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adoption as that which then took place, when attachment and fidelity triumphed over fear ?The last earthly care of Jesus was accomplished. His mother was confided to the disciple whom he best loved. The favorite disciple eagerly accepted the honorable and precious charge; for, “ from that hour," as we are told. by himself, he 6 took her unto his own home.”
The whole scene is one of unrivalled pathos. Had it taken place in a quiet chamber, and by the side of a peaceful death-bed, it would have moved us; but how singularly and solemnly does it come in, a sweet and melting interlude, in the midst of that wild and appalling conflict, under the open and frowning heaven! It is like one of those hushed pauses between the fits of a midnight storm, when the elements wait, and pity seems pleading with wrath, ere the war and the turmoil begin again.
It would appear that the enemies of our Lord were satisfied, for that time, with his destruction; for we do not read that John, or the females who were with him, suffered any harm on account of their fearless exposure. It is probable also that the prodigies which succeeded the death of Jesus, deterred his executioners from pursuing any further their work of blood.
On the morning of the resurrection, Mary Magdalene having gone to the sepulchre early, and observed that the stone was taken away from its mouth, announced this fact to Simon Peter and to John, who both ran toward the spot. John outran Peter, and came first to the sepulchre, and stooping down, saw the linen clothes in which his Master had been buried; but he went not in. Then Peter came up, and went in, and then John followed him. Why the latter did not go in immediately, does not appear from the history; nor is it easy to form à conjecture; for he was certainly equal to Peter, both in courage and attachment to his Master. Perhaps in the mere agitation of his feelings, he delayed till Peter arrived; who no sooner came up, than, with his characteristic promptness, he descended into the sepulchre where his crucified Lord had been deposited, in order, it may be, that he might ask forgiveness even of his remains, for having so shamefully denied him.
A passage in John's own account of this visit to the tomb of Jesus, renders it probable that he was the first person who believed in the resurrection of his Lord. “ Then went in also that other disciple, who came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed;" that is, believed that Jesus had arisen from the dead. Nor is this obvious interpretation contradicted by the succeeding verse; “ For as yet they knew not the Scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” By the word “they” is not meant Peter and John particularly, but all the disciples. The belief was not yet received among them, that their Master was to rise from the dead; and therefore it was a remarkable circumstance, and one worthy of being recorded, that John was the first who remembered the predictions of Jesus, and acknowledged their fulfilment. So unprepared were the disciples for his resurrection, that Peter, who first saw that the tomb was empty, did not think of ascribing the fact to its true cause. into the mind of the beloved disciple that the light first broke. He first believed the glorious truth, that death was vanquished by the Son of God, and that Jesus of Nazareth was the Prince of Life.
When Jesus appeared to his disciples for the third time after his resurrection, and at the close of his solemn address to Peter, intimated to him that he should die a violent death, that disciple, seeing John just behind, desired to know what his lot was to be. The answer of Jesus was, “ If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that
to thee?” This answer caused a saying to go abroad that John should not die; but we shall presently see what was the probable meaning of our Saviour's prophetic words.
In the book of Acts, we again meet with John in company with Peter, when the lame man was healed at the Beautiful Gate. This act of mercy and divine power occasioned their imprisonment. They were brought together before the council of priests and scribes; they were both charged to teach no more in the name of Jesus; they both nobly refused to obey ; and they were both dismissed by the council, who were afraid at that time to punish them. It is pleasing to see those who had formerly been partners in a lowly, but honest calling, thus continuing to toil hand in hand, in their more exalted profession of fishers
It is an exhibition of Christian friendship, which should not pass unnoticed. On one other occasion they were united in their holy labors; when they were sent by the apostles on the mission to Samaria ; after which we hear no more of John in the historical portion of the Scriptures.
All early testimonies agree, however, that he was spared to a great age, and outlived all the apostles ; earnestly occupied, while his strength
remained, in the service of his Master and the promotion of his religion. It is said by some writers, that he preached to the Parthians; and it is certain that he dwelt for some time at Ephesus, where Mary his adopted mother, whom he had constantly taken care of, according to the solemn testament of her own son, is supposed by some to have ended her days. It is more probable, however, as expressly stated by Eusebius, that she died before John left Judea, about fifteen years after the Ascension of Jesus.
In the year of our Lord, 70, and when John was about seventy years of age, the destruction of Jerusalem, by Titus, took place. It is understood by commentators generally, that it was this event to which Jesus referred, when he intimated that John should tarry till his coming. If so, the prediction was remarkably fulfilled; for this disciple was the only one of the twelve who lived to see that once proud city utterly overthrown, her glorious temple destroyed, and the very ground on which it stood, ploughed up by the hands of the heathen.
Between the years 90 and 100, and in the reign of the emperor Domitian, he was banished to the Isle of Patmos, in the Egean Sea. Here he wrote the book of the Revelation; and here