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APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot

1 Peter 3:11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
11 let him turn away from evil and do good.
    let him seek peace and pursue it.

Let him turn away from evil. Let him avoid all evil. Job 1:1 says, And eschewed evil. “And departed from (סר) evil.” Sept. “Abstaining from every evil thing.” These then are the four characteristics of Job’s piety—he was sincere; upright; a worshipper of God; and one who abstained from all wrong. These are the essential elements of true religion everywhere; and the whole statement in the book of Job shows Job was, though not absolutely free from the sins which cleave to our nature, eminent in each of these things.

And do good. In any and every way by endeavoring to promote the happiness of all. This is the true rule about doing good. “The opportunity to do good,” says Cotton Mather, “imposes the obligation to do it.” The simple rule is, that we are favored with the opportunity and that we have the power. It is not that we are to do it when it is convenient, or when it will advance the interest of a party; or when it may contribute to our fame; the rule is that we are to do it when we have the opportunity. No matter how often that occurs; no matter how many objects of benevolence are presented—the more, the better; no matter how much self-denial it may cost us; no matter how little fame we may get by it; still, if we have the opportunity to do good, we are to do it, and should be thankful for the privilege. And it is to be done to all men. Not to our family only; not to our party; not to our neighbors; not to those of our own color; not to those who live in the same land with us, but to all mankind. If we can reach and benefit a man who lives on the other side of the globe, whom we have never seen, and shall never see in this world or in the world to come, still we are to do him good. Such is Christianity. And in this, as in all other respects, it differs from the narrow and selfish spirit of clanship (a tendency to stick together, e.g., white, black, Asian, Latina supremacy, believing one race is above another) that prevails all over the world.

Let him seek peace and ensue it. Follow it; that is, practice it. See Notes, Matt. 5:9; Rom. 12:18. The meaning is that a peaceful spirit will contribute to a length of days. (1.) A peaceful spirit—a calm, serene, and equal temper of mind—is favorable to health, avoiding those corroding and distracting passions that do so much to wear out the physical energies of the frame; and (2.) such a spirit will preserve us from those contentions and strifes to which so many owe their death. Let anyone reflect on the numbers killed in fights, battles, and brawls, and he will have no difficulty seeing how a peaceful spirit will contribute to a length of days.

By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews

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