the First Week of Lent
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Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments Sutcliffe's Commentary
- 2 Peter
by Joseph Sutcliffe
THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PETER.
EUSEBIUS, in his ecclesiastical history, book 3. chap. 3, says, “One epistle of Peter, called his first, has by general consent been received as genuine, because the worthy ancients have in former ages quoted it in their writings, as of undoubted and undisputed authority. But with regard to that called his second epistle, we have been told by our predecessors that it was not acknowledged as part of the new testament. Notwithstanding, because to many it seemed useful, it was diligently read, together with the other scriptures.”
The ancients laboured under great defects of general knowledge; they had not the advantages of the press, which opens a flood of intelligence from all the world. Dr. Lardner, in vol. 2. of his credibility of the gospel, has proved that Eusebius was uninformed of the use which the ancients made of this epistle. St. Clement, of Rome, makes three allusions to the second chapter, and one to the third. It is twice referred to in the Pastor by Hermes, is clearly cited by Justin Martyr, and often so by subsequent writers. But as Peter speaks in strong words of the deity of Christ, heretics were not deficient in caveats and scruples. They urge that it was not admitted into the Syrian canon of the new testament.
The epistle contains its own defence. The name, Simon Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. He also mentions his great age, and the approximation of his martyrdom; the glory he saw, and the voice he heard at the transfiguration. In all, we find the same apostle, the same style, diversified only by years and circumstances, and the same paternal spirit breathing through the whole. He speaks with the dignity of an apostle, and calls Paul his beloved brother. What more can hypercriticism require?
The aim and design of the two epistles coincide. He writes generally to all christians, illustrating the strong foundation of their faith and hope. He enforces divine precepts by the weight of ancient example, and alarms the conscience of sinners by the approaching judgment of a vindictive God.