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the Word was God,"'* that is, there was not an inactive Deity apart from one who was active. same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him.t (The Greek here is dia, through, and denotes instrumentality). “And without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He was not the Light, but was sent to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth. Thus, the apostle's object was, I conceive, not to assert any coequal, co-eternal Deity of the Son with the Father, but to show that God is not a solitary, self-comprised Being, dwelling apart in His seclusion, but our heavenly Father, holding a living personal relation to the universe and to mankind; a truth much needed, not only by those amongst whom John preached, but
* Must we not, with the Alexandrine Fathers, especially Origen, conclude that Oeds without the article, is to be taken as marking the difference between the indefinite sense of “Divine nature,” and the definite absolute conception of God, expressed by / Oeds ? - Commentar. üb. das Evang. des Johan. von Dr. Friedrich Lücke, Band. i., p. 232–238. See also Liverpool Lectures, Lect. 5th,
† Logos being masculine, a masculine pronoun of course is used with it in the Greek, but in the Vulgate the noun verbum is in the neuter gender, and in the second verse we have hoc (not hic) erat in principio apud Deum. In German, Wort is neuter, and in Luther's translation the pronoun employed is dasselbige. Every English version which preceded our common translation, employed the neuter pronoun “it,” so far as I have been able to discover. Campbell On the Gospels.
also in our own day, when, through the Deification of the Son, and the Personification of the Holy Spirit, the simple and endearing relation between the earthly child and the heavenly Father is in a great measure lost sight of.*
Mr. Bickersteth has referred to the fact that Philo, a Jew of Alexandria, uses language very similar to that of St. John-language, I need not say, of a kind not usual in the other writers of the New Testament. The reason of this difference, doubtless is, that John wrote in Asia Minor, and adopted the language of speculative religion, which he found in use around him; but I suppose it will not be contended that either Philo or the ante-Nicene Fathers regarded the Logos as co-equal with the Father.t
In John v. 18, the accusation of the Jews that * Mr. Bickersteth has quoted in a note a passage from Dr. Pye Smith, in which he puts it to the Unitarian whether any interpretation but the orthodox is not a distortion of plain Scripture language. I think the best answer I can give is simply to mention the fact, at least, as currently reported, that the Rev. gentleman who now holds the office of Theological Professor in the College, in which was merged that, of which Dr. P. Smith was professor, has himself seen reasons for departing from the interpretation of his predecessor, and giving one which, as it seems to me, far better realizes the grand spiritual lesson of the passage.
† While in the tradition of the Church, the Logos-idea was taught and transmitted in the form which most perfectly harmonized with the habits of thought that had resulted from the previous stage of spiritual culture, viz., as the idea of a spirit, first-begotten of God and subordinate to Him;
besides this, another view of the doctrine concerning the Trinity, which may be designated, after the customary language of this period, as that of the Monarchians, who either disclaimed all knowledge of the Logos doctrine generally, or understood by the Logos simply a divine energy, the divine wisdom or reason, which illu
Jesus made himself equal with God is represented with what follows as "proving equality of nature as to co-operation, self-existence, infinite knowledge, etc.; but turning to the Gospel itself we find everything traced up not to Christ's divine nature as its source, but to the Father. The Father hath committed judgment to the Son (v. 22). The Father is honored through the Son whom He hath sent (v. 23). The Father hath life in Himself, and hath given the Son to have life in himself (v. 26), and hath given him authority to execute judgment (v. 27). And our Lord
says, “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father who hath sent me” (John v. 30).
We come now to the exclamation of Thomas, “My Lord and my God!" (John xx. 28). The unbelieving disciple had said, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, etc., I will not believe.” The evidence demanded was given with a tender rebuke. Then it was that Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” A startling change, surely, from disbelief in the Saviour's resurrection to the recognition of him as the Supreme Being. Dr. P. Smith suggests a special revelation at the moment; but both before and after the apostolic age the word “God”
was used in two senses; why may it not have been in that age itself? “Is it not written in your law,” asks Christ, “I said ye are gods ?” And Tertullian says, “If the Father and the Son are to be named together, I call the Father, God, and Jesus Christ, Lord, though I can call Christ, God, when speaking of himself alone.” “It may be justly doubted,” says Bishop Bloomfield, “whether the so lately incredulous, because prejudiced and unenlightened disciple, had then or at any time before the illumination of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, any complete notion of the Divine nature of Jesus as forming part of the Godhead.”*
minates the souls of the pious—in this respect falling in with a certain modification of the Logos-idea which was adopted by one class of Jewish theologians.—Neander's Church History, vol. ii.,
“Of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever" Rom. ix. 5. When Mr. Bickersteth adopted Dr. Pye Smith's assertion respecting the construction of this sentence, he could not, I think, have been aware that he would be excluding from the number of Greek scholars such men as the following - Origen, Erasmus, Bucer, Le Clerc, Grotius, Wetstein, Dr. Samuel Clarke, Fritzsche, the two distinguished editors of the Greek Testament, Lachmann and Tischendorf,t and the present Regius Prof. of Greek at the University of Oxford, who, following Lachmann's text, states, with perfect candour and fairness, the arguments on both sides. Prof. Jowett says :
“It is a question, to which we can hardly expect to get an answer unbiassed by the interests of controversy, whether the clause, ó VÊTU Távrwv eos
* Wilson's Concessions.
† Griesbach has a note which denotes that different methods of punctuation are possible.
In the original Greek manuscripts, letter was strung to letter, and so continued that every line was like a single word. So that the punctuation was left to the discretion of transcribers and editors of later times.
ευλογητός εις τους αιώνας, is to be referred to Christ; “of whom is Christ according to the flesh, the God over all, blessed for ever;" or, as in Lachmann, to be separated from the preceding words and regarded as a doxology to God the Father, uttered by the apostle, on a review of God's mercy to the Jewish people. Supposing the words we are considering to be referred not to Christ, but God, it is argued: 1. That the doxology thus inserted in the midst of the text is unmeaning. 2. That here, as in Rom. i. 3, the words, katà oápka, need some corresponding clause expressive of the exaltation of Christ. 3. That the grammar is defective and awkward. It is replied to the first objection, that the introduction of such doxologies in the midst of a sentence is common in Jewish writers. See Schoetsgen on 2 Cor. xi. 31, though the passages there quoted do not justify the abrupt introduction of the doxology where the name of God has not preceded. To the second it is answered that St. Paul is not here contrasting the humiliation and exaltation of Christ, which would be out of place in this passage, but simply declaring the fact that Messiah was of the Jews. To the third, which is the strongest objection, that the omission of the verb is usual in such formulas. It may be added : 1. That the language here applied to Christ is stronger than that used elsewhere, even in the strongest passages, Titus ii. 13; 1 Tim. iii. 16, (where the reading is doubtful,) Col. ii. 9. 2. That nearly the same expression, ο ών .. ευλογητός εις τους αιώνας, occurs also in 2 Cor. xi. 31; but that is applied, not to Christ him