1 Peter 4* The consideration of Christ's sufferings is urged for purityand holiness. (1-6) And the approaching end of the Jewish state,as a reason for sobriety, watchfulness, and prayer. (7-11)Believers encouraged to rejoice and glory in reproaches andsufferings for Christ, and to commit their souls to the care ofa faithful God. (12-19)1-6 The strongest and best arguments against sin, are takenfrom the sufferings of Christ. He died to destroy sin; andthough he cheerfully submitted to the worst sufferings, yet henever gave way to the least sin. Temptations could not prevail,were it not for man's own corruption; but true Christians makethe will of God, not their own lust or desires, the rule oftheir lives and actions. And true conversion makes a marvellouschange in the heart and life. It alters the mind, judgment,affections, and conversation. When a man is truly converted, itis very grievous to him to think how the time past of his lifehas been spent. One sin draws on another. Six sins are herementioned which have dependence one upon another. It is aChristian's duty, not only to keep from gross wickedness, butalso from things that lead to sin, or appear evil. The gospelhad been preached to those since dead, who by the proud andcarnal judgment of wicked men were condemned as evil-doers, someeven suffering death. But being quickened to Divine life by theHoly Spirit, they lived to God as his devoted servants. Let notbelievers care, though the world scorns and reproaches them. 7-11 The destruction of the Jewish church and nation, foretoldby our Saviour, was very near. And the speedy approach of deathand judgment concerns all, to which these words naturally leadour minds. Our approaching end, is a powerful argument to makeus sober in all worldly matters, and earnest in religion. Thereare so many things amiss in all, that unless love covers,excuses, and forgives in others, the mistakes and faults forwhich every one needs the forbearance of others, Satan willprevail to stir up divisions and discords. But we are not tosuppose that charity will cover or make amends for the sins ofthose who exercise it, so as to induce God to forgive them. Thenature of a Christian's work, which is high work and hard work,the goodness of the Master, and the excellence of the reward,all require that our endeavours should be serious and earnest.And in all the duties and services of life, we should aim at theglory of God as our chief end. He is a miserable, unsettledwretch, who cleaves to himself, and forgets God; is onlyperplexed about his credit, and gain, and base ends, which areoften broken, and which, when he attains, both he and they mustshortly perish together. But he who has given up himself and hisall to God, may say confidently that the Lord is his portion;and nothing but glory through Christ Jesus, is solid andlasting; that abideth for ever. 12-19 By patience and fortitude in suffering, by dependence onthe promises of God, and keeping to the word the Holy Spirithath revealed, the Holy Spirit is glorified; but by the contemptand reproaches cast upon believers, he is evil spoken of, and isblasphemed. One would think such cautions as these were needlessto Christians. But their enemies falsely charged them with foulcrimes. And even the best of men need to be warned against theworst of sins. There is no comfort in sufferings, when we bringthem upon ourselves by our own sin and folly. A time ofuniversal calamity was at hand, as foretold by our Saviour, #Mt24:9,10|. And if such things befall in this life, how awful willthe day of judgment be! It is true that the righteous arescarcely saved; even those who endeavour to walk uprightly inthe ways of God. This does not mean that the purpose andperformance of God are uncertain, but only the greatdifficulties and hard encounters in the way; that they gothrough so many temptations and tribulations, so many fightingswithout and fears within. Yet all outward difficulties would beas nothing, were it not for lusts and corruptions within. Theseare the worst clogs and troubles. And if the way of therighteous be so hard, then how hard shall be the end of theungodly sinner, who walks in sin with delight, and thinks therighteous is a fool for all his pains! The only way to keep thesoul well, is, to commit it to God by prayer, and patientperseverance in well-doing. He will overrule all to the finaladvantage of the believer.
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