Tractates on the Gospel of John - Vol. 2

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

TRACTATE 23

On John 5.19-40

N A CERTAIN PLACE in the gospel the Lord says that the wise hearer of his word ought to be like a man who, wishing to build, digs rather deeply until he comes to bedrock, and there without anxiety he establishes what he builds against the onrush of a flood, so that when it comes, rather it may be pushed back by the solidity of the building than that by its impact it causes the collapse of that house.1 Let us consider the Scripture of God as being a field where we want to build something. Let us not be lazy nor content with the surface. Let us dig more deeply until we come to rock: "Now the rock was Christ."2

2. Today's reading spoke to us about the witness of the Lord, that he does not find witness from men necessary, but that he has a greater [witness] than men are; and he said what that witness is. He said, "The works that I do give witness of me." Then he added, "And the Father who has sent me gives witness of me." He says that also the works themselves which he does he has received from the Father. Therefore the works give witness, the Father gives witness. Did John give no witness? Clearly he gave witness, but as a lamp, not for satisfying friends, but for confounding enemies;3 for it had already been foretold by the person of the Father: "I have made ready a lamp for my Christ; his enemies I will clothe with confusion, but upon him shall my sanctification flourish."4

(2) Let it be as if you were put in [the darkness of] the night; you have looked toward the lamp, and you have mar

____________________
1
Cf. Mt 7.24-27; Lk 6.48-49.
2
Cf. 1 Cor 10.4.
3
Cf. Tractates 2.8-9 and 5.14.
4
Cf. Ps 131.17-18 (LXX).

-212-

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