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CHAPTER IV.-The Doctrine of John.
In John's mind the intuitive element predominates over the dialective-His
leading ideas are light, life, and truth, in communion with God through the
Satan the representative of falsehood-"A liar and the father of it"-His
Need of an inward sense corresponding to the outward revelation-Hence
The life of Christ the manifestation of God in human form-Grace and truth
The whole life of Christ a revelation of God-Hence his miracles and the
Import of the sufferings of Christ-The idea of reconciliation at the basis-
Faith the one work acceptable to God, John vi. 29-Complete surrender to
The children of God, and the children of the devil
6. Resurrection and Judgment.
Peculiarity of John's conceptions-The internal and present predominate-
But this judgment, and the spiritual awakening, are preparatory to the final
7. The Second Coming of Christ.
This is represented by John as internal-First by the coming of the Spirit,
also the distinotion of internal and external communion, 1 Ep. ii. 19................
The essence of Christianity according to Paul and John-Worshipping God as
THE APOSTOLIC DOCTRINE.
THE DOCTRINE OF THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS.
We wish in this place to take some notice of the peculiar doctrinal character of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in which we find the leading points of the Pauline doctrine under a peculiar form, as held by a man of independent mind, who differed from Paul in his constitutional qualities, in his mental training, and in the mode of his transition from Judaism to Christianity. As to the first point, the author of this epistle seems to stand to the apostle in the same relation as Melancthon to Luther; the one quiet and gentle, the other ardent and energetic. As to their education, Paul was brought up in the school of Pharisaism; in the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, we recognise the training of an Alexandrian Jew. Hence arose the difference between the two, that Paul received a more dialectic education, by which his logical faculties were still further developed, and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews a more rhetorical one; though Paul, like Luther, possessed in a very high degree the gift of natural eloquence. Lastly, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews appears to have made the transition from Judaism to Christianity, not, like Paul, by a sudden crisis, but by a more quiet gradual development, in which the higher spirit concealed under the forms of Judaism revealed itself to him. Accordingly, we must consider his twofold relation to the Alexandrian
Jewish, and to the Pauline theology. Several differences in the development of doctrine between these two great teachers of the church, may be explained from the peculiar design of this epistle, which was addressed to a community of Christians, who, though faith in Jesus as the Messiah had found ready acceptance with thein, were still enthralled in the forms of Judaism.'
This view we must maintain, notwithstanding the reasons alleged against it by Dr. Roth in his Latin Dissertation (Frankfort, 1836), in which he endeavours to show that this epistle was addressed to the church at Ephesus, consisting of Gentile Christians. As the epistle perfectly suits a church consisting of Jewish Christians, and the difficulties attached to this hypothesis are only superficial, so we cannot, on the other hand, conceive of a church of Gentile Christians to whom an epistle could be addressed in such a form and of such contents. And, on the latter supposition, it would not be easy to explain the manifestly close connexion of the didactic and parenetical elements from its commencement, since a church consisting of Gentile Christians might be forced by persecution to fall back into heathenism, but never from such a cause, to pass over to Judaism. The contents of this epistle, which tend to show the superiority of Christianity to Judaism, are therefore by no means adapted to the purpose of encouraging its readers to constancy under persecutions. Dr. Röth appeals to chap. iii. 12; but apostasy from the living God need not be exactly a relapse into idolatry; for as communion with God, according to the convictions of the writer, could only be through Christ, so an apostasy from Christ must in his esteem have been equivalent to apostasy from the living God. Still less can the passage in chap. x. 32 be adduced in evidence, for doubtless divine illumination appeared to the author as necessarily depending on the gospel; and a transition from any other religious stand-point, on which man could not be set free from the dominion of the principle of sin, was looked upon by him as a transition from darkness to light. The same remark applies to chap. vi. 4. Also, the enumeration of points of instruction for catechumens in chap. vi. 1, does not prove that they were only such as would be imparted to heathens; for by "repentance from dead works," the author no doubt understands conversion from all ungodliness, and by Tioris in this connexion, agreeably to the Pauline ideas, he meant faith in the peculiarly Christian sense; so that faith in Jesus as the Messiah is included in it, which in articles of instruction for heathens must also, we allow, have been rendered very prominent. Besides, for the instruction of Jews passing over to Christianity, it was requisite to define the nature of Christian baptism, in relation to that of John and other kinds of lustration; and the doctrine of the resurrection and of the judgment, though already acknowledged by the greater part of the Jews, must be promulged afresh with many peculiar modifications in connexion with the doctrine of Jesus as the Messiah. Thus the author enumerates those universal articles of primary religious instruction, which needed to be addressed to Jews as well as to Gentiles. From chap. xiii. 9, it does not follow that his readers had never before