1 Peter 2:17
Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
Now of the obligation of this duty there are two main grounds — goodness and nearness.We must love the brotherhood for their goodness. All goodness is lovely. There groweth a love due to every creature of God from this, that every creature of God is good. Some goodness God has communicated to everything to which He gave a being: as a beam of that incomprehensible light, and a drop of that infinite ocean of goodness, which He Himself is. But a greater measure of love is due to man than to other creatures, by how much God hath made him better than them. And to every particular man that hath any special goodness in him there is a special love due. He that hath good natural parts, if he have little in him that is good besides, yet is to be loved even for those parts, because they are good. He that hath but good moralities only, leading a civil life, though without any probable evidences of grace appearing in him, is yet to be loved of us, if but for those moralities, because they also are good. But he that goeth higher, and by the goodness of his conversation showeth forth the graciousness of his heart, deserveth by so much a higher room in our affections than either of the former, by how much grace exceedeth in goodness both nature and morality. Since then there is a special goodness in the brethren in regard of that most holy faith which they possess, and that blessed name of Christ which is called upon them, we are therefore bound to love them with a special affection. The other ground of loving the brotherhood is their nearness. The nearer, the dearer, we say; and there are few relations nearer than that of brotherhood. But no brotherhood in the world is so closely and surely knit together, and with so many and strong ties, as the fraternity of Christians.
1. We are brethren by propagation. Children of the one eternal God, the common Father of us all, and of the one Catholic Church, the common mother of us all. And we have all the same elder brother, Jesus Christ, the firstborn among many brethren.
2. We are brethren by education - foster brethren; as Herod and Manaen were. They that have been nursed and brought up together in their childhood for the most part have their affections so seasoned and settled then that they love one another the better while they live.
3. We are brethren by covenant, sworn brothers at our holy baptism, when we dedicated ourselves to God's service as His soldiers by sacred and solemn vow. Do we not see men that take the same oath pressed to serve in the same wars and under the same captains?
4. We are brethren by cohabitation. We are all of one house and family; not strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. Lastly, we are brethren by partnership in our Father's estate. Co-partners in the state of grace; all of us enjoying the same promises, liberties, and privileges whereof we are already possessed in common; and co-heirs in the state of glory, all of us having the same joy, and everlasting bliss in expectancy and reversion. Having all these obligations upon us, and being tied together in one brotherhood by so many bands of unity and affection, I presume we cannot doubt but that it is our bounden duty thus to love the brotherhood. There remaineth now no more to be done but to look to our performances that they be right. Not but that we may make a difference between one brother and another in the measure and degree of our love, according to the different measures and degrees, either of their goodness considered in themselves or of their nearness in relation to us.
Parallel VersesKJV: Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.