Page images

who hwere before of old ordained to this condemna- 5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though tion; ungodly men, turning the grace of our God ye once knew this, how that 'the Lord, having into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterand our Lord Jesus Christ.

ward destroyed them that believed not. h Rom. 9. 22. i Tit. 1. 15, 16.

k I Cor. 10.5–12. / Num. 14. 29, 37. Heb. 3. 16-19. will be as vastly to exceed all our present hopes and expecta- 2. They are the worst of ungodly men, who turn the grace of tions.

God into lasciviousness, who take encouragement to sin more 2. This common salvation is the subject matter of the faith boldly, because the grace of God has abounded, and still of all the saints. The doctrine of it is what they all most abounds, so wonderfully; who are hardened in their impieues heartily consent to ; they esteem it as a faithful saying, and by the extent and fulness of Gospel grace, the design of which worthy of all acceptation, 1 Tim. 1. 15. It is the faith once, or is to reduce men from sin, and bring them unto God. Thus at once, once for all, delivered to the saints; to which nothing can therefore to wax wanton under so great grace, and turn it into be added, from which nothing may be detracted, in which an occasion of working all uncleanness with greediness, and nothing more or less should be altered. Here let us abide; hardening ourselves in such a course by that very grace which here we are safe: if we stir a step further, we are in danger of is the last and most forcible means to reclaim us from it, is to being either entangled or seduced.

render ourselves the vilest, the worst, and most hopeless of 3. The apostles and evangelists all wrote to us of this com- sinners. mon salvation. This cannot be doubled by those who have 3. They who turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, do carefully read their writings. It is strange that any should in effect deny the Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ; that think they wrole chiefly to maintain particular schemes and is, (as Mr. Henry weli expresses it,) they deny both natural opinions, especially such as they never did nor could think of. and revealed religion. li is enough that they have fully declared to us, by inspiration Chey, as he justly goes on, strike at the foundation of natural of the Holy Ghost, all that is necessary for every one to believe religion, for they deny the only Lord God; and they overium and do, in order to obtain a personal interest in the common all the frame of revealed religion, for they deny the Lord Jesus salvation.

Christ. Now his great design in establishing revealed religion 1. They who preach or write of the common salvation, in the world, was, to bring us unlo God. should give all diligence to do it well: they should not allow Note, They who deny our Lord Jesus Christ, do in effect themselves to offer to God or his people that which cost them deny the only Lord God. Todeny revealed religion is virtual nothing, or next to nothing; little or no pains or thought, ? Sam. to overcome natural religion, for they stand or fall together, and 21.24." This were to treat God irreverently, and man unjustly, they naturally yield light and force to each other. Would to

The apostle (thongh inspired) gave all dilligence to write of God our modern deists, who live in the midst of Gospel light, the common salvation. What then will become of those, who would seriously consider this, and cautiously, diligently, ani (though uninspired) give no diligence, or next to none, but say impartially examine what it is that hinders their receiving the to the people, (even in the name of God,) quicquid in buccam Gospel, while they profess themselves fully persuaded of all the veneril--what comes nert; who, so that they use scripture words, principles and duties of natural religion! Never (wo ladies care not how they interpret or apply them? They who speak answered more exactly to each other than these do, so that it of sacred things, oughi always to speak of them with the seems absurd to receive the one and reject the other. One greatest reverence, care, and diligence.

would think it were the fairer way to receive both, or reject 5. They who have received the doctrine of this common sal- both : though perhaps the more plausible method, especially in vation, must contend earnestly for it.

this age, is to act the part they do. Earnestly, not furiously. They who strive for the Christian 4. 'They who turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, are faith, or in the Christian course, must strive lawsully, or they ordained unto condemnation; so Mr. Henry, and, no doubt, it lose their labour, and run great hazard of losing their crown, is a great truth. They, as he speaks, sin against the last, the 2 Tim. 2. 5. The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness greatest, and most perfect remedy; and so are without excuse. of God, Jam. 1. 20. Lying for the truth is bad, and scolding They who thus sin, must needs die of their wounds, of their for it is not much better. Observe, They who have received disease; are of old ordained to this condemnation, whatever the truth, must contend for it. But how? As the apostles that expression means. But what if our translators bad thought did; by suffering patiently and courageously for it, not by mak- fit to have rendered the word in the original, (ubich I shall not ing others suffer if they will not presently embrace every notion trouble the English reader with,) of old foreunitten of, as that we are pleased (proved or unproved) to call faith, or fun- persons who would through their own sin and folly become the damental, We must not suffer ourselves to be robbed of any proper subjects of this condemnation, where had the barm essential article of Christian faith, by the cunning craftiness or been? Plain Christians had not been troubled with dark, doubispecious plausible pretences of any who lie in wait to deceive, sul, and perplexing thoughts about reprobation, which the Eph. 4. 14. The apostle Paul tells us, he preached the Gospel strongest heads cannot enter far into, can indeed bear but little (mind it was the Gospel) with much contention, (1 Thes. 2.2,) of, without inuch loss and damage. Is it not enough that early that is, (as I understand it,) with great earnestness, with a notice was given by inspired writers, that such seducers and hearly zeal, and a great concern for the success of what he wicked men should arise in later times, and that every orze, preached. But if we will understand contention in the common being forewarned us, should be forearmed against them? acceptation of the word, we must impartially consider with 5. We ought to contend earnestly for the faith, in opposition whom the apostle contended, and how; the enlarging on which to those who would corrupt or deprave it ; such as are cop in would not be proper for this place.

unawares ; a wretched character, to be sure, but often very all We have here the occasion the apostle had to write to this applied by weak and ignorant people, and even by those who purpori; as evil manners give rise to good laws, so dangerous themselves creep in unawares, who think their ipse dizi should errors often give just occasion to the proper defence of import-stand for a law to all their followers and admirers. Surely ant truths.

faithful, humble ministers are helpers of their people's jos. V. 4. Here observe, 1. Ungodly men are the great enemies peace, and comfort; not lords of their faith! Whoever allempt of the faith of Christ, and the peace of the church. They to corrupt the faith, we ought to contend earnestly agaist them. who deny or corrupt the one, and disturb the other, are here The more busy and crafty the instruments and agents of Salan expressly styled ungodly men. We might have truth with are, to rob us of the truth, the more solicitous should we be to peace, (a most desirable thing,) were there none (ministers or hold it fast : always provided we be very sure that we fasten no private Christians) in our particular churches and congregations wrong or injurious characters on persons, parties, or sentiments. but truly godly men-a blessing scarcely to be looked or hoped The fair warning which the apostle, in Christ's pame, gives for on this side heaven. Ungodly men raise scruples, start to those, who having professed his holy religion, do afterward questions, cause divisions, widen breaches, merely to advance desert and prove false to it. and promote their own selfish, ambitious, and covelous ends. V. 5-7. We have here a recital of the former judgments of This has been the plague of the church in all past ages, and I God upon sinners, with design to awaken and terrify those to am afraid no age is, or will be, wholly free from such men and whom warning is given in this epistle. such practices as long as time shall last.

Observe, The judgments of God, are often denounced and The late excellent Mr. Henry's pious and charitable note on executed in terrorem--for warning to others, rather than frem this passage, (and I wish it were duly laid to heart by all of us immediate or particular displeasure against the offenders thernwho yet survive,) is, that nothing cuts us off from the church, selves; not that God is not displeased with them, but perhaps but that which cuts us off from Christ; namely, reigning infi- not more with them than with others, who, at least for the predelity and ungodliness.

sent, escape. We must (as he goes on excellently) abhor the thought of I will pul you in remembrance. What we already know, we branding particular parties; I add, or persons, with this cha- still need to be put in remembrance of. Therefore there wil racter; especially of doing it without the least proof, or, as it too always be need and use of a standing, stated ministry in the often happens, the least shadow of it.

Christian church, though all the doctrines of faith, the essette Those are ungodly men who live without God in the world, tials, are so plainly revealed in express words, or by be most who have no regard to God and conscience.

near, plain, and immediate consequence, that he who runs They (as the good man goes on) are to be dreaded, and con- may read and understand them. There wants no infallible ssequently to be avoided, not only who are wicked by sins of terpreter, really or conceitedly such, for any such end or per commission, but also who are ungodly by sins of omission ; pose. Some people (weakly enough) suggest, “ If the grip who, for example, restrain prayer before God, who dare not re- iures do so plainly contain all that is necessary to salsanier, prove a rich man, when it is the duiy of their place so to do, for what need or use can there be of a standing ministry? Why fear they lose his favour, and the advantage they promise them- may we not content ourselves with staying at home, and reasselves therefore, who do the work of the Lord negligently, &c. ing our bibles ?" The inspired apostle has bore fully, though


[ocr errors]

bn 8. 44.

o Rev. 20. 10.


Dan. 12. 1.


Let us

6 And the angels mwhich kept not their first to fornication, and going after istrange flesh, are set estate, but left their own habitation, he hath re- forth for an example, sutlering the vengeance of served in everlasting chains,“ under darkness, unto eternal fire. the judgment of the great day.

8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile athe 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. about them, in like manner giving themselves over 9 Yet Michael -the archangel, when contending or, principality. n 2 Pet. 2. 4.

p Gen. 19. 24.

9 2 Pet. 2. 10, 11. not wholly, answered this objection. Preaching is not designed The apostle next exhibits a charge against deceivers who to teach us something new in every sermon, somewhat that we were now seducing the disciples of Christ from the profession knew nothing of before; but to put us in remembrance, to call to and practice of his holy religion. mind things forgotten, to affect our passions, and engage and fix V:8–13. He calls them filthy dreamers, forasmuch as deour resolutions, that our lives may be answerable to our faith. lusion is a dream, and the beginning of, and inlet to, all man

Though ye know these things, yet (as good Mr. Henry says) ner of filthiness. ye still need to know them better, 'There are many things Note, Sin is filthiness; it renders men odious and vile in the which we have known, which yet we have unhappily forgotten. sight of the most holy God, and makes them, (sooner or later, Is it of no use or service to be put afresh in remembrance of as penitent, or as punished to extremity, and without resource,) them ?

vile in their own eyes, and in a while they become vile in the Now what are these things (I use the very words of the late eyes of all about them. excellent Mr. Henry, which, in this exposition-designed, and These filthy dreamers dream themseives into a fool's paradise accordingly modelled, as a small of the continuation of on earth, and into a real hell at last : let their character, course, his-I always do where I well can) which we Christians need and end, be our seasonable and sufficient warning; like sins to be put in remembrance of ?

will produce like punishments and miseries. 1. The destruction of the unbelieving Israelites in the wilder- 1. They defile the flesh: the flesh or body is the immediato ness, v. 5.

St. Paul puts the Corinthians in mind of this, seat, and often the irritating occasion, of many horrid pollutions ; 1 Cor. 10. The ten first verses of that chapter (as the scrip- yet these, though done in and against the body, do greatly defile Lure is always the best commentary upon itself) are the best and grievously maim and wound the soul; fleshly lusts do war explication of this fifth verse of this epistle of Jule. None against the soul, 1 Pet. 2. 11, and in 2 Cor. 7.1. We read of therefore ought to presume upon their privileges, since many filthiness of flesh and spirit, each of which, though of different who were brought out of Egypt by a series of amazing miracles, kinds, defiles the whole man. yet perished in the wilderness by reason of their unbelief. Let 2. They despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities; are of us not therefore be highmindell, but feur, Rom. 11. 20.

a disturbed mind and a sedirious spirit; forgetting that the powfear lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any ers that be are ordained of God, Rom. 13. 1. God requires us of you should seem to come short of it, Heb. 4. !. They had to speak evil of no man, (Tit. 3.2;) but it is a great aggravation miracles plenty, they were (as Mr. Henry styles it) their daily of the sin of evil speaking, when what we say is pointed at mabread; yet even they perished in unbelief. We have greater gistrates, men whom God has set in authority over us, by blas(much greater) advantages than they had ; let their error (their pheming or speaking evil of whom, we blaspheme God himself, so fatal error) be our awful warning.

Or, if we understand it with respect to religion, as some do, 2. We are here put in remembrance of the fall of the angels, which ought to have the dominion in this lower world; such v. 6.

evil speakers despise the dominion of conscience, make a jest of There were a great number of the angels who left their own it, and would banish it out of the world; and for the word of habitation, who were not pleased with the posts and stations the God, the rule of conscience, they despise that; the revelations supreme Monarch of the universe had assigned and allotted of the divine will go for little with them; they are a rule of faith to them, but thought, (like discontented ministers in our age, and manners, but not till they have explained them, and imI might say in every age,) they deserved better; they would, posed their sense of them upon all about them. with the title of ministers, be sovereigns, and in effect their Or, as others account for the sense of this passage, the people Sovereign should be their minister-do all, and only, what of God, truly and specially so, are the dignities here spoken of they would have him ; thus was pride the main and immediate or referred to, according to that of the psalmist, (Ps. 105. 15,) cause or occasion of their fall.

Touch not mine anointed, anıl do my prophets no harm. Thus they quitted their post, and rebelled against God, their They speak evil of, &c. Religion and its serious professors Creator and sovereign Lord; but God did not spare them, (high have been always and every where evil spoken of; though there and great as they were,) he would not truckle to them, he threw is nothing in religion but what is very good, and deserves our them off, as a wise and good prince will a selfish and deceitful highest regards, both as it is perfective of our natures, and subminister; and the great, the all-wise God, could not be ignorant, servient to our truest and highest interests; yet this secl, as its as the wisest and best of earthly princes often are, what designs enemies are pleased to call it, is every where spoken against, they were hatching.

Acts 28. 22. After all, what became of them? They thought to have dared On this occasion the apostle brings in Michael the archangel, and outfaced Omnipotence itself; but God was too hard for &c. v. 9. them, he cast them down to hell. They who would not be ser- Interpreters are at a loss what is here meant by the body of vants to their Maker and his will in their first state, were made | Moses. Some think, that the devil contended that Moses might captives to his justice, and are reserved in everlasting chains have a public and honourable funeral, that the place where he under darkness. Here sce what the condition of fallen angels is; was interred might be generally known; hoping thereby to draw they are in chains, bound under the divine power and justice, the Jews, so naturally prone thereto, to a new and fresh inbound over to the judgment of the great day; they are under stance of idolatry. Dr. Scott thinks that by the body of Moses darkness, who were once angels of light; so horribly in the dark we are to understand the Jewish church, whose destruction the are they, that they continue to fight against God, as if there devil strove and contended for, as the Christian church is called were yet some small hope at least left them of prevailing and the boily of Christ in the New Testament style. Others, bring overcoming in the conflict. Dire infatuation! Light and liberty Other interpretations, which I will not here trouble the reader

cur, chains and darkness how well do they agree and suit with. each other!

Though this contest was mighty eager and earnest, and MiThe devils, once angels in the best sense, are reserved, &c. chael was victorious in the issue, yet he would not bring a rail.

Observe, There is, undoubtedly there is, a judgment to come; | ing accusation against the devil himself; he knew a good cause the fallen angels are reserved to the judgment of the great day; needed no such weapons to be employed in its defence; it is and shall fallen men escape it? Surely no. Let every reader said, He durst not bring, &c. Why durst he not? Not that he consider this in due time.

was afraid of the devil, but he believed God would be offended, Their chains are called everlasting, because it is impossible if, in such a dispute, he went that way to work; he thought it they should ever break loose from them, or make an escape; below him to engage in a trial of skill with the great enemy of they are held fast and sure under them; the decree, the justice, God and man, which of them should outscold or outrail the the wrath of God, are the very chains under which fallen angels other. A memorandum, says good Mr. Henry, to all disputants, are held so fast. Hear and fear, O sinful mortals of mankind! never to bring railing accusations into their disputes. Truth

3. The apostle here calls to our remembrance the destruction needs no supports from falsehood or scurrility. Some say, of Sodom and Gomorrah, v. 7. Even as, &c. It is in allusion Michael would not bring a railing accusation against the devil, to the destruction of Pentapolis, or the five cities, that the mi- as knowing beforehand that he would be too hard for him at series of the damned are set forth by a lake that burneth with fire that weapon. (Mr. Henry.) Some think the apostle refers here and brimstone; they were guilty of abominable wickedness, not to the remarkable passage we have, Num. 20. 7-14. Satan to be named or thought on but with the utmost abhorrence and would have represented Moses under disadvantageous colours, detestation; their ruin is a particular warning to all people to which he, good man, had at that time, and upon that occasion, take heed of, and fly from, fleshly lusts that war against the soul, given but too much handle for. Now Michael, according to this 1 Pet. 2. 11.

account, stands up in desence of Moses, and, in the zeal of an up"These lusts consumed the Sodomites with fire from heaven, right and bold spirit, says to Satan, The Lord rebuke thee. He and they are now suffering the vengeance of eternal fire; there would not stand disputing with the devil, nor enter into a parfore take heed, imitate not their sins, lest the same plagues ticular debate about the merits of that special cause ; he knew overtake you as did them. God is the same holy, just, pure Moses was his fellow-servant, a favourite of God, and he would Being now as then; and can the beastly pleasures of a moment not patiently suffer him to be insulted, no, not by the prince of make amends for your suffering the vengeance of eternal fire? devils; but in a just indignation cries out, The Lord rebuke Stand in awe, therefore, and sin not,” Ps. 4. 4,

thee: like that of our Lord himself, (Matt. 4, 10,) Get thee


[ocr errors]

u Zech. 3. 2.

Gen. 4.5.

w Num. 22. 7, 21.

a Prov. 25. 14. b Eph. 4. 14. c John 15.4-6. d Heb. 6. 6. Meth. It 13. s Is. 57, 20. & Rev. 8. 10, 11, h Zech, 14,5. i Rer. 2). 18.

with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses," | when they feast with you, feeding themselves with durst 'not bring against him a railing accusation, but out fear: “clouds they are without water, carried said, The Lord "rebuke thee.

babout of winds; trees whose fruit 'withereth, 10 But these speak evil of those things which without fruit, twice ddead, plucked up by the roots ; they know not: but what they know naturally, as 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their brute beasts, in those things they corrupt them- own shame; wandering estars, to whom is reserved selves.

the blackness of darkness for ever. 11 Wo unto them! for they have gone in the way 14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, proof Cain," and ran greedily after the error of Balaam phesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh v for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. with ten thousand of his saints,

12 These are spots yin your feasts of charity, 15 To execute judgment upon all;' and to cor& Deat. 34. 6. # Num. 16. 1, &c. y 2 Pet. 2. 13. z Phil. 3. 19. hence, Satan. Moses was a dignity, a magistrate, one beloved which they know little or nothing, and yet have not the wisdom and preferred by the great God; and the archangel thought it and humility to discern and be sensible how little theç insa! insufferable that such a one should be so treated by a vile apos. How happy would our world be, if men either knew more, a tale spirit, of how high an order soever. So the lesson hence practically knew how little they know ! is, “ That we ought to stand up in defence of those whom God Trees whose fruit withereth, &c. Trees they are, for they are owns, how severe soever Satan and his instruments are in their planted in the Lord's vineyard, yet fruitless ones. censures of them and their conduct.' They who censure, (in Observe, They, whose fruit withereth, may be justy said to particular,) upright magistrates, upon every slip in their be- be without fruit. It is a sad thing when men seem to begin in haviour, may expect to hear, The Lord rebuke thee; and divine the Spirit, und end in the flesh; which is almost as como a rebukes are harder to be borne than careless sinners now think case as it is an awful one. for.

The text speaks of such, as being twice dead; one would think V. 10. But these speak evil of the things which they know not, to be once dead were enough; we none of us, till grace reten &c. They who speak evil of religion and godliness, speak evil us to a higher degree than ordinary, love to think of dying outlet of the things which they know not; for if they had known them, though this is appointed for us all. What then is the meaning they would have spoken well of them; for nothing but good and of this being twice deadTake Mr. Henry's answer in bis om excellent can be truly said of religion; and it is sad that any words ; "'i'hey had been once dead in their natural, iaka

, thing different or opposite should ever be justly said of any of its lapsed state ; but they seemed to recover, and, as a man in a professors; a religious life is the most safe, happy, comfortable, swoon, to be brought to life again, when they took upon then and honourable life that is.

the profession of the Christian religion ; but now they are dead Observe, Men are most apt to speak evil of those persons and again by the evident proofs they have given of their byparisi things that they know least of. How many had never suffered whatever they seemed, they had nothing truly vital io them. by slanderous longues, if they had been better known! On the Plucked up by the roots; as we commonly serve dead trees

, frakt other hand, retirement screens some even from just censure. which we expect no more fruit; they are dead, dead, dead,

But what they know naturally, &c. It is hard, if not impos- why cumber they the ground ? Away with them to the bre. sible, lo find any obstinate enemies to the Christian religion, V. 13. Raging waves of the sea; boisterous, noisy, and disa who do not in their stated course live in open or secret contra- morous ; full of talk and turbulency, but with litte, (if any,) sem diction to the very principles of natural religion: this many or meaning; think hard and uncharitable; but I am afraid it will appear too Foaming out their own shome; creating much uneasiness to true in the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of Go:l. men of better sense and calmer tempers, which yet will in the The apostle likens such to brute beasts, though they often think end turn to their own greater shame and just reproach. TN and boast themselves, if not the wisest, yet at leasi the williest psalmist's prayer ought always to be that of every honest and part of mankind.

good man; “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, (P In those things they corrupt themselves ; that is, in the plainest 25.21;) and if it will not, let me be unpreserved." Il benesty and most natural and necessary things; things that lie most signify little now, knavery will signify much less, and that was open and obvious to natural reason and conscience; even in very little while, those things they corrupt, debase, and defile themselves : the Řaging wares are a terror to sailing passengers ; but when fault, whatever it is, lies not in their understandings or apprehen they are got to port, the waves are forgotten, as if no lesager i sions, but in their depraved wills, and disordered appetites and being; their noise and terror are for ever ended. affections; they could and might have acted better, but then Wandering stars; planets that are erratic in their metsen they must have offered violence to those vile affections which keep not that steady, regular course which the fired ones de they obstinately chose rather to gratify than morrify.

but shift their stations, that one has sometimes much ado i V. 11. He represents them as followers of Cuin, and in v. 12, know where to find them. This allusion carries in it a brely 13, as atheistical and profane people, who thought little, and emblem of false teachers, who are sometimes here and serta perhaps believed not much, of God or a future world; as greedy times inere, so that one knows not where nor how to for the and covetous, who, so they could but gain present worldly ad- In the main things, at least, one would think something shoe vantages, cared not what came next ; rebels to God and man, be fixed and steady; and this might be without infallibilis, e who, like Core, ran into attempts in which they must assuredly any pretensions to it in us-poor mortals. In religion and på perish, as he did. V. 12. These are spots in your feasts of charitythe dynai orta

in stamina in which wise and good, honest and disinterested

tics, the great subjects of present debate, surely ibere are care love-feasts, so much spoken of by the ancients; these happened men might agree, without throwing the populace into the usage by whatever means or mischance to be admitted among them, anguish and distress of mind, or blowing up their passions 1980 but were spots in them, defiled and defiling, Observe, It is a rage and fury, without letting them know what they say, ir great reproach, though unjust and accidental, to religion, when whereof they affirm. they who profess it, and join in the most solemn institution of it, To whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. Fake are in heart and life unsuitable, and even contrary to it. teachers are to expect the worst of punishments in this art These are spots.

Yet how common in al Christian societies future world : not every one who teaches by mistake any ibine here on earth, the very best not excepted, are such blemishes that is not exactly true; (for who then in any public assetat The more is the pity! The Lord remedy'it in his due time and durst open a bible to teach others, unless he thought himsel way; not in men's blind and rigorous way of plucking up the equal or superior 10 the angels of God in heaven?) but ever como wheat with the tares ; but in the heaven we are waiting, hoping, who prevaricates, dissembles

, would lead others into beragerds and preparing for, there is none of this mad work, there are none and side-ways, that he may have opportunity to make a gainer of these dizorderly doings.

prey of them, or (in the apostle's phrase) to make mercket When they feast with you, they feed themselves without fear. Jaise of them, 2 Pet. 2. 3. But enough of this. As for the Arrant gluttons, no doubt, they were ; such as minded only the blackness of darkness for ever, I shall only say, that this terrible gratifying of tie ir appetites with the daintiness and plenty of expression, with all the horror it imports, belongs to fake brands their fare; they had no regard to Solomon's caution, Prov. 23. 2. ers, truly, not slande rously so called, who corrupt the sport de

Mr. Henry's note on this passage, is, In common ealing and God, and betray the souls of men. drinking a holy fear is necessary, much more in feasting; though ministers and people cautious, I know not what will. we may sometimes be more easily and insensibly overcome at The doom of this wicked people is declared. a common meal than at a feast; for, in the case supposed, we V. 14–16. This prophecy of Enoch we have no medio are less upon our guard, and sometimes, at least to some pero made of in any other part or place of scripture : yet not

the plenty of a feast is iis own antidote, as 10 others, it scripture, that there was such prophecy; one pla in text of certain may prove a dangerous snare,

"Clouds they are without water; which promise rain in time believe, especially when relating to a matter of fact : bent of drought, but perform nothing of what they promise. Such is maiters of Faith, necessary saving faith, God has not seen the the case of formal professors, who, at first setting out, promise blessed be his holy name he has not, to try us far; there is much, like early blossoming trees in a forward spring, but, in fundamental of Christian religion, truly so called

, which is the conclusion, bring forth little or no fruit.

inculcated over and over in the New Testament ; hy Fluch ** Carried about of winds; light and empty, easily driven about may know what the Holy Ghost does, and consequentes en this way or that, as the wind happens to sit; such are empty, ought to, lay the greatest stress upon. Some say that the moment amazing to hear many talk so confidently of so many things of church; others, that the apostle Juda vas itninediately inspired

If this will not make bado


vince all that are ungodly among them of all their 17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord and of all their hard speeches kwlich ungodly sin- | Jesus Christ; ners have spoken against him.

18 How that they told you there 'should be 16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking mockers in the last time, who should walk after after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh their own ungodly lusts. great swelling words, having men's persons in ad- 19 These be they who separate mthemselves, miration because of advantage.

sensual, having not the Spirit.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

with the notice of it: be that how it will, it is certain that there and 2 Tim. 3. 1, and 2 Pet. 3.3. We must not think it strange, was such a prophecy of ancient date, of long standing, and uni- but comfort ourselves with this, that (in the midst of all this versally received in the Old Testament church, and it is a confusion) Christ will maintain his church, and make good his main point of our New Testameni creed.

promise, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, Observe, Christ's coming to judgment was prophesied of as Matt. 16. 18. early as the middle of the patriarchal age, and was therefore 4. The more religion is ridiculed and persecuted, the faster even then a received and acknowledged Truth.

hold we should take and keep of it; being forewarned, we The Lord cometh with his holy myriads ; including both angels, should show that we are forearmed; under such trials we and the spirits of just men muie perfect. What a glorious time should stand firm, and not be soon shaken in mind, 2 Thes. 2.2. will that be, when Christ shall come with ten thousand of these ! V.19. These are they who separate, &c. Observe, 1. SenAnd we are told for what great and awful ends and purposes sualists are the worst separatists; they separate themselves from he will come so accompanied and attended, namely, to execute God, and Christ, and his church, to the devil, the world, and judgment upon all.

the flesh, by their ungodly courses and vicious practices; and Observe, It was spoken of then, so long ago, as a thing just that is a great deal worse than separation from any particular at hand; Behold, the Lord cometh; he is just a coming, he branch of the visible church on account of opinions, or modes will be upon you before you are aware, and, unless you be very and circumstances of external government or worship; though cautious and diligent, before you are provided to meet him com- many can patiently bear with the former, while they are plenfortably." He cometh, 1. To execute judgment upon the wicked.tifully and almost perpetually railing at the latter ; as if no sin 2. To convince them.

were damnable, but what they are pleased to call schism. Observe, Christ will condemn none without precedent, trial, 2. Sensual men have not the Spirit, that is, of God and Christ, and conviction ; such conviction as shall at least silence even the Spirit of holiness, which whoever has not is none of Christ's, themselves; they shall have no excuse or apology to make, that does not belong to him, Rom. 8. 9. they either can or dare then stand by ; then every mouth shall 3. The worse others are, the better should we endeavour and be stopped, the Judge and his sentence shall be (by all the im-approve ourselves to be ; the more busy Satan and his instrupartial) approved and applauded, and even the guilty condemn- ments are to pervert others in judgment or practice, the more ed criminals shall be speechless, though at present they want tenacious should we be of sound doctrine and a good conversanot bold and specious pleas, which they vent with all assurance tion, holding fast the faithful word as we have been (divinely) and contidence; and yet it is sure that the mock trials of pri- taught, holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience, Tit. soners in the jail among themselves, and the real trial at the 1. 9. 1 Tim.3. 9. bar before the proper judge, soon appear to be very different V. 20. Building up, &c. Observe, The way to hold fast things.

our profession, is, to hold on in it; having laid our foundation I cannot pass this fifteenth verse without taking notice how well in a sound faith, and a sincere upright heart, we must often, and how emphatically, the word ungodly is repeated in build upon it, make further progress continually; and we should it; no less than four times; ungodly men, ungodly sinners, take care with what materials we carry on our building, namely, ungodly deeds, and, as to the manner, ungodly committed gold, silver, precious stones, not wood, hay, stubble, 1 Cor.3. 12. Godly or ungodly signifies little with men now-a-days, unless Right principles and a regular conversation will stand the test it be to scoff at and deride even the very expressions; but it is even of the hery trial; but whatever we mix of baser alloy, not so in the language of the Holy Ghost.

though we be in the main sincere, we shall suffer loss by it; Observe, Omissions, as well as commissions, must be ac- and though our persons be saved, all that part of our work shall counted for in the day of judgment.

be consumed; and if we ourselves escape, it will be with great Observe further, Hard speeches of one another, especially if danger and difficulty, as from a house on fire on every side. ill grounded, will most certainly come into account at the judg- Praying in the Holy Ghost. Observe, 1. Prayer is the nurse ment of the great day. Let us all take care in time. “If thou," of faith ; the way to build up ourselves in our most holy faith, says one of our good old puritans," smite (a miscalled heretic, is, to continue instant in prayer, Rom. 12. 12. or) a schismatic, and God find a real saint bleeding, look thou to 2. Our prayers are then most likely to prevail, when we pray it, how thou wilt answer it." It may be too late to say before the in the Holy Ghost, under his guidance and influence, according angel, that it was an error, Ec. 5.6. I only here allude to that to the rule of his word, with faith, fervency, and constant perexpression of the divinely inspired writer.

severing importunily ; this is praying in the Holy Ghost, wheÎn the sixtenth verse the apostle enlarges further on the cha-ther it be done by or without a set prescribed form. racter of these evil men and seducers; they are murmurers, V. 21. Keep yourselves, &c. 1. Keep up the grace of complainers, &c.

love to God in its lively vigorous actings and exercises in your Observe, A murmuring complaining temper, indulged and souls.” 2. “Take heed of throwing yourselves out of the love expressed, lays men under a very ill character; such are very of God to you, or its delightful, cheering, strengthening maniweak at least, and for the most part very wicked; they murmur festations; keep yourselves in the way of God, if you would against God and his providence, against men and their conduct; continue in his love." they are angry at every thing that happens, and never pleased Looking for the mercy, &c. 1. Eternal life is to be looked with their own state and condition in the world, as not thinking for only through mercy; mercy is our only plea, not merit; or it good enough for them.

if merit, not our own, but another's, who has merited for us Such walk after their own lusts; their will, their appetite, what otherwise we could have laid no claim to, nor have entertheir fancy, are their only rule and law. Mr. Henry's note tained any well-grounded hope of. here, is, That they who please their sinful appetites, are most 2. It is said, not only through the mercy of God as our Creaprone to yield to their ungovernable passions.

tor, but through the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ as RedeemLastly, The apostle here gives exhortation to those to whom er; all who come to heaven, must come thither through our he wrote, which, with the doxology in the two last verses, con- Lord Jesus Christ ; for there is no other name under heaven cludes the epistle.

given among men by which we must be saved, but that of the V.17-25. V.17. Bul, beloved, remember, &c. "Remember, Lord Jesus only, Acts 1. 12, compared with v. 10. take heed that ye think it not strange (so as to stumble and be 3. A believing expectation of eternal life will arm us against offended, and have your faith staggered by il) that such people the snares of sin, (2 Pet. 3. 14;) a lively faith of the blessed as the seducers before described and warned against should hope will help us to mortify our cursed lusts. arise (and that early) in the Christian church, seeing all this V. 22, 23. And of some have compassion, &c. Observe, was foretold by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, and, con- 1. We ought to do all we can to rescue others out of the snare sequently, the accomplishment of it in the event, is a confirma- of the devil, that they may be saved from (or recovered, when tion of your faith, instead of being in the least an occasion of entangled therein, out of) dangerous errors, or pernicious pracshaking and unsettling you therein.”

tices. We are not only (under God) our own keepers, but 1. They who would persuade, must make it evident that they every man ought to be (as much as in him lies) his brother's sincerely love those whom they would persuade; “Bitter words keeper ; none but a wicked Cain will contradict this, Gen. 4.9. and hard usage never did, nor ever will, convince, much less We must watch over one another, faithfully (yet prudently) persuade, any body.”

reprove each other, and set a good example to all about us. 2. The words which inspired persons have spoken, (or writ- This must be done with compassion, making a difference. ten,) duly remembered and reflected on, are the best preserva- How is that? We must distinguish between the weak and the tive against dangerous errors; this will always be so, till men wilful. have learned to speak better than God himself.

1. Of some we must have compassion, treat them with all 3. We ought not to be offended if errors and persecutions tenderness, restore them in the spirit of meekness, not be needarise and prevail in the Christian church; this was foretold, lessly harsh and severe in our censures of them and their acand therefore we should not think worse of Christ's person, tions, nor proud and haughty in our conduct toward them, not doctrine, or cross, when we see it fulfilled. See 1 Tim. 4. 1, implacable, not averse to reconciliation with them, or admitting

20 But ye, beloved, building, "up yourselves on of the fire; hating even the garment 'spotted by your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, the flesh.

21. Keep Pyourselves in the love of God, looking 24 Now 'unto him that is able to keep "you from sfor the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eter- falling, and to present you faultless before the prenal life.

sence of his glory with exceeding joy, 22 And of some have compassion, making a dif- 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory ference:

and majesty, dominion and power, both now and 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out ever. Amen.

[blocks in formation]

them to the friendship they formerly had with us, when they (for what has once been done can never be rendered undon, give evident or even strongly hopeful tokens of a sincere re- even by Omnipotence itself, for that implies a contradictita) pentance: if God has forgiven them, why should not we? We but as those whose faults shall not be impuied to their ruin infinitely more need his forgiveness than they do, or can do, which, but for God's mercy, and a Saviour's merits, they might ours; though perhaps neither they nor we are justly or suffi- most justly have been. ciently sensible of this.

Before the presence of his glory. Observe, 1. The glory of the 2. Others save with fear; urging upon them the terrors of the Lord will shortly be present: we now look upon it as distant, Lord ; Endeavour to frighten them out of their sins; preach and too many look upon it as uncertain, but it will come, and it hell and damnation to them;" so good Mr. Henry.

will be manifest and apparent, every eye shall we kis, Rer, But what if prudence and caution in administering even the 1.7. This is now the object of our faith, but hereafter, (and most just and severe reproofs, be what are primarily and chietly surely it cannot now be long.) it will be the object of cur sense ; here intimated; (I do but offer it for consideration ;) as if he whom we now believe in, him we shall shortly see, to our thhad said, “ Fear lest you frustrate your own good intentions speakable joy and comfort, or inexpressible terror and coesterand honest designs by rash and imprudent management, that nation. See 1 Pet. 1.8. you do not harden, instead of reclaiming, even where greater Observe, 2. All real sincere believers shall be presented, et degrees of severity are requisite, than in the immmediately the Lord Redeemer's appearance and coming, by him bal elow foregoing instance." We are often apt to overdo, when wo rious Head, to the Father, in order to his approbation, accepis are sure we mean honestly, and think we are right in the main ; ance, and reward; they were given him of the Father

, and a yet the very worst are not needlessly or rashly, or to extremity, all that were so given him he has lost none, nor will lose an to be provoked ; lest they be thereby further hardened through one, not an individual, a single soul, but will present them al our default.

perfectly holy and happy, when he shall surrender his medite Haling even the garment, &c. that is, keeping yourselves at torial kingdom to his God, and our God; his Fulher, sad mu the utmost distance from what is or appears evil, and designing Father, John 6. 39, with ch. 17. 12. 1 Cor. 15. 24., and endeavouring that others may do so too; avoid, as Mr. Observe, 3. When believers shall be presented faultless

, it Henry speaks, all that leads to sin, or that looks like sin, 1 Thes. will be with exceeding joy. Alas! now our faults till us with 5. 22.

fears, doubts, and sorrows; but be of good cheer; if we et Lastly, The apostle concludes this epistle with solemn ascrip- sincere, we shall be, our dear Redeemer has undertaken for the tion of glory to the great God. Note, Whatever is the sub- we shall be presented faultless; where there is no sin, there ject or argument we have been treating of, ascribing glory to will be no sorrow; where there is the perfection of boles God is filtest for us to conclude with, v. 24, 25. Note further, God is able, and he is as willing as able, to and will do all this, is worthy to have glory, majesty, derius

there will be the perfection of joy. Surely, the God who can keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the pre- and power, ascribed to him, both now and for ever! And to the sence of his glory; not as those who have never been faulty, I we may well, with the apostle, affix our hearty Amen.

« PreviousContinue »