Page images
PDF
EPUB

AN EXPOSITION

UPON

THE EPISTLE OF JUDE.

I begin with the first part of the Epistle, the title that ever God bestowed, turning every other gift of, or entrance into it, contained in the first two into a mercy. Only those who have him, and bear verses, which are these :

him, can praise God; to others God comparatively

gives nothing, and they return nothing. God shows Ver. 1, 2. Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, superlatively how rich he is, in giving his Son ;. So and brother of James, to them that are sanctified God loved the world, that he gave his only begotten by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Son," John iii, 16, Christ, and called : mercy unto you, and peace,

[2.] The subject of this name is to be considered, and loce, be multiplied.

to which it is here applied. It is applied in Scrip

ture to a threefold subject. This title contains three principal parts :

1. To a tribe. Frequent mention is made of the I. The person who wrote the Epistle.

tribe of Judah, 1 Kings xii. 20; Psal. lxxvi. 1. II. The persons to whom he wrote it.

2. To a country or region, 2 Chron. xx. 3; Jer. III. The prayer : wherein the person writing sa- xvii. 25. lutes the persons to whom he wrote.

3. And properly, to persons : and so in Scripture I. The person who wrote this Epistle is described we read of six several persons that had this name. these three ways.

1. Judah the patriarch, Gen. xxix. 35. 1. From his name, Jude.

2. Judah in whose house Saul lodged at his first 2. From his office, A servant of Jesus Christ. conversion, Acts ix. 11. 3. From his alliance, The brother of James.

3. Judas surnamed Barsabas, Acts xv. 22. 1. The description of the penman of this Epistle 4. Judas of Galilee, a seditious person, Acts v. 37. from his name, Jude. In the consideration whereof 5. Judas Iscariot the traitor, Matt. x. 4; John I shall proceed by way of exposition, and of ob- xiv. 22. servation.

6. Judas the apostle, the author of this Epistle. (1.) The name of the author of the Epistle con- Concerning whom the Scripture intimates, besides sidered by way of exposition; wherein two things his apostolical office and relation to James, are to be opened: The signification of the name 1. His parentage : his father being Alpheus, Judas, or Jude; and, The subject of that name, or spoken of Matt. x. 3; Mark iii. 18; and his mother who the person was to whom it is here applied. held to be that Mary spoken of Matt. xxvii. 56; be

[1.] For the signification of the name Jude. It is cause Alphæus and Mary are said to be the parents found fully expressed Gen. xxix. 35. The occasion of James, to which James, in Luke vi. 16; Acts i. 13, of first imposing it, was Leah's apprehension of God's and here in this Epistle, this Judas is said to be goodness to her, in giving her a fourth son, whom brother.

therefore she called Judah, signifying 2. The Scripture expresses a mani- In sacra dodecada

praise, confession, or celebration. She fest distinction between him and Judas fuerunt duo qui made his name a monument of her thankfulness to Iscariot, John xiv. 22, calling him Judas, sere ; "unus tuli God for him, as also of her son's duty to live to the not Iscariot; taking especial care that sectator: alters inpraise of so good a God: a fruitful wife to Jacob in he might not be taken for him, their Ir. 76. in Joh. children, and a fruitful daughter to God in thank- hearts and persons being as different convenienter se

fulness. The learned Rivet well obIn qua nominis

as their names were agreeable; for one impositione, non serves, that in imposing this name she was sectator, the other insectator Domi- nifical.) alter per direxerit Spiritus was directed by the Spirit of God; this ni; the one following Christ as a dis- antiparasin no sanctuer und Judah being that son of Jacob, of whom ciple, the other as a blood-hound; one per ipsis operi inter Jacobi filios, Christ, according to the flesh, was to confessed him, the other betrayed him; Gerh. Ilar, in

come, for whom God is principally to the one carried himself according to his loc. erat. Riv. in loc. be praised, he being the choicest gift | name, the other was a mere living contradiction to

יהודה

nomen Judie ges

. Aug.

gessit (Judas enim Contessorer sig

men se

dah is qui

bus tenonstravit.

pater futuri Mes. siæ constitutus

B

,

nerositate et

[ocr errors]

mortem dissectus,

.

Corculum dice bant antiqui so

. Plin. l. 7.

, ob

tus Corculum. Cic. Tusc. 1.

And Acts i. 13.

Zedekiah.
Jehonhaz.

Jansen. Harm.

[ocr errors]

יהוה

יהודה

his name.

When the evangelist saith, Judas, not Judah, Gen. xlix. 9, of which tribe this Jude was,) to Iscariot, he intended a difference betwixt him and show his holy resolution and courage Leo dicitur a 37 this holy Jude.

for God, in opposing sin and the ene- cordatus seu ani3. The Scripture expresses a humble question pro- mies of the truth, even as with a lion- mosus: quia a gepounded by him to Christ : “ Lord, how is it that like heart; or from the Hebrew word sentia animi imthou wilt manifest thyself to us, and not unto the Leb, which signifieth a heart: thereby enim sedes est et world ?” John xiv.22. Concerning which question, denoting (say some) that he was a man ymbolum cortinas although I meet with different opinions, yet I see not of much wisdom and understanding in tomenes, qui towhy, with Musculus, we may not conceive that Jude his place and conduct; for he who was tarn Graciam stupropounded it from a humble and modest considera- of greatest discretion and prudence, miraculo: post tion of himself and the apostles, in partaking of the was formerly accustomed to be called inventus est hagracious manifestation of Christ to them, there being Corculum, from cor, a heart; and a wise, bilis hirsutom a passing by of others more famous and better ac- understanding man is usually termed Plin. lib. 11. c. 37. complished than were the disciples. A question which, homo cordatus, a man with a heart: or thus understood, shows, 1. The freeness of him that denoting (say others) that he was cor- lertem et acutum. gives; so, 2. The humility of them that receive dis cultor, a man that laboured much cautus et pructos, grace; who, instead of insulting over others that have about his heart, studying diligently its locabatur Corcu less than themselves, admire the goodness of him that purity and sanctifying. This for the cap. 31. Unde gives more to them than to others; nay, 3. The expository part of the first thing con- prudentian bis tender-heartedness and pity of the godly towards the siderable in the description of the pen- cos est. cappellam souls of those wicked ones, who are commonly cruel man of this Epistle, viz. his name. and unkind to their bodies.

(2.) From the sameness or commonness of the name 4. The Scripture expresses concerning this apostle, Judas to a holy apostle, and a perfidious traitor, togethat he was folvuvvuos, had sundry names ; for he ther with that seditious Galilean, I observe,

that in Luke vi. 16 is called “ Judas 1. That names commend us not to God, nor conduce Todas 'lakw;}ov, the brother of James,” is in Matt. x. 3 any thing to our true happiness. Many who have holy Judas trinominis. called Lebbæus and' Thaddæus ; the and blessed names come much short of reason whereof I meet with sundry opinions among them, as Adonijah, Judas, &c. Absalom writers. 1. Some conceive that he had this diversity signifies, the father's peace; but he that was so called,

of names from a usual custom among the proved his father's trouble. On the other side, many Jews, that if any name had in it three have unpromising and infamous names, who are exor more of the letters of Jehovah, it cellent persons, and have lost nothing thereby. It

should not be used in ordinary speech, is not a holy name, but a holy nature, that makes but that some other name like it should be substituted a holy man. No outward titles or privileges profit for it. Now Judah containing in it all the enjoyer; “neither circumcision, nor

Ιερώνυμοι alithe four letters in the name Jehovah, uncircumcision, but a new creature.” A quando mali, (having besides the letter 7) this apostle had other peasant may have the name of a prince ; quando boni. names by which he was ordinarily called; but this a traitor, the name of a holy apostle. Si communio noreason seems, whatever is the superstition of the later It is all one with God to call thee holy, onibus præjudiJews, not to have taken place in our Jude, or in any and to make thee so. Oh, beg of him quam servi, Reother of whom we read: the patriarch Judah, the son inward renovation, more than outward gum nominibus of Jacob, had no other name than Judah bestowed estimation ; otherwise, a great name for cont. Mart.c.7. upon him by his mother or friends, nor did the cus- holiness will prove but a great plague hereafter. tom appear upon Judas Iscariot. 2. Others conceive Hell is a wicked Judas's own place. A good name that these names were conferred upon him, to distin- with an unchanged nature, is but white feathers upon guish him from Judas (of the same name) the traitor, a black skin. A great privilege unsanctified is a grown detestable for his execrable fact and heinous great punishment. treason; for which cause our apostle may in the title Obs. 2. That wicked men make the best names and

of this Epistle style himself also “the things odious by their unholy carriage. Judas the di perum brother of James;” the name of Judas traitor makes the name Judas by many to be denere fere Christi. being so odious in the church, that, as spised. Eli's sons made the people to abhor the Lord's 100 eelusurpando a learned man observes, though a good offering, 1 Sam. ii. 17. God tells the people, that

name in itself, Christians have in all they had profaned his holy name, while the heathen nomen Cliristia ages abstained from imposing it, and said, “ These are the people of the Lord,” Ezek. xxxvi.

that very rarely is it to be found men- 20. Scandalous Christians have brought an odium

tioned in any history. And there seems upon Christianity. It is the duty therefore of those to be an exact care in the evangelist, that when this who are conversant about holy things to be holy; to holy apostle was named, John xiv. 22, he might not tremble lest any should think the worse of ordinances, be taken for the traitor, speaking thus, " Judas, not of the ministry, or of sanctity, for them. The blood Iscariot." Nor was it any change of his name that of seeming saints will not wash away the scandal they answered the purpose ; for it was no less wisely than have brought upon true sanctity, nor make amends piously heeded, that those other names, Thaddæus for the evil report which they have brought upon the and Lebbæus, should be suitable to the person upon Canaan of godliness; and yet we should take heed of From the Ileb. whom they were bestowed; Thaddæus thinking the worse of holiness, or of any way of God,

signifying in the Syriac the same thing, for the wickedness of any person whatever. Eli's praise or confession, with Judah in Hebrew ;

the

sons sinned in making the people abhor the Lord's imposers of this name intimating the offering; and yet the text saith the people sinned constancy of this holy man in confessing too in abhorring it, 1 Sam. ii. 24. Christ, what name soever he had. Nor Obs. 3. That our baptismal names ought to be such can it be thought, but that the other as may prove remembrancers of duty. Leah and name, Lebbæus, was applied fitly and Alphæus, in imposing names on their children, made suitably to him, as being derived either use of such as might induce parents and children anfrom the Hebrew word Labi, which other day to seek holiness. God called Abram Abrasignifies a lion, (the emblem of another | ham, to strengthen his faith: Hannah gave the name

cat, quanti ne:

insultant.

Tert.

Lorin. in loc. p. 320. deprehendi, absti

anos ab imponen

nomine Juda. Execrabile hoc

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

of Samuel to her son, because he was a son of prayer. | apostles were servants in a different way from other It is good to impose such names as express our bap- ministers, both with respect to the manner of their tismal promise. A good name is a thread tied about calling, which was by immediate mission and appointthe finger, to make us mindful of the errand we came ment from God, and also to the extent of their power, into the world to do for our Master.

which was not confined to one place, but granted to Obs. 4. That ministers, especially, ought so to be- them for planting and governing churches in any have themselves, as that they may not be ashamed part of the world. In which respect, some think, of their names. That their name prefixed may be a they are called the salt of the earth. crown, a credit to their writings; that whensoever their On account of this function, and office of apostlenames are spoken of, the hearer may bless them: ship, Jude principally calls himself a servant of that their names may be as a sweet perfume to their Christ; though not barely and solely on account of actions. Many Christians' names are so odious, that God's calling him to it, but in respect also of his own what they say or do is blemished, because it comes diligence and faithfulness in endeavouring to disfrom them: it had been good if it had been another's. charge his office to which he was called: as Peter He is a dead man among the living that has a hate- exhorts, 1 Pet. iv. 10; and, as Paul speaks, Christ ful name. It is a great mercy when our names out- keeps no servants only to wear a livery, 1 Cor. ix. 16. live us; it is a great punishment when we outlive As he is not a titular Lord, so neither are his servants our names. They that honour God shall have the titular servants. All their expressions of service spirit of glory rest upon them. He that is a Jude, a reach not the emphasis either of their desires or duty. confessor of Christ, shall never want that honour. [2.] The thing to be opened secondly, is the cause

Obs. 5. That we should not do that to which we why the apostle here styleth himself the servant of are ashamed or afraid to own or put our names. I Christ. deny not but in some cases it may be lawful to change Some think, to show his humility and modesty. our names, or forbear to mention them, either by He who might have used the title cither of apostle, tongue or pen; but then we should not be driven to or brother of the Lord, rather contents himself with such straits by the badness of our actions, as the most this note of duty and service common to every are, so as to be ashamed to own them; but by the Christian. consideration of God's glory, or the church's good, or Others, better, for the confirming and comforting our own necessary preservation in time of persecu- himself in his work; because his Lord whom he tion, which may be the more advanced by concealing served, and had set him on work, would stand by our names. Thus Bucer, in times of trouble for the him, both in protecting his person and prospering gospel, called Aretius, Felinus. Calvin's Institutions | his work. were printed under the name of Alcuinus. But these Others, and those upon clearest grounds, conceive did not conceal themselves for sin, but for safety; that the apostle here embraces this title of servant on nor yet so much for safety as for God's glory. account of others, that his doctrine might with more

I pass from the name, and proceed to describe, respect and readiness be received by those to whom

2. The author of this Epistle, in his office, A ser- he wrote; seeing that he was called to his work, and vant of Jesus Christ.

that by such a Master, whose service added not more Of this, by way of explication, and of observation. dignity to him, than it required duty from them.

For explication. Here two points are to be open- This for explication: the observations follow. ed. In what respect Jude was the servant of Christ ? Obs. 1. They who undertake any public employand why he here so styles himself?

ment for Christ, must receive a call from him to be [1.] În what respect Jude was the servant of his servants, if with comfort to themselves, or benefit Christ? He was so in three respects.

to others, they will go about his work. It is a great 1. In respect of creation and sustention, as are all shame, if all who are prophets are not the Lord's creatures. All are thy servants, from the highest people; but it is a gross error to think that all the angel to the lowest worm, Psal. cxix. 91. “All things Lord's people are ministerially prophets. Their were created by him, and for him, and by him all being the Lord's people makes them fit to hear, but things consist,” Col. i. 16, 17. The world is but his not fit to preach ; fit sheep, not fit shepherds. Supfamily, altogether at his finding: should he shut his pose that, which constant experience contradicts, they hand, the house would be famished: if he withdraw have the fitness of gifts, have they therefore a suffihis maintenance, the world would fall.

cient call to preach by way of office, and ministry ? 2. In respect of redemption from the power of sin Is it enough, to be a king's servant, or a nobleman's and Satan, Heb. ii. 15; from their condemning and steward, for a person to have abilities to discharge destroying power, Rom. viii. 1; from their corrupt- those places ? is there not required commission or ing and defiling power. And that this was a re- call also ? and are not ministers called servants and demption calculated to make us servants to the stewards ? At this time I doubt it would hardly be Redeemer, Rom. vi. 18; Eph. vi. 6, appears, in that accounted true doctrine, that every one who has it was not only by conquest, and vindication from military gifts, courage and policy, may be a comour enemies, Luke i. 74; as the conqueror might have mander of a regiment, or captain of a troop, and that destroyed us as well as taken us, or destroyed them, he might gather his followers without commission. in which respect, according to all usage and equity, Is it enough for a man to be a prince's ambassador, we ought to be for ever his servants; but a redemp- because he has sufficient gifts, for wit, and good extion also by purchase, the Lord Jesus having paid no pression, &c. ? must not the king also give him the less price than his own precious blood, 1 Pet. i. 18, authority to be an ambassador ? Is every one who 19. From which consideration the apostle strongly can run a messenger ? must he not be sent likewise ? argues, that we are not our own, but serve for the Besides, whosoever has a commission to preach has a glorifying of another, 1 Cor. vi. 20.

commission to baptize, as is plain from Matt. xxviii. 3. This apostle was the servant of Christ, more pe- | 19. Preaching and baptizing reaching alike the culiarly, by way of special office and function. Christ ministry of all ages. But has every gifted man such himself, Moses, David, Cyrus, Zerubbabel, &c., were a commission? Further, does not our Saviour, Matt. called God's servants; so are the prophets in the Old, X. 41, clearly distinguish between a righteous man the apostles and ministers in the New Testament and a prophet ? if they had been all one, why would called servants. Although it is granted that the he have done so ? and if gifts make a minister, is it

:

a

a

not as true that gifts make a magistrate ? and then Obs. 3. There is a peculiar excellency and worth every one who had understanding and other good in the title of servant, with which our apostle, and governing parts were a lord mayor. Nay, then why others before him, were so frequently delighted. It might not women preach, (as lately they have done,) might furnish them and us with a fivefold considermany of whom have better gifts than some men ? ation full of sweet delight. (1.) That he much And how could that agree with the apostolical pro-honours us. To serve Christ is to reign. It is more hibition for women to speak in the church ?

honour to serve Christ than to serve emperors ; nay, Besides, all who are called to preach are bound to than to have emperors serve us; for, indeed, all increase their gifts, by giving attendance to reading, things do so. (2.) That he will assist us in our to doctrine, and by giving themselves wholly to these works: if he gives employment, he will give endowthings, which cannot be done, unless earthly occupa- ments too; if an errand, a tongue; if work, a hand; tions are laid aside: but gifted men are not bound to if a burden, a back: “I can do all things through this; so they have not this call which they pretend. Christ which strengtheneth me,” saith Paul. And To conclude, every one that hath this ministerial call, herein he goes beyond all other masters, who can has that pastoral care lying upon him, mentioned toil and task their servants sufficiently, but canHeb. xiii. 17, To watch over souls as those that not strengthen them. (3.) That he will preserve must give an account with joy, and not with grief: us. He will keep us in all our ways; and surely then but this can in no wise be said of every one who is a he will so in all his own work. Safety evermore acgifted man; and therefore gifted persons, as such, companies duty. His mercy is over all his works, must forsake their pretended claim to a ministerial but peculiarly over all his workers. Men are never call. Nor can it be evinced, because the apostle in danger but when they leave working. Jonah was says, All may prophesy, 1 Cor. xiv. 31, therefore well enough till he attempted to run away from his every gifted person may preach. For, besides that Master. When our enemies do us the greatest hurt, the gift of prophecy was extraordinarily bestowed they remove us above hurt. A servant of Christ may in that age of the church, not procured by study and be sick, persecuted, scorned, imprisoned, but never industry, but immediately conferred by the Spirit unsafe; he may lose his head, but not one hair of upon some, as were also miracles, the gift of healing, his head perish. (4.) That he will provide for us. and diversities of tongues, all which are now ceased, He can live without servants, but these cannot live it is most plain, that the word all in that place is not without a Master. Verily his family-servants shall to be taken in its full latitude, as if all the men, or be fed. The servants of Christ shall want no good every believer in the church of Corinth, might stand thing: if they are without some things, there is up and prophesy, for that is expressly contrary to nothing they can want; they shall have better, 1 Cor. xii. 29, where by an interrogation the apostle and enough of better. Can he that has a mine of vehemently denies that all are prophets ; but it is to gold want pebbles ? Can it be that a servant of Christ be taken restrictively, to those that were in office, and should want provision, when God can make his very set by God in the church for that purpose, as the work meat and drink to him ? nay, when God can apostle speaks, “God hath set some in his church, make his wants meat and drink? How can he want, first apostles, secondarily prophets,” &c. 1 Cor. xii. or be truly without any thing, whose friend has and 28. Other cavils are weaker than deserve to be men- is all? No good thing shall they want, nothing that tioned; as, to argue from that place, that because may fit them for and further them in duty. It is women are forbid to speak in the church, therefore true they may be without clogs, snares, hinderances ; any man may speak, Î Cor. xiv. 34. What greater but those things are not good which hinder the chief strength is in this argument than to reason thus : good. If God gave them, he would feed his servants Because no woman may be a justice of peace, there- with husks, nay, with poison. (5.) That he will refore every man may? Because no woman may speak ward them. The Lord gives grace and glory: great publicly, therefore some men must, (namely, such as is their reward in heaven; nay, great is their reward are in office,) had been a much better consequence.

on earth. There is a reward in the very work ; but Nor is there more strength in that allegation of God will bestow a further recompence hereafter. We Moses's wish, that all the Lord's people were pro- should not serve him for, but he will not be served phets, to prove that all might prophesy; for in his without wages, even such as will weigh down all our desiring that all might be prophets, he includes a re- work, all our woes. quired condition, that they might be called by God Oh the folly of them that either prefer that cruel and to that employment.

dishonourable service of sin, before the sweet and Obs. 2. Alliance in faith, spiritual relation to glorious service of Christ; or that, being servants to Christ, is much dearer and nearer than alliance in Christ, improve it not for their comfort in all their flesh. Jude might have called himself a near kins- distresses! man to Christ, or Christ's brother, as indeed he was, Obs. 4. We owe to God the duty and demeanour and was so accounted, Matt. xiii. 55, as much as of servants. James, who is called the Lord's brother, Gal. i. 19; (1.) To serve him solely, not serving sin or Sabut that which includes a spiritual relation is to him tan at all, nor man in opposition to Christ; not much sweeter: to be a servant of Christ is more de- serving ourselves or the times, Matt. vi. 24. Who sirable than to be a brother of Christ. What had it keep servants to serve others, enemies ? Christ and profited to have been his kinsman, unless his servant ? sin are contrary masters ; contrary in work, and Many who were his kinsmen according to the flesh, therefore it is an impossibility to serve both; conwanted the honour of this spiritual affinity ; but such trary in wages, and therefore it is an infinite folly to of them who had this honour bestowed upon them,

serve sin. had all their other glory swallowed up in this, as (2.) Christ must be served obediently, submissively, Christ expressed himself, He is my brother, and sister, [1.) In bearing when he corrects. A beaten servant and mother, Blessed be God, that this great privi- must not strike again, nor word it with his master: lege is not denied to us even now; though we cannot we must accept of the punishment of our iniquities. see him, yet love him we may; though we have not It is chaff that flies in the face of him that fanneth, his bodily presence, yet we are not denied the spirit. (2.) We must be submissive servants, in being content ual; though he be not ours in house, in arms, in with our allowance, in forbearing to enjoy what we affinity, yet in heart, in faith, in love, in service he is. I would, as well as bearing what we would not: the

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »