Edited by Hovey, Alvah
Introduction to the Gospel of John
For reasons, which will readily occur to every one who is familiar with Biblical criticism during the present century, an Introduction to the Fourth Gospel must treat with some fullness the question of its authorship. If the Gospel is believed to have been written by the Apostle John, the grounds of this belief should be clearly stated, even though they cannot be elaborately defended; and if this ancient belief is impugned and rejected by any one, the grounds for such rejection should be carefully explained. We propose therefore to consider (1) the authorship of the Fourth Gospel; (2) its trustworthiness as a historical record, especially as a record of the discourses of Jesus; (3) the time and place of its composition; (4) the occasion, object, and plan of the work; and (5) the aim and sources of this commentary.
AUTHORSHIP OF THE FOURTH GOSPEL.
It has been the common belief of Christians from the second century until now that the Fourth Gospel was written by John, the brother of James, an apostle of Jesus Christ our Lord. This belief has rested upon certain indications of authorship which the Gospel itself affords, and upon certain passages in Christian writings of an early age which point to the same authorship. First. While the name of the writer is not mentioned in the Gospel, he that "beareth witness of these things, and wrote these things," is plainly declared to be "the disciple whom Jesus loved," and who "also leaned on his bosom at the supper" (ch. 21:20-24). But "the disciple whom Jesus loved," and to whom he committed his mother from the cross as to a son, must have been one of that inner circle of three — Peter, James, and John — whom Jesus honored with his special confidence. Now Peter is distinguished from "the disciple whom Jesus loved" in the passage just cited (ch. 21:20-24), as well as in others (e..9'., 13:23 sq.; 20:2 sq.); and James, the brother of John, was slain by the sword at the command of Herod, about A. D. 40 (see Acts 12:2), long before this Gospel was written. Interpreters are therefore generally agreed in saying that, if the Fourth Gospel was written by an apostle, the words of the Gospel itself point clearly to John as that apostle. Second. The references of early Christian writers to this Gospel prove that they either knew, or at least supposed, it to be a work of the Apostle John. These references are so conclusive that nearly all who admit the Gospel to have been written before the close of the first century hold that the Apostle John was its author. But certain modern scholars of much learning and acuteness have denied its origin in the first century, and have attributed it to some unknown writer of the second century. Indeed, nearly all the arguments by which the authorship of John have been assailed are meant to prove that it could not have been written by any immediate follower of Christ. We propose to look first at the external testimonies relating to the authorship of the Fourth Gospel, and then at the internal evidences.
In examining the external evidences, it will be important to bear in mind two facts. First, that the early Christian writers, who were contemporaneous with the apostles during a part of their lives, make use of the New Testament in a very informal way, often quoting its language inexactly, and generally neglecting to mention the writer or book from which they quote; and, second, that they quote from the first three Gospels and some of the Epistles more frequently than from the Fourth Gospel. These facts are accounted for by the practical necessity of quoting largely from memory, and by the earlier and wider circulation of the writings more frequently used. Yet there are traces of the use of the Fourth Gospel in the writings ascribed to the Apostolical Fathers.
For if, with many of the best scholars, we assume that the Shorter Greek recension of the Seven Epistles of Ignatius is, for the most part, genuine, there are passages in those letters which are so similar to certain expressions in the Fourth Gospel, or the first Epistle of John, that it is difficult to account for them without supposing that Ignatius had seen the latter. Thus, in his letter to the Ephesians (ch. 7), he speaks of Christ as both "originated and unoriginated, God incarnated, true Life in death, both from Mary and from God, first passible, and then impassible." Yet the reminiscence is not absolutely certain. But, in his Epistle to the Romans (ch. 7), he writes: "I desire the bread of" God, the heavenly bread, the bread of life, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was afterwards made of the seed of David and Abraham; and I desire the drink of God, his blood, which is incorruptible love and perennial life." This language seems to be founded on the sayings of Jesus preserved in the sixth chapter of our Gospel (vs. 41-59). So, too, in his letter to the Church in Smyrna, after asserting that Christ had suffered in the flesh (ch. 2), he adds these words:" For I know that soon after the resurrection he was in the flesh, and I believe that he is so still. And when he came to Peter and those about him, he said unto them:' Take hold of me, handle me, and see that I am not an incorporeal spirit, or demon ' " (ch. 3). With this compare John 20:20-27, and 1 John 1:1, and the probability that Ignatius had seen both the Gospel and the First Epistle will appear strong. Other reminiscences might be adduced from this writer, who died not later than A. D, 115; but while the genuineness of the epistles attributed to him is still in doubt, the value of their testimony is uncertain.
In the Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, written about A. D. 116, there occurs the following passage:" For every one who does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is antichrist" (ch. 7). And we readily perceive that it is borrowed from 1 John 4:2, 3. But it is generally admitted that whoever wrote the First Epistle of John was also the writer of the Fourth Gospel. Hence, if one of these writings belongs to the first century, and could be used by Pol3''carp in A. D. 116, just as he used the Epistles of Paul, it is extremely probable that the other belongs to the same early age. Indeed, Canon Lightfoot regards the First Epistle of John as a sort of postscript to the Fourth Gospel (see "Contemporary Review" for 1875, p. 835, sq.). Polycarp was probably not less than thirty years old when the Apostle John died at Ephesus. Irenĉus represents him as one who had known the apostle, and enjoyed his instruction. Thus he was a living link, connecting the apostolic age with that of Justin Martyr and Irenĉus (Irenaeus "Adv. Haer.," III. 3, and Euseb. "H. E.," V. 20, 24).
The five books of Papias, entitled, "Interpretation of the Oracles of the Lord," have all perished except a few brief extracts made by Irenĉus and Eusebius, or Christian writers of a later age. Of Papias himself Irenĉus speaks with uniform respect, calling him in one place, "Papias, a man of the olden time, the hearer of John and companion of Polycarp" ("Adv. Hĉr," III. 33. 3). Eusebius thinks that his "understanding was very small" ("H. E." III. 39), probably because of his adhesion to Chiliastic views, rejected by the father of church history. In his '"Chronic. Ad. Olym." 220, he states that " Irenĉus and others relate that John the theologian and apostle continued in life until the times of Trajan" (A. D. 98), and that " Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis, and Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, were well known as his hearers " (comp. " H. E." III. 40). In view of all the facts accessible to scholars, it is safe to say that Papias lived from about A. D. 70 to about A. D. 150, and that any use of the New Testament writings, or reference to them, which he makes, is worthy of close examination. But Eusebius, who had read his "five books," affirms that " he made use of testimonies from the First Epistle of John, and likewise from that of Peter" ("H. E." III. 39), which shows the existence of John's First Epistle in the first part of the second century. It also shows that Papias considered the words of the Epistle "testimonies" (μαρτυρίαις) to the truth by a proper witness. Moreover, as we have remarked, the existence of the Epistle at this early date must be accepted as probable evidence of the existence of the Fourth Gospel also; for they were both written by the same man.
But if Papias had the Fourth Gospel, he probably made use of it in his four books entitled, " Interpretation of Dominican Oracles "; perhaps he took from it many of the Oracles which he explained. Why then did Eusebius fail to mention his use of the Gospel? Because the purpose which he sought to accomplish did not require him to do this. By a critical study of the prefatory statements of Eusebius concerning his citation of early testimonies relating to the books of the New Testament, Prof Lightfoot has established the following propositions:(1) " His main object was to give such information as might assist in forming correct views respecting the Canon of Scripture. (2) He was indifferent to any quotations or references which went towards establishing the canonicity of those books which had never been disputed in the church. Even when the quotation was direct and by name, it had no value for him. (3) To this class belonged (i) The Four Gospels; (ii) the Acts; (iii) the thirteen Epistles of St. Paul. (4) As regards these, he contents himself with preserving any anecdotes which he may have found illustrating the circumstances under which they were written... (5) The Catholic Epistles lie on the border-land. . . . between the universally acknowledged and the disputed books," etc. (" Contemporary Review " for 1875, p. 179, sq.). Hence the circumstance that Eusebius reckons the Four Gospels among the books universally received is a sufficient reason why he should not have called attention to the use of them by Papias — to say nothing of the probability that the whole work of Papias was an exposition of them.
Again, Westcott refers to a passage in Irenĉus where the testimony of "the elders " is adduced, and then, a little after, the same testimony is said to be from the fourth book of Papias. He therefore supposes it probable that another citation from "the Elders" by Irenĉus, containing a part of John 14:2 — viz., "in my Father's house are many mansions'' — is taken from the work of Papias. (See Irenĉus "Adv. Hĉr. " V. 36.)
About the middle of the second century Justin Martyr, who, in his journeys, visited Ephesus, Alexandria, and Rome, refers many times to certain writings which he calls "Memorabilia of the Apostles" ("Dial with Trypho " cc. 100, 101, 103, 104, 106, 88), "The Memorabilia of the Apostles which are called Gospels" ("Apol." I. c. 66), and "Memorabilia which were composed by his apostles, and by those who followed with them " ("Dial, with Trypho" cc. 103, 106). This last expression may be compared with the words of Tertullian: "We have established this, first of all, that the Gospel instrument has for its authors apostles, on whom this office of promulgating the Gospel was imposed by the Lord himself; and if also apostolic men, yet these not alone, but with apostles and after apostles" ("Adv. Marc." IV. 2). It is observable in both these passages that the word referring to apostles, as well as the word referring to their companions, is plural; and it cannot be reasonably doubted that by the former were intended Matthew and John, by the latter Mark and Luke. It may also be noticed that, according to Justin, these Memorabilia or Gospels were read in his day, along with the writings of the prophets, in the public worship of God ("Apol. " I. 67).
But the following passage in his description of the rite of Christian baptism deserves particular attention: "After this they (i. e., the candidates) are led by us where there is water, and are regenerated after the same manner in which we were regenerated: for upon the name of the Father of all and Sovereign God, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they there receive the bath in the water; for Christ also said: Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven. But it is evident to all that those who have been once born cannot enter into the wombs of those who bore them," etc. ("Apol." I. 61; compare John 3:3 sq.). Justin, it is true, does not quote the precise words of Christ as recorded in the Fourth Gospel; but, from his customary method of citing passages from Scripture, there is ample reason to believe that he had read the Fourth Gospel, and that he intended to give the words of Christ to Nicodemus. Especially evident is this from the reference which he makes to the language of Nicodemus. For an elaborate and conclusive examination of this passage, the reader is referred to Dr. Ezra Abbot's "Authorship of the Fourth Gospel" (pp. 29-41). His conclusion is stated in the following moderate, but unhesitating, terms: "It has been shown, I trust, that in this question of the language of Christ respecting regeneration, the verbal differences between Justin and John are not such as to render it improbable that the former borrowed from the latter. The variations of phraseology are easily accounted for, and are matched by similar variations in writers who unquestionably used the Gospel of John. The positive reasons for believing that Justin derived his quotation from this source are, (1) the fact that in no other report of the teaching of Christ except that of John do we find this figure of the new birth:(2) the insistance in both Justin and John on the necessity of the new birth in order to an entrance into the kingdom of heaven; (3) its mention in both in connection with baptism; (4) and last and most important of all, the fact that Justin's remark on the impossibility of a second natural birth is such a platitude in the form in which he presents it, that we cannot regard it as original. We can only explain its introduction by supposing that the language of Christ which he quotes was strongly associated in his memory with the question of Nicodemus as recorded by John."
Moreover Justin's doctrine of the Logos presupposes a knowledge of the Fourth Gospel. A careful comparison of his doctrine with that of Philo, will reveal a very important difference. For Justin teaches the incarnation of the Logos in a great number of passages (e. g. "Apol" I. 32, 66; "Dial, with Trypho " 45, 84, 87, 100; also "Apol." L 5, 23, 42, 50, 53, 83; "Apol" II. 13; "Dial, with Try." 48, 57, 64, 67, 68, 76, 85, 101, 125), while this doctrine is inconsistent with the teaching of Philo. Besides, it has been clearly pointed out that the doctrine of the Logos in Justin is not so simple as that in the Fourth Gospel — a circumstance which proves that Justin borrowed from the Gospel, and not the Gospel from Justin. Still further, it is noticeable that Justin refers to the " Memorabilia" as teaching that Christ as Logos was the only-begotten Son of God, a title which is applied to him by the Fourth Gospel only (see "Dial, with Try." 105). Fur other passages which confirm the view that Justin was familiar with this Gospel, reference may be made to the work of Dr. Ezra Abbott, cited above. The first Apology of Justin is now supposed to have been written about the year 146 or 147, and his other writings a few years later.
Here we may also speak of Tatian, the Assyrian, who was for a time a disciple of Justin, and whose literary activity has been assigned to the period between A. D. 155- 170. In his " Oratio ad Grĉcos," we find these words: "Do not hate us being such persons, but dismissing the demons, follow the only true God. 'All these things are by him, and without him not one thing has been made' " (p. 158). "And this, then, is that which is said:' The darkness comprehendeth not the light. The Word indeed is the light of God'" (p. 152). With these and other passages must be combined the testimony of Eusebius (" H. E." IV. 29). Speaking of the Severians, he uses this language: "These indeed make use of the Law and Prophets and Gospels, giving a peculiar interpretation to the passages of the sacred writings, but they abuse Paul the Apostle, and set aside his Epistles; neither do they receive the Acts of the Apostles. But their chief and founder, Tatian, having formed a certain body and collection of Gospels, I know not how, has given it this title, 'Diatessaron,' that is, the 'Gospel of the Four,' or, the Gospel formed of the Four; which is in the possession of some even now." The expression, "I know not how," only implies that the plan of the work seemed strange to Eusebius, but does not mean, as some have thought, that he had never seen it. Tatian's work was [either] a harmony of the Four Gospels, or a single Gospel uniting in itself the statements of the Four. Theodoret, in his work on Haereses (Fab. i. 20), says that " he found more than two hundred copies of the book, held in esteem in his diocese, and substituted for it copies of our own Gospels." Theodoret was Bishop of Cyrus in Syria, from about A. D. 420, until his death, in A. D. 457. " His objection to Tatian's book is founded on the absence of the genealogies; and he seems to have known no other fault" (Charteris). There is no evidence that any other Gospels than the four which we now have, were in circulation among the churches about the middle of the second century, unless we except the so-called Gospel according to the Hebrews, "which, in its primitive form, may have been the Hebrew original from which our present Greek Gospel, ascribed to Matthew, was mainly derived." (Ezra Abbot). And the hypothesis that the Gospel according to the Hebrews was used by Tatian, instead of our Fourth Gospel, is destitute of any historical foundation. As to the Apocryphal Gospels, they were not occupied with the public ministry of Jesus, and were justly rejected from the first as unworthy of confidence.
Athenagoras, "an Athenian, a philosopher, and a Christian, "offered his "Embassy" or Apology to the Emperors Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, and Lucius Aurelius Commodus, in A. D. 176 or 177. In this Apology he says: "But the Son of God is the Logos of the Father in idea and energy; for of him and through him were all things made, the Father and the Son being one. But the Son being in the Father and the Father in the Son, by the oneness and power of the Spirit, the Son of God is the Father's Reason and Word." (Compare John 1:1-3; 17:21-23). Again, " For from the beginning God himself, being eternal Reason, had in himself the Logos, since he was eternally rational." (John 1:1 sq.) This attempt to express in a semi-philosophical way the doctrine of the Trinity, or at least the relation of the eternal Word to the Father, is evidently founded on the language of John.
Contemporary with Athenagoras was Theophilus, bishop, or pastor, of Antioch from A. D. 169, onward. Writing to Autolychus he uses these words: "Whence the Holy Scriptures, and all those moved by the Spirit teach, [one] of whom, John, says: 'In the beginning was the Word; and the Word was with God'; showing that at the first God was alone and in him was the Word. Then he says: 'And the Word was God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made.' " (See John 1:1-3). Jerome informs us (" De viris ill,'' XXV., and "'Ep. ad Algasiam'') that he wrote a harmony of the Four Gospels with a commentary on the same, and Bleek justly observes: "Now this fact, merely, that soon after the middle of the second century more than one Christian scholar undertook the task of treating our Four Gospels synoptically and in a Harmony, shows that these Gospels must already have been held in high repute in the church, as distinguished from and above other writings of a similar kind; and the Fourth Gospel, in particular, could not have been thus esteemed, if it had not already been recognized by the church for a considerable time as a genuine and apostolical work."
To the same period belongs the Muratorian Fragment on the Canon, which has the following passage: "Of the Fourth of the Gospels John, one of the disciples [is author]. Entreated by his fellow-disciples and his bishops, John said:' Fast with me three days from this time, and whatever shall be revealed to each one of us let us relate to one another.' On the same night it was revealed to Andrew, one of the apostles, that John should relate all things in his own name, subject to the revision of all," etc. (See the " Canon Muritorianus, the earliest Catalogue of the Books of the New Testament, edited with Notes and a Facsimile of the MS. in the Ambrosian Library at Milan," by S. P. Tregelles, 1867). How much of truth or error may be in the circumstances here related, we may find it difficult to decide; but the testimony of the Fragment as to the authorship of the Fourth Gospel is unambiguous, agreeing with all other indications of the second century.
Prof Lightfoot has examined, with great care, the brief extracts which have been preserved from such writers as Melito, Bishop of Sardis, and Claudius Apollinaris, Bishop of Hierapolis, who flourished in the last part of the second century; but we must content ourselves with only a reference to his instructive article ("Cont. Rev." for 1876, pp. 471-496). His concluding paragraph may be quoted in part, as it describes the evidence gleaned by him from "The School of St. John in their Asiatic home." "Out of a very extensive literature, by which this school was once represented, the extant remains are miserably few and fragmentary; but the evidence yielded by these meagre relics is decidedly greater, in proportion to their extent, than we had reason to expect. As regards the Fourth Gospel, this is especially the case. If the same amount of written matter— occupying a very few pages in all— were extracted accidentally from the current theological literature of our own day, the chances, unless I am mistaken, would be strongly against our finding so many indications of the use of this Gospel. In every one of the writers, from Polycarp and Papias to Polycrates, we have observed phenomena which bear witness directly or indirectly, and with different degrees of distinctness, to its recognition. It is quite possible for critical ingenuity to find a reason for discrediting each instance in turn. . . . By a sufficient number of assumptions, which lie beyond the range of verification, the evidence may be set aside. But the early existence and recognition of the Fourth Gospel is the one simple postulate which explains all facts." (Id. p. 495).
Irenĉus, who flourished in the last quarter of the second century, speaks in exteaso of the Four Gospels, naming their writers, and affirming that they were received as authoritative documents by heretics as well as orthodox Christians. Thus "the Ebionites," he says, "made use of the Gospel by Matthew, and Marcion of that by Luke, though with some omissions, while those who separate Jesus from Christ, saying, that Christ remained impassible, though Jesus suffered death, prefer the Gospel by Mark, and the followers of Valentinus use that of John." (Quoted ad seasum). Indeed, he argues, fancifully yet strenuously, that in the fitness of things the gospel record must be fourfold. "For as there are four quarters of the earth over which the church IS scattered, and also four universal winds, so the gospel which, with the Spirit, is the pillar and support of the church, ought to have four pillars, breathing from all directions immortality, and vivifying men" ("Adv. Hĉr. " iii. 11, 7 sq.).
Clement of Alexandria, who was a contemporary of Irenĉus (flor. A. D. 192), writes concerning a saying ascribed to the Lord, that "we do not have it in the Four Gospels that have been handed down to us, but in that according to the Hebrews" ("Strom."' iii, 553). In another work, as quoted by Eusebius ("H. E." VI. 14), Clement states the tradition of the ancient presbyters concerning the order of the Gospels containing the genealogies, which is as follows: "They were wont to say that the Gospels containing the genealogies were written before the others. . . . but that John, last of all, perceiving that what had respect to the natural [or bodily life of Christ] had been made manifest in the Gospels, and being encouraged by his familiar friends, as well as divinely moved by the Spirit, made a spiritual Gospel." This statement has distinct points of resemblance to the one cited above from the "Fragment on the Canon" discovered by Muratori.
Tertullian, of North Africa, another contemporary of Irenĉus, remarks as follows in his treatise against Marcion (IV. 2):"We maintain, first of all, that the Evangelical Instrument has for its authors apostles, on whom this office of promulgating the Gospel was imposed by the Lord himself: if also apostolic men [i. e., associates of apostles], yet not these alone, but with apostles and after apostles. For the preaching of disciples might have been suspected of a desire for glory, if the authority of masters, yea, of Christ, who made the apostles masters, did not support it. In fact, John and Matthew, who were apostles (lit. of the apostles), implant in us faith; Luke and Mark, who were apostolic men, renew it." Again, having shown that the Gospel according to Luke was received by all the principal churches, Tertullian proceeds thus: "The same authority of apostolic churches endorses also other Gospels which we receive through them and on account of them — I mean those of John and Matthew; while that also which Mark published may be ascribed to Peter, whose interpreter Mark was. Moreover, they are accustomed to ascribe the Digest of Luke to Paul " ("Adv. Marcionem " IV. 2, 5).
Origen, the greatest Biblical scholar of the Ante-Nicene Church, began his work as a teacher in Alexandria, about A. D. 203. A part of his extended commentary on the Fourth Gospel has come down to us in the Greek original; and in it he says: "For one may also venture to say that the Gospel is the first-fruits of all the Scriptures. . . . But we must know that the first-fruits and the first product are not the same. For the 'firstfruits ' are offered after all the fruits, but the first product before all. Therefore of the Scriptures in circulation, and believed to be divine in all the churches, one would not err in saying that the law of Moses was the first product, but the Gospel the first-fruits; for, after all the fruits of the prophets who were until the Lord Jesus, the perfect Word sprang up " (Tomus I. 4). Again, speaking of the Four Gospels and their distinctive aims, he says that Luke "keeps for him who leaned upon the bosom of Jesus, the greater and more perfect words concerning Jesus. For no one of those (viz., the first three Evangelists) manifested clearly his deity, as did John, who introduced him saying:
14 INTRODUCTION TO THE GOSPEL. 'I am the Light of the World; I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; I am the Resurrection; I am the Door; I am the Good Shepherd;' and in the Apocalypse: 'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.' One may therefore venture to say that the Gospels are the ' first-fruits ' of all the Scriptures, and that according to John, the ' first-fruits ' of the Gospels, the mind (or meaning) of which no one is able to receive who has not leaned on Jesus' breast " (Tom. I. 6). Again, referring to the language of Luke's preface, that many had taken in hand to set forth the events of Christ's life, he remarks that " Matthew did not ' undertake,' but wrote, being moved by the Holy Spirit. In like manner also Mark and John; and similarly Luke " (" Horn, in Luc." Tom. iii). Here we have the clearest evidence that Origen regarded the Four Gospels as written by inspired men, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and as the only Gospels then known to the churches as the work of inspired teachers.
It would be superfluous to adduce further evidence from Christian writers of this period, that our Fourth Gospel was received by the churches as authentic and divine. It was reckoned with the undisputed books, and was believed to be the work of John, the brother of James. This is freely admitted by scholars who themselves suppose it was written by some unknown Christian near the middle of the second century. To bring forward the opinion of later times would, therefore, be of no avail. Yet the testimony, of Eusebius, who was familiar with many writings of the second century that have since perished, deserves a moment's consideration. The Christian writings to which he refers as produced in the period reaching from the death of John to the death of Irenĉus, would form a respectable library; and, if in our possession, would answer a multitude of perplexing questions. With many of these books in his hands, Eusebius undertook to write a history of Christian faith and life down to his own time (before and after A. D. 325). Making free and careful use of sources of knowledge since lost, he testifies that the " Gospel of John was well known in the churches throughout the world," and must "be acknowledged as genuine." He includes it in what he calls "the holy quaternion of the Gospels." and remarks that " besides the Gospel of John, his first Epistle is acknowledged, without dispute, both by those of the present day, and also by the ancients " (" H. E." iii. 24, 25). Nowhere does he express any doubt concerning the apostolic origin of the Fourth Gospel. And it is incredible that he should have stated the case as he has, making no qualifications, if he had discovered in any early Christian writings doubts respecting that spiritual Gospel. His testimony is, therefore, of singular importance, and must not be treated as that of a man speaking for the men of his own generation only. His voice repeats the united testimony of many witnesses, and there is no reason to suspect that it is not faithful and true.
Again, the presence of the Fourth Gospel in the earliest versions of the New Testament proves that it was received by the authors of those versions, and by the churches for which they were made, as an authentic and inspired document; moreover, if authentic and inspired, written by' the Apostle John. For there exists no shadow of reason to suppose that the Christians of the second century would have accepted any writing as authentic or inspired, which they did not believe to have been written in the first century by an apostle, or by a companion of apostles. And if they believed the Fourth Gospel to have been written by one of the apostles, or by one of their companions in the first century, there is everything for, and nothing against the view, that they held the writer to have been the Apostle John. This will scarcely be denied by the assailants of the Gospel. The Old Syriac and the Old Latin are the two earliest versions of the New Testament which are known to scholars; and both these contain the Fourth Gospel, as well as the first three.
Of the Old Syriac, Westcott remarks: "The history of this Syriac Version offers a remarkable parallel to that of the Latin, but with this difference, that of the Old Syriac one very imperfect copy only, the Curetonian Version of the Gospels, has been preserved. But this is sufficient to show that the Old Syriac was related very nearly to the later revision of the Peshito, as the Old Latin was to the Hieronymian Latin." Again: "If a conjecture maybe allowed, I think that the various facts of the case are adequately explained by supposing that versions of separate books of the New Testament were first made and used in Palestine, perhaps within the apostolic age, and that shortly afterwards these were collected, revised, and completed at Edessa." For a statement of the grounds of this conjecture, we refer the reader to Westcott' s "History of the Canon of the New Testament: Fifth Edition; " p. 238 sq. We have not been able to find any valid reason for assigning the Old Syriac to a later date than the middle of the second century (A. D. 150), and it may have been completed much earlier, possibly near the beginning of the century.
The Old Latin Version appears to have been made in North Africa, where the Greek language was not understood by the common people as it generally was in Italy. Hence, Tertullian, though having himself a knowledge of Greek, wrote in Latin, and employed, in his quotations from the New Testament, a Latin Version with which the people of North Africa were familiar. This version he sometimes criticised as unsatisfactory, but it was afterwards improved by revision, and at length superseded the original Greek in all the Western Church. As to the date of the Old Latin, Westcott says: "If the version was, as has been seen, generally in use in Africa in his [Tertullian' s] time, and had been in circulation sufficiently long to stereotype the meaning of particular phrases, we cannot allow less than twenty years for its publication and spread; and if we take into account its extension into Gaul and its reception there, that period will seem too short. Now the beginning of Tertullian's literary activity cannot be placed later than 190 A. D., and we shall thus obtain the date 170 A. n., as that before which the version must have been made. How much more ancient it really is, cannot yet be discovered."
As to the use which heretics living in the second century made of the Fourth Gospel, reference may be made in the first place to the testimony of Irenĉus. Speaking of the Four Gospels, he says in his work against Hĉresies (Lib. iii. 11. 7):"So firm is the ground upon which these Gospels rest, that the very heretics themselves bear witness to them, and, starting from these [documents], each one of them endeavors to establish his own peculiar doctrine." And after mentioning certain errorists who rely, some on this and some on that Synoptic Gospel, he proceeds thus: "Those, moreover, who follow Valentinus, making copious use of that according to John to illustrate their Conjunctions, shall be proved to be totally in error by means of this very Gospel, as I have shown in the first book. Since then, our opponents do bear testimony for us, and make use of these [documents], our proof derived from them is firm and true."
According to Hippolytus, whose "Refutation of all Hĉresies" is accepted as one of the best sources of knowledge concerning the earliest perversions of Christian truth, the Naassenes, or Ophites, must have begun to disseminate their speculations near the close of the first century. He represents them as making use of sayings found in the Gospels or in the Epistles of Paul. Those from the Fourth Gospel are quoted freely, as, e. g., " I am the true gate " (John x. 9); and, " No one can come unto me, except my heavenly Father draw some one unto me " (John 6:44); again, "by whom all things were made, and nothing was made without him" (Id. 1:3); and, "For God, he says, is spirit; wherefore, he affirms, neither in this mountain do the true worshippers worship, nor in Jerusalem, but in spirit " (Id. 4:21); also, " This," he says, " is the water that is above the firmament," concerning which, he says, the Saviour has declared, " If thou knewest who it is that asks, thou wouldst have asked from him, and he would have given you to drink living, bubbling water " (Id. 4:10); and, " If any one is blind from birth, and has never beheld the true light ' which lighteneth every man that cometh into the world ' (Id. 1:9; 9:1), by us let him recover his sight."
The Peratĉ are described by Hippolytus as another early class of heretics, akin to the Ophites, whose leader made use of the Fourth Gospel, thus: "This, he says, is that which has been declared:' In the same manner as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so also must the Son of man be lifted up' (John 3:14, 15); also, " Concerning this, he says, it has been declared:' In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This was in the beginning with God, all things were made by him, and without him was not one thing that was made. And what was formed in him is life ' " (Id. 1:1-4); again. " When, however, he [Jesus] remarks, ' Your father is a murderer from the beginning,' (Id. 8:44), he alludes to the Ruler and Demiurge of matter," etc.; and, "I am the door" (Id. 10:7).
Basilides flourished in the reign of Hadrian, A. D. 117-138, and was the author of a Gnostic theory of the universe. He appears to have accepted the writings of the New Testament as of divine authority, but to have interpreted them according to a religious philosophy of his own. He is represented by Hippolytus (VII. 22) as saying: "This [viz., the Word, " Let there be light,"] is that which has been stated in the Gospels:' He was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world ' ' ' (John 1:9). "Now this," remarks the translator of Hippolytus in the "Ante-Nicene Christian Library," "is precisely the mode of reference we should expect that Basilides would employ; whereas, if Hippolytus had either fabricated the passage or adduced it from hearsay, it is almost certain he would have said ' in the Gospel of John,' and not indefinitely, 'the Gospels.' " It is certainly far more natural to suppose that Basilides is here quoted as interpreting a passage of Genesis by one in John, than to suppose that any unmentioned disciple of this heretic is thus quoted.
Valentinus was a contemporary of Justin Martyr. Irenĉus says that he " came to Rome in the time of Hyginus, flourished under Pius, and remained until Anicetus." "The date A. D. 140-160 represents the close of his life" (Charteris, p. 413). According to Irenĉus (L. I. 8, 5) the Valentinians "teach that John, the disciple of the Lord, has revealed the first Ogdoad," etc., and that " he expresses himself thus: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' Having first of all distinguished these three — God, the Beginning, and the Word — he again unites them, that he may exhibit the production of each of them, that is, of the Son arid of the Word, and may at the same time show their union with one another, and with the Father... ' The same was in the beginning with God ' — this clause discloses the order of production. 'All things were made by him, and without him was nothing made '; for the Word was the author of form and beginning to all the Ĉons that came into existence after him. But ' what was made by him,' says John, 'is life.' " It will be seen that the Valentinians " made copious use" of the Fourth Gospel, and the only doubt concerning the value of this fact arises from the possibility that Irenĉus quotes from later adherents of the heresy, instead of the founder. But it is well to remember that Irenĉus was probably born about A. D. 135-140; that in early life he was a contemporary of Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Basilides, and Valentinus; and that he writes as if the whole Valentinian sect perverted the Gospel of John in order to commend their extraordinary speculation. That the Fourth Gospel, borrowed from the teaching of Valentinus, is a wild conjecture, resting upon no testimony, and contradicted by his followers, if not by himself; that it was written after his demise, and was laid hold of bj' his followers to bolster up his system, is no less unhistorical and absurd. That it was cited as an authoritative Christian document, likely to have great influence with the men of that generation, is perfectly obvious. And that it had such an influence because, and only because, it was believed to have been written by "John, the disciple of the Lord," is equally obvious to one familiar with Christian literature of the second century. How impossible, then, to believe that it had just seen the light, being foisted upon the Christians of that age, and received by them, without evidence of apostolic authority! An age, be it remembered, when heresies were breaking out in every quarter, and the churches were being warned against them by such men as Polycarp and Irenĉus and Tertullian.
Finally, it may be well to observe the manner in which Tertullian refers to Valentinus. In his treatise, "De Prĉscript. Hĉreticorum " (ch. 37), he maintains that heretics have no right to employ the Scriptures, adding: "To whom it should properly be said: 'Who are ye? When, and whence have you come? What are you doing in my [domain], not being mine? By what right, Marcion, dost thou cut down my forest? By whose permission, Valentinus, dost thou turn away my fountains? By what power, Apelles, dost thou remove my boundaries? Why do ye, aliens, here sow. and feed according to your own will? This is my possession; from of old I possess it. I have firm titles from the authors to whom it belonged. I am heir of the apostles." Again (ch. 38):" One perverts the Scriptures by his hand; another, by his explanation of the meaning. For if Valentinus seems to use the entire Instrument [i. e., Bible], he raises his hand against the truth with as prompt a mind as Marcion. For Marcion plainly and openly made use of a sword, not a pen, since he slaughtered the Scriptures for his material. But Valentinus spared them, since he did not invent Scriptures for his material, but material for the Scriptures. And yet he took away more, and added more, by removing the proper meanings of single words, and by inserting combinations of things discordant." It appears from this testimony of the great African, that Valentinus in his day accepted the entire Canon of Scripture received by orthodox Christians in the time of Tertullian; and this, we know, included the Fourth Gospel.
This unvarnished statement of the external evidence in favor of the belief that the Fourth Gospel was written by the Apostle John, is sufficient to prove the correctness of that belief, unless there is something in the Gospel itself inconsistent with such authorship.
Passing to the internal evidence, we discover many things in this Gospel which con- firm the view that it was written by the Apostle John, rather than by some unknown Christian of the second century. And this is the alternative advanced by modern criticism. Whoever believes that it was written by a personal follower of Christ, if. e., by a witness of much that is here said to have been done or taught by him, will concede that its writer was John; and whoever disbelieves that it could have been written by John, will be sure to assign it to some unknown Christian of the second century.
Attention may first be given to the bearing of certain differences between the Fourth Gospel and the other three upon the question of authorship, as stated above. One of these differences pertains to the localities in which Christ is said to have fulfilled his ministry. If a reader had the first three Gospels only, he would be apt to conclude that Jesus did very little teaching in Jerusalem before his final visit to that city — a visit which, after two or three days of public service, was terminated by his arrest and trial and crucifixion. A microscopic scrutiny might reveal to him a few traces of the Lord's earlier presence and influence there (Matt. 23:37; Luke 13:34; 10:38, 39), but even such scrutiny would not discover any trace of a previous ministry of Jesus in the province of Judea, or in that of Samaria. According to these Gospels, Galilee appears to have been the almost exclusive theatre of the Saviour's ministry. But, on the other hand, the Fourth Gospel represents the Lord as going up to Jerusalem at a passover which occurred soon after his baptism, as expelling the money-changers from his Father's house, as doing signs for several days in the holy city, and as continuing his ministry for a considerable period, perhaps for months, in the province of Judea. (See "Out- lines of the Life of Christ," by E. R. Condor, pp. 62-4); also as preaching two days, with remarkable effect, in Sychar, near the ancient Shechem, on his way through Samaria to Galilee; then, at the next passover, as returning from Galilee to Jerusalem (John 5:1), where he healed the infirm man on the Sabbath and afterwards boldly preached to the Jews; and as coming once more after a long period of service in Galilee, to Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles, six months before his death, that he might remain there off and on, teaching and doing wonderful works for another indefinite time; and finally, as returning, after an absence in Ephraim, through Jericho, to spend the last days of his public life in the holy city.
It would then be not far from correct to say that the first three Gospels appear to assign about sixty-four out of sixty-five parts of the Saviour's public ministry to Galilee and its neighborhood, while the Fourth Gospel appears to assign not far from one hundred and seventeen out of one hundred and sixty-nine parts to Galilee, and perhaps fifty-two parts to other regions, especially Judea. The difference is striking. But it is a difference, not a contradiction. And there is no evidence that the writer of the Fourth Gospel was conscious of any difference requiring explanation between his Gospel and the first three; for had he been conscious of such a difference, he would have given the requisite explanation, as was his custom in other instances where explanation was needful. These are the facts: A great difference; a difference that involves no contradiction; a difference that was unperceived, or, at least, unfelt by the writer; in other words, a harmony in diversity which is remarkable and apparently unsought. How then can these facts be most naturally accounted for? By supposing that the Fourth Gospel was written by John, a personal attendant of Jesus, or by supposing that it was written by a falsarius of the second century?
It does not appear to be at all improbable that a perfectly honest writer, as John is presumed to have been, who is relating what he has seen or heard, should fearlessly put down events as he remembers them, being sure that it is his duty as a first witness to declare the truth without change, and equally sure that the truth which he declares cannot be inconsistent with any other truth. This, I say, would be a natural state of mind in a conscientious writer, who was relating what he distinctly remembered seeing or hearing. And if, in this state of mind, he should intentionally omit much that he remembered, either because it had been already put in writing by others, or because a complete record would be too voluminous for use, he would do this without feeling it necessary to adjust his own narrative, minutely, to other narratives; he would simply omit what his plan required him to omit, and describe the rest as he remembered it. A sense of reality would control his pen. But this could not be the case with a falsarius of the second century. In his own mind he could not be as independent of the Synoptic Gospels as the writer of the Fourth Gospel appears to have been. He could not have assigned so large a part of the Saviour's public ministry to new places, without feeling that there was great danger of contradicting the well known and approved Gospels. In a word, it seems quite improbable that he would have ventured to differ in this respect so widely from the Synoptists; improbable that, having ventured to do this, he would have escaped the danger of actual contradiction between his record and theirs; and improbable, if he accomplished this at all, that he could have done it, without betraying the slightest apprehension of the danger to which he was exposed, or the slightest attempt to adjust his narrative to theirs, or the slightest wish to correct what he might regard as inaccurate in their narratives. It is clear to me, therefore, that the difference between the Fourth Gospel and the other three, as to the localities of Christ's ministry, is best accounted for by ascribing the last of the Gospels to John.
Another difference relates to the duration of our Lord's ministry. If we had the first three Gospels only, we should probably think that the period from Christ's baptism to his crucifixion comprised about one year and a third; but with the Fourth Gospel in our hands, we should probably infer that this period comprised three years and a third. Even if it could be shown that the feast of the Jews, spoken of in John 5:1, was not the passover, the Fourth Gospel would prove that the public life of Jesus filled a period of two years and a third. Now this difference between the first three Gospels and the fourth, is readily explained if the fourth was written by an apostle, familiar with the public life of Christ. For such a writer would see no difficulty in the case. It would probably never occur to him that any of his readers might be puzzled to ascertain which of the Jewish feasts he meant in John 5:1, or that there could ever be any difficulty in reconciling his account of the duration of Christ's ministry with that of the Synoptical writers. The very clearness and certainty of his knowledge would prevent explanation. But it would have been far otherwise with a Christian of the second century in attempting to write as an eye-witness concerning events that he knew only by report, or that he imagined for a purpose. Too much boldness would have led to contradiction between his story and the earlier documents; while too much caution would have betrayed itself in minute adjustment or explanation. Marvelous indeed would have been the genius of any man of the second century, who could have written the Fourth Gospel! I do not hesitate to say that he would have been far greater than any of the apostles, and the task which he performed far more difficult than any that has been achieved by writers of history or of story since the world was.
Another difference relates to the miracles of Jesus. As to those recorded in the Fourth Gospel, four remarks may be made: 1. That, with two exceptions, they are not the same as those described in the other Gospels. The two exceptions are Christ's walking on the sea and his feeding the five thousand. 2. That several of them are singularly conclusive when studied as evidences of divine power. Such are the changing of water into wine, the feeding of the five thousand with five loaves and two small fishes, the giving of sight to one who had been born blind, the raising to life of one who had been dead four days, and, perhaps, the healing of the nobleman's son from a distance. But the same cannot be said of the other two, viz.: walking upon the sea, and helping the disciples to take an extraordinary draught of fishes. Hence, six out of the eight miracles recorded in the Fourth Gospel may be pronounced remarkable even as miracles, affording the strongest proof possible, from such a source, of supernatural power wielded by Christ. 3. That they seem to have been selected for narration, because of their fitness to beget faith in Christ in the minds of those who believed the record. For not without a measure of reason has the Fourth Gospel been described by Certain scholars as a Tendenzschrift; i. e., a treatise composed with a definite aim, or to accomplish a given purpose. The writer himself authorizes this view of his work:" So also did Jesus many other signs before the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, ye may have life in his name" (20:30, 31.) A better statement of the object which moved the writer of this Gospel to select for insertion the particular miracles which are described in it, need not be sought. 4. That with the miracles are also related their obvious consequences. Indeed, the consequences are so manifestly important as to furnish an ample justification of the miracles. A thoughtful reader will observe the words of the Evangelist in John 2:23:" Many believed in his name, beholding his signs which he did " (Rev. Ver.); and the similar words of Nicodemus, 3:2:"We know that thou art a Teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs which thou doest, except God be with him "; also, the kindred statement of the Evangelist respecting the miracle at Cana, 2:11:"This beginning of his signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed on him" (Rev. Ver.); and his notice of the consequence of Christ's next miracle in Galilee, namely, the faith of the nobleman (βασιλικός) and his house, ch. 4:53:"The father knew therefore that it was in the same hour in which Jesus said unto him: Thy son lives; and he himself believed, and all his house" (Bible Union Version). More at length are the consequences of the cure of the infirm man in Jerusalem described in the fifth chapter of this Gospel, as well as the consequences of feeding the five thousand, in the sixth chapter, the consequences of giving sight to the man who was born blind, in the ninth chapter, and the consequences of raising Lazarus to life again, in the eleventh chapter. The Fourth Gospel differs then from the first three in the four respects mentioned, in the particular miracles which it describes, in the greatness of these miracles, in their eminent fitness to inspire belief on the name of Jesus, the Son of God, and in their important consequences at the time. Not that the miracles of the earlier Gospels are entirely wanting in the three characteristics last named, but that these characteristics are more distinct and pronounced in the miracles of the Fourth Gospel. It is a difference of degree only, yet a difference so clearly marked as to need explanation.
What bearing, then, has the difference in question on the authorship of the Fourth Gospel? Is it best explained by considering the writer an apostle who selected his materials without fear from the life of Christ with which he was familiar, or by considering him a post-apostolic Christian, who shaped or invented materials to suit his purpose? Unless there is something really incredible in the miracles of the Fourth Gospel, something which compels us to assign them to the realm of fable, I see no good reason for supposing that an apostle may not have chosen to insert just these, and no others, in his narrative. Writing after the Synoptical Gospels had come into use, and writing for a definite and Christian purpose, it is easy to believe that he may have chosen them, chiefly because they were fitted to accomplish the object of his Gospel, but also because most of them were not recorded in existing Gospels. But I cannot see how a wise and good man of the second century could have learned or invented the simple, but perfect, story of these miracles, unrecorded by the other Evangelists; nor can I easily believe that the Fourth Gospel was written by any man who was not both wise and good. It docs not bear the marks of folly or of craft. It seems a very bold and straightforward writing, and, looking simply at its record of miracles, I think the probabilities are as ten to one in favor of its Johannean authorship.
Before leaving this point we may recur to the object of the Fourth Gospel, as declared by the author himself, viz.: to lead its readers to "believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing" they "might have life in his name." Assuming the truth of this statement, can we doubt the sincerity of the author's faith in Christ as the Saviour of men? If not, and we admit the sincerity of his Christian faith, can we doubt his belief of the truth of what he was writing? Could he, being an honest believer in Jesus on grounds satisfactory to his own powerful mind, resort to fictions of the most extraordinary kind in persuading others to share his faith? Could the man who truly honored the Saviour, and desired to have others honor him, ascribe to him, falsely, such words as, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life," or such a prayer to the Father as this: "Sanctify them in the truth, thy word is truth?" (Revised Version.) There is a psychological absurdity involved in this view. But if we assume that the author of the Fourth Gospel did not himself truly believe in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God and the Saviour of men, and did not seriously aim to lead others to this belief, how shall we explain the moral and spiritual elevation of this Gospel? "By their fruits ye shall know them." An evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit. But here certainly is good fruit.
Another difference relates to the parables of Jesus. The Fourth Gospel does not contain the word "parable" (παραβολή), or any discourse of Jesus that exactly corresponds with the beautiful illustrations of truth which bear that name in the Synoptical Gospels. His representation of himself as the door of the sheepfold, and then as the good shepherd that giveth his life for the sheep, in John 10:1-17, reminds one of the perfect parables reported by Matthew and Luke, but does not fill the mould in which they are cast. Yet, though there are no perfect parables in the Fourth Gospel, there are many passages which may be said to breathe the spirit of parables. Nature is made to utter the profoundest lessons of religious truth. Jesus represents himself as the way, the truth, and the life, as the light of the world, as the true bread from heaven, as the true vine, and as the king of all those who are of the truth. Moreover, the writer calls some of his sayings "proverbs" (παροιμιαί), Now it is easy to believe that Jesus made use of dark sayings (παροιμιαί) as well as of parables (παραβολαί), and that in some parts of his ministry he employed the former, while in others he employed the latter, skillfully adapting his method of instruction or appeal to the spiritual condition of those addressed. Nor is it difficult to believe that an apostle, who had often listened to both forms of teaching, might be led by his deeper interest in one form than in the other, or by his wish to record the truths which his Lord had taught in that form, but not in the other, to insert in his narrative of Christ's ministry the teaching which had been given in that form. But it is not so credible that a falsarius of the second century could have originated the metaphorical teaching of the Fourth Gospel, or could have received it in so perfect a form through oral tradition, or would have ventured to put so much teaching of this form in his Gospel, without even saying that Jesus sometimes taught in parables.
Another difference is found in the events related. Perhaps it may be suggested that a difference of locality and of duration in the ministry of Christ would account for this difference of events, whoever may have been the writer. To some extent it would; but nothing short of an examination of cases will show whether it is or is not a sufficient explanation of the actual narrative. Take the following instance: The Fourth Gospel not only asserts that Jesus was preaching and making disciples for a considerable period in Judea before the imprisonment of John the Baptist, but also that, by the hands of his first disciples, he was baptizing disciples in that region. Now as the work of Jesus in baptizing led to the debate about purification, to the consequent appeal to John the Baptist, and so to the testimony which he gave in respect to Christ, it evidently fell in with the purpose of the Evangelist to insert the whole story in his Gospel. If the events were actual, there is no reason why an apostle should not have made use of them in his narrative. But I think it far less probable that a writer of the second century, knowing the Lord's ministry through the earlier Gospels or oral tradition, would have been acquainted with these events, if they really occurred, or that he would have dared to relate them without historical warrant. For I need not pause to show that the writer of this paragraph in the Fourth Gospel (3:22-30) has come very near, apparently, to a contradiction of the earlier accounts which seem to represent the ministry of Jesus as beginning after the imprisonment of John the Baptist, and not in Judea, but in Galilee. Matt. 4:12, 17, 24; Mark 1:14, 28; Luke 4:14. Speaking of seeming contradictions, reference may also be made to the words which this Gospel ascribes to the Baptist: "And I knew him not," etc., (John 1:31). Would it have been natural for a writer of the second century, familiar' with the first three Gospels, to put these words into the mouth of the Baptist? Would he not have inferred just the contrary from Matthew's account of John's words when Christ applied to him for baptism: "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me" (3:14)? But, on the other hand, if the writer was one who had heard the Baptist, a great prophet and his revered teacher, utter these words, might he not have recorded them without fear of contradiction? He would not have been carefully and laboriously working up a case, but simply stating what he remembered. But to return from this digression: I do not think it at all probable that there was any Christian in the second century who could have put into the mouth of John the Baptist these beautiful and magnanimous words: "A man can receive nothing, except it have been given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is made full. He must increase, but I must decrease" (Rev. Ver). If any Christian of the second century originated such a response, I would join with all my heart in calling him the Great Unknown of New Testament writers; but I have an impression that the theory of great unknown writers of Scripture has been stretched to the utmost, and even carried at times beyond the limits of sober reason.
Again, according to the Fourth Gospel, Jesus, when seized and bound in the garden, was "led to Annas first," because " he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high-priest." But the first three Gospels do not mention the fact that Jesus was led to Annas before he was taken to Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. Precisely what was accomplished by leading him to Annas first is not stated in the Fourth Gospel; nor is it perfectly clear how the record of this fact contributed to securing the object sought by the Evangelist in writing this Gospel. We are therefore unable to imagine any reason for the insertion of this statement, if it is not true; and if what is stated was done, who so likely to mention it as one who followed Jesus from the garden that night? Its insertion by a falsarius of the second century would be simply unaccountable; especially as any one who was adjusting his narrative to earlier Gospels must have seen that the introduction of this event would be crowding an already crowded period, and would be likely to produce confusion in the reader's mind. Only one supposition, namely, that the statement is erroneous, can justify the view that it was made by some unknown writer of the second century; and that supposition cannot be proved correct.
Again, the Fourth Gospel seems to place the supper in Bethany, at which Christ was anointed by Mary, six days before the passover, while the other Gospels seem to place it two days before the passover. The language is not such in either case as to make the date perfectly certain against other testimony; but if we had only the Fourth Gospel we should doubtless put the supper on Saturday, while if we had only the Synoptical Gospels, we should put it on Wednesday. In this instance, also, I believe that au apostle, writing from the springs of personal knowledge, would scarcely think of a possibility of contradiction between his record and any other; but I cannot easily imagine that a falsarius, who had learned from others all that he knew of these events, would have failed to shun such a difference as the one in question — especially as there appears to be no assignable motive for giving the feast an earlier date than it seems to have in the Synoptists.
Another difference arises from omissions. There are a few things omitted in the Fourth Gospel which are recorded in the first three, and which John would have been more likely than a falsarius to omit. One of these is the name of the Apostle John. This does not once occur in the Fourth Gospel. And it is conceivable that a truly modest man might never refer to himself by name, though he had filled an important place among the disciples. But it is impossible to discover any motive that would have led a Christian of the second century to omit the name of John, the companion of Peter.
A similar remark may be made concerning the omission of the name of his brother James, who was the third member of the inner group of three, so highly distinguished by Christ. Andrew, Peter, Philip, Nathanael, Thomas, even Judas Iscariot, are frequently mentioned, but neither James nor John. And the same may be noticed in regard to Salome, who was probably the mother of James and John. Compare, on this point, John 19:25, with Matthew 27:56, and Mark 15:40. " It is very unlikely," says Conder ("Outlines of the Life of Christ," p. 55, Note), "that Mary the mother of Jesus, had a sister of the same name; and it quite accords with St. John's suppression of his own name that he should refer to his own mother in the same manner. This view throws a beautiful light both on the special love of the Master for this one disciple, and on John 19:26, 27," where Jesus commits to John the care of his mother.
Again, the Fourth Gospel never adds the epithet Baptist to the name of John, the harbinger of Christ. If the modest author was himself the only other John who was closely connected with Jesus, it is quite conceivable that he would speak of the forerunner as John — the John who needed no epithet to distinguish him from the writer — the only person, in fact, whom the writer, in his oral reminiscences, had any occasion to denominate John, since if he referred to himself at all it would naturally be done by means of the pronoun I. In such circumstances, I say, it is by no means improbable that the apostle would uniformly call his great namesake simply John. Put this would not have been a natural thing for any one else to do, certainly not for a Christian of the second century.
The force of the argument from these omissions in favor of the view that the Fourth Gospel was written by the Apostle John rather than by some unknown Christian of the second century, depends in part upon the assumption that this apostle was a truly modest man. If there were good evidence that he was a forward, conceited, self-asserting man, the force of this consideration would be greatly weakened. And two facts have been supposed to favor the idea that he was the reverse of modest or self-forgetful, namely: First, that he sometimes refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved (viz., in 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20). But in estimating the bearing of this fact, we ought to ask ourselves: first, how this way of referring to himself was modified in his own feelings by withholding his name; secondly, how it was modified by the warmth of his nature which may have made him peculiarly grateful to Christ for tender love, and inexpressibly eager to utter in some strong, though impersonal way, his profound appreciation of that love; and, thirdly, how he bore himself, though a powerful and ardent soul, when afterwards he was associated with Peter and the other apostles in Christian service. If we answer these questions, as they ought to be answered in justice to the life and character of John as they appear in the sacred record, the argument from the omissions noted above will lose none of its force. The second fact which is alleged to be inconsistent with genuine or at least peculiar modesty on the part of John, is the request which he joined with his brother James in making, through their mother, that they two might sit, one on his right hand and the other on his left, in his kingdom. But in estimating the value of this fact, as an objection to the modesty of John, we may properly bear in mind, (a) that these two brothers were expecting that Jesus would establish an earthly kingdom, (b) that they were probably cousins of Jesus, and were certainly honored with his special intimacy, (c) that they presented their request through their mother, if not by her advice, and (d) that they appear to have quietly dropped the matter as soon as the Master's will was known. Beyond question they were among the ablest as well as the best beloved of the disciples, and this one request does not, in view of all the circumstances, prove that they were specially forward, or in any respect conceited men. The presentation of their request through their mother, points rather in the opposite direction.
We have now briefly considered the bearing of certain differences between the Fourth Gospel and the other three on the question as to the authorship of the former, namely: (a) a difference as to the localities in which Christ fulfilled his ministry (b) a difference as to the duration of that ministry, (c) a difference as to the miracles ascribed to Jesus, (d) a difference as to parables or method of teaching, (e) a difference as to events related, (f) a difference occasioned by a definite class of omissions, — and have found them all to be favorable to the Johannean authorship of the Fourth Gospel.
Attention may be given, secondly, to certain narratives of the Fourth Gospel which are rendered peculiarly graphic by means of unimportant circumstances—meaning by unimportant circumstances those which are not essential to the expression of religious truth.
One of these is the circumstantial way in which the Evangelist describes the gathering to Jesus of his first disciples (1:29-42). After giving an account of an interview between John the Baptist and a deputation of Pharisees from Jerusalem, he mentions the place where this deputation was received, viz.: Bethany (or Bethabara), beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing, and then proceeds to relate how on the morrow the Baptist saw Jesus coming unto him, and said:" Behold the Lamb of God," etc.; how on the following day he was standing with two of his disciples and, looking upon Jesus as he walked, said again:" Behold the Lamb of God! " how the two disciples heard him saying this, though it may not have been addressed particularly to them, and therefore followed Jesus; how Jesus having turned and seen them following, said unto them: "What seek ye?" And when they answered, "Rabbi, where dwellest thou?" invited them to "come and see"; how they complied with this invitation; and, it being about the tenth hour, abode the rest of the day with him, though one of them, meanwhile, whose name was Andrew, found his more distinguished brother and brought him to Jesus; and how Jesus looked upon that brother, and, perceiving what he was to become, said:" Thou art Simon, the son of Jona; thou shalt be called Cephas " (t. e., Peter).
Does not this narrative declare itself to be the work of an eye-witness, by almost every line? For so brief a paragraph, the number of particulars mentioned is very great. And they are such particulars as a deeply interested witness might be expected to remember. If the writer was the Apostle John, the day when these events took place was a day never to be forgotten by him — a veritable turning-point in his life, to which he would look back with peculiar gratitude as the beginning of his fellowship with Christ. It is not therefore a matter of surprise that he should be able to sketch so bold and distinct and perfect a picture of it. Nor is it strange that he should have ventured to differ, as he seems to do, without a word of explanation, from the earlier Evangelists, both as to the time when the four leading disciples began to follow Jesus, and as to the time when the Lord gave to Simon his new name. I do not say or believe that there is any real contradiction between the Fourth Gospel and the first three on either of these points; but I think there is a difference of representation that cannot readily be accounted for, without supposing the Fourth Gospel to be true, and the testimony of an original witness. Everything is credible and, indeed, natural, if this Gospel be received as the work of the Apostle John; but much is surprising, if it be ascribed to some unknown Christian of the second century. The picture before us is too simple and vivid, too minute in detail, and independent in character, to be the work of a falsarius.
Equally graphic is the next paragraph, which relates what was done on the following day, viz.: how Philip was found by the Lord as the latter was about to go forth into Galilee, and then how Nathanael was found by Philip. Especially fresh and spicy is the conversation between Philip and Nathanael, while that between Nathanael and Christ is more striking and original still. It will also be observed that the native place of Philip is mentioned, with an added notice that it was the native place of Andrew and Peter as well. With no less particularity does the Evangelist describe the events of the next day — the marriage and miracle in Cana of Galilee. All these paragraphs appear to be the story of an eye-witness, of one who was present when the deputation questioned John the Baptist on the first day, when the Baptist pointed out Jesus as the Messiah on the second day, when he pointed him out again, on the third day, and two of his own disciples followed Christ to his abode, when Jesus went to Galilee on the fourth day, and when he turned the water into wine on the fifth day.
Another portion of the Fourth Gospel may be studied from the same point of view—namely, the conversation of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well (4:5-45). But our study of it must be brief. Reference may, however, be made in a single paragraph to several particulars. Here are allusions to scenery — e. g., to the deep well, the adjacent mountain, the neighboring city, the fertile plain; to historic, facts — as the connection of Jacob with the well, the non-intercourse of Jews and Samaritans, the worship of the former in Jerusalem and of the latter in Gerizim; to social customs — for the disciples, it is said, " marvelled that he was speaking with (a) woman," and, notwithstanding their non-intercourse with Samaritans, went into the city and mingled with the people enough to buy food of them; and, perhaps, to the season of the year — " Say ye not, there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest?" In all these respects the narrative appears to be remarkably true to place, age, and circumstances.
But the question of the woman, addressed to the men in the city, seems to bear the stamp of originality in a peculiar degree. According to the narrative the woman evidently believed that Jesus was the Christ; would not a writer of fiction have made her intimate this belief in her question? — even as the Common English Version: "Is not this the Christ? " intimates it? But according to the Greek narrative she did not. For some reason she saw fit to speak as if she were herself in doubt, and even a little inclined to think that he was not the Christ, — (μήτι οὐτος ἐστιν ὁ Χριστός), — though she was nevertheless anxious to have the judgment of her neighbors on the point. Says Godet: "She believes more than she says; but she does not venture to assume even as probable so great news. Nothing could be more natural than this little trait." Possibly it would be right to say that because she was a woman, and because she was such a woman, she felt that the people to whom she spoke would be more influenced by the facts she reported if she did not seem to draw, with too great confidence, the highest possible inference from them.
Men are sometimes too proud to be guided in their judgment, especially by women, and women are sometimes keen-sighted enough to perceive this. If this woman had known human nature perfectly, I question whether she could have made a report of Christ's words better calculated to lead the men of Sychar to consider fairly the claims of Jesus. But it seems to me that a writer of fiction in the second century would scarcely have had so subtle a perception of the workings of a woman's mind as to put into her mouth this form of question.
But how, it may perhaps be asked, could the Apostle John have learned the precise form or purport of this woman's question to the men of the city? We answer, from the men themselves, as he met and conversed with them during the two days spent by Jesus and his disciples in Sychar or Shechem. Or how, it may again be asked, could John have learned the substance of the remarkable conversation of Christ with the woman at the well? We answer, by hearing it, as he remained at the well with Jesus; for it is unnecessary to suppose that all the disciples went into the city to buy food. At the same time we must likewise admit that Jesus himself may have given an account of the conversation to the disciple whom he loved, or that this disciple may have learned it from the woman. The first supposition, however, seems to be more probable than either of the others.
As another instance of graphic narrative we may refer to the ninth chapter, which contains the story of the Lord's giving sight to a man who had been blind from his birth, together with a sketch of the transactions springing out of that miracle. Perhaps no person ever read the chapter without a feeling of admiration at the firmness, the honesty, the good sense, and the quickness of retort displayed by the man whose congenital blindness had been removed, or without a feeling of regret, if not of shame, at the timid and evasive answer of his parents, when they were questioned by the Pharisees, or without a feeling of deep indignation at the malicious and unscrupulous enmity of the Jewish leaders to Jesus. The whole narrative is powerful — instinct with reality and life. Especially do we admire the man who washed in the pool of Siloam and returned seeing, when he was brought before the rulers. As he stands there and answers, at once for himself and for his Benefactor, he is in our judgment a model witness. He clings to the simple truth with a lion's grip. His insight is as clear as his new-found sight. With only a beggar's education, his logic is sharp and strong as reason itself, and his attack on the position of his judges terrible as the stroke of a catapult. While his heart is singing: "Hail, holy light, offspring of heaven, first-born," his intellect and conscience and purpose are unshaken by the deadly scowl of fanaticism armed with power. But there is one touch of nature in this narrative, which has long seemed to me inexplicable if the Fourth Gospel was written by a falsarius of the second century. For such a writer must be presumed to have filled in the details of the narrative by his own imagination, since it is scarcely possible that they could have reached him in this form by means of oral tradition. The touch of nature to which I allude is the way in which his neighbors describe the man whose eyes had now, for the first time, been opened to see the sun. For they ask, not as the thought of his blindness and its miraculous removal would naturally shape their question: Is not this he that was born blind? but rather:" Is not this ho that sat and begged? (ὁ καδήμενος καὶ προσαιτῶν). And I do not think it uncharitable to suspect that these '' neighbors and they who saw him aforetime that he was a beggar" (Rev. Ver.), had been more troubled by the man's begging than by his blindness; and therefore the fact that he was wont to ask an alms was more deeply impressed on their minds than the fact that he could not see. Hence, it was perfectly natural for them to employ the designation here reported. But I doubt whether any writer of the second century would have put these words into the lips of "the neighbors," any sooner than he would have put them into the lips of Jesus, or of the Jewish rulers. In describing this great miracle, the giving of sight by Jesus to one born blind would have been the absorbing idea; and a perfect side-stroke in his picture, like the one here introduced, would have been beyond the skill of any writer of that age. If not, this writer must have been, as I have intimated, more than once, a great unknown, a prodigy in his generation.
Another portion of the Fourth Gospel which is rendered peculiarly graphic and lifelike by the insertion of circumstances non-essential in a doctrinal respect, is the narrative of the resurrection of Lazarus, in the eleventh chapter. Meyer remarks that "the narrative is distinguished for its thoughtful tenderness, certainty, and truthfulness." Let us notice a few particulars which are best accounted for by supposing that this chapter was written by an apostolic witness, and therefore by John, the brother of James. 1. It is difficult to believe that a writer of the second century would have dared to ascribe this miracle to Christ without having any evidence that he wrought such a miracle, near the close of his ministry, in Bethany; and it is equally difficult to believe that he could have had satisfactory knowledge of the miracle in question. But if Lazarus was raised from the dead, and if John was present when this occurred, it is perfectly credible that the aged apostle may have been led by the Spirit and providence of God to insert an account of it in his Gospel. 2. It is difficult to believe that a writer of the second century either knew through oral tradition, or invented without the help of tradition, the striking particulars of this narrative. These particulars are too numerous for separate examination, but upon close scrutiny they will be found entirely self-consistent and wonderfully interesting. And they are withal such particulars as a loving disciple might be expected to remember with satisfaction and to put on record with his account of the miracle itself 3. The impression which this narrative gives of the distinctive traits of Martha and Mary exactly accords with the impression which Luke's account of another scene gives (10:38 sq). For Luke says that " a certain woman, named Martha, received him [i. e., Jesus] into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at the Lord's feet, and heard his word. But Martha was distracted about much serving; and she came up to him, and said: Lord, dost thou not care that my sister did leave me to serve alone? " etc. (Rev. Ver.). To judge the sisters by this account, Martha was probably older than Mary, and likewise more energetic, practical, and pains-taking in domestic affairs, bearing the chief burden of care and service; but at the same time not afraid to speak her mind, even to a guest; while Mary was more gentle, docile, appreciative, spiritual, and eager to catch every word that fell from the lips of their divine Teacher. It may also be conjectured from the language used by Luke that they were in easy, if not in affluent circumstances. Now, without reproducing a phrase or incident from this earlier narrative, the impression made by the eleventh chapter of the Fourth Gospel concerning the traits of character and the circumstances of these sisters, is the same as that made by Luke. Thus, when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, entering at once into conversation with him, and expressing her confidence that if he had been with them her brother would not have died; but not accepting readily the Lord's intimation that Lazarus might even now be recalled to life. Moreover, when Jesus commanded the stone to be taken away from the door of the tomb, it was Martha who promptly raised an objection to this act. On the other hand, Mary remained at home until sent for by Jesus, when she rose quickly and went unto him. Seeing him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him: "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. ' ' This was the only word that she is reported to have spoken. What more she did was to weep in silence, and we know that her weeping went to the heart of Jesus. Perhaps it will not be making too fine a point, if I call attention to the first sentence uttered by Martha, and the only one uttered by Mary upon meeting Jesus, as substantially identical. This identity may be taken as an indication that the words had been often on their lips during the last four days — a sorrowful refrain as the sisters communed together: "If He had been here, our brother would not have died." In this, then, the substantial identity of their first word to Jesus, I perceive a very delicate note of truth, an echo or reminiscence of private and sisterly converse, expressing the deepest feeling of their hearts. There is, indeed, a slight difference between the Greek sentence used by Mary and the one used by Martha. According to Meyer, the pronoun my (μου) is a little more noticeable in Mary's remark than it is in Martha's. In other words, it is slightly emphatic. This, however, the position of the pronoun my in the Greek sentence, is the only difference between the expression used by Mary and that used by Martha; and it is too slight to require explanation.
Very beautiful and trustful was the message which these sisters sent to Christ beyond the Jordan: "Lord, behold he whom thou lovest is sick." Perhaps they knew that Jesus could not visit them without extreme peril to his own life, and therefore would not ask him to come, though they could not refrain from letting him know of their brother's sickness. Perhaps they had learned that his Messianic work had claims upon his time more sacred even than those of personal friendship. At any rate their message was never surpassed in delicacy and appropriateness, and we instinctively imagine that it was dictated by the younger sister.
Again, in harmony with the respectable standing of the family, suggested by the account of Luke, is the representation that " many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother" (Rev. Ver.). For the writer of this Gospel commonly intends by " the Jews" the leaders of the people, and especially those in office, as members of the Sanhedrin. The fact that " many of the Jews " had come to console the mourning sisters, renders it probable that some of them were enemies of Christ (see v. 46), while a knowledge of this on the part of the sisters accounts for the circumstance that Martha spoke to Mary "secretly," saying: "The Master is here, and calleth thee" (Rev. Ver.). For evidently she wished her to go to Jesus without being followed by the company — showing thereby a wise and friendly interest in Christ. For she probably feared, as the event proved, that nothing which Jesus might do or say would diminish their hatred, or change their purpose to work his ruin.
Another point may be noted. The writer of this Gospel gives a certain precedence to Mary, thus: ''Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, of the town of Mary and her sister Martha. And it was that Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick" (Rev. Ver.). Two remarks are suggested by these verses:(1) That in spite of the precedence assigned to Martha by the passage in Luke, and, in some respects also, by the narrative under consideration here, Mary, at the time when the Fourth Gospel was written, had the first place in the mind of the writer, and, as he appears to assume, in the minds of those who would read his Gospel. (2) That the reason for this greater prominence of Mary is alluded to by the writer's saying, that this Mary was the one "who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair," as if there had been something peculiar in the service thus performed which had given distinction to Mary. And, according to the description of the anointing, which is afterwards given in this Gospel, there had been something very remarkable connected with it; namely, the murmuring of Judas Iscariot and the approval of Jesus.
If now, looking at these features of the narrative, we ask whether it reads like the story of an eye-witness, or like that of a person living a hundred years later, I think the answer will not be doubtful. There are too many delicate harmonies, obviously natural, to allow of hesitation. They belong to the class of undesigned coincidences. To account for them we must either suppose that the story is true, which is an adequate explanation of all, or that it is the work of a consummate artist whose genius has never been matched. And by those who adopt the latter hypothesis, we are asked to believe that this great but unknown literary artist was a contemporary of Justin Martyr! that he was a man who never saw Jesus or felt the inspiration of intimate communion with him! and withal, that he was a man who could solemnly testify that his fiction was a record of actual words and deeds! The demand is too great. To believe this surpasses our credulity. At least we cannot believe it while the other alternative is offered to our acceptance.
In the thirteenth chapter we find another piece of historic description remarkable for its particularity and vividness. Jesus and his disciples are represented as about to partake of the paschal supper, in fact, as having taken their places in a reclining posture about the table. Jesus, then, as we are told, before the supper actually began, "riseth from supper, layeth aside his (outer) garments, taketh a towel and girdeth himself, poureth water into the basin, and began to wash his disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel" (literally). What could be more minute or graphic than this? Does it not read like the account of a deeply interested spectator or witness? But the question rises to our lips: With what emotions did the disciples see all this? Why did they not spring to their feet to take their Lord's place in the service which he was evidently preparing to render? Were they overawed by something in his look or bearing which forbade remonstrance? Or were they so filled with a spirit of rivalry as to who should be greatest that no one of them was ready to take the place of a servant? There is some reason, found especially in the Gospel of Luke, 22:24 sq., to suspect that the latter may have been the case, though nothing in this narrative directly affirms it. To proceed: Now as Jesus was thus washing and wiping his disciples' feet, "he cometh," we are told by the Evangelist, "to Simon Peter," and was met by the question: "Lord, dost thou wash my feet? " [Note the position of " my" (μον) in the Greek sentence is it only slightly emphatic?] This question of Peter implies that he clearly perceived the indecorum of his being thus served by his Master, though it does not show that he was willing to take his Master's place and complete the menial service, which was doubtless suitable to the occasion, if not required by it. Then Christ answered him: ''What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt understand hereafter" (Rev. Ver.). This answer would probably have silenced any other disciple than Peter. But he, the rash and positive, replied: "Thou shalt never wash my feet." headstrong man, unwilling to trust the Son of God! Thy voice will soon be changed; for Jesus now answers: "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me." Peter did not look for this, and his next words reveal a sudden and complete revulsion of feeling:" Not my feet only, but also my hands and my head"! Yet the reaction has carried him too far. He asks for something that Jesus had neither done nor proposed to do. Peter's frank, bold, impulsive nature, as we see, is not easily trained to follow the will of another. But he is in the hands of a wise and patient Teacher, and is certain to learn submission at last. In the next paragraph we read:" So when he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, he said unto them" — going on to explain and enforce by his words the lesson of his significant action in washing their feet. This surely is the record of a loving disciple who delights to recall every look and act of his Lord.
And it is followed by a wonderfully graphic sketch of the scene in which the betrayer of Jesus was pointed out and sent away from the supper. "When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in the spirit (his spirit), and testified, and said, Verily verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. The disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. There was at the table reclining in Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoneth to him, and saith unto him, Tell us who it is of whom he speaketh. He leaning back, as he was (or, thus), on Jesus' breast, saith unto him. Lord, who is it? Jesus therefore answereth. He it is, for whom I shall dip the sop, and give it him. So when he had dipped the sop, he taketh and giveth it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. And after the sop, then entered Satan into him. Jesus therefore saith unto him, That thou doest, do quickly (or, more quickly)! Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. For some thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus said unto him. Buy what things we have need of for the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. He then having received the sop went out straightway: and it was night" (Rev. Ver.). This Life-picture deserves careful study. The first words of Jesus, so direct and unequivocal; the surprised and questioning look of the twelve into the faces of one another; the description of the exact position and posture of the disciple whom Jesus loved; the beckoning gesture of Peter to that disciple and the sotto-voce question which followed; the leaning back of that disciple until his head touched the breast of Jesus; the substance of Peter's request conveyed by him in a low voice to the Lord and the Lord's answer addressed to that disciple's private ear; the giving of the sop to the betrayer, thus pointing him out to the disciple whom he loved; the open word to Judas as the sop was given to him; the conjectures of some of the disciples as to what that word signified, casting suddenly a flash of light upon the duties of Judas as treasurer of the chosen band; the prompt exit of the traitor from the room and the house; and the terse comment picturing the out-side darkness into which the betrayer went: it was night:— all these particulars betoken the pen of an eye-witness who was at least a warm friend of Jesus. And a great part of them could be of no logical use in a Tendenzschrift, such as the school of Baur has proclaimed this Gospel to be. It would also be easy to show that this narrative is very different from those in the Synoptic Gospels, though all may be true. The difference, however, is greater than any writer save an eye-witness would be likely to venture upon, if he were acquainted with the earlier Gospels. And if not acquainted with those Gospels, it is surprising that no real contradiction between his narrative and theirs appears.
Another passage which sparkles with evidence, derivable from unimportant circumstances, that it was written by a spectator of the events related, is a paragraph of the eighteenth chapter (ver. 15-27). Simon Peter is said to have followed Jesus when the latter was led from the Garden of Gethsemane to his trial in the city; which statement was preliminary to a record of Peter's denials, arid these were important events, fulfilling the words of Christ. But the writer of the Gospel also inserts the following interesting particulars, which do not seem to be essential to the substance of the narrative, viz.: another disciple followed Jesus also, and that other disciple, being known to the high priest, and therefore no doubt to the portress and servants, was allowed to enter without remonstrance into the court of the high priest with Jesus. But Peter, being unknown to the high priest's household, could not thus enter, but stood without for a time. Therefore the other disciple went out and, speaking to the maid who was door-keeper, brought in Peter. But, as Peter was entering, the doormaid asked him, doubtfully: "Art thou also one of this man's disciples?" (Rev. Ver.) And Peter's first denial was uttered — an essential part of the history. Then follows a statement that " the servants and officers were standing there, having made a fire of coals, for it was cold; and they were warming themselves; and Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself" (Rev. Ver). This picture is perfect, and it represents a scene in the central court awhile after Peter was introduced; but it cannot be considered essential to the history in the same sense as the record of what next occurred in that group is essential to it. For, as Peter was standing there, some of the group said to him: "Art thou also one of his disciples?" (Rev. Ver.) The question being so framed, perhaps in courtesy, as to suggest that a negative answer was expected (Buttmann, p. 248, 1st P.). It came, and was probably, as in the preceding instance, heard by the writer of this Gospel. Next a very exact specification occurs. "One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith: 'Did not I see thee in the garden with him?' "and in this case the question, as one might conjecture beforehand, is so framed as to anticipate, or perhaps, if we could hear the tone of voice, to demand an affirmative answer (Buttmann, p. 247). But it came not; for "Peter denied " the third time, " and immediately the cock crew."
Now this is to me, on the very face of it, a truthful as well as a very graphic narrative, and I cannot suppress the conviction that it is far more reasonable to ascribe it to the Apostle John, as "the other disciple," and an eye-witness of the events described, than to ascribe it to an unknown writer of the second century, who drew upon his imagination for his facts, or at least for the side-touches, which give life and naturalness to his picture.
Another sketch in this Gospel may be associated with the one just considered, viz,: the story of the running of Peter and another disciple to the tomb after Christ had risen (ch. 20:3-8). It reads thus:" Peter therefore went forth, and the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. And they ran both together; and the other disciple outran Peter, and came first to the tomb; and stooping and looking in, he seeth the linen cloths lying; yet entered he not in. Simon Peter therefore also cometh, following him, and entered into the tomb; and he beholdeth the linen cloths lying, and the napkin that was upon his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself. Then entered in therefore the other disciple also, who came first to the tomb, and he saw and believed" (Rev. Ver.). Can we suppose that these details are the fruit of imagination or of oral tradition? Or, granting that such a supposition is not strictly incredible, is it the fairest, the most rational account which can be given of their origin? I am willing to submit the case to the judgment of any impartial reader — sure that his verdict will be favorable to the apostolic authorship of the sketch. And the same result would follow a study of the next paragraph (ver. 11-18), which describes the Lord's first appearance to Mary Magdalene.
Other parts of the Fourth Gospel, especially the scene described in chapter twenty-one, might be examined under this head; but these are enough for our present purpose. They all point in one direction, towards the Johannean authorship of this Gospel, and their testimony is so clear and positive that we do not expect it will ever be set aside.
Attention may be paid, thirdly, to the fact that names and facts are mentioned in the Fourth Gospel which would not probably have been known to a writer of the second century. We have already referred to the fact, stated by this Gospel, that another disciple followed Peter on the evening after our Lords betrayal, and that the other disciple was known to the high priest, and that he was therefore suffered to enter freely into the court of the high priest. This agrees with the circumstance that the name of the high priest is mentioned repeatedly, together with the fact that Annas was his father-in-law. The writer was, therefore, somewhat familiar with the high priest's family. But this familiarity is thought to be improbable. Would Caiaphas have allowed himself to be on friendly terms with a disciple of Christ? Would he have consented to recognize such a man as an acquaintance? Must we not rather pronounce this acquaintance a fiction of the writer, and conclude that he could not have been an apostle? I am unable to do this. It does not seem to me probable that the rulers were as yet greatly embittered against the disciples of Christ. For some reason, the Lord himself was so prominent, so principal and towering an object, that his followers were deemed of little account. Their time had not yet come. They were still pupils, not champions. Jesus stood practically alone in all his great encounters with the Jews. And so I think it altogether credible that John was known to the high priest — more credible than that a skillful writer should have imagined this without cause.
Again, the writer of the Fourth Gospel mentions the name of the high priest's servant whose right ear was cut off by the impetuous stroke of Peter in the garden, and this notice agrees with the supposition that the unnamed disciple who was known to the high priest was the writer of this Gospel. It is quite natural that one who was so well known to the portress as to be admitted without question, knew the names of other servants of Caiaphas, or would be likely to learn them. But is it probable that a writer of the second century would have known that the name of the wounded servant was Malchus? Or, if not, that he would have assigned him a name, when there was no necessity for his doing it? Instead of pursuing this enumeration of instances further, we will show the importance which others have seen in the line of inquiry adopted by us in the preceding pages. In 1865, Dr. Otto Thenius, an eminent Biblical scholar of Germany, addressed an open letter to Dr. David F. Strauss, in which he defends the Johannean authorship of the Fourth Gospel against the assaults of that famous critic. In one part of the letter he enumerates the following circumstances as bearing the stamp of reality, and as furnishing proof that the Gospel was written by one who knew whereof he affirmed; viz.: "That Jesus had observed Nathanael under the fig tree (1:48); that his brothers did not believe on him, while officers of the Jews were impressed by his discourses; that Nicodemus took his part, and the Sanhedrists in their passion falsely asserted that no prophet cometh out of Galilee (7:5, 46, 50, 52); that during the rainy season Jesus taught in a sheltered place (10:22, 23); that Mary rose and went to Jesus only when called by Martha (11:20, 28, 29); that Judas had the common purse, and Jesus said unto him: "That thou doest do quickly " (12:6; 1 o:7); that a Roman cohort assisted in taking Jesus; that the servant wounded at his capture was named Malchus, and that it was Peter who cut off his ear (18:3, 10, 26); that one of the servants who was standing by at the examination struck Jesus with his hand (18:22); that Pilate sought to excite sympathy for Jesus in the hearts of his accusers by crying: "Behold the man! " that he sat down on the judgment-seat at a place called the Pavement, or in Hebrew, Gabbatha; and that he refused the request of the chief priests that he would change the superscription on the cross (19:5, 13, 21, 22); that the place of crucifixion was near the city; that four soldiers performed the dreadful deed, and that his mother was present as a beholder (19:20, 23, 25); that the grave was in a garden (19:41); and that Peter saw the napkin lying by itself (20:7)." With this extract from Thenius may be profitably compared the words of Sanday, in his able work on the "Authorship and Historical Character of the Fourth Gospel," (p. 163 sq.): "The author of the Fourth Gospel stands out a single isolated figure, with a loftiness and intensity to which there is hardly a parallel to be found in history; with a force of character that transmutes and transforms all the more ductile matter that comes within its range, and yet with a certain childlike simplicity in the presence of external facts. This is not the personality of great writers of fiction in any community or time; least of all is it the personality of one writing under a feigned name, and asseverating all the time that he records nothing but that which he has heard and seen. It must be remembered too that, if it is a fiction, it is not merely a fiction that would fit in equally well to any point of space or time. It is a fiction which is laid in definite localities, and in the midst of circumstances and a circle of ideas that are remarkably definite. It is written after a series of tremendous changes had swept away all the landmarks to which it might have been affixed. The siege and destruction of Jerusalem, together with the rapid progress and organization of Christianity, caused a breach between the ages before and behind it, which could be crossed only by memory, not by imagination. Those who deny the Johannean authorship of the Gospel require the supposed author of it to transgress the conditions of his age and position, and to throw himself back into another set of conditions entirely different from his own. They do not indeed do this in words; but this is, as I have tried to show, and as I think we cannot but see, because they have failed to take in, by far, the larger part of the phenomena. The hypothesis of apostolic and Johannean author- ship satisfies these, while it satisfies also, as I believe, all the other phenomena as well. It gives a consistent and intelligible account of all the facts, and I venture to say that no other hypothesis as yet propounded has done so."
TRUSTWORTHINESS OF THE FOURTH GOSPEL AS A RECORD OF THE DISCOURSES OF JESUS.
A study of this Gospel brings to light, as we have seen, many indications that it was written by one of the apostles, and therefore by John, the brother of James. But these indications are found principally in the narrative parts of the Gospel, as distinguished from the discourses of Jesus. An examination of the latter reveals the fact that they differ materially in style and thought from the discourses preserved in the Synoptical Gospels. Two questions are therefore suggested, viz.: (1) Is the difference referred to of such a nature as to make the Johannean authorship of the Fourth Gospel improbable, in spite of evidence from other sources in its favor? (2) Is the difference of such a nature as to disprove the substantial correctness of that part of the record?
(1) An argument against the Johannean authorship of the Gospel, founded on a difference of style and thought between the discourses ascribed to Jesus in that Gospel and the discourses ascribed to him in the Synoptical Gospels, must rest upon one or more of the following assumptions: (a) That the Synoptical report of Christ's discourses is trust- worthy in respect to style and thought; for if it is not, the report of the Fourth Gospel may be correct, though it furnishes a type of discourse differing from any in the Synoptical record. (b) That if John wrote the Fourth Gospel he must have reproduced the discourses of his Master with substantial correctness; for if he can be supposed to have changed, either consciously or unconsciously, the style or substance of Christ's teaching, he may have been the author of the Fourth Gospel, though it does not represent correctly the words of Jesus. (c) That the Synoptical report contains ample specimens of every kind of discourse which the Lord ever employed; for if it does not, the report of the Fourth Evangelist may furnish a variety of teaching not distinctly represented in the first three Gospels.
To the first of these assumptions, that the Synoptical Gospels furnish a trustworthy report of Christ's teaching, no valid objection can be made. Jesus of Nazareth certainly did teach, much of the time, after the manner represented by the first three Gospels. To deny that the Sermon on the Mount, the numerous parables, and the discourse about the overthrow of Jerusalem and the final coming of the Son of 3Ian, as read in those Gospels, preserve faithfully certain parts of the Lord's teaching, would be to disregard the rules of historical evidence. Again, much may be said in support of the second assumption, that if John wrote the Fourth Gospel he must be presumed to have reported the discourses of his Master with substantial accuracy. For the circumstance that he had been a disciple of Jesus and a hearer of many or all of the discourses reported in the Fourth Gospel, must be regarded as favorable to the general accuracy of that report. It would be unreasonable to suppose that Christ's language and teaching had made so little impression on the soul of John that he could ascribe to him thoughts which he never uttered, and a style of teaching which he never employed. If then the third assumption were certainly correct, if it were a case made out by just criticism that the discourses of Jesus in the Synoptical Gospels furnish ample specimens of every kind of discourse employed by him, so that it is safe to affirm that those ascribed to him in the Fourth Gospel were never uttered by him, it would undoubtedly be easier to believe that the latter were composed by some person not a hearer of Christ, than to believe them composed by John, who heard him so often.
But to this final assumption there are grave objections. For it is worthy of remark, in the first place, that the Synoptical Gospels nowhere pretend to furnish a complete record of Christ's teaching. Indeed, nothing is more evident from the Gospels themselves than the fact that they contain only a small part of what he said (see Matt. 4:23; 9'. 35; 11:1). The passages referred to are but samples of the Lord's preaching, a great part of which the Evangelists do not profess to record. It would probably be safe to affirm that not more than one discourse out of fifty which he delivered during the years of his public ministry is preserved by the Synoptists. This rough estimate, however, includes frequent repetitions of the same essential truth to different persons in nearly the same terms, and to the same persons in different terms. For why should not the same truth be repeated to different persons in nearly the same terms, and to the same persons in varied forms of speech? Is not this done more or less by every great teacher?
It is worthy of remark, in the second place, that there is no evidence in the Synoptical Gospels that they were meant to furnish illustrative specimens of every kind or style of discourse which the Saviour employed. The authors do not appear to have been guided in their selection of materials by any such purpose. If an inference may be drawn from the prevailing character of their narratives, it would be that they inserted some of the most striking parts of certain discourses which were addressed to the people of Galilee during the Lord's ministry there, together with a few of his impressive utterances in Jerusalem shortly before his death. Whether they made use of an earlier record which has since perished, or rather put in writing each for himself such special portions of the Saviour's teaching as were most frequently repeated by the apostles, may always be a matter of doubt, but certainly there is in their writings no trace of a plan to give a complete picture of the diversified work of Christ as a teacher of truth. And, apart from such a plan, what sufficient reason is there for thinking that the Synoptical Gospels furnish examples of every kind of discourse employed by Jesus? Is it safe for us to decide that One who delivered the Sermon on the Mount, the parables of Matthew and of Luke, the warnings and predictions of the last passover week, the answers which silenced by their sagacity Pharisee and Sadducee and lawyer, and indeed the right word to every man whom he met, was nevertheless restricted to just those ranges of thought and styles of expression which may be found illustrated in the first three Gospels? May it not rather be assumed that the truly marvelous insight and sympathy of Jesus were complemented by an equally marvelous power of adapting his thought and style to the minds before him? Is it not reasonable to suppose that his great nature, which represented mankind rather than any one type of humanity, was able to express itself in manifold ways, some adapted to deep and mystical souls, and others to sharp and practical intellects, some to men of spiritual vision and fervor, and others to punctilious observers of law and precedent? This is surely a credible hypothesis.
Furthermore, it is admitted by competent critics that the language and thought of Jesus in Matthew 11:25-30, are strikingly similar to his discourses in the Fourth Gospel. But is any scholar justified in pronouncing that paragraph unhistorical, because it differs thus from many, or from all other utterances of Christ preserved in the First Gospel? If not, let us suppose that Matthew had ascribed to Jesus a dozen such paragraphs; would a critic then have had any better ground for thinking the dozen unhistorical than he has for thinking the one to be so? If Jesus could have spoken on one occasion after the manner reported by John, as Matthew testifies, who can prove that he could not have spoken thus on a dozen occasions? Moreover, if a Johannean style in the First Gospel does not discredit the record, why should it do this in the Fourth Gospel? This question can be answered in only one way.
A hundred examples might be adduced to show the remarkable changes of thought and st5de in different addresses of the same man — changes occasioned sometimes by the moods of the speaker, sometimes by the themes discussed, and sometimes by the moral conditions of those addressed. Let a reader compare the Epistle to the Galatians with that to the Ephesians or Colossians, and he will perceive a vast difference between them. Or let him compare Paul's discourse to the Jews in their synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:17-41), with his discourse to the men of Athens on Mars' Hill (Acts 17:22-31), or with his address to the Elders of Ephesus in Miletus (Acts 20:18-35), and he will observe such differences of method and tone as will make it seem probable that Jesus spoke sometimes after the manner represented b}^ the Synoptical discourses, and sometimes after the manner represented by the discourses of the Fourth Gospel. For surely in this matter of variety and adaptation, it would be inconsiderate to imagine the servant greater than his Lord.
Enough has been said to show that the difference between the discourses ascribed to Jesus in the Fourth Gospel and those ascribed to him in the first three, is not inconsistent with a Johannean authorship of the former. "But even the Johannean authorship of the record of Christ's discourses in the Fourth Gospel does not, it has been further said, prove them to be substantially correct, much less does it prove them to be strictly accurate. For sixty years may have elapsed between the time when they were spoken, and the time when they were put in writing, and the memory of one man can hardly be trusted to bear the words of another over so vast a period. Is it not extremely probable that John, revolving in his mind through the years of a long life the teaching of his Master, had, unconsciously to himself, changed more or less the substance and form of that teaching? Is it not almost certain that he had recast and remoulded in the laboratory of his own great spirit the doctrine of Jesus, adding to it much that was foreign to the original discourses, and impressing upon it everywhere the stamp of his own genius? And is not this the true and sufficient explanation of the difference in style and thought between the Fourth Gospel and the first three? " Thus we come to the second question to be answered in this part of our introduction, viz.: Is the difference referred to so great, or of such a nature as to disprove the substantial correctness of John's record of his Master's teaching?
The First reason for answering this question in the negative has already been noticed. It is the marked resemblance of the words of Christ in Matt. 11:25-30 to his teaching in the Fourth Gospel. It would surely be rash to deny that One who delivered the Sermon on the Mount, and the last paragraph of the First Gospel, could have uttered the sublime words: "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes: Yea, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in thy sight. All things have been delivered unto me of my Father: and no one knoweth the Son, save the Father; neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest to your souls: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light " (Rev. Ver. ). But it would be no less rash to deny that One who uttered the words just cited could have spoken as follows: "I am the good Shepherd; and I know my own, and mine own know me, even as the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold: Them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one flock, one shepherd. Therefore doth the Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one taketh it away from me, but I lay it down of myself I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment received I from my Father " (Rev. Ver.). The same authority, dignity, simplicity, and sweetness pervade the two paragraphs. Are we not then warranted in saying that Jesus sometimes spoke after the manner represented in the Fourth Gospel? And if he spoke thus on a few occasions, it seems difficult to assign any conclusive reason why he may not have spoken thus as often as John affirms.
A second reason for answering the question before us in the negative is that John, as well as the other apostles, was assisted in his work of teaching the truth by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Unless we approach the Fourth Gospel with unwarrantable suspicion, refusing to allow its testimony any value, it will be impossible for us to deny that the Holy Spirit, as a revealer of truth, was promised by the Lord himself to his disciples just before his death. And if we admit that such a promise was given, and that it began to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, there will be no reason to doubt the specification, distinctly stated, that the Spirit of truth would bring to their remembrance all that Christ had said unto them (14:26). The Spirit of God was therefore to assist John, by what process we need not inquire, to recall the words and deeds of his Master, whenever he had occasion to use them in preaching the gospel or building up the churches. Unless this extraordinary assistance of the Spirit be taken into account, the whole reason for our confidence in the record of John is not grasped. Nay, this is the strongest pillar of our faith in the testimony of the apostles. They are to be believed, not only because there is abundant evidence of their intelligence and integrity, as witnesses to the works and words of Jesus, but also, and especially, because they were illuminated by the Spirit of God, and enabled by his quickening power to recall the sayings of their Lord. When therefore it is asked, "Could John have retained the teaching of Jesus in his memory fifty or sixty years? "it may be answered in the affirmative, (1) because the Holy Spirit was, in a very special sense, his Helper; and (2) because he was called by his work as an apostle to repeat more or less of this teaching every week, if not every day, dwelling no doubt with peculiar satisfaction upon those parts of it which were most congenial to his spirit and refreshing to his faith.
These considerations would probably be sufficient to satisfy almost every one that the difference in style and thought between the discourses ascribed to Jesus in the Fourth Gospel and those ascribed to him in the first three, is not so great or of such a nature as to disprove the substantial accuracy of John's record, were it not for a single circumstance, viz.: the striking resemblance of the style of the other parts of this Gospel to the style of the Saviour's teaching recorded in it. In other words, the style of John is said to be identical with the style of his blaster, as reported by him. And this circumstance suggests the thought that John has not given us the teaching of Jesus pure and simple, but rather some of that teaching recast and recolored by its passage through his own mind. The suggestion is a natural one, but there is danger of allowing it to pass for more than it is worth.
For, in the first place, it might be conceded that John has not given us the precise words and style of Jesus, without conceding that his report is incorrect as to the meaning of what Jesus said. Especially easy would it be to justify this proposition in case of a report which is also a translation. And this is probably true of all the reports of our Lord's discourses in the Fourth Gospel, if not of all that are found in the Synoptical Gospels. We may then safely believe that John's report of his Master's teaching is no more unlike the original than any faithful and fluent version is apt to be. John's report must be looked upon as his own conscientious rendering of what he had heard the Master say; for these discourses do not appear in the earlier Gospels and are not supposed to have been among the " common places" of apostolic preaching. But if they arc translations made by John himself from the Aramaean into the Greek language, the translator may have put the impress of his own style upon them, though the sentiments of Jesus are correctly reported. There is a plain difference of style between Pope's translation of the Iliad and Cowper's, even in passages where the Homeric thought is fairly reproduced by both. The same may be said of Prof. Torrey's translation of Neander's "History of the Christian religion and Church," when compared with any other translation that I have seen. Many years ago the writer of this Introduction was associated with a friend in translating Perthes' "Life of Chrysostom." The first half of the volume was translated by the writer, and the second half by his friend; and the former did not feel himself flattered by observing that the second part was said by competent critics to "be done into better English than the first, though the sense of the original appeared to be reproduced with equal fidelity in both." From such instances it appears that a translation may closely resemble the translator's style and yet be faithful to the meaning of the original. Hence, if it were certain that John had given his own style to his Master's discourses, it would not follow that any part of the thought, or any particular illustration, ascribed to Jesus, was contributed by John; it would not follow that we have in the Fourth Gospel an unreliable report of the Lord's teaching. It might in fact be just as reliable as any of the "common places " preserved in the other Gospels; for they too must be regarded as versions of the more popular and striking parts of his teaching.
In the second place, the memory of John appears to have been singularly tenacious. As we have already seen, his narrative is remarkable for its accuracy in the representation of accompanying circumstances. Times and events were so deeply engraved on his memory that years could not erase them. There is no one of the Evangelists, not even Mark (virtually Peter), for whom events and the occasions of them had a profounder significance, no one who saw in them more clearly the purpose and hand of God. Plainly then he must have pondered these things in his heart, as he did the words of his Master. Yet they do not seem to have been transfigured by the action of his imagination. They retained their simple and real character, although subject, for more than half a century, to the influence of his brooding meditation. This fact deserves consideration. For it is scarcely probable that John gave more earnest heed, in the first instance, to anything else than he gave to the words of Jesus. And, other things being equal, it is a law of the mind, that the closer the attention in the first instance, the better the memory ever after. If then his memory of events, occasions, and circumstances was singularly exact, there is much reason to suppose that it was equally clear and firm in its hold on the teaching which fell from the lips of his gracious Lord, and which must have made a deep impression on his mind. And if his brooding over events, and his growing apprehension of their meaning, did not change his view of them as objective realities, it would be somewhat surprising to find that his meditation on the words of Christ, and his growing insight into their meaning, unconsciously modified his recollection of those words as objective realities. Nor is this remark at all affected by the view we entertain of the help afforded by inspiration to the apostle. 'Whatever may be the true explanation of his vigorous memory, it is very certain that he possessed it, so far as scenes and events are concerned, and therefore probable that he possessed it, so far as the teaching of his Lord is concerned. And this raises a certain presumption against the theory proposed, and moves us to ask whether the phenomenon in question can be accounted for in any other way.
Is it then too much to assume, (1) that, beyond any other disciple of Jesus, John had a profoundly loving and spiritual nature, and that by reason of such a nature he was peculiarly susceptible to the influence of his Lord's words when they related to the Lord's person, or to the higher and mystical aspects of Christian truth? (2) That this extraordinary susceptibility to the sayings and sermons of Jesus which related to the Saviour's own person, or to the more vital and spiritual aspects of religion, led him to recall such sayings and sermons with peculiar interest, to meditate upon them with intense satisfaction, to use them frequently in his preaching, and thus to keep them ever fresh and distinct in his memory? And (3) that all this tended to bring the loving disciple's style of thought and of expression into closer and closer accord with a certain part of his Master's teaching, so that in fact his language was unconsciously modeled after that part of Christ's language which was dearest to his heart and oftenest on his tongue?
In favor of these assumptions is the fact that they recognize in the Founder of our religion One greater than any or all of his disciples. They represent his spiritual being as large enough, many-sided enough, to match and move and inspire the capacities of every man with whom he had to do. Yet they are also consistent with the view that each one of his twelve disciples had some eminent qualification for the work of an apostle,1 some single faculty lifting him above the dead level of mediocrity and giving promise of valuable service in a certain direction, but they insist that no one of them equaled his Master, even in the faculty which had led to his selection as an apostle. And this estimate of Jesus agrees with his definite claims to pre-eminence in knowledge and authority, with his disciples' recognition of those claims and life-long devotion to his service, and with the place which many modern scholars give to his person and influence.
Especially does this estimate accord with the tone of the Fourth Gospel in speaking of Jesus. If John, as we have shown, was the writer of that Gospel, he certainly believed that Jesus had unparalleled knowledge of God and man, and also that, by union with Jesus, he himself had come into possession of new spiritual truth and life. Notice the following expressions:" But Jesus did not trust himself unto them, for that he knew all men, and because he needed not that any one should bear witness concerning man; for he himself knew what was in man " (John 2:24, 25. Rev. Ver). " Of his fulness we all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses: grace and truth came by Jesus Christ " (1:16, 17. Rev. Ver). " Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name " (20:30, 31. Rev. Ver). It is perfectly evident that the author of such testimonies looked up to Jesus with reverence as well as love, counting him Master even though he were also Friend, and prizing his words as a legacy no less precious and divine than his works. How susceptible, impressible, plastic, his soul was to the influence of Christ may be partly inferred from his writings; and in view of their tone and testimony it is reasonable to assume that his habits of thinking and speaking must have been greatly influenced by those of his Lord, but especially by the discourses of Jesus that satisfied the deepest tendencies of his own spirit. These it is, that he has preserved in his Gospel. For the time came, in the history and ferment of Christian inquiry, when the churches were in need of that part of the Lord's instruction which had been welcomed with the greatest satisfaction by the soul of John, and which could be put on record in the best manner by him. He therefore, in obedience to the call of Providence, wrote his Gospel and gave it to the churches.
But though it is in itself credible, and indeed probable, that John's style was greatly influenced by that part of his Master's teaching which was peculiarly adapted to his spiritual nature, this explanation of the resemblance between his style and that of Jesus in the discourses recorded by him, cannot be accepted unless satisfactory answers can be given to the following questions, viz.: (1) Is there any reason to suppose that the discourses reported by John were identical with discourses reported in other language by the Synoptists? For if there were reason to suppose this, the probability that John's record has been colored by his own thought and style, rather than his style derived from that of Christ, would be very strong, and the explanation proposed would deserve little favor. But the question may be confidently answered in the negative, leaving the explanation undisturbed. (2) Do the persons addressed in the discourses of John's Gospel furnish any argument against this explanation? The answer to this question should be carefully made. For if the persons addressed in the discourses of the Fourth Gospel were the same, and in the same mental condition, as those addressed by the discourses of the other Gospels, the change of style would be surprising and an argument against the theory; but if they were different, there may be no argument from this source against the theory, inasmuch as difference of hearers might account for difference of manner in addressing them. Now it will be found, upon close examination, that the words of Jesus reported by John were, most of them at least, addressed to hearers who differed in important respects from those to whom his words in the first three Gospels were addressed. Let the record of John be read with an eye to this difference as accounting for its character.
This record first gives the words of Jesus to Andrew and John, as they were following him, viz.: What seek ye? and next, his response to their question: "Rabbi, where abidest thou? "Come, and ye shall see. Then follow in rapid succession his saying to Peter: Thou art Simon, the son of John; thou, shall be called Peter; his commendation of Nathanael: Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile; his answer to Nathanael's question:" Whence knowest thou me? " Before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee; and his response to Nathanael's confession of him as the Son of God, the King of Israel: Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig-tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these. Verily, verily, I say unto you. Ye shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God. ascending and descending on the Son of Man. Only this last verse can be called Johannean, and this does not differ in tone or spirit from Christ's response to a similar confession of Peter, as recorded by Matthew (16:16-19). In both instances it was called forth by the spiritual attitude of the person addressed.
Three brief remarks of Jesus at the marriage in Cana of Galilee are preserved by John; one to his mother: Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come; and two to the servants: Fill the water-pots with water, and. Draw out now. and hear unto the ruler of the feast. But none of these remarks would strike a reader as peculiar if found in the Synoptic Gospels. In John's account of Christ's purifying the Temple, the only sayings attributed to Jesus are two, viz.: Take these things hence; make not my Fathers house a house of merchandise; and, Destroy the Temple, and in three days I will raise it up; both of which find support as to fact and style in the other Gospels. (See Matt. 21:13; Mark 14:58). And it is noticeable that when John, as in these instances, gives any sayings of Christ to which reference is made in the earlier Gospels, the character of his report agrees with their reference.
Passing on to the third chapter, and the Lord's conversation with Nicodemus, we meet for the first time with a type of thought and expression rarely appearing in the Synoptical Gospels. But it is also true that the person addressed differs from any one addressed by Jesus in the discourses of the first three Gospels. For Nicodemus was " a ruler of the Jews,' that is, probably, a member of the Sanhedrin (7:50). He was also called by Jesus in this conversation, if it is correctly reported, the teacher of Israel (Rev. Ver. ), meaning at least one who belonged to the learned class in the Council, an expounder of the law. Besides, and this is a chief point, he was evidently a thoughtful man, fully persuaded by miracles or "signs" wrought in Jerusalem, that Jesus was "a teacher come from God," and half-convinced, it is probable, that he was the expected Messiah. Well might the Lord, in a quiet, confidential interview, turn the eye of such an inquirer to the necessity of a radical inward change, of his entering upon a new spiritual life, as indispensable to real discipleship. This was clearly the one thing that Nicodemus needed to know, and there is no solid ground for doubting that he was in a state of mind to profit by it more than he would have profited by any other teaching. Still further, if the words of Jesus close with the fifteenth verse, it is worthy of remark that they abound in figurative language. The spirit of parables is in them. Thus we have the figure of a new birth as expressive of the moral change experienced by those who enter truly upon the service of Christ, the figure of the wind moving unseen as an emblem of the Holy Spirit renewing the hearts of men, and the figure of the brazen serpent lifted up in the wilderness as a symbol of the Lord himself to be lifted up as an object of saving faith. To say that the Jesus of the Synoptical Gospels could not have conversed in this manner with such a man, would be to speak unadvisedly.
But it may perhaps be asserted that John meant to ascribe the six following verses also to Jesus, that these verses contain a much smaller proportion of figurative language than was generally used by him, and that they seem to be an explanation, repetition, and expansion of thoughts already expressed. From these considerations it is inferred that John has here put his own words into the mouth of Jesus. On the other hand it may be said that explanation, iteration, expansion, are more or less characteristic of every wise teacher, especially in the freedom of conversation; and, further, that the expansion of these verses is in perfect keeping with the germinal thoughts previously uttered. There is, then, no conclusive evidence that these verses could not have been spoken by Jesus; yet it is equally true that there is no conclusive evidence of John's intention to ascribe them to Jesus. Only this may be strongly affirmed, that the difference between Christ's style and thought in conversation with Nicodenius, and his style and thought in many discourses of the Synoptical Gospels, may be accounted for without ascribing it to John the Evangelist. It is sufficiently explained as a result of adapting truth to the mind of the hearer.
The next passage to be noticed is Christ's conversation with a Samaritan woman at Jacob's well. Of this conversation it may be remarked that it was held with one person only, that her spiritual condition was evidently divined by the Lord, that apt and free use was made of illustration, and that the truth gradually imparted appears to have been suited to the woman's spiritual state. To be sure, our knowledge of this woman is restricted to what may be learned from the narrative in question. But this at least may be inferred from it, that she was neither stupid nor thoughtless. She had a bright intellect, a ready wit, and a conscience still alive. Indeed, she was better prepared to receive the truth than were many of the Jews; and, perceiving this, the great Teacher gave himself earnestly and skillfully to the task of infusing it into her soul. The first hint of his religious mission was given in the words, If thou knowest the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would hace given thee living water. And the next was similar, continuing the same metaphor: Every one that drinketh of this water shall thirst again: hut whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; hut the water that I shall give him shall become in him a tell of water springing up unto eternal life (Rev. Ver.). This use of imagery taken from objects at hand and familiar, is characteristic of the Christ of the Synoptists. Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do then spin: yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morroir is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, ye of little faith? (com p. Luke 10:41, 42, and 14:7-24; Matt. 7:28-30. Rev. Ver.). Is there not the same divine skill and insight revealed in both passages? The same matchless use of natural objects in conveying religious truth? Do the writings of John, any more than those of Matthew, prove that he, the disciple, could have put such teaching into his Master's lips? Jesus now approaches the woman's conscience. Go, call thy husband, and come hither; and, in answer to her evasive reply, says, Thou saidst well, I have no hushand: for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband (Rev. Ver.). The woman, perceiving from this reply that he was a prophet, introduces the mooted question as to the proper place of worship, and he responds: Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when neither in this mountains nor in Jerusalem shall ye worship the Father. Ye worship that which ye know not: we worship that which we know: for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to he his worshippers. God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship in sprit and truth (Rev. Ver.). Thereupon the woman expressed her belief that the coming Messiah would explain and settle all things now in debate between the Jews and Samaritans, and Jesus saith unto her plainly: I that speak unto thee, am he. Can any one affirm that a word of this is far-fetched or improbable? That what Christ is here reported to have said was any less fitting than what he said, according to Luke, in his own village Nazareth, To-day hath this Scripture been fulfilled in your ears? Or what he said at the ruler's table, according to Luke 14:7-24? Plainly, the woman was better prepared to hear his final word than were his neighbors in Galilee to hear what he said to them. She was a part of the field which he looked upon as white already for the harvest, while the people of Nazareth promptly rejected him when he spoke of mercy for the Gentiles, though a moment before they had wondered at the words of grace which fell from his lips. The Samaritans were better prepared to hear spiritual truth than most of the Jews, and it is quite probable that no one of them was more conscious of needing divine grace, and so in a more suitable moral condition to welcome such truth, than the woman whom Christ met at the well. On the whole, therefore, this conversation bears internal evidence of being truly reported. It is Christ-like, rather than Johannean.
And the same is equally true of the language which he is said to have employed in speaking to his disciples on their return from the city. There is nothing like it in the known writings of John, so figurative and yet so condensed. My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to accomplish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest f behold, I say unto you: Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white already unto harvest. He that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal; that he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. For herein is the saying true. One soweth and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye have not laboured; others have laboured and ye are entered into their labour (Rev. Ver.). Thus speaks the Christ of John to his disciples, and in every sentence we seem to hear the familiar voice of the Synoptical Master. In no sentence do we catch the faintest echo of words indubitably original with the author of the Fourth Gospel.
Up to this point, then, there is no sufficient reason to suppose that the record of Christ's teaching found in this Gospel is impaired by infusions of any sort from the writer's theology or style. And the writer's correctness thus far is a very considerable argument for his trustworthiness in the remainder of his work. Two other sayings, addressed to the nobleman from Capernaum, whose son was sick, complete the record which John gives of the Saviour's words during the first and tranquil period of his ministry, and these sayings— Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will in nowise believe, (Rev. Ver.), and, Go thy way, thy son liveth — are manifestly appropriate to the Christ of the earlier Gospels.
In the same manner it can be shown that all the sayings ascribed to Jesus by the Evangelist in the last four chapters of his Gospel, are such as the Christ of the Synoptists may be supposed to have uttered in perfect consistency with the style of speech attributed to him. Let the reader test for himself the correctness of this statement by carefully reading those chapters. With equal confidence we invite him to apply the same statement to the ninth and eleventh chapters of this Gospel, which contain the remarkable narratives concerning the giving of sight to a man who had been blind from birth, and the raising of Lazarus after he had been dead four days. The remaining chapters (viz.: the 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 13-17), contain discourses or discussions addressed to influential companies of Jews who denied his Messianic authority and charged him with blasphemy, or to his chosen disciples on the evening before his arrest. Before looking at these discourses, it may be well to study for a moment the character and style of John.
The notices of John in the Four Gospels and the first part of the Acts are scarcely sufficient to reveal his character with distinctness. But in the impression which they make respecting him, they agree with the Fourth Gospel, the Epistles, and the Book of Revelation. And we can hardly be mistaken in saying, with Meyer, that love was the central principle of his renewed nature, and his fellowship with the spirit and life of Christ most true and deep and vital. In the words of Plumptre (Smith's "Dictionary of the Bible"):"The truest thought that we can attain to is still that he was 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' (ὄ ἐπιστὴδιος) returning that love with a deep, absorbing, unwavering devotion. One aspect of that feeling is seen in the zeal for his blaster's glory, the burning indignation against all that seemed to outrage it, which runs, with its fiery gleam, through his whole life, and makes him, from first to last, one of the sons of thunder. To him, more than to any other disciple, there is no neutrality between Christ and Antichrist. The spirit of such a man is intolerant of compromises and concessions. . . . He is the Apostle of Love, not because he starts from the easy temper of a general benevolence, nor again as being of a character soft, yielding, feminine, but because he has grown, ever more and more, into the likeness of him whom he loved so truly."
But where shall we go to learn the style of John? To his Gospel alone? Or to his Gospels and his Epistles, especially the first? Or to all these together, with the Book of Revelation? It will be safe to limit our examination to his First Epistle and his Prologue to the Fourth Gospel; for his Second and Third Epistles are very short, while the narrative parts of the Gospel and much of the Revelation would not require the same style as discourses would naturally take. As seen in the Prologue and First Epistle, the literary style of John is uncommonly simple. Very rarely does the reader find an involved sentence. In point of grammatical accuracy, these portions of the New Testament are superior to many others. But in the structure and connection of sentences, there is almost nothing to remind one of classic Greek literature. Looked at from this point of view, John's style, is through and through Hebraistic. Every thing is cast in a Hebrew mould, though expressed in Greek words. In this respect it is impossible to perceive any difference between Matthew and Mark, on the one hand, and John, on the other, or between either of these Evangelists and the Lord himself. Thus John's habit of presenting the same truth, after the manner of Hebrew parallelism, in both a positive and a negative form, is very noticeable. For example: "All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made." "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." " We lie, and do not the truth." This antithetic parallelism is a most obvious and pervasive characteristic of the style of John's First Epistle; but it is less prominent in the prologue, though we find three or four instances of it in the latter. With it may be associated his habit of presenting two slightly different aspects of the inner life in successive clauses. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world." " Whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him." "Whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith" (Rev. Ver. ).
Again, with a certain Hebraic simplicity of style, John is wont to express an idea in its absolute, unqualified form: "Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abideth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is begotten of God" (Rev. Ver.). "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Any qualification of such a statement will generally be found in some other passage which, taken by itself, is equally unqualified. " If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Such a style betokens one who looks at the nature of things, and sees the perfect whole in the smallest part — one who bears witness of what he perceives, instead of appealing to argument in support of what he believes. To him truth is an atmosphere of light, vast, limitless, covering the whole face of the sky, rather than distinct lines of light, piercing the darkness here and there. Moreover, the light is golden, full of heat as well as splendor.
This great, yet simple, way of enunciating truth is, however, accompanied by a certain uniformity of style and a somewhat persistent repetition of the same thought. Every sentence is deep, intense, powerful. But now and then the light which gleams from the apostle's page without interruption, and spreads itself over a boundless sky of truth, concentrates its energy at a single point and dazzles the soul with its brightness. When we read such expressions as the following (in Rev. Ver.):" He that doeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning," "Every spirit which confesseth not Jesus, is not of God," and " Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This is Antichrist," we understand why this disciple was surnamed "son of thunder." (Comp. John 8:47; 8:42; 8:44.) Yet the style of John, as a whole, gives the reader a sense of elevated uniformity as one of its prominent characteristics. It is like a sunset sky, covered with golden clouds that overlap and gradually melt into each other. It reminds one of a "solemn music," with variations of the same theme, until the spirit of it penetrates the whole being of the listener. It deals with a few all-embracing conceptions in almost mystical language, but with simple grandeur of expression. There is progress, ascent, but, as has been said, by a kind of spiral movement, which brings the mind round to the same view again and again, though in every instance at a higher point of observation. Another trait of John's style appears in the use of cardinal ideas and words, such as Life and Death, Light and Darkness, Truth and Falsehood, Love and Hatred, Believing and Disbelieving, Righteousness and Sin, Propitiation and Forgiveness, the world, Antichrist, etc. Many of these terms are figurative, some of them elastic, all of them rich in meaning.
Thus the style of John differs from that of any other New Testament writer. And the study of Christ's longer discourses preserved in his Gospel will bring to view a marked resemblance in style between the Master and his disciples. Let us now return to the beginning of the second, stormy period of the Lord's ministry for the purpose of looking at some of these discourses. That period was initiated by healing an infirm man in one of the five porches of the Pool of Bethesda, which was by the Sheep-gate. (Notice the particularity of the description). The words of Jesus to the man were few. Wouldest thou he made whole? (Rev. Ver.), and, Arise, take up thy bed and walk. But the cure was wrought on a Sabbath day, and the leading Jews of the holy city, who were looking for a charge against Jesus, reproved the man who had been healed for taking up his bed on the Sabbath. He excused himself for the act by referring to the command of Jesus; and afterwards Jesus, finding him in the Temple, said: "Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing befall thee (Rev. Ver.). For some reason the man then informed the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him whole; and they began to persecute Jesus because he did these things on the Sabbath. And his response to their accusation was: My Father worketh even until now, and I work. " Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only brake the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God" (Rev. Ver.), and he proceeded to vindicate his course in truly remarkable terms. This vindication is, however, too long to be quoted, though a brief analysis of it may be given. It naturally falls into two parts, the first reasserting and amplifying his claim to be in a special sense the Son of God, doing his Father's work and will, and the second bringing forward the witnesses that attested his claim, but were stubbornly rejected by his persecutors. In the first, while passing by the charge of desecrating the Sabbath, and replying only to the graver charge of blasphemous assumption in claiming to be the Son of God, and thus, as the Jews conceived, setting himself in sharp antagonism to God, he affirms the closest union between himself and the Father, he declares himself the Son of God in so true and absolute a sense that it is morally impossible for him to start from himself as the source and end of his action, impossible for him to do anything save as he sees the Father engaged in doing it; and at the same time he declares himself to be so loved by the Father that the Father shows him all his work, and indeed performs it all in and by him, imparting spiritual life, raising the dead in the last day, and judging all mankind through the agency and person of the Son, to the end that men may honor the Son even as they honor the Father. In the second, he briefly re-affirms his inseparable union with the Father, and then brings forward in support of his claims the witness of John the Baptist, who was a lamp kindled and shining, the witness of the Father which had been given in his own Godlike works, and the witness of the Jewish Scriptures, which his enemies professed to revere as a source of life, but which they could not understand because of their self-seeking spirit.
Now it will be observed (1) that this defense and vindication of his claims is addressed to leading Jews, many of them probably scribes and lawyers belonging to the Sanhedrin, and therefore capable of understanding the drift and tenor of such a discourse. They were men familiar with the Scriptures, who could be reached and convinced in their present mood, if at all, not by parables, but by the boldest assertion of the highest truth concerning himself. (2) It relates to his own person and office. The scope of it from first to last agrees with the occasion of it. True, it is very bold in its reproof of his adversaries, but not bolder or sharper in this respect than much that is recorded in the other Gospels as having been said by him to the same class (e. g., Matt. 21:31; 23:13-36). (3) It teaches with authority, and appeals to testimony in the same way as do some of Christ's discourses in the Synoptic Gospels (Matt.. 7:29; 15:4). There is in it no subtle argumentation, no attempt to make everything clear to the logical understanding, no misapprehension of the character of his assailants, or persuasion that all they needed was light for the reason. Their moral bias was clearly perceived: " 'How can ye believe, who receive glory one of another, and the glory that cometh from the only God ye seek not?" (Rev. Ver.). (4) It is a discourse well suited to the mind and heart of John, for it is a luminous assertion and vindication of his Master's divine Sonship and work. If the Jews were not moved by it to greater reverence fur the Lord, this disciple, we may be certain, was. It is impossible to read his writings without perceiving in him a capacity for such instruction. His loving spirit would drink in every word of it. From it he may have first learned the lesson that Christ is our life. "Verily, verily, I say unto you. He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life. . . . For as the Father hath life in himself, even so gave he to the Son to have life in himself" (Rev. Ver.). Bearing in mind all these facts, it is evidently unnecessary to ascribe to John any influence modifying the style or thought of this discourse.
The next considerable discussion of Jesus recorded in the Fourth Gospel took place in Capernaum, the day after the feeding of the five thousand. In a certain way it grew out of that miracle, and its figurative language was connected with it. For some of the thousands who had been miraculously fed in a desert place on the northeast shore of Gennesaret, and had wished thereupon to take Jesus by force and make him king, found him the next day on the west side of the lake, and said:" Rabbi, when camest thou hither?" As often, the Lord took no notice of their question, but adapted his word to their spiritual condition. " Ye seek me, not because ye saw signs, but because ye ate of the loaves, and were filled. Work not for the meat which perisheth, but for the meat which abideth unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give unto you, for him the Father, even God, hath sealed" (Rev. Ver.). Thus Jesus announces himself as the Giver of true and abiding food for the souls of men. The people, however, catch at the idea of " working," and ask:" What must we do that we may work the works of God?" And the answer came: "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" (Rev. Ver.). But in response to this demand for faith in himself, they ask fur a sign from heaven to justify such faith, reminding Jesus of the manna which was given to their ancestors in the desert. To this Jesus replies by denying that the manna was given by Moses, as they appear to have been thinking, and by affirming that his Father was now giving them the true bread from heaven — a bread that giveth life to the world. Scarcely comprehending this, and doubtless associating it with the long continued supply of manna, they cried: "Lord, evermore give us this bread"; and Jesus answered: "I am the bread of life: he that cometh unto me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." The Jews were naturally offended at this saying, and pronounced it inconsistent with their knowledge of his earthly parents; but he repeated and amplified it, declaring, among other things, that the fathers who ate manna in the wilderness died, while any man who should cat of himself, the living bread that had come down out of heaven, should not die. And to this he added:" Yea, and the bread that I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world "' (Rev. Ver.); an expression which led to still further debate. '" How can this man give us his flesh to eat? " But Jesus persisted in his form of teaching, and even carried the representation a little further. ''Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves. lie that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me, and I in him " (Rev. Ver.), — thus affirming that divine life could only be secured by a vital union with himself as one who had suffered death.
Such is a brief sketch of what the Saviour said to the Jews at Capernaum, and the question to be considered is this: Has John reported his Master correctly? Or has he unintentionally changed the substance or form of that Master's teaching? In favor of John's report may be mentioned:(1) The obvious connection between the figurative language of Jesus and the circumstances of the hour. Nothing can be more natural than the way in which Christ introduces the idea of spiritual food, and then represents that it had been sent from heaven in his own person. This finally leads him to speak of his death, of his flesh and blood, as the one source of true life to men. And according to the first three Gospels, as well as the Fourth, Jesus was accustomed to make use of natural objects or passing events to set forth in a striking manner the facts or laws of his kingdom. (2) Those parts of the Gospel in which John uses his own language, do not possess all the qualities of paragraphs here ascribed to Jesus. They make, e. g., less abundant use of illustration. I may be mistaken, but these paragraphs seem to me to approach much nearer the manner of teaching ascribed to Jesus by the Synoptical Gospels than do the First Epistle of John and the prologue. (3) The subsequent remarks of Jesus on this occasion bear the stamp of historic truth. Jesus, knowing that his disciples were murmuring at his final saying, added: "Doth this cause you to stumble? What then if ye should behold the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I have spoken unto you are spirit, and are life. But there are some of you that believe not" (Rev. Ver.). And when he saw many of his disciples leaving him, he said to this twelve: "Will ye also go away?" The noble answer of Peter did not deceive the Lord, who, foreseeing the unfaithfulness of Judas, remarked, sadly:" Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? "
The next conversation of Jesus which requires notice is preserved in the seventh and eighth chapters. The scene of it was Jerusalem, at the Feast of Tabernacles, and the persons with whom it was held were "the Jews" who had sought to kill him for healing a man on the Sabbath, and yet more for "making God his own Father." It is clear from the colloquy between Jesus and his brothers before the latter went up to the feast, from his manner of going up at a later day, i. e., " not publicly, but as it were in secret," and from the way in which he was received, that "the Jews" had lost none of their hostility to him. Naturally enough, therefore, what he said to them was very similar in tone and substance to what he is represented in the fifth chapter as saying to them. And if that could be rationally accounted for by supposing the language of Christ to have been adapted by him to the persons addressed, this can be accounted for in the same way.
The ninth chapter contains an account of the giving of sight to a man who had been born blind, and of the deadly enmity of "the Jews," which was rendered more intense by that great miracle. In the first part of the tenth chapter Jesus speaks of himself as the Good Shepherd that giveth his life for the sheep, and in the last part he asserts once more his divine Sonship. The raising of Lazarus from the dead is narrated in the eleventh chapter, and the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, with the brief sayings or discussions which followed that exciting event, are reported in the twelfth.
The next four chapters (13-16) are filled with a narrative of Christ's last passover with his disciples, and a record of his incomparable words to them in view of his impending crucifixion. It should not be an occasion of surprise that this discourse differs in style and thought from any other attributed to Jesus by the Evangelists. How could it have foiled to be different? The occasion had no parallel in his ministry. If we say that this discourse is more unlike his denunciation of the Pharisees in Matthew's Gospel than David's elegy over Saul and Jonathan is unlike the Second Psalm, it is only necessary to observe that the contrast between the occasions was more marked in the former instance than in the latter. The words of Jesus were in both instances, as far as we can judge, perfectly suited to the occasion. Here it was his last interview before the crucifixion with his dearest and truest followers — men whom he knew far better than they knew themselves, and whom he loved with more than a brother's affection. Before himself were shame, agony, torture, and death. Before them, a trial too great for the strongest to bear, a blow so terrible that by it they would all be stunned. Yet with what matchless forecast, tenderness, and love does he speak to them of the many mansions in his Father's house, of his oneness of spirit with the Father, of their vital union with himself, of the divine Advocate whom he would send to abide with them forever, and of other blessings equally precious, until the reader who enters somewhat into the spirit of the record is lost in wonder at the "sweetness and light" which flow in his words. And now, having communed as never before with his disciples, Jesus offers to the Father a prayer which, while it seeks for himself and for them and for believers in all times just that which the holiest most crave as the highest good, completes the impression which he desires to make on their hearts.
From this rapid glance at the principal discourses of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel, it appears that the mental conditions or special circumstances of those addressed were such as might lead him to speak much of himself, of his Sonship to the Father, of his doing the Father's will, of his relations to believers, of his sacrificial death for mankind, of the deeper personal and vital aspects of union with himself, and of the Spirit's work in days to come. And if it is rational to believe that Nicodemus, an educated, thoughtful, half-convinced, but over-cautious or timid ruler of the Jews, — that a woman of Sychar, having a sense of sin smouldering in her soul, and with it an expectation of the Messiah as a religious teacher, without the disturbing influence of looking for him as a civil ruler, — that Jewish leaders who had resolved to kill Jesus, because he had violated their regulations as to keeping the Sabbath by doing cures on that day'', and their ideas of reverence to Jehovah by claiming to be the Son of God, — that a multitude who had set their hearts on making Jesus an earthly king, while they were indifferent to his kingship in the realm of truth and eternal life, — and that the eleven faithful disciples, just after his last passover with them, and just before his betrayal, were each and all in spiritual conditions that called for such teaching as John has recorded, we may certainly believe that it was uttered by Christ, and merely reproduced by the Evangelist. For precisely this part of the Saviour's teaching was suited to the nature of John, and likely to sink down into his spirit. And that which attracts the soul will influence its character and action. The type of thought and expression which awakens the deepest response within, will re-appear in language, and send its echo out into the world.
Hence, the resemblance between the style of John and that of Jesus in the discourses reported by John, is partly due to the influence which Christ's deeper teaching had upon the thought and style of his devoted follower. John was not great enough to supplement or change the teaching of his blaster; but he was great enough to be moulded in an extraordinary degree by that which was highest in the personality and teaching of that Master. Again, this resemblance is partly due to the mental constitution of John, which was doubtless predisposed to the peculiar type of thought and expression found in his First Epistle. And, therefore, if Jesus had always spoken as the Synoptists lead us to suppose that he generally spoke, the style of John would doubtless have resembled in some degree that which we see in his First Epistle. But if Jesus had always spoken after the Synoptic pattern, it may be doubted whether John would have been chosen by the Spirit of God to write a Gospel, or, indeed, have been drawn to Jesus as powerfully as he manifestly was. Once more, the resemblance of John's style to that of certain discourses of Christ preserved by him, may be closer than it would have been if he had given all the words spoken by Christ in those discourses. No doubt his reports are but epitomes, and it may therefore be presumed that he has omitted sentences and illustrations that were less significant and impressive to his mind than those which are given. For the Holy Spirit avails himself, as far as possible, of the special powers and tendencies of those whom he inspires. Finally, the resemblance in question may be closer than it would have been if John had given us, in all cases, the ipsissima verba, instead of the essential thoughts of his Master. But it was impossible for him to do the former, unless he had written his Gospel in the Aramaean dialect used by Jesus. And it was likewise unnecessary; for it is the facts, the principles, the thoughts, expressed by Christ, rather than the particular words employed in doing this, which reveal to men their moral ruin and the way of recover}'. The words may be changed by translation, by paraphrase, by condensation, by repetition, without serious loss, provided the essential thoughts are neither mutilated nor distorted. Many illustrations and applications of truth may be omitted without harm to the reader,, if only what is given be given with substantial accuracy. For "the heavens," though, we see but a part of them, "declare the glory of God." John himself calls attention to the fact that his record is incomplete, but he nowhere intimates that it may be incorrect. Yet the fragmentary character of a record, though it be correct as far as it goes, is likely to make it appear abrupt, disconnected, and perhaps in some degree obscure. It is not therefore surprising that imperfections of such a nature are found in the Fourth Gospel. All history, in proportion to its veracity, contains them. Any alleged record of human life on a large scale that shows in full the connection of events, so that all the reasons for the actions narrated are manifest, must be fictitious — ideal instead of real. Hence, the broken connections, the obscure passages in the Gospels, are in reality signs of their veracity, marks of historical trustworthiness. Bearing in mind these considerations, we are unable to discover any solid grounds for withholding our confidence from John's record of the Lord's discourses. That record we receive as the testimony of an honest, intelligent, inspired witness, giving us the essential truth without admixture of real error.
We do not forget that Biblical scholars have often denied to John the authorship of the Fourth Gospel, on the ground that he wrote the Book of Revelation. For it is incredible, they aver, that the same man could have written two books so unlike each other in thought and expression as these. The difference asserted, and its bearing on the question of authorship, have been briefly discussed by Dr. Smith, in his Introduction to the Book of Revelation; but a few remarks may be added in this place:(1) The difference of thought between the two books is not doctrinal but practical. The object of the Gospel is not the same as that of the Apocalypse. For the former aims to produce belief in Christ as the Saviour of individual men who trust in him, while the latter aims to strengthen confidence in Christ as One who is able to do battle with organized sin, and overcome the world at last. But, in so far as the person and work of Christ are concerned, the doctrinal basis of the two books is identical. (2) The difference of expression may be partially explained. First, by the fact that one of the books is historical, and the other apocalyptical. While writing the former, the author's mind was engaged in a deeply interesting, but calm review of the past, and in a careful statement of familiar events; but while writing the latter, it was " in the Spirit," rapt, entranced, and filled with wondrous visions of glory or terror. Even if the act of writing or dictating followed after the last vision was seen, it must have been performed before the ecstatic condition and illumination had entirely passed away. Secondly, by the fact that the two writings were not probably composed in the same period of John's life. An interval of fifteen or twenty years may lie between them. If the Gospel was written as early as A. D. 80, and the Revelation as late as A. D. 98 or 100, John had passed from the age of about seventy-five, to the age of about ninety-five, and it is certainly credible that his use of an acquired language may have been less careful at the greater age than it was at the less. When a man reaches an advanced period of life, he sometimes falls back in his forms of speech to the habits of youth. Thirdly, by the possible circumstance that the language of John, in the Apocalypse, was taken down by a less scholarly amanuensis than the one by whom his Gospel was written out. For an amanuensis may be supposed to mend or mar the language of his principal, in a grammatical respect, without failing to give every word dictated. Especially if the Gospel is supposed to have been dictated to an intelligent Greek, can we account for its grammatical correctness; for by his aid the Hebrew thought of John might have been expressed in grammatical Greek; while this might not have been always the case with a less Grecian amanuensis. (3) The similarity of style in the two books should not be overlooked. For this is marked and undeniable. In both the construction is simple and Hebraistic, perhaps equally so. The narrative parts of the Gospel remind us of the story of Joseph in Genesis: the symbolical descriptions of the Apocalypse recall the style of certain pas- sages in Ezekiel and Daniel. In neither do we meet with anything that is suggestive of Greek habits of thought or expression. Indeed, the difference of vocabulary between the books is sufficiently accounted for by the difference of themes, while the similarity is such as to favor the tradition of a single author. (4) The evidence of John's authorship of the Apocalvpse is not really equal to that for his authorship of the Fourth Gospel and the first Epistle. For Eusebius, who had access to a large amount of early Christian literature, since lost, reckons the Gospel and the Epistle among the undisputed books; and his treatment of the Gospel, shows that he felt it wholly unnecessary to cite testimonies in its favor. But the same cannot be said of the Book of Revelation. Its apostolic authorship had been questioned before that time by certain Christians, and Eusebius himself, perhaps on doctrinal grounds, entertained doubts respecting it. As a matter of fact, therefore, if Eusebius is to be trusted, the testimony of the early church is stronger in support of the Gospel than it is in support of the Apocalypse. And if the question were to be answered by an appeal to the judgment of Irenĉus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Tertullian, who flourished a hundred years earlier, the same conclusion would be reached. We believe, however, that both writings are genuine, and the work of the same apostle; but if either were to be denied him it should not be the Gospel.
TIME AND PLACE OF ITS COMPOSITION.
No external or internal evidences are conclusive as to the precise date of this Gospel. But ecclesiastical tradition points to a time after the other genuine Gospels had been written, and indeed after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in the year To. Irenĉus, whose early life was spent in Asia Minor, and who must have been familiar, through Polycarp, with the work of John in Ephesus, speaks of the first three Gospels as prepared by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and then says: "Afterwards John, the disciple of our Lord, the same that lay upon his bosom, also published the Gospel whilst he was yet at Ephesus in Asia" ("Adv. Hĉr." III. i. 1). Clement of Alexandria states that: "Last of all, John, perceiving that what had reference to the body in the Gospel of our Saviour was made known in the Gospels [already extant], and being encouraged by his familiar friends and moved by the Spirit, made a spiritual Gospel" (Euseb. " H. E." VI. 14). Jerome repeats the same tradition, adding to it several particulars. Moreover, the character of the Gospel favors the view that it was the last of the four, and especially does the way in which "the Jews" are spoken of imply that the writer had been absent many years from his land and people. Westcott assigns the origin of this Gospel without hesitation to "the last quarter of the first century," and thinks that it may belong "in its present form to the last decennium of that period." He also remarks that "this late date of the writing is scarcely of less importance than its peculiarly personal character, if we would form a correct estimate of the evidence which establishes its early use and authority."
There is a similar lack of indubitable testimony as to the place where this Gospel was written. Yet the best evidence within our reach points clearly to Ephesus. For early tradition represents John as making that city his residence and the centre of his apostolic ministry during the last part of his long life; and, as we have just seen, Irenĉus declares that he wrote the Gospel there. Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus about A. D. 190, testifies that "John, who leaned on the bosom of our Lord and was a priest that bore the sacerdotal plate, as well as a martyr and teacher, rests also at Ephesus " (Euseb. "H. E." III. 20). According to Irenĉus, he lived until the time of Trajan (A. D. 98). He also speaks of his meeting with Cerinthus the heretic in a bath, and of his rushing out of the place, declaring that he dare not remain under the same roof with this enemy of the truth ("Adv. Hĉr." III. 3, 4). Clement of Alexandria has placed on record the story of a young man whom John in his old age recovered from a course of robbery and sin into which he had fallen after conversion. (See Quis dives salutem consequi possit, c. 42). And Jerome relates that, when very old and feeble, so that he could not walk, he had himself carried to the meetings of the church, and there, when he could say no more, repeated the words: Little children, love one another (In " Epist. ad Galatos," VI. 10). We may, therefore, rationally hold that this Gospel was written between the years A. D. 75 and A. D. 85, in the city of Ephesus.
THE OCCASION, OBJECT, AND PLAN OF THE WORK.
In the Fragment on the Canon discovered by Muratori, it is said that John was exhorted by his fellow-disciples and bishops to engage in writing the Gospel, and that he asked them to fast with him three days, for the purpose of obtaining from the Lord a message in relation to the apostle's duty. It is also said that Andrew, one of the apostles, received the same night a revelation that John should describe all things in his own name, though all should review it. Jerome appears to have given credit to a similar tradition, for he relates that "John last of all wrote a Gospel, when asked to do so by the bishops of Asia, against Cerinthus and other heretics, and especially against the rising dogma of the Ebionites, who asserted that Christ did not exist before Mary " ("Catal. Script. Eccl." e. 9). It is therefore possible that the external occasion for this Gospel was a request of his fellow-disciples who were serving the churches of Asia Minor. This, perhaps, is all that can be safely affirmed; for some have urged that the story may have been invented to account for the last verse of the Gospel. Yet we detect in it no features of extravagance, and believe it may be true.
But the religious purpose or object of the Gospel is of far greater interest to us than its external occasion. What was there at that time in the state of the churches, or in the thought of the world, which called for another Gospel, presenting new aspects of the Saviours teaching? The early Christian writers do not perfectly agree in their answers to this question. Irenĉus declares that John wrote his Gospel "to remove from the minds of men the error which Cerinthus had sown therein, and still earlier, the Nicolaitans. . . . also to establish in the church the rule of truth, that there is one God Almighty, who, by his Word, created all things, visible and invisible," etc. ("Adv. User." III. 11. 1). Different from this is the statement of Clement of Alexandria, to which reference has already been made, namely, that "John last, perceiving that the bodily things [relating to Christ] had been made manifest in the Gospels [previously written], being also encouraged by his intimate friends and moved by the Spirit of God, made a spiritual Gospel," (" H. E. " VI. 14). Eusebius himself defends another view, namely, that John wrote his Gospel to supply the deficiencies of the first three, particularly their omission of any narrative of Christ's ministry before the imprisonment of John the Baptist. "For these reasons the Apostle John, it is said, being entreated to undertake it, wrote the account of the time not recorded by the former Evangelists. . . . giving the deeds of Jesus before the Baptist was cast into prison.... It is probable, therefore, that John passed by, in silence, the genealogy of our Lord, because it was written by Matthew and Luke, but commenced with the doctrine of the divinity, as a part reserved for him, by the Divine Spirit, as if for a superior" ("H. E." III. 24).
There may be some truth in every one of these representations. The erroneous teaching of that period may have led the Evangelist to select for his Gospel such words and deeds of the Lord as would be likely to counteract and eradicate that insidious teaching. Again, the circumstance that the earlier Evangelists had put on record many of the parables and more popular sayings of Jesus, may have led John to see the need of preserving some part of his deeper instruction concerning his union with the Father, and the spiritual nature of his reign. And precisely this instruction may have been better fitted than any other to meet the errors which were at that time beginning to sap the foundations of faith in Christ. And lastly, the apostle may have remembered that Jesus began to assert his divine origin and power in Judea during the period of his ministry that had not been described by the earlier Evangelists, and their silence may have been an additional reason for including in his narrative some account of that period. But, while this must be admitted, the question may arise whether any of these statements rest upon tradition reaching back to the time of John. May not all of them have been inferences from the character of the Book itself? Possibly; though the relation of Irenĉus to the Elders of the School of John in Asia Minor leads us to regard his testimony of some historical value. Besides, the narrative concerning John and the young robber, which Clement of Alexandria relates, renders it probable that he was familiar with some of the Asiatic disciples; and the reference which Eusebius makes to common report, by " it is said," forbids us to suppose that he is giving a mere conjecture of his own.
Yet we find no clear evidence in the Gospel itself that it was written with a distinct purpose of supplying deficiencies in earlier narratives, or of resisting the beginnings of error, or of giving to Christians the more spiritual aspects of their Lord's life. If the apostle had any of these things in mind, they must have been altogether subordinate to the one comprehensive aim which he avows near the close of his narrative: "Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, ye may have life in his name." Here we have a definite statement of the object for which the Gospel was written. With this key in his possession, the interpreter may unlock the rooms of this divine treasure-house, and bring out of it stores of truth and grace. It is needless to attempt any explanation of this key, any restatement of that which has been so clearly and powerfully expressed.
But how did the writer accomplish, or seek to accomplish his object? What is the plan of his great argument? Apparently, a very simple one. The Evangelist first gives his own view of the Lord Jesus, and then justifies that view by a recital of such passages from the history of Jesus — including his death and resurrection — as prove it to be correct. Possibly it would be more exact to say that he justifies the truth of his own view, given in the prologue, by a selection and recital of certain words and deeds and events in the history of Jesus which had been principal sources of his own belief and spiritual life. In doing this, he generally follows the order of time, and testifies of what he has himself seen or heard.
A. During the first and peaceful period: (1:19; 4:54). (1) The witness of John the Baptist, (a) before the deputation of Pharisees from Jerusalem, to the priority and superiority of Jesus (1:20:27); (b) before his own disciples, to his being the Lamb of God (1:36), the Son of God (1:34), the Christ, and the Bridegroom of God's people (3:28-30). (2) The witness of Jesus as to himself by works and words; (a) by miraculous signs, as at the wedding in Cana of Galilee (2:1-11), in the expulsion of traders from the Temple (2:13-22), in miracles at Jerusalem (2:23; 3:2), and in healing the nobleman's son from a distance (4:47-54); (b) by words manifesting or claiming that he had superhuman knowledge as to Peter (1:42), and Nathanael (1:48), that he was the Son of God and King of Israel (1:49, 50), that he had special communion with heaven (1:51), that he possessed power to raise his dead body to life again (2:19, 21), that he had direct knowledge of heavenly things, because he had been in heaven (3:12, 13), that belief in himself as "lifted up" on the cross, was the condition of eternal life (3:14, 15), that he was the giver of the water of life (4:10, 14), and, indeed, the expected Messiah (4:25, 26).
B. During the second or controversial period (5:1-12:50). (1) The further witness of Jesus as to himself, (a) by healing the infirm man on the Sabbath (5:2-9), by feeding the five thousand men (6:5-14), by giving sight to a man who had been blind from birth (9:1-7), and by raising Lazarus from the dead (11:3-44); and (2) by asserting, after the first miracle, his special Sonship to the Father, and unity in knowledge and action with him (5:17, 19-30); by asserting, after the second miracle, that he was, himself, God's bread out of heaven, and so the source of eternal life to those who should believe in him (6:27-40), and, indeed, that only such as received him as slain for them could have that life (6:51-58), also that he was the Light of the world (8:12), and One who had a timeless existence like God's (8:58); by affirming, after the third miracle, that he was the Son of God (9:36, 37), and, still later, that he was the Door of the sheep, and the good Shepherd, giving his life for the sheep (10:7, 11, 15), having power, by virtue of his oneness with the Father, to keep all the flock (10:28-30); and by affirming, in connection with the last miracle, that he was himself the Resurrection and the Life to those who should believe in him (11:25), and, soon after, that, by being lifted up from the earth at death, he would draw all men unto himself (12:32). This is only a brief sketch of his answers and discussions pertaining to his nature and work.
C. During the third and final period (13:1; 21:25). (1) By exhorting his disciples to belief in him as well as in God (14:1), by declaring that he was the Way and the Truth and the Life (14:6), a knowledge of whom was a knowledge of the Father (14:7), also that he was the true Vine, in whom they must abide as branches, in order to have spiritual life (15:1-6), that he would send them the Holy Spirit to be their Advocate (14:16, 17; 15:26; 16:7-15), and that a knowledge of the Father and the Son was eternal life (17:3), also by testifying before Pilate that he was King in the realm of highest truth (18:37, 38); (2) finally, by rising from the dead on the third day (20:1 sq.): by breathing upon his disciples, and saying:" Receive ye the Holy Spirit" (20:22), by accepting divine homage from Thomas (20:28), and by reinstating Peter in the apostleship (21:15 sq.). In connection with all these claims to a divine nature and office, there is a plain recognition of his human nature, with all its normal limitations.
AIM AND SOURCES OF THIS COMMENTARY.
The writer's aim in preparing this volume has been to ascertain, if possible, the exact meaning of the sacred text, and then to state that meaning with the utmost clearness consistent with suitable brevity. Yet in doing this it has been deemed important to keep always in view the practical bearing of the Saviour's words, and to call attention frequently to that bearing. Not critical processes, but simply the results of such processes, have been thought to be entitled to any considerable space in a work designed for the people. And, in so far as this aim of the writer has been realized in the Commentary, will it be found, he is confident, useful as an explanation of Holy Scripture to readers of every class. But owing to the exceeding riches of the Fourth Gospel in the deep things of God and of his Son Jesus Christ, the work must fail to correspond in all respects with the ideal contemplated. Of this the writer is profoundly conscious. Yet the study of the Gospel has been delightful and quickening, even though the attempt to express the thoughts of the Master in words different from those chosen by himself, or by the disciple whom he loved, has often seemed to be ineffectual, if not irreverent. For, verily, beneath the tranquil surface of this Gospel, which is filled to so great an extent with what the Lord himself said, are deep and fervid ocean-currents of holy life and love, which no one can undertake to explore and describe without being made to feel the dimness of his vision and the feebleness of his speech.
But while the text of the Gospel itself has been studied with special and principal care, the writer has made constant use of the best commentaries and monographs within his reach, and has derived from them important aid. Not unfrequently have citations been made from some of these works, but their helpfulness has been greater than would be inferred from the passages borrowed from them. Among the books that have been consulted with reference to the authorship of the Gospel may be named the anonymous work entitled, "Supernatural Religion," (6 ed.); especially Vol. II., and the article on the "Fourth Gospel," in the ninth edition of the " Encyclopedia Britannica," besides a great number of volumes or articles by German scholars who deny that this Gospel was written by the Apostle John. In favor of the Johannean authorship may be named Westcott "On the Canon of the New Testament," (5 ed.); Bleek, "Introduction to the New Testament," 8. 71; Sanday (W.), "Authorship and Character of the Fourth Gospel"; Abbot (Ezra), "The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel"; several articles in the " Contemporary Review" for 1875, by Lightfoot; also Luthardt, "St. John, the Author of the Fourth Gospel," which gives in the Appendix a list of the most valuable works on the subject published between 1792 and 1875. To these maybe added, " Canonicity, A Collection of Early Testimonies to the Canonical Books of the New Testament, " by Prof Charteris, of Edinburgh. Among the commentaries which have been used most freely, the following deserve to be mentioned, viz.: those of Gill, Alford, McClellan, Westcott, Watkins, Abbot, Clark, Milligan and Moulton, in English; those of Liicke, De Wette, Luthardt, Beyer, Hengstenberg, Ewald, and Weiss-Meyer, in German; those of Calvin, Lampe, and Bengel, in Latin; and that of Godet, in French. In the examination of the Greek text the critical labors of Tischendorf, Tregelles, Westcott and Hort, Scrivener, Burgon, Abbot, and McClellan, have been consulted; also Schaff's "Companion to the Greek Testament and English Aversion."
1) Save Judas Iscariot, who appears to have had no moral qualification for the apostleship. But it was known to Jesus from the beginning that this unworthy disciple would at last betray him to his foes (see Notes on 6:64,70, 71; 13:11,18) and then perish, before entering upon the proper work of an apostle.