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and his weakness, in his subsequent denial of Christ: for, were scattered through the countries mentioned in the though Peter followed him afar off to the high-priest's inscription; while Lord Barrington and Dr. Benson think palace, when all the other disciples forsnok him and fled, yet that it was written to proselytes of the gate; and Michaelis he thrice disowned him, each time under circumstances of is of opinion, that it was directed to the Jews, that is, to peculiar aggravation. It does not appear that Peter followed those native heathens in Pontus, &c. who were first proselytes Christ any further; probably remorse and shame prevented to Judaism, and then were converted to Christianity. But him from attending the crucifixion, as we find Saint John did. Estius, Whitby, Pott, Lardner, Macknight, and Bishop On the day of Christ's resurrection, after appearing to Mary Tomline, think that it was written to Christians in general, Magdalen and some other women, the next person to whom whether Jews or Gentiles, residing in the countries above he showed himself was Peter. On another occasion (John noticed. xxi.) our Lord afforded him an opportunity of thrice profess- In this diversity of opinion, the only rule of determination ng his love for him, and charged him to feed the flock of must be the inscription, together with such other circumChrist with fidelity and tenderness.
stances as may be collected from the apostolical history or After our Saviour's ascension, Peter took an active part in the Epistle itself. The inscription runs thus: Peter, an the affairs of the infant church. It was he who proposed apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout the election of a successor to the traitor Judas (Acts i. 15– Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. (1 Pet. i. 1.) 26.), and on the ensuing day of Pentecost he preached Christ That the persons here addressed were believing Jews, and so effectually, that three thousand souls were added to the not believing Gentiles, we apprehend will appear from the church. (Acts ii. 14—41.) We next find him, in company following considerations :with John, healing a lame man at gate of the temple, 1. We learn from Acts ii. 5. 9. that there were at the feast of which was followed by an address to the people, many of Pentecost, waiting at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every whom were convinced and embraced the Gospel. (Acts iii.) nation under heaven, dwellers in Judæa, Cappadocia, in PonHe was next imprisoned, brought before the sanhedrin, tus and Asia. Whence it is evident that there were Jews disthreatened and dismissed. (iv.) After the death of Ananias and Sapphira, whose fraud Peter detected and reprehended persed in those countries. (v.), Peter and John preached successively at Samaria (viii.); of the circumcision peculiarly committed to him. (Gal. ii. 8.). It
2. Peter, by agreement among the apostles, had the ministry and performed various miracles. (ix. x) During his apos, is, therefore, more probable that he wrote to Jews than to Gentolical travels in Judæa, Samaria, and Galilee, he converted
tiles. Cornelius the Roman centurion, the first Gentile convert who was admitted into the church without circumcision, or any
3. The persons to whom the apostle writes are termed Straninjunction to comply with the Mosaic observances (x.); and, gers, scattered, Ilupeidnpecs; which word properly denotes strangers on his return to Jerusalem, he satisfied the Jewish Christians from another country. Such were the Jews, who, through perthat God had granted repentance unto life to the Gentiles as secution in Judæa, tled into foreign countries; whereas believing well as to the Jews. (xi. 18.) Soon after this, being appre- Gentiles were rather called Proselytes. (Aets ii. 10.) hended by Herod Agrippa, A. D. 44, who designed to put
4. They are said to be redeemed from their vain conversation to death, Peter was miraculously delivered by an angel. (xii.) received by tradition from their fathers (1 Pet. i. 18.) : in which In the apostolic council held at Jerusalem, A. D. 49, Peter description the apostle plainly refers to the traditions of the Jewtook an active part, declaring his opinion most explicitly, ish rabbins and elders
. that the yoke of the ceremonial law ought not to be imposed 5. The persons to whom Peter writes are styled A chosen on the Gentiles (Acts xv. 7—11.). From this time Peter generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people is not mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, nor have we (1 Pet. ii. 9.), which are the praises of the Jewish people (Exod. any certain information respecting his subsequent labours. xix. 6.), and are in no respect applicable to the Gentiles. It appears, however, that he afterwards preached at Antioch On these grounds we conclude that this Epistle was (Gal. ii. 11.); and from his inscribing his first Epistle to the addressed to those dispersed Hebrew Christians, afflicted in Hebrew Christians dispersed in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, their dispersion, to whom the apostles James and Paul had Asia Minor, and Bithynia (1 Pet. i. 1, 2.), he is supposed to respectively addressed their Epistles. have preached in those countries. At length he arrived at IV. It appears from 1 Pet. v. 12, 13. that this Epistle was Rome, in the course of the year 63,2 subsequently to Paul's written from Babylon, and sent to the Jews by “ Silvanus, a departure from that city, during the reign of the emperor faithful brother;" but whether Babylon is to be understood Nero; and, after preaching the Gospel for some time, he was here, literally or mystically, as the city of the same name in crucified there with his head downwards. Clement of Mesopotamia or Egypt, or rather Rome, or Jerusalem, has Alexandria adds, from an ancient tradition current in his been long and warmly contested by the learned. Bishop time, that Peter's wife suffered martyrdom a short time before Pearson, Mill, and Le Clerc, are of opinion, that the apostle him. 3
speaks of Babylon in Egypt. Erasmus, Drusius, Beza, Dr II. The genuineness and canonical authority of the first Lightfoot, Basnage, Beausobre, Dr. Cave, Wetstein, Drs. Epistle of Peter have never been disputed. It appears to be Benson and A. Clarke, think that Peter intended Babylon in twice referred to by Clement of Rome;' it is twelve times Assyria; Michaelis, that it was Babylon in Mesopotamia, or distinctly quoted by Polycarp, and is once cited in the Epistle rather Seleucia on the Tigris. And Grotius, Drs. Whitby, of the churches of Vienna and Lyons. It was received by Lardner, Macknight, and Hales, Bishop Tomline and all the Theophilus bishop of Antioch, and quoted by Papias, Ire- learned of the Romish communion, are of opinion that by næus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian; and Eusebius Babylon Peter meant, figuratively, Rome, which eity is called informs us that it was universally acknowledged to be the Babylon by the apostle John. (Rev. xvii. xviii.) production of Saint Peter in the fourth century, since which From a careful examination of the evidence adduced for time its authenticity has never been questioned.
the literal meaning of the word Babylon, and of the evidence III. Concerning the persons to whom this Epistle was for its figurative or mystical application to Rome, we think sent, different opinions have prevailed; Beza, Grotius, Cave, that the latter was intended, and for the following reasons :Mill, Tillemont, Dr. Hales, Rosenmiller, Hug, and others,
1. This opinion is confirmed by the general testimony of antisuppose that it was addressed to the Jewish Christians who quity, which, Dr. Lardner remarks, is of no small weight. * Matt. xxvi. 69–75. Mark xiv. 66–72. Luke xxii. 54–62. John xviii. Papias bishop of Jerusalem, that Mark's Gospel was written at
Eusebius relates, on the authority of Clement of Alexandria and 15—18. 26, 27.
. We have seen (p. 325. supra) that Saint Paul quitted Rome in the early the request of Peter's hearers in Rome ; and that “ Peter makes part of A. D. 63, at which time it is evident that Saint Peter had not arrived mention of Mark in his first Epistle, which was written at Rome there ; for if these two eminent servants of Christ had met in that city, itself. And that he (Peter) signifies this, calling that city figuraPeter would have been mentioned by Saint Painel
words, The church which is at Babylon, 3 Lardner's Works, 8vo. vol. vi. pp. 509-561.; 4to. vol. ili. pp. 388-414. elected jointly with you, saluteth you. And so doth Murk my Saint Peter was ever at Rome; but the contrary opinion has been advo- son." This passage of Eusebius is transcribed by Jerome, who cated by Cave, Bishop Pearson, Le Clerc, Basnage, and particularly by adds positively, that “Peter mentions this Mark in his first Dr. Larừner, who has clearly shown that Peter
never was bishop of Rome. Epistle, figuratively denoting Rome by the name of Babylon; has been unanswerably refuted by Dr. Barrow in his Treatise on the the church which is at Babylon,” &c. Ecumenius, Bede, and Pope's Supremacy, forming vol. i. of the folio edition of his works. other fathers, also understand Rome by Babylon. It is generally
Lardner's Works, 8vo. vol. ii. p. 44. ; 4to. vol. i. p. 302. • Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. pp. 98, 99.; 4to. vol. i. pp. 331, 332.
thought that Peter and John gave to Rome the name of Babylon, * Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. p. 152. ; 4to. vol. i. p. 362. * Ibid. 8vo vol. vi. pp. 562, 563. ; 4to. vol. iii. p. 415.
• Ilist. Eccl. lib. ii. c. 13.
» De Viris Illust. c. 8. VOL. II.
figuratively to signify that it would resemble Babylon in its idol- Sect. 3. contains an exhortation to patience, submission, and atry, and in its opposition to and persecution of the church of to holiness of life, enforced, God; and that, like Babylon, it will be utterly destroyed. But i. By considering the example of Christ. (iii. 14—18.) these things the inspired writers did not think fit to say plainly ii. By reminding them how God punished the disobedient in the days of
Noah. (19-22.) concerning Rome, for a reason which every reader may under
iii. By reminding them of the example of Christ, and that by their stand.
conversion they became dead to the flesh. (iv. 1-6.) 2. From the total silence of ecclesiastical history, it is not pro
iv. By showing them the approaching destruction of the Jewish polity. bable that Peter ever visited Babylon in Chaldæa; and Babylon
v. By showing them that, under the Gospel, they should consider afflic. in Egypt was too small and insignificant to be the subject of con- tion as their portion, and as matter of joy. (12—19.) sideration.
Sect. 4. Directions to the ministers of the churches, and the 3. Silvanus or Silas, the bearer, was the faithful brother, or associate of Paul in most of the churches which he had planted. The Conclusion. (v. 12–14.)
people, how to behave towards each other. (v. 1-11.) And though he was not at Rome with the apostle when he wrote nis last Epistle to Timothy, he might naturally have come thither
VI. As the design of this Epistle is excellent, so its exsoon after; and have been sent by Paul and Peter jointly, to con- cellence, in the judgment of the best critics, does not fall firm the churches in Asia Minor, &c. which he had assisted in short of its design. Erasmus pronounces it to be worthy of planting. But Silvanus, Paul, and Peter had no connection the prince of the apostles, and adds that it is sparing in words, with Babylon, which lay beyond their district; and, therefore, they majestic; and Osterwald says that the first Epistle of Peter
but full of sense.' That great critic, Joseph Scaliger, calls it were not likely at any time to build upon another's foundation. is one of the finest books in the New Testament, that the The Gospel was preached in Persia or Parthia, by the apostle second is written with great strength and majesty, and that Thaddeus, or Jude, according to Cosmas; and Abulfaragi reck- both of them evidently show their divine origin. Every part, ons, that the ancient Syriac version of the New Testament was indeed, of Peter's writings indicates a mind that felt the made in his time, and probably by his authority, for the use of power of the doctrines he delivered, and a soul that glowed the Oriental churches.1
with the most ardent zeal for the spread of the Gospel. His 4. The Jews, to whom this Epistle was written, were fond of style expresses the noble vehemence and fervour of his spirit, mystical appellations, especially in their captivities: Edom was a his perfect knowledge of the Gospel, and his strong assurance frequent title for their Heathen oppressors ; and, as Babylon was of the truth and certainty of its doctrines. Little solicitous the principal scene of their first captivity, it was highly prohable about the choice or harmonious disposition of words, his that Rome, the principal scene of their second, and which so thoughts and his heart were absorbed with the grand truths strongly resembled the former in her * abominations, her idola- which he was divinely commissioned to proclaim, and the tries, and persecutions of the saints," should be denominated by indispensable obligation of Christians to adorn their profesthe same title. And this argument is corroborated by the similar sion by a holy life. Hence, in his first Epistle, he writes usage of the Apocalypse, where the mystical application is un- with such energy and rapidity of style, that we can scarcely questionable. (Rev. xiv. 8. xvi. 19. xviii. 2., &c.) It is highly perceive the pauses of his discourse, or the distinction of his probable, indeed, that John borrowed it from Peter; or rather that periods. And in his second Epistle he exposes with holy inboth derived it, by inspiration, from the prophecy of Isaiah. dignation and vehemence the abandoned principles and prac(xxi. 9.)
tices of those false teachers and false prophets, who in those 5. The second Epistle is generally agreed to have been writ- early times sprang up in the Christian church, and dissemien shortly before Peter's death ; but a journey from Babylon to nated their pernicious tenets with so much art and cunning. Rome (where he unquestionably suffered) must have employed His prophetic description of the general conflagration, and of a long time, even by the shortest route that could be taken. And the end of all terrestrial things (2 Pet. iii. 8–12.), is very Peter must have passed through Pontus, &c. in his way to Rome, awful. We see the planetary heavens, and this our earth, and therefore it would have been unnecessary for him to write enveloped in the devouring flames: we hear the groans ofanexWriting from Rome, indeed, the case was different, as he never piring world, and the crash of nature tumbling into universal expected to see them more.
ruin. How solemn and affecting is this practical inference! As Peter suffered martyrdom at Rome, a. p. 64 or 65, and dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy
(2 Pet. iii. 11.) “ Seeing then that all these things shall be we have no evidence that he arrived there before the year 63, conversation and godliness. The meanest soul and lowest we are warranted in dating this Epistle in A. D. 61.
V. It appears from the Epistle itself that it was written imagination cannot think of that time, and the awful deduring a period of general calamity, when the Hebrew Chris- scription of it which we meet with in this place, and in tians were exposed to severe persecutions. The design of several other passages of Holy. Writ
, without the greatest this Epistle, therefore, is partly to support them under their
emotion and the deepest impressions.3 afflictions and trials, and also to instruct them how to behave under persecution. It likewise appears from the history of that time, that the Jews were uneasy under the Roman yoke, and that the destruction of their polity was approaching. On
SECTION IV. this account the Christians are exhorted to honour the emperor (Nero), and the presidents whom he sent into the provinces, and to avoid all grounds of being suspected of sedition or other crimes that would violate the peace and welfare of 1. Its genuineness and canonical authority. — II. Date. – society.-And, finally, as their character and conduct were
III. Scope and synopsis of its contents. liable to be aspersed and misrepresented by their enemies, they are exhorted to lead a holy life, that they might stop the
I. Some doubts were entertained by the primitive churches mouths of their enemies, put their calumniators to shame, respecting the authenticity of this Epistle, which has been and win others over to their religion, by their holy and Chris- received as the genuine production of Peter ever since the tian conversation.
fourth century, except by the Syrian church, in which it is The Epistle may be conveniently divided into four sec- read as an excellent book, though not of canonical authority. tions, exclusive of the introduction and conclusion.
We have, however, the most satisfactory evidence of its geThe Introduction. (i. 1, 2.)
nuineness and authenticity. Clement of Rome has three
allusions to the second chapter, and one to the third chapter Sect. 1. contains an exhortation of the Jewish Christians to of this Epistle; and it is twice referred to by Hermas, once
persevere steadfastly in the faith with all patience and cheer- by Justin Martyr, and also by Athenagoras. Although this fulness, and to maintain a holy conversation, notwithstand- Epistle does not appear to be cited by any writer of the third ing all their sufferings and persecutions. This is enforced by the consideration of the peculiar blessings and privileges 2 Nouv. Test. pp. 276. 281. edit. Neufchatel, 1772. folio. which were freely bestowed upon them. (i. 3—25. ii. 1-10.) Test. pp. 179–89. Macknight's Preface to 1 Peter. Benson's History of
3 Blackwall's Sacred Classics, vol. i. pp. 302-304. Pritii, Introd. ad Nov Sect. 2. comprises an exhortation,
Saint Peter and his First Epistle, pp. 137–159. Lardner's Works, 8vo. vol i. To a holy conversation in general. (ii. 11, 12.)
vi. pp. 562–583. ; 4to. vol. iii. pp. 414-425. Dr. Hales's Analysis, vol. ii. ii. To a particular discharge of their several duties, as
book ii. pp. 1144-1147. Michaelis, vol. iv. pp. 315–346. See also Hug's Dutiful subjects to their sovereign. (13-15.)
Introduction, vol. ii. pp. 584–599. Servants to their masters. (16-25.)
* Lardner's Works, 8vo. vol. ii. p. 45.; 4to. vol. i. p. 302. Husbands to their wives. (iii. 1–13.)
• Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. p. 61. ; 4to. vol. I. p. 311.
6 Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. p. 126.; 4to. vol. 1. p. 347. Lardner, 8vo. vol. v. p. 272. ; 4to. vol. iii. p. 55. Michaelis, vol. ii. p. 30. 1 Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. p. 186. ; 4to. vol. i. p. 381.
ON THE SECOND GENERAL EPISTLE OF PETER.
century,' yet in the fourth and following centuries it was be drawn from this circumstance; for the subject of that acknowledged by Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, the coun- chapter is different from the rest of Peter's writings, and cil of Laodicea, Epiphanius, Jerome, Rufinus, Augustine, nothing is so well known as that different subjects suggest and all subsequent writers. "Eusebius? places it among the different styles. Further, when a person expresses his own Aytasg cues 21 Tp2021, or books whose canonical authority was sentiments, he writes in his own proper style, whatever that doubted by some, though mentioned and approved by most of may be; but when he translates from another, he naturally the ancients, but he plainly distinguishes it from such as were follows the genius of the original, and adopts the figures and confessedly spurious. He also relates, from the tradition of metaphors of the author before him. Peter, when describ his predecessors, that, though it was not acknowledged as part ing the character of some flagitious impostors, feels an inof the New Testament, yet, because to many it seemed use- dignation which he cannot suppress: it breaks out, therefore, ful, it was diligently read together with the other Scriptures. in the bold and animated figures of some ancient Hebrew On this statement of Eusebius, Le Clerc forcibly remarks, writer, who had left behind him a description of the false that if it had not been Peter's it would not have seemed use- prophets of his own, or, perhaps, of earlier times.6 ful to any man of tolerable prudence, seeing the writer in To these considerations we may add, that, being written a many places pretends to be beter himself; for it would be short time before the apostle's mariyrdom, and not having been noxious on account of its being a forgery, as well as unpardon- so publicly avowed by him, and clearly known to be his, the able in any man to forge another man's name, or pretend to scrupulous caution of the church hesitated about admitting it be the person he is not. After a diligent comparison of the into the sacred canon, until internal evidence convinced the first Epistle with that which is ascribed to Peter as the most competent judges that it was fully entitled to that high second, Michaelis pronounces the agreement between them to distinction. And since this Epistle, having passed through be such, that, if the second was not written by Peter, as well so severe and accurate a scrutiny, was received as genuine by as the first, the person who forged it not only possessed the those who were in those early times most capable of deciding, power of imitation in a very unusual degree, but understood and who have given sufficient evidence of their care and capalikewise the design of the first Epistle, with which the an- city for judging of its authenticity,—and since it has been transcients do not appear to have been acquainted. Now, if this mitted to us in every manuscript and ancient version (the be true, the supposition that the second Epistle was not Syriac excepted);--we have every satisfactory external proof written by Peter himself involves a contradiction. Nor is it that the second Épistle of Peter is the undoubted production credible, that a pious impostor of the first or second century of that holy and zealous apostle. Let us now briefly consider should have imitated Peter so successfully as to betray no the internal evidence for its authenticity. marks of a forgery; for the spurious productions of those
1. The writer styles himself 'Symeon Peter (i. 1. Gr.); from ages, which were sent into the world under the name of the which circumstance we conclude that this Epistle was written apostles, are for the most part very unhappy imitations, and by the apostle Peter. Should it be objected that the apostle's discover evident marks that they were not written by the name was Simon, not Simeon, Dr. Macknight replies, that though persons to whom they were ascribed. Other productions of his name was commonly written Simon in Greek, yet its Hebrew this kind betray their origin by the poverty of their materials, form was Simeon; and so it is written in the Old Testament or by the circumstance, that, instead of containing original history of Jacob's sons, and so Peter is expressly termed in Acts thoughts, they are nothing more than a rhapsody of senti- xv. 14. (Gr.) It has further been objected, that in the first ments collected from various parts of the Bible, and put gether without plan or order. This charge cannot possibly be Epistle, which is unquestionably genuine, he has styled himself said to the second Epistle of Peter, which is so far from con
simply Peter, and not Simon Peter. But it is worthy of obsertaining materials derived from other parts of the Bible, that xation, that Saint Luke has called this apostle Simon Peter, and the third chapter exhibits the discussion of a totally new sub- that Saint John has given him that name not less than seventeen ject. Its resemblance to the Epistle of Jude will be hardly times in his Gospel, -perhaps (Dr. Macknight thinks) to show urged as an argument against it; for there can be no doubt, that he was the author of the Epistle which begins with Symeon that the second Epistle of Peter was, in respect to the Epis-Peter, a servant and an apostle
, &c. The same eminent critic tle of Jude, the original and not the copy. Lastly, it is ex- is further of opinion, that though Peter's surname only is mentremely difficult, even for a man of the greatest
talents, to forge tioned in the inscription of the first letter, because he was suffia writing in the name of another, without sometimes insert- ciently known by it, yet he might, for the greater dignity, insert ing what the pretended author either would not or could not his name complete in the second Epistle, because he intended have said ; and to support the imposture in so complete a authoritatively to rebuke the false teachers who had already arisen, manner, as not to militate, in a single instance, either against or might thereafter arise. Since, therefore, Symeon Peter is the his character, or against the age in which he lived. Now in same as Simon Peter, no objection can be raised against the the second Epistle of Peter, though it has been a subject of authenticity of this Epistle on account
of the name ; neither does examination full seventeen hundred years, nothing has hither- it afford any countenance to the opinion of Grotius, that this to been discovered which is unsuitable either to the apostle Epistle was written by Simeon bishop of Jerusalem, who sucor to the apostolic age. We have no reason, therefore to cecxled James the Lord's brother,-an opinion that is not only believe that the second Epistle of Peter is spurious, especially destitute of all authority from antiquity, but is also inconsistent as it is difficult to comprehend what motíve could have in- with the whole tenor of the Epistle itself. duced a Christian, whether orthodox or heretic, to attempt the 2. There are several incidental allusions to particular circumfabrication of such an Epistle, and then falsely ascribe it to stances in this Epistle which answer to no other person but Peter.5
Peter. Thus, the writer of it testifies that he must shortly put Various reasons, indeed, have been assigned, why this off his tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus had shown him. Epistle was not earlier acknowledged as the writing of Peter. (2 Pet. i. 14.) Now Christ foretold or showed this to none of Jerome informs us that the difference of style between this his apostles besides Peter. (John xxi. 19.) Again, the writer and the former Epistle was in his day the principal cause of of this Epistle was with Christ upon the mount at his transfiguits authenticity, being disputed; and the same objection has ration, beheld his majesty, and heard the voice of the Father, been adopted by Salmasius and other modern writers. But from heaven, when he was with Christ, on the holy mount. (2 this remarkable difference in style is confined to the second Pet. i. 16—18.) Now there were only three of Christ's apostles chapter of the second Epistle. No objection, however, can permitted to witness this transfiguration (Matt. xvii. 1, 2.), viz.
· The second Epistle of Peter was first placed among the disputed Peter, James, and John. The Epistle in question, therefore, must writings of the New Testament by Origen. (Euseb. Eccl. Hist. lib. vi. c. 2.) be written by one of them, and, consequently, must be of aposof Peter did not become known so early as the first, some churches, tolical authority; but as it never was ascribed to James or John, which had for a length of time been accustomed to read only one Epistle nor is there any reason for attributing it to them, it follows that of Peter, might hesitate to receive another. Suspicion might also have this Epistle is the production of Peter.—Once more the author brought from Asia Minor, the abode of the Montanists, who were accused of it calls this his second Epistle (iii. 1.) and intimates that he of a disposition to fabricate new writings. (Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. lib. vi. c. wrote both his letters to the same persons, viz. the believing 20.) More especially may this have been the case, as the passage, 2 Pet. ii. 20., could be urged in vindication of the rigour of the Montanistic disci. & Such is the opinion of Bishop Sherlock, which has been generally pline: or, the departure of the Christians in Asia Minor from the cus adopted. Bishop Tomline, however, deems this conjecture very improbatomary mode of celebrating the Easter solemnities, may have produced in ble, and accounts for the difference of style in the second chapter of this the Eastern and Western Christians an indisposition to receive this book. Epistle, by supposing that the apostle's pen
was guided by a higher degree Schmucker's Biblical Theology, vol. i. p. 122., where various writers are of inspiration than when writing in a didactic manner, and that he wrote enumerated who have vindicated the genuineness of this Epistle. with the animation and energy of the prophetic style; but he does not
Ibid. lib. iii. c. 3. think that there is any thing, either in phrase or sentiment, which is • Clerici, Hist. Eccl. p. 442. note.
inconsistent with the acknowledged writings of Saint Peine. Elements of Michaelis, vol. iv. p. 350.
Christian Theology, vol. I. p. 490.
- Hist. Eccl. lib. iii. c. 25.
Hebrews. Compare 1 Pet. i. 1. and 2 Pet. i. 1. with 2 Pet. iii. Sect. 2. And repeats the sum of the Epistle. (iii. 17, 18.) 1, 2. Consequently, as the authenticity of the first Epistle was On account of the similarity of style and subject between never disputed, the second was unquestionably written by the the second chapter of this epistle and that of Jude, Dr. Bensame person, viz. Peter.
son and Michaelis place the latter immediately after the second 3. Whoever wrote this Epistle calls Paul his beloved brother Epistle of Peter." (iii. 15, 16.), commends him, and approves the authority of his Epistles, which none but an apostle could venture to affirm.
4. A holy and apostolical spirit breathes throughout the whole of this Epistle ; in which we find predictions of things to come,
SECTION V. and admonitions against false teachers and apostasy, together with exhortations to a godly life, and condemnations of sin, de
ON THE FIRST GENERAL EPISTLE OF JOHN. livered with an earnestness and feeling which show the author to have been incapable of imposing a forged writing upon the I. Genuineness and canonical authority.—II. Date.—III. Of world : and that his sole design in this Epistle was to promote
the persons to whom this Epistle was written.-IV. Its the interests of truth and virtue in the world.
occasion and scope.- Account of the false teachers whose 5. Lastly, the style is the same in both Epistles. The sen
principles are refuted by the apostle.--V. Synopsis of its tences in the second Epistle are seldom fluent and well rounded,
contents.-VI. The question concerning the authenticity of but they have the same extension as those in the first. There
the disputed clause in 1 John v. 7, 8. considered. are also repetitions of the same words, and allusions to the same I. ALTHOUGH no name is prefixed to this book, its authentievents. Thus the word aruspoon, conversation or behaviour, city as a genuine production of the apostle John is unqueswhich is so peculiar to the first Epistle,2 likewise occurs in the tionable. It was almost universally received as his composecond, though less frequently than in the former. So the deluge, sition in the Eastern and Western churches, and appears to be which is not a common subject in the apostolical Epistles, is alluded to by Hermas. It is distinctly cited by Polycarp, mentioned in 1 Pet. iii. 20., and also in 2 Pet. ii. 5.; and in both and in the Epistle of the churches of Vienne and Lyons, places the circumstance is noted, that eight persons only were and is declared to be genuine by Papias, Irenæus,9 Clement saved, though in neither place does the subject require that the of Alexandria,!! Tertullian, Origen,!2 Cyprian, Eusebius, number should be particularly specified. Michaelis observes that Athanasius, and all subsequent ecclesiastical writers.13 A still Peter was not the only apostle who knew how many persons more decisive testimony is the fact that it is found in the were saved in the ark; but he only, who by habit had acquired a Syriac version of the New Testament, executed at the close familiarity with the subject, would ascertain the precise number, of the first or very early in the second century, and which where his argument did not depend upon it.
contains only those books of the New Testament, respecting
whose authenticity no doubts were ever entertained. But, The result
of all these evidences, both external and internal, besides this external proof, we have the strongest internal 18, that the second Epistle of Peter is unquestionably the evidence that this Epistle was written by the apostle John, production
of that apostle, and claims to be received and stu- in the very close analogy of its sentiments and expressions died with the same devout care and attention as the rest of to those of his Gospel.it. There is also a remarkable pecuthe inspired writings of the New Testament. 11. That Peter was old and near his death, when he wrote Episile. His sentences, considered separately, are exceed
liarity in the style of this apostle, and particularly in this this Epistle, is evident from ch. i. 14.; and that it was written ingly clear and intelligible; but, when we search for their soon after the first Epistle, appears from the apology,he connexion, we frequently meet with greater difficulties than makes (i. 13. 15.) for writing this second Epistle to the He- we experience even in the Epistles of Paul. Artless simplibrew Christians.' Dr. Lardner thinks it not unlikely that, city and benevolence, blended with singular modesty and soon after the apostle had sent away Silvanus with his first candour, together with a wonderful sublimity of sentiment, letter to the Christians in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia are the characteristics of this Epistle; in which John appears Minor, and Bithynia, some persons came from those countries to have delivered his conceptions as they arose in his mind, to Rome (whither there was a frequent and general resort and in the form of aphorisms, in order that they might profrom all parts), who brought him information concerning the duce the greater effect. In his Gospel John does not content state of religion among them. These accounts induced him himself with simply affirming
or denying a thing, but denies to write a second time, most probably at the beginning of its contrary to strengthen his affirmation ; and in like manner, A. D. 65, in order to establish in the faith the Christians among to strengthen his denial of a thing, he afirms its contrary: whom he had laboured.
See John i. 20. iii. 36. v. 24. vi. 22. The same manner of III. The scope of this Epistle is to confirm the doctrines expressing things strongly occurs in this Epistle. See ii. 4, and instructions delivered in the former; to establish the 27. and iv. 2, 3. In his Gospel also, Saint John frequently Hebrew Christians in the truth and profession of the Gospel; uses the pronoun or ciros
, avin, tcuto, this, in order to express to caution them against false teachers, whose tenets and prac, things emphatically. See i. 19. iii. 19. vi. 29. 40. 50. and tices he largely describes; and to warn them to disregard xvii. 3. In the Epistle the same emphatical mode of exthose profane scoffers, who made or should make a mock of Christ's coming to judgment; which having asserted and pression obtains. Compare i. 5. ii. 25. iii. 23. v. 3. 4. 6.
and 14.15 described, he exhorts them to prepare for that event by a holy and unblameable conversation. The Epistle consists of three siderable diversity of opinion. Drs. Benson, Hales, and
II. With regard to the date of this Epistle, there is a conparts; viz.
others, place it in the year 68; Bishop Tomline in 69; Part I. The Introduction. (i. 1, 2.)
Lampe, after the first Jewish war, and before the apostle's PART II. Having stated the Blessings to which God had called exile in Patmos; Dr. Lardner, A. D. 80, or even later ; Mill them, the Apostle,
and Le Clerc, in A. d. 91 or 92; Beausobre. L'Enfant, and Sect. 1. Exhorts the Christians, who had received these pre- Du Pin, at the end of the first century; and Grotius, Ham
cious gifts, lo endeavour to improve in the most substantial mond, Whitby, Michaelis, and Macknight, place it before the graces and virtues. (i. 3—11.)
destruction of Jerusalem, but without specifying the precise SECT. 2. To this he incites them,
year. The most probable of these various opinions is that i From the firmness of true teachers. (i. 12-21.)
which assigns an early date to this Epistle, viz, before the 4. Froin the wickedness of false teachers, whose tenets and practices he exposes, and predicts the divine judginents against then. (ii.)
• Pritii Introd. ad Lect. Nov. Test. pp. 90-99. Moldenhawer, Introd. ad
Libros Biblicos, pp. 352–355. Heidegger, Enchirid Bibl. pp. 624–628. Ben. Sect. 3. He guards them against scoffers and impostors, who, son on the Catholie Epistles, pp. 321-329. Lardner's Works, 8vo. vol. vi. he foretells, would ridicule their expectation of Christ's pp. 562-583. ; 4to. vol. iii. pp. 414—425. Macknight's Preface to 2 Peter.
Michaelis, vol. iv. pp. 346-313. coming :
* Lardner's Works, 8vo. vol. ii. p. 61. ; 4!0. vol. i. p. 311. 1. By confuting their false assertions. (iii. 1-7.)
6 Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. p. 99. ; 4to. vol. i. p. 332. ji. By showing the reason why that great day was delayed; and de. * Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. p. 152. ; 4to. vol. i. p. 362. scribing its circumstances and consequences, adding suitable exhorta
8 Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. pp. 108. 109. 113.; 410. vol. i. pp. 337. 340. tions and encouragements to diligence and holiness. (iii. 8–14.)
9 Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. p. 168. ; 4to. vol. i.
10 Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. p. 227. ; 4to. vol. 1. p. 403. Part III. The Conclusion, in which the Apostle,
11 Ibid. Avo. vol. ii. p. 275. 1 4to, vol. i. Sect. 1. Declares the agreement of his doctrine with that of
12 Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. p. 481. ; 4to. vol. I. p. 540.
13 Ibid. 8vo. vol. vi. p. 581, 585. ; 4to. vol. iii. pp. 525, 526. Saint Paul. (üi. 15, 16.)
14 See several instances of this analogy, supra, Vol. I. pp. 51, 52. notes.
15 Lampe, Commentarius in Evangelium Johannis, tom. i. Prolegomena, See the observations on Saint Peter's style, p.
p. 104. "Macknight's Preface to 1 John, sect. 2. Langii, Hermeneutica See 1 Pet. I. 15. 18. ii. 12. iii, 1, 2. 10.
Sacra, pars ii. De Interpretatione Epistolarum Johannis, pp. 167–175.
32 Pet. ii. 7. iii. 11.
destruction of Jerusalem and the subversion of the Jewish | Parthians, because the apostle is reported to have preached polity. For,
the Gospel to that people; but this opinion is entirely unsup1. In the first place, The expression in ii. 18., It is the last ported by the evidence of antiquity.' Dr. Benson thinks that hour, is more applicable to the last hour or time of the duration the Epistle was addressed to the Jewish Christians in Judæa of the Jewish state than to any later period, especially as the and Galilee. But the most probable opinion is that of apostle adds—And as ye have heard that Antichrist is coming, Bishop Tomline, and others
, who think it was written for the
Ecumenius, Lampe, Dupin, Lardner, Michaelis, Macknight, know that it is the last hour : in which passage the apostle use of Christians of every denomination and of every country. evidently allades to our Lord's prediction concerning the spring- For
, 1. It has always been called
a catholic or general Epistle; ing up of false Christs, false teachers, and false prophets, before –2. It does not contain any words of limitation that can the destruction of Jerusalem. (Matt. xxiv. 5—25.) Some critics, John ii. 15. would be unnecessary to believers in Judæa, A. D.
restrict it to a particular people;—3. The admonition in 1 however, contend that the " last time” may allude, not to the 68, after the war had commenced with the Romans; it is aestruction of that city, but to the close of the apostolic age. rather suited to people in easy circumstances, and who were But Michaelis confirms the propriety of this argument for the in danger of being ensnared by the allurements of prosperity; early date of this Epistle
, by observing that John's Gospel was -4. Lastly, the concluding exhortation to believers to keep opposed to heretics, who maintained the same opinions as are themselves from idols” is in no respect suitable to believers opposed in this Epistle; which tenets he has confuted by argu- in Judæa, but is much more likely to be addressed to Chrisment in his Gospel, whereas in the Epistle he expresses only tians living in other parts of the world, where idolatry prehis disapprobation. Michaelis, therefore, concludes, that the vailed. Epistle was written before the Gospel ; because if Saint John IV. This book is usually entitled The General Epistle of had already given a complete confutation when he wrote this St. John. “But in the composition of it, narrowly inspected, Epistle, he would have thought it unnecessary to have again nothing is to be found in the epistolary form. It is not declared the falsehood of such opinions.
inscribed either to any individual, like Paul's to Timothy and 2. Secondly, the expression (ii. 13, 14.), Ye have known him Titus, or the second of the two which follow it, To the from the beginning, applies better to the disciples, immediately well-beloved Gaius'-nor to any particular church, like before Jerusalem was destroyed, than to the few who might have Paul's to the churches of Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, and been alive at the late date which some critics assign to this others—nor to the faithful of any particular region, like Epistle. In the verses just cited, the fathers or elders are twice Peter's first Epistle • To the strangers scattered throughou distinguished from the young men” and the children,” by Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia’-nor to this circumstance, that they had seen him during his ministry, or any principal branch of the Christian church, like Paul's to after his resurrection. Thirty-five years after our Lord's resurrec- the Hebrews-nor to the Christian church in general, like tion and ascension, when Jerusalem was destroyed, many such the second of Peter, “ To them that had obtained like prepersons might have been alive; whereas in 98, or even in 92, there cious faith with him,' and like Jude's, •To them that are could not have been many persons alive of that description. sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ,
To these two arguments for the early date of John's first and called. It bears no such inscription: it begins without Epistle, Dr. Hales has added the three following, which have salutation, and ends without
benediction. It is true, the not been noticed by any other biblical critic:
writer sometimes speaks, but without naming himself, in the 1. As the other apostles, James, Jude, Paul, and Peter, had in the second. But this colloquial style is very common in
first person—and addresses his reader without naming him, written Catholic Epistles to the Hebrew Christians especially, it all writings of a plain familiar cast instances of it occur is likely, that one of the principal “ pillars of the church," the in John's Gospel; and it is by no means a distinguishing greatest surety of the mother-church, the most highly gifted and character of epistolary composition. It should seem that illuminated of all the apostles of the circumcision, and the this book hath for no other reason acquired the title of an beloved disciple, would not be deficient likewise in this labour epistle, but that in the first formation of the canon of the of love. ·
New Testament it was put into the same volume with the 2. Nothing could tend so strongly to establish the faith of the didactic writings of the apostles, which, with this single early Jewish converts as the remarkable circumstances of our exception, are all in the epistolary form. It is, indeed, a Lord's crucifixion, exhibiting the accomplishment of the ancient didactic discourse upon the principles of Christianity, both in types and prophecies of the Old Testament respecting Christ's doctrine and practice: and whether we consider the sublipassion, or sufferings in the flesh. These John alone could record, mity of its opening with the fundamental topics of God's as he was the only eye-witness of that last solemn scene among perfections, man's depravity, and Christ's propitiation-the the apostles. To these, therefore
, he alludes in the exordium as perspicuity with which it propounds the deepest mysteries well as to the circumstances of our Lord's appearances after the of our holy faith, and the evidence of the proof which it resurrection; and to these he again recalls their attention in that brings to confirm them; whether we consider the sanctity remarkable reference to the water" at his baptism, to“ the water of its precepts, and the energy of argument with which they and blood” at his passion, and to the dismissal of “his spirit” are persuaded and enforced—the dignified simplicity of lanwhen he commended it to his father, and expired. (v. 5—9.) guage in which both doctrine- and precept are delivered;
3. The parallel testimony in the Gospel (John xix. 35–37.) whether we regard the importance of the matter, the propribears witness also to the priority of the Epistle, in the expression, ety of the style, or the general spirit of ardent piety and • He that saw hath testifiedl" (usurp tupune), intimating that he warm benevolence, united with a fervid zeal, which breathes had delivered this testimony to the world already ; for if now, throughout the whole composition-we shall find it in every for the first time, it should rather be expressed by the present respect worthy of the holy author to whom the constant tra tense, u'lytupel,“ testifieth.” And this is strongly confirmed by dition of the church ascribes it, the disciple whom Jesus the apostle's same expression, after giving his evidence in the
loved.?.?2 Epistle, “ this is the testimony of God, which he hath testified
The design of this treatise is, (uipe aptupnes) concerning his Son” (ver. 9.), referring to the past wrote against erroneous and licentious tenets, principles, and
First, to refute, and to guard the Christians to whom he transaction, as fulfilling prophecy.'
practices; such as the denial of the real Deity and proper We conclude, therefore, that Saint John wrote his first humanity of Christ, of the reality and efficacy of his sufEpistle in 68, or at the latest in 69; though it is impossible ferings and death as an atoning sacrifice, and the assertion, to ascertain from what place he sent it, whether from Patmos, that believers being saved by grace, were not required to obey as Grotius supposes, or from some city in Judæa, as Dr. the commandments of God. These principles began to Macknight supposes, or from Ephesus, as Irenæus and Euse-appear in the church of Christ even in the apostolic age, and bius relate from ancient tradition, which has been generally were afterwards maintained by the Cerinthians, and other received. III. It is still more difficult to decide concerning the persons second century of the Christian æra.
heretics who sprang up at the close of the first and in the to whom this Epistle was written. Augustine, Cassiodorus, and the venerable Bede, called it the Epistle of John to the
Secondly, To stir up all who profess to know God, to have
2 Bishop Horsley's Sermons, pp. 114, 145. 2d edit. · Lardner's Works, 8vo. vol. vi. pp. 587–589.; 4to. vol. iii. pp. 426-428. 3 The late Dr. Randolph las admirably illustrated those parts of the Lainpe, toin. I. p. 105. Pritius, p. 106. Benson's Paraphrase on the Catholic present Epistle which assert the Deity of Christ, in his Prælectio xiii. vcl Fpisiles, pp. 505-510. Macknight's Preface to 1 John, sect. 4. Pritii, Introd. li. pp. 512_523. of his View of our Saviour's Ministry. in Nov. Test. pp. 99-108. Hales's Sacred Chronology, vol. iii. p. 452. For an ample account of the tenets of the Cerinthians, see p. 316 l second edition
the present volume.