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Bible Commentaries
John 14

Golden Chain Commentary on the GospelsGolden Chain Commentary

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Verses 1-4

Ver 1. Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.2. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.4. And where I go you know, and the way you know.

AUG. Our Lord consoles His disciples, who, as men, would be naturally alarmed and troubled at the idea of His death, by assuring them of His divinity: Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me; as if they must believe in Him, if they believed in God; which would not follow, unless Christ were God. you are in fear for this form of a servant; let not your heart be troubled; the form of God shall raise it up.

CHRYS. Faith, too, in Me, and in the Father that begat Me, is more powerful than anything that shall come upon you; and will prevail in spite of all difficulties. He shows His divinity at the same time by discerning their inward feelings: Let not your heart be troubled.

AUG. And as the disciples were afraid for themselves, when Peter, the boldest and most zealous of them, had been told, The cock shall not crow, till you have denied Me thrice, He adds, In My Father’s house are many mansions, by way of an assurance to them in their trouble, that they might with confidence and certainty look forward, after all their trials, to dwelling together with Christ in the presence of God. For though one man is bolder, wiser, juster, holier than another, yet no one shall be removed from that house of God, but each receive a mansion suited to his deserts. The penny indeed which the householder paid to the laborers who worked in his vineyard, was the same to all; for life eternal, which this penny signifies, is of the same duration to all. But there may be many mansions, many degrees of dignity, in that life, corresponding to people’s deserts.

GREG. The many mansions agree w with the one penny, because, though one may rejoice more than another, yet all rejoice with one and the same joy, arising from the vision of their Maker.

AUG. And thus God will be all in all; that is, since God is love, love will bring it to pass, that what each has, will be common to all. That which one loves in another is one’s own, though one have it not one’s self. And then there will be no envy et superior grace, for in all hearts will reign the unity of love.

GREG Nor is there any sense of deficiency in consequence of such inequality; for each will feel as much as suffices for himself.

AUG. But they are rejected by the Christians, who infer from there being many mansions that there is a place outside the kingdom of heaven, where innocent souls, that have departed this life without baptism, and could not there enter into the kingdom of heaven, remain happy. But God forbid, that when every house of every heir of the kingdom is in the kingdom, there should be a part of the regal house itself not in the kingdom. Our Lord does not say, In eternal bliss are many mansions, but they are in My Father’s house.

CHRYS. Or thus: Our Lord having said above to Peter, Where I go, you can not follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterwards, that they might not think that this promise was made to Peter only, He says, In My Father’s house are many mansions; i.e. You shall be admitted into that place, as well as Peter, for it contains abundance of mansions, which are ever ready to receive you: If it were not so, I would have told you: I go to prepare a place for you.

AUG. He means evidently that there are already many mansions, and that there is no need of His preparing one.

CHRYS. Having said, you can not follow Me now, that they might not think that they were cut off for ever, He adds: And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again area receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also: a recommendation to them to place the strongest trust in Him.

THEOPHYL. And if not, I would have told you: I go to prepare, &c. As if He said; Either way you should not be troubled, whether places are prepared for you, or not. For, if they are not prepared, I will very quickly prepare them.

AUG. But why does He go and prepare a place, if there are many mansions already? Because these are not as yet so prepared as they will be. The same mansions that He has prepared by predestination, He prepares by operation. They are prepared already in respect of predestination; if they were not, He would have said, I will go and prepare, i.e. predestine, a place for you; but inasmuch as they are not yet prepared in respect of operation, He says, And if I go and prepare a place for you.

And now He is preparing mansions, by preparing occupants for them. Indeed, when He says, In My Father’s house are many mansions, what think we the house of God to be but the temple of God, of which the Apostle said, The temple of God is holy, which temple you are (1 Corinthians 3:17). This house of God then is now being built, now being prepared.

But why has He gone away to prepare it, if it is ourselves that He prepares: if He leaves us, how can He prepare us? The meaning is, that, in order that those mansions may be prepared, the just must live by faith and if you see, there is no faith. Let Him go away then, that He be not seen; let Him be hid, that He be believed. Then a place is prepared, if you live by faith: let faith desire, that desire may enjoy. If you rightly understands Him, He never leaves either the place He came from, or that He goes from. He goes, when He withdraws from sight, He comes, when He appears. But except He remain in power, that we may grow in goodness, no place of happiness will be prepared for us.

ALCUIN. He says then, I go, by the absence of the flesh, I shall come again, by the presence of the Godhead; or, I shall come again to judge the quick and dead. And as He knew that they would ask where He went, or by what way He wells, He adds, And whither I go you know, i.e. to the Father, and the way you know, i.e. Myself.

CHRYS. He show them that He is aware of their curiosity to know His meaning, and thus excites them to pelt questions to Him.

Verses 5-7

Ver 5. Thomas said to him, Lord, we know not where you go; and how can we know the way?6. Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.7. If you had known me, you should have known My Father also; and from henceforth you know him, and have seen him.

CHRYS. If the Jews, who wished to be separated from Christ, asked where He was going, much more would the disciples, who wished never to be separated from Him, be anxious to know it. So with much love, and, at the same time, fear, they proceed to ask: Thomas said to Him, Lord, we know not where you go; and how can we know the way?

AUG. Our Lord had said that they knew both, Thomas says that they knew neither. Our Lord cannot lie; they knew not that they did know. Our Lord proves that they did: Jesus said to Him, I am the way, the truth, and the life.

AUG. As it He said, I am the way, whereby you would go; I am the truth, whereto you would go; I am the life, in which you would abide. The truth and the life every one understands; but not everyone has found the way. Even the philosophers of the world have seen that God is the life eternal, the truth which is the end of all knowledge.

And the Word of God, which is truth and life with the Father, by taking upon Him human nature, is made the way. Walk by the Man, and you will arrive at God. For it is better to limp on the right way, than to walk ever so stoutly by the wrong.

HILARY. For He who is the way does not lead us into devious courses out of the way; nor does He who is the truth deceive us by falsehoods; not does He who is the life leave us in the darkness of death.

THEOPHYL. When you art engaged in the practical, He is made your way; when in the contemplative, He is made your truth. And to the active and the contemplative is joined life: for we should both act and contemplate with reference to the world to come.

AUG. They knew then the way, because they knew He was the way. But what need to add, the truth, and the life? Because they were yet to be told whither He went. He went to the truth; He went to the life. He went then to Himself, by Himself. But did you leave Yourself, O Lord, to come to us? I know that you took upon you the form of a servant; by the flesh you came, remaining where you were; by that you returned, remaining where you had come to. It by this then you came, and returned, by this you were the way, not only to us, to come to you, but also to Yourself to come, and to return again. And when you went to life, which is Yourself you raised that same flesh of Your from death to life.

Christ therefore went to life, when His flesh arose from death to life. And since the Word is life, Christ went to Himself; Christ being both, in one person, i.e. Word-flesh. Again, by the flesh God came to men, the truth to liars; for God is true, but every man a liar. When then He withdrew Himself from men, and lifted up His flesh to that place in which no liar is, the same Christ, by the way, by which He being the Word became flesh, by Himself, i.e. by His flesh, by the same returned to Truth, which is Himself, which truth, even amongst the liars He maintained to death.

Behold I myself, if I make you understand what I say, do in a certain sense go to you, though I do not leave myself. And when I cease speaking, I return to myself, but remain with you, if you remember what you have heard. If the image which God has made can do this, how much more the Image which God has begotten? Thus He goes by Himself, to Himself and to the Father, and we by Him, to Him and to the Father.

CHRYS. For if, He says, you have Me for your guide to the Father, you shall certainly come to Him. Nor call you come by any other way. Whereas He had said above, No man can come to Me, except the Father draw him, now He says, No man comes to the Father but by Me, thus equaling Himself to the Father. The next words explain, Where I go you know, and the way you know.

If you had known Me, He says, you should have known My Father also; i.e. If you had known My substance and dignity, you would have known the Father’s. They did know Him, but not as they ought to do. Nor was it till afterwards, when the Spirit came, that they were fully enlightened.

On this account He adds, And from henceforth you know Him, know Him, that is, spiritually. And have seen Him, i.e. by Me; meaning that he who had seen Him, had seen the Father. They saw Him, however, not in His pure substance, but clothed in flesh.

BEDE. How can our Lord say, If you had known Me, you should have known My Father also; when He has just said, Where I go you know, and the way you know? We must suppose that some of them knew, and others not: among the latter, Thomas.

HILARY. Or thus: When it is said that the Son is the way to the Father, is it meant that He is so by His teaching, or by His nature? We shall be able to see from what follows: If you had known Me, you should have known My Father also.

In His incarnation asserting His Divinity, He maintained a certain order of sight and knowledge: separating the time of seeing from that of knowing. For Him, who He said must be known, He speaks of as already seen: that henceforward they might from this revelation have knowledge of the Divine Nature which they had all along seen in Him

Verses 8-11

Ver 8. Philip said to him, Lord, show us the Father, and it suffices us.9. Jesus said to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? he that has seen me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father?10. Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak to you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works.11. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

HILARY. A declaration so new startled Philip. Our Lord is seen to be man. He confesses Himself to be the Son of God, declares that, if He were known, the Father would be known, that, if He is seen, the Father is seen. The familiarity of the Apostle therefore breaks forth into questioning our Lord, Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it suffices us. He did not deny He could be seen, but wished to be shown him; nor did he wish to see with his bodily eyes, but that He whom he had seen might be made manifest to his understanding. He had seen the Son in the form of man, but how through that form He saw the Father, he did not know. This he wants to be strewn him, strewn to his understanding, not set before his eyes; and then he will be satisfied: And it suffices us.

AUG. For to that joy of beholding His face, nothing can be added. Philip understood this, and said, Lord, show us the Father, and it suffices us. But he did not yet understand that he could in the same way have said, Lord, show us Yourself, and it suffices us. But our Lord’s answer enlightens him, Jesus said to him, Have I been so long with you, and yet have you not known Me, Philip?

AUG. But how is this, when our Lord said that they knew where He was going, and the way, because they knew Him? The question is easily settled by supposing that some of them knew, and others not; among the latter, Philip.

HILARY. He reproves the ignorance of Philip in this respect. For whereas his actions had been strictly divine, such as walking on the water, commanding the winds, remitting sins, raising the dead, He complained that in His assumed humanity, the Divine nature was not discerned. Accordingly to Philip’s request, to be strewn the Father, Our Lord answers, He that has seen Me, has seen the Father.

AUG. When two persons are very like each, we say, If you have seen the one, you have seen. n the other. So here, He that has seen Me, has seen the Father; not that He is troth the Father, and the Son, but that the Son is an absolute likeness of the Father.

HILARY. He does not mean the sight of the bodily eye: for His fleshly part, born of the Virgin, does not avail towards contemplating the form and image of God in Him; but the Son of God being known with the understanding, it follows that the Father is known also, forasmuch as He is the image of God, not differing from but expressing His Author. For our Lord’s expressions do not spear; of one person solitary and without relationship, but teach us His birth. The Father also excludes the supposition of a single solitary person, and leaves us no other doctrine but that the Father is seen in the Son, by the incommunicable likeness of birth.

AUG. But is he to be reproved, who, when he has seen the likeness, wishes to see the man of whom he is the likeness? No, our Lord rebuked the question, only with reference to the mind of the asker.

Philip asked, as if the Father were better than the Son; and so showed that He did not know the Son. Which opinion our Lord corrects: Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? as if He said, If it is a great wish with you to see the Father, at any rate believe what you do not see.

HILARY. For what excuse was there for ignorance of the Father, or what necessity to show Him, when the Father was seen in the Son by His essential nature, while by the identity of unity, the Begotten and the Begetter are one: Believe you not that I am in the Father and the Father in Me?

AUG. He wished him to live by faith, before he had sight, and therefore says, Believe you not? Spiritual vision is the reward of faith, vouchsafed to minds purified by faith.

HILARY. But the Father is in the Son, and the Son in the Father, not by a conjunction of two harmonizing essences, nor by a nature grafted into a more capacious substance as in material bodies, in which it is impossible that what is within can be made external to that which contains it; but by the birth of a nature which is life from life; forasmuch as from God nothing but God can be born.

HILARY. The unchangeable God follows, so to speak, His own nature, by begetting unchangeable God. Nor does the perfect birth of unchangeable God from unchangeable God forsake His own nature. We understand then here the nature of God subsisting in Him, since God is in God, nor besides Him who is God, can any other be God.

CHRYS. Or thus: Philip, because [he thought] he had seen c the Son with his bodily eye, wished to see the Father in the same way; perhaps too remembering what the Prophet said, I saw the Lord (Isaiah 6:1), and therefore he says, Show us the Father. The Jews had asked, who was His Father; and Peter and Thomas, whither He went; and neither were told plainly. Philip therefore, that he might not seem burdensome, after saying, Show us the Father, adds, And it suffices us: i.e. we seek for no more. Our Lord in reply does not say, that he asked an impossible thing, but that he had not seen the Son to begin with, for that if he had seen Him, he would have seen the Father: Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known Me? He does not say, not seen Me, but, not known Me; not known that the Son, being what the Father is, does in Himself fitly show the Father. Then dividing the Persons, He says, He that has seen Me has seen the Father; that none might maintain that He was both the Father and the Son. The words show too that even the Son was not seen in a bodily sense. So if anyone takes seeing here, for knowing, I will not contradict him, but will take the sentence as if it was, He that has known Me, has known the Father. He shows here His consubstantiality with the Father: He that has seen My substance, has seen the Father. Whence it is evident He is not a creature: for all know and see the creature, but not all God; Philip, for instance, who wished to see the substance of the Father. If Christ then had been of another substance from the Father, He would never have said, He that has seen Me, has seen the Father. A man cannot see the substance of gold in silver: one nature cannot be made apparent by another.

AUG. He then addresses all of them, not Philip only: The word that I speak to you, I speak not of Myself. What is, I speak not of Myself, I but, I that speak am not of Myself? He attributes what He does to Him, from whom He Himself, the doer, is.

HILARY. Wherein He neither desires Himself to be the Son, nor hides the existence of His Father’s power in Him. In that He speaks, it is Himself that speaks in His own person; in that He speaks not of Himself, He witnesses His nativity, that He is God from God.

CHRYS. Mark the abundant proof of the unity of substance. For He continues; But the Father that dwells in Me, He does the works. As if He said, My Father and I act together, not differently from each other; agreeing with what He said below: If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not. But why does He pass from words to works? Why does He not say as we might have expected, He speaks the words? Because He means to apply what He says both to His doctrine, and to His miracles; or because His words are themselves works.

AUG. For he that edifies his neighbor by speaking, does a good work. These two sentences are brought against us by different sects of heretics; the Arians saying that the Son is unequal to the Father, because He does not speak of Himself; the Sabellians, that the same who is the Father is the Son. For what is meant, they ask, by, The Father that dwells in Me, He does the works, but, I that dwell in Myself, do these works.

HILARY. That the Father dwells in the Son, show that He is not single, or solitary; that the Father works by the Son, shows that He is not different or alien. As He is not solitary who does not speak from Himself, so neither is He alien and separable who speaks by Him.

Having shown then that the Father spoke and worked in Him, He formally states this union: Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: that they might not think that the Father works and speaks in the Son as by a mere agent or instrument, not by the unity of nature implied in His Divine birth.

AUG. Philip alone was reproved before.

CHRYS. But if this does not suffice to show my consubstantiality, at least learn it from My works: Or else believe Me for the very works’ sake. You have seen My miracles, and all the proper signs of My divinity; works which the Father alone works, sins remitted, life restored, and the like.

AUG. Believe then for My works’ sake, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; for, were we separated, we could not be working together.

Verses 12-14

Ver 12. Verily, verily, I say to you, He that believes in me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to my Father.13. And whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14. If you shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

CHRYS. Having said, Believe for the works’ sake, our Lord goes on to declare that He can do much greater than these, and what is more wonderful, give others the power of working them. Verily, verily, I say to you, He that believes in Me, the works that I do, shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.

AUG. But what are these greater works? Is it that the shadow of the Apostles, as they passed by, healed the sick; It is indeed a greater thing that a shadow should heal, than that the border of a garment should. Nevertheless, by works here our Lord refers to His words. For when He says, My Father that dwells in Me, He does the works, what are these works but the words which He spoke? And the fruit of those words was their faith.

But these were but few converts in comparison with what those disciples made afterwards by their preaching: they converted the Gentiles to the faith. Did not the rich man go away sorrowful from His words? And yet that which one did not do at His own exhortation, many did afterwards when He preached through the disciples. He did greater works when preached by the believing, than when speaking to men’s ears.

Still these greater works He did by His Apostles, whereas He includes others besides them, when He says, He that believes in Me. Are we not to compute any one among the believers in Christ, who does not do greater works than Christ? This sounds harsh if not explained. The Apostle says, To him that believes in Him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness (Romans 4:5).

By this work then we shall do the works of Christ, the very believing in Christ being the work of Christ, for He works this in us, though not without us. Attend then; He that believes on Me, the works that I do, shall he do also. First I do them, then he will do them: I do them, that he may do them. Do what works but this, viz. that a man, from being a sinner, become just? which thing Christ works in us, though not without us. This in truth I call a greater work to do, than to create the heaven and the earth; for heaven and earth shall pass away, but the salvation and justification of the predestined shall remain.

However, the Angels in heaven are the work of Christ; shall he who works with Christ for his own justification, do greater even than these? Judge any one which be the greater work, to create the just, or to justify the ungodly? At least, if both be of equal power, the latter has more of mercy. But it is not necessary to understand all the works of Christ, when He says, greater works than these shall he do.

These perhaps refers to the works He had done that hour. He had then been instructing them in the faith. And surely it is a less work to preach righteousness, which He did without us, than to justify the ungodly, which He so does in us, as that we do it ourselves. Great things truly did our Lord promise His people, when He went to His Father: Because I go to My Father.

CHRYS. i.e. I shall not perish, but shall remain in My proper dignity, in heaven. Or He means: It is your part henceforth to work miracles, since I am going.

AUG. And that no one might attribute the merit to himself, He shows, that even those greater works were His own doing: And whatsoever you shall ask in My name, that will I do. Before it was, He shall do, now, I will do: as if He said, Let not this appear impossible to you. He that believes in Me, will not be greater than I; but I shall do greater works then than now; greater by him that believes on Me, than now by Myself; which will not be a failing, but a condescension

CHRYS. In My name, He says. Thus the Apostles, In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, arise and walk. , All the miracles that they did, He did: the hand of the Lord was with them.

THEOPHYL. This is an explanation of the doctrine of miracles. It is by prayer, and invocation of His name, that a man is able to work miracles.

AUG. Whatsoever you shall ask. Then why do we often see believers asking, and not receiving? Perhaps it is that they ask amiss. When a man would make a bad use of what he asks for, God in His mercy does not grant him it. Still if God even in kindness often refuses the requests of believers, how are we to understand, Whatsoever you shall ask in My name, I will do? Was this said to the Apostles only? No. He says above, He that believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also.

And if we go to the lives of the Apostles themselves, we shall find that he who labored more than they all, prayed that the messenger of Satan might depart from him, but was not granted his request. But attend: does not our Lord lay down a certain condition? In My name, which is Christ Jesus. Christ signifies King, Jesus, Savior.

Therefore whatever we ask for that would hinder our salvation, we do not ask in our Savior’s name and yet He is our Savior, not only when He does what we ask, but also when He does not. When He sees us ask any thing to the disadvantage of our salvation, He shows s Himself our Savior by not doing it. The physician knows whether what the sick man asks for is to the advantage or disadvantage of his health; and does not allow what would be to his hurt, though the sick man himself desires it; but looks to his final cure.

And some things we may even ask in His name, and He will not grant them us at the time, though He will some time. What we ask for is deferred, not denied. He adds, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. The Son does not do any thing without the Father, inasmuch as He does it in order that the Father may be glorified in Him.

CHRYS. For when the great power of the Son is manifested, He that begot Him is glorified. He introduces this last, to confirm the truth of what He has said.

THEOPHYL. Observe the order in which the glorifying of the Father comes. In the name of Jesus miracles were done, by which men were made to believe the Apostles’ preaching. This brought them to the knowledge of the Father, and thus the Father was glorified in the Son.

Verses 15-17

Ver 1a. 15. If you love me, keep my commandments.16. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;17. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.

CHRYS. Our Lord having said, Whatsoever you shall ask in My name, that I will do; that they might not think simply asking would be enough, He adds, If you love Me, keep My commandments. And then I will do what you ask, seems to be His meaning. Or the disciples having heard Him say, I go to the Father, and being troubled at the thought of it, He says, To love Me, is not to be troubled, but to keep My commandments: this is love, to obey and believe in Him who is loved.

And as they had been expressing a strong desire for His bodily presence, He assures them that His absence w ill be supplied to them in another way: And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Comforter

AUG. Wherein He shows too that He Himself is the Comforter. Paraclete means advocate, and is applied to Christ: We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1).

ALCUIN. Paraclete, i.e. Comforter. They had then one Comforter, who comforted and elevated them by the sweetness of His miracles, and His preaching.

DIDYMUS. But the Holy Ghost was another Comforter: differing not in nature, but in operation. For whereas our Savior in His office of Mediator, and of Messenger, and as High Priest, made supplication for our sins; the Holy Ghost is a Comforter in another sense, i.e. as consoling our griefs. But do not infer from the different operations of the Son and the Spirit, a difference of nature. For in other places we find the Holy Spirit performing the office of intercessor with the Father, as, The Spirit Himself intercedes for us. And the Savior, on the other hand, pours consolation into those hearts that need it: as in Maccabees, He strengthened those of the people that were brought low (1 Macc 14:15).

CHRYS. He says, I will ask the Father, to make them believe Him: which they could not have done, had He simply said, I will send

AUG Yet to show that His works are inseparable from His Father’s, He says below, When I shall go, I will send Him to you.

CHRYS. But what had He more than the Apostles, if He could only ask the Father to give others the Spirit? The Apostles did this often even without praying.

ALCUIN. I will ask - He says, as being the inferior in respect of His humanity - My Father, with Whom I am equal and consubstantial in respect of My Divine nature.

CHRYS. That He may abide with you for ever. The Spirit does not depart even at death. He intimates too that the Holy Ghost will not suffer death, or go away, as He has done. But that the mention of the Comforter might not lead them to expect another incarnation, a Comforter to be seen with the eye, He adds, Even the Spirit of truth Whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, neither knows Him.

AUG. This is the Holy Ghost in the Trinity, Whom the Catholic faith professes to be consubstantial and coeternal with the Father and the Son.

CHRYS. The Spirit of truth He calls Him, because He unfolds the figures of the Old Testament. The world are the wicked, seeing is certain knowledge; sight being the most certain of the senses.

BEDE. Note too, that when He calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of truth, He shows that the Holy Spirit is His Spirit: then when He says He is given by the Father, He declares Him to be the Spirit of the Father also. Thus the Holy Ghost proceeds both from the Father, and from the Son.

GREG. The Holy Spirit kindles in every one, in whom He dwells, the desire of things invisible. And since worldly minds love only things visible, this world receives Him not, because it rises not to the love of things invisible. In proportion as secular minds enlarge themselves by the spread of their desires, in that proportion they narrow themselves, with respect to admitting Christ.

AUG. Thus the world, i.e. the lovers of the world, cannot, He says, receive the Holy Spirit: that is to say, unrighteousness cannot be righteous. The world, i.e. the lovers of the world, cannot receive Him, because it sees Him not. The love of the world has not invisible eyes wherewith to see that which can only be seen invisibly. It follows: But you know Him, for He dwells with you. And that they might not think this I meant a visible dwelling, in the sense in which we use the phrase with respect to a guest, He adds, And shall be in you.

CHRYS. As if He said, He will not dwell with you as I have done, but will dwell in your souls.

AUG. To be in a place is prior to dwelling. Be in you, is the explanation of dwell with you: i.e. shows that the latter means not that He is seen, but that He is known. He must be in us, that the knowledge of Him may be in us. We see the Holy Ghost then in us, in our consciences.

GREG. But if the Holy Spirit abides in the disciples, how is it a special mark of the Mediator that He abides in Him. We shall better understand if we distinguish between the different gifts of the Spirit. In respect of those gifts without which we cannot attain to salvation, the Holy Spirit ever abides in all the Elect: but in respect of those which do not relate to our own salvation, but to the procuring that of others, He does not always abide in them. For He sometimes withdraws His miraculous gifts, that His grace may be possessed with humility. Christ has Him without measure and always.

CHRYS. This speech levels at a stroke, as it were, the opposite heresies. The word another, shows the distinct personality of the Spirit: the word Paraclete, His consubstantiality.

AUG. Comforter, the title of the Holy Spirit, the third Person in the Trinity, the Apostle applies to God: God that comforts those that are cast down, comforted us. The Holy Spirit therefore Who comforts those that are cast down, is God. Or if they still have this said by the Apostle of the Father or the Son, let them not any longer separate the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son, in His peculiar office of comforting.

AUG. But when the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5:5), how shall we love and keep the commandments of Christ, so as to receive the Spirit, when we are not able to love or to keep them, unless we have received the Spirit? Does love in us go first, i.e. do we so love Christ and keep His commandments as to deserve to receive the Holy Spirit, and to have the love of God the Father shod abroad in our hearts? This is a perverse opinion. For he who does not love the Father, does not love the Son, however he may think he does. It remains for us to understand, that he who loves has the Holy Spirit, and by having Him, attains to having more of Him, and by having more of Him, to loving more. The disciples had already the Spirit which our Lord promised; but they were to be given more of Him: they had Him secretly, they were to receive Him openly. The promise is made both to him who has the Spirit, and to him who has Him not; to the former, that he shall have Him; to the latter, that He shall have more of Him.

CHRYS. When He had cleansed His disciples by the sacrifice of His passion, and their sins were remitted, and they were sent forth to dangers and trials, it was necessary that they should receive the Holy Spirit abundantly. But they were made to wait some time for this gift, in order that they might feel the want of it, and so be the more grateful for it when it came.

Verses 18-21

Ver 18. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.19. Yet a little while, and the world sees me no more: but you see me; because I live, you shall live also.20. At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.21. He that has my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

AUG. That no one might think, because our Lord was about to give the Holy Spirit, that He would therefore not be present Himself in Him, He adds, I will not leave you comfortless. The Greek word signifies "wards." Although then the Son of God has made us the adopted sons of the Father, yet here He Himself shows the affection of a Father towards us.

CHRYS. At the first He said, Where I go you shall come; but as this was a long time off, He promises them the Spirit in the interval. And as they knew not what that was, He promises them that they most desired, His own presence, I will come to you, but intimates at the same time that they are not to look for the same kind of presence over again:

Yet a little while, and the world sees Me no more: as if He said, I will come to you, but not to live with you every day as I did before. And, I will come to you alone, He says, thus preventing any inconsistency with what He had said to the Jews: Henceforth you shall not see Me.

AUG. For the world saw Him then with the carnal eye, manifest in the flesh, though it did not see the Word hidden under the flesh. But after the resurrection He was unwilling to show even His flesh, except to His own followers, whom He allowed to see and to handle it: Yet a little while, and the world sees Me no more; but you shall see Me.

But, inasmuch as the world, by which are meant all who are aliens from His kingdom, will see Him at the last judgment, it is better perhaps to understand Him here as pointing to that time, when He will be taken for ever from the eyes of the wicked, to be seen thenceforth by those who love Him. A little while, He says, for that which seems a long lime to men, is but a moment in the eyes of God.Because 1 live, you shall live also.

THEOPHYL. As if He said, Though I shall die, I shall rise again. And you shall live also, i.e. when you see Me risen again, you will rejoice, and be as dead men brought to life again.

CHRYS. To me however he seems to refer not only to the present life, but to the future; as if He said, The death of the cross shall not separate you from Me for ever, but only hide Me from you for a moment.

AUG. But why does He speak of life as present to Him, future to them? Because His resurrection preceded, theirs was to follow. His resurrection was about so soon to take place, that He speaks of it as present; theirs being deferred till the end of the world, He does not say you live, but you shall live. Because He lives, therefore we shall live: As by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:21).

It follows: In that day (the day of which He said, you shall live also) you shall know, i.e. whereas now you believe, then you shall see, that I am in the Father, and you in Me, and I in you. For when we shall have attained to that life in which death is swallowed up, then shall be finished that which is now begun by Him, that He should be in us, and we in Him.

CHRYS. Or, in that day, on which I shall rise again, you shall know. For His resurrection it was that established their faith. Then the powerful teaching of the Holy Spirit began. His saying, I am in the Father, expresses His humility; the next, And you in Me, and I in you, His humanity and God’s assistance to Him. Scripture often uses the same words in different senses, as applied to God and to men.

HILARY. Or He means by this, that whereas He was in the Father by the nature of His divinity, and we in Him by means of His birth in the flesh; He on the other hand should be believed to be in us by the mystery of the Sacrament: as He Himself testified above: Whosoever eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, dwells in Me, and I in Him.

ALCUIN. By love, and the observance of His commandments, that will be perfected in us which He has begun, viz. that we should be in Him, and He in us. And that this blessedness may be understood to be promised to all, not to the Apostles only, He adds, He that has My commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves Me.

AUG. He that has them in , and keeps them in life; he that has them in words, and keeps them in works; he that has them by hearing, and keeps them by doing; he that has them by doing, and keeps them by persevering, he it is that loves Me. Love must be strewn by works, or it is a mere barren name.

THEOPHYL. As if He said, You think that by sorrowing, as you do, for my death you prove your affection; but I esteem the keeping of My commandments the evidence of love. And then He shows the privileged state of one who loves: And he that loves Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him.

AUG. I will love him, as if now He did not love him. What means this? He explains it in what follows: And will manifest Myself to him, i.e. I love him so far as to manifest Myself to him; so that, as the reward of his faith, he will have sight. Now He only loves us so that we believe; then He will love us so that we see. And whereas we love now by believing that which we shall see, then we shall love by seeing that which we have believed.

AUG. He promises to show Himself to them that love Him as God with the Father, not in that body which He bore upon earth, and which the wicked saw.

THEOPHYL. For, as after the resurrection He was to appear to them in a body more assimilated to His divinity, that they might not take Him then for a spirit, or a phantom, He tells them now beforehand not to have misgivings upon seeing Him, but to remember that He shows Himself to them as a reward for their keeping His commandments; and that therefore they are bound ever to keep them, that they may ever enjoy the sight of Him.

Verses 22-27

Ver 22. Judas said to him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?23. Jesus answered and said to him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our abode with him.24. He that loves me not keeps not my sayings: and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.25. These things have I spoken to you, being yet present with you.26. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said to you.27. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you.

AUG. Our Lord having said, A little while, and the world sees Me no more: but you shall see Me: Judas, not the traitor named Iscariot, but he whose Epistle is read among the Canonical Scriptures, asks His meaning: Judas said to Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that you will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?

Our Lord in reply explains why He manifests Himself to His own, and not to aliens, viz. because the one love Him, the other do not. Jesus answered and said to him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words.

GREG. If you would prove your love, show your works. The love of God is never idle; whenever it is, it does great things: if it do not work, it is not.

AUG. Love distinguishes the saints from the world: it makes men to be of one mind in an house; in which house the Father and the Son take their abode; who give that love to those, to whom in the end they will manifest themselves. For these is a certain inner manifestation of God, unknown to the ungodly, to whom there is no manifestation made of the Father and the Holy Spirit, and only could be of the Son in the flesh; which latter manifestation is not as the former, being only for a little while, not for ever, for judgment, not for joy, for punishment, not for reward.

And We will come to him: They come to us, in that we go to Them; They come by succoring, we go by obeying; They come by enlightening, we go by contemplating; They come by filling, we go by holding: so Their manifestation to us is not external, but inward; Their abode in us not transitory, but eternal. It follows, And will make Our abode with him.

GREG. Into some hearts He comes, but not to make His abode with them. For some feel compunction for a season and turn to God, but in time of temptation forget that which gave them compunction, and return to their former sins, just as if they had never lamented them. But whoever loves God truly, into his heart the Lord both comes, and also makes His abode therein: for the love of the Godhead so penetrates him, that no temptation withdraws him from it. He truly loves, whose mind no evil pleasure overcomes, through his consent thereto.

AUG. But while the Father and the Son make Their abode with the loving, soul, is the Holy Spirit excluded? What means that which is said of the Holy Spirit above: He dwells with you, and shall be in you, but that the Spirit makes His abode with us? Unless indeed a man be so absurd as to think that when the Father and the Son come, the Holy Spirit departs, as if to give place to His superiors.

Yet even this carnal thought is met by Scripture, in that it says, Abide with you for ever. He will therefore be in the same abode with Them for ever. As He did not come without Them, so neither They without Him. As a consequence of the Trinity, acts are sometimes attributed to single persons in it: but the substance of the same Trinity demands, that in such acts the presence of the other Persons also be implied.

GREG. In proportion as a man’s love rests upon lower things, in that proportion is he removed from heavenly love: He that loves Me not, keeps not My sayings. To the love then of our Maker, let the tongue, mind, life bear witness.

CHRYS. Or thus Judas thought that he should , see Him, as we see the dead in sleep: How is it, that you will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world? meaning, Alas, as you art to die, you will appear to us but as one dead. To correct this mistake, He says, I and My Father will come to him, i.e. I shall manifest Myself, even as My Father manifests Himself. And will make our abode with Him; which is not like a dream. It follows, And the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me; i.e. He that hears not My words, inasmuch as he loves not Me, so loves he not My Father. This He says to show that He spoke nothing which was not the Father’s, nothing beside what seemed good to the Father.

AUG. And perhaps there is a distinction at bottom, since He speaks of His sayings, when they are His own, in the plural number; as when He says, He that loves Me not, keeps not My sayings: when they are not His own, but the Father’s, in the singular, i.e. as the Word, which is Himself. For He is not His own Word, but the Father’s, as He is not His own image, but the Father’s, or His own Son, but the Father’s.

CHRYS. These things have I spoken to you, being yet present with you. Some of these things were obscure, and not understood by the disciples.

AUG The abode He promised them hereafter is altogether a different one from this present abode He now speaks of. The one is spiritual and inward, the other outward, and perceptible to the bodily sight and hearing.

CHRYS. To enable them to sustain His bodily departure more cheerfully, He promises that that departure shall be the source of great benefit; for that while He was then in the body, they could never know much, because the Spirit would not have come: But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you.

GREG. Paraclete is Advocate, or Comforter. The Advocate then intercedes with the Father for sinners, when by His inward power He moves the sinner to pray for himself. The Comforter relieves the sorrow of penitents, and cheers them with the hope of pardon.

CHRYS. He often calls Him the Comforter, in allusion to the affliction in which they then were.

DIDYMUS. The Savior affirms that the Holy Spirit is sent by the Father, in His, the Savior’s, name; which name is the Son. Here an agreement of nature and propriety, so to speak, of persons is strewn. The Son can come in the Father’s name only, consistently with the proper relationship of the Son to the Father, and the Father to the Son.

No one else comes in the name of the Father, but in the name of God, of the Lord, of the Almighty, and the like. As servants who come in the name of their Lord, do so as being the servants of that Lord, so the Son who comes in the name of the Father, bears that name as being the acknowledged only-begotten Son of the Father. That the Holy Spirit then is sent in the Son’s name, by the Father, shows that He is in unity with the Son: whence He is said too to be the Spirit of the Son, and to make those sons by adoption, who are willing to receive Him.

The Holy Spirit then, Who comes in the name of the Son from the Father, shall teach them, who are established in the faith of Christ, all things; all things which are spiritual, both the understanding of truth, and the sacrament of wisdom. But He will teach not like those who have acquired an art or knowledge by study and industry, but as being the very art, doctrine, knowledge itself. As being this Himself, the Spirit of truth will impart the knowledge of divine things to the mind.

GREG. Unless the Spirit be present to the mind of the hearer, the word of the teacher is vain. Let none then attribute to the human teacher, the understanding which follows in consequence of his teaching: for unless there be a teacher within, the tongue of the teacher outside will labor in vain. Nay even the Maker Himself does not speak for the instruction of man, unless the Spirit by His unction speaks at the same time.

AUG. So then the Son speaks, the Holy Spirit teaches: when the Son speaks we take in the words, when the Holy Spirit teaches, we understand those words. The whole Trinity indeed both speaks and teaches, but unless each person worked separately as well, the whole would be too much for human infirmity to take in.

GREG. But why is it said of the Spirit, He shall suggest all stings to you: to suggest being the office of an inferior? The word is used here, as it is used sometimes, in the sense of supplying secretly. The invisible Spirit suggests, not because He takes a lower place in teaching, but because He teaches secretly.

AUG. Suggest, i.e. bring to your remembrance. Every wholesome hint to remember that we receive is of the grace of the Spirit.

THEOPHYL. The Holy Spirit then was both to teach and to bring to remembrance: to teach what Christ had forborne to tell His disciples, because they were not able to bear it; to bring to remembrance what Christ had told them but which on account of its difficulty, or their slowness of understanding, they were unable to remember.

CHRYS. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you: He says this to console His disciples, who were now troubled at the prospect of the hatred and opposition which awaited them after His departure.

AUG. He left no peace in this world; in which we conquer the enemy, and have love one to another: He will give us peace in the world to come, when we shall reign without an enemy, and where we shall be able to avoid disagreement. This peace is Himself, both when we believe that He is, and when we shall see Him as He is. But why does He say, Peace I leave with you, without the My, whereas He puts in My in, My peace 1 give to you? Are we to understand My in the former; or is it not rather left out with a meaning?

His peace is such peace as He has Himself; the peace which He left us in this world is rather our peace than His. He has nothing to fight against in Himself, because He has no sin: but ours is a peace in which we still say, Forgive us our debts (Matthew 6:12). And in like manner we have peace between ourselves, because we mutually trust one another, that we mutually love one another. But neither is that a perfect peace; for we do not see into each other’s minds. I could not deny however that these words of our Lord’s may be understood as a simple repetition.

He adds, Not as the world gives, give I unto you: i.e. not as those men, who love the world, give. They give themselves peace, i.e. free, uninterrupted enjoyment of the world. And even when they allow the righteous peace, so far as not to persecute them, yet there cannot be true peace, where there is no true agreement, no union of heart.

CHRYS. External peace is often even hurtful, rather than profitable to those who enjoy it.

AUG. But there is a peace which is serenity of thought, tranquillity of mind, simplicity of heart, the bond of love, the fellowship of charity. None will be able to come to the inheritance of the Lord who do not observe this testament of peace; none be friends with Christ, who are at enmity with the Christians.

Verses 27-31

Ver 27. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.28. You have heard how I said to you, I go away, and come again to you. If you loved me, you would rejoice, because I said, I go to the Father: for my Father is greater than I.29. And now I have told you before it comes to pass, that, when it is come to pass, you might believe.30. Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world comes, and has nothing in me.31. But that the world may know that I love the Father: and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

CHRYS. After saying, Peace I leave with you, which was like taking farewell, He consoles them: Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid: the two feelings of love and fear were now the uppermost in them.

AUG. Though He was only going for a time, their hearts would be troubled and afraid for what might happen before He returned; lest in the absence of the Shepherd the wolf might attack the flock: you have heard how I said to you, I go away, and come again to you. In that He was man, He went; in that He was God, He stayed.

Why then be troubled and afraid, when He left the eye only, not the heart? To make them understand that it was as man that He said, I go away, and come again to you; He adds, If you loved Me you would rejoice, because I said, I go to My Father; for My Father is greater than I. In that the Son then is unequal with the Father, through that inequality He went to the Father, from Him to come again to judge the quick and dead: in that He is equal to the Father, He never goes from the Father, but is everywhere altogether with Him in that Godhead, which is not confined to place.

Nay, the Son Himself, because that being equal to the Father in the form of God, He emptied Himself, not losing the form of God, but taking that of a servant, is greater even than Himself: the form of God which is not lost, is greater than the form of a servant which was put on. In this form of a servant, the Son of God is inferior not to the Father only, but to the Holy Ghost; in this the Child Christ was inferior even to His parents; to whom we read, He was subject. Let us acknowledge then the twofold substance of Christ, the divine, which is equal to the Father, and the human, which is inferior.

But Christ is both together, not two, but one Christ else the Godhead is a quaternity, not a Trinity. Wherefore He says, If you loved Me, you would rejoice, because I said, I go to the Father; for human nature should exult at being thus taken up by the Only Begotten Word, and made immortal in heaven; at earth being raised to heaven, and dust sitting incorruptible at the right hand of the Father. Who, that loves Christ, will not rejoice at this, seeing, as he does, his own nature immortal in Christ, and hoping that He Himself will be so by Christ.

HILARY. Or thus: If the Father is greater by virtue of giving, is the Son less by confessing the gift? The giver is the greater, but He to whom unity with that giver is given, is not the less.

CHRYS. Or thus: The Apostles did not yet know what the resurrection was of which He spoke when He said, I go, and come again to you: or what they ought to think of it. They only knew the great power of the Father. So He tells them: Though you fear I shall not be able to save Myself, and do not trust to My appearing again after My crucifixion; yet when you hear that I go to My Father, you should rejoice, because I go to one greater, one able to dissolve and change all things. All this is said in accommodation to their weakness: as we see from the next words: And now I have told you before it comes to pass; that when it does come to pass, you may believe.

AUG. But is not the time for belief before a thing takes place? Is it not the praise of faith, that it believes what it does not see? according to w hat is said below to Thomas: Because you have seen, you has believed. He saw one thing, believed another: what he saw was man, what he believed was God. And if belief can be talked of with reference to things seen, as when we say that we believe our eyes; yet it is not mature faith, but is merely preparatory to our believing what we do not see.

When it has come to pass, then He says, because after His death they would see Him alive again, and ascending to His Father; which sight would convince them that He was the Christ, the Son of God; able as He was to do so great a thing, and to foretell it. Which faith however would not be a new, but only an enlarged faith; or a faith which had failed at His death, and been renewed by His resurrection.

HILARY. He next alludes to the approach of the time when He would resume His glory. Hereafter 1 will not talk much with you.

BEDE. He says this because the time was now approaching for His being taken, and given up to death: For the Prince of this world comes.

AUG. i.e. the devil; the prince of sinners, not of creatures; as the Apostle said, Against the rulers of this world. Or, as He immediately adds by way of explanation, this darkness, meaning, the ungodly. And has nothing in Me. God had no sin as God, nor had His flesh contracted it by a sinful birth, being born of the Virgin. But how, it might be asked, can you die, if you have no sin: He answers,

But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence. He had been sitting at table with them all this time. Let us go, i.e. to the place, where He, Who had done nothing to deserve death, was to be delivered to death. But He had a commandment from His Father to die.

AUG. That the Son is obedient to the will and commandment of the Father, no more shows a difference in the two, than it would in a human father and son. But over and above this comes the consideration that Christ is not only God, and as such equal to the Father, but also man, and as such inferior to the Father.

CHRYS. Arise, let us go hence, is the beginning of the sentence which l, follows. The time and the place (they were in the midst of a town, and it was night time) had excited the disciples’ fears to such a degree, that they could not attend to any thing that was said, but rolled their eyes about, expecting persons to enter and assault them; especially when they heard our Lord say, Yet a little while I am with you; and, The prince of this world comes. To quiet their alarm then, He takes them to another place, where they imagine themselves safe, and would be able to attend to the great doctrines which He was going to set before them.

Bibliographical Information
Aquinas, Thomas. "Commentary on John 14". "Golden Chain Commentary on the Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gcc/john-14.html.
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