1 Peter 1

** The same great doctrines, as in St. Paul's epistles, are here

applied to same practical purposes. And this epistle is

remarkable for the sweetness, gentleness, and humble love, with

which it is written. It gives a short, and yet a very clear

summary, both of the consolations and the instructions needful

for the encouragement and direction of a Christian in his

journey to heaven, raising his thoughts and desires to that

happiness, and strengthening him against all opposition in the

way, both from corruption within, and temptations and

afflictions without.

* The apostle blesses God for his special benefits through

Christ. (1-9) Salvation by Christ foretold in ancient prophecy.

(10-12) All are exhorted to holy conversation. (13-16) Such as

is suitable to their principles, privileges, and obligations.


1-9 This epistle is addressed to believers in general, who are

strangers in every city or country where they live, and are

scattered through the nations. These are to ascribe their

salvation to the electing love of the Father, the redemption of

the Son, and the sanctification of the Holy Ghost; and so to

give glory to one God in three Persons, into whose name they had

been baptized. Hope, in the world's phrase, refers only to an

uncertain good, for all worldly hopes are tottering, built upon

sand, and the worldling's hopes of heaven are blind and

groundless conjectures. But the hope of the sons of the living

God is a living hope; not only as to its object, but as to its

effect also. It enlivens and comforts in all distresses, enables

to meet and get over all difficulties. Mercy is the spring of

all this; yea, great mercy and manifold mercy. And this

well-grounded hope of salvation, is an active and living

principle of obedience in the soul of the believer. The matter

of a Christian's joy, is the remembrance of the happiness laid

up for him. It is incorruptible, it cannot come to nothing, it

is an estate that cannot be spent. Also undefiled; this

signifies its purity and perfection. And it fadeth not; is not

sometimes more or less pleasant, but ever the same, still like

itself. All possessions here are stained with defects and

failings; still something is wanting: fair houses have sad cares

flying about the gilded and ceiled roofs; soft beds and full

tables, are often with sick bodies and uneasy stomachs. All

possessions are stained with sin, either in getting or in using

them. How ready we are to turn the things we possess into

occasions and instruments of sin, and to think there is no

liberty or delight in their use, without abusing them! Worldly

possessions are uncertain and soon pass away, like the flowers

and plants of the field. That must be of the greatest worth,

which is laid up in the highest and best place, in heaven. Happy

are those whose hearts the Holy Spirit sets on this inheritance.

God not only gives his people grace, but preserves them unto

glory. Every believer has always something wherein he may

greatly rejoice; it should show itself in the countenance and

conduct. The Lord does not willingly afflict, yet his wise love

often appoints sharp trials, to show his people their hearts,

and to do them good at the latter end. Gold does not increase by

trial in the fire, it becomes less; but faith is made firm, and

multiplied, by troubles and afflictions. Gold must perish at

last, and can only purchase perishing things, while the trial of

faith will be found to praise, and honour, and glory. Let this

reconcile us to present afflictions. Seek then to believe

Christ's excellence in himself, and his love to us; this will

kindle such a fire in the heart as will make it rise up in a

sacrifice of love to him. And the glory of God and our own

happiness are so united, that if we sincerely seek the one now,

we shall attain the other when the soul shall no more be subject

to evil. The certainty of this hope is as if believers had

already received it.
10-12 Jesus Christ was the main subject of the prophets'

studies. Their inquiry into the sufferings of Christ and the

glories that should follow, would lead to a view of the whole

gospel, the sum whereof is, That Christ Jesus was delivered for

our offences, and raised again for our justification. God is

pleased to answer our necessities rather than our requests. The

doctrine of the prophets, and that of the apostles, exactly

agree, as coming from the same Spirit of God. The gospel is the

ministration of the Spirit; its success depends upon his

operation and blessing. Let us then search diligently those

Scriptures which contain the doctrines of salvation.
13-16 As the traveller, the racer, the warrior, and the

labourer, gathered in their long and loose garments, that they

might be ready in their business, so let Christians do by their

minds and affections. Be sober, be watchful against all

spiritual dangers and enemies, and be temperate in all

behaviour. Be sober-minded in opinion, as well as in practice,

and humble in your judgment of yourselves. A strong and perfect

trust in the grace of God, is agreeable with best endeavours in

our duty. Holiness is the desire and duty of every Christian. It

must be in all affairs, in every condition, and towards all

people. We must especially watch and pray against the sins to

which we are inclined. The written word of God is the surest

rule of a Christian's life, and by this rule we are commanded to

be holy every way. God makes those holy whom he saves.
17-25 Holy confidence in God as a Father, and awful fear of him

as a Judge, agree together; and to regard God always as a Judge,

makes him dear to us as a Father. If believers do evil, God will

visit them with corrections. Then, let Christians not doubt

God's faithfulness to his promises, nor give way to enslaving

dread of his wrath, but let them reverence his holiness. The

fearless professor is defenceless, and Satan takes him captive

at his will; the desponding professor has no heart to avail

himself of his advantages, and is easily brought to surrender.

The price paid for man's redemption was the precious blood of

Christ. Not only openly wicked, but unprofitable conversation is

highly dangerous, though it may plead custom. It is folly to

resolve, I will live and die in such a way, because my

forefathers did so. God had purposes of special favour toward

his people, long before he made manifest such grace unto them.

But the clearness of light, the supports of faith, the power of

ordinances, are all much greater since Christ came upon earth,

than they were before. The comfort is, that being by faith made

one with Christ, his present glory is an assurance that where he

is we shall be also, #Joh 14:3|. The soul must be purified,

before it can give up its own desires and indulgences. And the

word of God planted in the heart by the Holy Ghost, is a means

of spiritual life, stirring up to our duty, working a total

change in the dispositions and affections of the soul, till it

brings to eternal life. In contrast with the excellence of the

renewed spiritual man, as born again, observe the vanity of the

natural man. In his life, and in his fall, he is like grass, the

flower of grass, which soon withers and dies away. We should

hear, and thus receive and love, the holy, living word, and

rather hazard all than lose it; and we must banish all other

things from the place due to it. We should lodge it in our

hearts as our only treasures here, and the certain pledge of the

treasure of glory laid up for believers in heaven.

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