“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

— 1 John 1:5.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

— John 3:19.

We call the story of Jesus, told so differently, yet to my mind so consistently, by four narrators, the gospel. What makes this tale the good news? Is it good news that the one only good man was served by his fellow-men as Jesus was served—cast out of the world in torture and shame? What makes it fit to call the tale good news? If we asked a theologian, we should, in so far as he was a true man, and answered from his own heart and not merely from tradition, understand what he saw in it that made it good news to him, though it might be anything but good news to some of us. The deliverance it might seem to bring might be founded on such notions of God as to not a few of us contain as little of good as of news. To share in the deliverance which some men find in what they call the gospel—for all do not apply the word to the tale itself, but to certain deductions made from the epistles and their own consciousness of evil—we should have to believe such things of God as would be the opposite of an evangel to us—yea, a message from hell itself; we should have to imagine that whose possibility would be worse than any ill from which their “good news” might offer us deliverance: we must first believe in an unjust God, from whom we have to seek refuge. True, they call him just, but say he does that which seems to the best in me the essence of injustice. They will tell me I judge after the flesh: I answer, is it then to the flesh the Lord appeals when he says, “Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?”