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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
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.
III. 8. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.
He, that gives himself over to the commission of sin, and makes it his willing practice, that man is not of God, but of the Devil; for it is and hath been the trade of that Wicked Spirit, even from the beginning, ever since his fall, to sin against God, and to draw others into sin and condemnation with him. III. 9. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
Whosoever is truly regenerate doth not yield himself over to be a vassal of sin, neither doth make a trade of a known evil; for the Spirit of God, whereby he was renewed, is still and ever in him, which cannot but restrain him from a willing abdication of himself to live in notoriously wicked courses.
III. 14. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.
It is a very sure and irrefragable proof unto us, that we are truly the children of God; and have already as true a right to heaven, as if we were actually possessed of it, and had already passed from death to that spiritual and eternal life; that we do find in our hearts a true and unfeigned love to our Christian brethren.
III. 20. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
For if our own conscience do accuse and condemn us, much more shall God do so; who is the Lord of the Conscience, from whom none of our secret thoughts or inclinations can be hid.
IV. 2. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.
Hereby, for the present occasion, ye shall take a trial of the spirits, whether they be of God or no; every one, who confesseth Jesus Christ to have been God from all eternity, and in the fulness of time to have taken our nature upon him, and to be come in the flesh to accomplish the perfect work of man's redemption, is of God, and speaks from God. So by the contraries verse 3.
IV. 3. And this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
And this is the spirit of that great and notoriously powerful enemy of Christ, whereof ye have been oft premonished, that he should come in the latter days; and now is this spirit of contradiction to the Son of God already in the world.
IV. 4. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome
them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
But as for you, my dearly beloved children in Christ, ye have overcome the assaults of these pestilent false teachers; because that Spirit of God, which is in you and hath taken upon him your safeguard, is greater and more powerful, than that Wicked Spirit, which animates and sets them on work to do this mischief to God and his Church.
IV. 7. For love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
For true Christian love and charity is the work of God in the heart; and every one, that doth truly love his brother, out of the true grounds of his interest in God and obedience to him, is the child of God, truly regenerate, and hath known and felt the power of God's Spirit in him.
IV. 15. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
The abridgment of all piety and religion is shortly comprised in this rule: Whosoever shall confess Jesus Christ to be the true and coeternal Son of God, sent by his Father into the world for the perfect redemption of him and mankind, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
IV. 17. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
Herein are we so assured of the perfect love of God to us, as that we may have confidence and boldness to stand before his judgment seat, in that great day of account; for that our hearts tell us, that we desire to be every way conformable to his will, labouring towards that holiness and perfection which is in him.
IV. 18. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.
And, when this love of God towards us is ascertained to our hearts, it doth perfectly quiet the conscience, which otherwise is full of tumults, and fear, and unquietness: for, where assurance of love is, there is no fear or anxiety, since perfect love casts out fear; neither can these two stand together, for in love there is joy and contentment, but in fear there is vexation and torment.
V. 1. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
Ye are now fallen into a time, wherein there is much opposition to Christ, the Son of God: the greatest part of the world set themselves against him, and deny the truth of his coming and the power of his Deity: This, therefore, for the
time, may make a just distinction betwixt Christians and the rest of the world; Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the true Messiah and Saviour of the World, and receiveth his whole doctrine delivered unto men, it is a good evidence that he is of the number of God's children, sequestered from the world of unbelievers, and may therefore challenge our love towards him; for every one, that loveth that God and Father who hath called and regenerated his children, must needs also love those children whom he hath thus regenerated.
V. 3. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Herein do we approve our love to God, that we set ourselves to keep his commandments: and to us, that are regenerate, his commandments are not grievous and unpleasingly troublesome; forasmuch as we do cheerfully address ourselves to the keeping of them, out of our love to that good God, who hath enjoined them.
V. 4. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
What person soever he be, that is renewed by the Spirit of God, he overcometh those temptations wherewith the world labours to withdraw him from his God; and this victory, whereby the world is overcome by us, who are God's children, is obtained by our faith, laying hold on Christ Jesus. So also verse 5.
V. 6. This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
This, even this Jesus Christ, is he, that came into the world; and instituted and underwent, not the baptism of water only, which John gave and performed; but the baptism of blood also, which he shed for man's redemption: both which, even water and blood, issued out of his side in his death; and the effusion of which precious blood of his, he caused to be represented in his Last Supper, and commanded the memorial thereof to be continued to his Church: unto which Jesus, and the truth of his Godhead, the Spirit of God hath given full testimony, both in the hearts of his elect, and in his miraculous descent at the feast of Pentecost, and those wonderful gifts which he hath bestowed upon men: and the witness of the same Spirit is infallible; the author whereof is truth itself, and therefore can neither deceive, nor be deceived.
V. 7. For there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are
Unto this main truth concerning Christ the Redeemer of the World, there are six all-sufficient and undeniable witnesses;
whereof three are in heaven, and three upon earth: those in heaven are the Three Sacred Persons in Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and these three are, in essence, one and the same God.
V. 8. And there are three that bear record in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. Those three, that bear witness unto him on earth, and seal up the truth of his promises unto us, are the water in baptism, by which we are cleansed from the filth of our sins; the blood of Christ, exhibited in the holy eucharist, by the shedding whereof our sins are expiated; and the efficacy of his Spirit, which sealeth up to our hearts that testimony of water and blood, in that it applies unto us the power of that ablution and that expiation; and these three agree in and make good one and the same truth, concerning Christ the only Redeemer of Mankind.
V. 9. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater.
If we are wont to give credit unto the witness of men, surely we must needs grant, that the witness of God is much more certain and unfailable.
V. 10. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.
He, that truly believeth on the Son of God, hath God dwelling in him, by faith; and, therefore, hath that divine witness within himself.
V. 16. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
If any man see his brother fall into and continue in such a sin, as may be capable of forgiveness, let him earnestly sue unto God, for pardon of that offender; and God, who is great, and infinite in mercy, shall graciously incline his ear to his prayers, give remission and life to such an one. There is indeed a sin unto death, for which there is no forgiveness with God, because there is no capacity of repentance for it in the committer of it; I mean the sin against the Holy Ghost; when a man, having received the knowledge of the Gospel by the illumination of the Holy Spirit, and professed the belief thereof, shall, in a devilish malice, wilfully blaspheme and persecute that known truth: I do not give you allowance to pray for the pardon of this sin.
V. 17. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
Any of our injurious carriages towards God, whether in our words, deeds, or thoughts, is sin; and therefore of itself guilty of death: but, such is the mercy of God, that he takes not ad