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PREFACE TO THE GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN.

must have been published at a time, and in a country, the people whereof, in general, knew very little of the Jewish rites and manners. Thus those who in the other gospels are called simply 'the people,' or 'the multitude,' are here denominated 'the Jews,' a method which would not have been natural in their own land, or even in the neighbourhood, where the nation itself, and its peculiarities, were perfectly well known. As it was customary in the East, both with Jews and others, to use proper names independently significant, which, when they went abroad, were translated into the language of the country, this author, that there might be no mistake of the persons meant, was careful, when the Greek name had any currency, to mention both names, Syriac and Greek. Thus, 'Cephas, which denoteth the same as Peter,' John i. 43; Thomas, that is, Didymus,' chap. xi. 16. The same may be said of some titles in current use, 'Rabbi, which is, being interpreted, Master,' chap. i. 38; ‘Messiah, which is, the Christ,' chap. i. 41. In like manner, when there is occasion to mention any of the religious ceremonies used in Judea, as their 'purifications,' or their festivals,' it is almost invariably signified that the ceremony, or custom spoken of, is Jewish. Thus the waterpots are said to be placed for the Jewish rites of cleansing, chap. ii. 6. The passover is once and again (chap. ii. 13; vi. 4; xi. 55) denominated the Jewish passover,' a phrase used only by this evangelist; and even any other religious feast is called (chap. v. 1; vii. 2) by him, εoptη тwv Ixdaιwv, ‘a Jewish festival.' This style runs through the whole. The writer everywhere speaks as to people who knew little or nothing about the Jews: see chap. iv. 9, 45.

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Though simplicity of manner is common to all our Lord's historians, there are evident differences in the simplicity of one compared with that of another. One thing very remarkable in John's style is, an attempt to impress important truths more strongly on the minds of the readers, by employing, in the expression of them, both an affirmative proposition and a negative. Thus, John i. 20, 'He acknowledged, and denied not, but acknowledged.' Repetitions, pleonasms, and tautologies, are also very frequent in this gospel: see chap. i. 1, 2, 7, 8.

Hebraisms are to be found in all the evangelists; though it may be remarked, that some abound more with one sort of Hebraism, and others with another. A Hebrew idiom, very frequent with this writer, is the repetition or introduction of the personal pronoun, in cases where it is perfectly redundant. See verses 33 and 27 in the original. The introduction of any incident with the phrase, kalɛyevɛto, generally rendered in the common translation, And it came to pass,' though common in the other gospels, never occurs in this The introduction of either facts or observations, by the adverb behold, is much rarer in this gospel than in the rest. But in the change of the tenses, so frequent with the Hebrews, John abounds more than any other of our Lord's biographers. He is peculiar in the application of some names, as of i Aoyos, 'The Word,' and ¿ μovoyevns, ‘The only begotten,' to the Lord Jesus Christ; and of & Пapaкλптos, 'The Monitor,' or, as some render it, 'The Advocate,' and others, 'The Comforter,' to the Holy Ghost. He is peculiar also in some modes of expression which, though inconsiderable in themselves, it may not be improper to suggest in passing. Such is his reduplication of the affirmative adverb, aunv, verily; for he always says, 'Verily, verily, I say unto you.' It is never used but singly by the rest."

"The style and character of St. John," says Mr. Blackwall, in his Sacred Classics, "is grave and simple, short and perspicuous. As to his language, it is plain and sometimes low, but he reaches to the very heaven of heavens in the sublimity of his notions. The venerable plainness, the majestic gravity, and beautiful simplicity of this writer, will always, by men of judgment, be valued above all the pomp of artificial eloquence, and gaudy ornaments of sophistry, and the declamatory style. This glorious gospel completes the evangelical history, and enriches it with several most heavenly discourses and miracles of the world's Saviour, not recorded by any of the three divine writers before him. The first five chapters give an account of his works of wonder before the Baptist's imprisonment. He enlarges upon the eternal existence of our Saviour, and gives us a most edifying and VOL. I. ( 33 )

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PREFACE TO THE GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN.

delightful account of his conversation for many days upon earth, with his apostles and select disciples, after his victorious and triumphant resurrection.”

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Here," says Dr. Campbell, we have also the true sources of Christian consolation under persecution, and the strongest motives to faith, patience, constancy, and mutual love, in every situation wherein Providence may place us. From the incidents here related, we may learn many excellent lessons of modesty, humanity, humility, and kind attention to the concerns of others. Nor does any one of those incidents appear to be more fraught with instruction than the charge of his mother, which our blessed Lord, at that critical time when he hung in agony upon the cross, consigned to his beloved disciple, John xix. 25, &c. Though the passage is very brief, and destitute of all artful colouring, nothing can impress more strongly on the feeling heart his respectful tenderness for a worthy parent, and his unalterable affection for a faithful friend. Upon the whole, the language employed in conveying the sentiments is no more than the repository, the case. Let not its homeliness discourage any one from examining its valuable contents. The treasure itself is heavenly, even the unsearchable riches of Christ, which the apostle observes, (2 Cor. iv. 7,) to be committed ‘to earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may,' to the conviction of all the sober-minded, 'be of God, and not of men.'

"The Apostle John, by the concurrent testimony of all Christian antiquity, after suffering persecution for the cause of Christ, lived to a very great age; and having survived all the other apostles, died a natural death, at Ephesus, in Asia Minor, in the reign of the Emperor Trajan.”

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We have here, (1,, A very sublime and emphatical account of the Deity and incarnation of Christ; and of those glorious and important purposes for which he condescended to appear among us in the human nature, 1–14. (2,) The testimony of John the Baptist concerning Christ, and the evangelist's own testimony added to confirm it, 15-18. (3,) Another testimony of John concerning Christ, delivered to the priests and Levites, sent by the great men among the Jews to inquire who he was, 19–28. (4,) A third and more enlarged testimony of the Baptist borne to Jesus, as the Lamb of God, which becomes an occasion of introducing some of John's disciples into an acquaintance with Jesus, 29–42. (5,) The calling of Philip, and the interview of Christ with Nathanael, 43-51.

1. B. C. 4004.

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A. M. IN *the beginning was the Word, || 2 The same was in the beginning A.M and the Word was b with God, with God.

c and the Word was God.

* Nativity of Christ, gospel, verse 1 to verse 15.- La Prov. viii. 22, 23, &c.- b Prov. viii. 30; Chap. xvii. 5; 1 John i. 2.

NOTES ON CHAPTER I.

1.

B. C. 4004.

3 e All things were made by him; and with

c Phil. ii. 6; 1 John v. 7.———d Gen. i. 1.—————e Psa. xxxiii. 6; Col. i. 16; Verse 10; Eph. iii. 9; Heb. i. 2; Rev. iv. 11. to idolatry, and the Gentiles so unhappily prone to Veises 1, 2. In the beginning-Namely, of the || it, such a plain writer as this apostle should lay so creation, (for the evangelist evidently refers to the dangerous a stumbling-block on the very threshold first word of the book of Genesis, nw, bereshith, || of his work, and represent it as the Christian docrendered by the LXX. ɛv apxn, the expression here || trine, that, in the beginning of all things, there were used,) was the Word-That is, The Word existed two Gods, one supreme and the other subordinate : at the beginning of the creation, and consequently a difficulty which, if possible, would be yet further from eternity. He was when all things began to increased by recollecting what so many ancient be; whatsoever had a beginning. And the Word || writers assert, that this gospel was written with a was with God-Namely, before any created being particular view of opposing the Cerinthians and Ebihad existed. This is probably spoken in allusion to onites; on which account a greater accuracy of exthe well-known passage in Proverbs, (chap. viii. 30,|| pression must have been necessary." As to the ar&c.,) where divine wisdom is introduced, saying, || ticle ó being wanting before Oɛos, God, which some The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, have urged as a proof that the word is here to be before his works of old: I was set up from everlast- || used in a subordinate sense, it must be observed, that ing, or ever the earth was, &c. And the Word was there are so many instances in the writings of this God-Was strictly and properly divine. It is ob- apostle, and even in this chapter, (see verses 6, 12, servable, "that John's discourse rises by degrees. 13, 18,) where the same word, without the article, is He tells us first, that the Word, in the beginning of used to signify God, in the highest sense of the the world, existed. Next, that he existed with God: || word, that it is surprising any stress should be laid and last of all, that he was God, and made all on that circumstance. "On the other hand, to conthings." "I know," says Dr. Doddridge, "how ceive of Christ as a distinct and co-ordinate God, eagerly many have contended, that the word God would be equally inconsistent with the most express is used here in an inferior sense; the necessary con- declarations of Scripture, and far more irreconcilable sequence of which is, as indeed some have express- with reason." The order of the words in the origi || ly avowed, that this clause should be rendered, The || nal, Oɛos nv ó hoyos, has induced some to translate the Word was a god; that is, a kind of inferior deity, as clause, God was the Word. So it was read in the governors are called gods. See John x. 34; 1 Cor. old English translation, authorized by Henry VIII., viii. 5. But it is impossible he should here be so and thus Luther rendered it in his German translacalled, merely as a governor, because he is spoken tion, Gott war das wort. But there are almost every of as existing before the production of any creatures where, in several of the purest Greek writers, inwhom he could govern: and it is to me most incredi- stances of such a construction as our present version ble, that when the Jews were so exceedingly averse supposes; and one of exactly the same kind occurs

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of the Lord Jesus Christ.

chap. iv. 24 of this gospel, namely, пvενμɑ ỏ vɛos, || Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.:* which we properly render, God is a spirit: so that || It may not be improper to observe further here, that there appears to be no sufficient reason for varying || "the term 2oyos, Word, was in use among the ancient from our translation in this important passage. It philosophers, who sometimes speak of a person unmay be proper to add here, in the words of Bishop der that appellation as the Maker of the universe. So Burnet, (On the Articles, p. 40,) "That had not Tertullian informs the Gentiles: 'Apud vestros quoJohn, and the other apostles, thought it [Christ's que sapientes λoyov, id est, Sermonem atque Raproper deity] a doctrine of great importance in the tionem, constat artificem videri universitatis.' It gospel scheme, they would rather have waived than appears that among your wise men, the λoyos, that asserted and insisted upon it, considering the critical || is, the Word and Reason, was considered as the circumstances in which they wrote." The same Former of the universe. And Eusebius, in the was in the beginning with God-The apostle re- eleventh book of his Evangelical Preparation, cites peats what he had before asserted, because of its a passage from Amelius, a celebrated admirer and great importance; and to signify more fully the per- imitator of Plato, in which he speaks of the 20yoç as sonality of the Word, or only-begotten Son, (verse being eternal, and the Maker of all things. This, he 14,) as distinct from that of the Father. says, was the opinion of Heraclitus, and then introVerse 3. All things were made by him-All crea- || duces the beginning of the gospel of St. John; contures, whether in heaven or on earth, the whole uni- || cerning whom it seems he was wont to complain, verse, and every being contained therein, animate or that he had transferred into his book the sentiments inanimate, intelligent or unintelligent. The Father of his master Plato. But it is not likely that our spoke every thing into being by him, his Eternal evangelist either borrowed from, or intended to copy Word. Thus, Psa. xxxiii. 6, By the word of the|| after Plato. And since not only Plato, but PythagoLord were the heavens made, &c. This, however, ras and Zeno likewise, conversed with the Jews, it is not the only reason why the Son of God is termed is not at all wonderful that we meet with somethe Word. "He is not only called so, because God thing about a velos hoyos, or DIVINE WORD, in their at first created and still governs all things by him; || writings. Nor, after all, might the philosopher and but because, as men discover their minds to one an- || the apostle use the same term in the same acother by the intervention of words, speech, or dis- || ceptation. It is customary with the writers of the course, so God, by his Son, discovers his gracious New Testament to express themselves as much as designs to men in the fullest and clearest manner. || may be in the language of the Old, to which, thereAll the various manifestations which he makes of fore, we must have recourse for an explanation of himself, whether in the works of creation, provi|| their meaning, as the penmen of both, under the di dence, or redemption, all the revelations he has been rection of one Spirit, used their terms in the same pleased to give of his will, have been, and still are, sense. Now, upon looking into the Old Testament, conveyed to us through him, and therefore he is by we find, that the Word of Jehovah is frequently and way of eminence, fitly styled here, the Word, and || evidently the style of a person who is said to come, Rev. xix. 13, the Word of God."-Macknight. Thus || to be revealed, or manifested, and the like, as in the also Bishop Horne: (Sermons, vol. i. pp. 199, 200:) fifteenth chapter of Genesis, The word of Jehovah "Should it be asked, why this person is styled the came unto Abraham in a vision, saying, Fear not, Word? the proper answer seems to be, that as a || Abraham, &c.—Behold, the Word of the Lord came thought, or conception of the understanding, is unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir, and brought forth and communicated in speech or dis- || he brought him forth abroad. Thus again, (1 Sam. course, so is the divine will made known by the || iii.,) Jehovah revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh, by WORD, who is the offspring and emanation of the || the Word of Jehovah. The same person is, at other eternal mind, an emanation pure and undivided, like || times, characterized by the title, the Name of Jehothat of light, which is the proper issue of the sun, vah,, as in Isa. xxx. 27, Behold, the Name of and yet coeval with its parent orb; since the sun || Jehovah cometh from far, burning with his anger, cannot be supposed, by the most exact and philo- &c. With regard to the nature of the person thus sophical imagination, to exist a moment without || denominated, whoever shall duly consider the attriemitting light; and were the one eternal, the other,butes, powers, and actions ascribed to him, will see though strictly and properly produced by it, would reason to think of him, not as a created intelligence, be as strictly and properly co-eternal with it. So but a person of the divine essence, possessed of all true is the assertion of the Nicene fathers; so apt its incommunicable properties. And it may be nothe instance subjoined for its illustration, God of God, ticed, that the Targums, or Chaldee paraphrasts, light of light: in apostolical language, Añavyaoμa | continually substitute the Word of Jehovah for Jeτης δόξης και χαρακτηρ TNS doğNS KAι xaрактпρ тη≤ νжо5aσews, The brightness || hovah, ascribing divine characters to the person so of his Father's glory, and the express image of his named. And the ancient Grecizing Jews speak in person. And whether we consider our Lord under the same style. Thus, in that excellent apocryphal the idea of the WORD, or that of LIGHT, it will lead || book of Wisdom, (ix. 1,) O God, who hast made all us to the same conclusion respecting his office. For,|| things, ev hoyw 08, by thy Word; and again in the as no man can discover the mind of another, but by passage which so wonderfully describes the horrors the word which proceedeth from him; as no man of that night, never to be forgotten by an Israelite, can see the sun, but by the light which itself emit- || wherein the firstborn of the Egyptians were slain : teth, even so, No man knoweth the Father, save the || While all things were in quiet silence, and that

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A. M. 1. out him was not any thing made that was made.

B. C. 4004.

of divine light and life.

A. D. 26.

77 k The same came for a witness, A. M. 4030. to bear witness of the Light, that 4 fIn him was life; and the life was the all men through him might believe. light of men.

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8 He was not that Light, but was sent to

5 And the light shineth in darkness; and bear witness of that Light. the darkness comprehended it not.

A. D. 26.

6

9 1That was the true Light, which lighteth

There was a man sent from every man that cometh into the world.
God, whose name was John.

Chap. v. 26; 1 John v. 11.- - Chap. viii. 12.-——————h Chap. iii. 19.—————i Mal. iii. 1; Matt. iii. 1; Luke iii. 2.

10 He was in the world, and "the world was

k Acts xix. 4.- Ver. 4; Isa. xlix. 6; 1 John ii. 8.—————m Ver. 3; Heb. i. 2.

night was in the midst of her swift course, thine Al-mination and the salvation of mankind, that God mighty WORD (λoyos) leaped down from heaven, out || should give a more perfect revelation of his mind of thy royal throne, as a fierce man of war, into the and will, than he had given in former ages. Of this midst of a land of destruction, and brought thy un- the evangelist speaks next. feigned commandment, as a sharp sword; and Verses 6-9. There was a man sent from God— standing up filled all things with death; and it The introducer of a new dispensation, the morning touched the heaven, but stood upon the earth, chap. || star, preceding the rise of the Sun of righteousness; xviii. 14." Horne's Discourses, disc. vii. vol. i. pp. || whose name was JOHN--That is, grace; a name fitly 194–197. And without him was not any thing made || given to the Messiah's forerunner, who was sent to —Ovdɛ ɛv, not so much as any single thing having ex-proclaim the immediate accomplishment of God's Ουδε istence, whether among the nobler or the meaner gracious intentions toward men, the expectation of works of God, was made without him. See the same which had been raised in them by all his preceding truth attested and enlarged upon by Paul, Col. i. 16. || dispensations. The same came for a witness—Fis Now, "if all things were made by him, he cannot be || μaprvpiav, for, or, in order to give, a testimony of an himself of the number of the things that were made. infinitely important kind; to bear witness of the He is superior, therefore, to every created being. || light-Iva uapTvρnon πEPI TY PWTos, that he might testiBesides, it should be remembered, that in the Old || fy concerning the light: namely, the light menTestament, the creation of the heavens and the earth || is often mentioned as the prerogative of the true God, whereby he is distinguished from the heathen || idols. The design of the evangelist in establishing so particularly and distinctly the dignity, but espe- || cially the divinity of Christ, was to raise in mankind || the most profound veneration for him, and for all his instructions and actions. And, without doubt, he|| who is the Word of God, the interpreter of the divine counsels, and who is himself God, ought to be heard with the deepest attention, and obeyed with the most implicit submission."

tioned above, Christ, the light of the world; that all men through him-Through his testimony; might believe-In Christ, the light. He-John, though an extraordinary messenger of God, was himself not that light, but was merely sent to bear witness of that light-And thereby to draw men's attention to it, and induce them to believe in it; namely, in the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world-Both as he is their Maker, who has put into their minds the light of reason and conscience, and as he visits and strives with them by his Spirit, and is the author of that revelation, which was not intended to be confined to the single nation of the Jews, but to be communicated to all mankind.

Verses 4,5. In him—Or, through him, as Beza understands it; was life-He was the living and powerful Word, which was the source of life to every Verses 10, 11. He was in the world-From the beliving creature, as well as of being to all that exists. ginning, frequently appearing, and making known And the life was the light of men-He, who is es- to his servants, the patriarchs and prophets, the sential life, and the author of life to all that live, was divine will, in dreams and visions, and various other also the fountain of wisdom, holiness, and happiness ways: and the world was made by him-As has just to man in his original state. And the light shineth || been shown; and the world, nevertheless, knew him in darkness-Namely, in the darkness, or amid the || not-Knew not its Maker and Preserver. He came ignorance and folly, sinfulness and wretchedness of -As the true, the often-predicted, and long-expectfallen man. This has been the case from the time ed Messiah; unto his own-Eis тa idiα, to his own of man's fall, through all ages, and in all nations of things, namely, his own land; termed, Immanuel's the world; the light of reason and conscience, as land; his own city, called the holy city; his own well as the light issuing from the works of creation || temple, mentioned as such by Malachi, chap. iii. 1: and providence, and the various discoveries of God The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly, or unexand his will made to and by the patriarchs and pro-pectedly, come to his temple: but, although he anphets, being through and from him: But the dark-swered all the characters given of the Messiah in the ness comprehended it not-Did not advert to it, so as to understand and profit by it, as it might have done by the instruction thus communicated. It became necessary, therefore, in order to the more full illu

Old Testament, oi idioi, his own people, whom he had separated from all the people upon earth, watched over, protected, delivered, and singularly favoured, in a variety of most extraordinary ways, for many

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