« FöregåendeFortsätt »
it is said, (Acts v. 41,) they rejoiced that they were accounted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ.
18. The sufferings of the righteous, though great, are always represented as small, compared with those which are reserved for the wicked. This Jesus expressed by saying, [Luke xxiii. 31,] If these things be done in the green wood, what will be done in the dry, which will burn with much more violence ?
19. Let them who die in this persecution, commit their lives (for so it ought to have been rendered) unto God, who as he at first formed them, and gave them life, can, and will restore it, in his appointed time.
V. The apostle closes his epistle with repeating several of the exhortations which he bad urged before, and on which it may therefore be supposed that he laid particular stress.
1. Though he might have assumed a higher rank, and more authority, he chose to consider himself as on a level with other teachers in the Christian church ; so that what he said, might appear like the advice of one Christian brother to another.
Here we have the testimony of Peter to the sufferings of Jesus, having been himself a witness of them. And though he expected, according to his Master's prediction, to suffer a violent death himself, he was not discouraged by it, but speaks with confidence of the glory which he should share along with him, in order to encourage other Christians to suffer with the same fortitude.
3. How little regard was paid to this by Christian bishops in after times, when they assumed dominion not only over the inferior clergy, but even over princes; and one of them, the bishop of Rome, claimed to himself all power in heaven and earth !
5.* No one virtue is so frequently recommended to us as this of humility, and no vice so earnestly cautioned against as pride, the reverse of it, in the Old Testament.
There meekness often stands for piety and virtue in general, and pride for impiety and vice. In fact, virtue may be considered as obedience to a rule or law, in opposition to being subject to no will but our own. Humility makes this easy to us, but pride submits with reluctance.
8. By this adversary, or devil, we may understand the enemies of Christianity in general, Jews or Heathens, who
Clothed, rather adorned. See Le Cene, p. 629. “ Cloaked with humility. Egosto who was the short white cloak worn by slaves. See Pollux, L. iv." N. T. 1729
were always watching to surprise and injure the Christian's.
9. The case of those to whom the apostle wrote was not peculiar to them. All their brethren on this side the grave were subject to the same.
10. The great ground of consolation under all the trials of this life is, that they tend to perfect the human character, and prepare us for that glory which is reserved for those who shall be so improved. Our Saviour himself was made perfect through suffering. (Heb. ii. 10.)
11. It has been well observed, that this phrase, I suppose, is a proof that this epistle was not written under any consciousness of divine inspiration. Since the Divine Being could not speak of any thing with uncertainty, Peter only took it for granted, or presumed, that this Sylvanus was a faithful brother, but would not absolutely warrant it.* By him he assures them that the gospel which they had received from him, and which he hoped they retained, was the truth, and therefore that they ought to be on their guard againt all who would lead them from it.
13.1 This is the evangelist Mark, who, though he once attended Paul, [Acts xii. 25,] is said to have attached himself afterwards to Peter, and to have written his gospel from his instruction. He was, after this, bishop of Alexandria, in Egypt.
II. PETER This second epistle of Peter was for some time classed among the books of doubtful authenticity,s though there are in it evident references to the former, the same spirit prevails through the whole, and the same simplicity and dignity in the composition. This epistle was evidently written not long before the death of the apostle, and as all the ancients say that this was at Rome, in A. D. 64 or 65, he was probably there then.||
• “ This is such a lessening of the character of a very good man, that I cannot imagine St. Peter would have suggested it. His meaning seems plainly to be, that he had now written this letter, and intended to send it, by Sylvanus ; but he could not be sure, since some accident might intervene.” Hallett, III. pp. 42, 43. See Doddridge.
* Συνεκλεκτη. “ Eclecta, a lady at Babylon." Clem. Alex. in N. T. 1729.
| See Lardner, V. pp. 38, 171; VI. pp. 532, 583; Doddridge. On Babylon, see Lardner, V. pp. 251, 269, 272; VI. p. 581; Doddridge.
s “ It deserves to be considered, that not one writer of the two first centuries, ever made use of its authority. See Dr. Mill's Prol. 213." N. T. 1729, II. p. 903. See Eusebius, Origen, Didymus, ibid, pp. 903, 904.
!!" See Lardner, VI. pp. 565–566; Doddridge's Introd. VI. pp. 279, 280; Michaelis's Introd. Lect. (Sect. cxlvi.), p.317.
This second epistle may be considered as a supplement to the former. In it the apostle warns Christians more particularly of their danger, from those who corrupted the gospel, alluding, no doubt, to the Gnostic teachers of that age, whose practices were generally believed to be as corrupt as their principles. He also exhorts to vigilance and constancy in the discharge of our duties, from the consi. deration of the dissolution of the world, and the coming of Christ to judgment.
CHAP. I. 1.* Righteousness does not always mean strict justice, but rather virtue and goodness in general, and sometimes even mercy and favour, as when Paul says of God, [Rom. iii. 26,] " that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus."
3. In the original it is da doens xal apetns, through glory and virtue, the meaning of which it is not easy to ascertain. It is probably a Hebraism. Mr. Wakefield renders it, by a glorious kindness, apety having sometimes that meaning, as well as that of virtue in general, of which it is a branch.
According to the Alexandrian MS. it is, By his own glory and virtue. +
4. Christians who live up to their profession, are here said to become partakers of a divine nature; but by this is only meant to become like God, I or to be one with him, in the sense in which our Saviour used that phrase in his prayer before his death, when he prayed, [John xvii. 11,) that his disciples might be one with him and his Father, as they two
Had it so happened that this phrase, partaker of a divine nature, had been used with respect to Christ only, it would have been deemed a most unanswerable argument for his proper divinity. For what, it would have been said, could more clearly express this, than his having the same nature?
5. By virtue, in this place, must be meant fortitude, to enable us to bear persecution.||
7. Charity means something more general than brotherly love, and therefore must be universal benevolence.
8. We see here that the end of the Gospel is the forming
* See Clarke (S, D.), 289; Doddridge ; Belsham's Inquiry, p. 231.
† “ Par ses miracles, qui sont nommés la gloire de Jésus-Christ, Jean i. 14, et par la sainteté de sa vie. Ces deux choses donnent un très-grand poids à la doctrine de Jésus-Christ, par laquelle, à proprement parler, nous sommes appellés au salut." Le Clerc. See Doddridge.
1 “Imitateurs des vertus de Dieu.” Le Clerc. “Transformed into the image of God's moral perfections.” Doddridge. Besides this, “ for this purpose." Doddridye.
l! See ibid.
of a virtuous character. Without this, the knowledge of the gospel is like seed that is sown without producing any increase. Destitute of this, with all our knowledge we are barren and unfruitful.
9. That is, he does not discern, or has lost sight of the proper design of the gospel, which was to be cleansed from the sins of their former lives.
10. Good MSS. add, by good works, to make our calling and election sure.
14. This may refer either to some recent intimation given him by Christ, such as he gave occasionally to Paul, or to what he said to him before his ascension, when he told him that when he should be old, he would be bound and carried whither he would not, signifying, as the evangelist says, [John xxi. 19,] by what death he should glorify God.
16–18. Here we have the attestation of one who was present at the extraordinary scene of the tranfigurationit Peter, when near his death, declares that Christianity is no fable, such as the Heathen religion was founded on, but supported by real facts, to one of the most extraordinary of which this apostle was a witness, together with James and John, two other apostles.
19. This might be rendered, we have the word of prophecy made more sure, or confirmed. Till the appearance of the light of the gospel, the intimations of these things in the ancient prophets were obscure, and wanted confirmation.
20. The prophets were not themselves the interpreters of their own predictions; for they did not speak or write from their own suggestion, but delivered what was dictated to them by the spirit of God; so that by the help of subsequent events, we may have a more perfect understanding of what they wrote, than they had themselves.
II.|| The apostle having mentioned the ancient prophets, is led to speak of the false prophets under the Old Testament, and those whom he considered in the same light in his own time, meaning the Gnostics, whose doctrines gave the greatest offence to all the apostles, as overturning what they thought to be fundamental in the Christian scheme, and leading to licentious conduct.
« The terms calling and election are figurative expressions, alluding, I suppose, to military affairs, according to the ancient Roman discipline.- When forces were to be raised, it was the custom to call together, by a public summons, all that were capable of bearing arms, and who were obliged thereupon to appear; and then the officers appointed for the purpose, chose out-proper persons for the service, and dismissed the rest." Brekell (p. 479) in Harwood, 11. p. 56, Note. See Le Clerc; Doddridge.
t.“ D'autres croyent qu'il faut entendre la montagne du temple, et qu'il s'agit ici de cette voix, dont il est parlé Jean Ch. xii. 28." Le Clerc.
| Theol. Repos. II. p. 132. See Collins's Grounds and Reasons, p. 27, examined, ibid. pp. 129-133; Doddridge; Bowyer; his Pref. pp. xxii.-xxiv. On vers. 17-19, see Theol. Repos. III. pp. 247—249.
See Hammond in Jeffrey's Review, p. 149; Doddridge. 11 Bishop Sherlock on Prophecy, (Dissert. i.) “ supposes this second chapter," which “ abounds in pompous words and expressions' to have been “ transcribed or translated from some Jewish or Hebrew book.” Doddridge. See his Note: Impr. Vers. on Chap. i.
1. In this, I have no doubt, the apostle alludes to the Gnostic teachers, who, from other evidence, appear to have been the only heretics in the Christian church, that is, the only persons who separated themselves from other Christians, and formed societies of their own, in the time of the apostles, and long after. They are here said to have denied the Lord that bought them,* because they had ideas concerning the person of Christ different from those of other Christians, either supposing him to have been a pre-existent spirit, who inhabited a human body, or that only assumed the appearance of one ; but in neither case to have been exposed to pain and suffering, as Jesus was. They, therefore, supposed him to have been another kind of being from what he really was, and no proper pattern for us, in his life, his death, or his resurrection. In the opinion of the apostles, the Gnostics were not only erroneous in their opinions, but dissolute in their practice, and therefore, no doubt, devoted to destruction. As to their opinions merely, if this apostle and others were so much shocked with their making Christ to be a superaugelic being, how much more would they have been scandalized, if they had made him to be God equal to the Father!
2. [Pernicious ways.] Some MSS. have, lascivious lives, and the Gnostics were charged with an addictedness to vices of this kind.
3. The Gnostics were men of learning, and, as appears from the writings of Paul, some of them were eloquent speakers, and were paid for their discourses.
4. This passage, and another similar to it in Jude, I has
“ Servants, in times past, used to be bought with a price, and so were as their masters' proper possession. Christ buys his servants with his hlood. The meaning therefore is, they should profess themselves his servants, and yet deny him to be their master." Mede, p. 244. See Whitby (Five Points), pp. 141-143. On the proof that the Lord, here, is God, and not Christ, see Whitby in Clarke (S. D.), 407. « The Lord (that is, God the Father) who bon.ght them, with the blood of his Son. See Jude 4; 1 John xi. 22." Hallett, III. p. 369. See Impr. Vers. + See on 1 Tim. vi. 5, supra, p. 143.
Ver. 6. See a Discourse on both passages, Mede, pp. 28–25; Doddridge: Bowyer; Henley's Dissert. 1778, quoted by Garnham in Com. and Ess. pp. 218, 227 ; ibid. pp. 217—240.