V
THE MAN, SAINT JOHN

THIS conclusion takes us a great deal further than the mere assurance that the book has Apostolic teaching at the back of it in a general way. The individual Apostle with whom it connects this Gospel stood in a relation of special intimacy with Jesus Christ, and held later a marked position of his own in the infant Church; and he was a man whose individual character is by no means entirely vague to us. It will be well here to set down in order all these few things about John the son of Zebedee that we can gather from authorities which vary in weight but are in no case negligible -- mere legends need not be noticed. I cannot, however, proceed with this piece of construction without first pausing to distinguish the two very different ways in which, in two different senses of the word "conjecture," fragments of information may be "conjecturally" pieced together. Are the fragments large or small? Do they together amount to the whole image or nearly so, or leave much to be supplied according to fancy? Are they certainly parts of one and the same image? Must they certainly be connected in this way, or can we imagine an indefinite number of other possible connections between them? Commentators often make guesses, quite worth entertaining for a while, to see if confirmation can be found for them, and then, because

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