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Christ, The Life and the Light.

Christ, The Life and the Light.

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John i. 14.

And the Word was made flesh.

John i. 14.

And the Word was made flesh.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Aug 01, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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CHRIST, THE LIFE AD THE LIGHT. BY DAVID J. VAUGHA, M.A., John i. 14. And the Word was made flesh. T  these words St. John describes that great mystery, which ^ is the keystone of our Christian faith. * The Word/ he says, 'became flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.' ow we all, you know, profess to believe in the Incarnation of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. But it is quite a question, whether we all believe in it in the same deep yet simple way, in which St. John believed in it. At any rate, at this season of the year, we cannot do better than try to clear our minds on this all-important subject. And if we wish to clear our minds upon it, we cannot do better than consult St. John's Gospel. For he wrote at a time when the supreme importance of this truth, and the vast results implied in it, had had time to begin plainly to disclose themselves. And therefore he wrote about it with the greatest possible care and accuracy, as well as with all simplicity of speech ; so that the humblest reader, reading with attention and thought, might be able to understand and profit by his words. * The Word became flesh : * — such is St. John's statement. In order to understand the statement thoroughly, we must ask : First, what does St. John mean by *The Word'? And, CHRIST, THE LIFE AD THE LIGHT. S3 secondly, what does he mean, when he says, that * The Word was made,' or * became,' ^ flesh ' 1 In the previous verses of the chapter St. John has been speaking of the Word ; though only in the fourteenth verse does
he begin to speak of the Word Incarnate. This is the first point that requires to be clearly understood. In the first thirteen verses of the chapter St. John speaks of the Word, his existence and his office, irrespective of and antecedent to the Incarnation. In the fourteenth verse he introduces the thought of the Incarnation: * The Word became flesh : ' — or, to use language of Latin origin, in place of the homelier Saxon, *The Word became Incarnate.' Bearing this point in mind, let us see what St. John has to tell us about the Word, who thus, when the fulness of the time was come, became flesh. He says, that the Word was in the beginning, and was with God, and was God ; that He was in the beginning with God \ that all things were made by Him ; that in Him was life, and that the life was the light of men ; a light shining in the darkness, and not comprehended by the darkness ; a light which lighteth every man. He says further, that He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not ; that He came unto his own, and his own received Him not ; but that to all who did re- ceive Him, He gave power to become the sons of God. Here is plenty of food for thought. Let us apply ourselves to it. St. John starts from a point, which he describes as * the beginning.' * In the beginning was the Word : ' * In the beginning the Word was with God.' By the very constitution of our minds we are compelled to start from such a beginning. Yet; strictly speaking, there is no such beginning. There is an infinity behind us, as well as before us ; just as there is an infinity of star-besprinkled space around us. What St. John says, is, in effect, this : — Go back as far as you will or can, by
any effort of reason or imagination ; make what point in the J 54 CHRIST, THE LIFE AD THE LIGHT. [ser. past you please your starting point : — still, at that point, however distant, there is the Word, and He is with God. The science of the present day carries us back, or seems to carry us back, or at least affects to carry us back, to a point in the past, distant by millions and millions of years from the present moment; a point in the past, when sun and moon and earth and planets were all one generally diffused nebulous mass of gaseous matter, extending far beyond the limits of the orbit of the most remote of the planets, and filling the enormous space thus circumscribed. For science, this is the beginning. And St. John, were he amongst us now, would say : * Yes, and at that beginning there is the Word, and He is with God.* And he would go on to say : * That supposed nebulous mass, from which science starts as its postulate, whence came it? And how came it to be endowed with those properties of light and heat, which the very hypothesis of science requires, and to revolve around an axis, and so to throw off, in cooling, those masses of detached matter which have become the planets of our solar system, leaving the shrunken nucleus of the original mass for centre and sun ? ' And he would answer these questions by saying : * All this is due to that Word, by whom all things were made ; and without whom was not anything made that was made.' But St. John has much more to say than this. He refers all creation to the instrumentality of One whom he calls the * Word;^ whom, afterwards, he calls the ^ Light ;^ and presently as Incarnate, the * SoUy — ' The only-begotten Son, who is in

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