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of Smyrna, the Apostle Philip in Hierapolis and his daughters, and · John, who lay on the Lord's breast,' who became priest, and wore the Petalon.” “Here then,” our author adds, “ is the whole authority of the Apostle John, his personal habit, and the usage which formed itself under its influence, brought to bear against the historical statement and doctrinal conception of the fourth Gospel.” But if Polycrates' belief that John “ kept the paschal fourteenth day” is evidence that he did so, why is not his belief that he lived in Asia evidence of that fact; and why is not the Bishop's belief that John wrote the fourth Gospel (inferable from the words, “ John, who lay on the Lord's breast") proof that he did indeed write it?
Dr. Martineau finds no claim in the Gospel to a Johannean authorship. It does not even profess to be written by an eyewitness of the facts of which it tells. The solemn words which follow the account of the piercing of Jesus' side, “ And he that hath seen it bath borne witness and his witness is true, and that one knoweth that he saith true in order that ye too may believe,” “ inform the reader of a third person's testimony.” The clause " that one knoweth that he saith true things," so far from implying that the writer is the witness, implies the contrary, for “no speaker can use the demonstrative pronoun ékeivos of himself.” But in the ninth chapter, thirty-seventh verse, of this same Gospel we find Jesus answering the lately blind man's question, “ Who is be, Lord (the Son of God), that I may believe on him?” by saying, “ Thou hast both seen him, and he that talketh with thee is that one" (ékelvos). When the speaker assumes the third person, he may, of course, use a demonstrative pronoun to denote himself. Disregarding this objection, why may we not take, nay, why must we not take, the language under discussion as the writer's asseveration that he saw the event which he has just described ?
The appendix, apparently a formal attestation of the genuineness of the book by its author's disciples, says that it was written by the disciple whom Jesus loved,” thereby, of course, guaranteeing its apostolicity. Such authorship is tacitly claimed more than once by the writer; as, for example, in the incident at the last supper, in which he receives a signal from Peter to ask Jesus who the traitor is, and leaning back upon the Lord's breast, asks the question; and that before the cross, in which Jesus commits his mother to the beloved disciple. At least these passages, taken in connection with the asseveration above mentioned, carry this claim. If the Gospel professes to have been written by an apostle, labor
given to showing that it does not claim to have been written by the Apostle John seems poorly spent. The places in which the “beloved disciple” appears suggest that one of the sons of Zebedee is spoken of, and the suggestion is confirmed by the especial intimacy with Jesus attributed by the Synoptic Gospels to these disciples and Peter. Dr. Martineau, to be sure, says that “ of those who formed the inner circle of disciples (“apostles,' they are not called) the writer names but seven ; and among them the sons of Zebedee are not found.” But as the only passage which makes separate mention of the seven does include the sons of Zebedee (xxi. 2), this statement must be dismissed as attributable to the “ personal equation.”
Dr. Martineau ascribes the tradition that the Gospel was written by John to the influence of the Apocalypse. This purported to be from a person of that name, “ And to whom was Jesus Christ more likely to convey the Revelation which God gave him of things to come than to the disciple whom he loved. . . . And so it was inferred that the Prophet John was no other than the beloved disciple, and therefore the beloved disciple the younger son of Zebedee.” If I understand the reasoning of this passage, it is this : people who had the Gospel asked who its “ beloved disciple” was. Recollecting the Apocalypse to have been written by a John, they said that the revelation given to its author showed him to have been favored by Christ, and therefore presumably “the beloved disciple” of the Gospel. Hence the Gospel was written by the “ beloved disciple” John, the son of Zebedee.
So the Apocalypse gained its reputed apostolicity from the Gospel; and, as it were, paid the Gospel back by attaching to it John's name. As Dr. Martineau assigns the Gospel to the fifth decade of the second century (p. 237, “ about the fifth decade," etc.) and the Apocalypse to the year 136, at the earliest (p. 227), we have to believe that this interchange was effected in about ten years. And when we recollect that, as our author assures us, the Apocalypse does not profess to have been written by an apostle (taking what seems to be the more careful of his self-contradictory statements about the matter), and that it is strange that a book having such ideas as it contains should have been attributed to one, and that the Gospel is palpably non-apostolic, ten years does seem a brief time for the Apocalypse to get apostolicity from the Gospel, and to give it by way of recompense the repute of Johannean authorship.
The Logos doctrine of the fourth Gospel, it is claimed, shows it
to be a production of the second century. A man living in the apostolic age could not have reached a conception of Jesus so far beyond that of primitive Galilean discipleship. But Paul in the Philippian Epistle taught the preëxistence and divine nature of Christ, and John outlived him, as we learn from good tradition, about twenty years. And in words of Christ reported in the Synoptic tradition we have statements suggesting that He was nearer God than man can be. “No man knoweth the Son save the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.” Is it incredible that such words should, under the fostering influence of the Spirit (to deny an extraordinary degree of which to the Apostles is sheer arbitrariness), ripen in John's mind into the Logos doctrine ? But it is said this doctrine bears traces of Philo's influence. Granting this, it has so much more ethical depth than belongs to his doctrine of the Logos, and is so fused into the Christian thought of God, that Philo's Logos can only have been one of the secondary influences felt by the mind which shaped it. Indeed, some scholars of the first rank can find no proof in the fourth Gospel that its author felt Philo's influence. Admitting the contact, does it prove that the writer was not an apostle? Was not some knowledge of contemporary thought incident to an apostle's work? Why, then, should not a fruitful current idea have been gathered into his mind and blended with his own religious thought? Do we not find in Paul's letters to the Corinthians traces of the influence of Greek philosophy, less indeed than that which Philo's Logos doctrine seems to have bad upon the writer of the fourth Gospel; but enough, allowing for the more reflective cast of the latter writer's mind, to show that an apostle might be so influenced by a philosopher's thought?
Dr. Martineau claims that the representation of Christ's ministry made in the fourth Gospel is inconsistent with that given in the Synoptics. I quote an impressive sentence: “If he had really devoted his chief efforts to the capital; if he had seized on festival after festival for the most public proclamation of his divine nature and his authoritative claims; if he had habitually encountered there those strangely coupled foes of his, the high priests and Pharisees,' and year after year been the object there of wonder, admiration, and conspiracy, — it is impossible that history should forget or suppress all this, and tell us instead that all his brilliant day was spent in Galilee, and only in the evening did he come to Jerusalem to die.”
My space allows but a meagre word or two in reply to this, in my judgment the most serious objection to the Johannean authorship of the fourth Gospel. It is not true that “history” “ forgets or suppresses all this." We learn from the other Gospels that Christ made visits to Jerusalem before He went thither to die. For they represent Him as saying, “ How many times would I have gathered your children together," etc. Why those visits are passed over without explicit mention, we do not know. Several plausible reasons can be given, but none which fully explain the omission. When we take into account our scanty knowlerlge of the circumstances under which the Gospels were written, we may reasonably conclude that it is easier to believe that they pass by several visits of Christ to Jerusalem with a mere allusion, than that the fourth Gospel is a pseudograph of the second century.
I must add, in closing, that Dr. Martineau has left unmentioned certain features of the Gospel which weigh heavily, in favor of the Johannean authorship, namely, the Hebraistic style, the familiarity with the topography of Palestine, the thorough knowledge of the political and religious life of the Jews. The hypothesis that the Gospel was written in Asia Minor in the second century must explain these phenomena to gain standing room.
The reasons which Dr. Martineau has alleged for substituting another conception of Christ for that given by the Gospels seem on examination to be invalid. The contention that history and the structure of these writings warrant the dictum that they do not give in essentials trustworthy information has not been made good. Then we may still believe their teaching that Jesus founded a spiritual kingdom and set himself at its head. Dr. Martineau's theory of religion is still confronted with the difficulty which Christ's life and character, coupled with his claims and influence, presents. It has still to answer the question, How can a theory of religion be true which, if applied to the holiest man and greatest religious force of history, declares him to be either its wildest fanatic or its most impudent pretender ?
With this conclusion comes the painful reflection that a lofty mind, leaving the realm of truth in which it is at home, and entering new fields and using untried methods, may fail to show its best powers, may be taken captive by prejudice, may neglect to give its conclusions thorough testing, and may therefore make assertions not worthy of its noble fame.
Edward Young Hincks.
THE QUESTION OF DISESTABLISHMENT IN SCOT
LAND FROM THE AMERICAN POINT OF VIEW.
MR. GLADSTONE's declaration in Parliament that Scotland has constitutionally demanded disestablishment of its church has roused inquiry in America. That declaration was the climax of a long process of political inquiry and appeal. Even before 1843 he watched the controversy which ended in the disestablishment of the Free Church party there, and he published his view that they, “ whatever might be the compatibility, or the reverse, of their views with national establishment, were certainly the heirs of the principles, theological and ecclesiastical, that are connected with the Scottish Reformation."
In 1851 he went farther, and proclaiming that what all independent religious bodies in Scotland have to desire of the state is, " to be let alone,” he added his own earnest conviction that this is their wisdom : “ Away with the servile doctrine, that religion cannot live but by the aid of Parliaments! ... While freedom of conscience, impartially granted to a variety of communions, is the best security against collisions between civil and spiritual authority, it likewise directly serves the social purposes for which states exist. ... In proof of the soundness of this reasoning, I would appeal to the United States of America. There, surely, of all countries in the Christian world, the peril of encroachment by ecclesiastical on civil authority is the least. And there, also, religious freedom is the most full and unrestrained, and the most universally and dearly valued.”
In 1869, when applying these principles to the Irish branch of his own church, he went back to the great Scottish reconstruction of 1843 to satisfy Parliament that the proposed change might be effected “ not like the overthrow of a building, but like the launch of some goodly ship, which, constructed upon the shore, makes, indeed, a great transition when it passes into the waters, but when it arrives at that receptacle, glides on its bosom calmly and even majestically."
In 1878 he pointed out that the controversy of disestablishment had in the mean time attained an activity in Scotland which might make it “ the leading Scottish question at the next general election ;” he adopted the pledge of Lord Hartington, that “whenever Scottish opinion, or even Scottish Liberal opinion, is fully formed upon the subject,” the Liberal party would deal with it,