Having settled and explained the duty of the pastors or spiritual guides of the church, the apostle comes now to instruct the flock,
I. How to behave themselves to their ministers and to one another. He calls them the younger, as being generally younger than their grave pastors, and to put them in mind of their inferiority, the term younger being used by our Saviour to signify an inferior, Luke 22:26. He exhorts those that are younger and inferior to submit themselves to the elder, to give due respect and reverence to their persons, and to yield to their admonitions, reproof, and authority, enjoining and commanding what the word of God requires, Heb. 13:17. As to one another, the rule is that they should all be subject one to another, so far as to receive the reproofs and counsels one of another, and be ready to bear one another’s burdens, and perform all the offices of friendship and charity one to another; and particular persons should submit to the directions of the whole society, Eph. 5:21; Jas. 5:16. These duties of submission to superiors in age or office, and subjection to one another, being contrary to the proud nature and selfish interests of men, he advises them to be clothed with humility. “Let your minds, behaviour, garb, and whole frame, be adorned with humility, as the most beautiful habit you can wear; this will render obedience and duty easy and pleasant; but, if you be disobedient and proud, God will set himself to oppose and crush you; for he resisteth the proud, when he giveth grace to the humble.” Observe, 1. Humility is the great preserver of peace and order in all Christian churches and societies, consequently pride is the great disturber of them, and the cause of most dissensions and breaches in the church. 2. There is a mutual opposition between God and the proud, so the word signifies; they war against him, and he scorns them; he resisteth the proud, because they are like the devil, enemies to himself and to his kingdom among men, Prov. 3:34. 3. Where God giveth grace to be humble, he will give more grace, more wisdom, faith, holiness, and humility. Hence the apostle adds: Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time, 1 Pet. 5:6. “Since God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble, therefore humble yourselves, not only one to another, but to the great God, whose judgments are coming upon the world, and must begin at the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17); his hand is almighty, and can easily pull you down if you be proud, or exalt you if you be humble; and it will certainly do it, either in this life, if he sees it best for you, or at the day of general retribution.” Learn, (1.) The consideration of the omnipotent hand of God should make us humble and submissive to him in all that he brings upon us. (2.) Humbling ourselves to God under his hand is the next way to deliverance and exaltation; patience under his chastisements, and submission to his pleasure, repentance, prayer, and hope in his mercy, will engage his help and release in due time, Jas. 4:7, 10.
II. The apostle, knowing that these Christians were already under very hard circumstances, rightly supposes that what he had foretold of greater hardships yet a coming might excite in them abundance of care and fear about the event of these difficulties, what the issue of them would be to themselves, their families, and the church of God; foreseeing this anxious care would be a heavy burden, and a sore temptation, he gives them the best advice, and supports it with a strong argument. His advice is to cast all their care, or all care of themselves, upon God. “Throw your cares, which are so cutting and distracting, which wound your souls and pierce your hearts, upon the wise and gracious providence of God; trust in him with a firm composed mind, for he careth for you. He is willing to release you of your care, and take the care of you upon himself. He will either avert what you fear, or support you under it. He will order all events to you so as shall convince you of his paternal love and tenderness towards you; and all shall be so ordered that no hurt, but good, shall come unto you,” Matt. 6:25; Ps. 84:11; Rom. 8:28. Learn, 1. The best of Christians are apt to labour under the burden of anxious and excessive care; the apostle calls it, all your care, intimating that the cares of Christians are various and of more sorts than one: personal cares, family cares, cares for the present, cares for the future, cares for themselves, for others, and for the church. 2. The cares even of good people are very burdensome, and too often very sinful; when they arise from unbelief and diffidence, when they torture and distract the mind, unfit us for the duties of our place and hinder our delightful service of God, they are very criminal. 3. The best remedy against immoderate care is to cast our care upon God, and resign every event to the wise and gracious determination. A firm belief of the rectitude of the divine will and counsels calms the spirit of man. We ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done, Acts 21:14.
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