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Catena Aurea by St. Thomas Aquinas


1. I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

2. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

3. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

HILARY. (ix. de Trin) He rises in haste to perform the sacrament of His final passion in the flesh, (such is His desire to fulfil His Father’s commandment:) and therefore takes occasion to unfold the mystery of His assumption of His flesh, whereby He supports us, as the vine doth its branches: I am the true vine.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. lxxx. 2) He says this as being the Head of the Church, of which we are the members, the Man Christ Jesus; for the vine and the branches are of the same nature. When He says, I am the true vine, He does not mean really a vine; for He is only called so metaphorically, not literally, even as He is called the Lamb, the Sheep, and the like; but He distinguishes Himself from that vine to whom it is said, How art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me. (Jer. 11:21) For how is that a true vine, which when grapes are expected from it, produces only thorns?

HILARY. (ix. de Trin) But He wholly separates this humiliation in the flesh from the form of the Paternal Majesty, by setting forth the Father as the diligent Husbandman of this vine: And My Father is the Husbandman.

AUGUSTINE. (de Verb. Dom. serm. lix) For we cultivate God, and God cultivates us. But our culture of God does not make Him better: our culture is that of adoration, not of ploughing: His culture of us makes us better. His culture consists in extirpating all the seeds of wickedness from our hearts, in opening our heart to the plough, as it were, of His word, in sowing in us the seeds of His commandments, in waiting for the fruits of piety.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvi) And forasmuch as Christ was sufficient for Himself, but His disciples needed the help of the Husbandman, of the vine He says nothing, but adds concerning the branches, Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit, He taketh away. By fruit is meant life, i. e. that no one can be in Him without good works.

HILARY. (ix. de Trin) The useless and deceitful branches He cuts down for burning.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvi. 1) And inasmuch as even the best of men require the work of the husbandman, He adds, And every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. He alludes here to the tribulations and trials which were coming upon them, the effect of which would be to purge, and so to strengthen them. By pruning the branches we make the tree shoot out the more.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. lxxx. 3) And who is there in this world so clean, that he cannot be more and more changed? Here, if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. (1 John 1:8) He cleanseth then the clean, i. e. the fruitful, that the cleaner they be, the more fruitful they may be. Christ is the vine, in that He saith, My Father is greater than I; but in that He saith, I and My Father are one, He is the husbandman; not like those who carry on an external ministry only; for He giveth increase within. Thus He calls Himself immediately the cleanser of the branches: Now ye are clean through the word, which I have spoken unto you. He performs the part of the husbandman then, as well as of the vine. But why does He not say, ye are clean by reason of the baptism wherewith ye are washed? Because it is the word in the water which cleanseth. Take away the word, and what is the water, but water? Add the word to the element, and you have a sacrament. Whence hath the water such virtue as that by touching the body, it cleanseth the heart, but by the power of the word, not spoken only, but believed? For in the word itself, the passing sound is one thing, the abiding virtue another. This word of faith is of such avail in the Church of God, that by Him who believes, presents, blesses, sprinkles the infant, it cleanseth that infant, though itself is unable to believe.

CHRYSOSTOM. Ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you, i. e. ye have been enlightened by My doctrine, and been delivered from Jewish error.


4. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

5. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

6. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

7. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvi non occ.) Having said that they were clean through the word which He had spoken unto them, He now teaches them that they must do their part.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxi. 1) Abide in Me, and I in you: not they in Him, as He in them; for both are for the profit not of Him, but them. The branches do not confer any advantage upon the vine, but receive their support from it: the vine supplies nourishment to the branches, takes none from them: so that the abiding in Christ, and the having Christ abiding in them, are both for the profit of the disciples, not of Christ; according to what follows, As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. Great display of grace! He strengtheneth the hearts of the humble, stoppeth the mouth of the proud. They who hold that God is not necessary for the doing of good works, the subverters, not the assertors, of free will, contradict this truth. For he who thinks that he bears fruit of himself, is not in the vine; he who is not in the vine, is not in Christ; he who is not in Christ, is not a Christian.

ALCUIN. All the fruit of good works proceeds from this root. He who hath delivered us by His grace, also carries us onward by his help, so that we bring forth more fruit. Wherefore He repeats, and explains what He has said: I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me, by believing, obeying, persevering, and I in Him, by enlightening, assisting, giving perseverance, the same, and none other, bringeth forth much fruit.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxi. 3) But lest any should suppose that a branch could bring forth a little fruit of itself, He adds, For without Me ye can do nothing. He does not say, ye can do little. Unless the branch abides in the vine, and lives from the root, it can bear no fruit whatever. Christ, though He would not be the vine, except He were man, yet could not give this grace to the branches, except He were God.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvi. 1) The Son then contributes no less than the Father to the help of the disciples. The Father changeth, but the Son keepeth them in Him, which is that which makes the branches fruitful. And again, the cleansing is attributed to the Son also, and the abiding in the root to the Father who begat the root. (c. 2.). It is a great loss to be able to do nothing, but He goes on to say more than this: If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, i. e. shall not benefit by the care of the husbandman, and withereth, i. e. shall lose all that it desires from the root, all that supports its life, and shall die.

ALCUIN. And men gather them, i. e. the reapers, the Angels, and cast them into the fire, everlasting fire, and they are burned.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxi. 3) For the branches of the vine are as contemptible, if they abide not in the vine, as they are glorious, if they abide. One of the two the branch must be in, either the vine, or the fire: if it is not in the vine, it will be in the fire.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvi. 2) Then He shews what it is to abide in Him. If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. It is to be shewn by their works.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxi. 4) For then may His words be said to abide in us, when we do what He has commanded, and love what He has promised. But when His words abide in the memory, and are not found in the life, the branch is not accounted to be in the vine, because it derives no life from its root. So far as we abide in the Saviour we cannot will any thing that is foreign to our salvation. We have one will, in so far as we are in Christ, another, in so far as we are in this world. And by reason of our abode in this world, it sometimes happens that we ask for that which is not expedient, through ignorance. But never, if we abide in Christ, will He grant it us, Who does not grant except what is expedient for us. And here we are directed to the prayer, Our Father. Let us adhere to the words and the meaning of this prayer in our petitions, and whatever we ask will be done for us.


8. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

9. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

10. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love: even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

11. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvi. 2) Our Lord shewed above, that those who plotted against them should be burned, inasmuch as they abode not in Christ: now He shews that they themselves would be invincible, bringing forth much fruit; Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit: as if He said, If it appertains to My Father’s glory that ye bring forth fruit, He will not despise His own glory. And he that bringeth forth fruit is Christ’s disciple: So shall ye be My disciples.

THEOPHYLACT. The fruit of the Apostles are the Gentiles, who through their teaching were converted to the faith, and brought into subjection to the glory of God.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxii. 1) Made bright or glorified; the Greek word may be translated in either way. Δόξα signifies glory; not our own glory, we must remember, as if we had it of ourselves: it is of His grace that we have it; and therefore it is not our own but His glory. For from whom shall we derive our fruitfulness, but from His mercy preventing us. Wherefore He adds, As My Father hath loved Me, even so love I you. This then is the source of our good works. Our good works proceed from faith which worketh by love: but we could not love unless we were loved first: As My Father hath loved Me, even so love I you. This does not prove that our nature is equal to His, as His is to the Father’s, but the grace, whereby He is the Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. The Father loves us, but in Him.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvi. 2) If then I love you, be of good cheer; if it is the Father’s glory that ye bring forth good fruit, bear no evil. Then to rouse them to exertion, He adds, Continue ye in My love; and then shews how this is to be done: If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxii. 3. et seq.) Who doubts that love precedes the observance of the commandments? For who loves not, has not that whereby to keep the commandments. These words then do not declare whence love arises, but how it is shewn, that no one might deceive himself into thinking that he loved our Lord, when he did not keep His commandments. Though the words, Continue ye in My love, do not of themselves make it evident which love He means, ours to Him, or His to us, yet the preceding words do: I love you, He says: and then immediately after, Continue ye in My love. Continue ye in My love, then, is, continue in My grace: and, If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, is, Your keeping of My commandments, will be evidence to you that ye abide in My love. It is not that we keep His commandments first, and that then He loves; but that He loves us, and then we keep His commandments. This is that grace, which is revealed to the humble, but hidden from the proud. But what means the next words, Even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love: i. e. the Father’s love, wherewith He loveth the Son. Must this grace, wherewith the Father loves the Son, be understood to be like the grace wherewith the Son loveth us? No; for whereas we are sons not by nature, but by grace, the Only Begotten is Son not by grace, but by nature. We must understand this then to refer to the manhood in the Son, even as the words themselves imply: As My Father hath loved Me, even so love I you. The grace of a Mediator is expressed here; and Christ is Mediator between God and man, not as God, but as man. This then we may say, that since human nature does not pertain to the nature of God, but does by grace pertain to the Person of the Son, grace also pertains to that Person; such grace as has nothing superior, nothing equal to it. For no merits on man’s part preceded the assumption of that nature.

ALCUIN. Even as I have kept My Father’s commandments. The Apostle explains what these commandments were: Christ became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Phil. 2:8)

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 1) Then because the Passion was now approaching to interrupt their joy, He adds, These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy may remain in you: as if He said, And if sorrow fall upon you, I will take it away; so that ye shall rejoice in the end.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxiii. 1) And what is Christ’s joy in us, but that He deigns to rejoice on our account? And what is our joy, which He says shall be full, but to have fellowship with Him? He had perfect joy on our account, when He rejoiced in foreknowing, and predestinating us; but that joy was not in us, because then we did not exist: it began to be in us, when He called us And this joy we rightly call our own, this joy wherewith we shall be blessed; which is begun in the faith of them who are born again, and shall be fulfilled in the reward of them who rise again.


12. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

13. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

14. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

15. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

16. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

THEOPHYLACT. Having said, If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, He shews what commandments they are to keep: This is My commandment, That ye love one another.

GREGORY. (Hom. xxvii. in Evang.) But when all our Lord’s sacred discourses are full of His commandments, why does He give this special commandment respecting love, if it is not that every commandment teaches love, and all precepts are one? Love and love only is the fulfilment of every thing that is enjoined. As all the boughs of a tree proceed from one root, so all the virtues are produced from one love: nor hath the branch, i. e. the good work, any life, except it abide in the root of love.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxiii. 3) Where then love is, what can be wanting? where it is not, what can profit? But this love is distinguished from men’s love to each other as men, by adding, As I have loved you. To what end did Christ love us, but that we should reign with Him? Let us therefore so love one another, as that our love be different from that of other men; who do not love one another, to the end that God may be loved, because they do not really love at all. They who love one another for the sake of having God within them, they truly love one another.

GREGORY. (Hom. xxvii.) The highest, the only proof of love, is to love our adversary; as did the Truth Himself, who while He suffered on the cross, shewed His love for His persecutors: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34) Of which love the consummation is given in the next words: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Our Lord came to die for His enemies, but He says that He is going to lay down His life for His friends, to shew us that by loving, we are able to 1 gain over our enemies, so that they who persecute us are by anticipation our friends.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvi. 1) Having said, This is My commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you, it follows, as John saith in his Epistle, that as Christ laid down His life for us, so we should lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3) This the martyrs have done with ardent love. And therefore in commemorating them at Christ’s table, we do not pray for them, as we do for others, but we rather pray that we may follow their steps. For they have shewn the same love for their brother, that has been shewn them at the Lord’s table.

GREGORY. (Hom. xxvii.) But whoso in time of tranquillity will not give up his time to God, how in persecution will he give up his soul? Let the virtue of love then, that it may be victorious in tribulation, be nourished in tranquillity by deeds of mercy.

AUGUSTINE. (viii. de Trin. c. viii) From one and the same love, we love God and our neighbour; but God for His own sake, our neighbour for God’s. So that, there being two precepts of love, on which hang all the Law and the Prophets, to love God, and to love our neighbour, Scripture often unites them into one precept. For if a man love God, it follows that he does what God commands, and if so, that he loves his neighbour, God having commanded this. Wherefore He proceeds: Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

GREGORY. (xxvii. Moral.) A friend is as it were a keeper of the soul. He who keeps God’s commandments, is rightly called His friend.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxv. 2) Great condescension! Though to keep his Lord’s commandments, is only what a good servant is obliged to do, yet, if they do so, He calls them His friends. The good servant is both the servant, and the friend. But how is this? He tells us: Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth. Shall we therefore cease to be servants, as soon as ever we are good servants? And is not a good and tried servant sometimes entrusted with his master’s secrets, still remaining a servant? (c. 3.). We must understand then that there are two kinds of servitude, as there are two kinds of fear. There is a fear which perfect love casteth out; which also hath in it a servitude, which will be cast out together with the fear. And there is another, a pure (castus) fear, which remaineth for ever. It is the former state of servitude, which our Lord refers to, when He says, Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth; not the state of that servant to whom it is said, Well done, thou good servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord: (Matt. 25:21) but of him of whom it was said below, The servant abideth not in the house for ever, but the Son abideth ever. Forasmuch then as God hath given us power to become the sons of God, so that in a wonderful way, we are servants, and yet not servants, we know that it is the Lord who doth this. This that servant is ignorant of, who knoweth not what his Lord doeth, and when he doeth any good thing, is exalted in his own conceit, as if he himself did it, and not his Lord; and boasts of himself, not of his Lord.

But I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of My Father, I have made known unto you.

THEOPHYLACT. As if He said, The servant knoweth not the counsels of his lord; but since I esteem you friends, I have communicated my secrets to you.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvi. 1) But how did He make known to His disciples all things that He had heard from the Father, when He forebore saying many things, because He knew they as yet could not bear them? He made all things known to His disciples, i. e. He knew that He should make them known to them in that fulness of which the Apostle saith, Then we shall know, even as we are known. (1 Cor. 13:12) For as we look for the death of the flesh, and the salvation of the soul; so should we look for that knowledge of all things, which the Only-Begotten heard from the Father.

GREGORY. (Hom. xxvii.) Or all things which He heard from the Father, which He wished to be made known to His servants; the joys of spiritual love, the pleasures of our heavenly country, which He impresses daily on our minds by the inspiration of His love. For while we love the heavenly things we hear, we know them by loving, because love is itself knowledge. He had made all things known to them then, because being withdrawn from earthly desires, they burned with the fire of divine love.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 1) All things, i. e. all things that they ought to hear. I have heard, shews that what He had taught was no strange doctrine, but received from the Father.

GREGORY. (Hom. in Evang. xxvii.) But let no one who has attained to this dignity of being called the friend of God, attribute this superhuman gift1 to his own merits: Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvi. 3) Ineffable grace! For what were we before Christ had chosen us, but wicked, and lost? We did not believe in Him, so as to be chosen by Him: for had He chosen us believing, He would have chosen us choosing. This passage refutes the vain opinion of those who say that we were chosen before the foundation of the world, because God foreknew that we should be good, not that He Himself would make us good. For had He chosen us, because He foreknew that we should be good, He would have foreknown also that we should first choose Him, for without choosing Him we cannot be good; unless indeed he can be called good, who hath not chosen good. What then hath He chosen in them who are not good? Thou canst not say, I am chosen because I believed; for hadst thou believed in Him, thou hadst chosen Him. Nor canst thou say, Before I believed I did good works, and therefore was chosen. For what good work is there before faith? What is there for us to say then, but that we were wicked, and were chosen, that by the grace of the chosen we might become good?

AUGUSTINE. (de Prad. Sanct. c. xvii.) They are chosen then before the foundation of the world, according to that predestination by which God foreknew His future acts. They are chosen out of the world by that call whereby God fulfills what He has predestined: whom He did predestinate, them He also called. (Rom. 8:30)

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvi. 3) Observe, He does not choose the good; but those, whom He hath chosen, He makes good: And I have ordained you that ye should go, and bring forth fruit. This is the fruit which He meant, when He said, Without Me ye can do nothing. He Himself is the way in which He hath set (ἔθηκα, posui) us to go.

GREGORY. (Hom. xxvii.) I have set you,i. e. have planted you by grace, that ye should go by will (volendo not in Vulg.); to will being to go in mind, and bring forth fruit, by works. What kind of fruit they should bring forth He then shews: And that your fruit may remain: for worldly labour hardly produces fruit to last our life: and if it does, death comes at last, and deprives us of it all. But the fruit of our spiritual labours endures even after death; and begins to be seen at the very time that the results of our carnal labour begin to disappear. Let us then produce such fruits as may remain, and of which death, which destroys every thing, will be the commencement.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvi. 3) Love then is one fruit, now existing in desire only, not yet in fulness. Yet even with this desire whatever we ask in the name of the Only-Begotten Son, the Father giveth us: That whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He may give it you. We ask in the Saviour’s name, whatever we ask, that will be profitable to our salvation.


17. These things I command you, that ye love one another.

18. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

19. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

20. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

21. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvii. 1) Our Lord had said, I have ordained that ye should walk, and bring forth fruit. Love is this fruit. Wherefore He proceeds: These things I command you, that ye love one another. (Gal. 5:22) Hence the Apostle saith: The fruit of the Spirit is love; and enumerates all other graces as springing from this source. Well then doth our Lord commend love, as if it were the only thing commanded: seeing that without it nothing can profit, with it nothing be wanting, whereby a man is made good.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 2) Or thus: I have said that I lay down My life for you, and that I first chose you. I have said this not by way of reproach, but to induce you to love one another. Then as they were about to suffer persecution and reproach, He bids them not to grieve, but rejoice on that account: If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you: as if to say, I know it is a hard trial, but ye will endure it for My sake.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvii. 2) For why should the members exalt themselves above the head? Thou refusest to be in the body, if thou art not willing, with the head, to endure the hatred of the world. For love’s sake let us be patient: the world must hate us, whom it sees hate whatever it loves; If ye were of the world, the world would love his own.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 2) As if Christ’s suffering were not consolation enough, He consoles them still further by telling them, the hatred of the world would be an evidence of their goodness; so that they ought rather to grieve if they were loved by the world: as that would be evidence of their wickedness.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvii. 2) He saith this to the whole Church, which is often called the world; as, God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself. (2 Cor. 5:19) The whole world then is the Church, and the whole world hateth the Church. The world hateth the world, the world in enmity, the world reconciled, the defiled world, the changed world. (Tract. lxxxviii. 4.). Here it may be asked, If the wicked can be said to persecute the wicked; e. g. if impious kings, and judges, who persecute the righteous, punish murderers and adulterers also; how are we to understand our Lord’s words, If ye were of the world, the world would love his own? In this way; The world is in them who punish these offences, and the world is in them who love them. The world then hates its own so far as it punishes the wicked, loves its own so far as it favours them. (Tract. lxxxvii. 4.). Again, if it be asked how the world loves itself, when it hates the means of its redemption, the answer is, that it loves itself with a false, not a true love, loves what hurts it; hates nature, loves vice. Wherefore we are forbidden to love what it loves in itself; commanded to love what it hates in itself. The vice in it we are forbidden, the nature in it we are commanded, to love. And to separate us from this lost world, we are chosen out of it, not by merit of our own, for we had no merits to begin with, not by nature which was radically corrupt, but by grace: But because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

GREGORY. (Hom. in Ezech. ix.) For the dispraise of the perverse, is our praise. There is nothing wrong in not pleasing those, who do not please God. For no one can by one and the same act please God, and the enemies of God. He proves himself no friend to God, who pleases His enemy; and he whose soul is in subjection to the Truth, will have to contend with the enemies of that Truth.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxviii. 1) Our Lord, in exhorting His servants to bear patiently the hatred of the world, proposes to them an example than which there can be no better and higher one, viz. Himself: Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.

GLOSS. They observed1 it in order to calumniate it, as we read in the Psalms, The ungodly seeth2 the righteous.

THEOPHYLACT. Or thus: If, Me says, they have persecuted your Lord, much more will they persecute you; if they had persecuted Him, but kept His commandments, they would keep yours also.

CHRYSOSTOM. As if He said, Ye must not be disturbed at having to share My sufferings; for ye are not better than I.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxviii. 1) The servant is not greater than his Lord. Here the servant is the one who has the purified fear, which abideth for ever.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 2) Then follows another consolation, viz. that the Father is despised and injured with them: But all these things will they do unto you for My name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent Me.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxviii. 2) All these things, viz. what He had mentioned, that the world would hate them, persecute them, despise their word. For My Name’s sake, i. e. in you they will hate Me, in you persecute Me, your word they will not keep, because it is mine. They who do these things for His name’s sake are as miserable, as they who suffer them are blessed: except when they do them to the wicked as well; for then both they who do, and they who suffer, are miserable. But how do they do all these things for His name’s sake, when they do nothing for Christ’s name’s sake, i. e. for justice sake? We shall do away with this difficulty, if we take the words as applying to the righteous; as if it were, All these things will ye suffer from them, for My name’s sake. If, for My name’s sake, mean this, i. e. My name which they hate in you, justice which they hate in you; of the good, when they persecute the wicked, it may be said in the same way, that they do so both for righteousness’ sake, which they love, which love is their motive in persecuting, and for unrighteousness’ sake, the unrighteousness of the wicked, which they hate. Because they know not Him that sent Me, i. e. know not according to that knowledge of which it is said, To know Thee is perfect righteousness. (Wisd. 15:3)


22. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.

23. He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

24. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

25. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 2) Then by way of another consolation, He declares the injustice of these persecutions both towards Him and them: If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin.

AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxix. 1) Christ spoke to the Jews only, not to any other nation. In them then was that world which hated Christ and His disciples; and not only in them, but in us also. Were the Jews then without sin before Christ came in the flesh, because Christ had not spoken to them? By sin here He means not every sin, but a certain great sin, which includes all, and which alone hinders the remission of other sins, viz. unbelief. They did not believe in Christ, who came that they might believe on Him. This sin then they would not have had, had not Christ come; for Christ’s advent, as it was the salvation of the believing, so was the perdition of the unbelieving. But now they have no cloke for their sin. If those to whom Christ had not come or spoken, had not an excuse (πρόφασιν, excusationem Vulg. cloke E. T.) for their sin, why is it said here that these had no excuse, because Christ had come and spoken to them? If the first had excuse, did it do away with their punishment altogether, or only mitigate it? I answer, that this excuse covered, not all their sin, but only this one, viz. that they did not believe in Christ. But they are not of this number to whom Christ came by His disciples: they are not to be let off with a lighter punishment, who altogether refused to receive Christ’s love, and, as far as concerned them, wished its destruction. This excuse they may have who died before they heard of Christ’s Gospel; but this will not shield them from damnation. For whoever are not saved in the Saviour, who came to seek what was lost, shall without doubt go to perdition: though some will have lighter, others severer punishments. He perishes to God, who is punished with an exclusion from that happiness which is given to the saints. But there is as great a diversity of punishments, as there is of sins: though how this is settled is a matter known to the Divine Wisdom indeed, but too deep for human conjecture to examine or pronounce upon.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 2) As the Jews persecuted Him out of professed regard for the Father, He takes away this excuse: He that hateth Me, hateth My Father also.

ALCUIN. For as he who loves the Son, loves the Father also, the love of the Father being one with that of the Son, even as their nature is one: so he who hateth the Son, hateth the Father also.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xc. 1) But He has just said, Because they know not Him that sent Me. How could they hate one whom they did not know? For if they hated God, believing Him to be something else, and not God, this was not hatred of God. In the case of men, it often happens that we hate or love persons whom we have never seen, simply in consequence of what we have heard of them. But if a man’s character is known to us, he cannot properly be said to be unknown. And a man’s character is not shewn by his face, but by his habits and way of life: else we should not be able to know ourselves, for we cannot see our own face. But history and fame sometimes lie; and our faith is imposed upon. We cannot penetrate into men’s hearts; we only know that such things are right, and others wrong; and if we escape error here, to be mistaken in men is a venial matter. A good man may hate a good man ignorantly, or rather love him ignorantly, for he loves the good man, though he hates the man whom he supposes him to be. A bad man may love a good man, supposing him to be a bad man like himself, and therefore not, properly speaking, loving him, but the person whom he takes him to be. And in the same way with respect to God. If the Jews were asked whether they loved God, they would reply that they did love Him, not intending to lie, but only being mistaken in so saying. For how could they who hated the Truth, love the Father of the Truth? They did not wish their actions to be judged, and this the Truth did. They hated the Truth then, because they hated the punishment which He would inflict upon such as they. But at the same time they did not know that He was the Truth, who came to condemn them. They did not know that the Truth was born of God the Father, and therefore they did not know God the Father Himself. Thus they both hated, and also knew not, the Father.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 2) Thus then they have no excuse, He says; I gave them doctrine, I added miracles, which, according to Moses’ law, should convince all if the doctrine itself is good also: If I had not done among them the works that none other man did, they had not had sin.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xci. 1) The sin of not believing Him, notwithstanding His doctrine and His miracles. But why does He add, Which none other man did? Christ did no work greater than the raising of the dead, which we know the ancient Prophets did before Him. Is it that He did some things which no one else did? But others also did what neither He nor any one else did. True: yet none of the ancient prophets, that we read of, healed so many bodily defects, sicknesses, infirmities. For to say nothing of single cases, Mark says, that whithersoever He entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought Him that they might touch if it were but the border of His garment: and as many as touched Him were made whole. (Mark 6:56) Such works as these no one else had done in them. In them, meaning, not amongst them, or before them, but within them. But even where particular works, like some of these, had been done before, whoever worked such did not really do them; for He did them through them; whereas He performs these miracles by His own power. For even if the Father or the Holy Spirit did them, yet it was none other than He; for the Three Persons are of one substance. For these benefits then they ought to have returned Him not hatred, but love. And this He reproaches them with; But now they have both seen and hated both Me and My Father.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 1) And that the disciples may not say, Why then hast Thou brought us into such difficulties? Couldest not thou foresee the resistance and hatred we should meet with, He quotes the prophecy: But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated Me without a cause.

AUGUSTINE. (xv. de Trin. c. xvii) Under the name of the Law, the whole of the Old Testament is included: and therefore our Lord says here, That is written in their law; the passage being in the Psalms.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xci. 4) Their law, He says, not as made by them, but as given to them. A man hates without a cause, who seeks no advantage from his hatred. Thus the ungodly hate God; the righteous love Him, i. e. looking for no other good but Him: He is their all in all.

GREGORY. (xxv. Moral.) It is one thing not to do good, another to hate the teacher of goodness; as there is a difference between sudden and deliberate sins. Our state generally is that we love what is good, but from infirmity cannot perform it. But to sin of set purpose, is neither to do nor to love what is good. As then it is sometimes a heavier offence to love than to do, so is it more wicked to hate justice than not to do it. There are some in the Church, who not only do not do what is good, but even persecute it, and hate in others what they neglect to do themselves. The sin of these men is not that of infirmity or ignorance, but deliberate wilful sin.


26. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

27. And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 2) The disciples might say, If they have heard words from Thee, such as none other hath spoken, if they have seen works of Him, such as none other hath done, and yet have not been convinced, but have hated Thy Father, and Thee with Him, why dost Thou send us to preach? How shall we be believed? Such thoughts as these He now answers: But when the Comforter is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of Me.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xcii. 2) As if He said, Seeing Me, they hated and killed Me: but the Comforter shall give such testimony concerning Me, as shall make them believe, though they see Me not. And because He shall testify, ye shall testify also: And ye also shall bear witness: He will inspire your hearts, and ye shall proclaim with your voices. And ye will preach what ye know; Because ye have been with Me from the beginning; which now ye do not do, because ye have not yet the fulness of the Spirit. But the love of God shall then be shed abroad in your hearts by the Spirit which shall be given you, and shall make you confident witnesses to Me. The Holy Spirit by His testimony made others testify; taking away fear from the friends of Christ’s, and converting the hatred of His enemies into love.

DIDYMUS. (Didym. De Spir. Sanct.) The Holy Spirit He calls the Comforter, a name taken from His office, which is not only to relieve the sorrows of the faithful, but to fill them with unspeakable joy. Everlasting gladness is in those hearts, in which the Spirit dwells. The Spirit, the Comforter, is sent by the Son, not as Angels, or Prophets, or Apostles, are sent, but as the Spirit must be sent which is of one nature with the Divine wisdom and power that sends Him. The Son when sent by the Father, is not separated from Him, but abides in the Father, and the Father in Him. In the same way the Holy Spirit is not sent by the Son, and proceedeth from the Father, in the sense of change of place. For as the Father’s nature, being incorporeal, is not local, so neither hath the Spirit of truth, Who is incorporeal also, and superior to all created things, a local nature.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 3) He calls Him not the Holy Spirit, but the Spirit of truth, to shew the perfect faith that was due to Him. He knew that He proceedeth from the Father, for He knew all things; He knew where He Himself came from, as He says of Himself above, I know whence I came, and whither I go. (John 8:14)

DIDYMUS. (ut sup.) He does not say, from God, or, from the Almighty, but, from the Father: because though the Father and God Almighty are the same, yet the Spirit of truth properly proceeds from God, as the Father, the Begetter. The Father and the Son together send the Spirit of truth: He comes by the will both of the Father and the Son.

THEOPHYLACT. Elsewhere He says that the Father sends the Spirit; now He says He does: Whom I will send unto you; thus declaring the equality of the Father and the Son. That He might not be thought however to be opposed to the Father, and to be another and rival source, as it were, of the Spirit, He adds, From the Father; i. e. the Father agreeing, and taking an equal part in sending Him. When it is said that He proceedeth, do not understand His procession to be an external mission, such as is given to ministering spirits, but a certain peculiar, and distinct procession, such as is true of the Holy Spirit alone. To proceed is not the same as being sent, but is the essential nature of the Holy Ghost, as coming from the Father.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xcix. 6, et sq.) If it be asked here whether the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son also, we may answer thus: The Son is the Son of the Father alone, and the Father is the Father of the Son only; but the Holy Spirit is not the Spirit of one, but of both; since Christ Himself saith, The Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. (Matt. 10:20) And the Apostle says, God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts. (Gal. 4:6) This indeed, I think, is the reason why He is called peculiarly the Spirit. For both of the Father and the Son separately we may pronounce, that each is a Spirit. But what each is separately in a general sense, He who is not either one separately, but the union of both, is spiritually. But if the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Son, why should we not believe that He proceeds from the Son? Indeed if He did not proceed from the Son, Christ would not after the resurrection have breathed on His disciples, and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. (John 20:29) This too is what is meant by the virtue which went out of Him, and healed all. (Luke 6.) If the Holy Ghost then proceeds both from the Father and the Son, why does Christ say, Who proceedeth from the Father? He says it in accordance with His general way of referring all that He has to Him from whom He is; as where He says, My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If the doctrine was His, which He says was not His own, but the Father’s, much more does the Holy Spirit proceed from Him, consistently with His proceeding from the Father. From whom the Son hath His Godhead, from Him He hath it that the Holy Ghost proceedeth from Him. And this explains why the Holy Ghost is not said to be born, but to proceed. For if He were born, He would be the Son of both Father and Son, an absurd supposition; for if two together have a Son, those two must be father and mother. But to imagine any such relation as this between God the Father, and God the Son, is monstrous. Even the human offspring does not proceed from father or mother at the same time; when it proceeds from the father, it does not proceed from the mother. Whereas the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Father into the Son, and from the Son into the creature to be sanctified; but proceeds from Father and Son at once. And if the Father is life, and the Son is life, so the Holy Ghost is life also. Just then as the Father when He had life in Himself, gave also to the Son to have life in Himself; so He gave to the Son also that life should proceed from Him, even as it proceeded from Himself.

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