1 Peter 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…
The sum of this text, and the name of it too, is set down in the very first word of it. A Benedictus it is from us to God, for something coming from God to or for us. Something? Nay, many. And many they are; we reduce them to three: Our regeneration which is past, our hope which is present, and our inheritance which is to come.
1. Regenerating, or begetting, is of itself a benefit; we get life by it if nothing else.
2. But to beget to an inheritance is more than simply to beget.
3. And yet more than that, to beget to such an inheritance as this, of which so many things are here spoken.For the order we will put the words in no other, for we can put them in no better than they stand.
1. God first, and the true God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Then His mercy, the cause moving.
3. Then Christ's resurrection, the means working.
4. Then our regeneration, the act producing.Producing hope of the inheritance, then after the inheritance we hope for. Of which two points there are: How it is qualified, uncorrupt, undefiled, not fading. Then, how seated, even in heaven there it is, there kept it is. Now then for these. For His mercy first: for our regenerating by His mercy; for the hope of this inheritance, but more for the inheritance itself, specially such a one so conditioned as here is set down; for keeping it for us in heaven; for keeping us for it on earth. For these all, but above all for the means of all, the rising of Christ, the gate of this hope, the pledge of this inheritance; for these owe we this Benedictus to God. To God the Father and to Christ our Lord, by whom and by whose rising, lose this life when we will, we have hope of a better; betide our inheritance on earth what shall, we have another kept for us in heaven. Thus every one naturally ariseth out of other. Blessed be God. Yea, blessed and thanked and praised; but here blessed suits best, that the most proper return for a blessing that we inherit is the blessing (1 Peter 3:9). The hope is a blessed hope (Titus 2:13). But the inheritance is the state of blessedness itself. Therefore Benedictus is said well. But thereby hangs a scruple; for what are we that we should take upon us to bless God? Yes, He us, and we Him too, as if they were reciprocal, one the echo, the reflection of the other. Equal they are not. It were fond to imagine the Father gives the child no other blessing but the child can give him as good again. What then? He that wisheth heartily would do more than wish if his power were according. What say we, then, when we say Benedictus? It is a word compound; take it in sunder, and dicere is, to say somewhat, to speak; and that we can; and bene is (speaking), to speak well; and that we ought. To speak, is confession; to speak well, is praise; and praise becometh Him, and us to give it Him. And what good can we wish Him that He hath not? Say we it, say we it not, He is blessed alike. True to Him we cannot wish; not to His person; but to His name we can, and to His Word we can; we can wish it more devoutly heard. God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the style of the New Testament, ye read it not in the Old. The sun was yet under the horizon, but now up, and of a good height.
(1) Blessed be God; say that, and no more, and never a Jew, Turk, or Pagan but will say as much. We would not bestow our Benedictus upon any but the true God, so settle our Benedictus upon the right God.
(2) For this cause, but not for this alone, when we bless Him I daresay we would bless Him with His best title. So hath it ever been. You shall observe in titles ever upon the coming of a greater, the less is laid down. For if this be to be God, to be bounteous, beneficial. In nothing was God ever so beneficial as in sending His only begotten Son into the world. This shall be His title forever. Forever to have a chief place in our Benedictus. And yet there is another on Christ's behalf, our Lord; even to bring Him in too. For, seeing all that which follows comes not but by the rising of Christ, we cannot leave Him out. All the good that comes to us, as it comes to us from God, so it comes to us by Christ. This is most plain; first, that did generate Christ; before that did regenerate us. If He not generate, we not regenerate; then no children, then no inheritance. For in Him this text, and all other texts, are yea and amen. By this time we see why this addition, it is His title of severance, it is the highest title of His honour; it takes in Christ, who would not be left out in our Benedictus. From the party whom we pass to the cause, why. For we say not this Benedictus, as we say many a one here, without any cause; Benedictus for nothing; nay, for God is ever aforehand with us. For generation is the proper act of a Father. But before we come to it let us not stride over that which stands before it. God did this, did all that follows, but upon what motive? According to His mercy. And mercy accords well with a Father; no compassion like His. But the benefits ensuing are too great to run in the common current of mercy. "Great," therefore according to His great mercy. Mercy, the thing; great, the measure; a word of number rather than magnitude. The meaning is, no single mercy would do it; no, though great, there must be many. For many the defects to be removed, many the sins to be forgiven, many the perfections to be attained, therefore, according to His manifold mercy. "According" is well said. For that indeed is the chord, to which this and all our Benedictuses are to be tuned. Yea, many times blessed for His manifold mercies. Mercy, then, first; regeneration second, the act of this mercy. Verily, even for our natural generation, we owe Him a Benedictus. No man by his first birth, be it never so high or noble, is a whir the nearer this inheritance. Now "re" hath in it two powers. "Re" is "again" the second time. For two there be, that old creation, and the new creature in Christ. But "re" is not only again, but "again" upon a loss. Not a second only, but a second upon the failing of the first. So doth redemption, a buying again, upon a former aliening. Reconciliation, upon a former falling out. Restitution, upon a former attainder. Resurrection, upon a fall taken formerly. Regeneration, upon a former degenerating, from our first estate. Our first would not serve; it was corrupt, it was defiled, it did degenerate. There was more then need of a new, a second, a regeneration, to make us children of grace again, and so of life. This act of regenerating is determined doubly, Αἴς is twice repeated. To hope first, then to the inheritance; ye may put them together, to the hope of an inheritance. But because an inheritance is no present matter; it is to come, and to be coming to. From begetting, we step not straight to entering upon our inheritance. There needs no great Benedictus for hope. For what is hope? What, but a waking man's dream? And such hopes there be many in the world. But this is none such. To show it is none such it is severed by two terms: regeneravit and vivam. They are worth the marking both.
(a) Regeneravit, first; that it is spes generata. So this a substantial hope, called therefore by St. Paul the "helmet of hope" (1 Thessalonians 5), the "anchor of hope" (Hebrews 6), things of substance, that will hold, that have metal in them.
(b) Then mark vivam. And vivam follows well of regeneravit. For they that are begotten are so to live, to have life. Vivam also imports there is a dead or a dying hope, but this is not such but a living.Nay, viva is more than vivens, lively, then living. Where viva is said of ought the meaning is they spring, they grow, they have life in themselves. And, indeed, regeneravit is a good verb to join with hope. There is in hope a kind of regendering power; it begets men anew. And viva is a good epithet for it. When one droops give him hope, his spirits will come to him afresh, it will make him alive again. And for such a hope blessed be God. And whence hath it this life? The next word shows it, vivam, per resurrectionem. The vigour it hath from Christ rising, and by His rising opening to us the gate of life at large. Life by the resurrection, the true life indeed. Not to live here still, but to rise again and live as Christ did. We for the most part put it wrong, for we put it in them that must die, and then must our hope die with them, and so prove a dying hope. But put it in one that dies not, that shall never die, and then it will be spes viva indeed. No reed, no cobweb-hope then; but helmet, anchor hope — hope that will never confound you. And who is that, or where is He, that we might hope in Him? That is Jesus Christ, our hope; so calls Him St. Paul (1 Timothy 1:1). Yet not Christ every way considered; not as yesterday, in the grave, nor as the day before, giving up the ghost upon the Cross, dead, and buried, yields but dead hope. But in Jesus Christ rising again. We pass now to the inheritance. But as we pass will ye observe the situation first? It is well worth your observing that the resurrection is placed in the midst, between our hope and our inheritance. To hope before it, before the resurrection, hope; but after to the inheritance itself, to the full possession and fruition of it. An "inheritance" accords well with "according to His mercy." We have it not of ourselves or by our merits, but of Him and by His mercies. Else were it a purchase and no inheritance. It comes to us freely, as the inheritance to children. Well with mercy, and well with regeneravit. For the inheritance is of children. Nor shall we need to doubt any prejudice to God, from whom it comes, by our coming to this inheritance. Here the inheritance comes not but by the death of the party in possession, but there no prejudice to the ancestor; he dies not for the heir to succeed. Nor no prejudice to the heir neither; to us by Him, not to Him by us. It is not as here, one carries it from all, and all the rest go without; or if they come in his part is the less. So say we again now, one thing to be born to an inheritance, another to such an inheritance as this here. For in inheritances there is great odds, one much better than another even here with us. St. Peter writes to the dispersed Jews, and by in caelo, he gives them an item, this inheritance is no new Canaan here on earth, nor Christ any earthly Messiahs to settle them in a new land of promise. "In heaven," then. There it is first, and there it is kept; the being there one, the keeping another. For that there it is kept is happy for us. Earth would not keep it, here it would be in hazard. It would go the same way Paradise went. Since it would be lost in earth it is kept in heaven. And a Benedictus for that too, as for the regenerating us to it here on earth, so for the keeping, the preserving of it there in heaven. Kept, and for us kept, else all were nothing, that makes up all that it is not only preserved, but reserved for us there. But reserved yet under the veil. But time shall come when the veil shall be taken off, and of that which is now within it there shall be a reveiling. Only it stayeth till the work of regeneration be accomplished. For these come we now to our Benedictus. For if God, according to His manifold mercy, have done all this for us, we also, according to our duty, are to do somewhat again. First, then, dictus, somewhat would be said by way of recognition; this hath God done for us, and more also. But to say Benedictus anyway is not to content us, but to say it solemnly. How is that? Benedictus in our mouth and the holy Eucharist in our hands. And yet this is not all; we are not to stay here, but to aspire farther, even to strive to be like to God, and be like God we shall not unless our dicere be facere as His is, unless somewhat be done withal. In very deed there is no blessing, but with the hand stretched out.
Parallel VersesKJV: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,