Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Lectures or Tractates on the Gospel...: Tractate XIX
Chapter V. 19–30
In the former discourse, so far as the subject impressed us, and so far as our poverty of understanding attained to, we have spoken by occasion of the words of the Gospel, where it is written: “The Son cannot do anything of Himself, but what He seeth the Father doing,”—what it is for the Son—that is, the Word, for the Son is the Word—“to see;” and as all things were made by the Word, how it is to be understood that the Son first sees the Father doing, and then only Himself also doeth the things which He has seen done, seeing that the Father has done nothing except by the Son. For “all things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made. We have not, however, delivered to you anything as fully explained, and that because we have not understood anything thus clearly set forth. For, indeed, speech sometimes fails even where the understanding makes way; how much more doth speech suffer defect, where the understanding has nothing perfect! Now, therefore, as the Lord gives us, let us briefly run over the passage, and even to-day complete the due task. Should there perchance remain somewhat of time or of strength, we will reconsider (so far as it may be practicable for us and with you) what it is for the Word “to see” and “to be shown to;” since, in fact, all that is here spoken is such that, if understood according to mans sense, carnally, the soul full of vain fancies makes for us only certain images of the Father and the Son, just as of two men, the one showing, the other seeing; the one speaking, the other hearing,—all which are idols of the heart. And if now at length idols have been cast down from their own temples, how much more ought they to be cast down from Christian hearts!
p. 123 2. “The Son,” saith He, “cannot do anything of Himself, but what He sees the Father doing.” This is true: hold this fast, while at the same time ye do not let slip what ye have gotten in the beginning of the Gospel, that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” and especially that “all things were made by Him.” Join this that ye have now heard to that hearing, and let both agree together in your hearts. Thus, “The Son cannot of Himself do anything, except what He seeth the Father doing,” is yet in such wise that what the Father doeth, He doeth only by the Son, because the Son is His Word: and, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God;” also, “All things were made by Him.” For what things soever He doeth, the Son also doeth in like manner; not other things, but these and not in a different, but in like manner.
3. “For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth.” To that which He said above, “except what He seeth the Father doing,” seems to belong this also, “He showeth Him all things that Himself doeth.” But if the Father doth show what He doeth, and the Son cannot do except the Father hath shown, and if the Father cannot show unless He hath done, it will follow that it is not through the Son that the Father doeth all things; moreover, if we hold it fixed and unshaken, that the Father doeth all by the Son, then He shows the Son before He doeth. For if the Father doth show to the Son after He has done, that the Son may do the things shown, which being shown were already done, then doubtless something there is that the Father doeth without the Son. But the Father doeth not anything without the Son, because the Son of God is Gods Word, and all things were made by Him. It remains, then, that possibly what the Father is about to do, He shows as about to be done, that it may be done by the Son. For if the Son doeth those things which the Father showeth as already done, surely it is not by the Son that the Father hath done the things which He thus showeth. For they could not be shown to the Son unless they were first done, and the Son would not be able to do them unless they were first shown; therefore were they made without the Son. But yet it is a true thing, “All things were made by Him;” therefore they were shown before they were made. But this we said must be put off, and returned to after briefly scanning the passage, if, as we said, some portion of time and of strength should remain to us for a reconsideration of the matters deferred.
4. Attend now to a wider and more difficult question. “And greater works than these,” saith He, “will He show Him, that ye may marvel.” “Greater than these.” Greater than which? The answer readily occurs: than the cures of bodily diseases which ye have just heard: For the whole occasion of this discourse arose about the man who was thirty and eight years in infirmity, and was healed by the word of Christ; and in respect of this cure, the Lord could say, “Greater works than these He will show Him, that ye may marvel.” For there are greater, and the Father will show them to the Son. It is not “hath shown,” as of a thing past, but “will show,” of a thing future; or, is about to show. Again a difficult question arises: Why, then, is there something with the Father that has not yet been shown to the Son? Is there something with the Father that was still hid from the Son when He spoke these words? For surely, if it be “will show,” that is to say, “is about to show,” then He has not yet shown; and He is about to show to the Son at the same time as to these persons, since it follows, “that ye may marvel.” And this is a thing hard to see, how the Eternal Father doth show something, as it were in time, to the coeternal Son, who knoweth all things that are with the Father.
5. But what are the greater works? For perhaps this is easy to understand. “For as the Father,” saith He, “raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will.” To raise the dead, then, are greater works than to heal the sick. But “as the Father raiseth the dead, and quickeneth them, so also the Son quickeneth whom He will.” Hence, the Father some, the Son others? But all things are by Him: therefore the Son the same persons as the Father doth; since the Son doeth not other things and in a different manner, but “these” and in “like manner.” Thus clearly it must be understood, and thus held. But keep in memory that “the Son quickeneth whom He will.” Here, too, know not only the power of the Son, but also the will. Both the Son quickeneth whom He will, and also the Father quickeneth whom He will—the Son the same persons as the Father; and hence the power of the Father and of the Son is the same, and also the will is the same. What follows then? “For the Father judgeth not any man, but hath given all judgment to the Son, that all men may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father:” this He subjoined, as rendering a reason of the foregoing sentence. A great question comes before us; give it your earnest attention. The Son quickeneth whom He p. 124 will, the Father quickeneth whom He will; the Son raiseth the dead, just as the Father raiseth the dead. And further, “the Father judgeth not any man.” If the dead must be raised in the judgment, how can it be said that the Father raiseth the dead, if He judgeth not any man, since “He hath given all judgment to the Son”? But in that judgment the dead are raised; some rise to life, others to punishment. If the Son doeth all this, but the Father not, inasmuch as “He judgeth not any man, but hath given all judgment to the Son,” it will appear contrary to what has been said, viz., “As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, so also the Son quickeneth whom He will.” Consequently the Father and the Son raise together; if they raise together, they quicken together: hence they judge together. How, then, is that true, “For the Father judgeth not any man, but hath given all judgment to the Son”? Meanwhile let the questions now proposed engage your minds; the Lord will cause that, when solved, they will delight you. For so it is, brethren: every question, unless it stirs the mind to reflection, will not give delight when explained. May the Lord Himself then follow with us, in case He may perhaps reveal Himself somewhat in those matters which He foldeth up. For He foldeth up His light with a cloud; and it is difficult to fly like an eagle above every obscure mist with which the whole earth is covered, and to behold the most serene light in the words of the Lord. In case, then, He may perhaps dissipate our darkness with the heat of His rays, and deign to reveal Himself somewhat in the sequel, let us, deferring these questions, look at what follows.
6. “Whoso honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father that sent Him.” This is a truth, and is plain. Since, then, “all judgment hath He given to the Son,” as He said above, “that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father,” what if there be those who honor the Father and honor not the Son? It cannot be, saith He: “Whoso honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father that sent Him.” One cannot therefore say, I honored the Father, because I knew not the Son. If thou didst not yet honor the Son, neither didst thou honor the Father. For what is honoring the Father, unless it be in that He hath a Son? It is one thing when thou art taught to honor God in that He is God; but another thing when thou art taught to honor Him in that He is Father. When thou art taught to honor Him in that He is God, it is as the Creator, as the Almighty, as the Spirit supreme, eternal, invisible, unchangeable, that thou art led to think of Him; but when thou art taught to honor Him in that He is Father, it is the same thing as to honor the Son; because Father cannot be said if there be not a Son, as neither can Son if there be not a Father. But lest, it may be, thou honorest the Father indeed as greater, but the Son as less,—as thou mayest say to me, “I do honor the Father, for I know that He has a Son; nor do I err in the name Father, for I do not understand Father without Son, and yet the Son also I honor as the less,”—the Son Himself sets thee right, and recalls thee, saying, “that all may honor the Son,” not in a lower degree, but “as they honor the Father.” Therefore, “whoso honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father that sent Him.” “I,” sayest thou, “wish to give greater honor to the Father, less to the Son.” Therein thou takest away honor from the Father, wherein thou givest less to the Son. For, being thus minded, it must really seem to thee that the Father either would not or could not beget a Son equal to Himself: if He would not, He lacked the will; if He could not, He lacked the ability. Dost thou not therefore see that, being thus minded, wherein thou wouldst give greater honor to the Father, therein thou art reproachful to the Father? Wherefore, so honor the Son as thou honorest the Father, if thou wouldest honor both the Father and the Son.
7. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whoso heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but is passed,” not is passing now, but is already passed, “from death into life.” And mark this, “Whoso heareth my word, and”—He says not, believeth me, but—“believeth Him that sent me.” Let him hear the word of the Son, that he may believe the Father. Why heareth Thy word, and yet believeth another? When we hear any ones word, is it not him that utters the word we believe? is it not to him who speaks we lend our faith? What, then, did He mean, saying, “Whoso heareth my word, and believeth Him that sent me,” if it be not this, because “His word is in me”? And what is “heareth my word,” but “heareth me”? So, too, “believeth Him that sent me,” because, believing Him, he believeth His word; but again, believing His word, he believeth me, because I am the Word of the Father. There is therefore peace in the Scriptures, and all things duly disposed, and in no way clashing. Cast away, then, contention from thy heart; understand the harmony of the Scriptures. Dost thou think that the Truth should speak things contrary to itself?p. 125
8. “Whoso heareth my word, and believeth Him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but is passed from death unto life.” You remember what we laid down above, that “as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, so also the Son quickeneth whom He will.” He is beginning already to reveal Himself; and behold, even now, the dead are rising. For “whoso heareth my word, and believeth Him that sent me, hath eternal life, and will not come into judgment.” Prove that he has risen again. “But is passed,” saith He “from death unto life.” He that is passed from death unto life, has surely without any doubt risen again. For he could not pass from death to life, unless he were first in death and not in life; but when he will have passed, he will be in life, and not in death. He was therefore dead, and is alive again; he was lost, but is found. 384 Hence a resurrection does take place now, and men pass from a death to a life; from the death of infidelity to the life of faith; from the death of falsehood to the life of truth; from the death of iniquity to the life of righteousness. There is, therefore, that which is a resurrection of the dead.
9. May He open the same more fully, and dawn upon us as He begins to do! “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is.” We did look for a resurrection of the dead in the end, for so we have believed; yea, not we looked, but are manifestly bound to look for it: for it is not a false thing we believe, when we believe that the dead will rise in the end. When the Lord Jesus, then, was willing to make known to us a resurrection of the dead before the resurrection of the dead, it is not as that of Lazarus, 385 or of the widows son, 386 or of the ruler of the synagogues daughter, 387 who were raised to die again (for in their case there was a resurrection of the dead before the resurrection of the dead); but, as He says here, “hath,” says He, “eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but is passed from death into life.” To what life? To life eternal. Not, then, as the body of Lazarus: for he indeed passed from the death of the tomb to the life of men, but not to life eternal, seeing he was to die again; whereas the dead, that are to rise again at the end of the world, will pass to eternal life. When our Lord Jesus Christ, then, our heavenly Master, the Word of the Father, and the Truth, was willing to represent to us a resurrection of the dead to eternal life before the resurrection of the dead to eternal life, “The hour cometh,” saith He. Doubtless thou, imbued with a faith of the resurrection of the flesh, didst look for the hour of the end of the world, which, that thou shouldst not look for here, He added, “and now is.” Therefore He saith not this, “The hour cometh,” of that last hour, when “at the command and the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet Christ in the air: and so shall we be ever with the Lord.” 388 That hour will come, but is not now. But consider what this hour is: “The hour cometh, and now is.” What happens in that hour? What, but a resurrection of the dead? And what kind of resurrection? Such that they who rise live for ever. This will be also in the last hour.
10. What then? How do we understand these two resurrections? Do we, it may be, understand that they who rise now will not rise then; that the resurrection of some is now, of some others then? It is not so. For we have risen in this resurrection, if we have rightly believed; and we ourselves, who have already risen, are looking for another resurrection in the end. Moreover, both now are we risen to eternal life, if we perseveringly continue in the same faith; and then, too, we shall rise to eternal life, when we shall be made equal with the angels. 389 But let Himself distinguish and open up what we have made bold to speak; how there happens to be a resurrection before a resurrection, not of different but of the same persons; nor like that of Lazarus, but into eternal life. He will open it clearly. Hear ye the Master, while dawning upon us, and as our Sun gliding in upon our hearts; not such as the eyes of flesh desire to look upon, but on whom the eyes of the heart fervently long to be opened. To Him, then, let us give ear: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead”—you see that a resurrection is asserted—“shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live.” Why hath He added, “they that hear shall live”? Why, could they hear unless they lived? It would have been enough, then, to say, “The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God.” We should immediately understand them to be living, since they could not hear unless they lived. No, saith He, not because they live they hear; but by hearing they come to life again: “Shall hear, and they that hear p. 126 shall live.” What, then, is “shall hear,” but “shall obey”? For, as to the hearing of the ear, not all who hear shall live. Many, indeed, hear and do not believe; by hearing and not believing, they obey not; by not obeying, they live not. And so here, they that “shall hear” are they that “shall obey.” They that obey, then, shall live: let them be sure and certain of it, shall live. Christ, the Word of God, is preached to us; the Son of God, by whom all things were made, who, for the dispensations sake, surely took flesh, was born of a virgin, was an infant in the flesh, a young man in the flesh, suffering in the flesh, dying in the flesh, rising again in the flesh, ascending in the flesh, promising a resurrection to the flesh, promising a resurrection to the mind—to the mind before the flesh, to the flesh after the mind. Whoso heareth and obeyeth, shall live; whoso heareth and obeyeth not, that is, heareth and despiseth, heareth and believeth not, shall not live. Why shall not live? Because he heareth not. What is “heareth not”? Obeyeth not. Thus, then, “they that hear shall live.”
11. Turn your thoughts now to what we said had to be deferred, that it may now, if possible, be opened. Concerning this very resurrection He immediately subjoined, “For as the Father hath life in Himself, even so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself.” What means that, “The Father hath life in Himself”? Not elsewhere hath He life but in Himself. His living, in fact, is in Him, not from elsewhere, nor derived from another. He does not, as it were, borrow life, nor, as it were, become a partaker of life, of a life which is not what Himself is: but “hath life in Himself,” so that the very life is to Him His very self. If I should be able yet further in some small measure to speak from this matter, by proposing examples for informing your understanding, will depend on Gods help and the piety of your attention. God lives, and the soul also lives; but the life of God is unchangeable, the life of the soul is changeable. In God is neither increase nor decrease; but He is the same always in Himself, is ever as He is: not in one way now, in another way hereafter, in some other way before. But the life of the soul is exceedingly various: it lived foolish, it lives wise; it lived unrighteous, it lives righteous; now remembers, now forgets; now learns, now cannot learn; now loses what it had learned, now apprehends what it had lost. The life of the soul is changeable. And when the soul lives in unrighteousness, that is its death; when again it becomes righteous, it becomes partaker of another life, which is not what itself is, inasmuch as by rising up to God, and cleaving to God, of Him it is justified. For it is said, “To him that believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” 390 By forsaking God, it becomes unrighteous; by coming to Him, it is made righteous. Does it not seem to thee as it were something cold, which, when brought near the fire, grows warm; when removed from the fire, grows cold? A something dark, which, brought near the light, grows bright; when removed from the light, grows dark? Something such is the soul: God is not any such thing. Moreover, man may say that he has light now in his eyes. Let thine eyes say then, if they can, as by a voice of their own, “We have light in ourselves.” I answer: Not correctly do you say that you have light in yourselves: you have light, but in the heavens; you have light, but in the moon, in candles, if it happen to be night, not in yourselves: for, being shut, you lose what you perceive when open. Not in yourselves have you light; keep the light if you can when the sun is set: tis night, enjoy the light of night; keep the light when the candle is withdrawn; but since you remain in darkness when the candle is withdrawn, you have not light in yourselves. Consequently, to have light in oneself is not to need light from another. Behold, whoso understands wherein He shows that the Son is equal with the Father, when He saith, “As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son also to have life in Himself;” that there may be only this difference between the Father and the Son, that the Father hath life in Himself, which none gave Him, whilst the Son hath life in Himself which the Father gave.
12. But here also arises a cloud that must be scattered. Let us not lose heart, let us strive in earnest. Here are pastures of the mind; let us not disdain them, that we may live. Behold, sayest thou, thyself confessest that the Father hath given life to the Son, that He may have life in Himself, even as the Father hath life in Himself; that the Father not lacking, the Son may not lack; that as the Father is life, so the Son may be life; and both united one life, not two lives; because God is one, not two Gods; and this same is to be life. How, then, is the Father said to have given life to the Son? Not so as if the Son had been without life before, and received life from the Father that He might live; for if it were so, He would not have life in Himself. Behold, I was speaking of the soul. The soul exists; though it be not wise, though it p. 127 be not righteous, though it be not godly, it is soul. It is one thing for it to be soul, but another thing to be wise, to be righteous, to be godly. Something there is, then, in which it is not yet wise, not yet righteous, not yet godly. Nevertheless it is not therefore nothing, it is not therefore non-life; for it shows itself to be alive by certain of its own actions, although it does not show itself to be wise, godly, or righteous. For if it were not living it would not move the body, would not command the feet to walk, the hands to work, the eyes to look, the ears to hear; would not open the mouth for speaking, nor move the tongue to distinction of speech. So, then, by these operations it shows itself to have life, and to be something which is better than the body. But does it in any wise show itself by these operations to be wise, godly, or righteous? Do not the foolish, the wicked, the unrighteous walk, work, see, hear, speak? But when the soul rises to something which itself is not, which is above itself, and from which its being is, then it gets wisdom, righteousness, holiness, which so long as it was without, it was dead, and did not have the life by which itself should live, but only that by which the body was quickened. For that in the soul by which the body is quickened is one thing, that by which the soul itself is quickened is another. Better, certainly, than the body is the soul, but better than the soul itself is God. The soul, even if it be foolish, ungodly, unrighteous, is the life of the body. But since its own life is God, just as it supplies vigor, comeliness, activity, the functions of the limbs to the body, while it exists in the body; so, in like manner, while God, its life, is in the soul, He supplies to it wisdom, godliness, righteousness, charity. Accordingly, what the soul supplies to the body, and what God supplies to the soul, are of a different kind: the soul quickens and is quickened. It quickens while dead, even if itself is not quickened. But when the word comes, and is poured into the hearers, and they not only hear, but are made obedient, the soul rises from its death to its life—that is, from unrighteousness, from folly, from ungodliness, to its God, who is to it wisdom, righteousness, light. Let it rise to Him, and be enlightened by Him. “Come near,” saith he, “to Him.” And what shall we have? “And be enlightened.” 391 If, therefore, by “coming to” ye are enlightened, and by “departing from” ye become darkened, your light was not in yourselves, but in your God. Come to Him that ye may rise again: if ye depart from Him, ye shall die. If by coming to Him ye live, and by departing from Him ye die, your life was not in yourselves. For the same is your life which is your light. “Because with Thee is the fountain of life, and in Thy light we shall see light.” 392
13. Not, then, in like manner as the soul is one thing before it is enlightened, and becomes a better thing when it is enlightened, by participation of a better; not so, I say, was the Word of God, the Son of God, something else before He received life, that He should have life by participation; but He has life in Himself, and is consequently Himself the very life. What is it, then, that He saith, “hath given to the Son to have life in Himself”? I would say it briefly, He begot the Son. For it is not that He existed without life, and received life, but He is life by being begotten. The Father is life not by being begotten; the Son is life by being begotten. The Father is of no father; the Son is of God the Father. The Father in His being is of none, but in that He is Father, tis because of the Son. But the Son also, in that He is Son, tis because of the Father: in His being, He is of the Father. This He said, therefore: “hath given life to the Son, that He might have it in Himself.” Just as if He were to say, “The Father, who is life in Himself, begot the Son, who should be life in Himself.” Indeed, He would have this dedit (hath given) to be understood for the same thing as genuit (hath begotten). It is like as if we said to a person, “God hath given thee being.” To whom? If to some one already existing, then He gave him not being, because he who could receive existed before it was given him. When, therefore, thou hearest it said, “He gave thee being,” thou wast not in being to receive, but thou didst receive, that thou shouldst be by coming into existence. The builder gave to this house that it should be. But what did he give to it? He gave it to be a house. To what did he give? To this house. Gave it what? To be a house. How could he give to a house that it should be a house? For if the house was, to what did he give to be a house, when the house existed already? What, then, does that mean, “gave it to be a house”? It means, he brought to pass that it should be a house. Well, then, what gave He to the Son? Gave Him to be the Son, begot Him to be life—that is, “gave Him to have life in Himself” that He should be the life not needing life, that He may not be understood as having life by participation. For if He had life by par p. 128 ticipation, He might, by losing, be without life. Do not take, nor think, nor believe this to be possible respecting the Son. Wherefore the Father continues the life, the Son continues the life: the Father, life in Himself, not from the Son; the Son, life in Himself, but from the Father. Begotten of the Father, that He might live in Himself; but the Father, not begotten, life in Himself. Nor did He beget the Son less than Himself to become equal by growth. For surely He by whom, being perfect, the times were created, was not assisted by time towards His own perfection. Before all time, He is co-eternal with the Father. For the Father has never been without the Son; but the Father is eternal, therefore also the Son co-eternal. Soul, what of thee? Thou wast dead, didst lose life; hear then the Father through the Son. Arise, take to thee life, that in Him who has life in Himself thou mayest receive the life which is not in thee. He that giveth thee life, then, is the Father and the Son; and the first resurrection is accomplished when thou risest to partake of the life which thou art not thyself, and by partaking art made living. Rise from thy death to thy life, which is thy God, and pass from death to eternal life. For the Father hath eternal life in Himself; and unless He had begotten such a Son as had life in Himself, it could not be that as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, so also the Son should quicken whom He will.
14. But what of that resurrection of the body? For these who hear and live, whence live, except by hearing? For “the friend of the Bridegroom standeth and heareth Him, and rejoiceth greatly because of the Bridegrooms voice:” 393 not because of his own voice; that is to say, they hear and live by partaking, not by coming into being; and all that hear live, because all that obey live. Tell us something, O Lord, also of the resurrection of the flesh; for there have been those who denied it, asserting that this is the only resurrection which is wrought by faith. Of which resurrection the Lord has just now made mention, and inflamed our desire, because “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall live.” It is not some of those who hear shall live, and others shall die; but “all that hear shall live,” because all that obey shall live. Behold, we see a resurrection of the mind; let us not therefore let go our faith of the resurrection of the flesh. And unless Thou, O Lord Jesus, declare to us this, whom shall we oppose to those who assert the contrary? For truly all sects that have undertaken to engraft any religion upon men have allowed this resurrection of minds; otherwise, it might be said to them, If the soul rise not, why speakest thou to me? What meanest thou to do in me? If thou dost not make of the worse a better, why speakest thou? If thou dost not make a righteous of the unrighteous, why speakest thou? But if thou dost make righteous of the unrighteous, godly of the ungodly, wise of the foolish, thou confessest that my soul doth rise again, if I comply with thee and believe. So, then, all those that have founded any sect, even of false religion, while they wished to be believed, could not but admit this resurrection of minds: all have agreed concerning this; but many have denied the resurrection of the flesh, and affirmed that the resurrection had taken place already in faith. Such the apostle resisteth, saying, “Of whom is Hymeneus and Philetus, who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection hath taken place already, and overthrow the faith of some.” 394 They said that the resurrection had taken place already, but in such manner that another was not to be expected; and they blamed people who were looking for a resurrection of the flesh, just as if the resurrection which was promised were already accomplished in the act of believing, namely, in the mind. The apostle censures these. Why does he censure them? Did they not affirm what the Lord spoke just now: “The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live”? But, saith Jesus to thee, it is of the life of minds that I am hitherto speaking: I am not yet speaking of the life of bodies; but I speak of the life of that which is the life of bodies, that is, of the life of souls, in which the life of bodies exists. For I know that there are bodies lying in the tombs; I know also that your bodies will lie in the tombs. I am not speaking of that resurrection, but I speak of this; in this, rise ye again, lest ye rise to punishment in that. But that ye may know that I speak also of that, what do I add? “For as the Father hath life in Himself, even so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself.” This life which the Father is, which the Son is, to what does it pertain? To the soul or to the body? It is not surely the body that is sensible of that life of wisdom, but the rational mind. For not every soul hath capacity to apprehend wisdom. A brute beast, in fact, has a soul, but the soul of the brute beast p. 129 cannot apprehend wisdom. It is the human soul, then, that can perceive this life which the Father hath in Himself, and hath given to the Son to have in Himself; because that is “the true light which enlighteneth,” not every soul, but “every man coming into this world.” When, therefore, I speak to the mind itself, let it hear, that is, let it obey and live.
15. Wherefore, keep not silent, O Lord, concerning the resurrection of the flesh; lest men believe it not, and we continue reasoners, not preachers. But “as the Father hath life in Himself, even so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself.” Let them that hear, understand; let them believe that they may understand; let them obey that they may live. And that they may not suppose that the resurrection is finished here, let them hear this further: “and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also.” Who hath given? The Father. To whom hath He given? To the Son; namely, to whom He gave to have life in Himself, to the same hath He given authority to execute judgment. “Because He is the Son of man.” For this is the Christ, both Son of God and Son of man. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This was in the beginning with God.” Behold, how He hath given Him to have life in Himself! But because “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” was made man of the Virgin Mary, He is the Son of man. What, therefore, hath He received as Son of man? Authority to execute judgment. What judgment? That in the end of the world. Then also there will be a resurrection, but a resurrection of bodies. So, then, God raiseth up souls by Christ, the Son of God; bodies He raiseth up by the same Christ, the Son of man. “Hath given Him authority.” He should not have this authority did He not receive it; and He should be a man without authority. But the same who is Son of God is also Son of man. For by adhering to the unity of person, the Son of man with the Son of God is made one person, and the Son of God is the same person which the Son of man is. But what characteristic it has, and wherefore, must be distinguished. The Son of man has soul and body. The Son of God, which is the Word of God, has man, as the soul has body. And just as soul having body does not make two persons, but one man; so the Word, having man, maketh not two persons, but one Christ. What is man? A rational soul, having a body. What is Christ? The Word of God, having man. I see of what things I speak, who I the speaker am, and to whom I am speaking.
16. Now hear concerning the resurrection of bodies, not me, but the Lord about to speak, on account of those who have risen again by a resurrection from death, by cleaving to life. To what life? To a life which knows not death. Why knows not death? Because it knows not mutability. Why knows not mutability? Because it is life in itself. “And hath given Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of man.” What judgment, what kind of judgment? “Marvel not at this” which I have said,—gave Him authority to execute judgment,—“for the hour is coming.” He does not adds “and now is:” therefore He means to make known to us a certain hour in the end of the world. The hour is now that the dead rise, the hour will be in the end of the world that the dead rise: but that they rise now in the mind, then in the flesh; that they rise now in the mind by the Word of God, the Son of God; then in the flesh by the Word of God made flesh, the Son of man. For it will not be the Father Himself that will come to judgment, notwithstanding the Father doth not withdraw Himself from the Son. How, then, is it that the Father Himself will not come? In that He will not be seen in the judgment. “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” 395 That form which stood before the judge, will be Judge: that form will judge which was judged; for it was judged unjustly, it will judge justly. There will come the form of a servant, and that same will be apparent. For how could the form of God be made apparent to the just and to the unjust? If the judgment were to be only among the just, then the form of God might appear as to the just. But because the judgment is to be of the just and of the unjust, and that it is not permitted to the wicked to see God,—for “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,” 396 —such a Judge will appear as may be seen by those whom He is about to crown, and by those whom He is about to condemn. Hence the form of a servant will be seen, the form of God will be hid. The Son of God will be hid in the servant, and the Son of man will be manifest, because to Him “hath He given authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of man.” And because He alone will appear in the form of a servant, but the Father not, since He has not taken upon Him the form of a servant; for that reason He saith above: “The Father judgeth not any man, but hath given all judgment to p. 130 the Son.” Rightly then had it been deferred, that the propounder might Himself be the interpreter. For before it was hidden; now, as I think, it is already manifest, that “He gave Him authority to execute judgment,” that “the Father judgeth not any man, but hath given all judgment to the Son:” because the judgment is to be by that form which the Father hath not. And what kind of judgment? “Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming:” not that which now is, for the souls to rise; but that which is to be, for the bodies to rise.
17. Let Him declare this more distinctly, that the heretical denier of the resurrection of the body may not find a pretext for sophistical cavil, although the meaning already shines out clearly. When it was said above, “The hour is coming,” He added, “and now is;” but just now, “The hour is coming,” He has not added, “and now is.” Let Him, however, by the open truth, burst asunder all handles, all loops and pegs of sophistical attack, all the nooses of ensnaring objections. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves.” What more evident? what more distinct? Bodies are in the graves; souls are not in the graves, either of just or of unjust. The soul of the just man was in the bosom of Abraham; the unjust mans soul was in hell, tormented: neither the one nor the other was in the grave. Above, when He saith, “The hour is coming, and now is,” I beseech you give earnest heed. Ye know, brethren, that we get the bread of the belly with toil; with how much greater toil the bread of the mind! With labor you stand and hear, but with greater we stand and speak. If we labor for your sake, you ought to labor with us for your own sake. Above, then, when He said, “The hour is coming,” and added, “and now is,” what did He subjoin? “When the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.” He did not say, “All the dead shall hear, and they that hear shall live;” for He meant the unrighteous to be understood. And is it so, that all the unrighteous obey the gospel? The apostle says openly, “But not all obey the gospel.” 397 But they that hear shall live, because all that obey the gospel shall pass to eternal life by faith: yet all do not obey; and this is now. But certainly, in the end, “All that are in the graves,” both the just and the unjust, “shall hear His voice, and come forth.” How is it He would not say, “and shall live”? All, indeed, will come forth, but all will not live. For in that which He said above, “And they that hear shall live,” He meant it to be understood that there is in that very hearing and obeying an eternal and blessed life, which not all that shall come forth from the graves will have. Here, then, both in the mention of graves, and by the expression of a “coming forth” from the graves, we openly understand a resurrection of bodies.
18. “All shall hear His voice, and shall come forth.” And where is judgment, if all shall hear and all shall come forth? It is as if all were confusion; I see no distinguishing. Certainly Thou hast received authority to judge, because Thou art the Son of man: behold, Thou wilt be present in the judgment; the bodies will rise again; but tell us something of the judgment itself, that is, of the separation of the evil and the good. Hear this further, then: “They that have done good into the resurrection of life; they that have done evil into the resurrection of judgment.” When above He spoke of a resurrection of minds and souls, did He make any distinction? No, for all “that hear shall live;” because by hearing, viz. by obeying, shall they live. But certainly not all will go to eternal life by rising and coming forth from the graves,—only they that have done well; and they that have done ill, to judgment. For here He has put judgment for punishment. There will also be a separation, not such as there is now. For now we are separated, not by place, but by character, affections, desires, faith, hope, charity. Now we live together with the unjust, though the life of all is not the same: in secret we are distinguished, in secret we are separated; as grain on the floor, not as grain in the granary. On the floor, grain is both separated and mixed: separated, because severed from the chaff; mixed, because not yet winnowed. Then there will be an open separation; a distinguishing of life just as of the character, a separation as there is in wisdom, so also will there be in bodies. They that have done well will go to live with the angels of God; they that have done evil, to be tormented with the devil and his angels. And the form of a servant will pass away. For to this end He had manifested Himself, that He might execute judgment. After the judgment, He shall go hence, will lead with Him the body of which He is the head, and deliver up the kingdom of God. 398 Then will openly be seen that form of God which could not be seen by the wicked, to whose vision the form of a servant must be shown. He says also in another place on this wise: p. 131 “These shall go away into everlasting burning” (speaking of certain on the left), “but the just into life eternal;” 399 of which life He says in another place: “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” 400 Then will He be there manifested, “who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” 401 Then He will manifest Himself, as He has promised to manifest Himself to them that love Him. For “he that loveth me,” saith He, “keepeth my commandments; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father; and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” 402 He was present in person with those to whom He was speaking: but they saw the form of a servant, they did not see the form of God. They were being led on His own beast to His dwelling to be healed; but now being healed, they will see, because, saith He, “I will manifest myself to him.” How is He shown equal to the Father? When He says to Philip, “He that seeth me seeth my Father also.” 403
19. “I cannot of myself do anything: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just.” Else we might have said to Him, “Thou wilt judge, and the Father will not judge, for all judgment hath He given to the Son; it is not, therefore, according to the Father that Thou wilt judge.” Hence He added, “I cannot of myself do anything: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of Him that sent me.” Undoubtedly the Son quickeneth whom He will. He seeketh not His own will, but the will of Him that sent Him. Not my own, my proper will; not mine, not the Son of mans; not mine to resist God. For men do their own will, not Gods, when they do what they list, not what God commands; but when they do what they list, so as yet to follow Gods will, they do not their own will, notwithstanding they do what they list to do. Do what thou art bidden willingly, and thus shall thou both do what thou willest, and also not do thine own will, but His that biddeth.
20. What then? “As I hear, I judge.” The Son “heareth,” and the Father “showeth” to Him, and the Son seeth the Father doing. But we had deferred these matters, in order to handle them, so far as might lie in our abilities, with somewhat greater plainness and fullness, should time and strength remain to us after finishing the perusal of the passage. If I say that I am able to speak yet further, you perhaps are not able to go on hearing. Again, perhaps, in your eagerness to hear, you say, “We are able.” Better, then, that I should confess my weakness, that, being already fatigued, I am not able to speak longer, than that, when you are already satiated, I should continue to pour into you what you cannot well digest. Then, as to this promise, which I deferred until today, should there be an opportunity, hold me, with the Lords help, your debtor until to-morrow.
Luke xv. 32.125:385
John xi. 43.125:386
Luke vi. 14.125:387
Matt. v. 41.125:388
1 Thess. 4:15, 16.125:389
Luke xx. 36.126:390
Rom. iv. 5.127:391
Ps. xxxiii. 5.127:392
Ps. xxxv. 10.128:393
John iii. 29.128:394
2 Tim. 2:17, 18.129:395
John xix. 37.129:396
Matt. v. 8.130:397
Rom. x. 16.130:398
1 Cor. xv. 24.131:399
Matt. xxv. 46.131:400
John xvii. 3.131:401
Phil. ii. 6.131:402
John xiv. 21.131:403
John xiv. 19.
Next: Tractate XX
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