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But ye, beloved, seeing ye know these things, and are admonished beforehand of the danger of these pestilent doctrines, beware lest ye be led away with these atheous suggestions of wicked men, and do thereupon fall from that stedfast profession which ye have hitherto made of the truth.
THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN.
I. 1. That which was from the beginning which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
That ever-living Son of God, the co-essential Word of the Father, which was from all eternity; whom we Apostles had the honour and happiness to hear with our ears, to see with our eyes, and to touch with our hands;
I. 2. (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, &c.)
(For that life-giving Word of his Father was manifested in the flesh; and we have, for many years together, seen him, and conversed with him, and bear witness of him, &c.)
1. 3. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
Even that same coeternal Son of God, whom we have personally seen and heard, do we declare and preach unto you; that ye, by our Gospel, may have the happiness of being partakers with us, of these glad tidings and means of salvation: wherein ye shall unspeakably benefit and advance yourselves; for ye shall therein enter into a blessed communion with God the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
I. 5. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
This then is the message, which we have heard of him and declare unto you, that God is of a most pure, simple, holy, perfect, and glorious nature; resembled by no creature so much, as by exquisite Light, in which there is nothing but a clear and exact brightness, without any the least mixture of darkness.
I. 6. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.
As he is Light, so every aberration from him is darkness: if we then say, that we have fellowship with this pure and holy God, and yet walk in the darkness of any sin whatsoever, we belie ourselves, and do not according to that truth which we profess.
II. 1. My little children, these things write I unto you, that sin not.
My dear children, whom I have spiritually begotten in the Gospel, I have written this former passage concerning your clear deliverance from sin upon the penitent confession thereof, and concerning the frequence and inevitableness of sins; not with a purpose to encourage you in the practice of your sins, but, contrarily, to draw you therefrom; and to lay weight upon you, that you endeavour carefully, according to the utmost power of human frailty, to avoid all sin.
II. 2. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
And he is the expiatory sacrifice for our sins; and not for the sins of us Jews only which were his peculiar people of old, but also for the sins of all believers through the whole world; sufficient for the satisfaction of the universal debt of all mankind, but effectual to those only who apply it by faith.
II. 3. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
The knowledge of God is not an idle or fashionable matter, but is ever joined with holy practice; hereby, therefore, we may be assured that we know God aright, if we frame ourselves diligently and conscionably, according to the capacity of our weak nature, to keep his commandments.
II. 6. He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also to walk, even as he walked.
He, that saith or professeth, that he abides in God and hath a true spiritual interest in him, let him make his word good, by his careful and holy imitation of Christ, in all those moral actions and heavenly carriage, wherein he hath gone before us.
II. 7. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning.
Brethren, this charge that I lay upon you, of loving one another, though it be now newly and freshly urged by me, yet, in regard of the first original of it, is very ancient, even as old as the eternal Law of God itself.
II. 8. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
Again, it is, in some respects, a new commandment, that I write unto you; even in the same sense, that our Saviour so called it; in that it is daily renewed unto you, and vehemently reinforced upon you by God, even that ye should strive and labour unto that, which was really and perfectly performed by Christ, and justly and duly required of you; because it is not now with you, as it was wont: the darkness of your ignorance and unbelief is passed, and the light of truth now shineth clearly in your eyes.
II. 12. I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.
I write these things unto you, my dearly beloved, spiritual children; because God hath been graciously pleased to forgive your sins, and to receive you to a full merciful reconciliation with him, for the sake of his Son Christ.
II. 13. I write unto you, fathers, because, ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
I write to you, more aged and confirmed Christians, because ye have known that Eternal Son of God, which was before all worlds: What is more commendable in fulness of age, than fulness of knowledge; and what is more fit to be known of ancient men, than He who is the Ancient of days? What is more affected of the young and vigorous, than strength, and valour? and, behold, I write unto you, young men, because you have well approved your spiritual prowess and manhood, in overcoming that great enemy of your souls.
II. 15. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
If any man's heart be set upon the world, it is set off from God: if he love the world, he cannot love God.
II. 16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
For all those things, wherewith the hearts of worldly men are taken up, which are reduced to these three heads, carnal lusts and concupiscences, covetous desires, proud and ambitious thoughts and affectations, are such, as are utterly abhorring from God, and are the mere baits of the world.
II. 18. Little children, it is the last time and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
Little children, ye are fallen upon the last age of the world; neither shall there be any new state of things, betwixt this and the final judgment: and, as ye have heard, that, in the last times of the Church, Antichrist shall come; so know now, that accordingly many Antichrists, who are direct opposers of the Saviour of the World, the Son of God, are already come; whereby it is made evident, that this is that last time, which was foretold of.
II. 19. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
They went out from our communion; not so much in respect of place, as of doctrine: they were formerly amongst us, in
regard of outward profession; but they were not truly and really of us; viz. of the number of the faithful; who only are the true and lively members of the Church of Christ: for, if they had so been, doubtless they would have continued in that holy and happy communion with the Church of God; but now, in that they have thus departed from it, they plainly shew that their profession was but formal and counterfeit.
II. 20. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
But, as for you, my beloved, ye have received from Christ a large measure of the grace and illumination of his Spirit, whereby ye are furnished with the knowledge of all things necessary to your salvation.
II. 21. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
And, therefore, I have not written unto you, as out of a conceit of your ignorance, because ye know not the truth; but, rather, presupposing your knowledge of the truth, and your abilities to discern and disprove those errors and lying doctrines which are opposite thereto, I write, to stir up your care and diligence therein.
II. 22. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
And, who is so pernicious and impious a liar, as he, who, in these ensuing perilous times, denies that Jesus Christ is that true and only Messiah and Saviour, that should come into the world? He is an eminent and notorious Antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
II. 23. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.
And well and necessarily are these two joined together; as the relations betwixt them are utterly inseparable: whosoever denieth the Son, what pretences soever he may make, yet that man neither doth nor can acknowledge God the Father.
II. 27. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. But the Holy Ghost, whom, according to the gracious promise of Christ to his Church, ye have received from his gift, abideth in you; and so filleth you with all necessary and expedient knowledge, that ye need not any further teaching from me, or any other: even that Holy Spirit, by the illumination thereof, teacheth you all those truths, that are needful to be known; forasmuch as it is truth itself, and not capable of any error; as that Holy Ghost, therefore, hath enlightened your minds with the knowledge of the truth, so do ye, and I trust ye shall evermore continue constant in the same.
II. 29. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
If ye know that God is absolutely and infinitely just and righteous, yea, even justice itself; ye do therewithal know, that, whosover frames himself to follow the example of his holiness and righteousness, doth plainly shew that he is the son of God by spiritual regeneration.
III. 1. Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
The world indeed takes no knowledge of this privilege of ours; neither doth regard or affect us: how should it, when it doth neither know nor love that God whose children we are?
III. 2. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Beloved, even now we have this great honour put upon us, that we are the Sons of God: which is a very happy and wonderful prerogative: but how blessed and glorious we shall be hereafter, we are not capable to conceive: only this we know, which is enough for us, that, when that blessed God and Saviour of ours shall appear, we shall be like him in glory; for we shall then enjoy the perfect and beatifical vision of him, and shall be therein transformed into his likeness.
III. 3. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
And every one, that hopes assuredly for this so glorious a condition, cannot but do his utmost endeavour to prepare himself for that happiness, by purging himself from all his sins and corruptions, that he may be, in imitation of that his Saviour, holy and pure.
III. 6. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not; whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
There is a perfect opposition betwixt Christ and sin; and so far as the kingdom of Christ is erected in the heart of any man, so far is he exempted from sin: whosoever, therefore, is a true member of the mystical body of Christ, sinneth not with the whole sway of his will; neither, howsoever he may be transported with infirmity, makes a trade of sinning; and whosoever thus sinneth, hath no interest at all in Christ, neither hath truly believed in him.
III. 7. He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
He, that giveth himself up to God, to work righteousness, and to be conscionably obedient to the will of God in all things, that man is truly righteous in the account of God; even as truly, though not in the same measure as Christ himself (whose righteousness is imputed unto him) is righteous.