Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood ceased.
Read Chapter 8
Cornelius a Lapide
Ye are of your father the devil. "Not by descent but by imitation," says S. Augustine, quoting Ezek. xvi4; and adding, "The Jews, by imitating their impieties, found for themselves parents, not of whom to be born, but with whom they would be lost, by following their evil ways."
S. Epiphanius (Her38 , 40) by the devil in this place understands Judas Iscariot, whom our Lord also calls a devil. But the author of "Questions on the Old and New Testament" (apud S. Augustine) understands Cain. But it is certain that it must be taken literally to mean Lucifer. For the Jews in persecuting Jesus followed him as their father; "not by succession in the flesh, but in sin," says Ambrose (Lib. iv. in1oc.)
Ye are of, &c. "In order to kill Me." He explains that they are of the devil, by following his suggestion. S. Chrysostom says he speaks not of "works," but of desires (or lusts), showing that both lie and they greatly delighted in murders. For the devil has an ardent desire to destroy all men, both because he grudges them the glory from which he himself fell, but also to injure God, whom he hates as his torturer, and wishes to tear away men from Him whom He created in His own image, and called and predestinated to His own eternal grace and glory.
He was a murderer, &c. For as soon as Adam was created, Lucifer, the very same day through envy destroyed both him and all his posterity, by persuading him to eat of the forbidden fruit. And in like manner does he endeavour through you, 0 Jews, to kill Me, by Whom all men are to be redeemed from death. For he ever persists in his eager desire to destroy men, as the leopard and wolf, which feed on human flesh. He urged on Cain to kill Abel, and Joseph"s brethren to destine him to death. And even now instigates all murderers to commit their murders. And much more does he thirst for the death and destruction of souls, though bodily death is here more properly meant, for this it was they plotted against Christ. Euthymius and S. Augustine (Contra Petib. ii13).
And abode not in the truth, i.e, in the integrity and perfection, the grace, righteousness, and sanctity in which he was created. True means pure and unadulterated. As Nathaniel is called "a true Israelite, in whom is no guile." Again "in truth" means in that which was his duty. In S. John , David, and Solomon "the truth" commonly means this (see John 3:21). There is a threefold truth, in heart, word, and deed. The truth of the heart is opposed to error; the truth of word is opposed to a lie, the truth of deed is when a man acts in accordance with what is practically right, and this is opposed to iniquity and sin. Now the devil did not stand in the truth because he did not persevere in what he ought to have done. He refused to be under God. He claimed to be His equal, a kind of second god, and rose up against Him through pride. Hence he fell from his state of grace, and was cast down to hell (see Isaiah 14:12). And so S. Chrysostom (Hom. liv.; S. Leo, Ser. de Quadr, and others). Hence (1.) S. Augustine (contr. Adimantum iv4), understands by the "truth," the law, meaning that the devil did not abide in the Law of God. Others by "truth" understand fidelity, or the obedience due to God as the Creator.
(2.) S. Irenus (v22 , 23) understands it to mean "veracity," as our Lord says below he is "a liar, and the father of it." Christ seems to charge the Jews with two faults, which they had learned from the devil, murder, and mendacity, and calumny.
(3.) Origen (Tom. xxiv.) understands it to mean "truth in practical matters," which Lucifer abandoned when he sinned by pride, which practically was a false step. This resulted from his not abiding in truth of Acts , and thus he departed from truth in heart and word, and thus by his lies deceived mankind.
Hence S. Augustine (de Civ. xi13) rightly infers that he was created in grace and righteousness, and that the Manichees were wrong in asserting that he was naturally wicked or created by an evil god. They inferred this wrongly from1John iii, "The devil sinneth from the beginning." The true meaning of this passage is explained in loco.
Because there is no truth in him. Neither in thought, word, or deed, for those three kinds of truth have a sisterly relation to each other. But here "truth" rather signifies veracity.
When he speaketh a lie, &c. When he fell from his original beauty as an angel and became a hideous demon, it was innate in him to deceive; his special and proper business was to lie, and to this he entirely devotes himself.
(2.) "Of his own," means of his own special invention. But men lie from imitating him, and by his suggestion.
(3.) "Of his own," from his own inward delight in it He delights in it, as a thief in his thefts.
For he is a liar. From his constant habit of lying, he is altogether made up of lies. And if he ever speaks truth, it is by compulsion, or else by means of truth to persuade men to what is false.
And the father of it. "His father," says Nonnus. The Cainian heretics understood the devil to mean Cain. But the Manicheans on S. Augustine"s authority (in loco) said that the devil had a father, even the evil god, and that both he and his son were liars. But I maintain that "of it" refers to the word "lie," which is understood in the term liar which occurs just before. And he is the father of a lie. (1.) Because he first invented the act of lying. (2.) Because he fashions and forms lies, as the potter moulds the clay. So S. Augustine and others. It is a Hebraism. Origen says, "The devil begot a lie. He was seduced by himself, and in this respect was worse, because others are deceived by him, whereas he is the author of his own deception." And S. Augustine, "Not every one that lies is a father of a lie, but he only who, like the devil, received it not from any other quarter."
And hence the devil is the father and author of heresies, and therefore heresiarchs have had a devil at their side who suggested their heresies, as well as arguments to uphold them. So Luther confessed of himself. Such a suggester had Arius, Eunomius, Calvin, &c. The Apostle (1Tim. iv1) speaks of heresies as "doctrines of devils" (see notes in loco).