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“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat Him, loveth Him also that is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, because we love God, and do His commandments. For this is the love of God that we keep His commandments.”
1. I Suppose ye remember, those of you who were present yesterday, to what place in the course of this epistle our exposition has reached: namely, “He that loveth not his brother whom he seeth, how can he love God whom he seeth not? And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God, love his brother also.”24862486 1 John iv. 20, 21. Thus far we discoursed. Let us see then what comes next in order. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.”24872487 1 John v. i. Who is he that believeth not that Jesus is the Christ? He that does not so live as Christ commanded. For many say, “I believe:” but faith without works saveth not. Now the work of faith is Love, as Paul the apostle saith, “And faith which worketh by love.”24882488 Gal. v. 6. Thy past works indeed, before thou didst believe, were either none, or if they seemed good, were nothing worth. For if they were none, thou wast as a man without feet, or with sore feet unable to walk: but if they seemed good, before thou didst believe, thou didst run indeed, but by running aside from the way thou wentest astray instead of coming to the goal. It is for us, then, both to run, and to run in the way. He that runs aside from the way, runs to no purpose, or rather runs but to toil. He goes the more astray, the more he runs aside from the way. What is the way by which we run? Christ hath told us, “I am the Way.”24892489 John xiv. 6. What the home to which we run? “I am the Truth.” By Him thou runnest, to Him thou runnest, in Him thou restest. But, that we might run by Him, He reached even unto us: for we were afar off, foreigners in a far country. Not enough that we were in a far country, we were feeble also that we could not stir. A Physician, He came to the sick: a Way, He extended Himself to them that were in a far country. Let us be saved by Him, let us walk in Him. This it is to “believe that Jesus is the Christ,” as Christians believe, who are not Christians only in name, but in deeds and in life, not as the devils believe. For “the devils also believe and tremble,”24902490 James ii. 19. as the Scripture tells us. What more could the devils believe, than that they should say, “We know who thou art, the Son of God?”24912491 Matt. viii. 29; Mark i. 24. What the devils said, the same said Peter also. When the Lord asked them who He was, and whom did men say that He was, the disciples made answer to Him, “Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”24922492 Matt. xvi. 13–18. And this he heard from the Lord: “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” See what praises follow this faith. “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.” What meaneth, “Upon this rock I will build my Church”? Upon this faith; upon this that has been said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Upon this rock,” saith He, “I will build my Church.” Mighty praise! So then, Peter saith, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God:” the devils also say, “We know who thou art, the Son of God, the Holy One of God.” This Peter said, this also the devils: the words the same, the mind not the same. And how is it clear that Peter said this with love? Because a Christian’s faith is with love, but a devil’s without love. How without love? Peter said this, that he might embrace Christ; the devils said it, that Christ might depart from them. For before they said, “We know who thou art, the Son of God,” they said, “What have we to do with thee? Why art thou come to destroy us before the time?” It is one thing then to confess Christ that thou mayest hold Christ, another thing to confess Christ that thou mayest drive Christ from thee. So then ye see, that in the sense in which he here saith, “Whoso believeth,” it is a faith of 521one’s own, not as one has a faith in common with many. Therefore, brethren, let none of the heretics say to you, “We also believe.” For to this end have I given you an instance from the case of devils, that ye may not rejoice in the words of believing, but search well the deeds of the life.
2. Let us see then what it is to believe in Christ; what to believe that Jesus, He is the Christ. He proceeds: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God.” But what is it to believe that? “And every one that loveth Him that begat Him, loveth Him also that is begotten of Him.” To faith he hath straightway joined love, because faith without love is nothing worth. With love, the faith of a Christian; without love, the faith of a devil: but those who believe not, are worse than devils, more stupid than devils. Some man will not believe in Christ: so far, he is not even upon a par with devils. A person does now believe in Christ, but hates Christ: he hath the confession of faith in the fear of punishment, not in love of the crown: thus the devils also feared to be punished. Add to this faith love, that it may become a faith such as the Apostle Paul speaks of, a “faith which worketh by love:” 24932493 Gal. v. 6. thou hast found a Christian, found a citizen of Jerusalem, found a fellow-citizen of the angels, found a pilgrim sighing in the way: join thyself to him, he is thy fellow-traveller, run with him, if indeed thou also art this. “Every one that loveth Him that begat Him, loveth Him also that is begotten of Him.” Who “begat”? The Father. Who “is begotten”? The Son. What saith he then? “Every one that loveth the Father, loveth the Son.”
3. “In this we know that we love the sons of God.”24942494 1 John iv. 2. What is this, brethren? Just now he was speaking of the Son of God, not of sons of God: lo, here one Christ was set before us to contemplate, and we were told, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat,” i.e. the Father, “loveth Him also that is begotten of Him,” i.e. the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. And he goes on: “In this we know that we love the sons of God;” as if he had been about to say, “In this we know that we love the Son of God.” He has said, “the sons of God,” whereas he was speaking just before of the Son of God—because the sons of God are the Body of the Only Son of God, and when He is the Head, we the members, it is one Son of God. Therefore, he that loves the sons of God, loves the Son of God, and he that loves the Son of God, loves the Father; nor can any love the Father except he love the Son, and he that loves the sons, loves also the Son of God. What sons of God? The members of the Son of God. And by loving he becomes himself a member, and comes through love to be in the frame of the body of Christ, so there shall be one Christ, loving Himself. For when the members love one another, the body loves itself. “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.”24952495 1 Cor. xii. 26, 27. And then he goes on to say, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members.” John was speaking just before of brotherly love, and said, “He that loveth not his brother whom he seeth, how can he love God whom he seeth not?”24962496 1 John iv. 20. But if thou lovest thy brother, haply thou lovest thy brother and lovest not Christ? How should that be, when thou lovest members of Christ? When therefore thou lovest members of Christ, thou lovest Christ; when thou lovest Christ, thou lovest the Son of God; when thou lovest the Son of God, thou lovest also the Father. The love therefore cannot be separated into parts. Choose what thou wilt love; the rest follow thee. Suppose thou say, I love God alone, God the Father. Thou liest: if thou lovest, thou lovest Him not alone; but if thou lovest the Father, thou lovest also the Son. Behold, sayest thou, I love the Father, and I love the Son: but this only, the Father God and the Son God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father, that Word by which all things were made, and “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt in us:” this alone I love. Thou liest; for if thou lovest the Head, thou lovest also the members; but if thou lovest not the members, neither lovest thou the Head. Dost thou not quake at the voice uttered by the Head from Heaven on behalf of His members, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou ME?”24972497 Acts ix. 4. The persecutor of His members He called His persecutor: His lover, the lover of His members. Now what are His members, ye know, brethren: none other than the Church of God. “In this we know that we love the sons of God, in that we love God.” And how? Are not the sons of God one thing, God Himself another? But he that loves God, loves His precepts. And what are the precepts of God? “A new commandment give I unto you, that ye love one another.” 24982498 John xiii. 34. Let none excuse himself by another love, for another love; so and so 522only is it with this love: as the love itself is compacted in one, so all that hang by it doth it make one, and as fire melts them down into one. It is gold: the lump is molten and becomes some one thing. But unless the fervor of charity be applied, of many there can be no melting down into one. “That we love God,” by this “know we that we love the sons of God.”
4. And by what do we know that we love the sons of God? By this, “that we love God, and do His commandments.” We sigh here, by reason of the hardness of doing the commandments of God. Hear what follows. O man, at what toilest thou in loving? In loving avarice. With toil is that loved which thou lovest: there is no toil in loving God. Avarice will enjoin thee labors, perils, sore hardships and tribulations; and thou wilt do its bidding. To what end? That thou mayest have that with which thou shalt fill thy chest, and lose thy peace of mind. Thou didst feel thyself haply more secure before thou hadst it, than since thou didst begin to have. See what avarice has enjoined thee. Thou hast filled thine house, and art in dread of robbers; hast gotten gold, lost thy sleep. See what avarice has enjoined thee. Do, and thou didst. What does God enjoin thee! Love me. Thou lovest gold, thou wilt seek gold, and perchance not find it: whoso seeks me, I am with him. Thou wilt love honor, and perchance not attain unto it: who ever loved me, and did not attain? God saith to thee, thou wouldest make thee a patron, or a powerful friend: thou seekest a way to his favor by means of another inferior. Love me, saith God to thee: favor with me is not had by making interest with some other: thy love itself makes me present to thee. What sweeter than this love, brethren? It is not without reason that ye heard just now in the Psalm, “The unrighteous told me of delights,24992499 Delectationes, LXX. ἀδολεσχίας. Vulg. fabulationes. but not as is Thy law, O Lord.”25002500 Ps. cxix. 85. What is the Law of God? The commandment of God. What is the commandment of God? That “new commandment,” which is called new because it maketh new: “A new commandment give I unto you, that ye love one another.”25012501 John xiii. 34. Hear because this is the law of God. The apostle saith, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so shall ye fulfill the law of Christ.”25022502 Gal. vi. 2. This, even this, is the consummation of all our works; Love. In it is the end: for this we run: to it we run; when we are come to it, we shall rest.
5. Ye have heard in the Psalm, “I have seen the end of all perfection.”25032503 Consummationis. Ps. cxix. 96. He hath said, I have seen the end of all perfection: what had he seen? Think we, had he ascended to the peak of some very high and pointed mountain, and looked out thence and seen the compass of the earth, and the circles of the round world, and therefore said, “I have seen the end of all perfection”? If this be a thing to be praised, let us ask of the Lord eyes of the flesh so sharp-sighted, that we shall but require some exceeding high mountain on earth, that from its summit we may see the end of all perfection. Go not far: lo, I say to thee, it is here; ascend the mountain, and see the end. Christ is the Mountain; come to Christ: thou seest thence the end of all perfection. What is this end? Ask Paul: “But the end of the commandment is charity, from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned:”25042504 1 Tim. i. 5. and in another place, “Charity is the fullness,” or fulfillment, “of the law.” What so finished and terminated as “fullness”? For, brethren, the apostle here uses end in a way of praise. Think not of consumption, but of consummation. For it is in one sense that one says, I have finished my bread, in another, I have finished my coat. I have finished the bread, by eating it: the coat, by making it. In both places the word is “end,” “finish:” but the bread is finished by its being consumed, the coat is finished by being made: the bread, so as to be no more; the coat, so as to be complete. Therefore in this sense take ye also this word, end, when the Psalm is read and ye hear it said, “On the end, a Psalm of David.”25052505 Enarr. in Ps. iv. 1, etc. Ye are for ever hearing this in the Psalms, and ye should know what ye hear. What meaneth, “On the end”?—“For Christ is the end of the law unto every one that believeth.”25062506 Rom. xiii. 10. And what meaneth, “Christ is the end”? Because Christ is God, and “the end of the commandment is charity,” and “Charity is God:” because Father and Son and Holy Ghost are One. There is He the End to thee; elsewhere He is the Way. Do not stick fast in the way, and so never come to the end. Whatever else thou come to, pass beyond it, until thou come to the end. What is the end? It is good for me to “hold me fast in God.” 25072507 Ps. lxxiii. 28. Hast thou laid fast hold on God? thou hast finished the way: thou shalt abide in thine own country. Mark well! Some man seeks money: let not it be the end to thee: pass on, as a traveller in a strange land. But if thou love it, thou art entangled 523by avarice; avarice will be shackles to thy feet: thou canst make no more progress. Pass therefore this also: seek the end. Thou seekest health of the body: still do not stop there. For what is it, this health of the body, which death makes an end of, which sickness debilitates, a feeble, mortal, fleeting thing? Seek that, indeed, lest haply ill-health hinder thy good works: but for that very reason, the end is not there, for it is sought in order to something else. Whatever is sought in order to something else, the end is not there: whatever is loved for its own sake, and freely, the end is there. Thou seekest honors; perchance seekest them in order to do something, that thou mayest accomplish something, and so please God: love not the honor itself, lest thou stop there. Seekest thou praise? If thou seek God’s, thou doest well; if thou seek thine own, thou doest ill; thou stoppest short in the way. But behold, thou art loved, art praised: think it not joy when in thyself thou art praised; be thou praised in the Lord, that thou mayest sing, “In the Lord shall my soul be praised.”25082508 Ps. xxxiv. 2. Thou deliverest some good discourse, and thy discourse is praised. Let it not be praised as thine, the end is not there. If thou set the end there, there is an end of thee: but an end, not that thou be perfected, but that thou be consumed. Then let not thy discourse be praised as coming from thee, as being thine. But how praised? As the Psalm saith, “In God will I praise the discourse, in God will I praise the word.”25092509 Ps. lvi. 10. (Enarr. in v. 4, sec. 7.) Hereby shall that which there follows come to pass in thee: “In God have I hoped, I will not fear what man can do unto me.”25102510 Ps. lvi. 11. For when all things that are thine are praised in God, no fear lest thy praise be lost, since God faileth not. Pass therefore this also.
6. See, brethren, how many things we pass, in which is not the end. These we use as by the way; we take as it were our refreshment at the halting places on our journey, and pass on.25112511 Supra. Where then is the end? “Beloved, we are sons of God, and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be;”25122512 1 John iii. 2. here is this said, in this epistle. As yet then, we are on the way; as yet, wherever we come, we must pass on, until we attain unto some end. “We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. That is the end; there perpetual praising, there Alleluia25132513 Supra. always without fail. This, then is the end he has spoken of in the Psalm: “I have seen the end of all perfection:”25142514 Ps. cxix. 96. and as though it were said to him, What is the end thou hast seen? “Thy commandment, exceeding broad.” This is the end: the breadth of the commandment. The breadth of the commandment is charity, because where charity is, there are no straits. In this breadth, this wide room, was the apostle when he said, “Our mouth is open to you, O ye Corinthians, our heart is enlarged: ye are not straitened in us.”25152515 2 Cor. vi. 11, 12. In this, then, is “Thy commandment exceeding broad.” What is the broad commandment? “A new commandment give I unto you, that ye love one another.” Charity, then, is not straitened. Wouldest thou not be straitened here on earth? Dwell in the broad room. For whatever man may do to thee, he shall not straiten thee; because thou lovest that which man cannot hurt: lovest God, lovest the brotherhood, lovest the law of God, lovest the Church of God: it shall be for ever. Thou laborest here on earth, but thou shalt come to the promised enjoyment. Who can take from thee that which thou lovest? If no man can take from thee that which thou lovest, secure thou sleepest: or rather secure thou watchest, lest by sleeping thou lose that which thou lovest. For not without reason is it said, “Enlighten mine eyes, lest at any time I sleep in death.”25162516 Ps. xiii. 3. They that shut their eyes against charity, fall asleep in the lusts of carnal delights. Be wakeful, therefore. For then are the delights, to eat, to drink, to wanton in luxury, to play, to hunt; these vain pomps all evils follow. Are we ignorant that they are delights? who can deny that they delight? But more beloved is the law of God. Cry against such persuaders: “The unrighteous have told me of delights: but not so as is thy law, O Lord.” 25172517 Ps. cxix. 85. This delight remaineth. Not only remaineth as the goal to which thou mayest come, but also calleth thee back when thou fleest.
7. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.”25182518 1 John iv. 3. Already ye have heard, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” See how He would not have thee divide thyself over a multitude of pages: “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” On what two commandments? “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. And, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” 25192519 Matt. xxii. 37–40. See here of what commandments this whole epis 524tle talks. Therefore hold fast love, and set your minds at rest. Why fearest thou lest thou do evil to some man? Who does evil to the man he loves? Love25202520 Dilige. thou: it is impossible to do this without doing good. But it may be, thou rebukest? Kindness25212521 Amor. does it, not fierceness. But it may be thou beatest? For discipline thou dost this; because thy kindness of love25222522 Amor ipsius dilectionis. will not let thee leave him undisciplined. And indeed there come somehow these different and contrary results, that sometimes hatred uses winning ways, and charity shows itself fierce. A person hates his enemy, and feigns friendship for him: he sees him doing some evil, he praises him: he wishes him to go headlong, wishes him to go blind over the precipice of his lusts, haply never to return; he praises him, “For the sinner is praised in the desires of his soul;” 25232523 Ps. x. 3. he applies to him the unction of adulation; behold, he hates, and praises. Another sees his friend doing something of the same sort; he calls him back; if he will not hear, he uses words even of castigation, he scolds, he quarrels:25242524 Litigat. there are times when it comes to this, that one must even quarrel! Behold, hatred shows itself winningly gentle, and charity quarrels! Stay not thy regard upon the words of seeming kindness, or the seeming cruelty of the rebuke; look into the vein25252525 Venam, supra. they come from; seek the root whence they proceed. The one is gentle and bland that he may deceive, the other quarrels that he may correct. Well then, it is not for us, brethren, to enlarge your heart: obtain from God the gift to love one another. Love all men, even your enemies, not because they are your brethren, but that they may be your brethren; that ye may be at all times on fire with brotherly love, whether toward him that is become thy brother, or towards thine enemy, so that, by being beloved, he may become thy brother. Wheresoever ye love a brother, ye love a friend. Now is he with thee, now is he knit to thee in unity, yea catholic unity. If thou art living aright, thou lovest a brother made out of an enemy. But thou lovest some man who has not yet believed Christ, or, if he have believed, believes as do the devils: thou rebukest his vanity. Do thou love, and that with a brotherly love: he is not yet a brother, but thou lovest to the end he may be a brother. Well then, all our love is a brotherly love, towards Christians, towards all His members. The discipline of charity, my brethren, its strength, flowers, fruit, beauty, pleasantness, food, drink, meat, embracing, hath in it no satiety. If it so delight us while in a strange land, in our own country how shall we rejoice!
8. Let us run then, my brethren, let us run, and love Christ. What Christ? Jesus Christ. Who is He? The Word of God. And how came He to the sick? “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt in us.”25262526 John i. 14. It is complete then, which the Scripture foretold, “Christ must suffer, and rise again the third day from the dead.”25272527 Luke xxiv. 46. His body, where is it? His members, where toil they? Where must thou be, that thou mayest be under thine Head? “And that repentance and remission of sins be preached in His name through all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”25282528 Luke xxiv. 47. There let thy charity be spread abroad. Christ saith, and the Psalm, i.e. the Spirit of God, “Thy commandment is exceeding broad:” and forsooth some man will have charity to be confined to Africa! Extend thy charity over the whole earth if thou wilt love Christ, for Christ’s members are over all the earth. If thou lovest but a part, thou art divided: if thou art divided, thou art not in the body; if thou art not in the body, thou art not under the Head. What profiteth it thee that thou believest25292529 Credis in Bened. and blasphemest? Thou adorest Him in the Head, blasphemest Him in the Body. He loves His Body. If thou hast cut thyself off from His Body, the Head hath not cut itself off from its Body. To no purpose dost thou honor me, cries thine Head to thee from on high, to no purpose dost thou honor me. It is all one as if a man would kiss thine head and tread upon thy feet: perchance with nailed boots he would crush thy feet, while he will clasp thy head and kiss it: wouldest thou not cry out in the midst of the words with which he honors thee, and say, What art thou doing, man? thou treadest on me. Thou wouldest not mean, Thou treadest on my head; for the head he honored; but more would the head cry out for the members trodden upon, than for itself because it was honored. Does not the head itself cry out, I will none of thine honor; do not tread on me? Now say if thou canst, How have I trodden upon thee? say that to the head: I wanted to kiss thee, I wanted to embrace thee. But seest thou not, O fool, that what thou wouldest embrace does in virtue of a certain unity, which knits the whole frame together, reach to that which thou treadest upon? Above25302530 Susum. thou honorest me, beneath25312531 Jusum. thou treadest upon me. That on which thou treadest pains more than that which thou honorest rejoiceth. In what sort does the tongue cry out? “It hurts me.” 525It saith not, “It hurts my foot,” but, “It hurts me,” saith it. O tongue, who has touched thee? who has struck? who has goaded? who has pricked? No man, but I am knit together with the parts that are trodden upon. How wouldest thou have me not be pained, when I am not separate?
9. Our Lord Jesus Christ, then, ascending into heaven on the fortieth day, did for this reason commend to us His Body where it would continue to lie, because He saw that many would honor Him for that He is ascended into heaven: and saw that their honoring Him is useless if they trample upon His members here on earth. And lest any one should err, and, while he adored the Head in heaven should trample upon the feet on earth, He told us where would be His members. For being about to ascend, He spake His last words on earth: after those same words He spake no more on earth. The Head about to ascend into heaven commended to us His members on earth and departed. Thenceforth thou findest not Christ speaking on earth; thou findest Him speaking, but from heaven. And even from heaven, why? Because His members on earth were trodden upon. For to the persecutor Saul He said from on high, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” 25322532 Acts ix. 4. I am ascended into heaven, but still I lie on earth: here I sit at the right hand of the Father, but there I yet hunger, thirst, and am a stranger. In what manner then did He commend to us His Body, when about to ascend into heaven? When the disciples asked Him, saying, “Lord, wilt thou at this time present25332533 Præsentaberis, Supra. thyself, and when shall be the kingdom of Israel?”25342534 Acts i. 6–8. He made answer, now at the point to depart, “It is not for you to know the time which the Father hath put in His own power: but ye shall receive strength of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and ye shall be witnesses to me.” See where His Body is spread abroad, see where He will not be trodden upon: “Ye shall be witnesses to me, unto Jerusalem, and unto Judea, and even unto all the earth.” Lo, where I lie that am ascending! For I ascend, because I am the Head: my Body lies yet beneath. Where lies? Throughout the whole earth. Beware thou strike not, beware thou hurt not, beware thou trample not: these be the last words of Christ about to go into heaven. Look at a sick man languishing on his bed, lying in his house, and worn out with sickness, at death’s door, his soul as it were even now between his teeth: who, anxious, it may be, about something that is dear to him, which he greatly loves, and it comes into his mind, calls his heirs, and says to them, I pray you, do this. He, as it were, detains his soul by a violent effort, that it may not depart ere those words be made sure. When he has dictated those last words, he breathes out his soul, he is borne a corpse to the sepulchre. His heirs, how do they remember the last words of the dying man? How, if one should stand up and say to them, Do it not: what would they say? “What? shall I not do that which my father, in the act of breathing out his soul, commanded me with his last breath, the last word of his that sounded in my ears when my father was departing this life? Whatever other words of his I may not regard, his last have a stronger hold upon me: since which I never saw him more, never more heard speech of his.” Brethren, think with Christian hearts; if to the heirs of a man, his words spoken when about to go to the tomb are so sweet, so grateful, so weighty, what must we account of the last words of Christ, spoken not when about to go back to the tomb, but to ascend into heaven! As for the man who lived and is dead, his soul is hurried off to other places, his body is laid in the earth, and whether these words of his be done or not, makes no difference to him: he has now something else to do, or something else to suffer: either in Abraham’s bosom he rejoices, or in eternal fire he longs for a drop of water, while his corpse lies there senseless in the sepulchre; and yet the last words of the dying man are kept. What have those to look for, who keep not the last words of Him that sitteth in heaven, who seeth from on high whether they be despised or not despised? The words of Him, who said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” who keeps account, unto the judgment, of all that He seeth His members suffer?
10. And what have we done, say they? We are the persecuted, not the persecutors. Ye are the persecutors, O wretched men. In the first place, in that ye have divided the Church. Mightier the sword of the tongue than the sword of steel. Agar, Sarah’s maid, was proud, and she was afflicted by her mistress for her pride. That was discipline, not punishment.25352535 Supra. Accordingly, when she had gone away from her mistress, what said the angel to her? “Return to thy mistress.”25362536 Gen. xvi. 4–9. Then, O carnal soul, like a proud bond-woman, suppose thou have suffered any trouble for discipline’ sake, why ravest thou? “Return to thy mistress,” hold fast the peace of the Church.25372537 Dominicam pacem. Lo, the gospels are pro 526duced, we read where the Church is spread abroad: men dispute against us, and say to us, “Betrayers!”25382538 Traditores. Betrayers of what? Christ commendeth to us His Church, and thou believest not: shall I believe thee, when thou revilest my parents? Wouldest thou that I should believe thee about the “betrayers”? Do thou first believe Christ. What is worth believing? Christ is God, thou art man: which ought to be believed first? Christ has spread His Church abroad over all the earth: I say it—despise me: the gospel speaks—beware. What saith the gospel? “It behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name.”25392539 Luke xxiv. 47. Where remission of sins, there the Church is. How the Church? Why, to her it was said, “To thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.”25402540 Matt. xvi. 19. Where is this remission of sins spread abroad? “Through all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Lo, believe Christ! But, because thou art well aware that if thou shalt believe Christ, thou wilt not have anything to say about “betrayers,” thou wilt needs have me to believe thee when thou speakest evil against my parents, rather than thyself believe what Christ foretold!
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[The remainder of the Homily is wanting in all the manuscripts. It seems also that St. Augustin was hindered from completing the exposition of the entire epistle, as he had undertaken to do: at least Possidius specifies this work under the title, “In Epist. Joannis ad Parthos Tractatus decem,” and it is scarcely likely that the whole of the fifth chapter was expounded in this tenth Homily.—Of the “Sermons,” there are none upon the remaining part of this epistle: the following extracts from other works of St. Augustin will supply what will be most desiderated: namely, his exposition of the text on “the Three Witnesses,” of “the sin unto death,” and of the twentieth verse].
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