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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VI:
The Harmony of the Gospels.: Chapter IV

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter IV.—Of the Fact that John Undertook the Exposition of Christ’s Divinity.

7. These three evangelists, however, were for the most part engaged with those things which Christ did through the vehicle of the flesh of man, and after the temporal fashion. 518 But John, on the other hand, had in view that true divinity of the Lord in which He is the Father’s equal, and directed his efforts above all to the setting forth of the divine nature in his Gospel in such a way as he believed to be adequate to men’s needs and notions. 519 Therefore he is borne to loftier heights, in which he leaves the other three far behind him; so that, while in them you see men who have their conversation in a certain manner with the man Christ on earth, in him you perceive one who has passed beyond the cloud in which the whole earth is wrapped, and who has reached the liquid heaven from which, with clearest and steadiest mental eye, he is able to look upon God the Word, who was in the beginning with God, and by whom all things were made. 520 And there, too, he can recognise Him who was made flesh in order that He might dwell amongst us; 521 [that Word of whom we say,] that He assumed the flesh, not that He was changed into the flesh. For had not this assumption of the p. 80 flesh been effected in such a manner as at the same time to conserve the unchangeable Divinity, such a word as this could never have been spoken,—namely, “I and the Father are one.” 522 For surely the Father and the flesh are not one. And the same John is also the only one who has recorded that witness which the Lord gave concerning Himself, when He said: “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father also;” and, “I am in the Father, and the Father is in me;” 523 “that they may be one, even as we are one;” 524 and, “Whatsoever the Father doeth, these same things doeth the Son likewise.” 525 And whatever other statements there may be to the same effect, calculated to betoken, to those who are possessed of right understanding, that divinity of Christ in which He is the Father’s equal, of all these we might almost say that we are indebted for their introduction into the Gospel narrative to John alone. For he is like one who has drunk in the secret of His divinity more richly and somehow more familiarly than others, as if he drew it from the very bosom of his Lord on which it was his wont to recline when He sat at meat. 526


Footnotes

79:518

Temporaliter.

79:519

Quantum inter homines sufficere credidit.

79:520

John 1:1, 3.

79:521

John i. 14.

80:522

John x. 30.

80:523

John 14:9, 10.

80:524

John xvii. 22.

80:525

John v. 19.

80:526

John xiii. 23.


Next: Chapter V

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