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8 Ps. 10. 17.
& 34. 17.
& 145. 18.
Prov. 15. 29.
Jer. 29. 12.
Matt. 7. 8. & 21. 22.
Mark 11. 24.
Luke 11. 9.
& 14. 13. & 15. 7. & 16. 23.
James 1. 5.
& 5. 16.
ch. 5. 14.
t Lev. 19. 18.
Matt. 22. 39.
& 13. 34. & 15. 12. & 17. 3.
1 Thess. 4. 9.
1 Pet. 4. 8.
ch. 4. 12.
& 5. 11.
ἐστὶν ὁ Θεὸς τῆς καρδίας ἡμῶν, καὶ γινώσκει πάντα. 21 ̓Αγαπητοὶ, ἐὰν ἡ καρδία ἡμῶν μὴ καταγινώσκη ἡμῶν, παῤῥησίαν ἔχομεν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν· 223 καὶ ὃ ἐὰν αἰτῶμεν, λαμβάνομεν παρ' αὐτοῦ· ὅτι τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ τηροῦμεν, καὶ τὰ ἀρεστὰ ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ ποιοῦμεν.
23' Καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ ἐντολὴ αὐτοῦ, ἵνα πιστεύσωμεν τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ Υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, καὶ ἀγαπῶμεν ἀλλήλους, καθὼς ἔδωκεν ἐντολὴν ἡμῖν. 24 " Καὶ ὁ τηρῶν τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ μένει, καὶ αὐτὸς ἐν αὐτῷ· καὶ ἐν τούτῳ γινώσκομεν ὅτι μένει ἐν ἡμῖν, ἐκ τοῦ Πνεύματος οὗ ἡμῖν ἔδωκεν.
IV. 1'Αγαπητοί, μὴ παντὶ πνεύματι πιστεύετε, ἀλλὰ δοκιμάζετε τὰ πνεύματα, εἰ ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐστιν· ὅτι πολλοὶ ψευδοπροφῆται ἐξεληλύθασιν εἰς τὸν κόσμον. 25 Εν τούτῳ γινώσκετε τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ Θεοῦ· πᾶν πνεῦμα ὁ ὁμολογεῖ
ch. 4. 13.
than the heart, that is, Who is Lord supreme over the Conscience; and also as His minister, to issue His commands to man, and to take cognizance of his acts (see Bp. Sanderson, Lect. ii. vol. iv. pp. 22, 23).
Conscience is like the Centurion in the Gospel, a man under authority, and also having soldiers under him. (Matt. viii. 9.) So Conscience is under the authority of God, but it has man's actions under itself. Hence its Power.
These considerations may solve the difficulties which have been supposed by many to exist in this passage, and which some have endeavoured to remove by cancelling the second 87, or by resolving it into 8, 7, or by reading 7 for it, or by supposing that the second or is redundant. See the notes of Wetstein, Bengel, De Wette, Lücke, Düsterdieck, and Huther, Winer, § 64, p. 513, note. Before the second 871 there is only a common ellipsis, instances of which may be seen in Mark iii. 20. Luke i. 25; xi. 18. John ii. 18. Cp. Winer, § 53, p. 395.
The word καταγινώσκειν is a middle term between κατηγορεῖν, to accuse, and kатакрíve, to pronounce a formal judicial condemnation; and is to be explained from yoкew, to know and take cognizance of, and from its opposite σvyyivάσkei, to pardon. Cp. Gal. ii. 11, and Deut. xxv. 1, where it is opposed to dikaιODY, to pronounce just, to acquit. Ecclus. xiv. 2, "Blessed is the man whom his soul οὐ κατέγνω.
21. àv ǹ κapdía] if our heart, or Conscience, doth not condemn us, we have confidence toward God: because our Conscience is His Vicegerent within us, and pronunces judgment according to His Laws; and therefore its approval is a pledge to us of His favour. See the preceding note.
The word appnola, freedom of speech, expresses here the assurance which a suppliant, who has a powerful advocate and a good cause, has, that his request will be granted. See ii. 28; iv. 17; v. 14. Heb. iv. 16.
On the use of pòs here, cp. Rom. v. 1, eipývnv čxoμev πpòs
23. αὕτη ἡ ἐντολὴ-ἵνα πιστεύσωμεν] This is the commandment, that we should believe the Name of His Son Jesus Christ. See our Lord's words recorded by St. John in his Gospel, vi. 29. The Heretics to whom St. John refers, either separated Jesus from Christ, as the Cerinthians did, or denied that Jesus is the Son of God, as the Ebionites, Cerinthians, and Simonians, and Docete did. Cp. Waterland, v. p. 189, and Bp. Bull, Jud. Eccl. ii. 9, and note above on 2 Pet. ii. 1, and Introduction to this Epistle, pp. 98-102.
In opposition to these erroneous and strange doctrines, St. John declares that this is God's commandment, that we should believe the Name (observe the dative case, cp. iv. 1), that is, give credence to, and place our trust in, the Name of Jesus Christ His Son; i. e. in the man Jesus, acknowledged to be the Christ and the Son of God. See iv. 15, and v. 1.
CH. IV. 1. μὴ παντὶ πνεύματι πιστεύετε] believe not ye every spirit, but prove ye the spirits whether they are of God; for many false Prophets, or false Teachers (see Matt. vii. 15), have gone forth into the world; they have gone forth, not being sent as true Prophets are (see on John x. 8). He refers especially to the followers of Simon Magus, Ebion, Cerinthus, and the Nicolaitans. See Introduction, p. 98, and on 2 Pet. ii. 1, 2, and above, i. 1; ii. 18. 22; below, iv. 3, and 2 John 7.
St. John had just said, This is the commandment of God, that we should believe the Name of His Son Jesus Christ; he
now warns them against believing those spirits which would seduce them from this belief.
dokiμáČETE] try ye the spirits. Test them and prove them (1 Thess. v. 21), as metals or coins are tried. False Prophets, false Christs, are to be expected to arise, and to work miracles, so as to deceive many (Matt. xxiv. 24. 2 Thess. ii. 9). The criteria, Báoavol, or touchstones, by which they are to be tested, are these. Ye shall know them by their fruits -not only the fruits of their lives, but by the fruits of their doctrine. See above on Matt. vii. 16. Though they may have the gift of tongues and prophecy, and miracles, yet if they have not Charity, which proves itself by Unity, they are not to be received. (See 1 Cor. xiii. 1—5.) Even if they work miracles, and deliver prophecies, and the prophecies come to pass, yet if they would lead any of you astray, to worship idols or any being but God (Deut. xiii. 1-5), and even if they are Angels from heaven, but bring not this doctrine (2 John 10) which the Apostles brought, but add any thing to it, or take any thing from it, they are to be accursed, Gal. i. 8.
2, 3. v TOUT] by this-that I am about to specify-ye know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth Jesus Christ having come in the flesh, is of God; and every spirit that doth not confess Jesus Christ, is not of God. Observe un here, bringing out the non-confession as the essence of alienation from God. And this is the spirit of Antichrist, of which ye have heard that it cometh; yea, now it is in the world already.
In v. 3 Elz. omits Toy 'Incoûv, but ròv is in A, B, G, and 'Inaoûv is in A, B, and so Tisch. Some MSS., G, K, and several Cursives, add Xploròv after 'Inσoûv, and so Elz.; but it is not in A, B, nor in Vulg., Coptic, Syriac, or Armenian Version, nor in Origen, Irenæus, and Cyril, who quote this passage; and is not received by Griesb., Scholz, Lach., Tisch.
Some MSS., A, B, and a few Cursives and Versions, omit Cursives, and the Syriac Version, and they appear to be recognized ev σаρкl λnλv0óra, but these words are in G, K, and in most by Polycarp, Origen, Cyprian, Ecumen., Theophylact.
Some ancient writers render yάokeTe as if it were the imperative mood-know ye; and this translation has something to commend it. Cp. TIOTEVETE, dokiμάGETE, v. 1; but cp. also ii. 20. 29.
The words τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ τοῦ ἀντιχρίστου, are generally rendered,-this is the spirit of Antichrist. It is however to be observed, that πveûμa, spirit, is not in the text here; and the expression seems to be framed purposely to be as large and general as possible; this is the essence, character, work-of Antichrist. On this generalizing use of the article, cp. James iv. 14.
A question arises here, If" every spirit that confesseth Jesus Christ having come in the flesh," is of God,-may not some Teachers who preach erroneous and strange doctrines, but yet acknowledge that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, be said to be of God? To put the question in the words of S. Augustine, "Arius, and Eunomius, and Macedonius, and Nestorius, own that Jesus Christ came in the flesh; are not they therefore of God?"
To that question S. Augustine himself replies,―That those Heresiarchs did not in fact confess Christ to have come in the flesh, because, whatever they might do by words, they in their works denied Him. (Titus i. 16.) "They have not charity," he says, "because they have not unity; and therefore all their other gifts are of no avail.” (1 Cor. xiii. 1-3.)
Similar to this is the exposition of Didymus here: "Sapiendo et agendo, quæ Christus in humanitate docuit et egit, hic Spiritum habet à Deo."
Another reply is made to the question by others, who say
ch. 2. 18, 22.
Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἐν σαρκὶ ἐληλυθότα, ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐστι· 3 ° καὶ πᾶν πνεῦμα ὃ c 2 Thess. 2. 7. μὴ ὁμολογεῖ τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἐν σαρκὶ ἐληλυθότα, ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ οὐκ ἔστι· καὶ τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ τοῦ ἀντιχρίστου, ὁ ἀκηκόατε ὅτι ἔρχεται, καὶ νῦν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἐστὶν TO ἤδη.
Ὑμεῖς ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐστε, τεκνία, καὶ νενικήκατε αὐτοὺς, ὅτι μείζων ἐστὶν ἐν ὑμῖν ἢ ὁ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ. 5 ὁ Αὐτοὶ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου εἰσί· διὰ τοῦτο ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου λαλοῦσι, καὶ ὁ κόσμος αὐτῶν ἀκούει· 6· ἡμεῖς ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐσμεν ὁ γινώσκων τὸν Θεὸν ἀκούει ἡμῶν· ὃς οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ οὐκ ἀκούει ἡμῶν. Ἐκ τούτου γινώσκομεν τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς πλάνης. 7 Αγαπητοί, ἀγαπῶμεν ἀλλήλους· ὅτι ἡ ἀγάπη ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐστι, καὶ πᾶς ὁ ἀγαπῶν ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ γεγέννηται, καὶ γινώσκει τὸν Θεόν· δ' ὁ μὴ ἀγαπῶν ἔγνω τὸν Θεὸν, ὅτι ὁ Θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστίν.
9 8 Εν τούτῳ ἐφανερώθη ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν ἡμῖν, ὅτι τὸν Υἱὸν αὐτοῦ μονογενῆ ἀπέσταλκεν ὁ Θεὸς εἰς τὸν κόσμον, ἵνα ζήσωμεν δι' αὐτοῦ. τούτῳ ἔστιν ἡ ἀγάπη, οὐχ ὅτι ἡμεῖς ἠγαπήσαμεν τὸν Θεὸν, ἀλλ ̓ ὅτι αὐτὸς
that St. John speaks only with reference to the heresies of his own age. See Estius and Bengel here.
Perhaps, however, the true answer is this: St. John does not say that every spirit is of God, which acknowledges that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh; but he says, that every spirit is of God which confesses Jesus Christ having come, and being come, in the flesh: that is, which confesses Jesus to be the Christ, and to be no ideal phantom, but a real Person,-which, in a word, confesses Jesus Christ, Very God and Very Man. Every spirit which makes this good confession, and lives in the spirit of this creed, is born of God. Jesus Christ, being confessed to be God and Man, is the Rock on which the Church is built. See Matt. xvi. 18. And this is what our Lord says to St. Peter, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: for flesh and blood did not reveal it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven."
The participle (éλŋλvoóta) is used in the same way as in the statement of St. Paul, "we preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (oravрwμévov, 1 Cor. ii. 2).
The doctrine of the passage is thus enforced by one of St. John's disciples, Bishop of Smyrna and Martyr. "Let us serve Him with fear and all reverence, as He Himself commanded, and His Apostles who preached to us; let us do this, being zealous for that which is good, and shunning the stumbling-blocks of false brethren, and of those who wear the Name of the Lord in hypocrisy, and seduce (arоrλavŵσ) foolish men from Him. For every one who does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the Flesh, is Antichrist; and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross, is of the devil (cp. above, iii. 8-10); and whosoever wrests the Scripture according to his own lusts, and says that there is no Resurrection nor Judgment, is the first-born of Satan. Wherefore, avoiding the folly of the many, and the false doctrine, let us attend to the word that was delivered to us from the beginning." S. Polycarp, Ep. ad Phil. 6 and 7.
One of S. Polycarp's scholars, S. Irenæus, writes in similar terms against those who said that Jesus was a mere man, and that Christ was not the Everlasting Word of God, but only an Eon, who came forth from their ideal pleroma, and dwelt only for a season in Jesus, and suffered only in semblance; in opposition to the true doctrine of the Catholic Church of Christ, that the two Natures of God and Man are indissolubly united in the One Person of Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word, the Only-begotten of the Father, Who was made Man for us, and by dying for us in our stead, is the Saviour of the world.
Therefore, adds Irenæus, all they are without the pale of the Evangelical Dispensation, who, under a pretended show of knowledge, say that Jesus is one, and Christ is another, and that the Only-begotten is another, and that the Word is different from these; and that the Saviour is different also, whom some of them assert to be an Emanation; as those disciples of error feign, who appear outwardly like sheep-for in words they bear a likeness to us-but inwardly they are wolves: whom St. John, the disciple of the Lord, commands us in his Epistle to shun, where he says that many deceivers are gone forth into the world, who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming (épxóμevov) in the flesh (2 John 7, 8). And again, in his Epistle, John says (iv. 1-3), By this know ye (cognoscite) the Spirit of God. Every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit which separates Jesus (solvit Jesum, i. e. divides Jesus from Christ) is not of God, but of Antichrist. And again, in his Epistle,
John says (v. 1), Every one that believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. S. Irenæus (iii. 18, ed. Grabe; iii. 16, ed. Stieren).
Irenæus-whose words here are preserved only in the old Latin Versions-appears to be quoting from memory and para. phrastically, for he cites these passages as from the same Epistle of St. John, and he inserts the words, "solvit Jesum;" and this paraphrase may have led to the opinion expressed by some ancient writers (see Socrat. Eccles. hist. vii. 32, and others in Tisch., p. 222), that the words Avel 'Inooûv were once in the text here, and they are found in the Vulgate. Cp. Tertullian, c. Marcion. v. 16, "Antichristi spiritus negantes Christum in carne venisse, et solventes Jesum." The heresy which denied Christ to have come in the flesh was that of the disciples of Simon Magus and of the Doceta; the heresy which separated Jesus from Christ was that of Cerinthus. See also Tertullian, de carne Christi, c. 24, where he cites this passage (vv. 1-3) against those who in his own age denied the verity of Christ's flesh and c. Marcion. iii. 8, and Bp. Pearson on the Creed, Art. iii. p. 301, note. Bp. Bull, Jud. Eccl. Cath. ii. 7; and above, Introduction to this Epistle, p. 98.
8. ayánn] Love. The article is not prefixed, nor in v. 16. 9. τὸν Υἱὸν αὐτοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ ἀπ. ὁ Θ.] God hath sent His Son the Only-begotten-a statement of the true Faith against the heretical notion that "Jesus was not personally united with the Word, the Eternal Son of God, and that the Word was not the Only-begotten of the Father, but only a Son of the Only-begotten." See Bp. Pearson, Art. ii. p. 270. Buddæi Eccl. Apostol. p. 455. Dr. Waterland, v. p. 189.
Observe the perfect anéσтaλke here, and in v. 14, indicating that the effect of that mission is permanent and operative. The aorist in v. 10, àréoteiλev iλaoμòv, denotes that the propitiation was effected by one act, i. e. by the sacrifice on the cross. Christ, Who was once offered to bear the sins of many, dieth no more. Heb. ix. 28. Rom. vi. 9.
10. ἐν τούτῳ ἔστιν ἡ ἀγάπη—ἱλασμὸν περὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν] Herein consists Love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His own Son a propitiation for our sins. A statement of the doctrine of the Atonement; and a statement the more remarkable, because it anticipates the objections that have been made against it in later times.
These objections have taken the following form. God, it is said, is Love (1 John iv. 8). He loves us, and He loves His only-begotten Son. We are sinners; and as long as we are sinners, and without pardon from God, we have no hope of heaven. As sinners we owe an infinite debt to God, which we can never pay. But God is infinite in love; He willeth not that any should perish (2 Pet. iii. 9), but that all should be saved (1 Tim. ii. 4). He can forgive us the debt. He can do this freely. To suppose that He cannot do so, is to set limits to His Omnipotence. To imagine that He will not do so, is to disparage His Love. To allege, that He will require an equivalent for the debt, is to represent the God of mercy as a rigorous exactor. And to believe that He required such a price for our pardon as the blood of His own beloved Son, and that He exposed Him, Who is perfectly innocent, to the death of the Cross for our sakes, at the hands of wicked men, is to charge God with cruelty, injustice, and weakness; and to suppose Him to be angry with us, at the same time that we say that "He loved us," and gave His only Son to
ἠγάπησεν ἡμᾶς, καὶ ἀπέστειλε τὸν Υἱὸν αὐτοῦ ἱλασμὸν περὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν.
die for us (1 John iii. 16; iv. 10), is, it is alleged, to involve ourselves in inconsistency, and to misrepresent God, as if He were affected by human passions. And, lastly, to say that Christ shed His blood as a ransom to deliver us from the captivity of Satan, is, it is argued, to make the Son of God to be tributary to the Evil One.
Such are the objections, made by Socinians and others, to the doctrine of the Atonement.
These objections rest on fallacious grounds.
They proceed on the supposition, that as sinners we are only debtors to God. But in His relation to us, God is not only a Creditor, but He is our Lawgiver and Judge, our King and Lord; and He is perfectly just and holy.
Besides, as St. John teaches (iii. 4), the essence of sin is, that it is the violation of God's Law. And all are sinners (i. 10). And God represents Himself in Scripture as a Moral Governor, infinite in justice; and when we contemplate Him as He is represented by Himself in His own Word; and when we regard sin as it is in His sight, and as it is described in the Holy Scriptures, we must conclude that He is grievously offended by sin; and He has declared in His Word that He is angry with it, and will punish it. The wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness (Rom. i. 18). The wages of sin is death (Rom. vi. 23).
But this proposition is not at variance-as has been allegedwith St. John's declaration, that God loved us, and sent His own Son, the only-begotten, that we might live through Him; and that herein consists Love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son a propitiation for our sins.
That which God loved in us was not our sin, but our nature. It was that nature which God Himself had made in His own likeness, and which we had marred, and which He desired to repair. And because He hates sin, and knows its consequences, even Death Eternal; and because He loved our Nature, which was exposed by it to everlasting perdition; and because, being infinitely just, He must punish sin, which He, Who is infinitely pure, must hate, and which He, Who is infinitely true, has declared that He will punish; and because the sins of the whole World are so heinous; and because they demand a satisfaction infinite in value; and because nothing, that is not divine, is infinite in value; and because without shedding of blood there is no remission (Heb. ix. 22); therefore, in His immense love for our Nature, which He had made, and which we had marred by sin, He sent His own Son, God of God, to take that Nature, the Nature of us all, in order to be the substitute of all, and Saviour of all, and to become our Emmanuel, God with us (Matt. i. 23), God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. iii. 16), partaking of our flesh and blood, and to be the Lord our Righteousness (Jer. xxiii. 6; xxxiii. 16), and to suffer death, the wages of sin, in our Nature, as our Proxy and Representative, and to appease God's wrath by an adequate propitiation, and to take away our guilt, and to redeem us from bondage and death by the priceless ransom of His own blood, and to deliver us by His death from him who had the power of it, even the Devil, and to reconcile us to God, and to restore us to His favour, and to effect our Atonement with Him, and to purchase for us the heavenly inheritance of everlasting life. See Heb. ii. 14-17.
As Origen says (in Matt. xvi.), "Homo quidem non potest dare aliquam commutationem pro animâ suâ (Ps. xlix. 9. Matt. xvi. 26); Deus autem pro animabus omnium dedit commutationem, pretiosum sanguinem Filii sui ;" and he cites 1 Pet. i. 18. Origen also says (homil. 4, in Num.), "Si non fuisset peccatum, non necesse fuerat Filium Dei Agnum fieri; nec opus fuerat Eum in carne positum jugulari; sed mansisset hoc, quod in principio erat, Deus Verbum. Verùm, quoniam introiit peccatum in hunc mundum, peccati autem necessitas propitiationem requirit, et propitiatio non fit nisi per hostiam, necessarium fuit provideri hostiam pro peccato."
If it be said, that according to this statement the Just suffered for the unjust, and that the beloved Son of God was delivered to death for the offences of those who did not love Him, but were at enmity with Him, this is perfectly true; it is the assertion of God Himself in Holy Scripture, Christ hath suffered for us, just for unjust, to bring us to God (1 Pet. iii. 18). God made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. v. 21). Ye were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Pet. i. 19).
The Just suffered for the unjust. Yes, suffered for a time. But this is not at variance with daily experience. Parents suffer for children; brethren for brethren; friends for friends; subjects for sovereigns; and sovereigns for subjects. And if we are to
| reject the Doctrine of the Atonement on the plea that vicarious sufferings are not reconcileable with Justice, we cannot stop short of Deism, nor even of Atheism. Cp. Bp. Butler's Analogy, Part ii. ch. v.
If any victim was to take away sin, that victim must be innoIn order to take away infinite guilt, it must be infinitely innocent. The price paid for the satisfaction of Infinite Justice must be infinite in value. In order to suffer for men the victim must be human; and in order to satisfy God, it must be divine.
Be it remembered also that the Son of God suffered willingly. He gave Himself a ransom for all. (1 Tim. ii. 6.) The good Shepherd giveth His life for the Sheep. (John x. 11.) Cp. Matt. xx. 28. Gal. i. 4; ii. 20. Eph. v. 2. Titus ii. 14. Heb. ix. 14. They also for whom He gave Himself are His own flesh and blood. He is their Head, they His members. They are one with Him.
Still further. By His meritorious sufferings in that human nature, which He has taken, and joined for ever in His own Person to the Nature of God, He has delivered that Nature from sin and death, and has exalted it to the right Hand of God. Therefore He suffered joyfully. To do evil is indeed evil; and to suffer evil in eternity, is dreadful; but to suffer evil in time, in order that others by our means may be happy in eternity, is not evil, but glorious. Earthly conquerors die with joy in the hour of Victory. Much more Christ. He knew, that suffering was His path to glory. He knew, that because He was obedient to death, even to the death of the cross, therefore God would highly exalt Him, and give Him a Name above every name, (Phil. ii. 8, 9.) He saw of the travail of His soul and was satisfied (Isa. liii. 11). Doubtless, in His human flesh He shrank from the cup of Agony, and from the anguish of the Cross. But even in the glorious hour of His Transfiguration He had talked with Moses and Elias of His Death. (Luke ix. 31.) His divine eye pierced through the cloud of suffering, and saw the visions of glory to which it would lead, victory over Satan, a World rescued from his grasp, God's justice satisfied, His wrath appeased, His love glorified; and so the Cross became a triumphal Chariot, in which the Conqueror rode in Victory (see Col. ii. 14), and mounted to heaven, and bore Mankind with Him through the gates of the heavenly Palace of the Everlasting Capital, and was greeted by the song of Angels, Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. (Ps. xxiv. 7.)
It has been alleged, that if by sin we were prisoners to Satan, therefore the price of Christ's blood which He paid upon the cross for our liberation from Satan was paid to Satan. But this we deny; see Gregor. Nazianzen, Orat. xlv. p. 862, ed. Paris, 1778. It might as well be said, that the ransom paid for the delivery of prisoners from a king's prison, is paid to the gaoler in whose custody they are. We, by our sins, had made ourselves slaves of Satan; and as a just punishment for our sins, we were made prisoners of Satan. Satan was God's executioner against us. He was our gaoler. Tophet is ordained of old (Isa. xxx. 33), as one of God's instruments of death. (Ps. vii. 14.) But Christ, by dying for us, delivered us from death. He rescued us from the hands of Satan, and paid the price of our ransom, not to Satan, but to God. He delivered us from Satan by offering Himself to God. Compare St. Paul's argument on this subject, Rom. iii. 23— 26, and note above, ii. 2.
They who contravene the doctrine of the Atonement often claim the credit of exercising their Reason, and deny that the belief of the doctrine of the Atonement rests on the foundation of Reason. Nothing can be accepted by reasonable men which does not rest on the foundation of Reason. But a right use of Reason leads to a firm belief in the doctrine of the Atonement; and a denial of it proceeds from an abuse of Reason.
The doctrine of the Atonement cannot be discovered by Reason. No; but we can prove by Reason that the Holy Scriptures are from God; and we can prove by Reason, that the doctrine of the Atonement is clearly revealed in the Holy ScripAnd thus this doctrine rests on the foundation of Reason. Being a portion of supernatural truth revealed by God in Scripture to the world, it is not to be discovered by Reason, or fully comprehended by Reason, but it is to be heartily embraced and surely held fast by Faith, which implies a right use of Reason. And Reason teaches us, that it would be very unreasonable to expect, that what is contained in a Revelation from such a Being as God to so frail a creature as man, in his present state upon earth, should be fully comprehended by Reason; and that, if Reason could understand every thing, there would be no use in Reve
11 1’Αγαπητοὶ, εἰ οὕτως ὁ Θεὸς ἠγάπησεν ἡμᾶς, καὶ ἡμεῖς ὀφείλομεν ἀλλήλους ἀγαπᾷν. 12 * Θεὸν οὐδεὶς πώποτε τεθέαται· ἐὰν ἀγαπῶμεν ἀλλήλους, ὁ Θεὸς ἐν ἡμῖν μένει, καὶ ἡ ἀγάπη αὐτοῦ τετελειωμένη ἐστὶν ἐν ἡμῖν. 131'EV TOUT γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ μένομεν, καὶ αὐτὸς ἐν ἡμῖν, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ Πνεύματος αὐτοῦ δέδωκεν ἡμῖν.
& 2. 5. & 3. 24. 1 John 14. 20. & 17. 21. ch. 3. 24. m John 1. ch. 1. 1.
n ch. 8. 12.
14 m Καὶ ἡμεῖς τεθεάμεθα καὶ μαρτυροῦμεν ὅτι ὁ Πατὴρ ἀπέσταλκε τὸν Υἱὸν σ. 14. σωτῆρα τοῦ κόσμου. 15 Ὃς ἂν ὁμολογήσῃ ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, ó ὁ Θεὸς ἐν αὐτῷ μένει, καὶ αὐτὸς ἐν τῷ Θεῷ. 16 " Καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐγνώκαμεν καὶ πεπιστεύκαμεν τὴν ἀγάπην, ἣν ἔχει ὁ Θεὸς ἐν ἡμῖν. Ὁ Θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστὶ, καὶ ὁ μένων ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ ἐν τῷ Θεῷ μένει, καὶ ὁ Θεὸς ἐν αὐτῷ. tậ ô 17 • Εν τούτῳ τετελείωται ἡ ἀγάπη μεθ ̓ ἡμῶν, ἵνα παῤῥησίαν ἔχωμεν ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῆς κρίσεως, eii. 3. 3, 19, 21.
lation, and no place for Faith. Right Reason itself teaches us, that to deny the Lord who bought us (2 Pet. ii. 1), because we cannot understand, why God allowed sin to prevail, which required the Sacrifice of the Death of His own Ever-blessed Son, would be to renew the indignities of the crucifixion, and to smite our Redeemer with a Reed-the Reed of our unregenerate Reason,-when we ought to fall down and worship in Faith. Reason itself teaches us, that it is very reasonable to expect mysteries in Revelation; and that they are our moral discipline, and exercise our humility, patience, faith, and hope, and teach us to look forward to that blessed time, when we, who now see through a glass darkly (1 Cor. xiii. 12), shall behold the clouds removed which now overhang these mysteries, and shall see God face to face, and rejoice for ever in the sight.
Thus Reason leads us to the door of the Holy of Holies; and then we pass within the veil by Faith; and there we stand, and with the eye of Faith we behold God enthroned on the MercySeat, sprinkled by the blood of Christ.
Further, as reasonable men, looking at the cross of Christ, we see there the most cogent reasons for presenting ourselves, our souls and bodies, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service (Rom. xii. 1).
This doctrine of the Atonement is the root of Christian practice; and they, who impugn that doctrine, are not only undermining the foundations of Christian Faith, but also of Christian Morality. This was clearly evinced even in the Apostolic age, by the licentiousness and profligacy engendered by heretical doctrines, against which St. John contends in his Epistles, concerning the Incarnation and Death of Christ.
We cannot adequately estimate the moral heinousness of sin, without considering the sacrifice which it cost to redeem us from its power and guilt. We cannot duly understand the obligations of love and obedience, under which we lie to Christ, and the motives which constrain us to holiness, without remembering that we are not our own, but have been bought with a price-the blood of Christ-and are therefore bound to glorify Him in our bodies which are His. See 1 Cor. vi. 20.
Accordingly, St. John, having here stated the doctrine of the Atonement, proceeds, and continues to the end of the Epistle, to enforce the moral duties consequent on this doctrine. "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." He teaches us to contend earnestly for the doctrine of the Atonement, as the groundwork of Christian Duty to God and Man.
On this subject compare Bp. Pearson on the Creed, Art. x. pp. 670-688.
12. ἐὰν ἀγαπῶμεν—ἐν ἡμῖν] if we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love hath been perfected in us. His Love to us hath been ripened into Love to Him, and into Love to all men in Him; and thus His Love hath been perfected into its full maturity in us.
13. ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ Πνεύματος αὐτοῦ δ. ἡ.] because He hath given to us of His Spirit: the fruit of which is Love (Gal. v. 22). And by our acts of Love, we know that we have His Spirit, and that we dwell in God.
14. Kal nμeis Teleάμe0a] We have not seen God (see v. 12), but God dwelleth in us by Love (vv. 12, 13), and we have beheld, and do testify that the Father (in opposition to the heretical doctrine, see ii. 22) hath sent the Son to be Saviour of the World. John had beheld this personally, and to this he bears witness in his Gospel. See John xix. 35; xxi. 24. 15. Ἰησοῦς] Jesus. Observe the word Jesus thus placed, and stating the true doctrine, that Jesus-the Man Jesus-is not, as the Ebionites said, a yixòs ăν0рwñоs, a mere man, nor, as the Cerinthians alleged, a mere temporary recipient of the indwelling of an Æon called Christ; nor as the Docetæ said, a shadowy
o James 2. 13. 1 Pet. 1. 15. ch.
unsubstantial phantom, but is the Son of God, such as St. John declares Him in the Gospel. Cp. Bp. Bull, Jud. Eccl. Cath.
ii. 9. The confession of this truth (viz. of the Manhood and Godhead of Christ) is, St. John declares, essential to our indwelling in God.
16. kal hμeîs éyvókaμev] and we have known-known by our own personal experience (èyváкaμev), and we have believed, and do believe (TERIOтEÚKаμEV, the perfect tense, cp. John vi. 69), the love which God hath in us. By a personal and experimental faith, that the same Jesus, Who is Man, having the common nature of us all, is also God, we dwell in God, and God in us. For, by the Incarnation of the Son of God, God is in us, He is our Emmanuel; and by this faith we know and realize the Love which God hath, not only to us, but in us. For, by virtue of the Incarnation, God unites us to Himself, and to each other in Him, in the closest bonds of Love. God sees us and loves us in Christ, who by virtue of His Incarnation and our incorporation in Him, dwelleth in us and we in Him (John vi. 56), and God loves us in the Beloved (Eph. i. 6), and as Christ Himself says in two sentences recorded in St. John's Gospel, which afford the best exposition of this text, "At that day (i. e. after the Ascension and reception of the Holy Ghost) ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in Me, and I in you," and "O Father, I made known to them Thy Name, and I will make it known, in order that the love with which Thou lovedst Me may be in them, and I in them" (John xvii. 26). Hence follows the relative duty, ἀγάπην ἔχειν ἐν ἀλλήλοις, John xiii. 35.
17. Ev TOUT] By this hath love been perfected, and is perfected, with us. By our union with God, through the Incarnation of His Son, Who has taken the Nature of us all, and has knit us together as one man in Himself, and joined us to God, who were once aliens from Him, Love hath been perfected with us. Christ
is μεθ ̓ ἡμῶν Θεός, “God with us " (Matt. i. 23). By His Incarnation and Passion, God is at peace with us, and we with God, and with our own consciences; and by the Reconciliation and Atonement which Christ hath made, we have access to the Father. See St. Paul's words to the Ephesian Church, Eph. ii. 13—18, and Heb. x. 19-23, which supply the best comment on this passage.
It follows as a consequence, that we may now have assurance (see ii. 28) in the Day of Judgment, when Jesus Christ shall appear again; because as He (Christ) is, Who is our Head, even so we, who are His Members, are in this world. He is exalted to God's Right Hand by His Obedience and Suffering in our Nature: His Exaltation is our Exaltation. We, even now in this world, even in the midst of this evil world, which lieth in subjection to the Wicked One (v. 19), are citizens of heaven (Phil. iii. 20). He, our Divine Head, at God's Right Hand, is ever pleading the Virtue of His sacrifice, for us His Members. He ever liveth to make Intercession for us (Heb. vii. 25). We have already been made to sit in heavenly places in Him. See note above on Eph. ii. 6; and though we are in the world, and the world is év T Tоvnp, yet the Wicked One toucheth not us (v. 18), for we are in Christ; and no one can pluck us out of His hand (John x. 28).
To be in this world, even as Christ is, implies the practice of charity, so that we love our enemies, as Christ loved us, and died for us, when we were enemies (Rom. v. 8-10); and it implies the practice of holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (Heb. xii. 14), who says, "Ye shall be holy, for I am holy" (1 Pet. i. 16), and every one that hath this hope (of glory) settled upon Him (Christ), purifieth himself even as He is pure (1 John iii. 3), and walketh as He walked (ii. 6), upon whom the Prince of this world had no hold (John xiv. 30).
ὅτι καθὼς ἐκεῖνός ἐστι, καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐσμὲν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ τούτῳ. 18 Φόβος οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ, ἀλλ ̓ ἡ τελεία ἀγάπη ἔξω βάλλει τὸν φόβον, ὅτι ὁ φόβος κόλασιν ἔχει· ὁ δὲ φοβούμενος οὐ τετελείωται ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ.
p ch. 2. 4. & 3. 17. 19 Ἡμεῖς ἀγαπῶμεν, ὅτι αὐτὸς πρῶτος ἠγάπησεν ἡμᾶς. 20 p’Εάν τις εἴπῃ, Οτι ἀγαπῶ τὸν Θεὸν, καὶ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ μισῇ, ψεύστης ἐστίν· ὁ γὰρ μὴ ἀγαπῶν τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ, ὃν ἑώρακε, τὸν Θεὸν, ὃν οὐχ ἑώρακε, πῶς δύναται ἀγαπᾷν ; 21 4 καὶ ταύτην τὴν ἐντολὴν ἔχομεν ἀπ ̓ αὐτοῦ, ἵνα ὁ ἀγαπῶν τὸν Θεὸν ἀγαπᾷ καὶ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ.
q Lev. 19. 18. Matt. 22. 39.
Job 13. 34.
& 15. 12.
Eph. 5. 2.
1 Thess. 4. 9.
1 Pet. 4. 8.
ch. 3. 11, 23.
a John 1. 12, 13. ch. 2. 22, 23.
& 4. 2, 15.
V. 1 " Πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ Χριστὸς ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ γεγέννηται· καὶ πᾶς ὁ ἀγαπῶν τὸν γεννήσαντα ἀγαπᾷ καὶ τὸν γεγεννημένον ἐξ αὐτοῦ. 2Ἐν τούτῳ γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἀγαπῶμεν τὰ τέκνα τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὅταν τὸν Θεὸν · Αὕτη γάρ ἐστιν ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἵνα τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ τηρῶμεν· καὶ αἱ ἐντολαὶ αὐτοῦ βαρεῖαι οὐκ εἰσίν· 4° ὅτι πᾶν τὸ γεγεννημένον ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ νικᾷ τὸν κόσμον, καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ νίκη ἡ νικήσασα τὸν κόσμον, ἡ πίστις ἡμῶν.
b Matt. 11. 29, 30. άуaж@μev, kaì tàs évtoλàs avтoû toiâμev.
John 14. 15, 21, 23.
& 15. 10.
2 John 6.
c John 16. 33.
d 1 Cor. 15. 57. ch. 4. 4, 15.
5 4 Τίς ἐστὶν ὁ νικῶν τὸν κόσμον, εἰ μὴ ὁ πιστεύων ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ Υἱὸς
18. φόβος οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ] Fear-which is the opposite of the Tappnoía or assurance just described-doth not exist in Love, but the Love that is perfect casteth out Fear: as Sarah the true wife cast out the bondwoman and her son; for the son of the bondwoman must not be heir with the son of the freewoman (Gen. xxi. 10. 12. Gal. iv. 30). Love that is perfect casteth out Fear, because Fear hath punishment: but he who is fearing-he whose characteristic is fear, and not love-hath not been perfected in love.
"Fear is the beginning of wisdom" (Ps. cxi. 10. Cp. on Matt. viii. 34). Fear first enters, and opens the door for Love, and prepares the house for its reception; but, when Love has taken up its abode in the house of the heart, Fear leaves it. Fear is the maidaywyds to bring us to Christ, in Whom we receive, not the spirit of servile fear (πνεῦμα δουλείας εἰς φόβον, Rom. viii. 15), but the spirit of filial adoption, by which we cry, Abba, Father (Gal. iv. 6). When we have been brought to Him, and dwell in Him, the work of Fear is done, and we are perfected in Love. See Augustine here, and Epistle 140, Sect. 21.
Fear hath punishment (kóλaσw). It has punishment as its moving principle, and as that which is ever present with it. "Mala conscientia tota in desperatione est, sicut bona in spe." Augustine, in Ps. 31. Fear is like a slave, who lives and moves with the sight of the whip ever before his eyes. He that is fearing (& poßoúuevos), he whose moving principle is fear (on which use of the present participle with the definite article, so as to become almost a substantive, see Matt. iv. 3. Eph. iv. 28. Winer, § 45, p. 316), the fearer (as opposed to dayanŵv, the lover) hath not been perfected in love. But when he has been perfected in love, he will no longer act from constraint, and from fear of punishment, as a bondservant; he will no longer be an Ishmael who is cast out of the house; but he will live and move with the joyful alacrity of an Isaac, who abideth in the house for ever (John viii. 35).
19. μeîs àɣап@μev] we love because He first loved us. The Vulg., Syriac, and other Versions render ayamŵμev as an imperative, "Let us love:" compare vv. 7 and 11; and so Lange, Lücke, De Wette, Besser, Düsterdieck, Huther, and others; see Huther, p. 186. But the ueis prefixed to the verb, and the general tenor of the argument, seems to favour the other rendering, that of the indicative. We should be only like those who fear, like slaves, if God had not loved us; but now we are they who love, as dear children, because He first loved us, as our reconciled Father in Christ.
Elz. adds aurov, Him, after ayamwμev, but it is not in A, B, and is not received by Lach. and Tisch., and the sense seems better without it. Here is the ground of our love generally; first to God, and then to man in God. He first loved us.
The main difference between the old, or Levitical, and the new, or Evangelical, Law is this-Do it, says the one, Servus meus es tu; Do it, says the other, Filius meus es tu: here is the perfect law of Love and liberty (James ii. 12); and the Law of Fear, which prepared the way for the Gospel of Love, hath now given way to the Gospel of Love which abides for ever in God's house (1 Cor. xiii. 8-13), the Church of Earth and Heaven; for
Love that is perfected casteth out Fear. See Bp. Andrewes, i. p. 231.
CH. V. 1–4. Tâs å miσtevwv] every one who believeth that Jesus is the Christ, hath been born of God. A doctrine opposed to the heresy of the Cerinthians who separated Jesus from Christ. Because of the growth of that Heresy, the Apostle specially inculcates this faith, that Jesus is the Son of God. Bp. Bull, Judic. Eccl. ii. Sect. 9.
St. John adds, that every one who loveth Him that begat, loveth Him that has been begotten of Him: and (v. 5) he asks, Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Thus our Regeneration is derived from the Generation of the Son of God, and His Incarnation. We cannot be born of God, unless we believe that the Jesus, Who is really and truly Man, is personally united to the Christ-the begotten of the Father-the Son of God.
St. John himself, in his Gospel, has developed his own argument. He has there affirmed that the Logos, or Word, is God, and that He gave power to all who receive Him, to become children of God, and that He was made Flesh, and took up His abode in us, and that of His fulness we all receive (John i. 1-16). He has also declared, that it is necessary for us to be born again (John iii. 3), and that the instrumental means by which we are to be regenerate, or born anew, as sons of God, are Water and the Holy Spirit (John iii. 5); and that the benefits of our union with Christ, and of the grace of His Unction, and the fruits of His Incarnation, and communion with God the Father in Him, are to be maintained by feeding on Him, and that "except we eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, we have no life in us" (John vi. 53). See the Introduction to St. John's Gospel, pp. 258, 259, and the Notes at the end of the Third and Sixth chapters of that Gospel.
Thus St. John in his Gospel has prepared us to understand the doctrine of his Epistle.
3. Kal ai evroλal] and His commandments are not grievous; because His Grace makes His yoke to be easy, and His burden to be light. See Matt. xi. 30. Phil. iv. 13. 1 Cor. xv. 10, and S. Augustine's saying, "Da quod jubes, et jube quod vis" (Confess. x. 29); and Ausonius (ad Theodos. 13), "Juvat qui Jubet;" and Bp. Sanderson, Sermon iii. p. 316.
4. πᾶν τὸ γεγεννημένον ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ] every thing that hath been begotten of God, and continues to energize by the principle of the new life imparted in Regeneration. This is the force of the perfect tense yeyevvnμévov, as usual. See above, iii. 9.
αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ νίκη] this is the Victory which conquered the world, your Faith. The Faith which you professed in Christ not only does conquer (viką), but did conquer (víknσe the world; for by it the Elders conquered, as has been shown in the eleventh chapter to the Hebrews; see especially Heb. xi. 33. Faith is called the Victory, as Christ is called "the Resurrection and the Life" (John xi. 25); because Faith is the only way to Victory, and the instrument by which it is gained, and whosoever has Faith, has Victory; whosoever believed in Christ, conquered by belief in Him.