Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

common channel therewith, and prompt the visitor to second whatever instrumentality might make for the establishment and maintenance of peace and brotherhood in the human family.

The evidence is conflicting whether the two reformers were cousins. Between kindred spirits, no previous acquaintance is : necessary for each to recognize each. Whenever Jesus first approached the prophet - whether on the occasion of the baptism or previously - there was *

A glance, a soul revealed by eye to eye,

A thrill, a voiceless challenge and reply. There was no hesitation : both were about their Father's business, and, as Milton says,

Zeal and duty are not slow,

But on occasion's forelock watchful wait. “Enthusiasts,” says Washington Irving, “soon understand each other.” There were no doubt subsequent interviews, and other Hebrew patriots than themselves I felt to exclaim :

A world of blessings on my soul,

If sympathy of love unite our thoughts. And so also “Gentiles."

To be influenced by a passion for the same pursuits, and to have similar dislikes, is the rational groundwork of lasting friendship.Sallust.

No social care the gracious lord disdains;

Love prompts to love, and reverence reverence gains. Lucan. Even if there was no kinship of blood, would it be anything strange if, ere the lapse of half a century, fond legend should link together the family circles of the two soul kinsmen, and glorify the births of both by angel ushers? Or strange if the same tender afterthought should fuse - or confuse- the metaphors of the Mightier One than John, the Winnowing Husbandman, the Stern Judge, the Coming Baptizer, the Wielder of the Axe, into signifying another than Jahveh himself,ş focus them upon the grand individuality of Jesus? Or should even go to the length of such "a violent exegetical proceeding” || as to concentrate in one personage Daniel's Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven, s the first Isaiah's Branch out of the root of Jesse, who should smite the earth with the rod of his

*Varying Willis' “The world is full of meetings such as this."
John i., 29, 35.

John i., 37
$ See The Bible for Learners, vol. iii., p. 110.
i Dr. Matthew Arnold. Dan. vii., 13.

mouth, slay the wicked with his breath, and reign in glory, peace, and righteousness, * the second Isaiah's meek and afficted Servant of God, charged with a precious message of a golden future, † the Lamb of the passover and temple service, t and the Holy One of Israel, the Redeemer, $ who for these prophets was the Eternal himself, and then to call the resulting combination the Messiah,- and Jesus this Messiah ? Or, in fine, that the lofty rapture of one Oriental mind should kindle that of a second, and this that of a third, until the rhapsodies of the whole procession would, when viewed from any other stand-point than their own, constantly incur peril of being utterly misunderstood ?

Yet while it was natural that John the prophesier had an intuition of Jesus, the prophesied comer, and while they were both young men of pre-eminently moral and religious motives, a radical difference remains to be noted. The spirit of John was fed from the past by the ancient sages of Israel, that of Jesus from his own pure consciousness of the Highest within him. Consequently, while John was austere and narrow, the insight of Jesus was unfathomably deeper, his outlook a world more extensive, and his aim infinitely more lofty. Each of the two, in the then existing condition of things, clearly saw a coming judgment, - a kingdom of God, and proclaimed it. But it was not in the temperament of John to go far enough to see any other salvation from the impending national catastrophe than a renewed and thorough conformity, on the part of the people, to the old Hebrew standard of righteousness. To the clearer discernment of Jesus, “ the approaching revolution was to result in the establishment, upon the old order, of a new and grander order of things." ||

* Isaiah xi., 1, 4.

† Isaiah liii., 4.' Ewald denotes the author of Isaiah xl.-Ixiii, as the “Great Un. named One(Life of Jesus Christ, Glover's translation, p. 28).

I Exodus xii., 3.
$ Isaiah xliii., 14; lix., 19, 20; Jer. 1., 34.
|| Dr. W. H. Furness.

CHAPTER XIV.

INITIATION.

What Two Views as to the Phenomena at the Baptism of Jesus ?

(1) THAT there was a supernatural opening of the heavens, a literal “Dove ” and “Voice.” (2) That, as to the alleged prodigies, the accounts are mere accretions of oral tradition upon some casual incident of a flying dove or of light on the water; possibly some suggestion to the Ebionite mind from Isaiah's words, “ The melting fire burneth, and causeth the waters to boil.”

The Gospel of the Hebrews has it: “He saw the spirit in the form of a dove come down and enter into him. . . . And immediately the place about them was lightened by a great fire. And when John (who had not seen the dove or heard the voice, which were for Jesus alone) perceived the fire he said to Jesus, Who art thou, Lord ? And again a voice from heaven said to him, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Then John fell down on his face before him, and said, I pray thee, Lord, do thou baptize me! But Jesus restrained him, saying, Let it be, for thus must all that has been prophesied of me be fulfilled.” *

In this connection, Prof. Drummond remarks † that Justin quotes the voice from heaven at the baptism in this form: " Thou art my Son: this day have I begotten thee.” “ This day have I begotten thee” is also in the Ebionite Gospel, but there it is awkwardly appended to a second saying, thus : “ Thou art my beloved Son. In thee was I well pleased ; and again this day have I begotten thee.” So that the passage is quite different from Justin's, and has the appearance of being a later patchwork. Justin's form of quotation is still the reading of the Codex Bezae in Luke, and according to Augustine was found in good manuscripts, though it is said not to be in the older ones. Justin also says that, when Jesus went down upon the water, a fire was kindled in the Jordan. The Ebionite Gospel relates that, when Jesus came up from the water, immediately a great light shone round the place. The author of the anonymous Liber de Rebaptismate says that this event was related in an heretical work entitled 'Pauli Praedicatio, and that it was not found in any Gospel. This, of course, may refer only to the canonical Gospels.

* As to the threefold voice from heaven, and the date of the Greek and Aramaic fragments of the Gospel of the Hebrews, see a summary of the views of Lipsius, Holtzmann, Kirchofer, and other Biblical scholars, in Prof. Ezra Abbot's Authorship of the Fourth Gospel, p. 99,- incidental to the discussion of Justin Martyr's use, etc., already referred to (ante, chap. iv.).

+ Theological Review, October, 1875.

As to the remaining phenomenon alleged, it has been remarked that the dove, as the first voice of spring, symbolized renovation, whether sent out from the ark to hover over a baptized world, or descending on a baptized Christ, or appearing still to the Hindu devotee emerging from the stream of immortality which the god Siva created at Ambah-Naut, where the pilgrim meets that deity in the form of a dove, in whose flight an omen is discovered.

CHAPTER XV.

TEMPTATION.

What are the Eight Principal Views concerning the Temptation

of Jesus, and in What Two Convenient Categories ? (And herein) What is the Effect of Success and of Defeat in the Formation of Individual Character ?

THOSE assuming and those not assuming the existence of a person, visible or invisible, who, though not having an attribute supplanting God's omnipresence, is so ubiquitous as to pass or send messengers from one human being to another to incite to misdoing, the most consequential of which incitements occurs on the occasion of a young man's determining his life career.

In the first category are two theories: (1) That the tempting agency was a visible, supernatural person, and that the narrative is literally true in every respect. (2) That it is a description in Oriental dramatic language of an actual temptation through evil thoughts which did not voluntarily arise in the mind of Jesus, but were suggested by an invisible devil.

In the second category are six theories: (1) That the event was not a supernatural one, the transportation to the temple being simply in a figurative sense; namely, that the tempter was a wicked man by whom Jesus was led to Mount Zion, where the glory of a temporal ruler was described to him and plots against the Romans suggested. (2) That it is a dream or vision, or other abnormal mental operation. Prof. J. R. Seeley says, “ What is called Christ's temptation is the excitement of his mind which was caused by the nascent consciousness of supernatural power." * (3) That it is a myth. (4) That it is a parable, wherein Jesus, to get one of the characters, utilized the mental furniture bequeathed to his people from Babylon, and, to get the other, made himself the central figure, and whereby he taught his disciples how it is temptations assail us all, and how we are to resist them. (5) That it was an in

* Ecce Homo, p. 12 (18].

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »