[WRITTEN FROM ROME, A. D. 64.]
I.--PETER, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect sojourners of the dispersion, of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,--according to the predetermination of God the Father, by a sanctification of Spirit, in order to obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Favor and peace be multiplied to you.
3.--Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his great mercy, has regenerated us to a lively hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead--to an inheritance incorruptible and undefined, and unfading, preserved in the heavens for us; who, by the power of God, are guarded through faith, to the salvation prepared to be revealed in the last time. On account of this be exceeding glad, though now, for a little while, (since it is needful,) you are made sorry by divers trials; that the trying of your faith, (much more precious than of gold, which perishes, though proved by fire,) may be found to praise, and honor, and glory, at the revelation of Jesus Christ; whom, not having seen, you love; on whom, not now looking, but believing, you greatly rejoice, with joy unspeakable and full of glory--receiving the consummation of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Concerning which salvation, the prophets inquired accurately, and searched diligently, who hve prophesied concerning the favor bestowed on you; searching diligently of what things, andwhat kind of time, the Spirit of Christ, who was in them, did signify, when he testified before, the sufferings for Christ, and the glories following these:--to whom it was revealed, that not for themselves, but for us, they ministered these tings; which have now been reported toyou, by them who have declared the glad tidings to you, with the holy Spirit sent down from heaven: into which things, angels earnestly desire to look attentively. Wherefore, having the loins of your mind girded, being vigilant, constantly hope for the gift to be brought to you, at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts, in your ignorance; but as he who has called you is holy, be you also holy: for it is written, "Be you holy, because I am holy." And seeing you call on the Father, who, without respect of persons, judges according to every man's work,--pass the time of your sojourning in fear; knowing that not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, you were redeemed from our foolish behaviour, delivered to you by your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without belemish, and without spot; predetermined, indeed, before the foundation of the world, but manifested in these last times for you; who through him believe in God, who raised him up from the dead, and gae him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God. Wherefore, having purified your souls by obeying the truth, through the Spirit, to unfeigned brotherly love, love one anotehr, from a pure haert, fervently: having been regenerated, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of the living God, which remains. "For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower of it falls down; but the word of the Lord remains forever.") Now this is that word, which has been proclaimed as glad tidings to you.
II.--Wherefore, laying aside all malice, and all guile and hypocrisies, and envyings, and all evil speakings; as new-born babes, earnestly desire the unadulterated milk of the word, that you may grow by it. Because, indeed, you have tasted that the Lord is good; to whom coming, as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God, and precious; you also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual temple, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices, most acceptable to God, through Jesus Christ. Wherefore, it is contained in the scripture, "Behold I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: whoever trusts in it, shall not be ashamed." to you, then, who trust, it is precious; but to the unbelieving--a stone which the builders rejected, which has become the head of the corner--a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence. Those who stumble at the word, asre disobedient unbelievers, to which, therefore, they were appointed: but you are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people; that you should declare the perfections of him, who has called you from darkness into his marvellous light: who formerly were not a people, but now are a people of God; who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Beloved, I beseech you, as sojourners and travellers, abstain from fleshly lusts, which ar against the soul. Have your behaviour comely, among the Gentiles, that whereas they speak against you, as evil doers, having beheld your good works, they may glorify God, in the day of visitation. Be subject, therefore, to every human establishment for the Lord's sake; whether to the king, as supreme; or to governors, as those sent by him for the punishment, indeed, of evil doers; but for the praise of them who do good. For so is th will of God, that by doing good, you put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. Live as freemen, yet do not use your freedom as a covering of wickedness; but as the servants of God. Treat all men with respect: love the brotherhood: fear God: honor the king. Let household servants be subject to their masters, with all reverence; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is acceptable, if any one, from conscience of God, sustain sorrows, suffering unjustly. But what priase is due, if, when you commit faults and are buffeted, you bear it patiently? Yet if, when you do well, and suffer, you bear it patiently, this is acceptable with God. Besides, to this you were caleld; for even Christ suffered for us, leaving us a pattern, that you should follow his footsteps; who did not sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but committed his cause to him who judges righteously:--who himself bore away our sins in his own body, on the tree; that we, being freed from sins, should live to righteousness; by whose stripes you are healed. For you were as sheep going astray, but are now returned to the Shepherd, and Overseer of your souls.
III.--In like manner, let the wives be in subjection to their own husbands; that, indeed, if any obey not the word, they, without the word, may be won by the behaviour of their wives, (when they behold your chaste behaviour joined with reverence:) whose adorning, let it not be that which is external,--the plaiting of hair, trinkets of gold, or finery of dress; but
--the hidden man of the heart, with the incorruptible ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great value. For this, anciently, the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands; even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord; whose daughters you are become, doing well, and not fearing any terror. In like manner, husbands, dwell with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor to the wife, as the weaker vessel, and as joint heirs of the favor of life, that your prayers be not hindered. Finally, be all of one mind, sympathizing, lovers of the brethren, tender-hearted, courteous;--not returning evil for evil, or railing for railing; but, on the contrary, bless: knowing that to this you were called, that you might inherit the blessing. "For he who is desirous to enjoy life, and to see good days, let him restrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their supplication; but the face of the Lord is against the workers of iniquity." Besides, who is he that will do evil to you, if you be imitators of the Good One? Nevertheless, although you even suffer for righteousness' sake, you are happy. Therefore, do not fear their fear, neither be troubled: but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be always prepared for giving an answer, with meekness and reverence, to every one who asks of you a reason for the hope, which is in you. Hold fast a good conscience, that whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may be put to shame, who arraign your good behaviour in Christ. For it is better to suffer as well doers, if the will of God appoints it, than as evil doers. For even Christ once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God; being put to death, indeed, in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit. By which also he made proclamation to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when the patience of God once waited, in the days of Noah, while an ark was preparing, in which few, that is, eight souls, were effectually saved through water:--the antitype, immersion, does also now save us, (not the putting away the filth of the flesh; but the seeking of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ; who, having gone into heaven, is at the right hand of God; angels, and authorities, and powers, being subjected to him.
IV.--Chirst, then, having suffered for us in the flesh, do you also arm yourselves with the same mind: for he who has suffered in the flesh, has ceased from sin; so that he no longer lives his remaining time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time which has passed of life, is sufficient to have wrought the will of the Gentiles; having walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excesses in wine, revellings, carousals, and abominable idolatries. On which account they wonder, that you do not run with them into the same sink of debauchery, reviling you:--who shall give account by him, who is prepared to judge the living and the dead. For to this end the gospel was preached to the dead, that they might, indeed, be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
7.--Now the end of all things has approached; be, therefore, sober, and watch to prayer. And above all things, have fervent love to one another; for love will cover a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another, without murmurings. Let every one, according as he has received a gift, minister it to the others, as good stewards of the manifold favor of God. If any one speak, let him speak as the oracles of God: if any one minister, let him do it as from the strength which God supplies; that in all things God may be glorified, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. Beloved, wonder not at the fiery trial among you, which is come upon you for a trial, as if some strange thing happened to you; but, seeing you partake of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice; that also at the revelation of his glory you may rejoice, with exceedingly great joy. if you be reproached for the name of Christ, you are happy; because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. By them, indeed, he is evil spoken of, but by you he is glorified. Wherefore, let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or a malefactor, or as a meddling person. However, if any one suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him even glorify God on that account. Indeed, the time is come that punishment must begin at the house of God; and if it begin first at us, what the end of them, who do not obey the gospel of God? And, if the righteous with difficulty escape, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear! Wherefore, then, let those who suffer by the will of God, commit their own lives to him in well doing, as to a faithful Creator.
V.--The seniors, who are among you, I exhort, who am also a senior, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory which is to be revealed. Feed the flock of God, which is with you; exercising the overseer's office, not by constraint, but willingly; neither for the sake of sordid gain, but from good disposition; neither as lording it over the heritage of God, but being patterns to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive the crown of glory, which fades not away.
5.--For the like reason, you younger persons, subject yourselves to the seniors. Yes, all be subject to one another, and be clothed with humility; for God resists the proud, but gives favor to the humble. Be humbled, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxious care on him, because he cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant: your adversary, the devil, is walking about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the very same sufferings are accomplished in your brethren, who are in the world. And may the God of all favor, who has called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, himself make you complete; support, strengthen, establish you: to him be the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever. Amen. By Sylvanus, a faithful brother, (as I conclude.) I have written to you in few words, exhorting you, and strongly testifying, that this is the true favor of God, in which you stand. They at Babylon, elected jointly with you, and Mark my son, salute you. Salute one another with a kiss of love. Peace to you all, who are in Christ Jesus.
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