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Commentary On The Gospel According To Saint John Volumes 1&2

That not by participation are the Properties of God the Father in the Son, but Essentially and by Nature.

35 The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into His Hand.

FOR since he had said, that it behoved not the Son Who had beamed forth God of God, to be able to use words other than He That begat Him, to wit, true words; for He Whom God hath sent, saith he, speaketh the words of God, needs does he subjoin what is before us, and saith, The Father loveth the Son. We shall not grieve (saith he) God the Father by clothing in equal honour Him That is begotten of Him, we shall not offend Him by crowning with God-befitting Glory Him Who is Essentially the Heir of the Father’s goods. For He loveth the Son. He will therefore be pleased at His being glorified by us, and be grieved by the contrary. And let no one suppose, saith he, that He hath His Own Son Heir of this one Divine Excellence only. For He hath given all things into His Hand; i. e., everything, which is essentially good in the Father, this is altogether in the power of the Son. For he calleth power Hand in these words, as when God saith by one of the Prophets, My right Hand hath spanned the heavens, instead of, My Power. But the Son hath in Himself the whole Property of the Father, not by participation, though the Father be said to have given it (for so He would have an acquired, not a Natural Godhead) but the Father gives all that is His to His Son, just as a man too may be conceived to give to the child born of him all the properties of manhood, or as the fire too may be said to give to the heat proceeding from it in the way of energy, the property of its own nature. In such things, both is the giving no loss to the givers (for not by division or severance is the going forth of what is conceived to be given) and the appearance of receiving is blameless on the part of the recipients. For only because of the ‘whence,’ are such things said, and the offspring are conceived of as being a certain natural quality, so to say, of their begetters, shewing clearly what the generator is by nature, and flashing forth the natural energy of their own source. And these things again are adduced by way of examples, but God is above them all. We will not for this accuse human language which is weak, for the glory of God hideth speech, as it is written. And if we see through a glass and darkly, and conceive in part, how shall we not be yet more powerless in the words through the tongue? You will then piously conceive, either that in this way all things are given by the Father to the Son: or you will take it again of the œconomy with Flesh, no longer introducing the giving and receiving in respect of Natural Properties, but as putting the Son in authority over all things originate, that you may conceive of it in some such way as this,

The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into His Hand.

Let not the slow to hearken (he says) be bold in speech, at seeing the Lord of all a Man, nor let him suppose that the Truth is false, rejecting the due belief in God by reason of the Flesh. Let him receive His testimony, let him readily set to his seal that God is true, lest he grieve the Father Which is in Heaven. For He loveth His Son: and the proof of His Love for Him, is that authority over all is given to Him. Which also the Saviour Himself says, All things are delivered unto Me of My Father, and again, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Nor do I suppose that because of the Son’s seeming to receive it, will He reasonably be predicated by any as lesser: and why? for He receives when He became Man, when He humbled Himself for our sakes, when the Lord was called a slave, when the Son, Who is free, became among servants. For how did He humble Himself? or how is He said to have descended from His Equality with God the Father? Dost thou not in these things see Him Who Divinely giveth, Him Who Humanly and as a servant is said to receive what as God He had? For not strictly a gift from the Father is that which appointed the Son to the beginning of Lordship over all things; but rather a return and regain with the Flesh also of the authority that He had before the Flesh. For not when He became Man, did He then begin to rule the creation.

Since to what lowliness would one say that He had descended, if, when He became Man, He then began to have lordship? how will He appear in the Form of a servant, if then at length and scarcely declared Lord of all? Away with the absurdity of the reasonings herein. But when He became Man, then even so begins He to rule, not losing by reason of His Flesh the Divine Dignity, but mounting again with the Flesh also, to what He was from the beginning. But that the things spoken of as Christ’s, were but the regain of what He had before, Himself will prove, saying, Father, glorify Thou Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was. Seest thou that He asketh not for a beginning of glory, but a renewal of the pristine glory, saying this too as Man? But that because of the Human Nature is it said that all things are given to the Son, he that is fond of learning will from all quarters heap up proofs with wisdom, and will be able to understand, but specially from that most dread vision of Daniel, wherein he says that he saw the Ancient of Days set on His Throne, and declares that thousand thousands ministered unto Him and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. And hereto he added, And behold one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him, and there was given Him dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him. Thou seest how here is the whole Mystery of the Incarnation accurately delineated to us; thou seest how the Son is said to receive the kingdom of the Father; shewn to the Prophet as no bare Word, but as the Son of Man (for He humbled Himself, as it is written, being found for our sakes in fashion as a Man), that He first brought back to His Kingdom, might be shewn forth a Beginning and Way to us of Glory into the Kingdom. And as He being by Nature Life did for our sakes descend unto death after the Flesh for all, that He might free us both from death and corruption, by His likeness to us having immingled us as it were with Himself and rendered us partakers of eternal life: so doth He confashion Himself to our low repute, being Lord of Glory as God, that He might restore the nature of man to the royal honour also. For in all things He hath the preeminence, as Paul saith, being both the Way and the Door and the Firstfruits of the good things of human nature, from death to life, from corruption to incorruption, from weakness to might, from bondage to sonship, from dishonour and ignominy to honour and kingly glory. Therefore when the Son appears to receive as Man what He had as God, let us no wise be offended but let us consider rather the mode of the œconomy on our account and for us. For so we shall preserve our mind unwounded and unhurt.

36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.

Not simply, nor without examination doth the most wise Baptist testify that to them that believe in Christ is life set forth, as their Reward, but he brings forth to us the proof of it from the very quality so to speak of things. For the Only Begotten is by Nature Life: for in Him we live and move and are. But He is introduced into us of a surety through faith, and dwelleth in us through the Holy Ghost: and the blessed John the Evangelist will testify saying in his epistles Hereby know we that He dwelleth in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit. Christ will therefore quicken them that believe in Him, as being Himself Life by Nature and dwelling in them. But that the Son indwelleth in us by faith, Paul will furnish proof, saying, For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father, of Whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith. Since then through faith Life by Nature entereth into us, how is he not true that saith, He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting Life? that is to say, the Son Himself, nought else than Him being conceived of as Life.

and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life.

Doth then (will haply some one say) the Baptist preach to us another opinion, and corrupt the doctrine of the resurrection, saying that he that believeth shall be quickened, wholly asserting that he that doth not shall not see life? We shall not all, it seems, rise; his word introducing to us this distinction. Whither then will that pass away, that is said absolutely and as it were to all, The dead shall be raised? What is Paul too about, saying, For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad? I suppose then that he that is eager after learning ought to be praised, nevertheless most accurate scrutiny must be made in Holy Scripture. For see clearly, I pray you, the distinction between the things said. For of the believer he says that he shall have everlasting life, of the unbeliever, the word hath a different significance. For he does not say that he shall not have life: for he shall be raised by the common law of the resurrection; but he says that he shall not see life, that is, he shall not so much as arrive at the bare sight of the life of the saints, he shall not touch their blessedness, he shall remain untasting of their life passed in bliss. For that is indeed life. But to exist in punishment is bitterer than all death, holding the soul in the body only for the sensation of sufferings. Some such difference in life Paul also brings forward. Hear what he says to those who are dead to evil for Christ’s sake, For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God; when Christ, your life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory. Seest thou how he calls appearing in glory with Christ the life of the saints? But what when the Psalmist too sings to us, saying, What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil. Shall we not say that herein is signified the life of the saints? but it is, I think, evident to all. For he does not, forsooth, bid some to refrain from evil, that they may obtain the resurrection of the flesh hereafter (for they will rise again even if they do not cease from evil), but he rouses them rather to that life, wherein they may wholly see good days, passing an endless life in bliss and glory.

but the wrath of God abideth on him.

More openly by means of this which follows did the blessed Baptist shew us the aim of what has been said. Let him who loves to search consider carefully the force of the thought. He that believeth not (he saith) on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. But if it were possible to understand that the unbeliever should be indeed bereft of the life in the body, he would surely have immediately added, “but death abideth on him.” But since he calls it the wrath of God, it is plain that he is contrasting the punishment of the ungodly with the enjoyments of the saints, and that he calls that life, which is the true life in glory with Christ, and the torments of the ungodly, the wrath of God. That punishment is ofttimes called wrath by the Divine Scriptures, I will adduce two witnesses, Paul and John: for the one said to the converted among the Gentiles, And were by nature the children of wrath, even as others; and the other to the Scribes and Pharisees, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Chap. 4 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus Himself baptized not but His disciples), 3 He left Judæa and departed again into Galilee.

Whence our history proceeds to this point, or from what commencement the order of the narrative progressing, introduces the Lord as knowing that the Pharisees had learnt what they enquired, it will not be amiss (it appears) to say. For in that the holy Evangelist saith When therefore the Lord knew, it clearly brings forth a certain declaration of a subject previously under consideration. For He knew all things, without any one telling Him, of Himself, as God, and not at their first coming into existence, but even before they be, as the prophet testified. But He awaiteth the right season for each, and yields rather to the order of things, than to His foreknowledge: for this too was worthy of God-befitting œconomy.

There being then a question between some of John’s disciples and a Jew about purifying, there was much disputing on both sides. For the one taking the part of their own master, were contending that his Baptism was far superior to the legal sprinklings and typical purifications of the others. And indeed probably they were adducing as a proof of this, that many came to him, and very gladly left the more ancient and older customs. These again on the other hand, when the argument was being borne down headlong by the opposite party, and the force of truth rushing down like waters, was overwhelming the feeble mind of its opponents, go against their own opinion, and against their own will say that the baptism bestowed through Christ is far more excellent. And now they begin to have the upper hand, using like arguments for their proof, and rising up against their conquerors with the same arguments. For they were affirming that many more are seen going to Christ, and that all men hasten to Him rather than to John. Whence I suppose the disciples of John kindled with grief go to their master and say, Rabbi, He That was with thee beyond Jordan, to Whom thou barest witness, behold, the Same baptizeth, and all men come to Him. The propositions or arguments of the Jews put forth out of strife, they put forward interrogatively. Hence therefore the Evangelist says that the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made more disciples than John, then that He shunning their lawless jealousy, and keeping His Passion for its own time, retreats from the land of the Jews, and withdraws again into Galilee.

4 And He must needs go through Samaria. 5 Then cometh He to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.

O great readiness of mind and deep prudence! He prevents by his answers the things that would have been asked of him. For some one would straightway have said, either speaking to another, or secretly reasoning, Why did our Lord Jesus Christ, in not fit season, give illumination to the Samaritans? For once there came to Him the Syrophenician woman, with tears entreating mercy for her wretched daughter; and what said the Compassionate to her? It is not meet, saith He, to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. For He did not think it right, I suppose, to pour forth upon the Gentiles before the time the grace assigned to them of Israel. And this Himself made clearer by saying, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. How then (will one say) did He Who was sent to Israel alone begin to instruct the race of the Samaritans, albeit Israel had not yet wholly spurned the grace? To such things does he introduce the reply persuasive with power, to wit, that He must needs go through Samaria. For not for this reason alone did He arrange His sojourn with the Samaritans, that He might preach the word among them, and wholly transfer the whole blessing from Israel: but since He must needs pass through, therefore doth He teach, fulfilling the work of wisdom.

For as fire will never cease from its inherent natural operation of burning; so I deem it wholly impossible, that the Wisdom of all should not work what befits wisdom. And as, while saying that it is not meet to take the children’s bread and to cast it unto dogs, yet to the woman who wept and entreated for pity with many words, He cast the grace, not admonished by another of the season for giving it, but Himself with the Father being Appointer of it, as Son and God and Lord: so did He pity the Samaritans too, and unveiling the Ineffable Might of His God-befitting Authority, He made the illumination of a whole country the bye-work of a journey.

It were besides strange, that Israel, who was already mad in folly, and imagining slaughter against the Lord, should be perfectly loved. But since they do not yet thoroughly persecute Him, but as yet only in measure, therefore our Lord Jesus the Christ also doth not yet wholly strip them of His grace, but doth nevertheless draw off the blessing by little and little to others. But His departing wholly from the country of the Jews, and hasting to go into that of aliens, by reason of the cruelty of His persecutors, was a threat, depicted on the nature of the thing as in a type, that they should endure the total loss of grace, and should dismiss unto others their own good, that is, the Christ, unless they abstained from their violence against Him.

6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, therefore, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well.

Having crossed the borders of Judæa, and being now among aliens, the Saviour rests upon Jacob’s well: shewing us again as in a type and darkly, that even though the preaching of the Gospel should depart from Jerusalem, and the Divine Word at length hasten forth to the Gentiles, there shall not be lost therewith to Israel the love to their fathers, but Christ shall cleave to them again, and shall again be refreshed and rest, as in His Saints, preserving to them the pristine unfading grace. For He loveth to dwell in the memories of His saints, that He may make Himself an ensample to us in this also, and may become the Beginning and Door of the honour given to the fathers. But being wearied with His journey, as it is written, He resteth, that in this too He may accuse the impiety of those that drove Him away. For whereas they ought to have gained His friendship by kindly honours, cherishing Him with reverence and fear, as a Benefactor, they maltreat the Lord with toil and labours, that He may be true, saying of them in the book of Psalms, And they rewarded Me evil for good.

Herein then is seen the daring of the Jews. But what will the Arians again, neighbours of these in folly, answer us to this, yea rather to whom it would rightly be said, Sodom was justified by thee? For the one crucify Christ in the Flesh, but the others rage against the Ineffable Nature Itself of the Word. Lo, He was wearied with His journey: Who was He Who suffered this? will ye bring before us the Lord of Hosts lacking in might, and will ye lay upon the Only Begotten of the Father the toil of the journey, that He may be conceived of as even Passible, Who cannot suffer? Or will ye, acting rightly, refuse so to think, and attribute the charge of these to the nature of the Body only, yea rather will ye say that the toil befits the Human Nature, rather than Him Who is, and is conceived of, as bare Word by Himself? As then He Who possesseth in His Own Nature Power over all things, and is Himself the Strength of all, is said to be wearied (for do not I pray do not divide the One Christ into a Duality of Sons, even though He make His own the sufferings of His Human Nature) albeit He abideth Impassible, since He became Man, Who had it not in Him to be weary; so if He at all speak also of things which we think rather befit man, and not God, let us not hunt after words, nor, when we most need skill unto piety, be then caught in exceeding folly, putting the plan of the œconomy of the Flesh far away from us, ascending hotly to the Very Godhead of the Word, and laying hold with much folly of the things above us. For if He were not altogether called Man, if He were not made in the form of a servant, it were right to be troubled, when one said anything servile of Him, and to demand rather all things according to what befits God. But if in firm faith and unswervingly we are confident, that according to the voice of John, The Word was made Flesh, and tabernacled among us, when thou seest Him speaking as Flesh, that is, as Man, receive discourse befitting man, for confirmation of the preaching. For in no other way could we know certainly, that He being God and Word, became Man, had not the Impassible been recorded to have suffered something, and the High One to have uttered something lowly.

it was about the sixth hour.

He shews that opportunely did Jesus rest upon the well. For the sun pouring down its strongest rays from the mid-vault on those upon the earth, and consuming bodies with its unmitigated strokes, it would not have been without hurt to have gone further, but was more convenient to rest a little, especially when He would easily have thrust away the charge of luxuriousness, if the fitness of the season had agreed thereto.

He does not say that it was the sixth hour precisely, but about the sixth hour, that we too may learn not to be indifferent even about the least things, but rather to try and practise truth in common things.

7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give Me to drink. 8 (For His disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat). 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto Him,

The Saviour was not ignorant of the woman’s coming. For right well did He know being Very God, that she would forthwith be there to draw the cold stream from the fountain. But when she was now come, He began to get His prey within the toils, and straightway holding forth the word of teaching, made His discourse from what was before Him.

The Law appointed for the Jews that they must not be defiled in any way, and therefore ordered them to withdraw from every unclean thing, and not to mix themselves up with strangers, or uncircumcised. But they, carrying forward the force of the commandment to something more, and following most empty observances, rather than the exactness of the Law, nor venturing so much as to touch the flesh of any alien, used to think that they would incur all uncleanness, if they were found having to do with the Samaritans in anything. To so great an extent did their disagreement at length advance, that they recoiled from tasting water or food brought to them by the hand of aliens. In order then that the woman may exclaim, and that His unwonted conduct may invite her to ask Who He is, and whence, and how He despises the Jewish customs; and so at length the conversation may come to His aim, He makes as though thirsty, saying, Give Me to drink. But she said,

How is it that Thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her,

Enquiry is the beginning of learning, and to those who are ignorant upon any subject, doubt concerning it is the root of understanding. This commencement the discourse aims at: wherefore the Saviour wisely hints, that He accounts of no value the customs of the Jews.

If thou knewest the gift of God, and Who It is That saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto Him,

Not knowing the Essence of the Only Begotten, surpassing earth and heaven, yea rather being wholly ignorant of the Incarnate Word, the woman was calling Him a Jew. And profitably is He silent to this, that the foundation of His discourse with her may be kept. Yet does He uplift her to a higher conception of Himself, saying that she knows not Who It is Who asked drink, or how great grace Divine gifts have, insomuch that if she had had knowledge of it, she would not have endured to be behindhand, for she would have prevented the Lord in asking. He rouses her then by these things to a very earnest wish to learn. Observe how now too fashioning His discourse skillfully and free from boast, He says that He is God, even though the woman be slow to understand. For inducing her to marvel at the gift of God, He introduces Himself as the Giver of it. For if (says He,) thou knewest the gift of God and Who It is That saith to thee, thou wouldest have asked of Him. But whom would it befit to give the things of God? would it not Him Who is by Nature God?

But He calls the quickening gift of the Spirit living water, whereby alone human nature, albeit well nigh parched to its very roots, rendered now dry and barren of all virtue by the villainies of the devil, runneth back to its pristine beauty of nature, and drinking in the life-giving grace, is adorned with varied forms of good things, and shooting forth into a virtuous habit puts forth most thriving shoots of love towards God. Some such thing as this God says to us by the Prophet Isaiah also, The beast of the field shall honour Me, the dragons and the owls, because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen, whom I have formed for Myself to declare Mine excellencies. And another of the Saints says that the soul of the righteous shall be as a fruitful tree, and shall spring up as grass among the waters, and shall appear as the willow by running water.

We might heap up, besides those already quoted, many other testimonies also from the Divine Scripture, whence it would be very easy to shew, that under the name of water, the Divine Spirit is often named. But it is no time to linger here. Wherefore we will swim to other places, pressing on upon the great and wide sea of Divine meditations.

Sir, Thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast Thon that living water?

The woman imagines nothing more than what she is accustomed to; and by no means understands the force of what is said, but supposes that like some of those who are accustomed to work wonders by means of charms and devilish deceit, without a line or other contrivance He will draw up the water to her from the depths of the well. But she calls that living water, according to her own meaning, which has fresh flowed from the breasts of the fountain.

12 Art Thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her,

The woman arrests herself, and that as quickly as possible, being conscious that she had taken up ideas of Him neither holily nor surely true. For it was not possible that she should not be altogether profited to understanding, who is wholly enjoying the Divine words. Since then it was possible that He Who speaks should not be a magician, but rather a Prophet, and one of those surpassing in holiness, and had therefore promised to give her the living water, without the usual means of buckets, or having found water far better to use from another source, she straightway changes her discourse for the soberer, and as it were compares saint with saint, saying, Art Thou greater than our father Jacob who gave us this well? Receive the intelligence of her thought, from her no longer wondering at His promising water with out a rope, but speaking only of its quality to the taste.

The Samaritans then were aliens (for they were colonists of the Babylonians), but they call Jacob their father for two reasons. For as inhabiting a country bordering on, and the neighbour of the Jews’ land, they were taking a little impression themselves of their worship, and were accustomed to boast of the Jews’ ancestors. Besides, it was really true that the greater number of the inhabitants of Samaria were sprung from the root of Jacob. For Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, having gathered together ten tribes of Israel, and the half-tribe of Ephraim, departed from Jerusalem in the time of the kingdom of Rehoboam the son of Solomon, and took Samaria, and built houses therein and cities.

14 Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto Him,

The woman of Samaria proposing, as a hard question and difficult to cope with, Art Thou greater than our father Jacob; the Saviour most skilfully avoids all boasting, not saying clearly that He is greater, yet from the nature of the actions does He persuade her to approve Him who excels. Therefore He shews that incomparable is the difference between the spiritual waters, and the sensible and grosser ones, saying, Whosoever shall drink of this water shall thirst again, but he that is filled (saith He) with My water, shall not only be shewn to be superior to thirst henceforth, but he shall have in him a well of water able to nourish him to eternal life. Therefore He that giveth the greater, is greater (saith He) than he that hath the less, and the worsted will not carry off the same glory as the conqueror.

We must know again, that the Saviour here calls the grace of the Holy Ghost water, whereof if any be partaker, he shall have the gift of the Divine teaching evermore flowing up within him, so as no more to be in need of admonition from others, yea rather, readily to suffice to exhort those who thirst after the Divine and heavenly Word, such as were some yet living in this present life and upon earth, the holy Prophets and Apostles, and the heirs of their ministrations, of whom it was written, And ye shall draw water with, joy out of the wells of salvation.

Give me this water, that I thirst not neither come hither to draw. 16 Jesus saith unto her,

Again does she both speak and imagine only ordinary things, and of the things that were said understands no whit; but she supposes that in being released from petty toils, will consist all the aim of our Saviour, and to thirsting no more does she bound the measure of the grace of God, not so much as in bare idea receiving things above the world.

Go call thy husband, and come hither.

Well and not untruly might one say, that the minds of woman are womanish, and that an effeminate soul is in them, never having the power of understanding readily. But the nature of man somehow is apter for learning, and far more ready for reasoning, having a mind awake to wisdom, and (so to say) warm, and of matured manhood. For this reason (I suppose) did He bid the woman call her husband, secretly convicting her as having a heart most slow to learn, not practised in the words of wisdom; yet He is at the same time contriving something else most beautiful.

17 The woman saith to Him I have no husband. Jesus saith unto her, Thou hast well said I have no husband: 18 for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19 The woman saith unto Him,

To whom is it not now evident that the Saviour was not ignorant that she was bereft of any rightful husband and that He made the enquiry about her husband who was not, a plea for making known hidden things? For He was, He was thus with difficulty able to help her no longer marvelling at Him as one of us, but as now above man, by reason of His wondrous knowledge of her circumstances. And profitably does He approve her saying she has no husband, although she had had so many; for not the coming together out of pleasure, but the approval of the law and bond of pure love make marriage blameless.

Sir, I perceive that THOU art a Prophet.

With difficulty does she brighten up to apprehension, and that again not yet perfect. For she still calls the Lord of Prophets a Prophet. But she has by degrees shewn herself better than before, in no way ashamed at reproof, seizing to her own profit the force of the sign and so going forth from her effeminate understanding, attaining to some extent to a vigorous mind, and stretching forth the eye of her heart to an unwonted view of things. Wherein we must chiefly admire alike the forbearance and power of our Saviour, who easily remodels our untutored understanding to an admirable condition.

20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and YE say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her,

Conceiving that the Lord is in truth a Prophet and a Jew, she boasts exceedingly of the customs of her country, and asserts that the Samaritans are far superior in wisdom to the Jews. For the Jews admitting too gross notions of the Divine and Incorporeal Nature, contended that in Jerusalem alone, or its neighbour Sion, ought the God over all to be worshipped, as though the whole Ineffable and Incomprehensible Nature had once for all there taken abode, and was enclosed in temples made with hands. Wherefore they were convicted of being utterly without understanding, by the voice of the Prophets, God saying, Heaven is My Throne and earth is My Footstool, what house will ye build Me, saith the Lord, or what is the place of My rest? The Samaritans again little remote from the folly of the Jews, bordering both in country alike and uninstructedness, supposing that in the mount called Gerizim they ought both to pray and worship, rightly escape not being laughed at. But the plea to them also of their senselessness was, that the blessing was given in Mount Gerizim, as we find written in Deuteronomy. This question the woman proposes to the Saviour, as some great and difficult problem, saying, Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, &c.

Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming, when neither in Jerusalem nor in this mountain, shall ye worship the Father.

He condemns alike the folly of all, saying that the mode of worship of both shall be transformed to the more truthful. For no longer (saith He) shall a place be sought, wherein they shall deem that God properly dwells, but as filling and able to contain all things, shall they worship the Lord every one from his place, as one of the holy Prophets says. He says that His own sojourn in the world with a Body is the time and season for a change of such customs.

Observe how with most gentle leading of discourse, does He guide the mind of the woman to right conceptions respecting the Son, by calling God the Father. For how shall the Father at all be conceived of, if the Son be not?








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