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proaching, they fled, as he advised them to do. For we are informed by ecclesiastical historians, that when Jerusalem was besieged by the Romans, there were no Christians in it. They had all taken refuge in a neighbouring part of Syria, where they had peace, and where they continued many years, equally distinct from the unbelieving Jews and the converted Gentiles.
2. The treasures of the ancients consisted chiefly of two articles, gold, silver, or precious stones, and rich apparel.* For the person who made an entertainment, furnished his guests with decent garments, such as they could not have conveniently walked in. When they arrived, the first thing that was done, was to wash their feet, and then they were presented with these garments; and as their dress was loose, there was no danger of their not fitting them. Now both these kinds of treasure were liable to suffer for want of use. The garments would be liable to be moth-eaten, and the metals to rust, which of itself would be a proof that no use was made of them. This rust would therefore be a witness against them. And as, besides, the rust of some metals is of a very corrosive nature, here is perhaps an allusion to that property by which it would, as it were, eat into their very flesh, and destroy it, as fire does; being alike caustic.
3.7 By the latter days, the apostle probably meant the latter days of the Jewish state, those foretold by our Saviour, which were to be days of great tribulation, so that treasures heaped up against such a time, were treasures collected not to be enjoyed, but to be plundered and dispersed.
4. Here is another symptom of the great abuse of wealth and power, for which they would be severely punished by God, who is called the Lord of Sabaoth, or hosts, the hosts of heaven, and also of armies on earth, the God who is possessed of supreme power both in heaven and earth. This was an appellation given to the true God, perhaps as supe. rior to the sun, moon and stars, called the host of heaven, which were the principal objects of the Heathen worship.
5. As in a day of public feasting, as after a sacrifice. I
See Le Clerc. “ In the detail of a great man's wealth, the numerous and superb suits of apparel he possessed, never fail to be recorded. Garments are generally mentioned by the Greek and Roman writers, along with gold and silver: being then esteemed to be as essential in the display and in the idea of opulence, as we now deem a splendid equipage and costly furniture.” Harwood, II. p. 245, 246_248.
7. “ Your gold, &c. shall eat your flesh. Ye have treasured it up, as fire, until the last days." Bowyer.
| Poli Synops. in Blackwall (S.C.), II. p. 184. See Le Clerc; Doddridge.
6.* By the just one, is probably meant Jesus Christ,† who was so called by Peter, who used the same language in his discourse to the Jews, after curing the lame man at the gate of the Temple; saying, (Acts iji. 14, 15,] “ Ye denied the holy and the just one, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you, and killed the prince of life.”
Some copies read, “ he did not resist you,” alluding to the meekness with which Jesus bore his sufferings. I
7. The word rain is not in many MSS. and therefore the last clause should be rendered, till he receive the early and latter fruit.
8. From the patience of Jesus, who did not resist his murderers, the apostle exhorts all the Christians among the Jews, to whom he now addresses himself, to bear their sufferings with the like patience; and we may observe that he calls the term of this patience the coming of the Lord, plainly supposing that they would have no reward of their patience till that time, which is agreeable to the whole tenor of Scripture; which, of course, is inconsistent with the idea of an intermediate state of happiness between death and the resurrection.
The apostle here says, the coming of the Lord draweth nigh; and it is very possible that he, and the other apostles, might imagine that it was much nearer than it really was, though it is evident, from the epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians, that they did not expect it in their life-time.
9. In the state of persecution, in which you now are, be careful to entertain no degree of ill-will to one another, but rather love and support one another.|
12. These exhortations are very nearly the same which Jesus addressed to his disciples, in his discourse from the Mount, [Matt. v. 34,] and this repetition of them shews, that an addictedness to profane swearing must have been very common among the Jews, and that they did not immediately lay it aside on becoming Christians, though nothing is more inconsistent with that reverence for God which all Jews professed to have.
" Is he not now drawing up his armies in array against you?" Harwood, N.T. The Greek words are “ military terms, and signify to arrange, marshal
, and dispose an army.” Ibid. See bis Note.
See Le Clerc; Dodson's Isaiah (iii, 10), pp. 168, 169; Belsham's Inquiry, p. 189. * Bentley conjectures, the Lord resists you. See Phil. Lips. I. xxxii. Ed. 8, p. 104; Bowyer. • Shall not be" (the just one) oppose you?"
Junins in ibid. Sce Doddridge.
Wakefield. (P.) See Wakefield's Note.
13. The apostle prescribes proper duties to different classes of persons, as to the rich and the poor, in several respects. He now addresses himself to those who were in circumstances either of affliction or joy. To the former he recommends prayer and humiliation, and to the latter, singing of psalms, by way of thanksgiving to that God from whom all happiness proceeds.
14.* Among the spiritual gifts, enumerated by the apostle Paul, one was the gift of healing. As this was known to be in the church, though not always exerted, (for Paul speaks of some of his friends being sick, when, no doubt, he would have restored them to health, if it had been in his power,) it could not be improper in any person to endeavour to get relief in this way; and for this purpose they were to send for the elders of the church, whose duty it was to visit the sick and afflicted. Among other applications, in hot climates, oil was very common, being used both for pleasure and health ; though why it should have been applied to all the sick indiscriminately, does not appear. This application, however, was made by the twelve on their mission; for when they returned, Mark says, (Ch. vi. 13,) “ And they anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them ;" + when the other evangelists only say, they healed the sick.
15. The prayer of faith must have been suggested by a supernatural impulse on the mind, which ensured the effect; and as all sickness was usually ascribed to sin, the cure of it was naturally considered as an intimation of the forgiveness of the sin. Thus Jesus (Luke v. 23] used the phrases, rise up and walk, or, thy sins be forgiven thee, as equivalent expressions.
16. If the sick person was conscious of any particular sin, which he supposed to be the cause of his sickness, he was very properly advised to unburden his mind, by a frank confession of it, encouraged by the consideration of the efficacy of prayer, such as the pious elders of the church would put up for him.
17, 18. This example, (1 Kings; xvii. 1; xviii. 42, 45,] it is evident, is that of a real miracle, and therefore, though it suited the age of the apostles, does not suit ours.
* " That is, according to Christ's direction, which the twelve received. Mark vi. 13.". Haynes (Pt. ii. Ch. xxiii.), p. 298. See Harwood, II. pp. 127, 128.
+ Whiston and several of his friends were believers in the perpetuity of thos gift of miraculous healing. See Whiston's Memoirs, Ed. 2, 1753, pp. 296—298, $14, 372–377,
20. When the confession of sin was made, it would, of course, be the duty of the person to whom it was made, to exhort him to refrain from it, and if he succeeded, he performed the most meritorious of all actions; for what can be more beneficial to men than to rectify their mistakes, and correct their vices? We read in Daniel xii. 3, they who turn many to righteousness, shall shine as the stars for ever
The apostle Peter, though the first who opened the door of faith, as it is called, [Acts xiv. 27,] to the Gentiles, by the conversion of Cornelius and his friends, never went upon any mission to them; and when he went to Antioch, it appears [Gal. ji. 11-14], that he rather joined the party of the Judaizers, for which Paul justly reproved him.
As this epistle is addressed to strangers, dispersed through several provinces of Asia Minor, it is probable that from Antioch, Peter had made excursions into those parts, which abounded with Jews; and to them, by agreement with Paul and Barnabas, (Gal. ij. 7,] his ministry was chiefly confined.
This epistle seems to have been written not long after Paul was released from Rome, and as it contains salutations from the church at Babylon, [Ch. v. 13,] where at that time there were many Jews, some of whom, no doubt, were Christians, it is probable that he wrote from this place, though he might afterwards go to Rome, and there write his second epistle, as, according to tradition, he suffered martyrdom there.*
The object of this first epistle is, to exhort the Christians, to whom he wrote, to persevere in the profession of the gospel, notwithstanding the difficulties under which they then laboured. With this view, he represents to them, in a very strong light, the honour and advantage which they derived from the gospel ; and having enlarged on this, he exhorts them to adorn their profession of it by the observance of the moral duties of life, which he particularly enumerates.
CHAP. I. 1. As all Jews, though in great numbers in these provinces, were strangers, and the Gentiles were not so, it is evident that this epistle is principally addressed to
See Lardner, VI. pp. 562, 565, 566_581; Doddridge's Introd. VI. pp. 217, 218; Michaelis's Introd. Lect. (Sect. cxlvii: cxlviii.), pp. 318-323.
them ;* though there is a sense in which all Christians, Gentiles as well as Jews, are called strangers in the world.
2.7 Peter not being accustomed to writing, does not do it in the happiest manner.
There is an evident einbarrassment in the structure of this sentence; but there is, in the whole of this chapter, an air of peculiar dignity and energy, becoming the prince, as he is often called, of the apostles. Great thoughts crowded upon his mind, and accordingly his language is strong, but the argument of his words not easy. I shall endeavour to express his meaning in the Paraphrase.
3. Here the Supreme Being is called the God, as well as the Father, of Jesus Christ. Could this language have been adopted by any person who had considered Christ as being God, equal to the Father?
The difference made by Christianity in the state of man, is here expressed by a figure that was not uncoinmon with the Jews, and other oriental nations, of a second birth. It is remarkable that the Bramins of Hindostan always speak of those who are acquainted with their Scriptures, as twice born men.
The phrase occurs perpetually in the Institutes of Menu.
8. Some copies of good authority read, whom having not known, ye love ; but the sense is the same.
11.9 The spirit of Christ must mean the spirit by which Christ was actuated; and to him, as we read, [John, iii. 24,] this spirit, the spirit of God, was given without measure.
This may mean the sufferings of good men for the sake of Christ.
12.|| This can only mean that it is a subject worthy of the curiosity of angels. That any angels are actually so employed, is more than we are informed of.
See Lord Barrington's Misc. Sacr. (Essay ii.), examined by Doddridge, † See Heb. xii. 24. On vers. 1, 2, see Lardner, VI. pp. 569, 570.
1 “ As he writes along, he starts a thought, pursues it till, in the pursuit, something else presents itself, which, in like manner, seizes his imagination, till it is dismissed for another object. He appears to be too intent upon better things to have studied composition." Harwood, I. p. 221.
See Cardale, pp. 169, 170; Lindsey's Sequel, p. 283; ibid. on Robinson, p. 65; Com. and Ess. I. p. 436; Wakefield's Enquiry, pp. 281, 282; Belsham's Inquiry, p. 163; Impr Vers. !! See Lardner ( Logos ), XI. pp. 137, 138; Com. and Ess. I. p.
133. I “Perhaps the meaning of the apostle may be, that the messengers who are now employed to promulgate this glorious doctrine, cannot fully comprehend its import, and are desirous of improving their acquaintance with it. See Eph. iii. 18, 19." Impr. Vers. VOL. XIV.