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Bible Commentaries
2 Peter 2

Vincent's Word StudiesVincent's Studies

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Verse 1

But. Introducing a contrast with those who spake by the Holy Ghost (ch. 1 21).

There were [εγενοντο] . Rev., better, there arose.

There shall be. Note that Peter speaks of them as future, and Jude 1:4) as present.

False teachers [ψευδοδιδασκαλοι] . Only here in New Testament.

Who [οιτινες] . Of that kind or class which, etc.

Privily shall bring in [παρεισαξουσιν] . Only here in New Testament. The kindred adjective occurs in Galatians 2:4, "false brethren privily brought in" [παρεισακτους] . The metaphor is of spies or traitors introducing themselves into an enemy 's camp. Compare Jude 1:4, crept in unawares. The verb means, literally, to bring [αγειν] into [εις] by the side of [παρα] .

Damnable heresies [αιρεσεις απωλειας] . Lit., heresies of destruction. Rev., destructive heresies. Heresy is a transcript of airesiv, the primary meaning of which is choice; so that a heresy is, strictly, the choice of an opinion contrary to that usually received; thence transferred to the body of those who profess such opinions, and therefore a sect. So Rev., in margin, sects of perdition. Commonly in this sense in the New Testament (Acts 5:17; Acts 14:5; Acts 28:22), though the Rev. has an odd variety in its marginal renderings. See Acts 24:14; 1 Corinthians 11:19; Galatians 5:20. The rendering heretical doctrines seems to agree better with the context; false teachers bringing in sects is awkward.

Denying. A significant word from Peter.

The Lord [δεσποτην] . In most cases in the New Testament the word is rendered master, the Rev. changing Lord to master in every case but two - Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; and in both instances putting master in margin, and reserving Lord for the rendering of kuriov. In three of these instances the word is used in direct address to God; and it may be asked why the Rev. changes Lord to Master in the text of Revelation 6:10, and retains Lord in Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24. In five out of the ten occurrences of the word in the New Testament it means master of the household. Originally, it indicates absolute, unrestricted authority, so that the Greeks refused the title to any but the gods. In the New Testament despothv and kuriov are used interchangeably of God, and of masters of servants.

Swift [ταχινην] . Used by Peter only. See on ch. 2 Peter 1:14.

Verse 2

Shall follow. See on ch. 2 Peter 1:16.

Pernicious ways [απωλειαις] . The true reading is ajselgeiaiv, lascivious doings. So Rev. See on 1 Peter 4:3. The use of the plural is rare. Compare Jude 1:4.

Verse 3

Through covetousness [εν πλεονεξια] . Lit., in covetousness; denoting the element or sphere in which the evil is wrought.

Feigned [πλαστοις] . Only here in New Testament. From plassw, to mould, as in clay or wax. The idea is, therefore, of words molded at will to suit their vain imaginations.

Make merchandise [εμπορευσονται] . Only here and James 4:13. Compare Jude 1:16, for the sake of advantage; their glory being in having a multitude of followers.

Judgment [κριμα] . Rev., sentence. So, commonly, in New Testament; the process or act of judging being expressed by krisiv.

Of a long time [εκπαλαι] . Rev., better, from of old, bringing out thus more sharply the force of ejk. Only here and ch. 3 5. Construe with lingereth.

Lingereth [αργει] . Only here in New Testament. Compare on the kindred adjective idle, ch. 1 8. There is a graphic picture in the sentence. The judgment is not idle. It is "represented as a living thing, awake and expectant. Long ago that judgment started on its destroying path, and the fate of sinning angels, and the deluge, and the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah were but incidental illustrations of its power; nor has it even since lingered.... It advances still, strong and vigilant as when first it sprang from the bosom of God, and will not fail to reach the mark to which it was pointed from of old" (Salmond and Lillie).

Damnation [απωλεια] . More literally, Rev., destruction. The word occurs three times in vv. 1 - 3.

Slumbereth [νυσταξει] . See on Matthew 25:5, the only other passage where it occurs.

Verse 4

The angels. No article. Angels. So Rev. Compare Jude 1:6.

Cast them down to hell [ταρταρωσας] . Only here in New Testament. From Tartarov, Tartarus. It is strange to find Peter using this Pagan term, which represents the Greek hell, though treated here not as equivalent to Gehenna, but as the place of detention until the judgment. Chains of darkness [σειραις ζοφου] . Seira is a cord or band, sometimes of metal. Compare Septuagint, Proverbs 5:22; Wisd. of Sol 17:2, 18. The best texts, however, substitute siroiv or seiroiv, pits or caverns. Sirov originally is a place for storing corn. Rev., pits of darkness. Of darkness [ζοφου] . Peculiar to Peter and Jude. Originally of the gloom of the nether world, So Homer :

"These halls are full Of shadows hastening down to Erebus Amid the gloom [υπο ζοφον] ." Odyssey, 20, 355.

When Ulysses meets his mother in the shades, she says to him :

"How didst thou come, my child, a living man, Into this place of darkness ? [υπο ζοφον] ." Odyssey, 11, 155.

Compare Jude 1:13. So Milton :

"Here their prison ordained In utter darkness, and their portion set As far removed from God and light of heaven As from the center thrice to the utmost pole." Paradise Lost, 1, 71 - 74.

And Dante :

"That air forever black." Inferno, 3, 329.

"Upon the verge I found me Of the abysmal valley dolorous That gather thunder of infinite ululations. Obscure, profound it was, and nebulous, So that by fixing on its depths my sight Nothing whatever I discerned therein." Inferno, 4, 7, 12.

"I came unto a place mute of all light." Inferno, 5, 28.

To be reserved [τηρουμενους] . Lit., being reserved. See on 1 Peter 1:4, "reserved in heaven."

Verse 5

Saved [εφυλαξεν] . Rev., preserved. See on 1 Peter 1:4, and compare "the Lord shut him in" (Genesis 7:16).

Noah the eighth person. So the A. V., literally. Rev. is more perspicuous however : Noah with seven others. Compare 1 Peter 3:20.

A preacher [κηρυκα] . Lit., a herald. Compare the kindred verb khrussw, to preach, everywhere in New Testament. The word herald is beautifully suggestive, at many points, of the office of a gospel minister. In the Homeric age the herald partook of the character of an ambassador. He summoned the assembly and kept order in it, and had charge of arrangements at sacrifices and festivals. The office of the heralds was sacred, and their persons inviolable; hence they were employed to bear messages between enemies. The symbol of their office was the herald's staff, or caduceus, born by Mercury, the herald - God. This was originally an olive - branch with fillets, which were afterward formed into snakes, according to the legend that Mercury found two snakes fighting and separated them with his wand, from which circumstances they were used as an emblem of peace. Plato (" Laws, "12, 941) thus speaks of the fidelity entailed by the office :" If any herald or ambassador carry a false message to any other city, or bring back a false message from the city to which he is sent, or be proved to have brought back, whether from friends or enemies, in his capacity of herald or ambassador, what they have never said - let him be indicted for having offended, contrary to the law, in the sacred office and appointment of Hermes and Zeus, and let there be a penalty fixed which he shall suffer or pay if he be convicted. "In later times, their position as messengers between nations at war was emphasized. In Herodotus (i., 21), the word herald is used as synonymous with apostle." Alyattes sent a herald [κηρυκα] to Miletus in hopes of concluding a truce, etc. The herald [αποστολος] went on his way to Miletus. " A priestly house at Athens bore the name of khrukev, heralds.

Bringing in [επαξας] . The verb may be said to be used by Peter only. Besides this passage and ver. 1, it occurs only at Acts 5:28, where Luke probably received the account from Peter as the principal actor : "ye intend to bring upon us [επαγαγειν] this man's blood."

Verse 6

Turning into ashes [τεφρωσας] . Only here in New Testament.

Having made them an example [υποδειγμα τεθεικως] . Compare 1 Peter 2:21. The word for example is condemned as unclassical by the Attic grammarians, and paradeigma is substituted, which means, properly, a sculptor's or a painter's model, or an architect's plan.

Verse 7

Just [δικαιον] . Occurring three times in vv. 7, 8.

Vexed [καταπονουμενον] . Only here and Acts 7:24. Kata gives the force of worn down. So Rev., sore distressed.

With the filthy conversation of the wicked [υπο της των αθεσμων εν ασελγεια αναστροφης] . Lit., by the behavior of the lawless in wantonness. Rev., the lascivious life of the wicked. Life or behavior [αναστροφης] . See on 1 Peter 1:15. Wicked [αθεσμων] , lit., lawless. Only here and ch. 3 17. Wantonness [ασελγεια] , see on Mark 7:22.

Verse 8

Dwelling [εγκατοικων] . Only here in New Testament. Dwelling, and therefore suffering continually, from day to day.

In seeing [βλεμματι] . Only here in New Testament. Usually of the look of a man from without, through which the vexation comes to the soul. "Vexed his righteous soul."

Vexed [εβασανιζεν] . See on Matthew 4:24, torments. The original sense is to test by touchstone or by torture. See on toiling, Mark 6:48. Rev. gives tormented, in margin.

Unlawful [ανομοις] . Rev., lawless. Only here in New Testament with things. In all other cases it is applied to persons.

Verse 9

Godly [ευσεβεις] . Used by Peter only. Compare Acts 10:2, Acts 10:7. The reading at Acts 22:12, is eujlabhv, devout. See on ch. 2 Peter 1:3. Temptation [πειρασμου] . See on 1 Peter 1:6.

To reserve [τηρειν] . See on 1 Peter 1:4. Rev., keep, is not an improvement.

To be punished [κολαζομενους] . Only here and Acts 4:21, where the narrative probably came from Peter. The participle here is, lit., being punished, and therefore the A. V. is wrong. Rev., rightly, under punishment. Compare Matthew 25:46.

Verse 10

Go after the flesh. Compare Jude 1:7.

Of uncleanness [μιασμου] . Only here in New Testament. See on defilements, ver. 20. Compare Jude 1:8.

Despise government. Rev., dominion. Compare Jude 1:8.

Presumptuous [τολμηται] . Only here in New Testament. Lit., darers. Rev., daring.

Self - willed [αυθαδεις] . Only here and Titus 1:7. From aujtov, self, and hdomai, to delight in. Therefore a self - loving spirit.

They tremble [τρεμουσιν] . Compare Mark 5:33. An uncommon word in the New Testament. Luke 8:47; Acts 9:6.

Dignities [δοξας] . Lit., glories. Compare Jude 1:8. Probably angelic powers : note the reference to the angels immediately following, as in Jude 1:9 to Michael. They defy the spiritual powers though knowing their might.

Verse 11

Power and might [ισχυι και δυναμει] . Rev., might and power. The radical idea of ijscuv, might, is that of indwelling strength, especially as embodied : might which inheres in physical powers organized and working under individual direction, as an army : which appears in the resistance of physical organisms, as the earth, against which one dashes himself in vain : which dwells in persons or things, and gives them influence or value : which resides in laws or punishments to make them irresistible. This sense comes out clearly in the New Testament in the use of the word and of its cognates. Thus, "Love the Lord thy God with all thy strength" (Mark 12:30) : "according to the working of his mighty power" (Ephesians 1:19). So the kindred adjective ijscurov. "A strong man" (Matthew 12:29) : a mighty famine (Luke 14:14) : his letters are powerful (2 Corinthians 10:10) : a strong consolation (Hebrews 6:18) : a mighty angel (Revelation 18:21). Also the verb iJscuw. "It is good for nothing" (Matthew 5:13) : "shall not be able" (Luke 13:24) : "I can do all things" (Philippians 4:13) : "availeth much" (James 5:16).

Dunamiv is rather ability, faculty : not necessarily manifest, as ijscuv : power residing in one by nature. Thus ability (Matthew 25:15) : virtue (Mark 5:30) : power (Luke 24:29; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:4) : "strengthen of sin" (1 Corinthians 14:56). So of moral vigor. "Strengthened with might in the inner man" (Ephesians 3:16) : "with all might (Colossians 1:11). It is, however, mostly power in action, as in the frequent use of dunameiv for miracles, mighty works, they being exhibitions of divine virtue. Thus" power unto salvation "(Romans 1:16) : the kingdom coming in power" (Mark 9:1) : God himself called power - "the right hand of the power" (Matthew 26:64), and so in classical Greek used to denote the magistrates or authorities. Also of the angelic powers (Ephesians 1:21; Romans 8:38; 1 Peter 3:22). Generally, then, it may be said that while both words include the idea of manifestation or of power in action, ijscuv emphasizes the outward, physical manifestations, and dunamiv the inward, spiritual or moral virtue. Plato (" Protagoras, "350) draws the distinction thus :" I should not have admitted that the able [δυνατους] are strong [ισχυρους] , though I have admitted that the strong are able. For there is a difference between ability [δυναμιν] and strength [ισχυν] . The former is given by knowledge as well as by madness or rage; but strength comes from nature and a healthy state of the body. Aristotle (" Rhet., "1, 5) says" strength [ισχυς] is the power of moving another as one wills; and that other is to be moved either by drawing or pushing or carrying or pressing or compressing; so that the strong [ο ισχυρος] is strong for all or for some of these things. "

Railing judgment. Compare Jude 1:9; Zechariah 3:1, Zechariah 3:2.

Verse 12

As natural brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed. This massing of epithets is characteristic of Peter. Natural [φυσικα] , Rev., mere animals, should be construed with made, or as Rev., born [γεγεννημενα] . Brute [αλογα] , lit., unreasoning or irrational. Rev., without reason. Compare Acts 25:27. Beasts [ζωα] . Lit., living creatures, from zaw, to live. More general and inclusive than beasts, since it denotes strictly all creatures that live, including man. Plato even applies it to God himself. Hence Rev., properly, creatures. To be taken and destroyed [εις αλωσιν και, φθοραν] . Lit., for capture and destruction. Destruction twice in this verse, and with a cognate verb. Render the whole, as Rev., But these, as creatures without reason, born mere animals to be taken and destroyed.

Speak evil [βλασφεμουντες] . Participle. Rev., rightly, railing. Compare vv. 10, 11.

And shall utterly perish in their own corruption [εν τη φθορα αυτων και φθαρησονται] . There is a play upon the words, which the Rev. reproduces by rendering, "shall in their destroying surely be destroyed." The and, which in the A. V. connects this and the preceding sentence, is rather to be taken with shall be destroyed, as emphasizing it, and should be rendered, as Rev., surely, or as others, even or also. Compare on the whole verse Jude 1:10.

Verse 13

And shall receive [κομιουμενοι] . Lit., being about or destined to receive. See on 1 Peter 1:9, and compare 1 Peter 5:4. Some good texts read ajdikoumenoi, suffering wrong. So Rev., suffering wrong as the hire of wrong - doing.

Reward of unrighteousness [μισθον αδικιας] . Misqov is hire, and so is rendered in Rev. Compare Matthew 20:8; Luke 10:7; John 4:36. It also has in classical Greek the general sense of reward, and so very often in the New Testament, in passages where hire or wages would be inappropriate. Thus Matthew 5:12; Matthew 6:1; Matthew 10:41. Hire would seem to be better here, because of the reference to Balaam in ver. 15, where the word occurs again and requires that rendering. The phrase misqov, reward or wages of iniquity, occurs only here and in Peter's speech concerning Judas (Acts 1:18), where the Rev. retains the rendering of the A. V., reward of iniquity. It would have been better to render wages of iniquity in both places. Iniquity and unrighteousness are used in English almost synonymously; though, etymologically, iniquity emphasizes the idea of injustice (inaequus), while unrighteousness (non - rightness) is more general, implying all deviation from right, whether involving another's interests or not. This distinction is not, however, observed in the Rev., where the rendering of adikia, and of the kindred adjective adikov, varies unaccountably, if not capriciously, between unrighteous and unjust. As they that count it pleasure to riot [ηδονην ηγουμενοι τρυφην] . The as of the A. V. is needless. The discourse proceeds from ver. 13 by a series of participles, as far as following (ver. 15). Literally the passage runs, counting riot a pleasure.

Riot [τρυφην] . Meaning rather daintiness, delicacy, luxuriousness. Even the Rev. revel is almost too strong. Compare Luke 7:25, the only other passage where the word occurs, and where the Rev. retains the A. V., live delicately. So, also, Rev. substitutes, in James 5:5, lived delicately for lived in pleasure.

In the daytime. Compare Peter's words Acts 2:15; also, 1 Thessalonians 5:7.

Spots [σπιλοι] . Only here and Ephesians 5:27. Compare the kindred participle spotted (Jude 1:23), and defileth (James 3:0; 6).

Blemishes [μωμοι] . Only here in New Testament. The negatives of the two terms spots and blemishes occur at 1 Peter 1:19.

Sporting themselves [εντρυφωντες] . From trufh, luxuriousness. See on riot. Rev., revelling.

With their own deceivings [εν ταις απαταις αυτων] . The Rev., however, follows another reading, which occurs in the parallel passage Jude 1:12 ajgapaiv, love - feasts, the public banquets instituted by the early Christians, and connected with the celebration of the Lord 's Supper. Rev. renders revelling in their love - feasts, though the American Committee insist on deceivings. On the abuses at these feasts, see 1 Corinthians 11:20-22. For auJtwn, their own, the best texts read aujtwn, their. While they feast with you [συνευωχουμενοι] . The word originally conveys the idea of sumptuous feasting, and is appropriate in view of the fact to which Peter alludes, that these sensualists converted the love - feast into a revel. Compare Paul 's words, 1 Corinthians 11:21, "one is hungry and another drunken." This seems to favor the reading ajgapaiv. The word occurs only here and Jude 1:12.

Verse 14

Eyes. Another illustration of Peter's emphasis on sight. It is the instrument of evil no less than of good. Compare Matthew 5:28.

Adultery [μοιχαλιδος] . Lit., an adulteress, but used as an adjective Matthew 12:39; Matthew 16:4.

That cannot cease [ακαταοαυστους] . Only here, in New Testament. Compare hath ceased (1 Peter 4:1).

Beguiling [δελεαζοντες] . Only here, ver. 18, and James 1:14. From delear, a bait. An appropriate word from Peter the fisherman. Rev., enticing.

Unstable [αστηρικτους] . A compound of the word at 1 Peter 5:10, stablish. See note there, and on 2 Peter 1:12.

An heart they have exercised [καρδιαν γεγυμνασμενην εχοντες] . The A. V. is awkward. Better, Rev., having a heart exercised. Exercised is the word used for gymnastic training, from which gymnastic is derived. With covetous practices. The A. V. follows the old reading, pleonexiaiv. The best texts read pleonexiav, covetousness. Rev., therefore, rightly, in covetousness.

Cursed children [καταρας τεκνα] . Lit., children of cursing; and so Rev. See on Mark 3:17, and 1 Peter 1:14.

Verse 15

Right [ευθειαν] . Lit., straight, which is the radical meaning of right. Are gone astray [απλανηθησαν] . See on Mark 12:24.

Following [εξακολουθησαντες] . See on ch. 2 Peter 1:16; 2 Peter 2:2. Compare Jude 1:11. The way. Note the frequent occurrence of the word way in the story of Balaam (Numbers 22:0), and Peter's use of the same phrase, as here, the right ways of the Lord, in Acts 13:10.

Bosor. Rev. gives Beor, the Old Testament form of the name. Wages of unrighteousness. See on ver. 13.

Verse 16

Was rebuked [ελεγξιν εσχεν] . Lit., had a rebuke. The word for rebuke only here in New Testament.

For his iniquity [ιδιας παρανομιας] . Rev., his own transgression. His own, see on ch. 2 Peter 1:3. Transgression, from para, contrary to, and nomov, law. Only here in New Testament. Compare the kindred verb paranomew, also occurring but once, Acts 23:3, where see note on contrary to the law.

The dumb ass. Inserting an article not in the text, and omitted by Rev. Ass [υποζυγιον] . Lit., beast of burden. An animal subjected to the yoke. From uJpo, beneath, and zugon, a yoke. See on Matthew 21:5. Speaking [φθεγξαμενον] . The verb is found in Peter only, here and ver. 18, and in Acts 4:18, a Petrine narrative. It is well chosen, however. The verb denotes the utterance of a sound or voice, not only by man, but by any animal having lungs. Hence, not only of men's articulate cries, such as a battle - shout, but of the neigh of the horse, the scream of the eagle, the croak of a raven. It is also applied to sounds made by inanimate things, such as thunder, a trumpet, a lyre, the ring of an earthen vessel, showing whether it is cracked or not. Schmidt (" Synonymik ") says that it does not indicate any physical capability on the part of the man, but describes the sound only from the hearer's stand - point. In view of this general sense of the verb, the propriety is apparent of the defining phrase, with man's voice.

Forbad [εκωλυσεν] . Rather, hindered, or, as Rev., stayed. Compare Acts 8:36; Romans 1:13, Rev.

Madness [παραφρονιαν] . Only here in New Testament. But compare the kindred verb parafronew (2 Corinthians 11:23), in the phrase, "I speak as a fool." From para, beside, and frhn, the mind; and so equivalent to the phrase, beside one's self.

Verse 17

Wells [πηγαι] . Better, as Rev., springs; yet the Rev. has retained well at John 4:14, where the change would have given more vividness to Christ 's metaphor, which is that of an ever upleaping, living fountain. Without water. As so often in the East, where the verdure excites the traveler's hope of water. Compare Jeremiah 2:13, and the contrast presented in Isaiah 48:11; Proverbs 10:11; Proverbs 13:14.

Clouds. The A. V. has followed the Tex. Rec., nefelai, as in Jude 1:12. The correct reading is oJmiclai, mists, found only here in New Testament. So Rev.

With a tempest [υπο λαιλαπος] . Rev., by a storm. The word occurs only twice elsewhere - Mark 4:37; Luk 7:23 - in the parallel accounts of the storm on the lake, which Jesus calmed by his word. There on the lake Peter was at home, as well as with the Lord on that occasion; and the peculiar word describing a whirlwind - one of those sudden storms so frequent on that lake (see note on the word, Mark 4:37) - would be the first to occur to him. Compare Paul 's similar figure, Ephesians 4:14. Blackness [ζοφος] . See on ver. 4, and compare Jude 1:13.

Of darkness [του σκοτους] . Lit., the darkness, denoting a well - understood doom.

Is reserved [τετηρηται] . Lit., hath been reserved, as Rev. See on 1 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 2:4.

Forever. The best texts omit.

Verse 18

When they speak [φθεγγομενοι] . Rev., better, uttering. See on ver. 16.

Great swelling [υπερογκα] . Only here and Jude 1:16. The word means of excessive bulk. It accords well with the peculiar word uttering, since it denotes a kind of speech full of high - sounding verbosity without substance. Fqeggomenoi, uttering, is significantly applied alike to Balaam 's beast and to these empty declaimers.

Entice. See ver. 14.

Where clean escaped. The A. V. follows the Tex. Rec., ontwv ajpofugontav; ontwv meaning really, actually, as Luke 24:34; and the participle being the aorist, and so meaning were escaped. But the best texts all read ojligwv, in a little degree, or just, or scarcely; and ajpofeugontav, the present participle, are escaping; and denoting those who are in the early stage of their escape from error, and are not safe from it and confirmed in the truth. Hence, Rev., correctly, who are just escaping. 'Oligwv, only here.

Verse 19

Is overcome [ηττηται] . Lit., is worsted; from hsswn, inferior. Only here, ver. 20, and 2 Corinthians 12:13.

Brought into bondage [δεδουλωται] . Enslaved. Compare Romans 6:16.

Verse 20

Pollutions [μιασματα] . Only here in New Testament. Compare ver.

2 Peter 2:10The word is transcribed in miasma.

Entangled [εμπλακεντες] . Only here and 2 Timothy 2:4. The same metaphor occurs in Aeschylus (" Prometheus ") : "For not on a sudden or in ignorance will ye be entangled [εμπλεχθησεσθε] by your folly in an impervious net of Ate (destruction)."

Verse 22

According to the true proverb [το της αληθους παριοιμιας] . Lit., that of the true proverb, or the matter of the proverb. For a similar construction see Matthew 21:21, that of the fig - tree; Matthew 8:33, the things of those possessed. On proverb, see notes on Matthew 13:3. Vomit [εξεραμα] . Only here in New Testament.

Wallowing [κυλισμον] . Only here in New Testament.

Mire [βορβορου] . Only here in New Testament. This use of dogs and swine together recalls Matthew 7:6.

Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 2 Peter 2". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/2-peter-2.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.
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