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The other particulars, said by the ancients to have hap- two kinds of evidences are found accompanying any writpened to John after he settled at Ephesus, it is needlessing, they render its genuineness indubitable. to mention; as some of them are not sufficiently attest The external evidence of the authenticity of John's first ed, and others of them are embellished with circum- epistle shall be laid before the reader in the preface to the stances evidently fabulous. Yet, if the reader is desirous second epistle, sect. 1. by shewing that the earliest and to know what ancient authors have reported concerning best Christian writers have all, with one consent, and our apostle after he went into Asia, he will find the pas- without any hesitation, ascribed the first epistle to him. sages of their writings, in which these things are men And their testimony is confirmed by this circumstance, tioned, quoted by Lardner, Canon, vol. i. beginning at page that the Syriac translator who omitted the second epistle 349.
of Peter, the second and third epistles of John, and the
epistle of Jude, because some doubts were entertained Sect. II.- Of the Authenticity of the First Epistle
concerning them in the first age, or perhaps because they
had not come to his knowledge, hath Translated John's first of John,
epistle as an apostolical writing of which there never was The authenticity of any ancient writing is established, any doubt. first, By the testimony of contemporary, and of succeed In this preface, therefore, we shall state the internal ing authors, whose works have come down to us; and evidence of the authenticity of the first epistle ascribed to who speak of that writing, as known to be the work of John, by shewing, first, that in respect of its matter, and the person whose name it bears. Secondly, By the suit- secondly, that in respect of its style, it is perfectly suitable ableness of the things contained in such a writing, to the to the character and circumstances of its supposed author. character and circumstances of its supposed author; and In respect of the matter or subject of the epistle under by the similarity of its style to the style of the other ac- consideration, the writer of it hath discovered himself to knowledged writings of that author. The former of these be John the apostle, by introducing a number of sentiproofs is called the external evidence of the authenticity of ments and expressions found in the gospel, which all a writing; the !atter, its internal evidence. Where these Christians from the beginning have acknowledged to be
the work of John the apostle.
GOSPEL. CHAP. I.-1. That which was from the beginning, ( Chap. I.-). In the beginning was the Word. 14. Deara urba) which we have contemplated-concerning the And (steapsta) we beheld his glory. living Word.
4. In him was life.
14. The word was made flesh. II.-5. Whosoever keepeth his word, truly in that man XIV.-23. If a man love me, he will keep my words, the love of God is perfected.
and my Father will love him. II.-6. He who saith he abideth in him, ought him XV.-4. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch self also so to walk, even as he walked. See chap. iü. cannot bring forth fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, 24. iv, 13. 16.
no more can ye, except ye abide in me. II.-8. I write to you a new commandment.
XIII.—34. A new commandment I give to you,-that III.-11. This is the message which ye have heard from ye love one another as I have loved you. the beginning, that we should love one another.
II.-8. The darkness passeth away, and the light which 1.-5. The light shineth in darkness. is true, now shineth.
9. That was the true light. 10. Abideth in the light, and there is no stumbling. XI.-10. If a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, beblock to him.
cause there is no light to him. II.-13. Young children, I write to you, because ye XVII.-3. This is the eternal life, that they might know have known the Father.
thee the only true God. 14. Because ye have known him from the beginning. And Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
II.-29. Every one who worketh righteousness is be III.-3. Except a man be begotten again. gotten of God. See also iii. 9. v. I.
5. Except a man be begotten of water and of the
Spirit. JII.-1. Behold how great love the Father hath bestow 1.-12. To them he gave power to become the sons of ed on us, that we should be called the sons of God! God, even to them who believe on his name.
III.-2. We shall be like him, for we shall see him as XVII.-24. Be with me where I am, that they may behe is.
hold my glory. III.—8. He who worketh sin is of the devil ; for the VII.-44. Ye are of your father the devil-He was a devil sinneth from the beginning.
murderer from the beginning. III.--13. Do not wonder, my brethren, that the world XV.-20. If they have persecuted me, they will also hateth you.
persecute you. IV.-9. By this the love of God was manifested, that III.-16. God so loved the world, that he gave his only God sent his son, the only begotten, into the world, that begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him might not we might live through him.
perish, but have everlasting life. IV.-12. No man hath seen God at any time.
1.-18. No man hath seen God at any time. V.-13. These things I have written to you who believe XX.-31. These things are written that ye might beon the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye lieve that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that have eternal life ; and that ye may believe on the name of believing ye might have life through his name. the Son of God.
V.-14. If we ask any thing according to his will, he XIV.-14. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will heareth us.
do it. V.-20. The Son of God is come, and hath given us an XVII.-2. Thou hast given him power over all flesh, understanding, that we may know him that is true ; and that he might give eternal life to as many as thou hast we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. given him. 3. And this is the eternal life, that they might This is the true God and eternal life.
know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
From the above comparison of the first epistle of John God, and the Son of God, thought it impossible that he with his gospel, there appears such an exact agreement of could be made flesh. In this sentiment, these teachers sentiment in the two writings, that no reader who is ca. followed the Jewish chief priests, elders, and scribes, who pable of discerning what is peculiar in an author's turn of being assembled in full council, unanimously condemned thinking, can entertain the least doubt of their being the Jesus as a blasphemer, because, being a man, he called productions of one and the same writer. Farther, since himself Christ the Son of the blessed God. See 1 John John hath not mentioned his own name in his gospel, the v. 5. note. Upon this decision, one class of the ancient want of his name in the epistle is no proof that it was not false teachers founded their error concerning the person written by him; but rather a presumption that it is his, of Christ. For, while they acknowledged his divinity, especially as he hath sufficiently discovered himself to be they denied his humanity ; that is, the reality of his apan apostle, by affirming, in the beginning of the epistle, pearing in the flesh, (see 1 John iv. 2, 3. v. 1.); and conthat he was an eye and ear-witness of the things which he tended, that his body was only a body in appearance, that bath written concerning the living Word.
he neither suffered nor died, and that he did none of the 2. The style of this epistle, being the same with the things related of him in the gospel. He seemed indeed to style of the gospel of John, it is by that internal mark do these things, which, in their opinion, was a sufficient likewise shewed to be his writing. In his gospel, John foundation for the evangelists to relate them as done by doth not content himself with simply affirming or denye him. But their reality, as matters of fact, they absoing a thing, but to strengthen his affirmation, he denies lutely denied. More particularly, having affirmed that its contrary. In like manner, to strengthen his denial of he died only in appearance, they denied his having made a thing, he affirms its contrary. See John i. 20. iii. 36. v. a propitiation for the sins of the world by his death, 24. vi. 22. The same manner of expressing things strongly, chap. ii. 2. They likewise denied, that he arose from the is found in the epistle. For example, ch. ii. 4. •He who dead and ascended into heaven. In short, according to saith I have known him, and doth not keep his command- them, the things ascribed to Jesus in the gospels were ments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.'— Ver. 27. altogether imaginary. This was the opinion of Basilides, • The same unction teacheth you concerning all things, and of all the heretics in the first age to whom the fathers and is truth, and is no lie.'—Chap. iv, 2. Every spirit have given the name of Docelæ, or Phantasiastæ ; but which confesseth Jesus Christ hath come in the flesh, is who by the apostle John are more emphatically called Anfrom God. 3. And every spirit which doth not confess tichrists, chap. iv. 3. because they were opposers of Christ Jesus Christ bath come in the flesh, is not from God.' as come in the flesh. By pretending that Christ suffered
In his gospel likewise, John, to express things empha- death only in appearance, the Docelæ endeavoured to tically, frequently uses the demonstrative pronoun this. avoid the ignominy of the crucifixion of their Master, and Chap. i. 19. Artn, . This is the testimony.'-iii. 19. Autu, to free themselves from that obligation to suffer for their • This is the condemnation, that light,' &c.-vi. 29. T8To, religion, which was laid on them both by Christ's precept • This is the work of God.'-ver. 40. TXT, .This is the and example. will of him.'-ver. 50. 'Ouros, This is the bread which On the other hand, the Cerinthians and Ebionites came down from heaven.'-xvii. 3. Autu, .This is the adopted a doctrine concerning the Christ, which, though eternal life.' In the epistle, the same emphatical man contrary to that just now described, was equally erronener of expression is found, chap. i. 5. ii. 25. “This is ous. They acknowledged the reality of the things writthe promise.'-iii. 23. Auth, .This is his commandment.' ten in the gospels concerning Jesus : But like many in -v. 3. Auth, “This is the love of God.'-ver. 4. • This is modern times, who admit nothing as true which they are the victory.'—ver. 6. 'Outos, * This is he who came by not able to comprehend, they denied that Jesus was the water.'-ver. 14. This is the boldness which we have Christ or Son of God, chap. ii. 22. because they could with him.'
not reconcile the things which happened to him with their Such is the internal evidence on which all Christians idea of the Son of God. This class of heretics were said from the beginning have received the first epistle of John, by the fathers, Avey To Inoxv, to dissolve Jesus. See as really written by him, and of divine authority, although chap. iv. 3. note 1. end. For they affirmed that Christ his name is not mentioned in the inscription, nor in any entered into Jesus at his baptism in the form of a dove, part of the epistle.
but flew away from him before his passion.-B. Horsley,
in Lett. 14. to Dr. Priestley, saith, “ The Cerinthians held, Sect. III.-Of the State of the Christian Church nt the that Christ being restored to Jesus after his resurrection,
time John wrote his First Epistle ; and of his design it rendered the man Jesus an object of divine honours." in writing it.
They believed, it seeins, that Jesus was originally and
essentially a man; and that whatever divinity he posTue apostle John, having lived to see great corrup- sessed was adventitious, consequently was separable from tions, both in doctrine and practice, introduced into the him. church, by many who professed themselves the disciples The former sort of false teachers having denied the huof Christ, employed the last years of his life in opposing manity, and the latter the divinity of our Lord, the apostlo these corruptions. For he wrote his three epistles, to John, to confirm all the disciples in the belief of the truth establish the truths concerning the person and offices of concerning the person and offices of Christ, wrote this his Christ, and to condemn the errors then prevailing con first epistle, in which he expressly asserted that . Jesus trary to these truths. Also to repress the lewd practices, Christ is the Son of God, chap. i. 3. 7. iv. 15. and that he for the sake of which these errors were embraced.-Be came in the flesh. See chap. iv. 2. note. sides, he considered that his testimony to the truths con Here let it be observed, that the opinions of the Docerning the person and offices of Christ, together with his cetæ, on the one hand, and of the Cerinthians on the direct condemnation of the opposite errors published to other, concerning the person and offices of Christ, make the world in his inspired writings, would be of singular it probable that the apostles taught, and that the first use in preserving the faithful from being seduced by the Christians believed Christ to be both God and man. false teachers and other corrupters of Christianity, who For if the Docetæ had not been taught the divinity of in future ages might arise and trouble the church. See Christ, they had no temptation to deny his humanity. the Preface to James, sect. 4.
And if the Cerinthians had not been taught the humaniThe heretical teachers who infested the church in the ty of Christ, they would have been under no necessity of first age, finding Messiah called in the Jewish scripture, denying his divinity. But fancying it impossible that
both parts of the apostle's doctrine concerning the Christ tical by the church in the days of Irenæus, who wrote his could be true, the one class of heretics, to maintain his books against heresies in the year 176 or 177. For in divinity, thought themselves obliged to deny his humani. the list which he hath given of heretics, lib. i. he places ty; and the other, to maintain his humanity, supposed it the Ebionites between the Cerinthians and the Nicolaitans, necessary to deny bis divinity.--To this argument, by both of them acknowledged heretics. And in his third which it is rendered probable that the apostles taught, and book he refutes, by testimonies from the scriptures, the the first Christians believed, Jesus Christ to be both God opinion of those who affirmed that Christ was a mere man and man, the Socinians perhaps will reply, that the mem- engendered of Joseph, which was precisely the opinion of bers of the church of Jerusalem being called Ebionites by the proper Ebionites. Now, if the Ebionæan doctrine the ancients, is a proof, not only that the church of Je- concerning the person of Christ was esteemed by the rusalem held the opinion of Ebion concerning the mere church heretical so early as in the time of Irenæus, it could humanity of Christ, but that the apostles who planted and neither be the doctrine of the apostles nor of the first instructed that church held the same opinion; because it Christians. Upon the whole, the argument of the Sociniis natural to suppose, that the faith of the teachers and of ans to prove that both the apostles and the first Christians the disciples on this article was the same, consequently were Unitarians, taken from the members of the church of that the apostles themselves were Unitarians. Neverthe- Jerusalem being called Ebionites by the ancients, is by no less, from the account which Origen hath given of the means conclusive. brethren of the church of Jerusalem, who he tells us were Besides the heretics above-mentioned, there was a third called Ebionites by the ancients, it appears that this sort who troubled the church in the apostle's days, named name, as applied to the Hebrew Christians, by no means Nicolaitans, Rev. ü. 15. These the ancient Christian leads to these conclusions. For in his second book writers called Gnostics ; because, misunderstanding our against Celsus, sect. 1. in answer to the Jew, who al- Lord's words, John xvii. 3. “This is the life eternal, leged that the Jewish Christians, being deceived by Christ, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus had forsaken the laws and institutions of their fathers, Christ whom thou hast sent,' they affirmed, that nothing and gone over to a different name and manner of living, was necessary to eternal life, but the knowledge of the Origen affirmed, " That they had not forsaken the law of true God and of his Son Jesus Christ. With them, their fathers, but lived according to it, being named from therefore, knowledge was the highest, and indeed the only the poorness of the law; (he means, named Ebionites); Christian virtue ; and therefore, whoever possessed the for a poor person is called by the Jews Ebion. Hence, knowledge of God and of Christ was sure of salvation, those of the Jews who received Jesus are called Ebionites," whatever his character and actions might be.--Farther, The Jewish believers, therefore, according to Origen, because the apostle Paul, in his epistles, had taught the were called Ebionites, not because they held the opinion doctrine of justification by faith without works of law, of Ebion concerning the mere humanity of Christ, but these heretics affirmed that Christ had set men free from because they adhered to the law of Moses, and expected the obligation of the law of God as a rule of life; conseonly the poor temporal rewards which were promised in quently, that in the gospel dispensation believers being that law; whereas, the proper Ebionites were those who under no law whatever, they sinned not by any thing they had a low opinion of the person of Christ. So Eusebius did, however contrary it might be to the laws, whether of informs us, E. H. lib. iii. c. 27. The ancients called God or of men. According to them, the only thing inthem Ebionites, who entertained a poor and low notion cumbent on believers, in order to their obtaining eternal of Christ ; for they thought him only (n/Tov xas xuvcv) life, was “ to abide in Christ;' by which they meant, abida simple and common man.” Farther, admitting that ing in the knowledge and profession of the gospel. This the argument taken from the appellation of Ebionites, impious doctrine the Nicolaitans anxiously propagated, which was given by the ancients to the members of the for the purpose of alluring wicked men to become their church of Jerusalem, were well founded, it would not disciples, that they might draw money from them, which prove that all, or even the greatest part of them, held the they spent in gratifying their lusts. Accordingly our Lord, doctrine of the mere humanity of Christ. For in com in his epistle to the church of Pergamos, Rev. ii. 14. repreprehending the whole body of the Hebrew Christians un sents the Nicolaitans as holding the doctrine of Balaam, der the appellation of Ebionites, Origen himself acknow. who (as Peter expresses it, 2 Pet. ii. 15. loving the hire ledgeth in the third section of the same second book, that of unrighteousness) taught Balak to cast a stumbling he wrote incorrectly, since he there distinguishes the He. block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacribrew Christians into three sects, one of which, he tells ficed to idols, and to commit whoredom.'- Farther, beus, discarded the law entirely ; consequently they were cause these ungodly teachers, whilst they inculcated the not Ebionites, but orthodox Christians. The same dis most immoral doctrines, pretended to be inspired, our tinction Jerome hath made in his commentary on Isaiah Lord gave them the name of Jezebel, Ahab's wife, who, ix. 1, 2, 3. where he speaks of Hebrews believing in being addicted to sorcery and divination, was a great Christ, and, as a class of people distinct from them, men- favourer of the prophets of Baal. Perhaps also the Nj. tions Nazarenes, who observed the law, but despised the colaitans, to gain the reputation of inspired teachers, traditions of the Pharisees, thought highly of Paul, and imitated the prophets of Baal in their ecstasies.-Our held the doctrine of our Lord's divinity. See also his Lord's condemnation of the doctrines and practices of Comment on Isaiah viii. 14-21. More than this, al- these impostors, we have in the following passage, Rev. though it were granted, for argument's sake, that the bre- ii. 20. Thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, who calleth thren of the church of Jerusalem generally believed the herself a prophetess, to teach, and to deceive my servants doctrine of Christ's mere humanity, it will not prove that to commit whoredom, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.' the apostles by whom they were instructed were of the - Concerning this class of false teachers, it is proper to same opinion, unless we think the Hebrew Christians remark, that their error did not consist in denying the could not be enticed by false teachers to forsake their first essential difference between moral good and evil, but in faith. This, it is presumed, no one will affirm who recol. affirming that Christ having purchased for his people an lects that the Laodiceans are an example of a whole church absolute freedom from the laws both of God and men, declining from its first faith, even in the days of the apos- they were not bound by any rules of morality, but were tles, Rev. ii. 14-18. Lastly, in this question it is of im at liberty to do what they pleased ; so that, being incaportance to know, that the doctrine of the proper Ebionites pable of sinning, they were not subject to punishment. concerning the mere humanity of Christ was deemed here. This doctrine leading its abettors to all manner of licen
tiousness, our Lord had good reason to say of the Nico In proof, however, of the late date of John's first epislaitans, Rev. ii. 6. that, he hated their deeds, and also tle, it is alleged, that the heretics, who are said by the antheir doctrine,' ver. 15.
cient fathers to have propagated the errors and practised The licentious doctrines and abominable practices of the vices condemned in it, did not arise till after the dethe Nicolaitans, being adapted to the corrupt inclinations Struction of Jerusalem. But though it were true that of the wicked, were eagerly embraced by many in the lat- Basilides, Cerintbus, and the rest, who are mentioned by ter part of the apostle John's days. He therefore judged the fathers as holding the errors and following the vicious it necessary, in this epistle, to condemn these doctrines practices condemned in this epistle, did not arise till after and practices in the plainest and strongest terms. See Jerusalem was destroyed, the errors and vices for which chap. i. 8-10. ii. 1-3. iii. 4.–For a more particular ac- they were infamous, certainly existed in the church before count of the Gnostics, taken from Mosheim, see Preface that catastrophe. For James speaks of them as prevalent to the Colossians, sect. 2. paragraph 3. from the end. in his time. See the preface to his epistle, sect. 4. And
John represents the false teachers, whom he terms anti
christs, as the very persons who were foretold by Christ Sect. IV.-Of the Time when, and the Place where, to arise before Jerusalem was overthrown, 1 John ii. 18. I John wrote his First Epistle.
am therefore of opinion, that Basilides, and the rest, were
mentioned by the fathers, not because they were the auGrotius, Hammond, Whitby, and Benson think John thors of the heresies ascribed to them, but because they wrote his first epistle before the destruction of Jerusalem. propagated them with great industry and success. Benson fixes it to A. n. 68, answering to the 14th year As we do not know the precise time when, so neither of the emperor Nero, not long before the destruction of do we know, with any certainty, the place wbere, John Jerusalem. This opinion he founds on chap. ii. 18. wrote his first epistle. Grotius thought it was written in where the apostle says, “Young children, it is the last Patmos, during the apostle's exile there, which he places hour ;' by which Benson understands the last hour of before the destruction of Jerusalem. But if it was written the duration of the Jewish church and state. But before that event, which I think is the truth, it is more Lampe, who supposed this epistle was written after the reasonable to suppose, that it was penned in Judea about destruction of Jerusalem, thought the apostle might say the time the apostle observed the encompassing of Jeru• it is the last hour,' not only before, but after Jerusalem salem with armies, and the other signs of its approaching was destroyed.—Wall, in his note on these words, after destruction foretold by his Master, which led him to conmentioning that Grotius and Harnmond interpreted them clude that the last hour of the Jewish state was come, and of the time immediately preceding the destruction of to write this letter, to prevent the Christians in Judea Jerusalem, which happened A. D. 69, adds, “ Nor are from being seduced by the false Christs and false teachSt. John's words like those of any one who was foretell- ers, who, according to our Lord's prediction, had arisen. ing that event, but rather of one who was speaking of If I am right in this conjecture, the persons addressed the present state of the Christian religion.”—The com in the second chapter, under the denomination of little mentators who suppose this epistle was written before children, young men, and fathers, were the Christians Jerusalem was destroyed, appeal likewise, in support of of different standings in the church, who were living their opinion, to chap. ii. 13. • Fathers, I write to you, be- in Judea and the neighbouring countries at that time, cause ye have known him from the beginning :' For this, for whose salvation the apostle had the most anxious they think, could be said only to persons who had seen concern ; especially as he speaks of the persons he calls and conversed with Christ; of which description there fathers as having seen Christ. However, they were not might be many alive at the time Jerusalem was destroyed. the only persons for whom this epistle was intended.
Other commentators assign a much later date to this It was written for the benefit of Christians in general, epistle.—Mill and Le Clerc place it A. D. 91 or 92.—Bas to preserve them in the truth, and to prevent them from nage a. D. 98.—Beausobre and L'Enfant in the end of the following the vicious practices of the false teachers, who first century, when John was very old; on which account had then arisen, or who might afterward arise. But they think he called himself, in his second and third epis- of these things more in the following section, where the tles, The Elder.-Du Pin was of the same opinion.- opinions, both of the ancients and moderns, concerning the Whiston thought this and the other two epistles were persons to whom John's first epistle was written, shall be written a. D. 81 or 82.-Lampe places the first epistle explained. after the Jewish war was ended, and before the apostle's In this question it is of some importance to observe, exile into Patinos.-Lardner also places it after the Jewish that if John wrote his first epistle in Judea, about the war, A. D. 80, or later,
time of the destruction of Jerusalem, and delivered it to My opinion is, that John wrote his first epistle before the Christians living in that country, as I suppose he did, the destruction of Jerusalem :- 1. Because the expression, it will account for its being universally received as his, “it is the last hour,' may more naturally be understood of in the first age, notwithstanding it appeared without any the last hour of the duration of the Jewish state, than of inscription, and did not bear his name in any part of it. any later period; especially since the apostle adds, and as For, as he lived among the people for whom it was more ye have heard that the antichrist cometh, so now there are immediately intended, and delivered it to some of them many antichrists; whence we know that it is the last personally, they must all have known it to be his. Behour; plainly alluding to our Lord's prediction concerning sides, after he settled at Ephesus, he had frequent oppor. the false teachers who were to arise before the destruction tunities, during his long abode there, to acknowledge that of Jerusalem.-2. The expression, Ye have known him epistle as his in the presence of persons who inquired from the beginning,' applies better to the disciples, imme- concerning its authenticity, and who no doubt reported diately before Jerusalem was destroyed, than to the few his acknowledgment to others. Thus, the testimony of who may have been alive at the late date assigned to this the brethren in Judea, to whom this epistle was oriepistle : for, thirty-five years after our Lord's ascension, ginally delivered, joined with the apostle's own acknowwhen Jerusalem was destroyed, there may have been many ledgment, published in Asia by the Christians there, could living who had seen and conversed with him during his not fail to establish its authenticity, in such a manner as ministry on earth ; whereas, in the year 98, or even in to occasion its being universally received as his, before 92, there could not be many alive who were of that the apostle's deceaso.—But the second and third epistles description.
of John being written in the latter part of his life, he
did not survive long enough to establish their authenticity the Recognitions, ix. 29. that Thomas really preached the universally by his own acknowledgment. Besides, being gospel in Parthia, without a syllable of St. John thereto rewritten to private individuals, we may suppose they re- lating. All which," says he, “ makes it plain, that this mained some time concealed in their possession, and did pretended direction of any of St. John's epistles to the not come abroad, so as to occasion much inquiry concern. Parthians, stands on no good authority at all. And it is not ing them, whilst the apostle was alive. This, I suppose, improbable that the occasion of this error was barely a false was the reason that the second and third epistles of John reading in some ancient manuscript, where ages Tagfes, were doubted of by many in the early ages; whilst the to the Parthians, was read for rapers, to the virgins ; first was received universally as his, immediately on its which latter inscription might easily be applied to the first publication.
epistle ; for as it is chiefly addressed to young Christians, yet uncorrupted both as to fleshly and to spiritual fornica
tions, such as in St. John's revelations are called aptec, Sect. V.-Of the Persons for whose Use the First
virgins ; so was the second epistle anciently affirmed by Epistle of John was written.
some to be written to the virgins ; as we learn from CleLARDNER, Can. vol. iii. p. 273. saith of this epistle, ment of Alexandria in Cassiodorius,” that is, as Lardner “ As the writer does not at the beginning prefix his name, observes, from Clement's Adumbrations on the Catholic nor anywhere else mention it in the epistle ; so neither Epistles, translated by order of Cassiodorius. But, as does he describe or characterize the persons to whom he L'Enfant has remarked, there is nothing in the second writes, by the name of their city or country, or any such epistle which suits virgins more than other Christians. thing.”
Oecumenius, in his comment upon the last verse of this Augustine, Cassiodorius, and Bede inform us, that the epistle, says it was written to the whole church in genefirst epistle of John was anciently called The Epistle to ral. And in the proem to his commentary upon the the Parthians, as if it had been written to the Jewish be- second epistle, he calls the first a catholic epistle, and says, lievers in the country of Parthia ; which Estius saith lay " That epistle is not written to a certain person, nor to the between the Tigris and the Indies. For in that country, churches of one or more places, as the blessed Peter's to as Josephus informs us, Antiq. lib. xxiii. c. 12, there were the Jews in their dispersion ; nor as James before him to many Jews, of whom it is probable some were converted the twelve tribes of the Jewish people ; but he writes to all to Christianity ; for Luke, speaking of the Jews who came the faithful in general, whether assembled together or not: to Jerusalem to worship at the feast of Pentecost which for which reason there is no inscription to that epistle, as immediately followed our Lord's ascension, and who heard there is to the other two.”—“ To me, therefore,” said the apostles preach after the Holy Ghost had fallen on Lardner,“ it seems, that this epistle was designed for the them, mentions, first of all, Parthians.
churches of Asia under St. Jobn's inspection, and for all Estius, following the tradition preserved by Augustine, other Christians into whose hands it should come.”was of opinion, that as Peter wrote his epistle to the Lampe says, “We easily admit that Jewish believers are strangers of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, specially regarded in this epistle. Nevertheless we think, Asia, and Bithynia, so John wrote his first epistle to the that St. John directed it to all believers of his time in gestrangers of the dispersion in Parthia and the neighbour. neral; forasmuch as there appears not in it any expresing countries; and to persons of all ages in these coun. sion of limitation.”—Nevertheless, chap. ii. 2. He is the tries, as he himself testifies, chap. ii. 13, 14. 18. becauso propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but even he had a concern for the salvation of all.
for those of the whole world,' seems to intimate, that this Whiston, in his commentary on John's epistles, saith, epistle was intended chiefly, though not exclusively, for “None of these three epistles of St. John were written to the Jewish believers in Judea and the neighbouring counthe Parthians, as some later Latin writers have supposed, tries. To this opinion Oecumenius likewise inclines ; for but rather to the Christians or churches of Asia near in his note on chap. ii. 2. he thus writes, “ This John said, Ephesus.” This opinion he supports, " by the perfect either because he wrote to Jews, and intended to shew that silence of all true antiquity as to St. John's ever preaching the benefit of repentance was not restrained to them, but in Parthia ; and from the account which we have in Eu- extended to Gentiles also ; or else that the promise was sebius from Origen, that Parthia was St. Thomas's pro- not made to the men of that time only, but likewise to all vince, and Asia St. John's; as also from the account in in future times."
View anul Illustration of the Matters contained in this Chapter. Ir is remarkable, that the apostle begins this epistle senses, ver. 2.—and that they declared these incontestwith a confutation of those corrupt teachers, whom he able facts to the world, that all who received them afterwards calls Antichrists, but who were named by the might have fellowship with the apostles, through their ancient fathers Docetæ, because, as was observed, Pref. believing the truth. This, he told them, would be a sect. 3. they affirmed, that Christ had not come in the great honour to them, because the apostle's fellowship flesh, and that the things which were related concerning was with the Father of the universe, and with his son him by the evangelists, were not really done and suffered Jesus Christ, ver. 3.- John mentioned the honourableby him, but were transacted in appearance only : For he ness of being in the fellowship of the Father and of his assures us, that the evangelists and apostles testified to Son Jesus, because the beathens boasted to the believing the world nothing concerning the life of the Word in Jews and Gentiles of the honour which they derived the flesh, but what they had heard with their ears, and from their fellowship in the Eleusinian and other mysseen with their eyes, and handled with their hands; teries. But these were far inferior to the Christian felfounding their attestation on the evidence of their own lowship in this respect, that the heathen gods, the supsenses, ver. 1.-So that the apostles, who accompanied posed heads of the heathen fellowships, were mere nonthe Word during his abode on earth, bare witness to his entities, 1 Cor. viii. 4.; or, if any of them were real life in the flesh, as it was plainly manifested to their beings, they had no power in the affairs of the world ;