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

That the Son is not in the number of worshippers, in that He is Word and God, but rather is worshipped with the Father.

22 YE worship ye know not what: WE know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.

HE speaks again as a Jew and a man, since the economy of the matter in hand demands now too this mode of speaking (for Christ would not have missed meet opportunity): yet does He attribute something more in respect of understanding to the worship of the Jews. For the Samaritans worship God simply and without search, but the Jews having received through the Law and Prophets the knowledge of Him Who is, as far as they were able. Therefore He says that the Samaritans know not, but that the Jews have good knowledge, of whom He affirms, that salvation shall be revealed, that is Himself. For Christ was of the seed of David according to the flesh, David of the tribe of Judah. Amongst the worshippers again as Man does He class Himself, Who together with God the Father is worshipped both by us and the holy angels. For since He had put on the garb of a servant, He fulfilleth the ministry befitting a servant, having not lost the being God and Lord and to be worshipped. For He abideth the Same, even though He hath become Man, retaining throughout the plan of the dispensation after the Flesh.

And even though thou see an abasement great and supernatural, approach wondering, not accusing, not faultfinding, but rather imitating. For such Paul desireth to see us, saying, Let this mind be in each of you, which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the Form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but emptied Himself, taking upon Him the form of a servant, made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a Man, He humbled Himself. Seest thou how the Son became to us a Pattern of lowliness, being in Equality and Form of the Father as it is written: yet descended for our sakes to a voluntary obedience and lowliness? How then could the garb of obedience, how could that of lowliness appear, otherwise than through deeds and words beneath His God-befitting Dignity, and having a great inferiority to those wherein He was while yet bare Word with the Father, and not involved in the form of a servant? How shall we say that He has at all descended, if we allow Him nothing unworthy of Him? How was He made in the likeness of men, according to the voice of Paul, if He imitated not what befits man? But a thing most befitting men is worship, regarded in the light of a debt, and offered by us to God. Therefore He worshippeth as Man, when He became Man; He is worshipped ever with the Father, since He was and is and will be, God by Nature and Very.

But our opponent will not endure this, but will withstand us, saying: “Think it not strange when we say that the Son worships: for we do not suppose that the Son ought to worship the Father, in the same way as we or the angels, for example: but the worship of the Son is something special and far better than ours.”

What then shall we reply to these things? Thou thinkest, fellow, to mislead us, by putting a most noble bondage about the Only-Begotten, and gilding over the dignity of a servant by certain words of deceit. Cease from glorifying the Son with dishonour, that thou mayest continue to honour the Father. For he that honoureth not the Son, neither doth he honour the Father, as it is written. For what (tell me) will it profit the Only-Begotten in respect of freedom, that His worship of the Father should be made more excellent than ours? For so long as He is found among worshippers, He will be altogether a bondman, and even though He be conceived of as a superior worshipper, yet will He by no means differ from creatures in respect of being originate, but only in the remaining excellencies, as to men is superior Michael or any other of the holy and reasonable powers, to whom superiority to those upon earth seems essentially to belong, either in respect of holiness or any superabundance of glory, it having been so decreed by the Chief Artificer of all things, God: but the being classed with things originate, as having been created, is common to them with the rest. The Word then Who is in the Father and of the Father by Nature will never escape being originate, even though He be said to worship in a more excellent way. Then how will that which is made be yet Son, or how will the bondman and worshipper be by Nature Lord? For I suppose that the royal and lordly dignity is pre-eminent in being worshipped: but the office of servant and slave is defined in his paying worship. We confess then by being subject that we hold ourselves bound to worship the Nature which is superior and above all. Wherefore it was proclaimed to the whole creation by the all-wise Moses, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve. So that to whatsoever servitude belongs by nature, and whatever boweth under the yoke of the Godhead, this full surely must needs worship, and submit to the garb of adoration. For in saying Lord, he defines the bond, in saying God, the creature. For together are they conceived of, and contrasted, the bond with Him who is by Nature Lord, and that which is brought into being, with the Inoriginate Godhead.

But seeing the Son is eternally in the Father and is Lord as God, I am at a loss to shew whence He can appear to owe worship. But let them proceed with their babbling: The Only Begotten (says he) will worship the Father, neither as bond nor created, but as a Son the Father. We must therefore take adoration into the definition of Sonship, and say that it altogether behoves the Son to worship the Father, for that in this consists His being, even as does ours in being reasonable mortal creatures, recipient of mind and knowledge, rather than in committing ourselves to motions external and impulsive, and to the mere swayings of will. For if there have been implanted by Nature into the Only Begotten, the duty wholly and of necessity to worship, and they so hold and say, how will they not be caught in naked blasphemy against the Father Himself? For it is altogether necessary to conceive of Him too as such, since the Son is His Image and Impress, and whatever things are in exact likeness, these full surely will differ in nothing. But if they say that the Son pays worship to the Father in will alone, they are guessers, rather than knowers of the truth. For what would hinder others too from saying, fabricating a hazardous piety, that it was the will of the Father to worship the Son, though not a worshipper by Nature?

“But (says he) fitness itself will remove the Person of the Father, will subject the Son to this, His worship of the Father not unwilled.”

What sayest thou, o sir? Dost thou again bring forth to us oracles as from shrines, or Greek tripods, or comest thou like that Shemaiah the Nehelamite, belching forth out of thine own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord? and dost thou not blush, opposing to us fitness, as though invincible in these matters? For dost thou not think it befits Him Who is by Nature God, to have the Word begotten of Him God, and that He Whom the whole creation worships, should be called and be by Nature the Father of a Son Who is worshipped, rather than a worshipper? But I think I say nothing displeasing to the truly wise. But how shall we define that it also befits that the Father be worshipped by His Own offspring, when such a conception as to Both endures so great damage? For in the first place that which worships not will be neither in equality of dignity, nor in exact Image of nature with that which worships. For it worships as inferior, and that not measurable by quantity, in respect of any natural quality (for He That is God or Lord will not be lesser), but as differing in the definition of mode of being. Then how will He be shewn to be true in saying, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father? how doth He say that He ought to be honoured in no less degree than the Father, if He be not His Equal in glory by reason of His worshipping? Then besides, the Father will Himself too appear to be in no slight unseemliness. For it is His glory to beget such as Himself is by Nature: on the other hand it is no slight disgrace, to have a son of another kind and alien, and to be in such case as even the very nature of things originate shrinks from. For they that have received power to bear, bear not worse than themselves, by the ordinance and will of the Artificer of all things. For, saith He, let the earth bring forth grass, the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind and after his likeness. The Godhead then will be in worse case than things originate, since they are thus, It not so, but that which was adjudged alike to befit and to have been well arranged for the successions of things which are, this It Alone will be found without.

Who then, most excellent sirs, will endure you saying, that it befits the Son to worship His Father? But when it has been added to those words of yours, that neither is this unwilled by the Only-Begotten, and this gratuitous argument of yours ye fortify merely by fitness; come, let us consider this too from the Divine Scriptures, whence I think one ought zealously to look for proof on every disputed point. The law therefore enjoined the half of a didrachm to be paid by every one of the Jews to Him Who is God over all, not as devising a way of getting wealth, nor contributions of money to no purpose, but imparting us instruction by clearest types: first, that no one is lord of his own head, but that we all have one Lord, enrolled unto servitude by the deposit of tribute; next, depicting the mental and spiritual fruits, as in a grosser representation and act. For (says he) Honour the Lord with thy righteous labours, and render Him the first fruits of thy fruits of righteousness, which came to pass through the Gospel teaching, the worship after the law being at last closed. For no longer do we think we ought to worship with external offerings the Lord of all, pressing to pay the didrachm of corruptible matter: but being true worshipers, we worship God the Father in Spirit and in truth. This meaning we must suppose to lie hid in the letter of the law.

When then the Lord was in Jerusalem, the gatherers of the didrachm were asking of Peter, saying, Doth not your Master pay the didrachm? But when he was come into the house, as it is written, Jesus prevented him, saying, of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children or of strangers? When he said, Of strangers, Jesus said, Then are the children free; yet lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a stater: that take and give unto them for Me and thee. Seest thou that the Son endured not to be under tribute, and as one of those under the yoke of bondage, to undergo a servile thing? For knowing the free dignity of His Own Nature He affirms that He owes nothing servile to God the Father: for He says, The children are free. How then hath He the worship befitting a slave, and that of His own will? He who shrank at even the bare type of the thing, how could He accept the verity? For shall we not reckon worship as a tribute and spiritual fruit-bearing, and say that it is a kind of service? For why did the law join service to worship, saying, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve? For worship is so to say the gate and way to service in deed, being the beginning of servitude to God. Wherefore the Psalmist says to some, O come, let us worship and fall down, and weep before the Lord our Maker. Seest thou how the duty of falling down follows upon, and is joined to, worshipping? than which what will be more befitting a servant, at least in the estimation of those who rightly weigh the qualities of things, I cannot say.

But if our opponents persist, bearing themselves haughtily in yet unbroken impudence, and cease not from their uninstructed reasonings on these subjects, let them going through the whole Holy Scripture, shew us the Son worshipping God the Father, while He was yet bare Word, before the times of the Incarnation and the garb of servitude. For now as Man, He worships unblamed: but then, not yet so. But they will not be able to shew this from the Divine and sacred Scriptures, but heaping up conjectures and surmisings of corrupt imaginations, will with reason hear, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the glory of the Only Begotten. For that He does not worship in that He is Word and God, but having become as we, He undertook to endure this too as befits man, by reason of the dispensation of the Flesh—; the proof shall not be sought by us from without, but we shall know it from His own Words. For what is it that He is saying to the woman of Samaria? YE worship ye know not what, WE know what we worship. Is it not hence too clear to every body that in using the plural number and numbering Himself with those who worship of necessity and as bond, that it is as made in human nature which is bond that He is saying this? For what (tell me) would hinder His drawing the worship apart into His own Person, if He wished to be conceived of by us as a worshipper? for He should rather have said, I know what I worship, in order that, unclassed with the rest, He might appropriate the force of the utterance to Himself alone. But, now most excellently and with all security He says WE, as already ranked among the bond by reason of His Manhood, as numbered among the worshippers, as a Jew by country.

23 But the hour is coming and now is when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. 24 God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. 25 The woman saith to Him,

He is intimating the time now present of His Own Presence and says that the type shall be transferred to truth and the shadow of the Law to spiritual worship: He tells that through the Gospel teaching the true worshipper, that is, the spiritual man, shall be conducted to a polity well-pleasing unto the Father, hasting unto ownness with God. For God is conceived of as a Spirit, in reference to the embodied nature. Rightly therefore does He accept the spiritual worshipper, who does not in form and type carry in Jewish wise the form of godliness, but in Gospel manner resplendent in the achievements of virtue and in lightness of the Divine doctrines fulfilleth the really true worship.

We know that Messias is coming, Which is called Christ: when He is come, He will tell us all things.

Upon Christ teaching that the hour and season will come, rather is already present, wherein the true worshippers shall offer to God the Father the worship in spirit; forthwith the woman is winged to thoughts above her wont unto the hope spoken of by the Jews. She confesses that she knows that the Messiah will come in His own time, and to whom He will come, she does not exactly say, receiving (as is like) the common reports of Him without any investigation, as being a laughter-loving and carnal-minded woman; yet is she not wholly ignorant that He will be manifested to Israel as a bringer in of better teaching, finding most certainly this information too in the reports about Him.

26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am He.

Not to untutored or wholly ignorant souls doth Christ reveal Himself, but shines upon and appears the rather to those who are more ready to desire to learn, and travailing with the beginning of the faith in simple words, press forward to the knowledge of what is more perfect. Such an one as this was the woman of Samaria also shewn to us, giving her mind more grossly than she ought to the truly Divine ideas, but not entirely removed from the desire of understanding somewhat. For first, on Christ asking for drink, she does not readily give it: but beholding Him breaking (as far as one can speak humanly) the national customs of the Jews, she begins to seek first the reason of this, all but, by her mentioning it, inviting the Lord to an explanation: How is it (says she) that THOU being a Jew askest drink of me which am a woman of Samaria? But when during the progress of questioning, she at length begun to confess that He was a Prophet, having received His reproof a medicine unto salvation, she added another inquiry saying with zeal for learning: Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and YE say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. But He was teaching this again, that the time shall come, yea, is already present, when the true worshippers, rejecting worship on the mountains of earth, shall offer the higher and spiritual worship to God the Father. She attributing the best of all as the due of the Christ alone, and keeping the more perfect knowledge for those times, says, We know that Messias cometh Which is called Christ; when He is come, He will tell us all things. Seest thou how ready to believe the woman was already getting, and as though ascending a staircase, springs up from little questions to a higher condition? It was right then to lay open to her with now clearer voice what she longed for, telling her that that which was preserved in good hope is at length set before her in sight, I that speak unto thee am He.

Let them therefore who have the care of teaching in the Churches commit to the new-born disciples, the word of teaching to be digested, and so at length let them shew them Jesus, bringing them up from slight instruction to the more perfect knowledge of the faith. But let them who, taking hold of the alien and so proselyte, and bringing him within the inner veil, suffer him to offer the Lamb with hands yet unwashen, and crown with the dignity of the Priesthood him who is not yet instructed, prepare for a mighty account in the day of judgment. It is sufficient for me only to say this.

27 And upon this came His disciples

The presence of the disciples is the conclusion of His conversation with the woman. For the Saviour is at length silent, and having placed in the Samaritans the glowing spark of the faith, commits it to their inward parts to be kindled to a mighty flame. Thus you may understand what was said by Him, I am come to send fire on the earth, and what will I, if it be already kindled?

and marvelled that He talked with the woman:

The disciples again are astonished at the gentleness of the Saviour, and wonder at His meek way. For not after the manner of some who are fierce with unslacked religion, did He think right to shun conversation with the woman, but unfolds His Loving-kindness to all, and hereby shews, that He being wholly One Artificer, doth not to men alone impart the life through faith, but snareth the female race also thereto.

Let him that teacheth in the Church gain this too as a pattern, and not refuse to help women. For one must in every thing follow not one’s own will, but the service of preaching.

yet no man said, What seekest Thou? or, Why talkest Thou with her?

It was the work of wise disciples, and knowing how to preserve their Master’s honour, not to seem by their superfluous questions to be going off into strange surmises, because He was talking with a woman, but rather in reverence and fear to restrain their tongue within their teeth, and to await their Lord speaking of His own accord, and giving them a voluntary explanation. We must therefore herein marvel at Christ for His gentleness, at the disciples for their wisdom and understanding and knowledge of what is becoming.

28 The woman therefore left her waterpot and went her way into the city,

The woman now shews herself superior to and above the cares of the body, who two or three days ago was the wife of many, and she who ofttimes was easily taken captive by vain pleasures, now overreaches the flesh of its necessary want, disregarding alike thirst and drink, and is re-wrought unto another habit through faith. Forthwith doth she, exercising love the fairest of all virtues, and neighbourly affection, diligently proclaiming to others also the good which appeared to her, hasten quickly into the city. For probably the Saviour was telling her, and secretly whispering in her mind, Freely ye received, freely give. Learn we hereby, not to imitate that sloth-loving servant, and who therefore hid his talent in the earth, but rather let us be diligent to trade with it. Which thing too that much-talked-of woman well doing, communicates to the rest the good which fell to her, no longer taking the water which she came to draw, from its fountain-depths, nor carrying home her waterpot of the earth, but rather with Divine and heavenly grace and the all-wise teaching of the Saviour filling the garners of her understanding.

We must hence learn, as in a type and outline, that by thoroughly despising little and corporal things, we shall receive of God things manifold more and better. For what is earthly water, compared with Heavenly wisdom?

29 and saith to the men Come see a Man which told me all things that ever I did; is not This the Christ?

O wondrous change! O truly great and God-befitting Might, translucent with unspeakable marvel! Skilful workwoman unto doctrine, and initiater is she, who understood none of the things that were said at first, and therefore rightly heard, Go, call thy husband and come hither. For see how skilfully she conversed with the Samaritans. She does not say at once that she has found the Christ, nor does she introduce Jesus at first into her account. For rightly would she have been rejected, as far surpassing the measure of words befitting her, finding her hearers not ignorant of her habits. She first then prepares the way for this wonder, and having first astonished them with the miracle, makes the way smoother, so to say, to the faith. Come and see, she wisely says; all but crying aloud with more earnest voice, Sight alone will suffice to belief, and will assure those present with its more note-worthy marvels. For He Who knoweth the hidden things, and hath this great and God-befitting dignity, how shall He not speed with prosperous course to the fulfilment of those things which He willeth?

30 They went out of the city, and came unto Him.

The obedience of the Samaritans is a conviction of the hardness of heart of the Jews, and their inhumanity is clearly shewn in the gentleness of these. And let the seeker of learning see again the difference of habit in both, that he may justly wonder at Jesus, departing from the Synagogue of the Jews, and giving Himself rather to the aliens. For that Christ should come to the Jews, and for what causes He should be revealed, the law of Moses declared to us, the all-august choir of the Prophets did proclaim, and did point Him out at length all but present at the doors, saying, Behold your God, Behold the Lord; and last of all John, the great among them that are born of women, did manifest Him already appeared, and dwelling among us, saying, Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world; and (yet more wonderfully than all) the Saviour was revealing Himself through many deeds of power and God-befitting authority. What then do these men unbridled unto strange counsels at last meditate yet? They devise murder unjustly, they plot impiously, they envy stubbornly, they drive forth of their land and city, the Life, the Light, the Salvation of all, the Way to the kingdom, the Remission of sins, the Bestower of sonship. Wherefore rightly said the Saviour, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the Prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold your house is left unto you. But the Samaritans shew themselves superior to the folly of the Jews, and by obedience victorious over their innate unlearning, having given ear to one miracle only, they flock quickly to Jesus, not persuaded thereto by the voices of the holy Prophets, or by the proclamations of Moses, nor yet the actual pointings of John, but one only woman and she a sinner telling them of Him. With reason then, let us too admiring the sentence of the Saviour against them, say, Righteous art Thou, o Lord, and upright Thy Judgment.

31 In the mean time His disciples prayed Him, saying Master, eat. 32 But He saith unto them

Most excellently doth the Divine Evangelist manage the compilation of this book, and omits nothing which he believes will at all be of use to the readers. Hear therefore how he introduces Jesus again as the Ensample of a most note-worthy act. For I do not think that any thing has been put in vain in the writings of the saints, but what any man deems small, he sometimes finds pregnant with no contemptible profit. The conversion of the Samaritans being then begun, and they on the point of looking for Him (for He knew as God that they would come): wholly and entirely is He intent upon the salvation of them which are called, and makes no account of bodily food, although wearied with His journey, as it is written: that hereby again He might profit the teachers in the Churches, and persuade them to disregard all fatigue, and use more diligent zeal for those who are being saved, than for the care of their bodies. For Cursed, saith the Prophet, be he that doeth the work of the Lord negligently. In order then that we may learn that the Lord was accustomed to go without food at such times, he introduces the disciples, begging and all but on their knees, that He would take a little of their provisions, as inevitable and necessary food. For they had gone away into the city to buy meat which they had now got and come with.

I have meat to eat that YE know not of.

Skilfully does the Saviour fashion His answer from what was before Him. He all but says darkly, that if they knew that the conversion of the Samaritans was at the doors, they would have persuaded Him rather to cling to that as a delicacy than to nourish the flesh. From this again we may learn how great love for man the Divine Nature hath: for It considereth the return of the lost unto salvation as both meat and treat.

33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought Him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them,

The disciples not yet understanding the discourse which was obscure, were reasoning about what had often happened among themselves, and descend to common place ideas, fancying that food had been brought Him by some one, and that it was perhaps more costly or sweeter than what had been got together by them.

My meat is to do the Will of Him That sent Me and to complete His Work.

Having wholly torn away the veil from His speech, He shewed them in full translucence the truth, and forthwith introduces Himself as a type unto future teachers of the world, of steadfast and most exceeding excellent zeal, to wit in respect of the duty of teaching, and on this account fitly keeping thought for the needful care of the body secondary. For in saying that it was to Himself most pleasant meat, to do the Will of Him that sent Him and to finish His Work, He limns the office of the Apostolic ministry and clearly shews, what manner of men they ought to be in habit. For it was necessary (as it seems) that they should be strung to taking thought for teaching only, and it behoved them to be so far removed from the pleasure of the body, as at times not even to desire the service necessary for the mere accomplishing its preservation from death.

And let this be said for the present, as tending to the type and pattern of Apostolic polity. But if we must in addition to what has been said, apply ourselves to speak more doctrinally, He says that He was sent, clearly by God the Father, either in respect of the Incarnation, wherein He beamed on the world with Flesh, by the good Pleasure and Approbation of the Father; or as the Word proceeding in some way from the begetting Mind, and sent and fulfilling His decree, not as though taken as a minister of others’ wills, but Himself being alike both the Living Word and the most evident Will of the Father, readily saving those that were lost. Therefore in saying that it is the work of Him That hath sent Him, Himself is shewn as its Fulfiller: for all things are by the Father through the Son in the Spirit. For that the Son is the Word and Counsel and Will and Power of the Father is, I suppose, evident to all: but it is no trouble to prove it from the Divine Scripture also. Therefore let any one see that He is the Word in this, In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God: let him see Counsel, in that the Psalmist says, as to God the Father, In Thy Counsel Thou guidedst me and with glory didst Thou receive me: let him see Will again in his saying, Lord in Thy Will give strength to my beauty. For He strengthened the beauty of His saints, that is, their vigour unto every virtue, He, the Living and Hypostatic Will of the Father, that is the SON. That He is Power also, thou shalt again understand hence, Command, O God (he says) Thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which Thou wroughtest for us. Thou seest clearly herein, that by the good Pleasure of God the Father, His Power, that is, the Son, was Incarnate, that He might strengthen this body, which He perfected for us. For if He had not tabernacled among us, neither would the nature of the flesh at all have put off the infirmity of corruption. The Son then being Himself the good Will of the Father, perfects His Work, being shewn forth salvation to them that believe on Him.

But some one will say to this: “If the Son is Himself the Will of the Father, what will was He sent to fulfil? for the fulfilled must needs be other than the fulfiller.” What therefore do we say to this? The giving of names indeed demands difference in the things signified, but often there is no difference in respect of God, and word regarding the supreme Nature rejects accuracy herein. For Its Properties are spoken of, not altogether as they are in truth, but as tongue can express, and ear of man hear. For he that seeth darkly, darkly also he speaketh. For what wilt thou do when He Who is by Nature Simple introduceth Himself to us as compound, in that He saith of them of Israel, And their children they made pass through the fire, which I commanded not, neither came it into My heart? for must not the heart needs be other than he in whom it is? and how then shall God be yet conceived of as Simple? The things therefore about God, are spoken of after the manner of men: they are so conceived of, as befits God, and the measure of our tongue will not wrong the Nature That is above all. And therefore even though the Son be found speaking of the Will of the Father, as of something other than He, you will make no difference, attributing fitly to the weakness of our words their not being able to say any thing greater, nor to signify their meaning in any other way.

And let these things be said in proof of the Son being conceived of as also the Will of the Father; but in the passage before us, no reason will compel us to conceive that the Will of the Father means the Son, but rather we may well receive it as His good Will to the lost.

35 Say not YE, There are yet four months and the harvest cometh?

He again taketh occasions of His Discourse from the time and event, and from the grosser things of sense He fashioneth His declaration of spiritual ideas. For it was yet winter at that time, and the tender sprouting and fresh stalk of the seed was scarce bristling forth from the soil: but after the expiration of four months, it was awaiting its fall into the hand of the reaper. Do not therefore YE men say (saith He) that there are yet four months, and the harvest cometh?

Behold I say unto you, Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest.

That is, raising up the eye of your understanding a little from the affairs of the earth, consider ye the spiritual sowing, that it hath progressed already and whitened unto the floor, and at length calls for the reaper’s sickle unto itself. But from the similarity to things in actual life, you will see what is meant. For you will conceive that the spiritual sowing and multitude of spiritual ears, are they who, tilled beforehand by the voice of the Prophets, are brought to the faith that should be shewn through Christ. But it is white, as being already ripe and ready to the faith, and confirmed unto piety. But the sickle of the reaper is the glittering and most sharp word of the Apostle, cutting away the hearers from the worship according to the law, transferring them to the floor, that is, to the Church of God: there they bruised and pressed by good toils shall be set forth pure wheat worthy of the garner of Him Who gathereth it.

36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal, that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37 For herein is the saying true, One soweth and another reapeth.

It is the time (saith He) of the Word calling to the Faith, and shewing to the hearers the arrival at its consummation of the legal and Prophetic preachings. For the law by typical services, as in shadows did foreshew Him That should come, that is, Christ: the Prophets after it, interpreting the words of the Spirit, Yet a little while, were fore signifying that He was even now at hand and coming. But since He hath stepped within the doors, the word of the Apostles will not remove to far distant hope that which was expected, but will reveal it already present: and will reap from legal worship those who are yet in bondage to the law and who rest in the letter only, and will transfer them as sheaves into the Evangelic habit and polity; and will likewise cut off from polytheistic straying the worshipper of idols, and will transfer him to the knowledge of Him That is in truth God, and, to speak all in brief and succinctly; will transform them who mind things on the earth unto the life of the Angels through faith to Christ-ward.

This (saith He) the word of the reapers will effect, yet shall it not be without an hire: for it shall surely gather for them fruit which nourisheth unto life eternal: nor shall they who receive rejoice in themselves alone but as having entered into the labours of the Prophets, and having reaped the seed fore-tilled by them, shall fill up one company with them. But I suppose that the most wise Paul, having throughly learnt the types of things to come, hence says of the holy fathers and Prophets that, These all, perfected through faith, received not the promise, God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. For the Saviour thought good, that the reaper should rejoice together with him who before had sown.

38 I sent you to reap that whereon YE have not laboured: other men have laboured, and YE are entered into their labours.

He at length unveils to them the whole mystery, and having removed the dark cloak of words, renders most clear the understanding of His meaning. For the Saviour being a Lover of the Prophets, and a Lover of the Apostles, makes neither the labour of those to be apart from the hand of the Apostles, nor does He allot entirely to the holy Apostles the glorying in respect of those who should be saved through faith in Him: but having mingled as it were the toil of each with their mutual co-work, He says (and with great reason) that one shall be the honour to both. He affirms that the Apostles had entered into the labours of the holy Prophets, not suffering them to spring upon the good fame of those who preceded them, but persuading them rather to honour them, as having gone before them in labour and time. That this will be to us too a most beautiful lesson, who will refuse to admit?

39 And from that city many of the Samaritans believed on Him for the saying of the woman which testified, He told me all that ever I did.

Israel is again hereby too condemned, and by the obedience of the Samaritans, is convicted of being alike reckless of knowing and harsh. For the Evangelist marvels much at the many who believed on Christ, saying, For the saying of the woman; although they who were instructed through the law to the knowledge hereof, neither received the words of Moses, nor acknowledged that they ought to believe the heraldings of the Prophets. He in these words prepares the way before, or rather wisely makes a defence before, for that Israel should with reason be thrust away from the grace and hope that is to Christ-ward and that instead should come in the more obedient fulness of the Gentiles, or aliens.

40 So when the Samaritans were come unto Him, they besought Him that He would tarry with them: and He abode there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His Own Word,

He explains in simplicity of words what took place: but prepares again another proof, that Israel ought justly to be cast off from their hope, and the aliens to be transplanted into it. For the Jews with their bitter and intolerable surmises, spitefully entreat Jesus manifoldly working miracles and radiant in God-befitting glory, and blush not to rage to so great an extent as to make Him an exile, and zealously to drive out of their city Him Who is the giver to them of all joy: while the Samaritans persuaded by the words of one woman, consider that they ought to come to Him with all speed. And when they were come, they began zealously to entreat Him to come into their city, and to pour forth to them of the word of salvation; and readily does Christ assent to both, knowing that the grace will not be unfruitful. For many believed because of His own Word.

Let him that is God-loving and pious hence know, that from them that grieve Him Christ departeth, but He dwelleth in them that gladden Him through obedience and good faith.

42 And said unto the woman, No longer do we believe, because of thy saying: for ourselves have heard Him and know that This is indeed the Saviour of the world.

From the greater things does the faith of the Samaritans spring, and not any longer from what they learn from others, but from those whereof they are the wondering ear-witnesses. For they say that they know that He is indeed the Saviour of the world, making the confession of their hope in Him the pledge of their faith.

43 Now after the two days He departed thence unto Galilee. 44 For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.

He departs from Samaria, having now sown the Word of salvation, and like a husbandman hidden the faith in them that dwell there, not that it might be bound captive in the silence of them that received it, quiet and deep buried, but rather that it might grow in the souls of all, creeping on and advancing ever to the greater, and running to more evident might. But since He passes by Nazareth lying in the midst, wherein it is said that He was also brought up, so that He seemed to be from thence and its citizen, and goes down rather to Galilee; of necessity he offers an explanation of His passing it by, and says that Jesus Himself had testified that a prophet hath no honour in his own country. For it is our nature to think nothing of what we are accustomed to, even though it be great and of price. And the Saviour thought not good to seek honour from them, like a vain-glorious man and a braggart, but knew well that to those who have no thought that one ought to honour one’s teacher, neither would the word of the faith be any longer sweet and acceptable. With reason then does He pass by, not thinking it right to expend useless labours upon them who are nothing profited, and thus to lay down grace before them that despise it. For it was not reasonable that they who sinned so deeply should do so unpunished; since it is altogether confessed and undoubted, that they will undergo the severest punishments, who knowingly despise Him and spurn a gift so worthy of marvel.

45 When therefore He was come into Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things that He did at Jerusalem at the feast; for they also went unto the feast.

Not without consideration do the Galileans receive Jesus, but in just astonishment at the wondrous works which they themselves had already seen Him do, both by their piety towards Him condemning the folly of the Jews, and found far superior in good feeling to those who were instructed in the law.

46 He came therefore again into Cana of Galilee where He made the water wine.

Christ loveth to dwell among those that are well disposed, and to those who more readily advance unto the perception and knowledge of benefits done them, He poureth forth supplies of greater goods. He cometh then to work miracles in Cana, thinking it fit to confer an additional benefit on those therein, in that He had through His signs already wrought there, the idea previously implanted in their minds, that He could do all things.

And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judæa into Galilee, he besought Him that He would come down and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. 48 Jesus therefore said unto him,

The nobleman cometh as to One able to heal, but he understandeth not yet that He is by Nature God: he calleth Him Lord, but giveth not at all the true dignity of Lordship. For he would have straightway fallen down and besought Him, not that he should by all means come to his house, and go down with him to the sick lad; but should rather with authority and God-befitting command drive away the sickness that fell on him. For what need for Him to be present to the sick, whom He could easily heal, even absent? how was it not utterly without understanding to suppose that He is superior to death, and in no wise to hold Him God Who is filled with God-befitting Power?

49 Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto Him,

A mind yet hard dwelleth in them who are deceived, but mightier will be the more wonder-working power of Him That calleth them unto faith. Wherefore the Saviour says that they need wonders, that they may easily be re-instructed unto what is profitable, and acknowledge Him Who is by Nature God.

Lord, come down ere my child die.

Feeble indeed unto understanding is the nobleman, for he is a child in his petition for grace, and almost dotes without perceiving it. For by believing that Christ had power not only when present, but that He would surely avail even absent, he would have had a most worthy conception of Him. But now both thinking and acting most foolishly, he asks power befitting God, and does not think He accomplishes all things as God, nor yet that He will be superior to death, although beseeching Him to gain the advantage over him that had all but overcome; for the child was at the point of death.

50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth.

Thus believing he ought to have come, but Christ doth not reject our lack of apprehension; but benefiteth even the stumbling, as God. That then which the man should have been admired for doing, this does he teach him even when he doth it not, revealed alike as the Teacher of things most lovely, and the Giver of good things in prayer. For in Go thy way is Faith: in thy son liveth is the fulfilment of his longings, granted with plenteous and God-befitting Authority.

The man believed the word that Jesus said to him, and went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.

The one command of the Saviour healeth two souls. For in the nobleman it worketh unwonted faith, the child it rescueth from bodily death. Which is healed first it is hard to say. Both, I suppose, simultaneously, the disease taking its departure at the command of the Saviour. And his servants meeting him tell him of the healing of the child, shewing at the same time the swiftness of the Divine commands (Christ ordering this very wisely), and by the fulfilment of his hope, speedily confirming their master weak in faith.

52 He therefore enquired of them the hour when he began to amend; and they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed and his whole house. 54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when He was come out of Judæa into Galilee.

He enquires of them the hour of the turn for the better of the sick child, to prove whether it coincides with the time of the grace. When he had learnt that thus it was, and no otherwise, he is saved with his whole house, attributing the power of the miracle to the Saviour Christ, and bringing to Him a firmer faith as a fruit of thank-offering for these things.

CHAP. 5 After this was the feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is at Jerusalem the pool which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel of the Lord used to go down at a certain season into the pool, and trouble the water: whosoever therefore first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

Not for nothing does the blessed Evangelist straightway connect with what has been said the Saviour’s return thence to Jerusalem: but his aim probably was to shew how superior in obedience were the aliens to the Jews, how great a difference of habit and manners is seen between them. For thus and in no other way could we learn, that by the just judgment of God Who ruleth all and knoweth not to accept the person of man, Israel with reason falleth from the hope, and the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in in his place. It is not hard by looking at the contrast of the chapters to test what has been said. He shewed therefore that He had by one miracle saved the city of the Samaritans, by one likewise the nobleman, and by it had profited full surely (I ween) and exceeding much those who were therein. Having by these things testified the extreme readiness of the aliens to obedience, he brings the Miracle-worker back to Jerusalem, and shews Him accomplishing a God-befitting act. For He wondrously frees the paralytic from a most inveterate disease even as He had the nobleman’s son just dying. But the one believed with his whole house, and confessed that Jesus is God, while the others, who ought to have been astonished, straightway desire to kill, and persecute, as though blasphemously transgressing, their Benefactor, themselves against themselves pronouncing more shameful condemnation in that they are found to fall short of the understanding of the aliens, and their piety towards Christ. And this it was which was spoken of them in the Psalms, as to our Lord Jesus, Thou shalt make them the back. For they having been set in the first rank because of the election of the fathers, will come last and after the calling of the Gentiles. For when the fulness of the Gentiles is come in, then shall all Israel he saved.

This line of thought the well-arranged order of the compilation of chapters brings forth to us. But we will make accurate inquiry part by part of the meaning of single verses.

5 And a certain man was there which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time,

The Jews having celebrated their feast of unleavened bread, in which it is their custom to kill the sheep, to wit, at the time of the Passover, Christ departeth from Jerusalem, and mingleth with the Samaritans and aliens, and teacheth among them, being grieved at the stubbornness of the Jews. And having barely returned at the holy Pentecost (for this was the next solemnity in Jerusalem and at no great interval), He heals at the waters of the pool the paralytic, who had passed long time in sickness (for it was even his thirty-eighth year): but who had not yet attained unto the perfect number of the Law, I speak of four times ten or forty.

Here then will end the course of the history; but we must transform again the typical letter unto its spiritual interpretation. That Jesus grieved departs from Jerusalem after the killing of the sheep, goes to the Samaritans and Galileans, and preaches among them the word of salvation, what else will this mean, save His actual withdrawal from the Jews, after His sacrifice and Death at Jerusalem upon the Precious Cross, when He at length began to freely give Himself to them of the Gentiles and aliens, bidding it to be shewn to His Disciples after His Resurrection, that He goeth before them all into Galilee? But His return again at the fulfilment of the weeks of holy Pentecost to Jerusalem, signifies as it were in types and darkly, that there will be of His Loving Kindness a return of our Saviour to the Jews in the last ages of the present world, wherein they who have been saved through faith in Him, shall celebrate the all-holy feasts of the saving Passion. But that the paralytic is healed before the full time of the law, signifies again by a corresponding type, that Israel having blasphemously raged against Christ, will be infirm and paralytic and will spend a long time in doing nothing; yet will not depart to complete punishment, but will have some visitation from the Saviour, and, will himself too be healed at the pool by obedience and faith. But that the number forty is perfect according to the Divine Law, will be by no means hard to learn by them who have once read the Divine Scriptures.

7 Jesus saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered Him,

An evident proof of the extreme goodness of Christ, that He doth not wait for entreaties from the sick, but forecometh their request by His Loving Kindness. For He runneth, as you see, to him as he lieth, and compassionateth him that was sick without comfort. But the enquiry whether he would like to be relieved from his infirmity was not that of one asking out of ignorance a thing manifest and evident to all, but of one stirring up to more earnest desire, and inciting to most diligent entreaty. The question whether he willed to obtain what he longed for is big with a kind of force and expression, that He has the power to give, and is even now ready thereto, and only waits for the request of him who receiveth the grace.

Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. 8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise.

About the day of the holy Pentecost, Angels coming down from heaven used to trouble the water of the pool, then they would make the plash therefrom the herald of their presence. And the water would be sanctified by the holy spirits, and whoever was beforehand of the multitude of sick people in getting down, he would come up again disburdened of the suffering that troubled him, yet to one alone, him who first seized it, was the might of healing meted out. But this too was a sign of the benefit of the law by the hands of Angels, which extended to the one race of the Jews alone, and healed none other save they. For from Dan so called even unto Beersheba, the commandments given by Moses were spoken, ministered by Angels in Mount Sinai in the days afterwards marked out as the holy Pentecost. For this reason, the water too of the pool used not to be troubled at any other time, signifying there through the descent of the holy Angels thereon. The paralytic then not having any one to thrust him into the water, with the disease that holds him, was bewailing the want of healers, saying, I have no man, to wit to let him down into the water. For he fully expected that Jesus would tell and advise him this.

9 Take up thy bed and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.

God-befitting the injunction, and possessing clearest evidence of power and authority above man. For He prays not for the loosing of his sickness for the patient, lest He too should seem to be as one of the holy Prophets, but as the Lord of Powers He commandeth with authority that it be so, telling him to go home rejoicing, to take his bed on his shoulders, to be a memento to the beholders of the might of Him That had healed him. Forthwith the sick man does as is bidden him, and by obedience and faith he gaineth to himself the thrice longed for grace. But since in the foregoing we introduced him as the image and type of the multitude of the Jews, who should be healed in the last times: come let us think of something again harmonizing with the thoughts hereto pertaining, analagous to those before examined.

On the Sabbath day doth Christ heal the man, when healed He immediately enjoins him to break through the custom of the law, inducing him to walk on the Sabbath and this laden with his bed, although God clearly cries aloud by one of the holy Prophets, Neither carry forth a burthen out of your house on the Sabbath day. And no one I suppose who is sober-minded would say that the man was rendered a despiser or unruly to the Divine commands, but that as in a type Christ was making known to the Jews, that they should be healed by obedience and faith in the last times of the world (for this I think the Sabbath signifies, being the last day of the week): but that having once received the healing through faith, and having been re-modelled unto newness of life, it was necessary that the oldness of the letter of the law should become of no effect, and that the typical worship as it were in shadows and the vain observance of Jewish custom should be rejected. Hence (I think) the blessed Paul too taking occasion of speech writes to them who after the faith were returning again to the Law, I say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing; and again, Ye are severed from Christ, whosoever of you are justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace.

10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day, it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.

Most seasonably (I think) doth He cry over them, Hear now this O foolish people and heartless, which have eyes and see not. For what can be more uninstructed than such people, or what greater in senselessness? For they do not even admit into their mind that they ought to wonder at the Power of the Healer: but being bitter reprovers, and skilled in this alone, they lay the charge of breaking the law about him who had just and with difficulty recovered from a long disease, and foolishly bid him lie down again, as though the honour due to the Sabbath were paid by having to be ill.

11 He answered them, He That made me whole, He said unto me, Take up thy bed and walk. 12 They asked him therefore

The sentence is replete with wisest meaning and repulsive of the stubbornness of the Jews. For in that they say that it is not lawful on the sabbath day to take up his bed and go home, devising an accusation of breaking the law against him that was healed, needs does he bring against them a more resolved defence, saying that he had been ordered to walk by Him, Who was manifested to him as the Giver of health, all but saying something of this sort, Most worthy of honour (sirs) do I say that He is, even though He bid me violate the honour of the sabbath, Who hath so great power and grace, as to drive away my disease. For if excellence in these things belongeth not to every chance man, but will befit rather God-befitting Power and Might, how (saith he) shall the worker of these things do wrong? or how shall not He Who is possessed of God-befitting Power surely counsel what is well-pleasing to God? The speech then has within itself some pungent meaning.

What Man is He Which said unto thee, Take up thy bed and walk? 13 But he that was healed wist not Who it was: for Jesus had conveyed Himself away, a multitude being in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple and said unto him,

Insatiable unto bloodshed is the mind of the Jews. For they search out who it was who had commanded this, with design to involve Him together with the miraculously healed (for he alone, it seems, was like to be vexing them in respect of the Sabbath, who had but now escaped impassable toils and snares, and had been drawn away from the very gates of death) but he could not tell his Physician, although they make diligent enquiries, Christ having well and economically concealed Himself, that He might escape the present heat of their anger. And not as though He could suffer anything of necessity, unless He willed to suffer, doth He practise flight: but making Himself an Ensample to us in this also.

Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come to thee.

Being hid at first economically, He appears again economically, observing the time fit for each. For it was not possible that ought should be done by Him Who knew no sin, which should not really have its fit reason. The reason then of His speaking to him He made a message for his soul’s health, saying that it behoved him to transgress no more, lest he be tormented by worse evils than those past. Herein He teaches that not only does God treasure up man’s transgressions unto the judgment to come, but manifoldly scourgeth those yet living in their bodies, even before the great and notable day of Him That shall judge all. But that we are oftentimes smitten when we stumble and grieve God, the most wise Paul will testify, crying, For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep: for if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged: but when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we be not condemned with the world.

15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus Which had made him whole.

He makes Jesus known to the Jews, not that they by daring to do anything against Him should be found to be blasphemers, but in order that, if they too should be willing to be healed by Him, they might know the wondrous Physician. For observe how this was his aim. For he does not come like one of the faultfinders, and say that it was Jesus Who had bidden him walk on the Sabbath day, but Which had made him whole. But this was the part of one doing nought save only making known his Physician.

16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus and sought to slay Him, because He was doing these things on the sabbath day. 17 But Jesus answered them,

The narrative does not herein contain the simple relation of the madness of the Jews: for the Evangelist does not shew only that they persecute Him, but why they blush not to do this, saying most emphatically, Because He was doing these things on the sabbath day. For they persecute Him foolishly and blasphemously, as though the law forbad to do good on the sabbath day, as though it were not lawful to pity and compassionate the sick, as though it behoved to put off the law of love, the praise of brotherly kindness, the grace of gentleness: and what of good things may one not shew that the Jews did in manifold ways spurn, not knowing the aim of the Lawgiver respecting the Sabbath, and making the observance of it most empty? For as Christ Himself somewhere said, each one of them taketh his ox, or his sheep, and leadeth them away to watering, and that a man on the sabbath day receiveth circumcision, that the law of Moses be not broken: and then they are angry, because He made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day, by reason of the exceeding stubbornness alike and undisciplinedness of their habits, not even to brutes preferring him that is made in the Divine Image, but thinking that one ought to pity a sheep on the sabbath day, and unblamed to free it from famine and thirst, yet that they are open to the charge of transgressing the law to the last degree, who are gentle and good to their neighbour on the sabbath?

But that we may see that they were beyond measure senseless, and therefore with justice deserve to hear, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures; come let us taking somewhat from the Divine Scriptures too shew clearly, that Jesus was long ago foredepicted as in a type taking no account of the sabbath. The all-wise Moses then, having at a great age (as it is written) departed from things of men and been removed to the mansions above, by the judgment and decree of God That ruleth all, Joshua the son of Nun obtained and inherited the command over Israel. When he therefore, having set in array heavy armed soldiers ten thousand strong round about Jericho, was devising to take at length and overthrow it, he arranged with the Levites to take the ark round about for six whole days, but on the seventh day, that is, the Sabbath, he commanded the innumerable multitude of the host to shout along with the trumpets, and thus the wall was thrown down, and they rushing in, took the city, not observing the unseasonable rest of the Sabbath, nor refusing their victory thereon, by reason of the law restraining them, nor yet did they then withstand the generalship of Joshua, but wholly free from reproach did they keep the command of the man. And herein is the type: but when the Truth came, that is Christ, Who destroyed and overcame the corruption set up against man’s nature by the devil, and is seen doing this on the Sabbath, as in preface and commencement of action, in the case of the paralytic, they foolishly take it ill, and condemn the obedience of their fathers, not suffering nature to conquer on the sabbath day the despite done it by sickness, to such extent as to be zealous in persecuting Jesus Who was working good on the sabbath day.

My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

Christ is speaking, as it were, on the sabbath day (for this the word Hitherto must necessarily signify, that the force of the idea may receive its own fitting meaning) but the Jews, who were untutored, and knew not Who the Only-Begotten is by Nature, but attributed to God the Father alone the appointing of the Law through Moses, and asserted that we ought to obey Him Alone; these He attempts to clearly convince, that He works all things together with the Father, and that, having the Nature of Him Who begat Him in Himself, by reason of His not being Other than He, as far as pertains to Sameness of Essence, He will never think ought else than as seemeth good to Him Who begat Him. But as being of the Same Essence He will also will the same things, yea rather being Himself the Living Will and Power of the Father, He worketh all things in all with the Father.

In order then that He might repel the vain murmuring of the Jews and might shame them who were persecuting Him on those grounds whereon they thought good to be angry, as though the honour due to the sabbath were despised, He says, My Father worketh hitherto and I work. For He all but wisheth to signify some such thing as this, If thou believest, O man, that God, having created and compacted all things by His Command and Will ordereth the creation on the sabbath day also, so that the sun riseth, rain-giving fountains are let loose, and fruits spring from the earth, not refusing their increase by reason of the sabbath, the fire works its own work, ministering to the necessities of man unforbidden: confess and know of a surety that the Father worketh God-befitting operations on the sabbath also. Why then (saith He) dost thou uninstructedly accuse Him through Whom He works all things? for God the Father will work in no other way, save through His Power and Wisdom, the Son. Therefore says He, And, I work. He shames then with arguments ad absurdum the unbridled mind of His persecutors, shewing that they do not so much oppose Himself, as speak against the Father, to Whom Alone they were zealous to ascribe the honour of the Law, not yet knowing the Son Who is of Him and through Him by Nature. For this reason does He call God specially His own Father, leading them most skilfully to this most excellent and precious lesson.

18 For this therefore did the Jews seek the more to kill Him, because He was not only breaking the sabbath, but saying also that God was His Father, making Himself Equal with God.

The mind of the Jews is wound up unto cruelty, and whereby they ought to have been healed, they are the more sick, that they may justly hear, How say ye, WE are wise? For when they ought to have been softened in disposition, transformed by suitable reasoning unto piety, they even devise slaughter against Him Who proves by His Deeds, that He hath in no whit transgressed the Divine Law by healing a man on the sabbath. They weave in with their wrath on account of the sabbath, the truth as a charge of blasphemy, snaring themselves in the meshes of their own transgressions unto wrath indissoluble. For they seemed to be pious in their distress that He being a Man, should say that God was His Father. For they knew not yet that He Who was for our sakes made in the form of a servant, is God the Word, the Life gushing forth from God the Father, that is, the Only-Begotten, to Whom Alone God is rightly and truly inscribed and is Father, but to us by no means so: for we are adopted, mounting up to excellency above nature through the will of Him That honoured us, and gaining the title of gods and sons because of Christ That dwelleth in us through the Holy Ghost. Looking therefore to the Flesh alone, and not acknowledging God Who dwelleth in the Flesh, they endure not His springing up to measure beyond the nature of Man, through His saying that God was His Father (for in saying, My Father, He would with reason introduce this idea) but they deem that He Whose Father God properly is, must be by Nature Equal with Him, in this alone conceiving rightly: for so it is, and no otherwise. Since then the word introduces with it this meaning, they perverting the upright word of truth are more angry.








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