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I For he who wisheth him happiness, purtaketh in his deeds, which ARE evil.
12 Having many things to write to you,' I did not incline TO COMMUNI
CATE THEM by paper and ink; (anna) becaufe I hope to come to you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be made complete.
11 For he who giveth him the common falutation, thereby expreffeth his approbation of his conduct, and partaketh in the evils which his corrupt doctrine may occafion.
12 Having many things to write to you concerning those deceivers who call themfelves infpired teachers, I did not incline to communicate them by paper and ink; because I hope to come to you foon, and to speak to you freely face to face concerning these deceivers, that our mutual joy may be made complete.
appears that when the brethren had occafion to go to any church where they were not known, they carried letters of recommendation from perfons who were acquainted with fome of the members of that church, who on the credit of thefe letters received and entertained them. Or, if thefe ftrangers had no recommendatory letters, they made themselves known as fincere difciples of Chrift, by declaring their faith to the bishop and elders of the church to which they came; as is infinuated in the firft claufe of the verfe under confideration. These cuftoms were prudently established in the first age, to prevent the churches from being deceived by the heretical teachers, who very early went about diffeminating their errors.--The lady to whom the apostle wrote this letter, being rich and of a very benevolent disposition; perhaps also living in a place where the Chriftians were too few, or too poor, to have a fund for the entertainment of strangers, the might think herself under the more obligation to pay attention to the wants of these strangers who went about preaching the gofpel. Wherefore, to prevent her from being deceived by impoftors, the apostle directed her to require thefe teachers to give an account of the doctrines which they taught; and if she found that they did not hold the true doctrine concerning the perfon of Chrift, he vifed her not to receive them into her houfe, nor even to give them the common falutation of wishing them health and happiness. For, among the Chriftians of that age, this wifh was not a mere compliment, as with us, but an expreffion of real good will. The apoftle's advice, therefore, was perfectly proper, because they who entertained or otherwife fhewed refpect to false teachers, enabled them the more effectually to spread their erroneous doctrine, to the ruin of thofe whom they deceived; confequently, as the apoftle obferves, they became partakers in their evil deeds. See Pref. Sect. 3. laft paragr. 3. Nor wifh him happiness. Xaspaw auTW un Reyers. The Greeks Χαίρειν αυτῳ μη λεγετε, uíually began their letters to each other with a wifh of health and happinefs, which they expreffed by the word Xaigu. Alfo, with it, they L
13 The children of thy elect fifter greet thee. A
13 Ασπάζεται σε τα τεκνα της αδελφής σε της εκλε κτης. ' Αμην.
faluted one another at meeting. Wherefore the apoftle's meaning is, as in the commentary; Do not exprefs either good will to a falfe teacher, or approbation of his behaviour, by giving him the common falutation.
Ver. 12.-1. Having many things to write to you. The apostle I fuppofe, meant many things concerning the characters and actions of the falfe teachers: Perhaps alfo, he wished to mention the names of the falfe teachers whom he had in view. But thefe things he did not think it proper to write in a letter: especially as he proposed to vifit this lady and her children foon, and to converse with them perfonally.
2. I did not incline to communicate them by paper and ink. Ala yagty. From this Bengelius conjectures, that in writing this letter John made ufe of paper, not parchment.
Ver. 13.-1. The children of thy elect filer. The word elect, here as in ver. 1. and fome other paffages of fcripture, doth not fignify
THE frequency and earneftness with which St. John hath inculcated mutual love, his declaring that it is the only fure proof of our love to God, and his affuring us that it banisheth from the mind of the perfon who poffeffes it all fear of the judgment, may justly make us folicitous to form a juft idea of fo excellent a quality, and raise in us a fincere endeavour to acquire it. I therefore observe, that fince the love which the gospel enjoins is a duty which is due from all to all, it cannot be that which is called the love of esteem, because of that none but the virtuous can be the objects: neither can it be the love of gratitude, since gratitude is due only to benefactors: But it must be the love of benevolence; an affection which all may exercise toward all: only it is more especially due to the good. Yet every kind of benevolence will not mark a perfon as a real difciple of Chrift, nor banish from one's mind all fear of the judgment, because fome may be benevolent naturally, and others may do beneficent actions merely to gain applaufe, or to promote fome worldly purpose. Whereas the benevolence peculiar to the real difciples of Chrift, is that alone which proceeds from love to God, and from a regard to his will. So John hath told us,
13 The children of
13 The children of thy excellent fifter, who are now with me, defire me in their name to wish thee health and happiness in token of their love. Amen.
thofen from eternity to falvation. For the apoftle could not know that the lady's fifter was fo elected, unless the matter had been made known to him by a particular revelation, which is not alleged to have been the cafe, by any who fo interpret election. But it fignifies a perfon of an excellent character: fuch by the Hebrews being called elect perfons, Eff. iv. 41.
2. Salute thee. Agwalitas The falutations which the Chriftians in the first age gave to each other, were not of the fame kind with the falutations of unbelievers, which were wishes of temporal health and felicity only but they were withes of health and happiness to their fouls, and expreffions of the moft fincere love. See 3 John ver. 2.— The apoftle fent this lady the falutation of the children of her excellent filter, to intimate to her that they were all Chriftians, and that they perfevered in the true doctrine of the gofpel. Probably they and their mother lived in the city, or place of the country, where the apostle had his refidence.
chap. v. 2. By this we know that we love the children of God in a right manner, when we love God, and from that principle, keep his commandments, particularly his commandment to love one another: Not however in word or in tongue only, but in truth and in deed, by doing them good according to our power. If fo our love to each other is to be judged of and measured, not fo much by the warmth of our affection, for that depends on one's natural temper, as by our doing good to others from a regard to the commandment or will of God.-That true Chriftian love confifts in beneficence, John hath taught us by telling us, that as the love of God to us confifts in his doing us good continually, fo our love to one another confifteth in doing them good, even to the laying down our lives for them, 1 Epift. iii. 16. -According to this view of love, perfons whofe natural temper does not admit of great warmth of affection, but who from an habitual regard to the will of God do all the good they can to others, really poffefs a greater degree of the love which Christ hath enjoined, than those persons, who, having warmer affec tions, are moved to do acts of beneficence, merely from natural difpofition, without any regard to the will of God.
If the love which Chrift hath enjoined confifts in beneficence, how fortunate are those to whom God hath given the means of
doing good, not only to their own relations and friends, but to the poor and needy who apply to them; and how cogent are the obligations which God hath laid on the great, the powerful, and the rich, to be general_benefactors to mankind, by doing good and communicating. Being thus imitators of God in his greateft attribute, they do what is more acceptable to him than facrifice, according to the faying of the heathen poet Menander, tranflated in Adventurer, No. 105. "He that offers in facrifice, "O Pamphilus, a multitude of bulls and of goats, of golden veft"ments, or purple garments, or figures of ivory, or precious 66 gems, and imagines by this to conciliate the favour of God, "is grofsly miftaken, and has no folid understanding. For he "that would facrifice with success, ought to be (xenoμov) bene"ficent, no corrupter of virgins, no adulterer, no robber or mur"derer for the fake of lucre. Covet not, O Pamphilus, even "the thread of another man's needle; for God, who is near "thee, perpetually beholds thy actions."
Temperance, and juftice, and purity, are here inculcated in the ftrong ft manner, and upon the most powerful motive, the Omnifcience of the Deity, at the fame time, fuperftition and the idolatry of the heathen are artfully ridiculed. I know not " among the ancients any paffage that contains fuch exalted and ⚫ fpiritualized thoughts of religion.’
THIRD EPISTLE OF THE APOSTLE
SECT. I. Of the Authenticity of the Third Epistle of John.
OR the proofs of the authenticity of this epistle, fee Pref. 2 John Sect. 1. To which may be added, that in the third epistle, we find some sentiments and expressions which are used in the fecond. Compare ver. 4. with 2 epiftle, ver. 4. and ver. 13, 14, with 2 epiftle, ver. 12.
SECT. II. Of the Perfon to whom this Epifle was written.
This short letter is inscribed to a perfon named Guius; or according to the Latin orthography, Caius; a common name, efpecially among the Romans. In the hiftory of the Acts, and in the epiftles, we meet with five perfons of this name.L 3