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Divinity School

Copyright, 1901

BY FRANK SCHELL BALLENTINE

S. JOHN.
(Gospel.)

PREFACE.

IN the thirty-first verse of his twentieth chapter, S. John gives the purpose he had in view in writing his version of the Good News of our Salvation. "These are written," he there says, 66 so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and so that believing you may have life in his name."

To understand these words rightly we have to think of S. John, the last of the Apostles, living on to the close of the first century. He has learned in the thoughts and experiences of the last fifty years of his life what the manifestation of Christ's life really is. He has become quickened by the presence of the Paraclete who has brought all things to his mind and has guided him into all the truth.

Think of the Apostle John thus, and then think of him living among men who were teaching that the world was not made by the First God, but by

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a certain Power far separated from the Royalty which is above all and very distant from him, a Power which does not know the God who is over all and blessed forever.

Think of the great Apostle John in the last days of his mortal life living among men who are thus trying in the wisdom of their own vain imaginings to cross the gulf between God and man.

He feels that he has learnt how that gulf is bridged in the person of Jesus Christ our Lord. He remembers our Lord's acts and his very words. He knows that in him and in him alone does the divine and human meet. He at once writes out this witness. He makes it as clear and forcible as he can for us children of men.

So in the deeper fulness of the truth as we find it in his story of the Good News, John instructs the Church, he refutes the prevalent heresy, he supplies that uniquely spiritual picture of the life of Christ, which we prize so highly as a complement to the other three.

Like the Revelation and the Epistles, the Gospel also is divided into threes and sevens as will be noticed in the body of the text.

FRANK SCHELL BALLENTINE,

Christ's Church Rectory,

Scranton, Pa., Trinitytide, 1901.

S. JOHN. (First Letter.)

PREFACE.

S. John's first letter has rightly been called catholic, or general because it was addressed to the Church at large. And yet, the question has been raised, was it so addressed? Was it addressed to any one? Was it not rather a set treatise on a set subject, intended to meet the needs of the particular time in which it was written?

However that may be we do know it met most admirably the needs of that time and of all times since, and it will continue to meet the needs of all time to come. For, as some one has suggested, it seems to have been intended as a supplement to his Gospel, and whether so intended or not it is in actual fact the supplement to all extant New Testament Scripture and the final treatise of inspired revelation. In it the leading teachings of Christianity are stated in their final form. The teaching of S. Paul and that of S. James are restated, no

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