PLACE WHERE WRITTEN UNKNOWN, A. D. 66.
Beloved, making all haste to write to you concerning the common salvation, I thought it necessary to write to you, exhorting you strenuously to contend for the faith formerly delivered to the saints. For certain men have come in privily, who long ago have been before written to this very punishment; ungodly men, perverting the favour of our God to lasciviousness, and denying the onlyu Lord God, even our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye formerly knew this, that the Lord having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them who did not believe. Also the messengers who kept not their own office, but left their proper habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day. As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them, which in a manner like to these had habitually committed whoredom, and gone after other flesh, are set forth an example, having undergone the punishment of an eternal fire. In like manner, indeed, these also shall be punished. Being cast into a deep sleep, they defile the flesh, and despise government, and revile dignities. But Michael the arch-angel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, did not attempt to bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke thee." Yet these men revile those things which indeed they do not know, but what things they know naturally as animals void of reason, by these they destroy themselves. Wo is to them; for they have gone in the way of Cain, and have run far in the error of Balaam's hire, and have perished in the rebellion of Korah. These men are spots in your love feasts; when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear. They are clouds without water, carried about of winds; withered autumnal trees without fruit; twice dad; rooted out; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the blackness of darkness for ever is reserved. Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied even concerning these men, saying, "Behold the Lord cometh with his holy myriads of messengers, to pass sentence on all, and to convict all the ungodly among them, of all their deeds of ungodliness which they have impiously committed, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." These are murmurers, and complainers, who walk according to their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words. They admire persons for the sake of gain. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; that they said to you, that in the last time there would be scoffers, walking according to their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves from others, animal men, not having the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building one another on your most holy faith, and praying with a holy spirit, keep one another in the love of God, expecting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with eternal life. And making a difference, have compassion indeed on some; but others save by fear, snatching them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now to him who is able to guard you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with excedding joy, to the wise God alone our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and throughout all ages. Amen.