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- 2 Peter
by Thomas Coke
THE SECOND EPISTLE GENERAL OF PETER.
ST. PETER'S intent in this Epistle, which he wrote, as he did the former, to the dispersed Jews who had embraced Christianity, and to the other Christians among them, was to raise more and more in their hearts the love of holiness, and to warn them against false teachers who were labouring to implant the most pernicious errors in all the churches. He then speaks of those wicked wretches who scoffed at the belief of our Lord's second coming, and of the last judgment, ch. 2Pe 3:1-4 and who took in an ill sense what St. Paul had written thereon in his epistles; and he bears full and just testimony to the great wisdom wherewith the Lord had enlightened that apostle, and to the sound doctrine which is evident in all his writings; 2Pe 3:15-16 and, though they are not entirely free from difficulties, (as indeed how can such darkened and limited understandings as our's fail of meeting with difficulties when endeavouring to seek out the high things of God?) yet St. Peter attributes the erroneous explanations of the Scriptures to the evil and perverse disposition, of those who wrest them for the indulgence of their own lusts or fancies. And, to mortify the vanity of such still more, (for they are generally people of a certain rank, not the humble poor, who make a snare of the Scriptures and fall into heresy,) he calls them unlearned and unstable persons, ever ready to follow the first illusion that arises in their minds; and reproaches them with wrestling the scriptures to their own destruction, ch. 2 Peter 3:16. Yet he still recommends the perusal of St. Paul's epistles, and all the other books of Scripture, notwithstanding the ill use which perverse minds had made of them. All parts of them are not indeed equally clear and easy to be understood; but the difficulties are not such as to throw any obscurity over matters of faith and salvation; nor have these very difficulties been left by the Holy Spirit, which is the primary Author of the Scriptures, but to make us more attentive in the reading of them, and to induce us to apply to God for Divine illumination; humbly addressing him, as often as we open that sacred volume, in the words of the Psalmist, Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law! Psalms 119:18.
the Second Week of Advent