, He showed that it was already foreordained, and only wished what was future to be regarded as certain.

4. “And now,” He adds, “I am no more in the world, and these are in the world.” If your thoughts turn to the very hour in which He was speaking, both were still in the world; to wit, He Himself, and those of whom He was so speaking: for it is not in respect of the tendency of heart and life that we can or ought to understand it, so that they should be described as still in the world, on the ground that they still savored of the earthly; and that He was no longer in the world, because divine in the disposition of His mind. For there is one word used here, which makes any such understanding altogether inadmissible; because He does not say, And I am not in the world; but, “I am no more in the world:” thereby showing that He Himself had been in the world, but was no more so. And are we then at liberty to believe that He at one time savored of the worldly, and, delivered at length from such a mistake, no longer retained the old disposition? Who would venture to shut himself up in so profane a meaning. It remains, therefore, that in the same sense in which He Himself also was previously in the world, He declared that He was no longer in the world, that is to say, in His bodily presence; in other words, showing thereby that His own absence from the world was now in the immediate future, and theirs later, when He said that He was no longer here, and that they were so, although both He and they were still present. For He thus spake, as a man in harmony with men, in accordance with the prevailing custom of human speech. Do we not say every day, he is no longer here, of one who is on the very point of departure? And such in particular is the way we are wont to speak of those who are at the point of death. And besides all else, the Lord Himself, as if foreseeing the thoughts that might possibly be excited in those who were afterwards to read these words, added, “And I come to Thee:” explaining thereby in some measure why He said, “I am no more in the world.”

5. Accordingly He commends to the Father’s care those whom He was about to leave by His bodily absence, saying: “Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given me.” That is to say, as man He prays to God in behalf of His disciples, whom He has received from God. But attend to what follows: “That they may be one,” He says, “even as we.” He does not say, That they may be one with us, or, that they and we may be one, as we are one; but He says, “That they may be one, even as we:” meaning, of course, that in their nature they may be one, even as we are one in ours, Which certainly would not be spoken with truth, unless in this respect, that He, as God, is of the same nature as the Father also, in accordance with what He has said elsewhere, “I and the Father are one; “4 and not with what He also is as man, for in this respect He said, “The Father is greater than I.”5 But since one and the same person is God and man, we are to understand the manhood in respect of His asking; but the Godhead, in as far as He Himself, and He whom He asks, are one. But there is still a passage in what follows, where we must have a more careful discussion of this subject.

6. But here He proceeds: “While I was with them, I kept them in Thy name.” Since I am coming, He says, to Thee, keep them in Thy name, in which I myself have kept them while I was with them. In the Father’s name, the Son as man kept His disciples, when placed side by side with them in human presence; but the Father also, in the name Of the Son, kept those whom He heard and answered when praying in the name of the Son. For to them had it also been said by the Son Himself: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name. He will give it you.”6 But we are not to take this in any such carnal way, as that the Father and Son keep us in turn, with an alternation in the guardianship of both in guarding us, as if one succeeded when the other departed; for we are guarded all at once by the Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, who is the one true and blessed God. But Scripture does not exalt us save by descending to us: as the Word, by becoming flesh, came down to lift us up, and fell not so as to remain Himself in the depths. If we have known Him who thus descendeth, let us rise with Him who lifteth us up; and let us understand, when He speaks thus, that He is marking a distinction in the persons, without making any separation of the natures. While, therefore, the Son in bodily presence was keeping His disciples, the Father was not waiting the Son’s departure in order to succeed to the guardianship, but both were keeping them by Their spiritual power; and when the Son withdrew from them His bodily presence, He retained along with the Father the spiritual guardianship. For when the Son also as man assumed the office of their guardian, He did not withdraw them from the Father’s guardianship; and when the Father gave them to the guardianship of the Son, in the very giving He acted not apart from Him to whom He gave them, but gave them to the Son as man, yet not apart from that same Son Himself as God.

7. The Son therefore goes on to say: “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.” The betrayer of Christ was called the son of perdition, as foreordained to perdition, according to the Scripture, where it is specially prophesied of him in the 109th7 Psalm.

8. “And now,” He says, “come I to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” See! He says that He speaketh in the world, when He had said only a little before, “I am no more in the world:” the reason of which we have there explained, or rather have shown that He Himself explained it. Accordingly, on the one hand, as He had not yet departed, He was still here; and because He was on the very point of departure, in a kind of way He was no more here. But what this joy is whereof He says, “That they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves,” has already been elucidated above, where He says, “That they may be one, even as we are.” This joy of His that is bestowed on them by Him, was to be fulfilled, He says, in them; and for that very end declared that He had spoken in the world. This is that peace and blessedness in the world to come, for the attaining of which we must live temperately, and righteously, and godly in the present.

1 (Lc 15,31,
2 (Lc 20,36,
3 Chap. 16,15).
4 Chap. 10,30.
5 Chap. 14,28.
6 Chap. 16,23).
7 Augustin: 108th (Vulg)..

Tractate CVIII

108 (Jn 17,14-19.

I). While the Lord is still speaking to the Father, and praying for His disciples, He says: “I have given them Thy saying; and the world hath hated them.” That hatred they had not yet experienced in those sufferings of their own, which afterwards overtook them; but He speaks thus in His usual way, foretelling the future in words of the past tense. And then, subjoining the reason of their being hated by the world, He says, “Because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” This was conferred on them by regeneration; for by generation they were of the world, as He had already said to them, “I have chosen you out of the world.”1 It was therefore a gracious privilege bestowed upon them, that they, like Himself, should not be of the world, through the deliverance which He was giving them from the world. He, however, was never of the world; for even in respect of His servant-form He was born of that Holy Spirit of whom they were born again. For if on that account they were no more of the world, because born again of the Holy Spirit; on the same account He was never of the world, because born of the Holy Spirit.

2. “I pray not,” He adds, “that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” For they still accounted it necessary to be in the world, although they were no longer of it. Then He repeats the same statement: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth.” For are they kept from the evil, as He had previously prayed that they might be. But it may be inquired how they were no more of the world, if they were not yet sanctified in the truth; or, if they already were, why He requests that they should be so. Is it not because even those who are sanctified still continue to make progress in the same sanctification, and grow in holiness; and do not so without the aid of God’s grace, but by His sanctifying of their progress, even as He sanctified their outset? And hence the apostle likewise says: “He who hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”2 The heirs therefore of the New Testament are sanctified in that truth which was adumbrated in the purifications of the Old Testament; and when they are sanctified in the truth, they are in other words sanctified in Christ, who said in truth “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”3 As also when He said, “The truth shall make you free,” in explanation of His words, He added soon after, “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed;”4 in order to show that what He had previously called the truth, He a minute afterwards denominates the Son. And what else did He mean by the words before us, “Sanctify them in the truth,” but, Sanctify them in me?

3. Finally, He proceeds, and doing so fails not to suggest the same with increasing clearness: “Thy speech (sermo) is truth.” What else did He mean than “I am the truth”? For the Greek Gospel has loUo", which is also the word that is found in the passage where it is said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And that Word at least we know to be the only begotten Son of God, which “was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” Hence also there might have been put here as it actually has been put in certain copies “Thy Word is truth;” just as in some copies that other passage is written, “In the beginning was the speech.” But in the Greek without any variation it is loUo" in both cases. The Father therefore sanctifies in the truth, that is, in His own Word, in His Only begotten, His own heirs and His (the Son’s) co-heirs.

4. But now He still goes on to speak of the apostles, for He proceeds to add, “As Thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” Whom did He so send but His apostles? For even the very name of apostles, which is a Greek word, signifies in Latin nothing more than, those that are sent. God, therefore, sent His Son, not in sinful flesh, but in the likeness ofsinful flesh;5 and His Son sent those who, born themselves in sinful flesh, were sanctified by Him from the defilement of sin.

5. But since, on the ground that the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. has become Head of the Church, they are His members; therefore He says in the words that follow, “And for their sakes I sanctify myself.” For what means He by the words, “And for their sakes I sanctify myself,” but I sanctify them in myself, since they also are [part of] myself?6 For those of whom He so speaks are, as I have said, His members; and the head and body are one Christ, as the apostle teaches when he says of the seed of Abraham, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed,” after having said before, “He saith not, And to seeds, as in many, but as in one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”7 If, then, the seed of Abraham is Christ, what else is declared to those to whom he says, “Then are ye Abraham’s seed,” but then are ye Christ? Of the same character is what this very apostle said in another place: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh.”8 He said not, of my afflictions, but “of Christ’s;” for he was a member of Christ, and in his persecutions, such as it behoved Christ to suffer in the whole of His body, he also was filling up his own share of His afflictions. And to be assured of the certainty of this in the present passage, give heed to what follows. For after saying, “And for their sakes I sanctify myself,” to let us understand that He thereby meant that He would sanctify them in Himself, He immediately added, “That they also may be sanctified in the truth.” And what else is this but in me, in accordance with the fact that the truth is that Word in the beginning which is God? In whom also the Son of man was Himself sanctified from the beginning of His creation, when the Word was made flesh, for the Word and the man became one person. Then accordingly He sanctified Himself in Himself, that is, Himself the man in Himself the Word; for the Word and the man is one Christ, who sanctifies the manhood in the Word. But in behalf of His members He says, “And for their sakes I,”-that is, that the benefit may be also theirs, for they too are [included in the] I, just as it benefited me in myself, because I am man apart from them-“ I sanctify myself,” that is, I sanctify them as if it were my own self in me, since in me they also are I. “That they also may be sanctified in the truth.” For what else mean the words “they also,” but [“they”] in the same way as I; “in the truth,” and that “truth” am I? After this He now beginsto speak not only of the apostles, but also of the rest of His members, which we shall treat of, as grace may be granted us, in another discourse).

1 Chap. 15,19).
2 (Ph 1,6,
3 Chap. 14,6.
4 Chap. 8,32-36.
5 Chap. 1,1, 14.
6 (Rm 8,3,
7 Cum et ipsi sint ego.
8 (Ga 3,29 Ga 3,16.

Tractate CIX.

109 (Jn 17,20.

1 The Lord Jesus, in the now close proximity of His passion, after praying for His disciples, whom He also named apostles, with whom He had partaken of that last supper from which His betrayer had taken his departure on being revealed by the sop of bread, and with whom, after the latter’s departure, and before beginning His prayer in their behalf, He had already spoken at length, conjoined all others also who were yet to believe on Him, and said to the Father, “Neither pray I for these alone,” that is, for the disciples who were with Him at the time, “but for them also,” He adds, “who shall believe on me through their word.” Whereby He wished all His own to be understood: not only such as were then in the flesh, but those also who were yet to come. For all that have since believed on Him have doubtless believed, and shall yet believe till He come, through the word of the apostles; for to themselves He had said, “And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning;”1 and by them was the gospel ministered even before it was written, and every one assuredly who believeth on Christ believeth the gospel. Accordingly, those who He says should believe on Him through their word, are not to be understood as referring only to such as heard the apostles themselves while they lived in the flesh; but others also after their decease, and we, too, born long afterwards, have believed on Christ through their word. For they that were then with Him preached to the others what they had heard from Him; and so their word, that we too might believe, has found its way to us, and wherever His Church exists, and shall yet reach down to posterity, whoever and wherever they be who shall hereafter believe on Him.

2. In this prayer, therefore, Jesus may seem to have omitted praying for some of His own, unless we carefully examine His words in the prayer itself. For if He prayed first for those, as we have already shown, who were then with Him, and afterwards for those also who should believe on Him through their word, it may be said that He prayed not for those who were neither with Him when He so spake, nor afterwards believed through their word, but had done so at some previous time either of themselves, or in some other supposable manner. For was Nathanael with Him at that time?2 Was Joseph of Arimathea, who begged His body from Pilate, and of whom this same evangelist Jn testifies that he was already His disciple?3 Were His mother, Mary, and other women who, we know from the Gospel, had been prior to that time His disciples? Were those with Him then, of whom this evangelist Jn frequently says, “Many believed on Him”?4 For whence came the multitude of those who, with branches of trees, partly preceded and partly followed Him as He sat on the ass, saying, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord ;” and along with them the children of whom He Himself declared that the prophecy had been uttered, “Out of the mouth of babes and of sucklings Thou hast perfected praise”?5 Whence the five hundred brethren, to all of whom at once He would not have appeared after His resurrection6 had they not previously believed on Him? Whence that hundred and nine who, with the eleven, were a hundred and twenty, when, being assembled together after His ascension, they waited and received the promise of the Holy Spirit?7 Whence came all these, save from those of Whom it was said, “Many believed on Him”? For them, therefore, the Saviour did not at this time pray, seeing it was for those He prayed who were then with Him, and for others not who had already, but who were yet to believe on Him through their word. But these were certainly not with Him on that occasion, and had already believed on Him at some previous period. I say nothing of the aged Simeon, who believed on Him when an infant; of Anna the prophetess;8 of Zachariah and Elisabeth, who prophesied of Him before He was born of the Virgin;9 of their son John, His forerunner, the friend of the Bridegroom, who both recognized Him in the Holy Spirit, and preached Him in His absence, and pointed Him out when He was present to the recognition of others;10 -I say nothing of these, as it might be replied that He ought not to have prayed for such when dead, who had gone hence with their great merits, and having met with a welcome reception were now at rest; for a similar answer is also given in connection with the righteous of olden time. For which of them could have been saved from the damnation awaiting the whole mass of perdition, which has been caused by one man, had he not believed, through the revelation of the Spirit, in the one Mediator between God and men as yet to come in the flesh? But behoved He to pray for the apostles, and not to pray for so many who were still alive, but were not then with Him, and had already at some previous period been brought to the faith? Who is there that would say so?

3. We are therefore to understand that their faith in Him was not yet such as He wished it to be, inasmuch as even Peter himself, to whom, on making the confession, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” He had borne so excellent a testimony, was disposed rather to hinder Him from dying than to believe in His resurrection when dead, and hence was called immediately thereafter by the same of Satan.11 Those, accordingly, are found to be the greater in faith who were long since deceased, and yet, through the revelation of the Spirit, had no manner of doubt that Christ would rise again, than those who, after attaining to the belief that He should redeem Israel, at the sight of His death lost all the hope they previously possessed regarding Him. The best thing for us, therefore, to believe is, that after His resurrection, when the Holy Spirit was bestowed, and the apostles taught and confirmed, and from its outset constituted teachers in the Church, others, through their word, attained the proper faith in Christ, or, in other words, that they then got firm hold of the faith of His resurrection. And in this way also, that all those who seemed to have already believed on Him really belonged to the number of those for whom He prayed, when He said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word.”

4. But we have still in reserve for the further solution of this question the blessed apostle, and that robber who was a villain in wickedness, but a believer on the cross. For the Apostle Paul tells us that he was made an apostle not of men, nor by man, but by Jesus Christ: and speaking of his own gospel, he says, “For I neither received it of man, neither did I learn it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”12 How then was he among those of whom it is said, “They shall believe on me through their word”? On the other hand, the robber believed at the very time when in the case of the teachers themselves such faith as they previously possessed had utterly failed. Not even he, therefore, believed on Christ through their word, and yet his faith was such that he confessed that He whom he saw nailed to the cross would not only rise again, but would also reign, when he said, “Remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.”13

5. Accordingly it remains that if we are to believe that the Lord Jesus, in this prayer, prayed for all of His own who either then were or should thereafter be in this life, which is a state of trial upon earth,14 we must so understand the expression, “through their word,” as to believe that it here signified the word of faith itself which they preached in the world, and that it was called their word because it was primarily and principally preached by them. For it was already in the course of being preached by them in the earth when Paul received that same word of theirs by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Whence also it came about that he compared the Gospel with them, lest by any means he had run, or should run, in vain; and they gave him their right hand because in him also they found, although not given him by them, their own word which they were already preaching, and in which they were now established.15 And in regard to this word of the resurrection of Christ, it is said by the same apostle, “Whether it were I, or they, so we preach, and so ye believed;”16 and again, “This is the word of faith,” he says, “which we preach, that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Jesus is the Lord, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”17 And in the Ac of the Apostles we read that in Christ, God hath marked out [the ground of] faith unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.18 Accordingly, this word of faith, because principally and primarily preached by the apostles who adhered to Him, was called their word. Not, however, on that account does it cease to be the word of God because it is called their word; for the same apostle says that the Thessalonians received it from him “not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God.”19 “Of God,” for the very reason that it was freely given by God; but called “their word,” because primarily and principally committed to them by God to be preached. In the same way also the thief mentioned above had in the matter of his own faith their word, which was called theirs precisely because the preaching of it primarily and principally pertained to the office they filled. And once more, when murmuring arose among the Grecian widows in reference to the serving of the tables, previous to the time when Paul was brought to the faith of Christ, the reply given by the apostles, who before then had adhered to the Lord, was: “It is not good that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.”20 Then it was that they provided for the ordination of deacons, that they themselves might not be drawn aside from the duty of preaching the word. Hence that was properly enough called their word which is the word of faith, whereby all, from whatever quarter they had heard it, believed on Christ, or, as yet to hear it, should thereafter believe. In this prayer, therefore, all whom He redeemed, whether then alive or thereafter to live in the flesh, were prayed for by our Redeemer when, praying for the apostles who were then with Him, He also conjoined those who were yet to believe on Him through their word. But what, after such conjunction, He then proceeds to say, must be reserved for discussion in another discourse.

1 Chap. 15,27.
2 The interrogative particle, numquid, beginning this and the following sentences, implies a negative answer. If Nathanael be identified with Bartholomew, the answer would be affirmative.-Tr.
3 Chap. 19,38.
4 Chap. 2,23, 4,39, 7,31, 8,30, 10,42.
5 (Mt 21,9 Ps 8,2,
6 (1Co 15,6,
7 (Ac 1,15 Ac 2,4.
8 (Lc 2,25-38.
9 (Lc 1,41-45, 67-79).
10 Chap. 1,19-36, and 3,26-36.
11 (Mt 16,16 Mt 16,23.
12 (Ga 1,1 Ga 1,12.
13 (Lc 23,42,
14 (Jb 7,1, Tentatio super terram, Åd,a;Alx ab;x; ; English version, “An appointed time (marg., warfare) upon earth.” Ap Ver. puts “warfare” into the text, and “time of service” on the margin.
15 (Ga 2,2 Ga 2,9.
16 (1Co 15,11,
17 (Rm 10,8-9.
18 (Ac 17,31).
19 (1Th 2,13,
20 (Ac 6,1-4.

Tractate CX.

110 (Jn 17,21-23.

1). After the Lord Jesus had prayed for His disciples whom He had with Him at the time, and had conjoined with them others who were also His own, by saying, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word,” as if we were inquiring what or wherefore He prayed for them, He straightway subjoined, “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us.” And a little above, while still praying for the disciples alone who were then with Him, He said, “Holy Father, keep in Thine own name those whom Thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are” ver. 11). It is the same thing, therefore, that He now also prayed for in our behalf, as He did at that time in theirs, namely, that all-to wit, both we and they-may be one. And here we must take particular notice that the Lord did not say that we all may be one, but, “that they all may be one; as Thou Father, in me, and I in Thee” (where is to be understood are one, as is more clearly expressed afterwards); because He had also said before of the disciples who were with Him, “That they may be one, as we are.” The Father, therefore, is in the Son, and the Son in the Father, in such a way as to be one, because they are of one substance; but while we may indeed be in them, we cannot be one with them; for they and we are not of one substance, in as far as the Son is God along with the Father. But in as far as He is man, He is of the same substance as we are. But at present He wished rather to call attention to that other statement which He made use of in another place, “I and the Father are one,”1 where He intimated that His own nature was the same with that of the Father. And accordingly, though the Father and Son, or even the Holy Spirit, are in us, we must not suppose that they are of one nature with ourselves. And hence they are in us, or we are in them, in this sense, that they are one in their own nature, and we are one in ours. For they are in us, as God in His temple; but we are in them, as the creature in its Creator.

2. But then after saying, “That they also may be one in us,” He added, “That the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.” What does He mean by this? Is it that the world will then be brought to the faith, when we shall all be one in the Father and Son? Is not such a state the everlasting peace, and the reward of faith, rather than faith itself? For we shall be one not in order to our believing, but because we have believed. But although in this life, because of the common faith itself, all who believe in one are one according to the words of the apostle, “For ye are all one in Christ Jesus ;”2 even thus we are one, not in order to our believing, but because we do believe. What, then, is meant by the words, “That they all may be one, that the world may believe”? This, doubtless, that the “all” are themselves the believing world. For those who shall be one are not of one class, and the world that is thereafter to believe on this very ground that these shall be one, of another; since it is perfectly certain that He says, “That they all may be one,” of those of whom He had said before, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for those also who shall believe on me through their word,” immediately adding as He does, “That they all may be one.” And this “all,” what is it but the world; not certainly that which is hostile, but that which is believing? For you see here that He who had said, “I pray not for the world,” now prayeth for the world that it may believe. For there is a world whereof it is written, “That we might not be condemned with this world.”3 For that world He prayeth not, for He is fully aware to what it is predestinated. And there is a world whereof it is written, “For the Son of man came not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved ;”4 and hence the apostle also says, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.”5 For this world it is that He prayeth, in saying, “That the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.” For through this faith the world is reconciled unto God when it believes in the Christ whom God has sent. How, then, are we to understand Him when He says, “That they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me,” but just in this way, that He did not assign the cause of the world believing to the fact that those others are one, as if it believed on the ground that it saw them to be one; for the world itself here consisteth of all who by their own believing become one; but in His prayer He said, “That the world may believe,” just as in His prayer He also said, “That they all may be one;” and still further in the same prayer, “That they also may be one in us.” For the words, “they all may be one,” are equivalent to “the world may believe,” since it is by believing that they become one, perfectly one; that is, those who, although one by nature, had ceased to be so by their mutual dissensions. In fine, if the verb which He uses, “I pray,” be understood in the third clause, or rather, to make the whole fuller, be everywhere supplied, the explanation of this sentence will be all the clearer: I pray “that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, in me, and I in Thee ;” I pray “that they also may be one in us ;” I pray “that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.” And, mark, He added the words “in us” in order that we may know that our being made one in that love of unchanging faithfulness is to be attributed to the grace of God, and not to ourselves: just as the apostle, after saying, “For ye were at one time darkness, but now are ye light,” that none might attribute the doing of this to themselves, added, “in the Lord.”6

3. Furthermore, our Saviour in thus praying to the Father showed Himself to be man; while He now also shows that He Himself, as being God along with the Father, doeth that which He prayeth for, when He says, “And the glory which Thou gavest me, I have given them.” And what was that glory but immortality, which human nature was henceforth to receive in Him? For not even He Himself had as yet received it, but in His own customary way, on account of the absolute fixedness of predestination, He intimates what is future in verbs of the past tense, because being now on the point of being glorified, or in other words, raised up again by the Father, He Himself is going to raise us up to the same glory in the end. What we have here is similar to what He says elsewhere, “As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will.” And “whom,” but just the same as the Father? “For what things soever the Father doeth,” not other things, but “these also doeth the Son,” not in a different way, but “in like manner.”7 And in this way He also raised up even His own self. For to this effect he said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.”8 Accordingly the glory of immortality, which He says had been given Him by the Father, He must be also understood as having bestowed upon Himself, although He does not say it. For on this very account He more frequently says that the Father alone doeth, what He Himself also doeth along with the Father, that everything whatever He may attribute to Him of whom He is. But sometimes also He is silent about the Father, and says that He Himself doeth what He only doeth along with the Father: that we may thereby understand that the Son is not to be separated from the working of the Father, when He is silent about Himself, and ascribes some work or other to the Father; as, on the other hand, the Father is not separated from the working of the Son, when the Son is said, without any mention being made of [the Father] Himself, to be doing some work in which nevertheless both are equally engaged. When, therefore, in some work of the Father, the Son says nothing of His own working, He commends humility, that He may become the source of sounder health to us; but when, in turn, in the case of some work of His own, He says nothing of the working of the Father, He commends His own equality, that we may not suppose Him to be inferior. In this way, then, and in this passage, He neither estranges Himself from the Father’s working, although He has said, “The glory which Thou gavest me ;” for He also gave it to Himself: nor does He estrange the Father from His own working, although saying, “I have given to them ;” for the Father also gave it to them. For the works not only of the Father and the Son, but also of the Holy Spirit, are inseparable. But just as, because of His praying the Father in behalf of all His people, it was His own pleasure that this should be done, “that they all may be one;” so also on the ground of His own beneficence, as expressed in the words, “The glory which Thou gavest me, I have given them,” the doing of that was none the less His pleasure; for He immediately added, “That they may be one, as we also are one.”

4. And then He added: “I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.” Here He briefly intimated Himself as tim Mediator between God and men. Nor was this said in any such way as if the Fatherwere not in us, or we were not in the Father; since He had also said in another place, “Wewill come unto him, and make our abode with him;”9 and a little before in this present passage He had not said,” I in them and Thou in me,” as He said now; or, They in me, and I in Thee; but, “Thou in me, and I in Thee, and they in us.” Accordingly, when He now says, “I in them, and Thou in me,” the words take this form in reference to the person of the Mediator, like that other expression used by the apostle,” Ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”10 But in adding, “That they may be made perfect in one,” He showed that the reconciliation, which is effected by the Mediator, is carried to the very length of bringing us to the enjoyment of that perfect blessedness, which is thenceforth incapable of further addition. Hence the words that follow, “That the world may know that Thou hast sent me,” are not, I think, to be taken as if He had again said, “That the world may believe;” for sometimes, to know, is also used in the same sense as to believe, as it is in the words He uttered some time before: “And they have known truly that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send me.” He expressed the same thing by the later words, “they have believed,” as He had done by the earlier, “they have known.” But inasmuch as He here speaks of the consummation, the knowledge must be taken for such, as it shall then be by sight, and not, as it now is, by faith. For an order seems to have been preserved in reference to what He said a little before, “that the world may believe;” while here it is, “that the world may know.” For although He said there, “that they all may be one,” and “may be one in us,” yet He did not say, “they may be made perfect in one,” and so subjoined the words, “that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me;” but here He said, “That they may be made perfect in one,” and then added, not, “that the world may believe,” but, “that the world may know that Thou hast sent me.” For so long as we believe what we do not see, we are not yet made perfect, as we shall bewhen we have merited the sight of that which we believe. Most correctly, therefore, did He say in that previous place, “That the world may believe,” and here “That the world tray know ;” yet both there and here, “that Thou hast sent me ;” that we may know, so far as belongs to the inseparable love of the Father and the Son, that at present we only believe what we are on the way, by believing, to know. And had He said, That they may know that Thou hast sent me, it would be just of the same force as what He actually does say, “that the world may know.” For they are the world that abideth not in enmity, as doth the world that is foreordained to damnation; but one that out of an enemy has been transformed into a friend, and on whose account “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.” Therefore said He, “I in them, and Thou in me;” as if He had said, I in those to whom Thou hast sent me; and Thou in me, reconciling the world unto Thyself through me.

5. In close relation to these come also His further words: “And Thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me.” That is to say, in the Son the Father loveth us, because in Him He hath chosen us before the foundation of the world.11 For He who loveth the Only-begotten, certainly loveth also His members which, through His instrumentality, He engrafted into Him by adoption. But we are not on this account equal to the only-begotten Son, by whom we have been created and re-created, that it is said, “Thou hast loved them as [Thou hast] also [loved] me.” For one does not always intimate equality when he says, As this, so also that other; but sometimes only, Because this is, so also is the other; or, That the one is, in order that the other may be also. For who could say that the apostles were sent by Christ into the world in exactly the same way as He Himself was sent by the Father? For, to say nothing of other differences, which it would be tedious to mention, they at all events were sent when they were already men; but He was sent in order that He might be man; and yet He said above, “As Thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I sent them into the world ;” as if He had said, Because Thou hast sent me, I have sent them. So also in the passage before us He says, “Thou hast loved them, as Thou hast loved me ;” which is nothing else than this, Thou hast loved them because that Thou hast also loved me. For He could not but love the members of the Son, seeing that He loveth the Son Himself; nor is there any other reason for loving His members, save that He loveth Himself. But He loveth the Son as regards His Godhead, because He begat Him equal with Himself; He loveth Him also in regard to what He is as man, because the Only-begotten Word was Himself made flesh, and on account of the Word is the flesh of the Word dear to Him; but He loveth us, inasmuch as we are the members of Him whom He loveth; and in order that we might be so, He loved us on this account before we existed.

6. The love, therefore, wherewith God loveth, is incomprehensible and immutable. For it was not from the time that we were reconciledunto Him by the blood of His Son that He began to love us; but He did so before the foundation of the world, that we also might be His sons along with His Only-begotten, before as yet we had any existence of our own. Let not the fact, then, of our having been reconciled unto God through the death of His Son be so listened to or so understood, as if the Son reconciled us to Him in this respect, that He now began to love those whom He formerly hated, in the same way as enemy is reconciled to enemy, so that thereafter they become friends, and mutual love takes the place of their mutual hatred; but we were reconciled unto Him who already loved us, but with whom we were at enmity because of our sin. Whether I say the truth on this, let the apostle testify, when he says: “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”12 He, therefore. had love toward us even when we were practising enmity against Him and working iniquity; and yet to Him it is said with perfect truth, “Thou hatest, O Lord, all workers of iniquity.”13 Accordingly, in a wonderful and divine manner, even when He hated us, He loved us; for He hated us, in so far as we were not what He Himself had made; and because our own iniquity had not in every part consumed His work, He knew at once both how, in each of us, to hate what we had done, and to love what He had done. And this, indeed, may be understood in the case of all regarding Him to whom it is truly said, “Thou hatest nothing that Thou hast made.”14 For He would never have wished anything that He hated to exist, nor would aught that the Omnipotent had not wished exist at all, were it not that in what He hated there was also something that He loved. For He justly hateth and reprobateth vice as utterly repugnant to the principle of His procedure, yet He loveth even in the persons of the vitiated what is susceptible either of His own beneficence through healing, or of His judgment by condemnation. In this way God at the same time hateth nothing of what He has made; for as the Creator of natures, and not of vices, it was not He who made the evil that He hateth; and of these same evils, all is good that He really doeth, either by mercifully healing them, or by judicially regulating them. Seeing, then, that He hateth nothing that He hath made, who can worthily describe how much He loveth the members of His Only-begotten, and how much more the Only-begotten Himself, in whom are hid all things visible and invisible, which were ordained in their various classes, and which He loves in fullest harmony with such ordination? For the members of His Only-begotten He is leading on by the liberality of His grace to an equality with the holy angels; while the Only-begotten Himself, being Lord of all, is doubtless Lord of angels, being by nature, as God, the equal not of angels, but rather of the Father Himself; while through grace, in respect of which He is man, how can He otherwise than surpass all angelic excellence, seeing that in Him human flesh and the Word constitute but one personality?

7. Nevertheless there are not wanting some who place us likewise before the angels; because, they say, Christ died for us and not for angels. But what else is such a notion than the desire to glory over our very impiety? For “Christ,” as the apostle says, “in due time died for the ungodly.”15 Where it is not any desert of ours, but the mercy of God, that is commended. For what can be the character of the man who wishes himself to be lauded, because he has become so abominably diseased through his own wickedness, that he can only be healed by the death of his physician? That surely is not the glory of our deserts, but the medicine of our diseases. Or do we prefer ourselves to the angels on this account, that, while there are angels also who have sinned, there has been no such labor expended on their healing? As if something that was at least small in amount had been undertaken for them, and what was greater for us. But had even such been the case, it might still be a subject of inquiry whether it was so because we had once stood in a position of superior excellence, or because we were now lying in a more desperate condition. But knowing as we do that the Creator of all good has imparted no grace for the reparation of angelic evils, why do we not rather draw the inference that their fault was judged all the more damnable, that the nature of those who committed it was of a loftier sublimity? For to the same extent as they less than we ought to have fallen into sin, were they superior in nature to us. But now in offending against the Creator they became all the more detestably ungrateful for His beneficence, that they were created capable of exercising the greater beneficence; nor was it enough for them to become deserters from Him, but they must also become our deceivers. This, therefore, is the great goodness of which we are to be made the subjects by Him, who hath loved us even as He hath loved Christ, that, for His sake, whose members He wished us to he, we may be equal to the holy angels,16 to whom we were created with an inferiority of nature, and have by our sin fallen into such greater depths of unworthiness, as to make it incumbent that we should be in some sort their associates.

1 Chap. 10,30).
2 (Ga 3,28,
3 (1Co 11,32,
4 Chap. 3,17.
5 (2Co 5,19,
6 (Ep 5,8,
7 Chap. 5,21, 19.
8 7 Chap. 2,19).
9 Chap. 14,23.
10 (1Co 3,23,
11 (Ep 1,4).
12 (Rm 5,8-9.
13 (Ps 5,5,
14 (Sg 11,25).
15 (Rm 5,6,
16 (Lc 20,36,

Augustin on John 106