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11 For he that biddeth
of his evil deeds.
11 Ὁ γαρ λεγων αυτῷ
him God speed,is partaker χαιρειν, κοινώνει τοις έργοις αυτου τοις πονηροις. 12 Πολλα εχων ύμιν γρα
12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink; but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.
Ver. 9.-1. Whosoever goeth beyond, and doth not abide in the doctrine of Christ. Пagaßaway. This word signifies, to pass over, in any direction, the bounds which are prescribed to a person. Now, as the doctrine of Christ is contained within certain limits, he who teacheth a different doctrine goeth beyond these limits. And to make this plain the apostle adds, And doth not abide in the doctrine of Christ. Wherefore, the person who either neglecteth to teach any part of the doctrine of Christ, or who teacheth what is not the doctrine of Christ, is equally culpable, and doth not acknowledge God.—The doctrine of Christ which the apostle had in his view here, I suppose, is the doctrine concerning Christ, that he is the Son of God sent into the world made flesh, to save mankind, See 1 John ii. 23.
Ver. 10.-1. If any one come to you, and doth not bring this doctrine, namely, the doctrine mentioned in the preceding verse. Here, more is meant than is expressed. For the apostle, in this soft expression, condemned those who brought, or taught a contrary doctrine.-From this precept appears, that when those who professed to be the disciples of Christ, came to any "place where they were not known to the brethren who resided there, nor were recommended to them by some with whom they were acquainted, they made themselves known to them as the real disciples of Christ, by declaring their faith. It is necessary to call the reader's attention to this custom, because it shews the propriety of the apostle's advice to this pious lady and her children. See the following note.
2. Do not receive him into your house. In the eastern countries, where there were no inns for the entertainment of travellers, as with us, to receive and entertain strangers in one's house, was considered, either as a duty which friends mutually owed to each other, or as the beginning of a lasting friendship. But after the inhabitants of these countries became Christians, they exercised hospitality to their stranger brethren from a still nobler principle, especially when these strangers were employed in spreading the gospel. For in that case, love to Christ and a regard to his religion, strongly moved them to these kind offices, See Rom. xii. 8. note 5.-From the example of Apollos mentioned Acts xviii. 27.and from what is insinuated, 2 Cor. iii. 1. concerning the false teachers who had come from Judea to Corinth, it
11 For he who wisheth him happiness, pariaketh in his deeds, which are evil.
12 Having many things to write to you,' I did not incline ΤΟ COMMUNICATE THEM by paper and ink; 2 (aλλa) because I hope to come to you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be made complete.
11 For he who giveth him the common salutation,, thereby expresseth his approbation of his conduct, and partaketh in the evils which his corrupt doctrine may occasion.
12 Having many things to write to you concerning those deceivers who call themselves inspired teachers, I did not incline to communicate them by paper and ink; because I hope to come to you soon, and to speak to you freely face to face concerning these deceivers, that our mutual joy may bẹ made complete.
appears, that when the brethren had occasion to go to any church where they were not known, they carried letters of recommendation from persons who were acquainted with some of the members of that church, who on the credit of these letters received and entertained them. Or, if these strangers had no recommendatory letters, they made themselves known as sincere disciples of Christ, by declaring their faith to the bishop and elders of the church to which they came; as is insinuated in the first clause of the verse under consideration. These customs were prudently established in the first age, to prevent the churches from being deceived by the heretical teachers, who very early went about disseminating their errors.—The lady to whom the apostle wrote this letter, being rich and of a very benevolent disposition; perhaps also living in a place where the Christians were too few, or too poor, to have a fund for the entertainment of strangers, she might think herself under the more obligation to pay attention to the wants of these strangers who went about preaching the gospel. Wherefore, to prevent her from being deceived by impostors, the apostle directed her to require these teachers to give an account of the doctrines which they taught; and if she found that they did not hold the true doctrine concerning the person of Christ, he advised her not to receive them into her house, nor even to give them the common salutation of wishing them health and happiness. For, among the Christians of that age, this wish was not a mere compliment, as with us, but an expression of real good will. The apostle's advice, therefore, was perfectly proper, because they who entertained or otherwise shewed respect to false teachers, enabled them the more effectually to spread their erroneous doctrine, to the ruin of those whom they deceived; consequently, as the apostle observes, they became partakers in their evil deeds, See Pref. Sect. 3. last paragr.
3. Nor wish him happiness. Xaptiv aura un degete. The Greeks usually began their letters to each other with a wish of health and happiness, which they expressed by the word Xape. Also, with it, they saluted one another
at meeting. Wherefore the apostle's meaning is, as in the commentary; Do not express either good will to a false teacher, or approbation of his behaviour, by giving him the common salutation.
Ver. 12.-1. Having many things to write to you. The apostle, I suppose, meant many things concerning the characters and actions of the false teachers: Perhaps also, he wished to mention the names of the false teachers whom he had in view. But these things he did not think it proper to write in a letter; especially as he proposed to visit this lady and her children soon, and to converse with them personally.
2. I did not incline to communicate them by paper and ink. Δια χαρτε From this Bengelius conjectures, that in writing this letter John made use of paper, not parchment.
Ver. 13.-1. The children of thy elect sister. The word elect, here as in ver. 1. and some other passages of scripture, doth not signify chosen from eternity to salvation. For the apostle could not know that the lady's sister
THE 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 worldly purpose. Whereas the benevolence peculiar to the real disciples of Christ, is that alone which proceeds
13 The children of thy elect1 sister salute thee.2 Amen.
13 The children of thy excellent sister, who are now with me, desire me in their name to wish thee health and happiness in token of their love. Amen.
was so elected, unless the matter had been made known to him by a particular revelation, which is not alleged to have been the case, by any who so interpret election. But it signifies a person of an excellent character: such by the Hebrews being called elect persons, Ess. iv. 41.
2. Salute thee. Ασπάζεται σε. The salutations which the Christians in the first age gave to each other, were not of the same kind with the salutations of unbelievers, which were wishes of temporal health and felicity only: but they were wishes of health and happiness to their souls, and expressions of the most sincere love. See 3 John ver. 2.—The apostle sent this lady the salutation of the children of her excellent sister, to intimate to her that they were all Christians, and that they persevered in the true doctrine of the gospel. Probably they and their mother lived in the city, or place of the country, where the apostle had his residence.
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 commandments, particularly his commandment to love one another: Not however in word or in tongue only, but in truth and in deed, by doing them good according to our power. If 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 benefactors to mankind, by doing good and communicating. Being thus imitators of God in his greatest attribute, they do what is more acceptable to him than sacrifice, according to the saying of the heathen poet Menander, translated in Adventurer, No. 105. "He that offers in sacrifice, O Pam"philus, a multitude of bulls and of goats, of golden vestments, ❝or purple garments, or figures of ivory, or precious gems, and "imagines by this to conciliate the favour of God, is grossly ❝ mistaken, and has no solid understanding. For he that would "sacrifice with success, ought to be (xenoμov) beneficent, no cor66 rupter of virgins, no adulterer, no robber or murderer for the "sake of lucre. Covet not, O Pamphilus, even the thread of "another man's needle; for God, who is near thee, perpetually "beholds thy actions."
‹ Temperance, and justice, and purity, are here inculcated in 'the strongest manner, and upon the most powerful motive, the • Omniscience of the Deity; at the same time, superstition and 'the idolatry of the heathen are artfully ridiculed. I know not among the ancients any passage that contains such exalted and 'spiritualized thoughts of religion.'