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to you the witness of a well-known American Unitarian divine, himself a believer in the humanitarian theory, but who makes a most remarkable admission. In A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life, by the Rev. W. R. Alger (New York : W. J. Widdleton, 1878), that learned divine says (p. 301): 'As for ourselves, we do not see how it is possible for any unprejudiced person, after studying the Fourth Gospel faithfully, with the requisite helps, to doubt that the writer of it believed that Jesus pre-existed as the Divine Logos, and that He became incarnate, to reveal the Father, to bring men into the experience of true eternal life. St. John declares this in his First Epistle in so many words, saying, 'The living Logos, the Eternal Life, which was with the Father from the beginning, was manifested unto us;' and, 'God sent His only-begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him.' It is evident, from what follows after this quotation, that Mr. Alger himself does not suppose that the doctrine thus set forth by St. John was really entertained and taught by Jesus Himself; but that does not diminish the value of the testimony which the writer gives to the actual teachings of the apostle. In the same volume, at p. 315, Mr. Alger says, in expounding St. John's doctrine : 'Christ was the Logos, who, descending from His anterior glory in heaven, and appearing in mortal flesh, embodied all the Divine qualities in an unflawed model of humanity, gathered up and exhibited all the spiritual characteristics of the Father in a stainless and perfect soul, supernaturally filled and illumined, thus to bear into the world a more intelligible and effective revelation of God the Father than nature or common humanity yielded, to shine with regenerating radiance upon the deadly darkness of those who were groping in lying sins, that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.' So much for the evidence of a most capable opponent. To quote the 'indirect evidences' in St. John's Epistles to the personal divinity of Christ,' would be to quote more than half their contents. He says that 'our sins are forgiven us for His name's sake; that to deny the Son is to be without the Father, to confess the Son is to have the Father ; that Christ was
manifested to take away sins while in Him was no sin; that the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil; that every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God, and that the spirit who denies this coming is the true anti-Christ; that the love of God was manifested in sending His only-begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him, and that the Son was sent to be a propitiation for our sins,—that, in fact, the Son is our Advocate with the Father ; that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world ; that none overcome the world but those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God; that God has given us eternal life and that this life is in His Son, so much so indeed that he that hath the Son hath the life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life;' while he ends his First Epistle by saying, ' And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.' That is to say, as I understand it, that Jesus Christ is the true God,' in opposition to all the false gods of the heathen world, and hence St. John adds, My little children, guard yourselves from idols.'
115. There are no special 'indirect evidences' in the Second and Third Epistles of St. John, but the teachings in them respecting the Lord Jesus are in perfect harmony with those which are to be found in the First Epistle; and, taking the three Epistles jointly, I find myself shut up to the conclusion that the writer of them did not for one moment believe in his Master as a simple human being, born as we human beings are, but that He was the Eternal Son of God, descended from heaven, manifesting and revealing to us God, the Eternal Father. It may be said, it will be said by most modern Unitarians, that 'St. John was mistaken. I do not, of course, believe for one moment that he was; on the contrary, I think he was a far more competent witness to the personality of his Lord than we ourselves are, and that it is more reasonable to believe with him, than to reject his teachings.
116. We now come to the Apocalypse, on which Mr. Alger, from whom I have already quoted, says (p. 255): Plainly enough, the apocalyptic view of Christ is based on that profound Logos-doctrine so copiously developed in the writings of Philo, and so distinctly endorsed in numerous passages of the New Testament. First, there is the absolute God. Next, there is the Logos, the First Begotten Son and representative image of God, the instrumental cause of the creation, the Head of all created beings. This Logos, born into our world as a man, is Christ. Around Him are clustered all the features and actions that compose the doctrine of “the last things.” The vast work of redemption and judgment laid upon Him has in part been already executed, and in part yet remains to be done.' I may say of the Apocalypse, what I have already said of the three Epistles of St. John, because its teachings are similar to those which are to be found in the Epistles. It may be my ignorance, some will call it my prejudice, but I am nevertheless obliged to believe that the writer of the Apocalypse was not a humanitarian. He may not, probably he did not, share some of the beliefs respecting Christ which were expounded and defended by succeeding teachers in the Christian Church; but I am at a loss to understand how any careful reader of St. John's writings, who brings to them the necessary information, the necessary study, and an unprejudiced mind, can come to any other conclusion than that St. John believed in his Master as the Incarnate Son of God, one with the Father, and not a mere human teacher, sharing our common human nature, and liable to all our human limitations. The literature of the Apocalypse is a vast subject. The mere list of works on it given in Darling's Cyclopædia Bibliographica, published in 1859, occupies fifty-two columns. I would especially refer my readers to the late Professor Maurice's lectures, which are full of thought and interest; and to Dr. Vaughan's Lectures on the Revelation of St. John, which are models of what expository lectures ought to be; while Gebhardt's Doctrine of the Apocalypse, published in Clarke's 'Foreign Translation Library,' is a valuable addition to the literature of the subject, as it contains a close and careful comparison between the doctrine of the Apocalypse and that of the Gospel and Epistles of St. John. Full references to the literature of this subject are to be found in Ellicott's New Testament Commentary, vol. iii. P. 532, and in the Speaker's Commentary on the New Testament, vol. iv. p. 493