We have now to consider St. John’s teaching respecting the relation of the Logos to man. One aspect of this doctrine is peculiar to St. John, and is as mysterious and striking a truth as we have in the whole range of Christian dogma.
It is contained in certain words in the exordium of the Fourth Gospel: “That [Word] was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
This passage embodies a truth which is unique in Scripture: that in the Word was Life, that the Life was the Light of men, and that that Light was (even before the Incarnation) the true Light which lighteth every man.
This, I say, is a truth which is not, that I am aware of, to be found, except by very remote implication, in the rest of Scripture. And yet it is continually reproduced by Justin in a way which shows that he had drunk it in, as it were, and he used it continually as the principle on which to explain the vestiges of truth which existed among the heathen.
“We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word of Whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably (or with the Logos, [Greek: hoi meta logou biosantes]) are Christians, even though they have been thought Atheists; as among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them.” (Apol. I. ch. xlvi.)
“No one trusted in Socrates
so as to die for this doctrine, but in
Christ, Who was partially known even by Socrates (for He was and is
the Word Who is in every man),” &c. (Apol. II. ch. x.)
Again, in a noble passage:—
“For each man spoke well in proportion to the share he had of the spermatic Divine Word, [51:1] seeing what was related to it. But they who contradict themselves in the more important points appear not to have possessed the heavenly wisdom, and the knowledge which cannot be spoken against. Whatever things were rightly said among all men are the property of us Christians.” (Apol. II. xiii.)
There cannot, then, be the smallest doubt but that Justin’s mind was permeated by a doctrine of the Logos exactly such as he would have derived from the diligent study of the fourth Gospel. But may he not have derived all this from Philo? No; because, if so, he would have referred Trypho, a Jew, to Philo, his brother Jew, which he never does. The speciality of St. John’s teaching is not that he, like Plato or Philo, elaborates a Logos doctrine, but that once for all, with the authority of God, he identifies the Logos with the Divine Nature of our Lord. No other Evangelist or sacred writer does this, and he does.
The principal witness.—His further testimony to st. John.
We now come to Justin’s account of Christian Baptism, which runs thus:—