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. Chapter 2.

The Living Stone and the Holy Nation

1 Then away with all malice and deceit, away with all pretence and jealousy and recrimination of every kind! 2 Like the new-born infants you are, you must crave for pure milk (spiritual milk, I mean), so that you may thrive upon it to your souls' health. 3 [ Ps.34.8. ] Surely you have tasted that the Lord is good.

4 So come to him, our living Stone—the stone rejected by men but choice and precious in the sight of God. 5 Come, and let yourselves be built, as living stones, into a spiritual temple; become a holy priesthood, [Or: a spiritual temple for the holy work of priesthood.] to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 [ Is.28.16. ] For it stands written:

7 [ Ps.118.22. ] The great worth of which it speaks is for you who have faith. For those who have no faith, the stone which the builders rejected has become not only the corner-stone, [Or: the apex of the building.] 8 [ Is.8.14. ] but also 'a stone to trip over, a rock to stumble against'. They stumble when they disbelieve the Word. Such was their appointed lot!

9 [ Is.43.20. ] But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, and a people claimed by God for his own, to proclaim the triumphs of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 10 [ Hs.2.23. ] You are now the people of God, who once were not his people; outside his mercy once, you have now received his mercy.

Live as Servants of God

11 DEAR FRIENDS, I beg you, as aliens in a foreign land, to abstain from the lusts of the flesh which are at war with the soul. 12 Let all your behaviour be such as even pagans can recognize as good, and then, whereas they malign you as criminals now, they will come to see for themselves that you live good lives, and will give glory to God on the day when he comes to hold assize.

13 Submit yourselves to every human institution for the sake of the Lord, whether to the sovereign as supreme, 14 or to the governor as his deputy for the punishment of criminals and the commendation of those who do right. 15 For it is the will of God that by your good conduct you should put ignorance and stupidity to silence.

16 Live as free men; not however as though your freedom were there to provide a screen for wrongdoing, but as slaves in God's service. 17 Give due honour to everyone: love to the brotherhood, reverence to God, honour to the sovereign.

The Example of Christ's Suffering

18 Servants, accept the authority of your masters with all due submission, not only when they are kind and considerate, but even when they are perverse. 19 For it is a fine [Or: creditable.] thing if a man endure the pain of undeserved suffering because God is in his thoughts. 20 What credit is there in fortitude when you have done wrong and are beaten for it? But when you have behaved well and suffer for it, your fortitude is a fine thing [Or: is creditable.] in the sight of God. 21 To that you were called, because Christ suffered [Some witnesses read: died.] on your behalf, and thereby left you an example; it is for you to follow in his steps. 22 [ Is.53.9. ] He committed no sin, he was convicted of no falsehood; 23 when he was abused he did not retort with abuse, when he suffered he uttered no threats, but committed his cause to the One who judges justly. 24 [ Is.53.4. ] In his own person he carried our sins to [Or: on.] the gibbet, so that we might cease to live for sin and begin to live for righteousness. 25 [ Is.54.5. ] By his wounds you have been healed. You were straying like sheep, but now you have turned towards the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

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