2 PET. 1. 12.
THe original pollution of the Mind and Conscience hath at large been declared; We proceed now to the Memory, which belongeth also to the intellectual part of a man: And as Philosophy inform∣eth us, That it is the treasurer which conserveth the species, so Divinity will inform us, That it is an evil treasure, or shop, wherein are stored up all kinds of evil.
The Text mentioned will suppeditate fit matter for this Doctrine. And First, We must diligently explain the words, wherein we may take notice,
1. Of the illative particle, or note of inference, [Wherefore.] He had ex∣horted them, To give all diligence to make their calling and election sure, A necessary duty. We strive to make our outward estate, and the evidences of that sure; but make sure of Heaven, make sure of an interest in Christ; for this assurance will be a cordial to thee in thy greatest extremities, it will make thee above the love of life, and the fear of death. This duty he encourageth unto by the consequent benefit thereof, Hereby an entrance shall be abundantly ministred unto you, into the everlasting kingdome of Jesus Christ; And having laid this foundation, he brings in the infere•e in my Text, Wherefore I will alwayes put you in remembrance of these things. These truths are so necessary, so excellent, that you are to have them alwayes in your mind; and withall, your memories though regenerate are so weak and sinfull, that you need perpetual Monitors and promp∣ters to possesse your souls with these things.
In the second place, we have the Apostle Peter's care, purpose and diligence expressed, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, I will not be negligent; The Vulgar Latine renders it, Incipiam, I will begin Estius thinketh it did read 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 for 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but that word is never used, and therefore Estius doth from the Latine go to the Greek Copies, which is a practice contrary to the Tridentine Doctrine. The word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, is used for to neglect, to have no regard, to slight and make no matter of a thing, Heb. 2. 3. only when the Apostle expresseth his care negatively, I will not, we must remember that rule given by Interpreters, that Adverbs of de∣nying do often express the contrary with the greater Emphasis, I will not be negli∣gent, that is, I will be very diligent and industrious.
Page 248 Thirdly, You have the Object matter about which this diligence is exercised, and that is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; The word signifieth to bring to mind, to cause to remem∣ber,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 signifieth any short writing, whereby any thing is brought to our mind: The word is used in other places, which will be improved in pursuing the Doctrine. This is enough for the present that the holy Apostle doth not disdain to become a Monitor and Remembrancer unto them, being in this an instrument of the holy Ghost, whose work it is to bring things to our mind, which are for∣gotten.
Fourthly, You have the aggravation of this from the time, He will put them in remembrance alwayes; He will be the good Prophet that will lift up his voice and not cease; They must not think his importunity and frequent admonitions needlesse and uncivil; They need this duty alwayes from him, and therefore in season and out of season, he will suggest it to them.
Lastly, There is a further aggravation from the qualification of those he will thus remind, Though ye know and be established is the truth; This is consider∣able, they had the true knowledge of these things, if they had been ignorant, if they had not yet understood these things none would wonder at this diligence, but though they know these things, yet he dare not omit this importunity. Again, though they did know, yet they might be wavering and staggering, ready to apostatize from this they did know; No, they are 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, established, firmly setled and fixed, and yet their minds and memories need many divine helps to excite and stirre them up, yea this duty upon their memories is so great and ne∣cessary, that the Apostle further amplifieth himself herein, as if enough could not be said about it; For at the next verse, he giveth us a reason of this faithful∣nesse and diligence, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, I think it fit, or just and righteous; It did belong to him as an Apostle, he could not do what was his duty, if he did fail herein, and that not for once, but continually, as long as he was in this Taber∣nacle, he calleth his body a Tabernacle, that is, Nomen pastorale, and militare, it denoteth the shortness and brevity of his abode in the world, and then the great hardship and difficulty he was to conflict with; It implieth, he was but a stran∣ger here, as all the godly are; and therefore whereas the Cretians called those places they had on purpose to receive and lodge strangers in 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the same word did the Church use and apply to the Burial places of believers, signifying hereby, that they were pilgrims and strangers: He useth also a significant word for his death, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which is applied to the people of Israel, when they came out of Egypt, a place of bondage, and the Ironsornace. so is this world to the godly, therefore death is an 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Now in this expression also is couched a rea∣son, why he will not cease to put them in mind of these truths, for he shall not be long with them, he will work while he hath day; he remembers that command of our Saviour, Negotiamini, work be diligent merchants to increase spiritual gain, while I come.
Again, There is another latent reason of this duty in the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to stirre up; It is used of those who awaken any out of sleep, Luke 8. 24. So that this supposeth even the memories of the most godly to be, as it were, dull and sleepy, very heavy and negligent about what they ought to be diligently exerci∣sed with But yet the Apostle hath not said all his mind herein, for vers. 15. he professeth this care of his for the good of their memories shall extend even after his death, I will endeavour that after my decease, you may have these things alwayes in remembrance. Now that would be done by these very Epistles, they would be as continual memento's to them. See then here the godly zeal and faithfull dili∣gence of a godly Pastor, it extends to the future as well as the present, he is afraid after his decease, all he had preached should be forgotten; And doth not expe∣rience sadly confirm this? After the death of a godly Minister, How quickly are all his labours, all whose precious truths he had made known forgotten, as if they Page 249 never had such a Preacher amongst them? However, if these soul-saving truths be forgotten, Peter will take care that the sinne should not lie at his door, he will be faithfull to do his duty. And Chap. 3. 1. take notice how again he taketh up this profession of his care and zeal to help their memories. He wrote both these Epistles to stirre up their pure minds by way of remembrance. Their pure minds 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, such as are discovered and tried (as it were) by the Sunne∣beams, the least more, any vain thoughts or sinfull motions are discovered and abandoned, yet though they have such pure minds, he writeth Epistle upon Epi∣stle to stirre them up by remembrance; and as if all this were not enough to quicken up their memory, the Apostle Jude writing to the same persons doth al∣most write the same things verbatim, which the Apostle Peter had written in this second Epistle, and vers. 4. he proclaimeth this to be his end, To put them in remembrance, though once they knew this; It was for their memories sake by way of exhortation, not for their understandings by way of instruction. Now from all this we may gather,
That such is the weaknesse and sinfulnesse of the memory, and that even in the regenerate, that they need daily divine helps to provoke it to its duty. And whereas the sinfulness of our memory may be two wayes, either actually by a wilfull forgetting of holy things, and a carelesse neglect of them; or original, where∣by the memory through Adam's fall, as well as the other parts of the soul, are become all over unsanctified, and hath no sutablenesse or proportion to divine objects and holy duties. I shall speak of this later, though as expressing and em∣ptying it self into actual and wilfull forgetfulnesse, for of this original and native pollution of the memory, must we understand this Text in a great measure, which the Apostle by frequent filing would get off, as so much rust, seeing he writeth to those that are sanctified, and as also he speaketh of this as a permanent and an abiding weaknesse in them; Now in the regenerate all contracted habits of sinne, are expelled by vertue of the new birth; And as for actual sinnes, they are transient, so that there remaineth no other defilement, but original, and the re∣liques or immediate products thereof: If then the most holy do need quickning helps to their memory, because of the dulnesse and slownesse in it about holy things; It is plain, the memory, as well as the other faculties of the soul, is de∣praved by original sinne; and if in the sanctified person the memory hath this partial and gradual sinfulnesse in the unregenerate, and natural man, it must be all over polluted and made unsavoury about any good thing. Observe,
That the memory of every man by nature is wholly polluted by original sinne. It cannot perform those offices and acts for these holy ends, as it was at first in∣abled to do in the state of integrity. It will be very usefull and profitable to ana∣tomize the sinfulnesse of the memory, as we have done of the other intellectual powers, for it is from the pollution of this part that all wickednesse is commit∣ted. The Scripture makes this the character of all wicked men, That they for∣get God. Psal. 9. 17. implying, That if we did remember God, his Great∣nesse, his Power, his holy Will, we should not fall into any sinne: Inso∣much that we may in some sense say, All they evil is committed, because of thy evil and sinfull memory, hadst thou remembred such and such threat∣nings, such and such places of Scripture, they would have preserved thee from this impiety.