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vinity, does it not equally accord with any attribute of Deity. Does it mean the beginning of the 'creation? This accords with our interpretation of Logos, but not with the whole of Jesus Christ. But if you may be allowed to understand it as the beginning of the old creation, we may be equally allowed to understand by it the beginning of the new creation ; and we have many passages to corroborate our supposition. For instance, in the same writer, “Ye have been with me from the beginning.” (John xv. 27.) “These things I said not to you at the beginning,” (xvi. 4.) and several other places.
I proceed. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.” What do
you here understand by the term God, if the Word means the second person in the Trinity; for there is an evident distinction between the two terms? If you say it means the Father only, you are puzzled again in the next sentence, where it is said, “the Word was God." Then you must give a different definition of God, and say it was not the Father only. If
ou say it means the Father and the Holy
Spirit, this is a refinement of reasoning for which you have no authority. . Understand it as the wisdom, or power, or perfection of God, and there is none of this difficulty.
Once more, in the 14th verse, it is said that the 66 Word was made flesh.” You do not take this literally, that the second person in the Trinity was made a man. No ; you explain it, that the divinity of Christ was added to the humanity. Is there less of reasoning in this than in our explanation, that, Divine power or wisdom was infused into the man. Jesus? Upon the whole, your explanation seems clogged with difficulties, our's much more clear..
With this explanation of the terms used let us review this introduction to the gosa pel of John.
“ 1. In the beginning of the Christian dispensation) was the word, (divine inspiration, wisdom, or perfections communicated at the baptism of Jesus) and the word was with God, and the word was (no other than) God (himself).
This Logos was not an ænon, not a being distinct from
“2. The same was in the beginning with God.
- 3. All things were made by him, (by God) and without him was not any thing made that was made.*
“ 4. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.t
“5. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. I
“ 6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
“7. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe.
God, as the Gnostics maintained, but no other than God him, self.
* For the true sense of eysveto (made), see Improved Vera sion in loc.
† (Zwr) life, was not an con, or being distinct from God, as the Gnostics maintained, but this also was an attribute of Deity. “ And God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” (Gen. ii. 7.)
# This divine communication, by which “man became a living soul,” and which constituted him “the image of God," (Gen. 1. 27) was granted even to the ignorant and idolatrous heathens, but they did not improve it. See Wakefield's Note in loc. He renders the words, “ They hindered it not,” it was not “totally eclipsed by them.”
“ 8. He was not that light, but was sent to bear witness of that light.*
“ 9. That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.t
“ 10. He was in the (whole) world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. I
“ 11. He came unto his own, (chosen people the Jews) and his own received him not, (disobeyed his commands and fell into idolatry.)
“12. But as many as received him, (were obedient to his commands) to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that (practically) believe on his name.
- 13. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
The Gnostics called John the Great Light. The evangelist asserts that he was not so, but was sent to bear witness of the illumination of another. (See Jones' Illustrations, p. 618, 619. Michaelis, Introd. Vol. III. p. 294.)
† “ This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darka dess at all." 1 John i. 5.
(Eysveto) was enlightened by him. (See Im. Ver, in loc.
: Hitherto then, in this introduction of John, no reference appears to be made to the person of Christ. It was written entirely in opposition to the Gnostic doctrine of cons, of the separate existences of wisdom, and life, and light; and to maintain, that they were all one and the same being, all God himself.
In the fourteenth verse, he introduces the messenger of the covenant, the Messiah, by saying, That the perfections of Deity became flesh; (were imparted to a real man) still in opposition to the Gnostics, who asserted that the Christ was not Aesh (a mere man).* To this man he then proceeds to ascribe the possession of light, and life, and divine perfections. Towards the close of his yospel he expressly states, that he wrote these things “ that ye might
* Psalm lvi. 4. “I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” V. 11, “ I will not fear what man can do unto me." Luke üi. 6, “ And all flesh shall see the salvation of God." John xvii. 2, “ As thou bast given him power over all flesh.” Acts ii. 17, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh.” 1 Pet, i. 24, “For all flesh is as grass.” Matt. xxiv. 22, “And except those days should be shortened, there shonld no flesh be saved.” And in various other places.