Sermon by St. Augustine the Bishop
The Lord Jesus addressed a discourse to his disciples after the Last Supper. This was on the very eve of his passion, when he was, as it were, about to go away and leave them, so far as his bodily presence was concerned, albeit as touching his spiritual presence, he is with us always, even unto the end of the world. In that discourse he exhorted them to bear patiently the persecution of wicked men. These men he called The World. I have chosen you, saith he, out of the world. It was from this world that he hath chosen the very disciples themselves, and this fact he pointeth out to them, so that they might know that it was by the grace of God that they were what they were, whereas it was by their own sins that they had been what they had been.
If they have persecuted me, saith he, they will also persecute you. Here he plainly pointeth to those Jews who were the persecutors both of himself and of his disciples; so as to make clear that they which persecute his holy ones are as much citizens of the world which he had condemned, as they which persecuted himself. He saith: They know not him that sent me: and yet again: They have hated both me and my Father: that is to say, both the Sender and the Sent (of all which things we have already treated in other sermons), and with that he came at length to say: That the word might be fulfilled that is written in their Law: They hated me without a cause.
Then saith the Lord, as though in continuation: But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me; and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. What connection hath this with the foregoing words? Which words are: Now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father; but this cometh to pass that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their Law, They hated me without a cause. Is not this the connection? to wit: When the Comforter is come, even the Spirit of Truth, he will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and judgment. That is to say, this stirring up of conviction in men's hearts is the testimony of the Spirit of Truth unto all such as have both seen and hated both God the Son and God the Father. Yea, for some there were who had thus seen, and were still in hatred, until the testimony of the Comforter converted them to the Faith which worketh by love.