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II. S. JOHN.-NOTES.
1-3. Like most of S. Paul's letters, the letters of S. Peter, S. James, and S. Jude, and unlike the first Letter, this Letter has a definite address and greeting.
“ The Elder." It is on account of his age the Apostle speaks of himself thus.
To the chosen lady and her children.
It is not definitely known whether the word translated lady refers to an individual or to a community.
“ And with us it will be forever." Here is an echo of Christ's farewell discourses (S. John 14:16; 1 S. John 5:6).
3. “ Favor, mercy and peace.”
This same triplet of heavenly gifts occurs again, and in the same order, in the salutations of S. Paul to Timothy and Titus.
In truth and love.
These two words, so cha istic S. John are keynotes of this short Letter.
4. “ Just as we received commandment.”
Commandment is the third key-note of this Letter. Love, truth, and obedience, are the three leading ideas. They partly imply, partly supplement each other.
6. « And the love is this."
In verse five obedience prompts love. Here love prompts obedience. This is no vicious logical circle, but a healthy moral connection.
Love divorced from duty will run riot. Duty divorced from love will starve.
“ Do not receive him into your house." Charity must not be shown to one man in such a way as to do injury to another. Still less must it be shown in such a way as to do more harm than good to the recipient. And yet in our day and generation we need to be careful how we follow this teaching. Circumstances alter cases. Christianity in the first century was not likely to become hard and narrow by following such an injunction, and the instances in which it was to be followed were clean cut and plain. It is not always so to-day. It is better to err on the side of charity than on that of harshness and a total lack of Christlike sympathy.
“ Having many things to write to you.” There is a strong resemblance between this conclusion and that of the Third Letter. They were evidently written about the same time.