Page images

doing good, not only to their own relations and friends, but to the poor and needy who apply to them; and how cogent are the obligations which God hath laid on the great, the powerful, and the rich, to be general benefactors to mankind, by doing good and communicating. Being thus imitators of God in his greateft attribute, they do what is more acceptable to him than facrifice, according to the saying of the heathen poet Menander, translated in Adventurer, No. 105. “ He that offers in sacrifice, “ O Pamphilus, a multitude of bulls and of goats, of golden vest“ ments, or purple garments, or figures of ivory, or precious

gems, and imagines by this to conciliate the favour of God, “ is grossly mistaken, and has no solid understanding. For he “ that would sacrifice with success, ought to be (xentiuor) beneficent, no corrupter of virgins, no adulterer, no robber or mur« derer for the sake of lucre. Covet not, O Pamphilus, even

the thread of another man's needle ; for God, who is near “ thee, perpetually beholds thy actions."

Temperance, and justice, and purity, are here inculcated in • the strongest manner, and upon the most powerful motive, the « Omniscience of the Deity, at the same time, fuperftition and

the idolatry of the heathen are artfully ridiculed. I know not • among the ancients any paffage that contains such exalted and : spiritualized thoughts of religion.'


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Sect. I. Of the Authenticity of the Third Fpifle of John.

[ocr errors]

OR the proofs of the authenticity of this epistle, fee Pref.

2 John Sect. 1. To which may be added, that in the third epistle, we find some sentiments and expressions which are used in the second. Compare ver. 4. with 2 epiftle, ver. 4. and ver. 13, 14. with 2 epistle, ver. 12,

Sect. II. Of the Person to whom this Epiflle was written,

This short letter is inscribed to a person named Gaius ; or according to the Latin orthography, Caius ; a common name, efpecially among the Romans. - In the history of the Acts, and in the epistles, we meet with five persons of this name.-

1. There

L 3

1. There is a Caius who was with St. Paul in Ephesus, during the riot of Demetrius, and who is called A man of Macedonia, and Paul's companion in travel, Ads xix. 29.-2. A Caius is mentioned, Acts xx. 4. called Caius of Derbe, which was a city of Lycaonia or Isauria. Probably he was a person different from the Macedonian Caius, though like him he was Paul's af. sistant in preaching the gospel. Caius of Derbe accompanied Paul to Jerusalem with the collection for the saints. Probably, therefore, he was chosen by the churches of Lycaonia, their messenger for that effect.--3. Paụl, writing from Corinth to the church of Rome, speaks of a Caius with whom he lodged, Rom. xvi. 23. who was a very benevolent person, and in opulent circumstances. For the apostle called him his hoft, and the host of the whole church of Corinth. Wherefore as the Caius, to whom John wrote his 3d epistle, was in like manner a very benevolent person, and in good circumstances, Bede, and after him Lightfoot, conjectured that he was the Caius, who in Paul's epistle to the Romans sent his salutation to the church at Rome, 4. The same apostle mentions his having baptized one of the name of Caius at Corinth, 1 Cor. i, 14. Probably he was the person whom in his epistle to the Romans, which was written fro:n Corinth, Paul calls bis hoft, and the host of the church.5. There was a Caius to whom John wrote this third epistle, Him Eftius and Heuman thought a different person from all those above mentioned, because the apostle hy numbering him among his children, ver. 4. hath infinuated that he was his convert, which they suppose he could not say of any of the Caius's mentioned above.

In the ancient history of the church, we meet with three persons of the name of Caius. One of them a bishop of Ephesus, another of Thessalonica, and a third of Pergamos; all about this time.Whilton and Mill have said, that the bishop of Pergamos was the Caius to whom John wrote his third epistle. But as Lardner observes, they said this on the testimony of the pretend. ed apoftolical constitutions, which in the present affair are of no authority at all. Besides, from the epistle itself it is evident, that Caius, ta whom it was written, was at that time a person in z private station,

Lardner's Lardner's account of Caius is, that “ he was an eminent “ Christian, who lived in some city of Alia not far from Ephe“ fus, where St. John chiefly resided after his leaving Judea. “ For ver. 14. The apostle speaks of shortly coming to him : 56 which he could not well have done if Caius lived at Co“ rinth, or any other remote place." Canon, vol. iii. p. 293.

Caius being neither a bihop nor a deacon, but a private member of some church, of which the apostle took the inspection, his hospitality to the brethren, and to the strangers who came to him, is a proof that he poffeffed some substance, and that he was of a very benevolent disposition.-Grotius thought Caius a good Christian, who lived in one of the churches or cities mentioned in the Revelation. However, as John hath not fuggested any circumstance, by which we can distinguish his Caius from others of the same name, it is impossible to say with any certainty who he was, or where he lived.

Sect. III. Of the Apostle's Design in writing his Third Epiftle,

and of the Persons who are mentioned in it by Name.

It doth not seem to have been John's design in writing to Caius, either to guard him against the attempts of the heretical teachers who were gone abroad, or to condemn the errors which they were at great pains to propagate : But only, in the first place, to praise Caius for having shewed kindness to fome brethren and strangers, who, in journeying among the Gentiles, had come to the place where Caius resided ; and to encourage him to thew then; the like kindness, when they should come to him again in the course of their second journey.-In the next place, he wrote this letter for the purpose of rebuking and restraining one Diotrephes, who had arrogantly assumed to himself the chief direction of the affairs of the church, of which Caius was a member : and, who had refused to aslift the brethren and strangers above mentioned ; and even had hindered those, from receiving and entertaining them, who were defirous to do it. In the third place, the apostle wrote this letter to commend an excellent person named Demetrius, who, in disposition and be



haviour, being the reverse of Diotrephes, the apostle proposed him as a pattern, whom Caius and the rest were to imitate.

Commentators are not agreed in their accounts of the brethren and the frangers, to whom Caius Thewed kindness, as they pas. sed through his city.-Grotius and Lampe thought these strangers were believing Jews, who had been driven out of Palestine by their unbelieving brethren, or, who had been forced away by the calamities brought on that country during the Jewish war; and had come into Asia, in hopes of obtaining asliftance from the Chriftians in that province; or perhaps of obtaining a settlement among them.-Grotius fupposes Diotrephes would not receive these Arangers, nor even the brethren, that is, the Christians who were of his acquaintance, because they joined the rites of the law with the gospel. This, likewise, was the opinion of Le Clerc and Beaufobre. Wherefore, according to these authors, Diotrephes was a Gentile convert, and zealous for the freedom of the Gentiles from the yoke of the law. But Mosheim rejects their opinion, as having no foundation in antiquity.--Others think these strangers were Gentile converts, whom Diotrephes, a Jew zealous of the law, would not re, ceive, because they did not observe the rites of Moses. That opinion Benson adopted, founding it on this circumstance, that Diotrephes did not receive John; that is, did not acknowledge his authority as an apostle. For he thinks, none but the Judaizing teachers denied the authority of the apostles.

The brethren, who were hospitably entertained by Caius, were some believers who had gone from Ephesus to the church where Caius abode. For they are said to have praised his liberality, in the presence of the church over which John presided. Probably they belonged to that church as members. Further, since the apostle desired Caius to help these brethren and strangers for. ward on their journey, it implieth that they had gone forth, or were going forth, on a fecond journey among the Gentiles, in which they proposed to visit Caius again.-Eftius conjectures, that John sent this letter to Caius by chem,

The account given ver. 7. of the purpose for which the trethren and strangers went forth to the Gentiles, inclines me to think they were preachers: For his name's fake. they went


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »