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sharp afflictions upon us, which are tenderly beloved and respected of him, what intolerable punishments hath he provided, and will be sure to inflict upon those, that are wilfully and rebelliously disobedient to the Gospel of God!
IV. 18. And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
And, if the most righteous and dearest of all God's children shall not escape a very sore and severe trial of chastisement, such, as if they were left to their own strength, were enough to overlay and miscarry them, what shall then become of the wicked and ungodly? how shall it be possible for them to escape utter confusion?
V. 1. The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ.
Those, that are the pastors or spiritual overseers of the Church amongst you, I do exhort, who am also a partner with them of the same holy calling, and an eye-witness of all those bitter sufferings of Christ, both in his life and in his death.
V. 3. Neither as being lords over God's heritage.
Not proudly and tyrannically taking upon them to domineer over the faith of God's people; or, in an overly and imperious manner, tyrannizing over the Church, which is the heritage of God.
V. 13. The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.
The Church of God, consisting of those co-elect members of Christ (whether in the properly-called Babylon, which is in Egypt, or the mystical Babylon, which is Rome) salute you.
THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PETER.
I. 1. That have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Who have received the gift of a true and lively faith, which is equally precious wheresoever it is in any of the elect, through the merits of Jesus Christ, who is our God and Saviour.
I. 4. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
By which Christ and by the knowledge of him, are conveyed unto us exceedingly great and precious blessings and graces, such as he had formerly promised to us believers; that by these we might be made partakers of those divine qualities of the soul, viz. of wisdom, goodness, holiness, whereby we resemble that God, according to whose image we were created;
having been delivered and freed from that corruption, which aboundeth in worldly men, through their sinful lusts.
I. 9. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
But he, that lacketh these graces, is at the least purblind; not seeing heavenly things which are afar off, but earthly things only which are near at hand: having forgotten even the very first and main principles of Christianity; and namely this, that they were washed from their old sins by the laver of regeneration; persisting wilfully in those evils, as if they had never been done away.
I. 10. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.
Wherefore do ye so much more studiously and earnestly labour to attain unto good assurance in your souls, (both of your effectual calling in time, and of your eternal election to life before all times,) by believing, and by well doing: for, if ye do thus carefully and conscionably endeavour yourselves, it is a firm argument of the grace and mercy of God, so upholding you, that ye shall never utterly fall from him.
I. 15. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
Moreover I will take order while I live, both by my utmost endeavours upon all occasions, and by these monuments which I shall leave behind me, so to settle the remembrance of these things in you, that, after my decease, ye may not forget them, but may think of them effectually.
I. 19. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
But, besides our own testimony, we have that evidence, which ye are wont to account more certain than all the report of present witnesses, even the clear word of the ancient prophets, foretelling the truth of all events concerning Christ; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, and give all due respect; regarding it, as a candle that shines in a dark room, till a greater light arise unto you; that is, until the bright and glorious Gospel, which is as the day-star and the morning light of divine truth, be fully manifested unto you; as that, wherein all those prophetical predictions appear to be perfectly accomplished:
I. 20. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
Presupposing first, and laying this sure ground, that the exposition of the prophetical predictions of the Holy Scriptures
may not be framed and ruled according to the private conceit of the reader, but by the gracious revelation of the Holy Ghost, and those meet helps which God hath ordinarily left unto his Church.
I. 21. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
For, there must be the same authority for the interpreting of Scriptures, which was in the giving and delivering of them: now, those holy prophecies came not in old time from the device of man's brains, neither did they deliver their own inventions; but those sacred persons, which were sent by God on his messages to the Church, spake as they were inspired by the Holy Ghost, and wrote only those words which were put into them by God himself.
II. 1. Even denying the Lord that bought them.
Even denying that gracious Lord and Saviour, who hath not stuck to shed his most precious blood, for the redemption of mankind.
II. 3. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
And, as crafty merchants are wont, with many fair and glozing words, to deceive the buyer; so do they, in a covetous desire and aim at their own advantage, go about with feigned pretences and plausible words to make merchandise of you: whose just judgment and fearful damnation, which hath been of old ordained for them and denounced against them, is not delayed and slackened, for one moment, beyond the time. limited to their due punishment.
II. 4. And delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.
And delivered them up into that dungeon of hell, to be reserved there, in horrible darkness, until the day of the Last Judgment, wherein they shall receive the sentence and execution of their full torment.
II. 11. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.
Whereas, the good angels of God, who are greater in power and might than any mortal creature, and therefore might seem privileged to take more liberty unto themselves, yet, when they have appeared before God, and have held, as it were, contestation with the evil angels in his presence, have not cast railing accusations against them, but have left their judgment unto the Lord.
II. 12. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken
and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption.
But these men, as if they were no better than very brute beasts, which are made only for the slaughter, bear themselves in a brutish and savage fashion; following their own beastly sensuality, and opening their foul mouths against those things and persons whose worth they understand not: and they shall speed accordingly; for they shall be taken in their own wickedness, and shall perish in that everlasting destruction which they have drawn upon themselves.
II. 17. To whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For whom the dreadful darkness of hell is reserved for ever. II. 18. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
For, while these heretical teachers affect to speak big swelling words of vanity, and make great ostentation of the large promises of liberty to their clients, they, pleasing the carnal appetite of lustful men, allure, through much wantonness, those wretched disciples, that were once escaped from the snares of their false doctrine, and draw them to live in their damnable error.
II. 20. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
For, if, after they have escaped the wicked heresies and abominable corruptions of the world, through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they suffer themselves to be again entangled in and overcome by those impious errors and practices, it had been better for them, never to have been delivered therefrom: the latter condition of their sinful relapse shall be much worse, than the first estate of their gross and ignorant impiety.
III. 5. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing. out of the water and in the water :
In that they say, All things continue as they were from their first creation, they do willingly hoodwink themselves; and purposely will not know that change, which was wrought by the deluge of waters; and the stability of that word or decree of God, whereby the heavens were made of old; and the earth also was made to appear, upon the removing of the waters to their proper receptacle, the sea, as standing up out of the water, and as compassed about by the water:
III. 6. Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
Upon which situation of the earth it came to pass, by the just and holy decree of God, that the world of men that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
III. 7. But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
But these lower regions of the heavens and the earth, which we do now presently see, after that change wrought by the Deluge, are, by the same all-wise and just decree of God, continued in the state wherein they still are, and reserved for a contrary means of dissolution; which shall be by fire, in that great day of the general judgment, and of the final destruction of the wicked and ungodly.
III. 8. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
But, as for the conviction of that idle and wicked conceit of atheous men, who, because of the seeming delay of the coming of the Lord, go about to persuade themselves that he will not come at all; beloved, I would not have you to be ignorant of this one thing, that no time ought to seem long in comparison of eternity; that in the account of the Ancient of Days, the Immutable and Eternal God, there is no difference of years and times one day and a thousand years are alike and all one to him these measures of time are nothing to him, that is Infinite.
III. 9. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
The Lord, who hath promised to come, is not slack in the performance of that promise of his, according as men take slackness; so as to put off and disappoint the day which he had set: but, in his merciful longsuffering to us-ward, as he had eternally decreed, he waits for our repentance; as taking no pleasure in the destruction of any of his creatures, but graciously inviting all men to repent and be saved.
III. 13. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for, (after that this visible and lower fabric of the world shall be purged, with this last and universal fire, from those drossy and impure qualities which are in it,) a new heaven and a new earth, pure and glorious; so as the whole purified world, that then shall remain, shall be the palace and habitation of God's elect.
III. 17. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.