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Jefus Chrift his Son, would procure them pardon for all fuch fins as they might fall into, not prefumptuously, but through human infirmity. Such is the nature of the Christian fellowship, and fuch its unspeakable advantages, ver. 7.
To his account of the motives offered in the gospel, to the members of the fellowship of God to live in holiness after the example of God, the apostle subjoined an express condemnation of the corrupt doctrine of the Nicolaitans, defcribed, pref. sect. 3. toward the clofe. For he declared, That whofoever faith he hath no fin to be cleanfed from, deceiveth himself, and the true Christian doctrine is not in him, ver. 8.-He, therefore, advised every one to confefs his fins to God, who, agreeably to his promife published in the gospel, and to his own righteousness, will cleanse penitent finners from the pollution and punishment of all their fins, ver. 9.-Farther he declared, If any one affirmeth that he hath no fin to be cleanfed from, he ftrives to make God a liar, who, as the apostle obferves in the beginning of the next chapter, hath fent his Son to be a propitiation for the fins of the world, ver. Ic.
CHAP. I. } That CHAP. I. I That which was from the beginning of the gospel, which we which we apoftles have heard with our ears, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have contemplated at leifure and with the greatest attention, and our hands have handled pertaining to the really living word.
which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have feen with our eyes, which we have contemplated, and our hands have handled 3 concerning the living word.+
his afcending into heaven in a fhining cloud, while they looked
2. Which we have feen with our eyes, which we have contemplated. The expreffion o iwganaper, ruhich we have feen, is different from, Dacaμeda. For the latter, as diftinguished from the former, denotes the ap ftle's beholding attentively and confidering at leifure, the life of the word in the flesh; his words, his actions, his fufferings, and all the other particulars by which he manifefted the reality of his life in the flesh. o mark this difference in the expreffions, I have tranflated & Excuμda, which we have contemplated.
3. And our bands have handled. In this John alludes to what Chrift faid to his difciples, when he appeared to them after his refurrection, Luke xxiv. 29. Handle me and fee; for a Spirit hath not fle and bones, as ye fee me have On many other occafions, the difciples had an opportunity of handling their mafter, and knowing that he had a real body. For example, when he washed their feet; when he took
2 (For the Life was manifefted, and we have seen it, and bear witnefs, and
fhew unto you that eternal Life which was with the
Father, and was manifefted unto us ;)
2 (Καί ἡ ζωη εφανερώθη,
nai εwganaμεv, naι μagtuρεμεν, και απαγελλομεν ὑπ μιν την ζωήν την αιώνιον, κ τις ην προς τον πατέρα, και εφανερώθη ήμιν.)
3 That which we have
feen and heard declare we
that ye alfo may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowâhip is with the Father, and with his Son Jefus Christ.
3 Ὁ κοάμεν,
εωράκαμεν και ακη
απαγέλλομεν ὑμῖν, ἵνα και ὑμεῖς κοινωνίαν εχη]ε μεθ ̓ ἡμων ήμων· και ή κοινωνία δε ἡ ἡμετερα μετα τε πατρος και μετα τε ύπδ αυτε Ιησε X0158.
Peter by the hand to prevent him from finking as he walked on the water; when the difciples gave him the loaves and fifhes, and when he, after multiplying them, put them into their hands to be diftributed to the multitude. John, in particular, had an opportunity of feeling Christ's body, when he leaned on his bofom, during the last paffover fupper, John xiii. 23.
4. Concerning the living word. Tegs To λoys Tns (wns: literally concerning the word of life. But the expreffion is an Hebraism, which, as the context fheweth, ought to be tranflated, concerning the living word. See Eff. iv. 18.-The fentiment in this claufe, John hath expreffed more fully in his gospel, chap. i. 4. where fpeaking of the word he faith, In him was life, and the life, namely of the word, was the light of And ver. 14. The word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. The herefy which the apoftle condemned in this and the following verfe, is mentioned, 2 epiftle, ver. 7. Many deceivers are entered into the world, who do not confefs Jefus Chrift did come in the fefb. See Preface to 1 John, Sect. 3. paragr. 2. Alfo 1 John iv. 3. note 1. In oppofition to that pernicious doctrine, which overturned the gospel entirely, John folemnly affirmed, That what he and his brethren apoftles, published to the world concerning the real manifeftation of the word or Son of God in the flesh, and concerning his actions and fufferings in the flesh, all actually happened. That having heard him speak, and feen him die, and handled him both before his death and after his refurrection, they could not be mistaken in believ ing that he really appeared in the flesh.
Ver 2-1. The life. By this expreffion Benfon understands Chrift himfelf the author of eternal life, chap. v. 11. But as the apoftle adds
that they bad feen the life, I rather think he means the life of the word in the flesh.
2. Was manifefted Epavspan. This word is applied, not only to our Lord's appearing in the flesh, but to his fecond appearing at the end of the world, chap. ii. 28. See note 2. on that verfe, and 1 Pet. i. 7. notę 2.
3. And declare to you that life which is eternal, which was with the Father and was manifefled to us. By the life which is eternal which was manifefted to the apofiles, fome understand that immortal life of bleffednefs which was brought to light, and promifed in the gospel to believers. But as that life is faid to have been with the Father, it muft mean, either the eternal life, or exiftence of the Father himself, or of fome other perfon. Now fince the eternal existence of the Father could not be manifefted to the apoftles by revelation, which prefuppofes the existence of God, the life which is eternal must be that which the Word, or Son, poffeffed with the Father before the world was; and which was manifefted to the apoftles at our Lord's baptifm and transfiguration, when, by a voice from heaven, God declared him his beloved Son: It was manifefted likewife by God's raifing Jefus from the dead.-That this ver. 2. is a parenthefis, is evident from the repetition of the words of the first verse, in the beginning of the third.
4 And these things write
4 Και ταυτα γραφομεν we unto you, that your joy ὑμῖν ἵνα ἡ χαρα ύμων η πέτ
may be full.
Ver. 3.-1. That which we have feen and heard. John having affirmed this in the firft verfe, he repeats it here to fhew that he and his brethren apoftles were the perfons to whom Christ said, Matt. xiii. 16. Blefed are your eyes for they fee, and your ears for they hear.— Further, because the apoftles by hearing and feeing had the fulleft affurance of the things which they teftified concerning their mafter, John told the elders of the Jews, Acts iv. 20. We cannot but speak the things which we have feen and heard; namely the doctrine, miracles, refurrection, and afcenfion of their mafter, and his return to judge the world.
2. We declare to you. As I am of the opinion of thofe who think John wrote his gofpel a confiderable time before the deftruction of Jerufalem, I fuppofe he here alluded to his own gofpel, in which he had related the particulars, whereby the word was proved to have been made flesh.
3. That ye alfo may have xownav fellowship with us. In fcripture, κοινωνια fignifies both the communication of fomething to others, and the participation of fomething with others: A joint participation. In the former fenfe it is ufed, 2 Cor. ix. 13. where it is tranflated, diftribution. In the latter fenfe it is ufed, 1 Cor. x. 15. Is it not obvwv the joint participation of the blood of Chrift? The Greeks likewife, as Chandler informs us, in his note on Ephef. v. 11. ufed the word xox, to denote a participation in their religious rites and myfteries, and in the benefits fuppofed to be procured by them.-Kova, alfo fignifies A fellowship, or company of men joined together by fome common bond, for the purpose of obtaining certain advantages by mcans of their union, Among the heathens there were a variety of fuch fellowships, called by the Latins Sodalitia. And because many of them were inftituted for celebrating the myfteries, or fecret wor fhip of their gods, the particular god in honour of whom the fellowfhip was inftituted, was confidered as the head of it, and the author of the benefits which the affociated expected to derive from their fellowship in his worship.-In this fenfe, the word fellowship, is with great propriety applied to the difciples of Chrift united, by their comon faith, into one fociety or church for worshipping the only true God, through the mediation of his Son Jefus Chrift, and for receiving from him through the fame mediation, the great bleffings of protection and direction in the prefent-life, and of pardon and eternal happiness in the life to come.-Agreeably to this account of the Chriftian fellowfhip the apoftle in this 3d verfe contrafts the heads thereof with the heads of the heathen fellowships: Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jefus Chrift. The heads of the Chriftian fellowship are the great Father of the univerfe, and his Son Jefus Chrift, who governs the world under him. Whereas the heads of the heathen fellowships, were mere non-entities. Or if of them were real
4 And these things write to you, your joy may be plete.
4 Thefe things concerning our fellowfhip with the Father and the Son, we write to you who have entered into our fellowship, that your joy, on account of the great honour and fafety which ye have obtained therein, may be complete.
real beings, they had no power in human affairs: confequently their votaries could derive, neither protection, nor any bleffing whatever from them.-Farther, in verfe 5. the apottle contrafts the knowledge of the nature and perfections of the true God, communicated in the gofpel to the members of the Chriftian fellowship, with the knowledge of the pretended heathen divinities, communicated in their mysteries to the initiated. This is the message we have received from him and declare to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. He poffeffes every poffible perfection, and is abfolutely free from evil. Whereas the heathen gods, according to the reprefentation given of them in their mysteries, were polluted with every kind of vice. - Next, in verfe 6. he contrafts the character and manners of the members of the fellowship of the true God, with the character and manners of the initiated into the fellowships of the heathen gods. No perfon could be in the fellowship of the Father who habitually practifed any wickednefs. Whereas, to be in the fellowship of the heathen gods, it was neceffary to imitate them in their characters and vices.-In verfe 7. the apoftle contrafts the benefits which, the members of the fellowship of God, who imitate him in his moral qualities, receive from him, with the benefits which the votaries of the heathen gods receive from them. The former are the objects of God's love and care, and are cleanfed both from the power and from the punishment of their fins through the blood of Christ: Whereas the latter receive neither of thefe bleffings from their gods; nor indeed any benefit whatever.
Before this note is concluded, it may be proper to obferve, that xowna fellowship, is ufed by the apoftle Paul likewife, to denote that intercourse which the members of a fellowship or focicty have with each other, 2 Cor. vi. 14. Now what nowwwa (fellowship) intercourse bath light with darkness ?
4. And our fellowship, truly is with the Father, and with his Son Fefus Chrift-Fellowship with the Father and the Son, means our being members of that religious community, of which the Father and Son are the heads; and our sharing in all the benefits which the members of that community derive from the Father and the Son, on account of their relation to them, as votaries or worshippers.-Paul likewife hath mentioned this fellowship, under the denomination of the fellowship of Christ. 1 Cor. i. 9. Faithful is God, by whom ye have been called into the fellowship of his Son Jefus Christ our Lord.
Ver. 4. Thefe things we write. Etius faith the apoftle ufeth the plural we, because the things which he wrote were perfectly confonant to the doctrine of his brethren apostles.