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ture, that we may express our love to him, by doing good to them for his sake.
The excellence of love, as a proof of our knowing God, and dwelling in
hinz ; as doing him honour, and affording confidence to the soul. Ch. iv. 13, &c.
13 TN this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he 14 hath given to us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testi.
fy that the Father hath sent the Son to be the Saviour of the 15 world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, 16 God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and
believed the love which God hath unto us. God is love, and he 17 that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein
is love perfected in us, that we may have boldness in the day of 18 judgment; in that, as he is, so are we in this world. There is
no abject fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear; because
fear hath torment : He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us. If any one say, I love 20 God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar : for how can he who love
eth not his brother, whom he hath seen, love God whom he hath 21 not seen? And we have this express commandment from him,
that he who loveth God, should also love his brother.
REFLECTIONS. That all these repeated exhortations may not be entirely in vain, let us now call our hearts to a deep and affectionate contemplation of the astonishing love of God, that he hath sent even his Son to be the Saviour of the world, according to the testimony of this divine herald, who beheld his glory, and witnessed it to be such a glory, as be. came the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Let us think of the world as lost, of the whole race of rational creatures in it as perishing, as going down to eternal perdition. But a Saviour is provided : and 0, what a Saviour? The Son of God, that almighty dcliverer, to whom our salvation was dearer than his own life. So dear, that he was willing to be invested with mortal flesh, in order that he might be capable of enduring pain and death for our redemption. Have we not herein seen and known the love of God 10 us ? That love wherewith he has so graciously prevented us ; for surely nothing can be more apparent than this, that if we do indeed love him sincerely and faithfully, it is because he hath first loved us. And therefore, instead of boasting of our love to him, as if we could make him our debtor, let us humbly acknowledge that he is the great original and support of that beautifying affection of the human mind; and that our obligations to him are great, in proportion to the degree in which we feel it working in us.-Let us be encoura. ged bolelly to confess Clirist as the Son of God. Let us seek after more perfect love to him, and to the Father, as that which tends to
make the mind happy by casting out every tormenting passion, and to establish it in an humble boldness amidst the most awful prospects. It is matter of deep lamentation, that our spirits should be so degenerate, as that while we are strongly impressed by sensible objects, we should be the less inclined to love the blessed God, because he is an invisible being -Let us adore his goodness, that in condescension to our weakness, he hath made himself visible in the person of his Son; and as Christ has constituted our brethren, in some degree, his representatives, to receive, as in his name, the tokens of our kindness and affection, let us be studious, by our love to them, and particularly to the poor among them, who have peculiarly this honour ; let us, I say, be studious to approve the sincerity of that love to him, which we so universally profess, and the absence of which were so inexcusably criminal.
The character of those that are born of God; who love Christ, conquer the world, and boldly maintain the gospel :-its witnesses, both in heaven and on earth. Ch. v. 1–12.
TDVERY one who truly believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is
U born of God. And every one who lovelh hin that begat, 2 loveth him also that is begotten by him. By r this we know that
we love the children of God, if we love God and keep his com3 mandments*. For this is the love of God, that we keep his com4 mandments; and his commandments are not grievous. Because
whatever is born of God, conquereth the world, and this is the 5 victory that conquereth the world, even our faith. Who is he
that conquereth the world, except he that believeth that Jesus
Christ is the Son of God ? 6 This is he who came by water and blood, even Jesus the Christ :
not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit is that which witnesseth; for the Spirit is truth. For there are three,
who bear witness [tin heaven, the Father, the Word, and the 8 Holy Spirit : and these three are one. And there are three on
earth who bear witness] the Spirit in its miraculous gifts, and the
Water of baptism, and the Blood in the sacramental wine : and 9 these three agree in one. If we receive the testimony of men,
the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God, 10 which he hath witnessed concerning his Son. He who believeth
in the Son of God, hath the witness within himself: He that believeth not God, maketh him a liar, because he hath not believed * Some suppose this clause to be transposed, and that it should be read, By this we know that we love God, and keep his commandments, because we love his children.
f I thought myself obliged to intimate à remaining doubt at least, concerning the authenticity of this passage, by enclosing it in crotchets. I am persuaded the words contain an important truth; but whether they have been added by some, or omitted by others, contrary to the original cony, I will not pretend to dotermine.
in the testimony which God hath testified concerning his Son. 11 And this is the substance of his testimony, that God hath given 12 unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who hath the
Son, hath life: he who hath not the Son of God, hath not life, but is under a sentence of death.
· REFLECTIONS. Let us regard the grand question, on which our life, our eternal life, is suspended ! I mean, whether we have, or have not, the Son of God ? Let us examine into this important matter, with the greatest attention. Let us hearken to, and receive the testimony of God, as comprehended in this one word, that God hath given us, even to us, dying, perishing men, eternal life ; and this life is in his Son. Let us receive this transcendent gift with all humility and thankfulness; and so much the rather, as it is given us in him. By firmly believing this, we shall conquer the world, and gain a victory of an infinitely different and more exalted nature, than they who are strangers to Christ, or who reject him, ever have done, or can possibly do.—May our stedfast faith in him furnish us with a substantial attestation that we are born of God ; and may we prove it to be sincere, by loving the children of God, and by keeping all his commandments. We must surely acknowledge, that his commandments are reasonable ; and if we have a genuine love to God existing in our hearts, it will render the observance of them pleasant and delightful. And if we are not possessed of that evidence of love, which arises from a disposition to obedience, let us remember, he hath fairly and frequently warned us, that no other expressions of love, how fervent and pathetic soever, will be accepted or allowed by him. That our faith may be confirmed, and our love awakened, let us often look to Christ, as coming by water, and by blood. Let us meditate on that mysterious stream of blood and water, which came forth from his wounded side. Let us solemnly remind ourselves of the baptismal water, in which we were washed, and of the sacred cufi, the communion of the blood of Christ, referring to this great important event. And while we are contemplating the memorial of his humility, let us also consider him as one with the Father and the Holy Spirit ; and as each of the sacred three join their testimony to the truth of the gospel, and join their kind offices for supplying to us the invaluable blessings of it, let us joyfully ascribe glory to each, world without end. Amen.
The Apostle declares his design to be the confirmation of their faith ; encourages their hope, that their prayers should be heard, and reflects on the han. ny difference between them and a wicked world. Ch. v. 13, &c
13 THESE things have I written to you who believe in the name
1 of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life ; and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 14 And this is the confidence which we have towards him, that if we
ask any thing according to his will, he graciously heareth us. 15 And if we know that he heareth us, whatsoever we ask, we know 16 we shall have those petitions which we have asked of him.-If any
one see his brother commit a sin, which is not unto death, he shall ask*, and he shall give him life; I speak with respect to those
who sin not unto death. There is indeed a sin that is unto death. 17 I say not that he should pray concerning that. Every act of un18 righteousness is sin : but there is a sin not unto death. We know
that whoever is born of God doth not sin : but he who is born of
God keepeth himself, and the wicked one doth not touch him. 19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wick20 edness.. But we know that the Son of God is come, and hath
given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true ;
and we are in him that is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is 21 the true God and eternal life.-Little children, keep yourselves
from idols. Amer.
REFLECTIONS. Let us thankfully own the divine goodness, in giving us so many helps for the confirmation of our failh ; and learn the importance of its being thus confirmed, from that variety of provision made for its establishment. The declared end of the apostle in writing this epistle was, that they who believe in the name of the Son of God, might more firmly believe in it. Lord, increase our faith ! and with it our zeal for him in whose name we believe, and our love to each other, for his sake : then shall we have eternal life, the gift of God, in Christ Jesus our Lord ; and in the mean time may address the throne with cheerfulness, and present our petitions in a pleasing and confident hope, that asking what is agreeable to his will (and all that he knows to be subservient to our truest interest is so he will hear us, and we shall receive the things that we usk. Encouraged by this promise, with what boldness may we come to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and grace to help in every time of need! Let his compassion to us teach us to have compassion on our brethren, on our afficted brethren; yea on those whose miscarriages have evidently brought their afflictions upon them. Let us not too soon pronounce the case of a sinner hopeless ; but rather subject ourselves to the trouble of some fruitless attempts to reclaim him, than omit any thing where there may be a possibility of succeeding. May divine grace awaken [us] all to stand at the remotest distance, not only from the unpardonable sin, but from whatever might dishonour God, and endanger our own souls; 'for every sin is deadly and malignant, though every one be not the sin unto death. May we keep ourselves, and be kept by divine grace, in such a manner, that the wicked one may not touch us ; but all his attempts be turned into his own shame and confusion! And 0, inay God excite our pity to a world which lies in wickedne88 ; and animate us to use our utmost endeavours, to recover those out of the
* “ Let him ask” of God; and he shall give him life: not eternal life, but a recovery from sickness. M.
snare of the devil, who are led captive by him at his pleasure. May we be made sensible of the rich and distinguishing grace of God, if we can say that we are, not only by an external profession, but an inward union, in him that is true in the Lord Jesus Christ. Him let us adore, as with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, the true God. Him let us seek, as eternal life; and let us keep ourselves from all those idols, which would alienate our regard from God, and by the pursuit of which our eternal life might in any degree be endangered.
THE SECOND EPISTLE OF JOHN.
The Apostle John, addressing himself to a worthy Christian lady, expresses his joy in her good character, and that of her children ; exhorts them to continued love, and to guard against deceivers.
T THE Elder to the elect Lady, and to her children whom I love
in the truth : nor I only, but also all those who know the 2 truth ; because of the truth which dwelleth in us, and shall be in 3 us for ever: Grace, mercy, and peace be with you, from God the
Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in 4 truth and love. I rejoiced greatly, when I found some of thy chil
dren walking in truth, according to the commandment which we 5 have received from the Father. And now I beseech thee, Lady,
not as writing to thee a new commandment, but that which we had 6 from the beginning, that we may love one another. And this is
love, that we walk according to his commandments. This is the
commandment, as ye have heard from the beginning, that ye shouid 7 walk in it. Because many deceivers are gone out into the world,
who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a 8 deceiver and an Antichrist. I beseech you and all my Christian
friends, Look to yourselves, that we may not lose the things we 9 have wrought, but may receive the ample reward. Every one who
transgresseth and remaineth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not
God: he that remaineth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the 10 Father and the Son. If any one come unto you, and bring not
this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither wish him Il good success : For he that wisheth him good success, is partaker 12 of his evil deeds.--Having many things to write unto you, I would
not do it with paper and ink; but I hope ere long to come to you, 13 and speak face to face, that your joy may be fulfilled. The chil
dren of thine elect sister salute thee. Amen.
REFLECTIONS. Let us observe this delineation of a love truly Christian; the love which the apostle, and all who knew the truth, are said to have had towards this elect and excellent lady, for the truth's sake which dwelt in