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* refreshment, blessed be he; and if he will have “ me to be in darkness again, blessed be he, glory to « his name ! yea, what though he should utterly re“ ject me, is he not for that to be accounted infinite
ly merciful in the saving of others ?: must be cease to be praise-worthy for my fake? If he condemn,
yet he is to be praised, being merciful to so many “ others; yea, even in so dealing with me, he is to “ be praised, for in that he is just.”.
Thus would pure love reason for him, and render praise to him; but our ordinary way is most untoward and unbeseeming his creatures, the best of them, much more such worms as we are ; that things must rather be to our mind than his; and we must either have all our will, or else, for our part, he shall have none of his praises.
3. Labour for that which, on these two, will follow, a fixed beart. If it be refined from creature-love and self-love, spirituality and love of God will fix it, and then shall it be fit to praise, which an unstable un. composed heart can never be, any more than an inftrument can be harmonious and fit to play on, that háth loose pins, still flipping and letting down the ftrings, pins that never faiten. And thus are the most; they cannot fix to divine thoughts, to consider God, to behold and admire his excellency and goodness, and his free love. Oh! that happy word of David, worthy to be twice repeated, when shall we say it? O God, my heart is fixed ; well might he add, I will fing and give praise, Pfal. lvii. 7. Oh! that we would pray much that he would fix our hearts; and then he having fixed them, we would praise him much.
Direct. II. If any due disposition be once attained for praises, then must the heart, so disposed, be set to study the matter of praises.
And that, 1. The infinite excellency of God in himself; which though we know little of, yet this we know, and should consider it, that it is far beyond
what all the creatures and all his works are able to teftify of him ; that he transcends all we can speak, or hear, or know of him. 2. Look on him in his works. Can we behold the vast heavens above, oř the firm earth beneath us, or all the variety of his works in both, without holy wonder stirred in us, and that stirring us up to sing praises ? Oh! his greatness, and might, and wisdom shining in these, Lord, bow manifold are thy works, in wisdom bast thou made them all, Pfal. civ. 24. But above all, that work, that 'marvel of his works, the sending of his Son forth of his bofom. This is the mystery which the Apostles do so much magnify in their writings, this is the chief incentive whereby our Apostle was induced to close this epistle with praise, ascribing glory to him. This praise looks particularly back to the style in the prayer, The God of all grace, who hath called us to bis eternal glory by Jesus Christ. So many other mercies are not to be forgotten, but chiefly is he to be praised for that choice of mercies, to his glory, who hath called us to his glory. Then look through the work of saving his chosen, so redeemed by the blood of his Son, his maintaining his own work in them, against all surrounding enemies and oppositions ; the advancing it in the midst of them, and even by those oppositions, and bringing them safe to glory; that perfecting and establishment, as in the foregoing words; it is that which so affects the Apostle in the very entry of this epiftle, that there he must break forth into praise, chap. i. ver. 3. Bleled be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. He begins there in praise, and here ends in it, and so incloses all within that divine circle. And as we should consider these things in general, so should we also reflect on his particular dealing with us; his good providence in spirituals and temporals. Would we search, oh! what a surcharge of innumerable mercies
Thould each of us find ! and were we better acquainted with the holy fcriptures, had we more our delight in them, they would acquaint us better with all these things, and give us light to see them, and warm our hearts, and excite them to His praises, who is the God of all our mercies.
Direct. III. The heart being somewhat disposed to praise, and then studying the matter of it, should be applied actually to render praise; and in order to this we must be careful, 1. To aim at God in all, which is continued praise, to eye his glory in every thing, and chiefly to defire that as the great end of all, that his name may be exalted. This is the excellent way indeed; whereas moft are either wholly for their self-ends, or often squinting out to them. That soul is most noble that singly and fixedly aims at exalting God, and seeks this stamp on all it speaks and does, and desires ; all to the greater glory of my God. 2. To abound in the express and folemn return of praise this way. To him be glory, not a customary dead saying of it over, as is usual with us, but the heart offering it up. What is so
What is so pure and high as this exercise, the praises of the ever glorious Deity? What is heaven but these? and were it not best, as we can, to begin it here, and long to be there, where it shall never end? To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Ver. 12. By Sylvanus, a faithful brother unto you, (as
I suppose), I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein
stand. 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.
THIS is a kind of postscript, and contains its te
of faluting. Withal, he expresses the measure of his writing, that it was brief, and the end of it, that it was to testify the true grace of God. And this is, indeed, the end of our preaching; and we ought each to seek it by the word, and by mutual exhortations ; and sometimes a few words may avail much to this purpose, to our hearty establishment in the faith; and not only are we to believe, but to remember that we have the best of it ; that there is truth in our hopes, and they shall not deceive us. They are no fancy, as the world thinks, but the true grace of God; yea, when all things else shall vanish, their truth shall most appear in their full accomplishment.
The entertainment and increase of Christian love, of due esteem of one another, and affection one to another, is no matter of empty compliment, but is the very stamp and badge of Jesus Christ upon his followers: It is, therefore, molt carefully to be preserved entire, and unhappy are they that do by any means willingly break it. Oh ! let us beware of doing so, and follow peace, even when it seems to fly from us.
This peace that is the portion of those in Christ, is indeed within them, and with God; but through Him it is likewise one with another, and in that notion to be desired and wished jointly with the other. Vol. II,
They that are in Christ are the only children and heirs of true peace. Others may dream of it, and have a false peace for a time, and wicked men may wish it to themselves and one another; but it is a most vain and insignificant hope : But to wish it to them that are in Chrift, háth good ground; for all solid peace is founded in him, and flows from him. Now the peace of God, which paleth all understanding, keep your bearts and minds through Jesus Christ. Amen.
END OF THE COMMENTARY ON FIRST PETER.