The same vein of divine love and charity towards our neighbor, which runs throughout the Gospel written by the beloved disciple and Evangelist, ST. JOHN, is found also in his Epistles. He confirms the two principal mysteries of our faith: The mystery of the Trinity, and the mystery of the incarnation of Jesus Christ the Son of God. The sublimity and excellence of the evangelical doctrine he declares: And this commandment we have from God, that he, who loveth God, love also his brother (chap. 4:21); and again: For this is the charity of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not heavy (chap. 5:3). He shews how to distinguish the children of God from those of the devil: marks out those who should be called Antichrists: describes the turpitude and gravity of sin. Finally, he shews how the sinner may hope for pardon. It was written, according to Baronius' account, sixty-six years after our Lord's Ascension.
2 For the life was manifested; and we have seen and do bear witness, and declare unto you the life eternal, which was with the Father, and hath appeared to us:
3 That which we have seen and have heard, we declare unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship may be with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
4 And these things we write to you, that you may rejoice, and your joy may be full.
5 And this is the declaration which we have heard from him, and declare unto you: That God is light, and in him there is no darkness.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.
7 But if we walk in the light, as he also is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
3 And by this we know that we have known him, if we keep his commandments.
4 He who saith that he knoweth him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5 But he that keepeth his word, in him in very deed the charity of God is perfected; and by this we know that we are in him.
6 He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also to walk, even as he walked.
7 Dearly beloved, I write not a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you have heard.
8 Again a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true both in him and in you; because the darkness is passed, and the true light now shineth.
9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
10 He that loveth his brother, abideth in the light, and there is no scandal in him.
11 But he that hateth his brother, is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth; because the darkness hath blinded his eyes.
12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.
13 I write unto you, fathers, because you have known him, who is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one.
14 I write unto you, babes, because you have known the Father. I write unto you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.
15 Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever.
18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that Antichrist cometh, even now there are become many Antichrists: whereby we know that it is the last hour.
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us. For if they had been of us, they would no doubt have remained with us; but that they may be manifest, that they are not all of us.
20 But you have the unction from the Holy One, and know all things.
21 I have not written to you as to them that know not the truth, but as to them that know it: and that no lie is of the truth.
22 Who is a liar, but he who denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This is Antichrist, who denieth the Father, and the Son.
23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father. He that confesseth the Son, hath the Father also.
24 As for you, let that which you have heard from the beginning, abide in you. If that abide in you, which you have heard from the beginning, you also shall abide in the Son, and in the Father.
25 And this is the promise which he hath promised us, life everlasting.
26 These things have I written to you, concerning them that seduce you.
27 And as for you, let the unction, which you have received from him, abide in you. And you have no need that any man teach you; but as his unction teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie. And as it hath taught you, abide in him.
28 And now, little children, abide in him, that when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be confounded by him at his coming.
29 If you know, that he is just, know ye, that every one also, who doth justice, is born of him.
2 Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God; and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know, that, when he shall appear, we shall be like to him: because we shall see him as he is.
3 And every one that hath this hope in him, sanctifieth himself, as he also is holy.
4 Whosoever committeth sin commmitteth also iniquity; and sin is iniquity.
5 And you know that he appeared to take away our sins, and in him there is no sin.
6 Whosoever abideth in him, sinneth not; and whosoever sinneth, hath not seen him, nor known him.
7 Little children, let no man deceive you. He that doth justice is just, even as he is just.
8 He that commmitteth sin is of the devil: for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God appeared, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
9 Whosoever is born of God, commmitteth not sin: for his seed abideth in him, and he can not sin, because he is born of God.
10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil. Whosoever is not just, is not of God, nor he that loveth not his brother.
11 For this is the declaration, which you have heard from the beginning, that you should love one another.
12 Not as Cain, who was of the wicked one, and killed his brother. And wherefore did he kill him? Because his own works were wicked: and his brother's just.
13 Wonder not, brethren, if the world hate you.
14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not, abideth in death.
15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer. And you know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in himself.
16 In this we have known the charity of God, because he hath laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
17 He that hath the substance of this world, and shall see his brother in need, and shall shut up his bowels from him: how doth the charity of God abide in him?
18 My little children, let us not love in word, nor in tongue, but in deed, and in truth.
19 In this we know that we are of the truth: and in his sight shall persuade our hearts.
20 For if our heart reprehend us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
21 Dearly beloved, if our heart do not reprehend us, we have confidence towards God:
22 And whatsoever we shall ask, we shall receive of him: because we keep his commandments, and do those things which are pleasing in his sight.
23 And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ: and love one another, as he hath given commandment unto us.
24 And he that keepeth his commandments, abideth in him, and he in him. And in this we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
2 By this is the spirit of God known. Every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God:
3 And every spirit that dissolveth Jesus, is not of God: and this is Antichrist, of whom you have heard that he cometh, and he is now already in the world.
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome him. Because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
5 They are of the world: therefore of the world they speak, and the world heareth them.
6 We are of God. He that knoweth God, heareth us. He that is not of God, heareth us not. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
7 Dearly beloved, let us love one another, for charity is of God. And every one that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not, knoweth not God: for God is charity.
9 By this hath the charity of God appeared towards us, because God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we may live by him.
10 In this is charity: not as though we had loved God, but because he hath first loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins.
11 My dearest, if God hath so loved us; we also ought to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abideth in us, and his charity is perfected in us.
13 In this we know that we abide in him, and he in us: because he hath given us of his spirit.
14 And we have seen, and do testify, that the Father hath sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known, and have believed the charity, which God hath to us. God is charity: and he that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him.
17 In this is the charity of God perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment: because as he is, we also are in this world.
18 Fear is not in charity: but perfect charity casteth out fear, because fear hath pain. And he that feareth, is not perfected in charity.
19 Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us.
20 If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother; he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God, whom he seeth not?
21 And this commandment we have from God, that he, who loveth God, love also his brother.
2 In this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God, and keep his commandments.
3 For this is the charity of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not heavy.
4 For whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world: and this is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith.
5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
6 This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit which testifieth, that Christ is the truth.
7 And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one.
8 And there are three that give testimony on earth: the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three are one.
9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater. For this is the testimony of God, which is greater, because he hath testified of his Son.
10 He that believeth in the Son of God, hath the testimony of God in himself. He that believeth not the Son, maketh him a liar: because he believeth not in the testimony which God hath testified of his Son.
11 And this is the testimony, that God hath given to us eternal life. And this life is in his Son.
12 He that hath the Son, hath life. He that hath not the Son, hath not life.
13 These things I write to you, that you may know that you have eternal life, you who believe in the name of the Son of God.
14 And this is the confidence which we have towards him: That, whatsoever we shall ask according to his will, he heareth us.
15 And we know that he heareth us whatsoever we ask: we know that we have the petitions which we request of him.
16 He that knoweth his brother to sin a sin which is not to death, let him ask, and life shall be given to him, who sinneth not to death. There is a sin unto death: for that I say not that any man ask.
17 All iniquity is sin. And there is a sin unto death.
18 We know that whosoever is born of God, sinneth not: but the generation of God preserveth him, and the wicked one toucheth him not.
19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world is seated in wickedness.
20 And we know that the Son of God is come: and he hath given us understanding that we may know the true God, and may be in his true Son. This is the true God and life eternal.
21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.