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Wall, and Wolf, with Le Clerc and Lardner have adopted.Beza too was of the same opinion, for in his note on the in. scription he thus writes: “Some think Eclecta a proper name, “ which I do not approve, because in that case the order of the « words would have been Kupio ExhEXT», To the Lady Eclecta. “ Others think this name denotes the Christian church in ge“ neral. But that is disproved, first, by its being a manner of
speaking altogether unusual; secondly, by the apostle's ex
pressly promising in the last two verses, to come to her and “ her children; thirdly by sending to her the falutation of her « fifter, whom also he calls Eclecta. I therefore think this o epistle was inscribed to a woman of eminence, of whom there
were some here and there, who supported the church with “ their wealth, and that he called her elect, that is excellent, and
gave her the title of xupia Lady, just as Luke gave to Theo. « philus, and Paul gave to Feftus, the title of uparisos most ex. “ cellent. For the Christian religion doth not forbid such “ honourable titles to be given, when they are due.”
It is supposed, that the writer of this letter did not mention the name of the lady to whom it was sent; left the enemies of the gospel into whose hands it came, finding her pointed out as a person of eminence among the Christians, might have given her trouble. But the same reason should have hindered the writer of the third epistle, from mentioning the name of Caius in its inscription. Benson therefore thinks Kyria the name of the woman to whom the second of these epistles was written : and in support of his opinion observes, that the authors of the second Syriac, and of the Arabic versions of this epistle, understood Kyria to be her name : for they have inserted the word Kyria in their versions, without translating it.
It is not known where this lady lived. But from the apostle's proposing to visit her soon, it is conjectured that she lived not far from Ephesus, where the apostle abode when he wrote to her.
Sect. III. Of John's Defign in writing his Second Epiftle.
The Continuator of Estius's commentary faith, that any one who compares ver. 7. of this epiftle with what is written in the K 3
first letter, and with what Tertullian hath said De Prescript. c. 46. and Epiphanius Heres. 24. will be sensible that this short epistle was written to confute the error of Basilides and his followers, who affirmed that Christ was not a real man, but only a man in appearance ; consequently, that he neither did nor suffered what he appeared to do and suffer.
In the preface to the first epistle, Sect. 3. it was observed that in the latter end of the first age, many false teachers, the disciples of Bafilides, were going about diffeminating his doctrine concerning the person of Christ. Wherefore, as that doctrine overturned the whole scheme of the gospel, and in particular annihilated the atonement which Christ is said, in the gospel, to have made for the fin of the world by his death, robbed Chriftians of their best hopes, and turned the whole of their faith into a dream or illusion, John did not content himself with condemning that pernicious doctrine in his first epistle, but judged it necessary, in a more particular manner, to put this lady and her children on their guard against the deceivers who taught it. He therefore said to them, ver. 7. If any teacher come to you, who doth not hold the true doctrine concerning the person of Christ, do not receive him into your house, neither with him health and prosperity, left by seeming to encourage him in his errors, ye become partakers in his evil deeds.
Some readers, not attending to the circumstances in which this lady was, may perhaps from the apostle's advice to her, conclude that he was of an evil disposition himself, and encouraged in his disciples an intolerant fpirit, toward those who differed from them in opinion concerning matters of religion, But those who thus reaton ought to consider, that the person to whom the apostlc gave this advice was a woman, whose be. nevolent disposition laid her open to be imposed on by cunning deceivers. They ought also to call to mind the black picture, which the apostle Paul in his second to Timothy chap. iii. 6, 7, and in his epistle to Titus, chap. i. 10, 12. hath given of the ancient heretical teachers; together with what the Fathers have written concerning their base arts, their impiety, their monstrous tenets, their hypocrisy, their covetousness, and their debauchery. For, if they attend to these things, they will be senfible that the apostle's directions to this lady and her children, were by no means too severe : especially as these heretical teachers pretended to be inspired : nay to poffefs an higher degree of inspiration, than even the apostles themselves were endowed with. Besides, John's directions to this lady and her children, are not inconsistent with the precepts of the other apostles, who have commanded ys meekly to bear with those who err, and in the spirit of meekness to reclaim them. For the persons they had in view in these precepts, were not false teachers who disseminated their corrupt doctrines, and who erred from corruption of heart, but persons who erred through weakness of understanding, and ignorance. This is plain from Paul's ordering Titus to rebuke the false teachers in Crete with a cutting sharpness: And from his commanding Timothy to shun the company of obstinate heretics. And as John's advice to this lady is not inconsistent with the precepts of his brethren, fo neither do they contradict his own precepts, earnestly and repeatedly delivered in his first epistle, to love and to do good to the worst of men. They are only advices to this lady and her children, not to expose themselves to the danger of being sea duced by false teachers, and not to aid them in spreading their errors.--His advice, therefore, ought to be attended to by those, who, either from piety, or benevolence, are disposed to shew hospitality to teachers, of whose character and tenets they are ignorant ; because such, notwithstanding their shew of godliness, and their plausible discourse, may be deceivers : in which case, the persons who entertain them in their houses, or who give them money, certainly become partakers of their evil deeds, as the apostle in this epistle hath expressly declared.
View and Illustration of the Matters contained in Jokn's Second
HE apolle, after addressing this letter to a woman of
diltination and her children, and expressing great affection to them on account of their adhering to the truth of the gospel, ver. 1.-declared that he was moved, thus to love them, by the gospel itself, ver. 2.- And as a testimony of his love, he gave them his apoftolical benediction, ver. 3. -Then told this lady, that he felt the greatest joy when he found some of her children, with whom he had conversed, perhaps at Ephesus, walking in the truth; that is holding the true doctrine of the gospel, and behaving suitably to that doctrine, ver. 4.-From this he took occasion to exhort them, to love all the sincere disciples of Christ, and to do them good offices, according to the commandment which Christ gave to his apostles at the beginning, ver. 5.and to express their love to Christ by obeying all his commandments; particularly the commandment they had heard from the beginning that they should love one another sincerely with a pure spiritual love, ver. 6. ---Next he told this excellent lady, that his joy, on account of her children's walking in the true doctrine of the gospel concerning the person of Christ, was the greater that many false teachers were going about, who denied that Jesus Christ had come in the fell. Each of these, he told her, was the deceiver and the antichrist foretold by our Lord to come. This account of the false teachers the apostle gave, left the lady and her children, deceived by their plausible speeches, and their shew of extraor
GREEK TEXT. VER. I The elder unto
1 Ο πρεσβυτερος εκλεκthe elect lady and her child
TOIS TEXVOLS ren, whom I love in the Txupih, zQI truth: and not I only, but αυτης, ες εγω αγαπω εν αalfo all they that have known ληθεια και εκ εγω μονς, , the truth;
αλλα και σαντες οι εγνωκοτες την αληθειαν
Ver. 1.-1. The elder. For the import of this title, see Pref. Sect. 1. penult paragr.
2. To the eled lady. The apostle gave to this lady the appellation of eleet or excellent, (See Ef. iv. 41., not only on account of her vir.
dinary piety, might have been disposed to shew them kindness, supposing them to be the servants of Christ, ver. 7.—He there. fore de Gred them to be on their guard against such teachers, for this among other reasons, that if they should be drawn away by them, he would lose the reward which he expected for his baving, not only faithfully, but successfully, taught them the true doctrine of the g spel: For he wilhed that his reward might be complete, through their continuing in the belief and practice of the truth, ver. 8.-Moreover he told them, that the teacher who doth not abide in the true doctrine concerning Christ doth not acknowledge the truth of God's testimony concerning his Son. But the teacher who continueth to hold that doctrine, acknowledges the Son's testimony concerning himself, as well as the Father's, ver. 9.- Wherefore, if any teacher came to them, and did not bring the true doctrine concerning Christ, he forbade them to receive him into their house; or so much as to give him the common falutation or wish of health, ver. 10. ---Because the person who gives any encouragement to false teachers, though it be done inconsiderately, is in some sort acceffary to the mischiefs which his pernicious doctrine may occafen, ver. 11.– He then told them, that he had many other things to say to them concerning these impoitors, but he would not commit them to writing, because he hoped to come foon and converse with them personally, in a more free manner than he could do by letter, that their mutual joy might be complete, ver. 12. — And so concluded, with giving this lady the falutation of the children of her fifter, to whom likewise he gives the appellation of elect, on account of the excellence of her character,
COMMENTARY. VER. I The elder' to Ver. 1 I the aged apostle of Christ the elect lady' and her to the excellent lady and her children, children, s whom I love 4 whom I love in truth, and not í sincerely.. And not I on- only, but all also who know the true ly, but all also who know dočtrine of the gospel, love her and her the truth.
tues, but as Fstius observes, because she was distinguished by her birth and opulence ; and to shew his respect for her on account of her beneficence to the poor, and to strangers. See ver. 13. note. and Pres. Sect. 2.