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and let them sew to their glosses, as many as
Howbeit, though God hath so wrought with The trans.
And first, understand that all the Epistles that the apostles wrote are the gospel of Christ, though all that is the gospel be not an epistle. It is called a gospel, that is to say, glad tidings, because it is an open preaching of Christ; and an epistle, because it is sent as a letter or a bill to them that are absent.
FIRST EPISTLE OF ST. JOHN.
Herc beginneth the First Epistle of St. Jolin.
1 John 1. THAT' which was from the beginning declare we unto
you, which we have heard, which we have seen with
and our hands have handled of the word of life. For the life appeared, and we have seen, and bear witness, and shew unto you that everlasting life, which was with the Father, and appeared unto us.
In that St. John saith, The thing which was from the St. John witnesseth
beginning, and the everlasting life that was with the Fathat Christ ther, he witnesseth that Christ is very God, as he doth in is very God. the beginning of his gospel, saying: The word or the
thing was at the beginning, and the thing was with God, and that thing was God, and all things were made
And when he saith, Which we heard, and saw with our eyes, and our hands handled him; he testifieth that Christ
is very man also, as he doth in the beginning of his gospel, That Christ is very man saying: The word, or that thing was made flesh, that is,
became man. And thus we have in plain and open words, a manifest article of our faith, that our Saviour Christ is ery God and very man.
Which article, whosoever not only believeth, but also believeth in it, the same is the son of God, and hatlı
everlasting life in hin, and shall never come iņto con- He that be
lieveth that demnation : as it is written, John. i. He gave them power Christ is to be the sons of God, in that they believed in his name.
the Son of
God, and And (John iii.) He that believeth in the Son, hath ever- also very lasting life. And a little before in the said Chapter : He
everlasting that believeth in him shall not be condemned. And to
life. believe in the words of this article is that eating of Christ's Aesh, and drinking his blood, of which is spoken, John vi. The words which I speak are spirit and life, and the flesh profiteth not all, meaning of the fleshly eating of his body, and fleshly drinking of his blood. There is therefore great difference between believing that there is a To believe God, and that Christ is God and man; and to believe in Christ. in God, and Christ God and man; and in the promises mercy
that are in him. The first is common to good and bad, and unto the devils thereto, and is called the faith and belief of the history. The second is proper unto the sons of God and is their life, as it is written: The To believe
that Christ righteous liveth by faith, that is, in putting his trust, con- is Gol an. fidence, and whole hope in the goodness, mercy and help man, is to
put all our of God, in all adversities, bodily and ghostly, and all temp- truat, hope, tations, and even in sin and hell, how deep soever he be dence in fallen therein.
him. But, as he which feeleth not his disease, can long for no health, even so it is impossible for any man to believe in Christ's blood, except Moses have had him first in cure, Moses. and with his law have robbed him of his righteousness, and condemned him unto everlasting death, and have shewed him under what damnation they are in by birth in Adam, and how all their deeds (appear they never so holy) are yet but dampable sin, because they can refer nothing unto the glory of God, but seek themselves their own profit, honour and glory. So that repentance toward the law must go before this belief, and he which repenteth not, but consenteth unto the life of sin, hath no part in this faith.
And when John calleth Christ the everlasting life that
Christ is was with the Father, he signifieth that Christ is our life, as our life.
after in the epistle, and in the first also of his gospel, saying, In him was life. For until we receive life of Christ by faith, we are dead, and can be but dead, as saith
John iï. He that believeth not in the Son, can see no life By nature but the wrath of God abideth upon him. Of which we are the children of
wrath we are heirs by birth, saith Paul. (Eph. ii.) Of wrath. which wrath we are ignorant, until the law be published,
and walk quietly after our lusts, and love God wickedly, that he should be content therewith, and maintain us therein contrary unto his godly and righteous nature. But as soon as the law (whose nature is to utter sin, Rom. iii., and to set man at variance with God) is
preached, then we first awake out of our dream, and see The law condemn
our damnation, and have the law which is so contrary unto our nature, and grudge against God thereto, as young children do against their elders when they first command, and count God a cruel tyrant because of his law, in that he condemneth us for that thing which we cannot love,
nor of love fulfil. Christ. But when Christ is preached, how that God for his
sake receiveth us to mercy, and forgiveth us all that is past, and henceforth reckoneth not unto us our corrupt and poisoned nature, and taketh us as his sons, and putteth us under grace and mercy, and promiseth that he will not judge us by the rigourousness of the law, but nurture us
with all mercy and patience, as a father most merciful. It we sub. Only if we will submit ourselves unto his doctrine and niit our
learn to keep his laws. Yea, and he will thereto consider selves to Christ, and our weakness, and, whatsoever chanceth, never taketh away knowledge our weak
his mercy, till we cast off the yoke of our profession first, ness he will and run away with utter defiance, that we will never come mercy re
more at school. Then our stubborn and hard hearts molceive us,
lify and wax soft, and in the confidence and hope that we have in Christ, and his kindness, we go to God boldly as unto our father, and receive life, that is to say, love unto God and unto the law also.
of his great
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto
you, that ye may have fellowship with us, and that our fellowship may be with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write unto you that your joy may be full. To bring unto the fellowship of God and Christ, and The touch
stone of all of them that believe in Christ, is the final intent of all the Scripture, why it was given of God unto man, and trine and
preachers, the only thing which all true preachers seek, and whereby ye shall ever know and discern the true word of God from all false and counterfeited doctrine of vain traditions, and the true preacher from the wily hypocrite. We preach unto you (saith John) the everlasting life which we have heard, and in hearing received through faith, and are sure of it, to draw you to us out of the fellowship that ye have with the damned devils in sinful lusts and ignorance of God, for we seek you and not your's, as saith Paul, (2 Cor. xii.) We love you as ourselves in God, and the modest therefore would have you fellows, and equal with us, and and charitabuild you upon the foundation laid of the apostles and of St.
Paul's docprophets which is Christ Jesus, and make you of the
trine. household of God for ever, that ye, and we, fellows and brethren, and coupled together in one spirit, in one faith and in one hope, might have our fellowship thereby with God, and become his sons and heirs, and with Jesus Christ, being his brethren and co-heirs, and to make your joy full through that glad tidings, as the angel said unto the shepherds, (Luke ii.) Behold I shew you great joy that shall be unto all the people, how that there is a Saviour born unto you this day which is Christ the Lord. And these tidings we bring you with the word of God only which we received of his Spirit, and out of the mouth of his Son as true messengers.
We preach not ourselves, but Christ our Lord, and us your servants for his sake: we do not love ourselves, to