Tractates on the Gospel of John - Vol. 2

By John W. Rettig; Saint Augustine Bishop of Hippo | Go to book overview

TRACTATE 21

On John 5.20-23

STERDAY,1 as far as the Lord designed to grant, we discussed with what ability we could, and we understood with what capacity we could, how the works of the Father and the Son are inseparable, and how the Father does not do some and the Son others, but the Father does all through the Son, as through his Word about whom it was written, "all things were made through him and without him was made nothing."2 Today let us look at the following words, and let us both pray for his mercy from the same Lord, and hope that first, if he judges it appropriate, we may understand what is true, but that if we cannot do this, we may not resort to that which is false. For it is better not to know than to err; but to know is better than not to know. And so before all else we ought to strive to know. If we can, thanks be to God; but if we cannot, for the time being, attain to the truth, let us not resort to falsehood.

(2) For we ought to consider what we are and what we are discussing. We are human beings carrying flesh, walking in this life. And if we have already been reborn from the seed of the word of God,3 still we have been renewed in Christ in such a way that we have not yet been utterly stripped of Adam.4 For this mortal and corruptible part of us which burdens the soul5 is clearly from Adam; and that is evident. But

____________________
1
See Tractate 20.1, note 3.
2
Cf. Jn 1.3. The difficulty in translating facere which means both "make" and "do" continues in this sermon. See Tractates 18.5, note 18, and 20.10, note 35.
3
Cf. 1 Pt 1.23.
4
Perhaps a reminiscence of Col 3.9-10.
5
Cf. Wis 9.15.

-178-

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Tractates on the Gospel of John - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Abbreviations vii
  • Bibliography ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Tractate 11 9
  • Tractate 12 28
  • Tractate 13 44
  • Tractate 14 63
  • Tractate 15 78
  • Tractate 16 100
  • Tractate 17 108
  • Tractate 18 124
  • Tractate 19 139
  • Tractate 20 163
  • Tractate 21 178
  • Tractate 22 197
  • Tractate 23 212
  • Tractate 24 231
  • Tractate 25 239
  • Tractate 26 259
  • Tractate 27 277
  • Indices 289
  • Index of Holy Scripture 301
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