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The Last Chapter

By A.W. Tozer

      The four Gospels tell the story of the life and ministry of Jesus, and in so doing, they follow accurately the ordinary course of biography, giving the facts of His birth, growth, work, death and burial. That is the way with biography: the very word itself suggests it, for it comes from bios, life, and graphein, to write, and means the written history of a person's life. So says Noah Webster. Now, when we look at the Gospels we note an odd--and wonderful--thing. An extra chapter is added. Why? Biography, by its own definition, must confine itself to the record of the life of an individual. That part of the book which deals with the family tree is not biography, but history, and that part which follows the record of the subject's death is not biography either. It may be appraisal, or eulogy, or criticism, but not biography, for the reason that the "bios" is gone: the subject is dead. The part that tells of his death is properly the last chapter. The only place in world literature where this order is broken is in the four Gospels. They record the story of the man Jesus from birth to death, and end like every other book of biography has ended since the art of writing was invented. . . . They all agree: Jesus was dead. The life about which they had been writing was gone. The biography was ended. Then, for the only time in this history of human thought, a biographer adds to his book a new section which is authentic biography and begins to write a chapter to follow the last chapter. . . .

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