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21 Little children, keep yourselves from 21 Dear children, krep yourselves from worshipping false gods idols. Amen.
and images. Now, to sliew my sincerity in this, and in all the things
I have written to you, I conclude the whole with an Amen. to be the true God. For these facts Glassius appeals to Athanasij any act of worship which they paid to them, because, by being preOper. tom. 3. p. 705.
sent at the worship of idols, they participated in that worship; as is Ver. 21. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. 1-For the plain from what St. Paul hath written on that subject, I Cor. viii. meaning of the word down, idols, see I Cor. viii. 4. note 2.-The and x.-The exhortation to the brethren to keep themselves from apostle cautioned his disciples against going with the heathens into idols, sheweth that this epistle was intended for the converted Gen. the temples of their idol gods, to eat of their feasts upon the sacri. tiles everywhere, as well as for the Jews in Judea, to whom I sup. fices which they offered to these gods, and against being present at pose it was first sent.
Mill, in his Prolegomena, No. 153, observes, that Sxct. I.-Of the Authenticity of John's Three Epistles. in sentiment, phraseology, and manner of expressing
the second and third epistles of John resemble the first The internal evidence of the authenticity of the three things. The resemblance in the sentiments and phraseepistles commonly ascribed to John, having been explain- ology may be seen by comparing 2 Epistle ver. 5. with ed in the Preface to the First Epistle, sect. 2., this section 1 Epistle ii. 8.—and ver. 6. with 1 Epistle v. 3.—and shall be employed in setting before the reader what is call- ver. 7. with 1 Epistle v. 5.—and 3 Epistle ver. 12. with ed the external evidence, arising from the testimony of John xix. 35.-Of John's peculiar manner of expressing contemporary and of succeeding authors, who speak of these things, 2 Epistle ver. 7. and 3 Epistle ver. 11. are exepistles as written by John the apostle.
amples.-Mill farther observes, that of the 20 Epistle, Lardner on the Canon, vol. iii. p. 262. hath shewed, which consists only of 13 verses, 8 may be found in the That the first epistle of John is referred to by Polycarp, first, either in sense or in expression. See Whitby's Pref. and by the martyrs of Lyons ;—That his first and second to 2 John. epistles are quoted by Irenæus, and were received by The title of elder, which the writer of the second and Clemens of Alexandria ;—That Origen saith, “John third epistles hath taken, is no reason for thinking that beside the Gospel and Revelation, hath left us an epistle they were not written by John the apostle. For elder of a few lines : Grant also a second and third : For all denotes that the person so called was of long standing do not allow these to be genuine ;"— That Dionysius of in the Christian faith, and had persevered through a long Alexandria received John's first epistle, which he calls course of years in that faith, notwithstanding the many his Catholic Epistle, and likewise mentions the other two persecutions to which all who professed the gospel were as ascribed to him ;—That the first epistle was received by exposed in the first age. It was therefore an appellaCyprian ;-And that the second is cited by Alexander, tion of great dignity, and entitled the person to whom it bishop of Alexandria.
belonged to the highest respect from all the disciples of Eusebius's testimony to the first epistle of John hath Christ. For which reason it was assumed by the apostle been already mentioned in his own words ; Pref. to Peter, 1 Pet. v. 1.--Heuman gives it as his opinion, that James, sect. 2. paragr. 2. In bearing that testimony, in the title of elder there is a reference to John's great Eusebius insinuateth that some ascribed the second and age when he wrote these epistles, and that he was as third epistles to another person of the name of John, well known by the title of elder as by bis proper name; called the Elder, of whom he speaks, lib. iii. c. 39.-Je so that elder was the same as if he had said the aged rome likewise hath mentioned this John in his catalogue. apostle.—The circumstance that the writer of these episAnd Grotius, on a circumstance mentioned by Bede, in a tles hath not mentioned his own name, is agreeable to passage to be produced immediately, hath ascribed the John's manner, who neither hath mentioned his name in second and third epistles to him, in opposition to the tes his gospel, nor in the first epistle, which is unquestionatimony of the earliest and best Christian writers.
bly his. Besides, it may bave been a point of prudence All the three epistles were received by Athanasius, by in the writer of these epistles to conceal himself, under the Cyril of Jerusalem, by the Council of Laodicea, by Epi- appellation of the elder, from his enemies, into whose phanius, and by Jerome. But the second and third were hands these epistles might come. doubted by some in Jerome's time.-All the three were Beausobre and L'Enfant, in their preface to the sereceived by Ruffin, by the third council of Carthage, by cond and third epistles, take notice that the writer of the Augustine, and by all those authors who received the same third epistle speaks with an authority which the bishop Canon of the Na Testament which we do.--All the three of a particular church could not pretend to, “and which are in the Alexandrian MS. and in the catalogue of Gre- did not suit John the presbyter, even supposing him to gory Nazianzen, and of Amphilochius, who observes that have been bishop of the church of Ephesus, as the presome received only one of them. The Syrian churches tended Apostolical Constitutions say he was appointed received only the first. See Pref. to James, sect. 2. paragr. by John the apostle. For if Diotrephes was bishop of 3. Nor did Chrysostom receive any other.
one of the churches of Asia, as is reckoned, the bishop of Bede, in the beginning of the eighth century, wrote Ephesus had no right to say to him, as the writer of this thus in his exposition of the second epistle: "Some epistle doth, ver. 10. "If I come, I will remember his have thought this and the following epistle not to have deeds which he does.' That language, and the visits been written by John the apostle, but by another, a made to the churches, denote a man who had a more presbyter of the same name, whose sepulchre is still seen general jurisdiction than that of a bishop, and can only at Ephesus; whom also Papias mentions in his writings. suit St. John the apostle.” This threatening, therefore, But now it is the general consent of the church, that John is an internal proof that the tbird epistle belongs to John, the apostle wrote also these two epistles, forasmuch as who, by his miraculous powers as an apostle, was able there is a great agreement of the doctrine and style between to punish Diotrephes for his insolent carriage toward these and his first epistle. And there is also a like zeal the members of his church, and toward the apostle himagainst heretics."
Sect. II.-Of the Person to whom John wrote his will be sensible that this short epistle was written to conSecond Epistle.
fute the errors of Basilides and his followers, who affirmed
that Christ was not a real man, but only a man in appear. Tue inscription of this epistle is Extenta xugue; which ance; consequently, that he neither did nor suffered what hath been translated and interpreted differently, both by he appeared to do and suffer. the ancients and the moderns.—Some, fancying Eclecta In the preface to the first epistle, sect. 3. it was observed, to be a proper name, have translated the inscription thus ; that in the latter end of the first age many false teachers, • To the Lady Eclecta.' Accordingly, in the Adumbra- the disciples of Basilides, were going about disseminating tions of Clemens Alexandr. this epistle is said to have his doctrine concerning the person of Christ. Wherefore, been written to a Babylonian woman, or virgin, named as that doctrine overturned the whole scheme of the gosEclecta.-Among the moderns, Wolf and Wetstein are pel, and in particular annihilated the alonement which of the same opinion as to the name of this woman. But Christ is said in the gospel to have made for the sin of the Heuman and Benson contend that her name was Kugie, world by his death, robbed Christians of their best hopes, Kyria, and translate the inscription thus : • To the elect and turned the whole of their faith into a dream or illuKyria.'-Oecumenius in his prologue saith, “He calls sion, John did not content himself with condemning that her Elect, either from her name, or on account of the ex- pernicious doctrine in his first epistle, but judged it necescellence of her virtue.” And in his commentary on the sary, in a more particular manner, to put this lady and her beginning of the epistle he saith, “ John did not scruple children on their guard against the deceivers who taught to write to a faithful woman, forasmuch as in Christ it. He therefore said to them, ver. 7. If any teacher come Jesus there is neither male nor female.” - On the other to you, who doth not hold the true doctrine concerning the hand, Cassiodorus, among the ancients, thought a par- person of Christ, do not receive him into your house, ticular church was meant by the apostle ; and of the neither wish him health and prosperity ; lest, by seeming moderns, Whitby and Whiston were of the same opinion; to encourage him in his errors, ye become partakers in his for they say, this epistle was not written to a particular evil deeds. lady, but to a particular church : And Whiston mentions Some readers, not attending to the circumstances in the church of Philadelphia ; but Whitby that of Jerusa- which this lady was, may, perhaps, from the apostle's adlem, the mother of all the churches. Our English trans vice to her, conclude that he was of an evil disposition lation expresses the commonly received opinion concern- himself, and encouraged in his disciples an intoierant ing this matter; which Mill also, and Wall, and Wolf, spirit toward those who differed from them in opinion with Le Clerc and Lardner, have adopted.-Beza too was concerning matters of religion. But those who thus of the same opinion, for in his note on the inscription he reason ought to consider, that the person to whom the thus writes : “ Some think Eclecta a proper name, which apostle gave this advice was a woman, whose benevolent I do not approve, because in that case the order of the disposition laid her open to be imposed on by cunning words would have been Kugise Exaktn, To the Lady deceivers. They ought also to call to mind the black Eclecta.' Others think this name denotes the Christian picture which the apostle Paul, in his second to Timothy, church in general. But that is disproved, first, by its being chap. iii. 6, 7. and his epistle to Titus, chap. i. 10. 12. a manner of speaking altogether unusual ; secondly, by the hath given of the ancient heretical teachers; together apostle's expressly promising, in the last two verses, to with what the Fathers have written concerning their base come to her and her children; thirdly, by sending to her arts, their impiety, their monstrous tenets, their hypocrisy, the salutation of her sister, whom also she calls Eclecta. I their covetousness, and their debauchery. For, if they therefore think this epistle was inscribed to a woman of attend to these things, they will be sensible that the aposeminence, of whom there were some here and there who tle's directions to this lady and her children werc by ng supported the church with their wealth ; and that he called means too severe; especially as these heretical teachers her Elect, that is ercellent, and gave her the title of pretended to be inspired ; nay, to possess an higher degree Kizit, Luty, just as Luke gave to Theophilus, and Paul of inspiration than even the apostles themselves were engave to Festus, the title of xgutasus, most excellent. For dowed with. Besides, John's direction to this lady and the Christian religion doth not forbid such honourable titles her children are not inconsistent with the precepts of the to be given, when they are due.”
other apostles, who have commanded us meekly to bear It is supposed, that the writer of this letter did not men with those who err, and in the spirit of meekness to relion the name of the lady to whom it was sent, lest the claim them: for the persons they had in view in these preenemies of the gospel into whose hands it came, finding cepts were not false teachers, who disseminated their her pointed out as a person of eminence among the Chris- corrupt doctrines and who erred from corruption of heart, tians, might have given her trouble. But the same reason but persons who erred through weakness of understand should have hindered the writer of the third epistle from ing and ignorance. This is plain from Paul's ordermentioning the name of Cuius in its inscription. Benson ing Titus to rebuke the false teachers in Crete with a therefore thinks Kyria the name of the woman to whom cutting sharpness ; and from his commanding Timothy to the second of these epistles was written : and in support shun the company of obstinate heretics. And as John's of his opinion observes, that the authors of the second Sy; advice to this lady is not inconsistent with the precepts riac, and of the Arabic versions of this epistle, understood of his brethren, so neither do they contradict bis own preKyria to be her name; for they have inserted the word cepts, earnestly and repeatedly delivered in his first epistle, Kyria in their versions, without translating it.
to love and to do good to the worst of men. They are It is not known where this lady lived; but from the only advices to this lady and her children, not to expose apostle's proposing to visit her soon, it is conjectured that themselves to the danger of being seduced by false teachshe lived not far from Ephesus, where the apostle abode ers, and not to aid them in spreading their errors.-His when he wrote to her.
advice, therefore, ought to be attended to by those who,
either from piety or benevolence, are disposed to shew hosSect. III.-Of John's Design in writing his Second
pitality to teachers, of whose character and tenets they are
ignorant; because such, notwithstanding their shew of Epistle.
godliness, and their plausible discourse, may be deceivers : The Continuator of Estius's commentary saith, that in which case, the persons who entertain them in their any one who compares ver. 7. of this epistle with what is houses, or who give them money, certainly become parwritten in the first letter, and with what Tertullian hath takers of their evil deeds, as the apostle in this epistle hath said De Prescript. c. 46., and Epiphanius Heres. 24., expressly declared.
View and Ilustration of the Matters contained in John's Second Epistle. The apostle, after addressing this letter to a woman of guard against such teachers, for this among other reasons, distinction and her children, and expressing a great affec- that if they should be drawn away by them, he would lose tion to them on account of their adhering to the truth of the reward which he expected for his having, not only the gospel, ver. 1.-declared that he was moved thus to faithfully, but successfully, taught them the true doctrine love them, by the gospel itself, ver. 2.-And as a testi- of the gospel : For be wished that his reward might be mony of his love, he gave them his apostolical benedic- complete, through their continuing in the belief and tion, ver. 3.—Then told this lady, that he felt the greatest practice of the truth, ver. 8.--Moreover he told them, joy when he found some of her children, with whom he that the teacher who doth not abide in the true dochad conversed, perhaps at Ephesus, walking in the truth; trine concerning Christ, doth not acknowledge the truth that is, holding the true doctrine of the gospel, and be- of God's testimony concerning his Son. But the teacher having suitably to that doctrine, ver. 4.--From this he who continueth to hold that doctrine, acknowledges the took occasion to exhort them, to love all the sincere dis- Son's testimony concerning himself, as well as the Father's, ciples of Christ, and to do them good offices, according ver. 9.--Wherefore, if any teacher came to them, and did to the commandment which Christ gave to his apostles at not bring the true doctrine concerning Christ, he forbade the beginning, ver. 5.—and to express their love to Christ them to receive him into their house, or so much as to by obeying all his commandments; particularly the com- give him the common salutation or wish of health, ver. 10. mandment they had heard from the beginning, that they -Because the person who gives any encouragement to should love one another sincerely with a pure spiritual false teachers, though it be done inconsiderately, is in some love, ver. 6.- Next he told this excellent lady, that his sort accessory to the mischiefs which his pernicious docjoy on account of her children's walking in the true doc- trine may occasion, ver. 11.-He then told them, that he trine of the gospel concerning the person of Christ, was had many other things to say to them concerning these imthe greater, that many false teachers were going about, postors, but he would not commit them to writing, because who denied that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh. he hoped to come soon and converse with them personEach of these, he told her, was the deceiver and the anti- ally, in a more free manner than he could do by letter, christ foretold by our Lord to come. This account of the that their mutual joy might be complete, ver. 12.-And false teachers the apostle gave, lest the lady and her chil- so concluded with giving this lady the salutation of the dren, deceived by their plausible speeches, and their hew children of her sister, to whom likewise he gives the appel. of extraordinary piety, might have been disposed to shew lation of elect, on account of the excellence of her characthem kindness, supposing them to be the servants of ter, ver, 13. Christ, ver. 7.--He, therefore, desired them to be on their New Translation.
COMMENTARY. Ver. I. The elderl to the elect lady? and Ver. 1. I the aged apostle of Christ to the excellent lady and her. ner children, whom I lovet sincerely :3 And children, whom I love in truth; and not I only, but all also who not I only, but all also who know the truth. know the true doctrine of the gospel, love her and her children sin
cerely. (sve) We love rou through the truth! 2 This love I and all who know the truth bear to you, through the which abideth (ev, 172.) among us, and shall influence of the gospel which abideth among us, and shall be conde with us for ever.2
tinued with us to the end of the world. 3 Grace, mercy, and peace, be with you, 3 Grace, mercy, and peace, (450lt, the future for the imperative, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Ess. iv. 13.), be with you, from God the Father of all, and from Christ, the Son of the Father, (sv, 162.) with Jesus Christ the Son of the Father, together with the possession of truth and love."
truth, and of love to God and to man. 4 I rejoiced greatly (arro, 259.) when I found 4 I rejoiced greatly when I found some of thy children, with some of thy children! walking in truth, 2 whom I conversed lately, holding the doctrines and observing the we received commandment from the Father. precepts of the gospel, as these were preached by us according to the
commandment which we received from the Father. Ver. 1.- . The elder.)-For the import of this title, see Pref. 2. And shall be with us for ever.John mentioned the continu. sect. 1. penult paragr.
ance of the Christian religion in the world for ever as a proof of its 2. To the elect lady.)-The apostle gave to this lady the appella. excellence, and of God's care to support it, notwithstanding the attion of elect or ercellent, (see Ess. iv. 41.), not only on account of teinpts of infidels to destroy it; for ihese considerations must have her virtues, but, as Estius observes, because she was distinguished been a great encouragement to all in the first age who had received by her birth an
opulence; and to shew his respect for her on ac. the gospel, to maintain it, although by so doing they exposed them. count of her beneficence to the poor, and lo strangers. See ver. 13. selves io much persecution. note, and Pref. sect. 2.
Ver. 3. And from Jesus Christ the Son of the Father, with truth 3. And her children. )-There is no mention made by the apostle and love.)-Whitby, supposing the clause sv aandex*21to of this lady's husband, either because he was dead, or because he be an Hebraism, connects it with the Son of the Father,' and transwas not a Christian.
lates the passage thus: “From Jesus Christ the true and beloved 4. Whom I love.)-The pronoun ous, though the antecedents xupis Son of the Father' But others construe the passage in this man. and rexvois be, the one in the feminine gender, and the other in the ner: 'Grace, mercy, and peace, with truth and love, be with you masculine, is put in the masculine, because, according to the usage from God the Father, and from Jesus Christ the Son of the Father. of the Greek language, the masculine gender comprehends both This construction, I ilink, should be followed. the masculine and the feminine. See Ess. iv. 60.
Ver. 4.-1. I rejoiced greatly when I found some of thy children.] 5. Sincerely.)-The sincerity and purity of his love to this lady, -So suga** !* TWY TEXT WV Sou signifies. From this expression Estius the apostle shewed on the present occasion, by his earnestness io inferred that some ofthis lady's children were not Christians. But guard her and her children against being deceived by the false I rather suppose with Grotius, that Jolin speaks of such of her chil. Teachers who were then going about among the disciples of Christ. dren as in the course of their affairs bad come to the place where See ver. 7.-If ev xm 7512 is translated in truth, John's meaning may he was; and that, having conversed with them, he had found them be, whom I love on account of their adherence to the true doctrine sound, both in the faith and in the practice of the gospel. Aller of the gospel. Accordingly he adds, 'And not I only, but all also they returned hoine, the apostle inscribed this letter to thein, as who know the truth.'
well as to their mother, and by the commendation which he beVer. 2.-1. Through the truth.)–As the apostle is here explain. stowed on them in it, he no doubt encouraged them much to perseing the principle from which his love to this lady and her children vere in the truth. proceeded, I have translated the preposition &ose by the word 2. Walking in truth.)–As walking denotes in scripture the coursu through, to mark that principle: His love to these excellent persons of a man's behaviour, Ess. iv. 59. 'walking in truth' may signify, not proceeded from the influence which the true doctrine of the gospel only that these young persons maintained the true doctrine of the had on his mind, to make him love all the real disciples of Christ. gospel concerning the person of Christ, ver. 7. but that their con.
5 And now I beseech thee, lady,' not as 5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as writing to thee a new writing to thee a new commandment,? but commandment—a commandment which thou never heardest beforethat which we had from the beginning, that but thut commandment which we apostles had from our Master from we love one another.3
the beginning, and which we have all along preached, that we love
one another. 6 And this is the love, that we walk accord 6 Moreover, this is the love of God, that we walk according to ing to his commandments. This is the com his commandments, 1 John v.3. This is the great commandment of mandment,2 even as ye have heard from the God, that ye believe in him whom he hath sent, (John vi. 29.), even beginning, that ye may walk in it.3
as ye have heard from the beginning, in order that ye may constantly
obey it. See 1 John ii. 5. note 1. 7 ('OTI, 256.) For many deceivers are en 7 I put you in mind of God's commandment to believe on Jesus tered into the world, who do not
confess Jesus Christ, whom God sent into the world in the Aesh, because many Christ did come in the flesh. This is the de- deceivers are entered into the world, who do not confess that Jesus ceiver and the antichrist.2
Christ did come in the flesh, and who refuse to obey him. Every teacher of this sort is the false prophet and the antichrist foretold
by our Lord to come. 8 Look to yourselves, that we may not 8 Keep yourselves from these deceivers, that we who have conlose THE THINGS which we have wrought, but verted you may not, by your following them, lose our labour, but, by may receive a full reward.3
presenting you faultless at the day of judgment, may receive our re
ward complete. 9 Whosoever (angebsesyov) goeth beyond, 9 Whosoever goeth beyond, and doth not abide in the doctrine and doth not abide in the doctrine of Christ,' taught by Christ and his apostles, (see 1 John ii. 23. note), acknowacknowledgeth not God. He who abidech in ledgeth not God. He who closely adheres to the doctrines taught the doctrine of Christ, the same acknowledgeth by Christ and his apostles, the same acknowledgeth the authority both the Father and the Son. (See 1 John v. both of the Father and of the Son, who have confirmed that doctrine 12. note.)
in the most ample manner. 10 If any one come to you, and do not bring 10 If any teacher come to you, and do not bring this doctrine, this doctrine,' do not receive him into your that Jesus Christ the Son of God did come in the flesh to savo
versation was in all respects suitable to the gospel. In this joy the innumerable places for the aorist; and gives us an example, 3 apostle manifested the disposition of a faithful minister of Christ : John ver. 3. where re mouw is put for 64. 5ontwv, and is rendered for such derive their greatest happiness from the faith and holiness accordingly, even by our translators, 'when the brethren came.' of their disciples. John spake in the same manner concerning -In the Vulgate version of the verse under our consideration, Caius, 3 Epist. ver. 3.; and Paul concerning his converts, Philip. iv. 1exoherow is rightly translated renisse. 1.; 1 Thess. iij. 9.
2. This is the deceiver, and the antichrist.)--Notwithstanding Ver. 5.-1. Now I beseech thee, lady.)-This sort of address suit these appellations are in the singular number, they do not denote eth a particular person better than a whole church consisting of any particular false teacher, but a number of such; as is plain many individuals, to which, in the opinion of some, this leuler was from the precedent clause, where it is said, 'many deceivers are directed. See pres. sect. 2.
entered into the world. Perhaps the apostle used the singular 2. Not as writing to thee a new commandment. The apostle number emphatically, to lead this lady to recollect our Lord's predoth not speak of a new commandment in the sense in which our diction concerning the false teachers who were lo arise. See 1 Lord uses that phrase, when he said to his disciples, John viii. 34. John ii. 18. note 3. iv. 3. note 2. A new commandinent I give to you, that ye love one another: as Ver. 8.-1. Look to yourselves.)—B46715t, look attentively lo I have loved you, that ye also love one another.' See 1 John ii. 8. yourselves, and to those around you, that they may not by any note 1. But his ineaning is, either that the commandment to love crafty methods seduce
you into the paths of error and vice. one another, which he gave to this lady, was not a commandinent 2. That we may not lose the things which we have wrought. ) which had never been delivered to the church before; or that it Five of Stephen's MSS., the Alexandrian and other MSS., the Vul. was not a commandment peculiar to the gospel. The first of these gate, the second Syriac, and the Ethiopic versions, for 4701stw peová I take to be the apostle's ineaning; as he tells this lady, that the dis τεργασαμεθα read here απολέσητε και μεγατκσόι, 'that ye may not ciples of Christ had had this commandment delivered to them from lose the things which ye have wrought.' Grotius saith, this agrees the beginning
better than the common reading with what goeth before. 3. But that which we had from the beginning, that we love one an. 3. But may receive a full reward.)-The elect lady and her chilother.)-In inculcating this commandment so frequently and so dren were to take heed to themselves, for this, among other reaearnestly in all his writings, John sbewed himself not only a faith sons, that the apostles who had converted the might not lose that sul apostle of Christ, but a person of an excellent heart. His own part of their reward which is proinised to them who turn others to breast being full or love to mankind, he wished to promote that righteousness, Dan. xii. 3. And even although no particular re. amiable disposition in all the disciples of Jesus. See the conclu. ward were promised to those who are instrumental in converting sion at the end of this epistle.
others, certainly, by the apostasy of their disciples, such will lose Ver. 6.-1. This is the love, that we walk according to his com the joy which their perseverance in faith and holiness would give mandments. )-- Most commentators think John is here describing them; see Heb. xiii. 17.-The person who was to receive a full re. the love inentioned in the preceding verse, namely, the love which ward, in consequence of this lady and her children's looking to Christians owe to each other. But since he tells us, that the love themselves, is the aposile; for is the others apostatized, they would of which he now speaketh consists in the keeping of God's com. receive no reward at all. mandınents, be must mean the love of God: for he delivers the Ver. 9. Whosoever goeth beyond, and doth not abide in the doc. same sentiment, 1 John v. 3. “This is the love of God, that we keep trine of Christ. )-11:00 vay. This word signfies to pass over, in his commandments.'
any direction, the bounds which are prescribed to a person. Now, 2. This is the commandment ;)—that is, the commandment by as the doctrine of Christ is contained within certain limits, he who way of etninence. Wherefore, though the apostle doth not tell us teacheth a different doctrine goeth beyond these limits. And to what this commandment is, yet by calling it the commandment, he make this plain the apostle adds, 'And doth not abide in the doc. certainly directeth us to God's great cominandment to obey his be: trine of Christ.' Wherefore, the person who either neglecteth to loved Son Jesus Christ, whom he sent into the world made flesh, to teach any part of the doctrine of Christ, or who teacbeth what is save sinners. To this interpretation, the reason assigned by the not the doctrine of Christ, is equally culpable, and doth not ac. apostle in the next verse, for putting the disciples in mind of God's knowledge Gord.—The doctrine of Christ which the apostle had in commandment, agreeth ; for many deceivers are entered into the his view here, I suppose, is the doctrine concerning Christ, that he world,' &c.
is the Son of God sent into the world made tlesh to save inankind; 3. Even as ye have heard from the beginning, that ye may walk see 1 John ij. 23. in it. )- The apostle having, from the beginning of the gospel, de. Ver. 10.-1. If any one come to you, and doth not bring this doc. clared it to be God's commandment to obey Christ, John might trine, 1-namely, the doctrine mentioned in the preceding verse. well tell his disciples, that "they had heard it preached from the Here more is ineant than is expressed. For the apostle, in this beginning in order that they might constantly obey it.'
soft expression, condemned those who brought or taughi a con. Ver. 7 -1. Who do not confess Jesus Christ did come in the trary doctrine.-From this precept it appears, that when those who Desh.)-E¢Xororov being the participle of the imperfectof the indica. prosess to be the disciples of Christ, came to any place where tive, is rightly translated did come ; for Jesus Christ was not on They were not known to the brethren who resided there, nor were earth in the flesh when John wrote this, as the translation in our recommended to them by some with whom they were acquainted, Bible, is come, imports. Had had come in the flesh, but was gone. they made themselves known to them as the real disciples of Christ, For which reason no translation of this clause, which representeth by declaring their faith. It is necessary to call the reader's alten: Jesus Christ as then present, can be just. Beza, in his note on tion to this custom, because it shews the propriety of the apostle's
enouivov, after observing that it is not the participle of the present, advice to this pious lady and her children. See the following but of the imperfect tense, tells us, that this participle is used in note.
house,? nor wish him happiness.3
mankind, do not receive him into your house, nor express your ap
probation of him by giving him the common salutation. 11 For he who wisheth him happiness, par. 11 For he who giveth him the common salutation, thereby ex. taketh in his deeds, which ARE evil.
presseth his approbation of his conduct, and partaketh in the evils
which his corrupt doctrine may occasion. 12 Having many things to write to you,' I 12 Having many things to write to you concerning those deceivers did not incline TO COMMUNICATE THEM by who call themselves inspired teachers, I did not incline 10 communi. paper and ink ;? (aris) because I hope to cate them by paper and ink; because I hope to come to you soon, come to you, and speak' face to face, that our and to speak io you freely face to face concerning these deceivers, joy may be made complete.
that our mutual joy may be made complete. 13 The children of thy elect! sister salute 13 The children of thy excellent sister, who are now with me, de thee.? Amen.
sire me in their name to wish thee health and happiness in token of their love. Amen.
2. Do not receive him into your house.)--In the eastern countries, them the more effectually to spread their erroneous doctrine, to where there were no inns for the entertainment of travellers as the ruin of those whoun they deceived; consequently, as the aposwith us, to receive and entertain strangers in one's house was con tle observes, they became partakers in their evil deeds. See Presidered, either as a duty which friends mutually owed to each other, face, sect. 3. last paragraph. or as the beginning of a lasting friendsbip. But after the inhabitants 3. Nor wish him happiness.)—Xxipsov autt um Asytte, The of these countries became Christians, they exercised hospitality to Greeks usually began their letters to each other with a wish of their stranger brethren from a still nobler principle, especially health and happiness, which they expressed by the word **2010. when these strangers were employed in spreading the gospel. For in Also, with it, they saiuted one another at meeting. Wherefore the that case, love to Christ and a regard to his religion strongly inoved apostle's meaning is, as in the commentary, Do not express either thein to these kind oftices; see Rom. xii. 8. note 5.-Froin the ex good will to a false ieacher, or approbation of his behaviour, by ample of Apollos, mentioned Acts xviii. 21. and from what is insinu. giving him the common salutation. ated 2 Cor. iii. 1. concerning the false teachers who had come from Ver. 12.--1. Having many things to write to you.)-The apostle, Judea to Corinth, it appears, that when the brethren had occasion I suppose, meant many tbings concerning the characters and ac10 20 lo any church where they were not known, they carried let tions of the false teachers: Perhaps also he wished to mention the ters of recommendation from persons who were acquainted with names of the false teachers whom he had in view. But these things some of the members of that church, who, on the credit of these he did not think it proper to write in a letter; especially as he proletters, received and entertained them. Or, if these strangers had posed to visit this lady and her children soon, and to converse with no recommendatory letters, they made themselves known as sin ihem personally. cere disciples of Christ, by declaring their faith to the bishop and 2. I did not incline to communicate them by paper and ink.). elders of the church to which they came, as is insinuated in the first A.*Zuptou. From this Bengelius conjectures, that in writing this clause of the verse under consideration. These customs were pru. letter John made use of paper, not parchment. dently established in the first age, to prevent the churches from Ver. 13.--1. The children of thy elect sister. )-The word elect being deceived by the heretical teachers, who very early went here, as in ver. 1. and some other passages of scripture, doth not about disseminating their errors.--The lady to whoin the apostle signify chosen from eternity to salvation. For the apostle could wrote this letter being rich, and of a very benevolent disposition, not know that the lady's sister was so elected, unless the matter perhaps living also in a place where the Christians were too few, or had been made known to him by a particular revelation, which is too poor, to have a fund for the entertainment of strangers, she not alleged to have been the case by any who so interpret election. might think hersell under the more obligation to pay attention to But it signifies a person of an excellent character; such by the the wants of those strangers who went about preaching the gospel. Hebrews being called elect persons, Ess. iv. 41. Wherefore, to prevent her from being deceived by impostors, the 2. Salute thee)-ATT*100. The salutations which the Chris. apoelle directed her to require these teachers to give an account of tians in the first age gave to each other, were not of the same kind the doctrines which they taught; and if she found that they did not with the salutations or unbelievers, which were wishes of temporal hold the true doctrine concerning the person of Christ, he advised health and felicity only, but they were wishes of health and happi. her not to receive then into her house, nor even to give them the ness to their souls, and expressions of the most sincere love. Sce cominon salutation of wishing them health and bappiness. For, 3 John ver. 2.-The apostle sent this lady the salutation of the chil. among the Christians of that age, this wish was not a mere compli dren of her excellent sister, to intimate to her, that they were all ment, as with us, but an expression of real good-will. The apostle's Christians, and that they persevered in the true doctrine of the advice, therefore, was periectly proper, because they who enter. gospel. Probably they and their mother lived in the city, or place tained, or otherwise shewed respect to false teachers, enabled of the country, where the apostle had his residence.
Tue frequency and earnestness with which St. John hath inculcated mutual love, his declaring that it is the only sure proof of our love to God, and his assuring us that it banisheth from the mind of the person who possesses it all fear of the judgment, may justly make us solicitous to form a just idea of so excellent a quality, and raise in us a sincere endeavour to acquire it. I therefore observe, that since 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 person as a real disciple of Christ, nor banish from one's mind all fear of the judgment, because some may be benevolent naturally, and others may do beneficent actions merely to gain applause, or to promote some worldy purpose. Whereas the benevolence peculiar to the real disciples of Christ, is that alone which proceeds from love to God, and from a regard to his will. So John hath told us, 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 commando ments, particularly his commandment to love one another : Not, however, in word or in tongue only, but in truth and in deed, by doing thern good according to our power. If so, our love to each other is to be judged of and measured, not so 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 Christian love consists in beneficence, John hath taught us, by telling us, that as the love of God to us consists in his doing us good continually, so our love to one another consisteth in doing them good, even to the laying down our lives for them, 1 Epist. iii. 16.--According to this view of love, persons whose 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 possess a greater degree of the love which Christ hath enjoined, than those persons who, having warmer affections, are moved to do acts of beneficence merely from natural disposition, without any regard to the will of God.
If the love which Christ hath enjoined consists 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 bonefactors lo mankind, by doing good and communicating. Being thus imitators of God in his greatest attribute,