THE PRINCIPAL WITNESS ON OUR LORD AS KING, PRIEST, AND ANGEL.
The author of “Supernatural Religion” quotes the passage in Dial. xxxiv.:—
“For Christ is King,
and Priest, and God, and Lord, and Angel, and
Man, and Captain, and Stone, and a Son born,” &c.
And he remarks, with what I cannot but characterize as astonishing effrontery, or (to use his own language with respect to Tischendorf) “an assurance which can scarcely be characterized otherwise than an unpardonable calculation upon the ignorance of his readers.” (Vol. ii. p. 56.)
“Now these representations,
which are constantly repeated throughout
Justin’s writings, are quite opposed to the spirit of the Fourth
Gospel.” (Vol. ii. p. 288.)
He first of all takes the title “King,” and arbitrarily and unwarrantably restricts Justin’s derivation of it to the seventy-second Psalm, apparently being ignorant of the fact that St. John, in his very first chapter, records that Christ was addressed by Nathanael as “King of Israel”—that the Fourth Gospel alone describes how the crowd on His entry into Jerusalem cried, “Osanna, Blessed be the King of Israel, Who cometh in the name of the Lord” (xii. 13)—that this Gospel more fully than any other records how Pilate questioned our Lord respecting His Kingship, and recognized Him as King, “Behold your King;” and that those who mocked our Lord are recorded by St. John to have mocked Him as the “King of Israel.”
So that this term King, so far from being contrary to the spirit of the Fourth Gospel, is not even contrary to its letter.
But this, gross though it seems, is to my mind as nothing to two other assertions founded on this passage of Justin:—
“If we take the second
epithet, the Logos as Priest, which is quite
foreign to the Fourth Gospel, we find it repeated by Justin.”
Now, it is quite true that the title “priest” is not given to our Lord in St. John, just as it is not given to Him in any one of the three Synoptics, or indeed in any book of the New Testament, except the Epistle to the Hebrews: yet, notwithstanding this, of all the books of the New Testament, this Gospel is the one which sets forth the reality of Christ’s Priesthood. For what is the distinguishing function of the Priesthood? Is it not Mediation and Intercession, and the Fourth Gospel more than all sets forth Christ as Mediator and Intercessor? As Mediator when He says so absolutely: “No man cometh unto the Father but by me;” “As my Father sent me so send I you; whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them.”
Again, the idea of Priesthood is actually inherent in the figure of the good Shepherd “Who giveth His Life for the sheep;” for how does He give His life?—not in the way of physical defence against enemies, as an earthly “good shepherd” might do, but in the way of atoning Sacrifice, as the author of “Supernatural Religion” truly asserts, where he writes (vol. ii. p. 352):—