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PARAPHRASE AND NOTES
THE CATHOLIC EPISTLE OF ST. JUDE.
JUDE, or Judas, the author of this epistle, is often mentioned as one of the apostles of our Lord, and the brother of James the less. The canonical authority of this epistle hath been disputed; but it is not the business of these commentaries to enter largely into such questions. Probably its authenticity would never have been doubted, had it not been for an imagination, ill grounded indeed, that the author had quot. ed a spurious book, called the prophecy of Enoch. The reader may consult what learned men have written upon this argument, particularly, Dr. Lardner, in his Credibility of the Gospel History ; Dr. Whitby, and Dr. Twells, in the second part of his critical examination of the new text and version of the New Testament. The latter bath collected the principal materials with accuracy, and set them in a clear and convincing light.
There is a remarkable similarity between this epistle and part of the second epistle of St. Peter, which, (as we observed in the Introduction to that epistle,) was probably owing to this, that both the apostles drew their character of the false teachers, against whom they cautioned their readers, from the cha. racter given of the false prophets in some ancient Jewish
A general introduction, &c. author ; and it is very possible too, (as Bishop Sherlock observes,) that St. Jude might have the second epistle of St. Peter before him.
Dr. Mill fixes the date of this epistle about the year 90 ; (see his Prolegomena, p. 17, sect. 145, edit. Kuster ;) and his principal argument is, that the false teachers, which St. Peter describes as yet to come, St. Jude mentions as already come. But, on a comparison, there does not appear that remarkable difference in their phraseology, which will be sufficient to prove that St. Jude wrote his epistle so long after St. Peter's second epistle as is here supposed, though I acknowledge, it will prove that it was written after it.
The design of the apostle is plainly, “ by describing the character of the false teachers, and pointing out the Divine judgments which persons of such a character had reason to expect, to caution Christians against listening to their suggestions, and being thereby perverted from the faith and purity of the gospel.”
For the analysis of the epistle, I refer my reader to the contents prefixed to the two sections, into which I have divided it.
The apostle Jude, after a general salutation, exhorts the Christians
to whom he wrote, strenuously to assert the purity of their common faith ; reminding them of the destruction which came on God's professing people, yea, on the apostate angels, for their sins ; us well as on the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah ; and then he begins the description of some seditious and abandoned persons, from whom he imagined them in peculiar danger. Jude, ver. 1--11.
OU receive this epistle from Jude, who, sect. and brotherof James, not but rejoice and glory in the title of a serto them that
Jude sanctified by God vant of Jesus Christ, and who is the brother of i the Father, and pre- James, so well known by his distinguished serserved in
Jesus vices and sufferings in the cause of our Divine
Master ; and he inscribes it to those who are
preserved in Jesus Christ,
St. Jude inscribes his epistle to Christians ; sect. brought into the fellowship of his religion, and i. guarded by his grace, in the midst of a thousand
snares, which might have tempted them to have Jude made shipwreck of their faith. May
mercy, 2 Mercy unto you, 2
and peace, and love, from our heavenly Father, and peace, and love,
is to be numbered among the most precious of
to write unto you of to the hope of which we are brought by the the common salvaprofession of the gospel, I judged it necessary tion, it was needful to direct my pen, particularly with respect to for me to write unto those unhappy attempts that have been mad, that ye should earn to adulterate Christianity, by some who con- estly contend for the tinue to profess a regard to it. I now there. faith which was once fore write to you, exhorting and beseeching saints.
delivered unto the (you) to strive earnestly for the faith, which was once for all delivered to the saints, for the instruction of every future age ; and not to suffer
any by violence or by fraud, to rob you of so 4 inestimable a treasure. For some crafty and
4 For there are pernicious men have, as it were, with a serpen- unawares, who were
certain men crept in tinę art glided in among us, who were of old, as before of old ordainit were, described and registered to this condem- ed to this condemnation, by God's righteous sentence denounc
a Giving all diligence to write to you con- tion may be considered as described in the cerning the common salvation, &c.] Some punishment of other notorious sinners, have supposed the meaning is, That who were a kind of representatives of whereas he intended to write them a prac- them. Which interpretation I prefer to tical letter, he was compelled to go into any other, as it tends to clear God of that some controversial subjects. I rather think heavy imputation which it must bring uphe intends to declare by this expression, on his moral attributes, to suppose that he that the exhortation he now gives them, appoints men to sin against him, and then to contend earnestly for the faith, was indeed condemns them for doing what they could subservient to promote that common salva- not but do, and what they were, indepention he designed to lead them to the pur. dent on their own freedom of choice, suit of. Bishop Sherlock thinks the faith fated to. A doctrine so pregnant with delivered to the saints, is the same with gloomny, and, as I should fear, with fatal the holy commandment delivered, 2 Pet. ii. consequences, that I think it a part of the 21, that is, with the directions and in- duty I owe to the word of God, to rescue it structions which the council of the apostles from the imputation of containing such a had sent them, with regard to these pes. tenet. Bishop Sherlock thinks, the word tilent teachers. Sherlock on Proph. p. 200, refers to the description given of such 5th Edit.
kind of persons by an ancient writer of the b Who were registered to this condemna- Jewish nation, cited as he supposes in this tion] The word agogogga ja pierou may epistle, and in the second chapter of the well signify described and put upon record ; second epistle of Peter. Sherl on Proph. p. that is, whose character and condemna- 181, 5th Edit. Compare ver. 14, 5, 7, 8
reminding them of God's judgment on the fallen angels :
345 nation, ungodlymen, ed against crimes like theirs, long before they sect. our God into lascivi. appeared in the world. Impious and ungrate. ousness, and deny.
ful men, who presume to turn even the grace of ing the only Lord our God itself, which ought to be an everlasting
obedience, into an occasion of lasciviousness; as
versal dominion, to be acknowledged by all who 5 I will therefore would not be found rebels against himself! But 5 put you in remem. I would remind you, as you once knew this, that brance, though ye having been taught it, you may never forget it, once knew this, how that the Lord'hav. even that the Lord, having saved the people, of ing saved the people Israel from out the land of Egypt, and rescu. out of the land of ed them by so glorious an interposition of his destroyed them that almighty power,
afterwards destroyed those that believed not.
did not believe, though they had once experience
ligion after a manner contrary to its original 6 And the angels design. The angels also who kept not their first 6 which kept not their state, d but suffering their minds to be transportfirst estate, but left ed with ambitious and irregular passions, their own habitation, he hath reserved in were discontented in that high rank of being everlasting chains which Providence assigned them, and left their under darkness, un proper abode in the region of glory, instead of the great day.
permitting them to advance themselves by their
judgment of the great day, and then to receive 7 Even as Sodom their final sentence. And earth has produced 7
God the Sovereign, and our Lord, &c ] assigned them, and which they were not Some would reder it, our only Master, content with ; and their leaving this first God and Lord. See Dr. Watts on the Trin. habitation he takes to have been a volunp. 113. But it seems most agreeable to tary thing, and that they chose to come the general doctrine and phraseology of down to the neighbourhood of this earth, scripture, to retain our translation. Com- that they might seduce mankind to join pare John xvii. 3.
with them in their revolt. But this does
not seem to suit the phrase of their being d Their first state : The dgxay sau?..] cast out, 2 Pet. ii. 4 Mr. Boyse would Some translate these words, the govern- translate it, their own head, that is, Christ. ment of themselves. But Dr. Scoti inter. Boyse's Serm. Vol. III. p. 406. Compare prets it of that place in heaven which was Hos. i. 11, in the Seventy.