Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Whom, having not seen.—Said in contrast to the word “revelation” in the last verse: “whom you love already, though He is not yet revealed, so that you have not as yet seen Him.” There seems to be a kind of tender pity in the words, as spoken by one who himself had seen so abundantly (Acts 4:20; Acts 10:41; 2Peter 1:16). In this and the following verse we return again from the sorrow to the joy, and to the true cause of that joy, which is only to be found in the love of Jesus Christ. There is another reading, though not so good either in sense or in authority, “whom, without knowing Him, ye love.” Bengel remarks that this is intended for a paradox, sight and knowledge being the usual parents of love.
Ye love.—The word of calm and divinely-given attachment, in fact the usual word in the New Testament, that which Christ used in questioning the writer (John 20:15), not the word of warm human friendship with which St. Peter then answered Him.
In whom.—To be construed, not with “ye rejoice,” but with “believing.” The participles give the grounds of the rejoicing: “because at present without seeing ye believe in Him none the less, therefore ye rejoice.” The word “rejoice” takes us back to 1Peter 1:6 : “ye greatly rejoice, I repeat.” Notice, again, the stress laid on faith: we have already had it three times mentioned. St. Peter, whose own faith gained him his name and prerogative, is, at least, as much the Apostle of faith as St. Paul is, though his conception of it, perhaps, slightly differs from St. Paul’s. The definition given by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 11:1) might have been, perhaps was, drawn from a study of St. Peter’s writings. Our present verse gives us the leading thought of “faith” as it appears in both of these works addressed to Hebrews, viz., its being the opposite of sight, “the evidence of things not seen,” rather than as the opposite of works. And the main object of both these Epistles is to keep the Hebrews from slipping back from internal to external religion, i.e., to strengthen faith. (Comp. Hebrews 3:12.) The Apostle is full of admiration for a faith which (unlike his own) was not based on sight. (See John 20:29—an incident which may have been in the writer’s mind.)
Unspeakable.—The beautiful Greek word (which means “unable to find expression in words”) seems to have been coined by St. Peter.
Full of glory.—Literally, that hath been glorified; i.e., a joy that has reached its ideal pitch, and feels no further sense of imperfection; a signification of the word found, for instance, in Romans 8:30.1 Peter
JOY IN BELIEVING
1 Peter 1:8The Apostle has just previously been speaking about the great and glorious things which are to come to Christians on the appearing of Jesus Christ, and that naturally suggests to him the thought of the condition of believing souls during the period of the Lord’s absence and comparative concealment. Having lifted his readers’ hopes to that great Future, when they would attain to ‘praise and honour and glory’ at Christ’s appearing, he drops to the present and to earth, and recalls the disadvantages and deprivations of the present Christian experience as well as its privileges and blessings. ‘Whom having not seen, ye love,’ that is a very natural thought in the mind of one whose love to Jesus rested on the ever-remembered blessed experience of years of happy companionship, when addressing those who had no such memories. It points to an entirely unique fact. There is nothing else in the world parallel to that strange, deep personal attachment which fills millions of hearts to this Man who died nineteen centuries ago, and which is utterly unlike the feelings that any men have to any other of the great names of the past. To love one unseen is a paradox, which is realised only in the relation of the Christian soul to Jesus Christ.
Then the Apostle goes on with what might at first seem a mere repetition of the preceding thought, but really brings to view another strange anomaly. ‘In Whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.’ Love longs for the presence of the beloved, and is restless and defrauded of its gladness so long as absence continues. But this strange love, which is kindled by an unseen Man, does not need His visible presence in order to be a fountain of joy unspeakable and full of glory. Thus the Apostle takes it for granted that every one who believes knows what this joy is. It is a large assumption, contradicted, I am afraid, by the average experience of the people that at this day call themselves Christians.
I. The All-sufficient Ground or Source of this Glad Emotion.
‘In whom,’ with all the disabilities and pains and absence, ‘yet believing,’ you can put out a long arm of faith across the gulf that lies, not only between to-day and eighteen centuries ago, but the deeper and more impassible gulf that lies between earth and heaven, and clasp Christ with a really firm grasp, which will fill the hand, and which we shall feel has laid hold of something, or rather has laid hold of a living person and a loving heart. That is faith. The Apostle uses a very strong form of expression here, which is only very partially represented by our English version. He does not say only ‘in whom believing,’ but ‘towards whom’; putting emphasis upon the effort and direction of the faith, rather than upon the repose of the heart when it has found its object and rests upon Him. And so the conception of the true Christian attitude is that of a continual outgoing of Trust and its child Love; of Desire and its child Possession; and of Expectation and its child Fruition towards that unseen Christ. It is much to believe Him, it is more to believe in Him; it is--I was going to say--most of all to believe towards Him. For in this region, quite as much as, and I think more than, in the one to which the saying was originally applied, ‘search is better than attainment.’ Our condition must always be that of ‘forgetting the things that are behind’; and however much we may realise the union with the unseen Christ in the act of resting upon Him, that must never be suffered to interfere with the longing for the larger possession of myself, and fuller consequent likeness to Him, which is expressed in that great though simple phrase of my text ‘believing towards Him.’ Such a continual outgoing of effort, as well as the rest and blessedness of reposing on Him, is indispensable for all true gladness. For the intensest activity of our whole being is essential to the real joy of any part of it, and we shall never know the rapture of which humanity, even here and now, is capable until we gather our whole selves, heart, will, and all our practical, as well as our intellectual, powers in the effort to make more of Christ our own, and to minimise the distance between us to a mere vanishing point, ‘Believing towards whom ye rejoice.’
That act of trust, however inadequate the object upon which it rests, and however mistaken may be our conceptions of that on which we lean, always brings a gladness which is real, until disappointment disillusionises and saddens us. There is nothing that so sheds peace over the heart as reliance, absolute and quiet, upon some object worthy of trust. It is blessed to trust one another until, as is too often the case, we find that what we thought to be an oak against which we leaned is but a broken reed that has no pith in it, and no possibility of support. So far as it goes, all trust is blessed, but the most blessed is simple reliance upon, and aspiration after, Jesus Christ. Ever to yearn for Him, not with the yearning of those who have no possession, but with that of those who, having a little, desire to have more, is to bring into our lives the one solid and sufficient good without which there is no gladness, and with which there can be no unmingled sorrow, wrapping the whole man in its ebon folds. For this Christ is enough for all my nature and for the satisfaction of every desire. In Him my mind finds the truth; my will the law; my love the answering love; my hope its object; my fears their dissipation; my sins their forgiveness; my weaknesses their strength; and, to all that I am, what He is answers, as fulness to emptiness, and as supply to need. So, ‘believing towards Him, we rejoice.’
But note that the joy is strictly contemporaneous with the faith. Tear away electric wire from the source of energy, and the light goes out instantly. It is as another Apostle says, ‘in believing’ that we have ‘joy and peace.’ And that is why so many of us know little of it. Yesterday’s faith will not contribute to to-day’s gladness, any more than yesterday’s meals will satisfy to-day’s hunger. Present joy depends upon present faith, and the measure of the one is the measure of the other.
II. The Characteristics of the Christian Gladness.
‘Unspeakable,’ and, as the word ought to be rendered, not ‘full of glory’ but ‘glorified.’ Unspeakable. Still waters run deep. It is poor wealth that can be counted; it is shallow emotion that can be crammed into the narrow limits of any human vocabulary. Fathers and mothers, parents and children, husbands and wives, know that. And the depths of the joy that a believing soul has in Jesus Christ are not to be spoken. Perhaps it is better that it should not be attempted to speak them.
‘Not easily forgiven
Are those, who, setting wide the doors that bar
The secret bridal chambers of the heart,
Let in the day.’
It is in shallow streams that the sunlight gleams on the pebbles at the bottom. The abysses of ocean are dark, and have never been searched by its light. I suspect the depth of the emotion which bubbles over into words, and finds no difficulty in expressing itself. The joy which can be manifested in all its extent has a very small extent. Christian joy is unspeakable, too, because just as you cannot teach a blind man what colour is like, and cannot impart to anybody the blessedness of wedded love, or parental affection, by ever so much talking--and, therefore, the poetry of the world is never exhausted--so there is only one way of conveying to a man what is the actual joy of trusting in Christ, and that is, that he himself should trust Him. We may talk till Doomsday, and then, as the Queen of Sheba said, when she came to Solomon, ‘the half hath not been told.’
‘He must be loved ere that to you
He will seem worthy of your love.’
It is unspeakable gladness springing from the possession of an unspeakable gift.
‘Glorified.’ There is nothing more ignoble than the ordinary joys of men. They are too often like the iridescent scum on a stagnant pond, fruit and proof of corruption. They are fragile and hollow, for all the play of colour on them, like a soap bubble that breaks of its own tenuity, and is only a drop of dirty water. Joy is too often ignoble, and yet, although it is by no means the highest conception of what Christ’s Gospel can do for us, it is blessed to think that it can take that emotion, so often shameful, so often frivolous, so often lowering rather than elevating, and can lift it into loftiness, and transfigure it, and glorify it and make it a power, a power for good and for righteousness, and for ‘whatsoever things are lovely and of good report’ in our lives. And that is what trusting towards Christ will do for our gladnesses.
Lastly, in one word, let me lay upon your consciences, as Christian people
III. The Obligation of Gladness.
Peter takes it for granted that all these brethren to whom he is writing have experience of this deep and ennobled joy. He does not say, ‘You ought to rejoice,’ but he says, ‘You do rejoice.’ And yet a verse or two before he said, ‘Ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.’ So, then, he was not blinking the hard, painful facts of anybody’s troubled life. He was not away upon the heights serenely contemptuous of the grim possibilities that lurk down in the dark valleys. He took in all the burdens and the pains and the anxieties and the harassments, and the losses, and the bleeding hearts and the cares that can burden any of us. And he said, in spite of them all, ‘Ye rejoice.’
Do you? I am afraid there is no more irrefragable proof of the unreality of an enormous proportion of the Christian profession of this day than the joyless lives--in so far as their religion contributes to their joy--of hosts of us. We have religion enough to make us miserable, we have religion enough to make us uncomfortable about doing things that we would like to do. We are always haunted by the feeling that we are falling so far below our professions, and we are either miserable when we bethink ourselves, or, more frequently, indifferent, accordingly. And the whole reason of such experience lies here, we have not an adequately strong and continued trust in Jesus Christ working righteousness in our lives, nobleness in our characters, and so lifting us above the regions where mists and malaria lie. Let us get high enough up, and we shall find clear sky.
You call yourselves Christians. Does your religion bring any gladness to you? Does it burn brightest in the dark, like the pillar of cloud before the Israelites? ‘Greek fire’ burned below the water, and so was in high repute. Our gladness is a poor affair if it is at the mercy of temperaments or of circumstances. Jesus Christ comes to cure temperaments, and to enable us to resist circumstances. So I venture to say that, whatever may be our condition in regard to externals, or whatever may be our tendencies of disposition, we are bound, as a piece of Christian duty, to try to cultivate this joyful spirit, and to do it in the only right way, by cultivating the increase of our faith in Jesus Christ. ‘Rejoice in the Lord always’; the man who said that was a prisoner, with death looking into his eyeballs. As he said it, he felt that his friends in Philippi might think the exhortation overstrained, and so he repeated it, to show that he recognised the apparent impossibility of obeying it, and yet deliberately enjoined it; ‘and again I say, rejoice.’1 Peter 1:8-9. Whom having not seen — Ειδοτες, known, that is, personally in the flesh; ye love — Namely, on account of his amiable character, and for the great things he hath done and suffered for you, and the great benefits he hath bestowed on you. It is very possible, as Doddridge observes, that among these dispersed Christians, there might be some who had visited Jerusalem while Christ was there, and might have seen, or even conversed with him; but as the greater part had not, St. Peter speaks, according to the usual apostolic manner, as if they all had not. Thus he speaks of them all as loving Christ, though there might be some among them who were destitute both of this divine principle and of that joy which he here describes as ανεκλαλητω και δεδοξασμενη, unutterable and glorified; that is, such joy as was an anticipation of that of the saints in glory. Receiving — Even now already, with unspeakable delight, as a full equivalent for all your trials; the end of your faith — That which in your faith you aim at, and which is the seal and the reward of it; the salvation of your souls — From the guilt and power of your sins, and all the consequences thereof, into the favour and image of God, and a state of communion with him; implying a qualification for, and earnest of, complete and eternal salvation. The Jews thought that the salvation to be accomplished by the Messiah would be a salvation from the Roman and every foreign yoke; but that would only have been a salvation of their bodies: whereas the salvation which believers expect from Christ is the salvation of their souls from sin and misery, and of their bodies from the grave.1 Peter 1:1) and it is evident that they had not personally seen the Lord Jesus. Yet they had heard of his character, his preaching, his sacrifice for sin, and his resurrection and ascension, and they had learned to love him:
(1) It is possible to love one whom we have not seen. Thus, we may love God, whom no "eye hath seen," (compare 1 John 4:20) and thus we may love a benefactor, from whom we have received important benefits, whom we have never beheld.
(2) we may love the character of one whom we have never seen, and from whom we may never have received any particular favors. We may love his uprightness, his patriotism, his benignity, as represented to us. We might love him the more if we should become personally acquainted with him, and if we should receive important favors from him; but it is possible to feel a sense of strong admiration for such a character in itself.
(3) that may be a very pure love which we have for one whom we have never seen. It may be based on simple excellence of character; and in such a case there is the least chance for any intermingling of selfishness, or any improper emotion of any kind.
(4) we may love a friend as really and as strongly when he is absent, as when he is with us. The wide ocean that rolls between us and a child, does not diminish the ardour of our affection for him; and the Christian friend that has gone to heaven, we may love no less than when he sat with us at the fireside.
(5) Millions, even hundreds of millions, have been led to love the Saviour, who have never seen him. They have seen - not with the physical eye, but with the eye of faith - the inimitable beauty of his character, and have been brought to love him with an ardor of affection which they never had for any other one.
(6) there is every reason why we should love him:
(a) His character is infinitely lovely.
(b) He has done more for us than any other one who ever lived among men.
He died for us, to redeem our souls. He rose, and brought life and immortality to light. He ever lives to intercede for us in heaven. He is employed in preparing mansions of rest for us in the skies, and he will come and take us to himself, that we may be with him forever. Such a Saviour ought to be loved, is loved, and will be loved. The strongest attachments which have ever existed on earth have been for this unseen Saviour. There has been a love for him stronger than that for a father, or mother, or wife, or sister, or home, or country. It has been so strong, that thousands have been willing, on account of it, to bear the torture of the rack or the stake. It has been so strong, that thousands of youth of the finest minds, and the most flattering prospects of distinction, have been willing to leave the comforts of a civilized land, and to go among the benighted pagans, to tell them the story of a Saviour's life and death. It has been so strong, that unnumbered multitudes have longed, more than they have for all other things, that they might see him, and be with him, and abide with him forever and ever. Compare the notes at Philippians 1:23.
In whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing - He is now in heaven, and to mortal eyes now invisible, like his Father. Faith in him is the source and fountain of our joy. It makes invisible things real, and enables us to feel and act, in view of them, with the same degree of certainty as if we saw them. Indeed, the conviction to the mind of a true believer that there is a Saviour, is as certain and as strong as if he saw him; and the same may be said of his conviction of the existence of heaven, and of eternal realities. If it should be said that faith may deceive us, we may reply:
(1) May not our physical senses also deceive us? Does the eye never deceive? Are there no optical illusions? Does the ear never deceive? Are there no sounds which are mistaken? Do the taste and the smell never deceive? Are we never mistaken in the report which they bring to us? And does the sense of feeling never deceive? Are we never mistaken in the size, the hardness, the figure of objects which we handle? But,
(2) for all the practical purposes of life, the senses are correct guides, and do not in general lead us astray. So,
(3) there are objects of faith about which we are never deceived, and where we do act and must act with the same confidence as if we had personally seen them. Are we deceived about the existence of London, or Paris, or Canton, though we may never have seen either? May not a merchant embark with perfect propriety in a commercial enterprise, on the supposition that there is such a place as London or Canton, though he has never seen them? Would he not be reputed mad, if he should refuse to do it on this ground? And so, may not a man, in believing that there is a heaven, and in forming his plans for it, though he has not yet seen it, act as rationally and as wisely as he who forms his plans on the supposition that there is such a place as Canton?
in whom—connected with "believing": the result of which is "ye rejoice" (Greek, "exult").
now—in the present state, as contrasted with the future state when believers "shall see His face."
full of glory—Greek, "glorified." A joy now already encompassed with glory. The "glory" is partly in present possession, through the presence of Christ, "the Lord of glory," in the soul; partly in assured anticipation. "The Christian's joy is bound up with love to Jesus: its ground is faith; it is not therefore either self-seeking or self-sufficient" [Steiger].Whom; which Christ.
Having not seen; with your bodily eyes. Most of these Jews lived out of their own country, and so had not seen Christ in the flesh; and this was the commendation of their love, that they loved him whom they had not seen, though sight doth ordinarily contribute toward the stirring up of affection.
Ye see him not; neither as others have done in the days of his flesh, nor as you yourselves hereafter shall in his glory; ye walk by faith, and not by sight, 2 Corinthians 5:7.
Ye rejoice, in hope of seeing and enjoying him.
With joy unspeakable; which cannot be expressed with words. See the like phrase, Romans 8:26 2 Corinthians 9:15.
And full of glory; both in respect of the object about which this joy is conversant, the heavenly glory; the degree, it is the highest here in the world; the duration of it, it is most solid; as likewise in comparison of the joy of this world, which is vain and transitory, and whereof many times men are afterward ashamed.
in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing; the Arabic version adds, "in him": that is, in Christ, who was then received up into heaven, and must be retained there until the time of the restitution of all things; and therefore not now to be beheld with corporeal sight: and yet these regenerate ones, and lovers of Christ, believed in him; see John 20:29 not with a notional, historical, and temporary faith, believing not merely what he said, or did, or does, or will do; but looking on him, and to him, for life and salvation; going out of themselves to him, embracing of him, leaning upon him as their Saviour and Redeemer; venturing their souls upon him, committing their all unto him, expecting all from him, both grace and glory: and so
rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; with a joy in believing on him, which is better experienced than expressed; a joy that not only strangers intermeddle not with, know nothing of, which entirely passes their understanding, but is such as saints themselves cannot speak out, or give a full and distinct account of; they want words to express it, and convey proper ideas of it to others: and it is a joy that is glorious; there is a rejoicing that is evil and scandalous; but this is honourable, and of which none need be ashamed; it is solid and substantial, and the matter of it always abiding, when the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment; it is a joy on account of the glory of God, which the believer lives in the hope and faith of; and it is a beginning, a presage and pledge of it; it is a glory begun here; it is the firstfruits, and a part also of it; and by it saints may know a little what heaven itself will be.Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1 Peter 1:8. The longing of the believers is directed to the ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησ. Χριστοῦ, He being the object of their love and joy. This thought is subjoined to what precedes in two relative clauses, in order that thereby the apostle may advert to the glory of the future salvation.
ὃν οὐκ εἰδότες ἀγαπᾶτε] “whom, although ye know Him not (that is, according to the flesh, or in His earthly personality), ye love.” The object of εἰδότες is easily supplied from ὅν, according to the usage in Greek. The reading ἰδόντες expresses substantially the same thought.
Since ἀγάπη, properly speaking, presupposes personal acquaintance, the clause οὐκ εἰδότες is significantly added, in order to set forth prominently that the relation to Christ is an higher than any based on a knowledge after the flesh.
In the clause following—co-ordinate with this—the thought is carried further, the apostle’s glance being again directed to the future appearance of Christ.
εἰς ὂν ἄρτι μὴ ὁρῶντες πιστεύοντες δὲ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε] As regards the construction, εἰς ὅν can hardly be taken with ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, the participles ὁρῶντες and πιστεύοντες thus standing absolutely (Fronmüller), but, as most interpreters are agreed, must be construed with πιστεύοντες. The more precise determination of the thought must depend on whether ἀγαλλιᾶσθε is, with de Wette, Brückner, Winer, Steinmeyer, Weiss, Schott, to be taken as referring to present, or, with Wiesinger and Hofmann, to future joy. In the first case, ἀγαλλιᾶσθε is joined in the closest manner with πιστεύοντες, and ἄρτι only with μὴ ὁρῶντες (de Wette: “and in Him, though now seeing Him not, yet believing ye exult”); in the second, εἰς ὂν … πιστεύοντες δέ is to be taken as the condition of the ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, and ἄρτι to be joined with πιστεύοντες (Wiesinger: “on whom for the present believing,—although without seeing,—ye exult”). In support of the first view, it may be advanced, that thus ἀγαλλιᾶσθε corresponds more exactly to ἀγαπᾶτε, and that μὴ ὁρῶντες forms a more natural antithesis to ἀγαλλιᾶσθε than to πιστεύοντες; for the second, that it is precisely one of the peculiarities characteristic of this epistle, that it sets forth the present condition of believers as one chiefly of suffering, which only at the ἀποκάλυψις of the Lord will be changed into one of joy; that the more precise definition: χαρᾷ ἀνεκλαλήτῳ καὶ δεδοξασμένῃ, as also the subsequent κομιζόμενοι, have reference to the future; that the ἄρτι seems to involve the thought: “now ye see Him not, but then ye see Him, and shall rejoice in beholding Him;” and lastly, that the apostle, 1 Peter 4:13, expressly ascribes the ἀγαλλιᾶσθαι to the future. On these grounds the second view is preferable to the first. The present ἀγαλλιᾶσθε need excite the less surprise, that the future joy is one not only surely pledged to the Christian, but which its certainty makes already present. It may, indeed, be supposed that ἀγαλλιᾶσθε must be conceived as in the same relation to time with ἀγαπᾶτε; yet, according to the sense, it is not the ἀγαλλιᾶσθαι, but the πιστεύειν, which forms the second characteristic of the Christian life annexed to ἀγαπᾷν. It is not, however, the case, that on account of the present πιστεύοντες, ἀγαλλ. also must be taken with a present signification (Schott), since love and faith are the present ground of the joy beginning indeed now, but perfected only in the future. The particle of time ἄρτι applies not only to μὴ ὁρῶντες, but likewise to πιστεύοντες δέ; the sense of μὴ ὁρῶντες πιστεύοντες δέ is not this, that although they now do not see, yet still believe—the not seeing and the believing do not form an antithesis, they belong to each other; but this, that the Christians do not indeed see, but believe. On the distinction between οὐκ εἰδότες and μὴ ὁρῶντες, see Winer, p. 452 [E. T. 609].
χαρᾷ ἀνεκλαλήτῳ καὶ δεδοξασμένῃ] serves to intensify ἀγαλλιᾶσθε. ἀνεκλάλητος, ἅπ. λεγ., “unspeakable,” is either “what cannot be expressed in words” (thus ἀλάλητος, Romans 8:26), or “what cannot be exhausted by words.” ΔΕΔΟΞΑΣΜΈΝΗ, according to Weiss, means: “the joy which already bears within it the glory, in which the future glory comes into play even in the Christian’s earthly life;” similarly Steinmeyer: “hominis fidelis laetitia jam exstat ΔΕΔΟΞΑΣΜΈΝΗ, quoniam ΔΌΞΑΝ ejus futuram praesentem habet ac sentit;” but on this interpretation relations are introduced which in and for itself the word does not possess. ΔΕΔΟΞΑΣΜΈΝΟς means simply “glorified;” χαρὰ δεδοξασμ. is accordingly the joy which has attained unto perfected glory; but “the imperfect joy of the Christian here (Wiesinger, Hofmann), and not the joy of the world, which as of sense and transitory is a joy ἘΝ ἈΤΙΜΊᾼ” (Fronmüller), is to be regarded as its antithesis; so that this expression also seems to show that ἈΓΑΛΛΙᾶΣΘΕ is to be understood of the future exultation.
 Steinmeyer gives an unjustifiable application to the word, by saying: “Meminerimus τῶν ποικίλων πειρασμῶν. Si quidem plurimae illae tentationes totidem laetitiae causas afferumt, sine dubio ἡ χαρά eodem sensu ἀνεκλάλητος exstat, quo πειρασμοί nequeunt enumerari.”8. whom having not seen, ye love] Some of the better MSS. give whom not knowing ye love, but the reading adopted in the English version rests on sufficient authority and gives a better meaning. The Apostle, in writing the words, could hardly intend to contrast, however real the contrast might be, his own condition as one who had seen with that of these distant disciples. Did there float in his mind the recollection of the words “Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29)? In any case he emphasizes the fact that their love for Christ does not depend, as human love almost invariably does, upon outward personal acquaintance. He too, like St Paul, has learnt to know Christ no more after the flesh (2 Corinthians 5:16). The next clause, which seems at first almost a tame repetition of the same thought, really points to a new characteristic paradox in the spiritual life. The exulting joy of human affection manifests itself when the lover looks on the face of his beloved (Song of Solomon 2:14). Here that joy is represented as found in its fulness where the Presence is visible not to the eye of the body, but only to that of faith. Like all deeper emotions it is too deep for words—“unspeakable,” as were the words which St Paul heard in his vision of Paradise (2 Corinthians 12:4), as were the groanings of the Spirit making intercession for and with our spirits (Romans 8:26), and it was “full of glory” (literally, glorified) already, in its foretaste of the future, transfigured beyond the brightness of any earthly bliss.1 Peter 1:8. Οὐκ εἰδότες ἀγαπᾶτε) Ye love, although ye know Him not in person. A paradox: for in other cases it is knowledge which produces love. This is said respecting love: Peter afterwards asserts the same respecting faith. Whom and in whom: the absence of the copula resembles Anaphora.—ΕἸς ὋΝ, in whom) The word in properly belongs to believing, as does also now.—μὴ ὁρῶντες, not seeing) The present: that is, although you see Him not as yet in glory. The apostles, who had seen Him themselves, thought that their faith was not so great as that of others.—ἀνεκλαλήτῳ, unspeakable) even now: 1 Corinthians 2:9.—καὶ δεδοξασμένῃ, and glorified) This joy is glorified in itself, and glorified by witnesses. Comp. 1 Peter 1:10. In other respects it is unspeakable.
 See Append.Verse 8. - Whom having not seen, ye love. Some ancient manuscripts read οὐκ εἰδότες, "although ye know him not:" but the reading ἰδόντες is best supported, and gives the better sense. The Christians of Asia Minor had not seen the gracious face of the Lord, as St. Peter had. But though they had never known him after the flesh, they knew him by the inner knowledge of spiritual communion, and, having learned to love him, had attained the blessing promised to those who had not seen, but yet had believed. St. Peter may possibly be thinking of his well-remembered interview with the risen Lord (John 21:15-17). He has here the word ἀγαπᾶν, expressive of reverential love, which Christ had used in his first two questions; not the word of warm human affection (φιλεῖν ) which he himself had employed in his three answers. In whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. The words, "in whom" (εἰς ὅν, literally, "on whom now not looking, but believing"), are to be taken with the participles "seeing" and "believing," not with "ye rejoice." St. Peter insists on the necessity and blessedness of faith as earnestly as St. Paul does, though with him the antithesis is rather between faith and sight than between faith and works. As a tact, St. Peter's readers had never seen the Lord; now, though not seeing him with the outward eye, they realized his presence by faith, and in that presence they rejoiced. The verb is that used in ver. 6 - they rejoiced greatly, they exulted, and that though they saw him not. Human love needs the seen presence of the beloved one to complete the fullness of its joy (2 John 12); but their joy was even amid afflictions unspeakable - like all our deepest and holiest feelings, not to be expressed in words; and it was glorified by the unseen presence of Christ. His chosen behold even now, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, and, beholding, are changed into the same image from glory to glory. Joy in the Lord is a foretaste of the joy of heaven, and is irradiated by glimpses of the glory that shall be revealed. Others, as Huther and Alford, again give to the verb ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, "ye rejoice," a quasi-future sense. The word for "unspeakable" (ἀνεκλαλητός) is found only here.
Lit., glorified, as Rev., in margin.
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