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Patmos, the former in the reign of Claudius, the latter in the reign of Nero: consequently before the destruction of Jerusalem. And in support of their opinion, they allege some testimonies of later writers, together with other particulars: But Lardner, Can. vol. 1. p. 359.-377. hath shewed, that these things are insufficient for establishing the early date of John's banishment. He therefore adheres to the common opinion, that John was banished to Patmos, by Domitian's edict for persecuting the Christians, published in the latter part of his reign, A. D. 95. Domitian died September 18. A. D. 96. and was succeeded by Nerva, in the first year of whose reign, if not sooner, John being released, returned to Ephesus, where, according to the ancients, he died in the third year of the Emperor Trajan, answering to A. D. 100. Or, as Jerome expresses it, he died in the 68th year after our Lord's passion; which was the third of Trajan. Wherefore, if Lampe's opinion is well founded, that John was born in the same year with his master, he must have been an hundred years old when he died.
The time of John's leaving Judea is unknown. But, as in Luke's history of Paul's travels, John is not mentioned, and no salutation is sent to him in any of the epistles which Paul wrote from Rome to the churches of Asia, not even in his epistle to the Ephesians, nor in the epistles which in the latter part of his life he wrote to Timothy in Ephesus, it is reasonable to think, that John was not at Ephesus while Paul was alive. I therefore am of their opinion, who suppose that John remained in Judea, from the time of the council of Jerusalem, till he saw Jerusalem encompassed with armies, and observed the other signs of its aproaching destruction foretold by his Master; that he then fled into Asia; and coming at length to Ephesus, he fixed his ordinary residence in that city, and abode there till his death; as all the ancient Christian writers testify.-Because none of these writers say our Lord's mother went with John into Asia, Cave, Basnage, and Lardner, conjecture that she died before John left Judea.
The other particulars, said by the ancients to have happened to John after he settled at Ephesus, it is needless to mention ; as some of them are not sufficiently attested, and others of them are embellished with circumstances evidently fabulous. Yet, if the reader is desirous to know, what ancient authors have reported concerning our apostle after he went into Asia, he will
find the passages of their writings, in which these things are mentioned, quoted by Lardner, Canon, vol. 1. beginning at page 349.
Of the Authenticity of the First Epistle of John.
The authenticity of any ancient writing is established, First, by the testimony of contemporary, and of succeeding authors, whose works have come down to us; and who speak of that writing, as known to be the work of the person whose name it bears. Secondly, by the suitableness of the things contained in such a writing, to the character and circumstances of its supposed author; and by the similarity of its style, to the style of the other acknowledged writings of that author.-The former of these proofs is called the external evidence of the authenticity of a writing: The latter its internal evidence. Where these two kinds of evidence are found accompanying any writing, they render its genuineness indubitable.
The external evidence of the authenticity of John's first epistle shall be laid before the reader in the preface to the second epistle, sect. 1. by shewing that the earliest and best Christian writers, have all with one consent, and without any hesitation, ascribed the first epistle to him. And their testimony is confirmed by this circumstance, that the Syriac translator who omitted the second epistle of Peter, the second and third epistles of John, and the epistle of Jude, because some doubts were entertained concerning them in the first age, or perhaps because they had not come to his knowledge, hath translated John's first epistle, as an apostolical writing of which there never was any doubt.
In this preface, therefore, we shall state the internal evidence of the authenticity of the first epistle ascribed to John, by shewing, First, that in respect of its matter; and Secondly, that in respect of its style, it is perfectly suitable to the character and circumstances of its supposed author.-In respect of the matter or subject of the epistle under consideration, the writer of it hath discovered himself to be John the apostle, by introducing a number of sentiments and expressions found in the gospel, which all Christians from the beginning, have acknowledged to be the work of John the apostle.
CHAP. I. 1. That which was from the beginning- 0αcausa, which we have contemplated-concerning the living
II. 5. Whosoever keepeth his word, truly in that man the love of God is perfected.
II. 6. He who saith he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. See chap. iii. 24. iv. 13.
II. 8. I write to you a new commandment.
III. 11. This is the message which ye have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
II. 8. The darkness passeth away, and the light which is true, now shineth.
10. Abideth in the light, and there is no stumbling-block to him.
II. 13. Young children, I write to you, because ye have known the Father.
14. Because ye have known him from the beginning.
II. 29. Every one who worketh righteousness, is begotten of God. See also iii. 9. v. 1.
III. 1. Behold how great love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God!
Chap. I. 1. In the beginning was the word. 14. And, 9taμɛda, we beheld his glory. 4. In him was life.
14. The word was made flesh. XIV. 23. If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him.
XV. 4. Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bring forth fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
XIII. 34. A new commandment I give to you,
that ye love one another as I have loved you.
I. 5. The light shineth in darkness.
9. That was the true light.
XI. 10. If a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light to him.
XVII. 3. This is the eternal life that they might know thee the only true God.
And Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
III. 3. Except a man be begotten again.
5. Except a man be begotten of water and of the Spirit.
I. 12. To them he gave pow. er to become the sons of God, even to them who believe on his name.
III. 2. We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
III. 8. He who worketh sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.
III. 13. Do not wonder, my brethren, that the world hateth you.
IV. 9. By this the love of God was manifested, that God sent his Son, the only begotten, into the world, that we might live through him.
IV. 12. No man hath seen God at any time.
V. 13. These things I have written to you who believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life; and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
V. 14. If we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.
V. 20. The son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is truc, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
XVII. 24. Be with me where I am, that they may be. hold my glory.
VIII. 44. father the devil-He was a murderer from the beginning.
Ye are of your
XV. 20. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
III. 16. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life.
I. 18. No man hath seen God at any time.
XX. 31. These things are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his
From the above comparison of the first epistle of John with his gospel, there appears such an exact agreement of sentiment in the two writings, that no reader who is capable of discerning what is peculiar in an author's turn of thinking, can entertain the least doubt of their being the productions of one and the same writer. Farther, since John hath not mentioned his own
name in his gospel, the want of his name in the epistle, is no proof that it was not written by him; but rather a presumption that it is his, especially as he hath sufficiently discovered himself to be an apostle, by affirming in the beginning of the epistle, that he was an eye and ear witness, of the things which he hath written concerning the living Word.
2. The style of this epistle, being the same with the style of the gospel of John, it is, by that internal mark, likewise shewed to be his writing.-In his gospel John doth not content himself with simply affirming or denying a thing, but to strengthen his affirmation he denieth its contrary. In like manner to strengthen his denial of a thing, he affirms its contrary. See John i. 20. iii. 36. v. 24. vi. 22. The same manner of expressing things strongly, is found in the epistle. For example, chap. ii. 4. He who saith I have known him, and doth not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.-Ver. 27. The same unction teacheth you concerning all things, and is truth, and is no lie.Chap. iv. 2. Every spirit, which confesseth Jesus Christ hath come in the flesh, is from God. 3. And every spirit, which doth not confess Jesus Christ hath come in the flesh, is not from God.
In his gospel likewise, John, to express things emphatically, frequently uses the demonstrative pronoun, This.-Chap. i. 19. Avrn, This is the testimony.—iii. 19. Avrŋ, This is the condemnation, that light, &c.-vi. 29. Toro, This is the work of God.-ver. 40. Toro, This is the will of him.-ver. 50. Ovros, This ist he bread which came down from heaven.-xvii. 3. Avrŋ, This is the life eternal. In the epistle, the same emphatical manner of expression is found, chap. i. 5. ii. 25.-This is the promise.-iii. 23. Avrn, This is his commandment.-v. 3. Avrn, This is the love of God. ver. 4. This is the victory.—ver. 6. 'Ovros, This is he who came by water.-ver. 14. This is the boldness which we have with him.
Such is the internal evidence, on which all Christians, from the beginning, have received the first epistle of John, as really written by him, and of divine authority, although his name is not mentioned in the inscription, nor in any part of the epistle,