Observe here, 1. The persons to whom the apostle gave the foregoing exhortation to progressiveness and proficiency in holiness, they were knowing persons, yea, established persons, they were both informed and confirmed in the truth; but were they knowing, yet they wanted farther information: were they established, yet might they want farther confirmation.
It is a very dangerous notion that some have taken up, that a Christian in this life may live above ordinances, and outgrow counsels and exhortations, as if he need not hear, or pray, or the like. St. Peter thought otherwise; these were grown Christians to whom he writes, yet he tells them three several times together here, in four verses, that he would not be negligent to put them in remembrance, even of those things which they knew already.
Observe, 2. The exemplary diligence and industry of the apostle in his ministerial work, together with his constancy therein, as long as I am in this tabernacle: that is, as long as I live in this world, I will endeavour to keep the heavenly flame of love and zeal burning very lively upon the altar of your hearts.
Observe, 3. The motive or consideration provoking him to this diligence, and that is, the certainty of his approaching dissolution, I must shortly put off this tabernacle, as my Lord hath shewed me.
Where note, 1. He calls his body a tabernacle in regard of its moveableness and fraility, and in opposition to that house made without hands, eternal in the heavens.
Note, 2. How familiarly our apostle speaks of death, I must put off this tabernacle; he makes no more of putting off his body by death, than a man does of putting off his clothes at night.
Note, 3. The necessity of putting off the body, I must, I may, and I must shortly; intimating, that how strong soever the affections and inclinations of souls are to the fleshly tabernacles they now live in, yet they must put them off, and that speedily.
Note, 4. How the consideration of the certainty and suddenness of St. Peter's removal by death did excite and provoke him to the utmost industry and diligence in his ministerial work, where he lived; the apprehensions of approaching death must quicken to utmost diligence.
Lastly, that ministers must never give over pressing known truths as long as they live, that their people may have them in remembrance after their decease; I will endeavour that after my decease you may have these things always in remembrance.