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maintains the undoubted primacy, know not the least-distinguishes John, to whom beyond all doubt the designation refers, in some sense beyond all the others; and this confidential relation of the beloved disciple, appears in those instances where Peter was obliged to have recourse to the mediation of John -as for example, when he could only learn through John, whom Jesus intended by what he said of the approaching betrayal (13: 24.) Peter himself must here have recognized his own less intimate relations with Jesus. It is indeed, as Strauss remarks, a merely external advan. tage, without any connection with an; closer relations with Jesus, that according to the fourth Gospel alone, it is John who, as known to the high priest, procured for Peter access to the palace, when Jesus was detained there (18:5); but with this stands immediately connected, that the Synoptists ascribe especially to Peter and not to John also, the zeal which impelled him to follow his imprisoned master. Here also belongs the circumstance, likewise noticed by Strauss, that the fourth Gospel places John beneath the cross of Jesus, where none of the disciples appear in the Synoptists; and that he is there placed in a relation to the mother of Jesus, of which the others make no mention. This selection could only be the result of the intimate relation in which John stood to Jesus.; and from this relation the effort is everywhere visible, whenever an opportunity occurs of comparing the two disciples, that John shall at least not be deferred to Peter. The author of the gospel touches most strikingly upon this rivalship in the narration in chapter xx., where something is continually said of each of the two, which brings the one into comparison with the other. The two disciples go to the sepulchre together, but John outran Peter and came first to the sepulchre, stooping down into which he saw the clothes lying, yet without going in. Peter then, who came after John, went into the sepulchre, and examined the clothes more narrowly, for he saw that the napkin was not with the linen clothes, but was wrapped up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who first came to the sepulchre went into it, and here he did only what Peter had done before him; but then it is said of him only, not of Peter, that as the result of this seeing—for the faith of the disciples at this time was one which required sight, not an intelligent one,that he believed. It is indeed true as Strauss remarks, that the distinctions belonging to Peter, as the honorable surname given to him by Jesus (1:43), his undoubting confession (6: 68), are no more passed over in silence in the fourth Gospel than are his weakness, and the rebuke received by him in consequence from Jesus ; but if we take in the mass that which refers to the peculiar relations of these two disciples to each other, it will appear that when this

The passage, John 20 : 4, 5, is one of those in which this Gospel most closely coincides with that of Luke (compare Luke 24 : 12); but Luke speaks only of Peter, without saying anything of John.


thing and the other is ascribed to Peter, which tend to place him -although still at the head of the disciples—in a not exactly favorable light, it is John as the author of the fourth Gospel, who mentions it, while it is not found in the Synoptists. It is remarkable that while all the evangelists relate that at the apprehension of Jesus, one of his followers drew a sword, and cut off an ear of the servant of the high priest, it is it only the fourth evangelist who records this action, of which Jesus disapproved, as having been committed by Peter. And not merely is this related (18: 10), but the evangelist returns to it, after minutely detailing Peter's three acts of denial, in order to make use of this transaction as an occasion—which in the connection in which it stands, as Strauss correctly remarks, seems so careful and deliberate that its purpose can not be mistaken-for fastening upon Peter that stroke of the sword. The hesitation of Peter (13: 8) to suffer his feet to be washed by Jesus, affords indeed a fine testimony of his devotion to Jesus, but manifests, nevertheless, but little capacity for rightly understanding the deeper meaning of this transaction. Just as little for his credit was it that his thrice repeated denial should be again brought to mind in a manner so humiliating for him, by the threefold question put by Jesus (21: 15 sq.). If in all this we see but corrections and amplifications of the synoptic narration, then must this Gospel stand in a relation somewhat similar to the synoptical Gospels. But how improbable is it that all these traces concerning Peter and John should have utterly disappeared from the synoptical traditions. Could this relation to Jesus of the beloved disciple have been so unimportant, that they should have given no hint of it? And yet how can we doubt of it, when John himself as author of the Gospel, informs us of it? Then the question becomes still more pressing, Was he really the author ?

However this may be decided, the particularity with which the relation of these two disciples to each other is narrated in this Gospel remains the same, and the ground of it can only lie in the historical circumstances of the times in which the composition of the Gospel took place : in the high authority which the apostle Peter had in so great a part of the Christian church. What then shall we think to have been the special design of the author of this Gospel ?-Perhaps just this: To bring into recognition that particular form of the Christian sentiment which is set forth in this Gospel of John. But how else could this be done but in contrast to the prevailing direction of the existing forms of the Christian sentiment

-which were, in general, the Pauline and the Petrine—to place itself above which was the necessary tendency of a Gospel, in which the principle of the Christian sentiment assumed an absolute significance so widely different. What then is the beloved disciple, who lay in the Lord's bosom, the confidant of his inmost thoughts, in comparison with whom even Peter stood at a distance what other is he than the bearer of that form of the Christian sentiment which is expressed in his Gospel of the absolute idea of Christianity, as it is adequately conceived and expressed in John's doc. trine of the person of Christ? Why should it seem strange that in the position which John and Peter seem to stand toward each other, may be recognized the high significance which that form of the Christian sentiment represented by John had assumed in the historical relations of the time?

As Peter is the representative of the twelve apostles, the position which the evangelist gives himself in respect to Peter, points out the relations in which he placed himself towards the other apostles. This deserves, however, a somewhat closer consideration, in order to place what has been before remarked in a still clearer light. A contradiction, a polemic attitude, like that which we perceive in Luke, does not here manifest itself; but so much the more does the evangelist represent the entire degree of knowledge and spiritual capacity which the apostles had attained during the life of Jesus, as one so low and imperfect, that it stands at an infinite distance from that standpoint, from which he looks back upon this earlier period. Here belong the texts in which the evangelist expressly affirms that the disciples did not at first understand the true and proper sense of what was said and done by Jesus; but only subsequently, after his death and resurrection. (Compare 2: 22.) After his resurrection the disciples remembered what he had said (verse 19), and then for the first time understood his meaning, and then believed the Scripture and the word of Jesus. So also (12 : 16) the disciples did not at first understand the Mes. sianic import of what occurred at the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem ; but after he was glorified, it is added, then they remembered that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him. Of the numerous misunderstandings of the words of Jesus, of the so often inept questions which they put to him, how many are laid to the charge of the disciples. (Compare 4: 31 sq.; 5: 5 sq.; 11: 8 sq., 16). The last discourse of Jesus to his disciples, especially, contains proofs of how little able were they to comprehend his meaning, and the evangelist seems to have taken pains to make their spiritual incapacity manifest. How unappreciative is that question of Thomas, “ Lord, we know not whither thou goest, and how can we know the way ?" (14:5). How incomprehensible is the demand made by Philip, “ Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us” (verse 8). How humiliating to the disciples the reply of Jesus, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?" (verse 9; compare also 14: 23; 16: 17, 29). At so imperfect a stage of their spiritual life the disciples at that time found themselves, because they had not yet received the Spirit, which Spirit could only come after the glorification of Jesus (7 : 39). The whole scope of the parting discourse goes to indicate a period when the Spirit imparted to the disciples had raised them to quite another stage of knowledge and of spiritual sentiment. But the greater is the difference between this later and that earlier period : the greater is the more everything which raises the Christian sentiment to that higher standpoint belongs to a period subsequent to the earthly life of Jesus; at so much greater distance does the evangelist stand from that Jewish view which would have the entire capability for the apostolical office conjoined to the earthly life of Jesus, and to the converse of the disciples with their immediately present Lord. Judaism took its stand on the personality of single individuals as conductors of the whole ; on the apostles, and of these especially, on the apostle Peter. From opposition to this view arises the gentle irony of the evangelist towards the apostle Peter. In his view the Spirit, as the universal principle of the Christian faith and life, stands above the personal in the apostles; and the greater is the fullness of that spiritual life which had developed itself in the Christian church from this principle, first become operative after the departure of Jesus, so much the more do the apostles retreat into the background, for they who believed on him should also receive the Spirit (7 : 39); and in the parting discourse it may hence be seen how the idea of the apostles passes over into the broader idea of the disciples, for the greater part of what is there said accords with the latter as well as with the former. In this respect it may here be worthy of notice, that the solemn title of anogrolodoes not occur in this Gospel, and the twelve are only named where something depends upon their name which can excite no very high regard for them. Thus (6: 67) Jesus asks the twelve whether they also will go away from him; and honorable as is the confession of Peter, it is just here that the evangelist notices that Judas, the betrayer, had been one of the twelve. Thomas also, in the scene characterized by his unbelief, is introduced as one of the twelve.

Taking all these things together, we look upon the evangelist as an author who already stood at a distance from that oldest circle of Judaism.




By Rev. GEORGE B. CHEEVER, D.D., New York.

It is a curious thing to compare the apparatus of Natural Theology with that of Revealed, and the idea of progress in the one with that of .progress in the other.

Natural Theology is that which may be known of God from the things that are made, and from our experience of God's government. In considering the things that are made, we have, not only our senses, but our scientific apparatus, our instruments of examination. In considering our experience of God's government, we have to examine the moral nature of the creatures governed, and their relations to the Creator and Governor.

Now in considering the question, How far can Natural Theology go ?-we have to remember that our admirable increase of means for examining the works of God, and our facilities of accurate and universal investigation, are greatly owing to the effect of Revealed Theology itself. Natural Theology can go farther now than it could in the time of Plato, as to minuteness and universality of demonstration ; but it cannot go a whit farther as to the great points demonstrated. Plato could see those points—the goodness and justice of God, and the righteousness of his government, though he could not have written a book like Paley's Natural Theology.

And yet, from insight glances at conscience and God, and from meditation on the good and evil as related, Plato could perhaps have written a more powerful book than that, more overwhelmingly convincing than Paley's, more directly and triumphantly appealing to every soul's own convictions and intuitive certainties.

Progress in Natural Theology is of two sorts; first, the knowledge and comparative anatomy of facts, which men, with all the apparatus given by Christianity, and a science under the light of Christianity, can gather in regard to Nature discoursing of God; and second, the knowledge of the utmost and highest conclusions which men, under the light of Nature merely, and without the light of Revealed Theology, ever have drawn, or would draw, or could, from the same facts, so far as they have known or could know them.

Progress in Revealed Theology is simply the increased know. ledge of the facts in God's Word, together with comparison and interpretation of them under the guidance of God's Spirit. Pro

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