5. Likewise, ye younger. The word elder is put here in a sense
different from what it had before; for it is necessary, when a contrast
is made between them and the younger, that the two clauses should correspond.
Then he refers to the elders in age, having before spoken of the office;
and thus he comes from the particular to the general. And in short, he
bids every one that is inferior in age to obey the counsels of the elders,
and to be teachable and humble; for the age of youth is inconstant, and
requires a bridle. Besides, pastors could not have performed their duty,
except this reverential feeling prevailed and was cultivated, so that the
younger suffered themselves to be ruled; for if there be no subjection,
government is overturned. When they have no authority who ought by right
or order of nature to rule, all will immediately become insolently wanton.
Yea, all. He shews the reason why the younger ought to submit
to the elder, even that there might be an equable state of things and due
order among them. For, when authority is granted to the elders, there is
not given them the right or the liberty of throwing off the bridle, but
they are also themselves to be under due restraint, so that there may be
a mutual subjection. So the husband is the head of the wife, and yet he
in his turn is to be in some things subject to her. So the father has authority
over his children, and still he is not exempt from all subjection, but
something is due to them. The same thing, also, is to be thought of others.
In short, all ranks in society have to defend the whole body, which cannot
be done, except all the members are joined together by the bond of mutual
subjection. Nothing is more adverse to the disposition of man than subjection.
For it was formerly very truly said, that every one has within him the
soul of a king. Until, then, the high spirits, with which the nature of
men swells, are subdued, no man will give way to another; but, on the contrary,
each one, despising others, will claim all things for himself.
Hence the Apostle, in order that humility may dwell among us, wisely
reproves this haughtiness and pride. And the metaphor he uses is very appropriate,
as though he had said, “Surround yourselves with humility on every side,
as with a garment which covers the whole body.” He yet intimates that no
ornament is more beautiful or more becoming, than when we submit one to
For, or, because. It is a most grievous threatening, when
he says, that all who seek to elevate themselves, shall have God as their
enemy, who will lay them low. But, on the contrary, he says of the humble,
that God will be propitious and favorable to them. We are to imagine that;
God has two hands; the one, which like a hammer beats down and breaks in
pieces those who raise up themselves; and the other, which raises up the
humble who willingly let down themselves, and is like a firm prop to sustain
them. Were we really convinced of this, and had it deeply fixed in our
minds, who of us would dare by pride to urge war with God? But the hope
of impunity now makes us fearlessly to raise up our horn to heaven. Let,
then, this declaration of Peter be as a celestial thunderbolt to make men
But he calls those humble, who being emptied of every confidence in
their own power, wisdom, and righteousness, seek every good from God alone.
Since there is no coming to God except in this way, who, having lost his
own glory, ought not willingly to humble himself?
6. Humble yourselves therefore. We must ever bear in mind for
what; end he bids us to be humble before God, even that we may be more
courteous and kind to our brethren, and not refuse to submit to them as
far as love demands. Then they who are haughty and refractory towards men,
are, he says, acting insolently towards God. He therefore exhorts all the
godly to submit to God’s authority; and he calls God’s power his hand,
that he might make them to fear the more. For though hand is often applied
to God, yet it is to be understood here according to the circumstances
of the passage. But as we are wont commonly to fear, lest our humility
should be a disadvantage to us, and others might for this reason grow more
insolent, Peter meets this objection, and promises eminency to all who
But he adds, in due time, that he might at the same time obviate too
much haste. He then intimates that it is necessary for us to learn humility
now, but that the Lord well knows when it is expedient for us to be elevated.
Thus it behoves us to yield to his counsel.
7. Casting all our care. He more fully sets forth here the providence
of God. For whence are these proverbial sayings, “We shall have to howl
among wolves,” and, “They are foolish who are like sheep, exposing themselves
to wolves to be devoured,” except that we think that by our humility we
set loose the reins to the audacity of the ungodly, so that they insult
us more wantonly? But this fear arises from our ignorance of divine providence.
Now, on the other hand, as soon as we are convinced that God cares for
us, our minds are easily led to patience and humility. Lest, then, the
wickedness of men should tempt us to a fierceness of mind, the Apostle
prescribes to us a remedy, and also David does in the thirty-seventh Psalm,
so that having cast our care on God, we may calmly rest. For all those
who recumb not on God’s providence must necessarily be in constant turmoil
and violently assail others. We ought the more to dwell on this thought,
that God cares for us, in order, first, that we may have peace within;
and, secondly, that we may be humble and meek towards men.
But we are not thus bidden to cast all our care on God, as though God
wished us to have strong hearts, and to be void of all feeling; but lest
fear or anxiety should drive us to impatience. In like manner, the knowledge
of divine providence does not free men from every care, that they may securely
indulge themselves; for it ought not to encourage the torpidity of the
flesh, but to bring rest to faith.
1 Peter 5:8-11
8. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a
roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour:
8. Sobrii estote, vigilate, quia adversarius vester diabolus, tanquam
leo rugiens, circuit, quaerens quem devoret (vel, quempiam devorare;)
9. Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions
are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
9. Cui resistite firmi fide, scientes easdem passiones, vestrae
quae in mundo fraternitati adimpleri.
10. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal
glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect,
stablish, strengthen, settle you:
10. Deus autera omnis gratiae, qui nos vocavit in aeternam suam
gloriam per Christum Jesum, paulisper afflictos ipse vos perficiat, confirmet,
11. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
11. Ei gloria et imperium in secula seculorum. Amen.
8. Be sober. This explanation extends wider, that as we have
war with a most fierce and most powerful enemy, we are to be strenuous
in resisting him. But he uses a twofold metaphor, that they were to be
sober, and that they were to exercise watchfulness. Surfeiting produces
sloth and sleep; even so they who indulge in earthly cares and pleasures,
think of nothing else, being under the power of spiritual lethargy.
We now perceive what the meaning of the Apostle is. We must, he says,
carry on a warfare in this world; and he reminds us that we have to do
with no common enemy, but one who, like a lion, runs here and there, ready
to devour. He hence concludes that we ought carefully to watch. Paul stimulates
us with the same argument in the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians,
where he says that we have a contest not with flesh and blood, but with
spiritual wickedness, etc. But we too often turn peace into sloth, and
hence it comes that the enemy then circumvents and overwhelms us; for,
as though placed beyond the reach of danger, we indulge ourselves according
to the will of the flesh.
He compares the devil to a lion, as though he had said, that he is a
savage wild beast. He says that he goes round to devour, in order to rouse
us to wariness. He calls him the adversary of the godly, that they might
know that they worship God and profess faith in Christ on this condition,
that they are to have continual war with the devil, for he does not spare
the members who fights with the head.
9. Whom resist. As the power of an enemy ought to stimulate us
and make us more careful, so there would be danger lest our hearts failed
through immoderate fear, except the hope of victory were given us. This
then is what the Apostle speaks of; he shows that the issue of the war
will be prosperous, if we indeed fight under the banner of Christ; for
whosoever comes to this contest, endued with faith, he declares that he
will certainly be a conqueror.
Resist, he says; but some one may ask, how? To this he answers, there
is sufficient strength in faith. Paul, in the passage which I have already
quoted, enumerates the various parts of our armor, but the meaning is the
same, (Ephesians 6:13,) for John testifies that faith alone is our victory
over the world.
Knowing that the same afflictions, or sufferings. It is another consolation,
that we have a contest in common with all the children of God; for Satan
dangerously tries us, when he separates us from the body of Christ. We
have heard how he attempted to storm the courage of Job,
“Look to the saints, has any one of them suffered such a thing ?”
— Job 5:1.
The Apostle on the other hand, reminds us here that nothing happens
to us but what we see does happen to other members of the Church. Moreover
a fellowship, or a similar condition, with all the saints, ought by no
means to be refused by us.
By saying that the same sufferings are accomplished, he means what Paul
declares in Colossians 1:24, that what remains of the sufferings of Christ
is daily fulfilled in the faithful.
The words, that are in the world, may be explained in two ways, either
that God proves his faithful people indiscriminately everywhere in the
world, or that the necessity of fighting awaits us as long as we are in
the world. But we must observe that having said before that we are assailed
by Satan, he then immediately refers to every kind of afflictions. We hence
gather that we have always to do with our spiritual enemy, however adversities
may come, or whatever they may be, whether diseases oppress us, or the
barrenness of the land threatens us with famine, or men persecute us.
10. But the God of all grace. After having sufficiently dwelt
on admonitions, he now turns to prayer; for doctrine is in vain poured
forth into the air, unless God works by his Spirit. And this example ought
to be followed by all the ministers of God, that is, to pray that he may
give success to their labors; for otherwise they effect nothing either
by planting or by watering.
Some copies have the future tense, as though a promise is made; but
the other reading is more commonly received. At the same time, the Apostle,
by praying God, confirms those to whom he was writing, for when he calls
God the author of all grace, and reminds them that they were called to
eternal glory, his purpose no doubt was, to confirm them in the conviction,
that the work of their salvation, which he had begun, would be completed.
He is called the God of all grace from the effect, from the gifts he
bestows, according to the Hebrew manner. And he mentions expressly all
grace, first that they might learn that every blessing is to be ascribed
to God; and secondly, that one grace is connected with another, so that
they might hope in future for the addition of those graces in which they
were hitherto wanting.
Who hath called us. This, as I have said, serves to increase
confidence, because God is led not only by his goodness, but also by his
gracious benevolence, to aid us more and more. He does not simply mention
calling, but he shews wherefore they were called, even that they might
obtain eternal glory. He further fixes the foundation of calling in Christ.
Both these things serve to give perpetual confidence, for if our calling
is founded on Christ, and refers to the celestial kingdom of God and a
blessed immortality, it follows that it is not transient nor fading.
It may also be right, by the way, to observe that when he says that
we are called in Christ, first, our calling is established, because it
is rightly founded; and secondly, that all respect to our worthiness and
merit is excluded; for that God, by the preaching of the gospel, invites
us to himself, it is altogether gratuitous; and it is still a greater grace
that he efficaciously touches our hearts so as to lead us to obey his voice.
Now Peter especially addresses the faithful; he therefore connects the
efficacious power of the Spirit with the outward doctrine.
As to the three words which follow, some copies have them in the ablative
case, which may be rendered in Latin by gerunds (fulciendo, roborando,
stabiliendo) by supporting, by strengthening, by establishing. But in this
there is not much importance with regard to the meaning. Besides, Peter
intends the same thing by all these words, even to confirm the faithful;
and he uses these several words for this purpose, that we may know that
to follow our course is a matter of no common difficulty, and that therefore
we need the special grace of God. The words suffered a while, inserted
here, shew that the time of suffering is but short, and this is no small
11. To him be glory. That he might add more confidence to the
godly, he breaks out into thanksgiving. Though this be read in the indicative
as well as in the optative mood, still the meaning is nearly the same.