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III

1. If any - He speaks tenderly. Won - Gained over to Christ.

2. Joined with a loving fear of displeasing them.

3. Three things are here expressly forbidden: curling the hair, wearing gold, (by way of ornament,) and putting on costly or gay apparel. These, therefore, ought never to be allowed, much less defended, by Christians.

4. The hidden man of the heart - Complete inward holiness, which implies a meek and quiet spirit. A meek spirit gives no trouble willingly to any: a quiet spirit bears all wrongs without being troubled. In the sight of God - Who looks at the heart. All superfluity of dress contributes more to pride and anger than is generally supposed. The apostle seems to have his eye to this by substituting meekness and quietness in the room of the ornaments he forbids. "I do not regard these things," is often said by those whose hearts are wrapped up in them: but offer to take them away, and you touch the very idol of their soul. Some, indeed only dress elegantly that they may be looked on; that is, they squander away their Lord's talent to gain applause: thus making sin to beget sin, and then plead one in excuse of the other.

5. The adorning of those holy women, who trusted in God, and therefore did not act thus from servile fear, was,

1. Their meek subjection to their husbands:

2. Their quiet spirit, "not afraid," or amazed: and

3. Their unblamable behaviour, "doing" all things "well."

6. Whose children ye are - In a spiritual as well as natural sense, and entitled to the same inheritance, while ye discharge your conjugal duties, not out of fear, but for conscience' sake. Gen. xviii, 12.

7. Dwell with the woman according to knowledge - Knowing they are weak, and therefore to be used with all tenderness. Yet do not despise them for this, but give them honour - Both in heart, in word, and in action; as those who are called to be joint-heirs of that eternal life which ye and they hope to receive by the free grace of God. That your prayers be not hindered - On the one part or the other. All sin hinders prayer; particularly anger. Anything at which we are angry is never more apt to come into our mind than when we are at prayer; and those who do not forgive will find no forgiveness from God.

8. Finally - This part of the epistle reaches to chap. iv, 11. The apostle seems to have added the rest afterwards. Sympathizing - Rejoicing and sorrowing together. Love all believers as brethren. Be pitiful - Toward the afflicted. Be courteous - To all men. Courtesy is such a behaviour toward equals and inferiors as shows respect mixed with love.

9. Ye are called to inherit a blessing - Therefore their railing cannot hurt you; and, by blessing them, you imitate God, who blesses you.

10. For he that desireth to love life, and to see good days - That would make life amiable and desirable. Psalm xxxiv, 12, &c.

11. Let him seek - To live peaceably with all men. And pursue it - Even when it seems to flee from him.

12. The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous - For good. Anger appears in the whole face; love, chiefly in the eyes.

13. Who is he that will harm you - None can.

14. But if ye should suffer - This is no harm to you, but a good. Fear ye not their fear - The very words of the Septuagint, Isaiah viii, 12, 13. Let not that fear be in you which the wicked feel.

15. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts - Have an holy fear, and a full trust in his wise providence. The hope - Of eternal life. With meekness - For anger would hurt your cause as well as your soul. And fear - A filial fear of offending God, and a jealousy over yourselves, lest ye speak amiss.

16. Having a good conscience - So much the more beware of anger, to which the very consciousness of your innocence may betray you. Join with a good conscience meekness and fear, and you obtain a complete victory. Your good conversation in Christ - That is, which flows from faith in him.

17. It is infinitely better, if it be the will of God, ye should suffer. His permissive will appears from his providence.

18. For - This is undoubtedly best, whereby we are most conformed to Christ. Now Christ suffered once - To suffer no more. For sins - Not his own, but ours. The just for the unjust - The word signifies, not only them who have wronged their neighbours, but those who have transgressed any of the commands of God; as the preceding word, just, denotes a person who has fulfilled, not barely social duties, but all kind of righteousness. That he might bring us to God - Now to his gracious favour, hereafter to his blissful presence, by the same steps of suffering and of glory. Being put to death in the flesh - As man. But raised to life by the Spirit - Both by his own divine power, and by the power of the Holy Ghost.

19. By which Spirit he preached - Through the ministry of Noah. To the spirits in prison - The unholy men before the flood, who were then reserved by the justice of God, as in a prison, till he executed the sentence upon them all; and are now also reserved to the judgment of the great day.

20. When the longsuffering of God waited - For an hundred and twenty years; all the time the ark was preparing: during which Noah warned them all to flee from the wrath to come.

21. The antitype whereof - The thing typified by the ark, even baptism, now saveth us - That is, through the water of baptism we are saved from the sin which overwhelms the world as a flood: not, indeed, the bare outward sign, but the inward grace; a divine consciousness that both our persons and our actions are accepted through him who died and rose again for us.

22. Angels and authorities and powers - That is, all orders both of angels and men.

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