1:18 {14} Of his own {q} will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of {r} firstfruits of his creatures.

(14) The fourth part concerning the excellency and fruit of the word of God, The sum is this: we must listen to the word of God most carefully and diligently, seeing it is the seed, through which God by his free favour and love has begotten us to himself, picking us out of the number of his creatures. The apostle condemns two faults, which greatly trouble us in this matter. For we so please ourselves, that we would rather speak ourselves, than hear God speaking. Indeed, we are angry when we are reproached and ignore it. Opposed to these faults, he sets a peaceable and quiet mind, and such as desires purity.

(q) This is what Paul calls gracious favour, an good will, which is the fountain of our salvation.

(r) As it were an holy type of offering, taken out of the remnant of men.

1:18 Of his own will begat he us. Not in caprice, but our birth as children of God was due to his eternal will.

That we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. The early converts are often called first fruits of the gospel.

1:18 Of his own will - Most loving, most free, most pure, just opposite to our evil desire, Jas 1:15. Begat he us - Who believe. By the word of truth - The true word, emphatically so termed; the gospel. That we might be a kind of first - fruits of his creatures - Christians are the chief and most excellent of his visible creatures; and sanctify the rest. Yet he says, A kind of - For Christ alone is absolutely the first - fruits.

1:12-18 It is not every man who suffers, that is blessed; but he who with patience and constancy goes through all difficulties in the way of duty. Afflictions cannot make us miserable, if it be not our own fault. The tried Christian shall be a crowned one. The crown of life is promised to all who have the love of God reigning in their hearts. Every soul that truly loves God, shall have its trials in this world fully recompensed in that world above, where love is made perfect. The commands of God, and the dealings of his providence, try men's hearts, and show the dispositions which prevail in them. But nothing sinful in the heart or conduct can be ascribed to God. He is not the author of the dross, though his fiery trial exposes it. Those who lay the blame of sin, either upon their constitution, or upon their condition in the world, or pretend they cannot keep from sinning, wrong God as if he were the author of sin. Afflictions, as sent by God, are designed to draw out our graces, but not our corruptions. The origin of evil and temptation is in our own hearts. Stop the beginnings of sin, or all the evils that follow must be wholly charged upon us. God has no pleasure in the death of men, as he has no hand in their sin; but both sin and misery are owing to themselves. As the sun is the same in nature and influences, though the earth and clouds, often coming between, make it seem to us to vary, so God is unchangeable, and our changes and shadows are not from any changes or alterations in him. What the sun is in nature, God is in grace, providence, and glory; and infinitely more. As every good gift is from God, so particularly our being born again, and all its holy, happy consequences come from him. A true Christian becomes as different a person from what he was before the renewing influences of Divine grace, as if he were formed over again. We should devote all our faculties to God's service, that we may be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.