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verse 2, “ The same was with God in the [first] beginning." So in ch. vi. Barnabas says God “ has accomplished a second fashioning (or a new creation] in these last days. The Lord says, Behold I make the last like the first."
That John, in the above words, is referring to Gen. i. 3, where God spake the word, and said, “Let there be light," is evident from his comparing, in verse 4, the spiritual Life of this second creation to the visible Light of the first creation. But Barnabas does not receive these words of John as meaning that God spake the word ; and in ch. v. he refers them to Gen. i. 26, and thus makes God speak to the Word when he
" Let us make man in our own image.” That Barnabas thus departs somewhat from John's meaning is strictly in accord with the way in which he handles the texts of the Old Testament, namely, with an evident wish to find a new meaning which the words did not originally bear. But at the same time the words of Barnabas are useful as a commentary on those of John.
That John's Gospel was already written and that Barnabas had read it receives some support from the probability that it is also made use of in the Book of Revelation, which was written in A.D. 69, one or two years earlier than our Epistle. Thus in Rev. xix. 13, we read, “His name is called The Word of God," a name which Jesus received, so far as we know, from the Introduction to John's Gospel. Again, in Rev. v. 6, he is described as “a Lamb standing as though slain.” This also may be borrowed from John i. 29, where the Baptist says of him, “ Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.”
Though we cannot overlook the faults of this Epistle arising from the writer's conceit of his superior knowledge, we may dwell with pleasure on much good advice which it contains ; such as, that we should receive the difficulties which come upon us as good, for nothing comes to pass without God; Night and day we should remember the day of judgment; and We should make search to learn what are the things that God requires of us.
32, Highbury Place.
July 21, 1880.
THE EPISTLE OF BARNABAS.
Hail in peace, ye sons and daughters, in the name of the Lord who loved us.
Since God's acts of justification upon you have been many and rich, I rejoice beyond any thing and overabundantly over your happy and glorious spirits, that from Him ye have received grace as the graft of the spiritual gift. Therefore I also rejoice rather in myself, hoping to be saved, because I truly see in you a spirit poured upon you from the Lord who is rich in love ; thus the longed-for sight of you has greatly struck me about you. Being therefore persuaded of this also, and being convinced in myself, that having spoken many things among you I am assured that the Lord hath travelled with me in the way of righteousness; and I myself am altogether forced into this loving of you above my own soul, because a great faith and love dwells in you by a hope of the life (promised] by Him.
Therefore considering this, that if I should be careful about
you to communicate some part of what I have received, there will be to me a payment for having been of service to such souls, I have hastened to send to you little by little, so that together with your faith ye should have your knowledge perfect.