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THE GENERAL EPISTLE OF 8T. JUDE.
This Epistle Has Three Parts:
1. The Inscription, Ter. 1, s,
II. The Treatise, hi Which,
1. He exhorts theta to contend for the Faith, 3. 3. Describes the Manners of his Adversaries, and their
. 3. Warns the Believers, 17—jg.
4. Confirms them, 30, 21.
5. instructs them in their Duty to Others, 33, 33,
Mr. . The Conclusion, 34, 35,
This Epistle greatly resembles the Second of St. Peter, which St. Jade seems to have had in view while he wrote. That was written but a very little before St.Peter's death; and hence we may gather, that St. Jude lived some time after it, and saw that grievous declension in the church, which St. Peter had foretold. But he passes over some things mentioned by St. Peter, repeats some, in different expressions and with a different view, and adds others, clearly evidencing thereby the wisdom of God which rested upon him. Thus St. Peter cites and confirms St. Paul's writings, and is himself cited and confirmed by St. Jude.
1. JUDE, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are beloved of God the Father, and
Ver. l. Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ—The highest glory which any, either angel or man, can aspire to. The word servant, under the old covenant, was adapted to the spirit of fear and bondage that clave to that dispensation. But "when the time appointed of the Father was come, for the sending of his Son to redeem them that were under the law, the word servant, (used by-Ae apostles concerning themselves and all the children of God,) signified One that, having the Spirit of adoption, is Dtadefres by the Son of God. His being * servant, is the fruit and perfection of his being a son. And whenever the throneypf God and of the Lamb shall be in the New Jerusalem, then wfll it'he indeed that his -servants shall serve him, Rev. xXii. *the brother of James— --Sti-fetm was the more eminent, usually atjled, 'the ,Urotker of the Eordrt*
2 preserved through Jesus Christ, and called, Mercy unto you, and peace, and love be multiplied.
3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write to you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write to you, and exhort you, to contend earnestly for the faith
4 which was once delivered to the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were of old described before, with regard to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and
5 denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. I am therefore willing to remind you, who once knew this, that the Lord having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterwards destroyed them that believed not.
6 And the * angels, who kept not their first dignity, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness to the judgment of the great day.
7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them, which in the same manner with these, gave themselves over to fornication, and went after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal & fire. In like manner these dreamers also defile the flesh, 9 * despise suthority, rail at dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil, he disputed concerning the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
• 2 Pet. ii. 4.
them that are beloved—The conclusion, vor. ai, exactly answers the introduction: and preserved though Jesus Christ—So both the spring and the accomplishment of salvation are pointed out. This is premised, lest any of them should be discouraged by the terrible things which are afterwards mentioned: and called—To receive the whole blessing of God, in time and eternity.
V. 3. When I gave all diligence to write to you of the common salvation— Designed for all, and enjoyed by all believers. Here the design of the epistle is expressed, the end of which exactly answers the beginning: it teas needful to exhort you to contend earnestly—Yet humbly, meekly, and lovingly; otherwise your contentions will only hurt your cause, if not destroy your soul: for the faith—All the fundamental truths, once delivered—By God, to remain unvaried for ever.
V. 4. There are certain men crept in, who were of old described before—Even as early as Enoch; of whom it was foretold, that by their wilful sins they would incur this condemnation: turning the grace of God—Revealed in the gospel; into lasciviousness—Into an occasion of more abandoned wickedness.
V. 5. He afterwards destroyed—The far greater part of that very people whom he had once saved. Let no one, therefore, presume upon past mercies, as if he was now out of danger.
V. 6. And the angels, who kept not their first dignity—Once assigned them under the Son of God, but voluntarily left their own habitation—Then properly their own, by the free gift of God: he reserved—Delivered to be kept, in everlasting chains under darkness—O, how unlike their own habitation! When these fallen angels came out of the hands of God, they were holy, (else God made that which was evil,) and being holy, they were beloved of God, (else he hated the image of his own spotless purity.) But now he loves them no more; they are doomed to endless destruction: (for if he loved them still, he would love what is sinful;) and both his former love, and his present righteous and eternal displeasure towards the same work of his own hands, are because he changeth not: because he invariably loveth righteousness, and hatetb iuiquity.
V. 7. The cities who gave themselves over to fornication—The word here means, unnatural lusts; are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of
10 But these rail at all things which they know not: and all the things which they know naturally, as the brute beasts,
11 in these they are defiled. Woe to them: for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah.
12 These are spots in your feasts of love, while they
* 2 Pet. ii. 10.
eternal fire—That is, the vengeance which they suffered is an example, or a type, of eternal fire.
V. 8. In like manner these dreamers—Sleeping and dreaming all their lives, despise authority —Those that are invested with it by Christ, and made by him the overseers of his flock: rail at dignities—The apostle does not seem to speak pf worldly dignities; these they had in admiration for the sake of gain, ver. 16: but those holy men, who, for the purity of their lives, the soundness of their doctrine, and the greatness of their labours in the work of the ministry, «;ere truly honourable before God and all good men; and who were grossly vilified by those who turned the grace of God into lasciviousness. Probably they were the impure followers of Simon Magus, the same with the Gnostics and Nicolaitans, Rev. ii. 15.
V. 9. Yet Michael—It does not appear, whether St. Jndc learned this by any revelation, or from ancient tradition. It suffices, that these things were not only true, but acknowledged as such by them to whom he wrote; the archangel—This word occurs but once more in the Sacred Writings, 1 Thess. iv. 16. So that whether there be one archangel only, or more, it is not possible for us to determine: when he disputed with the devil—At what time we know not: concerning the body of Moses—Possibly the devil would have discovered the place where it was buried, which God for wise reasons had concealed: durst not bring even against him a railing accusation—Though so far beneath him in every respect: but simply said—"So great was his modesty! The Lord rebuke thee—rl leave thee to the Judge of all.
. V. 10. But these—Without all shame: rail at the things of God, which they know nor—Neither can know, having no spiritual senses: and the natural things, which they know—By their natural senses, they abuse into occasions of sin.
V. 11. Woe unto them—Of all the apostles, St. Jnde alone, and that in this »ingle place, denounces a woe. St. Peter, to the same effect, pronounces them cursed children: for they have gone in the way of Cam—The murderer, and ran greedily (literally, have been poured out, like a torrent without banks,) after the error of Balaam—The covetous false prophet: and perished in the gainsaying of Korah—Vengeance has overtaken them, as it did Korah, for rising up against those whom God had sent.
V. 12. These are spots—Blemishes, in your feasts of love—Anciently observed in all the churches; feeding themselves without fear—Without an
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banquet with you, feeding themselves without fears clouds without water, driven about of winds; trees with* out leaves, without fruit, twiee dead, plucked up by the
13 roots: Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their owa shame; wandering stars, for whom is reserved the black
14 ness of flarkness for ever. And of these also, Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, Behold, the
*3 Lord cometh With ten thousands of his holy ones, To execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the Ungodly of all their ungodly deeds, which they have impiously committed; ana of all the grievous things which ungodly sinaers have spoken against him.
16 These are murmurers, complainefs, walking after their own desires, and their mouth speaketh great swelling
- things, having men's persons in admiration for the sake of
17 gain. But ye, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.
18 For they told you, In the last time there will be mockers, walking after their own ungodly desires.
19 These are they who separate themselves, sensual, not
God, or jealousy over themselves, twice dead—In sin, first by nature and afterward* by apostasy, plucked up by the roots—And so incapable of ever
V. 13. Wandering stars—Literally, planets, which shine for a time, but have no light in themselves. Thus the apostle illustrates their desperate wickedness, by comparisons drawn from the air, earth, sea, and heavens.
V. 14. And of these also—As well as the antediluvian siuners, 'Enoch—So early was the pvophecy, referred to, ver. 4, the seventh from Adam—There were only fire of the fathers between Adam and Enoch, l Chron. i. l. The first coming of Christ was revealed to Adam; his second glorious coming to Enoch: and the seventh from Adam foretold the things Which will conclnde the seventh age of the world. St. Jnde might know this, either Yrom some ancient book, or tradition, or immediate revelation. Behold^-At if it were already done, the Lord cometh!
V. 15. To execute judgment—Enoch herein looked beyond the flood, upor. all—Siuners in general, and to convict all the ungodly—In particular, of all the grievous things Which ungodly siuners (a siuner is had; but the ungodly, who sin without fear, are worse,) have spoken against him, ter. 8, 10, though they might not thiak all those speeches were against him.
V. 16. These are murmurers—Against men, eomplalners^Q\ttttAYj, explainers of their fate,) against God, walking—With regard to themselves, after iheir own foolish and mischievous desires, having men's persons in admiration far the sake of gain—Admiring and commending them only for What they can get.
V. 17. By the apostles—He does not exempt himself from the number of apostles: for in the next verse he says, they told you, not us. . V. 19. These are they who separate themselves, sensual, not having the SpiritHaving natural senses and understanding only, hot the Spirit of God: otherwise they could not separate. Tor that it is a sin, and a very heinous one, It teparatefrom the church, is out of all question. But then it should be observed, 1. That by the church is meant, a body of living Christians, who are a habitation of God through the Spirit: 2. That by separating is understood,
SO having the Spirit. But ye, heloved, huilding yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying through the Holy
21 Spirit, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22 And some, that are wavering, convince: Some save,
23 snatching them out of the fire: on others have compassion with fear, hating even the garment spotted hy the flesh.
24 Now to Him who is ahle to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless in the presence of his glory
25 with exceeding joyj To the only God, our Saviour, he glory and majesty, might and authority, hoth now and to all ages. Amen.
renouncing all religious intercourse with them; no longer joining with them in solemn prayer, or the other puhlic offices of religion: And, 3. That we have no more authority from Scripture, to call even this schism, than to call it murder.
V. 20. But ye, heloved—Not separating, hut huilding yourselves up in pour most holy faith—Than which none can he more holy in itself, or more conducive to the most refined and exalted holiness: praying through the Holy Spirit—Who alone is ahle to huild you up, as he alone laid the foundation. In this and the following verse, St. Jnde mentions the Father, Son, and Spirit, together with faith, love, and hope.
V. 21. By these means, through his grace, keep yourselves in the love of God, and in the .confident expectation of that eternal life, which is purchased for you, and conferred upon you, through the mere mercy of our Lord Jesus CJifist.
V. 23. Mean time watch over others, as well as yourselves, and give them such help as their various needs require. For instance, 1. Some, that are wavering in jndgment, staggered hy others, or hy their own evil reasoning, endeavour more deeply to convince of the. whole truth as it is in Jesus. 2. Some snatch, with a swift and strong hand, out of the fire of sin and temptation. 3. On others shew compassion in a milder and gentler way; though still with a jealous fear, lest yourselves he infected with the disease you endeavour to cure. See, therefore, that while you love the siuners, ye retain the utmost ahhorrence of their sins, and of any, the least degree of, or approach to them.
y. 24. Now to him .who alone is able to keep you from failing—Tnto any of these errors or sins, and to present you faultless-in the pretence of hisglflry— That is, in his own presence, when he shall be revealed in all his glory.