1 Peter 2:1-3
Why laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings,…
I. THE SIMILITUDE BY WHICH CHRISTIANS ARE HERE REPRESENTED.
1. This may relate to the commencement of the spiritual life at regeneration, as compared with its subsequent growth in this world. Not only has this life a beginning here, after the natural birth, but it begins like that, in a small, feeble, and almost imperceptible manner.
2. But this childhood may relate to the whole state of the spiritual life in the present world as compared with its future manhood.
II. WHAT THAT GROWTH IS WHICH THE SCRIPTURE IS CALCULATED THUS TO PROMOTE THOUGH THE WHOLE COURSE OF OUR MORTAL EXISTENCE.
1. In knowledge. At first this principle is weak in its perception of the things of revelation. It begins with those parts of Scripture which lie nearest to human observation, and in which the Bible most accommodates itself to human ignorance. It proceeds to those passages suited to an awakened and quickened state of feeling.
2. In purity. The mind naturally conforms itself to the sentiments with which it is conversant.
3. In heavenly mindedness. To that world from which the Scriptures Came, and about which they frequently treat, they insensibly draw the devout peruser. They facilitate the withdrawment of our minds from this world by the transitoriness which they attach to all earthly excellences, and by making them to stand for signs of others, yet greater and better, in the celestial economy. Hence our elevation is effectively promoted.
4. In peace and tranquillity of mind, amidst all the disturbances and ills of life. What book is, or can be, like the Bible, for its perpetual reference of all things here to a Divine superintendence?
5. In fine, the Scripture is calculated to promote the growth of every grace of the Spirit necessary to complete the Christian character. It feeds repentance by the evil it discloses in sin; it feeds Divine love by the excellence it portrays in God, rectifying the misconceptions of the carnal mind; it feeds faith by the representation of its objects, and by the impression it makes of its innate majesty and authority on the devout peruser of its pages. In like manner it feeds hope, patience, resignation, zeal, and every other grace which branches out of the principle of spiritual life, and completes the character of the man of God.
III. WHAT THAT STATE OF MIND IS WHICH CHRISTIANS ARE REQUIRED TO CULTIVATE IN ORDER TO SECURE THIS GREAT BENEFIT FROM THE SCRIPTURE.
1. There must be the removal of what would otherwise prove fatal impediments. James inculcates the same duty under a different metaphor (1 Peter 1:21). He compares the Word to a fruit bearing plant, requiring a clean and friendly soil for its growth. The weeds of evil dispositions must be eradicated, or its roots will not spread, nor its virtue disclose itself. "Purify your hearts," therefore, he adds elsewhere, "ye double minded. Be ye doers of the Word," etc.
2. These impediments being removed, we must cherish and promote the spiritual appetite. The appetite of the infant for its appropriate supply is natural. The spiritual appetite, to be analogous to it, must have several properties.
(1) It must be earnest. The child cries, is impatient for its designed support; and it is not an idle, cold, sluggish desire after the aliment provided for spiritual growth that will subserve our growth. "My soul breaketh," says David, "for the longing it hath to Thy statutes."(2) It must be specific and suitable. No toys and gew-gaws, no gifts of gold and silver, no, nor even of the most delicious food, will compensate the infant for the absence of its natural support. Thus we must take heed not to substitute for the truth of Scripture the sentiments of men, though set forth with all the advantages of learning and eloquence.
(3) It must be constant, The infant tires not of its proper food, but finds in it all it wants both nutritive and delicious. Nor must we tire of the Word of God, nor seek for a greater variety than it presents. It contains within itself all that is necessary for life and godliness, for comfort and improvement.
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,