« ÎnapoiContinuați »
point that needs correction; instead, therefore, of waiting till after his “ascension,” to give it from heaven, * the Jesus of the fourth Gospel, the first time he sees them after his resurrection, breathes on them, saying, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” † And the Spirit is not confined to the apostles, for all the glory which he gives them is also to be given to "all who should hereafter believe on him through their word.” #
And the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, will testify of Jesus, and will be for a guide to all truth.
And thus it is we propound this theory as the most credible (indeed quite tenable) as to the origin of the fourth Gospel, a work which has caused, and will yet cause, so much controversy.
We must not conceive the author as at any time entering on or proceeding with his work without first, in the name of Jesus Christ, praying the Father for the Spirit to guide him into all the truth concerning the Son and his teaching; for he agrees with the Synoptics in this, that God will give his Spirit to them that ask him. ||
Perhaps it is worth while to summarize the leading features of what we contend for in this chapter :
1. The dominant ideas of the fourth Gospel are traceable to Pauline and Alexandrian sources.
* See Luke xxiv. 49-52 ; and Acts ii. 1-4, also ver. 33. + John xx. 22.
# John xvii. 20-22. $ John xv. 26; xvi. 13, 14.
|| See John xvi. 23: “If ye shall ask anything of the Father, he will give it you in my name.” And see xiv. 13, 14 ; also xv. 16; and especially “ That the Father may be glorified in the Son."
2. The author of that Gospel was educated in those ideas.
3. They are to him the chief constituents of the Gospel of Christ.
4. As such, they must have been first spoken by the Lord (i.e. he so believes, without doubt).
5. That the existing records of Christ's life and teaching ignore them, and even are to some extent at variance therewith.
6. Hence there is a crying need for the very words of the Master, relative to himself; for his words are spirit and life, and are the Word of God, which is truth, by which believers are sanctified ; * by which also many who now are not believers may come to salvation through confessing that Jesus is the Christ.
7. As the Spirit searcheth all things, and reveals all needful truth,f and as the Father will give the Spirit to each one who asks for it in his Son's name, he will, if I thus ask (thinks our author), bestow the Comforter on me, as a Guide to the truth which uttered itself by the Word; he will testify of the Christ, will take of his things and give them to me, that I may write them for the perfecting of the saints, and that the Son may be glorified, and the Father glorified in the Son. It must be so. It is according to the will of God.
8. Therefore, nothing doubting, but trusting in the promised guidance, he muses on the ideas (to him, the truths) in question, and bethinks himself as to whom and under what circumstances they were first announced by the Lord, or even previously by his forerunner.
* See John xvii. 14-17.
of i Cor. ii. 10-16.
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,† 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
* 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.
was so received by the Church, and that without question.
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.
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.