1 Peter 2

CHAPTER II.

We should lay aside all evil dispositions, and desire the

sincere milk of the word, that we may grow thereby, 1-3.

And come to God to be made living stones, and be built up into

a spiritual temple, 4, 5.

The prophecy of Christ as chief corner stone, precious to

believers, but a stumbling stone to the disobedient, 6-8.

True believers are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, &c.,

9, 10.

They should abstain from fleshly lusts, 11.

Walk uprightly among the Gentiles, 12.

Be obedient to civil authority, according to the will of God,

13-15.

Make a prudent use of their Christian liberty, 16.

Fear God and honour the king, 17.

Servants should be subject to their masters, and serve them

faithfully, and suffer indignities patiently, after the example

of Christ, 18-23.

Who bore the punishment due to our sins in his own body upon the

tree, 24.

They were formerly like sheep going astray, but are now returned

unto the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls, 25.

NOTES ON CHAP. II.

Verse 1. Wherefore, laying aside] This is in close connection

with the preceding chapter, from which it should not have been

separated, and the subject is continued to the end of the 10th

verse. 1Pe 2:10

Laying aside all malice] See the notes on Eph 4:22-31. These

tempers and dispositions must have been common among the Jews, as

they are frequently spoken against: Christianity can never admit

of such; they show the mind, not of Christ, but of the old

murderer.

Verse 2. As new-born babes] In the preceding chapter,

1Pe 1:23,

the apostle states that they had been born again; and as the

new-born infant desires that aliment which nature has provided for

it, so they, being born again-born from above, should as earnestly

require that heavenly nourishment which is suited to their new

nature; and this the apostle calls the sincere milk of the word,

τολογικοναδολονγαλα, or, as some translate, the rational

unadulterated milk; i.e. the pure doctrines of the Gospel, as

delivered in the epistles and gospels, and as preached by the

apostles and their successors. The rabbins frequently express

learning to know the law, &c., by the term sucking, and their

disciples are often denominated those that suck the breast. The

figure is very expressive: as a child newly born shows an

immediate desire for that nourishment, and that only, which is its

most proper food; so they, being just born of God, should show

that the incorruptible seed abides in them, and that they will

receive nothing that is not suited to that new nature: and,

indeed, they can have no spiritual growth but by the pure

doctrines of the Gospel.

That ye may grow thereby] ειςσωτηριαν, Unto salvation, is

added here by ABC, and about forty others; both the Syriac, the

Arabic of Erpen, Coptic, AEthiopic, Armenian, Slavonic, Vulgate,

and several of the ancient fathers. The reading is undoubtedly

genuine, and is very important. It shows why they were

regenerated, and why they were to desire the unadulterated

doctrines of the Gospel; viz.: that they might grow up unto

salvation. This was the end they should always have in view; and

nothing could so effectually promote this end as continually

receiving the pure truth of God, claiming the fulfilment of its

promises, and acting under its dictates.

Verse 3. If so be ye have tasted] ειπερεγευσασθε. Seeing ye

have tasted. There could be no doubt that they had tasted the

goodness of Christ who were born again, of incorruptible seed, and

whose hearts were purified by the truth, and who had like precious

faith with the apostles themselves.

That the Lord is gracious.] οτιχρηστοςοκυριος. From the

similarity of the letters, many MSS. and several of the fathers

have read, χριστοςοκυριος, the Lord is Christ, or Christ is the

Lord.

This seems to refer to Ps 34:8:

O taste and see that the Lord is good; γευσασθεκαιιδετεοτι

χρηστοςοκυριος, Sept. And there is still a reference to the

sucking child that, having once tasted its mother's milk, ever

after desires and longs for it. As they were born of God, and had

tasted his goodness, they would naturally desire the same pure

unadulterated milk of the word.

Verse 4. To whom coming, as unto a living stone] This is a

reference to Isa 28:16:

Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a

precious corner stone, a sure foundation. Jesus Christ is, in

both the prophet and apostle, represented as the foundation on

which the Christian Church is built, and on which it must continue

to rest: and the stone or foundation is called here living, to

intimate that he is the source of life to all his followers, and

that it is in union with him that they live, and answer the end of

their regeneration; as the stones of a building are of no use but

as they occupy their proper places in a building, and rest on the

foundation.

Disallowed indeed of men] That is, rejected by the Jews. This

is a plain reference to the prophecy, Ps 118:22:

The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of

the corner.

Chosen of God] To be the Saviour of the world, and the Founder

of the Church, and the foundation on which it rests; As Christ is

the choice of the Father, we need have no doubt of the efficacy

and sufficiency of all that he has suffered and done for the

salvation of a lost world. God can never be mistaken in his

choice; therefore he that chooses Christ for his portion shall

never be confounded.

Precious] εντιμον. Honourable. Howsoever despised and

rejected by men, Jesus, as the sacrifice for a lost world, is

infinitely honourable in the sight of God; and those who are

united by faith to him partake of the same honour, being members

of that great and glorious body of which he is the head, and

stones in that superb building of which he is the foundation.

Verse 5. Ye also, as lively stones] λιθοιζωντες. Living

stones; each being instinct with the principle of life, which

proceeds from him who is the foundation, called above λιθονζωντα,

a living stone.

The metaphor in this and the following verse is as bold as it

is singular; and commentators and critics have found it difficult

to hit on any principle of explanation. In all metaphors there is

something in the natural image that is illustrative of some chief

moral property in the thing to be represented. But what analogy

is there between the stones of a building and a multitude of human

beings? We shall soon see. The Church of Christ, it is true, is

represented under the figure of a house, or rather household; and

as a household or family must have a place of residence, hence,

by a metonymy, the house itself, or material building, is put for

the household or family which occupies it, the container being

put for the contained. This point will receive the fullest

illustration if we have recourse to the Hebrew: in this language,

beith signifies both a house and a family; ben

a son; bath a daughter; and eben a stone. Of all

these nouns, banah, he built, is, I believe, the common root.

Now as beith, a house, is built of abanim, stones,

hence banah, he built, is a proper radix for both stones and

building; and as beith, a family or household

(Ps 68:6)

is constituted or made up of banim, sons, and banoth

daughters, hence the same root banah, he built, is common to

all; for sons and daughters build up or constitute a family, as

stones do a building. Here, then, is the ground of the metaphor:

the spiritual house is the holy or Christian family or

household, this family or household is composed of the sons

and daughters of God Almighty; and hence the propriety of living

stones, because this is the living house or spiritual family. As

a building rests upon a foundation, and this foundation is its

support; so a family or household rests on the father, who is

properly considered the foundation or support of the building.

But as every father is mortal and transitory, none can be called a

living stone, foundation, or support, but He who liveth for ever,

and has life independent; so none but Jesus, who hath life in

himself, i.e. independently, and who is the Way, the Truth, and

the LIFE, can be a permanent foundation or support to the whole

spiritual house. And as all the stones-sons and daughters, that

constitute the spiritual building are made partakers of the life

of Christ, consequently, they may with great propriety be called

living stones, that is, sons and daughters of God, who live by

Christ Jesus, because he lives in them. Now, following the

metaphor; these various living stones become one grand temple, in

which God is worshipped, and in which he manifests himself as he

did in the temple of old. Every stone-son and daughter, being a

spiritual sacrificer or priest, they all offer up praise and

thanksgiving to God through Christ; and such sacrifices, being

offered up in the name and through the merit of his Son, are all

acceptable in his sight.

This is the true metaphor, and which has not, as far as I know,

ever been properly traced out. To talk of "stones being said to

be alive as long as they are not cut out of the quarry, but

continue to partake of that nourishment which circulates from vein

to vein," is as unsatisfactory as it is unphilosophical; the other

is the true metaphor, and explains every thing.

Verse 6. Behold, I lay in Sion] This intimates that the

foundation of the Christian Church should be laid at Jerusalem;

and there it was laid, for there Christ suffered, and there the

preaching of the Gospel commenced.

A chief corner stone] This is the same as the foundation

stone; and it is called here the chief corner stone because it is

laid in the foundation, at an angle of the building where its two

sides form the ground work of a side and end wall. And this might

probably be designed to show that, in Jesus, both Jews and

Gentiles were to be united; and this is probably the reason why it

was called a stone of stumbling, and rock of offence; for nothing

stumbled, nothing offended the Jews so much as the calling of the

Gentiles into the Church of God, and admitting them to the same

privileges which had been before peculiar to the Jews.

Elect, precious] Chosen and honourable.

See Clarke on 1Pe 2:4.

Shall not be confounded.] These words are quoted from

Isa 28:16; but rather more from the Septuagint than from the

Hebrew text. The latter we translate, He that believeth shall not

make haste-he who comes to God, through Christ, for salvation,

shall never be confounded; he need not haste to flee away, for no

enemy shall ever be able to annoy him.

Verse 7. Unto you therefore which believe] You, both Jews and

Gentiles.

He is precious] υμινουνητιμητοιςπιστευουσιν. The honour

is to you who believe; i.e. the honour of being in this building,

and of having your souls saved through the blood of the Lamb, and

becoming sons and daughters of God Almighty.

Them which be disobedient] The Jews, who continue to reject

the Gospel; that very person whom they reject is head of the

corner-is Lord over all, and has all power in the heavens and the

earth.

Verse 8. A stone of stumbling] Because in him all Jews and

Gentiles who believe are united; and because the latter were

admitted into the Church, and called by the Gospel to enjoy the

same privileges which the Jews, as the peculiar people of God, had

enjoyed for two thousand years before; therefore they rejected the

Christian religion, they would have no partakers with themselves

in the salvation of God. This was the true cause why the Jews

rejected the Gospel; and they rejected Christ because he did not

come as a secular prince. In the one case he was a stone of

stumbling-he was poor, and affected no worldly pomp; in the other

he was a rock of offence, for his Gospel called the Gentiles to be

a peculiar people whom the Jews believed to be everlastingly

reprobated, and utterly incapable of any spiritual good.

Whereunto also they were appointed.] Some good critics read

the verse thus, carrying on the sense from the preceding: Also a

stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence: The disobedient stumble

against the word, (or doctrine,) to which verily they were

appointed.-Macknight.

Mr. Wakefield, leaving out, with the Syriac, the clause, The

stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of

the corner, reads 1Pe 2:7, 8 thus:

To you therefore who trust thereon, this stone is honourable; but

to those who are not persuaded, (απειθουσι,) it is a stone to

strike upon and to stumble against, at which they stumble who

believe not the word; and unto this indeed they were appointed;

that is, they who believe not the word were appointed to stumble

and fall by it, not to disbelieve it; for the word of the Lord is

either a savour of life unto life, or death unto death, to all

them that hear it, according as they receive it by faith, or

reject it by unbelief. The phrase τιθεναιτιναειςτι is very

frequent among the purest Greek writers, and signifies to

attribute any thing to another, or to speak a thing of them; of

which Kypke gives several examples from Plutarch; and paraphrases

the words thus: This stumbling and offence, particularly of the

Jews, against Christ, the corner stone, was long ago asserted and

predicted by the prophets, by Christ, and by others; compare

Isa 8:14, 15; Mt 21:42, 44; Lu 2:34; and Ro 9:32, 33.

Now this interpretation of Kypke is the more likely, because it is

evident that St. Peter refers to Isa 8:14, 15:

And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and

for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and

for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and many among them

shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, &c. The disobedient,

therefore, being appointed to stumble against the word, or being

prophesied of as persons that should stumble, necessarily means,

from the connection in which it stands, and from the passage in

the prophet, that their stumbling, falling, and being broken, is

the consequence of their disobedience or unbelief; but there is no

intimation that they were appointed or decreed to disobey, that

they might stumble, and fall, and be broken. They stumbled and

fell through their obstinate unbelief; and thus their stumbling

and falling, as well as their unbelief, were of themselves, in

consequence of this they were appointed to be broken; this was

God's work of judgment. This seems to be the meaning which our

Lord attaches to this very prophecy, which he quotes against the

chief priests and elders, Mt 21:44. On the whole of these

passages, see the notes on Mt 21:42-44.

Verse 9. Ye are a chosen generation] The titles formerly

given to the whole Jewish Church, i.e. to all the Israelites

without exception, all who were in the covenant of God by

circumcision, whether they were holy persons or not, are here

given to Christians in general in the same way; i.e. to all who

believed in Christ, whether Jews or Gentiles, and who received

baptism in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy

Ghost.

The Israelites were a chosen or elected race, to be a special

people unto the Lord their God, above all people that were upon

the face of the earth, De 7:6.

They were also a royal priesthood, or what Moses calls a

kingdom of priests, Ex 19:6. For all were called to sacrifice to

God; and he is represented to be the King of that people, and

Father of those of whom he was king; therefore they were all

royal.

They were a holy nation, Ex 19:6; for they were separated from

all the people of the earth, that they might worship the one only

true God, and abstain from the abominations that were in the

heathen world.

They were also a peculiar people, λαοςειςπεριποιησιν, a

purchased people; segullah, a private property,

belonging to God Almighty, De 7:6;

none other having any right in them, and they being under

obligation to God alone. All these things the apostle applies to

the Christians, to whom indeed they belong, in their spirit and

essence, in such a way as they could not belong to the Hebrews of

old. But they were called to this state of salvation out of

darkness-idolatry, superstition, and ungodliness, into his

marvellous light-the Gospel dispensation, which, in reference to

the discoveries it had made of God, his nature, will, and gracious

promises towards mankind, differed as much from the preceding

dispensation of the Jews, as the light of the meridian sun from

the faint twinkling of a star. And they had these privileges that

they might show forth the praises of Him who had thus called them;

αρετας, the virtues, those perfections of the wisdom, justice,

truth, and goodness of God, that shone most illustriously in the

Christian dispensation. These they were to exhibit in a holy and

useful life, being transformed into the image of God, and walking

as Christ himself walked.

Verse 10. Which in time past were not a people] This is a

quotation from Ho 1:9, 10; 2:23,

where the calling of the Gentiles, by the preaching of the Gospel,

is foretold. From this it is evident, that the people to whom the

apostle now addresses himself had been Gentiles, covered with

ignorance and superstition, and now had obtained mercy by the

preaching of the Gospel of Christ.

Verse 11. As strangers and pilgrims]

See Clarke on Heb 11:13.

These were strangers and pilgrims in the most literal sense of

the word, see 1Pe 1:1,

for they were strangers scattered through Asia, Pontus, &c.

Abstain from fleshly lusts] As ye are strangers and pilgrims,

and profess to seek a heavenly country, do not entangle your

affections with earthly things. While others spend all their

time, and employ all their skill, in acquiring earthly property,

and totally neglect the salvation of their souls; they are not

strangers, they are here at home; they are not pilgrims, they are

seeking an earthly possession: Heaven is your home, seek that;

God is your portion, seek him. All kinds of earthly desires,

whether those of the flesh or of the eye, or those included in

the pride of life, are here comprised in the words fleshly lusts.

Which war against the soul] αιτινεςστρατευονταικατατης

ψυχης. Which are marshalled and drawn up in battle array, to

fight against the soul; either to slay it, or to bring it into

captivity. This is the object and operation of every earthly and

sensual desire. How little do those who indulge them think of the

ruin which they produce!

Verse 12. Having your conversation honest] Living in such a

manner among the Gentiles, in whose country ye sojourn, as becomes

the Gospel which ye profess.

That whereas they speak against you as evil doers] In all the

heathen countries, in the first age of the Church, the Christians

and the Jews were confounded together; and as the latter mere

everywhere exceedingly troublesome and seditious, the Christians

shared in their blame, and suffered no small measure of obloquy

and persecution on this very account. It was doubly necessary,

therefore, that the Christians should be exceedingly cautious; and

that their conduct should prove that, although many of them were

of the same nation, yet they who had embraced Christianity

differed widely in their spirit and conduct from those, whether

Jews or Gentiles, who had not received the faith of Christ.

In the day of visitation.] I believe this refers to the time

when God should come to execute judgment on the disobedient Jews,

in the destruction of their civil polity, and the subversion of

their temple and city. God did at that time put a remarkable

difference between the Jews and the Christians: all the former

were either destroyed or carried into slavery; not one of the

latter: nor did they deserve it; for not one of them had joined in

the sedition against the Roman government. That the day of

visitation means a time in which punishment should be inflicted,

is plain from Isa 10:3:

And what will ye do in the DAY of VISITATION, and in the

desolation which shall come from afar? To whom will ye flee for

help? And where will ye leave your glory? Some think that by the

phrase in this place is meant the time in which they should be

brought before the heathen magistrates, who, after an impartial

examination, should find them innocent, and declare them as such;

by which God would be glorified, the work appearing to be his own.

Others think that it signifies the time in which God should make

them the offer of mercy by Jesus Christ. The words, however, may

refer to the time in which the Christians should be called to

suffer for the testimony of Christ; the heathens, seeing them bear

their sufferings with unconquerable patience, were constrained to

confess that God was with them; and not a few, from being

spectators of their sufferings, became converts to Christianity,

Verse 13. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man] In

every settled state, and under every form of political government,

where the laws are not in opposition to the laws of God, it may be

very soundly and rationally said: "Genuine Christians have nothing

to do with the laws but to obey them." Society and civil security

are in a most dangerous state when the people take it into their

heads that they have a right to remodel and change the laws. See

the whole of this subject fully handled in the notes on "Ro 13:1",

&c., to which I beg every reader, who may wish to know the

political sentiments of this work, to have recourse.

The words πασηανθρωπινηκτισει literally signify, not every

ordinance of man, but every human creature; yet κτιζειν signifies

sometimes to arrange, order, as well as to create, and therefore

our translation may do: but as the apostle is evidently speaking

here of magistracy, or legislative authority, and as the

appointment of magistrates was termed a creating of them, it is

better to understand the words thus, All the constituted

authorities. So, Decem tribunos plebis per pontificem creaverunt;

Cor. Nep. "They created ten tribunes of the plebeians, by the

high priest." Carthagine quotannis annui bini reges creabantur;

Caesar. "They created two kings every year at Carthage."

Consules creantur Caesar et Servilius; Sallust. "Caesar and

Servilius are created consuls." Creare ducem gerendo bello.

"To create a general to conduct the war." The meaning of St. Peter

appears to be this: the Jews thought it unlawful to obey any ruler

that was not of their own stock; the apostle tells them they

should obey the civil magistrate, let him be of what stock he may,

whether a Jew or a Gentile, and let him exercise the government in

whatsoever form. This is the general proposition: and then he

instances emperors and their deputies; and, far from its being

unlawful for them to obey a heathen magistrate, they were to do it

for the Lord's sake, διατονκυριον, on account of the Lord,

whose will it was, and who commanded it.

Verse 14. Or unto governors] By king as supreme, the Roman

emperor is meant; and by governors, ηγεμοσιν, are meant, leaders,

governors, presidents, proconsuls, and other chief magistrates,

sent by him into the provinces dependent on the Roman empire.

For the punishment of evil doers] This was the object of their

mission; they were to punish delinquents, and encourage and

protect the virtuous.

Verse 15. For so is the will of God] God, as their supreme

governor, shows them that it is his will that they should act

uprightly and obediently at all times, and thus confound the

ignorance of foolish men, who were ready enough to assert that

their religion made them bad subjects. The word φιμουν, which we

translate put to silence, signifies to muzzle, i.e., stop their

mouths, leave them nothing to say; let them assert, but ever be

unable to bring proof to support it.

Verse 16. As free] The Jews pretended that they were a free

people, and owed allegiance to God alone; hence they were

continually rebelling against the Roman government, to which God

had subjected them because of their rebellion against him: thus

they used their liberty for a cloak of maliciousness-for a pretext

of rebellion, and by it endeavoured to vindicate their seditious

and rebellious conduct.

But as the servants of God.] These were free from sin and

Satan, but they were the servants of God-bound to obey him; and,

as he had made it their duty to obey the civil magistrate, they

served God by submitting to every ordinance of man for the Lord's

sake.

Verse 17. Honour all men.] That is, Give honour to whom

honour is due, Ro 13:7. Respect every man as a fellow creature,

and as one who may be a fellow heir with you of eternal life; and

therefore be ready to give him every kind of succour in your

power.

Love the brotherhood.] All true Christians, who form one great

family of which God is the head.

Fear God.] Who gives you these commandments, lest he punish

you for disobedience.

Honour the king.] Pay that respect to the emperor which his

high authority requires, knowing that civil power is of God; that

the authority with which he, in the course of his providence, has

invested him, must be respected in order to its being obeyed; and

that if the man be even bad, and as a man be worthy of no

reverence, yet he should be respected on account of his office.

If respect be banished, subordination will flee with it, and

anarchy and ruin will rise up in their place. Truly religious

persons are never found in seditions. Hypocrites may join

themselves with any class of the workers of iniquity, and say,

Hail, brethren!

Verse 18. Servants, be subject]

See Clarke on Eph 6:5; "Col 3:22"; and "Tit 2:9".

With all fear] With all submission and reverence.

The good and gentle] Those who are ever just in their

commands, never requiring more work than is necessary or proper,

and always allowing sufficient food and sufficient time.

The froward.] σκολιοις. The crooked, perverse, unreasonable

morose, and austere. Your time belongs to your master; obey him

in every thing that is not sinful; if he employs you about

unreasonable or foolish things, let him answer for it. He may

waste your time, and thus play the fool with his own property; you

can only fill up your time: let him assign the work; it is your

duty to obey.

Verse 19. For this is thankworthy] If, in a conscientious

discharge of your duty, you suffer evil, this is in the sight of

God thankworthy, pleasing, and proper; it shows that you prefer

his authority to your own ease, peace, and emolument; it shows

also, as Dr. Macknight has well observed, that they considered

their obligation to relative duties not to depend on the character

of the person to whom they were to be performed, nor on their

performing the duties they owed to their servants, but on the

unalterable relations of things established by God.

Verse 20. For what glory is it] It appears from this that the

poor Christians, and especially those who had been converted to

Christianity while in a state of slavery, were often grievously

abused, they were buffeted because they were Christians, and

because they would not join with their masters in idolatrous

worship.

Verse 21. Hereunto were ye called] Ye were called to a state

of suffering when ye were called to be Christians; for the world

cannot endure the yoke of Christ, and they that will live godly in

Christ must suffer persecution; they will meet with it in one form

or other.

Christ also suffered for us] And left us the example of his

meekness and gentleness; for when he was reviled, he reviled not

again. Ye cannot expect to fare better than your master; imitate

his example, and his Spirit shall comfort and sustain you. Many

MSS. and most of the versions, instead of Christ also suffered for

US, leaving US, &c., read, suffered for YOU, leaving YOU, &c.

This reading, which I think is genuine, is noticed in the margin.

Verse 22. Who did no sin] He suffered, but not on account of

any evil he had either done or said. In deed and word he was

immaculate, and yet he was exposed to suffering; expect the same,

and when it comes bear it in the same spirit. It is very likely

that the apostle mentions guile, because those who do wrong

generally strive to screen themselves by prevarication and lies.

These words appear to be a quotation from Isa 53:9.

Verse 23. But committed himself] Though he could have

inflicted any kind of punishment on his persecutors, yet to give

us, in this respect also, an example that we should follow his

steps, he committed his cause to him who is the righteous Judge.

To avoid evil tempers, and the uneasiness and danger of avenging

ourselves, it is a great advantage in all such cases to be able to

refer our cause to God, and to be assured that the Judge of all

the earth will do right.

The Vulgate, one copy of the Itala, St. Cyprian, and

Fulgentius, read, Tradebat autem judicanti se injuste; "He

delivered himself to him who judged unrighteously;" meaning

Pontius Pilate. Some critics approve of this reading, but it has

not sufficient evidence to recommend it as genuine.

Verse 24. Who his own self] Not another in his place, as some

anciently supposed, because they thought it impossible that the

Christ should suffer.

Bare our sins in his own body] Bore the punishment due to our

sins. In no other sense could Christ bear them. To say that they

were so imputed to him as if they had been his own, and that the

Father beheld him as blackened with imputed sin, is monstrous, if

not blasphemous.

That we, being dead to sins] ιναταιςαμαρτιαιςαπογενομενοι.

That we, being freed from sin-delivered out of its power, and from

under its tyranny.

Should live unto righteousness] That righteousness should be

our master now, as sin was before. He is speaking still lo

servants who were under an oppressive yoke, and were cruelly used

by their masters, scourged, buffeted, and variously maltreated.

By whose stripes ye were healed.] The apostle refers here to

Isa 53:4-6; and he still keeps the case of these persecuted

servants in view, and encourages them to suffer patiently by the

example of Christ, who was buffeted and scourged, and who bore all

this that the deep and inveterate wounds, inflicted on their souls

by sin, might be healed.

Verse 25. For ye were as sheep going astray] Formerly ye were

not in a better moral condition than your oppressors; ye were like

stray sheep, in the wilderness of ignorance and sin, till Christ,

the true and merciful Shepherd, called you back from your

wanderings, by sending you the Gospel of his grace.

Bishop of your souls.] Unless we consider the word bishop as a

corruption of the word επισκοπος episcopos, and that this

literally signifies an overseer, an inspector, or one that has the

oversight, it can convey to us no meaning of the original. Jesus

Christ is the Overseer of souls; he has them continually under his

eye; he knows their wants, wishes, dangers, &c., and provides for

them. As their shepherd, he leads them to the best pastures,

defends them from their enemies, and guides them by his eye.

Jesus is the good Shepherd that laid down his life for his sheep.

All human souls are inexpressibly dear to him, as they are the

purchase of his blood. He is still supreme Bishop or Overseer in

his Church. He alone is Episcopus episcoporum, "the Bishop of

bishops;" a title which the Romish pontiffs have blasphemously

usurped. But this is not the only attribute of Jesus on which

they have laid sacrilegious hands. And besides this, with force

and with cruelty have they ruled the sheep: but the Lord is

breaking the staff of their pride, and delivering the nations from

the bondage of their corruption. Lord, let thy kingdom come!

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