1 Peter 5:10


1 Peter 5:10 (first portion)
These closing words of the Epistle, which have only some personal greetings after them, are best taken, not as a prayer, but as a full-toned assurance, like some grand swell of music at the end of an oratorio. The apostle has been speaking much about suffering and trial, especially in the latter part of his letter. He has just warned his readers of the adversary who seeks their destruction. And here against that grim figure he holds up the shield of the Name and purpose of God, and bids us be brave and jubilant amid all sufferings and in the presence of the enemy, because he is for us. We shall consider the rich significance of the various forms of the Divine help as expressed in the latter part of this verse, in another homily. For the present we confine ourselves to the former half of the verse, each clause of which sets forth a fresh ground on which a poor feeble soul may build its confidence, in spite of sorrow and Satan, that no harm will come to it.

I. THE GREAT FOUNDATION FOR THE TRIUMPHANT ASSURANCE WHICH FORESEES VICTORY IN THE MIDST OF THE SOREST CONFLICT IS THE INFINITE FULNESS AND LOVING HEART OF GOD. When surrounded by difficulties, crushed by sorrows, assaulted and battered by all the artillery of temptations, when faint of heart and conscious of one's own weakness, when dull torpor seems to have taken all warmth of feeling out of us, and many defeats to have robbed us of hope, - there is one strong tower into which we may run and be safe. The Name of the Lord, the thought of his revealed character as the God of all grace, is enough to scatter all the black-winged brood of cares and fears, and to bring the dove of peace into our hearts, though they be lonely as the ark, and all be one waste of waters around. For that great Name proclaims that his love is inexhaustible. Grace is love exercised to inferiors and undeserving persons; and, if he is the God of all grace, boundless love for the lowliest and foulest is in his heart. Anything short of such Divine fullness of love would be tired out by our slowness and repeated sin. Impatience steals into the most long-suffering heart, and the most liberal hand will shut fast at last when the ragged good-for-nothing comes for the hundredth time with the old story of shiftless improvidence and misery, and the old whining petition for help already so often given and squandered. But there is no wearying out his patient love, and no past misuse of his gifts can ever prompt him to deny us more. The God of all grace has grace for all. The Name, too, proclaims the infinite fullness of his resources. That great storehouse is inexhaustible, after all giving full. He works and is not weary. He bestows and is none the poorer. The stream has been pouring for ages with a rush like Niagara, and the flood to-day is as mighty as at the beginning. It is fed from the eternal fountains in the "mountains of God," and cannot cease. Shall we fear drought whilst we are borne on its broad bosom? The coins in circulation, though enough to enrich the world, are as nothing to the masses of bullion stored in the depths. The sun itself will die by self-communication, and that great hearth-fire will grow cold, and all the family of worlds that move around it cease to be united and warmed by its beams; but the God who is our Sun burns and is not consumed. Shall we fear freezing or darkness while we walk in the light of his face? And that great Name implies an infinite variety of resources. All diversities of grace are his, that they may be ours. Grace is not only love in exercise to inferiors, but is also the gifts of that love, which are so inseparable from it that they are called by the same name. These take the shape of every man's need, and of all the needs of every man. The bread-fruit tree to the South Sea Islanders is a storehouse from which they get all they require. Its fruit is their food, its juice their beverage, from its bark they prepare their clothing, from its wood they build their houses and fashion their weapons, its leaves make their thatch, its fibers their cordage. So the grace of God is all-sufficient - Protean in its forms, fitting each necessity as it arises, and shaped so as to give to every one of us the very thing which character and circumstances at the moment require. Shall we fear to be ever left to fall before enemies or to be crushed by our sorrows, when we have such an ever-full fountain of various grace to draw from?

II. ANOTHER GROUND OF CONFIDENT ASSURANCE IS GOD'S OWN ACT, WHICH WOULD BE STULTIFIED IF WE WERE NOT UPHELD. He "called us unto his eternal glory in Christ" Here the act of calling, and that to which we are called, and the Christ in whom we are called, are all alleged as a threefold cord on which we may hang the whole weight of our confidence. They make it inconceivable that God should not do for us all which the next clause assures us he will do. He will not leave his purpose half accomplished. Nobody shall ever have to point to his incomplete work, and say that he began to build and was not able to finish. His gifts and calling are subject to no change of his solemn purpose, He is not a son of man that he should repent. And if he wills an end, he wills the means to that end. He will assuredly provide for his children all that is needed to bring them to the glory to which he has called them. Does God summon men to his eternal glory, and forget to provide them grace? Will he call them to his own palace, and not give them an outfit for their journey? Does he send out his soldiers without ammunition or stores? "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" was Christ's great reason to his little flock why they should not fear; as if he had said, "Do you suppose that the Father who gives you a crown at last will not give you all you need on your way to it?" So a joyous temper of triumphant confidence in the face of all suffering and temptation should be ours; "for faithful is he that calleth you, who also will" carry out his purpose to the blessed end.

III. THE FINAL GROUND ON WHICH WE MAY BUILD OUR CONFIDENCE IS GOD'S APPOINTMENT OF SUFFERING AND ITS MEANING. The words, "after that ye have suffered a while," must be connected more immediately with the preceding. They teach that the way to the eternal glory is through transitory, brief suffering. The apostle comes back to the thoughts with which he began his Epistle about "for a season being in heaviness." These sufferings, then, were included in the Divine purpose. They are as much a part of his scheme, are as much a fruit of his inexhaustible love, as the glory to which they lead. They do not break in upon the Divine plan. There is no fear of their threatening its fulfillment. They are not excrescences, but essential parts of that deep counsel of the unfathomable wisdom according to which all our circumstances are appointed by him. He will not, then, be taken at unawares by them, nor will any accumulation of sorrow or suffering be any hindrance to his Divine purpose of strengthening us. The electric spark finds no resistance to its passage in the deepest sea, and though all the waves and billows go over us, his sustaining grace can none the less make its way to our hearts. Nor are they only his appointment, but their direct purpose is to fit us for the eternal glory to which we are called. Joy alone would not do that. The heart needs to be refined by sorrow, and the experience of desolation, ere it can fully receive the grace now which leads to the glory hereafter. So we are not only strengthened for, but by, sorrow; and one of God's ways of "stablishing" us is to cut away all other props, that we may lean all our weight upon him. Faith, then, out of the lion brings honey, wrings hope and assured triumph out of the very pains and foes that beset us, as if one should draw lightning to guide him on his road from the heavy thunder-clouds that frown above him. When sorrow comes, see in it a part of that Divine plan which issues in eternal glory, see in it one of the channels by which that plan shall be accomplished, that glory reached, and the grace of the God of all grace enter more abundantly into your heart. So good cheer will be born of sadness, as radiant morning from night, and your light affliction, which is but for a moment, will bring you even now a confidence in God and an enlarged strength, which are precursors and pledges of an eternal weight of glory. - A.M.









The God of all grace.
The Revised Version makes two changes of some importance in this passage. The word "settle" is removed to the margin. And the form of the whole passage is changed from that of a prayer to that of an assurance: "The God of all grace shall Himself perfect, stablish, strengthen you." It may be taken as a revelation.

I. First of all, WHAT GOD ACTUALLY IS — a "God of all grace"; that is, of grace for all men, and of every kind of grace. Its contents may perhaps be defined best as unmerited goodwill, showing itself in act or waiting in perpetual eagerness for an opportunity to show itself. Now it is one of the peculiarities of the Christian religion that it represents God as in eternal possession of such grace, and as always ready and disposed to exercise it towards man. Other religions are apt to confine the goodwill of the God within the limits of the country, or the tribe, or the association of tribes, or to represent the God as gracious only to some men, although ungracious and His heart entirely closed against others. To all our dull questionings whether God really loves us, the one reply the New Testament makes is simply that He is "the God of all grace," in such a sense that no higher degree of grace on the one hand, and on the other no defect or arbitrary restraint of grace, can be conceived of Him.

1. That reply is worth lingering upon, in order that we may teach ourselves more confidently to adore. Through all nature it is easy to trace God's grace or effective goodwill towards man, nor is it necessary to suppose that it is altogether confined to man. That He Himself feels pleasure at the beautiful things He makes, whether they spring into being as the product of a fresh creation or evolve their glories out of some "closely packed germ," may be inferred from the phrase in Genesis (He "saw that it was good.") In the shapes of the leaves, the colours of the flowers, and all the fragrance of the garden, it is possible to see not only the skill of the Creator in providing for the vital purposes of nature, but His generosity also in weaving beauty and use in His processes and decking His handiwork with glories that are almost superfluous but for pleasure.

2. It is much the same with history, God's providential administration of the world. Grace of every kind and degree, of patience, and discipline, and spiritual help, may be traced all through it, vindicating the interests of righteousness, leading men on to ever clearer moral perception and completer moral attainment. To that statement it is questionable whether any exception can be taken. On the part of some men, indeed, it is customary to hold that the testimony is divided, that whilst in certain places the race has declined and fallen, in others only has it risen and advanced. But there is a distinction, of primary importance in human affairs, which does not seem to warrant such a conclusion. Man's progress through the centuries appears at times to be confused and slow. But that is exactly what might have been expected from man; and if any long period is taken, and his condition at the close compared with his condition at the beginning, as far as morality and the highest and innermost interests of the man are concerned, it will not be easy to question either that the progress has been very real and great, or that the cause of it all has been the overflowing grace of God.

3. But no manifestation of that grace in any other sphere can compare with its manifestation in religion. "Who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus." This states that the grace is so great as to be able to satisfy itself with nothing less than that we should be with God, partakers of His nature and sharers through eternity of His glory. Of course the apostle added "by Christ Jesus," for no Christian with the thought of God's grace in his mind can keep it separate long from its companion thought of the Saviour. For that there are at least two reasons. Whenever a man wants to know the heart of God, the best mode is to dwell upon the kindliness and patience and love of the Saviour amongst men, to trace them all back to the Divine source from which they come, and to regard them as but sparks and emanations, dulled in their passage earthwards, of the ever-glowing Love that sits upon the throne of the heavens. Secondly, and chiefly, the gift of Jesus Christ is at once the most magnificent and the most irrefragable proof Jehovah could give that His grace is like His justice, without defect and without limit.

II. Let us turn now to the revelation the verse contains of WHAT MAN MAY BECOME.

1. The same second phrase, "called to His eternal glory," sets it forth in part, but is almost too ideal dud even inconceivable for exposition. For what the glory of God is, in the sense in which the word is used here, His own state of blessedness, the eternal beatitude that fills and surrounds Him, of necessity no man can tell. It must include all the gratifications that pure spirit is capable of receiving, with no liability to interruption or loss, and with all kinds of associated joys, each of which exceeds man's highest imagination. And all this glory is to be ours — the discord and strife of our natures forever quieted; the whole moral nature beatified, perfected, assimilated to God. In that respect, too, the Christian religion does not believe in limitations.

2. The other part of the revelation of what man may become can be more easily understood. God "shall Himself perfect, stablish, strengthen you," writes the apostle; and he may also have added "settle you." The first word implies such adjustment as issues in exact fitness to relationship — the making a man precisely what he ought to be in regard of his attitude towards God, towards his fellow men, towards his own conscience and sense of duty. The second word means radically power to resist and stand firm; and the third, power of effective strength by means of which conquests are made and obstacles overborne. The last word, "settle," denotes the laying of a firm foundation, like the rock of which our Saviour speaks, whereon if a man build, his house will be able to defy the vehemence of wind and weather. There is thus a triple perfectness, set before us and even pledged to us in this verse, as the revelation of what man may become; fitness to all moral relationships, strength to resist every assault of Satan, power of progress and triumph which nothing can hinder, and all this resting upon, nay, built into a foundation so firm that the might of hell cannot shake it. There are, however, two or three facts frequently familiar to the thought of every one, which make the prospect opened up by St. Peter very blessed, but sometimes very dubious. The one is our almost constant consciousness that the motives of our best acts are mixed, some right, but others in every way unworthy. That "alloy of impure motive" — at times it seems to be a defect we cannot escape from, "tainting our best moments," turning men's mistaken praise into the parent of humiliation and self-reproach. But that is not the worst. Moralists teach that the range of man's duty is "co-extensive within the range of his moral consciousness"; or, in other words, that the standard at which he aims should contain the completeness of everything, which his conscience when most sensitive recognises as dutiful and right. Two miserable results immediately follow. Every one knows that his performances day after day insist upon lingering a great way behind his standard; and every one must occasionally fear that the standard itself has shrunk, because the conscience has been dulled by past trifling and sin. The emphatic positiveness of this verse will not, however, permit itself to be overlooked. And instead of giving way to doubt and questioning the possibility of our perfecting, it is better that we should set ourselves to find out how such a blessing may be certainly ensured and enjoyed. St. Peter does not hesitate in his teaching or qualify his words in any way. He says distinctly that only God can do it for us, and that He will do it because His grace is complete and full. We must therefore get the Spirit of God into our hearts by trust in Him, and become possessed of Him, or the thing remains of necessity hopeless. There are indeed at the present day, as there have ever been, strong tendencies to look in other directions for the power that will confer the greatest benefit upon society anal upon the individual. Sometimes it assumes the shape of the study of some form of art or branch of science, of devotion to an impossible equality or an unreasonable hierarchy, of a kind of progress that slaughters the unit and passes on to a remote and general triumph, of culture, or combination, or the coercion of the will. Doubt, however, is long-lived and hard to kill; and still it may be our fears are whispering to us, Can He perfect me, and will He? It is almost certain that Peter was an old man when he wrote these words; and an old man's counsel and assurance, especially when they are based upon his own actual experience, are not to be despised. In his youth and earlier manhood he had lacked steadfastness. If, therefore, reason and experience have any validity at all, there is no room left for doubt. It is an argument in which no possible flaw can be found; the grace of God is not liable to exhaustion or abatement, and therefore whatever it has actually done for others it can do for us. The God of all grace will do it for us. That grace of His will go with us wherever we go, constantly compassing us about, sustaining our hearts, preparing us for blessedness.

(R. W. Moss.)

Our first experience in reading this verse is amazement that borders on bewilderment. The whole is a perfect blaze of diamonds. Keep your eyes upon the verse, and see what words we have: "God," "all grace," "called," "eternal glory," "Christ Jesus," "dominion forever." And, as if these were not enough, we find also perfection thrown in as well: "make you perfect." And these marvellous words daze us all the more because of their contrast to that which has gone before. "The devil," "a roaring lion," "suffering," "adversary," "God," "grace," "eternal glory," "perfection." Now we will seek to put the words in order, and link them together. And observe that, though this text reads as a prayer, it is really a promise. Instead of the first word being "but," it should be "and." In the previous verses the Holy Ghost has been telling us what we have to do. Now He tells us what God has promised to do. We must never separate the things that God has joined together. If God says in one line, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling," He says in the next, "for it is God that worketh in you." And so, if here I am told that I am to be sober and vigilant, and that I am to resist a roaring devil, and I say, "How can it be? It is more than I can do," He who bids me do it tells me what He will do: "And He Himself shall perfect, strengthen, and stablish you." The words, you see, are beginning to fall into order. But there is one important point which I question whether many of you have seen, because in nine cases out of ten that sentence, "after that ye have suffered a while," is linked with the last clause of the verse, whereas it belongs to the first; and if you look you will see what a difference it makes. The God of all grace who hath called us, after that we have suffered a while, to His eternal glory, will Himself, whilst we are suffering — during this little interval that lies between the grace and the glory — so sanctify the suffering, that it shall perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle us. The sufferings come between the grace and the glory.

I. Who shall rise to the height of this first expression, "THE GOD OF ALL GRACE"? It does not mean that God is gracious in His tendency, or simply gracious by His nature, but that He Himself is the reservoir, the home, the source, the supply, of grace in all its manifestations. Need I recapitulate them to you? Divine choice with all its inscrutable mysteries. Redemption by a dying Christ. Justification also in all its wondrous harmony between mercy and perfect equity. Yes, and regeneration too, with its heaven-born purity, and its new-created tendencies within the soul. All these are covered by the word "grace." These things are only different manifestations of one and the same sublime attribute. But, when I mention these, I have only just touched the spray of the wave. There are deeps that lie beneath in this expression, "the God of all grace," for it contains all the graces which the soul must possess before it can enter eternal glory. Most certainly there must be the grace of repentance. The cry of "God be merciful to me" is a cry that comes down from heaven before ever it can break from my lips. "The God of all grace." But repentance must ever be followed by faith. It is the gift of God. Then there are other graces yet to be manifested. "Faith worketh by love." But love is born of God, for God is love, and if I love Him, it is because He first loved me. But no man can see the Lord apart from holiness. How can this poor, sin-stained man become holy? And the answer is, that it is the Spirit of the Lord that worketh holiness; and so, whilst He is the God of all manifestations of grace, He is the God of all the graces that I possess. But I have hardly begun yet with this enumeration. This text covers much more, for it includes all the supplies of grace that are needed along the road. It is a weary road: I need refreshing grace. It is a sorrowing path, because it is a sinful one: I need comforting grace. As a wandering sheep, I need restoring grace. Being weak as a babe, I need upholding grace. And everything that a saint can need from the moment of my new birth to that ecstatic instant when I stand before His eternal glory, without spot or wrinkle, lies centred in God.

II. THIS GOD OF ALL GRACE CALLS US TO ETERNAL GLORY. Let us begin at the beginning. He has called you. The call that is intended here is, as Archbishop Leighton beautifully puts it, that call which goes deeper than the ear, touches the heart within, throws open the door, and admits the Christ. And consequently you will find that the word "called" becomes the title of the true Christian. A man of God is one who has been called. But how is he called? It is "unto His eternal glory in Christ"; not simply, mark you, for Christ's sake. That is true, but it is not the truth here taught. He has called us to eternal glory "in Christ." He called Christ into glory, and, when He called Christ into glory, He called me, because I am in Christ. The call that I receive is a call that sounds in the Son's ear. It is a call "to His glory." We share His blessedness. God's glory is Himself. There is nothing more glorious about His glory than Himself. The only way in which God can glorify Himself is to reveal Himself. Come, lave thy spirit in the eternal blaze of Deity. Come, be at home with Me. That one word "glory" covers all joy, all blessing, all bliss. God has called us unto His eternal "glory." But this is only the beginning of the theme. You have to put the word "eternal" into the scale. It is not a call for an age or for a millennium. Oh, fools that we are to weep our eyes out over earth's sorrows, and to grumble our spirits into wretchedness because of a passing moment of care!

III. HE ALLOWS A LITTLE INTERVAL OF SUFFERING WHICH IS ITSELF FULL OF BLESSING. Ah, we too often want to leave that bit out, "After that ye have suffered a while." The call comes, but the glory does not come immediately after the call. The suffering is part of the call, as well as the glory. It is not a haphazard thing that comes in. It is all a part of the plan. When God calls you to glory, He calls you to come to glory through a little while of suffering. How this takes away all the acidity of one's sorrows! It is part of the road to the eternal glory. It is just as much included in the plan as all the rest, And then, you see, it says that it is only a "little" while. Really the word "while" is not there. It is "after ye have suffered a little"; and you can choose, if you like, whether it means degree or duration. You say, "But why can I not go to heaven at once?" The answer is found in the last line of our text. He Himself will "make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." He will do it through this little interval of suffering. He will perfect you. Ah, there is nothing about us that is not imperfect. There are many little rents in us, and the Lord allows us to go through this little while of suffering so that He may repair the imperfections. Bad as you are, you would be worse if you had less trouble. There is not here, today, a child of God who is not the richer and the holier for the little while of suffering. The next word is "stablish," and that implies fixity. Oh, we are very prone to fluctuation. Some times nothing but a heavy heart will give weight to a character, and so God says, "I cannot let that light and frivolous child remain like a piece of thistledown floating at the dictation of every breath of air. I must pass him through a little while of suffering." That is stablishing. The word "settle" does not appear in the R.V. The last word there is "strengthen," and the meaning of the word is "made powerful to resist attack." There is the devil. He is roaring. Do you think you can resist the great adversary? Never! But the Lord steps ill, and says, "If I bid you meet the roaring lion, I will pass you through a little season of suffering which shall repair and stablish you, and put spiritual thews and sinews into you, so that in My strength you may overcome."

(A. G. Brown.)

I. First, we are taught that THE TRUE CONVERSION OF THE SOUL TO GOD IS A DIVINE WORK, a work which the mercy of Heaven must begin, and the power of heaven carry forward, otherwise it never can be performed.

1. As to the source from whence conversion proceeds. St. Peter distinctly acknowledges it to be of God; he refers expressly to Him as the Author of that great change which had taken place in his own soul, and in the souls of those to whom he was writing. Consider in how many ways grace must be bestowed upon us in order to our salvation: we want grace to draw us, grace to enable us to believe, grace to strengthen us, grace to make us persevere; grace was wanting to contrive the scheme of our redemption; grace to carry it into execution, and grace to finish that glorious work.

2. As to the manner in which we are made partakers of this inestimable mercy: it is by calling "God, who hath called us." Here is another proof that this change is "not of the will of man, but of God." He makes ready, and He invites; we ourselves have no more to do with the preparing of that rich provision which is made for our souls in the gospel, than the guest has with the feast set before him by some hospitable entertainer. Nay, we have not naturally even the wish to partake of it.

3. As to the means by which it is accomplished: it is "by Jesus Christ." That the children of God are called, that they are converted, that they are justified, that they are sanctified, that they shall be glorified, is all owing to, is all accomplished by, our blessed Lord and Saviour.

4. As to the end to which it leads: that end is God's eternal glory. It is "His," His own glory, His brightest gift, His choicest possession: it is that gift of God which Christ shed His precious blood to purchase. It is "eternal"; it is not like our poor fleeting pleasures; not like earthly riches, which make themselves wings and flee away; not like the pomps of this world, of a fashion which is always changing; but a glory which is without change, without end; a sun of brightness which shall never set.

II. That THEY IN WHOM THIS WORK OF GRACE IS GOING ON, called as they are to eternal glory, ARE BY NO MEANS TO CONSIDER THEMSELVES AS FREE FROM SUFFERINGS OR TRIAL; on the contrary, the apostle seems to speak of these things as if they were certain to befall them; or rather, I should say, he addresses his converts as being, for the present, actually under tribulation.

1. They find their spiritual good thereby promoted.

2. They find that when trouble is nigh, God is also present.

3. They find not only that their troubles will soon be over-past, but far over-paid.

III. That WHAT GRACE HAS BEGUN WE SHOULD BE VERY EARNEST THAT THE SAME GRACE WILL PERFECT. This is the blessing which the apostle asks for in his prayer. And now let me address —

1. Those who are under the influence of that grace of which the apostle is speaking; who have felt its power in turning them from their sins, in drawing them to Christ for salvation.(1) Learn to prize the grace you have received; remember from whom it cometh; at what a price it was purchased; remember how it is conveyed to your souls by that blessed Spirit whose office it is to sanctify all the elect people of God,(2) Be careful how you quench or slight it; do nothing contrary to its suggestions; endeavour to do all things according to its guidance.(3) Endeavour to improve it; strive to show that you have not received the grace of God in vain; do not "take the beginning of a Christian life for the end of it, and sit down at the entrance," when you ought rather to be pressing forward on the way; go on from strength to strength; aim high.

2. I would address myself to those whose consciences tell them they are as yet strangers to this grace, or, at least, are not living under its power.(1) Oh, I will not endeavour to set before you the vanity of a life spent in search of things temporal; there must be some moments of seriousness. Point to that glory which you think so little about, and in preference to which you choose earthly things as your portion.(2) Let me also remind you that to this glory, with all its brightness and all its reality, and all its eternity, you are invited.

(F. Lear.)

You know that the word "grace" has many meanings, both in the original language of the verse and in our own language. As we use it familiarly, it is often "beauty." So that we have it, "The God of all beauty." And when you are admiring the gracefulness of some human form, in its finished delicacy; or looking upon the loveliness of nature — never forget that He is "the God of beauty." Let us look at it in another of its meanings. "Grace" is, properly, a free gift, arid since every good thing is utterly undeserved by us, every good thing is of "grace." All that raises and gladdens life — all goes to make "the grace of God." But we generally accept the word as having reference to spiritual good, For instance, we take it as relating to the Christian virtues, "the fruits of the Spirit"; and we call them "the graces." And He is "the God of all the graces." Now, there are some "graces" that, at this moment, you feel that you particularly need. Remind yourself, and remind God, that He is the God of that "grace"; that it is all His: His to give; a part of His province; an attribute of His sovereignty. But "grace" is more distinctly the pardon of sin. The pardon of sin is a "grace"; a privilege; not purchased — by anything we can say, or do, or think, or pray, or believe. But pardon is not all you want. From the spiritual cradle to the gate of heaven, it is all of "grace." You may safely, then, reason thus: "Lord, Thou didst call me. Thou didst it of Thy free favour. Therefore carry on, and perfect Thine own work." And in life, as it goes on, your providences want their "graces." And every providence requires its own appropriate and comforting "grace." Sorrow and joy, bodily health and sickness, successes and disappointments — all want their own proper, rectifying, effectual "grace."

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Who hath called us unto His eternal glory
I. WHAT, THEN, IS THE DESTINY OF THE SAINTS? God has "called us unto His eternal glory." "Glory!" does not the very word astound you? Think of glory for us who have deserved eternal shame! Glory for us poor creatures who are often ashamed of ourselves!

1. This glory has been promised. What said David? (Psalm 73:24).

2. It is to this glory that we have been called. We are called to repentance, to faith, to holiness, we are called to perseverance, and all this that we may afterwards attain unto glory. We have another Scripture of like import in 1 Thessalonians 2:12.

3. And we are not only called to it, but glory is especially joined with justification (Romans 8:30). If you are justified by the righteousness of Christ, you shall be glorified through Christ Jesus, for thus hath God purposed, and so must it be. Do you not remember how salvation itself is linked with glory? (2 Timothy 2:10). The two things are riveted together, and cannot be separated.

4. The saved ones must partake of the glory of God, for this are they being prepared every day (Romans 9:23). This is the process which commenced in regeneration, and is going on in us every day in the work of sanctification. We cannot be glorified so long as sin remains in us; we must first be pardoned, renewed, and sanctified, and then we are fitted to be glorified.

5. Thus, then, it seems we are called to glory, and we are being prepared for it; is it not also a sweet thought that our present fellowship with Christ is the guarantee of it? (Romans 8:17). "No cross, no crown": but he that has shared the battle shall partake in the victory.

6. I have not yet done, for there is a text, in Hebrews 2:10, which is well worthy of our consideration: we are to be brought to glory. We might despair of ever getting into the glory land if we had not One to bring us there, for the pilgrim's road is rough and beset with many foes.

7. This glory will be for our entire manhood, for our body as well as for our soul. It will be rendered perfect. The body of a child will be fully developed, and the dwarf will attain to full stature. The blind shall not be sightless in heaven, neither shall the lame be halt, nor shall the palsied tremble. The deaf shall hear, and the dumb shall sing God's praises.

II. WHEREIN DOTH THIS DESTINY CONSIST?

1. Reckon that glory to a saint means, first of all, purified character. God's Holy Spirit, when He has finished His work, will leave in us no trace of sin; no temptation shall be able to touch us, there will be in us no relics of our past and fallen state.

2. Next, I understand by "glory" our perfected manhood. Hero we are but in embryo: our minds are but the seeds, or the bulbs, out of which come the flower and glory of a nobler manhood. Your body is to be developed into something infinitely brighter and better than the bodies of men here below: and as for the soul, we cannot guess to what an elevation it shall be raised in Christ Jesus.

3. Further, by "glory" and coming to glory I think we must understand complete victory.

4. An invaluable ingredient in true glory is the Divine approval. One approving glance from the eye of Jesus, one accepting word from the mouth of the Father, will be glory enough for any one of us.

5. But this is not all: children of God will have the glory of reflecting the glory of God. When any of God's unfallen creatures shall wish to see the greatness of God's goodness, and mercy, and love, they that dwell in heaven will point out a glorified saint. Whenever any spirit from far off regions desires to know what is meant by faithfulness and grace, some angel will reply, "Go and talk with those who have been redeemed from among men." Oh, this shall be our glory, that God shall shine through us to the astonishment of all.

6. In certain cases a man's glory lies in his relationships. If any of the royal family should come to your houses you would receive them with respect; yes, and even as they went along the street they would be spied out, and passers-by would say, "That is the prince!" and they would honour the son of our good Queen. But royal descent is a poor business compared with being allied to the King of kings.

7. Then there will be connected with this the fact that we shall be connected with Jesus in everything. For do not you see it was because of our fall that Christ came here to save men; when He wrought out a perfect righteousness, it was all for us; when He died, it was all for us; and when He rose again, it was all for us? And what is more, we lived in Christ, we died in Him, we were buried in Him and rose in Him, and we shall ascend into heaven to reign with Him.

8. And yet this is not all, for there in heaven we shall dwell in the immediate presence of God. We shall dwell with Him in nearest and dearest fellowship! All the felicity of the Most High will be our felicity.

9. Highest of all our glory will be the enjoyment of God Himself. He will be our exceeding joy: this bliss will swallow up every other, the blessedness of God. "The Lord is my portion," saith my soul. "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee." Our God shall be our glory.

10. Yet bear with me, I have left out a word again: the text has it, "Unto His eternal glory." Ay, but that is the gem of the ring. The glory which God has in reserve for His chosen will never come to an end: it will stay with us, and we shall stay with it, forever. It will always be glory, too; its brightness will never become dim; we shall never be tired of it, or sated with it.

III. WHAT INFLUENCE SHOULD ALL THIS HAVE UPON OUR HEARTS?

1. I think it ought to excite desire in many here present that they might attain unto glory by Christ Jesus.

2. This ought to move us to the feeling of fear. If there be such a glory as this, let us tremble lest by any means we should come short of it.

3. If we are right, how this ought to move us to gratitude! What a contrast to our deserts!

4. It should move us to a dauntless courage. If this glory is to be had, do we not feel like the heroes in Bunyan's picture? Before the dreamer there stood a fair palace, and he saw persons walking upon the top of it, clad in light, and singing. Around the door stood armed men to keep back those who would enter. Then a brave man came up to one who had a writer's ink horn by his side, and said, "Set down my name"; and straightway the warrior drew his sword, and fought with all his might, until he had cut his way to the door. Will you not draw your swords and fight against sin till you have overcome it?

(C. H. Spurgeon)

After that ye have suffered a while
I. THE CONSOLATION HERE SET BEFORE US. "God hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus." In such wonderful terms the Word of God expresses the blessed remedy which His mercy hath provided for the evils of man's fallen state; and you cannot fail to observe how much more they express than a mere relief from such evils. It is a call to a state of actual happiness. It is a call to a state of positive excellence or holiness. It is, finally, a call to a state which we have no language to describe, nor material of thought to imagine — namely, a state of "glory."

II. THE COURSE THROUGH WHICH YOU MUST PASS. "After that ye have suffered a while." Men have sometimes made it an objection against the goodness of God, that there is so much suffering in this world. This they might do with more reason if they could show that men are innocent in this world and deserve no correction, or even that they are, willing to be prepared for the happiness of another world and need no such calls to serious consideration; but, in the present sinful state of fallen man, the very goodness of God requires that there should be suffering. That suffering is indeed, in justice, the punishment for sin, but at the same time it is, in mercy, the corrective of our wanderings. "God hath called us to His eternal glory"; but how little do men naturally care even for eternal glory, so long as they can find their pleasure elsewhere? The very bounties of their Creator unhappily rather drive them to a greater distance from Him, instead of drawing them nearer. He needs to wither these comforts, or to interrupt our enjoyment of them, before we can see their insufficiency and remember the better blessings awaiting us. It is generally, in short, only after we have "suffered a while," that we think of "the eternal glory" to which God hath called us. You cannot indeed be supposed to wish for "afflictions, or to welcome them as your choice. This is always your best consolation under them, that they are neither sent idly nor borne uselessly. They not only serve to show you more dearly the true value of the eternal glory which awaiteth you, but also to prepare your souls the better for its enjoyment. In this view they bring a blessing which compensates for their evil.

III. THE EFFECT TO BE PRODUCED BOTH BY YOUR CONSOLATIONS AND SUFFERINGS AS CHRISTIANS, viz., that you may be "made perfect, stablished, strengthened, settled."

(J. Brewster, D. D.)

I. THE CHURCH'S PRESENT LOT. "After that ye have suffered a while." It seems a strange thing to say that there is a necessity for suffering while here. The Church's lot is not here intended to be anything else; not that it is always the same in amount of suffering, but that it never is wholly free from it. The suffering may be inward or it may be outward. But mark, the apostle says it is "a little while." We read of "much" tribulation and "great" tribulation, but here it is for a little. "Our light affliction which is but for a moment." Perhaps it may seem long to us.

II. THE CHURCH'S PERFECTION, COMPLETION, OR CONSUMMATION THROUGH MEANS OF SUFFERING. "Make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." "Make you perfect." As if thus — "Make you perfect": that is to say, "stablish, strengthen, settle you." "Perfect." The word is, literally, "fully equip you," equip you as a soldier is equipped for warfare. There are many things that go to equip a soldier: not merely his armour, not merely his sword and his shield, but his bodily frame. Now the word first of all is a full fit out, and a full equipment, so that he shall in the end, when the process is completed, be fully ready for that which is before him. "Make you perfect" is the meaning of every trial.

1. "Stablish" is more exactly rendered by "firm," "consolidate," "make firm." This, I should say, is the first part of the threefold part of the process which these three words describe: the consolidation of the Christian character, making him firm in all parts of his spiritual frame.

2. Strength. There is strength as well as consolidation needed. There are many things that are firm and consolidated that are not strong. God's object is to make us strong.

3. The third thing here specified is settling, that is, firmly rooting and grounding, so that we shall not be moved. These words describe the process that is going on through the discipline which God is exercising through every son that He receiveth.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

Peter speaks of our "having suffered a while," and then being made "perfect." What a consolatory juxtaposition have we here — suffering first, and perfection afterwards. To make me enjoy heaven, He causes me to weep a while here. Music is all the more delicious when preceded by discord; peace is the more prized after war; health after sickness; and life, in all its beauty and vigour, will be only truly enjoyed "after that we have suffered while." Thanks to Peter for that little word "awhile." It is not always "night." It shall be day when the sun gets up. It shall not be always suffering with us. No — no; already the handkerchief is shaken out, wherewith tears are to be wiped away.

(John Macfarlane, D. D.)

It is the first duty of Christian minister to endeavour to convert sinners to God. The second object of the Christian ministry is the improvement of those already converted. Those trees of righteousness are not only to be planted in the garden of the Lord, but to be watered also.

I. THE CHARACTER OF JEHOVAH. He is called "the God of all grace."

II. As OPERATION. "Who hath called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus." This glory is eternal. A future state of being is intended to develop all our spiritual excellences, and therefore it is called glory.

III. We have here a PRAYER. "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." Peter here has a pleonasm which shows how earnestly he felt it in his own mind; he was deeply impressed, but could hardly find words to express his meaning and desire. "Do for you exceeding abundantly above all that ye can ask or think." There are, however, in this prayer three things which we may distinctly observe.

1. First, it includes much progress ill religion: "Make you perfect." Christians should never be satisfied. In your secular affairs you wish not only to go on, but to prosper. Why not show the same concern in your religious affairs? A little does not satisfy you in temporals, why should it in spirituals? especially since the latter is much more necessary and desirable; and you are commanded not only to have the Spirit, but to be "filled with the Spirit."

2. Another thing to be observed in this prayer is confirmation. For it is to little purpose to gain unless you retain also. "Stablish, strengthen, settle you."

3. But observe, thirdly, the Divine agency necessary for this. Peter not only admonishes, but prays for them. Who is to make them so? "Why," said he, "the God of all grace, who hath called us to His eternal glory." Who is to be the finisher but He who is the Author? "He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ." "He shall fulfil in you all the good pleasure of His will, and the work of faith with power."

IV. Consider THE CONCESSION. "After that ye have suffered a while." First, a suffering state is to precede their finishing their course with joy. Yes, before you reign with Him you are to suffer with Him. In the beginning of the gospel the sufferings of Christians arose much from persecution. I have known persons who have probably suffered more than many of the martyrs. The martyr has had public excitement; these have suffered in obscurity: the martyr's sufferings have soon ended; but here the melancholy experience stretches out from week to week, and even from year to year. These sufferings are needful: God, who loves His people infinitely, would not allow them to suffer without some gracious design. Yes, the fallow ground requires the ploughshare to prepare it for the seed. Even the vine needs the pruning knife, that it may bring forth fruit.

(W. Jay, M. A.)

Stablish, strengthen, settle you
Some think these words are spoken in the way of a promise from God; others think they are spoken in the way of prayer to God.

1. THE MERCY AND BLESSING PRAYED FOR. It is expressed in four words: "Perfect, stablish, strengthen, and settle you." The first word, which we render "perfect," should, I think, be translated otherwise. It is the same word that is used in Matthew 4:21 and Mark 1:19 for mending of their nets; and the same that is used in Galatians 6:1: "You that are spiritual 'restore' such an one with the spirit of meekness"; and it signifies such a restoring as is of unjointed members. Now these Christians being scattered, the apostle prays that God would please to joint them again. Thus the God of all grace, after you have suffered and been shattered, bring you into order, restore and repair you. It is a great blessing of God, and worthy of all our prayer, to be established and settled in the truth and good ways of God. Settling grace and mercy, in opposition both to outward and inward trouble, is a great mercy and well worth praying for.

1. First, it is a great mercy and blessing for a nation or kingdom to be in a settled state and condition outwardly; for it is the mercy promised, and promised mercies are no small mercies (Jeremiah 24:6; Jeremiah 32:37, 41; 2 Samuel 7:16).

2. Secondly, as it is a mercy for a nation to be settled and established, so for the Church of God; for when the Church hath this rest, then it is edified, walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost (Acts 9:31). Establishment is the mercy promised to the Church also (Isaiah 2:2). It is that mercy and blessing which the apostles laboured for continually (Acts 14:21). This they also prayed for; and therefore as the Apostle Peter shuts up his Epistle with this prayer for the dispersed Christian-Jews, so the Apostle Paul doth close up his Epistle to the Corinthians with the same desire and prayer for them (2 Corinthians 13) And Romans 16:25. And as it is the mercy prayed for, so sometimes it is made the signal mercy whereby the Church is declared to be the Church of Christ: "Whose house ye are," saith the apostle to the Hebrews, "if you hold fast the confidence of your rejoicing stedfast to the end."

3. But especially it is a great mercy for a particular soul to be settled in the truth and established in the good ways of God. It is the ground of all our fruitfulness: ye know how it is with a tree or plant, though in itself it be never so good, yet if it be not settled in the earth it bringeth forth no fruit: if the plant be good and the soil good, it may bring forth good fruit; but if you be always removing it from one place to another, it cannot bring forth fruit. It is the bottom of all our praises. The birds do not ordinarily sing till they be set; they do not usually sing flying; but when they are fixed: so saith David, "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed"; and what then? then saith he, "I will sing and give praise"; but not till then. And what is the reason that many pass so many years of their lives in doubtings and fears, never praising God for any love or mercy to them? but because they are unsettled in their spiritual estate and condition. It is the beginning of our perseverance: then I begin to persevere when I begin to settle and to be established. As instability is the beginning of apostasy, so settledness is the beginning of perseverance. It is that good thing which pleaseth God exceedingly. God was so pleased with Jehoshaphat upon that account that He passed by his infirmities, even because his heart was fixed and established (2 Chronicles 19:2). And it is also the character of a good and gracious person, whereby he is distinguished from the ungodly of the world. A good man lives and dwelleth at the sign of a settled conversation; he is planted by the rivers of water (Psalm 1); the wicked are as the chaff that is driven to and fro, not settled, not planted.

II. IT IS WORTHY OF ALL OUR PRAYERS. It is a great blessing, and worthy of all our prayers, to be settled and established in the good ways of God. It is that mercy, grace, and blessing which we all need. It is God only who doth give out this grace, it belongs unto Him alone to establish nations, churches, and persons. He is able to establish those who do come to Him for it: "Now to Him that is of power to establish you," etc. (Romans 16:25). He is willing to do it: "But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and keep you from evil" (2 Thessalonians 3:3). He is engaged to do it, for He hath promised to do it, as hath been proved already, and it is His prerogative: "Now He which establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God" (2 Corinthians 1:21). What shall we do, then, that we may be established?

1. As for a nation or Christian state. It must first settle religion, for religion is the mainmast, and if that be not strengthened all the tackling will be loose (Isaiah 33:23). Then must there be care taken for a succession of godly magistrates. And therefore let them and all the people remember the good counsel of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:20).

2. As for a Church. If particular churches would be settled and established, they must have all the officers and ordinances of Christ then; as a ship under sail, with all its sails out, is beautiful and doth move evenly, so shall they also do. Oh, that churches therefore would take heed of these great sins, pride, and covetousness, which will always keep them in an unsettled condition. But especially it is the duty of all the churches to pray much for this great mercy of establishment (Isaiah 62:6).

3. As for particular persons. Wouldst thou be established in the truth and good ways of God? Then observe what those things are which do make others unsettled, and take heed thereof. Surely either it is because they do want primitive breakings; for the stony ground comes to nothing at the last, though it hath much joy at the first, because it wants depth of earth. The stick that is thrust into the earth is more easily pulled up than the plant which is rooted in the earth. So are all those who have no root in themselves. Or because they take up great resolutions without answerable pre-deliberations; whereas we know that the needle must play about the polar point before it comes to stand and settle; he that would hit the mark must take his level before he parts with his arrow. And if men resolve before they have fully considered, they will ere long be unresolved again. Or because men do not walk by a settled rule: he can never be settled that doth not walk by a settled rule. So long as I want the Divine counsel of the Word, my heart is like a vagrant that is most unstable, said Bernard; for whilst I am not subject to God, I am contrary to myself. Or because they are divided in their own hearts. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways — a heart for the world, yet a good mind to Christ; how is it possible but they should be most unsettled? Or because they are too confident of their own strength and judgment: whereas the only way to be firm and stedfast is to be sensible of one's own infirmity. Or because men do forsake the ministry which Christ hath given to the churches for their edification, perfection, and establishment (Ephesians 9:11-14). Or because they have too fair an opinion of those that are erroneous, thinking that they may be godly, though they be never so unsound in their judgments. Or because that men do not improve their Christian communion for the life and power of godliness, but for light only, and discoursing notions: whereas Paul saith (1 Timothy 6:20, 21). Or because they have not been built on the rock Christ, but on some sandy foundation: whereas the Psalmist saith, "He set my feet on a rock, and established my goings" (Psalm 40:2). But what shall I do that I may be more settled in regard of my judgment, and that I may be established in the present truth? Get a clear and distinct understanding in the things and truths of the gospel: labour, not only to know, but to get a clear and judicious apprehension and clearness in the truths of Christ. Be sure that you do not make any impression the rule and square of your judgment; judge not doctrines by impressions. "We have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye shall do well that you take heed, as unto a light shining in a dark place" (chap. 2 Peter 1:19). The Word of God without is my rule, the light within is my help to understand that rule; but if I judge of doctrines by impressions of the Word on my heart I can never be settled; therefore take heed of that. Get into the house of God; God's house is an house of establishment; there He commandeth His blessing, and life forever more; there the Lord hath promised to make men pillars for stedfastness (Revelation 3:12). Whatever truth you know do not only know it in a spiritual way, but put the same into practice; the way to be established in the truth is to walk therein (Colossians 2:6, 7). But what shall I do that 1 may be more settled in my life and established in the good ways of God? You must be very sensible of your own unsettled ness, and be humbled for it; he is not far from establishment that is very sensible of his own unsettledness. Labour for a solid and a serious spirit: a serious spirit and an established heart go together (Proverbs 4:26). Be sure that you do not live upon your condition itself, but on the God of your condition; that is perpetual which hath a perpetuating cause. The more delight and contentment that you find in the good ways of God, the more your hearts will be fixed, established, and staked down to them; comfort and establishment go together (2 Thessalonians 2:17). Do you desire to be fixed and established? labour more and more, then, to make your way to heaven easy and comfortable to you.

(W. Bridge, M. A.)

Through "suffering," and alter the "suffering" will come four things: "Make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."

1. By the first, I understand theft God will knit you together, one part with another. So that, as we say of anything which is entire and unbroken, "It is perfect," so it will be with you. Your mind, your affections, and your soul, and your body one — living for the same end, living the same life, by the same Christ. Yourself one man, a whole, "perfect."

2. Then, made one with yourself, His one Spirit animating the whole being, He will "stablish" you, give you firmness and stability. Now is not it exactly what you want? Not feelings, principles — "stability." You shall feel your foundation under you deeper than the everlasting hills!

3. He will fulfil His beautiful promise. "Will He plead against me with His great power? No; but He will put strength into me." You will become — that which in such a world as this you need — that which is the secret of all peace, of all decision, of all usefulness in life — a strong character.

4. And so we travel to the highest, the last, and the best — "He will settle you." He will give you rest. Heaven has been beautifully defined "the rest of desire." But how is "settling," rest? To "settle," is to repose upon your foundation; to "settle," is to have an attraction, and to that attraction always to point. The ship "settles" to her anchor; the mountains "settle" to their base; the magnet "settles" to its pole. So God will "settle" you on Christ. And not only that. Every brick put into the wall, every storey added to a well-built house, "settles" the whole structure. In like manner God, enabling you to add work to work and usefulness to usefulness, will so "settle" you, by your increase, while He "builds you up in your own most holy faith"; and then "settled" on Christ, in Christ, to Christ, for Christ, with Christ, you will not be the restless creature you once were; you will not need to go about here and there for satisfaction, for you have a resting place, and in that place of your rest you will understand the wisdom and the order of the arrangement and the exquisite completeness of the Divine plan.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Peter turns from exhortation to prayer. Having exhorted believers to walk stedfastly he bends his knee and commends them to the guardian care of Heaven, imploring upon them one of the largest blessings for which the most affectionate heart ever made application.

I. WHAT THE APOSTLE ASKS FOR ALL TO WHOM THIS EPISTLE WAS WRITTEN. He asks for them: perfection, establishment, strengthening, settling.

1. Perfection. Indeed, though this be a large prayer, and the jewel is a diamond of the first water and of the finest size, yet is it absolutely necessary to a Christian that he should ultimately arrive at perfection. What were a Christian if he were not perfected? Have you never seen the human face divine starting out from the chiselled marble? You have seen the exquisite skill of the sculptor, and you have said within yourself, "What a marvellous thing will this be! what a matchless specimen of human skill!" But, alas I it never was completed, but was left unfinished. And do you imagine, any of you, that God will begin to sculpture out a perfect being and not complete it? Hath God taken us as unhewn stones out of the quarry, and hath He begun to work upon us and show His Divine art, His marvellous wisdom and grace, and will He afterwards cast us away? Oh, the prayer shall be fulfilled. After that ye have suffered a while, God shall make you perfect, if He has begun the good work in you. But it must be after that ye have suffered a while. There is no way of ridding you of your dross and your tin but by the flames of the furnace of affliction.

2. Let us now proceed to the second blessing of the benediction — establishment. What is a Christian man better than the flower of the field, which is here today, and which withers when the sun is risen with fervent heat, unless God establish him? Oh, may God fulfil to you this rich benediction, that your goodness may not be as the morning cloud and as the early dew which passeth away; may every good thing that you have be abiding. May your character be not a writing upon the sand, but an inscription upon the rock. But mark, we cannot have this blessing until after we have suffered a while. It is of no use our hoping that we shall be well-rooted if no March winds have passed over us. The young oak cannot be expected to strike its roots so deep as the old one.

3. Now for the third blessing, which is strengthening. Ah, this is a very necessary blessing too for all Christians. There be some whose characters seem to be fixed and established. But still they lack force and vigour. Oh, may God strengthen you this year! But remember, if He does do so, you will then have to suffer. "After that ye have suffered a while," may He strengthen you. There is sometimes an operation performed upon horses which one must consider to be cruel — the firing of them to make their tendons strong. Now, every Christian man before he can be strengthened must be fired. He must have his nerves and tendons braced up with the hot iron of affliction.

4. And now I come to the last blessing of the four — "settling." I will not say that this last blessing is greater than the other three, but it is a stepping stone to each; and, strange to say, it is often the result of a gradual attainment of the three preceding ones. "Settle you!" Oh, how many there are that are never settled! The tree which should be transplanted every week would soon die. Nay, if it were moved, no matter how skilfully, once every year, no gardener would expect fruit from it. How ninny Christians there be that are transplanting themselves constantly, even as to their doctrinal sentiments! Stand firm and steadfast by that which ye have been taught, and ever seek the spirit of the Apostle Paul, "If any man preach any other gospel than that which we have received, let him be accursed." If, however, I wished you to be firm in your doctrines, my prayer would be that you may be especially settled in your faith. You believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God, and you rest in Him. But sometimes your faith wavers, then you lose your joy and comfort. I pray that your faith may become so settled that it may never be a matter of question with you whether Christ is yours or not, but that you may say confidently, "I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded," etc. Then I pray that you may be settled in your aims and designs. See what niche it is that God would have you occupy. Stand in it, and don't be got out of it by all the laughter that comes upon you. If you believe God has called you to a work, do it. Be not weary in well-doing, for in due season ye shall reap if ye faint not. Be ye settled. But you will not be settled unless you suffer. You will become settled in your faith and settled in your aims by suffering.

II. THE REASONS WHY THE APOSTLE PETER EXPECTED THAT HIS PRAYER WOULD BE HEARD.

1. Did not unbelief whisper in Peter's ear, "Peter, thou askest too much. If thou hadst said, 'Lord, make them holy,' had it not been a sufficient prayer"? "No," saith Peter, "I am sure I shall receive what I have asked for, for I am in the first place asking it of the God of all grace." Not only the God of the little graces we have received already, but the God of the great boundless grace which is stored up for us in the promise, but which as yet we have not received in our experience. "The God of all grace"; of quickening grace, of convincing grace, of pardoning grace, of believing grace, the God of comforting, supporting, sustaining grace. Surely when we come to Him we cannot come for too much.

2. Unbelief might have said, "Ah, Peter, it is true that God is the God of all grace, but He is as a fountain shut up, as waters sealed." "Ah," saith Peter, "get thee hence, Satan; thou savourest not the things that be of God. It is not a sealed fountain of all grace, for it has begun to flow." "The God of grace hath called us." Calling is the first drop of mercy that trickleth into the thirsty lip of the dying man. Calling is the first golden link of the endless chain of eternal mercies. If God has called me, I may ask Him to establish and keep me; I may pray that the bush may burn, but not be consumed. Dare I ask that to life's latest hour I may be faithful to God, because God is faithful to me? Yes, I may ask it, and I shall have it too; because the God that calls will give the rest.

3. But I think there is a stronger reason coming yet: "The God of all grace, who hath called us unto tits eternal glory." Has God called me to heaven, and is there anything on earth He will deny me? If He has called me to dwell in heaven, is not perfection necessary for me? May I not, therefore, ask for it? If He has called me to glory, is it not necessary that I should be strengthened to fight my way thither? May I not ask for strengthening?

4. The last reason why the apostle expected that his benediction would be fulfilled was this: "Who hath called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus." It is not a hard thing to believe that Christ's blood was sufficient to purchase every blessing for me. If I go to God's treasury without Christ, I am afraid to ask for anything, but when Christ is with me I can then ask for everything.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

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