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tion; His Death is the crisis of His exaltation, 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 of men. 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 Epistleh 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 worldi. 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 at the Life j.' 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
ζωὴ, ἵνα γινώσκωσίν σε τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν Θεὸν, καὶ ὃν ἀπέστειλας Ἰησοῦν XpioTóv. 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.); (b) 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 μóvov àλnivóv 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. 14: ú¥woñvai dei Tòv Tidy Toû åvēрúñоυ. Ibid. viii. 28, xii. 32.
1 Ibid. xii. 23: ἐλήλυθεν ἡ ὥρα ἵνα δοξασθῇ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. Ibid. xiii. 31.
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.
J Ibid. v. 12: ὁ ἔχων τὸν Υἱὸν ἔχει τὴν ζωήν· ὁ μὴ ἔχων τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ τὴν ζωὴν οὐκ ἔχει.
* Ibid. ver. II: kal aŭTN ¿oTlv ʼn μapтupía (i.e. the revealed doctrine resting on a Divine authority) ὅτι ζωὴν αἰώνιον ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν ὁ Θεὸς, καὶ αὕτη ἡ ζωὴ ἐν τῷ Τιῷ αὐτοῦ ἐστιν,
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 Fatherl 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 ".' 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 I St. John ii. 22: οὗτός ἐστιν δ ἀντίχριστος, ὁ ἀρνούμενος τὸν Πατέρα καὶ 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: πᾶς ὁ ἀρνούμενος τὸν Υἱὸν οὐδὲ τὸν Πατέρα ἔχει.
m Ibid. iv. 15: ὃς ἂν δμολογήσῃ ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὁ Θεὸς ἐν αὐτῷ μένει, καὶ αὐτὸς ἐν τῷ Θεῷ.
n Ibid. ii. 15: ἐάν τις ἀγαπᾷ τὸν κόσμον, οὐκ ἔστιν ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Πατρὸς ἐν aur. Compare Martensen, Christl. Dogmat. § 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" (kóσμos) 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" (ó kóσμos 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 Timis, but only as the Kóσuos, 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; 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 a, leads us up to the culminating statement that Jesus Himself is the true God and the Eternal Life . 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
o I St. John ii. 16: πᾶν τὸ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, ἡ ἐπιθυμία τῆς σαρκὸς, καὶ ἡ ἐπιθυμία τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν, καὶ ἡ ἀλαζονεία τοῦ βίου, οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς, ἀλλ ̓ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου ἐστί.
P Ibid. v. 4, 5: αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ νίκη ἡ νικήσασα τὸν κόσμον, ἡ πίστις ἡμῶν· τίς ἐστιν ὁ νικῶν τὸν κόσμον, εἰ μὴ ὁ πιστεύων ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ ;
Specially 1 St. John iv. 2, 3, where the Apostle's words contain a double antithesis to the Cerinthian gnosis, which taught that the on Christ entered into the Man Jesus at His baptism, and remained with Him until His Passion. See pp. 223, 224. St. 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.
r I St. John v. 20: οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἀληθινὸς Θεὸς, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ αἰώνιος. After having distinguished the aλnovós from His Tiós, St. John, by a characteristic turn, simply identifies the Son with the aλnowòs eós. To refer this sentence to the Father, Who has been twice called & àλnews, would be unmeaning 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 ouros is referred to Ti. As to the article before aλnewvós, 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 Aóyos 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 aλnivòs eós 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.
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 o.
In each of St. John's Epistlest 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 revealed 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". 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 v. 13: ταῦτα ἔγραψα ὑμῖν [τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ, Rec.] ἵνα εἰδῆτε ὅτι ζωὴν ἔχετε αἰώνιον, καὶ ἵνα πιστεύητε [οἱ πιστεύοντες, Tisch.] εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ.
In St. John's second Epistle observe (1) the association of Christ with the Father as the source of χάρις, ἔλεος, and εἰρήνη (ver. 3); (2) the denunciation of the Cerinthian doctrine as anti-Christian (ver. 7); (3) the significant statement that a false progress (8 poάywv, A.B., not as rec. ὁ παραβαίνων) which did not rest in the true Apostolic διδαχὴ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, 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).
· I St. John ii. 21 : οὐκ ἔγραψα ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐκ οἴδατε τὴν ἀλήθειαν, ἀλλ ̓ ὅτι οἴδατε αὐτὴν, καὶ ὅτι πᾶν ψεῦδος ἐκ τῆς ἀληθείας οὐκ ἔστι. Ibid. v. 1o : δ μὴ πιστεύων τῷ Θεῷ ψεύστην πεποίηκεν αὐτόν.
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 v. 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
• I St. John ii. 15 : ἐάν τις ἀγαπᾷ τὸν κόσμον οὐκ ἔστιν ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Πατρὸς ἐν αὐτῷ. Ibid. ver. 19: ἐξ ἡμῶν ἐξῆλθον [scil. οἱ ἀντίχριστοι] ἀλλ ̓ οὐκ ἦσαν ἐξ ἡμῶν· εἰ γὰρ ἦσαν ἐξ ἡμῶν, μεμενήκεισαν ἂν μεθ ̓ ἡμῶν· ἀλλ ̓ ἵνα φανερωθῶσιν ὅτι οὐκ εἰσὶ πάντες ἐξ ἡμῶν. Ibid. ver. 22: οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἀντίχριστος, δ ἀρνούμενος τὸν Πατέρα καὶ τὸν Υἱόν.
• St. Irenæus, adv. Hær. iii. 3, 4: καὶ εἰσὶν οἱ ἀκηκοότες αὐτοῦ (τοῦ Πολυκάρπου) ὅτι Ἰωάννης ὁ τοῦ Κυρίου μαθητὴς, ἐν τῇ Ἐφέσῳ πορευθεὶς λούσασθαι, καὶ ἰδὼν ἔσω Κήρινθον, ἐξήλατο τοῦ βαλανείου μὴ λουσάμενος ἄλλ ̓ ἐπειπὼν, ‘Φύγωμεν, μὴ καὶ τὸ βαλανεῖον συμπέσῃ, ἔνδον ὄντος Κηρίνθου, τοῦ τῆς ἀληθείας ἐχθροῦ.’Cf. Eus. Hist. Eccl. iii. 28.
2 St. John Io, II: εἴ τις ἔρχεται πρὸς ὑμᾶς, καὶ ταύτην τὴν διδαχὴν οὐ φέρει, μὴ λαμβάνετε αὐτὸν εἰς οἰκίαν, καὶ χαίρειν αὐτῷ μὴ λέγετε· ὁ γὰρ λέγων αὐτῷ χαίρειν, κοινωνεῖ τοῖς ἔργοις αὐτοῦ τοῖς πονηροῖς.
a I St. John iii. II.
• Ibid. ver. 14: ἡμεῖς οἴδαμεν ὅτι μεταβεβήκαμεν ἐκ τοῦ θανάτου εἰς τὴν ζωὴν, ὅτι ἀγαπῶμεν τοὺς ἀδελφούς· ὁ μὴ ἀγαπῶν τὸν ἀδελφὸν μένει ἐν τῷ θανάτῳ.
• Ibid. iv. 20, 21: ὁ μὴ ἀγαπῶν τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ ὂν ἑώρακε, τὸν Θεὸν ὃν οὐχ ἑώρακε πῶς δύναται ἀγαπᾶν ; καὶ ταύτην τὴν ἐντολὴν ἔχομεν ἀπ ̓ αὐτοῦ, ἵνα δ ἀγαπῶν τὸν Θεὸν ἀγαπᾷ καὶ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ.
a Ibid. ii. 9, ro: δ λέγων ἐν τῷ φωτὶ εἶναι, καὶ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ μισῶν, ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ ἐστὶν ἕως ἄρτι. ὁ ἀγαπῶν τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ φωτὶ μένει.