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1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
Ver. 1. All malice and all guile ] Out with this leaven utterly, 1 Corinthians 5:7 . Howsoever we otherwise fail, let us not in these be found faulty at all. These are not the spots of God’s children, Deuteronomy 32:5 . They are without gall, without guile, children that will not lie: they do not wallow or allow themselves in any kind of these evils; which are therefore plurally expressed.
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
Ver. 2. Desire the sincere ] αδολον , as in children all speak and work at once, hands, feet, mouth. See David’s desire,Psalms 42:1; Psalms 42:1 ; Psalms 119:20 ; Psalms 119:40 ; Psalms 119:131 . The Greek word επιποθησατε signifieth vehemently to desire. See Romans 1:11 ; 2 Corinthians 5:2 ; Philippians 1:8 ; Philippians 2:16 .
The sincere ] Gr. Guileless, unmixed milk, not sugared or sophisticated with strains of wit, excellency of speech, &c., 1 Corinthians 2:1 .
That ye may grow thereby ] After regeneration, 1 Peter 1:23 , augmentation. That word which breeds us, feeds us; as the same blood of which the babe is bred and fed in the womb, strikes up into the mother’s breasts, and there, by a further concoction, becometh white, and nourisheth it. And as milk from the breast is more effectually taken than when it hath stood a while, and the spirits are gone out of it; so the word preached rather than read, furthereth the soul’s growth. Let it be our care that we receive not the grace of God in vain; that we be not like the changeling Luther mentioneth, ever sucking, never batling; lest God repent him of his love and dry up the breasts; or send in the Assyrian to drink up our milk, Ezekiel 25:4 ; that we be not always learning, and never to know the truth, 2 Timothy 3:6 , as ants run to and fro about a molehill, but grow not greater. A Christian should go from the word, as Moses did from the mount, as Naaman did out of Jordan, or as the woman of Samaria came to the well peccatrix, sinful, went away praedicatrix, preaching, saith Ambrose.
3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Ver. 3. If so be ye have tasted ] As babes taste the milk they take down, Isaiah 66:11 . We are bidden to suck and be satisfied with the breasts of consolation, to press and oppress the promises, till we have expressed, and even wrung the sweetness out of them. This will make us even sick of love; our sleep will be pleasant unto us, and our hearts filled with gladness. The saints taste how good the Lord is, and thence they so long after him. Optima demonstratio est a sensibus, as he that feels fire hot, and that tastes honey sweet, can best say it is so.
4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
Ver. 4. As unto a living stone ] Living and all quickening, as Acts 7:38 . Lively, that is, lifegiving oracles. He that hath the Son hath life, 1 John 5:12 .
Disallowed indeed of men ] For the cock on the dunghill knoweth not the price of this jewel.
And precious ] Far beyond that most orient and excellent stone Pantarbe, celebrated by Philostratus (in Vita Apol.); or that precious adamant of Charles Duke of Burgundy, sold for 20,000 ducats and set in the pope’s triple crown. (Alsted Chron.)
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Ver. 5. Ye also as lively stones ] God’s house is built of growing stones, of green timber, Son 1:16-17
To offer up spiritual sacrifices ] Such as are prayers,Psalms 141:2; Psalms 141:2 ; praises, Hebrews 13:15 ; alms, Hebrews 13:16 ; ourselves, Romans 12:1 ; our Saviour, whom we present as a propitiation for our sins, 1 John 2:1 , laying our hands on his head, seeing him bleed to death and consumed in the fire of his Father’s wrath for our sins.
6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
Ver. 6. Wherefore it is contained ] The Jews were so well versed in Scripture, that in quoting of texts there was need to say no more to them than, It is written, It is contained, περιεχει , they could tell where to turn to the place presently; and this was a great furtherance to the conversion of many of them, by the preaching of the apostles. Many among us are better seen in Sir Philip than in St Peter: in Monsieur Balzack’s letters than in St Paul’s Epistles; like that bishop of Dunkelden in Scotland, they know little or nothing either of the Old or New Testament; and therefore one may preach riff raff, Popery, or any error unto them, and they know not how to disprove it.
Shall not be confounded ] The Hebrew text hath it, "shall not make haste," Isaiah 28:16 . Haste makes waste, as we say, and often brings confusion. Children pull apples before they are ripe, and have worms bred of them.
7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
Ver. 7. He is precious ] Gr. τιμη , he is a price, or an honour. If you had not found all worth in him, you would never have sold all for him.
8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
Ver. 8. And a rock of offence ] Like that rock Judges 6:21 , out of which comes fire to consume the reprobate.
Which stumble at the word ] An ill sign, and yet an ordinary sin. A bridge is made to give us a safe passage over a dangerous river; but he who stumbleth on the bridge is in danger to fall into the river. The word is given as a means to carry us over hell into heaven; but he who stumbles and quarrels at this means, shall fall in thither, from whence otherwise he had been delivered by it. Few sins are more dangerous than that of picking quarrels at God’s word, and taking up the bucklers against it, snuffing at it,Malachi 1:13; Malachi 1:13 ; chatting against it, Romans 9:19-20 ; enviously swelling against it, Acts 13:45 ; casting reproaches upon it, Jeremiah 20:8-9 ; gathering odious consequences from it. Surely of such a man may say, as one doth of a hypocrite; I read not in Scripture, saith he, of a hypocrite’s conversion; and what wonder? for whereas after sin, conversion is left as a means to cure all other sinners; what means to recover him who hath converted conversion itself into sin? so here; what hope that he shall be saved who stumbleth at the only ordinary means of his salvation?
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Ver. 9. But ye are a chosen generation ] A picked people, the dearly beloved of God’s soul; such as he first chose for his love, and then loves for his choice.
A royal priesthood ] Or as Moses hath it,Exodus 19:6; Exodus 19:6 , a kingdom of priests. Priests God’s people are in respect of God, kings in respect of men. The righteous are kings: "many righteous men have desired," &c., saith Matthew, Matthew 13:17 ; "many kings," saith Luke, Luke 10:24 . Indeed they are somewhat obscure kings here, as was Melchizedek in the land of Canaan; but princes they are in all lands, Psalms 45:16 , and more excellent than their neighbours, let them dwell where they will,Proverbs 12:26; Proverbs 12:26 .
A peculiar people ] Gr. λαος εις περιποιησιν , a people of purchase: such as comprehend, as it were, all God’s gettings, his whole stock that he makes any great reckoning of.
Show forth the praises ] Gr. εξαγγειλητε , preach forth the virtues by our suitable practice. The picture of a dear friend should be hung up in a conspicuous place of the house; so should God’s holy image and grace in our hearts.
" Vile latens virtus; quid enim submersa tenebris
Proderit? " (Claud.)
Jerome said that he did diligere Christum habitantem in Augustino, love Christ dwelling in Austin. So ought we to walk, that others may see and love Christ dwelling in us. He is totus desiderabilis, saith the spouse in the Canticles,Song of Solomon 5:16; Song of Solomon 5:16 , all over desirable; and there is in him that which may well attract all hearts unto him.
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
Ver. 10. Which in time past were not ] If Plato thought it such a mercy to him that he was a man and not a woman, a Grecian and not a barbarian, a scholar to Socrates and not to any other philosopher, what exceeding great cause have we to praise God that we are born Christians, not Pagans, Protestants, not Papists, in these blessed days of reformation, &c.
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
Ver. 11. As pilgrims and strangers ] Excellently doth Justin Martyr describe the Christians of his time: they inhabit their own countries, saith he, but as strangers; they partake of all as citizens, and yet suffer all as foreigners; every strange land is a country to them, and every country a strange land. (Epist. ad Diog.)
And strangers abstain ] Thoughts of death will be a death to our lusts, Lamentations 1:9 . Her filthiness is in her skirts, and all because she remembereth not her last end. As the stroking of a dead hand on the belly cureth a tympany, and as the ashes of a viper applied to the part that is stung draws the venom out of it; so the thought of death is a death to sin.
From fleshly lusts ] Those parts in our bodies that are the chiefest and nearest both subjects and objects of lust and concupiscence, are like unto the dung gate, 1 Chronicles 26:16 ; Nehemiah 3:13 , whereby all the filth was cast out of the temple. God hath placed them in our bodies, like snakes creeping out of the bottom of a dunghill, and abased them in our eyes, that we might make a base account and estimation of the desires thereof, as one well observeth.
Which war against the soul ] Only man is in love with his own bane (beasts are not so), and fights for those lusts that fight against the soul. And whereas some might say that other lusts fight against the soul, as well as fleshly lusts, it is answered that other lusts fight against the graces, bat these more against the peace of the soul. (Capell on Temptation.) Take we up therefore that motto of Otho II, Pacem cum hominibus, cum vitiis bellum; Let us quarrel with our faults and not with our friends.
12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Ver. 12. Having your conversation honest ] Leading convincing lives, the best arguments against an atheist adversary.
They speak evil of you ] See Trapp on " Mat 5:11 "
Which they shall behold ] Whiles they pry and spy into your courses (as the Greek word εποπτευοντες imports) to see what evil they can find out and fasten on.
In the day of visitation ] When God shall effectually call and convert them. See Trapp on " Mat 5:16 "
13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
Ver. 13. Submit to every ordinance ] That is, although the ordinance or government in the manner of its constitution be from man, yet because of the necessity of its institution it is from God; submit to it, though of man, for the Lord’s sake. (Fuller’s Answer to Dr Fern.) For although it is called here man’s creature or ordinance, either in respect of man the subject, by whom it is exercised, or man the object, about whom it is conversant, or of man the end, to whose emolument it tendeth; yet it is still the gift and institution of God, the primary author and provident ordaiuer. A Deo sane est sive iubente, sive sinente , Of God it is surely, either so commanding or so suffering it to be, saith Augustine (contra Faust. Man xxii. 7.).
14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
Ver. 14. Or unto governors ] In the kingdom of Christ, this is wonderful, saith Zanchy, that he wills and commands all princes and potentates to be subject to his kingdom, and yet he wills and commands likewise that his kingdom be subject to the kingdoms of the world.
15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
Ver. 15. Ye may put to silence ] Gr. φιμουν , muzzle, or halter up, button up their mouths, as we say. See Trapp on " Mat 22:34 " It is an old fetch of the devil to persuade the world that faithful people are anti-magistratical; these must be powerfully confuted by our contrary practice.
16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
Ver. 16. As free ] See Trapp on " Gal 5:13 "
As free, and not using, &c. ] Free in respect of our consciences, exempted from human powers, and yet, as servants of God, bouud in conscience to obey him in obeying them, so far forth as he doth command us to obey them. (Downame.)
For a cloak ] Or cover. This were to put light not under a bushel, but under a dunghill. Beza thinks the apostle here alludes to that old custom at Rome, that those that were manumitted or set free should go with their heads covered, who before used to go bareheaded. Religion is an ill cloak of maliciousness; and will surely serve hypocritical libertines as the disguise Ahab put on and perished.
17 Honour all men . Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
Ver. 17. Honour all men ] As made in the image of God, as capable of heaven, and as having some special talent to trade with.
Honour the king ] i.e. the Roman emperor, who disclaimed the name of a king to avoid the hatred of the people, and yet sought the full right of kings, and so to destroy the liberty of the people. But kings that will be honoured must be just, "ruling in the fear of God,"2 Samuel 23:3; 2 Samuel 23:3 .
18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
Ver. 18. To the froward ] Cross, crooked, trample, foolish. Tortuosis, curvis. The Greek word σκολιος comes of a Hebrew word סכל that signifies a fool.
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
Ver. 19. This is thankworthy ] τουτο γαρ χαρις εστι . God accounts himself hereby gratified, as it were, and even beholden to such sufferers, this being the lowest subjection and the highest honour men can yield unto their Maker. God will thank such, which is condescensio stupenda, a wonderful condescension.
20 For what glory is it , if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it , ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
Ver. 20. For what glory is it ] In peace offerings there might be oil mixed, not so in sin offerings. In our sufferings for Christ there is joy; not so when we suffer for our faults.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
Ver. 21. Leaving us an example ] Gr. υπογραμμον , a copy or pattern. Christ’s actions were either moral, or mediatory. In both we must imitate him. In the former, by doing as he did. In the latter, by similitude, translating that to our spiritual life, which he did as mediator; as to die to sin, to rise to righteousness, &e., and this not only by example (as Petrus Abelardus held of old, and the Socinians at this day), but by virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection working effectually in all his people i not as an exemplary cause only, or as a moral cause by way of meditation, but as having force obtained by it, and issuing out of it, even the Spirit that kills sin, and quickens the soul to all holy practice. There is a story of an earl called Eleazar, a passionate prince, that was cured of that disordered affection by studying of Christ and his patience. Crux pendentis cathedra docentis, Christ upon the cross is a doctor in his chair, where he reads unto us all a lecture of patience. The eunuch, Acts 8:32 , was converted by this praise in Christ. It is said of Jerome, that having read the godly life and Christian death of Hilarion, he folded up the book, and said, Well, Hilarion shall be the champion whom I will follow. ( In Vita eius apud Surium.) Should we not much more say so of Christ?
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
Ver. 22. Who did no sin ] St Paul saith, "He knew no sin," 2 Corinthians 5:21 , to wit, with a practical knowledge (we know no more than we practise); with an intellectual he did, for else he could not have reproved it.
Neither was guile found in his mouth ] Which imports that they sought it. The wicked seek occasion against the godly.
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
Ver. 23. But committed himself ] Or, the whole matter. We also shall do ourselves no disservice, by making God our chancellor, when no law else will relieve us. And indeed the less a man strives for himself, the more is God his champion. He that said, I seek not mine own glory, adds, But there is one that seeketh it, and judgeth. God takes his part ever that fights not for himself.
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Yet. 24. Who his own self ] Without any to help or uphold him, Isaiah 63:5 ; he had not so much as the benefit of the sunlight, when in that three hours’ darkness he was set upon by all the powers of darkness.
Bare our sins ] Gr. ανηνεγκεν , bare them aloft, viz. when he climbed up his cross, and nailed them thereunto. "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows," Isaiah 53:4 . He "taketh away the sins of the world," John 1:29 .
That we being dead to sins ] απογενομενοι , or, separated from sin, or uumade to it, cut off from it, the old frame being utterly dissolved.
By whose stripes ] Or, welts. This he mentioneth to comfort poor servants, whipped and abused by their froward masters. Sanguis medici factus est medicina phrenetici . The physician’s blood became the sick man’s salve. We can hardly believe the power of sword salve. But here is a mystery that only Christian religion cau assure us of, that the wounding of one should be the cure of another.
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
Ver. 25. As sheep ] Than the which no creature is more apt to stray, less apt and able to return. The ox knoweth his owner, &c.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17