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Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO 1 PETER\\

That Simon, called Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, was the writer
of this epistle, is not questioned by any; nor was the genuineness
and authenticity of it ever made a doubt of. Eusebius says {a},
that it had been confessed by all, and received without controversy;
and that the ancients, without any scruple, had made use of it in
their writings. It is called his "general", or catholic epistle,
because it was not written to any particular person, or to any
particular church, but in general, to a number of Christians
dispersed in several places. The time when this epistle was written
is not certain; some place it in the year of Christ 44 or 45, and so
make it to be the most ancient of all the epistles, and which is the
more commonly received opinion; but Dr. Lightfoot {b} places it in
the year 65, because in it the apostle speaks of the end of all
things being at hand, and of the fiery trial just coming on them, and
of judgment beginning at the house of God, \\#1Pe 4:7,12,17\\ all
which he applies to the destruction of Jerusalem; though others fix
it to 61, in the seventh year of Nero {c}. The place from whence it
seems to be written was Babylon, \\#1Pe 5:13\\ which is to be
understood not figuratively, either of Rome or Jerusalem, but
properly of Babylon, the metropolis of Chaldea, or Assyria. The
persons to whom it is written were Jews, at least chiefly; for there
might be some Gentiles among them, who may be taken notice of in some
parts of the epistle; but the principal part were Jews, as appears
from their being called the strangers of the dispersion, or, as James
calls them, "the twelve tribes scattered abroad"; from the mention of
the tradition of their fathers; from their having their conversation
honest among the Gentiles, and their past life among them; from
urging subjection to the civil magistrates among the Heathens, and
the right use of their Christian liberty as to the ceremonies of the
law; and from the near destruction of Jerusalem, which could only
affect them; and from the use made of the writings of the Old
Testament, and the authority of the prophets; see
\\#1Pe 1:1,18 2:12 4:3 2:13,16 4:7,12,17\\ as well as from the
second epistle, which was written to the same; see
\\#2Pe 1:19 2:1 3:1,2,15\\ in which he seems to refer to the epistle
to the Hebrews, written by Paul, as to these. And besides, Peter was
the minister of the circumcision, or of the circumcised Jews, as Paul
was of the Gentiles; and even those passages in this epistle, which
seem most likely to concern the Gentiles, may be understood of the Jews,
as which speak of their ignorance, idolatry, and having not been a
people, \\#1Pe 1:14 4:3 2:10\\ which were true of them before
conversion, and as living among Gentiles. The occasion of writing it
was this; Peter meeting with Sylvanus, a faithful brother, and who had
been a companion of the Apostle Paul, he takes this opportunity of
sending a letter by him to the converted Jews, dispersed among the
Gentile countries, where he, with Paul, and others, travelled: the
design of which is to testify of the true doctrine of grace, in which
they were agreed; see \\#1Pe 5:12\\. And accordingly in it he does
treat of the doctrine of electing grace, of redeeming grace, of
regenerating and sanctifying grace, and of persevering grace; and
exhorts believers to the exercise of grace, of faith, hope, and love,
and to the discharge of such duties becoming their several stations,
whereby they might evidence to others the truth of grace in
themselves, and adorn the doctrine of the grace of God, and recommend
it to others: and particularly he exhorts them patiently to bear all
afflictions and persecutions they should meet with, for their
profession of the true grace of God, in which he encourages them to
stand steadfast: and this is the general scope and design of the
epistle.

{a} Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 3.
{b} Harmony Vol. I. p. 335.
{c} Fabricii Bibliothec. Graec. l. 4. c. 5. sect. 10. p. 164.

\\INTRODUCTION TO 1 PETER 1\\

In this chapter, after the inscription and
salutation, the apostle gives thanks to God for various blessings of
grace bestowed, or to be bestowed upon the persons he writes to; and
then, with the best of arguments and motives, urges them to the
performance of several duties of religion. In the inscription, the
person who is the writer of the epistle is described, both by his
name, and by his office; and also the persons to whom it is sent, by
their outward condition, strangers dispersed through several
countries particularly mentioned, and by their spiritual estate,
elect men; the source and spring of which election is the
foreknowledge of God the Father; the means, the sanctification of
the Spirit; and the end, obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of
Christ; and to these the apostle wishes a multiplication of grace
and peace, \\#1Pe 1:1,2\\ and then he gives thanks to God for the
regeneration of them; the efficient cause of which is God the
Father; the moving cause, his abundant mercy; the means, the
resurrection of Christ from the dead; the end, a lively hope of a
glorious inheritance, \\#1Pe 1:3,4\\ and next follows a description of
regenerate ones; they are such who are kept by the power of God
through faith, unto salvation; who rejoice in hope of that
salvation, though now for a little while are sorrowful, by reason of
afflictions, which are for the trial of their faith; they are
believers in Christ, lovers of him, and rejoice in him, and shall at
last receive the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls,
\\#1Pe 1:5-9\\ the excellency of which salvation is set forth
from the concern the prophets had in it, the scrutiny they made into
it, and the revelation of it made to them; from the concern the
apostles had in it, and their report of it, and from the desire of
angels to look into it, \\#1Pe 1:10-12\\ upon which the apostle
exhorts to the exercise of various graces and duties, to attention
of mind, to sobriety, to a constant hope of eternal glory, and to
holiness of life and conversation, \\#1Pe 1:13,14\\ the arguments
engaging to which are taken from the nature of God, who had called
them by his grace, \\#1Pe 1:15,16\\ from their concern with him, as a
Father and a judge; from their state and condition, as sojourners in
this world, and from their redemption by the blood of Christ from a
vain conversation, \\#1Pe 1:17-19\\ and of Christ, the Redeemer of
them, many things are said, as that he was ordained before the
foundation of the world to be the Redeemer; was manifested in human
nature in these last days, for the sake of such that believe; was
raised from the dead, and glorified, that there might be a
sufficient foundation for the exercise of faith and hope in God,
\\#1Pe 1:20,21\\ and next the apostle exhorts to brotherly love, in
purity, and with fervency; from the consideration of the internal
purification of them by the Spirit, through obedience to the truth;
and from their regeneration, the cause of which was not corruptible,
but incorruptible seed; and the means, the living and abiding word
of God, \\#1Pe 1:22,23\\ which is illustrated by a passage out of
\\#Isa 40:6-8\\ setting forth the frailty and mortality of men, and the
transitoriness of all outward enjoyments; to which is opposed the
duration of the everlasting Gospel, the means of regeneration,
\\#1Pe 1:24,25\\.