« السابقةمتابعة »
cant. And this was his constant practice to the very hour of his dissolution; for when age and the decays of nature had rendered him so weak that he was unable to preach to the people any longer, he was constantly led, at every public meeting, to the church of Ephesus, and always repeated to them the same precept, Little children, love one another. And when his hearers, wearied with the constant repetition of the same thing, asked him why he never varied his discourse, he answered, Because to love one another was the command of our blessed Saviour, and, consequently, one grand guide of our conduct through life. It is further added, that this apostle when strickeh in years, would confine his discourses often to these words, "Little children, love one another."
The greatest instance of our apostle's care for the souls of men is in the writings he left to posterity; the first of which in time, though placed last in the sacred canon, is his. Apocalypse, or Book of Revelations, which he wrote during his banishment at Pat
Next to the Apocalypse, in order of time, are his three epistles; the first of which is catholic, calculated for all times and places, containing the most excellent rules for the couduct of a Christian life, pressing to holiness and purcness of manners, and not to be satisfied with a naked and empty profession of religion ; not to he led away with the crafty insinuations of seducers, and cautioning men against the poisonous principles and practices of the Gnostics. The apostle here, .according to his usual modesty, conceals his name; it being of more No. 22.
consequence to a wise man what is said, than he who says it. It appears from St. Augustine, that this epistle was anciently inscribed to the Parthians, because, in all probability, St. John preached the gospel in Parthia. The other two epistles are but short, and directed toparticular persons ; the one to a lady of great quality, the other to the charitable and hospitable Gaius, the kindest friend and most courteous entertainer of all indigent Christians.
Before he undertook the task of writing the gospel, he caused a general fast to be kept by all the Asiatic churches, to implore the blessing of heaven on so great and momentous an undertaking. When this was done he set about the work, and completed it in so excellent and sublime a manner, that the ancients generally compared him to ah eagle soaring aloft among the clouds, whither the weak eye of man was not able to follow hrm. "Among all the evangelical writers (says St. Basil) none are like St. John, the son of thunder, for the sublimity of his speech, and the height of his discourses, which are beyond any man's capacity fully to reach and comprehend." " St. John, asatrueson of thunder (says Epiplumius) by a loftiness of speech, peculiar to himself, acqaaints us, as it Were out of the clouds and dark recesses of wisdom, with the divine doctrine of the Son of God."'
Such is the character given of the writings of this great apostle and evangelist, who was honoured with the endearing title of being the beloved disciple of Hie Son of God • a writer so profound as to deserve, by way of eminence, the character of St. John (he Divine.