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They are like Balaam.

blemishes, living in luxury, by their own de14 ceits, while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and which cannot cease from sin; alluring unstable persons; having a heart exercised in covetous practices; accursed chil15 dren; Who have forsaken the right path, and gone astray, following the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of un16 righteousness, But, received a rebuke for his transgression: the dumb ass, speaking with man's voice, forbad the madness of the pro'17 phet. These are as wells without water, as clouds driven away by a tempest; to whom the blackness of darkness is reserved for ever. 18 For they speak great swelling words of vanity,

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and allure with fleshly desires and impurities, A. D. 69. The certainty, of Christ's coming to judgment; the awful change

which will be made; an exhortation to godliness.

H PETER II.

those that had nearly escaped from such as live

1

19 in error, While they promise them freedom, they themselves are slaves of corruption: for

*

REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER II. 1. We learn that there is no church so. pure, but some false members, and even false teachers, may privily creep into it. There were such in the Jewish church, the writings of the true prophets of God abundantly demonstrate; and from the warnings of Christ, and of his apostles, such might be expected among the christian churches. What mischiefs have such erroneous, heretical teachers occasioned. While they have shook some from their stedfastness, they have wholly subverted others; and by their arrogance and presumption, they have practically denied the Lord, and caused the way of truth to be evil spoken of. Under the influence of covetousness, they adopt every method possible to allure and ensnare in order to promote their own gain. Not content to err and sin alone they are like Satan, whose true children they are, going about seeking whom they may devour and destroy.O the depravity of such men! Let them hear what awaits them. They are but bringing on themselves swift destruction.

2. The tremendous judgments which God in righteousness hath inflicted, should excite holy fear and deep repentance. When we reflect on the fall of angels, those bright morning stars, who for one sin were cast down to hell, and are reserved in chains, of darkness to

The end of apostates.

by whatever a man is overcome, by that he is
enslaved. For, if after they have escaped the 20
pollutions of the world through the knowledge
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they
are again entangled therein, and overcome,
their last state is worse than their first. For it 21
had been better for them not to have known
the way of righteousness, than when they have
known it, to turn from the holy commandment
delivered to them. But this hath befallen 22
them according to that true proverb, "The dog
hath returned to his own vomit; and the sow
that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire."
CHAPTER III.

punishments, and of those who administer them, will be destroyed in their own corruption, as they assuredly shall receive the reward, &c. They are spots, &c. To the christian name, living in luxury, while they feast at your love-feasts; and even there showing their impure desires, and alluring those not established in the faith, and ignorant of its holy tendeucy, to deeds the most shameful. Well may they be called accursed children who imitate the vice of Balaam, &c. See Numb, xxii, &c.

the judgment of the great day, well may we be filled with dread, considering our own multiplied and aggravated crimes, and with gratias|tude and wonder, that God has provided for us an almighty and allsufficient Saviour! O the depths of the wisdom and sovereign grace of God! how unsearchable are his ways, and past finding out! yet while God has revealed his mercy, and opened a way of escape, he will not spare unbelieving presumptuous sinners of mankind any more than the angels. He has shown this in the destruction of the old world by a flood, and of the filthy cities of the plain by fire from heaven What treasures of vengeance are at his command! How easily can he open the windows of heaven, and cause the fountains of the deep to break forth; or rain down fire and brimstone upon the ungodly! But while he thus punished the incorrigible, he knew how to deliver and secure the righteous. For them he provides some Ark, some Tower, as a hiding-place and, a refuge. He gives his charge to the very elements, respecting them; and to his angels, to keep them in all their ways.

17. These are as, &c. These false and wicked teachers are as wells without water, or as clouds, &c. promising great things, but only deceiving and destroying, and shall themselves be destroyed.

18 Nearly escaped, &c. They allure those heathens, who occasionally hearing the gospel, were convinced of its truth, and ready to come out from

THIS second epistle, beloved, I now write I unto you; in bath which I stir up your pure

3. We learn from the characters of those whom Peter describes, the justice and propriety of their punishment. What vile, shameful, and abominable, deeds do they practice. They have, made themselves,

the heathens; but these teachers allure them to follow their own impure ways. 19. Freedom, &c. From the holy law of God, pretending that they are allowed to live in every indulgence; and know not that they are slaves to their vices.

20. Their last state, &c. What they did before was through ignorance; but if they are entangled and live in the same pollutions, they do it knowingly, and can have no excuse for their sin. The next verse assigns this reason, 21, 22, The way of righteousness. Taught in the gospel, than when they have known it, &c.—That true proverb. "The dog, &c." Prov, xxvi. 11. The force of their evil habits, though checked for a time, yet pre, vails over the convictions of their consciences, and they again return to all their former follies and vices.

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Scoffers will come.

2 minds to remembrance; That ye may be mindful of the words which were formerly spoken by the holy prophets, and the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and 3 Saviour: Knowing this first, that great scoffers will come in the last days, walking after 4 their own evil desires, And saying, "Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they 5. were from the beginning of the creation." For of this they willingly are ignorant, that the heavens were made of old by the word of God, and the earth also, which standeth out of the 6 water, and in the water: Which things being so, the world that then was, having been over7 flowed with water, was destroyed. But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word, are reserved, and kept for fire against the day of judgment, and of the de8 struction of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is

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CHAP. III.

like those savage and destructive creatures, which it is the interest of all to take and destroy. They are vain-boasters, speaking evil of things which they understand not; given to gross sensual pleasures; covetous of what others enjoy that they may spend it on their lusts; accursed children, under the curse of the law, and ready to receive the reward of their unrighteousness! Let every christian church mark such characters and have no fellowship with them. They are spots and blemishes to any society; and how is it possible that christians should feast with such at the table of the Lord! Whatever they

CHAP. III. 1-4. In both which, &c. The relative is plural, and this is a proof that the author had written before.-Formerly spoken, &c. In reference to a day of final judgment, when the ungodly shall be punished and the righteous rewarded. See Ps. 1. 1—6.; lxxv. 8. Dan. xii. 2. Is. lxvi. 24.of us the apostles, &c. See 2 Thess. i. 7—10. Jude 17.—Great scoffers, &c. lafidels denying the truth of revelation, and the existence of a future state, and ridiculing the notion of a resurrection and a judgment-day.— -In the last days. Under the christian dispensation. While these scoffers are given up to sensual indulgencies, they say, "Where is the promise, &c."

II PETER III.

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The elements be dissolved.

with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow 9 concerning his promise, as some men count slowness; but is long-suffering towards us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of 10 the Lord will come as a thief; ° in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements with great heat will be dissolved, the earth also and the works that are thereon will be burnt up. Since then all 11 these things shall be dissolved, what kind of persons ought ye to be in all holy behaviour and godliness, Looking for and earnestly de- 12 siring the coming of the day of God, in which the heavens being set on fire will be dissolved, and the elements will melt with great heat? But besides, according to his promise, we look 13 for new heavens and a new earth, in which dwelleth righteousness.

Wherefore, beloved, since ye look for such 14

7. The heavens and the, &c. The serial heavens, &c.- -The same word, &c. By the same word or command of God, which originally created VOL. III. PART XXIV. 3 L

10. in the night. Griesb.

pretend, and however they may speak, they are but as wells without water, as clouds driven away; they allure and corrupt all with whom they associate. Better had it been for them to have remained heathens, than to have come to some knowledge of the truth, and of the way of righteousness, and to have corrupted the one, and neglected the other. Let all who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity, and ever remember, that he came to save us from our sins; and unless we are thus saved, we have no interest in him. It is not saying, Lord, Lord, but doing his will that will prove us true believers.

them. See verse 5.- For fire. For destruction by fire, verses 10-13. 8,9. One day is, &c. This said in allusion to Ps. xc. 4. ; but neither the Psalmist nor apostle meant that the Lord does not perceive any difference between the unequal durations of a day and a thousand years: the sense is, that he will fulfil his own word at the time appointed, though it be a thousand years hence, with as much certainty as if he did it on the day he spoke it, the revolutions of time not in the least affecting his designs and purposes. -Is long-suffering, xc. The reason of his long delaying the judgment-day is, that he is long-suffering, and acts towards nien, as if not willing that any should perish, &c. affording time, means, motives, &c. to repentance.

10. As a thief. Suddenly, and when men are not expecting it, as the deluge came upon the old world. In which day the heavens will pass away, the ærial heavens, or atmosphere, and the elements of which it is composed, with great heat will be dissolved, so as to answer no longer its present purposes. -The earth also, &c. Nothing is said which implies that the matter of it will be utterly annihilated; but its form, structure, and probably its nature will in a great degree be changed.

11-13. All these things. Which men in general so highly value, what kind of persons should christians be who believe these things, "in all holy conduct and godliness, looking for, and earnestly desiring, &c." For the $449

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God is long-suffering.

things, diligently endeavour to be found by him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15 And account that the long-suffering of our Lord to be for salvation; even as our beloved brother|| Paul also, according to the wisdom given to 16 him, hath written unto you; As in all his As in all his epistles also, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable

REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER III. 1. We have need to be often reminded of the doctrines and commands delivered to us, either by the prophets or the apostles of our Lord; and to be cautioned against the errors and wicked practices of impenitent and hardened sinners. The great doctrines of revelation are strongly confirmed by the harmony and agreement of the whole; and yet alas! how many, through their wilful blindness, love of sin, and unjust prejudices, scoff at, ridicule, and raise objections against them? No wonder that men of corrupt minds, who walk after their own lusts, should endeavour to persuade themselves that the scriptures are a cunningly devised fable; for if they be the truth of God, such men have nothing to expect but that fiery indignation which will devour his adversaries. Well may they attempt to deny the coming of Christ to judgment! and scoffingly ask, "Where is the promise of his coming?" They may boast, that things continue now as they ever have done; and from all that they can judge they will do so; and that men have nothing to fear. They willingly disbelieve what not only Moses has recorded, but what the face of the earth proves, that the world has once perished by a deluge. Such scoffers sport themselves with their own deceivings.

2. We learn also that as God has appointed a judgment-day, however distant it may be, it will assuredly come. The delay of that event is no proof that God has changed his purpose, or will either forget or alter the thing which he has determined. On the contrary, it is a part of his kind and gracious dispensation, to show himself slow to

sense of cлw, see the authorities in Parkhurst and Schleusner.New heavens, &c. But though expecting this judgment-day, and the conflagration of the earth, we expect before that period, a happy state of the church, when the promise, Is lxv. 16-18, will be fulfilled, when the Jews shall be converted, and all the Gentiles gathered in, which great change may be called a new heaven and a new earth, a new universe, in consequence of the new and unchanging state of things then introduced, when death and sin and misery as to those saved, of whom Peter speaks, will exist no more.

14-16. Found by him, &c. When he comes by death, and so you will at his final coming.And account, &c. Instead of considering his delay in coming to judgment, as a proof that he never will come, consider it as designed to show his long-suffering, and to be for the salvation of all who repent and believe the gospel. Our beloved brother, &c. It is probable that Paul was now dead, but he honours him as a beloved brother, and fellow-apostle. Wisdom given to him. With which he was inspired by the Holy Spirit given to him by the Lord Jesus.- -In all his epistles, &c. These were then known and acknowledged to be Paul's, and some of them were written and sent to the churches in the countries where those dwelt to whom Peter writes.-Of

II PETER III.

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Duty of stedfastness.

wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction. Since therefore, belov- 17 ed, ye know these things before, beware lest ye be led away with the error of the wicked, and fall from your own stedfastness. But grow 18 in the grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. A men.

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anger, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth; not willing that any should perish unwarned, but rather that they should all come to repentance. Yet alas! what should be a motive to repentance, and should excite unfeigned gratitude, man's depravity, in many instances. perverts and makes a motive to infidelity and profaneness; and because judgment is not speedily executed against an evil work, the hearts of men are fully set in them to do evil. Let them remember, that the duration of a thousand or even of ten thousand years, is nothing to eternity; and the day of the Lord will come on them by death, as a thief; and the great day will come, when the earth and its works shall be burnt up.

3. How ought believers to study these things, and grow in the knowledge and grace of Christ? They should realize the coming of their Lord, and the amazing events connected with it; and their great concern should be to be found of him in peace, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. Who can think on the inferior heavens passing away, with a great noise, and of the earth with its works of art burnt up, and of that new heavens and new earth which will succeed, without fear and hope; fear of then perishing, or the hope of then receiving the crown of life? What a magnificent state of bliss and glory will the righteous find in the new heavens and the new earth! All will be refined, pure, and holy; no mixture of sin or sinners! Since then we look for such things, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy behaviour and godliness.

these things. Of the coming of Christ, the resurrection, judgment, conflagra. tion of the world, punishment of the ungodly, and final happiness of the righteous. 1 Thess. iii. 13.; iv. 14-18, and 2 Thess. i. 7-10. 1 Cor. xv. 22, &c. 2 Cor. v. 1-10, &c.-Hard to be understood. Which require a humble teachable spirit to be understood, and which the unteachable, those puffed up with pride and conceit of their talents, and the unstable (James i. 8,) men given to changes, and ready to invent and maintain any novel opinion, are accustomed to wrest and torture to serve their own purposes. So some inferred that the day of the Lord was at hand, 2 Thess. ii. 2.; others said the resurrection was passed already. 2 Tim. ii. 18. Some denied that he would come, verses 4, 9, &c. That the holy scriptures have been tortured to support opinions and practices the most absurd, cannot be doubted.

17, 18. Ye know these, &c. Since I have faithfully forewarned you of these things, take heed against them, and be not led away with the error of the wicked to imitate them; and to prevent this, grow in the grace, in the belief and experience of the grace, and in the knowledge of the doctrine of our Lord and Saviour, &c. How suitable is this advice, and happy will they be who follow it.

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THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL

JOHN.

INTRODUCTION.

By the unanimous consent of antiquity this epistle is ascribed and acknowledged to be John's, the author of the Gospel. It seems to have been written long after the Gospel. (See Introduction, p. 7.) This epistle is directed to no particular church, but seems designed for the use of all christians, to oppose the various errors which sprang up in the church, and which subverted the doctrine of Christ; such as the Docetæ held, some denying the humanity of Christ; and some, his divinity; or the Nicolaitans, who maintaining that Christ having suffered for us, we are under no law to maintain good works, but by a mere profession of believing we are saved, and may live in every kind of sinful indulgence.

OF

CHAP. I. I. The Word of Life. The terms an’agyns, are ambiguous, and may either denote "from the beginning" of our Lord's ministry, or "from eternity." See 2 Thess. ii. 13, and Greek ; Mic. v.3, and Ecclesiasticus xxv. 9. I incline to the latter sense, as agreeing with John i. 1. Rev. i. 3.; iii. 14.; xxi. 6.; and with the next verse, which is explanatory of this. When this Word of Life had come in the flesh, and commenced his ministry, he called the apostles, and they heard, saw, and handled him, so as to be sure that he was a man, and no phantom, as the Docetæ, an early erring sect, maintained. For the sake of perspicuity, I have followed the construction, and not the order of the text; and consider the neuter pronoun as used for the masculine, as it often is by this evangelist, and by other sacred writers. See John iii. 6.; xv. 12, and John v. 4, aud 1 Cor. i. 27.

CHAPTER 1.

A. D. 90. The glorious person of Christ as the word of life, who has been manifested to us; and by conformity to him we have communion with him and forgiveness of sins.

1

WITH respect to the Word of Life which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked on, and our hands have handled; 2 (For the Life was manifested; and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal Life, which was with the Father, and 3 was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and our fellow-the

2. For the Life, &c. The Word of Life, or Son of God, was manifested by his incarnation to the senses of men, and we have seen him, and we declare to you him who is not only "the Life," but who had an Eternal Life with the Father as his Son, and which was declared to us by a voice from heaven at his baptism, &c.

3. Our fellowship. The term xavvia, signifies a joint participation in any thing, 1 Cor. x. 16, and was used to denote a firm, a partnership in trade, &c. Christians were united by their common faith into one society, and were joint partakers of the same blessings and privileges; and the head of this, and 312

ship is indeed with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we 4 unto you, that your joy may be full.

Now this is the declaration which we have 5 heard from him, and make known to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, 6 and walk in darkness, we speak falsely, and conform not to the truth: But if we walk in the 7 light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say 8 that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and

truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, 9

the source of all good, is the Father and his Son Jesus Christ, of whose fulness, grace, and love, we partake, and in which we have a common interest. And we write these things concerning the adorable person of the Word, and of the love of the Father, and of our interest and fellowship with them, that your joy, &c. In these three verses the pre-existence of Christ as the Life, the Eternal Life, is clearly stated; his being with the Father before he became manifest to men; and his being from the beginning, or before the creation, proves his eternity, and of course his divinity.

5-7. That God is light, &c. A being of the most perfect knowledge, of unspotted holiness, and the great source of animation, joy, and pleasure; and "in him is no darkness," no ignorance and sin.If we say, &c. If we endeavour to persuade ourselves and others, if we profess that we, &c. And conform, &c. Or perform and practice not the truth; we do not act agreeably to the true doctrine of the gospel, and studiously follow the holiness which it requires, seeking to be conformed to God in purity, we have fellowship with each other, God by bestowing the richest blessings, and we by receiving and enjoying them.And the blood, &c. This fellowship, and the continuance of it, is founded on the blood of Jesus shed to atone for our sins, and by which we believers are cleansed from the guilt of them.'

8-10. If we say that, &c. If we maintain as some do, that no action is now sinful; or that we live so as to fulfil the holy law of God, we are but de 451

Christ our advocate.

God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, 10 and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him speak falsely, and his word is not in us. 1 My children, I write these things unto you, that ye may not sin. Yet if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ 2 the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

CHAPTER II.

To know God is to keep his commandments; to love our brethren, and not to love the world; we must beware of seducers, and continue in faith and holiness.

CHAP. II.

REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER 1. 1. How glorious is the person of our Redeemer, as he is the eternal Word and Life! However incomprehensible to us, he was with the Father as his beloved Son, one with him in nature, will, counsel, and operation, before he was manifest in flesh. He had a glory with him before the world existed; a glory, the emanation of his own infinite excellence, and perfections. He had life in himself, and was the source of life and being to all creatures; and of holiness and happiness to the intelligent and spiritual world. And when man had fallen into a state of guilt, misery, and helplessness, he was promised as his deliverer; and in the fulness of time was manifested to men by his incarnation. He bowed his heavens and came down; and in the exercise of love, grace, and mercy, he dwelt with men. As the great prophet, he taught and instructed his disciples, explained and enforced the obligations of the law, and applied it to convince of sin, and then invited the humbled and abased simmer to come to him for pardon and life. Having chosen and called his apostles, they were his constant attendants, receiving divine truth from his lips; and they were the witnesses of his astonishing miracles. What they saw and heard, gazed on, and their hands handled, they testified to others. They could not be deceived, unless we admit as great a miracle as any to which they bear testimony; that all their senses were, during his ministry, so influenced and perverted as to convey only illusions to the mind. O how firmly may our

I JOHN II.

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ceiving ourselves, &c.- —If we confess, &c. With sincerity and true penitence, "he is faithful to perform his promise, and just to his Son, in forgiving our sins, and by the influence of the Spirit cleansing us, &c."—We have not sinned. In time past "we make him a liar," because in his word he has declared us and all men to be sinners; and because he has acted towards us as such by giving his only Son to die for our sins, and promising pardon. CHAP. II. 1, 2. That ye may not sin. Knowingly, wilfully, and habitually, see verse 8.- -Yet if any man sin, &c. Fall by some temptation, and by his remaining depravity, let him not despair of mercy, as we have an advocate with the Father to plead our cause, Jesus Christ, the righteous One. -The propitiation, &c. The term, haoμos is used by the seventy to express the making of atonement for any trespass or sin. Levit. ví. 6, 7. Numb. v. 8. Ezek. xliv. 27. Under the law this was done by the shedding of blood; for this only made the atonement, and was the ground of pardon. And so

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His word to be kept.

AND we hereby know that we know bim, if 3 we keep his commandments. He who saith, 4 "I know him," and keepeth not his commandments, speaketh falsely, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, of a 5 truth the love of God is perfected in him: hereby we know that we are in him. He who 6 saith that he abideth in him ought himself so to walk, as he walked.

V

▾ Beloved," I write no new commandment to 7 you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning: The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the new commandment 1.8 beginning. Again, a

7. Griesb. Öthers, brethren.

faith rest on their word, as to the person, grace, and power of the Saviour; and by it we are introduced to a blessed communion with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

2. Let us beware of imposing on ourselves, either by mistaking the holy character of God or our own. He is pure, glorious, and resplendant as the etherial light, comprising all moral excellence, loveliness and beauty. We cannot have fellowship with him, if we are destitute of his holy image, and walking in the darkness of a blinded mind, and of an unsanctified heart. It is a vain delusion, and equally opposed to the nature of things and to the gospel, for any who live in a course of sin, which is the worst darkness, to imagine that they have communion with him. And it is equally vain for any to think that they are absolutely perfect, and without any sin, as it would be to say and maintain, that they had never sinned. None such have any boly fellowship with God, they only enjoy this privilege, who, by the agency of the Spirit, are convinced of their sins, penitently confess them, and by faith apply to the Redeemer's blood for pardon and reconcilia tion. In this way we come to the enjoyment of peace, holiness, and fellowship. And though we should be always painfully conscious of our defects, and of our aggravated sins, it is matter of eternal praise that we have an Advocate to plead our cause, and a sacrifice to secure our safety. To this advocate, and to this sacrifice, let us daily apply by believing prayer, that we may be pardoned, cleansed, and purified.

Jesus Christ, the righteous One, died on the cross, and his blood was shed for this gracious purpose, the expiation of our sins; and such is the virtue of it, that it is in its nature sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world, and will in effect be found sufficient to all believers of every nation and in every period, until the world shall end.

3- 6. If we keep, &c. We have no right, no genuine knowledge of Christ, if we do not keep his commands. For he who saith I know him, &c. -Keepeth his word, &c. Is careful to practice as well as profess it, shows that the love of God in giving his Son is perfected in him, produces its proper effect, obedience; and hereby we know, &c.—That he abideth, &c. As a branch in the vine, that he is united to him by faith, ought to manifest it by walking in love as he walked.

7-11. Is the word which, &c. Preached to you from the first, namely, "that ye should keep his word and abide in him.”—New commandment. lí

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