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their unlawful deeds ;) then the Lord knoweth how to deliver those that are godly out of trial, and to reserve those that are unrighteous to the day of judgement to be punished: but chiefly those who walk after the flesh with polluted do. sires, and despise dominion. Presumptuous, and selfwilled, they are not afraid to blaspheme dignities: whereas angels, that are greater in power and might *, bring not a blaspheming accusation against them [before the Lord], But these, as brute creatures led by nature, made to be taken and destroyed, blaspheming in things of which they are ignorant, will be destroyed in their corruption of themselves ; and will receive the reward of unrighteousness, accounting + it pleasure to riot in the day-time; blemishes; and spots, rioting in their love-feasts, while they banquil with you; having eyes full of adultery, and which cannot cease from sin; alluring the unstable $; having a heart grereised in covetousness ||, cursed children : who have forsaken the right path, and gone astray, and followed the

way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the reward of

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unrighteousness, but received a rebuke for his transgression: the dumb beast" speaking with man's voice, forbad the midness of the prophet. These are as wells without water, and as clouds driven away by a storm ; to whom the blackness of darkness is reserved [for ever]. For when they speak very great swelling words of falsehood, they allure, by carmal desires and impurities”, those that had nearly escapestt

19 from such as live in error. While they promise them fro

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dom, they themselves are the slaves of corruption: for by whatever a man is overcome, by that he is enslated als". For if, when they have escaped the pollutions of the storld through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jo"

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* See the note on ver. 4. Compare also Jude, ver, 9. + as counting £ as being blemishes, N. § Gr, unstable souls. | Or, in over-reaching. ‘I ass, N. beast of burden, Gr.

** through the desires of the impure flesh, N. ++ clean escaped. R. T. Public Version.

Christ, they be again entangled in them, and overcome, their 21 last state is worse than their first. For it had been better , for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, when they have known it, to turn from the holy command22 ment delivered to them. But it hath happened to them according to the true proverb, “The dog hath returned to what himself cast up; and the sow that had washed herself, to her wallowing in the mire.” Ch. iii. This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure understanding by re.2 minding you ; that ye may remember the words formerly spoken by the holy prophets, and the commandment of 3 us the apostles of our Lord and Saviour: knowing this first, that great scoffers will come in the last days, walk4 ing after their own evil desires, and saying, “Where is the promise of his appearance P for, since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” For of this they are wilfully ignorant, that the heavens were made of old by the word of God, and the earth also, which standeth out of the water and 6 in the water *: which things being so, the world that then was, having been overflowed with water, was de7 stroyed. But the heavens and the earth which are now, are reserved by his word +, and kept for fire against the day of judgement, and of the destruction of ungodly 8 men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing; that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a 9 thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some count slowness; but is longsuffering toward us t, not willing that any should perish, 10 but willing that all should come to repentanceş. But the

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* Or, that of old were heaven and an earth, compacted out of water, and by means of water, by the word of God. See Wakefield.

+ by the same word, R.T. 1 Or, you. MSS.

§ Or, willing that none should perish, but that &c. N. m.

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day of the Lord will come as a thief"; in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will be greatly heated and dissolved, the earth also and the works on it will be burned up. Since therefore all these things will be dissolved, what kind of persons ought ye to be in all holy behaviour and godliness; looking for and earnestly desiringt the coming of the day of God, in which the heavens will be set on fire f and will be dissolved, and the elements will be greatly heated and will melt? Nevertheless, according to his promise, we look for new heavens, and a new earth, in which righteousness will dwell. Wherefore, beloved, since ye look for these things, endeavour to be found by him in peace, spotless and unreproveable: and account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation : as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given him, hath written unto you ; as in all his epistles also, speaking in them of these things: in which things some are hard to be understood,

* a thief in the night; R. T.

+ “Some point thus—what kind of persons ought ye to be Ye ought in all holy be haviour and godliness to look for and earnestly desire &c.” Newcome.

† This in a literal sense is impossible, because the heavens are incombustible. Mor is it reasonable to believe that an event so little countenanced by natural appearances as that of the destruction of the earth by a general conflagration, is the subject of" divine prediction. It is well known that in the language of prophecy great political changes and revolutions are foretold under the symbol of terrible convulsions in the " tural world. In this language our Lord foretells the approaching desolation of Jerus" lem, Matt. xxiv. 29. And in language precisely similar, borrowed indeed from * prophet Joel, the apostle Peter himself, Acts ii. 31, describes the calamities of the Jewish nation which were then impending. It can hardly admit of a doubt that the sublime language of this context is to be interpreted in a similar manner. The 13th verse is a quotation from Isaiah lxv. 17, where the new heavens and the new earth” universally understood to signify the gospel dispensation. Consequently, “the heavens and the earth which are now,” ver. 7, must necessarily signify the Jewish dispensation, or the then moral state of the world, which must pass away to make room for the promulgation of the Christian religion. But this revolution cannot take Po without producing great changes and convulsions in the political world, which, in prophetic language, is expressed by the heavens being on fire, the elements melting, and the earth with the works on it being burned up.

which the unlearned and unsteadfast wrest, as they do the 17 other scriptures also, to their own destruction. Since therefore, beloved, ye know these things before, beware lest ye be led away with the error of the wicked, and fall 18 from your own steadfastness. But grow in the favour and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory, both now and for ever. Amen.

- - THE
FIRST EPIs TLE
o G. E N E R A L
OF

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CONCERNING" the Word of Life +, him, who was from the beginning , whom we have heard, whom we have seen with our eyes, whom we have looked upon, 2 and our hands have handled $; (for the Life || was mani.

* This version of the three first verses of this chapter was proposed by the venerable Theophilus Lindsey, in his Second Address to the Students at Oxford and Cambridge, p. 302. It is to the unwearied and successful labours of this pious and learned person, whose life and doctrine have exhibited the most perfect model in modern times of the purity and simplicity of apostolical christianity, in conjunction with those of his able coadjutors, Jebb, Priestley, Wakefield, and others, that the christian world is indebted for that clear and discriminating light which has of late years been diffused over the obscurities of the sacred scriptures, and which promises, at no very distant period, to purify the Christian religion from those numerous and enormous corruptions which have so long disfigured its doctrines and impeded its progress.

+ The Word of Life, i.e. Jesus Christ, who is called the Word, Luke i. 2; John i. 1; and the Word of God, Rev. xix. 13. He was the divinely inspired teacher of the doctrine of a future life. The attentive reader will observe the resemblance between the introduction to the Epistle and that to the Gospel of John, which mutually illustrate and explain each other, and are a presumptive proof that both were written by the same author.

† Not from the beginning of time, but from the beginning of our Saviour's ministry. Lindsey, ibid. p. 303. See John i. 1, 2, and the notes there.

§ The Primate's version is: “That which was from the beginning, which we haveheard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked on, and our hands have handled, as concerning the Word of life.”

t| Life, and in the next clause, Everlasting Life.—Christ is so called as the great Teacher of everlasting life.

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