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John without stopping to write a volume on the authenticity of the Fourth Gospel ; or may narrate one of the Gospel miracles without deeming it necessary to answer all the arguments which have been urged against the possi- bility of the supernatural. It would indeed be hypocrisy in me to say with Ewald that " every argu- ment, from every quarter to which we can look, every trace and record, combine together to render any serious doubt upon the question absolutely impossible ; " but I do say that, after the fairest and fullest consideration which I have been able to give to a question beset with difficulties, the arguments in favour of the Johannine authorship seem to me to be immensely preponderant.
Hanson's Jesus of History, and the English Life of Jesus, by Mr. But, while I have never consciously evaded a distinct and formidable difficulty, I have constantly endeavoured to show by the mere silent course of the narrative itself that many of * PREFACE. To us they are but incidental items in a faith which lies at the very bases of our being they are but fragments of that great whole which comprises all that is divine and mysterious and supernatural in the two great words, Christianity and Christendom. Similar facts exist quite commonly among ourselves ; and, ages before this time, we find that the actual grandson of the great Lawgiver himself ( Judg. 30, where the true reading is " Moses," not " Manasseh ") was an obscure, wandering, semi-idolatrous Levite, content to serve an irregular ephod for a double suit of apparel and ten shekels (i.e. And hence, though we no longer prominently urge the miracles of Christ as the proofs of our religion, yet, on the other hand, we cannot regard them as stumbling-blocks in the path of an historical belief. He looks at the majestic order and apparently unbroken uniformity of Law, until the Universe becomes to him but the result mechanically evolved from tendencies at once irreversible and self-originated. Law to us involves the necessity of postulating a Law-giver, and " Nature," which we only use as an unscientific and imaginative synonym for the sum total of observed phenomena, involves in our con- ceptions the Divine Power of whose energy it is but the visible translucence. For further discussion of the question see Wieseler, Synops. 1 1 That Joseph alone knew these facts appears from Matt. 19, where the best reading seems to be not Trapa Sety^ariffat, but Stiy/j.arfffai i.e., not " make her an example," but, as Eusebius points out, " reveal her condition to the world." The fv Qv^f\eevros of verse 20 means that this intention continued until the explanation had been revealed to him. Luke, see the learned and admirable article by the Bishop of Bath and Wells in Smith's Diet, of the Bible, and his more elaborate work on the same subject. ; and (2) in a statement by Ulla, a Rabbi, of the third century, that " Jesus was treated exceptionally because of Sis royal extraction" (mn mjjch mjrr w ': NUJ, San Jiedrin, 43 a, in non-expurgated editions) (Derenbourg, L'Hist. It is not too much to say that after the labours of Mill (On. We believe that the God and Creator of "Nature" has made Himself known to us, PREFACE. There is nothing sur- prising in the fact that the descendant of a royal house should be in a lowly position. Here I need only add that remark- able confirmations of the descent of Jesus from David are found (1) in the story of Domitian and the Desposyui, alluded to infr.
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No one, I hope, could have reaped, however feebly, among such har- vests, without garnering at least something, which must have its value for the professed theologian as well as for the unlearned.