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first receive the Light of Truth:

capable of JOHN

I. 1-5. 1 Cor. 2,

herself, so far forth as human hearts were reaching that, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath ascended into the heart of man. If it hath 9. not ascended into the heart of man, how did it ascend into John's heart? Was not John man? Or haply is it true of John likewise that it ascended not into his heart, but his heart ascended into it? For that which ascends into man's heart is from below, to the man; whereas that to which man's heart ascends is above, from the man. Also in this way, my brethren, it may be said, that if it ascended into the heart of John, (if in any way this can be said,) it only in so far forth ascended into the heart of John, as John himself was not man. In what sense was not man?' In so far as he had begun to be an angel. For all saints are angels, seeing they are God's messengers. Wherefore, to carnal and natural men who are not able to perceive the things which be of God, what saith the Apostle? For whereas ye say, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, are ye not men? What did he want to make them, when he put it to Serm. them as a reproach that they were men? Would ye know what 166, 2. he wanted to make them? Hear it in the Psalms: I have Ps.82,6. said, Ye are Gods, and all of you children of the Most High. Hereunto then doth God call us, that we be not men. Howbeit, then only shall it be good for us that we be not men, when first we acknowledge ourselves men, that is, that to that high estate we may rise from humility: lest, counting ourselves to be something, when we are nothing, we not only do not get what we are not, but also lose what we are.

5. So then, of these mountains was John also, who said, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This Mountain had received peace; he was contemplating the Godhead of the Word. What a mountain was this! how highly exalted! He had ascended beyond all the mountain-tops of the earth, he had ascended beyond all the fields of the sky; ascended beyond all the heights of the stars; ascended beyond all the choirs and legions of the Angels. For unless he first ascended beyond all created beings, he could not reach the presence of Him by Whom all things were made. You can form no 1 Cor. 3, 4. See Vulg. Nonne homines estis? Marg. carnales.


Of these Mountains was John the Evangelist.


HOMIL. Conception how great that ascent was, unless you consider the height which he reached. Do you ask concerning the heavens and the earth? They were made. Do you ask concerning the things that are in the heavens and the earth? Much more, of course, were these made also. Do you ask concerning spiritual beings, angels, archangels, thrones, dominions, powers, principalities? even these likewise were made. For the Psalmist, after enumerating all these, concludes, Ps. 148, He spake, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created. If He spake, and they were made, it was by the Word they were made; and if they were made by the Word, then the heart of John could not have reached to that of which he spake, In the beginning was the Word,


and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, unless



S. Aug. he had ascended beyond all things that were made by the 293, 5. Word. What a mountain then was this! how holy! how highly exalted among those mountains, which to the intent that the hills might receive righteousness, received peace for the people of God!


6. What if John, brethren, be one of those very mountains, Ps. 121, concerning which we sang just now, I have lift up mine eyes unto the mountains, from whence help shall come to me. Therefore, my brethren, if ye wish to understand, lift up your eyes to that mountain, i. e. raise yourselves up to the Evangelist, raise yourselves up to his meaning. But seeing that these mountains receive peace, and that he cannot have peace, whose hope is placed in man, take heed, that, in raising your eyes to the mountain, you do not place your hope in man: but while you say, I have lift up mine eyes unto the mountains, from whence help shall come to me, be Ps. 121, sure you add immediately, My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. Let us then lift up our eyes unto the mountains, from whence our help shall come: only, it is not the mountains in which our hope is to be placed; for the mountains do but receive what they may minister to us; in Him therefore, from Whom the mountains themselves do receive, in Him must our hope be placed. When we lift up our eyes to the Scriptures, (seeing that the Scriptures were 2 Cor. ministered by men,) we lift up our eyes to the mountains,


3, 3.

from whence our help shall come; still however, forasmuch


The Light they shine by, not their own :

I. 1–5.
John 1,


as they by whom the Scriptures were written were men, the JOHN light by which they shone was not their own light; He was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh 9. into the world. John the Baptist who said, I am not John 1, the Christ, he also was a Mountain. And he, lest any, placing their confidence in the mountain, should fall from Him by whose light the mountain shone, confessed and said, Since of His fulness have all we received. When therefore John 1, thou sayest, I have lift up mine eyes to the mountains, from whence help shall come to me, take heed that thou ascribe not to the mountains the help which thou obtainest: but go on to say, My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.


7. So then, brethren, to this end let me have reminded you of these things, that ye may understand, that when with upraised hearts you were listening to the Scriptures, while the Gospel was sounding forth those words, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, &c. you were then lifting up your eyes to the mountains. For this would never have even entered your thoughts, if the mountains had not said it. So that it is from the mountains your help hath come, that you should so much as hear this. Nevertheless, you cannot yet understand what you have heard. You must call for help upon the Lord, which made heaven and earth. For the mountains were enabled to speak, but not of themselves to enlighten, seeing they themselves were enlightened likewise by hearing. It was from this source, that he received who spoke these words, even John, brethren, who lay upon the Lord's breast, and from the Lord's breast drank in John13, the instruction, which he was afterwards, that we might drink 25. also, to set before us. But that which he set before us was words. The meaning of those words thou must fetch from that same fountain from which he drank who set them before thee. So that thou must lift up thine eyes to the mountains, from whence thy help shall come, to the intent that from them thou mayest receive the chalice, so to speak, i. e. the word which is given thee to drink; and yet, forasmuch as thy help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth, that thou mayest fill thy breast from the same fountain, from which the Evangelist filled his. For this was thy meaning when thou saidst, My help cometh from the Lord, which made

Look above them to the source of Light.


HOMIL. heaven and earth. Let him therefore fill his breast who can. This is what I mean, brethren; let each lift up his heart, in such wise as he sees the same to be qualified for receiving, and let him receive what is said. But you will answer, perhaps, that I am more immediately present to you than God. God forbid. God is, by much, more immediately present. I am but visible to your eyes: God holds His court in your consciences. To me then turn your ears, to God your hearts, that so you may fill both. Behold! your eyes and your bodily senses you lift up to us, and yet not to us, for we are not of those mountains, but to the Gospel, to the Evangelist himself; but your hearts, lift ye them up to the Lord, that they may be filled. Let each too so lift up his heart, that he takes good heed what it is he lifts up, and whither. What did I mean when I said, "What he lifts up, and whither?” This is what I meant: Let him look well what kind of a heart he lifts up, for it is to the Lord he lifts it up; lest, being weighed down by a load of fleshly pleasure, it fall before it be raised. But does each feel conscious that the flesh is a weight which he is obliged to carry? Then let him use all his efforts to purify, by continence, that which Matt. 5, he would lift up to God. For, Blessed are the pure in


heart, for they shall see God.

8. Consider now: what profiteth it us that those words. sounded in our ears, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God? We too uttered words when we spoke. Was the Word which was with God like one of these? Did not our words which we uttered sound and pass away? Did then God's Word sound, and then cease to be? How then were by that Word all things made, and without It was nothing made? How by that Word is governed and sustained what by It was created, if It sounded and passed away? What sort of


Word then must that be, which both is spoken, and yet S. Aug. does not pass away? Let me intreat your attention, be288.§.3, loved: it is a mighty subject. By being spoken day after day, words have become cheap to us, because the words 19, 20. that sound and pass away have thereby become cheap, and

4. de


"How dare those eyes upon a Bible look,

"Much less towards God, whose lust is all their book ?"
Herbert's Poems, Church Porch.

The articulate Word, and immanent Word.

I. 1-5.

seem to be nothing other than words. There is a Word JOHN also in the man himself, which remains and abides within; for the sound proceeds from the mouth: the Word which is verily after a spiritual sort spoken, is that whereof thou art made conscious by the sound, not the mere sound. Observe: when I say, "God;" this is a word. What a little word it is! Three letters and one syllable! Is this all that God is, three letters and one syllable? Or, for as cheap as this is, so costly is That which in them is signified? What passed in thy heart, when thou heardest, "GOD?" What passed in my heart when I pronounced " GOD?" We thought of a mighty and most perfect essence, an essence which transcends every creature subject to change, be it of flesh or be it of soul. And if I should ask thee; Is God liable to change, or is He not? Thou wouldest straightway make answer; God forbid that I should either believe or think that God is liable to change. God is unchangeable. The soul, weak though it may be, and peradventure still carnal, could not answer me otherwise than that God is unchange able. But all creatures are liable to change. How was it then that the nature of that Being Who transcends all creatures flashed at once upon thy mind, so that thou madest answer confidently and unhesitatingly, God is unchangeable? What then is that in thy heart, when thou conceivest of an essence, living, everlasting, almighty, infinite, present every where, whole every where, confined no where? when thou conceivest these things, this is the word relating to God in thy heart. But is this the sound which consists of three letters and one syllable? So then, those words which are spoken, and pass away, are sounds, are letters, are syllables. The word which sounds passes away; but that word which the sound signified, which was within the speaker, as he thought thereon, and within the hearer, while apprehending it, that word remains still, when the sounds have passed away.



9. Now turn thy attention to that WORD. If thou canst have a word in thy heart, as it were a design or idea1 engen-1 considered in thy mind, thy mind giving birth to the design, and the design being in thy mind, the offspring, so to speak, of thy mind, the child of thy heart-For first, the heart gives birth to an idea, suppose, of constructing some work of art, of

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