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13 The CHURCH1 WHICH Is at Babylon elected jointly with you, and Mark3 my son salute you.
14 Salute one another with a kiss of love. (See Rom. xvi. 16. note 1.) Peace to you all who ARE in Christ Jesus. Amen.
13 The members of the church which is in Babylon who are elected jointly with you to be the people of God, and Murk, whom I love as my own son, salute you.
14 Salute one another with a kiss in testimony of your mutual love. Happiness be to all among you who are stedfast in the belief and profession of the gospel. Amen.
2. Elected jointly with you. The apostle in the beginning of his letter, had called the strangers of the dispersion, elected according to the fore-knowledge of God: Here he tells them, that the church at Babylon, was elected jointly with them, to be the people of God.
3. And Mark my son. Heuman, following the opinion of some of the ancients mentioned by Oecumenius, supposes this Mark to be Peter's own son by his wife. But others are of opinion, that he calls him his son because he had converted him: So that he was his son according to the spirit, and not according to the flesh. This opinion is probable because Peter was well acquainted with the family of which Mark was a member, as may be gathered from his going immediately to the house of Mary the mother of John whose surname was Mark, after he was miraculously brought out of prison by the angel, Acts xii. 12. This John Mark, was Barnabas's sister's son, Col. iv. 20. and the person who accompanied Paul and Barnabas as their minister in their first journey among the idolatrous Gentiles, Acts xiii. 5. But he deserted them in Pamphylia, ver. 13. Afterwards, however, he accompanied Paul in some of his journeys, Col. iv. 10. And during his second imprisonment at Kome the apostle ordered Timothy to bring Mark to Rome because he was useful to him in the ministry, 2 Tim. iv. 11. See the note on that verse.-It is generally believed that John Mark was the author of the gospel called, according to Mark.
OF THE SECOND
EPISTLE OF THE APOSTLE PETER.
Of the Authenticity of the Second Epistle of Peter.
In the preface to the epistle of James, (Sect. 2. initio.) and in that to 1 Peter, (Sect. 2. initio.) the doubts which the ancients. entertained, concerning the authenticity of five of the seven Catholic epistles, are faithfully declared. But at the same time it is proved, that the doubted epistles were very early known, and well received by many. On this subject, it is proper to put the reader in mind, that these epistles were rendered doubtful by a circumstance mentioned in the Gen. Pref. p. 2. namely, that the doubted epistles are omitted in the first Syriac translation of the New Testament, which is supposed to have been made in the second century. But the only conclusion that can be drawn from the omission is, that the author had not seen these epis tles, or rather that they were not generally known, when he made his version. Now this might easily happen, if, as it is probable, he was a Syrian Jew. For Syria being at a great distance from Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the proconsular Asia and Bithynia, to whose inhabitants the epistles under consideration were originally sent, it would be a considerable time before copies of them were dispersed among the people for whom the Syriac version of the New Testament was made, so that the author might think it useless to translate them.
With respect to the doubts, which some entertained of these epistles, after they came to be known, they serve to prove that
the ancient Christians were very cautious of receiving any books as canonical, whose authority they were not perfectly assured of. For as Wall, Crit. Notes, vol. iii. p. 358. very well observes, "They not only rejected all the writings forged by heretics un"der the names of the apostles.-But if any good book, affirmed "by some man or by some church, to have been written and sent "by some apostle,-was offered to them, they would not, till "fully satisfied of the fact, receive it into their canon." Wherefore, though the five epistles above mentioned, were not immediately acknowledged as inspired writings, in the countries at a distance from the churches or persons, to whom they were originally sent, it is no proof that they were looked on as forgeries. It only shews, that the persons who doubted of them, had not received complete and incontestible evidence of their authenticity: Just as their being afterwards universally received, is a demonstration that, upon the strictest enquiry they found them the genuine productions of the apostles of Christ, whose names they bear. For the churches to whom these letters were sent, hearing that doubts were entertained concerning them, would no doubt of their own accord, as well as when asked concerning them, declare them to be genuine. And their attestation made public, joined with the marks of authenticity found in the epistles themselves, in time established their authority beyond all possibility of doubt. The truth is, such good opportunity the ancient Christians had to know the truth in this matter, and so well founded their judgment concerning the books of the New Testament was, that as Lardner observes, no writing which was by them pronounced genuine, hath since their time been found spurious; neither have we at this day, the least reason to think any book genuine, which they rejected.
Thus much was necessary to be said concerning the five doubted of epistles in general. With respect to the second epistle of Peter in particular, it remains to point out the marks of authenticity, contained in the epistle itself, which, with the attestations of the churches to which it was sent, have fully established its authority.
I. And first, it is observable that the writer styles himself Symeon Peter; from which we conclude that this epistle is the work of the apostle Peter.-If it be objected, that the apostle's name was Simon not Symeon, the answer is, that although in Greek, this apostle's name was commonly written Simon, the
Hebrew form of it was Symeon. For in the history of Jacob's sons it is so written. Besides, this very apostle is called (vMENY) Symeon, Acts xv. 14.-Next, it is cbjected, that in the first epistle, which is undoubtedly the apostle Peter's, he styles himself, not Simon Peter, but Peter simply. But I observe, that Luke hath called this apostle Simon Peter: Chap. v. 8. And that John hath given him that name no less than seventeen times in his gospel; perhaps to shew that he was the author of the epistle which begins, Symeon Peter, a servant, and an apostle, &c.— Farther, though in the inscription of the first letter, Peter's sirname only is mentioned, because by it he was sufficiently known, he might in the inscription of the second, for the greater dignity, insert his name complete; because he intended authoritatively to rebuke the false teachers, who had already arisen, or were to arise. Upon the whole, Symeon Peter, being the same with Simon Peter, no objection can be raised against the authenticity of this epistle, on account of the name.
2. The writer of this epistle, expressly calls himself in the inscription, an apostle. He does the same, chap. iii. 2. And in other places, he ascribes to himself things which agree to none but to Peter the apostle. For example, chap. i. 14. Knowing that the putting off of my tabernacle is soon to happen, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me: alluding to John xxi. 19. where we are told, that Jesus signified to Peter, by what death when old he should glorify God.-Chap. i. 16. This writer affirms, that he was one of the three apostles, who were with Jesus at his transfiguration, when by a voice from God he was declared to be his Son the beloved.-Chap. iii. 15. This writer calls Paul his beloved brother, in allusion no doubt to his having given Paul the right hand of fellowship: withal he commends his epistles as scriptures, that is, divinely inspired writings. The writer therefore, having thus repeatedly taken to himself the name and character of an inspired apostle, if he was an impostor, he must have been the most profligate of men. See 1 Pet. Preface, Sect. 2. paragr. 2.
3. By calling this, his Second Epistle, chap. iii. 1. the writer intimates that he had written to them formerly. He insinuates the same thing, chap. i. 12.-15. and by so doing, shews himself to be the same Peter who wrote the first epistle. The method which Grotius has taken to clude the force of this presumption, shall be considered afterwards.
4. The matters contained in this epistle are highly worthy of an inspired apostle; for besides a variety of important discove ries, (See Sect. v.) all tending to display the perfections of God, and the glory of Christ, we find in it exhortations to virtue, and condemnations of vice, delivered with an earnestness and feeling, which shew the author to have been incapable of imposing a forged writing upon the world; and that his sole design in this epistle, was to promote the interests of truth and virtue in the world.
II. But in oposition to these internal marks of authenticity, and to the testimony of all the ancient Christian writers, since the days of Eusebius, who with one voice have ascribed this se cond epistle, as well as the first, to the apostle Peter, Salmasius, and other learned moderns have argued, that because its style is different from the style of the first epistle, it must have been written by some impostor, who personated the apostle Peter. This objection shall be fully considered immediately. At present suffice it to say in the general, that if this were a writing forged in the name of an apostle, by any impostor, we should certainly find some erroneous tenet, or false fact, asserted in it, for the sake of which the forgery was attempted. Yet nothing of that kind appears in the second epistle of Peter; nothing inconsistent with the doctrine taught in the other writings, which by all are acknowledged to be divinely inspired; in a word nothing unsuitable, but every thing consonant, to the character of an inspired apostle.
This argument appeared so strong to Grotius, that although, on account of the difference of the sentiments and style observable in the two epistles, he would not allow the second epistle to be Peter's, he did not venture to call it the work of an impostor, but supposed it to have been written after the destruction of Jerusalem, by Symeon who succeeded James our Lord's brother in the bishopric of Jerusalem. And because the inscription, with the other particulars in the epistle relating to the writer's character, are utterly inconsistent with Grotius's opi nion, he uses a method of removing these difficulties, unworthy so learned a critic, and so good a man. Without the least au thority from any ancient MSS. or versions, he confidently af firms that the inscription is interpolated, and that originally it was Symeon, a servant of Jesus Christ.-With the same unauthorized boldness, he proposes to expunge the words our beloved