17 [a]For it is better (if the will of God be so) that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

18 (A)[b]For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, [c]the just for the unjust, [d]that he might bring us to God, [e]and was put to death concerning the [f]flesh, but was quickened by the spirit.

19 [g]By [h]the which he also went, and preached unto the [i]spirits that are in prison.

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  1. 1 Peter 3:17 A reason which standeth upon two general rules of Christianity, which notwithstanding all men allow not of. The one is, if we must needs suffer afflictions, it is better to suffer wrongfully than rightfully: the other is this, because we are so afflicted, not by hap, but by the will of our God.
  2. 1 Peter 3:18 A proof of either of the rules, by the example of Christ himself our chief pattern who was afflicted, not for his own sins (which were none) but for ours, and that according to his Father’s decree.
  3. 1 Peter 3:18 An argument taken of comparison: Christ the just suffered for us that are unjust, and shall it grieve us who are unjust to suffer for the just’s cause?
  4. 1 Peter 3:18 Another argument being partly taken of things coupled together, to wit, because Christ bringeth us to his Father that same way that he went himself, and partly from the cause efficient: to wit, because Christ is not only set before us for an example to follow, but also he holdeth us up by his virtue in all the difficulties of this life, until he bring us to his Father.
  5. 1 Peter 3:18 Another argument taken of the happy end of these afflictions, wherein also Christ goeth before us both in example and virtues, as one who suffered most grievous torments even unto death, although but in one part only of him, to wit, in the flesh or man’s nature, but yet became conqueror by virtue of his divinity.
  6. 1 Peter 3:18 As touching his manhood, for his body was dead, and his soul felt the sorrows of death.
  7. 1 Peter 3:19 A secret objection: Christ indeed might do this, but what is that to us? yet (saith the Apostle) for Christ hath showed forth this virtue in all ages both to the preservation of the godly, were they never so few and miserable, and to revenge the rebellion of his enemies, as it appeareth by the history of the flood: for Christ is he which in those days (when God through his patience appointed a time of repentance to the world) was present not in corporal presence, but by his divine virtue, preaching repentance even by the mouth of Noah himself who then prepared the Ark, to those disobedient spirits which are now in prison waiting for the full recompence of their rebellion, and saved those few (that is, eight only persons) in the water.
  8. 1 Peter 3:19 By the virtue of which Spirit, that is to say of the divinity: therefore this word, Spirit, cannot in this place be taken for the soul, unless we say, that Christ was raised up again, and quickened by the virute of his soul.
  9. 1 Peter 3:19 He calleth them Spirits, in respect of his time, not in respect of the time that they were in the flesh.

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