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

That the Holy Spirit is naturally of God, and in the Son, and through Him and in His Substance

14 He shall glorify Me: for He shall take of Mine, and shall declare it unto you.

As the Holy Spirit was about to reveal to those who should be found worthy the mystery that is in Christ, and to demonstrate completely Who He is by nature, and how great is His power and might, and that He reigneth over all with the Father, Christ is impelled to say, He shall glorify Me. For He sets our mind above the conceits of the Jews, and does not suffer us to entertain so limited and dwarfed a conception as to think that He is a mere Man, slightly surpassing the prophets in the stature they attained, or even falling short of their renown—for we find that the leaders of the Jews had this idea concerning Him, because they not knowing the mystery of piety, frequently uttered blasphemies against Christ, and, encountering His sayings with their mad folly, said on one occasion: Who art Thou? Abraham is dead, and the prophets are dead; and Thou sayest, If a man keep My word, He shall never see death. Whom makest Thou Thyself? And on another occasion they cast in His teeth the meanness of His birth according to the flesh, and His great insignificance in this respect: Is not this the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then doth He say, I am come down out of heaven? Note herein the miserable reasoning of the Jews. As then the multitude were so disposed and thought that the Lord was not truly God because in this human frame He was liable to death, and because they did not scruple to entertain the basest conception of His Nature, the Spirit, when He came down from heaven, illustrated completely His glory to the Saints; not that we should say, that He merely convinced them by wise words, but that He by actual proof also satisfied the minds of all that He was truly God, and the fruit of the Substance of God the Father. What then is this proof? And how did He increase the honour and admiration in which Christ was held? By exercising His activity universally in a marvellous and Divine manner, and by implanting in the Saints complete and perfect knowledge, He furthered His glory. For to the Sovereign Nature of the Universe alone must we ascribe omniscience and the sight of all things naked and laid open to the view, and the ability to accomplish all His purposes.

The Comforter then, that is, His own Spirit, being omnipotent and omniscient, glorifies the Son. And how does He glorify Him? Surely what His Spirit knows and is able to effect, Christ knows and is able to effect. And if, as He says, the Spirit receives of Him, the Spirit Himself being omnipotent, surely He Himself has a power which is universal. And we must in no wise suppose that the Comforter, that is, the Spirit, is lacking in innate and inherent power in such a way that, if He did not receive assistance from without, His own power would not be self-sufficient to fully accomplish the Divine designs. Any one who merely imagined any such idea to be true about the Spirit would with good reason undergo the charge of the worst blasphemy of all. But it is because He is Consubstantial with the Son, and divinely proceeds through Him, exercising universally His entire activity and power, that Christ says, “He shall receive of Me.” For we believe that the Spirit has a self-supporting existence and is in truth that which He is, and with the qualities predicated of Him; though, being inherent in the Substance of God, He proceeds and issues from it and has innate in Himself all that that nature implies. For the Divine Substance is not His by participation or by relation, still less is It His as though He had a separate existence from It, since He is an attribute of It. For just as the fragrance of sweet-smelling flowers, proceeding in some sort from the essential and natural exercise of the functions or qualities of the flowers that emit it, conveys the perception thereof to the outer world by meeting those organs of smell in the body, and yet seems in some way, so far as its logical conception goes, to be separate from its natural cause, while (as having no independent existence) it is not separate in nature from the source from which it proceeds and in which it exists, even so you may conceive of the relation of God and the Holy Spirit, taking this by way of illustration. In this way then the statement that His Spirit receives something from the Only-begotten is wholly unimpeachable and cannot be cavilled at. For proceeding naturally as His attribute through Him, and having all that He has in its entirety, He is said to receive that which He has. And if this meaning is conveyed in language that is obscure, far from being offended at it, we should with more justice lay the blame on the poverty of our own language, which is not able to give expression to Divine truths in a suitable way. And what language is adequate to explain the ineffable Nature and Glory of God? He says then that the Comforter “will receive of Mine, and will show it unto you;” that is, He will say nothing that is not in harmony with My purpose; but, since He is My Spirit, His language will be in every way identical with Mine, and He will show you of My Will.








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