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a Bible passage
5. To Elders and Young Men
1The elders among you I exhort, who am a fellow-elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, who am also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2Tend the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint, but willingly, according to the will of God; nor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves ensamples to the flock. 4And when the chief Shepherd shall be manifested, ye shall receive the crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5Likewise, ye younger, be subject unto the elder. Yea, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another: for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. 6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time; 7casting all your anxiety upon him, because he careth for you. 8Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, 9whom withstand stedfast in your faith, knowing that the same sufferings are accomplished in your brethren who are in the world. 10And the God of all grace, who called you unto his eternal glory in Christ, after that ye have suffered a little while, shall himself perfect, establish, strengthen you. 11To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 12By Silvanus, our faithful brother, as I account him, I have written unto you briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand ye fast therein. 13She that is in Babylon, elect together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Mark my son. 14Salute one another with a kiss of love. Peace be unto you all that are in Christ.
Sobriety and Vigilance Enjoined. (a. d. 66.)
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Here the apostle does three things:—
I. He shows them their danger from an enemy more cruel and restless than even the worst of men, whom he describes,
1. By his characters and names. (1.) He is an adversary: "That adversary of yours; not a common adversary, but an enemy that impleads you, and litigates against you in your grand depending cause, and aims at your very souls." (2.) The devil, the grand accuser of all the brethren; this title is derived from a word which signifies to strike through, or to stab. He would strike malignity into our natures and poison into our souls. If he could have struck these people with passion and murmuring in their sufferings, perhaps he might have drawn them to apostasy and ruin. (3.) He is a roaring lion, hungry, fierce, strong, and cruel, the fierce and greedy pursuer of souls.
2. By his business: He walks about, seeking whom he may devour; his whole design is to devour and destroy souls. To this end he is unwearied and restless in his malicious endeavours; for he always, night and day, goes about studying and contriving whom he may ensnare to their eternal ruin.
II. Hence he infers that it is their duty, 1. To be sober, and to govern both the outward and the inward man by the rules of temperance, modesty, and mortification. 2. To be vigilant; not secure or careless, but rather suspicious of constant danger from this spiritual enemy, and, under that apprehension, to be watchful and diligent to prevent his designs and save our souls. 3. To resist him stedfast in the faith. It was the faith of these people that Satan aimed at; if he could overturn their faith, and draw them into apostasy, then he knew he should gain his point, and ruin their souls; therefore, to destroy their faith, he raises bitter persecutions, and sets the grand potentates of the world against them. This strong trial and temptation they must resist, by being well-grounded, resolute, and stedfast in the faith: to encourage them to this,
III. He tells them that their care was not singular, for they knew that the like afflictions befel their brethren in all parts of the world, and that all the people of God were their fellow-soldiers in this warfare. Learn, 1. All the great persecutions that ever were in the world were raised, spirited up, and conducted, by the devil; he is the grand persecutor, as well as the deceiver and accuser, of the brethren; men are his willing spiteful instruments, but he is the chief adversary that wars against Christ and his people, Gen. iii. 15; Rev. xii. 12. 2. The design of Satan in raising persecutions against the faithful servants of God is to bring them to apostasy, by reason of their sufferings, and so to destroy their souls. 3. Sobriety and watchfulness are necessary virtues at all times, but especially in times of suffering and persecution. "You must moderate your affection to worldly things, or else Satan will soon overcome you." 4. "If you would overcome Satan, as a tempter, an accuser, or a persecutor, you must resist him stedfast in the faith; if your faith give way, you are gone; therefore, above all, take the shield of faith," Eph. vi. 16. 5. The consideration of what others suffer is proper to encourage us to bear our own share in any affliction: The same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren.