Imatges de pàgina
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View and Illustration of the Matters contained in this Epistle.

To encour encourage Caius to persevere in that virtuous course, by which he had obtained the love of all who knew him, John, in the inscription of this letter, declared his own love to him, on account of the uncommon goodness of his character and actions, ver. 1.—and prayed to God to prosper him in his spiritual concerns, ver. 2.—and told him what joy it gave him, when the brethren who had been assisted by him, brought him the welcome news of his perseverance in the true doctrine of the gospel, ver. 3.-because the apostle's greatest joy was to hear that his disciples walked in the truth, ver. 4.-Next, he praised Caius as acting agreeably to the gospel, when he shewed kindness to the brethren and to the strangers, who had applied to him for succour in their straits, ver. 5.—And to encourage him to persevere in these charitable christian offices, he told Caius, that the brethren and strangers, when they returned, bare an honourable testimony to his love, publicly before the church over which John presided. And, as they were, at the time this letter was written, making a second journey among the Gentiles, he told him, if he helped them forward a second time, in a manner worthy of God whom they served, by succouring them, he would still do a good work acceptable to God, ver. 6.—Because these brethren and strangers, for the sake of publishing the name of Christ and the doctrine of the gospel among the Gentiles, were gone forth, as formerly, with a resolution of taking nothing on the score of maintenance from the Gentiles, notwithstanding they greatly benefitted the Gentiles by preaching the gospel to them, ver. 7.-For which cause, all who had the furtherance of the gospel at heart, he told him, were bound to shew such persons kindness, that they might be joint-labourers with them in spreading and establishing the truth, ver. 8.

Next he told Caius, that he would have written the same exhortation to the church of which he was a member; but he had abstained from writing, because Diotrephes, who ruled every thing in that church according to his own humour, did not acknowledge his apostolical authority; thereby insinuating, that Diotrephes probably would have suppressed any letter which the apostle might write, ver. 9.-He added, that because Diotrephes did not acknowledge his authority, he would, when he came among them, put him in mind of his deeds; his prating against the apostle with malicious words, his not receiving the brethren

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and the strangers who had applied to him in their straits for relief, his hindering the members of his church from assisting them, who were disposed to do it, and his casting those out of the church who had persevered in assisting them, contrary to his arbitrary orders. By this, I think, the apostle threatened to exercise his miraculous power in punishing Diotrephes for his evil deeds, ver. 10.-But beloved, said he, do not imitate, what is evil in Diotrephes, but what is good in Demetrius, one of your own church. For he who doth good actions is begotten of God; but he who doth evil actions hath not seen God; he hath no right knowledge of God, ver. 11.-He then told Caius, that Demetrius was every way worthy of being imitated, because he was praised not only by all good men, but by the gospel itself, his temper and actions being conformable to the precepts of the gospel, in every respect. To these honourable testimonies John added his own approbation of Demetrius's character, which

OLD TRANSLATION.

GREEK TEXT.

VER. 1 The elder unto

1 Ὁ πρεσβυτερος Γαιῳ τῷ the well-beloved Caius, αγαπητῷ, ὁν εγω αγαπω εν

whom I love in the truth.

αληθεια.

2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health,

even as thy soul prospereth.

3 For I rejoiced greatly when the brethren came

and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.

2 Αγαπητε, περι παντων ευχομαι σε ευοδουσθαι και ὑγιαίνειν, καθως ευοδούται σου ἡ ψυχη.

3 Εχαρην γαρ λιαν, ερχομενων αδελφων και μαρτυρουντων σου τη αληθεια, καθως συ εν αλήθεια περιπατεις.

Ver. 1.-1. The elder. This appellation signifies the aged apostle. See Pref. to 2 John, Sect. 1. penult paragr.

2. To Caius (See Pref. Sect. 2.) the beloved, whom I love in truth. See 2 John, ver. 1. note 5.

Ver. 2.-1. Beloved, I pray that with respect to all things thou mayest prosper. In the Greek it is, megi avtav euxqμaι σe evodxo das, which in our Bible is rendered, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper.-Beza's translation is, Deum oro de omnibus rebus; I pray God concerning all things; things temporal as well as things spiritual, that thou mayest prosper. In this translation Beza is followed by Estius, and Erasmus Schmidius,—Doddridge's translation is, Beloved, I pray that in respect of all things.

Caius knew to be a true testimony, because he knew that the apostle never praised any person from flattery, ver. 12.-He told him farther, that he had many things to write to him concerning the unchristian temper and conduct of Diotrephes; but he would not commit them to paper, lest his letter falling into other hands, might be shewed to that imperious man, and enrage him. against Caius, ver. 13.-But he hoped to visit Caius soon, and then would speak to him mouth to mouth freely concerning Diotrephes. In the mean time to testify his esteem of Caius, he gave him his apostolical benediction, together with the salutation of all the faithful who were with him; and whom he named the friends, because they were the friends of Christ, and lived in strict friendship with each other. Lastly, he desired Caius in his name, to wish health and happiness to all the faithful in his church, whom he termed the friends, because they also were the friends of Christ, and lived in the strictest friendship with each other, ver. 14.

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2. Thou mayest prosper. Evodeodal, signifies to go on safely and successfully in a journey. Hence it signifies to be prosperous in general.

3. And be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. From John's using the word ave, some conjecture that Caius was of a sickly constitution of body: and from his wishing him prosperity, they fancy that Caius had sustained considerable worldly losses. But I see no reason for either of these conjectures. His worldly affairs, at the time John wrote to him, were such as

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4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

4 Μειζοτεραν τούτων οὐκ εχω χαραν, ἵνα ακουω τα εμα τεκνα εν αληθείᾳ περι

πατοῦντα.

5 Beloved, thou dost faithfully whatsoever thou

5 Αγαπητε, πιςον ποιεις ὁ εαν εργαση εις τους αδελdost to the brethren, and φους και εις τους ξενους,

to strangers;

enabled him to lodge and entertain the brethren and strangers, who applied to him for relief. Perhaps also, he gave them money to defray the expenses of their journey among the Gentiles.-But be this as it may, it is evident that Caius had made himself remarkable among the Christians in that part of the world, for his many virtues. For the apostle made his proficiency in the Christian graces, the measure of that temporal prosperity and health which he wished to him, not for his own sake alone, but for the benefit of the church. Wherefore, in the apostle's wish, there was a delicate insinuation, that if Caius's riches, of which he had made so good a use, and his bodily health, were in proportion to his virtues, they would be very great, and the continuance of his life and health would be a singular blessing to the church.

Ver. 3.-i. For I rejoiced greatly. The connexion in which this verse stands with ver. 2. where the apostle told Caius, that he prayed for him, teacheth us, that the most proper expression of our joy for the happiness and virtue of our friends, is to give thanks to God for the same, and to pray that these blessings may be continued to them.

2. When the brethren came. That exμev is rightly rendered came, See proved, 2 John, ver. 7. note 1.—The brethren here spoken of, seem to have been those mentioned ver. 5. who having been sent by the apostle, either to convert the Gentiles, or to water the Gentile churches already planted, had been hospitably entertained by Caius, and perhaps assisted by him with money: and who, on their return to the apostle, had in a meeting of the church over which he presided, given an account of Caius's perseverance in the true faith, and declared the great kindness which he had shewed to them, ver 6. which was the more acceptable to them, as they had generously resolved to take nothing for their maintenance from the Gentiles, to whom they preached the gospel.

3. And bare witness to thy truth. The apostle emphatically terms Caius's joining works of charity, with faith in the doctrines of the gospel, his truth. For there is no true faith without good works: It always produces good works; neither are any works good, but such as proceed from faith. The two joined, constitute the truth of religion.

Ver 4-1. I have no greater joys than those which I have. In the new translation of this clause I have supplied the words, which I have: because the plural demonstrative pronoun T&T construed, as it must be, with us

4 I have no greater joys than those WHICH I HAVE1 (iva, 199.) when I hear my children3 are walking in truth.

5 Beloved, thou dost faithfully what thou performest for the brethren, and for the strangers."

4 I have no greater joys than those which I have, when I hear my disciples are walking in the true faith of the gospel.

5 Beloved, thou dost agreeably to the faith which thou professest, what thou performest for the brethren who are gone forth to preach the gospel, and for the strangers who assist them in that good work.

Sorepay xagev, cannot be translated without the addition of these words.→ Rich. Baxter's note on this verse is good. "True ministers rejoice more "for the welfare of men's souls, than in their procuring wealth and worldly "honours." See 2 John, ver. 4. note 2.

2. When I hear. So iva axou must be translated. This use of iva is thought by some a peculiarity in John's style. See however, Ess. iv. 199.

3. My children. I think John, by reckoning Caius in the number of his children, means to tell us that Caius was converted by him. Others however are of opinion, that the apostle gave to those who were under his inspection, the appellation of aux tenva my children, to express his tender affection to them, and his concern for their welfare. And in support of their, opinion they observe, that the term children, is used to express affection, 1 John ii. But the terms used in that chapter are TEXvia μs, my little children, and waidia, young children, which strongly express affection. See 1 John ii. 1. note 1. Whereas here, qua Texva, my children, denotes simply the relation of children to their father.

Ver. 5-1. Beloved, thou dost faithfully. П150v rous. Thou dost a faithful thing a thing becoming a faithful person; or one who is a real

believer.

2. What thou performest for the brethren, and for the strangers. As the brethren are here distinguished from the strangers, the brethren I suppose were members of the church over which John presided. Accordingly it is said of them, ver. 7. that they went forth from the place of their residence, which I suppose was Ephesus or some other city of Asia where John abode, to publish the name of Christ as the Son of God to the Gentiles in those parts. And at their return from their first journey, they bare witness to the faith and love of Caius in the presence of the church from which they went forth. But the strangers were poor Christians who, as Heuman supposes, having been driven from their habitation by their persecutors, had come to the city where Caius dwelt, in the hope of finding relief. And happening to meet the brethren there, they joined them in their first journey among the Gentiles. To shew how unfaithfully the Papists have translated the scriptures, Benson takes notice, that to give countenance to their pilgrimages, they have, in some of their versions of this passage, translated the

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