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1 John 4


 1 Dearly (1) beloved, believe not every (a) spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God, for many false prophets are gone out into this world.


(1) Taking occasion by the name of the Spirit, lest love and charity should be separated from the worship of God, which chiefly dependeth of his true knowledge, he returneth to that which he spake in the second Chapter touching the taking heed of Antichrists. And he will have us here take heed of two things, the one is, that seeing there be many false prophets, we do not lightly give credit to every man; the other is, that because many men teach false things, we should not therefore believe any. We must then observe a mean, that we may be able to discern the Spirit of God, which are altogether to be followed from impure spirits which are to be eschewed.
(a) This is spoken by the figure Metonymy, and it is as if he had said, Believe not every one that saith that he hath a gift of the holy Ghost to do the office of a Prophet.


 2  (2) Hereby shall ye know the Spirit of God, (b) Every spirit which confesseth that (c) Jesus Christ is come in the (d) flesh is of God.


(2) He giveth a certain and perpetual rule to know the doctrine of Antichrist by, to wit, if either the divine or human nature of Christ, or the true uniting of them together be denied; or if the least jot that may be, be derogate from his office who is our only King, Prophet, and everlasting high Priest.
(b) He speaketh simply of the doctrine, and not of the person.
(c) The true Messiah.
(d) Is true man.


 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God; but this is the spirit of Antichrist, of whom ye have heard, how that he should come, and now already he is in this world.


 4  (3) Little children, ye are of God, and have overcome them; for greater is he that is in you, than he that is in this world.


(3) He comforteth the elect with a most sure hope of victory; but yet so, that he teacheth them that they fight not with their own virtue, but with the virtue and power of God.


 5  (4) They are of this world, therefore speak they of this world, and this world heareth them.


(4) He bringeth a reason, why the world receiveth these teachers more willingly than the true, to wit, because they breathe out nothing but that which is worldly; which is another note also to know the doctrine of Antichrist by.


 6  (5) We are of God, (*) he that knoweth God, heareth us; he that is not of God heareth us not. Hereby know we the (e) Spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.


(5) He testifieth unto them that his doctrine and the doctrine of his fellows, is the assured word of God, which of necessity we have boldly to set against all the mouths of the whole world, and thereby discern the truth from falsehood.

(*) John 8:47 .
(e) True Prophets against whom are set false prophets, that is, such as err themselves, and lead others into error.


 7  (6) Beloved, let us love one another, (7) for love cometh of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.


(6) He returneth to the commending of brotherly love and charity.
(7) The first reason: Because it is a very divine thing; and therefore very meet for the sons of God, so that whosoever is void of it, cannot be said to know God aright.


 8 He that loveth not, knoweth not God, (8) for God is (f) love.


(8) A confirmation: For it is the nature of God to love men, whereof we have a most manifest proof above all other, in that of his only free and infinite good will towards us his enemies, he delivered unto death, not a common man, but that his own Son, yea, his only begotten Son, to the end that we being reconciled through his blood, might be partakers of his everlasting glory.

(f) In that he called God, Love, he saith more than if he had said that he loveth us infinitely.


 9  (*) Herein was that love of God made manifest amongst us, because God sent that his only begotten Son into this world, that we might live through him.


(*) John 3:16 .


 10 Herein is that love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be a reconciliation for our sins.


 11  (9) Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.


(9) Another reason by comparison: if God so loved us, shall not we his children love one another?


 12  (*) (10) No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is (g) perfect in us.


(*) John 1:18; 1 Timothy 6:16 .

(10) A third reason: Because God is invisible, therefore by this effect of his Spirit, to wit, by charity, he is understood, yea, and to be not out of us, but joined with us, and in us, in whom he is so effectually working.
(g) Is surely in us, indeed and in truth.


 13 Hereby know we, that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.


 14  (11) And we have seen, and do testify, that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.


(11) He underlayeth this charity with another foundation, to wit, faith in Jesus, which joineth us indeed with him, even as charity witnesseth that we are joined with him. Furthermore he testifieth of Christ, as who had seen him with his eyes.


 15 Whosoever (h) confesseth that Jesus is the Son of God, in him dwelleth God, and he in God.


(h) With such a confession as cometh from true faith and is accompanied with love, so that there be an agreement of all things.


 16 And we have known, and believed the love that God hath in us. (12) God is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.


(12) A fourth reason: God is the fountain and wellspring of charity, yea, charity itself; therefore whosoever abides in it, hath God with him.


 17  (13) Herein is that love perfect in us, that we should have boldness in the day of judgment; for (i) as he is, even so are we in this world.


(13) Again (as a little before) he commendeth love, for that seeing that by our agreement with God in this thing, we have a certain testimony of our adoption, it cometh thereby to pass by, that without fear we look for that latter day of judgment, so that trembling and torment of conscience is cast out by this love.
(i) This signifieth all likeness, not equality.


 18 There is no (k) fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear, for fear hath painfulness, and he that feareth, is not perfect in love.


(k) If we understand by love, that we are in God, and God in us, that we are sons, and that we know God, and that everlasting life is in us; he concludeth aright that we may well gather peace and quietness thereby.


 19  (14) We love him, because he loved us first.


(14) Lest any man should think that the peace of conscience proceedeth from our love as from the cause, he goeth back to the fountain, to wit, to the free love, wherewith which God loveth us although we deserved and do deserve his wrath. And hereof springeth another double charity, which both are tokens and witnesses of that first, to wit, that, wherewith we love God who loved us first, and then for his sake our neighbors also.


 20  (15) If any man say, I love God, and hate his brother, he is a liar; (16) for how can he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, love God whom he hath not seen?


(15) As he shewed that the love of our neighbor cannot be separate from the love wherewith God loveth us, because this last engendereth the other; so he denieth that the other kind of love wherewith we love God, can be separate from the love of our neighbor; whereof which it followeth, that they lie impudently which say they worship God, and yet regard not their neighbor.
(16) The first reason taken of comparison, why we cannot hate our neighbor and love God, to wit, because that he that cannot love his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God whom he seeth not?


 21  (*) (17) And this commandment have we of him, that he that loveth God, should love his brother also.


(*) John 13:34; John 15:12 .

(17) A second reason, why God cannot be hated and our neighbor loved, because this selfsame Lawmaker commanded both to love him and our neighbor.




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 1 Corinthians 14:8

And also if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to battle?

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