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- 1 Peter
by Robert Hawker
THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL OF PETER
We enter here upon a most blessed portion of the Inspired Word of God. Oh! what unspeakable mercies doth the Church owe God the Holy Ghost, for such an invaluable treasure! This is indeed so precious a part of the sacred canon of scripture, that in the most daring days of infidelity, none ventured to call its authority in question. But, Reader! do not fail to remark, that the most blessed testimony of God's word is, God's teaching by it. And thousands now upon earth, can set their seal to this Epistle of Peter, in having been taught in it by the Lord. And tens of thousand's are blessing God for the instructions they once received from it, when upon earth, who are now in glory.
The Epistle is not addressed to any particular Church or person, and therefore it is called General. It should seem, that though Peter was himself a Jew, and once deeply entrenched in Jewish prejudices, yet, in his own history, under the Lord's grace to him, he learnt enough, before his departure out of life, to see very clearly, that Christ's Church was but One. Peter well understood this, Song of Solomon 6:9 . And with joy, being so directed by the Holy Ghost, sends his Epistle, with his Apostolic benediction, to the strangers scattered abroad.
The time when this Epistle was written, is not so perfectly known, as to speak upon it decidedly. Some place it as early as the year of our Lord God, 44. And some as late as 65. The place appears to have been Babylon, from whence the Apostle wrote it. Not figuratively, but literally Babylon, the chief city of the Chaldean empire. All times, and all places, when and where the Lord the Spirit is pleased to raise up and send forth his servants, with what a demonstration of the Spirit, and of the power, do they come?
But the chief observations, in a general way, that we are concerned to remark in this place, is, the blessed contents of this holy book, in relation to doctrine. And here it must be said, that though short (according to our greediness for more) this blessed Epistle is, yet we have in it all the leading points of our most holy faith. The everlasting love of God, our Father, in his choice of the Church in Christ, before all worlds; the redeeming grace, and love, and mercy of Jesus to his Church; and the regenerating, illuminating, sanctifying love of God the Holy Spirit; all, and every part of these foundation-truths, are most blessedly, sweetly, and powerfully set forth, through the whole of this Epistle. I will not in this place anticipate the Reader's expectation, by here entering upon them. My soul is looking forward, with much pleasing delight, of going over the several Chapters, and there to contemplate at large, the precious features as they arise before us: The Lord give both Writer and Reader of this Poor Man's Commentary, if it be his Holy will, a blessed opportunity! Do thou, Almighty Author of thine own most sacred word, take of the things of Christ, which thou hast here recorded, and shew to us; and refresh our souls abundantly with this feast of fat things, that our hearts may rejoice, and our joy none take from us. Amen!
the Week of Proper 13 / Ordinary 18