2 Peter 1

Verse 19. Suffer according to the will of God] A man suffers

according to the will of God who suffers for righteousness' sake;

and who, being reviled, reviles not again.

Commit the keeping of their souls] Place their lives

confidently in his hand, who, being their Creator, will also be

their preserver, and keep that safely which is committed to his

trust. God is here represented as faithful, because he will

always fulfil his promises, and withhold no good thing from them

that walk uprightly.

But they had no reason to hope that he would care for their

lives and souls unless they continued in well-doing. He who is

employed in God's work will have God's protection. The path of

duty ever was, and ever will be, the only way of safety.

1. THE apostle recommends fervent charity-unfeigned love both

to God and man. It is well said of this grace that it is a

universal virtue which ought to precede, accompany, and follow,

all others. A charity which has God for its principle, and Jesus

Christ for its pattern, never faileth. If our charity be

extensive enough to cover all the defects of our neighbour in

bearing with them; that of God is sufficient to cover all the sins

of a sincere penitent by blotting them out. If we ought to be

charitable to all, it is after the example of our heavenly Father,

who is loving to every man, and hateth nothing that he has made.

2 The difficulty of escaping the corruption that is in the

world is great; and, consequently, the danger of losing our souls.

In this great work, watchfulness, prayer; faith, and obedience,

are indispensably necessary. He who does not walk with God here

cannot see nor enjoy him hereafter.

THE

SECOND GENERAL EPISTLE

OF

PETER.

Chronological Notes relative to this Epistle.

-Year of the Constantinopolitan era of the world, or that used

by the Byzantine historians, and other eastern writers, 5568.

-Year of the Alexandrian era of the world, 5562.

-Year of the Antiochian era of the world, 5552.

-Year of the world, according to Archbishop Usher, 4064.

-Year of the world, according to Eusebius, in his Chronicon,

4288.

-Year of the minor Jewish era of the world, or that in common

use, 3820.

-Year of the Greater Rabbinical era of the world, 4419.

-Year from the Flood, according to Archbishop Usher, and the

English Bible, 2408.

-Year of the Cali yuga, or Indian era of the Deluge, 3162.

-Year of the era of Iphitus, or since the first commencement

of the Olympic games, 1000.

-Year of the era of Nahonassar, king of Babylon, 809.

-Year of the CCIXth Olympiad, 4.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to Fabius Pictor,

807.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to Frontinus, 811.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to the Fasti

Capitolini, 812.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to Varro, which was

that most generally used, 813.

-Year of the era of the Seleucidae, 372.

-Year of the Caesarean era of Antioch, 108.

-Year of the Julian era, 105.

-Year of the Spanish era, 98.

-Year from the birth of Jesus Christ, according to Archbishop

Usher, 64.

-Year of the vulgar era of Christ's nativity, 60.

-Year of Claudius Felix, governor of the Jews, 8.

-Year of Vologesus, king of the Parthians, 11.

-Jesus, high priest of the Jews, 1.

-Year of the Dionysian period, or Easter Cycle, 61.

-Year of the Grecian Cycle of nineteen years, or Common Golden

Number, 4; or the second after the first embolismic.

-Year of the Jewish Cycle of nineteen years, 1; or two years

before the first embolismic.

-Year of the Solar Cycle, 13.

-Dominical Letter, it being the Bissextile, or Leap Year, FE.

-Day of the Jewish Passover, the second of April, which happened

in this year on the fourth day after the Jewish Sabbath.

-Easter Sunday, the sixth of April.

-Epact, or age of the moon on the 22d of March, (the day of the

earliest Easter Sunday possible,) 3.

-Epact, according to the present mode of computation, or the

moon's age on New Year's day, or the Calends of January, 11.

-Monthly Epacts, or age of the moon on the Calends of each month

respectlvely, (beginning with January,) 11, 13, 12, 13, 14,

15, 16, 17, 19, 19, 21, 21.

-Number of Direction, or the number of days from the

twenty-first of March to the Jewish Passover, 12.

-Year of the reign of Caius Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar, the

fifth Roman monarch, computing from Octavianus, or Augustus

Caesar, properly the first Roman emperor, 7.

-Roman Consuls, the Emperor Nero Augustus, the fourth time, and

Cossus Cornelius Lentulus.

CHAPTER I.

The apostolical address, and the persons to whom the epistle

was sent described by the state into which God had called, and

in which he had placed, them, 1-4.

What graces they should possess in order to be fruitful in the

knowledge of God, 5-8.

The miserable state of those who either have not these graces,

or have fallen from them, 9.

Believers should give diligence to make their calling and

election sure, 10, 11.

The apostle's intimations of his speedy dissolution, and his

wish to confirm and establish those Churches in the true faith,

12-15.

The certainty of the Gospel, and the convincing evidence which

the apostle had of its truth from being present at the

transfiguration, by which the word of prophecy was made more

sure, 16-19.

How the prophecies came, and their nature, 20, 21.

NOTES ON CHAP. I.

Verse 1. Simon Peter] Symeon, συμεων, is the reading of

almost all the versions, and of all the most important MSS. And

this is the more remarkable, as the surname of Peter occurs

upwards of seventy times in the New Testament, and is invariably

read σιμον, Simon, except here, and in Ac 15:14, where James

gives him the name of Symeon. Of all the versions, only the

Armenian and Vulgate have Simon. But the edit. princ., and

several of my own MSS. of the Vulgate, write Symon; and Wiclif has

Symont.

A servant] Employed in his Master's work.

And an apostle] Commissioned immediately by Jesus Christ

himself to preach to the Gentiles, and to write these epistles for

the edification of the Church. As the writer was an apostle, the

epistle is therefore necessarily canonical. All the MSS. agree in

the title apostle; and of the versions, only the Syriac omits it.

Precious faith] ισοτιμονπιστιν. Valuable faith; faith worth

a great price, and faith which cost a great price. The word

precious is used in the low religious phraseology for dear,

comfortable, delightful, &c.; but how much is the dignity of the

subject let down by expressions and meanings more proper for the

nursery than for the noble science of salvation! It is necessary

however to state, that the word precious literally signifies

valuable, of great price, costly; and was not used in that low

sense in which it is now employed when our translation was made.

That faith must be of infinite value, the grace of which Christ

purchased by his blood; and it must be of infinite value also when

it is the very instrument by which the soul is saved unto eternal

life.

With us] God having given to you-believing Gentiles, the same

faith and salvation which he had given to us-believing Jews.

Through the righteousness of God] Through his method of

bringing a lost world, both Jews and Gentiles, to salvation by

Jesus Christ; through his gracious impartiality, providing for

Gentiles as well as Jews. See the notes on Ro 3:21-26.

Of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ] This is not a proper

translation of the original τουθεουημωνκαισωτηροςιησου

χριστου, which is literally, Of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ;

and this reading, which is indicated in the margin, should have

been received into the text; and it is an absolute proof that St.

Peter calls Jesus Christ GOD, even in the properest sense of the

word, with the article prefixed. It is no evidence against this

doctrine that one MS. of little authority, and the Syriac and two

Arabic versions have κυριου, Lord, instead of θεου, God,

as all other MSS. and versions agree in the other reading, as well

as the fathers. See in Griesbach.

Verse 2. Grace] God's favour; peace-the effects of that

favour in the communication of spiritual and temporal blessings.

Through the knowledge of God] ενεπιγνωσει. By the

acknowledging of God, and of Jesus our Lord. For those who

acknowledge him in all their ways, he will direct their steps.

Those who know Christ; and do not acknowledge him before men, can

get no multiplication of grace and peace.

Verse 3. As his Divine power] His power, which no power can

resist, because it is Divine-that which properly belongs to the

infinite Godhead.

Hath given unto us] δεδωρημενης. Hath endowed us with the

gifts; or, hath gifted us, as Dr. Macknight translates it, who

observes that it refers to the gifts which the Holy Spirit

communicated to the apostles, to enable them to bring men to life

and godliness; which were, 1. A complete knowledge of the

doctrines of the Gospel. 2. Power to preach and defend their

doctrines in suitable language, which their adversaries were not

able to gainsay or resist. 3. Wisdom to direct them how to behave

in all cases, where and when to labour; and the matter suitable

to all different cases, and every variety of persons. 4.

Miraculous powers, so that on all proper and necessary occasions

they could work miracles for the confirmation of their doctrines

and mission.

By life and godliness we may understand, 1. a godly life; or,

2. eternal life as the end, and godliness the way to it; or, 3.

what was essentially necessary for the present life, food,

raiment, &c., and what was requisite for the life to come. As

they were in a suffering state, and most probably many of them

strangers in those places, one can scarcely say that they had all

things that pertained to life; and yet so had God worked in their

behalf, that none of them perished, either through lack of food or

raiment. And as to what was necessary for godliness, they had

that from the Gospel ministry, which it appears was still

continued among them, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit which were

not withdrawn; and what was farther necessary in the way of

personal caution, comfort, and instruction, was supplied by means

of these two epistles.

That hath called us to glory and virtue] To virtue or courage

as the means; and glory-the kingdom of heaven, as the end. This

is the way in which these words are commonly understood, and this

sense is plain enough, but the construction is harsh. Others have

translated διαδοξηςκαιαρετης, by his glorious benignity, a

Hebraism for διατηςενδοξουαρετης. and read the whole verse

thus: God by his own power hath bestowed on us every thing

necessary for a happy life and godliness, having called us to the

knowledge of himself, by his own infinite goodness. It is certain

that the word αρετη, which we translate virtue or courage, is

used, 1Pe 2:9,

to express the perfection of the Divine nature: That ye may show

forth ταςαρετας, the virtues or PERFECTIONS, of him who hath

called you from darkness into his marvellous light.

But there is a various reading here which is of considerable

importance, and which, from the authorities by which it is

supported, appears to be genuine: τουκαλεσαντοςημαςιδιαδοξη

καιαρετη, through the knowledge of him who hath called us by his

own glory and power, or by his own glorious power. This is the

reading of AC, several others; and, in effect, of the Coptic,

Armenian, Syriac, AEthiopic, Vulgate, Cyril, Cassiodorus, &c.

Verse 4. Whereby are given unto us] By his own glorious power

he hath freely given unto us exceeding great and invaluable

promises. The Jews were distinguished in a very particular manner

by the promises which they received from God; the promises to

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and the prophets. God promised to

be their God; to protect, support, and save them; to give them

what was emphatically called the promised land; and to cause the

Messiah to spring from their race. St. Peter intimates to these

Gentiles that God had also given unto them exceeding great

promises; indeed all that he had given to the Jews, the mere

settlement in the promised land excepted; and this also he had

given in all its spiritual meaning and force. And besides τα

μεγισταεπαγγελματα, these superlatively great promises, which

distinguished the Mosaic dispensation, he had given them τατιμια

επαγγελματα; the valuable promises, those which came through the

great price; enrolment with the Church of God, redemption in and

through the blood of the cross, the continual indwelling influence

of the Holy Ghost, the resurrection of the body, and eternal rest

at the right hand of God. It was of considerable consequence to

the comfort of the Gentiles that these promises were made to them,

and that salvation was not exclusively of the Jews.

That by these ye might be partakers] The object of all God's

promises and dispensations was to bring fallen man back to the

image of God, which he had lost. This, indeed, is the sum and

substance of the religion of Christ. We have partaken of an

earthly, sensual, and devilish nature; the design of God by Christ

is to remove this, and to make us partakers of the Divine nature;

and save us from all the corruption in principle and fact which is

in the world; the source of which is lust, επιθυμια, irregular,

unreasonable, in ordinate, and impure desire; desire to have, to

do, and to be, what God has prohibited, and what would be ruinous

and destructive to us were the desire to be granted.

Lust, or irregular, impure desire, is the source whence all the

corruption which is in the world springs. Lust conceives and

brings forth sin; sin is finished or brought into act, and then

brings forth death. This destructive principle is to be rooted

out; and love to God and man is to be implanted in its place.

This is every Christian's privilege; God has promised to purify

our hearts by faith; and that as sin hath reigned unto death, even

so shall grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life; that

here we are to be delivered out of the hands of all our enemies,

and have even "the thoughts of our hearts so cleansed by the

inspiration of God's Holy Spirit, that we shall perfectly love

him, and worthily magnify his holy name."

This blessing may be expected by those who are continually

escaping, αποφυγοντες, flying from, the corruption that is in the

world and in themselves. God purifies no heart in which sin is

indulged. Get pardon through the blood of the Lamb; feel your

need of being purified in heart; seek that with all your soul;

plead the exceeding great and invaluable promises that refer to

this point; abhor your inward self; abstain from every appearance

of evil; flee from self and sin to God; and the very God of peace

will sanctify you through body, soul, and spirit, make you burning

and shining lights here below, (a proof that he can save to the

uttermost ail that come to him by Christ,) and afterwards, having

guided you by his counsel through life, will receive you into his

eternal glory.

Verse 5. And beside this] Notwithstanding what God hath done

for you, in order that ye may not receive the grace of God in

vain;

Giving all diligence] Furnishing all earnestness and

activity: the original is very emphatic.

Add to your faith] επιχορηγησατε. Lead up hand in hand;

alluding, as most think, to the chorus in the Grecian dance, who

danced with joined hands. See Clarke on 2Co 9:10.

Your faith-That faith in Jesus by which ye have been led to

embrace the whole Gospel, and by which ye have the evidence of

things unseen.

Virtue] αρετην. Courage or fortitude, to enable you to

profess the faith before men, in these times of persecution.

Knowledge] True wisdom, by which your faith will be increased,

and your courage directed, and preserved from degenerating into

rashness.

Verse 6. Temperance] A proper and limited use of all earthly

enjoyments, keeping every sense under proper restraints, and never

permitting the animal part to subjugate the rational.

Patience] Bearing all trials and difficulties with an even

mind, enduring in all, and persevering through all.

Godliness] Piety towards God; a deep, reverential,

religious fear; not only worshipping God with every becoming

outward act, but adoring, loving, and magnifying him in the

heart: a disposition indispensably necessary to salvation, but

exceedingly rare among professors.

Verse 7. Brotherly kindness] φιλαδελφιαν. Love of the

brotherhood-the strongest attachment to Christ's flock; feeling

each as a member of your own body.

Charity] αγαπην. Love to the whole human race, even to your

persecutors: love to God and the brethren they had; love to all

mankind they must also have. True religion is neither selfish nor

insulated; where the love of God is, bigotry cannot exist.

Narrow, selfish people, and people of a party, who scarcely have

any hope of the salvation of those who do not believe as they

believe, and who do not follow with them, have scarcely any

religion, though in their own apprehension none is so truly

orthodox or religious as themselves.

After αγαπην, love, one MS. adds these words, ενδετηαγαπη

τηνπαρακλησιν, and to this love consolation; but this is an idle

and useless addition.

Verse 8. For if these things be in you and abound] If ye

possess all there graces, and they increase and abound in your

souls, they will make-show, you to be neither αργους, idle, nor

ακαρπους, unfruitful, in the acknowledgment of our Lord Jesus

Christ. The common translation is here very unhappy: barren and

unfruitful certainly convey the same ideas; but idle or inactive,

which is the proper sense of αργους, takes away this tautology,

and restores the sense. The graces already mentioned by the

apostle are in themselves active principles; he who was possessed

of them, and had them abounding in him, could not be inactive; and

he who is not inactive in the way of life must be fruitful. I may

add, that he who is thus active, and consequently fruitful, will

ever be ready at all hazard to acknowledge his Lord and Saviour,

by whom he has been brought into this state of salvation.

Verse 9. But he that lacketh these things] He, whether Jew or

Gentile, who professes to have FAITH in God, and has not added to

that FAITH fortitude, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness,

brotherly kindness, and universal love; is blind-his

understanding is darkened, and cannot see afar off, μυωπαζων,

shutting his eyes against the light, winking, not able to look

truth in the face, nor to behold that God whom he once knew was

reconciled to him: and thus it appears he is wilfully blind, and

hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins-has at last,

through his nonimprovement of the grace which he received from

God, his faith ceasing to work by love, lost the evidence of

things not seen; for, having grieved the Holy Spirit by not

showing forth the virtues of him who called him into his

marvellous light, he has lost the testimony of his sonship; and

then, darkness and hardness having taken place of light and filial

confidence, he first calls all his former experience into doubt,

and questions whether he has not put enthusiasm in the place of

religion. By these means his darkness and hardness increase, his

memory becomes indistinct and confused, till at length he forgets

the work of God on his soul, next denies it, and at last asserts

that the knowledge of salvation, by the remission of sins, is

impossible, and that no man can be saved from sin in this life.

Indeed, some go so far as to deny the Lord that bought them; to

renounce Jesus Christ as having made atonement for them; and

finish their career of apostasy by utterly denying his Godhead.

Many cases of this kind have I known; and they are all the

consequence of believers not continuing to be workers together

with God, after they had experienced his pardoning love.

Reader, see that the light that is in thee become not darkness;

for if it do, how great a darkness!

Verse 10. Wherefore] Seeing the danger of apostasy, and the

fearful end of them who obey not the Gospel, and thus receive the

grace of God in vain; give all diligence, σπουδασατε, hasten, be

deeply careful, labour with the most intense purpose of soul.

To make your calling] From deep Gentile darkness into the

marvellous light of the Gospel.

And election] Your being chosen, in consequence of obeying the

heavenly calling, to be the people and Church of God. Instead of

κλησιν, calling, the Codex Alexandrinus has παρακλησιν,

consolation.

Sure] βεβαιαν. Firm, solid. For your calling to believe the

Gospel, and your election to be members of the Church of Christ,

will be ultimately unprofitable to you, unless you hold fast what

you have received by adding to your faith virtue, knowledge,

temperance, &c.

For if ye do these things] If ye be careful and diligent to

work out your own salvation, through the grace which ye have

already received from God; ye shall never fall, ουμηπταισητε

ποτε, ye shall at no time stumble or fall; as the Jews have done,

and lost their election, Ro 11:11, where the same word is used,

and as apostates do, and lose their peace and salvation. We find,

therefore, that they who do not these things shall fall; and thus

we see that there is nothing absolute and unconditional in their

election. There is an addition here in some MSS. and versions

which should not pass unnoticed: the Codex Alexandrinus, nine

others, with the Syriac, Erpen's Arabic, Coptic, AEthiopic,

Armenian, later Syriac with an asterisk, the Vulgate, and Bede,

have ιναδιατωνκαλων (υμων) εργων, THAT BY (your) GOOD

WORKS ye may make your calling and election firm. This clause is

found in the edition of Colinaeus, Paris, 1534, and has been

probably omitted by more recent editors on the supposition that

the edition does not make a very orthodox sense. But on this

ground there need be no alarm, for it does not state that the good

works thus required merit either the calling and election, or the

eternal glory, of God. He who does not by good works confirm his

calling and election, will soon have neither; and although no

good works ever did purchase or ever can purchase the kingdom of

God, yet no soul can ever scripturally expect to see God who has

them not. I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat; thirsty, and ye

gave me no drink: go, ye cursed. I was hungry, and ye gave me

meat; &c., &c.; come, ye blessed.

Verse 11. For so an entrance shall be ministered] If ye give

diligence; and do not fall, an abundant, free, honourable, and

triumphant entrance shall be ministered to you into the

everlasting kingdom. There seems to be here an allusion to the

triumphs granted by the Romans to their generals who had

distinguished themselves by putting an end to a war, or doing some

signal military service to the state. (See the whole account of

this military pageant in Clarke's note on "2Co 2:14".) "Ye shall have

a triumph, in consequence of having conquered your foes, and led

captivity captive."

Instead of everlasting kingdom, αιωνιονβασιλειαν, two MSS.

have επουρανιον, heavenly kingdom; and several MSS. omit the word

καισωτηρος, and Saviour.

Verse 12. Wherefore I will not be negligent] He had already

written one epistle, this is the second; and probably he meditated

more should he be spared. He plainly saw that there was no way of

entering into eternal life but that which he described from the

5th to the 10th verse; 2Pe 1:5-10 and although they knew and were

established in the present truth, yet he saw it necessary to bring

these things frequently to their recollection.

Verse 13. As long as I am in this tabernacle] By tabernacle

we are to understand his body; and hence several of the versions

have σωματι, body, instead of σκηνωματι, tabernacle. Peter's

mode of speaking is very remarkable: as long as I AM in this

tabernacle, so then the body was not Peter, but Peter dwelt

in that body. Is not this a proof that St. Peter believed his

soul to be very distinct from his body? As a man's house is the

place where he dwells, so the body is the house where the soul

dwells.

Verse 14. Knowing that shortly I must put off] St. Peter

plainly refers to the conversation between our Lord and himself,

related Joh 21:18, 19. And it is likely that he had now a

particular intimation that he was shortly to seal the truth with

his blood. But as our Lord told him that his death would take

place when he should be old, being aged now he might on this

ground fairly suppose that his departure was at hand.

Verse 15. Moreover, I will endeavour] And is not this

endeavour seen in these two epistles? By leaving these among

them, even after his decease, they had these things always in

remembrance.

After my decease] μετατηνεμηνεξοδον. After my going out,

i.e. of his tabernacle. The real Peter was not open to the eye,

nor palpable to the touch; he was concealed in that tabernacle

vulgarly supposed to be Peter. There is a thought very similar to

this in the last conversation of Socrates with his friends. As

this great man was about to drink the poison to which he was

condemned by the Athenian judges, his friend CRITO said, "But how

would you be buried?-SOCRATES: Just as you please, if you can but

catch me, and I do not elude your pursuit. Then, gently smiling,

he said: I cannot persuade Crito, ωςεγωειμιουτοςοσωκρατηςο

νυνιδιαλεγομεςος, that I AM that Socrates who now converses with

you; but he thinks that I am he, ονοψεταιολιγονυστεροννεκρον

καιερωταπωςεδιμεθαπτειν, whom he shall shortly see dead; and

he asks how I would be buried? I have asserted that, after I have

drunk the poison, I should no longer remain with you, but shall

depart to certain felicities of the blessed." PLATONIS Phaedo,

Oper., vol. i, edit. Bipont., p 260.

Verse 16. Cunningly devised fables] σεσοφισμενοιςμυθοις.

I think, with Macknight and others, from the apostle's using

εποπται, eye witnesses, or rather beholders, in the end of the

verse, it is probable that he means those cunningly devised fables

among the heathens, concerning the appearance of their gods on

earth in human form. And to gain the greater credit to these

fables, the priests and statesmen instituted what they called the

mysteries of the gods, in which the fabulous appearance of the

gods was represented in mystic shows. But one particular show

none but the fully initiated were permitted to behold; hence they

were entitled εποπται, beholders. This show was probably some

resplendent image of the god, imitating life, which, by its glory,

dazzled the eyes of the beholders, while their ears were ravished

by hymns sung in its praise; to this it was natural enough for St.

Peter to allude, when speaking about the transfiguration of

Christ. Here the indescribably resplendent majesty of the great

God was manifested, as far as it could be, in conjunction with

that human body in which the fulness of the Divinity dwelt. And

we, says the apostle, were εποπται, beholders, τηςεκεινου

μεγαλειοτητος, of his own majesty. Here was no trick, no feigned

show; we saw him in his glory whom thousands saw before and

afterwards; and we have made known to you the power and coming,

παρουσιαν, the appearance and presence, of our Lord Jesus; and

we call you to feel the exceeding greatness of this power in your

conversion, and the glory of this appearance in his revelation by

the power of his Spirit to your souls. These things we have

witnessed, and these things ye have experienced: and therefore we

can confidently say that neither you nor we have followed

cunningly devised fables, but that blessed Gospel which is the

power of God to the salvation of every one that believes.

Verse 17. For he received honour and glory] In his

transfiguration our Lord received from the Father honour in the

voice or declaration which said, This is my Son, the beloved One,

in whom I have delighted. And he received glory, when, penetrated

with, and involved in, that excellent glory, the fashion of his

countenance was altered, for his face did shine as the sun, and

his raiment was white and glistening, exceeding white like snow;

which most glorious and preternatural appearance was a

confirmation of the supernatural voice, as the voice was of this

preternatural appearance: and thus his Messiahship was attested in

the most complete and convincing manner.

Verse 18. And this voice-we heard] That is, himself, James,

and John heard it, and saw this glory; for these only were the

εποπται, beholders, on the holy mount. It is worthy of remark

that our blessed Lord, who came to give a new law to mankind,

appeared on this holy mount with splendour and great glory, as God

did when he came on the holy mount, Sinai, to give the old law to

Moses. And when the voice came from the excellent glory, This is

my Son, the beloved One, in whom I have delighted; hear him: the

authority of the old law was taken away. Neither Moses nor

Elijah, the law nor the prophets, must tabernacle among men, as

teaching the whole way of salvation, and affording the means of

eternal life; these things they had pointed out, but these things

they did not contain; yet the fulfilment of their types and

predictions rendered their declarations more firm and

incontestable. See below.

Verse 19. We have also a more sure word of prophecy] εχομεν

βεβαιοτεροντονπροφητικονλογον. We have the prophetic doctrine

more firm or more confirmed; for in this sense the word βεβαιοω is

used in several places in the New Testament. See 1Co 1:6: Even

as the testimony of Christ εβεβαιωθη, was CONFIRMED, among you.

2Co 1:21: Now he which stablisheth us, οδεβεβαιωνημας, who

CONFIRMETH US. Col 2:7: Rooted and built up in him, and

established in the faith, βεβαιουμενοι, CONFIRMED in the faith.

Heb 2:3: How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation

ητιςεβεβαιωτη, which was CONFIRMED to us. Heb 6:16: And an

oath, ειςβεβαιωσιν, for CONFIRMATION. This is the literal sense

of the passage in question; and this sense removes that ambiguity

from the text which has given rise to so many different

interpretations. Taken according to the common translation, it

seems to say that prophecy is a surer evidence of Divine

revelation than miracles; and so it has been understood. The

meaning of the apostle appears to be this: The law and the

prophets have spoken concerning Jesus Christ, and Isaiah has

particularly pointed him out in these words: Behold my servant

whom I uphold, my CHOSEN IN WHOM MY SOUL DELIGHTETH; I have put my

Spirit upon him, and he shall bring forth judgment to the

Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from

the prison, and THEM THAT SIT IN DARKNESS out of the prison house,

Isa 42:1, 7. Now both at his baptism, Mt 3:17, and at his

transfiguration, Jesus Christ was declared to be this chosen

person, God's only Son, the beloved One in WHOM HE DELIGHTED. The

voice, therefore, from heaven, and the miraculous transfiguration

of his person, have confirmed the prophetic doctrine concerning

him. And to this doctrine, thus confirmed, ye do well to take

heed; for it is that light that shines in the dark place-in the

Gentile world, as well as among the Jews; giving light to them

that sit in darkness, and bringing the prisoners out of the prison

house: and this ye must continue to do till the day of his second,

last, and most glorious appearing to judge the world comes; and

the day star, φωσφορος, this light-bringer, arise in your

hearts-manifest himself to your eternal consolation. Or perhaps

the latter clause of the verse might be thus understood: The

prophecies concerning Jesus, which have been so signally confirmed

to us on the holy mount, have always been as a light shining in a

dark place, from the time of their delivery to the time in which

the bright day of Gospel light and salvation dawned forth, and the

Son of righteousness has arisen in our souls, with healing in his

rays. And to this all who waited for Christ's appearing have

taken heed. The word φωσφορος, phosphorus, generally signified

the planet Venus, when she is the morning star; and thus she is

called in most European nations.

Verse 20. Knowing this first] Considering this as a first

principle, that no prophecy of the Scripture, whether that

referred to above, or any other, is of any private

interpretation-proceeds from the prophet's own knowledge or

invention, or was the offspring of calculation or conjecture. The

word επιλυσις signifies also impetus, impulse; and probably this

is the best sense here; not by the mere private impulse of his own

mind.

Verse 21. For the prophecy came not in old time] That is, in

any former time, by the will of man-by a man's own searching,

conjecture, or calculation; but holy men of God-persons separated

from the world, and devoted to God's service, spake, moved by the

Holy Ghost. So far were they from inventing these prophetic

declarations concerning Christ, or any future event, that they

were φερομενοι, carried away, out of themselves and out of the

whole region, as it were, of human knowledge and conjecture, by

the Holy Ghost, who, without their knowing any thing of the

matter, dictated to them what to speak, and what to write; and so

far above their knowledge were the words of the prophecy, that

they did not even know the intent of those words, but searched

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. See 1Pe 1:11, 12, and

the notes there.

1. As the writer of this epistle asserts that he was on the

holy mount with Christ when he was transfigured, he must be either

Peter, James, or John, for there was no other person present on

that occasion except Moses and Elijah, in their glorious bodies.

The epistle was never attributed to James nor John; but the

uninterrupted current, where its Divine inspiration was granted,

gave it to Peter alone. See the preface.

2. It is not unfrequent for the writers of the New Testament to

draw a comparison between the Mosaic and Christian dispensations;

and the comparison generally shows that, glorious as the former

was, it had no glory in comparison of the glory that excelleth.

St. Peter seems to touch here on the same point; the Mosaic

dispensation, with all the light of prophecy by which it was

illustrated, was only as a lamp shining in a dark place. There is

a propriety and delicacy in this image that are not generally

noticed: a lamp in the dark gives but a very small portion of

light, and only to those who are very near to it; yet it always

gives light enough to make itself visible, even at a great

distance; though it enlightens not the space between it and the

beholder, it is still literally the lamp shining in a dark place.

Such was the Mosaic dispensation; it gave a little light to the

Jews, but shone not to the Gentile world, any farther than to make

itself visible. This is compared with the Gospel under the emblem

of daybreak, and the rising of the sun. When the sun is even

eighteen degrees below the horizon daybreak commences, as the rays

of light begin then to diffuse themselves in our atmosphere, by

which they are reflected upon the earth. By this means a whole

hemisphere is enlightened, though but in a partial degree; yet

this increasing every moment, as the sun approaches the horizon,

prepares for the full manifestation of his resplendent orb: so the

ministry of John Baptist, and the initiatory ministry of Christ

himself, prepared the primitive believers for his full

manifestation on the day of pentecost and afterwards. Here the

sun rose in his strength, bringing light, heat, and life to all

the inhabitants of the earth. So far, then, as a lantern carried

in a dark night differs from and is inferior to the beneficial

effects of daybreak, and the full light and heat of a meridian

sun; so far was the Mosaic dispensation, in its beneficial

effects, inferior to the Christian dispensation.

3. Perhaps there is scarcely any point of view in which we can

consider prophecy which is so satisfactory and conclusive as that

which is here stated; that is, far from inventing the subject of

their own predictions, the ancient prophets did not even know the

meaning of what themselves wrote. They were carried beyond

themselves by the influence of the Divine Spirit, and after ages

were alone to discover the object of the prophecy; and the

fulfilment was to be the absolute proof that the prediction was of

God, and that it was of no private invention-no discovery made by

human sagacity and wisdom, but by the especial revelation of the

all-wise God. This is sufficiently evident in all the prophecies

which have been already fulfilled, and will be equally so in those

yet to be fulfilled; the events will point out the prophecy, and

the prophecy will be seen to be fulfilled in that event.

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