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4 ceive and entertain these brethren, but he also discourages
*those who would relieve and entertain them. And thus
*he obligeth these strangers to leave your church, and go
By these last words most interpreters understand St. John to say, that Diotrephes excommunicated, or cast out of the church, " the brethren," members of it, who were for receiving these strangers. But Dr. Hcumann says, thatz by the persons whom Diotrephes cast out of the church, must be understood these strangers, not the members of the church. For, as plainly appears, Caiuswas not excommunicated, though he had done what was opposed by Diotrephes. Nor need it be supposed, that all the strangers, here spoken of, were obliged to leave that place, or society. Diotrephes, it is true, discouraged their reception, and some might remove elsewhere. Others of them, however, might continue their abode there, encouraged by Caius and some other pious members of this church, who did not submit to the reasons or the orders of Diotrephes.
In this interpretation it is supposed, that" casting out of the church," refers not to the persons last mentioned, who would receive these strangers, but to "the strangers," whom Diotrephes would not have to be received. And Beausobre says, the a place may be so understood. Dr. Heumarm blames him for not saying thatb it ought to be so understood.
z Universi videlicet, qui hanc tractarunt epistolam, sibi persuaserunt, describi his verbis illud poenae ecclesiasticae genus, quod excommunicatio vocari solet. Facile quidem poterat hie error agnosci. Nam primo, Caium, id, quod fieri nolebat Diotrephes, facientem, ab ipso non fuisse excommunica
tum, in propatulo est. Sed age, rem totam mtueamur propius. Initio igi
tur considerandum quosnam ecclesia ejecerit Diotrephes. Ab omnibus, si Beausobriutn excipirr.us, hoc refertur ad propinquius, r&g /38\o/z£V8£, hoc est, eos qui volebant exules hospitio excipere. Cum vero jam graves attulimus causas, cur non credi possit hos excommunicatione ejecisse ecclesia, sequitur, ut statuamus, haec verba, *k rijg tKKXvjffias cic/3aXX«, pertinere ad remotius, ad fratres exules. His scilicet, dum nee ipse ex aerario aliquid impertiebat, et aliis quoque, ut nihil ipsis darent, suadebat ac persuadebat, hoc ipso migrare eos cogebat alio, atque ita ' e sua expellebat ecclesia.' Nonerat igitur nostro loco necesse excommunicationem tribuere Diotrephi. Sed satis evidens est id eum effecisse, quod omissam priorum exulum receptionem necessario consequebatur, ut videlicet exirent ecclesia, aliamque peterent, opum pariter et mi
sericordiae abundantiorem. Apparet hinc etiam facile, cum volentes exulum
miscreri KwXeveiv hie dicitur Diotrephes, non credi eum debere id vetuisse pro imperio, sed allatis duntaxat causis, cur fieri id non oportebat, multos ab hoc
pietatis officio revocasse Atquc hoc ipsum nos admonet, verbo, eic(3a\\uv,
non necessario significari, omnes illos exules revera abire coactas, sed id etiam recte usurpari de conatu Diotrephis id efficiendi. Heumann. ibid. p. 310—313.
4 'Les chasse de 1' eglise.' Cela se peut rapporter ou aux freres, ou a ceux qui les regoient, ou aux uns et aux autres. Sur ver. 10.
There have been various conjectures of learned men concerning the reasons of Diotrephes' conduct, which I do not choose to take notice of now. Dr. Heumann supposeth, that Diotrephes had the disposal of the revenues of the church. There came to the place strangers, who needed relief. But Diotrephes opposed the distribution of any of the common stock,and also discouraged such as were willing to assist them with their own. For all which, as may be supposed, he assigned some reasons. This appears to me to have been the whole of the affair.
But whether these strangers were Jews, or Gentiles, I cannot say. There might be some of both. Grotiusc and Lamped think they were Jews, who had been driven out of Palestine, or had been reduced to want by the general and grievous calamity of that country, and had come into Asia with hopes of relief, and for the sake of a settlement. Heumann, as before seen, says they were Gentiles. For certain they were christians. And St. John, I think, says, that we ought to receive such, whether they be of Jewish or Gentile stock, "that we may be fellow-helpers to the truth:" * that we also may serve the interests of truth, 'for the sake of which these persons have suffered the loss 'of all things.'
Ver. 11, " Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good." Here the apostle exhorts Caius to persist in his good conduct, and to be upon his guard, not to be influenced by any bad examples.
In the twelfth verse he recommends to him Demetrius, by whom, as may be supposed, this letter was carried.
In the 13th and 14th verses he sends salutations, and speaks again of coming to the place where Caius dwelled, and of" speaking with him face to face." Which I suppose he did.
And I please myself with the supposition, that his journey
b Hie enim in Gallica sua N. T. versione animadvertit, haec verba etiam ad remotius referri posse, hoc est, ad fratres exules. Debebat vero indulgere meditationi, nee id relinquere dubium et incertum. Heum. ib. 311. note (p).
c 'YTrep Ts ovo/xarog aura e^rjWov' id est, a Judaea ejecti sunt per Jud;os incredulos ob Christum. Grot, ad ver. 7.
d Unde colligimus, peregrinos hos, quorum causam Joannes tam impense egit, fuisse Judaeos ex Palaestina cum eo profugos, qui pro se aliisque, per totalem regionis illius devastationem ad summam egestatem, redactis, opem ecclesiarum Asiae florentium implorabant. Lamp. Proleg. 1.1. c. 7, s See above, p. 27£.
was not m vain. I imagine, that Diotrephes submitted, and acquiesced in the advices and admonitions of the apostle. Of this I have no certain assurance. However I may add, that neither does any one else know the contrary.
VI. Concerning the time of writing these two epistles, nothing can be said with certainty. Mill6 placeth them about the same time with the first, in 91 or 92. Wlnstonf likewise supposeth that they were all three written about the year 82 or 83. I imagine that St. John was somewhat advanced in age, and that he had resided a good while in Asia, before he wrote any of these epistles. Consequently, 1 am disposed to think that these two were not written sooner than the first. And as it was before s argued, that the first epistle was written about the year 80, these two may be reckoned to have been written between the years 80 and 90.
ST. JUDE AND HIS EPISTLE.
I. His history. II. Testimonies to the genuineness of the epistle. III. To whom it was sent. IV. The time when it wasicritten.
I. THE writer describes himself in this manner at the beginning of the epistle, ch. i. ver. 1, " Jude,a the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James." Those two characters lead us to think that he was one of those called the Lord's brethren, and that he was an apostle. Our Lord's brethren, as enumerated in Matt. xiii. 55, are "James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas." In Mark vi. 3, " James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon." And in the catalogues of the apostles are these. Matt. x. 3, "James the son of Alpheus, and Lebbeus, whose sure Proleg. num. 151. f As before, p. 278.
name was Thaddeus. Simon the Canaanite." Mark iii. 18, "James the son of Alpheus, and Thaddeus, and Simon the Canaanite." Luke vi. 15, 16, "James the son of Alpheus, and Simon Zclotes, and Judas the brother of James." Acts i. 13, "James the son of Alpheus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James."
Thus he appears to have been sometimes called Judas, at other times Thaddeus, or Lebbeus. As I do not inquire into the meaning and origin of these names, I refer to b others. I only observe, that it was no uncommon thing among the Jews for a man to have different names, as Simon, sometimes called Simeon, at other times Peter, or Cephas. And Thomas was also called Didymus.
"Jude, servant of Jesus Christ." He does not thereby deny himself to be an apostle. St. Paul does not always take upon himself that character at the beginning of his epistles. It is wanting in his two epistles to the Thessalonians, in the epistles to the Philippians and to Philemon. The epistle to the Philippians begins in this manner; "Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus, which are at Philippi."
It follows. "And brother of James:" meaning James, sometimes called the Lord's brother, and son of Alpheus, one of the twelve apostles. And he does fitly so style himself, as that James was the eldest brother, and was of note among the apostles, after our Saviour's ascension, and in great repute among the Jewish believers. As appears from Acts xii. 17; xv; xxi. 18—25; and Gal. i. 19; ii. 9.
We have no account of Jude's vocation to the apostleship. Nor is there any thing said of him particularly in the gospels, except what is related in John xiv. 21—23, in the account, which that evangelist has given of our Lord's most excellent and affectionate discourses with the disciples a short time before his last suffering. "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loyeth me. And he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father. And I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot: Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself to us, and not unto the world! Jesus answered, and said unto him: If a man love me, he will keep my words. And my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."
This disciple still had the common prejudice concerning the kingdom of the Messiah. And he asks our Saviour with surprise, how he could speak of manifesting himself to a few only, when he was about to set up an universal monarchy in great power and splendour? our Lord tells him (what he might have known before) that his kingdom, as Messiah, was spiritual, a kingdom of truth and righteousness: and that the blessings and privileges of it were peculiar to good men, who obeyed the precepts of true religion, which had been taught by him. Such would be accepted, and approved by himself, and by his heavenly Father, in whose name he had spoken. This they would all know, when he should come again among them, after his resurrection, and when the gift of the Spirit should be bestowed upon them, and others his followers.
b See Lightfoot's Hebrew and Talraudical Exercitations upon St. Matthew, Vol. II. p. 176. Witsii Comm. in ep. Judae. num. ii. Cave's Life of St. Jude, in English. Dr. Benson's Preface to this epistle, sect. i.
As there is little said of Jude in the history of our Saviour before his resurrection, so St. Luke in the Acts has inserted nothing particularly concerning him after it. However, it is unquestionable that he partook of the plentiful effusion of the Holy Ghost at the pentecost next after our Lord's ascension: and that he joined with the other apostles in bearing an open testimony to our Lord's resurrection at Jerusalem: and that he had a share with them in the reproaches and other sufferings, which they endured upon that account.
It may be also reasonably supposed, that for a while he preached the gospel in several parts of the land of Israel, and wrought miracles in the name of Christ. But what they were, we cannot say, because they are not recorded by St. Luke nor any other credible historian near the time.
As his life seems to have been prolonged, it may be also reckoned very likely, that he afterwards left Judea, and went abroad, preaching the gospel to Jews and Gentiles in other countries. But we have no account of his travels, that can be relied on. Some have said, that he preached in Arabia, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia: and that he suffered martyrdom in this last-mentioned country. But of these things there remains not any credible history.
Indeed, it may be questioned, whether St. Jude was a martyr. It was formerly observed byc us, that Heracleon, a learned Valentinian, as cited by Clement of Alexandria, reckons d among apostles, who had not died by martyrdom,
c See Vol. v. ch. v. note b.
^ Ou yap Ttclvteq 01 GwZojJievoi wj^oXoyTjcrav TrjV fiia rrjq tf)UJvrjg o/zoXoymr>, Kai t£ij\Qov' e% w Mar0cao£, SuXiTTTrog, Ow/iac, Aevi£t Kcu aXXoi TroXXot. Heracl. ap. Clem. A. Str. 1. 4. p. 502.