An Exposition of the First Epistle General of John

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Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. - 1 John IV. 1.<br><br>In this Epistle a variety of subjects are contained and set before us. Some of these are dropped, and afterwards resumed. It is necessary to observe this: because this is the case here. It was in the second chapter, the apostle gave an account that there were then, at that time in which he wrote, many antichrists. This was what might most certainly give evidence, that it was the last hour, or very close of the apostolic church state. It had been foretold antichrist should come; and these his forerunners were now come before him, and would most assuredly introduce him: the being the very spawn out of which he was to be produced. These had been members in the churches: they went out of them, with a design to spread their then new-fangled heresies, far and wide: they were many in number: by their leaving the churches to which they had been united, it fully appeared they were never one in heart, soul, faith and practice with them. The heresy of these heretics very particularly consisted in denying that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah: and in corrupting the true doctrine of the Persons in God; hence the apostle says, "He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. chap." ii. 18, 19, 22, 23. These were the seducers in the then present day; and these are those of whom he is here speaking; Beloved, believe not every spirit, hut try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.<br><br>In which words we have the following particulars; in the opening the same, we shall it is to be hoped, have the sum and substance of our text explained to the real satisfaction of the spiritual mind.

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