The Gospel of St. John
VII. The Baptism with Water and the Baptism with Fire and Spirit
30 June 1909, Cassel
Our yesterday's lecture brought us to the point of understanding what the baptism by John, the forerunner of Christ Jesus, really was, and today we shall find it comparatively easy to grasp the distinction between the baptism by Christ, as we may call it, and that other baptism by John. The true nature of Christ's influence upon the world will be clear to us inasmuch as we explain the nature of the baptism by Christ and the Christ-impulse, as distinguished from the baptism by John.
Above all things it must be pointed out that the condition brought about by the John baptism was essentially abnormal, as compared with ordinary everyday consciousness. We have heard how the old initiation depended upon the partial withdrawal of the etheric from the physical body; the astral body being thus enabled to imprint its experiences on the etheric body. In the John baptism, too, it was necessary that an abnormal state of consciousness should supervene. The disciple was placed under water; this produced a partial separation of his etheric from his physical body, enabling him to review his life, and become conscious of the unity of his individual life with the realms of the divine spiritual world. To be more explicit, the disciple, having risen from the water after the successfully performed rite, could say: ‘I have spirit in me! I am not merely a being in this physical and material body; and this spirit in me is united with the spirit that is behind all other things!’ Furthermore he knew that the spirit he found there was the same as Moses had perceived in the fire of the burning bush and in the lightning of Sinai, as Jahve, as ‘I am the I AM’, as ‘Ejeh asher ejeh’. All this he knew from his baptism by John.
Now how was this state of consciousness to be distinguished from that of an initiate of old? The old initiate, when thrown into the abnormal state which I described to you yesterday, perceived the divine spiritual beings of older times, who were connected with the Earth before the Being named ‘Ahura Mazdao’ by Zarathustra, and ‘Jahve’ by Moses, had united Himself with the Earth. The old spiritual world out of which man grew, which still surrounded him in old Atlantean times and for which the ancient Indian people yearned — the gods of old — were seen by man through the wisdom of ancient times. But the God who had dwelt remote from the Earth, waiting that He might appear with deeper effect, and sending His influence from outside throughout the ages, the God whom Moses perceived now gradually approaching, was still unknown to the initiate of old. The first to perceive something of the unity of all divine life were the initiates in the sense of Old Testament initiation. Let us consider the state of mind of an initiate who, besides the Persian or later Egyptian Mysteries, had also gone through the experiences associated with Hebraic occult investigation. Let us assume that this initiate had also gone through the Mount Sinai initiation in an incarnation during the old Hebrew period, let us say, or even earlier. He had been led to the knowledge of the old divine world out of which humanity issued. Gifted with knowledge of ancient wisdom and with the power of beholding the primeval divine world, he enters the school of Hebrew occultism. What he learnt here enabled him to say: ‘The gods I once knew were united with the Earth before the Deity Jehovah-Christ had united Himself with it. But now I know that the first and foremost Spirit among them, the guiding Spirit, is He who is now approaching the Earth.’ The initiate thus learnt to recognize the identity of his own spiritual world with that other, in which the approaching Christ reigns. He did not require the immersion in water by John, but he learnt thereby that he was connected as an individual personality with the great Father-Spirit of the world. It is true that only a few could attain this result; for most it was no more than a symbol — something which served to convince them of the existence of Jehovah-God, and which they accepted in all faith and belief, under the influence of their great teacher John the Baptist. Again there were others among the immersed, who had prepared themselves in former incarnations to learn from individual observation. Nevertheless, the condition produced by the baptism by John was indeed abnormal. John baptized with water, and the effect was a momentary separation of the etheric from the physical body. But he wished to be no more than the forerunner of Him who ‘baptizeth with fire and with the Holy Ghost’. The baptism with fire and spirit came upon Earth through Christ.
Now what is the difference between the baptism by John with water and the baptism by Christ with fire and spirit? To understand the difference, we must first grasp the primary causes underlying it. For with regard to the understanding of Christ we are today still restricted to the first beginnings. This understanding will grow greater and greater, but only the rudiments can be grasped by humanity at the present time. Have the patience to begin with me at the A B C.
In the first place it must be pointed out that behind all physical occurrence ( and all human physical conditions) there are in truth spiritual processes. For modern humanity this is very hard to believe. The world will learn to do so in time, and only then reach a full understanding of Christ. Today even those who are prone to speak of spirit, do not themselves seriously believe that all physical processes in the human being are in the first instance directed from the spiritual world. They disbelieve it unconsciously, so to speak, even if they imagine themselves to be idealists. There is an American, for instance, who carefully collects facts to prove that, in abnormal conditions, man can rise into a spiritual world; he attempts to use these facts as a foundation for the most diverse conclusions.
This American — William James — goes to work in the most painstaking manner. But even the best of men are powerless against the spirit of the age. They are materialists without knowing it. The philosophy of William James has influenced more than one European thinker, and for this reason we shall cite a few grotesque sayings of his. It was he, for instance, who said: ‘Man does not weep because he is sad; he is sad because he weeps!’ Hitherto it has always been the general opinion that a man must first be sad, that is, a psychic-spiritual process must first take place; this spiritual process then presses into the human physical body. When tears flow, there must be a process in the soul, the result of which is the shedding of tears. In our day when, we may say, everything spiritual is shrouded by the veil of materiality and must be rediscovered by a spiritual conception of the world; even now there are processes in us which are the heritage of the remote past, when the spiritual workings were more powerful — processes which show us in a significant manner how the spiritual forces operate. I generally call attention to two phenomena in this connection: the feeling of shame and the feeling of fear or terror. I may say at once that it would not be difficult to give you a list of the various hypotheses put forward to explain these species of experience. They do not concern us here, however. Would be objectors in this case need not think that the spiritual investigator is unacquainted with these hypotheses. With regard to the feeling of shame, we may say that when a person feels ashamed, it is as if he were anxious that something which is going on within him should not be seen by those around him; what takes place in a person who feels shame is like an attempt to hide something. And what is the physical result of this psychic experience? The blush of shame is driven to the cheeks; the blood mounts to the face. What takes place therefore under the influence of a psychic-spiritual experience, such as the feeling of shame? An alteration in the circulation of the blood! The blood is driven outward to the periphery, from within. The course of the blood is altered (this is a physical fact) by a psychic-spiritual fact. Again when a person is terrified, he seeks to protect himself against something which seems to threaten him, he grows pale, the blood retreats from the outer surface. Once more we have an external process produced by a psychic-spiritual experience — fear or terror. Remember that the blood is the expression of the Ego. What is a man likely to desire when he sees something threatening approach? He collects his forces and increases their strength in the centre of his being. The Ego, desiring to fortify itself, draws the blood back to the centre of its being. Here we find the physical, as the effect of psychic-spiritual processes. In the same way, the welling up of tears is a physical fact brought about by a psychic-spiritual process. It is not true that some kind of secret physical influence gathers there and presses out the tears, and that the individual, feeling the tears rise, grows sad. In this fashion the simplest matters are turned upside-down by the materialistic way of thinking. If we entered into details of many a thing (including bodily ills), which may affect a man in connection with psychic-spiritual processes, we might multiply such instances indefinitely. But what concerns us today is to understand that physical processes are the result of psychic-spiritual processes; and when a physical process is apparently unconnected with a psychic-spiritual cause, we may be certain that it is because we have not yet discovered the psychic-spiritual factor. In our time people are not at all inclined to recognize at once the psychic-spiritual. The scientist of today sees how the human being develops, from the earliest embryonic stages; first within, then outside the maternal organism; he watches the growth of the outer physical form and concludes, on the strength of modern methods of investigation, that the human being comes into existence with the first development of the physical form as he observes it at conception; he is by no means willing to entertain the idea that behind the physical, there are spiritual processes taking place. He does not believe that there is anything of a spiritual nature behind the physical human germ, or that the spiritual unites with the physical and elaborates the results of a former incarnation. Now someone who prefers theory to practice might say: ‘Well, yes, some higher knowledge or other might well lead to insight that there is a spiritual behind the physical world, but we human beings cannot, for all that, know of the spiritual behind the physical!’ Some say this. Others say: ‘We do not care to exert ourselves in the prescribed way in order to arrive at a knowledge of a divine spiritual world. What difference can it make to the world if we know the spiritual or not?’ But it is a fatal belief, nay, a superstition, to think that nothing in practical life depends upon this knowledge; indeed we shall try to show that a great deal in practical life depends upon it.
Consider the case of a man who refuses to entertain the idea that there is a world of soul and spirit behind all physical phenomena, and who cannot understand that the enlargement of the physical liver, for instance, is the expression of something spiritual. Another, perhaps, influenced by Anthroposophy, is quite willing to accept that the effort to penetrate the spiritual leads, first to a presentiment, then to a belief, and finally to knowledge and observation of the spiritual. Two men are thus before us; the one rejects the spiritual and is content with the observation of things through his senses; the other opens himself to what we may call the will to spiritual knowledge. The man who refuses to accept spiritual knowledge grows weaker and weaker; for, by withholding from his spirit the nourishment it requires (which is knowledge and nothing else), he lets his spirit starve, languish, and perish. Being thus enfeebled, he grows powerless against the processes in his physical and etheric bodies, to the existence of which he does not contribute; being independent of the spirit, these processes gain the upper hand and overpower him in his weakened state. The other on the contrary, who has the will to knowledge, gives nourishment to his spirit; the latter becomes fortified and gains the mastery over all that takes place independently of the spirit in his etheric and physical bodies. That is the point. We can immediately apply this to a case which plays an important role in our time.
We know that the human being enters the world from two directions. His physical body is inherited from his ancestors, from his father and mother and their ancestors. Good and bad characteristics come down to him from his ancestors, being transmitted in the blood from one generation to the other. But whenever any particular qualities are inherited by a child, the forces which the latter brings from its foregoing incarnations unite with these qualities. Now we know that when any particular illness appears, there is a great deal said about the person's ‘inherited tendencies’. How grossly is this expression ‘inherited tendencies’ misused in our day, however justified it may be within narrower limits! Any special peculiarity which can be shown to have existed among a man's ancestors is always attributed to inheritance. And because people know nothing of spiritual forces coming from a former incarnation and operating in the human being, they believe that these inherited qualities are overpoweringly strong. Were people aware that there is a spiritual force coming from the foregoing incarnation, they would say: ‘Very good, we quite believe in the inherited tendencies; but we also know of the inner, central forces in the soul, which issue from a former life; if these be strengthened and fortified, they will gain the ascendancy over the material factor, that is, over the inherited tendencies.’ A man who is capable of rising to a knowledge of the spiritual world, would go on to say: ‘However powerfully the inherited tendencies may affect me, I shall nourish the spirit in me, and by this means conquer the inherited tendencies.’ But whoever refuses to work upon his spiritual nature and cultivate that part of himself which is not inherited, will fall a prey to his inherited tendencies, precisely through his unbelief; indeed, materialistic superstitions will be the cause that inherited tendencies gain more and more power over him. Men will stagnate in their inherited tendencies unless they fortify the spirit in themselves, and continually overcome whatever is inherited, by their own strength of spirit. Needless to say, in a time like our own and with the great achievements of natural science before us, the present strength of spirituality must not be over valued. You must not say: ‘If that were so, all Anthroposophists must be perfectly healthy; for they believe in the spirit!’ Man, as we see him in the world, is not an isolated being. He is a part of the whole world, and the spiritual must also increase in strength. But when the spiritual has become weak, however anthroposophical people may be, however abundantly they nourish their spirit, the latter cannot at once take effect and gain the victory over the material factor. But it will reveal itself all the more certainly in their health and strength in their next incarnation. Men will become weaker and weaker, if they refuse to believe in the spirit; for they yield themselves up to their inherited tendencies. They are themselves the cause of their weakness of spirit. For everything depends upon our attitude towards the spiritual world. Nevertheless it should not be thought that it is an easy matter to survey all the circumstances that here come into operation.
I will give you an example to show how absurdly a person may err when he judges merely by externals. He might say: ‘I know of a man who was a great adherent of the anthroposophical conceptions. Now the Anthroposophists declare that health is always improved by their teachings and even that life is prolonged by them. Fine teaching this! The man died at forty-three!’ So much they know: that he dies at forty-three; they have seen it. But how much do they not know? They do not know the age at which the man would have died had he known nothing of Anthroposophy. Perhaps, without Anthroposophy, he might have died at forty! If the span of a man's life reaches to his fortieth year without Anthroposophy, it may very well extend to his forty-third with Anthroposophy. Inasmuch as Anthroposophy penetrates into life, its effects will also show themselves in life. Of course if a man wishes to see all the effects in one life and in every instance, he is an egoist; he desires everything for his own selfish ends. But if he makes Anthroposophy his own for the sake of humanity, it is his for all succeeding incarnations. Now we see that when a man gives himself up to that which verily comes from the spirit, so that his spiritual being is thereby influenced, he can at least supply fresh strength to his spirit and make it strong and healthy. This is what we must understand: that it is possible for us to be influenced by the spirit and thereby acquire increasing mastery over ourselves. And now let us seek for the most effectual means, in our present evolution, to render ourselves accessible to the influence of the spirit.
We have already pointed out how spiritual science supplies our spirit with strength through the medium of its research. This spiritual nourishment may perhaps seem but little, but we see that it may grow and grow in the following incarnations. This, however, is possible only on one condition, and in order to learn what this is, let us examine the anthroposophical conception of the world itself.
Anthroposophy teaches us the component principles of which the human being consists; it teaches us what is present, though invisible, in a human being standing visibly before us; it then shows us how man's inmost being passes from life to life and how the psychic-spiritual nature which we bring with us from a former life enters and organizes the physical and material part which we inherit from our forefathers. Furthermore it shows us how the human race has developed on Earth, through the Atlantean period and other periods preceding and following it; how the Earth itself has undergone transformations, having passed through an ‘Old Moon’, an ‘Old Sun’, a ‘Saturn’ incarnation, and so on. Thus the anthroposophical conceptions release us from our adherence to our immediate surroundings and to whatever we can see, handle, and investigate in the sense of modern science; we are led to the great, all-embracing facts of the universe, and, above all things, into the super-sensible world. Anthroposophy bestows on man spiritual food, inasmuch as it leads him forth from the things of sense. Those who have been more closely associated with these anthroposophical conceptions know that we have studied minutely the transformations of the Earth and the life of man at the various stages of civilization. And when the opportunity offers, we will enter into these things in still greater detail. This gives us a panorama of super-sensible facts which we must call up before our soul. Something more, however, remains to be said about it.
We have shown that, at a given moment, our Sun, together with the beings who were to continue their development upon it, separated from the Earth. The leader of these sun-beings is the Christ, and it is He who left with them, as their leader, at this separation. At first He directed his power downwards from the Sun to the Earth. But He approached ever nearer to the Earth. Zarathustra sees Him as Ahura Mazdao, Moses sees Him in the outer elements, and when the Christ appeared in Jesus of Nazareth the Christ-power was present in a human body. Thus, for Anthroposophy, the central figure in the whole tableau of reincarnation, of the nature of man, of the survey of the cosmos, is the Being whom we call the Christ. Rightly viewed, the anthroposophical conception of the world should induce one to say: ‘I can contemplate all this, but I cannot understand it unless I see the whole picture tending towards and focused upon the great central point — upon Christ Himself. The teachings of reincarnation, of the leading human races, of planetary evolution and so on are variously depicted; but the being of Christ is here painted from a single point, and all the rest is thereby illuminated. It is a picture with one central figure, on which everything else depends. I understand the meaning and the expression of the other figures only when I have understood the central figure!’
This is the anthroposophical conception of the world. We compose a vast picture of the various facts of the spiritual world. Then we turn to the central figure, the Christ, and understand all the details of the picture for the first time.
Those who have shared in the development of our anthroposophical spiritual science will feel how everything is explained by it. Spiritual science will become more perfect in the future, and our present understanding of the Christ will give way to a far higher kind of understanding. The power of Anthroposophy will thereby become greater and greater; the development of those who open themselves to this power will be furthered, and the mastery of man's spiritual over his material nature will be heightened. Since man today is restricted to his inherited body, he can only evoke such manifestations as blushing, pallor, and phenomena like laughing and crying. In the future, however, he will gain increasing mastery over such phenomena; he will spiritualize, from his soul, the functions of his body, and take his place in the world as a powerful psychic-spiritual ruler. That will be the Christ-power. That is the Christ-impulse working through mankind — the same impulse which, even today, when sufficiently intensified, can lead to the same results as the old initiation.
The procedure of the old initiation was as follows: The candidate learnt in full measure everything which Anthroposophy teaches us today. This was the preparation. The whole course led up to a concluding ceremony, which consisted in placing the candidate in a grave, where he lay as if dead for three and a half days. His etheric body being then withdrawn, he traversed therein the realms of the spiritual world, and became a witness of that world. It was necessary for the etheric body to be withdrawn during initiation, in order that the candidate should obtain a vision of the spiritual world within the forces of this (etheric) body. These forces were formerly not at the disposal of man during ordinary waking consciousness; an abnormal state of consciousness had to supervene. Christ, however, brought these forces to the Earth also for the advancement of initiation, and it is possible for man today to become clairvoyant without the withdrawal of his etheric body.
When a man's development is so far advanced that he can receive an impulse from Christ which is strong enough to influence his circulation and express itself in a special circulatory movement of the blood — that is, when the Christ-impulse can extend its influence into the physical body, even for a short time, then man is in a position to be initiated within his physical body. This can be achieved by the Christ-impulse. He who can so intensely immerse himself in the events which occurred at that time, through the life of Christ Jesus in Palestine and the Mystery of Golgotha, that he can live in these events as in a spiritual reality, objectively visible to him; when the whole power of these events communicates itself even to the circulation of his blood, such a man will attain by this experience the same results which were once attained by the withdrawal of the etheric body.
Thus we see that the Christ-impulse brings something into the world which enables the human being to work upon the inner force which makes the blood pulsate in his veins. No abnormal event takes place and there is no immersion in water; the one and only influence at work here is the mighty power of the Christ-Individuality. The baptism is not in any material substance but in the influence of the spirit, and ordinary everyday consciousness undergoes no change. Through the spirit poured forth as the Christ-impulse, something flows into the body which otherwise can result only from physical and physiological evolution — through fire, an inner fire which expresses itself in the circulation of the blood. John immersed his disciples in water; the etheric body left the physical body and the disciple could behold the spiritual world. But when man opens himself to the power of the Christ-impulse, the experiences of his astral body are poured into the etheric body and clairvoyance ensues. Here we have an explanation of the expression ‘to baptize with the spirit and with fire’. Here too you have before you an explanation of the difference between the baptism by John and the baptism by Christ, in accordance with the facts. Thus a new class of initiates was rendered possible by the Christ-impulse. Previous to this there were among men some few who were disciples of the great masters and were led into the Mysteries; their etheric body was raised so that they should be witnesses of the spirit, and go forth among men and say: ‘There is a spiritual world! We have seen it ourselves! As you see the plants and stones, so have we seen the spiritual world!’ These were the eye witnesses. Issuing from the depths of the Mysteries, they proclaimed the Gospel of the Spirit, in accordance with ancient wisdom, it is true. They led humanity back to the wisdom out of which the human being was born; whereas through Christ there arose initiates who could arrive at an observation of the spiritual within their physical body and in waking consciousness. Through the Christ-impulse they discerned what the old initiates had discerned: that there is a spiritual world. To be an initiate in the new sense, and to proclaim the Gospel of the spiritual world in the sense of Christ, it was essential that the power which was in Christ should overflow as an impulse on to the disciple who was to be the evangelist of that power. When did a Christ-impulse in this sense first arise?
In the advance of evolution the new must always be connected with the old, and Christ accordingly guided the old initiation slowly to the new. It was His task, so to speak, to create a transition from the one to the other. He necessarily took into account some of the ceremonial of the old initiation, but in such a manner that everything which originated from the old gods was now flooded by the Christ-being. Christ proceeded to initiate that disciple who was afterwards to give to the world the Gospel of Christ in its profoundest form. An initiation of this kind is veiled by the story of Lazarus in the Gospel of St. John.
Much, very much has been written about this Lazarus story. But it has never been understood except by those who knew from their esoteric schools and from their own observation what was concealed behind it. I will now quote one characteristic sentence from the story of Lazarus. When Christ was informed that Lazarus was ill, He replied: ‘The sickness is not unto death, but that the God in him should be made manifest!’
The purpose of the sickness is the manifestation of the God in him. The rendering of the Greek word doxa with ‘to the glory of God’ is due to a misunderstanding of the text. The initiation is not ‘to the glory of God’ but that the God in him should come forth from his concealment and be manifest. That is the true meaning of these words. It means that the divinity that is in Christ shall flow from Him into the individuality of Lazarus, that the divinity, the Christ-divinity, shall be made manifest in and through Lazarus.
The awakening of Lazarus becomes perfectly clear to us if understood in this way. But we must not think that the truths of the spiritual world, when disclosed, can be presented in such plain words that everyone can immediately understand them. The truth concealed behind a fact of spiritual science like the above, is communicated in all kinds of garnished and shrouded forms. This is necessary. For whoever desires to understand such a mystery, must first work his way through apparent difficulties, that his spirit be strengthened and fortified. And precisely because of the effort he must make to wind his way through the words, he reaches the spirit behind them. Remember that when there was question of the ‘life’ that had fled from Lazarus, and which the sisters Martha and Mary longed to have restored, Christ answers: ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life!’ The life was to return to Lazarus. You must take everything literally, especially in the Gospels, and we shall see what comes to light through such a literal interpretation. Do not theorize on the subject, but take the sentence word for word: ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life!’ What does Christ bring when He comes to raise Lazarus from the dead? What passes from Him to Lazarus? The Christ-impulse, the power which flows from Christ! Life is bestowed upon Lazarus by Christ, as He indeed said: ‘The sickness is not unto death, but that the God in him may become manifest!’ As all the old initiates lay as though dead for three and a half days, and the God in them then became manifest, so too Lazarus lay three and a half days in a death-like condition; but Christ Jesus knew well that the old initiations were now at an end. He knew that this apparent death led to a higher state, to a higher life, and that Lazarus meantime beheld the spiritual world. And inasmuch as Christ is the leader of that spiritual world, Lazarus had been filled with the Christ-power and the vision of Christ. (Further particulars will be found in my book Christianity as Mystical Fact, in which a chapter is devoted exclusively to the Lazarus miracle.) Christ poured out His power upon Lazarus and Lazarus arose a new man. A word in St. John's Gospel arrests our attention. It is said in the story of the miracle that the Lord ‘loved’ Lazarus. The same word is used for the disciple ‘whom the Lord loved’. What does this mean? The Akashic records reveal this to us.
Who was Lazarus after he had risen from the dead? He was none other than the writer of the Gospel of St. John, the Lazarus who was initiated by Christ. Christ poured into the soul of Lazarus the tidings of His own existence, so that the message of the fourth Gospel — the Gospel of St. John — might resound through the world as a description of Christ's own being. This is also why the disciple John is not mentioned in the Gospel before the story of Lazarus. Let us read carefully and not allow ourselves to be misled by those remarkable theologians who have discovered that in a certain passage of the Gospel of St. John (in the thirty-fifth verse of the first chapter) the name John already appears, with reference to the disciple John. The passage is as follows:
‘Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples.’
There is, however, not the slightest hint that the same disciple is here meant, of whom it was afterwards said that the Lord ‘loved’ him. This disciple does not appear until the passage in which Lazarus is raised from the dead. Why is this? Because he who is concealed behind the disciple ‘whom the Lord loved’ is the same whom the Lord loved before that event. The Lord loved him because he had already recognized him as his disciple, who should be raised from the dead and carry the message of Christ into the world. It is for this reason that the disciple, the Apostle ‘whom the Lord loved’, is mentioned only from the story of Lazarus onwards. He had only then become the disciple in question. The individuality of Lazarus had been transformed into the John-individuality, in the sense of Christianity. Thus we have a baptism in the highest sense fulfilled upon Lazarus by the Christ-impulse. Lazarus became an initiate in the new sense of the word, though the old forms, including the lethargy, were retained in a measure, a transition being thus created from the old to the new initiation.
From this we see in what profound manner the Gospels reproduce the spiritual truths which can be investigated independently of all documents. With regard to everything in the Gospel, the spiritual investigator is bound to know that he can discover it beforehand for himself, apart from the documents. But when he finds again in the Gospel of St. John his own previous investigation, that Gospel becomes in his eyes a document bequeathed by one who was initiated by Christ Jesus Himself. For this reason the Gospel of St. John is a most profound writing.
Nowadays people emphasize the fact that the other Evangelists differ in many respects from St. John. There must be a reason for this; but we shall find it only if we penetrate to the very heart of the other Gospels, as we have done with the Gospel of St. John. We then find that the divergence is due alone to the fact that the writer of the Gospel of St. John was initiated by Christ Jesus Himself. By virtue of that initiation the Christ-impulse could be described as St. John described it. Similarly we must investigate the relation of the other Evangelists to Christ, and see how far they received the baptism of fire and spirit. The inner relation of the Gospel of St. John to the other Gospels will then be discovered, and we shall penetrate ever deeper into the spirit of the New Testament.