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whom and under what circumstances they were first announced by the Lord, or even previously by his forerunner.
9. Thus, fully expecting and relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he believes he has it, and regards the thoughts that arise (the action of his imagination and reason working on a substratum supplied by former documents and by memory) as the revelations of the mind of Christ made by the Holy Spirit.
But there remains to him one difficulty yet.
How are people to believe in this Gospel? If they knew who had written it, many would refuse to believe that it was dictated by the Spirit (for the leaven of Antichrist is abroad), whereas if they believed it the work of an apostle, they would accept it as the truth. He will therefore withhold his name, and will utter a dark saying respecting the authorship, which may lead many to regard the book as written by an apostle, though he will not name him.*
Baur thinks it certain that the author intended it to be received as written by the Apostle John,t and we know, at any rate; that, slowly as at first it seems to have won its widening way, after about 170-175 A.D., and therefore probably for some time previous to that date, down to the middle of the present century, it was so received by the Church, and that without question.
* See John xix. 34, 35. This incident was, perhaps, afloat as a tradition, and attributed to one of the disciples as a witness, who, being dead, yet speaketh, now that the incident is recorded in writing. As for John xxi. 24, it appears not to have been written by the author.
† “Church History,” vol. i. pp. 154, 155.
But now, since Baur, it is becoming daily more difficult to believe in the Johannine authorship of the fourth Gospel. Mr. M. Arnold, in “God and the Bible," p. 165, speaks of “the strong and growing acceptance" of Baur's criticism thereof.
Keim, though, as we have seen, he rejects Baur's indications of its date, yet quite as decidedly differs from the conservative critics; he affirms most unhesitatingly the unhistorical character of the latest Gospel, and thinks that Baur only failed because he did not prove so conclusively as he might have done that it has such a character. This is becoming constantly more clearly seen, and indeed acknowledged; for, says Keim,* “The historical weakness of the fourth Gospel is every day more decidedly and also more universally admitted ”—to which we heartily say, For Jesus' sake. Amen.
* “ Jesus of Nazara," vol. i. p. 179.
SHOWING THE RELATION OF JESUS OF NAZARETH
THE “Christ from heaven” having been found to be a creation of faith, the way is cleared for a consideration of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, and it may be made apparent that this life, which demands to be conceived of as purely naturalistic, is more intelligible and consistent than that of the Jesus of Bethlehem-cum-Nazareth, presented to us in either of the Synoptic Gospels.
Starting now from Nazareth, and taking a glance at the locality in which Jesus was unquestionably reared, it might be well, if space permitted, to look at the religious ideas common to the Palestinian Jews of the time of Jesus' boyhood,-ideas inseparably interwoven with the national history and geography, simply conceiving of the young Nazarene, who probably had none of the special training of the sects, as an intelligent lad, with an unbounded appetite for knowledge, and as being also, at first, a ready recipient of the prevalent beliefs.
We know nothing of the youth of Jesus, and shall therefore be unable to trace, step by step, his progress from the orthodox Judaism of his boyhood to the heterodox con
* Being an abstract or synopsis of the remaining vols. See Preface.
clusions of his later years; but still, to render our conception of him more real, it would be interesting to pass in review some of the more striking narrative and other passages of the Hebrew Scriptures, and to compare them with the mature convictions of the Great Teacher who speaks to us from the pages of the Synoptic Gospels. We may thus be able the better to know Jesus as he was in his prime, he having examined his traditional beliefs (excepting, perhaps, the grand substratum on which they were all placed), and having assimilated these and rejected those, till he stood forth with certain strong and definite convictions respecting righteousness, God, and the purposes of God towards the people of his peculiar care.
That God was perfect in righteousness was to Jesus an unquestionable certainty, and to such a mind as his all accounts of Jahveh incompatible with this were misrepresentations of him, though they occurred, as indeed many such did, in the Scriptures themselves.
On the other hand, miracles, as such, owing to his Hebrew training and the absence of Greek culture, would have presented no difficulties to him ; his faith would accordingly have remained unshaken in the biblical narratives of God's dealings with Israel, except where these exhibited moral defects. His attitude towards the Scriptures would thus be found to have become what is now, in some quarters, termed semi-rationalist, what indeed was condemned by Mr.M ansel as that of rationalism, pure and simple. To Jesus the human element mingled with the divine in the writings of the prophets and psalmists, and even (and herein he differed from all his contemporaries) in the sacred law itself.
Let some of those portions of the Old Testament which are carefully let alone by prudent divines be quoted, and it will not be difficult to imagine Jesus' attitude in presence
of them, he being, perhaps, unsurpassed in clearness of moral vision.
On the other hand, let some of the portions of the ancient Scriptures, of those which embody their highest excellences, be placed before the reader, and it will be seen that they were the source of Jesus' best teaching. It will also be seen how Jesus would have been able to “ rejoice in Jahveh, and to give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness," and hence his hope in God, his love of him, and sympathy with what he regarded as the intentions of the heavenly Father.
Next, let it be briefly shown how this Jesus differed from the great men of the sects, from the typical Pharisee, and Essene, and from the worldly minded Sadducee.
The thoughts present to Jesus, now and again, in solitude, in calm moments, prior to the advent of the Baptist, may be inferred from our knowledge of what he believed to be the character of true righteousness; from his faith in an Infinite Being, purely of such a character; from his hope of a glorious future for Israel, the object of highest desire, as shown by the main subject of his usual prayers; for as he taught his disciples to pray, so, and precisely after that manner, must we suppose himself to have long held communion with the divine ideal of his faith and affections.
But, in full sympathy with Jesus, worthily to depict him thus longing for the reign of justice and of love, alas ! who is sufficient for these things ?
Having gained, however, the best conception possible to us of the “ religious consciousness” of Jesus, knowing him, too, as a grand ethical genius, the first direct step in ascertaining his relation to Christianity (for hitherto he has been viewed only in relation to Hebrew religion) should be to consult the prophets of Israel respecting the Messiah they predicted, and if we can find any clear utterances of a