Page:An Exposition of the Old and New Testament (1828) vol 6.djvu/792
I. PETER, I.
we are instrumental in the conversion of any, we are said to converj; them, though this be principally and efficiently the work of God. And if we can do no more toward the conversion of sinners, yet we may do this — pray for the grace and Spirit of God to convert and change them. And let those that are any way serviceable to convert others, know what will be the happy consequences of their doing this: they may take great comfort in it at present, and they will meet with a crown at last. He that is said to err from the truth, (in v. 19.) is described as erring in his way ; (in v. i^O.) and we cannot be said to convert any, merely by altering their opinions, unless we can bring them to correct and amend their ways. This is conversion— to turn a sinner from the error of his ways, and not to turn him from one party to another, or merely from one notion and way of thinking to another. He who thus converteth a sinner from the error of his ways, shall save a soul from death. There is a soul in the case ; and what is done toward the salvation of that, shall certainly turn to good account. The soul being the principal part of the man, the saving of that only is mentioned, but it includes the salvation of the whole man: the spirit shall be saved from hell, the body raised from the grave, and both saved from eternal death. And then, by such conversion of heart and life, a multitude of sins shall be hid. A most com- fortable passage ot scripture this is. We learn from hence, that though our sins are many, even a mul- titude, yet they may be hid or pardoned ; and that when sin is turned from or forsaken, it shall be hid. never to appear in judgment against us. Let peoi:' contrive to cover or excuse their sin as they will, there is no way effectually and finally to hide it, but forsaking it. Some make the sense of this text to be, that conversion shall prevent a multitude of sins ; and it is a truth beyond dispute, that many sins are prevented in the party converted ; many also may be prevented in others that he may have an influence upon, or may converse with. Upon the whole, how should we lay out ourselves with all possible con- cern for the conversion of sinners ! It will be for the happiness and salvation of the converted ; it will prevent much mischief, and the spreading and mul- tiplying of sin in the world ; it will be for the glory and honour of God ; and it will mightily redound to our comfort and renown in the great day. They that turn many to righteousness, and they who help to do so, shall shine as the stars for ever and ever.
FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL OF PETER.
Completed by Mr. Z. Marriot.
took the freedom to blame, and withstood him to the face, Gal. 2. 11. And Peter himself never assumed
TWO epistles we have enrolled in the sacred canon of the scripture, written by Peter, who was a most eminent apostle of Jesus Christ, and whose character shines bright, as it is described in the Four Gos- pels, and in the Acts of the Apostles, but as it is painted by the papists and legendary writers, it represents a person of extravagant pride and ambition. It is certain from scripture, that Simon Peter was one of the first of those whom our Lord called to be his disciples and followers ; that he was a person of excellent endowments, both natural and gracious, of great parts, and ready elocution, quick to apprehend, and bold to execute, whatever he knew to be his duty. When our Saviour called his apostles, and gave them their commission, he nominated him first in the list ; and by his behaviour toward him he seems to have distinguished him as a special favourite among the twelve. Many instances of our Lord's affection to him, both during his life, and after his resurrection, are upon record. But there are many things confidently affirmed of this holy man, that are directly false : as, That he had a primacy and superior power over the rest of the apostles ; that he was more than their equal ; that he was their prince, monarch, and sovereign ; and that he exercised a jurisdiction over the whole college of the apostles: moreover. That he was the sole universal pastor over all the Christian world, the only vicar of^Christ upon earth ; that he was for above twenty years bishop of Rome, that the Popes ot Rome succeed to St. Peter, and derive from him a universal supremacy and jurisdiction over all churches and Christians upon earth ; and that all this was by our Lord's ordering and appointment. Whereas Christ never gave him any pre-eminence of this kind, but positively forbade it, and gave precepts to the contrary. The other apostles never consented to any such claim. Paul declares him- self not a whit behind the very chiefest of the afiostles, 2 Cor. 11. 5. and ch. 12. 11. In nothing am I behind the very chiefest afiostles. Here is no exception of St. Peter's superior dignity, whom St. Paul