NOTES ON THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL OF ST PETER
There is a wonderful weightiness, and yet liveliness andsweetness, in the epistles of St. Peter. His design in both is, to stir up the minds of those to whom he writes, by way of remembrance, 2Peter 3:1, and to guard them, not only against error, but also against doubting, 1Pe 5:12. This he does by reminding them of that glorious grace which God had vouchsafed them through the gospel, by which believers are inflamed to bring forth the fruits of faith, hope, love, and patience.
The parts of this epistle are three:
I. The inscription, C. i. 1, 2 II. The stirring up of them to whom he writes: 1. As born of God. Here he recites and interweaves alternately both the benefits of God toward believers, and the duties of believers toward God: 1. God hath regenerated us to a living hope, to an eternal inheritance, 3-12 Therefore hope to the end, 13 2. As obedient children bring forth the fruit of faith to your heavenly Father, 14-21 3. Being purified by the Spirit, love with a pure heart, 22-C.ii.10 2. As strangers in the world, abstain from fleshly desires, 11 And show your faith by, 1. A good conversation, 12 a. In particular, Subjects, 13-17 Servants, after the example of Christ, 18-25 Wives, C. iii. 1-6 Husbands, 7 b. In general, all, 8-15 2. A good profession, a. By readiness to give an answer to every one, 15-22 b. By shunning evil company, C. iv. 1-6 (This part is enforced by what Christ both did and suffered, from his passion to his coming to judgment.) c. By the exercise of Christian virtues, and by a due use of miraculous gifts, 7-11 3. As fellow-heirs of glory, sustain adversity, let each do this, 1. In general, as a Christian, 12-19 2. In his own particular state, C. v. 1-11 The title beloved divides the second part from the first, ii 11, and the third from the second, iv. 12.III. The conclusion, 12-14