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Home > Fathers of the Church > Tractates on the Gospel of John (Augustine) > Tractate 23

Tractate 23 (John 5:19-40)

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1. In a certain place in the Gospel, the Lord says that the prudent hearer of His word ought to be like a man who, wishing to build a house, digs deeply until he comes to the foundation of stability on the rock, and there establishes in security what he builds against the violence of the flood; so that, when the flood comes, it may be rather beaten back by the strength of the building. than bring ruin on that house by the force of its pressure. Matthew 7:24-25 Let us regard the Scripture of God to be, as it were, the field where we wish to build something. Let us not be slothful, nor be content with the surface; let us dig deeply until we come to the rock: And that rock was Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:4

2. The passage read today has spoken to us of the witness of the Lord, that He does not hold the witness of men necessary, but has a greater witness than men; and He has told us what this witness is: The works, says He, which I do bear witness of me. Then He added, And the Father that sent me bears witness of me. The very works also which He does, He says that He has received from the Father. The works, therefore, bear witness, the Father bears witness. Has John borne no witness? He did clearly bear witness, but as a lamp; not to satisfy friends, but to confound enemies: for it had been predicted long before by the person of the Father, I have prepared a lamp for mine Anointed: I will clothe His enemies with confusion; but upon Him shall flourish my sanctification. Be it that you were left in the dark in the night-time, you directed your attention to the lamp, you admired the lamp, and exulted at its light. But that lamp says that there is a sun, in which you ought to exult; and though it burns in the night, it bids you to be looking out for the day. Therefore it is not the case that there was no need of that man's testimony. For wherefore was he sent, if there was no need of him? But, on the contrary, lest man should stay at the lamp, and think the light of the lamp to be sufficient for him, therefore the Lord neither says that this lamp had been superfluous, nor yet does He say that you ought to stay at the lamp. The Scripture of God utters another testimony: there undoubtedly God has borne witness to His Son, and in that Scripture the Jews had placed their hope, — namely, in the law of God, given by Moses His servant. Search the Scripture, says He, in which you think you have eternal life: the same bears witness of me; and you will not come to me that you may have life. Why do you think that in the Scripture you have eternal life? Ask itself to whom does it bear witness, and understand what is eternal life. And because for the sake of Moses they were willing to reject Christ, as an adversary to the ordinances and precepts of Moses, He convicts those same men as by another lamp.

3. For, indeed, all men are lamps, since they can be both lighted and extinguished. Moreover, when the lamps are wise, they shine and glow with the Spirit; yet also, if they did burn and are put out, they even stink. The servants of God remain good lamps by the oil of His mercy, not by their own strength. The free grace of God, truly, is the oil of the lamps. For I have labored more than they all, says a certain lamp; and lest he should seem to burn by his own strength, he added, But not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10 All prophecy, therefore, before the coming of the Lord, is a lamp. Of this lamp the Apostle Peter says: We have a more sure word of prophecy, to which you do well giving heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts. 2 Peter 1:19 Accordingly the prophets are lamps, and all prophecy one great lamp. What of the apostles? Are not they, too, lamps? They are, clearly. He alone is not a lamp. For He is not lighted and put out; because even as the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself. The apostles also, I say, are lamps; and they give thanks because they were both lighted by the light of truth, and are burning with the spirit of charity, and supplied with the oil of God's grace. If they were not lamps, the Lord would not say to them, You are the light of the world. For after He said, You are the light of the world, He shows that they should not think themselves such a light as that of which it is said, That was the true light, that enlightens every man coming into this world. But this was said of the Lord at that time when He was distinguished from John (the Baptist). Of John the Baptist, indeed, it had been said, He was not the light, but that he might bear witness of the light. John 1:9 And lest you should say, How was he not the light, of whom Christ says that he was a lamp? — I answer, In comparison of the other light, he was not light. For that was the true light that enlightens every man coming into this world. Accordingly, when He said also to the disciples, You are the light of the world, lest they should imagine that anything was attributed to them which was to be understood of Christ alone, and thus the lamps should be extinguished by the wind of pride, when He had said, You are the light of the world, He immediately subjoined, A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid; neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but an a candlestick, that it may shine on all that are in the house. But what if He did not call the apostles the candle, but the lighters of the candle, which they were to put on a candlestick? Hear that He called themselves the candle. So let your light shine, says He, before men, that they, seeing your good works, may glorify, not you, but your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

4. Wherefore both Moses bore witness to Christ, and John bore witness to Christ, and all the other prophets and apostles bore witness to Christ. Before all these testimonies He places the testimony of His own works. Because through those men too, it was God and none other that bore witness to His Son. But yet in another way God bears testimony to His Son. God reveals His Son through the Son Himself, He reveals Himself through the Son. To Him, if a man shall have been able to reach, he shall need no lamps; and by truly digging deep, he will carry down his building to the rock.

5. The lesson of today, brethren, is easy; but on account of what was due yesterday (for I know what I have delayed, not withdrawn, and the Lord has deigned to allow me even today to speak to you), recall to mind what you ought to demand, if perhaps, while preserving piety and wholesome humility, we may in some measure stretch out ourselves, not against God, but towards Him, and lift up our soul, pouring it out above us, like the Psalmist, to whom it was said, Where is your God? On these things, says he, I meditated, and poured out my soul above me. Therefore let us lift up our soul to God, not against God; for this also is said, To You, O Lord, I have lifted up my soul. And let us lift it up with His own assistance, for it is heavy. And from what cause is it heavy? Because the body which is corrupt weighs down the soul, and the earthly tabernacle depresses the mind while meditating on many things. Wisdom 9:15 Let us try, then, whether we may not be able to withdraw our mind from many things in order to concentrate it on one, and to raise it to one (which indeed we cannot do, as I have said, unless He assist us who wills our souls to be raised to Himself). And so we may apprehend in some measure how the Word of God, the only begotten of the Father, the co-eternal and equal with the Father, does not anything except what He sees the Father doing, while yet the Father Himself does not anything but through the Son, who sees Him doing. Since the Lord Jesus, as it seems to me — willing here to make known some great matter to those that give attention to it, and to pour into those that are capable of receiving, and to rouse, on the other hand, the incapable to assiduity, in order that, while not yet understanding, they may by right living be made capable — has intimated to us that the human soul and rational mind which is in man, not in the beast, is invigorated, enlightened, and made happy in no other way than by the very substance of God: that the soul itself gets somewhat by and of the body, and yet holds the body subject to it, while the senses of the body can be soothed and delighted by things bodily, and that because of this kind of fellowship of soul and body in this life, and in this mutual embrace of theirs, the soul is delighted when the bodily senses are soothed, and saddened when they are offended; while yet the happiness by which the soul itself is made happy cannot be realized but by a participation of that ever-living, unchangeable life, of that eternal substance, which is God: that as the soul, which is inferior to God, causes the body, which is inferior to itself, to live, so that alone which is superior to the soul can cause that same soul to live happily. For the soul is higher than the body, and higher than the soul is God. It bestows something on its inferior, while there is something bestowed on itself by the superior. Let it serve its Lord, that it may not be trampled on by its own servant. This, brethren, is the Christian religion, which is preached through the whole world, while its enemies are dismayed; who, where they are conquered, murmur, and fiercely rage against it where they prevail. This is the Christian religion, that one God be worshipped, not many gods, because only one God can make the soul happy. It is made happy by participation of God. Not by participation of a holy soul does the feeble soul become happy, nor by participation of an angel does the holy soul become happy; but if the feeble soul seeks to be happy, let it seek that by which the holy soul is made happy. For you are made happy, not of an angel, but the angel as well as you of the same source.

6. These things being premised and firmly established — that the rational soul is made happy only by God, that the body is enlivened only by the soul, and that the soul is a something intermediate between God and the body — direct your thoughts to, and recollect with me, not the passage read today, of which we have spoken enough, but that of yesterday, which we have been turning over and handling these three days, and, to the best of our abilities, digging into until we should come to the rock. The Word Christ, Christ the Word of God with God, Christ the Word and the Word God, Christ and God and Word one God. To this press on; O soul, despising, or even transcending all things else, to this press on. There is nothing more powerful than this creature, which is called the rational mind, nothing more sublime: whatever is above this, is but the Creator. But I was saying that Christ is the Word, and Christ is the Word of God, and Christ the Word is God; but Christ is not only the Word, since the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us: John 1:14 therefore Christ is both Word and flesh. For when He was in the form of God, He thought it not robbery to be equal with God. And what of us in our low estate, who, feeble and crawling on the ground, were not able to reach unto God, were we to be abandoned? God forbid. He emptied Himself, taking upon Him the form of a servant; Philippians 2:6 not, therefore, by losing the form of God. He became man who was God, by receiving what He was not, not by losing what He was: so God became man. There you have something for your weakness, something for your perfection. Let Christ raise you by that which is man, lead you by that which is God-man, and guide you through to that which is God. And the whole preaching and dispensation by Christ is this, brethren, and there is not another, that souls may be raised again, and that bodies also may be raised again. For each of the two was dead; the body by weakness, the soul by iniquity. Because each was dead, each may rise again. What each? Soul and body. By what, then, can the soul rise again but by Christ God? By what the body, but by the man Christ? For there was also in Christ a human soul, a whole soul; not merely the irrational part of the soul, but also the rational, which is called mind. For there have been certain heretics, and they have been driven out of the Church, who fancied that the body of Christ did not have in it a rational mind, but, as it were, the animal life of a beast; since, without the rational mind, life is only animal life. But because they were driven out, and driven out by the truth, accept the whole Christ, Word, rational mind, and flesh. This is the whole Christ. Let your soul rise again from iniquity by that which is God, your body from corruption by that which is man. There, most beloved, hear ye what, so far as it appears to me, is the great profundity of this passage; and see how Christ here speaks to the effect, that the only reason why He came is, in order that souls may have a resurrection from iniquity, and bodies from corruption. I have already said by what our souls are raised, by the very substance of God; by what our bodies are raised, by the human dispensation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

7. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son cannot of Himself do anything, but what He sees the Father doing; for whatever things He has done, these also the Son does in like manner. Yes, the heaven, the earth, the sea; the things that are in heaven, on the earth, and in the sea; the visible and invisible, the animals on the land, the plants in the fields, the creatures that swim in the waters, that fly in the air, that shine in heaven; besides all these, angels, virtues, thrones, dominations, principalities, powers; all were made by Him. Did God make all these, and show them when made to the Son, that He also should make another world full of all these? Certainly not. But, on the contrary, what does He say? For whatever things He has made, these, not others, but these also the Son does, not differently, but in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things which Himself does. The Father shows to the Son that souls may be raised, for souls are raised up by the Father and the Son; nor can souls live except God be their life. If souls, then, cannot live unless God be their life, just as themselves are the life of bodies; what the Father shows to the Son, that is, what He does, He does through the Son. For it is not by doing that He shows to the Son, but by showing He does through the Son. For the Son sees the Father showing before anything is done; and from the Father's showing and the Son's vision, is done what is done by the Father through the Son. So are souls raised up, if they can see that conjunction of unity, the Father showing, the Son seeing, and the creature made by the Father's showing and the Son's seeing; and that thing made by the Father's showing and the Son's seeing, which is neither the Father nor the Son, but beneath the Father and the Son, whatever is made by the Father through the Son. Who sees this?

8. Behold, again we humble ourselves to carnal notions, and descend to you, if indeed we had at any time ascended somewhat from you. You wish to show something to your son, that he may do what you do, you are about to do, and thus to show the thing. Therefore, what you are about to do, in order to show it to your son, you do not surely by your son; but you alone do that thing which, when done, he may see, and do another such thing in like manner. This is not the case there; why do you go on to your own similitude, and blottest out the similitude of God within you? There, the case is wholly otherwise. Find a case in which you show to your son what you do before you do it; so that, after you have shown it, it will be by the son you do. Perhaps something like this now occurs to you: Lo, do you say, I think to make a house, and I wish it to be built by my son: before I build it myself, I point out to my son what I mean to do: both he does, and I too by him to whom I pointed out my wish. You have retreated, indeed, from the former similitude, but still you lie in great dissimilitude. For, lo, before you can make the house, you inform your son, and point out to him what you mean to do; that, upon your showing before you make, he may make what you have shown, and so you may make by him: but you will speak words to your son, words will have to pass between you and him; between the person showing and the person seeing, between speaker and hearer, flies articulate sound, which is not what you are, nor what he is. That sound, indeed, which goes out of your mouth, and by the concussion of the air touches your son's ear, and filling the sense of hearing, conveys your thought to his heart; that sound, I say, is not yourself, nor your son. A sign is given from your mind to your son's mind, but that sign not either your mind or your son's mind, but something else. Is it thus that we think the Father has spoken to the Son? Were there words between the Father and the Word? Then how is it? Or, whatever the Father would say to the Son, if He would say it by a word, the Son Himself is the Word of the Father, would He speak by a word to the Word? Or, since the Son is the great Word, had smaller words to pass between the Father and Son? Was it so, that some sound, as it were a temporal, fleeting creature, had to issue from the mouth of the Father, and strike upon the ear of the Son? Has God a body, that this should proceed, as it were, from His lips? And has the Word the ears of a body, into which sound may come? Lay aside all notions of corporeal forms, regard simplicity, if you are single-minded. But how will you be single-minded? If you will not entangle yourself with the world, but disentangle yourself from the world. For by disentangling yourself, you will be single-minded. And see, if you can, what I say; or if you can not, believe what you do not see. You speak to your son; you speak by a word: neither are you, nor is your son, the word that sounds.

9. I have, do you say, another method of showing; for so well instructed is my son, that he hears without my speaking, but I show him by a nod what to do. Lo, show him by a nod what you will, yet certainly the mind holds within itself that which it would show. By what do you give this nod? With the body — namely, with the lips, the look, the brows, the eyes, the hands. All these are not what your mind is: these, too, are media; there was something understood by these signs which are not what your mind is, not what the mind of your son is; but all this which you do by the body is beneath your mind, and beneath the mind of your son: nor can your son know your mind, unless you give him signs by the body. What, then, do I say? This is not the case there; there all is simplicity. The Father shows to the Son what He is doing, and by showing begets the Son. I see what I have said; but because I see also to whom I have said it, may such understanding be some time or other formed in you as to grasp it. If you are not able now to comprehend what God is, comprehend at least what God is not: you will have made much progress, if you think of God as being not something other than He is. God is not a body, not the earth, not the heaven, not the moon, or sun, or stars — not these corporeal things. For if not heavenly things, how much less is He earthly things! Put all body out of the question. Further, hear another thing: God is not a mutable spirit. For I confess — and it must be confessed, for it is the Gospel that speaks it —God is a Spirit. But pass beyond all mutable spirit, beyond all spirit that now knows, now knows not; that now remembers, now forgets; that wills what before it willed not, that wills not what before it willed; either that suffers these mutabilities now or may suffer them: pass beyond all these. You find not any mutability in God; nor anything that may have been one way before, and is otherwise now. For where you find alternation, there a kind of death has taken place: since, for a thing not to be what it was, is a death. The soul is said to be immortal; so indeed it is, because it ever lives, and there is in it a certain continuous life, but yet a mutable life. According to the mutability of this life, it may be said to be mortal; because if it lived wisely, and then becomes foolish, it dies for the worse; if it lived foolishly, and becomes wise, it dies for the better. For the Scripture teaches us that there is a death for the worse, and that there is a death for the better. In any case, they had died for the worse, of whom it said, Let the dead bury their dead; Matthew 8:22 and, Awake, you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light; Ephesians 5:14 and from this passage before us, When the dead shall hear, and they that hear shall live. For the worse they had died; therefore do they come to life again. By coming to life they die for the better, because by coming to life again they will not be what they were; but for that to be, which was not, is death. But perhaps it is not called death if it is for the better? The apostle has called that death: But if you be dead with Christ from the elements of this world, why do ye judge concerning this world as if you were still living? Colossians 2:20 And again, For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. He wishes us to die that we may live, because we have lived to die. Whatever therefore dies, both from better to worse, and from worse to better, is not God; because neither can supreme goodness proceed to better, nor true eternity to worse. For true eternity is, where is nothing of time. But was there now this, now that? Immediately time is admitted, it is not eternal. For that you may know that God is not thus, as the soul is — certainly the soul is immortal — what, however, says the apostle of God, Who alone has immortality, unless that he openly says this, He alone has unchangeableness, because He alone has true eternity? Therefore no mutability is there.

10. Recognize in yourself something which I wish to say within, in yourself; not within as if in your body, for in a sense one may say, in yourself. For there is in you health, your age whatever it be, but this in regard to the body. In you is your hand and your foot; but there is one thing in you, within; another thing in you as in your garment. But leave outside your garment and yourself, descend into yourself, go to your secret place, your mind, and there see, if you can, what I wish to say. For if you are far from yourself, how can you come near to God? I was speaking of God, and you believed that you would understand. I am speaking of the soul, I am speaking of yourself: understand this, there I will try you. For I do not travel very far for examples, when I mean to give you some similitude to your God from your own mind; because surely not in the body, but in that same mind, was man made after the image of God. Let us seek God in His own similitude; let us recognize the Creator in His own image. There within, if we can, let us find this that we speak of — how the Father shows to the Son, and how the Son sees what the Father shows, before anything is made by the Father through the Son. But when I shall have spoken, and you have understood, you must not think that spoken of to be something just such as our example, that you may therein keep piety, which I wish to be kept by you, and earnestly admonish you to keep: that is, if you are not able to comprehend what God is, do not think it a small matter for you to know what He is not.

11. Behold, in your mind, I see some two things, your memory and your thought, which is, as it were, the seeing faculty and the vision of your soul. You see something, and perceive it by the eyes, and you commit it to the care of the memory. There, within, is that which you have committed to your memory, laid up in secret as in a storehouse, as in a treasury, as in a kind of secret chamber and inner cabinet. You think of something else, your attention is elsewhere; what you saw is in your memory, but not seen by you, because your thought is bent on another thing. I prove this at once. I speak to you who know; I mention by name Carthage; all who know it have instantly seen Carthage within the mind. Are there as many Carthages as there are minds of you? You have all seen it by means of this name, by means of these syllables known to you, rushing forth from my mouth: your ears were touched; the sense of the soul was touched through the body, and the mind bent back from another object to this word, and saw Carthage. Was Carthage made there and then? It was there already, but latent in the memory. Why was latent there? Because your mind was engaged on another matter; but when your thought turned back to that which was in the memory, thence it was shaped, and became a kind of vision of the mind. Before, there was not a vision, but there was memory; the vision was made by the turning back of thought to memory. Your memory, then, showed Carthage to your thought; and that which was in it before you directed your mind to the memory, it exhibited to the attention of your thought when turned upon it. Behold, a showing is effected by the memory, and a vision is produced in thought; and no words passed between, no sign was given from the body: you neither nodded, nor wrote, nor uttered a sound; and yet thought saw what the memory showed. But both that which showed, and that to which it showed, are of the same substance. But yet, that your memory might have Carthage in it, the image was drawn in through the eyes, for you saw what you stored up in your memory. So have you seen the tree which you remember, so the mountain, the river; so the face of a friend, of an enemy, of father, mother, brother, sister, son, neighbor; so of letters written in a book, of the book itself; so of this church: all these you saw, and committed to your memory after they were seen; and did, as it were, lay up there what you might by thinking see at will, even when they should be absent from these eyes of the body. You saw Carthage when you were at Carthage; your soul received the image by the eyes; this image was laid up in your memory; and you, the person who was present at Carthage, kept something within you which you might be able to see with yourself, even when you should not be there. All these things you received from without. What the Father shows to the Son, He does not receive from without: all comes to pass within, because there would be no creature at all without, unless the Father had made it by the Son. Every creature was made by God; before it was made it was not in being. It was not therefore seen, after being made and retained in memory, that the Father might show it to the Son, as the memory might show to thought; but, on the contrary, the Father showed it to be made, the Son saw it to be made; and the Father made it by showing, because He made it by the Son seeing. And therefore we ought not to be surprised that it is said, But what He sees the Father doing, not showing. For by this it is intimated that, with the Father, to do and to show is the same thing; that hence we may understand that He does all things by the Son seeing. Neither is that showing, nor that seeing, temporal. Forasmuch as all times are made by the Son, they could not certainly be shown to Him at any point of time to be made. But the Father's showing begets the Son's seeing, just in the same manner as the Father begets the Son. For the showing produces the seeing, not the seeing the showing. And if we were able to look into this matter more purely and perfectly, perhaps we should find that the Father is not one thing, His showing another; nor the Son one thing, His seeing another. But if we have hardly apprehended this — if we have hardly been able to explain how the memory exhibits to the thought what it has received from without — how much less can we take in or explain how God the Father shows to the Son, what He has not from elsewhere, or that which is not other than Himself! We are only little ones: I tell you what God is not, do not show you what God is. What shall we do, then, that we may apprehend what He is? Can ye do this by or through me? I say this to the little ones, both to you and to myself; there is by whom we can: we have just now sung, just now heard, Cast your care upon the Lord, and He will nourish you. The reason why you are not able, O man, is because you are a little one; being a little one, you must be nourished; being nourished, you will become full-grown; and what as a little one you could not, you shall see when full-grown; but that you may be nourished, cast your care upon the Lord, and He will nourish you.

12. Therefore let us now briefly run over what remains, and do you see how the Lord makes known to us the things which I have been here commending to your attention. The Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things which Himself does. Himself raises up souls, but by the Son, that the souls raised up may enjoy the substance of God, that is, of the Father and of the Son. And greater works than these He will show Him. Greater than which? Than healings of bodies. We have treated of this already, and must not linger upon it now. Greater is the resurrection of the body unto eternity than this healing of the body, wrought in that impotent man, to last only for a time. And greater works than these He will show Him, that you may marvel. Will show, as if the act were temporal, therefore as to a man made in time, since God the Word is not made, He by whom all times were made. But Christ was made man in time. We know in what consulship the Virgin Mary brought forth Christ, conceived of the Holy Ghost. Wherefore He, by whom as God the times were made, was made man in time. Hence, just as in time, He will show Him greater works, that is, the resurrection of bodies, that you may marvel at the resurrection of bodies wrought by the Son.

13. He then returns to that resurrection of souls: For as the Father raises the dead, and quickens them, so also the Son quickens whom He will; but this according to the Spirit. The Father quickens, the Son quickens; the Father whom He will, the Son whom He will; but the Father quickens the same as the Son, because all things were made by Him. For as the Father raises up the dead, and quickens them, so also the Son quickens whom He will. This is said of the resurrection of souls; but what of the resurrection of bodies? He returns, and says: For the Father judges not any man, but all judgment has He given to the Son. The resurrection of souls is effected by the eternal and unchangeable substance of the Father and Son. But the resurrection of bodies is effected by the dispensation of the Son's humanity, which dispensation is temporal, not co-eternal with the Father. Therefore, when He mentioned judgment, in which there should be a resurrection of bodies, He says, For the Father judges not any man, but all judgment has He given to the Son; but concerning the resurrection of souls, He says, Even as the Father raises the dead, and quickens them, so also the Son quickens whom He will. That, then, the Father and the Son together. But this concerning the resurrection of bodies: The Father judges not any man, but has given all judgment to the Son; that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. This is referred to the resurrection of souls. That all may honor the Son. How? Even as they honor the Father. For the Son works the resurrection of souls in the same manner as the Father does; the Son quickens just as the Father does. Therefore, in the resurrection of souls, let all honor the Son as they honor the Father. But what of the honoring on account of the resurrection of the body? Whoever honors not the Son, honors not the Father that sent Him. He said not even as, but honors and honors. For the man Christ is honored, but not even as God the Father. Why? Because, with respect to this, He said, The Father is greater than I. John 14:28 And when is the Son honored even as the Father is honored? When in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and all things were made by Him. And hence, in this second honoring, what says He? Whoever honors not the Son, honors not the Father that sent Him. The Son was not sent, but because He was made man.

14. Verily, verily, I say unto you. Again He returns to the resurrection of souls, that by continual repetition we may apprehend His meaning; because we could not keep up with His discourse hastening on as on wings. Lo, the Word of God lingers with us; lo, it does, as it were, dwell with our infirmities. He returns again to the mention of the resurrection of souls. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whoever hears my word, and believes Him that sent me, has eternal life; but has it as from the Father. For whoever hears my word, and believes Him that sent me, has eternal life from the Father, by believing the Father that sent the Son. And shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death to life. But from the Father, whom he believes, is he quickened. What, do You not quicken? See that the Son also quickens whom He will. Verily, verily, I say unto you, That the hour comes when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. Here He did not say, they shall believe Him that sent me, and therefore shall live; but by hearing the voice of the Son of God, they that hear, that is, they that obey the Son of God, shall live. Therefore, both from the Father shall they live, when they will believe the Father; and from the Son shall they live, when they will hear the voice of the Son of God. Why shall they live both from the Father and from the Son? For even as the Father has life in Himself, so also has He given to the Son to have life in Himself.

15. He has finished speaking of the resurrection of souls; it remains to speak more evidently of the resurrection of bodies. And has given Him authority also to execute judgment: not only to raise up souls by faith and wisdom, but also to execute judgment. But why this? Because He is the Son of man. Therefore the Father does something through the Son of man, which He does not from His own substance, to which the Son is equal: as, for instance, that He should be born, crucified, dead, and have a resurrection; for not any of these is contingent to the Father. In the same manner also the raising again of bodies. For the raising to life of souls the Father effects from His own substance, by the substance of the Son, in which the Son is equal to Him; because souls are made partakers of that unchangeable light, but not bodies; but the raising again of bodies, the Father effects through the Son of man. For He has given Him authority also to execute judgment, because He is the Son of man; according to that which He said above, For the Father judges not any man. And to show that He said this of the resurrection of bodies, He goes on: Marvel not at this, for the hour comes: not, and now is; but, the hour comes, in which all that are in the graves (this you have already heard sufficiently explained yesterday) shall hear His voice, and come forth. Where? Into judgment: They that have done well, into the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, into the resurrection of judgment. And dost Thou do this alone, because the Father has given all judgment to the Son, and judges not any man? I, says He, do it. But how do You do it? I cannot of myself do anything; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just. When He was treating of the resurrection of souls, He did not say, I hear; but, I see. For I hear refers to the command of the Father as giving order. Therefore, now as a man, just as He than whom the Father is greater; as from the form of a servant, not from the form of God, As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just. Whence is the man's judgment a just one? My brethren, mark well: Because I seek not my own will, but the will of Him that sent me.

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Source. Translated by John Gibb. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 7. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <>.

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