Gamut of Graces

If any of us have failed to grasp the full intent of the apostolic exhortation, "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge," as it occurs in the second epistle of Peter (first chapter), the reason may lie in the fact that our English translation does scant justice to the original, thereby hiding in some measure its strength and beauty. The Greek word translated "add," means to collect for a chorus, its root being identical with our English word "chorus," and it hints at once that the apostle's thought must have been the perfection of harmony obtainable from the full gamut of the Christian graces. We find, therefore, the several notes arranged, not haphazard, but in their rightful relations to one another, while only just enough are used (seven) to complete the octave. Naturally, faith becomes the key-note of man's mental harmony, for the Scriptures teach that "without faith it is impossible to please him [God]," and again, that "whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Thus faith is seen to be the foundation of a concordant life, to which in turn are quickly added virtue, manliness, courage; and then, going a step farther, a key higher, this courageous faith is supplemented by that demonstrable knowledge which is defined in Christian Science as "understanding."

Then the note of temperance is sounded as a governor, that our "speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt," lest we fall into the error of speaking unscientifically, as did even Peter himself on one occasion, "not knowing what he said." But days of darkness may be ahead, days in which, having done all, we are to stand; and for this the major fifth of "patience" is essential, that dominant of the mental mode, which must have its perfect work that we may either stand firmly or if need be "run with patience the race that is set before us," as we keep our eyes steadfastly upon Christ, Truth, our living head. Further, like Timothy, we are to exercise ourselves in godliness,—godlikeness,—since in such likeness man was and is created, and we have the assurance that this "is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."

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Bearing Up the Ark
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