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Exhortations to watchfulness, to sobriety, to love, and 10 obedience, enforced
by our relation to God, our redemption by the blood of Christ, the vanily of worldly enjoyments, and the perpetuity of the gospel. Ch. i. 13, &c.
13 THEREFORE girding up the loins of your mind, and being
1 sober, hope unto the end, for the grace which shall be brought unto you, in the great day of the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the 15 former lusts in the time of your ignorance ; but as he hath called
you to this glorious light is holy, be you yourselves also holy in the 16 whole of your conversation : For it is written, “ Be ye holy, for I 17 am holy." (Lev. xi. 14.) And if ye call upon the Father, who,
without respect of persons, judgeth every one, according to his
work, converse during the time of your sojourning in the fear of 18 God. Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible
things, as with silver and gold, from your vain conversation re. 19 ceived by tradition from your fathers ; but with the precious blood 20 of Christ, as a lamb unblemished and unspotted ; who was indeed
fore-appointed from the foundation of the world, but made mani21 fest in these latter times for your sakes; who by him trust in God
that raised him from the dead, and gave him glory, that your 22 faith and hope might be in God. Having purified your souls by
obedience to the truth, through the Spirit, to an undissembled!
brotherly-love ; love one another out of a pure heart, intensely : 23 having been regenerated, not by corruptible seed, but by incor
ruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and endureth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the
flower of the grass. The grass withereth, and the flower there25 of falleth ; but the word of the Lord abideth for ever. Now this
is the word, which is preached to you in the gospel.
REFLECTIONS. Let it be matter of our daily delightful meditation, that while we clearly discern the uncertainty of all human dependencies, which wither like the grass, and fall like the flower of the field, the word of God is permanent and immutabie. Let us cheerfully repose our souls on this stable, unfailing security; gratefully acknowledging the goodness of God, that he hath condescended to lay a foundation for our hope, so firm and durable as his own infallible word, and to make that word the incorruptible seed of our regeneration. If we have indeed experimentally known its efficacy and power, so that our souls are purified by obeying the truth, let us carefully express our obedicace to it, by unuissembled, fervent brotherly-love; and animated by our glorious and exalted hopes as Christians, even that divine and illustrious hope of the grace to be brought unto us at the revelarion of Jesus Christ, let us set ourselves to the vigorous discharge of every duty,
as knowing that we should be children of obedience, having the excuse of ignorance no longer to plead for the indulgence of our lusts, but by a holy God, being called with a holy calling, and instructed to invoke him, at once, as our gracious Father and impartial Judge.
It is worthy of our special remark, that the blessed apostle urges us to pass the transitory and limited time of our sojourning here in fear, from the consideration of our being redeemed by the blood of the Son of God, which is a price of infinitely more value than all the treasures of the universe. And certainly there is a mighty energy in the argument ; for as it is a very amiable, so it is also a very awful consideration. What heart so hardened, as not to tremble at trampling on the blood of the Son of God, and frustrating, as far as in him lies, the important design of his death ? Frustrating the design of a scheme, projected from eternity in the councils of heaven, and at length made manifest with every circumstance to convince our judgments, and engage our affections. And while we are reflecting on the resurrection and exaltation of our Redeemer, as the great foundation of our eternal hopes, let us dread to be found opposing him, whom God hath established on his own exalted throne ; and with the utmost reverence let us kiss the Son ; in token of our grateful acceptance of his mercy, and cheerful and humble submission to his authority.
He urges them, by their Christian frivileges, to receive the word with meek
ness, to continue their regards to Christ, as the foundation of their hones and by their behaviour adorn his gospel. Ch. ii. 1-12.
I THEREFORE laying aside all malignity, and all deceit, 2 1 and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings; as new
born infants, desire that rational and unmingled milk the word of 3 God,] that ye may grow thereby ; since you have tasted that the 4 Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as to a living stone, disal5 lowed indeed of men, yet chosen of God, and precious, ye also
as living stones are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood,
to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is contained in the scripture, “ Behold I lay in Sion
a chief corner-stone, chosen, precious; and he that confideth in 7 it, shall not be ashamed.” (Is. xxviii. 16.) To you therefore
who believe, it is precious, but as for those who are disobedient,
the stone which the builders rejected, is become the head of the 8 corner; and to themselves a stone of stumbling, and a rock of of
fence. They being disobedient, stumble at the word; to which 9 also they were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a
holy nation, a peculiar peoplc; that you should declare the virtues
of him, who hath called you out of darkness, into his marvellous 10 light: Who once were not a people, but are now the people of
God: who had not obtained inercy, but have now obtained mer: 11.cy-Beloved, I beseech you as strangers and sojourners, that ye abstain from carnal lusts, which make war against the soul ; 12 having your conversation honest and honourable among the
Gentiles, that whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, they being eye-witnesses of your good works, may glorify God in the day of their visitation, in which the gospel is preached among them.
REFLECTIONS. Let us examine our own hearts seriously and impartially, with respect to those branches of the Christian temper, and those views of the Christian life, which are exhibited in this excellent portion of holy writ. Let us especially inquire, in what manner, and to what purposes we receive the word of God. Is it with the simplicity of babes, or children? do we desire it, as they desire the breast ? do we lay aside those evil affections of mind, which would incapacitate us for receiving it in a becoming manner? And does it conduce to our spiritual nourishment and growth in grace ? have we indeed tasted, that the Lord is gracious ? do we experimentally know, that to the true believer the Redeemer is inestimably precious ? have we indeed come to him, as to a living stone ; and notwithstanding all the neglect and contempt with which he may be treated by many infatuated and miserable men, by wretches who are bent on their own destruction, do we re. gard, and build on him as our great and only foundation ? and do we feel that spiritual life diffused through our souls, which is the genuine consequence of a real and vital union with him ?-If these be our happy circumstances, we shall never be ashamed or confounded; for this is that foundation which God hath laid in Zion; and the united efforts of carth and hell to rase or overturn it, will be scattered as chaff and stubble, and by the breath of God be rendered utterly vain and ineffectual.
Are we conscious of our high dignity, as we are a chosen genera. tion, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people ? Are our hearts suitably affected with a sense of the divine goodness, in calling us to be a people, who once were not a people ; and us beloved, who were not beloved ; in leading us from the deplorable darkness of ignorance and vice, in which our ancestors were involved, into the marvellous light of this gospel ; yea, in dissipating those thick clouds of prejudice and error, which once vailed this sacred light from our eyes, that its enlivening beams might break in upon our souls ? And are we now showing forth his praises ? Are we now offering to him spiritual sacrifices, in humble dependence on Christ, our great High Priest, who continually intercedes for our acceptance with God? Then shall we indeed make our calling and our election sure, and shall ere long appear in his heavenly temple, both as kings and priests unto God, to participate of our Redeemer's glory, to reign with him, and minis. ter to him for ever.
Let us be careful, in the mean time, to remember, that we are strangers and sojourners on earth, as all our fathers were ; and that our days in this transitory life are but as a shadow that declineth; and let us learn to regard the appetites of our animal nature, and the interests of this mortal life, with a noble superiority, reflecting, for how
little a space of time they will solicit our attention. And as for fleshly lusts, let us consider them as making war against the soul ; arming ourselves with that resolution and fortitude which is necessary to prevent their gaining a victory over us; which would be, at once, our disgrace and our ruin. There is an additional argument to be derived, for a strenuous opposition to them, from our circumstances and situation in the present world; where there are so many enemies to our holy religion, who cannot be more effectually silenced than by our good conversation. Let it be, therefore, our principal care to cut off from them the occasion of. speaking against us as evil-doers; and by exhibiting a clear and unexceptionable pattern of good works in our daily conversation, let us invite and allure them to improve the day of their visitation, and glorify their father who is in heaven.
The Apostle urges a due care as to relative duties ; subjection to governors and to masters, though harsh and severe ; enforcing all by the patience of our Lord Jesus under his sufferings. Ch. ii. 13, &c. 13 RE subject to every human constitution of civil government, for 14 D the Lord's sake; whether it be the king, as supreme, or to
governors as sent by him, in order to the punishment of evil-do15 ers, but to the praise of them who do well. For so is the will of
God, that by doing good ye should bridle in the ignorance of 16 foolish men. As free, yet not using your liberty as a veil of 17 wickedness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love 18 the brotherhood. Reverence God. Honour the King-Ye do
mestic servants, be in subjection to your own masters with all
reverence ; not only to the good and the gentle, but also to the 19 froward. For this is graceful and deserves applause, if any one
for the sake of conscience endure grief, though he suffer unjust20 ly : For what glory is it, if, when ye have committed an offence
and are buffeted for it, ye endure il ? But if, when you have done
good and yet suffer, ye endure it, this is graceful and acceptable 21 before God. For to this you were called; because Christ him
self suffered for you, leaving you* an example, that you might 22 follow his footsteps: who did no sin, neither was deceit found in 23 his mouth; who being reviled, reviled not again ; and suffering,
threatened not; but committed himself to him, that judgeth 24 righteously. Who himself bare our sins in his own body on the
tree, that we being freed from sins, might live unto righteous25 ness; by whose stripes ye are healed. For ye were like sheep
going astray, but now ye are turned again to the shepherd and bishop of your souls.
* The Alex. and other MSS. have you, which best suits the sense and connection.
REFLECTIONS. As the honour of God is eminently concerned in the regard shewn by his people to the relative duties, let us out of a due respect to that, pay a very careful and diligent attention to them; that the ignorance of foolish men, of those who reproach our good conversation in Christ, may be utterly silenced. Let magistrates especially be reverenced, and in all things lawful, obeyed. And if they desire to secure reverence to their persons and authority, let them remember the end and design of their office, namely, to be a terror to evil doers, and a praise and encouragement to the regular and virtuous. And let us, who rejoice in our liberty, that liberty wherewith Christ hath made 268 free, be very careful, that it be not abused as a cloak of licentiousness ; but as we would manifest our fear and reverence of God, let us remember to honour the king ; yea, to render to every man, in every station and character, the esteem and respect which he justly claims; feeling at the same time, the constraints of a peculiar affec. tion to all those who are united to us, by the endearing character of our brethren in the Lord. Should men who fill superior stations and relations in life, not be so regular and without exception, in their private and public deportment as they ought, let us perform our duty, not only to the gentle and obliging, but to the perverse and froward ; remembering our Lord's example, which was set before us that we may follow his steps. And let his marvellous love in bearing our sins in his own sacred body on the tree, endear both his example and his precepts to our souls, and constrain us to a holy conformity to him.
Since he who is the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls, came on the most gracious and condescending errand of seeking and saving that which was lost, of gathering us into his fold, who were wandering in the way to perdition ; let us shew so much gratitude and wisdom, as not to wander any more ; but as we regard our security and our very life, let us keep our shepherd in our eye, submit ourselves to his pastoral inspection, and cheerfully follow him, in whatsoever path he shall condescend to conduct us.
The duties of christian wives and husbands. Ch. ii. 1–7.
TT IKEWISE, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands;
I that if any be disobedient to the word of the gospel, they may without the word be gained over by the deportment of their wives; 3 belıolding your chaste conversation in the fear of God. Whose
adorning let it not be merely external, in the plaiting the hair, in 4 putting on gold, or in wearing of apparel ; but the hidden man of
the heart, in what is incorruptible ; even the ornament of a meek 5 and quiet spirit, which is highly precious in the sight of God. For
so the holy women also, in ancient times*, who hoped in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands : 6 As Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord : whose daughters
* So M. and W. “ Long since.” D.