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upon our spirits, which may keep us in an humble frame of soul. Note thence, That humility is a special ornament, a beautiful robe, to be put on daily, which commends us greatly both to God and man. We are never to account ourselves dressed, until we have this livery of our humble master Christ Jesus put upon us: Be clothed with humility. Observe next, The argument to enforce this duty: For God resisteth the proud, sets himself as in battle-array against them, but giveth fresh supplies of grace to the humble ; because more grace is promised to the humble, and the humble soul is more fitted, prepared, and disposed, to receive farther measures of grace from God. God sets himself agamst proud men to bring them down, but the humble he doth countenance and exalt.
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that lie may exalt you in due time:
By the hand of God, understand his judgments, his almighty power, which it is our duty to submit unto, and to be humble under, in the day of our affliction; and this profound submission and deep humiliation is the way to glory and exaltation. He can exalt us, and will do it here, if it be good for us: but sometimes God sees abasement better for his people: better, because safer, and accordingly they sliall have it. Learn hence, That the strength and power of God should oblige us very greatly to bumble ourselves before him, and subject ourselves unto him: Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. Secondly, That God will exalt the humble in due time, either lure or hereafter ; either in time or in eternity, as it shall most and best conduce to his own glory and their good.
7 Casting all your care upon li mi; far lit careth for you.
Observe here, 1. The nature of the duty enjoined, to cast our care upon God; it is not a providential and prudential care, but an anxious and vexatious care, that the scripture forbids; and the duty here required is this, that after we have used all prudent care and diligence in subserviency to the providence of God, we should not be over-solicitous about the issue and event of things j winch, when we have done all
we can, will be out of our power. 2. Casting our care upon God, implies, that we should refer the issue and event of things to his wise providence, which is continually watching over us, and knows liow to dispose of all things for the best advantage to us; entirely confiding in his wisdom and goodness, that he will order all things for the best, and in that confidence resting satisfied with the disposals of his providence, whatever they be. This is to cast all our care upon God, Observe, 2. The argument here made use of to persuade us to this duty: God careth for ns. This implies also two things: 1. In general, tint the providence of God governs the world, and concerns itself in the affairs of men, and disposcth of all events that happen to us. 2. More particularly, that this providence is more peculiarly concerned for good men, and Hat lie takes a special care of them, and of their concerns ; and tic care that God takes of them is a special care, a tender care, a promised and engaged can?, a care mysteriously exercised; lie then takes most care of them when they llunk he takes least, and the men of the world think he takes none at all. Cast we then all our care upon him, who careth for us; for anxious care is a painful evil, an unprofitable evil, a sinful evil.
II Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketli about seeking whom be may devour: ft Whom resist, stedfasl in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Observe here, 1. A double duty exhorted to, sobriety and vigilancy; Br sober, be vigilant, be sober and temperate in alt things: sober in your enjoyments ; sober in your employments; sober in your recreations. Be neither drunk with wine, nor worldly cares; the latter is tlte worst of the two. A night's sleep cures the former, but the worldling is drunk all the year long, never sober night nor day. And to sobriety we are exhorted to add vigilancy, a watchful care and diligent circumspection over all our thoughts, words, and actions, that we may not displease God in any thing, Be sober, be vigilant. Observe, 2. Tlie reason or motive to enforce the duty, Because your adversary the devil gotih about, Stc. Where note, How every i
contain? a special motive to christian watchfulness. He is your adversary, who will do you alt possible mischief: he is the devil, an accuser, and one that seeks all advantages against you; he is a cruel adversary, a lion, yea, a roaring lion, which adds terror to his cruelty: he is a restless adversary, He goesabout seeking -whom he may devour: what soul he may devour, for that's the bait he gapes for. It grieves the devils, those apostate angels, to find the souls of men appointed to till up those vacant places in heaven, which they turned themselves out of. It is a delight to them to plunge souls into the same condemnation and misery with themselves. Observe, 3. The duty of resistance, urged upon us in order to our preservation, with the weapon put in our hand for that purpose: Whom resist, stedfast in the faith; that is, be stedfast in your faith, that you may resist him; and by the help of your faith you shall overcome him. Learn hence, 1. That the devil is the restless adversary and unwearied enemy of mankind.
2. That all the pains which Satan takes is, in order to the destruction of precious souls.
3. That the way to overcome him is by resisting of him, not by yielding to him: he is a cowardly enemy, and a conquered enemy; resist him, and he will run. 4. That faith is the weapon, by which the christian is enabled to resist the tempter, and to repel the force of his fiery temptations.
9 Whom resist, stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
As if the apostle had said, " Resist Satan's temptations, occasioned by your sufferings, remembering that it is not your case alone, but others also suffer with you, even all that will live godly in Christ Jesus." Learn hence, That christians should not desire, and cannot reasonably expect, a better condition in the world, with respect to freedom from sufferings, than the rest of their brethren, who have all a share of affliction to suffer, and a measure of hardship to endure, as well as ourselves: The same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stabtish, strengthen, settle you. 11
To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Our apostle concludes and closes his epistle with an affectionate prayer for these afflicted christians and suffering saints, beseeching Almighty God, who is the author of all grace, and who hath called them by his gospel to the participation of that grace, which will entitle them to eternal glory, that, after they have suffered a while in the world, he would perfect the work of grace begun in them, establish, strengthen, and settle them, in the truth of the gospel; and to this 'infinitely gracious God he desires glory and dominion should be for ever ascribed. Observe here, 1. That God is the God of all grace: seed,growth, and perfection, all from iiiin; restraining grace, renewing grace, sanctifying grace, all from the fountain of all grace. Observe, 2. That serious christians are called by God to eternal glory and happiness: they are called to the hope and expectation of this glory, upon the account of the promise of it which God made to Christ, Tit. i. 2. and they are brought into a state of preparation for it; God hath by his word and Spirit wrought them for this same thing. Observe, 3. They are called to eternal glory through Christ Jesus; he reveals it to them, he purchases it for them, he works that faith and repentance in them which qualifies them for, and entitles them unto, this heavenly glory. Observe, 4. That some afflictions must be expected and endured by all christians, how dear to God soever they are or may be. Was there any patriarch, prophet, or apostle, primitive or modern christian, that did not suffer a while? Saints must suffer a while from the remains of sin, from the temptations of Satan, from the enemies of religion, from the friends of religion, yea, from God himself, their best friend. Observe, 5. That after serious christians have suffered a while, they shell enter into glory; their title is sure by the promise of God, by the purchase of Christ, by the inhabitation of the Spirit. Observe, 6. That the perfecting, stabfishing, strengthening, of the christian in grace and comfort, is from God, to whom all glory and dominion isand ought for ever to be ascribed.
12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God, wherein ye stand.
Observe here, That our apostle, to encourage these suffering christians to a resolved perseverance in the christian religion, assures them that it was undoubtedly from God, the unquestionable truth of God, and therefore neither seducers on the one hand, nor persecutors on the other, should be able to shake them, or cause them to fall from their own stedfastness; a firm belief of thecertainty and excellency of christianity conduces much to the establishment of those that have newly embraced it; if we be once assured that it is the true grace of God wherein we stand, it will cause us to stand stedfast.
13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son. 14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.
At the foot of this epistle he sends them salutations from the christians at Babylon, who were chosen out of the world, to par
take in the faith and fellowship of the i pel. Some, by Babylon, figuratively understand Rome, but others understand it of Babylon in Assyria, where many Jews did tarry, and continue after the expiration of the seventy years' captivity, whom St. Peter, being a minister of the circumcision, went to visit, having probably planted a church there. Wheresoever they were, God had called them to the knowledge of his gospel, and they send salutations to all their brethren and fellow-members in Christ, wheresoever dispersed, or howsoever distressed. As also doth Mark, whom St. Peter cask his son, because instructed by him in the gospel, and begotten by him to christianity. Lastly, He exhorts them to express their fervent affection to each other by a kiss of charity, used in the primitive times as a token of love amongst christians; but afterwards, for just reasons, laid aside; so wishing peace, that is, all manner of prosperity, to all in Christ Jesus, that is, to all professing faith in Christ Jesus, he shuts up bis epistle.
SECOND EPISTLE GENERAL
The Second Epistle of St. Peter was written by him * little before his death, he having received a revelation, probably, of his approaching departure out of this life; he writes this second letter to the Jews of the dispersion scattered through Pont us, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, to warn them of the fiery trial, that sharp and bitter persecution, which was coming upon them, and to fortify them against that apostasy from the faith, that falling from their own stedfastness, that departing from the holy commandment, which these newly converted Jews were very prone unto; he sends therefore this Epistle to establish and settle them, to strengthen and confirm them; and this is the last mention which we find in scripture of this great and glorious apostle.
CIMON PETER, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Observe here, 1. The author and penman of this epistle, described by his name, Simon
Peter, the former given at his circumcision, the latter by Christ, upon the occasion of his confession, Matt. xvi. 18 , by his condition, a servant; by his office, an apostle: by the author of his office, Jesus Christ. Here note, That Christ only has an authoritative power to make apostles, ministers, and dispensers of his word: a derivative power from Christ the governors of his church have: but such as have not now their oil from Christ immediately, (which it is pre
tumplion to expect, and if any pretend to it, kt them show it by their miracles,) or mediately from the officers of his church, are usurpers of the sacred office, and they cannot pray in faith themselves for a blessmg upon what they do, nor can the people expect it, Jer. xxiii. 32. I never sent them, (says God,) therefore they shall not profit this people at all. Observe, 2. The persons described to whom this epistle is directed, To them that have obtained like precious faith 'with us. To such as had obtained faith, precious faith, like precious faith with the apostle of Christ; like, for its nature and quality, though not for its measure and degree; and alike precious, in regard of its object, Christ; in regard of its subject, the heart; in regard of its act, which is acceptance and consent to the terms of the gospel covenant; in regard of its effects and precious fruits, peace with God,pence with conscience, victory over the world and the like. We see then that the faith of the poorest believer is as precious as the richest, and that the weakest believer has the same precious faith with the strongest; and if it be alike precious, it shall be alike permanent and persevering. Observe, 3. The meritorious cause of this their precious faith, the righteousness of Jesus Christ: through the righteousness of God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ. All grace is derived to us through Christ, for the sake of his righteousness, sufferings, and satisfaction; and as all grace is derived from him, and for his sake conferred, so all our good, that little service we do for God, is accepted through him, and owned for his sake, And if so, then Jesus Christ is really God; for the righteousness of a creature cannot justify me in the sight of God; there is no appearing before God for any creature in a creature-righteousness. And farther, If so, then it is not faith that justifies and saves, but the righteousness of Christ, upon which faith is grounded, Eph. ii. 8. By grace ye are saved effectually, through faith instrumentally. The brazen serpent healed not the eye that looked on it; yet without looking upon it, no help from it, no healing by it.
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you, through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
The person saluting, and the parties saluted, were mentioned in the former verse; here we have the salutation itself: 1. The matter of it, grace and peace: grace to tree us from God's wrath, and reinstate us
in his favour; peace to quiet our own consciences, and reconcile us to ourselves. Observe, 2. The measure of it, grace and peace be multiplied: they had both grace and peace already, yet the apostle prays for the farther increase of them; there is no complete perfection in grace attainable in this life. The best of saints must be multiplying and increasing their stores; for they are but imperfectly perfect when at the best. Observe, 3. The means for multiplying grace and peace; through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ our Lord. Learn, That the knowledge of God, in, by, and through, our Lord Jesus Christ, is the special mean of multiplying grace and peace in our hearts; and indeed there is no comfortable knowledge of God, but in and through Christ, John xvii. 3. This is life eternal, &c. Out of Christ God is a revenger; in Christ, a reconciled father.
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
In these words our apostle shows what reason they had to believe and hope that grace and peace should be multiplied unto them, namely, because almighty God had already given them all things which conduced to make them holy in this life, and happy in the next, by the knowledge of Christ. Others, by life and godliness, understand all things conducing to the preservation of natural life, likewise of grace here, and glory hereafter; and whereas it is said they were called to glory and virtue; by glory understand the honour of being christians; by virtue, the good life that becomes christians. To both these they were called with a glorious calling, as being attended with the glorious effusion of the Holy Ghost. If by glory and virtue, be understood grace here, and glory hereafter, it shows our privilege, that we have both at present in a way of inchoation, and shall ere long enjoy both in a way of consummation: and it points out also to us our duty: we must have virtue, if we would have glory; if we be not like Christ, we can never love him, nor may we ever expect to live with him.
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,
havmg escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Whereby, or by whom, that is, through the knowledge of Christ in tlie gospel, God has given to us all things conducing to our present and future happiness, and, amongst the rest, the precious promises of the gospel, which so directly tend to make men partakers of the divine nature. Note here, That the promises of the gospel are the christian'sgreatand precioustreasure; greatness and goodness are then most shining, when they meet in the same subject, but such a glorious conjunction is rarely found, either in persons, or things; rarely are great men good, or good men great: pebbles are great, but not precious; pearls are precious but not great. But the promises are both for quantity exceeding great, for quality exceeding precious: and that in respect of the author of them, God; the foundation of them, the blood of Christ the manner of their dispensation, they are freely given; the means whereby they are apprehended and applied, precious faith; and exceeding precious the promises are in regard of the end of them, which is to make us partakers of the divine nature, (not of the essence, but qualities, of the divine nature,) which enables us, in some measure, to resemble God: as the seal doth communicate its signature, but not its substance; so in the work of regeneration God doth not impart his essence, but infuse holy principles and gracious habits into the soul, whereby the christian resembles him. Learn hence, That the great end and effect of the promises, and the proper influence and efficacy which they ought to have upon the hearts and lives of men, is this, to ma!:e them partakers of the divine nature, and to render them daily more like unto God: Having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Here note, 1. That the world is full, very full, of corruption, sin and temptation; by reason of the lust of men, they rub the leprosy upon each other; and, by the contagion of a bad example, infect and poison one another. Note, 2. That by being made partakers of the divine nature, through the influence of the promises, we escape the pollution of fleshly lusts, which the world is defiled with, and would deflle us by,
5 And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And
to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
The apostle spends the former part of the chapter in comforting, this in exhorting; he told us before what God had done for us; he tells us now what we must do for purselves: it is not fit that heaven should take all the pains, and we none; we must give diligence, all diligence. Beside this, that is, besides what God has given us, and done for us, let us take care to be daily adding to our stock and store. Adding to our faith, virtue; that is, all good works in general, without which faith is dead, or dying; and fortitude, or holy courage, in doing our duty in particular. To virtue, knowledge; that is, a more exact knowledge of your duty, and a farther increase in it; for knowledge is the light, without which the christian cannot sec to do his work. And to knowledge must be added temperance, which subdues the violence of our unruly passions and appetites, and does reduce those rebellious powers under the government and dominion of reason and religion. And to temperance, patience under all wrongs and sufferings whatsoever; an impatient man under affliction is like a bedlamite in chains, raving against God and man. To patience, godliness, a conscientious regard to all the duties of the first table; let the fear of God restrain you from sin, the love of God constrain you to duty. And to godliness, brotherly kindness, or a fervent love to all christians, as being our brethren, and fellow.members in Christ, and this for grace's sake. And to brotherly kindness, charity: that is, to all mankind, as proceeding from the same stock, having the same nature, and subject to the same necessities with ourselves; let there be found with you a desire and endeavour to do all the possible good you can to every one. Learn and observe from the whole, That there is a concatenation both of graces and duties, they must not be separated, they will not live single; where there is one grace in sincerity, there is a constant care to secure all the rest; and where a christian, for conscience' sake, performs one duty, he will make conscience of all the rest: the duties of both tables are religiously observed, both as an argument of his sincerity, and as an ornament to his holy profession:
8 For if these things be in yott,