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NOTHING can be more effectual to excite a just attention to the subject of St. John's Gospel, than the consideration, who it is that wrote it, what were his means of information, and what is the purpose of the communication which he has therein

left us.

Now, what he professes to teach us, is no less than the “words of eternal life;" that is, the reality of Christ's coming in the flesh, the certainty of man's redemption, of immortality, and judgment to come, and the conditions upon which alone it is promised that our transgressions shall be pardoned, and that we shall be admitted to the everlasting joys of heaven. These, if any thing can be so, are surely momentous considerations, and demand our utmost attention. Suppose a person


in common life to have laid before him, by some accredited minister, the determination of his master, or sovereign, not only to overlook his faults, but to promote him to great riches and honor upon certain specified conditions; would he not gladly embrace the offer, and acquaint himself thoroughly with the terms appointed, and endeavour to conform himself to them? “Now, he does it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” How much more, therefore, does it behove us to give earnest heed to the things which we have heard?_" which at the first began to he spoken by the Lord, and were confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost.”

The doctrines, the precepts, the example delivered down to us in this Gospel, are the doctrines, the precepts, and the example of Jesus, the Son of God, our Mediator, and our Redeemer. And they are communicated to us by one who had every opportunity of being fully acquainted with them ; who “followed no cunningly devised fables;" but declared unto the world “ that which he had seen and heard,” having been with Christ, as his disciple and companion, during the whole time of his ministry upon earth. And he enjoyed not merely human means of observation and memory, to know and to record what had passed, but he enjoyed likewise that “spirit of truth, which should guide him into all truth,—and bring all things to his remembrance, whatsoever Christ had said.”—“This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.”

But while each of the four Gospels is engaged in the same office of describing the actions and sayings of Christ, and therefore in some measure repeating the same course of events; that of St. John is on many accounts very distinguishable from the other three. For being written several years later, it contains a relation of some very memorable events, which have been omitted by Matthew, Mark, and Luke; as the healing of the cripple at the pool of Bethesda ; and of him that was born blind; also the raising of Lazarus; all which are detailed with so many particulars, as give to these histories a more than ordinary value. His narrative also of the circumstances attending the crucifixion and resurrection of our Saviour, is not merely supplementary to that of the other Evangelists, but derives an additional interest from the part which St. John himself bare in those transactions, standing, as he did, by the cross of his Lord, and having the afflicted mother consigned so affectionately to his protection; and afterwards being one of the two, who ran to the sepulchre, and witnessed the particulars he has described. Another important addition which St. John has made to the history of our Saviour's ministry, is the relation he has left us of several earnest and emphatical discourses held by Christ with his disciples as the time of his death approached, especially of that affecting and valedictory prayer addressed to his Father, on the evening of his apprehension, “for them, and for us, as many as should believe on him through their word.”

It is to be considered also as a consequence of the extended age of this apostle, and the later publication of his Gospel, that he alludes, as he does likewise in his Epistles, to certain heresies, which had already sprung up in the Church. “For,” as he says himself,“ many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” To correct these wrong notions, therefore, some expressions of St. John are more particularly directed. And it may be,

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