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This interesting portion of Scripture , as we learn from the author ' s own words , is an Encyclical Epistle , addressed " to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus , Galatia , Cappadocia , Asia , and Bithynia : " ( ch . i . 1 : } Silvanus was the hearer of it : ( ver . 12 : ) it was written , according to the
subscription which we find in all our present copies , at Babylon ; and Mark was present with the author at the time of its composition . ( Ver . 13 . ) Here , then , is a combination of circumstances furnished by the Epistle itself , upon which any one at all conversant with such subjects may meditate , and rora which , with a good map of Asia , and a copy of the New Testament before him , he may learn all that can ever be known concerning the date and composition of this Epistle . Some have thought that Peter wrote to all sorts of Christians without distinction ; others , to such as had been converted from among the idolatrous
Gentiles ; and others , to Jewish proselytes only ;* but all these opinions seem to be destitute of any real foundation . The persons to whom Peter wrote are called irapevtivifMi , which signifies residents or settlers , in opposition sometimes to natives , and sometimes to descendants of the aboriginal inhabitants ; f and , in the connexion in which the term is used by the Apostle Peter , with the word hacntopaq , it must mean dispersed Jews , or Jewish proselytes , who had taken up their abode in different parts of Asia Minor * Of these there were great numbers in the apostolic age scattered through
all the countries mentioned b y Peter in the inscription to his Epistle ; but they had become , in many instances , as corrupt as the idolatrous Gentiles among whom they resided , and in some cases even more so ; and hence the frequent allusions which Peter makes to the errors and vices from which they had been reclaimed by their conversion to the religion of Jesus ; but that they still retained the outward marks of their descent from the family of Abraham , and were addressed as such by Peter , no one , I think , who
reads the Epistle with attention , can entertain the smallest doubt . On this account the Apostle reminds them of their redemption from the " vain conversation received by tradition from their fathers , " ( chap . i . ver . 18 , ) a mode of expression by which he intended to describe their deliverance from the bondage of the ceremonial law . J Pontus , Galatia , Cappadocia , and Bithynia , four of the countries mentioned in the inscription to this Epistle , extended over nearly half of that part
of Asia which is now called Asia Minor ; and the remaining one , to which Peter gives the name of Asia , probably included Phrygia , Mysia , Caria , and Lydia ;§ so that the persons to whom the Epistle is addressed , whether they formed a small or a numerous body , were dispersed over a wide tract of country . But it is a singular circumstance that Peter altogether omits the southern states of Asia Minor—Cilicia , Pamphylia , Pisidia , and Lycaonia ,
* Benson ' s " History of St . Peter , " &c , prefixed to his ( t Paraphrase and Notes on the First Epistle of St . Peter , " Sect . 2 . f * Schleusner in verb . UapenitivjfAOs . t " Vain conversation" Michaelis represents as denoting " idolatrous conversation ; " ( Introduction to the N . T . Vol . IV . chap , xxvii . sect , i . ) ; but the Apostle Paul applies the term vain to disputes about the law . Tit . Hi , 9 . See also Schleusner jn verb . Ua ^ rpoirotpottoro ^ . § Adam ' s «* Geographical Index : " Asia .
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BEMABK 9 ON THE FIRST EPISTJLE OF PETER ,
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1829, page 22, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2568/page/22/