[The Worde of life.]
1 Hee testifieth that hee bringeth the eternall worde wherein is life, 5 and light. 9 God will bee mercifull vnto the faithfull, if groning vnder the burden of their sinnes, they learne to flee vnto his mercie.
1 That [Note:  He beginneth with the description of the person of Christ, whome he maketh one and not two: and him both God from euerlasting (for he was with the Father from the beginning, and is that eternall life) and also made true man, whom Iohn himselfe and his companions, both heard, and behelde, and handled. ] which was from the beginning, which wee haue [Note: [a] I heard him speake, I sawe him my selfe with mine eyes, I handled with mine handes him that is very God being made very man, and not I alone, but others also that were with me. ] heard, which wee haue seene with these our eyes, which wee haue looked vpon, and these handes of ours haue handled of that [Note: [b] That same euerlasting Worde, by whome all things are made, and in whome onely there is life. ] Word of life,
2 (For that life was made manifest, and wee haue seene it, and beare witnes, and [Note: [c] Being sent by him: and that doctrine is rightly said to be shewed, for no man could so much as haue thought of it, if it had not bene thus shewed. ] shewe vnto you that eternall life, which was with the Father, and was made manifest vnto vs)
3 That, I say, which wee haue seene and heard, declare wee vnto you, [Note:  The vse of this doctrine is this, that all of vs being coupled and ioyned together with Christ by faith, might become the sonnes of God: in which thing onely consisteth all happinesse. ] that yee may also haue fellowship with vs, and that our fellowship also may be with the Father, and with his Sonne Iesvs Christ.
4 And these thinges write we vnto you, that that your ioy may be full.
5 [Note:  Nowe hee entreth into a question, whereby we may vnderstande that wee are ioyned together with Christ, to wit, if wee be gouerned with his light, which is perceiued by the ordering of our life. And thus he reasoneth. God is in himselfe most pure light, therefore hee agreeth well with them, which are lightsome, but with them that are darkesome hee hath no fellowship. ] This then is the message which wee haue heard of him, and declare vnto you, that God [Note: Iohn 8.12. ] is light, and in him is no darkenes.
6 If wee say that wee haue fellowship with him, and walke in darkenesse, we lie, and doe not truely:
7 But if we walke in the [Note: [d] God is saide to be light of his owne nature, and to bee in light, that is to say, in that euerlasting infinite blessednesse: and wee are saide to walke in light, in that the beames of that light doe shine vnto vs in the Worde. ] light as he is in the light, we haue fellowship one with another, [Note:  A digression or going from the matter he is in hand with, to the remission of sinnes: for this our sanctification which walke in the light, is a testimonie of our ioyning and knitting together with Christ: but because this our light is very darke, wee must needes obteine an other benefite in Christ, to wit, that our sinnes may be forgiuen vs being sprinkled with his blood: and this in conclusion is the proppe and stay of our saluation. ] and the [Note: Hebrew.9.28. 1.peter 1.19. reuelat.1.5. ] blood of Iesus Christ his Sonne clenseth vs from all sinne.
8 [Note:  There is none, but needeth this benefite, because there is none that is not a sinner. ] [Note: 1.King.8.46. 2.chron.6.36. prouerb.20.9. ] If we say that we haue no sinne, we [Note: [e] This place doeth fully refute that perfitnesse and workes of supererogation which the Papists dreame of. ] deceiue our selues, and [Note: [f] So then, Iohn speaketh not thus for modesties sake, as some say, but because it is so in deede. ] trueth is not in vs.
9 [Note:  Therefore the beginning of saluation is to acknowledge our wickednesse, and to require pardon of him who freely forgiueth all sinnes, because he hath promised so to doe, and hee is faithfull and iust. ] If we acknowledge our sinnes, he is [Note: [g] So then our saluation hangeth vpon the free promes of God, who because hee is faithfull and iust, will performe that which he hath promised. ] faithfull and iust, to [Note: [h] Where are then our merites? for this is our true felicitie. ] forgiue vs our sinnes, & to clense vs from all vnrighteousnes.
10 [Note:  A rehearsall of the former sentence, wherein he condemned all of sinne without exception: in so much that if any man perswade himselfe otherwise, he doeth as much as in him lieth, make the word of God himselfe vaine and to no purpose, yea he maketh God a liar: for to what ende either in times past needed sacrifices, or nowe Christ and the Gospel, if, we be not sinners? ] If we say we haue not sinned, wee make him [Note: [i] They doe not onely deceiue themselues, but are blasphemous against God. ] a liar, and his [Note: [k] His doctrine shall haue no place in vs: that is, in our heartes. ] word is not in vs.
[Christ our Aduocate.]
1 Hee declareth that Christ is our Mediatour and aduocate, 3 and sheweth that the knowledge of God consisteth in holines of life, 12 which apperteineth to all sorts, 14 that depend on Christ alone: 15 Then hauing exhorted them to contemne the world, 18 Hee giueth warning that antichristes be auoyded, 24 and that the knowen trueth be stoode vnto.
1 My [Note:  It foloweth not hereof that wee must giue our wicked nature the bridle, or sinne so much the more freely, because our sinnes are clensed away by the blood of Christ, but we must rather so much the more diligetly resist sinne. And yet we must not despaire because of our weaknes, for we haue an aduocate and a purger, Christ Iesus the iust, and therefore acceptable vnto his Father. ] litle children, these things write I vnto you, that ye sinne not: and if any man sinne, wee haue an [Note: [a] In that he nameth Christ, he shutteth forth all other. ] Aduocate with the Father, Iesus Christ, the Iust.
2 And he is the [Note: [b] Reconciliation and interceßion goe together, to giue vs to vnderstand that he is both aduocate and hie Priest. ] reconciliation for our sinnes: and not for ours onely, but also for the sinnes of the [Note: [c] For men of all sortes, of all ages, and all places, so that this benefite belongeth not to the Iewes only, of whom he speaketh as appeareth, vers. 7. but also to other natios. ] whole world.
3 [Note:  He returneth to the testimonie of our coniunction with God, to wit, to sanctification, declaring what it is to walke in the light, to wit, to keepe Gods comandements. Whereby it foloweth that holines doeth not consist in those thinges which men haue deuised, neither in a vaine profession of the Gospel. ] And hereby we are sure that we [Note: [d] This must be vnderstoode of such a knowledge as hath faith with it, and not of a common knowledge. ] knowe him, [Note: [e] For the tree is knowen by the fruite. ] if we keepe his commandements.
4 [Note:  Holines, that is, a life ordered according to the prescript of Gods commaundements, how weake soeuer we be, is of necessitie ioyned with faith, that is, with the true knowledge of the Father in the Sonne. ] Hee that saith, I knowe him, and keepeth not his commaundements, is a liar, and the trueth is not in him.
5 [Note:  He that keepeth Gods comandements loueth God in deede: He that loueth God, is in God, or is ioyned together with God. Therfore he that keepeth his commandements, is in him. ] But hee that keepeth his worde, in him is the [Note: [f] Wherewith we loue God. ] loue of God perfect in deede: hereby wee knowe that ye are in [Note: [g] He meaneth our coniunction with Christ. ] him.
6 [Note:  He that is one with Christ, must needs liue his life, that is, must walke in his steps. ] He that saith he remaineth in him, ought euen so to walke, as he hath walked.
7 [Note:  The Apostle going about to expound the comandement of Charitie one towards another, telleth first, that when he vrgeth holines, he bringeth no new trade of life (as they vse to do which deuise traditios one after another) but putteth them in minde of that same lawe which God gaue in the beginning, to wit, by Moses, at that time that God began to make Lawes to his people. ] Brethren, I write no newe commaundement vnto you: but an olde commaundement, which ye haue had from the beginning: this olde commaundement is that worde, which yee haue heard from the beginning.
8 [Note:  He addeth, that that doctrine in deede is old, but it is now after a sort new, both in respect of Christ, & also of vs: in whom he through the Gospel, engraueth his law effectually, not in tables of stone, but in our mindes. ] Againe, a new comandement I write vnto you, that [Note: [h] Which thing (to wit, that the doctrine is new which I write vnto you) is true in him, & in you. ] which is true in him, and also in you: for the darkenes is past, & that true light now shineth.
9 [Note:  Nowe he commeth to the second table, that is, to charitie one towardes another, and denieth that that man hath true light in him, or is in deede regenerate and the sonne of God, which hateth his brother: and such a one wandereth miserably in darknes, brag he of neuer so great knowledge of God, for that wittingly and willingly he casteth himselfe headlong into hell. ] He that saith that hee is in that light, and hateth his brother, is in darkenes, vntill this time.
10 [Note: Chap.3.14. ] Hee that loueth his brother, abideth in that light, & there is none occasion of euil in him.
11 But he that hateth his brother, is in darkenesse, and walketh in darkenesse, and knoweth not whither hee goeth, because that darkenesse hath blinded his eyes.
12 [Note:  He returneth againe from sanctification to remission of sinnes, because that free reconciliation in Christ is the groud of our saluation, whereupon afterwards sanctification must be built as vpon a fundation. ] Litle children, [Note: [i] Therfore I write vnto you, because you are of their nomber whom God hath recociled to himself. ] I write vnto you, because your sinnes are forgiuen you for his [Note: [k] For his owne sake: And in that he nameth Christ, he shutteth out all other, whether they be in heaue or earth. ] Names sake.
13 [Note:  Hee sheweth that this doctrine agreeth to all ages, and first of all speaking to old men, he sheweth that Christ and his doctrine are passing ancient, and therefore if they be delited wt olde things, nothing ought to be more acceptable vnto them. ] I write vnto you, fathers, because yee haue knowen him that is from the beginning. [Note:  He aduertiseth yong men, if they be desirous to shew their stregth, that they haue a most glorious cobate set here before the, to wit, Satan the worst enemie, who must be ouercome: willing them to be as sure of the victorie, as if they had already gotten it. ] I write vnto you, yong men, because ye haue ouercome that wicked one. [Note:  Finally, hee sheweth to children, that that true Father from whom they haue to looke for all good things, is set forth vnto them in the Gospel. ] I write vnto you, litle children, because ye haue knowen ye Father.
14 [Note:  He addeth afterward in like order, as many exhortations: as if he should say, Remember, you Fathers, as I wrote euen nowe, that the euerlasting Sonne of God is reuealed to vs. Remember ye yong men, that that strength whereby I sayd that you put Satan to flight, is giuen you by the worde of God which dwelleth in you. ] I haue written vnto you, fathers, because ye haue knowen him, that is from the beginning. I haue written vnto you, yong men, because ye are strong, and the worde of God abideth in you, and ye haue ouercome that wicked one.
15 [Note:  The world which is full of wicked desires, lustes, or pleasures, and pride, is vtterly hated of our heauenly Father. Therefore the Father and the world cannot be loued together: and this admonition is very necessary for greene and florishing youth. ] Loue not this [Note: [l] He speaketh of the world, as it agreeth not with the will of God, for otherwise God is sayd to loue the world with an infinite loue, Iohn 3.16. that is to say, those whome he chose out of the world. ] world, neither the things that are in this world. If any man loue this world, the [Note: [m] Wherewith the Father is loued. ] loue of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in this world (as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life) is not of the Father, but is of this world.
17 [Note:  He sheweth how much better it is to obey the Fathers will, then the lustes of the world, by both their natures and vnlike euent. ] And this world passeth away, & the lust thereof: but he that fulfilleth the will of God, abideth euer.
18 [Note:  Nowe he turneth himselfe to litle children, which notwithstanding are well instructed in the summe of religion, and willeth them by diuers reasons to shake off slouthfulnes, which is too too familiar with that age. ] [Note: [n] He vseth this worde (Litle) not because he speaketh to children, but to allure them the more by vsing such sweete wordes. ] Litle children, [Note:  First, because the last time is at hand, so that the matter suffereth no delay. ] it is the last time, [Note:  Secondly, because Antichrists, that is, such as fall from God are already come, euen as they heard that they should come. And it was very requisite to warne that vnheedy and warilesse age of that danger. ] and as ye haue heard that Antichrist shal come, euen now are there many Antichrists: whereby we know that it is the last time.
19 [Note:  A digression against certaine offences and stumbling blocks whereat that rude age especially might stumble and be shaken. Therefore that they should not be terrified with the foule falling backe of certaine, first he maketh plaine vnto them, that although such as fall from God and his religion had place in the Church, yet they were neuer of the Church: because the Church is the company of the elect, which cannot perish, and therefore cannot fall from Christ. ] They went out from vs, but they were not of vs: for if they had bene of vs, [Note: [o] So then the elect can neuer fall from grace. ] they should haue continued with vs. [Note:  Secondly, he sheweth that these things fal out to the profit of the Church, that hypocrites may be plainely knowen. ] But this cometh to paße, that it might appeare, that they are not all of vs.
20 [Note:  Thirdly, he comforteth them to make them stand fast, insomuch as they are anointed of ye holy Ghost wt the true knowledge of saluation. ] But ye haue an [Note: [p] The grace of the holy Ghost: & this is a borowed kind of speach taken fro the ointings vsed in the Law. ] ointment from that [Note: [q] From Christ who is peculiarly called Holy. ] Holy one, and know all things.
21 [Note:  The taking away of an obiection. He wrote not these things as to me which are ignorant of religion, but rather as to them which do wel know ye trueth, yea so far forth yt they are able to discerne trueth fro falsehode. ] I haue not written vnto you, because ye knowe not the trueth: but because ye knowe it, and that no lie is of the trueth.
22 [Note:  He sheweth now plainly the false doctrine of ye Antichrists, to wit, yt either they fight against the person of Christ, or his office, or both together & at once. And they yt do so, do in vaine boast & brag of God, for that in denying the Sonne, the Father also is denied. ] Who is a liar, but he that denyeth that Iesus is [Note: [r] Is the true Messia[illeg.]. ] that Christ? the same is that Antichrist that denyeth the Father and the Sonne.
23 [Note: [s] They then are deceiued themselues, and also do deceiue others, which say that the Turks & other infidels worship the same God that we do. ] Whosoeuer denyeth the Sonne, the same hath not the Father.
24 [Note:  The whole preaching of ye Prophets & Apostles is contrary to yt doctrine: Therfore it is vtterly to be cast away, & this wholy to be holden & kept, which leadeth vs to seeke eternal life in ye free promes, yt is to say, in Christ alone, who is giue vs of the father. ] Let therefore abide in you that same
[Wherefore Christ came.]
which ye haue heard from the beginning. If that which ye haue heard from the beginning, shal remaine in you, ye also shal continue in the Sonne, and in the Father.
25 And this is the promes that he hath promised vs, euen that eternall life.
26 [Note:  The same Spirit which indueth the elect with the knowledge of the trueth and sanctifieth them, giueth them therewithall the gift of perseuerance, to continue to the ende. ] These things haue I written vnto you, concerning them that deceiue you.
27 But that [Note: [t] The Spirit which you haue receiued of Christ, and which hath led you into all trueth. ] anointing which ye receiued of him, dwelleth in you: and ye [Note: [u] You are not ignorant of those things, and therefore I teach them not as things that were neuer heard of, but call them to your remembrance as things which you doe knowe. ] neede not that any man teach you: but as the same [Note: [x] Hee commendeth both the doctrine which they had embraced, and also highly prayseth their faith, and the diligence of such as taught them, yet so, that he taketh nothing from the honour due to the holy Ghost. ] Anoynting teacheth you of all things, and it is true, and is not lying, and as it taught you, ye shall abide in him.
28 [Note:  The conclusion both of the whole exhortation, and also of the former treatise. ] And nowe, litle children, abide in him, that when he shall appeare, we may be bolde, and not be ashamed before him at his comming.
29 [Note:  A passing ouer to the treatise following, which tendeth to the same purpose, but yet is more ample, and handleth the same matter after another order, for before he taught vs to goe vp from the effects, to the cause, and in this that followeth, he goeth downe from the causes to the effects. And this is the summe of this argument: God is the fountaine of all righteousnes, and therefore they that giue them selues to righteousnes, are knowen to be borne of him, because they resemble God the Father. ] If ye know that he is righteous, know ye that he which doeth righteously, is borne of him.
1 Setting downe the inestimable glory of this, that we are Gods sonnes, 7 he sheweth that newnes of life must be testified by good workes, whereof Charitie is a manifest token. 19 Of faith, 22 and praying vnto God.
1 Beholde, [Note:  He beginneth to declare this agreement of ye Father & the Sonne, at ye highest cause, to wit, at that free loue of God towards vs, wherewith he so loueth vs, that also he adopteth vs to be his children. ] [Note: [a] What a gift of how great loue. ] what loue the Father hath giuen to vs, that we should be [Note: [b] That we should be the sonnes of God, and so, that all the world may perceiue we are so. ] called the sonnes of God: [Note:  Before he declareth this adoption, he sayth two things: the one, that this so great a dignitie is not to be esteemed according to ye iudgmet of the flesh, because it is vnknowen to the world, for the world knoweth not God the Father himselfe. ] for this cause this world knoweth you not, because it knoweth not him.
2 [Note:  The other: This dignitie is not fully made manifest to vs our selues, much lesse to strangers, but we are sure of the accomplishment of it, in so much that we shalbe like to the Sonne of God himselfe, & shal enioy his sight in deede, such as he is now, but yet notwithstanding this is deferred vntill his next comming. ] Dearely beloued, nowe are we the sonnes of God, but yet it is not made manifest what we shall be: and we know that when he shalbe made manifest, we shalbe [Note: [c] Like, but not equall. ] like him: for we shall see him [Note: [d] For now we see as in a glaße, 1. Cor.13.12. ] as he is.
3 [Note:  Now he describeth this adoption, (the glory whereof as yet consisteth in hope,) by the effect, to wit, because that whosoeuer is made the sonne of God, endeuoureth to resemble the Father in puritie. ] And euery man that hath this hope in him, purgeth himselfe, euen [Note: [e] This worde signifieth a likenes, but not an equalitie. ] as he is pure.
4 [Note:  The rule of this puritie can from no whence els be taken but from the Law of God, the transgression whereof is that which is called sinne. ] Whosoeuer [Note: [f] Giueth not himselfe to purenes. ] committeth sinne, transgresseth also the Law: for [Note: [g] A short definition of sinne. ] sinne is the transgression of the Lawe.
5 [Note:  An argument taken from the materiall cause of our saluation: Christ in himselfe is most pure, and he came to take away our sinnes, by sanctifying vs with the holy Ghost. Therefore whosoeuer is truely partaker of Christ, doeth not giue himselfe to sinne, and contrariwise hee that giueth himselfe to sinne, knoweth not Christ. ] And ye knowe that hee was made manifest, that he might [Note: Isai.53.6,9,11. 1.pet.2.22,24. ] take away our sinnes, and in him is no sinne.
6 Whosoeuer abideth in him, sinneth not: whosoeuer [Note: [h] He is sayd to sinne, that giueth not himselfe to purenes, and in him sinne reigneth: but sinne is sayd to dwell in the faithfull, and not to reigne in them. ] sinneth, hath not seene him, neither hath knowen him.
7 [Note:  An other argument of things coupled together: He that liueth iustly, is iust, and resembleth Christ that is iust, and by that is knowen to be the sonne of God. ] Litle children, let no man deceiue you: he that doeth righteousnes, is righteous, as hee [Page]
[To loue one another.]
8 [Note:  An argument taken of contraries: The deuil is the authour of sinne and therefore he is of the deuill, or is ruled by the inspiration of the deuill, that serueth sinne: and if he be the deuils sonne, then is hee not Gods sonne: for the deuil and God are so contrary the one to the other, that euen the Sone of God was sent to destroy the works of the deuil. Therefore on the contrary side, whosoeuer resisteth sinne, is the Sonne of God, being borne againe of his Spirit as of newe seede, in so much, that of necessitie he is nowe deliuered from the slauerie of sinne. ] He that [Note: Iohn 8.44. ] comitteth sinne, is of the [Note: [i] Resembleth the deuill, as the childe doeth the father, & is gouerned by his Spirit. ] deuil: for the deuill [Note: [k] He saith not, sinned, but, sinneth, for he doth nothing els but sinne. ] sinneth from the [Note: [l] From the very beginning of the worlde. ] beginning: for this purpose was made manifest that Sonne of God, that he might loose the workes of the deuil.
9 Whosoeuer is borne of God, sinneth not: for his [Note: [m] The holy Ghost is so called of the effect he worketh, because by his vertue and mightie working, as it were by seede, we are made newe men. ] seede remaineth in him, neither can hee sinne, because he is borne of God.
10 [Note:  The conclusion: By a wicked life they are knowen which are gouerned by the spirit of the deuil: and by a pure life, which are Gods children. ] In this are the children of God knowen, and the children of the deuil: whosoeuer doeth not righteousnesse, is not of God, [Note:  He beginneth to commend charitie towards the brethre, as another marke of the sonnes of God. ] neither he that loueth not his brother.
11 [Note:  The first reason, taken of the authoritie of God which giueth the commandement. ] For this is the message, that ye heard from the beginning, that [Note: Iohn 13.34. and 15.12. ] we should loue one another,
12 [Note:  An amplification taken of the contrarie example of Cain which slewe his brother. ] Not as [Note: Gene.4.8. ] [Note: [n] He bringeth forth a very fit and very olde example, wherein we may beholde both the nature of the sonnes of God, and of the sonnes of the deuill, and what state and condition remaineth for vs in this world, and what shalbe the end of both at length. ] Cain which was of that wicked one, and slewe his brother: [Note:  A short digression: Let vs not marueile that we are hated of the world for doing our duetie, for such was the condition of Abel who was a iust person: and who would not rather be like him then Cain? ] and wherefore slewe he him? because his owne workes were euill, and his brothers good.
13 Marueile not, my brethren, though this world hate you.
14 [Note:  The second reason: Because charitie is a testimonie that we are translated from death to life: and therefore hatred towards the brethren is a testimonie of death, and whosoeuer nourisheth it, doeth as it were softer death in his bosome. ] We [Note: [o] Loue is a token that we are translated from death to life, for asmuch as by the effects the cause is knowen. ] know that we are translated from death vnto life, because we loue the brethren: [Note: Chap.2.10. leuit.19.17. ] he that loueth not his brother, abideth in death.
15 [Note:  A confirmation: Whosoeuer is a murtherer, is in eternall death: who so hateth his brother is a murtherer, therefore he is in death. And thereupon followeth the contrary: Hee that loueth his brother, hath passed to life, for in deed we are borne dead. ] Whosoeuer hateth his brother, is a manslayer: and ye know that no manslayer hath eternall life abiding in him.
16 [Note: Iohn 15.13. ephes.5.2. ] [Note:  Nowe he sheweth howe farre Christian charitie extendeth, euen so farre, that according to the example of Christ, euery man forget himselfe, to prouide for and helpe his brethren. ] Hereby haue we perceiued loue, that he layde downe his life for vs: therefore we ought also to lay downe our liues for the brethren.
17 [Note: Luke 3 11. ] [Note:  He reasoneth by comparisons: for if we are bound euen to giue our life for our neighbours, how much more are we bound to helpe our brothers necessitie with our goods & substance? ] And whosoeuer hath this [Note: [p] Wherewith this life is sustained. ] worlds good, and seeth his brother haue neede, & [Note: [q] Openeth not his heart to him, nor helpeth him willingly and cheerefully. ] shutteth vp his compassion from him, howe dwelleth the loue of God in him?
18 [Note:  Christian charitie standeth not in words but in deed, and proceedeth from a syncere affection. ] My litle children, let vs not loue in worde, neither in tongue onely, but in deede and in trueth.
19 [Note:  He comendeth charitie, by a triple effect: for first of all, by it we know that we are in deede the sonnes of God, as he shewed before. ] For thereby we know that we are of the trueth, [Note:  Thereof it commeth that we haue a quiet conscience, as on the contrary side hee that thinketh that hee hath God for a iudge, because hee is guiltie to himselfe, either he is neuer or els very rashly quiet, for God hath a farre quicker sight then we, and iudgeth more seuerely. ] and shal before him assure our hearts.
20 For [Note: [r] If an euil conscience conuinceth vs, much more ought the iudgement of God codemne vs, who knoweth our hearts better then we our selues doe. ] if our heart condemne vs, God is greater then our heart, and knoweth all things.
21 [Note:  A third effect also riseth of the former, that in these miseries we are sure to be heard, because we are the sonnes of God: as we vnderstand by the grace of sanctification, which is proper to the elect. ] Beloued, if our heart condemne vs not,
[To trie the spirits.]
then haue we boldnes toward God.
22 [Note: Mat.21.22. iohn 15.7. and 16.23. chap.5.14. ] [Note:  The conclusion: That faith in Christ, and loue one towards another are things ioyned together, and therefore the outward testimonies of sanctification must and doe answere that inward testimonie of the Spirit giuen vnto vs. ] And whatsoeuer we aske we receiue of him, because we keepe his commaundements, and do those things which are pleasing in his sight.
23 [Note: Iohn 6.23. and 17.3. ] This is then his commaundement, That we beleeue in the Name of his Sonne Iesus Christ, and loue one another as hee gaue commaundement.
24 [Note: Iohn 13.34. and 15.10. ] For hee that keepeth his commaundements, dwelleth in him, and he in him: and hereby we knowe that hee abideth in vs, euen by that [Note: [s] Hee meaneth the Spirit of sanctification, whereby we are borne anewe and liue to God. ] Spirit which he hath giuen vs.
1 Hauing spoken somewhat touching the trying of spirits: 4 For some speake after the worlde, 5 and some after God: 7 He returneth to charitie, 11. 19 and by the example of God he exhorteth to brotherly loue.
1 Dearely [Note:  Taking occasion by the name of the Spirit, least loue and charitie should be separated from the worship of God, which chiefly dependeth of his true knowledge, he returneth to that which he spake of in the second chapter touching the taking heede of Antichrists. And hee will haue vs here to take heede of two things, the one is, that seeing there be many false prophets, we doe not lightly giue credit to euery man: the other is, that because many men teach false things, we should not therefore beleeue any. Wee must then obserue a meane, that wee may bee able to discerne the Spirits of God which are altogether to be followed, from impure spirits which are to be eschewed. ] beloued, beleeue not euery [Note: [a] This is spoken by the figure Metonymie, and it is as if he had sayd, Beleeue not euery one that sayth that he hath a gift of the holy Ghost to doe the office of a Prophet. ] spirit, but trie the spirits whether they are of God: for many false prophets are gone out into this worlde.
2 [Note:  He giueth a certaine and perpetuall rule to know the doctrine of Antichrist by to wit, if either the diuine or humane nature of Christ, or the true vniting of them together be denied: or if the least iote that may be, be derogated from his office who is our onely King, Prophet, and euerlasting hie Priest. ] Hereby shall ye know the Spirit of God, [Note: [b] He speaketh simply of the doctrine, and not of the person. ] Euery spirit which confesseth that [Note: [c] The true Messia[illeg.]. ] Iesus Christ is come in the [Note: [d] Is true man. ] flesh, is of God.
3 And euery spirit that confesseth not that Iesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God: but this is the spirit of Antichrist, of whome ye haue heard, how that he should come, and nowe already he is in this world.
4 [Note:  He comforteth the elect with a most sure hope of victorie: but yet so, that he teacheth them that they fight not with their owne vertue, but with the vertue and power of God. ] Litle children, ye are of God, and haue ouercome them: for greater is he that is in you, then he that is in this world.
5 [Note:  Hee bringeth a reason why the world receiueth these teachers more willingly then the true: to wit, because they breathe out nothing but that which is worldly: which is another note also to knowe the doctrine of Antichrist by. ] They are of this worlde, therefore speake they of this world, and this world heareth them.
6 [Note:  He testifieth vnto them, that his doctrine and the doctrine of his felowes, is the assured worde of God, which of necessitie wee haue boldly to set against all the mouthes of the whole world, and thereby discerne the trueth from falsehoode. ] We are of God, [Note: Iohn 8.47. ] he that knoweth God, heareth vs: he that is not of God, heareth vs not. Heereby knowe wee the [Note: [e] True Prophets, against whom are set false prophets, that is, such as erre themselues, and leade other into errour. ] spirit of trueth, and the spirit of errour.
7 [Note:  He returneth to the commending of brotherly loue and charitie. ] Beloued, let vs loue one another: [Note:  The first reason: Because it is a very diuine thing, and therefore very meete for the sonnes of God: so that whosoeuer is voyde of it, can not be sayd to know God aright. ] for loue commeth of God, & euery one that loueth, is borne of God, and knoweth God.
8 Hee that loueth not, knoweth not God: [Note:  A confirmation: for it is the nature of God to loue men, whereof wee haue a most manifest proofe aboue all other, in that that of his onely free and infinite good will towards vs his enemies, hee deliuered vnto death, not a common man, but that his owne Sonne, yea his onely begotten Sonne, to the ende that wee being reconciled through his blood, might be made partakers of his euerlasting glorie. ] for God is [Note: [f] In that hee calleth God, Loue, hee sayth more then if hee had sayd that hee loueth vs infinitely. ] loue.
[Gods loue towards vs.]
9 [Note: Iohn 3.16. ] Herein was that loue of God made manifest amongst vs, because God sent that his onely begotten sonne into this world, that we might liue through him.
10 Herein is that loue, not that we loued God, but that he loued vs, and sent his Sonne to be a reconciliation for our sinnes.
11 [Note:  An other reason by comparison: If God so loued vs, shall not we his children loue one another? ] Beloued, if God so loued vs, we ought also to loue one another.
12 [Note: Iohn 1.18. 1.tim.6.16. ] [Note:  A third reason: Because God is inuisible, therefore by this effect of his Spirit, to wit, by charitie, he is vnderstood, yea and to be not out of vs, but ioyned with vs and in vs, in who he is so effectually working. ] No man hath seene God at any time. If we loue one another, God dwelleth in vs, and his loue is [Note: [g] Is surely in vs in deede, and in trueth. ] perfect in vs.
13 Hereby know we, that we dwell in him, & he in vs: because he hath giuen vs of his Spirit.
14 [Note:  He vnderlayeth this charitie with an other foundation, to wit, faith in Iesus, which ioyneth vs in deede with him, euen as charitie witnesseth that we are ioyned wt him. Furthermore he testifieth of Christ, as who had seene him with his eies. ] And we haue seene, & doe testifie, yt the Father sent yt Sonne to be ye Sauiour of the world.
15 Whosoeuer [Note: [h] With such a confession as commeth from true faith, and is accompanied with loue, so that there be an agreement of all things. ] confesseth that Iesus is the Sone of God, in him dwelleth God, & he in God.
16 And we haue knowen, & beleeued ye loue that God hath in vs. [Note:  A fourth reason: God is the fountaine and welspring of charitie, yea charitie it selfe: therefore whosoeuer abideth in it, hath God wt him. ] God is loue, and he that dwelleth in loue, dwelleth in God, & God in him.
17 [Note:  Againe (as a litle before) he commendeth loue, for that seeing that by our agreement with God in this thing, we haue a certaine testimonie of our adoption, it commeth thereby to passe that without feare we looke for that latter day of iudgement, so that trembling, and that torment of conscience is cast out by this loue. ] Herein is that loue perfect in vs, that we should haue boldnes in the day of iudgement: for [Note: [i] This signifieth a likenes, not an equalitie. ] as he is, euen so are we in this world.
18 There is no [Note: [k] If we vnderstand by loue, that we are in God, and God in vs, that we are sonnes, and that we know God, and that euerlasting life is in vs: he concludeth aright, that we may well gather peace and quietnesse thereby. ] feare in loue, but perfect loue casteth out feare: for feare hath painefulnesse: and he that feareth, is not perfect in loue.
19 [Note:  Lest any man should thinke that that peace of conscience proceedeth from our loue as from the cause, he goeth backe to the fountaine, to wit, to the free loue wherewith God loueth vs although we deserued and do deserue his wrath. And hereof springeth another double charitie, which both are tokens and witnesses of that first, to wit, that, wherewith we loue God who loued vs first, and then for his sake our neighbours also. ] We loue him, because he loued vs first.
20 [Note:  As he shewed that the loue of our neighbour cannot be separate from the loue wherewith God loueth vs, because this last engendreth the other: so he denieth that the other kind of loue wherewith we loue God, can be separate from the loue of our neighbour: whereof it foloweth, that they lie impudently which say they worship God, and yet regard not their neighbours. ] If any man say, I loue God, and hate his brother, he is a liar: [Note:  The first reason taken of comparison, why we cannot hate our neighbour, & loue God, to wit, because that he that cannot loue his brother, whom he seeth, how can he loue God whom he seeth not? ] for how can he that loueth not his brother whom he hath seene, loue God whom he hath not seene?
21 [Note: Iohn 13.34.& 15.12. ] [Note:  A second reason, why God cannot be hated and our neighbour loued, because the selfesame Lawmaker comanded both to loue him and our neighbour. ] And this comandemet haue we of him, that he yt loueth God, should loue his brother also.
1 He sheweth that brotherly loue and faith are things inseparable: 10 And that there is no faith towards God, but by beleeuing in Christ: 14 Hence proceedeth calling vpon God with assurance, 16 and also that our prayers be auaileable for our brethren.
1 VVhosoeuer [Note:  He goeth on forward in the same argument, shewing how both those loues come into vs, from that loue wherewith God loueth vs, to wit, by Iesus our Mediatour laide holde on by faith in whom we are made the children of God, and doe loue the Father of whom we are so begotten, and also our brethren which are begotten with vs. ] beleeueth that Iesus is that [Note: [a] Is the true Messias. ] Christ, is borne of God: and euery one that loueth him, which begate, loueth [Note: [b] By one, he meaneth all the faithfull. ] him also which is begotten of him.
2 [Note:  The loue of our neighbour doth so hang vpon the loue wherewith we loue God, that this last must needes goe before the first: whereof it foloweth, that that is not to be called loue when men agree together to doe euill, neither that, when as in louing our neighbours, wee respect not Gods commandements. ] In this we know that we loue the children
of God, when we loue God, and keepe his [Note: [c] There is no loue where there is no true doctrine. ] commandements.
3 [Note:  The reason: for to loue God, is to keepe his commandemets, which being so, and seeing that both the loues are commanded of one and the selfe same Lawmaker, (as he taught before) it foloweth also, that we doe not loue our neighbour, when we breake Gods commandements. ] For this is the loue of God, that we keepe his commandements: [Note:  Because experience teacheth vs that there is no abilitie in our flesh, neither yet will to performe Gods commandements, therefore least the Apostle shoulde seeme, by so often putting them in mind of the keeping of the commandements of God to require things that are impossible, he pronounceth that the commandements of God are not in such sort grieuous or burdensome, that we can be oppressed with the burden of them. ] and his [Note: Mat.11.30. ] commandements are not [Note: [d] To them that be regenerate, that is to say, borne anewe, which are led by the Spirit of God, and are through grace deliuered from the curse of the Law. ] burdenous.
4 [Note:  A reason: Because by regeneration we haue gotten strength to ouercome the world, that is to say, whatsoeuer striueth against the commaundements of God. ] For all that is borne of God, ouercommeth this world: [Note:  He declareth what that strength is, to wit, faith. ] and this is that victorie that [Note: [e] He vseth the time that is past, to giue vs to vnderstand, that although we be in the battell, yet vndoubtedly we shalbe conquerours, and are most certaine of the victorie. ] hath ouercome this world, euen our [Note: [f] Which is the instrumentall cause, and as a meane and hand whereby we lay holde on him who in deede doth performe this, that is, hath and doeth ouercome the worlde, euen Christ Iesus. ] faith.
5 [Note: 1.Cor.15.57. ] [Note:  Moreouer he declareth two things, the one, what true faith is, to wit, that which resteth vpon Iesus Christ the Sonne of God alone: whereupon followeth the other, to wit, that this strength is not proper to faith, but by faith as an instrument is drawen from Iesus Christ the Sonne of God. ] Who is it that ouercommeth this world, but he which beleeueth that Iesus is that Sonne of God?
6 [Note:  He proueth the excellencie of Christ in whom onely all things are giuen vs, by sixe witnesses, three heauenly, and three earthly, which wholy and fully agree together. The heauenly witnesses are, the Father who sent the Sonne, the Worde it selfe which became flesh, and the holy Ghost. The earthly witnesses are, water (that is, our sanctification) blood, (that is, our iustification) the Spirit, (that is, acknowledging of God the Father in Christ by faith, through the testimonie of the holy Ghost.) ] This is that Iesus Christ that came by water and blood: [Note:  He warneth vs not to separate water from blood, (that is, sanctification from iustification, or righteousnesse begonne from righteousnesse imputed) for we stand not vpon sanctification, but so farre forth as it is a witnesse of Christes righteousnesse imputed vnto vs: and although this imputation of Christes righteousnesse be neuer separated from sanctification, yet is it the onely matter of our saluation. ] not by water onely, but by water and blood: and it is that [Note: [g] Our spirit which is the third witnes, testifieth that the holy Ghost is trueth, that is to say, that that is true which he telleth vs, to wit, that we are the Sonnes of God. ] Spirit, that beareth witnesse: for that Spirit is trueth.
7 For there are three, which beare recorde in heauen, the Father, the [Note: [h] Looke Iob.8.14. ] Worde, and the holy Ghost: and these three are [Note: [i] Agree in one. ] one.
8 And there are three, which beare record in the earth, the spirit, and the water and the blood: and these three agree in one.
9 [Note:  He sheweth by an argument of comparison, of what great waight the heauenly testimonie is, that the Father hath giuen of the Sonne, vnto whom agreeth both the Sonne himselfe and the holy Ghost. ] If we receiue the witnesse of men, the witnesse of God is greater: for [Note: [k] I conclude thus aright: for that testimonie which I said is giuen in heauen, commeth from God, who so setteth forth his Sonne. ] this is the witnesse of God, which he testified of his Sonne.
10 [Note: Iob. 3.36. ] [Note:  He proueth the surenes of the earthly witnesses by euery mans conscience, hauing that testimonie in it selfe, which conscience he sayeth cannot be deceiued, because it consenteth to the heauenly testimonie which the Father giueth of the Sonne: for otherwise the Father must needes be a lyar, if the conscience which accordeth & assenteth to the Father, should lye. ] He that beleeueth in yt Sonne of God, hath the witnes in himselfe: he that beleeueth not God, hath made him a lyar, because he beleeued not ye record, that God witnessed of that his Sonne.
11 [Note:  Now at length he sheweth what this testimonie is that is confirmed with so many witnesses: to wit, that life or euerlasting felicitie is the meere and onely gift of God, which is in the Sonne, and proceedeth from him into vs, which by faith are ioyned with him, so that without him, life is no where to be found. ] And this is that record, to wit, that God hath giuen vnto vs eternall life, and this life is in that his Sonne.
12 He that hath that Sonne, hath yt life: and he that hath not yt Sonne of God, hath not that life.
13 [Note:  The conclusion of the Epistle, wherein he sheweth first of all, that euen they which already beleeue, doe stand in neede of this doctrine, to the end that they may growe more and more in faith: that is to say, to the ende that they may be dayly more and more certified of their saluation in Christ through faith. ] These things haue I written vnto you, [Page]
[The sinne vnto death.]
that beleeue in the Name of that Sonne of God, that ye may knowe that ye haue eternall life, and that ye may beleeue in the Name of that Sonne of God.
14 [Note:  Because we do not yet in effect obteine that which we hope for, the Apostle ioyneth inuocation or prayer with faith, which he will haue to proceede from faith, and moreouer to be conceiued in such sort, that nothing be asked but that which is agreeable to the will of God: and such prayers cannot be vaine. ] And this is that assurance, that we haue in him, [Note: Chap.3.22. ] that if we aske any thing according to his will, he heareth vs.
15 And if we know that he heareth vs, whatsoeuer we aske, we know that we haue the petitions, that we haue desired of him.
16 [Note:  We haue to make prayers not onely for our selues, but also for our brethren which doe sinne, that their sinnes be not vnto them, to death: and yet he excepteth that sinne which is neuer forgiuen, or the sinne against the holy Ghost, that is to say, an vniuersall & wilful falling away from the knowen trueth of the Gospel. ] If any man see his brother sinne a sinne that is not vnto death, let him [Note: [l] This is as much as if he saide, let him desire the Lorde to forgiue him, and he will forgiue him being so desired. ] aske, and he shall giue him life for them that sinne not vnto death. [Note: Matth.12.31. marke 3.29. ] There is a sinne vnto death: I say not that thou shouldest pray for it.
[Who hath the Father.]
17 [Note:  The taking away of an obiection: In deede all iniquitie is comprehended vnder the name of sinne: but yet we must not despaire therefore, because euery sinne is not deadly, and without hope of remedie. ] All vnrighteousnesse is sinne, but there is a sinne not vnto death.
18 [Note:  A reason why not all, nay rather why no sinne is mortall to some: to wit, because they be borne of God, that is to say, made the sonnes of God in Christ, and being indued with his Spirit, they doe not serue sinne, neither are deadly wounded of Satan. ] We know yt whosoeuer is borne of God, sinneth not: but he yt is begotten of God, keepeth himselfe, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
19 [Note:  Euery man must particularly applie to himselfe the generall promises, that we may certainely persuade our selues, that whereas all the worlde is by nature lost, we are freely made the sonnes of God, by the sending of Iesus Christ his sonne vnto vs, of whom we are lightened with the knowledge of the true God and euerlasting life. ] We knowe that we are of God, and this whole world lieth in wickednesse.
20 But we know yt that Sone of God is [Note: Luke 24.45. ] come, & hath giue vs a mind to know him, which is true: & we are in him yt is true, that is, in yt his Sone Iesus Christ: this same is yt very [Note: [m] The diuinitie of Christ is most plainely proued by this place. ] God, and yt eternal life.
21 [Note:  He expresseth a plaine precept of taking heede of idoles: which he setteth against the onely true God, that with this seale as it were he might seale vp all the former doctrine. ] Litle children, keepe your selues from idoles, Amen.