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hath been, [or existed,] before me, for he was MY CHIEF," John i. 15. Thus marking, 1. the pre-existence of CHRIST; 2. his antecedent dignity, as THE LEADER, Micah v. 2, Matt. ii. 6, Dan. ix. 25; or PRINCE, Dan. x. 21.

These two important articles are more fully explained in the sublime Introduction of John's Gospel, which was immediately and primarily designed as a commentary on the Baptist's testi

Ιωαννης μαρτυρει περι αυτου και κέκραγε λεγων· Οὗτος ην ὖν εἶπον· ̔Ο οπίσω μου ερχόμενος, εμπροσθεν μου γεγονεν. ότι πρωτος μου ην.

The Bible translation of this passage, though not altogether unfaithful, yet seems to be inaccurate, in transposing the meaning of the two last clauses: "He that cometh after me, is [preferred] before me; for He was before me."

1. εμπροσθεν, ambiguously denotes “ before," either in point of time or place; and its appropriate sense is to be learned only from the context. Thus, it indicates the former, in such passages as these, ήμερας τας εμπροσθεν, "the former days," Micah vii. 20. Sept. оi εμπроσlεv λoyou, "the former discourses;" Æschines: but the latter, in the following, εμπроσđεv aνтwν поρEVεTαι, “He, (the good Shepherd,) goeth before them, and the sheep follow him," John x. 4. In the present case, however, since the antecedent orlow, "after," in strictness, refers to the later mission of CHRIST, the consequent εμρоoev, contrasted therewith, to preserve the propriety of the figure, must denote his earlier existence. And it may also be remarked, that where ɛμπρoσîɛv denotes place, as before and behind," Rev. iv. 6, it is contrasted, not with ontow, but OTIOεv. Nor does it any where, merely by itself, appear to signify precedence of rank or dignity: even in the supposed parallel passage, έθηκε τον Εφραιμ εμπροσθεν του Mavaooov, "He set Ephraim before Manasseh," Gen. xlviii. 20, Sept. the precedence is marked by the verb conjointly: "He set before," or "preferred."

2. Tɛyover, the definite perfect tense middle, is rather inaccurately rendered "is," for it properly denotes time past, terminating before, at, or in, the present; and should be rendered "hath been ;" corresponding to the Latin, fuit: for it is contrasted with the present, "is," and the future, "shall be," Matt. xxiv. 21. That it terminates, however, at, or in, the present time, appears from the phrases Tɩ yɛyoVEV, "how is it?" &c. or, "what hath been, and now is," the reason? John xiv. 22; and, yeyovε, "it is done," or "the mystery of God hath been, and is now finished," Rev. xvi. 16. And so, fuit Ilium, fuimus Troes, intimates, that Troy hath been in existence, but is now no more. Hence, yɛyovɛ is distinguished from the indefinite tenses, εyεvεto, 66 was made," 66 became," or came to pass," John i. 3, or nv, "" was," "which contain no reference to present time.


3. Прτos pov ny is inaccurately rendered, "he was before me," confounding πρшτос with πрoτεpoç, “ before," in point of time; whereas, in strictness, it relates to precedence of rank, as ός αν θελῃ ὑμων γενεσθαι πρωτος, εσται παντων δουλος. "Whosoever among you is desirous to become chief, shall be servant of all," Mark x. 44; as exemplified by OUR LORD in washing his disciples' feet, John xiii. 3-17, who called himself their chief, John xv. 18. And St. Paul, speaking of his former persecution of the Church, ranks himself among sinners, in прwтos εiμi εyw, "of whom I am chief," 1 Tim. i. 15. Compare Luke i. 43, 44. 4. Κεκραγε---ὸν εἶπον. am the voice of one crying,"

This relates to his first testimony, εγω φωνη βοωντος, “Ι &c. for KEкрayɛ, and Bowvros, signify a public crier or



mony, introduced into the midst of it, as essentially connected therewith.


1. “ In the beginning was THE ORACLE, and the Oracle was with

2. "THE GOD, and the Oracle was GOD. This same was in the beginning with THE GOD.


The translation of this sublime Introduction, differing from the received, especially in the first and most important verse, attesting the proper divinity of the Oracle (CHRIST) but still distinguishing him personally from THE FATHER, “neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance," according to the judicious canon of the Athanasian creed, requires to be supported by a critical analysis of the terms of the original, upon the logical principles established by Middleton, in his profound Doctrine of the Greek Alphabet.

The definite article, o, ǹ, ro, usually rendered "the," he has clearly proved to be, in fact, a relative pronoun, signifying "who," "which," or “that,” as Πατερ ἡμῶν ὁ [ων] εν τοις ουρανοις, "Our Father, who [art] in the Heavens," Matt. vi. 9. Here the substantive participle, wv, is understood: it is expressed in the following passage from Aristotle, οἱ μαλιστα αξιοι οντες ήκιστα πλουτουσι, “ They who are most worthy are least apt to be rich,” p. 39. Εγω ειμι παν το γεγονος, και ον, και εσόμενον, “Ι am all that hath been, and is, and will be," p. 43.


The article is chiefly used to express eminence, kar' εžoɣny, as “the Lord, he is THE GOD! the Lord, he is THE GOD!" and not Baal, 1 Kings xviii. 39, and is so marked in the Hebrew, by the, or emphatic prefix,, and in the Septuagint, by 'O Oɛoç. Signifying, He, who is GOD, in the highest sense of the word, or invested with supreme power and dominion. In this sense it is used in the first clause. Ev apxy nv 'O λoyos, "In the beginning was THE ORACLE, or personified WORD." Ev apxy, should be rendered, not "In a beginning," because the preposition often excludes the article, which is understood, as Middleton has shewn in many instances.

The next clause, και ο λογος ην προς τον Θεον, “ THE ORACLE was with THE GOD," or THE FATHER; and the third, kaι Oɛog ŋv ò λoyoç, “And THE ORACLE was GOD," as personally distinguished from "THE GOD;" for otherwise it would be a reciprocating proposition, of which the reciprocal would not be true, that "THE God was the ORACLE," which is evidently incongruous.

Still Oɛog, without the article, frequently denotes "THE GOD," when ò Пarno, THE FATHER,” [of all] is understood, as Θεον ουδεις έωρακε πωποτε, ὁ μονογενης νέος, ὁ ων εις τον κολπον του πατρος, εκείνος εξηγησατο, “GoD [THE FATHER] none ever saw, THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, who is on HIS bosom, that same expounded him," verse 18. Here is an elegant and a usual Atticism, where the genitive Toυ Tатрос is expressed instead of тov Tarɛрa, understood after Otov. Thus Virgil, “ Urbem quam statuo vestra est," "The city that I am building is your's," put for Urbs quam statuo vestra est, Æn. i. 576. So in the phrases, Tapа Oεov, "from God;" εK Oεov “of God;” Terva Oɛov, “children of God;" occurring also ver. 6, 12, 13, of this Introduction. Oɛov, without the article, evidently denotes THE FATHER; for whom, it is used indiscriminately, both with, and without the article, in the following parallel passages: "Nothing shall be impossible with Gon," (waра тw Otw) Luke i. 37; “For, with GOD, (mapa Oɛy) all things are possible," Matt. xix. 26.

Orog also, without the article, denotes THE SON, where either ò Aayog, or ò vios, are


3. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any thing made that hath been. [Ps. xxxiii. 6, Heb. i. 2, xi. 3, Col. i. 16, 17, Ephes. iii. 9.

understood. As "Great is the mystery of godliness," "GOD [THE SON, or THE WORD] was manifested in flesh," &c. 1 Tim. iii. 16. And Philo, the Jew, styled o Xoyog, the ORACLE, & DEUTEρOC EOS, "THE SECOND GOD." 2. The article is sometimes used simply to express reference. Thus 'O Oɛog rov Ioραηλ, “ the God of Israel,” Ο Θεος του αιωνος τουτου, "the God of this world," in which latter case it denotes Satan, 2 Cor. iv. 4. Sometimes it is used relatively, even where the reference is not expressed, but understood; and so ò Oɛog is applied to CHRIST, in that much disputed passage, "to feed the Church of God, (Tov Oɛov) which he purchased with his own blood," Acts xx. 28; and also to the HOLY GHOST, "Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God," (Tw Oεy) Acts v. 4, namely, THE GOD who was mentioned in the preceding verse, то πvενμа To ȧytov, "THE HOLY SPIRIT."

Verse 3 Пavra di' avrov eyevεTO. Here the preposition dia, "by," or "through," marks the agency of the SON OF GOD in the creation of the world, which is ultimately ascribed to THE FATHER, in the preposition ɛɛ, of," or originating from;" "of whom, and through whom, and to whom are all things, to whom be glory for evermore. Amen."



Verse 4. It is not a little remarkable, that in the Orphic Mythology, the supreme principle of creation was, το φως, το ύπερτατον παντων, και απροσιτον, το παντα περιεχον, όπερ ωνομασε Βουλην, Φως, Ζωην, ταυτα τα τρια ονοματα μιαν δυναμιν απεφήνατο, και ἐν κρατος του Δημιουργου παντων θεου, του παντα εκ του μη οντος παραγαγοντος εις το ειναι, όρατα τε και αόρατα.

"THE LIGHT Supreme of all and inaccessible, containing the universe, which he named COUNSEL, LIGHT, Life. These three names he made to represent one power, and one dominion, of GOD THE CREATOR OF ALL, who produced all things into being from nothing, both visible and invisible." See Suidas voce Oppevç. And we find these three names or titles noticed in John's Introduction, and applied to CHRIST as the ORACLE, which is synonymous with THE COUNSEL OF GOD, as Christ is also styled, Luke vii. 30. And that epithet of the SUPREME BEING, "light inaccessible," is also recorded by Paul, 1 Tim. vi. 16.

9. For the true light, CHRIST," the Sun of Righteousness," coming into the world, (John xi. 27, xii. 46, xviii. 37,) enlighteneth "every man," who is willing to receive his illumination, John iii. 19-21. But the heathen world knew him not, as THEIR CREATOR; and the Jews, his own peculiar people, entertained him not, (ov πapeλaßov,) as THEIR LORD, but rejected Him. As many, however, as received Him, (eλaßov,) whether Jews or Gentiles, and believed in his name, or divine mission and authority, were admitted into covenant by Him, as "children of GOD;" whose adoption and regeneration, (eyevvn@noɑv,) was owing, not to any respect of persons, Acts x. 34, 35, prerogatives or merits of their own, as proceeding "from bloods," (ε aiμarwv,) from chosen stocks, or races, highly favoured casts, as Hebrews, children of Abraham, or children of Israel, &c. 2 Cor. xi. 22, 23, or from natural instinct, (ɛk Oɛλnμaтos σaρKos,) or from the moral principle of reason or conscience, (εк Oɛλŋμaтoç avôpoç,) Rom. ii. 14, 15, but from the free grace and sole will of God, (ek Oɛov,) 1 Pet. i. 3, Eph. ii. 8, 9, Rom. vi. 23.

14. And THE ORACLE became flesh, [or man,] 1 Tim. iii. 16, Phil. ii. 6, 8, and tabernacled (εokηywoɛ,) among us; "the temple of his body, containing all the fulness of the Godhead, corporeally," John ii. 21, Col. ii. 9. And He manifested his glory, to his chosen witnesses, the Apostles, by his miracles, John ii. 11; by his transfiguration, Matt.

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4. In Him was LIFE, and the life was THE LIGHT of men.

[John viii. 12, xii. 46, &c.]

5. And the light shineth in the dusk, but the dusk comprehended it not. [Acts xiv. 17, xvii. 27, Rom. i. 19, 20, Ephes. iii, 18.]

9. He was THE TRUE LIGHT, which coming into the world enlighteneth every man.

10. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, but the world [the Gentiles] knew Him not. [Exod. v. 2, Isa. lv. 5, 1 John iii. 1.]

11. He came unto his own home, but his own household [the Jews] entertained him not. [John iv. 44, Matt. xii. 38-42, Luke x. 13, &c.]

12. But as many as received Him, [whether Jews or Gentiles, Rom. ii. 10, 11, &c.] to them gave He authority to become children of GOD, even to them that believe in His name:

13. Who were born [again, John iii. 3, 1 Pet. i. 3-5, Tit. iii. 4-7, &c.] neither of bloods, [peculiar races, or favoured stocks, as of Abraham, Matt. iii. 9, John viii. 39-41, &c.] nor of the will of flesh, [suggestion of natural instinct] nor of the will of man, [suggestion of reason, or conscience] but of [the gracious will of] GOD. [James i. 18, &c.]

14. And THE ORACLE became flesh, [or man] and tabernacled among us, (and we [the chosen witnesses] beheld his glory, a glory suitable to THE ONLY BEGOTTEN [SON issuing] from THE FATHER) full of grace and truth.

xvii. 1-6; by his resurrection, Luke xxiv. 26; by his ascension, Acts i. 9; and by the miraculous effusion of the HOLY SPIRIT on the day of Pentecost, &c. a glory suitable to the only genuine [Son, issuing] from THE FATHER, (dokav we μovoyɛvovs, πapa Пarpos.) During his residence in the flesh, "THE ORACLE was full of, or abounding in grace and truth," or in true grace, or graciousness to mankind. "And of his fulness, or abundance, have we, [believers,] all received, even grace instead of grace;" (кαι Xapiv avri xapiros,) "the grace and the truth," or superior grace of THE GOSPEL, effected by JESUS CHRIST, instead of the grace of "THE LAW given by Moses;" which was only " a shadow of good things to come," or a type of the GOSPEL, Heb. x. 1; and was superseded thereby, 2 Cor. v. 17.


18. The divinity of THE ORACLE, or JESUS CHRIST, is further intimated, 1. by ὁ μονογενης υἱος, "the only genuine, or legitimate son,' as distinguished from νoθος, a spurious son, Heb. xii. 8. By this epithet, Isaac was distinguished from Ishmael, Heb. xi. 17. It is equivalent to yvŋotos, 1 Tim. i. 2. 2. By o wv εig тov KoλπоV του πατρός, "who is reclining on the Father's bosom :" a metaphor taken from ancient usage. So John, the beloved disciple, reclined on Jesus's bosom, John xiii. 23, as he sat next to him at table, in the highest seat. And 3. By oracularly expounding (ežŋynoato) the nature of the Invisible FATHER, who only knoweth likewise the nature of THE SON, Matt. xi. 27.

16. And of his fulness, we [believers] all received, even grace instead of grace: [the grace of the GOSPEL, instead of the grace of THE LAW.]

17. For the law was given by Moses, but the grace and the truth [of the Gospel] was effected by JESUS CHRIST. [Heb. iii. 1-6.]

18. No one hath seen GOD THE FATHER at any time ; THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON who is on His bosom, that same expounded Him, [or oracularly explained His spiritual nature and true worship to mankind. John iv. 24, 1 Tim. vi. 16.]

This mysterious Introduction, (here attempted to be more closely and critically rendered, and explained from parallel passages of Scripture) furnishes the fullest evidence to the divine and human nature of JESUS CHRIST, as the original ORACLE of the OLD TESTAMENT, and the peculiar SON OF GOD of the NEW; connecting both together as parts of one grand and comprehensive system of divine economy respecting mankind. Its authenticity is unimpeachable by heretics and infidels. Even the emperor Julian the Apostate, A.D. 361, reluctantly admitted this in his censure: "As to JESUS, neither Paul, nor Matthew, nor Luke, nor Mark, dared to call him' GOD;' none but the honest [or simple] John *.”


This was energetic and powerful, and drew a great concourse of people to him from Jerusalem, all Judea, and the region round about Jordan, who were baptized by him confessing their sins. John, indeed, was " a burning and shining lamp," like Elijah, according to our LORD's commendation, (corresponding to Gabriel's,) John v. 33, taken perhaps from this following:

Then arose Elijah the prophet as fire,

And his word burned like a lamp, &c.-Ecclus. xlviii. 1-10.

Τον γουν Ιησουν, ουτε Παυλος ετολμησε ειπειν ΘΕΟΝ, ουτε Ματθαιος, ουτε Λουκας, ούτε Μαρκος· αλλ ̓ ὁ χρηστος Ιωαννης. Cyril. cont. Julian. lib. x. p. 327.

Julian, however, was mistaken concerning the rest, for Paul repeatedly styles him so, Rom. ix. 5, Phil. ii. 6, 1 Tim. iii. 16, Tit. i. 3, ii. 13, Eph. v. 5, Heb. i. 8. Matthew styles him from ancient prophecy, IMMANUEL, "GOD WITH US;" Mark, " THE SON of God," i. 1; Luke, "GOD," Acts xx. 28. And JESUS himself freely accepted the divine titles of MY LORD and MY GOD, from his disciple Thomas, John xx. 28, 29; which surely he would not have done, had he not been fully entitled thereto from" the glory which He had with THE FATHER before the world was," John xvii. 5,

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