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It is not known where this lady lived. But from the apostle's proposing to visit her soon, it is conjectured that she lived not far from Ephesus, where the apostle abode when he wrote to her.


Of John's Design in writing his Second Epistle.

The Continuator of Estius's commentary saith, that any one who compares ver. 7. of this epistle with what is written in the first letter, and with what Tertullian hath said De Prescript. c. 46. and Epiphanius Heres. 24. will be sensible, that this short epistle was written to confute the error of Basilides and his followers, who affirmed that Christ was not a real man, but only a man in appearance; consequently, that he neither did nor suffered what he appeared to do and suffer.

In the preface to the first epistle, Sect. 3. it was observed that in the latter end of the first age, many false teachers, the disciples of Basilides, were going about disseminating his doctrine concerning the person of Christ. Wherefore, as that doctrine overturned the whole scheme of the gospel, and in particular annihilated the atonement which Christ is said, in the gospel, to have made for the sin of the world by his death, robbed Christians of their best hopes, and turned the whole of their faith into a dream or illusion, John did not content himself with condemning that pernicious doctrine in his first epistle, but judged it necessary, in a more particular manner, to put this lady and her children on their guard against the deceivers who taught it. He therefore said to them, ver. 7. If any teacher come to you, who doth not hold the true doctrine concerning the person of Christ, do not receive him into your house, neither wish him health and prosperity, lest by seeming to encourage him in his errors, ye become partakers in his evil deeds.

Some readers, not attending to the circumstances in which this lady was, may perhaps from the apostle's advice to her, conclude that he was of an evil disposition himself, and encouraged in his disciples an intolerant spirit, toward those who differed from them in opinion concerning matters of religion. But those who thus reason ought to consider, that the person to whom the apostle gave this advice was a woman, whose benevolent disposition laid her open to be imposed on by cunning deceivers. They ought also to call to mind the black picture, which the apostle Paul in his second to Timothy chap. iii. 6, 7. and in his epistle

to Titus, chap. i. 10. 12. hath given of the ancient heretical teachers; together with what the Fathers have written concerning their base arts, their impiety, their monstrous tenets, their hypocrisy, their covetousness, and their debauchery. For, if they attend to these things, they will be sensible that the apostle's directions to this lady and her children, were by no means too severe especially as these heretical teachers pretended to be inspired: nay to possess an higher degree of inspiration, than even the apostles themselves were endowed with.-Besides, John's directions to this lady and her children, are not inconsistent with the precepts of the other apostles, who have commanded us meekly to bear with those who err, and in the spirit of meekness to reclaim them. For the persons they had in view in these precepts, were not false teachers who disseminated their corrupt doctrines, and who erred from corruption of heart, but persons who erred through weakness of understanding, and ignorance. This is plain from Paul's ordering Titus to rebuke the false teachers in Crete with a cutting sharpness: And from his commanding Timothy to shun the company of obstinate heretics. And as John's advice to this lady is not inconsistent with the precepts of his brethren, so neither do they contradict his own precepts, earnestly and repeatedly delivered in his first epistle, to love and to do good to the worst of men. They are only advices to this lady and her children, not to expose themselves to ⚫ the danger of being seduced by false teachers, and not to aid them

in spreading their errors. His advice, therefore, ought to be attended to by those, who, either from piety, or benevolence, are disposed to shew hospitality to teachers, of whose character and tenets they are ignorant; because such, notwithstanding their shew of godliness, and their plausible discourse, may be deceivers: in which case, the persons who entertain them in their houses, or who give them money, certainly become partakers of their evil deeds, as the apostle in this epistle hath expressly declared.

View and Illustration of the Matters contained in John's Second Epistle. T

HE apostle, after addressing this letter to a woman of distinction and her children, and expressing great affection to them on account of their adhering to the truth of the gospel, ver. 1. -declared that he was moved thus to love them, by the gospel itself, ver. 2.—And as a testimony of his love, he gave them his apostolical benediction, ver. 3.—Then told this lady, that he felt the greatest joy when he found some of her children, with whom he had conversed, perhaps at Ephesus, walking in the truth; that is holding the true doctrine of the gospel, and behaving suitably to that doctrine, ver. 4. From this he took occasion to exhort them, to love all the sincere disciples of Christ, and to do them good offices, according to the commandment which Christ gave to his apostles at the beginning, ver. 5.—and to express their love to Christ by obeying all his commandments; particularly the commandment they had heard from the beginning, that they should love one another sincerely with a pure spiritual love, ver. 6.-Next he told this excellent lady, that his joy, on account of her children's walking in the true doctrine of the gospel concerning the person of Christ, was the greater, as many false teachers were going about, who denied that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh. Each of these, he told her, was the deceiver and the antichrist foretold by our Lord to come. This account of the false teachers the apostle gave, lest the lady and her children, deceived by their plausible speeches, and their shew of extraordinary piety, might have been disposed to shew


VER. 1 The elder unto 1 Ὁ πρεσβυτερος εκλεκτη the elect lady and her chil- κυρια, και τοις τεκνοις αυτης, dren, whom I love in the ἷς εγω αγαπω εν αληθεια και ουκ εγω μονος, αλλα και παντες οἱ ἔγνωκότες την αληθειαν·

truth and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

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Ver. 1.-1. The elder. For the import of this title, see Pref. Sect. 1. penult paragr.

2. To the eleet lady. The apostle gave to this lady the appellation of elect or excellent, (See Ess. iv. 41.) not only on account of her virtues,


them kindness, supposing them to be the servants of Christ, ver. 7. He therefore desired them to be on their guard against such teachers, for this among other reasons, that if they should be drawn away by them, he would lose the reward which he expected for his having, not only faithfully, but successfully, taught them the true doctrine of the gospel: For he wished that his reward might be complete, through their continuing in the belief and practice of the truth, ver. 8.-Moreover he told them, that the teacher, who doth not abide in the true doctrine concerning Christ, doth not acknowledge the truth of God's testimony concerning his Son. But the teacher who continueth to hold that doctrine, acknowledges the Son's testimony concerning himself, as well as the Father's, ver. 9.-Wherefore, if any teacher came to em, and did not bring the true doctrine concerning Christ, he forbade them to receive him into their house; or so much as to give him the common salutation or wish of health, ver. 10. Because the person who gives any encouragement to false teachers, though it be done inconsiderately, is in some sort accessary to the mischiefs which his pernicious doctrine may occasion, ver. 11.-He then told them, that he had many other things to say to them concerning these impostors, but he would not commit them to writing, because he hoped to come soon and converse with them personally, in a more free manner than he could do by letter, that their mutual joy might be complete, ver. 12.-And so concluded, with giving this lady the salutation of the children of her sister, to whom likewise he gives the appellation of elect, on account of the excellence of her character, ver. 13.



VER. 1 The elder1 to the elect lady2 and her children, 3 whom I love 4 sincerely. And not I only, but all also who know the truth.



VER. 1 I the aged apostle of Christ to the excellent lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not I only, but all also who know the true doctrine of the gospel, love her and her children sincerely.

but, as Estius observes, because she was distinguished by her birth and opulence; and to shew his respect for her on account of her beneficence to the poor, and to strangers. See ver. 13. note. and Pref. Sect. 2.

2 For the truth's sake

shall be with us for ever:

2 Δια την αλήθειαν την which dwelleth in us, and μένουσαν εν ημιν, και μεθ' ἡμων εςαι εις τον αιώνα· 3 Εςαι μεθ' ὑμων χαρις, ελεος, ειρηνη παρα Θεου πατ τρος και παρα Κυρίου Ιησου Χριςου του διου του παι τρος, εν αληθεια και αγα

3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from

God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.


4 Εχαρην λίαν ότι εὑρη

χα εκ των τεχνων σου πε

ριπατουντας εν αληθεια, και θως εντολην ελαβομεν παρα του πατρος.

3. And her children. There is no mention made by the apostle of this lady's husband, either because he was dead, or because he was not a Christian.

4. Whom I love. The pronoun us though the antecedents κυρια and TEKvois be, the one in the feminine gender and the other in the masculine, is put in the masculine, because according to the usage of the Greek language the masculine gender comprehends both the masculine and the feminine. See Ess. iv. 60.

5. Sincerely. The sincerity and purity of his love to this lady, the apostle shewed on the present occasion, by his earnestness to guard her and her children against being deceived by the false teachers, who were then going about among the disciples of Christ. See ver. 7.—If εν αλήθεια is translated, in truth, John's meaning may be, whom I love on account of their adherence to the true doctrine of the gospel. Accordingly, he adds, And not I enly, but all also who know the truth.

Ver. 2.-1. Through the truth. As the apostle is here explaining the principle from which his love to this lady and her children proceeded, I have translated the preposition dia by the word through, to mark that principle: His love to these excellent persons proceeded from the influence, which the true doctrine of the gospel had on his mind, to make him love all the real disciples of Christ.

2. And shall be with us for ever. John mentioned the continuance of the Christian religion in the world for ever, as a proof of its excellence, and of God's care to support it, notwithstanding the attempts of infidels to destroy it. For, these considerations must have been a great encouragement to 'all in the first age, who had received the gospel, to maintain it, although by so doing they exposed themselves to much persecution.

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