JOHN S. C. ABBOTT,
AUTHOR OF “THE MOTHER AT HOME,” “LIFE OF NAPOLEON,” “LIFE OF FREDERIC THE GREAT,” ETC.
PUBLISHED BY B. B. RUSSELL, 55 CORNHILL.
PHILADELPHIA: QUAKER-CITY PUBLISHING-HOUSE.
SAN FRANCISCO: A. L. BANCROFT &
MICH.: R. D. S. TYLER.
“Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872,
By B. B. RUSSELL,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.”
Stereotyped and Printed by Rand, Avery, & Co.”
Chapter - X
It is often difficult to discriminate between what should be regarded as true and what as fable in the annals of those early days. But the following incident, given by the Abbé Fleury, is alike interesting and instructive, as showing the reputation which the venerable apostle enjoyed. It is said that St. John one day attended a meeting of the disciples in a small village a few miles from Ephesus. A young man of remarkable personal beauty was also present, who was so frank and genial in his manners as at once to win the tender regard of the affectionate disciple whom Jesus loved. Addressing himself to the pastor of the church after the young man had left, the apostle said, “In the presence of this church, and of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I commend to your especial care this young man.” As he left to return to Ephesus, he very emphatically repeated the solemn charge.
The bishop or pastor of the church sought the young man, won his confidence, taught him the religion of Jesus, and finally by baptism received him to the church. The young man having partaken of the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, the bishop deemed him safe, and relaxed his vigilance. But he, being exposed anew to temptation, fell into bad company, was lured to midnight festivals, gradually abandoned all religious restraints, and plunged into the most reckless course of dissipation. His last state became so much worse than the first, that he at length became captain of a gang of robbers, whose rendezvous was among the mountains, and who were the terror of the community.
Some time after this, the apostle again visited this rural church. With deep interest he inquired for the young man. The bishop, with tears filling his eyes, replied,—
“He is dead,—dead to God. He has become a bad man and a robber. Instead of frequenting the church, he has established himself in the fastnesses of the mountains.”
“The venerable apostle was overwhelmed with grief. After a moment’s reflection, he said, “Bring me immediately a horse and a guide.” Without any preparation, in the clothes he then wore, he advanced towards the region infested by the robbers. Scarcely had he entered their rocky haunts ere some of the gang who were on the lookout arrested the defenceless, penniless, humbly-clad old man. “Conduct me to your chief,” said the apostle: “I have come expressly to see him.”
The captain soon made his appearance, armed from head to foot. The moment he recognized the apostle, overwhelmed with shame, he turned, and endeavored to escape by flight. John, notwithstanding the infirmity of years, pursued him with almost supernatural speed, and cried,—
“My son, why will you fly from your father, an old man without arms? Have pity upon me, my son: do not fear. There is still hope that you may be saved. I will plead for you with Jesus Christ. If it be necessary, I will willingly give my life for yours, as he has given his for us. Believe me that Jesus Christ has sent me to you.”
At these words the young man arrested his steps, but could not raise his eyes from the ground. He threw aside his arms, and then, trembling, burst into tears, weeping bitterly. When the apostle had reached him, the young man threw his arms around the neck of the aged Christian, and with sobbings, either of remorse or penitence, embraced him tenderly. The apostle endeavored to console the guilty wanderer from the fold of Christ. He assured him that Jesus was ready to forgive all. He led him back to the church, engaged all the disciples to pray for him, and kept him constantly by his side as a companion and a friend. Under these influences, it is said that the prodigal became a true penitent, re-entered the church, and ever after continued one of its brightest ornaments.
It was at Ephesus that John wrote the Gospel that bears his name, and also his three Epistles. It is said, that in his extreme old age, when his faculties of body and mind were so enfeebled that he could not make a continuous discourse, he would frequently rise in the prayer-meetings of the church, simply repeating the words, “My dear children, love one another.” When some of the brethren, wearied by the continued utterance of the same sentiment, inquired of him why he always repeated the same words, he replied, “Because this is the commandment of our Lord. If you keep this commandment, you will keep all the rest.” The venerable apostle died at Ephesus in the year of our Lord 99.
The History of Christianity / Consisting of the Life and Teachings of Jesus of Nazareth; the Adventures of Paul and the Apostles; and the Most Interesting Events in the Progress of Christianity, from the Earliest Period to the Present Time.
John S. C. Abbott
Some put the death of John later as His receiving the Revelation on the Isle of Patmos could have been circa 100 AD. Ken McDonald