Verse 7. What Bengelius has advanced, both concerning the transposition of these two verses, and the authority of the controverted verse, partly in his "Gnomon," and partly in his "Apparatus Criticus," will abundantly satisfy any impartial person. For there are three that testify - Literally, testifying, or bearing witness. The participle is put for the noun witnesses, to intimate that the act of testifying, and the effect of it, are continually present. Properly, persons only can testify; and that three are described testifying on earth, as if they were persons, is elegantly subservient to the three persons testifying in heaven. The Spirit - In the word, confirmed by miracles. The water - Of baptism, wherein we are dedicated to the Son, (with the Father and Spirit,) typifying his spotless purity, and the inward purifying of our nature. And the blood - Represented in the Lord's supper, and applied to the consciences of believer. And these three harmoniously agree in one - In bearing the same testimony, - that Jesus Christ is the divine, the complete, the only saviour of the world.
and eighth verses, which places those who testify on earth before those who testify in heaven, is abundantly preferable to the other, and affords a gradation admirably suited to the subject.
Verse 8. And there are three that testify in heaven - The testimony of the Spirit, the water, and the blood, is by an eminent gradation corroborated by three, who give a still greater testimony. The Father - Who clearly testified of the Son, both at his baptism and at his transfiguration. The Word - Who testified of himself on many occasions, while he was on earth; and again, with still greater solemnity, after his ascension into heaven, Rev. i, 5; Rev. xix, 13. And the Spirit - Whose testimony was added chiefly after his glorification, chap. ii, 27; John xv, 26; Acts v, 32; Rom. viii, 16. And these three are one - Even as those two, the Father and the Son, are one, John x, 30. Nothing can separate the Spirit from the Father and the Son. If he were not one with the Father and the Son, the apostle ought to have said, The Father and the Word, who are one, and the Spirit, are two. But this is contrary to the whole tenor of Revelation. It remains that these three are one. They are one in essence, in knowledge, in will, and in their testimony. It is observable, the three in the one verse are opposed, not conjointly, but severally, to the three in the other: as if he had said, Not only the Spirit testifies, but also the Father, John v, 37; not only the water, but also the Word, John iii, 11, John x, 41; not only the blood, but also the Holy Ghost, John xv, 26, &c. It must now appear, to every reasonable man, how absolutely necessary the eighth verse is 1 John v, 8. St. John could not think of the testimony of the Spirit, and water, and blood, and subjoin, "The testimony of God is greater," without thinking also of the testimony of the Son and Holy Ghost; yea, and mentioning it in so solemn an enumeration. Nor can any possible reason be devised, why, without three testifying in heaven, he should enumerate three, and no more, who testify on earth. The testimony of all is given on earth, not in heaven; but they who testify are part on earth, part in heaven. The witnesses who are on earth testify chiefly concerning his abode on earth, though not excluding his state of exaltation: the witnesses who are in heaven testify chiefly concerning his glory at God's right hand, though not excluding his state of humiliation. The seventh verse, therefore, with the sixth, contains a recapitulation of the whole economy of Christ, from his baptism to pentecost; the eighth, the sum of the divine economy, from the time of his exaltation. Hence it farther appears, that this position of the seventh 1 John v, 7, 8