Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

21.

Inhabitants in the Faith of Christ. This banishing into Isands was the worst and leverest Kind of Exile, whereby the criminal forfeited his Estate ; being transported into some certain Ifand, which only the Emperor had the Power of naming, there to be confined to perpetual Banishment.

Q. Did St. John die in Banishment ?

A. No: the Emperor Nerva revoked the severe Edials of his Predecessor, and St. John took the Advantage of that Indulgence, and returned to Epbesus; where, finding Timothy their Bishop martyred, he governed that Church until the Time of Trajan; about the Beginning of whose Reign he departed this Life, being about an hundred Years old, and never married. As to the Reports of his being translated without dying, or that he only lay sleeping in his Grave, they are Errors built upon that Discourse that passed between our Lord and John xxả St. Peter, concerning this Apostle.

Q. What was remarkable in St. John's Conduet toccards ibe Heretic Cerinthus? A. Going with some of his Friends to the Bath Euseb.

Hift. lib.de at Ephesus, and understanding that Cerinthus was at c.14 the same Time bathing, he immediately retired, exhorting his Friends to avoid a place where was so great an Enemy to the Truth, left the Bath fbould fall upon their Heads. This Account is given by Irenæus, as a Tradition from Polycarp, St. John's Ireo, adv. Scholar and Disciple.

What Writings did this Apostle leave behind bin?

A. His Gospel, three Epistles, and his Book of Revelation.

Q How doth il appear that St. John wrote the Gospel that

goeth under his Name ? Å. The Gospel itself describes the Author of it by John xxi. such Marks as peculiarly belong to St. John, as that 20, 25, 22, he was a Disciple of our Lord, and that Disciple

Hær, lib. 3. C. 3.

whom

23: 24.

23. xix.

26. xxi. 7.

whom Jesus loved; and of whom the Fame went

abroad among the Brethren that he should not die. John xiii. That St. John was the beloved Disciple, appears by

several Places in this Gospel, and the whole Christian Church hath distinguished him by that Character; and his not dying was so constantly applied to St. John, that some of the Ancients declared that he died not at all, but was transated; and others that he only lay sleeping in his Grave: And he alone of all the Apostles, tarried till our Lord came to the Destruction of Jerusalem, which he outlived many Years. To which we may adjoin the Testimony of the Pris mitive Church, which

asserts it as an unquestionable Lib.3.C.1. Truth. Irenæus says, that John, the Disciple of our

Lord, who leaned upon his Breast, writ his Gospel at Ephesus. Clemens of Alexandria, that St. John, inspired by the Holy Ghoft, composed his fpiritual Gospel

. Origen reckons it among the Gospels received without Difpute by every Church under Heaven.

Eufebius places it among the Books not controverted lib.6.c.14. among Christians, and as known to all the Churches of &25.lib.3. the World. And the ancient Heretics, that ascribed

it to Cerinthus, were guilty of a great Absurdity : For how could those Things be writ by Cerintbus,

which do in direct Terms contradict his Doctrinc? Epiphan

. He afferted that Christ was born as other Men, aniž $4.

but a mere Man himself ; whereas the Author of this

Gospel declares Christ to be the Word, or Logos, Joka i. 1. which in the Beginning was with God, and was God, and

is expressly affirmed by Antiquity to be writon Purpofe to remove that Error which Cerinthus had dispersed in the World. All which Evidence, taken together, makes it undeniable, that St. John was the Author of that Gospel that goeth under his wame.

Q. When, and upon wbat Occasion, did be write bis Gospel?

A. Though some have thought it was writ during his Banishment in the Illand of Patmos ; yet

Irenenst

Euseb. Hift. Eccl.

C. 24.

Hær.58.

Irenæus and others, with great Appearanceof Truth, Adv. affirm it to have been written by him after his Re- lib. 3.c.2. turn from Ephesus; composed at the earnest Intreaty of the Asian Bishops, and Ambassadors from several Hieron.de Churches; in order whereunto he first folemnizes Scr. Eccl. a general Fajt, to seek the Blessing of Heaven upon so great and momentous an Undertaking. Two Causes especially contributed to engage him in this Work; the one, that he might obviate the early Herefies of those Times, particularly of Ebion, Cerintbus, and others, who began to deny Christ's Divinity, or that he had any Existence before the Incarnation; the Reason why this Evangelist is so express and copious on that Subject. The other was, that he might supply those Pallages of the Evangelical History, which the rest of the sacred Writers had omitted; principally insisting upon the Acts of Chrift from the first commencing of his Ministry, to the Death of John the Baptift. The Subject he treats is sublime and mysterious; upon which Account he is generally by the Ancients resembled to Cyr. Hier. an Eagle soaring aloft; and peculiarly honoured Catec. 12.

$ by the Title of Divine, as due to him in an eminent and extraordinary Manner.

Q. Towbom did St. John address bis Epistles?

A. The first is Catbolic, calculated for all Times and Places, as well as Persons; containing most excellent Rules for the Conduct of the Christian Life; with a particular Regard to Christian Charity; the principal Vein that runs through all his Writings, and was the last Subject he recommended to his Hearers: For when A geand Weakness disabled him from preaching, yet at every public Meeting in the Church, he oxhorted them with these Words, Little Children, love one another. His Auditors, wearied with the constant Repetition of tom. 9. the same Thing, enquiring the Reason of it, re

p. ceived from him this Answer: This is what our G

Lord

Hieron.

9. 83.

Eufeb.
Eccl. Hint.

mos.

Lord bath commanded, and if we can do this, we need do nothing else. This Epifle, which was universally received, and never questioned, is moreover an excellent Antidote against the Poison of Gnostic Principles and Practices. The other two are directed to particular Persons; and though it hath been doubted whether they were Canonical, yet, by the most

Part of the Ancients they are attributed to St. Johns 1. 3. 6. 23. and the Doctrine, Phrase, and Design of them,

sufficiently challenge our Apostle for their Author.

Q. When did he write bis Revelation ?
d. While he was confined in the Island of Pat-

And though this Book was doubted of by some, yet it was entertained by the far greater Part of the Ancients, as the genuine Work of St. John the Evangelift. All Circumstances concur to make our Aposlle the Author of it. His Name frequently expressed; its being written in the Inand of Patmos; the particular Epistles to the Seven Churches in Afia, all planted, or at least cultivated, by him; the Doctrine in it suitable to the Apostolical Spirit and Temper. All which being put together, make the Evidence in this Case very considerable.

Q. What may we learn from the Observation of this Festival!

A. That the true Love of Jesus ought to make us willing to accompany him to Mount Calvary, as well as to Mount Tabor ; to bear his Cross, as well as to partake of his Glories. To be constant to all the Duties of Friendship, and not to suffer Misfortunes and Adversity to abate the Vigour of them. To endeavour to adorn our Souls with such Dispositions and Qualifications, as may make us hope for a Share in the Love of our Redeemer. In all our Composures upon religious Subjects, to have a particular Eye to the Good of others, and to beg God's Blessing upon our Undertakings. To confirm ourselves in the Belief of our Saviour's Divinity,

by

[ocr errors]

by frequently reading that Gospel, which was writ on purpose to preserve us from those Herefies that denied it. To abound in the Practice of Christian Charity, the Love of our Neighbour, the distinguishing Mark of a good Christian, which St. John urgeth as the great and peculiarLaw ofourReligion.

Q. Wherein doth Christian Charity; or the Love of our Neighbour, confift?

A. In doing him all good Offices, and shewing Kindness towards him; if he be virtuous, it will make us esteem bim; if he be hônest, but weak in Judgment, it will create Pity and Succour; if he be wicked, it will incline us to pious Admonition, in order to reclaim him; if he receives Good, it will make us rejoice; if he receives Evil, which we cannot redress, it will make us compassionate him; if we can it will make us relieve him, either by fupplying his Neceflities according to our Power; or by hiding his Disgrace if it be deserved, which is concealing our Neighbour's Defects; and by wiping it off where it is not deserved, which is vindicating his Reputation. If it be our Inferior, it will make us affable and courteous; if our Equal, it will make us candid, and ready to maintain a good Correspondence; if our Superior, respectful and submissive; if we receive Good from him, it will make us thankful and desirous to requite it; if we receive Evil, it will make us flow to Anger, easy to be entreated, ready to forgive, long suffering when it is reason able to exact Punishment, and merciful in taking it with such a Competency, as is no more than what he can bear.

Q. In what Sense doth our Saviour and St. John call this a new Commandment, since loving our Neighbour is a Branch of the Law of Nature, and a known Precept of the Jewish Religion?

A. This Commandment is by our Lord and Saviour so much enlarged as to the Object of it, having extended it to all Mankind; sogreatly ad

G 2

vanced,

« PredošláPokračovať »