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There is a dreadful “ corruption in the world through lust
[The desires of men are altogether vitiated The indulgence of them produces much corruption in the world-] But God's people “ escape” this corruption
[They are not free from all sinBut they do not live under the allowed dominion of any– They flee from temptation with fear and tremblingThis is the description given of the saints at Sardis And this is the universal operation of true religion--] They escape it through the operation of the promises
[They have not in themselves a power to keep themselves pureBut God promises “
grace sufficient”They therefore trust in his promises, and plead them in prayer
In so doing, they experience their cleansing efficacy
Hence St. Paul urges the promises not merely as a motive to holiness, but as the means of attaining it"-) INFER 1. How foolish are they who neglect Christ!
[Christ is the person in whom all the promises are ratified and confirmedo
Nor can we be interested in one promise, unless we be united to Christ
What madness then is it to neglect that blessed Saviour!
What unspeakable blessings do the thoughtless world despise!
Let us “ awake from our sleep, and arise from the dead”-
2. How mistaken are they who seek for holiness merely in a way of mortification, or in the exercise of their own powers!
[Many seek long after holiness without attaining it The reason of this is, that they do not seek it in God's appointed way
God has given them promises by which they may be made holy
But they are afraid to embrace them till they can see themselves holy
m Jam. i. 27.
I Rev. iji. 4.
n 2 Cor. vii. 1.
Thus do they, in fact, reverse the appointment of God himself
Let such, however, submit to God's method of imparting a divine nature
Let them embrace the promises as sinners, that they may become saints-]
3. How highly privileged are the people of God!
(Whatever is needful for them, in time or eternity, is secured
For their consolation God has confirmed his promises with an oath.
And all of them can, like Solomon, attest his fidelity-
Let them do this for advancement in holiness as well as comfort
Thus shall they be enabled to say with David
And in due season shall that most precious of all the promises be fulfilled")
9 Heb. vi. 17, 18. + Ps. xvii. 4.
r 1 Kings viii. 56.
s Ps. cxix. II. u John xii. 26.
XXXIV. AN EXHORTATION TO HOLINESS.
1 Pet. ii. 11, 12. Dearly beloved, I beseech you, as strangers and
pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may, by your good works which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation,
THE privileges of a sincere Christian are exceeding great
And the possession of them is secured to him by God himself
His security however does not supersede the need of watchfulness
On the contrary he is called to a continual warfare
He needs therefore to be frequently reminded of his duty
a 1 Pet. i. 5.
Hence Peter, having set forth the honours and privi. leges of God's people, proceeds to press upon them the practice of holiness
We propose to explain and enforce the apostle's exhortation
The manner in which it is introduced is worthy of notice
[A concern for the souls of men is characteristic of a pious minister
Paul and John were eminent patterns in this respect-
He unites the tenderness of a father with the fidelity of an apostle]
The first part of it respects their “abstinence from fleshly lusts"
[Impurity, intemperance, sloth, &c. are fleshly lusts Nor can any abstain from them without much prayer and vigilance-] This is enforced by two very important considerations
[Christians are “strangers and pilgrims” in the world. This consideration strongly enforces abstinence from sindMoreover fleshly lusts “ war against the soul”— They destroy its dignity, its peace, its liberty, its salvation
This should make us extremely careful to abstain from them
The latter part of the exhortation respects positive holiness
[The Christians were scattered through the Gentile world
Their conduct therefore would be watched with a jealous eye
On this account the apostle cautions them with respect to the whole of their deportment
He exhorts them to maintain an honourable conduct in all things~]
A very powerful motive is suggested to confirm this also
[Christians were universally represented as the worst of mene
bi Thess. iii. 8. 3 John 4. c Ps. xxxix. 12. Heb. xi. 13. d It shews the folly of the Epicurean system, 1 Cor. xv. 32. e I Cor. iv. 13.
An unbecoming conduct in them would have confirmed this prejudice
But a blameless conversation might conciliate esteem,
It might even be the means of converting their persecutors
It would do so if God at the same time should visit them with his mercy
In this case it would cause them to glorify God
This consideration might well operate as a motive to holiness
St. Peter elsewhere urges it in this very lights-] II. Enforce
Christians, however advanced, have need of this exhortation
We therefore would address it to you with all earnestness
We would not however forget the affection and tenderness due to you First then we beseech you to abstain from fleshly lusts
[Who amongst you is free from their baneful influence? Who does not see that abstinence from them is necessary? Guard then against their first risings in the heart
Beg of God that you may have grace to mortify them all-] We intreat you to consider 1. Your present state and condition in the world
[You are here only as “ strangers and pilgrims”You profess to be seeking “a city that hath foundations"
You do not take up your rest in an inn, when on a journey
Do not then retard your progress heaven-wards by sensual gratifications] 2. The dreadful tendency of Aeshly lusts
[Who has not experienced the misery they bring upon us?
Who does not know the consequence of indulging them?
Let this thought make you flee from them with abhorrence
We further beseech you to maintain an honourable conversation
[A few holy actions or dispositions will not suffice Religion must operate uniformly and universally
f This seems to be meant by “ the day of visitation:" See Luke 19,78.
61 Pet. iii. 1.
Let the whole of your conversation therefore be blamelessh
Nor need you despair of walking thus if you depend on Christ:-]
[The world is as ready to speak evil of Christians as ever
Nor will they regard your conduct in the church or closetThey will enquire how you fill up your relative dutiesThe sight of your blameless conduct will silence themk-]
The possibility that others may be converted by means of it
[Certainly many would be hardened by misconduct on your part
On the contrary, some may be won by your good conversation
At all events God will be glorified by means of your good works
Let this stimulate you to unwearied watchfulness and care-]
THE office of a Christian minister is arduous-
However faithfully he preach, there are but few who will hear aright
This our Lord had just declared in the parable of the sower
He then enforced his declaration with this most important caution
In discoursing upon which, we shall 1. Assign some reasons for the caution VOL. I.