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John: he had therefore the same views with John of Christ and his gospel.
The Jewish writers often express the attributes of God by a term corresponding to logos in Greek, or word in English. The term logos, in this collective sense, is personified; and we are in danger, unless we be aware of the effects of eastern imagery, to understand it as denoting a real person. The apostolic writers extend the word thus denoting the divine perfections, to the christian doctrine, which originated in those perfections, and which places them in a new and engaging light; and they preserve, when thus extended, its former personification. The following examples will justify this assertion. In John, chap. xii. 47. our Lord speaks thus, "If any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not; for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my word, hath one that judgeth him, the word (the logos) that I have spoken, the same (logos) shall judge him in the last day." The term logos, or word, as our translators render it, means here, beyond dispute, the gospel, or the message which Jesus communicated from God to the human race. But it is represented, in this place, not merely as a message, but as a messenger, and invested not only with the qualities
of a man, but with the office and dignity of a judge.
A similar use and personification of the christian doctrine occur in the epistle to the Hebrews, chap. iv. 12. "The Logos of God is alive and active.—and is a judge of the meditations and thoughts of the heart; and there is no creature concealed from him, but all things are bare and laid open before the eyes of him, with whom we have to do." In this instance the gospel is described under the figure of him, who shall judge the world, and pass upon the different characters of men, a final decision.
The apostle Peter thus expresses himself, Acts x. 36. “The Logos whom God hath sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ, this Logos is the lord of all." Which verse, it is clear, asserts the conviction of the apostle, that the gospel was not to be confined, as he had previously supposed, to the Jewish nation, but to be extended to the Gentiles, whom it was to command by the evidence of its divine authority, and whose lives it was to regulate by its precepts and motives. This is the meaning of the word in the above passage. Its personification is no less obvious; as it is described under the idea of a man preaching peace, and of a sovereign holding dominion over all others.
The spread of christianity in the world is delineated in these strong terms by the apostle Paul, 2 Thess. iii. 1. “ Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the Logos of the Lord may run and be glorified." The words convey an allusion to a man running in the public games, who, if successful, was glorified or signalized by very distinguished honours. The glory obtained by success in them was the theme of much encomium, and poetic description among heathen writers.
In 2 Tim. ii. 9. the same author uses this remarkable language. "Remember Jesus Christ risen from the dead, in whom I am ill treated, even with chains; but the Logos of God is not chained;" that is, Though I am arrested and confined by the hand of violence, the doctrine revealed by Jesus Christ cannot be arrested nor confined. It will spread in spite of human violence, and surmount in the end every impediment, thrown in its way by the wickedness of the world. -It will finally run and be glorified." A similar prosopopœia is observable in Acts xx. 32. “And now I recommend you, brethren, to God, and to the Logos of his grace, who is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among the saints." The members of this sentence correspond by inversion: thus, "I recommend you to the Logos, who is able to build you up, and to God, who will give you an inheritance among the
Logos in this, as in the other passages, denotes the doctrine of Christ, which, by its divine influence, improves and edifies the heart of its sincere professor. The personification of it here is bold and striking: animation and activity being ascribed to it, as well as to God himself.
Another very striking instance of this kind occurs in James i. 14. "But every one is tempted of his own lust, being drawn and seduced thereby. Lust, then, conceiveth and begetteth sin; and sin having grown to maturity, bringeth forth death. Be not mistaken, beloved brethren; every good gift, every perfect endowment, is from above, descending from the father of light, with whom there is no change, nor the shadow of a change. His will has brought us forth by the Logos of truth, so as to be the first fruits amongst his own creatures." In the first part of this beautiful ragraph sin and death are evidently invested with the passions of a living being: lust gives birth to sin, and becomes the parent of death. The writer carries on the same animated representation to the last clause of the sentence, and describes the Deity as conceiving by the instrumentality of his Logos, and bringing forth children, which, as being rational and virtuous, were peculiarly his own. The Almighty and his Logos, however, beget their common offspring, for reasons different from those which actuated lust
and sin. Base passion influenced the latter, whereas counsel or wisdom induced the former to conceive.
This personification, indeed, pervades the christian scriptures; but I shall produce only one more example. Acts xiv. 3. "The apostles were emboldened in the Lord, who bore witness to his gracious Logos, giving signs and wonders to be done by their hands." This language, be it observed, is borrowed from the forms used in the administration of justice. The Logos is brought to his trial, and his evidence, as a divine commissioner, examined; and to enforce the testimony of his attendants, the Sovereign of nature interposes in his behalf, and demonstrates the truth of his delegation by signs and wonders. The Evangelist Mark, at the close of his gospel, plaçes before us a similar representation of the apostolic doctrine. "And they went and everywhere proclaimed the Logos, the Lord co-operating with them, and confirming him by means of signs following." That is, the apostles went about to announce the Logos, with miracles, like so many witnesses attending in their train. The original of confirming is a legal term, and signifies to authenticate by solemn evidence.
The term Logos, thus personified and applied to the gospel, is sometimes extended by the sacred writers to its illustrious founder, when they