THE GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN – Introduction and Exposition, Volume I- presented by ArchBishop Uwe AE. Rosenkranz

THE GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN

Introduction and Exposition

by REV. H. R. REYNOLDS, D.D.

president, and professor of theology, cheshunt college; fellow of university college, london

Homiletics:

By REV. PROF. T. CROSKERY, D.D.

late professor of systematic theology, magee college, londonderry

Homilies by Various Authors:

REV. PROF. J. R. THOMSON, M.A.

REV. B. THOMAS

REV. D. YOUNG, B.A.

REV. GEORGE BROWN, B.A.

Vol. I

NEW EDITION

FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY

London and New York

THE

Pulpit Commentary

EDITED BY THE

VERY REV. H. D. M. SPENCE, D.D.

Dean of Gloucester

And by the

REV. JOSEPH S. EXELL, M.A.

CONTENTS OF THE INTRODUCTION

I. Preliminary Statement of the Difficulties of the Problem. pp. iii–xii.

II. The Details of the Dispute concerning the Authorship of the Fourth Gospel. pp. xii–xviii.

III. The External Evidences of the Early Existence of the Four Gospels. pp. xviii–xxv.

1. General observations on the nature of the evidence. pp. xviii., xix.

2. Proof that during the fourth quarter of the second century the four Gospels, as we now possess them, were held in universal respect throughout the Christian Church. (1) Irenæus. (2) Theophilus. (3) Clemens Alexandrinus. (4) Tertullian. (5) Marcion. pp. xix–xxii.

3. Proof that Justin Martyr, before the close of the second quarter of the century, utilized the four Gospels. pp. xxii–xxv.

IV. The Specific External Evidence for the Early Existence of the Fourth Gospel. pp. xxv–xxxvii.

1. Justin Martyr. Answer to objections. pp. xxv–xxix.

2. Confirmatory evidence linking the documents known to Justin with those shown to be in the hands of Irenæus. (1) Heracleon. (2) Tatian’s ‘Diatessaron.’ (3) The Muratorian Fragment on the Canon. (4) Papias. pp. xxix–xxxiv.

3. The testimony of the apostolic Fathers. (1) Polycarp. (2) Clemens Romanus and Barnabas. (3) Shepherd of Hermas. (4) The so-called Second Epistle of Clemens. (5) The Ignatian letters. (6) The letter to Diognetus. (7) The Didache. pp. xxxiv–xxxvii.

V. Further Testimonies from outside the Church and from Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphic Literature. pp. xlii–xlvii.

1. Celsus. 2. Testament of the XII. Patriarchs. 3. Clementine Homilies. 4. Montanus and Montanism. 5. Marcion. 6. Valentinus. 7. Basilides and his followers. 8. The Ophites. 9. General conclusion from the evidence as a whole.

VI. The Canonicity of the Fourth Gospel. p. xliii.

VII. The Internal Evidence of the Authorship of the Fourth Gospel. pp. xliii–lxxxvii.

1. The author must have been a Jew. Answer to objections. pp. xliii–xlvi.

2. The author must have been a Palestinian Jew. Discussion of the relation of the Fourth Gospel to the philosophy of Philo. pp. xlvi–lii.

3. The author was an eye-witness of much that he describes, and an intimate acquaintance of the disciples of Jesus. pp. lii., liii.

4. The author represents himself as one of the disciples whom Jesus loves. This disciple, by constructive evidence, shown to be John the son of Zebedee. pp. liii–lv.

5. A comparison of the character of the author derived from the Gospel itself, with the hints of the character of the son of Zebedee given in other literature. (1) The “John” of the synoptists. (2) The “John” of the Acts of the Apostles and of the Epistle to the Galatians. (3) The author of the three Epistles which bear traditionally the name of John compared with the author of the Gospel. (4) A comparison between the author of the Fourth Gospel and the author of the Apocalypse. pp. lxvi–lxxxvii. (a) The Johannine authorship of the Apocalypse. (α) Internal evidence. (β) External evidence. (b) The phenomena of divergence and resemblance between the Apocalypse and the Fourth Gospel. (α) The grammatical and lexical differences. (β) The grammatical and lexical resemblances. (γ) The structure of the two books. (δ) The theological divergences and resemblances. pp. lv–lxxxvii.

VIII. The General Relation between the Synoptic Gospels and the Fourth Gospel. pp. lxxxviii–cxxviii.

A. General statement of the discrepancies. Examination in detail, of: 1. The scene of our Lord’s ministry. 2. The length of our Lord’s ministry. 3. The day of our Lord’s death. 4. The omissions of the synoptists. pp. lxxxviii–xcvii.

B. The coincidences with the Fourth Gospel. pp. xcvii–cxix. 1. With reference to main facts. 2. Coincidental reference in the Fourth Gospel to matters related in detail in synoptic Gospels. (1) Facts. (2) Coincidental reference to matters differently specified in the Fourth Gospel, including omissions in the Fourth Gospel of memorable events. Omission of: (a) The temptation of our Lord. pp. c–ciii. (b) The Transfiguration. pp. ciii., civ. (c) The institution of the Lord’s Supper. pp. cv., cvi. (d) The agony in the garden. pp. cvi., cvii. (e) The Ascension. pp. cvii., cviii. (3) Allusions to features of teaching and imagery already familiar. p. cviii. (4) Subtle indications of identity of character. pp. cix–cxii. (5) The portraitures of the Fourth Gospel. (a) The mother of Jesus. (b) John the Baptist. (c) Simon Peter. (d) Caiaphas and Pilate. pp. cxii–cxix.

C. Answer to objections based on special discrepancies and characteristics. 1. The supposed exaggeration of the supernatural. 2. The non-development of the character of Jesus. 3. The supposed presence of Gnostic elements in the Fourth Gospel. 4. The style and diction of the Fourth Gospel. 5. The discourses of the Fourth Gospel. pp. cxix–cxxviii.

IX. The Teaching of the Fourth Gospel. pp. cxxviii–cl.

1. Johannine teaching with reference to the Godhead. (1) A Spirit. (2) The Father. (3) The Father and the Son. (4) God and the Logos. (5) The Logos made flesh—the humanity of Jesus. (6) The Son of God, the Christ, the Son of man. (7) The Spirit, the Paraclete; the Triunity. pp. cxxviii–cxxxvi.

2. The world. (1) The world as the creature of God. (2) The world of men considered apart from God and hostile to God. (3) The prince of this world. pp. cxxxvi–cxxxix.

3. The salvation of the world. (1) The Saviour himself and the world’s need. (2) The nature of salvation. (a) Life to the non-living and dead. (b) Light to the darkened—a Sun and eyesight. (c) Love to the lost, to condemned, and to the whole world. (3) The means taken by the Light, Life, and Love to effect the illumination, resurrection, and salvation of the world of men. (a) The shining of the Light. (b) The sacrificial death. (c) The rising again. (d) The Paraclete. (4) The method of appropriating the Life, Light, Love. (a) Faith in his Name. (b) Faith in and following of Jesus, with all its consequences. (α) Emancipation. (β) Love to Christ and one another. (γ) Worship. (δ) Assurance. (ε) Vision of the Father. (ζ) Union with the Divine humanity. (η;) Eternal glory. pp. cxl–cxlix.

4. The future life and judgment of the world. pp. cxlix., cl.

5. The founding and training of the Church. p. cl.

X. The Arrangement of the Contents of the Fourth Gospel. pp. cl–clx.

History of the classification of subject-matter. The arrangement followed in the Exposition.

XI. Reference to Literature and Text. pp. clx, clxi.

INTRODUCTION

to the study of the

Gospel According To St. John

I. Preliminary Statement of the Problem

1. Evolution throws light on a myriad phenomena, but around each of them there stretches a measureless circumference of impenetrable darkness. Science, with all its methods, is perfectly powerless to bridge the abyss between “nothing” and “something;” between eternal “stillness” and “motion;” between non-living “things” and “life;” between “physical phenomena” and “mental impressions;” between “logical processes” and “real inspirations.”

We are face to face with mysteries everywhere, but our great men furnish our profoundest problems. The science of their antecedents and their environment does not solve these problems. Criticism may show that some peculiarities which we thought unique have been noticed elsewhere; but the greatest men issue from the furnace of historical inquiry unsinged and inexplicable.

We are quite ready to concede that some of the great “figures” of history, who to our unassisted gaze have seemed like stars apart, when covered by the object-glass of the modern telescopic inquirer are resolved into clusters of stars. The Greek Sesostris thus becomes, on close inquiry, several Pharaohs rolled into one. The doubtful dignity assigned to Aristotle in mediæval legend, and the incongruous functions attributed to Virgil, have been discredited by criticism. Mists have gathered round the personality of Buddha, of Zerdusht, and Mohammed, which the higher criticism has done much to pierce. We do not deny that there are composite characters even in the sacred history, who, when closely examined, lose some of the mythical adornment with which they have been invested by the piety of three thousand years.

2. What is true of men is also true of their work. The ‘Analects’ of Confucius are now known not to have been the sole product of his brain. No one dares attribute all the discourses of Buddha to his own lips. We cannot regard all the Hebrew Psalter as the work of David, and many cautious scholars treat the visions of Isaiah as a collection of oracles issuing at different periods from the prophetic heart of Israel.

Notwithstanding these concessions, we know that some men and some work defy the critical analysis. The more we know of some men so much the greater becomes their wondrous personality. The blending of apparently contradictory elements is so complete that they cannot be analyzed or torn asunder; e.g. our own Alfred comes out at last from the crucible, minstrel and king, theologian and lawgiver, warrior and saint.

There are, moreover, certain works which, though they represent the age in which they were produced, and many lines of antecedent thought, yet are so dominated by the creative energies of master minds that they cannot be regarded as the patchwork of many brains and remote ages. This conclusion may present its own peculiar difficulty, but, instead of sacrificing a great man or a unique word at the shrine of psychologic law, we have either to modify our notion of the law in order to take in this new case, or else to allow that it passes beyond our law altogether.

3. Now we have before us here a unique work and a presumed author. The more the Fourth Gospel has been focussed in the light of criticism, the more convinced do we become that it is the work of one extraordinary mind. We cannot tear it to pieces and say, “This paragraph belongs to one decade, and that to another; this to Jerusalem, and that to Alexandria; this to Galilee, and that to Ephesus.” Whenever or by whomsoever this Gospel was produced, it was fashioned by one strangely gifted man. On this the bulk of critics are agreed.

The question, then, arises—Is it a record, or is it a dream? Is it the testimony of an eye-witness and ear-witness to certain events, or is it the speculation of a philosopher concerning some analogous events? Is it a page of biography, or is it the artistic clothing of an idea? Is it of priceless value as the outpouring on the ear of an intimate friend of the inner life and consciousness of One whom the writer did not hesitate to call the incarnate Word of God, or is it the poetic and artistic exposition of a reverence which knew no bounds, but did not hesitate to create facts and imagine teachings in harmony with such a subtle and stupendous idea as that of the Son of God who had taken a perfect humanity up into his own consciousness?

Answers have been given in the affirmative to each of these alternatives. The problem, however, is further complicated because the presumed author is almost certainly proven to be the author of another work of strangely different character. The style, motive, mental position, and attitude of the Apocalyptic seer of Patmos seem widely diverse from those of the disciple whom Jesus loved. If he who saw the Lord on the Lake of Galilee, and heard his dying cry upon the cross, beheld him afterwards in the midst of the throne of God, his experience was momentous and unique; and if the same eyes that looked into the soul of Jesus till they saw the heavenly Father there, also saw in vision the small and great, the quick and dead, come to his eternal judgment; if he who described the washing of the disciples’ feet actually penned the fall of “Babylon the Great;”—then in this “author” we have one of the most astounding phenomena in the history of humanity. His character, functions, and powers, by their spread, their compass, and their intensity, become almost as wonderful a presentment to our thought as that of the great theme of all his meditations. The personality of John becomes almost as great a puzzle to scientific history as the personality of Jesus.

Modern methods of determining authorship or of repudiating authorship had not been completed when the sublime personality of “John the divine” took possession of the Christian consciousness. The early ages were uncritical; yet they were not blind to the difficulties involved in recognizing the unity of the author of the Fourth Gospel and of the Apocalypse. Some of these lie upon the surface, and we find that Dionysius of Alexandria, in a passage preserved by Eusebius (‘Hist. Eccl.,’ vii. 10, 24, 25), felt as keenly as any modern critic does the contrasts of method, style, theme, that the two documents offer to a cursory gaze (see section VII. 5. (4) of these prolegomena). Yet these scepticisms took no serious hold upon the mind of Christendom. Where they were most acutely realized the shadow of doubt fell rather upon the Apocalypse than upon the Gospel.

4. The striking difference, however, between the Divine theme of the Gospel and Epistles on the one side, and that of the world-conquering Prince of the kings of the earth on the other, is mysteriously confirmed by the traditions which have gathered round the venerable name of John. Thus Eusebius (‘Hist. Eccl.,’ iii. 28) tells us that John was to the close of his life a man of fiery enthusiasm and severe judgment on those that blasphemed and resisted the authority of the Lord; for once, “having entered a bath to wash, but ascertaining that Cerinthus was within, he leaped out of the place and fled from the door, not enduring to enter under the same roof with him, and exhorted those with him to do the same, saying, ‘Let us flee, lest the bath fall in, as long as Cerinthus, that enemy of the truth, is within’ ” (cf. here 1 and 2 Epistles of John). Here is the Boanerges who would call down fire from heaven upon those Samaritans who were unmindful of their obligations to the Saviour of the world; and here also is the author of the visions of the Apocalypse. But tradition also preserved the exquisite feature of character which induced him to say on all occasions to those who gathered round him, “Little children. love one another; if you do this, all is done.”

Clemens Alexandrinus preserved a story which he declares is no fiction, but a veritable fact (Eusebius, ‘Hist. Eccl.,’ iii. 23), which blends the apostle of love with the enthusiasm against wrong, and helps one to feel the reality of the nature, composite though it might be, which could have produced the two most wonderful books in the world.

5. For sixteen hundred years every sentence attributed to him was searched and compared with every other sentence or trait which had floated down the ages, and these had fitted themselves each to each, so that one of the sublimest ideals of human life sat upon the verge of time, and held in hand the veil which hides the deepest things of God and of eternity from mortal gaze. Devotion and insight felt that because John had seen the family at Bethany, and had witnessed the beginnings of faith in Samaria, he was not unlikely to wish to call down fire from heaven upon those Samaritans who would not receive the Christ—whom himself loved with silent passion—when he came on earth to claim his own. Historic imagination realized that he who had seen the Lamb in the midst of the throne was not unlikely to have recorded among his earliest memories the trumpet-cry of the Baptist, or the adoring exclamations of Nathanael, of Peter, and of Thomas. The synoptic Gospels as well as the Fourth Gospel are all alike pervaded by the august but silent presence of the disciple whom Jesus loved.

During sixteen hundred years the Apocalyptist and the author of the Fourth Gospel were believed mutually to explain and complement one another. The eagle flew through the expanse of heaven on double pinion borne.

“Sed Joannes, alâ binâ

Caritatis, aquilinâ

Formâ fertur in divine

Puriori lumine,”

said Adam of St. Victor; and in still more striking words, blending the two lines of John’s experience and character, he sang in memorable words—

“Volat avis sine metâ

Quo nec vates nec propheta

Evolavit altius;

Tam implenda, quam impleta,

Nunquam vidit tot secreta

Purus homo purius.”

6. The incompatibilities of tradition and of authorship were easily solved by the unique experiences of this mighty spirit. If it were true that John listened to the heart of Jesus and heard the pulsations of eternal love, looked also into the unseen and saw the visions of God, theoretical difficulties vanish. Concede the facts as they stand, and there is no psychological or historical problem awaiting our anxious solution. But, on the other hand, if, as many modern critics tell us, the supernatural be incredible; if the Incarnation be a delusion; if inspiration and the vision of unseen things be unthinkable; if Christ did not raise Lazarus from the dead, nor offer the intercessory prayer, but was only supposed to have done so; if the Transfiguration were a dream, and the agony in the garden a nightmare; if the Syrian sun still looks on the unknown grave of the Crucified; if no new commencement of our humanity began on that Easter morning; if the entire story of the Resurrection, of Pentecost, and Patmos be pure fiction of even pious minds; then I am free to confess the literary problem is most perplexing. If the Fourth Gospel be a theological romance, or a poetical prose drama of a philosophical mind intent on pressing certain conclusions on a hostile school of thought; if the Epistles are ecclesiastical treatises, and are arranged to produce some carefully calculated results entirely different from their primâ facie significance; and if the Apocalypse be a rhetorical manifesto, a political cryptogram, a poem of one who deliberately chose this apocalyptic method of presenting his ideas;—then the critics may be right. The same mind, out of the depths of its own moral self-consciousness, without any facts to rest upon or any visions to help it, never did produce the two documents. Then the few references in the synoptic Gospels to the supposed writer need not refer either to the author of the Fourth Gospel or to the author of the Apocalypse. The problem is then insoluble. We should have nothing wherewith to account for the obvious literary phenomena except the unfathomable consciousness of an unknown individual. If the Fourth Gospel be nothing but an invention, a subjective creation, without historic basis or conviction; and if the Apocalypse be a political manifesto, and answers to no objective revelation;—then the authorship of the two documents, notwithstanding remarkable coincidences between them, cannot be referred to one and the same individual.

7. Let us, for the sake of argument, suppose, however, that the Christ of the synoptic Gospels is an objective reality, and that the fisherman John (a near relative of Jesus) was one of his earliest disciples; that he did come into the closest intimacy with his Master, saw his greatest signs of power, his deepest humiliation, his tragic death; that John was one of the witnesses of his resurrection; that he saw his Master assume a new humanity, the same, yet not the same, and in that supernal vesture of his Divine majesty ascend into the heavens and vanish in the light. Let us suppose that this reticent but yet passionately loving man became from that moment profoundly impressed with the belief that the Divine Spirit which was in his Lord came forth from heaven, and, by its mighty working, did produce a new and sacred fellowship which, as the months and years rolled on, became the most notable fact to him, and was obviously bidding fair to move, to change, to revolutionize, the whole world. If this were so, there is no difficulty in the supposition that he who had shone upon the dazzled eyes of the disciples with a glory surpassing that of the sun should, at some subsequent epoch in the apostle’s life, when the new society had been suffering from grievous failures and cruel persecution, have favoured him with veritable assurances that his Master was indeed the “Prince of the kings of the earth,” the “Lamb in the midst of the throne,” the human but Divine Lord of all men, and the Consummator of the kingdom of God. On that supposition it is clear that a series of Divine and awful communications might be made to him, that these would be the symbolic clothing of great principles of providential rule, by which the old theocracy would merge eventually into a heavenly and eternal rule over all the kingdoms of men, over all forces visible and invisible; and definitely reveal, to him at least, the Eternal Now into which he calls all souls that believe his Word and have life through his Name.

Let us suppose that John described what it was given him to see, and uttered and wrote what had been spoken to him with a voice loud as the sound of many waters; that the heavens were veritably opened to him; that he saw the glory of God and the city of God; that he beheld in vision the judgements and the battle, the victory and the abiding blessedness, of the saints of God. The experiences through which he passed before these visions dazzled him had been unique and wonderful. He must have witnessed the marvellous rise of the Christian Church irresistibly forming itself into a visible and spiritual power, not only in Judaism, but embracing a multitude that no man could number, of every country, kindred, and tribe. The troubles of Jerusalem and Antioch and Ephesus must have entered into his soul. He must, on any hypothesis, have lived through the fall of Jerusalem, and suffered persecution of a bitter kind, a lifelong martyrdom; but he cherished an invincible faith in the ultimate triumph of the Christ. Apart from the great place which he himself took in the order of the Church and the creation of Christian ideas, we know that there were hundreds of thousands of men and women who believed in the Lord Jesus, and were ready to die rather than forego their loyal trust, not in a new method of life, but in the living, reigning Christ—the Man who was appointed to judge the world. Untold multitudes praised him, and were ready to confide in him as the Saviour of mankind, to imitate what they knew of the manner of his life, to eat his flesh and drink his blood, to take up his cross and follow him.

Through him Jews and Gentiles had access to the Father by the one Spirit which he, their Lord, had given (Eph. 2:18). Christ was the Power of God to the Jew, and the Wisdom of God of the Greek (1 Cor. 1:24). From Jerusalem to Rome men were praying in the name of the Lord Jesus, and saying, “Our Father … thy will be done, thy kingdom come, as in heaven so on earth” (Luke 11:2). The Beatitudes and the parables and the deeds of mercy wrought by Jesus were passing like watchwords from lip to lip. Such words as the following were among the divinest and the most sacred:”No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; and neither knoweth any man the Father, but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him;” “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:27, 28). The word of Christ dwelt in men richly in all spiritual understanding (Col. 3:16). They remembered his word that it was “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Ritualism and externality in religion were vanishing before the remembrance that he was “Lord of the sabbath” and “greater than the temple,” that his interpretation of the sabbath had emancipated men from the letter. The ministration of the Spirit, of righteousness, and of life was more glorious to men in Corinth and Philippi than the ministration of death (2 Cor. 3:7, etc.). The Christ’s death was the offering of the true Paschal Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7); and circumcision was regarded as the symbol only, not the reality, of religious life (Rom. 2:25). Faith in Christ made men of different nationalities fellow-heirs of a great inheritance. Because Christ had been raised from the dead, them also who sleep in Jesus would God bring in triumph. Those who believed would not be baffled by death; they would be “for ever with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:14). The intimate mystic fellowship between the glorified Lord and those who were united to him by “like precious faith” was set forth in wonderful imagery, and was read of eagerly by Corinthians, Ephesians, and Romans. Christ was the Head, they were the members of his body (1 Cor. 12:12, 27). Christ was the Husband, and the Church was his bride (Eph. 5:23). Christ was the Tree of life, into which the branches broken off might be engrafted (Rom. 11:24). All kinds of metaphors were used to indicate what he had done for humanity. Christ was currently believed to be the Foundation of the true temple of God (1 Cor. 3:11; Eph. 2:20); the Substance (body), of which the Jewish sabbath and ritual were the shadows (Col. 2:17). He was “the End of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. 10:4). “He died, rose, and lived again, that he might be Lord both of dead and living” (Rom. 14:9). He was set forth as a Propitiation (Rom. 3:25). God’s righteousness by faith was declared in the blood of Christ. He was a great Intercessor, realizing the very ideal of prayer (Rom. 8:34). He had appeared in the presence of God for us. He would judge the world. There was no condemnation for those who were in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1). He would overcome death and hell. He would save all men. He would consummate the kingdom. All things should be subjected to him. He would deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father, that God might be all in all (1 Cor. 15:22–28, 57).

In this brief outline of dominant and widely circulated ideas about Jesus, the main substance of which is drawn from uncontested authorities, we are often led, irrespective of the documents attributed to John, to ask in wonder and with trembling—Where and whence did these ideas arise? Notwithstanding all the search that has been made in Jewish literature, either in the sacred or apocryphal books, or in the Targums or Mishna or Gemaras, in classical or Oriental sources, or in Alexandrine theosophy or logosophy, we can find nothing sufficient to account for the profoundly rooted sentiments, the mutually understood commonplaces of the Christian faith, which appear to lie between the lines of almost every verse of the four undisputed Epistles, to say nothing of the rest of the Epistles of Paul, and of Peter, James, and Jude, and the writer to the Hebrews.

The profundity and compass of these ideas contrast very forcibly with the prevailing sentiment in the end of the first century or throughout the second century. We find, in the writings of the apostolic Fathers and apologists, much practical teaching, crude allegory, underlying suggestions of ecclesiastical platform, or of passionate desire for martyrdom, and the hint of much dreary controversy with active or incipient Gnosticism. A stream of gracious and ethical teaching flows apparently at the side of these writers. They made abundant use of the Old Testament, and they also quote from nearly all the books of the New Testament; but they differ from both in a manner truly surprising. There are no springs of living water bursting and bubbling through their words. Often when we sink a shaft into their verbose and wearisome iterations, the indications of some life-spring that we trusted might gush forth runs off and escapes us.

8. Some potent cause must account for the strength of spiritual life, the novelty and abundance or religious ideas and hopes, which confront us in the pages of the New Testament itself. The air we breathe braces our moral nature, and is intensely practical; but we cannot but feel the close nearness of the eternal world, a constant occupation of men’s minds with the idea of salvation from sin and of reconciliation with God the sense of union through Christ with the Father, large conceptions of humanity and of the Church, the realized presence of the Holy Spirit, a continual reference to Christ—to his character, to his death, and his blood, his resurrection, and ascension, his second advent, and the judgment of quick and dead. Now, if Christ be a reality, if the story of the synoptic Gospels can be trusted, very much is explained. The generation was living which had received from the lips of Jesus his own idea of himself, and had been face to face with God manifest in flesh. The sifting, burning words of the Master himself, circulating from home to home, from Church to Church—the living word of the Christ, the revelations made by him—were the life of the apostolic community. Men were eating this manna which came down from heaven. St. Paul’s Epistles are admitted to be the earliest fragments of what we call the New Testament; but they most obviously are built up on mutually accredited ideas—on the “word of the truth of the gospel,” which had spread with the rapidity of a prairie fire from Galilee to Antioch, from Galatia to Ephesus, from Babylon to Corinth, from Alexandria and Athens to Rome. Men, not “filled with new wine,” but saturated with the Spirit, were then moving from land to land; wheresoever they went they proclaimed the word, the royal majesty, the saving might, of the Lord Jesus Christ. According to our narratives, “John” was one of the pillars of the Church (Gal. 2:9), and was closely identified with Peter in the earliest victories of Christianity. He was one of the first preachers of the gospel of Christ; and his memories of the Master contributed at least to the views which St. Paul entertained of the Person and ministry, the death and resurrection, of the Lord Jesus Christ, the powers of faith, the functions of love, and the relation between the body of Christ and its spiritual and exalted Head.

May we not make the supposition that Jesus did speak to Nicodemns, to the Samaritaness, to the Jews, to the Galilæans, to the chief rulers, to the Greeks, to the company of the eleven, as the Fourth Gospel reports of him? Is it inconceivable and incredible that he who did, according to synoptic tradition, speak of himself as having the destiny of all men and nations in his hands, should also have said on another occasion that “the Father hath given all judgment into his hands;” that he who called upon all men to “repent,” should have described the Divine side of this great human experience as a regeneration by the Spirit; that he who raised other dead may have raised Lazarus from the grave; that he who said, “Come unto me,” should also have said, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”? Is not the astounding group and body of convictions concerning the place and power of the Lord Jesus best explained by the fact (not the mere supposition) that Jesus claimed a pre-existent glory with the Father, that he was one with the Father, and would be lifted up that he might draw all men to himself? Are not many events in the final week of the Lord’s life best explained by the additional facts referred to by the fourth evangelist? Is it not rational to suppose that some at least of the disciples perceived the blending of the Divine and human in the perfect life of their Lord, and felt overpowered by the greatness of his condescension and the unutterable sweetness of his sympathy? Without going into further details, let us for the sake of argument make the supposition that the eternal Son of God, who had been always the Life and Light of the world, did actually become man upon earth, and, by reason of his resurrection from the dead, became, as Paul said, “the first-fruits of them that sleep,” and “was declared with power to be the Son of God;” that this was not a mere after-thought, a dream of St. Paul, or a dogma of an Alexandrine sophist in the second century, but a positive event, which enacted itself in the life of Jesus;—then what more likely than that a disciple whom Jesus loved should have retained memories of his words and deeds which, when brought together in later years should have justified him in producing the proem of the Gospel? The supposition is that this same disciple should also have seen visions and dreamed dreams of Christ’s supernal splendour of power and rule, which justified and deepened his own older memories. These memories prepared him for the final conception of the place filled in the universe by the Lord Jesus Christ, and that conception enabled him to fall back upon the earthly manifestations of love and of power by which he had been brought into the fellowship of the Father, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

The assumption of the occurrence of the facts dissipates all difficulty about the unity of the man John. The fact that he had insight enough to receive and retain the discourses of Jesus, and the fact that he saw the fulness of grace and truth, the glory of the only begotten Son, in the humanity of Jesus, are consonant with another fact in his experience, that he should see the Shepherd of Israel, and the slain Lamb, and the Lion of the tribe of Judah open the book and loose its seals, and declare that, as “the King of kings and Lord of lords,” bearing the name of “The Word of God,” he should cast down all that resists his supreme power, and fulfil all the sublime hopes which were breathed in the solemn hush of the upper chamber.

9. Critical difficulties of a literary kind, arising from some of the peculiarities of the several documents, do in our opinion largely depend on the a priori supposition that such facts as these are incredible and unthinkable. The supposed impossibility of the Incarnation, the fancied incredibility of the Resurrection, and the consequent rejection of all events which are not in harmony with physical and psychologic laws of nature and man, compel the critics to find some explanation of the mysterious and puzzling phenomena which these documents reveal. If the unreality of both groups of facts be a foregone conclusion, the Gospel is a romance and the Apocalypse a dream; and such a romance and such a dream could scarcely have been fashioned in the same brain.

On the other hand, the admission of such facts, or the absence even of any prejudice against their possibility, reduces this discrepancy to very small limits.

If it was the beloved disciple who has given us this résumé of his deepest religious experience, then the evidence becomes almost irresistible that Jesus is the Son of God. If Jesus did say and do the things herein recorded, then everything in the universe, every event in time, every fact in the history of the world, is affected by it.

10. The Christian faith is not dependent upon the Gospel of John. All the strenuous, wonderful ministry and correspondence of St. Paul were completed thirty (perhaps forty) years before this Gospel saw the light. The Churches of Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, and Rome were founded and grew to great importance without having read the conversation with Nicodemus or the valedictory discourse. “The faith of Christ the Lord of glory” prevailed in the synagogues of Judæa, as we may reasonably argue from the encyclical letter of James the Just, the servant and brother of Jesus. Judas also, the brother of James, taught his fellow-disciples to “keep themselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” The Christian Church existed, and was the scene of anxious controversy, developing a new form of human society and a new code of ethics. This society was linked by subtle bands of common faith and hope; it was troubled by unauthorized intruders; it was consecrated by the blood of many martyrs; it possessed a “faith once for all delivered to the saints,” before the Fourth Gospel was indited. Christianity is not dependent upon it. The existence of this faith in a potent form, so subtle that it abashed philosophy and sapped the foundations of idolatry and honeycombed the Græco-Roman world, and did so before this document saw the light, is one of the best-attested facts of past history. The spread, the force, the vitality, of the Christian community, even in the days when the Epistle to Romans was written (say a.d. 58), is forced upon our minds by a perusal of any half-dozen verses of the Epistles to the Romans, Galatians, or Corinthians. The bare lines themselves bring a supernatural fact under our very eyes. That a born Jew should have preached in Corinth and Thessalonica the supreme majesty of a crucified Man—and this within twenty years of the death of Jesus—and that he should have been believed; and that ideas arising out of this stupendous claim should have created a new philosophy of heaven and earth, of morals and history; is undoubtedly one of the most astonishing facts in the history of the world. Modern criticism does not dispute the facts, and modern methods of research have not reduced them to the “natural order.” We are face to face with these facts now. They can never be abolished. They emit a lustre and exert a spiritual force wherever they are pondered. The simple facts themselves are, in the judgment of the most widely read students of ancient history, absolutely unique, and they have about them the same kind of almost weird wonderfulness which we should have experienced if we had seen and handled the Lord Jesus after he rose from the dead. We are compelled to believe, or at least to admit, this insoluble puzzle. History dates from this great crisis, from this commencement of a new world, this enthronement of a new Adam, this conscious victory of man over sin and death, this uplifting of the veil, this dawning of an eternal day. Christendom is practically independent of the Fourth Gospel and of the Apocalypse, so that if we were deprived of both, or if, what would be equally deplorable, we were robbed of all Confidence in either, we should still have an indefeasible inheritance, a faith that has made heroes and martyrs, a faith that works by love, a hope that will not make us ashamed.

It is a mistake to regard the Gospel of John as the acropolis or citadel of the Christian faith. The Christian Church was established; the new Jerusalem came down out of heaven; the great High Priest was seen to pass, with the blood of his own sacrifice, or in the merit of his vicarious death for the sins of the whole world, within the veil of the celestial temple; a new creation had begun; a new life was being lived; the Godhead was known to be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, by reason of the lessons involved in the Divinity and humanity of the Lord Jesus; before that Gospel opened the heart of Jesus, revealed the depths of the Father’s love, or made it obvious to babes in Christ, as well as to strong men, that he had been, was, and would for ever be, “the Way, the Truth, the Life.”

11. But, though the Gospel be not the acropolis of the faith or the key to the whole position occupied by Christianity, it is of incalculable preciousness. Some who have persuaded themselves that it could not have been produced by its presumed author, have been free to admit this much. On the supposition that it was produced at the close of the second century by a pious falsarius, as a dramatic theologic romance, with special reference to the controversies then prevailing, some advocates of this untenable hypothesis have been ready to admit that it reveals the deepest insight into the mind and heart of Jesus.

Thus F. C. Baur (‘Church History of First Three Centuries,’ i. 154, Eng. trans.) “cannot but admire the breadth of true feeling and the delicate are with which the evangelist has seized those elements which led from the standpoint of the Apocalypse to the freer and higher standpoint of the Gospel, so as to spiritualize the Apocalypse into the Gospel.”

Schenkel (‘A Sketch of the Character of Jesus: a Biblical Essay,’ p. 34, Eng. trans.) says that the author of the Fourth Gospel “has taken out of their historical framework, elevated into the region of eternal thought, and invested with transfiguring glory, a selection of reminiscences from the evangelical tradition of the public life of Jesus.… Without this Gospel the unfathomable depth, the inaccessible height, of the character of the Saviour of the world would be wanting to us, and his boundless influence, renewing all humanity, would for ever remain a mystery. He was not what that Gospel paints him actually, but he was that essentially.… The representation of the character of Jesus becomes eternally true only in the heavenly splendour of that light which streams forth from the Fourth Gospel.”

So Albrecht Thoma (‘Die Genesis des Johannes-Evangeliums ein Beitrag zu Seiner Auslegung Geschichte und Kritik‘ (1882), p. 879): “Nothing earlier than itself, nothing later, not the synoptic history, nor the doctrine of the Church, is necessary to give the worth to this Gospel which corresponds to its place in the canon. From its rich treasury the scribe instructed unto the kingdom of God can ever take things both new and old. The Spirit which works within the book—the Spirit of Christ—evermore will speak what he himself hears, and will make known things to come, and will glorify him for whose glorification this Gospel has been written.”

Holtzmann said (in Schenkel’s ‘Lexicon’ (1869), vol. ii.)—what he does not exactly repeat in his recent ‘Einleitung,’ though he would not deny it (1885)—”The most fundamental and far-reaching thoughts of the Fourth Gospel lie far beyond the second century and beyond the entire outlook of the Christian Church even to the present day.”

Testimonies like these might he indefinitely multiplied, and they call attention to the fact that very much of the most fundamental thought of the Gospel is absolutely verified by the Christian consciousness, by whomsoever it was first formulated, and at what time soever it was first recorded. E.g. we know, as absolutely true, that “whosoever willeth to do the will of the heavenly Father knows of the doctrine whether it be of God” or whether it merely issue from human lips; the true condemnation of sinners, viz. that “they love darkness rather than light,” is affirmed by every conscience. The need of heavenly birth is corroborated by every reason that is sufficiently introspective. The spirituality of God and of worship is as far ahead of the second century as of the first, and even of the nineteenth as of the second. The drawing of the Father to the Son, by the Son, so that none cometh to the Father except by this great revelation, is so profound a thought that it establishes itself in the spiritual life of advanced thinkers. The power of faith to heal, to invigorate, and cleanse; the mighty energies of holy love and self-sacrifice; the fact that the strongest, most energetic, love of man to man springs from common love to the Holiest and the Best; the victory of love over death; and the revelation of the spiritual and eternal to love; are among the highest of all truths. That all truth emancipates from bondage; that all believing souls will at length be one; and that the Spirit which was in Christ may and does become in the heart of the believer a well of living water, a source of life to others; are positions to lose which would impoverish human thought beyond remedy. Having been once set forth, these “open secrets” belong to humanity, and cannot be withdrawn. And so with very many other mighty utterances of this spiritual Gospel.

These concessions may, therefore, be fairly made without detracting from the flood of glory which is poured upon them when we find that the ideas themselves are referred by the evangelist to the Jesus whom he knew and loved, to whose heart he drew nearer than any other had done.

To return to the suggestions with which this section commenced. We may find it impossible to state all the reasons which intersect and blend in order to convince us that we have in this wonderful Gospel a veritable revelation of the Son of God. Psychological law will never reduce the conception to a merely ordinary humanity. We need the sense of the Divine as well as the human to prevent the portraiture here given of the Christ from shading or sheering off into the impossible and abnormal. We need our deepest persuasion that the Divine and human are not separated by an impassable chasm, but in their innermost essence are one; to recognize the portraiture of the Logos made man, in whom all the humanity at its highest is Divine, and all the Divinity at its greatest is manifested through the human.

A philosophy based on the necessary unknowableness of God, on the eternal unlikeness of God to man, on the impossibility of communication or conversableness between man and his Maker, must find an insoluble puzzle, an impossibility, in the genuineness of the Fourth Gospel, and endeavours to relegate it to a date when it supposes that the antecedents are all ready for its origination. “The life of Christ” is not itself enough for this philosophy, seeing that all the main ideas to which this Gospel calls special attention are regarded as later accretions on a simpler and less mysterious original. Everything essentially Johannine in the Christ must be excluded from the historical antecedents.

The entire synoptic narrative, notwithstanding its striking points of resemblance to the Johannine teaching in some of its most fundamental elements, is insufficient in the view of many writers, to propound the antecedent or prepare the platform of the Fourth Gospel. The later Tübingen critics, like Holtzmann and Thoma, go very far in admitting the presence of Paulinism in the Gospel, and, instead of the rational hypothesis that the Johannine elements were widely known and deeply grasped by St. Paul, they suppose that Paul’s Epistles, in all the affluence of honour rendered by him to the rank and work of Christ Jesus, are among the intellectual antecedents of what to such writers is a masterpiece of pious fraud.

But neither the synoptists, nor Paul, nor the Acts of the Apostles, nor the Apocalypse itself, all of which furnished materials to the great falsarius, are, in the opinion of many, sufficient antecedents for this work.

Many have attempted to show the amount of Alexandrine influence with which the author must have been saturated before he could have proposed the thesis of the prologue, and wrought into the texture of his argument what are supposed to be the ideas of Philo.

But the pre-existence of the philosophy of Philo, and the wide circulation of the entire New Testament (minus the Fourth Gospel), are not enough to satisfy those who cannot accept the historic verity of the idea of the Christ. The antecedents here cited would not force the Fourth Gospel out of the first century. The production of this Gospel in the first century would mean such an accession of evidence for its practical historicity that diligent search has to be made for other indications, literary and polemical, which must have preceded the composition of the Gospel.

Consequently, effort has been made to find in Cerinthus, Basileides, and Valentinus such elaborations of the idea of the relation of God to man as to constitute them into veritable antecedents of the Fourth Gospel. Even the indications which the martyr Justin gives of the previous existence of the Gospel have been inverted, and great pains taken to show that it is not probable that Justin had read the work of John, but that “John” may have made use of Justin; and so, having cleared, not only the first century, but a large portion of the second century, from the presence of the Fourth Gospel, a date has been assigned to it just anterior to the time when, by universal confession, the Gospel is known to have been regarded in Antioch and Lyons, in Alexandria, Ephesus, and Rome, as one of the four indisputable authorities for the biography of the Lord Jesus.

II. The Details of the Assault

The history of the assault upon the Fourth Gospel reveals an extended campaign and many hostile forces, and is instructive from the fact that many of the hypotheses (inconsistent with its genuineness) have been relinquished by the successive assailants as incompatible with known facts of literature, or ecclesiastical order, or theological construction.

The assault has been conducted along two main lines. One has been directed towards the establishment of a late date for its composition. This has been effected by a destructive and a constructive process: (1) by disputing the external testimonies to its existence before the close of the second century; (2) by endeavouring to imagine the circumstances and condition of the Church out of which it sprang, the errors it was supposed to counteract, and the necessary literary antecedents of the authorship. The second line of assault has been directed towards the internal incompatibilities of the narrative; the incredibility of its main teaching as the direct word of the Lord Jesus Christ; the contrast between the teaching of this “evangelist” and that of the synoptic Gospels; the improbability that the author of the document was either the “John” of the synoptic Gospels or the author of the Apocalypse.

We propose to treat these matters in detail; but, before doing so, we would call attention to the manner in which the assailants have conducted the campaign, and have receded from positions they had once taken up with extreme confidence.

Although the English deists occasionally hinted doubts of the genuineness of the four Gospels, yet the first most deliberate assault was delivered by Edward Evanson, an Anglican clergyman in Gloucester, who in 1792 published his ‘Dissonance of the Four generally received Evangelists, and the Evidence of their Respective Authenticity examined with that of other Scriptures deemed Canonical.’ He regarded the greater part of the New Testament as a forgery, and accepted as true the Gospel of Luke alone. He opposed John’s Gospel from its dissimilarity with the Apocalypse, and attributed it to a Platonizing Philosopher of the second century.

These positions were taken up by Eckermann, by Horst (in ‘Henke’s Museum für Religionswissenschaft’) in 1803, by Cludius, by Ballenstedt (‘Philo and Johannes’) in 1812, and by Vögel, who in 1801 sought to bring the Evangelist John and his interpreters to the judgment of the great day; but not until 1820 did the controversy assume a pungent phase by the publication of Bretschneider’s ‘Probabilia de Evangelii et Epistolarum Johannis Apostoli indole et origine.’ This distinguished theologian accumulated all the difficulties besetting the problem into one vivid, powerful statement, and appeared to conclude that the Gospel was written by an Alexandrine philosopher in the first half of the second century.

The English deists were replied to by Le Clerc and Lampe. Evanson was met by Priestley and Simpson. Storr replied to Eckermann with such force that the latter retracted his doubts; and the whole position of Bretschneider was handled with such dexterity by Olshausen, by Lücke in his celebrated ‘Kommentar,’ and by others, that Bretschneider confessed that his doubts were resolved, and that the object he had in view was accomplished in having provoked a more thorough vindication of the authenticity of the Fourth Gospel. This left the atmosphere clearer, and the ground secure for Schleiermacher to regard the Christ of John as the true Christ, and to base his theology and his view of the historical Christ upon the Fourth Gospel rather than upon any other portion of the New Testament. De Wette, in his ‘Einleitung’ to his first edition of his ‘Handbuch’ (1825), expressed serious doubts of the proof of the genuineness of the Gospel now possible to us; and in 1837 he confesses to his “dearest friend” Lücke that he fears his scepticism may be grievous to him, touching the literary vindication of the authenticity of this “tender, unique, veritably supreme Gospel.” Yet before this preface was written, an event of consummate influence had occurred, viz. the publication, in 1835, of Strauss’s ‘Leben Jesu,’ which endeavoured to account for the synoptic Gospels by an oral tradition, which, with the aid of popular expectations of the Messiah, gradually accumulated around it a mythical enlargement and lustre. He proceeded, mainly by a drastic criticism of the Gospels, to reveal their discrepancies, and to account for them by the growth of legend and the accretion of non-historical elements. For a time he seemed to waver as to the possible authenticity of the Fourth Gospel, but relinquished it in subsequent editions of his notorious work, seeing that the whole of his mythical theory would have been broken to pieces if he allowed that a disciple of Jesus had produced a chronicle of his deeds and words which violated the physical and psychological laws which he regarded as irreversible. Strauss’s temporary vacillation was intensified by the powerful effect produced upon him by the appearance of Neander’s ‘Life of Christ,’ which was an attempt to show that unquestionable facts existed and could not be disproved, out of which the entire evangelic narrative might have arisen.

C. H. Weisse (‘Die Evangelische Geschichte kritisch and philosophisch bearbeitet:’ 1838) propounded a specious theory, which has been not unfrequently adopted by some later critics, that there is an apostolic foundation for the fourth evangelist, which consisted of “studies” of the mind of Christ expanded in the old age of the evangelist,—when his memory grew dim—into the discourses of the Gospel, and that, at a later date, these were woven into a fictitious narrative. Fromman refuted the hypothesis with ability in 1849.

Bruno Bauer (1840) pursued an attack on different lines. He recognized, what has ever since been felt more and more, that the Fourth Gospel is not a spontaneous evolution of mythical tendency, but the work of “a poet conscious of his procedure,” and capable of initiating a philosophical romance. Doubtless the plan, the growth, the gathering solemnity, the climax of the Gospel, with its prologue and epilogue, show that it is the work of one mind, not the elaboration or crystallization of many minds. It bears from end to end the impress of a most original and masterly thinker, and, if it were not the work of the apostle, it must have been the creation of a deliberate forger. The moral revulsion which such a theory excites has led to many and varied replies. Notably Ebrard distinguished himself in 1843 (‘Wissenschaftliche Kritik der Evangel. Gesch.’), by demolishing the rival theories of Strauss and Bruno Bauer. An English translation of the second edition was published in 1863.

But all previous assailants do, in one sense, fall back into insignificance by the side of the epoch-making arguments of Ferdinand Christian Baur, of Tübingen, who, by articles first published in Zeller’s Theolog. Jahrbu-cher, and afterwards brought together in his ‘Kritische Untersuchungen über die canonischen Evangelien‘ (1847), and ‘Das Christenthum und die Christliche Kirche der drei ersten Jahrhunderte‘ (1853) [the latter translated into English in two vols., London] endeavoured to establish such a view of the Christian Churches and of the creation of the ‘Catholic Church’ in the second century as would provide at that period a platform and “historical situation” on which the grand edifice of the Fourth Gospel could have been erected. He supposed that it reveals traces throughout of the activity and various speculations of the Gnostic schools, which characterized the second half of the century. He held that the Churches were split into two hostile camps: (1) those which clung to the ancient Jewish observances, the vitality of the Law, the restriction of the highest Messianic privileges to the house of Israel, headed and guided by the representatives of the Jerusalem apostles—Peter, James the Just, and John the son of Zebedee; and (2) those which were largely composed of Gentiles who reverted to the authority of Paul. The four uncontested Epistles are so expounded as to reveal a permanent breach between Paul and the original apostles. These two tendencies in the Church were aggravated by Marcionite antagonism to Judaism on the one side, and by Montanistic extravagances and reaction against the episcopate on the other. Baur further held that, towards the second half of the century, these two parties in the Church were disposed to come into closer relationship with each other. At or before this time he supposes numerous forgeries to have occurred. For instance, the Acts of the Apostles had been written as an eirenicon, with the endeavour to prove, by forged facts, that, Peter and Paul were not really estranged from one another; that the substance of their preaching was practically identical, and that their relation to the heathen world and to the legal observance by Jews of circumcision had much in common. Pseudo-Pauline Epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians, and Philippians, and the pastoral Epistles, he held recently to have helped to bridge the chasm between the opposing parties. At length some manifesto was urgently needed which should show that there was truth on both sides, that Paulinism and Petrinism were really one in their dogmatic root, that while “salvation was of the Jews,” yet “God is a Spirit,” and his worship independent of Jerusalem and Gerizim. This position he thought not likely to be taken till after the second humiliation of Jerusalem under Hadrian. This manifesto might involve all that was essential or good in Montanism or Marcionitism, and should endeavour to root all in a popular theory of the Logos. The eternal Logos was no sooner believed to have become incarnate in Jesus, than from him all the unifying truths might be presumed to have proceeded. Baur supposed that some “great unknown” attempted this colossal task, and produced the Fourth Gospel, which exactly met the case. By subtle suggestions its author meant to convey the idea that it was written by the son of Zebedee, who is represented as specially dear to Jesus, and therefore competent to reveal his thought. An additional argument of great ingenuity was advanced. At this particular juncture, said Baur, the difference between the Eastern and Western Churches as to the celebration of Easter and the Paschal rite had once more come forward. It was supposed that the synoptic Gospels had demonstrated the fact that the Lord ate the Passover with his disciples on the night before his crucifixion. It was said that John favoured this view, his example being quoted against the Roman custom of continuing the fast until the eve of the Easter morning. What could be more advantageous, in the growing interest of the “Catholic Church,” than that it should appear that the Lord was crucified on the 14th Nisan, and then to have John’s authority for regarding Christ’s death as the veritable Passover? This he suggested as one of the motives of the Fourth Gospel.

Baur thus considered every word of this Catholic manifesto as dexterously chosen to accomplish one or more of these results. Thus the mythical hypothesis vanishes, and the hints of Bruno Bauer are made to take the place of the Straussian construction of the life of Jesus. Baur fixed the date of the composition about the year a.d. 170, when all these conditions combined, as he imagined, to provide its “historical situation.”

The date is a matter of prime importance in this speculation, and the defenders of the authenticity were not slow to appeal to the historical proof of the existence of this Gospel before the year a.d. 170. Ebrard, in his introduction to the Commentary on the Gospel (Eng. trans.), Thiersch (‘Versuch zur Herstellung des historischen Stand-punkts für die Kritik der Neutestamentlichen Schriften‘), and Bleek (‘Beitrage zur Evangelien-Kritik’) discussed the positions of Baur with great acumen and force. Later on we give the proof that Irenæus, between a.d. 180 and 185, quoted the Gospel as canonical and inspired Scripture; that Theophilus of Antioch (a.d. 170) quoted the Gospel as that of John; that Celsus, whose work Origen commented on and refuted, must have been familiar with the Fourth Gospel; that the Muratorian Fragment shows, about a.d. 170, that it was regarded as of equal importance with the other Gospels; that Tatian, before a.d. 170, composed his ‘Harmony of the Four Gospels;’ and that the pseudo-Clementine literature (as is now admitted by Hilgenfeld) quoted the Fourth Gospel; that the disciples of Valentinus, viz. Heracleon and Ptolemæus, were acquainted with the Gospel, the former writing a commentary on it between a.d. 125 and 155! Thus it appeared that the date on which Baur laid stress, and in the midst of which he found the historical locus for its composition, absolutely vanishes. Godet shows, with conspicuous ability, that the supposed purpose of the author to reconcile Christ’s death-day with the Paschal feast would not have accomplished the purpose of defending the Roman celebration of the Communion on Easter morning; and that there is no probability that the sacramental commemoration of the night of the Passion by the Eastern Church was any commemoration of the moment when the Eucharist was instituted, but rather a prolongation of theocratic memories coupled with a reverent celebration of the death itself.

Baur’s date could not be sustained, and his followers and disciples have been compelled to take fresh ground while endorsing his main principles.

We shall see the further proof that Justin Martyr, about a.d. 150, was acquainted with the Gospel. The evidence has been sufficient to convince Hilgenfeld (‘Das Evangelium, und die Briefe Johannis nach ihrem Lebrbegriffe dargestellt:’ 1849; ‘Die Evangelien,’ 1854; see also his recently published. ‘Historisch-Kritische Einleitung in das Neue Test.:’ 1875) that Baur’s date must be abandoned; but this great scholar labours with vast learning to show that the Gospel reveals traces of Valentinian Gnosticism, which might have been available to the author between a.d. 136 and 140). In such a controversy as this, forty years nearer to apostolic times is a concession of considerable importance. The connection between Valentinian gnosis and the Gospel cannot be, need not be, ignored; but a reasonable conclusion is that Valentinus made use of terms found in a revered Christian document, not that the unknown author of such document borrowed the terms “Logos,” “Life,” “Light,” “Truth,” which he uses with didactic simplicity, from the æons and syzygies of the Gnostic. Volkmar and Scholten also abandoned their master’s date, fixing it nevertheless at a.d. 150 or 155, one which we believe to be invalidated by the evidence derived from the quotations of Justin, as well as from the use made by Valentinus of the Gospel itself.

Volkmar, and after him both Reville and Renan, have expressed their wonder that (if the Fourth Gospel had been in existence in a.d. 150), Marcion did not make use of it instead of the Gospel of Luke. The true reply is that John’s Gospel afforded no scientific or historic basis for Marcion, and that not even by interpolation or excision could he have utilized this document; so that his silence and neglect must count for nothing in determining the date of the latter. Effort was made to find reference (ch. 16:2) to the massacres of Christians in the insurrection of Barchochab (a.d. 132); but the martyrdom of Stephen, of James the Just, and others, to say nothing of the Neronian persecution, and the deaths of Peter and Paul, are more than sufficient to justify even a forger between a.d. 80 and 100 in attributing these words to Jesus.

Keim, who in 1867 was content, while repudiating the authenticity of the Gospel, to accept the date a.d. 100–115 for its production, yet in 1875, without any apparently sufficient reason, altered his opinion and regarded a.d. 130 as a probable date.

Dr. Davidson, mainly on the ground of the insufficiency of the evidence for the anteriority of the Gospel to the writings of Basileides and his followers, settles down to the same date. The proof of the earlier date, which was admitted by Keim in 1867, turns on the use made of the Gospel by the apostolic Fathers. The powerful evidence produced by Zahn and by Bishop Lightfoot for the authenticity of the seven epistles of Ignatius and the epistle of Polycarp, does, as we shall see, go far to demonstrate the existence of the Gospel in the first decade of the second century, as well as to pulverize the entire hypothesis of the great breach in the Church of Christ to heal which many critics suggest that this Gospel was composed.

If the epistles of Ignatius be genuine, they reveal a state of ecclesiastical government far in advance of the pastoral Epistles of Paul, and certainly throw back the date of those Epistles for a generation behind them. The Pauline Epistles as the Acts of the Apostles and the First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, recognize no difference of rank or of duty between bishops and elders; whereas about a.d. 110 the Ignatian epistles emphasize the distinction between these Church officers. Ergo these pastoral Epistles cannot well be a birth of a period subsequent to the Ignatian letters. If so, whether the production of Paul or not, they reveal, towards the close of the first century, the germ of the Gnostic virus which had already distressed the early Church.

Even the Epistles to the Corinthians by St. Paul show very forcibly that the Church at Corinth, between a.d. 57 and 58, had been cursed by the very spirit which the First Epistle of John so power fully condemned. Why should we on this account travel into the midst of, or towards the end of, the second century to find the “historical situation” when Gnostic Ebionism and Docetic theosophy had emasculated the Christian faith of many? and why should we fancy that the Church required the questionable aid of a falsarius, who must have set himself by immoral means to refute the enemy by inventing pro hac vice the words and works of Jesus? If Valentinus and Maraion, Barchochab and the followers of Basileides, the Easter controversy, and the enthusiasm of Montanus were all constituents in the creation of the Gospel; and if the author were, moreover, saturated with Pauline ideas, and intent on giving practical and concrete illustration to the Loges doctrine of Philo and of Justin. and also delicately to correct and combine the tendencies conspicuous in the First and Third Gospels;—what a miracle of ingenuity the Fourth Gospel becomes! It is even more wonderful than if it be regarded as a simple record of the memories of an unforgotten past.

That Justin, Montanus, and Valentinus, that Ignatius and Polycarp, should have had this venerated fragment in their hands, and used it severally in defence of their own positions, is quite as credible as that Irenæus and Origen, Clemens Alex., and Tertullian, or the followers of Basileides, should subsequently have done the same. But this hypothesis demands the first appearance of the Gospel in the first century. Such a conclusion renders the Johannine authorship so immensely probable that those who are driven to the former, but deny the latter view adopt a variety of methods to evade the inference.

Granting an early date, Keim, e.g., has evaded the force of the conclusion by agreeing with Reuterdahl and Lützelburger in the endeavour to refute the widely spread tradition of St. John’s residence in Ephesus and to rehabilitate the old shadow of the Presbyter John. He refuses credence to the point-blank assurance of Irenæus, who is said to have blundered in reporting what Polycarp had told him. He thinks that Irenæns led all subsequent writers to regard Polycarp as a disciple of the Apostle John, whereas he supposes that the martyr’s intimacies had never gone beyond those of the venerable Presbyter John. Scholten even goes so far as to deny the apostolic origin of the Apocalypse, which the school of Baur and Hilgenfeld had made the keystone of their construction. He thinks an unknown person in Ephesus was its author, who, having adopted the name of John in order to give his work greater currency, was supposed afterwards to have been the apostle. The consequence of these violent hypotheses is that John the son of Zebedee, instead of being regarded as the author of five of the New Testament books, sinks into utter obscurity after the reference made to him in Gal. 2; and that tradition and literature have been equally deceived through a perverse and unfortunate blunder of Irenæus.

In the course of our exposition we shall have frequent opportunities of indicating the extraordinary positions of Albrecht Thoma (‘Die Genesis does Johannes-Evangelinms ein Beitrag zu seiner Auslegung Geschichte and Kritik’). He reviews the sources, the history, the contents, of the Gospel with great eloquence and vast knowledge; but he sees in the Fourth Gospel the artistic setting forth of the ideas of the middle of the second century with reference to the origin of Christian history; e.g. the ninth chapter is the evangelist’s method of describing the conversion of St. Paul; “Judas” is a covert reference to Simon Magus; and the twenty-first chapter is the Johannine version of the Acts of the Apostles. In every line of the Gospel he discerns the influence of the Alexandrine school of thought.

Gebhart, in his ‘Theology of the Apocalypse,’ defends, with great ability, the identity of its authorship with that of the Gospel, but he renounces the historicity of the Gospel. Both documents, he thinks, may have been produced by the son of Zebedee, but they are both imaginative elaborations of the same fundamental ideas—one in the form of history and the other in that of apocalyptic vision.

Ewald and Reuss do in a certain way admit the authenticity, but deny the historical character of the discourses and miracles of the Fourth Gospel. In his latest edition of ‘The History of the Sacred Scriptures of the New Testament,’ translated by Houghton, Reuss will not admit more than a bare possibility that it was produced by the son of Zebedee. “It was certainly not written by the author of the Apocalypse,” nor by “the John of Gal. 2;” but Reuss admits that this John may have suffered as great a transformation as Paul and as Peter are seen to have done. “A germ of profound religiosity may have been implanted in a heart which needed only change of air and soil to bring it to maturity.” Reuss will not be moved by the Easter controversy to decide against the Johannine authorship, nor does he think that the speculation that some pupil of the apostle produced it on the basis of some genuine and original information, solves the difficulty.

Tabler (‘Die Evangelien-Fragm.:’ 1858) advocated the view that Apollos was the author, in virtue of the most important the, chronological, historical, and autoptic matter which it contains; and Renan, in the latest editions of the ‘Life of Jesus,’ supposes that a “semi-Gnostic constituted himself the editor of the narratives of the aged apostle, and perhaps possessed some notes, dictated by the latter, which formed the primary materials of his work.” Reuss pronounces that this view “sacrifices the spirit to the appearance, and in fact is too sharp-sighted.” Mangold’s edition of Bleek’s ‘Einleitung’ admits the sufficiency of the external evidences, but regards the internal difficulties of the authenticity to be insurmountable. On the other hand, B. Weiss, in his ‘Life of Jesus’ (Eng. trans.), lays powerful emphasis on the historicity of the Gospel, and loses no opportunity of demonstrating the light which it throws upon the synoptic narrative.

Holtzmaun (‘Lehrbuch der historisch-kritischen Einleitung in das N.T.:’ 1885) has emphasized the strongly subjective elements of the narrative, its artistic arrangement, the sources from which the author must have drawn his material. Of these, with Albrecht Thoma, he assigns a large place to the Pauline Epistles. He measures the amount of dependence upon the synoptic Gospels, discriminating between the kind of aid he derived from Mark and Luke; he finds the unhistorical in the method by which the great attributes of God are revealed in the concrete life of the incarnate Logos, but uses some of the worn-out arguments to rid these instances of the Divine energy of Jesus, of their historic character. The great puzzle appears to him to consist of the twofold character of the Gospel—the blending of historic detail with lofty ideality. The solution of it attempted by B. Weiss does not satisfy Holtzmann. The symbolism of the Gospel for him detracts from its historicity, forgetful, as it seems to us, that the lives of our greatest men and the history of the epochs of our race are charged with events which become symbolic of life-purposes or world-wide tendencies. Julius Cæsar crossing the Rubicon, Socrates in his prison, William of Normandy falling on the soil of Pevensey, Luther at the Diet of Worms, etc., are instances in point. Holtzmann falls back on the Baurian method of discovering an “historical situation,” but does not feel that he has solved the problem.

The defenders of the authenticity against every attack and on every ground have been very numerous. Every one of the special assaults has called up an army of defence, and in the writings of Hengstenberg, Tholuck, Luthardt, Lange, Lücke, Bleek, Meyer, De Pressensé, and Godet, few points or speculations have been left untouched. Canon Westcott’s ‘Introduction to the Study of the Gospels’ and the ‘Introduction to the Commentary on St. John;’ Dr. Ezra Abbott’s ‘External Evidence of the Authorship of the Gospel;’ Mr. Matthew Arnold, in ‘God and the Bible;’ Mr. R. Holt Hutton, in an essay of great value, ‘Essays, Theological and Literary,’ vol. i.; Beischlag, ‘Studien and Kritiken, 1874–5,’ and published separately),—have discussed the chief points with masterly hand. Mr. Sanday, ‘The Authorship and Character of the Fourth Gospel’ and ‘The Gospels in the Second Century,’ with quiet force has set aside the conclusions of the author of ‘Supernatural Religion;’ Oosterzee (‘Das Johannes-evangelium, Vier Vortrage,’ and Eng. trans., 1869); Milligan, in Contemporary Review, 1867–1871, and in ‘Introduction to Commentary’ by himself and Professor Moulton, have grappled with various parts of the controversy.

Seeing that Holtzmann, Mangold, S. Davidson, Thoma, and others maintain the adverse opinion still, the controversy cannot be said to have terminated; and we cannot proceed with our Exposition without placing before the readers of the ‘Pulpit Commentary’ an outline of the evidences both “external” and “internal” on the faith of which we hold that this most wonderful of all the biblical writings is not the dream of a second-century sage, but the sacred record of a personal experience. That which is to some students clear evidence of the antecedency of the Gospel becomes, in the hand of others, proof that “the evangelist” had material ready to his hand in the floating ideas of the second century. Prepossession and preconceived opinion may bias the impartial critic. Let it be understood that prepossessions are not all on one side. The “sceptic” here has, moreover, far more at stake than the “apologist.” The Christian believer is not dependent on the Fourth Gospel, however much be might deplore the sacrifice of its historicity. The fall of this Gospel from its high place would not touch the authenticity of the Gospel of Luke, nor that of the Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, and Philippians. All the essentials of the faith would be left intact. But, on the other hand, the authenticity of the Fourth Gospel becomes an impregnable defence of supernatural revelation, of the incarnation of the Son of God, of the resurrection and glory of the Christ. If the Fourth Gospel was the work of the beloved disciple, then the “scientific” instrument which has been elaborated with infinite care by successive opponents of the mystery of God therein revealed is hopelessly shattered. Consequently, there is, to say the least, as much room for predisposition and bias on the one side as on the other.

III. External Evidence of the Early Existence of the Four Gospels

1. Introductory remarks. (1) In discussing the question of the genuineness of any ancient writing, we are confronted with the positive and negative evidence of its existence at a time consistent with the alleged authorship. The external evidence of the existence at any particular date of any ancient document, to be absolutely satisfactory, would be the existence of other ancient trustworthy documents, whose date can be approximately fixed near the date of the life of the supposed author, in which quotations from the work in question occur, and wherein such quotations are definitely ascribed to a work which can be, without reasonable doubt, identified with that about which we make the inquiry. If an unimpeachable contemporary authority, either with favourable or hostile intent, has left behind him such a quotation from one of Paul’s Epistles or from one of Plato’s dialogues or Horace’s odes, the question of the existence of either of these documents at the period when the quotation was made would be practically settled.

It is not often possible to arrive at evidence so entirely conclusive as this. We may have to travel down the stream of time for a whole generation or more before we find a single trustworthy quotation, and, when we discover one, we may be surprised to see that it is not accurate, and that it is not referred to the previous author. Still, from the manner of its introduction, the second authority may reveal the place which the former writing held in the opinion of his contemporaries; and it may happen that obvious reasons occur why the authorship of such quotation should not have been cited or appealed to; and yet such a citation may prove to be of very convincing and important character.

(2) The non-existence of the evidence which we have described as unimpeachable by no means establishes the spuriousness or later origin of the document whose date we wish to verify. The letter to Diognetus, which has taken its place among the subapostolic literature—a position, we admit, by no means unquestioned—does not appear to have been quoted, or copied, or referred to by any ancient writer, nor by any writer at all till the sixteenth century. The Second Epistle of Peter was not mentioned, nor quoted from, nor, so far as we know, translated into any other language until the beginning of the fourth century; yet it would be the height of hypercriticism, even among those who doubt its apostolic origin, to refer its production by a falsarius to a date later than the second century. Positive evidence of an external kind may not be forthcoming, but this circumstance will not prove the non-existence of the document. All that can be deduced from such a fact is that the authors of the few and fragmentary treatises which have survived did not in them allude to or quote from the document we are anxious to identify.

(3) Further, we see, at a glance, that the writers who do quote a more ancient authority may, when they made their citation, have had no reason for any specific mention of the name of the previous writer. If Justin Martyr, e.g., had called the attention of the Roman emperors to the obscure names of Matthew, Mark, or John, it would not have conciliated their regard. The more general title of “memorials by the apostles of Christ and by their companions”—a phrase peculiarly applicable to our four Gospels—was much more likely to secure attention from his readers, although it may fail to satisfy the demand of modern criticism and of technical accuracy.

(4) Again, we may find that some of the quotations are inaccurately made. They may be rather the transfusion into the language of the later writer of the thought of the older writer, with only a few verbal coincidences, and yet they may furnish us even now with powerful evidence of the kind we seek.

The books were often quoted from memory—a practice stimulated by the difficulty of making accurate citations at any time by the cumbrous form, difficult caligraphy, and great rarity of the books themselves. Lengthened passages, such as Ps. 22. and Isa. 53, which are quoted in extenso, accurately correspond with the LXX. Version; but numerous quotations are made from the Old Testament with the same vagueness as we find attributed to the citations from the Gospels. It is not possible, on the ground of this vagueness or inaccuracy, to argue that the apologists never saw or read the Greek translations of the Old Testament. The same indulgence should be afforded to the apostolic Fathers and apologists, when they cite the words of Jesus. The deviations of Justin Martyr’s quotation of the celebrated passage in Matt. 11:25, etc., have been supposed to invalidate the proof of the pre-existence of St. Matthew’s Gospel given therein (author of ‘Supernatural Religion’); but the argument has been turned by Dr. Abbott producing a long series of quotations of the very same passage, from Irenæus to our own day, and many made by writers who had the Gospel before them in printed form, and were perfectly familiar with its apostolic origin, who also have deviated from the original text and more widely than Justin.

Some of the early writers are known to have produced numerous books, but the smallest portion only of some of these is extant. Because a Gospel or Epistle is not referred to in these fragments, we have no right to conclude that the author was ignorant of their existence. Suppose, eighteen hundred years hence, a fragment of one of Ruskin’s volumes of ‘Stones of Venice’ should be all that the most vigilant book-collector could find of his works; and if in it no mention was made of Turner or Hunt, will it therefore become reasonable to say that Turner did not live until two hundred years after Ruskin? A thousand other illustrations might be given of the unreason of the modern methods of identifying and disparaging the books of the New Testament.

(5) One of the most powerful testimonies to the existence of an ancient document is the fact that it was translated into a foreign tongue at an ascertainable date. We are, therefore, justified in placing great confidence on the fact that the Gospels and the Epistles of Paul are found in the Peschito Syriac and the Old Latin translations of the New Testament; but even this evidence, if it be negative, is not final. The Apocalypse, e.g., is not found in this most ancient Syriac Version. Moreover, first-class manuscript authority for its presence in the canon of the New Testament is lacking; and yet other positive external evidence of authenticity is so strong that perhaps there is no portion of the New Testament that stands upon a more irrefragable basis. Our conclusion is that the non-mention of a book in the fragments that remain of the literature of the second century, even in places where one might expect a reference to it from the nature of the subject-matter, affords no reason for concluding that the book in question was not known to the author of the fragment. Other reasons for the omission can be conjectured, just as satisfactory explanations for the omission of the Apocalypse from the Syriac canon of the New Testament can be easily advanced.

2. We may now proceed to show that during the last quarter of the second century, we have indubitable proof of the existence of four Gospels, distinguished from all other narratives of the life and sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that the four Gospels thus selected were regarded in every part of the Roman empire with peculiar reverence, and were quoted and appealed to with the same frequency as they have been in every decade from that day to this. There is no discussion now as to the substantial identity of the documents thus signalized with our four Gospels, attributed to or described as being according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Granting for the moment that the previous references to these documents are less explicit, it is expedient to look at the nature, quality, and fulness of the evidence which we possess for the fourfold character of this wonderful narrative at the date in question. In earlier times the entire substance of the apostolic teaching on this subject was called τὸ εὐαγγέλιον—”the Gospel,” and this word was used somewhat vaguely by both Christian and heretical writers, as descriptive of the good message or acceptable speculation which they were offering to their readers. Thus the followers of Basileides are said by Hippolytus (‘Ref. Hær.’ vii. 27) to have had a “gospel” which was ἡ τῶν ὑπερκοσμίων γνῶσις, “the knowledge of supramundane things,” and, though a Gnostic speculation, it was dignified by this great name. The same name was subsequently by Theophilus applied to the four separate Gospels; and from that date we begin to hear, not only of τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, but τὰ εὐαγγέλια.

(1) The first and greatest authority is Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons, in Gaul, who lived between a.d. 140 and 202, and who probably wrote his great and important treatise between a.d. 180 and 190, of whom also, with other fragments, is preserved by Eusebius (‘Hist. Eccl.,’ v. 20) a letter written by him to one Florinus, who, towards the close of the second century, was a presbyter in Rome, and was in danger of lapsing into the Valentinian heresy concerning the unity of God. The letter records the early experience of Irenæus and his youthful recollections of Polycarp, the disciple of St. John, and the grief that Polycarp would have felt if he had known the heretical tendencies of Florinus.

“These doctrines,” says he, “O Florinus, to say the least, are not of a sound understanding. These doctrines are inconsistent with the Church, and calculated to thrust those that follow them into the greatest impiety. These doctrines, not even the heretics out of the Church ever attempted to assert. These doctrines were never delivered to thee by the presbyters before us, those who also were the immediate disciples of the apostles. For I saw thee when I was yet a boy in the Lower Asia with Polycarp, moving in great splendour at court, and endeavouring by all means to gain his esteem. I remember the events of those times much better than those of more recent occurrence. As the studies of our youth, growing with our minds, unite with them so firmly that I can tell also the very place where the blessed Polycarp was accustomed to sit and discourse; and also his entrances, his walks, his manner of life, the form of his body, his conversations with the people, and his familiar intercourse with John, as he was accustomed to tell, as also his familiarity with the rest of those that had seen the Lord. How also he used to relate their discourses, and what things he had heard from them concerning the Lord. Also concerning his miracles, his doctrine; all these were told by Polycarp, in consistency with the Holy Scriptures as he had received them from the eye-witnesses of the doctrine of salvation. These things, by the mercy of God, and the opportunity then afforded me, I attentively heard, noting them down, not on paper, but in my heart; and these same facts I am always in the habit, by the grace of God, of recalling faithfully to mind. And I can bear witness in the sight of God that, if that blessed apostolic presbyter had heard any such thing as this, he would have exclaimed, and stopped his ears, and, according to his custom, would have said, ‘O good God, unto what times hast thou reserved me, that I should tolerate these things?’ He would have fled from the place in which he had sat or stood hearing doctrines like these. From his epistles, also, which he wrote to the neighbouring Churches in order to confirm them, or to some of the brethren in order to admonish or to exhort them, the same thing may be clearly shown.”

This paints the character of the man, his confidence in what he calls “the Scriptures,” and the exceeding improbability that he should have repeatedly quoted from John’s Gospel, as his, words which, according to some modern critics, had only seen the light very lately, and had no connection whatever with the apostle, who was known and beloved by his personal friend.

Let it be also observed that Irenæus speaks of the “two testaments” as proceeding from one and the same God. “The argument,” says he, “of a presbyter the disciple of the apostles” (‘Hær.,’ iv. 32: ‘Anti-Nicene Library,’ ii. 4, 5). And in defending the view of this presbyter, he quotes unmistakably ch. 1:3 (cf. 5:36, 1, 2). He speaks (1:3. 6: ‘Anti-Nicene Library,’ i. 15) of the writings of the evangelists and apostles being perverted, as well as those of the prophets, to their own ends.

In the commencement of 3:1 we find a special enumeration of the four Gospels, which are attributed to the respective authors. Frequent allusions are made to the Gospel of John by name, and a mystic reason is given for there being “four Gospels,” neither more nor less. And some account follows of the special use which the heretics had made of these Gospels, revealing therefore, not only their wide diffusion in the Churches, but their influence beyond the limits of the Churches, and proving that they must have held a position of high significance and authority to be appealed to by friend and foe. This occurs about A.D. 180–190, and some of these references look back over a period of twenty to thirty years at least. The quotations from the four Gospels made by Irenæus fill eleven closely printed folio pages in Massuet’s edition of his works, and amount to no fewer than five hundred, one hundred of these being taken from the Fourth Gospel (see index of ‘Anti-Nicene Library:’ ‘Works of lienæus,’ ii.pp. 193–197).

(2) While Irenæus thus proves for us the wide diffusion of these four Gospels in the western division of the empire, we have an equally extensive circulation of these documents in the East; for Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch before a.d. 170 (and who died before the end of the century), writing to a heathen, Autolycus, declares that in the prophets and in the Gospels the same things were advanced, and that all alike was spoken under the inspiration of the one Spirit of God. Among these testimonies he quotes from John’s Gospel and under that designation, ch. 1:1, also Matt. 5:38 and other passages of the New Testament. He is said to have written commentaries on the Gospels—a circumstance which proves the estimation in which they were held.

(3) Clement of Alexandria, the teacher of Origen and Hippolytus, the head of the catechetical school from A.D. 189, was a presbyter whose knowledge of philosophy and literature, though somewhat superficial and discursive, was without question varied. He was a litterateur rather than a theologian. He held in reverence other Christian writings as well as the New Testament, and thus his evidence as to the character and nature of the New Testament books is weakened; but his testimony as to the number of the evangelists is weighty, and the use he made of their narratives explicit. He gives to the four Gospels the same authority that he attributed to the Law and prophets. He contrasts the teaching of the ‘Gospel of the Egyptians’ with that of “the four Gospels, which,” he says, “were handed down to us.” Eusebius preserves (‘Hist. Eccl.,’ vi. 14) an important passage, in which Clement declares that Peter was the virtual author of St. Mark’s Gospel, and that “John wrote a spiritual Gospel, divinely moved by the Holy Spirit, on observing that the things obvious to the senses had been clearly set forth in the earlier Gospels.” There are between four and five hundred quotations made by him from the four Gospels.

(4) To Irenæus in Gaul, Theophilus in Syria, Clement in Eastern Africa, must be added Tertullian, who spent the greater part of his literary life in Carthage. Towards the close of the second century Tertullian revealed an intimate acquaintance with the four Gospels. His testimony is important, because there is not a chapter in the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John from which he does not quote. In his work ‘Adv. Marcionem’ (iv. 2) he says, “Among the apostles, John and Matthew form the faith within us; among the companions of the apostles, Luke and Mark renovate it.” Evangelists and apostles are placed by him on the same platform with the prophets and apostles. The Gospels are said by him to be read in the assemblies (‘Apol.,’ 39).

The testimony of Tertullian is indirectly of greater importance than that of Irenæus or of Clement, in the following way. Tertullian contested the philosophical position of the great heresiarch Marcion. The assault against Marcion brought to light the fact that that writer had, as Tertullian thought, iniquitously mutilated the Third Gospel, with the view of making it confirm his views with respect to the Person of the Lord, the opposition between the new covenant and the Old Testament, and even between the God of Moses and of the prophets and of the Father who was manifested in Jesus Christ.

Some writers, at one time Baur and Ritschl, took advantage of this representation to hazard the theory that Tertullian was in the wrong; that Marcion had not mutilated the Third Gospel, but had edited the earliest form of an evangelical narrative; and that our Third Gospel is an enlargement and development of this primæval document. Volkmar, one of the most distinguished of the Tübingen crities, took up the defence of the patristic writers in this respect, and convinced even Baur and Ritschl that their argument was false. The author of ‘Supernatural Religion,’ in his first edition, returned to the subject, and reasserted the Tübingen hypothesis, with the view of depreciating the antiquity and originality of the Gospel of Luke. Dr. Sanday, in his admirable work ‘The Gospels in the Second Century,’ met this writer on his own ground. He showed that the Gospel of Luke contains three hundred and nine verses not found in Marcion’s Gospel. If these three hundred and nine verses were the work of some later hand, they would reveal striking differences from the style of the remaining portion of the work which Marcion had preserved; but it is capable of proof, according to Dr. Sanday, that these three hundred and nine verses contain no fewer than a hundred and eighty-five peculiarities of the style which characterizes the residuary Gospel, and two hundred and twenty-four words or phrases specially familiar to the writer of these main portions of the work. Dr. Sanday discusses every one of the omissions, and shows that there was sufficient reason for Marcion to have been anxious to expunge them. He shows that it is possible that some of the alterations or deviations of Marcion’s Gospel from that of the canonical Luke may have been due to a difference of text; for they have been confirmed by some of the oldest manuscripts. This circumstance reveals the fact that divergences of text arose before either the syriac or Old Laun Version was made, and we are thrown still further back to a period long before the time of Marcion for the original autograph from which these two families of texts must genealogically have descended. Tertullian, therefore, is witness unconsciously to the great antiquity of a document which in a particular form of codex must have been long honoured and widely diffused before the date of Marcion. Now, it is generally agreed that Marcion diffused his sentiments between A.D. 139 and 142. The author of ‘Supernatural Religion’ has acknowledged that, in this argument, Dr. Sanday has refuted his own hypothesis; and so we may consider the question as finally settled. The examination goes very far towards demonstrating the authenticity of the Third Gospel. Godet (‘Introduction to John’s Gospel,’ i. 221) makes it appear eminently probable that Marcion was acquainted with the Gospel of John.

3. Further testimonies are borne to the existence of the four Gospels by the writings of Justin the Martyr. These writings, consisting of the ‘Dialogue with Trypho’ and the two ‘Apologies,’ according to the best critics must have been written between A.D. 145 and 148, the latter year being that of his martyrdom.

The narratives and teachings in the four Gospels, and especially in the first and third, are frequently cited by Justin. He professes to have appealed to the “Memorials composed by the apostles and their followers,” without mentioning their names—names, however, which would have carried no weight either with bigoted Jews, Greek philosophers, or Roman emperors. In ‘Apol.,’ i. 66, he refers to those memorials “which are called Gospels.” Opponents are eager to evade the force of this reference by saying that the parenthetical clause is a gloss foisted into the text from the margin. This is not impossible, but we know that Marcion had already called the narrative which he published “a Gospel,” or “the Gospel.” The expression, “memoirs by apostles,” is used eight times. Four times, “memoirs” or “memorabilia” (ἀπομνημονεύματα); once (‘Apol.,’ i. 66), “memoirs made by the apostles” (ἅ καλειταί εὐαγγέλια); once (‘Dial.,’ 103), “memoirs composed by apostles of Christ and those who followed them,” when quoting Luke; and once from “Peter’s memoirs,” when quoting a fact only mentioned in the Second Gospel. He uses the expression, “the apostles wrote” (‘Dial.,’ 88), when speaking of an incident mentioned by all four; and (‘Apol.,’ i. 67) he refers to the “memoirs by the apostles” as of equal value with the writings of the prophets. The author of ‘Supernatural Religion’ says this description cannot apply to the four Gospels, because only two professed to be written by apostles, whereas the term “the apostles” ought to have meant the twelve!

Now, the references which Justin makes do in a few places add interesting and picturesque details to the narratives of the synoptists; such, e.g., as that the Magi came from Arabia; that a fire was kindled in Jordan at the baptism of Christ; that in a cave at Bethlehem Christ was born; and that as a carpenter he made ploughs and yokes. Some sayings not recorded in our canonical Gospels are cited by Justin; but the great proportion of these quotations or references correspond in a remarkable way with the narrative of the four Gospels, and record matters peculiar to all four of them. The story told by Justin was substantially identical with that of the Gospels, both as to the great character portrayed, the miraculous accompaniments of his ministry, the sorrow and mystery of his death, the incidents of his trial, which he characteristically confirms by appealing to the ‘Acta Pontii Pilati.’ He refers to the last Supper, to the fulfilment of the prophecy contained in the twenty-second psalm, to the nails and spear, to the sneers of his murderers, and to the cry, “My God, my God, why last thou forsaken me?” He refers to the resurrection on the third day being a first day of a week, to his ascension, and the institution of baptism in the Name of the Father of all, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit.

Now, Dr. Sanday, admitting for the sake of argument that Justin may have had before him some digest or harmonistic document which he used as well as the original Gospels, makes it extremely probable that such a document, if it existed, must have been one framed out of the original Gospels, and not that from which they can have been supposed to have been fashioned. The alterations, deviations, and additions are of the secondary and derivative, not of the primary and germinant, kind. The author of ‘Supernatural Religion’ points to the ‘Gospel according to the Hebrews’ as the primitive source of these quotations, but unfortunately for the theory, it is known that this Gospel did not contain passages which were undoubtedly in Justin’s authorities.

There is, in fact, nothing in Justin’s quotations from the “memoirs” which is not substantially contained in the canonical Gospels, and the deviations are only such as can be paralleled by the later writers who did indubitably quote from the four Gospels as we now have them.

It is beyond credibility that, seeing that Irenæus must have been in early manhood when Justin was making such abundant use of the “memorabilia by the apostles and their followers,” that these books could have perished, and in the brief period that elapsed before Irenæus wrote his ‘Refutation of Heresies,’ the four Gospels could have been manipulated into existence, and should have entirely displaced the earlier documents. Already, Justin tells us, these memoirs were read in churches at their solemn festivals, and yet, according to our opponents, they must have been ousted between the date of Justin and that of Irenæus, and four other documents have gained universal acceptance from Lyons to Alexandria, from Antioch to Carthage. The author of ‘Supernatural Religion’ thinks this possible, because the first epistle of Clement, and the epistle of Barnabas, were also read at first in some churches, and that these “memoirs” of Justin may in like manner have ceased to retain the high position to which he refers. But there is no proof whatever of such or similar importance ever having been ceded to these books, and the mode in which they are cited is profoundly different.

We are bound to inquire whether, in addition to our Gospels, Justin also used some document like them, which may have formed the basis of one or more of the canonical Gospels.

Whether that were the case or not, the following incidents are recorded by Justin, and we know of no other authority for them but Matthew’s Gospel: (1) Joseph’s suspicion of Mary; (2) the name of Jesus; (3) the visit of the Magi; (4) the massacre at Bethlehem; (5) the descent into Egypt; (6) the order of the temptations; (7) six passages from the sermon on the mount, as given in Matthew only; (8) ch. 23:15, 24; (9) the sign of the Prophet Jonas; (10) the triumphant entry with the colt. (11) the calumnious report of the Jews (ch. 28:12–15); and (12) the baptismal formula.

Very few details are peculiar to Mark. Some of these, however, Justin refers to; e.g. (1) the name of “Boanerges;” (2) the near approach to a statement (Mark 6:3) that Christ followed the trade of a carpenter; and (3) ch. 9:21, that he healed those who were diseased from their birth (cf. also 9).

The peculiarities of Luke are also quoted by Justin; e.g. (1) the coming of Gabriel to Mary; (2) that John the Baptist’s mother was Elisabeth; (3) the census under Cyrenius; (4) that Jesus was thirty years old when he began his ministry; (5) that on his trial he was sent from Pilate to Herod; (6) special passages are quoted from the commission given to the seventy disciples; (7) references occur to the Lord’s Supper, and the agony in the garden, and to the Resurrection and Ascension, in a form only found in Luke.

While these quotations do strongly sustain the thesis that Justin made use of the synoptic Gospels, yet, on the other hand, he appears to have studied the genealogy of Mary rather than of Joseph. This may have arisen from his better understanding of the genealogies, and his knowledge of the high probability that they are both of them genealogies of Mary as well as Joseph; or it may have been his conjecture touching the genealogy in Luke. It is also clear, from another reference, that he knew that Joseph was of the tribe of Judah. He speaks of a cave near Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. But this cave was referred to by Origen at a period when we know that the synoptic Gospels were in universal estimation (‘Con. Cels.,’ i. 51). And ten times over he speaks of the Magi as having come from Arabia rather than from the East. He says all the children of Bethlehem were slain. He declares that, at the baptism of Jesus, “a fire was kindled in the Jordan,” and that a voice was heard from heaven, “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” Now, it should be remembered that an addition to the Old Latin translation, in one of its best manuscripts of Matt. 3:15 (a, Codex Vercellensis), has a passage almost identical. Nor does this stand alone; for Codex D of Luke 3:22 gives ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκα σε for ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα, together with a, b, c, ff l. Moreover, they are quoted by Lactantius, Hilary, and even Augustine. Whether or not Justin originated the error, we cannot tell; but it is saying too much to make it a reason for holding that he had not seen the Gospels of Matthew, John, or Luke. Twice Justin refers to the ‘Acts of Pontius Pilate.’ He quotes two sayings not found in the synoptists. These are interesting, and may be paralleled by a few others, some of which are manifestly apocryphal. The references to the ‘Acta Pontii Pilati’ are supposed, with reason, to have arisen from the assumption that public documents must have contained such records, whether he had ever seen them or not.

Now, if these explanations are insufficient, and granting the possibility of his use of some other narrative, it becomes very difficult to say what this can have been. The most probable is the ‘Gospel according to the Hebrews,’ which, nevertheless, is known to have omitted certain most important passages, with which it is certain that Justin was familiar. The ‘Gospel of James’ states the narrative of the Magi differently, in a manner far less in harmony with the synoptic narrative.

The best way to come to something like a determination of the meaning of Justin’s deviations from the evangelic narratives is to observe the degree of accuracy with which he quotes from the Pentateuch and the Old Testament generally. The following table has been made out by Dr. Sanday:—


 

Exact.

Slightly variant.

Marked divergence.

Pentateuch

18

19

11

Psalms

16 (nine whole psalms)

2

3

Isaiah

25 (ch. 52, 53)

12

16

Other great prophets

3

4

11

Minor prophets, etc.

2

7

13


 

——

——

——


 

64

44

54

In the Gospels Justin has made ten exact quotations, twenty-five variant, and thirty-two divergent. The quotations from the Old Testament, reduced to the same standard of comparison, would give ten exact, seven variant, nine divergent. This shows a higher range of variation in the Gospels, and reveals the fact that he was not so familiar with the latter as with the former, that he took more liberty with his text, and that he scarcely regarded them in the same category as the older and venerable Scripture. It is also not impossible that he made use, along with them, of some other documents, which by the time of Irenæus were no longer extant. The positive evidence that he did quote from Matthew’s Gospel is very strong in cases where he introduces not merely the words of Jesus, but the comment of the evangelist, as in Matt. 17:11–13. Justin quoted, moreover, the ipsissima verba of Luke, where these differ from Matthew and Mark.

It has been argued by the author of “Supernatural Religion” that similar deviations from the synoptic text are found in the Clementine Homilies and in Justin, suggesting that the origin of the double quotation is some other authority rather than that of the canonical Gospels; but the peculiarity to be noted is this—that several of these quotations are given in two forms by the Clementines and Justin, and they “alternately adhere to the canonical text when they differ from each other.”

One curious fact is that many of the texts of Justin correspond with what are proved to be corrupted Western texts, such as we find afterwards embodied in Codex Bezæ and the Old Latin Version. No critic of any school would base his text on these authorities, but it is certain that they represent a much older text than the age of the codices themselves, and that they point back to a period of corruption of text in the midst of which Justin lived and laboured. That simple fact suggests a much more remote period when such paraphrastic modifications were made. Dr. Sanday inclines to the idea that, if Justin used any other authority than our Gospels, he made use of a harmony that was then existing.

Let it be also noted that Justin makes sundry quotations from the LXX.; in doing so he occasionally deviated from it, and, moreover, in the deviation followed the leading of the Gospels. Thus Zech. 9:9 is twice cited inaccurately. Sometimes he blended three prophetic passages together, and mixed them up with remarks of his own; once he quoted Zechariah professedly, but the passage is really his own composition, founded on words and thoughts derived from Zechariah, Isaiah, and Joel. The only quotation from Plato is from the ‘Timæus,’ and consists of words which, though attributed by Plato to Timæus, are cited by Justin as the words of Socrates, and are, moreover, strangely modified. Hence the words that Justin quoted from the Gospels cannot, on any show of fairness, be put down to any other source, simply on the ground of the variation from the text of our Gospels (Norton, ‘Genuineness of the Gospels,’ vol. i. note E, pp. 306–330; Mangold and Bleek, ‘Einleitung,’ p. 270).

A further proof that Justin was not aiming at verbal accuracy is that he has not infrequently quoted the same passage more than once with characteristic variations.

The fact that Justin is not more explicit than we have found him to be concerning the documentary sources of his information, is parallel with the circumstance that Tertullian, who knew and said so much in his controversial works about the four Gospels, yet, when writing his ‘Apologia’ or his ‘Ad Nationes,’ makes no distinct reference to them whatever; and that Cyprian, in writing in the third century to Demetrian, a heathen, does not once name either the Gospels or evangelists. The same remark may be made about Arnobius, and the very same kind of objection taken to the modification of Gospel narrative by Justin may be brought against Lactantius towards the end of the third century (‘Div. Ins.,’ v. 3).

Now, if we suppose the existence of even a modified text of the Gospels, and a harmony of the Gospels, to have been in his hand, there can be no reasonable doubt that these Gospels were in existence long before his day—an argument confirmed by the phenomena of the Gospel of Marcion. The bearing of this argument upon the Fourth Gospel, even if no quotation from it could be found at any earlier period, is remarkable. When Irenæus, Theophylact, Clemens Alex., and Tertullian wrote, there is no manner of doubt that the four Gospels were in current use, and held a lofty position in the estimation of the Churches of Gaul, Alexandria, Antioch, and Carthage. Now, the Gospel of John is so different in form, scene, and subject-matter from the first three Gospels, that, if it had been fashioned in the interim between Justin and Irenæus, surely some trace would have been left behind of the difficulty of its reception. Unless it had stood on the highest authority of tradition and long usage, it would never have borne the assault to which it would have been exposed. It must have been believed to be apostolic in its origin, and the trustworthy report of apostolic memorials, or it would never have been accepted as genuine. The oft-quoted discrepance of style and chronology, etc., therefore becomes a powerful argument to show that the Fourth Gospel must be much older than Justin.

IV. The Specific External Evidence for the Early Existence of the Fourth Gospel

1. Testimony of Justin Martyr to the Fourth Gospel. I shall, therefore, proceed with the proof that Justin was acquainted with, and cited, the Fourth Gospel, as well as the other three.

(1) One of the most remarkable quotations is from ch. 3:3–5; to which Justin refers thus (‘Apol.,’ i. 61)—

Καὶ γὰρ ὁ Χριστὸς εἶπεν. Ἄν μὴ ἀναγεννηθῆτε, οὖ μὴ εἰσελθῆτε εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν. Ὅτι δὲ καὶ ἀδύνατον εἰς τὰς μήτρας τῶν τεκουσῶν τοὺς ἅπαξ γεννωμένους ἐμβῆναι φανερὸν πᾶσίν ἐστίν.

Let this be compared with the Gospel—Ἀπεκρίθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς, καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ, Ἀμὴν, ἀμὴν λέγω σοι, Ἐὰν μή τις γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν, οὐ δύναται ἰδεῖν τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ. Λέγει πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ Νικόδημος· πῶς δύναται ἄνθρωπος γεννηθησναι γέρων ὤν; μή δύναται εἰς τήν κοιλίαν τῆς μητρὸς αὑτοῦ δεύτερον εἰσελθεῖν, καὶ γεννηθῆναι;

Many efforts have been made to resist the force of this remarkable coincidence. Schwegler imagined that Justin had the passage Matt. 18:3 in his eye, which, however, does not sustain the central point of the comparison between the first and second birth. He also calls attention to the Clementine ‘Homilies,’ xi. 26, where some of the same deviations from the Fourth Gospel may be seen, with sundry additions, Baur (‘Kanon. Evang.,’ 352) supposed the Clementine author drew it from the ‘Gospel to the Hebrews.’ So also Zeller. The author of ‘Supernatural Religion’ supposes the author of the Fourth Gospel to have made up his conversation with Nicodemus, partly from this citation of Christ’s words. Now, as Mangold observes, it is more probable that the author of the Clementines took his deviations from Justin, and that Justin had the Gospel before him. Let the deviations be considered.

In John’s Gospel the question of Nicodemus is not introduced seriously, and receives the solemn rebuke of our Lord. In Justin the remark is clumsily and uselessly introduced, as though it were an important argument of his own, and shows the partial remembrance, the shadow of the inquiry of Nicodemus imperfectly understood and carelessly used. The difference between εἰς τὰς μήτρας τῶν τεκουσῶν and εἰς τὴν κοιλίαν, etc., is thus easily explained.

Again, we are told that when Justin introduces a passage with ὁ Χριστὸς εἶπεν, he meant to be verbally accurate. It is perfectly true that the Christian Fathers and Christian writers of note, even down to our day, introduce the substance of our Lord’s words rather than the ipsissima verba, with similar formulæ of quotation.

But the divergences themselves are noteworthy. Instead of ἐὰν μή τις γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν, Justin has transformed the statement into ἄν μὴ ἀναγεννηθῆτε, i.e. the second person plural in direct address, in place of the pronoun with the third person singular; but in explanation it must be remembered that in ver. 7 our Lord has himself used the second person plural; and seeing that Matt. 18:3 was also, as Scholten observed, probably in his memory, the alteration or mixing of the two passages is explained. In confirmation of which, Clemens Alex., ‘Strom.,’ iii. 13, does the very same thing; and not only early Christian writers, but Jeremy Taylor, and doubtless scores of modern writers and preachers, have done the same.

The change from ἄνωθεν to ἀναγεννηθῆτε is objected to, but without reason. Sufficient authority can be brought to show that ἄνωθεν is used for “again” or “anew,” as well as “from above,” and that the idea of new birth was associated with baptism. The word is ambiguous even in the opinion of those Fathers who give it the sense of “from above,” and even Nicodemus, by his δεύτερον, suggests the same interpretation. But that Justin need not be thought to have had any other authority than the Fourth Gospel for this passage is evident from the fact that the following writers are known thus to have translated the words which they certainly quoted from it: Irenæus (‘Frag.,’ 35), Athanasius (‘De Incarn.,’ 14), Basil, Ephrem Syrus, Chrysostom (on 1 Cor. 15:29), Cyril Alex. (on John 3:5), and several manuscripts of the Vulgate.

The variation of “cannot see” into “by no means enter” is partly an echo or representation of the ver. 5 οὐ δύναται εἰσελθεῖν. Dr. Ezra Abbott has examined quotations made of this verse by forty-two authors, and found no fewer than sixty-nine examples of similar deviations from strict accuracy. Interchanges of “kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven” are found in all periods of Christian literature. All the deviations of Justin are frequently repeated in later authors, at periods when the Fourth Gospel was undeniably accepted as Holy Scripture. It is well-nigh beyond belief, in spite of the variations, that Justin had not before him ch. 3.

(2) Even Hilgenfeld and Keim think that Justin must be quoting (‘Dial.,’ 88) from ch. 1:20, 23 (cf. ch. 3:28), where the Baptist is said to have, described himself as “not the Christ, but φωνὴ βοῶντος.” The synoptists quote Isaiah’s prophecy as fulfilled in John. Justin learned from the Fourth Gospel that the source of this reference was the consciousness of the Baptist.

(3) In ‘Apol.,’ i. 63, Justin says that the Jews are “upbraided by Christ himself, as knowing neither the Father nor the Son.” It is scarcely credible that he had not before him ch. 8:19 and 16:3.

(4) ‘Dial.,’ c. 49, and ‘Apol.,’ i. 22: Justin says that Christ healed those who were ἐκ γενετῆς πηρούς, which has its most natural explanation in a reference to ch. 9. A similar passage or phrase (πηρός, not τυφλός) is found in ‘Apost. Const.,’ v. 7, § 17, where there is certain reference to ch. 9

(5) ‘Apol.,’ i. 13: Christ was εἰς τοῦτο γεννηθέντα, with the εἰς τοῦτο γεγέννημαι of ch. 18:37.

(6) ‘Dial.,’ 56, with ch. 8:28, 29.

(7) ‘Apol.,’ i. 66: “We were taught that the bread and wine were the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.” We can scarcely believe that Justin had not seen ch. 1:14 and 6:51–56.

(8) ‘Apol.,’ i. 60, and ‘Dial.,’ 91: he refers to the brazen serpent as typical of the Crucifixion—a comparison found in ch. 3:14.

(9) In the one place where he uses the expression, “the apostles have written,” he says it of Jesus “coming up from the water, and the Holy Spirit as a dove alighting upon him” (cf. Matt. 3:16; ch. 1:32, 33).

(10) But the decided proof to most minds of Justin’s familiarity with the Fourth Gospel is that he has received and expanded the doctrine of the Logos, as found in the prologue of that Gospel.

Thus (‘Apol.,’ i. 23) he writes, “Jesus Christ is in the proper sense the only Son begotten of God, being his Word (Λόγος) and firstborn Power.” “He created and ordained all things through him” (2:6; cf. i. 63 and ii. 13); also ὁ λόγος ὅς τίνα τροπον σαρκοποιηθεὶς ἄνθρωπος γέγονεν (1:5; 2:6). Ἄνθρωπος γενόμενος is a phrase descriptive of the Λόγος in a great variety of passages. The use of Λόγος in the same sense as in the prologue is not denied by any one. Take ‘Dial.,’ 105: “I have previously shown that, he was the only Son of the Father of all things, his Logos and Power, born of himself, and afterwards made man (ἄνθρωπος γενόμενος διὰ τῆς παρθένου) of the Virgin, as we have learned from the memoirs.” Volkmar has yielded to the evidence derived from this quotation, though Hilgenfeld thinks that the clause, “as we have learned,” refers only to the previous part of the sentence; and then adopts the speculation that the author of the Fourth Gospel, so immeasurably superior to Justin, had absolutely quoted from him. Surely “the prologue of John is the primordial revelation of the Logos in its immediate majesty, the writings of Justin are the first attempts at a rational analysis of the contents of the revelation.” The opponents of the Johannine authorship have tried to account for it by supposing that Justin derived his ideas of the Incarnation and “man-becoming” of the Logos, who created all things, from other sources.

Now, Theophilus, Irenæus, Clemens Alex., and Tertullian held the same or similar ideas and commented upon them at length, and made no secret whatever of having drawn their ideas from the Fourth Gospel. Why should not Justin be allowed to have done the same? ‘In Dial.,’ c. 48, he is enlarging on the pre-existence of Christ as being God and being born of a virgin, and indicates to Trypho his view on this subject as having been one “taught by himself.” It cannot be said that he could have learned this from the synoptists. Whether true or not, it is in the Gospel of John alone that Justin could have found this teaching described as Christ’s own. It is true that in the Book of Proverbs, in the Wisdom of Solomon, and in Ecclesiasticus there is a lofty description of Wisdom as the creative energy of God, hardly though approximatively personified, and poetically drawn as an agency or form of Divine energy and counsel; but there is no hint of this Wisdom having become man. She does “sweetly order all things,” and is “ἀπαύγασμα of the everlasting light,” but nothing could be less like the teaching of the Old Testament than that this Wisdom was born of a virgin, and was the Christ of God.

The discussion of the relation of Philo to the author of the Fourth Gospel will be considered in sect. VII. 2. We have here simply to consider the question—Did Justin derive his Logos-doctrine from Philo, with the assistance of the additional idea that Jesus Christ was an incarnation of the Logos, without authoritative help from John’s Gospel? or did he borrow it and develop it directly from the Fourth Gospel? Albrecht Thoma (‘Die Genesis des Johannes-Evang.,’ etc., p. 824) has maintained the first hypothesis; though he does not deny that Justin may have seen the Gospel, he suggests that he treated it with the same indifference that he manifested to Paul’s writings.

Philo speaks of λόγος as “reason:” “The reason which is diffused among all beings in common.” He treats the Λόγος as the attribute of the Divine Being, or a mode of his activity. He calls is Ἀρχάγγελος, Ἀρχιερεύς, Υἱός, Πρωτόγονος αὐτοῦ Λόγος, Δεύτερος Θεός. He was eclectic in his notion and nomenclature—that which as a Jew he called angels, as a Stoic he called causes, as a Platonist ideas, as a popular writer for Greeks he called dœmons, in on place he called ἀθάνατοι λόγοι. Moreover, Philo never identified the Λόγος with the Messianic idea, of which he says very little. The term Αόγος in Philo scarcely preserves the ambiguity which it has in Plato and other Greek writers. It has the meaning of “reason,” or λόγος ἐνδιάθετος, rather than “word,” or λόγος προφορικός, and when Philo referred to the creative “Word,” he used the other term ῥήμα, or even a combination of the two, the λόγοσ-ῥήμα.

In Philo, the God who acts by the Λόγος is absolutely removed from all contact with the world, and thus is profoundly different from the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as displayed in the Fourth Gospel, and, more than this, the bare idea of incarnation is abhorrent to the Philonian metaphysics.

The notions of God that Justin entertained are of the most supersensuous kind. He is unspeakable and unnamable, but he is almighty; he is “the Father of all” (‘Dial.,’ 108); “the Maker of the whole” (ibid., c. 60); he is the providential Ruler of all (‘Apol.,’ i. 15, 8), “merciful and gracious.”

Several critics have drawn a series of contrasts between the positions of Philo, Justin, and “John,” and particularly emphasized as Justin’s doctrine the origination, constitution, and begetting of the Logos in time, or at the creation of the world, rather than as a personal coexistent Deity “with God” before all worlds. The Logos (in Justin) is said to be a “second God”—”God because from God (Verbum Deus, quia ex Deo).” He is directly subordinate to the supreme Deity, because derived. He is μονογενής and πρωτότοκος, and after the manifestation in man, after he was made man (γέγονεν ἄνθρωπός), and that then he is called γέννημα. Also emphasis is laid upon the fact that, instead of the peculiar Johannine phrase, ὁ Λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο, Justin uses ἄνθρωπος instead of σάρξ, and σαρκοποιηθείς instead of σάρξ ἐγένετο. However the idea of the incarnation of the Logos may have arisen, the mode of its expression is very closely allied, if not identical, in both writers. If Justin had been more alive to the teaching of Paul (whose letters must have been in general circulation long before Justin wrote), he might neither have shrunk from Paul’s use of σάρξ in the sense of ἄνθρωπος, nor called attention to the subordination of the Divine nature of Christ. However, the Gospel of John and the Apocalypse alike lay emphasis upon the subordination of the Son, and seeing that the Son is the Only Begotten of the Father, and in the bosom of the Father before his incarnation, ΛΟΓΟΣ and ΥΙΟΣ are terms which, in the evangelist’s mind essay to set forth the same immanent, eternal, and active relation of an hypostasis that is essentially one with God, though derived from him. Furthermore, it is open to question whether Justin did designate the Logos as γέννημα in time. The passage to which many critics, anxious to shut off the influence of the Fourth Gospel from Justin refer, is ‘Dial. cum Trypho,’ 62: “But this offspring (γέννημα) which was put forth from the Father was with the Father before all created things (πάντων τῶν ποιημάτων).” The “offspring” was not an “attribute” of God, and Justin seeks to show that this Logos was the Person to whom God spake, saying, “Let us make man” (see ‘Apol.,’ ii. c. 6). “His Son, who alone is properly called Son, the Logos, being with God and being begotten before his works, when in the beginning he created and set in order all things through him, is called Christ.” Confused in expression, and capable of different interpretations, this passage identifies the Son with the Logos, and discerns the Logos as actively accomplishing the creation of all things. He avows partially an agreement with Plato on these very lines in the ‘Address to the Greeks,’ but the deviation from the great affirmations of John’s prologue, in favour of Philo, cannot be proved.

Dr. Davidson seeks to show that Justin’s Christ is a portrait drawn from the synoptist narrative or tradition; e.g. that Justin appears to regard our Lord’s public ministry as lasting one year; that he represents Jesus as apprehended on the day of the Passover; that he does not adduce passages from the prologue in proof of Christ’s pre-existence; and ignores the miracles of the Fourth Gospel, the sending of the Paraclete, and the great saying, “A new commandment,” etc. These observations are well worth pondering, but we might as well go through the whole Gospel with a similar string of omissions. Take a similar case: Because a writer of the present day quotes a poem of the commencement of the century, but does not refer to or appears in ignorance of many other of the same poet’s productions, we are not, therefore, justified in concluding that the quotations that he does not make are proof of the non-existence of the said poetry at that date. The question here does not turn on the accurate or scholarly use of the Fourth Gospel by Justin, but on the simple fact that he had seen it or read any portion of it.

Dr. Abbott (City of London School), in two articles in the Modern Review, 1882, endeavours to minimize the effect of the quotations on which we have commented, by emphasizing their verbal disagreement with the text of John; and following the line of Dr. Davidson and A. Thoma, he shows that there are places in Justin’s argument where, if the martyr had believed in the authoritative value of John’s Gospel, he would have cited it as far more apposite than the passage from the prophets of the Old Testament, or from the synoptists that he does cite. It is very remarkable that Justin should not have quoted this Gospel when endeavouring to prove the pre-existence of Christ; but we cannot say what a writer of the second century would think most convincing, and the argument e silentio is very perilous.

2. In addition to this testimony, let us review the confirmatory evidence which undeniably establishes the existence of the Fourth Gospel between Justin and Irenæus.

(1) Heracleon. We have spoken at length of Irenæus, whose evidence establishes the reverence paid to the Gospel when he wrote his chief work, a.d. 180, but in this work (‘Adv. Hær.,’ ii. 4) he speaks of one, Heracleon, a Gnostic, whose doctrines of æons is combined with that of Ptolemæus (cf. Hippolytus, ‘Ref. Hær.,’ vi. 35 and 29). Heracleon must have lived, then, before Irenæus. He was a disciple of Valentinus, the great poet and genius of the Gnostic schools. Now, if that fact can be established—and nothing seems clearer—then John’s Gospel must have been in wide circulation, and held in extraordinary reverence by persons both within and outside the Church; for it can be shown that Heracleon actually wrote a complete commentary on John’s Gospel, to which Origen set himself to reply in later times. “Ah, great God!” says Volkmar, “if between a.d. 125 and 155 a commentary was composed on John’s Gospel, such as that of which Origen has preserved considerable extracts, what yet remains to be discussed? It is very certain that it is all over with the critical thesis of the composition of the Fourth Gospel in the middle of the second century.”

(2) Tatian. Tatian, a disciple of Justin, between a.d. 166 and 170, wrote his ‘Discourse to the Greeks,’ and a work the name of which is preserved by Eusebius, Τὸ Διατεσσάρων—a “patchwork,” or “combination,” or perhaps “harmony,” of “four Gospels.” What four Gospels were they? Eusebius does not say, but he calls them “the Gospels,” and that is sufficient. Eusebius, ‘Hist. Eccl.,’ iv. 29: “Tatian put together, I know not how, a sort of patchwork or combination of the Gospels, and called it the Diatessaron, which is current with some.” The author of ‘Supernatural Religion’ argues from this, unadvisedly, that Eusebius had never seen the document.

That one of them was the fourth is probable, because in the ‘Discourse to the Greeks’ we find a quotation from ch. 1:3, 5 and 4:24. The exact words are, Καὶ τοῦτο ἐστιν ἄρα τὸ εἰρημένον, Ἡ σκοτία τὸ φῶς οὐ καταλαμβάνει. Altogether too remarkable to be explained away.

Further, Theodoret (‘Hær. Fab.,’ i. 20) tells us this “harmony” was a defective performance, omitting the genealogies, denying the reality of the body of Christ, and that he was Son of David according to the flesh. He says that he found (about a.d. 420) two hundred copies of this work in his churches in his small diocese of Cyrus, in Syria, and that the faithful did not discern the mischievous character of the compilation, and that he, Theodoret, substituted for them copies of the four Gospels. [This simple fact shows to what an enormous extent copies of the Gospels may have been diffused throughout the Christian world, and is used by Norton (loc. cit., c. 1) to defend his calculation that not fewer than sixty thousand copies of the Gospels must have existed in the fifth century.]

Victor of Capua, in the sixth century, speaks of Tatian’s work as a διὰ πέντε instead of a διὰ τεσσάρων. But surely Eusebius of the fourth century and Theodoret of the fifth century are rather better authorities than Victor. A Syrian writer, Bar-Salibi, in the twelfth century, says that Ephrem Syrus wrote a commentary on Tatian’s harmony, and that it began with ch. 1:1.

So startling a fact has been vehemently repudiated by the opponents of the Fourth Gospel, and certainly the testimony appears late and dubious; but see here Lightfoot’s (article in Contemporary Review, 1877) argument in defence of Bar-Salibi. Confirmation of this testimony really became available in 1836, though unnoticed by Western scholars; for in that year it was found that an Armenian Version of Ephrem’s Commentary actually existed, and the Mechitarist Fathers in Venice published it. In 1876 Mæsinger translated this into Latin, and Dr. Ezra Abbott called attention to it in 1880. Dr. Zahn has published an elaborate dissertation on the subject. With this stimulus, Dr. Wace gave an interesting account and analysis of this commentary (Expositor, 1882), and of Dr. Zahn’s theories concerning it. Zahn thinks that the Διατεσσάρων was itself written in Syriac, that the commentary consisted of a series of homilies upon a harmony which in the Syriac Churches, in the fourth century, assumed the place of the Gospels in the Greek Churches. This commentary reveals the text upon which it was based, and we find that it corresponds with Victor of Capua’s statement, though the latter had restored some passages which, according to Theodoret, Tatian had omitted. This remarkable document begins, as Bar-Salibi had said, with ch. 1:1, etc., and contains numerous passages from the Gospel, even of ch. 21., and bases its chronology upon that of John rather than on that of the synoptics.

The only question is—Have we any reason for doubting that the harmony on which Ephrem Syrus commented was Tatian’s, as Bar-Salibi asserted? Might it have been a harmony made by Ammonius of Alexandria? Against this the strong reason appears that Ammonius’s harmony made Matthew’s Gospel the basis, whereas there is no hint of this in Ephrem’s commentary. If we can rely upon the existence of the “harmony” of Tatian (a disciple of Justin), and that the Fourth Gospel was an essential element of the Διατεσσάρων, the debate as to Justin’s quotations is closed.

(3) The muratorian Fragment. Muratori, in 1740 (‘Antiquitates Italicæ Medii Ævi,’ vol. iii.), published a manuscript at that time in the Ambrosian Library of Milan, formerly in the monastery of Bobbio, in order to prove the inaccuracy of early copyists; but he and others at once saw that the fragment was of importance in determining the canon of the New Testament. The manuscript begins abruptly, and is broken off in the middle of a sentence; it is written in corrupt Latin, which is probably a poor translation of an original work in Greek. The writer says that “Hermas has very recently, and in our days, written the ‘Shepherd,’ while Pius, his brother, was Bishop of Rome.” Pius died about the middle of the second century, his episcopate extending from a.d. 142 to 147, and if so, the composition of the unknown author can scarcely be put later than a.d. 160 or 170. Tregelles says, “Its evidence is none the less trustworthy from its being a blundering and illiterate transcript of a rough and rustic translation of a Greek original.” With him, Mangold and Hilgenfeld agree. It is one of the first attempts we possess to frame a canon or list of books of the New Testament. We have to make sundry conjectures which may turn out to be false, with reference, e.g., to the Epistle to the Hebrews; but its testimony as to the existence of the Gospels is important, seeing that it mentions forged epistles in order to denounce them, and discriminates between the value of the ‘Shepherd’ of Hermas and the sacred books. Everything in our present question depends on the date. If “nuperrime temporibus nostris” be taken in their ordinary sense, it cannot be dated much after the death of Pius, and all the other references tally with this. Desperate hypotheses have been made to avoid the inconvenient force of the testimony. Some have suggested that the passage which involves the date is an interpolation. Of course that cannot be disproved. The mere fact of mutilation does not in the least suggest interpolation; nor is there any appearance of its being a gloss. It is questionable whether any mention of Matthew and Mark was made in the original document, because that portion of the manuscript is mutilated; but, as far as our present contention is concerned, that is unimportant. What is said with reference to Luke and John is as follow. It is noticeable that the way it which Luke is introduced shows that it was regarded by the writer as the Third Gospel.

“The third book of the Gospel is that according to Luke. Luke, that physician, after the ascension of Christ, when Paul has taken him (secundum or secum) as his second [or, ‘helper,’ as one studious, anxious for the truth or right?], wrote to the best of his judgment (ex opinione, equivalent to καθὼς ἔδοξεν αὐτῷ, Luke 1:3), nor, nevertheless, had he himself seen the Lord in the flesh—and this same, so far as he was able to ascertain, and so he began to speak from the birth of John.”

There are no new facts to be gathered from this; but it is clear that the writer is speaking of what was known, in the Church, as the Third Gospel, and thus throws the composition of the work much further back, confirming all that we have said about the independent proof of the precedence of the Third Gospel to that of Marcion. Then the document proceeds—

“Of the fourth of the Gospels (the author) was John, one of the disciples” (i.e. to distinguish him from John the Baptist, to whom he had just made reference). “[He wrote it] at the request of his fellow-disciples and bishops, to whom he said, ‘Fast with me from to-day until the third day, and whatsoever shall have been revealed to any one, we will tell you.’ On the same night it was revealed to Andrew, (one) of the apostles, that, aided by the revision of all (recognoscentibus cunctis), John should describe all things in his own name (on his own authority); and so, though various principles are taught in each of the Gospels, it makes no difference to the faith of believers, since in all of them all things are declared by one ruling Spirit, concerning the nativity, concerning the passion, the resurrection [of Christ], the conversation with his disciples, and his double (gemino) advent. First he was contemned in his humility, then, secondly, illustrious in royal power, which will occur (quod futurum est). What wonder is it, then, that John so constantly should bring it forth, even in his Epistles, and mentioning details, should say as from himself alone, ‘What we have seen with our eyes, and heard with our ears, and our hands have handled, these things have we written to you’? For so he professes that he was not only an eye-witness, but also a hearer, and, moreover, a writer in order (scriptorem … per ordinem, an historian) of all the wonderful things of our Lord.”

Because of the air of legend that the writer of this fragment has thrown round the composition of the Gospel, some of our recent critics discount its value; but the very fact that Andrew and the other apostles should conjoinedly have been supposed to testify to the truth of John’s communications, throws the date of the composition of what was then a well-known work into a remote past. The statement, moreover, corresponds with the concluding words of the Gospel itself.

The value of this document is that it makes it impossible for us to suppose that Justin could have had any other document before him than that which we thus show very shortly after Justin’s death to have been called “the Fourth Gospel,” and is declared to be written by an eye-witness, etc., and by the author of the Epistle which bears his name.

Holtzmann contends mainly that the principle on which books are approved or condemned throughout this archaic fragment is their acceptance by what was then becoming recognized as the Apostolic Catholic Church. Davidson suggests that the account of the origin of the Fourth Gospel shows that its “apostolicity” was still open to grave doubt.

It ought to be here stated that Dr. Salmon is disposed to attribute the authorship of this document to Caius, Presbyter of Rome about a.d. 200, and therefore, valuable as it would still be, it would have no bearing on the quotations of Justin. Reuss, however, in 1884 (lib. cit.), repudiates the authorship of Caius.

(4) Papias. These testimonies of Papias concern more closely the first two synoptic Gospels, though they are not without interest in their bearing on the Fourth Gospel.

First, who was he? and what records throw light upon the date of his episcopate or death, or the value of his testimonies or his silences?

Eusebius (‘Hist. Eccl.,’ iii. 36) says, “While Polycarp was in Asia, and was Bishop of Smyrna, Papias was well known as Bishop of the Church in Hierapolis, a man well skilled in all manner of learning, and well acquainted with ‘the Scriptures.’ ” In 3. 39 Eusebius again speaks of him as σφόδρα σμικρὸς ὣν τὸν νοῦν, as being intellectually small or weak. These apparently contradictory passages are not difficult to reconcile. Eusebius was a strenuous ante-millenarian, but Papias, according to certain extracts given by the historian from his last work, entitled ‘An Exposition (or Expositions) of the Oracles of our Lord,’ recorded some extreme chiliastic views based on the literal interpretation of some apocryphal sayings of Christ. These were enough to justify Eusebius’s view of his intellect, while at the same time he might, after seeing the care displayed in his ‘Expositions,’ and the reputation he had won, have admitted his learning. Drs. Dryasdust and Syntax may be even at the present day small men. It would be a most wonderful event if these ‘Expositions’ of Papias were discovered, as he was undoubtedly a link between the apostles and their immediate followers, and Irenæus. Now, Irenæus (‘Adv. Hær.’ v. 33. 4) speaks of him as a man of the olden time, and a hearer (ἀκουστὴς) of John and Polycarp. Later tradition makes Irenæus a “hearer” of Papias, as well as Polycarp; and it is more than probable that Irenæus, when in Laodicea, saw and conversed with the old man at Hierapolis. We do not know for certain when he died. The accounts differ as to the date of his martyrdom, and that of Polycarp, between 155–6 and 165–7. There can be little doubt that, if he were an “ancient man” when Irenæus saw him, he must have lived between the last quarter of the first and the first two quarters of the second century—between a.d. 70 and 150. Moreover, Eusebius himself, in an earlier work, the ‘Chronicon,’ does not scruple to say that Papias was a hearer of John the apostle —a statement undoubtedly confirmed by Irenæus (‘Adv. Hær.’ v. 33). The special and wonderful event which he recorded as having learned from the daughters of Philip the apostle (Eusebius, ‘Hist. Eccl.,’ iii. 39), shows that he must have lived contemporaneously with those who had known the apostles and their immediate associates and followers.

One very important fragment of his last work is preserved by Eusebius (3:39 or 40), which has abundant bearing on the authenticity of Matthew and Mark’s Gospel, and also inferentially on that of the Fourth Gospel. The quotation is made by Eusebius from the fourth book of Papias’s ‘Expositions,’ on the authority of Irenæus that Papias wrote five books. Eusebius adds that Papias, in the preface to these books, does not claim to be a hearer or eye-witness of the holy apostles, but received the doctrines of the faith from their intimate friends.

“I shall not hesitate or scruple for your advantage to set down, side by side with my interpretations, whatsoever things I at any time well (or rightly) learned or rightly or well recorded or remembered, solemnly affirming (διαβεβαιουμένος) the truth about them. For I was in the habit of taking delight (not as the many) in those saying (λέγουσιν) many things, but in those teaching the truth, nor in those who remembered the teaching of strangers, but in those who remembered the commandments which were given by the Lord to our faith, and in those that proceeded παραγινομένοις from the truth itself (cf. ch. 14:6, “I am the Truth”). But also if at any time any one chanced to come who had been a follower of (παρηκολουθηκώς; cf. Luke 1:3) the elders, I used to inquire about the discourses (or words) of the elders, what Andrew and what Peter said, εἶπεν, or what Philip or what Thomas or James, or what John or Matthew, or any one of the disciples (μαθητῶν) said, and what Aristion and the elder John, the disciples of the Lord, say (λέγουσι). For I did not account myself so much indebted to what comes from books as to that which comes from the living and abiding voice.”

Eusebius then calls attention to the double reference to the elder John, and concludes from it that “Aristion and the elder John” were living in Papias’s day, and that he, “the elder,” was the probable author of the Apocalypse. He confirms this supposition by the statement that some assert that there were two who bore this name; that there were “two tombs in Ephesus, and that both are called John’s even to this day.”

Now, this “elder John” is supposed by some to be the author of the Second and Third Epistles of John. Keim has urged, in his ‘Jesus of Nazara,’ that this second John is author of the Gospel, the John alone known to Papias or to Polycarp; and he denies that John, son of Zebedee, was ever at Ephesus at all.

Eusebius further dilates on his literal millenarianism, and treats him as the mistaken author of these foolish opinions, thinking that Irenæus was led astray in this direction by the antiquity of the man. Keim has no right to follow Eusebius in a dogmatic assertion that Papias knew nothing of the elders themselves; for his first assertion is that he had learned and remembered much of their instructions. It is very noteworthy that he calls Peter, Thomas, Andrew, John, and Matthew, “elders;” and, though he mentions a John over again as “the elder John” with Aristion as “disciples of the Lord,” it is by no means certain that he is referring to another person at all. It is interesting to observe that he first refers to second-hand information derived from the group of elders, and then, as though Aristion and the elder John were still living, he adds, “what they say.” If John the apostle lived till Trajan’s time, this is perfectly comprehensible; and the passage is a very powerful confirmation of the hypothesis so well maintained by Archdeacon Farrar, that the Presbyter John is a mere invention of Eusebius, who is, after all, the only source of the tradition worth any consideration, and that he based his opinion on the loose story of the two tombs of John in Ephesus.

The testimony which Papias gave as to the synoptic narratives has been discussed and argued from, as though it were a detailed treatise; and two solitary phrases which he used have afforded matter for enormous debate. (a) He says that “Matthew composed τὰ λόγια in the Hebrew dialect, and each one interpreted them as he was able.” From this sentence it has been concluded that Matthew merely edited “discourses” of our Lord, and that this Hebrew work is the foundation of our canonical “Matthew,” and different from it. It is, however, clear from New Testament usage of the word that we have no right to limit the λόγια to the discourses. The word is used for ‘oracles,’ whether “sayings” or narratives (Rom. 3:2; Heb. 5:12; 2 Clem. 13), and may be regarded as nearly equivalent to our modern usage of the word “gospel.” Papias, in this brief sentence, does not say that Matthew had not written his Greek form of the Gospel, but, as Charteris says, “It may be fairly argued that now the time for haphazard translations was passed.” (b) He gives, on the authority of “the elder John”—and this is profoundly impressive if the elder John be none other than the venerable apostle—the well-known story of Mark being the interpreter of Peter. He comments, therefore, on the authority of Mark’s work, its accuracy, and his scrupulous attention to the facts. There is, however, one word in this passage on which much controversy has been spent—οὐ μέντοι τάξει—”not indeed in order; he wrote the things that were said and done by our Lord.” It has been urged that Mark’s Gospel is the most chronological in order of the three synoptic narratives. Judging by the various harmonies that have been made, the order of Mark is that which is more often adhered to by Matthew and Luke, and moreover their respective adhesions to Mark’s “order,” when they differ from one another, are far more numerous than their combined deviations from Mark. That may be true. But does Papias mean by τάξει “chronological order”? All those who are anxious to separate the canonical Matthew and Mark from the documents to which Papias refers hold that it does. Even Dr. Sanday here seems to yield to the pressure, and to agree with the author of ‘Supernatural Religion.’ But consult Ebrard’s ‘Gospel History,’ where he endeavours to set forth the sequences of Mark’s narrative, and shows that he is guided by the resolve to exhibit in a series of tableaux the leading momenta of the life of Christ. Even if Mark’s succession of events best explains the differences in arrangement seen in Matthew and Luke, it does not follow that he has placed the details of his narrative any more than they have in true chronological sequence.

The supposition that this testimony about Mark came from the “elder John,” who is none other than the son of Zebedee, and who alone approaches a full exhibition of chronological outline, will throw light on the οὐ μέντοι τάξει. As compared with the Fourth Gospel, which we cannot suppose Papias did not know, Mark’s might well bear this character.

If John the elder be the author of the Second and Third Epistles, we cannot doubt that they are by the same author as that of the First Epistle, from which, Eusebius also states, Papias quoted, giving another reason for the identification of the two Johns. Though Eusebius is really the author of the tradition of the two Johns, yet he does not hesitate to say (‘Chronicon,’ loc. cit.) that Papias had been a hearer of John the apostle, in accordance with the already-quoted testimony of Irenæus to the same effect. The other testimonies to the supposed existence of the presbyter vanish on approach. The hypothesis that John the presbyter was the author of the Apocalypse, and none other than the exile of Patmos, and who could with authority address the seven Churches of Asia, is incompatible with John the apostle’s residence in Asia altogether, and so recklessly sets aside a wide and cogent tradition.

The greatest puzzle in connection with the passage is the mention of Aristion in the same breath with the elder John. Of this name we elsewhere find no other trace.

Renan and others have adopted different conjectures to get rid of the reference to these two men as disciples of the Lord. Godet makes the suggestion that the “two other disciples” mentioned in ch. 21. may be Aristion and Presbyter John. Dr. Farrar and Krenkel independently make the supposition that Aristion conceals some well-known name; and since Polycrates said that at this time John and Philip were the two “great lights of Asia,” it is not impossible that Aristion is the name by which Papias was accustomed to speak of him. “What Papias meant to say was that, long before he wrote his book, it had been his habit to gather all he could about the statements of the apostles, whom he calls ‘elders,’ and among them the statements of John, from those who had seen the elders; and that he also took notes of the living ‘oracles,’ furnished to him directly by Aristion (who was well known to Papias’s readers), and even—which is the reason why he keeps the name to the last as being the fact which he most wished to emphasize—by ‘John the elder;’ the same John, ὁ πάνυ, the only John of whom any one knew anything, who so long survived his brother apostles, and to whose indirect testimony Papias has just referred” (Farrar, Expositor, vol. ii. 2nd series, p. 343, etc.).

Although, in the exceedingly brief extant fragments of Papias, no quotation is made from John’s Gospel, yet it is stated by Eusebius that Papias quoted (as Polycarp did) from the First Epistle, and likewise from Peter’s Epistle, which makes it probable that he was referring to John’s Gospel and Epistle, just as he referred to Mark’s Gospel and Peter’s Epistle.

Before leaving Papias, it is incumbent to notice that Irenæus (5:36) gives an explanation of ch. 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many mansions,” as one given by the presbyters of Asia Minor, in the number of which Papias occupied a chief place.

The so-called silence of Eusebius concerning the testimonies of more ancient writers than himself to the existence of the Gospels has a curious bearing on this subject (see Lightfoot, Contemporary Review, vol. xxvi.). It all turns on the principle adopted by Eusebius in these references. Thus, ‘Hist. Eccl.,’ iii. 3, “He wishes to point out what ecclesiastical writers made use of the disputed books, and of which of them, then some (τινά) of the things which have been said about the ὁμολογουμένοι, and all that has been said about those which are not so.” He did not for a moment aim at a complete inventory of all that was said by the earlier writers about the δ̔μολογουμένοι. That was taken for granted; e.g. he says nothing about Irenæus’s and Origen’s quotations from John. Nobody doubted the Fourth Gospel in the time of Eusebius. The fact that Papius quoted the First Epistle of John and the First Epistle of Peter is to the point; and the very fact that Eusebius does not refer to citations made by Papias from the Gospel of John goes far to prove that Eusebius knew that Papias quoted it largely.

The conclusions we draw are that his personal acquaintance with John and Polycarp gives extraordinary importance to the testimony which Irenæus bears to the Gospel as well as to him, and connects the apostolic period with that in which the quotations from and admissions of John’s Gospel are abundant, indubitable, and universally conceded.

3. The testimony of the apostolic Fathers. (1) Polycarp. Another evidence of high antiquity is given in the solemn quotation from the First Epistle of John in Polycarp’s Epist. to Phil., c. vii. The evidence for the identification of authorship of the Epistle and Gospel is as strong as any internal evidence can be (see sect. VII. 5. (3) d). Dr. Davidson has strenuously disputed it by calling attention to differences of doctrine between them, which are in fact microscopic. But the transfusion of 1 John 4:2, 3 into the following passage is convincing to many sceptical minds: “For every one who does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is antichrist; and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross is of the devil.” This becomes more striking from the fact that in c. vi. Polycarp is referring to the apostles who preached the gospel to us.

Volkmar suggests that Polycarp’s epistle to the Philippians may have been in the hands of the writer of the First Epistle of John. But it should not be forgotten that Papias, a companion of Polycarp, made use of the First Epistle (according to Eusebius), which renders it eminently improbable that the Epistle of John was written after the time of Polycarp and Papias. The superiority and independence of the First Epistle of John are conspicuous throughout.

Polycarp’s letter shows that it must have been written after Ignatius left him, and before the news of his martyrdom reached him at Smyrna. It has been said, if Polycarp quoted the First Epistle, why should he not have quoted the Gospel? One might as well ask why he did not, in the short letter, quote 1 Corinthians, or Job, or Jeremiah, or Daniel, or the ‘Phædo’! The authenticity of Polycarp’s letter is placed beyond dispute by Lightfoot (article, Contemporary Review, 1877, and ‘Apostolic Fathers,’ part ii, vol. i. and vol. iii.), and the fact that this letter is interfused and saturated with Pauline thought is in itself a standing contradiction of the theory of the existence of hostile parties within the bosom of the apostolic company. The one ground on which Polycarp’s epistle has been questioned is that it sustains the authenticity of the Ignatian letters, which had been referred to a forger of the close of the century; but if the Ignatian Epistles are proved to be authentic, the one stumbling-block has been taken away. This Zahn and Lightfoot have done so much to accomplish.

(2) Clemens Romanus and Barnabas. It is more than possible that the epistle of Clement of Rome was written before the Fourth Gospel, therefore we do not expect to find traces of the presence of that Gospel in this epistle. The same may possibly be true of the epistle of “Barnabas.” The antiquity of the latter has been accepted by some critics because they find in it no trace of the Fourth Gospel. Volkmar, Riggenbach (and cf. Dr. Milligan’s art. “Barnabas:” ‘Dictionary of Christian Biography’). Keim has, however, strongly maintained the presence of the Johannine thought throughout the epistle, and contends that the root-ideas of the epistle cannot be found either in the Epistle to the Hebrews or in Paul’s Epistles, but only in the Fourth Gospel. If so, we are driven back to the very commencement of the second, or the close of the first, century for such recognition of the Fourth Gospel. Keim thinks there is specific reference to the building of the temple in the reign of Hadrian, about the year a.d. 120, at latest a.d. 130.

If the epistle were genuine, it must have been written as early as between a.d. 70 and 79, as many seem to think, and the presence of what Keim regards as Johannine thought can scarcely have been derived directly from the Gospel. The thoughts may have been conveyed, as they were probably to Paul, by the teaching of John himself, which, by the study of the Epistles of Paul, can be shown to have been widely diffused in the first century. Thoma finds almost every idea of the Fourth Gospel already embodied in the Pauline Epistles (see ‘Barnabas,’ cc. 5, 7, 11, 12).

(3) The Shepherd of Hermas. This curious document belongs to the middle of the second century, between a.d. 140 and 150. The earliest date is thought by Charteris to be a.d. 138, as we find that Christians are being judicially condemned to the wild beasts. This cannot have been the case before the reign of Hadrian. There are few, if any, references to the New Testament. Clemens Alex. and Origen frequently quote it, without regarding it as canonical. The ‘Muratorian Fragment’ says, “The Pastor was written nuperrime in Rome, by Hermas, while Bishop Pius, his brother, was in the chair of the Church of the city of Rome.” There are many who believe that they trace the presence of the Johannine idea of the pre-existence of the Son of God, the identification of the Gate with the Son of God, and that those who are to be saved must enter by it into the kingdom (‘Simil.,’ ix. 12). Sanday regards this as a very problematical reference, though not impossible (p. 274; see also Westcott on the Canon, p. 211; and ‘Introduction to the Gospel,’ xxxii.). Davidson does not admit any resemblance.

(4) The so-called Second Epistle of Clement. The recent discovery of Bryennios (see Bishop Lightfoot’s edition, ‘Apostolic Fathers,’ vol. i.) proves this document to be the “ancient homily of an unknown author,” about the year a.d. 140 at the latest, but it betrays no positive acquaintance with the writings of either Paul or John, yet there are interesting traces of the Gospel. That in c. xvii. is very precarious, and turns simply on σὺ ἦς, “Thou wast he;” but reminds Lightfoot of John 8:24 and 13:19. But in c. ix. there is a stronger reference, “If Christ the Lord who saved us, being first spirit, then became flesh (ἐγενέτο σάρξ), and so called us; in like manner in this flesh we shall receive our reward; let us therefore love one another.” This reminds us of John 1:14 and of the spirit of the valedictory discourse (see also c. iii.). “We through him have known the Father of truth” (cf. John 1:18; 14:9).

(5) The Epistles of Ignatius. Of course, the vast question of the authenticity of the Ignatian Epistles cannot here be examined further than to say that, after the publication of the Syriac translation (edited by Cureton), criticism for a while settled into the conviction that the three epistles—to the Romans, to Polycarp, and Ephesians, of which we possess in Syriac apparently the shortest version—are the sole portions which represent the authentic correspondence of the martyred Father on his way from Antioch to Rome; that the Vossian shorter Greek form of the seven epistles are, like the still longer form of the thirteen epistles which long went under the same name, spurious additions to the original text. Many of the Tübingen critics, however, rejected even the Curetonian Syriac, as well as both the shorter and longer forms of the Greek epistles. But since Zahn’s work, ‘Ignatius von Antiochien,’ Lightfoot’s article on “The Ignatian Letters,” Contemporary Review (1877), and the exhaustive treatment of the authenticity of the middle form of the epistles, by Bishop Lightfoot, ‘Apostolic Fathers,’ vol. ii., it is becoming more clear to candid minds that the Syriac translation is nothing but an extract from the seven epistles for purposes of edification, that a complete Syrian text existed in the fourth century, and that it had been translated into the Armenian language from the Syriac in the sixth century. Petermann published (1849) this Armenian version, corresponding with the three Curetonian, but containing all seven Vossian, and even the six spurious ones as well. It would be wrong to place absolute dependence upon these seven, or even the three in their shortest form, because it is more than probable that even they have been manipulated in the direction of an ecclesiastical system, certainly profoundly dissimilar from that in Clement of Rome, or the pastoral Epistles of St. Paul. Dr. Lightfoot shows that the Martyr recognizes and enforces the distinction between presbyter and bishop in Asia minor, but reveals the fact that, both in the Philippian and the Roman Church, the distinction on which he elsewhere insists so much had not established itself. Still, they are immensely valuable in every way, if they represent the thought of a writer who cannot have been martyred later than a.d. 116 in Trajan’s time, and must have been contemporary with the aged apostle himself.

There are many references and quotations of the kind that, though loosely made in those days, reveal the antecedent existence of the Gospel. I choose the more remarkable—that to ‘Magnesians,’ c. 8. 2: “There is one God, who manifested himself through Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, his Son, who in his Δόγος, proceeding from Σιγή”—a term showing how Gnosticism had already made its appearance—”who in all respects was well pleasing to him that sent him” (ch. 8:29). Volumes have been written on this one word Σιγή occurring in the Ignatian Letters. The old and common text is, “One, God who has manifested himself by Jesus Christ, his Son, who is his [eternal] Word, [not] proceeding from [Σιγή] silence, and who in all things pleased him who sent him.” This has the appearance of a reply to the Valentinian speculation with reference to “silence” as the source of the Logos, and hence has been regarded as proof of the late origin of the whole epistle. It has been definitely proved that the mysterious term is much older than Valentinus, and was much used in the first century. Bishop Lightfoot has endeavoured to establish a different form of the text, as given above, and appears to solve the difficulty by showing that the veritable Ignatius had a certain leaning to some of the pre-Valentinian speculations, which were sufficiently rife. On either hypothesis of text, the reference to the Fourth Gospel is very marked, and could not, as the author of ‘Supernatural Religion’ urges, have been derived from the theosophy of Philo.

In the ‘Epistle to the Romans,’ c. vii. 2 (in both Curetonian and Vossian texts), “The living water (ὕδωρ δὲ ζῶν), speaking within me, says within me, ‘Come to the Father.’ I desire the Bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ … and I desire the Drink of God, his blood, which is incorruptible love.” The ordinary Greek reads. “incorruptible love and eternal life (ὰένναος ζωή),” instead of ζωή αἰώνιος, the common phrase in John. Lightfoot omits the last clause. Still, the resemblance to ch. 6:55, and 32, 33, 58, and to ch. 4:14, are conspicuous. The letter to ‘Philadelphians,’ c. vii. 1: “If any should wish me to go astray, … but the Spirit does not go astray, being from God, for he knows whence he cometh and whither he goeth, and searches out (condemns, ἐλέγχει) secret things.” The unusual use of ἔρχεται and ὑπάγει, found in ch. 3:8, is found twelve times in the Gospel and once in the Epistle, and thus has become a commonplace in the mind of the writer, who is far less original in the employment of it than was the evangelist. Ignatius’s use of it is a deduction from the words of Christ: “We know not the way of the Spirit, but the Spirit himself knows his own movements.”

Hilgenfeld, who places the composition of these letters in a.d. 166, says, “The whole theology of the letters of Ignatius rests on the Gospel.” If the seven epistles are the genuine work of Ignatius himself, then we have proof of the existence of the Gospel from the year a.d. 110, if not earlier.

(6) The Letter to Diognetus. Much dependence cannot be placed on the references contained in this beautiful fragment, simply for the reason that we know nothing for certain as to its date. At one time it was supposed to be from Justin’s pen, and was published with his works. The manuscript which contained it was burnt in the siege of Strasburg, 1869. It is just possible that Stephens wrote it, and this theory has been maintained by some. Reuss places it at a.d. 135; Nitzsch, between a.d. 110 and 125; Westcott gives a.d. 117 as its date; Ewald places it between a.d. 120 and 130; Bunsen, in his ‘Hippolytus and his Age,’ a.d. 135; Davidson and Hilgenfeld, a much later date, between a.d. 160 and 180.

Granting it to have been an early document, which cannot be disproved, then the testimonies of acquaintance with the Gospel are unequivocal. “Christians dwell in the world, though they are not of the world”—the remarkable phrase, οὐκ εἰσὶ δὲ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου, c. vi. (cf. John 17:14); “For God loved the men for whom he made the world, to whom he has subjected all things in the world … to whom he sent his only begotten Son, to whom he promised the kingdom in heaven, and will give to those that loved him,” c. x. (cf. c. vii. and c. xi., for further reminiscences, as well as remarkable resemblance to 1 John 4:19 in c. x.).

(7) The Διδαχὴ τῶν Δωδέκα Ἀποστολῶν. The early period when this remarkable document was probably written precludes any reference to the Fourth Gospel; yet we breathe throughout the references to the Eucharist, the spirit of the Gospel. God is addressed as “Holy Father” (cf. ch. 17:11); the “Holy Vine of David” may point to ch. 15:1. The reference to the “Holy Name” which is said to “tabernacle” in the faithful, whereby “immortality is made known;” “eternal life,” connected with the spiritual food and drink imparted, and with the knowledge of God; remind us of ch. 6. and 17:3. Much of the spirit of the injunction had its origin in a community perfectly familiar with Johannine teaching such as we have it in the Gospel (see British Quarterly Review, 162. pp. 367, 368).

V. Further Testimonies from Outside the Church and from Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphic Literature

In some respects these testimonies are of even greater weight than those which proceed from Christian writers, because they show that the documents had acquired in the Christian Church a character of considerable importance when thus used and quoted as authorities for ideas which the writers did not hold.

We will commence with those which establish this far-reaching influence in the close of the second century, and then move backwards.

1. Celsus. We are brought into contact with this writer by means of Origen’s reply to his assault on Christianity. This was designated Δόγος Ἀληθής. Keim has proved (1873), in his restoration of the work of Celsus from the great treatise of Origen, that it was written about a.d. 178. Keim has made it probable that the friend of Lucian, supposed by Origen to be an Epicurean, and with whom Origen identified him, may have been the man, and that his Epicureanism is of very doubtful character. Volkmar and the author of ‘Supernatural Religion’ try to establish a later date than this; but the great bulk of critics think the date is earlier rather than later than that fixed upon by Keim. It is unquestionable that Celsus, whoever he was, was intimately acquainted with the four Gospels, and recognized them as common authorities for the doctrines of the faith which he despised.

Origen, ‘Contra Celsum,’ i. 50, shows that Celsus accuses the Christians of believing that “the Son of God is come down from heaven” (cf. ch. 3:31; 8:23). I. 67, he quotes from Celsus: “Thou hast made no manifestation to us, although they challenged thee in the temple to exhibit some unmistakable sign that thou Overt Son of God” (cf. ch. 2:18; 10:24; Matt. 21:23). I. 70 implies that Celsus objected to Christ, that the body of a God could not be thirsting at the well of Jacob, or eating broiled fish and honeycomb (cf. ch. 4 and 20.). II. 31, he refers to the charge that Christians were guilty of sophisticating reasoning in saying that “the Son of God is the Logos himself,” and “when we declare that the Logos is Son of God, we present not pure and holy Logos, but a degraded man punished by scourging and crucifixion.” II. 36, Celsus referred to the ichor flowing in the veins of the Crucified (cf. ch. 19:34, 35). II. 49, the apparent quotation of φῶς καὶ ἀλήθεια from the Fourth Gospel. Now, that a heathen opponent should have made use of these citations from the Fourth Gospel in a.d. 178 shows how widely it must have been diffused before his day.

2. Testament of the XII. Patriarchs. Written by a Jewish Christian, who puts into the mouth of the sons of Jacob the pious advice which these patriarchs might with most singularly gifted prevision have given to the Christians who were nevertheless proud of their ancestral faith and race. Tertullian and Origen refer to this work. (Sinker has edited the document with many discussions, ‘Anti-Nicene Library;’ cf. Hilgenfeld, ‘Nov. Test., Extra Canonem.’) The work, in Godet’s judgment, was written before the second destruction of Jerusalem, therefore before a.d. 130. In this document the Messiah is spoken of as “Light of the world,” “Saviour,” “Son of God,” “Only Son,” “Lamb of God,” “God come in the flesh,” “The Spirit gives witness to the truth;” all of which phrases reveal Johannine thought.

3. The Clementine Homilies. The work of Dr. Sanday, frequently referred to, gives a most exhaustive treatment of the bearing of the text of the Clementine homilies of the pseudo-Clement, on the previous existence of the four Gospels. Seeing that we have only a Latin translation of the ‘Recognitions,’ no dependence can be placed upon their testimony; but if the ‘Homilies’ were the original work, which was expanded into the form of the ‘Recognitions,’ and which is the opinion of Ewald, Reuss, Lücke, and many others, we are in possession of a document of the middle of the second century, written by a Judæo-Christian, who reveals acquaintance with the four Gospels. “There are no material differences from our Gospels” in these quotations. Some are exact, some are variant, some are merely allusive, some are combinations from all three. They contain passages, moreover, which are peculiar to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and some proving acquaintance with our canonical Gospel.

For a long time it was said that the Clementines contained no reference to the Gospel of John. This Hilgenfeld maintained to 1850; but ch. 10:3, 9, and 27, are unmistakably referred to in ‘Hom. Clem.,’ iii. 52: “On this account the true Prophet said, ‘I am the Gate of life; he that entereth by me, entereth εἰσέρχεται into life;’ and again, ‘My sheep hear my voice.’ ” ‘Hom.,’ xi. 26: “Thus hath the Prophet sworn to us, saying, ‘Except ye be born again of or in living water,’ into the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, ye shall in no wise enter the kingom of heaven.’ ”

But Dressel, in 1853, having discovered the manuscript of ‘Hom.,’ xix., not previously known to exist, published it. In this is contained the remarkable quotation (19:22): “It is for this reason also that our Lord replied to those who questioned him concerning the man blind πηροῦ from his birth, who received his sight, and who asked him whether this man sinned, or his parents, that he was born blind (τυφλός), answered, Neither did this man sin nor his parents, but that by him the power of God should be made manifest, curing the sins of ignorance.” Hilgenfeld yielded to this evidence. Those who hold out against it are compelled to admit that (save from this quotation) there is nothing to bring the homilies later than a.d. 160.

The opponents of the Fourth Gospel are urgent in drawing attention to the strongly expressed divergence between the Clementine homilies and the Gospel. If this be so, these Ebionites from whom the homilies proceeded would never have quoted from a work of an opposite school, if it were of modern origin, or if there had been any colourable reason for repudiating its apostolicity. This quotation, therefore, together with Justin’s, Tatian’s, and the other evidence adduced, renders the date assigned by Baur for the composition of the Fourth Gospel, viz. a.d. 160–170, entirely incredible.

4. Montanus and Montanism. Montanus, the leader of this sect, made his appearance in Phrygia about a.d. 140, and he based his theory on the prophecy of a Paraclete, and on the promised gift of the Holy Spirit as a perpetual and supernatural presence and prophetic energy in the Church. No intelligible explanation can be put upon the adoption of the terms, Logos, Paracletos, Numphios, which (Theodoret says) Montanus claimed for himself, but his own misuse of an acknowledged source of authoritative tradition and doctrine. Montanism, as a reaction into disciplinary forms and millennarian views, was not called forth by this Gospel, which nowhere sustains it; but, as Keim says, “Montanism derived its ideas from the surrounding Church, which was or might be under the influence of the Fourth Gospel.” Then coupling this fact with the undoubted quotations and allusions, it brings the composition back to at least before a.d. 120–140, during which time it must have been well known in the Church.

5. Marcion. Marcion, as we have stated in earlier remarks, has now been definitively proved to have mutilated for his purposes the Third Gospel, and to have endeavoured to establish his doctrine of Christian dualism by representing the demiurge as hostile to the supreme God, and the Lord Jesus to have had no part in him or his work, as one essentially hostile to “matter,” and to Jews who were the very work and agents of the demiurge. How could he have found, even with abundant mutilation, anything to satisfy him in the Fourth Gospel, where the humanity of Jesus, his body and its characteristics, are so abundantly insisted upon?

It is very perplexing that scholars like Hilgenfeld, Volkmar, and Davidson should think that John’s Gospel would have been more suitable than Luke’s if it had been in existence. The doctrine of the Incarnation, of the weariness of Christ, of the flesh of Christ, his proof of the sameness of the body that had risen with that which had been crucified, the marriage-feast, etc.,—all have led great critics like Bleek, Weiszäcker, Luthardt, Godet, and others, to take a very different view.

That Marcion was acquainted with the Fourth Gospel, and rejected it, is distinctly said and argued upon by Tertullian (‘Adv. Marcion,’ iv. 3), who recites Marcion’s use of Gal. 2. to justify his rejection of the authority of the apostles, and to justify his repudiation “of the Gospels published in the name of apostles, and also of apostolical men.” “James, Cephas, and John” are the apostles or apostolical men whom Marcion knew to be authors of Gospels. In the ‘De Carne Christi,’ c. iii, Tertullian says, when simply arguing against the Gnosticism of Marcion, “If thou hadst not rejected the writings opposed to thy system, the Gospel of John would be there to convince thee.” The inference that Marcion, who reached Rome a.d. 140, knew and rejected John’s Gospel, strongly confirms its wide diffusion in the period already referred to, viz. a.d. 120–140.

6. Valentinus and the Valentinians. The philosophy of Valentinus, the most interesting and poetic of all the Gnostic systems, cannot here be expounded. Much light has been thrown upon it by Irenæus, who was positively induced to write the great work against heresies by his knowledge of this system, and of the two parties into which his disciples, Ptolemæus and Heracleon, drifted. Moreover, Hippolytus, in the ‘Refutation of all Heresies,’ now generally attributed to him, has given much additional information.

It is admitted that our knowledge of Valentinus and of his disciples comes to us second hand, but we find a decisive proof that Irenæus wrote his work against heresies not later than a.d. 182, perhaps earlier, and this by a number of coincident references. Irenæus describes the writing and system of Valentinus and his two followers, Ptolemæus and Heracleon, who are generally mentioned together. Now, Irenæus says “that the Valentinians (‘Adv. Hær.,’ iii. 11. 7) avail themselves in the most complete manner of the Gospel according to John to demonstrate their syzygies (pair of æons).” renæus also asserts that they made use of the Scriptures, twisting them to their own purpose (iii. 12, 12). In numerous passages they are shown to have quoted the synoptists, and (i. 8. 5) he quotes at length numerous passages from ch. 1:1–18, which were tortured to sustain their peculiar system of emanation, with other references to their similar use of Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians, Romans, Corinthians, and Galatians.

Moreover, Tertullian (whose evidence Davidson puts on one side, because, says he, “that father knew very little about Valentinus”) says that Valentinus made use of “the whole instrument”—the entire collection of sacred books (‘De Præs. Hæret.,’ c. 38).

We have already seen above that Irenæus does mention Ptolemæus and Heracleon by name, as two of these disciples of Valentinus, and there can be no reasonable doubt that, in his extant writings, the former quotes the synoptic Gospels fully and repeatedly. Epiphanius has preserved an epistle of Ptolemæus to Flora (Epiphanius, ‘Hær.,’ xxxiii.), in which Matt. 12:25; 19:6, 8; 15:5–8; 5:17, 38, 39, are undoubtedly imbedded, revealing intimate acquaintance with peculiar characteristic phraseology of the First Gospel. Moreover, in the same letter occurs an unmistakable quotation from ch. 1:3. Clemens of Alex. (‘Strom.,’ iv. 9) declares that Heracleon was personally known to Valentinus himself (γνωρίμος), which would throw his date back of at least a.d. 160; for Valentinus came to Rome to proclaim his peculiar philosophy about a.d. 140, and he died in Cyprus, a.d. 160; i.e. Eusebius says, Valentinus came to Rome in the time of Hyginus, between a.d. 136 and 140. Now, this fellow-disciple with Ptolemæus, viz. Heracleon, actually wrote a commentary upon John’s Gospel, from which Origen makes large quotations. So that we are thrown back to the date of a.d. 160–170, and possibly earlier, when a heretic treats the Fourth Gospel with so much respect as to regard it as of high Christian authority. Notwithstanding this evidence, Dr. Davidson does not allow that Valentinus himself made use of the Gospel, and suggests that it may have been produced a little before Heracleon’s time, and that he found it useful for his specific purpose. Here, however, as if to refute the speculation, we find, in the ‘Refutation of all Heresies,’ by Hippolytus (vi. 35 [30, Eng. trans.]), “All the prophets, therefore, and the Law spoke by means of (ἀπό) the demiurge, a foolish god, he says (referring to Valentinus himself). On this account (φησί), he says, saith the Saviour, ‘All that came before me were thieves and robbers.’ ” A similar method is adopted by Hippolytus (viii. 10) in quoting, on the authority of Valentinus, John 3:5, 6. So also (9:12), ch. 14:11; and the phrase, ὁ ἀρχῶν τοῦ κοσμοῦ τούτου in 6:52.

There is, perhaps, a little vagueness as to whether Hippolytus, in the sixth book, is referring to Valentinus or to his followers; but when Valentinus’s whole system bristles with references to Λόλος, Πατήρ, Φῶς, Ζωή, Ἀληθεία, Μονογένης, Παρακλήτος, as elements in his philosophic system, we are convinced of one or two things—either that the Fourth Gospel was based on Valentinus, or that the latter made use of this Scripture, as of the rest, in, defence of his system. Putting the simple, natural, biblical use of these terms in John’s prologue and elsewhere against the artificial cumbrous use of them in Valentinus, with all the other evidence of the high value put upon the Gospel at this time, it becomes as nearly certain as is possible in such regions that Valentinus himself was familiar with the Fourth Gospel. This, then, throws the existence of the Gospel back to the very beginning of the second century. In this conclusion both Bleek and Keim, as well as Bunsen, agree.

Hilgenfeld (‘Das Evangelium und die Briefe Johannis nach ihrem Lehrbegriff dargestellt:’ 1849) seeks by a most elaborate process to trace the subject-matter of the prologue and the Logos-idea, that of God and redemption, to the Gnostic speculations, especially those of Valentinus. Thoma (loc. cit., p. 822) admits that the use of the Gospel by Valentinus is neither chronologically nor dogmatically impossible, though it is indemonstrable.

7. Basilides and the Basilideans. We now approach another name of still more importance; for if Basilides can be shown to have quoted or used the Gospel, it is morally certain it was not produced after the time of Valentinus. For, according to the statements of Jerome (‘De Viris ill.,’ c. xxi.), he must have died after a.d. 132. Eusebius places his activity under Hadrian (a.d. 117–138). Hippolytus (‘Ref. Hær.,’ vii. 8, Eng. trails.): “Basilides and Isidorus, the true sons and disciples of Basilides, say that Matthias communicated to them secret discourses, which, being specially instructed, he heard from the Saviour.” Whether the two heresiarchs lied or not about Matthias, they could hardly have laid such a claim if their date of birth and age had rendered this incredible or impossible. Epiphanius (‘Hæir.,’ xxiii. 1–7; xxiv. 1) tells us that Basilides was teaching in Antioch before he went to Alexandria, and at Alexandria he was the predecessor of Valentinus.

Now, if Basilides made use of the Fourth Gospel, we are thrown back to the very first years of the second century as the latest period when it could have been written.

The question of questions is whether Hippolytus, in discussing his philosophy and quoting his quotations, had the great work of Basilides before him, and referred to Basilides himself or to some later Basilidean. If we take his general method into account, that he contrasts the system of Basilides with the school of Valentinus, and that when he refers to a school he uses the term φασίν, or κατ᾽ αὐτούς, or λέγουσι, and when he refers to a man or to a book he uses the singular φήσι, we can hardly entertain a reasonable doubt that Hippolytus was quoting (totidem verbis) the method in which Basilides defended his views. Let the whole (bk. vii. 22 [8, Eng. trans.]) passage be read in which Hippolytus represents Basilides quoting from the Gospels: “He was the true Light that lighteth every man coming into the world.” High authorities and great crities concur in the belief, if not the moral certainty, that this is the case (see Sanday, lib. cit., pp. 298, etc.). See also ch. 2:4 of the Gospel in bk. 7:27 (15, Eng. trans.); Matthew Arnold, ‘God and the Bible,’ p. 268, concludes that Basilides had before him (a.d. 125) the Fourth Gospel; Mangold’s edition of ‘Bleek’s Einleitung,’ 265. It is true that, in the midst of the passage, Hippolytus does use we term λέγουσι οὖτοι, although in the former part of it he does make special reference by name to Basilides himself; and, as if going back to him, after a momentary digression. Thus he suggests the fact that he had the work of Basilides open before him (art. on “Basilides” in Smith’s ‘Dictionary of Christian Biography’).

8. Ophites, or Naaseni. Baur admits that the sect calling themselves by this name were amongst the earliest of the Gnostics (‘Das Chr. and die Chr. Kirche der ersten Jahrh.,’ p. 192). Irenæus (i. 29. 1 and 31. 3) speaks of them as predecessors of the school of Valentinus, its “fathers and mothers;” and Hippolytus (vi. 6) even names ‘Simon Magus’ among their offshoots. They were subdivided, according to him, into several groups—Peratæ, Cainites, Sethians, Justinians. They all, in their violent hostility to the God of the Old Testament, reverenced the serpent; hence their title, either from the Hebrew נָחָשׁ, nachash, a serpent, or from the Greek ὄφις. The serpent was regarded by them as the author of intelligence and of emancipation to enslaved man. Consequently, “the seed of the serpent” from Cain to Judas received homage from them. Intense dualists, charging evil of all kinds upon man’s corporeal frame, they sought in “intelligence” (γνῶσις) deliverance from evil. Now, the New Testament affords strong evidence of the existence of these sectaries and Gnostic speculations in the first century. If we can accept the authenticity of the pastoral Epistles, there is abundant proof of such a tendency, against which those Epistles are a warning. So strong is the protest contained in them against “endless genealogies,” against the evil inherent in things created by God, against a “γνῶσις falsely so called,” that many have endeavoured to drag the pastoral Epistles down to the time of Marcion, in order to account for these references. Other Epistles of St. Paul, also contested on the same ground, such as the Epistle to the Colossians, are equally explicit (2:18) (see Light-foot’s ‘Comm. on Coloss.’). The first reply to such a proceeding is simply this—that the germs of Gnostic evil lay in the religious speculations of the first century, and were derived from Oriental sources. Moreover, satisfactory external evidence for these pastoral Epistles, at much earlier date than a.d. 150, is forthcoming. They are proof of the coexistence of the perilous dualism in the first century. The genuineness of the Ignatian letters would establish beyond contradiction the much earlier date of the pastoral Epistles.

But further, unmistakable proof is found in the Apocalypse (2:24) of the use of Gnostic phraseology by the teachers in Thyatira. Their knowledge of “the depths of Satan,” and of other mysteries of evil, is sternly repudiated by the Lord; and St. Paul is believed by Godet to have encountered the same hostile spirit in Corinth. When Paul hints that some “in the Spirit” actually dared to “call Jesus accursed,” he is in all probability referring to those who separated “the Christ” from Jesus, believing that the former was an emanation from God who came down to earth, and that the human life of Jesus was united to him by the loosest vinculum; that the Christ could neither be incarnate, suffer, nor die, nor be raised again. The existence of such a party, who called themselves the “Christ” party, who repudiated Jesus Christ, who denied the resurrection of Christ, though they might have allowed the death or resuscitation of Jesus, does much to explain the allusions in the two undoubted Epistles to Corinthians (see 2 Cor. 11:3, 4; 1 Cor. 12:3). This hypothesis is confirmed by the statement of Epiphanius that 1 Corinthians was written against the error of Cerinthus. Now, it becomes almost certain, from the statement of Polycarp (recorded by Irenæus, ii. 3, 4), that in the latter years of John and Cerinthus, these two men came into contact at Ephesus; consequently the errors of Cerinthus, who held views akin to the Ophites, may have infected the Church at Corinth. Therefore the concurring testimony of Paul’s Epistles, of the Apocalypse, of Irenæus, and of Epiphanius, shows the existence of the evil towards the end of the first century, even so early as a.d. 56–68. And such a view aids the reception of the pastoral Epistles as well as the Corintbian Epistles. But great additional light is thrown upon the subject by the writings of Hippolytus (‘Ref. Hær.,’ bk. v.). He described at great length the views of these Ophites or their subordinate sects, and regarded them as the earliest of the Gnostics, and he also reports the uses they made of testimonies from the four Gospels. The quotations made by them from the Fourth Gospel (so far as this question of date is concerned) are of very explicit character. Thus ch. 3:6; 1:3, 4; 2:1–11; with strong references to ch. 6:53. Ch. 8:21; 13:33; 10:9; 4:21; 9:1, were cited by them. Hippolytus, moreover, gives extracts from the books of the Peratæ, in which John’s Gospel is frequently quoted. We cannot say positively when the books were written, but we have seen reasons for believing that there is much in the New Testament to Justify belief that the statements of Hippolytus and Irenæus are correct when they assign to them great antiquity. It is highly probable that they were among the earliest to try and twist to their own purpose the sacred words of the Fourth Gospel.

9. Conclusion. Our conclusion is that the Fourth Gospel is quoted by heretics and Christian philosophers, by apostolic Fathers and early apologists, by pseudo-epigraphic writers and historians, by the harmonist and commentator, in one stream from the close of the first century to the close of the second, when we find it classed without any hesitation by Irenæus, Athenagoras, and Theophylact as John’s Gospel. It is used by the Clementine homilists, the most extreme form of Jewish Christianity; and by Gnostics, who went so far in their antagonism to Judaism as to call themselves by the most opprobrious names in Jewish history. The apologies and dialogue of Justin reveal its presence, as the original of a vast amount, of independent speculation. The external evidence, therefore, is as strong as for that of the synoptists—a fact which Keim admits. It is immeasurably greater than for half of the well-known classical compositions. So far as its existence is concerned, there can be no manner of question, nor for its wide diffusion, nor for the general respect in which it must have been held. There is not the smallest trace of the friction or excitement which its production in the middle of the second century would have produced.

We conclude this part of the subject with the external testimony of its closing verses, which correspond with the narrative preserved in the Muratorian Canon. No manuscripts have been found without these verses, and, as they use the present tense. μαρτυρῶν, in contradistinction with the γράψας, a very strong evidence is supplied that they are the appendix of the Ephesian presbyters before the death of the venerable writer, affirming their authorship and their authenticity. Moreover, as Luthardt observes, the heading in all the manuscripts, Κατὰ Ἰωάννην, rests upon the tradition that accompanied the document from the first.

VI. The Canonicity of the Fourth Gospel

By this we mean the proof that it takes its place, with the other Gospels and the most authentic Epistles, in the oldest collections of sacred books, in the earliest versions of them into other languages, and the most celebrated and earliest-known manuscripts of the New Testament, and sacred lists of the earliest councils which treated of the question. The whole of this evidence is not forthcoming for the Apocalypse, nor for all the general Epistles. The Fourth Gospel, however, is contained (1) in the Peshito Syriac of the second century, which is destitute of the Apocalypse, of the Epistles of Jude, 2 Peter, and 2 and 3 John; (2) in the Old Latin, which translation, though prepared in the second century, does not contain the Epistle to the Hebrews, nor 2 Peter, nor (?) James; (3) in the Muratorian Canon; (4) in the Canon of Origen (a.d. 184–253); (5) in the Canon of Eusebius, who regarded the Epistles of James, of Judge, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, as disputed, and the Apocalypse as spurious; (6) in Codex Vaticanus (B) and Codex Sinaiticus (א) of the fourth century; (7) in the Canon of Athanasius; and (8) in the Canon of the Councils of Laodicea (a.d. 364), the Third Council of Carthage (a.d. 397), and the Canons of Epiphanius, Jerome, Augustine, and Chrysostom.

These facts do not, per se, establish authenticity or greater positive antiquity for the document than their own dates; yet they reveal an amount of widespread belief and reverence on the part of learned and by no means credulous writers, by bodies of men, by Churches diffused over Asia, Europe, and Africa, from Mesopotamia to Gaul, from Alexandria and Antioch to Smyrna and Rome. It is difficult to conceive such a combination of facts as compatible with the late origin of the document, by some utterly unknown and untrustworthy pseudepigrapher. Other questions, sometimes associated with the external evidence, seem to me better discussed when we have made further inquiries into the phenomena of the authorship.

Having, then, made it highly probable, if not a demonstrable fact, that this Fourth Gospel was known, quoted, and accepted as an authority for the facts and teachings of the new faith, and having shown that it is difficult, if not impossible, to put its origination later than the commencement of the second century, we proceed to investigate—

VII. The Internal Evidence of Its Authorship

1. The author must have been a Jew. Great effort is made by many writers to prove that, whoever wrote it, he could not have been a Jew, but must have been some Christian Gentile of marked hostility to the Jews and their race, and that the author displays an ignorance or indifference to the sacred people incompatible, of course, with his being the Apostle John, the son of Zebedee. This impression is created by calling attention to a few peculiarities of the Gospel, which seem to point in that direction, but which are abundantly counterbalanced by other most important characteristics of the document.

In proof of the position, (1) Dr. Davidson (ii. 427) calls attention to the contrast between the Old Testament doctrine of the creation of all things out of nothing, and the statement of the Fourth Gospel that all things were formed by the Word from preexistent materials. How that can be possibly reconciled with ch. 1:3 it is difficult to see. Other statements follow, comparing the richer, riper, teaching of the Fourth Gospel with the Old Testament doctrine of Hades, of judgment. It is argued that no Jew could have spoken of eternal life on this side the grave, and that the revolution of thought thus indicated carries the authorship beyond the limits of Judaism. In reply, we call attention to the distinct references to “judgment” and “the resurrection of the dead” in ch. 5:29, as well as to the teaching of the Apostle Paul touching the essential nature of eternal life. Moreover, the argument of our opponents here precludes the possibility that the horizon of this Jew should have been enlarged by his contact with, to say the least, the greatest Teacher that the world had ever known. Was not St. Paul a Jew, “a Hebrew of Hebrews”?

(2) The author of the Fourth Gospel is charged with ignorance of topographical facts which a Jew would never have displayed. The ignorance of enlightened Englishmen, in the days of school boards and large maps and ordnance surveys, about geographical facts is no proof that they are not Englishmen; and ten thousand similar illustrations might be given of far more weight from well-known writers. But what are these signs of ignorance? “Bethany beyond Jordan” (ch. 1:28). The modern and approved revision of the text. This was a place of which Origen was ignorant in his day, a fact which probably explains the alteration into Bethabara, “the house of the ford,” in lieu of Bethany, “the house of the boat.” Different etymologies are given of the word “Bethany,” as “house of dates,” etc., which may have suited the well-known Bethany (see notes on ch. 1:28). It is clear that the author was not confounding it with Bethany near Jerusalem, by the very phrase, “Bethany beyond Jordan,” and by his close and exact statement as to the distance of the well-known Bethany from Jerusalem (ch. 11:18). We find in the gospel narrative two Antiochs, two Bethsaidas, two Cæsareas: why should there not have been two little villages Called Bethany? Ch. 9:7, “Siloam, which is by interpretation, Sent,” is another reference which is supposed to prove the author’s ignorance. The latest investigations show that, even to the present day, can be traced the link of connection between the waters of Siloam and the Fountain of the Virgin. That the evangelist should have been some typical meaning in the very name is essentially Jewish. Now, against these supposed flaws may be set his accurate statements about “the pool of Bethesda and the five porches” (ch. 5:2). Again, the Ephraim near the wilderness (ch. 11:54) is identified with Ophrah (1 Sam. 13:17); the “Ænon near to Salim,” of ch. 3:23 is identified by the modern explorers. “The brook Kedron” (ch. 18:1). The Prætorium is accurately referred to in ch. 18:28; the “Gabbatha” of ch. 19:13 is given in the Aramaic form, as of one acquainted with the place before the fall of the city. Besides this, the Sychar of John 4:5, which cannot be identified with Shechem, though it was once thought to be a mere corruption of the name. It turns out that this “Sychar” has been identified conclusively with a village still standing under the name of ‘Askar, which reveals traces of great antiquity (‘Report of the Palest. Expl. Fund,’ 1877, p. 149; and 1876, p. 197). Add to this a number of minute topographical touches, more abundant than in most books of the New Testament: “Solomon’s porch” (ch. 10:23); “the treasury in the temple” (ch. 8:20); the scenery of the sea of Galilee, of Tiberias; and, as Westcott admirably indicates, the decoration of the temple by the great golden vine which adorned its exterior (see note, ch. 14:31†; 15:1–7†).

(3) The apparent antipathy of the writer to “the Jews,” who are said always to be spoken of as hostile, and as people from whom the writer regarded himself as separated, e.g. “The purifying of the Jews” (ch. 2:6); “The Jews’ Passover” (ch. 2:13); “A feast of the Jews” (ch. 5:1; 6:4); “The manner of the Jews is to bury” (ch. 19:40). But these expressions are nothing more than what a narrator, writing for Gentiles, would be sure to adopt, when giving them information, and there is no opprobrium involved in any of them. The words were written down many years after the events occurred, and when the Jewish people were scattered, and had proclaimed themselves bitterly hostile to the faith. There are, however, other passages where “the Jews” are referred to as distinct from the ὁ ὄχλος of Galilæans, and in opposition to the Lord. This is a terrible fact in their history; but other and countervailing statements should be pondered. The writer studiously calls attention to the division of opinion among these Jews, and to certain remarkable exceptions, such as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathæa (ch. 3:1; 7:50). He speaks of the Jews as Christ’s own people, as οἱ ἴδιοι, “who received him not” except in part. There was always “a division among them.” As a nation, they rejected their Lord; as individuals, they received him (ch. 2:23, πολλοὶ ἐπίστευσαν; 3:2, οἴδαμέ, etc.; 3:26, πάντες ἔρχονται πρὸς αὐτόν; 4:1, Jesus made more disciples in Judæa then John did; 4:22, “ἡ σωτηρία is from the Jews.” The true interpretation of ch. 4:43–45 is that Jesus considered the land of Judæa to be par excellence “his own country.”

The whole narrative in John 5. shows a bitter enmity to Jesus when he assumed an independence of Pharisaic interpretation of the sabbatic law; but the narrative is interpenetrated throughout with Jewish ideas of the sabbath, of the Scriptures, and of Moses. In ch. 7. the next visit to Jerusalem is characterized by the resuscitation of their malice, and reveals “the fear of the Jews;” but it shows also the knowledge of the minutiæ of the Jewish law of circumcision (ver. 23), and the current notion concerning the διασπορα τῶν Ἑλλήνων. Moreover the result of the solemn debate is that “many believed on him” (vers. 31, 41, 46). The seventh and eighth chapters reveal the author’s intimate acquaintance with the ceremonial of the lights and the pouring of water in the Feast of Tabernacles. In ch. 8:31 he speaks expressly of “the Jews which believed on him;” and it is not at all incompatible with their position that they should have ignored right through their history that they had been really in bondage to any man, as Abraham’s seed. In ch. 10:19–21 a division among them is expressly noticed (cf. ch. 10:42; 11:4, 48–12:11).

The Pharisees are the mouthpieces of the purely Jewish feeling of bigoted attachment to the Law, which they had monopolized, and which the evangelist and our Lord spoke of as “their Law,” “your Law,” but which Pharisees had misunderstood and perverted. The priests and Sadducees were his opponents as organs of sacerdotal power and political influence; and both these tendencies, sometimes in opposition, occasionally in unhallowed agreement, are represented with a delicacy and accuracy of treatment such as no one but a genuine Palestinian Jew could have effected. Moreover, by the term “the Jews,” the writer evidently connotes the ruling party, the chief authorities in Jerusalem, as contrasted with the Galilæan multitudes.

One reference of a precisely similar usage is found in the peculiarly Jewish Gospel of Matthew (28:15), showing that this mode of speaking of “the Jews” was not confined to the Fourth Gospel (see also Luke 23:51, and numerous expressions in the Pauline Epistles: 2 Cor. 11:24; Gal. 2:14; 1 Thess. 2:14 and also Rev. 2:9 and 3:9; Gal. 1:13, 14; Titus 1:14). Numerous treatises have discussed this use of the word “the Jews” (A. Alry, ‘Jésus et les Juifs dans le 4 Evang.,’ Str., 1866; cf. Reuss, ‘Hit. of the Sacred Scriptures,’ p. 221, Eng. trans.).

Another supposed indication of the fact of the writer’s ignorance of Jewish customs is that Annas is spoken of as ἀρχιερεύς (“high priest”), while Caiaphas, his son-in-law, is also repeatedly called such at the same time (ch. 11:49; 18:13, 19, 22, 24). It is said that the evangelist thought of Annas and Caiaphas as performing the functions alternately every year, seeing that “that same year” is an explanatory addition to the name of Calaphas. This cannot be the solution of the supposed difficulty; because, the “same year” in which Caiaphas prophesied involuntarily the expiatory death of Christ, he represents Annas as the high priests. The fourth evangelist is not the only writer who suggests the same supposed inaccuracy. In Luke 3:2 the two are spoken of together as high priests, and in Acts 4:6 Annas is again spoken of as high priest. Dr. Davidson says it will not do to suppose that he retained the official title after he had been deposed, because Ishmael, Eleazar, and Simon, his relatives, who held the office between Annas and Caiaphas, would also have retained the same title. But we cannot prove that they did not. They are never referred to by the evangelist John or Luke. Moreover, a vast difference is obvious between the old man who was the legal high priest, and whose influences was great, though not officially recognized by the Roman government. Caiaphas was the man from whom alone Pilate would have received the official charge; and therefore, as John says, Annas sent Jesus bound to Caiaphas. The synoptists narrate more at length what took place in the court of Caiaphas. Our evangelist, as being known to Annas (ch. 18:15, 16), was likely, as an eye-witness, to have given a more definite account, and one supplementary to the general statement of the synoptists. The expression, “that same year,” is best understood of the solemnity with which John regarded the practical duties of the high priest de facto on the occasion when the incarnate Word was rejected by his own people. Not only the Fourth Gospel, but the other three, repeatedly use the expression, αἱ ἀρχιερεῖς of the most distinguished priests, including the heads of the courses, the president of the Sanhedrin, etc., in days when the old official title was held in fee from the Roman power. The rigidity of the rule that there should be only one high priest was not observed even in the reign of David, when Zadok and Abiathar both held the office at the same time.

(4) Dr. Davidson considers that a similar argument may be drawn from the fact that in the Fourth Gospel the Galilæans are classed among “the Jews” who were hostile to Jesus, whereas he says that “in the synoptists, the Galilæans are the warm adherents and friends of Jesus of Nazareth.” Surely he could not sufficiently have borne in mind the repeated, attempts upon Christ’s life at Nazareth and at Capernaum; the fact that Jesus had not where to lay his head, alone mentioned by the synoptists; that Herod Antipas of Galilee sought to kill him; that the long conflict with the Pharisees took place in Galilee, and one which culminated in the endeavour to take him by force and confine him as a madman (Mark 2, 3). True, the multitudes were deeply impressed, but their fickleness and unspirituality are quite in harmony with the language about the Galiæns attributed by the Fourth Gospel to our Lord.

This negative argument or reply to objections is independent of the fact that throughout the Gospel there are abundant traces of that thorough and intimate acquaintance with Old Testament Scriptures and Hebrew ideas, which only a Jew would be likely to possess. The entire references of the prologue are based on Old Testament ideas. His reference to “the Prophet” (ch. 1:21; 4:25); the zeal for the sanctity of the temple (ch. 2:13–20), involving chronological details about the period occupied in its building; his knowledge of Old Testament history, as in the reference to the image of the serpent (ch. 3:14); the subtle ascription to Jesus by the Baptist of the title of Bridegroom of the true Israel—an idea which pervades prophetic Scripture (Jer. 2:2; Ezek. 16:8; Hos. 2:19, 20); the allusion to the various feasts, e.g. the Passovers (ch. 2, 6, 12, 18), the unnamed feast (ch. 5), the Feast of Tabernacles (ch. 7), the Feast of the Dedication (ch. 10:22); the references to Moses (ch. 5:45; 7:22), and to Abraham (ch. 8:33, 37, 56–58); confirm the hypothesis. His declaration that “the Scriptures cannot be broken” (ch. 10:35); that what is written in the prophets and in the Law is of commanding authority; that the Scripture must be fulfilled (ch. 13:18; 17:12; 21:25); but pre-eminently and chiefly the repeated quotations from the Old Testament, where the evangelist or our Lord shows that these quotations, as thus reported, are not dependent upon the LXX. Westcott has analyzed them carefully (see also Turpie, ‘Old Testment in the New’). There are fourteen in all—seven made by the evangelist, five by Jesus, two by others; and, among these, four almost verbally agree with the accurate translation of the Hebrew by the LXX.; three agree with the Hebrew against the LXX.: ch. 19:37 (cf. Rev. 1:7). This quotation from Zechariah, which agrees with a translation found in Theodotion and Symmachus; the quotation in ch. 6:45 of Isa. 54:13 and in ch. 13:18 of Ps. 41:9 (42:10); lastly, one celebrated passage (ch. 12:40) differs from both the Hebrew and LXX. where they do in the main agree and are accurately quoted in Matthew and Acts. Others differ from the Hebrew and LXX. where these do not agree; but there is no case where the Fourth Gospel agrees with the LXX. against the Hebrew.

2. The author must have been a Palestinian rather than an Alexandrine Jew. The above remarks go far to prove that the author of the Fourth Gospel was a Hebrew, and a Palestinian Jew. But there is another argument, which has been made much of, in disproof of this position, and which must be examined with some detail. It has often been said that the author was an Alexandrine Jew, if a Jew at all, familiar with the exegetic and philosophical arguments of Philo-Judæus and his compeers, and that we owe this marvellous document to the culture and Hellenic influences of early Neoplatonism rather than to the teaching of the Old Testament and the veritable tradition of the discourse of Jesus of Nazareth. This kind of remark is taken up and endorsed by men like J. Stuart Mill. The more or less active dependence of the evangelist upon the Alexandrine school is asserted with more or less of confidence even by Lücke, Bleek, Baur, and others. Keim (‘Life of Jesus of Nazara,’ Eng. trans., vol. i. pp. 152, 167) admits the great originality of the author, who adopted and modified in many ways the Philonian Logos; and Dr. Davidson says that the “Incarnation is alien to the Philonian conceptions,” and that an “important link between Philonism and the Logos theory of the Fourth Gospel is missing”—a link which he finds in the Epistle to the Hebrews and in some of Paul’s Epistles. Luthardt and Godet boldly repudiate the influence of the purely Alexandrine school upon the Fourth Gospel.

We must admit that there is a peculiar phraseology adopted by the author of the Fourth Gospel which demands some explanation, and which, to dissever altogether “root and branch” from the Alexandrian school of theosophy and biblical interpretation, is unreasonable and unnecessary. Luthards and Weiss, Höleman, De Pressené, and many others have carried their sense of divergence between the two writers to an extreme. Thus Luthardt says, “John would have written altogether the same, if neither Plato nor Philo had ever discussed the Logas, or said one word on the subject.” De Pressensé “knows not, in the history of human thought, contradictions more flagrant than exist between their doctrines. That which is with St. John a capital truth would be to the Jew of Alexandria appalling blasphemy.” These views are styled by Keim “puerilities and prejudices of which advancing science can take no note.”

The peculiar Johannine expressions to which reference has been made are first and foremost “Logos,” then Life, Truth, Light, the Paraclete, the Archon, the Pleroma, the Only Begotten (both πρωτότοκος and μονογενῆς)—terms which, though not all of them exclusively peculiar to the Fourth Gospel, are interrelated there, and appear there as part of a system of thought descriptive of the Divine Being and his operations in the universe and his manifestation of himself to the world. Now, numerous writers boldly assert that “the fourth evangelist was a Christian disciple of Philo” (Reville, Revue de Deux Mondes, May, 1866, p. 107), and the modern assault on the Fourth Gospel has drawn out a multitude of interesting verbal parallels with the phraseology of Philo. We do find there ὁ Θείος Λόγος, ὁ Λόγος Θεοῦ, who is spoken of also as εἰκῶν Θεοῦ, as πρωτόγονος, firstborn Son, even the ἀρχιερεύς, ἄνθρωπος Θεοῦ, the agency by which the world was created, and the like. A very natural conclusion at first sight is to imagine the philosophy of the treatises Περὶ Χερουβίμ and Περὶ Κοσμοποίας to be the source, the immediate forerunner, of the language of the Fourth Gospel, and thus to relegate the author, if not into the second century (for which, however, there would be no necessity), yet away from Palestine to Alexandria or Ephesus for his spiritual instruction. We must remind our readers of the plausibility of this view arising from the fact that Philo the Jew had endeavoured, with considerable eclectic force and some learned trifling, to blend into an organic unity the Platonic theory of ideas and knowledge, the Stoic ethics, and the Hebrew revelation, to make the Pentatench teach or sustain the Hellenic speculations. As Thoma says, “The substance of Philo’s system is the Jewish religion and the Greek philosophy, which may be blended as oil and oil water are, but only apparently so, for, superficially mixed, they flow separately side by side.” Philo used the phraseology of his philosophic school to allegorize, and so interpret, the ancient records of the faith. Just as Stoics had affected to find their teaching em bodied in the poems of Homer, he had used this high-flown technicality to explain the various events in patriarchal history. Moreover, the same kind of place which Paul and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews Lad assigned to “Christ,” to “the Son,” he had, at about the same time and date, ascribed to the “Divine Logos.” Thus the “Rock in the wilderness,” the “Bread from heaven,” are explained by Philo as manifestations of the “Logos.” Again, phrases corresponding with that in Heb. 1:1, 2 had been adopted by Philo, and by the authors of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, to denote either the “Logos,” or the “Eternal Wisdom.” Wherein, then, lies the difficulty? and why should we hesitate to acknowledge the Philonian origin for the Johannine phraseology and doctrinal system? On the following grounds:—

(1) Writers who urge it appear to ignore the twofold connotation of the term “Logos.” Strangely enough, the term was used to denote the “reason” of a proceeding, and “the method” or instrument by which such “reason” could be conveyed or carried into effect. It is used for the self-consciousness, for the rationality, of a person, and for the “word,” the account, the process, of revelation by which a person may carry his ratiocination into effect. One and the same term is used in Greek to denote the “reason” and the “word” of both God and man. The question arises—Which of these two divergent usages is that which Philo-Judaæus and the Neoplatonic school generally adopted, and which do we find in the Fourth Gospel? We believe that it can be shown conclusively that the Logos of Philo corresponds with the archetypal reason; and the Logos of John is the eternal self-manifestation, the creative energy the Divine personal nature, that was the Source of both life and light in man, and has been at length embodied, incarnated, manifested, in humanity, full of grace and truth.

(2) Notice should especially be taken of the full Personality of the Word in the Fourth Gospel—a conception towards which the language of Wisdom touching σοφία, and the language of the Epistle to the Hebrews touching the eternal Son, and the language of St. Paul in Corinthians and Colossians, had prepared the way. “The Word made flesh” is identical with the Son in the bosom of the Father, who hath declared him to the world. On the contrary, the Logos of Philo is not an hypostasis at all; in a vast number of passages Philo’s Logos is identified with the κόσμος νοητικός, the intelligible world, the Divine plan of the great Architect, the idea after which the world was created or evolved. When the Logos is called the εἰκών of God, it is in the sense in which the power of God is shadowed forth in the creation of the world. The Logos between the cherubim (‘De Cherubim,’ p. 112) is the “plan,” the “design,” by which God acted in the creation and government of the world. “By his Logos, God ἄρχοντα καὶ ἀγαθὸν εἶναι, is both Governor and Good.” His designs concerning the several parts of his creation are called his λόγοι; by these was fashioned that incorporeal and archetypal world, composed of invisible ideas, which is in fact his λόγος. Sometimes passages are quoted to show that Philo did approximate to the notion of a Divine Personality corresponding, with the angel of the Lord, as when he said that the angel who met Hagar and brought her back to Sarah was the Logos (‘De Cherubim,’ p. 108). But if his exposition be examined, it will be seen that by “Hagar” he did not mean the woman Hagar, or refer to an historic event in patriarchal history, typical or otherwise, but meant human arts and science, and that in her departing from Sarah he saw their severance from the true virtue. She, i.e. science, was brought back by the Divine Logos to her true allegiance. In like manner, though he says that Balaam was withstood by the Logos, on examination (ibid., ii. 4) Balaam is not the prophet of that name, but is “a foolish people riding on the ass of merchandise or agricultural pursuits, longing for a sword, a power of reason, to smite the failing beast of burden, and drawing forth its complaint more audibly than any voice, and revealing the Divine plan of life.” All the historical characters are nothing more nor less than emblematic virtues, and the sum of the narratives becomes simply some phase of religious or metaphysical dogmatism. Again, it is the “archangel,” the firstborn Logos, who throws “horse and rider into the sea.” But what do these terms denote? The rider is the mind; the horse represents the passions engaged in unholy warfare with true virtue.

Philo never makes any reference whatever to the Messiah, or identifies him with the Logos. The notion of incarnation would have been abhorrent to him. Hence we see the most astonishing distinction between the use Philo made of this Platonic phrase in his attempt to deanthropomorphize the Old Testament references to God or the ministers in his revelation, and the use which the fourth evangelist made of the same term. With him the Logos becomes the historic Revelation of God, the Agency by which light has been given to men, and which at length, after ages of recorded activity, “came into the world.” In that flesh which the Logos became, and upon which Philonian metaphysics poured scorn, St. John says, “We saw his glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

(3) While some striking superficial, metaphorical resemblances can be traced between Philo and the Fourth Gospel, it must not be forgotten that similar parallels are drawn between Philo and other books of the New Testament; and Siegfried (lib. cit.) has laboured with patient scholarship to trace the influence of Philo and of the Alexandrine gnosis, not only on St. Paul and St. James, but on the Targums. If he makes this good, he has abolished the inference that others have drawn from the presence of Philonian imagery and ideas in the Fourth Gospel, viz. that its author could not have been a Palestinian Jew. It may be well to draw attention to a few of these correspondences. Some are as vague, at least, as those which are fastened upon St. John, and some of them are far more explicit. Thus when St. Paul speaks of κληρονόμοι Θεοῦ, he is supposed to be thinking of Philo (‘Quis rerum div. hær.,’ 14), who speaks of the just as being κληρονόμοι Θείώ ἀγαθῶν. “The first and second Adam” of 1 Cor. 15:45, etc., points to ‘Leg. Alleg.,’ i. 12. Siegfried imagines a common source for both in the ‘Midrasch.’ The βλέπομεν δί᾽ ἐσόπτρον of 1 Cor. 13:12 is compared (‘De Decalog.,’ 21) with διὰ κατόπτρου of Philo; and many more expressions are cited by himself and by Loesner (‘Observationes ad Novum Testamentum e Philone:’ 1777) to demonstrate Paul’s indebtedness to Philo. He finds also a similar influence exerted on the Petrine Epistles. Siegfried makes much use of Schneckenburger’s (‘Annotatio ad Epistolum Jacobi:’ 1832) series of parallels between James and Philo. These are remarkable enough; e.g. the antithesis between ῥυπαρά and λαμπρὰ ἐσθής in Jas 2:2 is found in ‘De Joseph,’ p. 541, D.; “The spark which kindles a great fire” (Jas. 3:5) with ‘De Migr. Abrah.,’ 407, A.; the taming of wild beasts (Jas. 3:7) with ‘De Opif. Mundi,’ 19, 20; “The husbandman who waits for the precious fruits” with ‘Leg. Alleg.,’ ii. p. 103; “God as Father of lights” (Jas. 1:17) with Philo’s πηγὴ τῶν αἰσθητῶν ἀστέρων (‘De Oh. Mundi,’ p. 6). And whereas James speaks of “every good giving and every perfect gift as coming from above,” etc., it is supposed that Philo’s language (‘De Sacr. Abel et Caini,’ p. 138), ὁλόκληροι καὶ παντελεῖς αἱ τοῦ ἀγεννήτου δωρεαὶ πᾶσαι, may have suggested it. Jas. 1:14 is compared with Philo’s “In ourselves are all the treasures of evil things.” The idea that the virtues are all begotten in us by God finds its parallel in ‘De Cherubim,’ p. 13, “Who is he that soweth good things in our souls, but the Father of all, the unbegotten God, who generateth all things?” The praise of the wisdom that is from above is compared with σοφία ἄνωθεν ὁμβρηθεῖσα ἀπ᾽ οὐρανοῦ (‘De Profug.,’ 57).

The same kind of traces of relationship are found in the synoptic Gospels; e.g. Matt. 5:6 reminds of (‘De Profug.,’ 25) “Those who hunger and thirst after goodness (καλοκαγαθίας)”

The positive hints of similar relation between the Fourth Gospel and Philo, when the nomenclature or the emphasis laid on the use of the words λόγος, ζωή, φῶς, is excluded, are not more numerous than those found between the Judæo-Christian composition attributed to James and the writings of Philo. Some of them are, however, deeper than mere phraseology. With ch. 5:19, “The Son can do nothing of himself,” etc., may be compared with (‘De Conf. Ling.,’ 14) “The Logos, gazing on archetypal patterns, imitating the ways of the Father, fashioned the forms thereof.” Ch. 6:50, 51 corresponds in some measure with ‘Quis rerum div. Hær.,’ 15—a passage where “the Divine Logos is the heavenly food of the God-loving soul.” Ch. 14:23, “We will take up our abode with him,” with (‘De Poster, Cain.,’ 35) “The Divine Logos dwells within those in whom the life of the soul is honoured.” Passages of this kind are numerous, and they do reveal a very wide diffusion, even in the Palestinian schools, of a style of expression common to the Alexandrine and Christian writers.

Such connection between the two phraseologies is admitted by Lücke, De Wette, Meyer, Lange, Delitzsch, and Alford. Delitzsch (‘Bib. Psych.,’ p. 178) says, “It is an undeniable fact that the Johannine Logos doctrine stands in a certain relation to the Philonian. The apostolic representation does not utterly discard the ideal forms already elaborated by Alexandrianism, but charges them with the material significance embodied in the historical fulfilment.” Nevertheless, it is important to observe that many other terms and phrases of Greek life and thought are thus invested with a perfectly new significance, and transfigured until they convey entirely new ideas, such as ἀγάπη, πίστις, δικαιοσύνη, ζωή, θάνατος. The Platonic word λόγος was peculiarly serviceable, because it was capable of very diverse meanings, and was distinguished as λόγος ἐνδιάθετος, the Logos inherent in God, corresponding with the reason in man, and denoting the innermost “Essence of God;” and λόγος προφορικός, the Logos issuing from God, as “word spoken,” to reveal thought and manifest activity. Philo had spoken mainly of the former under the attributes Θείος and the like; and he is speaking still of the former when he calls Λόγος the “eldest Son of the Father,” “His First-Begotten,” “the Image of God,” “the Angel,” “the Archangel,” “the Demiurge,” “the archetypal Light,” “the High Priest,” “the second God,” the κόσμος νοητικός. The Apostle Paul claimed for Christ that he was the Wisdom and the Power of God, the Giver of light, the Creator of all things, God blessed for ever. All the promises of God were seen to be “Yea and Amen in him.” The Epistle to the Hebrews declares that he was “the Effulgence of the Divine glory, the express Image of his substance,” “the High Priest of our profession.” Surely no word in the Greek language was so advantageous to express and blend the fulness of the Divine nature and the mission of the Lord Christ. Hence we can see many explanations of the Johannine phraseology without having any recourse to the hasty conclusion that the fourth evangelist was an Alexandrine philosopher. We see further that the language and the terminology which had been adopted by the Greek philosophic Jews was circulating in the East and in the various speculative schools of early Gnosticism; and, so far from being adopted by the writers of the New Testament, it was interpenetrated by a profoundly different philosophy, by a perfectly hostile system of ethics, and utilized in its higher senses, in its new and potent connotation, to set forth the Divine nature of One who was “manifest in the flesh,” and as such was “justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached among the nations, believed on it—the world, received up into glory.”

The entire method in which the fourth evangelist treats the Old Testament differs from that of Philo. St. John is not struggling to eviscerate the Bible histories of their healthy anthropomorphism. He is not translating the language of ancient history into the terms of Platonic philosophy. Moses, Jacob, and Abraham were to him historic men. The well of Jacob, the temple of Solomon, the rite, of circumcision, were referred to as well-known things, without any mythic or mystic significance. The ancient Word was searched for true rather than recondite meanings. The two writers differ toto cœlo in the attitude they severally sustain towards the Old Testament. Their conceptions of the supreme God, of the Absolute, the Infinite and Eternal One, differ profoundly. Philo exaggerated the abstraction of Plato or Aristotle, and emphasized the most subtle and transcendent expressions of the Old Testament, in order to adumbrate the indefinable and shadow forth the eternal. Numberless passages may be quoted to show how God is above all thought and praise, superior to reason, and incapable of expression by perfection or attribute; how he is ungraspable, unthinkable, unknowable, unutterable; his essence is an eternal secret; dazzling, unapproachable light is the robe of his spiritual essence, etc. To pass from these hyperbolical expressions—which are akin to Hindu pantheism or modern idealism—into the vocabulary and atmosphere of the Fourth Gospel, a new world is entered. If the writer were a pupil of Philo, he was a very audacious one, and profited very little by his master’s teaching. The Johannine teaching of the “Father” explodes the whole Philonian metaphysics. Philo did, however, heap upon the Logos, whom he regarded as the bridge between the Infinite Unapproachable One and the world, every kind of glowing and splendid epithet. He called the Logos the Light and the Life, the Prophet and Interpreter of the archetypal Light, the Principle of “wisdom,” Source of law, “the royal Way of true philosophy,” the Ground of virtue, “the Way which leads to God,” the Captain of the vessel of the soul, the Inner Voice of conscience, Accuser and Judge, as well as the Shepherd. Thoma (loc. cit.) has accumulated these traits with immense skill and great eloquence; but the portraiture, as a vorbild of the Fourth Gospel, vanishes when we find that all this is but the tropical phrase for the discipline through which souls are passing to the rest of a true philosophy.

The Old Testament itself is the real source of the two meanings of Logos, and, apart even from the later teaching of the rabbis, furnished both to Paul and John the material on which their intellectual phraseology and theological system were built up.

(a) The grand agent of the Lord in the creation of the world is in Gen. 1. through out represented as spoken word. The coming forth of light and life, of sun and stars, of man himself, is preceded by the assertion, “And God said.” This had so deeply entered into the mind of Israel that the psalmist (Ps. 33:6) says, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made,” where the LXX. uses the word λόγος for the Hebrew דָּבָר. In Ps. 147:15, “The word of the Lord runneth very swiftly,” is one of the terms used to describe the creative and providential government of God (cf. Isa. 55:11).

The Targums, which represent the Palestinian teaching of the Jewish schools in their translations and paraphrases of the Old Testament, even the oldest and most precious of them, that of Onkelos, substitute for “God” the periphrasis of his “Word.” They used continually the terms “Debura” and “Memra.” Thus, “the Word of the Lord” was with Ishmael in the wilderness (Gen. 21:20). Jacob made a covenant that “the Word of the Lord should be his God” (Gen. 28:21). In multitudes of instances “the Word” is substituted by these Aramaic translators for the direct representation of God’s presence or activity. They hoped thereby in some degree to bridge the otherwise boundless distance between the Eternal One and the creatures of his hand. They sought, on the basis of Divine revelation, to maintain the communication between God and man, while striving to uphold the Divine majesty; and they sought to avoid by these means the anthropomorphisms which might lead the incautious reader into unworthy conceptions of the glory of the Lord. Siegfried attributes this usage of the Targums to Philo; but the method of the Targumist differs from that of Philo.

(b) The entire doctrine of “the angel of the Lord,” which pervades the Old Testament, indicates, as within the bosom and mystery of the Divine Being, the conception of certain inherent relations of awful sublimity. The Angel or Messenger of Jehovah at times is used interchangeably with Jehovah himself, and invested with all his glory. Gen. 32:24; Exod. 33:14; Hos. 12:4; Isa. 63:9; and Mal. 3:1, convey the assurance that the manifestation, the active energy, the covenant-making grace of God is to be distinguished from the created angel, on the one hand, who is distinguished from “the Presence,” and from the Eternal One, who, save in and through his chosen Organ and Agent, “dwells,” as St. Paul says, “in unapproachable light, whom no man hath seen or can see.” The fourth evangelist expressly refers the Adôn of Isa. 6:1 to the pre-existent Christ, or Logos. Before him the seraphim veil their faces, and yet his voice is heard, and awful glory confounds his earthborn worshipper. This conception of the Divine Angel had been utilized by Philo, in his allegoric interpretation, to represent the operations of the Logos in the region of mental-moral discipline; but the Fourth Gospel discerns its bearing on the fundamental nature of the Lord Christ. He who had in various theophanies manifested himself to Abraham and Jacob, to Hagar and Moses, to Joshua and Manoah, to Isaiah and Zechariah, etc., “came into the world,” “became flesh, and tabernacled amongst us.” The preparation was laid in the Old Testament, the Alexandrines resolved it into a sacred metaphysic, the apostles into the agelong witness of the possibility of a concrete historic revelation.

Another parallel line of meditation pervades what has been called the Chokmah teaching, or the Old Testament doctrine of “wisdom,” which in Alexandria, but before the days of Philo, had approached a personification of this great perfection of God, and reveals its influence on the New Testament writings. We would not say that more than a personification can be found in Prov. 8; yet the occurrence of this phraseology within the bosom of pure Hebrew monotheism, and one which refers to such an aspect or affirmation of the Divine essence as eternal Wisdom, the Creator, Guide, and Guardian of all things, and as answering to certain peculiarities of the human consciousness and experience, is clearly an important factor in the creation of those sentiments concerning the Son which we find in the Epistles to the Colossians and Hebrew. There can be little doubt, e.g., that the author (Heb. 1:1, 2) had in mind the language of the Book of Wisdom, where phrases which the writer of the Epistle claimed to be descriptive of the Divine element in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, had already been attributed to Wisdom. Apart from the theology of this famous passage, it establishes a connection between the later books and deutero-canonical books of the Old Testament and the Christian doctrine of the writer to the Hebrews, which are not only independent of Philo, but also of the author of the Fourth Gospel. It becomes probable that the doctrine, which is supposed by some to be an evolution of the second century, really preceded that period by some ninety or a hundred years; that it is apparent throughout Paul’s letters, and especially in his earliest and most indubitably authentic Epistles. Where did Paul obtain such notions, if not from the sacred tradition of those parts of Christ’s teaching which, while not absent from the synoptists (as, e.g., Matt. 11), are most abundantly revealed in the language of the Fourth Gospel? Before the Gospel was written, it is indeed almost scientifically demonstrated that some of the disciples had thus reported and reiterated the teaching of their Lord. “This,” says the Ephesian presbyter, “is the disciple which testifieth of these things, as well as wrote these things,” etc. We find no difficulty in believing that Nathanael (Bartholomew), Mary of Bethany, Nicodemus and Joseph, Judas (not Iscariot), Thomas and Philip, and others of his disciples—why not Peter and Andrew?—all contributed to swell that class of record and teaching which we find so fully reported and so wonderfully enshrined in the Fourth Gospel.

3. The author was an eye-witness of much that he describes. Having, then, made it more than evident that the writer was a Jew, and a Jew of Palestine, we proceed, in the next place, to show that the writer was an eye-witness of that which he describes, an auditor of the discourses which he records. There is no doubt that he wishes to be considered an eye-witness; that he practically claims to have been such, and that a multitude of small details are given, either with a consummate art which almost conceals itself, or with the simple object of recording what made an indelible impression on his mind at the time. I am willing to admit that pseudepigraphers do adopt this method. Historical romancists, even great poets, when treating events well known in tradition, from Homer to Goethe, and from Walter Scott to living poets and novelists, know that nothing preserves the illusion of autoptic memoir better than the use of these apparently useless adjuncts of a story. Yet we think that this author, from the supplementary character of his Gospel, and from the numberless additional fragments of information which he supplies, as well as from touches which cannot (as Baur urged) be due to any theological bias, does unconsciously and unintentionally reveal the eye-witness.

Let us enumerate some of these artless traits of the presence of the writer. The references to the day and hour when so many of the memorable scenes occurred (ch. 1:29, 35, 43; 12:1, 12; 13:1, etc.; 20:1; 2:1; 4:43, 52; 6:22; 11:6, 17); the hours of the day (ch. 1:39; 3:2; 6:16; 13:30; 18:28).

In ch. 1:14 the phrase, “We beheld his glory,” undoubtedly places the writer in the company of those who had personal and irresistible reasons for believing that he was the incarnate Λόγος of God. This passage, however, derives strong emphasis from 1 John 1:1, where the same writer declares (not, as some German critics have assumed, what any believer might claim) that he and others, not only saw with their bodily eyes, but touched with their hands, the “Word of life.” The object of the writer of that Epistle was to bring its readers into a state of fellowship with their own triumphant faith in facts and manifestations of such transcendent importance. The writer, on an occasion of awful and immense significance, viz. the piercing of the side of the Lord Jesus, declares that a strange “sign” occurred, and, in order to emphasize the fact, adds (ch. 19:35), “And he that hath seen hath borne witness, and his witness is veritable; and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye also may believe.” The opponents of the authenticity have found, in the use of ἐκεῖνος, some proof that the writer is here only quoting a credible witness, and distinguishing himself from the disciple whom Jesus loved, and who had gone away from the cross, in his anxiety to protect the mother of the Lord; but the frequent use of ἐκεῖνος elsewhere in reference to the subject of the sentence has disposed of this suggestion (ch. 9:37). It is certain that either the author quotes what he regarded as perfectly trustworthy testimony of one still living when he wrote, or refers to his own personal experience in the matter. The latter, from his style, is far more probable, and the fact that he was accustomed to regard himself in the third person would in this passage make a still more forcible separation in thought between himself as witness and himself as writer. It is in favour of this that the author uses the perfect rather than the aorist, which last would have been far more appropriate if he had been referring to a testimony once for all given by a third party.

The closing words of the Gospel further solemnly associate the loved disciple with the author of the Gospel, revealing the very early tradition and the uniform testimony of the manuscripts to the identification; and there can be no question that by “the disciple whom Jesus loved”—a phrase of high significance and of tender and impressive reminiscence, not of self-confident boasting (as Keim and Weiss say)—the writer intends to indicate himself.

Before proceeding to show the internal evidence for this identification with the son of Zebedee, we see that the writer professes very intimate acquaintance with the feelings of the disciples themselves—he knows what they thought at the time, and how they modified their views afterwards (ch. 2:11, 21, 22; 12:16). The author’s intimate relations both with them and the disciples of John (ch. 3:22); the inmost converse of Jesus with his fellow-disciples (ch. 4:1, 2); what they said “one to another” (ch. 4:33); the conversation between Jesus, Andrew, and Philip (ch. 6:5–9); constitute a series of touches which reveal quiet observation and deep and subtle intimacy with their feelings (ch. 6:17, 22–24, 60–71). His knowledge of the Lord’s own home appears in ch. 7:3. Similarly, ch. 11:3–16 gives a striking proof of his intimacy with the disciples and his knowledge of their feelings, as contrasted with the silence which he observes about the illness and death of Lazarus, beyond what came in the form of a message from the sisters (cf. ch. 12:16 for another interesting proof). It must be admitted that he also knew what the Pharisees “said among themselves,” and what “the people murmured concerning him;” but there are many sources of information open to him. Again, in ch. 12:21–23, in the feet-washing scene (ch. 13:1–11), and in ch. 14, 15, and 16, he indicates acquaintance with the special questions that Peter, Philip, Judas, Thaddæmus, Thomas, and “some of his disciples,” asked on that last memorable night. The author represents himself throughout as intimate with the disciples, and in the closing scene on the Lake of Tiberias, he has artlessly represented manner, tone, and emotion, and has blended the whole into a living picture as one who knew.

4. He represents himself as one of the disciples whom Jesus loved. This disciple shown by constructive evidence to be John the son of Zebedee. The author appears from the first to have clung very closely to our Lord. We can scarcely resist the impression that he was a silent auditor of the conversation with Nicodemus, which obviously took place in Jerusalem (cf. ch. 19:27), probably in that nameless disciple’s own house. Again, while other disciples went to Sychar to buy bread, one seems to have remained with the Lord, and heard the conversation with the woman of Samaria. The fifth chapter contains an account of a visit to Jerusalem, on which the writer, and it would seem few if any other disciples, accompanied him. We learn that the beloved disciple was known to the high priest, and had a home in Jerusalem itself. This may have been in some way associated with the business of Zebedee as a fisherman, and the market for his produce in Jerusalem at the time of the public national festivals, which required certain visits to Jerusalem at these periods, and may explain the fact that John alone gives detailed accounts of the intercourse between our Lord and the Jews at Jerusalem. In ch. 6 we are once more thrown into the midst of one of the capital scenes and critical moments of the Galilæan ministry as related by the synoptists; but this writer is minutely acquainted with the sentiments of the apostles, the principal parts assigned to specific individuals, and even the inner mind of the Lord himself (ch. 6:5, 6, 7–9). In ver. 17 there is an unconscious and unmistakable touch of the eye-witness: “Jesus was not yet come to them.” The writer had been sent away with the eleven, but expected that his Lord would come to them. In ch. 6:60, 66 he once more unintentionally reveals his presence, intimacy, and sympathy with the twelve; and while he does not become their chief spokesman, but attributes this function to Peter, yet he shares the sentiment of the group, “Thou art the Christ, Son of the living God … thou hast the words of eternal life.” This is itself one of the proofs that there is no animus against Peter, who is spoken of as one of two disciples whom Jesus loved (ἐφίλει, ch. 20:2). This is singularly impressive when we find that Peter, throughout the synoptic narrative, stands in such close and affectionate relationship with our Lord. At the Last Supper “the disciple (ὃν ἠγάπα ὁ Ἰησοῦς) whom Jesus loved” was “reclining (ἐν τῷ κόλπῳ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ) in the bosom of Jesus,” i.e. on his right side, at the head of the triclinium, and able to ask a private question and receive an answer unnoticed by the rest (ch. 18:23). “Peter and this other disciple” are both with our Lord in the court of Annas (ch. 18:16). Peter denies his Master, and, as we learn from the synoptic narrative, went out, but “the other disciple” remained, and, while the discussion before Caiaphas is omitted by the present writer as having been fully detailed, he seems to have clung so closely to his Master that much of the converse with Pilate, omitted by the general tradition, was rescued by him from oblivion. He is, moreover, stationed by the cross (ch. 19:25, 26), when he received the solemn commission to guard as a son the sacred mother of the Lord. In ch. 20:2–10 the “disciple whom Jesus loved” represents himself as believing, in the Resurrection, and returning (πρὸς ἑαυτούς) with Peter. The other most interesting reference to this unnamed disciple is in the final scenes of ch. 21. There he is represented as the first to recognize, and not for the first time, the risen Lord. The interview with Peter is followed by the question (ver. 21), “What shall this man be [or ‘do’]?” (οὗτος δὲ τί;). The answer is one which led, as the writer admits, to the report (λόγος) “that that disciple should not die.” But he declares that this was a misinterpretation of the Lord’s words. To this statement there is an appendix of vast interest. The present tense (ὁ μαρτυρῶν) is used when speaking of the life-witness of that disciple, and the aorist (ὁ γράψας) when referring to his work, and the first person plural (οἴδαμεν) when announcing a momentous fact about him. “We know” that this testimony is (not ἀληθινή, but ἀληθής—not “veritable,” but) “trust-worthy.” These words show that the verses were written by those who knew the writer and valued his living words. The testimony unhesitatingly affirms that the disciple whom Jesus loved was the writer of the Gospel. There is no proof whatever that this Gospel was ever circulated without this twenty-fourth verse, and consequently we possess a singularly early vindication, not only of the value of the document, but of the closely approximate identification of the author with one of the sons of Zebedee.

The group of the disciples mentioned in ch. 21:2 consists of (1) Simon Peter, who is especially in this scene distinguished from the nameless disciple; (2) Thomas; (3) Nathanael; (4, 5) the two sons of Zebedee; and (6, 7) two other of his disciples. Now, since Thomas and Nathanael are specially mentioned by name elsewhere, Nathanael is clearly distinguished from the nameless disciple in ch. 1:35, etc., and Thomas from the rest of the eleven, so it is certain that neither Peter, Thomas, nor Nathanael could have been the beloved disciple. One of the “sons of Zebedee,” James, was the first of the apostles to suffer for his Lord (Acts 12:1, 2). It remains that the epilogue asserts that he was either John the son of Zebedee or one of two others who are altogether unnamed. It has been conjectured that these may have been Andrew and Philip; but since these apostles are elsewhere mentioned by name, it is improbable that they are thus referred to, and, from being placed last, were far more probably not members of the apostolic circle at all. It would be quite in harmony with the writer’s manner throughout, that he should put the two sons of Zebedee last in his enumeration of apostles. Here, in fact, the synoptic narratives and the Acts come to our aid, for throughout the former John and James, with Peter, form the innermost group of our Lord’s best-loved disciples, and, from the beginning to the end, John, son of Zebedee, occupies a prominent position. Whither has he disappeared, if the disciple whom Jesus loved be not he? for if he be not the son of Zebedee, he is not once mentioned in the Fourth Gospel. Again, Peter and John are the two most prominent figures in the early Church history (Acts 3:1, etc.; 4:13 8:14; 12:2, 3; and cf. Acts 15. with Gal. 2:9), where Peter and John were still together with James the Lord’s brother, pillars of the mother Church. Seeing that we know from the synoptic narrative that James and John were brothers, and from several passages in this Gospel and in the synoptists that Andrew and Simon Peter (or Cephas) were brothers, and that the four were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee, it is next to impossible to refrain from the impression that, when in ch. 1:39, etc., Andrew, who, mentioned as the brother of Simon, is stated to be one of the two disciples of John the Baptist who followed Jesus, the other unnamed one was John the son of Zebedee. It has often been remarked that whereas the other writers speak of John the Baptist, using this appellative to distinguish him from other Johns, this Fourth Gospel never gives the Baptist any other designation than John. He may have been acquainted with the Baptist before he had acquired that well-known title which technically distinguished him.

There can be small question, and it is admitted by some of the most rationalistic of writers, that the author wishes it to be supposed that he was no other and no less than John the son of Zebedee. The author, whoever he was, by adopting a thin disguise (which was stripped off in the earliest evangelical tradition), compels his readers to conjecture that he was himself the disciple whom Jesus loved; that he was one of the twelve disciples who had companied with our Lord from his first appearance in Galilee; that he was an eye-witness of Christ’s greatest deeds, and a creditable reporter of his weightiest savings; that he was intimately familiar with the circle of our Lord’s friends; and, in fact, that he was no other than the well-known younger son of Zebedee and Salome. If, however, the author were an unknown writer of the second century, he must have hazarded much by this delicate fabrication. He could neither have been a disciple nor even a contemporary of Jesus. All the subtle indications of the presence of the eye-witness must have been deliberately forged, to give weight and authority to his representation. He, whose entire portraiture is one which is avowedly designed to promote the realization of truth and to stimulate a Divine love and to nourish the life of faith, must have been aware throughout that he was romancing if not falsifying fact, creating for the sustenance of a Divine life a series of narratives, discourses, and discussions which he knew were being originated by his own fertile imagination, and nothing more. This is so harsh and unworthy an exhibition of mala fides without apparent motive, that it becomes very difficult to ascribe it to the author of this wonderful biography. The enormous contrast between this work and that of the apocryphal Gospels and Acts forbids our accepting the hypothesis unless under the pressure of cogent arguments which demonstrate the non-authenticity of the narrative (see Stanley Leathes, ‘Witness of St. John to Christ.’ Boyle Lecture for 1870).

Delfft (‘Grundzüge der Entwickelungs-Geschichte der Religion dargestellt,’ pp. 266, etc.: 1883) has propounded an ingenious theory, that “the disciple whom Jesus loved” may have been one of the unnamed disciples who belonged to the upper classes of Jerusalem, an intimate friend of Nicodemus and Joseph, who penetrated the secret and secured the affection of Jesus, but was not one of the twelve. Delfft supposes that he was the host of our Lord in Jerusalem, and peculiarly qualified to deal with the events and discourses there taking place; not the John of the synoptists or of the Apocalypse, but a veritable friend and biographer, whose name was probably John—a circumstance which led to mistaken identification with the son of Zebedee. This hypothesis, Professor Delfft thinks, would save the historicity of the narrative, and ride clear of the difficulties which the supposed differences in the character of the John of the synoptists, the John of tradition, and the John of the Apocalypse have created. The only need of the hypothesis, however, turns on the reality of those supposed difficulties. The formidable objection to it is that there is no trace whatever of so immense a force as such a man would have been, in the early history of the New Testament, the Pauline Epistles, or the ecclesiastical tradition.

We must on all grounds examine the arguments which, are supposed to invalidate the assumption made by the writer. They are twofold. They are external and internal. (1) They consist of the indications which other literature is supposed to supply of the character and life of the presumed author, and which is said to be profoundly different from the spirit and character of one who calls himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” (2) They draw a series of contrasts between the contents of the Fourth Gospel and those of the synoptists, which are sufficiently plausible to arrest attention and provoke inquiry. Can the author be referring to the personages and to the events described in the synoptic narrative? and can the “Jesus” of Matthew be identical with the “Jesus” of the Fourth Gospel?

5. A comparison of the author of the Fourth Gospel. with the hints given in other literature of the character of John the son of Zebedee.

(1) The “John” of the synoptists must be compared with the author of the Fourth Gospel. If we take the synoptic Gospels as our only authorities, we should conclude that a man, by name Zebedaios (Mark 1:19, 20), with his wife Salome, had two sons, James and John; that they were the associates of two others, Simon and Andrew, in a fishing trade upon the Lake of Gennesareth; and that their home was at the town of Bethsaida, not far from Capernaum (cf. Mark 1:29; Luke 5:10).

That the name “Salome” was that of his mother is gathered from Matt. 27:56 and Mark 15:40, where the women who hovered round the cross of Jesus are enumerated, and where the name “Salome” takes the place in Mark which “the mother of Zebedee’s children” occupies in Matthew’s Gospel. Zebedee is not described as a poor man, but as possessed of boats, fishing tackle, and hired day labourers (Mark 1:20). Moreover, Salome (Luke 8:3; Matt. 27:55) is probably amongst the group of women who followed Jesus on some of his journeyings, and who ministered to him and to the twelve of their substance. The whole of this representation is remarkably confirmed by the strong reason which the exegesis of ch. 19. (see Exposition) supplies that Salome was the sister of the mother of Jesus, and was closely related to the Lord. We know that considerable profit accrued from the trade of fishing, and there was a large sale at Jerusalem of the fish taken in the Sea of Galilee for transport thither and consumption during the principal feasts. Every Israelite, says ‘Baba Kama’ (fol. 80. 2, referred to by Caspari, ‘Chron. Introduction to Life of Christ,’ Eng. trans., p. 142), had a right to engage in the fishery of the Lake of Galilee, and leaders in the trade would certainly be present in Jerusalem more frequently than others (cf. Godet, vol. i. 31; Lücke, ‘Komm.,’ p. 2). The mother of James and John was a zealous and enthusiastic follower of her Lord, and in Matt. 20:20 she preferred a request, in which we dare not say that the two brothers did not sympathize, viz. that they might sit on the right and left of the King when he should come in his kingdom. It must be admitted that this revealed certain carnal, earthly views of Messiah’s kingdom, and was expressive of the fierce and eager patriotism of the times. The near relationship of Salome, James, and John to the Lord may have greatly stimulated the desire on her part. That she should have entertained ideas of a temporal triumph is no more than the mother of Jesus herself indicated on more than one occasion. But if so, we learn that she was at once rebuked, and they were shown that the conditions of such honour were readiness to drink the cup and be baptized with the baptism of the Son of man. They who knew not at this moment “what they asked,” learned at once a lesson which must have taught them (long before the Fourth Gospel could have been written) that which Jesus regarded as the first place in his kingdom. Moreover, the moment when Salome presented this request was immediately after Christ’s most solemn announcement of his approaching death. The rebuke which he administered to the angry spirit of the remaining ten disciples, and his lesson on the royalty of service, breathes the deepest spirit of the symbolic act which so soon took place, i.e. if ch. 13:1, etc., be an authentic narrative. A woman who could have acted as Salome did must from the first have exercised a powerful influence on her sons, and we see that they were, in accordance with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts, reckoned in the very first rank and innermost circle of the twelve apostles (Matt. 10:2; Luke 6:4; Mark 3:7; Acts 1:13). “Peter, James, and John” were the favoured three who were admitted to the death-chamber in the house of Jairus (Mark 5:37; Luke 8:51), as witnesses of this great sign of his power over death. The same three were taken by the Lord into the cloud of his glory on the Mountain of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1; Luke 9:28; Mark 9:2), and thus they received an overwhelming evidence of the majesty of Christ and his relation to the unseen world and the heavenly Father. They are selected, with Andrew, to hear the prophecy of the last things concerning Jerusalem and the kingdom (Mark 13:3), and to accompany the Lord into the mystery of his deep agony and bloody sweat in the garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:37). So far there is nothing incompatible with a word written by the author of the Fourth Gospel, though we may reasonably wonder why he should have omitted these events from his narrative. But there are hints of character recorded in the synoptic narrative which are more difficult to reconcile with the spirit of him whom Jesus loved.

Jesus gave, according to Mark’s Gospel, a name to the two brethren of peculiar force. He called them “Boanerges,” i.e. “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17), probably in reference to the zeal, intensity, and fervour of their character, as displayed on sundry occasions. The enthusiasm which led them to seek by baptism into death their place at the right hand of power may be one illustration of the name assigned to them; the eloquence and fervour of their speech has little historic fact to sustain it, nor is the supposition sufficiently specific. There must have been something in the character of James the brother of John which made his cruel martyrdom by Herod Agrippa pleasing to the Jews (Acts 13:2); and it is possible that he, as the elder of the two brothers, may have been the more prominent of the two in the request made by Salome, and on other occasions in which we see a repressed passion, at times, storming forth from the two brethren. But John himself is described (Mark 9:38, etc.; Luke 9:49, etc.) as saying to our Lord, as though in sympathy with the solemn and tender words which Jesus had just uttered, “Master, we saw a certain one casting out dæmons in thy Name; and we forbade him, because he followeth not [thee] with us.” The fact may have been put with a desire for instruction, with a possible, nay, even probable, suspicion, that the course taken was open to reproof, and we hear that he received the memorable reply, “Forbid him not; for he who is not against us is on our side.” “No one who will exercise power or work a miracle (δύναμιν) in my Name, will be able shortly [straight-way] to speak evil of me.” The proceeding was simply the obverse of the passionate love John felt for his Master—a manifestation which was not altogether absent from his heart and life, even in his latest days. If the Second and Third Epistles of John are rightly attributed to him (2 Epist. 10; 3 Epist. 9–11), then the same kind of burning indignation manifests itself against those who are disloyal to the Spirit and truth of Christ. In the case of Diotrephes, we see that the aged apostle’s wrath flames out against the very thing for which he had received, so many years before, the rebuke of his Lord; but there is the tone of the Son of Thunder in the remonstrance.

Another remarkable illustration of the name which our Lord bestowed upon John is given in Luke 9:54, 55, where the two brothers are roused into indignation by the refusal of the Samaritans to receive his Master. “Master,” say James and John, “willest thou that we call fire to descend from heaven to consume them? And Jesus rebuked them.” The interesting addition to the text of Luke found in a few manuscripts, and supposed to be quoted from some traditional source, is on the authority of all the principal uncials and some sixty cursives, omitted by the modern editors. Here, again, James is mentioned first, and, so far as we know, was the speaker, and the two brethren are made to feel the weight of their Lord’s displeasure. Yet even here there is nothing incompatible with the stormy burst of thunder which is attributed by tradition to the apostle of love in his treatment of Cerinthus. If John were the veritable recorder of the ministry of Christ among the hated Samaritans (ch. 4), it is easy to imagine the sudden rise of wrath which linked his soul with the Elijah-ministry of his first teacher, and that the enthusiastic attachment of soul to his Master’s cause should have outrun discretion, when he became the witness of the tribal hatred of the Samaritans. Nothing can be less true, even judging from the Fourth Gospel itself and the First Epistle, than the popular representation of the apostle’s character, which attributes to him a spurious and effeminate softness, or a love which had no power to condemn in severe and burning and even thunderous word that disloyalty and lack of appreciation of his Lord with which he was confronted. So abundantly does the Fourth Gospel set itself to unfold the love of God in Christ Jesus and his work, that our eyes are dazzled by the light, and are not sufficiently alive to the dark shadows and terrible denunciations with which the Gospel positively abounds. In no portion of the New Testament is so formidable a representation made of the wrath of God against sin, or so severe a condemnation of the hatred of the world against Christ and his Church (Stanley Leathes, ‘Witness of St. John to Christ,’ lect. v.). The contrast between light and darkness is one of the themes of the prologue. In the language (ch. 3:18, 19) of our Lord to Nicodemus, the awful judgment devolving upon unbelief is set forth; and (ch. 3:36) either John the Baptist, or the apostle as one of his earliest disciples, describes “the wrath of God abiding” on the unbeliever. Only in the Fourth Gospel (5:29) do we read of “the resurrection of condemnation;” and we find the traitor characterized as “a devil” (ch. 6:70). It is the Fourth Gospel which reports Christ’s own words, “Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, ye cannot come” (ch. 7:34); and which represents our Lord saying, “Ye are from beneath; I am from above” (ch. 8:23); “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (ch. 8:24); “Ye are of your father the devil” (ch. 8:44); “For judgment I am come into this world,” etc. (ch. 9:39). The remarkable passage of the writer’s own comment (ch. 12:37–43), in language of flaming forcefulness, denounces the unbelief of the people. Even in the valedictory discourse there is most terrible denunciation of the causeless hatred of the world (ch. 15:25; 16:1–3), and the intercessory prayer records the awful description of the traitor as “the son of perdition” (ch. 17:12).

This considerable list of testimonies to the spirit of the writer, to the suppressed passion of stormy wrath which burned within him, is more than enough to show that the “John” of the synoptists is not in the smallest degree incompatible with the character of the author of this Fourth Gospel; while the obvious intimacy with our Lord that he shared with Peter and James does not contradict the term which he modestly attributed to himself. The intensity of John’s nature was, doubtless, one of the occasions and ministrants of the Divine love to him, nor is there in the lofty conception he formed of our Lord an inconsiderable explanation of the occasional outbursts of his wrath. If he even then believed in the incarnation of the eternal life and light and love in his Master, if he was beginning to realize more deeply than the rest, the awful grandeur of the Personality of Jesus, if he found himself loving, his Lord with passionate devotion,—we need not be surprised that he should resent every indication of treachery or disloyalty. At this early period he had not learned all the lessons of the compassionate tenderness and infinite sympathy of Jesus with sorrow and death, nor all the superabundance and superfluity of love which he lavished on different classes, so that he might easily have fallen into the venial error which was not, as we have seen, incompatible with the spirit of the author of the Fourth Gospel. Nay, the Gospel, by making it appear that the Lord had shown signs of special patience and kindness towards the Samaritans (ch. 4), really explains why, at another and later period, the author should have fancied he did well to be angry, and should have desiderated the power of the Elijah-like ministry of his first teacher, and been ready to call down fire upon the Samaritan village. It should be borne in mind that this village refused to receive Christ at a moment when, in a condescension which to a Jew was simply superhuman, the Christ was willing to overlook their national estrangement, and to offer to them the blessings of his kingdom. Verily this trait of personal character has been greatly exaggerated, if it be made a reason for rejecting a conclusion abundantly confirmed by other reasons, that the author of the Fourth Gospel was the son of Zebedee.

There are no other solitary references to the Apostle John in the synoptic narrative, and by themselves they are rather explained than contradicted by the supposition of the authenticity of the Fourth Gospel.

(2) The “John” of the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistle to the Galatians, compared with the author of the Fourth Gospel. Those who dispute the authenticity of the Fourth Gospel maintain that, in the Acts of the Apostles, John occupied a position in the Church of Jerusalem and among Jewish Christians which, while compatible with the authorship of the Apocalypse, contrasts forcibly with the spiritual conception of the kingdom of God which pervades the Fourth Gospel. Let us give this objection all possible force, and even emphasize everything that these documents contain.

(a) We learn, then, from Acts 1:13 that John was tarrying at Jerusalem, and was a witness of the Ascension; that, with the mother and brethren of the Lord, who now fully believed in Christ’s superhuman and sublime claims, and with the rest of the eleven, he continued in prayer and supplication, in generous mutual love, and in holy waiting for “the promise of the Father,” which, said Jesus, “ye have heard of me”—waiting for “the power of the Holy Spirit,” which should come upon them, and make them witnesses of Christ, not only in Judæa and Samaria, but to the end of the world. So far from this representation being incompatible with the personality and presumed knowledge of the author of the Fourth Gospel, we think that the valedictory discourse of Christ, as preserved by John, is the very best explanation that can be offered of these strange words. The “promise of the Father,” the “coming of the Holy Spirit,” the “return of the Lord,” the greater works, and the world-witness to Christ, are the great themes of that discourse. Moreover, the very presence of the mother and brethren of Jesus in the chamber where the eleven met for worship is best explained by the statement of the Fourth Gospel, that John took the widowed and bereaved mother εἰς τὰ ἲδια.

(b) John took part in the election of Matthias, as one of the eleven, and in this contravenes no representation which he subsequently unconsciously makes of his own personality. The disciples appealed to the risen and glorified Lord for decision in a matter of profound interest to them all (cf. here ch. 14:12–14).

(c) The entire proceedings of the Day of Pentecost, in which John, without special mention of his name, took part, constitute one long fulfilment of expectations which had been excited by the words of Jesus before he suffered. The whole spirit of that representation is that these are some of the greater works which the apostles were beginning to perform (ch. 5:20), because the Lord is exalted to the glory which he had with the Father before the world was (ch. 17:5; 16:7). The Holy Spirit is given because Jesus is glorified (ch. 7:39). Peter, the intimate friend of John, is the spokesman, but his words are a remarkable comment on the last words of the Lord as reported in the Fourth Gospel. The references which Peter made to the prophecies of Joel and of David do but confirm, by quotations from the Scripture, the great cycle of thought so prominent in ch. 12–17, viz. of triumph through death and over death which is thus become the element of the glory of the Christ, the travail-pang of death issuing in a new joy and an eternal crown, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the bestowment of the free gift of the Spirit on whomsoever the Lord God should call. These phrases strikingly clothe in new words the prayer and thought of Jesus, “Thine they were, and thou gavest them me,” and “Whoseoever hath seen and learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”

(d) John is mentioned by name as accompanying Peter to the temple (Acts 3:1). The whole tenor of the discourse of Peter, who is again the spokesman, is in deep harmony with the extraordinary teaching that both he and John had received on the night of the Passion (cf. vers. 15, 16); and the conclusion of the entire transaction after Peter and John had been arrested and released is “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and spake the word of God μετὰ παῤῥησίας.” We readily grant that Peter is intent on impressing the Sanhedrin, priests, and populace with the true Messianic dignity of the Lord, notwithstanding his death; but John, if he be the author of the Fourth Gospel, was none the less impressed with the fulfilment of prophecy in the closing scenes of our Lord’s life (ch. 12:38, etc.; 13:18; 19:24, 36, 37), and in ch. 20:31 he expressly says that “these things are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his Name.” The language of Peter follows the awful events of the Crucifixion and the luminous interpreting fact of the Resurrection, and is concerned to show their bearing on the world of Judaism and on the heart of unbelief. In the Gospel, written, moreover, years afterwards, when the exaltation of the Lord had by the events recorded in the Acts become a grand commonplace of Christian belief, the author reproduced the spiritual promises and hopes which the Lord had kindled within them by his valedictory discourse.

(e) Wherever the twelve apostles are spoken of in the Acts, we may suppose the Apostle John present, though we catch no word and hear no speech of him. He is, as in the Fourth Gospel, a silent presence. He allows Peter to speak for him. The Sanbedrin take knowledge of the two men, that they had been “with Jesus.” Possibly a tone of Peter’s voice, a flash in his companion’s eye, a word of one, a look of the other, a common spirit in them both, provoked the comparison. They may, moreover, have been remembered and recognized as having been “with Jesus” on the night of the Passion and the trial—a fact which is only known to us from John’s own account of the transactions. In the eighth chapter of the Acts, Peter and John went down to Samaria, to endorse with their authority the proclamation which the deacon Philip had made to the Samaritans; and to be the means of communicating those special gifts of the Holy Ghost which had been the earliest witness to the presence of the risen and glorified Lord in his Church, and “there was great joy in the city.” Few things throw more light upon that joy, and the rapid success of Philip’s ministry, than the memory of the visit of the Lord to Samaria, of which the Fourth Gospel retains the record. The manner in which Peter rebuked Simon the sorcerer is evidently characteristic of him; and the silent co-operation of John is another trait of that character which was bold in thought, but which did not hurry into prominence or cause his voice to be heard.

(f) When St. Paul paid his first visit to Jerusalem after his conversion, John was not present (Gal. 1:19) there, and therefore cannot be accused of taking part in any of the natural hesitancy which some of the apostles felt with reference to the reality of Saul’s conversion; but when afterwards, Paul, Barnabas, Titus, and others went up from Antioch to Jerusalem, to discuss the terms of Gentile communion, though (Acts 15) much discussion is reported, and though James the brother of our Lord and Simon Peter are described as setting forth in a liberal spirit the new law of the covenant, and as finally proposing a compromise to the Gentiles who had believed through grace, exonerating them from the bondage of Jewish customs, John is not mentioned. Again, in characteristic fashion, he retires behind the other apostles, though St. Paul (Gal. 2:9), in referring to the same circumstances, designates “James, Cephas, and John,” as those “who seemed to be pillars” of the Church: and St. Paul speaks of their giving the right hands of fellowship to himself for an apostolate to the Gentiles. The essence of the Tübingen hypothesis is that Paul wrung a dubious and halting assent to his universalism from the pillar-apostles, and that, by the force of his character and the brilliancy of his success among the Gentiles, he compelled a temporary truce, which was afterwards broken. But there is quite enough in the synoptic narrative to show that our Lord had already laid the foundations of the spiritual Church, and had uttered principles which would destroy the Levitical Law as a condition of life. Take e.g. Matt. 15:18–20 and Mark 7:18–20, where Christ had declared that the heart is the source of defilement, not the neglect of ceremonial traditions. Take also Mark 2:28, where he claimed to be “Lord of the Sabbath” (cf. Matt. 12:8). There was latent in the customary preaching of the twelve apostles what would entirely justify Paul’s emancipation of the Gentile Church from the Mosaic yoke of ceremony, and explain Paul’s willingness to submit the matter to the arbitrament of the Jerusalem apostles. After their wise decision, John again quietly drops out of sight. When Peter is afterwards to be blamed and withstood at Antioch, it was because some had come thither from James, who had prompted the severance, and John does not seem to have done or said anything inconsistent with the large liberality and spirituality of the first apostolic decision. “Even Barnabas,” Peter, and James were carried away, at least for the moment, by Pharisaic exclusiveness; but there is not an atom of proof that John was so swept into the current. And this is the last external indication of any kind that these writings of the New Testament supply touching the personality of the son of Zebedee—verily a shadowy foundation for any specific indication of character. It is, therefore, impossible to say that the son of Zebedee may not be identified with the disciple whom Jesus loved, so far as the author of the Fourth Gospel unconsciously delineated his own portraiture. If the antagonism between Paul and the Jerusalem apostles be pressed hypothetically far beyond what the Epistle to the Galatians warrants, and is introduced as an explanation of a multiplicity of small details in the other Epistles; if the unwarrantable inference be drawn that the false apostles of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians are the Jerusalem apostles or their immediate representatives, and the Ebionitic antagonism to Paul, evinced in the pseudo-Clementine literature, be the historical fact, and must be traced back to the original relations between them;—then a multitude of other consequences follow. Then the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians, and Philippians must be also relinquished, and the Gospel of Marcion and the Clementine literature must be substituted for them. Then the Epistle of James must be regarded as a late and antagonistic document in reply to the “vain man” Paul, and the wide views and Pauline spirit of the First Epistle of Peter, like the Gospel of John, must be interpreted as late forgeries in the interests of comprehension and peace.

(3) The author of the three Epistles which bear traditionally the name of John, compared with the author of the Gospel. The evidence of antiquity in favour of the identity of authorship of the Gospel and First Epistle, and also separately in attestation of the Johannine authorship of the Epistle, is sufficient and abundant. This matter need not be here developed at length. It is necessary to recall the facts that: (a) The Muratorian Fragment on the Canon makes special mention of the First Epistle as an appendix to the Gospel, and then refers to “two Epistles” further on. (b) That the apostolic Fathers quote it. Polycarp refers to 1 John 4:3 in his ‘Epistle to Phil.,’ c. vii. and iv. 9; ibid., c. viii.; ‘The Epistle to Diognetus’ refers to or quotes, in ch. 10:1 John 4:9 and 1 John 1:1. More important than these proofs of its existence is (c) the quotation by Eusebius (‘Hist. Eccl.,’ iii. 39) of the testimony of Papias, “who used passages from the First Epistle of John” (see ante). The celebrated quotation from Polycarp (c. vii.) has been regarded of such immense weight in the argument, that some of the opponents of the genuineness of the Fourth Gospel have sought to minimize its importance by endeavouring either to invalidate the authenticity of the epistle of Polycarp, or to represent the unknown author of the Epistle as quoting from Polycarp, instead of the reverse (see ‘Supernatural Religion,’ vol. ii.). The sentence is, Πᾶς γὰρ ὅς ἄν μὴ ὁμολογῇ Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἐν σαρκὶ ἐληλυθέναι, ἀντίχριστός ἐστιν. This is a striking reference to the Epistle of John. Subsequently, Tertullian (‘Ad Prax.,’ c. 15; ‘Adv. Marc.,’ iii. 8; and in other places), Ireanæus (‘Adv. Hær.’ iii. 16), Clemens Alex., and Origen repeatedly cite it as the work of the Apostle John, as also Cyprian (‘Ep.,’ 28).

The opposition to the universal conviction of the Church commenced with Joseph Scaliger, who doubted the canonical value of the Epistle. Bretschneider and Paulus, who defended the common origin of the Gospel and First Epistle, yet referred both to the Presbyter John, of whose shadowy existence see above (pp. xxxiii)., The later writers of the Tübingen school, who would find their whole attempt to reconstruct the New Testament and to account for the origin of Christianity disappear, if they admitted the genuineness of either work, account differently for the relation of the two documents to one another. Some have admitted the identity of authorship; but others, like Hilgenfeld and Dr. Davidson, have laid great stress on the deviations or discrepancies between the Gospel and the Epistle. From the difference of style, and the presumed divergence of doctrinal view, they have endeavoured to obviate the powerful argument which the identity of authorship supplies to the genuineness of the Fourth Gospel. The character of the writer as evinced in the tone of this Epistle, his reference to “antichrists” and to the “coming of the Lord,” the strong antithesis he institutes between “light” and “darkness,” “the Father” and “the world,” form a valuable link of connection between the writer of the Fourth Gospel and the John of the synoptists and the Acts. The verbal coincidences between the Gospel and the First Epistle are very numerous; ch. 16:24 with 1 John 1:4; ch. 15:18 with 1 John 3:13; ch. 8:34, etc., with 1 John 3:8; ch. 1:18 with 1 John 4:12. In the last quotation, and many others, the writer of the prologue and of the Epistle uses identical language.

It is admitted that the two documents move along the same general lines, and are concerned with the same class of expressions—”darkness and light,” “knowing and not knowing God or Christ,” “having sin,” “laying down life for others,” “taking away sin” (1 John 3:5; ch. 1:29); references to the Paraclete (1 John 2:1; ch. 14:16), to “the only begotten Son” (1 John 4:9; ch. 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18), and to “mutual love as the commandment of Christ” (1 John 3:11, 16, 18; ch. 13:34; 15:12, 17). The flow of the sentences corresponds to that of the prologue, and reflects the words of Jesus.

Dr. Lias, in his ‘Doctrinal System of John,’ has evinced with remarkable ability the correspondence between the use which St. Paul had made of the teaching of Christ preserved by tradition and recorded afterwards by John, and the doctrinal use which this writer has made in this Epistle of thoughts and words first uttered by the Divine Lord. In the ideas as Christ uttered them we have the truth in its simplest and most elementary form; in Paul’s Epistles and John’s Epistles we have the same thought in more direct application to the circumstances of the Church and the new currents of thought which had begun to agitate it. Paul has elaborated these teachings of Christ into long arguments, which go back to authoritative and well-understood principles and facts, and which find no such natural interpretation as that which is supplied by the sententious teaching which John has preserved for us; e.g. the New Testament Epistles do all of them build upon and elaborate the antagonism between “the flesh” and “the Spirit,” as though it were a settled conclusion based upon a mutually understood principle. Take Gal. 4:29; 5:16–22; Rom. 7; and 8:1, 5–17, which all reflect the teaching of Christ subsequently made public in ch. 3 and 6. In 1 John 2:16 the ἐπιθυηία τῆς σαρκός is spoken of as ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου, and the phrase compresses much of the Pauline teaching into a sentence (cf. Dr. Pope’s ‘Preface’ to Haupt’s ‘Dissertation on the First Epistle of John,’ Eng. trans.).

But objection has been taken to the identity of authorship on grounds which, when stated, have a tendency to refute themselves.

(a) Thus it is said that a grave difference reveals itself between the eschatological ideas of the Gospel and Epistle; that in the latter the παρουσία is anticipated (as it is in the Pauline Epistles), and that a “day of judgment” looms in the immediate future, but that in the Gospel the judgment is regarded as already past, and Christ’s “second coming” is resolved into a spiritual mission to the disciples, and that Jesus will come again, only in the power of the Paraclete; further, according to the Gospel, the future and present are alike comprehended in the one idea of “eternal life.” But we have to remember, on the one hand, that, in the Gospel, our Lord does speak of a last day and of a day of judgment, when he would personally judge the world (see ch. 5:28, 29; 6:39, 40, 44, 54). And the writer of the Epistle, while he confirms this expectation, declares that those who believe on the Son of God have “eternal life,” and that “those that have the Son of God have life” (1 John 5:13). In 2:28 he assures believers of their boldness and freedom from shame at the approaching parousia. The Gospel simply records Christ’s words as he uttered them, and the Epistle exhibits the effect upon two generations of Christians of the whole of Christ’s teaching as given in the synoptic and Johannine Gospels.

(b) Dr. Davidson says that the Gospel knows nothing of “antichrist,” because, according to its “genius,” “the prince of this world is cast out” by the death of Jesus, while “the Epistle speaks of many antichrists.” This surely is in obvious harmony with the simple facts of the case for which the Gospel had prepared the way. The antagonism of darkness to the Logos (ch. 1:3), and the frequent forewarning against calamities, hatred, and misunderstanding from the world, abound in the valedictory discourse (ch. 15:18, etc.; 16:1–4).

(c) The doctrine of the Paraclete, say opponents, is differently conceived in the two. “Indeed, the Spirit is never called ‘the Paraclete’ in the Epistle. Christ himself is so termed (1 John 2:1).” “In the Epistle (the Spirit) is less closely identified with Christ. He witnesses and is truth … but is not identified with Christ. He is the anointing which believers receive from the Holy One,” etc. But the reference to Christ as the Paraclete is in such subtle harmony with Christ’s promise of “another Paraclete” who should abide with them for ever, that this is one of the remarkable signs of identity of authorship; while in ch. 15:26 the Spirit’s work is described as “a witnessing” concerning Christ. On the other hand, 1 John 3:24, the Πνεύμα which he (Christ) has given to us is proof that he Christ Jesus abideth in us; and the χρίσμα ἀπὸ τοῦ ἁγίου (1 John 2:20, 27) corresponds very closely with the teaching which the Church had received from the words of Jesus with reference to the baptism with the Holy Spirit and his power of leading disciples into all truth.

(d) It is said, “High as the epithets (attributed to Christ in the Epistle) are, they imply a conception of his Person inferior to those used in the Gospel.” They are slightly different, we admit; but let 1 John 1:1–3 be read, ὃ ἦν ἀπ᾽ ἀρκῆς, etc., where the Son is spoken of in close relation to the Father (see Haupt on this passage); also 1 John 2:14, where the ὀ Λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν ὑμῖν μένει corresponds very closely with Christ’s own promise, μένειν, with his disciples; 1 John 2:23, “He that denieth the Son hath not the Father;” to say nothing of 1 John 5:7, 8. The eternal Word of life incarnate, the Son of God who had been manifested and come in the flesh to destroy the works of the devil, the Son, the great exhibition of Divine and eternal love, fills the whole thought of the writer, and carries into practical form the sublime aphorisms of Christ himself, while it presupposes throughout the personal dignity of the Son of God. Let it be remembered that the Gospel (with the exception of the prologue) does not with absolute certainty refer to the personal Logos, but has substituted for it “the Son;” and the final word of Divine inspiration in this Epistle leaves it beyond all doubt that the summation of apostolic doctrine is this—”We are in him that is true, that is in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the veritable God, and eternal life.”

(e) Another argument is derived from the strongly anti-docetic spirit of the Epistle (which is readily conceded), as contrasted with “the almost docetic character of the Gospel.” Here, says Dr. Davidson, “the Λόγος in some respects resembled an æon.” This scarcely harmonizes with the previous objection. But not one of the Gospels laid such emphasis on the essential humanity of Christ as does the Fourth Gospel; e.g. his presence at the wedding-feast; his weariness with his journey; his participation in food, even after his resurrection; his anointing the eyes of the blind man with spittle; his weeping and groaning at the grave of Lazarus. His human heart and relationships are all insisted on. That Christ’s bodily organization was unique belongs to each of the evangelic narratives, and not more to the Fourth Gospel than to St. Luke’s. His essential Personality is in the Son of God himself.

(f) Baur and Davidson urge a different acceptation of the two references to “blood and water” in the Gospel and Epistle, saying that in ch. 19:34 symbolic reference is made to the atoning efficacy of the death of Christ, while in 1 John 5:6 reference is made to the two sacraments, and is a less spiritual interpretation. “If the one passage designedly refers to the other, the fact of their different acceptations implies different writers.” This is a most entirely gratuitous interpretation of both passages (Huther). If there were any symbolical meaning in the portent of the Gospel, the evangelist does not emphasize it, but makes use of it as proof of the veritable death of Christ; and, on the other hand, the writer of the Epistle does not refer, in the water and blood wherewith Christ came, to the sacraments. If “bread” instead of or with “blood” had been mentioned, this suggestion would have been more plausible. As it stands, it has reference to the blood of his atonement which cleanses from all sins, and the water of his Spirit (the χρίσμα), the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which has no reference whatever to the “blood and water” of the gospel narrative. Furthermore, the reference to blood and water did not (ch. 19:34), however, accompany Christ’s coming so much as his going. To impress upon these two passages meanings that are by no means obvious, and are certainly not expressed by either writer; to insist, moreover, that the writer of the Epistle embodied in veiled form a sacramental reference to an event recorded in the Fourth Gospel, and this for the sake of instituting a contrast between them,—does not appear reasonable.

(g) Hilgenfeld urges that the Epistle stands in more intimate relationship with the Old Testament Law than the Gospel does; but his entire argument turns on the definition of “sin” given in 1 John 3:4, where it is equated with ἀνομία, or lawlessness. It is, however, on the contrary, certain that the writer never uses or makes obvious reference to νόμος, while the Gospel does show the writer’s acquaintance with it and reverence for it (ch. 1:17; 7:19, 23).

(h) Dr. Davidson insists that the idea of redemption expressed in the Epistle corresponds with the doctrine of the Epistle to the Hebrews rather than with that of the Fourth Gospel; that whereas the latter speaks of Jesus “taking away sin,” and “giving his flesh for the life of the world,” the Epistle speaks of his “blood cleansing from all sin” (1 John 1:7), and that he is the ἱλασμός for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2; 4:10). Let it be remembered that the New Testament writers at different times use different phrases for the atoning quality of Christ’s work. The same argument might show that because St. Paul speaks of Christ being set forth as ἱλαστήριον, in Rom. 3:25, and states that Christ was made κατάρα for us, in Gal. 3:10, 13, he could not have written these two Epistles, which are nevertheless universally admitted to be his, even by impugners of the Fourth Gospel. St. John, when writing the Gospel, had the synoptic narrative before him, and, while penning this Epistle, all the Epistles of Paul and Peter, and it may be that to the Hebrews was before him, and he adds those final touches which blend the Pauline doctrine of ἱλασμός and λύτρον with that of the Gospel of love and of sacrificial and vicarious death.

(i) The distinction between “venial” and “deadly” sins is urged by many as a proof that the Epistle was produced in post-apostolic times. The “sin unto death,” it is said, cannot be the unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit, because it is not a single act as that is—a point on which, however, the ablest critics and theologians differ. Baur finds the explanation of the two classes of sin in the Montanistic doctrine of the second century, and in Tertullian’s enumeration of mortal sins. Even Hilgenfeld opposed this interpretation of the difficult passage 1 John 5:16. But the most satisfactory explanation is that John clearly saw that there was a kind of apostasy from Christ and life which precluded hope of amendment, which shut out the possibility of repentance, and concerning which the Christian could not pray for pardon as in harmony with the will of God. This view of the irremissibility of some forms of sin is more than once hinted in the Gospel (3:36; 8:34; 9:39). There is no hint of the later ecclesiastical doctrine of “venial and deadly sins.”

The loose charges against the Epistle, that it is weaker in sentiment, more monotonous in style, more charged with unnecessary repetitions, can only be met by detailed exegesis. The teaching of the apostle is undoubtedly far less wonderful and original than the sayings of Jesus recorded by him in the Gospel, and it partakes of the didactic and theologic characteristics of one who sought to put into words of speculative and practical bearing the inferences which his lower inspiration drew from the remembered words of the Master. But all the essential truths concerning God and man and the Person of Christ and the means of redemption are repeated.

Surely the endeavour to separate the authorship of the First Epistle from that of the Fourth Gospel breaks down at every point. The Epistle is in all probability an appendix to the Gospel, written at a still more advanced age than was the greater document. It has thrown the light of the life of Christ upon, the society which was emerging from the ruins of the entire Jewish system. It commends the love of God; it opens the prospect of eternal life and personal resemblance to the glorified Lord. It brings the teaching of the night of the Passion from the upper chamber, where all was strange expectancy, into the experience of believers in the accomplished promises of God; and it does so with certain striking revelations of personal character which help the identification of the disciple whom Jesus loved with the son of Zebedee and the Son of Thunder. This is conspicuous if the following passages be considered: ch. 1:10; 2:4, 5–11, 16, 18, 19, 22; 3:4, 6, 8, 12, 15; 4:3; 5:10, 16, 21. In these verses the spirit which was ready to call fire from heaven upon the unbelieving Samaritans, and which forebade the miracle-worker to proceed because he followed not the apostles, is undeniably present; while in every verse of the Epistle there breathes the spirit of close intimacy with Jesus, and a most vivid appreciation of the last and noblest manifestation of the eternal love.

Holtzmann, ‘Einleitung’ (1885), p. 463, etc., though referring to the points of difference between the teaching; of the two documents, admits the identity of authorship; but seems undecided as to their relative priority.

This leads us to the Second and Third Epistles of John, so far as they reveal the character of their author.

There is by no means so general an assent either to the apostolic origin of these Epistles or even to their canonicity, and many advocates of the Johannine authorship of the Fourth Gospel are not prepared to admit that they proceeded from the author either of the Gospel or the First Epistle. The brevity of these Epistles may account for their absence in the Peschito Syriac, and the silence of the apostolic Fathers,—yet on the other hand, Ephrem Syrus quotes them; and their private character may have kept them from general circulation as sacred writings,—yet so early as the date of Clemens Alexandrinus that Father writes, “The Second Epistle of John, which is written to virgins, is very simple; it was indeed addressed to a certain Babylonian lady called Electa.” In Strom. ii. p. 264 he speaks of “the greater Epistle,” showing that he knew of two. Ver. 11 is quoted by Irenæus (‘Adv. Hær.,’ i. 16, 3); “John, the disciple of the Lord, pronounced their condemnation, having counselled them that salutation should not be uttered by you to them,” etc.; further he quotes vers. 7 and 8 as part of the First Epistle. So that the Second Epistle was known and regarded as the Apostle John’s composition towards the close of the second century by leading Fathers in Alexandria and Gaul. Origen did not speak positively of the apostolic origin of the Second and Third Epistles. He says (Eusebius, ‘Hist. Eccl.,’ vi. 25) that “all do not admit that they are his very own (γνησίους).” His pupil, Dionysius of Alexandria, quoted both the Second and Third Epistles as written by John, in proof that John could not be the author of the Apocalypse (Eusebius, ‘Hist. Eccl.,’ vii. 25).

Eusebius himself speaks of the Second and Third Epistles as “named after John, whether that of the evangelist or of some other person of the like name” (‘Hist. Eccl.,’ iii. 25). Thus he reckoned them among the antilegomena somewhat doubtfully. The Muratorian Canon leaves it doubtful whether the writer meant the Second and Third, or the First and Second Epistles, as part of his canon of orthodox Scripture. They were rejected by Theodore of Mopsuestia. Theodoret does not mention them. After Eusebius their canonicity is unquestioned, though their apostolic origin is still open to doubt. Jerome (in his ‘De Viris Illus.,’ s.v. ‘Papias,’ 18), referring to the fragment of Papias (preserved by Eusebius (‘Hist. Eccl.,’ iii. 39), in which John the elder and Aristion are spoken of as μαθηταί of Christ, recounts the tradition, held by some, that the Second and Third Epistles were the work of the presbyter, not of the apostle, and in c. 9., ibid., in the remarks concerning John the apostle, Jerome refers again to the same tradition, and says that the sepulchre of the presbyter as well as that of John the apostle were shown in his day at Ephesus. Still, he adds, “Some think that the two (memoriæ) supposed memorials were of the one and same John the apostle,” indicating an obscurity among the guides in the city as to the true resting-place of John the apostle. But Jerome had not finally concluded in favour of this mythical John the presbyter, for he enumerates seven Catholic Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Judas (‘Epist. 2. ad Paulinum’). In referring (p. xxxiii) to the fragment of Papias preserved by Eusebius, we have seen how much reason there is for doubt as to the interpretation which Eusebius put upon this passage of Papias, and also the very small and shadowy evidence that exists for the tradition that there was any veritable individual answering to the misunderstood suggestion of Papias. Of late years Riggenbach (‘Leben Jesu,’ French trans., pp. 59, 60), Zahn (‘Studien u. Kritiken,’ p. 662: 1866), Dr. Milligan (Journal of Bibl. Literature), Dr. Farrar (Expositor, November, 1881, and ‘Early Years of Christianity,’ vol. ii.), have thrown the gravest doubts upon his personality. Nevertheless, Ebrard, in his ‘Commentary and Introduction to the Epistles of John,’ has powerfully defended his coexistence with St. John in Ephesus, and has referred to the presbyter the composition of the Second and Third Epistles. He has done this on the following grounds; (a) that ὁ πρεσβύτερος was a title which John would not have assumed to the disregard of the other presbyters of the Church; (b) that the Presbyter John might have done so simply with the view of discriminating himself from the grand personality of the aged and venerable apostle; (c) that Diotrephes would not have been likely to have prated with malicious words against the last of the apostles, though he might against a secondary and less dignified person.

A large number of distinguished critics, while holding to the existence of the Presbyter John, see little or nothing in this argument. Thus Huther. Godet, Ewald, Lücke, Düsterdieck, Holtzmann, Bishop Alexander (‘Speaker’s Commentary’), maintain that the two brief Epistles are from the same hand; that the negative and positive evidence points to the same author as that of the First Epistle and of the Gospel; that there is the same reticence or verbal silence in them as to the “Church” as an institution, though the idea pervades the several documents; that the full title “Lord Jesus Christ” never occurs in any one of them; that there is no definite reference in either of them to the sacramental system of the early Church; that the author warns us in the First Epistle against the danger (a) of denying the true Christ, the danger (b) of failing in true love to the brethren, the danger (c) of not observing Christ’s commandments; and finally, that the author adopts a whole vocabulary of expressions which are peculiar to the other Johannine writings. Thus abridging Bishop Alexander’s note—

2 Epistle.

3 Epistle.

Gospel.

1 Epistle.

Ἀληαθεία, five times (vers. 1–4)

Vers. 3, 4, 8 (twice), 12

Continuously

Very frequently

Ἐγνωκότες τὴν ἀλήθειαν (ver. 1)


 

8:32

2:21

Περιπατεῖν (vers. 4, 6, twice)

Vers. 3, 4

8:14, etc.; 11:9; 12:35

1:6, 1:7; 2:6 (twice), 11

Ἀγάπη … ἐντολή (ver. 6)


 

Continuously

5:3

Ἀντίχριστος (ver. 7)


 


 

2:18, 22; 4:3

Χαρὰ … πεπληρωμένη (ver. 12)


 

15:11; 16:24, etc.

1:4

(a) In the allegation that John would not have called himself “the presbyter,” we are naturally reminded that St. Peter (1 Epist. 5:1) calls himself a συμπρεσβύτερος, and that the word must have had in this place a technical meaning. The modest manner in which James, Peter, and Jude, as well as the author of these Epistles and the Apocalypse, describe their own functions or official position, undoubtedly contrasts itself with the repeated insistence on the position of apostle which characterizes the Epistles of Paul. The age and solitary dignity of St. John would find abundant embodiment in the use of this term, so well known and apprehended throughout the Greek cities of Asia Minor. If it be John, he simply adopted here, as elsewhere, the least assuming of the dignities which belonged to him—the governor, referee, teacher, or guide, who might on this basis have felt that there would naturally unfold itself the office of a bishop, or angel, or apostle, as the case might demand. Luthardt (‘St. John the Author of the Fourth Gospel,’ p. 132) criticizes very successfully Eusebius’s inferences from the fragment of Papias, and shows that not only does this passage give the title of elder to the apostles, but that Irenæus calls Polycarp μακάριος καὶ ἀποστολικὸς πρεσβύτερος, and, writing to Soter, Bishop of Rome, speaks of his predecessors as οἱ πρὸ σου πρεσβύτεροι. Let us also add that Papias explicitly calls Andrew, Peter, John, Philip, and others “elders,” from the report of whose conversation he derived so much information. (b) The allegation that the Presbyter John, if there was such a personage, may also have used such a designation, is certainly possible, though it is nothing more than conjecture; and (3) that Diotrephes, who loved to have the preeminence, should have prated against the apostle is only skin to the treatment which the apostles were likely to have received and did receive from their contemporaries. This is too abundantly clear from the Epistles to the Corinthians and Galatians, and from the consolations offered by Peter to the victims of angry recrimination.

It is more than probable that Papias discriminated the reports which reached him second-hand concerning the several “elders” whom he mentions by name, from the immense advantage which he also found in listening to the positive teaching of two disciples, the elder John and Aristion, who were yet living in his own time. Eusebius most likely was in error in inferring that Papias had spoken of two Johns; and the conclusion to which we incline here is that this fragment simply fastens upon the Apostle John himself the very title which he assumed in writing these leaflets.

What, then, do we gather of the character of their author? There is the same general limpid and easy concatenation of sentences, each one an aphorism, which characterizes the other words of the apostle in the prologue and epilogues of the Gospel and First Epistle. The Epistles breathe the same atmosphere of love, the same chivalrous regard for the truth, the same loyalty to Jesus Christ, the same willingness to denounce the spirit of antichrist and error. With no honeyed words, but in terrible earnest, he preaches the sanctity of truth and the certainty of Divine revelation, and refuses even the rights of hospitality to one who comes (ἔρχεται) summoning the house of God in the name of antichrist, with alien and unchristian doctrine. The language thus addressed to Kyria (2 John) and to Gaius with reference to Diotrephes is not regarded, even by Ebrard, as opposed to the character of the author of the Fourth Gospel, and, together with the similar outspoken loyalty to Christ seen in the First Epistle, reveals another but very significant indication of the character of the son of Zebedee, as vaguely hinted at in the synoptic Gospels (see pp. 55–58).

The two shorter Epistles appear to us a singularly interesting link of relation between the author of the Gospel and the author of the Apocalypse—between the “disciple whom Jesus loved” and the John of the synoptists.

(4) A comparison between the author of the Fourth Gospel and the author of the Apocalypse. This great question is intimately inwoven with that of the authorship of the Fourth Gospel. The superficial contrast between these two documents is so great that from early times, and on internal grounds, the apostolic authorship of the Apocalypse has been disputed, and though external testimony is of a powerful and impressive kind, yet, from a variety of reasons, it was referred to a different author. Eusebius, from his own anti-chiliasm, Dionysius of Alexandria (a.d. 247), From his dislike to its material symbolism, and from sundry other critical grounds, disputed its apostolic authorship. Numerous modern critics—Ewald, Credner, De Wette, Lücke, Neander, Düsterdieck—who have defended the Johannine origin of the Gospel, have done so by repudiating the apostolicity of the Apocalypse, and they have rid themselves from some of the gravest perplexities in the argument for the former by exaggerating the contrasts, both in language, style, and matter, between the Gospel and the Revelation. The Presbyter John has been again and again summoned from the differently interpreted passage of Papias to take the place of the apostle, and to account for a certain deficiency of external testimony to its early admission into the New Testament canon; while a certain unknown John has been the resort of others.

On the other side, a considerable number of those who dispute the Johannine authorship of the Fourth Gospel—Baur, Schwegler, Hilgenfeld, Zeller, Davidson—do so with the aid of a strong conviction of the apostolic and Johannine authorship of the Apocalypse. With some extreme writers, the Apocalypse is the only certainly authentic document of the New Testament, and it is made use of to demolish the genuineness of the Fourth Gospel. It would seem with many to be an entirely accepted principle that one and the same mind could not at any interval of time, and granting any diversity of conditions, have produced what is regarded as the tremendous allegoric manifesto of the kingdom of God against the world-powers, and what is believed to be the sacred, tender, mystic, theological romance called the Fourth Gospel. This polemic has been augmented in intensity, and further complicated with the purpose, and still more with the date, of the Apocalyptic vision.

These pages must not be occupied with any attempt to determine the date of the Apocalypse, which will be amply discussed in its proper place. The arguments for the early and later dates are alike strong, though very diverse and independent of each other. It will be admitted on all sides that the external evidence for the later date is far stronger than that for the earlier, and that bulk of the evidence for the early date is, on the other hand, strictly speaking, derived from purely internal considerations, based on the supposition that Jerusalem must be still standing when the visions were seen, and that certain obscure allusions to Roman emperors, and the interpretation of the beast and his number, as well as the “false prophet,” have one particular application. This is a question of pure exegesis, and will not here be discussed; but it is impossible to say that the question is now finally decided. The complicated reasoning on both sides may be seen in Davidson, Moses Stuart, Renan, Farrar, on the one side; and Hengstenberg, Elliott, Lücke, etc., on the other. It must be admitted that the earlier date reduces the difficulty of believing that the author of the Apocalypse could, in the course of a quarter of a century, have passed into a different phase of mind and manner of expression; that he who in his more fiery youth or early manhood saw the visions and vials, and heard the trumpets and the thunders, of the Apocalypse, might, after many strange experiences, and long pondering the essence of these revelations, have, in his mellow age, succeeded in recording his earlier reminiscences, and in a style too of Greek diction far more free from Hebraisms and Judaic allusions than that of the Apocalypse, which reflected the influence upon him of a long residence in Ephesus where much purer Greek than that of his youth had become a second nature to him. The style, the artistic touch, the musical taste, the handwriting of a man of fifty, will often materially differ from those which have become natural to him when between eighty and ninety years of age. However great the contrast between the styles and diction of two compositions, an interval of forty years in the life of an author, passed under new conditions, and a profoundly different purpose in view, will almost account for any amount of change. Let the early and latest productions of Thomas Carlyle be compared, and the diversity is unspeakably great, although there may yet remain in both subtle marks of identity, akin to those which link the two Johannine books. Milton’s ‘Comus’ and ‘Paradise Regained,’ Dr. Watts’s ‘Lyric on the Giving of the Law’ and his ‘Moral Songs,’ Burke’s ‘Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful’ and his ‘Reflections on the French Revolution’ or his ‘Speech at Bristol,’ present remarkable contrasts of contour, of vocabulary, of sentence-structure, and the like.

But it in far from certain that differences of the kind referred to are more due to lapse of time than to utter diversity of mental conditions. Style, vocabulary, dialectic tone, are easily adopted, are veritably changed, by a mind that deliberately puts itself upon an entirely different platform, and voluntarily adopts a fresh outlook; e.g. Wordsworth cherished and exercised two entirely different styles of expression, and, though a certain sameness of mannerism may have linked them together and may be revealed in both styles, the contrast is very pronounced. His peculiarity is that he, by turns, adopted both styles throughout his life. The very essence of dramatic power lies in the faculty of looking with different eyes at the same groups of ideas, and speaking with different tongues concerning them. The New Testament offers remarkable illustration of the same kind of variety, though the opponents of the authenticity of the Fourth Gospel will not admit the justness of the illustration. Every one concedes great difference in the style of the Epistle to the Galatians and the First Epistle to Timothy, yet the evidence for their common authorship grows with every year of study and meditation, and it is based, not so much upon a period of time that elapsed between them, as on the totally different state of mind in which the apostle was when he publicly and vigorously assailed some erring and apostate Churches, and that in which he privately and lovingly advised a young friend with reference to his religious and ministerial difficulties.

So it may be easily conceded that the state of mind in which the beloved disciple pondered the sublime memories of the life of the Lord Jesus in the days of his flesh, differed absolutely from that in which the same apostle, wrapped in the cloud of a sacred imagination, and inspired of God, gazed on the ineffable mysteries of the unseen world, and strove to put into symbolic language that which passed all understanding and all speech. The prophet and the historian have two distinct groups of characteristics which do not clash; but the same man may, and often does, bear the weight and responsibilities of both. Memory differs from fancy, but the same thinker may blend them both with their appropriate phraseology, and may exercise them alternately. In the Gospel is given to us the profoundly reflective record and arrangement of the human and earthly manifestation of the eternal Word, his conflict with the world, his glorification in death, and his triumph over it in the Divine power that was his intrinsic and everlasting possession. In the Apocalypse he reveals the dominion and triumph of the same Word of God when delivered from temporal conditions, and through the picturesque symbolism common to the seers of invisible things. Dr. Davidson does not think that this will account for the disregard of the rules of Greek syntax, and the use of barbaric dialect, and urges that Isaiah, Ezekiel, and other prophets were not so lifted out of their ordinary habits of expression and thought in their visions as to constitute two Hebrew styles. But, as we shall see, the Apocalypse reveals abundant proof of the richness even of a classic vocabulary, and that we have not the same opportunity of contrasting two prophetic styles, notwithstanding what has been done by a certain school of criticism to disintegrate the prophecies of Isaiah and Zechariah. So, then, whichever view may be taken of the date of the Apocalypse, the contrasts of style are not so great as to destroy the identity of authorship. The hypothesis of an interval of many years between them may make the problem easier of solution. The hypothesis of the twofold state of mind may also account for a nearer juxtaposition in time. The entire phenomena of prophetic vision and ecstasy will account for the adoption of the dialect more familiar in earlier years, when phrases were minted in the vocabulary of Palestine, and enriched by the abundant prophetic and apocryphal literature which circulated among the people.

Let us proceed, then, (a) to adduce the evidence for the Johannine authorship of the Apocalypse, in entire independence of the question either of the date of its publication, or the supposed incompatibility of this document with that of the Fourth Gospel; (b) to indicate the points of agreement, and divergence of style, teaching, and method of the two works.

(a) The internal evidence. This is allowed on many sides, and by strong opponents of the authenticity of the Gospel, to be satisfactory and impressive, although it assumes a somewhat apologetic character.

(i) The writer calls himself by the name of John (Ἰωάννης or Ἰωανής, equivalent to יְהוֹחָנָן, either “Jehovah is merciful,” or “the grace of Jehovah.” The name is transliterated by the LXX., Ἰωνά, 2 Kings 25:23, a name which appears in the New Testament, in some manuscripts, for the Ἰωάννης of other manuscripts). This in itself might be a stumbling-block from the reticence with reference to his own name which the author of the Fourth Gospel preserves throughout the Gospel and Epistles. He calls himself a “servant,” a “bond-slave,” of Jesus Christ. This is perfectly compatible with his modest assumptions and self-obligation. St. Paul (Rom. 1:1; Gal. 1:10; Phil. 1:1; Titus 1:1) thus designates himself, though, when occasion arises, he can and does lay great emphasis upon his apostolic commission. In addressing the Churches in Asia, “John” speaks of himself (Rev. 1:9) as “your brother” and “your companion (συγκοινωνὸς ἐν τῆ θλίψει)” the latter term being adopted by St. Paul (1 Cor. 9:23; Phil. 1:7), while the former repeatedly occurs in Paul’s Epistles, and the idea pervades the Gospels. He calls himself “a prophet,” and classes himself among “the prophets” (Rev. 22:9; see also 10:7) of the New Testament—a term which is repeatedly used in close association with apostles; the two circles of connotation overlapping one another;—all apostles may not have been prophets, nor all prophets apostles, but some apostles were prophets. The objection is taken by some to the fact that he would not have spoken of “the twelve apostles of the Lamb,” if he had considered himself to have been one of the number (Rev. 18:20; 21:14). The Apostle Paul, however, does speak of “the apostles” in the third person (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 3:5, in which latter passage he uses the very image which the apocalyptist treats more pictorially). Seeing that even the synoptic Gospels record Christ’s own declaration that his kingdom and Church as an edifice was built upon the πέτρα of Peter, and upon his solemn confession (Matt. 16:18), there is no greater difficulty in the fact that John should refer to the apostolic foundations of the new Jerusalem.

(ii.) The writer declares himself to be one “who bare witness to the Logos of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ.” This phrase, if it does not positively identify him with the author of the Fourth Gospel, puts him in the nearest circle of the Lord’s disciples; and this cannot apply to any other John mentioned in the New Testament. Neither the “John” of the Fourth Gospel, viz. “the Baptist,” nor “John Mark” (Acts 12:12), nor the John, or “Jonas,” the father of Peter (Revised Version text of John 1:43 and 21:15), nor the John who was one of the Sadducæan party (Acts 4:6), could by any possibility have been the author of the Apocalypse. Nevertheless, the “John” was a well-known personage standing in close relationship to the Churches of Asia, and representing himself as intimately acquainted with the risen and glorified Lord. In Acts. 12:2 “James the brother of John” is referred to, and the synoptic narrative leaves no option as to the fact that this John was the son of Zebedee.

(iii.) The great similarity between the John of the synoptists, of the Acts, of the Epistle to the Galatians, and the John of the Apocalypse, has been a standing argument with the opponents of the Fourth Gospel. We have already shown that, so far as these features of character are supposed to indicate a fiery, impulsive, revengeful, ambitious spirit, they have been grossly exaggerated. It will readily be conceded that they do reveal a Jewish, rather than a spiritual, conception of the Messiah, at that particular stage in the apostle’s history; but one perfectly compatible also with the severe side of his character, which is far from being concealed in the narratives and portraitures of the Fourth Gospel. They reveal the training which may account for the visions of wrath and justice which the Jewish and heathen enemies of the Lamb of God will have ultimately meted out to them. But the entire structure and purpose of the Gospel of John are so strangely similar and parallel to the structure and significance of the Apocalypse, that that Gospel, as well as the synoptic Gospels, becomes a tetrachordon of evidence to the authenticity of the Apocalypse. This will, however, require, and receive a little later, more careful attention. Apart from the Fourth Gospel, the internal evidence for the apostolicity of the Revelation cannot be said to be so copious or important as its opponents assume. It is readily accepted by many critics of the Tübingen school, though similar arguments for the Fourth Gospel are summarily rejected.

(iv.) The writer declares that he was in “the island of Patmos, by reason of the Logos of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9). The external evidence that John the son of Zebedee did suffer exile in that island is conclusive. It is to the following effect:—

Jerome (.’De Viris Illust.,’ c. 19): “In his fourteenth year, Domitian having instigated a second persecution after Nero, John, the apostle whom Jesus loved, was exiled to the island Patmos, and wrote the Apocalypse.” And Irenæus (quoted by Eusebius, ‘Hist. Eccl.,’ v. 8) says, “John beheld the vision, almost in our generation, towards the end of the reign of Domitian.” A statement as bearing on the date is elsewhere repeated by Irenæus (‘Hær.,’ ii. 22. 5); and Eusebius adds the remark, “John, at once apostle and evangelist, as is reported, while still continuing in life, was condemned to dwell in the island of Patmos, on account of the testimony which he bore to the Divine Word.” Corresponding references to the same fact occur in Clemens Alex and in Origen (quoted by Eusebius), and in his commentary on Matthew he cites Rev. 1:9 in proof of the fact of John’s virtual martyrdom.

Hippolytus (‘De Christo et Antichr.,’ c. 36), referring to the Apocalypse of John, says of its author, “who, when on the isle of Patmos, saw the apocalypse.”

The preface to the later Syriac Version, given in Walton’s Polyglott, runs thus: “The revelation which was given by God to the Evangelist John, on the island of Patmos, on which he was cast by Nero Cæsar.” These various references are, it must be admitted, made by those who accepted the apostolic origin of the Revelation, and had the document before them which gave them the information; still, the statement is variously made, and appears to rest on other “report” as well. Such confirmation is valuable as external evidence to one striking touch of local colouring, though the date of the exile is differently conceived by the authorities. The fitness of the place, as providing much of the scenery of the mighty drama which followed, is brilliantly expanded by Dean Stanley, ‘Sermons in the East’ (1862).

(5.) The relation of John to the Churches of Asia is another of those internal marks of authenticity of great weight. Rev. 1–3. show that the author stood towards them in the position of guide, patron, censor, and as superior to their chief minister or “angel.” This position could not have been assumed during the period of Paul’s ministry, or that of Timothy. The tone differs from that assumed by Paul in his First Epistle to Timothy; nor does the Epistle to the Ephesians or Colossians give any hint of the state of things revealed in references to the Churches of proconsular Asia. Moreover, till a period coincident with Paul’s ministry at Ephesus, John was a “pillar” of the Church in Jerusalem. Ecclesiastical tradition is largely Concerned with such a residence of John in Ephesus after the destruction of Jerusalem. Some critics, whose entire theory of the New Testament canon turns upon the early date of the Apocalypse, endeavour to repudiate or refute the historical character of John’s residence in Asia; but the evidence is so varied in favour of this residence at Ephesus, at a later rather than an earlier period, that it will not be overthrown, and consequently we have here a very powerful corroboration of the obvious implications of the documents themselves.

Thus Polycrates, a Bishop of Ephesus, a Contemporary of Irenæus, in his letter to Victor of Rome, as quoted by Eusebius (‘Hist. Eccl.,’ v. 24) in a passage which links together the author of the Fourth Gospel and A pocalypse, as follows, says, “Moreover, John, he who leaned on the Lord’s bosom (ch. 13:25), who came to be a priest, who wore the πέταλον [the golden frontlet], and a witness and teacher, he has fallen asleep in Ephesus.” This is rejected by some as fantastic and untrustworthy, but it cannot be denied that these two more ancient documents are thus connected, and that St. John’s residence and death in Ephesus were referred to by one who lived where the traditions of his life and work must have been vivid.

Clemens Alex. says (‘Quis Dives Salv.,’ c. 42), “When the tyrant was dead [in all probability meaning Domitian], he departed from the island Patmos to Ephesus.”

Irenæus (‘Adv. Hær.,’ ii. 22. 5; iii. 1. 1) declares that “John, the Lord’s disciple, he that leaned on his bosom, published the Gospel at Ephesus during his abode in Asia.”

Eusebius (‘Hist. Eccl.,’ iii. 23) quotes, on the authority of Clemens Ales., the interesting passage in which St. John is represented, in his old age, seeking and reclaiming the young robber, and in this connection adds, “The Apostle and Evangelist John organized the Churches that were in Asia when he returned from his exile in the island after the death of Domitian” (cf. ibid., iii. 50, 18, 31).

Justin Martyr, in ‘Dial. cum Trypho,’ c. 81, describing an interview which took place on Ephesus, refers by name to the “Apocalypse” as the work of “a certain man John, one of the apostles of Christ,” and speaks of his ministry and teaching as taking place “παῤ ὴμῖν, among us.”

Apollonius (Eusebius, ‘Hist. Eccl.,’ v. 18), a writer against Montanism in the second century, says that “John wrote the Apocalypse, and that he is said to have raised a dead man to life by Divine power, in Ephesus.”

Jerome (‘De Viris Ill,’ c. 9) says that “John was buried in Ephesus.”

A statement made at the Council of Ephesus, that “the Virgin Mary accompanied John to Ephesus, and that he died and was buried there,” was first mentioned by Epiphanius (‘Hær.,’ 78. 11).

Dr. Davidson says, “The place where he wrote was Asia Minor, probably Ephesus itself, to which he had returned from Patmos.”

These testimonies are adduced as powerfully corroborating the statement of the Apocalypse itself, that it was produced by one who stood in intimate relations with the Churches of proconsular Asia. This internal evidence is conclusive when thus backed up by a tradition so widely diffused.

Keim (‘Jesus von Nazara,’ Eng. trans., vol. i. pp. 143, 207), while accepting the statements of Irenæus and others, which bring the Fourth Gospel into the reign of Trajan, holds that the John who wrote both it and the Apocalypse was not the son of Zebedee, but the presbyter. He charges the mistake on Irenæus, from whom, as he thinks, other writers derived it. His position is that John never was at Ephesus at all; that Papias cannot be made to say that he had any knowledge of the apostles; and that the John of whom he and Polycarp were the “hearers” was the “presbyter;” that the low position in which John, as an apostle, is placed in Papias’ list of disciples shows that he had no more to do with Asia Minor than Matthew, and that Papias derived his information second-hand.

Now, there is a distinct contrast in Papias’s language between what the “elders,” including John, said, and what the elder John and Aristion say. It does not positively declare that he had personal intercourse with either the first or the second group, and the most probable interpretation is that the two last mentioned were still living when he wrote. It does not follow, because a young man has seen and conversed on certain occasions with an eminent living statesman or prelate, that he should not also have taken the opportunity of making further inquiries about them. See Bishop Lightfoot’s (Contemporary Review, vol. xxv., xxvi) explanation of the order in which the apostles are mentioned in the fragment of Papias (a remark in which Dr. A. Roberts had anticipated him, ‘Discussions of the Gospels’)—an order which curiously corresponds with the order in which they occur in John’s Gospel. The statements of Irenæus are too clear, detailed, and vivid to justify the supposition that Polycarp had so utterly blundered and misled him (see Charteris, ‘Canonicity,’ § vi. p. xlvi).

(β) The external evidence for the apostolic authorship is abundant and irresistible.

***    This evidence is important to our general argument, for the authenticity of the Apocalypse is, in our opinion, a powerful corroboration of the apostolicity of the Fourth Gospel.

The ‘Shepherd’ of Hermas, written probably about a.d. 142, during the occupation of the bishopric of Rome by his brother Pius, does not cite the Apocalypse by name, but the numberless similarities of expression lead competent critics to believe that he must have been familiar with it. Thus ‘Vis.,’ ii. 2. 7, “Blessed are ye as many as patiently endure the great affliction that is coming upon you” (cf. Rev. 7:14). The reference to “the book of life,” in which some names are written and others blotted out (‘Vis.,’ i. 3. 2; ‘Sim.,’ ix. 24. 4), may be explained by familiarity with Exod. 32:32; Dan. 12:1; but more probably by acquaintance with Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 20:12; and Hermas speaks of an altar before God’s throne where prayers are presented (‘Mand.,’ x. 3. 2; cf. Rev. 8:3). The Church is a woman (‘Vis.,’ ii. 4. 1; cf. Rev. 12:1); and many other more obscure allusions.

The earliest testimony that we possess comes to us in a second-hand and roundabout fashion. Towards the close of the fifth century, Andreas, Bishop of Cæsarea, in Cappadocia, wrote a commentary on the Revelation; and in the prolegomena, which Arethas, his successor in the episcopate, wrote (one based on the work of his predecessor), he claims in favour of its inspired character (Θεοπνεύστον) the authority of Gregory of Nazianzus and Cyril, and to these he adds the opinion of still earlier witnesses, Papias, Irenæus, Methodius, and Hippolytus, who testified to its being ἀξιοπίστον, i.e. worthy of confidence. If this was really the opinion of Papias, it is a very powerful confirmation of its authenticity. The reason which gives it so much weight is that Andreas and Arethas both appear to have had Papias’s entire work before them, and to have referred to Papias’s quotation of Rev. 12:7, with the remark of Papias, Εἰς οὐδὲν συνέβη τελευτῆσαι τὴν τάξιν αὐτῶν, introduced thus: “This also is the tradition of the Fathers, and of Papias, the successor (διάδοχος) of the Evangelist John, whose Apocalypse is lying before me.”

Now, the fragments of Papias that have been preserved by Eusebius do not mention the Apocalypse. This is remarkable, because Eusebius does not cite testimonies as a rule to books that have been universally received, but rather the opinions of the ancient writers concerning those which were doubtful; and he was, moreover, himself disposed to undervalue the Apocalypse. His strong objection to chiliasm, or millenarian notions, gave him a prejudice against Papias as well as the Apocalypse; yet he does charge Papias with retailing the hope of a corporeal reign of Christ on earth, which is to last a thousand years after the resurrection, without referring to the origin of the hope. There is no reason to doubt that the “narratives of the Lord’s oracles” did contain what Arethas said they did. Even the author of ‘Supernatural Religion’ considers this a valid proof of the opinions of Papias.

Though Ireneæus (‘Hær.,’ v. 33, 34) refers to Papias as “a hearer of John,” together with Polycarp, Eusebius, in his comment on the passage, considers that he only received his intelligence concerning John the apostle through the medium of John the presbyter. Critics have subsequently made this shadowy individual to be the source of all the information on which Papias prided himself. Some have argued, moreover, that John the presbyter was the author of the Apocalypse (Lücke), while Keim has boldly endeavoured to father upon the same personage the authorship of the Gospel.

But Eusebius, as we have seen (see p. xxxii., note), has elsewhere quoted testimonies (‘Chron.,’ i) from Irenæus that Papias was a hearer of the Apostle John, as well as of Polycarp, and also that Polycarp and himself suffered martyrdom in the same persecution. This can be made closely to approximate the year a.d. 155; and proves that this man, who lived to a great age, must have been during many years a contemporary of John, who is said repeatedly by Irenæus to have lived to the days of Trajan (a.d. 96–117). Therefore, whether John the presbyter be or be not identical with John the apostle, Papias must be allowed to have been the hearer of the latter, and a positive admission on his part that the Apocalypse was Θεόπνευστος and ἀξιόπιστος, is highly significant. This is more impressive when it is remembered that he was Bishop of Hierapolis, in the close neighbourhood of Laodicea.

Melito of Sardis (about a.d. 169), another of the seven Churches of Asia, is reported by Eusebius (‘Hist. Eccl.,’ iv. 26) and by Jerome (‘De Viris lll.,’ c. 24) to have written one book concerning the devil, and one concerning the Apocalypse of John.”

Justin Martyr’s testimony is remarkably explicit. In the ‘Dial. cum Trypho,’ c. 81, written about a.d. 146, Justin expressly mentions by name the Apocalypse as “written by a certain man named John, one of the apostles of Christ.” The quotation he gives is unmistakable reference to the millennium of the Revelation. This is the more weighty, because Justin never elsewhere alludes by name to any writer of the New Testament. “We conclude,” says Dr. Davidson, “that before the middle of the second century, the opinion that John the presbyter was the writer had not originated.”

Apollonius, Bishop or Presbyter of Ephesus (Eusebius, ‘Hist. Eccl.,’ v. 18), who wrote between a.d. 170 and 180, not only affirms John’s residence in Ephesus, but that John was the author of the Apocalypse.

The Letter of the Churches of Lyons and Vienne, as preserved by Eusebins (‘Hist. Eccl.,’ v. 1), quotes from the Apocalypse as ἡ γραφή, giving it Consequently a character of the highest authority and value.

Theophilus of Antioch (a.d. 168), in ‘Ad Autol.,’ ii. 28, refers to the Apocalypse of John as a book recognized in Antioch, and quotes Rev. 12:3.

Irenæus of Lyons (who wrote his great work a.d. 177–199), whose testimony to John’s Gospel, and whose letter to Florinus, wherein he declares that he remembered Polycarp, have been already cited (p. xx)—Irenæus was the successor of the aged martyr Pothinus, and was thus, by another link, related to the group of followers who knew the Apostle John, and was himself not only acquainted with the Apocalypse, but compared different copies of it, and commented on the difference of readings as to “the number of the beast,” preferring 666 to 616, because it had in its favour the testimony (τῶν κατ᾽ ὄψιν τὸν Ἰωάννην ἑωρακότων) “of those who had seen John face to face.” This is preserved in the Greek of Eusebius (‘Hist. Eccl.,’ v. 8) and in the Latin translation (‘Adv. Hær.,’ v. 30. 1). The very numerous quotations and references by Irenæus to the book as the work of the Apostle John, the beloved disciple, leave no doubt as to his impression of the authorship. In ‘Adv. Hær.,’ iv. 20. 11 he introduces a long passage from Rev. 1:12, etc., with “Johannes Domini discipulus in Apocalypsi … inquit,” and in lib. 5:26. 1 this phrase is repeated when he quotes Rev. 17:12, etc. (cf. also lib. v. 30. 1).

The Muratorian Canon does without doubt admit its apostolic authorship: “Joannes enim in Apocalypsi licet septem ecclesiis scribat, tamen omnibus licit.” “Apocalypses etiam Joannis, et Petri, tantum recipimus, quam quidem ex nostris legi in ecclesia nolunt.” Here the author of the fragment discriminates between the two Apocalypses.

The canon of the Old Latin Version of the New Testament contained the Apocalypse; and Tertullian, who used it, quotes almost every chapter of the book (see especially ‘De Præscrip. Hær.,’ 33, where he cites Rev. 2:20; ‘Adv. Marc.,’ iii. 14, where he cites Rev. 1:16, as the word of the Apostle John in the Apocalypse).

For our present purpose it is not necessary to proceed further than to say that Clemens Alex. (‘Strom.,’ iii; ‘Pæd.,’ ii. 12; vi. 13) and Origen (‘Comm. on Matthew and John’), notwithstanding the latter’s opposition to millenarianism, admitted its authenticity; that Hippolytus (a.d. 200) quoted it by name (‘Ref. Omn. Hær.,’ vii. 24), and is said, in the inscription on his statue, to have written a work upon it; that Methodius and Cyril of Alexandria use it, and Ephrem Syrus (though the Peschito Syriac translation did not contain the book) quotes from it as from any other part of the New Testament, and from a later Syriac translation existing in his day.

We are not, however, without adverse or negative testimonies from very high antiquity to its apostolic authorship. These are, however, of such a kind as to resemble, and did in fact initiate, the subjective criticism to which the book has been submitted in modern times.

(i.) Thus Eusebius (‘Hist. Eccl.,’ iii. 28) informs us that Caius, a presbyter of Rome, who lived about the time of Irenæus, seems to refer the book to “Cerinthus, who, through apocalypses written as if by a great apostle speaking falsely, brings in tales of marvels shown to him as if by angels, affirming that after the resurrection comes an earthly kingdom of Christ,” etc. But it may be reasonably argued that Caius does not necessarily refer to John’s Apocalypse at all, and we learn from other sources (Theod., ‘De Hær. Fabulis,’ ii. 3) that Cerinthus did produce supposed revelations of the future carnal pleasures of a coming millennium. It is by no means probable that Caius did snake this charge against the book. Alford, Davidson, and many others accept this early blunder. Hug, Westcott, and Dr. Lee think that on close inquiry the supposed innuendo of Caius (a strong ante-Montanist) is non-existent.

(ii.) The sect of the Alogi were the strenuous opponents of the Gospel and of the Apocalypse, together with the doctrine of the ΛΟΓΟΣ, and were opposed to the Montanism and chiliasm which prevailed at the close of the century. The reasons they urged were purely doctrinal, or based upon proved historical blunders. The Marcionites in the same way, from doctrinal prepossessions, refused to recognize either the Gospels of Mark or Matthew or any of the writings of John. There is no value in such negative evidence to the existence of the Apocalypse. The non-appearance of the Apocalypse in the ‘Canon of Marcion’ is no argument at all against its apostolicity; but there is one writer of far more formidable character, who, in a long argument, endeavours to disprove its authenticity, though he does not go so far as to discard the book.

(iii.) Dionysius of Alexandria, a pupil of Origen, and a firm believer in the allegorical method of interpreting Scripture, was a vehement opponent of a literal millennium, and, to strengthen his antagonism, endeavoured to show that no apostle could have written the Apocalypse. His arguments have been preserved, and are cited at great length by Eusebius (‘Hist. Eccl.,’ vii. 24, 25). They cover much of the ground which modern criticism occupies in endeavouring to separate from the Apocalypse the Fourth Gospel, in whose apostolic authority he entirely believed. He disagreed with those who set it aside; he deduced no arguments from antiquity; he did not refer to the deficiency of external evidence; he did not reject it as the work of Cerinthus; nor did he object to it on the ground taken by the Alogi, because it might have deep meanings which he cannot fathom, and because it probably is the work of some holy and inspired writer; but he argued with acuteness that it could not be John the apostle and the son of Zebedee, because (a) the author of the Apocalypse gives his name, whereas the author of the Gospel and the First Epistle is silent about his name, and in the Second and Third Epistles simply calls himself “the elder.” (b) He argued that there were many “Johns,” but that this writer does not make manifest which; he does not call himself either “the brother of James” or “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” He urged that “John Mark” could not have been the author, because he refused to join in the Asian ministry of Paul (that, by the way, is a very poor argument); but he added very doubtfully, “I think there was another of these Johns in Asia; and they say that these are two tombs in Ephesus, and that each of them is said to be that of a John.” This is the solitary reason he gives for some unknown John being the author.

Dionysius, comparing the Gospel of John with the Epistles, shows how the prolegue corresponds with the opening words of the Epistles, and he enumerates terms, themes, and ideas common to them both; but he presses the point that the Apocalypse differs from them both in its syntax, style, and solecisms of expression, adding that while the phrases, “light,” “life,” “grace,” “joy,” etc., occur in the other works, they do not appear in this.

Now, Eusebius supplements the speculation of Diouysius, and resuscitates from one of “the two tombs” in Ephesus “the Presbyter John,” supposed to be referred to by Papias, and as answering to the unknown John whom Dionysius hoped to find. Eusebius leaves the matter in a vague and uncertain condition. He classes the book among the Homologoumena (‘Hist. Eccl.,’ iii. 25), but shows that his doubts turn largely on purely internal and doctrinal grounds, and that it was open to grave question whether it was written by the presbyter (ibid., iii. 39). The general evidence of antiquity is therefore various and peculiarly strong in its affirmations that the author of the Apocalypse was John the apostle. A few writers, on one subjective ground or another, doubt and hesitate; but, after all, if it were not for the supposed discrepancy between the Fourth Gospel and the Apocalypse, not one shadow of doubt would rest upon its authenticity.

Kirchhofer says, ‘Quellensammlung’ (see Charteris on ‘Canonicity;’ J. J. Taylor, ‘The Fourth Gospel,’ p. 41), “Hardly one book of the New Testament has such a circle of historical testimonies marked by name on its behalf.”

Many writers have assumed that the conclusion at which we have arrived touching the authorship of the Apocalypse is a powerful argument against the Johannine origin of the Fourth Gospel, and they have emphasized to the utmost the marks of difference between these two documents. Indeed, there is every kind of hypothesis held in order to explain the phenomena of the case.

(1.) There are those who refuse, with Keim, to admit the apostolic origin of either the one or the other, disputing the residence of St. John in Asia, and laying the blame of the tradition so widely diffused on the shoulders of Irenæus, who confounded, as Keim supposes, the two Johns.

(2.) There are those who, like Lücke, Ewald, Lützelberger, Düsterdieck, De Wette, and Neander, regard the authorship of the Gospel to be certainly established, and partly on that very ground, echoing the early scepticism of Dionysius, assign the Apocalypse to some other John, either “the presbyter,” or “John Mark,” or some unknown “John the Divine, or theologian.”

(3.) Bretschneider and the Tübingen criticism, represented by Baur and Zeller, gravitated to the strong assertion of the apostolic origin of the Apocalypse, its early date, the residence of its author in Ephesus, and other identifications of “John” with the fiery, impetuous, Jewish-Christian apostle. This apocalyptic form is supposed to reflect the first and earliest form of Christian teaching. Volkmar went further, and pressed the violently anti-Pauline theology of the Apocalypse, and pointed, with Renan, to the supposed proof that the writer, whoever he was, may have been endeavouring to denounce Paul and his work in the Churches of Asia under the pseudonym of “Balsam.” Whether he were John the apostle or not, Volkmar holds that he endeavoured to shelter himself under the name and shadow of one of the original apostles.

These conclusions of the most modern reconstructive criticism have called great attention to the internal evidence either of the identity or irreconcilable divergence of the two documents. If the purpose, spirit, ideas, phraseology, and diction are veritably opposed, then the proof of the apostolic authorship, which we think is more than sufficient, may have the effect of weakening the evidence already accumulated for the Johannine origin of the Fourth Gospel. If, on the other hand, there are very numerous and subtle links of connection and resemblance between these documents; if the use of rare words and forms of expression in both, together with a practically identical Christology and a corresponding structure, can be clearly established; if the oppositions of style turn out to be balanced by a still larger number of interesting correspondences; if the supposed solecisms can be accounted for on rational grounds, and easy parallels found for them in classical Greek; if there be fundamental conceptions of the Person and kingdom of Christ which are in both actually identical and also peculiar to these writings; if the conviction is forced upon the mind that they must have proceeded from the same pen.—then it is obvious that the apostolic origin of the Apocalypse is one of the strongest arguments for the Johannine authorship of the Fourth Gospel.

The internal and external evidence already adduced for the former compels us, therefore, to examine the grounds of the supposed incompatibility of the single authorship. In drawing attention to the supposed differences or real differences of style, it is incumbent upon us to remember that the Gospel is a religious biography, the Apocalypse the record of a series of marvellous visions; that the Gospel is written in concise though limpid prose, and the Apocalypse is in structure and arrangement poetical; that the Gospel betrays, without quoting it, a close acquaintance with the synoptic narrative, and the Apocalypse a very intimate knowledge of the prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, and the Psalms, but without once referring to them; that the Gospel is framed on the lines of the reflective and argumentative history, and that the Revelation proceeds on the lines of the apocalyptic literature which prevailed. Lücke, Moses Stuart, Dr. S. Davidson (in each of his ‘Introductions to the New Testament’), Dr. William Lee (in the ‘Speaker’s Commentary’), have each presented, in very abundant fashion, long lists of discrepancies, some of the most striking and important of which must be passed under review. We therefore proceed to notice—

(b) The phenomena of divergence and resemblance between the two documents. (a) The grammatical and lexical differences. (β) The grammatical and lexical resemblances. (γ) The structure of the two books. (δ) The theological divergences and resemblances.

(a) The grammatical and lexical differences. (1.) It is stated that the Gospel is remarkably free from Hebraisms, but that the Apocalypse is charged with them; that the first is written in a fair approximation to classical Greek, whereas the latter reveals everywhere a strong Hebraistic or Aramaic colouring. Winer says that these Hebraisms are, throughout the New Testament, more conspicuous in the different and enlarged sense of words than in grammatical relations of words, although the most obvious illustrations are found in the substitution of the simple καί as representative of the Hebrew copulative (וְ) vau, in place of the numerous particles and conjunctions with which classical Greek abounds; also of ώς as possibly representing the Hebrew prefix ךְּ, or כֶּן. The discourses of our Lord and the visions of the seer would certainly further such a contrast in the construction of the Greek sentences. Yet it must be remembered that in the Gospel, where intense feeling seems to make each utterance a separate heart-throb (ch. 15, 17, and each change in the scene and each successive event a separate thing of great and unparalleled interest, as in ch. 20, the evangelist dispenses with particles, and moves on from step to step without their aid. It is said that John uses πάντοτε and πώποτε and καθώς in the Gospel, but that they are not found in the Apocalypse; but the use of the first two of these common words occurs very rarely in the New Testament, and their absence proves nothing, while the absence of καθώς in the Apocalypse is no proof of Hebraism, because the particle occurs in portions of the New Testament that are specially Hebraistic.

It is certain that the Apocalypse uses Hebrew words like “Abaddon” (Rev. 9:11), “Amen,” “Hallelujah” (Rev. 19:1, 3, 4, 6); but then it must not be forgotten that the Gospel alone in the New Testament also makes use of the “Amen, amen,” when calling special attention to the words which follow; and records the Jewish burst of praise, Ωσαννά (ch. 12:13), and in ch. 1:41 and 4:25 is the one writing which transliterates into Greek the Hebrew Μεσσίας (explained by the writer as equal to Χριστός); gives the Hebrew form of the tribunal before which Christ was brought as Γαββαθά (see ch. 19:13); and, together with Matthew and Mark, speaks of Γολγοθά (ch. 19:17); and refers to the μάννα (ch. 6:31) as in Rev. 2:17; records the Galiæan form, ῥαββουνί, in ch. 20:16; and in a whole group of passages, after giving the Hebrew or Aramaic form, furnishes the translation into Greek. It is impossible to overlook, in the Apocalypse, the Hebrew root of many of the representations; e.g. the imagery of the temple furnishes the scenery of ch. 1–3, “the seven golden lamps,” “the hidden manna,” and “the new name on the white stone.” The history of Israel, moreover, gives meaning to the reference to the “Root and Offspring of David,” also to the quotation from Ps. 2, references to the “Lion of the tribe of Judah,” to the “twelve tribes of Israel,” and to “the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven.”

But this peculiarity is equally conspicuous in the Gospel. We have (p. xlvi) endeavoured to show that none but a Hebrew, a Palestinian Jew, could have written the Gospel, so that the presence of Hebrew ideas in the Apocalypse creates a bond of union between the two documents rather than the reverse. Let the following points be noticed: γεύεσθαι θανάτου, in ch. 8:52, and a σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα, ch. 4:48; σφραγίζειν in the sense of ratifying and approving (ch. 3:33); ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου (ch. 12:31; 16:11, etc.). The Apocalypse commences with a Christophany, corresponding with the theophanies of Isa. 6 and Ezek. 1 and 10, and proceeds throughout its visions to vindicate the stupendous claims of the Lord who liveth and was dead, until the final victory of the Lamb is consummated in a purified city, of which the Lord Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple and the Light. But the Gospel begins in eternity, and makes the eternal (Δόγος) “Word” the sublime background for all the manifestation in the flesh. Among the earliest claims which the Gospel makes for the incarnate God is this—he is the Lamb of God taking away sin, the link between heaven and earth, the Bridegroom of the Church; One greater than the temple, he promises to erect an eternal temple should the first be destroyed. The Lamb of the Apocalypse, through endless conflict with evil, first from the Jews, then from the world, then from the centralized world-power, passes to his “Hallelujah,” and wipes away tears from off all faces. In the Gospel, the great powers elsewhere seen in Apocalyptic vision come face to face with the historic Christ; through warfare and death he gains a real victory over priest and procurator, betrayer and murderer, and proceeds to wipe away tears from off all faces, to conquer death and Hades, and to confer an eternal life. The Hebraism of both documents is conspicuous, but that of the one is not more abundant than is that of the other. While the Gospel opens the kingdom of God to all believers, and speaks of “the other sheep,” and the time when “neither in Gerizim nor yet in Jerusalem shall men worship the Father,” the same grand universalism pervades the Apocalypse, which sees the great multitude gathered out of every kindred, and nation, and people, and tongue, which no man can number, and admits all the (ἔθνη) nations into the eternal light of the new and heavenly Jerusalem. This Judaism, or Hebraism, in the two documents finds such a strong and coincident expression, that, so far from separating the authorship, it does much to establish identity of origin.

(2.) The following grammatical peculiarities of the Apocalypse deserve close observation.

(a) Cases of false apposition. Some of the most obvious ones are derived from our not perceiving that the clause thus charged is a parenthetical one. Rev. 1:5, Ἀπὸ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ μάρτυς, etc., “From Jesus Christ, who is the faithful Witness.” In the previous verse a false regimen is said to be signal evidence that the apocalyptist defied all grammatical rules: Ἀπὸ ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος. This cannot prove that the writer does not know the syntax of the preposition ἀπὸ, seeing that thirty places occur in which he uses it with perfect correctness. The explanation of the peculiarity is that he is, in this place, merely translating the incommunicable name of “Jehovah” into Greek, and regarding the phrase as one indeclinable noun. The ἡ λέγουσα of Rev. 2:20, which is the text preferred by the R.T., is clearly a relative clause, the nominative preferred in virtue of the finite verbs which follow. Similar peculiarities are found in Plato’s ‘Euthrypho,’ p. 32 (see Winer, 671, Eng. trans.); see also Rev. 5:11, etc., where the construction is peculiar in a like respect. But so far from its being impossible Greek, examples are given from Plato, Thucydides, Achilles Tat., and others.

There are curious combinations of nominatives and accusatives in Rev. 4:2–4; 14:14; 7:9; following εἶδον καὶ ἰδού; but there is this peculiarity, that the nominatives follow the ἰδού, and the accusatives come more under the power of the preceding εἶδον. The (Rev. 8:8, 9) τὰ ἔχοντα ψυχάς, introduced to discriminate κτίσματα, “which have life,” from those which have it not, becomes a parenthetical sentence (cf. here Jas. 3:8).

Anomalies of gender and number are to be explained by the strong poetic temperament which tends to give masculine or feminine characteristics to the neuter noun. Rev. 2:27, where ἔθνη are referred to as αὐτούς; but precisely the same thing is seen in Matt. 28:19; Gal. 4:19; ὀνόματα are referred to as ἀξιό in Rev. 19:14; στρατεύματα are ἐνδεδυμένοι. The peculiarity is by no means solecistic; it is found in the Gospel and in numerous Greek writers. The critics have enumerated sundry solitary peculiarities of the Apocalypse, which are good enough Greek, which proves nothing as to the non-identity of the authorship with the Fourth Gospel. All Paul’s Epistles contain numerous ἅπαξ λεγίμενα.

(b) Peculiar use of words. Ewald urged that John used compound words in his Gospel, but that they are not used in the Apocalypse. Moses Stuart (p. 321) enumerates twenty-six compound verbs which occur in both books—twenty or more peculiar to the Apocalypse, and ten or twelve to the Gospel and Epistle. Objectors have pressed the fact that “such favourite words of the fourth evangelist as θεάομαι and θεωρέω are displaced, and that we find in the Apocalypse ὀράω and βλέπω.” The statement is misleading. Wherever John uses θεάομαι in the Gospel, he means by it a steady and continuous contemplation—a verbal idea singularly inappropriate to the visions of the seer. Moreover, both the Gospel and the Apocalypse each make use of βλέπω sixteen times. The εἶδον, so often used in the Apocalypse, frequently occurs in the Gospel.

Lücke speaks of the absence from the Apocalypse of the “genitive absolute,” a syntactical form common to the Gospel. This is partially true; but Rev. 17:8 can hardly be explained on another principle, and let it be noticed that though there are fifteen cases of this construction in the Gospel, there are none in the Epistle.

Much emphasis has been laid on the absence of certain words which are especially prominent in the Fourth Gospel, such as κόσμος, φῶς, σκοτία, and ζωὴ αἰώνιος used in a moral sense. The nature of the two compositions is sufficient to explain the partial truth of this statement; but φῶς does occur in Rev. 18:23; 21:23, 24; 22:5; and ζωὴ αἰώνιος, which is used by all New Testament writers, is in John’s Gospel interchanged with ζωὴ without the adjective; and ζωή does occur in the Apocalypse sixteen times.

The presence of words in the Apocalypse not found in the Gospel has also been urged. One of those which are especially pressed is οἰκουμένη. This word occurs in Matthew once; in Luke’s writings, eight times; in Hebrews, twice; and three times only in the Apocalypse—as often, in fact, as the word κόσμος occurs, the absence of which is commented on. We find that παντοκρὰτωρ occurs nine times in association with Κύριος Θεός. The term is used also by St. Paul (2 Cor. 6:18), and in certain of St. Paul’s writings we find peculiar expressions for the Deity, not occurring elsewhere (1 Tim. 1:17).

Other peculiarities of grammar and lexical usage may be easily cited. These are the most impressive, and they amount, in themselves, to a very feeble proof of diversity of authorship. In some instances, as we have seen, the conclusion is in favour of identity rather than divergence. We will now proceed.

(β) The grammatical and lexical resemblances observable in the two documents. One great idea is expressed by the noun μαρτυρία and the verb μαρτυρέω, in the sense of public testimony concerning the Lord Christ—public profession of belief in him. This is one of the key-words of the Gospel, where the verb occurs thirty-seven times, and in the Epistles twelve times; moreover, the noun is used twenty times in the Gospel and Epistles. They are sparingly used in other books—once in Matthew, eight or nine times in all the Pauline Epistles, more frequently in Acts (twelve times) and the Epistle to the Hebrews, but in a different sense, while in the Apocalypse we find the verb used in the same sense four times and the noun nine times. Νικᾶν, in the sense of overcoming the evil of the world, occurs in very remarkable force in ch. 16:33, and six times in the Epistle, and, in precisely the same sense, seventeen times in the Apocalypse. No New Testament writer except the author of the Gospel and the Apocalypse uses the word ὄψις in the sense of human visage, or in any sense (ch. 7:24; 11:44; Rev. 1:16). Τηρεῖν τὸν λόγον is a phrase peculiar to the author of the Gospel, Epistles, and Apocalypse. It occurs seven times in the Gospel, once in the Epistles, and four times in the Apocalypse; τηρεῖν τὰς ἐντολάς occurs twice in the Gospel, five times in the Epistle, and twice in the Apocalypse, and only once beside in all the New Testament. The tabernacling (σκηνοῦν) of the Logos with men is found in ch. 1:14, and the same idea is given in the same word in Rev. 7:15; 12:12; 13:6; 21:3; and nowhere else. The word σφάττειν occurs in 1 John 3:12, and seven times in the Apocalypse; περιπατεῖν μετά τινος (ch. 6:66; Rev. 3:4). The use of σφραγίζειν, in the sense of confirming, is seen in ch. 3:33 and Rev. 7 Ἑβραϊστί is found three times in the Gospel, twice in the Apocalypse, and nowhere else. Λαλεῖν μετά τινος occurs three times in the Gospel, six times in the Apocalypse, and only once beside in the New Testament. Πιάζειν occurs eight times in the Gospel, once in the Apocalypse (in the unusual sense of taking an animal), and only three times in all the New Testament beside Κύριε σύ οἶδας occurs three times in ch. 21 and in Rev. 7:14. While certain common words like μετάνοια, γέεννα, never occur in any of the Johannine writings, φωτίζω, δόξα, φαίνω, frequently occur in all three. Πίστις, a word occurring some three hundred and forty times in the New Testament, is absent from the Gospel, and nearly absent from the Epistles and Apocalypse, only occurring five times in all. The most striking phrases and forms of thought-imagery are common to the Gospel and Apocalypse; e.g. the idea of the Lord Jesus Christ as “a Lamb,” in ch. 1:29 (under the form ἀμνός), and in the Apocalypse it occurs twenty-five times under the form ἀρνίον. The representation of the Christ as Bridegroom of the Church (ch. 3:29) reappears in Rev. 19:7; 21:2. The “water of life” is an idea that occurs twice in the Gospel and twice in the Apocalypse. The frequent use of μετά ταῦτα should be noted (ch. 3:22; 5:1, 14; 6:1; 7:1; 19:38; 21:1; Rev. 4:1; 7:1 (T.R.), 9; 15:5; 18:1; 19:1; 20:3). The most remarkable identity of phrase (however it may be accounted for) is in the Greek translation of Zech. 12:10, where דָּקָרוּ is rendered in ch. 19:34–37 (see note) by ἐξεκέντησαν rather than ἄθ᾽ ὦν κατωρχήσαντο of the LXX. The same translation, as well as the same citation, occurs again in Rev. 1:7. The other Greek translations and Justin Martyr followed the same text, but they were prepared after St. John. The only explanation is that the writers of the two passages were deeply impressed with the piercing of the side of Jesus, its fulfilment of prophecy, and they translated Zechariah’s text in the same way, and in this differed from the LXX.

These peculiarities of diction, and similarities, might be greatly argumented, as may be seen in Lücke, Moses Stuart, Davidson, and Dr. Lee. They leave upon our minds a powerful impression that whosoever wrote the one book had, undoubtedly, much to do with the other also. The supposed discrepancies of diction are much reduced on close examination, and the correspondences are more striking than the discrepancies. One method of refuting or evading the force of these similarities is to suppose that the author of the Gospel in post-apostolic times was acquainted with the Apocalypse and purposely adopted them. The necessity for such a refutation goes far towards a repudiation of the argument based upon the dissimilarity.

(γ) The structure of the two books. So far as the style and structure are concerned, prima facie, the contrast is obvious. In the Gospel we have the simple, apparently artless, and even grammatico-structureless composition. A winning fluency pervades it, and the reader blends without effort the events with the consequent discourses. Moreover, as some of these commence in mediis rebus, and close in the midst of a conversation without dramatic introduction or end, an incautious reader might suspect an utter absence of plan or arrangement. Apparently no effort is made to produce an impression upon the reader. Utterances of the Lord Jesus Christ, of transcendent importance, are not infrequently recorded without comment, and even the effect upon their first hearers is conveyed with surpassing reticence. Very few signs occur of great or vivid imagination on the part of the writer; and no bursts of eloquence, no dazzling scenes corresponding with the synoptic narrative of the Transfiguration, are recorded. No attempt is made to aggravate the tragedy of the Passion; a studied omission of certain memorable scenes, which might have been dressed in apocalyptic splendour, occurs to all students. But, on the other hand, the Revelation of St. John is so arranged as to form a series of connected visions, with growing intensity of suggestion, and climacteric force of grouping. After the opening vision, seven letters are addressed to the seven Churches by the living Lord. Then follows the gorgeous vision of the throne of God and of the book with the seven seals. The opening of six of these seals is followed by a prophetic symbol; but before the seventh is opened a subordinate act is introduced. The four angels who have power to injure land and sea are arrested by “another angel,” who would secure the safety of twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Israel; and after this the seer beholds an innumerable company of every age, kingdom, nation, who stand before the Lamb, and sing a new song. Then, when the seventh seal is opened, fresh delay intervenes, for that action involves the delivery of trumpet-voices by seven angels. The first four trumpet-blasts, like the effect of the opening of the first four seals, produce certain specified results. The fifth trumpet is followed by three successive woes, which are described in great detail. The sixth and seventh trumpets declare, after numerous preparations and conflicts, that the kingdom of the world has begun to be the eternal kingdom of God and his Christ, and that the time for judging the dead has come. Then the temple of God is seen, and numerous episodes follow, amongst them the visions of the dragon and of the great θηρίον, with (R.T.) ten horns and seven heads, and ten crowns upon the horns. Then the second great θηρίον, ascending from the earth, has the horns of a “lamb,” and is a false prophet. The power of this “beast” and “false prophet” prevail for a while, when several consoling visions follow, bearing on the blessedness of the dead and the harvest of the world. This is again followed by seven last plagues, which are to succeed the outpouring of the seven vials full of the wrath of God; the first four again are discriminated from the last three vials, and throughout, the pouring out of the vials corresponds with the sounding of the previous trumpets. The effects produced on Euphrates, and on the fortunes of the beast, are enlarged and associated with the great whore Babylon, who sits upon the beast in gorgeous apparel. The fall of Babylon is described in awful and dramatic form. The war made by Babylon upon the Lamb leads to her doom; but, before this occurs, the people of God are commanded to go forth of her. After the disappearance of Babylon, the Logos of God, a Conqueror in heaven, with his glorious army of the saved, overthrows all his enemies, and he “lives and reigns a thousand years,” during which “the souls of the martyrs live again.” After a while Satan is let loose for a season; then is revealed the world-power in its force, and the great battle takes place between the two powers, ending in the destruction and torment of the devil, the beast, and the false prophet, to all eternity. Meanwhile the new Jerusalem, the holy city, comes down out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband, and all is made new. These sublime descriptions have been for eighteen hundred years the symbolism and material to which the eye of the Church has turned for its anticipations of the final blessedness of the redeemed from among men.

This elaborate structure; this subtle and complicated imagery; this repeated suspense of veritable crisis, the cyclical nature of visions, conflicts, and victories, the reappearance and reutterance of the ideas which have been first of all presented in less detail; this passing from heaven through earth to heaven again, with episodes of superlative magnificence and measured grandeur, which receive further exposition as the mighty drama unfolds itself;—all this suggests, at first perusal, a mode of treatment singularly unlike the structure, method, and style of the Fourth Gospel. Yet it must be at the same time granted that there are some resemblances of a very remarkable kind which may modify the impression of great dissimilarity. e.g. the structure of the Gospel is not a merely spontaneous unfolding of events taken at random. The numbers seven, three, and ten play almost as marvellous a part in the Gospel as in the Revelation.

Seven great miracles are wrought by our Lord before his Passion; and after his resurrection three specially recorded appearances to his apostles, the last accompanied by a significant miracle. These are related with ever-gathering suggestiveness. (1) First of all he asserts his victory over the material of nature, and exhibits his prerogatives of creation. (2) This is followed by his healing of the nobleman’s son, and his power over the widespread sorrow which comes from the poisonous alien force of fever taking possession of humanity. (3) Then in his miracle at the pool of Bethesda he indicates his power to restore lacking force and energy to the impotent. (4) This is followed by the miraculous supply of food to the starving multitude, or his capacity to satisfy all the genuine desires of humanity. (5) His superiority to the forces, as well as his mastery of the matter, of the universe, in walking upon and hushing the stormy sea. (6) In his healing of the man born blind, he met the radical defect of human nature, and opened a new world to the unseeing eye. (7) And in the raising of Lazarus, he demonstrated his power to encounter and overcome the last great enemy of the human race. This comprehensive enumeration of the great power of Jesus, which, with augmenting interest, pursues its powerful argument through the mystical septenary series, gives one point of structural relation with the Apocalypse. Furthermore, a suspense which throughout delays the crisis and postpones the victory of Christ, in the Apocalypse, until the city of God comes down out of heaven, appears in the Gospel. Thus the “hour” of the Lord’s highest manifestation, not of world-wide victory, but supreme self-devotion to the interests of the world, to humanity as such, pervades the Gospel. It is almost always suggested as near, but is not yet come. Thus before the first miracle (ch. 2:4) the Lord tells his mother she must wait for the full satisfaction he will eventually give to human need. In ch. 4:21, 23 he foretells the approach of an hour of transcendent interest to the true worshipper; and in ch. 5:25, 28 he waits and causes his hearers to wait for the full manifestation of his judgment and power. In ch. 7:30 and ch. 8:20 twice the Lord escapes from the malice which was bursting for expression, because his “hour was not yet come.” In ch. 12:27 this hour of his sacrifice seems to have been reached, and yet there is the wondrous delay of the valedictory discourse, in which the supreme Teacher and Victim, in larger sweep of thought and infinitely bolder utterance than does the Socrates of the ‘Phædo,’ discourses of “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Arising to go from the upper chamber to the garden, once more he lifts his voice with prophetic ardour and unfathomable depth of thought, and concludes with words which are of inimitable force, revealing his love, his satisfaction with the faith of the eleven, and his renewed prediction of sorrow, calamity, and desertion. The seal is loosed, the trumpet has sounded, the vial is poured, and yet before the great woes are uttered and the tragedy begins there comes the interlude of the intercessory prayer. The same mysterious accumulation of climacteric sorrows reaches its highest expression when he lays down his life that he may take it again. Much of the same kind of overlapping of interest pervades every step taken until we reach the confession of Thomas.

The Gospel is composed, as the Revelation is, upon a somewhat similar plan. In both we have (i.) prologue; (ii.) introductory ministry, giving specimens of all his powers and functions; (iii.) active conflict with the world of Judaism, and all the power of the prince of this world; (iv.) creation of the inner sanctuary, where love and communion can go on undisturbed between himself and his own disciples, and then between him and them united and the eternal Father; (v.) the great representative of the world-power really baffled and overcome by the blood he was by his own mingled passions forced on to shed; (vi.) the uplifting of the veil which hides the eternal world, in the revelations of the glorified Lord; (vii.) epilogue, revealing the triumph of his rule to the end of the world. There, is the most complicated structure involved in the selection of the materials and their arrangement. The epilogue points back to the prologue, and epilogue and prologue are illustrated by the intervening chapters. The Fourth Gospel is not an invertebrate and chance collection of works and words. Every event recorded is to some extent prepared for in the prologue and complemented in the epilogue; e.g. on behalf of the Logos the creative power is claimed. The evangelist’s ideas on this subject are affirmed by the miracle on the water and on the Sea of Galilee. The Logos is asserted to be the origin of “life,” and we find that the body of the narrative leads continually to the demonstration that Christ is the Life-giver, and that he will and does rise from the dead. He is “the Light,” and with what care does the Gospel record the proof that Christ claims to be “the Light of the world”! The prologue reveals the activity of the Logos in the old creation and in the theocracy; the light shined in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. This is confirmed by a succession of dealings on his part with the temple, with the Sanhedrin, with the chosen teachers of the people, with Samaritan claims, with the sect of the Pharisees, with pseudo-historical prejudices, with legal quibbles, with sabbatic pride, with misapprehended revelation, and the like. The philosopheme of ch. 1:14 is, without doubt, the theme of every chapter, though it is never once quoted. It rises over the Gospel just as the great vision of him that liveth and was dead dominates the Apocalypse. To the specific details of the structure of the Gospel it is not necessary in this place to refer more minutely (see plan of the Gospel, sect. X.). It is sufficiently patent to make the structural character of the Apocalypse no bar to community of origin. Nay, more, the two documents are in the matter of structure so closely allied as to lead many competent critics to hold that the two books must have proceeded from the same pen.

(δ) The theology of the Apocalypse, so far as it bears upon the authorship of the Fourth Gospel. Even Baur and Volkmar admit a certain correspondence in the type of doctrine to be found in the two books, and, differences of style or method of presentation being allowed, cannot maintain that they spring from a different root. The more the matter is weighed the more abundant becomes the evidence of similarity. Indeed, there are no two books of the New Testament which are more closely allied in their fundamental ideas of the Godhead, of the rank in the universe of the Son of God, of the Personality of the Spirit, of the ground and method of redemption, and the transcendently important and significant teaching with reference to obedience and submission of man to the commandments and will of the Supreme. Greater difference is perceptible with reference to the parousia, and the doctrine of the last things; and yet even here the advocates of the early date of the Apocalypse, who believe that the fall of Jerusalem, with all its tremendous consequences to the Church of God, largely fill up the Apocalypse and are symbolically portrayed in its visions, are ready to admit that the Gospel is but a sublimated Apocalypse. Without looking for or finding, however, any later stage of Johannine doctrine, as Ritzschl and Weiss and Sears (‘Heart of Christ’) have done, Gebhart undertakes to prove, “by a comparison of their teaching, that what Strauss calls ‘the notorious, fantastical Judaizing-Zelotic’ author of the Apocalypse and the lauded final reconciler of all the contrarieties of the first and of half the second centuries—the author of the Fourth Gospel—are one and the same apostolic personality.”

We must remember that the conditions under which truth was apprehended by the author of each book were profoundly different. In the one case a writer professing to be an eye-witness is reflecting on the past; in the other he is anticipating the future. In the one book we have the historical realization of One who was believed to be God manifest in the flesh—a human being, who laid down his life that he might take it again, who passes through the stages of trial, suffering, and death, to the occupation of a position in two worlds, at home and yet capable of exercising supremacy in both; in the other book the writer surveys the future, and realizes the conflict of this Divine Personality with evil in all its forms of manifestation. In the one book the writer is reflective, utters large and comprehensive truths in a form approaching the dogmatic and propositional. In the other the same truths are represented in glowing imagery and brilliant picture. In the one book he writes “in the understanding,” with the view of rationalizing and soothing the thoughts of men with great realities and the material of faith. In the other he writes “in the Spirit,” with the imagery of the Hebrew prophet. Paul may have had similar visions, but he could not utter them; John was able to make his readers feel what he felt, and see what he saw, and hear what he heard, and handle what he handled, when he was caught up into Paradise—into the highest heaven. Just as a biographer with penetrative insight, he was able to seize and record more than any other apostle the open secrets of the heart of Jesus; so that same man, when permitted to see into the present glory of the Divine Lord, was also qualified to see more and say more than any other apocalyptic writer of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.

This position, however, the reader can only decide for himself; and illustration and comparison are necessary under some of the principal groups and classes of doctrine.

(i.) Let us commence with some of the fundamental doctrines of these books with reference to the Godhead.

(a) One of the most conspicuous ideas of the Gospel is that God is a Spirit (ch. 4:24); and the teaching with which this is associated is that the old local sanctuaries will pass away, that spiritual and true worship will be universal, alike the explanation of the past dealings and the prophecy of the future dealings of God with men. How does this same truth appear in the Apocalypse? In the repeated and continuous assurance that true believers are the veritable priesthood (Rev. 1:6; 5:10); that the faithful are personally as sacred in themselves as pillars in the temple (Rev. 3:12); that “prayers of paints” are the “incense” that perfumes it (Rev. 5:8; 8:3); that the new Jerusalem builds itself down out of heaven, including within its walls the world itself; that its door is “open;” that the gates are never closed, and the “seven spirits” (or sevenfold spiritual energy of God himself) go forth into the whole earth; and that the nations of the saved walk in the light of it. Moreover, the Lord God and the Lamb are the temple thereof.

(b) God is “life,” “love,” and “light.” These are the persistent ideas of the Gospel and Epistle. “Life” (ch. 1:4; 5:26; 6:57; 1 John 5:20, “This is the true God, and eternal life”). “Love” (ch. 3:16; 1 John 4:8, 16). “Light” (ch. 1:4; 1 John 1:5). These statements are not categorically made in the Apocalypse; but how steadily are they taught! The very phrase, “living God,” is found in Rev. 7:2 (cf. 15:7; 4:9, 10; 5:6. God is the Life-giver, and “he who liveth for ever and ever.” He is the Light of the city of God, its Sun, its Glory. Because of his presence “there is no night there,” and “because the Lord God giveth them light.” The love of God to his own servants, to those who are saved, is reiterated throughout the visions in every kind of representation; even when the prophet is detailing the severity of the Divine judgments, he is represented as the Father of the Lamb; and the numerous references to his anger and wrath are always the manifestation of such emotions towards the enemies, persecutors of his Church. No passages in the entire Scripture are more radiant than those which portray the love of God to his own children (Rev. 7:2, 3, 15–17; 21:3, 4, 6, 7).

(c) Whereas the First Epistle (1:9) declares God to be “faithful and just,” in ch. 17:11, 25 our Lord addresses God as “the holy and righteous Father.” The Apocalypse reiterates the same idea, not only with its “thrice-holy cry” (Rev. 4:8), but in most abundant phrase in Rev. 15:3; 16:5, 7; 21:5. Similar comparisons may be made in proof of the common doctrine concerning the wisdom and truthfulness of God.

(d) The internal relations of the Godhead are more abundantly set forth in the Gospel than in any other part of the Scripture. It is there that the “Logos” is spoken of as personally present with and one with God; that the “Only Begotten of the Father” is represented as being in the bosom of the Father, as having a “glory with the Father before the world was.” The self-conscious and God-conscious Christ speaks of himself as having “come down from heaven,” as being “in heaven” while yet on earth, and he admits a degree of reverence, homage, and praise which apostles and prophets and angels of God are studiously represented as disclaiming for themselves. Let these and other passages be compared with 1 John 1:1–4, where the Christ is called “the Word of life,” and “that eternal life which was with the Father, and has been manifested unto us,” and the high and probable ascription to Jesus Christ of the great title, “This is the true God, and eternal Life.” There is, on the other hand, no book of the New Testament which so emphatically adopts this great term in its fulness, viz. “the Logos of God,” for the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 19:13). Nor can we doubt that “the Word of God” to which the author of the Apocalypse bore record (1:2) is the same grand theme which identifies its author with the author of the Gospel and First Epistle (see also Rev. 1:9; cf. 6:9; 20:4). There are passages in the Epistle to the Hebrews which closely approach, but are by no means so explicit (Heb. 4:12–14; see also 1 Cor. 10:9, taken in connection which Philo’s reference of the object of this temptation as the λόγος).

There is much to lead to the same conclusion, because the Lord Jesus Christ, whom the author of the Gospel identifies with the ΛΟΓΟΣ ΣΑΡΞ ΓΕΝΟΜΕΝΟΣ, the author of the Apocalypse calls the Ὀ ΛΟΓΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ (Rev. 19:13). Jesus Christ, moreover, is placed by the latter as one of the integral elements whose relations with each other constitute the Godhead (Rev. 1:4–8), and he receives at his hands the highest designations that human language could frame to denote his superlative dignity. He is “Alpha and Omega,” the “Beginning and the End,” “the Holy and True,” “the Amen,” “he that is alive for evermore,” “the Α͂ρχή of the creation of God,” i.e. “the Primal Source of the creation.”

The evangelist in numerous places represents our Lord as claiming for the Divine Personality manifested in his humanity as the Son, the Son of God, precisely the same honours and functions as those of the Father (ch. 5:17–26; 8:19; 10:15; 17:1; cf. 1 John 2:23). In the same way the author of the Apocalypse represents the Lamb of God as receiving identical ascriptions of praise with those of God himself, or of him who liveth for ever and ever (Rev. 6:16; 12:10; 14:4; 21:22; 5:13; 7:10). It is worthy of much attention that the writer of the Gospel records the great words, “I and the Father are one,” and that “all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father;” and the writer of the Apocalypse represents angels and men alike paying this supreme homage (Rev. 4:8–11; cf. 5:12, 13) to the Father and to the Lamb.

(e) Further peculiarities, bearing on the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, are found in both Gospel and Apocalypse.

(1) Important ideas, touching the intimate blending of the human life with the heavenly glory of the Lord, occur in both documents. The consciousness of Christ is revealed in the Gospel, that though in the flesh (seeing he had come from God), he was “going to God;” that he had “come forth from the Father, and was going to the Father.” His death was to be the highest manifestation of the Father’s glory, and is followed by such a radical change, that resurrection and ascension are spoken of as one grand datum of the eternal life which was in him. The Son of man will ascend to where he was before. Mary of Magdala is not to touch him with mere human hands. In his ascension he will stand in such spiritual relations with his people that they shall touch him by other faculties than those of physical sense. The “descending” and “ascending” in ch. 3:13; 6:62; 8:14, are the two great moments of the entire manifestation, between which the life is lived in such a way as to render these terms entirely applicable to the manner of his coming into and leaving the world. How wonderfully does the Apocalypse dwell in the same region of thought! In Rev. 12:1–6 the man-child is to rule all nations with the rod, and is caught up to God upon his throne.

(2) References to the accompaniments of his death. The Fourth Gospel refers to the piercing of Jesus by the Roman’s spear. This is treated both in the Gospel and Apocalypse as fulfilment of Zechariah’s prophecy. There is no other New Testament reference to the prophecy (cf. ch. 19:32–37 with Rev. 1:7). In like manner, the entire representation of the career of the two witnesses, and the joy of the world at their death (Rev. 11:9), corresponds with the joy of the world at the Lord’s death (ch. 16:20); and the three days and a half of the two witnesses correspond with the three days of the resurrection of the spiritual temple in ch. 2:18–20. A whole group of phrases descriptive of the resurrection and subsequent activity of the witnesses, their ascension, etc. (Rev. 11:12), corresponds with those used by the evangelist to describe the death, resurrection-activity, and uplifting of Jesus; while the substance of the Apocalyptic vision is irradiated by the Divine presence of him who is alive, but “became dead,” and “is alive for evermore.”

(3) The identification of the Logos with the Messiah. The evangelist and apocalyptist both found their notions of the Christ rationalized by the Old Testament doctrine of the Logos. The Gospel never loses sight of the fact that he who was in the beginning with God (his life, light, and energy) was not only the Son of God, but the Hebrew Messiah; and in ch. 20:31 the evangelist, pointing back to the doctrine of the prologue, shows that this was his reason for writing the Gospel. Throughout the latter we find the characteristics of both Messiah and Logos continually attributed to Jesus. The words of Jesus reflect throughout this double consciousness, and John’s report of them cannot be unhistorical. The same kind of remark is not infrequently found in the synoptics. These great utterances go far beyond the current Messianic idea, which was corrected and ennobled by them. Thus Nathanael, John the Baptist, and some of the most intimate circle of our Lord’s friends, such as Philip, Martha, and John himself, were conscious of this sublime blending of two thoughts, far enough apart in popular faith. Now, the evangelist notices that the Christ had his foothold on the earth, belonged to the tribe of Judah, of the seed of David (ch. 7:42 and notes), and answers to certain noble expectations of a prophet (ch. 4:10, 29, 44) who would teach them all things, solving difficult problems. In all these wonderful respects the Apocalypse is most explicit. “Jesus Christ” occurs at the beginning and ending of the Apocalypse, as in ch. 1:17 and 22:21, and frequently in the First Epistle. The Lion of the tribe of Judah opens the book fastened with the seven seals (Rev. 5:5; 22:16). Jesus describes himself as “Son of God” (Rev. 2:18), having been so styled eight times in the Gospel. Throughout both documents, the Divine-human Personality, Jesus Christ, receives the predicates and activities of both Messiah and Logos.

(4) One extraordinary peculiarity wherewith, in the highest majesty of his self-dependent Divinity, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke of his inferior rank to the Father. This has often been a crux to theologians in dealing with the Fourth Gospel. Throughout it the Lord speaks of God as “my Father;” and even in ch. 20:17, “My God”—an expression which throws light upon such expressions as, “My Father is greater than I;” “I do always those things which please him,” etc. Now, these remarkable words correspond with the opening words of Rev. 1:1, and with the use in Rev. 3:12 of the words, “My God,” thrice repeated. These two books combine the boldest utterances touching the Divinity of our Lord with a recognition of the subordination of the Son, and of the Person of the Lord in respect of his eternal derivation and his humiliation in the flesh.

Great prerogatives are assigned to the Messiah-Logos of the Gospel, and to the great central Personality of the Apocalypse, which correspond in a remarkable way. Thus Christ claims the judgment of the world, because he is “Son of man,” and “the Son” (ch. 5:30). In Rev. 19:2, 11 the judgment of the world is attributed to him. Compare the two-edged sword going out of his mouth, with the power of judgment claimed (ch. 5:22–27; 12:48). Jesus, as Christ, knew what was in man; so in Rev. 2:23, “he searcheth the hearts and reins.” The feeding of the flock, etc., in Rev. 7:17 is imaged in the parable of the good Shepherd (ch. 10; cf. ch. 4:10–14). We cannot expect to find in the Gospel, recording the earthly humiliation of the eternal Logos, which was his highest glory, the peculiar functions of the triumphant Christ, who has become indeed “King of kings, and Lord of lords,” “the Lamb in the midst of the throne;” but we may expect to find that the way is prepared for this great glory—for the reassumption in and with his humanity of “the glory he had with the Father before all worlds” (when, as St. Paul expressed it, Christ Jesus received the Name which is above every name, Phil. 2:10). So, on the other hand, while we do not expect to find in the Apocalyptic visions the signs of that humiliation, we do find him revealing a wondrous union with our humanity, we do find the recognition of his atoning death, of the blood which he shed, and mention made of his resurrection and ascension, and of the sympathy he felt for his own. Because he has been “slain” (an idea involving and not concealing the whole of his humiliation), he receives the acclamations of the universe.

(f) The doctrine of the Holy Spirit. In the Gospel we read that the Holy Spirit abode on Christ (ch. 1:32), was given to him without measure (ch. 3:34), constituted the grace of God which the Christ would use, just as the Baptist used the element of water (ch. 1:33, 34). Christ anticipates the bestowment of the multiform powers of the Spirit after he should have been glorified (ch. 7:39). He is spoken of as the Giver, the Other Advocate (Paraclete), which is the Holy Spirit, whom he would send to his disciples, and whom the Father would send in his Name. In this most gracious effusion, it would be found not only that he would return himself to his broken-hearted disciples, but that the Father himself would also come and take up his abode with them and in them. This extraordinary series of statements is wonderfully confirmed in the history of the Church and in the writings of St. Paul; but in the visions of the seer we discover the relation of the glorified Christ to the Spirit throughout the history of the Church and to the end of time. Accordingly, we find “the seven Spirits of God” (Rev. 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6) represented, as in the prophecies of Zechariah, as the sevenfold, i.e. the perfect, expression of the effluence of all the energies of the Holy Spirit of God. They appear under different imagery, described as “seven lamps” and “seven eyes.” This sevenfold energy is clearly spoken of as “the Spirit” (Rev. 2:7). The “seven and one” are blended, as in the prophecies of Zechariah, with those “eyes of the Lord which run to and fro throughout the whole earth.” This representation is preserved when the prophet is speaking of the Holy Ghost in his Divine Personality and independence (Rev. 1:4); but we do not fail to observe that he represents Christ as “having the seven Spirits of God” (Rev. 3:1; 5:6), just as in the Gospel he sends forth the Comforter. Thus the energy of the Spirit is his energy. “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10). As the language of Christ in the Gospel shows “the Paraclete to be the Spirit of truth, who will lead to all truth,” and declares, “He shall take of mine, and show it to you,” so when the prophet is “in the Spirit,” he sees the sublime, commanding, regulative vision of the entire Apocalypse. The Spirit speaks in the lips of Jesus Christ, through his servant John, to the Churches (Rev. 2, 3). As Köstlin, quoted by Gebhart, p. 133, says, “The exalted Christ continually sends forth from himself the Spirit, and the presence of the Spirit to the earth is an effective looking down upon it on the part of Christ, a streaming forth of his light.”

(g) The ministry of the angels is part of the machinery of the Apocalypse (see Moses Stuart, ‘Angelology’). This needs no proof, but it is not absent from the Gospel (ch. 1:51; 12:29; cf. 20:12, 13, where angels are described as facts of Mary Magdalene’s experience).

(h) The dæmonology of the two books is closely allied. In all these writings διάβολος occurs (ch. 8:44; Rev. 2:10; 1 John 3:8). Σατᾶν occurs in Rev. 2:9 and ch. 13:27. And frequent references to “the prince of this world,” in the Gospel, are balanced by the expectation that Satan is the great anti-logos, who will deceive the whole world. He is in both Gospel and Apocalypse credited with being “the father of lies,” the embodiment of the evil principle who “sinneth from the beginning.” “For this cause was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”

(i) The doctrine of man and of his condition apart from Divine grace. In the Gospel we find a twofold humanity—those who are of God, who are the Father’s before they were given to Christ, those who have learned of the Father and have come to him, those who are “of the truth” and hear his voice, those who come to the light and are drawn by the Father; and, on the other band, those who are represented as “darkness,” as “children of the devil,” those who will not receive him. The ungodly, unregenerate mankind are often called “the world,” “loving darkness rather than light;” their greatest condemnation is that those who hate Christ do so because he tells them “the truth,” and apart from the gift of eternal life in himself they will “perish.” They will “die in their sins.” This great contrast does also pervade the Apocalypse. The condition of the unsaved is clearly one of darkness, from the great emphasis laid upon light. Apart from the gifts of the Lord Jesus, man’s true knowledge of himself ought to show him “that he is poor, and miserable, and blind, and wretched” (Rev. 3:17, 18). Union to Christ, redemption by his grace, is that alone which saves either the hundred and forty-four thousand of the true Israel, or any individual of the multitudinous company of all lands, from the perdition awaiting them at the hands of the four mighty angels (Rev. 7).

(j) The state of redemption or deliverance is described in the Gospel as “life,” as “having eternal life in Christ,” as being “united with Christ,” “rejoicing in his companionship and abiding presence,” finding satisfaction in him from the “thirst” and the “hunger” of the soul, and as being “washed” from all defilement by him. It is a state of willing “obedience,” “keeping the commandments” of God, “doing the will of the Father,” “bringing forth fruit,” loving Christ supremely, and sent forth into the world to do there what he would do if in their place, and “overcoming the world.” Now, the Apocalypse uses the same ideas in the imagery of poetry. Christ comes in to sup with those who have opened the door to him. In Rev. 1:3; 2:26; 3:8, 20; 12:17; 16:15, adopting even the phraseology of the Gospel (τηρεῖν τὰ γεγραμμένα, τόν λόγον, τὰς ἐντολάς). The idea of willing, gracious obedience is described, and, moreover, Christ satisfies the great cravings of “hunger” and “thirst” (Rev. 7:16; 21:6; 22:17) in the saved.

(k) The work of Christ, the objective work done by Christ, to save men. In the Gospel and Epistles this is described as victory over the devil (see 1 John 3:8, 20; cf. Rev. 12:5). He is also represented as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (ch. 1:29), while the reference to the Paschal lamb can hardly be concealed (ch. 19:14, 36). Now, the grand image of the Apocalypse, by which the Lord is represented as securing the homage of the saved, is as “the Lamb that was slain” (Rev. 5:9, 10; 14:3, 4). We do not find “the slain Lamb” spoken of in the Gospel, but we find the virtue of his cruel death, the flesh which he would give for the life of the world, referred to in ch. 6:51; 1 John 2:2; 4:10; 3:5, 16. There is abundant reference to the sacrificial significance of his death (cf. ch. 11:51, 52). In 1 John 1:7 we read that “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin;” and in Rev. 7:14 that the saints “have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb;” and in Rev. 22:14 the true text reads those “that wash their robes,” pointing back to 7:14 (cf. also Rev. 1:5; 13:8).

(l) The great prophecy of the last things, as described by the synoptic Gospels, had its first typical fulfilment in the fall of Jerusalem. This teaching of our Lord is practically contained in the first portion of the Apocalypse, and its presence here may be part of the reason which induced the evangelist to omit it from the Gospel, the full tone and key-note of which is the coming of the Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit. But just as that return of the Lord, his continual return, is the theme of the valedictory discourse, and as his coming to judgment is also affirmed in ch. 5:28, 29, so the continuous return, prefacing, heralding the final manifestation of his might and glory, is the grand theme of the Apocalypse. In full anticipation of which he says, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Thus the Gospel and Apocalypse end on the same key-note.

These various points of coincidence in theological view and tone may be indefinitely augmented. See the development of the doctrine in both writings touching “the gospel,” “the call to repentance,” “the future of Israel,” “the judgment,” “the resurrection of believers,” “the final state,” amply discussed in Gebhart’s ‘Theology of the Apocalypse.’

We have now endeavoured to show, by comparison of the grammatical, lexical, structural, and theological peculiarities of the Fourth Gospel and of the Apocalypse, that there is a high probability that they were written by the same pen. Seeing, then, that the external evidence for the authenticity of the Apocalypse is exceptionally strong, and that the internal evidence is remarkably convincing, it cannot be concealed that the apostolic authorship of the Apocalypse is a powerful argument in favour of the Johannine authorship of the Fourth Gospel.

We may, therefore, claim to have shown that the synoptic “John,” the author of the general Epistles, and the “John” of the Apocalypse, though exhibiting some features of difference from each other, and from the character of the author of the Fourth Gospel, do not so diverge from each other, either in spirit, style, or teaching, as to make the hypothesis of their identity at all incredible. But a far more formidable problem presents itself as soon as we examine the subject-matter of the Fourth Gospel. The following questions arise—Is the record of the Lord’s life and teaching here preserved an historical document? Can we trust to its historical details? Is it indubitably the record of an eye-witness? Are its discrepancies (in various respects) with the previously existing narratives of such a character as to invalidate its testimony? Is the portraiture of Christ consistent with any of the ordinary qualities of a biography? Are the details of this Gospel so peculiar that, if credible witness to facts, they pulverize or evaporate the older records? Are the omissions so remarkable, and the scenes, times, and style of our Lord’s discourses so unique, that the narrative really presents another Jesus, fundamentally different from him with whom Matthew, Mark, and Luke have made us familiar? Are the omissions by the synoptists of certain remarkable events recorded in the Fourth Gospel so amazing that the only satisfactory explanation is that the synoptics must have been in ignorance of the fact (e.g. of the raising of Lazarus), and is there a justifiable suspicion thrown upon the trustworthiness of the narrative? Are there traces in it of a date later than even the latest that can be attributed to the life of St. John?

If these questions be answered in the affirmative, then the external and internal evidences need the most careful scrutiny. There is no longer any question that learned men and illustrious scholars have endeavoured to shake their credit, and have demanded an amount of evidence in this particular case which can be dispensed with in less vital controversies.

If an honest and true eye-witness, such an individual as John the son of Zebedee, whose character sheds a glow upon the first century, could not have written such a work as this Gospel, as a record of facts, as a chronicle and reproduction of the words of the Lord Jesus, then some other hypothesis consistent with indubitable facts must be hazarded to account for a work of such amazing significance and mysterious grandeur. These have not been wanting, and may be divided into two groups.

(1) One group consists of those who cannot gainsay or resist the evidence of the identity of the author of the Gospel and Apocalypse, and do not dispute the position that John was the author of the Fourth Gospel. They, like Gebhart, Renan, Schenkel, and Matthew Arnold, affirm that we have no better external evidence for the existence of the synoptic Gospels and Episties of Paul than we have for that of the Gospel of John. They press back decade after decade in the second century, and find that it is the extravagance of hypercriticism to doubt the very early use and recognition by the Church, by heretics and apologists, commentators and copyists, and by other well-known writers, of this celebrated document. They even admit that it may have been produced at a date when the son of Zebedee was still living, and under his influence and sanction, and even by his pen; but they regard it as a doctrinal and theological treatise in the form of a narrative, as a story expressive of ideas which had become current in the Church at the beginning of the second century, as a Christological romance, as a philosopheme in the form of a Gospel, making sparking use of any known or accredited traditions, deliberately clothing in the form of supposed fact current ideas of the Founder of the new faith, but not intended even by the author, whether John or another, to be taken seriously. Acquainted with the synoptic Gospels, and not intending to supersede them or clash with them, the writer is supposed to have used and modified their materials to suit his argument. Entering deeply into the spirit of the new religion, and comprehending in one expression the opposing interests and tendencies of the early Church, the author is supposed to have promoted its harmony, and originated some of the most valuable propositions out of which its doctrinal development subsequently sprang; but did not think or intend to convey the idea of the objective reality or historical validity of the events or the discourses themselves, any more than he meant to intimate that the angels, and dragon, and great whore, and grisly combatants, and golden city of the Apocalypse, were objective facts. That since Hermas, the authors of the ‘Clementine Recognitions,’ of the Books of Henoch or Judith, of the ‘Divina Commedia,’ or the ‘Pilgrim’s Progress,’ or the ‘Paradise Lost,’ put into semi-narrative style the ideas which filled their minds at a particular period, so the author of the Fourth Gospel expounded his theory of faith and love along the lines with which we are so familiar.

(2) A second group of critics and reproducers of the ‘Origines du Christianisme’ have gone much further than this. They have endeavoured to dispute every early reference to its known use and recognition, and to find in it many traces of a date later than is compatible with its apostolic authorship. They have credited it with docetic and other Gnostic speculations of the second century. They have discerned in it a powerful anti-Jewish prejudice, and an endeavour to lower the claims of that part of the Church which regarded Peter as the chiefest of the apostles and the Church of Rome as the centre of apostolicity, by giving greater prominence to the Apostle John. They have urged that it nevertheless endeavoured to blend Pauline with Petrine doctrine, and promote the amalgamation of the two tendencies in the Church which had been aggravated by the John of the Apocalypse; that it was a theological forgery rather than a pious romance; that it was Gnostic in its origin, but misunderstood by those who defended Gnostic philosophy. Some have urged that, Alexandrine rather than Palestinian in its tendencies, it reveals the spirit and method of Philo rather than Jesus, and even if it records a few genuine traditions of the great Master, it sets itself to undermine and break up the Jewish-Christian position, and, especially in the Paschal controversy, to put the Eastern Church in the wrong, by carefully making it appear that the Lord did not keep the Jewish Passover. Further (say they), by representing the Crucifixion as synchronous with the hour when the national ceremonial was being solemnized, the writer intimated that the Passover feast was terminated and that Jesus himself was the Paschal Lamb of Christians. The entire theory turns upon and is mixed up with the speculations of the school of Tübingen with reference to the condition of the Church in the second century, and different authors deviate from each other in a marvellous degree as to the details of their reconstruction. The theory of Baur and his followers varies in different hands, according as they attribute to the writer this or that theological tendency, and are forced by the exigencies of external evidence to assign an earlier or later date to the composition.

We will deal first of all with the objections based on the discrepancies between the synoptic narrative and the Johannine, and then with other characteristics of the wonderful narrative. We shall afterwards be in a position to treat some of the numerous hypotheses which have been started to account for the facts which are before us.

VIII. The General Relation Between the Synoptic Gospels and the Fourth Gospel

A. General statement of discrepancies.

On passing from the atmosphere of the synoptics, with their indubitable platform of Jewish rites and Galilæan villages; with their genealogical details and birth-stories, with the Messianic idea of one born in Bethlehem of the seed of David; with their portraitures of the leading heroes of the apostolic band, of the mother of the Lord, of the high priest Caiaphas, and of John the Baptist; and, above all, with a portion also of their representation of the Man of sorrows, and the gradual and partial exhibition of the Divine nature of the Lord;—on passing from all this to the Fourth Gospel, we are conscious, and must admit, that we have been transferred to a new scene, and breathe a different air. We are at once confronted with great generalizations touching the power and nature, the order and significance, of Divine manifestations. Much is made of the ministry and testimonies of John the Baptist; but at first he is rather treated as a typical representative of the prophetic order than as the historic and well-known son of Zacharias the priest. His definite testimony is, moreover, resumed at the very point where it is laid down by Matthew and Luke; and, in fact, when he has passed through the experiences detailed in the synoptics, and is face to face with One whom he has recognized publicly as the Son of God, and as one competent to baptize with the Holy Ghost.

We are made acquainted with several of the disciples, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Judas (not Iscariot), Nathanael, Lazarus, and Nicodemus, of whom we hear nothing but the names elsewhere; of Nathanael, Nicodemus, Lazarus, not even the names. The principal scenes of the biography are laid in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, instead of in Galilee. Our Lord appears to have made repeated journeys to the metropolis, and to have excited from the first querulous antagonism, if not open persecution. The time during which the ministry of Jesus has extended has lengthened out from one year to more than two, if not three. A succession of feasts are mentioned, notably three Pass-overs, if not four, are referred to, whereas the synoptic narrative does not positively make mention of any Passover except that at which our Lord was crucified. Extraordinary events like the temptation, the sermon on the mount, the Transfiguration, the death of the Baptist, the institution of the Lord’s Supper, the agony in the garden, the scenes before the Sanhedrin, are omitted, and a number of other events are mentioned concerning which the synoptists are silent, such as the two miracles in Cana, and three great miracles in Jerusalem. Two events might seem to have been inverted in their place. The synoptists represent a miraculous draught of fishes as the apparent occasion of the call of four apostles. These same apostles are favoured with a miraculous draught of fishes after the Resurrection; but in this Gospel they are represented as being called in the first instance by the simple summons of the Master. On the other hand, a cleansing of the temple, which the synoptists place at the close of our Lord’s life, the Fourth Gospel places at the very commencement of the Jerusalem ministry. The synoptists appear to imply that our Lord celebrated the Paschal supper on its legal day—the night before he suffered—whereas all the primâ facie suggestions of the Fourth Gospel imply that, though an important meal preceded the Passion, the Jews kept their Passover on the very day or evening of the Crucifixion. Moreover, whereas Luke and the appendix to Mark speak of a visible ascension to heaven, the fourth evangelist closes the Gospel with the special promises and injunctions to Peter and the beloved disciple. These discrepancies of time, period, place, and subject-matter are by no means the most serious. We readily admit that a different tone characterizes the teaching of the Lord in the two groups of discourses. The great subject-matter of the discourses of Jesus in the synoptists is the kingdom of God and his righteousness, the personal conditions of approval and acceptance with God, the relation of the new teaching to the old Law, the principles of discipleship, the future development of the kingdom, the last things of the theocracy, the judgment of the great day; the leading themes of our Lord’s discourses and dialogues in the Fourth Gospel concern the new birth, the revelation of the Divine love, the spirituality of true worship, the eternal principles on which the law of the sabbath turns, the Divine claims of Christ’s own Personality, his pre-existence, the personal incarnation of the Eternal Son of God, his astounding assumptions of being the Light, the Life, the Bread, the Salvation, of the world. He speaks of intimate, organic, eternal identification of disciples with himself, effected by spiritual processes, and of the grace of the Comforter as abundantly satisfying all the needs of the soul and of humanity. He declares that the Comforter would prove to be none other than the Spirit, which he who was one with the Father would send for the conviction of the world and the consummation of the Church. The manner of the Lord Jesus does appear at first sight to be very different in the two narratives; e.g. we hear nothing in the Fourth Gospel of mothers bringing their little ones, or of any sacred contact of the Master with little children. They do not even shout “Hosanna!” in the triumphal entry—which event is one of the points of connection with the synoptics—although the disciples themselves are treated as the “little children” of his love. The parabolic method of instruction seems almost entirely dropped. The inimitable apologues, which never once degenerate into fables, and never once go out of the region of the purely natural and human, are absent from the Fourth Gospel; or, at least, only appear in the form of symbolic terms and phrases, or mount into pure, lofty, and self-interpreting allegory.

It is said by some, with perhaps pardonable exaggeration, that while in the synoptic narrative the character of Christ ripens, the tragedy comes on gradually, and the conflict between the claims of Jesus and the wishes of the people is delayed till the final catastrophe, and that a period of great and perilous popularity is followed by rejection, misunderstanding, and violent reaction; yet in the Johannine Gospel the criticism, the repudiation by “the Jews,” is obvious from the first, that the mysterious and Divine Personae steps fully aureoled out upon the scene, that he is as complete a Messiah, an embodied revealed Son of God, in the valley of the Jordan as in the valedictory discourse, as much so with the woman of Samaria as with the adoring disciples after his resurrection.

The synoptic Gospels move along three different, yet broadly consentient, lines, and events and sayings are arranged, so far as order is concerned, without clear purpose on the part of their narrators. The distinct unity of authorship is in their case open to much analysis and criticism; yet the Fourth Gospel is a work of consummate art, and constitutes an organized and marvellous unity. It is conceded that the whole of it has issued from one mind, and that a constructive force and powerful argument are evinced in the composition; that it reveals the workmanship of an accomplished thinker; that it is in no sense a growth, but a distinct, powerful, and beautiful creation. The style of the composition is far less Hebraic than that of the three Gospels, and the words attributed to our Lord are in a different style from those elsewhere by multifarious tradition assigned to him, and correspond with the style of the evangelist himself as evinced in his own First Epistle. This argument is rendered more telling by the assumption that all the characters, John the Baptist, Martha, and even Caiaphas and Pilate, use the same vocabulary.

In this very concession another is involved, viz. that a subjective element is more conspicuous in the Fourth Gospel than in either of the synoptists. The writer on several occasions introduces his own reflections in propriâ personâ; and is, by those who admit the historicity of his narrative, supposed to have even interwoven them into his record of the discourses of the Lord.

Admitting that these primâ facie discordances exist, we will submit them to examination, with the view of determining whether the Johannine and synoptist narratives do in any way exclude one another, or whether, assuming the trustworthiness of the latter, they proclaim the unhistorical character of the former.

1. The scene of our Lord’s ministry. The synoptic narratives, after describing the baptism and temptation in the wilderness of Judæa, pass at once to the Galilæan ministry, and, so far as Matthew and Mark are concerned, do not bring our Lord to Jerusalem until the last Passover, in the midst of which he suffered. The most impressive appearance after the Resurrection is also in a mountain of Galilee, appointed as a rendezvous.

“John,” on the other hand, brings our Lord to Jerusalem before the Baptist was cast into prison (ch. 2–3:24; 4:1–3). In the last passage Jesus is said to have “departed again into Galilee,” so that the evangelist, when alive to the fact that he was describing a visit to Galilee, synchronizing with the first ministry there of current tradition, points in the word “again” to the first departure from Judæa to Galilee which he had himself described, but of which the synoptists said nothing. In ch. 5 Jesus visits Jerusalem at a feast, and there discusses the law of the sabbath, and justifies, by the loftiest claims, his right to work cures on that day. In ch. 6:4 we read that the Jews’ Passover was at hand, which Jesus, however, did not attend. He “walked in Galilee, because the Jews sought to kill him.” This was certainly one year, and possibly two years, after the Passover mentioned in ch. 2:23. In ch. 7:2, at the Feast of Tabernacles, our Lord does visit Jerusalem (ver. 10), and in the temple, and on the Mount of Olives (ch. 8:1), he taught and remonstrated with the people, and was exposed to their bitter and increasing hostility. On two occasions he escaped from their malice, and retired “beyond Jordan,” to a place “where John at first baptized.” In ch. 11 he came once more to Bethany in close proximity to Jerusalem; we are not told that he entered it, but retired to a place called Ephraim, where he awaited the last caravan advance to Jerusalem, so abundantly described by Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

The question arises—Are the synoptists silent concerning this lapse of time and concerning the scene of the ministry of our Lord anterior to the last week of his life? Are there any considerations which tend to throw light upon the discrepancy without impugning the veracity of the fourth evangelist? Two suppositions are possible; either (1) the latter, without any authority, and contrary to widespread tradition, invented these imaginary visits to Jerusalem; or (2) he remembered them, and, being eye-witness of the events, recorded them for the benefit of the Church. The first supposition is untenable, if he were what he undoubtedly wished his readers to believe, the most intimate friend, associate, and disciple of the Lord. In favour of the second supposition we ought to take into account that that disciple says that he had a home in Jerusalem, and was personally known to the high priest (ch. 18:15; 19:27; 20:10).

Caspari’s valuable suggestion throws light on the narrative from beginning to end. John the fisherman may have been in the habit of going or sending to Jerusalem fish from the lake, at the periods of the great feasts, when there must have been enormous demands for food. It does not appear, therefore, at all unlikely that Jesus, with some of his disciples, did take the journeys to Jerusalem mentioned by John; and that, whosoever else accompanied him, John did so, and thus became his host as well as biographer, the auditor of his mightiest words, the witness of his greatest miracles. It is, however, an error to suppose that the Fourth Gospel has expanded the brief report into a lengthened biography. Like the earlier evangelists, the writer confines himself to the record of a few solitary days, hinting, just as they do, the passage of time, and the occurrence of numerous events which produce a deep impression, but of which no details are given. Thus long periods of time are referred to without any particulars. Take the abrupt reference to the Feasts of the Passover already mentioned; notice the abiding in Judæa (ch. 3:22), the walking in Galilee (ch. 7:1), the abiding in the wilderness and the town of Ephraim (ch. 10:40 and 11:54). Again, numerous signs are said to have been wrought, and teachings uttered, of which no special enumeration or further account is given (ch. 2:23; 3:2; 6:2; 7:3, 31; 10:32; 11:47); besides the summary generalizations of ch. 20:30 and 21:25. If both synoptists and John are alike fragmentary in their recital, what difficulty is there in supposing that, after the first records had been made, among the numerous and omitted signs and places of discourse, one who had special opportunities should have made a further selection?

Is the synoptic narrative, however, so absolutely silent about our Lord’s visits to Jerusalem? Certainly not. The true text of Luke 4:44 (approved by Westcott and Hort, Tischendorf (8th edit.), and placed in margin of Tregelles and Revised Version), has Εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς τῆς Ἰουδαίας, “He was preaching in the synagogues of Judæa.” This is a note of time and place which would correspond with the first or second visit to Jerusalem mentioned in John. Again, the indication of great animosity among the Galilæan Pharisees, and one stirred up by emissaries from Jerusalem (Luke 5:17), touching the law of the sabbath and Christ’s claim to forgive sins, an hostility which pervades the records of Matt. 12 and parallel passages, derives a great access of light when the conversations recorded in ch. 5 are borne in mind or are presupposed. Further, Matt. 23:37 records (as Luke does in his summary of the journey towards Jerusalem, Luke 13:23, 31–34) the remarkable apostrophe, “O Jerusalem,” etc.! In each of these passages we have the startling phrase, Ποσάκις ἠθέλησα ἐπισυναγαγεῖν τὰ τέκνα σου; “How often did I wish to gather thy children together!” etc.—words which could not be applicable to the synoptic narrative as a complete account of the facts of the case. Not until we read of the several visits to Jerusalem, with the same uniform result of rejection, do we understand the “ye would not.” Moreover (as has often been observed), in Luke 10:38, etc., in that portion of the Third Gospel in which many otherwise unknown but most invaluable teachings of Jesus are preserved, “a certain village, the home of Martha and Mary,” is described, and an interview is referred to in which the characteristics of the Martha and Mary of ch. 11 are singularly photographed. This “certain village” can hardly be any other than the Bethany where they lived and where Lazarus died. The narrative in John presumes on long acquaintance and frequent visits already paid, and the visit recorded in Luke may without difficulty correspond with the visit of Jesus described in ch. 7–10. The synoptic account of the advance of Jesus to Jerusalem implies familiarity with the place, acquaintance on the part of “the certain man” with the Lord (Matt. 26:18). A similar conclusion may be drawn from Christ’s message to the owners of the colt (Matt. 21:2, etc.).

The public proclamation of his Messiahship and the declaration of his supreme claims on the homage and obedience of the people, if they were restricted to what the synoptic narratives appear to involve, must have been excessively abrupt. Time was not left for any impression to have been made, or for the final decision to be arrived at, before the Lord pronounced his condemnation of the theocracy and retired. Part of the ungenerous implication more or less involved in the representations of Renan, Mr. Francis Wm. Newman, author of ‘Philo-Christus,’ and others, that Jesus rushed suicidally on his fate, by hastily and impetuously assuming the bitter hostility of the hierarchy, and then assailing it, is produced by ignoring the representations of the Fourth Gospel as unhistorical. Previous visits to Jerusalem, and a longer period of ministry than can be made out from the synoptic Gospels, are required to render what they tell us self-consistent and explicable.

2. The length of our Lord’s ministry. While admitting the primâ facie discordance to which reference has been made, it is worthy of special consideration that positively no single hint in the chronological records of Luke 3:1 prevents our Lord’s ministry from extending over four, six, or even eight years. Pontius Pilate was not recalled till a.d. 36, and Caiaphas held his office until that date. The fourteenth year of Tiberius Cæsar (however interpreted) is only the terminus a quo, and settles nothing. Though efforts have been made by some chronologists (Browne’s ‘Ordo Sæculorum’) to compress the chronology of the Fourth Gospel within the limits of a year, this can only be done by unwarrantably expunging ch. 6:3 from the text, and by bringing all the visits of Jesus to Jerusalem (including the first Passover, the unnamed feast, the Feast of Tabernacles, the Feast of Dedication, and the last Passover) within the compass of a single year (see notes). The reduction of the ministry of the Son of man within the compass of twelve months enormously aggravates the historical difficulties of the synoptic narrative. The period of our Lord’s ministry, taken at the longest possible interpretation of the allusions in the Fourth Gospel, is so brief as to create, as it stands, one of the historical puzzles of human literature. No one can resist the impression of the supernatural rapidity with which Christ completed his ministry, or fail to contrast it with the prolonged and varied labours of Paul and John, with the ministry of Ezra, Hosea, or Isaiah, with the reigns of David and Solomon, with the legislative career of Moses. The contrast, again, of our Lord’s ministry with the period during which Socrates continued his cross-questioning of the youth, and of the sophists and statesmen of Athens, is equally remarkable. Let the numerous and abundant opportunities which the great founders of religious institutions enjoyed for impressing their personality, and enforcing their teaching upon their contemporaries, be compared with the brevity of the ministry of Jesus. Take, e.g., the careers of Buddha, Confucius, and Mohammed. If, however, the ministry of Christ were confined to one short year, and this diversified by several visits on foot from Jerusalem to Galilee, from Tyre and Sidon to Banias and Peræa, the rapidity becomes so intense as to savour of the unhistoric altogether. The records, therefore, of the Fourth Gospel, which provide a more abundant and far more probable chronological basis for the beneficent ministry of the Lord, greatly strengthen by their apparent discrepancy with the synoptists the historicity of the latter. We have also already seen that they are not absolutely silent concerning a Jerusalem ministry.

3. The day of our Lord’s death. There are grave difficulties in the endeavour to harmonize the twofold chronology of the day of the Last Supper and of the Crucifixion. In Matt. 26:17; Mark 14:12; and Luke 22:7, we gather that our Lord celebrated the Paschal meal with his disciples. The natural interpretation of such phrases as, “on the first day of unleavened bread” (to which Luke adds, “when the Passover must be killed,” and Mark, “when they kill the Passover”), suggests that no extraordinary deviation from the legal enactment as to the day took place on the occasion. “The first day of unleavened bread” legally began on the evening of the 14th of Nisan or Abib, after the Paschal meal was eaten, i.e. after sunset of the 14th (Exod. 12:18, 19; 23:15), the days being reckoned from sunset to sunset. It was not the universal custom to abstain from leaven on that day, but the 14th day, being so closely associated in its earlier hours with the solemn ceremony of the evening, was often thus hallowed, because “between the evenings” of that day—between three and six—the Passover was prepared, the lamb was slain in the courts of the temple, and the other elements of the feast were brought together for the purpose. So the whole of the 14th day (see Josephus, ‘Bell. Jud.,’ v. 3. 1) was often regarded as the first day of unleavened bread. We find also (‘Ant.,’ ii. 15. 1) that the Feast of Unleavened Bread is said to last eight days. At this Paschal supper Judas was pointed out as the traitor, and, according to all the synoptists, the Lord’s Supper was instituted. Now, there can scarcely be any doubt that the supper, or evening meal, described in John’s Gospel is identical with this Supper; otherwise, on two distinct occasions Peter must have obtained an indication of the person of the traitor. Moreover, in John’s Gospel, as well as the synoptists, the night of the Supper was also the night of the betrayal. It must, however, be observed that John prefaces his account with the statement that the “supper” at which this indication of Judas’s treachery took place was “before the Feast of the Passover” (ch. 13:1).

Further, this statement in John is coupled with a variety of expressions which imply that the Passover of the Jews was kept on the following day. Thus such an implication is found in ch. 13:29, where “the feast” is spoken of as still impending, and Judas is supposed to have received a command to purchase what was needed and give something to the poor, and he went out, as the disciples thought, to fulfil the commission. At all events, we learn that, on the night of the Supper, he did chaffer and agree with priests, and arranged his guard of temple servants to apprehend his Lord. Now, legally speaking, this would have been a violation of the Law according to all four accounts, because the 15th day, commencing with the evening of the 14th, was a holy day. Contradictory passages are brought from the Jewish writers, from the Mishnah and the Talmudists, to illustrate the degree of sanctity with which the 15th day of Nisan was regarded. Thus Tholuck shows from Mishnah (‘Schabbath,’ c. 23. 1) that a species of purchase could be made on the sabbath, and (c. 1. 1) that gifts could be made to the poor on “the sabbath;” while Godet and Schürer quote from Talmudists (‘Beyah,’ v. 2), “Every action which is reprehensible on the sabbath day is equally so on a festival day, such as to hold a meeting of a court” (cf. Josephus, ‘Ant.,’ viii. 8. 4; ‘Bell. Jud.,’ vi. 2. 3).

But further (ch. 18:28), the Jews, we are told, would not enter the house of a heathen, lest they should be polluted, but that they might “eat the Passover.” The natural interpretation of this is that the Paschal meal had not yet been celebrated by the priests and people, and the suggestion is then made that, while Jesus was hanging on the cross, the Paschal lambs were being slain by thousands in the temple, and that the people were generally preparing to eat the Passover. In addition to this (ch. 19:14, 31, 42), the evening of the Crucifixion was spoken of as the παρασκευή of the Passover, and that the holy day following the Paschal meal, by reason of its coinciding with the ordinary weekly sabbath, was therefore spoken of as a “great day.”

If these passages from the fourfold narrative are allowed to stand in their most obvious primâ facie sense, it is clear that a grave apparent contradiction occurs, on which the opponents of the authenticity of the Fourth Gospel have not failed to lay powerful stress. They have endeavoured to found upon it, in part, an argument that the author of the Fourth Gospel, in his resolve to give a theological bias to his narrative and to identify Jesus with the Paschal Lamb of the new covenant, deliberately set at nought the widespread tradition of our Lord’s crucifixion having taken place on the great day of convocation. Such a course is thought utterly incompatible with Johannine authorship; inasmuch as we are told, in the synoptic narrative, that Peter and John assisted in preparing the Paschal meal on the night before the Crucifixion. Moreover, they have argued, from the tradition preserved by Eusebius, ‘Hist. Eccl.,’ v. 24, that Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus, had appealed to the authority and practice of the Apostle John as having “observed the 14th day, according to the Gospel.” It has been assumed that John followed a custom which is directly repudiated by the Gospel attributed to him, and therefore some have urged he could not have been the writer, but that another and much later author had had the audacity to make these changes, induced by a settled anti-Jewish theological bias. Moreover, every attempt at harmonizing the narratives has been often contemptuously resisted as the work of presumptuous apologists, who are unable to appreciate the higher criticism.

Let us inquire what the quarto-deciman practice was to which, according to Polycrates and others, the apostle gave his sanction. “The Churches of all Asia,” says Eusebins (‘Hist. Eccl.,’ v. 23), “guided by a very ancient tradition, thought they ought to observe the 14th day of the moon at the season of the Feast of the Saviour’s Passover” (σωτηρίου, not σωτηρίας: it is important to notice this, because the Tüibingen critics endeavour to identify this with the celebration of the commemoration of the Lord’s Supper, by translating it “at the festival of the Passover of salvation”); “being the day on which the Jews were commanded to slay the lamb; holding that it was fitting to terminate the days of fasting on that day, on whatsoever day of the week it might occur.” The Sicilian ‘Pasch. Chron.,’ quoting Apollinarius of Hierapolis and Clemens of Alexandria, strongly and explicitly identify the sacrifice of Christ with the slaying of the Paschal lamb, and declare emphatically that our Lord was crucified on the 14th day of the month. If the Tübingen hypothesis be correct, the early Jewish Christians terminated their fast and began their festival on the night preceding the day on which they commemorated the Lord’s crucifixion. This is entirely incredible. The “festival of the Saviour’s Passover” was clearly celebrated by them, whichever day of the week it occurred, at a time when the Jews were celebrating their Passover, and on the night after the Passion.

The idea conveyed by the above quotation was that the celebration of the Passover of the Saviour, i.e. the sacrifice of Christ our Passover, in place of the Paschal Lamb took place when the Jews were commanded to slay the lamb, and was not a mere commemoration of the institution of the Supper on the previous evening.

The repudiation, however, of the Johannine authorship of the Gospel has been advocated on these most insufficient grounds. It seems to us strangely unsatisfactory to insist on this conclusion so long as any rational method can be discovered by which the apparently contradictory statements can be reconciled. The difficulties of doing this are obviously enhanced by the attempts which have been made by apologists to create a harmony by precisely opposite methods.

(1) Hengstenberg, Tholuck, Godwin, Wieseler, Edersheim, Lightfoot, Lange, Luthardt, Lieut. Conder, and M’Clellan have all, with high plausibility, endeavoured to explain every reference to the impending Passover in the Fourth Gospel as being in harmony with the assertion of the synoptists that the Jewish Paschal meal was held on the Thursday evening, and that that evening, in fact, was none other than the 14–15th of Nisan. They have minimized the importance of the reference to the outgoing of Judas and his supposed purchase, and by the fact that the synoptists all describe transactions of that terrible night which were all obviously contrary to the strict letter of the Law. They have shown that the τὸ πάσχα, which the Jews were going to eat on the day of the Crucifixion, was the midday festival, consisting of the chagigah and other offerings, which were eaten every day of the Passover week, and which were in the Old Testament called “Passovers” (see Deut. 16:2; 2 Chron. 35:7–9). It is said that pesach does not mean the Paschal lamb exclusively (see 2 Chron. 30:22). It is urged, further, that the defilement of entering the Prætorium on a morning of the 15th of Nisan would last till sunset, and no later, and so would not have interfered with their eating the Paschal meal on the evening of the 14th, but would have precluded their participation in the chagigah; that the various scenes of bearing the cross and of the Crucifixion were not impossible for Jews to have carried through on the day of holy convocation, because they might consider that the apprehension and crucifixion of Jesus was a kind of Divine service (ch. 16:2); and, lastly, that the references to the παρασκευή are all limited to the period of preparation of the ordinary solemnity of sabbath observance, and meant nothing more than the Friday before a sabbath, that it was a specially “great” day because the sabbath fell in the Passover week.

By thus dealing with every reference to the imminence of the Passover in the Fourth Gospel, they have endeavoured to make the two accounts entirely coincident.

(2) On the other hand, Bleek, Gresswell, Godet, B. Weiss, Meyer, Westcott and Mansell (in the ‘Speaker’s Commentary’), Plummer, Farrar, and Watkins have as strenuously endeavoured to strengthen all the statements in the Fourth Gospel, urging thus that the synoptists themselves enumerate numerous circumstances which show that, as Jews, they could not have really meant to imply that the transactions of the night of the agony and the Crucifixion day could have been possible on a holy day of convocation; that Simon the Cyrenian would not have been coming into Jerusalem, nor have been allowed to bear the cross on that day; that neither the women nor Joseph would have bought or brought spices to the sepulchre, nor would priests have rolled a stone to the door of the tomb; that the entire proceedings in the court and at Calvary were incompatible with the restrictions of the sabbath and great days of festival; that Philo expressly excludes legal processes, δικαζεῖν, as allowable on this day of holy convocation (‘De Migratione Ab.,’ i. 150); that all the supposed violations by Jesus of the sabbath would have been insignificant by the side of so flagrant a series of deviations from sacred and traditionary rule (Weiss, iii. 275); that even the synoptic narrative (Matt. 26:5; Mark 14:2) shows that the intention of the chief priests was to destroy Jesus, “not on the feast day,” therefore either before or after it,—a similar intention was formed by Herod Agrippa with reference to the intended execution of St. Peter (Acts 12:4); that the term “preparation” is not restricted to the meaning of “Friday,” but in this particular connection receives a special application,—it is called the preparation of the Passover, used obviously in its broadest sense (cf. ch. 2:23; Luke 22:1; Josephus, ‘Ant.,’ xviii. 2, 2); finally, that the Acts of the Apostles speak of the day of Pentecost, the fiftieth day reckoned from “the morrow after the sabbath of the Passover” (cf. Lev. 23:15; Deut. 16:9), so that the Easter morning and the Day of Pentecost must have fallen on the same day of the week. But in the year of our Lord’s death there is no doubt that the Easter morning was a first day of the week, and this circumstance, combined with the universal tradition of the Church, shows that the Pentecost was also commemorated on a Sunday. Consequently, in the year when our Lord died, it becomes evident that, according to Luke’s own narrative, the Paschal lamb was slain on the evening of the Crucifixion.

This mode of vindicating the apparent superiority of John’s narrative has been adopted by some, who boldly aver that the synoptists each severally made a serious mistake in saying or implying that the Jews kept their Passover on the night preceding the agony, rather than on the evening after the Passion, and that the tradition of the synoptic narrative was corrected by St. John, one of the apostles, who had special reasons for accuracy with reference to this chronological detail.

There is, however, no reason to conclude that the first three evangelists made any mistake as to the fact that our Lord did celebrate the Passover with his disciples, blending it with a second feast, or calling special attention to one momentous element of that Passover feast, and therein instituting the “Lord’s Supper,” and moreover that he did so on “the night in which he was betrayed.”

In order to establish harmony on this hypothesis with the statements of the Fourth Gospel, we must suppose, with Gresswell, Godet, Westcott, and others, that there was a distinct indication in the synoptists of an anticipation of a whole day, so far as Jesus and his disciples were concerned, in the celebration of the feast itself.

Thus the tone of the message sent to the certain individual (δείνα) with whom our Lord had made his arrangements for the furnishing and preparing of the large upper chamber, is one of haste and surprise: “My hour is come. I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples.” In other words, “To-morrow it will be too late. Make ready at once to-day.”

If the question of the disciples was put on the morning of the 14th, then harmony with John’s narrative, as understood by Christian writers—from Clemens Alex. and Chrysostom to Lightfoot, Baur, Strauss, Westcott, and Thoma—is impossible. But it is eminently probable that the question of the disciples and the answer and message of Jesus were all uttered on the 13th of Nisan, a day which was called the pre-preparation for the Passover. All the circumstances of the feast, the crowds of pilgrims, the difficulty of obtaining accommodation, would make the preparation of room and feast a longer process than could be accomplished in one short afternoon.

The difficulty arises in the expressions of the synoptists: “The first day of unleavened bread,” “the days of unleavened bread,” “the day of unleavened bread,” which are generally taken by the opponents of John’s narrative to mean the 15th of Nisan, commencing on the evening of the 14th; but it was on the evening of the 13th (i.e. the beginning of the 14th), at candlelight, that the first thorough search was made for the presence of leaven, and that people went forth to draw fresh water for making their unleavened bread. Hence our Lord hastens his proceedings on the very night on which the message was sent; i.e. on the Jewish commencement of the first real day of unleavened bread, he gathers the twelve in the upper chamber, in the real beginning of the day on which he was to suffer, and towards the close of which day the Paschal lambs would be slain by the people generally. That his lamb should have been slain in the temple was not a part of the original enactment concerning the Paschal meal, and on this, as on other occasions, our Lord reverted to the original arrangement. Further, the expression, “when they killed the Passover” (Mark 14:12), would be perfectly accurate if reference were made to the last hours of the 13th, in which, according to the Jewish reckoning, the 14th day was already begun.

Between these two methods of effecting reconciliation of the Johannine and synoptic narratives, opinions have varied since the days of Chrysostom. Both appear plausible, and it cannot be said that the question is finally decided. One thing is certain, that the two narratives are not hopelessly at variance, and therefore the frequent assurances on this head from opponents of the genuineness of the Fourth Gospel fall to the ground.

Let it be observed that the entire statement of the synoptic narrative turns upon the few words on which we have just commented, while the Johannine references are numerous and varied, though not positively decisive as to the day.

The preponderance of evidence seems to me decidedly in favour of the Johannine suggestions and presuppositions, and a close examination of the synoptic narrative itself shows it to be in close agreement with the Johannine, and the later Paschal controversies are in harmony with the conclusion.

Further confirmations of the Johannine chronology may be found

(1) In the language of St. Paul, who says, “Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us,” showing that it was not left for St. John, still less for an unknown writer in the second century, to have formulated the idea of the close connection between the death of the Lord and the slaying of the Paschal lamb.

(2) The Talmud explicitly confirms the accuracy of John’s statements. Mishnah ‘Sanh.:’ “Jesus was suspended on the evening of the Passover” (b’eerev h’appesach), which is undoubtedly the afternoon of the 14th of Nisah, not the 15th.

(3) Though the preparation of the Paschal lamb is spoken of by the synoptists (Mark 14:12–16), yet the peculiarities of the Passover feast are not referred to; e.g. the bitter herbs, the charoseth, the prolix ritual, the recital of the Great Hallel, the four or five cups of wine. The wine and bread portion of the Last Supper was expressly regarded as an appendix to the Supper itself (1 Cor. 11:25), and not, in accordance with the traditional ritual, a part of the supper itself (Weiss).

(4) The simple supposition that a custom prevailed among the Jews of spreading the allowable opportunity of the sacrifice of the Paschal lamb over a larger portion of time, in consequence of the great crowd in Jerusalem at the time, would really cover every difficulty, if we add to it that our Lord, “desiring to eat the Passover with his disciples before he suffered,” had chosen to select such portions of the ritual and such hour of the day as best suited his dread foreknowledge of the immediate future (see further discussion in notes on ch. 13:1†, 29†; 18:28†; 19:14†, 31†).

4. The omissions of the synoptists. The silence of the synoptists touching some of the most conspicuous events of our Lord’s life, as recorded in the Fourth Gospel, is extremely perplexing on any hypothesis, such e.g. as the resurrection of Lazarus, the discourses in the temple, the valedictory discourse, and the intercessory prayer. They do severally report much interesting instruction which had already been recorded by one or other of their number; why should they, then, omit the discourses of the Lord, which, in common with the younger son of Zebedee, either they had heard, or with which their informants must have been as familiar as he? No answer which will remove all difficulty can be given to these questions. Still, the following remarks are worthy of consideration.

(1) Each of the evangelists records some words and actions of our Lord which are peculiar to himself. Even St. Mark is alone in preserving the miracle on the blind man at Bethsaida (8:22–26), and the singularly suggestive demand of our Lord for “the little ship,” which might secure his safe departure from the threatening crowd (3:9, 10). Mark alone records the impressive parable concerning “the seed growing secretly” (4:26–29). The condensed form of the great parables of the last things, as given at length in Matt. 25, recorded by Mark in 13:34, corresponds with a host of minute touches in every narrative which materially facilitate and augment our apprehension of the events which occurred. Again, Matthew alone preserves whole groups of special instructions and events; e.g. the visit of the Wise Men, the flight to Egypt (ii.), large portions of the sermon on the mount (5–7), of the apostolic commission in 10, together with numerous sayings in Matt. 18, 20, 21:28, etc.; 23 and 25. Luke, again, alone among the four evangelists, records the particulars of the birth at Bethlehem, the visit to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve years of age, and the miracle which determined the final call of Simon Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (5:1–11). Luke alone gives the occasions when our Lord repeated the great teaching of the sermon on the mount, under conditions of which Matthew says nothing. The most memorable of all is the repetition of the substance of the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:2–4). Luke alone preserves the thrilling narrative of the raising of the son of the widow of Nain (7:11–17), and the action of our Lord with reference to the woman that was a sinner (7:36–50). He also alone enumerates the names of the women who ministered to Jesus (8:1–3). He takes special account of an evangelistic mission of seventy chosen disciples—a peculiarity of our Lord’s ministry of immense significance, and which the other three Gospels, the Acts, and Epistles entirely ignore. This ministry of the seventy was followed by a visit of Christ to the various places where they had prepared the way for his approach, as well as an extended tour of our Lord preparatory to his final manifestation of himself in Jerusalem (Luke 9:51–56; 10:1–16; 10:17–24). Luke preserves the wonderful parable of the good Samaritan (10:25–37), the visit to Bethany (10:38–42), numerous instructions and parables in 11, 12, and pre-eminently 14, 15, 16, including the most impressive of all the parables. The healing of ten lepers (17:12–19), with the special benediction on the grateful Samaritan. Luke preserves the parable of the “unjust judge,” and of the “Pharisee and publican” (18:1–14). In addition to the “prodigal son,” the “rich man and Lazarus,” he gives the story of Zacchæus (19:1–10), the appearance of Jesus before Herod (23:6–12), the manifestation of himself on the evening of Easter Day to the disciples on their journey to Emmaus, and the account of the Ascension. These peculiarities of Luke are accompanied by other narratives, in which he preserves likewise words and actions of our Lord with which we are familiar from the other evangelists. The paragraphs of various length in the Fourth Gospel, containing matter peculiar to John, are reckoned as ninety-six; but the paragraphs containing matter peculiar to Luke in his Gospel are no fewer than seventy-two; and those peculiar to Matthew not fewer than sixty-two! A fair inference is that Matthew, Luke, and John each adopted a similar principle of selection from a vast store of material, and that the peculiarities of John are not more striking; or idiosyncratic than those of Luke or Matthew. If the originalities of Luke receive our credit as having a basis of positive knowledge, then à fortiori we have a right to assume that the originalities of John have a still more trustworthy basis.

It may be said that the imposing miracle at the grave of Lazarus exercised too striking an effect on the state of feeling in the capital to suffer excision from any narrative of the last tragedy. This argument proves too much, for, on the same principle, Matthew, of all the evangelists, ought not to have omitted the reception of the chief of the publicans—an act which must have exasperated the prejudices of many of Christ’s followers, and contributed to the bitterness of the Pharisaic party; nor ought Luke to have omitted the miracle which Matthew records (12:22, etc.) as the basis of the very solemn discourse the points of which are preserved in Luke 11:17–23.

(2) The omissions of the synoptists, when contrasted with each other, are a very noticeable and remarkable feature in their narrative. Matthew and Mark omitted the visit to Jerusalem when our Lord was twelve years of age. Luke and Mark omitted the journey into Egypt. Mark and Luke omitted the special injunctions to the twelve disciples, and the great parables of the coming to judgment. Matthew and Mark omitted the raising of the widow’s son, and the parables of the prodigal son, of Dives and Lazarus, and numerous other teachings; nor can we satisfactorily account for omissions which, if they had been supplemented from the other narratives, would not have detracted from the apparent motive on which the several narratives were compiled. Ergo the omissions by the synoptists of matters found only in John’s Gospel, and the omission by John of matters found only in Matthew’s or Luke’s Gospel, ought to be no bar to our accepting the peculiarities of John’s Gospel.

These omissions of the synoptists may be traced in some degree to the ruling principle directing the composition of their narratives. Matthew’s obvious purpose is to show the fulfilment by Jesus of the true Messianic conception. He is much concerned to prove that the Lord was the theocratic King: why should he then develop the course of hierarchic antagonism to the Christ from the beginning? The miracle on the blind man and on the dead Lazarus, though producing ulterior effects on the population of Jerusalem, favourable and adverse, were not fundamentally more remarkable than many other of Christ’s miracles of power and mercy. To us, from the special detail by which they are environed, they acquire a more emphatic interest. The memories of the twelve (followed mainly by the marvellous tax-gatherer) were so surcharged with a sense of the supernatural power of Jesus, that these events were grouped rather than isolated. John had from peculiar circumstances been more behind the scenes, and saw how certain special miracles had wrought unfavourably upon the governing religious authority, and he set himself to unravel the animosity of this same authority, to vindicate the fundamental ideas, that the Logos incarnate had come to his own, and that his own received him not. Luke, in his intention to set forth the perfect humanity of the Son of the Highest, clothes him with the highest and most famous characteristics from the first. He was not one of the twelve, and therefore was neither at Bethany nor “Ephraim,” but the great and wonderful narrative of Nain, coming, as we may suppose, under his own observation or cognizance, revealed the intense humanity of Christ even more than the restoration of Lazarus, and, having told it in a way which had melted hearts, he left the resurrection of Lazarus for others. Davidson (lib. cit., ii. 363, 364) says the miracle took place, according to the Fourth Gospel, “only a few days before the triumphal entry.” The narratives of the synoptists exclude it; but this seems in forgetfulness of ch. 11:54, which implies a retirement of Jesus before the final entry (see notes). A consideration of importance has often been used to justify the omission. Prudential motives may have preserved the incognito when the synoptic narrative took shape, which would have ceased to operate long before John undertook his great task.

The coincidences of the three synoptists with one another are undoubtedly more numerous than their coincidences with the Fourth Gospel. The former are so abundant that they need not be cited. If they were confined to the synoptists, and if the entire platform was deserted by the Fourth Gospel, the conclusion would militate against the historicity of the Gospel of John; but there are special and numerous points in which John’s Gospel coincides with the synoptic narrative.

B. The coincidences of the synoptic and Fourth Gospels.

The points of divergence have naturally created much inquiry, but the points of coincidence and identity between the synoptists and John are still more remarkable, and deserve special attention. We will consider them under three main divisions: (1) broad facts of the history; (2) the incidental allusions of John to matters of fact which we know of from the synoptists, but which he has himself nowhere affirmed or announced; (3) subtle peculiarities of manner of style and of vocabulary, which proclaim the fundamental unity of the theme and subject-matter. We will then deal with specific objections.

1. The facts. The synoptists and John agree in admitting that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (comp. ch. 7:42 with Luke 2 and Matt. 2), though this is disputed. Still, it appears to us perfectly clear that the evangelist records the supposed objection to the non-Bethlehem origin of Jesus, which had been refuted by the widely circulated details of the birth. It is true that he does not reply to the insinuation that Jesus was born in Bethlehem with the well-known historic fact, but he knows that his readers will have the answer ready to turn the taunt into a victorious proof of his Messiahship (Dr. Salmon, ‘Introduction to the New Testament,’ has admirably argued this point). They agree in asserting that his early home was Nazareth (ch. 1:46; cf. Matt. 2:23; Luke 2:51); that he left Nazareth, and treated Capernaum as his later residence and “city” (comp. ch. 2:12 and 6:17, 24 with Matt. 9:1; Luke 7:1; 4:31; Mark 2:1). The four Gospels agree in recognizing John the Baptist as the great precursor of the Christ. And the Fourth Gospel, as well as the first and second, refer to “the voice crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord,” as being fulfilled in the early ministry of the Baptist. The specialty of the Fourth Gospel is that these words and this reference to Isaiah are therein attributed to the Baptist himself. The synoptists coincide in telling us that John introduced the Messiah to the people, and refer to the circumstances and accompaniments of his baptism of Jesus, the opening of heaven, the voice from the excellent glory. The Fourth Gospel adds certain traits which had been omitted by the synoptists, such as the place of the first baptismal ministry of the forerunner, viz. “Bethany beyond Jordan,” and inserts the fact that the Holy Spirit not only descended but abode on the Lord (ch. 1:32).

True, there is a striking discrepancy. In the Fourth Gospel we find the Baptist making use of the remarkable words, “I knew him not, but he that sent me to baptize with water said, Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Holy Spirit descend and rest, the same is he that baptizeth with the Holy Spirit.” Thus it would seem that John came to know the Lord by the marvels attending the baptism. Yet Matthew tells us that, when Jesus came to the baptism, John said, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” This, it is alleged, amounts to an admission of knowledge, which the Fourth Gospel represents John as positively disclaiming until after the baptism. The word “knowledge” is a relative one. There may have been quite knowledge enough to induce John to shrink from baptizing one of such lofty character and known antecedents as those which prevailed in the family circles of Mary and Elisabeth; but John received such overwhelming conviction of the Divine commission and sacred self-revelation of the Lord Jesus, that he could with all propriety have said, notwithstanding his hesitation at the baptism, “I knew him not” (see notes on ch. 1:33). The Fourth Gospel takes up the ministry of John just where the synoptists close their fragmentary comment. It is not without special interest that in “the swanlike song” of the Baptist (ch. 3:29), he uses a metaphor derived from the entire conception of “the Bridegroom” and the “friend of the Bridegroom,” to which, as we see in the synoptists’ account of our Lord’s reply to the disciples of John on the subject of fasting, he reverted when defending his own disciples from the charge of undue freedom and joyfulness (Mark 2:18–20 and parallels). This undesigned coincidence is singularly instructive.

The brethren of Jesus, the mother, and Joseph as the father of Jesus, are all referred to by the fourth evangelist (see ch. 2:1–12; 6:42; 7:3; 19:25). If John had entirely ignored the existence of father, mother, and brethren, it would have been in harmony with the supposed docetic tendency of this Gospel; but he, who describes the birth of Jesus as the coming into the world of the true Light, and of his being born of the Spirit, lays emphasis on the non-belief of the brothers (ch. 7:5), and the mystery of Jesus being called the Son of Joseph (ch. 1:45 and 6:42), for which he offers no explanation. There is remarkable undesigned coincidence here with those references to Joseph in the synoptists, and to the plot which the Pharisees laid, with the assistance of the brothers, to take Jesus by force as one “beside himself” (Mark 3:21; οἱ παρ᾽ αὐτοῦ are clearly identifiable with the “mother and brethren” of vers. 31–35). Few features of our Lord’s ministry, in the synoptists, are more certain than the fact that Jesus chose twelve disciples to be “with him,” and to perpetuate his work. Now, John never describes the call of the twelve disciples, and, indeed, makes it clear that he was not always accompanied by the twelve; and yet, in ch. 6:67, the δώδεκα are specially mentioned, and they are hinted as twelve in ver. 13 (see also ch. 20:24).

Two celebrated signs of the Lord’s supernatural power are recorded, not only by John, but by the synoptists, viz. Christ’s feeding the five thousand and walking on the sea (ch. 6:1–21). There are several additional traits thrown in, but the four records refer, without question, to the same fact, and the excitement produced by the first of these miracles is signalized by each of the narratives.

The anointing of the Lord at Bethany is described by Matthew (26) and Mark (14). John clearly refers to the same event, and adds certain very noticeable features. The date is fixed “six days before the Passover,” the woman’s name is given as “Mary,” whose personal obligations to the honoured Guest are explained by reference to her brother Lazarus, whom our Lord had recalled from the tomb. The objection to her enthusiastic love is made to be the special suggestion of Judas (ch. 12:4–6).

The triumphal entry into Jerusalem from Bethany is recorded with characteristic features by the synoptists and John. The incidents and converse of the Last Supper are conceived from a fresh standpoint, and whereas the synoptists describe a Paschal feast, John calls it simply a δεῖπνον; while the earlier evangelists give the institution of the Eucharist, John describes at length the washing of the feet, and records sacramental ideas of the valedictory discourse. Yet they are all four agreed on the discovery and exit of Judas, and there are several matters introduced into the discourse which are illuminated by comparison with those conversations “by the way,” which Luke expressly records (see notes, ch. 13:31–35).

The trial-scenes, the denials of the Lord by Peter, the character and conduct of Pilate, the mention of Barabbas, the title “King of the Jews,” the presence of the women at the cross, the method of the death, and the fact and place of the burial, as well as the witnesses and chief incidents of the Resurrection, correspond with the analogous details given in the synoptists, while many points mentioned by John imply an acquaintance on his part with matters referred to by the synoptists, and which would be inexplicable except on the hypothesis that John had the synoptic narrative before him. This is very remarkable in the trial-scenes; e.g. John (18:30, 35) makes it appear that the Jews had formally condemned Jesus in their own court to be guilty of death. The full account of this is only to be found by combining the narratives of Matthew and Luke; but John has said nothing of this scene. Nevertheless, the condemnation by the Sanhedrin, as given by the synoptists, is necessary in order to explain John’s narrative. Many similar characteristics pervade the entire Gospel, and deserve special consideration.

Our conclusion is, that though there are great peculiarities in Matthew, Luke, and John (and John’s are scarcely more numerous than those of the first or third evangelist), yet that the most impressive facts and cardinal events in this marvellous narrative are common to all four evangelists; that John’s narrative presupposes on the part of his readers a knowledge of the synoptists, and throws in return great light upon them, and imparts in many crucial cases the additional fact which confers validity on them.

2. The coincidental and diversified reference in the Fourth Gospel to matters which are given in detail, or differently specified, in the synoptic Gospels. These references are twofold: (1) those which affect matters of fact and date and outward circumstance; (2) those which relate to the fundamental elements of the character and teaching of our Lord.

(1) Among the former: (a) The incidental reference of the Fourth Gospel to the vision and accompaniments of the baptism of Jesus. This act is not described, nor is the vision set forth, but both are involved in the account given by John the Baptist, and are recorded simply because they produced deep effect on all the subsequent character and ministry of the Baptist. (b) The reference, in ch. 3:24, to the fact that “John was not yet cast into prison.” This accounts for the descriptions given of John’s continued ministry. There is no other reference to John’s imprisonment, and none to his death. Ch. 5:35 implies, by the aorist ἠθελήσατε, that at that period the public ministry of John had been terminated. Why was the statement of ch. 3:24 introduced? We see no other reason than that the synoptic tradition (Matt. 4:12) had made the close of John’s public ministrations coincide with the commencement of Christ’s Galilæan ministry; and to show the reader of Matthew’s statement that the earliest ministry in Judæa and Samaria preceded the departure from Judæa into Galilee. (c) The εἰς τὸ ὄρος of ch. 6:3 suggests a well-known mountain, best explained by the frequent references to it in the synoptists. (d) Attention has already been called to the apparent acquaintance with the character and power of the Lord displayed by Peter in his first introduction to him as narrated in Luke 5:6 (cf. ch. 4:38 with Matt. 4:18; Mark 1:16, 29). These events are all illuminated, and especially Mark’s chronology, by the fact of a previous acquaintance with Jesus where John at first baptized. (e) There are sundry and subtle indications in John’s majestic description of the night of the passion and of the trial between Pilate, that the writer was perfectly familiar with the synoptic narrative, and presupposed acquaintance with its special details in the representation he made of the incarnate love. The profoundest insight into the blended agony and peace of the Saviour’s spirit is given in the Fourth Gospel. Ch. 12:23–36 throws much needed light on the sorrows of Gethsemane. Ch. 18:11, addressed to Peter and recorded by John, provides a thrilling reminiscence of the prayer, recorded on the authority of one or both of them, in the synoptic narrative. The supplementary theory will only account for some of the facts. Each of the Gospels presents some special revelation of the wondrous life with strange breviloquence. When these touches of divinely suggested portraiture are brought together, we find that we are not distracted with two or four Christs, but we behold one, and one only.

(2) There are several striking and difficult omissions by John of cardinal and momentous revelations of the Lord, which, if they had left no trace upon the Fourth Gospel, might threaten the unity and identity of the Christ as portrayed therein. These omissions are mainly “the temptation of Christ,” “the transfiguration,” “the institution of the Lord’s Supper,” “the agony in the garden,” “the ascension of Christ to the right hand of God.” A brief consideration of these omissions must suffice.

I have omitted further reference to the baptism, and proceed to the temptation.

(a) The temptation. The temptation is described in the synoptic narrative as occurring immediately after the baptism, and before “John was cast into prison,” therefore in the interval that elapses in the Fourth Gospel between the first testimony of the Baptist and the return to Galilee in the close of the fourth chapter. The question arises—Does the fourth evangelist reveal the presence, in the course of his narrative, of the essential elements of the typical temptation? It is not necessary to insist on the recognition in this Gospel of the assault on Jesus by the prince of this world (see ch. 12:31; 16:11), the devilish malice of Judas (ch. 6:70), the suggestion made by Christ’s brothers (ch. 7:3), and the probable explanation of the great abrupt cry (ch. 1:29), “Behold the Lamb of God!” but it seems as though the special group of temptations recorded in the synoptic narrative was neither unknown nor unappreciated by the fourth evangelist.

The first temptation seizes on the suffering humanity of Jesus, when he was famished by forty days of fasting. “If thou be the Son of God,” as the voice from heaven has proclaimed thee to be, “command that these stones be made bread.” Employ thy supernatural power for the miraculous supply of thine own need. Thou art above the ordinary conditions of nature; therefore triumph over thy circumstances. Assert thyself. Do not demean thine origin by earning or begging thy daily bread! The reply of Jesus was, “Man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” So far the synoptists; but John tells us that one of the earliest incidents of our Lord’s ministry brings the God-Man to a marriage-feast, where the voice of a loving temptress said to him. “They have no wine.” The virgin-mother longed that her royal Son should show forth his glory by expressing in imperial tones his claim to all the riches of these vine-clad hills. Our Lord resented this intrusion upon the choice of the method or hour of his self-manifestation; but he did not hesitate in the royalty of his love to give to others, and to do for them what he utterly refrained from doing for himself in his own dire extremity. None but they who drew the water knew that the Creator’s hand had touched it. The governor of the feast simply attested the reality and excellence of the wine. The disciples believed. They had learned a lesson of his power, but caught a deeper insight into his heart Christ never implied that he could not or would not turn stones into bread, or water into wine, but declared that the Word and the place of his Father for him were to give, not to grasp—to give himself for the life of the world; for his flesh was meat indeed, his blood wine indeed, for a starving and perishing humanity.

A similar lesson is taught even more vividly in the fourth chapter of the Gospel. There we find him seated, weary in the noontide heat, by Jacob’s well (ver. 6). Why does he, who could transform water into wine for others, not smite the slopes of Gerizim, and cause the running fountain to burst forth for his relief? The fourth evangelist records the affecting incident that, for his own refreshment from the misery of thirst, the Son of God asked an alien to supply his need. “He saith to the woman of Samaria, Give me to drink.” The pathos of the position from John’s standpoint is almost infinite. There is the same physical exhaustion as in the narrative of the other scene in the wilderness. Divine energy is shown to be latent in his will. His personal needs are as great; his self-restraint as sublime. He is content to suffer, and to cast himself on the charity of a Samaritan. This commandment had he received of the Father. By this Word of God the Incarnate Word doth live.

Nor are the parallels to the principle of his victory over the devil completed here; for after a while the disciples return to him from the city Sychar, with their store of provisions, and “they prayed him, saying, Master, eat;” and his mysterious reply confounded them, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of. My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” Thus the fourth evangelist, in luminous fashion, reports a conflict with and a victory over the same class of temptation as that recorded in the synoptic Gospels. “He saved others; himself he cannot save;” and “Though he was rich” beyond all imagination, “yet for our sakes he became poor, poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). “It was more blessed,” more God-like, “to give than to receive.”

The second temptation of the devil brought the Divine Lord, either in vision or reality, to the pinnacle of the temple, to the spot whence the priest watched the first gleam of sunrise over the Eastern hills, in order to give the signal for the morning sacrifice. He saw the courts of the temple crowded with the early worshippers, and the riot and clamour of the priests’ bazaar, and all the busy multitude intent on ritual or on gain. “Cast thyself down,” said the tempter—commit thy way to God, entrust thyself to the arms of angels, and to the care of thy Father—”thou shalt not dash thy feet against a stone.”

This was not a covert plea for suicide, but a bid for power. Had Jesus yielded to this temptation, how loud would have been the shout, “Behold, he cometh in the clouds of heaven!” The temple-throng would have hailed him at once as their Messiah-King; for he would have come “suddenly to his temple,” in a manner which would have annihilated his enemies and inflamed his friends with theocratic zeal. The language of our Lord to this temptation of the evil one was another revelation of his filial reverence for God’s holy providence. He protested against all presumptuous trifling with the promises of God. This superhuman method of descent upon the wondering crowd would forfeit all his conscious hold upon the Divine Word. True, it might precipitate a tumultuous rebellion against the power of Rome; but his own people were suffering from a far more terrible bondage and a more humiliating yoke. Signs and wonders like these would quicken no conscience, would purify no heart. Intent on self-glory, he would have had no grasp on ancient promise, and he replied, “It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” He would not trifle with the letter of the revealing Word. He would not dazzle the eyes of the multitude in his own interest, and call it faith. Presumption is not dependence, nor is vulgar amazement at the power he wielded the faith in his claims which would save a single soul from its habitual distrust of God.

Now, our Lord is represented, even in John’s Gospel, as resisting the forces of nature, and holding them in visible check. He walked upon the wave, but he did this to reassure and save his storm-tossed followers, and to deepen their nascent faith in his Divine claims.

The Lord was moved at Cana and Bethsaida, as he had been tempted in the wilderness, to assume the headship and mastery of the old creation. Should a similar marvel be suggested, simply to emancipate his own life from the hard and mysterious limitations which he had voluntarily assumed for our salvation, he would reject the suggestion with indignation; yet, if such acts as these, by change of circumstances, could become occasions for manifesting the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, for making known the royalty of Divine love to men, he never hesitated to feed the multitudes, to hush the tempest, and to raise the dead. So now, it would seem from John’s Gospel that, though temptation to enter the temple by magical means and self-glorying pride was sternly repudiated, it may have suggested another way of “suddenly coming to that temple,” ablaze with the moral earnestness of one whose zeal consumed him. The profanation of the temple-courts by the huge market held there for sacrificial beasts, and also for exchanging foreign coin with the holy shekel, roused his prophetic soul. He asserted the sanctity of the temple. He drove the priestly traffickers from the sacred enclosure with words of menace. He provoked the hostility of the worldly hierarchy. He encountered the first murmur of the storm which gathered evermore in dark and angry clouds, until the temple of his body was riven in the lightning of the wrath which the devil’s advocacy would have tempted him to placate by magical compliances, and subdue by dazzling symbols of his power. The first cleansing of the temple is the true and full response to Satan’s ingenious suggestion, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down.”

The form and meaning of the third temptation, as recorded in the synoptic Gospels, derives much elucidation from the Johannine recognition of the second. “The devil taketh him up into an high mountain,” to some Nebo or Gerizim height, “whence he showed to him the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, To thee will I give all this authority, and the glory of them: for it hath been delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.” There was too much truth in this boast of the spirit of evil, then hiding himself in the robes of an angel of light. The thrones of the world, from Nimrod to Nebuchadnezzar, from the Pharaohs to the Cæsars, had been builded with blood, defended with ambition and avarice, and often decorously veiled by splendid achievement. The honours of the world-kingdoms are won still and retained by complicity with moral wrong. Even the scales of justice have been loaded. Antiquity makes respectable what conscience condemns. Those who seek to win and overtop the world have to coincide with it and wink at its evil. The prophets of the Lord, by uncompromising front, have dashed themselves against the fortress of the world’s sin, and perished in the attempt; have sought to revolutionize the foundations of power and the very material of human authority, and they have failed. The prince of this world has been too strong for them; and the bad succession of power passes on from race to race, and from generation to generation. Now, what is the devil’s proposal and “temptation”—a temptation which has a side on which the Son of God could feel it? Outspoken, put into burning words it was, “All this will I give thee, if thou wilt worship me. All shall be thine!” Who is the giver? The object of momentary worship claims to be the source of all earthly power. To worship the devil as such is too terrible a blasphemy and too preposterous an absurdity to be a temptation to any being in whom conscience is not absolutely seared. That the Holy One of God should have regarded it as a temptation shows that by this worship was meant the honour due to possession and stability in human affairs. The temptation must have taken some such shape as this: “Do not commence the warfare with human disobedience by demanding fundamental changes of the ultimate and deepest sources of power. Recognize the authority and power of the world as it is. Utilize its follies. Compromise with existing ideas. Bear with a temple that is profaned; do not attempt to cleanse it. Accept the priesthood as it stands. Accede to the dominant and exacting tradition. Obey the sabbatic law as it has been interpreted by eager legalists. All the powers of the world from Caiaphas to Tiberius, all the wealth and all the honours of every state, will be at thy disposal if thou wilt worship me, if thou wilt even allow, or partially recognize, the divinity of the world-power as it stands.” When translated into any language in which it is intelligible, it is but in other words the plausible pantheistic glorification of evil. Subtle as the temptation was, screened behind an effulgence of promise, the Son of God strips it of all disguise. With courage, he calls the accuser of the holiest things by his true name: “Get thee behind me. Satan. It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Any and every admission on his part of the legitimacy of expedient sin is resisted. No acceptance of any power but that which is based on righteousness, and no compromise with evil, can be tolerated. Earthly dignity, rank, and kingship are not passports into the kingdom over which he presided. Whatever be the issue, God’s will must be the supreme law of life.

Such seems, in brief, to be the lesson of the third temptation, regarded as the devil’s masterpiece, and made at the very commencement of the Lord’s ministry.

The question arises—Does the Fourth Gospel record, at this particular epoch of Christ’s life, any corresponding conflict with such a view of human affairs as that which the Divine Lord contemplated and indignantly rejected in his third temptation? (α) The cleansing of the temple was an emphatic repudiation of any sacro-sanct claims inherent in venerable sin. (β) An incident is recorded which more fully illustrates the same thought. A dignified ecclesiastic (ch. 3.) approached our Lord. He was high in social position, and of great repute. He was a teacher of Israel, a ruler of the Jews. He came with compliment and self-importance. “We know,” said he, “that thou art a Teacher come from God: for no man can do the signs which thou doest, except God be with him” (ch. 3:1, 2). We, the Sanhedrin, are prepared (he implied), on our own terms, and retaining all our high position as the rulers and teachers of the people, to admit your right, to acknowledge your mission. The startling reply of Jesus is in subtle and close harmony with the reply made to the devil, as given in the synoptic Gospel; it was, “except a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Utter, inmost, radical, moral revolution is indispensable to a place in the kingdom of God.” Utter, inmost, radical, moral revolution is indispensable to a place in the kingdom of God. No compromise with prescriptive or traditional wrong-doing is possible. A high position in the Sanhedrin, in the great family of Annas, in the Pharisaic order, or in Herod’s or Pilate’s court, is not of the feeblest importance. These things will not expiate or justify a single infraction of the eternal law of righteousness. The kingdom of Messiah is not a kingdom of the earth, but it consists exclusively of regenerated men. Nicodemus answered, “How can these things be?” The devil vanished before the tremendous thrust, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (γ) When our Lord was seated by the well, some analogous problems were presented to him. The woman said, “Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet”—”Decide for us between the sacred nationality of Samaria and Judæa, between the rival claims of the sanctuary of Gerizim and of Jerusalem. Determine the authority and glory of each.” Christ rose at once above the controversy between these rival nationalities, and indeed above the clashing interests of all opposing states, in the sublime reply, “Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father.” Kingdoms of the world, sacred shrines, holy places, have no part in Messiah’s kingdom. “They that worship the Father must worship him in spirit and in truth.” “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

The simple coexistence of these two analogous streams of Divine self-revelation is suggestive. The Fourth Gospel does not “pulverize” the synoptic narrative on the one hand, nor on the other does that wonderful recital so stamp the life and mission of the Lord as to render the Johannine representation unhistorical. On the contrary, the story of Jesus at Cana and at Jacob’s well, the cleansing of the temple, and the thunderclap which broke over the night of Nicodemus, run in strange and undersigned harmony with the story of the temptation. The Fourth Gospel places in the exact chronological position occupied by the temptation of Jesus a series of closely interlaced events which reproduce the temptations themselves and repeat the victory. The Personality of the Johannine Christ is none other than that of the synoptists.

(b) The omission of the Transfiguration. The Transfiguration, as recorded in Matt 17 and parallel passages, would have sustained the thesis of the Fourth Gospel, would have assisted the readers of it to recognize the supreme claims of him over whom heaven opened, with whom Moses and Elijah conversed, and whose countenance shone with a brightness greater than the sun’s at noonday. The voice from the excellent glory would have uttered the most powerful comment on the great theme, “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” The assumption is that one of the three who were with Christ on the holy mount wrote the Fourth Gospel. On what principle did he omit the narrative? If the insight that the beloved disciple obtained into the heart of Jesus gave him a higher and larger conception of the glory of the Lord than this vision of his physical capacity and resources, we can be satisfied that he held his peace concerning an event so widely diffused, and one which, on the hypothesis of his authorship of the Apocalypse, he had for transcended. But the Gospel is saturated with the idea which found expression on the mount of Transfiguration. In ch. 1:14, “We saw his glory, the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father;” in ch. 1:17 the grace and truth of Christ is contrasted with the Law-giving of Moses; and the great Name of the Lord, that of the only begotten Son, is the climax of the prologue. Moreover the Elijah of the new covenant converses with his own disciples touching the mystery of Christ’s sacrificial death, the decease which he would accomplish at Jerusalem (ch. 1:29). Jesus manifested his glory (τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ) at Cana (ch. 2:11; 12:41). Nathanael was promised the vision of the opening of heaven over the Son of man (ch. 1:51); and in ch. 12:28 we hear emphatically of a voice from heaven, which declared “that Heaven had glorified the Name of the Lord, and would do so again.” It is in the Fourth Gospel we read of “light and glory” visible to the spiritual eye, and that a revelation of the Father was made to those who apprehended his Sonship. The prologue is rich in the utterance of this thought. “The life” that was in the Logos was “the light of men” (ch. 1:4, note). The light which before the Incarnation and ever since has been shining into the darkness—”that light has come into the world” (ch. 1:9). Christ’s own declarations convey the same thought, and assert the testing force of such a revelation of the archetypal light (ch. 3:19–21). To the same image Christ reverted on two subsequent occasions. In ch. 8:12 he claimed to be “the Light of the world;” and in ch. 9:5, before he proceeded to illumine the dark eyes of the blind man, he said, “Whensoever I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” In ch. 14:21 he claimed that through and to “love” the manifestation should be made. Nowhere, certainly, more than in John’s Gospel do we learn that the highest radiance falls on those who receive, adore, and love. John tells us in his Epistle that “he that loveth not knoweth not.” Consequently, the evangelist learned throughout his career, and from an early introduction to Christ, that the highest glory and most vivid illumination were matters of spiritual sympathy and the revelations of love. The mountain of Transfiguration, though it conveyed the same ideas to him along the old theophanic lines, yet sank, after the lapse of years, into comparative oblivion for him, in comparison with the veritable illumination that love always searches for and finds.

Again, the account of the Transfiguration is the record of the final effect made by the early Galilæan ministry upon different classes. The synoptists record the impression produced upon the following groups successively: upon the brethren of Jesus; upon his own townsfolk; upon the multitudes; upon those diseased; upon little children; upon fallen women; upon John the Baptist; upon Herod Antipas; upon the Pharisaic party; upon the world of unseen and evil spirits; upon the twelve disciples; upon Peter especially; and finally upon the heavenly world, and upon the eternal Father. The scene of the Transfiguration is a fitting climax to a vast group of testimonies. There is no such place prepared for it in John’s Gospel, nor is it essential to the completion of any series of related events. The highest truth taught in the Transfiguration was universalized, and became a sacred doctrine in the words, “if a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come, and make our abode with him.” And where Jesus prays “that the glory which he had with the Father before the world was” may encompass him, “and that his own disciples may see it.” (ch. 17:5, 24).

The unity of the Christ of the synoptists and the Christ of the fourth evangelist is apparent enough. The omission by the latter of this event is justified by his obvious enlargement of all the ideas of the Transfiguration, viz. the inherent fulness of being, power, and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ; his at-homeness in heaven; the desire of the Christ that by any means and by full revelation of himself his disciples should see the essential Divineness of his life. Prejudice has been excited against the author by this method of his proof of the greatest glories of his Lord; but the reflection that the disciple looked back through the vista of years upon the events and teachings of Christ, is more than explanation of his choice. The doctrine of John renders the recorded fact of the Transfiguration comprehensible.

The omission cannot be put down to the unwillingness of John to deal with the transcendental revelations of Christ. The Apocalypse is adequate proof of that for those who believe that he is its author; but so also is the Gospel; for the latter is not silent about the special and unique functions and characteristics of the body of the Lord, e.g. his walking upon the sea; the physical effect produced upon the temple guards by his majestic glance; the obvious alarm produced in the mind of Pilate by his look and word; the miraculous accompaniments of his death in the stream of blood and water that issued from his side.

(c) The omission of the institution of the Lord’s Supper. This circumstance is without doubt perplexing, if we are looking to the Fourth Gospel for a complete biography from an apostolic standpoint. But we must refer again to the fragmentary nature of this Gospel, which is as conspicuous as the fragmentary character of each of the synopties. Now, when “John” wrote it the Church was an organized institution, which had passed through the severe ordeals of transplantation from Jerusalem to Antioch, to Corinth, to Alexandria, to Ephesus, and to Rome. Throughout the Roman world the Holy Supper had a recognized place. The authentic Epistles of Paul to Corinth show incontestably the grounds on which the universal custom rested. The synoptic Gospels had long since presented, with instructive differences and side-lights, the historic origin of the ceremony; and it was therefore far more probable that the apostle should have felt himself free to set forth some of its fundamental ideas and the deepest truths connoted by it, than that a theological writer of the second century, claiming to be an apostle, should have taken such a course. Such a writer could not be by any possibility ignorant of the reputed origin of the well-known rite; nor would he have dared to omit it. The omission, with a reason, justifies apostolic authorship. Let it be observed that the Fourth Gospel records the occurrence of a feast on the night of the Passion, and one in which the Lord, “having loved his own, loved them to the end,” or “manifested that love even to the uttermost.” It is in the folds and clauses of this wonderful sentence (ch. 13:1, 2) that the best place is to be found for the institution of the Supper. The entire discourse that follows (ch. 13–17) is charged with the ideas involved in the Eucharistic service. A few of these may be indicated. (α) The mutual affection and reciprocal devotion to be cherished by the disciples. (β) The necessity or incumbent duty of these disciples to receive Christ himself into their inmost nature, to take hold of him, and to find in doing it that they were receiving him that sent him (ch. 13:20). (γ) “The new commandment,” suggested in the anticipated betrayal by the son of perdition, and the foreseen denial by Peter. (δ) The prediction of Christ’s speedy departure from them, but his continuous work for them, the promise of a return after that departure, both in a physical and spiritual fashion (ch. 14:28; 16:17–23). (ε) Above all, the repeated affirmation of the intimate, mystic, Divine union between himself and his disciples, and even between himself and “those also who should believe on him through their [the apostles’] word.” This was to be effected by his departure, followed by his spiritual return.

Not only do many of the ideas of the Eucharist thus find expression, but it is obvious that in ch. 6 the mysterious phraseology used in the institution of the Supper had been anticipated. Our Lord had spoken of faith in himself under the imagery of “eating his flesh and drinking his blood.” The flesh of Christ was “veritable food,” the blood of Christ “veritable drink.” In other words, his cruel death, if accepted as the climax of all his work, would be the life of those who should believe in it. Apart from such participation, no life was possible. “He that eateth me,” said Christ, “even he shall live because of me” (ch. 6:57). The first presentation of this thought, the earliest expression of this intimate union with and participation of Christ, is set forth under the image of “eating the Bread of life” (ch. 6:50), accepting the truth of the Divine commission and nature of the Christ, admitting the fact that he came down from heaven, that he came with measureless capacity and resources to satisfy the hunger and thirst of mankind, to give eternal life, and to raise up the possessors of eternal life at the last day (ch. 6:35–40). The next stage is the full apprehension of the Incarnation, and that his humanity itself, being a manhood whose entrance into the world was unique, had become the accessible form of the living Bread, the embodiment of a visible eternal truth. The glory of God was seen and was offered to man in his humanity, in his God-Manhood. This idea naturally perplexed some of his followers, but it intensified the faith of others. Christ discriminated once more, and laid emphasis, not only on the apprehension of his “flesh,” but also of his “blood,” not only of the blood which is the life, but of the shed blood, making it evident that the death of the Divine humanity was an integral part of the mission from heaven, or, as we have it in the synopties, that he would give his life “a ransom in place of many.” He declared that we have to drink this blood, to appreciate, to accept, and to assimilate as spiritual food, the stupendous idea of the death of the Christ of God. Apart from that, there is no life in us. This principle being reiterated (ch. 6:54–56), the Lord declares, “He that eateth me” (an expression which enlarges and completes the previous statement) “shall live because of me.” After the expansion and interpretation of the original thought, he returns back to it again: “This is the bread,” etc. (ch. 6:58). Now, which is the more rational hypothesis? Did an unknown writer of the second century, by this insertion of ch. 6:35–60, and by subsequent omission of the institution of the Supper, intend to throw discredit upon the latter? or did the beloved disciple, upon whom this wonderful discourse made indelible impression, record the first occasion (by no means the only occasion) when Jesus spoke of his Divine humanity and his cruel death, and of faith in his Divinity and sacrifice as the condition of life? and, having done so, did the evangelist omit the record of the well-known Eucharist to show still more fully what he understood the Master to have meant by eating the body and drinking the blood of the Son of God?

The discourse in Capernaum, and the valedictory discourse at Jerusalem, are alike charged with the ideas, principles, and lessons which the constantly repeated Eucharist impressively symbolizes. It may be asked why should St. John omit the symbol, the concrete embodiment of spiritual ideas with which he was familiar? Why should St. John pass over the origin of an institution which is so well adapted to conserve the most impressive lessons which he proves the Lord to have given in other forms? In reply we say: (α) The repudiation of symbolic event was not his universal custom. The concrete embodiment and positive expression in historic fact of the ideas of the Temptation are proof that he did not as a habit turn from historic facts to spiritual phenomena, but even reversed the process. (β) The dawning superstition which began to enwrap the simple ritual may explain the reticence of the apostle with reference to its origination. (γ) The fourth evangelist does, however, record illustrations of the symbolic method. By recording the washing the disciples’ feet (ch. 13:8), the spiritual significance of miracles on the blind and dead (ch. 9:39; 11:25), the breathing on the apostles that they might receive the Holy Ghost (ch. 20:22), the author proved that he was not a bigoted spiritualist, or indifferent to visible symbols of eternal truth. Consequently, the omission of the well-known story of the “institution” is charged with high interpretative force.

(d) The omission of the agony in the garden. The silence of the fourth evangelist touching “the agony” in the garden is very noticeable. There are, however, several distinct correspondences of time and place. The writer (ch. 18:1) shows that he was acquainted with and vividly recalled both. He records the fact of the Lord’s crossing the stream of Kedron and reaching a garden (κῆπος more accurately describes the scene than the χωρίον of Matthew and Mark, or the τόπος of Luke), which witnessed the cruel betrayal of the Son of man. Several impressive features are preserved by the fourth evangelist. It was “a τόπος to which Jesus often resorted”—a quiet resting-place. The party of the Pharisees, “with lanterns and torches,” had been seen by the watchful eye of the evangelist descending the steep slopes below the city walls. Sundry notes of identity with the synoptic account discover themselves; e.g. the servant of the high priest is referred to by the synoptists, but his name is given here, and the right ear which he lost at the hand of Simon Peter is also specified; the allusion to “twelve legions of angels” (Matt. 26:53) is curiously confirmed by the writer’s statement that a χιλίαρχος (ch. 18:12) was in command, showing that a legion of Roman soldiers was ready to suppress a revolt should one arise; and, finally, the language of our Lord to Peter (ch. 18:11), “The cup which my Father giveth me to drink, shall I not drink it?” forcibly recalls the solemn language (Matt. 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42), “Take this cup from me: yet not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Nevertheless, it is most certain that the tone of matchless patience and courage, the mien of ineffable dignity, with which the Lord met and rebuked the guard, and proved the imperial power he could have wielded (if he had chosen) for the utter discomfiture of his enemies, form a striking contrast with the scene which John must have witnessed in the depth of that olive shade. Luke himself may have even learned from John the terrible transaction he recorded (22:43, 44). Why, then, should the evangelist have omitted it? Why, in place of the agonizing, bleeding sacrifice, with strong crying and tears, does he give us an imperial potentate, a match for all the devilry of Judas, and all the malice of the Pharisees, and all the power of Cæsar? No hint of weakness, or victory over his own feelings, but an appropriate historic close to the sublime intercession of ch. 17 According to Keim, if this account be historic, the synoptists’ narrative is utterly “pulverized.” Let two or three remarks he allowed their fair weight. It is the method of this evangelist to make frequent, nay perpetual, gaps in his narrative, bringing into apparent Juxtaposition events which are separated not only by hours, but by days and months of thrilling interest. The hour and power of darkness did intervene between the intercession and the betrayal. When Jesus came forth from the garden, the darkest hour was over. The “Thy will be done” had consecrated Gethsemane and humanity itself. The moment for action had arrived, the bracing that comes from the arrival of the climax had supervened. The angel had strengthened him. He had been heard for his godly fear (Heb. 5:7). Even the synoptists show that there was no shrinking, no bloody sweat now, but the forthcoming of miraculous energy to heal Malchus (Luke 22:51), a willingness to rebuke the rabble that had come under protection of the Roman guard, and the utterance of words to Judas that drove him to despair. The contrast between John and the synoptists is not in the outward demeanour of Jesus, which all four evangelists describe in corresponding though not in identical phrase, but in the omission by John and the insertion by Matthew and Luke of the great victory which the suffering Lord had won over the prince of this world. Just as the Fourth Gospel takes up the ministry of the Baptist at the point where the synoptists laid it down, and as the writer omits long and wonderful scenes from the trial before Caiaphas which would have sustained the general thesis of his own Gospel—omitted because the whole narrative had been abundantly illustrated in the current Gospels—so now he omits the awful record of the inner life of Jesus given by the synoptists, and simply records the manner of his capture and its sublime accompaniments. But the reason for the omission must be profoundly different from that attributed to the author by the school of Baur. The fourth evangelist does not ignore the sorrow and weakness of the Lord. His apprehension of desertion, his suffering from the hatred of the world, his bitter sense of the cruelty of the “son of perdition,” are seen (ch. 16:2, 3, 32; 17:12; 15:18, 22–24). In ch. 14:30 Christ admitted that the prince of this world “cometh,” though he added, “he hath nothing in me.”

In Christ’s approach to the grave of Lazarus (ch. 11:33–35) we have one of the most explicit revelations contained in the entire Gospels of how the Lord took human sorrow and all the mystery of death upon himself, and broke out into sighs, groans, and tears. But, more than all, the words of Jesus to the Greeks who sought to see him are a veritable anticipation of the agony of the garden (ch. 12:23–33). His soul was “troubled.” He was ready to cry, “Father, save me from this hour.” The sense of his mission led him to cry, “Father, glorify thy Name!” Moreover, the entire Gospel from end to end is written under the shadow of the cross. One of its chief notes is struck by the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God!” The first “sign” in Jerusalem was a prelude of the final tragedy. Every paragraph reveals the darkness in angry conflict with the light, while in ever-varying circumstances the Lord proclaims that, however hard to flesh and blood, yet the law of his being was to finish the work which the Father had given him to do (ch. 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; 8:29, 38; 17:4). The “agony” of the synoptic Gospels is spread in the Fourth Gospel over the entire evangel, from the wilderness of Judæa to the cross itself, just as the “Temptation” is obviously diffused throughout the mystery of his incarnation, and just as the Transfiguration aureole of the synoptists gleams through every cloud, from the glory he had with the Father before the world was, till he ascends in very deed to his Father and our Father, to his God and our God.

(e) The omission of the visible ascension of the glorified body of the Lord is a peculiarity which the Fourth Gospel shares with the First Gospel, and, unless the closing appendix to Mark’s narrative be genuine, with the Second Gospel also. We owe this comforting and inspiring assurance to Luke and to Paul. If the identity of authorship of the Apocalypse and Fourth Gospel may be assumed—a fact which, with all its primaÆ facie difficulties, will, we believe, ultimately prevail—we see that the apostle had given the Church abundant proof, from his own prophetic intuition and wondrous vision, that Jesus was seated on the right hand of God, and wore still the signs and proofs of his awful human and earthly experience. He saw him as King of kings, as a Lamb of God, appearing as though he had been slain, as one who “liveth, and was dead, and is alive for evermore. The Apocalypse, with its promise of the Lord’s return in majesty to claim his own, to judge the dead, small and great, was the Johannine record of the Ascension. But this is not all. Jesus is represented in the Gospel as in the fulness of his Divine nature being in heaven, although accessible to men on earth. He came down from heaven. He commenced a manifestation in the flesh—he who was for evermore in heaven (ch. 3:13). But more than this, he forewarned those who doubted the possibility of eating his flesh and drinking his blood, that the time was coming when some at least should see him “ascened to where he was before” (ch. 6:62). He told the Magdalene that he was about to “ascend to the Father” (ch. 20:17), and, when that was effected she might with the touch of the Spirit grasp and hold him fast. So though the formal and stately departure of his corporeal manifestation is not again recited, all the conditions on which it rests are more abundantly exhibited by John than by either of the sunoptists. We now proceed to notice—

(3) Incidental allusions in the Fourth Gospel to features of Christ’s teaching and imagery with which we are familiar in the synoptists. These allusions reveal an identity of personage in the sublime character they all alike portray. “The bride and bridegroom” in Matt. 9:15, given in special reference to the questions raised by disciples of John the Baptist, is curiously consonant with John’s language about the bride, the bridegroom, and friend of the bridegroom (see notes, ch. 3:29). The reference to the harvest in ch. 4:35 corresponds to the frequent employment of the same imagery in Matt. 9:37 and 13:30. The comparison of the vine in ch. 15:1 with Matt. 21:33.

Numerous sayings which are attributed to Jesus by the synoptists fell from his lips amid other circumstances, as Matt. 13:57; Mark 6:4; Luke 4:24, where the diminished honour of a prophet amongst his own people is referred to. This finds a striking thought difficult occasion on ch. 4:44 (see notes). The remarkable, paradoxical saying, “He that loveth his life loseth it,” etc. (ch. 12:25), is repeated twice in Matthew (10:39; 16:25) and Luke (17:33). The proverbial utterance (ch. 13:16), “The servant is not greater than his lord,” is repeated with rich variety of illustration in Luke 6:40 and Matt. 10:24. And ch. 13:20, “He that receiveth whomsoever I shall send, receiveth me; he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me,” must be compared with Matt. 10:40 and Luke 10:16. The mode of calling the impotent man, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk,” in ch. 5:8, verbally agrees with the summons given to the paralytic in Mark 2:9. In ch. 6:20, “It is I; be not afraid,” closely corresponds with Matt. 14:27. The idiomatic expression, “taste of death,” is found ch. 8:52 and Mark 9:1. The awful announcement (ch. 13:21), “One of you shall betray me,” must be compared with Matt. 26:21 and Mark 14:18. There is curious correspondence as to the value and quantity of bread required for the feeding of the five thousand (ch. 6:7 and Mark 6:37). The description of believing union with himself as “Coming” to him is common to ch. 6:37 and Matt. 11:28; and ch. 6:46 should also be compared with Matt. 11:27. Our Lord’s obnoxiousness to the Pharisees on the sabbatic question is expressed in much the same form in ch. 9:16 and Matt. 12:2. His startling language about the poor, in ch. 12:8, is found also in Matt. 26:11; the idiosyncratic expression, “He that sent me,” in ch. 12:44 and Luke 9:48. The promise that he gave, to come again and abide with his disciples (ch. 14:18, 19), is grandly represented in Matt. 28:20. The warnings of future distress to his disciples (ch. 16:1, 2) should be compared with Matt. 10:17; 13:21. Numerous correspondences may be also noticed between the statements of John and the synoptists with reference to the trial-scenes, notwithstanding the characteristic differences. These allusive and varied harmonies must be added to all the other facts alleged to show that the great Personage referred to in the synoptist and Fourth Gospels is identical. They both alike show that “never man spake like this man.” (Cf. here table by Godet, ‘Gospel,’ vol. i. p. 155; Luthardt, ‘St. John the Author of the Fourth Gospel,’ pp. 232–235.) The following are important: In Matt. 26:61; 27:40; Mark 14:58; 15:29, there is distinct reference to words of Jesus which are to be found only in ch. 2:19, “Destroy this temple,” etc. The great utterance in ch. 6:35, “He that cometh to me shall never hunger,” etc., corresponds with Matt. 5:6. Ch. 12:7 most curiously corresponds with Mark 14:8. The bitter cry in ch. 12:27 must be compared with Matt. 26:39, and ch. 13:3 with Matt. 11:27. The reference to the cock-crowing in ch. 13:38 with Matt. 26:34; Mark 14:30; Luke 22:34; and ch. 15:20, 21 with Matt. 10:22, 25; and ch. 18:11 with Matt. 26:29; and ch. 18:20 with Matt. 26:55; and ch. 18:37 with Matt. 27:11.

(4) The subtle indications of identity of character are not less wonderful. (a) The delicate sensitiveness of Christ to the special and varied interests of those with whom he comes into contact meets us throughout the synoptist narrative; e.g. in taking children to his arms, just when others would drive them away; his pitying the mothers in the approaching siege of Jerusalem; his touching the loathsome leper; the language to the woman with the issue of blood, “Daughter, be of good comfort;” his taking the father and mother of the maiden into the room where he was about to raise her from the dead, with “Give her something to eat;” the “Weep not” to the widow of Nain; the arranging of the five thousand in companies of fifty; the “Suffer ye thus far” in the healing of Malchus;—are all illustrations that might be multiplied. But in the Fourth Gospel we have his language to the woman of Samaria, “Go, call thy husband;” his phrase to the impotent man, and the woman taken in adultery, “Go, sin no more;” the circumstance that he “found” the excommunicated once-blind beggar in the misery to which he had been brought by his loyalty; his coming to the grave of Lazarus with groans and tears of sympathy; the “Loose him, and let him go,” of the same narrative; the soothing of the perturbed spirits of the apostles with “It is I; be not afraid;” his sympathy even with the perturbations of Pilate; the “Woman, behold thy son,” uttered from the cross.

(b) The tact of Jesus, not only in his beneficence, but in his controversial method, and his self-defence. In the synoptic Gospels he always, not only parried a blow, but made it the occasion of unveiling some great lessons. Thus, e.g., when the Sadducees wished to raise a scornful laugh about the future life, he lifted the question into a higher region; when his disciples were accused of sabbath-breaking, he quoted Hosea’s “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.”

The way in which he looked his reproach is repeatedly referred to by Mark. The manner in which he vindicated his own honour in doing acts of kindness on the sabbath was extremely remarkable, as he uniformly directed his malicious opponents to consider some great principle which they might be willing to ignore, but could not gainsay. In precisely the same way he vindicated his claim to heal the impotent man (ch. 5:17) by the sublime assertion, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work;” i.e. these gracious energies are always going on. As in Matthew he appeals to the profanation of the temple by the priests, so he refers in John to the circumcision of children on the sabbath day, with a similar intent. So the “look of Jesus” is commemorated in the Fourth Gospel as well as by Mark. “The Lord looked on Simon,” and gave him the name of “Cephas.” The marvellous influence which his mere presence exerted on his adversaries is emphatically recorded in Luke’s account of his reception at Nazareth, but is more than once repeated in the Fourth Gospel (ch. 7:44–46; 8:59; 10:31; 18:6). Such a characteristic trait is not a casual coincidence.

(c) The humane motives of his miracles are abundantly conspicuous, not only in the synoptists, but also in the Fourth Gospel. The multiplication of the bread is common to both, but the transformation of the water into wine and his consideration of the villagers’ need correspond with the care with which he would pay Peter’s tribute money, and with the fact that he provided a repast for his disciples after the resurrection. The length of the suffering of the infirm woman (synoptists) corresponds with that of the impotent man (ch. 5), as a predisposing cause of his bounty. The reason given for his walking on the sea in John is allied to the whole teaching of the synoptists, “He saved others; himself he could not save.”

(d) Certain idiosyncrasies of style which are quite inimitable proclaim the identity of the great Prophet and Teacher. It is true that Renan and others have professed to feel so great a difference in passing from the discourse in Matthew, the parable groups and the “delicious sentences” of the synoptic account, to the controversial and sustained exposition and lengthened arguments of the Fourth Gospel, that they dispute the verisimilitude of the latter. But is the contrast of style so great? In the sermon on the mount there is the series of contrasts between the Lord’s own ethical judgments and that which had been said to them of old time, followed by the antithesis between the highest forms of the Divine life and the heartless forms of the Pharisee, the publican and hypocrite, and the entire thunder-peal is brought to its final deliverance in the rhetorical climax. To our thinking, no one discourse in the Fourth Gospel is so prolonged and sustained in argument, so unbroken by dialogue, as Matt. 5–7. Even the valedictory discourse flows on (ch. 14) in answer to numerous questions put by Philip, Thomas, Judas, and Simon; then is broken in two by change of scene and then by address to the Father. It may be said that the sermon on the mount is rather the work of Matthew than of the Lord, a piecing together of great utterances. We dispute that position; but if it be conceded for the sake of argument, this contrast between the synoptist and Johannine records fails.

Our Lord’s discourses are characterized by intense and vivid repetition of certain ideas under slightly different forms. Thus the illustrations used in the discourse at Nazareth (Luke 4:25, 27) should be compared with Luke 11:31, 32; 12:24, 27, 51, 53, and with the gathering intensity of the three parables of ch. 15. We do not find the same discourses in the Fourth Gospel, but we read the evidence of the same commanding mind and its fundamental method. Take ch. 3:3 and 5 for the repetition of the condition of admission into the kingdom of God. Notice the gathering intensity of meaning in the discourse in ch. 6. concerning participation (i.) “in my flesh,” (ii.) “in my flesh and blood,” (iii.) “eating me.” The impression of a repeated and doubled thought occurs in ch. 10:7, 9 and 11, 14. Let the construction of the sermon on the mount be compared with that of the controversial discourse in ch. 5., and the same kind of intensifying progress is conspicuous.

(e) The conduct of our Lord, as seen in the treatment of his relatives, reveals in striking accord the fourfold narrative, and the identity of the John of the Fourth Gospel with that of the synoptists. In Luke 2:49, “Wist ye not that I must be [‘in the affairs (house) of my Father’] about my Father’s business?” In Mark 3:21 and 31–35 the lack of true perception of his claims on the part of his kindred is brought into contact with his admission to closest intimacy of those that “do the will of my Father” (cf. Matt. 12:50). The Fourth Gospel also makes it clear that the mother of Christ was no longer competent to rule the methods of his self-manifestation (ch. 2:4); that his brethren did not believe on him (ch. 7:6); that he entrusted the care of his mother to his spiritual relation and beloved disciple, rather than to the brother James (ch. 19:26, 27). These personal traits are most remarkable if there be not a fundamental identity of subject.

(f) There are further deep harmonies of illustrative thought. In Matt. 21:37 the Lord speaks of his Father sending his Son to the wicked husbandmen. In ch. 8:35, 36 the servants are contrasted with “the Son that abideth for ever.” “The Father’s house” is the great climax of the group of parables in Luke 15.; “the Father’s house,” with its “many mansions,” is the home which (ch. 14:1, 2) Christ is going to prepare for his disciples. In the synoptists we are told that we must become as little children (Matt. 18:3); in John that we must be “born again” (ch. 3:3; cf. also 13:33). The imagery of the dying and expanding seed, the subsequent growth, is frequently repeated in Matt. 13.; but it is also found in ch. 12:24. The “shepherd” in Luke’s parable brings home the lost sheep; but in ch. 10:2–16 our Lord speaks of himself as “the good Shepherd.” The barren fig tree is to be cut down, the fruitless plant rooted up, in Luke 13:8 and Matt. 15:13; but in ch. 15:2 Christ declares, “Every branch in me which beareth not fruit, is taken away, and every branch which beareth fruit, he pruneth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” Hostile critics have objected to the Fourth Gospel that it is a continuous utterance on the part of Jesus concerning himself, and of his own unique relation to the Father and to the world, and of his own functions and claims; whereas in the earlier Gospels the Lord was content to deal with the duties and prospects and characteristics of humanity or of the kingdom of God, and is comparatively silent concerning himself. Is this so? Is the contrast so great as is often assumed? We admit that very early in the Fourth Gospel Jesus assures Nathanael that he should “henceforth find heaven opened, and see angels ascending and descending on the Son of man” (ch. 1:51); and in the language to Nicodemus he implies that he is the Son given by the Father, and is the Son who came down from heaven; but the great burden of that address is that “regeneration” is indispensable, that judgment is the correlative of the offer of life, that those that do the truth come to the light. Again, in ch. 5., in the great discourse to the authorities, he asserts a series of claims based on his unique relation to the Father and to the universe, and in every possible variety of form this example is followed out in ch. 6., 7., 8–10, 13–17. The prodigious and astonishing self-consciousness, the ego with its most amazing memories and transcendental force, the realization even in human experience and on human lips of the eternal judgments and the eternal life, do call repeated attention to the Messenger. Yet from end to end this is ethically subordinated to the well-being of man and the saving of the world. Thus he would give eternal life to those who labour for it (ch. 6:27); he would quench human hunger and thirst (ch. 4:10, 14; 6:32, 50, 57, 58). It is impossible not to see that while he was mysteriously conscious of the most unique claims, and that they were of supreme moment to men, yet the end of the self-manifestation was the life, light, peace, love, liberty, deliverance, and victory over the world, after the fashion of his own life. The reason for the utterance of every claim and lofty prerogative is the benefit and the salvation of mankind (ch. 7:17, 24, 38; 8:12, 31, 32, 51; 10:9, 28; 11:9, 40; 12:25, 35; 13:14, 15, 34, 35; 14:3, 16, 17, 27; 15:6, 7, 16, 20, 21; 16:1–3, 7–13, 33; 17:17, 26).

It is conceded that this is the prevailing tone of the Fourth Gospel, but the question arises whether the same features are absent from the synoptic Gospels. We ought never to forget that we owe to the synoptists the record of the supernatural birth of Jesus. He is conceived by the Holy Spirit. The power of the Highest, the Holy Spirit, is the occasion of his introduction into this world (Matt. 1:18, 20; Luke 1:26–38). One of the most characteristic features of the Johannine teaching, almost more Johannine than any solitary utterances of the Fourth Gospel, is to be found in Matt. 11:25–28, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes. Yea, Father: for so it was well-pleasing in thy sight. All things have been delivered unto me of my Father: and no one knoweth the Son, save the Father; neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” And take the parallel expression in Luke 10:21, 22, where the chief difference is “Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, and said.” The relation between the Father, as Lord of heaven and earth, and the Son is unique. No human mind knows the Father as he does; no prophet, no forerunner, no disciple, knows him as the Father does. It is through his own revelation of the Father that any man will ever know the Father. It is by coming to him for this revelation that they will find rest for their souls. Over this entire conception of himself as the revealing Son Jesus rejoices in the Holy Spirit, and the representation culminates in the peculiarly Johannine conception of “coming” to himself for rest and life.

The Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke alike assert the Divine Paternity of Christ. They also record the declaration of John the Baptist, that he who was mightier than himself was about to baptize with the Holy Spirit. In the sermon on the mount Christ identifies “righteousness” with “himself” (Matt. 5:10 and 11). The “I say unto you,” often repeated, lifts the Speaker above all other teachers (Matt. 7:21–27). He assumes to have the destinies of the world in his hands, and makes attention to or rejection of his words the conditions of safety or ruin (see Matt. 10:32, 33; 11:6, 20–24), to say nothing again of vers. 25–27, which are charged with the deepest self-consciousness (cf. Matt. 12:40–42; 16:27). In Matt. 16:16 Peter’s confession, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” is more explicit than the language of Peter given in ch. 6:69, which the R.T. reads in an altered and abridged form, “Thou art the Holy One of God.” We owe to the three synoptists the stupendous scene of the Transfiguration and the voice from heaven, the omission of which in John’s Gospel (seeing this apostle was an eye-witness of his majesty) we have endeavoured to explain (see p. civ). When the hosannas of the children are rebuked by the Pharisees, Christ declares, “If these should be silent, the stones would cry out” (Luke 19:40). The synoptist narratives all alike record the fact that Jesus assumes the right to forgive sins, and to do so in the presence of those who entertain a rooted conviction that no one can forgive sins but God only (Matt. 9:3–8; Luke 5:20–24; Mark 2:5–12; cf. Luke 7:48).

The synoptists record the claim of our Lord to be the Bridegroom of the true theocracy, to take the place which Jehovah does in Isaiah, Hosea, and Ezekiel (see Matt. 9:14, 15, and parallels; Mark 2:19, 20; Luke 5:34, etc.). Moreover, some of his most striking parables, which compare the kingdom to a marriage of the king’s son (Matt. 22:1–14; 25:1–13), show in undisguised manner that his Person, his mission, his call, his offer of friendship, constitute such a union between heaven and earth, between God and man, as was effected in his incarnation.

The Gospel of Matthew in particular is explicit in representing our Lord as “Son of man,” as coming in his glory to “gather his elect from the four winds,” etc. (Matt. 16:27; 24:30, 31), to judge the quick and dead, and to gather before his tribunal all nations, to determine as “King” their eternal destiny (Matt. 25:31–36). “Come unto me” is his synonym for acquittal from self-reproach. “Depart from me” is the verdict of eternal doom. Luke’s Gospel records the triumphant vindication of his transcendental and supreme claims to determine the destiny of souls, in his language to the dying robber (Luke 23:39–43). Matthew gives the most complete asscrtion of his claim to be “the Son of the living God,” and to have “all power in heaven and earth” (Matt. 26:63–66; 28:18–20).

Perplexing and baffling as the Fourth Gospel would be without the facts and testimonies of the synoptists, it seems to us that the synoptists themselves would be equally difficult to understand without such further testimony to the supreme claims of our Lord as are found in the Fourth Gospel. The narratives of the synoptists would be more difficult to faith than they are if we had been left to frame any hypothesis we pleased as to the manner of the Man whom winds and seas obeyed; who asserted his purpose to judge mankind; who claimed to forgive sin, and to be eternally omnipresent in the subsequent history of his Church; who assumed a place in the very Godhead itself, by issuing the baptismal formula; whom angels and devils worshipped as the Holy One; before whom wild beasts shrank abashed (Mark 1:13); who represents himself as occupying a higher place in the theocracy than Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, or Elijah, than the temple or the sabbath; who walked on the sea, healed the leper, and raised the dead; who, after himself suffering the agony of death, was once more clothed with surpassing majesty as the Personal Victor over death; who made known in resurrection of life, and by taking possession of an eternal throne, the new and final idea of man’s existence.

If we were discussing the veritable facts concerning the Person of our Lord, we might feel bound here to meet the numerous attempts to belittle or reduce to ordinary dimensions of humanity some or all of these details; but we are not called to do so here and now. We are replying to an objection brought against the Fourth Gospel, based on the different tone of this document in dealing with the Person of our Lord from that found in the synoptists. Our reply is—all that is peculiar to the Fourth Gospel is found in a germinant form, and moreover displayed in the miracles, parables, discourses, and events of the first three Gospels.

(5) The portraitures of the Fourth Gospel. There are certain individuals whose features are sketched in the Fourth Gospel, but concerning whom the synoptists are silent. For instance, Nathanael’s name occurs in the first and twenty-first chapters of John, and a stroke or two of vivid soul-revelation are supplied. There is, however, little difficulty in believing that he is none other than the Bartholomew of the synoptic account, “one of the twelve,” brought in the lists of the apostles into juxtaposition with Philip and Thomas. As such Nathanael appears in the Fourth Gospel. The word Bar-Tolmai is a mere patronymic, and no true name, and the identification of the names need occasion no difficulty.

Nicodemus, a Jerusalem magnate, a secret disciple, and one who is introduced three times in the narrative (ch. 3:1; 7:50; 19:39), is a feature of Christ’s social relations which is not without difficulty. There are, however, several considerations which deserve attention. The synoptists represent Jesus, as the legitimate heir to the throne of David, as on visiting terms with the wealthy Galilæan Pharisees (Luke 7:36), as having a secret friend in the person of Joseph of Arimathæa (Luke 22:51; cf. ch. 19:38), and a welcome at the house of “the chief among the publicans” (Luke 19:2). Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, must not be forgotten (Luke 8:3), nor the reverence manifested towards him by the Roman centurion of Capernaum (Luke 7.; Matt. 8.) Even taking the synoptist authorities alone, we see that events and friendships parallel and equivalent to those with reference to Nicodemus are not lacking. We have already observed that, while the synoptists are not ignorant of the visits to Jerusalem, they do not lay themselves out for any description or recital of the conversations and miracles which took place there. They naturally pass over Nicodemus, the principal reference to whom occurs in a period of our Lord’s ministry concerning which they are perfectly silent.

The woman of Samaria comes, as to place and time, into the same category with Nicodemus, and the lifelike portraiture given of her can scarcely be transcended by any narrative in the New Testament. This kindness and sympathy with the Samaritans is, however, the probable basis of the interesting references to the Samaritans in Luke’s Gospel and the Acts (Luke 9:52–56; 10:33; 17:16; Acts 1:8; 8:5, etc.). We do not disguise the difficulty involved in Matt. 10:5, but the experimental mission of the twelve was obviously restricted. They were not to go to cities of the Samaritans, nor into the way of the Gentiles; yet the synoptists (all three) tell us that he himself did go into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, to Cæsarea Philippi and Decapolis. Consequently, the warning of the twelve, in their first trial journey, against the cities of the Samaritans may have been equally compatible with what John tells us about his own visit to Samaria.

It cannot be maintained that the story of Lazarus and his sisters introduces novel matter, as Luke has already introduced us to “Martha and Mary,” and the representation he gave of the contrast between them, of eager service and quiet meditation, is exquisitely unfolded in the home of Bethany as portrayed by John. The moral features of the two sisters correspond in a most remarkable way with the characteristics of Peter and John, both alike loving and beloved of their Lord. Some critics have gone so far as to suggest that the Lazarus of ch. 11. is a dramatic representation of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. No two sets of facts could be much more dissimilar, except it be that the language of Abraham (“If they believe not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead”) finds a kind of parallel in the fact that the Lazarus who was raised from the dead did not convince the heads of the priesthood that Jesus was the Christ. But the record of this great event is found, like the narrative of Nicodemus, that of the impotent man, and that of the blind man, in the Jerusalem ministry. When John takes his reader in the sixth chapter into Galilee, he at once confirms the three synoptists by detailing two great miracles which they had already described, but in connection with discourses of immense impressiveness which they had failed to record.

The few characters to which the fourth evangelist makes exclusive reference are by no means numerous, nor are they more important than those which are severally peculiar to Matthew and Luke. Thus Matthew alone tells us of “the Wise Men;” and Luke of “the shepherds,” of “Simeon,” and of “Anna.” Matthew and Mark tell us of the “leper;” and Luke only of the “widow of Nain.” Matthew, of the mission of the twelve; and Luke, of the mission of the seventy disciples. Matthew draws with startling clearness the portraiture of Herod the Great. Luke refers to Zacchæus. To each synoptist-evangelist, therefore, we owe special characteristics and portraits of individuals which are scarcely more peculiar or unique than those which are peculiar to John.

Other portraitures of the Fourth Gospel correspond in a very impressive way with those of the synoptic Gospels. Where these portraitures differ in some striking feature, the ground of the difference is not far to seek.

(a) The treatment of the person of the mother of our Lord provides one illustration. Brevity and reticence characterize all that is said in any of these documents concerning the life or death of Mary the virgin-mother. A few scattered notices, all charged with suggestion which might lead astray, and which have left room for extraordinary development both legendary and dogmatic, contain all that we know. Her house and lineage as the betrothed and espoused wife of the last heir of the throne and family of David are declared at length. It is not improbable that both the genealogies are those of Mary as well as of Joseph, but this cannot be positively proved. The story of the miraculous conception as given in Matthew is enriched with several interesting details by Luke, which make evident Mary’s holy submission to her mysterious destiny, her purely Old Testament piety and anticipations, and her acquaintance with the great prototypes of the earlier history of her race. The visit of Elisabeth to her, the marvellous accompaniments of her Child’s birth, the visit of the shepherds, the song of the angels, and the pondering by Mary over these mysterious events, are recorded by Luke. The providential deliverance of the young Child and his mother from the jealous madness of Herod is preserved by Matthew, while Luke adds the appearance in the temple when Simeon forewarns her that a sword should pierce her own heart. We further discover her maternal solicitude, the obedience she claimed and received up to a certain point and no further. The one incident recorded during the thirty years implies on her part (it may be) some carelessness and failure of apprehension of the wondrous charge entrusted to her. Sorrowing and anxious, she and Joseph receive a word which, like a sword, pierced her. There were depths in her Son’s consciousness which she could not fathom, and there was an inward voice he heard, but which she could not hear. A solitary event subsequently recorded, and by Mark only in its fulness, which shows that the Pharisees had, by a diabolic plot which they hatched to shut up Jesus as one “beside himself,” endeavoured to make the mother and brethren parties to it. The way in which Christ baffled this design, and even emancipated himself from the control of mother and brethren, is highly significant (Mark 3:20, 30–35).

After this Mary appears to have followed him on his last visit to Jerusalem, and to have stood by him when in his death-agony. After the Resurrection she is (in Luke’s continuation of his Gospel) mentioned once only, and then as being present in the upper chamber. Not another syllable bearing upon her character or even existence can be found in the New Testament or early Christian literature. Neither St. Paul, St. Peter, nor St. John, neither St. James nor St. Jude who may have been her own children, make the faintest reference to her.

It is open to question whether she is obscurely referred to in the Apocalypse (12:1–6). We dare not lift the veil, nor do we appeal to the apocryphal gospels. All that we may reasonably infer is her self-repression, her Old Testament standpoint, her desire for the honour of her Son, and some doubtfully placed measures taken for his safety. Her belief in his resurrection, and her association after the Resurrection with the twelve apostles and the brethren. The gentle, holy, retiring spirit hides itself in the glory of her Son and Lord.

The fourth evangelist, who clearly speaks of himself as the beloved disciple, who has never once mentioned his own name nor that of his own mother, never breathes the name of “Mary,” and folds her memory in the perfumed cerements of a holy charge he received from his dying Lord. He states firmly that her home was in his house. He becomes her protector and keeper to the end. Where that took place he does not say; but the very fact that he should have received the charge at the cross, confirms a statement made by St. Luke (Acts 1:14). This visit to Jerusalem was full of interest to the other and older tradition. The Fourth Gospel simply shows how this event brought its author into closest relation with the blessed virgin-mother of the Lord. Yet with one exception he adds nothing to what we know, and with reverent silence he passes over details already widely current for a generation before he wrote his Gospel. Still, in mentioning the mother at all, he clears himself from all docetic, Cerinthian, or Marcionite teaching. The author, by the underlying presupposition of the entire Gospel, viz. that Jesus was “the Word made flesh,” and by his repeated attempt to illustrate Christ’s consciousness of having “come down from heaven,” and being essentially “the Son of God,” not “born again,” but “sent from God,” originally and fundamentally “born of the Spirit,” coincides with, if he does not give the deepest explanation of the immaculate conception. It is very startling that the one thing he positively mentions is the scene at Cana, where the Lord indicated his freedom from the maternal yoke, his refusal to claim Messianic dignity in the manner indicated by her, and yet along other lines, in answer to her considerate appeal, lavishes love upon her friends, showing forth the glory of his love even more than that of his power.

In ch. 6:42, by the phrase, “whose father and mother we know,” the author of the Fourth Gospel reveals the fact of current belief in Christ’s human parentage, and also of the change of abode made by the family of Jesus from Nazareth to Capernaum (ch. 2:12).

Such subtle harmonies of thought convince us that the author was familiar with the same unique Personage, and was delineating the same character.

(b) The synoptic and Johannine portraitures of John the Baptist unquestionably differ, but the points of divergence are conspicuously due to the circumstance that the synoptists virtually close their account of John with the baptism of Jesus. The fourth evangelist commences his account of the “man sent from God” after that prophet had come into contact with the Baptizer with the Holy Ghost. A question has often been asked whether one who could have delivered such a testimony concerning Christ as that which is preserved in ch. 3:27, etc., could, as the synoptists assert, have sent from the prison the inquiry, “Art thou the coming One, or may we look for another?” The question has been melted down into a very moderate amount of anxiety by some apologists, and exaggerated into irreconcilable contradiction by the opponents of the Fourth Gospel. The middle course is the more rational. The full coming of the Christ is so variously estimated by the Jewish schools, that some believed in a twofold coming—that of a tender plant out of a dry ground, and that of a Sun and King of Righteousness. Some anticipated a son of woman and also a Son of God, the coming of a suffering and also of a triumphant Messiah. The prophecies were then and are now difficult to disentangle. Is the holder of the sceptre the same as the “Prophet” who should come into the world? Is the “David” and the “Melchizedek” the same predicted manifestation? Is there more than one coming? is there more than one kind of revelation? The query, “Art thou he that should come?” (ὁ ἐρχομένος), may have reasonably meant, “Granting that thou art the suffering ‘Lamb of God,’ the Son of the Father, the Bridegroom of the Church, art thou the final manifestation, seeing that thou art continually withdrawing from the asseveration of thy Messiahship? Like myself, art thou only a forerunner of the conquering Prince who is mightier than either of us?” (“Do we look for another?”) This inquiry may have been built on the purely Old Testament standpoint on which the great forerunner took his stand. It was difficult, if not impossible, for him to discard the transitional rôle which he had been commissioned to fulfil. He would, like Judaism or Hebraism itself, have never accomplished the work assigned to him, if he had not held to it with a tenacity which was really superfluous after his preparatory work had reached its climax. Great as the testimonies of John were, as seen and recorded in the Fourth Gospel, yet Christ says (ch. 5:36), “I have greater witness than that of John.” This subject is discussed in the author’s ‘John the Baptist,’ pp. 419–449.

(c) The character of Simon Peter is marvellously consistent as recorded in the synoptists. The “Peter” of Mark and Luke is a study of courage and weakness, of generous impulses and eager self-assertion, and of a rocklike energy, which nevertheless shivers and is pulverized by the onset of doubt. From first to last he is ready to take matters into his own hands and criticize and even remonstrate with the Lord, to suggest almost childlike proposals which the Lord was compelled to reject. He is humble under rebuke, and impulsively makes some fresh suggestion equally wide of the mark. The very earliest account of Simon strikes the key-note of the delineation. When amazed at the miraculous draught of fishes (Luke 5:8), he cries impetuously, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.” The spirit was right, but the expression of it was directly adverse to the whole mystery of Divine love. On the mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:33 and parallels) he made the vague suggestion, “Let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, one for Moses, one for Elijah,” hurrying to a conclusion utterly beyond and aside the display he had just received of the Lord’s inherent majesty. The “decease to be accomplished” suggested to him as yet no clear idea. When multitudes of the disciples walked no more with their Master, and vague and conflicting rumours were passing between lip and lip, Simon, son of Jona (or John) gave utterance to a confession of transcendent importance upon which the Church has been built, and against which the gates of hell will not prevail; but when, upon the faith of this Divine conviction, Jesus proceeded to explain the tragic issues of his present mission, Peter could not count upon the wisdom or truth of “the Son of the living God’ and began to rebuke the very Christ, and to say (Matt. 16:22), “That be far from thee.” Then Peter soon finds that his wisdom was not the measure of the ways of God. Simon Peter must have been by analogy the spokesman of the eleven who were anxious to second the wish of the multitudes to make Jesus by force into their king, and whom Jesus “constrained” to get into the boat and depart from the scene of the great miracle (cf. Mark 6:45 with ch. 6:15). While the other disciples cried out for fear at the apparition of Jesus walking on the sea, Peter, forerunning his Master, cried with most insufficient self-knowledge (Matt. 14:28), “If it be thou, bid me come to thee upon the water;” the permission rather than the command (ἐλθέ) led him to demonstrate that his little faith was soon the occasion of bewildering doubt.

When Jesus warned all his disciples that they would be offended at him (Matt. 26:31–35). eleven receive at first the rebuke in humble silence; Peter, with habitual boldness, virtually exclaims, “Thou art not right this time, O my Master. Though all men should be offended at thee, yet will I never be offended; though all men deny thee, though I should die with thee, I will not by any means deny thee” (vers. 33–35). On the way to the garden of Gethsemane he thought and suggested that two swords would be of service against the Roman guard, and in the melée at the entrance of the garden one of the disciples (the synoptists do not say which of them) drew a sword (Luke 22:50 and parallels), and smote off the ear of the servant of the high priest, only to receive the solemn rebuke of Jesus. While other disciples fled, Simon Peter followed to the door of the high priest’s palace (Luke 22:54), but, having entered it, he could not bear, alas! the first charge or insinuation that he was one of the disciples of the insulted and condemned Master, and he added oaths and curses to his base denial (Mark 14:70, 71). All the synoptists indicate that his contrition was almost as sudden as his fall. After the Resurrection (while John stood trembling at the entrance of the sepulchre), peter (Luke 24:12) went hurriedly into it, to search for the wounded corpse of the Master whom he had so basely deserted.

The Evangelist Luke carries forward the story of the Apostle Peter’s splendid courage on Pentecost, of his ready insight, of his eagerness to be the mouthpiece of his fellow-disciples (Acts 2.), and then to speak for John as well as for himself (Acts 3. and 4.). His prominence in the scenes with Ananias and Simon Magus all show the same impetuous energy, but the history reveals the same curious blending of somewhat contradictory elements; e.g. Peter’s reply to the heavenly voice, “Rise, Peter, slay and eat,” is eminently characteristic: “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” His language to the Sanhedrin, to Ananias, to Simon Magus, to Æneas, to Cornelius, is curiously in harmony with all that we know of the noblest part of his character; but the energy with which “Peter continued knocking” in the dead of night at the door of Mark’s house was enough to have brought the whole quaternion of soldiers after him; and his ready obedience to the will of God at Cæsarea and at Jerusalem in the matter of the circumcision of Gentile Christians, and of social intercourse with them, reflects the generous and gracious side of his character, open to new ideas and surrounding influences. “Who am I that I should withstand God?” Facts are stronger than fictions and old prejudices. Nevertheless, St. Paul’s account of Peter’s conduct at Antioch (Gal. 2.) draws in a sentence a portrait of the same deeply marked character. “When certain from James arrived, Peter withdrew and separated himself, and refused to eat with the Gentiles, fearing them of the circumcision.”

Even tradition tells as that Peter fled from Rome in the midst of the Neronian persecution, and, seeing a vision of the Lord apparently making his way towards the city, was ready with his characteristic question, “Domine, quo vadis?” And the last thing recorded of him is equally so. He refused to be crucified after the manner of his Lord, but besought to be impaled with his head downwards. Such a marked individuality is one of the most striking notes of accuracy. There is nothing exactly like it in any other portion of the biblical history. Does the author of the Fourth Gospel reflect the same general characteristic in his representation of St. Peter? If he had given us another Peter, a mystical conception, a fancy portrait to fill out some theological theory, if he had shown himself ignorant of these numerously attested peculiarities, the pressure of the argument against the historicity of the narrative would have been strong. But, on the contrary, the fourth evangelist records the earliest conference upon Peter of the name of Cephas, and a brief citation of Peter’s great confession (ch. 6:68–70), “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God; we have believed and we have come to know that thou art the Son of the living God [or, ‘thou art the Holy One of God’];” but when we come to the Last Supper (ch. 13:6–11), the composite nature of Peter is touched off with a characteristic scene. The Lord prepares to wash his disciples’ feet. St. Peter says, “Thou shalt never wash my feet,” and repeats it after remonstrance; but he no sooner grasps the meaning, as he thinks, than he gives his Lord some further suggestions: “Not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” There is the same hurry and impulsiveness, the same blundering forward into rebuke and fresh light. After this, Peter, irrepressible as ever, suggests to the beloved disciple to inquire who was the traitor, and thus he would again forestall his Lord. We have the same shade of character once more, hinted in the eager inquiry, “Whither goest thou?” and “Why cannot I follow thee now?” “I will lay down my life for thy sake” (ch. 13:36–38). The eager acts of the night of the Passion are preserved in the Fourth Gospel, and they reveal the need, both of reproof and miracle, to obviate evil consequences (ch. 18:10, 11). The unnamed disciple who had smitten the servant of the high priest is declared by John to be none other than Simon Peter. This is given with no intent to humble Peter, but rather to exalt his courage. The features of the temptation and the fall of Peter are abundantly explained (ch. 18:15–18, 25–27). The haste of Peter to rush into the sepulchre is specially noted in the Fourth Gospel, and the most characteristic of all these scenes completes John’s portraiture. Peter distinguishes himself (ch. 21:7, etc.) by the special desire to plunge into the sea to reach his Lord, and to draw the net to shore. When interrogated by the Lord as to the intensity of his personal love, Peter at length shows impatience as well as grief (see ver. 17). He would, even in his last word, give the Lord some advice as to the revelations it would be wise for him to make. Such a unique combination of tendencies and methods as are presented by the New Testament generally must represent an historical character of great individuality. The Fourth Gospel, in all its references to Peter, though for the most part involving a separate group of occurrences, is in minute and impressive harmony with the synoptic and Pauline portraiture. In no case are these utterances and acts of Peter more than silhouettes of his Personality, but the dullest student of analogy cannot fail to feel the identity of the character. Nor are the Tübingen writers or Renan altogether just when they endeavour to draw from the references to Peter an animus against him on the part of the author of the Fourth Gospel. On the contrary, these references are more sympathetic by far than the records of corresponding scenes in the synoptic narrative.

(d) The characters of Caiaphas and Pilate are drawn with tolerable clearness in the synoptists, although they scarcely do more than bring them into the searching light of the Divine presence of the Lord Jesus. Luke tells us (3:1, 2) that the one was priest and the other was the Roman representative (ἡγεμονεύοντος) in Judæa, and we are reminded also by Luke of Pilate’s hatred of the religion of the people over whom he ruled, as well as his cruelty to Galilæans who had properly belonged to the hegemony of Herod Antipas (Luke 13:1).

Caiaphas in the synoptic narrative is the president of the court before which Jesus is tried, and we discern his hatred of his Victim, his anxiety to secure even valueless testimony against Jesus, rather than none at all; and to obtain, moreover, a kind of testimony which would not turn the hearts of the excitable Pharisaic party to take his side. His eagerness to condemn, to call forth an answer which should, according to his understanding and exposition of the Law incriminate Jesus; and the impetuous haste with which he fastened a charge of blasphemy on the Lord, are among the most tragic features of the trial.

Caiaphas knew that the Messiah was “the Son of the Blessed” (Matt. 26:63; Mark 14:61) and “the Son of God.” Yet the one thing that in his judgment and that of his court was a capital offence was the calm claim on the part of Jesus to be all that way involved in this great Name. It was the confession of the Lord himself that constituted the gravamen of the charge. The charge, however, which the priests brought before Pilate was that Jesus was stirring up the people, and forbidding them to pay tribute to Cæsar, and was making himself a King (Luke 23:2). Thus Caiaphas was bending his own feigned loyalty to Roman power into the instrument of his theological hatred, into the tool of his jealousy towards a spiritual power which he could not rival and had not the power to extinguish. So pertinacious was the priestly clique, that when Pilate sent the mysterious Prisoner to Herod, anxious to be rid of so troublesome a case, the rabble of priests rushed after him to Herod’s court, and “vigorously accused him (εὐτόνως κατηγοροῦντες)” (Luke 23:11). The Barabbas incident is (Mark 15:11) clearly the low and unscrupulous scheme of the Caiaphas party (οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς ἀνέσεισαν τὸν ὄχλον).

Now, though the fourth evangelist does not describe the scene before Caiaphas as given in the synoptists, he implies that the court had come to a pseudo-decision, and had taken legal action (ch. 18:35), had “delivered” Jesus to the Roman power, that it might execute the ecclesiastical verdict. Moreover, there is one remarkable sentence in the Fourth Gospel which sketches the character of Caiaphas with entire accuracy. The council of the Jews was in great trepidation lest the Romans would come and take away their place and nation, their personal and corporate authority. Caiaphas used their alarm to propound the heartless and unjust doctrine: “Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, that the whole nation perish not” (ch. 11:49, 50). Let them put Jesus to death on a false charge, and save themselves. “It was a happy chance that they could seem to vindicate their loyalty while they gratified their hatred” (Westcott, ‘Introd.,’ lxxii.). Caiaphas knew his own mind thoroughly, and carried it through remorselessly. He instigated and executed the tragic suit. John shows the spiritual obtuseness, the stone-blindness and religious fanaticism out of which the whole proceeding sprang. The character of Caiaphas becomes far more explicable from the key to it which is thus supplied by the Fourth Gospel.

The portraiture of Pilate himself is fully given by the synoptists and the fourth evangelist; and, though the portrait is drawn in different materials, yet it is the same personage, and the particulars have a lifelike force which Renan and other hostile critics are candid enough to admit. In both series of events there is the same irresolution and perplexity, the same desire to save the life of Jesus, if he could contrive it without injury to himself. There is the same desire as long as he dared to worry and trample on the people and priests whom he bitterly hated. John gives an instance (18:31) in which Pilate banters the leaders of the accusation with a scoffing permission to judge the Prisoner by their own Law, and draws out from them their humiliating confession that they had no legal or admitted right to execute a man, nor did they want to risk the possible unpopularity of such a step. The synoptists all show that Pilate saw in a moment through the hollowness of the charge. A humiliated Victim of priestly malice could not, as a Jewish prince, occasion the smallest danger to the Roman state, and the mere silence of Jesus before such a charge greatly puzzled the governor. John, however, does more: he shows that Jesus, in a private audience, had confessed that he was King; but that the words “king” and “kingdom” were used in no secular or temporal sense, that he was utterly without avowed support, and that he desired for his subjects only those who were loyal to heavenly truth. Luke gives the characteristic transmission of Jesus to the jurisdiction of Herod; and Matthew gives the message of Pilate’s wife, Mark, with great particularity, details the demands of the people for a prisoner’s pardon, which Pilate—as a drowning man clutches at a straw—tried to use for the moment on behalf of Jesus. We see even from the hand washing (described by Matthew) that Pilate’s irresolution was partly due to some sense of unseen powers, some spice of superstition in his nature, and a Roman soldier’s unwillingness to do a base thing by power of his office as a governor. John gives a more subtle key in the certain spell which Christ had cast over him by declaring that he which had delivered the Heaven-sent King to his own secular court had committed “the greater sin.” Our Gospel, however, as well as the synoptics, reveals the revolting weakness of the man, that he should have repeatedly admitted the innocence of Jesus, and yet have scourged him, and even allowed the most cruel indignities to be offered to One whom he knew to be blameless. He tried, indeed, to make capital in the favour of Christ from the absolute contrast between the Jewish charge and the condition to which “the just Man” had been reduced. John gives the truest explanation of the final capitulation of Pilate, entirely characteristic of his nature: “If thou let this man go, thou art no friend to Cæsar,” and “We have no king but Cæsar.” Here was an argument which he could not resist. He knew these rebellious Jews were lying in their teeth while they ostentatiously descended to the lowest depths of national apostasy. He yielded to a clamour that might cost him his life if he were to disregard it any longer. Certainly Christ died for Pilate. But quite in harmony with the curious composite passions of the moment, the Fourth Gospel emphasizes Pilate’s words, which he meant to be biting satire: “Your King;” “your King.” The four Gospels are unanimous in the main terms of the accusation written over the cross, “King of The Jews.” It was thus in all the narratives—Matthew especially emphasizes it—that we see how Pilate chuckled over the satire which took the edge off the pleasure which the priestly party found as they gloated over their vile revenge. We have the same Pilate in all four Gospels, and the materials in which John perpetuates his portrait, though differently chosen, are consistent with the synoptic delineation. Nay, additional light is thus cast upon the entire transaction, and the historic outline of Pilate’s figure more deeply etched.

C. Answer to some objections based on special discrepancies between the synoptists and John.

1. Thus Holtzmann (‘Einleitung,’ p. 429, etc.) refers to the exaggeration in the supernatural elements of the Fourth Gospel; e.g. the transformation of water into wine; the impotent man had been thirty years in that state; the blind man had been blind from his birth; and Lazarus had been dead, buried, and might have been putrid, before his resurrection; he walks on the sea of Galilee, and is not taken into the boat; the nobleman’s son is healed from a distance.

These peculiarities are more apparent than real. The transformation of water into wine finds its parallel in the creative multiplication of the bread. The walking on the sea is not more wonderful than the hushing of the storm; while the healing of leprosy (the incurable disease, and type of the consequences of sin, and the image of death in the Mosaic ritual), is omitted by the Fourth Gospel. The thirty years of the impotent man in ch. 5. is paralleled by the woman who had been crippled for eighteen years (Luke 13:11). The healing from a distance in ch. 4:52, etc., finds its exact counter-part in Matt. 8:5–13. The gathering and growing significance of the resurrection of Lazarus after he had lain in his grave is not denied; but Luke’s narrative of the young man carried out to his burial is more memorable and startling than Matthew’s narrative of the resurrection of the maiden daughter of Jairus. There is an affluence of material at the disposal of the earliest tradition out of which this writer has made judicious selection, and from obvious reasons that these particular events proved the occasion and text of very special and related discourse. It is more than evident that the Fourth Gospel, though the latest of the narratives, is not the most profuse, nor the most imposing in its enumeration of miracles, and is the one Gospel in which supernatural events are regarded as constituting a lower kind of evidence than the unsustained words of Christ (ch. 14:11, 12). In this connection, the omission of the Transfiguration and of the great outbursts of healing power, which are recorded in the synoptic Gospels, deserves special consideration. Moreover, the miraculous accompaniments of events common to the synoptic and Johannine narrative are positively shorn in the latter of some of their supernatural features; e.g. the current report of the baptism of Jesus is corrected (see p. xcviii., and notes) by a representation which places the miracle in the consciousness of John the Baptist. The stupendous portents attending the Crucifixion are limited to the fulfilment of prophecy in the parting of the garments and in the piercing of the side of Jesus.

2. The synoptists are said to differ from the fourth evangelist in representing the continuous human development of the plan of Jesus, if not of his character and self-consciousness. Dr. Davidson considers that very grave objections may be taken to Schenkel’s method of establishing this contrariety to the Fourth Gospel. The numerous writers (e.g Hase, Renan) who have repeated the same objection overstate the stages of development as visible in the first three Gospels. The Third Gospel (Luke 4:16–30) sets forth that, at the commencement of his ministry, Jesus, in the synagogue at Nazareth, inaugurated the Messianic kingdom, and declared that Isa. 61. was fulfilled in his own Person. Mark represents him, at the beginning of his ministry, as hailed by the dæmoniacs who knew him as “the Holy One of God,” as curing leprosy by his touch, and claiming the right to forgive sins. He indicates the period—one far earlier than most harmonists find it convenient to place the sermon on the mount (Mark 1:22)—when he must, according to Matt. 5–7., have identified his own cause with that of “righteousness,” assumed a position parallel to that of Moses, discriminated himself from the sinful human race, and declared that he had the destinies of the entire world in his hands.

There is not much more room for development after that! Abundant indication is supplied by the synoptists that Jesus was, by some of his hearers, more clearly apprehended as the months rolled on, but at the first he was hailed from heaven as “the beloved Son, in whom the Father is well pleased.” There is scarcely anything more explicit, more allied to the crown of imperial majesty, than this. To get rid of the force of it the whole conception of John’s baptism of Jesus has to be explained away (see Schenkel, loc. cit., pp. 44–47, where the testimonies of the Baptist, as given in the Fourth Gospel, are but “forms of later ideas”). The important fact is that the vision of John and Jesus, as given in the synoptic Gospels, is practically identical with the testimonies which, according to the Fourth Gospel, many days later were borne by John the Baptist to Jesus (ch. 3:27, etc.).

We are not disposed in the least to question that there must have been development in the soul of Jesus from his childhood to his boyhood, from twelve years old to thirty. But Jesus did not wait for the dæmoniacs or the multitude to tell him that he was the King of the new kingdom. So great a nature as his was not governed by Hillel or Gamaliel, by Essene or Rabban, by Sadducee or Pharisee. The immense originality of Jesus, as at the very first displayed in the synoptic narrative, showed how far his consciousness of mission and origin had gone. “Sonship, as an element of Messiah-ship, grew and deepened with time,” says Dr. Davidson. The element of time, if we taken even the longer chronology of John, is almost a vanishing factor in the exhibition of the character of Jesus. He had reached his maturity when he appeared as a candidate for John’s baptism. His mind was made up with reference to what was involved in the rôle of Messiah, both as a Son and as a Sufferer, as a Prophet and as a King. He did not wait for circumstances to reveal him to himself. But the stages of some kind of evolution and revelation of his nature, conditioned, so far as his hearers were concerned, by their susceptibility to his teaching, are not absent from the Fourth Gospel. Thus compare the teaching bestowed upon the woman of Samaria with that to the leaders of religious thought in Jerusalem (ch.5.); e.g. compare the elementary ideas of the spirituality of “God” and of “worship,” and the power of Jesus to give the water of life, with the grounds on which, as the Son of God, he was able to follow the leading and do the will of the Father in works of mercy. Add to this the growing revelation of himself as Life, Light, and Love, from ch. 5. to ch. 11. In this respect, also, compare the teaching bestowed on the different groups of disputants in ch. 7. and ch. 8. with the more explicit and abundant revelations of his character, functions, and work as the Shepherd of the sheep, and his unity with the Father (ch.10.). Almost all shades of modern criticism admit the impressive change in manner and teaching inaugurated in ch. 13, after he had retired from the temple, and, with his beloved ones around him, proceeded to reveal the way to the Father, the imminence of his departure, the certainty of his mystic presence, the mission of the Comforter, and the oneness of his Church. So far as progress is concerned in the self-revelation of the Lord, the records of our Gospel are as explicit and marked as those of the synoptic Gospels. We are ready to concede a different level of instructions and a class of teaching better adapted to individuals than to multitudes, more suited to the midnight auditor, or to the solitary waif at a wayside well, or to the knots of perturbed ecclesiastics, or to the family at Bethany, than to the ordinary synagogue life or the miscellaneous crowds on the hills of Galilee.

The synoptic Gospels, if they are left to tell their own story, and are not torn to pieces in order to secure a chronological arrangement in harmony with a preconceived theory, disclose, as the Fourth Gospel does, that the mind of the Lord was mature and made up from the first, and that the apparent progress is due to the increasing sensitiveness and susceptibility of the hearers of his wondrous words.

3. The presence of Alexandrine and Gnostic ideas is supposed to dominate the Gospel, and thus to discriminate it from the synoptic narrative to the disadvantage of its genuineness. In dealing with the sources and language of the Gospel, with its platform and antecedents, we have seen what ground there is for accepting a certain method or style of representation more prevalent in Ephesus than in Jerusalem, in Rome or Alexandria than in the Palestinian schools, and also the limitations to which this explanation is submitted, and the indications of the eye-witness that strike through the whole weft like silver threads. It is desirable in this place merely to call attention to the exaggerations of criticism in this behalf. Attention has been already called to the presence, in Matt. 11:27, 28, and Luke 10:21, 22, of phraseology which is identical in tone and suggestion with that which occurs in the Fourth Gospel. This single textual fact is sufficient to dispose of large part of the allegation.

It has been said, “Instead of saying that God created the world, as the synoptists do, a kingdom of darkness exists from the beginning under the dominion of the prince of this world. This being is hostile to God; he is the devil, Satan, the wicked one. Because of his essential opposition to God, he is connected with matter.” It is unfortunate that no passage from either of the synoptists is forthcoming in vindication of this contrast. In Mark 10:6 Jesus speaks of the “making” of men male and female at the beginning of the creation (ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως). The connection and the reference to Gen. 1:27 show that there is no dogmatic assertion of the creation out of nothing, even there. We are told that “all things (ἐγένετο) became, came into being, through the Logos.” What right has any critic to say that ἡ ὑλή (“matter”) is excluded from πάντα; and that the devil, because of his opposition to God, is connected with matter? “Darkness” is not referred to by the author until he has spoken of life, and the Life which is the Light of “men.” The darkness is not chaotic or acosmic, but moral, and the antagonism between “light” and “darkness” is not dualistic in the philosophic sense. It is no other than a current placitum of the Old Testament. Gen. 1:2–5: “darkness” is simply the negation of light; in Ps. 18:28 it is the symbol of sorrow; Ps. 91:6, the physical region where the unknown causes of evil dwell (Ps. 112:4; Isa. 58:10; and cf. Luke 1:79 and Matt. 6:23, where it represents the moral condition of those whose spiritual vision is bleared or blinded). As to the existence of the devil, or Satan, the synoptists have more to say than the Fourth Gospel, and it is in Matthew’s and Luke’s account of the temptation of Christ that the relation of the διάβολος to the world is most explicitly asserted. “The wicked one,” ὁ πονηρός, does not in this sense appear in John, unless ch. 17:15 be such a reference; but if so, then Matt. 5:37; 6:13; 13:19; 13:38; Luke 11:26, convey the same idea more forcibly. The synoptists describe the kingdom of Beelzebub and Satan as set over against the kingdom of God, and as “standing” because of its inward organization and the obedience and loyalty of its subjects. The Gnostics have made far more use of this conception than they have of the Johannine revelations of the father of lies. “Jesus,” in the Fourth Gospel, according to Dr. Davidson, “for this reason does not pray for the world, which is incapable of conversion, but for his disciples.” Is this conceivably the meaning of John, who puts ch. 3:16, 17 into the lips of the Lord? cf. ch. 1:29 (John the Baptist); 4:42 (the Samaritans); 6:33, 51; 8:12; 12:47; 16:8; 17:21. “Not until the prince of this world is expelled from his kingdom, as the result of Christ’s death, shall all men be drawn into the faith and fellowship with the Word.” The assault delivered at the might of Satan by the incarnation of Christ, the victorious issue from temptation, and victory over death, is one of the great themes of the New Testament. There is more reason in a supposed Gnostic origin of Luke 10:17–20 than for a solitary reference to the prince of this world in the Fourth Gospel (cf. Heb. 2:14; Col. 2:15). A docetic element is a attributed to the representation by the Fourth Gospel of the humanity and bodily life of our Lord. The fact is that there is no book in the New Testament which more explicitly demonstrates the physical life and perfect humanity of the Lord Jesus. His father and mother and brothers are spoken of, his weariness and thirst, his tears, his human affections, his dress, his food, his spittle, his touch, his flesh and blood, his bones and wounded side. He is “made flesh;” he dies; his body is embalmed; his garments are divided; and, after his resurrection, he partakes of fish and bread. To say that all this does not alter the case, because in ch. 7:30; 8:59; 10:39; and 18:6, the docetic view is implied, is very wilful, seeing that these passages all have actual and close parallels in the synoptic Gospels. Hilgenfeld has pressed especially the sympathy of the Fourth Gospel for Valentinianism, and specially finds in ch. 8:43, 44 the Gnostic idea of the creation of the devil by a god of inferior rank, such as that which the Ophites found in the God of the Jews (see notes); and the reference to the Gnostic idea of “the father, of the devil,” which appears to us to be a mistranslation, and to introduce elements entirely foreign to the whole teaching of the Gospel. The opposition between the children of God and the children of the devil is manifest in Gospel and Epistle, but the distinction is not based on a primordial difference of essence, but on the different act of the will, which leaves the responsibility of being in one or the other category with men, and not either with fate, God, or the devil (see ch. 5:39, 40, 44, 47; see Godet’s admirable discussion, ‘Introduction,’ vol. i. 182, etc.).

We are here concerned with the relation of the Fourth Gospel to the synoptic three, and cannot do other than come to the conclusion that there is nothing in the contents of the synoptic Gospels to invalidate the historicity of the Fourth Gospel. We shall now proceed to some of the special characteristics of the Gospel which are supposed by some critics to destroy its authenticity as the work of the Apostle John.

4. The style and diction of the evangelist. This is said on all hands to be a good specimen of Hellenistic Greek, and not to be more Hebraistic than other portions of the New Testament, but rather less so—a circumstance which is to be easily accounted for, if we bear in mind the apostle’s long residence in a Greek-speaking province, and his familiarity with Gentiles as well as Jews in Patmos, Ephesus, and possibly Rome. Those peculiarities to which some critics appeal as indicating contrast between the diction of Christ as recorded by John and that attributed to him by the synoptists, are extremely few and unimpressive. The mere fact that John should use in his own narrative, or put into the lips of various interlocutors, certain words and phrases, is nothing more than to say that this most remarkable author had a moderate amount of individuality—that he had a certain style of his own. Thus that he should use such words as ἀνθρακιά, ἄντλημα, ἀποσυνάγωγος, βιβρώσκειν, γλωσσόκομον, δακρύειν, δίδυμος, ἐγκαίνια, ἐπιχρίειν, θήκη, θρέμματα, κέρμα, κολυμβήθρα, μονογενής, νιπτήρ, ὄζειν, προβατική, προσαίτης, and many others only resembles what may be stated of almost every book of the New Testament. The vocabulary of the evangelist is small, and the same expressions are repeated with great frequency. φῶς occurs twenty-three times; δόξα, δοξάζεσθαι, forty-two times; ζωή, ζῇν, fifty-two times; μαρτυρία, μαρτυρεῖν, forty-seven times; γινώσκειν, fifty-five times; κόσμος, seventy-eight times; πιστεύειν, ninety-eight times; ἔργον, twenty-three times; ὄνομα and ἀληθεία, twenty-five times; σημεῖον, seventeen. These words are found, from their varied position and context, to have special connotation, and to grow in significance as we pass from the prologue to the epilogue. That we should find μέντοι six times, though not used in other Gospels; that οὖν should be used as a connective particle far more frequently than in the other Gospels; that μέν should almost be dropped out of use; that καὶ should be used where we might expect δέ; that he should be so often content to bring opposing statements into simple juxtaposition, leaving the conclusion to be felt rather than emphasized by himself (ch. 1:5; 15:24; 3:11); that the use of the optative should be discarded, unless in ch. 13:24; that λόγος should be used in a special sense in the prologue and in the First Epistle; and that a multitude of expressions should be found in the Epistles which also occur in the narrative or reflective portions of the Gospel, all combine to show that, apart from the language put into the lips of our Lord, there is a discoverable dogmatic style adopted by this writer. It is worthy of special note that whereas, e.g., the term Λόγος is used by the evangelist when speaking in his own name (not only in the prologue, but in 1 John 1:1 and Rev. 19:13) of the Lord, yet John was never tempted to put this language into the lips of Jesus. Another expression common to the prologue and First Epistle is “to be born of God.” There were many occasions when it would have been easy to have justified the phrase by attributing it to Jesus, but the evangelist avoids the phrase in ch. 3. and elsewhere.

The charge is made that all the interlocutors, John the Baptist and Nicodemus, the woman of Samaria, the Jews and Pilate, alike speak the same Johannine dialect, and that this is also identical with that which is put into the lips of our Lord. Consequently it is inferred that the entire language of the thought which has broken away from the atmosphere and dialect of the synoptists is the invention of the writer. With the phraseology, the thought is supposed also to be Johannine, and we are said to be reading a powerful romance rather than a carefully arranged series of biographical fragments. Now, we are ready, nay, compelled, to concede a considerable subjective element in the delineation. The choice of one group of discourses, debates, events, and results, rather than of another, is clearly the work of the evangelist. He himself asserts that the materials at his disposal were far more numerous than those which he has utilized (ch. 20:30). The Spirit that moved him to this particular choice utilized the specialty of his meditative mind and impulsive love as the means and process of the revelation. We must go further, and say that in no case can we suppose that he preserved totiden, verbis the whole of the discourse or conversations. The interview with Nicodemus lasted longer than five minutes; the debate in the fifth chapter more than ten minutes; the sharp controversies of ch. 6–10. can only be given in outline. Doubtless the salient points were preserved in each case, the ideas and words that left the deepest impression on the writer’s memory were recited; but the putting together of the whole, the brilliant dramatic scenes of chs. 6–8, record the gist of lengthened and animated controversy. The sublime converse in the upper chamber must have been curtailed and arranged so as to conserve the vital elements of this unique teaching. No critic can escape from a certain subjective element in the representation. Even if we could unreservedly accept the theory of Hug, Diodati, and Roberts, that our Lord spake the Greek tongue in Galilee, or to Pilate, or when in presence of the Greeks, yet it is difficult to suppose that the Baptist spoke Greek, that the conversation with Nicodemus or in the upper chamber was not carried on in the familiar vernacular. In the extent, therefore, that our Lord used Aramaic at all, the evangelist must have translated into his own Hellenistic dialect the Aramaic words. This circumstance is enough to explain a large amount of sameness in the Gospel, even in reporting the ministry and teaching either of John or Jesus. The synoptic Gospels do, without much doubt, reveal the existence of an oral or written Greek nucleus from which, while supplementing it by special details, their authors drew their main material. Now, the writer of this Gospel acted independently of that source, and drew more immediately upon his own special memories and the ideas which he had himself widely diffused by his preaching before he penned the Gospel. The question arises—Is there any distinction to be perceived between the Greek diction used by John in the composition of has Gospel and of his Epistles, and that which, by some sure instinct of reverence and deep memory, he has used when recording the words and discourses of our Lord?

Numerous tables prepared for me by the Rev. William Henry Beckett, of Stebbing, reveal some facts which are worthy of special attention. I regret that I have not space to present them in extenso, and hope that he may be induced to publish them, with the important conclusions deducible from them.

List A, as below, shows that more than a hundred and forty-five words are put by the evangelist into the lips of our Lord, but never used by himself; of which thirty-eight are found in the synoptic records of our Lord’s words, and of which fourteen are peculiar to the Johannine writings.

List B shows the expansion of the same investigation, where the dominance of a certain phraseology in the words of our Lord is contrasted with the use of the same language by the evangelist elsewhere, in narrative portions and in the Epistles.

List C enumerates the phrases which are peculiar to the utterances of our Lord in the Fourth Gospel. They are nine in number, of which the most remarkable are the reduplicated Ἀμὴν, ἀμὴν, which occurs twenty-five times; Ἐγὼ εἰμι six times; Ἐγὼ εἰμι ὁ thirteen times.

List D contains nearly five hundred words (a not inconsiderable vocabulary) which are used by the writer when pursuing his narrative or recording the words of others, not our Lord’s, or developing in hortatory from his own personal conceptions of doctrine or duty. Of course, much is necessarily common to the whole diction, but the facts here adduced demonstrate a distinct character in our Lord’s speech, which did not pass over into the style of the beloved disciple, and a large element of personal style adopted by himself, which, nevertheless, he never attributed to the Lord. This, I submit, cannot be the result of accident, and is best explained by recognizing the existence of the distinct nucleus of historic and reported speech.

List A.—Words found only in discourses and sayings attributed to our Lord by St. John.


 

ἀγαλλιάω, ch. 5:36; 8:56.


 

ἀγιάζω ch. 10:36; 17:17, 19; used in the Lord’s Prayer, Matthew and Luke, and in Matt. 23:18, 19 of the gold and the gift; does not occur elsewhere in the Gospels.

S.

ἀγωνιζομαι ch. 18:36.


 

ἀθετέω, ch. 12:48

J.

ἀλλαχόθεν, ch. 10:1.


 

ἅλλομαι, ch. 4:14.


 

ἀλλότριος, ch. 10:5.

S.

ἄμπελος, ch. 15:1, 4, 5.

J.

[ἀναμάρτητος, ch. 8:7 (cf 1 Epist 1:8–10, where the word might have been used).]


 

ἀνήρ, husband, ch. 4:16, 17, 18.


 

ἀπαρνέομαι, ch. 13:38; and ἀρνέομαι, R. T.

S.

ἄπιστος, ch. 20:27.


 

ἀπόστολος, ch. 13:16.


 

ἀπώλεια, ch. 17:12.


 

ἀριστάω, ch. 21:12, 15.


 

ἀρνίον, ch. 21:15.


 

ἀτιμάζω, ch. 8:49.

S.

βάπτω, ch. 13:26.


 

βασιλεία ch. 3:3, ch 3:5; ch 18:36.


 

βλασφημέω ch. 10:36. βόσκω, ch. 21:15. ch. 21:17. βρῶμα, ch. 4:34.

S.

βρῶσις, ch. 4:32; 6:27 (bis), 55.

S.

γεωργός, ch. 15:1.


 

γνωρίζω, ch. 15:15; 17:26 (bis).


 

δεῖ, ch. 3:7, 14; 4:24; 9:4; 10:16; 12:34. This word also occurs in ch. 3:30 and 4:20; but the evangelist only uses it in ch. 4:4 and 20:9. May not both these passages be echoes of the words of Christ?

J.

δειλιάω, ch. 14:27.


 

δέρω, ch. 18:23.

S.

δεῦρω, ch. 11:43.


 

διδακτός, ch. 6:45 (quotation)


 

δόλος, ch. 1:47.


 

δωρεά, ch. 4:10.

S.

δωρεάν, ch. 15:25.


 

εἶδος, ch. 5:37.


 

ἐκλέγομαι, ch. 6:70; 13:18; 15:16 (bis), 19.


 

ἐκπορεύομαι, ch. 5:29; 15:26.


 

ἐκτείνω, ch. 21:18.

S.

ἐλεύθερος, ch. 8:33, ascribed to our Lord by the Jews; 8:36.


 

ἐλευθερόω, ch. 8:32, 36.


 

ἐλπίζω, ch. 5:45. ἐμπορίον, ch. 2:16.

S.

ἐνταφιασμός, ch. 12:7


 

ἐντέλλομαι, ch. 14:31; 15:14, 17 [8:5, by the Jews].


 

ἑξάγω, ch. 10:3.

J.

ἐξυπνίζω, ch. 11:11.


 

ἐπίγειος, ch. 3:12.


 

ἐπιδίδωμαι, ch. 13:26;


 

δίδωμι, R.T.

S.

ἐπουράνιος, ch. 3:12.


 

ἐτοιμάζω, ch. 14:2, 3.

S., excepting Lu. 22:33.

ἕτοιμος, ch. 7:6.

J.

ζωννύω, ch. 21:18 (bis);


 

ζωοποιέω, ch. 5:21 (bis). 6:63.

S.

θαρσέω, ch. 16:33; occurs six times in the synoptic Gospels, in each instance ascribed to our Lord.

S.

θερίζω, ch. 4:36 (bis), 37, 38.

S.

θερισμός, ch. 4:35 (bis).

J.

θήκη, ch. 18:11.

S.

θλίψις, ch. 16:21, 33.


 

θρηνέω, ch. 16:20.


 

θύω, ch. 10:10.


 

Ἰσραηλίτης, ch. 1:47.


 

καθαίρω, ch. 15:2.


 

καθαρός, ch. 13:10 (bis), 11; 15:3


 

καίω, ch. 5:35; 15:6.


 

κακῶς, ch. 18:23.


 

κᾄν, ch. 8:14; 10:38; 11:25.

S., excepting Lu. 1:42.

καρπός, ch. 4:36; 12:24; 15:2, 4, 5, 8, 16.


 

καταβολή, ch. 17:24.


 

κατακρίνω, ch. 8:10, 11.


 

κατήγορος, ch. 8:10; R.T. omits.


 

κλέπτω, ch. 10:10.

J.

κλῆμα, ch. 15:2, 4, 5, 6.

S.

κόκκος, ch. 12:24.


 

κόπος, ch. 4:38.


 

κρατέω, ch. 20:23 (bis).


 

κρίμα, ch. 9:39.


 

λατρεία, ch. 16:2.


 

λούω, ch. 13:10.

S.

λύκος, ch. 10:12 (bis).


 

λύπη, ch. 16:6, 20, 21, 22.

S.

λύχνος, ch. 5:35.

S., excepting Lu. 1:45; 11:27.

μακάριος, ch. 13:17; 20:29.


 

μηκέτι, ch. 5:14; 8:11.


 

μὴ οὐκ, ch. 18:11.


 

υικρόν (adv.), ch. 13:33; 14:19; 16:16, 17, 18, 19.

S., excepting Mk. 15:40; Lu. 19:3

υικρὸς, ch. 7:33; 12:35.


 

μισθωτός, ch. 10:12, 13; R.T. omits.

S.

μνημονεύω, ch. 15:20; 16:4, 21

J.

μονή, ch. 14:2, 23.

S.

νέος, ch. 21:18.


 

νουή, ch. 10:9


 

ξηραίνω, 15:6

S.

ὁδηγέω, ch. 16:13.


 

ὄντως, ch. 8:36.


 

ὀρφανός, ch. 14:18.

S.

ὄφις, ch. 3:14.


 

πατρίς, ch. 4:44 (?).


 

πεινάω, ch. 6:35.


 

περισσός, ch. 10:10.


 

περιτέμνω, ch. 7:22.


 

περιτέμνω, ch. 7:22, 23.


 

ποιμήν, ch. 10:2, 11, 12, 14, 16.


 

ποίμνη, ch. 10:16.


 

πουμαίνω, ch. 21:16.


 

πόσις, ch. 6:55.

S., excepting Mk. 1:5.

ποταμός, ch. 7:38.

J.

πότερον, ch. 7:17.


 

ποτήριον, ch. 18:11.


 

προσκόπτω, ch. 11:9, 10.

J.

προσκυντής, ch. 4:23.

J.

προσφάγιον, ch. 21:5.

S.

προφασις, ch. 15:22.

J.

πτέρνα, ch. 13:18 (quotation).


 

πῦρ, ch. 15:6.

J.

ῥέω, ch. 7:38 (to flow).

S.

σῖτος, ch. 12:24.

S., excepting Matt. 3:12; Luke 3:17.

σκανδαλίζω, ch. 6:61; 16:1.

S.

σκορπίζω, ch. 10:12; 16:32.

S.

σπείρω, ch. 4:36, 37.


 

συκῆ, ch. 1:48, 50.


 

σωτηρία, ch. 4:22.

S.

τέρας, ch. 4:48.

J.

τετράμηνον, ch. 4:35.


 

τίκτω, ch. 16:21.

S.

τιμάω, ch. 5:23 (four times); 8:49; 12:26.


 

τιμὴ, ch. 4:44 (?).

S.

τρίς, ch. 13:38.

S.

τρώγω, ch. 6:54, 56, 57, 58; 13:18.

S.

ὑμέτερος, ch. 7:6; 8:17; 15:20.


 

ὑπόδειγμα, ch. 13:15.


 

ὑπομινήσκω, ch. 14:26.


 

ὕστερον, ch. 13:36.

S., excepting Lu. 1:52.

ὑψόω, ch. 3:14; 8:28; 12:32.


 

φεύγω, ch. 10:5, 12, 13; R.T. omits.


 

χείρων, ch. 5:14.

J.

χολύω, ch. 7:23.


 

χορτάζω, ch. 6:26.

S., excepting Lu. 18:11.

ὥσπερ, ch. 5:21, 26.

Some grammatical peculiarities must pass under review. The pecularities of grammatical expression adopted by the Fourth Gospel are not numerous; e.g. he places the article before οὐρανοῦ where the other evangelists omit it (except ch. 1:32). He uses the present tense for an apparent future, when that future is represented as being as good as present (ch. 14:3); so ch. 4:21; 16:2 (ἔρχεται ὥρα ὅτε)—but cf. Matt. 17:11—and ch. 12:26; 14:3; 17:24, with ὅπου εἰμὶ ἐγώ, which may mean, “where I shall most surely be,” or, “where I am even now at home” (Winer, loc. cit., p. 332). And, again, where the action seems on the point of realization (ch. 10:32; 13:6, 27; 16:17; 17:11; 21:3); but similar usage is found in 1 Cor. 12:31; 2 Cor. 13:1; Rom. 15:25. John’s notion of ζωή almost requires the present tense (ch. 3:36; 5:26).

Notwithstanding the urgency with which Winer maintains the telic force of ἵνα throughout the New Testament, in many places where ἵνα can and must be limited to a simple apposition, or to what Canon Evans felicitously terms “a contemplated result,” yet Winer enumerates the passages in John’s writings where it cannot mean more than what might be expressed by an infinitive clause, as ch. 15:8; 17:3; 15:13; 1 John 4:17; 3 John 4 (see also notes on ch. 8:56). And though Winer with difficulty renounces the telic force of ἵνα (1 John 3:11; ch. 6:40; 12:23; 13:1; 16:2, 32), he says a Greek writer would have perhaps used ὥστε δοξασθήναι instead of ἵνα δοξάσθῃ (see Winer’s treatment of ὄπως in pp. 575, 576). The use of ἵνα in this weakened sense shows the sense of a Divine aim pervading all the ordinary nexus of human relations.

Not only John but Paul used certain prepositions (e.g. ἐν) in a mode unknown to Greek writers, but adapted to express Christian ideas, which were originally expressed for the apostles in specific force given to Aramaic prepositions. One characteristic feature of the grammatical style of the evangelist is the occurrence of repeated asyndeta—the breaking up of sentences which might otherwise be woven into a context by εἶπε, or λέγει αὐτῷ, or ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ (see numerous examples in ch. 2, 3, and 4). Some of these short sentences, like “Jesus wept” (ch. 11:35); “Now Barabbas was a robber” (ch. 18:40); “And it was night” (ch. 13:30); “Now Jesus loved Martha,” etc. (ch. 11:5);—reveal a suppressed five which flashed at times through the apparent monotony of the style.

These various peculiarities simply show that the writer’s mind was familiarized with the forms of later Greek construction, and open some glimpses into the simplicity and intensity of his nature, his receptivity to a succession of thoughts and facts which one by one left their impression on his mind. They are not of such a character as to separate the writer from his colleagues, or to remove him to another century. They reveal his idiosyncrasies, which have their parallels in Paul and Luke. Some of them are unknown to the classical Greek, while the repetition of the same idea in a positive and negative form, and the play of ideas produced by setting the same term in an ever-ascending and climacteric series of relations, are the demonstrable consequences of a Hebrew training. Thus ch. 16:21, the image of the travailing woman, may be compared with Isa. 21:3 and Hos. 13:13; that of “living water” (ch. 4:10) with Isa. 41:18. Ewald justly says, “In respect of the spirit which animates it, no language can be more purely Hebraic than that of our author.” In respect of mere slavish imitations of Hebrew syntax, or Talmudic form, Renan is right in saying that there is no symptom of either. Luthardt remarks and proves that “there is a Hebrew soul in the Greek language of the evangelist.” Keim has eloquently asserted the same idea. The style is no barrier whatever to the theory suggested by the entire external and internal evidence, that the beloved disciple was the author of the Fourth Gospel.

5. The character of the discourses contained in the Fourth Gospel. Notwithstanding the abundant proof thus summoned from the Fourth and synoptic Gospels of general identity of the signal portraitures, including that of the Lord himself, and also of special and subtle hints of the moral nature of Jesus, and his mental habitude; and though we have pointed out very numerous touches of positive agreement and sameness of utterance between our two sources, and that in the limited vocabulary placed by John into the lips of the Lord there are not fewer than forty words or terms also attributed by the synoptists to him;—yet the lengthened discourses in ch. 3, 5, 6, 10, 13, 14–16, 17, do unquestionably introduce the reader of them into a new atmosphere. We do not altogether miss the spirit or even the actuality of parabolic speech, as witness especially ch. 10. and 15, yet the contrast is very marked between the parables of the kingdom, in Matt. 13 and parallels, and the semi-parables and semi-allegorical representations of the closing discourses of the Fourth Gospel. The form of the discourses differs almost as much from the general form of the synoptic discourses as the ‘Dialogues’ of Plato do from the ‘Memorabilia’ of Xenophon. That well-known difference of form includes also a profound difference of subject-matter and of definite teaching; yet no one presumes to deny that Xenophon and Plato were alike disciples of Socrates. We need both, and the ‘Comedies’ of Aristophanes also, to draw our portraiture of the historical Socrates, and to form a sound opinion of the authentic teaching of the great philosopher. The case of Socrates and his followers is an extreme one, because there is hardly anything in common, either as to teaching or framework, in the three representations to which we have referred, whereas in the four Gospels, with their characteristic differences, there are, as we have seen, subtle resemblances of a unique kind, which bridge the chasm between them, and blend the divergences into a wonderful unity. It is so often said that a later disciple placed his own theology and soteriology into the lips of Jesus, and so sought and secured a wide diffusion for his personal opinions, that some investigation of the alleged charge must be here made.

The ingenious and fantastic treatment of the great discourses by Albrecht Thoma, as well as the allegations of Keim, remove any necessity, even the faintest, for travelling on into the second century for the material or spirit of the Christology. According to Thoma, abundant antecedents are found in the synoptic narrative, in the Pauline Epistles (even the universally accredited Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, and Galatians), and in the speculations of the Alexandrines, the LXX., and the Old Testament, for every shade of doctrine, every form of narrative. The author (whosoever he was) may, therefore, have produced this Gospel, so far as all necessary antecedence goes, in the closing decade of the first century. He does but work out in a narrative the material and ideas which were widely circulated, and formed the basis of Christian communities between a.d. 60 and 70. The question then passes from an inquiry into the chronological conditions, into the psychological possibility of our Lord having been the real Author of the ideas about himself which are attributed to him by the Fourth Gospel.

There appears to us scarcely an idea or utterance for which some basis might not be found in the utterances of the synoptists, or in the obvious and intense convictions of the Apostle Paul and those to whom he wrote. The point really raised is—Are these ideas presented to us in their primitive form as they veritably fell from the lips of Jesus? or have they been fashioned by the apostle, who mentally assimilated them, and new-wrought them out of the synoptic narrative and the current theology of the earliest Church? Such questions need not have arisen out of malice prepense. There must be, there is, a subtle aroma investing alike both narrative and discourse, which suggests a strongly subjective element in the arrangement of the material, and in the full-orbed splendour with which ideas, which undoubtedly existed when Paul wrote his Epistles, appear to have flashed from the consciousness of Jesus, and to have taken a sharply defined shape in his words. Criticism under the teaching of evolution, or the law of continuity, may be compelled to admit the prevalence of the ideas, but it cannot rest content with the obvious explanation of their origin which the Gospel suggests. Consequently, it is supposed the author, rather than the Christ, originated the form of the great discourses.

The following remarks are offered. (1) A large portion of the synoptic narrative is equally charged with a God-consciousness on the part of Jesus which is absolutely unique. In many cases, as we have seen, the language of the synoptists approaches that of the Johannine Gospel, and his personal assumptions are equally dogmatic and august. (2) The fourth evangelist presupposes and supplements the earlier Gospels, not feeling called upon to review and recite the anthropological and ethical teachings of Galilee, but to dwell on those utterances of the Lord which revealed (theologically) the eternal basis on which the worship of his holy Name was justified. (3) “The synoptists, in the history as in the doctrine of Jesus, present the concrete phenomenon in time; John presents the eternity that has appeared in time. The synoptists do not deny the transcendental, and even allow it to be conjectured that infinite contents dwell in the concrete phenomenon; but they take their point of view on the side of the phenomenon. John does not deny, but lays emphatic stress upon, the fact that the ‘eternal life’ entered historic actuality, and became a phenomenon striking the senses, that ‘the Word became flesh;’ but he takes his point of view on the side of the infinity which forms the contents of the phenomenon” (Luthardt, lib. cit., p. 230). If we can believe that “the Word did become flesh” in Jesus, we cannot feel, or need not feel, that there is any psychological impossibility in the utterance by our Lord of the ipsissima verba that John attributed to him. (4) A subjective element cannot be denied, so far as the choice of subject-matter is concerned, and even the order, the symmetry, the dramatic grandeur, and monotony of Divine substratum and ethical appeal; but it appears to us infinitely impossible that the subjectivity went so far as to create the form and substance of the Johannine Gospel.

It is conceivable that the author, in the longer discourses, may have introduced germane thoughts and words which belonged to different occasions—as it is commonly assumed that Matthew and Luke have also done (Matt. 10., 13., 23.; Luke 12., 15., 16.)—and he may, moreover, have selected those more notable and impressive teachings which justified and created in his own mind the sublime theodicy of the prologue; but it is inconceivable that the author of the Gospel invented, rather than recited, marvellous utterances of the Christ, that he appealed to his imagination rather than to his memory for the significant portraiture of him who was pre-eminently “Grace and Truth,” “the Truth,” “the Life,” and “Light of the world.”

The Jews were accustomed, far more than we can now readily appreciate, to depend on the memory of the spoken words of their most honoured teachers. For hundreds of years the Mishnah and large portions of the Gemaras and of the Midrash on the sacred books must have been verbally retained in the memory of reverential disciples, and consequently the whole of these discourses would make a comparatively small demand on the powers of such a disciple as we imagine St. John to have been. The prolonged discourse on the night of the Passion may easily have been indelibly impressed upon the mind of the more susceptible hearers. The history of the Church as it enacted itself at Jerusalem and elsewhere would perpetually bring to light and tend to emphasize the special instructions given on that memorable night, so eminently adapted to prepare their minds, not only for the great catastrophe, but for such scenes as Pentecost, and for the numerous conflicts which arose as the little band went forth to face the world, and to become rapidly that illustrious society which spread from the upper chamber in Jerusalem to Antioch and Ephesus, to Babylon in the East, and to the metropolis of the world.

If Jesus can be believed to be the “Word made flesh,” the Head of a new humanity, the Door opened into heaven, the Giver of eternal life, the Dispenser and Baptizer with the Holy Ghost; if he were one with the Father, and continued after his departure to rule, teach, and save his disciples, and to blend them into a sacred and unique fellowship;—it is not in the least degree abnormal that he should have uttered every one of these august and solemn words.

IX. The Teaching of the Fourth Gospel

Numerous hypotheses touching the occasion of the production of the Gospel vanish if the main thesis which has been sustained throughout the foregoing pages be proved. We are brought back from the agitations of Gnostic heresy to earlier struggles. The speculations are less complicated; the struggle between the Hellenic and Hebraic element in the Church less severe than in the days of Marcion, Justin, and the Clementines. The early influence of the Cerinthian ideas was a source of agitation in the Church. The perfect humanity of the Son of God was doubted on the one side, his enthronement as our “Lord God” spurned on the other. The aged apostle was induced to add to the widely circulated synoptic literature his own richest reminiscences of the teaching of the Master. The fullness of this instruction may be usefully exhibited by reducing it to the following heads or groups of thought.

1. The teaching of the Gospel, whether on the lips of Jesus or the evangelist himself, touching the Godhead. We have already shown that there are fundamental distinctions in the style and vocabulary of John and of the Johannine Christ; but it is more than probable that John’s own style was framed by the influence which his communion with the Lord had exerted upon him. There can be no doubt that the thoughts of Jesus inter-penetrated him. He was saturated with them, and they gave a character to all his own meditations on the outcome and meaning of the Lord’s life. The prologue is the generalization of all the teaching of our Lord, and is based line by line, thought by thought, upon the teaching of Jesus and the special activities that he records. The teaching of John may be derived, therefore, from every part of the Johannine writings.

The concrete presentation in the Old Testament of “the One,” “the only God,” the free creation of all things by the Word or Spirit of his own eternal essence, is the basis of the Johannine teaching. The unlikenable One of Isaiah; God invisible not merely to the eyes of flesh, but even to the faculties of human intellect, which cannot find God by searching; God dwelling (as St. Paul says) in the inaccessible light;—was a fundamental idea with the apostle. “No one hath seen God at any time” (ch. 1:18) is a saying avouched or implied in our Lord’s words (ch. 5:37). This reduces the theophanies of the Old Testament to something less than they were supposed to establish. They are along the line of Divine manifestations, but he himself was witness of far more than patriarch or prophet ever beheld. The representation, however, is perfectly different from the philosophic conception of “the abyss,” or “the absolute,” from the dream of the Gnostic or the impassive and impersonal abstraction of the Hindu. The personality and individuality of the very essence of Deity is affirmed by every reference to the activity and characteristics of God.

(1) One of the most fundamental utterances is that “God is [a] Spirit” (ch. 4:24)—a statement which makes the spiritual nature of man the surest guide to human concepts of his invisible essence. Man’s inmost ego, his self-conscious intelligence, the centre of his mental processes, gives the direction to all our approximations to the essence of God. He is the “veritable God” (ch. 17:3), answering as no heathen deity has ever done to that august reality. Two other commanding and comprehensive terms lie at the heart of the Johannine conception. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). This is suggestive of the absolute perfection of the Divine Spirit, the illumination which proceeds from him, by which all other things can be perceived, as well as of the unsullied purity of all his character. We learn that God is (not luminous, but) Light itself. The Lord addresses him as “righteous” (ch. 17:25), justifying all his ways and vindicating all his providence.

The other supreme definition of the essence of the Godhead is “God is love,” and “love is of God” (1 John 4:8). The most fundamental and comprehensive idea of God is that he loves, that he lavishes, bestows himself upon the objects which he has made. The God of whom Jesus speaks “loved the world” (ch. 3:16), and evermore contemplates the world which he has made with supreme satisfaction. He is “in the beginning” (ch. 1:1), and therefore “before all things;” and his “bosom” (ch. 1:18) is spoken of as the dwelling-place of infinite blessedness.

(2) But the most instructive term which is frequently on the lips of the evangelist is “the Father.” The idea is not an original one fashioned by this writer or set down alone by him, but it is the dominant and all-pervading one. God was described by the prophets as the Father of the theocratic people (Deut. 32:6; Isa. 63:16; 64:8; Jer. 31:9, 20; Hos. 11:1). Israel is spoken of in some of these passages as his “sons and daughters” (Isa. 1:2, 4; 63:8; Deut. 14:1). A spiritual relationship between God and his people, based on fundamental qualities, and connoting far more than the creatorship or the makership of Ζεὺς πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε. Our Lord is reported by the synoptists to have called God “my Father” (Matt. 11:27), and in many places to have spoken of “your Father” (Matt. 6:4, 6, 8, 15; 23:9; Luke 6:36). The term is expanded in many ways by the addition “in heaven,” or “heavenly” (Matt. 5:16, 45; 6:1, 9, 14, 26, 32; 7:11). God is not the Father of inanimate or irrational beings, showing that those who can call God their “Father” possess a nature akin to his own. But the Fatherhood of God suggests a special form of moral and spiritual relationship which may have been forfeited, and which by Divine love is re-established.

The Gospel of John represents our Lord as continually speaking of God as “the Father,” “my Father,” and as “your Father” (ch. 20:17). He is the “living Father” who has “life in himself” (ch. 5:26), who seeks for spiritual worshippers (ch. 4:23), who loves the Son (ch. 5:19; 10:17; 17:24, 26) with a supreme affection which yet passes over and through the Son to those who have entered into living harmony with himself (ch. 16:27; 17:26). The connection between God as Father and God as Spirit is strenuously preserved (ch. 4:22–24), the latter term expounding the method in which the Fatherhood energizes and reveals itself in its fulness of power. The Father is Almighty, and this is especially enforced in his power to quicken the dead (ch. 5:21). He is greater than all (ch. 10:29)—greater than the Son (ch. 14:28). He is eternal (ch. 17:5, 24), holy (ch. 17:11), and righteous (ch. 17:25).

This writer builds his entire conception on this as its fundamental basis. It differs profoundly from that of the Alexandrine or Oriental metaphysic; and though abundant preparation had been made for it in the Old Testament, and though all its essential features are found in the synoptists, it is the distinguishing element of the teaching of Christ in the Fourth Gospel, and had verily saturated the mind of the author of the Gospel and Epistles. In a sense, and to a degree never before realized on earth or expressed in literature, do we come face to face with One whose God-consciousness was veritably expressed by the epithet, “the Father,” “my Father.” Christ is not merely the Expression of the ineffable One, and “the Image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15), but the Son of the Father. The relation of Logos to Theos is warmed into and expounded by the relation of a Son to a Father. The idea is not peculiar to John, for St. Paul declared that “it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell,” and that “through Christ we have access to the Father;” and the writer to the Hebrews (1:2) had laid it down in words suggested by the author of “Wisdom of Solomon,” that Christ the Son was the Effluence of the Father’s glory, the express Image of his substance or essence. That essence was a Father’s heart; that effluence was the Son of the Blessed.

(3) The Father and the Son. The Fatherhood of God does not exhaust the concept which St. John formed of the Godhead; for within the bosom of the Father, in his essential Divinity, insphered in his eternal glory before the world was, “with him,” and yet “One with him,” was “the Son.” The Fatherhood was essential to God, and therefore the Sonship was before all worlds. The gracious self-communication, the infinite benevolence of God, appertains to his eternal essence. From before all time, and independently of time and place and earthly service, the evangelist saw love in infinite activity, streaming forth in boundless, inexhaustible fulness, and adequately responded to. This conception of God goes down to the depths of thought, and forms the basis of all the moral perfections of Deity, and discriminates it from the impersonal abstractions and characterless quiescence and inaccessibility of the Supreme Monad of the Platonic schools.

The Johannine conception starts with the use of certain expressions which had arisen in the schools of Jewish thought, and confers upon them a meaning and application from which those schools would have shrunk. The Θεός, whose most fundamental Name and whose essential Being is set forth as “the Father,” is first of all described as before the creation of the world, or of every thing and force which has come into being, standing in intimate immanent relations with the Λόγος (the expression of his own thought and will), who is, while “with God,” also God himself. Distinction from God is twice over covered by the explicit assertion, “the Word was God,” and the same idea is subsequently expressed in the prologue (ch. 1:18) by the terms of “Father” and “only begotten Son.” The μονογενής is in the bosom of the Father, and therefore alone competent to reveal him. Equality of essence is predicated alike of Father and Son, of Theos and Logos, and yet distinction of hypostasis is also asserted. The Godhead, therefore, involves an internal and reciprocally immanent relation. Reuss strongly maintains that the evangelist simply leads us back to the beginning of time, and says nothing of an eternal relation. Any such assertion is, according to criticism, an inference from the text, and not contained in it. We may concede that the earliest Creeds, culminating in those of Nicæa, Chalcedon, and the so-called Athanasian, do draw this inference; but it is one which logically and immediately flows out of the text. The converse of the inference, or the Arian assertion, “that there was (time or period) when he was not,” and “before he was begotten,” does immediately predicate an infinite difference between the Father and Son—a statement entirely incompatible with the equality of nature and essence and with the true monotheism of the entire biblical revelation. But so far as the self-consciousness of this Son is represented in the consciousness of Jesus, we frankly concede that there is in the Divine order a superiority, primacy, solity, ascribed to the Father: he who has independently life in himself gave the like self-dependence to the Son (ch. 5:27). The Father sent the Son. “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do” (ch. 5:19). The Father and Son are one, but the Father sanctified and sent the Son into the world (ch. 10:31–37). The Father created all things “through (διὰ) the Logos.” “The Father is greater than I,” said Christ (ch. 14:28). “I live,” said he (διὰ τὸν Πατέρα, ch. 6:57), “on account of the Father.” The Father gave the Spirit to the Son (ch. 3:34). This headship of the Father does not contradict the eternal filiation, but both ideas are necessary to interpret the fulness of meaning which St. John gives to the concept of the “only veritable God.”

(4) God and the Logos. The characteristics of the Λόγος before his manifestation in the humanity of Christ are that he is the Divine Agent in the creation, the Source of life and the light of the world, because both the Life and Light of God. He was ever more coming like light into the darkness of humanity, like life into the soul of man. He came in many ways to his own. He gave power (ἐξουσία) to those who believed on his Name “to become sons of God.” Although the Father sent him, commissioned the Son for these lofty purposes, yet it was as “beam” proceeds from “light,” as “Word” follows “Spirit.” He dwells, like Wisdom, in the midst of the throne, and in the bosom of the Almighty. He is one with the Father in being, essence, and will. This blending and unity of the Father and Son, of Theos and Logos, was the metaphysical basis of the entire Johannine superstructure. We see that it is not peculiar to John. The Old Testament was built on the same synthetic representation. Jehovah, and the Angel of Jehovah, the unapproachable self-existent, eternal One, yet came into personal and anthropomorphic, visible and audible, relations with men. The true Wisdom in the heart of man, found and cherished by those who love her, is the eternal effulgence of God’s glory and co-possessor of his throne (see p. 51). The conception interprets the phenomena of both providence and prophecy, of conscience and theophany. The Lord is always coming to his own, and even giving them power to receive him, and authority to become sons of the ever-blessed and Almighty Father. Before he came in the flesh, human nature was fashioned in his image and likeness, and his most appropriate manifestation assumed freely the appearance of an august and Divine humanity. The Word or Angel of the Lord was concerned with the fortunes and perils of individuals whose career would affect the whole subsequent history of the people of the covenant. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Hagar, Joshua, Gideon, Manoah, received these open visions until the rise of the prophetic order, whose function was “to bear witness to the true Light which lighteth every man.” The Christ of the Fourth Gospel recognizes those who are “of the truth,” and come to the Light of the world, and who hear his voice. This “Light” and this “voice” must have been available apart from the special revelation and effulgence of his glory in the Son of man. One peculiarity of the Johannine conception was that in the Word there was life, and instead of making this life the consequence of the light, the process is reversed—the life was the light. “Life” is more than being, and in its fulness of manifestation could appertain on earth to man only. The reason or the motive of the manifestation of life was communication of blessedness and kinship to the Source of all blessedness to the human race. From the Divine life produced in man, from the new creation wrought in human nature, light has been evermore gleaming. In proportion to the reality and extent of the life is the brilliancy of the light. But while he came to his own, even to those best prepared to receive him, they “received him not.” The darkness of humanity did not apprehend the light of Deity, so that a method of approach for the life and the light, more explicit and efficacious than any which had preceded, became necessary to satisfy the irrepressible and unutterable love of God.

(5) The Word made flesh. The great proof-text, the motto of the Johannine Gospel, is that “the Word became flesh” (ch. 1:14), i.e. became man in his weakness and dependence, and in his composite and mysterious nature. “Flesh” (σάρξ) does not mean the bare physical nature, nor the physical and psychical natures combined. “Flesh” in numerous passages connotes the whole of human nature without grace, and therefore the πνεῦμα, as well. Abundant evidence is forthcoming to show that Jesus possessed both soul and spirit (ch. 11:33; 12:27; 13:21; 19:30), and therefore the Fourth Gospel must be supposed to include under the σάρξ which the Λόγος became, the whole interior manhood, inclusive of “will,” “spirit,” “soul;” but the term is used in preference to ἄνθρωπος, in order to mark especially the visibility, the corporeity, the sensuous and phenomenal aspect of this his last and greatest self-communication to man. Great conflict has prevailed in later years over the nature of the “becoming” which St. John here attributes to the Logos. The kenotic speculations of Thomasius, Gess, Godet, and others press the force of St. Paul’s statement that he who was in the form (μορφή) of God emptied (ἐκένωσεν αὐτόν) himself, forewent his glory; and that therefore the expression before us must imply such a depotentiation of the Logos that he was no longer Logos, but that temporarily he was σάρξ, and σάρξ only, without any of the consciousness of his own Divine perfections, not even of Divine love and righteousness. This theory has insuperable difficulties of its own. The consciousness by Christ of his own pre-existence lifts him above mere σάρξ, or any psilanthropical interpretation. The simple fact that he was conscious of “a glory with the Father before the world was,” and that he was about to return to it (ch. 17:5, 24) and reveal it to his disciples; that he was conscious while on earth of being “in heaven,” having come down thence (ch. 3:13); that his earthly life was a “coming down from heaven” as heavenly manna; that he was about to ascend to where he was before (ch. 6:33, 51, 62); that before Abraham came into being he could say, “I am”—furnish abundant proof of his self-conscious pre-existence, and show that the Ego in and of which he spake was more than the σάρξ—was nothing short of the Λόγος. Reuss is very urgent in calling attention to the fact that the human life of the Logos was not (according to the Fourth Gospel) any humiliation, or exinanition; that even death itself was his δόξα and his ὑψοῦσθαι (ch. 3:14; 8:28; 12:23, 32; 13:31).

Yet it must be admitted that the author of the Fourth Gospel calls more express attention to the humanity, and to the dogma of Christ having come “in the flesh,” than any other writer of the New Testament. He was Son of a human mother, was interested in the domestic affairs of his neighbourhood (ch. 2:1–12), had brothers who were unable frankly to admit his claims to Messiahship (ch. 7:3–6), was influenced by the movements of different tendencies at work in Judæa and Galilee, was “weary and thirsty” with his wayfaring in the heat of the day (ch. 4:1–3, 6, 7), “wept” at the grave of a friend (ch. 11:35), was pierced by the treachery and unsusceptibility of his disciples (ch. 6:66, 67, 70) as well as by the Roman soldier’s spear (ch. 19:34–37), was concerned about his mother even when hanging on the cross (ch. 19:25–27), and about the physical need of his disciples after he had risen from the dead (ch. 21:9). We can accept the position that his essential Person was never obliterated, but we consider that the Fourth Gospel represents the very union of this humanity with the Divine nature to be a humbling of himself to human conditions that is altogether unspeakable. The limitation of human knowledge, the consciousness of physical need, the pain and suffering, temptation and resistance, experienced throughout his career, were the expression of an infinite love and condescension. The closeness of the union, the perfect blending into one Person of the purely human with the Logos who was with God (or with the Only Begotten of the Father), involved two things: (a) the humiliation of the Logos, and (b) the glory of the Only Begotten, full of grace and truth. The eyes of the apostles saw and received this fulness, perceived the continuous glorification of the humanity by which they were being drawn, mastered, overwhelmed; but it is perfectly compatible with this conception that the Lord by his Divine nature was actually made participant in the humiliation and weakness of the flesh and the bitter hostility and prejudice of the world. It is abundantly evident that only a few men rose to the full apprehension of his glory. Consequently, he must have had the perpetual consciousness of indescribable loneliness and sorrow. The almost feminine inquiry, “Do ye now believe?” (ch. 16:31, 32), enforces the opposite of the contention of Reuss.

It is often said that prayer on the part of Christ is in itself an unmistakable indication of the depotentiation of the Logos, or else it was a meaningless display of what was in no sense genuine prayer. We do not regard it as either one or the other. John’s Gospel especially reveals the necessity on the part of our Lord’s humanity for the exercise of prayer, and so far indicates the humiliation of the Son of God in the mediatorial work he had undertaken (ch. 6:15; 11:41; 12:27; 17.). But why should the Logos be supposed, in these prayers, to have retired into inaccessible depths of Deity? It is the Logos now made flesh of whom the apostle is speaking, and therefore experiencing in his mediatorial work the need of prayer, and giving, moreover, the true conception, and embodying the fundamental ideal of prayer, viz. of the human in perfect harmony with the Divine, knowing that God hears him always, anticipating the conscious acts of God. Prayer, like death, is a Divine act of the Son of God, only capable of being enacted through the humanity that he assumed.

The “Logos made flesh” corresponds with “water which became [was made] wine” in this—that, as water was not transubstantiated into something essentially different from itself, but rather took up into itself elements not previously in the water, so the Logos took human nature up into itself, and the Ego of the Incarnate Word could henceforth feel and declare that, though the Father was “greater than he,” the Father and he were essentially one (ch. 14:28). The Father and the Son were one in so deep a sense (ch. 10:30) that all men were to honour the Son even as they honour the Father (ch. 5:23, 24). In the question, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?” (ch. 14:9), Jesus felt that he had not been recognized by his disciples if they had not perceived the Father in him. They must have formed an entirely inadequate notion of himself if they had found nothing more than his human perfections. Even the outline of the Man must have been blurred, and the impression of the humanity imperfect. Notably so; the very tone of his prayers, the quality of his assumptions, the greatness of his human claims, the declaration that he would quicken the dead and judge the world, would be sure to have led those who heard these words into wrong notions of his humanity, unless they could have also penetrated to the amazing truth that he was in the Father, and the Father in him.

(6) The Son of God, the Christ, the Son of man. These relations between the God-Man and the Father justify the two great names by which the Lord designated himself. He calls himself “Son of God.” He did not reprove Nathanael (ch. 1:50, 51) when he attributed this title to him in a theocratic sense, but he took much higher ground when he spoke of himself as “the Son of God,” or “the Son,” sent by the Father to save the world (ch. 3:16, 17), to give eternal life (ch. 17:2), to judge (ch. 5:27) and exercise authority over all flesh (ch. 17:2), as the Agent of the Father, the Messenger of the Father, and as “sent into the world” to “do the Father’s will” and “to finish his work.” The “Son of God” is the eternal Companion and Co-operator with the Father; he knows the Father, and is the Object of the Father’s love. The Father is the Potency, the Son is the Reality of all creative and redemptive operations; the Father is the eternal Ground, the Son is the Means and Organ and Executor of all the Divine activity in nature and grace. In all these respects the Divine aspect of his Personality comes into view, almost separated from the humanity, or overshadowing it with glory. The Word made flesh tabernacled among us, took up his habitation among us as in the temple of his body, and the glory which flashed from the adytum of this temple was the grace and truth of the Only Begotten of the Father (ch. 1:14).

The identity of the “Logos made flesh” with “the Christ” receives the greatest prominence in the Gospel (ch. 1:17). Grace and truth (which are said in ver. 14 to have streamed forth from the Logos made flesh) came by Jesus Christ (cf. 1 John 5:20, “We are in the true, [even] in his Son Jesus Christ”). In the intercessory prayer (ch. 17:3), “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only veritable God, and Jesus Christ whom thou halt sent.” While the Baptist repudiates the assumption of being the Christ (ch. 1:20), it is clear that some of the mighty things done by him whom as yet they knew not were associated with the Christ of whom Moses and the prophets had spoken (ch. 1:41, 45). The “King of Israel” is but another name to express Nathanael’s conviction. The following chapters reveal the purifying; process passing over the conception (ch. 3:28, 29). The Samaritans hail him as the Christ (ch. 4:25, 26, 29). The effect produced by his great sign (ch. 6:14) involves the confession, “This is the Prophet coming into the world.” He refuses the temporal kingship, but he raises their conception to the transcendent gift of his Divine Person. The text of many manuscripts makes the confession of Peter (ch. 6:68) an acknowledgment of Messiahship (see notes). The whole argument of ch. 7:25–43 shows that Jesus is accepting, and that the author is assigning, the idea of the Christ to the Lord (cf. ch. 9:22, 35). Martha, without rebuke, ascribes the same function to him (ch. 11:27), and all that follows refines, matures, illumines, the mighty Name. The public assumption of Messianic glory (ch. 12:12–19) suffers further exposition (ch. 12:34–36). All the revelations of ch. 13–17 proceed on the assumption. The conversation with Pilate, the title of the cross, but above all the declaration of the evangelist (ch. 20:31), show the full identification of the Christ, the Logos made flesh, and the Son of God.

It is equally remarkable that our Lord, in the Fourth Gospel, quite as frequently designated himself as “Son of man“—a term probably derived from the Old Testament usage, which, though occasionally denoting the bare idea of “man” (in Ezekiel), in Daniel is associated with the highest manifestation of God (Dan. 7). The phrase there seems to mean the ideal of man, the perfect Image of God, the heavenly Man, realizing the conception of what St. Paul calls the Second Adam. Christ, in the synoptists, adopts the name, though his disciples never attribute it to him (except in the two exceptional cases of the dying Stephen, who beheld him in his glory, and of St. John in the Apocalypse). The occasions on which our Lord thus names himself by no means lay special emphasis thereby on the humiliation of the Christ. Thus it is as “Son of man” that he “forgives sin”—a function which none can discharge but God only (Matt. 9:6 and parallel passages). The Son of man is “Lord of the sabbath” (Matt. 12:8 and parallel passages), is “the Sower” of the seed of the kingdom (Matt. 13:37); he seeks and saves the lost (Luke 19:10); comes not to be served, but to serve (Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45). The Son of man will rise from the dead and judge the world (Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; 12:8, etc.; Matt. 19:28). The Fourth Gospel corresponds with the synoptists in the same usage, and ch. 1:51 and 3:13 show that the Lord spoke of himself as “Son of man” when implying that, behind the attributes of his humanity, and conferring upon that humanity its archetypal character, was his Divine nature. He was “Son of man” because he was “Son of God.” The heavens are opened round about him; though on earth, he is in heaven. He is lifted up in the likeness of sinful flesh, that he may heal the deadly poison of that flesh (ch. 3:14). He will judge all men because he is the “Son of man” (ch. 5:27); not a tertium quid, neither God nor man; but God in the plenitude of his power, man in the sufficiency of his knowledge and sympathy. The consciousness of his pre-existence with God must have intensified the sense of contrast between “the form of God” and “the form of a servant,” between the eternal “Effulgence of the Father’s glory” and “the fashion of man,” through which for certain ends the glory was veiled for all, and but dimly and slowly perceived by any.

There can be no doubt that the evangelist’s conception of the Godhead was not complete by the bare ascription of the name of Father to the Deity. Having learned in the school of Christ, he considered and taught that, in order to appreciate the Father, we must recognize and realize the existence of his only begotten Son. He held that the fulness of God is not an impersonal unity, but an eternal relationship; that the relation between “God” and “the Word,” between “the Father” and “the Son,” is necessary to any adequate conception of the Fatherhood of God. Jesus was therefore a revelation of both the Father and the Son.

(7) The Spirit and the Triunity. But the Johannine conception of the Godhead was not consummated in this duality. A mysterious method of speech pervades the Scripture, by which the self-consciousness of both Father and Son is reduced to a personal unity. The Old Testament as well as the New is charged with this aid to our imagination and this solace to our faith. There is no place here for a review of the doctrine or idea of the Holy Spirit as set forth either in the earlier Scriptures or in the Pauline Epistles beyond this—that the Spirit of God is there described as the Source and Agent of Divine activity in the old creation; as effecting and preserving the immanence of God in nature; as itself the Source of human ego; as the element of order and beauty in heaven and earth; as the silent but mighty energy which lifts and develops the intellect of man to its highest flights, and encourages the heart and stimulates the conscience to their noblest exercise. The prophets and psalmists confess the power of the Spirit of God, and anticipate that the highest functions of Messiah will be conferred upon him by the Holy Spirit. Certainly this appellation is sometimes used as though the term meant nothing more than a Hebrew parallelism for God himself, but yet in other places it expressly defines the Spirit as the mighty Agency, by which God himself works in the nature of man. The synoptists preserve this same phraseology and attitude to the Holy Spirit, the formation of the humanity of Jesus (Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:35), the direction of his purposes (Mark 1:12), the consecration of that humanity to the Messianic office (Mark 1:10, 11 and parallel passages), the order and power by which Jesus met and foiled the tempter. The Spirit of God is the power by or in which Jesus commences his ministry (Luke 4:1) and performs his miracles on those possessed by the devil (Matt. 12:28). In the synoptists the Lord contrasts the dispensation of the Son of man with that which is inaugurated by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12:29–32 and parallel passages). Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matt. 3:11), and promises the Spirit as the greatest and best gift of the Father’s love (Luke 11:13). This is the “promise of the Father” for which the early Church waited (Luke 24:49), and which came upon the disciples with strange potency on Pentecost (Acts 1, 2). This Spirit, which bound discordant elements into a unity, into a body, and produced in individuals and on the community the most radical changes and conferred the most amazing powers, is reckoned by St. Paul to be the Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of him that raised Christ from the dead (Rom. 8:9–11). Through the eternal Spirit he offered himself without spot, and he was declared to be Son of God by the Spirit of holiness, by his resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4). This Spirit can be resisted, blasphemed, quenched, obeyed, loved, and adored; and, while unquestionably Divine, is nevertheless distinct from the Father and the Son. What new teaching does the Fourth Gospel introduce on this subject? We learn that Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit (ch. 1:33), and that the Holy Spirit rested on Christ (ch. 1:32), and was given to him in unmeasurable abundance (ch. 3:34).

When God was said to be Spirit (ch. 4:24), it would seem that the whole Godhead (whether Father, Son, Logos, or Spirit) was Spirit, and nothing can be gathered hence of any hypostasis or ousia, but rather a hint is given of the supreme character of the very essence of Deity, as antithetic to theories of his impersonality, of his corporeal limitation, of ritual observance, or of idolatrous localization of his energies. Christ had often spoken of the “living water.” which he could and would give to quench all human thirst. He promises the great abundance of this gift, and describes it as a kind of blessedness which would make each recipient a perennial supply of it for others (ch. 4:14). St. John says this was Christ’s description of the Holy Spirit, which those who should believe on himself would receive, for the “Holy Spirit was not yet [given], because Jesus was not yet glorified” (ch. 7:37–39). In other words, when Christ should, as the Victor over death, have taken his place on the throne of God, then the whole material wherewith the Spirit would deal with men would so immeasurably transcend all that had ever been previously vouchsafed, that in comparison with what had gone before the Holy Spirit had not yet been (given) at all. The entire “ministration of death [and of the letter, and of the body] had no glory by reason of the glory that excelleth.” When the hour at length drew near that the brief manifestation in the flesh was to be removed from human eyes, our Lord declared more fully the substitute for his own constant care which he was about to send to them, One who should “abide with them for ever,” “whom the world would not see, or receive, or take away from them” (ch. 14:17). This “other Paraclete” is described as the “Holy Spirit,” whom the Father would send in his Name, whom he too would send from the Father (ch. 14:25, 26), whose coming to them for all gracious purposes was identical with the coming of Christ himself. Nay, more, his advent would prove a coming to them of both the Father and the Son. As he had glorified the Father, the Holy Spirit would glorify him; for he would take of the things of Christ, and show these to the disciples (ch. 16:13–15). He, like the Son himself, would not speak from himself. He would declare that which he knew of the Father. He would so quicken the understanding of the disciples as to bring all things to their remembrance, and thus perpetuate the primary instruction they had received, but the power of which they might lose sight of. The glorious gift of the Spirit is said to be in answer to his own prayer as the exalted and glorified Christ, and as co-operating with them, not only for their own solace and refreshment, but also as a testimony to himself, and (ch. 15:26, 27) a convicting and convincing power on the outside world (ch. 16:7–11). The exaltation, the departure of Christ, the cessation of the manifestation in the likeness of the flesh, was indispensable to the full bestowment of the spiritual gift. Then the world should be convinced of sin, righteousness, and judgment (ch. 16:7–11). In anticipation of this new dispensation, he symbolically breathed on his disciples, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (ch. 20:22), thus preparing the way for the great manifestation of the Day of Pentecost.

The teaching of the Fourth Gospel was in harmony with the biblical idea throughout, and it explains the intensity with which Paul had already dwelt on this sublime throne, and the detail into which he had expanded the fundamental idea. John had not borrowed from Paul, nor from Alexandria, nor from Gnostic notions of æonic development, but set forth those positions out of which both revelation and superstition and the speculative tendencies of the age have severally developed so much.

To suppose these Johannine doctrines to have been the crystallization of Pauline, or Gnostic, or Montanistic thought is contrary to all probability. If Christ himself had given forth (as John says he did) this idea of the relation of the Holy Spirit to his own Person and to his prospective work, and if many hints of this specific teaching were circulating in the Church, the entire Pauline representation and that of the Acts becomes thinkable. As a condensation of St. Paul or a corrective of second-century ideas, it is incredible and confused.

The Fourth Gospel thus does much to prepare the Christian Church for the full doctrine of the Godhead. The consciousness of Jesus was so set forth therein as to induce all Christians to believe in God, not in the form of a solitary Monad, but as One who from eternity contained in his own Being the relations of Father and Son, and whose unity of essence is itself as personal as is the Father or the Son.

To bring together the whole teaching that emerges from the “Word made flesh,” from the God-Man as the centre of the life of a renewed humanity, we are led to positive distinctions in that Deity which stood in such close relations with human nature. “The Spirit” is none other than the Spirit of the Christ energizing in the hearts of believers. The Spirit of the Christ which unites the Logos and the flesh is none other than the Spirit of the Logos, the Spirit of God’s Son; and the Spirit of the Son is the Spirit of the Father, for the Father and the Son are one. The doctrine of the immanent Trinity seems an inevitable consequence of any admission that the Fourth Gospel sets forth historically the veritable consciousness of the Lord Christ. The argument moves on from incident to incident, from word to word, from synonym to synonym, of the all-blessed One; until he who is hailed as Messiah and sacrificial Lamb and theocratic King appears, to be the Opener of heaven, endowed with creative power, the Lord of the temple, the Reader of human hearts, the Source of life and healing, the Bridegroom of the true theocracy, greater than he who was the greatest of the sons of men. We follow on in the narrative, to find that, though the flesh of the Christ provokes endless antagonism, and so moves the “darkness” that it becomes a fearful and felt oppression, yet the idea of the Divine humanity becomes more and more intense in each department of this mighty synthesis.

The humanity admits the need of water from Jacob’s well, but flashes forth, while so doing, such spiritual truth that he is hailed as the Messiah-Prophet and Saviour of the world. The bestowment on the impotent man of life leads Jesus to declare the power that he wields to confer life on dead souls and bodies, and the authority he has received to judge the quick and dead (ch. 5); he assumes to be the Life of the world by two great signs on land and sea (ch. 6), and by conferring upon mankind himself as the veritable “Bread of God which had come down from heaven.” In great variety of form he claims to be not only life, but light. He calls himself the Shepherd of souls (ch. 10), able to give to those who submit to him eternal life, because he and the Father are one. He wrestles with death, and snatches one whom he specially loves from the grave (ch. 11). At that grave his mysterious Personality is displayed as intensely human and unmistakably Divine. Throughout the closing scenes he becomes more and more consciously Divine, as his heart breaks with human tenderness. He loves to the uttermost when he is most of all alive to the fact that all things are entrusted to him (ch. 13:1–5). So complete is his revelation of the Divine love that he dares to say, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (ch. 14:9). He promises to bestow the Divine gift of “the Spirit,” and with the Father to come and dwell in human hearts. He takes the whole future into his glance, and offers prayer for those who shall believe on him to the end of time (ch. 17:20). He goes forth to meet his doom, to drink the cup of trembling and humiliation to the dregs. He is condemned and submits. He triumphs over death, and receives the unrebuked exclamation, “My Lord and my God!” If this be an historical setting forth of one indubitable series of his highest revelations, then we recognize the consciousness of Jesus as having cast a gleam of surpassing light into the “think darkness” and profoundest mysteries of the Divine Being. The record of his words and life, as set forth by his most loving friend, furnishes the largest proportion of those facts which the Christian consciousness has endeavoured to bring together in what is called the doctrine of the Trinity.

2. The Johannine teaching concerning the world. This divides itself into a trilogy, even as the doctrine of the Godhead does. (1) The world as the creature of God; (2) the world of men; (3) the world’s prince.

(1) All things (πάντα) came into existence through the agency of the Logos. Not one (thing) entity, atom, force, can be excepted. The entire region of Divine operation is itself the creation of God by the Logos, corresponding to the teaching of the writer to the Hebrews, that by the agency of the Son (equivalent to Logos) God made the αἰῶνας, the very conditions of time and place. In antithesis to this last conception an organized opposition appears to the Creator-Logos. Darkness, which is not merely negative of light, but an antagonism to it, must, so far as it is a designation of moral agencies, be the creation of the Logos, not as darkness, but as free to act in opposition to God, and thus to take on itself the aspect and characteristics of darkness. In the “all things,” not, however, called κόσμος, there is both an “above” and a “beneath;” the heaven from which the Son of man has come, and to which he will return, and to which “he lifts his eyes” in prayer, and where are his “Father’s house” and “many mansions.” He who is “from above is above all.” The process that passes over men in their becoming sons of God is a birth “from above,” or “from the beginning,” or “from the Spirit.” This heaven opens over and behind the Son of man (ch. 1:51), and he is consciously in “heaven,” and may be seen by regenerated eyes to be one who can and does pass from earth to heaven, from heaven to earth (ch. 3:13). The κόσμος is often used to denote the whole of this visible, tangible, terrestrial dwelling-place. Into it the Son of man comes when the Logos is made flesh (ch. 1:13, 14). From it at last he ascends (ch. 6:62), when he has conquered death and put on the vesture of an immortal humanity (ch. 20:17). Christ speaks of the “light of this world,” meaning that which proceeds from the sun (ch. 11:9). The Johannine Christ notices the most striking features of the earth in which we live—the wind that careers over its surface; the local dwelling-places of men; the food that human bodies need, even his own; the washing of feet from its defilement; the soil in which the corn of wheat takes root; the vineyard and the sheepfold; the burning of the pruned and fruitless branches; the contests among its children for sovereignty over it. All things are put under him, and all the powers of the world are at his disposal. He can accelerate processes of nature and meet great forces of the κόσμος with his will. He can face all the powers of nature and all their protest against man with the simple fiat of his will; saving men from starvation and from shipwreck by his word. He told the Jews that they were “of this world,” but that he was “not of this world.” There is no indication that the (ὕλη) stuff or matter of which the world was made was evil, or that the forces of nature were per se opposed to their Maker or to the interests of man. He utilizes them, he makes them the instruments of his most beneficent deeds (ch. 2, 6, 9, 13). Nor is the ὕλη eternal; for it had its beginning, and again the world and the fashion of it will pass away (1 John 2:17). It is the scene of Divine manifestation. The very flesh which he had himself assumed was “of this world,” though he, the Ego dwelling in it, was “not of this world,” He loved his own to the uttermost while they were “in the world” (ch. 13:1). He did not pray that they should be “taken out of the world,” but kept from the evil (ch. 17:14–16).

(2) The world of men. The sense of the word thus considered is not the whole connotation of the word. It is used more frequently (κόσμος, not αἰών, or ὁ νυν αἰών), for the whole of humanity considered independently of God. The κόσμος, which was made by the Λόγος (ch. 1:10), recognized him not, even when he was in the world, whether immanently or by incarnation. This power of cognition, which was not exercised, indicates moral freedom and intellectual power, and therefore refers to men, not things. In the great prayer the Lord said (ch. 17:25), “O righteous Father, the world [humanity as a whole] hath not recognized thee.” The world of men was, in its ignorance and estrangement, in great danger of destruction (ch. 3:16), and was exposed to judgment (κρίσις). The world hates the Christ for the light that he throws on its own evil, and will hate the disciple as it does hate the Master (ch. 15:16–19). But the world of men, notwithstanding its antagonism to and separation from God, is an object of Divine love (ch. 3:16). This love is the condition and occasion of the mission of the only begotten Son. Jesus has come to save the world; he took upon himself the sin of the world (ch. 1:29); he is the Propitiation for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2); he came down from heaven to give life to the world (ch. 6:33, 51). So that it was not an inert mass of incurable corruption. Those who are “saved,” who receive “life,” who are chosen out of the world and called to holy service, reveal the great contrast between themselves and those who “will not come to him that they may have life” (ch. 5:40), and a more restricted use of the word κόσμος, is confined to those who from that standpoint resist, hate, persecute, all who approach and find him. So that “world” is often the antithesis of the children of God (ch. 14:19, 22). Yet even the “world,” in this darkest, deadliest, hatefullest form, is not irretrievably doomed. Jesus sends his disciples into this very world to teach it, and promises the gift and aid of the Comforter to convict it of sin, righteousness, and judgment (ch. 16:8–11). The world may give the disciples much “tribulation;” but (said Christ) “be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (ch. 16:33). The fellowship and love of the disciples for each other is to convince the world. The purport and end of the conviction is that the world may believe (ch. 17:23–26).

The effort that the school of Hilgenfeld and others made to find a Gnostic dualism, an unremediable darkness set over against an eternal light, has failed in dealing with these definitions of “the world.” The caustic and terrible words of the eighth chapter should be judged by the dramatic controversy in which they occur. The deadly hatred of the Jews to Christ was at its climax intensified by the very suppression and failure of its attempts, and Christ pressed home the alliance between them and the author of all murder and falsehood; and declared that they would “die in their sins” because they did not believe that he was essentially that which he had evermore said to them (ch. 8:24–26). But a very forced conclusion is drawn from the words when this teaching is identified with dualism. The condition of deliverance is conspicuous throughout. A recognition of the scene as historic certainty at once shatters the speculation that has been founded upon it.

Doubtless throughout the Gospel, as throughout the New Testament and the Old Testament, the selective and redemptive activity of God’s grace is referred to. There are those who are not drawn to the Son by all his tenderness, and are not given to the Son, that, having reached him, they may find access by him to the Father (see notes, ch. 6:44†; 14:6†). There are who practise evil (πράσσοντες τὰ φαῦλα), and who will not come to the light (ch. 3:20, 21), upon whom the wrath of God abides (ch. 3:36), who will eventually come forth to the resurrection of judgment (ch. 5:29), whom the Moses in whom they trust charges with sin (ch. 5:45). One human being is spoken of as διάβολος (ch. 6:70). Christ’s unbelieving hearers are contrasted with himself as being ἐκ τοῦ κοσμοῦ τούτου (ch. 8:23). They are “the servants of sin” (ch. 8:34). They are children of the manslayer, of the liar, of the devil (ch. 8:43, 44). They fancy that they see, but are blind, and their sin remaineth (ch. 9:41). The final summary of the teaching quotes Isa. 6. “He hath blinded their eyes,” etc. (a passage quoted by all the synoptists and St. Paul). In every one of these passages of St. John there is no other dualistic teaching than that which pervades the New Testament. The redemptive work itself is arrested and limited by responsible disobedience and unbelief of men. The entire position of the Johannine theology recognizes the human will as the agency which is to appropriate or reject the full benediction. The exclusion from privilege is hypothetical, not predestinated. The mission and message of the Son of God is not primarily one of judgment, but one of mercy and of deliverance. “The world,” which is the synonym and comprehensive term for “humanity apart from grace,” is loved by God. The Son of God came to save it; the Comforter to convict it of sin, righteousness, and judgment; and the answer to the great intercessory prayer will be that the κόσμος, till then estranged, hateful, unsusceptible, will believe that the Father has sent him.

(3) The prince of this world. The Johannine teaching recognizes a centre to the evil that is in the world, a personal antagonist to God and goodness; but in this it is not so explicit as the synoptic or the Pauline teaching. It is to the synoptists we must turn to see the distinct work of this hostile spirit. The peculiarity of John’s report is that some of the Jews are addressed as the children of the devil, doing their father’s work, imitating the source of falsehood and the first murderer of human life in the evil passions and purposes they were at that moment cherishing. I have discussed (sect. VIII. C. 3) the supposition that John puts into the lips of Jesus a reference to the father of the devil. The language cannot bear this interpretation. We have simply the strong metaphor which treats the resemblance of nature as equivalent to filiation. The evil desires and plans of the would-be murderers of Jesus are referred to the suggestion of the father of lies. They are in the strong language of the synoptic Baptist and Christ, the “offspring of vipers,” the seed of the serpent.

John’s Gospel does, however, bestow a title on the great evil spirit which is in perfect harmony with the claim made by the devil in the synoptic account of the temptation (Luke 4:6). Christ speaks of him as “the prince (ἄρχωι) of this world”—a term which is made even more explicit in the Epistles of Paul, where he is “ruler of the darkness of the world” (Eph. 6:12; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 1 Tim. 1:20); he is prince of death (Heb. 2:14–16) and roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8). Thoma (loc. cit., pp. 202–205) endeavours to make out a fundamental difference between the Johannine teaching and the rest of the New Testament in this—that the only region of operation assigned to “the prince of this world” is the human spirit (even the human spirit of Jesus himself), not the bodies of men, or the world as such, or the heavens or the abode of spirits; that we have no “possession” of the bodies of men, no diseases entrusted to his manipulation, but rather that the evil mind of the traitor and the mental trouble of the Master himself is the only region of his activity and the sole indication of the devil’s nearness or presence. There is no reference in John to “possession,” but observe also that there is no reference to “leprosy,” nor to the “issue of blood,” nor to “dropsy,” nor to “fever,” which evil diseases our Lord healed in Galilee; but we learn that he did work many signs and works, the nature of which is not portrayed (ch. 2:23; 4:45, 48; 5:36; 20:30). The absence from John’s narrative of a specific reference to healing those possessed with devils may not indicate any metaphysical difference. In 1 John 3:8 we are told that “he was manifested to destroy the works of the devil.” We should be going too far, therefore, to say that John ignores them. The very phrase, “prince of this world,” gives the flat denial to the inference drawn by the Tübingen school. The references to the devil under this title are comparatively few. In ch. 14:30 “the prince of this world cometh, and findeth nothing in Christ.” In ch. 12:31 he is cast out of the earth by the submission of the Son of God; and ch. 16:8, 11, because he is judged, the Comforter will convict the world of judgment.

We learn from Christ that “he abode not in the truth;” and when “he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own” (ch. 8:44); so that some hint is given of the mysterious event elsewhere referred to, that when the prince of this world began to be, he was not evil, but became so in the exercise of his own free will.

Thoma rejects Hilgenfeld’s supposed discovery that the Johannine writer refers to the demiurge of the Gnostic Valentinus as the father of the devil (see sect. VIII. C. 3, and notes on ch. 8:44).

The future of the devil himself is not touched upon in the Gospel; but the ultimate consecration of the world, and the expulsion from the world, and the final condemnation of the prince of the world, are firmly promised and predicted. As Reuss admits (‘Theol. Chret.,’ ii. 474), there is no indication that John emphasized a fundamental, irresponsible, or inevitable evil, or referred the existence of evil to the decrees of fate or Divine predestination. In every case the fault lies in the will of the moral agent, and is the consequence of the rejection of advantage and of slight offered to opportunity.

3. The Johannine teaching concerning the salvation of the world. This comprehensive subject embraces: (1) The Person of the Saviour. (2) The nature of the salvation effected by him, as (a) Life, (b) Light, (c) Love. (3) The means adopted by him to accomplish the end proposed: (a) his own life (or example); (b) his revelation of the truth (light of men); (c) his love, in giving himself unto death, laying down his life for his sheep; (d) his bestowment of the Spirit—the true coming of himself to individuals and to the Church. (4) The method of human appropriation—faith, reconciliation, love.

(1) The Saviour himself. The Johannine teaching concerning the Godhead has embraced the main features of his Divine-human Person, which was at one and the same time the highest representation of ideal manhood, of God’s conception of man, and the most perfect and exhaustive revelation of the Divine nature of the heart of the Father. The ultimate end of the Incarnation may well have been wider than the redemption or salvation of the world. It may be, and it has been supposed to include (even if man had never sinned), the fullest self-manifestation of the eternal God in a nature intended from its first inception to bear the full weight of the Divine glory (see Dr. Westcott’s important essay on “The Gospel of the Creation:” ‘Appendix to Commentary on the Epistles of St. John’). Whether it were so or not, the Gospel describes the (proximate) end of the Incarnation and of the sending of the Son of God into the world as nothing less than the salvation of the world of men. He came (not to condemn, but) to save the world (ch. 3:16, 17), and that all men through him might be saved. He is hailed in Samaria as “the Saviour of the world” (ch. 4:42; 1 John 4:14). “Salvation” (σωτηρία) is not a new idea invented by the author of the Fourth Gospel. The Old Testament constantly uses the word to describe the greatest necessity of man and the mightiest work of God. It is the most comprehensive of all terms adopted to express the beneficent action of God. It is the restoration of all the relations between God and man which had been dislocated by sin, and the conference of subjective conditions and experiences of transcendent preciousness and importance. It would be easy to show that this word covers all that is meant by justification and new life, by reconciliation, pardon, and sanctification, by adoption and eternal life. The term “salvation” covers all that this evangelist describes by his use of the verb σώζειν. He who is able to do this thing must possess lofty powers and Divine Personality. As John uses the word, it implies a terrific and hopeless condition into which the world has fallen. Darkness, ignorance, unsusceptibility, falsehood, rebellion, bondage, and exposure to moral destruction (ἀπώλεια, ch. 17:12), death without any prospect or principle of life. The serpent-bitten, plague-stricken, and dying hosts of Israel; sheep exposed to the ravages of the wolf, existence without any life, death in sin, death in all its defilement, shame, and mystery, are metaphors more or less explicit and translucent to describe the condition of humanity independently of God’s saving grace. St. John discriminates between “sins” and sin, and shows that to him sin is not an isolated act of transgression. His definition of ἁμαρτία, is ἀνομία, or lawlessness (1 John 3:4), i.e. antagonism to the known Law and will of God. It assumes in Gospel and Epistle the twofold meaning of concrete acts of rebellion and transgression, as in (ch. 5:14) “Go, and sin no more,” and “He that delivered me to thee hath the greater sin” (ch. 19:11); 1 John 2:2, “He is the Propitiation for our sins,” etc.; 1 John 1:9, “He is just to forgive us our sins.” But it is also used as descriptive of a power or principle of corruption, a tendency to sin, as in (ch. 8:34) “He that doeth sin is the bond-slave of sin,” and (ch. 8:46) “Which of you convicteth me of sin?” Whereas Jesus said boldly to the religious leaders in Jerusalem (ch. 7:19), “Which of you doeth [keepeth] the Law?” This is the state of man from which Christ comes to deliver the human race, commencing with individuals. There is a positive objective work to be done in and for human nature by its Saviour, and there is inducement and motive to be supplied to perishing man to accept this objective work of his.

The sending, the coming, the descent, the work, the acts, the words, of the Son of God have all been conditioned by the desperate condition of humanity. It is admitted that in some sense he had always been coming, and had always been in the world, had been seen by prophets (ch. 12:41) and testified to by the prophetic spirit (ch. 1:5); that patriarchs desired to see his fuller manifestation (ch. 8:56), that the great Lawgiver had written of him (ch. 5:47), and the entire Scripture of the Old Testament testified to him (ch. 5:39); but all this agelong and universal approach of the Logos to the mind of man had not disarmed resistance, nor did the darkened understanding see the brightness of the glory of the Father. So, before any further or final display of the purpose of God in the salvation of men could take place, “the Logos,” says John, “became flesh, and tabernacled amongst us.” The Divine humanity thus constituted was specially equipped for the work to be done. Every lofty name he bears or assumes has a distinct reference to the reconstitution, saving, and redemption of humanity; while the very nature of the changes to be wrought in human nature and individual souls corresponds with the attributes and perfections and offices that in the Fourth Gospel he is prepared to fulfil. Thus he is to save the world; to save those that believe on him from destruction (ch. 3:16, 17); to set them free from bondage to sin, their hard taskmaster (ch. 8:36); to provide, for whosoever looks to him with eye of faith, deliverance from worse than the bite of fiery serpent (ch. 3:14, 15). He is “the good Shepherd,” who has come to deliver from the fangs of the wolf or the malice of the thief who comes on apace “to steal, to kill, and destroy” (ch. 10:10). “I am come that they might have life.” He is the Giver to the starving soul of man (ch. 6:50) of the true food, of which, if a man eat, he shall not die.

(2) The nature of salvation may be summed up in three great terms, alike descriptive of the need of man and the character of the Christ and his work—life, light, and love.

(a) Salvation must be life, the possession of more than the transitory, ever-vanishing, always-threatened earthly existence which we are content to call by the name. It is a mode of being unmenaced by the ten thousand perils of the earth and by the organized enmity of hell, rendered incapable of perishing, delivered from the tempter, and freed from the fear which hath torment. Life, not a diseased, paralyzed, and distorted existence, the source of endless unrest, and ever tending to destruction; but life in its wholeness and perpetuity—”life” independent of these local conditions and physical surroundings, and “more abundant” than can be realized in the flesh; “veritable,” answering to its fundamental idea, a life which is proper to man as a veritable child of God; “eternal life,” a life which flows on like a river abounding in its strength into the great ocean of eternity. “The living water,” the spiritual life, the Holy Spirit himself, shall be in those who receive his gift of life as a well-spring which leaps up in boundless fulness and entire sufficiency for all human craving for ever and ever. The constant references made in the Gospel to “life,” “eternal life,” show that it was the synonym of the salvation which Christ came to give. It is more than existence, or continuity of an existence which had been forfeited. It is the blessedness of complete satisfaction, the continuity of participation in the very nature of him who has life in himself, and who “hath given to the Son to have life in himself” (ch. 5:26, 27). In the Logos is life, and in the Logos incarnate, “made flesh,” is life (ch. 1:4, 14); “He that hath the Son hath life;” “God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11, 12).

The record of the Gospel insists upon and illustrates the life-giving power of the Logos when made flesh. Thus he maintains that, though the temple of his body be destroyed, he will raise it up; and though he lay down his life, he will take it again, by the intrinsic life which is in him. Due relation to him is to secure “eternal life” (ch. 3:16, 17, 36); he offers to give it to the Samaritans (ch. 4:14); he confers “life” on the paralyzed man (ch. 5:9); and he vindicates his authority to do this on the sabbath by the position that “as the Father raiseth and quickeneth the dead, so the Son quickeneth [maketh to live] whom he wills” (ch. 5:21); and he predicts that the dead souls and dead bodies of men shall arise to life at his word (ch. 5:25–29). He supplies the means of life to the starving multitudes (ch. 6:1–14), he protects from death his troubled disciples (ch. 6:15–21), and then expounds his willingness to give himself as the veritable Bread of God for the life of the world. “He that eateth of this Bread shall live for ever” (ch. 6:51). The apostles recognized this lofty prerogative, and declared their unalterable decision not to leave him, because he had “the words of eternal life” (ch. 6:68). In other imagery describing those who appropriate the Word and the gift, he said (ch. 10:28, 30) that they should not by any means perish, and they should have eternal life, and no power should pluck them out of his hand or his Father’s hand, since he and the Father are one in essence and power to protect and bless. The life-giving is most wonderfully set forth afterwards as a concrete fact. The death of the body, the corruption of the grave, are no barriers, though they may be a concealment of his power to give life, and so he snatches from death and the grave the man he calls his “friend” (ch. 11). He further illustrated his power to give life on the night of the Passion, by saying, “Because I live, ye shall live also” (ch. 14:19).

In the intercessory prayer he gives eternal life to those whom the Father has given him (ch. 17:2, 3). The final scenes record the victory he won over death in his own Person, and the pledge he thus becomes and gives to all who, whether they have had phenomenal proof of it or not, believe on his Name. The whole Gospel is written that believing we might have life in his Name (ch. 20:31).

(b) Salvation, however, is more than life: it includes a further conception, which pervades the Gospel from end to end; it is synonymous with light. The antithesis of life, or of continuous participation in the nature of God, is death—death of body and death of soul, destruction, loss of privilege, insensibility to the Divine. The antithesis of light is darkness, equivalent to ignorance, corruption, impurity, evil. The life that is in the Logos is light. “God is light, and in him is no darkness.” This is the great burden of the New Testament. All darkness is alien from his nature, whatever our weak sense or feeble intelligence may suggest to the contrary. The Father is free from all imperfection, and the glory, moral splendour, of his essential nature consists in this, that it is diffusive, radiating forth as unshadowed light in all places of his dominion; the means whereby all moral agency in the universe is competent to know both himself and all things. The gospel is concerned with men, with the moral universe of men, and with the fearful possibility and fact that the moral nature of man has been alienated from the life of God, and that, though the life streams forth as light upon the universe, yet the free-will of man has resisted and opposed itself to the life of God, and “darkness” has failed to comprehend the unsullied beam. Salvation for man includes a piercing of this darkness; the sphere of death is conspicuous in that department of man’s nature by which he comes to know (λινώσκειν) God. His very faculties were themselves arrested. His eyes were blinded. The irradiation of all things with which man has to do by the life of God failed to produce its legitimate effect upon him, by the prolonged indifference, the mental incapacity, the moral blindness, the judicial blind-folding, that had befallen him through sin. Moral death is mental blindness. This is the inversion of the Platonic thesis which charges all moral obliquity upon intellectual deficiency. So, though the Logos is in the world as life and light, yet the world knows it not. God is not in men’s thoughts.

In the Logos is Life and Light. There is an eternal effulgence of the glory of God in the coeternal beam of the Divine Word. He is the Brightness of the glory of God, the express Image of his substance. St. John’s teaching is that the Logos, when made flesh and when tabernacling with us, inhabiting the temple of the body prepared for him, was Light. The glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, shone thence upon all human life. This illumination, this forth-streaming of the omnific Word in a perfect life, is calculated to turn the darkness, the intellectual perversions and moral corruption of men, into light. The salvation which the Logos incarnate ministers to men is illumination. On more than one occasion Jesus declares himself to be “the Light of the world” (ch. 8:12; 9:5; 12:35, 36, 46). Coming to him is called a coming to the Light (ch. 3:19–21). Apart from the light that the Lord has cast upon the way which a man should take, he will not see the path, but, by keeping in his light, he becomes “a child of the light.” The entire world is illumined for him, the darkness of death and the grave are pierced, the realities of the otherwise unknown, invisible world are revealed. The corresponding term to “Light” is “Truth,” the adequate expression of reality, the veritable utterance of the thought of the Father. Weiss, ‘Biblical Theology,’ ii. 354, “Ἀλήθεια is not knowledge, but the object of knowledge; not therefore identical with life; but the revelation of the truth is the presupposition of it,”—Christ as Logos-made-flesh, full of grace and truth (ch. 1:14). “I am,” said he, “the Truth, as well as the Way and the Life” (ch. 14:6). He is the Truth about God’s essential nature, adequately revealing it; he is the Truth about man’s ideal nature, as God conceived it and produced it; and he is the Truth about the relation between God and man, showing a unity of consciousness and will with the Father, which issues in the confession that he does always those things that please God, and knows that the Father hears him always. His meat is to do the will of God, and to finish his work (ch. 4:34).

The conditions of adequate knowledge of God and duty and deliverance are provided in the simple fact of his being. He has come to bear witness to truth, as well as to be Truth (ch. 18:37; 8:40); i.e. the Person of the Saviour is not only a revelation of reality in itself, but it illumines other realities as well. All who are of the truth do hear his voice (ch. 18:37). So great a light as his life is not only glorious and refulgent in itself, but it brings before the open and susceptible eye a world of reality not otherwise known. The light behind him is an opening of heaven; the light before him reproves all evil by revealing it in its true proportions. The effect of “walking in the light” is moral purity and conformation of character to the Light of God, so that those who accept this Light have none occasion of stumbling in them. So St. John speaks of believers as “being of the truth,” as denying all that is false (1 John 3:19; 2:4); and, moreover, as “walking in the truth,” and “doing the truth” (3 John 4).

But truth, objective revelation, the shining, of the Sun of Righteousness, is not the only condition of salvation by light, seeing that the “darkness” of man is not a bald negation, but an unsusceptibility to light. Power is therefore wielded by the Logos incarnate to open blind eyes. The synoptists frequently recognize this as a feature of the Christ’s work, and represent the Lord as restoring vision in various ways to blinded men, as symbolic of the direct personal treatment of souls. In the synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4:18); in the blind man at Bethsaida, whose gradual cure seems to correspond with the gradual illumination of the disciples (Mark 8:22–26); in the two blind men at Capernaum; and in blind Bartimæus,—the great privilege is sought and conferred in vindication of the prime condition of faith (Matt. 9:27–31; 20:29–34). In reply to the messengers from John’s prison, he bade them tell the Baptist that “the blind receive their sight” (Matt. 11:5). The Fourth Gospel, in one of its most characteristic and circumstantial narratives, sets forth the Light of the world as opening the eyes of one born blind. Christ does not even ask for faith, but he heals first, and then reveals himself as Son of God. The teaching of the narrative corresponds with the whole of the Saviour’s work with humanity. The power of vision is conferred by the new birth (ch. 3:3, 4). The writer takes explicit pains to reveal the entire moral of the cure of blindness, and regards this as the complement to the assertion, “I am the Light of the world.” Salvation as light is inadequate and incomplete, unless with light comes also the power of vision. “I am come that those which see not might see,” said the Light of the world. The special grace which is thus suggested is not the objective illumination with which his unique Personality floods the κόσμος, but the subjective work of his Spirit on individual souls, re-creating their dormant faculties, producing a new manhood, calling into being powers which from birth or by disease or folly had been in utter abeyance. This imperial exercise of the power to save leads us forward to the grandest definition of all.

(c) Salvation as love. The first great utterance of the prologue is that the glory of the Only Begotten was full of grace, i.e. of unmerited, self-communicating favour. The sublime suggestion of the eighteenth verse is that he the Only Begotten was the eternal Object of an infinite love: “He was in the bosom of the Father.” He very early made the supreme announcement that God loved the world (ch. 3:16), and sent him forth as the expression of the Divine love. “God is Love,” said St. John; “and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God;” “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is Love” (1 John 4:16, 8). Jesus was reminded on grand occasions of the Divine love to himself; and he knew that the Father loved him, because, said he, “I lay down my life that I may take it again” (ch. 10:18). His most exhaustive and comprehensive self-manifestation was not of life or light, but of love. The whole of the Divine self manifestation as set forth in the Gospel is a revelation of this the most comprehensive of all the Divine perfections, and is the adequate expression of them all—the supreme blessedness of giving, of imparting self for the life and joy of others. The other apostles grasped the same thought, and Paul held it not to sacrifice there by, but to express therein the Divine righteousness. “God commendeth his love to us.” Love of God shed abroad in the heart, and producing within us an adequate response, is one of the fundamental themes of the Epistle to the Romans (5:5, 8). Jude tells us to “keep ourselves (τηρεῖν) in the love of God,” as in a citadel and well-defended sanctuary, “looking [thence] for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 21). But the chief burden of the Fourth Gospel is the love of God, and the manifestation of that love in power, in healing, in sacrifice, in death, in resurrection. The motive of the first miracle, though it be one of power, is love to his mother and her friends. The key note of the discourse to Nicodemus is the self-sacrificing love of God. The self-humiliation of the well of Sychar discloses the vast compass of his love to men, that his great aim was the saving of others by the forgetfulness of self. The great miracles of ch. 6:1–21 are displays of love to his disciples, and they become the text on which he proclaims the extent of his own self-sacrificial love in securing the life of the world. The love which saves the sinner while it denounces sin beams through the heated and angry discussions of ch. 7 and 8; and it dictated the healing of the blind man, and it is also the stimulus to the good Shepherd to effect the redemptive acts which would save the scattered and imperilled sheep. The treatment of the family of Bethany and of the deceased or sleeping Lazarus is the very apotheosis of love. Jesus risks his human life that he may give life and cheer to the home which he loved. He weeps. He struggles with death. He wins by love.

The victory of love over death is followed by the first and earliest response of unbounded love to himself (ch. 12:1–8); a token was given which has been the precious memorial of Christendom, and, by its imitation, the beginning of heaven upon earth. He testifies his love unto the uttermost in ch. 13:1, etc., where the humiliation of the God-Man receives its highest sanction, and prepares for a most surprising and continuous display of the throbbing of an infinite love to his very own. His high-priestly prayer for those who have believed that he came out from God, was that “the love wherewith he had loved them,” to the point of “laying down his life for them,” might be “in them,” that they might know that “the Father himself loved them” even as he loved the Son (ch. 14:21; 15:12; 16:27; 17:23–26). The love for them is seen in marvellous display on the arrest by the temple-guards (ch. 18:8). The entire demeanour of the august Victim is the unveiling of an eternal love to those who were bitterly misconceiving it. The care of his mother, in his dying moments, expresses and intensifies the consummation of a perfect love. The whole manner of the resurrection lays special emphasis on the condition of mind which would most certainly appreciate and believe in the revelation. The highest revelations were made to the Magdalene, whose love opened her eye and ear to perceive the stupendous fact. The disciples whom he loved, and Thomas who was ready to die with him, were singled out to be recipients of his supreme revelations. The final scenes on the Lake of Gennesaret were for the last time the putting into human forms of the Divine self-abandonment of a perfect love.

“The Logos made man” is the expression of the supreme affection of the eternal God to man, heightened and completed by the response of human love; and the moral and spiritual result in humanity of the reception and response of love to God is, on the part of believers, love to one another. This is especially conspicuous when the curtain falls over the public ministry, and the Lord enters into familiar relations with those who have at length, for life and death, accepted the revelation of heaven and of God made in his Person. Thus love to himself is made the ground and reason of obedience to his commandments (ch. 14:15), and (ch. 14:21) love to Christ carries with it the love of the Father, and further manifestations of himself; and the surprising assurance is given that “we will come and take up our abode with him who guards and keeps the λόγον of Christ.” The abiding in the love of Christ becomes the initiation of holy joy (ch. 15:9–11). The ruling condition, guarantee, and fruit of holy love is keeping the greatest commandment of all, viz. the love of one another (ch. 15:12, 17). The supreme benediction for which the high-priestly Intercessor prays is that “the love wherewith thou lovedst me may be in them, and I in them” (ch. 17:26).

(3) The means adopted by our Lord to effect the salvation of men. How does St. John represent the Life and Light and Love of God becoming ours? Most certainly Christ gives life. He is the Life of those who are united to him. “Because I live, ye shall live also.” He vindicates his authority to bestow life upon those partially and absolutely deprived of it or in peril of losing it. His full authority to do this thing is reserved for the future, when the Son of man shall have been lifted up, shall be glorified, shall have re-entered upon the glory which he had with the Father before the world was Still he describes himself as the Vine-stock, of which the disciples are the branches, and the life in himself is to awaken and sustain their life (ch. 15:1–10). He speaks of power to convey this life, to dispread this energy, through the personality of those united to him. “I am come that they might have life more abundantly;” “He that eateth me shall live on account of me.” The union of his life with that of his followers is the special theme of ch. 6 and 15, and implies an exercise of Divine authority, and nothing short of Divine prerogative. The Divine Humanity is the stay of all believing men. As he is one with God, they also become one with the Father, and one in him. He is their Resurrection and their Life, to such an extent that whosoever liveth and believeth in him shall never die, shall not experience in dissolution what death means—shall live for ever. The method he is represented as employing is a Divine giving to those who can and will receive the gift.

(a) The shining of the Light. We have already seen that his method of communicating light and truth to souls is twofold. He is Light, and he opens blind eyes to see this illumination, and all other things thereby. The constitution, therefore, of the Personality of the God-Man is the forthstreaming of eternal light on human life and duty, or human way and human destiny. This is not all, because of the opacity and dulness of human faculty, and so by his spiritual power he produces receptivity in the human subject. The Spirit will lead into all the truth concerning himself and all other things, past, present, and to come (ch. 14:26; 16:13). The method of light-giving is the exhibition in himself of a perfect exemplar, which, though he is the Logos-made-flesh, and they are flesh, nevertheless they are bound to imitate. This is the high teaching of ch. 13:12–17; 15:12 (see 1 John 4:17; 2:6; 3:3, 16). It is also the theme of many passages in the Epistles of Paul and Peter (Phil. 2:5; 1 Pet. 2:21; 4:1). To realize this lofty ideal of life and light in human experience might seem and would be impractical and impossible, apart from the allied and co-operating suggestion that his life is actually given to the new humanity, and that he came by his Spirit to generate a new life in the barren stock of Adam’s race.

(b) The sacrificial death. In the manifestation of the love of God to man there is a breadth and specialty of teaching which cannot be overlooked. The method of the love of the God-Man to man received one high and far-reaching development, and was accompanied by one stupendous consequence, which was a necessity, an order, an ἔτολή of the Father, which the author of the Fourth Gospel not only does not conceal but conspicuously enforces. The death of the God-Man is to him the indispensable preliminary of the full and even the unrestrained communication of life, and the exercise of his life-giving powers.

Reuss labours hard to excluded from the teaching of the Fourth Gospel all reference to the sacrificial or expiatory value of the death of Christ, and the Tübingen school of criticism insists much on the contrast between the synoptic and Pauline doctrine of the death of our Lord, and that of the Fourth Gospel. It is obvious that his death is not explicitly spoken of in this Gospel as a humiliation, but a glorification. Thus the corn of wheat becomes, by dying, the source of much fruit. The “lifting up of the Son of man” (ch. 3:14; 12:32) is somewhat ambiguous, though the evangelist and the Jews understood Jesus to speak under this term of his death and departure from the world. The glorious issues of the death of Christ so filled the mind of the apostle that the repulsive and humiliating features had themselves become effulgent with new glory, and he who had seen “the Lamb slain” in the midst of the throne may have not felt the shudder and recoil at the premonitory hints of the necessity, quality, and meaning of his death. Nay, more, we are ready to admit that the imperial majesty of the sublime Sufferer overpowers the features of shame and curse which were irrevocably blended with it. The death-scene in his case is a victory over death. His very corpse propels at once a life-stream for the healing and cleansing of the world. John is silent concerning the death-struggle in Gethsemane and on the cross, as well as the institution of the Supper of the Lord, and does not cite the special saying, “This is my blood shed for many for the remission of sins.” The question arises—Does the Fourth Gospel ignore the piacular and propitiatory aspects of the death of Christ? Weiss (in his ‘Biblical Theology of New Testament’ (Eng. trans.), vol. ii. pp. 358, etc.) has well replied to Schenkel, Fromann, Reuss, Baur, who have in different degrees affirmed this position. Let the following points be remembered. He refers (ch. 1:29) to the language of the Baptist as having been the first and inducing cause of his own adhesion to the Lord. The Lamb of God (see notes, ch. 1:29) is the image of the great vicarious sacrifice portrayed in Isa. 53:7, the victim wounded for the sins of others and smitten for the transgression of God’s people, who bears their iniquities and carries their sorrows, by whose stripes they are healed. The sins to be taken away, cleansed by blood, are in the Epistle (1 John 1:7) sins that have been committed and leave their guilt and stain and curse on the conscience until they are cancelled; and in 2:2 and 4:10 the Lord Jesus is the Ἰλασμός, the “Propitiation for the sins of the whole world.” His death, therefore, in Johannine thought, was anticipated and explained by the presentation of the blood of the sin offering before the Lord. If all that John believed the Baptist to mean was that the Son of man would purify the conscience by the presentation of a higher standard of obedience, why did he not say, “Behold the Prophet or Servant of God, who by his life and preaching will purify the sons of sin, that they might offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness”?

However, from first to last the Fourth Gospel is written under the shadow of the cross, which, when the author wrote, had become irradiated with the crown of glory, and was illumining and saving the world. Continual anticipations of Calvary occur.

In the first cleansing of the temple Jesus cried, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The animosity that he aroused in some created an omen which repeatedly led to the measures which might have at once culminated in his death (ch. 5., 8., 10).

Twice over (ch. 11:51, 52; 18:14) the evangelist refers to the words of the high priest Caiaphas, who unwittingly prophesied of one who should die (ὑπὲρ τοῦ λαον͂) on behalf of the people, so that the whole people should not perish.

In ch. 6:51 Jesus declares that he has not only come down from heaven, but will give his flesh for the life of the world. “As meat and drink sustain life, so his flesh and blood, which seem to be so separated by violent death, become the means by which the world, which has fallen under abiding death, is maintained in life” (Weiss).

In ch. 3:16, etc., the work which the Son of man will be able to effect is to save men from (κρίσις and ἀπώλεια) condemnation and destruction. The eternal life which he secures for those who believe on him is verified by the uplifting (as the serpent in the wilderness was uplifted) in the very image of the diseased and poisonous and sinful flesh, conquered, slain, and yet exalted to be the provocative of faith and the channel of the supreme love to a dying world.

In ch. 10 Jesus speaks under the figure of a Shepherd, who is not only willing to give his life for the safety of the sheep, but who is actually preparing to do this that they may have life, and have it more abundantly. Reuss thinks that the metaphor conveys no vicarious or propitiatory idea, because a shepherd who dies in endeavouring to save his sheep still leaves them to the fangs of the wolf or the wiles of the thief, and because a shepherd by not dying is better able to save if he have courage to risk so much for their advantage. But let it be especially noticed that while giving, sacrificing, laying down his life for the sheep, the good Shepherd represents himself as victoriously clutching his sheep from the fangs of the world, and declaring that his dying arms are one with the everlasting Father’s arms, because he and the Father are one. The allegory of the tenth chapter is continually dropped for the sake of the spiritual and transcendental truth conveyed by it. Those parts of the work of Christ imperfectly supplied by the imagery when carried out by Reuss, are actually introduced by our Lord when he says, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.… I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” He contemplates death and resurrection, and a continued presidency and guardianship of the sheep for whom he relinquishes his life.

Apart from his death, the love of God to man would not have been revealed to the uttermost. Hence the uplifting of Christ in agony and redeeming might was the highest glorification of God, and a means of glorifying himself; for it was a condition of the ultimate glory of his resurrection and of his ascension to where he was before. We do not meet with the phraseology of “ransom,” “redemption,” or “propitiation” on the lips of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel; but the idea had entered into the thought of the evangelist, as we judge from the Epistle, where the ἱλασμός is referred to (1 John 2:2; 4:10): “Our sins are forgiven us (ἀφέωνται) for his Name’s sake” (1 John. 2:12); “He laid down his life for (ὑπὲρ) us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16); “God sent his Son to be the Propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

It is clear from the valedictory discourse that the Lord’s departure from the world, from the fellowship of his disciples on earth, was the great condition of his power to fulfil his great and mysterious promises. The world would rejoice over its temporary victory, but would ultimately be convinced of its sin and of righteousness and judgment by his going to the Father. It was granted that the disciples would have sorrow (λύπη), a travail-pang, but their bitterness would be transformed into joy. The whole address turns on this departure of his from the world as a necessary preliminary to their blessedness. Seeing that the evangelist has prepared the way for these great utterances, he follows them up by the tragedy of the death of the God-Man, and records subsequently an explanation of the mystery in Pauline phrase; it seems to us idle to separate the teaching of the Fourth Gospel from that of the synoptists or of St. Paul, and still less from that of the Apocalypse (see sect. VII. p. lxxxv.).

(c) The rising again. The teaching of the Fourth Gospel with reference to the method of salvation is crowned by the historical detail of the Resurrection. The life was laid down and taken again; and the evangelist shows the recommencement of the new and heavenly life in a form which is itself a new revelation of the possibilities and mode of human existence, like and yet unlike the humanity which had secured the affection and impressed itself on the memories of his disciples. He reveals in his own Person some of the most impressive differentiæ of the eternal life. One with his former life, bearing the marks upon him of his awful death, “the Lamb as it had been slain,” he nevertheless wields the power of the Supreme. He is ascending to where he was before, so that his disciples may thenceforth—by faith and independently of sight—”touch” him. He reveals himself and this higher mode of Being to the fervent love of the Magdalene, to the meditation and intuitions of the disciples, even to the honest and devout doubt of Thomas. He imparts the Divine Spirit and the heavenly commission; he takes command and superintendence of his Church; he rules the destinies of individuals; he bids them wait evermore for his coming again. These historical details of the death and Resurrection are incompatible with the mere phantasmal or docetic life of the Logos-manifestation in humanity. The evangelist was not inventing a romance, but professes to give the facts which, if men believe, they will know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God; and believing, they may and will have life in his Name (ch. 20, 21.).

(d) The Paraclete. The most complete manifestation of the love of God in Christ is the royal bestowment of the Holy Spirit, “the other Paraclete,” upon those who would receive him. “The Father will send him in my Name;” “I will send him to you from the Father;” “He will teach;” “He will show you things to come;” “He will lead you [make a way for you] into all the truth;” “He will bear witness of the truth;” “He will take of the things that are mine, and show them unto you.” St. John knew that the promise had been redeemed, and exclaimed, “Ye have an unction of the Holy One, and know all things.” This coming of the Comforter would not be other than the coming of himself. The spiritual presence of which they would be inwardly conscious would prove to be a veritable return and indwelling of himself in their nature and in the world, even unto the end of the age.

(4) The method of appropriating the salvation, which is light and life and love. (a) Faith in his Name. The Fourth Gospel is as explicit as either of the other records of the life of Christ, or as is the teaching of St. Paul and St. Peter, in the primary place assigned to faith. In the prologue (ch. 1:12), those that believe on his Name (equivalent to “receive” the Logos) receive (ἐξουσία) “power to become sons of God.” Belief in his Sonship or in his mission is the great link between himself and his earliest disciples, and it is the seed or germ within them of still greater and nobler communications of himself. Moral and mental surrender to his will is the test of discipleship (ch. 1:39, 41, 45, 50). The glory of his creative power, manifested as love, becomes the life of his disciples when they “believed on him” (ch. 2:11). When they made the full discovery of the fact that his body (destroyed and raised again) was the true temple of the living God, “they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus spake” (ch. 2:22). Jesus told Nicodemus that “whosoever believed in him might have eternal life.” This is repeated in great variety of form in ch. 3:15–18; John the Baptist repeats it (ch. 3:36). The truth taught the woman of Samaria was of a more elementary character, yet she was enjoined to receive and “drink the living water,” to make her own the offered blessing of life and truth. The Samaritans know and believe that he is “the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” In both her case and that of her fellow citizens, the “sign” that convinced them of this life-giving truth was the perception of his superhuman knowledge and his penetration of the secrets of all hearts. “He told me all things that I ever did: is not this the Christ?” To induce faith in himself was the purport of other “signs and wonders,” though they ought not to have been necessary (ch. 4:48; cf. ch. 5:36; 10:37, 38). The belief on him that sent him is the condition of eternal life, and transition from veritable death to life (ch. 5:24). The physical act of “coming” to him, surrendering human will to his Divine-human will, is often the synonym of faith, and is clearly identified with it (ch. 6:36). This faith is the work assigned to men, “the work of God” (ch. 6:29); and this faith will lead to a life that is the pledge of anastasis at the last day (ch. 6:40). The eating and drinking of his flesh and blood, again, are strong phrases for this moral acceptance of his incarnate love and also of the significance of his sacrifice. The Divine drawing may be a necessity, is a preliminary, in every case; but he himself is the great Power by which, through the Son, the Father draws men unto himself (ch. 6:65; cf ch. 12:32†; 14:6†, notes); and “no man cometh unto the Father but by him.” The climax of Peter’s experience is, “We have believed, and have come to know that thou hast come out from God” (ch. 6:68, 69).

Most significant light is thrown on the meaning of faith by the contrast between, the open antagonism of “Jews,” the misapprehension and “stumbling” of the Capernaites, and the worldly anticipations of the brethren of Jesus, who did not believe on him. There was a preliminary to full belief, and this was the purely intellectual conviction that his teaching (διδαχή) was the eternal truth (ἀλήθεια) of God himself. How was this mental certitude to be achieved? By a willingness to do the will of God (ch. 7:17). Ignorance of the true nature of God and the real meaning of the νόμος, of the αἱ γραφαί, were the obstacles in the way of such recognition of his claims as, when made, would infallibly lead them to full moral surrender to his claims (ch. 7:19, 28; 5:39; 8:19).

Belief in him was declared to be the necessary condition of receiving the Holy Spirit (ch. 7:37–39), and to be the antecedent of “following” him and consequent “walking in the light” (ch. 8:12).

(b) Following Jesus, with its consequences. Faith, however, from this point onwards, always demands this “following,” such continuity of relationship, veritable abiding in him, and it is accompanied by corresponding consequences. Thus “faith” and “abiding in him” and “in his word” would prove—

(α) An emancipation from the bondage of sin. None but “the Son,” who is “the Truth,” can set men free from this bondage (ch. 8:31–37).

(β) It will lead to love. The opposite of love to him shows that in the deepest sense God is not the Father of such souls. The unloving have not been begotten anew; they have not come to him that they might have life (ch. 8:42). Truth ought, by the nature of truth, to induce belief; if it does not, it shows that those to whom it is presented are “not of God;” for as he said to Pilate, “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (ch. 18:3). The blind man (ch. 9:35) is asked, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” and the issue in this case is even more than “love;” it is—

(γ) Worship (ch. 9:38; cf. ch. 20:28).

(δ) Faith is the great assurance, pledge, and sign that a human soul is one of the sheep of his flock, that follow him, and that receive from him eternal life, who will therefore never perish (ch. 10:27–29). As the revelation advances, Christ declares that faith in him ought to be equivalent to faith in the fact that he is the Conqueror of death, the Resurrection and the Life (ch. 11:25). Faith in the Lord, notwithstanding his approaching death and burial, is strongly commended (ch. 12:7, 8), and the following of Jesus will involve a hating and a denial of self-life, and a willing relinquishing of it for his sake (ch. 12:25). And even this is not all. The Lord not only promises life, eternal life, a life independent of death, but a life with himself, a sharing with him of the glory which was his before the world was (ch. 12:26; 14:1–3; cf. ch. 17:24).

(ε) In the sublime summary of the public ministry, in ch. 12:44, etc., faith in a vision of himself is faith in a vision of the Father that sent him. Such faith means immunity from judgment. The awful consequences of non-faith, of the rejection of his claims, augments the solemnity of the prime condition. Throughout the valedictory discourse the key-note of faith is perpetually heard associated with these and other consequences, until at its close, when his disciples reiterate their confession of faith, the Lord seems to say, “Now then I can go onward and to my Passion and my cross with joy” (ch. 16:29–33). The greatest and most impressive of his beatitudes was that which followed the exclamation of Thomas, “Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed!” “These things, says the evangelist,” are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life.”

But the antecedents and consequences of faith scarcely express the fulness of that appropriation of salvation on which the Gospel insists.

(ζ) Union with Christ, on earth and in the Father’s house, is one of the sublime themes of the Gospel throughout—union with him in his Person, his sacrifice, his victory, his exaltation, his Divinity. The will of men lost in the will of God. “From his fulness of grace and truth have we all received,” said John, when he wrote his prologue, “and grace in place of,” and as capacity for the reception of more “grace.” (η) The union of his own with himself, even in his eternal life and glory, is a key-note of his teaching. Even the Samaritaness is told that the gift of living water should be in a man a fountain of blessedness and refreshment. The great Sower of the harvest-field, and those that reap, shall rejoice together (ch. 4:37). The union with himself is pre-eminently involved in the strong metaphor, “He that eateth me, he shall live on account of me” (ch. 6:57). Still more so in the solemn word, “Verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I shall send receiveth me” (ch. 13:20), even though he adds, “He that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” “The Paraclete whom the world cannot receive, will abide with you, and will be in you” (ch. 14:17). In other words he adds, “Because I live, even ye shall live. And ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you” (ch. 14:19, 20). Love will promote obedience; “And my Father will love you, and we will come, and make our abode with you” (ch. 14:23). The mutual indwelling of the vine and its branches explains the reciprocal relation—the branch abides in the vine by the connecting link of faith; the vine abides in the branch, enabling it to bear fruit, by the flow and circulation of the life. As the stem and the branches form one vine, so he suggests that his own God-Manhood is incomplete without the living contact of those that believe in him with himself (ch. 15:1–10). The intercessory prayer is charged with the same sublime hope, even though it involve separation from them. Separation, so far as visibility goes, will be compatible with the union which a head has with a body. They will still have his “peace,” his “joy,” his “love,” his “glory” (ch. 14:27; 15:11; 16:22; 17:22, 26).

4. The Johannine teaching with reference to the future judgment and the future life. We are bound to concede a greater contrast here with other and antecedent types of Christian doctrine. There are no parables of theocratic judgment, of final discrimination between the wicked and the good (Matt. 13.); no casting out of the unresponsive guests into the outer darkness; no prophecy of the fall of the existing order of things; of the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place; of the confusion of the theocracy and the saving of the remnant; nor any august picture of the final judgment when the Son of man comes in his glory, to separate the nations and decide the destinies of the world. The judgement (κρίσις) of which Jesus speaks is “that men love darkness rather than light.” The awful process is brought about by the offer of love. “Now,” says he, “is the κρίσις of this world, now is the prince of this world cast out” (ch. 12:31). The blinding of the foolish heart, the abiding of the wrath of God upon the disobedient, the perpetual discrimination ever going on and brought about by the forth-streaming of a Light which some neither apprehend nor walk in,—seems to take the place of the dread consummation when the Son of man should come in the glory of his Father and of his holy angels.

Yet it must not be forgotten that, in the Fourth Gospel, Jesus does speak of “the resurrection at the last day,” of “the resurrection of life,” and of “the resurrection of judgment” (ch. 5:28, 29). He speaks (ch. 15:6) of the burning up of the fruitless branches, pruned, cut off, from the living Vine; that those who refuse to believe in him will “die in their sins” (ch. 8:21). Just as in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the unbeliever and those who do evil have Moses in whom they trust to judge them. “If I judge,” says he, “my judgment is just” (ch. 8:16). The world is to be convinced of judgment to come by the condemnation of the prince of the world (ch. 16:11).

We would not underrate the surprising contrast between the visions of judgment in Paul’s Epistles, in Matthew’s Gospel, and the Apocalypse, and, on the other hand, the searching inward work of judgment which the Fourth Gospel describes as constantly going on in the inmost nature of souls. The whole history of Christ is represented in this Gospel as a discrimination between man and man; a constant sifting of the grain from the chaff; a perpetual separation between the sheep and the goats, between those who see and those who see not, between those who only profess to be and those who really are the true disciples. We must remember that, when these words were recorded, the terrible drama of the visible theocracy, the obliteration of Hebrew nationality, had been long consummated. Much that had been predicted had been seen in awful fulgurous fulfilment. John had himself described these scenes in phrases drawn from the synoptic Gospels and from the earlier prophecies, and it would seem as though long meditation on the word of Jesus made him linger in his historic narrative on the principles of judgment which are evermore at work, and to which the Lord had referred.

Moreover, in the Epistle we do find that the author anticipates an approaching climax of all this judgment (1 John 2:18, 28; 4:17). The Lord is coming, and those that believe ought not to be ashamed before him, but should have boldness in the day of judgement.

Reuss admits (‘Theol. Chret.,’ ii. 563) a difference between the view of the future contemplated by the author of the Gospel and of the epistle, and some have pressed it into a reason for assigning the two documents to different hands (pp. lxii., lxiii.). There are, however, too many indications of harmony between the two writings to justify such an interpretation. Reuss concedes this, but imagines “the fragmentary residue of notions familiar to the author in his earlier life, which had not been absorbed completely nor perfectly repudiated by his mysticism.” But are not the views mutually compatible and reconcilable? Is there not enough in the Gospel, in the passages referred to above, to justify all the solemn fear and sacred hopes discernible in the Epistle?

5. The Johannine teaching with reference to the formation of a kingdom, the founding and training of the Church. In harmony with the previous synoptic and Pauline teaching, Jesus, in the Fourth Gospel, is “King of Israel.” He came to his own, and some, though not all, received him as such. As a Prophet and Master of the old theocracy he cleansed the temple. He declared that neither at Gerizim nor Jerusalem would men worship the Father. Though recognizing the patriarchs, the fathers, the Moses of the old covenant, he anticipated the time when all who were of the truth would hear his voice. He rejoiced that there were sheep of different folds who would hear his voice, whom he would bring into and make part of one flock. When the Greeks were anxious to see him, he broke forth into a great exclamation, “Now is the Son of man glorified!” He declared to Pilate that he was a King, though not of this world. The Fourth Gospel represents the very accusation placed over his head upon the cross as nothing short of the fact, not assumption, “This is the King of the Jews.” The ironical testimony borne by a heathen governor to the agelong hope of Israel was transfigured and displayed in the agony of a suffering Saviour, in the dying and uplifting upon the cross of One who would thereby draw all men to himself. The fellowship in his death and resurrection, in his Person and glory, is to embrace all who believe on him through the word of the apostles. The union and communion of the disciples in mutual love is to be the most powerful testimony to his mission from heaven, and the reality of his spiritual presence.

The baptism of John is referred to, and we are expressly told, what we learn nowhere else, that at the beginning of our Lord’s ministry the disciples baptized men into a general admission of his claims—into the confession of Christ, and the hope of One who would baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost. The society was thus commenced, but Jesus declares the supreme importance of birth from the Spirit, and of worship in spirit and truth. The true meaning of the well-known Supper of the Lord was illustrated by John, not by the record of the institution, but by the discourse in Capernaum, which lay deep foundations for a spiritual brotherhood of those who assimilated his flesh and drank into the spirit of his life, who could appreciate the Divine background of his human personality, and accept the fact of his sacrifice.

Thoma concludes his view of this great theme, “Christ is the Shepherd of the sheep, who only have to follow him to find rest.… He is the all-dominant Idea, the Light of the world, the Sun to which every eye must turn, by which all things live, and to which all things tend. The doctrine of the Johannine Gospel is throughout nothing less than a Christology.”

X. Arrangement of the Contents of the Fourth Gospel

The perception of the plan of this Gospel has varied with every theory of its authorship, and every hypothesis as to the occasion or motive which led to its publication. Augustine, Chrysostom, Theophylact, and even later writers who entertain no breath of suspicion as to the apostolic origin and perfect historicity of the Gospel, were content to ignore the question of its plan. It was enough for them that the facts came within the cognizance of the writer, and that the words were heard by the credible witness. The order in which they are narrated was simply the order of time and nature. The motive stated in ch. 20:30, 31 was all-sufficient, and was everywhere apparent. The Galilæan fisherman was innocent of art. He simply spake that he knew, and testified to that which he had seen and heard. Hardly an attempt was made by either of these writers to classify or arrange the contents of the Gospel.

Lampe (1724, Utrecht) was the first to propose a simple classification: I. The prologue (ch. 1:1–18). II. The narrative (ch. 1:19–20:29). This narrative was subdivided into the “public ministry” (from ch. 1:19 to 12:50) and the “last acts” (ch. 13:1–20:29). This was followed by: III. The epilogue (ch. 20:30–21:25). The most important principle suggested here, was the strong line of demarcation between the public ministry and last acts of our Lord, drawn with respect to ch. 12. and 13.

Bengel, followed to some extent by Olshausen, and even by Lücke in his first edition, classified the entire subject-matter that follows the prologue (ch. 1:1–18) by exhibiting the chronological sequence of the feasts—the three Passovers (ch. 2:13; 6:4; 13:1), the Pentecost (or Purim) of ch. 5:1, and the Feast of Tabernacles (ch. 7:2). The ceremonies and import of the great feasts furnished our Lord with illustrations of his own Person and mission; but they leave the theme of the discourses and multitudinous detail untouched. Bengel drew some attractive parallels between the first week of our Lord’s ministry (ch. 1:19–2:11) and the last week (ch. 12:1–20:31).

De Wette, who conceived that the writer’s main purpose was to exhibit the glory of Christ, supposed that in ch. 1. the idea was set forth summarily; that in ch. 2–12. the same thought is set forth in actions; that between ch. 2. and 6. the glory is revealed in particular examples, while in ch. 7–12. preparation is made for the last catastrophe. The glory of our Lord then appears in all its brightness in ch. 13–20.; in ch. 13–19. inwardly and morally; in ch. 20. by his resurrection. Both Luthardt and Godet regard this as by far the most suggestive and beautiful arrangement of the material up to De Wette’s day.

Baumgarten-Crusius (‘Einleitung,’ xxx. 11) divides the narrative portion (1) into the record of Christ’s works (ch. 1–4); (2) his conflict, including misunderstandings of his character and word; (3) this is followed by his victory; and (4) by his glorification.

Lücke (in the third edision, 1840, of his ‘Kommentar über das Evangelium,’ vol. i. 183) does not subdivide ch. 1:18–12:50 any further than by notifying the advance of opposition to our Lord in ch. 5. He sees, however, in the later part of the Gospel, in ch. 13–19, the glorifying of the Father by the Son, and in ch. 20. the glorifying of the Son by the Father, both in his death-hour and by the Resurrection. This last contrast is fanciful, and in some respects might be inverted.

Schweizer (‘Das Evang. Johannis,’ 1841) added an important consideration, in making a part of the author’s purpose to be the development of unbelief. I. Ch. 1–4., “The battle is only heard at a distance.” [We submit that it is heard very audibly, as in ch. 1:29, 37, 46, in the temptation of his mother (ch. 2:3), in the criticism of the authorities (ch. 2:20), in the distrust of Jesus (ch. 2:24), in the misconception of Nicodemus (ch. 3:4, 9–12; cf. ch. 3:32), in the hostility of the Pharisees (ch. 4:1), and the numerous misapprehensions of the Samaritaness, the disciples, and the lovers of signs and portents (ch. 4:12, 15, 33, 44, 48).] II. The struggle breaks out in its violence (ch. 5–13.). III. The closing chapters detail the issue. Schweizer errs in not recognizing the part which faith takes as well as unbelief, and how the growth of both is a consequence of each step which Jesus takes.

Reuss (‘Historie de la Theol. Chret.,’ ii. pp. 392–394; ‘Theologie Johannique,’ etc.) limits the prologue to ch. 1:1–5, and from ch. 1:5–12:50 supposes the author first to exhibit an orderly representation of various Christian ideas to the world, which secures, however, in ch. 1–4., an enrolment of disciples, and in ch. 5–12. the selection of the innermost circle of his followers, to whom (ch. 13–17.) he then makes known, in practical and mystical form, what had been previously set forth in its speculative or polemical aspects. The third part (ch. 18–20.) is, according to Reuss, a kind of pseudo-historic treatment of the dénouement of the whole: “Jesus remains dead to the unbelieving; while to believers he rises again victoriously.”

In Reuss, ‘Hist. Sacred Scriptures of New Testament,’ Eng. trans., § 221 (1884), a slightly different arrangement occurs. I. Ch. 1:6–12. (1) Entrance into the world of the incarnate Logos, attestation of testimony, miracle, prophetic zeal, prophecy (ch. 1–2). (2) Jesus and the world. (a) The world seeks him; i.e. the people, the schismatics, the heathen, all do so on better terms than does scholastic wisdom (ch. 3., 4.). (b) The world as hostile (ch. 5–11.), recapitulation and hint of calling the Gentiles. II. Ch. 13–17., Complete contrast with the foregoing—love, secrecy, the favoured few, promise and prospect, victory in death, practical and ethical treatment. III. Ch. 18–20., The narrative of the Passion, but only in small degree lifted up to the theological standpoint of the rest of the Gospel. IV. The epilogue (ch. 21.).

Luthardt and Godet, in their comments on this scheme, appear to think that, by showing this exaltation of the ideal and dogmatic element, Reuss virtually destroys all the historic element, or that, by confounding the facts of the Lord’s death and resurrection with a “mere mirror of religious truths,” Reuss’s theory would be condemned. But it should be remembered that Reuss avowedly treats the Gospel as a “mirror,” or plastic arrangement of ideas—a series of reflections on the Person of Christ, and nothing more.

Baur’s division of the Gospel corresponds very nearly with that of Reuss. (1) The first manifestations of the Word, and earliest symptoms of faith and unbelief (ch. 1–6.). (2) The victory, dialectically, of faith over unbelief (ch. 7–12.). (3) The positive development of faith (ch. 13–17.). (4) The death of Jesus, being the work of unbelief (ch. 18., 19.). (5) The resurrection of Jesus, being the consummation of faith (ch. 20.).

After the fashion in which the Alexandrines resolved all the histories of the Pentateuch into psychological facts and ethical relations, so, according to Baur, the Logos is that which is Divine in itself. It is set forth illustratively in Jesus, as coming for him into a consciousness which all elect souls may share. There is no essential fact accentuated as having taken place in the Incarnation, only the idea of belief in such a possible experience produced by the antagonism of light and darkness. The testimony of the Baptist to the Logos-light was a mode of finding the link of relation between the old and the new. Ch. 4–6. are the record of the first movements of faith and unfaith. Nicodemus (ch. 3.) represents Jewish faith, Samaria (ch. 4.) the faith of the world; subsequently the faith of the Jews is unveiled as nothing less than unbelief (ch. 5., 6.), which is then dialectically refuted (ch. 7–10.). After this the Divine element of Logos must declare itself to be the absolute life (in ch. 11.), and opposition to this reaches its highest expression. From ch. 13. to 17. the Logos presents itself in all its fulness, but only to implicit faith. From that innermost circle the traitor is excluded. The idea of the Logos thus revealed must complete itself in its historical glorification. The death is a glory brought about by the unbelief of the Jews, to whom Jesus is dead. The Resurrection is the view of the Logos in the eye of faith; so the process of unbelief, as seen first in Nathanael’s doubt (ch. 1.), is seen eventually to be, scattered in the triumphant exclamation of Thomas (ch. 20.). Baur regards the final section (ch. 21.) by another hand.

The appearance of biographic fact is thus regarded as the mere clothing of the processes of faith, stimulated by the antagonism of unbelief. The object of faith disappears, because the incarnate Logos is simply a mental process, an ethical experience of the second century. The Son of God, as a Saviour, as life, light, and love, cannot, with Baur, be the object of faith. He is in his final glory nothing but pure absolute idea.

This survey of various efforts prepares the way for the admirable and penetrative representation of Luthardt. Two points especially emerge of prime importance: (1) the great change in theme and tone which is observable between ch. 4. and 5; and (2) the opening of a new theme in ch. 13. Luthardt, however, emphasizes the historic or chronologic relation of ch. 12. with what follows. The final week, which is introduced as the sequel of the death-sentence recorded in ch. 11., certainly commences with ch. 12:1. The subject-matter of ch. 12., as well as the tone and spirit of it, does, however, belong to themes which precede in ch. 5–11., rather than to those which follow, in ch. 13–17.; e.g. the anointing refers to the animosity and deadly antipathies of the Jews then reaching their culmination, but it is a prophetic anticipation of the “burial.” The incident of “the desire of the Greeks” certainly betokens the offer of the Messianic kingdom to the Gentile world, and reflects strong light on more than one angry retort in the previous chapters; but it is also closely intertwined with the mysterious agony and death through which the seed-corn of the great harvest should bring forth much fruit. Consequently, it faces both ways. Moreover, it contains the anticipation of Gethsemane, and thus anticipates the agony and victory of the cross.

Luthardt and Godet disagree about the close connection of ch. 13–17. with ch. 18–20. They are simply two sides of one and the same thing according to Luthardt. In Godet’s view they are utterly disparate, and cannot be regarded under the one heading of “Jesus and his own.” If they are looked at in their union of idea, Godet is right in repudiating the title “Jesus and his own;” but if the whole notion be love in its uttermost manifestation—the εἰς τὸ παντέλες of ch. 13:1—then it corresponds with the τετέλεσται of ch. 19. The pedilavitum of ch. 13. is closely linked with the tragedy of self-abandonment that follows in ch. 18., 19. The warning to Peter (ch. 13.) and the expulsion of Judas are connected with the story of the treachery of Judas and the denial of Peter (ch. 18.). The whole conception of the departure (ch. 14–16.) prepares for the manner of its occurrence, and the intercessory prayer for “the resurrection,” the promise of the Comforter with the spiration (ch. 20.). But to let this pass. Luthardt is singularly happy in his perception of the dramatic unity of the whole book. “In the first part the threads are laid; in the second the knots are twisted; in the third the whole is resolved into the glorification of Jesus on the one hand, and in the completion of both faith and unbelief, and of the spiritual communion of the believers with Jesus, on the other.” I. The introduction of the Logos incarnate to the world. (Ch. 1–4.) II. The struggle between Jesus as thus revealed and the Jews. III. The revelations of love in word and deed. (Ch. 13–20.) IV. The epilogue. (Ch. 21.)

Albrecht Thoma, in his ‘Genesis des Johannis Evangeliums,’ has arranged the matter as follows in five sections:—I. The significance of the essence and work of Christ. II. The work of Christ: Association and division. III. The conflict with the world. IV. Farewell commission and promise. V. The hour: the glorification of sorrow. Appendix: an outline of apostolic history.

There is no reason to conclude, even if we proceed to set forth in detail a more abundant classification of these discourses, narrations, and lessons, that the author of the Gospel needs to have strained a fact, or to have altered the chronological order of a single narrative, or to have invented a solitary revelation of the eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested to the world. The possible point of view on which the evangelist took his stand was entirely justified by the history. He does not clash with the current synoptic narrative. All along he acknowledges its existence, and gives hints that he is aware of the charge of possible or apparent discrepancy, and by a side note or parenthetical expression he leaves room for all the additional matter that belongs to the Galiæan ministry. Throughout, the synoptists are necessary for a right understanding of the Fourth Gospel. Moreover, there is so much of profound transcendental utterance and claim in the synoptic narratives, that they are to a large extent incomprehensible if the customary aspects in which the Lord appears in the Fourth Gospel had not been historically prepared for our use. We ought never to forget that the synoptic narratives do not, any more than the Fourth Gospel does, consist of sustained biographical treatment of the life of Jesus. Each of the Gospels betrays a distinct purpose on the part of its author to justify the presupposition on which it rests. Matthew discerns with vivid insight the Messiahship; Mark, the great features of the Son of God; Luke, the dominating grace of his perfect humanity; and John proceeds on the supposition that he was nothing short of, and nothing less than, all of these, because he was the Logos made flesh—the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. The biography is neither exhausted nor completed by the fourfold representation. Each narrative abounds in startling lacunes, in blank spaces of time, of which a few solitary expressions or incidents only have been preserved. The portraitures are none the less real because they preserve only specimens of the life-work of Jesus, characteristic moments in the great life, not the successive hours, days, weeks, and years of his sublime and wondrous existence.

The Holy Spirit of truth and revelation has followed here the great method which has been virtually followed in preserving the memory of the greatest men of our world’s history. Many of the philosophers and poets of antiquity, of its princes, legislators, and patriots are preserved for us in a few scenes only of their busy and protracted lives—in a few sentences only, by means of which their inner life in part expressed itself.

Should a biographer be content, in delineating the career of Luther, to paint with perfect accuracy three or four palmary events in his life, to provide the setting of three or four memorable utterances of the Reformer, which appear to the writer to represent the essential spirit of the man,—he ought not to be charged with inventing those facts or fabricating the sayings, even should it turn out that the events and words inherently possess a dramatic propriety in themselves. A description of Luther nailing his theses to the church door; his journey to Worms; his characteristic speeches on his progress thither and before the Diet; his language to the prophets at Wittemberg, when he burst from his retirement to confront them; his conduct during the Diet at Augusburg, and the death-scene,—would not constitute a biography of Luther. Yet should a competent student, who perceives in these events and words powerful expression of the chief momenta of Luther’s mission in this world, elect thus to represent it, and confine himself to them, their dramatic relation to one another ought not to invalidate confidence in their accuracy and historicity. Other consistent hypotheses of the personality of the great Reformer might be framed which would not include more than one or two of these events, but might include other groups of sayings equally historic and revelatory. They need not be charged with being merely subjective creations because of this difference of subject-matter.

The Personality of the Logos incarnate, if such an hypothesis or presupposition be rational at all, could not have evolved itself in human life without evoking a faith and a distrust which acted and reacted on each other. The leading revelations of his own essential Being would be made through actions and words more or less obviously related. The unconscious poetry and dramatic effect of the revelation of the conflict and the victory must evince and evolve itself to one who reflects upon the whole effect upon his own mind of the life and ministry of the Lord. The dramatic unity of the whole is a testimony to the reality of the facts. Such a conception of the life, vindicated by the citation of its chief moments, renders the testimony thus borne to Jesus the most remarkable fact in all literature. The Fourth Gospel is so interrelated in all its parts, and conveys such powerful testimony to what was consecutively unfolded, accounts so wondrously for the catastrophe, and prepares so fully for the final revelations of the risen Lord and strong Son of God, that little controversy remains as to its unity. No mythopœic tendency can have produced such a drama. The whole is so harmoniously built up out of its several parts that a variety of authorship is hardly so much as suspected by the most resolute of its opponents. The vision is not one of many minds at different epochs, but of one richly stored mind at one consummating period of his own career. The elaboration of the details and the exhaustive presentation of great truths touching the work and person of the God-Man reflect in every verse the spiritual apprehension of one exalted mind. There can be no question that the writer wishes himself to be regarded as the near relative and most intimate friend and beloved disciple of Jesus. If the considerations already advanced justify us in holding that this writer was the identical person whom he represents himself to be, we have scarcely any option—we must believe that Jesus was and is the Son of God. If such a conception of his Master was prepared by an intimate disciple and one who knew that he spake truth, then in him we have “the true God and eternal life.” Before making any attempt to grasp the representation in its fullness, we have need to take our shoes from our feet—we are on holy ground.

The aid to this task obviously available in the numerous arrangements of the subject-matter to which we have referred alone makes it possible to the present writer to propose the following scheme:—

I. The Revelation of the Logos to the World.

Exposition of the fundamental nature of “the Word,” and comprehensive specimens of his nature and method, with the twofold effect of his self-revelation. Ch. 1–4.

1. The explanation offered by the evangelist of the series of facts which he is about to narrate. This is contained in ch. 1:14, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” But before he makes this assertion, he states—

(1)    The pre-existence, Personality, and Divin’ty of the Logo. Ch. 1:1, 2.

(2)    The creation of all things through the Logos, as the Agent of the eternal counsel and activity of God. Ch. 1:3.

(a)    Inclusive of the fact that he has always been and now is the Life, and therefore

(b)    The Light of men. Ch. 1:3, 4.

(3)    Throughout the entire history of the action of the Logos on man, the effulgence of the light has been encountered by the misapprehension of human darkness. Ch. 1:5.

(4)    The general manifestations of the revealing Logos. Ch. 1:6–13.

(a)    The prophetic dispensation recapitulated in John’s ministry, with its effects, bearing witness to the Light, but not itself the Light. Ch. 1:6–8.

(b)    The illumination streaming from the veritable Light before he came historically into the world. Ch. 1:9.

(c)    The twofold effect of the pre Incarnation activity, anticipatory of the complete manifestation in the elected nation and individuals. Ch. 1:10–13.

(5)    The Incarnation of the Logos. Ch. 1:14.

(6)    The testimony to this fact by the prophetic spirit. Ch. 1:15.

(7)    The experience of the writer. Ch. 1:16–18.

Close of the prologue.

2. The testimony of the Baptist. Ch. 1:19–34.

(1)    He defines his own position, negatively (ch. 1:19–21); positively (ch. 1:22, 23)

(2)    His testimony to the pre-existence and superiority of the Christ, with indications of place and time. Ch. 1:24–28.

(3)    His perception of the fulfilment, by Jesus, of prophetic symbolism, in virtue of his pre-natal glory. Ch. 1:29, 30.

(4)    The prime purpose of John’s mission—to introduce him to Israel; and the special preparation by which he was empowered to do this thing. Ch. 1:31–34.

***    The incarnate Word recognized as Son of God, Lamb of God, Baptizer with the Holy Ghost.

3. The first disciples, and their testimony. Ch. 1:35–51.

(1)    John and Jesus. John directing his own disciples to Jesus. Ch. 1:35–39.

(2)    The naming and first convictions of the disciples. Ch. 1:40–49.

(a)    The Messiah. Ch. 1:40–44.

(b)    The theme of the Old Testament. Ch. 1:45, 46.

(c)    The Son of God, and King of Israel. Ch. 1:46–49.

(d)    The Son of man, the link between earth and heaven. Ch. 1:50, 51.

4. The testimony of signs to the glory of the Word who was made flesh. Ch. 2:1–3:2.

(1)    The first sign, mastery over the old creation: sign of love and power. Ch. 2:1–11.

(2)    The second sign, supremacy over the theocratic house; illustrations of righteousness, power, and sacrificial ministry. Ch. 2:12–22.

(3)    Numerous signs in Jerusalem, at the Passover, with twofold effect—some yielded a momentary but untrustworthy allegiance; others knew that God was with him. Ch. 2:23–3:2.

5. The revelation of earthly and heavenly things to one who knew that God was with him. Ch. 3:3–21.

(1)    The conditions of admission into the kingdom of God. New birth of the Spirit. Ch. 3:3–12.

(2)    The truth concerning the Son of man and his sacrifice. Ch. 3:13–15.

(3)    Divine love and judgment. Ch. 3:16–21.

6. The swanlike song of the Baptist. Ch. 3:22–36.

(1)    Circumstance which led to its utterance. The ministry and baptism of Jesus in Judæa. The baptismal difficulty. Ch. 3:22–26.

(2)    The earthly and the heavenly commission. Ch. 3:27–32.

(3)    The consequences of accepting and rejecting the supreme revelation. Ch. 3:33–36.

7 The ministry and revelation of the Lord to those beyond the strict compass of the theocracy—Samaria. Ch. 4:1–42.

(1)    The contrast between Jewish unsusceptibility and Samaritan predisposition to faith, in the entire narrative, as compared with the previous chapter, richly prophetic of subsequent development. Circumstantial introduction. Ch. 4:1–6.

(2)    Revelations and misunderstandings comprised in the interview with the Samaritaness. Ch. 4:7–26.

(a)    The Giver and Creator of all asks alms, thus submitting to the conditions of humanity. Ch. 4:7–9.

(b)    The living water offered and misunderstood. Ch. 4:10–15.

(c)    The heart-searching issuing in the perception of the prophetic rank of Jesus, by the Samaritan woman. Ch. 4:16–20.

(d)    The spiritual nature of God and his worship. God is Spirit. Ch. 4:21–24.

(e)    The Christ, as conceived by Samaria. Ch. 4:25, 26.

(3)    Revelation and misunderstanding involved in the conduct of the disciples. Ch. 4:27–38.

(4)    The harvest of the Lord’s sowing, and the Saviour of the world. Ch. 4:39–42.

8. The Galilœan ministry. [Summed up in one event, of great importance, as illustrating the superiority of word to signs and wonders] Ch. 4:43–54.

    Here the first great division of the Gospel terminates.

II. Conflict with the Chosen People in Jerusalem, Galilee, and Jerusalem again, from its Earliest Murmurs of Hostility to the Formal Death-sentence of the Sanhedrin. Ch. 5–11.

*** The conflict brings out loftier claims on the part of Jesus, and divergent results among the people. The assault stimulates the self-revelation.

1. Christ proved by sign and various testimony to be the Source of life. Ch. 5:1–47.

(1)    A remarkable sign on a paralyzed body and unsusceptible soul. Ch. 5:1–9a

(2)    The outbreak of hostility due to the breach of the sabbatic law enjoined by the new Prophet on the healed man. Ch. 5:9b–16.

(3)    The reply of Jesus to the hostile Jews. Ch. 5:17–47.

(a)    The claim of special relation and equality of operation with the Father evoking deadly malice. Ch. 5:17, 18.

(b)    Christ vindicated his equality with the Father. Ch. 5:19–29.

(α)    He is the Son, and his work is a following of the Father’s activity. Ch. 5:19, 20a.

(β)    The greater works. Ch. 5:20b–29.

(i.)    The ressurrection of the dead. Ch. 5:21–26.

(ii.)    The judgment of the world. Ch. 5:27–29.

(c)    The witness borne to these supreme claims. Ch. 5:30–40.

(α)    The Father’s all-embracing (ch. 5:32, 37, 38), and including—

(β)    The temporary witness of John. Ch. 5:33–35.

(γ)    The witness of the works. Ch. 5:36.

(δ)    The witness of the Scriptures. Ch. 39, 40.

(d)    The effect upon the people of the revelation of the Son, and his offer of himself as the “Source of life.” Ch. 5:41–47.

2. Christ declares himself to be Sustainer of the life of which he is the Source. Ch. 6:1–71.

(1)    The supply of human wants illustrated by a “sign” of power and of his being the Source of all things. Ch. 6:1–15.

***    The misunderstanding of the sign. Ch. 6:14, 15.

(2)    The mastery of the forces of the nature in the control of wind and wave, a “sign” of love. Ch. 6:16–21.

(3)    The sequel of the signs (ch. 6:22–59), with the discourses at Capernaum, in which he offers himself as—

(a)    “The veritable Bread,” “the Bread which cometh down from heaven,” as well as discovery of the method of participating in it, and the everlasting life which those who feed on it enjoy. Ch. 6:26–36.

(b)    Episode on the blessedness of those who “come” to Christ. Ch. 6:37–40.

(c)    The murmur of the Jews encountered and aggravated by the additional claim that his flesh (humanity) is “the living bread which came down from heaven.” Ch. 6:41–51.

(d)    The conflict among the Jews as to the possibility of their eating his flesh, leading him to insist on special participation of his “flesh and blood,” i.e. of his Divine humanity and his sacrificed humanity as the condition of life. Ch. 6:52–59.

(4)    The twofold effect of these instructions. Ch. 6:60–71.

(a)    The unbelief of the Capernaïtes, leading him to proceed further and predict the ascension of his humanity, to where he was before. Ch. 6:60–66.

(b)    The loyalty of the twelve, with a note of prophetic warning. Ch. 6:67–71.

3. Christ the Source of truth. Ch. 7:1–8:11.

(1)    Treatment of his unbelieving brethren. The hatred of the world arises from the truth of his testimony. His hour of manifestation not yet come. Ch. 7:1–10.

(2)    Controversy among the “Jews,” and Christ’s first discussion with them. Ch. 7:11–13 and 13–19.

(3)    Treatment of the ignorance and insolence of “the multitude.” Ch. 7:20–24.

(4)    Special perplexity of “some Jerusalemites,” and Christ’s reply. Ch. 7:25–29.

(5)    The divided opinions of the Jerusalem people, the general multitude, and the Pharisees; the attempt on his life, and its failure. Ch. 7:30–36.

(6)    The claim to be Organ and Giver of the Holy Spirit. Ch. 7:37–39.

(7)    The conflict among his hearers, and divers results of this series of discourses. Fresh attempts on his life. The Sanhedrin and its officers. Their confutation. Ch. 7:40–53.

[ (8)    The pericope adulterœ. Ch. 7:53–8:11.

(a)    The evidence and counter-evidence for the genuineness of the paragraph.

(b)    The plot against the honour or the loyalty of the Lord foiled with marvellous wisdom and great love.]

4. Christ the Light of the world. Ch. 8:12–9:41.

(1)    The solemn and formal assertion. Ch. 8:12.

(2)    The refusal of the Pharisees to accept such a claim on his own unsupported testimony, and the reply of Jesus based on the testimony of the Father, who was ever with him. Ch. 8:13–19.

(3)    Controversies with different groups, ending in a partial admission of his claims by some. Ch. 8:20–30.

(4)    The test Christ applied to those who admitted his testimony—true discipleship and freedom. Ch. 8:31, 32.

(5)    The offer of spiritual freedom to the seed of Abraham provoked bitter hostility and misapprehension. Ch. 8:33–46.

(6)    The I am. The appeal to their father Abraham and their Father God led him to assert his anteriority to Abraham. Ch. 8:47–58.

(7)    The conflict and victory. Ch. 8:59.

(8)    The Lord reasserts his own declaration of ch. 8:12 by a sign of his power to give eyesight as well as light. Ch. 9:1–7.

(9)    The proof of the reality of the miracle, the antagonism of the Pharisees, and the persecution inflicted on the healed man. Ch. 9:8–34.

***    The conviction of the prophetic authority of Jesus produced by the sign alone.

(10)    The issues of the ministry of Light. Ch. 9:35–41.

(a)    The vision of those who see not. Ch. 9:35–38.

(b)    The blindness of those who are satisfied with their twilight, and the remaining of their sin. Ch. 9:39–41.

5. Christ the Shepherd of the flock of God. Ch. 10:1–21.

(1)    Parable of the fold and flock, the door and the porter, the robber and the shepherd. Ch. 10:1–6.

(2)    Allegory of the door and the fold, in which Christ claims to be “the Door of the sheep.” Ch. 10:7–10.

(3)    The functions and responsibilities of the veritable Shepherd, and the relation of the Shepherd to the flock. Ch. 10:11–21.

(a)    The continuity of his Shepherd-activity, notwithstanding the laying down of his life. Ch. 10:16–18.

(b)    The twofold effect of this declaration. Ch. 10:19–21.

6. The oneness of Christ with the Father. Ch. 10:22–42.

(1)    The Feast of Dedication, and the excitement of the people. Ch. 10:22–26.

(2)    Christ’s claim to equality of power and essence, and similarity of gracious operation with the Father. Ch. 10:27–30.

(3)    Resented and challenged, but vindicated by word and sign. Ch. 10:31–39.

(4)    The susceptibility of those who had been prepared for his Word by the early ministry of John. Ch. 10:40–42.

7. Christ the Antagonist of death—a victory of power and love. Ch. 11:1–57.

(1)    The mystery and might of sacrifical love seen in the prelude of the miracle. Ch. 11:1–16.

(2)    The reciprocities of human affection drawing from Christ the vast assertion and promise, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” Ch. 11:17–32.

(3)    The struggle with death, the groaning, the weeping, the aggravation, the victory of power and love. Ch. 11:33–44.

(4)    The different results produced on the multitude, on the Pharisees, on the Sanhedrin, and the high priest. The final resolve of the authorities. Ch. 11:45–57.

III. Consummation of the Public Ministry.

1. The feast of love and gratitude. The culmination of the previous events, but the anticipation of the burial—the discordant note. Ch. 12:1–8.

2. The effects of the great sign. Ch. 12:9–11.

(1)    On much people of the Jews. Ch. 12:9.

(2)    On the chief priests. Ch. 12:10, 12:11.

    3. The triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Christ’s challenge of the authorities, and its results. Ch. 12:12–19.

4. The desire of the “Greeks”—the representatives of the world beyond the theocracy—to sees Jesus. Ch. 12:20–23. The reply of Jesus. Ch. 12:23–30.

(1)    The glorification of the Son of man in and through death. Ch. 12:23–26.

(2)    The anticipation of Gethsemane, and the heavenly voice which answers the cry of the Son of man. Ch. 12:27–30.

5. The judgment of this world. Ch. 12:31–36.

6. The reflections of the evangelist. Ch. 12:37–43.

7. The summation of the supreme conflict between our Lord and the world. Ch. 12:44–50.

IV. The Final Manifestations in Word and Action of the Logos incarnate, as Love, expressing itself absolutely and to the Uttermost. In two divisions—

(A) “The inner glorification of the Christ,” in the presence of those who received and believed him. Ch. 13–17.

(B) “The outer glorification of the Christ, both in his Passion and resurrection.” The Lord of all spontaneously yielding himself to death, laying down his life, taking it again, and lifting his disciples into vital union with the risen life. Ch. 18–21.

In further detail—

A. The Inner Glorification of Perfect Love.

1. The God-Man, humiliating himself to the extremity of self-sacrificing service, becomes the example and inspiration of mutual love. Ch. 13:1–17.

2. The exclusion of the faithless disciple. Ch. 13:18–30.

3. The valedictory discourses. Ch. 13:31–16:33.

(1)    The glorification of the Son of man, and of the Father in the Son. Ch. 13:31–33.

(2)    The demand which this glorification would make on the mutual fidelity and affection of the disciples. Ch. 13:34, 13:35.

(3)    The question of Simon Peter, with the terrible response which broke the eleven disciples down into a passion of grief, followed by our Lord’s consoling promise. Ch. 13:36–14:4.

(4)    The question of Thomas, eliciting from Christ that he was going to the Father, and that his death was their “way” as well as his own way thither. Ch. 14:5–7.

(5)    The question of Philip, with the reply. Ch. 14:8–21.

(a)    Jesus the full Revelation of the Father. Ch. 14:8–11.

(b)    The greater works, and their conditions and issues. Ch. 14:12–15.

(c)    The greatest Gift—the other Paraclete. Ch. 14:16–21.

(6)    The question of Judas, answered by indicating conditions of our Lord’s self-manifestation; the call for love to himself, the promise of the Comforter, and the gift of peace. Ch. 14:22–31.

(7)    The parable of the vine and its branches. Living union and incorporation of the disciples in one personality with himself. Ch. 15:1–10.

(8)    The results of the union between Christ and his disciples. Ch. 15:11–16:6.

(a)    To themselves. Ch. 15:11–16.

(b)    To the unbelieving world. Ch. 15:17–27.

(c)    The bitter issues of the hostility of the world. Ch. 16:1–6.

(9)    The promise of the Paraclete. Ch. 16:7–33.

(a)    The threefold conviction of the world. Ch. 16:7–11.

(b)    The power of the Paraclete upon the disciples themselves. Ch. 16:12–13.

(c)    The sorrow turned to joy. Ch. 16:16–24.

(d)    The final conviction wrought that Jesus was what he had said he was. The joy of Christ, with its note of warning. Ch. 16:25–33.

4. The high-priestly intercession. Audible communion of the Son with the Father. Ch. 17:1–26. The prayer he offers—

(1)    For himself. Ch. 17:1–5.

(2)    For his disciples. Ch. 17:6–19.

(3)    For the Church Catholic in all time. Ch. 17:20–26.

*** 5. Review of the difficulties attending the preservation and characteristics of this discourse and prayer.

B. The Hour has come.

1. The outer glorification of Christ in his Passion. Ch. 18:1–19:42.

(1)    The betrayal, the majesty of his bearing, accompanied by Lists of the bitter cup he was prepared to drink. Ch. 18:1–11.

(2)    The preliminary examination before Annas, and hint of the full ecclesiastical trial, and of the weakness and treachery of Simon Peter. Ch. 18:12–27.

(3)    The Roman trial, presupposing the decision of the Sanhedrin. Ch. 18:28–19:16.

(a)    [Without the Prætorium.] Pilate extorts the malign intention of the Jews, and dares them to disobey Roman law. Ch. 18:28–32.

(b)    [Within the Prætorium.] Christ admits that, in a sense far deeper than his questioner conceived, he was a King, but that his kingdom was not of this world. Ch. 18:33–38.

(c)    [Without the Prætorium.] Where, notwithstanding the clamour with which his protestation of Kingship and subsequent reserve had been met, Pilate declared him innocent of the charge brought against him. The Barabbas-proposal. Ch. 18:39, 40.

(d)    [Within the Prætorium.] The unjust scourging, and crown of thorns. Ch. 19:1–3.

(e)    [Without the Prætorium.] The further protestations on the part of Pilate of his helplessness and innocence bring up the concealed Jewish verdict of blasphemy because he had claimed to be Son of God. Ch. 19:4–7.

(f)    [Within the Prætorium.] The fear of Pilate, and the apportionment of the measures of guilt by the majestic Sufferer. Ch. 19:8–11.

(g)    Pilate vanquished by his selfish fears, and judgment given. Ch. 19:12–16.

(4)    The Crucifixion. Love unto the uttermost. Ch. 19:17–24.

(a)    The circumstances of the death. Ch. 19:17, 18.

(b)    The title on the cross. Ch. 19:19–22.

(c)    The seamless garment. Ch. 19:23, 24.

(5)    The words on the cross. Ch. 19:25–30.

(a)    Filial love—”Behold thy son.” Ch. 19:25, 26.

(b)    Filial love—”Behold thy mother,” and the issue. Ch. 19:27.

(c)    “I thirst”—the last agony. Ch. 19:28, 29.

(d)    “It is finished!”—the great victory of completed sacrifice. Ch. 19:30.

(6)    The piercing of the side, with its signifiance—the final close of the life of earth. Ch. 19:31–37.

(7)    The burial—the two friends, Joseph and Nicodemus. Ch. 19:38–42.

2. The complete glorification of Jesus in his resurrection. Ch. 20:1–31.

(1)    The process of John’s own personal conviction, by the discovery that the sepulchre was deserted. Ch. 20:1–10.

(2)    The manifestation to adoring love, answering to the first portion of the high priestly prayer. Ch. 20:11–18.

(3)    The manifestation to the ten disciples and others, corresponding to the great prayer for them in ch. 17. Ch. 20:19, 20.

(4)    Peace, spiration of the Holy Spirit, and power to remit or retain sin. Ch. 20:21–23.

(5)    The manifestation made to anxious scepticism. The victory of faith by the grace of sight and touch. The still greater blessing on those who have not seen and yet have believed. Ch. 20:24–29.

(6)    The summation of the argument of the Gospel. “These things are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” Ch. 20:30, 31.

3. Epilogue, answering to prologue. Ch. 21:1–25.

***    The post-Resurrection life, corresponding with the pre-incarnate energy of the Logos.

(1)    The manifestation of himself in the work of life. Ch. 21:1–14.

(2)    The revelations to be made in the services dictated by love and issuing in martyrdom. The confession of Simon Peter, and the charge given to him. Ch. 21:15–19.

(3)    The revelations made to patient waiting for the coming of the Lord, with correction of a misunderstanding touching the disciple whom Jesus loved. Ch. 21:20–23.

(4)    Note of subsequent editors with reference to the authorship and the fulness of unrecorded traditions touching the words and deeds of Jesus. Ch. 21:24, 25.

He that in the beginning and throughout all time has been one with God, the Creator, the Source of life and light, the Giver of the Holy Spirit, is represented as becoming human flesh, and through that flesh manifesting the Divine idea of man. The Spirit is triumphant over the flesh. He suffers, indeed, from weariness and thirst, and from the temptations to use the Divine power always at his disposal for his own refreshment or for the establishment of a temporal sovereignty; but he uniformly resists every such subtle temptation. Elect souls see by intuition, and by the aid of the prophetic word and testimony, that he is Son of God and King of Israel, that he is the perfect Man, the Christ, the Saviour of the world. Mere intellectual power, senatorial position, hierarchical authority, fail to perceive and receive that which more simple minds embrace with comparative ease. He opens the kingdom of heaven. He reveals the Father by the confession of his own Sonship and the character which he everywhere assigns to God. The grandest conceptions of all religious thought date from the language of this Gospel, with its Epistle. God is Spirit; God is Light; God is Love. The incarnate Word is the Baptizer with the Spirit. He offers living water to the thirsty and living bread to the hungry, and the blood (which is his life) to man, that man may live, and not die, for ever. By a series of selected signs he is demonstrated to have all power, all righteousness, all judgment, all sustenance, in his hands. He claims identity with the eternal light, and proves that he can pour such light upon those who are blind even from birth. He can give light and also eyesight.

His self-revelations are continually stimulated by the antagonism and carnal misunderstanding of his hearers. He claims to be the Shepherd of Israel, but a Shepherd who would lay down his life that he might resume it in the interest of the widespread flock, the vast multitude whom the Father gives to him, and who come to him for eternal life akin to his own. He grapples with death itself, and declares that he is the Resurrection and the Life. Dead souls and dead bodies in their graves should hear his voice, and live. The antagonism to these claims becomes a furious madness, and, while he is binding those who receive him into a compact fellowship which will survive his departure and transcend life and death, while he is promising the Paraclete and surrounding them with a new glory, his own people are plotting his death. Nothing short of death, the full extremity of human humiliation, aggravated by the malice of the devil, can give adequate or absolute expression to the intensity of his love to the men whose nature he has assumed. From this he shrinks as a man, but to this he voluntarily and majestically yields. At every stage of the humiliating process and aggravated curse of his death he comes forth with some more convincing proof of his Divine mission, that he was empowered to destroy death; and glorify himself in it and through it. His treacherous disciples are vanquished; his captors fall at his feet; his judges are either baffled by his silence or his answers; he condemns his judge; he transforms his crown of thorns by the cruelty of its infliction and his patient endurance into a crown of glory, and his cross into a throne. Death fails with him. He proves that it can have no dominion over him, and he takes possession of his kingdom. He creates a new heaven and a new earth out of this sinning and dying world; by the revelation he makes of his spiritual and glorified body, and of the relation between the two worlds, he satisfies love, he removes doubt, he hallows work by the ineffable sweetness of his eternal presence with those who believe on him. “The Spirit, the water, and the blood agree in one” signification, appeasing the conscience, cleansing the heart, and inspiring the whole nature of man.

“These things are written that ye may believe on the Name of the Son of God, and, believing, that ye may have life.”

XI. References to Literature and Text

Numerous references are made in the foregoing pages and in the course of the Exposition to the literature of the Fourth Gospel. My obligations to my predecessors are so various and abundant that they defy enumeration. Illustrious scholars have contended on opposite sides in this “battle-field of the New Testament.” Many of these are most honourably distinguished for their learning, reverence, candour, and ingenuity. To their extensive research, suggestive criticism, and various interpretation I am greatly indebted, and humbly desire to do justice.

A list of the principal works and treatises on the authorship of the Gospel may be found in Dr. Caspar R. Gregory’s appendix to his English translation of Luthardt’s work entitled ‘St. John the Author of the Fourth Gospel,’ and a select list of commentaries on St. John’s Gospel is placed at the commencement of the second volume of the Rev. F. Crombie’s translation of Meyer’s ‘Commentary on St. John.’ These valuable lists were completed in 1875, since which time many notable dissertations have been published; e.g. Albrecht Thoma’s remarkable work entitled ‘Die Genesis des Johannes-Evangeliums, ein Beitrag zu seiner Auslegung, Geschiehte and Kritik;’ 1882; Dr. Edwin Abbott’s articles on “The Gospels,” in the new edition of the ‘Encyclopædia Brittanica;’ Mangold’s edition of Holtzmann’s ‘Einleitung z. Neuen Test.;’ English translations of Dr. F. Godet’s invaluable introduction and commentary (T. and T. Clark); the commentary and introduction by Canon Westcott, in the ‘Speaker’s Commentary;’ commentary and introduction by Drs. Moulton and Milligan, in Schaff’s ‘Popular Commentary;’ and by Archdeacon Watkins in Bishop Ellicott’s ‘New Testament Commentary for English Readers;’ translations of Bernard Weiss’s great work on the ‘Life of Christ’ (3 vols., T. and T. Clark), and of Theodore Keim’s ‘Jesus of Nazara,’ and Dr. Ezra Abbott’s ‘External Evidence of the Fourth Gospel.’ Further, a contribution to literary evidences, entitled ‘Canonicity of the New Testament,’ by Professor Charteris, D.D., on the basis of Kirchhofer’s ‘Quellensamlung;’ and a commentary by Dean Plummer, in the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, appear to me singularly useful.

I acknowledge great indebtedness to these works, as well as to many others that are referred to in the course of the Introduction and Exposition.

Whensoever and by whomsoever “the spiritual Gospel” was produced, it is a veritable prodigy of thought and suggestion, and it involves conceptions of the Divine, and possibilities of the human that are ineffably sublime. Its simplicity invites attention, its depth bewilders. “A great water” is it, where an infant can wade, and where the mightiest craft can float, do business, and ride at anchor. Its metaphysic bridges the chasm between thought and reality. The spiritual becomes the eternal. The philosophy of the union of the human to the Divine has never been conceived with such practical force and astounding realism. All this would be true, if it be only the dream of some divine of the second century, more profound than Plato, more terrible than Æschylus, more sympathetic than Pascal, more mystic than Boehmen, more self-annihilating than Buddha, and of one albeit who has left no name behind him.

But if the book be what it professes to be, the record of a positive experience, a selection and arrangement of the memories of the disciple whom Jesus loved, then, without any question or exaggeration, it is the most inestimably precious fragment of all recorded history. This is the deep conviction the Gospel has inspired in successive ages, and this conclusion is forced upon many of us by a candid perusal of all that has been written with the view of shattering it.

One word concerning the text and the English translation presented in these volumes. Every place has been noted where the Revised Text of 1881 has deviated from the Textus Receptus, or from the well-known text of the eighth edition of Tischendorf, or from those of Tregelles, and of Westcott and Hort. Some of the principal authorities on which these distinguished critics have in the main relied will be found in the footnotes. A few of the more celebrated texts, such as ch. 1:28; 5:3–5; 7:53–8:12, have been discussed at greater length.

Deviations from the Revised Version have been admitted into the translation with the view of exhibiting a closer approach to the exact force of certain sentences and words. They are not offered as revision of the Revisers’ work, but as moving along the lines of exegetical and interpretative comment. The Hebrew, Greek, and Roman letters represent the uncial manuscripts, usually signified by them, and the Arabic numerals indicate the cursive manuscripts cited by Tischendorf, Tregelles, Westcott and Hort, Meyer, Alford, Godet, and others. The versions, Fathers, and other materials of judgment are indicated in a sufficiently explicit manner—the critical notes of Meyer and Alford and Dr. Weymouth’s composite text have been carefully observed.

*** I desire especially to record my gratitude to the Rev. William Henry Beckett, of Stebbing, for the valuable help he has afforded to me in bringing the work through the press, and for other important services and suggestions.

The

Gospel According to St. John

EXPOSITION

Chapter 1

The title of the book is differently given in the manuscripts and ancient versions, and the differences are so considerable that they cannot be referred to the original text. The simplest form of the title is found in א, B, D, and is nothing more than “according to John,” ΚΑΤΑ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΝ (B gives only one N in John’s name, but א two); and this is followed by the Vulgate and Syriac as a running title. The immense proportion of the uncials—A, C, E, F, G, L, and eight or nine others—read “Gospel according to John” (Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Ιωάννην). This is followed by Tregelles, Lachmann, Alford. The T.R., with a large number of manuscripts, reads, “The Gospel according to John;” and in Stephen’s third edition the word “holy” occurs before “Gospel.” The cursives 69, 178, 259, read Εὐαγγέλιον ἐκ τοῦ κατὰ Ἰωάννην. Some cursives read, “Of the (holy) Gospel according to John.” The printed texts of the Peschito Syriac have Evangelium sanctum prædicationis Johannis præconis. The Revisers, with T.R., have placed Τὸ κατὰ Ἰωάννην Εὐαγγέλιον as their title.

The phrase, “according to,” has been thought by some to suggest a type of doctrine or teaching with which the document might be supposed to harmonize, and therefore to set aside the idea of personal authenticity by its very form. This interpretation, seeing it applies to Mark and Luke as well as to John and Matthew, would lose its meaning; for Mark and Luke, by numerous traditionary notices, have been continuously credited, not with having personally set any special type of doctrine before the Church, but as having been respectively the interpreter of Peter or Paul. Consequently the meaning of the phrase compels us to ask whether the word “Gospel” or “Holy Gospel” did in the first instance refer to the book at all. It is not “John’s Gospel” that is intended, but the good news or glad tidings of God related by John, of which this and similar titles speak. Moreover, numerous instances occur where the κατὰ is similarly used to denote authorship. Thus “The Pentateuch according to Moses,” “The History according to Herodotus,” “The Gospel according to Peter,” are titles which in every case are meant to suggest the idea of authorship (Godet). We cannot imagine that any other implication was intended by this ancient superscription.

Each of the evangelists starts with a grand “presupposition,” or main thesis, of his own, expressed with more or less of explicitness, which it becomes his obvious purpose to sustain.

This main thesis is set forth in the first sentences of each of the synoptists. Thus Mark opened with the memorable words, “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.” From the first he refers to the prophetic anticipations and historic realization of glad tidings uttered by the Lord, and he based all his teaching on the fact that Jesus Christ was Son of God. Matthew, who wished to establish the Lord’s special claim to Messiahship, and his official right to the throne of David, began with a genealogical proof of the Lord’s descent from David and Abraham. Luke, who aimed throughout to illustrate the Divine humanity, and to build his narrative on historic facts and chronological data, took up his story with the birth of the Baptist, and, in conjunction with his baptizing of Jesus, presents a lineal genealogy of the supposed father (and probably of the mother) of Jesus, through the line of Nathan to David, thence from David to Abraham, and finally to Adam, the first son of God. In his prologue Luke indicated the biographical use he had made of the material in his hands, and of the personal knowledge he had acquired, and that he aimed to set forth the grounds of security that existed for the things most fully believed by the Church (Luke 1:1–4).

The fourth evangelist was as earnestly set upon giving proof of the Messiahship of Jesus as Matthew was (see ch. 20:31), and as resolved to emphasize the complete humanity of the Son of God as even Luke himself was (see ver. 14, and all the many signs of the Saviour’s resemblance to his brethren, and sympathy with their sufferings and joys—ch. 2:1; 4:6; 5:13, 14; 11:5, 35, etc.). But John had felt more deeply than many of the apostles the effulgence of the Father’s glory which gleamed in the face of Jesus Christ. John had heard in the words of Jesus the veritable voice of the living God; “The Word of the Lord (ὁ Λόγος Κυρίου) came to him” in the speech (λαλιά) of Jesus. There was a Divineness about the mission of the Lord which deeply impressed this evangelist—that Jesus had come in a special sense from God, that he was the Giver of eternal life and the Author of eternal salvation, and that he had the “form of God,” though in the likeness of men. John’s mind revolved all the truth which, long before this prologue or introduction was written, had been proclaimed by Paul and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in every varying phrase. It was in harmony with the whole purpose of his Gospel that he should begin it before the baptism, before the birth, before the conception, of the Lord Jesus; that he should press back in thought to the Divine activity itself—to those ideas of the older revelation which, though not in conflict with the pure monotheism of the Hebrew Scriptures, involved the veritable preparation for the stupendous reality, for the supreme tragedy, for the Divine kingdom which had evolved itself under his very eyes. He looked back into the past, nay, he gazed out of time into eternity; he looked up from the miraculous conception to that holy thing which was conceived in the womb of humanity; he endeavoured to set forth that form of God which could alone become “flesh” and tabernacle among men; and which, though it did this, did not destroy the unity of Deity, but confirmed and established it. He was not slow to reflect on all the methods in which God had ever come near to men, nor could he believe that God Incarnate had never foreshadowed his presence with men, or his manifestation to them, before his own day and hour. When the old man was at Ephesus, many dangerous speculations were rife. Some denied that Christ had ever come in the flesh at all, and said that so Divine a presence as his was no objective reality—was allied to the Docetic “seeming” manifestations made to the patriarchs of the Old Testament. Jesus was to them a theophany, not a living Man. Now, we learn from the First Epistle that such a thesis was, in the opinion of John, the quintessence of antichrist. Others, again, had speculated about the emanations of Deity, until a new mythology was beginning to hover on the borderland between Christendom and heathendom. Essenic and Ebionitic errors had grieved him. At length the moment arrived when the “Son of Thunder,” who saw all the glory of the risen Lord, all the majesty of his triumphant reign, uttered these opening words, replying, in every sentence, to one or other of these misconceptions of his Lord’s Person. And he proceeded to lay a simple basis deep and strong enough to support the facts upon which the faith of the Church was resting. Men had come veritably to believe that they were children of God, and had been generated as such by the will of God, and, if children, that they were heirs of God through Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:16, 17; Gal. 3:26). “Grace and truth” were lighting up broken and bewildered hearts when they accepted the reality of the Divine manhood of Jesus, and something better than the mere speculations of the schools of Palestine, Alexandria, or Ephesus was needed in order to explain (as he, the beloved disciple saw it) the mystery of the life of Christ. That which he laid down as the solution of the problem of “the beginning of the Gospel” is called the prologue of this Gospel. Even apart from the inspiration which breathes through it, no passage in literature can be cited which has exercised a more powerful influence upon the thought of the last eighteen hundred years than that which sets forth John’s fundamental ideas concerning the essence and character, the idiosyncrasy and the energy, of the Divine fulness which dwelt in Jesus.

The question has been asked—Where does the prologue end? M. Reuss strongly presses the view that the proem terminated with the fifth verse, and that with the sixth the apostle commenced his historical recital. He urges that there is no break from the sixth to the eighteenth verse; that in this paragraph the author sets forth the general effect of the testimony of the historical Baptist to Jesus; and that, in consequence of it, a limited number of individuals were led to recognize (1) the Divine nature of the Word manifested in the flesh, (2) the truth of the assertions of the Baptist, (3) the radical distinction between Moses and Christ, (4) the fact that the true knowledge of God can only be obtained by the mediation of the latter. Some preliminary advantage is thus secured by the critic who seeks to ally this paragraph with the rest of the history, and to impute to the whole Gospel, as well as to the passage in question, the character of a theological or didactic romance. The enormous majority of all scholars, while recognizing new points of departure at ver. 6, and again at vers. 14–18, do not admit that the evangelist’s preliminary representations or presuppositions have come to a pause until he reached the sublime utterance which points so obviously back to ver. 1, “No one hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” From the first verse to the eighteenth the evangelist revolves around the fundamental idea of “the Word which was with God and was God.” But his aim is to show how the Word came into relations with man, and how man may come into relations with the Godhead through him who was manifested in the flesh in all the fulness of grace and truth.

An obvious method of this author in the Gospel, Epistles, and Apocalypse shows that he was wont to return upon thoughts which he had previously uttered, yet at the same time doing so in fresh cycles and with added meanings (see Introduction). The large spiral of his meditations sweeps at first round the entire region of “all things” which have their centre in the “Word of God:” “All things came into being through him.” Then he formally discriminates between “things” and “forces,” and especially indicates the relation of “the Word” to the energies and blessedness of the entire universe of sentient and responsible beings which derive all their “life” from the “life that is in him,” and their “light” from that “life,” indicating, as he proceeds, the presence of the antagonism to the light and life displayed by our imperfect and damaged humanity (vers. 1–5). Here the entire testimony of prophecy—gathered up in the person of an historic man, John Baptist—is broadly characterized, and some conception of the aid which revelation and inspiration have given to men to recognize the light when they see it, and to hear the voice of the Lord God while it speaks. The entire function of prophecy is discriminated from the light-force at work in every living man. The special aid given to the holy, prepared, and selected race, by the manner of his self-revelations brings the spiral thought round into the region of the intensified darkness of those who refuse the brightest light (vers. 9–11), so that ver. 11 corresponds with ver. 5 Vers. 12, 13 pause in the region of light. Some souls are at least transformed into the light, become conscious of a Divine generation, are born (through faith), independently of all earthly, national, or sacramental means, into the same kind of relation to God that has from eternity been enjoyed by the Word. At this point a novel revolution of thought is commenced, characterized by more intense brilliancy and efficacity, because revealed in a narrower range of fact. He touches the very focus and centre of Divine manifestation, when he says, “And the Word was made flesh, and tabernacled among us.” “The Word” did not become “all things,” nor was he identified with life, still less with light. The wide radiance and glorious glancing of the light was not identified with the objects on which through prophetic agencies it alighted. The τὰ ἴδια, the special race of light-bearers, were not, even in their highest form of recipiency, incarnations of the Word. Neither conscience, nor prophecy, nor Shechinah-glory was of the substance or essence of “the Word,” although all the energy of each of these was and is and ever will be the shining of the primal light on humanity.

This is the theory of the writer of this prologue, but his chief contribution to the sum of human thought is that “this Word became flesh.” Having announced this stupendous fact, the author relates the evidence of his own personal, living experience; and he records his invincible assent to this unique and central glory of Divine manifestation. This at once leads to a few comprehensive antitheses drawn between the Incarnation and all the most illustrious and luminous of previous revelations. Just as vers. 6, 7 revealed the difference between prophecy and the “light of men,” so, having come to this focal point of splendour, prophecy again speaks in the person of the Baptist; and ver. 15 cites the highest testimony to the supreme rank of the incarnate God above the greatest of the teachers of men. In ver. 16 the apostle refers to the Incarnate Word as the Source of all apostolic emotions and life. Through him, and not from the mere teachings of prophecy or conscience, have we all received grace and truth. Then, sweeping back to the grandest epoch-making man and moment of all past history, Moses himself appears to shine only like the light of a waning moon in the advent of the dawn. More than that; neither Adam in Paradise, nor Noah gazing on the averted bow, nor Abraham at Moriah, nor Jacob at Peniel, nor Moses in the, cleft of the rock, nor Elijah at Horeb, nor Isaiah in the temple, nor Ezekiel at the river of Chebar, have ever seen, in the sense in which Jesus saw, the face of the Father. The only begotten Son who was with God and was God, and in the bosom of the Father, he hath revealed him. The entire proem does not cease till it reaches this triumphant peroration. Detailed exegesis of the passage can alone justify this estimate of the significance of the prologue. Different commentators have divided it somewhat differently, and many have drawn too sharp a distinction between the pre-incarnation life of the Logos, and the historical, theocratic, or ecclesiastical manifestation. Surely that which the eternal Logos was before his manifestation and before the humiliation of the infinite love, he was and must have been during the human life of Jesus, he must be now, and he must ever be. In other words: The Word, who was in the beginning with God, is still “with God.” All life is continually the effluence of one of his infinite energies; all light is the effulgence of that bright essence uncreate. He is still coming “to his own,” and “they receive him not.” The processes described in vers. 6–13 have never ceased; nay, they are indeed more conspicuous than they ever were before in the ministry of the Word, but they have not exhausted nor diminished one iota of the stupendous activity of the eternal, creative, revealing Logos.

The first part of the Gospel, consisting of ch. 1–4, we have already described as

I. The Revelation of the Logos to the World.

Vers. 1–18.–1. The hypothesis framed by the evangelist to account for the series of facts which he is about to narrate is seen especially in ver. 14; but before asserting this great fact that the Word was made flesh, he proceeds to show (1) The pre-existence, personality, and Divinity of the Logos.

Ver. 1.—In the beginning was the Word. From early times expositors have perceived that the evangelist essayed here a comparison with the ἐν ἀρχῇ (“in the beginning”) of the first verse of the Book of Genesis. This can hardly be doubted; but the resemblance immediately ceases or is transformed into an antithesis; for whereas the Mosaic narrative proceeds to indicate the beginning of the creation and of time by saying, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” this passage asserts that the Word then was. He was neither created, nor did he then begin to be. Consequently, there is no reason to gather from this passage the temporal origin of “the Word,” or from the first verse of Genesis to argue the eternity of matter. The writer here shows that he was profoundly impressed by the Lord’s own self-consciousness which permitted his disciples to believe in a personal Being and glory “before the world was,” and “before the foundation of the world” (ch. 17:5, 24). The idea of existence before the world was is attributed to the Divine (Sophia or) wisdom (Prov. 8:23 and elsewhere; 1 Epist. 1:1). The same apostle speaks moreover of “that which was (ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῇς) from the beginning,” but has been manifested to us. The interpretations which made the ἀρχή mean, with Cyril, the Divine “Father;” the Valentinian notion that ἀρχή was a distinct hypothosis, distinct from the Father or from the Logos; Origen’s notion that it meant the “Divine Wisdom;” the Socinian view that it referred to “the beginning of the preaching of the gospel;”—are not now seriously maintained. “The beginning of time” launches the mind into the abyss of the eternal now. At that starting-point of all creation and all Divine manifestation, “the Word was.” It would be difficult to express in human speech more explicitly the idea of eternal existence. In Greek usage and philosophy the term ΛΟΓΟΣ sustained the double sense of reason or thought immanent in the supreme Godhead (λόγος ἐνδιάθετος), and also of “speech” or “word” (λόγος προφορικός). Attempts have often been made to identify the λόγος of John with the former phase of its meaning common to Plato or Philo, and to find in the prologue the metaphysical speculations of the Alexandrine school—to identify the λόγος with the Philonic conception of the κόσμος νοητικός, with the Divine “idea of all ideas,” the archetype of the universe, the personality of God personified, or the Divine self-consciousness. But Philo’s entire system of philosophy by which he tried to explain the creation of the world, his theory of the Logos which was abhorrent to and entirely incapable of incarnation, which was based on a thorough-going dualism, which was significantly reticent as to the Messianic idea, and knew nothing of the hopes or national anticipations of Israel, was not the source either of John’s revelation or nomenclature (see Introduction). The disciple of the Baptist and of Jesus found in Holy Scripture itself both the phraseology and the idea which he here unfolds and applies. The New Testament writers never use the term Λογος to denote “reason,” or “thought,” or “self-consciousness,” but always denote by it “speech,” “utterance,” or “word”—the forthcoming, the clothing of thought, the manifestation of reason or purpose, but neither the “thought,” nor the “reason,” nor the “purpose” itself. The term is used here without explanation, as though it would be well understood by its readers. Numerous explanations have been offered in later times, which are far from satisfactory. Thus Beza regarded the term as identical with ὁ λεγόμενος, “the Promised One”—the Personage spoken of by the prophets. This, even with Hofmann’s modification of it, viz. “the Word of God, or Gospel, the great theme of which is the personal Christ,” breaks to pieces as soon as it is referred to the various predicates which follow, and especially to the statement of ver. 14, that “the Word was made flesh, and tabernacled amongst us.” Readers of the Old Testament would not forget that, in the record of the creation in Gen. 1., the epochs of creation are defined eight times by the expression, “And God said.” The omnific Word uttered itself in time, and thus called into being “light” and “life” and “all things,” and gave birth to man. The record thus preserved is confirmed by the corresponding teaching of the Psalms: “By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (cf. 1 Sam. 3:21; Ps. 33:6; 107:20; 148:5; Isa. 55:10, 11). Moreover, the Scripture in the Book of Proverbs (8, 9), Job (28:12), as well as the apocryphal Books of Wisdom, Baruch, Ecclesiasticus, had set forth the Divine “wisdom,” חָכְמָה, σοφία, with more or less of personification and even personal dignity, answering to the creative energy and resources here attributed to the Logos. From eternity was it brought forth, in the beginning of all God’s ways. “The Lord possessed me,” Wisdom says, “before his works.” In the controversy of the third and fourth centuries the LXX. translation in Prov. 8:22 of קָנָה by ἒκτισέ led Arius and others to the idea of the creation of the Logos before all worlds. The Vulgate translation, “possessed me,” is a far closer approach to the original. The whole of the passage, Prov. 8:22–27, is in correspondence with the functions and dignity of him who is here described as “in the beginning with God.” The Jewish translators and commentators had so thoroughly grasped the idea, that they were accustomed, in their Chaldee paraphrases of the Old Testament, to substitute for the name of the Most High, the phrase Memra-Jah, “The Word of the Lord,” as though the Lord, in his activities and energies, and in his relations with the universe and man, could be better understood under the form of this periphrasis than in that which connoted his eternal and absolute Being. The Targum of Onkelos—the oldest, most accurate, and precious of these documents—in numerous places substitutes “the Word of the Lord” for Jehovah, “the Word of Elohim” for Elohim, and “the Word of the Lord” for the angel or messenger of Jehovah. Thus in Gen. 7:16 it is said, “The Lord protected Noah by his Word;” 21:20, “The Word of the Lord was with Ishmael in the wilderness.” In Gen. 28:21 Jacob made a covenant that “the Word of the Lord should be his God;” Exod. 19:17, “Moses brought forth the people to meet the Word of God.” The term Deburah, which is analogous in meaning to Memra, is also used in the Jerusalem Targum of Numb. 7:89 in a similar sense. The substitution was adopted in the same way by Jonathan ben Uziel, in his paraphrase of Isa. 63:7 and Mal. 3:1, so that the Jewish mind was thoroughly imbued with this method of portraying the instrument and agent of the Divine revelations, as one savouring of the smallest amount of anthropomorphism, which they were willing to attribute to the Holy One of Israel. Another group of highly important biblical representations of the activity and self-revelation of God consists of the personal “Angel (or Messenger) of Jehovah,” who not infrequently appears, even in human form, conversing with the patriarchs, and making covenant with man (see Gen. 32:24, etc.; Exod. 33:12, etc.; Hos. 12:4; Isa. 63:9; Mal. 3:1 and other places). In some of these passages the Name of Jehovah himself is attributed to his Angel, and the form of Divine manifestation becomes more and more clearly personal. Nevertheless, this Angel appears to stand within, rather than without, the very bosom of the Eternal One. Jehovah does not lose his Name of unapproachable dignity and absolute existence while yet he clothes himself with angelic powers, or even human form, and enters into living and intimate relations with his own people. Kurtz (‘Old Covenant,’ vol. i. pp. 181–201) has urged that the numerous references in Old Testament to the “Angel Jehovah,” are compatible with the idea of a created spirit, endowed with plenipotentiary functions and titles, and perfectly distinct from the “Logos.” The strength of his position is that during the Incarnation and afterwards the New Testament writers still speak of the activity and might of “the Angel of the Lord.” But this position is greatly modified by the obvious fact that the Logos did not become depotentiated and limited to the life of Jesus during the thirty years of his earthly manifestation. During the whole of that period, and ever since, the Logos has not ceased to exercise the functions which belong to his eternal glory. It cannot be said that Philo was ignorant of these modes of expression, though in the main he allows the idea of “Word” to pass away from the term λόγος, and he charged it with a meaning which he found in Platonic and stoical philosophy, and used it, not in the historic or theocratic sense, which was current in the Palestinian schools, but in the metaphysic and speculative sense which enabled him to make the Hebrew Scriptures the vehicle of his ethical system. Word, in the Old Testament and in the Chaldee Paraphrases, represented the nearest possible approach to a definition of the activity and revelations of God; and that activity is regarded, not as a mere attribute, but as an essential and personal aspect of the Eternal One. In the hands of the Apostle John (unlike Philo’s), the Logos was a distinct hypostasis, identifiable with God, and yet in union and relation with him. He was “in the beginning,” and therefore before all creation. He did not become. He was not made. He was. As speech answers to the immanent realities of which it is expression, the idea of John in this first verse suggests, though the suggestion does not come into further expression, the “thought” or “reason” which evermore was shaping itself into “word.” It would seem as though the apostle had been led to gather together into one teaching the various suggestions of the Old Testament. He realized the significance of the omnific Word. He embodied and improved upon the sapiential philosophy in its conception of Divine Wisdom, of the Brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express Image of his substance; he felt the force and justice of the Hebrew periphrases for God the only God, in his gracious relations with man; and he was not ignorant of the speculations of the Hellenists who found in this term the phasis of all Divine self-consciousness, and the symbol of pure being in its relation with the universe. In the beginning the Logos was. And the Word (Logos) was with God (πρὸς τὸν Θεόν). The preposition is difficult to translate; it is equivalent to “was in relation with God,” “stood over against,” not in space or time, but eternally and constitutionally. It is more, even, than the παρὰ σοὶ (ch. 17:5); for, in addition to the idea of proximity, there is that of “motion towards” involved in πρός. A verb of rest is here combined with a preposition of motion, exactly as in ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον of ver. 18. In Mark 6:3; 9:19; Matt. 13:36; 26:55; 1 Cor. 16:6, 7; Gal. 1:18 the similar use of πρὸς shows that the idea of intercourse is suggested, and mutual acquaintance, so that the personality of the Logos is therefore strongly forced upon us. The strength and peculiarity of the expression precludes the interpretation of some who see here simply some “intuition in the Divine mind,” or that “the Word was eternally in the Divine plan.” There is relation between these two, laying the foundations of all ethic in the nature and subsistence of Deity. Righteousness and love are inconceivable perfections of an Eternal Monad. But if within the bosom of God there are affirmations, hypostases in relation with each other, the moral nature of the Eternal is assured. Philo’s conception of Logos as “the sum total of all Divine energies made it possible for him to urge that God, so far as he reveals himself, is called Logos, and Logos, so far as he reveals God, is called God” (Meyer). But this falls short of the Johannine thought. The Logos was with the God (τὸν Θεόν)—was in relation with the Supreme and Absolute One, was in eternal communion with him. The notion of “Logos” limited to the mere revelation of the Divine to the universe, or the Mediator or Archangel of the Divine counsels to men, is seen to be insufficient. The πρὸς τὸν Θεόν implies communion as anterior to revelation. And the (Logos) Word was God. Though Θεός precedes the verb, yet the disposition of the article shows that it is the predicate, and not the subject, of the sentence. The absence of the article is important. If Θεός had been written with the article, then the sentence would have identified the Λόγος and Θεός, and reduced the distinction expressed in the previous clause to one that is purely modal or subjective. Again, he does not say Θεῖος, Divine, which, seeing the lofty dignity of the Logos, would have been a violation of the eternal unity, and have corresponded with the δεύτερος Θεός which Philo attributed to the Logos; but he says Θεός simply (not Θεοῦ, according to Crellius, for which there is no justification)—God in his nature, essence, and kind; God i.e., as distinct from man, from angel, or from the kosmos itself. Thus the Son is not confounded with the Father, but declared to be of the same οὐσία, the same φὐσις. Though with God when God is regarded in all the fulness of his eternal being, he is nevertheless of the same order and kind and substance. Luther translates the passage, “Gott war das Wort,” but this translation jars on the sublime symmetry of the whole passage, which is not concerned with definitions of God, but with revelations concerning the Logos.

Ver. 2.—The same Logos whom the writer has just affirmed to have been God himself, was, though it might seem at first reading to be incompatible with the first or third clause of the first verse, nevertheless in the beginning with God—”in the beginning,” and therefore, as we have seen, eternally in relation with God. The previous statements are thus stringently enforced, and, notwithstanding their tendency to diverge, are once more bound into a new, unified, and emphatic utterance. Thus the αὐτός of the following sentences is charged with the sublime fulness of meaning which is involved in the three utterances of ver. 1. The first clause (1) declared that the Logos preceded the origination of all things, was the eternal ground of the world; the second (2) asserted his unique personality, so that he stands over against the eternal God, in mutual communion with the Absolute and Eternal One; the third clause (3) maintains further that the Logos was not a second God, nor merely Divine (Θεῖος) or God-like, nor is he described as proceeding out of or from God (ἐκ Θεοῦ or ἀπὸ Θεοῦ), nor is he to be called ὁ Θεός, “the God absolute,” as opposed to all his manifestations; but the Logos is said to be Θεός, i.e., “God”—God in his nature and being. This second verse reasserts the eternal relation of such a personality “with God,” and prepares the way for the statements of the following verses. The unity of the Logos and Theos might easily be supposed to reduce the distinction between them to subjective relations. The second verse emphasizes the objective validity of the relation.

Vers. 3, 4.—(2) The creation of all things through the Logos, as the instrument of the eternal counsel and activity of God.

Ver. 3.—All things (πάντα, not τὰ πάντα) taken one by one, rather than all things regarded in their totality—”all things,” i.e., all beings and elements of things visible or invisible, in heaven, earth, and under the earth (see Col. 1:16, etc.), came into being through him, through the Logos, who was in the beginning with God, and was God. The Logos is the organ or instrument by which everything, one by one, was made. Two other words are used in the New Testament to denote “creation”—κτίζειν, used in Rev. 4:11 and Col. 1:16, a word indicating the mind and act of the Creator; and ποιεῖν, which, as in Mark 10:6, points generally to the thing made. The parts of the verb γίγνεσθαι indicate the progress of the work, the process of some creative order, the occurrence of some event in the evolution of Divine providence. This word does not by one solitary expression dogmatically convey the creative act, but the fact of the “becoming,” from, it may be, the region of pure thought to that of existence, or from non-observation into prominence, or from an inchoate to a perfect development, or from nothing to something. The context must determine the fulness of its meaning. Occasionally, as in ch. 8:58, it is powerfully contrasted with existence: “Before Abraham was [had come into being] I am.” The context here does not allow us to affirm that St. John repudiated the prior existence of the ὓλη, stuff, of which πάντα, were made. He does not affirm nor deny such a prior existency or condition, but by referring the universe in all its parts and items to the Logos, he absolutely ignores the Platonic notion of eternal matter. He could scarcely be ignorant of the speculation as it entered into the Philonic interpretation and formed the basis of the Gnostic speculations which were beginning to infest the early Church. By giving, however, a Divine origin and instrument to the “becoming” of πάντα, and strengthening his statement by the negative co-assurance, he absolutely excludes the dualism of Philo and of Gnostic tendency. In asserting that the Logos is he or that through whom all things were made, the writer does not lower the dignity of the Logos by regarding him merely as the οργανον of the Father, because the same preposition is used of the relation of the Father to the world or to his servants (Rom. 11:36; Gal. 1:1; Heb. 2:10). Elsewhere St. Paul powerfully affirms the same application of διά (1 Cor. 8:6) to Christ’s part in the Creation, reserving for the One God, the Father, the preposition ἐκ. From God and by or through God are all things, still “all things” derive their existence “through” the activity, the will, the thought, of the Logos. “The sphere contracts as the blessing enlarges [query, ‘intensifies’]: existence for everything; life for vegetable and animal world; light for men” (Plummer). The same idea is made more explicit by the negative form in which it is restated: and without him—that is, independently of his co-operation and volition (cf. ch. 15:5)—not evenone thing came into being. The ὕλη could hardly be spoken of as “one thing,” seeing, according to the theory, it was not a unit as opposed to a multiplicity, but the condition of all things. The ἐγένετο would drive harder against any recognition of the ὕλη than would the ἕν. There is not the faintest approach to any supposition on John’s part of the existence of such a primeval entity or eternal reality. The ὅγέγονεν gives the student of the text and of the meaning grave difficulty. From very early times the Alexandrine Fathers and numerous uncial manuscripts, and an immense group of quotations and versions, unquestionably close the sentence we have just considered with ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν, and consider the ὅ γέγονεν as the subject of the following clause, translating it either, That which has come into being in him was life; or, that which has come into being was (or is) life in him—for one manuscript, א, has rendered the text more grammatical by reading ἔστι instead of ἦν. This, adopting the supposed early punctuation, Tregelles and Westcott and Hort have introduced into the text; but R.T. has coincided with T.R. Dr. Westcott has an elaborate note affirming the deep thought involved in the “ancient punctuation,” to the effect that the ὅ γέγονεν refers, not merely to the original creation, ἐγένετο, but to the continued existence of that which has come into being. Of this, it is said, it derives its life, has its life in the Logos, and that this idea is expressed in a profounder way than by saying ἔχει ζωὴν; that it was life (before it was called into being, or became) in him. This profound and mysterious statement is affirmed by Dr. Moulton and Dr. Westcott to find different but clear expression in Rev. 4:11, “Thou art worthy, our Lord and our God, to receive glory, etc.; for thou didst create all things, and for thy pleasure they were [ἧταν, the reading preferred by Tischendorf (8th edit.) and Westcott and Hort, instead of εἶσι, ‘they are’] and were created.” Dr. Westcott thinks that “life” here represents “the Divine element in creation, that in virtue of which things ‘are’ each according to the fulness of its being.” What has been created represents the eternal thought, the life that it had in the Logos before the world was. Unless one were compelled to take this thought by the exigencies of the textual criticism, we should hesitate to affirm that this can be the author’s intention. To us the common punctuation is far more satisfactory in meaning: Apart from him there came into existence not one thing which has come into existence. This, in its grand comprehensiveness and individualizing of every molecule and every force, brings the mind of the reader down from eternity to time, from the creation to the preservation and providence of the world, and it prepares the way for the great assertion of the following verse.

Ver. 4.—(a) The Life, and therefore inclusive of the fact that the Logos always has been and now is (b) the Light of men. In him was
life. “Life” in all its fulness of meaning—that grand addition to things which confers upon them all their significance for men. There is one impassable chasm which neither history, nor science, nor philosophy can span, viz. that between nothing and something. The evangelist has found the only possible method of facing it—by the conception of One who from eternity has within himself the potency of the transition. There is another impassable chasm in thought—that between non-living atoms and living energies and individualities. The assertion now is that life, ζωή with all its manifestations and in all its regions; that the life of plant, tree, and animal, the life of man, of society, and of worlds as such; that the life of the body, soul, and spirit, the life transitory and the life eternal (ζωὴ αἰώνιος), was in the Logos, “who was God and in the beginning with God.” Elsewhere in the Gospel Jesus said that “as the Father had life in himself, so he gave to the Son to have life in himself” (ch. 5:26); i.e. he communicated to the Son his own Divine self-dependence. The Gospel, however, lays the greatest emphasis on the life-giving powers of the Christ as incarnate Logos. The healing of the impotent man (ch. 5.), the raising of the dead Lazarus (ch. 11.), are chosen proofs of his life-giving energy. His claim (ch. 10.) to retake the life that he would voluntarily relinquish, and the august majesty with which, in his resurrection-life (ch. 20., 21.), he proclaimed his absolute and final victory over death, constitute the reasons which induced the evangelist to lay down at the very outset that in the Logos was life. Life, in all its energies, past, present, and future, is an outcome, an effluence, of the Eternal Word. And the life was (and is) the light of men. Observe, it is not said here that physical life is a consequence or issue of the solar beam, or of the Word which in the beginning called light out of darkness. All the religious systems of the East and all modern sciences agree to extol and all but worship the light-force, with all that seems so inseparably associated with it. The evangelist was reaching after something far more momentous even than that dogma of ancient faith and modern science. He is not speaking of “the light of the sun,” but of “the light of men.” Whatever this illumination may include, John does not refer it directly to the Logos, but to the life which is “in him.” “The light of men” has been differently conceived by expositors. Calvin supposed that the “understanding” was intended—”that the life of men was not of an ordinary description, but was united to the light of understanding,” and is that by which man is differentiated from animals. Hengstenberg regards it, in consequence of numerous associations of “light” with “salvation” in Holy Scripture, as equivalent to salvation; Luthardt with “holiness;” and many with the “eternal life,” which would introduce great tautology. The context is our best guide. This light is said to be the veritable light which lighteth every man, and to be shining into darkness. Consequently, to make it the complex of all the gracious processes which beautify the renewed soul is to hurry on faster than the apostle, and to anticipate the evolution of his thought. “The light of men” seems to be the faculty or condition, the inward and outward means, by which men know God. “The light of men” is the conscience and reason, the eye of the soul by which the human race comes into contact with truth and right and beauty. The perfections of God answering to these functions of the soul are not, and were never, manifested in mere matter or force. Until we survey the operations of God in life we have no hint of either. The lower forms of life in plant or animal may reveal the wisdom and beneficence and beauty of the Logos, and so far some light shines upon man; but even these have never been adequately appreciated until the life of man himself comes into view, then the Divine perfections of righteousness and moral loveliness break upon the eye of the soul. In the life of conscience and reason a higher and more revealing light is made to shine upon man, upon his origin, upon his Divine image, upon his destiny. In the spiritual life which has been superinduced upon the life of the conscience and of the flesh, there is the highest light, the brightest and warmest and most potent rays of the whole spectrum of Divine illumination. “The life” which was in the Logos “was,” has always been, is now, will ever be, “the light of men.” The plural, “of men” (τῶν ἀνθρώπων), justifies this larger and sweeping generalization. The two “imperfects” (ἦν) placing the process in the past do not compel us to limit the operation to the past or ideal sphere. They assert what was “in the beginning,” and which can never cease to be; but they partly imply further consequences, which the actual condition of man has introduced.

Ver. 5.—(3) The antagonism between light and darkness. The highest manifestation and proof of the following statement will be found in that great entrance of the Eternal Logos into human life which will shed the most complete ray of Divine light upon men; but before that great event, during its occurrence, and ever since, i.e. throughout all times and nations, the light shineth in the darkness. Many expositors, like Godet, after long wavering and pondering, resolve this expression into a distinct epitome of the effect of the Incarnation, the highest manifestation of the light in the theanthropic life, and hesitate to see any reference to the shining of the light upon the darkness of humanity or of the heathen world. They do this on the ground that there is no confirmation or illustration of this idea in John’s Gospel. However, let the following parallels and expositions of this thought be considered. Our Lord discriminates between those who “hate the light” and “those who do the truth and come to the light” (ch. 3:21). He delights in those whom the Father has given to him, and who come to him (ch. 6:37). He speaks of “other sheep which are not of this fold, who hear his voice” (ch. 10:16). He tells Pilate that “every one who is of the truth heareth my voice” (ch. 18:37). In solitary address to the Father (ch. 17:6), he says, “Thine they were, and thou gavest them me.” In all these passages abundant hint is given of a direct treatment of souls antecedent to, or rather irrespective of, the special grace of Christ’s earthly manifestation. This passage, so far, in the wide embrace of its meaning, asserts that the light here taken as the effluence of the life itself, perpetually, for ever, shineth (φαίνει, not φωτίζει)—pours forth its radiance by its own essential necessity into the “darkness.” “Darkness” and “light” are metaphors for moral conditions. Though there is a &