1 Peter 5

* Elders exhorted and encouraged. (1-4) Younger Christians are

to submit to their elders, and to yield with humility and

patience to God, and to be sober, watchful, and stedfast in

faith. (5-9) Prayers for their growth and establishment. (10-14)

1-4 The apostle Peter does not command, but exhorts. He does

not claim power to rule over all pastors and churches. It was

the peculiar honour of Peter and a few more, to be witnesses of

Christ's sufferings; but it is the privilege of all true

Christians to partake of the glory that shall be revealed. These

poor, dispersed, suffering Christians, were the flock of God,

redeemed to God by the great Shepherd, living in holy love and

communion, according to the will of God. They are also dignified

with the title of God's heritage or clergy; his peculiar lot,

chosen for his own people, to enjoy his special favour, and to

do him special service. Christ is the chief Shepherd of the

whole flock and heritage of God. And all faithful ministers will

receive a crown of unfading glory, infinitely better and more

honourable than all the authority, wealth, and pleasure of the

5-9 Humility preserves peace and order in all Christian

churches and societies; pride disturbs them. Where God gives

grace to be humble, he will give wisdom, faith, and holiness. To

be humble, and subject to our reconciled God, will bring greater

comfort to the soul than the gratification of pride and

ambition. 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 not

thou? 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 the

present, and cares for the future, for yourselves, for others,

for the church, on God. These are burdensome, and often very

sinful, when they arise from unbelief and distrust, when they

torture and distract the mind, unfit us for duties, and hinder

our delight in the service of God. The remedy is, to cast our

care upon God, and leave every event to his wise and gracious

disposal. Firm belief that the Divine will and counsels are

right, calms the spirit of a man. Truly the godly too often

forget this, and fret themselves to no purpose. Refer all to

God's disposal. The golden mines of all spiritual comfort and

good are wholly his, and the Spirit itself. Then, will he not

furnish what is fit for us, if we humbly attend on him, and lay

the care of providing for us, upon his wisdom and love? The

whole design of Satan is to devour and destroy souls. He always

is contriving whom he may insnare to eternal ruin. Our duty

plainly is, to be sober; to govern both the outward and the

inward 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, or

solid, by faith. A man cannot fight upon a quagmire, there is no

standing without firm ground to tread upon; this faith alone

furnishes. It lifts the soul to the firm advanced ground of the

promises, and fixes it there. The consideration of what others

suffer, is proper to encourage us to bear our share in any

affliction; and in whatever form Satan assaults us, or by

whatever means, we may know that our brethren experience the

10-14 In conclusion, the apostle prays to God for them, as the

God of all grace. Perfect implies their progress towards

perfection. Stablish imports the curing of our natural lightness

and inconstancy. Strengthen has respect to the growth of graces,

especially where weakest and lowest. Settle signifies to fix

upon a sure foundation, and may refer to Him who is the

Foundation and Strength of believers. These expressions show

that perseverance and progress in grace are first to be sought

after by every Christian. The power of these doctrines on the

hearts, and the fruits in the lives, showed who are partakers of

the grace of God. The cherishing and increase of Christian love,

and of affection one to another, is no matter of empty

compliment, but the stamp and badge of Jesus Christ on his

followers. Others may have a false peace for a time, and wicked

men may wish for it to themselves and to one another; but theirs

is a vain hope, and will come to nought. All solid peace is

founded on Christ, and flows from him.

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