In his “Harmony” Augustine recognizes a distinction between John and the Synoptic Gospels. The Synoptics are engaged for the most part with things Jesus did “through the vehicle of the flesh of man and after a temporal fashion.”
Finally, Augustine reflects on the how the four Gospels have been figuratively represented: Matthew as lion, Mark as man, Luke as calf, and John as eagle. He notes that Matthew is appropriately the lion, since he presents the kingly character of Christ. Luke is rightly the calf "in reference to the pre-eminent sacrifice made by the priest." Mark simply presents Christ as a man. "Whereas John, on the other hand, soars like an eagle above the clouds of human infirmity, and gazes upon the light of the unchangeable truth with those keenest and steadiest eyes of the heart."