2 Peter 2:2
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
I. AN ATTRACTION.
1. The ringleaders.
(1) The necessity of a head to every schism and faction; never was breach made in the vineyard of Christ but some principal beast led the whole herd. If their reward in heaven be so great that save one soul from death, how great shall their torment be in hell that pervert many souls to destruction!
(a) The way to suppress a schism is to cut off the head; it will be hard for a body to move headless.
(b) Seeing there are such corrupters of our truth, and disturbers of our peace, let us be sure to hold the truth in peace, cleaving to our Head, Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:19).
(2) The great force of example.
(a) Let this teach men of place to look unto their exemplary lives, lest, as they have made themselves examples of transgression, God make them examples of destruction.
(b) Seeing we are all apt to be followers, let us seek out the best patterns (Philippians 3:17; Psalm 16:3).
(3) Their mischiefs.
(a) There is a plurality, diversity of their "ways." Truth is but one, errors are infinite. Goodness is a uniform simple, sin a multiform compound. Satan baits his hook according to the appetite of the fish. He studies many ways to make you wretched; do you study one way to make yourselves blessed.
(b) These ways are pernicious or damnable. The wicked never rest till they meet with final ruin.
2. The rabble.
(1) Their multitude "many." Wickedness is never scant of followers.
(2) Their tractableness — "shall follow." There is a pliable disposition in all men naturally to evil, in these a desperate precipitation.
(a) The greediness of the ungodly to sin, that they scarce tarry for temptation.
(b) Sin is strong when it meets with a weak resister. How easy is it for error to domineer over ignorance!
(c) Observe the power of evil men over their associates, whether in perverting the higher faculties of the soul, reason, and understanding, and conscience, or in corrupting the lower will and affections.
(d) We must not fall off from the faith and Church of Christ because multitudes travel another way.
(e) Seeing there is such certain danger in following after common copies, let me avert you from all these pestilent examples, and propose to you one worth your imitation.
II. A DETRACTION.
1. The patient that suffers.
(1) The singularity — "the way," that excellent way. There is only one way of truth and of salvation by it.
(2) The sincerity — the way "of truth."(a) It is certain. It is called "the testimony" (Isaiah 8:20) because it bears witness unto itself; so is it called "the truth "because it shall accomplish itself.
(b) It is excellent, as being the letters patent of our salvation.
2. The injury that is offered to it.
(1) "By whom." The instruments or occasioners of this scandal — those misled proselytes. The seminaries of infection have poisoned them, and they spread that pestilence, to the dishonour of Christ and the scandal of His gospel.
(a) Not only the principals, but even the accessories in schism are guilty of sin, and liable to punishment.
(b) The authors of this seducement are not discharged, though their scholars have dissipated the evil.
(2) "The way of truth shall be evil spoken of." The aspersion laid upon the gospel by their means is blasphemy, the worst kind of evil speaking.
Parallel VersesKJV: And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.