St. Paul's teaching about the Flesh and Sin.-- To understand the whole system of St. Paul's doctrine it is necessary to study his spiritual experiences. He had been the determined enemy of Christ and by an abrupt transformation became an enthusiastic disciple. He was convinced that at a particular moment of his life the risen Christ appeared to him, and his conversion was caused by this appearance. He had been less prepared for this conversion by the teaching of the Christians whom he persecuted than by the cruel struggle which he has recorded in Rom. vii. Externally blameless, his life was internally unpurified. He was conscious of strong passions and desires, of a tendency to do wrong and a weakness in performing what his own conscience approved. He attributed these faults not to his own true self, for his true self opposed them, but to Sin. Now Sin is only a natural inherited corruption until a person is able to distinguish right from wrong. It becomes actual Sin or conscious 'transgression' only when we rebel against the Law and choose to do what we believe to be wrong. A medium of sensual impulses and desires is afforded by the Flesh. The Flesh is not regarded as inherently sinful, or as the cause of Sin. But when controlled by Sin it becomes, like Sin, a principle openly at war with the Spirit (Gal. v. 19; Rom. viii. 4). Therefore the man who desires deliverance from Sin also desires deliverance from the evil activities of the Flesh.

The vision of Christ which appeared to St. Paul was the vision of a 'life-giving Spirit,' a divine person who 16 had taken human flesh but had overcome deaths and was now beyond the reach of any temptation to sin. Corresponding with the outward appearance, although not to be confounded with it, there came a revelation in the heart of the future apostle which made him in after times say 'it pleased God to reveal his Son in me.' He felt a new conception of the office of the Messiah. The Messiah had not come, as the Jews expected, to reward righteous Jews, but to free all men from Sin. He had suffered for the sins of others, 'He was wounded for our transgressions,' He had offered to God the service of a sinless life, even though it brought Him to the death of the cross. God allowed His Son to die like a sinner that man might no longer misinterpret God's forbearance towards Sin as indifference. God had accepted this perfect surrender as a propitiation for man's self-indulgence. He had shown His approval by raising Jesus from the dead. Therefore to avail oneself of what Jesus has done is to gain the pardon of God.

St. Paul determined to seek salvation through Christ, and he was baptized. He was conscious that God had sent forth 'the Spirit of his Son' into his heart, that he had 'put on Christ.' He had come under a new and penetrating control. Before his conversion he had felt 'sin revive' and hope die within him, because the words 'thou shalt not covet' had not only forbidden actual sin but also an inward liking for Sin. He now was conscious that the liking for Sin was gone. He had begun to be dead to Sin, not by virtue of an external discipline but by virtue of a new force and life infused into him. His spiritual being was now life because of its new state of righteousness (Rom. viii. 10). Discipline was still necessary, he still had to buffet his body (1 Cor. ix. 27). For the spiritual man may be tempted; he may lose his hold upon Christ; having begun in the Spirit he may end in the flesh; he may be lost. But victory had already begun through union with Christ Already he had crucified the flesh so far as it was the medium of wrong impulses and desires. This is not an asceticism which tramples upon human nature; it exalts it. It is the life of the true athlete who runs 'not as uncertainly.'


St. Paul's teaching about Faith, Righteousness, and the law.--The enthusiastic surrender to Christ which results in moral victory and progress, St. Paul calls Faith. This is the act by which a man desires to identify himself with Christ, to die with Christ, and rise with Him in newness of life. It is an act of a man's whole nature, including the intellect, the affections, and the resolution to obey Christ. In popular language Faith is sometimes represented as the conviction that Christ was punished by God instead of sinners. This conception of Faith is part of the truth. For sinless as Christ was, He drank the cup which our sins had mingled. He felt forsaken by the Father. The love of God the Son accepted the suffering which the love of God the Father permitted. But when St. Paul speaks of Faith in its truly Christian sense, he means the attitude of a man who devotes himself to Christ and allows his whole character to be rooted in Christ, and thus finds in Christ not only a Saviour from punishment but also a Saviour from Sin. A one-sided view of Faith always tends to be antinomian and immoral. But the Pauline doctrine of Faith teaches us that Faith is trust in One who lifts us into communion with the supreme Moral Being. A Faith which does not stimulate the highest moral tone is not Faith at all.

The same truth is enforced by St. Paul's teaching about Righteousness. To have believed that there was only an arbitrary connection between the righteousness of Christ and the righteousness of the Christian would have been to oppose all his religious experience. He teaches that there is an organic union between the spiritual man and Christ quite as real as the connection between our own fleshly nature and the fleshly nature of Adam. A man is justified, or acquitted as non-guilty and righteous by God, when that man receives 'the righteousness of God.' This phrase means the righteousness inherent in God himself and bestowed by God upon man. The method of attaining this righteousness is through that faith by which a man sees that Jesus is Messiah and Lord, is made a member of Christ by baptism, and receives His Spirit. Christ then lives in him, his deeds are Christ's. The Christian is therefore literally and truly righteous, 18 although 'ungodly' up to the moment of his acquittal. When he submits to the control of the Flesh, he ceases to be righteous, he falls under the condemnation of God, and will be 'broken off' like the withered branches of Judaism.

Experience of 'the righteousness of God by faith' gave St. Paul a key to the meaning of the Jewish Law and all Law. He holds that Law, all external enactment saying 'thou shalt' or 'thou shalt not'' was given in consequence of sin. It would have been unnecessary if there had been no sin. St. Paul is convinced that the Law is good and that it is spiritual. In Rom. vii. he shows that it discharges functions which are incompatible with the view that the Law is sinful. For it teaches man what sin is, and it cannot itself be sin if it irritates sin into activity. But it is in fundamental contrast with the Gospel; it cannot make men righteous, and if it could do so, Christ's death was useless. The Law is, to use a modern illustration, like a bracket in the page of God's dealings with mankind. It does not limit the promise which God gave to Abraham, it comes between that promise and its fulfilment in order that men may realise their need of 'the righteousness of God by faith.' It is a stage in the development of our moral education, a stage which we are bound to outgrow.

The relation of the Christian to the Law is twofold. (1) By identifying himself with Christ crucified and becoming infused with His Spirit, the Christian becomes discharged from the Law and sin at the same moment. Christ until He died was under the Law (Gal. iv. 4). But His risen life is a life of complete freedom from the Law. In the same way the man who identifies himself with Christ and dies to sin is free from the jurisdiction of the Law. (2) Release from the Law does not mean license to sin. On the contrary, the Christian is now able to perform what the Law declares to be righteous (Rom. viii. 4). He does it spontaneously because he now possesses the righteousness of God. He is moved by that love which is the fulfilling of the Law. Therefore St. Paul asserts, 'We establish the Law.' Shining through the narrow and many-coloured windows of the Jewish Law there is an eternal and 19 universal Law which will be cherished by all the sons of God. The whole matter is summed up in three sentences, each of which conveys an aspect of the same truth. 'Neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature' ( 15). 'In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith working through love' (Gal.v. 6). 'Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing; but the keeping of the commandments of God' (1 Cor. vii. 19).

St. Paul's Doctrine of Christ's Person.--St. Paul's doctrine of Christ's person is fundamentally the same through all his Epistles. Christ is throughout both divine and human, the Son of God in a unique sense, and the sinless Mediator between God and man. But St. Paul developed his statements and explanations of this doctrine in accordance with the lessons which he desired to enforce, and in opposition to the errors against which he was obliged to contend. In the two earlier groups of his Epistles the teaching about Christ is mainly implicit. His Divinity is implied in the position assigned to Him. In the third group of Epistles the teaching is explicit. His Divinity is explained for one or other particular purpose.

The Epistles to the Thessalonians form the first group of St. Paul's Epistles. Here the unique character of Christ's Sonship is suggested by the phrase, 'Wait for his Son from heaven . . . even Jesus, which delivereth us from the wrath to come' (1 Thess, i. 10). Jesus is in both Epistles called 'The Lord Jesus,' and each letter closes with the prayer that His grace, or unmerited kindness, may be with the readers. The stress of persecution seems to have raised in the Thessalonians an eager desire for the return of Christ which alone could bring them release. St. Paul makes no full statement about the person of Christ, nor does he explain the atonement (touched upon in v. 10). He simply assumes that Jesus is the exalted Lord who dispenses salvation and will return to judge the world. The connection between this Epistle and the sayings of our Lord in Matt. xxiv. is obvious. In 2 Thess. the apostle speaks of a 'man of sin' who will be annihilated by the true Messiah at His second coming. This 'man 20 of sin' will assume equality with God and sit in the temple of God. The apostle seems to regard unbelieving Judaism as personified in an Antichrist who will pretend to be a consubstantial representative of God like the One who is foretold in Mal. iii. 1. This picture of the false Messiah suggests the supreme position which St. Paul attributes to the true Messiah, to whom he ascribes divine functions.

The Epistles to the Corinthians, Galatians, and Romans form the second group of St. Paul's Epistles. They contain a large amount of teaching about the person of Christ. In writing to the Corinthians St. Paul had to warn his readers against the dangers connected with tlie presence of idolatry. And in 1 Cor. viii., in view of pagan polytheism, he points out the dignity of Christ. 'As there are gods many, and lords many; yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and we through him.' Here the true God is contrasted with the so-called gods and the true Lord with the many lords. It cannot be questioned that the apostle means that Christ belongs to the sphere of divine life. The same doctrine is implied in those passages which speak of our relation to Christ. On the one hand we see that Christ is 'the first-born among many brethren' (Rom. viii. 29), and that we are destined to be conformed to His image. He is therefore in a true sense our brother. But on the other hand He is God's 'own Son' (Rom. viii. 3) in a supreme sense, and to Him alone belongs the privilege of being 'image of God' (2 Cor. iv. 4). We may reflect His likeness, but He alone has eternally been related to the Father in such a way that He is fitted to reveal Him completely. St. Paul does not hesitate to draw the conclusion which logically follows from his belief in this communion of life between the Father and the Son. He applies to Christ passages which in the Old Testament refer to Jehovah, and in Rom. ix. 5 says that He is 'over all, God blessed for ever.'

Not much is said about the historical human life of our Lord. He was 'born of a woman ' (Gal.iv. 4) and 21 sent into the world in the likeness of sinful flesh, but nevertheless knew no sin (2 Cor. v. 21). His life was one of self-denial, and His sufferings and resurrection are mentioned. This human Christ who suffered and rose again is none other than the Son of God by virtue of the divine nature or 'Spirit of holiness' which He possesses (Rom. i. 4).

We should notice in conclusion that the Epistle to the Romans does not seem to have been written as an argument against Judaising tendencies in the Roman Church, but as a mature statement of God's dealings with mankind through Christ a statement which would end any controversy which might arise between Jewish and Gentile Christians. The divine Lordship of Christ is assumed rather than stated, as the readers of the Epistle are in no uncertainty as to the foundations of Christian teaching.

The Epistles to the Philippians, Colossians, and Ephesians.--In Phil. ii. 5-11 we have an important passage which is introduced with a definite purpose--to illustrate the spirit of self-sacrifice. Our Lord is held up as the pattern of those who do not insist upon their rights. We are told that Christ 'being in the form of God, counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God, but emptied himself taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.' The Arians of the fourth century interpreted this to mean that He was a lesser God who did not grasp equality with the great God. But it is plain that all such interpretations are absurd. For the force of Christ's example would have been worthless if He had been a created spirit who only abstained from grasping at divine prerogatives which it would be impious to desire. There is no self-sacrifice in abstaining from such impiety. St. Paul means that Christ had the form or attributes of God, but that He humbled himself by taking the attributes of a servant. This involved a 'self-emptying,' an entrance into human limitations, and was followed by a life of humble dependence upon God. This was self-sacrifice indeed, and it is to be the model of Christian conduct. The reward of the human obedience of Jesus Christ was His exaltation into heaven. The Name 22 which He bore during His humiliation, and is the symbol of His human nature, now calls forth the adoration of angels and of men and of the souls of the departed.

In Colossians St. Paul gives a full statement of the significance of Christ's person in order to correct some errors prevalent at Colossæ. A heresy had become prevalent which was a kind of Christian theosophy. It taught that for the perfection of the Christian life something more than ordinary Christian doctrine and morality was required. Christianity was therefore combined with various Jewish and Oriental superstitions and with rigidly ascetic rules of life. The doctrine and the conduct of the false teachers were based upon one principle, namely, that material and physical existence is degrading. Therefore it was taught (i) that man must approach God by repressing all bodily instincts, and (ii) that God approaches man through a chain of intermediate beings among whom His attributes are divided. The lowest of these beings would be sufficiently material to condescend to come into contact with mankind.

St. Paul saw how much this teaching would destroy a true conception of the dignity of Christ. He therefore declares that the Son is the image of God, the adequate counterpart of the Father. He is also the 'firstborn of all creation,' i.e. not created, but, as the context shows, 'born before all creation,' and Lord of creation. All things were created in Him, since in His mind the plan of creation was eternally present; by Him, since it was through His power that all things came into being; unto Him, since every creature finds the explanation of its being by living for His glory. All things cohere in Him. The sum total of the attributes of God dwells in Him bodily (Col. ii. 9). Material and physical life are therefore hallowed both by the creation and by the incarnation. The Son is Saviour as well as Creator. He is the one divine link between the Father and the world both in redemption and in creation. The Church is the new creation, and Christ is the Head with whom all the members of the Church are in communication. He directs their functions so that the whole body works together (Col. ii. 19).


In Ephesians this conception of the universal Creator and Saviour leads to a fuller idea of the universal Church. It is the eternal purpose of God to sum up all things in Christ as their point of unity. By His Passion, Jews and Gentiles are attracted and combined; by the power of His ascended life, He unifies and organises the Church (Eph. iv. 15). To the Church He grants the fulness of the attributes of His incarnate life, as He himself embodies the attributes of God (Eph. i. 23). The Church is an organism without which Christ deigns to regard himself as incomplete, because without the Church His incarnate life would not be manifested in the world in a way corresponding with the way in which His non-incarnate life was manifested. The Church is also the bride of Christ (Eph. v. 25 ff.), willingly devoting herself to Him, and not merely passively depending upon Him. This Church is a visible body guided by ministers, whose authority is expressed in different outward forms. These ministers are organs of the body, and as such are indispensable to the Church (Eph. iv. 11 ; cf. 1 Cor. xii. 28).

The teaching of this group of Epistles shows a development which is natural in every religious mind. The man who is justified by faith will naturally go onward to study more deeply the character of Him through whom he is justified and the society which exists for the sanctification of all human life.

The Epistle to the Hebrews was probably written by a disciple of St. Paul about 67 A.D. The writer is anxious to confirm the faith of some Hebrew Christians who are in danger of yielding to the attractions of their former religion and deserting Christ. He endeavours therefore to establish the supremacy of Christ and of the Christian dispensation. He differs from St. Paul in that he always regards the Law as typical of the Gospel--'a shadow of the good things to come'; the priests and sacrifices and ritual of Judaism were emblems of spiritual realities which came with Christ. St. Paul hardly ever treats the Jewish system in this way (see, however, 1 Cor. v. 7 and Col. ii. 17). His own religious history disposed him to regard the Law as a bondage.

The doctrine of Christ's person closely resembles the 24 doctrine in Ephesians and Colossians. The author shows that Christ is the perfect Mediator in creation, revelation, and redemption; He is superior to the angels, to Moses, and to Joshua. In ch. i. He is declared to be the 'out-shining' of the Father's glory, and the living 'impression' of the Father's substance. The Son is the Agent of God in creation, and this implies no inferiority of nature to the Father, as it is the Son who maintains the universe continually (i. 3). The author applies to Christ passages of the Old Testament which apply to God. The elevation of Christ above the angels is not diminished by the fact that for a little while He was made lower than they, for this was only temporary and was done for a special purpose--the purpose of saving men. Again, Moses is only a stone, as it were, in the house of God, in which house he was permitted to act as God's servant The Son built the house, and rules over it as Son of God (iii. 3 ff.). Christ is also superior to Joshua, for He provides an eternal Sabbath for the people of God, whereas Joshua only brought Israel into the disturbed tranquility of Canaan.

But the main efforts of the author are directed to showing the superiority of the Christian sacerdotal system to the sacerdotal system of Aaron and his successors. In the first part of the Epistle strong emphasis is laid upon the true humanity of Jesus. Christ is shown to have been prepared to act as our representative High Priest by His true human probation and suffering. In v.-vii. the nature of this priesthood of Christ is shown. Christ belongs to a higher order of priesthood, represented not by Aaron but by Melchizedek. His priesthood is unlimited by time, just as the story of Melchizedek shows him appearing on the scene of history without any record of his genealogy or birth or death. The Jewish priests were made priests according to the law of a carnal commandment, He according to the power of an indissoluble life; they were mortal and succeeded one another in rapid succession, He is immortal and a priest for ever. Their office rested upon a transitory arrangement. His upon a divine oath. They were sinners, He is separate from sinners.


But although the priesthood of Christ is different from and 'more excellent' than the legal priesthood, it nevertheless fulfils the types of the Law. He has somewhat to offer. The oblation which He brings is himself, and this is a spiritual oblation in contrast with the external oblation of the blood of bulls and goats. The sacrifice of Christ was external and material, but it was in the truest sense spiritual, because the sacrifice of His body and His blood was the expression of His willing inward obedience to God. He is both Priest and Victim, offering and offered. Lastly, the sacrifice of Christ is one, and not repeated. He now only offers himself in the sense that He presents himself on the throne of God in heaven, as the Jewish high priest sprinkled the blood of the victim on God's mercy-seat within the veil. Thus the new Covenant is fully inaugurated, and the whole method of our access to God is changed and consecrated. 'We have an altar' upon earth at which we join in Christ's heavenly offering of himself. Those who adhere to Judaism are excluded from our altar.

The Epistle to the Hebrews is intensely theological and intensely practical. The whole exposition of the work and character of Christ is intended to form an appeal to continued faithfulness and a warning against a relapse into Judaism.

The Theology of St. John.--The theology of St. John demands some special consideration apart from the general record which the apostle has given of the teaching of our Lord. His writings belong to a later date than the synoptic Gospels, and in many respects show the result of mature reflection. The conviction that God, 'whom no man hath seen at any time,' had indeed been declared to the world by Jesus has entered into the soul of the evangelist. Like the golden vessel in the holy of holies his heart preserves the memorial of the Manna which had been his food. He finds a phrase which explains both to Jew and Greek the fact that to enter into communion with Jesus is to enter into communion with God himself, and he brings into prominence those passages in our Lord's teaching in which the thought of communion between Christ and the believer is present. 26 He writes his Gospel according to a settled plan; it is that his readers may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that in believing they may 'have life in his name' (John xx. 31). To promote a saving fellowship between men and Jesus is the aim of the book.

While the style of St. John is totally unlike the style of St. Paul, there is much in the spirit of their writings which they manifest in common. We may especially observe the strong insistence upon the fact that the Son of God existed with the Father before He became incarnate, the personal life and work of the Holy Spirit, the mysterious union between the Christian and Christ, the element of triumph which both apostles discern in the death of Christ (John xvii. 5; Col. ii. 15), the use of the word 'Spirit' to describe the divine nature of Christ (John vi. 63; 2 Cor. iii. 17), the wrath of God abiding upon the unconverted (John iii. 36; Eph. ii. 3), the second birth (John iii. 3; 2 Cor. v. 17 ; Tit. iii. 5), the enjoyment of a new life even in this present world (John v. 24; Col. iii. 1).

Though there is no trace of imitation in St. John's Gospel, it is plain that both St. John and St. Paul were influenced by the same conception of Christ and Christianity. St. John teaches the doctrine of justification by faith when he records the saying of Christ that the work which God requires is to 'believe on him whom he hath sent' (vi. 29). And though St. John rarely uses the word faith, and says little about the Law, he assumes that 'life' cannot be derived from the Law, and he compensates for his rare use of the word faith by his frequent use of the word believe. Nevertheless, there is a distinction in their theology which corresponds with the temperament and the history of the two apostles. The belief of St. John is deeply contemplative, while the belief of St. Paul is intensely enthusiastic. With St. John, 'to believe' is to receive Christ as the complete manifestation of God. It immediately results in an illumination of the mind and the attainment of that knowledge of God which is the highest good. With St. Paul, 'faith' is a personal adhesion to Christ as the Saviour from sin. Whereas they both insist upon the 27 necessity of our oneness with Christ, St. Paul lays most stress on our believing in Christ's work for the sinner, and St. John on our believing in Christ's relation to the Father. Then also the way in which they represent Christ depends upon their personal history. St. Paul only knew the risen Christ. Hence it was natural that his thoughts should be controlled by the resurrection of Christ, and the crucifixion which led to it. The importance of these two facts in the work of our redemption is therefore emphasised. But St. John, though he represents Christ as 'the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world,' and says that His blood 'cleanseth us from all sin,' seems to regard the death of Christ chiefly as a manifestation of the love of the Father and the Son for man. The resurrection of Christ is chiefly regarded as a means of confirming the disciples' faith, and as a step towards the ascension which made it possible for the Son to send down the Spirit. Therefore, although the doctrine of the Atonement is implied in St. John, and the union between Christ and the Christian is emphasised, and also the spiritual resurrection of the believer in this world, the thought of our dying with Christ and rising with Christ, in the Pauline sense, can hardly be discovered. This is all the more remarkable, inasmuch as St. John represents Christ as commanding before His death that habit of abiding 'in' Him, which St. Paul immediately realised as the essence of Christianity.

In the prologue to his Gospel, St. John gives to our Lord two names which are intended to supplement each other, and to suggest an adequate idea of His person. They are 'Logos' or Word, and 'only-begotten' or unique Son.

St. John's Doctrine of the Word.---The word Logos means both Reason and Word. It was employed in Platonic and Stoic philosophy to describe that orderly and harmonious life which pervades and upholds nature, so that our own reason traces the presence of a kindred Reason in the universe. The Stoics said that this Logos was the Deity, or part of the Deity which had gone forth from Him to form the world. Some held that it divided 28 itself into a number of germ-words which are the life of the various parts of the universe. The doctrine was taken up and modified by Philo, the celebrated Jewish philosopher of Alexandria, about A.D. 40. His system is equally accommodated to the theories of Greeks who had Oriental tastes, and the theories of Jews who were attracted by Greek culture. Between God (who is too spiritual to be really known by man) and the world (which is too gross to be touched by God himself) Philo places the Logos. This Logos is a being which radiates from out of God and is diffused through the world. It is called the 'Wisdom' of God, and contains within itself God's conceptions and purposes. It is, in fact,
God's idea of the world. Philo never loses his Jewish power of picturesque imagination, and so we find that he calls the Logos the first-begotten Son of God, and also the High Priest who represents the world before God, and even the image of God and 'second God.' It is, however, doubtful whether Philo thought that the Logos had a personal and conscious existence; he denies that it is truly God, and he would have utterly scouted the notion that the Logos could take a material human body.

Although this theory is more Greek than Hebrew, it had been to some extent anticipated by the Jews. In the Book of Proverbs 'Wisdom' is represented as co-eternal with God, and rejoicing with Him at the creation. The Book of Wisdom, which was probably written by an Alexandrian Jew in the second century B.C., personifies the divine Wisdom who is the spotless mirror which reflects the operations of God and is the image of God's goodness. The same book in ch. xviii. 15, speaks of the almighty Word of God as leaping down from heaven to punish the Egyptians.

On the whole, it seems less probable that St. John was influenced by Philo, than that both writers were influenced by the books of Proverbs and Wisdom.

St. John was also probably familiar with the word Memra, which is frequently employed in the Jewish Targums or paraphrases of Scripture. The Memra or Word of God, is simply the personality of God, especially as active in the universe. The Targum of Onkelos in its 29 paraphrase of Deut. xxxiii. 27 says: 'By His Memra was the world created'--a sentence almost identical with John i. 10. The strongly personal conception of the Word which appears in this more Oriental Jewish literature is certainly nearer to St. John's teaching than the conception of Philo. A deep chasm exists between the fourth Gospel with its God of love, its Logos who was in eternal intercommunion with God and became flesh and redeemed mankind, and Philo with his abstract divine 'Being,' his Logos who is perhaps only a group of ideas, his morbid dislike of matter, and his theory of salvation by speculation. St. John indulged in no fanciful subtlety. He had lived with Jesus, and had become convinced that Jesus and God are inseparable, and that the worship of Jesus is the worship of God. And he chose for Jesus the one and only title which informed both Jew and Gentile that his Master was the perfect message of God to man, and that the person who shows us the way to God is God himself.

St. John's Doctrine of the only-begotten Son.--If St. John had only said that the divine Logos dwelt in the human nature of Jesus, he would have seemed to sanction the theory that the divine element in Christ had no personal subsistence. His readers might have supposed that the Logos was only a quality of a universal Father, found equally in Jesus and in all men. But St. John balances the word Logos with the phrase only-begotten Son, and so protects it from misinterpretation. By itself, the phrase only-begotten Son might be misleading. It might suggest that the divine Fatherhood is to be understood in a crude anthropomorphic sense, and that the Son is not eternal like the Father. But as the apostle has already explained that he is speaking of the eternal spiritual Reason of God, he goes on to speak of this Reason as the 'Son.' By using this term, he shows that the Logos has a distinct personality derived from the Father, and is in perfect moral communion with the Father. The Word is the manifestation of the intellectual life of God, passing out from the Father and returning to the Father with conscious love. St. John therefore teaches that there are within the Godhead activities 30 which make it possible for God to have lived from eternity that moral life which He calls us to imitate. The Father is love from all eternity, and filial submission to His love is not something which began when man was created, but an eternal fact in the complex life of God.

St. John's Gospel is a narrative of the manifestation of this eternal Sonship as it tabernacled among men. Jesus knows the Father in virtue of that life which He lived with the Father before He took human flesh. He was the object of this Father's love before the foundation of the world. He shared His glory, and reveals it to the eye of faith while dwelling upon earth. Even the Passion of Christ (xii. 23) is a stage in the increase of His glory. It is morally glorious, it is an exhibition of the eternal love and power of God which will be rewarded by the love and reverence of men. It is part of the peculiar attraction of this Gospel that it sees nothing incongruous in the fact that the Word himself sat weary by the well at Samaria, wept at the grave of Lazarus, was consoled by a human friend, and in dying remembered a human mother.

Christ in the Apocalypse.--The Apocalypse is said by Irenaeus to have been written in the time of Domitian, about A.D. 93 to 96. Internal evidence strongly confirms this, and while certain parts of the book contain indications of an earlier date, these indications only point to the fact that St. John in extreme old age edited various visions in one united volume. The doctrine of Christ's person agrees closely with that in St. John's Gospel. He is called the Word of God, and receives perpetual adoration in heaven. It is plain that worship of the Logos is regarded as worship of God. His eternity is stated in the majestic name 'Alpha and Omega.' He is 'King of Kings and Lord of Lords.' In His wounded humanity, He, 'the Lamb, as it had been slain,' is present on the throne of God. His Passion is an episode of victory, for He leads His armies in a vesture dipped in blood. The writer who had walked with Him on earth falls prostrate as though dead when he sees Him in the glory of heaven.

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