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so frequent in the first three Gospels. The conversion of the water into wine, according to this Gospel, was the beginning of Jesus's miracles, and "manifested forth his glory:" it is strange that none of the other histories should hint at it, and that it should first appear in a writing of the year 97. The periodical descent of the angel into the water at Bethesda is not mentioned by any other writer; but this author introduces it, not as a popular notion, but as a fact which he means to be believed as much as the rest of his story.

The discourses attributed to Jesus are so like in style to John's own Epistle, and so unlike those of Jesus in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, that it is difficult to consider them as faithful reports. In ch. v. 18, the Jews seek to kill Jesus, upon which he makes a discourse of thirty verses on the authority given to the Son by the Father. In the answer to Nicodemus (iii. 11), Jesus is made to say, "We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen, and ye receive not our witness." The writer himself very often introduces this protestation; but here it seems unmeaning in the mouth of Jesus, since he was then only beginning his ministry, and Nicodemus was come expressly to receive his witness. And in the same speech Jesus is made to say several sentences agreeing almost literally with some in John's Epistle.* A little further on, John the Baptist speaks also in the style of

* John iii. 16. (Speech to Nicodemus.) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

1 Epistle iv. 9, In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

17, For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.

18, He that believeth on him 1 Epist. v. 10, He that beis not condemned: but he that lieveth on the Son of God hath believeth not is condemned al- the witness in himself: he that ready, because he hath not be-believeth not God, hath made lieved in the name of the only him a liar, because he believeth begotten Son of God. not the record that God gave of his Son.

14, And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

the same Epistle.* When Jesus was brought before Pilate, the other Evangelists relate, that, after admitting that he was King of the Jews, he answered nothing; but John makes him converse very freely with Pilate on the nature of his kingdom; and, at ver. 11, ch. xix. he tells him that Judas, of whom Pilate knew nothing, was more sinful than he. In ch. xii. 32, Jesus says, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me;" and the people, by their answer, appear at once to understand that lifting up signified his death. Moreover, Jesus is represented as calling the people or multitude" the Jews," a mode of expression very unnatural to himself, a Jew speaking to Jews, but quite natural to one writing at Ephesus long after the admission of the Gentiles. (See xiii. 33; x. 34; xviii. 20; vii. 19; viii. 56.) These, and numerous other instances, shew so little care on the part of the writer to put into the mouth of Jesus expressions suitable to the time and circumstances described, that it appears most likely that he only expected these discourses to be received as his own interpretation of Christ's doctrine.

Admitting the greater part of this Gospel to have been written or dictated by St. John, about the year 97, for the use of the Ephesian church, we have still no guarantee of the Apostle's veracity or correctness of memory. At that time he must have been nearly 100 years old: his other writings shew that he possessed a vivid imagination; and it is well known that such persons are apt to mingle truth and falsehood in their narratives even unintentionally. But the Apostle was also under the strongest temptation to indulge in fiction. He had been personally attached to Jesus, and believed him to be the Messiah. After the death of his Master, the Apostle's station in the church prompted him to take a prominent part in spreading the common belief. Interest and ambition, as well as private friendship and religious

* John iii. 36 (John the Baptist). He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

See above. 1 Epist. v. 12, He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life.

zeal, urged John to be a strenuous preacher of Jesus the Messiah. If any of the brethren were pressed too hard by unbelievers concerning the proof of the Messiahship of the carpenter's son, it was natural to look to the confidential followers of Jesus himself for assistance. These found it not so easy to convince others as themselves; for the impression made by the life and character of Jesus could not be easily condensed into an argument fit to oppose to objectors, and the proofs from prophecy appeared to dispassionate observers far-fetched and doubtful. The assertion of his miracles of healing and casting out demons was also liable to objections, since others had pretended to the same powers. Hence the temptation continually to adopt or invent fresh stories of miracles, which might serve in the controversy as more indubitable proofs of a divine mission. In proportion to the distance of time and place from the scene of the original transactions, this species of imposition became more easy. Accordingly, we find but few allusions to miracles in the Epistles; abundant accounts of them in the four Gospels; and in this last Gospel, published much later than the others, and at Ephesus, more bold and gross stories of miracles, *as well as more confident appeals to them, than in any other. The Apostle had been for sixty-four years accustomed to hear exaggerated and fictitious accounts of the acts of Christ, and had become convinced of their efficacy in promoting the faith of the church. For, since he puts this saying into the mouth of Christ, (John iv. 48,) "Unless ye see wonders and signs, ye will not believe," we may infer that he himself found it necessary to supply his hearers at least with narratives of such wonders and signs. And at that distance of time, amongst the foreigners of Ephesus, there was no one capable of controverting his statements.

The temptation to fiction on the part of the Apostle was of the strongest sort. All additional lustre thrown

* The conversion of water into wine at Cana;-the voice from heaven in the presence of the multitude at the temple ;—the raising of Lazarus in public near Jerusalem. Matthew had made the raising of Jairus's daughter to be done in secret; and Nain was a comparatively obscure place.

upon the person of Jesus was reflected upon him, the beloved disciple, a chief apostle, and leader in the church. The purest sentiments arising from friendship and reverence for his master, would also prompt him to seize all opportunities of doing him honour; and who can assure us that the Apostle did not partake so far of the imperfections of human nature as, in some instances, to overlook the character of the means for the attainment of a good end? Historical veracity would not appear to him of the chief importance. "He only is a liar who denieth Jesus to be the Christ," 1 Epist. ii. 22. He does not even state that his Gospel was written in order to give a correct history of Jesus, but he says, "these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name." xx. 31. To communicate this, his own sincere belief, to others, was his main object; and the stress which he laid upon it is visible throughout his writings. iii. 36, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not on the Son, shall not see life." vi. 69; viii. 24; ix. 35; xi. 15, 27; 1 Epist. v. 13.

There is an important consideration which establishes some difference between the fictions of this writer and ordinary cases of false testimony. It is, that he supposed himself to be writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit. xiv. 16-18, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless I will come to you." 26, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." xv. 26, 27, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me. And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning." He believed, therefore, that the Holy Spirit, which was given after Jesus was glorified and become invisible (vii. 39),

was his representative and the organ of communication with his disciples; consequently that whatever was suggested by the Holy Spirit might be regarded as Jesus's own words. On this principle he would even consider the dictates of the Holy Spirit since the death of Jesus as of equal authority with the words spoken by Jesus when he was with them, or in the beginning. And if we allow that this writer, like many others, was liable to consider the offspring of his own imagination as the dictates of the Holy Spirit, it was natural that he should attribute to Jesus his own views and opinions without any consciousness of fraud; for the distinction of the time at which the sentiment was first uttered would appear comparatively unimportant. The most dispassionate historians are apt to introduce their own views into the discourses they record; much more would this be the case with a zealous defender of a church interested in the controversies of his time, and believing himself under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Moreover this habit, of following his own imagination as the voice of the Holy Spirit, might extend to his narrative of facts. For it is well known that a strong bias will lead people almost unconsciously to distort and invent facts; and, with such an earnest purpose as the writer had to prove that Jesus was the Messiah, he might not only mingle truth with falsehood unintentionally, but even fall into the persuasion that the Holy Spirit permitted such additions and improvements as he could not but know to be fictitious, but which seemed necessary to produce the desired effect upon his hearers.

The following texts indicate that his statements were not implicitly received by all in his own time. iii. 11, "We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen, and ye receive not our witness." 32, "What he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth, and no man receiveth his testimony." Also the strong asseveration of his veracity, even when relating a fact perfectly credible, viz., the issuing of blood and water from the wound in the side of Jesus (xix. 35), affords presumption that his assertions frequently met with considerable opposition. See also 1 Epist. iv. 6, "We are of God: he that knoweth God, heareth us; he that is not of God, heareth

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