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1 Peter 5:5-7

5. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

5. Similiter juniores, subjecti estote senioribus; sic et omnes, alii allis subjiciamini; humilitatem animi induite; propterea quod Deus superbis resistit, humilibus vero dat gratiam.

6. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

6. Humiliamini ergo sub potenti manu Dei, ut vos extollat quum erit opportunum;

7. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

7. Omni cura vestra in eum conjecta; quoniam illi cura est vestri.

 

5 Likewise, ye younger The word elder is put here in a sense different from what it had before; for it is necessary, when a contrast is made between them and the younger, that the two clauses should correspond. Then he refers to the elders in age, having before spoken of the office; and thus he comes from the particular to the general. And in short, he bids every one that is inferior in age to obey the counsels of the elders, and to be teachable and humble; for the age of youth is inconstant, and requires a bridle. Besides, pastors could not have performed their duty, except this reverential feeling prevailed and was cultivated, so that the younger suffered themselves to be ruled; for if there be no subjection, government is overturned. When they have no authority who ought by right or order of nature to rule, all will immediately become insolently wanton.

Yea, all He shews the reason why the younger ought to submit to the elder, even that there might be an equable state of things and due order among them. For, when authority is granted to the elders, there is not given them the right or the liberty of throwing off the bridle, but they are also themselves to be under due restraint, so that there may be a mutual subjection. So the husband is the head of the wife, and yet he in his turn is to be in some things subject to her. So the father has authority over his children, and still he is not exempt from all subjection, but something is due to them. The same thing, also, is to be thought of others. In short, all ranks in society have to defend the whole body, which cannot be done, except all the members are joined together by the bond of mutual subjection. Nothing is more adverse to the disposition of man than subjection. For it was formerly very truly said, that every one has within him the soul of a king. Until, then, the high spirits, with which the nature of men swells, are subdued, no man will give way to another; but, on the contrary, each one, despising others, will claim all things for himself.

Hence the Apostle, in order that humility may dwell among us, wisely reproves this haughtiness and pride. And the metaphor he uses is very appropriate, as though he had said, “Surround yourselves with humility on every side, as with a garment which covers the whole body.” He yet intimates that no ornament is more beautiful or more becoming, than when we submit one to another.

For, or, because. It is a most grievous threatening, when he says, that all who seek to elevate themselves, shall have God as their enemy, who will lay them low. But, on the contrary, he says of the humble, that God will be propitious and favorable to them. We are to imagine that; God has two hands; the one, which like a hammer beats down and breaks in pieces those who raise up themselves; and the other, which raises up the humble who willingly let down themselves, and is like a firm prop to sustain them. Were we really convinced of this, and had it deeply fixed in our minds, who of us would dare by pride to urge war with God? But the hope of impunity now makes us fearlessly to raise up our horn to heaven. Let, then, this declaration of Peter be as a celestial thunderbolt to make men humble.

But he calls those humble, who being emptied of every confidence in their own power, wisdom, and righteousness, seek every good from God alone. Since there is no coming to God except in this way, who, having lost his own glory, ought not willingly to humble himself?

6 Humble yourselves therefore. We must ever bear in mind for what end he bids us to be humble before God, even that we may be more courteous and kind to our brethren, and not refuse to submit to them as far as love demands. Then they who are haughty and refractory towards men, are, he says, acting insolently towards God. He therefore exhorts all the godly to submit to God’s authority; and he calls God’s power his hand, that he might make them to fear the more. For though hand is often applied to God, yet it is to be understood here according to the circumstances of the passage. But as we are wont commonly to fear, lest our humility should be a disadvantage to us, and others might for this reason grow more insolent, Peter meets this objection, and promises eminency to all who humble themselves.

But he adds, in due time, that he might at the same time obviate too much haste. He then intimates that it is necessary for us to learn humility now, but that the Lord well knows when it is expedient for us to be elevated. Thus it behoves us to yield to his counsel.

7 Casting all our care He more fully sets forth here the providence of God. For whence are these proverbial sayings, “We shall have to howl among wolves,” and, “They are foolish who are like sheep, exposing themselves to wolves to be devoured,” except that we think that by our humility we set loose the reins to the audacity of the ungodly, so that they insult us more wantonly? But this fear arises from our ignorance of divine providence. Now, on the other hand, as soon as we are convinced that God cares for us, our minds are easily led to patience and humility. Lest, then, the wickedness of men should tempt us to a fierceness of mind, the Apostle prescribes to us a remedy, and also David does in the thirty-seventh Psalm, so that having cast our care on God, we may calmly rest. For all those who recumb not on God’s providence must necessarily be in constant turmoil and violently assail others. We ought the more to dwell on this thought, that God cares for us, in order, first, that we may have peace within; and, secondly, that we may be humble and meek towards men.

But we are not thus bidden to cast all our care on God, as though God wished us to have strong hearts, and to be void of all feeling; but lest fear or anxiety should drive us to impatience. In like manner, the knowledge of divine providence does not free men from every care, that they may securely indulge themselves; for it ought not to encourage the torpidity of the flesh, but to bring rest to faith.

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