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they might receive the Holy Ghost (t).” With this journey the Scripture history of St. John ends, except that he informs us in the Revelation, that he was banished to Patmos (u), an island in the Ægean sea.
This banishment of St. John to the Isle of Patmos is mentioned by many of the early ecclesiastical writers, and they all agree in attributing it to Domitian, except Epiphanius in the fourth century, who says that John was banished by command of Claudius; but he deserves the less credit, because there was no persecution of the Christians in the time of that emperor, and his edicts against the Jews did not extend to the provinces.
Sir Isaac Newton was of opinion that John was banished to Patmos in the time of Nero; but I own that even the authority of this great man will not weigh with me against the unanimous voice of antiquity (x). Dr. Lardner fy) has examined and answered his arguments with equal candour and learning.
It is not known at what time John went into Asia Minor (%); but it is certain that he lived
there (1) Acts, c. 8. v. 14 & 15. (u) Rev. c. 1. v. 9.
(x) Tota antiquitas in eo abunde consentit, quod Domitianus exilii Joannis auctor fuerit.
Lampe, Proleg. lib. 1. cap. 4.
(y) Vol. 6. (7) Lardner thought that it was about the year 66.
there the latter part of his life, and principally at Ephesus. He planted churches at Smyrna, Pergamos, Laodicea, and many other places ; and by his activity and success in propagating the Gospel, he is supposed to have incurred the displeasure of Domitian, who banished him to Patmos at the end of his reign. · He himself tells us, that he was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimóny of Jesus Christ ;” and Irenæus, speaking of the vision which he had there, says, “ It is not very long ago that it was seen, being but a little before our time, at the latter end of Domitian's reign (a).” Upon Nerva's succeeding to the empire in the year 96, John returned to Ephesus, and died there at an advanced age, in the third year of Trajan's reign, A. D. 100. It is generally believed that John was the youngest of the twelve Apostles, and that he survived all the rest. An opinion has prevailed that he was, by order of Domitian, thrown into a caldron of boiling oil at Rome, before the gate called Porta Latina, and that he came out unhurt; but in examining into the foundation of this account, we find that it rests almost entirely upon the authority of Tertullian (b); and since it is not
mentioned (a) Lib. 5. cap. 34.
(b) De Præscript. cap. 36. This story is also mentioned from Tertullian by Jerome, in Matt. cap. 20.
mentioned by Irenæus, Origen, and others, who have related the sufferings of the Apostles, it seems to deserve but little credit.
II. There are manifest allusions to this Gospel in Hermas, and in some epistles of Ignatius which are allowed to be genuine by most critics, and also in Justin Martyr; but no one of these fathers names the Gospel itself. The first who mentions it is Irenæus; and it is also expressly named by Theophilus, Clement of Alexandria, Athenagoras, Tertullian, Origen, Eusebius, Epiphanius, Jerome, Augustine, and Chrysostom. The genuineness, indeed, of St. John's Gospel has always been unanimously admitted by the Christian church.
III. It is universally agreed that St. John published his Gospel in Asia; and that when he wrote it he had seen the other three Gospelsíc); it is therefore, not only valuable in itself, but also as a tacit confirmation of the other three, with none of which it disagrees in any
(c) Cum legisset (scilicet Joannes) Matthæi, Marci, et Lucæ, volumina, probaverit quidem textum historiæ, et vera eos dixisse firmaverit. Hieron. de Vir. Illus. Eus. H. E. lib. 3. cap. 24. .
: IV. The learned are much divided concerning the time of the publication of this Gospel, some placing it rather before, and others considerably after, the destruction of Jerusalem. I am inclined to accede to the opinion of those who contend for the year 97; and my reason is, that this late date, exclusive of the authorities which support it, is favoured by the contents and design of the Gospel itself. It is evident that the Evangelist considers those, to whom he addresses his Gospel, as but little acquainted with Jewish customs and names; for in relating the first miracle of our Saviour, performed at Cana, in Galilee, he says, “ And there were set there six water pots, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews (d).” He twice calls the passover, “f the passover of the Jews (e);” and in giving an account of our Saviour's interview with the Samaritan woman, he adds, “ for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans (f).” He tells his readers that Rabbi signifies Teacher(g), and Messiah, Christ (h). Explanations of this kind were observed in the two preceding Gospels ;
(d) John, c. 2. v, 6. (e) John, C. 2. v.13. c. 11. v. 55. (f) John, C. 4. v.9. (g) John, c. 1, v.38. (h) John, e. 1. v.41.
but in this they are more marked, and occur much more frequently; the reason of which may be, that when St. John wrote, many more Gentiles, and of more distant countries, had been converted to Christianity; and it was now become necessary to explain to the Christian Church, thus extended, many circumstances which needed no explanation, while its members belonged only to the neighbourhood of Judæa, and while the Jewish polity was still in extstence. It is reasonable to suppose that the feasts, and other peculiarities of the Jews, would be but little understood by the Gentiles of Asia Minor, thirty years after the destruction of Jerusalem.
V. The immediate design of St. John in writing his Gospel, as we are assured by Irenæus (i), Jerome (k), and others, was to refute
the (i) Lib. 1. cap. 23. lib. 3. cap. 11.
In this last passage he expressly says, that John aimed, by his Gospel, to extirpate the error which had been sown in the minds of men by Cerinthus, and the Nicolaitans, auferre eum, qui a Cerintho inseminatus erat hominibus errorem, et multo prius ab his qui dicuntur Nicolaitæ.
(k) Jerome says, “ John, last of all the rest, wrote his Gospel, being entreated so to do by the bishops of Asia, against Cerinthus and other heretics, and especially the then new sprung-up opinions of the