Imágenes de páginas

A.D. 97.

7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Written at Light, that all men through him might believe.


Messiah of the Christian and Jew, or the Angel Jehovah of the
Old Testament; while, on the other hand, the Trinitarian
writers have considered him, from the age in which he lived, as
the great strength and support of their cause. The inconsis-
tency is plainly to be traced to this circumstance; Philo, as a
Jew, had imbibed all the opinions of the orthodox and learned
of his own countrymen, and believed with them and their
Church that the Logos was personal, and had been and could be
visible, both in his person and in his actions, and he has accord-
ingly, in some places, endowed his Logos with personal attri-
butes. But Philo was a philosopher also, and, with the assist-
ance of a very fertile imagination and fancy, devised the con-
ceptual Logos; which he delineates as something resembling
an abstract idea, which can be manifested only to the intellect.
In various parts of his work he has blended those descriptions,
and by confusing his own associations or trains of thought, he
confounds bimself as well as his readers. But the book was
well known, and popular in the time of St. John': and the
Apostle, to correct the erroneous opinions of Philo, that the
Logos was conceptual, and in order to substantiate the un-
doubted personality of the Logos, begins his Gospel in these
simple but forcible words—the Word was made flesh-it was
not a conceptual Logos, as the philosophers vainly imagine; it
was a true and real Being, who took our nature, appeared in our
flesh-He was made flesh. He was tangible and visible, and we
boheld visibly his glory.

The same opinion of a double signification of the Logos, a
conceptual and a personal, has occurred to some of the German
Scripture critics. “ In the phrase used by the Chaldee para-
phrasts, most critics suppose that nothing is comprehended but
a designation of the Deity: but it has been admirably demon-
strated, chiefly from the Targums, by Dr. Charles Aug. Theoph.
Keil (in the Essay de Doctoribus Vet. Eccl. culpâ corruptæ per
Platonicas Sententias Theologiæ liberandis) that the Jews, by
their Memra of Jah, designed to convey the notion of a Divino
Subsistence, which they held to be begotten of God, and to be
in the highest sense near and like to God. The same learned
writer shows that the doctrine of Philo contained the notion of
a two-fold Logos, the one comprehended in the divine intellect,
the other begotten of God: just as the conception in one's
mind is different from the word uttered in speech."-Rosen-
muller, in Joann. i. l. The following abstract from the Ger-
man Commentaries of the celebrated Dr. H. E. G. Paulus, The-
ological Professor in the University at Jena, is given by Dr.
Kuinel, in the Prolegomena to his commentary on the Gospel
of John. " Paulus maintains that Philo was not the author of
this doctrine of the Logos as a subsistence emanating from God,
most like to God, and intimately united with him; but that it
was generally received, by the Jews of Alexandria, in the time
of Philo. He is of opinion that it was invented by the philoso-
phizing Jews of that city, with a view to obviate the arguments
of the Gentile philosophers, who defended their popular systems
of a multitude of inferior deities, by affirming that the care of
the material world, a particular Providence, and the govern-
ment of the affairs of men, were objects too low for the majesty
and purity of the Supreme Deity. He thinks tbat the Alexan-
drian Jews might the more readily adopt this opinion of the
Logos being an intelligent nature, because of their own doctrine

8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness Written at of that Light.


A.D. 97.

of angels and guardian spirits, and because the Jews of Pales.
tine were in the habit of using, as expressions for the Divine
Being, the phrases Memra of Jah, Word of God, Wisdom of
God; as also they personified the Wisdom of God, Prov. viii. 22.
Therefore, as Paulus has observed, the form of expression 8
Aóyos rol Ocom, the Word of God, was used in the age of the
Evangelist John in a twofold sense. The Jews of Palestine
employed the expression merely as a periphrasis for the Deity,
and very often as a personification of the power and wisdom of
God. But, on the other hand, Philo, and with him many of the
Alexandrian Jews, understood by “ The Word,” an intelligent
subsistence, absolutely unique, an emanation from God, and
next to the Supreme God. Professor Paulus further remarks,
that the Evangelist did not deliver his doctrine of “ The Word's
(as an intelligent nature, absolutely unique, emanating from
God, and next to God, and that this intelligent nature had
united itself with the man Jesus) because the Alexandrian Jews
professed the same sentiments with respect to their word; but
because Christ had in express terms made almost the identical
attributions of dignity and honour to himself, which those Alex-
andrians were accustomed to ascribe to tbeir “ Word of God."
Kuinæl, vol. iii. p. 80. 82. Smith's Scripture Testimony, &c.
note c. to Chap. vii. Book ii, vol. i.

John Benedict Carpsovius and Stephen Nye, an English
clergyman, have also maintained the hypothesis of the twofold
notion of the Logos in Philo's writings. The one derived from
the doctrines of Plato, Nούς ο πάντων αιτιος-denoting merely
the conception formed in the divine mind, and then emanating
as a model from which the earth was to be framed. The other
doctrine is of a more exalted nature, and is derived from the
genuine Principles of the Jewish Religion (o).

The works of Philo had become so popular, that although the writer was a Jew, and therefore obnoxious to the Roman nation, they had been enrolled in the public libraries at Rome. From this circumstance we may infer that his ideas of the Word of God, the Jehovah Angel of the Old Testament, called by Philo, in bis native language of Alexandria, đóyos deg, were as well known to the heathen or gentile converts, as the term * xorn, or Memrah Jab, or Word was familiar to the Jews of Palestine: and as the same actions in the Targums, and in the works of Philo are given to this divine Personage, which the Scripture itself ascribes to the Angel Jehovah, we may justly conclude that the Targumists and Philo, intended to express the same idea, and to give to the Jehovah of the Old

Testament the attributes of Godhead, assigned to the Word. Philo confused the two ideas of a personal and conceptual Logos, because he derived his opinions from the two opposite sources of Heathenism and Judaiso. The Logos of the Old Testament is plainly personal, the Logos of Heathenism conceptual. The same error was committed by the Targumists; their notions of a Logos being derived from two sources--one of wbich was from the corrupted, the other the purer traditions of their Fathers; and so confused was the popular opinion on this point, that we may almost say it was necessary, considering the importance of the subject, that an inspired teacher should correct the prevalent errors. St. Jobo, therefore, writing at a period when the public opinions on the subject were so unsettled, begins his Gospel by declaring to the Jews, that both the Logos of one

A.D. 97.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was written at not any thing made that was made.


There is no proof that there were any collected written para-
phrases, till the Targums, or Paraphrases, or Explanations, ot
Onkelos and Jonathan were compiled. These Targumists are
supposed to have lived about the time of our Saviour : though, in
the opinion of Eichhorn, the Targum of Onkelos was not com-
pleted till 300 years after that period, in consequence of the
interpolations that continued to be made in it. Ten Targums
are handed down to us, of which those of Onkelos apd of Jo-
nathan ben Uzziel are the most highly esteemed, and considered
by the Jews as the authorized and infallible expositions of the
sacred text (k).
These Paraphrases then, in innumerable instances, translate the
Hebrew word Jehovah by “the word of the Lord.” Some, it is
true, have maintained that this implies a personal existence of the
Word, in some sense distinct from the personal existence of the
Supreme Father-that the Word of the Old Testament is the
same as the Logos of the New Testament, and that this coinci-
dence is a proof of the belief among the Jews of the pre-
existence, personal operations, and Godhead of the Messiah.
Others again argue, that these words are to be regarded as a
mere idiom, implying the person's self who speaks. The latest
writer() on this point, after examining the different opinions
at great length, comes to these general conclusions, that from
the mere use of the phrase, “ the word of the Lord,” in these
paraphrases, no certain information can be deduced on the doc-
trine of the Jews with respect to the Messiah during the inter-
val of the Old and New Testament, and this opinion is further
corroborated by a celebrated critic. But though such may be our
conclusion with regard to the Chaldee Paraphrases, it will not fol-
low that the Jews of the same age, or a little after, did not employ
the term "Word” with a personal reference, and that reference to
the Messiah. The use of this term by Philo, and by the Christian
Evangelist St. John, appears unaccountable, except on the sup-
position that it had grown up to the acceptation supposed, at least
among the Jews who used tho Greek language. Such an extension
of meaning and reference, agreeably to the ordinary progress of
language, would flow from the primary signification, or medium
of rational communication, and thus it would be a rational de-
signation of a Mediator between God and Man. We have also
another evidence, which is entitled to the greater weight, as it
comes from a quarter the most hostile to the Christian religion (m).
Celsus, whose words are recited by Origen, reproaches the
Christians with absurdity and folly, for imagining that such a
mean and contemned person as Jesus could be the pure and
holy Word, the Son of God; and, personating a Jew, which is
bis manner in the construction of his work, he declares their
belief that the Word was the Son of God, though they rejected
the claims of Jesus to that honour.

The authority, however, most to be depended upon, with re-
gard to our attempts to ascertain the opinions of the Jews con-
cerning the Logos at the time of Christ, is that transmitted to
us by the celebrated Philo, who was born at Alexandria, of
Jewish parents, and was the contemporary of our Lord and his
Apostles. Some years before St. John wrote his Gospel, this cele-
brated man, being then about sixty years of age, was sent on
an embassy from Alexandria to the emperor at Rome, to lay be-
fore him a petition, praying for protection to bis countrymed

Written at 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by

Ephesus. him, and the world knew him not.

A.D. 87.

John, and, we might well suppose, that the Apostle would be
most anxious to refute and repress tbem.

Michaelis therefore observes, with equal force and justice, that
“if Irenæus had not asserted that St. John wrote his Gopel
against the Gnostics, and particularly against Cerinthus, the
contents of the Gospel itself would lead to this conclusion. The
speeches of Christ, which St. Jobo has recorded, are selected
with a totally different view, from that of the three first evange.
lists, who have given such as are of a moral nature, wbereas
those which are given by St. John aro chiefly dogmatical, and
relate to Christ's divinity, the doctrine of the Holy Ghost, the
supernatural assistance to be communicated to the Apostles,
and other subjects of a like import. In the very choice of bis
expressions, such as light, life, &c. he had in view the philo-
sopby of the Gnostics, who used, or rather abused these terms.
That the fourteen tirst verses of St. John's Gospel are merely
historical, and contain only a short account of Christ's bistory
before his appearance on earth, is a supposition devoid of all
probability. On the contrary, it is evident that they are purely
doctrinal, and that they were introduced with a polemical view,
in order to confute errors, which prevailed at that time re-
specting the person of Jesus Christ. Unless St. John bad an
adversary to combat, who made particular use of the words
• light,' and 'life,' he would not have thought it necessary, after
having described the Creator of all things, to add, that in bim
was life, and the life was the light of men, or to assert that John
the Baptist was not that light. The very meaning of the word

light' would be extremely dubious, unless it were determined
by its particular application in the oriental Gnosis. For with-
out the supposition that St. John had to combat with an ad.
versary who used this word in a particular sense, it might be
applied to any divine instructor, who by his doctrines enlight-
ened mankind. Further, the positions contained in the four-
teen first verses are antitheses to positions maintained by the
Gnostics, who used the words lóyos, twn, pūs, uovoyevns, An-
pwua, &c. as technical terms of their pbilosophy. Lastly, the
specches of Christ, which St. John bas selected, are such as
confirm the positions laid down in the first chapter of his Gos-
pel: and therefore we must conclude that his principal object
throughout the whole of his Gospel was to confute the errors of
the Gnostics.”().

That we may understand the design and order of St. John's Gospel, it will be necessary to take a brief review of the tenets of Cerinthus, in opposition to which the evangelist purposely wrote it. This will not only reflect considerable light on particular passages, but make the wbole appear a complete workregular, clear, and conclusive.

Cerinthus was by birth a Jew, who lived at the close of the first century: having studied 'literature and philosophy at Alexandria, he attempted at length to form a new and singular system of doctrine and discipline, by a monstrous combination of the doctrines of Jesus Christ with tbe opinions and errors of the Jews and Gnostics. From the latter be borrowed their Pleroma or fulness, their Æons or spirits, their Demiurgus or creator of the visible world, &c. and so modified and tempered these fictions, as to give them an air of Judaism, which must have considerably favoured the progress of his heresy. Ho taught that the most high God was utterly unknown before the

11 He came unto his own, and his own received bim Written at not.


AID.. 97.

appearance of Christ, and dwelt in a remote heaven called
Pleroma, with the chief spirits or Æons ;-That this supreme
God first generated an only begotten Son, who again begat the
Word, which was inferior to the first-born-That Christ was
& still lower æon, though far superior to some others—That
there were two higher æons, distinct from Christ; one called
Life and the other Light--That from the æons again proceeded
inferior orders of spirits, and particularly one Demiurgus, who
created this visible world out of eternal matter-That this
Demiurgus was ignorant of the supreme God, and much lower
than the Æons, which were wholly invisible-That he was,
however, the peculiar God and protector of the Israelites, and
sent Moses to them; whose laws were to be of perpetual obliga-
tion-That Jesus was a mere man, of the most illustrious sanc-
tity and justice, the real son of Joseph and Mary-That the
Æon Christ descended upon him in the form of a dove when he
was baptized, revealed to him the unknown Father, and em-
powered bim to work miracles-That the Æon Light entered
Jobo the Baptist in the same manner, and therefore that John
was in some respects preferable to Christ-That Jesus, after bis
union with Christ, opposed himself with vigour to the God of
the Jews, at whose instigation he was seized and crucified by
the Hebrew chiefs, and that when Jesus was taken captive and
came to suffer, Christ ascended up on high, so that the man
Jesus alone was subjected to the pains of an ignominious
death; that Christ will one day return upon earth, and, renew-
ing his former union with the man Jesus, will reign in Palestine,
a thousand years, during which his disciples will enjoy the most
exquisite sensual delights.

Bearing these dogmas in mind, we shall find that St. John's
Gospel is divided into three parts, viz.

Part I. contains doctrines laid down in opposition to those of
Cerinthus, (John i. 1--18.)

Part II, delivers the proofs of those doctrines in an historieal
manner, (i. 19. xx. 29.)

Part III. is a conclusion, or appendix, giving an account of the person of the writer, and of his design in writing lis Gospel, (xx. 30, 31. xxi.)

Besides refuting the errors of Cerinthus and his followers, Michaelis is of opinion that St. John also had in view to confute the erroneous tenets of the Sabeans, a sect wbich acknowledged John tbe Baptist for its founder. He has adduced a variety of terms and phrases, which he has applied to the explanation of the first fourteen verses of St. John's Gospel, in such a manner as renders bis conjecture not improbable. Perhaps we shall not greatly err if we conclude with Rosenmüller, that St. Jobo bad both these classes of hereties in view, and that he wrote to confute their respective tenets( t).

The Docetæ (u) taught that Christ was a man in appearance only, and not in reality. In opposition to these, St. John says, in his Epistles, which were published before his Gospel, “Every spirit which confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God;" and, in his Gospel, “the Word was made flesh.” From this sect originated the Ebionites, whom Bishop Horsley bas proved to have a great aflinity to the Simonians: observing, with equal force and trulh, “that as the ancient Ebionæan doctrine passes by a single step, the dismission


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