Ver. 1. Wherefore laying aside all malice. S. Peter having put them in mind of the great benefit of Christ's coming to redeem us from sin, exhorts them to avoid sin, to lead a life worthy of their vocation, to follow Christ's doctrine, and imitate his example. Wi.
Ver. 2. Desire the rational† milk without guile, or deceit. Without guile, in construction, does not agree with new-born children, but with milk, as appears by the text. The sense is, follow the pure doctrine of the gospel, without mixture of errors. Wi.
[†] V. 2. Rationabile sine dolo lac: to logikon adolon gala: both the adjectives agree with milk.
Ver. 3. Whoever has a relish for Jesus Christ, has also for his word; and such as have a relish for neither, are truly deplorable. Let us pray then that God would feed us with his word, and with the holy Eucharist, that contains his body and blood, his soul and his divinity, that we may thereby grow up to salvation.
Ver. 4. The living stone, rejected, &c. Christ is the chief foundation of his Church, the corner-stone of the building, whom the Jews, and other obstinate unbelievers, reject to their own condemnation and destruction. See Isai. xxviii. 16. Mat. xxi. 42. Acts iv. 11. Rom. ix. 32. Wi.
Ver. 5. You also . . . a holy† priesthood; and, as he saith again, (v. 9.) a royal priesthood. 1. Because they had ministers of God, who were truly and properly priests, of whom Christ is the chief. 2. Every good Christian in a less proper sense may be called a priest, inasmuch as he offers to God what in a less proper and metaphorical sense may be called sacrifices and oblations; that is, the sacrifice of an humble and contrite heart, (Ps. l.) the sacrifice of self-denials and mortifications, of prayer, almsdeeds, &c. And it is called a royal priesthood, as Christians may be called metaphorically kings, by governing their passions, or because they are invited to reign with Christ in his kingdom, to sit on his throne, &c. See Apoc. iii. 21. &c. Wi.
[†] V. 5. Ierateuma agion basileion. See S. Amb. in Psal. cxviii. S. Aug. l. x. de lib. c. 6. &c.
Ver. 8. Whereunto also they are† set, or placed, i.e. by God's permission; not that God is the cause of their sins or damnation, (whose will is that every one be saved) but his justice has appointed and decreed punishments against those who, by their own wilful malice, refuse to believe and to follow his doctrine: their stumbling against this stone is wilful and obstinate. Wi.
[†] V. 8. In quo et positi sunt: eiV o, in quod, eteqhsan, which cannot agree with logoV, or giqoV, but seems to agree with the whole sentence, which is to be understood of God's permission and punishment for their obstinacy.
Ver. 9. You are . . . a purchased people, whom Christ purchased, bought and redeemed with the price of his precious blood.
--- That you may declare his† virtues; i.e. the excellencies and perfections of God, who hath called you, and now made you his people, which you were not, at least in this matter before, neither you that were Jews, nor especially you that were Gentiles. Wi.
[†] V. 9. Virtutes ejus, taV aretaV, not dunameiV, and so should not be translated powers, as by Mr. N.
Ver. 11. I beseech you . . . to refrain, &c. from all unlawful and disorderly passions, that the Gentiles not yet converted may have nothing to blame in your lives and conversation, but may be edified and induced to praise God. Wi.
Ver. 12. In the day of visitation. God is said to visit his people, sometimes by afflictions and punishments, and sometimes by graces and favours. Some think S. Peter here, by the day of visitation, means the approaching destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and that the sense is, that the heathen Romans seeing your peaceable dispositions and pious conversations, may have a favourable opinion of the Christian religion, and be converted. Others, that you and they to whom the gospel is preached, may glorify God when he visits them with graces and favours, whether exterior or interior. Wi.
--- Be careful not to give occasion to scandal. Detraction is the life of the world, and piety is most exposed to its shafts, because it most condemns the maxims of its followers.
Ver. 13. To every human creature, to every one whom the order of Providence has placed over you, whether it be to emperors or kings, who have the supreme power in kingdoms, or to governors of provinces; obey your temporal princes, though heathens and idolaters, (as the Roman emperors were at that time enemies to the Christian religion) in all that is not sinful and against the law of God: for this is the will of God, and all power is from God. See Rom.s xiii. In like manner (v. 18) servants must be subject and obey their masters, though they be infidels. See 1 Cor. vii. By this you will silence the ignorance and calumnies of foolish men, who pretended that the Christian religion taught them to be disobedient to princes, and to be subjects of Christ only, their supreme spiritual king. Wi.
[†] V. 13. Omni humanæ creaturæ, ktisei, which the Protestants here translate, to every ordinance; but they translated, creature, Mark xvi. 15. Col. i. 15.
Ver. 16. As free; to wit, from the slavery of sin, but take care not to make this Christian freedom and liberty a cloak for malice, as they do, who pretend that this makes subjects free from their obedience to temporal princes and magistrates; or servants free from the obedience due to their masters, even when they are froward,† ill-humoured, or cross to them. Wi.
--- There were some heretics in the days of S. Peter, as there are at present, who under pretext of evangelical liberty seek to be free from all even lawful subjection, and thus set themselves above the ordinances of both civil and ecclesiastical power.
[†] V. 16. Dyscolis, skolioiV, pravis, curvis, &c.
Ver. 19. Take notice that this is praiseworthy, an effect of God's grace, a thing acceptable to God, when you suffer injuries patiently; whereas it is no glory, nothing that deserves commendation or reward, either before God or man, to suffer for doing ill, as a malefactor, who deserves punishments. But it is glorious and meritorious for you to suffer as Christians, and for the Christian faith: be not then ashamed to suffer in this manner. These sufferings are marks of God's favour towards you, and you have the example of Christ, which you must imitate. Wi.
Ver. 23. Christ, who was incapable of sinning, did not revile† them that reviled him; he suffered all with patience; he willingly gave himself up to Pontius Pilate, that judged him, and condemned him unjustly†† to the death of the cross: and remember that all he suffered was to satisfy for your sins, that he bore our sins in his own body on the tree of the cross. Remember always this great benefit of your redemption, and of your being called to believe in him, and to be eternally happy by following his doctrine; that all of you were as sheep going astray, lost in your ignorance and in your sins, but that by his grace and by his merits you are now called and converted to Jesus Christ, the great pastor and bishop of your souls. You are happy if you live under his care, inspection, and protection. Wi.
[†] V. 23. Cum malediceretur, non maledicebat, loidoroumenoV, convitiis appetitus; improperly translated, cursed, by Mr. N.
[††] Ibid. Judicanti se injustè. In the present Greek we read dikaiwV, justè, as also some Latin Fathers read. S. Aug. (tract. 21. in Joan.) Commendabat autem judicanti justè; and so the sense is, that he commanded and committed his cause to God, the just judge of all.