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1: Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ - The highest glory which
any, either angel or man, can aspire to. The word servant,
under the old covenant, was adapted to the spirit of fear and
bondage that clave to that dispensation. But when the time
appointed of the Father was come, for the sending of his Son to
redeem them that were under the law, the word servant (used by
the apostles concerning themselves and all the children of God)
signified one that, having the Spirit of adoption, is made free
by the Son of God. His being a servant is the fruit and
perfection of his being a son. And whenever the throne of God
and of the Lamb shall be in the new Jerusalem, then will it be
indeed that "his servants shall serve him," (Re 22:3).
The brother of James - St. James was the more eminent, usually
styled, "the brother of the Lord." To them that are beloved - The
conclusion, (Jude 1:21), exactly answers the introduction.
And preserved through Jesus Christ - So both the spring and the
accomplishment of salvation are pointed out. This is premised,
lest any of them should be discouraged by the terrible things
which are afterwards mentioned. And called - To receive the whole
blessing of God, in time and eternity.
3: When I gave all diligence to write to you of the common
salvation - Designed for all, and enjoyed by all believers. Here
the design of the epistle is expressed; the end of which exactly
answers the beginning. It was needful to exhort you to contend
earnestly - Yet humbly, meekly, and lovingly; otherwise your
contention will only hurt your cause, if not destroy your soul.
For the faith - All the fundamental truths. Once delivered - By
God, to remain unvaried for ever.
4: There are certain men crept in, who were of old
described before - Even as early as Enoch; of whom it was
foretold, that by their wilful sins they would incur this
condemnation. Turning the grace of God - Revealed in the
gospel. Into lasciviousness - Into an occasion of more
5: He afterwards destroyed - The far greater part of that
very people whom he had once saved. Let none therefore presume
upon past mercies, as if he was now out of danger.
6: And the angels, who kept not their first dignity - Once
assigned them under the Son of God. But voluntarily left their
own habitation - Then properly their own, by the free gift of God.
He reserved - Delivered to be kept. In everlasting chains under
darkness - O how unlike their own habitation! When these fallen
angels came out of the hands of God, they were holy; else God
made that which was evil: and being holy, they were beloved of
God; else he hated the image of his own spotless purity. But now
he loves them no more; they are doomed to endless destruction.
(for if he loved them still, he would love what is sinful:)
and both his former love, and his present righteous and eternal
displeasure towards the same work of his own hands, are because
he changeth not; because he invariably loveth righteousness,
and hateth iniquity. (2Pet 2:4).
7: The cities which gave themselves over to fornication
- The word here means, unnatural lusts. Are set forth as
an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire - That
is, the vengeance which they suffered is an example or a
type of eternal fire.
8: In like manner these dreamers - Sleeping and dreaming
all their lives. Despise authority - Those that are invested with
it by Christ, and made by him the overseers of his flock. Rail
at dignities - The apostle does not seem to speak of worldly
dignities. These they had "in admiration for the sake of gain,"(Jude 1:16); but those holy men, who for the purity of their
lives, the soundness of their doctrine, and the greatness of
their labours in the work of the ministry, were truly honourable
before God and all good men; and who were grossly vilified by
those who turned the grace of God into lasciviousness. Probably
they were the impure followers of Simon Magus, the same with the
Gnostics and Nicolaitans, (Re 2:15,2Pe 2:10).
9: Yet Michael - It does not appear whether St. Jude
learned this by any revelation or from ancient tradition.
It suffices, that these things were not only true, but
acknowledged as such by them to whom he wrote. The archangel
- This word occurs but once more in the sacred writings,(1Th 4:16). So that whether there be one archangel only, or
more, it is not possible for us to determine. When he disputed
with the devil - At what time we know not. Concerning the body
of Moses - Possibly the devil would have discovered the place
where it was buried, which God for wise reasons had concealed.
Durst not bring even against him a railing accusation - Though so
far beneath him in every respect. But simply said, (so great
was his modesty!) The Lord rebuke thee - I leave thee to the
Judge of all.
10: But these - Without all shame. Rail at the things of
God which they know not - Neither can know, having no spiritual
senses. And the natural things, which they know - By their
natural senses, they abuse into occasions of sin.
11: Woe unto them - Of all the apostles St. Jude alone,
and that in this single place, denounces a woe. St. Peter, to
the same effect, pronounces them "cursed children." For they
have gone in the way of Cain - The murderer. And ran greedily
- Literally, have been poured out, like a torrent without banks.
After the error of Balaam - The covetous false prophet. And
perished in the gainsaying of Korah - Vengeance has overtaken
them as it did Korah, rising up against those whom God had sent.
12: These are spots - Blemishes. In your feasts of love
- Anciently observed in all the churches. Feeding themselves
without fear - Without any fear of God, or jealousy over
themselves. Twice dead - In sin, first by nature, and afterwards
by apostasy. Plucked up by the roots - And so incapable of ever
13: Wandering stars - Literally, planets, which shine for
a time, but have no light in themselves, and will be soon cast
into utter darkness. Thus the apostle illustrates their
desperate wickedness by comparisons drawn from the air, earth,
sea, and heavens.
14: And of these also - As well as the antediluvian sinners
Enoch - So early was the prophecy referred to,(Jude 1:4).
The seventh from Adam - There were only five of the fathers
between Adam and Enoch, (1Ch 1:1-3). The first coming of
Christ was revealed to Adam; his second, glorious coming, to
Enoch; and the seventh from Adam foretold the things which will
conclude the seventh age of the world. St. Jude might know
this either from some ancient book, or tradition, or immediate
revelation. Behold - As if it were already done, the Lord cometh!
15: To execute judgment - Enoch herein looked beyond the
flood. Upon all - Sinners, in general. And to convict all the
ungodly, in particular, of all the grievous things which ungodly
sinners (a sinner is bad; but the ungodly who sin without fear
are worse) have spoken against him,(Jude 1:8,10), though they might not think, all those speeches
were against him.
16: These are murmurers - Against men. Complainers
- Literally, complainers of their fate, against God. Walking
- With regard to themselves. After their own foolish and
mischievous desires. Having men's persons in admiration for
the sake of gain - Admiring and commending them only for what
they can get.
17: By the apostles - He does not exempt himself from the
number of apostles. For in the next verse he says, they told
you, not us.
19: These are they who separate themselves, sensual, not
having the Spirit - Having natural senses and understanding only,
not the Spirit of God; otherwise they could not separate. For
that it is a sin, and a very heinous one, "to separate from the
church," is out of all question. But then it should be observed,
- That by the church is meant a body of living Christians,
who are "an habitation of God through the Spirit:"
- That by
separating is understood, renouncing all religious intercourse
with them; no longer joining with them in solemn prayer, or the
other public offices of religion: and,
- That we have no more
authority from scripture to call even this schism, than to call
20: But ye, beloved, not separating, but building
yourselves up in your most holy faith - Than which none can be
more holy in itself, or more conducive to the most refined and
exalted holiness. Praying through the Holy Spirit - Who alone
is able to build you up, as he alone laid the foundation. In
this and the following verse St. Jude mentions the Father, Son,
and Spirit, together with faith, love, and hope.
21: By these means, through his grace, keep yourselves
in the love of God, and in the confident expectation of that
eternal life which is purchased for you, and conferred upon
you, through the mere mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
22: Meantime watch over others, as well as yourselves, and
give them such help as their various needs require. For instance,
See, therefore, that
while you love the sinners, ye retain the utmost abhorrence of
their sins, and of any the least degree of, or approach to, them.
- Some, that are wavering in judgment, staggered by others'
or by their own evil reasoning, endeavour more deeply to
convince of the whole truth as it is in Jesus.
- Some snatch, with a swift and strong hand, out of the fire
of sin and temptation.
- On others show compassion in a milder and gentler way;
though still with a jealous fear, lest yourselves be infected
with the disease you endeavour to cure.
24: Now to him who alone is able to keep them from
falling - Into any of these errors or sins. And to present
them faultless in the presence of his glory - That is, in his
own presence, when he shall be revealed in all his glory.