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Nero, and pleaded before him. But St. Luke forbore to give a distinct account of it, because he had already given a particular account of Paul's pleadings before Felix and Festus, and Agrippa; and from them may be concluded what was the tenor of his apology before the emperor himself.
6.) St. Paul, in his epistle to the christians at Rome, says, ch. i. 11," I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established.' And ch. xv. 29, "I am sure, that when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ." And unquestionably, the event was agreeable to these wishes and expectations.
7.) St. Luke has not particularly recorded these things in his history but from what he has said they may be inferred. Says our historian, Acts xxviii. 13-16, “And we came the next day to Puteoli. Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome. And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us, as far as Appii Forum, and the Three Taverns. Whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage. And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard. But Paul was suffered to dwell by himself, with a soldier that kept him." And ver. 30, “Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house."
8.) From the things here said it may be fairly concluded, that during the apostle's stay at Rome, there was a very delightful communication of civil and religious offices between him and the believers there, according to the abilities and the exigences of each. Before he left Rome, the Philippians seem to have sent him a supply by Epaphroditus. Philip. iv. 10-18. But it may be well supposed, that the price of his lodging, and the expenses of his maintenance, were provided for, chiefly, by the christians, whom he found at Rome, when he came thither, and by the converts which he made afterwards. The soldiers, likewise, who by turns attended upon him, would expect to be considered, if they carried it civilly toward their prisoner. All which, we may suppose, was taken care of by the good christians at Rome, who, as St. Luke assures us, went out to meet him, and conducted him into the city.
ST. JOHN, APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST.
I. His history from the N. T. II. His age. III. When he left Judea, to go to Ephesus. IV. His history from ecclesiastical writers. V. The time when he was banished into Patmos. VI. How long he was there. VII. Testimonies of ancient writers to his gospel. VIII. Opinions of learned moderns concerning the time when this gospel was written. IX. An argument, to prove that it was written before the destruction of Jerusalem. X. Objections considered. XI. Observations upon this gospel.
I. JOHN was the son of Zebedee a fisherman upon the sea of Galilee, probably of the town of Bethsaida, and Salome. John was the younger brother: for James is always mentioned first, except in Luke ix. 28, and John is generally reckoned the youngest of all Christ's disciples.
Though Zebedee was by trade a fisherman, he needs not be reckoned poor: for, as St. Mark has particularly observed, he was not only master of a boat, and nets, but had "hired servants," ch. i. 20. Moreover, we may recollect what Peter said to Christ, who also had been a fisherman upon the same sea: "We have left all, and followed thee," Matt. xix. 27. They left their employments, by which they gained a subsistence and for the present there was selfdenial in their attendance upon Jesus.
It is not unlikely, that Zebedee died not long after these two brothers were called to be apostles. However, the circumstances of the family may be collected from what is said of their mother, who is mentioned, Matt. xxvii. 55, and
Mark xv. 40, among "those women, who followed Jesus out of Galilee, and ministered unto him." That ministry is described, Luke viii. 3. To which might be added, that
a Zebedæum gente Galilæum fuisse, ex loco commorationis circa lacum Gennesareth, suspicamur. Incertius autem, Bethsaïdensem pronuntiare, ut plerique faciunt; cum id nitatur tantum testimonio evangelii, sociis Andreæ ac Petro hoc oppidum adsignantis. Neque tamen argumenta ad manus sunt, quibus vulgatam hanc opinionem impugnemus. Lampe, Prolegom. in Johan.
b Compare Matt. xxvii. 56, with Mark xv. 40, and xvi. 1.
So Matt. iv. 21; ch. x. 2; Mark i. 19; ch. iii. 17; ch. x. 35; Luke v. 10; Acts i. 13.
she is mentioned among those women that bought sweet spices to embalm the body of Jesus, Mark xvi. 1; Luke xxiii. 55. And our Lord, having recommended his mother to this disciple, it is said, that "he took her to his own. home." John xix. 27.
If Salome was related to our Lord in the manner supposed by Theophylact, or some other way, with which we are not distinctly acquainted, that may have been, in part, the ground and reason of several things mentioned in the gospels, as the petition of these two brothers, disciples, for the first two places in Christ's kingdom: John's being the beloved disciple, and friend of Jesus, and being admitted to some freedoms denied to the rest: and, possibly, performing some offices about his person; and, finally, our Lord's committing to him the care of his mother, so long as she should survive him.
In Acts iv. 13, it is said of Peter and John, that they were ignorant and unlearned men. Which, indeed, is nothing else, but that they were neither doctors nor magistrates, but men of private stations, who had not been educated in the schools of the Rabbies: or, as Dr. Doddridge has happily translated this text, illiterate men, and in private stations of life. So Ecumenius says, that St. John in sending a letter to Gaius had Paul for an example, who wrote to Timothy, and Titus, and to Philemon, an idiot: that is, a man of a private station: whereas Timothy and Titus had a public character in the church, as they were evangelists.
There can be no doubt, that Zebedee's sons, as the children of all pious Jews at that time, were well acquainted with the scriptures of the Old Testament. They had read them, and had heard them read and explained in the synagogues. They had also been accustomed to go to Jerusalem at the feasts, and had discoursed with many upon the
d See this Vol. p. 160.
Opus scilicet erat ipsi aliquo, quem interdum ad matrem mitteret, (quod non ita raro factum esse, facile intelligitur,) quo uteretur ad lavandos sibi pedes, ad induendos sibi et exuendos calceos, [vid. Matt. iii. 11; Marc. i. 8; Luc. iii. 16; Joan. i. 27.] qui sibi præsto esset ad mandata subita, qui in cubiculo sibi adjaceret dormienti, qui alia sibi præstaret minuta officiola domestica, qui propterea perpetuus sibi esset pedissequus, nec nisi jussus ab ipso recederet. Heuman. Diss. Syll. tom. II. p. 338.
f Αγραμματοι, sine literis;' id est, non versati in doctrinis thalmudicis, quales illiterati Hebræis. Nam scripturas sacras apostoli et legerant, et memoriâ tenebant. Kai dirai. Idiotæ sunt Hebræis qui neque magistratus sunt, neque legisperiti. Grot. in loc.
8 Προς δε Γαϊον ένα γραφων εχει Παυλον Τιτῳ γραφοντα και Τιμοθεψ, και προς Φιλήμονα δε ιδιωτην. (cum. Τ. II.
p. 606. C.
things of religion. They now were in expectation of the appearing of the Messiah, foretold in the law and the prophets but, undoubtedly, were in the common prejudice of the nation, that it would be, in part at least, a worldly kingdom. And it is very likely, that they had heard John preach though they did not attend statedly upon him as his disciples: for all the people of Judea, in general, went to John's baptism.
Says St. John, i. 35, 36, "Again, the next day after, John stood, and two of his disciples. And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith: Behold the Lamb of God"From ver. 40, we learn, that one of these two, which, heard John speak, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. And h some have supposed, that our evangelist, who writes this, was the other: which I do not look upon as certain, though I do not deny it.
Whether the other was John, or not, it ought to be reckoned unquestioned, that before he was called to be an apostle, he had seen and heard the Lord Jesus, and had been witness of some miracles wrought by him. It appears to me very probable, that he was one of the disciples, who were present at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, where water was made wine. John ii. 1-11.
The call of James and John, to attend upon Jesus statedly, is related, Matt. iv. 21, 22; Mark i. 19, 20; Luke v. 1-10.
St. Mark, putting down the names of the twelve apostles, when he mentions James and John, says, that our Lord "surnamed them Boanerges, which is, sons of thunder," ch. iii. 17. By which it seems unreasonable to suppose that our Lord intended to reproach them with some fault in their natural temper, as if they were fierce and furious: though a learned writer has intimated so much. That! name must have been very honourable, prophetically representing the resolution and courage with which they would openly and boldly declare the great truths of the gospel, when fully acquainted with them. How John answered this character, we know from what is said of him in the
h Ducrum alter ver. 41. nominatur. Alter videtur ipse evangelista noster fuisse, uti visum in vitâ ejus. Lib. I. cap. 2. Lampe, in Joh. cap. i. ver. 35, 36. However, Basnage disputes this. Neque probabile admodum, Joannem his interfuisse nuptiis. Quod si concederetur, &c. Basn. ann. 30. num. Xxxviii. kHowever it was, our Lord, I doubt not, 'herein had respect to the furious and resolute disposition of those two brothers, who seem to have been of a more fierce and fiery temper than the ' rest of the apostles.' Cave's Life of St. James the Great, num. 5. p. 142. 1 Vid. Fr. Lamp. Prolegom. 1. i. cap. 2. num. vii.-xv.
book of the Acts, and from his own writings, and from things recorded of him in ecclesiastical history. How well James, the other brother, answered that character, may be concluded from his being beheaded by Herod Agrippa at Jerusalem, not many yea after our Lord's ascension. Which, we cannot doubt, was owing to an open and stedfast testimony to the resurrection of Jesus, and to other services for the church: whereby he had greatly signalized himself in the short period of his life after our. Lord's ascension. Possibly he had, with a freedom, not a little offensive, spoken of the calamities coming upon the Jewish people, if they did not repent, and believe in Jesus as the Christ: as also John the Baptist had declared in his preaching, Matt. iii. 7-12; Luke iii. 17; and Stephen in his, Acts vi. 13, 14. James was the first martyr for Christ among the apostles; and bids fair for obtaining his petition, in a higher sense than it was first intended, of "sitting on the right hand or the left hand of Christ in his kingdom." And the other brother, surviving all the other apostles, bore the longest testimony to the truth of the gospel.
This account of that name is agreeable to what Grotius
m Accedit altera ratio, quæ eos adhuc proprius spectabat, nempe quod in scopo ministerii sui præ cæteris apostolis Baptistæ similes futuri. Nempe sicut Baptista in eo totus erat, ut per tonitru præconii sui judicium jam tum Judæis imminens indicaret et averteret ; ita et ministerium fratrum horum potissimum ad Judæos spectaturum erat. Jacobus quidem eâ fini post adscensionem Domini nunquam, quod scimus, ab Hierosolymâ discessit, donec pro fide martyrium subiret. Hoc vero ei evenisse, quam maxime probabile est, quia invidiosa præ cæteris ejus concio fuit, periculum instans incredulorum ex Judæis omni datâ occasione ingeminans, &c. Lamp. ib. 1. i. cap. 2. num. xv.
" It has long been the general opinion of the people of Spain, that this James, the son of Zebedee, planted the gospel in that country. Gaspar Sanctius, a learned Spanish Jesuit, wrote a treatise in defence of it, beside what he says in his Commentary upon the Acts of the Apostles. But it is inconsistent with the history in the Acts: none of the apostles left Judea so soon; nor is this opinion founded on the testimony of any ancient writers of good credit; and it is now generally given up, even by Popish writers. Vid. Baron. A. D. 41. num. i. Tillemont, S. Jaques Le Majeur, et note vi. Mem. Ec. tom. I. I transcribe here the judgment of Estius. Deinde, quando occisus est, vixdum cœperat evangelium gentibus prædicari, ut ex præcedentibus et sequentibus patet. Nec dum apostoli dispersi erant in remotas gentes; sed ejus rei commodum tempus expectabant. Denique nullus scriptor antiquus certæ fidei refert, Jacobum Hispanias vidisse. Est. in Act. Ap. Cap. xii. ver. 2.-Vid. et Basnag. ann. 44. num. iv. v. et Dictionnaire de Moreri, S. Jaques Le Majeur.
• Ómnino mihi videtur Christus, in hujus nominis impositione, respexisse ad Aggæi vaticinium, cap. ii. 7.-quod de evangelii prædicatione exponit scriptor ad Hebræos, xii. 26. Ad hanc ergo maximam rerum mutationem significat Christus, Zebedæi filios eximios sibi ministros fore. Et certe destinatam illis excellentiam quandam inter ipsos apostolos vel hoc ostendit, quod cum Petro seorsim a cæteris multarum rerum testes sunt assumti. Adde jam