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On the one hand we have the Mother of the Lord (ii. 3-5, xix. 25—27), the beloved disciple and his master the Baptist (i. 6—37, iii. 23-36), S. Andrew and Mary of Bethany, all unfailing in their allegiance; S. Peter falling and rising again to deeper love (xviii. 27, xxi. 17); S. Philip rising from eager to firm faith (xiv. 8), S. Thomas from desponding and despairing love (xi. 16, xx. 25) to faith, hope, and love (xx. 28). There is the sober but uninformed faith of Martha (xi. 21, 24, 27), the passionate affection of Mary Magdalene (xx. 1-18). Among conversions we have the instantaneous but deliberate conviction of Nathanael (i. 49), the gradual but courageous progress in belief of the schismatical Samaritan woman (see on iv. 19) and of the uninstructed man born blind (see on xi. 21), and in contrast with both the timid, hesitating confessions of Nicodemus, the learned Rabbi (iii. 1, vii. 50, xix. 39). On the other side we have the cowardly wavering of Pilate (xviii. 38, 39, xix. 1—4, 8, 12, 16), the unscrupulous resoluteness of Caiaphas (xi. 49, 50), and the blank treachery of Judas (xiii. 27, xviii. 2—5). Among the minor characters there is the 'ruler of the feast' (ii. 9, 10), the 'nobleman' (iv. 49), the man healed at Bethesda (v. 7, 11, 14, 15).

If these groups and individuals are creations of the imagination, it is no exaggeration to say that the author of the Fourth Gospel is a genius superior to Shakspere.

3. From typical characters we pass on to typical or symbolical events. SYMBOLISM is a third characteristic of this Gospel. Not merely does it contain the three great allegories of the Sheep-fold, the Good Shepherd, and the Vine, from which Christian art has drawn its symbolism from the very earliest times; but the whole Gospel from end to end is penetrated with the spirit of symbolical representation. In nothing is this more apparent than in the eight miracles which the Evangelist has selected for the illustration of his Divine Epic. His own word for them leads us to expect this: to him they are not so much miracles as 'signs.' The first two are introductory, and seem to be pointed out as such by S. John (ii. 11, iv. 54). The turning of the water into wine exhibits the Messiah's sovereign

power over inanimate matter, the healing of the official's son His power over the noblest of living bodies. Moreover they teach two great lessons which lie at the very root of Christianity; (1) that Christ's Presence hallows the commonest events and turns the meanest elements into the richest; (2) that the way to win blessings is to trust the Bestower of them. The third sign, healing the paralytic, shews the Messiah as the great Restorer, repairing the physical as well as the spiritual ravages of sin (v. 14). In the feeding of the 5000 the Christ appears as the Support oflife, in the walking on the sea as the Guardian and Guide of His followers. The giving of sight to the man born blind and the raising of Lazarus shew that He is the Source of Light and of Life to men. The last sign, wrought by the Risen Christ, sums up and concludes the whole series (xxi. 1—12). Fallen man, restored, fed, guided, enlightened, delivered from the terrors of death, passes to the everlasting shore of peace, where the Lord is waiting to receive him.

In Nicodemus coming by night, in Judas going out into the night, in the dividing of Christ's garments and the blood and water from His side, &c. &c. we seem to have instances of the same love of symbolism. These historical details are singled out for notice because of the lesson which lies behind them. And if we ask for the source of this mode of teaching, there cannot be a doubt about the answer: it is the form in which almost all the lessons of the Old Testament are conveyed. This leads us to another characteristic.

4. Though written in Greek, S. John's Gospel is in thought and tone, and sometimes in the form of expression also, thoroughly HEBREW, AND BASED ON THE HEBREW SCRIPTURES. Much has been already said on this point in Chapter II. ii. (2), in shewing that the Evangelist must have been a Jew. The Gospel sets forth two facts in tragic contrast: (1) that the Jewish Scriptures in endless ways, by commands, types, and prophecies, pointed and led up to the Christ; (2) that precisely the people who possessed these Scriptures, and studied them most diligently, failed to recognise the Christ or refused to believe in Him. In this aspect the Gospel is a long comment

on the mournful text, 'Ye search the Scriptures; because in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me, that ye may have life' (v. 39, 40). To shew, therefore, the way out of this tragical contradiction between a superstitious reverence for the letter of the law and a scornful rejection of its true meaning, S. John writes his Gospel. He points out to his fellow-countrymen that they are right in taking the Scriptures for their guide, ruinously wrong in the use they make of them: Abraham, Moses and the Prophets, rightly understood, will lead them to adore Him whom they have crucified. This he does, not merely in general statements (i. 45, iv. 22, v. 39, 46), but in detail, both by allusions; e.g. to Jacob (i. 47, 51) and to the rock in the wilderness (vii. 37), and by direct references; e.g. to Abraham (vii. 56), to the brazen serpent (iii. 14), to the Bridegroom (iii. 29), to the manna (vi. 49), to the paschal lamb (xix. 36), to the Psalms (ii. 17, x. 34, xiii. 18, xix. 24, 37), to the Prophets generally (vi. 45, [vii. 38]), to Isaiah (xii. 38, 40), to Zechariah (xii. 15), to Micah (vii. 42).

All these passages (and more might easily be added) tend to shew that the Fourth Gospel is saturated with the thoughts, imagery, and language of the O. T. "Without the basis of the Old Testament, without the fullest acceptance of the unchanging divinity of the Old Testament, the Gospel of S. John is an insoluble riddle" (Westcott, Introduction, p. lxix.).

5. Yet another characteristic of this Gospel has been mentioned by anticipation in discussing the plan of it (chap. IV. ii); -its SYSTEMATIC ARRANGEMENT. It is the only Gospel which clearly has a plan. What has been given above as an outline of the plan (IV. ii.), and also the arrangement of the miracles in section 3 of this chapter, illustrate this feature of the Gospel. Further examples in detail will be pointed out in the subdivisions of the Gospel given in the notes.

6. The last characteristic which our space will allow us to notice is its STYLE. The style of the Gospel and of the First Epistle of S. John is unique. But it is a thing to be felt rather than to be defined. The most illiterate reader is conscious of cannot analyse it satisfactorily. A few

it; the ablest critic

main features, however, may be pointed out; the rest being left to the student's own powers of observation.

Ever since Dionysius of Alexandria (c. A.D. 250) wrote his masterly criticism of the differences between the Fourth Gospel and the Apocalypse (Eus. H. E. VII. xxv.), it has been not uncommon to say that the Gospel is written in very pure Greek, free from all barbarous, irregular, or uncouth expressions. This is true in a sense; but it is somewhat misleading. The Greek of the Fourth Gospel is pure, as that of a Greek Primer is pure, because of its extreme simplicity. And it is faultless for the same reason; blemishes being avoided because idioms and intricate constructions are avoided. Elegant, idiomatic, classical Greek it is not.

(a) This, therefore, is one element in the style,-extreme simplicity. The clauses and sentences are connected together by simple conjunctions co-ordinately; they are not made to depend one upon another; 'In Him was life, and the life was the light of men ;' not 'which was the light, &c.' Even where there is strong contrast indicated a simple 'and' is preferred to 'nevertheless' or 'notwithstanding;' 'He came unto His own home, and His own people received Him not.' In passages of great solemnity the sentences are placed side by side without even a conjunction; 'Jesus answered... Pilate answered...Jesus answered' (xviii. 34—36). The words of others are given in direct not in oblique oration. The first chapter (19—51), and indeed the first half of the Gospel, abounds in illustrations.

(6) This simple co-ordination of sentences and avoidance of relatives and dependent clauses involves a good deal of repetition; and even when repetition is not necessary we find it employed for the sake of close connexion and emphasis. This constant repetition is very impressive. A good example of it is where the predicate (or part of the predicate) of one sentence becomes the subject (or part of the subject) of the next; or where the subject is repeated; 'I am the good Shepherd; the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep ;' 'The light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not ;' 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and

the Word was God. Sometimes instead of repeating the subject S. John introduces an apparently superfluous demonstrative pronoun; ‘He that seeketh the glory of Him that sent Him, this one is true' (vii. 18); 'He that made me whole, that man said unto me' (v. 11). The personal pronouns are frequently inserted for emphasis and repeated for the same reason. This is specially true of 'I' in the discourses of Christ.

(c) Although S. John connects his sentences so simply, and sometimes merely places them side by side without conjunctions, yet he very frequently points out a sequence in fact or in thought. His two most characteristic particles are 'therefore' (ovv) and 'in order that' (iva). 'Therefore' occurs almost exclusively in narrative, and points out that one fact is a consequence of another, sometimes in cases where this would not have been obvious; 'He came therefore again into Cana of Galilee' (iv. 46), because of the welcome He had received there before; 'They sought therefore to take Him' (vii. 30), because of His claim to be sent from God.-While the frequent use of 'therefore' points to the conviction that nothing happens without a cause, the frequent use of 'in order that' points to the belief that nothing happens without a purpose. S. John uses ' in order that' not only where some other construction would have been suitable, but also where another construction would seem to be much more suitable; 'I am not worthy in order that I may unloose' (i. 27), 'My meat is in order that I may do the will' (iv. 34); 'This is the work of God, in order that ye may believe' (vi. 29); 'Who sinned, this man or his parents, in order that he should be born blind?' (ix. 2); 'It is expedient for you, in order that I go away' (xvi. 7). S. John is specially fond of this construction to point out the working of the Divine purpose, as in some of the instances just given (comp. v. 23, vi. 40, 50, x. 10, xi. 42, xiv. 16, &c. &c.) and in particular of the fulfilment of prophecy (xviii. 9, xix. 24, 28, 36). In this connexion an elliptical expression 'but in order that' (=but this was done in order that) is not uncommon; Neither this man sinned, nor his parents, but in order that, &c.' (ix. 3; comp. xi. 2, xiv. 31, xv. 25, xviii. 28).

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