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6 world beareth them. We are of God: he thatknowetfe God, heareth us: he that is not of God, heareth not us : hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of
7 error. Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, and
8 knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God;
9 for God is love. Hereby was manifested the love of God toward us, because God sent his only begotten Son into
10 the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and
11 sent his Son, a propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God
12 so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another,
13 God abideth in us, and his love is perfected in us.. Hereby we know that we abide in him, and he in us, because his
14 hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify, that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the
15 world. Whosoever shall confess, that Jesus is the Son
16 of God, God abideth in him, and he in God. And we know and believe the love that God hath to us. God is love, and he that abideth in love, abideth in God, and God
17 in him. Hereby is our love made perfect, that, we may
that know not God: therefore speak they of the world—From the- same principle, wisdom, spirit, and of consequence the world heareth them—With approhation.
V. 6. We—Apostles, are of God—Immediately taught, and sent by him. Hereby we know—From what is said, ver. 2—6.
V. 7. Let us love one another—From the doctrine he has just been defending, he draws this exhortation. It is by the Spirit, that the love of God is she* abroad in our hearts. Every one that truly loveth God and his neighbour, is born of God.
V. 8. God is love—This little sentence brought St John more sweetness,, even in the time he was writing it, than the whole world can bring. God is often styled holy, righteous, wise; but not holiness, righteousness, or wisdom, in the abstract; as he is said to be lover intimating that this is his darling, his reigning attribute; the attribute that sheds an amiable glory on all his other perfections.
V. 12. If we love one another, God ahideth in us—This is treated of ver. 1 3 —16, and his love is perfected—Has its full effect, in us—This is treated of, ver. 17—19.
V. 14. And in consequence of this, we have seen and testify, that the Father sent the Son—These are the foundation and the criteria of our abiding in God and God in us, the communion of the Spirit, and the confession of the Son. .
V. I5. Whosoever shall—-From a principle of loving faith, openly confessIn the face of all opposition and danger, that Jesus is the Son of God, ahideth in him.
V. 16. And we know and believe—By the same Spirit, the love that God hath to Us, i
V. 17. Hereby—That is, by this communion with God, is our love made perfect: that we man—That is, so that we shall have boldness in the day of jndg.
have boldness in the day of judgment, because as he is,
18 so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath tors
19 merit. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We
20 love him because he first loved us. If any man say, I love ; God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that
loveth not his brother, whom he hath seen, how c'ari he
21 love God, whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God, love his brother also.
CHAP. V. 1. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God; and every owe who loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him. ,2 Hereby we know that we love the children of God, when
3 we love God and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and
4 his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is
jDenf-t-When all the stout-hearted shall tremble; because as he—Christ, ti— All love, so are we-- Who are fathers in Christ, even in this wtrfld.
V. I8. There is #o fear in love—No slavish fear can be where love reigns: but perfect, adult love casteth out slavish fear; because such fear hath torment, and so is inconsistent with the happiness of love. A natural man has neither fear nor love; one that has awakened, fear without love: a babe in Christ, love and fear; a father in Christ, love without fear. ,
V. 19. We love him, because he first loved us—This is the sum of all religion, ,the genuine model of Christianity. None can say more: why should any one say less? or less intelligibly?
V. 20. Whom he hath seen—Who is daily presented to his senses, to raise his esteem, or move his kindness or compassion toward him.
V.'21. And this commandment hare we from him—Both God and Christ, that he who loveth God, love his brother—Every one, whatever his opinions or mode of worship be, purely because he is the child and bears the image of God. Bigotry is properly the want of this pure and universal love. A bigot only loves those who embrace his opinions and receive his way of worship j and he loves them for that, and not for Christ's sake.
CHAP. V. Ver. 1. Thescope and sum of this whole paragraph appears from
the conclusion of it, (ver. 13.) These things hare I written to you who believe, that ye may know that ye who believe hate eternal life. So faith is the first and last point with St. John also. Every one wht loveth God that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him—Hath a natural affection to all his brethren.
V. 2. Hereby we know—This is a plain proof, that we love the children of God —As his children,
V. 3. For this is the love of God—The only sure proof of it, that we keep his commandments: and his Commandments are not grievous—To any that are born of God.
V. 4. For whatsoever—This expression implies the most unlimited universality, is born of God overcometh the world—Conquers whatever it cap lay in the way, either to allure or fright the children of God, from keeping his commandments. And this is the victory—-The grand means of overcoming, eitn $ur faith—Seeing all things are possible to him that believcth.
born of God overcometh the world; and this is the vicb tory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that
6 Jesus is the Son of God i This is he that came by water and blood; even Jesus Christ; not by the water only, but by the water and the blood: and it is the Spirit who tes
7 tifieth; becsuse the Spirit is truth. For there are three that testify on earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the
8 blood, and these three agree in one. And there are three that testify in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the
V. 5. Who is he that overcometh the world—That is superior to all worldly care, desire, fear? Every believer, and none else. The seventh verse (usually so reckoned) is a hrigf recapitulation of all which has before been advanced concerning the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. It is cited, in conjunction with the sixth and eighth, by Tertullian, Cyprian, and an uninterrupted train of fathers. And indeed what the sun is in the world, what the heart is in a man, what the needle is in the mariner's compass, this verse is in the epistle. By this, the sixth, eighth, and ninth verses, are indissolubly counected: as wUl be evident, beyond all contradiction, when they are accurately considered.
V. 6. This is he—St. John here shews the immovable foundation of that faith that Jesus is the Son of God: not only the testimony of man, but the firm, induhitable testimonyof God, who eame—Jesus islieof whom it was promised that he should come: and who accordingly is come. And this the Spiri t, and the water, and the blood testify: Even Jesus—Who coming by water and blood, is by this very thing demonstrated to be the Christ; not by the water only —Wherein he was haptized; but by the water and the blood—Which he shea when he had finished the work his Father had given him to do. He not only undertook at his haptism to fulfil all righteousness, but on the cross accomplished what he had undertaken: in token whereof, when all was finished, blood and water came out of his side. And it is the Spirit who likewise tes'tiJieth—Of Jesns Christ, namely, by Moses and all the prophets, by John' the Baptist, by all the apostles, and in all the writings of the New Testament. And against his testimony there can be no exception, becanse the Spirit is truth —The very God of troth.
V. 7. What Bengelins has advanced both concerning the transposition of these two verses, and the anthority of the controverted verse, partly in his Gnomen, and partly in his Apparatus Criticus, will abundantly satisfy any impartial person. For there are three that testify—Literally, testifying or bearing witness—The participle is put for the noun witnesses, to intimate, that the act of testifying, and the effect of it, are continually present. Properly, persons only can testify: and that three are described testifying on earth, as if they were persons, is elegantly subservient to the three persons testifying in heaven t the Spirit—In the word, confirmed by miracles; the water—Of haptism, wherein we are dedicated to.the Son, (with the 'Father and the Spirit,) typifying his spotless purity; and the inward purifying of our nature; and the blood —Represented in the Lord's Supper, and applied to the consciences of believers. And these three—Harmoniously agree in one—In bearing the same testimony, that Jesus Christ is the divine, the complete, Hie only Saviour of the world. >
V. 8. And there are three thai testify in heaven—The testimony of the Spirit, the water, and the Nood, is by an eminent gradation corroborated by three, who still give a greater testimony, the Father—Who clearly testified of his Son both at his haptism, and at his transfiguration; the Word—Who testified of himself, on many occasions, while he was on earth: and again, with still greater solemnity, after his ascension into heaven, (Rev. i. 5. xix. 13.) And
9 Holy Ghost, and these three are one. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; and this is the testimony of God, which he hath testified of
10 his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God, hath the testimony in himself. He that believeth not God, hath mad'5 him a iiar, becsuse he believeth not the testimony
11 which he hath testified of his Son. And this is the testimony, that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is
12 in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath riot the Son of God hath not life,
the Spirit-r-Vfhmei testimony was added chiefly after his glorification, (ch. ii. 27, Joiiii xv. 26, Arts. v. 32, Rtm. viii. 16.) And these three are one—Even as those two, the Father and the Son are one, (John x. 30.).. Nothing ran separate the Spirit from the Father and the Son. If he were not one with the Father and the Son, the apostle ought to have said. The Father and the Word (who are one) and the Spirit, are two. But this is contrary to the whole tenor of revelation. It remains, that these three are one. They are one in essence, in knowledge, in will, and in their testimony.
It is observable, the Three in one verse, are opposed, not conjointly, but severally to the Three in the other: as if be had said, not only the Spirit testifies, but also the Father, (John v. 37.) Not only the water, but also the Word, (John iii. 11, x. 41.) Not only the blood, but also the Holy Ghost, (John xv. s6, &c.) It must now appear to every reasonable man, bow absolutely necessary the eighth verse t8. St. John could not thiak of the testimony of the Spirit, and water, and blood, and subjoin, TAe testimony of God is greater, without thiaking also of the testimony of the Son and Holy Ghost, yea, and mentioning it in so solemn an enumeratiou. Nor can any possible reason be devised, wby without Three testifying in heaven—He should enumerate three, and no more who testify on earth—The testimony of all is given on earth, not in heaven, but they who testify are part 0n earth, part in heaven;fthe witnesses who are on earth testify chiefly concerning his abode on earth, though not exclnding his state of exaltation. The witnesses who are in heaven testify chiefly concerning his glory at God's right hand, though not exclnding his state of humiliation.
The seventh verse, therefore, with the sixth, contains a recapitulation of the whole economy of Christ, from his haptism to pentecoat; the eighth, the sum of the divine economy, from the time of his exaltation.
Heure it farther appears, that this position of the seventh and eighth verses, which places those who testify on earth, before those who tastify in heaven, is abundantly preferable tq the other, and affords a gradation admirably suited to the subject.
V. 9. If we receive the testimony of men—As we do continually, and must do In a thousand instances, Me testimony of God is greater—Of hither anthority, and much more wortby to be received: namely, this very testimony, whirh God the Father, together with the Word, and the Spirit, hath testified of the Son, as the Saviour of the world.
V. 10. He that believeth on the Son of God, hath the testimony—The clear evidence of this, in himself: he that believeth not God, in f his, hath made him a liar, becanse he supposes that to be false which God has expressly testified.
V. 11. And this is the sum of that testimony, that God hath given us a title to, and the real begiuning of eternal life: and that this is purchased by, and treasured up in, his Son, who has all the springs and the fulness of it in himself, to communicate (o his body, the church, hist in grace, and then ia glory.
V. 12. It plainly follows, He that hath the Son—Living and reigning in him. by faith, Ifath this life: he that hath not the Son of God, hath not this life-*-.
13 These things have I written to you who believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know, that ye who believe on the name of the Son of God, have eternal life.
14 And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.
15 And if we know that he heareth us, whatsoever w# ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked
16 of him. If any one see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, let him ask, and he will give him. life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death,
17 I do not say that he shall pray for that. All unrighteous
18 ness is sin: but there is a sin not unto death. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is born of God keepeth himself, and the wicked one
19 toucheth him not. We know that we are of God, and
20 the whole world lieth in the wicked one. But we know
Hath no part or lot therein. In the former clause, the apostle say* simply the Son, because believers know him; in the latter, the Son of God, that unbelievers may know how great a blessing they fall short of.
V. 13. These things have I written—In the introduction, chap. i. 4, he said, I write; now, in the close, I have written; that ye may know—With a fuller and stronger assurance, that ye hare-eternal life,
V. 14. And we—Who believe, have this farther confidence in him, that he heareth—That is, favourably regards, whatever prayer we offer in faith, according to his revealed will.
V. 15. We have—Faith anticipates the blessings, the petitions which we hate asked of him—Even before the event. And when the event comes, toe know it comes in answer to our prayer. TM ,
V. 16. This extends to things of the greatest importance. If any one see his brother—That is, any many sin a sin which is not unto death—That is, any sin, but total apostasy from both the power and form of godliness; let him ask, and God will give him life—Pardon and spiritual life for that sinner. There is a sin unto death, I do not say that he shall pray for that—That is, let him not pray for it. A sin unto death, may likewise mean, one which God has determined to punish with death.
V. 17. All deviation from perfect holiness is sin; but all sin is not uupardonable.
V. 18. Yet this gives us no encouragement to sin. On the contrary, it is ao indisputable truth, He that is born of God—That sees and loves God, siuneth not—So long as that loving faith abides in him. He neither speaks nor does any thing which God hath forbidden. He keepeth himself —Watching unto prayer; and—While he does this, the wicked one toucheth him not—So as to hurt him.
V. 19. We know that we are children of God—By the witness and the fruit of his Spirit, chap. iii. 34. But the whole world—All who have not his Spirit, not only is touched by him, but by idolatry, fraud, violence, lasciviousness, impiety, all manner of wickedness, lieth in Me wicked one—Void of life, void of sense. In this short expression, the horrible ft ate of the world is painted in the most lively colours: a comment on which we have, in the actions, conversations, contracts, quarrels, and friendships of worldly men.
V. 20. And we know—By all these infallible proofs, that the Son of God is come—Into the world. And he hath given us a spiritual understanding, that we may know him, the true one, the faithful and true witness: and we are in the