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whom he is writing. There is no taint of condescension here. There is not the least intimation of superiority of rank or of personal authority.
5:2. “ Tend the flock of God.”
Compare S. John 21:16; Acts 20:28; 9:7. The shepherds' duties had from a very early time been a parable of that of rulers and teachers. Psalm 78: 70, 71.
In the Old Testament the shepherds of the people were always the civil rulers of the nation. In the New Testament on the other hand the shepherd of the flock is its spiritual guide and teacher.
“ Nor yet for sordid gain.”
Even in the troubled times in which S. Peter wrote there was enough wealth in the Church to make the priest's office a lucrative one. For baser natures there was the temptation of using spiritual influence for secular ends Like the Pharisees before them they had the opportunity to devour widows' houses (1 Matth. 23:14). They could “ lead captive silly women (2 Tim. 3:6; Titus 1:11). The calling of a Presbyter might be made as disreputable an occupation as any on the face of the earth. 5:3.
“Nor as lording it over the charge allotted you." The love of power for the sake of power is as great a hindrance to true pastoral work as avarice. The whole history of the Church shows how fatally it has worked on souls which had conquered or had never known the baser temptation. See S. Matth. 20:25-28; S. Luke 22:24-26; 2 Cor. 12:20.
“ Examples to the flock."
The influence of example is more powerful than any authority, and to attain that influence is the best safeguard against the abuse of power.
“ In due time.” S. Peter does not say that the exaltation of victory will come in this life. He does not say it will not come till the Resurrection. With the full assurance of a genuine living faith he is content to leave “ the times and the seasons in the Father's hands." It should be the same with
5:7. “ Throwing all your anxiety on him.”
Compare S. Matth. 13:22; Luke 8:14; 21:34. Our anxiety is to be swallowed up by our trust in the loving Providence of the Father.
5:9. “ The same sufferings are being accomplished in your brothers.”
We are not alone in our sufferings. Far and near are comrades of ours fighting the same battles and enduring the same afflictions. The realization of such a thought cheers us and helps us very materially in our effort to endure to the end.
“ Will himself restore, establish, strengthen you.” Compare S. Matth. 10:24, 25, S. Luke 6:40; 1 Cor. 1:10; 2 Thess. 2:17; 3:3; S. Matth. 7:25; S. Luke 6:48; 1 Cor. 3:11.
“ By Silvanus our faithful brother." Silvanus here mentioned by S. Peter has been identified with Silas mentioned in Acts 15:22, 32, 40, with the Silvanus of 1 Thess. 1:1, 2; 2 Cor. 1: 19.
“ This is the true grace of God.”
S. Peter, the Apostle of the Circumcision here bears witness to the genuineness of the teaching of S. Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles. For it is to be kept in mind the
churches in the region to which this letter goes were founded by S. Paul. So now, as when he and S. John and S. James gave to Paul and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship (Gal. 2:9), S. Peter recognizes “the grace of God” which had been given to them and through them. 5:13.
“She who is in Babylon." From whom this salutation comes is not definitely known Some think it means the church in Babylon, some think it was S. Peter's wife or some other prominent member of the church there.
The Babylon referred to has been thought to be the apocalyptic Babylon of S. John's Revelation, that is Rome. But more recent commentators think it is Babylon on the Euphrates.
5:14. “ Salute each other with a kiss of love." Compare Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12.
The separation of the sexes when the church met for worship, which was probably inherited from the Jewish synagogue, was a safeguard against the scandal which the practise might otherwise have occasioned. In the thirteenth century, when the sexes were no longer separated, the practice was discontinued.
II. S. PETER-NOTES.
I:1. “ Through the fuirness of our God.”
There is no “respect of persons ” with our God. Compare Acts 10:44; 15:8, 9.
1:5. “ Knowledge.”
This means the moral discernment of those who understand what the will of the Lord is, Eph. 5:17; of those who have their senses exercised to distinguish between good and evil, Heb. 5: 14. This kind of knowledge is to be gained only by the practice of virtue.
“ For he who has not these is blind." We are to pass on from one attainment in the divine calling to another, for if we do not do so we sink back of necessity into a want of power to see even the first principles of the Kingdom of God.
Short-sighted.” The man in this condition of his spiritual life sees only what is near at hand, the allurements and provocations that spring from the lower man in him. He has lost the power to see the far-off things of eternal life.
“ To make your calling and selection sure.” Compare i S. Peter 1:2; 2:21 ; and notes on them.
“ Till the day dawns and the day star rises in
In S. Paul's thought the “ day ” is identical with the coming of the Lord as an objective fact; the close of the world's night of ignorance and moral darkness. Here the addition of the words “and the day star rises in your hearts ”fixes its meaning as in some sense subjective. The words point to a direct manifestation of Christ to the soul of the believer as being higher than the “ prophetic word,” as that in its turn had been higher than the attestation of the visible glory and the voice from heaven. Compare i S. Peter 2:9; S. Luke 1:78.
“ No prophecy of Scripture comes from private interpretation."
The Apostle here calls 'on men to give heed to the prophetic word on the ground that no prophecy authenticated as such as being recognized as part of the Old or New Testament comes by the prophet's own interpretation of the facts with which he has to deal. It is borne to him from that which is, in the truest sense of the word, an inspiration.
“ By the will of man." Compare S. John 1:13. “Men spoke from God being moved by the Holy Spirit.”.
These words assert in the fullest sense the inspiration of all true prophets. Their work does not originate in their own will. The mode and degree of their inspiration, however, and its relation to the prophet's co-operating will and previous habits of thought are left undefined.
“But false prophets came also among the people.” The section of the Epistle which now opens was either