Page:An Exposition of the Old and New Testament (1828) vol 5.djvu/667

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ST. JOHN, 1.

Z Tliev relurned to Jeru.iclim rAlh gnat Jow. riifix- tliirv Wfie (irdclvd to cniitiimc till the Spirit should be pouiid out ui)oii theiu, ami tliitlicr they wtiit accofdiimly, though it w.i^ into the mouth of daiiijff. 'I'hit^ier Ihcy went, ;im<I there they staid iziil/i ffmifj'/u. This was a woiidertul change, and an enee.t of the opening of their undeistiuidiiigs. When Chi-ist told them that he must leave them, somnv tilled their heaits ; yet now that they sec him go, they Mf: JilUd with joy , being convinced at length that it was expedient for them and for the chuixh that he slmuld go awav, to send the Comforter. Note, I'he glorv of Christ is the jov, the exceeding joy, of all true 1)elicvers, een wliile they are here in this world ; much more w ill it be so when they go to the new Jerusidem, and find him there in his gloiy. . They abounded in acts of devotion while they were in expectation of the promise of the Father, v. 53. (1.) rhey attended tnc temple-service at the hours of jiraycr ; (iod had not as yet quite forsaken it, and theretore they did not. 77;r;/ r.<rre con- tinually in the tem/ili; as their Master was when he

was at Jerusalem. The Lord loviathc gatiniyf Zkn, 

and so should we. Some think that tliev had their lace of meeting, as disciples, in s<'me of" the cham- bers of the temple w liich belonged to some Lcvitc that was :;';// affrcted to them ; but others think thi.t it is not likely that either could be concialid from. or would be connnnd at bv, the chief piiests and rulrm of the tcnijile. (1?.) 'reniple-sacrifices, thty knew, were su])erseded by Christ's sacrifice, but the temple-songs they joined in. Isote, hile we aie waiting for God's ])romises, v.e must go forth to mctt them with our praises. Praising and blessing G<d is work that is never out of season ; and nothing bet- ter pre])ares the mind for the receiving of the Holy (ihost than holy joy and praise. I'earsare silenced, sorrows sweetened and allayed, and hopes kept up. The amtn that c< nchides, seems to be added by the church and every believer to the reading of the gospel ; signifying an assent to the tniths of the gis- pcl, and a hearty concurience with all the disciples of Christ in praising and blessing (iod. Amtn. Let him be continually praised and blessed.




It is not material to enquire when and where this gospel was written ; we are sure it was given by inspira tion of God to John, the brother of James, one of the twelve apostles, distinguished by the honourable character of that disci/ile ivhom Jesiis loved ; one of the first three of the worthies of the Son of David, whom he took to be the witnesses of liis retirements, jiarticularly of his transfiguration and agon)-. The ancients tell us, that John lived longest of all the twelve apostles, and was the only one of them that died a naturul death, all the rest suffering martMdom ; and some of them say that he wrote this gosjjel at Ephesus, at the request of the ministers of the several churches of Asia, in opposition to the heresy of Cerinthus and the Ebionites, who held that our Lord was a mere JIan. It seems most pro- bable that he wrote it before his banishment into the isle of Patmos, for there he wrote his A/iocalufise, the close of which seems designed for the closing up of the canon of scripture ; and if so, this gospel was not written after. I cannot therefore give credit to those latter fathers, who say that he wrote it in his banishment, or after his return from it, many yeai-s after the destruction of Jerusalem ; when he was ninety ears old, saith one of them ; when he was a hundred saith ant.ther of them. However, It is clear that he wrote last of the four evangelists, and, comparing his gosjiel with theirs, we may observe, 1. That he relates what they had omitted ; he brines uji the rear, and his gosiiel is as the rearguard or gathering-host, it gleans up what they had passed by. Thus there was a later collection of Solomon's wise sayings, (Prov. 25. 1.) and yet far slioit of what he delivered, 1 Kings 4. 32. 2. That he gives us more of the mystery of that which the other evangelists give us only the history of It was ncccssaiT that the matters of fact should be first settled, which was done in their declarations of those things irhich Jesus began both to do and teach, Luke 1. 1. Acts 1. 1. But that being done out it the mouth of two or three witnesses, John goes on to fierfection, (Heb. 6. 1.) yiot laying again tin foundation, but building upon it ; leading us more within the vail. Some of the ancients (bserve that the other evangelists wrote more of the ri er«/<!<T/xa — the bodily things of Christ ; but John writes of the Ti 5Ti«i/.u»T/»a — the sfiiritual things of the gospel, the life and soul of it ; therefore some have called this gospel the key of the evangelists. Here it is that a door is o/iened in heaven, and the first voice we hear, is, Come u/i hither; come up higher. Some of the ancients, that supposed the four living crea- tures in John's vision to represent the four evangelists, make John himself to be the fiying-eagle, so high doth he soar, and so clearly doth he see into divme and heavenly things.