Page images

7 But (ou run upevou) the present heavens and 7 But though the destruction of the old world by water shews the earth, by the same word,' are treasured up, that the present world may be destroyed, I do not say it will be debeing kept for fire? (95) against the day of stroyed by water : The present heavens and earth, by the same word judgment and destruction of ungodly men. who destroyed the old world, are treasured up and preserved from (See Whitby's note on this verse.)

a deluge, for the purpose of being burnt with fire at the day of judge

ment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But this one thing, let it not escape you,

8 Do not hearken to those who, from Christ's delaying, argue beloved, that one day with the Lord is as a that he will never come. But this one thing remember, beloved, that thousand years, and a thousand years as one the Lord's purposes are not affected by any duration, whether short day.'

or long ; because nothing can happen to hinder their execution. 9 The Lord who hath promised, doth not 9 The Lord, who hath promised to come, doth not delay his comdelay in the manner some account delaying ;' ing to destroy the world, for the reason supposed by some ; namely, but he exercises long-suffering towards us, that he is not able to do what he hath promised ; but he delays his not desiring? that any should perish, but that coming, that he may exercise long-suffering towards us, not desirall should come to repentance.

ing that any should perish, but that all should have an opportunity

of repenting. 10 However, as a thief in the night,' the day 10 However long it may be delayed, as a thief in the night cometh his Word, just as in chap. iii. 1. the phrase, this second epistle, is figuratively. This, lowever, is not all: There are things in tho shewed to imply the firsi epistle also, by the relative av bos being in apostle's prophecy which shew that he intended it to be taken litethe plural

rally; as, 1. İle bexins with an account of the perishing of the old 2. 'Overflowed with water, perished;}-that is, lost its primitive woull, to demonstrare, against the scotfers, the possibility of the constitution and form, hy which incans, and by the alteration made perishing of the present heavens and earth. But that example would in its atmosphere, it became a habitation less healthy and fruitiul, not liave suited his purpose, unless by the burning of the present and less pleasant than formerly; as may be gathered from the Leavens and earth he had meant the destruction of the material shortening of the life of man atier the food, and the present ap. fabric. Wherefore, the opposition stated in this prophecy between pearance of the earth, which is that of a run.

the perishing of the old world by water, and the perishing of the Ver. 7.-1. By the same word. )-The common reading here is present world by fire, shews that the latter is to be as real a de. Si Utou a gw, by his word. But our translators have followed the struction of the material fabric as the former was: 2. The circum. reading of the Alexandrian and soinc other MSS., and of the Vul stance of the present hearens and earth being treasured up and gate version, and which is adopted by Beza, namely, fo' UTW 1994, kept, ever since the first deluge, from all aller deluges, in order to by the same irord. See Mill

their being destroyed by fire at the day of judginent, shews, I 2. Being kept for fire.)-Here the apostle hath in his eyes God's think, that the apostle is speaking of a real and not of a metaphori. oath to Noah, not to destroy the earth any more by a flood,' Gen. cal destruction of the heavens and earth: 3. This appears likewise ix. 11.; also his declaration, Gen. viii. 22. that while the earth re from the apostle's foretelling, that after the present heavens and mained, seed-time and harvest, &c. should not cease.' Wherefore, earth are burnt, a new heavens and a new earth is to appear, in the earth is not always to remain ; but it is not to be destroyed by which the righteous are to dwell for ever: 4. The time fixed by a deluge. It is kept from floods, to be destroyed by fire.

the apostle for the burning of the heavens and the earth, namely, 3. Against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.) the day of judginent and punishment of ungodly men, shews th it - In regard that Hammond and other celebrated commentators un. the apostle is speaking not of the destruction of a single city or na: derstand this prophecy as a prediction of the destruction of Jerusa. tion during the subsistence of the world, but of the earth itself, lem, i! will be proper here to inform the reader, that in support of with all the wicked who have dwelt thereon. These circumstances their interpretation they appeal to the ancient Jewish prophecies, persuade me, that this prophecy, as well as the one recorded 2 where, as ihey contend, the revolutions in the political state of em Thess. i. 9. is not to be interpreted metaphorically of the destruc. pires and nations are foretold in the same forms of expression with tion of Jerusalemn, but should be understood literally of the de those introduced in Peter's prediction. The following are the pro. struction of our mundane system, and of the general judgment. phecies to which they appeal.--- Isa. xxxiv. 4. where the destruction Ver. 8. One day with the Lord is as a thousand years, &c.}-This of Idumea is foretold under the figures of 'dissolving the host of is an allusion to Psal. xc. 4. But neither the apostle nor the Psalm. heaven,' and of rolling the heaven together as a scroll,' and of the ist meant that God does not perceive any difference between the falling down of all their bost as the leaf falleth off from the vine.' - unequal durations of a day and of a thousand years; but that these Ezek. xxxii. 7. where the destruction of Egypt is described by the differences do not affect either his designs, or actions, or felicity, as figures of covering the heaven, and making the stars thereof dark;' they do those of finite creatures: So that what he brings to pass on and of covering the sun with a cloud,' and of hindering the moon the day he declares his purpose, is not more certain than what he from giving her light.'-Joel ii. 10. the invasion of Judea by foreign will bring to pass a thousand years after his declaration. In like armies is thus foretold: "The earth shall quake before them; the inanner, what is to be brought to pass a long time after his declaraheavens shall tremble; the sun and the inoon shall be dark, and the tion, is not less certain than if it had been done when declared. See stars shall withdraw their shining.' And ver. 30, 31. the destruction Abernethy's Sermons, vol. i. p. 218, 219. of Jerusalem by the Romans is thus predicted: I will shew won. Ver. 9.-1. The Lord who hath promised, doth not delay, &c.) ders in the heavens and in the earth ; blood and fire and pillars of Benson, by supplying nie. here, translates the clause thus :-The snuoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into Lord doth not delay concerning the promise.' But á xupios ***77. blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.'- Amos Arms may be the genitive not of possession but of the agent; on vm. 9. God threatening the Jews is introduced saying, 'In that day which supposition the translation will be, 'The Lord who hath I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth promised,' namely, to come.-L'Enfant observes, that the word in the clear day.'-Hargai ii. 6. the overthrow of Judaisin and hea. ***??saoz denotes a declaration of any kind, whether it be a thenisin is thus foretold, 'Yet once and I will shake the heavens, promise of something good, or a denunciation of evil. and the earth, and the sea and the dry land,'-- Lastly, Our Lord, in 2. Not desiring that any should perish. ]—The word Bouabusvos in his prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, has the following ex this passage cannot be understood of the ultiinate determination pressions: Mall. xxiv. 29. 'After the tribnlation of those days shall of the divine will; for that is always followed with the thing willed. ihe sun be arkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the The proper translation of the word is, not desiring; for God may stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be truly be said ' not to desire that any should perish, as he hath in. shaken.'

cluded Adam and all his posterity in the covenant of grace, and hath Now it is remarkable, that in these prophecies none of the pro given the means of repentance and salvation to all. On this Oecu. phets have spoken, as Peter has done, or the entire destruction of menius writes, "Consummationis tempus differri, ut compleatur this mundane system, nor of the destruction of any part thereof. nurnerus salvandoruin ;--that the time of the end is deferred, that They mention only the rolling of the heavens together as a scroll;' the number of them who are to be saved may be filled up." By the the 'obscuring orihe light of the sun and of the moon;'the 'shaking persons to be saved, Estius and Beza understand the elected to of the heavens and the earth,' and 'the falling down of the stars; eternal life; but others understand this of mankind in general. whereas Peter speaks of the ulter destruction of all the parts of this Ver. 10.-1. As a thief in the night. )-Because thieves commonly mundane system by fire. This difference affords room for believing, break into houses in the night time, and occasion great fear to those that the events foretold by the prophets are different in their nature who are within, any sudden unexpected event, especially such as froin those foretold by the apostle; and that they are to be figurative. occasioned terror, was compared by the Hebrews to the coming ly understood, while those predicted by the apostle are to be under. of a thief in the night. The suddenness, therefore, and unexpected. stood literally. To this conclusion likewise ihe phraseology of the ness of the coming of the day of the Lord, and the terror which it prophets compared with that of the apostle, evidently leads. For the will occasion to the wicked, are the circumstances in which it will prophetic phraseology, literally interpreted, exbibits impossibilities; resemble the coming of a thief, (see 1 Thess. v. 4. note), and not such as 'the rolling of the heavens together as a scroll,' ihe turning that it will happen in the night-time. Yet the ancients, from this of the moon into blood,' and 'the falling down of the stars from and other passages, inferring that Christ's coming to judgment hearen as the leaf of a tree' Not so the apostolic phraseology ; for would happen in the night-time, instituted their vigils. But, as Beza 'the burning of the heavens' or atmosphere, and its passing away says, leaving the uncertainties, let us rather watch day and night, with a great noise,' and 'the burning of the carth and the works with minds raised up to him, that we may not be lulled asleep by thereon,' together with the burning and melting of the elements,' the intoxications of the world. that is, the constituent parts of which this terraqueous globe is com. 2. The day of the Lord. )-See 2 Thess. Pref. sect. 4. where it is posed, are all things possible, and therefore may be literally under. shewn, that although Christ's coming to destroy Jerusalem is some stood; while the things mentioned by the prophets can only be taken times called 'the coming, and the day of the Lord,' these appellations

of the Lord? will come, in which the heavenssuddenly and unexpectedly, the day of the Lord will come ; in which shall pass away with a great noise, and the the atmosphere of air being set on fire, (ver, 12.), shall pass away elements, burning, shall be dissolved, and the with a prodigious noise, and the elements of which it is composed, earth, and the works thereon, shall be utterly burning, shall be disunited, and the earth, and the works thereon, burned.?

both of God and man, being set on fire by the flaming air, shall be

utterly consumed. 11 Sxing, then, all these things' (Auspisov, 11 Seeing then the heavens and the earth, and all the works thereverbat. are dissolved) shall be dissolved, what on, are to be burned, what sort of persons ought ye to be? Certainly sort OF PERSONS? ought ye to be? SUCH AS such as by holy behaviour towards men, and piety towards God, by holy behaviour and godliness,

shew that ye 12 ARE expecting and earnestly desiring! 12 Are expecting and earnestly desiring the coming of the day apthe coming of the day of God, (di, 117.) in pointed of God, in which the atmosphere, (ver. 10. note 3.), being set which the heavens (rugpflevci) being set on fire, on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements, of which this terraqueous shall be dissolved, and the elements, burning, globe is composed, burning, shall be melted into one fluid mass of shall be melted.

fire, so that an end will be put to its existence in its present form. 13 (Ak, 100.) Nevertheless, according to 13 Nevertheless, according to God's promise to Abraham, (as exhis promise,' we expect new heavens and a new plained Isa. Ixv. 17.), we who believe, firmly expect the creation of are given to various other events; and therefore Hammond, Light- the neglecting of piety; and so is a most powerful motive to a holy foot, and others, who argue that the apostle is speaking of the de life. See ver. 14. pote. struction of Jerusalem, because he calls the event of which he Ver. 12.-1. Earnestly desiring:)-2-1vovtas, literally, hasten. speaks the day of the Lord,' build their opinion on a very weak ing. But both in Greek and Laun the effect is often put for the foundation. See ver. 6. note 1. and ver. 7. note 3. and Whitby's cause; wherefore, as haste is commonly the effect of earnest de: preface to this epistle, toward the end.

sire, hasting in this place may well signify earnestly desiring. Of 3. In which the heavens.)-In calling the atmosphere of air which this use of the word, Pool in his Synopsis, and Wolf in his note on surrounds this earth the heavens, the apostle followed Moses, Gen. the passage, have given undoubted examples. See also Parkhurst's i. 8.

Dictionary in voce Σπινδου. 4. Shall pass away:)-The passing away of the heavens and earth, 2. The heavens being set on fire.)-Sce 2 Thess. i. 8. note. That does not mean that they will be removed to another part of space, the world is to be destroyed by fire, was the opinion of Anaximan. or that they will be annihilated; but that, being burn, their forın der, Anaxagoras, Archelaus, Leucippus, and other ancient philosoand constitution will be changed, as the constitution or form of the phers. And Burnet, (Theor. Tellur. vol. ii. P: 30.), having consiold world was by the flood.

dered the antiquity and universality of the opinion, says, "We have 5. With a great noise.)-The word portation is an adverb from heard as it were the cry of fire through all antiquity, and among all pouçow, sibilo, strideo, and denotes any loud noise, such as that oc. the people of the earth. Let us examine what attestation the procasioned by the rattling of chariots, the blowing of a storm, &c. Ac. phets and apostles give to this ancient doctrine of the conflagration cordingly Erasınus translates it,' in morem procellæ, with a storm.' of the world. The prophets saw the world on fire at a distance, and That the thundering noise occasioned by the burning of the whole more imperfectly; as a brightness in the heavens, rather than as a heavens or atmosphere, mentioned ver. 10. 12. will be terrible be. burning flame. But Peter describes it as if he had been standing yond description, may be conjectured by considering what a noise by, and seen the heavens and earth in red fire; heard the crackling is made by those small portions of the air which are burnt when it flames and the tumbling mountains." Then quotes ver. 10. 12. and thunders, or which are set in commotion in a storm.

adds, “This is as lively as a man would express it, if he had the 6. And the elements burning (RuSnoort**,) shall be dissolved.), dreadful spectacle before his eyes.” Benson's translation. The word 500%***, translated elements, signifies the first principles 3. And the elements.)-I think the elements in this verse are not or constituent parts of any thing. Hence it denotes the principles of the elements of the heavens or atmosphere, for the dissolution of science (Heb. v. 12.) as well as the principles of bodies. It signifies these is described ver. 10. ; but the elements of which this terra. likewise the letters of the alphabet, which are the constituent parts queous globe is composed, namely, earth and water, and every thing of writing ; also the Mosaic forin of religion, Gal. iv. 3. 9.; and the which enters into the composition of these substances, and on heathen worship, Col. ii. note 3.-Mede by elements here under. which their constitution and form depend. Accordingly, to shew stands the planets, because he thinks it improper to say that fire, that he is speaking of these elements, consequently of the destrucwhich is itself an element, is to be burnt. In support of his opinion tion of this earth, he adds in the next verse, 'nevertheless, ac. he gives some examples, in which the word denotes the planets; and cording to his (God's) promise, we expect new heavens and a new as it comes from 55%*, to march in order, as soldiers do, he thinks earth.' it may have been given to the planets on account of their regular 4. Shall be melted. ]—Tyrsta för taxvostev, as, ver. 11. 2 UONEVE courses. But as the destruction occasioned by the flood was that of is put for avropstav. The original word is applied to the melting of the carth and air only, it is probable that the destruction of the hea. metals by fire. Wherefore, as the elements signify the constituent vens and earth by fire, which is set in opposition to it, will be of the parts of any thing, (see ver. 10. note 9.), the word melted, applied to earth and air only. Estius, by the clements, understands the ele. The constituent parts of the terraqueous globe, intimates that the ments of which this terraqueous globe is composed. But as the melt whole, by the intense heat of the conflagration, is to be reduced ing of these is mentioned ver. 12 I am of opinion that in this verse into one homogeneous fluid mass of burning matter ; consequently, the apostle speaks of the electrical matter, the sulphureous vapours, that it is not the surface of the earth, with all the things thereon, the clouds, and whatever else noats in the air, together with the air which is to be burnt, as some have imagined, but the whole globo itself; all which, burning furiously, will be disunited and separated. of the earth.

7. The works thereon shall be utterly burned. )-Ev authoy is Some commentators, as was formerly observed, contend, that the justly rendered the works thereon; for, chap. i. 18. ev to open to description which St. Peter hath given of the conflagration, is to be agow, evidently signifies upon, not in the holy mountain. We are not understood of the destruction of Jerusalem, and of the Jewish po. certain from this expression, whether the things upon the earth lity. But the impropriety of that interpretation may be understood only

are to be consumed in the conflagration, or whether the contla from the things mentioned note 3. on ver. 7. and note 2. on ver. 13. gration will penetrate to the centre of the globe, and reduce the Ver. 13.-1. According to his promise.}-The promise of which whole to one homogeneous mass of burning matter.-See a de. the apostle speaks, is that which God made to Abraham, lo 'give scription of the order in which the conflagration will proceed, 2 to him, and to his seed, all the land of Canaan for an everlasting Thess. i. 8. note 1.-Baxter on this verse saith, “It is marvellous possession. This promise St. Paul tells us, Rom. iv. 16. must be prepossession that could make any learned man think that all sure to all the seed; not to that only which is or the law,' Abraham's ihese words (the words in this ver. 10.) signify nothing but the de. natural descendants, but to that also which is of the faith of Abrastruction of Jerusalemn.

ham,' to believers of all nations, his spiritual sced. Wherefore, this Ver. 11. - 1. All these things. )--In note 6. on the former verse we promise, in its first and literal sense, pertained to the Jews only, have shewn, that the apostle, in describing the destruction of the and not to the spiritual seed, who could not all be contained in the heavens and the earth by fire, means this earth only with its atmo earthly country; or, though it could bave received them all, the sphere, as in the description of the destruction of the old world by possession

of it would have been no blessing to them. From this it water, he meant only the destruction of the then earth and air. 1 follows, that the everlasting possession of Canaan, which was pronow add, that in all probability Moses in his history describes the mised to all the seed, and which must be sure to them all, means creation of our planetary system only; for though, Gen. i. 16. he the possession of a greater, and better, and more enduring country says, 'God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, than the earthly Canaan, and of which the earthly Canaan was the and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also; the emblem or type. Now what country can that be, which all believers words he made, found in the latter clause, are not in the original. are to inherit for ever, but the new heavens and the new earth, Taylor therefore thinks the translation should be, 'the lesser light which Peter in this passage tells us the righteous expect to dwell in to rule the night, with the stars ;' that is, jointly with the stars, they after the destruction of the present material fabric? And as they having been made long before; for it is the opinion of many, that are to possess it after they regain their bodies, it must be a material the stars are much more ancient than the earth, and shall remain habitation, suited to the incorruptible and immortal nature of their aler it is destroyed.

new bodies. This also St. Paul hath shewn, by telling us that Abra2. What sort of persons ought ye to be ?)-I have followed Cas hain and his seed were 'made heirs of the world' by God's promise, talio in putting the point of interrogation after the word be, so as to Rom. iv. 13. In like manner Christ hath shewn this, when, in ar. make what follows in the verse the answer to the question. The guing against the Sadılucers, he said, Luke xx. 35. "They which burning of the earth and of all the works thereon, shews in tho are connted worthy to receive that world, and the resurrection from strongest light the absurdity of covetousness, and of all those pro the dead.' jects which the men of this world pursue with such earnestnees, to The promise to Abrahain and to his seed, or giving them the

earth,? wherein dwelleth righteousness. new heavens and of a new earth, wherein righteous men shall dwell

for ever. 14 Wherefore, beloved, expecting these 14 Wherefore, beloved, firmly expecting the coming of Christ to things, diligently endeavour to be found of destroy the present mundane system, and to create a new heaven him spotless' and irreproachable, in peace. and earth, earnestly endeavour to be found of Christ spotless and

irreproachable, consequently in peace with him. 15 And the long-suffering (ver. 9.) of our 15 And, instead of considering his delaying to come as a proof that Lord, reckon to BE FOR salvation ; as also he will never come, consider the long-suffering of our Lord as des our beloved brother Paul, according to the wis- signed to promote the salvation of sinners, by giving them time to dom' given to him, hath written to you ;? repent, as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the inspira

tion given to him, hath written to you ; 16 As indeed in all his epistles,' speaking 16 As indeed in all his epistles, speaking in them concerning these in them concerning these things :? in which things : in which writings there are some things hard to be underthere are some things hard to be understood, stood, which the unteachable and unstable wrest, as they do also the which the unteachablet and unstables wrest, other scriptures, making them the foundation of erroneous doctrines, everlasting possession of Canaan, Isaiah hath explained, by predict loss of worldly things, and strengthens them to bear afflictions, not ing the creation of the new heavens and the new earth, and the only with patience, but with joy. May thou who readest always happy state of its inhabilants, chap. Ixv. 17–23. ; where, under the live under the influence of these obligations and hopes! figure of there being no infant of days there, and of the extreme Ver. 15.-1. According to the wisdoin given to him.}-- As the gos. longevity of all its inhabitants, he hath described the immortality of pel itself is called the wisdom of God, and the inspiration by which the righteous; and by representing the animals in this new earth The apostles were enabled to declare all the parts of the gospel as entirely stript of all their noxious qualities, and as living in peace scheme in an infallible manner is called the word of wisdom, I have with one another, he hath laught us, that in the new creation there no doubt that, by the wisdom given to Paul, Peter means his inspi. will be nothing to hurt or to offend. This creation of the new hea. ration. See ver. 16. note 7. pens and the new earth, our apostle, in his serion to the Jews, 2. Hath written to you. )-This epistle being written to those to hath called 'the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by whom the first epistlé was sent, the persons to whom Paul wrote the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began, Acts iii. concerning the long-suffering of God, were the Jewish and Gentile 21. See Ess. v. sect. 4. towards the end.

Christians in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. Ac2. New heavens and a new earth. )– Having in the former note ex. cordingly, we know he wrote to the Ephesians, (ii. 3, 4, 5.), to the plained what the new heavens and the new earth are, it may be Colossians, (i. 21.), and to Timothy, (1 EP. ii. 4.), things which imply, proper to mention, that the commentators who interpret St. Peier's that God's bearing with sinners is intended for their salvation. The prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem by the new heavens and persons to whom Peter's epistles were sent, were for the most part new earth, understand the peaceful state in which the Christians Paul's converts. were to live after the destruction of Jerusalem. But to overturn

Ver. 16.-1. As indeed in all his epistles. From this it appears, that interpretation it needs only to be observed, that there was no that Peter had read Paul's epistles; and as he speaks not of some, such alteration in the state of the disciples after the destruction of but of all his epistles, it is probable that Paul was dead when Peter Jerusalem, as merited to be called a new heavens and a new earth;' wrote this; and seeing Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, chap. ii. for they were as inuch persecuted as ever, for near three hundred 4., and to the Hebrews, chap. x. 36–38., wrote that the long-suffer. years, till Constantine embraced the gospel. Others, by the new ing of God was intended for salvation, by mentioning that circumheavens and the new carth, understand ihat state of things called alance Peter intimated, that he knew Paul to be the author of the the Millennium, which is supposed to take place before the general epistles to the Romans and to the Hebrews. judginent. But to confute this opinion I observe, 1. That our Lord 2. He speaketh of these things.}-Paul in all his epistles bath spo. himself hath expressly told us, that his disciples are not to be re. ken of the things written by Peter in this letter. For example, he ceived into the place he hath gone to prepare for them till he come hath spoken of Christ's coming to judgment, 1 Thess. iii. 13. iv. 14 again.—2. That the Millennium of St. John is a state peculiar to the -18. ; 2 Thess. i. 7–10. ;Tit. ii. 13. --And of the resurrection of the martyrs who have suffered death for Christ; whereas the new dead, 1 Cor. xv. 22.; Philip. ill. 20, 21.-And of the burning of the heavens and the new earth,' as Whitby observes, are the common earth, 2 Thess. I. 8.-And of the heavenly country, 2 Cor. v. lexpectation of all Christians, who are therefore admonished, ver. 10.-Ánd of the introduction of the righteous into that country, ! 14. to 'endeavour earnestly to be found of Christ spotless and irre Thess. iv. 17.; Heb. iv. 9. xii. 14. 18. 24.--And of the judgment of all proachable, in peace.'-3. That the apostle, speaking of the destruc mankind by Christ, Rom. xiv. 10. lion of the heavens and the earth by a conflagration, represents it, 3. In which there are some matters hard to be understood. )-The ver. 7. as contemporary with the day of judgment and destruction greatest number of MSS. read here evers. But because the neuter of ungodly men,' who are to perish in that very fire which is to con. relative des cannot refer to 70604315, which is feminine, ev bos may sume the heavens and the earth.-4. That the scripture in other be translated 'among which things,'(nately, the things which Paul places represents the destruction of the wicked as to happen at the hath written concerning Christ's coming to judgment; the burning end of the world: Matt. xiii. 49. "So shall it be at the end of the of the earth, the heavenly country, and the introduction of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from righteous into that country), 'there are some matters hard to be among the just, 50. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire : understood.' It is true the Alexandrian, and six other MSS. read there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.'-2 Thess. i. 7. 'And here svars, 'in which epistles.' This Beza says is the true read. to you the afflicted rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be re ing, because he thinks it would have been iinproper in Peter to say vealed from heaven with the angels of his power, 8. Inflicting pu that Paul had written obscurely concerning subjects, of which Pe. nishinent with faming fire on them who know not God and obey ter himself hath written more things hard to be understood, than not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9. They shall suffer punish any Paul hath written in any place of his epistles. Nevertheless the mnent, even everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, common reading may be retained ; because the antecedent to the and from the glory of his power, 10. In that day when he shall come neuter relative ons may be a word not expressed but understood, to be glorified by his saints,' &c. ; whereas the Millennium of St. (see Ess. iv. 64.), namely, ez pepezro, which signifies letters or epis. John inust be at an end before the day of judgment. For having tles, Acts xxviii. 21. On this supposition Peter's meaning will be spoken of the first resurrection, and of the conclusion of the thou. ' in which epistle there are some things hard to be understood. sand years in which they are to reign who are raised, and of the in The inferences of the Papists from this passage are," That the scrip. surrection of Gog and Magog against thern, he saw, Rev. xx. 11. tures are not sufficient sur deciding controversies concerning the ar. "One sitting on a great white throne. 12. And the dead, small and ticles of faith ; and that the decision of these matters is to be sought great, standing before God,--and judged according to their works. from the Catholic church," by which they mean the church of ver. 15. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life, Rome. But the falsehood of these inferences must be acknowledged was cast into the lake of fire.' After which, Rev. xxi. 1. St. John by every candid person who recollects, that the Papists hitherto saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the have never determined among themselves what person or persons first earth were passed away.'-These things shew, that 'the new in their church are the infallible judge of controversies, to whose heavens and the new earth,''which Peter and John tell us expressly decisions all Christians ought to submit--whether it is the Pope are to succeed the present heavens and earth after the general judg. alone, or the Pope in conjunction with his own clergy, or a general ment, do by no means signify the state of things called the Millen. councilor Christian bishops, or any particular council, or any other nium, which is to take place and come to an end before the goneral body of men in their church distinguished by a particular denomina. judgment.

tion. The truth is, in leaving this undetermined they have acted Ver. 14. Expecting these things, diligently endeavour to be found, wisely; because all to whom they have attributed infallibility, whe. &c.)-What a blessing is the gospel to the world! By explicitly ther they were individuals or bodies of men, have erred in their decirevealing our duty as the coinmand of God, it lays us under that sions, as the Papists themselves have been obliged to acknowledge. strong obligation which arises from the consideration of the autho. 4. Which the unteachable. ) Au$sos, Indociles. So Estius rity of God, by assuring us that our souls do not perish at death, but translates the word.—

The unteachable are persons whose passione are preserved in the state of the dead by the power of Christ, it blind their understanding, and make them averse to truth. gives weight to all the motives offered in recommendation of a reli. 5. And unstable.)-The *s**Tot, unstable, are those whom St. gious life; and by giving us the assured hope of Christ's return from James calls sovxoi, men of two minds, chap. 1. 8. ; men who, hav. heaven to raise the dead, and to carry the righteous into the hea ing no real love of goodness, sometimes follow it, sometimes desert venly country, it gives those who firmly hope for these glorious it, as good or bad inclinations happen to predominale in them; events, an elevation of soul above all the pomp and boasted vanities whereas the stable are those who have a firmn attachment to truth of this life; it inspires them with fortitude to withstand the templa. and virtue, called, ver. 17. siery hou, establishment. Lions which arise, whether from the prospect, the possession, or the 6. Wreat. )- The original word, sexstir, signifies to put a per

as they do also the other scriptures, to their whereby the morals of men are corrupted, and so bring destruction own destruction.

upon themselves. See Chap. i. View, also Chap. ii. View. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, foreknowing! 17 Ye therefore, my beloved, foreknowing the coming of the Lord THESE THINGS, be on your guard,2 lest being to judgment, and that scoffers will ridicule the promise of his com. carried away with others (Taxvn, Eph. iv. 14.) ing, be on your guard, lest, being seduced with others by the deceit by the deceit of the lawless, ye fall from your of luwless teachers, ye fall from your own steadfastness in the faith own steadfastness.

and practice of the gospel. 18 But grow in grace, and in the know 18 But, instead of becoming unstable, grow ye in grace daily, and ledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. in the knowledge of the doctrine of our Lord and Saviour Jesus To him be glory both now and (w) unto the Christ. To him be glory ascribed by us his disciples, both now and day of eternity. Amen.2

until the day of eternity. Amen. son to the torture, to make bim confess some crime laid to his probable, that, instead of thinking ill of Paul, he now admired him charge, or reveal some secret which he knows. Applied to writ for his bold and steady maintaining of the truth. ings, it signifies, by far-fetched criticisms and unsupported senses Ver. 17.--1. Foreknowing these things, be on your guard. )--Here of words, to make a passage speak a meaning different from what St. Peter teaches, that one great purpose for which the prophets the author intended : Hence in our language we have the expres were inspired to forelell the corruptions which were to arise in the sion, to torture words. Of this vice they are most cominonly guilty, church, and the evils which were to be fall the sincere disciples of who, from pride of understanding, will receive nothing but what Christ, was to put them on their guard against these corruptions, they can explain; whereas the humble and teachable receive the and to arm them with fortitude to bear persecution. declarations of revelation according to their plain, grainmatical, un. 2. Be on your guari.]-The word Quixot!TIis a military term, constrained meaning, which it is their only care to attain by read. denoting the action of soldiers who keep guard in fortified towns or ing the scriptures frequently, and with attention.

castles. 7. As they also do the other scriptures. ]--Ilere Peter expressly Ver. 18.--1. Until the day of eternity. )-So the original, ros in peopxv acknowledges the divine inspiration by which Paul wrote all his wvos, literally signifies. Bengelius on this expression remarks, epistles; for, unless Paul was inspired, his writings could not have that it teaches us that eternity is a day without any night; a real been called scriptures by any inspired apostle. The affection with and perpetual day. which Peter, on this occasion, spake of Paul, and the honourable 2. Amen. See Eph. vi. 24. note 2. Benson remarks, that when testimony which he bare to his writings, deserves great praise. Ho this word is placed at the beginning of a sentence, it is an earnest had been formerly rebuked by Paul before the brethren at Antioch, asseveration. In the conclusion of a sentence it imports an earnest for refusing to keep company with the Gentile converts. But what wish that it may be so.-The doxology with which ihis epistle con. ever resentment he might have entertained of that affront at the cludes is evidently directed to Christ, as are some of the other beginning, he had long ago laid it aside ; and on cool reflection, it is do xologies in scripture.



John had not the advantage of a learned education ; Sect. I.-- The History of John the Apostle.

for we are told, Acts iv. 13. that the council perceived

Peter and John were unlearned men.' Nevertheless, Joan, the writer of this epistle and of the gospel which like the generality of the Jewish common people of that bears his name, was the son of Zebedee, a fisher, who had age, they may have been well acquainted with the scripa boat and nets and hired servants, Mark i. 20. and fol- tures, having often heard them read in the synagogues. lowed his occupation on the Sea of Galilee.-From Matt. And as, with the rest of their countrymen, they expected xxvii. 55. compared with Mark xv. 40. it appears that the the coming of the Messiah about that time, they jent a name of Zebedee's wife was Salome ; for, in the former willing ear to the Baptist, when he published that Mesof these passages, she is called “the mother of Zebedee's siah was actually come, though the people did not know children,' who in the latter is named Salome.- Zebedee him, John i. 26. Afterward, when the Baptist pointed had another son whose name was James, and who seems out Jesus to his disciples, ver. 29. as the lamb of God to have been elder than John. Both of them were fishers who taketh away the sin of the world,' he said to them, like their father, and assisted him in his business till they ver. 33. •I knew him not to be Messiah, but he who were called to follow Jesus.-- They seem all to have lived sent me to baptize with water, the same said to me, Upon in one family in the town of Bethsaida, which being whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remainsituated near the Sea of Galilee, was a convenient station ing on him, the same is he who baptizeth with the Holy for fishers.

Ghost. 34. And I saw and bare record, that this is the Because the mother of Zebedee's children is mentioned Son of God.' If the sons of Zebedee were of the numamong the women who followed Jesus from Galilee to the ber of those to whom John testified that Jesus was the last passover, ministering to him, as related Matt. xxvii. Son of God, we may believe they attached themselves 56. Lardner conjectures, that Zebedee was then dead, early to him, and were among those who are called his and that the two brothers lived in separate houses. For disciples, and to whom he manifested his glory at the when our Lord, upon the cross, recommended his mother marriage in Cana, by turning water into wine, John to John, it is said, John xix. 27. From that hour that ii. 11. disciple took her into his own home.' Perhaps John and After the miracle in Cana, the sons of Zebedeo seem his mother Salome lived together.—Theophylact was of to have followed their ordinary occupation, till Jesus opinion that John's mother was related to our Lord : and called them to attend on him constantly, as mentioned Lardner, whom I have generally followed in giving John's Matt. iv. For the evangelist having related the calling of history, supposes that that relation encouraged her to ask Peter and Andrew, adds, ver. 21. · And going on from the two chief places in Christ's kingdom for her sons; and thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebethat it was the occasion of our Lord's committing the care dee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their fa. of his mother to John. But there is no evidence in scrip. ther, mending their nets; and he called them, 22. And they ture of Zebedee's children being related to our Lord by immediately left the ship and their father, and followed their mother.

him ;' namely, when he went about all Galilee, teaching in


their synagogues, and preaching the good news of the Acts iv, 19. · Whether it be right in the sight of God to kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all man hearken unto you rather than unto God, judge ye. For ner of disease among the people.'

we cannot but speak the things which we have heard and Some time after this, Jesus chose twelve of his disciples seen.' to be with him always, that they might be eye and ear We are told, Acts viii. 14. that when the apostles who witnesses of all he did and said, and be qualified to testify were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the the same to the world ; and, in particular, qualified to word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, that they bear witness to his resurrection from the dead. These might receive the Holy Ghost.' It seems none could conchosen persons Jesus named apostles ; and the sons offer that gift but apostles. Zebedee being of that number, he surnamed them Boa From Gal. ii. 9. it appears that John was present at the nerges, or sons of thunder, to mark the courage with council of Jerusalem, which met A. D. 49 or 50 to dewhich they would afterwards preach him to the world, as termine the great question agitated in the church of AnChrist the Son of God. How well James fulfilled his tioch, namely, whether it was necessary to the salvation Master's prediction, may be known from his being put to of the believing Gentiles, that they should be circumdeath by Herod Agrippa, not long after our Lord's ascen cised.-And if, as is probable, John had his ordinary resion, on account of his boldly testifying the resurrection of sidence in Jerusalem till that time, he had his share in Jesus from the dead; so that he became the first martyr working the many signs and wonders, which are said to among the apostles. Cave, in his life of James, says, the have been done by the hands of the apostles, Acts ii. 43. sons of Zebedee had the simame of Boanerges given iv. 33. v. 12. them, on account of the impetuosity of their tempers. We are told, Rev. i. 9. that John was banished to the And it must be acknowledged, that they shewed too much Isle of Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testianger in their proposal to have the Samaritans destroyed mony of Jesus. In that island he was favoured with by fire from heaven, because they refused to receive Je the visions, which he hath recorded in his book of the sus, as he was going up to Jerusalem to worship: Luke Revelation. ix. 54. • Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come The foregoing particulars concerning John, are all down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah mentioned in the New Testament. The fathers in their did ?'

writings add, that John lived to a great age ; that he spent But although James and John shewed improper zeal on the latter part of his life mostly at Ephesus, the metrothe occasion mentioned, they were highly esteemed by polis of the province of Asia : that the Roman emperor their Master for their other good qualities; as appears Domitian banished him to Patmos about the year 95 ; from this, that of all the apostles, they only, with consequently after the destruction of Jerusalem. But were admitted by him to be the witnesses of the resurrec Grotius and Sir Isaac Newton place John's banishment tion of Jairus' daughter, and of our Lord's transfiguration, to Patmos, the former in the reign of Claudius, the latter and of his agony in the garden. John more especially in the reign of Nero; consequently before the destruc

so much beloved of Jesus, that he was called the tion of Jerusalem. And in support of their opinion they disciple whom he loved, His benevolent disposition John ollege some testimonies of later writers, together with manifested in this his first epistle, by the frequency other particulars. But Lardner, Can. vol. i. p. 359– and earnestness with which he recommended mutual love 377. hath shewed, that these things are insufficient for to the disciples of Christ. With benevolence, John establishing the early date of John's banishment. He joined great fortitude and constancy in his attachment to therefore adheres to the common opinion, that John was his Master. For he only of the twelve attended him banished to Patmos by Domitian's edict for persecuting during his crucifixion, and saw the blood and water issue the Christians, published in the latter part of his reign, from his side, when the soldier pierced it with a spear;

A. D, 95.

Domitian Jied September 18, A. p. 96, and and, I doubt not, was present when his body was laid in was succeeded by Nerva, in the first year of whose reign, the sepulchre, and saw the sepulchre closed with a stone, if not sooner, John being released, returned to Ephesus, He, with Peter, ran to the sepulchre, when Mary Mag- where, according to the ancients, he died in the third dalene brought word that the Lord's body was taken year of the emperor Trajan, answering to a. 1. 100. Or, away. He was present also when Jenis shewed him as Jerome expresses it, he died in the 68th year after our self to his apostles, on the evening of the day of his Lord's passion ; which was the third of Trajan. Whereresurrection ;' and on the eighth day thereafter. He, fore, if Lampe's opinion is well founded, that John was with his brother James, was present when Jesus shewed born in the same year with his Master, he must have been himself to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias; and to an hundred years old when he died. the five hundred on the mountain in Galilee, mentioned The time of John's leaving Judea is unknown. But as Matt. xxviii. 16. Moreover, he was present with the in Luke's history of Paul's travels John is not mentioned, rest of the apostles, when our Lord ascended into hea- and no salutation is sent to him in any of the episven from the mount of Olives. So thai, with the great- tles which Paul wrote from Rome to the churches of est propriety and truth, he could begin his first epistle Asia, not even in his epistles to the Ephesians, nor in the with saying, “That which was from the beginning, epistles which in the latter part of bis life he wrote to which we have heard, which we have seen, &c. we Timothy in Ephesus, it is reasonable to think that John declare unto you ;' referring to his gospel, in which was not at Ephesus while Paul was alive. I therefore he hath narrated the crucitixion, miracles, sutlerings, death, ain of their opinion who suppose, that John remained in and resurrection of the living Word; his appearances to Judea, from the time of the council of Jerusalem, till he his disciples after his resurrection; and, last of all, his saw Jerusalem encompassed with armies, and observed ascension into heaven. To conclude, John was one of the other signs of its approaching destruction foretold by the one hundred and twenty upon whom the Holy Ghost his Master: that he then fled into Asia, and coming at descended, on the day of Pentecost which immediately fol- length to Ephesus, he fixed his ordinary residence in that lowed our Lord's ascension.

city, and abode there till his death, as all the ancient After the effusion of the Holy Spirit, John displayed Christian writers testify. Because none of these writers the greatest boldness in maintaining his Master's cause, say our Lori's mother went with John into Asia, Cave, when with Peter he was brought before the council, and Basnage, and Lardner, conjecture that she died before John was strictly charged not to teach in the name of Jesus. left Judea. For, on that occasion, he made the noble answer recorded

« PreviousContinue »