Tractates on the Gospel of John - Vol. 5

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

TRACTATE 4
On 1 Jn 2.27-3.9

YOU REMEMBER, brothers, that yesterday's reading ended with this: "You have no need that anyone teach you, but the anointing itself teaches you concerning all things."1. Now this, as I am sure you recall, we explained to you in such a way that we who speak to your ears from outside are just like hired men, applying cultivation to the tree from outside, but we cannot give growth nor form fruits. But he who created and redeemed and called you, dwelling in you through faith and the Holy Spirit, unless he should speak to you within, we make sounds without purpose. From what is this apparent? Because although many hear, not all are persuaded of what is said, but those only to whom God speaks within. But he speaks within to those who offer him a place, but they offer God a place who do not offer the devil a place. For the devil wishes to dwell in the hearts of men and to speak there all the things that tend to seduction. But what does the Lord Jesus say? "The prince of this world has been cast out."2. From where has he been cast out? Is it outside heaven and earth? Is it outside the structure of the world? But rather outside the hearts of those believing. As the invader has been cast out, let the Redeemer indwell, because he himself who created, redeemed. And the devil now attacks from outside; he does not conquer him who possesses within. But he attacks from outside by launching various temptations, but the person does not give consent to whom God speaks within, and the anointing of which you have heard.

2. And this same anointing, [ John] says, "is true," that is, the same Spirit of the Lord who teaches men cannot lie. "And it is not a liar. As it has taught you, abide in it. And now, little chil

____________________
1.
This version of 1 Jn 2.27 differs from that in Tr in Io Ep 3.13 where the text is closer to both the Greek and the Vulgate texts.
2.
Cf. Jn 12.31.

-173-

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