John i. 35-37.-"Again the next day after John stood, and two of his
disciples; and looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb
of God. And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus."
[1.] The nature of man is somehow a thing slothful, and easily declining
to perdition, not by reason of the constitution of the nature itself, but
by reason of that sloth which is of deliberate choice. Wherefore it needs
much reminding. And for this cause Paul, writing to the Philippians, said,
"To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for
you it is safe." (Phil. iii. 1.)
The earth when it has once received the seed, straightway gives forth
its fruits, and needs not a second sowing; but with our souls it is not
so, and one must be content, after having sown many times, and manifested
much carefulness, to be able once to receive fruit. For in the first place,
what is said settles in the mind with difficulty, because the ground is
very hard, and entangled with thorns innumerable, and there are many which
lay plots, and carry away the seed; afterwards, when it has been fixed
and has taken root, it still needs the same attention, that it may come
to maturity, and having done so may remain uninjured, and take no harm
from any. For in the case of seeds, when the ear is fully formed and has
gained its proper strength, it easily despises rust, and drought, and every
other thing; but it is not so with doctrines; in their case after all the
work has been fully done, one storm and flood often comes on, and either
by the attack of unpleasant circumstances, or by the plots of men skilled
to deceive, or by various other temptations brought against them, brings
them to ruin.
I have not said this without cause, but that when you hear John repeating
the same words, yon may not condemn him for vain talking;1 nor deem him
impertinent or wearisome. He desired to have been heard by once speaking,
but because not many gave heed to what was spoken from the first, by reason
of deep sleep, he again rouses them by this second call. Now observe; he
had said, "He that cometh after me, is preferred before me": and that "I
am not worthy to unloose the latchet of His shoe"; and that "He baptizeth
with the Holy Ghost, and with fire"; and that he "saw the Spirit descending
like a dove, and it abode upon Him," and he "bare record that this is the
Son of God." No one gave heed, nor asked, nor said, "Why sayest thou these
things? in whose behalf? for what reason?" Again he had said, "Behold the
Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world"; yet not even so did
he touch their insensibility. Therefore, after this he is compelled to
repeat the same words again, as if softening by tillage2 some hard and
stubborn soil, and by his word as by a3 plow, disturbing the mind which
had hardened into clods,4 so as to put in the seed deep. For this reason
he does not make his discourse a long one either; because he desired one
thing only, to bring them over and join them to Christ. He knew that as
soon as they had received this saying, and had been persuaded, they would
not afterwards need one to bear witness unto Him. As also it came to pass.
For, if the Samaritans could say to the woman after hearing Him, "Now we
believe, not because of thy saying, for we know that this is indeed the
Christ, the Saviour of the world," the disciples would be much more quickly
subdued,5 as was the case. For when they had come and heard Him but one
evening, they returned no more to John, but were so nailed to Him, that
they took upon them the ministry of John, and themselves proclaimed Him.
For, saith the Evangelist, "He findeth his own brother Simon, and saith
unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ."
And observe, I pray you, this, how, when he said, "He that cometh after
me is preferred before me"; and that, "I am not worthy to unloose the lachet
of His shoe"; he caught no one, but when he spoke of the Dispensation,
and lowered his discourse to a humbler tone, then the disciples followed
And we may remark this, not only in the instance of the disciples, but
that the many are not so much attracted when some great and sublime thing
is said concerning God, as when some act of graciousness and lovingkindness,
something pertaining to the salvation of the hearers, is spoken of. They
heard that "He taketh away the sin of the world," and straightway they
ran to Him. For, said they, "if it is possible to wash away6 the charges
that lie against us, why do we delay? here is One who will deliver us without
labor of ours. Is it not extreme folly to put off accepting the Gift?"
Let those hear who are Catechumens, and are putting off their salvation7
to their latest breath.
"Again," saith the Evangelist, "John stood, and saith, Behold, the Lamb
of God." Christ utters no word, His messenger saith all. So it is with
a bridegroom. He saith not for a while anything to the bride, but is there
in silence, while some show him to the bride, and others give her into
his hands; she merely appears, and he departs not having taken her himself,
but when he has received her from another who gives her to him. And when
he has received her thus given, he so disposes her, that she no more remembers
those who betrothed her. Soit was with Christ. He came to join to Himself
the Church; He said nothing, but merely came. It was His friend, John,
who put into His the bride's right hand, when by his discourses he gave
into His hand the souls of men. He having received them, afterwards so
disposed them, that they departed no more to John who had committed them
[2.] And here we may remark, not this only, but something besides. As
at a marriage the maiden goes not to the bridegroom, but he hastens to
her, though he be a king's son, and though he be about to espouse some
poor and abject person, or even a servant, so it was here. Man's nature
did not go up,8 but contemptible and poor as it was, He came to it, and
when the marriage had taken place, He suffered it no longer to tarry here,
but having taken it to Himself, transported it to the house of His Father.
"Why then doth not John take his disciples apart, and converse with
them on these matters, and so deliver them over to Christ, instead of saying
publicly to them in common with all the people, `Behold the Lamb of God'?"
That it may not seem to be a matter of arrangement; for had they gone away
from him to Christ after having been privately admonished by him, and as
though to do him a favor, they would perhaps soon have started away again;
but now, having taken upon them the following Him, from teaching which
had been general, they afterwards remained His firm disciples, as not having
followed Him in order to gratify the teacher, but as looking purely to
their own advantage.
The Prophets and Apostles then all preached Him absent; the Prophets
before His coming according to the flesh, the Apostles after He was taken
up; John alone proclaimed Him present. Wherefore he calls himself the "friend
of the Bridegroom" (c. iii. 29), since he alone was present at the marriage,
he it was that did and accomplished all, he made a beginning of the work.
And "looking upon Jesus walking, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God." Not
by voice alone, but with his eyes also he bore witness to, and expressed
his admiration of, Christ, rejoicing and glorying. Nor does he for awhile
address any9 word of exhortation to his followers, but only shows wonder
and astonishment at Him who was present, and declares to all the Gift which
He came to give, and the manner of purification. For "the Lamb" declares
both these things. And he said not, "Who shall take," or "Who hath taken";
but, "Who taketh away the sins of the world"; because this He ever doth.
He took them not then only when He suffered, but from that time even to
the present doth He take them away, not being repeatedly10 crucified, (for
He offered One Sacrifice for sins,) but by that One continually purging
them. As then The Word shows us His pre-eminence,11 and The Son His superiority
in comparison with others, so "The Lamb, The Christ, that Prophet, the
True Light, the Good Shepherd," and whatever other names are applied to
Him with the addition of the article, mark a great difference. For there
were many "Lambs," and "Prophets," and "Christs," and "sons," but from
all these John separates Him by a wide interval. And this he secured not
by the article only, but by the addition of "Only-Begotten"; for He had
nothing in common with the creation.
If it seems to any unseasonable that these things should be spoken at
"the tenth hour" (that was the time of day, for he says, "It was about
the tenth hour"-(v. 39), such an one seems to me to be much mistaken. In
the case indeed of the many, and those who serve the flesh, the season
after feasting is not very suitable for any matters of pressing moment,
because their hearts12 are burdened with meats: but here was a man who
did not even partake of common food, and who at evening was as sober as
we are at morning, (or rather much more so; for often the remains of our
evening food that are left within us, fill our souls with imaginations,
but he loaded his vessel with none of these things;) he with good reason
spake late in the evening of these matters. Besides, he was tarrying in
the wilderness by Jordan, where all came to his baptism with great fear,
and caring little at that time for the things of this life; as also they
continued with Christ three days, and had nothing to eat. (Matt. xv. 32.)
For this is the part of a zealous herald and a careful husbandman, not
to desist before he see that the planted seed has got a firm hold.13 "Why
then did he not go about all the parts of Judaea preaching Christ, rather
than stand by the river waiting for Him to come, that he might point Him
out when He came?" Because he wished that this should be effected by His
works; his own object being in the mean time only to make Him known, and
to persuade some to hear of eternal life. But to Him he leaves the greater
testimony, that of works, as also He saith, "I receive not testimony of
men. The works which My Father hath given Me, the same bear witness of
Me." (c. v. 34, 36.) Observe how much more effectual this was; for when
he had thrown in a little spark, at once the blaze rose on high. For they
who before had not even given heed to his words, afterwards say, "All things
which John spake were true." (c. x. 41.)
[3.] Besides, if he had gone about saying these things, what was being
done would have seemed to be done from some human motive, and the preaching
to be full of suspicion.14
"And the two disciples heard him, and followed Jesus."
Yet John had other disciples, but they not only did not "follow Jesus,"
but were even jealously disposed towards him. "Rabbi," says one, "He that
was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same
baptizeth, and all men come unto him." (c. iii. 26.) And again15 they appear
bringing a charge against him; "Why do we fast, but thy disciples fast
not?" (Matt. ix. 14.) But those who were better than the rest had no such
feeling, but heard, and at once followed; followed, not as despising their
teacher, but as being most fully persuaded by him, and producing the strongest
proof that they acted thus from a right judgment of his reasonings. For
they did not do so by his advice, that might have appeared suspicious;
but when he merely foretold what was to come to pass, that "He should baptize
with the Holy Ghost, [and with fire,]" they followed. They did not then
desert their teacher, but rather desired to learn what Christ brought with
Him more than John. And observe zeal combined with modesty. They did not
at once approach and question Jesus on necessary and most important matters,
nor were they desirous to converse with Him publicly, while all were present,
at once and in an off-hand manner, but privately; for they knew that the
words of their teacher proceeded not from humility, but from truth.
Ver. 40. "One of the two who heard, and followed Him, was Andrew,
Simon Peter's brother."
Wherefore then has he not made known the name of the other also? Some
say, because it was the writer himself that followed; others, not so, but
that he was not one of the distinguished disciples; it behooved not therefore
to say more than was necessary. For what would it have advantaged us to
learn his name, when the writer does not mention the names even of the
seventy-two? St. Paul also did the same.16 "We have sent," says he, "with
him the brother," (who has often in many things been forward,) "whose praise
is in the Gospel." (2 Cor. viii. 18.) Moreover, he mentions Andrew for
another reason. What is this? It is, that when you are informed that Simon
having in company with him heard, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers
of men" (Matt. iv. 19), was not perplexed at so strange a promise, you
may learn that his brother had already laid down within him the beginnings
of the faith.
Ver. 38. "Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto
them, What seek ye?"
Hence we are taught, that God does not prevent our wills by His gifts,
but that when we begin, when we provide the being willing, then He gives
us many opportunities of salvation. "What seek ye?" How is this? He who
knoweth the hearts of men, who dwelleth17 in our thoughts, doth He ask?
He doth; not that He may be informed; how could that be? but that by the
question He may make them more familiar, and impart to them greater boldness,
and show them that they are worthy to hear Him; for it was probable that
they would blush and be afraid, as being unknown to him, and as having
heard such accounts of Him from the testimony of their teacher. Therefore
to remove all this, their shame and their fear, he questions them, and
would not let them come all the way to the house in silence. Yet the event
would have been the same had He not questioned them; they would have remained
by following Him, and walking in His steps would have reached His dwelling.
Why then did He ask? To effect that which I said, to calm their minds,18
yet disturbed with shame and anxiety, and to give them confidence.
Nor was it by their following only that they showed their earnest desire,
but by their question also: for when they had not as yet learned or even
heard anything from Him, they call Him, "Master"; thrusting themselves
as it were among His disciples, and declaring what was the cause of their
following, that they might hear somewhat profitable. Observe their wisdom
also. They did not say, "Teach us of Thy doctrines, or some other thing
that we need to know"; but what? "Where dwellest Thou?" Because, as I before
said, they wished in quiet to say somewhat to Him, and to hear somewhat
from Him, and to learn. Therefore they did not defer the matter, nor say,
"We will come to-morrow by all means, and hear thee speak in public"; but
showed the great eagerness they had to hear Him, by not being turned back
even by the hour, for the sun was already near its setting, ("it was,"
saith John, "about the tenth hour.") And therefore Christ does not tell
them the marks of His abode, nor its situation, but rather induces them
to follow Him by showing them that He had accepted them. For this reason
He did not say anything of this kind to them, "It is an unseasonable time
now for you to enter into the house, to-morrow you shall hear if you have
any wish, return home now";19 but converses with them as with friends,
and those who had long been with Him.
How then saith He in another place, "But the Son of Man hath not where
to lay His head" (Luke ix. 58), while here He saith, "Come and see" (v.
39) where I abide? Because the expression "hath not where to lay His head,"
signifies that He had no dwelling place of His own, not that He did not
abide in a house. And this too is the meaning of the comparison.20 The
Evangelist has mentioned that "they abode with Him that day," but has not
added wherefore, because the reason was plain; for from no other motive
did they follow Christ, and He draw them to Him, but only that they might
have instruction; and this they enjoyed so abundantly and eagerly even
in a single night, that they both proceeded straightway to the capture21
[4.] Let us then also learn hence to consider all things secondary22
to the hearing the word of God, and to deem no season unseasonable, and,
though a man may even have to go into another person's house, and being
a person unknown to make himself known to great men, though it be late
in the day, or at any time whatever, never to neglect this traffic. Let
food and baths and dinners and the other things of this life have their
appointed time; but let the teaching of heavenly philosophy have no separate
time, let every season belong to it. For Paul saith, "In season, out of
season, reprove, rebuke, exhort" (2 Tim. iv. 2); and the Prophet too saith,23
"In His law will he meditate day and night" (Ps. i. 3); and Moses commanded
the Jews to do this always. For the things of this life, baths, I mean,
and dinners, even if they are necessary, yet being continually repeated,
render the body feeble;24 but the teaching of the soul the more it is prolonged,
the stronger it renders the soul which receives it. But now we portion
out all our time for trifles and unprofitable silly talking, and we sit
together idly during the morning and afternoon,25 midday and evening besides,
and we have appointed places for this; but hearing the divine doctrines
twice or thrice in the week we become sick,26 and thoroughly sated. What
is the reason? We are in a bad state of soul; its faculty of desiring and
reaching after these things we have relaxed altogether. And therefore it
is not strong enough to have an appetite for spiritual food. And this among
others is a great proof of weakness, not to hunger nor thirst, but to be
disinclined to both. Now if this, when it takes place in our bodies, is
a sure sign of grievous disease, and productive of weakness, much more
is it so in the soul.
"How then," says one, "shall we be able to renew it, thus fallen and
relaxed, to strength? what doing, what saying?" By applying ourselves to
the divine words of the prophets, of the Apostles, of the Gospels, and
all the others; then we shall know that it is far better to feed on these
than on impure food, for so we must term our unseasonable idle talking
and assemblies. For which is best, tell me, to converse on things relating
to the market, or things in the law courts, or in the camp, or on things
in heaven, and on what shall be after our departure hence? Which is best,
to talk about our neighbor and our neighbor's affairs, to busy ourselves
in what belongs to other people, or to enquire into the things of angels,
and into matters which concern ourselves? For a neighbor's affairs are
not thine at all; but heavenly things are thine. "But," says some one,
"a man may by once speaking finish these subjects altogether." Why do you
not think this in matters on which you converse uselessly and idly, why
though ye waste your lives on this have ye never exhausted the subject?
And I have not yet named what is far more vile than this. These are the
things about which the better sort converse one with the other; but the
more indifferent and careless carry about in their talk players and dancers
and charioteers, defiling men's ears, corrupting their souls, and driving
their nature into mad excesses by these narratives, and by means of this
discourse introducing every kind of wickedness into their own imagination.
For as soon as the tongue has uttered the name of the dancer, immediately
the soul has figured to itself his looks, his hair, his delicate clothing,
and himself more effeminate than all. Another again fans the flame in another
way, by introducing some harlot into the conversation, with her words,
and attitudes, and glances, her languishing looks and twisted locks, the
smoothness of her cheeks, and her painted eyelids.27 Were you not somewhat
affected when I gave this description? Yet be not ashamed, nor blush, for
the very necessity of nature requires this, and so disposes the soul according
as the tendency of what is said may be. But if, when it is I that speak,
you, standing in the church, and at a distance from these things, were
somewhat affected at the hearing, consider how it is likely that they are
disposed, who sit in the theater itself, who are totally free from dread,
who are absent from this venerable and awful assembly, who both see and
hear those things with much shamelessness. "And why then," perhaps one
of those who heed not may say, "if the necessity of nature so disposes
the soul, do you let go that, and blame us?" Because, to be softened28
when one hears these things, is nature's work; but to hear them is not
a fault of nature, but of deliberate choice. For so he who meddles with
fire must needs be injured, so wills the weakness of our nature; yet nature
does not therefore draw us to the fire and to the injury thence arising;
this can be only from deliberate perversity. I beseech you, therefore,
to remove and correct this fault, that you may not of your own accord cast
yourself down the precipice, nor thrust yourselves into the pits of wickedness,
nor run of yourselves to the blaze, lest we place ourselves in jeopardy
of the fire prepared for the devil. May it come to pass, that we all being
delivered both from this fire and from that, may go to the very bosom of
Abraham, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom and with whom, to the Father and Holy Ghost, be glory for ever
and ever. Amen.
1 al. "want of taste."
3 al. "a kind of "
5 Morel and ms. in Bodleian, "much more would the disciples
have been thus affected, and when they had come would have been subdued
by His words."
6 al. "to release ourselves from."
7 i.e. their baptism.
8 al. "depart."
9 al. "even any."
11 to\ e0cai/reton.
12 or, "stomachs."
13 al. "is retained."
14 Morel. reads: kai\ u9poyi/aj h\n meta\ to\ kh/rugma
15 al. "these same."
16 Morel. and ms. in Bodl. "this also may be seen with
19 al. "for the present."
20 i.e. with the foxes and birds.
21 al. "the door."
23 Morel. and ms. in Bodl. "and David also glances at
John i 41, 42.-" He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith
unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
And he brought him to Jesus."
[1.] When God in the beginning made man, He did not suffer him to be
alone, but gave him woman for a helpmate, and made them to dwell together,
knowing that great advantage would result from this companionship. What
though the woman did not rightly employ this benefit? still if any one
make himself fully acquainted with the nature of the matter, he will see,
that to the wise great advantage arises from this dwelling together; not
in the cause of wife or husband only, but if brothers do this, they also
shall enjoy the benefit. Wherefore the Prophet hath said, "What is good,
what is pleasant, but that brethren should dwell together?" (Ps. cxxxiii.
1, Ps. cxxxiii. 1 LXX.) And Paul exhorted not to neglect the assembling
of ourselves together. (Heb. x. 25.) In this it is that we differ from
beasts, for this we have built cities, and markets, and houses, that we
may be united one with another, not in the place of our dwelling only,
but by the bond of love. For since our nature came imperfect1 from Him
who made it, and is not self-sufficient,2 God, for our advantage, ordained
that the want hence existing should be corrected by the assistance arising
from mutual intercourse; so that what was lacking in one should be supplied
by another,3 and the defective nature thus be rendered self-sufficient;
as, for instance, that though made mortal,4 it should by succession for
a long time maintain immortality. I might have gone into this argument
at greater length, to show what advantages arise to those who come together
from genuine and pure5 intercourse with each other: but there is another
thing which presses now, that on account of which we have made these remarks.
Andrew, after having tarried with Jesus and learned what He did, kept
not the treasure to himself, but hastens and runs quickly to his brother,
to impart to him of the good things which he had received.6 But wherefore
has not John said on what matters Christ conversed with them? Whence is
it clear that it was for this that they "abode with Him"?7 It was proved
by us the other day; but we may learn it from what has been read today
as well. Observe what Andrew says to his brother; "We have found the Messias,
which is, being interpreted, the Christ." You see how, as far as he had
learned in a short time, he showed8 the wisdom of the teacher who persuaded
them, and their own zeal, who cared for these things long ago,9 and from
the beginning. For this word, "we have found," is the expression of a soul
which travails10 for His presence, and looks for His coming from above,
and is made overjoyed when the looked-for thing has happened,11 and hastens
to impart to others the good tidings. This is the part of brotherly affection,
of natural friendship, of a sincere disposition, to be eager to stretch
out the hand to each other in spiritual things. Hear him besides speak
with the addition of the article; for he does not say "Messias," but "the
Messias"; thus they were expecting some one Christ,12 having nothing in
common with the others. And behold, I beg of you, the mind of Peter obedient
and tractable from the very beginning; he ran to Him without any delay;
"He brought him," saith St. John, "to Jesus." Yet let no one blame his
easy temper if he received the word without much questioning, because it
is probable that his brother had told him these things more exactly and
at length; but the Evangelists from their care for conciseness constantly
cut many things short. Besides, it is not said absolutely that "he believed,"
but that "he brought him to Jesus," to give him up for the future to Him,
so that from Him he might learn all; for the other disciple also was with
him, and contributed to this. And if John the Baptist, when he had said
that He was "the Lamb," and that He "baptized with the Spirit," gave them
over to learn the clearer doctrine concerning this thing from Him, much
more would Andrew have done this, not deeming him self sufficient to declare
the whole, but drawing him to the very fount of light with so much zeal
and joy, theft the other13 neither deferred nor delayed at all.14
Ver. 42. "And when Jesus beheld him," saith the Evangelist, "He said,
Thou art Simon, the son of Jonas; thou shalt be called Cephas, which is,
by interpretation, a stone."
[2.] He begins from this time forth to reveal the things belonging to
His Divinity, and to open It out little by little by predictions. So He
did in the case of Nathaniel and the Samaritan woman. For prophecies bring
men over not less than miracles; and are free from the appearance of boasting.
Miracles may possibly be slandered among foolish men, ("He casteth out
devils," said they, "by Beelzebub"-Matt. xii. 24), but nothing of the kind
has ever been said of prophecy. Now in the case of Nathaniel and Simon
He used this method of teaching, but with Andrew and Philip He did not
so. Why was this? Because those15 (two) had the testimony of John, no small
preparation, and Philip received a credible evidence of faith, when he
saw those who had been present.
"Thou art Simon, the son of Jonas." By the present, the future is guaranteed;
for it is clear that He who named Peter's father foreknew the future also.
And the prediction is attended with praise; but the object was not to flatter,
but to foretell something future. Hear16 at least in the case of the Samaritan
woman, how He utters a prediction with severe reproofs;17 "Thou hast had,"
he saith, "five husbands, and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband."
(c. iv. 18.) So also His Father makes great account of prophecy, when He
sets Himself against the honor paid to idols: "Let them declare to you,"
saith He, "what shall come upon you" (Isa. xlvii. 13); and again, "I have
declared, and have saved, and there was no foreign God amongst you" (Isa.
xliii. 12, Isa. xliii. 12 LXX.); and He brings this forward through all
prophecy. Because prophecy is especially the work of God, which devils
cannot even imitate, though they strive exceedingly. For in the case of
miracles there may be delusion; but exactly to foretell the future belongs
to that pure Nature alone. Or if devils ever have done so, it was by deceiving
the simpler sort; whence their oracles are always easily detected.
But Peter makes no reply to these words; as yet he knew nothing clearly,
but still was learning. And observe, that not even the prediction is fully
set forth; for Jesus did not say, "I will change thy name to Peter, and
upon this rock I will build My Church," but, "Thou shalt be called Cephas."
The former speech would have expressed too great authority18 and power;
for Christ does not immediately nor at first declare all His power, but
speaks for a while in a humbler tone; and so, when He had given the proof
of His Divinity, He puts it more authoritatively, saying,19 "Blessed art
thou, Simon, because My Father hath revealed it to thee"; and again, "Thou
art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church." (Matt. xvi. 17,
Matt. xvi. 18.) Him therefore He so named, and James and his brother He
called "sons of thunder." (Mark iii. 17.) Why then doth He this? To show
that it was He who gave the old covenant, that it was He who altered names,
who called Abram "Abraham," and Sarai "Sarah," and Jacob "Israel." To many
he assigned names even from their birth, as to Isaac, and Samson, and to
those in Isaiah and Hosea (Isa. viii. 3; Hos. i. 4, Hos. i. 6, Hos. i.
9); but to others He gave them after they had been named by their parents,
as to those we have mentioned, and to Joshua the son of Nun. It was also
a custom of the Ancients to give names from things, which in fact Leah
also has done;20 and this takes place not without cause, but in order that
men may have the appellation to remind them of the goodness of God, that
a perpetual memory of the prophecy conveyed by the names may sound in the
ears of those who receive it. Thus too He named John early,21 because they
whose virtue was to shine forth from their early youth, from that time
received their names; while to those who were to become great22 at a later
period, the title also was given later.
[3.] But then they received each a different name, we now have all one
name, that which is greater than any, being called23 "Christians," and
"sons of God," and (His) "friends," and (His) "Body." For the very term
itself is able more than all those others to rouse us, and make us more
zealous24 for the practice of virtue. Let us not then act unworthily of
the honor belonging to the title, considering25 the excess of our dignity,
we who are called Christ's; for so Paul hath named us. Let us bear in mind
and respect the grandeur of the appellation. (1 Cor. iii. 23.) For if one
who is said to be descended from some famous general, or one otherwise
distinguished, is proud to be called this or that man's son, and deems
the name a great honor, and strives in every way so as not to affix, by
remissness of his own, reproach to him after whom he is called; shall not
we who are called after the name, not of a general, nor any of the princes
upon earth, nor Angel, nor Archangel, nor Seraphim, but of the King of
these Himself, shall not we freely give even our very life, so as not to
insult Him who has honored us? Know ye not what honor the royal bands of
shield-bearers and spearmen that are about the king enjoy? So let us who
have been deemed worthy to be near Him, and much closer, and as much nearer
than those just named, as the body is closer to the head than they, let
us, I say, use every means to be imitators of Christ.
What then saith Christ? "The foxes have holes, and birds of the air
have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head." (Luke ix.
58.) Now if I demand this of you, it will seem perhaps to most of you grievous
and burdensome; because therefore of your infirmity I speak not of26 such
perfection, but desire you not to be nailed to riches; and as I, because
of the infirmity of the many, retire somewhat from (demanding) the excess
of virtue, I desire that you do so and much more on the side of vice. I
blame not those who have houses, and lands, and wealth, and servants, but
wish them to possess27 these things in a safe and becoming way. And what
is "a becoming way"? As masters, not as slaves; so that they rule them,
be not ruled by them; that they use, not abuse them. This is why they are
called, "things to be used,"28 that we may employ them on necessary services,
not hoard them up; this is a domestic's office, that a master's; it is
for the slave to keep them, but for the lord and one who has great authority
to expend. Thou didst not receive thy wealth to bury, but to distribute.
Had God desired riches to be hoarded, He would not have given them to men,
but would have let them remain as they were in the earth; but because He
wishes them to be spent, therefore He has permitted us to have them, that
we may impart them to each other. And if we keep them to ourselves, we
are no longer masters of them. But if you wish to make them greater and
therefore keep them shut up, even in this case the best plan of all is
to scatter and distribute them in all directions; because there can be
no revenue without an outlay, no wealth without expenditure. One may see
that it is so even in worldly matters. So it is with the merchant, so with
the husbandman, who put forth the one his wealth, the other his seed; the
one sails the sea to disperse his wares, the other labors all the year
putting in and tending his seed. But here there is no need of any one of
these things, neither to equip a vessel, nor to yoke oxen, nor to plough
land, nor to be anxious about uncertain weather, nor to dread a fall of
hail; here are neither waves nor rocks; this voyage and this sowing needs
one thing only, that we cast forth our possessions; all the rest will that
Husbandman do, of whom Christ saith, "My Father is the Husbandman." (c.
xv. 1.) Is it not then absurd to be sluggish and slothful where we may
gain all without labor, and where there are many toils and many29 troubles
and cares, and after all, an uncertain hope, there to display all eagerness?
Let us not, I beseech you, let us not be to such a degree senseless about
our own salvation, but let us leave the more troublesome task, and run
to that which is most easy and more profitable, that We may obtain also
the good things that are to come; through the grace and lovingkindness
of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father and the Holy and quickening
Spirit be glory, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.
3 Ben. Morel. and ms. in Bodl. read the passage thus:
"For this cause also marriage is arranged, in order that what is wanting,"
4 kaqa/per ou\n kai\ qnhth\n genome/nhn. Ben. and ms.
in Bodl. read, w9j au!thn e!xein kai q. g..
6 al. "shared."
7 Morel. and ms. in Bodl. "conversed with them, when
they straightway followed and abode with Him."
8 Ben. Morel. and ms. in Bodl. "he showed hence, for
he both establishes the wisdom," &c.
11 al. "has appeared."
12 Anointed one.
14 to\ tuxo/n.
15 i.e. those mentioned above, v. 40, who were present
when St. John Baptist gave his testimony, one of whom was Andrew.
16 al. "consider."
17 al. "reproving with earnestness."
19 al. "And I say unto thee, `Thou art Simon, thou shalt
be called Cephas, which is by interpretation a stone. 0' "
20 o#per dh/pou kai\ 9Hli/aj pepoi/hke, and there are
no various readings. Savile has in the margin o#per ou\n kai\ 9Hli/a. We
may venture to read "h9 Lei/a," as he praises her for this, Hom. lvi. on
Genesis. "Observe how she gave names to those she bore, not lightly nor
23 al. "the being called."
24 al. "more ready."
25 al. "consider at least."
27 al. "to use."
29 al. "more."
John i. 43, 44.-"The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee
and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow Me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida,
the city of Andrew and Peter."
[1.] "To every careful thinker there is a gain"1 (Prov. xiv. 23, Prov.
xiv. 23 LXX.), saith the proverb; and Christ implied more than this, when
He said, "He that seeketh findeth." (Matt. vii. 8.) Wherefore it does not
occur to me any more to wonder how Philip followed Christ. Andrew was persuaded
when he had heard from John, and Peter the same from Andrew, but Philip
not having learned anything from any but Christ who said to him only this,
"Follow Me," straightway obeyed, and went not back, but even became a preacher
to others. For he ran to Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him
of whom Moses in the Law and the Prophets did write." Seest thou what a
thoughtful2 mind he had, how assiduously he meditated on the writings of
Moses, and expected the Advent? for the expression, "we have found," belongs
always to those who are in some way seeking. "The day following Jesus went
forth into Galilee." Before any had joined Him, He called no one; and He
acted thus not without cause, but according to his own wisdom and intelligence.
For if, when no one came to Him spontaneously, He had Himself drawn them,
they might perhaps have started away; but now, having chosen this of themselves,
they afterwards remained firm. He calls Philip, one who was better acquainted
with Him; for he, as having been born and bred in Galilee, knew Him more
than others. Having then taken the disciples, He next goes to the capture
of the others, and draws to Him Philip and Nathanael. Now in the case of
Nathanael this was not so wonderful, because the fame of Jesus had gone
forth into all Syria. (Matt. iv. 24.) But the wonderful thing was respecting
Peter and James and Philip, that they believed, not only before the miracles,
but that they did so being of Galilee, out of which "ariseth no prophet,"
nor "can any good thing come"; for the Galilaeans were somehow of a more
boorish and dull disposition than others; but even in this Christ displayed
forth His power, by selecting from a land which bore no fruit His choicest
disciples. It is then probable that Philip having seen Peter and Andrew,
and having heard what John had said, followed; and it is probable also
that the voice of Christ wrought in him somewhat; for He knew those who
would be serviceable. But all these points the Evangelist cuts short. That
Christ should come, he knew; that this was Christ, he knew not, and this
I say that he heard either from Peter or John. But John mentions his village
also, that you may learn that "God hath chosen the weak things of the world."
(1 Cor. i. 27.)
Ver. 45. "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found
Him of whom Moses in the Law and the Prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth,
the son of Joseph."
He says this, to make his preaching credible, which it must be if it
rests on Moses and the Prophets besides, and by this to abash his hearer.
For since Nathanael was an exact3 man, and one who viewed all things with
truth, as Christ also testified and the event showed, Philip with reason
refers him to Moses and the Prophets, that so he might receive Him who
was preached. And he not troubled though he called Him "the son of Joseph";
for still he was supposed to be his son. "And whence, O Philip, is it plain
that this is He? What proof dost thou mention to us? for it is not enough
merely to assert this. What sign hast thou seen, what miracle? Not without
danger is it to believe without cause in such matters. What proof then
hast thou?" "The same as Andrew," he replies; for he though unable to produce
the wealth which he had found, or to describe his treasure in words, when
he had discovered it, led his brother to it. So too did Philip. How this
is the Christ, and how the prophets proclaimed Him beforehand, he said
not; but he draws him to Jesus, as knowing that he would not afterwards
fall off, if he should once taste His words and teaching.