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1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;
Ver. 1. The elder to the elect lady ] Salmeron the Jesuit saith (but very absurdly) that Seneca’s letters to St Paul, and St Paul’s to Seneca (as they are called), are for matter not much unlike this of St John to the Elect Lady, and to Gaius, and that of St Paul to Philemon. Iudicium sit penes lectorem. Methinks they are not more like than harp and harrow. See the note on Philemon, Phm
19. That censure passed on him by Erasmus is very right; Si legas, &c.: If thou read Seneca as a pagan, he wrote Christianly; but if as a Christian, he wrote paganishly.
2 For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.
Ver. 2. For the truth’s sake ] This is the love that will hold again, and is a sure sign of love unfeigned, when it is thus well founded. Sinisterity is opposite to sincerity. Some love the saints as Isaac loved Esau, for the venison that he brought him, &c.
3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
Ver. 3. Grace be with you, &c. ] This blessing belongs not only to the lady and her children, but to all that rightly read and hear the words of this Epistle, Revelation 1:13 .
4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.
Ver. 4. I rejoiced greatly ] This cheered up his good old heart more than any outward respects or courtesies whatsoever. See1 Thessalonians 3:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:8 .
I found ] ευρηκα , I found by long and diligent observation, that which was worth finding; ευρημα .
Of thy children ] Not all, but some of them. It is seldom seen that all a whole family are right for religion. Noah had a Ham, Abraham an Ishmael, Isaac an Esau, &c.
As we have received a commandment ] The gospel also commands obedience and holy conversation. Of unruly Christians, profligate professors, we may say, There’s nothing Christian in them; as of cowards they were wont to say at Rome, There was nothing Roman in them. Truly, either this is not gospel (said learned Linaker, when he had read our Saviour’s sermon in the mount) or we are not gospellers. A young man told the senators of Rome that he came for to see Rome, and found it not; for, said he, either ye be not Romans of Rome, or else this is not Rome of the Romans. We may even marvel as much as Constantius the emperor did, and say with him, I wonder how it comes to pass that many of my people are worse now than before they became Christians.
Walking in the truth ] Not taking a step or two, not breaking or leaping over the hedge to avoid a piece of foul way, but persisting in a Christian course, &c., not starting aside to the right hand or the left.
5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
Ver. 5. Not as though I wrote a new commandment ] A new commandment our Saviour calleth it, John 13:34 . Quia exuto veteri induit nos novum hominem, as Austin gives the reason; because the old man being put off, it puts on us the new man. Or, as others, because when the scribes and Pharisees by false glosses and corrupt interpretations had put it out of date, Christ restored it by a true interpretation,Matthew 5:43-45; Matthew 5:43-45 , &c., and revived and illustrated it by his own practice and example, as Paul also observeth, Ephesians 5:2 ; Philippians 1:9 .
That we love, &c. ] God lays no other commands upon us than what we may perform by love, that lighteneth and sweeteneth all. His subjects and soldiers are all volunteers,Psalms 110:3; Psalms 110:3 .
6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
Ver. 6. As ye have heard ] He studiously declines the suspicion of novelty. Τα καινα κενα . See Trapp on " 1Jn 2:7 "
7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
Ver. 7. For many deceivers ] Gr. πλανοι , cheaters, cozeners, (deceivers) such as can cog a a die to deceive the unskilful, Ephesians 4:14 , cast a mist to delude even the quick sighted.
Are entered into the world ] Where the Church also sojourneth, as the unclean beasts were together with the clean in Noah’s ark; or as Esau was in the same womb and afterwards in the same family with Jacob; or as thieves lodge in the same inn with true men, who should therefore be sober and watch. Mundus Medaea est Iasonis, hoc est Satanae sponsa. (Aretius.) The world is the spouse of Satan, and yet the godly must lie as it were in the lap of this Delilah. Let Samson look to his locks.
a The act of cogging or cheating at dice; a particular method or way of doing this. In quot. 1598, taken by some to mean ‘false dice for cogging’; but it is coupled with ‘devices’ and ‘shifts’. Obs. ŒD
8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
Ver. 8. That we lose not, &c. ] The godly, when they fall into foul courses, or grow remiss and leave their first love, may lose what they have wrought, 1. In respect of the praise of men; 2. In respect of their own former feelings of God’s favour; 3. In respect of the fulness of their reward in heaven. The Nazarite that broke his vow was to begin all anew, Numbers 6:2-12 .
9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
Ver. 9. Hath not God ] And so consequently hath nothing. Habet omnia qui habet habentem omnia, He hath all that hath the haver of all. (Aug.) But sine Deo omnis copia est egestas, Plenty without God becomes penury. (Bern.) The wicked, for want of God, in the fulness of his sufficiency is in straits, Job 20:22 ; as he that hath God for his portion, in the fulness of his straits is in a sufficiency.
10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
Ver. 10. And bring not this doctrine ] If he hold not the foundation, but be found heterodox and heretical.
Receive him not, &c. ] Illam domum in qua fuerit inventus haereticus diruendam decernimus, Down with that house that harbours a heretic, said the Council of Tholouse in their constitution against the Albigenses, whom they mistook for heretics.
Neither bid him God speed ] Show not love where you owe nothing but hatred. "I hate every false way," saith David. And I shall look upon Auxentius as upon a devil, as long as he is an Arian, said Hilarius. St John sprang out of the bath wherein Cerinthus the heretic was washing, and said, Let us be gone, lest the house fall on our heads.
11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
Ver. 11. Is partaker of his evil ] 1. By his sinful silence and dissimulation. 2. Next, by confirming the sinner in his evil way. 3. Lastly, by offence given to others.
12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.
Ver. 12. That our joy may be full ] See, saith one, an apostle furthered and quickened by the graces of a woman. When such grandees in grace have benefit by communion of saints, how much more they whose measures are less!
13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.
Ver. 13. The children of thine elect ] Who probably sojourned with St John for education’s sake. The lady might say to the apostle, as he in Virgil did to Aeneas,
" - sub te tolerare magistro
Militiam-tua cernere facta
Assuescant, primis et te mirentur ab annis. "
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 John 1". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent