Tractates on the Gospel of John - Vol. 3

By St Augustine; John W. Rettig | Go to book overview

TRACTATE 35

On John 8.13-14

YOU WHO were present yesterday remember that we discussed for some time the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, where he says, "I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." 1. And if we should still desire to discuss that light, we can speak at length; for we cannot explain it in brief. And so, my brothers, let us follow Christ, the Light of the world, that we may not walk in darkness. Darkness must be feared— of character, not of eyes, and if of eyes, not of external ones, but of the inner ones with which are distinguished, not the white and the black, but the just and the unjust.

2. Therefore, when our Lord Jesus Christ had said these [words], the Jews replied, "You give testimony about yourself. Your testimony is not true." Before our Lord Jesus Christ came, he kindled many prophetic lamps before him and sent them. From among these, there was also John the Baptist, 2. to whom the very great Light itself which is the Lord Christ bore testimony such as to no one of men; for he said, "Among those born of women there has not arisen a greater than John the Baptist." 3. Yet this man, than whom no one among those born of women was greater, says of the Lord, Jesus Christ, "I indeed baptize you with water; but he who is coming is mightier than I, whose shoe I am not worthy to loose." 4. See how the lamp abases himself before the Day. In fact, the Lord himself attests that John was himself a lamp. He says, "He was a lamp,

____________________
1.
Jn 8.12.
2.
On John the Baptist as a lamp, see Tractate 2.8-9, 5.14-15, and 23.2.
3.
Mt 11.11.
4.
Cf. Jn 1.26-27; Mt 3.11.

-71-

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