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Mark iii. 17.,
Q. What new Name did St. John receive from his Master ?
A. He with his Brother James were styled Boanerges, that is, the Sons of Thunder. This Surname is thought more especially to be attributed to St. John, because he so clearly taught the Divinity of Jesus Christ in sublime Words, and delivered the Mysteries of the Gospel in a profounder Strain than the rest of the Evangelists; upon which Account he is affirmed by the Ancients not so much to speak as to thunder.
Q. What particular Marks had St. John of our Saviour's Esteem?
A. He was not only one of the Three Disciples
which our Saviour admitted to the more private John xiii. Passages of his Life, but was the Disciple whom
Jesus loved, who lay in our Saviour's Bosom at the Paschal Supper, the most honourable Place of being next him, who was made use of by St. Peter, as the Disciple most familiar with our Saviour, to enquire whom he meant, when he said, one of them
should betray him; and to whom our Lord comJohn xix. mitted the Care of his Mother, the blessed Virgin,
when he was leaving the World.
Q. What may we learn from this?
A. Our Saviour hath by his Example and Autho, rity sanctified the Relation of Friendship, and those closer Bounds of Amity, which natural Affection or special Inclination may form between particular Persons, without any Prejudice to a general Charity.
Q. How did St. John shew his Sense of this particular Kindness of our Saviour towards him?
A. By Returns of Kindness and Constancy: stay. ing with him when the rest of his Disciples deserted him. To this Cause may be attributed bis Zeal to puuish the Samaritans that affronted his Lord; and . perhaps also his Desire to sit on our Saviour's right Hand in his Kingdom, that he might have a nearer Enjoyment of him in his Glory. And, hence likewise, though upon the Surprise of our Saviour's Ap
prebension, he fled with the Rest of the Apostles, yet he quickly recovered himself, and confidently entered into the High Priest's Hall, and followed our Saviour, through the several Stages of his Trial, and at last attended upon him at his Crucifixion, owning him, as well as being owned by him, in the thickest Cloud of his most inveterate Enemies; and having received the blessed Virgin into his House, according to our Saviour's Recommendation, he treated her with Duty and honourable Regard, and made her a principal Part of his Charge and Care.
Q. IVith which of the Apostles did St. John seem to have the greatest Intimacy?
A. With St. Peter. Upon the news of our Sa-John xx. S. viour's Resurrection, they two hasted together to the John xxi. Sepulchre. It was to Peter that St. John gave the . Notice of Christ's appearing at the Sea of Tiberias Ver. 21. in the Habit of a Stranger : And it was for St. John that St. Peter was solicitous what should become of him. After the Ascension of our Lord, we find thiem both together going up to the Temple at the Hour of Prayer; both preaching to the People, and Acts iii. 1. both apprehended and thrown into Prison, and the next Day brought forth to plead their Cause before Chap. r. the Sanhedrim. And both sent down by the Apostles to Samariu, to settle the Plantations Philip had Acts vii. made in those Parts, where they baffled Simon Magus.
Q. What other Particulars do the Scriptures mention concerning St. John?
A. Nothing more than what is recorded of him in Conjunction with his Brother James; upon whose Festival they are taken Notice of.
Q. Where did St. John exercise his Apostolical Office ?
1. The Province that fell to his Share was Asia: Euseb. lib. Though it is probable he continued in Judea till3. c. 1. after the blessed Virgin's Death; which is reckoned to have happened about fifteen Years after our Lord's Ascension ; otherwise we must have heard of him in the Account St. Luke gives of St. Paul's Journies
in those Parts. He founded the Churches of Smyra na, Pergamus, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea; but his chief Place of Residence was EpheSus ; where St. Paul had many Years before settled a Church. Neither is it thought he confined his Ministry merely to Asia Minor, but that he preached in other parts of the East, probably Parthia, his first Epistle being anciently entitled to the Parthians.
Q. How was St. John persecuted by the Emperor Domitian?
A. He was represented to the Emperor as an eminent Assertor of Atheism and Impiety, and a public Subverter of the Religion of the Empire. By the Emperor's Command, the Proconsul of Asia
sent him bound to Rome, where he received a very Tertul. de barbarous Treatment; he was cast into a Cauldron Hær.c. 36.of boiling Oil
, or rather Oil set on fire; but the divine Providence, which secured the three Hebrew Captives in the Flames of a burning Furnace, brought this holy Man safe out of what one would have thought an inevitable Ruin.
Q. How was he farther treated by the Emperor?
A. Domitian being disappointed, considered not the Miracle; but presently orders him to be banished into the Island of Patmos, in the Archipelago, where he remained several years, instructing the Inhabitants in the Faith of Christ. This banishing into Islands was the worst and severest Kind of Erile, whereby the Criminal forfeited his Estate ; being transported into some certain Island, which only the Emperor had the Power of naming, there to be confined to perpetual Banishment.
Q. Did St. John die in Banishment?
A. No: the Emperor Nerva revoked the severe Edicts of his Predecessor, and St. John took the Advantage of that Indulgence, and returned to Ephesus; where finding Timothy, their Bishop, martyred, he governed that Church until the time of Trajan; about the Beginning of whose Reign he departed this Life, being about an hundred Years old, and never married. As to the Reports of his being
3. c. 3.
translated without dying, or that he only lay sleeping in his Grave, they are Errors built upon that John xxi. Discourse which passed between our Lord and St. Peter, concerning this Apostle.
Q. What was remarkable in St. John's conduct towords the Heretic Cerinthus?
A. Going with some of his friends to the Bath at Euseb. Ephesus, and understanding that Cerinthus was at the same Time bathing, he immediately retired, exhorting his friends to avoid a Place, where was so great an Enemy to the Truth, lest the Bath should fall upon their Heads. This Account is given by Iren. abr. Irenæus, as a Tradition from Polyearp, St. John's Hær. lib. Scholar and Disciple.
Q. What Writings did this Apostle leave behind him?
A. His Gospel, three Epistles, and his Book of Revelation.
Q. Hów doth it appear that St. John wrote the Gospel that goeth under his Name?
À. The Gospel itself describes the Author of it by John xxi. such Marks as peculiarly belong to St. John, as that 20, 21, 22, he was a Disciple of our Lord, and that Disciple whom Jesus loved ; and of whom the Fame went abroad among the Brethren that he should not die. That St. John xiii. John was the beloved Disciple, appears by several 26. xxi. 7. Places in this Gospel, and the whole Christian Church hath distinguished bim by that Character; and his nos dying was so constantly applied to St. John, that some of the Ancients declared that he died not at all, but was translated; and others that he only lay sleeping in his Grave: And he alone of all the Apostles, tartied till our Lord came to the Destruction of Jerusalem, which he outlived many Years. To which we may adjoin the Testimony of the Primitive Church, which asserts it as an unquestionable Truth. Irenaus says that John, the Disciple of our Lord, who Lib. 3. c. leaned upon bis Breast, writ his Gospel at Ephesus. Clement of Alexandria, that St. John, inspired by the Holy Ghost, composed this spiritual Gospel. Origen reckons it among the Gospels received without Dis
pute by every Church under Heaven. Eusebius places His Eccly it among the books not controverted among Christians, , et 25, lib. and as known to all the Churches of the IVorld. And 3, c. 24.
the ancient Heretics, that ascribed it to Cerinthus, were guilty of a great Absurdity : For how could those Things be writ by Cerinthus, which do in di
rect Terms contradict his Doctrine? He asserted Epiphan. that Christ was born as other Men, and but a mere Hær
. 51. Man himself ; whereas the Author of this Gospel de4.
clares Christ to be the Word, or Logos, which in the
Beginning was with God, and was God, and is expressJobo i. 1. ly affirmed by Antiquity to be writ on Purpose to
remove that Error which Cerinthus had dispersed in the World. All which Evidence, taken together, makes it undeniable that St. John was the Author of that Gospel that goeth under his Name.
Q. When, and upon what Occasion, did he write his Gospel?
A. Though some have thought it was writ during his Banishment in the Island of Patmos, yet Irenæus and others, with great Appearance of Truth, affirm it to have been written by him after his Return from Ephesus; composed at the earnest Intreaty of the
Asian Bishops, and Ambassadors from several lib. 3. c. 1. Churches; in order whereunto he first solemnizes.
a general Fast, to seek the Blessing of Heaven upon so great and momentous an Undertaking.
Two Causes especially contributed to engage him Hieron. de in this Work; the one, that he might obviate the Ser. Eccl. early Heresies of. those Times, particularly of
Ebion, Cerinthus, and others, who began to deny Christ's Divinity, or that he had any Existence before the Incarnation; the Reason why this Evangelist is so express and copious on that Subject. The other was, that he might supply those Passages of the Evangelical History, which the Rest of the sacred IVriters had omitted; principally insisting upon the Acts of Christ from the first commencing of his Ministry, to the Death of John the Baptist. The Subject he treats is sublime and