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solations and instructions needful for the encouragement and direction of a Christian in his journey to heaven; elevating his thoughts and desires to that happiness, and strengthening him against all opposition in the way, both that of corruption within, and temptations and afflictions from without.
"The heads of doctrine contained in it are many; but the main, that are most in sisted on, are these three-faith, obedience, and patience to establish them in believing, to direct them in doing, and to comfort them in suffering. And because the first is the ground-work and support of the other two, this first chapter is much occupied with persuading them of the truth of the mystery which they had received and did believe, viz. their redemption and salvation by Christ Jesus, that inheritance of immortality bought by his blood for them, and the evidence and stability of their right and title to it. And then he uses this belief, this assurance of the glory to come, as the great persuasive, both to holy obedience and constant patience, since nothing can be too much either to do or to suffer, for the attainment of that blessed state."
This Epistle is addressed to the elect strangers (as Doddridge translates it), "scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia [Minor], and Bithynia" -that is, throughout the north-east parts of Asia. Jews, or proselytes, from all these countries, or nearly so, appear to have been present at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, and were addressed by St. Peter; and as he would be recollected by them, to them, probably, this Epistle might be addressed and not to thein only, but to the Gentile converts also resident among them, since Peter had long since learned not to call any whom God had cleansed, common or unclean. We, therefore, think, with Doddridge and many others, that though the Jews of the dispersion were most properly called strangers in those countries, there is no reason for excluding converted Gentiles; since all Christians, as well as the ancient Patriarchs, profess
to be "Pilgrims and strangers on the earth." (See chap. ii. 10, 11.)
Now these are said to be elect (or chosen) by God the Father, sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and justified by the atoning blood of Christ, which is evidently the meaning of being sprinkled by his blood: in which we may observe a perfect harmony with the doctrine of St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans. (Chap. viii. 29, 30.)
The apostle then breaks out into a song of grateful adoration for the blessings of redemption and salvation, and for the almighty care and protection of God to his people, in their passing through this vale of tears and sufferings, until they shall appear before the great object of their love and adoration, and receive the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls.
Here St. Peter takes occasion to advert to the enquiries of the ancient Prophets, unto whom were revealed "the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow" and, at the same time that they predicted these events, they were fully apprized that they were not to occur in their own times, but in a future age—the latter days-the last time-the times of the Messiah.
Ou this passage we may remark the gradual developement of gospel truth, during a long succession of inspired writers, even from Enoch unto Malachi-the obscurity which attended these prophecies, from their being clothed in figurative language and typical allusions-which obscurity, however, gradually diminished as the predicted events approached; one circumstance after another was disclosed, till the whole person and character of the Redeemer was revealed-all the interesting events of his life, and all the painful circumstances of his death: still, however, much remained, and still remains, worthy of inquiry; and the prophets of the New Testament, as well as of the Old, searched into the mystery of their own predictions: yea, even the angels stoop down from their starry thrones, to look into these sacred mysteries; and "principalities and powers," who reside in heaven, gladly visit our
CHAP. II. Ver. 2. Sincere.-Doddr. "unmingled," Mackn. "unadulterated."
Christ the foundation]
[of his church, 3 If so be ye have tasted that the acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Lord is gracious.
4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices,
6 Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which
EXPOSITION-Chap. I. Continued.
churches, that they may there learn" the manifold wisdom of God in our redemption."
"It is no wonder," says the pious Leighton, that "the angels admire these things, and desire to look upon them; but it is strange that we do not so. They view them stedfastly, and we neglect them; either we consider them not at all, or give them but a transient look.......That which was the great business of the prophets and apostles, both for their own times, and to convey them to us, we regard not, and turn our eyes to foolish, wandering thoughts, which angels are ashamed at...... We bow down to the earth, and study and.... rake into the very bowels of it, and content ourselves with the outside of the unsearchable riches of Christ, and look not within it: but they, having no will nor desire but for the glory of God, being pure flames of fire burning ouly in love to him, are no less delighted than amazed with the bottomless wonders of his wisdom and goodness, shining in the work of our redemption."
The remainder of this chapter contains a practical improvement of the preceding, in which St. Peter considers the nature of sanctification, and urges the believing strangers to holiness of heart and life, from the especial consideration of the immense price at which we are redeemed, namely, "the precious blood of Christ."
"It is impossible," says the excellent writer above quoted, "for a Christian to give himself to conform to the world's ungodliness, unless first he forgets who he is, and by what means he attained to be what he is. Therefore the apostle, persuading his brethren to holiness, puts them in mind of this as the strongest incentive. Not only have you the example of God set before you as your Father, to beget in you the love of holiness, as being
your liveliest resemblance of him; and the justice of God as your Judge, to argue you into a pious fear of offending him; but consider this, that he is your Redeemer; he hath bought out your liberty from sin and the world, to be altogether his; and think of the price laid down in this ransom; and these out of question will prevail with you.
"From the high price of our redemp tion," continues the truly venerable prelate, "the apostle doth mainly enforce our esteem of it, and urge the preservation of that liberty so dearly bought; and the avoiding all that unholiness and vain conversation, from which we are freed by that redemption. First, he expresseth it negatively, not with corruptible things; no, not the best of them, those that are in bigbest account with men, not with silver and gold; these cannot buy off the death of the body, nor purchase the continuance of temporal life; much less can they reach to the worth of spiritual and eternal life. The precious soul could not be redeemed but by blood, and by no blood but that of the spotless Lamb, Jesas Christ, who is God equal with the Father.
So that the apostle may well call it here precious, exceeding the whole world, and all things in it in value.” .......... Far be 'it from me,' will a Christian say, who considers this redemption, that ever I
should prefer a base lust, or any thing in this world, or it all, to him who gave himself to death for me, and paid my ransom with his blood. His matchless love hath freed me from the miserable 'captivity of sin, and hath for ever fast'ened me to the sweet yoke of his obe'dience. Let him alone to dwell and rule 'within me; and let him never go forth 'from my heart, who for my sake refused 'to come down from the cross.'
NOTES-Chap. II. Con.、
Ver. 3. If so be.-Doddr." Since ye have." Mackn. "Because ye have," &c.
Ver. 4-6. A living stone, &c.-See Isa, xxviii.
16 and compare Ephes. ii. 20. Ver. 5. Are built.-Marg. "Be ye built." Ver. 7. Precious.-Marg," an honour." Greek
be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well.
15 For so is the will of God, that
[for their sins.
with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth :
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
"preciousness" itself-that is, invaluable. Compare chap. i. 19.
Ver. 8. Which stumble......being disobedient.Doddr. "which being disobedient, stumble :" disobedience, or infidelity, being the true cause of their stumbling.
Ver. 9. A peculiar-Marg. " a purchased "people.-So Mackn. -Shew forth the praises.Marg. "virtues." So Doddr. See Isa, xliii. 21.
Ver. 10. Which .... were not a people-See
Hosea ii, 23, and Notes.
Ver. 12. Honest-Or" good," as the word is often rendered: perhaps the exact idea is, consistent or honest to their profession.That, whereas.Marg." wherein."
Ver. 13. To every ordinance of man.-Doddr. 66 every human constitution.." Mackn. "Every human creation [of Magistrates"]. The meaning
certainly comprehends every existing form of government, monarchical or republican.-To the king-Including the Roman Emperor.
Ver. 16. As free, and not using.-Marg. "not having."--A cloke.-Doddr." a veil." Ver. 17. Honour.-Marg. " Esteem." Ver. 19. This is thankworthy.-Doddr. " ful." Mackn. "an acceptable thing." Ver. 20. This is acceptable.-Margin, "thank (worthy").
Ver. 21. Suffered for us.-Marg. " for you, leaving you." So the Alexandrian and other MSS., which Doddridge prefers," as most agreeable to the connexion."
Ver. 23. Committed himself.-Marg. "Committed (his cause").
Ver. 24. By whose stripes ye were healed,-Seo Isa. liii. 5.
(B) Ver. 1-25, Christians exhorted to attention to the word of God, and to obedience to its precepts.-The apostle having, in the close of the preceding chapter, spoken of regeneration by means of the immortal word of God, here gives us a sketch of the evidences of this change in the temper and dispositions of the subjects of it-namely, meekness, simplicity, and attachment to the word of God; comparing young converts to "new born babes, whose first appetite is for their mothers' milk, pure and unadulterated. So true believers thirst for the pure word of God. For as milk, when adulterated, contains less nutriment than in its natural state, so the word of God, when mingled with vain philosophy or human inventions, contains proportionably less of divine instruction and consolation, and our growth in grace is thereby checked, if not wholly stopped. "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." Chap. iv. 11.
Our apostle adds-" If so be," or rather "since ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious;" alluding to the case of infants, who, when they have tasted of their mother's milk, abhor and spurn all other kinds of food: so it is with many simple and pious Christians, who, though they have little or no systematical or critical knowledge in divinity, in a manner instinctively reject error, and especially
those errors which have an evident tendency to depreciate the grace of God, and degrade the character of the Saviour. This Saviour is here, as in many parts of the Scriptures, represented as the only fourdation of his church, both Jews and Gen tiles: the former, “a holy nation," a pe culiar people; the latter, not so formerly, but now turned from darkness unto light, and united with the former in being built upon the same foundation, joined in the same privileges, and cemented by the same grace.
The latter part of the chapter contains chiefly moral precepts, especially with regard to submission to existing govern ments, of whatever nature they may be; for the apostles and first Christians were particularly careful not to disturb the order of political society, nor to give any occa sion for reproach on that pretence. But on this and on almost every topic, the inspired writers of the New Testament frequently advert to the example of Christ, which on every subject was pertinent and complete; and in no point more so than on his meek submission to insults and to injuries: with his example also our apostle connects his atonement (doctrine and prac tice being inseparable with him), Who him self" bare our sins in his own body on the tree" by whose stripes we are healed, and by whose death we live.
Ver. 25. The Shepherd and Bishop.-See Ezek. xxxiv. 11, 12.
CHAP. III. Ver. 1. Ye wives be in subjection.Comp. Ephes. v. 22.
Ver. 3. Plaiting the hair.--The Editor of "The Ruins of Palmyra" discovered in the Palmyrene sepulchres, mummies embalmed in the ancient Egyptian manner; among other fragments which he carried off with him, was the hair of a female, plaited after the manner (still) used by the Arabian women. And of wearing of gold.-Dr. Gill says, the
Jewish women used to wear crowns (or coronets) of their heads, in the form of the city of Jerusalem, which they called a golden city. The Asiatics, ta general, we know, are peculiarly fond of golden ornaments; and the Roman ladies emulated them ta a degree of great extravagance. But Plutarch quotes from Crates a passage very similar to this, mad worth preserving. He says, that "Neither gold, ner emeralds, nor pearls, give grace and ornament to a woman; but those things which clearly express and set off her gravity, regularity, and modesty."
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving. honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile :
11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
Ver. 6. Calling him lord.-Gen. xviii. 12.Whose daughters. Marg. " children,” - Not afraid with any amazement.-This appears to us, as to Dr. Doddridge, to have a plain reference to the case of Sarah, but in a way which, we confess, we do not understand. Sarah was evidently confounded, and told a falsehood, which we can ascribe only to her amazement" and alarm, on finding her secret thoughts discovered. But Macknight renders the passage," whose daughters ye have become by doing well, and not being frightened with
Ver. 8. Love as brethren.-Marg. " Loving to the
Ver. 10. He that will love life.-See Ps. xxxiv.
Ver. 14. Be not afraid of their terror, &c.-See sa. viii. 12; which Lowth renders, "Fear not the bject of their fear," meaning their idols.
Ver. 18. Quickened by the Spirit.-Many able critics, as Vitringa, Schottgen, &c. understand this of the divine nature of Christ; and Bp. Horsley, of his human Spirit, in a separate state; but the resurrection of our Lord is elsewhere attributed to the Holy Spirit (see Rom. i. 4, and Note; Rom. viii. 11)-sometimes to Christ himself, but then by a power delegated from the Father, John x. 18. See also our Note on Heb. ix. 14.
Ver. 19, To the spirits in prison.-The state of these human spirits in prison appears equivalent to that of the fallen angels "reserved in everlasting chains." Jude, ver. 6. Roman Catholic writers, indeed, here find a purgatory, which we can find no where in the Bible: but, 1. Purgatory is, according to their own doctrine, for venial offences only, and these were evidently guilty of mortal sin, and must