by Thomas Goodwin
I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.—1 JOHN 2:13, 14.
The design of the apostle in the text explained. The characters of the several ages of Christians are drawn from what is found as an excellency in each of these ages in men's natural life.
This holy apostle, who had an advantage for holiness in his life above many of his fellow-apostles, in that he lived the longest of them, and so to grow up therein; and in the course of his life had run through all the several ages or seasons that any Christians do pass through; and having had experience in other Christians of what was eminent in and proper unto each age of men in Christ, writes distinctly unto all sorts accordingly, and sets down what eminency in things spiritual, and therewithal what duties, belonged unto these several ages.
These ages in Christ he divides into three, according to what nature divides them into, though custom of speech speaks four.
1. Fathers in Christ.
2. Men grown up, which is translated 'young men.'
3. Babes, or new converts not yet grown up, but true believers all.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER I: The characters of the Three Several Ages in Particular
CHAPTER II: Of Communion with the Two Persons of the Godhead, Father and Son
CHAPTER III: The Character of Young Men, or Middle-Aged Christians in Christ