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I hope I shall shortly see thee, when we shall friends salute thee. speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our
REFLECTIONS UPON III JOHN. 1. How many professors of the gospel are there, concerning whom the apostles word may be reversed; so that we must earnestly desire and pray, that their souls may prosper, as their health and outward circumstances do. And O what a curse would such a prayer be in respect to many, that they might only prosper, as their souls prospered! And yet what is all other prosperity without this, but like that of fools which destroys them. There are indeed some few so eminent in grace, so lively and zealous, so ready to every good work, that the precarious state of their health is a matter of concern to all who know them, and love the gospel; and what prayers are poured out for such that their lives may be preserved and their ability to do good increased. And what joy does it afford to faithful ministers to hear that their spiritual children thus feel the power of the gospel, and walk in the truth. Their liberal souls devise liberal things; and their unostentatious charities, and generous hospitality, encircle their names with glory; and however they may shun it, their spirit, holy conduct, and usefulness, like ointment, which betrays itself, cannot remain unknown
2. While some may and ought to be commended, alas! how
Salute the friends by
many are there, whose pride, selfishness, and coldness, occasion grief to the servants of God. Even in cases which call most loudly for generous assistance; such as when ministers go forth, constrained by the love of Christ, and of souls, to preach and spread the gospel; these shut up their compassion, and instead of aiding by their counsel, prayers, and property, refuse to see them, or to receive them, or to contribute a mite towards forwarding such a work and labour of love. What numbers under the sacred character have resembled Diotrephes? and despised the best servants of Jesus? But let such remember, that a day will come when every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and their evil deeds and malicious words shall be recompensed. Be it our aim to imitate that which is good, that we may know that we are of God, his children by adoption and grace. O let us study the character of good Demetrius, who had a good testimony from all who knew him; and from the truth itself, which he believed and preached; and inspired men sealed it with their attestation. May we be found among the Lord's people, enjoy their society and love; and be gathered to the assembly of the first-born in heaven at last, and to Jesus the Mediator, when we depart hence,
THE GENERAL EPISTLE
THIS epistle was written near the same time and on the same subject as the second of Peter; and in many parts are the same words and sentiments which are found in 2 Pet. ii. From this some suppose that both were derived from some Jewish writing, and that little authority is due to them; while others more justly think that Jude had seen the epistle of Peter, aud as his intention was to expose the same errors, probably prevailing in some different part of the christian church, he borrowed what was adapted to his design.
A. D. 91. He exhorteth to constancy in the faith ; exposes false teachers, for
whose doctrines and manners dreadful punishment is prepared ; the duty of the godly, &c.
JUDE, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, 2 and called: Mercy, and peace, and love, be multiplied unto you.
Beloved, while I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it became necessary for me to write unto you, and exhort you, that ye should earnestly contend for the faith 4 which was once delivered to the saints. For some men have crept in unawares, who were long before described for this condemnation; ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only sover5 eign and Lord, Jesus Christ. Now I desire to remind you, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved his people out of the land of Egypt, afterwards destroyed those
1,2. Brother of James. He was son of Alpheus, and was called Lebbeus and Thaddeus. Matt. x. 3. Mark iii. 18.Sanctified by the Father. Separated in his purposes, being given to Christ, and preserved in and by him in their unregeneracy, and now called by the gospel to repentance and faith. Mercy and peace, &c.
3. Common salvation. Announced in the gospel, and enjoyed by all believers.-Contend, &c. Steadily maintain the true doctrine of faith which has been delivered to the saints.
4. Described for this, &c. In the examples of their wickedness, contained in the writings of Moses and the prophets; such as the angels that sinned, the antediluvians, the conduct of the Sodomites, &c. and in the condemnation and punishment of these sinners God has shown what he will do to all others like them.-Sovereign and Lord, &c. Griesbach omits Gov, and the authorities for its omission are considerable. Its omission does not in my
who believed not. And the angels who kept 6 not their first state, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in eternal chains, under darkness, to the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities 7 near to them, which in like manner with them, gave themselves over to uncleanness and un- . natural passions, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of everlasting fire. In 8 like manner also these dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael, the archangel, when contending 9 with the devil, he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a blaspheming accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke thee." But these speak evil of those things 10 which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute creatures, in these things they corrupt themselves. Alas for them! be- Il cause they have cause they have gone in the way of Cain, and greedily followed the error of Balaam for re
opinion alter the sense, as donor as strongly refers to the diviue nature as the term rejected.
5-7. Destroyed those, &c. See Heb. iii. 16-19.-The angels wko, &c. 2 Pet. ii. 4. Did not behave properly, but sinned, and so left or fell from their original abode in heaven, where they had ministered to God; and they are now reserved in, &c.—Even as Sodom, &c. See 2 Peter ii. 6.—The vengeance of, &c. Everlasting in its effects, the cities being wholly destroyed. 8-10. Dreamers, &c. Who fancy themselves wise and great, while they defile themselves with vice, despise dominion, &c. 2 Pet. ii. 10.-Y Michael, &c. This fact is no where recorded in the Old Testament; but like others might be handed down as a tradition. If we refer what is here said to the dead body of Moses, the devil wished to make known where it was buried, and thus tempt the Jews to idolatry, and Michael as watching over them opposed him successfully. Macknight thinks the Jewish church is called the
Prophecy of Enoch.
ward, and destroyed themselves by gainsaying 12 like Korah. These are spots in your love-feasts, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear they are as clouds without water, carried aside by winds; as trees whose fruit withereth, barren, twice dead, plucked up with 13 the roots; As raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; as wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness 14 for ever. Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convict all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed, and of all the hard speeches which ungodly 16 sinners have spoken against him." These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own evil desires: and their mouth speaketh
REFLECTIONS UPON JUDE. 1. We are called to admire the humility of the apostle, as well as to regard the exhortation which he gives us. He does not mention his apostolic commission, but describes himself as the brother of James and the servant of Jesus Christ. But assuredly to be the servant of Christ, is the highest stile and character of man. He addresses those sanctified by God the Father, and called, and who were, and would be, in the use of means, preserved in Christ Jesus; and he prays for mercy, peace, and love to be multiplied to them. Like him will every faithful servant of Christ, pray for the church, and exhort and warn with all long-suffering and gentleness. While writing or speaking of the concerns of our common salvation, it may be necessary to guard our friends against prevailing errors and delusions. The faith once delivered to the saints, the doctrine taught by our Lord and his apostles, is so true, holy, and every
Character of scoffers.
great swelling words; admiring the persons of men for the sake of gain. But, beloved, 17 remember ye the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How they told you that there would 18 be in the last time scoffers, walking after their own ungodly desires. These are they who 19 separate themselves, sensual, not having the Spirit.
body of Moses, as the christian is the body of Christ; and that Jude refers to Zech. iii. 1.; xii. 1, and admitting the various reading, Zech. iii. 1, 2, the reference is clear.But these speak evil, &c. 2 Pet. iv. 12.
11-13. Gone in the way of Cain. By their pernicious and destructive errors, ruining and murdering the souls of men, as he murdered his brother; and by perverting the truth of God for gain, they have imitated Balaam; and by opposing Christ as Korah did Moses, they are destroying themselves. They are guilty of murder, covetousness, and ambition.—Spots in, &c. 2 Peter ii. 13.—As clouds, &c. 2 Peter ii. 17.As trees whose, &c. As blasted trees, or as barren, or as trees twice or wholly dead, having been plucked up with the roots; or to use another comparison, they are as raging waves of the sea, turbulent and furious against all who oppose them, foaming out their own shame; as wandering stars, unsteady in their conduct like those stars which appear to us now to go forward, and then to recede back, &c. or like comets which appear, and then pass away.
14, 15. Prophesied of these, &c. This fact is not mentioned elsewhere; but from what Moses relates, Enoch was a man eminent for his piety, walking with God on earth, and translated to heaven. Like Noah, he was doubtless a preacher of righteousness; and Benson observes that the name he gave his VOL. I. PART XXIV. 3 N
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves in 20 your most holy faith, praying by the Holy Spirit, Keep yourselves in the love of God, 21 looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to everlasting life. And making a difference, 22 have compassion on some; And others save 23 by fear, snatching them out of the fire; hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
Now to him that is able to keep you from 24 falling, and to present you faultless before the
way interesting, that we should labour to understand it, and strenuously maintain it against all opposers. O let us remember that if any creep into the church who are ungodly, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, they deny practically our only Sovereign, and Lord Jesus Christ, and for them the most awful judgment is prepared. examples recorded in the scriptures, the death of the unbelieving Israelites, the destruction of Sodom, the misery of the apostate angels, are examples of vengeance, to warn bold and daring sinners what they may expect.
2. We are reminded to what degrees of presumption, vice, and folly, men of corrupt minds may arrive. While boasting of freedom, these dreamers defile the flesh, and are the veriest slaves of the devil. Like the factious Jews they despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities, opposing civil government, giving a loose to their tongues, in
son, proves him a prophet, Methuselah, which according to Bochart signifies, "When he is dead a flood cometh." The Lord cometh, &c. If he thus prophesied to the sinners of the old world, it is true respecting those who now live; for he will come to judgment, when he will convict all that are, &c.
16. Murmurers, &c. Against God, because they do not enjoy what they wish; and yet they gratify their evil desires to the utmost of their power; and they pretend to great knowledge, speaking in a pompous style, and admiring and praising any that listen to them for the sake of base gain.
17-19. How they told you, &c. See 2 Pet. iii. 3, and 2 Tim. iii. 1-5. -In the last time. Under the gospel-covenant, God's last dispensation to mankind. Acts ii. 17. Heb. i. 2, &c.—Who separate, &c. On account of gain, but pretending to greater knowledge, being mere animal men, gratifying their animal passions, and not having the Spirit of God.
20-23. Building up, &c. By mutual conversation and instruction, in the knowledge, belief, and practice of that system of truth called the faith, and the nature and tendency of which is most holy; praying for one another by the Holy Spirit, and thus keep each other in the exercise of love to God, and so be looking for the mercy of our Lord, &c. Here we are directed to expect mercy, the pardon of sin from Christ, and even everlasting life, which 465
Christ glorious and
25 presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and
language which an arch-angel would not use, in reply to the blaspheming words of Satan. There always have been men who, from avarice, ambition, and sensuality, have imitated Cain, Balaam, and Korah; and when any such are continued in the communion of a church, they are disgraceful spots, and blemishes. O cast out such wicked persons, ye churches of Christ, and have no fellowship with them!, They will grow worse and worse, and prove to be as clouds without water, as trees without fruit, withered and plucked up with the roots; or they will become as raging waves of the sea, whom nothing can restrain, spreading moral ruin around them, while they foam out their own shame. How dreadful the end of these gospel-sinners. To them is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
3. When we see such offenders bearing the christian name, let not any be surprised or moved from their stedfastness; for the spirit of prophecy has foretold that such characters would be found among professors. And these have been and are still murmurers against God and his truth, who walk after their own evil desires; boasters, speaking great swelling words of vanity; men-pleasers, for the sake of gain; scoffers at the humble, self-denying followers of Christ, who believe, seek, and in some measure, exemplify the power of godliness; separa
imply his divine nature.-Making a difference. In the method of reclaiming siuners, on some have compassion as erring through ignorance and weakness; but save if possible others, who show great depravity and obstinacy, by the fear of divine wrath, snatching them as brands from the fire. Zech. iii. 2.The garment defiled. Iu labouring to restore others, you must show that you
worthy of all honour. majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.
tists from the society of christians, not for the sake of purity, and in obedience to the truth; but from the love of power, and self-indulgence, being sensual, not having, nor ever desiring and seeking the Spirit to renew and sanctify them. Of such as these Enoch prophesied, and the apostles of our Lord wrote and spoke. Let those who are of God build up themselves in the faith, and show that the doctrine is most holy, and the belief of it has a purifying influence on the heart and life; and let them endeavour to keep themselves in the exercise of love to God, and in the high enjoyment of a sense of his love to them, looking for the mercy of our Lord unto everlasting life. And let such wise, holy christians, pray for, and admonish sinners, having compassion on them; and let them set before others the terrors of the Lord, that they may be snatched out of the fire. Believing that the coming of the Lord draweth near, let his saints rejoice; and let all ungodly sinners tremble at the thought of the account which they have to render, and of the sentence which they have to expect from him. With what pleasure should we contemplate God our Saviour, and commit ourselves to him, who is able to keep us and present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy; to whom be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now, and for ever. Amen.
cultivate the purity you recommend, by hating any thing defiled. Levit. xv. 4, &c.
24, 25. Now to him, &c. What a noble display of the Saviour's power, grace and glory have we in this conclusion! He is the only wise God our Saviour, and to him let all glory be ascribed.
ACCORDING to Dr. Mill, this work, in a few years after it was written, was numbered among the apostolic writings, and received as the genuine production of the Evangelist John, by the churches of Asia, Syria, and Samaria; and the more distant ones of Africa, Egypt, Rome, and other churches of Europe. And both Sir Isaac Newton and Lowman, were of opinion, that hardly any one book hath received more early, more authentic, or more satisfactory attestations. It was not questioned for above a hundred years afterwards; but in consequence of some absurd opinions respecting the Millennium, which some fathers held, and which they attempted to support by this book, a certain Caius denied its authority, and Dionisius of Alexandria raised objections preserved by Eusibius; but to all it may be answered, that they bring no proof against its authenticity, nor any testimony against John being the author of it; and on a subject of this nature, testimony alone ought to decide.
A. D. 96. John writeth to the seven churches of Asia signified by the golden
lampstands; the coming of Christ; his glorious power and majesty.
CHAP. I. 1-3. Shortly come to pass. Some of the events predicted in this book will soon occur. -By his angel. Any thing, in the style of prophecy, which notifies a message from God, a voice, dream, vision, &c.— Who hath testified, &e. Concerning the doctrine, miracles, and sufferings of Christ, in the gospel which he hath written, and in which is recorded the testimony given to him by the baptist, by the Father, &c. I have rendered the Aorists in the past time, as they are frequently rendered in the common version. I cannot but think this version more just; for it seems to me the design of John modestly to describe himself, by referring to his gospel. So Hammond, Lowman, and others have explained.And they that hear, &c. Few persons then could afford to buy a copy of the scriptures; and the knowledge of most was derived from hearing them read in the assemblies of christians; but it was not hearing but keeping the things enjoined to which the promise is made. 4-6. From him who is, &c. From the eternal unchanging God.-The 3n2
and from the seven Spirits which are before
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every 7
and who is to
I John, your brother, and companion in 9
8. the beginning and the end. Griesb.- a Griesb.
seven spirits. To imagine that John prayed to created spirits or gels would be to make him an idolater. We must then understand the seven spirits to mean the Holy Spirit, thus called on account of the fulness and variety of his grace and operation, the word seven, in Hebrew, denoting fulness and perfec tion. In the next words, " And from Jesus Christ," which almost obliges us to understand John to mean "From the Father, the Holy Spirit." This is the usual manner of the apostles.-Prince of the kings, &c. Being exalted far above them, and by his providence overruling them to accomplish his pleasure. To him, then, says John, with whom every believer unites, who loved us, &c. washed us from our sins by his blood, and anointed and consecrated us as kings, &c.
7, 8. Behold he cometh, &c. John speaks of his coming as if at hand because of the certainty of it; and he probably refers to Dan. vii. 13. Zech. xii. 10.—They who pierced him. The Jews; and even all others, when they 467