Whereby, or by whom, that is, through the knowledge of Christ in the gospel, God has given to us all things conducing to our present and future happiness; and, amongst the rest, the precious promises of the gospel, which so directly tend to make men partakers of the divine nature.
Note here, That the promises of the gospel are the Christian's great and precious treasure; greatness and goodness are then most shining, when they meet in the same subject, but such a glorious conjunction is rarely found, either in persons or things; rarely are great men good, or good men great; pebbles are great, but not precious; pearls are precious, but not great, But the promises are both for quantity exceeding great, for quality exceeding precious, and that in respect of the author of them, God; the foundation of them, the blood of Christ: the manner of their dispensation, they are freely given; the means whereby they are apprehended and applied, precious faith, and exceeding precious the promises are in regard of the end of them, which is to make us partakers of the divine nature, not of the essence, but qualities of the divine nature, which enable us, in some measure, to resemble God; as the seal doth communicate its signature, but not its substance; so in the work of regeneration God doth not impart his essence, but infuse holy principles and gracious habits into the soul, whereby the Christian resembles him.
Learn hence, That the great end and effect of the promises, and the proper influence and efficacy which they ought to have upon the hearts and lives of men, is this, to make them partakers of the divine nature, and to render them daily more like unto God; Having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Here note, 1. That the world is full, very full, of corruption, sin, and temptation; by reason of the lust of men, they rub their leprosy upon each other, and by the contagion of a bad example, infect and poison one another.
Note, 2. That by being made partakers of the divine nature, through the influence of the promises, we escape the pollution of fleshly lusts, which the world is defiled with, and would defile us by.