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wrote, a far more excellent way, namely, to submit their wishes to the will of God, and to implore his blessing with the objects they desired. But even on this subject we may err. Some "have not, because they ask not;" and others "receive not," because they ask amiss;"-they ask the blessings of Providence "to consume them on their lusts."
Such he addresses in this severe language "Ye adulterers and adulteresses;" which, perhaps, should not be literally understood, since we know that, as in the Jewish Church, all the children of Abraham were considered as married to JEHOVAH by the covenant of circumcision; so, under the New Testament, all the disciples of Christ are considered as married to him by their profession. And further, as all Jews apostatizing to idolatry were considered as guilty of spiritual adul tery, so all professed Christians departing from the spirit of the gospel, and seeking their happiness in the world, are no less considered as spiritual adulterers, and by their attachment to the world showed themselves to be enemies to God. (See 2 Cor. xi. 2; Rev. ii. 20-22.) It is not unlikely, however, that among these false professors there may have been many who were literally devoted to their lusts. These awful characters are, however, called upon to "humble themselves in the sight of God, who resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble."
In the latter part of this chapter, the apostle again warns his Jewish brethren against sins of the tongue; that is, against
speaking evil one of another; which some expositors think has a particular referen to censuring their brethren for things nether forbidden nor required by Christ; in which he suggests that such conduct is s reflection upon the law, and an invasion the prerogative of the divine law-giver. (Comp. Rom. xiv. 3, 4.)
The concluding verses censure the coduct of bold and presumptuous speculators who calculate upon their own resources, without any reference to, or dependence upon, the providence of God. To-day, or to-morrow," say they, we will go int such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain." "But alas! what uncertainties are here! far "Who can tell what a day may bring forth?" "To-day," they may be disap pointed; and " to-morrow," they may never see. "We will go into such a city," but there they never may arrive; ar if they do, and even are permitted to buy and sell, how uncertain are their gains? Trade may fail, and their gains be turned into losses; or if their gain should prove considerable, some artful swindler, or daring robber, may deprive them of the whole. Or, if none of these circumstances happen, how uncertain is the vapour-the smoke of human life! "Peradventure this night thy soul may be required of thee." Instead of this boasting language, it would much better become such frail and dependent creatures as we are to say, "If the Lord will we shall live, and da this or that."
CHAP. V. Ver. 1. Go to now.-Doddr. " come now;" as in the chapter preceding it, ver. 13. Ver.3. For the last days.-See Note on 1Tim. iv.1. Ver. 4. Lord of sabaoth-i. e. of hosts.
Ver. 5. A day of slaughter-Was also a day f feasting; for the Jewish festivals were generally preceded by sacrifices, on many of which the offer ers themselves feasted. See Isa. xxxiv. 6.
6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.
7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affiction, and of patience.
11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not; neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath but let your yea be yea;
and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20 Let him know, that he which
Ver. 6. The just.-Mackn. "The Just ONE, who did not resist you.' "See Acts vii. 52. Bishop Jebb, He is not arrayed against you." Bishop Middleton explains it thus: "The Saviour opposes not our perverseness, but leaves you a prey to its delu-ion.3 Jebb's Sac. Lit. p. 266.
Ver. 7. Be patient.-Marg. "Be long patient." Earty and latter rain.-See Deut. xi. 14. Ver. 8. Be ye also patient.-The same word as is wice used in the verse preceding. For the oming of the Lord draweth nigh.-This is soposed to have a particular reference to the destruc on of Jerusalem, now fast approaching.
Ver. 9. Grudge not.-Marg. 66 groan, or grieve t." So Macknight.
Ver. 12. Swear not, &c.-See Note on Matt. v. 37. Ver. 13. Is any merry?-Doddr. "cheerful"et him sing psalms. See Ephes. v. 19; Col. iii. 16. Ver. 14. Anointing him with oil.-There are two ays in which this may be understood; either, st, as a medical application, still practised in the ist during the hot seasons, and even said to be of vereign efficacy against the plague. See Taylor's pos. Index in loc.; and Burder's Orient. Cust. ,574. But, 2dly, Others consider this as a symical action, expressive of the morals, or, rather, cious influences of the Holy Spirit.
The application of this passage in defence of the man Catholic sacrament of Extreme Unction, is
certainly ridiculous, since the ends proposed are diametrically opposite. This anointing being for the express purpose of recovery; the other seldom administered while such a hope remains, and avowedly designed to introduce them into another world.
Ver. 15. If he have committed sins-whereby he may have brought this affliction on himself. See 1 Cor. xi. 30.
Ver. 16. Confess your faults one to another.This has no reference to Auricular Confession, which is made merely in the ears of a priest: nor is this confession made with a view to absolution, but to entreat the prayers of our fellow Christians.
Ver. 17. Subject to like passions.-Doddr. and Mackn."To like infirmities."- -Prayed earnestly. -Marg. "Prayed in his prayer," which is a flebraism for earnest prayer.Three years and six months-But this was the whole time of the drought. Luke iv. 25.
Ver. 18. He prayed again--that is, after Baal's priests had been destroyed, and idolatry suppressed. See 1 Kings xviii. 36, &c.
Ver. 20. Shall hide-Mackn. "cover"—————a multitude of sins.-Of whose sins? Doubtless, in our view, of the converted sinner. So Mackn. Compare 1 Peter iv. 8. To cover sin, under the Old Tes tament, implied its pardon. He that is instrumental in the conversion of a sinner, is instrumental also in procuring his pardon.
The importance of] converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from
[a sinner's conversion,
death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. (G)
(G) Ver. 1-20. The rich and wicked Jews warned of approaching judgments, and the pious exhorted to prayer and patience under them.-Though this Epistle seems addressed immediately to Jews who had assumed the Christian name, there are some passages which could be addressed only to persons who had no title even to the name of Christians-some rich and covetous Jews, who had come among them from the unworthy motive of deriving advantage from their pecuniary necessities; for men who could deprive their labourers of their hire, must be capable of every thing that was mean and cruel. And would to God there were none such who bear the name of Christians among ourselves-no haughty, over-bearing characters, who render, perhaps, some assistance to the cause of religion, for the sake of getting power into their own hands, and making a profit of the necessitous.
Against such, the most awful denunciations are here pronounced. They had hoarded up their property in a manner perfectly useless to mankind, and eminently injurious to themselves. Their stores were full of putrefaction, their garments moth eaten, and even their gold and silver, metals which nothing else can corrupt, are cankered by injustice and oppression: they are directed, therefore, to weep and howl for the miseries about to come on themmiseries which, according to the Jewish historian himself, had no parallel in the history of human woes. (See Exposition of Matt. xxiv.)
From the oppressors, the apostle turns his discourse to the oppressed, and exhorts them to unwearied patience, and a believing hope in the promises of God. To sustain their patience, he assures them that "the Judge standeth before the door," and is ready to take his seat of judgment. At the same time, he sets before them the examples of the holy prophets, and especially of Job, as a proof of the pity and tender mercy of God to the afflicted.
Our apostle then cautions his brethren against unnecessary and profane oaths: even the former having a tendency to sink the dignity of our Christian character, which should give that weight to our assertions, as to render oaths unnecessary; and which, when used in a light and profane mauner, are highly criminal. It was well said by our Prince Henry (son of
King James I.), when urged to swear in his diversions, as others did, that he did not think all the pleasure in the world was worth an oath.
We now come to notice a passage of very considerable difficulty, relative to the treatment of the sick. After recommending to the afflicted prayer, and to others praise, the apostle particularly applies hia self to the case of those afflicted with sick
"Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord." But where fore the anointing with oil? The best ac count of this we have met with, is su joined from the Lectures of the Rev. Ja Fletcher, M.A. who says,
"Anointing with oil, was an ordinary medicinal application to the sick, at the time of this injunction, and the practice of anointing on various occasions obtained among the Jews. The custom, which was in itself indifferent, was observed by the primitive Christians, in case of sickness.
Oil,' says an ancient Father, relieves lassitude, and is the source of light and gladness.' If such was conceived to be its physical virtue, we cannot be surprised at the observance of the practice. It seems, however, that the Jews frequently blended with the medical custom, a variety of charms and incantations, of supposed magical efficacy in cases of disease. In epposition to all these prohibited observances, the apostle exhorts the sick to send for
the elders of the church,' who, while they retained the lawful and beneficial use of oil, were to connect with it the exercises of faith and prayer. It was the consecration of a local usage obtaining at that pe riod, to the purposes of charity and reli gion. On the same principle, we can ac count for the occasional practice of anointing, in the performance of miraculous cures. St. Mark informs us (chap. vi. 13), that the disciples.... during the ministry of our Lord, cast out devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them." (Lect. on the Roman. Cath. Rel. p. 199.)
So in this place, "The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he have committed sins," that is, any particular sins which may have brought this sickness on him,"they shall be forgiven him." lu connexion with this subject, St. James gues
on to advise his brethren to confess their faults one to another, and to pray for one another, with the observation, that "the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much;" which he instances of Elijah the prophet, who, by his earnest and importunate prayers, closed the heavens, that it rained not for more than three years, to punish a guilty nation for its idolatries; and opened them again by his prayers, on their repentance.
Lastly, he reminds his brethren of the great importance of the conversion of " a sinner from the error of his way," and the rich reward of the instrument in such a work he is the means of recovering a
[to the elect strangers.
sinner, and of procuring his forgiveness from God through Christ.
The very abrupt conclusion of this Epistle, has led Dr. Benson, and others, to suspect that it was never finished; but that the inspired author was led forth to martyrdom, before he had the opportunity to complete it. If it were written by the elder James, he, we know, was beheaded by Herod, and probably with as little notice as he gave John the Baptist. (Compare Acts xii. 2; and Matt. xiv. 10.) If this were written by the younger James, he also is believed to have suffered martyrdom, and probably in a popular tumult, and without any previous intimation.
The First Epistle general of PETER.
PETER, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
CHAP. I. Ver. 1. Asia-i. e. Asia Minor, a very small part of what we now call Asia.
Ver.3. Begotten us again.-Doddr. "Regenerated ns."A lively hope-i. e. the hope of eternal life. Ver. 4. For you.-The Margin reads, for uswhich, it seems, is the reading of some copies. Ver. 5. Who are kept.-"The original word is
very emphatical, and properly signifies being kept as in an impregnable garrison."-Blackwell." Ver. 6. Temptations-Or "trials." So Mackn. Ver. 7. Unto praise, &c.-i. e. the praise and glory of Christ.
Ver.8. Having not seen-Namely, many to whom he wrote thirty years after the crucifixion."
yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
10 of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
11 Searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the Gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14 Asobedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth
according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot :
20 Who verily was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the Gospel is preached unto you. (A)
(A) Ver. 1-25. Introduction-object of the Prophecies-and the invaluable price of our redemption. As the apostolical character of St. Peter is unquestionable, and as the Canonical authority of this Epistle was never doubted in the church, we think it
unnecessary to prefix thereto any distinct introduction.
Of the Epistle itself, the excellent Archbishop Leighton, to whose commentary on this book we shall repeatedly advert, judiciously observes, that it is A brief, and yet very clear, summary, both of the con
NOTES-Chap. I. Con.
Ver. 11. What-i. e. what period. Doddr. Spirit of Christ--A strong testimony to Christ's divinity. Compare Gal. iv. 6.
Ver. 12. The angels desire to look into.-Doddr. "Desire to bend down to contemplate." M. Saurin and Mr. Black well both illustrate this as an allusion to the bending posture of the cherubim on the