Text 2 Peter 1. 6.
Scientiæ verò continentiam, continentiæ verò tolerentiam
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness.
The Apostle proceedeth now to the fourth voice of this quire, having laid faith for the first, and to it added, that which the Apostle calls the work of faith in virtue, in the second to the Thessalonians the first chapter and the eleventh verse, and thirdly, To virtue knowledge; now in the fourth place he joyneth to it temperance: It is the common course of the world, so soon as they have a little taste of knowledge to ascend up to heaven, but he tells us, knowledge must goe down to our souls, and then proceed to godliness, which we are taught in our conformity to our Saviours example, of whom the Apostle saith, Ephesians the fourth chapter and the ninth verse, He that ascended, the same is that descendeth first.
The chief point of our duty is, first to temper our affections, and then to come to godliness after: For the justifying of Peters order in respect of the consequence this hath with the former, there are three causes why he bringeth in temperance next after knowledge.
The first is, because whereas corruption is in the world through lust, verse the first; and Ephesians the fourth chapter, the old man is corrupt through lust; and the abandoning of that corruption, must bring us to the participation of the divine nature; and it is temperance that makes us avoid this corruption: For unlesse we temper our affections we shall never be partakers of the divine nature.
Secondly, It follows the natural power of the soul: Having placed Knowledge, which is a virtue of the reasonable part, he comes next to the affectioned part, that is, Desire, whereunto temperance answers, he would not have sensuality grow above reason, nor the body to govern the soul: The upperpart being already perfected, [631/632] the lower part must next in order be made perfect, as in the first epistle to the Corinthians, the fifteenth chapter, that which is natural is first, and then that which is spiritual. So moral virtues are the perfections in this life and theological virtues are the perfections in the life to come.
Thirdly, Knowledge being the virtue that teacheth what is good or evil, Temperance follows it very well, in as much as it is a helper forward, and a preserver of good, It keeps us from the graves of lust, Numbers the eleventh chapter: It preserves reason which is the power of the minde: For by worldly care we do gravare cor, overcome the heart, Luke, the twenty first chapter and the thirty fourth verse; but this temperance makes it, and therefore is called , of keeping the minde and understanding safe. And for the body we see the effect of this virtue, in Daniel the first chapter and the fifteenth verse: therefore the Apostles counsel to young men is, in the second epistle, of Timothy the second chapter and the twenty second verse, Flye the lusts of youth; and Titus the second chapter and the third verse, To be temperate and sober minded. It preserves knowledge not only by keeping the body in order, but Proverbs the twenty third chapter, the fourth verse, and Romans the twelfth chapter and the third verse, [a sober opinion of himself] not to deal in genalogies and curious questions, which are unprofitable, but to be wise with sobriety, Titus the third chapter and the ninth verse, and the first epistle to Timothy, the first chapter and the fourth verse. So it follows by good order, in as much as it preserves the virtue going before.
Secondly, Touching temperance what it is, and wherein it stands. When Knowledge hath taught what to chuse the next thing is, nullis inde illecebris avocari; and that is it which Temperance performs: For in the beginning this corrupter of the world sought to draw our Parents away from their duty, by a baite he shewed them, bonum delectabile, that was the goodly fruit, so fair to be hold: the allurement being offered, concupiscence flyeth to it, as a bird to the snare, Proverbs the eleventh chapter and the twenty third verse. Every man is [lured], James the first chapter and the fourteenth verse, there is a bait offered to lust to catch at; therefore it is called [worldly minded] Hebrews the twelfth chapter, sinne is so pleasant, that if concupiscence be not weaned, there is no child desires the mothers breast more than it desires sinne, Psalm the hundred thirty first and the second verse, men being in this case, and as drunkenesse to thirst, Deuteronomie the twenty ninth chapter and the nineteenth verse, and seek baits to allure concupiscence: therefore our concupiscence needs a bridle to wean and restrain this soul. Lust is two fold, the first Epistle of John the second chapter and sixteenth verse carnis & occulorum: The corruption of the flesh is either for the belly, as it is in the sixt[h] chapter of St. Luke or that carnall pleasure that Felix and Drusilla were overcome with, Acts the twenty fourth chapter, so that he could not abide to heare Paul dispute [632/633] of temperance; the eye lusteth for fare apparell, as Luke the sixteenth chapter, to bee cloathed in purple, for that is a bait of concupiscence: as Achan, when he saw the Babylonish garment desired it, Joshuah the seventh chapter, so also the eye delighteth in bedding and furniture for houses, as Jer[emiah] the twenty second chapter and the fourteenth verse, to have it shine with Cedar, to lye on beds of Ivory, Amos, the sixt[h] chapter and the fourth verse; Temperance is the retrainer of all these. For the desire of the belly, the first of the Corinthians and the ninth chapter, They that run a race absteyne from all meat that may hurt: For carnall pleasure, If they cannot contein let them marry, the first epistle to the Corinthians and the seventh chapter: And for apparell that must bee done in temperance, the first epistle to Timothy and the second verse; thus wee see what is the object of temperance, which virtue performes two things; First to be able to want those things as Philippians the fourth chapter, possum deficere; then, having them, to use them moderately; as the Apostle counsels in Timothie 1, Timothy 5, modico vino utere; for many, coming to have the possession of these things, exceede in Ryot. For the first, it is a dangerous lust, how pleasant soever it bee; not to bee able to want them, if wee make necessary lusts of them; so as wee must have our lusts satisfied though it cannot bee without sinne, wee bring our selves under the power, as it is in the second epistle to the Corinthians and the eight chapter, if wee make ourselves debtors to the flesh so farre, Romans the eight[h] chapter, A man that cannot refraine his appetite, hee is like a City broken downe and without walls. Pro. 25.28.
Thirdly, for the end, why the Apostle exhorts to his virtue, It is first to eschue corruption, and so to bring us to the divine nature; and Temperance is the virtue by which wee eschue corruption both of soule and body; for, as those things that are sweete doe stop and putrify the body, so doe those corrupt desires of the minde, and the corruption of mankinde desires to corrupt man with these allurements. If wee love, wee are not the servants of sinne, we are servi corruptionis, as it is in the second epistle of Peter and the second chapter. For the body, it corrupts it also; for so hee sinneth against his owne body, the first epistle to the Corinthians and sixt[h] chapter; and such doe corrupt the Temple of God, the first epistle to the Corinthians and the third chapter; The flesh spotteth the garment, as it is in the epistle of Saint Jude; the bed defiled, Hebrews the thirteenth chapter; so that wee cannot possesse our vessel in holinesse.
Fourthly, that it bee not so, Temperance must effect this, so it disposeth us to the participation of the divine nature, who is a spirit John the fourth chapter as they that are spirituall minded are; for they that take care to fulfill the lusts of the flesh, Romans the thirteenth chapter, doe make their bellies their God, the thirteenth chapter of the epistle to the Philippians and minde earthly things, such are carnall and are not spirituall: Temperance will make men depart from the flesh and grow spirituall, and so be like the divine nature.
[633/634]To Temperance hee exhorts to add Patience, the fift[h] voice of this quire, which the Apostle reckons among the fruits of the Spirit, Galatians, the fift[h] chapter and the twenty third verse, for three reasons as the Philosophers observe, to [self-control] there is next adjoyned [anger] to the effective part is joyned courage: For as it is observed from John the first chapter and the thirteenth verse, not of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man. There are in man two wills, the will of the flesh, and the manly will; For God having planted in the Soule, desire to follow good, there followes courage to remove whatsoever shall hinder our desire, and as wee have a virtue to moderate our concupiscence, or sensuality, so here is Patience against our courage. Secondly, what makes a man intemperate but impatience? as Genesis the twenty fift[h] chapter, Esau must needes die, except hee have the meat hee desires, therefore Patience is a virtue necessarily required in the faithful, the sixteenth chapter of the Proverbs, and the nineteenth chapter of the Revelations, Hæc est fides & patientia Sanctorum. The third reason of the dependance is, quia vincit patitur. Intemperance and Impatience are the great Conquerors of the world; the one being the Nurse of Phisitians, the other of Lawyers: And as we have had a virtue to conquer intemperance; so it followes by good order next, that wee have the virtue against impatience. As the one sort are said to bee clothes in white, that is, the innocency of the Godly, Apocalyps the seventh chapter and the nineteenth verse, so others (by Patience) have made their garments purple, in the blood of the Lamb, Apocalyps the nineteenth chapter.
Secondly, When wee know what to doe, wee must not be drawn from it by any terror; For as the devill, to alure us to sinne, joyns dulce & malum, so to keepe us from good hee joynes bitter with that which is good: He joynes to duty labour and disgrace, that by them hee may keepe us from it. Labour is one thing our nature cannot away with, durum pati, the object of this virtue is tribulation, as Romans the twelfth chapter, bee patient in tribulation, a virtue that becommeth Saints, Apocalyps the nineteenth chapter, hæc est fides & patientia Sanctorum. For the originall of tribulation, men doe not feare the evils of the life to come; and therefore God is faine to send them crosses while they live, which must bee borne patiently, as Micah the seventh chapter, portabo iram Domini, quia peccavi. Secondly, they are sent for tryall of our faith, ut tolles ferro rubiginem, & addas auro puritatem. That was the cause of Jobs trouble, to try his faith. The use of this virtue, in respect of men is, as Matthew the fift[h] chapter, If they smite thee on the one cheeke, to turne the other; If they take away thy coate, let them have thy cloake also, If men reproach ye, as David was, to beare it as hee did, the second of Samuel, and the sixeenth chapter, to endure the spoyling of our goods, as Hebrews the twelfth chapter. In such cases it is the perfection of the Saints, while they live here, to possesse their souls with Patience, as it is in Saint Luke the one and twenieth chapter.
For the use the Apostle makes of this virtue, patience is needfull [634/635] for the avoiding of corruption, Give not place to the Devil, by suffering the Sunne to goe down upon thy wrath, Ephesians the fourth chapter: For men in their impatience utter corruption of their hearts, Michah the seventh chapter. Secondly, it makes them like God, as John the third chapter and first verse; for there is nothing in God more divine than patience; this virtue he shewed to the old world, which he endured so long, the first epistle of Peter the third chapter; and to the new world, the second epistle of Peter and the third chapter. He is not slack, but patient to all, and would have all repent. The same is the affection of the Sonne of God towards his Church. What did Moses admire, Exodus the third chapter, to see the bush a fire, and not burn, but videt rubum ardentem: Even so now the faithfull shall drink deadly poyson and it shall not hurt them, as Christ promiseth, Mark the sixteenth chapter, that is, the evil tongues of the wicked, which are the poyson of Asps, as Psalm the hundred and fourtieth. The Apostles exhortation is, James the first chapter and the fourth verse, Be patient, that ye may be intire and perfect, and as the first epistle of Peter the fift[h] chapter, If ye suffer but a little, God shall make you perfect: And Christs advise is, To bring forth fruit in Patience, Luke 8.