Tractates on the Gospel of John - Vol. 2

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

TRACTATE 17

On John 5.1-18

THE PERFORMANCE of an amazing deed1 by God ought not to be a source of amazement; for it would be an amazing thing if a human being had performed it. We ought to rejoice more than be amazed that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, became man than that God performed divine acts among men. For what he became for men is more valuable for our salvation than what he did among men; and that he healed the vices of souls is more valuable than that he healed the maladies of bodies which were going to die. But because the soul itself did not know him by whom it had to be healed and had eyes in the flesh with which it might see physical acts but did not yet have healthy eyes in the heart with which it might recognize the God lying hidden [there], he did what [the soul] could see so that that might be healed with which it could not see. He entered a place where there was lying a great multitude of the sick, blind, lame, and those with shrivelled limbs. And since he was the physician of both souls and bodies and one who had come to heal all the souls of those who would believe, he chose one of those sick men whom he might heal in order to signify unity.

(2) If with common good sense, and as [one would] with his human capability and mental power, we should reflect upon him doing this, both as far as pertains to power, he did nothing great, and as pertains to kindness, he did too little. So many were lying there and only one was cured when with

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1
I.e., a "miracle," miraculum; the translation reflects a word play in the Latin. Throughout this section Augustine uses the Latin verb facere in several connotations, "perform," "become," "do," "make"; no single English verb can serve the same function.

-108-

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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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