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tion; His Death is the crisis of His exaltatione, of His glory f. Not that He can personally increase in glory. He is already the Son ; He is the Word. But He can glorify and exalt that Manhood which is the robe through which His movements are discernible: He can glorify Himself, as God is glorified, by drawing towards His Person the faith and love and reverence
It were folly to conceive of Him as enhancing His Divinity; but He can make larger and deeper that measure of homage which ascends towards His throne from human understandings and from human hearts 8.
III. 1. But does St. John's teaching in his earlier writings on the subject of our Lord’s Person harmonize with the representations placed before us in the fourth Gospel ? The opening words of his first Epistleb might go far to answer that question. St. John's position in this Epistle is
, that the Eternal immaterial Word of Life resident in God had become historically manifest, and that the Apostles had consciously seen, and heard, and handled Him, and were now publishing their experience to the world i. The practical bearing of this announcement lay in the truth that he that hath the Son hath the Life, and he that hath not the Son hath Lit the Lifej.' For 'God hath given to us the Eternal Life, and this, the Life, is in His Son k' If then the soul is to hold communion with God in the Life of Light and
ζωή, ίνα γινώσκωσίν σε τον μόνον αληθινόν Θεόν, και εν απέστειλας Ιησούν Xplorby. But here a Socinian sense is excluded, (a) by the consideration that 'the knowledge of God and a creature could not be Eternal Life' (see Alford in loc.); (6) by the plain sense of verse 1, which places the Son and the Father on a level : What creature could stand before his Creator and say,
Glorify me, that I may glorify Thee ?”' Stier apud Alf. ; (c) by verse 5, which asserts our Lord's pre-existent dóga. It follows that the restrictive epithets uovov åandivóv must be held to be exclusive, not of the Son, but of false gods, or creatures external to the Divine Essence. See Estius in loc. Trench, Synonyms of N. T., p. 25, $ viii. ° St. John iii. 4: Địamvat bei Top Tiòn Toũ Tou. Ibid. viii. 28, 1 Ιbid. xii. 23: ελήλυθεν η ώρα ίνα δοξασθή ο Υιός του ανθρώπου. Ιbid.
8 Cf. Reuss, Théol. Chrét. ii. 456; although the statements of this writer cannot be adopted without much qualification.
On the authorship of the three Epistles, see Alford, Gk. Test. vol. iv., Prol., chaps. 5, 6, and Westcott, Epistles of St. John, p. liii. ff. See too Appendix, note F.
1 i St. John i. 1-3. 3 Ιbid. v. Ι2: ο έχων τον Υιόν έχει την ζωήν και μη έχων τον Υιόν του Θεού την ζωήν ουκ έχει.
* Ibid. ver. II: kal atan dotly ñ uaptupia (i.e. the revealed doctrine resting on a Divine authority) ότι ζωήν αιώνιον έδωκεν ημίν ο Θεός, και αύτη η ζωή εν τω Υιώ αυτού έστιν.
Christology of St. John's First Epistle. 241 Righteousness and Love, it must be through communion with His Divine Son. Thus all practically depends upon the attitude of the soul towards the Son. Accordingly, 'whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father l;' while on the other hand, whosoever sincerely and in practice acknowledges the Son of God in His historical manifestation, enjoys a true communion with the Life of God. • Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God m.'
St. John constantly teaches that the Christian's work in this state of probation is to conquer the world o.' It is, in other words, to fight successfully against that view of life which ignores God, against that complex system of attractive moral evil and specious intellectual falsehood, which is marshalled and organized by the great enemy of God, and which permeates and inspires non-Christianized society. The world's force is seen especially in 'the lust of the flesh, in the lust of the eyes, and in the pride of life. These three forms of concupiscence manifest
1 ISt. John ii. 22: ούτός έστιν ο αντίχριστος, και αρνούμενος τον Πατέρα και Tov Tióv. A Humanitarian might have urged that it was possible to deny the Son, while confessing the Father. But St. John, on the ground that the Son is the only and the Adequate Manifestation of the Father, denies this: πας και αρνούμενος τον Υιόν ουδε τον Πατέρα έχει. .
η Ιbid. iv. 15 : δς αν ομολογήση ότι Ιησούς έστιν ο Υιός του Θεού, ο Θεός εν αυτώ μένει, και αυτός εν τω Θεώ.
η Ιbid. ii. 15: εάν τις αγαπά τον κόσμον, ουκ έστιν η αγάπη του Πατρός εν auto. Compare Martensen, Christl. Dogznat. § 96: 'If we consider the effects of the Fall upon the course of historical development, not only in the case of individuals but of the race collectively, the term “world” (róguos) bears a special meaning different from that which it would have, were the development of humanity normal. The cosmical principle having been emancipated by the Fall from its due subjection to the Spirit, and invested with a false independence, and the universe of creation having obtained with man a higher importance than really attaches to it, the historical development of the world has become one in which the advance of the kingdom of God is retarded and hindered. The created universe has, in a relative sense, life in itself, including, as it does, a system of powers, ideas, and aims, which possess a relative value. This relative independence, which ought to be subservient to the kingdom of God, has become a fallen “world-autonomy.” Hence arises the scriptural expression “this world” (kéopos outos). By this expression the Bible conveys the idea that it regards the world not only ontologically but in its definite and actual state, the state in which it has been since the Fall. “ This world” means the world content with itself, in its own independence, its own glory; the world which disowns its dependence on God as its Creator. "This world” regards itself, not as the crimes, but only as the kbouos, as a system of glory and beauty which has life in itself, and can give life. The historical embodiment of “this world” is heathendom, which honoureth not God as God.'
the inner life of the world o; if the Christian would resist and beat them back, he must have a strong faith, a faith in a Divine Saviour. • Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God p ?' This faith, which introduces the soul to communion with God in Light, attained through communion with His Blessed Son, exhibits the world in its true colours. The soul spurns the world as she clings believingly to the Divine Son.
St. John's picture of Christ's work in this first Epistle, and especially his pointed and earnest opposition to the specific heresy of Cerinthus 9, leads us up to the culminating statement that Jesus Himself is the true God and the Eternal Lifer. Throughout this Epistle the Apostle has been writing to those who believe on the Name of the Son of God,' that is to say, on the Divine Nature of Jesus which the verbal symbol guards and
• 1 St. John ii. 16: παν το εν τω κόσμω, η επιθυμία της σαρκός, και η επιθυμία των οφθαλμών, και η αλαζονεία του βίου, ουκ έστιν εκ του Πατρός, αλλ' εκ του κόσμου εστί.
Ρ Ιbid. ν. 4, 5: αύτη εστίν η νίκη η νικήσασα τον κόσμον, η πίστις ημών τίς έστιν ο νικών τον κόσμον, ει μή και πιστεύων ότι 'Ιησούς έστιν ο Υιός του Θεού;
9 Specially i St. John iv, 2, 3, where the Apostle's words contain a double antithesis to the Cerinthian gnosis, which taught that the Æon Christ entered into the Man Jesus at His baptism, and remained with Him until His Passion. See pp. 223, 224. Ŝt. John asserts in opposition (1) that Jesus and the Christ are one and the same Person, (2) that the one Lord Jesus Christ came 'in' not 'into the flesh.' Ho did not descend into an already existing man, but He appeared clothed in Human Nature. See the exhaustive note of Ebrard, Die Briefe Johannis, in loc.
*St. John ν. 20: ούτός έστιν ο αληθινός Θεός, και η ζωή αιώνιος. After having distinguished the à nouvós from His riós, St. John, by a characteristic turn, simply identifies the Son with the åanoivos eós. To refer this sen. tence to the Father, Who has been twice called d åxnouvós, would be un. meaning repetition. Moreover the previous sentence declared, not that we are in God as Father, Son, and Spirit, but that we are in God as being in His Son Jesus Christ. This statement is justified when oûtos is referred to TiQ. As to the article before åano.vbs, it has the effect of stating, not merely What, but Who our Lord is; it says not, Christ is Divine, but, Christ is God. This does not really go beyond what the Apostle has already said about the Abyos at the beginning of this Epistle. To object with Düsterdieck that this interpretation obscures the distinction between the Father and the Son, is inaccurate; St. John does not say, This is the Father, but, This is the true God. 'o åxnolvos oebs is the Divine Essence, in opposition to all creatures. The Apostle does not enter upon the question of the Son's relation to the Father within the Divine Essence. Our being in the true God depends upon our being in Christ, and St. John clenches this assertion by saying that Christ is the true God Himself. See St. Ath. Or. c. Ar. iii. 19; iv. 26; St. Cyril. Thes. p. 302 ; Waterland, Wks., ii. 130.
Union of tenderness with decision in St. John. 243
suggests. Throughout this Epistle St. John's object has been to convince believers that by that faith they had the Eternal Life, and to force them to be true to It 8.
In each of St. John's Epistles t we encounter that special temper, at once so tender and so peremptory, which is an ethical corollary to belief in an Incarnate God. St. John has been named the Apostle of the Absolute. Those who would concede to Christianity no higher dignity than that of teaching a relative and provisional truth, will fail to find any countenance for their doctrine in the New Testament Scriptures. But nowhere will they meet with a more earnest opposition to it than in the pages of the writer who is pre-eminently the Apostle of charity. St. John preaches the Christian creed as the one absolute certainty. The Christian faith might have been only relatively true, if it had reposed upon the word of a human messenger. But St. John specially insists upon the fact that God has vealed Himself, not merely through, but in, Christ. The Absolute Religion is introduced by a Self-revelation of the Absolute Being Himself. God has appeared, God has spoken; and the Christian faith is the result. St. John then does not treat Christianity as a phase in the history even of true religion, nor as a religion containing elements of truth, even though it were more true than any religion which had preceded it. St. John proclaims that we “ Christians” are in Him that is True. Not to admit that Jesus Christ has come in the Flesh, is to be a deceiver and an antichrist. St. John presents Christianity to the soul as a religion which must be its all, if it is not really to be worse than nothing 1. The opposition between truth and error, between the friends and the foes of Christ, is for St. John as sharp and trenchant a thing as the contrast between light and
• 1 St. John ν. 13: ταύτα έγραψα υμϊν [τοίς πιστεύουσιν εις το όνομα του Υιού του Θεού, Rec.] ίνα είδητε ότι ζωήν έχετε αιώνιον, και να πιστεύατε [οι πιστεύοντες, Tisch.] εις το όνομα του Υιού του Θεού.
• In St. John's second Epistle observe (1) the association of Christ with the Father as the source of xápis, éreos, and eipnun (ver. 3); (2) the denunciation of the Cerinthian doctrine as anti-Christian (ver. 7); (3) the significant statement that a false progress (8 apoáywv, A.B., not as rec. και παραβαίνων) which did not rest in the true Apostolic διδαχή του Χριστού, would forfeit all communion with God. We know Him only in Christ His Blessed Son, and to reject Christianity is to reject the only true Theism (vers. 8, 9).
1 1 St. John ii. 21: ουκ έγραψα υμίν ότι ουκ οίδατε την αλήθειαν, άλλ' ότι οίδατε αυτήν, και ότι παν ψεύδος εκ της αληθείας ούκ έστι. Ιbid. ν. το: και μη πιστεύων τώ Θεώ ψεύστην πεποίηκεν αυτόν.
darkness, between life and death. This is the temper of a man who will not enter the public baths along with the heretic who has dishonoured his Lord. This is the spirit of the teacher who warns his flock to beware of eating with a propagator of false doctrine, and of bidding him God speed, lest they should partake of his evil deeds z. Yet this is also the writer whose pages, beyond any other in the New Testament, beam with the purest, tenderest love of humanity. Side by side with this resolute antagonism to dogmatic error, St. John exhibits and inculcates an enthusiastic affection for humankind as such, which our professed philanthropists could not rivala. The man who loves not his brother man, whatever be his spiritual estimate of himself, abideth in death b. No divorce is practically possible between the first and the second parts of charity: the man who loves his God must love his brother also c. Love is the moral counterpart of intellectual light d.
It is a modern fashion to represent these two tempers, the dogmatic and the philanthropic, as necessarily opposed. This representation indeed is not even in harmony with modern experience; but in St. John it meets with a most energetic contradiction. St. John is at once earnestly dogmatic and earnestly philanthropic; for the Incarnation has taught him both the preciousness of man and the preciousness of truth. The Eternal Word, incarnate and dying for the truth, inspires St. John to
* ISt. John ii. 15: εάν τις αγαπά τον κόσμον ουκ έστιν η αγάπη του Πατρός εν αυτώ. Ιbid. ver. 19: εξ ημών εξήλθον [scil. οι αντίχριστοι) αλλ' ουκ ήσαν εξ ημών· ει γαρ ήσαν εξ ημών, μεμενήκεισαν αν μεθ' ημών" αλλ' ίνα φανερωθώσιν ότι ουκ εισί πάντες εξ ημών. Ιbid. ver. 22: ούτός έστιν ο αντίχριστος, και αρνούμενος τον Πατέρα και τον Υιόν.
1 St. Ireneus, adν. Ηer. iii. 3, 4: και εισιν οι ακηκοότες αυτού (του Πολυκάρπου) ότι Ιωάννης και του Κυρίου μαθητής, εν τη Εφέσω πορευθείς λούσασθαι, και ιδών έσω Κήρινθον, εξήλατο του βαλανείου μή λουσάμενος άλλ' επειπών, φύγωμεν, μή και το βαλανείον συμπέση, ένδον όντος Κηρίνθου, του της αληθείας εχθρού.' Cf. Eus. Hist. Eccl. iii. 28.
2 St. John 10, ΙΙ: εί τις έρχεται προς υμάς, και ταυτην την διδαχήν ου φέρει, μη λαμβάνετε αυτόν εις οικίαν, και χαίρειν αυτώ μή λέγετε και γαρ λέγων αυτώ χαίρειν, κοινωνεί τους έργοις αυτού τους πονηρούς.
a i St. John iii. II.
• Ιbid. ver. 14: ημείς οίδαμεν ότι μεταβεβήκαμεν εκ του θανάτου εις την ζωήν, ότι αγαπώμεν τους αδελφούς και μη αγαπών τον αδελφόν μένει εν τω θανάτω.
• Ιbid. iv. 20, 21: δ μή αγαπών τον αδελφόν αυτού δν εώρακε, τον Θεόν ον ουχ εώρακε πως δύναται αγαπάν ; και ταύτην την εντολήν έχομεν απ' αυτού, ίνα και αγαπών τον Θεόν αγαπά και τον αδελφόν αυτού.
d Ibid. ii. 9, Ιο: δ λέγων εν τω φωτί είναι, και τον αδελφόν αυτού μισών, εν τη σκοτία εστίν έως άρτι. ο αγαπών τον αδελφόν αυτού εν τω φωτί μένει.