1 Peter 3* The duties of wives and husbands. (1-7) Christians exhorted toagree. (8-13) And encouraged to patience under persecutions forrighteousness' sake, considering that Christ suffered patiently.(14-22)1-7 The wife must discharge her duty to her own husband, thoughhe obey not the word. We daily see how narrowly evil men watchthe ways and lives of professors of religion. Putting on ofapparel is not forbidden, but vanity and costliness in ornament.Religious people should take care that all their behaviouranswers to their profession. But how few know the right measureand bounds of those two necessaries of life, food and raiment!Unless poverty is our carver, and cuts us short, there isscarcely any one who does not desire something beyond what isgood for us. Far more are beholden to the lowliness of theirstate, than the lowliness of their mind; and many will not be sobounded, but lavish their time and money upon trifles. Theapostle directs Christian females to put on something notcorruptible, that beautifies the soul, even the graces of God'sHoly Spirit. A true Christian's chief care lies in rightordering his own spirit. This will do more to fix theaffections, and excite the esteem of a husband, than studiedornaments or fashionable apparel, attended by a froward andquarrelsome temper. Christians ought to do their duty to oneanother, from a willing mind, and in obedience to the command ofGod. Wives should be subject to their husbands, not from dreadand amazement, but from desire to do well, and please God. Thehusband's duty to the wife implies giving due respect unto her,and maintaining her authority, protecting her, and placing trustin her. They are heirs together of all the blessings of thislife and that which is to come, and should live peaceably onewith another. Prayer sweetens their converse. And it is notenough that they pray with the family, but husband and wifetogether by themselves, and with their children. Those who areacquainted with prayer, find such unspeakable sweetness in it,that they will not be hindered therein. That you may pray much,live holily; and that you may live holily, be much in prayer. 8-13 Though Christians cannot always be exactly of the samemind, yet they should have compassion one of another, and loveas brethren. If any man desires to live comfortably on earth, orto possess eternal life in heaven, he must bridle his tonguefrom wicked, abusive, or deceitful words. He must forsake andkeep far from evil actions, do all the good he can, and seekpeace with all men. For God, all-wise and every where present,watches over the righteous, and takes care of them. None couldor should harm those who copied the example of Christ, who isperfect goodness, and did good to others as his followers. 14-22 We sanctify God before others, when our conduct invitesand encourages them to glorify and honour him. What was theground and reason of their hope? We should be able to defend ourreligion with meekness, in the fear of God. There is no room forany other fears where this great fear is; it disturbs not. Theconscience is good, when it does its office well. That person isin a sad condition on whom sin and suffering meet: sin makessuffering extreme, comfortless, and destructive. Surely it isbetter to suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing, whateverour natural impatience at times may suggest. The example ofChrist is an argument for patience under sufferings. In the caseof our Lord's suffering, he that knew no sin, suffered insteadof those who knew no righteousness. The blessed end and designof our Lord's sufferings were, to reconcile us to God, and tobring us to eternal glory. He was put to death in respect of hishuman nature, but was quickened and raised by the power of theHoly Spirit. If Christ could not be freed from sufferings, whyshould Christians think to be so? God takes exact notice of themeans and advantages people in all ages have had. As to the oldworld, Christ sent his Spirit; gave warning by Noah. But thoughthe patience of God waits long, it will cease at last. And thespirits of disobedient sinners, as soon as they are out of theirbodies, are committed to the prison of hell, where those thatdespised Noah's warning now are, and from whence there is noredemption. Noah's salvation in the ark upon the water, whichcarried him above the floods, set forth the salvation of alltrue believers. That temporal salvation by the ark was a type ofthe eternal salvation of believers by baptism of the HolySpirit. To prevent mistakes, the apostle declares what he meansby saving baptism; not the outward ceremony of washing withwater, which, in itself, does no more than put away the filth ofthe flesh, but that baptism, of which the baptismal water formedthe sign. Not the outward ordinance, but when a man, by theregeneration of the Spirit, was enabled to repent and professfaith, and purpose a new life, uprightly, and as in the presenceof God. Let us beware that we rest not upon outward forms. Letus learn to look on the ordinances of God spiritually, and toinquire after the spiritual effect and working of them on ourconsciences. We would willingly have all religion reduced tooutward things. But many who were baptized, and constantlyattended the ordinances, have remained without Christ, died intheir sins, and are now past recovery. Rest not then till thouart cleansed by the Spirit of Christ and the blood of Christ.His resurrection from the dead is that whereby we are assured ofpurifying and peace.
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