The Gospels

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We now come to the Gospels. In the first place, though there is a remarkable similarity of spirit and doctrine in the gospel and epistles of John, they are very easily distinguished by any attentive reader. The presenting of the person in the way of historical fact in the one, and the deduction of the nature of God, Christ, and the new man, from that manifestation in the other, are respectively the characters of the gospel and epistles. This renders the epistles much more abstract; and hence the connection of the reasoning is known only where the inward thread of divine life, which links it, is known; whereas Christ in the gospel is clearly and definitely presented, though the divine glory of His person is brought out.
I do not in the least agree with the assertion, that the divine nature of Christ is not clearly taught in the first three gospels.1 Take the word Emmanuel, "God with us." Again, "Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins." I cite these as examples which present themselves at once. A multitude are found at the beginning and end of the gospels, if we except the beginning of Mark, which commences with His service; and the same truth is found there in the course of that service-as for example, the comparison of the healing of the paralytic with Psa. 103, and of the feeding of five thousand with Psa. 132 That the Holy Ghost selected for its communication by John what related to the Lord's person is beyond controversy: that, with the sending of the Holy Ghost, is the grand object of the book. Hence he has given what John Baptist taught his disciples, and not merely his public testimony. Moreover, there are but two verses in what john Baptist says, which can give occasion to any remark (chapter 3:35, 36).2 The rest is a touchingly beautiful comparison by John of himself with Christ. Otherwise there is nothing like John the Baptist's testimony. The testimony that he that believes has everlasting life is the only thing that passes in its character the general spirit of John's teaching, that is, the witness to the person of Christ. But it is not in elevation of doctrine more than being Son of God-Lamb of God-Baptizer with the Holy Ghost-and this last is even more remarkable because it belongs to the display of Christ's power after His departure, as much and more than as having eternal life by Him, and is immediately connected with the Father's having put all things into His hand. There is one thing very clearly proved by Mr. N.'s remarks in this page-his insensibility3 to divine things; for it is notorious that John's gospel has delighted, fed, drawn out, and comforted the hearts of thousands, perhaps more than any other book of scripture-for a simple reason, that it presents more of Christ Himself, and more immediately Christ Himself. Mr. Ν. finds it "monotonous."
1. " That the divinity of Christ cannot be proved from the first three Gospels was confessed by all the early Church, and is proved by the laboring arguments of modern Trinitarians." (Phases, p. 173.)
2. " I saw it infallibly to indicate that John had made both the Baptist and Jesus speak as john himself would have spoken; and that we cannot trust the historical reality of the discourses in the fourth Gospel." (Phases. p. 173.)
3. " The monotony also of the Gospel had also excited my wonder." (Phases, p. 172.)