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Home > Fathers of the Church > The Harmony of the Gospels (Augustine) > Book I, Chapter 4

The Harmony of the Gospels, Book I

Chapter 4. Of the Fact that John Undertook the Exposition of Christ's Divinity.

7. These three evangelists, however, were for the most part engaged with those things which Christ did through the vehicle of the flesh of man, and after the temporal fashion. But John, on the other hand, had in view that true divinity of the Lord in which He is the Father's equal, and directed his efforts above all to the setting forth of the divine nature in his Gospel in such a way as he believed to be adequate to men's needs and notions. Therefore he is borne to loftier heights, in which he leaves the other three far behind him; so that, while in them you see men who have their conversation in a certain manner with the man Christ on earth, in him you perceive one who has passed beyond the cloud in which the whole earth is wrapped, and who has reached the liquid heaven from which, with clearest and steadiest mental eye, he is able to look upon God the Word, who was in the beginning with God, and by whom all things were made. And there, too, he can recognise Him who was made flesh in order that He might dwell among us; [that Word of whom we say,] that He assumed the flesh, not that He was changed into the flesh. For had not this assumption of the flesh been effected in such a manner as at the same time to conserve the unchangeable Divinity, such a word as this could never have been spoken—namely, I and the Father are one. For surely the Father and the flesh are not one. And the same John is also the only one who has recorded that witness which the Lord gave concerning Himself, when He said: He that has seen me, has seen the Father also; and, I am in the Father, and the Father is in me; that they may be one, even as we are one; and, Whatsoever the Father does, these same things does the Son likewise. And whatever other statements there may be to the same effect, calculated to betoken, to those who are possessed of right understanding, that divinity of Christ in which He is the Father's equal, of all these we might almost say that we are indebted for their introduction into the Gospel narrative to John alone. For he is like one who has drunk in the secret of His divinity more richly and somehow more familiarly than others, as if he drew it from the very bosom of his Lord on which it was his wont to recline when He sat at meat.

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Source. Translated by S.D.F. Salmond. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 6. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1602104.htm>.

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