BLTC Press Titles


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Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle


The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite


Shakti and Shakta

John Woodroffe


Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett


Expository thoughts on the Gospels : St. John

by John Charles Ryle

Excerpt:

"The Arians hold that Jesus Christ was not true God. This text calleth Him the Word, and maketh Him a Person in the Trinity.

"The Apollinarians acknowledge Christ to be God, vea, and man too; but they hold that He took only the body of a man, not the soul of a man, while His divinity supplied the room of a soid. We interpret the word 'flesh' for the whole human nature, both soul and body.

"The Nestorians grant Christ to be both God and man: but then they say the Godhead made one person, and the manhood another person. We interpret the words ' was made' as implying an union, in which Christ assumed not the person of man, but the nature of man.

"The Eutychiana held but one person in Christ; but then they confounded the natures. They say the Godhead and manhood made such a mixture as to produce a third thing. Here they also are confuted by the right understanding of the union between the Word and flesh."

He then goes on to show how the ancient Church met all these heretics with four adverbs, which briefly and conveniently defined the union of two natures in Christ's person. They said that the divine and human natures when " the Word was made flesh," were united truly, to oppose the Arians,—perfectly, to oppose the Apollinarians,—undividedly, to oppose the Nestorian*, —and unmixedly, to oppose the Eutychians.

Those who wish to examine this subject further, will do well to consult Pearson on the Creed, Dods on the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, and Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, B. v., chap.

[Dwelt among us.] The Greek word rendered dwelt, means literally " tabernacled," or "dwelt in a tent." The sentence does not mean that Christ dwelt in His human body as in a tabernacle, which He left when He ascended up to heaven. "Christ," says Arrowsmith, "continueth now, and shall for ever, as true man as when He was born of the Virgin Mary.—He so took human nature as never to lay it down again." The sentence only means that Christ dwelt among men on earth for thirty-three years. He was on earth so long conversing among men, that there could be no doubt of the reality of His incarnation. He did not appear for a few minutes, like a phantom or ghost. He did not come down for a brief visit of a few days, but was living among us in His human body for the duration of a whole generation of men. For thirty-three years He pitched His tent in Palestine, and was going to and fro among its inhabitants.

Arrowsmitb remarks that three sorts of men are described in the Bible as living in tents; shepherds, sojourners, and soldiers. He thinks that the phrase here used has reference to the calling of all these three, and that it points to Christ's life on earth being that of a shepherd, a traveller, and a soldier. But it may be doubted whether this is not a somewhat fanciful idea, however pleasing and true. The Greek word rendered " dwelt" is only used in four other places in the New Testament, (Rev. vii. 15; xiL 12; xiii. 6; xxi. 3,) and in each of them is applied to a permanent, and not a temporary dwelling.

[ We beheld his glory.] St. John here declares, that although "the Word was made flesh," he and others beheld from time to time His glory, and saw manifest proof that He was not man only, but the " only begotten Son of God."

There is a difference of opinion among commentators as to the

to Christ's ascension, which John witnessed, and to all His mi

right application of these worda

raculous actions throughout His ministry, in all of which, as it is said of the miracle of Cana, He " manifested forth his glory," and Hia disciples saw it.—Others think that they apply especially to our Lord's transfiguration, when He put on for a little season His glory, in the presence of John, James, and Peter. I am on the whole inclined to think that this is the true view, and die more so, because of Peter's words in speaking of the transfiguration, (2 Pet. i. 16, 18,) and the words which immediately follow in the verse we are now considering.


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