1 Peter 1
The apostle describes the persons to whom he writes, and salutes them
(1 Peter 1:1,2),
blesses God for their regeneration to a lively hope of eternal
(1 Peter 1:3-5),
in the hope of this salvation he shows they had great cause of
rejoicing, though for a little while they were in heaviness and
affliction, for the trial of their faith, which would produce joy
unspeakable and full of glory,
1 Peter 1:6-9.
This is that salvation which the ancient prophets foretold and the
angels desire to look into,
1 Peter 1:10-12.
He exhorts them to sobriety and holiness, which he presses from the
consideration of the blood of Jesus, the invaluable price of man's
(1 Peter 1:13-21),
and to brotherly love, from the consideration of their regeneration,
and the excellency of their spiritual state,
1 Peter 1:22-25.
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered
throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,
through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and
sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and
peace, be multiplied.
In this inscription we have three parts:--
I. The author of it, described,
1. By his name--Peter. His first name was Simon, and
Jesus Christ gave him the surname of Peter, which signifies a
rock, as a commendation of his faith, and to denote that he should
be an eminent pillar in the church of God,
2. By his office--an apostle of Jesus Christ. The word signifies
one sent, a legate, a messenger, any one sent in Christ's name
and about his work; but more strictly it signifies the highest office
in the Christian church.
1 Corinthians 12:28,
God hath set some in the church, first apostles. Their dignity
and pre-eminence lay in these things:--They were immediately chosen by
Christ himself,--they were first witnesses, then preachers, of the
resurrection of Christ, and so of the entire
gospel-dispensation,--their gifts were excellent and
extraordinary,--they had a power of working miracles, not at all times,
but when Christ pleased,--they were led into all truth, were endowed
with the spirit of prophecy, and they had an extent of power and
jurisdiction beyond all others; every apostle was a universal bishop in
all churches, and over all ministers. In this humble manner Peter,
(1.) Asserts his own character as an apostle. Hence learn, A man may
lawfully acknowledge, and sometimes is bound to assert, the gifts and
graces of God to him. To pretend to what we have not is hypocrisy; and
to deny what we have is ingratitude.
(2.) He mentions his apostolical function as his warrant and call to
write this epistle to these people. Note, It concerns all, but
especially ministers, to consider well their warrant and call from God
to their work. This will justify them to others, and give them inward
support and comfort under all dangers and discouragements.
II. The persons to whom this epistle was addressed, and they are
1. By their external condition--Strangers dispersed throughout
Pontus, Galatia, &c. They were chiefly Jews, descended (as Dr.
Prideaux thinks) from those Jews who were translated from Babylon, by
order of Antiochus king of Syria, about two hundred years before the
coming of Christ, and placed in the cities of Asia Minor. It is very
likely that our apostle had been among them, and converted them, being
the apostle of the circumcision, and that he afterwards wrote this
epistle to them from Babylon, where multitudes of the Jewish nation
then resided. At present, their circumstances were poor and afflicted.
(1.) The best of God's servants may, through the hardships of times and
providences, be dispersed about, and forced to leave their native
countries. Those of whom the world was not worthy have been forced to
wander in mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
(2.) We ought to have a special regard to the dispersed persecuted
servants of God. These were the objects of this apostle's particular
care and compassion. We should proportion our regard to the excellency
and to the necessity of the saints.
(3.) The value of good people ought not to be estimated by their
present external condition. Here was a set of excellent people, beloved
of God, and yet strangers, dispersed and poor in the world; the eye of
God was upon them in all their dispersions, and the apostle was
tenderly careful to write to them for their direction and
2. They are described by their spiritual condition: Elect according
to the foreknowledge of God the Father, &c. These poor strangers,
who were oppressed and despised in the world, were nevertheless in high
esteem with the great God, and in the most honourable state that any
person can be in during this life; for they were,
(1.) Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.
Election is either to an office: so Saul was the man whom the Lord
chose to be king
(1 Samuel 10:24),
and our Lord says to his apostles, Have not I chosen you twelve?
or it is to a church-state, for the enjoyment of special privileges:
thus Israel was God's elect
For thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God; the Lord thy God
hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself above all people
that are upon the face of the earth; or it is to eternal salvation:
God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through
sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. This is the
election here spoken of, importing God's gracious decree or resolution
to save some, and bring them, through Christ, by proper means, to
[1.] This election is said to be according to the foreknowledge of
God. Foreknowledge may be taken in two ways:--First, for
mere prescience, foresight, or understanding, that such a thing will
be, before it comes to pass. Thus a mathematician certainly foreknows
that at such a time there will be an eclipse. This sort of
foreknowledge is in God, who at one commanding view sees all things
that ever were, or are, or ever will be. But such a prescience is not
the cause why any thing is so or so, though in the event it certainly
will be so, as the mathematician who foresees an eclipse does not
thereby cause that eclipse to be. Secondly, Foreknowledge
sometimes signifies counsel, appointment, and approbation.
Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of
God. The death of Christ was not only foreseen, but fore-ordained,
1 Peter 1:20.
Take it thus here; so the sense is, elect according to the counsel,
ordination, and free grace of God.
[2.] It is added, according to the foreknowledge of God the
Father. By the Father we are here to understand the first person of
the blessed Trinity. There is an order among the three persons, though
no superiority; they are equal in power and glory, and there is an
agreed economy in their works. Thus, in the affair of man's redemption,
election is by way of eminency ascribed to the Father, as
reconciliation is to the Son and sanctification to the Holy Ghost,
though in each of these one person is not so entirely interested as to
exclude the other two. Hereby the persons of the Trinity are more
clearly discovered to us, and we are taught what obligations we are
under to each of them distinctly.
(2.) They were elect through sanctification of the Spirit, unto
obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. The end and
last result of election is eternal life and salvation; but, before this
can be accomplished, every elect person must be sanctified by the
Spirit, and justified by the blood of Jesus. God's decree for man's
salvation always operates through sanctification of the Spirit and
sprinkling of the blood of Jesus. By sanctification here understand,
not a federal sanctification only, but a real one, begun in
regeneration, whereby we are renewed after the image of God and made
new creatures, and carried on in the daily exercise of holiness,
mortifying our sins more and more, and living to God in all the duties
of a Christian life, which is here summed up in one word,
obedience, comprehending all the duties of Christianity. By
the Spirit some would have the apostle to mean the spirit of
man, the subject sanctified. The legal or typical sanctification
operated no further than the purifying of the flesh, but the Christian
dispensation takes effect upon the spirit of man, and purifies that.
Others, with better reason, think that by spirit is meant the Holy
Ghost, the author of sanctification. He renews the mind, mortifies our
and produces his excellent fruits in the hearts of Christians,
This sanctification of the Spirit implies the use of means. Sanctify
them through thy truth; thy word is truth,
Unto obedience. This word, as it is pointed in our translation,
is referred to what goes before it, and denotes the end of
sanctification, which is, to bring rebellious sinners to obedience
again, to universal obedience, to obey the truth and gospel of Christ:
You have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the
1 Peter 1:22.
(3.) They were elected also to the sprinkling of the blood of
Jesus. They were designed by God's decree to be sanctified by the
Spirit, and to be purified by the merit and blood of Christ. Here is a
manifest allusion to the typical sprinklings of blood under the law,
which language these Jewish converts understood very well. The blood of
the sacrifices must not only be shed but sprinkled, to denote that the
benefits designed thereby are applied and imputed to the offerers. Thus
the blood of Christ, the grand and all-sufficient sacrifice, typified
by the legal sacrifices, was not only shed, but must be sprinkled and
communicated to every one of these elect Christians, that through
faith in his blood they may obtain remission of sin,
This blood of sprinkling justifies before God
seals the covenant between God and us, of which the Lord's supper is a
cleanses from all sin
(1 John 1:7),
and admits us into heaven,
[1.] God hath elected some to eternal life, some, not all; persons, not
[2.] All that are chosen to eternal life as the end are chosen to
obedience as the way.
[3.] Unless a person be sanctified by the Spirit, and sprinkled with
the blood of Jesus, there will be no true obedience in the life.
[4.] There is a consent and co-operation of all the persons of the
Trinity in the affair of man's salvation, and their acts are
commensurate one to another: whoever the Father elects the Spirit
sanctifies unto obedience, and the Son redeems and sprinkles with his
[5.] The doctrine of the Trinity lies at the foundation of all revealed
religion. If you deny the proper deity of the Son and Holy Spirit, you
invalidate the redemption of the one and the gracious operations of the
other, and by this means destroy the foundation of your own safety and
III. The salutation follows: Grace unto you, and peace be
multiplied. The blessings desired for them are grace and
1. Grace--the free favour of God, with all its proper effects,
pardoning, healing, assisting, and saving.
2. Peace. All sorts of peace may be here intended, domestic,
civil, ecclesiastical peace in the church, and spiritual peace with
God, with the feeling of it in our own consciences.
3. Here is the request or prayer, in relations to these blessings--that
they may be multiplied, which implies that they were already possessed
in some degree of these blessings, and he wishes them the continuation,
the increase, and the perfection of them. Learn,
(1.) Those who possess spiritual blessings in their own souls earnestly
desire the communication of the same to others. The grace of God is a
generous, not a selfish principle.
(2.) The best blessings we can desire for ourselves, or one for
another, are grace and peace, with the multiplication of them;
therefore the apostles so often make this their prayer in the beginning
and end of their epistles.
(3.) Solid peace cannot be enjoyed where there is no true grace; first
grace, then peace. Peace without grace is mere stupidity; but grace may
be true where there is for a time no actual peace; as Heman was
distracted with terror, and Christ was once in an agony.
(4.) The increase of grace and peace, as well as the first gift of
them, is from God. Where he gives true grace he will give more grace;
and every good man earnestly desires the improvement and multiplication
of these blessings in himself and others.
|Privileges of Christians.
||A. D. 66.|
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto
a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that
fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation
ready to be revealed in the last time.
We come now to the body of the epistle, which begins with,
I. A congratulation of the dignity and happiness of the state of these
believers, brought in under the form of a thanksgiving to God. Other
epistles begin in like manner,
2 Corinthians 1:3,Eph+1:3.
Here we have,
1. The duty performed, which is blessing God. A man blesses God by a
just acknowledgment of his excellency and blessedness.
2. The object of this blessing described by his relation to Jesus
Christ: The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here are
three names of one person, denoting his threefold office.
(1.) He is Lord, a universal king or sovereign.
(2.) Jesus, a priest or Saviour.
(3.) Christ, a prophet, anointed with the Spirit and furnished
with all gifts necessary for the instruction, guidance, and salvation
of his church. This God, so blessed, is the God of Christ according to
his human nature, and his Father according to his divine nature.
3. The reasons that oblige us to this duty of blessing God, which are
comprised in his abundant mercy. All our blessings are owing to
God's mercy, not to man's merit, particularly regeneration. He hath
begotten us again, and this deserves our thanksgiving to God,
especially if we consider the fruit it produces in us, which is that
excellent grace of hope, and that not such a vain, dead, perishing hope
as that of worldlings and hypocrites, but a lively hope, a living,
strong, quickening, and durable hope, as that hope must needs be that
has such a solid foundation as the resurrection of Jesus Christ from
the dead. Learn,
(1.) A good Christian's condition is never so bad but he has great
reason still to bless God. As a sinner has always reason to mourn,
notwithstanding his present prosperity, so good people, in the midst of
their manifold difficulties, have reason still to rejoice and bless
(2.) In our prayers and praises we should address God as the Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ; it is only through him that we and our
services are accepted.
(3.) The best of men owe their best blessings to the abundant mercy of
God. All the evil in the world is from man's sin, but all the good in
it is from God's mercy. Regeneration is expressly ascribed to
the abundant mercy of God, and so are all the rest; we subsist entirely
upon divine mercy. Of the nature of regeneration, see on
(4.) Regeneration produces a lively hope of eternal life. Every
unconverted person is a hopeless creature; whatever he pretends to of
that kind is all confidence and presumption. The right Christian hope
is what a man is begotten again unto by the Spirit of God; it is not
from nature, but free grace. Those who are begotten to a new and
spiritual life are begotten to a new and spiritual hope.
(5.) The hope of a Christian has this excellency, it is a living hope.
The hope of eternal life in a true Christian is a hope that keeps him
alive, quickens him, supports him, and conducts him to heaven. Hope
invigorates and spirits up the soul to action, to patience, to
fortitude, and perseverance to the end. The delusive hopes of the
unregenerate are vain and perishing; the hypocrite and his hope expire
and die both together,
(6.) The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the
ground or foundation of a Christian's hope. The resurrection of Christ
is the act of the Father as a Judge, of the Son as a conqueror. His
resurrection demonstrates that the Father accepts his death in full
discharge for our ransom, that he is victorious over death, the grave,
and all our spiritual enemies; and it is also an assurance of our own
resurrection. There being an inseparable union between Christ and his
flock, they rise by virtue of his resurrection as a head, rather than
by virtue of his power as a Judge. We have risen with Christ,
From all this taken together, Christians have two firm and solid
foundations whereon to build their hope of eternal life.
II. Having congratulated these people on their new birth, and the hope
of everlasting life, the apostle goes on to describe that life under
the notion of an inheritance, a most proper way of speaking to
these people; for they were poor and persecuted, perhaps turned out of
their inheritances to which they were born; to allay this grievance, he
tells them they were new-born to a new inheritance, infinitely better
than what they had lost. Besides, they were most of them Jews, and so
had a great affection to the land of Canaan, as the land of their
inheritance, settled upon them by God himself; and to be driven out
from abiding in the inheritance of the Lord was looked upon as a sore
1 Samuel 26:19.
To comfort them under this they are put in mind of a noble inheritance
reserved in heaven for them, such a one that the land of Canaan was but
a mere shadow in comparison with it. Here note,
1. Heaven is the undoubted inheritance of all the children of God; all
that are born again are born to an inheritance, as a man makes his
child his heir; the apostle argues, If children, then heirs,
God giveth his gifts unto all, but the inheritance to none but his
children; those that are his sons and daughters by regeneration and
adoption receive the promise of eternal inheritance,
This inheritance is not our purchase, but our Father's gift; not wages
that we merit, but the effect of grace, which first makes us children
and then settles this inheritance upon us by a firm unalterable
2. The incomparable excellencies of this inheritance, which are
(1.) It is incorruptible, in which respect it is like its Maker, who is
called the incorruptible God,
All corruption is a change from better to worse, but heaven is without
change and without end; the house is eternal in the heavens, and the
possessors must subsist for ever, for their corruptible must put on
1 Corinthians 15:53.
(2.) This inheritance is undefiled, like the great high priest that is
now in possession of it, who is holy, harmless, and undefiled,
Sin and misery, the two grand defilements that spoil this world, and
mar its beauty, have no place there.
(3.) It fadeth not away, but always retains its vigour and beauty, and
remains immarcescible, ever entertaining and pleasing the saints who
possess it, without the least weariness or distaste.
(4.) "Reserved in heaven for you," which expression teaches us,
[1.] That it is a glorious inheritance, for it is in heaven, and all
that is there is glorious,
[2.] It is certain, a reversion in another world, safely kept and
preserved till we come to the possession of it.
[3.] The persons for whom it is reserved are described, not by their
names, but by their character: for you, or us, or every one that
is begotten again to a lively hope. This inheritance is
preserved for them, and none but them; all the rest will be shut out
III. This inheritance being described as future, and distant both in
time and place, the apostle supposes some doubt or uneasiness yet to
remain upon the minds of these people, whether they might not possibly
fall short by the way. "Though the happiness be safe in heaven, yet we
are still upon earth, liable to abundance of temptations, miseries, and
infirmities. Are we in such a safe state that we shall certainly come
thither?" To this he answers that they should be safely guarded and
conducted thither; they should be kept and preserved from all such
destructive temptations and injuries as would prevent their safe
arrival at eternal life. The heir to an earthly estate has no assurance
that he shall live to enjoy it, but the heirs of heaven shall certainly
be conducted safely to the possession of it. The blessing here promised
is preservation: You are kept; the author of it is God;
the means in us made use of for that end are our own faith and
care; the end to which we are preserved is salvation; and the
time when we shall see the safe end and issue of all is the last
1. Such is the tender care of God over his people that he not only
gives them grace, but preserves them unto glory. Their being kept
implies both danger and deliverance; they may be attacked, but shall
not be overcome.
2. The preservation of the regenerate to eternal life is the effect of
God's power. The greatness of the work, the number of enemies, and our
own infirmities, are such that no power but what is almighty can
preserve the soul through all unto salvation; therefore the scripture
often represents man's salvation as the effect of divine power,
2 Corinthians 12:9,Ro+14:4.
3. Preservation by God's power does not supersede man's endeavour and
care for his own salvation; here are God's power and man's faith, which
implies an earnest desire of salvation, a reliance upon Christ
according to his invitations and promises, a vigilant care to do every
thing pleasing to God and avoid whatever is offensive, an abhorrence of
temptations, a respect to the recompence of reward, and
persevering diligence in prayer. By such a patient, operating,
conquering faith, we are kept under the assistance of divine grace,
unto salvation; faith is a sovereign preservative of the soul through a
state of grace unto a state of glory.
4. This salvation is ready to be revealed in the last time. Here
are three things asserted about the salvation of the saints:--
(1.) That it is now prepared, and made ready, and reserved in heaven
(2.) Though it be made ready now, yet it is in a great measure hidden
and unrevealed at present, not only to the ignorant, blind world, that
never enquire after it, but even to the heirs of salvation themselves.
It does not yet appear what we shall be,
1 John 3:2.
(3.) That it shall be fully and completely revealed in the last
time, or at the last day of judgment. Life and immortality are
now brought to light by the gospel, but this life will be revealed
more gloriously at death, when the soul shall be admitted into the
presence of Christ, and behold his glory; and even beyond this there
will be a further and a final revelation of the amplitude and
transcendency of the saints' felicity at the last day, when their
bodies shall be raised and re-united to their souls, and judgment shall
pass upon angels and men, and Christ shall publicly honour and applaud
his servants in the face of all the world.
|Privileges of Christians.
||A. D. 66.|
6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need
be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than
of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be
found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus
8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see
him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and
full of glory:
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of
The first word, wherein, refers to the apostle's foregoing
discourse about the excellency of their present state, and their grand
expectations for the future. "In this condition you greatly rejoice,
though now for a season, or a little while, if need be, you are
made sorrowful through manifold temptations,"
1 Peter 1:6.
I. The apostle grants they were in great affliction, and propounds
several things in mitigation of their sorrows.
1. Every sound Christian has always something wherein he may greatly
rejoice. Great rejoicing contains more than an inward placid serenity
of mind or sensation of comfort; it will show itself in the countenance
and conduct, but especially in praise and gratitude.
2. The chief joy of a good Christian arises from things spiritual and
heavenly, from his relation to God and to heaven. In these every sound
Christian greatly rejoices; his joy arises from his treasure, which
consists of matters of great value, and the title to them is sure.
3. The best Christians, those who have reason greatly to rejoice, may
yet be in great heaviness through manifold temptations. All sorts of
adversities are temptations, or trials of faith, patience, and
constancy. These seldom go singly, but are manifold, and come from
different quarters, the effect of all which is great heaviness. As men,
we are subject to sorrows, personal and domestic. As Christians, our
duty to God obliges us to frequent sorrow: and our compassion towards
the miserable, the dishonour done to God, the calamities of his church,
and the destruction of mankind, from their own folly and from divine
vengeance, raise, in a generous and pious mind, almost continual
sorrow. I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart,
4. The afflictions and sorrows of good people are but for a little
while, they are but for a season; though they may be smart, they are
but short. Life itself is but for a little while, and the sorrows of it
cannot survive it; the shortness of any affliction does much abate the
heaviness of it.
5. Great heaviness is often necessary to a Christian's good: If
need be, you are in heaviness. God does not afflict his people
willingly, but acts with judgment, in proportion to our needs. There is
a conveniency and fitness, nay, an absolute necessity in the case, for
so the expression signifies: it must be; therefore no man should
be moved by these afflictions. For yourselves know that we are
1 Thessalonians 3:3.
These troubles, that lie heavy, never come upon us but when we have
need, and never stay any longer than needs must.
II. He expresses the end of their afflictions and the ground of their
joy under them,
1 Peter 1:7.
The end of good people's afflictions is the trial of their
faith. As to the nature of this trial, it is much more precious
than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire. The
effect of the trial is this, it will be found unto praise, honour,
and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. Note,
1. The afflictions of serious Christians are designed for the trial of
their faith. God's design in afflicting his people is their probation,
not their destruction; their advantage, not their ruin: a trial,
as the word signifies, is an experiment or search made upon a man, by
some affliction, to prove the value and strength of his faith. This
trial is made upon faith principally, rather than any other grace,
because the trial of this is, in effect, the trial of all that is good
in us. Our Christianity depends upon our faith; if this be wanting,
there is nothing else that is spiritually good in us. Christ prays for
this apostle, that his faith might not fail; if that be
supported, all the rest will stand firm; the faith of good people is
tried, that they themselves may have the comfort of it, God the glory
of it, and others the benefit of it.
2. A tried faith is much more precious than tried gold. Here is a
double comparison of faith and gold, and the trial of the one with the
trial of the other. Gold is the most valuable, pure, useful, and
durable, of all the metals; so is faith among the Christian virtues; it
lasts till it brings the soul to heaven, and then it issues in the
glorious fruition of God for ever. The trial of faith is much more
precious than the trial of gold; in both there is a purification, a
separation of the dross, and a discovery of the soundness and goodness
of the things. Gold does not increase and multiply by trial in the
fire, it rather grows less; but faith is established, improved,
and multiplied, by the oppositions and afflictions that it meets with.
Gold must perish at last--gold that perisheth; but
faith never will. I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail
The trial of faith will be found to praise, and honour, and glory.
Honour is properly that esteem and value which one has with another,
and so God and man will honour the saints. Praise is the expression or
declaration of that esteem; so Christ will commend his people in the
great day, Come, you blessed of my Father, &c. Glory is that
lustre wherewith a person, so honoured and praised, shines in heaven.
Glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good,
If a tried faith be found to praise, honour, and glory, let this
recommend faith to you, as much more precious than gold, though it be
assaulted and tried by afflictions. If you make your estimate either
from present use or the final event of both, this will be found true,
however the world may take it for an incredible paradox.
4. Jesus Christ will appear again in glory, and, when he does so, the
saints will appear with him, and their graces will appear illustrious;
and the more they have been tried the more bright they will then
appear. The trial will soon be over, but the glory, honour, and praise
will last to eternity. This should reconcile you to your present
afflictions: they work for you a far more exceeding and eternal
weight of glory.
III. He particularly commends the faith of these primitive Christians
upon two accounts:--
1. The excellency of its object, the unseen Jesus. The apostle had seen
our Lord in the flesh, but these dispersed Jews never did, and yet they
believed in him,
1 Peter 1:8.
It is one thing to believe God, or Christ (so the devils believe), and
another thing to believe in him, which denotes subjection, reliance,
and expectation of all promised good from him.
2. On account of two notable productions or effects of their faith,
love and joy, and this joy so great as to be above
description: You rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of
(1.) The faith of a Christian is properly conversant about things
revealed, but not seen. Sense converses with things sensible and
present; reason is a higher guide, which by sure deductions can infer
the operation of causes, and the certainty of events; but faith ascends
further still, and assures us of abundance of particulars that sense
and reason could never have found out, upon the credit of revelation;
it is the evidence of things not seen.
(2.) True faith is never alone, but produces a strong love to Jesus
Christ. True Christians have a sincere love to Jesus, because they
believe in him. This love discovers itself in the highest esteem for
him, affectionate desires after him, willingness to be dissolved to be
with him, delightful thoughts, cheerful services and sufferings,
(3.) Where there are true faith and love to Christ there is, or may be,
joy unspeakable and full of glory. This joy is inexpressible, it
cannot be described by words; the best discovery is by an experimental
taste of it; it is full of glory, full of heaven. There is much
of heaven and the future glory in the present joys of improved
Christians; their faith removes the causes of sorrow, and affords the
best reasons for joy. Though good people sometimes walk in darkness, it
is often owing to their own mistakes and ignorance, or to a fearful or
melancholy disposition, or to some late sinful conduct, or perhaps to
some sad occurrence of providence, that sinks their comfort for the
present, yet they have reason to rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the
God of their salvation,
Well might these primitive Christians rejoice with the joy unspeakable,
since they were every day receiving the end of their faith, the
salvation of their souls,
1 Peter 1:9.
[1.] The blessing they were receiving: The salvation of their
souls (the more noble part being put for the whole man), which
salvation is here called the end of their faith, the end wherein
faith terminates: faith helps to save the soul, then it has done its
work, and ceases for ever.
[2.] He speaks of the present time: You are now actually receiving
the end of your faith, &c.
[3.] The word used alludes to the games at which the conqueror received
or bore away from the judge of the contest a crown or reward, which he
carried about in triumph; so the salvation of the soul was the prize
these Christians sought for, the crown they laboured for, the end they
aimed at, which came nearer and more within their reach every day.
Learn, First, Every faithful Christian is daily receiving the
salvation of his soul; salvation is one permanent thing, begun in this
life, not interrupted by death, and continued to all eternity. These
believers had the beginnings of heaven in the possession of holiness
and a heavenly mind, in their duties and communion with God, in the
earnest of the inheritance, and the witness of the divine Spirit. This
was properly urged to these distressed people; they were on the losing
side in the world, but the apostle puts them in the mind of what they
were receiving; if they lost an inferior good, they were all the while
receiving the salvation of their souls. Secondly, It is lawful
for a Christian to make the salvation of his soul his end; the glory of
God and our own felicity are so connected that if we regularly seek the
one we must attain the other.
|Privileges of Christians.
||A. D. 66.|
10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched
diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto
11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ
which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the
sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but
unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto
you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy
Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to
The apostle having described the persons to whom he wrote, and declared
to them the excellent advantages they were under, goes on to show them
what warrant he had for what he had delivered; and because they were
Jews, and had a profound veneration for the Old Testament, he produces
the authority of the prophets to convince them that the doctrine of
salvation by faith in Jesus Christ was no new doctrine, but the same
which the old prophets did enquire and search diligently into.
I. Who made this diligent search--the prophets, who were persons
inspired by God either to do or to say things extraordinary, above the
reach of their own studies and abilities, as foretelling things to
come, and revealing the will of God, by the direction of the Holy
II. The object of their search, which was salvation, and the
grace of God which should come unto you; the general salvation of
men of all nations by Jesus Christ, and more especially the salvation
afforded to the Jews, the grace that should come to them from
him who was not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of
Israel. They foresaw glorious times of light, grace, and comfort,
coming upon the church, which made the prophets and righteous men
desire to see and hear the things which came to pass in the days of the
III. The manner of their enquiry: they enquired and searched
diligently. The words are strong and emphatic, alluding to miners,
who dig to the bottom, and break through not only the earth, but the
rock, to come to the ore; so these holy prophets had an earnest desire
to know, and were proportionably diligent in their enquiries after the
grace of God, which was to be revealed in the days of the Messiah:
their being inspired did not make their industrious search needless;
for, notwithstanding their extraordinary assistance from God, they were
obliged to make use of all the ordinary methods of improvement in
wisdom and knowledge. Daniel was a man greatly beloved and inspired,
yet he understood by books and study the computations of time,
Even their own revelation required their study, meditation, and prayer;
for many prophecies had a double meaning: in their first intention they
aimed at some person or event near at hand, but their ultimate design
was to describe the person, sufferings, or kingdom of Christ. Observe,
1. The doctrine of man's salvation by Jesus Christ has been the study
and admiration of the greatest and wisest of men; the nobleness of the
subject, and their own concern in it, have engaged them, with most
accurate attention and seriousness to search into it.
2. A good man is much affected and pleased with the grace and mercy of
God to others, as well as to himself. The prophets were highly
delighted with the prospects of mercy to be shown both to Jews and
Gentiles at the coming of Christ.
3. Those who would be acquainted with this great salvation, and the
grace that shines therein, must enquire and search diligently into it:
if it was necessary for an inspired prophet to do so, much more for
persons so weak and injudicious as we are.
4. The grace that came by the gospel excels all that was before it; the
gospel dispensation is more glorious, evident, intelligible, extensive,
and effectual, than any dispensation that ever did precede it.
IV. The particular matters which the ancient prophets chiefly searched
into, which are expressed in
1 Peter 1:11.
Jesus Christ was the main subject of their studies; and, in relation to
him, they were most inquisitive into,
1. His humiliation and death, and the glorious consequences of it:
The sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow.
This enquiry would lead them into a view of the whole gospel, the sum
whereof is this, that Christ Jesus was delivered for our offences
and raised again for our justification.
2. The time, and the manner of the times, wherein the Messiah was to
appear. Undoubtedly these holy prophets earnestly desired to see the
days of the Son of man; and therefore, next to the thing itself, their
minds were set upon the time of its accomplishment, so far as the
Spirit of Christ, which was in them, had signified any thing towards
that purpose. The nature of the times was also under their strict
consideration, whether they would be quiet or troublesome times, times
of peace or times of war. Learn,
(1.) Jesus Christ had a being before his incarnation; for his Spirit
did then exist in the prophets, and therefore he whose that Spirit then
was must be in being also.
(2.) The doctrine of the Trinity was not wholly unknown to the faithful
in the Old Testament. The prophets knew that they were inspired by a
Spirit that was in them; this Spirit they knew to be the Spirit of
Christ, and consequently distinct from Christ himself: here is a
plurality of persons, and from other parts of the Old Testament a
Trinity may be collected.
(3.) The works here ascribed to the Holy Ghost prove him to be God. He
did signify, discover, and manifest to the prophets, many
hundred years beforehand, the sufferings of Christ, with a
multitude of particular circumstances attending them; and he did also
testify, or give proof and evidence beforehand, of the certainty
of that event, by inspiring the prophets to reveal it, to work miracles
in confirmation of it, and by enabling the faithful to believe it.
These works prove the Spirit of Christ to be God, since he is possessed
of almighty power and infinite knowledge.
(4.) From the example of Christ Jesus learn to expect a time of
services and sufferings before you are received to glory. It was so
with him, and the disciple is not above his Lord. The suffering
time is but short, but the glory is everlasting; let the suffering
season be ever so sharp and severe, it shall not hinder, but work
for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
V. The success with which their enquiries were crowned. Their holy
endeavours to inform themselves were not slighted, for God gave them a
satisfactory revelation to quiet and comfort their minds. They were
informed that these things should not come to pass in their time, but
yet all was firm and certain, and should come to pass in the times of
the apostles: Not unto themselves, but to us; and we must report
them, under the infallible direction of the Holy Ghost, to all the
world. Which things the angels, &c.
You have here three sorts of students, or enquirers into the great
affair of man's salvation by Jesus Christ:--
1. The prophets, who searched diligently into it.
2. The apostles, who consulted all the prophecies, and were witnesses
of the accomplishment of them, and so reported what they knew to others
in the preaching of the gospel.
3. The angels, who most attentively pry into these matters. Learn,
(1.) A diligent endeavour after the knowledge of Christ and our duty
will certainly be answered with good success. The prophets are answered
with a revelation. Daniel studies, and receives information: the
Bereans search the scriptures, and are confirmed.
(2.) The holiest and best of men sometimes have their lawful and pious
requests denied. It was both lawful and pious for these prophets to
desire to know more than they were permitted to know about the time of
the appearance of Christ in the world, but they were denied. It is
lawful and pious for good parents to pray for their wicked children,
for the poor to pray against poverty, for a good man to pray against
death; yet, in these honest requests, they often are denied. God is
pleased to answer our necessities rather than our requests.
(3.) It is the honour and practice of a Christian to be useful to
others, in many cases, rather than to himself. The prophets ministered
to others, not unto themselves. None of us liveth to himself,
Nothing is more contrary to man's nature nor to Christian principles
than for a man to make himself his own end, and live to himself.
(4.) The revelations of God to his church, though gradual, and given by
parcels, are all perfectly consistent; the doctrine of the prophets and
that of the apostles exactly agree, as coming from the same Spirit of
(5.) The efficacy of the evangelical ministry depends upon the Holy
Ghost sent down from heaven. The gospel is the ministration of the
Spirit; the success of it depends upon his operation and blessing.
(6.) The mysteries of the gospel, and the methods of man's salvation,
are so glorious that the blessed angels earnestly desire to look into
them; they are curious, accurate, and industrious in prying into them;
they consider the whole scheme of man's redemption with deep attention
and admiration, particularly the points the apostle had been
discoursing of: Which things the angels desire to stoop down and
look into, as the cherubim did continually towards the
|Sobriety and Holiness; Exhortation to Brotherly Love.
||A. D. 66.|
13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope
to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the
revelation of Jesus Christ;
14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to
the former lusts in your ignorance:
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in
all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons
judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your
sojourning here in fear:
18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with
corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain
conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without
blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the
world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the
dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in
22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth
through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that
ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of
incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for
Here the apostle begins his exhortations to those whose glorious state
he had before described, thereby instructing us that Christianity is a
doctrine according to godliness, designed to make us not only wiser,
I. He exhorts them to sobriety and holiness.
1. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, &c.,
1 Peter 1:13.
As if he had said, "Wherefore, since you are so honoured and
distinguished, as above, Gird up the loins of your mind. You
have a journey to go, a race to run, a warfare to accomplish, and a
great work to do; as the traveller, the racer, the warrior, and the
labourer, gather in, and gird up, their long and loose garments, that
they may be more ready, prompt, and expeditious in their business, so
do you by your minds, your inner man, and affections seated there:
gird them, gather them in, let them not hang loose and neglected
about you; restrain their extravagances, and let the loins or strength
and vigour of your minds be exerted in your duty; disengage yourselves
from all that would hinder you, and go on resolutely in your obedience.
Be sober, be vigilant against all your spiritual dangers and
enemies, and be temperate and modest in eating, drinking, apparel,
recreation, business, and in the whole of your behaviour. Be
sober-mined also in opinion, as well as in practice, and humble in your
judgment of yourselves." And hope to the end, for the grace that is
to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Some refer
this to the last judgment, as if the apostle directed their hope to the
final revelation of Jesus Christ; but it seems more natural to take it,
as it might be rendered, "Hope perfectly, or thoroughly, for
the grace that is brought to you in or by the revelation of
Jesus Christ; that is, by the gospel, which brings life and
immortality to light. Hope perfectly, trust without doubting to
that grace which is now offered to you by the gospel." Learn,
(1.) The main work of a Christian lies in the right management of his
heart and mind; the apostle's first direction is to gird up the loins
of the mind.
(2.) The best Christians have need to be exhorted to sobriety. These
excellent Christians are put in mind of it; it is required of a bishop
(1 Timothy 3:2),
of aged men
the young women are to be taught it, and the young men are directed to
(3.) A Christian's work is not over as soon as he has got into a state
of grace; he must still hope and strive for more grace. When he has
entered the strait gate, he must still walk in the narrow way, and gird
up the loins of his mind for that purpose.
(4.) A strong and perfect trust in God's grace is very consistent with
our best endeavours in our duty; we must hope perfectly, and yet gird
up our loins, and address ourselves vigorously to the work we have to
do, encouraging ourselves from the grace of Jesus Christ.
2. As obedient children, &c.,
1 Peter 1:14.
These words may be taken as a rule of holy living, which is both
positive--"You ought to live as obedient children, as those whom
God hath adopted into his family, and regenerated by his grace;" and
negative--"You must not fashion yourselves according to the former
lusts, in your ignorance." Or the words may be taken as an argument
to press them to holiness from the consideration of what they now are,
children of obedience, and what they were when they lived in lust and
(1.) The children of God ought to prove themselves to be such by their
obedience to God, by their present, constant, universal obedience.
(2.) The best of God's children have had their times of lust and
ignorance; the time has been when the whole scheme of their lives,
their way and fashion, was to accommodate and gratify their unlawful
desires and vicious appetites, being grossly ignorant of God and
themselves, of Christ and the gospel.
(3.) Persons, when converted, differ exceedingly from what they were
formerly. They are people of another fashion and manner from what they
were before; their inward frame, behaviour, speech, and conversation,
are much altered from what they were in times past.
(4.) The lusts and extravagances of sinners are both the fruits and the
signs of their ignorance.
3. But as he who hath called you, &c.,
1 Peter 1:15,16.
Here is a noble rule enforced by strong arguments: Be you holy in
all manner of conversation. Who is sufficient for this? And yet it
is required in strong terms, and enforced by three reasons, taken from
the grace of God in calling us,--from his command, it is
written,--and from his example. Be you holy, for I am holy.
(1.) The grace of God in calling a sinner is a powerful engagement to
holiness. It is a great favour to be called effectually by divine grace
out of a state of sin and misery into the possession of all the
blessings of the new covenant; and great favours are strong
obligations; they enable as well as oblige to be holy.
(2.) Complete holiness is the desire and duty of every Christian. Here
is a two-fold rule of holiness:
[1.] It must, for the extent of it, be universal. We must be
holy, and be so in all manner of conversation; in all civil
and religious affairs, in every condition, prosperous or reverse;
towards all people, friends and enemies; in all our intercourse and
business still we must be holy.
[2.] For the pattern of it. We must be holy, as God is holy: we
must imitate him, though we can never equal him. He is perfectly,
unchangeably, and eternally holy; and we should aspire after such a
state. The consideration of the holiness of God should oblige as to the
highest degree of holiness we can attain unto.
(3.) The written word of God is the surest rule of a Christian's life,
and by this rule we are commanded to be holy every way.
(4.) The Old-Testament commands are to be studied and obeyed in the
times of the New Testament; the apostle, by virtue of a command
delivered several times by Moses, requires holiness in all
4. If you call on the Father, &c.,
1 Peter 1:17.
The apostle does not there express any doubt at all whether these
Christians would call upon their heavenly Father, but supposes they
would certainly do it, and from this argues with them to pass the
time of their sojourning here in fear: "If you own the great God as
a Father and a Judge, you ought to live the time of your sojourning
here in his fear." Learn,
(1.) All good Christians look upon themselves in this world as pilgrims
and strangers, as strangers in a distant country, passing to another,
to which they properly belong,
(2.) The whole time of our sojourning here is to be passed in the fear
(3.) The consideration of God as a Judge is not improper for those who
can truly call him Father. Holy confidence in God as a Father, an awful
fear of him as a Judge, are very consistent; to regard God as a Judge
is a singular means to endear him to us as a Father.
(4.) The judgment of God will be without respect of persons:
According to every man's work. No external relation to him will
protect any; the Jew may call God Father and Abraham father, but God
will not respect persons, nor favour their cause, from personal
considerations, but judge them according to their work. The works of
men will in the great day discover their persons; God will make all the
world to know who are his by their works. We are obliged to faith,
holiness, and obedience, and our works will be an evidence whether we
have complied with our obligations or not.
5. The apostle having extorted them to pass the time of their
sojourning in the fear of God from this consideration, that they
called on the Father, he adds
(1 Peter 1:18)
a second argument: Because or forasmuch as you were not
redeemed with corruptible things, &c. Herein he puts them in mind,
(1.) That they were redeemed, or bought back again, by a ransom paid to
(2.) What the price paid for their redemption was: Not with
corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of
(3.) From what they were redeemed: From a vain conversation received
(4.) They knew this: Forasmuch as you know, and cannot pretend
ignorance of this great affair. Learn,
[1.] The consideration of our redemption ought to be a constant and
powerful inducement to holiness, and the fear of God.
[2.] God expects that a Christian should live answerably to what he
knows, and therefore we have great need to be put in mind of what we
[3.] Neither silver nor gold, nor any of the corruptible things of this
world, can redeem so much as one soul. They are often snares,
temptations, and hindrances to man's salvation, but they can by no
means purchase or procure it; they are corruptible, and therefore
cannot redeem an incorruptible and immortal soul.
[4.] The blood of Jesus Christ is the only price of man's redemption.
The redemption of man is real, not metaphorical. We are bought with a
price, and the price is equal to the purchase, for it is the precious
blood of Christ; it is the blood of an innocent person, a lamb without
blemish and without spot, whom the paschal lamb represented, and of an
infinite person, being the Son of God, and therefore it is called the
blood of God,
[5.] The design of Christ in shedding his most precious blood was to
redeem us, not only from eternal misery hereafter, but from a vain
conversation in this world. That conversation is vain which is empty,
frivolous, trifling, and unserviceable to the honour of God, the credit
of religion, the conviction of unbelievers, and the comfort and
satisfaction of a man's own conscience. Not only the open wickedness,
but the vanity and unprofitableness of our conversation are highly
[6.] A man's conversation may carry an appearance of devotion, and may
plead antiquity, custom, and tradition, in its defence, and yet after
all be a most vain conversation. The Jews had a deal to say from these
heads, for all their formalities; and yet their conversation was so
vain that only the blood of Christ could redeem them from it. Antiquity
is no certain rule of verity, nor is it a wise resolution, "I will live
and die in such a way, because my forefathers did so."
6. Having mentioned the price of redemption, the apostle goes on to
speak of some things relating both to the Redeemer and the redeemed,
1 Peter 1:20,21.
(1.) The Redeemer is further described, not only as a Lamb without
spot, but as one,
[1.] That was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world,
fore-ordained or foreknown. When prescience is ascribed to God, it
implies more than bare prospect or speculation. It imports an act of
the will, a resolution that the thing shall be,
God did not only foreknow, but determine and decree, that his Son
should die for man, and this decree was before the foundation of the
world. Time and the world began together; before the commencement of
time there was nothing but eternity.
[2.] That was manifested in these last days for them. He was
manifested or demonstrated to be that Redeemer whom God had
fore-ordained. He was manifested by his birth, by his Father's
testimony, and by his own works, especially by his resurrection from
"This was done in these last times of the New Testament and of the
gospel, for you, you Jews, you sinners, you afflicted ones; you have
the comfort of the manifestation and appearance of Christ, if you
believe on him."
[3.] That was raised from the dead by the Father, who gave him glory.
The resurrection of Christ, considered as an act of power, is common to
all the three persons, but as an act of judgment it is peculiar to the
Father, who as a Judge released Christ, raised him from the grave, and
gave him glory, proclaimed him to all the world to be his Son by his
resurrection from the dead, advanced him to heaven, crowned him with
glory and honour, invested him with all power in heaven and earth, and
glorified him with that glory which he had with God before the world
(2.) The redeemed are also described here by their faith and hope, the
cause of which is Jesus Christ: "You do by him believe in God--by
him as the author, encourager, support, and finisher of your faith;
your faith and hope now may be in God, as reconciled to you by Christ
(3.) From all this we learn,
[1.] The decree of God to send Christ to be a Mediator was from
everlasting, and was a just and merciful decree, which yet does not at
all excuse man's sin in crucifying him,
God had purposes of special favour towards his people long before he
made any manifestations of such grace to them.
[2.] Great is the happiness of the last times in comparison with what
the former ages of the world enjoyed. The clearness of light, the
supports of faith, the efficacy of ordinances, and the proportion of
comforts--these are all much greater since the manifestation of Christ
than they were before. Our gratitude and services should be suitable
to such favours.
[3.] The redemption of Christ belongs to none but true believers. A
general impetration is asserted by some and denied by others, but none
pretend to a general application of Christ's death for the salvation of
all. Hypocrites and unbelievers will be ruined for ever,
notwithstanding the death of Christ.
[4.] God in Christ is the ultimate object of a Christian's faith, which
is strongly supported by the resurrection of Christ, and the glory that
II. He exhorts them to brotherly love.
1. He supposes that the gospel had already had such an effect upon them
as to purify their souls while they obeyed it through the Spirit, and
that it had produced at least an unfeigned love of the brethren;
and thence he argues with them to proceed to a higher degree of
affection, to love one another with a pure heart fervently,
1 Peter 1:22.
(1.) It is not to be doubted but that every sincere Christian purifies
his soul. The apostle takes this for granted: Seeing you have,
&c. To purify the soul supposes some great uncleanness and defilement
which had polluted it, and that this defilement is removed. Neither
the Levitical purifications under the law, nor the hypocritical
purifications of the outward man, can effect this.
(2.) The word of God is the great instrument of a sinner's
purification: Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the
truth. The gospel is called truth, in opposition to types and
shadows, to error and falsehood. This truth is effectual to purify the
soul, if it be obeyed,
Many hear the truth, but are never purified by it, because they will
not submit to it nor obey it.
(3.) The Spirit of God is the great agent in the purification of man's
soul. The Spirit convinces the soul of its impurities, furnishes those
virtues and graces that both adorn and purify, such as faith
(1 John 3:3),
the fear of God
and the love of Jesus Christ. The Spirit excites our endeavours, and
makes them successful. The aid of the Spirit does not supersede our own
industry; these people purified their own souls, but it was through the
(4.) The souls of Christians must be purified before they can so much
as love one another unfeignedly. There are such lusts and partialities
in man's nature that without divine grace we can neither love God nor
one another as we ought to do; there is no charity but out of a pure
(5.) It is the duty of all Christians sincerely and fervently to love
one another. Our affection to one another must be sincere and real, and
it must be fervent, constant, and extensive.
2. He further presses upon Christians the duty of loving one another
with a pure heart fervently from the consideration of their spiritual
relation; they are all born again, not of corruptible seed, but
incorruptible, &c. Hence we may learn,
(1.) That all Christians are born again. The apostle speaks of it as
what is common to all serious Christians, and by this they are brought
into a new and a near relation to one another, they become brethren by
their new birth.
(2.) The word of God is the great means of regeneration,
The grace of regeneration is conveyed by the gospel.
(3.) This new and second birth is much more desirable and excellent
than the first. This the apostle teaches by preferring the
incorruptible to the corruptible seed. By the one we become the
children of men, by the other the sons and daughters of the Most High.
The word of God being compared to seed teaches us that though it is
little in appearance, yet it is wonderful in operation, though it lies
hid awhile, yet it grows up and produces excellent fruit at last.
(4.) Those that are regenerate should love one another with a pure
heart fervently. Brethren by nature are bound to love one another; but
the obligation is double where there is a spiritual relation: they are
under the same government, partake of the same privileges, and have
embarked in the same interest.
(5.) The word of God lives and abides for ever. This word is a living
word, or a lively word,
It is a means of spiritual life, to begin it and preserve in it,
animating and exciting us in our duty, till it brings us to eternal
life: and it is abiding; it remains eternally true, and abides in the
hearts of the regenerate for ever.
Vanity of the Natural Man.
||A. D. 66.|
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the
flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the
word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
The apostle having given an account of the excellency of the renewed
spiritual man as born again, not of corruptible but incorruptible seed,
he now sets before us the vanity of the natural man, taking him with
all his ornaments and advantages about him: For all flesh is as
grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass; and nothing
can make him a solid substantial being, but the being born again of the
incorruptible seed, the word of God, which will transform him into a
most excellent creature, whose glory will not fade like a flower, but
shine like an angel; and this word is daily set before you in the
preaching of the gospel. Learn,
1. Man, in his utmost flourish and glory, is still a withering, fading,
dying creature. Take him singly, all flesh is grass. In his entrance
into the world, in his life and in his fall, he is similar to grass,
Take him in all his glory, even this is as the flower of grass; his
wit, beauty, strength, vigour, wealth, honour--these are but as the
flower of grass, which soon withers and dies away.
2. The only way to render this perishing creature solid and
incorruptible is for him to entertain and receive the word of God; for
this remains everlasting truth, and, if received, will preserve him to
everlasting life, and abide with him for ever.
3. The prophets and apostles preached the same doctrine. This word
which Isaiah and others delivered in the Old Testament is the same
which the apostles preached in the New.