William Jenkyn.

An exposition upon the epistle of Jude : delivered in Christ-Church, London online

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"spots."

2. For the second, the places where these snots
cleaved, or the meetings and companies which tnese
seducers frequented, are expressed in these words,
" your feasts of charity," h rait aydwaic i>n*v : though



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THE EPISTLE OF JUDE.



247



the word dydnit in the singular number signifies
love, or charity, yet the word dydirai being in the
plural, is seldom or never taken in that sense, but for
feasts, or banquets of love j whence
charit aKs ?Sit, Erasmus is by some reprehended for
£2Srt?uUS£i- turning these words, iv <fc r aVa«c, tn cha-
quam vei raro ritatibus, in your charities : and as de-
sa^ftoTaT'Sm- servedly do Beza and Gerard correct
jjwta piuraii. the Vulgate, which reads this place in
»i dkuntar ujd- epulis suit, in their feasts, viz. of love,
JSTiSijtadlia- as if the apostle intended that these

^»2r?rit Uua 8e ^ ucers were s P ots m tneu " own ^asts ;
SqS^nfm ' whereas these love-feasts were the
ESSSSi^SSS brotherly meetings of the church, into
p»£P«j.*c which these sensual epicures intruded,
£d«ii ixmpotait, and unto which, like spots, they cleaved.
SZit^SSr And therefore our apostle, in this word
totius. o«rh. m wvtwaxotfuviH, to which some copies
p ' add itfiiv, tells the Christians that these

impure companions did feast with them, and mani-
fested their lewdness. The institution of these love-
feasts was founded on the custom of the church,
which immediately before the celebration of the
Lord's supper used to have a feast, to
Lang* probability testify, continue, and increase bro-
ot priosbaberUur therly love among themselves ; as also
VEZl^S&im to tne P°° r » who hereby were relieved j
««wei p*rW«tio whence they had their name dydirai,
ESus'Si i cor.*" charities, as if they were so intended
vu£*'tur quoque *° r * ove > tnat there could not be so fit a
Aug. Ep. us. name by which to call them as by love
a«i januar. itself. Of these feasts speaks the apos-

Ap£k5! p '<Xna t* e > when he saith that "every one
no»tra,d«nomiue, taketh before other" rb Utov hlwov,
SJSl^^tar "his own supper," 1 Cor. xi. 21 ; as
dSiS?o i l!e?!£ d also 2 Pet "• 13 » where he speaks con-
Omco»e«t;quan- cerning the feasting of these seducers
bQs^Snsfetl 1 ^* with the Christians ; and frequent men-
Somiiwfeittf? 11 * ^ on * 8 ma< ^ e °f these feasts among the
Mmptum ; siqai- ancients. Tertullian speaks most fully
qSq^rSigerio °* them in the 39th chapter of his
nmffiSd&um' Apolog., where he tells us, that the
bitur quam^tio name of those feasts manifested their
IwStuf 1 ! Sifter nature, they being called by a name
XSoTium™' which signifies love. In them (saith
5bitu?quaatam he) our spiritual gains countervail for
ffaSiTOtorlui *N our worldly costs ; we remember the
qui memioarmt, poor ; we ever begin with prayer. In
«fiSffiiro 0Ct ' in ' eating and drinking, we relieve hunger,
ST'fabuiantar* ut but snow no excess. In our feeding at
qui tciam Domi- supper, we remember that we are to pray
PoSiquamma. in tne night. In our discourse, we con-

M^utqohqu?de 8 * der tnat God nearS Va ' As 800n M

SCTipturb Sanctis, water for our hands and lights are
fJnfepoielt? m " brought in, any one sings, either out of
mZStmDeo tne ° cr iptures, or, as he is able, some
cancre. hinc pro- meditation of his own, and by this he
wbJSt q rSqoe° shows how temperate he was at supper

dtarir^ris du- tmie# Itey** ** tne fir8t ^^ last dish
caditurncoin *** of the feast ; with this it began, and
SumVSqTin" with this it ends ; and when we depart,
gjjjjj ,iBCU, ?»- our behaviour is so religious and modest,
cr'apH^'nesiaKi. that one would have thought we had
SuSm JSrsm rather been at a sermon than at a sup-
mpdesii«et pudi- per. And Tertullian writing to the

rittSB. ut qui uou * . • • 1 . i_ R_

tam conam martyrs in prison, relates how they were
d^Sp V hSn. qamm relieved per curiam ecclesitu, et agapen

fratrum, fcy the care of the church, and
QaKninf; **' the charity of the brethren at their
^•penetdiiec- love-feasts. Of these also speaks Cy-
^toU™t"$m?-' prian, in his third book to Quirinus,
gMarocodam, where he saith that these feasts of

charity and brotherly love are religious-
ly and firmly to be exercised ; so that the ground of



those ancient love-feasts was provision for the poor
brethren, the preserving of mutual love among them-
selves, and the expressing by both their thankfulness
to God for bestowing his Son upon them ; in which
respect they thought it most fit to celebrate them
immediately before their receiving the Lord's sup-
per j though in a short time, in the Juslin Mjirt
church of Corinth, these feasts of pro christian.
charity grew to be corrupted and abused Apo1, *•
by divisions, the excluding of the poor Christians
from them, as also by riot and luxury, 1 Cor. xi. 21.
Some conceive that these feasts of charity were by
the Christians, converted from heathenism, brought
into the church to retain something like the customs
of the heathens, who were wont at the time of their
sacrificing to their gods to have public feasts of joy,
which feasts Paul calls " the cup of devils, and the
table of devils," 1 Cor. x. 21. Others think they
were introduced in imitation of the Jews, who, by
God's appointment, were wont to join feasting to
their offering of their eucharistical sacrifices, and
their peace-offering ; as Deut xxvii. 7, " Thou shalt
offer peace-offerings, and shalt eat there, and rejoice
before the Lord thy God." So Exod. xviii. 12, Jethro
having taken '* burnt-offerings and sacrifices for God,
Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread
with him before God." See likewise Deut. xiv. 23 ;
xii. 7; xvi. 11. And though God bids Moses ask
Pharaoh that Israel might go and sacrifice in the
wilderness, Exod. iii. 18; yet Moses desires Pharaoh
that they might hold a feast unto God in the wilder-
ness, Exod. v. 1. And Calvin thinks
that this both Jewish and heathenish Sgjg^T".
custom of joining sacrificing and feast- Jjjjjj; Gentibu?"
ing together was imitated by the Chris- communes, cau-
tians in these feasts, they being almost vSeSTiSm 1 ™ 1 '
ever wont, saith he, so to correct and Stia^fituum^fere
reform the viciousness of superstitious cprre*isse. ut
rites and customs, as yet to retain a re- al^uam d ret?nV
semblance to them. Estius, with others, J*g; r c*>«n in
think that these love-feasts, being be- Ad exempium «t
fore the sacrament, were used in imita- sen^ionem^Uius
tion of Christ, who instituted the holy «*>»*• <J U »7?

A . ' ,. . , A ^v J Christus ultimam

sacrament immediately after the or- habuit cum suu
dinary supper. An opinion which seems qSSJ^fdJJrt
most probable, both in regard #f the S^riunTinsti.
great likelihood that the Christians Sefet."" Estius in
would imitate their Master rather than vS! I Estium.
heathens, as also because the Jewish giodat. cor\
and heathenish feastings were after p '
their sacrificing ; whereas the love-feasts of the Chris-
tians were before the sacrament, as* the best inter-
preters observe on 1 Cor. xii. 23.

3. The third thing to be explained is, what these
seducers did in these meetings of the Christians j set
down in these two expressions :

(1.) They feast witn you.

(2.) They feed themselves.

(I.) They feast with you, awtvuxoiffuvot. The
word tifuxwpai, which signifies to feast or banquet,
though Eustathius derives from 6gi), food or nourish-
ment, yet Atheneeus rather thinks it to come of iv
and lv«v, because it is said to be well with them, or
they fare well, or live merrily, who are feasted and
entertained with banquets. Hence
Clemens Alexandrinus said that b>o X ia, S^jB^pfcS
the true feast or banquet, is only in «*•*«»• ^J** 11,
heaven. Some think the word signifies cap '
to feast or banquet publicly j which may aptly agree
to this place, the love-feasts being public meetings.
And Peter states them to be riotous in the day-time,
openly and in the light, not seeking to shelter their
luxury in darkness and corners. According to others
it notes a feasting or banqueting, riotously and



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luxuriously. Thus it is used in Lucian, who tells us
of one Gorgias, who being a hundred and eight years
old, and being asked by what means he had lived to
so great an age, answered, that he had reached those
years because he never could be induced cvfixtpt-
txBvdjvai raif aXXwv riugfatc, to go about to any feasts
or banquets, to which by his friends he was invited.
And this signification of riotous banquets is most
suitable to this place, where these voluptuous epicures
are said to feed without fear, the bridle of excess :
these served their belly, and made it their god.
Peter saith that they " count it pleasure to not,"
2 Pet ii. 13, being given up to and swallowed up in
voluptuousness : " Tbovers of pleasure more than lovers
of uod." Pleasure was the fruit which they ex-
pected by sowing all their heresies.

And when the apostle tells these Christians, not
only of the riotous feasting of these epicures, but of
this .their feasting with tnem, they being not only
ibuixovfitvoi, but <rwevfa>xov/ici'<M, that they had crept
into tneir companies, and sat among them, he dis-
covers to them their danger of being seduced by their
company to their errors and sensualities ; he wisely
insinuates that these seducers did not come chari-
tably into their feasts of charity, but to gain occasion
to delude and insnare them by error ; and therefore
Peter saith, that while they feasted with these Chris-
tians, they sported themselves with their own de-
ceivings.

(2.) The apostle saith they were feeding them-
selves, iavrovg TroipaivovriQ. The word xomaivovrtc$
here translated feeding, is properly such a feeding as
belongs to the office of a shepherd, or one who feeds
cattle. Some translate it ruling or governing : the
word indeed may bear that signification, being not
only applied to teachers, 1 Cor. ix. 7 j 1 Pet v. 2, &c. ;
Acts xx. 28, but also to kings : " A Governor that"
iroifiavf T, " shall rule my people," Matt. ii. 6 ; and Rev,
xix. 15, nw/iavci, " He snail rule them with a rod of
iron." It is also used by the LXX., Psal. ii. 9, where
we translate it rule. It comprehends besides feed-
ing other parts of a shepherd's office, as leading,
seeking, reducing, defending, healing his sheep;
though, according to the notation of the word, it im-
ports as much as lv ry x6a ftivnv, to remain or con-
tinue in the pasture, viz. wnere the sheep are which
the shepherd is to attend. Of old, a king or ruler
was called, as particularly Agamemnon by Homer,
mipfiv \aov, the shepherd or ruler of the people, it
being his office to regard them as a shepherd does
his nock ; and hence it is that the Arabic turns this
place, ttubernant seipsos sua virtute, as if they would
be under no government but their own; Pagnin,
Erasmus, and v atablus, suopte ductu arbitrioque ri-
ven tes ; ordering and guiding themselves according
to their own will and pleasure. But, as our learned
divines have noted concerning this word against the
papists, who interpret it to rule, in order to establish
the pope's rule, a word of double signification is to
be understood according to the subject-matter spoken
of. This being spoken of a spiritual pastor, cannot
be meant of ruling as a king ; and, in this place, of
those who were employed about feeding their bodies,
and feasting, and, as Peter has it, who counted it

Eleasure to riot and fare deliciously; I conceive it is
etter translated feeding ; and so Beza^and the Vul-
gate render it, pascentes. And some think the apos-
tle made choice of this word, irocpaij'oyrcc, which oft
signifies a shepherd's feeding his flock, to aggravate
the fault of tnese cormorants, and secretly to tax
their hypocrisy, who, boasting and pretending to be
the only eminent shepherds and feeders of the peo-
ple, took no other care but to fill themselves $ and
instead of feeding their sheep, did xotftaivuv lavrovs,



feed themselves; but did indeed fleece and feed upon
them, neither feeding their souls nor their bodies,
but poisoning the former, and riotously wasting upon
their own sensual appetites that which was appoint-
ed at the charge of the church for feeding the latter.
The apostle, as some conceive, alludes to that threat-
ening uttered against the shepherds, " Woe be to the
shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves ! should
not the shepherds feed the flock?" Ezek. xxxiv. 2.
For my part, I conceive the apostle here uses the
word xo*/urfvovr«c, which oft signifies the feeding of
sheep or other cattle in pastures, to note the brutish
and beastly sensuality of these epicures, who fed more
like cattle in a fat pasture, than Christians at a feast
of iholy sobriety ; and where they should, as Tertul-
lian speaks, rather feast upon holy discourse than
full dishes. So that when the apostle saith these
seducers were fvwxov/upM, and toyiaivomz <avro*c,
he notes,

[I.] They feasted and fed immeasurably, beyond
the bounds of Christian moderation, more like beasts
than either saints or men ; their hearts were oppress-
ed with surfeiting, their souls were lodged like
bright candles in the filthy, greasy lanterns of their
bodies, and by eating made so dull and sluggish, that
they were unfit for holy services ; like the Sodomites,
they offended in the fulness of bread, they were
drowned in delights, 2 Pet ii. 13.

[20 The apostle notes by these expressions that
they feasted and fed upon delicates ; they loved to
fare very well, to feed nigh and deliciously ; plain
dishes would not serve the turn ; like the Israelites,
manna without quails would not content them. The
sin likewise of Eli's sons, who, not content with what
portion God had allowed them, viz. the shoulder,
the breast, the tongue, nor to eat the flesh sodden, ac-
cording to the law, caught at what came to hand ;
and they would have it raw, that they might cook it
to please their taste, 1 Sam. ii 13, 14.

[3.] The apostle notes they fed greedily and
earnestly ; so intent and eager they were upon their
feeding, that they never thought of giving thanks,
either before or after. Their eyes were upon the
table, like those of swine upon the acorns, so that
they never looked up to the hand that 6hook down
their plenty. Like the people, Exod. xxxii. 6, " They
sat down to eat and dnnk ;" they rather did raven
and devour, than eat or feed. They resolved all the
powers of their mind upon their meat This was
Esau's sin, who was so greedy after meat that he
had no regard of his birthright They went to their
food with the violence and eagerness of brutes which
cannot be kept off.

[4.] It may also be intended that they feasted and
fed injuriously, both with and upon the Christians ;
not only forgetting the poor Christians, whom they
suffered to fast when they were feasting, but mis-
spending and wasting the contribution belonging to
the maintenance of the poor, and, as some conceive,
of the ministry; and if so, they feasted and fed
sacrilegiously also. The surfeiting of these gluttons
was accompanied with the starving of Lazarus.

J 5.] They feasted and fed impurely and lustfully ;
king the plenty which God oestowed upon them
but fodder and fuel to nourish their lusts of unclean-
ness. Like fed horses, they neighed after their
neighbours' wives. Eli's sons were gluttons and
adulterers ; Esau was sensual in feeding, and also a
fornicator.

4. Our apostle saith that this feeding of themselves
was A*43*>c, without fear. These words, without fear,
may oe referred either to the word ffv»*vi»xo6ji«voc,
feasting with you, or mxpalvovrfc iavro^c, feeding;
themselves. (Ecumenius seems doubtful which of



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Ver. 12.



THE EPISTLE OF JUDE.



249



these to embrace ; bat, as Lorinus saith, ad rem nostrum
nihil interest, it matters not which way we take, both
aiming at the same scope, which is to show the security
and impudence of these gluttons in their sensual
pleasures. And without tear they may be said to
feed themselves, either in respect of God, or the
church with whom they feasted, or of
^SSS^SSSSi themselves; neither fearing God metu
&effira cowl- nor ^ more » neither fearing his wrath to
▼aniibu* miscent, punish them, nor reverentially fearing
JuiyiSViSoiin? to displease him by sin; they being
Ss!*jrfic! c,Ju *" likewise touched with no reverence of
that holy society with which they sat,
nor yet at all with any mistrust or jealousy of the
slipperiness and sensuality of their own hearts ; and
this their fearlessness they showed two ways.

(1.) In their entrance into the meetings and as-
semblies of the church. They never took any heed
to their feet when they went into those places where
the saints assembled. With the same unholy, un-
prepared, irreverent disposition of heart they under-
took these religious banquets with which they were
employed about earthly business ; they feared not to
go to these feasts, and after (as Augustine thinks) to
the eucharistic banquet, without their wedding-gar-
ment of holiness. They trembled not with unwasnen
hands to touch those tremenda mysteria, those mys-
teries which might have struck terror into the hearts
of any but such secure and impudent sinners.

(2.) They showed their fearlessness in their car-
riage when they were entered into the assembly,
ri.j They were not afraid of lascivious gestures.
Their eyes were then adulterous ; for so the apostle,
2 Pet ii. 13, 14, to these words, " while they feast with
you," presently adds, " having eyes full or adultery,"
or the adulteress. They were not afraid of unclean
looks and glances. [2.] In their meetings (probably)
they were not afraid to utter unseemly expressions and
erroneous conceits ; whereby, as Peter goes on, they de-
filed and beguiled unstable souls. They showed them-
selves spots and blemishes lv dydxatc, in the love-feasts,
by sporting themselves kv dirdraiQ,m their deceivings.
They went into the assemblies to fish for proselytes.
There was no way so likely for these to prove them-
selves spots, oieQid&iQ, in these feasts, as by their
words. The tongue, saith James, is <rxi\ov<ra, Despot-
ting and defiling, not only our own body, by engaging
it to and involving it in sin, but others also, by com-
municating and suggesting evil to others ; and a full
stomach at a feast is commonly, among those who are
more modest than these impure libertines, accompanied
with an unbridled tongue. [3.] And especially in
these feasts of charity they were not afraid of feed-
ing excessively and riotously. Peter tells us they
counted it pleasure to riot ; they ingulfed themselves
in the waters of fulness and excess, and never feared
drowning either their souls or bodies by
5&Ks?c.i!«!' their intemperance; they would observe
no stakes set up in those waters, nor
6et any limits to their lusts ; they took no heed lest
their hearts might be oppressed by surfeiting, nor
did they at all care how ill accommodated mansions
their souls lived in by pampering their bodies, nor
how unfit they made themselves for performing holy
duties. The impairing their health, the digging
their graves with their teeth, the being felons of
themselves, never troubled them ; much less did they
fear lest they might (instead of kings) be tyrants and
torturers of the creatures ; they feared not the wrong-
ing of the poor, whose goods they devoured ; in short,
they feared not that God would punish them with
want for this their wantonness, or with eternal pains
for these their short and sensual pleasures ; but like
beasts, to which they are compared:, 2 Pet. ii. 12 ; Jude



19, when they were in the fat pastures of riot
and sensuality, they never feared the shambles or
slaughter-house, though they were made to be taken
and destroyed, and perished in their own corruption.
Obs. 1. Sinners. are deformed creatures. As a spot,
so sin, is the deformity of a person ; yea, it makes him
to be and become a very deformity : sin is a blemish
cast upon God's image. The very angelical nature
was by sin made deformed ; by it angels became de-
vils. Though never so many other accomplishments
of spirituality, wisdom, strength, and immortality
were left behind, yet, upon their fall, they lost their
beauty. No endowments without holiness can make
any person truly excellent. The greatest potentates
in the world (while living in sin) are out (like
Naaman) noble lepers. Every wicked man is a naked
person, not only because without a shelter, but an or-
nament also . Sinners are both shelterless and shame-
ful. The people after their idolatry were naked,
" for Aaron had made them naked to their shame,"
ExocL xxxii. 25. Holiness is both a soul's and
church's ornament "Can a maid forget her orna-
ments, or a bride her attire P yet my people have for-
gotten me," &c, Jer. ii. 32. Holiness (as the ark
was to Israel) is the soul's glory, and when the Phi-
listines have taken it away, the true glory is departed,
it is but an Ichabod. The most golden Israelite, not-
withstanding all his privileges, in God's esteem had but
an ^Ethiopian skin ; a Jew, an Egyptian, an Edomite,
an Ammonite, and a Moabite in God's account are all
one, if without the circumcision of the heart, Jer. ix.
26. Wicked men are in their best dress but vile per-
sons, the very blots and blemishes of their societies.
Sin is that not only of which the people of God are
afterward ashamed, but that of which even sinners
themselves are ashamed when most they love it ; and
therefore even the worst of men, yea, devils, have
loved the appearance of holiness ; the rottenest se-
pulchres have loved painting ; the filthiest harlot, a
wiped mouth ; the profanest heart, a dress of religion.
The clothes of sin are of more worth than its whole
body. Even Satan delights to appear like an angel
of light, and is ashamed of his own colours. All the
performances of wicked men are but deformities;
their prayers an abomination ; the calling of their
assemblies is iniquity ; when they spread forth their
hands, God hides his eyes, lea. l. 13 — 15. How in-
competent a judge is a blind man of colours, or a sin-
ner of beauty ! The black, they say, thinks the blackest
face most beautiful, and wicked men laud wickedness
as the greatest comeliness. Jesus Christ himself had
no beauty or comeliness in the eyes of unbelieving
sinners, Isa. liii. 2. Holiness is an inward, a hidden
beauty, Psal. xlv. ; a carnal eye can neither see it or
esteem it. If grace be, as with sinners it is, a scar, it
is a scar of honour, not uncomeliness : riches and
worldly dignities, like glow-worms, only shine in the
dark night of the world ; but there is nothing will
have a lustre at the day of judgment but holiness.
The poorest saint is a prince, and the most glorious
sinner a beggar, both in a disguise. Holiness, though
veiled with the most contemptible outside, carries
with it a silent majesty ; and sm even in highest dig-
nity bewrays a secret vileness. That which is to be
desired of a man is his goodness. " The righteous is
more excellent than his neighbour," Prov. xii. 26.
The poor saints are called the glory of Christ, 2 Cor.
viii. 23, who presents them without spot or wrinkle,
or any such thing. Sinners are spots, saints are
stars and jewels ; as jewels, the stars of the earth ;
and as stars, the jewels of heaven. Though saints
have not a herald to emblazon their arms, yet the
Scripture sufficiently sets forth their dignity: the
rottenest stuffs are oftenest watered, and, among men,



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sinners most glorious, but yet in Scripture they are
but spots.

Obs. 2. Sinners are filthy and defiling. They are
spots for defilement as well as deformity: sin and
uncleanness are put together, Deut. xxxii. 5. The
filthiest of beasts are scarce filthy enough to set forth
the filthy nature of sinners ; swine, the dog, the ser-
pent, the goat, the neighing horse. The filthiest
things are used in Scripture to set forth sin, as dung,
vomit, mire, leprosy, scum, pitch, plague-sores, issues,
ulcers, dead carcasses, the blood and pollution of a
new-born child, the noisome exhalations breathing
from a sepulchre, Rom. iii. 13, spots. A sinner is call-
ed, that which defileth, Rev. xxi. 27. Sinful gain is
filthy lucre. Unholy speech is filthy and rotten
communication; whoredom is called uncleanness;
eluttonv turns the temple of the Holy Ghost into a



Online LibraryWilliam JenkynAn exposition upon the epistle of Jude : delivered in Christ-Church, London → online text (page 78 of 114)