Section 21, Chapter 4
How wives are to behave to their husbands. What ornaments they are to seek. Exhortations to divers Virtues.
3:1. In like manner also, let wives be subject to their husbands: that, if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word, by the conversation of the wives,
3:2. Considering your chaste conversation with fear.
3:3. Whose adorning, let it not be the outward plaiting of the hair, or the wearing of gold, or the putting on of apparel:
3:4. But the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptibility of a quiet and a meek spirit which is rich in the sight of God.
3:5. For after this manner heretofore, the holy women also who trusted in God adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands:
3:6. As Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters you are, doing well and not fearing any disturbance.
3:7. Ye husbands, likewise dwelling with them according to knowledge, giving honour to the female as to the weaker vessel and as to the co-heirs of the grace of life: that your prayers be not hindered.
3:8. And in fine, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, being lovers of the brotherhood, merciful, modest, humble:
3:9. Not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing: for unto this are you called, that you may inherit a blessing.
3:10. For he that will love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.
3:11. Let him decline from evil and do good: Let him seek after peace and pursue it:
3:12. Because the eyes of the Lord are upon the just, and his ears unto their prayers but the countenance of the Lord upon them that do evil things.
3:13. And who is he that can hurt you, if you be zealous of good?
3:14. But if also you suffer any thing for justice' sake, blessed are ye. And be not afraid of their fear: and be not troubled.
3:15. But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.
3:16. But with modesty and fear, having a good conscience: that whereas they speak evil of you, they may be ashamed who falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
3:17. For it is better doing well (if such be the will of God) to suffer than doing ill.
3:18. Because Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that he might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit,
3:19. In which also coming he preached to those spirits that were in prison:
Spirits that were in prison. . .See here a proof of a third place, or middle state of souls: for these spirits in prison, to whom Christ went to preach, after his death, were not in heaven; nor yet in the hell of the damned: because heaven is no prison: and Christ did not go to preach to the damned.
3:20. Which had been some time incredulous, when they waited for the patience of God in the days of Noe, when the ark was a building: wherein a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water.
3:21. Whereunto baptism, being of the like form, now saveth you also: not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but, the examination of a good conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Whereunto baptism, etc. . .Baptism is said to be of the like form with the water by which Noe was saved, because the one was a figure of the other. Not the putting away, etc. . .As much as to say, that baptism has not its efficacy, in order to salvation, from its washing away any bodily filth or dirt; but from its purging the conscience from sin, when accompanied with suitable dispositions in the party, to answer the interrogations made at that time, with relation to faith, the renouncing of Satan with all his works; and the obedience to God's commandments.
3:22. Who is on the right hand of God, swallowing down death that we might be made heirs of life everlasting: being gone into heaven, the angels and powers and virtues being made subject to him.