Ver 1. I am the true vine. Christ, says S. Aug. speaks of himself, as man, when he compares himself to a vine, his disciples to the branches, and his Father to the husbandman. He himself, as God, is also the husbandman.
--- Without me, you can do nothing, that shall be meritorious of a reward in heaven. Wi.
--- These words are supposed to have been spoken by our Saviour, when on the road, as he was going from the house, where he had supped, to the garden of Olives. It was then about midnight. Calmet. — Though many other interpreters think they were spoken before Jesus Christ left the house.
Ver. 2. He here shews, that the virtuous themselves stand in need of the help of the husbandman; therefore the Almighty sends them tribulations, and temptations, that they may be cleansed, and rendered firm, like the vine, which, the more it is pruned, the more vigorous are its shoots. S. Chrys. hom. lxxv. in Joan.
Ver. 3. See supra xiii. 10.
Ver. 7. On account of our being in this world, we sometimes ask for that, which is not expedient for us. But these things will not be granted us, if we remain in Christ, who never grants us any thing, unless it be profitable to us. S. Aug. tract. 81. in Joan.
--- If we abide in Christ, by a lively faith, and his words abide in us by a lively, ardent charity, which can make us produce the fruits of good works, all that we ask, will be granted us. V.
--- These conditional expressions, if you remain in the vine, if you keep my commandments, &c. give us to understand, that our perseverance and salvation are upon conditions, to be fulfilled by us.
--- S. Aug. de cor. & gra. c. 13.
Ver. 8. It is the glory of the husbandman, to see his vine well cultivated, and laden with fruit. And it is the glory of God, my Father, to see you filled with faith, charity, and good works, and to behold you usefully employed, in the conversion of others. Then will men, seeing your good works, and the fruit of your preaching, among all nations, glorify your heavenly Father, as the author of all these blessings. S. Matt. v. 16. Calmet.
Ver. 10. As I also have kept my Father's commandments. He still speaks of himself, as man. Wi.
--- This frequent admonition, of keeping the commandments, proveth, that a Christian's life consists not in faith only, but in good works. B.
Ver. 14. You are my friends. A wonderful condescension, says S. Aug. in our blessed Redeemer, who was God as well as man, to call such poor and sinful creatures, his friends; who, when we have done all we can, and ought, are still but unprofitable servants. I have called you my friends, because I have made known to you, &c. We can only understand these words, as S. Chrys. takes notice, of all things which they were capable of understanding, or which it was proper to communicate to them; for, as Christ tells them in the next chap. (v. 12.) I have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. Wi.
Ver. 16. O ineffable grace! For what were we, before Christ chose us, but wretched and abandoned creatures? Such we were; but now we are chosen, in order that we may become good by the grace of Him that hath chosen us. S. Aug. tract. 86. in Joan.
Ver. 18. If the world hate you. The wicked, unbelieving world, hate and persecute you, as they have done me; remember, that the servant must not desire to be treated better than his master. Wi.
Ver. 20. Here Christ predicts, that many will be deaf to the words of his Church, as they have neglected to attend to his precepts.
Ver. 22. They would not have sin, or would not be guilty of sin: that is, they might be excused, as to their not believing me to be their Messias: but after so many instructions, which I have given them, and so many, and such miracles done in their sight, which also were foretold of their Messias, they can have no excuse for their obstinate sin of unbelief. They have hated both me, and my Father: that is, by hating me, the true Son, who have one and the same nature with my Father, they have also hated him, though they pretend to honour him as God. See on this chap. S. Aug. (tract. 81.) and S. Chrys. (hom. lxxvi.) lat. edit. hom. lxxvii. in Joan. in the Greek.
Ver. 24. How can this be true, that Christ wrought greater wonders than any one else had ever done? We find recounted in the Old Testament, the miracles of Elias and Eliseus, who raised the dead to life, healed the sick, and brought down fire from heaven; of Moses, who afflicted Egypt with plagues, divided the Red Sea, for the passage of the Israelites, and brought water from the rock; of Josue, who stopped the waters of the Jordan, for the passage of the children of Israel, and in the battle of Gabaon, made the sun and moon stand still; in all which miracles, there appeared a greater manifestation of power, than in any of the miracles wrought by our Saviour, during his ministry. But to this may be answered, that the miracles of our Saviour were much more numerous than those of any of the saints of the Old Testament, even of Moses himself; particularly when we compare the few years which he preached, and manifested the glory of his Father by his miracles, with the long life of Moses: Christ did not preach full four years, whereas Moses governed the people forty years. Again, if the miracles of Jesus were not of so astonishing a nature, at least they always had for their object, the healing of the sick, and the good of the people; which the prophets have given us, as the distinguishing characteristics of the miracles of the Messias. Add to this, the ease and authority with which he performs them, which are most sensible proofs of their superiority. But what chiefly distinguishes his miracles, from those of the other saints, is, that he performed them in proof of his divinity, and of his mission, as the deliverer of Israel: whereas the prophets only perform miracles, as the ministers of the Lord, and as so many voices, which foretold the Messias. Besides, if the ancient saints could work miracles, they never could confer that power upon others, as Christ did upon his disciples, of which the Jews themselves were witnesses, in all the places whither Christ sent his disciples. We omit mentioning his resurrection, which at this time he had not performed, but had already foretold, and which was the greatest miracle that has ever been performed. Calmet.
Ver. 26. Whom I will send. The Holy Ghost is sent by the Son: therefore he proceedeth from him also, as from the Father; though the schismatical Greeks think differently; (B.) otherwise, as Dr. Challoner says, he could not be sent by the Son.
Ver. 27. You shall give. He vouchsafes to join together the testimony of the Holy Ghost, and of the apostles; that we may see the testimony of truth, jointly to consist in the Holy Ghost, and in the prelates of the Catholic Church. See Acts, xv. 28.