12 Who was of the wicked one - Who showed he was a child of
the devil by killing his brother. And wherefore slew he him - For any fault?
No, but just the reverse; for his goodness.
13 Marvel not if the world hate you - For the same cause.
14 We know - As if he had said, We ourselves could not love our brethren,
unless we were passed from spiritual death to life, that is, born of God.
He that loveth not his brother abideth in death - That is, is not born
of God. And he that is not born of God, cannot love his brother.
15 He, I say, abideth in spiritual death, is void of the life of God.
For whosoever hateth his brother, and there is no medium between loving
and hating him, is, in God's account, a murderer: every degree of hatred
being a degree of the same temper which moved Cain to murder his brother.
And no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him - But every loving believer
hath. For love is the beginning of eternal life. It is the same, in substance,
16 The word God is not in the original. It was omitted by the apostle
just as the particular name is omitted by Mary, when she says to the gardener,
"Sir, if thou hast borne him hence;" and by the church, when she says,
"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth," So 1:2; in both which places
there is a language, a very emphatical language, even in silence. It declares
how totally the thoughts were possessed by the blessed and glorious subject.
It expresses also the superlative dignity and amiableness of the person
meant, as though He, and He alone, was, or deserved to be, both known and
admired by all. Because he laid down his life - Not merely for sinners,
but for us in particular. From this truth believed, from this blessing
enjoyed, the love of our brethren takes its rise, which may very justly
be admitted as an evidence that our faith is no delusion.
17 But whoso hath this world's good - Worldly substance, far less valuable
than life. And seeth his brother have need - The very sight of want knocks
at the door of the spectator's heart. And shutteth up - Whether asked or
not. His bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in
him - Certainly not at all, however he may talk, 1Jo 3:18, of loving God.
18 Not in word - Only. But in deed - In action: not in tongue by empty
professions, but in truth.
19 And hereby we know - We have a farther proof by this real, operative
love. That we are of the truth - That we have true faith, that we are true
children of God. And shall assure our hearts before him - Shall enjoy the
assurance of his favour, and the "testimony of a good conscience toward
God." The heart, in St. John's language, is the conscience. The word conscience
is not found in his writings.
20 For if we have not this testimony, if in anything our heart, our
own conscience, condemn us, much more does God, who is greater than our
heart - An infinitely holier and a more impartial Judge. And knoweth all
things - So that there is no hope of hiding it from him.
21 If our heart condemn us not - If our conscience, duly enlightened
by the word and Spirit of God, and comparing all our thoughts, words, and
works with that word, pronounce that they agree therewith. Then have we
confidence toward God - Not only our consciousness of his favour continues
and increases, but we have a full persuasion, that whatsoever we ask we
shall receive of him.
23 And this is his commandment - All his commandments in one word. That
we should believe and love - in the manner and degree which he hath taught.
This is the greatest and most important command that ever issued from the
throne of glory. If this be neglected, no other can be kept: if this be
observed, all others are easy.
24 And he that keepeth his commandments - That thus believes and loves.
Abideth in him, and God in him: and hereby we know that he abideth in us,
by the Spirit which he hath given us - Which witnesses with our spirits
that we are his children, and brings forth his fruits of peace, love, holiness.
This is the transition to the treating of the Holy Spirit which immediately