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VII.

keving that Jefus is the Chrift, is because SBR M. there were even Then some false Apostles, in whom the mystery of iniquity did already work: Who taught, that Jefus was not indeed the Chrift: That Chrift, the Son of God, was not indeed incarnate, was not made Man and fuffered for us really, but in appearance only: That Jefus, the perfon born of the bleffed Virgin, was not himself the Chrift, the Son of God; but that Chrift, the Son of God, was another perfon, fictitiously and in Name only united to Jefus who was the Son of Man. Against Thefe falfe Teachers, the Apostle argues through this whole Epistle; ch. ii. 22; Who is a Liar, but he that denieth that Jefus is the Chrift? From the Context it appears evidently, that he is not there arguing against profeffed Unbelievers, but against pretended Chriftians, who denied the reality of our Lord's Incarnation. Again, ch. iv. 1; Beloved, believe not every Spirit, (that is, every Prophet or Teacher,) but try the Spirits whether they are of God; because many false Prophets are gone out into the World: Hereby know ye the Spirit of God; Every Spirit that confesses that

Jefus

SERM Jefus Christ is come in the Flesh, (that is to VII. fay, that the Son of God was really incarnate and made Man for us,) is of God: And every Spirit that confeffeth not, that Jefus Chrift is come in the Flesh; is not of God. Again, 2 Epift. v. 7. Many deceivers are entred into the World, who confefs not that Jefus Chrift is come in the Flesh. And in the 4th ch. of this 1 Epiftle, ver. 15; and ch. v. 1, 5; the Phrafes, to confefs that Jefus is the Son of God, to believe that Fefus is the Chrift, and to believe that Jefus is the Son of God, are All ufed in the like Senfe, to exprefs the reality of the incarnation of the Son of God, and that he truly and perfonally, (not in Appearance and Name only,) became the Son of Man. Hence, through this whole Epistle, these and the like Expreffions are conftantly to be understood as fignifying True and Sincere Christians. And therefore, I fay, the General Doctrine, laid down by St John in the firft Verse of this Fifth Chapter, (and the Subject-matter indeed of the whole Epiftle,) is This; that every fincere Chriflian is a regenerate perfon, one that loves God and keeps his Commandments; living in the

the habitual Practice of univerfal Virtue SER M. and Righteousness.

VII.

On the other fide: Whofoever loves God, and defires to keep his Commandments; and is difpofed to become a regenerate perfon; will hardly fail of being fincerely a Chriftian: For fo the Apostle goes on in the latter part of the first verse; Every one that loveth him that begat, loveth Him alfo that is begotten of Him; Every one that fincerely loves God, every one that is of a good and virtuous Difpofition, will naturally love the Religion of Chrift. And, that no man might mistake, wherein this Love of God confifts; he defines it in express words, ver. 3; This, fays he, is the Love of God, that we keep his Commandments and his Commandments are not grievous. And the Reafon why his Commandments are not grievous, is because (fays he, ver. 4.) whatfoever is born of God, overcometh the World; A true Child of God, a fincere Chriftian, will defpife and conquer all the Temptations of a finful and debauched World. And the Means, by which he is inabled to Vol. VI. M

conquer

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SER M. Conquer thefe Temptations, is Faith; VII. This is the Victory that overcometh the World, even our Faith: Our Faith, our firm Belief, of the Being and Government of God, and of his having appoint-. ed a day wherein he will judge the World in Righteousness; this is what will not fail to prevail over the temptations, of a wicked and debauched World. And because it is by the Revelation of Christ, by the Doctrine and Preaching of the Gospel, that this, Faith or firm Belief of a future Judgment is principally estab-. lifhed in the minds of men; therefore in the 5th verse the Apoftle proceeds to explain this Faith in the following manner; Who is He that overcometh, the World, but be which believeth that Jefus is the Son of God? that is, that he is the True Meffiah which was to come into the World, the Perfon appointed to be the Judge of Quick and Dead.

THAT This is plainly the Meaning of the Phrafe, appears from the parallel places wherein the Scripture expreffes the fame Senfe in Other Words. Thus, what

in

VII.

in this 5th verfe is, believing that Jefus is SER M. the Son of God; is in the 1st verse, believing that Jefus is the Chrift. And St Peter's confeffion, which in St Matthew's words, ch. xvi. 16; is, Thou art Chrift the Son of the Living God; is, in St Mark's words; ch, viii. 29; Thou art the Chrift. Again: The Queftion put to our Lord by the High-Prieft, which in St Matthew's words, ch. xxvi. 63; is, whether thou be the Chrift the Son of God; is, in St Luke's words, ch. xxii. 67; Art thou the Chrift? And Nathanael, in His Confeffion, Job. i. 49, ufes these two, as known Synonymous expreffions; Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Ifrael.

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THE Faith therefore, which, St John here tells us, overcometh the World; is the believing that Jesus is the True Meffiab, the perfon appointed of God to be the Judge of Quick and Dead. Which Truth whofoever is firmly perfwaded of, will not eafily fuffer himself to be overcome by the Temptations of Sin, which he knows will expofe him to the final Wrath of God at That Great Day.

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