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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:
Epistle to Gregory and Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of John.: Chapter XXVII

Early Church Fathers  Index     

27.  Of the Belief the Disciples Afterwards Attained in the Words of Jesus.

“When He was raised from the dead, 5136 His disciples remembered that He spake this, and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.”  This tells us that after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead His disciples saw that what He had said about the temple had a higher application to His passion and His resurrection; they remembered that the words, “In three days I will raise it up,” pointed to the resurrection; “And they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.”  We are not told that they believed the Scripture or the word which Jesus said, before.  For faith in its full sense is the act of him who accepts with his whole soul what is prop. 407 fessed at baptism.  As for the higher sense, as we have already spoken of the resurrection from the dead of the whole body of the Lord, we have now to note that the disciples were put in mind by the fulfilment of the Scripture which when they were in life they had not fully understood; its meaning was now brought under their eyes and made quite clear to them, and they knew of what heavenly things it was the pattern and shadow.  Then they believed the Scripture who formerly did not believe it, and believed the word of Jesus which, as the speaker means to convey, they had not believed before the resurrection.  For how can any one be said in the full sense to believe the Scripture when he does not see in it the mind of the Holy Spirit, which God would have us to believe rather than the literal meaning?  From this point of view we must say that none of those who walk according to the flesh believe the spiritual things of the law, of the very beginnings of which they have no conception.  But, they say, those are more blessed who have not seen and yet believe, than those who have seen and have believed, and for this they quote the saying to Thomas at the end of the Gospel of John, 5137 “Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.”  But it is not said here that those who have not seen and yet have believed are more blessed than those who have seen and believed.  According to their view those after the Apostles are more blessed than the Apostles; than which nothing can be more foolish.  He who is to be blessed must see in his mind the things which he believes, and must be able with the Apostles to hear the words spoken to him, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear,” 5138 and “Many prophets and righteous men have desired to see the things which ye see, and have not seen them, and to hear the things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”  Yet he may be content who only receives the inferior beatitude, which says: 5139   “Blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed.”  But how much more blessed are those eyes which Jesus calls blessed for the things which they have seen, than those which have not attained to such a vision; Simeon is content to take into his arms the salvation of God, and after seeing it, he says, 5140 “Now, O Lord, lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.”  We must strive, therefore, as Solomon says, to open our eyes that we may be satisfied with bread; “Open thine eyes,” he says, “and be satisfied with bread.”  What I have said on the text, “They believe the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said unto them,” may lead us to understand, after discussing the subject of faith, that the perfection of our faith will be given us at the great resurrection from the dead of the whole body of Jesus which is His Holy Church.  For what is said about knowledge, “Now I know in part,” 5141 that, I think, may be said in the same way of every other good; and one of these others is faith.  “Now I believe in part,” we may say, “but when that which is perfect is come, then the faith which is in part will be done away.”  As with knowledge, so with faith, that which is through sight is far better, if I may say so, than that which is through a glass and in an enigma.



John ii. 22.


John 20.29.


Matt. xiii. 16.


John xx. 29.


Luke 2:29, 30.


1 Cor. xiii. 12.

Next: Chapter XXVIII

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