« הקודםהמשך »
18 my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased*. And this voice,
which came down from heaven, we heard, when we were with 19 him in the holy mount. And we have a surer prophetical wordt,
to which ye do well to take lieed, as to a lamp shining in a dark
place, till the day-dawn and the morning-star arise in your hearts. 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private im. 21 pulse. For prophecy was not brought of old by the wiil of man,
but holy men of God spake as they were borne on by the Holy Spirit.
REFLECTIONS. May that uncertainty, that frailty and brevity of human life, which The ministers of Christ are frequently inculcating upon others, be seriously considered by themselves. Let them remember, that they must quickly put off this tabernacle, and be dismissed from their present state of service; and while they have opportunity therefore, lct them stir up the minds of the people committed to their charge by quay of remembrance, and give diligence to make such impressions upon their hearts, that when they themselves are laid down in the silence of the grave, and sleeping among the cłods of the valley, by the recollection and improvement of the lessons they taught, suivivors may be quickened in their preparation to quit their dissolving tabernacles likewise, and to follow their pious leaders into the joy of their Lord. It must undoubtedly yield us an inconceivable satisfaction as Christians, that we have not followed cunningly devised fables ; that the persons on whose testimony we rely as an authentic evidence to the truth of our holy religion, were eye-witnesses of the illustrious faots on which it is founded : and particularly, that important oracle, the voice from heaven (by which the true and living God declared Jesus of Nazareth to be his well-beloved Son, and recommended him to the obedient regard of all who reverence his own authority) was, on the mount of transfiguration, distinctly heard by Peter, James, and John; who at the same time were eye-witnesse8 of his glory. Yet are we bound to acknowledge the divine oracles of the Old Testament and the numerous and various prophecies, they contain, to be to us a superior, a more sure and incontestible evidence : let us therefore take heed to it, as a glorious light to our feet, and lamp to our paths. And let what is particularly said of the ancient prophets recommend to our regard the whole sacred volume ; namely, that it was not written by private impulse, but by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Let us receive it with the profoundest humility, not as the word of man, but as it is indeed and in truth the word of God, which is able to make us wise unto. salvation ; and let us follow its sacred illumination, till at length it conduct us to the dawning of an eternal day, and to the rising of that bright and morning-star, which will shine out hereafter with the full glory of the Sun of righteousne88.
* “ I acquiesce.” D. Matt. xvii. 5. 4 " And so we have the prophetic word more firm." i.e. the prophecies of scripture are hereby confirmed. M.
Cautions against false teachers : the judgments executed on fallen angels and
wicked men: the deliverance of Noah and Lot ; which should terrify the ungodly, and comfort the hearts of good men. Ch. ii. 1—9.
D UT as there were true, 80 there were also false prophets
D among the people ; as there shall also be among you false teachers, who will privately introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them ; bringing upon themselves % swift destruction. And many will persist to follow their pernicious
courses, by means of whom the way of truth will be blasphe3 med. And they by covetousness, with deceitful words, will make
merchandise of you ; whose judgment for a long time delayeth 4. not, and their destruction doth not slumber. For if God did not
spare the angels that sinned, but having cast them down to hell,
delivered them to be reserved in chains of darkness to judgment ; 5 and spared not the old world but r kept, besides seven others, No
ah, the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, when he (6 brought the deluge upon the world of the ungodly : and condem
ned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha with destruction, redu
cing them to ashes, setting them an example to those who should 7 afterwards be ungodly ; and rescued righteous Lot, grieved by 8 the lascivious conversation of these lawless men : (for that right
eous man, while he dwelt among them seeing and hearing from
day to day, tormented his upright soul by those unlawful works :) 9 the Lord knoweth how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to reserve the unrighteous to the day of judgment to be punished,
. REFLECTIONS. There is no church so pure, but some false members, and even false teachers, may insinuate themselves into it ; yet it is our duty to watch and pray, that the churches to which we respectively belong, may be guarded against their pernicious insinuations, and especially against the destructive heresies of those who deny the Lord who bought them. As we regard the edification of the church, and the salvation of our own precious and immortal souls, let us guard against whatever may justly deserve such an imputation as this. Woe be to those teachers who are actuated with a covetous spirit, who teach things which they ought not for the sake of filthy lucre, and make merchandise of the souls of their hearers! How swiftly does their damnation approach, though they perceive not the gradations by which it advances ; and with what irresistible terror will it at length overwhelm them!
That our hearts may be preserved under an awful impression of the divine judgments, let us often meditate on those displays of them of which the scripture informs us. And let us, in particular, reflect on the fall of the apostate angels who were for their first offence, precipitated from heaven, and reserved in chains of darkness to the judgment of the great day: and while we contemplate this awful dispen
sation, let us adore that distinguishing grace and compassion which laid hold on apostate man, and provided an all-sufficient Saviour for him. Let us call to remembrance the dissolution of the old world by a deluge of water, and the tremendous destruction of the cilies of the plain by fire from heaven; and let us fear that God, who can at pleasure break up the fountains of the great deep, and open the windows of heaven, and emit from these his various magazines, deluges of water, or torrents of burning sulphur, to execute his vengeance. Who can flee from his pursuing hand? or who can be secure and happy but under his almighty protection ? Yet awful as the terrors of his indigna. tion are, his eyes are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry. What a noble support and encouragement may it therefore be to the small remnant, who from day to day are vexing their righteous souls at the ungodly deeds of the wicked among whom they dwell, to reflect on the deliverance of Noah, and of Lot, from that general destruction with which they were surrounded. A more perfect and contplete deliverance will be at length accomplished for all the faithful servants of God, and there will be no possibility of doubting any more his ability, or his willingness to rescue them from every evil; for he will make the day of his vengeance on his enemies, a day of complete and everlasting salvation to his saints. And the Lord grant that we may all find mercy of the Lord in that important day!
He warns them against being herverted by reducing teachers, whose infamous
characters he describes. Ch. ii. 10–22.
10 D UT in speaking of the wicked who will be thus punished, I in.
D tend especially those, who go after strange flesh, in the lust
of uncleanness; and despise dominion. Daring and self-willed, 11 they fear not to speak evil of dignities : whereas the angels, who
are greater in strength and power, bear not a reviling testimony 12 against them before the Lord. But these men, as if they were
irrational animals, made to be taken and destroyed, blaspheming
things which they do not understand, shall utterly perish in their 13 corruption : receiving the reward of unrighteousness, while they
account it a pleasure to riot in the day. Spots they are and re
proaches, living luxuriously by means of deceits, banqueting with 14 you ; having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin;
ensnaring unstable souls ; having their heart exercised in avari15 cious schemes; children of a curse: Deserting the straight way,
they have wandered ; following in the way of Balaam, the son of 16 Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness : But he received
the reproof of his transgression ; the dumb beast speaking with
the voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet. 17 These are fountains without water, clouds agitated by a whirl: 18 wind; to whom is reserved blackness of darkness for ever. And
speaking swelling words of vanity, they ensnare in the lusts of the flesh, in lasciviousness, those who were quite escaped from
19 them that have their conversation in error. Promising them lib
erty, they are themselves slaves of corruption ; for by whomso20 ever any one is conquered, by him he is also enslaved. For if,
having escaped the pollutions of the world by the knowledge of
the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are entangled and subdu21 ed by them again, their last state is worse than the first. For it
had been better for them not to have known the way of righteous
ness, than having known it to have turned aside from the holy 22 commandment delivered to them. But it is happened to them ac
cording to the proverb, The dog is returned to his own vomit again, and the sow that was washed, to wallow in the mire.
REFLECTIONS.. It is indeed matter of grievous lamentation, that such wretches as those who are here described should be any where found in the Chris. tian church. Let us be the less surprised, if any such spots and blenishes are discovered among us, on whom the ends of the world are come; but let the licentious character, here drawn, be noted with a just abhorrence, that if any such persons are found, they may with becoming indignation be put away. Many there are who seem to be as irrational and ravenous as brute beasis, and are far more pernicious to society, than the race of savage or poisonous animals. They are indeed children of a curse, and they will inherit the curse, who thus contrive to make their lives one scene of iniquity ; whose eyes and lips declare more wickedness in their hearts than they have power to execute. But it should be remembered, they are accountable to God, not only for all they do, but for all they desire and wish to do ; and they are incessantly aggravating that terrible account. These disciples of Balaam will surely receive his reward ; those dark clouds will quickly, if they continue thus to obscure with their crimes the horizon in which they ought to shine as stars, be doomed to blackness of darkness for ever. May persons of such a character, how specious soever the form which they wear, be universally detected and disgraced ? may none of their swelling words of vanity entice and ensnare those, who appear just escaping from the delusions of error and the fetters of vice; and may none permit themselves to be seduced by promises of liberty, from such mean and miserable slaves of corruption. Finally ; let us learn, by the awful conclusion of this chapter, to guard against all temptations to apostacy; may we never, after having long escaped the pollutions of the world, be entangled again, and overcome by them. Better, far better, would it have been for us, nol to have known the way of righteousness, than, having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment : our last end, in this case, would be worse than the beginning : and those expressive similes, taken from such loathsome and detestable animals, would not be sufficient to paint out the degree in which we should ourselves be loathsome and odious, in the sight of that God who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and cannot look upon evil. May we therefore, with the righteous, hold on our way; and taking care to preserve the cleanness of our hands and hearts, may we daily wax stronger and
stronger, and shine with an increasing lustre ; for the path of the just should be as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
SECTION V. .
To grard them against scoffers and deceivers, he directs them to adhere to the holy scriptures ; and represents the final destruction of this world. Ch, üi. 1, &c.
imTHIS second epistle I now write to you, beloved, with the same
T view as the former, in both which I stir up your sincere 2 minds by way of remembrance; that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of
the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour. 3 Knowing this first, that in the last days there shall come mockers, 4 walking according to their own lusts, and saying, Where is the
promise of his coming ? For since the fathers are fallen asleep,
all things remain as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 But this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God
the heavens were produced of old, and the earth subsisting from 6 the water, and by water. Whereby * the world that then was, 7 being deluged with water, perished. But the heavens and the
earth, which now exist, are treasured up by the same word, being
reserved to fire, against the day of judgment, and destruction of 8 ungodly men. But let not this one thing be hid from you, beloved,
that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand 9 years as one day. The Lord is not slow concerning his promise,
as some count it slowness; but is long-suffering towards us, not
willing that any should perish, but that all should come to re10 pentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the
night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise,
and the elements being set on fire, shall be dissolved, and the Il earth and its works shall be burnt up. Therefore since all
these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought 12 you to be in holy conversation and piety ; looking for, and with
ardent wishes hastening on, the coming of the day of God, in
which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the 13 elements shall melt with fervent heat ? But we, according to his
promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, in which right14 eousness dwelleth. Therefore, beloved, expecting these things,
endeavour with diligence that ye may be found by him in peace, 15 spotless, and blameless ; and account the long-suffering of our Lord ; salvation : As also our beloved brother Paul, according to the 16 wisdom given to him, hath written to you ( Rom. i. 4): as also in
all his epistles, speaking in them of such persons : In which writings are some things hard to be understood, which the unteachable and unstable torture, as also they do other scriptures,
* " By which constitution of things" D. “By whom.” M.