Text 2 Peter 1.7
Tolerantiæ pietatem, pietai verò fraternum amormen, fraterno verò amori charitatem.
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
In the first of these three verses, the Apostle makes his first conjunction of Faith; Teaching, that as we must be of a sound belief, so of a virtuous life: the second of Knowledge, not to be drawn from a virtuous life by any deceits: Of temperance, against allurements: And Patience, against terrors and troubles; all these are moral virtues: And to these he joynes in the third verse, the threefold train of godlinesse, brotherly love, and Charity; all which are theolgocial virtues. For as Christ exhorteth, not only to doe good to them, from whom we receive good, Luke the sixt[h] chapter and the thirtieth verse, which be the virtues of kindnesse, that the Heathen practiced; but to add Christian virtues, Doing good to them that hurt us; and as Matthew the sixt[h] chapter, Our righteousnesse must exceed the righteousnesse of Scribes and Pharisees: So theological virtues doe not exclude moral, but as the Apostle shews, we must beside moral virtues practise these theological: faith doth not abolish, but establish the Law, so Romans the third chapter, the Gospel requires of a Christian, both will virtues and theological.
In the course of the worlde we find it otherwise, the civil man will shew himself temperate and patient, but makes little account of [635/636] religious virtues. Others as Jude, the first verse, will seem to be religious by hearing and discoursing of the word, and by certain religious terms, but neglect those moral duties. According to the first table they are religious, but neglect the duty of the second.
Therefore for the Civil man, albeit moral virtues are the perfection of this life; yet if he look higher to the great and pretious promises, of being partaker of the divine nature, his moral virtues canot raise him up so high as those virtues of Christianity, that must doe that. And for them that stop at the moral duties of the second Table, and content themselves with a shewing religion, by theological virtues, If any man seem to be religious in such sort, his religion is in vain, except he add moral, James the first chapter and the twenty sixt[h] verse, that he refrain his tongue and keep himslef unspotted.
Secondly, For the order or method of the Apostle.
There is an order, not only of things productive one of another, but that are adductive. And having already gone through the powers of the soul, that is, Reason, Affection, and Corruption; and prescribed internal virtues, Knowledge, Temperance and Patience: Now he comes to the outward man, and shews, that to God, who is above us, is due Godlinesse; to them that are neer us, that is, Christians and spiritual brethren, that have one Father, Brotherly love, and to them that are farre off, that is, all men, Charity. Godlinesse is required in respect of the divine nature; Brotherly love, in respect of the familiarity, or Church, which are the household of Faith, that is kindnesse, to be shewed to Christians; Thirdly, Charity is a duty to be extended to all, both Jews and Gentiles, as well as to Christians. For as John the first chapter and the thirteenth verse, there is the will of the flesh, and the will of man, whereunto Temperance and Patience have respect: So there is the will of God too, and that is it that Godlinesse takes hold of: The want of Patience to bear, made Peter to deny Christ: And therefore first he must be patient and next after will follow Godlinesse, All that will live godly must suffer affliction, the second epistle of Timothy the third. So when we are armed with patience, we are fit to hear of Godlinesse. So it was with Peter and the rest; of whom it is reported, that having this virtue, ibant gaujdentes, Acts the fift[h] chapter; having first planted patience, godlinesse. Follows by good consequenced. Thirdly, godlinesse is that virute whereby we are affected towards God, as the worldly mans is to worldinesse, or the fleshly man to carnal pleasure. Cornelius is called eðsbæj [devout] Acts the tenth chapter and Acts the seventeenth chapter and the twenty third verse, it is used for the worship of God, eseb¸ite If we ask, as Elias, to whom God is God; One hath his belly for his God, Philippians the third chapter; such a one was Esau, therefore called a prophane person, Hebrews the twelfth chapter. Others have no other godlinesse but gain, as the first epistle to Timothy the sixt[h] chapter and the fift[h] verse; such were they that were content to retain Diana's religion for their gain, Acts the nineteenth chapter. When we are as carefully affected 636/637 to God, as worldly men are to the world, and carnal men to the flesh, then we have Godlinesse.
But to consider of this, how deeply Godlinesse is joyned, we carry up our thoughts to God, as to the chief truth; to him that is the fountain of all goodnesse and joyes. We are perswaded that he is the highest wisdome, that knows all our actions, and the highest power that can minister deliverance to their troubles: that he is a regarder of them that seek him; and a severe punisher of such as contemn him. This inward affection is Godlinesse, and this inward affection and perswasion of God, is the mystery of Godlinesse, the first epistle to Timothy the third chapter, and the truth that is according to godlinesse, Titus the first chapter and the first verse, but as we must have this inward conceit, so we must professe godlinesse, the first epistle to Timothy the second chapter and the nineteenth verse. For as in the first Commandement of the Law, we must serve God in the truth of the Spirit, so in the second Commandement, in the service of the body; in the third with the blessing of the mouth, we must blesse and praise God, that is, we must professe our Godlinesse at all times and all occasions; not only privately, but publicly, in the fourth Commandement, that is, intirely, by all parts of the body, even with the tongue, which is our glory, especially on the day of our publique profession; not only to have a reverent opinion of God, but as the Church calls us, Come, Let us fall down before the Lord, Psalm the ninety fift[h]; not only to say with the Apostle, Romans the seventh chapter, I serve God in my Spirit, but Ephesians the third chapter, I bow my knees to God the Father. And thirdly, to worship God by vocal prayer, I will praise him with my mouth, Psalm the sixtieth, Hast thous faith? habe apud te, Romans the fourteenth chapter and the twenty second verse: So if thou have an inward conceit of God, have it with thy self; but withall, thou must professe publickly: The visard of Godlinesse must be plucked off, and the power shewed: We must exercise and shew godlinesse, the first epistle to Timothty the fift[h] chapter and the sixt[h] verse: There must be godlinesse of life the second epistle to Timothy the third chapter, All that will live godly. Corneleius was godly; for he shewed his godlinesse, by giving alms and praying to God, Acts the tenth chapter. By his exercise of godlinesse, he shewed the power of godlinesse working in him, and that is the chiefest thing: For there are spiritual sacrifices, the first epistle of Peter the second chapter; and to them we must add that which the Prophet calls Vitulum labiorum, Hosea the fourteenth chapter; without which we are not truly godly; And to both these was added a sacrifice of the hand, this spiritual sacrifice, is a broken and contrite heart, Psalm the fifty first; to that is to be added, Psalm the thirty second, I will acknowledge my sinne, that is an outward profession and vocal confession, an externall sacrifice of the body. And lastly, the sacrifice of mercie, Hosea the sixt[h], I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: Not to give good words, as James the second chapter, God be mercifull, but the real mercy [637/638] Hebrews the thirteenth chapter, to distribute and to doe good forget not; for with such sacrifice God is well pleased. Thus shall we approve our selves to be godly; also if we say with David, Psalm the twenty sixt[h], I have loved the habitation of the just. If we account the Sabbaths our delight, Isaiah 58; If we esteem of places and times of godlinesse aright, and cleave to the persons that professe godlinesse, as Acts the seventeenth chapter and the thirty fourth verse, Dionysius and Damariu, they that doe so, shew Godlinesse.
The second Virtue is love of brethren: For as in the Law, he goes from the first table to the second; so here having noted what is due to God, he prescribes us duties to be performed unto men. So the Gospel, as well as the Law, commands both purity and charity; and we must take the ground of our love, ex fonte puritatis, God makes his Sunne to rise upon the just and the unjust Matthew the fift[h] chapter; so must we shew, not only brotherly love to Christians, but charity to all men. Which brotherly love, is not to be extended to natural brethren, as Matthew the twelfth chapter, My brothers and sisters are they which hear the word, and keep it: this is to be shewed to the Church, and for such which have one father and one elder brother. Some forsake the fellowship, Hebrews 10, they are filii hipostoles, they withdraw themselves from the fraternity, but towards such as continue in the faith, let brotherly love continue, Hebrews the thirteenth chapter & the first epistle of Peter the first chapter and the twenty second, They that are faithfull, are called a brotherhood, the second epistle of Peter the fift[h] chapter; and therefore to them must this brotherly love be extended. This love must be without hypocrisie; not to say as James the second chapter, If thy brother starve, and thou say depart and be warm, but minister not to him, what faith and godlinesse is that? So for charity, the first epistle of John the third chapter, Love must not be in word and tongue, but in deed and truth. That is true charity, when we doe good to the fraternity; not that of the world, or after the flesh, but of the Church.
Concerning which, you need not that I write; for you are taught of God who said, By this shall all men know that ye are my Disciples, if you love one another John the eleventh chapteer. From hence he proceedeth to Charity, exhorting us to shew love, not only quia sunt, but ut sunt. As to the faithful, because they are brethren; but to all men generally, that they may be wonne to be of the Church. We must love, Inimicum in Deo, & inimicum propter Deum. O that is true love. As he begun with Faith, so he endeth with love, which is the bond of perfection, Colossians the third chapter, and keeps in all the other virtues. Jerusalem is an heap of stones; but love is that makes it a compact building, Ephesians the fourth chapter. As the Apostle here exhort to love; so in the first epistle of Peter the fourth chapter, Above all things have love, Colossians the third chapter and the first epistle of Peter the fourth chapter and the eighth verse, which covereth the multitude of sinnes. Of all graces it is the more excellent [638/639] the first epistle to the Corinthians the twelfth chapter. It is greater than faith or hope, the first epistle to the Corinthians the third chapter and the thirteenth verse.
Touching the end, fuga corruptionis, and the partaking of the Divine nature are the two things we have looked unto in all the other virtues. The cause of our corruption is amor corruptionis in the judgment and valuation; but it is refined by charity. Love is Charitas, of dearnesse, we set a great price of that which is most deare: And so if we make greatest account of God, we will love him above all things. If we set our love on that which is most deare, we shall eschue corruption. Secondly, The partaking of the divine nature is to be like him, the first epistle of John the third chapter; and love is the greatest representation of the divine nature. In the other virtues we doe but dispose our souls to be partakers of it. The Apostle saith Deus est Charitas, the first epistle of John the fourth chapter. If then we possessed of love, we shall be possessed of the `divine nature. Love is it that makes us ad herere Deum, Psalm the seventy third, Fides videt, spes tendi, but charity possesseth. Love is called an annointing, the first epistle of John the second chapter, because as Kings were anointed, so it makes us have a right unto God's kingdome: fides per charitatem operans, is that which must doe us good, Galatians the fift[h] chapter: There it is the mid'st, but here the end of all, without the which, all the other will doe no good: it is as oyle to the Lamp Matthew 25 chapter, without which the lamp gives no light. The pretious faith is that which hath all these virtues, and charity at the end. Then is Christianity well taught, when it is taught as a building, standing on many part, Ephesians the second chapter; or Armor, Ephesians the sixt[h] chapter, as a tree, Galatians the fift[h] chapter; as a body Ephesians the fourth as a choiser harmony of musick, as the Apostlse here setteth it out, in the second epistle of Peter the first chapter and the fourth verse.