John XIV. 18-21.
1. After the promise of the Holy Spirit, lest any should suppose that
the Lord was to give Him, as it were, in place of Himself, in any such
way as that He Himself would not likewise be with them, He added the words:
"I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you." Orphani [Greek] are
pupilli [parent-less children] in Latin. The one is the Greek, the other
the Latin name of the same thing: for in the psalm where we read, "Thou
art the helper of the fatherless" [in the Latin version, pupillo], the
Greek has orphano. Accordingly, although it was not the Son of God that
adopted sons to His Father, or willed that we should have by grace that
same Father, who is His Father by nature, yet in a sense it is paternal
feelings toward us that He Himself displays, when He declares, "I will
not leave you orphans; I will come to you." In the same way He calls us
also he children of the bridegroom, when He says, "The time will come, when
the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall the children
of the bridegroom fast." And who is the bridegroom, but Christ the Lord?
2. He then goes on to say, "Yet a little while, and the world seeth
me no more." How so the world saw Him then; for under the name of the world
are to be understood those of whom He spake above, when saying of the Holy
Spirit, "Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth
Him." He was plainly visible to the carnal eyes of the world, while manifest
in the flesh; but it saw not the Word that lay hid in the flesh: it saw
the man, but it saw not God: it saw the covering, but not the Being within.
But as, after the resurrection, even His very flesh, which He exhibited
both to the sight and to the handling of His own, He refused to exhibit
to others, we may in this way perhaps understand the meaning of the words,
"Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye shall see me:
because I live, ye shall live also."
3. What is meant by the words, "Because I live, ye shall live also"?
Why did He speak in the present tense of His own living, and in the future
of theirs, but just by way of promise that the life also of the resurrection-body,
as it preceded in His own case, would certainly follow in theirs? And as
His own resurrection was in the immediate future, He put the word in the
present tense to signify its speedy approach: but of theirs, as delayed
till the end of the world, He said not, ye live; but, "ye shall live."
With elegance and brevity, therefore, by means of two words, one of them
in the present tense and the other in the future, He gave the promise of
two resurrections, to wit, His own in the immediate future, and ours as
yet to come in the end of the world. "Because I live," He says, "ye shall
live also:" because He liveth, therefore shall we live also. For as by
man is death, by man also is the resurrection of the dead, For as in Adam
all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. As it is only through
the former that every one is liable to death, it is only through Christ
that any one can attain unto life. Because we did not live, we are dead;
because He lived, we shall live also. We were dead to Him, when we lived
to ourselves; but, because He died in our behalf, He liveth both for Himself
and for us. For, because He liveth, we shall live also. For while we were
able of ourselves to attain unto death, it is not of ourselves also that
life can come into our possession.
4. "In that day," He says, "ye shall know that I am in my Father, and
ye in me, and I in you." In what day, but in that whereof He said, "Ye
shall live also"? For then will it be that we can see what we believe.
For even now is He in us, and we in Him: this we believe now, but then
shall we also know it; although what we know even now by faith, we shall
know then by actual vision. For as long as we are in the body, as it now
is, to wit, corruptible, and encumbering to the soul, we live at a distance
from the Lord; for we walk by faith, not by sight. Then accordingly it
will be by sight, for we shall see Him as He is. For if Christ were not
even now in us, the apostle would not say, "And if Christ be in you, the
body is dead indeed because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness."
But that we are also in Him even then, He makes sufficiently clear, when
He says, "I am the vine, ye are the branches." Accordingly in that day,
when we shall be living the life, whereby death shall be swallowed up,
we shall know that He is in the Father, and we in Him, and He in us; for
then shall be completed that very state which is already in the present
begun by Him, that He should be in us, and we in Him.
5. "He that hath my commmandments," He adds, "and keepeth them, he it
is that loveth me." He that hath [them] in his memory, and keepeth them
in his life; who hath them orally, and keepeth them morally; who hath them
in the ear, and keepeth them in deed; or who hath them in deed, and keepeth
them by perseverance;-"he it is," He says, "that loveth me." By works is
love made manifest as no fruitless application of a name. "And he that
loveth me," He says, "shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him,
and will manifest myself to him." But what is this, "I will love"? Is it
as if He were then only to love, and loveth not at present? Surely not.
For how could the Father love us apart from the Son, or the Son apart from
the Father? Working as They do inseparably, how can They love apart? But
He said, "I will love him," in reference to that which follows, "and I
will manifest myself to him." "I will love, and will manifest;" that is,
I will love to the very extent of manifesting. For this has been the present
aim of His love, that we may believe, and keep hold of the commandment
of faith; but then His love will have this for its object, that we may
see, and get that very sight as the reward of our faith: for we also love
now, by believing in that which we shall see hereafter; but then shall
we love in the sight of that which now we believe.