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REMARKS ON I PETER 4:14,15.

Covington, GA., Jan.1, 1860.

If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you; on their part he is evil spoken of; but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evil-doer, or as a busy-body in other men’s matters.

This epistle was addressed to the strangers scattered abroad in the primitive age of the church, and who are called the elect of God. Their professed standing as the followers of Christ subjected them to much persecution and suffering from a gain-saying world. Peter wrote to those brethren, who were, probably, most of them Jews according to the flesh, to comfort, and confirm them in the truth amid the fiery trials and temptations to which they were exposed, to direct them to be subject to the Governments under which they lived; and to warn them to take no part in the insurrections then formed by the Jews against the Roman Government. They were not to think strange of the fiery trial which was to try them as though some strange thing had happened to them, but they were to rejoice, inasmuch as they were partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that when his glory should be revealed, they might be glad with exceeding joy. Then follows our text in immediate connection to show that amidst all the reproach they might experience for the name of Christ, they were to be happy and rejoice in it, for the Spirit of glory, and of God rested upon them. By this we learn the blessedness attending those who faithfully and boldly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, and whose life, conduct, and conversation correspond with their profession. The reproach heaped upon the followers of Jesus for righteousness sake, is a part of the legacy they must have in this world, and is an evidence in their favor. And when they do well, and suffer for it, and they take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. Even servants are directed to be subject to their masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the forward. For this is thank-worthy, if a man for conscience towards God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. Therefore to be reproached, and to suffer wrong for Christ’s sake in obedience to the laws of civil Government, and also to the laws of Zion’s King, is a source of joy and rejoicing to the saints. While the enemies of God and truth will speak evil of the saints, vilify, and misrepresent their doctrine and faith, it is virtually speaking evil of Christ, for what is spoken against the followers of Christ in doctrine and practice, is spoken against Christ. In this way the name of Christ is spoken evil of, and blasphemed in our day. But the part borne by the saints in all meekness, humility, and lowliness of mind, when suffering reproach for Christ’s sake, glorifies God, and honors the name of their Lord and Master. They are not to render evil for evil, or railing for railing; but contrariwise blessing; knowing that the saints are called to inherit a blessing. The saints in our day should remember to keep their tongue from evil, and their lips from speaking guile. Also to shun evil, and do good, to seek peace and follow it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. Happy and blessed, therefore, is the people that have sanctified the Lord God in their hearts; and are always ready to give an answer to every man that asketh them a reason of the hope that is in them, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience; that, whereas, they {the enemies} speak evil of them {the saints} as of evil-doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse their good conversation in Christ. Thousands have suffered martyrdom for Christ’s sake, while in obedience to civil government, and the laws of Zion’s King. Their persecutors were exercised by a murderous spirit like the Jews who crucified the Lord Jesus, and persecuted the prophets and apostles even unto death. The saints, while suffering martyrdom, have in numerous instances, prayed and sung praises to God, thereby exhibiting to their merciless enemies, their innocency, and that the grace of God was sufficient for them amidst all their sufferings and distress.

A murderer is one who, in possession of his reason unlawfully kills a human being, with premeditated malice; but if a man suffer as a murderer, he receives the just demerit of his crime, and is dealt with as he should be. The vengeance of God upon the Jewish nation as the murderers of the Lord Jesus, and as rebels against the Roman Government, was in truth and justice. A murderer is, in reality, a man-hater, an enemy to God, and civil society.

A thief is one who takes unlawfully and feloniously the property of another, either secretly, or by violence. If he suffers for his crime there is no reward in it. He only meets with what he deserves. He has no reason to complain.

An evil-doer is one who does evil, commits sin, crime, or any wrong. When such a person is brought to justice, and receives summary punishment, the dignity of the law is unstained, and good order established and maintained.

A busy-body is a meddling person; one who officiously concerns himself with the affairs of others. Such a one is a pest in society, and never hears any good of himself, from the fact that he never does any good for any person to speak of.

Either, or all of these, are condemned by the apostles in a clear and expressive manner. For a person to be a follower of the meek and lowly Jesus, and yet be guilty of all, or any of the above mentioned crimes, is a monstrous incongruity. The instigators of treason, insurrection, and murder, may call a man of such principle when brought to justice, a martyr, but the laws of God and man, in accordance with the Scriptures of truth, condemn him as a murderer, a thief, an evil-doer in other men’s matters.

If any man suffer as a christian, or follower of Christ, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. To love mercy, do justly, and walk humbly before God, comprehends the life, and walk of a christian.

J.L.P.