1 Peter 3

* The duties of wives and husbands. (1-7) Christians exhorted to

agree. (8-13) And encouraged to patience under persecutions for

righteousness' sake, considering that Christ suffered patiently.


1-7 The wife must discharge her duty to her own husband, though

he obey not the word. We daily see how narrowly evil men watch

the ways and lives of professors of religion. Putting on of

apparel is not forbidden, but vanity and costliness in ornament.

Religious people should take care that all their behaviour

answers to their profession. But how few know the right measure

and bounds of those two necessaries of life, food and raiment!

Unless poverty is our carver, and cuts us short, there is

scarcely any one who does not desire something beyond what is

good for us. Far more are beholden to the lowliness of their

state, than the lowliness of their mind; and many will not be so

bounded, but lavish their time and money upon trifles. The

apostle directs Christian females to put on something not

corruptible, that beautifies the soul, even the graces of God's

Holy Spirit. A true Christian's chief care lies in right

ordering his own spirit. This will do more to fix the

affections, and excite the esteem of a husband, than studied

ornaments or fashionable apparel, attended by a froward and

quarrelsome temper. Christians ought to do their duty to one

another, from a willing mind, and in obedience to the command of

God. Wives should be subject to their husbands, not from dread

and amazement, but from desire to do well, and please God. The

husband's duty to the wife implies giving due respect unto her,

and maintaining her authority, protecting her, and placing trust

in her. They are heirs together of all the blessings of this

life and that which is to come, and should live peaceably one

with another. Prayer sweetens their converse. And it is not

enough that they pray with the family, but husband and wife

together by themselves, and with their children. Those who are

acquainted 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 same

mind, yet they should have compassion one of another, and love

as brethren. If any man desires to live comfortably on earth, or

to possess eternal life in heaven, he must bridle his tongue

from wicked, abusive, or deceitful words. He must forsake and

keep far from evil actions, do all the good he can, and seek

peace with all men. For God, all-wise and every where present,

watches over the righteous, and takes care of them. None could

or should harm those who copied the example of Christ, who is

perfect goodness, and did good to others as his followers.
14-22 We sanctify God before others, when our conduct invites

and encourages them to glorify and honour him. What was the

ground and reason of their hope? We should be able to defend our

religion with meekness, in the fear of God. There is no room for

any other fears where this great fear is; it disturbs not. The

conscience is good, when it does its office well. That person is

in a sad condition on whom sin and suffering meet: sin makes

suffering extreme, comfortless, and destructive. Surely it is

better to suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing, whatever

our natural impatience at times may suggest. The example of

Christ is an argument for patience under sufferings. In the case

of our Lord's suffering, he that knew no sin, suffered instead

of those who knew no righteousness. The blessed end and design

of our Lord's sufferings were, to reconcile us to God, and to

bring us to eternal glory. He was put to death in respect of his

human nature, but was quickened and raised by the power of the

Holy Spirit. If Christ could not be freed from sufferings, why

should Christians think to be so? God takes exact notice of the

means and advantages people in all ages have had. As to the old

world, Christ sent his Spirit; gave warning by Noah. But though

the patience of God waits long, it will cease at last. And the

spirits of disobedient sinners, as soon as they are out of their

bodies, are committed to the prison of hell, where those that

despised Noah's warning now are, and from whence there is no

redemption. Noah's salvation in the ark upon the water, which

carried him above the floods, set forth the salvation of all

true believers. That temporal salvation by the ark was a type of

the eternal salvation of believers by baptism of the Holy

Spirit. To prevent mistakes, the apostle declares what he means

by saving baptism; not the outward ceremony of washing with

water, which, in itself, does no more than put away the filth of

the flesh, but that baptism, of which the baptismal water formed

the sign. Not the outward ordinance, but when a man, by the

regeneration of the Spirit, was enabled to repent and profess

faith, and purpose a new life, uprightly, and as in the presence

of God. Let us beware that we rest not upon outward forms. Let

us learn to look on the ordinances of God spiritually, and to

inquire after the spiritual effect and working of them on our

consciences. We would willingly have all religion reduced to

outward things. But many who were baptized, and constantly

attended the ordinances, have remained without Christ, died in

their sins, and are now past recovery. Rest not then till thou

art cleansed by the Spirit of Christ and the blood of Christ.

His resurrection from the dead is that whereby we are assured of

purifying and peace.

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