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τοῦ Θεοῦ; 6ο Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἐλθὼν δι ̓ ὕδατος καὶ αἵματος, Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς, οὐκ ἐν τῷ ὕδατι μόνον, ἀλλ ̓ ἐν τῷ ὕδατι καὶ ἐν τῷ αἵματι· καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμά ἐστι
6. οὗτος ἐστιν ὁ ἐλθὼν δι ̓ ὕδατος καὶ αἵματος, Ἰησοῦς Χριστός] | This is He Who came by Water and Blood, Jesus Christ.
He Who came is He Who proved Himself to be "the Coming One" & épxóuevos, the Messiah; see Matt. xi. 3; whence our Lord says, "all who came before Me were thieves and robbers." See note on John x. 8.
Jesus Christ came, as the Messiah and Son of God, in various ways.
1. He came, in all the purifications that were made by Water and Blood under the Old Law, which was dedicated with Blood and Water, Heb. ix. 22; because all those purifications were typical of, and preparatory to, His Sacrifice on the Cross, and derived all their efficacy from it.
It was the Water and the Blood afterwards shed on Calvary which imparted all the virtue to the Water and Blood poured out in the sacrificial rites of the Temple at Jerusalem, and of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness; and also to the Patriarchal Sacrifices at Bethel, at Mamre, and on Ararat; and even to the sacrifice of Abel on the borders of Paradise. Thus this is He Who came by Water and Blood; the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. Rev. xiii. 8.
2. Again; Christ came by Water in His Baptism; and by Blood in His Circumcision, and especially in His agony and Bloody Sweat in Gethsemane, and by the blood shed in His Scourging before His Passion, and in the Crown of Thorns, and the piercing of His Hands at the Crucifixion.
3. Further; Christ came both by Water and Blood at once, in a special manner, on Calvary after His Death. St. John saw, and bare witness of what he then saw. "One of the soldiers pierced His side, and forthwith there came out Blood and Water: and he that saw it hath borne, and beareth, witness (μeμαртúρηкE, perfect tense), and his witness is true, and he knoweth that he speaketh truth, in order that ye also may believe. For these things were done, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken (Exod. xii. 46, concerning the Paschal Lamb). And again, another Scripture saith, They shall see Him whom they pierced;" Zechariah xii. 10, speaking of JEHOVAH Himself. See John xix. 34-37.
Thus St. John in his Gospel prepares us to understand the words of his Epistle; and in his Epistle also he elucidates what had been recorded in his Gospel. His words therefore may be thus paraphrased. This is He Who came-that is, proved Himself to be what He was pre-announced to be by the Types and Prophecies of the Old Testament, and what He proclaimed Himself to be in the New-the "Coming One," The Comer" ( pxóuevos), the Messiah, the true Paschal Lamb, and Very Man, a true Sacrifice for sin; and yet Very God, the Everlasting Jehovah, of Whom the Prophet Zechariah spoke, when he prophesied of His being pierced at His death.
He came by Blood and Water. He proved thereby the reality of His Humanity and of His Death; and thus He has given a practical refutation-which St. John himself saw with his own eyes-to the heretical notions of those in the Apostolic age, such as Simon Magus, and the Docete, who alleged that Jesus Christ had not a real human body, but was merely a spectral phantasm, crucified in show; and therefore S. Irenæus in the next age after St. John, urges this fact of the piercing of the side, and the flowing out of the blood and water, recorded by St. John, as conclusive against their heresy. S. Irenæus, iv. 32. 23, ed. Stieren; p. 357, Grabe. Cp. Bp. Pearson, Art. iv. p. 405, and Dr. Waterland, v. p. 190.
In the words, "not by water only," there seems also to be a reference to another heresy of the Apostolic age, that of Cerinthus, who said that Christ came in the water of Baptism, and descended into the man Jesus; and afterwards departed from Him, when He shed His blood on the Cross. In opposition to this notion St. John says, "This is He Who came by Water and Blood; not by Water only, but by Water and Blood." Cp. Dr. Burton's Lectures, pp. 188-190.
4. Further it is to be observed, that in this passage of his Epistle St. John is speaking of Christ's Generation, and of our Regeneration.
Every one who believeth that Jesus is the Christ hath been born, and is born, of God; i. e., is regenerate; and every one who loveth Him that begat, loveth Him that is begotten of Him; i. e., whoever loveth God the Father, loveth Him Who by Generation is the only-begotten Son of God; and every thing that is born of God (i. e., is regenerate) overcometh the World; and who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus-the Very Man Jesus-is also the Son of God?
St. John then proceeds to describe the means by which our
e John 19. 34.
Regeneration, or New Birth, is communicated to us from God, through His Son Christ Jesus, Very Man, and Very God; and how the new life so communicated is sustained in us. He does this by saying, This is He Who came-came to us-by Water and Blood, Jesus Christ; not by Water only, but by Water and Blood.
The natural life which was imparted to Eve-the Mother of all living, the type of the Church, the Spouse of the Second Adam, Jesus Christ-was derived from the First Adam's side, opened when he was asleep in Paradise. In like manner, the spiritual Life is given to the Spiritual Eve, the Church, and to all her faithful members, from the side of the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, sleeping in death on the Cross; and it is communicated through His death by means of the Water and Blood of the two Sacraments, which derive their quickening, cleansing, and invigorating virtue from the Divinity, Incarnation, and Death of our Crucified Lord and Saviour, and by which the benefits of that Death is applied to our regeneration and revivification; and which were visibly exhibited in the Water and Blood flowing from His precious side, pierced on the Cross.
This doctrine is implied by the Church of England in her Office for the Ministration of Baptism,-" Almighty, everliving God, whose most dearly Beloved Son Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of our sins, did shed out of His most precious side both Water and Blood; and gave commandment to His disciples, that they should go teach all nations, and baptize them. . . sanctify this Water to the mystical washing away of sin;" a formulary adopted from Ancient Liturgies; see Palmer, Origines Liturgica, ii. 187.
It is observable, that our Lord Himself has assured us of this truth by the instrumentality of the same Apostle, St. John, who testifieth these things, and who alone of the Apostles saw our Lord's side pierced, and the Water and Blood coming forth from it.
It is in the Gospel of St. John that Christ says, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of Water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John iii. 5). Again, it is in the Gospel of St. John that Christ declares, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my Flesh and drinketh my Blood hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last Day. For My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed" (John vi. 53–55).
This therefore "is He Who came to us by Water and Blood, Jesus Christ; not by Water only, but by Water and Blood."
He came by Water, which is our λovTpòv, and by Blood, which is our λύτρον. His Baptism of Blood is our λύτρον, or ransom from death; and His Baptism by Water is our XOUTρÒv, or laver of Birth. And the Water of the AoUT pòv derives its efficacy from the Blood of the Xúτpov, shed on the Cross, which works in and by the Water of Baptism. He has washed us from our sins in His own blood (Rev. i. 5). His blood cleanseth us from all sin (1 John i. 7). In Baptism we pass through the Red Sea of His Blood, and are delivered from our enemies thereby.
"Hæc sunt gemina Ecclesiæ Sacramenta," says Augustine (in Joann. tract. 120). Here are represented the Two Sacraments of the Church, in which Christ comes. By them He came to us, He is ever coming in them.
At the first Institution of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the pitcher of water and he that carried it, were not in vain given for a sign by Christ (see on Mark xiv. 13), it went not before for nothing. Cp. Bp. Andrewes, iii. p. 359.
Christ is ever coming by the Water and Blood of the Sacraments, to quicken and cleanse all of every age in the Church (see Titus iii. 5), and animates and unites them all in the bonds of holiness and love, as fellow-members communicating with Him their Head, and knit and woven together by veins and arteries, in One Body, the Body of Christ.
Some ancient Testimonies to the above Exposition may be seen in note above, on John xix. 34, to which may be added S. Augustine, Serm. v., referring to this passage, as follows: "Quid profluxit de latere nisi sacramentum quod acciperent fideles? Spiritus, sanguis et aqua; Spiritus quem emisit; et sanguis et aqua quæ de latere profluxerunt; de ipso sanguine et aqua significatur nata Ecclesia; cùm jam dormiret Christus in cruce, quia Adam in Paradiso somnum accepit, et sic illi de latere Eva producta est." Compare Cassiodorus here, and Bp. Andrewes, Serm. xiii. vol. iii. pp. 345–360.
καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμά ἐστι τὸ μαρτυροῦν] and the Spirit is that which is bearing witness to the doctrine that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God. The Holy Spirit, promised by Christ, and given by the
f Matt. 28. 19. John 1. 1.
τὸ μαρτυροῦν, ὅτι τὸ Πνεῦμά ἐστιν ἡ ἀλήθεια· 7' ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυoi 1 Cor. 12. 4-6. PoÛvtes, 3 tò tveûμa, kai тò vdwρ, кai тò aîμa' kaì oi тpeîs eis tò ev eiσw. ροῦντες, ὕδωρ,
Rev. 19. 13.
Father to the Church, in consequence of the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ, bare witness by His own descent on the Day of Pentecost, and by the supernatural powers of Tongues and Prophecy which He then bestowed on the Apostles, and on others who believed and were baptized in Christ's Name, that all which Jesus Christ had preached was true: and that He is, what He declared Himself to be, the Son of God. And the Holy Spirit by His presence and operation in the Water of Baptism, and in the Blood of the Holy Eucharist, bears witness to the Verity and Virtue of the Incarnation and Death of Christ, the Son of God, from which the efficacy of the Sacraments is derived.
7. ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες] because three are they who are bearing witness.
After these words Elz. has this addition, év т oùρavý d Πατὴρ, ὁ Λόγος, καὶ τὸ ἅγιον Πνεῦμα· καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσι, καὶ τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῇ γῇ, in heaven the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one (i. e. one substance, neuter, cp. John x. 30), and there are three who are bearing witness on earth.
But this addition is not found in A, B, G, K, or in the cursive MSS. of this Epistle - with the exception of three MSS. of comparatively recent date-nor in the Lectionaries, nor in the far greater majority of Versions, nor in the Greek Fathers of the first Four Centuries, nor in the Latin Fathers of those centuries, with the exception of a single passage in S. Cyprian de Unit. Eccl. c. 5, the tenor of which is doubtful.
The earliest Author by whom these words are clearly cited is Vigilius Thapsensis at the close of the Fifth Century. See the statement of the evidence on this subject in the editions of Wetstein, Griesbach, Scholz, and Tischendorf.
The words in question are not received by Griesbach, Scholz, Lachmann, Tischendorf. Nor need any one be disturbed by their non-appearance in the text. It is certain, as has been observed by Dr. Bentley (Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 530), that the AnteNicene and Nicene Fathers confuted Arianism without the aid of this passage, to which they never refer, because it was not in their copies of this Epistle; and the doctrine of the Trinity has been clearly established by other Scriptures, and by the consentient voice and concurrent practice of the Church, especially in the administration of the Sacrament of Baptism, with which every child of God has been admitted into the Church of Christ by His express command, in the Name of the Ever- Blessed Trinity (see above, on Matt. iii. 16. Cp. 2 Cor. xiii. 14. Eph. ii. 18), and also in her Liturgical formularies in the Administration of the Holy Communion, and in her solemn Doxologies and Benedictions.
The passage therefore according to the best authorities stands thus, Because three (Tpeîs, masculine, not τpía, neuter) are those who are bearing witness, the Spirit, and the Water, and the Blood, and these three (Tpeis, masculine, not тpía, neuter) are (joined) into the one (rò ev, the one substance, neuler; not masculine eva).
The gender of the words here used is very remarkable. St. John speaks of three Persons (7peîs) and one substance (ev), and affirms that these three Persons bear witness, and these three Persons (Tpeîs) are united into the one substance. uses the masculine тpeîs, before the three neuter substantives; and after them also.
This declaration may be best explained by our Lord's words as recorded by St. John himself, in the Gospel, "I and My Father are one" where one is expressed, as here, by the neuter ev; and our Lord there affirms that He and His Father, being two Persons (masculine) are one substance (neuter). See the note there, and compare our Lord's words, John xvii. 11. 22, in which the unity of the Persons is described by the neuter gender.
So St. John declares here that there are three Persons (Tpeîs, masculine) who are bearing witness (μapтvpoûvtes, masculine), and that these three (Persons) who are bearing witness are joined into one (ev one substance, neuter).
There is therefore good ground for the ancient opinion that St. John in this passage is declaring the Unity of the Three Persons of the Trinity in one substance. This appears to be the meaning of Tertullian (c. Prax. 25), where he says, that "the union of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Father, makes three Persons joined in one: which three Persons are unum (one substance) non unus (not one Person), as Christ says, 'I and My
1 Dr. Bentley's opinion concerning the genuineness of this passage, is matter of interest on account of the special attention which that celebrated critic gave to it. It is thus expressed in a letter dated Jan. 1, 1716-17 :—
And so the ancient Scholium in Matthæi says that "John uses the number three in the masculine gender, because those three are symbols of the Trinity," and by using the word ev, "he designates the unity of the Godhead;" and so S. Augustine (c. Maximin. 22) says, "If we desire to examine what is signified by these words, the Trinity itself may reasonably occur to us; which is One God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, concerning which it may be most truly said, 'Three are the Witnesses,' and 'Three are one substance (unum).'”
St. John himself appears to authorize this exposition, by adding, "If we receive the witness of men (especially of three men, see Matt. xviii. 16. 2 Cor. xiii. 1. Heb. x. 28), the witness of God is greater," thus intimating that the testimony of the three witnesses here mentioned is the witness of God in three Persons.
Our Lord Himself in St. John's Gospel has prepared the way for this exposition. He thus speaks to the Jews, "In your Law it is written that the witness of two men is true. I am He that beareth witness (¿ μapтupŵv) concerning Myself; and the Father who sent me beareth witness (John viii. 18).
This was spoken by Christ before His Ascension; but He promised that after He Himself had gone away He would send a third witness. "When the Comforter is come whom I will send unto you from the Father, namely, the Spirit of Truth who proceedeth from the Father, He shall bear witness of Me" (John xv. 26).
By that Coming of the Holy Ghost, the testimony of the three Witnesses was completed.
Therefore St. John, writing in this Epistle after the Ascension of Christ, and the Giving of the Holy Spirit, might well say that Three are those who are bearing witness, and these three are united into One. and this is" the witness of God."
These three are designated here as "the Spirit, the Water, and the Blood."
Firstly, the Spirit; who begins the Work of Regeneration by applying all quickening grace to Man.
Secondly, the Water; the symbol and instrument of the New Birth derived from God the Father, Who is the Original Wellspring and Fountain of all Life and Grace to man. The natural heavens and earth were formed out of the Water. There was their Origin (see on 2 Pet. iii. 5). So it is with the spiritual Life; it is formed from out of Water. Water therefore is a proper symbol of the Paternity of God.
And thirdly, the Blood, symbolizing the Incarnation and Passion of God the Son, through Whom all grace descends from the Father, by the Holy Spirit. See on 2 Cor. xiii. 13.
These Three Persons are joined consubstantially into one Godhead; and their Witness is the witness of God. Cp. Ep. Andrewes, iii. p. 354, who observes that Water notes Creation; Blood notes Redemption by Christ; the Spirit notes Unction, to complete all."
There is an image of the Trinity in the Christian Sacraments. There is, baptismus fluminis, the Baptism of Water, the work of Creation by the Father; there is baptismus sanguinis, the Baptism of Blood, the work of Redemption by the Son; but these are not enough, unless there be also the baptismus flaminis, the Baptism of the Spirit. Thus the work of the Ever-Blessed Trinity is done in the soul. Cp. Bp. Andrewes, iii. 248.
The above considerations may explain the addition which has found its way into the text of some few Manuscripts here, “in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one, and three are they who are bearing witness on earth." These words were probably originally only an expository gloss. They are a correct exposition of St. John's meaning, and there is no reason to suspect that they were interpolated designedly. They were probably written originally by some expositor on the margin of his manuscript; perhaps they were derived by him from S. Cyprian, and were adopted by some subsequent transcriber, who supposed them to belong to the Text; as was sometimes the case with marginal glosses; cp. Valcknaer, de Glossis in N. T. 1
In my proposed work" (his edition of the Greek Testament) "the fate of that verse will be a mere question of fact" (i. e. it will depend on the testimony of the MSS.). "You endeavour to prove (and that's all you aspire to) that it may have been writ by the Apostle, being
Rom. 8. 16.
9 8 Εἰ τὴν μαρτυρίαν τῶν ἀνθρώπων λαμβάνομεν, ἡ μαρτυρία τοῦ Θεοῦ & John 5. 37. μείζων ἐστίν· ὅτι αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ μαρτυρία τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἣν μεμαρτύρηκε περὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ. 10 η Ὁ πιστεύων εἰς τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἔχει τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἐν η John 3, 16, 33. ἑαυτῷ· ὁ μὴ πιστεύων τῷ Θεῷ, ψεύστην πεποίηκεν αὐτὸν, ὅτι οὐ πεπίστευκεν Gal.4.6. εἰς τὴν μαρτυρίαν, ἣν μεμαρτύρηκεν ὁ Θεὸς περὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ. 11 : Καὶ αὕτη i John 1. 4. ἐστὶν ἡ μαρτυρία, ὅτι ζωὴν αἰώνιον ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν ὁ Θεὸς, καὶ αὕτη ἡ ζωὴ ἐν τῷ Υἱῷ αὐτοῦ ἐστιν. 12 κ Ὁ ἔχων τὸν Υἱὸν ἔχει τὴν ζωήν· ὁ μὴ ἔχων τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ τὴν ζωὴν οὐκ ἔχει.
κατοψη 3. 30. John
& 5. 24. 1 John 20. 31. m Jer. 29. 12. Matt. 7. 8.
Mark 11. 24. Luke 11. 9. John 14. 13.
ἐὰν το * 16. 24.
13 1 Ταῦτα ἔγραψα ὑμῖν, ἵνα εἰδῆτε ὅτι ζωὴν ἔχετε αἰώνιον οἱ πιστεύοντες εἰς και 22 τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ. 14 " Καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ παῤῥησία ἣν ἔχομεν αὐτὸν, ὅτι ἐάν τι αἰτώμεθα κατὰ τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ, ἀκούει ἡμῶν· 15 καὶ οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀκούει ἡμῶν ὃ ἂν αἰτώμεθα, οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἔχομεν τὰ αἰτήματα ᾐτήκαμεν παρ' αὐτοῦ.
16 η Εάν τις ἴδῃ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ ἁμαρτάνοντα ἁμαρτίαν μὴ πρὸς θάνατον, αἰτήσει, καὶ δώσει αὐτῷ ζωὴν, τοῖς ἁμαρτάνουσι μὴ πρὸς θάνατον· ἁμαρτία πρὸς θάνατον· οὐ περὶ ἐκείνης λέγω ἵνα ἐρωτήσῃ· 17° πᾶσα
10. ψεύστην πεποίηκεν αυτόν] hath made Him a liar, accounts Him as such. See i. 10.
11. καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ μαρτυρία] and this is the witness; this is what God Himself testifies, viz. that God gave to us (as a free gift) eternal life; and this eternal life is in His Son, and is bestowed on us through Him. See John i. 4; iii. 15. 36; v. 26; vi. 33. 35. 40; x. 28; xi. 25; xiv. 6; xvii. 3.
13. ὑμῖν] Elz. adds here τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ but this addition is not in A, B, and in the majority of Versions, and is rejected by Griesb., Scholz, Lach.,
ἵνα εἰδῆτε] in order that ye may know. Observe the word οἴδαμεν, we know, repeated fire times in the following verses, contrasting strongly the nature of true Christian γνώσις, or knowledge, with that of the ψευδώνυμος γνῶσις of the Gnostics. See the like use of οἴδαμεν, we know, at the close of St. John's Gospel, xxi. 24.
οἱ πιστεύοντες] So A. B has τοῖς πιστεύουσιν—and so Griesb., Scholz, Lach., Tisch. Elz. has καὶ ἵνα πιστεύητε. 14. παῤῥησία] confidence, especially in prayer. See iii. 21, 22. ἐάν τι αἰτώμεθα] if we pray for any thing, observe, according to His Will, He heareth us, and if we know that He heareth us, we know that we have the things which we have prayed for; for, either we receive the very things themselves, or, something better than the things which we ourselves desire; and since our prayers are always framed according to His will, we do receive the things for which we pray. See the case of St. Paul's prayer, notes above on 2 Cor. xii. 9.
16. ἔστιν ἁμαρτία πρὸς θάνατον] there is a sin unto death. I am not speaking concerning that, in order that he, the Christian brother, should ask (ἐρωτήσῃ).
The distinction between sins unto death, and sins not unto death, is grounded on Hebrew Law and Language (Lev. xvii. 6. Schoettgen, Horæ, here), but it takes a spiritual form under the
consonant to his other doctrine. This I concede to you; and if the fourth century knew that text, let it come in, in God's name; but if that age did not know it, then Arianism in its height was beat down without the help of that verse; and let the fact prove as it will, the doctrine is unshaken." Ric. Bentley.
Bentley delivered his famous Prælectio on this verse, May 1, 1717, four months after the date of this letter. See Whiston's Memoirs, p. 314. Bentley's Works, iii. 485. Bp. Monk's Bentley, ii. pp. 16. 19. What the tenor of that Prælection was which is lost -may be gathered from the remarks on the subject in Casley's Preface to his Catalogue of the Royal Library, p. xxi, ed. Lond. 1734, where, from conversations with Dr. Bentley, he vindicates Bentley's assertions on this and other questions of Biblical Criticism. The person who speaks as follows is surely not Casley, but Bentley, p. xxi, "But how to account for this verse being first inserted is the difficulty; and some have not stuck to call it a forgery. But I hope better things, and that it may be made to have appeared by a mistake of a Latin Scribe, in the eighth or ninth century, on the following occasion; S. Cyprian, a famous Latin father, has the words of that verse in his works; and it is no wonder if they were transcribed thence into the margin, or between the lines of the eighth verse, of a book of some one who had a great veneration for that Father, as a gloss, which is very common in MSS.; as it is not improbable that VOL. II.-PART IV.
James 1. 5.
n Num. 15. 30.
1 Sam. 2. 25. Jer. 15. 1, 2. Matt. 12. 31.
Mark 3 29
Luke 12. 10. & 10. 26.
a ch. 3. 4.
Gospel; and death is not used in the sense of capital punishment, but as opposed to the ζωή, or life, of the soul.
Observe the change of the word from αἰτεῖν, petere, to ἐρωτᾷν, rogare; the one signifying to pray, as an inferior suitor to a superior, the other expressing rather a general act of an inquirer. See John xi. 22, and on xvi. 23, and Bengel here, and Dean Trench, Synonym. N. T. xl.; sometimes, however, implying a request. See 2 John 5.
By using the word ἐρωτήσῃ here, and by placing the word emphatically at the end of the sentence, St. John appears to intimate, that not even any interrogatory questions are to be addressed to God, concerning the person who is sinning a sin unto death, and that this would be to tempt God.
Clemens Alexandrinus (Strom. ii. p. 389) cites this passage in treating of the difference between sins of infirmity, and sins of presumption. The sin unto death is wilful resistance of the Holy Ghost, presumptuous sin (such as that described in Matt. xii. 31. Heb. vi. 4-8 ; x. 28 - 30), deliberately and obstinately persisted in, after warnings and censures of the Church. He who continues obstinately in such sin, is not a fit subject for any inquiries of God; God has spoken clearly concerning him; he is to be separated from the holy offices of the Church, in order that by excommunication-which is a rehearsal of future and eternal judgment-he may learn not to blaspheme, and be alarmed and terrified, and so his soul may be saved in the day of the Lord. See above on Matt. xviii. 17. 1 Cor. v. 5. 1 Tim. i. 20, and By. Wilson here.
God Himself has declared His will that prayers should not be made for certain desperate sinners (see Jer. vii. 16; xi. 14; xiv. 11); and if a man is deprived of the prayers of the Church, this very denial may have a salutary influence with him in such a case, where no milder medicines will avail.
Besides, the bodily afflictions and other temporal chastisements which may overtake him in consequence of such suspension
Cassiodorus in his Complexiones in Epistolas, and others who have the words, took them from Cyprian. Next, a copyist, being employed to write out this particular book, and finding the words so inserted, imagined that the former copyist, by mistake, had omitted them, and therefore put them in the text. Such insertions of explanatory words or sentences from the margin into the text are common in MSS. Jerome, in one of his letters, says, that an explanatory note, which he had made himself in the margin of his Psalter, had been incorporated by some transcriber into the text. And thus this insertion might rest till a long time after, and then the sham Preface to the Catholic Epistles must be made, complaining of the unfaithful Translators for leaving it out! Whereas, it is matter of fact, that no Greek Copies of this Epistle had that verse, save one at Berlin, which is discovered to have been transcribed from the printed Biblia Complutensia, and another modern one at Dublin, probably translated or printed from the Latin Vulgate, neither the Author of the Preface, nor any friend for him, having searched for it in any Greek copy." See also p. xxiv, " To return to 1 John v. 7, when the foresaid Preface was made, then was the Text also inserted in other copies that had it not, several of which are now to be found in Libraries."
Some few unimportant omissions and alterations have been made in the above extracts.
p ch. 3. 9. James 1. 27.
q Luke 24. 45. John 17. 3.
r 1 Cor. 10. 14.
ἁμαρτία ἐστὶ, καὶ ἔστιν ἁμαρτία οὐ πρὸς θάνατον. 18 P Οἴδαμεν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει· ἀλλ ̓ ὁ γεννηθεὶς ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ τηρεῖ ἑαυτὸν, καὶ ὁ πονηρὸς οὐχ ἅπτεται αὐτοῦ. 19 Οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐσμεν, καὶ ὁ κόσμος ὅλος ἐν τῷ πονηρῷ κεῖται. 20 4 Οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ ἧκει, καὶ δέδωκεν ἡμῖν διάνοιαν, ἵνα γινώσκωμεν τὸν ἀληθινόν· καί ἐσμεν ἐν τῷ ἀληθινῷ, ἐν τῷ Υἱῷ αὐτοῦ ̓Ιησοῦ Χριστῷ· οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἀληθινὸς Θεὸς καὶ ἡ ζωὴ αἰώνιος.
21 : Τεκνία, φυλάξατε ἑαυτοὺς ἀπὸ τῶν εἰδώλων.
and privation, when by the withdrawal of God's good Spirit for a time Satan may chastise and torment him (see 1 Cor. v. 5), may have a wholesome effect in making him feel "how bitter a thing it is to forsake God” (Jer. ii. 19), and may bring him under the operation of fear and anguish, and soften his heart, and lead him to repentance, and by repentance to pardon and grace, and in the end to everlasting salvation.
Therefore St. John does not prescribe prayer in such a case; but he implies that other means are to be used.
18. οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει] he sinneth not, is not a sinner; see on iii. 9. He that was born of God, keepeth himself, takes heed to his ways (1 Tim. v. 22. James i. 27). That is his true character and proper condition; and the Evil One layeth not hold of him, —οὐχ ἅπτεται αὐτοῦ. On the sense of ἅπτομαι, to grasp and cling to, see above on John xx. 17.
19. ἐν τῷ πονημῷ κεῖται] lieth in the dominion of the Wicked One, v. 18; ii. 13; it lieth as a captive beneath his feet. On the use of ev, see Winer, § 48.
There is a contrast here between τοῦ Θεοῦ and τῷ πονηρῷ. The saints are born of God and stand firm and erect ἐν Θεῷ, ἐν Χριστῷ (ep. on Rom. xvi. 9), and we are in Him, have our life in Him, Who is the true One, ἐν τῷ ἀληθινῷ, see v. 20 ; but the world lieth ἐν τῷ πονηρῷ.
20. τὸν ἀληθινόν] Him that is true : the true God as opposed to the so-called, and false gods, the idols of the heathen, mentioned below, v. 21.
On ἀληθινὸς, as used in this sense, see above on John xvii. 3. Cp. 1 Thess. i. 9.
καί ἐσμεν ἐν τῷ ἀληθινῷ] and we are in Him that is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. By being in His Son Jesus Christ we are in Him Who is the true God.
οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἀληθινὸς Θεός] He-namely, Jesus Christ is the true God and Life eternal. Thus St. John closes his Epistle, as he had begun his Gospel, with asserting that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is Himself the true God, and Life Eternal. See John i. 1-4, which is the best exposition of this passage, and there St. John says expressly that the "Word was God, and that in Him was Life." Cp. above, v. 11, and Dr. Waterland, v. p. 193, who says, "The title of the true God is here given to Christ;" and observes, "every word here is aptly chosen to obviate the heresy of Cerinthus, and of other the like false teachers of those times.”
The Son of God, not of Joseph and Mary, nor the Son of the Only-begotten as some said, but the Son of God His Father, is come in the flesh; not merely to reside in it for a season, as the Cerinthians held, and then to fly off from it, but to abide in us, to be clothed for ever with the humanity He has taken: and we are in Him that is true, the true God, by Jesus Christ Who is the true God, not an inferior power or Angel, such as Cerinthus supposed the Demiurge, or Creator of the world to be, nor a created on, the offspring of the Monogenes or Only-begotten, or of Silence, as Cerinthus imagined the Logos or Word to be; but the true God, one with the Father. See also Bp. Pearson, Art. ii. p. 247, who says, "Christ is not only here termed God, but the true God;" and cp. p. 259, and Bengel here.
21. τεκνία- εἰδώλων] My little children (see ii. 12), guard yourselves from idols. Ye are in Him Who is the true God, and cannot therefore have any communion with false gods. “ What concord hath Christ with Belial? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? Ye are the temple of the living God.” (2 Cor. vi. 16.) Those so-called gods are dead. Do not therefore be led astray by the false teachers, the Nicolaitans, who would inveigle you to eat things offered to idols (Rev. ii. 2. 15), and lead you into idolatry; or by the followers of Simon Magus, who even worship idols (see Irenaus, i. 20, Grabe, and Euseb. ii. 13); or by others, such as the Cerinthians (Philastr. hær. 36), who would persuade you that you need not bear witness to God and Christ, but may safely offer incense to the idols of the heathen, rather than suffer martyrdom. Therefore, little children, keep yourselves from idols.
Here is a farewell admonition from St. John to the Church
of every age. He warns her against that danger, of which later generations have had mournful experience, and which he foresaw and foretold in his Apocalypse. See Rev. ix. 20.
This admonition of St. John, keep yourselves from idols, is the more remarkable, on account of its juxtaposition with his teaching here that Jesus Christ is God. If Jesus Christ is not God, then the Christianity, which St. John himself teaches, is idolatry. But Jesus Christ is the true God, and therefore that form of religion which hath not the Son, as the Son is revealed by St. John, hath not the Father. (1 John ii. 23.) “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John iii. 36.
THE SECOND EPISTLE OF ST. JOHN.
THE method adopted by St. Peter and St. Paul in their teaching on the Nature and Person of Christ, is employed also by St. John. First, they established the Truth; next, they refuted Error. The work of construction was effected by St. Peter in his First Epistle; in his Second Epistle he denounced the heresies of false Teachers. St. Paul performed the first of these Apostolic acts in his Epistle to the Ephesians; the latter' was done by him in his Epistle to the Colossian Church.
St. John had executed the former of these tasks-that of establishing the Truth-in his Gospel. He afterwards proceeded to complete his plan by accomplishing the latter-that of censuring and correcting Heresy-in his Epistles 2.
This Second Epistle of St. John, brief as it is, is ministered to this end; and it conduces to it even by its brevity.
Let us consider how this appears to be the case.
This Second Epistle opens with the words ὁ πρεσβύτερος Εκλεκτῇ Κυρίᾳ καὶ τοῖς τέκνοις avrns, "The elder to an elect Lady and her children;" and it ends with the words, "The children of thy sister who is elect greet thee." In the former case the word elect has not the definite article; in the latter it has.
The question here arises,-Who is this exλEKTǹ Kupía, to whom St. John writes?
Many Expositors are of opinion, that St. John is writing here to a private person; and it has been supposed by some 3, that her name was Kupía, Kyria, and by others, that her name was Electa.
But it appears more probable that under this title St. John is addressing a Christian CHURCH.
This interpretation is suggested by the words used by St. John's brother Apostle St. Peter, at the close of his Epistle, "The co-Elect with you, that is at Babylon, saluteth you." There the word "co-elect" signifies "a Church'," and it is probable that the word exλeтη (elect) here used by St. John, has a like meaning.
Besides, at the end of the present Epistle, we read a salutation which seems to be formed on that of St. Peter. St. Peter's words at the end of his Epistle are 'Aomáčeтai vμâs ý év Baßvλŵvi OVVERλEKTÝ. Let us compare St. John's final salutation, sent in this Epistle to the Elect one, whom he addresses from the Children of her Elect sister: ̓Ασπάζεταί σε τὰ τέκνα τῆς ἀδελφῆς σοῦ τῆς ÈKλEKTŶs, “The children of thy sister, who is Elect, greet thee."
St. Peter had written from Babylon to the elect in Asia, and saluted them in the name of a co-elect one at Babylon; and that co-elect one at Babylon was a Church.
St. John, whose residence was in Asia, writes to an Elect one, and sends to her the greetings of an elect sister. Hence it appears probable that the elect one and her elect sister are not private individuals, but Churches.
The word 'EkλEKTǹ, elect, is used by the Septuagint in the Canticles as the characteristic of Christ's spouse, the Church. And in an ancient painting at St. Maria in Trastevere, at Rome, Christ is represented as enthroned with the Church as the Queen on His right hand 10, and in