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Grace given to the humble.
Boasting reproved. 6 stir up to envy? Nay, but He bestoweth more || judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, abundant grace. Wherefore he saith in the thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge of it. scripture, "God resisteth the proud, but giveth There is one law-giver, who is able to save and 12 7 grace to the humble." Submit yourselves to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
Come now, ye that say, "To-day or to- 13 morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and traffic and acquire gain Ye who know not what will be on 14 the morrow. (For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.) Whereas ye 15 ought to say, "If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that." But now ye glory in your 16 boasting speeches: all such glorying is evil. To him therefore that knoweth to do what is 17 right, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he 8 will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye 9 double-minded: Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourn10 ing, and your joy to heaviness: Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will raise you up. 11 -Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and
Jesus hate and detest it, and show by a good behaviour their works of love and purity, with the meekness and gentleness becoming the wisdom which he taught. In this manner they will prove themselves to be indeed wise; wise as to their own comfort here and happiness hereafter. He whose mind, thoughts, language, and conduct, are pure, will enjoy peace; and he who shows the gentleness and meekness of Christ, and is full of kindness, mercy, and good fruits, cannot even be suspected of deceit and hypocricy, and will experience the pleasure of a good hope and the joy of God's salvation. May this heavenly, holy wisdom dwell more richly in every believer!
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER IV. 1. How affecting is it to reflect on the miseries brought on men by their own evil passions, desires, and worldly spirit! These occasion all the contests and fightings, which have so frequently spread devastation and ruin through once populous and cultivated countries. These inward principles hurry sinful men to the greatest excesses; first to covet the possessions of others, then by force or fraud to kill one another, and yet they who escape are not satisfied. Amidst the greatest crimes such men may adhere to the forms of religion, and ask of God temporal good things; but as their end and design is only to consume what they receive on their own lusts, God denies their request. What an enemy is a worldly sensual frame of mind! May divine grace subdue in us pride,
these things.Doth the Spirit, &c. The Holy Spirit which dwelleth in us christians, does not stir up or excite us to indulge envy towards others on account of what they enjoy; but rather leads us to be thankful on this account. Whitby and others point as I have done. The common punctuation implies that the latter clause is a quotation from the Old Testament; but no such can be found there. The sense given is most apposite.
6. Nay, but he bestoweth, &c. On those of a humble lowly mind, who instead of envying, rejoice at the good done to others, as he saith by Solomon, (Prov. iii. 34,) "God resisteth the proud, &c."
7-10, Submit, &c. He is your great ruler and commander, be subject to him as such; and fighting under his banner, resist the devil and all his wiles, and he, &c.- -Cleanse your, &c. In your present situation, when
VOL. III. PART XXIV.
envy, and the love of the world, and produce in us more of that humility, which becomes us as sinners, and to which more grace is promised. We are called to resist the devil, our great adversary, who avails himself of our depravity to seek our destruction. How can we do this more effectually than by the exercise of repentance, submission to God, and drawing near to him by fervent prayer? In this way we obtain purity, peace, and strength; and God will raise us up.
2. How unbecoming is it for any one professing the christian name to speak evil of his brother, or to form plans of future conduct without any sense of dependence on God or regard to his providence! He who speaketh evil, and uncharitably judgeth his brother, violates the command, "Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself." By this conduct he in effect becomes a judge of the law, and condemns it, and is clearly a transgressor of it. How will such a man acquit himself before the great law-giver: before him who is able to save or destroy? Let such reflect on the account which they have to give, and on the uncertainty of their life. For what is our life? It is even a vapour which appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away. O let us seriously reflect on this; and on every occasion, and in reference to every concern, let us commit ourselves and our way to the Lord, that he may direct our steps. How improper is it for vain sinful mortals to boast. Our lives are in God's hands, our all is at his disposal; and to him we should look for guidance, support, and final happiness.
judgments are coming on you, seek outward and inward purity; instead of
11, 12. Speak not evil, &c. Ch. iii. 4, &c.—Evil of the law. The law of Moses and of Christ, which prohibits such conduct. Matt. x. 11.— Judgeth the law. As if thou hadst a right to set it aside; and by so doing thou art evidently transgressing it. This seems to refer to the conduct of many Jewish christians, who were for imposing the yoke of ceremonies on the Gentiles, and who spoke against the gospel as setting them aside.
The rich warned.
A. D. 61 Rich wicked men ought to dread God's vengeance'; we should be patient after the example of the prophets; pray in affliction, and be
thankful in prosperity.`
COME now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. 2. Your rich stores are corrupted, and your gar3 ments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are rusted; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped up treasure 4 in the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is unjustly kept back by you, crieth against you and the cries of the reapers have entered into the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 Ye have lived in pleasure on earth, and have been wanton; ye have regaled your hearts, as 6 in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the Just One, who did not resist
13-15. "To-day or, &c." Many were passionately addicted to gain, aud formed their plans without any reference to God and their own mortal condition. Against this James properly cautions them.
16, 17. Boasting speeches. Of what you will do and acquire.To do what is right. To have a constant regard to God and his providence, and to exercise a suitable reliance; and by not doing this you greatly sin.
CHAP. V. 1. Which are coming, &c. The miseries which you will suffer in every part of the Roman empire, by the war which will soon commence. This is addressed to the unbelieving among the Jews.
2-6. Rich stores, &c. Of corn, dried fruits, &c. are corrupted, your garments are moth-eaten, and your gold and silver are rusted, by being kept so long; and these are all proofs of your avarice and want of charity.- -Eat your flesh, &c. The rust of their stores is not only a witness against them, but an executioner against them, occasioning their destruction. For similar metaphors, see Ps. xxi. 9. Is. x. 16. ; xxvii. 11.; xxx. 11.—In the last days. Of your state and church. John ii. 18. Comp. Acts ii. 17. Heb. i. 2, and Pet. iii. 3, with Matt. xxiv. 33, and 1 Cor. x. 11.-The hire of the, &e. How cruel was this, and yet no doubt true in respect to many; and yet while they deprived the poor of their wages, they were living in pleasure, and giving themselves up to wartonness, living continually as on high festival days.The Just One. He means the Lord Jesus; and this implies that he speaks to the whole Jewish nation, or at least to the ruling and wicked part of it.
7. Be patient, &c. Having such an example as Christ, who will soon
Patience and submission.
another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have 10 spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count those as happy who pa- 11 tiently endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen what the Lord did in the end; for the Lord is full of compassion, and of tender mercy.
But above all things, my brethren, swear 12 not, neither by heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall under condemnation.
Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. 13 Is any cheerful? let him sing psalms. Is any 14 sick among you? let him call the elders of the church; and having anointed him with oil, let them pray over him in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save 15 the sick person, and the Lord shall raise him up; and although he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your of 16 fences one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The inwrought prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Eli- 17 jah was a man of like infirmities with us, and
come in providence to destroy your persecutors. He here addresses christians. Imitate the husbandman, who does not expect to reap as soon as he has sown; but patiently waits for the early and latter rain. See Deuter. xi. 14, and note.
9. Grudge not one, &c. Under your trials, lest ye be condemned, &c. Some render, "Groan not, &c." "Murmur not, &c." "Grieve not, &c." It must signify some evil, some sin of impatience. Comp. Luke xviii. 7, 8. 11. We count those. We commend them for suffering with a becom ing submission to God's will, and consider them as sure to be rewarded.What the Lord did, &c. What blessings he showered upon him, thus proving that he is full of compassion, &c.
12. Swear not, &c. Do not express your impatience by any kind of oaths. These were common among them. Matt. v. 34-36. In your conversation only simply affirm or deny a thing. This is sufficient in respect to one who regards truth.
14, 15. Call the elders. The stated pastors of the church, who, according to the custom of that time, having anointed him with oil, must pray over him, &c. Mark vi. 13.—The prayer of faith, &c. Offered up under a suggestion of the Spirit, with a full persuasion in the mind of the praying elder, that God would work a miracle of healing. This gift of healing was commen in the first churches.
16. Confess your, &c. In sickness confess your faults, or the injuries you may have done to one another; and show your repentance by praying for one another; especially when any are sick pray that they may be healed. -The inwrought, &c. The prayer produced by the Spirit operating on the
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER V. 1. Let rich men read this address with holy awe, and with godly jealousy over themselves, lest their wealth and prosperity should prove a snare and a curse to their souls. And assuredly it will if it be acquired by injustice and oppression, and spent in pride and in pampering the appetites and gratifying the passions. However abundant their stores, there is a secret curse entailed on them. Their splendid garments are or shall be motheaten, their gold and silver shall rust; and severe but just punishment shall be inflicted for all their crying sins. Soon will death feed on them, and they be deprived and stript of all they possess; and then nothing but a sense of the terrible account they have to give shall Occupy and devour like fire their souls. Instead of indulging joy, how ought such to weep and howl for the miseries which are coming upon them!
2. Let not the disciples of Christ, though poor and persecuted, envy the workers of iniquity, however great or wealthy. Amidst their oppressions and sufferings let them wait patiently for the coming of the Lord; for the time draweth near when he will punish, their enemies and work salvation for them. Now indeed they sow in tears, but they shall reap with joy. Like the husbandman let them wait for this blessed harvest; and confidently and joyfully expect it as secured by the promise and purpose of God. Suffering christians, establish your
17, 18. Of like infirmities, &c. Yet when inspired to pray that there might be no rain, was heard; and no rain fell for more than three years, as a judgment on Ahab and the people for their idolatry. And when he prayed again for rain, God sent it in abundance, so that the earth yielded its increase. 19, 20. Err from the truth. Either in your sentiments or practice de
A sinner turned.
Brethren, if any of you do err from the 19 truth, and one turn him back to it; Let him 20 know, that he who turneth a sinner back from the error of his way, will save a soul from death, and cover his multitude of sins.
hearts with this truth, proved by the experience of the prophets and patriarchs. Especially consider the sufferings, the patience, and the final deliverance of Job, lest ye faint in your minds. From this example we see how full of compassion is God; and that his design is to do us good in the end.
heart, availeth much with God, to heal the sick and to do other things. For parting from the gospel, and one convert him or turn him back to it by his Elijah, &c.
faithful instructions and admonitions; let him know, &e.- -Save a soul. Will be the instrument of that man's salvation.—And cover his, &c. The instrument of his obtaining forgiveness. Ps. xxxii. I. "The sins to be covered are the sins of the soul saved from death;" and not of the person who turned. him back to the truth; yet for doing this he will be rewarded. Dan xii.3.
3. In this state believers are often subject to bodily pain and affliction. In such circumstances how proper is the advice given. Let them pray humbly and fervently for the removal of the complaints, or for grace to support them, and to sanctify what they suffer, to them. In such cases they should desire the prayers of their believing brethren, who cannot but sympathise with them, and who will render to them any kind office in their power. We are encouraged to this by the example of Elijah; and by the assurance," that the inwrought prayer of a righteous man availeth much." Call for the elders of the church to engage their counsel and prayers; and though they have not the gift of healing the sick, they may prevail so as to obtain spiritual comfort for the afflicted, that he may rejoice in God. Let us guard against erring from the truth; and if a brother has erred, with meekness let us endeavour to restore him, knowing that by so doing we shall save a soul from death, a death the most awful. May my readers escape it, and through Christ enjoy eternal life.
THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL
THIS Epistle was directed to the christians scattered through Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia; and with most expositors, I consider it directed both to those converted from Judaism and Heathenism. It was written when the brethren were suffering great and trying afflictions and persecutions; and abounds with various topics of comfort and direction to them in that state. Without much order or connexion, he writes with great dignity and energy, enforcing moral duties with the strongest motives. It was probably written about Anno Domini 63.
A. D. 63. He blesseth God for spiritual privileges and favours; showeth that salvation by Christ is no new thing, but prophesied of long since ; he exhorteth to a suitable behaviour, &c.
PETER, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the sojourners scattered throughout Pontus, Ga2 latia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia; Elect, according to the preordination of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, to obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace, and peace, be multiplied to you.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead;
CHAP. I. 1. Sojourners scattered, &c. Literally, "sojourners of the dispersion." From this some conclude that Peter wrote only to converted Jews; but Macknight answers, in scripture all pious men are called sojourners, (Gen. xlvii. 9. Ps. xxxix. 12,) and they may said to be scattered, on account of their small number. Some things refer to the Gentiles only. Ch. ii. 10.
2. Elect according, &c. Some would render, "Elect in the foreknowledge, &c." I have adopted the secondary sense of #goyrwʊ; as most suitable. -Through sanctification, &c. According to his own gracious purpose, God has been pleased to impart his Spirit, by whose holy influence you have been called, and so far sanctified as to yield the obedience of faith, and have received the blessing of pardon, having the blood of Christ sprinkled on your consciences to cleanse you from dead works, and to impart to you all necessary favours; may grace and peace, &c.
3. Hath begotten us, &c. Regenerated and called us to enjoy “a lively hope" of future happiness "by the resurrection of Christ;" by which he is proved to be the Son of God, who died for our sins, and who after his resurraction, as our forerunner, hath entered into heaven for us; and is able to save to the uttermost, &c.
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, 4 and unfading, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God, through 5 faith, to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time: Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though 6 now for a season, (if need be,) ye be grieved by various trials: That this proof of your 7 faith, which is much more precious than that of gold which perisheth, though proved by fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ; Whom, having not seen, ye love; in whom, 8 though not now seeing him, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the 9 salvation of your souls. Of which salvation 10
4. To an inheritance, &c. By faith in him we are become heirs to an inheritance incorruptible, holy, and unfading, the inheritance of heaven.
5. Power of God, through faith, &c. As this inheritance is reserved for you, so you are kept by the power of God, by the continued exercise of faith in his truth and promises, to the enjoyment of it, when the salvation now begun, but in respect to some of its glories imperfectly known, shall be fully completed.
7. That this proof, &c. The proof of your faith is of much more inportance than the proof of gold, which at last perisheth, however pure; but the proof of your faith will be found to end in praise to God, and in honour and glory to yourselves. The proof of their faith by the sufferings, persecu tlons, and in many instances, by their death on account of the gospel, not only showed the full conviction of its truth, but became a moral demonstration of it to all future ages.
8. Having not seen, &c. When in the flesh, as must have been the case with most of those whom Peter addresses.—In whom, though, &c. As they loved him as made known to them in the gospel, so now not seeing him, yet
Sufferings of Christ foretold.
the prophets, who prophesied of the grace that should come to you, have inquired and 11: searched diligently; Searching as to what people, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them signified, when he testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, 12 and the glories which were to follow: To whom it was revealed, that they ministered not to themselves, but to us the things which have now been declared to you, by those who have preached the gospel to yon with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven; into which things angels desire to look.
I PETER I.
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace which will be brought to you at the manifes14 tation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to your 15 former desires in your ignorance; But as he who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in 16 all manner of behaviour; Because it is writ17 ten, “Be ye holy; for I am holy." And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's
REFLECTIONS UPON CHPTER 1. 1. How wise, holy, and sovereign is God in the dispensation of his grace! And what a beautiful harmony is there in the election of the Father, the redemption of the Son, and the sanctification of the Spirit, in order to obedience here, and glory hereafter! Are we anxious to know our election of God? How can we ascertain this but by application to the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus for our pardon, and by the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit on our minds? If we are without concern for our souls, and are treating with neglect the precious blood of our Saviour, and living in the transgression of the law, and disobeying the call of the gospel, what pretence can we have to be the elect of God. God never separates the means from the end; and if he has chosen any to salvation, it is in connexion with the application of the atoning blood of Christ to
been born again, As obedient children,
believing in him as their Saviour, they rejoiced with joy, &c. receiving, as they did the end of their faith, even the, &c.
10-12. As to what people, &c. As to what people or to what period of time the Holy Spirit referred, when he foretold the sufferings and death of Christ, with all the glories which should follow. They diligently studied these things; and to them it was only made known, that they ministered as prophets in foretelling these much more to us, who see them fulfilled, than they did to themselves, and to the men of their own time.-Things into which, &c. It has often been observed that there is an allusion to the posture of the cherubs, bending and looking on the mercy-seat: they look with earnest
We are redeemed by his blood.
work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were 18 not redeemed with corruptible things, as with silver and gold, from your vain behaviour delivered down from your fathers; But with 19 the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who was 20 indeed appointed before the foundation of the world, but made manifest in these last times for you, Who by him believe in God, who 21 raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God. Having therefore purified your souls 22 by obeying the truth through the Spirit to unfeigned brotherly love, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Having 23 been born again, not from corruptible seed, but from incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and remaineth for ever. "For 24 all flesh is as the herb, and all its glory as the flower of the herb. The herb withereth, and its flower falleth off: But the word of the 25 Lord remaineth for ever:" and this is the word which by the gospel is preached to you.
13-16. Gird up, &c. Prepare for every duty as you do for labour, by girding up your loose robes, and be sober and watchful, hoping to the end, or
the conscience, and the work of the Spirit on the heart, sanctifying us so as to secure our sincere and humble obedience to the divine will.
2. What reasons have believers to admire and praise the abundant mercy and grace of God towards them, for having begotten them to a lively and assured hope of an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading, reserved in heaven for them! O let them ever keep it in view, and earnestly pray to be kept by the power of God through faith to the enjoyment of it. And if, while in this state, affliction should be their lot, and they be grieved and distressed by their various trials, still let them rejoice in the prospect of that complete salvation which is ready to be revealed; and even while suffering, let them remember that the gracious design of God is, to make apparent to themselves and others, the reality and purifying nature and strength of their faith in, and love to
fully and perfectly hoping for the grace and mercy, &c.-Former desires, &c. When you ignorantly indulged every unholy passion; but now consider what obligations you are under to be obedient and holy in all your behaviour, from the favour shown you, and from the character of God who has called you.
17-21. Respect of persons. Under the gospel, showing no favour or partiality towards any people or nation, but judgeth men according to their works. Hence live in the fear of God, knowing that you have been redeemed, not with gold and silver, from your sins and foolish conduct, imitating your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, who was perfect and spotless. Who was in the counsels of divine love appointed to be a sacrifice, and has become one, in which you are interested, who by him believe in God, &c.
22-25. See that ye love, &c. Act agreeably to your profession, and to that new birth you have experienced by the living, and therefore incorruptible