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CONTENTS OF THE SIXTH VOLUME.
PREFACE.... Sect I. The history of John....I. The authenticity of this
epistle established......III Of the state of the church when it was written,
PREFACE......Sect. I. Of the authenticity of this epistle......II. Of the person
PREFACE.......Sect. I. The history of Jude.....II. This epistle was written by
OF THE FIRST
EPISTLE OF THE APOSTLE JOHN.
The History of John the Apostle.
JOHN the writer of this epistle and of the gospel which bears
his name, was the son of Zebedee, a fisher who had a boat, and nets, and hired servants, Mark i. 20, and followed his occupation on the sea of Galilee.-From Matt. xxvii. 55. compared with Mark xv. 40. it appears that the name of Zebedee's wife was Salome; for in the former of these passages, she is called the mother of Zebedee's children, who in the latter is named Salome.-Zebedee had another son whose name was James, and who seems to have been elder than John. Both of them were fishers like their father, and assisted him in his business, till they were called to follow Jesus.-They seem all to have lived in one family in the town of Bethsaida, which being situated near the sea of Galilee, was a convenient station for fishers.
Because the mother of Zebedee's children, is mentioned among the women who followed Jesus from Galilee to the last passover, ministring to him, as related, Matt. xxvii. 56. Lardner conjectures, that Zebedee was then dead, and that the two brothers lived in separate houses. For when our Lord, upon the cross, recommended his mother to John, it is said, John xix. 27. From that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. Perhaps John and his mother Salomè lived together.-Theophylact was of opinion that John's mother was related to our Lord: And Lardner, whom I have generally followed in giving John's history, supposes that that relation encouraged her to ask the two chief
places in Christ's kingdom for her sons; and that it was the occasion of our Lord's committing the care of his mother to John. But there is no evidence in scripture of Zebedee's children being related to our Lord by their mother.
John had not the advantage of a learned education. For we are told, Acts iv. 13. that the Council perceived Peter and John were unlearned men. Nevertheless, like the generality of the Jewish common people of that age, they may have been well acquainted with the scriptures; having often heard them read in the synagogues. And as with the rest of their countrymen, they expected the coming of the Messiah about that time, they lent a willing ear to the Baptist, when he published, that Messiah was actually come, though the people did not know him, John i. 26.-Aferward when the Baptist pointed out Jesus to his disciples, ver. 29. as the lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world, he said to them, ver. 33. I knew him not to be Messiah, but he who sent me to baptize with water the same said to me, upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on him, the same is he who baptizeth with the Holy Ghost, 34. And I sarv and bare record that this is the Son of God. If the sons of Zebedee were of the number of those to whom John testified that Jesus was the Son of God, we may believe they attached themselves early to him, and were among those who are called his disciples, and to whom he manifested his glory at the marriage in Cana, by turning water into wine, John ii. 11.
After the miracle in Cana, the sons of Zebedee seem to have followed their ordinary occupation, till Jesus called them to attend on him constantly, as mentioned, Matt. iv. For the evangelist having related the calling of Peter and Andrew, adds, ver. 21. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father mending their nets; and he called them, 22, and they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him; namely, when he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people.
Some time after this, Jesus chose twelve of his disciples to be with him always, that they might be eye and ear-witnesses of all he did and said, and be qualified to testify the same to the world; and in particular, qualified to bear witness to his re