And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
ared: — At no time was it so universal or so deep. All the powers and principles of the world had been tried to the uttermost, and found utterly wanting. The religion of heathenism had stretched to that extent that, according to Varro, there were three hundred different gods in Rome alone. The Romans had consummated their idolatry by deifying their emperors and great men, and so had degraded themselves to the basest form of man-worship. The Greeks had speculated in religion till they had brought themselves to a conviction and acknowledgment of their ignorance, as testified in their altar inscribed at Athens, the very seat of religion (Acts 17:22 διεσιδαμονεστερους) and learning, "to the Unknown God." Their wisdom and philosophy had burnt itself out; and there was no longer any one of their successive schools of doctrine, however formerly dogmatic, which now had an ascendency even among themselves. The Eclectic school had selected something from each of them, and in so doing had condemned them all; and even thus it had not obtained a privilege for itself; for so each person was, of course, at liberty to make his own selection; and so every one in effect condemned every other, and no one gave to any other, or obtained for himself, any respect. The Powers of the world were also in their last stage, both of greatness and corruption. The Babylonian empire was represented by a golden head; the Persian by a breast of silver; the Grecian by thighs of brass: and now the Roman had swallowed up all other nations, and was become universal; but its substance was iron; it was the last of the worldly empires; it was tottering to its fall with its own weight and immensity; it was but feet and toes, base, divided, corrupted, and diseased, and was about to crumble into ruins. The religion of the Jews had also run its course, and had at this time fermented into a new separation. The general mass had corrupted itself. The law of ceremonies had lost its own small portion of life — vegetable life — and had become a more dead letter only, graven in stone, as obstinate and immovable — a withered and dry tree — yet still raising its barren and leafless branches with proud and pompous pride, and self-conceit, and defiance: but its barrenness had procured it disrespect and distrust, and men refused to shadow under its shadowless top, and even its own vitality was denied and disregarded by the Sadducees. At the same time a spiritual seed had been sown, not resting in the letter; not branching from the now spiritless trunk; but, though small, and lowly, and young, and tender, having yet the real principle of life within it, and meet for the digging, and pruning, and watering of the husbandman. At this time, in the fulness of preparation and unpreparedness, of superstition and infidelity, of ignorance and learning, of power and weakness, of evil and good, of hope and unbelief, Christ came in the flesh; the Sun of light and life was embodied, to convince and dispel the darkness, to lighten the ignorance, to overcome the power, to consume the dry tree, to vivify the green tree, to divide between day and night, between the good and evil, to rule over the one, to condemn and expel the other.
(S. R. Bosanquet.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.