Common Places of the famous and renowned
divine, Peter Martyr Vermilius a Florentine, se-
lected into four parts: out of his books
and Commentaries.

The first part, wherein is principally intreated of the knowledge of God the Creator.
Of the ends of good and evil among the Christians. The first Chapter.

AUGUSTINE  in his 19th book, Dc Ciuitatc Dei, the fourth chapter, very well declareth, how Christian hope is carried unto there good things, which cannot be seen. For if thou asketh (faith he) a faithful man, what he maketh to be end of good and evil things, he will answer; Life and death everlasting: which things can not be seen: nor comprehended by man’s reason. And therefore the wise men among the Ethnics being puffed up with pride, would not settle their hope upon those things. For which cause, some held, that the ends of good things, are the goods of the mind; some the goods of the body, and some, either virtue, pleasure, or both joined together. But GOD laughed them to scorn, and saw how vain their cognitions were. For they would rather account those things for the chief good, which be tempered with many miseries and calamities, than to receive those sincere, perfect, and most firm things, which are offered by the word of God. For who can worthily express, unto what miserable and horrible mischances this body of ours is cast out? It is sick, it is wounded, it is dissolved, made crooked, torn, and maimed. Oftentimes men become blind, oftentimes deaf. And as touching the mind, they are oftentimes mad, oftentimes frantic, and they that most labor about the truth, can not attain to the knowledge of the same, without intermingling of infinite errors. How could the Ethnics boast of virtues, as the chief good things, seeing we have them as witnesses of our calamities? To what purpose serveth temperance, which is therefore given, to bridle drunkenness, gluttony, lusts, and the foul and shameful motions of the mind? For these things declare, that it hath no place, but in minds, which be yet subject to corruption. The which corruption, the more inward it is, the more miserable it maketh us: and, as a domestical enemy, violently affected the secret parts of our hearts. These affections (faith, Augustine) are vices: because (as Paul saith) they hinder us, that we cannot do those things which we would. Besides, what is the part of wisdom, but to foresee, that by error we be not deceived in the choice of good things, and avoiding evil? Certainly, if we were not bewrapped in errors and darkness, we should not need of this remedy. But seeing it is bred, it argueth, that men are not yet happy; but are folded in great and grievous errors, unless wisdom do help our every side. Also justice, whereby every man commeth by his own, is necessary for none other cause, but to suppress robberies, extortions, and violent dealings. And yet, neither can that so prevail among men, but that just and honest men oftentimes suffer many things, both shamefully and unjustly. Now what shall we speak of fortitude? The same doubtless armeth men patiently to abide all sorrows, dangers, torments; yea and death itself, if necessity shall require. Among those so great evils, these wise fellows durst appoint the chief goodness. Which evils nevertheless, they said might somethime be so increased, as a man may kill himself. Oh happy life (crieth Augustine) that seeketh the help of death to finish it! For if it be happy, who do they cut it off, and shun it! But if it be miserable, why do they place it in the chief goodness?  Thus are they derided of God, because they despised that hope, which is neither seen, nor attained unto by man's reason. And because they mocked it, when the heard it preached in the world, therefore hath God, by his heavenly doctrine, condemned them, as fools and ridiculous persons.
  2. Another sort doubtless, perceiving the often failings into wickedness, and of very excellent men, thought by their religious procurements; yea rather by their supersitions, and worshippings devised of themselves, to cause God to be favourable unto them; of whom afterward they might obtain all good things. And this for the most part was the opinion of the common people: who after a sort judged not so well as did the Philosophers. For these men were so puffed up in the pride of their virtues, and well duties, and with the knowledges of natural things, that they thought these things to be sufficient unto themselves for the obtaining of felicity. But the common people were not ignorant both of the filthyness of sins, and of the daily offendings of the Deity of God. Wherefore they thought it good to flee unto religions, the which since they had them not pure and uncorrupt, they fell into idolatry. And here came in the Hebrew people among them, and took part with both. For by reason of the ten commandments, they boasted that they had the sum of all virtues, among them: and that if they fell at any time from them, they had ceremonies prepared for them, whereby they might make satisfaction. Against these things Paul disputeth in his Epistle to the Romans, and therewith, that it cannot be, that we should obtain righteousness by moral or natural duties: because as well the Jews, as the Gentiles, do not in their life and manners express so much, as they acknowledge that the law of nature, as Moses' law requireth. Neither must we grant, that we can fully and perfectly observe the law. For then might we attain unto perfect righteousness by works: which would be as plain absurdity. For herein standeth our righteousness, that our sins shall not be imputed unto us; but the righteousness of Christ shall be imputed to the believers. No doubt but there happeneth some renewing, when we being justified do work rightly: but yet this not through perfect. Also grace is given to the regenerate, but yet not such, as removeth all the lets which do hinder the perfect keeping of God's law. Neither do we, in the teaching hereof affirm paradoxes or strange opinions, or set forth things that be contrary unto Paul; but we chiefly maintain those things which are most agreeable to the apostolic doctrine. But as for the rites and ceremonies, which on the other side the Jews brag of, when they be without Christ and faith, they are accounted detestable before God: as Jeremiah, Isaiah, and the prophets, which were interpreters of the law, have most plainly taught. By all these things it is easily gathered, that whereas all men, of all ages, professed themselves to seek for the chiefest good, yet that they which wanted the true and perfect knowledge of God, did as it were, but grope after it in the deep darkness, and wearied themselves in ???booteles??? labors.
These things being on this wise declared, I will now more largely and particularly treat of human ends, following specially the course of Aristotle: and will show between-whiles wherein he, as touching this matter agreeth, or disagreeth with the holy scriptures.
  3. Aristotle in his first book of Ethics, endevoreth to prove, that before human things there is set forth some certain end, because all human things desire some good thing:

Church of the Living Lord
of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church
Santa Ana, California
Editor´s Note: spellings have been corrected for modern usage, but everything else has been left as in the original work.
Out of the Epistle to the Rom. Chap I, verse 25
Hope is carried to invisible things
The ends that a faithful man putteth.
Natural virtues are testimonies of our calamities.
The end of temperance.
Rom. 7:19.
The end of wisdom.
The end of justice.
The end of fortitude.
Out of the Preface upon the Epistle to the Romans.
Paul's judgement concerning the chiefest good.
The Hebrew's opinion of the chiefest good.