1 Peter 5* Elders exhorted and encouraged. (1-4) Younger Christians areto submit to their elders, and to yield with humility andpatience to God, and to be sober, watchful, and stedfast infaith. (5-9) Prayers for their growth and establishment. (10-14)1-4 The apostle Peter does not command, but exhorts. He doesnot claim power to rule over all pastors and churches. It wasthe peculiar honour of Peter and a few more, to be witnesses ofChrist's sufferings; but it is the privilege of all trueChristians to partake of the glory that shall be revealed. Thesepoor, dispersed, suffering Christians, were the flock of God,redeemed to God by the great Shepherd, living in holy love andcommunion, according to the will of God. They are also dignifiedwith the title of God's heritage or clergy; his peculiar lot,chosen for his own people, to enjoy his special favour, and todo him special service. Christ is the chief Shepherd of thewhole flock and heritage of God. And all faithful ministers willreceive a crown of unfading glory, infinitely better and morehonourable than all the authority, wealth, and pleasure of theworld. 5-9 Humility preserves peace and order in all Christianchurches and societies; pride disturbs them. Where God givesgrace to be humble, he will give wisdom, faith, and holiness. Tobe humble, and subject to our reconciled God, will bring greatercomfort to the soul than the gratification of pride andambition. But it is to be in due time; not in thy fancied time,but God's own wisely appointed time. Does he wait, and wilt notthou? What difficulties will not the firm belief of his wisdom,power, and goodness get over! Then be humble under his hand.Cast "all you care;" personal cares, family cares, cares for thepresent, and cares for the future, for yourselves, for others,for the church, on God. These are burdensome, and often verysinful, when they arise from unbelief and distrust, when theytorture and distract the mind, unfit us for duties, and hinderour delight in the service of God. The remedy is, to cast ourcare upon God, and leave every event to his wise and graciousdisposal. Firm belief that the Divine will and counsels areright, calms the spirit of a man. Truly the godly too oftenforget this, and fret themselves to no purpose. Refer all toGod's disposal. The golden mines of all spiritual comfort andgood are wholly his, and the Spirit itself. Then, will he notfurnish what is fit for us, if we humbly attend on him, and laythe care of providing for us, upon his wisdom and love? Thewhole design of Satan is to devour and destroy souls. He alwaysis contriving whom he may insnare to eternal ruin. Our dutyplainly is, to be sober; to govern both the outward and theinward man by the rules of temperance. To be vigilant;suspicious of constant danger from this spiritual enemy,watchful and diligent to prevent his designs. Be stedfast, orsolid, by faith. A man cannot fight upon a quagmire, there is nostanding without firm ground to tread upon; this faith alonefurnishes. It lifts the soul to the firm advanced ground of thepromises, and fixes it there. The consideration of what otherssuffer, is proper to encourage us to bear our share in anyaffliction; and in whatever form Satan assaults us, or bywhatever means, we may know that our brethren experience thesame. 10-14 In conclusion, the apostle prays to God for them, as theGod of all grace. Perfect implies their progress towardsperfection. Stablish imports the curing of our natural lightnessand inconstancy. Strengthen has respect to the growth of graces,especially where weakest and lowest. Settle signifies to fixupon a sure foundation, and may refer to Him who is theFoundation and Strength of believers. These expressions showthat perseverance and progress in grace are first to be soughtafter by every Christian. The power of these doctrines on thehearts, and the fruits in the lives, showed who are partakers ofthe grace of God. The cherishing and increase of Christian love,and of affection one to another, is no matter of emptycompliment, but the stamp and badge of Jesus Christ on hisfollowers. Others may have a false peace for a time, and wickedmen may wish for it to themselves and to one another; but theirsis a vain hope, and will come to nought. All solid peace isfounded on Christ, and flows from him.
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