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gotten of Godguardeth himself, and the devil doth not lay hold on him so as to enslave him: For such an one, when sick, ye may pray in the hope of being heard.

19 By keeping ourselves from habitual sin, we know that we are begotten of God. But the whole world of idolaters and infidels lieth under the dominion of the devil. See Col. i. 13. notes.

20 Moreover, we know that the Son of God hath come in the flesh to destroy the works and power of the devil, (chap. iii. 8.) and hath given us his disciples understanding, that we might know the true God; and so we are subject to the true God, by being subject to his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and the eternal life which God hath promised to all them who know him, John xvii. 3.

ther, wicked men are said, 2 Tim. ii. 26. To be held in the snare of the devil.-And Ephes. vi. 11. He is said to use crafty methods for the destruction of mankind.-And 2 Cor. xi. 3. He is said to have beguiled Eve by his subtilty.—And Coloss. i. 13. believers are said to be delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of his beloved Son. See the notes on 2 Cor. iv. 4. and on Ephes. ii. 2.-Because Homer uses the word Xural, to denote the bodies of men lying on the ground slain, Doddridge thinks the apostle, by using that word here, represents the wicked men of the world as lying slain by the devil, to give us an affecting idea of the miserable and helpless state of mankind fallen by the stroke of that malicious merciless enemy.

Ver. 20.-1. Hath given us understanding, that we might know the true God. In the translation of this clause I have supplied the word God from the end of the verse, not only because it is found in the Alexandrian MS. and in the Vulgate version, but because the sense of the passage requires it.—In the Vulgate, this verse is translated as follows, Et dedit nobis sensum ut cognoscamus verum Deum, et simus in vero filio ejus: Hic est verus Deus, et vita eterna. And hath given us understanding that we might know the true God, and might be in his true Son: This is the true God and life eternal. It seems the copy from which the Vulgate translation was made, read here, Τον αληθινόν Θεόν, και ωμεν εν τῳ αληθινῳ ύίω αυτό..

21 Little children, keep 21 Τεκνια, φυλαξατε ἑαυ yourselves from idols τους απο των ειδώλων. Αμην.


2. This is the true God. Because the person last mentioned in what goes before, is Jesus Christ, many commentators and theologians contend, that the demonstrative pronoun ¿utos, stands here for Jesus Christ, and that he is the person who is called the true God. But as pronouns often denote the remote antecedent, when the circumstances of the case require them to be so understood, (Ess. iv. 63.) others are of opinion that curos, in this passage, refers not to Jesus Christ the near antecedent, but to rov androv, the true one, or true God, whom the Son of God had given the Christians understanding to know. And this opinion they think probable, because, if the apostle by uros, means Jesus Christ, he maketh him the true God, notwithstanding in the sentence which immediately precedes duros, he distinguisheth the true one, from his Son Jesus Christ; Kai soμev Y TW annDive, ev to vllo auT8 Inos Xgisa: And we are under the true one, under bis Son Jesus Christ. Now, although our translators have destroyed that distinction, and have made Jesus Christ the true God, by inserting the word even, in their translation between the two clauses of the sentence, in this manner, And we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ; yet as they have inserted that word without the authority of any ancient MS. the critics who make ouros refer, not to Jesus Christ, but to rov androv, think their opinion ought to have no weight in a matter of such importance.— Glassius, Philolog. Sacr. p. 714. tells us, that Athanasius in the council of

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 Amen.

21 Dear children, keep yourselves from worshipping false gods and images. Now to shew my sincerity in this, and in all the things I have written to you, I conclude the whole with an Amen.

Nice, disputing against Arius, called this text of John, a written demonstration and added, That as Christ said of the Father, John xvii. 3. This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, so John said of the Son, This is the true God and eternal life: And that Arius then acquiesced in this written demonstration, and confessed the Son of God to be the true God. For these facts Glassius appeals to Athanasii. Oper. Tom. 3. p. 705. Ver. 21.-1. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. For the meaning of the word Exwv idols. See 1 Cor. viii. 4. note 2.—The apostle cautioned his disciples against going with the heathens into the temples of their idol gods, to eat of their feasts upon the sacrifices which they offered to these gods, and against being present at any act of worship which they paid to them, because, by being present at the worship of idols, they participated in that worship; as is plain from what St. Paul hath written on that subject, 1 Cor. viii. and x.- -The exhortation to the brethren to keep themselves from idols, sheweth that this epistle was intended for the converted Gentiles every where, as well as for the Jews in Judea, to whom I suppose it was first








Of the Authenticity of John's Three Epistles.

THE internal evidence of the authenticity of the three epistles commonly ascribed to John, having been explained in the preface to the first epistle, sect. 2. this section shall be employed in setting before the reader what is called the external evidence, arising from the testimony of contemporary and of succeeding authors, who speak of these epistles as written by John the apostle.

Lardner on the Canon, vol. iii. p. 262. hath shewed, That the first epistle of John is referred to by Polycarp, and by the martyrs of Lyons;-That his first and second epistles are quoted by Irenæus, and were received by Clemens of Alexandria;―That Origen saith, "John, beside the Gospel and Revelation, hath left "us an epistle of a few lines: Grant also a second and third: "For all do not allow these to be genuine ;"-That Dionysius of Alexandria received John's first epistle, which he calls his Catholic epistle; and likewise mentions the other two as ascribed to him. That the first epistle was received by Cyprian.-And that the second is cited by Alexander bishop of Alexandria.

Eusebius's testimony to the first epistle of John hath been already mentioned in his own words, pref. to James, sect. 2. paragr. 2. In bearing that testimony, Eusebius insinuateth that some ascribed the second and third epistles to another person of the name of John, called the Elder, of whom he speaks, lib. iii. c. 59.-Jerome likewise hath mentioned this John in his catalogue. And Grotius, on a circumstance mentioned by Bede, in a passage to be produced immediately, hath ascribed the second and third epistles to him, in opposition to the testimony of the earliest and best Christian writers.

All the three epistles were received by Athanasius, by Cyril of Jerusalem, by the council of Laodicea, by Epiphanius, and by Jerome. But the second and third were doubted by some in Jerome's time. All the three were received by Ruffin, by the third council of Carthage, by Augustine, and by all those authors who received the same Canon of the New Testament which we do. All the three are in the Alexandrian MS. and in the catalogue of Gregory Nazianzen, and of Amphilochius, who observes that some received only one of them.-The Syrian churches received only the first. See Pref. to James, sect. 2. paragr. 3. Nor did Chrysostom receive any other.

Bede, in the beginning of the eighth century, wrote thus in his exposition of the second epistle: "Some have thought this "and the following epistle not to have been written by John the "apostle, but by another, a presbyter of the same name, whose "sepulchre is still seen at Ephesus; whom also Papias men❝tions in his writings. But now it is the general consent of the "church, that John the apostle wrote also these two epistles, ❝forasmuch as there is a great agreement of the doctrine and "style between these and his first epistle. And there is also a "like zeal against heretics."

Mill, in his Prolegomena, No. 153. observes, that the second and third epistles of John, resemble the first in sentiment, phraseology, and manner of expressing things.-The resem blance in the sentiments and phraseology may be seen by comparing 2 Epistle ver. 5. with 1 Epistle ii. 8.-and ver. 6. with 1 Epist. v. 3.-and ver. 7. with 1 Epist. v. 5.-and 3 Epist. ver. 12. with John xix. 35.--Of John's peculiar manner of expressing things, 2 Epist. ver. 7.—and 3 Epist. ver. 11. are examples.-Mill farther observes, that of the 2d Epistle, which consists only of 13 verses, 8 may be found in the first, either in sense, or in expression. See Whitby's pref. to 2 John.

The title of elder, which the writer of the second and third epistles hath taken, is no reason for thinking that they were not written by John the apostle. For, elder, denotes that the person so called was of long standing in the Christian faith, and had persevered through a long course of years in that faith, notwithstanding the many persecutions to which all who professed the gospel were exposed in the first age. It was therefore an appellation of great dignity, and entitled the person to whom it belonged, to the highest respect from all the disciples of Christ. For which reason it was assumed by the apostle Peter. 1 Pet. v.

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