He indeed did not baptize, but they who carried the news, desiring to excite their hearers to envy, so reported. “Wherefore then ‘departed’ He?” Not from fear, but to take away their malice, and to soften their envy. He was indeed able to restrain them when they came against Him, but this He would not do continually, that the Dispensation of the Flesh might not be disbelieved. For had He often been seized and escaped, this would have been suspected by many; therefore for the most part, He rather orders matters after the manner of a man. And as He desired it to be believed that He was God, so also that, being God, He bore the flesh; therefore even after the Resurrection, He said to the disciple, “Handle Me and see, for a spirit has not flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39); therefore also He rebuked Peter when he said, “Be it far from You, this shall not be unto you.” (Matthew 16:22) So much was this matter an object of care to Him.
For this is no small part of the doctrines of the Church; it is the chief point of the salvation wrought for us; by which all has been brought to pass, and has had success, for it was thus that the bonds of death were loosed, sin taken away, and the curse abolished, and ten thousand Blessings introduced into our life. And therefore He especially desired that the Dispensation should be believed, as having been the root and fountain of innumerable goods to us. Yet while acting thus in regard of His Humanity, He did not allow His Divinity to be overcast. And so, after His departure He again employed the same language as before. For He went not away into Galilee simply, but in order to effect certain important matters, those among the Samaritans; nor did He dispense these matters simply, but with the wisdom that belonged to Him, and so as not to leave to the Jews any pretense even of a shameless excuse for themselves.