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THE THIRD EPISTLE OF JOHN

DIOTREPHES AND DEMETRIUS

JOHN, the beloved disciple, lived to a good old age. Ecclesiastical history says that he outlived all the apostles, and saw many anti-Christs arise before his death. Cerenthus and others, advocated the doctrine that Jesus was the only Saviour, but was not Jehovah. This occasioned John to write so pointedly, in his gospel and epistles on the divinity of Christ, that he was the true God and eternal life.

The little epistle before us, (which contains only fourteen verses – in which are included two hundred and ninety-five words – composed by one thousand two hundred and forty-nine letters,) is directed to Gaius, who was a man of wealth, and faithfully lodged the brethren and strangers; and especially those missionaries who went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. But in the church that John speaks of, was one Diotrephes, a man of ambition, who, by his address, had gained considerable importance among them, who did not cordially receive a former letter, written by John to the church; but prated against John and those in connexion with him, with malicious words; and was so fond of pre-eminence, that those who would not come into his views, he would cast out of the church, and lord it over the rest. But a man of a very different character was in the church, by the name of Demetrius, who was upright among men and pious towards God; who, by manifestation of the truth, commended himself to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. He had good report of all men – of the truth itself – and of the true record of John, and those with him, who steadfastly adhered to the apostolic doctrine, against the innovation that was corrupting the church. Such men as Gaius and Demetrius, are blessings to a church in any age, and if Diotrepheses creep in unawares, it is no more than was the case in the days of John.

The epistle has not the name of Jesus nor Christ in it; but internally it breathes forth the language of the Holy Ghost.

The Writings of the Late Elder John Leland
Pages 499 – 500