Imágenes de páginas

which grew out of these fancies and prejudices was, that Jesus Christ was ınan only in-appearance, and that in reality the Savior did not suffer and expire on the cross: but only the man or human nature, to which he seemed to have been united. It was important such an error should receive an early check. And no one of the bistorians of Christ is so direct and explicit in their declarations, as Jolm, that Jestis of Nazareth, who was the Messiah, or Christ, and in some peculiar sense the Son of God, was actually possessed of such a nature as man, and really inherited flesli and blood: see ehap.i. 14. also 1 epistle of John iv. 3. This doctrine is indeed implied and suggested in the other gospels; but not so folly and plainly declared as we find it in the writings of St. Johii. Irenæus, who lived towards the close of the second century, and was acquainted with one of the apostle John's pupils, says, “This disciple of Christ, willing to remove the error, alluded to above, “teaches that there is one God of infinite power, who by his word made all things, visible and invisible; and that by the same word by which lie finished the work of creation, he bestowed salvation upon those whom he made to inhabit the world he had created.” “This word," St John says, “was made flesh;” or dwelt in Jesus Christ, the Messiah ; "and we beheld his glory, such as became the only begotten Son of God, full of grace and truth." That is, not in worldly pomp and splendor, not displaying power for his own personal aggrandizement, but in all meekness, benevolence and holiness, and yet exercising supernatural power for the instruction and relief of mankind; Thereby shewing that he had the divine spirit without measure, and was truly the image of the invisible God.

The plıraseology used by this apostle in his gospel furwishes an argument, as some suppose, that it was not written and published in Judea. He frequently gives an explanation of the Mebrew terms he uses, as if they were not intelligible to those whom he addressed; and he speaks of the Jews in a manner differently from that which would have been natural and proper, bad he resided among them at the time of writing his gospel.

There is a great similarity between the language and sentiments of this apostle in his gospel and in his epistles. His writings discover an artless simplicity, and a spirit of affection, which render them particularly interesting. He has given us mach of the affectionate and benevolent advice of

Christ to the apostles, which displays the benignity of our Lord, in a most endearing and affecting view. It is he who has taught us how often our Savior enjoined benevolence and love on his disciples as a necessary and distinguishing characteristic of their real regard for him and his religion. The apostle John seems to have possessed much of this amiable and celestial spirit. ly one of his epistles, he repeatedly gives the following exhortation; "Little children, love one another.” And there is a tradition, probably well founded, that when this apostle was very aged, and unable to deliver long discourses to the people, he was carried to the Christian assembly, in the city where he resided, and said, “My little children, love one another.” This was not addressed merely to the young. But the apostle being very aged, and considering them all as his children in a religious sense, spake to them in this affectionate manner.

The spirit of love and charity is certainly the distinguish. ing trait in the Christian character, as it is oppsed to a worldly, selfish, and malevolent disposition. The first christians were remarkable for displaying this heavenly temper. Even the heathen philosophers and magistrates were compelled to do homage to the benign influence of the gospel by exclaiming, "Behold, how these christians love one enother!"

The Christian church is in possession of no authentic account of the journies of this apostle. We learn from the 13th chap, of Acts, that he was at Jerusalem with the other apostles and elders, at a council to decide upon the ques. tion then agitated in the church, whether the heathen converts should be required to observe the ceremonies of the Jewish law. There can be no doubt, that this apostle was engaged in the cause of his divine Master among his own countrymen in Judea, until a short time before the destruc. tion of Jerusalem by the Romans in the year 70. We are indeed, informed by several early Christian writers, that St. John left Judea after the civil commotions began there, which issued in the complete overthrow of the Jewish nation: And that afterwards he resided in different parts of Greece in Asia, and chiefly at Ephesus. In the time of the Roman emperor, Domitian, who was a cruel persecutor of the Christians, the apostle was banished to the Island of Pat. mos, near the Grecian coast, where he was favored with the prophetic visions, which are preserved in the book of Revelations,






IN N the beginning was the Word, and the

Word was with God, and the Word was 2 God.* This was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were made by him; and without

him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and this life was the light of 5 men. And the light shineth in darkness, and

the darkness comprehended it not. I

* See 1 chap. of John's first epistle, and Prov. viii. 22. The Greek term here translated word, is Logos. The literal rendering is “word.But this undoubtedly ineans wisdom, or power; as when it is said, “by the word of the Lord the heavens were made." That is, by the command, the power, or wisdom of the Deity they exist. By this divine wisdom and power, Christ was directed and assisted. In another place, this Evangelist says, "he had the spirit without measure.

† The learned Dr. Campbell renders this verse and the fourth, thus, “All things were made by it; and without it not a single creature was made. In it was life ; and the life was the light of men."

Some render the latter clause of the verse thus, "and the darkness did not overspread it,” others, “the darkness did not admit it.” The literal translation perhaps is, the darkness did not take hold, or seize upon ; that is, did not prevent it. The same word is used in chap. xii. 35.

6 There was a man sent from God,* whose 7 name was John. He came for a witness, even

to give testimony of the Light, † that all through 8 him might believe. He was not that Light, 9 but came to bear witness of that Light.f The

true Light was that which lighteth every man 10 who cometh into the world. He was in the

world, and the world was made by him, yet the 11 world did not know him. He came unto his 12 own, but his own received him not. But as

many as received him, to them he gave power

to become the sons of God, even to them that 13 believe on his name: Who were born, not of

blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the

will of man, but of God. 14 And the word was made flesh, and dwelt

among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory

* That is, was divinely commissioned.

That is, the divine Logos, which is the light of the world, and gives eternal life to man.

He was not that great spiritual Teacher, whom the Jews and the rest of the world then expected.

If every man have light given hiin, it must be through his own neglect that any one perishes. Solomon says, “the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord.”

| Or privilege.

'It is generally supposed, that John wrote his gospel with a view to some erreneous opinions prevalent in his time. Some who called themselves Christiaus denied that Jesus Christ was really man; others pretended that the Christ and Jesus were two distinct intelligences; and others taught that besides the Supreme Deity, there were many inferior and subordinate gods, one of whom dwelt in Jesus Christ Irenæus, one of the earliest Christian writers, informś us, that the heretics of those times affirmed, "that Monogenes {only begotten) was one, the Savior was another, the Lngos another, and 'Olirist another." But John proclaimed one

as of the only-begotten of the Father) full of 15 grace and truth. And we have all received 16 of his fulness, even grace upon grace. The

Jewish law was indeed given by Moses, but 17 grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No

man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the

Father, he hath declared him. * 18 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying,

This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh

after me, is prefered before me; for he was be. 19 fore me. And this is the testimony of John,

when the Jews sent priests and Levites from 20 Jerusalem, to ask him, Who art thou ? He

confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I 21 am not the Christ.† And they asked him, supreme, Almighty God, one only begotten, Jesus Christ, who came from the bosom of the Father, and who had the holy spirit, or the power and wisdom of God without measure. This was the Son of God, this the true light, this he who came down from heaven, &c. By Logos is evidently meant the divine wisdom and energy. This was so fully imparted to Jesus Christ, and by it he was so guided and enlightened, that it might be justly said, when Christ performed miracles, it was the Father who dwelt in him; and that what he taught was directly by divine authority and instruction. Here the apostle expressly asserts, that the power and wisdom of God was united to the man Jesus Christ; or that the divine perfections were displayed by him for the instruction and salvation of the world. See 1 John Epis. i. 1. also chap. x. 28 g-c. of this gospel.

* See chap. v. 37; xiv, 9, 10; Phill. i. 6; Coll. i. 15; Heb. i. 3. To be in the bosom of the Father, must imply a great intimacy with and knowledge of the way and character of God, as well as, that one is an object of the divine love and complacency:

+ The Messiuk whom you expect.

« AnteriorContinuar »