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17 Elias was a man 'subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly 15 that it might not rain : and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.

18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth 16 her fruit.

19 Brethren, "if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him ;

20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall ' hide a multitude of sins.

1S in prayer. A.V.

18 yielded. Rh. LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. do. xx. 2, 4: Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying, And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him. See on John, ix. 31.

z See on Acts, xiv. 15.

• 1 KINGS, xvii. 1: Elijah the Tishbite-said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to iny word. Rev. xi. 6: These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy.

bLUKE, iv. 25: Many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land.

1 Kings, xviii. 42, 45: Elijah went up to the top of Carmel ; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees. And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a

. See on LUKE, xvii. 3. e See on Rom. xi. 14. See on 1 Cor. xiii. 4.

great rain.

THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL OF

Peter.

PETER, the apostle, born at Bethsaida, in Upper Galilee, was son of John, Jonas, or Joanna, and brother of Andrew (John, i. 42, 43). His first name was Simon, to which our Saviour afterwards added that of Cephas, which in Syriac signifies a stone, or a rock ; and hence he was called Peter, from the Latin word Petra. He was a married man, and dwelt with his mother-inlaw, and his wife, at Capernaum, on the lake of Genesareth (Mat. viii. 14; MARK, 1: 29; Luke, iv. 38). Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist; and, hearing him declare Jesus to be the Lamb of God, he followed Jesus, and continued with him the rest of that day. Andrew, having found his brother, took him to Jesus ; and it appears that they both became fully convinced that Jesus was the true Messiah (JOHN, i. 41). After this Peter became a most zealous apostle of Christ. He preached the Gospel with great success, and at last sealed the truth of it with his blood. All ancient writers concur in asserting that St. Peter suffered martyrdom at Rome, in the first persecution of the Christians, in the reign of Nero, probably in the year 65 ; but at what time he went thither, and whether this was his first visit to that city, is not certain. As he is not mentioned in any of St. Paul's epistles written from Rome, it has been concluded that he was not there during St. Paul's first imprisonment in that city; and upon the whole it seems probable, as Lardner thinks, that St. Peter did not go to Rome till the year 63 or 64.

As St. Peter, says Bishop Tomline, had been the first apostle that preached to the Jews immediately after the descent of the Holy Ghost, so, about eight years afterwards, he was also the first that preached to the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius at Cæsarea. By these means he may be said to have founded the universal Church of Christ; and this is supposed to have been the meaning of our Lord's words, " Upon this rock will I build my Church, and I will give thee the keys of heaven;" for by being the first person that explained the Gospel both to the Jews and Gentiles after the ascension of our Saviour, he, as it were, opened the doors of heaven to all mankind. He seems to have performed more miracles than any other of the apostles, for the people“ brought their sick for the purpose of having his shadow pass over them.” (Acts, v. 15). When he was imprisoned by Herod Agrippa, prayer was made for him without ceasing by the Church, and he was miraculously delivered out of prison by an angel, though Herod had been permitted to put James the Great to death (Acts, xii. 1, &c). The speech of Peter, at the council of Jerusalem, so often mentioned, is recorded, but of no other person except of James the Less, Bishop of Jerusalem (Acts, xv. 6, &c); and St. Paul tells us, that to St. Peter was committed the Gospel of the circumcision (Gal. i. 7), whence he is called the apostle of the Jews, as St. Paul is called the apostle of the Gentiles ; and lastly, in all the catalogues of the apostles, and whenever he is mentioned in conjunction with others, in the Gospels or Acts, the name of Peter stands first. Though these facts may lead us to consider Peter as the chief, or the most distinguished, of the twelve apostles; yet they by no means prove that he had any superior dignity or jurisdiction over the rest ; " One is your Master, even Christ; but all ye are brethren (Mat. xxiii. 8).”

The genuineness of this first Epistle of Peter has been acknowledged by the whole Church of Christ. Great dovbts, however, have arisen, with regard to the persons who are meant by the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, &c. to whom this epistle is addressed. If we suppose them to be converted Jews, there are several expressions in the epistle which are not applicable to them as such; as when he reminds them of their having once lived in ignorance, chap. i. 14, of not having been the children of God in time past, but who were then his people, chap. ii. 10; and, chap. iv. 3, of their hav'ng walked in abominable idolatries. These expressions do not seem applicable to them if they were of Jewish extraction ; for such could not be said to have lived in ignorance, viz. of the true God; nor could it be said of such, that in time past they were not the people of God.

On the other hand, there are some objections against understanding them to be converts immediately from Heathenism, Probably this epistle was addressed to such Christians who, from idolaters, had first become worshippers, with the Jews, of the true God'; but without submitting to circumci. sion, and other peculiarities of the Mosaic law. These, when they resided within the land of Judæa, were called strangers within the gates; and it is probable that all such living among the Jews, in foreign countries, were called by the Jews, strangers, in allusion to the title such went by in Judæa.

St. Peter had particular reasons for addressing himself to these, because he had in particular received a divine commission to preach the Gospel to such ; being the first who preached it to them; for Cornelius and his friends, to whom St. Peter was sent, as we read, (Acts, x.) seem to have been Gentiles, who had joined the Jews in worshipping the true God; but without submitting

to circumcision, or the other ceremonial institutions of the Mosaic law.

The subject matter of this epistle seems to confirm this opinion, for he begins with assuring them to whom he writes, that they were really in favour with God. With this view he calls them elect, and mentions, that they had been declared such by the effusion of the Holy Ghost upon them, chap. i. 1, 2. He assures them, that they were begotten again without circumcision, merely through the Gospel and resurrection of Christ, ver. 3, 4, 21, 25; and that their sufferings were no argument of their being under the displeasure of God, as the Jews imagined, ver. 6, 12. He recommends to them to hope for favour to the end, ver. 13. He testifies that they were redeemed not by corruptible things, but through CHRIST, whom God had fore-ordained for this purpose before the foundation of the world, ver. 18-20.

The design of this epistle was to direct Christians how to behave under persecution, to avoid all grounds of being suspected of sedition, or other crimes which would injure the peace and welfare of civil society; and to exhort them to lead holy and unblemished lives, that they might stop the mouths of their enemies, put their calumniators to shame, and win others over to their religion, by their amiable and worthy behaviour. In this and the other Epistle of Peter, many attentive readers have observed, that without much regularity of composition, or clearness of expression, there is a peculiar dignity and energy worthy of the prince of the apostles.

The apostle wrote this epistle from a place which he calls Babylon. The Church that is at Babylon saluteth you;" but it is very doubtful what place is meant by that name.

It may, however, be best to accede to the general opinion, that Babylon is here used figuratively for Rome; and more especially since Eusebius (the oldest author extant), mentioning this subject, says, that in his time it was thought that this epistle was written from Rome; therefore we may place its date about the year 64.

CHAP. I. I He blesseth God for his manifold spiritual graces : 10 showing that

the salvation in Christ is no news, but a thing prophesied of old : 13 and exhorteth them accordingly to a godly conversation, forasmuch as they are now born anew by the word of God.

A. D. 60. PETER, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers a scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

CHAP. I. a Acts, ii. 5, 9, 10: And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Par

2. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto e obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ : 5 Grace unto you, and peace,

be multiplied. 3 h Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant ? mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the 'resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 2

4 To an "inheritance incorruptible, and unde

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thians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judæa, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes. do. viii. 4: Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. See on John, vii. 35.

Eph. i. 4 : According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. 1 Pet. ii. 9.

? See on Rom. viii. 29. . See on Luke, i. 75.

e Rom. xvi. 26: But now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the Prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.

f See on Heb. xii. 24.
& 1 Pet. i. 2. See on Rom. i. 7.
h See on Rom. xv. 6.

i Eph. ii. 4: But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us. Tit. iii. 5 : Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.

k See on Joun, iii. 3, 5.

"1 Thes. iv. 14: For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 1 Pet. j. 21 : The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. See on Rom. viii. 29.

m See on Acts, xx. 32.

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