- Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.
- Book VI.: Containing Their Fifth Assertion, Which Is a , That Our Laws Are Corrupt and Repugnant to the Laws of God, In Matter Belonging to the Power of Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, In That We Have Not Throughout All Churches Certain Lay-elders Establish
- Appendix to Book VI. [ Notes By George Cranmer and Edwin Sandys, On B. VI. As Sent to Them In Ms. 1 ]
- Book VII.: Their Sixth Assertion, That There Ought Not to Be In the Church, Bishops Endued With Such Authority and Honour As Ours Are.
- Book VIII. *: a Their Seventh Assertion, That Unto B No Civil Prince Or Governor There May Be Given Such Power of Ecclesiastical Dominion As By the Laws of This Land Belongeth Unto the Supreme Regent Thereof.
- Appendix, No. I. [ Supposed Fragment of a Sermon On Civil Obedience, Hitherto Printed As Part of the Eighth Book. ]
- Appendix, No. II. a Discovery of the Causes of the Continuance of These Contentions Concerning Church Government, Out of the Fragments of Richard Hooker 2 .
- Appendix, No. IV.: The Election of Bishops.
- A Learned and Comfortable Sermon of the Certainty and Perpetuity of Faith In the Elect. Especially of the Prophet Habakkuk’s Faith 1 .
- A Learned Discourse of Justification, Works, and How the Foundation of Faith Is Overthrown 1 .
- A Supplication Made to the Council
- Mr. Hooker’s Answer to the Supplication That Mr. Travers Made to the Council.
- A Learned Sermon of the Nature of Pride 1 .
- A Remedy Against Sorrow and Fear: Delivered In a Funeral Sermon.
- Dedication Prefixed to the First Edition of Two Sermons On Part of St. Jude.
- Sermon I.
- The Second Sermon.
- A Sermon, Found Among the Papers of Bishop Andrews.
- Glossary. Incorporating Mr. Furnivall’s Glossary.
APPENDIX, No. IV.
The following are detached notes in the Dublin MS. which occur,BOOK VIII. Appendix, No. 4. with an interval of one blank page, immediately after the dissertation on the making of laws, p. 419. The words “one man,” at the top, probably refer to some passage intended to be produced for refutation.
“One man. Then could not any of them be under another’s authority so far as thereby to be either licensed or hindered in those things which he doth by the said power, but God alone should himself on earth authorize and disauthorize all that bare rule in the Church. Wherefore, to set down briefly that which we hold for truth. Power ecclesiastical itself is originally God’s ordinance: he hath appointed it to be; and therefore in that respect on him only they all which have it are most rightly said to depend. The derivation of that power into the several persons which have it is the proper deed of the Church, and of those high ministers which are in that case appointed to ordain and consecrate such as from time to time shall exercise and use the same.
“Furthermore, sith when they have that power, it resteth nevertheless unexercised, except some part of the people of God be permitted them to work upon; they must of necessity for the peaceable and quiet practice of their authority upon the persons of men, where all are subject to a Christian king, depend in that respect on him also. By holding therefore this dependency whereof we speak, it is not meant that either the king did first institute, or that he doth confer and give, the grace of ecclesiastical presidency; but only add unto it exercise by the furtherance of his supereminent authority and power, without the predominant concurrency whereof spiritual jurisdiction could take no effect, men’s persons could not in open and orderly sort be subject thereunto. A bishop, whose calling is authorized wholly from God, and received by imposition of sacred hands, can execute safely no act of episcopal authority on any one of the king’s liege people, otherwise than under him who hath sovereignty over them all.”
The election of Bishops.
At the first, the first created in the College of Presbyters was still the Bishop : he dying, the next senior did succeed him. “Sed quia cœperunt sequentes Presbyteri indigni inveniri ad primatus tenendos, immutata est ratio; prospiciente Concilio ut non ordo sed meritum crearet Episcopum, multorum sacerdotum judicio constitutum, ne indignus temere usurparet, et esset multis scandalum.” Ambr. in 4. ad Eph.
“Apud nos Apostolorum locum episcopi tenent. Bishops, the Apostles’ successors. Hieron. Epist. 54.” (al. 41. tom. i. 187. ed. Vallars.) “ad Marcell.” “Absit ut de his quicquam sinistrum loquar, qui Apostolico gradui succedentes Christi Corpus sacro ore conficiunt.” “Speech against the clergy of God irreligious. Hieron. Ep. 1. ad Heliodor.” (al. 14. § 8. t. i. 33.)
“Privileges granted unto the Clergy. A law in general, to make good all such privileges as by way of honour had been granted to the clergy before, the Roman emperor thought himself bound in conscience to ratify.” L. xii. c. De Sacr. Eccl. [Cod. i. tit. ii. lex 12. 454. “Privilegia, quæ generalibus constitutionibus universis sacrosanctis ecclesiis orthodoxæ religionis retro Principes præstiterunt, firma et illibata in perpetuum decernimus custodiri.”] “Again, whereas Church lands did before stand charged with ordinary burdens even of the meanest kind, this the law imperial taketh away as a thing contumelious unto religion, and giveth for the time to come a privilege of immunity from such burdens.” “Prima illius usurpationis contumelia depellenda est, ne prædia usibus cœlestium secretorum dedicata, sordidorum munerum fæce vexentur.” L. v. c. De Sacr. Eccles. [ 412.] “Imprimis concessimus Deo, et hac præsenti charta nostra confirmavimus, pro nobis et hæredibus nostris in perpetuum, quod Ecclesia Anglicana libera sit, et habeat omnia jura sua integra, et libertates suas illæsas.” Magn. Chart. cap. 1.
A LEARNED AND COMFORTABLE SERMON OF THE CERTAINTY AND PERPETUITY OF FAITH IN THE ELECT.
ESPECIALLY OF THE PROPHET HABAKKUK’S FAITH .
Habak. i. 4.
[“Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth.”]
Whether the Prophet Habakkuk , by admitting this cogitation into his mind, “The law doth fail,” did thereby shew himself an unbeliever.
SERM. 1.WE have seen in the opening of this clause which concerneth the weakness of the prophet’s faith, first what things they are whereunto the faith of sound believers doth assent: secondly, wherefore all men assent not thereunto: and thirdly, why they that do, do it many times with small assurance. Now because nothing can be so truly spoken, but through misunderstanding it may be depraved; therefore to prevent, if it be possible, all misconstruction in this cause, where a small error cannot rise but with great danger, it is perhaps needful, ere we come to the fourth point, that something be added to that which hath been already spoken concerning the third.
That mere natural men do neither know nor acknowledge the things of God, we do not marvel, because they are spiritually to be discerned; but they in whose hearts the light of grace doth shine, they that are taught of God, why are they so weak in faith? Why is their assenting to the law so scrupulous, so much mingled with fear and wavering? It seemeth strange that ever they should imagine the law to fail. It cannot seem strange if we weigh the reason. If the things which we believe be considered in themselves, it may truly be said that faith is more certain than any science. That which we know either by sense, or by infallible demonstration, is not so certain as the principles, articles, and conclusions of Christian faith. Concerning which we must note, that there is a Certainty of Evidence and a Certainty of Adherence. Certainty of Evidence we call that, when the mind doth assent unto this or that, not because it is true in itself, but because the truth is clear, because it is manifest to us. Of things in themselves most certain, except they be also most evident, our persuasion is not so assured as it is of things more evident, although in themselves they be less certain. It is as sure, if not surer, that there be spirits, as that there be men; but we be more assured of these than of them, because these are more evident. The truth of some things is so evident, that no man which heareth them can doubt of them: as when we hear that “a part of any thing is less than the whole,” the mind is constrained to say, this is true. If it were so in matters of faith, then, as all men have equal certainty of this, so no believer should be more scrupulous and doubtful than another. But we find the contrary. The angels and spirits of the righteous in heaven have certainty most evident of things spiritual: but this they have by the light of glory. That which we see by the light of grace, though it be indeed more certain; yet is it not to us so evidently certain, as that which sense or the light of nature will not suffer a man to doubt of. Proofs are vain and frivolous except they be more certain than is the thing proved: and do we not see how the Spirit every where in the Scripture proveth matters of faith, laboureth to confirm us in the things which we believe, by things whereof we have sensible knowledge? I conclude therefore that we have less certainty of evidence concerning things believed, than concerning sensible or naturally perceived. Of these who doth doubt at any time? Of them at some time who doubteth not? I will not here allege the sundry confessions of the perfectest that have lived upon earth concerning their great imperfections this way; which if I did, I should dwell too long upon a matter sufficiently known by every faithful man that doth know himself.
The other, which we call the Certainty of Adherence, is when the heart doth cleave and stick unto that which it doth believe. This certainty is greater in us than the other. The reason is this: the faith of a Christian doth apprehend the words of the law, the promises of God, not only as true, but also as good; and therefore even then when the evidence which he hath of the truth is so small that it grieveth him to feel his weakness in assenting thereto, yet is there in him such a sure adherence unto that which he doth but faintly and fearfully believe, that his spirit having once truly tasted the heavenly sweetness thereof, all the world is not able quite and clean to remove him from it; but he striveth with himself to hope against all reason of believing, being settled with Job upon this unmoveable resolution, “Though God kill me, I will not give over trusting in him .” For why? this lesson remaineth for ever imprinted in him, “It is good for me to cleave unto God .”
Now the minds of all men being so darkened as they are with the foggy damp of original corruption, it cannot be that any man’s heart living should be either so enlightened in the knowledge, or so established in the love of that wherein his salvation standeth, as to be perfect, neither doubting nor shrinking at all. If any such were, what doth let why that man should not be justified by his own inherent righteousness? For righteousness inherent, being perfect, will justify. And perfect faith is a part of perfect righteousness inherent; yea a principal part, the root and the mother of all the rest: so that if the fruit of every tree be such as the root is, faith being perfect, as it is if it be not at all mingled with distrust and fear, what is there to exclude other Christian virtues from the like perfections? And then what need we the righteousness of Christ? His garment is superfluous: we may be honourably clothed with our own robes, if it be thus. But let them beware who challenge to themselves a strength which they have not, lest they lose the comfortable support of that weakness which indeed they have.
Some shew, although no soundness of ground, there is, which may be alleged for defence of this supposed perfection in certainty touching matters of our faith; as, first, that Abraham did believe and doubted not: secondly, that the Spirit which God hath given us to no other end, but only to assure us that we are the sons of God, to embolden us to call upon him as our Father, to open our eyes, and to make the truth of things believed evident unto our minds, is much mightier in operation than the common light of nature, whereby we discern sensible things: wherefore we must needs be more sure of that we believe, than of that we see; we must needs be more certain of the mercies of God in Christ Jesus, than we are of the light of the sun when it shineth upon our faces.
To that of Abraham, “He did not doubt ;” I answer, that this negation doth not exclude all fear, all doubting; but only that which cannot stand with true faith. It freeth Abraham from doubting through infidelity, not from doubting through infirmity; from the doubting of Unbelievers, not of weak Believers; from such a doubting as that whereof the prince of Samaria is attainted, who hearing the promise of sudden plenty in the midst of extreme dearth, answered, “Though the Lord would make windows in heaven, were it possible so to come to pass ?” But that Abraham was not void of all doubtings, what need we any other proof than the plain evidence of his own words ?
The reason which is taken from the power of the Spirit were effectual, if God did work like a natural agent, as the fire doth inflame, and the sun enlighten, according to the uttermost ability which they have to bring forth their effects. But the incomprehensible wisdom of God doth limit the effects of his power to such a measure as seemeth best unto himself. Wherefore he worketh that certainty in all, which sufficeth abundantly to their salvation in the life to come; but in none so great as attaineth in this life unto perfection. Even so, O Lord, it hath pleased thee; even so it is best and fittest for us, that feeling still our own infirmities, we may no longer breathe than pray, Adjuva, Domine; “Help, Lord, our incredulity .” Of the third question, this I hope will suffice, being added unto that which hath been thereof already spoken. The fourth question resteth, and so an end of this point.
That which cometh last of all in this first branch to be considered concerning the weakness of the Prophet’s faith, “Whether he did by this very thought, The law doth fail, quench the Spirit, fall from faith, and shew himself an unbeliever or no?” The question is of moment; the repose and tranquillity of infinite souls doth depend upon it. The Prophet’s case is the case of many; which way soever we cast for him, the same way it passeth for all others. If in him this cogitation did extinguish grace, why the like thoughts in us should not take the like effect, there is no cause. Forasmuch therefore as the matter is weighty, dear, and precious, which we have in hand, it behoveth us with so much the greater chariness to wade through it, taking special heed both what we build, and whereon we build: that if our building be pearl, our foundation be not stubble; if the doctrine we teach be full of comfort and consolation, the ground whereupon we gather it be sure; otherwise we shall not save but deceive both ourselves and others. In this we know we are not deceived, neither can we deceive you, when we teach that the faith whereby ye are sanctified cannot fail; it did not in the Prophet, it shall not in you. If it be so, let the difference be shewed between the condition of unbelievers and his, in this or in the like imbecility and weakness. There was in Habakkuk that which St. John doth call “the seed of God ,” meaning thereby the first grace which God poureth into the hearts of them that are incorporated into Christ; which having received, if because it is an adversary unto sin, we do therefore think we sin not, both otherwise, and also by distrustful and doubtful apprehending of that which we ought steadfastly to believe, surely we do but deceive ourselves. Yet they which are of God do not sin either in this, or in any thing, any such sin as doth quite extinguish grace, clean cut them off from Christ Jesus; because the “seed of God” abideth in them, and doth shield them from receiving any irremediable wound. Their faith, when it is at the strongest, is but weak; yet even then when it is at the weakest, so strong, that utterly it never faileth, it never perisheth altogether, no not in them who think it extinguished in themselves. There are for whose sakes I dare not deal slightly in this cause, sparing that labour which must be bestowed to make it plain. Men in like agonies unto this of the Prophet Habakkuk’s are through the extremity of grief many times in judgment so confounded, that they find not themselves in themselves. For that which dwelleth in their hearts they seek, they make diligent search and inquiry. It abideth, it worketh in them, yet still they ask where? Still they lament as for a thing which is past finding: they mourn as Rachel, and refuse to be comforted, as if that were not, which indeed is, and as if that which is not, were; as if they did not believe when they do, and as if they did despair when they do not. Which in some I grant is but a melancholy passion, proceeding only from that dejection of mind, the cause whereof is the body, and by bodily means can be taken away. But where there is no such bodily cause, the mind is not lightly in this mood, but by some of these three occasions. One, that judging by comparison either with other men, or with themselves at some other time more strong, they think imperfection to be a plain deprivation, weakness to be utter want of faith.
Another cause is, they often mistake one thing for another. St. Paul wishing well to the Church of Rome prayeth for them after this sort: “The God of hope fill you with all joy of believing .” Hence an error groweth, when men in heaviness of spirit suppose they lack faith, because they find not the sugared joy and delight which indeed doth accompany faith, but so as a separable accident, as a thing that may be removed from it; yea, there is a cause why it should be removed. The light would never be so acceptable, were it not for that usual intercourse of darkness. Too much honey doth turn to gall; and too much joy even spiritually would make us wantons. Happier a great deal is that man’s case, whose soul by inward desolation is humbled, than he whose heart is through abundance of spiritual delight lifted up and exalted above measure. Better it is sometimes to go down into the pit with him, who, beholding darkness, and bewailing the loss of inward joy and consolation, crieth from the bottom of the lowest hell, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?” than continually to walk arm in arm with angels, to sit as it were in Abraham’s bosom, and to have no thought, no cogitation, but “I thank my God it is not with me as it is with other men .” No, God will have them that shall walk in light to feel now and then what it is to sit in the shadow of death. A grieved spirit therefore is no argument of a faithless mind.
A third occasion of men’s misjudging themselves, as if they were faithless when they are not, is, they fasten their cogitations upon the distrustful suggestions of the flesh, whereof finding great abundance in themselves, they gather thereby, Surely unbelief hath full dominion, it hath taken plenary possession of me; if I were faithful, it could not be thus: not marking the motions of the Spirit and of faith, because they lie buried and overwhelmed with the contrary: when notwithstanding as the blessed Apostle doth acknowledge , that “the spirit groaneth,” and that God heareth when we do not; so there is no doubt, but that our faith may have and hath her privy operations secret to us in whom, yet known to him by whom, they are.
Tell this to a man that hath a mind deceived by too hard an opinion of himself, and it doth but augment his grief: he hath his answer ready, Will you make me think otherwise than I find, than I feel in myself? I have thoroughly considered and exquisitely sifted all the corners of my heart, and I see what there is; never seek to persuade me against my knowledge; “I do not, I know I do not believe.”
Well, to favour them a little in their weakness; let that be granted which they do imagine; be it that they are faithless and without belief. But are they not grieved for their unbelief? They are. Do they not wish it might, and also strive that it may, be otherwise? We know they do. Whence cometh this, but from a secret love and liking which they have of those things that are believed? No man can love things which in his own opinion are not. And if they think those things to be, which they shew that they love when they desire to believe them; then must it needs be, that by desiring to believe they prove themselves true believers. For without faith, no man thinketh that things believed are. Which argument all the subtilty of infernal powers will never be able to dissolve.
The faith therefore of true believers, though it have many and grievous downfalls, yet doth it still continue invincible; it conquereth and recovereth itself in the end. The dangerous conflicts whereunto it is subject are not able to prevail against it. The Prophet Habakkuk remained faithful in weakness, though weak in faith.
It is true, such is our weak and wavering nature, we have no sooner received grace, but we are ready to fall from it: we have no sooner given our assent to the law, that it cannot fail, but the next conceit which we are ready to embrace is, that it may, and that it doth fail. Though we find in ourselves a most willing heart to cleave unseparably unto God, even so far as to think unfeignedly with Peter, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee into prison and to death ;” yet how soon and how easily, upon how small occasions are we changed, if we be but a while let alone and left unto ourselves? The Galatians to-day, for their sakes which teach them the truth in Christ, content, if need were, to pluck out their own eyes , and the next day ready to pluck out theirs which taught them. The love of the Angel of the Church of Ephesus, how greatly inflamed, and how quickly slacked .
The higher we flow, the nearer we are unto an ebb, if men be respected as mere men, according to the wonted course of their alterable inclination, without the heavenly support of the Spirit.
Again, the desire of our ghostly enemy is so uncredible, and his means so forcible to overthrow our faith, that whom the blessed Apostle knew betrothed and made hand-fast unto Christ, to them he could not write but with great trembling: “I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, for I have prepared you to one husband to present you a pure virgin unto Christ: but I fear, lest as the Serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity which is in Christ .” The simplicity of faith which is in Christ taketh the naked promise of God, his bare word, and on that it resteth. This simplicity the serpent laboureth continually to pervert, corrupting the mind with many imaginations of repugnancy and contrariety between the promise of God, and those things which sense or experience or some other fore-conceived persuasion hath imprinted.
The word of the promise of God unto his people is, “I will not leave thee nor forsake thee :” upon this the simplicity of faith resteth, and it is not afraid of famine. But mark how the subtilty of Satan did corrupt the minds of that rebellious generation, whose spirits were not faithful unto God. They beheld the desolate state of the desert in which they were, and by the wisdom of their sense concluded the promise of God to be but folly: “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness ?”
The word of the promise to Sara was, “Thou shalt bear a son.” Faith is simple, and doubteth not of it: but Satan, to corrupt the simplicity of faith, entangleth the mind of the woman with an argument drawn from common experience to the contrary: “A woman that is old! Sara now to be acquainted again with forgotten passions of youth !”
The word of the promise of God by Moses and the prophets made the Saviour of the world so apparent unto Philip, that his simplicity could conceive no other Messias than Jesus of Nazareth the son of Joseph. But to stay Nathanael, lest being invited to come and see, he should also believe, and so be saved, the subtilty of Satan casteth a mist before his eyes, putteth in his head against this the common-conceived persuasion of all men concerning Nazareth: “Is it possible that a good thing should come from thence ?”
This stratagem he doth use with so great dexterity, the minds of all men are so strangely ensorceled with it, that it bereaveth them for the time of all perceivance of that which should relieve them and be their comfort; yea it taketh all remembrance from them, even of things wherewith they are most familiarly acquainted. The people of Israel could not be ignorant, that he which led them through the sea was able to feed them in the desert: but this was obliterated and put out by the sense of their present want. Feeling the hand of God against them in their food, they remembered not his hand in the day that he delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. Sara was not then to learn, that “with God all things were possible .” Had Nathanael never noted how “God doth choose the base things of this world to disgrace them that are most honourably esteemed ?”
The prophet Habakkuk knew that the promises of grace, protection, and favour, which God in the law doth make unto his people, do not grant them any such immunity as can free and exempt them from all chastisements: he knew that as God said, “I will continue my mercy for ever towards them;” so he likewise said, “Their transgressions I will punish with a rod :” he knew that it cannot stand with any reason we should set the measure of our own punishments, and prescribe unto God how great or how long our sufferings shall be: he knew that we were blind, and altogether ignorant what is best for us; that we sue for many things very unwisely against ourselves, thinking we ask fish when indeed we crave a serpent: he knew that when the thing we ask is good, and yet God seemeth slow to grant it, he doth not deny but defer our petitions, to the end we might learn to desire great things greatly: all this he knew. But, beholding the land which God had severed for his own people, and seeing it abandoned unto heathen nations; viewing how reproachfully they did tread it down, and wholly make havock of it at their pleasure; beholding the Lord’s own royal seat made a heap of stones, his temple defiled, the carcasses of his servants cast out for the fowls of the air to devour, and the flesh of his meek ones for the beasts of the field to feed upon; being conscious to himself how long and how earnestly he had cried, “Succour us, O God of our welfare, for the glory of thine own name ;” and feeling that their sore was still increased: the conceit of repugnancy between this which was object to his eyes, and that which faith upon promise of the law did look for, made so deep an impression and so strong, that he disputeth not the matter; but without any further inquiry or search inferreth, as we see, “The law doth fail.”
Of us who is here which cannot very soberly advise his brother? Sir, you must learn to strengthen your faith by that experience which heretofore you have had of God’s great goodness towards you: Per ea quæ agnoscas præstita, discas sperare promissa; “By those things which you have known performed, learn to hope for those things which are promised.” Do you acknowledge to have received much? Let that make you certain to receive more: Habenti dabitur; “To him that hath more shall be given.” When you doubt what you shall have, search what you have had at God’s hands. Make this reckoning, that the benefits, which he hath bestowed, are bills obligatory and sufficient sureties that he will bestow further. His present mercy is still a warrant of his future love, because, “whom he loveth, he loveth unto the end .” Is it not thus?
Yet if we could reckon up as many evident, clear, undoubted signs of God’s reconciled love towards us as there are years, yea days, yea hours, past over our heads; all these set together have not such force to confirm our faith, as the loss, and sometimes the only fear of losing a little transitory goods, credit, honour, or favour of men, a small calamity, a matter of nothing to breed a conceit, and such a conceit as is not easily again removed, that we are clean crost out of God’s book, that he regards us not, that he looketh upon others, but passeth by us like a stranger to whom we are not known. Then we think, looking upon others, and comparing them with ourselves, Their tables are furnished day by day; earth and ashes are our bread: they sing to the lute, and they see their children dance before them; our hearts are heavy in our bodies as lead, our sighs beat as thick as a swift pulse, our tears do wash the beds wherein we lie: the sun shineth fair upon their foreheads; we are hanged up like bottles in the smoke, cast into corners like the sherds of a broken pot: tell not us of the promises of God’s favour, tell such as do reap the fruit of them; they belong not to us, they are made to others. The Lord be merciful to our weakness, but thus it is.
Well, let the frailty of our nature, the subtilty of Satan, the force of our deceivable imaginations be, as we cannot deny but they are, things that threaten every moment the utter subversion of our faith; faith notwithstanding is not hazarded by these things. That which one sometimes told the senators of Rome , Ego sic existimabam, P. C. uti patrem sæpe meum prædicantem audiveram, qui vestram amicitiam diligenter colerent, eos multum laborem suscipere, cæterum ex omnibus maxime tutos esse; “As I have often heard my father acknowledge, so I myself did ever think, that the friends and favourers of this state charged themselves with great labour, but no man’s condition so safe as theirs;” the same we may say a great deal more justly in this case: our Fathers and Prophets, our Lord and Master hath full often spoken, by long experience we have found it true; as many as have entered their names in the mystical Book of Life, Eos maximum laborem suscipere, they have taken upon them a laboursome, a toilsome, a painful profession, sed omnium maxime tutos esse, but no man’s security like to theirs. “ Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to winnow thee as wheat;” here is our toil: “but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not;” this is our safety. No man’s condition so sure as ours: the prayer of Christ is more than sufficient both to strengthen us, be we never so weak; and to overthrow all adversary power, be it never so strong and potent. His prayer must not exclude our labour. Their thoughts are vain who think that their watching can preserve the city which God himself is not willing to keep. And are not theirs as vain, who think that God will keep the city, for which they themselves are not careful to watch? The husbandman may not therefore burn his plough, nor the merchant forsake his trade, because God hath promised “I will not forsake thee.” And do the promises of God concerning our stability, think you, make it a matter indifferent for us to use or not to use the means whereby, to attend or not to attend to reading, to pray or not to pray that we “fall not into temptation?” Surely if we look to stand in the faith of the sons of God, we must hourly, continually, be providing and setting ourselves to strive. It was not the meaning of our Lord and Saviour in saying , “Father, keep them in thy name,” that we should be careless to keep ourselves. To our own safety, our own sedulity is required. And then blessed for ever and ever be that mother’s child whose faith hath made him the child of God. The earth may shake, the pillars of the world may tremble under us, the countenance of the heaven may be appalled , the sun may lose his light, the moon her beauty, the stars their glory; but concerning the man that trusteth in God, if the fire have proclaimed itself unable as much as to singe a hair of his head, if lions, beasts ravenous by nature and keen with hunger, being set to devour, have as it were religiously adored the very flesh of the faithful man; what is there in the world that shall change his heart, overthrow his faith, alter his affection towards God, or the affection of God to him? If I be of this note, who shall make a separation between me and my God? “Shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword ?” No; “I am persuaded that neither tribulation, nor anguish, nor persecution, nor famine, nor nakedness, nor peril, nor sword, nor death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,” shall ever prevail so far over me. “I know in whom I have believed;” I am not ignorant whose precious blood hath been shed for me; I have a Shepherd full of kindness, full of care, and full of power: unto him I commit myself; his own finger hath engraven this sentence in the tables of my heart, “Satan hath desired to winnow thee as wheat, but I have prayed that thy faith fail not.” Therefore the assurance of my hope I will labour to keep as a jewel unto the end; and by labour, through the gracious mediation of his prayer, I shall keep it.
TO THE CHRISTIAN READER .
WHEREAS many, desirous of resolution in some points handled in this learned discourse, were earnest to have it copied out; to ease so many labours, it hath been thought most worthy and very necessary to be printed: that not only they might be satisfied, but the whole Church also hereby edified. The rather, because it will free the author from the suspicion of some errors, which he hath been thought to have favoured. Who might well have answered with Cremutius in Tacitus, “Verba mea arguuntur; adeo factorum innocens sum .” Certainly, the event of that time, wherein he lived, shewed that to be true, which the same author spake of a worse, “Cui deerat inimicus, per amicos oppressus ;” and that there is not “minus periculum ex magna fama, quam ex mala.” But he hath so quit himself, that all may see how, as it was said of Agricola, “Simul suis virtutibus, simul vitiis aliorum, in ipsam gloriam præceps agebatur .” Touching whom I will say no more, but that which my author said of the same man, “Integritatem, &c. in tanto viro referre, injuria virtutum fuerit.” But as of all other his writings, so of this I will add that, which Velleius spake in commendation of Piso, “Nemo fuit, qui magis quæ agenda erant curaret, sine ulla ostentatione agendi .” So not doubting, good Christian reader, of thy assent herein, but wishing thy favourable acceptance of this work, (which will be an inducement to set forth others of his learned labours,) I take my leave; from Corpus Christi College in Oxford, the 6th of July, 1612.
Thine in Christ Jesus,
A LEARNED DISCOURSE OF JUSTIFICATION, WORKS, AND HOW THE FOUNDATION OF FAITH IS OVERTHROWN .
Habak. i. 4.
“The wicked doth compass about the righteous: therefore perverse judgment doth proceed.”
SERM. II. 1.FOR better manifestation of the prophet’s meaning in this place, we are, first, to consider “the wicked,” of whom he saith, that they “compass about the righteous:” secondly, “the righteous” that are compassed about by them: and thirdly, that which is inferred; “therefore perverse judgment proceedeth.” Touching the first, there are two kinds of wicked men, of whom in the fifth of the former to the Corinthians , the blessed Apostle speaketh thus : “Do ye not judge them that are within?SERM. II. 2. but God judgeth them that are without.” There are wicked, therefore, whom the Church may judge, and there are wicked whom God only judgeth; wicked within, and wicked without, the walls of the Church. If within the Church particular persons, being apparently such, cannot otherwise be reformed, the rule of apostolical judgment is this , “Separate them from among you:” if whole assemblies, this, “Separate yourselves from among them: for what society hath light with darkness?” But the wicked, whom the prophet meaneth, were Babylonians, and therefore without. For which cause we have heard at large heretofore in what sort he urgeth God to judge them.
2. Now concerning the righteous, there neither is, nor ever was, any mere natural man absolutely righteous in himself: that is to say, void of all unrighteousness, of all sin. We dare not except, no not the blessed Virgin herself; of whom although we say with St. Augustine , for the honour’s sake which we owe to our Lord and Saviour Christ, we are not willing, in this cause, to move any question of his mother; yet forasmuch as the schools of Rome have made it a question, we must answer with Eusebius Emissenus , who speaketh of her, and to her to this effect: “Thou didst by special prerogative nine months together entertain within the closet of thy flesh the hope of all the ends of the earth, the honour of the world, the common joy of men. He, from whom all things had their beginning,SERM. II. 3. hath had his own beginning from thee; of thy body he took the blood which was to be shed for the life of the world; of thee he took that which even for thee he paid. ‘A peccati enim veteris nexu, per se non est immunis nec ipsa genitrix Redemptoris :’ The mother of the Redeemer herself, otherwise than by redemption, is not loosed from the band of that ancient sin .” If Christ have paid a ransom for all, even for her, it followeth, that all without exception were captives. If one have died for all, all were dead, dead in sin ; all sinful, therefore none absolutely righteous in themselves; but we are absolutely righteous in Christ. The world then must shew a Christian man, otherwise it is not able to shew a man that is perfectly righteous: “Christ is made unto us wisdom, justice, sanctification, and redemption :” wisdom, because he hath revealed his Father’s will; justice, because he hath offered himself a sacrifice for sin; sanctification, because he hath given us of his Spirit; redemption, because he hath appointed a day to vindicate his children out of the bands of corruption into liberty which is glorious . How Christ is made wisdom, and how redemption, it may be declared when occasion serveth; but how Christ is made the righteousness of men, we are now to declare.
3. There is a glorifying righteousness of men in the world to come: and there is a justifying and a sanctifying righteousness here. The righteousness, wherewith we shall be clothed in the world to come, is both perfect and inherent. That whereby here we are justified is perfect, but not inherent. That whereby we are sanctified, inherent , but not perfect. This openeth a way to the plain understanding of that grand question,SERM. II. 4, 5. which hangeth yet in controversy between us and the Church of Rome, about the matter of justifying righteousness.
4. First, although they imagine that the mother of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ were, for his honour, and by his special protection, preserved clean from all sin, yet touching the rest, they teach as we do, that all have sinned ; that infants which did never actually offend, have their natures defiled, destitute of justice, and averted from God. They teach as we do, that God doth justify the soul of man alone, without any other coefficient cause of justice ; that in making man righteous, none do work efficiently with God, but God . They teach as we do, that unto justice no man ever attained, but by the merits of Jesus Christ. They teach as we do, that although Christ as God be the efficient, as man the meritorious cause of our justice; yet in us also there is something required. God is the cause of our natural life; in him we live: but he quickeneth not the body without the soul in the body. Christ hath merited to make us just: but as a medicine which is made for health, doth not heal by being made, but by being applied; so, by the merits of Christ there can be no justification, without the application of his merits. Thus far we join hands with the Church of Rome.
The difference betwixt the Papists and us about Justification.5. Wherein then do we disagree? We disagree about the nature of the very essence of the medicine whereby Christ cureth our disease; about the manner of applying it; about the number and the power of means, which God requireth in us for the effectual applying thereof to our soul’s comfort. When they are required to shew, what the righteousness is whereby a Christian man is justified, they answer , that it is a divine spiritual quality;SERM. II. 5. which quality received into the soul, doth first make it to be one of them who are born of God: and, secondly, endue it with power to bring forth such works, as they do that are born of him; even as the soul of man being joined unto his body, doth first make him to be in the number of reasonable creatures, and secondly enable him to perform the natural functions which are proper to his kind; that it maketh the soul gracious and amiable in the sight of God, in regard whereof it is termed Grace; that it purgeth, purifieth, washeth out , all the stains and pollutions of sin ; that by it, through the merit of Christ we are delivered as from sin, so from eternal death and condemnation, the reward of sin. This grace they will have to be applied by infusion; to the end, that as the body is warm by the heat which is in the body, so the soul might be righteous by the inherent grace: which grace they make capable of increase; as the body may be more and more warm, so the soul more and more justified , according as grace shall be augmented; the augmentation whereof is merited by good works , as good works are made meritorious by it . Wherefore, the first receipt of grace is in their divinity the first justification; the increase thereof, the second justification . As grace may be increased by the merit of good works; so it may be diminished by the demerit of sins venial ; it may be lost by mortal sin . Inasmuch, therefore, as it is needful in the one case to repair, in the other to recover, the loss which is made; the infusion of grace hath her sundry after-meals; for which cause they make many ways to apply the infusion of grace. It is applied to infants through baptism, without either faith or works, and in them really it taketh away original sin, and the punishment due unto it; it is applied to infidels and wicked men in their first justification through baptism, without works , yet not without faith; and it taketh away both sins actual and original, together with all whatsoever punishments, eternal or temporal, thereby deserved . Unto such as have attained the first justification, that is to say, the first receipt of grace, it is applied farther by good works to the increase of former grace, which is the second justification. If they work more and more, grace doth more and more increase, and they are more and more justified. To such as have diminished it by venial sins, it is applied by holy water, Ave Maries, crossings, papal salutations , and such like, which serve for reparations of grace decayed. To such as have lost it through mortal sin, it is applied by the sacrament (as they term it) of penance; which sacrament hath force to confer grace anew , yet in such sort, that being so conferred, it hath not altogether so much power as at the first. For it only cleanseth out the stain or guilt of sin committed, and changeth the punishment eternal into a temporal satisfactory punishment, here, if time do serve, if not, hereafter to be endured, except it be either lightened by masses, works of charity, pilgrimages, fasts, and such like; or else shortened by pardon for term, or by plenary pardon quite removed and taken away . This is the mystery of the Man of sin. This maze the Church of Rome doth cause her followers to tread, when they ask her the way of justification . I cannot stand now to unrip this building,SERM. II. 6. and to sift it piece by piece; only I will set a frame of apostolical erection by it in few words , that it may befall Babylon, in presence of that which God hath builded, as it happened unto Dagon before the ark.
6. “Doubtless,” saith the Apostle , “I have counted all things loss , and I do judge them to be dung, that I may win Christ; and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God through faith.” Whether they speak of the first or second justification, they make the essence of it a divine quality inherent, they make it righteousness which is in us. If it be in us, then it is ours, as our souls are ours, though we have them from God, and can hold them no longer than pleaseth him; for if he withdraw the breath of our nostrils, we fall to dust: but the righteousness wherein we must be found, if we will be justified, is not our own; therefore we cannot be justified by any inherent quality. Christ hath merited righteousness for as many as are found in him. In him God findeth us, if we be faithful; for by faith we are incorporated into him . Then, although in ourselves we be altogether sinful and unrighteous, yet even the man which in himself is impious , full of iniquity, full of sin; him being found in Christ through faith, and having his sin in hatred through repentance; him God beholdeth with a gracious eye; putteth away his sin by not imputing it ; taketh quite away the punishment due thereunto, by pardoning it; and accepteth him in Jesus Christ, as perfectly righteous, as if he had fulfilled all that is commanded him in the law: shall I say more perfectly righteous than if himself had fulfilled the whole law? I must take heed what I say: but the Apostle saith , “God made him which knew no sin, to be sin for us ; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Such we are in the sight of God the Father, as is the very Son of God himself. Let it be counted folly, or phrensy, or fury, or whatsoever.SERM II. 7. It is our wisdom, and our comfort ; we care for no knowledge in the world but this, That man hath sinned, and God hath suffered; that God hath made himself the sin of men , and that men are made the righteousness of God.
You see therefore that the church of Rome, in teaching justification by inherent grace, doth pervert the truth of Christ; and that by the hands of his Apostles we have received otherwise than she teacheth. Now concerning the righteousness of sanctification, we deny it not to be inherent; we grant, that unless we work, we have it not; only we distinguish it as a thing in nature different from the righteousness of justification: we are righteous the one way, by the faith of Abraham; the other way, except we do the works of Abraham, we are not righteous. Of the one, St. Paul , “To him that worketh not, but believeth, faith is counted for righteousness.” Of the other, St. John , “Qui facit justitiam, justus est:—He is righteous which worketh righteousness.” Of the one, St. Paul doth prove by Abraham’s example, that we have it of faith without works. Of the other, St. James by Abraham’s example, that by works we have it, and not only by faith. St. Paul doth plainly sever these two parts of Christian righteousness one from the other. For in the sixth to the Romans thus he writeth , “Being freed from sin, and made servants to God, ye have your fruit in holiness, and the end everlasting life.” “Ye are made free from sin, and made servants unto God;” this is the righteousness of justification: “Ye have your fruit in holiness;” this is the righteousness of sanctification. By the one we are interessed in the right of inheriting; by the other we are brought to the actual possessing of eternal bliss, and so the end of both is everlasting life.
7. The Prophet Habakkuk doth here term the Jews “righteous men,” not only because being justified by faith they were free from sin; but also for that they had their measure of fruit in holiness. According to whose example of charitable judgment, which leaveth it to God to discern what men are, and speaketh of them according to that which they do profess themselves to be, although they be not holy whom men do think, but whom God doth know indeed to be such; yet let every Christian man know, that in Christian equity, he standeth bound so to think and speak of his brethren, as of men that have a measure in the fruit of holiness, and a right unto the titles wherewith God, in token of special favour and mercy, vouchsafeth to honour his chosen servants. So we see the Apostles of our Saviour Christ do use every where the name of saints; so the prophet the name of righteous. But let us all endeavour to be such as we desire to be termed: Reatus impii est pium nomen, saith Salvianus ; “Godly names do not justify godless men.” We are but upbraided, when we are honoured with names and titles whereunto our lives and manners are not suitable. If we have indeed our fruit in holiness, notwithstanding we must note, that the more we abound therein , the more need we have to crave that we may be strengthened and supported. Our very virtues may be snares unto us. The enemy that waiteth for all occasions to work our ruin, hath ever found it harder to overthrow an humble sinner, than a proud saint. There is no man’s case so dangerous as his, whom Satan hath persuaded that his own righteousness shall present him pure and blameless in the sight of God. If we could say, “we are not guilty of any thing at all in our own consciences,” (we know ourselves far from this innocency; we cannot say, we know nothing by ourselves; but if we could,) should we therefore plead not guilty in the presence of our Judge, that sees further into our hearts than we ourselves are able to see ? If our hands did never offer violence to our brethren, a bloody thought doth prove us murderers before him: if we had never opened our mouths to utter any scandalous, offensive, or hurtful word, the cry of our secret cogitations is heard in the ears of God. If we did not commit the evils which we do daily and hourly, either in deeds, words, or thoughts , yet in the good things which we do, how many defects are there intermingled! God, in that which is done, respecteth specially the mind and intention of the doer. Cut off then all those things wherein we have regarded our own glory, those things which we do to please men, or to satisfy our own liking, those things which we do with any by-respect , not sincerely, and purely for the love of God; and a small score will serve for the number of our righteous deeds. Let the holiest and best thing we do be considered. We are never better affected unto God than when we pray; yet when we pray, how are our affections many times distracted! How little reverence do we shew to the grand majesty of that God, unto whom we speak! How little remorse of our own miseries! How little taste of the sweet influence of his tender mercy do we feel! Are we not as unwilling many times to begin, and as glad to make an end, as if God in saying, “Call upon me,” had set us a very burdensome task?
It may seem somewhat extreme, which I will speak; therefore let every man judge of it, even as his own heart shall tell him, and no otherwise; I will but only make a demand: If God should yield to us, not as unto Abraham, if fifty, forty, thirty, twenty, yea, or if ten good persons could be found in a city, for their sakes that city should not be destroyed; but, if God should make us an offer thus large, Search all the generations of men sithence the fall of your father Adam, find one man, that hath done any one action, which hath past from him pure, without any stain or blemish at all; and for that one man’s one only action, neither man nor angel shall feel the torments which are prepared for both: do you think that this ransom, to deliver men and angels, would be found among the sons of men? The best things we do have somewhat in them to be pardoned. How then can we do any thing meritorious, and worthy to be rewarded? Indeed, God doth liberally promise whatsoever appertaineth to a blessed life, unto as many as sincerely keep his law, though they be not able exactly to keep it.SERM. II. 8, 9. Wherefore, we acknowledge a dutiful necessity of doing well; but the meritorious dignity of well doing we utterly renounce. We see how far we are from the perfect righteousness of the law; the little fruit which we have in holiness, it is, God knoweth , corrupt and unsound: we put no confidence at all in it, we challenge nothing in the world for it, we dare not call God to a reckoning , as if we had him in our debt-books: our continual suit to him is, and must be, to bear with our infirmities, to pardon our offences.
8. But the people of whom the Prophet speaketh, were they all, or were the most part of them, such as had care to walk uprightly? did they thirst after righteousness? did they wish, did they long with the righteous Prophet , “O that our ways were made so direct that we might keep thy statutes?” did they lament with the righteous Apostle , “Miserable men, the good which we wish and purpose, and strive to do, we cannot?” No; the words of other prophets concerning this people do shew the contrary. How grievously doth Esay mourn over them ! “Ah sinful nation, people laden with iniquity, wicked seed, corrupt children!” All which notwithstanding, so wide are the bowels of his compassion enlarged, that he denieth us not, no not when we are laden with iniquity, leave to commune familiarly with him, liberty to crave and entreat, that what plagues soever we have deserved, we may not be in worse case than unbelievers, that we may not be hemmed in by pagans and infidels. Jerusalem is a sinful polluted city; but Jerusalem compared with Babylon is righteous. And shall the righteous be overborne, shall they be compassed about by the wicked? But the prophet doth not only complain; Lord, how cometh it to pass that thou handlest us so hardly, over whom thy name is called, and bearest with the heathen nations, that despise thee? no, he breaketh out through extremity of grief, and inferreth thus violently, This proceeding is perverse; the righteous are thus handled, “therefore perverse judgment doth proceed.”
9. Which illation containeth many things, whereof it were better much both for you to hear, and me to speak,SERM. II. 9. if necessity did not draw me to another task . Paul and Barnabas being requested to preach the same things again which once they had preached, thought it their duties to satisfy the godly desires of men sincerely affected towards the truth. Nor may it seem burdenous to me, or for you unprofitable, that I follow their example, the like occasion unto theirs being offered me. When we had last the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews in our hands , and of that epistle these words , “In these last days he hath spoken unto us by his Son;” after we had thence collected the nature of the visible Church of Christ, and had defined it to be a community of men sanctified through the profession of that truth which God hath taught the world by his Son; and had declared, that the scope of Christian doctrine is the comfort of them whose hearts are overcharged with the burden of sin; and had proved that the doctrine professed in the church of Rome doth bereave men of comfort, both in their lives, and at their deaths: the conclusion in the end, whereunto we came , was this; “The church of Rome, being in faith so corrupted, as she is, and refusing to be reformed, as she doth, we are to sever ourselves from her: the example of our fathers may not retain us in communion and fellowship with that church, under hope that we so continuing, might be saved as well as they. God, I doubt not, was merciful to save thousands of them, though they lived in popish superstitions, inasmuch as they sinned ignorantly: but the truth is now laid open before our eyes.” The former part of this last sentence, namely, these words, “I doubt not but God was merciful to save thousands of our fathers living in popish superstitions, inasmuch as they sinned ignorantly:” this sentence I beseech you to mark, and to sift it with the strict severity of austere judgment, that if it be found as gold , it may stand, suitable to the precious foundation whereupon it was then laid;SERM. II. 10. for I protest, that if it prove to be hay or stubble, my own hand shall set fire to it . Two questions have risen by occasion of the speech before alleged: the one, “Whether our fathers, infected with popish errors and superstitions, might be saved:” the other, “Whether their ignorance be a reasonable inducement to make us think that they might.” We are therefore to examine, first, what possibility, and then, what probability there is, that God might be merciful unto so many of our fathers.
10. So many of our fathers living in popish superstitions, yet by the mercy of God to be saved? No; this could not be: God hath spoken by his angel from heaven unto his people concerning Babylon (by Babylon we understand the church of Rome) : “Go out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues .” For answer whereunto, first, I do not take the words to be meant only of temporal plagues, of the corporal death, sorrow, famine, and fire, whereunto God in his wrath had condemned Babylon; and that to save his chosen people from these plagues, he saith, “Go out;” with like intent, as in the Gospel, speaking of Hierusalem’s desolations, he saith , “Let them that are in Judea flee unto the mountains, and them which are in the midst thereof depart out;” or, as in former times unto Lot , “Arise, take thy wife and thy daughters which are here, lest thou be destroyed in the punishment of the city:” but forasmuch as here it is said, “Go out of Babylon, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and by consequence of her plagues;” plagues eternal being due to the sins of Babylon ; no doubt , their everlasting destruction, which are partakers herein, is either principally meant, or necessarily implied in this sentence. How then was it possible for so many of our fathers to be saved, sith they were so far from departing out of Babylon, that they took her for their mother, and in her bosom yielded up the ghost?
SERM. II. 11.11. First, the plagues being threatened unto them that are partakers in the sins of Babylon, we can define nothing concerning our fathers out of this sentence; unless we shew what the sins of Babylon be, and who they be that are such partakers in them, that their everlasting plagues are inevitable. The sins which may be common both to them of the church of Rome, and to others departed thence, must be severed from this question. He which saith, “Depart out of Babylon, lest you be partakers of her sins,” sheweth plainly, that he meaneth such sins, as except we separate ourselves, we have no power in the world to avoid ; such impieties, as by law they have established, and whereunto all that are among them, either do indeed assent, or else are by powerable means forced in show and in appearance to subject themselves. As for example, in the church of Rome, it is maintained, that the same credit and reverence which we give to the Scriptures of God, ought also to be given to unwritten verities; that the pope is supreme head ministerial over the universal Church militant; that the bread in the Eucharist is transubstantiated into Christ; that it is to be adored , and to be offered up unto God as a sacrifice propitiatory for quick and dead;SERM. II. 12. that images are to be worshipped, saints to be called upon as intercessors , and such like. Now, because some heresies do concern things only believed, as transubstantiating of sacramental elements in the Eucharist; some concern things which are practised also and put in ure, as adoration of the elements transubstantiated: we must note that erroneously the practice of that is sometime received, whereof the doctrine which teacheth it is not heretically maintained. They are all partakers in the maintenance of heresies, who by word or deed allow them, knowing them, although not knowing them to be heresies; as also they, and that most dangerously of all others, who knowing heresy to be heresy, do notwithstanding, in worldly respects, make semblance of allowing that, which in heart and in judgment they condemn: but heresy is heretically maintained, by such as obstinately hold it after wholesome admonition. Of the last sort, as also of the next before, I make no doubt, but that their condemnation, without actual repentance, is inevitable. Lest any man therefore should think, that in speaking of our fathers, I speak indifferently of them all; let my words, I beseech you, be well noted , “I doubt not but God was merciful to save thousands of our fathers;” which thing I will now by God’s assistance set more plainly before your eyes.
12. Many are partakers of the error, which are not of the heresy of the church of Rome. The people following the conduct of their guides, and observing as they did,SERM. II. 13. exactly that which was prescribed them , thought they did God good service, when indeed they did dishonour him. This was their error: but the heresies of the Church of Rome, their dogmatical positions opposite unto Christian truth, what one man amongst ten thousand did ever understand? Of them, which understand Roman heresies, and allow them, all are not alike partakers in the action of allowing. Some allow them as the first founders and establishers of them ; which crime toucheth none but their Popes and Councils: the people are clear and free from this. Of them which maintain popish heresy not as authors, but receivers of it from others, all maintain it not as Masters. In this are not the people partakers neither, but only their Predicants and their Schoolmen. Of them which have been partakers in the sin of teaching popish heresy, there is also a difference; for they have not all been teachers of all popish heresies. “Put a difference,” saith St. Jude ; “have compassion upon some.” Shall we lap up all in one condition? shall we cast them all headlong, shall we plunge them all in that infernal and ever-flaming lake? them that have been partakers in the error of Babylon, together with them within the heresy? them which have been the authors of heresy, with them that by terror and violence have been forced to receive it? them which have taught it, with them whose simplicity hath by sleights and conveyances of false teachers been seduced to believe it? them which have been partakers in one, with them which have been partakers in many? them which in many, with them which in all?
13. Notwithstanding I grant, that although the condemnation of one be more tolerable than of another ; yet from the man that laboureth at the plough, to him that sitteth in the Vatican; to all partakers in the sins of Babylon, our fathers , though they did but erroneously practise that which their guides did heretically teach ; to all without exception, plagues worldly were due. The pit is ordinarily the end, as well of the guided as the guide in blindness.SERM. II. 14. But woe worth the hour wherein we were born, except we might persuade ourselves better things; things that accompany men’s salvation, even where we know that worse and such as accompany condemnation are due. Then must we shew some way how possibly they might escape. What way is there for sinners to escape the judgment of God, but only by appealing to the seat of his saving mercy? Which mercy we do not with Origen extend to devils and damned spirits. God hath mercy upon thousands, but there be thousands also which he hardened . Christ hath therefore set the bounds, he hath fixed the limits of his saving mercy, within the compass of these two terms. In the third of St. John’s Gospel, mercy is restrained to believers : “God sent not his Son to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” “ He that believeth shall not be condemned: he that believeth not, is condemned already, because he believed not in the Son of God.” In the second of the Revelation, mercy is restrained to the penitent. For of Jezebel and her sectaries thus he speaketh : “I gave her space to repent, and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit fornication with her, into a great affliction, except they repent them of their works; and I will kill her children with death.” Our hope therefore of the fathers is vain, if they were altogether faithless and impenitent .
14. They be not all faithless that are either weak in assenting to the truth, or stiff in maintaining things any way opposite to the truth of Christian doctrine. But as many as hold the foundation which is precious, though they hold it but weakly, and as it were by a slender thread, although they frame many base and unsuitable things upon it, things that cannot abide the trial of the fire; yet shall they pass the fiery trial and be saved, which indeed have builded themselves upon the rock, which is the foundation of the Church. If then our fathers did not hold the foundation of faith,SERM. II. 15, 16. there is no doubt but they were faithless. If many of them held it, then is there herein no impediment, but that many of them might be saved. Then let us see what the foundation of faith is, and whether we may think that thousands of our fathers living in popish superstitions, did notwithstanding hold the foundation.
15. If the foundation of faith do import the general ground whereupon we rest when we do believe, the writings of the Evangelists and the Apostles are the foundation of the Christian faith: “Credimus quia legimus,” saith St. Jerome . O that the church of Rome did as soundly interpret those fundamental writings whereupon we build our faith, as she doth willingly hold and embrace them!
16. But if the name Foundation do note the principal thing which is believed, then is that the foundation of our faith which St. Paul hath unto Timothy: “God manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit,” &c. : that of Nathaniel, “Thou art the Son of the living God: thou art the king of Israel :” that of the inhabitants of Samaria, “This is Christ the Saviour of the world:” he that directly denieth this, doth utterly raze the very foundation of our faith. I have proved heretofore, that although the church of Rome hath played the harlot worse than ever did Israel, yet are they not, as now the synagogue of the Jews, which plainly denieth Christ Jesus, quite and clean excluded from the new covenant. But as Samaria compared with Hierusalem is termed Aholath, a church or tabernacle of her own; contrariwise, Jerusalem Aholibath, the resting place of the Lord: so, whatsoever we term the church of Rome, when we compare her to reformed churches, still we put a difference, as then between Babylon and Samaria, as now between Rome and heathenish assemblies.SERM. II. 17. Which opinion I must and will recall; I must grant, and will, that the church of Rome, together with all her children, is clean excluded; there is no difference in the world between our fathers and Saracens, Turks, or Painims, if they did directly deny Christ crucified for the salvation of the world.
17. But how many millions of them are known so to have ended their mortal lives, that the drawing of their breath hath ceased with the uttering of this faith, “Christ my Saviour, my Redeemer Jesus!” And shall we say that such did not hold the foundation of Christian faith ?
Answer is made, that this they might unfeignedly confess, and yet be far enough from salvation. For behold, saith the Apostle, “I, Paul, say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing .” Christ, in the work of man’s salvation, is alone: the Galatians were cast away by joining circumcision and other rites of the law with Christ: the church of Rome doth teach her children to join other things likewise with him; therefore their faith, their belief, doth not profit them any thing at all.
It is true, they do indeed join other things with Christ; but how? Not in the work of redemption itself, which they grant that Christ alone hath performed sufficiently for the salvation of the whole world; but in the application of this inestimable treasure, that it may be effectual to their salvation: how demurely soever they confess that they seek remission of sins no otherwise than by the blood of Christ, using humbly the means appointed by him to apply the benefit of his holy blood; they teach, indeed, so many things pernicious to Christian faith, in setting down the means whereof they speak, that the very foundation of faith which they hold, is thereby plainly overthrown , and the force of the blood of Jesus Christ extinguished.SERM. II. 18. We may therefore dispute with them, press them, urge them even with as dangerous sequels as the Apostle doth the Galatians. But I demand, if some of those Galatians, heartily embracing the Gospel of Christ, sincere and sound in faith, this only error excepted, had ended their lives before they were ever taught how perilous an opinion they held; shall we think that the damage of this error did so overweigh the benefit of their faith, that the mercy of God, his mercy , might not save them? I grant they overthrew the very foundation of faith by consequent: doth not that so likewise which the Lutheran churches do at this day so stiffly and so fiercely maintain? For mine own part, I dare not hereupon deny the possibility of their salvation, which have been the chiefest instruments of ours, albeit they carried to their grave a persuasion so greatly repugnant to the truth. Forasmuch therefore, as it may be said of the church of Rome, she hath yet “a little strength ,” she doth not directly deny the foundation of Christianity: I may, I trust without offence, persuade myself, that thousands of our fathers in former times, living and dying within her walls, have found mercy at the hands of God.
18. What although they repented not of their errors? God forbid that I should open my mouth to gainsay that which Christ himself hath spoken: “Except ye repent, ye shall all perish .” And if they did not repent, they perished. But withal note, that we have the benefit of a double repentance: the least sin which we commit in deed, word, or thought , is death, without repentance.SERM. II. 10. Yet how many things do escape us in every of these, which we do not know, how many, which we do not observe to be sins! and without the knowledge, without the observation of sin, there is no actual repentance. It cannot then be chosen, but that for as many as hold the foundation, and have all known sin and error in hatred, the blessing of repentance for unknown sins and errors is obtained at the hands of God, through the gracious mediation of Christ Jesus, for such suitors as cry with the prophet David, “Purge me, O Lord, from my secret sins .”
19. But we wash a wall of loam; we labour in vain; all this is nothing; it doth not prove, it cannot justify, that which we go about to maintain. Infidels and heathen men are not so godless, but that they may, no doubt, cry God mercy, and desire in general to have their sins forgiven them. To such as deny the foundation of faith, there can be no salvation, according to the ordinary course which God doth use in saving men, without a particular repentance of that error. The Galatians, thinking that except they were circumcised, they could not be saved, overthrew the foundations of faith directly: therefore if any of them did die so persuaded, whether before or after they were told of their error , their case is dreadful; there is no way with them but one, death and condemnation. For the Apostle speaketh nothing of men departed, but saith generally of all, “If ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. Ye are abolished from Christ, whosoever are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace .” Of them in the church of Rome the reason is the same. For whom Antichrist hath seduced, concerning them did not St. Paul speak long before, “That because they received not the love of the truth , that they might be saved; therefore God would send them strong delusions to believe lies, that all they might be damned which believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness ?” And St. John, “All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of Life ?”SERM. II. 20. Indeed many of them in former times, as their books and writings do yet shew, held the foundation, to wit, salvation by Christ alone, and therefore might be saved. For God hath always had a Church amongst them, which firmly kept his saving truth. As for such as hold with the church of Rome, that we cannot be saved by Christ alone without works; they do not only by a circle of consequence, but directly, deny the foundation of faith ; they hold it not, no not so much as by a slender thread.
20. This, to my remembrance, being all that hath been as yet opposed with any countenance or shew of reason, I hope, if this be answered, the cause in question is at an end. Concerning general repentance, therefore: what? a murderer, a blasphemer, an unclean person, a Turk, a Jew, any sinner to escape the wrath of God by a general “God forgive me?” Truly, it never came within my heart, that a general repentance doth serve for all sins or for all sinners : it serveth only for the common oversights of our sinful life, and for faults which either we do not mark, or do not know that they are faults. Our fathers were actually penitent for sins, wherein they knew they displeased God: or else they come not within the compass of my first speech. Again, that otherwise they could not be saved, than holding the foundation of Christian faith, we have not only affirmed, but proved. Why is it not then confessed, that thousands of our fathers, although they lived in popish superstitions, might yet, by the mercy of God, be saved? First, if they had directly denied the very foundation of Christianity, without repenting them particularly of that sin, he which saith, there could be no salvation for them, according to the ordinary course which God doth use in saving men, granteth plainly, or at the leastwise closely insinuateth, that an extraordinary privilege of mercy might deliver their souls from hell; which is more than I required. Secondly, if the foundation be denied, it is denied by force of some heresy which the church of Rome maintaineth. But how many were there amongst our fathers, who being seduced by the common error of that church, never knew the meaning of her heresies! So that if all popish heretics did perish, thousands of them which lived in popish superstitions might be saved. Thirdly, seeing all that held popish heresies did not hold all the heresies of the pope: why might not thousands which were infected with other leaven, live and die unsoured by this, and so be saved? Fourthly, if they all had held this heresy, many there were that held it no doubt only in a general form of words, which a favourable interpreter might expound in a sense differing far enough from the poisoned conceit of heresy. As for example; did they hold that we cannot be saved by Christ without works ? We ourselves do, I think, all say as much, with this construction, salvation being taken as in that sentence, “Corde creditur ad justitiam, ore fit confessio ad salutem;” except infants, and men cut off upon the point of their conversion, of the rest none shall see God, but such as seek peace and holiness, though not as a cause of their salvation, yet as a way through which they must walk that will be saved. Did they hold, that without works we are not justified? Take justification so that it may also imply sanctification, and St. James doth say as much. For except there be an ambiguity in some term, St. Paul and St. James do contradict each other ; which cannot be. Now, there is no ambiguity in the name either of faith or of works, both being meant by them both in one and the same sense.SERM. II. 21. Finding therefore that justification is spoken of by St. Paul without implying sanctification, when he proveth that a man is justified by faith without works; finding likewise that justification doth sometimes imply sanctification also with it; I suppose nothing more sound , than so to interpret St. James as speaking not in that sense, but in this.
21. We have already shewed, that there are two kinds of Christian righteousness: the one without us, which we have by imputation; the other in us, which consisteth of faith, hope, charity , and other Christian virtues; and St. James doth prove that Abraham had not only the one, because the thing he believed was imputed unto him for righteousness; but also the other, because he offered up his son. God giveth us both the one justice and the other: the one by accepting us for righteous in Christ; the other by working Christian righteousness in us. The proper and most immediate efficient cause in us of this latter, is, the spirit of adoption which we have received into our hearts. That whereof it consisteth, whereof it is really and formally made, are those infused virtues proper and particular unto saints; which the Spirit, in that very moment when first it is given of God, bringeth with it: the effects thereof are such actions as the Apostle doth call the fruits, the works , the operations of the Spirit; the difference of which operations from the root whereof they spring, maketh it needful to put two kinds likewise of sanctifying righteousness, Habitual and Actual. Habitual, that holiness, wherewith our souls are inwardly endued, the same instant when first we begin to be the temples of the Holy Ghost; Actual, that holiness which afterward beautifieth all the parts and actions of our life, the holiness for which Enoch, Job, Zachary, Elizabeth, and other saints, are in Scriptures so highly commended. If here it be demanded, which of these we do first receive; I answer, that the Spirit, the virtues of the Spirit, the habitual justice, which is ingrafted, the external justice of Christ Jesus which is imputed, these we receive all at one and the same time; whensoever we have any of these, we have all; they go together. Yet sith no man is justified except he believe, and no man believeth except he have faith, and no man hath faith, unless he have received the Spirit of Adoption , forasmuch as these do necessarily infer justification, but justification doth of necessity presuppose them; we must needs hold that imputed righteousness, in dignity being the chiefest, is notwithstanding in order the last of all these, but actual righteousness, which is the righteousness of good works, succeedeth all, followeth after all, both in order and in time. Which thing being attentively marked, sheweth plainly how the faith of true believers cannot be divorced from hope and love; how faith is a part of sanctification, and yet unto justification necessary; how faith is perfected by good works, and yet no works of ours good without faith : finally, how our fathers might hold, We are justified by faith alone, and yet hold truly that without good works we are not justified. Did they think that men do merit rewards in heaven by the works they perform on earth? The ancient Fathers use meriting for obtaining, and in that sense they of Wittenberg have in their Confession: “We teach that good works commanded of God are necessarily to be done, and that by the free kindness of God they merit their certain rewards .” Others therefore, speaking as our fathers did, and we taking their speech in a sound meaning, as we may take our fathers’, and ought , forasmuch as their meaning is doubtful, and charity doth always interpret doubtful things favourably; what should induce us to think that rather the damage of the worse construction did light upon them all, than that the blessing of the better was granted unto thousands?SERM. II. 22.
Fifthly, if in the worst construction that can be made, they had generally all embraced it living, might not many of them dying utterly renounce it? Howsoever men, when they sit at ease, do vainly tickle their own hearts with the wanton conceit of I know not what proportionable correspondence between their merits and their rewards, which, in the trance of their high speculations, they dream that God hath measured, weighed, and laid up, as it were, in bundles for them; notwithstanding we see by daily experience, in a number even of them, that when the hour of death approacheth, when they secretly hear themselves summoned forthwith to appear, and stand at the bar of that Judge, whose brightness causeth the eyes of angels themselves to dazzle, all those idle imaginations do then begin to hide their faces; to name merits then, is to lay their souls upon the rack, the memory of their own deeds is loathsome unto them, they forsake all things wherein they have put any trust and confidence; no staff to lean upon, no ease, no rest, no comfort then, but only in Christ Jesus .
22. Wherefore if this proposition were true, “To hold in such wise, as the church of Rome doth, that we cannot be saved by Christ alone without works, is directly to deny the foundation of faith;” I say, that if this proposition were true, nevertheless so many ways I have shewed, whereby we may hope that thousands of our fathers living in popish superstitions might be saved . But what if it be not true?SERM. II. 23. What if neither that of the Galatians concerning circumcision, nor this of the church of Rome about works, be any direct denial of the foundation, as it is affirmed that both are? I need not wade so far as to discuss this controversy, the matter which first was brought into question being so cleared , as I hope it is. Howbeit, because I desire that the truth even in this also may receive light, I will do mine endeavour to set down somewhat more plainly: first, the foundation of faith, what it is: secondly, what it is directly to deny the foundation: thirdly, whether they whom God hath chosen to be heirs of life, may fall so far as directly to deny it: fourthly, whether the Galatians did so by admitting the error about circumcision and the law: last of all, whether the church of Rome, for this one opinion of works, may be thought to do the like, and thereupon to be no more a Christian church, than are the assemblies of Turks or Jews.
What the foundation of faith is.23. This word foundation being figuratively used, hath always reference to somewhat which resembleth a material building, as both the doctrine of the Christianity [of Christianity] and the community of Christians do. By the Masters of civil policy nothing is so much inculcated, as that commonwealths are founded upon laws; for that a multitude cannot be compacted into one body otherwise than by a common acceptation of laws, whereby they are to be kept in order . The ground of all civil laws is this; “No man ought to be hurt or injured by another:” take away this persuasion, and you take away all laws ; take away laws, and what shall become of commonwealths? So it is in our spiritual Christian community: I do not now mean that body mystical whereof Christ is the only head, that building undiscernible by mortal eyes, wherein Christ is the chief corner-stone: but I speak of the visible church; the foundation whereof is the doctrine of the Prophets and Apostles profest. The mark whereunto their doctrine tendeth, is pointed at in those words of Peter unto Christ, “Thou hast the words of eternal life:” in those of Paul to Timothy, “The holy Scriptures are able to make thee wise unto salvation.” It is the demand of nature itself , “What shall we do to have eternal life ?” The desire of immortality and of the knowledge of that whereby it may be attained , is so natural unto all men, that even they which are not persuaded that they shall, do notwithstanding wish that they might, know a way how to see no end of life. And because natural means are not able still to resist the force of death, there is no people in the earth so savage, which hath not devised some supernatural help or other, to fly unto for aid and succour in extremities, against the enemies of their lives . A longing therefore to be saved, without understanding the true way how, hath been the cause of all the superstitions in the world. O that the miserable state of others, which wander in darkness, and wot not whither they go, could give us understanding hearts, worthily to esteem the riches of the mercies of God towards us, before whose eyes the doors of the kingdom of heaven are set wide open! Should we not offer violence unto it? It offereth violence to us, and we gather strength to withstand it.
But I am besides my purpose when I fall to bewail the cold affection which we bear towards that whereby we should be saved; my purpose being only to set down what the ground of salvation is. The doctrine of the Gospel proposeth salvation as the end: and doth it not teach the way of attaining thereunto? Yes , the damosel possest with a spirit of divination spake the truth: “These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation:” “A new and living way, which Christ hath prepared for us through the vail, that is, his flesh ;” salvation purchased by the death of Christ. By this foundation the children of God, before the time of the written law, were distinguished from the sons of men; the reverend patriarchs both profest it living, and spake expressly of it at the hour of their death. It comforted Job in the midst of grief; it was afterwards likewise the anchor-hold of all the righteous in Israel, from the writing of the law to the time of grace. Every prophet maketh mention of it. It was so famously spoken of, about the time, when the coming of Christ to accomplish the promises, which were made long before , drew near, that the sound thereof was heard even amongst the Gentiles. When he was come, as many as were his acknowledged that he was their salvation; he, that long-expected hope of Israel; he, that “seed, in whom all the nations of the world should be blest .” So that now his name is a name of ruin, a name of death and condemnation, unto such as dream of a new Messias, to as many as look for salvation by any other than by him: “For amongst men there is given no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved .” Thus much St. Mark doth intimate by that which he putteth in the very front of his book,SERM. II. 24. making his entrance with these words: “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” His doctrine he termeth the Gospel, because it teacheth salvation; the Gospel of Jesus Christ , the Son of God, because it teacheth salvation by him. This is then the foundation, whereupon the frame of the Gospel is erected; that very Jesus whom the Virgin conceived of the Holy Ghost, whom Simeon embraced in his arms , whom Pilate condemned, whom the Jews crucified, whom the Apostles preached, he is Christ, the Lord, the only Saviour of the world: “other foundation can no man lay .” Thus I have briefly opened that principle in Christianity, which we call the foundation of our faith. It followeth now that I declare unto you, what it is directly to overthrow it. This will better appear , if first we understand, what it is to hold the foundation of faith.
24. There are which defend, that many of the Gentiles, who never heard the name of Christ, held the foundation of Christianity: and why? they acknowledged many of them the providence of God, his infinite wisdom, strength, and power; his goodness, and his mercy towards the children of men; that God hath judgment in store for the wicked, but for the righteous that seeks him, rewards, &c. In this which they confessed, that lieth covered which we believe; in the rudiments of their knowledge concerning God, the foundation of our faith concerning Christ lieth secretly wrapt up, and is virtually contained: therefore they held the foundation of faith, though they never heard it. Might we not with as good colour of reason defend, that every ploughman hath all the sciences, wherein philosophers have excelled? For no man is ignorant of the first principles, which do virtually contain whatsoever by natural means either is or can be known. Yea, might we not with as good reason affirm, that a man may put three mighty oaks wheresoever three acorns may be put? For virtually an acorn is an oak. To avoid such paradoxes, we teach plainly, that to hold the foundation is, in express terms to acknowledge it.SERM. II. 25.
25. Now, because the foundation is an affirmative proposition, they all overthrow it, who deny it; they directly overthrow it, who deny it directly; and they overthrow it by consequent, or indirectly, which hold any one assertion whatsoever, whereupon the direct denial thereof may be necessarily concluded. What is the question between the Gentiles and us, but this, Whether salvation be by Christ? What between the Jews and us, but this, Whether by this Jesus, whom we call Christ, yea, or no? This to be the main point whereupon Christianity standeth, it is clear by that one sentence of Festus concerning Paul’s accusers: “They brought no crime of such things as I supposed, but had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive .” Where we see that Jesus, dead and raised for the salvation of the world, is by Jews denied, despised by a Gentile, and by a Christian apostle maintained. The Fathers therefore in the primitive church when they wrote; Tertullian, the book which he callethApologeticus; Minutius Felix, the book which he entitlethOctavius; Arnobius, his seven books against the Gentiles; Chrysostom, his orations against the Jews; Eusebius his ten books of Evangelical Demonstration: they stood in defence of Christianity against them, by whom the foundation thereof was directly denied. But the writings of the Fathers against Novatians, Pelagians, and other heretics of the like note, refel positions, whereby the foundation of Christian faith was overthrown by consequent only. In the former sort of writings the foundation is proved; in the latter, it is alleged as a proof, which to men that had been known directly to deny it, must needs have seemed a very beggarly kind of disputing. All infidels therefore deny the foundation of faith directly: by consequent, many a Christian man, yea whole Christian churches, have denied it, and do deny it at this present day. Christian churches denying the foundation of Christianity? Not directly, for then they cease to be Christian churches;SERM. II. 26. but by consequent, in respect whereof we condemn them as erroneous, although, for holding the foundation, we do and must hold them Christian.
26. We see what it is to hold the foundation; what directly, and what by consequent, to deny it. The next thing which followeth is, whether they whom God hath chosen to obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, may, being once effectually called, and through faith truly justified , afterwards fall so far, as directly to deny the foundation which their hearts have before embraced with joy and comfort in the Holy Ghost; for such is the faith, which indeed doth justify. Devils know the same things which we believe, and the minds of the most ungodly may be fully persuaded of the truth; which knowledge in the one and persuasion in the other, is sometimes termed faith, but equivocally, being indeed no such faith as that whereby a Christian man is justified. It is the spirit of adoption which worketh faith in us, in them not; the things which we believe, are by us apprehended, not only as true, but also as good, and that to us: as good, they are not by them apprehended; as true, they are. Whereupon followeth a third difference; the Christian man the more he increaseth in faith, the more his joy and comfort aboundeth: but they, the more sure they are of the truth, the more they quake and tremble at it. This begetteth another effect, wherein the hearts of the one sort have a different disposition from the other. Non ignoro plerosque conscientia meritorum, nihil se esse postmortem magis optare quam credere; malunt enim exstingui penitus, quam ad supplicia reparari . I am not ignorant, saith Minutius, that there are too many , who being conscious what they are to look for, do rather wish that they might, than think that they shall, cease to be , when they cease to live; because they hold it better that death should consume them unto nothing, than God revive them unto punishment. So it is in other articles of faith, whereof wicked men think, no doubt, many times they are too true: on the contrary side, to the other, there is no grief nor torment greater, than to feel their persuasion weak in things, whereof, when they are persuaded, they reap such comfort and joy of spirit: such is the faith whereby we are justified; such, I mean, in respect of the quality. For touching the principal object of faith, longer than it holdeth that foundation whereof we have spoken, it neither justifieth, nor is; but ceaseth to be faith when it ceaseth to believe, that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour of the world. The cause of life spiritual in us, is Christ, not carnally or corporally inhabiting, but dwelling in the soul of man, as a thing which (when the mind apprehendeth it) is said to inhabit and possess the mind. The mind conceiveth Christ by hearing the doctrine of Christianity. As the light of nature doth cause the mind to apprehend those truths which are merely rational; so that saving truth, which is far above the reach of human reason, cannot otherwise, than by the Spirit of the Almighty, be conceived. All these are implied, wheresoever any one of them is mentioned as the cause of spiritual life. Wherefore when we read , that “the Spirit is our life;” or , “the Word our life;” or , “Christ our life:” we are in every of these to understand, that our life is Christ, by the hearing of the Gospel apprehended as a Saviour, and assented unto by the power of the Holy Ghost. The first intellectual conceit and comprehension of Christ so embraced, St. Peter calleth the seed whereof we be new born: our first embracing of Christ, is our first reviving from the state of death and condemnation. “He that hath the Son hath life,” saith St. John , “and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life.” If therefore he which once hath the Son, may cease to have the Son, though it be but a moment, he ceaseth for that moment to have life. But the life of them which live by the Son of God , is everlasting, not only for that it shall be everlasting in the world to come , but because as “Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more, death hath no more power over him;” so the justified man, being alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord, doth as necessarily from that time forward always live, as Christ, by whom he hath life, liveth always .
I might, if I had not otherwhere largely done it already, shew by sundry manifest and clear proofs, how the motions and operations of life are sometimes so undiscernible, and secret , that they seem stone-dead, who notwithstanding are still alive unto God in Christ.
For as long as that abideth in us, which animateth, quickeneth, and giveth life, so long we live; and we know that the cause of our life abideth in us for ever. If Christ, the fountain of life, may flit and leave the habitation where once he dwelleth, what shall become of his promise, “I am with you to the world’s end?” If the seed of God, which containeth Christ, may be first conceived and then cast out; how doth St. Peter term it immortal? How doth St. John affirm it abideth? If the Spirit, which is given to cherish and preserve the seed of life, may be given and taken away, how is it the earnest of our inheritance until redemption; how doth it continue with us for ever? If therefore the man which is once just by faith, shall live by faith, and live for ever, it followeth, that he which once doth believe the foundation must needs believe the foundation for ever. If he believe it for ever, how can he ever directly deny it ? Faith holding the direct affirmation; the direct negation, so long as faith continueth, is excluded.
But ye will say, “That as he which to-day is holy, may to-morrow forsake his holiness, and become impure; as a friend may change his mind, and become an enemy; as hope may wither: so faith may die in the heart of man, the Spirit may be quenched, Grace may be extinguished, they which believe may be quite turned away from the truth.”
The case is clear, long experience hath made this manifest, it needs no proof. I grant we are apt, prone, and ready, to forsake God ; but is God as ready to forsake us? Our minds are changeable; is his so likewise? Whom God hath justified, hath not Christ assured, that it is “his Father’s will to give them a kingdom?” Which kingdom , notwithstanding, shall not otherwise be given them, than “ if they continue grounded and stablished in the faith, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel;” “ if they abide in love and holiness.” Our Saviour therefore, when he spake of the sheep effectually called, and truly gathered into his fold , “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hands;” in promising to save them, promised , no doubt, to preserve them in that without the which there can be no salvation, as also from that whereby salvation is irremediably lost. Every error in things appertaining to God is repugnant unto faith; every fearful cogitation, unto hope; unto love, every straggling inordinate desire; unto holiness, every blemish whereby either the inward thoughts of our minds, or the outward actions of our lives, are stained. But heresy, such as that of Ebion, Cerinthus, and others, against whom the Apostles were forced to bend themselves, both by word and also by writing; that repining discouragement of heart which tempteth God, whereof we have Israel in the desert for a pattern; coldness, such as that in the angel of Ephesus; foul sins, known to be expressly against the first or second table of the law, such as Noah, Manasses, David, Salomon, and Peter, committed: these are each in their kind so opposite to the former virtues, that they leave no place for salvation without an actual repentance. But infidelity, extreme despair, hatred of God and all godliness , obduration in sin, cannot stand where there is the least spark of faith, hope, love, or sanctity; even as cold in the lowest degree cannot be, where heat in the first degree is found.
Whereupon I conclude, that although in the first kind, no man liveth that sinneth not; and in the second, as perfect as any do live, may sin: yet sith the man which is born of God hath a promise, that in him “the seed of God shall abide ;” which seed is a sure preservative against the sins of the third suit; greater and clearer assurance we cannot have of any thing, than of this, that from such sins God shall preserve the righteous, as the apple of his eye, for ever. Directly to deny the foundation of faith, is plain infidelity; where faith is entered, there infidelity is for ever excluded: therefore by him which hath once sincerely believed in Christ, the foundation of Christian faith can never be directly denied. Did not Peter, did not Marcellinus , did not many others, both directly deny Christ after they had believed, and again believe after they had denied? No doubt, as they may confess in word , whose condemnation nevertheless is their not believing (for example we have Judas); so likewise, they may believe in heart, whose condemnation, without repentance, is their not confessing. Although therefore Peter and the rest, for whose faith Christ had prayed that it might not fail, did not by denial sin the sin of infidelity, which is an inward abnegation of Christ (for if they had done this, their faith had clearly failed): yet, because they sinned notoriously and grievously, committing that which they knew to be so expressly forbidden by the law, which saith, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve:” necessary it was, that he which purposed to save their souls, should, as he did, touch their hearts with true unfeigned repentance, that his mercy might restore them again to life, whom sin had made the children of death and condemnation. Touching this point therefore, I hope I may safely set it down, that if the justified err, as he may, and never come to understand his error, God doth save him through general repentance: but if he fall into heresy, he calleth him either at one time or other by actual repentance; but from infidelity, which is an inward direct denial of the foundation, preserveth him by special providence for ever. Whereby we may easily know what to think of those Galatians, whose hearts were so possest with love of the truth, that, if it had been possible, they would have plucked out their very eyes, to bestow upon their teachers. It is true, that they were afterwards greatly changed, both in persuasion and affection; so that the Galatians, when St. Paul wrote unto them, were not now the Galatians which they had been in former times , for that through error they wandered, although they were his sheep. I do not deny, but I should deny, that they were his sheep, if I should grant, that through error they perished. It was a perilous opinion which they held, in them which held it only as an error, because it overthroweth the foundation by consequent. But in them which obstinately maintained it, I cannot think it less than a damnable heresy.
We must therefore put a difference between them which err of ignorance, retaining nevertheless a mind desirous to be instructed in the truth, and them which, after the truth is laid open, persist in stubborn defence of their blindness. Heretical defenders, froward and stiffnecked teachers of circumcision, the blessed Apostle calleth dogs: silly men, that were seduced to think they taught the truth, he pitieth, he taketh up in his arms, he lovingly embraceth, he kisseth, and with more than fatherly tenderness doth so temper, qualify, and correct the speech he useth towards them, that a man cannot easily discern, whether did most abound, the love which he bare to their godly affection, or the grief which the danger of their opinion bred him . Their opinion was dangerous; was not theirs so likewise who thought that the kingdom of Christ should be earthly? was not theirs which thought that the gospel should be preached only to the Jews? What more opposite to prophetical doctrine, concerning the coming of Christ, than the one? concerning the catholic Church, than the other? Yet they which had these fancies, even when they had them, were not the worst men in the world. The heresy of freewill was a millstone about the Pelagians’ neck ; shall we therefore give sentence of death inevitable against all those Fathers in the Greek church, which being mispersuaded, died in the error of freewill ?
Of those Galatians, therefore, which first were justified , and then deceived, as I can see no cause, why as many as died before admonition might not by mercy be saved , even in error; so I make no doubt, but as many as lived till they were admonished, found the mercy of God effectual in converting them from their error , lest any one that is Christ’s should perish. Of this, as I take it, there is no controversy: only against the salvation of them which died, though before admonition, yet in error, it is objected, that their opinion was a very plain direct denial of the foundation. If Paul and Barnabas had been so persuaded, they would haply have used their terms otherwise, speaking of the masters themselves, who did first set that error abroach, “certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed .” What difference was there between these Pharisees and other, from whom by a special description they are distinguished, but this? They which came to Antioch, teaching the necessity of circumcision, were Christians; the other, enemies of Christianity. Why then should these be termed so distinctly believers, if they did directly deny the foundation of our belief; besides which, there was none other thing, that made the rest to be unbelievers ? We need go no farther than St. Paul’s very reasoning against them, for proof of this matter , “Seeing ye know God, or rather are known of God, how turn you again unto impotent rudiments? The law engendereth servants, her children are in bondage: they which are begotten by the gospel, are free. Brethren, we are not children of the servant, but of the free woman, and will ye yet be under the law?” That they thought it unto salvation necessary, for the Church of Christ to observe days, and months, and times, and years, to keep the ceremonies and the sacraments of the law, this was their error . Yet he which condemneth their error, confesseth notwithstanding , that they knew God , and were known of him; he taketh not the honour from them to be termed sons begotten of the immortal seed of the gospel. Let the heaviest words which he useth be weighed; consider the drift of those dreadful conclusions : “If ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing: as many as are justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace.” It had been to no purpose in the world so to urge them, had not the Apostle been persuaded, that at the hearing of such sequels, “No benefit by Christ,” “a defection from grace,” their hearts would tremble and quake within them: and why? because they knew, that in Christ, in grace , their salvation lay, which is a plain direct acknowledgment of the foundation.
Lest I should herein seem to hold that which no one godly and learned hath done, let these words be considered, which import as much as I affirm . “Surely those brethren which, in St. Paul’s time, thought that God did lay a necessity upon them to make choice of days and meats, spake as they believed, and could not but in words condemn that liberty, which they supposed to be brought in against the authority of divine Scripture. Otherwise it had been needless for St. Paul to admonish them, not to condemn such as eat, without scrupulosity, whatsoever was set before them. This error, if you weigh what it is of itself, did at once overthrow all Scriptures, whereby we are taught salvation by faith in Christ, all that ever the prophets did foretell, all that ever the Apostles did preach of Christ; it drew with it the denial of Christ utterly: insomuch that St. Paul complaineth, that his labour was lost upon the Galatians , unto whom this error was obtruded; affirming that Christ, if so be they were circumcised, should not profit them any thing at all. Yet so far was St. Paul from striking their names out of Christ’s book, that he commanded others to entertain them, to accept them with singular humanity, to use them like brethren; he knew man’s imbecillity, he had a feeling of our blindness which are mortal men, how great it is, and being sure that they are the sons of God, whosoever be endued with his fear, would not have them counted enemies of that whereunto they could not as yet frame themselves to be friends, but did even of a very religious affection to the truth, unwittingly reject and resist the truth. They acknowledged Christ to be their only and their perfect Saviour, but saw not how repugnant their believing the necessity of Mosaical ceremonies was to their faith in Jesus Christ.”
Hereunto reply is made, that if they had not directly denied the foundation, they might have been saved; but saved they could not be; therefore their opinion was, not only by consequent, but directly, a denial of the foundation. When the question was about the possibility of their salvation, their denying of the foundation was brought for proof that they could not be saved: now that the question is about their denial , the impossibility of their salvation is alleged to prove they denied the foundation. Is there nothing which excludeth men from salvation, but only the foundation of faith denied? I should have thought, that beside this, many other things are death, except they be actually repented of: as indeed this opinion of theirs was death , unto as many as, being given to understand that to cleave thereunto was to fall from Christ, did notwithstanding cleave unto it. But of this enough. Wherefore I come to the last question, “Whether the doctrine of the Church of Rome, concerning the necessity of works unto salvation, be a direct denial of the foundation of our faith?”
SERM. II. 27.27. I seek not to obtrude unto you any private opinions of mine own. The best learned in our profession are of this judgment, that all the heresies and corruptions of the Church of Rome do not prove her to deny the foundation directly; if they did, they should prove her simply to be no Christian church. “But I suppose,” saith one , “that in the papacy some church remaineth, a church crazed, or, if you will, broken quite in pieces, forlorn, misshapen, yet some church:” his reason is this, “Antichrist must sit in the temple of God.” Lest any man should think such sentences as this to be true only in regard of them whom that church is supposed to have kept by the special providence of God, as it were, in the secret corners of his bosom, free from infection, and as sound in the faith, as we trust, by his mercy, we ourselves are; I permit it to your wise considerations, whether it be not more likely, that as frensy, though itself take away the use of reason, doth notwithstanding prove them reasonable creatures which have it, because none can be frantic but they; so Antichristianity being the bane and plain overthrow of Christianity, may nevertheless argue the church wherein Antichrist sitteth to be Christian . Neither have I ever hitherto heard or read any one word alleged of force to warrant, that God doth otherwise than so as hath been in the two next questions before declared , bind himself to keep his elect from worshipping the Beast, and from receiving his mark in their foreheads; but he hath preserved, and will preserve, them from receiving any deadly wound at the hands of the Man of sin, whose deceit hath prevailed over none unto death, but only such as never loved the truth, such as took pleasure in unrighteousness: they in all ages, whose hearts have delighted in the principal truth, and whose souls have thirsted after righteousness, if they received the mark of error, the mercy of God, even erring, and dangerously erring, might save them; if they received the mark of heresy, the same mercy did, I doubt not, convert them . How far Romish heresies may prevail over God’s elect, how many God hath kept from falling into them, how many have been converted from them, is not the question now in hand: for if heaven had not received any one of that coat for these thousand years, it may still be true , that the doctrine which at this day they do profess, doth not directly deny the foundation, and so prove them simply to be no Christian church. One I have alleged, whose words, in my ears, sound that way; shall I add another, whose speech is plainer ? “I deny her not the name of a church,” saith another , “no more than to a man the name of a man, as long as he liveth, what sickness soever he hath.” His reason is this: “Salvation in Jesus Christ, which is the mark that joineth the Head with the body, Jesus Christ with His Church, it is so cut off by man’s merits, by the merits of saints, by the pope’s pardons, and such other wickedness, that the life of the Church holdeth by a very little thread,” yet still the life of the Church holdeth. A third hath these words : “I acknowledge the church of Rome, even at this present day, for a church of Christ, such a church as Israel under Jeroboam, yet a church.”SERM. II. 28. His reason is this: “Every man seeth, except he willingly hoodwink himself, that as always, so now, the church of Rome holdeth firmly and steadfastly the doctrine of truth concerning God, and the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ; and baptizeth in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; confesseth and avoucheth Christ for the only Redeemer of the world, and the Judge that shall sit upon quick and dead, receiving true believers into endless joy, faithless and godless men being cast with Satan and his angels into flames unquenchable.”
28. I may, and will, rein the question shorter than they do. Let the Pope take down his top, and captivate no more men’s souls by his papal jurisdiction; let him no longer count himself Lord Paramount over the princes of the earth , no longer use kings as his tenantsparavaile ; let his stately senate submit their necks to the yoke of Christ, and cease to dye their garments, like Edom, in blood; let them, from the highest to the lowest, hate and forsake their idolatry, abjure all their errors and heresies, wherewith they have any way perverted the truth; let them strip their church, till they leave no polluted rag, but only this one about her; “By Christ alone, without works , we cannot be saved:”SERM. II. 29. it is enough for me, if I shew, that the holding of this one thing doth not prove the foundation of faith directly denied in the Church of Rome.
29. Works are an addition to the foundation : be it so, what then? the foundation is not subverted by every kind of addition. Simply to add unto those fundamental words, is not to mingle wine with puddle , heaven with earth, things polluted with the sanctified blood of Christ: of which crime indict them, which attribute those operations in whole or in part to any creature, which in the work of our salvation are wholly peculiar unto Christ: and, if I open my mouth to speak in their defence, if I hold my peace, and plead not against them as long as breath is in my body, let me be guilty of all the dishonour that ever hath been done to the Son of God. But the more dreadful a thing it is to deny salvation by Christ alone, the more slow and fearful I am, except it be too too manifest to lay a thing so grievous unto any man’s charge. Let us beware, lest if we make too many ways of denying Christ, we scarce leave any way for ourselves truly and soundly to confess him. Salvation only by Christ is the true foundation whereupon indeed Christianity standeth. But what if I say, ye cannot be saved only by Christ, without this addition, Christ believed in heart, confessed with mouth, obeyed in life and conversation? Because I add, do I therefore deny that which directly I did affirm? There may be an additament of explication, which overthroweth not, but proveth and concludeth the proposition whereunto it is annexed. He that saith, Peter was a chief Apostle, doth prove that Peter was an Apostle: he which saith , Our salvation is of the Lord, through sanctification of the Spirit, and faith of the truth, proveth that our salvation is of the Lord. But if that which is added, be such a privation as taketh away the very essence of that whereunto it is adjoined , then by sequel it overthroweth. He which saith, Judas is a dead man, though in word he grant Judas to be a man, yet in effect he proveth him by that very speech no man, because death depriveth him of his being . In like sort, he that should say, Our election is of grace for our works’ sake,SERM. II. 30. should grant in sound of words, but indeed by consequent deny, that our election is of grace; for the grace which electeth us is no grace , if it elect us for our works’ sake.
30. Now whereas the church of Rome addeth works, we must note farther, that the adding works is not like the adding of circumcision unto Christ. Christ came not to abrogate and to take away good works : he did, to change circumcision; for we see that in place thereof he hath substituted holy baptism. To say, ye cannot be saved by Christ except ye be circumcised, is to add a thing excluded, a thing not only not necessary to be kept, but necessary not to be kept by them that will be saved. On the other side, to say, ye cannot be saved by Christ without works , is to add things not only not excluded, but commanded, as being in their place and in their kind necessary, and therefore subordinated unto Christ, even by Christ himself, by whom the web of salvation is spun : “Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven .” They were rigorous exacters of things not utterly to be neglected and left undone , washings and tithings , &c. As they were in these things , so must we be in judgment and the love of God. Christ, in works ceremonial, giveth more liberty, in moral much less , than they did. Works of righteousness therefore are not so repugnantly added in the one proposition; as in the other circumcision is.SERM. II. 31.
31. But we say, our salvation is by Christ alone; therefore howsoever, or whatsoever, we add unto Christ in the matter of salvation, we overthrow Christ. Our case were very hard, if this argument, so universally meant as it is proposed, were sound and good. We ourselves do not teach Christ alone, excluding our own faith , unto justification; Christ alone, excluding our own works, unto sanctification; Christ alone, excluding the one or the other as unnecessary unto salvation. It is a childish cavil wherewith in the matter of justification our adversaries do so greatly please themselves, exclaiming, that we tread all Christian virtues under our feet, and require nothing in Christians but faith; because we teach that faith alone justifieth: whereas we by this speech never meant to exclude either hope and charity from being always joined as inseparable mates with faith in the man that is justified; or works from being added as necessary duties, required at the hands of every justified man: but to shew that faith is the only hand which putteth on Christ unto justification; and Christ the only garment, which being so put on, covereth the shame of our defiled natures, hideth the imperfections of our works, preserveth us blameless in the sight of God, before whom otherwise the very weakness of our faith were cause sufficient to make us culpable, yea, to shut us out from the kingdom of heaven, where nothing that is not absolute can enter. That our dealing with them be not as childish as theirs with us; when we hear of salvation by Christ alone, considering that (“alone” is an) exclusive particle, we are to note what it doth exclude, and where. If I say, “Such a judge only ought to determine such a cause ,” all things incident to the determination thereof, besides the person of the judge, as laws, depositions, evidences, &c. are not hereby excluded; persons are, yet not from witnessing herein, or assisting, but only from determining and giving sentence. How then is our salvation wrought by Christ alone? is it our meaning , that nothing is requisite to man’s salvation, but Christ to save, and he to be saved quietly without any more to do ? No, we acknowledge no such foundation .SERM. II. 32. As we have received, so we teach that besides the bare and naked work , wherein Christ, without any other associate, finished all the parts of our redemption, and purchased salvation himself alone; for conveyance of this eminent blessing unto us, many things are required , as, to be known and chosen of God before the foundations of the world; in the world to be called, justified, sanctified: after we have left the world, to be received into glory; Christ in every of these hath somewhat which he worketh alone. Through him, according to the eternal purpose of God before the foundation of the world , born, crucified, buried, raised, &c., we were in a gracious acceptation known unto God long before we were seen of men: God knew us, loved us, was kind towards us in Christ Jesus , in him we were elected to be heirs of life. Thus far God through Christ hath wrought in such sort alone, that ourselves are mere patients, working no more than dead and senseless matter, wood, or stone, or iron, doth in the artificer’s hand , no more than the clay, when the potter appointeth it to be framed for an honourable use; nay, not so much. For the matter whereupon the craftsman worketh he chooseth, being moved by the fitness which is in it to serve his turn; in us no such thing. Touching the rest, that which is laid for the foundation of our faith, importeth farther, that by him we be called, that we have redemption, remission of sins through his blood, health by his stripes; justice by him; that he doth sanctify his Church, and make it glorious to himself; that entrance into joy shall be given us by him; yea, all things by him alone. Howbeit, not so by him alone, as if in us, to our vocation, the hearing of the gospel; to our justification, faith; to our sanctification, the fruits of the spirit; to our entrance into rest, perseverance in hope, in faith, in holiness, were not necessary.
32. Then what is the fault of the church of Rome? Not that she requireth works at their hands that will be saved: but that she attributeth unto works a power of satisfying God for sin; and a virtue to merit both grace here, and in heaven glory. That this overthroweth the foundation of faith, I grant willingly; that it is a direct denial thereof, I utterly deny. What it is to hold, and what directly to deny, the foundation of faith, I have already opened. Apply it particularly to this cause, and there needs no more ado. The thing which is handled, if the form under which it is handled be added thereunto, it sheweth the foundation of any doctrine whatsoever. Christ is the matter whereof the doctrine of the gospel treateth; and it treateth of Christ as of a Saviour. Salvation therefore by Christ is the foundation of Christianity: as for works, they are a thing subordinate, no otherwise necessary than because our sanctification cannot be accomplished without them. The doctrine concerning them is a thing builded upon the foundation; therefore the doctrine which addeth unto them power of satisfying, or of meriting, addeth unto a thing subordinated, builded upon the foundation, not to the very foundation itself; yet is the foundation consequently by this addition overthrown, forasmuch as out of this addition it may negatively be concluded, He which maketh any work good and acceptable in the sight of God, to proceed from the natural freedom of our will; he which giveth unto any good work of ours the force of satisfying the wrath of God for sin, the power of meriting either earthly or heavenly rewards; he which holdeth works going before our vocation, in congruity to merit our vocation; works following our first, to merit our second justification, and by condignity our last reward in the kingdom of heaven, pulleth up the doctrine of faith by the roots; for out of every of these the plain direct denial thereof may be necessarily concluded. Nor this only, but what other heresy is there which doth not raze the very foundation of faith by consequent? Howbeit, we make a difference of heresies; accounting them in the next degree to infidelity, which directly deny any one thing to be, which is expressly acknowledged in the articles of our belief; for out of any one article so denied, the denial of the very foundation itself is straightway inferred . As for example; if a man should say, “There is no catholic Church,” it followeth immediately hereupon , that this Jesus whom we call the Saviour, is not the Saviour of the world; because all the prophets bear witness, that the true Messias should “shew light unto the Gentiles ;” that is to say, gather such a Church as is catholic, not restrained any longer unto one circumcised nation. In a second rank we place them, out of whose positions the denial of any of the foresaid articles may be with like facility concluded; such are they which have denied, either the divinity of Christ, with Hebion, or with Marcion, his humanity; an example whereof may be that of Cassianus defending the incarnation of the Son of God against Nestorius bishop of Antioch , which held, that the Virgin, when she brought forth Christ, did not bring forth the Son of God, but a sole and a mere man. Out of which heresy the denial of the articles of Christian faith he deduceth thus : “If thou dost deny our Lord Jesus Christ to be God , in denying the Son, thou canst not choose but deny the Father; for, according to the voice of the Father himself, ‘He that hath not the Son, hath not the Father.’ Wherefore denying him that is begotten, thou deniest him which doth beget. Again, denying the Son of God to have been born in the flesh, how canst thou believe him to have suffered? believing not his passion, what remaineth, but that thou deny his resurrection? For we believe him not raised, except we first believe him dead: neither can the reason of his rising from the dead stand, without the faith of his death going before. The denial of his death and passion inferreth the denial of his rising from the depth . Where upon it followeth, that thou also deny his ascension into heaven: the Apostle affirming , ‘That he which ascended, did first descend.’ So that, as much as lieth in thee, our Lord Jesus Christ hath neither risen from the depth , nor is ascended into heaven, nor sitteth at the right hand of God the Father, neither shall he come at the day of final account, which is looked for, nor shall judge the quick and dead. And darest thou yet set foot in the Church? Canst thou think thyself a bishop, when thou hast denied all those things whereby thou didst obtain a bishoply calling?” Nestorius confessed all the articles of the creed, but his opinion did imply the denial of every part of his confession. Heresies there are of a third sort, such as the church of Rome maintaineth, which being removed by a greater distance from the foundation, although indeed they overthrow it; yet because of that weakness, which the philosopher noteth in men’s capacities when he saith, that the common sort cannot see things which follow in reason,SERM. II. 33. when they follow, as it were, afar off by many deductions; therefore the repugnancy between such heresy and the foundation is not so quickly nor so easily found, but that an heretic of this, sooner than of the former kind, may directly grant, and consequently nevertheless deny, the foundation of faith.
33. If reason be suspected, trial will shew that the church of Rome doth no otherwise, by teaching the doctrine she doth teach concerning works . Offer them the very fundamental words, and what one man is there that will refuse to subscribe unto them? Can they directly grant, and deny directly one and the very selfsame thing? Our own proceedings in disputing against their works satisfactory and meritorious do shew, not only that they hold, but that we acknowledge them to hold, the foundation, notwithstanding their opinion. For are not these our arguments against them? “Christ alone hath satisfied and appeased his Father’s wrath: Christ hath merited salvation alone.” We should do fondly to use such disputes, neither could we think to prevail by them, if that whereupon we ground, were a thing which we know they do not hold , which we are assured they will not grant. Their very answers to all such reasons, as are in this controversy brought against them, will not permit us to doubt whether they hold the foundation or no. Can any man, which hath read their books concerning this matter, be ignorant how they draw all their answers unto these heads? “That the remission of all our sins, the pardon of all whatsoever punishments thereby deserved, the rewards which God hath laid up in heaven, are by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ purchased, and obtained sufficiently for all men: but for no man effectually for his benefit in particular, except the blood of Christ be applied particularly unto him by such means as God hath appointed it to work by: That those means of themselves being but dead things, only the blood of Christ is that which putteth life, force, and efficacy in them to work, and to be available, each in his kind, to our salvation: Finally, that grace being purchased for us by the blood of Christ, and freely without any merit or desert at the first bestowed upon us, the good things which we do, after grace received, are thereby made satisfactory and meritorious.” Some of their sentences to this effect I must allege for mine own warrant. If we desire to hear foreign judgments, we find in one this confession: “He that could reckon how many the virtues and merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ have been, might likewise understand how many the benefits have been that are come unto us by him, forasmuch as men are made partakers of them all by the mean of his passion: by him is given unto us remission of our sins, grace, glory, liberty, praise, [peace,] salvation, redemption, justification , justice, sanctification , sacraments, merits, doctrine , and all other things which we [he] had, and were behoveful for our salvation .” In another we have these oppositions and answers made unto them: “All grace is given by Christ Jesus. True; but not except Christ Jesus be applied. He is the propitiation for our sins ; by his stripes we are healed; he hath offered up himself for us: all this [us all: this? ] is true, but apply it. We put all satisfaction in the blood of Jesus Christ; but we hold, that the means which Christ hath appointed for us in this case to apply it, are our penal works .” Our countrymen in Rhemes make the like answer , that they seek salvation no other way than by the blood of Christ; and that humbly they do use prayers, fasting , alms, faith, charity, sacrifice, sacraments, priests, only as the means appointed by Christ, to apply the benefit of his holy blood unto them: touching our good works, that in their own natures they are not meritorious, nor answerable unto the joys of heaven; it cometh by the grace of Christ, and not of the work itself, that we have by well-doing a right to heaven, and deserve it worthily. If any man think that I seek to varnish their opinions, to set the better foot of a lame cause foremost; let him know, that since I began throughly to understand their meaning, I have found their halting in this doctrine greater than perhaps it seemeth to them which know not the deepness of Satan, as the blessed Divine speaketh . For, although this be proof sufficient, that they do not directly deny the foundation of faith; yet, if there were no other leaven in the whole lump of their doctrine but this, this were sufficient to prove, that their doctrine is not agreeable with the foundation of Christian faith. The Pelagians, being over-great friends unto nature, made themselves enemies unto grace, for all their confessing, that men have their souls, and all the faculties thereof, their wills and the ability of their wills, from God. And is not the church of Rome still an adversary unto Christ’s merits, because of her acknowledging, that we have received the power of meriting by the blood of Christ? Sir Thomas More setteth down the odds between us and the church of Rome in the matter of works thus: “Like as we grant them, that no good work of man is rewardable in heaven of his own nature, but through the mere goodness of God, that list to set so high a price upon so poor a thing; and that this price God setteth through Christ’s passion, and for that also that they be his own works with us; (for good works to God-ward worketh no man, without God work in him:) and as we grant them also, that no man may be proud of his works, for his own imperfect working; and for that in all that man may do, he can do no good , but is a servant unprofitable, and doth but his bare duty: as we, I say, grant unto them these things, so this one thing or twain do they grant us again, that men are bound to work good works, if they have time and power; and that whoso worketh in true faith most, shall be most rewarded: but then set they thereto, that all his rewards shall be given him for his faith alone, and nothing for his works at all, because his faith is the thing, they say, that forceth him to work well .” I see by this of sir Thomas More, how easy it is for men of great capacity and judgment to mistake things written or spoken, as well on one side as on another . Their doctrine, as he thought, maketh the works of man rewardable in the world to come through the mere goodness of God, whom it pleaseth to set so high a price upon so poor a thing; and ours, that a man doth receive that eternal and high reward, not for his works, but for his faith’s sake, by which he worketh: whereas in truth our doctrine is no other than that which we have learned at the feet of Christ; namely, that God doth justify the believing man, yet not for the worthiness of his belief, but for his worthiness which is believed; God rewardeth abundantly every one which worketh, yet not for any meritorious dignity which is, or can be, in the work, but through his mere mercy, by whose commandment he worketh. Contrariwise, their doctrine is , that as pure water of itself hath no savour, but if it pass through a sweet pipe, it taketh a pleasant smell of the pipe through which it passeth;SERM. II. 34. so, although before grace received, our works do neither satisfy nor merit; yet after, they do both the one and the other. Every virtuous action hath then power in such sort to satisfy; that if we ourselves commit no mortal sin, no heinous crime, whereupon to spend this treasure of satisfaction in our own behalf, it turneth to the benefit of other men’s release, on whom it shall please the steward of the house of God to bestow it; so that we may satisfy for ourselves and others, but merit only for ourselves. In meriting, our actions do work with two hands: with the one, they get their morning stipend, the increase of grace; with the other, their evening hire, the everlasting crown of glory. Indeed they teach, that our good works do not these things as they come from us, but as they come from grace in us; which grace in us is another thing in their divinity, than is the mere goodness of God’s mercy toward us in Christ Jesus.
34. If it were not a strong deluding spirit which hath possession of their hearts; were it possible but that they should see how plainly they do herein gainsay the very ground of apostolic faith? Is this that salvation by grace, whereof so plentiful mention is made in the sacred Scriptures of God? was this their meaning, which first taught the world to look for salvation only by Christ? By grace, the Apostle saith, and by grace in such sort as a gift; a thing that cometh not of ourselves, not of our works, lest any man should boast and say, “I have wrought out mine own salvation .”SERM. II. 35. By grace they confess; but by grace in such sort, that as many as wear the diadem of bliss, they wear nothing but what they have won. The Apostle, as if he had foreseen how the church of Rome would abuse the world in time by ambiguous terms, to declare in what sense the name of grace must be taken, when we make it the cause of our salvation, saith, “He saved us according to his mercy;” which mercy, although it exclude not the washing of our new birth, the renewing of our hearts by the Holy Ghost, the means, the virtues, the duties, which God requireth at their hands which shall be saved; yet it is so repugnant unto merits, that to say, we are saved for the worthiness of any thing which is ours, is to deny we are saved by Grace. Grace bestoweth freely; and therefore justly requireth the glory of that which is bestowed. We deny the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; we imbase , disannul, annihilate the benefit of his bitter passion, if we rest in those proud imaginations, that life everlasting is deservedly ours, that we merit it, and that we are worthy of it.
35. Howbeit, considering how many virtuous and just men, how many saints, how many martyrs, how many of the ancient Fathers of the church, have had their sundry perilous opinions; and among sundry of their opinions this, that they hoped to make God some part of amends for their sins, by the voluntary punishments which they laid upon themselves; because by a consequent it may follow hereupon, that they were injurious unto Christ, shall we therefore make such deadly epitaphs, and set them upon their graves, “They denied the foundation of faith directly, they are damned, there is no salvation for them?” St. Augustine hath said of himself, Errare possum, hæreticus esse nolo . And, except we put a difference between them that err, and them that obstinately persist in error, how is it possible that ever any man should hope to be saved? Surely, in this case, I have no respect of any person alive or dead. Give me a man, of what estate or condition soever, yea, a cardinal or a pope, whom at the extreme point of his life affliction hath made to know himself; whose heart God hath touched with true sorrow for all his sins, and filled with love toward the Gospel of Christ; whose eyes are opened to see the truth, and his mouth to renounce all heresy and error any way opposite thereunto, this one opinion of merits excepted; which he thinketh God will require at his hands, and because he wanteth, therefore, trembleth, and is discouraged; it may be I am forgetful, or unskilful, not furnished with things new and old, as a wise and learned scribe should be, nor able to allege that, whereunto, if it were alleged, he doth bear a mind most willing to yield, and so to be recalled, as well from this, as from other errors: and shall I think, because of this only error, that such a man toucheth not so much as the hem of Christ’s garment? If he do, wherefore should not I have hope, that virtue may proceed from Christ to save him? Because his error doth by consequent overthrow his faith, shall I therefore cast him off, as one which hath utterly cast off Christ? one which holdeth not so much as by a slender thread? No; I will not be afraid to say unto a cardinal or to a pope in this plight, Be of good comfort, we have to do with a merciful God, ready to make the best of that little which we hold well, and not with a captious sophister, which gathereth the worst out of every thing wherein we err. Is there any reason that I should be suspected, or you offended, for this speech? Let all affection be laid aside; let the matter be indifferently considered . Is it a dangerous thing to imagine, that such men may find mercy? The hour may come, when we shall think it a blessed thing to hear, that if our sins were as the sins of the pope and cardinals, the bowels of the mercy of God are larger. I do not propose unto you a pope with the neck of an emperor under his foot ; a cardinal riding his horse to the bridle in the blood of saints; but a pope or a cardinal sorrowful, penitent, disrobed, stript , not only of usurped power, but also delivered and recalled from error and Antichrist, converted and lying prostrate at the feet of Christ; and shall I think that Christ will spurn at him? shall I cross and gainsay the merciful promises of God, generally made unto penitent sinners, by opposing the name of a pope or cardinal? What difference is there in the world between a pope and a cardinal, and John a Style , in this case? If we think it impossible for them, after they be once come within that rank, to be afterwards touched with any such remorse, let that be granted. The Apostle saith, “If I, or an angel from heaven, preach unto you,” &c. Let it be as likely, that St. Paul or an angel from heaven should preach heresy, as that a pope or a cardinal should be brought so far forth to acknowledge the truth; yet if a pope or cardinal should, what find we in their persons why they might not be saved? It is not their persons, you will say, but the error wherein I suppose them to die, which excludeth them from hope of mercy; the opinion of merits doth take away all possibility of salvation from them. What, although they hold it only as an error? although they hold the truth soundly and sincerely in all other parts of Christian faith? although they have in some measure all the virtues and graces of the Spirit, all other tokens of God’s elect children in them? although they be far from having any proud presumptuous opinion, that they shall be saved for the worthiness of their deeds? although the only thing which troubleth and molesteth them be but a little too much dejection, somewhat too great a fear, rising from an erroneous conceit that God will require a worthiness in them, which they are grieved to find wanting in themselves? although they be not obstinate in this persuasion? although they be willing, and would be glad to forsake it, if any one reason were brought sufficient to disprove it? although the only let, why they do not forsake it ere they die, be the ignorance of the mean whereby it might be disproved? although the cause why the ignorance in this point is not removed, be the want of knowledge in such as should be able, and are not, to remove it?SERM. II. 36. Let me die, if ever it be proved, that simply an error doth exclude a pope or a cardinal, in such a case, utterly from hope of life. Surely, I must confess unto you, if it be an error to think , that God may be merciful to save men even when they err , my greatest comfort is my error; were it not for the love I bear unto this error, I would neither wish to speak nor to live.
36. Wherefore to resume that mother-sentence, whereof I little thought that so much trouble would have grown, “I doubt not but God was merciful to save thousands of our fathers living in popish superstitions, inasmuch as they sinned ignorantly:” alas! what bloody matter is there contained in this sentence, that it should be an occasion of so many hard censures? Did I say, “That thousands of our fathers might be saved?” I have shewed which way it cannot be denied. Did I say, “I doubt it not but they were saved?” I see no impiety in this persuasion, though I had no reason in the world for it. Did I say, “Their ignorance doth make me hope they did find mercy, and so were saved?” What doth hinder salvation but sin? Sins are not equal; and ignorance, though it do not make sin to be no sin, yet seeing it did make their sin the less, why should it not make our hope concerning their life the greater? We pity the most, and I doubt not but God hath most compassion over them that sin for want of understanding. As much is confessed by sundry others, almost in the selfsame words which I have used. It is but only my ill hap, that the same sentences which favour verity in other men’s books, should seem to bolster heresy when they are once by me recited. If I be deceived in this point, not they, but the blessed Apostle hath deceived me . What I said of others, the same he saith of himself, “I obtained mercy , for I did it ignorantly.”SERM. II. 37, 38. Construe his words, and ye cannot misconstrue mine. I speak no otherwise, I meant no otherwise .
37. Thus have I brought the question concerning our fathers at the length unto an end. Of whose estate, upon so fit an occasion as was offered me, handling the weighty causes of separation between the church of Rome and us, and the weak motives which commonly are brought to retain men in that society; amongst which motives the example of our fathers deceased is one; although I saw it convenient to utter that sentence which I did, to the end that all men might thereby understand, how untruly we are said to condemn as many as have been before us otherwise persuaded than we ourselves are: yet more than that one sentence I did not think it expedient to utter, judging it a great deal meeter for us to have regard to our own estate, than to sift over curiously what is become of other men; and fearing, lest that such questions as this , if voluntarily they should be too far waded in, might seem worthy of that rebuke which our Saviour thought needful in a case not unlike, “What is this unto thee ?” When as I was forced, much besides mine expectation, to render a reason of my speech, I could not but yield at the call of others, to proceed as duty bound me, for the fuller satisfaction of men’s minds . Wherein I have walked, as with reverence, so with fear: with reverence, in regard of our fathers, which lived in former times; not without fear, considering them that are alive.
38. I am not ignorant how ready men are to feed and soothe up themselves in evil. Shall I (will the man say, that loveth the present world more than he loveth Christ), shall I incur the high displeasure of the mightiest upon earth? shall I hazard my goods, endanger my estate , put my life in jeopardy, rather than yield to that which so many of my fathers have embraced, and yet found favour in the sight of God? “Curse Meroz,” saith the Lord, “curse her inhabitants, because they help not the Lord, they help him not against the mighty .”SERM. II. 38. If I should not only not help the Lord against the mighty, but help to strengthen them that are mighty against the Lord; worthily might I fall under the burden of that curse, worthy I were to bear my own judgment. But if the doctrine which I teach be a flower gathered in the garden of the Lord, a part of the saving truth of the Gospel, from whence notwithstanding poisoned creatures do suck venom; I can but wish it were otherwise, and content myself with the lot that hath befallen me, the rather, because it hath not befallen me alone. St. Paul did preach a truth, and a comfortable truth, when he taught, that the greater our misery is in respect of our iniquities, the readier is the mercy of our God for our release, if we seek unto him; the more we have sinned, the more praise, and glory , and honour unto him that pardoneth our sin. But mark what lewd collections were made hereupon by some : “Why then am I condemned for a sinner?” And, saith the Apostle, “as we are blamed, and as some affirm that we say, ‘Why do we not evil that good may come of it?’ ” He was accused to teach that which ill-disposed men did gather by his teaching, though it were clean not only beside , but against his meaning. The Apostle addeth, “Their condemnation which thus do is just.” I am not hasty to apply sentences of condemnation: I wish from my heart their conversion, whosoever are thus perversely affected. For I must needs say, their case is fearful, their estate dangerous, which harden themselves, presuming on the mercy of God towards others. It is true, that God is merciful, but let us beware of presumptuous sins. God delivered Jonah from the bottom of the sea; will you therefore cast yourselves headlong from the tops of rocks, and say in your hearts, God shall deliver us? He pitieth the blind that would gladly see; but will God pity him that may see, and hardeneth himself in blindness? No; Christ hath spoken too much unto you, for you to claim the privilege of your fathers.
SERM. II. 39.39. As for us that have handled this cause concerning the condition of our fathers, whether it be this thing or any other which we bring unto you, the counsel is good which the Wise Man giveth , “Stand thou fast in thy sure understanding, in the way and knowledge of the Lord, and have but one manner of word, and follow the word of peace and righteousness.” As a loose tooth is a great grief unto him that eateth, so doth a wavering and unstable word, in speech that tendeth to instruction, offend. “Shall a wise man speak words of the wind ,” saith Eliphaz; light, unconstant, unstable words? Surely the wisest may speak words of the wind: such is the untoward constitution of our nature, that we neither do so perfectly understand the way and knowledge of the Lord, nor so steadfastly embrace it, when it is understood; nor so graciously utter it, when it is embraced; nor so peaceably maintain it, when it is uttered; but that the best of us are overtaken sometimes through blindness, sometimes through hastiness, sometimes through impatience, sometime through other passions of the mind, whereunto (God doth know) we are too subject. We must therefore be contented both to pardon others, and to crave that others may pardon us for such things. Let no man, which speaketh as a man, think himself (whilest he liveth) always freed from scapes and oversights in his speech. The things themselves which I have spoken unto you I hope are sound, howsoever they have seemed otherwise unto some; at whose hands if I have, in that respect, received injury, I willingly forget it; although, in truth , considering the benefit which I have reaped by this necessary search of truth, I rather incline unto that of the Apostle , “They have not injured me at all.” I have cause to wish, and I do wish , them as many blessings in the kingdom of heaven, as they have forced me to utter words and syllables in this cause; wherein I could not be more sparing in speech than I have been. “It becometh no man,” saith St. Jerome , “to be patient in the crime of heresy.”SERM. II. 40. Patient, as I take it, we should be always, though the crime of heresy were intended; but silent in a thing of so great consequence, I could not, beloved, I durst not be; especially the love, which I bear to the truth in Christ Jesus, being hereby somewhat called in question. Whereof I beseech them, in the meekness of Christ, that have been the first original cause, to consider that a watchman may cry “An enemy!” when indeed a friend cometh. In which case , as I deem such a watchman more worthy to be loved for his care, than misliked for his error; so I have judged it my own part in this case , as much as in me lieth, to take away all suspicion of any unfriendly intent or meaning against the truth, from which, God doth know, my heart is free.
40. Now to you, beloved, which have heard these things, I will use no other words of admonition, than those which are offered me by St. James , “My brethren, have not the faith of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ , in respect of persons.” Ye are not now to learn, that as of itself it is not hurtful, so neither should it be to any man scandalous and offensive, in doubtful cases, to hear the different judgment of men. Be it that Cephas hath one interpretation, and Apollos hath another; that Paul is of this mind, and Barnabas of that; if this offend you, the fault is yours. Carry peaceable minds, and ye may have comfort by this variety.
Now the God of peace give you peaceable minds, and turn it to your everlasting comfort.
A SUPPLICATION MADE TO THE COUNCIL
TRAVERS’ SUPPLICATION.THE manifold benefits which all the subjects within this dominion do at this present, and have many years enjoyed, under her Majesty’s most happy and prosperous reign, by your godly wisdom and careful watching over this estate night and day, I truly and unfeignedly acknowledge, from the bottom of my heart, ought worthily to bind us all to pray continually to Almighty God for the continuance and increase of the life and good estate of your honours, and to be ready, with all good duties, to satisfy and serve the same to our power. Besides public benefits common unto all, I must needs, and do willingly, confess myself to stand bound by most special obligation, to serve and honour you more than any other, for the honourable favour it hath pleased you to vouchsafe both oftentimes heretofore, and also now of late , in a matter more dear unto me than any earthly commodity, that is, the upholding and furthering of my service in the ministering of the gospel of Jesus Christ. For which cause, as I have been always careful so to carry myself as I might by no means give occasion to be thought unworthy of so great a benefit, so do I still, next unto her majesty’s gracious countenance, hold nothing more dear and precious unto me, than that I may always remain in your honours’ favour, which hath oftentimes been helpful and comfortable unto me in my ministry, and to all such as reaped any fruit of my simple and faithful labour. In which dutiful regard I humbly beseech your honours to vouchsafe to do me this grace, to conceive nothing of me otherwise than according to the duty wherein I ought to live, by any information against me, before your honours have heard my answer, and been thoroughly informed of the matter. Which, although it be a thing that your wisdoms, not in favour, but in justice, yield to all men, yet the state of the calling unto the ministry, whereunto it hath pleased God of his goodness to call me, though unworthiest of all, is so subject to misinformation, as, except we may find this favour with your honours, we cannot look for any other, but that our unindifferent parties may easily procure us to be hardly esteemed of; and that we shall be made like the poor fisher-boats in the sea, which every swelling wave and billow raketh and runneth over. Wherein my estate is yet harder than any others of my rank and calling, who are indeed to fight against flesh and blood in what part soever of the Lord’s host and field they shall stand marshalled to serve, yet many of them deal with it naked, and unfurnished of weapons: but my service was in a place where I was to encounter with it well appointed and armed with skill and with authority: whereof as I have always thus deserved, and therefore have been careful by all good means to entertain still your honours’ favourable respect of me, so have I special cause at this present, wherein misinformation to the lord archbishop of Canterbury, and other of the High Commission, hath been able so far to prevail against me, that by their letter they have inhibited me to preach, or execute any act of ministry in the Temple or elsewhere , having never once called me before them, to understand by mine answer the truth of such things as had been informed against me. We have a story in our books, wherein the Pharisees proceeding against our Saviour Christ without having heard him is reproved by “an honourable counsellor ,” as the Evangelist doth term him, saying, “Doth our law judge a man before it hear him, and know what he hath done ?” Which I do not mention, to the end that by an indirect and covert speech I might so compare those who have, without ever hearing me, pronounced a heavy sentence against me; for notwithstanding such proceedings, I purpose by God’s grace to carry myself towards them in all seeming duty agreeable to their places: much less do I presume to liken my cause to our Saviour Christ’s, who hold it my chiefest honour and happiness to serve him, though it be but among the hinds and hired servants that serve him in the basest corners of his house. But my purpose in mentioning it is, to shew, by the judgment of a prince and great man in Israel, that such proceeding standeth not with the law of God, and in a princely pattern to shew it to be a noble part of an honourable counsellor, not to allow of indirect dealings, but to love and affect such a course in justice as is agreeable to the law of God. We have also a plain rule in the word of God, not to proceed any otherwise against any elder of the Church; much less against one that laboureth in the word and in teaching. Which rule is delivered with this most earnest charge and obtestation, “I beseech and charge thee in the sight of God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou keep these rules without preferring one before another, doing nothing of partiality, or inclining to either part ;” which apostolical and most earnest charge, I refer to your honours’ wisdom how it hath been regarded in so heavy a judgment against me, without ever hearing my cause; and whether, as having God before their eyes, and the Lord Jesus, by whom all former judgments shall be tried again; and, as in the presence of the elect angels, witnesses and observers of the regiment of the Church, they have proceeded thus to such a sentence. They allege indeed two reasons in their letters, whereupon they restrain my ministry; which, if they were as strong against me as they are supposed, yet I refer to your honours’ wisdoms, whether the quality of such an offence as they charge me with, which is in effect but an indiscretion, deserve so grievous a punishment both to the Church and me, in taking away my ministry, and that poor little commodity which it yieldeth for the necessary maintenance of my life; if so unequal a balancing of faults and punishments should have place in the commonwealth, surely we should shortly have no actions upon the case, nor of trespass, but all should be pleas of the crown, nor any man amerced, or fined, but for every light offence put to his ransom. I have credibly heard, that some of the ministry have been convicted of grievous transgressions of the laws of God and men, being of no ability to do other service in the Church than to read; yet hath it been thought charitable, and standing with Christian moderation and temperancy, not to deprive such of ministry and benefice , but to inflict some more tolerable punishment. Which I write not because such, as I think, were to be favoured, but to shew how unlike their dealing is with me, being through the goodness of God not to be touched with any such blame; and one who according to the measure of the gift of God have laboured now some years painfully, in regard of the weak estate of my body, in preaching the gospel, and as I hope not altogether unprofitably in respect of the Church. But I beseech your honours to give me leave briefly to declare the particular reasons of their letter , and what answer I have to make unto it.
The first is, that, as they say, “I am not lawfully called to the function of the ministry, nor allowed to preach, according to the laws of the Church of England.”
For answer to this, I had need to divide the points. And first to make answer to the former; wherein leaving to shew what by the holy Scriptures is required in a lawful calling, and that all that is to be found in mine, that I be not too long for your other weighty affairs, I rest in this answer .
My calling to the ministry was such as in the calling of any thereunto is appointed to be used by the orders agreed upon in the national synods of the Low Countries , for the direction and guidance of their churches; which orders are the same with those whereby the French and Scottish churches are governed; whereof I have shewed such sufficient testimonial to my lord the Archbishop of Canterbury, as is requisite in such a matter: whereby it must needs fall out, if any man be lawfully called to the ministry in those churches, then is my calling, being the same with theirs, also lawful. But I suppose, notwithstanding they use this general speech, they mean only, my calling is not sufficient to deal in the ministry within this land, because I was not made minister according to that order, which in this cause is ordained by our laws. Whereunto I beseech your honours to consider throughly of mine answer, because exception now again is taken to my ministry, whereas, having been heretofore called in question for it , I so answered the matter, as I continued in my ministry, and, for any thing I discerned, looked to hear that no more objected unto me. The communion of saints (which every Christian man professeth to believe) is such as, that the acts which are done in any true church of Christ’s according to his word, are held as lawful being done in one church, as in another. Which, as it holdeth in other acts of ministry, as baptism, marriage, and such like, so doth it in the calling to the ministry; by reason whereof, all churches do acknowledge and receive him for a minister of the word, who hath been lawfully called thereunto in any church of the same profession. A Doctor created in any university in Christendom, is acknowledged sufficiently qualified to teach in any country. The church of Rome itself, and the canon law holdeth it, that being ordered in Spain, they may execute that that belongeth to their order, in Italy, or in any other place. And the churches of the Gospel never made any question of it: which if they shall now begin to make doubt of, and deny such to be lawfully called to the ministry, as are called by another order than our own; then may it well be looked for, that other churches will do the like: and if a minister called in the Low Countries be not lawfully called in England, then may they say to our preachers which are there, that being made by another order than theirs, they cannot suffer them to execute any act of ministry amongst them; which in the end must needs breed a schism, and dangerous division in the churches. Further, I have heard of those that are learned in the laws of this land, that by express statute to that purpose, anno 13 of her majesty’s reign , upon subscription to the articles agreed upon, anno 1562, that they who pretend to have been ordered by another order than that which is now established, are of like capacity to enjoy any place of ministry within the land, as they which have been ordered according to that which is now by law in this established. Which comprehending manifestly all, even such as were made priests according to the order of the Church of Rome, it must needs be, that the law of a Christian land, professing the Gospel, should be as favourable for a minister of the word, as for a popish priest; which also was so found in Mr. Whittingham’s case , who, notwithstanding such replies against him , enjoyed still the benefit he had by his ministry, and might have done until this day, if God had spared him life so long; which if it be understood so, and practised in others, why should the change of the person alter the right which the law giveth to all other?
The place of ministry whereunto I was called was not presentative: and if it had been so, surely they would never have presented any man whom they never knew; and the order of this church is agreeable herein to the Word of God, and the ancient and best canons, that no man should be made a minister sine titulo: therefore having none, I could not by the orders of this church have entered into the ministry, before I had a charge to tend upon. When I was at Antwerp, and to take a place of ministry among the people of that nation, I see no cause why I should have returned again over the seas for orders here; nor how I could have done it, without disallowing the orders of the churches provided in the country where I was to live. Whereby I hope it appeareth, that my calling to the ministry is lawful, and maketh me, by our law, of capacity to enjoy any benefit or commodity, that any other, by reason of his ministry, may enjoy. But my case is yet more easy, who reaped no benefit of my ministry by law, receiving only a benevolence and voluntary contribution; and the ministry I dealt with being preaching only, which every deacon here may do being licensed, and certain that are neither ministers nor deacons. Thus I answer the former of these two points, whereof, if there be yet any doubt, I humbly desire, for a final end thereof, that some competent judges in law may determine of it ; whereunto I refer and submit myself with all reverence and duty.
The second is, “That I preached without license.” Whereunto this is my answer: I have not presumed, upon the calling I had to the ministry abroad, to preach or deal with any part of the ministry within this church, without the consent and allowance of such as were to allow me unto it. My allowance was from the bishop of London, testified by his two several letters to the Inner Temple, who, without such testimony, would by no means rest satisfied in it: which letters being by me produced, I refer it to your honours’ wisdom, whether I have taken upon me to preach, without being allowed (as they charge) according to the orders of the realm. Thus having answered the second point also, I have done with the objection, “Of dealing without calling or license.”
The other reason they allege is, concerning a late action, wherein I had to deal with Mr. Hooker, Master of the Temple. In the handling of which cause, they charge me with an indiscretion, and want of duty, “in that I inveighed,” as they say, “against certain points of doctrine taught by him, as erroneous, not conferring with him, nor complaining of it to them.” My answer hereunto standeth, in declaring to your honours the whole course and carriage of that cause, and the degrees of proceeding in it, which I will do as briefly as I can, and according to the truth, God be my witness, as near as my best memory, and notes of remembrance, may serve me thereunto. After that I have taken away that which seemed to have moved them to think me not charitably minded to Mr. Hooker; which is, because he was brought into Mr. Alvey’s place, wherein this church desired that I might have succeeded: which place, if I would have made suit to have obtained, or if I had ambitiously affected and sought, I would not have refused to have satisfied, by subscription, such as the matter then seemed to depend upon: whereas contrariwise, notwithstanding I would not hinder the church to do that they thought to be the most for their edification and comfort, yet did I, neither by speech nor letter, make suit to any for the obtaining of it, following herein that resolution, which I judge to be most agreeable to the word and will of God; that is, that labouring and suing for places and charges in the church is not lawful. Further, whereas , at the suit of the church, some of your honours entertained the cause, and brought it to a near issue, that there seemed nothing to remain, but the commendation of my lord the archbishop of Canterbury, when as he could not be satisfied, but by my subscribing to his late articles ; and that my answer (agreeing to subscribe according to any law, and to the statute provided in that case, but praying to be respited for subscribing to any other, which I could not in conscience do, either for the Temple (which otherwise he said he would not commend me to), nor for any other place in the Church) did so little please my lord archbishop, as he resolved that otherwise I should not be commended to it: I had utterly here no cause of offence against Mr. Hooker, whom I did in no sort esteem to have prevented or undermined me, but that God disposed of me as it pleased him, by such means and occasions as I have declared.
Moreover, as I have taken no cause of offence at Mr. Hooker for being preferred, so there were many witnesses, that I was glad that the place was given him, hoping to live in all godly peace and comfort with him, both for acquaintance and good-will which hath been between us, and for some kind of affinity in the marriage of his nearest kindred and mine . Since his coming, I have so carefully endeavoured to entertain all good correspondence and agreement with him, as I think he himself will bear me witness of many earnest disputations and conferences with him about the matter; the rather, because that, contrary to my expectation, he inclined from the beginning but smally thereunto, but joined rather with such as had always opposed themselves to any good order in this church , and made themselves to be thought indisposed to this present state and proceedings. For, both knowing that God’s commandment charged me with such duty, and discerning how much our peace might further the good service of God and his Church, and the mutual comfort of us both , I had resolved constantly to seek for peace; and though it should fly from me (as I saw it did by means of some, who little desired to see the good of our church), yet according to the rule of God’s word, to follow after it. Which being so (as hereof I take God to witness, who searcheth the heart and reins, and who by his Son will judge the world, both quick and dead), I hope no charitable judgment can suppose me to have stood evilaffected towards him for his place, or desirous to fall into any controversy with him.
Which my resolution I so pursued, that, whereas I discovered sundry unsound matters in his doctrine (as many of his sermons tasted of some sour leaven or other), yet thus I carried myself towards him. Matters of smaller weight, and so covertly delivered , that no great offence to the Church was to be feared in them, I wholly passed by, as one that discerned nothing of them, or had been unfurnished of replies; others of great moment, and so openly delivered, as there was just cause of fear lest the truth and Church of God should be prejudiced and perilled by it, and such as the conscience of my duty and calling would not suffer me altogether to pass over, this was my course; to deliver, when I should have just cause by my text, the truth of such doctrine as he had otherwise taught, in general speeches, without touch of his person in any sort, and further at convenient opportunity to confer with him on such points.
According to which determination, whereas he had taught certain things concerning predestination otherwise than the Word of God doth, as it is understood by all churches professing the gospel, and not unlike that wherewith Corranus sometime troubled this church, I both delivered the truth of such points in a general doctrine, without any touch of him in particular, and conferred with him also privately upon such articles. In which conference, I remember, when I urged the consent of all churches and good writers against him that I knew; and desired, if it were otherwise, to understand what authors he had seen of such doctrine: he answered me, that his best author was his own reason; which I wished him to take heed of, as a matter standing more with Christian modesty and wisdom in a doctrine not received by the Church, not to trust to his own judgment so far as to publish it before he had conferred with others of his profession labouring by daily prayer and study to know the will of God, as he did, to see how they understood such doctrine. Notwithstanding, he, with wavering, replied , that he would some other time deal more largely in the matter. I wished him, and prayed him not so to do, for the peace of the Church, which, by such means, might be hazarded; seeing he could not but think, that men, who make any conscience of their ministry, will judge it a necessary duty in them to teach the truth, and to convince the contrary.
Another time, upon like occasion of this doctrine of his, “That the assurance of that we believe by the word, is not so certain, as of that we perceive by sense ;” I both taught the doctrine otherwise, namely, the assurance of faith to be greater, which assured both of things above, and contrary to all sense and human understanding, and dealt with him also privately upon that point: according to which course of late, when as he had taught, “That the church of Rome is a true Church of Christ, and a sanctified Church by profession of that truth, which God hath revealed unto us by his Son, though not a pure and perfect Church;” and further, “That he doubted not, but that thousands of the Fathers, which lived and died in the superstitions of that church, were saved, because of their ignorance, which excused them;” misalleging to that end a text of Scripture to prove it : the matter being of set purpose openly and at large handled by him, and of that moment, that might prejudice the faith of Christ, encourage the ill-affected to continue still in their damnable ways, and others weak in faith to suffer themselves easily to be seduced to the destruction of their souls; I thought it my most bounden duty to God and to his Church, whilst I might have opportunity to speak with him, to teach the truth in a general speech in such points of doctrine.
At which time I taught, “That such as die, or have died at any time in the church of Rome, holding in their ignorance that faith which is taught in it, and namely, justification in part by works, could not be said by the Scriptures to be saved.” In which matter, foreseeing that if I waded not warily in it, I should be in danger to be reported (as hath fallen out since notwithstanding) to condemn all the fathers, I said directly and plainly to all men’s understanding, “That it was not indeed to be doubted, but many of the fathers were saved; but the means,” said I, “was not their ignorance, which excuseth no man with God, but their knowledge and faith of the truth, which, it appeareth, God vouchsafed them, by many notable monuments and records extant of it in all ages.” Which being the last point in all my sermon, rising so naturally from the text I then propounded , as would have occasioned me to have delivered such matter, notwithstanding the former doctrine had been sound; and being dealt in by a general speech, without touch of his particular; I looked not that a matter of controversy would have been made of it, no more than had been of my like dealing in former time. But, far otherwise than I looked for, Mr. Hooker, shewing no grief or offence taken at my speech all the week long, the next Sabbath, leaving to proceed upon his ordinary text, professed to preach again that he had done the day before, for some question that his doctrine was drawn into, which he desired might be examined with all severity.
So proceeding, he bestowed his whole time, in that discourse, confirming his former doctrine, and answering the places of Scripture which I had alleged to prove that a man dying in the church of Rome is not to be judged by the Scriptures to be saved. In which long speech, and utterly impertinent to his text, under colour of answering for himself, he impugned directly and openly to all men’s understanding, the true doctrine which I had delivered; and, adding to his former points some other like (as willingly one error followeth another), that is, “That the Galathians joining, with faith in Christ, circumcision, as necessary to salvation, might be saved; and that they of the church of Rome may be saved by such a faith of Christ as they had, with a general repentance of all their errors, notwithstanding their opinion of justification in part by their works and merits:” I was necessarily, though not willingly, drawn to say something to the points he objected against sound doctrine; which I did in a short speech in the end of my sermon, with protestation of so doing not of any sinister affection to any man, but to bear witness to the truth according to my calling; and wished, if the matter should needs further be dealt in, some other more convenient way might be taken for it. Wherein, I hope, my dealing was manifest to the consciences of all indifferent hearers of me that day, to have been according to peace, and without any uncharitableness, being duly considered.
For that I conferred not with him the first day, I have shewed that the cause requiring of me the duty at the least not to be altogether silent in it, being a matter of such consequence, the time also being short wherein I was to preach after him, the hope of the fruit of our communication being small upon experience of former conferences, and my expectation being that the Church should be no further troubled with it, upon the motion I made of taking some other course of dealing; I suppose my deferring to speak with him till some fit opportunity, cannot in charity be judged uncharitable.
The second day, his unlooked-for opposition with the former reasons, made it to be a matter that required of necessity some public answer; which being so temperate as I have shewed, if notwithstanding it be censured as uncharitable, and punished so grievously as it is, what should have been my punishment, if (without all such cautions and respects as qualified my speech) I had before all, and in the understanding of all, so reproved him offending openly, that others might have feared to do the like? which yet, if I had done, might have been warranted by the rule and charge of the Apostle , “Them that offend openly, rebuke openly, that the rest may also fear;” and by his example, who, when Peter in this very case which is now between us, had, not in preaching, but in a matter of conversation, not “gone with a right foot, as was fit for the truth of the Gospel ,” conferred not privately with him, but, as his own rule required, reproved him openly before all, that others might hear, and fear, and not dare to do the like. All which reasons together weighed, I hope, will shew the manner of my dealing to have been charitable, and warrantable in every sort.
The next Sabbath day after this, Mr. Hooker kept the way he had entered into before, and bestowed his whole hour and more only upon the questions he had moved and maintained; wherein he so set forth the agreement of the church of Rome with us, and their disagreement from us, as if we had consented in the greatest and weightiest points, and differed only in certain smaller matters: which agreement noted by him in two chief points, is not such as he would have made men believe. The one, in that he said, “They acknowledge all men sinners, even the blessed Virgin, though some of them freed her from sin;” for the council of Trent holdeth , that she was free from sin. Another, in that he said, “They teach Christ’s righteousness to be the only meritorious cause of taking away sin, and differ from us only in the applying it:” for Thomas Aquinas their chief schoolman , and archbishop Catherinus , teach, “That Christ took away only original sin, and that the rest are to be taken away by ourselves;” yea, the council of Trent teacheth, “That righteousness whereby we are righteous in God’s sight, is an inherent righteousness;” which must needs be of our own works, and cannot be understood of the righteousness inherent only in Christ’s person, and accounted unto us. Moreover he taught the same time, “That neither the Galathians, nor the church of Rome, did directly overthrow the foundation of justification by Christ alone, but only by consequent, and therefore might well be saved; or else neither the churches of the Lutherans, nor any which hold any manner of error could be saved; because,” saith he, “every error by consequent overthroweth the foundation.” In which discourses, and such like, he bestowed his whole time and more; which, if he had affected either the truth of God, or the peace of the Church, he would truly not have done.
Whose example could not draw me to leave the Scripture I took in hand, but standing about an hour to deliver the doctrine of it, in the end, upon just occasion of the text, leaving sundry other his unsound speeches, and keeping me still to the principal, I confirmed the believing the doctrine of justification by Christ only, to be necessary to the justification of all that should be saved, and that the church of Rome directly denieth, that a man is saved by Christ, or by faith alone, without the works of the law. Which my answer, as it was most necessary for the service of God and the Church, so was it without any immodest or reproachful speech to Mr. Hooker: whose unsound and wilful dealings in a cause of so great importance to the faith of Christ, and salvation of the Church, notwithstanding I knew well what speech it deserved, and what some zealous earnest man of the spirit of John and James , surnamed Boanerges, Sons of Thunder, would have said in such case; yet I chose rather to content myself in exhorting him to revisit his doctrine, as Nathan the prophet did the device, which, without consulting with God, he had of himself given to David, concerning the building of the temple: and, with Peter the Apostle , to endure to be withstood in such a case, not unlike unto this. This in effect was that which passed between us concerning this matter, and the invectives I made against him, wherewith I am charged. Which rehearsal, I hope, may clear me (with all that shall indifferently consider it) of the blames laid upon me for want of duty to Mr. Hooker in not conferring with him, whereof I have spoken sufficiently already; and to the High Commission, in not revealing the matter to them, which yet now I am further to answer. My answer is, that I protest, no contempt nor wilful neglect of any lawful authority stayed me from complaining unto them, but these reasons following:
First, I was in some hope, that Mr. Hooker, notwithstanding he had been over-carried, with a show of charity, to prejudice the truth, yet when it should be sufficiently proved, would have acknowledged it, or at the least induced with peace, that it might be offered without any offence to him, to such as would receive it; either of which would have taken away any cause of just complaint. When neither of these fell out according to my expectation and desire, but that he replied to the truth, and objected against it, I thought he might have some doubts and scruples in himself; which yet, if they were cleared, he would either embrace sound doctrine, or at least suffer it to have its course: which hope of him I nourished so long, as the matter was not bitterly and immodestly handled between us.
Another reason was the cause itself, which, according to the parable of the tares, (which are said to be sown among the wheat,) sprung up first in his grass: therefore, as the servants in that place are not said to have come to complain to the Lord, till the tares came to shew their fruits in their kind; so I, thinking it yet but a time of discovering of what it was, desired not their sickle to cut it down.
For further answer, it is to be considered, that the conscience of my duty to God, and to his Church, did bind me at the first, to deliver sound doctrine in such points as had been otherwise uttered in that place, where I had now some years taught the truth; otherwise the rebuke of the Prophet had fallen upon me, for not going up to the breach, and standing in it, and the peril of answering for the blood of the city, in whose watch-tower I sate; if it had been surprised by my default. Moreover, my public protestation, in being willing , that if any were not yet satisfied, some other more convenient way might be taken for it. And, lastly, that I had resolved (which I uttered before to some, dealing with me about the matter) to have protested the next sabbath day, that I would no more answer in that place any objections to the doctrine taught by any means, but some other way satisfy such as should require it.
These, I trust, may make it appear, that I failed not in duty to authority, notwithstanding I did not complain, nor give over so soon dealing in the case. If I did, how is he clear, which can allege none of all these for himself? who leaving the expounding of the Scriptures, and his ordinary calling, voluntarily discoursed upon school points and questions, neither of edification nor of truth? Who after all this, as promising to himself, and to untruth, a victory by my silence, added yet in the next sabbath day, to the maintenance of his former opinions, these which follow:
“That no additament taketh away the foundation, except it be a privative; of which sort neither the works added to Christ by the church of Rome, nor circumcision by the Galathians, were; as one denieth him not to be a man, that saith, he is a righteous man, but he that saith he is a dead man:” whereby it might seem, that a man might, without hurt, add works to Christ, and pray also that God and St. Peter would save them.
“That the Galathians’ case is harder than the case of the church of Rome, because the Galathians joined circumcision with Christ, which God had forbidden and abolished; but that which the church of Rome joined with Christ, were good works, which God had commanded.” Wherein he committed a double fault: one, in expounding all the questions of the Galathians, and consequently of the Romans, and other Epistles, of circumcision only, and the ceremonies of the law (as they do, who answer for the church of Rome in their writings), contrary to the clear meaning of the Apostle, as may appear by many strong and sufficient reasons; the other, in that he said, “The addition of the church of Rome was of works commanded of God.” Whereas the least part of the works whereby they looked to merit, was of such works; and most were works of supererogation, and works which God never commanded, but was highly displeased with, as of masses, pilgrimages, pardons, pains of purgatory, and such like. Further, “That no one sequel urged by the Apostle against the Galathians for joining circumcision with Christ, but might be as well enforced against the Lutherans; that is, that for their ubiquity it may be as well said to them, If ye hold the body of Christ to be in all places, you are fallen from grace, you are under the curse of the law, saying, ‘Cursed be he that fulfilleth not all things written in this Book,’ ” with such like. He added yet further, “That to a bishop of the church of Rome, to a cardinal, yea, to the pope himself, acknowledging Christ to be the Saviour of the world, denying other errors, and being discomforted for want of works whereby he might be justified, he would not doubt, but use this speech; Thou holdest the foundation of Christian faith, though it be but by a slender thread; thou holdest Christ, though but by the hem of his garment; why shouldest thou not hope that virtue may pass from Christ to save thee? That which thou holdest of justification by thy works, overthroweth indeed by consequent the foundation of Christian faith; but be of good cheer, thou hast not to do with a captious sophister, but with a merciful God, who will justify thee for that thou holdest, and not take the advantage of doubtful construction to condemn thee. And if this (said he) be an error, I hold it willingly; for it is the greatest comfort I have in the world, without which I would not wish either to speak or live.” Thus far, being not to be answered in it any more, he was bold to proceed, the absurdity of which speech I need not to stand upon. I think the like to this, and other such in this sermon, and the rest of this matter, hath not been heard in public places within this land since Queen Mary’s days. What consequence this doctrine may be of, if he be not by authority ordered to revoke it, I beseech your honours, as the truth of God and his gospel is dear and precious unto you, according to your godly wisdom to consider.
I have been bold to offer to your honours a long and tedious discourse of these matters; but speech being like to tapestry, which, if it be folded up, sheweth but part of that which is wrought, and being unlapt and laid open, sheweth plainly to the eye all the work that is in it; I thought it necessary to unfold this tapestry, and to hang up the whole chamber of it in your most honourable senate, that so you may the more easily discern of all the pieces, and the sundry works and matters contained in it. Wherein my hope is, your honours may see I have not deserved so great a punishment as is laid upon the Church for my sake, and also upon myself, in taking from me the exercise of my ministry. Which punishment, how heavy it may seem to the Church, or fall out indeed to be, I refer it to them to judge, and spare to write what I fear, but to myself it is exceeding grievous, for that it taketh from me the exercise of my calling. Which I do not say is dear unto me, as the means of that little benefit whereby I live (although this be a lawful consideration, and to be regarded of me in due place, and of the authority under whose protection I most willingly live, even by God’s commandment both unto them and unto me); but which ought to be more precious unto me than my life, for the love which I should bear to the glory and honour of Almighty God, and to the edification and salvation of his Church, for that my life cannot any other way be of like service to God, nor of such use and profit to men by any means. For which cause, as I discern how dear my ministry ought to be unto me, so it is my hearty desire, and most humble request unto God, to your honours, and to all the authority I live under, to whom any dealing herein belongeth, that I may spend my life (according to his example , who in a word of like sound, but of fuller sense, comparing by it the bestowing of his life to the offering poured out) upon the sacrifice of the faith of God’s people, and especially of this church, whereupon I have already poured out a great part thereof in the same calling, from which I stand now restrained. And if your honours shall find it so, that I have not deserved so great a punishment, but rather performed the duty which a good and faithful servant ought, in such case, to do to his Lord and the people he putteth him in trust withal carefully to keep; I am a most humble suitor by these presents to your honours, that, by your godly wisdom, some good course may be taken for the restoring of me to my ministry and place again. Which so great a favour, shall bind me yet in a greater obligation of duty (which is already so great, as it seemed nothing could be added unto it to make it greater) to honour God daily for the continuance and increase of your good estate, and to be ready, with all the poor means God hath given me, to do your honours that faithful service I may possibly perform. But if, notwithstanding my cause be never so good, your honours can by no means pacify such as are offended, nor restore me again, then am I to rest in the good pleasure of God, and to commend to your honours’ protection, under her Majesty’s, my private life, while it shall be led in duty; and the Church to him, who hath redeemed to himself a people with his precious blood, and is making ready to come to judge both the quick and dead, to give to every one according as he hath done in this life, be it good or evil; to the wicked and unbelievers, justice unto death; but to the faithful, and such as love his truth, mercy and grace to life everlasting.
Your Honours’ most bounden, and
Most humble Supplicant ,
Minister of the Gospel .
MR. HOOKER’S ANSWER TO THE SUPPLICATION THAT MR. TRAVERS MADE TO THE COUNCIL.
To my Lord of Canterbury his Grace .
ANSWER to TRAVERS. 1.MY duty in most humble wise remembered, may it please your Grace to understand, that whereas there hath been a late controversy raised in the Temple, and pursued by Mr. Travers, upon conceit taken at some words by me uttered with a most simple and harmless meaning; in the heat of which pursuit, after three public invectives , silence being enjoined him by authority, he hath hereupon for defence of his proceedings, both presented the right honourable Lords and other of her Majesty’s privy council with a writing, and also caused or suffered the same to be copied out and spread through the hands of so many, that well nigh all sorts of men have it now in their bosoms ; the matters wherewith I am therein charged being of such quality as they are, and myself being better known to your Grace than to any other of their Honours besides, I have chosen to offer to your Grace’s hands a plain declaration of my innocency, in all those things wherewith I am so hardly and heavily charged, lest if I still remain silent, that which I do for quietness’ sake, be taken as an argument that I lack what to speak truly and justly in mine own defence.ANSWER to TRAVERS. 2, 3, 4.
2. First, because Mr. Travers thinketh it expedient to breed an opinion in men’s minds, that the root of all inconvenient events which are now sprung out, is the surly and unpeaceable disposition of the man with whom he hath to do; therefore the first in the rank of accusations laid against me, is my inconformity, which have so little inclined to so many and so earnest exhortations and conferences, as myself, he saith, can witness to have been spent upon me, for my better fashioning unto good correspondence and agreement.
3. Indeed when at the first, by means of special well-willers, without any suit of mine, as they very well know, (although I do not think it had been a mortal sin, in a reasonable sort to have shewed a moderate desire that way ,) yet when by their endeavour without instigation of mine, some reverend and honourable, favourably affecting me, had procured her Majesty’s grant of the place; at the very point of my entering thereinto, the evening before I was first to preach, he came, and two other gentlemen joined with him in the charge of this church, (for so he gave me to understand,) though not in the same kind of charge with him : the effect of his conference then was, that he thought it his duty to advise me not to enter with a strong hand, but to change my purpose of preaching there the next day, and to stay till he had given notice of me to the congregation, that so their allowance might seal my calling. The effect of mine answer was, that as in place where such order is, I would not break it; so here where it never was, I might not of mine own head take upon me to begin it: but liking very well the motion, for the opinion which I had of his good meaning who made it, requested him not to mislike my answer, though it were not correspondent to his mind.
4. When this had so displeased some, that whatsoever was afterwards done or spoken by me, it offended their taste, angry informations were daily sent out, intelligence given far and wide, what a dangerous enemy was crept in;ANSWER to TRAVERS. 5. the worst that jealousy could imagine was spoken and written to so many, that at the length some knowing me well, and perceiving how injurious the reports were, which grew daily more and more unto my discredit, wrought means to bring Mr. Travers and me to a second conference. Wherein when a common friend unto us both had quietly requested him to utter those things wherewith he found himself any way aggrieved , he first renewed the memory of my entering into this charge by virtue only of a human creature (for so the want of that formality of popular allowance was then censured); and unto this was annexed a catalogue, partly of causeless surmises, as that I had conspired against him, and that I sought superiority over him; and partly of faults, which to note, I should have thought it a greater offence than to commit, if I did account them faults, and had heard them so curiously observed in any other than myself, they are such silly things; as praying in the entrance of my sermons only, and not in the end , naming bishops in my prayer, kneeling when I pray, and kneeling when I receive the Communion, with such like, which I would be as loth to recite, as I was sorry to hear them objected, if the rehearsal thereof were not by him thus wrested from me. These are the conferences wherewith I have been wooed to entertain peace and good agreement.
5. As for the vehement exhortations he speaketh of, I would gladly know some reason wherefore he thought them needful to be used. Was there any thing found in my speeches or dealings, which gave them occasion, who are studious of peace, to think that I disposed myself to some unquiet kind of proceedings? Surely the special providence of God I do now see it was, that the first words I spake in this place should make the first thing whereof I am accused to appear not only untrue, but improbable, to as many as then heard me with indifferent ears, and do I doubt not in their consciences clear me of this suspicion. Howbeit, I grant this were nothing, if it might be shewed, that my deeds following were not suitable to my words. If I had spoken of peace at the first, and afterwards sought to molest and grieve him, by crossing him in his function, by storming if my pleasure were not asked and my will obeyed in the least occurrences , by carping needlessly sometimes at the manner of his teaching, sometimes at this, sometimes at that point of his doctrine; I might then with some likelihood have been blamed, as one disdaining a peaceable hand when it hath been offered. But if I be able (as I am) to prove that myself have now a full year together borne the continuance of such dealings, not only without any manner of resistance, but also without any such complaint as might let or hinder him in his course; I see no cause in the world, why of this I should be accused, unless it be, lest I should accuse, which I meant not. If therefore I have given him occasion to use conferences and exhortations unto peace, if when they were bestowed upon me I have despised them, it will not be hard to shew some one word or deed wherewith I have gone about to work disturbance: one is not much, I require but one. Only I require if any thing be shewed, it may be proved, and not objected only, as this is, “That I have joined with such as have always opposed to any good order in this church, and made themselves to be thought indisposed to the present estate and proceedings.” The words have reference, as it seemeth, unto some such things, as being attempted before my coming to the Temple, went not so effectually perhaps forward as he which devised them would have wished. An order, as I learn, there was tendered, that communicants should neither kneel, as in the most places of the realm ; nor sit, as in this place the custom is; but walk to the one side of the table, and there standing till they had received, pass afterward away round about by the other . Which being on a sudden begun to be practised in the church, some sat wondering what it should mean, others deliberating what to do: till such time as at length by name one of them being openly called thereunto, requested that they might do as they had been accustomed; which was granted, and as Mr. Travers had ministered his way to the rest, so a curate was sent to minister to them after their way. Which unprosperous beginning of a thing (saving only for the inconvenience of needless alterations, otherwise harmless) did so disgrace that order in their conceit who had to allow or disallow it, that it took no place. For neither they could ever induce themselves to think it good, and it so much offended Mr. Travers, who supposed it to be the best, that he since that time, although contented himself to receive it as they do at the hands of others, yet hath not thought it meet they should ever receive it out of his, which would not admit that order of receiving it, and therefore in my time hath been always present not to minister but only to be ministered unto.
6. Another order there was likewise devised, an order of much more weight and importance. This soil, in respect of certain immunities and other specialties belonging unto it, seemed likely to bear that which in other places of the realm of England doth not take. For which cause request was made to some of her majesty’s privy council, that whereas it is provided by a statute there should be collectors and sidemen in churches, which thing, or somewhat correspondent unto it, this place did greatly want, it would please their Honours to motion such a matter to the Ancients of the Temple. And, according to their honourable manner of helping forward all motions so grounded, they wrote their letters, as I am informed, to that effect. Whereupon, although these Houses never had use of such collectors and sidemen as are appointed in other places, yet they both erected a box to receive men’s devotion for the poor, appointing the treasurer of both Houses to take care for bestowing it where need is; and granted further, that if any could be intreated (as in the end some were) to undertake the labour of observing men’s slackness in divine duties, they should be allowed, their complaints heard at all times, and the faults they complained of, if Mr. Travers’ private admonition did not serve, then by some other means redressed, but according to the old received orders of both Houses .ANSWER to TRAVERS. 6. Whereby the substance of their Honours’ letters was indeed fully satisfied. Yet because Mr. Travers intended not this, but as it seemeth , another thing; therefore notwithstanding the orders which have been taken, and for any thing I know, do stand still in as much force in this church now as at any time heretofore, he complaineth much that the good orders which he doth mean have been withstood. Now it were hard, if as many as any where oppose unto these and the like orders, in his persuasion good, do thereby make themselves to be thought dislikers of the present state and proceedings. If they whom he aimeth at have any otherwise made themselves to be thought such, it is likely he doth know wherein, and will I hope disclose to whom it appertaineth, both the persons whom he thinketh and the causes why he thinketh them so ill-affected. But whatsoever the men be, do their faults make me faulty? They do, if I join myself with them. I beseech him therefore to declare wherein I have joined with them. Other joining than this with any man here, I cannot imagine: it may be I have talked, or walked, or eaten, or interchangeably used the duties of common humanity, with some such as he is hardly persuaded of. For I know no law of God or man, by force whereof they should be as heathens and publicans unto me, that are not gracious in the eyes of another man, perhaps without cause, or if with cause, yet such cause as he is privy unto, and not I. Could he or any reasonable man think it a charitable course in me, to observe them that shew by external courtesies a favourable inclination towards him, and if I spy out any one amongst them of whom I think not well, hereupon to draw such an accusation as this against him, and to offer it where he hath given up his against me? which notwithstanding I will acknowledge to be just and reasonable, if he or any man living shall shew, that I use as much as the bare familiar company but of one, who by word or deed hath ever given me cause to suspect or conjecture him such as here they are termed, with whom complaint is made that I join myself. This being spoken therefore and written without all possibility of proof, doth not Mr. Travers give me over-great cause to stand in some fear lest he make too little conscience how he useth his tongue or pen?ANSWER to TRAVERS. 7, 8. These things are not laid against me for nothing; they are to some purpose if they take place. For in a mind persuaded that I am as he deciphereth me, one which refuse to be at peace with such as embrace the truth, and side myself with men sinisterly affected thereunto, any thing that shall be spoken concerning the unsoundness of my doctrine cannot choose but be favourably entertained. This presupposed, it will have likelihood enough which afterwards followeth, that “many of my sermons have tasted of some sour leaven or other,” that in them he hath “discovered sundry unsound matters.” A thing greatly to be lamented, that such a place as this, which might have been so well provided for, hath fallen into the hands of one no better instructed in the truth. But what if in the end it be found that he judgeth my words, as they do colours, which look upon them with green spectacles, and think that which they see is green, when indeed that is green whereby they see.
7. Touching the first point of his discovery, which is about the matter of predestination, to set down that I spake, (for I have it written,) to declare and confirm the several branches thereof, would be tedious now in this writing, where I have so many things to touch that I can but touch them only. Neither is it herein so needful for me to justify my speech, when the very place and presence where I spake, doth itself speak sufficiently for my clearing. This matter was not broached in a blind alley, or uttered where none was to hear it, that had skill with authority to control, or covertly insinuated by some gliding sentence.
8. That which I taught was at Paul’s Cross; it was not huddled in amongst other matters, in such sort that it could pass without noting; it was opened, it was proved, it was some reasonable time stood upon. I see not which way my Lord of London , who was present and heard it, can excuse so great a fault, as patiently, without rebuke or controlment afterwards, to hear any man there teach otherwise than “the word of God doth,” not as it is understood by the private interpretation of some one or two men, or by a special construction received in some few books, but as it is understood “by all the churches professing the gospel;”ANSWER to TRAVERS 9, 10. by them all, and therefore even by our own also amongst others. A man that did mean to prove that he speaketh, would surely take the measure of his words shorter.
9. The next thing discovered, is an opinion about the assurance of men’s persuasion in matters of faith. I have taught, he saith, “That the assurance of things which we believe by the word, is not so certain as of that we perceive by sense.” And is it as certain? Yea, I taught, as he himself I trust will not deny, that the things which God doth promise in his word are surer unto us than any thing we touch, handle, or see; but are we so sure and certain of them? if we be, why doth God so often prove his promises unto us, as he doth, by arguments taken from our sensible experience ? We must be surer of the proof than of the thing proved, otherwise it is no proof. How is it, that if ten men do all look upon the moon, every one of them knoweth it as certainly to be the moon as another; but many believing one and the same promises, all have not one and the same fulness of persuasion? How falleth it out, that men being assured of any thing by sense, can be no surer of it than they are; whereas the strongest in faith that liveth upon the earth, hath always need to labour, and strive, and pray, that his assurance concerning heavenly and spiritual things may grow, increase, and be augmented?
10. The sermon wherein I have spoken somewhat largely of this point, was, long before this late controversy rose between him and me, upon request of some of my friends seen and read by many, and amongst many, some who are thought able to discern; and I never heard that any one of them hitherto hath condemned it as containing unsound matter. My case were very hard, if as oft as any thing I speak displeaseth one man’s taste my doctrine upon his only word should be taken for sour leaven.ANSWER to TRAVERS. 11, 12.
11. The rest of this discovery is all about the matter now in question, wherein he hath two faults predominant, which would tire out any that should answer unto every point severally: unapt speaking of school-controversies; and of my words sometimes so untoward a reciting, that he which should promise to draw a man’s countenance, and did indeed express the parts, at leastwise the most of them, truly, but perversely place them, could not represent a more offensive visage, than unto me mine own speech seemeth in some places, as he hath ordered it. For answer whereunto, that writing is sufficient, wherein I have set down both my words and meaning in such sort, that where this accusation doth deprave the one, and either misinterpret, or without just cause mislike the other, it will appear so plainly, that I may spare very well to take upon me a new and a needless labour here.
12. Only at one thing which is there to be found, because Mr. Travers doth here seem to take such a special advantage, as if the matter were unanswerable, he constraineth me either to detect his oversight, or to confess mine own in it. In setting the question between the church of Rome and us about grace and justification, lest I should give them an occasion to say, as commonly they do, that when we cannot refute their opinions, we propose to ourselves such instead of theirs, as we can refute; I took it for the best and most perspicuous way of teaching, to declare first, how far we do agree, and then to shew our disagreement; not generally (as Mr. Travers his words would carry it, for the easier fastening of that upon me, wherewith, saving only by him, I was never in my life touched);ANSWER to TRAVERS. 13. but about the matter of justification only ; for farther I had no cause to meddle at that time. What was then mine offence in this case? I did, as he saith, so set it out as if we had consented in the greatest and weightiest points, and differed only in smaller matters. It will not be found, when it cometh to the balance, a light difference when we disagree, as I did acknowledge that we do, about the very essence of the medicine, whereby Christ cureth our disease. Did I go about to make a shew of agreement in the weightiest points, and was I so fond as not to conceal our disagreement about this? I do wish that some indifferency were used by them that have taken the weighing of my words.
13. Yea, but our agreement is not such in two of the chiefest points, as I would have men believe it is: and what are they? The one is, I said, “They acknowledge all men sinners, even the Blessed Virgin, though some of them free her from sin.” Put the case I had affirmed, that only some of them free her from sin, and had delivered it as the most current opinion amongst them, that she was conceived in sin: doth not Bonaventure say plainly, “omnes fere,” in a manner all men do hold this? doth he not bring many reasons wherefore all men should hold it? were their voices since that time ever counted, and their number found smaller which hold it, than theirs that hold the contrary? Let the question then be, whether I might say, the most of them “acknowledge all men sinners, even the Blessed Virgin herself.” To shew that their general received opinion is the contrary, the Tridentine council is alleged, peradventure not altogether so considerately. For if that council have by resolute determination freed her, if it hold, as Mr. Travers saith it doth, that she was free from sin, then must the church of Rome needs condemn them that hold the contrary. For what that council holdeth, the same they all do and must hold. But in the church of Rome, who knoweth not, that it is a thing indifferent to think and defend the one or the other? So that this argument, the council of Trent holdeth the Virgin free from sin, ergo, it is plain that none of them may, and therefore untrue that most of them do, acknowledge her a sinner, were forcible to overthrow my supposed assertion, if it were true that the council did hold this. But to the end it may clearly appear, how it neither holdeth this nor the contrary, I will open what many do conceive of the canon that concerneth this matter. The fathers of Trent perceived, that if they should define of this matter, it would be dangerous howsoever it were determined. If they freed her from original sin, the reasons against them are unanswerable, which Bonaventure and others do allege, but especially Thomas , whose line as much as may be they follow. Again if they did resolve the other way, they should control themselves in another thing, which in no case might be altered. For they profess to keep no day holy in the honour of an unholy thing; and the Virgin’s conception they honour with a feast , which they could not abrogate without cancelling a constitution of Xystus Quartus. And that which is worse, the world might perhaps hereupon suspect, that if the church of Rome did amiss before in this, it is not impossible for her to fail in other things. In the end, they did wisely cut out their canon by a middle thread, establishing the feast of the Virgin’s conception, and leaving the other question doubtful as they found it; giving only a caveat, that no man should take the decree which pronounceth all mankind originally sinful, for a definitive sentence concerning the Blessed Virgin. This in my sight is plain by their own words, “Declarat hæc ipsa sancta Synodus ,” &c. Wherefore our countrymen at Rhemes, mentioning this point, are marvellous wary, how they speak; they touch it as though it were a hot coal : “Many godly devout men judge that our blessed lady was neither born nor conceived in sin.” It is not their wont to speak so nicely of things definitively set down in that council.
In like sort we find that the rest which have since the time of the Tridentine synod written of original sin, are in this point for the most part either silent or very sparing in their speech; and when they speak, either doubtful what to think, or whatsoever they think themselves, fearful to set down any certain determination. If I be thought to take the canon of that council otherwise than they themselves do, let him expound it whose sentence was neither last asked nor his pen least occupied in setting it down; I mean Andradius , whom Gregory the Thirteenth hath allowed plainly to confess , that it is a matter which neither express evidence of Scripture , nor the tradition of the Fathers, nor the sentence of the Church hath determined; that they are too surly and self-willed, which, defending either opinion, are displeased with them by whom the other is maintained; finally that the Fathers of Trent have not set down any certainty about this question, but left it doubtful and indifferent.
Now whereas my words, which I had set down in writing before I uttered them, were indeed these, “Although they imagine that the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ were for his honour and by his special protection preserved clean from all sin, yet concerning the rest they teach as we do, that all have sinned:” against my words they might with more pretence take exception, because so many of them think she had sin, which exception notwithstanding, the proposition being indefinite and the matter contingent, they cannot take, because they grant that many whom they count grave and devout amongst them think that she was clear from all sin.ANSWER to TRAVERS. 14. But whether Mr. Travers did note my words himself, or take them upon the credit of some other man’s noting, the tables were faulty wherein it was noted, “All men sinners, even the Blessed Virgin;” when my speech was rather, All men except the Blessed Virgin.”
To leave this; another fault he findeth, that I said, “They teach Christ’s righteousness to be the only meritorious cause of taking away sin, and differ from us only in the applying of it.” I did say and do, “They teach as we do , that although Christ be the only meritorious cause of our justice, yet as a medicine, which is made for health, doth not heal by being made, but by being applied; so, by the merits of Christ, there can be no life nor justification, without the application of his merits: but about the manner of applying Christ, about the number and power of means whereby he is applied, we dissent from them.” This of our dissenting from them is acknowledged.
14. Our agreement in the former is denied to be such as I pretend. Let their own words therefore and mine concerning them be compared. Doth not Andradius plainly confess ; “Our sins doth shut, and only the merits of Christ open the entering into blessedness?” And Soto , “It is put for a ground, that all, since the fall of Adam, obtain salvation only by the Passion of Christ: howbeit as no cause can be effectual without applying, so neither can any man be saved, to whom the suffering of Christ is not applied.” In a word, who not? when the council of Trent reckoning up the causes of our first justification, doth name no end but God’s glory and our felicity; no efficient but his mercy; no instrumental but baptism; no meritorious but Christ; whom to have merited the taking away of no sin but original is not their opinion: which himself will find, when he hath well examined his witnesses, Catharinus and Thomas. Their Jesuits are marvellous angry with the men out of whose gleanings Mr. Travers seemeth to have taken this; they openly disclaim it, they say plainly, “Of all the catholics there is no one that did ever so teach,” they make solemn protestation, “We believe and profess that Christ upon the cross hath altogether satisfied for all sins, as well original as actual .” Indeed they teach, that the merit of Christ doth not take away actual sin in such sort as it doth original; wherein if their doctrine had been understood, I for my speech had never been accused. As for the council of Trent concerning inherent righteousness, what doth it here? No man doubteth but they make another formal cause of justification than we do.ANSWER to TRAVERS. 15, 16. In respect whereof, I have shewed already that we disagree about the very essence of that which cureth our spiritual disease. Most true it is which the grand philosopher hath, “Every man judgeth well of that which he knoweth ;” and therefore, till we know the things throughly whereof we judge, it is a point of judgment to stay our judgment.
15. Thus much labour being spent in discovering the unsoundness of my doctrine, some pains he taketh further to open faults in the manner of my teaching, as that “I bestowed my whole hour and more, my time and more than my time, in discourses utterly impertinent to my text.” Which if I had done, it might have past without complaining of to the privy-council.
16. But I did worse, as he saith; “I left the expounding of the Scriptures, and my ordinary calling, and discoursed upon school-points and questions, neither of edification, nor of truth.” I read no lecture in the law or in physic. And except the bounds of ordinary calling may be drawn like a purse, how are they so much wider unto him than to me, that he within the limits of his ordinary calling should reprove that in me which he understood not, and I labouring that both he and others might understand, could not do this without forsaking my calling? The matter whereof I spake was such, as being at the first by me but lightly touched, he had in that place openly contradicted , and solemnly taken upon him to disprove. If therefore it were a school-question, and unfit to be discoursed of there, that which was in me but a proposition only at the first, wherefore made he a problem of it? Why took he first upon him to maintain the negative of that which I had affirmatively spoken, only to shew mine own opinion, little thinking that ever it would have made a question? Of what nature soever the question were, I could do no less than there explain myself to them, unto whom I was accused of unsound doctrine; wherein if to shew what had been through ambiguity mistaken in my words, or misapplied by him in this cause against me, I used the distinctions and helps of schools, I trust that herein I have committed no unlawful thing. These school-implements are acknowledged by grave and wise men not unprofitable to have been invented. The most approved for learning and judgment do use them without blame; the use of them hath been well liked in some that have taught even in this very place before me; the quality of my hearers is such, that I could not but think them of capacity very sufficient for the most part to conceive harder than I used any; the cause I had in hand did in my judgment necessarily require them which were then used; when my words spoken generally without distinctions had been perverted, what other way was there for me, but by distinctions to lay them open in their right meaning, that it might appear to all men whether they were consonant to truth or no? And although Mr. Travers be so inured with the city, that he thinketh it unmeet to use any speech which savoureth of the school, yet his opinion is no canon. Though unto him, his mind being troubled, my speech did seem like fetters and manacles, yet there might be some more calmly affected which thought otherwise; his private judgment will hardly warrant his bold words, that the things which I spake “were neither of edification nor truth.” They might edify some other, for any thing he knoweth, and be true for any thing he proveth to the contrary. For it is no proof to cry, “Absurdities, the like whereunto have not been heard in public places within this land since Queen Mary’s days.” If this came in earnest from him, I am sorry to see him so much offended without cause; more sorry, that his fit should be so extreme, to make him speak he knoweth not what. That I neither “affected the truth of God, nor the peace of the Church,” mihi pro minimo est. It doth not much move me when Mr. Travers doth say that, which I trust a greater than Mr. Travers will gainsay.
ANSWER to TRAVERS. 17.17. Now let all this which hitherto he hath said be granted him, let it be as he would have it, let my doctrine and manner of teaching be as much disallowed by all men’s judgments as by his, what is all this to his purpose? He himself allegeth this to be the cause why he bringeth it in; the High Commissioners “charge him with an indiscretion and want of duty in that he inveighed against certain points of doctrine taught by me as erroneous, not conferring first with me, nor complaining of it to them.” Which faults, a sea of such matter as he hath hitherto waded in will never be able to scour from him. For the avoiding of schism and disturbance in the Church, which must needs grow if all men might think what they list and speak openly what they think; therefore by a decree agreed upon by the Bishops and confirmed by her Majesty’s authority , it was ordered that erroneous doctrine, if it were taught publickly, should not be publickly refuted;ANSWER to TRAVERS. 18. but that notice thereof should be given unto such as are by her Highness appointed to hear and to determine such causes. For breach of which order, when he is charged with lack of duty, all the faults that can be heaped upon me will make but a weak defence for him: as surely his defence is not much stronger, when he allegeth for himself, that “he was in some hope his speech in proving the truth, and clearing those scruples which I had in myself, might cause me either to embrace sound doctrine, or suffer it to be embraced of others, which if I did he should not need to complain;” that “it was meet he should first discover what I had sown, and make it manifest to be tares, and then desire their scythe to cut it down;” that conscience did bind him to do otherwise than the foresaid order requireth;” that “he was unwilling to deal in that public manner, and wished a more convenient way were taken for it;” that “he had resolved to have protested the next sabbath-day, that he would some other way satisfy such as should require it, and not deal more in that place.” Be it imagined, (let me not be taken as if I did compare the offenders, when I do not, but their answers only,) be it imagined that a libeller did make this apology for himself; “I am not ignorant that if I have just matter against any man the law is open, there are judges to hear it, and courts where it ought to be complained of; I have taken another course against such or such a man, yet without breach of duty, forasmuch as I am able to yield a reason of my doing; I conceived some hope that a little discredit amongst men would make him ashamed of himself, and that his shame would work his amendment; which if it did, other accusation there should not need:” could his answer be thought sufficient, could it in the judgment of discreet men free him from all blame? No more can the hope which Mr. Travers conceived to reclaim me by public speech, justify his fault against the established order of the church.
18. His thinking it meet “he should first openly discover to the people the tares that had been sown amongst them, and then require the hand of authority to mow them down,” doth only make it a question whether his opinion that this was meet, may be a privilege or protection against that lawful constitution which had before determined of it as of a thing unmeet.ANSWER to TRAVERS. 19, 20. Which question I leave for them to discuss whom it most concerneth. If the order be such that it cannot be kept without hazarding a thing so precious as a good conscience, the peril whereof could be no greater to him than it needs must be to all others whom it toucheth in like causes ; when this is evident, it will be a most effectual motive not only for England, but also for other reformed churches, even Geneva itself, (for they have the like,) to change or take that away which cannot but with great inconvenience be observed. In the meanwhile, the breach of it may in such consideration be pardoned, (which truly I wish, howsoever it be), yet hardly defended as long as it standeth in force uncancelled.
19. Now whereas he confesseth another way had “been more convenient,” and that he found in himself secret unwillingness to do that which he did, doth he not plainly say in effect that the light of his own understanding proved the way he took perverse and crooked; reason was so plain and pregnant against it, that his mind was alienated, his will averted to another course? yet somewhat there was which so far overruled, that it must needs be done even against the very stream: what doth this bewray? Finally, his purposed protestation, whereby he meant openly to make it known, that he did not allow this kind of proceeding, and therefore would satisfy men otherwise, “and deal no more in this place,” sheweth his good mind in this, that he meant to stay himself from further offending; but it serveth not his turn. He is blamed because the thing he had done was amiss, and his answer is, That which I would have done afterward had been well, if so be I had done it.
20. But as in this he standeth persuaded that he hath done nothing besides duty, so he taketh it hardly that the High Commissioners should charge him with indiscretion. Whereof as if he could so wash his hands, he maketh a long and a large declaration concerning the carriage of himself; how he waded in matters “of smaller weight,” and how in things of greater “moment;”ANSWER to TRAVERS. 20. how warily he dealt; how “naturally he took his things rising from the text;” how closely he kept himself “to the Scripture he took in hand;” how much pains he “took to confirm the necessity of believing justification by Christ only,” and to shew how “the church of Rome denieth that a man is saved by faith alone without works of the law;” what “the Sons of Thunder would have done” if they had been in his case; that his “answer was very temperate, without immodest or reproachful speech;” that when he might “before all have reproved me,” he did not, “but contented himself with exhorting me” before all “to follow Nathan’s example and revisit my doctrine;” when he might have followed St. Paul’s example in “reproving” Peter, he did not, but exhorted me with Peter to “endure to be withstood.” This testimony of his discreet carrying himself in the handling of his matter, being more agreeably framed and given him by another than by himself, might make somewhat for the praise of his person; but for defence of his action unto them by whom he is thought undiscreet for not conferring privately before he spake, will it serve to answer that when he spake he did it considerately? He perceiveth it will not, and therefore addeth reasons such as they are. As namely how he purposed at the first to take another course, and that was this, “publicly to deliver the truth of such doctrine as I had otherwise taught, and at convenient opportunity to confer with me upon such points.” Is this the rule of Christ, If thy brother offend openly in his speech , control it first with contrary speech openly, and confer with him afterwards upon it, when convenient opportunity serveth? Is there any law of God or of man whereupon to ground such a resolution, any Church extant in the world where teachers are allowed thus to do or to be done unto? He cannot but see how weak an allegation it is, when he bringeth in his following this course, first in one matter and so afterwards in another, to approve himself now following it again. For if the very purpose of doing a thing so uncharitable be a fault, the deed is a greater fault; and doth the doing of it twice make it the third time fit and allowable to be done? The weight of the cause, which is his third defence, relieveth him as little.ANSWER to TRAVERS. 21. The weightier it was the more it required conference, advice , and consultation, the more it stood him upon to take good heed that nothing were rashly done or spoken in it. But he meaneth “weighty” in regard of the wonderful danger, except he had presently withstood me, without expecting a time of conference. “This cause being of such moment that might prejudice the faith of Christ, encourage the ill-affected to continue still in their damnable ways, and other weak in faith to suffer themselves to be seduced to the destruction of their souls, he thought it his bounden duty to speak before he talked with me.” A man that should read this and not know what I had spoken might imagine that I had at the least denied the divinity of Christ. But they which were present at my speech, and can testify that nothing passed my lips more than is contained in their writings, whom for soundness of doctrine, learning, and judgment, Mr. Travers himself doth, I dare say, not only allow, but honour; they which heard and do know, that the doctrine here signified in so fearful manner, the doctrine that was so dangerous to the faith of Christ, that was so likely to “encourage ill-affected men to continue still in damnable ways,” that gave so great cause to tremble for fear of the present “destruction of souls,” was only this; “I doubt not but God was merciful to save thousands of our fathers living heretofore in popish superstitions, inasmuch as they sinned ignorantly;” and this spoken in a sermon, the greatest part whereof was against popery; they will hardly be able to discern how Christianity should herewith be so grievously shaken.
21. Whereby his fourth excuse is also taken from him. For what doth it boot him to say, “The time was short wherein he was to preach after me,” when his preaching of this matter perhaps ought, surely might have been either very well omitted, or at the least more conveniently for a while deferred, even by their judgments that cast the most favourable aspect towards these his hasty proceedings. The poison which men had taken at my hands was not so quick and strong in operation as in eight days to make them past cure; by eight days’ delay there was no likelihood that the force and power of his speech could die;ANSWER to TRAVERS. 22. longer meditation might bring better and stronger proofs to mind than extemporal dexterity could furnish him with; and who doth know whether time, the only mother of sound judgment and discreet dealing, might have given that action of his some better ripeness, which by so great festination hath, as a thing born out of time, brought small joy unto him that begat it? Doth he think it had not been better that neither my speech had seemed in his eyes as an arrow sticking in a thigh of flesh , nor his own as a child whereof he must needs be delivered by an hour? His last way of disburdening himself is, by casting his load upon my back, as if I had brought him by former conferences out of hope that any fruit would ever come of conferring with me. Loth I am to rip up those conferences, whereof he maketh but a slippery and loose relation. In one of them the question between us was, whether the persuasion of faith concerning remission of sins, eternal life, and whatsoever God doth promise unto man, be as free from doubting as the persuasion which we have by sense concerning things tasted, felt, and seen. For the negative I mentioned their example, whose faith in Scripture is most commended, and the experience, which all faithful men have continually had of themselves. For proof of the affirmative which he held I desiring to have some reason, heard nothing but “all good writers” oftentimes inculcated. At the length, upon request to see some one of them, Peter Martyr’s Common Places were brought, where the leaves were turned down at a place sounding to this effect, “That the Gospel doth make true Christians more virtuous than moral philosophy did make heathens :” which came not near the question by many miles.
22. In the other conference he questioned about the matter of reprobation, misliking first that I had termed God a permissive, and no positive cause of the evil, which the schoolmen do call malum culpæ; secondly that to their objection who say, “If I be elected, do what I will, I shall be saved,” I had answered, that the will of God in this thing is not absolute but conditional, to save his elect believing, fearing, and obediently serving him;ANSWER to TRAVERS. 23. thirdly that to stop the mouths of such as grudge and repine against God for rejecting castaways, I had taught that they are not rejected no not in the purpose and counsel of God, without a foreseen worthiness of rejection going though not in time yet in order before. For if God’s electing do in order (as needs it must) presuppose the foresight of their being that are elected, though they be elected before they be; nor only the positive foresight of their being, but also the permissive of their being miserable, because election is through mercy, and mercy doth always presuppose misery: it followeth, that the very chosen of God acknowledge to the praise of the riches of his exceeding free compassion, that when he in his secret determination set it down, “Those shall live and not die,” they lay as ugly spectacles before him, as lepers covered with dung and mire, as ulcers putrefied in their fathers’ loins, miserable, worthy to be had in detestation; and shall any forsaken creature be able to say unto God, Thou didst plunge me into the depth and assign me unto endless torments only to satisfy thine own will, finding nothing in me for which I could seem in thy sight so well worthy to feel everlasting flames?
23. When I saw that Mr. Travers carped at these things, only because they lay not open, I promised at some convenient time to make them clear as light both to him and to all others . Which if they that reprove me will not grant me leave to do, they must think that they are for some cause or other more desirous to have me reputed an unsound man, than willing that my sincere meaning should appear and be approved. When I was farther asked what my grounds were, I answered that St. Paul’s words concerning this cause were my grounds. His next demand, what author I did follow in expounding St. Paul and gathering the doctrine out of his words, against the judgment, he saith, “of all churches and all good writers.” I was well assured that to control this overreaching speech, the sentences which I might have cited out of Church Confessions, together with the best learned monuments of former times, and not the meanest of our own, were mo in number than perhaps he would willingly have heard of;ANSWER to TRAVERS. 24. but what had this booted me? For although he himself in generality do much use those formal speeches, “all churches,” and “all good writers:” yet as he holdeth it in the pulpit lawful to say in general, the Painims think this, or the Heathen that, but utterly unlawful to cite any sentence of theirs that say it; so he gave me at that time great cause to think, that my particular alleging of other men’s words to shew their agreement with mine, would as much have displeased his mind, as the thing itself for which they had been alleged. For he knoweth how often he hath in public place bitten me for this, although I did never in any sermon use many of the sentences of other writers, and do make most without any; having always thought it meetest neither to affect nor to contemn the use of them.
24. He is not ignorant, that in the very entrance to the talk which we had privately at that time, to prove it unlawful altogether in preaching, either for confirmation, declaration, or otherwise, to cite any thing but mere canonical scripture, he brought in, “The Scripture is given by inspiration, and is profitable to teach, to improve,” &c. urging much the vigour of these two clauses, “the man of God,” and “every good work.” If therefore the work were good which he required at my hands, if privately to shew why I thought the doctrine I had delivered to be according to St. Paul’s meaning were a good work, can they which take the place before alleged for a law condemning every man of God who in doing the work of preaching any way useth human authority, like it in me, if in the work of strengthening that which I had preached, I should bring forth the testimonies and the sayings of mortal men? I alleged therefore that which might under no pretence in the world be disallowed, namely reason ; not meaning thereby mine own reason as now it is reported, but true, sound, divine reason; reason whereby those conclusions might be out of St. Paul demonstrated, and not probably discoursed of only; reason proper to that science whereby the things of God are known; theological reason, which out of principles in Scripture that are plain, soundly deduceth more doubtful inferences, in such sort that being heard they neither can be denied, nor any thing repugnant unto them received,ANSWER to TRAVERS. 25. but whatsoever was before otherwise by miscollecting gathered out of darker places, is thereby forced to yield itself, and the true consonant meaning of sentences not understood is brought to light. This is the reason which I intended. If it were possible for me to escape the ferula in any thing I do or speak, I had undoubtedly escaped it in this. In this I did that which by some is enjoined as the only allowable, but granted by all as the most sure and safe way whereby to resolve things doubted of, in matters appertaining to faith and Christian religion. So that Mr. Travers had here small cause given him to be weary of conferring, unless it were in other respects than that poor one which is here pretended, that is to say, the little hope he had of doing me any good by conference.
25. Yet behold his first reason of not complaining to the High Commission is, that sith I offended only through an overcharitable inclination, he conceived good hope, when I should see the truth cleared and some scruples which were in my mind removed by his diligence, I would yield. But what experience soever he had of former conferences, how small soever his hope was that fruit would come of it if he should have conferred, will any man judge this a cause sufficient why to open his mouth in public without any one word privately spoken? He might have considered that men do sometimes reap where they sow but with small hope; he might have considered that although unto me (whereof he was not certain neither) but if to me his labour should be as water spilt or poured into a torn dish, yet to him it could not be fruitless to do that which order in Christian churches, that which charity among Christian men, that which at any man’s hands even common humanity itself, at his many other things besides did require. What fruit could there come of his open contradicting in so great haste with so small advice, but such as must needs be unpleasant and mingled with much acerbity? Surely he which will take upon him to defend that in this there was no oversight, must beware lest by such defences he leave an opinion dwelling in the minds of men that he is more stiff to maintain what he hath done, than careful to do nothing but that which may justly be maintained.ANSWER to TRAVERS. 26.
26. Thus have I, as near as I could, seriously answered things of weight: with smaller I have dealt as I thought their quality did require. I take no joy in striving, I have not been nuzzled or trained up in it. I would to Christ they which have at this present enforced me hereunto, had so ruled their hands in any reasonable time, that I might never have been constrained to strike so much as in mine own defence. Wherefore to prosecute this long and tedious contention no further, shall I wish that your Grace and their Honours (unto whose intelligence the dutiful regard which I have of their judgments maketh me desirous that as accusations have been brought against me, so this my answer thereunto may likewise come) did both with the one and the other, as Constantine with the books containing querulous matter . Whether this be convenient to be wished or no, I cannot tell. But sith there can come nothing of contention but the mutual waste of the parties contending, till a common enemy dance in the ashes of them both, I do wish heartily that the grave advice which Constantine gave for reuniting of his clergy, so many times upon so small occasions in so lamentable sort divided, or rather the strict commandment of Christ unto his that they should not be divided at all, may at length if it be his blessed will, prevail so far at the least in this corner of the Christian world, to the burying and quite forgetting of strife, together with the causes which have either bred it or brought it up; that things of small moment never disjoin them, whom one God, one Lord, one Faith, one Spirit, one Baptism, bands of great force, have linked; that a respective eye towards things wherewith we should not be disquieted make us not, as through infirmity the very patriarchs themselves sometimes were, full gorged, unable to speak peaceably to their own brother; finally that no strife may ever be heard of again but this, who shall hate strife most, who shall pursue peace and unity with swiftest paces.
A LEARNED SERMON OF THE NATURE OF PRIDE .
Habak. ii. 4.
His mind swelleth, and is not right in him: but the just by his faith shall live.
SERM. III.THE nature of man, being much more delighted to be led than drawn, doth many times stubbornly resist authority, when to persuasion it easily yieldeth. Whereupon the wisest law-makers have endeavoured always, that those laws might seem most reasonable, which they would have most inviolably kept. A law simply commanding or forbidding, is but dead in comparison of that which expresseth the reason wherefore it doth the one or the other. And, surely, even in the laws of God, although that he hath given commandment be in itself a reason sufficient to exact all obedience at the hands of men, yet a forcible inducement it is to obey with greater alacrity and cheerfulness of mind, when we see plainly that nothing is imposed more than we must needs yield unto, except we will be unreasonable. In a word, whatsoever we be taught, be it precept for direction of our manners, or article for instruction of our faith, or document any way for information of our minds, it then taketh root and abideth, when we conceive not only what God doth speak, but why. Neither is it a small thing which we derogate, as well from the honour of his truth, as from the comfort, joy, and delight which we ourselves should take by it, when we loosely slide over his speech as though it were, as our own is commonly, vulgar and trivial . Whereas he uttereth nothing but it hath, besides the substance of doctrine delivered, a depth of wisdom in the very choice and frame of words to deliver it in. The reason whereof being not perceived, but by greater intention of brain than our nice minds for the most part can well away with, fain we would bring the world, if we might, to think it but a needless curiosity to rip up any thing further than extemporal readiness of wit doth serve to reach unto. Which course if here we did list to follow, we might tell you, that in the first branch of this sentence God doth condemn the Babylonian’s pride; and in the second, teach what happiness of state shall grow to the righteous by the constancy of their faith, notwithstanding the troubles which now they suffer; and, after certain notes of wholesome instruction hereupon collected, pass over without detaining your minds in any further removed speculation. But, as I take it, there is a difference between the talk that beseemeth nurses amongst children, and that which men of capacity and judgment do or should receive instruction by.
The mind of the Prophet being erected with that which hath been hitherto spoken, receiveth here for full satisfaction a short abridgment of that which is afterwards more particularly unfolded. Wherefore, as the question before disputed of doth concern two sorts of men, the wicked flourishing as the bay, and the righteous like the withered grass, the one full of pride, the other cast down with utter discouragement; so the answer which God doth make for resolution of doubts hereupon arisen, hath reference unto both sorts, and this present sentence, containing a brief abstract thereof, comprehendeth summarily as well the fearful estate of iniquity over-exalted, as the hope laid up for righteousness opprest. In the former branch of which sentence, let us first examine what this rectitude or straightness importeth, which God denieth to be in the mind of the Babylonian. All things which God did create, he made them at the first true, good, and right: true, in respect of correspondence unto that pattern of their being, which was eternally drawn in the counsel of God’s foreknowledge; good, in regard of the use and benefit which each thing yieldeth unto other; right, by an apt conformity of all parts with that end which is outwardly proposed for each thing to tend unto. Other things have ends proposed, but have not the faculty to know, judge, and esteem of them; and therefore as they tend thereunto unwittingly, so likewise in the means whereby they acquire their appointed ends, they are by necessity so held that they cannot divert from them. The end why the heavens do move, the heavens themselves know not, and their motions they cannot but continue. Only men in all their actions know what it is which they seek for, neither are they by any such necessity tied naturally unto any certain determinate mean to obtain their end by, but that they may, if they will, forsake it. And therefore, in the whole world, no creature but only man, which hath the last end of his actions proposed as a recompense and reward, whereunto his mind directly bending itself, is termed right or straight, otherwise perverse.
To make this somewhat more plain, we must note, that as they, which travel from city to city, inquire ever for the straightest way, because the straightest is that which soonest bringeth them unto their journey’s end; so we, “having here,” as the Apostle speaketh , “no abiding city,” but being always in travel towards that place of joy, immortality, and rest, cannot but in every of our deeds, words, and thoughts, think that to be best, which with most expedition leadeth us thereunto, and is for that very cause termed right. That sovereign good, which is the eternal fruition of all good, being our last and chiefest felicity, there is no desperate despiser of God and godliness living which doth not wish for. The difference between right and crooked minds, is in the means which the one or the other do eschew or follow. Certain it is, that all particular things which are naturally desired in the world, as food, raiment, honour, wealth, pleasure, knowledge, they are subordinated in such wise unto that future good which we look for in the world to come, that even in them there lieth a direct way tending unto this. Otherwise we must think, that God, making promises of good things in this life, did seek to pervert men and to lead them from their right minds. Where is then the obliquity of the mind of man? His mind is perverse, kam , and crooked, not when it bendeth itself unto any of these things, but when it bendeth so, that it swerveth either to the right hand or to the left, by excess or defect, from that exact rule whereby human actions are measured. The rule to measure and judge them by, is the law of God. For this cause, the Prophet doth make so often and so earnest suit, “O direct me in the way of thy commandments”: as long as I have respect to thy statutes, I am sure not to tread amiss. Under the name of the Law, we must comprehend not only that which God hath written in tables and leaves, but that which nature hath engraven in the hearts of men. Else how should those heathen , which never had books but heaven and earth to look upon, be convicted of perverseness? “But the Gentiles, which had not the law in books, had,” saith the Apostle , “the effect of the law written in their hearts.”
Then seeing that the heart of man is not right exactly, unless it be found in all parts such, that God examining and calling it unto account with all severity of rigour, be not able once to charge it with declining or swerving aside (which absolute perfection when did God ever find in the sons of mere mortal men?) doth it not follow, that all flesh must of necessity fall down and confess, We are not dust and ashes, but worse; our minds from the highest to the lowest are not right; if not right, then undoubtedly not capable of that blessedness which we naturally seek, but subject unto that which we most abhor, anguish, tribulation, death, woe, endless misery. For whatsoever misseth the way of life, the issue thereof cannot be but perdition. By which reason, all being wrapped up in sin, and made thereby the children of death, the minds of all men being plainly convicted not to be right; shall we think that God hath endued them with so many excellencies, moe not only than any, but than all the creatures in the world besides, to leave them in such estate, that they had been happier if they had never been? Here cometh necessarily in a new way unto salvation, so that they which were in the other perverse, may in this be found straight and righteous. That the way of nature, this the way of grace. The end of that way, salvation merited, presupposing the righteousness of men’s works; their righteousness, a natural ability to do them; that ability , the goodness of God which created them in such perfection. But the end of this way, salvation bestowed upon men as a gift, presupposing, not their righteousness, but the forgiveness of their unrighteousness, justification; their justification, not their natural ability to do good, but their hearty sorrow for not doing, and unfeigned belief in Him, for whose sake not doers are accepted, which is their vocation; their vocation, the election of God, taking them out from the number of lost children; their election, a mediator in whom to be elect; this mediation, inexplicable mercy; his mercy, their misery, for whom he vouchsafed to make himself a mediator. The want of exact distinguishing between these two ways, and observing what they have common, what peculiar, hath been the cause of the greatest part of that confusion whereof Christianity at this day laboureth. The lack of diligence in searching, laying down, and inuring men’s minds with those hidden grounds of reason, whereupon the least particulars in each of these are most firmly and strongly builded, is the only reason of all those scruples and uncertainties, wherewith we are in such sort entangled, that a number despair of ever discerning what is right or wrong in any thing. But we will let this matter rest, whereinto we stepped to search out a way, how some minds may be and are right truly even in the sight of God, though they be simply in themselves not right.
Howbeit, there is not only this difference between the just and impious, that the mind of the one is right in the sight of God, because his obliquity is not imputed; the other perverse, because his sin is unrepented of: but even as lines that are drawn with a trembling hand, but yet to the point which they should, are though ragged and uneven, nevertheless direct in comparison of them which run clean another way; so there is no incongruity in terming them right-minded men, whom though God may charge with many things amiss, yet they are not as those dismal and ugly monsters, in whom, because there is nothing but wilful opposition of mind against God, a more than tolerable deformity is noted in them, by saying, that their minds are not right. The angel of the church of Thyatira, unto whom the Son of God sendeth this greeting, “I know thy works, and thy love, and service, and faith; notwithstanding, I have a few things against thee ,” was not as he unto whom St. Peter, “Thou hast no fellowship in this business; for thy heart is not right in the sight of God .” So that whereas the orderly disposition of the mind of man should be this; perturbations and sensual appetites all kept in awe by a moderate and sober will; will in all things framed by reason; reason directed by the law of God and nature; this Babylonian had his mind, as it were, turned upside down. In him unreasonable cecity and blindness trampled all laws, both of God and nature, under feet; wilfulness tyrannized over reason, and brutish sensuality over will: an evident token that his outrage would work his overthrow, and procure his speedy ruin. The mother whereof was that which the Prophet in these words signifieth, “His mind doth swell.”
Immoderate swelling, a token of very imminent breach, and of inevitable destruction: pride, a vice which cleaveth so fast unto the hearts of men, that if we were to strip ourselves of all faults one by one, we should undoubtedly find it the very last and hardest to put off. But I am not here to touch that secret itching humour of vanity, wherewith men are generally touched. It was a thing more than meanly inordinate, wherewith the Babylonian did swell. Which that we may both the better conceive, and the more easily reap profit by, the nature of this vice, which setteth the whole world out of course, and hath put so many even of the wisest besides themselves, is first of all to be inquired into: secondly, the dangers to be discovered which it draweth inevitably after it, being not cured: and, last of all, the way to cure it.
Whether we look upon the gifts of nature or of grace, or whatsoever is in the world admired as a part of man’s excellency, adorning his body, beautifying his mind, or externally any way commending him in the account and opinion of men, there is in every kind somewhat possible which no man hath, and somewhat had which few can attain unto. By occasion whereof there groweth disparagement necessarily; and by occasion of disparagement, pride through men’s ignorance. First, therefore, although men be not proud of any thing which is not at the least in opinion good; yet every good thing they are not proud of, but only of that which neither is common unto many, and being desired of all causeth them which have it to be honoured above the rest. Now there is no man so void of brain, as to suppose that pride consisteth in the bare possession of such things; for then to have virtue were a vice, and they should be the happiest men who are wretchedest , because they have least of that which they would have. And though in speech we do intimate a kind of vanity to be in them of whom we say, “They are wise men and they know it;” yet this doth not prove, that every wise man is proud which doth not think himself to be blockish. What we may have, and know that we have it without offence, do we then make offensive when we take joy and delight in having it? What difference between men enriched with all abundance of earthly and heavenly blessings, and idols gorgeously attired, but this, “The one take pleasure in that which they have, the other none?” If we may be possessed with beauty, strength, riches, power, knowledge, if we may be privy what we are every way, if glad and joyful for our own welfare, and in all this remain unblameable; nevertheless, some there are, who, granting thus much, doubt whether it may stand with humility, to accept those testimonies of praise and commendation, those titles, rooms, and other honours, which the world yieldeth, as acknowledgments of some men’s excellency above others. For, inasmuch as Christ hath said unto those that are his, “The kings of the Gentiles reign over them, and they that bear rule over them, are called gracious lords; be ye not so ;” the Anabaptist hereupon urgeth equality among Christians, as if all exercise of authority were nothing else but heathenish pride. Our Lord and Saviour had no such meaning. But his disciples feeding themselves with a vain imagination for the time, that the Messias of the world should in Jerusalem erect his throne, and exercise dominion with great pomp and outward stateliness, advanced in honour and terrene power above all the princes of the earth, began to think how with their Lord’s condition their own would also rise; that having left and forsaken all to follow him, their place about him should not be mean; and because they were many, it troubled them much, which of them should be the greatest man. When suit was made for two by name, that of them “one might sit at his right hand, and the other at his left ,” the rest began to stomach, each taking it grievously that any should have what all did affect : their Lord and Master, to correct this humour, turneth aside their cogitations from these vain and fanciful conceits , giving them plainly to understand, that they did but deceive themselves; his coming was not to purchase an earthly, but to bestow an heavenly kingdom, wherein they, if any, shall be greatest, whom unfeigned humility maketh in this world lowest, and least amongst others: “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations, therefore I leave unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed me, that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on seats, and judge the twelve tribes of Israel .” But my kingdom no such kingdom as ye dream of: and therefore these hungry ambitious contentions seemlier in heathens than in you. Wherefore from Christ’s intent and purpose nothing further removed than dislike of distinction in titles and calling , annexed for order’s sake unto authority, whether it be ecclesiastical or civil. And when we have examined throughly what the nature of this vice is, no man knowing it can be so simple, as not to see an uglier shape thereof apparent many times in rejecting honours offered, than in the very exacting of them at the hands of men. For, as Judas his care for the poor was mere covetousness; and that frank-hearted wastefulness spoken of in the gospel, thrift; so there is no doubt but that going in rags may be pride, and thrones be challenged with unfeigned humility.
We must go further, therefore, and enter somewhat deeper, before we can come to the closet wherein this poison lieth. There is in the heart of every proud man, first, an error of understanding, a vain opinion whereby he thinketh his own excellency, and by reason thereof his worthiness of estimation, regard, and honour, to be greater than in truth it is. This maketh him in all his affections accordingly to raise up himself; and by his inward affections his outward acts are fashioned. Which if you list to have exemplified , you may, either by calling to mind things spoken of them whom God himself hath in Scripture especially noted with this fault; or by presenting to your secret cogitations that which you daily behold in the odious lives and manners of high-minded men. It were too long to gather together so plentiful an harvest of examples in this kind as the sacred Scripture affordeth. That which we drink in at our ears doth not so piercingly enter, as that which the mind doth conceive by sight. Is there any thing written concerning the Assyrian monarch in the tenth of Esay, of his swelling mind, his haughty looks, his great and presumptuous vaunts; “By the power of mine own hand I have done all things, and by mine own wisdom I have subdued the world ;” any thing concerning the dames of Sion, in the third of the prophet Esay, of their stretched-out necks, their immodest eyes, their pageant-like, stately and pompous gait; any thing concerning the practices of Core , Dathan, and Abiron, of their impatience to live in subjection, their mutinous repining at lawful authority, their grudging against their superiors, ecclesiastical and civil; any thing concerning pride in any sort or sect, which the present face of the world doth not, as a glass, represent to the view of all men’s beholding? So that if books, both profane and holy, were all lost, as long as the manners of men retain the estate they are in; for him which observeth, how after that men have once conceived an over-weening of themselves, it maketh them in all their affections to swell; how deadly their hatred, how heavy their displeasure, how unappeasable their indignation and wrath is above other men’s, in what manner they compose themselves to be as Heteroclites, without the compass of all such rules as the common sort are measured by; how the oaths which religious hearts do tremble at, they affect as principal graces of speech; what felicity they take to see the enormity of their crimes above the reach of laws and punishments; how much it delighteth them when they are able to appal with the cloudiness of their look; how far they exceed the terms wherewith man’s nature should be limited; how high they bear their heads over others; how they browbeat all men which do not receive their sentences as oracles, with marvellous applause and approbation; how they look upon no man but with an indirect countenance, nor hear any thing, saving their own praises with patience, nor speak without scornfulness and disdain; how they use their servants as if they were beasts, their inferiors as servants, their equals as inferiors, and as for superiors, acknowledge none; how they admire themselves as venerable, puissant, wise, circumspect, provident, every way great, taking all men besides themselves for ciphers, poor inglorious silly creatures, needless burthens of the earth, off-scourings, nothing: in a word, for him which marketh how irregular and exorbitant they are in all things, it can be no hard thing hereby to gather, that pride is nothing but an inordinate elation of the mind, proceeding from a false conceit of men’s excellency in things honoured, which accordingly frameth also their deeds and behaviour, unless there be cunning to conceal it. For a foul scar may be covered with a fair cloth. And as proud as Lucifer may be in outward appearance lowly.
No man expecteth grapes of thistles; nor from a thing of so bad a nature can other than suitable fruits be looked for. What harm soever in private families there groweth by disobedience of children, stubbornness of servants, untractableness in them, who, although they otherwise may rule, yet should in consideration of the imparity of their sex be also subject; whatsoever, by strife amongst men combined in the fellowship of greater societies, by tyranny of potentates, ambition of nobles, rebellion of subjects in civil states; by heresies, schisms, divisions in the Church; naming pride, we name the mother which brought them forth, and the only nurse that feedeth them. Give me the hearts of all men humbled; and what is there that can overthrow or disturb the peace of the world? wherein many things are cause of much evil; but pride of all.
To declaim of the swarms of evils issuing out of pride, is an easy labour. I rather wish that I could exactly prescribe and persuade effectually the remedies, whereby a sore so grievous might be cured the means how the pride of swelling minds might be taken down. Whereunto so much we have already gained, that the evidence of the cause which breedeth it, pointeth directly unto the likeliest and fittest help to take it away. Diseases that come of fulness, emptiness must remove. Pride is not cured but by abating the error which causeth the mind to swell. Then seeing that they swell by misconceit of their own excellency: for this cause, all which tendeth to the beating down of their pride, whether it be advertisement from men, or from God himself chastisement, it then maketh them cease to be proud, when it causeth them to see their error in overseeing the thing they were proud of. At this mark Job, in his apology unto his eloquent friends, aimeth. For perceiving how much they delighted to hear themselves talk, as if they had given their poor afflicted familiar a schooling of marvellous deep and rare instruction, as if they had taught him more than all the world besides could acquaint him with; his answer was to this effect: Ye swell as though ye had conceived some great matter; but as for that which ye are delivered of, who knoweth it not? Is any man ignorant of these things? At the same mark the blessed apostle driveth : “Ye abound in all things, ye are rich, ye reign, and would to Christ we did reign with you:” but boast not: for what have ye, or are ye of yourselves? To this mark all those humble confessions are referred, which have been always frequent in the mouths of saints, truly wading in the trial of themselves; as that of the prophet : “We are nothing but soreness, and festered corruption;” our very light is darkness, and our righteousness itself unrighteousness : that of Gregory, “Let no man ever put confidence in his own deserts; sordet in conspectu Judicis, quod fulget in conspectu operantis : in the sight of that dreadful Judge, it is noisome, which in the doer’s judgment maketh a beautiful show:” that of Anselm, “I adore thee, I bless thee, Lord God of heaven and Redeemer of the world, with all the power, ability , and strength of my heart and soul, for thy goodness so unmeasurably extended; not in regard of my merits, whereunto only torments were due, but of thy mere unprocured benignity.” If these Fathers should be raised again from the dust, and have the books laid open before them, wherein such sentences are found as this: “Works, no other than the value, desert, price, and worth of the joys of the kingdom of heaven; heaven, in relation to our works, as the very stipend, which the hired labourer covenanteth to have of him whose work he doth, a thing equally and justly answering unto the time and weight of his travails, rather than a voluntary or bountiful gift ”—if, I say, those reverend fore-rehearsed Fathers, whose books are so full of sentences witnessing their Christian humility, should be raised from the dead, and behold with their eyes such things written; would they not plainly pronounce of the authors of such writ, that they were fuller of Lucifer than of Christ, that they were proud-hearted men, and carried more swelling minds than sincerely and feelingly known Christianity can tolerate?
But as unruly children, with whom wholesome admonition prevaileth little, are notwithstanding brought to fear that ever after which they have once well smarted for; so the mind which falleth not with instruction, yet under the rod of divine chastisement ceaseth to swell. If, therefore, the prophet David, instructed by good experience, have acknowledged, Lord I was even at the point of clean forgetting myself, and of straying from my right mind, but thy rod hath been my reformer; it hath been good for me, even as much as my soul is worth, that I have been with sorrow troubled: if the blessed Apostle did need the corrosive of sharp and bitter strokes, lest his heart should swell with too great abundance of heavenly revelations : surely, upon us whatsoever God in this world doth or shall inflict, it cannot seem more than our pride doth exact, not only by way of revenge, but of remedy. So hard it is to cure a sore of such quality as pride is, inasmuch as that which rooteth out other vices, causeth this; and (which is even above all conceit) if we were clean from all spot and blemish both of other faults and of pride, the fall of angels doth make it almost a question, whether we might not need a preservative still, lest we should haply wax proud, that we are not proud. What is virtue but a medicine, and vice but a wound? Yet we have so often deeply wounded ourselves with medicines, that God hath been fain to make wounds medicinable ; to cure by vice where virtue hath stricken; to suffer the just man to fall, that, being raised, he may be taught what power it was which upheld him standing. I am not afraid to affirm it boldly, with St. Augustine , that men puffed up through a proud opinion of their own sanctity and holiness, receive a benefit at the hands of God, and are assisted with his grace, when with his grace they are not assisted, but permitted, and that grievously, to transgress; whereby, as they were in over-great liking of themselves supplanted, so the dislike of that which did supplant them may establish them afterwards the surer. Ask the very soul of Peter, and it shall undoubtedly make you itself this answer: My eager protestations, made in the glory of my ghostly strength, I am ashamed of; but those crystal tears, wherewith my sin and weakness was bewailed, have procured my endless joy; my strength hath been my ruin, and my fall my stay .
Now what we did at the first observe, the same we must here repeat unto you. As that complaint, which heretofore the prophet Abakuk hath made unto God in the person of the afflicted people of God, had two principal respects; the one to the flourishing estate of impious and cruel persecutors, the other to the woful and hard condition of saints persecuted by their cruelty; so this short abridgment of answer thereunto made hath likewise a double relation. It threateneth the one sort that their swelling pride doth prognosticate their speedy ruin: the other, which counted themselves the children of death, it reviveth, and with the hope of life laid up in store for them, it causeth their bruised hearts to rejoice. So that, whereas before, they mourned in the presence of God, and made their moan, saying , “For thy sake we are continually slain, and are counted as sheep for the slaughter; why sleepest thou, O Lord? wake, and be not far off for ever: wherefore hidest thou thy face, wherefore dost thou forget our misery and affliction? our souls are beaten down to the dust, they cleave even to the very ground. O Lord, rise up for our succour, and redeem us for thy mercy’s sake:” all these their tears are here wiped away, and such abundance of grace consolatory ministred unto them, that they may now put off sackcloth, and anoint their heads with oil, change their doleful tunes into songs of cheerful melody, shake off that over -depressing heaviness, and resume their wonted joys; forestalling as it were, and preoccupating that of the blessed Apostle, “Like dead men, yet behold alive .” “For the just by his faith shall live.” For explication whereof the words themselves do offer occasion to speak, first of the promise of life; secondly, of their quality to whom life is promised; and in the last place, of that dependency whereby the life of the just is here said to hang on their faith.
In nature those things are properly said to live which do move, having in them that which giveth them their motion; as plainly appeareth to be seen in all those creatures which are commonly termed living: for they move as long as they are said to live. Neither are they moved by any external impulsive force, but a certain divine vigour, which nature hath imbreathed them with, moveth them. Touching men, of all creatures living the chiefest and most eminent, they have their natural life which the soul in the body causeth; and correspondent thereunto some amongst them a life ghostly, wrought by a force much diviner inhabiting the soul. Wherein we are to consider, first the fountain, the cause original and beginning, whereof spiritual life proceedeth: then, in what manner we do here live the life of God: and thirdly, how this life shall in the world to come be perfected.
“I have set before you,” saith Moses, “life and death. Choose life therefore, that both thou and thy seed may live by loving the Lord thy God, by obeying his voice, and by cleaving unto him, for he is thy life and the length of thy days .” Again, “the children of men,” saith the Prophet, “they shall repose themselves under the shadow of thy wings: they shall be satisfied with the fatness of thy house, and thou shalt give them drink of the river of thy pleasures; for with thee is the well of life .”
Now “as the Father hath life in himself, so to the Son he hath given to have life in himself also .” Not so in himself, but that others are, by his quickening force and virtue made alive. For which cause Peter, in the third of the Apostles’ Acts, termeth him “the Lord of life.” He is the life of the world; partly, because for the world he hath suffered death, to procure it eternal life: and partly, for that the world, being really quickened by him, liveth that life which his death hath purchased. The soul which quickeneth the body is in the body. And it must be in the soul, which the soul of man liveth by. Except therefore Christ be truly in you, through him ye cannot be made alive. Hereunto all those sentences apostolic and evangelical have relation. That in the eighth to the Romans, “If Christ be in you, then is the body dead unto sin, but the spirit life for righteousness’ sake.” That in the thirteenth of the second to them of Corinth, “Know ye not how Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be castaways?” That in the second to the Galatians, “Christ Jesus liveth in me.” That in the third to the Ephesians, “For this cause bow I my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he may grant you according to the riches of his glory to be strengthened in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts.” That in St. John, “He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world.”
Somewhat strange it seemeth, that a thing in Scripture so often inculcated should be so hardly understood. Granted it is and agreed upon, that he which hath not the Son of God in him hath not life. But how to construe this, we are to seek: some thinking it to be a point inexplicable, a mystery which all must hold, but none is able to open or understand. Others considering, that forasmuch as the end of all speech is to impart unto others the mind of him that speaketh, the words which God so often uttereth concerning this point must needs be frivolous and vain, if to conceive the meaning of them were a thing impossible, have therefore expounded our conjunction with Christ to be a mutual participation whereby each is blended with other, his flesh and blood with ours, and ours in like sort with his, even as really materially and naturally as wax melted and blended with wax into one lump; no other difference but that this mixture may be sensibly perceived, the other not. Which gross conceit doth fight openly against reason. For are not we and Christ personally distinguished? Are we not locally divided and severed each from other? “My little children,” saith the Apostle , “of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” Did the blessed Apostle mean materially and really to create Christ in them, flesh and blood, soul and body? No: Christ is in us, saith Gregory Nazianzene, not κατὰ τὸ ϕαινόμενον but κατὰ τὸ νοούμενον: not according to that natural substance which visibly was seen on earth: but according to that intellectual comprehension which the mind is capable of. So that the difference between Christ on earth and Christ in us is no less than between a ship on the sea and in the mind of him that builded it: the one a sensible thing, the other a mere shape of a thing sensible. That whereby the Apostle therefore did form Christ, was the Gospel. So that Christ was formed when Christianity was comprehended. As things which we know and delight in are said to dwell in our minds and possess our hearts; so Christ knowing his sheep and being known of them, loving and being loved, is not without cause said to be in them, and they in him. And for as much as we are not on our parts hereof by our own inclination capable, God hath given unto his that Spirit which, teaching their hearts to acknowledge and tongues to confess Christ the Son of the living God, is for this cause also said to quicken. Concerning the fountain of life therefore, this may suffice.
Touching the manner of life spiritual, here begun: Of them that walk in the blind vanity of their own minds, that have their cogitations darkened through ignorance, that have hardened their hearts, that are conscienceless, that have resigned themselves over unto wantonness, that are greedily set upon all uncleanness and sin; of such it is plainly determined, they be dead. Strangers they are from the life of God. Which life is nothing else but a spiritual and divine kind of being, which men by regeneration attain unto, Christ and his spirit dwelling in them, and as the soul of their souls moving them unto such both inward and outward actions as in the sight of God are acceptable. As they that live naturally have their natural nourishment, wherewith they are sustained; so he to whom the spirit of Christ giveth life, hath whereon he also delighteth to feed. He hungereth after righteousness: it is meat and drink unto him to be exercised in doing good: “the hart is not after the rivers of water so thirsty as my soul,” saith the Prophet, “is thirsty after thee, O God.” They that live the life of God, what they delight to taste, let it by those words spoken unto Christ in the Song of Salomon be conjectured, “Honey and milk are under thy tongue;” what to smell, by those, “My beloved is as a bundle of myrrh, as a cluster of camphor:” what to hear, by those, “O let me hear thy voice, thy voice is delectable:” what to see, by those, “Shew me thy countenance, thy sight is comely.” And as the sense, so the motion, of him that liveth the life of God hath a peculiar kind of excellency. His hands are not stretched out towards his enemies, except it be to give them alms: his feet are slow, save only when he travelleth for the benefit of his brethren. When he is railed upon by the wicked, his voice is not otherwise heard than the voice of Stephen, “Lord, lay not this thing to their charge.” Though we could triple the years of Methusalem or live as long as the moon doth endure; our natural life without this what were it? This altereth and changeth our corrupt nature: by this we are continually stirred up unto good things: by this we are brought to loathe and abhor the gross defilements of the wicked world; constantly and patiently to suffer whatsoever doth befall us, though as sheep we be led by flocks unto the slaughter: this dispelleth the clouds of darkness, easeth the heart of grief, abateth hatred, composeth strife, appeaseth anger, ordereth our affections, ruleth our thoughts, guideth our lives and conversations. Whence is it that we find in Abel such innocency, in Enoch such piety, in Noah such equity, in Abraham such faith, in Isaac such simplicity, such longanimity in Jacob, such chastity in Joseph, such meekness and tenderness of heart in Moses, in Samuel such devotion, in Daniel such humility, in Elias such authority, in Elizeus such zeal, such courage in Prophets, in Apostles such love, such patience in martyrs, such integrity in all true saints? did they not all live the life of God?
Which life, here begun, (to come to the last point,) shall be in the world to come finished. Whereof we have heretofore spoken largely. And when we have spoken all we can speak, all which we can speak is but this; he which hath it hath more than speech can possibly express, and as much as his heart can wish: he doth abound and hath enough. For the words of the promise of life, in the tenth of John, are these; “I came that my sheep might have life, and might abound.” Seeing therefore we are taught that life is the lot of our inheritance, and that when we have it we have enough, wherefore struggle we so much for other things which we may very well want and yet abound? When we leave the world, this hope leaves not us: it doth not forsake us, no not in the grave. Sundry are the casualties of this present world, the trials many and fearful which we are subject unto. But in the midst of all, this must be the chiefest anchor unto our souls, “The just shall live.” Wherefore this God setteth before the eyes of his poor afflicted people, as having in it force sufficient to countervail whatsoever misery they either did or might sustain. Those dreadful names of troubles, wars, invasions, the very mention whereof doth so much terrify; weigh them with hearts resolved in this, that “the just shall live,” and what are they but panical terrors? If they promise great things, which are not of power and habilitie to perform the least thing promised, what wise man amongst you is there whom such presumptuous promises do not make rather to laugh than to hope? Yet behold at the threatenings of men we tremble, though we know that their rage is limited, that they cannot do what they list, that the hairs of our heads are numbered, that of so many there falleth not one to the ground without the privity and will of our heavenly Father. How often hath God turned those very purposes, counsels, and enterprises, wherewith the death of his saints hath been sought, both to the safety of their lives, and increase also of their honours! Was it not thus in Joseph, in Moses, in David, in Daniel? If cruelty, oppression, and tyranny do so far forth prevail, that they have their desires and prosper in that which they take in hand: the utmost of that evil which they can do is but that very good which the blessed Apostle doth wish, “Cupio dissolvi.” Thrice happy therefore are those men, whom, whatsoever misery befalleth in this present world, it findeth them settled in a sure expectation of that which here God promised the just, felicity and life in the world to come. Whereof God the Father make you partakers through the merits of his only-begotten Son our blessed Saviour, unto whom, with the Holy Ghost, three persons, one eternal and everliving God, be honour, glory, and praise for ever.
There never was that man so carelessly affected towards the safety of his own soul, but knowing what salvation and life doth mean, though his own ways were the very paths of endless destruction, yet his secret natural desire must needs be, not to perish but to live. “What man is he,” saith the prophet David , “which desireth, or rather what man is there which doth not desire life, and delight in days wherein he may see everlasting good? Let that man keep his tongue from harm, his lips from guile: let him shun evil, embrace good, pursue peace and follow after it. For the eyes of the Lord [are] upon the righteous, and his ears unto their cry. Their cry he heareth, and delivereth them from all their troubles: near he is unto them that are contrite in heart: men afflicted in spirit he will save: the troubles of the righteous [are] great, but he delivereth out of all: their very bones so charily kept that not as much as one of them broken: such as hate them malice shall slay: the Lord redeemeth the souls of his servants, and none that trust in him shall perish.” What the prophet David largely unfoldeth, the same we have here by way of abridgment comprehended in small room. So that hearing how the just shall live, you hear no less in weight, though in sound much less be spoken. For whatsoever the watchful eye of God, whatsoever his attentive ear; whatsoever deliverance out of trouble; whatsoever in trouble nearness of ghostly assistance; whatsoever salvation, custody, redemption, safe preservation of their souls and bodies and very bones from perishing, doth import: the promise of life includeth all. And those sundry rehearsed specialties, harmlessness and sincerity in speech, averseness from evil, inclination unto good things, pursuit of peace, continuance in prayer, contrition of heart, humility of spirit, integrity, obedience, trust and affiance in God; what import they more than this one only name of justice doth insinuate? which name expresseth fully their quality unto whom God doth promise life.
Slightly to touch a thing so needful most exactly to be known, were towards justice itself to be unjust. Wherefore I cannot let slip so fit an occasion to wade herein somewhat further than perhaps were expedient, unless both the weightiness and the hardness of the matter itself did urgently press thereunto. Justice, that which flourishing upholdeth, and not prevailing disturbeth, shaketh, threateneth with utter desolation and ruin the whole world: justice, that whereby the poor have their succour, the rich their ease, the potent their honour, the living their peace, the souls of the righteous departed their endless rest and quietness: justice, that which God and angels and men are principally exalted by: justice, the chiefest matter contended for at this day in the Christian world: in a word, justice, that whereon not only all our present happiness, but in the kingdom of God our future joy dependeth. So that, whether we be in love with the one or with the other, with things present or things to come, with earth or with heaven; in that which is so greatly available to both, none can but wish to be instructed. Wherein the first thing to be inquired of is, the nature of justice in general: the second, that justice which is in God: the last, that whereby we ourselves being just are in expectancy of life here promised in this sentence of the prophet, “By faith the just shall live.”
God hath created nothing simply for itself: but each thing in all things, and of every thing each part in other hath such interest, that in the whole world nothing is found whereunto any thing created can say, “I need thee not.” The prophet Osee, to express this, maketh by a singular grace of speech the people of Israel suitors unto corn and wine and oil, as men are unto men which have power to do them good; corn and wine and oil supplicants unto the earth; the earth to the heavens; the heavens to God. “In that day, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and the heavens shall hear the earth, and the earth shall hear the corn and wine and oil, and the corn and wine and oil shall hear Israel.” They are said to hear that which we ask; and we to ask the thing which we want, and wish to have. So hath that supreme commander disposed it, that each creature should have some peculiar task and charge, reaching furder than only unto its own preservation. What good the sun doth, by heat and light; the moon and stars, by their secret influence; the air, and wind, and water, by every their several qualities: what commodity the earth, receiving their services, yieldeth again unto her inhabitants: how beneficial by nature the operations of all things are; how far the use and profit of them is extended; somewhat the greatness of the works of God, but much more our own inadvertency and carelessness, doth disable us to conceive. Only this, because we see, we cannot be ignorant of, that whatsoever doth in dignity and preeminence of nature most excel, by it other things receive most benefit and commodity. Which should be a motive unto the children of men to delight by so much more in imparting that good which they may, by how much their natural excellency hath made them more to abound with habilitie and store of such good as may be imparted. Those good things therefore which be communicable; those which they that have do know they have them, and do likewise know that they may be derived unto others; those which may be wanting in one, and yet not without possibility to be had from some other; such are matter for exercise of justice.
And such things are of two kinds; good and desirable either simply unto him which receiveth them, as counsel in perplexity, succour in our need, comfort when we are in sorrow and grief; or, though not desired where they are bestowed, yet good in respect of a further end: so punishments, trembled at by such as suffer them, yet in public nothing more needful.
Now forasmuch as God hath so furnished the world, that there is no good thing needful but the same is also possible to be had; justice is the virtue whereby that good which wanteth in ourselves we receive inoffensively at the hands of others. I say, inoffensively: for we must note, that although the want of any be a token of some defect in that mutual assistance which should be; yet howsoever to have such want supplied were far from equity and justice. If it be so, then must we find out some rule which determineth what every one’s due is, from whom, and how, it must be had.
For this cause justice is defined, a virtue whereby we have our own in such sort as law prescribeth . So that neither God, nor angels, nor men, could in any sense be termed just, were it not for that which is due from one to another in regard of some received law between them: some law either natural and immutable, or else subject unto change, otherwise called positive law. The difference between which two undiscerned hath not a little obscured justice. It is no small perplexity which this one thing hath bred in the minds of many, who, beholding the laws which God himself hath given, abrogated and disannulled by human authority, imagine that justice is hereby conculcated; that men take upon them to be wiser than God himself; that unto their devices his ordinances are constrained to give place: which popular discourses, when they are polished with such art and cunning as some men’s wits are well acquainted with, it is no hard matter with such tunes to enchant most religiously affected souls. The root of which error is a misconceit that all laws are positive which men establish, and all laws which God delivereth, immutable. No it is not the author which maketh, but the matter whereon they are made, that causeth laws to be thus distinguished. Those Roman laws , “Hominem indemnatum ne occidito,” “Patronus si clienti fraudem fecerit, sacer esto,” were laws unchangeable, though by men established. All those Jewish ordinances for civil punishment of malefactors, “the prophet that enticeth unto idolatry shall be slain ,” a false witness shall suffer the same hurt which his testimony might have brought upon another, life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; all canons apostolical touching the form of church government, though received from God himself, yet positive laws and therefore alterable. Herein therefore they differ: a positive law is that which bindeth them that receive it in such things as might before have been either done or not done without offence, but not after, during the time it standeth in force. Such were those church constitutions concerning strangled and blood. But there is no person whom, nor time wherein, a law natural doth not bind. If God had never spoken word unto men concerning the duty which children owe unto their parents, yet from the firstborn of Adam unto the last of us, “Honour thy father and thy mother,” could not but have tied all. For this cause, to dispense with the one can never possibly be justice; nor other than injustice sometimes not to dispense with the other. These things therefore justice evermore doth imply; first, some good thing which is from one person due to another; secondly, a law either natural or positive which maketh it due; thirdly, in him from whom it is due a right and constant will of doing it as law prescribeth.
The several kinds of justice, distributive, commutative, and corrective, I mean not presently to dwell upon. Only before we come to speak of the justice of God, this one thing generally I note concerning justice amongst men. Almost the only complaint in all men’s mouths, and that not without great cause, is, “There is no justice.” The cure of which evil, because all men do even give over in utter despair that ever any remedy can be devised to help a sore so far gone: seeing there is no hope that men will cease to offer, it remaineth that we study with patience how to suffer wrongs and injuries being offered.
And although the fault of injustice be too general, yet whom particularly we do charge with so heavy a crime, it standeth us upon to be wary and circumspect, lest our reproving do make us reprovable. What more injurious than undeservedly to accuse of injury? It cannot be denied but that cause on all sides hath been and is daily given, for each to blame other in this respect. Howbeit, patience, quietness, contentment, wise and considerate meditation, might surely cut off much from those scandalous accusations which are so often and so grievously, without regard what beseemeth either place or person, poured out in the ears of men. Wherein perhaps our kindled affection were better slaked with sober advice, than overmuch liberty taken to feed our displeased minds. No man thinketh the injuries light which himself receiveth. But first, when we seem to receive injury, how do we know that injury is done us? Whereby discern we that we have not the thing which is due? Doth not every man measure his due for the most part by his own desire? When we have not what we would, we think we should have that which we have not, and that therefore we are wronged. Might not Daniel be thus condemned for being unjust to the Babylonian: the Jews towards the Persian: our Lord and Saviour Christ himself towards the high priest Annas, before whom he stood in judgment? No man can be a competent judge of his own right. Wherefore upon our own only bare conceit to say of any man, we find him unjust, must needs be rashness: which being abated, many accusations of injustice would be answered before they be made. Again; be it that we claim nothing as to ourselves or to others due more than by law we seem to have warrant for, and that in the judgment of mo than one besides ourselves. Do we think it so easy for men to define what law doth warrant?
One example I will propose unto you instead of many, to the end it may appear that there are now and then great likelihoods inducing to think that in equity warrantable which in the end proveth otherwise. A law there was sometime amongst the Grecians, that whosoever did kill a tyrant, should appoint his own reward, and demanding receive it at the hands of the chief magistrate. Another law, that a tyrant, being slain, his five nearest in blood should also be put to death. Alexander Phereus exercising tyranny was by his own wife treacherously murdered . In lieu of this act she requireth the life of a son both hers and his, which son the same law commandeth to be executed because of his father’s tyranny, and not executed by reason of his mother’s request. The question is, whether the grant or denial of her demand, being such, were justice. On the one side, sith all commonweals do stand no less by performance of promised rewards than by taking appointed revenge, let their hope, who in such cases hazard themselves, be once defrauded, and who will undertake so dangerous attempts? Again, if in this case law have provided that none might revenge the death of tyrants by appointing so many of their nearest to die, how much more likely that such a benefit should make the son to his country ever afterwards dutiful, than his father’s deserved punishment kindle in him a desire of revenge? Besides that punishments are, if any thing, to be abridged, rewards always to be received with largest extent, what if the son had done this which the mother did, should his act by law rewardable be punished because of his near conjunction in blood? And that the father’s offence should more disadvantage the son than his mother’s deserts profit him, it seemeth hard. A bridle undoubtedly it would be to stay men from affecting tyranny for ever, if they might see that enmity with them could not in any case go unrewarded. On the contrary side there is either greater or no less appearance of justice. For first, when two laws do by an unexpected casualty each control other, so that both cannot possibly be kept; what remaineth, but to keep that which cannot but with most public harm be broken? which in this case seemeth not greatly hard to discern; the one being needful unto the common safety of all, the other one body’s only benefit. Secondly, fathers being often much more careful of their children than of themselves, more afraid of the overthrow of their progeny than of their own estate and condition, they could not but be the bolder to tyrannize, if they did hope that their offspring any way might wind itself out of the evil which law inflicteth. Thirdly, were it not a thing intolerable, that so monstrous an act, as a woman to murder her husband unto whom she is so nearly linked, should not only not receive punishment, but receive what reward soever she will herself? Finally, the law bidding first generally any thing that should be demanded in way of reward to be granted, and afterwards commanding the death of the five next in blood, doth by this specialty abridge as it seemeth the former generality, and grant anything, but so that this thing be not demanded. Otherwise, what letteth but that license to exercise tyranny might be required as a reward for taking tyrants out of the way? Not therefore simply what men will ask, but what they ask with reason and without contradiction to law, that only by law doth seem granted.
This may suffice to shew how hard it is oftentimes even for the wisest and skilfullest, to see what is justice and what not. So that not only to ourselves but to others we may seem to take injury when we do not. Howbeit, even when we have not the thing which in truth and in right we should have, it may be notwithstanding that they who do us hurt, do us not that injury for which we may blame them as unjust. There is no injustice, but where wrong is wilfully offered. Is it not a rule of equity and justice, “Nullum crimen patitur is qui non prohibet quod prohibere non potest?” “we are towards them unjust, whose injustice we make complaint of for not doing that which to do they want not will but habilitie.” And when we do not receive as we should at the hands of men, it may be so much even against their wills whom in such cases we think most hardly of, that their infelicity is rather to be sorrowed for, than their iniquity is to be accused.
But let it be, that men of very set purpose and malice bend themselves against us; in this case to abate the keen edge of our indignation at wrong which we suffer, it were not nothing if we did consider the wrong which we do. God we are not able to answer one of a thousand; and of a thousand if but one be unanswered us by men, we are unable to bear it.
To conclude: though we had ourselves never injured God or man, the patience and meekness of Christ in putting up injuries were worthy our imitation. His meekness were sufficient to meeken us, were the wrongs which be offered us never so grievous and unsufferable. If therefore men will not be persuaded not to do, let these persuasions induce us to take wrong with all patience, and to show ourselves just men in bearing the cross which men’s injustice doth lay upon us. Which wisdom God the Father for his Son’s sake grant; unto whom with the Holy Ghost, three Persons, one eternal and everliving God, be honour, glory, and praise, for ever.
As we have spoken of the nature of justice in general, so now we must speak of the justice of God. Wherein lest any man should imagine that we term God just, not because in himself he is so, but because the liking which we have of, and love which we bear unto, ourselves, maketh us to think God such as we ourselves are; it shall not be unexpedient, first, to prove unto you that in God there is this divine virtue called Justice: secondly, to show in what sort God doth exercise that virtue in the regiment of his creatures: thirdly, what injury we do to God for want of right understanding how he doth justice unto us: last of all, what honour unto him, and us what benefit, the true knowledge of his justice addeth.
I should have a large and scopious field to walk in, if I did here endeavour with exactness either to collect so many reasons as might forcibly demonstrate, or to reckon up the numbers of particularities effectual to make plain and evident, that in the thirty-third of Exodus which God himself doth insinuate, terming himself “all good.” For that mystical suit of his servant Moses, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory,” thus he answereth; “I will make all goodness to go before thee.” As therefore there can be no particular warmth which universal heat containeth not, so the infinite being of God comprehending all goodness, if justice be any part thereof, God necessarily is just. Secondly, who doth not yield unto justice more than the meanest place of reckoning and account amongst good things? Put therefore the case, that angels and men were just, God not: should they not in this part of goodness excel God, and so be better than He to whom the title, as of “greatest,” so of “best,” is confessed due? Besides, God himself being the supreme cause which giveth being unto all things that are, and every effect so resembling the cause whereof it cometh, that such as the one is the other cannot choose but be also; it followeth that either men are not made righteous by him, or if they be, then surely God himself is much more that which he maketh us; just, if a [He] be the author, fountain, and cause of our justice. Finally, seeing that we cannot conceive God without correspondence between him and creatures receiving from him whatsoever they have or are, either we must think that God cannot choose but impart good things, and then what creature would give him thanks, ever invocate, adore, and worship him? or if he distribute his graces advisedly, knowing upon whom what and wherefore he doth bestow, this being the proper function of justice, doth it not follow that God is just?
Only this doubt there is. We have already declared justice to be that virtue whereby we yield and receive good things in such sort as law prescribeth. Now God hath no superior; there is not that can lay commandment upon him; he is not subject; he standeth not bound to any higher authority and power. How then should there be any justice in his doing that which no superior’s authority or law can bind him to do? To this we could make no answer at all, if we did hold as they do who peremptorily avouch that there is no manner why to be rendered of any thing which God doth, but only this, It was his absolute will to do it. True it is that thus the prophet speaketh in the Psalm , “Our God is in heaven; and whatsoever he will, he doth.” Thus our Saviour in the Gospel , “I give thee thanks, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and men of understanding, and hast opened them unto babes. Even so, O Father, because such was thy good pleasure.” Thus the blessed Apostle often , “God predestinateth, calleth, saveth, worketh all things, according unto the purpose of his own will.” But what infer we hereupon? That there is no other cause in any of all the works of God to be either searched or rendered but this? If so, then it seemeth that when the people do ask this question, in the fifth of Jeremy’s prophecy, “Wherefore hath the Lord our God done these things?” God should rather have closed up their mouths with sharp reproof for making any such demand, than have commanded the prophet to content and satisfy their minds by yielding a reason of his actions: Thou shalt answer them, “like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye also serve strangers in a land that is not yours.” Again, let those very alleged sentences be seen into; and by sifting them it will soon appear that they rather exclude the rendering of some one cause which we are specially to beware of than import an impossibility of any reason at all to be rendered of the works of God. Our nature is prone unto haughty conceits: and when we see those blessings abundantly poured upon us, which God hath withheld from sundry others, we easily imagine that what we have more we are more worthy of than others are. To take down this proud opinion, it is so often inculcated, that whatsoever we have, the reason wherefore we have it is not our dignity, but his mercy; not the worthiness of our merit, but the goodness of his will. Yea, even in that very place where the blessed Apostle setteth down our predestination and adoption thorow Christ to have been according unto the pleasure of God’s only will, doth not himself yield a cause of this will in God, by immediately adding, “unto the praise of the glory of his grace ?”
Then seeing God doth work nothing but for some end, which end is the cause of that he doth, what letteth to conclude that God doth all things even in such sort as law prescribeth? Is not the end of his actions as a law? Doth it not strictly require them to be such as always they are, so that if they were otherwise they could not be apt, correspondent, suitable unto their set and appointed end? There is no impediment therefore but that we may set it down, God is truly and properly just.
Touching the next point, how God doth exercise justice in the world, justice exhibiteth all good which congruity and right would have imparted unto equals, inferiors, or betters. Superiority and equality being excluded from all things as they are in relation unto God, at his hands we are to expect only that which justice yieldeth unto inferiors. In which consideration he taketh upon him the person of a Judge, a Lord, a Father. “He shall judge nations,” saith the prophet in the seventh Psalm. But because those future comminations seem to imply some truce and respect for the time, the wicked man through freedom from present sense of evil emboldeneth himself, taketh heart and courage, hates to be reformed, casteth the words of God behind him, runneth on his race with lost companions, for this refraineth not a whit the more, avoideth no one deed, keepeth not in any one word or syllable which his heart delighteth to utter, for fear of this; “God will judge the world,” is little cared for, though Christ our Saviour and his Apostles divinely inspired describe it in never so fearful manner. For which cause the prophet in the same Psalm addeth, that God not only shall judge nations, but is the judger of the just and of despisers of God daily. So that what criminals openly convicted are to look for from such a judge as respecteth no man’s person, standeth in awe of no man’s countenance, hateth sin extremely, knoweth every action and circumstance of action that sinners do, be it never so closely conveyed; what criminals convicted are to look for from such a judge, thereon let impenitent malefactors make their certain reckoning: for as verily as God is just, his justice will show itself upon them soon or sine , in the greatness of that judgment, which if they feel before they fear, woe worth them. God their judge, but your Lord. Wherefore, if unfeignedly ye do your endeavour to serve and please him, ye have your presidents to claim the benefit by, of protection, care, maintenance, and whatsoever good thing righteous dominion doth answer dutiful service withal. The Church, in the thirty-third of Esay, concludeth hereupon boldly and plainly, “He is our king, therefore he will save us.” Is it not much that free leave is given you to plead your causes as Ezechias pleadeth his , “Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth with a perfect heart; and have done that which is good in thy sight?” As David his , “Preserve my soul, O Lord, thou art of great kindness unto all that serve thee: save me, for I am thy servant: O Lord, enter not into judgment with thy servant: judgment for thine enemies and them that hate thee, I am the son of thine handmaid, thy servant; O bruise not my bones, suffer not my soul to descend into hell.” Or, if the name of a Lord do not seem sufficiently gracious, unto whom God hath already imparted a spirit that giveth them cheerful courage boldly to call upon him as children upon their father, let them enlarge their hearts, and what good thing can they invent which his fatherly indulgence doth not abundantly warrant them to expect? If they thirst after consolation; behold to them it is said , “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.” If they wish endless continuance of hearty affection; to them , “I have loved you with everlasting love:” if a prosperous and flourishing estate; of them , “I will be unto them as the dew, they shall grow as the lily, and fasten their roots like the trees of Lebanon; their branches shall spread, and their beauty like the olive-tree; they shall revive as the corn, and flourish like the pleasant vine.” It is not with God as it is with men, whose titles show rather what they should be than what they are. God will not be termed that which he is not. His name doth show his nature. Were not his affection most fatherly, the appellation of a Father would offend him. Fathers lay up treasure for their children: and shall not your heavenly Father provide sufficient for you? O minds void of faith, full of distrustfulness! Fathers spend out the day in travail, and continue the night in pensiveness, ever studying how to better their children’s estate: and have the sons of God a father careless whether they think [sink] or swim? “The eye of the Lord is over the righteous.” “If a mother forget her child, (O love inexplicable!) art thou my son? of thee I will never be unmindful.” Fathers, if they be provoked unto anger, conceive not unappeasable wrath: do not the tears of their children confessing faults and craving pardon wring out oftentimes tears from their eyes? And, that which should cause even hearts of stone and iron to relent, we do not find God in Scripture so often rejoicing over the righteous, as shedding forth tears of kindness in the bosom of sinners penitent. Thus God is righteous; and his righteousness thus he showeth.
It followeth in the next place, concerning this matter of divine justice, that we consider how, for want of right understanding the reason how God doth justice unto us, injury is done unto him many ways. For by this it cometh to pass, that some beholding the present not only impunity but prosperity of sin in the world, repine at it as at a thing repugnant unto divine justice. Some, noting a difference between men departing this mortality immediately after great and grievous sin repented of, and others always leading an honest, holy, virtuous and upright life, upon conceit of inconformity with justice in God, if both ending their lives should enter forthwith and immediately into bliss, have imposed upon the souls of faithful men a kind of after-punishments satisfactory. Some, considering how God as a just and righteous judge shall hereafter reward their works, glory in them, as if, unless in themselves they were worthy of reward, they could not in justice be rewarded. These err by thinking that to be against God’s justice which is not: on the contrary side, others by thinking that not to be against it which is. These not weighing how opposite it is to the justice of God either actually to condemn, or in purpose to determine condemnation, without a cause thereof presupposed in the party so condemned, have by misconstruction of some Scripture sentences with no small hazard, as well of God’s honour as men’s comfort, over-easily been led to define that so many were fore-appointed unto endless torments, only for that the will of God was to have them endlessly tormented.
What injury men do to God for want of right understanding in what sort and manner he doth administer equity and justice unto them, in no way plainlier appeareth, than first by those repining accusations wherewith the hard and heavy casualties of the righteous, contrariwise the impunity and prosperity of godless persons hath been from time to time complained of. With such kind of pleas books both profane and sacred are fraught. The motives especially inducing their minds to deem an incongruity herein, and to the justice of God a kind of repugnancy, are these. First, to that justice which we call distributive, and define to be a virtue yielding unto each person that which is due according to the difference of their quality; unto this virtue nothing more opposite than the parity of their condition in the quality of whose persons there is inequality. For which cause from God Abraham putteth off that unevenness, which blendeth these two, and maketh the one’s estate such as the other’s should be . “Far be it from thee to slay the righteous with the wicked: that as the wicked are so the righteous should be also, far be it from thee.” If then it be a thing most unequal and unconsonant unto justice, that they which excel in virtue should not be exalted in all parts of happiness above them that are of contrary note: if it do argue an uneven hand, to bestow upon the one sort as upon the other; what may be thought, when they, whose virtues all men do admire, are in respect of the hard condition of their lives for outward things not only as the worst, which notwithstanding were greatly to be complained of, but in so far more miserable and wretched case, that these living in all abundance of whatsoever their hearts can wish; they, if they perish not, as oftentimes they do, at their enemies’ will and pleasure, are found not seldom in such sort to live that their deadliest adversaries could hardly wish them greater woe than to continue as they are; doth it not stand even with reason to conclude, surely this is not that which equity and justice requireth?
Wherein, secondly, the judgment of the world doth universally so agree, that imprisonments, banishments, restraint of liberty, deprivation of honour, diminution of goods, loss of limme or life, any thing penal and unpleasant to be suffered, is by authority no where laid upon other than dangerous and pernicious malefactors. So that when contrariwise the supreme guide and governor of heaven and earth taketh a clean other course of regiment, impoverishing, depressing, and by all means keeping down the good and virtuous, but crowning the heads of malignants with honour, and heaping terrene felicity upon them, this can hardly seem just or according to righteousness. It is not therefore without cause, nor of nothing, that those so usual oppositions have in this case and question risen, some concluding if God indeed did with justice order the course of human affairs, it should be bonis benè, malis malè; well with the good, with the bad still otherwise: others crying out, Posse contra innocentiam quæ sceleratus quisque conceperit; impiety to prevail against innocency, even as far as it listeth, God himself looking on, who can but wonder and be amazed?
The state of good and bad thus continuing, what construction shall we make of God’s own promises unto the one sort, and to the other of his so heavily pronounced sentences, which he uttereth as it were emptying upon them vessels full of wrath and execration? To the one, “If thou wilt walk in my ways, and keep mine ordinances and commandments, I will lengthen and prolong thy days :” to the other, “Thou, O God, shalt bring them down, thou shalt humble them unto the pit of corruption: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half the time which they might by nature .” To the one, not only long life promised, but with life prosperity and peace: to the other, not only unseasonable death, but before death woe and all kinds of misery threatened. To the one, “What man is he that feareth the Lord? his soul shall dwell at ease, and his seed shall inherit the land .” “The earth shall yield him increase of fruit; it shall be fat for his sake as oil; his cattle shall feed in large pastures .” To the other, “Cursed shalt thou be in field, town, and city; in person, in goods, in children: the Lord shall send upon thee trouble and shame: in all that ever thou settest thy hand to, thou shalt never but suffer wrong and violence: the strangeness of those calamities which thine eyes shall behold shall take even wit and sense from thee; because thou wilt not serve the Lord thy God with a cheerful and true heart, that so thou mightest be in all things happy. Hunger and thirst, and nakedness, and want of all things necessary shall be thy undividable companions; misery shall hunt and pursue thee for ever: no peace, no prosperity for the wicked .” These being the words of God’s own mouth, how are they performed when the righteous are hourly led as sheep to the slaughter, their goods taken from them by extortion, their persons subject unto violence, nothing about them but that which they cannot look or think upon without tears: impious despisers of God in the meanwhile rejoicing pleasantly upon their beds, living long, waxing old, increasing in honour, authority, and wealth, their houses peaceable without fear, the rod of God not upon them nor near them. Can these things cleave together, God true in his word, and we such in our estate?
This we might happily either answer with more ease, or with better contentment endure, if to the harm that such interchangeable mixture of states in the world breedeth any countervailable good did grow. But there doth not, for ought that any man living can see. The damages, losses, and inconveniences which this confusion draweth after it, they are apparent. For as the benefit but even of one man’s virtue, taking root, continuing and flourishing in the world, is invaluable not only in respect of the courage which thereby all others well inclined do take, exulting in the conscience of their own most holy resolutions to serve the Lord, when they are therein confirmed by visible assurance, that with as many as fear him from their hearts it shall undoubtedly go well; but furder also in regard of the singular delight which itself doth take in being most largely beneficial, and in watching for occasions to do good, whereby it cometh to pass that the hearts of all men bless them as common fathers, and wish them, if it were possible, the very possession of heaven on earth: so on the other side, there can be no greater plague than improbity, if it come once to have any long continuance in the world, and be furnished with habilitie to annoy; because it doth not only hereby take occasion to scorn the better endeavours of more virtuously disposed minds, thinking with itself what profit have they by serving the Almighty; but maketh it even a recreation and a kind of sporting exercise, to try what wit can do in devising, and force in executing, vile, barbarous, and cruel acts, such as future ages may most wonder at and the present most rue. Sith therefore nothing doth more agree with the nature of God than to better the state of all things, what more effectual way to fill the mouths of his saints with hymns of everlasting thankfulness, to augment their joy, to illustrate his glory, to put his foes for ever to silence, and to manifest unto all generations the care which he hath of righteousness, than by making always an apparent separation between men in state according to their good or evil quality?
These are the principal inducements whereby men, as long as they do not conceive the course of divine proceedings in justice, imagine all to be out of square, because the righteous are afflicted when the contrary sort doth prosper. First, it seemeth against the rule of distributive justice, that men’s condition should not be suitable unto the quality of their persons. Secondly, the general opinion and judgment of all men disliketh to have it otherwise. Thirdly, God himself often and openly hath protested that so it should be. Finally, if it be not so, the inconveniences thereupon growing unto the world are more than mean, the virtuous not encouraged as they might be, but put out of heart, infinite good undone whereby thousands would reap benefit, impiety corroborated and made bold, no less unto God’s own dishonour than unto men’s discomfort.
It cannot be thought a labour needless that we do our endeavour to free this cause from all scruple, and to make it so expedite as may suffice for our reasonable satisfaction; the minds of so many being entangled with such perplexities when they enter into these alleged considerations, through an opinion of discoherence thereby conceived between the justice of God and the state of men in this world. First therefore, touching the rule of distributive justice, which requireth that whose quality is best, their condition be not like and much less inferior unto theirs which are worst qualified, how understand we this rule of justice? Doth it require that the righteous have every desirable thing, the unrighteous nothing which is naturally good permitted them? Then that which never as yet any man was so senseless as to imagine notwithstanding must needs be; to wit, that if only the just be not beautiful, if they only be not strong, if any be healthful besides them, if they alone do not see the fruit of their bodies increased unto the third and fourth generation, God doth deal unjustly with them. How unjustly therefore with Christ, our blessed Saviour, and his only begotten Son, who, being so much more righteous than angels, saw creatures far beneath men in dignity, in some parts of outward felicity so far above him, that birds having nests, and foxes holes to hide themselves, the Son of God and man had scarce where to lay his head! Know we not that God is by nature good and gracious unto all the works of his hands? Wicked men, although they be their own workmanship as they are wicked, yet as they are men being his handywork, are not we rather injurious unto them than God to us, if so be we envy them all participation even in those things which they are capable of as men? For the favours which God extendeth towards just men, not as they are men but as they are just; such favours are so peculiarly theirs, that they neither are nor can be imparted to any other. Judge thereby therefore their estate, and is it not clear as the light, that the foresaid rule of justice is no way violated? Judge according unto this, and most evident it is that God doth not deal with the righteous as with the wicked, but always better. What should I mention him that preferred imprisonment with Cato before some other’s imperial sublimity ? It had been more than childishness in Moses to choose a fellowship in the bitter afflictions of the people of God , refusing the offered pleasures of sin, if the just man’s estate, be it whatsoever, were not by infinite degrees happier than the wicked’s in their chiefest ruff. He that sitteth at this day in Rome, kings of nations falling down before him, is his glittering estate so glorious in the eye of any good and spiritually wise man’s judgment, doth his tripled diadem adorn him as those honourable robes and garments dyed in the blood of martyrdom did beautify his first most reverend predecessors, disgraced, discountenanced, banished, murdered, rent asunder, devoured by wild beasts, put to most sharp and cruel deaths, exercised with all extremity of torture, for the name of Christ? There was not the meanest of them that would have changed his comforts in the midst of greatest woe, with all the joys and honours worldly which the flourishing rank of their successors hath acquired.
When we think otherwise, the reason of our misconceit herein is, that because all suffering is grievous, even as the contrary pleasant and acceptable unto the flesh; by occasion of this common accident, the just and unjust suffering materially the same kind of grief, by hunger, pestilence, sword, or the like, imagine that they suffer simply the same: whereas in truth their sufferings formally, and even essentially, are different. The end of God is never the same in both, howsoever upon both he seemeth to lay the same burthens. But being both in the same furnace, the one are as stubble, the other as gold: being stricken with the same rod, the one receive the torment of a judge, the other the chastisement of a father: though both seem equally forsaken, they are never equally forsaken; but the one by dereliction of probation only, the other by dereliction of reprobation. The righteous therefore may have their phancies; they may, being carried away with grief or distempered with passionate affections, conceive worse of their own estate than reason giveth: but surely there never was yet that hour, wherein, if mortal eyes could discern the things that belong unto solid happiness, the hearts of the most unhappy would not wish, as Balaam’s did, “O that we were as the just and righteous!” So that the rule of distributive justice is not violated. As for the judgment of all the world, supposing yes, what should we weigh it, when we have the judgment of him who created the world, to the contrary?
Howbeit, we err, if we take the casual and unadvised sentences of men, uttering rashly that which indignation hath put in their mouths and not sound reason established their minds in, for the judgment of the whole world: whereof the wisest and skilfullest part is so far from judging God when his saints are most roughly dealt with, to give them the portion of malefactors, that they plainly and peremptorily avouch the evils which they suffer to be rather seals assuring them of everlasting bliss, than tokens arguing unto others, that God doth put no difference between them and the children of malediction.
In the words of our Saviour there is no enigmatical obscurity. “When men revile you, sclaunder you, hate you, when they cast you out of their synagogues, when they speak and practise all manner of evil against you, say not in your hearts, this lot should have fallen upon the wicked that know not God. Such sufferings do not argue your infelicity, for when ye suffer these things ye are happy, yea because you suffer them happy are you. Men shall woonder that serving a God so able to protect you, ye should be enfeebled and die daily: but ignorant they are how it cometh by the mighty hand of God to pass, that there is even in imbecility strength, and gain in the very loss of your lives.” Nor doth any thing done or suffered in this present world prejudice a whit the grand authority, or impair the sacred credit either of the promises of God containing the good things of this life which are proposed to them that serve him, or of the contrary threatenings denounced against the children of rebellion and disobedience. That which befalleth us maketh no way vain and frustrate what God speaketh. But that which is spoken and meant conditionally must be conditionally understood. The life of the just shall be long and fortunate; they shall see many and happy days; their prosperity is a sequel of their piety; but with exception, unless it be far better for them to be otherwise. That this may be far better for them, there needeth no other proof, than the very acknowledgment of men touching the fruit of their own afflictions. Minds which prosperity would make wanton, experience of hard events do keep in subjection and awe. Affliction is the mother of hearty devotion. “When God humbled their hearts with heaviness,” saith the prophet, speaking of Israel, “then they cried unto the Lord.” When they loathed and abhorred their food, then they poured out their very souls in supplication unto God. Affliction is both a medicine if we sin, and a preservative that we sin not. Again, if sentence of death and temporal calamity be given against such as hate to be reformed, the certain performance thereof we must count upon; but with this caution, so far as may stand with that woonted patience which God useth ordinarily towards sinners, and so far as it may be without let and hinderance unto any greater intended good than can grow by their speedier revenge. In which considerations, if God do suffer with unweariable toleration vessels concinnate unto death, shall this, than which nothing doth more show his mercy and love towards men, by men be alleged to implead his righteousness?
“But good whereunto this tendeth, we say we discern none, sundry inconveniences being apparent.” Truth, they say, is the daughter of time : and in time who doubteth but God may discover that, which, because we presently see not, must we needs therefore presently deny? Into the heart of Joseph, at what time his brethren made gain of his person by merchandise; into the heart of Daniel, at the hour wherein he left his native soil; hardly could it have sunk what good so unpleasant accidents in the end would grow unto. “The end of all things,” saith the Apostle, “is at hand.” And if till then it should lie buried in the bosom of God alone, unto what good these things in outward appearance so confused for the time may tend; yet we to be less advised than that heathen Platonic, uninstructed in the mysteries of our faith? “In that I understand concerning the works of God,” saith Plotin, “therein will I praise him; and admire him even in those things which I know no reason of .” Do not we ourselves many times that whereof our servants do see no cause? neither dare they therefore argue and dispute against our actions, because our intentions are hidden from them. As for the wicked that hereby take occasion to harden themselves, it is to their own greater woe in the end. The time is not gained; divine revenge shall come upon them so much the heavier, by how much the slower. If the virtuous do fail in courage, it is through error and misconceit. “There was a time,” saith the prophet David, “when beholding fools in prosperity, I fretted at it in my heart, saying, ‘Lo, these are wicked, yet prosper they alway, and increase in riches: surely in vain have I cleansed my heart; that I have washed my hands in innocency, to what purpose is it?’ Such was my ignorance, such my folly .”
Another sort of men, injurious unto the God of heaven for want of understanding how towards them God is righteous, are they who abridge his mercy towards sinners penitent, tormenting their minds with a fearful expectation of future anguish, tribulation, and woe; as if, how merciful soever God be in remitting, pardoning, forgiving all their transgressions, nevertheless so unappeasable is the rigour and dirity of his corrective justice, that till transgressors have endured, either in this world or another, vexation proportionable unto the pleasure which they have taken in doing evil, there is no possible rest for their souls. Upon which opinion because much dependeth, I will first endeavour to lay before you, how the favourers and defenders thereof do ground it upon a supposed exigence in the justice of God; and secondly, make manifest unto you how weakly and ungroundedly they have erected it: how the nature of divine justice doth not only not require it, but is by it plainly oppugned, denied utterly, and overthrown.
Their grounds, unto such as cast but a slight view over them, may seem to be strong and forcible, they are with such art and cunning laid. The parts of their doctrine concerning the point which now we treat of, are by their greatest masters thus cemented and set together. First, most true it is, they say, and of all Christian comfort the very root, that the death of our Lord and Saviour hath duly and sufficiently paid for the sins of all the world, by that abundant price of redemption upon the cross. Which solemn entrance being such as cannot but have the full and ready approbation of all men Christian without any pause or furder deliberation gladly yielded, they smoothly proceed, adding hereunto that which cannot reasonably neither be denied; to wit, that no man was ever partaker of this benefit but in the knot and unity of his body mystical, which is the Church: that to them the streams of the holy blood of Christ and beams of his grace are in sundry manners conveyed: that upon all men, at their first incorporation into the household of the faithful, the merits of the death of Christ are so largely carried down for the remission of their sins, that were their lives before never so loaden with the most enormous offences that in this misery man may commit, yet they are not only pardoned of the same, but also perfectly acquitted for ever of all pain and punishment, which his offences by any means committed might deserve: that if men received into the favour of God and fellowship of his Church do, by sin committed after baptism, again pollute the temple of God, their estate is not such as Novatus would have it, irrecoverable, but even they may also be repaired through repentance; God most largely and mercifully promising unto his children which have erred and gone astray, if they return, if they be penitent, full remission of all their sins.
Whom we have found in so many things and so weighty true of their word, we do not easily suspect of deceit. Wherefore, as having now full possession of their hearers’ minds, they slip into that, which, being in truth utterly repugnant unto the verdicts hitherto given, they notwithstanding adjoin as consonant and agreeable thereunto. Sin, they say, committed draweth after it a double evil: First, it polluteth , defileth, staineth the purity and dignity of our nature: secondly, it maketh the soul that sinneth obnoxious unto punishment deserved by sin. Now God remitteth indeed the manifold sins of his children upon their hearty repentance, yea acquitteth them from that great pain, death and endless condemnation, which their iniquities justly deserved: howbeit doth not always, together with the remission of deadly sins and eternal punishment, exempt offenders received to his grace from all correction due for sin. That justice exacteth punishment for offending, even after their offences be forgiven them, there is, as it seemeth, proof sufficient mo ways than one. For first, have not just and holy men in this respect taken most sharp revenge upon themselves? Hath not the Church, for the satisfying of God’s most heavy indignation, from the very first spring of Christian religion, perpetually enjoined transgressors certain penal works of correction, either before, as the old usage was, or after the release of their offences, which now of late for grave causes hath been more used? When men do neither chastise themselves, nor are by the Church’s rod chastised, so inevitable is the punishment of sin, that it is a kind of constraint unto God himself to punish, yea to punish them whose sin he hath pardoned and received them into favour. Was it not thus in our first progenitors, whose grievous transgression though pardoned, yet both they did and we do smart for? For this cause the blessed Apostle plainly to them of Corinth , “See ye not how many there are amongst you weak and feeble, how many fallen asleep:” some stricken with sickness, some with death? This we might help, if we were not careless. If we did judge ourselves, we should not be judged of God: now we are, that with the world we might not perish. It cannot therefore be doubted of, but there is pain due for sin after sin be remitted. And if any debt or recompense remain to be discharged by the offender after reconcilement, it must needs rise by proportion, weight, continuance, number, and quantity of the faults committed before. Which debt we cannot say all men do fully discharge in this world. How many thousands do live at ease, secure, and altogether careless thereof? How many, by reason of their late conversion, taken out of the world before they can fully discharge this debt? So that if there were not in the next life pains satisfactory for them to endure, the case of grievous sinners till the very hower of death were much better than of small offenders converted long before: a thing not seemly to God’s justice. Unless perhaps we think that God shall be forced of necessity to remit his debt, for lack of means to punish it in another world. The punishments, which God hath reserved for his children after this life, are of two kinds : the one, want of perfect felicity and bliss; the other, sense of fearful and grievous torments. In the former of these two Adam and all the fathers before Christ, till Christ’s coming, were for so many worlds together detained, to satisfy for the punishment due to the sins the guilt whereof was in this life forgiven them. Nor did only the holy patriarchs feel in this respect the lack of the abundant fruition of the majesty of God, but all the souls of the just, excepting some, who by peculiar prerogative have already received their bodies, being now in rest and unspeakable felicity, do nevertheless for sin want the increase of joy and bliss, that by receipt of their bodies lying as yet in the dust, they are hereafter undoubtedly sure of. This they term pœnam damni . The other punishment, which hath in it not only loss of joy but also sense of grief, vexation, and woe, is that whereunto they give the name of purgatory pains, in nothing different from those very infernal torments which the souls of castaways, together with damned spirits, do endure, saving only in this, there is an appointed term to the one, to the other none; but for the time they last, they are equal. Nor may we therefore think ourselves quite and clean discharged of all such punishment, though we do never so carefully beware of heinous offences. For the common infirmities and daily trespasses which defile the works of the virtuous, as immoderate laughter, excessive jesting, smaller exceedings in meats, drinks, attire, and the like, distractions of mind, wandering cogitations in holy exercise; these, though easily pardonable and venial oversights, yet deserving temporal pain, the same unforgiven here must have of necessity afterward the punishment which justice requireth. This taught in Scripture, this determined in councils general, this believed by the ancient fathers, this by the very heathens acknowledged. The doctrine which maketh either denial or doubt of this, giveth license unto evil livers, and is the very mother of presumption.
The whole sum of all this we may reduce unto these two grounds. First, the justice of God requireth, that after unto the penitent sin is forgiven, a temporal satisfactory punishment be notwithstanding for sin inflicted by God or man. Secondly, the same doth also require, that such punishment being not inflicted in this world, it be in the world to come endured; that so to the justice of God full and perfect satisfaction may be made. For each of these, we have with sincerity and care touched the very principal flower of that which the wisest and learnedest on that part have hitherto alleged as proofs to stand upon. So that if this be answered unto the full contentment of reasonable men, I hope we shall not be thought unreasonable for withholding our assent from that which they urge upon the world with greater eagerness than weight of speech .
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A REMEDY AGAINST SORROW AND FEAR: DELIVERED IN A FUNERAL SERMON.
John xiv. 27.
Let not your hearts be troubled, nor fear.
SERM. IV.THE holy Apostles having gathered themselves together by the special appointment of Christ, and being in expectation to receive from him such instructions as they had been accustomed with, were told that which they least looked for, namely, that the time of his departure out of the world was now come. Whereupon they fell into consideration, first, of the manifold benefits which his absence should bereave them of; and secondly, of the sundry evils which themselves should be subject unto, being once bereaved of so gracious a Master and Patron. The one consideration overwhelmed their souls with heaviness, the other with fear. Their Lord and Saviour, whose words had cast down their hearts, raiseth them presently again with chosen sentences of sweet encouragement. “My dear, it is for your own sakes that I leave the world. I know the affections of your hearts are tender, but if your love were directed with that advised and staid judgment which should be in you, my speech of leaving the world, and going unto my Father, would not a little augment your joy. Desolate and comfortless I will not leave you; in spirit I am with you to the world’s end: whether I be present or absent, nothing shall ever take you out of these hands; my going is to take possession of that, in your names, which is not only for me but also for you prepared; where I am, you shall be. In the mean while, ‘My peace I give; not as the world giveth, give I unto you: let not your hearts be troubled, nor fear.’ ” The former part of which sentence having otherwhere already been spoken of, this unacceptable occasion to open the latter part thereof here I did not look for. But so God disposeth the ways of men. Him I heartily beseech, that the thing which he hath thus ordered by his providence, may through his gracious goodness turn unto your comfort.
Our nature coveteth preservation from things hurtful. Hurtful things being present do breed heaviness, being future do cause fear. Our Saviour to abate the one speaketh thus unto his disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled;” and to moderate the other, addeth, “Fear not.” Grief and heaviness in the presence of sensible evils cannot but trouble the minds of men. It may therefore seem that Christ required a thing impossible. Be not troubled. Why, how could they choose? But we must note, this being natural and therefore simply not reprovable, is in us good or bad according to the causes for which we are grieved, or the measure of our grief. It is not my meaning to speak so largely of this affection, as to go over all particulars whereby men do one way or other offend in it; but to teach [touch?] it so far only as it may cause the very Apostles’ equals to swerve. Our grief and heaviness therefore is reprovable sometime in respect of the cause from whence, sometime in regard of the measure whereunto it groweth.
When Christ the life of the world was led unto cruel death, there followed a number of people and women, which women bewailed much his heavy case. It was natural compassion which caused them, where they saw undeserved miseries, there to pour forth unrestrained tears. Nor was this reproved. But in such readiness to lament where they less needed, their blindness in not discerning that for which they ought much rather to have mourned, this our Saviour a little toucheth, putting them in mind that the tears which were wasted for him might better have been spent upon themselves; “ Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, weep for yourselves and for your children.” It is not, as the Stoics have imagined, a thing unseemly for a wise man to be touched with grief of mind; but to be sorrowful when we least should, and where we should lament there to laugh, this argueth our small wisdom. Again, when the Prophet David confesseth thus of himself, “ I grieved to see the great prosperity of godless men, how they flourish and go untouched;” himself hereby openeth both our common and his peculiar imperfection, whom this cause should not have made so pensive. To grieve at this is to grieve where we should not, because this grief doth rise from error. We err when we grieve at wicked men’s impunity and prosperity, because their estate being rightly discerned they neither prosper nor go unpunished. It may seem a paradox, it is a truth, that no wicked man’s estate is prosperous, fortunate, or happy. For what though they bless themselves and think their happiness great? Have not frantic persons many times a great opinion of their own wisdom? It may be that such as they think themselves, others also do account them. But what others? Surely such as themselves are. Truth and reason discerneth far otherwise of them. Unto whom the Jews wish all prosperity, unto them the phrase of their speech is to wish peace. Seeing then the name of peace containeth in it all parts of true happiness, when the Prophet saith plainly , that the wicked have no peace, how can we think them to have any part of other than vainly imagined felicity? What wise man did ever account fools happy? If wicked men were wise they would cease to be wicked. Their iniquity therefore proving their folly, how can we stand in doubt of their misery? They abound in those things which all men desire. A poor happiness to have good things in possession. “ A man to whom God hath given riches and treasures and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that it desireth, but yet God giveth him not the power to eat thereof;” such a felicity Salomon esteemeth but as a vanity, a thing of nothing. If such things add nothing to men’s happiness where they are not used, surely wicked men that use them ill, the more they have, the more wretched. Of their prosperity therefore we see what we are to think. Touching their impunity, the same is likewise but supposed. They are oftener plagued than we are aware of. The pangs they feel are not always written in their foreheads. Though wickedness be sugar in their mouths, and wantonness as oil to make them look with cheerful countenance; nevertheless if their hearts were disclosed, perhaps their glittering estate would not greatly be envied. The voices that have broken out from some of them, “O that God had given me a heart senseless, like the flint in the rocks of stone,” which as it can taste no pleasure so it feeleth no woe; these and the like speeches are surely tokens of the curse which Zophar in the Book of Job poureth upon the head of the impious man, “ He shall suck the gall of asps, and the viper’s tongue shall slay him.” If this seem light because it is secret, shall we think they go unpunished because no apparent plague is presently seen upon them? The judgments of God do not always follow crimes as thunder doth lightning, but sometimes the space of many ages coming between. When the sun hath shined fair the space of six days upon their tabernacle, we know not what clouds the seventh may bring. And when their punishment doth come, let them make their account in the greatness of their sufferings to pay the interest of that respect which hath been given them. Or if they chance to escape clearly in this world, which they seldom do; in the day when the heavens shall shrivel as a scroll and the mountains move as frighted men out of their places, what cave shall receive them? what mountain or rock shall they get by entreaty to fall upon them? what covert to hide them from that wrath, which they shall be neither able to abide nor to avoid? No man’s misery therefore being greater than theirs whose impiety is most fortunate; much more cause there is for them to bewail their own infelicity, than for others to be troubled with their prosperous and happy estate, as if the hand of the Almighty did not or would not touch them. For these causes and the like unto these therefore be not troubled.
Now though the cause of our heaviness be just, yet may not our affections herein be yielded unto with too much indulgency and favour. The grief of compassion whereby we are touched with the feeling of other men’s woes is of all other least dangerous. Yet this is a let unto sundry duties; by this we are [apt?] to spare sometimes where we ought to strike. The grief which our own sufferings do bring, what temptations have not risen from it? What great advantage Satan hath taken even by the godly grief of hearty contrition for sins committed against God, the near approaching of so many afflicted souls, whom the conscience of sin hath brought unto the very brink of extreme despair, doth but too abundantly shew. These things wheresoever they fall cannot but trouble and molest the mind. Whether we be therefore moved vainly with that which seemeth hurtful and is not; or have just cause of grief, being pressed indeed with those things which are grievous, our Saviour’s lesson is, touching the one, Be not troubled, nor over-troubled for the other. For, though to have no feeling of that which merely concerneth us were stupidity, nevertheless, seeing that as the Author of our salvation was himself consecrated by affliction, so the way which we are to follow him by is not strewed with rushes , but set with thorns, be it never so hard to learn, we must learn to suffer with patience even that which seemeth almost impossible to be suffered; that in the hour when God shall call us unto our trial, and turn this honey of peace and pleasure wherewith we swell into that gall and bitterness which flesh doth shrink to taste of, nothing may cause us in the troubles of our souls to storm and grudge and repine at God, but every heart be enabled with divinely inspired courage to inculcate unto itself, Be not troubled; and in those last and greatest conflicts to remember it, that nothing may be so sharp and bitter to be suffered, but that still we ourselves may give ourselves this encouragement, Even learn also patience, O my soul.
Naming patience I name that virtue which only hath power to stay our souls from being over-excessively troubled: a virtue, wherein if ever any, surely that soul had good experience, which extremity of pains having chased out of the tabernacle of this flesh, angels, I nothing doubt, have carried into the bosom of her father Abraham. The death of the saints of God is precious in his sight. And shall it seem unto us superfluous at such times as these are to hear in what manner they have ended their lives? The Lord himself hath not disdained so exactly to register in the book of life after what sort his servants have closed up their days on earth, that he descendeth even to their very meanest actions, what meat they have longed for in their sickness, what they have spoken unto their children, kinsfolk, and friends, where they have willed their dead carcasses to be laid, how they have framed their wills and testaments, yea the very turning of their faces to this side or that, the setting of their eyes, the degrees whereby their natural heat hath departed from them, their cries, their groans, their pantings, breathings, and last gaspings, he hath most solemnly commended unto the memory of all generations. The care of the living both to live and to die well must needs be somewhat increased, when they know that their departure shall not be folded up in silence, but the ears of many be made acquainted with it. Again when they hear how mercifully God hath dealt with others in the hour of their last need, besides the praise which they give to God, and the joy which they have or should have by reason of their fellowship and communion of saints, is not their hope also much confirmed against the day of their own dissolution? Finally, the sound of these things doth not so pass the ears of them that are most loose and dissolute of life, but it causeth them sometime or other to wish in their hearts, “ Oh that we might die the death of the righteous, and that our end might be like his!” Howbeit because to spend herein many words would be to strike even as many wounds into their minds whom I rather wish to comfort: therefore concerning this virtuous gentlewoman only this little I speak, and that of knowledge, “She lived a dove, and died a lamb.” And if amongst so many virtues, hearty devotion towards God, towards poverty tender compassion, motherly affection towards servants, towards friends even serviceable kindness, mild behaviour and harmless meaning towards all; if, where so many virtues were eminent, any be worthy of special mention, I wish her dearest friends of that sex to be her nearest followers in two things: Silence, saving only where duty did exact speech; and Patience even then when extremity of pains did enforce grief. “ Blessed are they which die in the Lord.” And concerning the dead which are blessed let not the hearts of any living be overcharged, with grief over-troubled.
Touching the latter affection of fear which respecteth evils to come, as the other which we have spoken of doth present evils; first in the nature thereof it is plain that we are not of every future evil afraid. Perceive we not how they whose tenderness shrinketh at the least rase of a needle’s point, do kiss the sword that pierceth their souls quite through? If every evil did cause fear, sin, because it is sin, would be feared; whereas properly sin is not feared as sin, but only as having some kind of harm annexed. To teach men to avoid sin, it had been sufficient for the Apostle to say, “Fly it .” But to make them afraid of committing sin, because the naming of sin sufficed not, therefore he addeth further, that it is as a “serpent which stingeth the soul.” Again, be it that some nocive or hurtful thing be towards us, must fear of necessity follow hereupon? Not except that hurtful things do threaten us either with destruction or vexation, and that such as we have neither a conceit of ability to resist, nor of utter impossibility to avoid. That which we know ourselves able to withstand we fear not; and that which we know we are unable to defer or diminish, or any way avoid, we cease to fear, we give ourselves over to bear and sustain it. The evil therefore which is feared must be in our persuasion unable to be resisted when it cometh, yet not utterly impossible for a time in whole or in part to be shunned. Neither do we much fear such evils, except they be imminent and near at hand; nor if they be near, except we have an opinion that they be so. When we have once conceived an opinion or apprehended an imagination of such evils prest and ready to invade us; because they are hurtful unto our nature, we feel in ourselves a kind of abhorring; because they are, though near yet not present, our nature seeketh forthwith how to shift and provide for itself; because they are evils which cannot be resisted, therefore she doth not provide to withstand but to shun and avoid. Hence it is that in extreme fear the mother of life contracting herself, avoiding as much as may be the reach of evil, and drawing the heat together with the spirits of the body to her, leaveth the outward parts cold, pale, weak, feeble, unapt to perform the functions of life; as we see in the fear of Belthasar king of Babel . By this it appeareth that fear is nothing else but a perturbation of the mind through an opinion of some imminent evil threatening the destruction or great annoyance of our nature, which to shun it doth contract and deject itself.
Now because not in this place only but otherwhere often we hear it repeated, “Fear not,” it is by some made a long question, Whether a man may fear destruction or vexation without sinning? First, the reproof wherewith Christ checketh his disciples more than once, “O men of little faith, wherefore are ye afraid?” Secondly, the punishment threatened in the 21. of Revelations , to wit, the lake, and fire, and brimstone, not only to murderers, unclean persons, sorcerers, idolaters, liars, but also to the fearful and faint-hearted: this seemeth to argue that fearfulness cannot but be sin. On the contrary side we see that he which never felt motion unto sin had of this affection more than a slight feeling. How clear is the evidence of the Spirit that “ in the days of his flesh he offered up prayers and supplications with strong cries and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was also heard in that which he feared!” Whereupon it followeth that fear in itself is a thing not sinful. For is not fear a thing natural and for men’s preservation necessary, implanted in us by the provident and most gracious Giver of all good things, to the end that we might not run headlong upon those mischiefs wherewith we are not able to encounter, but use the remedy of shunning those evils which we have not ability to withstand? Let that people therefore which receive a benefit by the length of their prince’s days, that father or mother that rejoiceth to see the offspring of their flesh grow like green and pleasant plants, let those children that would have their parents, those men that would gladly have their friends and brethren’s days prolonged on earth, (as there is no natural-hearted man but gladly would,) let them bless the Father of lights, as in other things, so even in this, that he hath given man a fearful heart, and settled naturally that affection in him which is a preservation against so many ways of death. Fear then in itself being mere nature cannot in itself be sin, which sin is not nature, but thereof an accessary deprivation.
But in the matter of fear we may sin, and do, two ways. If any man’s danger be great, theirs greatest that have put the fear of danger farthest from them. Is there any estate more fearful than that Babylonian strumpet’s, that sitteth upon the tops of the seven hills glorying and vaunting, “ I am a queen?” &c. How much better and happier they whose estate hath been always as his who speaketh after this sort of himself, “Lord, from my youth have I borne thy yoke !” They which sit at continual ease, and are settled in the lees of their security, look upon them, view their countenance, their speech, their gesture, their deeds: “Put them in fear, O God,” saith the Prophet, “that so they may know themselves to be but men ,” worms of the earth, dust and ashes, frail, corruptible, feeble things. To shake off security therefore, and to breed fear in the hearts of mortal men, so many admonitions are used concerning the power of evils which beset them, so many threatenings of calamities, so many descriptions of things threatened, and those so lively, to the end they may leave behind them a deep impression of such as have force to keep the heart continually waking. All which do shew, that we are to stand in fear of nothing more than the extremity of not fearing.
When fear hath delivered us from that pit wherein they are sunk that have put far from them the evil day, that have made a league with death and have said, “Tush, we shall feel no harm;” it standeth us upon to take heed it cast us not into that wherein souls destitute of all hope are plunged. For our direction, to avoid as much as may be both extremities, that we may know as a ship-master by his card, how far we are wide, either on the one side or on the other, we must note that in a Christian man there is, first, Nature; secondly, Corruption, perverting Nature; thirdly, Grace correcting, and amending Corruption. In fear all these have their several operations. Nature teacheth simply, to wish preservation and avoidance of things dreadful; for which cause our Saviour himself prayeth, and that often, “ Father, if it be possible.” In which cases corrupt nature’s suggestions are, for the safety of temporal life not to stick at things excluding from eternal; wherein how far even the best may be led, the chiefest Apostle’s frailty teacheth. Were it not therefore for such cogitations as on the contrary side grace and faith ministereth, such as that of Job, “ Though God kill me;” that of Paul , “Scio cui credidi, I know him on whom I do rely;” small evils would soon be able to overwhelm even the best of us. “A wise man,” saith Salomon , “doth see a plague coming, and hideth himself.” It is nature which teacheth a wise man in fear to hide himself, but grace and faith doth teach him where. Fools care not where they hide their heads. But where shall a wise man hide himself when he feareth a plague coming? Where should the frighted child hide his head, but in the bosom of his loving father? Where a Christian, but under the shadow of the wings of Christ his Saviour? “Come, my people,” saith God in the Prophet , “enter into thy chamber, hide thyself,” &c. But because we are in danger like chased birds, like doves that seek and cannot see the resting holes that are right before them, therefore our Saviour giveth his disciples these encouragements beforehand, that fear might never so amaze them, but that always they might remember, that whatsoever evils at any time did beset them, to him they should still repair, for comfort, counsel, and succour. For their assurance whereof his “peace he gave them, his peace he left unto them, not such peace as the world offereth,” by whom his name is never so much pretended as when deepest treachery is meant; but “peace which passeth all understanding,” peace that bringeth with it all happiness, peace that continueth for ever and ever with them that have it.
This peace God the Father grant, for his Son’s sake; unto whom, with the Holy Ghost, three Persons, one eternal and everliving God, be all honour, glory, and praise, now and for ever. Amen.
DEDICATION PREFIXED TO THE FIRST EDITION OF TWO SERMONS ON PART OF ST. JUDE.
To the Worshipful M. George Summaster, Principal of Broad-Gates Hall, in Oxford, Henry Jackson wisheth all happiness.
Jackson’s Dedication.YOUR kind acceptance of a former testification of that respect I owe you, hath made me venture to shew the world these godly sermons under your name. In which, as every point is worth observation, so some especially are to be noted. The first, that as the spirit of prophecy is from God himself, who doth inwardly heat and enlighten the hearts and minds of his holy penmen, (which if some would diligently consider, they would not puzzle themselves with the contentions of Scot and Thomas, Whether God only, or his ministering spirits, do infuse into men’s minds prophetical revelations “per species intelligibiles,”) so God framed their words also. Whence the holy father St. Augustine religiously observeth , “That all those which understand the sacred writers, will also perceive that they ought not to use other words than they did, in expressing those heavenly mysteries which their hearts ‘conceived,’ as the blessed Virgin did our Saviour, ‘by the Holy Ghost.’ ” The greater is Castellio’s offence, who hath laboured to teach the Prophets to speak otherwise than they have already. Much like to that impious king of Spain, Alphonsus the Tenth , who found fault with God’s works , “Si,” inquit, “creationi affuissem, mundum melius ordinassem;” If he had been with God at the creation of the world, the world had gone better than now it doth. As this man found fault with God’s works, so did the other with God’s words; but, because “we have a most sure word of the Prophets ,” to which we must “take heed,” I will let his words pass with the wind, having elsewhere spoken to you more largely of his errors, whom, notwithstanding, for his other excellent parts, I much respect.
You shall moreover from hence understand, how Christianity consists not in formal and seeming “purity,” (under which who knows not notorious villainy to mask?) but in the heart-root. Whence the author truly teacheth, that mockers, which use religion as a cloak, to put off and on as the weather serveth, are worse than pagans and infidels. Where I cannot omit to shew how justly this kind of men hath been reproved by that renowned martyr of Jesus Christ, Bishop Latimer; both because it will be apposite to this purpose, and also free that Christian worthy from the slanderous reproaches of him , who was, if ever any, a “mocker” of God, religion, and all good men. But first I must desire you, and in you all readers, not to think lightly of that excellent man, for using this and the like witty similitudes in his sermons. For whosoever will call to mind with what riff-raff God’s people were fed in those days, when their priests, “ whose lips should have preserved knowledge,” preached nothing else but dreams and false miracles of counterfeit saints, enrolled in that sottish Legend , coined and amplified by a drowsy head between sleeping and waking: he that will consider this, and also how the people were delighted with such toys, (God sending them strong delusions that they should believe lies,) and how hard it would have been for any man wholly, and upon the sudden, to draw their minds to another bent, will easily perceive, both how necessary it was to use symbolical discourse, and how wisely and moderately it was applied by that religious father, to the end he might lead their understanding so far, till it were so convinced, informed, and settled, that it might forget the means and way by which it was led, and think only of that it had acquired. For in all such mystical speeches, who knows not that the end for which they are used is only to be thought upon?
This then being first considered, let us hear the story, as it is related by Master Fox : “Master Latimer,” saith he, “in his sermon [sermons], gave the people certain cards out of the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of Saint Matthew. For the chief triumph in the cards he limited the heart, as the principal thing that they should serve God withal, whereby he quite overthrew all hypocritical and external ceremonies, not tending to the necessary furtherance of God’s holy word and sacraments.” By this “he exhorted all men to serve the Lord with inward heart and true affection, and not with outward ceremonies; adding moreover to the praise of that triumph, that though it were never so small, yet it would take up the best coat-card beside in the bunch, yea, though it were the king of clubs, &c., meaning thereby, how the Lord would be worshipped and served in simplicity of the heart, and verity, wherein consisteth true Christian religion,” &c. Thus Master Fox.
By which it appears, that the holy man’s intention was to lift up the people’s hearts to God, and not that he made “a sermon of playing at cards, and taught them how to play at triumph, and played” (himself) “at cards in the pulpit,” as that base companion Parsons reports the matter in his wonted scurrilous vein of railing, whence he calleth it a Christmas sermon. Now he that will think ill of such allusions, may out of the abundance of his folly jest at Demosthenes for his story of the sheep, wolves, and dogs; and at Menenius, for his fiction of the belly . But, hinc illæ lacrymæ, the good bishop meant that the Romish religion came not from the heart, but consisted in outward ceremonies: which sorely grieved Parsons, who never had the least warmth or spark of honesty. Whether Bishop Latimer compared the bishops to the knaves of clubs, as the fellow interprets him, I know not: I am sure Parsons, of all others, deserved those colours; and so I leave him.
We see then, what inward purity is required of all Christians, which if they have, then in prayer, and all other Christian duties, they shall lift up pure hands, as the Apostle speaks, not as Baronius would have it, “washed from sins with holy water;” but pure, that is, holy, free from the pollution of sin, as the Greek word ὁσίους doth signify.
You may see also here refuted those calumnies of the papists, that we abandon all religious rites and godly duties; as also the confirmation of our doctrine touching certainty of faith, (and so of salvation,) which is so strongly denied by some of that faction, that they have told the world, “ St. Paul himself was uncertain of his own salvation.” What then shall we say, but pronounce a woe to the most strict observers of St. Francis’ rule and his canonical discipline, (though they make him even equal with Christ,) and the most meritorious monk that ever was registered in their
calendar of saints? But we for our comfort are otherwise taught out of the Holy Scripture, and therefore exhorted to build ourselves in our most holy faith, that so, “when our earthly house of this tabernacle shall be destroyed, we may have a building given of God, a house not made with hands, but eternal in the heavens .”
This is that, which is most piously and feelingly taught in these few leaves, so that you shall read nothing here, but what, I persuade myself, you have long practised in the constant course of your life. It remaineth only, that you accept of these labours tendered to you by him, who wisheth you the long joys of this world, and the eternal of that which is to come.
Oxon. from Corp. Christi college, this 13 of January, 1613.
TWO SERMONS UPON PART OF ST. JUDE’S EPISTLE .
Epist. Jude, vers. 17-21.
But ye, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before of the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:
How that they told you, that there should be mockers in the last time, which should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
These are makers of Sects, fleshly, having not the Spirit.
But ye, beloved, edify yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.
And keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto eternal life.
SERM. V. 1.THE occasion whereupon, together with the end wherefore, this Epistle was written, is opened in the front and entry of the same. There were then, as there are now, many evil and wickedly disposed persons, not of the mystical body, yet within the visible bounds of the Church, “men which were of old ordained to condemnation, ungodly men, which turned the grace of our God into wantonness, and denied the Lord Jesus.” For this cause the Spirit of the Lord is in the hand of “Jude the servant of Jesus and brother of James,” to exhort them that are called, and sanctified of God the Father, that they would earnestly “contend to maintain the faith, which was once delivered unto the saints.” Which faith because we cannot maintain, except we know perfectly, first, against whom; secondly, in what sort it must be maintained: therefore in the former three verses of that parcel of Scripture which I have read, the enemies of the cross of Christ are plainly described;SERM. V. 2. and in the later two, they that love the Lord Jesus have a sweet lesson given them how to strengthen and stablish themselves in the faith. Let us first therefore examine the description of these reprobates concerning faith; and afterwards come to the words of the exhortation, wherein Christians are taught how to rest their hearts on God’s eternal and everlasting truth. The description of these godless persons is twofold, general and special. The general doth point them out, and shew what manner of men they should be. The particular pointeth at them, and saith plainly, these are they. In the general description we have to consider of these things; First, when they were described; “They were told of before:” Secondly, the men by whom they were described; “They were spoken of by the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:” Thirdly, the days when they should be manifested unto the world; they told you they “should be in the last time:” Fourthly, their disposition and whole demeanour; Mockers and walkers after their own ungodly lusts.”
2. In the third to the Philippians , the Apostle describeth certain; “They are men,” saith he, “of whom I have told you often, and now with tears I tell you of them, their god is their belly, their glorying and rejoicing is in their own shame, they mind earthly things.” These were enemies of the cross of Christ, enemies whom he saw, and his eyes gushed out with tears to behold them. But we are taught in this place how the Apostles spake also of enemies , whom as yet they had not seen, described a family of men as yet unheard of, a generation reserved for the end of the world, and for the last time; they had not only declared what they heard and saw in the days wherein they lived, but they have prophesied also of men in time to come. And “you do well,” saith St. Peter , “in that ye take heed to the words of prophecy, so that ye first know this, that no prophecy in the Scripture cometh of any man’s own resolution.” No prophecy in Scripture cometh of any man’s own resolution. For all prophecy, which is in Scripture, came by the secret inspiration of God. But there are prophecies which are no Scripture; yea, there are prophecies against the Scripture:SERM. V. 3, 4. my brethren, beware of such prophecies, and take heed you heed them not. Remember the things that were spoken of before; but spoken of before by the Apostles of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Take heed to prophecies, but to prophecies which are in Scripture; for both the manner and the matter of those prophecies do shew plainly that they are of God.
Of the spirit of prophecy received from God himself.3. Touching the manner, how men by the spirit of prophecy in holy Scripture have spoken and written of things to come, we must understand, that as the knowledge of that they spake, so likewise the utterance of that they knew, came not by these usual and ordinary means, whereby we are brought to understand the mysteries of our salvation, and are wont to instruct others in the same. For whatsoever we know, we have it by the hands and ministry of men, which lead us along like children, from a letter to a syllable, from a syllable to a word, from a word to a line, from a line to a sentence, from a sentence to a side, and so turn over. But God himself was their instructor, he himself taught them, partly by dreams and visions in the night, partly by revelations in the day, taking them aside from amongst their brethren, and talking with them as a man would talk with his neighbour in the way. Thus they became acquainted even with the secret and hidden counsels of God. They saw things which themselves were not able to utter, they beheld that whereat men and angels are astonished. They understood in the beginning, what should come to pass in the last days.
Of the Prophets’ manner of speech.4. God, which lightened thus the eyes of their understanding, giving them knowledge by unusual and extraordinary means, did also miraculously himself frame and fashion their words and writings; insomuch that a greater difference there seemeth not to be between the manner of their knowledge, than there is between the manner of their speech and ours. When we have conceived a thing in our hearts, and throughly understand it, as we think within ourselves, ere we can utter it in such sort that our brethren may receive instruction or comfort at our mouths, how great, how long, how earnest meditation are we forced to use! And after much travail and much pains, when we open our lips to speak of the wonderful works of God, our tongues do falter within our mouths, yea many times we disgrace the dreadful mysteries of our faith, and grieve the spirit of our hearers by words unsavoury, and unseemly speeches:SERM. V. 4. “ Shall a wise man fill his belly with the eastern wind?” saith Eliphaz; “shall a wise man dispute with words not comely? or with talk that is not profitable?” Yet behold, even they that are wisest amongst us living, compared with the prophets, seem no otherwise to talk of God, than as if the children which are carried in arms should speak of the greatest matters of state. They whose words do most shew forth their wise understanding, and whose lips do utter the purest knowledge, so long as they understand and speak as men, are they not fain sundry ways to excuse themselves? Sometimes acknowledging with the wise man , “Hardly can we discern the things that are on earth, and with great labour find we out the things that are before us; who can then seek out the things that are in heaven?” Sometimes confessing with Job the righteous, “intreating of things too wonderful for us, we have spoken we wist not what .” Sometimes ending their talk, as doth the history of the Maccabees : “If we have done well, and as the cause required, it is that we desire; if we have spoken slenderly and barely, we have done what we could.” But “God hath made my mouth like a sword,” saith Esay . And “we have received,” saith the Apostle , “not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God, that we might know the things which are given to us of God; which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost doth teach.” This is that which the prophets mean by those books written full within and without; which books were so often delivered them to eat, not because God fed them with ink and paper, but to teach us, that so oft as he employed them in this heavenly work, they neither spake nor wrote any word of their own, but uttered syllable by syllable as the Spirit put it into their mouths, no otherwise than the harp or the lute doth give a sound according to the discretion of his hands that holdeth and striketh it with skill. The difference is only this: an instrument, whether it be a pipe or harp, maketh a distinction in the times and sounds, which distinction is well perceived of the hearer, the instrument itself understanding not what is piped or harped.SERM. V. 5. The prophets and holy men of God not so. “I opened my mouth,” saith Ezekiel , “and God reached me a scroll, saying, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this I give thee. I ate it, and it was sweet in my mouth as honey,” saith the prophet. Yea, sweeter, I am persuaded, than either honey or the honeycomb. For herein they were not like harps or lutes, but they felt, they felt the power and strength of their own words. When they spake of our peace, every corner of their hearts was filled with joy. When they prophesied of mournings, lamentations, and woes, to fall upon us, they wept in the bitterness and indignation of spirit , the arm of the Lord being mighty and strong upon them.
5. On this manner were all the prophecies of holy Scripture. Which prophecies, although they contain nothing which is not profitable for our instruction, yet as one star differeth from another in glory, so every word of prophecy hath a treasure of matter in it, but all matters are not of like importance, as all treasures are not of equal price. The chief and principal matter of prophecy is the promise of righteousness, peace, holiness, glory, victory, immortality, unto “every soul which believeth that Jesus is Christ, of the Jew first, and of the Gentile .” Now because the doctrine of salvation to be looked for by faith in Him, who was in outward appearance as it had been a man forsaken of God; in him who was numbered, judged, and condemned with the wicked; in him whom men did see buffeted on the face, scoffed at by soldiers, scourged by tormentors, hanged on the cross, pierced to the heart; in him whom the eyes of many witnesses did behold, when the anguish of his soul enforced him to roar as if his heart had rent in sunder , “O my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” I say, because the doctrine of salvation by him is a thing improbable to a natural man, that whether we preach it to the Gentile, or to the Jew, the one condemneth our faith as madness, the other as blasphemy; therefore, to establish and confirm the certainty of this saving truth in the hearts of men,SERM. V. 6. the Lord, together with their preachings whom he sent immediately from himself to reveal these things unto the world, mingled prophecies of things both civil and ecclesiastical, which were to come in every age from time to time, till the very last of the latter days, that by those things, wherein we see daily their words fulfilled and done, we might have strong consolation in the hope of things which are not seen, because they have revealed as well the one as the other. For when many things are spoken of before in Scripture, whereof we see first one thing accomplished, and then another, and so a third, perceive we not plainly, that God doeth nothing else but lead us along by the hand, till he have settled us upon the rock of an assured hope, that no one jot or tittle of his word shall pass till all be fulfilled? It is not therefore said in vain, that these godless wicked ones “were spoken of before.”
6. But by whom? By them whose words if men or angels from heaven gainsay, they are accursed; by them whom whosoever despiseth, “despiseth not them but me ,” saith Christ. If any man therefore doth love the Lord Jesus, (and woe worth him that loveth not the Lord Jesus!) hereby we may know that he loveth him indeed, if he despise not the things that are spoken of by his Apostles, whom many have despised even for the baseness and simpleness of their persons.A natural man perceiveth not heavenly things. For it is the property of fleshly and carnal men to honour and dishonour, credit and discredit the words and deeds of every man, according to that he wanteth or hath without. “ If a man with gorgeous apparel come amongst us,” although he be a thief or a murderer, (for there are thieves and murderers in gorgeous apparel,) be his heart whatsoever, if his coat be of purple, or velvet, or tissue, every one riseth up, and all the reverend solemnities we can use are too little. But the man that serveth God is contemned and despised amongst us for his poverty. Herod speaketh in judgment, and the people cry out, “ The voice of God, and not of man.” Paul preacheth Christ, they term him a trifler. “ Hearken, beloved, hath not God chosen the poor of this world, that they should be rich in faith?” Hath he not chosen the refuse of the world to be heirs of his kingdom, which he hath promised to them that love him? Hath he not chosen the offscourings of men to be the lights of the world, and the Apostles of Jesus Christ?SERM. V. 7. Men unlearned, yet how fully replenished with understanding? few in number, yet how great in power? contemptible in shew, yet in spirit how strong? how wonderful? “I would fain learn the mystery of the eternal generation of the Son of God,” saith Hilary . “Whom shall I seek? Shall I get me to the schools of the Grecians? Why? I have read, Ubi sapiens? ubi scriba? ubi conquisitor hujus sæculi? These wise men in the world must needs be dumb in this, because they have rejected the wisdom of God. Shall I beseech the scribes and interpreters of the law to become my teachers? How can they know this, sith they are offended at the cross of Christ? It is death for me to be ignorant of the unsearchable mystery of the Son of God: of which mystery, notwithstanding I should have been ignorant, but that a poor fisherman, unknown, unlearned, new come from his boat with his clothes wringing wet, hath opened his mouth and taught me, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ ” These poor silly creatures have made us rich in the knowledge of the mysteries of Christ.
7. Remember therefore that which is spoken of by the Apostles. Whose words if the children of this world do not regard, is it any marvel? They are the Apostles of our Lord Jesus; not of their Lord, but of our. It is true which one hath said in a certain place, Apostolicam fidem sæculi homo non capit. “A man sworn to the world is not capable of that faith which the Apostles do teach.” What mean the children of this world then to tread in the courts of our God?We must not halt between two opinions. What should your bodies do at Bethel, whose hearts are at Bethaven? The god of this world, whom ye serve, hath provided Apostles and teachers for you, Chaldeans, wizards, soothsayers, astrologers, and such like: hear them. Tell not us that ye will sacrifice to the Lord our God, if we will sacrifice to Ashtaroth or Melcom; that ye will read our Scriptures, if we will listen to your traditions; that if ye may have a Mass by permission, we shall have a Communion with good leave and liking; that ye will admit the things that are spoken of by the Apostles of our Lord Jesus, if your Lord and Master may have his ordinances observed, and his statutes kept. Salomon took it (as well he might) for an evident proof, that she did not bear a motherly affection to her child, which yielded to have it cut in divers parts. He cannot love the Lord Jesus with his heart, which lendeth one ear to his Apostles, and another to false apostles; which can brook to see a mingle-mangle of religion and superstition, Ministers and Massing-priests, light and darkness, truth and error, traditions and scriptures. No, we have no Lord but Jesus; no doctrine but the gospel; no teachers but his Apostles. Were it reason to require at the hands of an English subject, obedience to the laws and edicts of the Spaniard? I do marvel, that any man bearing the name of a servant of the servants of Jesus Christ, will go about to draw us from our allegiance. We are his sworn subjects; it is not lawful for us to hear the things that are not told us by his Apostles. They have told us, that in “the last days there shall be mockers,” therefore we believe it; Credimus quia legimus , We are so persuaded, because we read it must be so. If we did not read it, we would not teach it: Nam quæ libro legis non continentur, eanec nosse debemus, saith Hilary ;SERM. V. 8, 9. “Those things that are not written in the book of the law, we ought not so much as to be acquainted with them.” “Remember the words which were spoken of before of the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Mockers in the last time.8. The third thing to be considered in the description of these men of whom we speak, is the time wherein they should be manifested to the world. They told you there should be mockers “in the last time.” Noah at the commandment of God built an ark, and there were in it beasts of all sorts, clean and unclean. A husbandman planteth a vineyard, and looketh for grapes, but when they come to the gathering, behold, together with grapes there are found also wild grapes. A rich man prepareth a great supper, and biddeth many; but when he sitteth him down, he findeth amongst his friends here and there a man whom he knoweth not. This hath been the state of the Church sithence the beginning. God always hath mingled his saints with faithless and godless persons; as it were the clean with the unclean, grapes with sour grapes, his friends and children with aliens and strangers. Marvel not then, if in the last days also ye see the men, with whom you live and walk arm in arm, laugh at your religion, and blaspheme that glorious name whereof you are called. Thus it was in the days of the patriarchs and prophets, and are we better than our fathers? Albeit we suppose that the blessed Apostles, in foreshewing what manner of men were set out for the last days, meant to note a calamity special and peculiar to the ages and generations which were to come. As if he should have said, as God hath appointed a time of seed for the sower, and a time of harvest for him that reapeth; as he hath given unto every herb and every tree his own fruit and his own season, not the season nor the fruit of another (for no man looketh to gather figs in the winter, because the summer is the season for them; nor grapes of thistles, because grapes are the fruit of the vine): so the same God hath appointed sundry for every generation of men, other men for other times, and for the last times the worst men, as may appear by their properties; which is the fourth point to be considered of in this description.
Mockers.9. “They told you that there should be mockers.” He meaneth men that shall use religion as a cloak, to put off and on, as the weather serveth ;SERM. V. 9. such as shall with Herod hear the preaching of John Baptist to-day, and to-morrow condescend to have him beheaded; or with the other Herod say they will worship Christ, when they purpose a massacre in their hearts; kiss Christ with Judas, and betray Christ with Judas. These are mockers. For as Ishmael the son of Hagar laughed at Isaac, which was heir of the promise; so shall these men laugh at you as the maddest people under the sun, if ye be like Moses, “choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” And why? God hath not given them eyes to see, nor hearts to conceive that exceeding recompense of your reward. The promises of salvation made to you are matters wherein they can take no pleasure, even as Ishmael took no pleasure in that promise wherein God had said unto Abraham , “In Isaac shall thy seed be called,” because the promise concerned not him, but Isaac. They are termed for their impiety towards God, “mockers;” and for the impurity of their life and conversation, “walkers after their own ungodly lusts.” St. Peter in his Second Epistle and third chapter soundeth the very depth of their impiety; shewing first, how they shall not shame at the length to profess themselves profane and irreligious, by flat denying the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and deriding the sweet and comfortable promises of his appearing: secondly, that they shall not be only deriders of all religion, but also disputers against God, using truth to subvert the truth; yea Scriptures themselves to disprove Scriptures. Being in this sort “mockers,” they must needs be also “followers of their own ungodly lusts.” Being atheists in persuasion, can they choose but be beasts in conversation? For why remove they quite from them the fear of God? Why take they such pains to abandon and put out from their hearts all sense, all taste, all feeling of religion? but only to this end and purpose, that they may without inward remorse and grudging of conscience give over themselves to all uncleanness.Mockers worse than Pagans and infidels. Surely the state of these men is more lamentable than is the condition of Pagans and Turks. For at the bare beholding of heaven and earth the infidel’s heart by and by doth give him, that there is an eternal, infinite, immortal, and ever-living God, whose hands have fashioned and framed the world; he knoweth that every house is builded of some man, though he see not the man which built the house, and he considereth that it must be God which hath built and created all things; although because the number of his days be few, he could not see when God disposed his works of old, when he caused the light of his clouds first to shine, when he laid the corner stone of the earth, and swaddled it with bands of water and darkness; when he caused the morning star to know his place, and made bars and doors to shut up the sea within his house, saying , “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no farther;” he hath no eyewitness of these things. Yet the light of natural reason hath put this wisdom in his reins, and hath given his heart thus much understanding. Bring a Pagan to the schools of the Prophets of God; prophesy to an infidel, rebuke him, lay the judgments of God before him, make the secret sins of his heart manifest, and he shall fall down and worship God. They that crucified the Lord of glory were not so far past recovery, but that the preaching of the Apostles was able to move their hearts and to bring them to this, “Men and brethren, what shall we do ?” Agrippa, that sat in judgment against Paul for preaching, yielded notwithstanding thus far unto him, “Almost thou persuadest me to become a Christian .” Although the Jews for want of knowledge have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God; yet “I bear them record,” saith the Apostle , “that they have a zeal.” The Athenians, a people having neither zeal nor knowledge, yet of them also the same Apostle beareth witness, “Ye men of Athens, I perceive ye are δεισιδαιμονέστεστεροι, some way religious.” But mockers, walking after their own ungodly lusts, they have smothered every spark of that heavenly light, they have stifled even their very natural understanding. O Lord, thy mercy is over all thy works, thou savest man and beast! yet a happy case it had been for these men if they had never been born; and so I leave them.
SERM. V. 10, 11.10. St. Jude having his mind exercised in the doctrine of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, concerning things to come in the last time, became a man of a wise and staied judgment. Grieved he was to see the departure of many, and their falling away from the faith which before they did profess;Judas vir sapiens et certi judicii. grieved, but not dismayed. With the simpler and weaker sort it was otherwise: their countenance began by and by to change, they were half in doubt they had deceived themselves in giving credit to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. St. Jude, to comfort and refresh these silly lambs, taketh them up in his arms, and sheweth them the men at whom they were offended. Look upon them that forsake this blessed profession wherein you stand: they are now before your eyes; view them, mark them, are they not carnal? are they not like to noisome carrion cast out upon the earth? is there that Spirit in them which crieth, “Abba, Father,” in your bosoms? Why should any man be discomforted? Have you not heard that there should be “mockers in the last time?” These verily are they that now do separate themselves.
11. For your better understanding what this severing and separating of themselves doth mean, we must know that the multitude of them which truly believe (howsoever they be dispersed far and wide each from other) is all one body, whereof the Head is Christ; one building, whereof he is the corner-stone, in whom they as the members of the body being knit, and as the stones of the building being coupled, grow up to a man of perfect stature, and rise to an holy temple in the Lord. That which linketh Christ to us, is his mere mercy and love towards us. That which tieth us to him, is our faith in the promised salvation revealed in the word of truth. That which uniteth and joineth us amongst ourselves, in such sort that we are now as if we had but one heart and one soul, is our love. Who be inwardly in heart the lively members of this body, and the polished stones of this building, coupled and joined to Christ, as flesh of his flesh, and bones of his bones, by the mutual bond of his unspeakable love towards them, and their unfeigned faith in him, thus linked and fastened each to other by a spiritual, sincere, and hearty affection of love, without any manner of simulation; who be Jews within, and what their names be;SERM. V. 12. none can tell, save he whose eyes do behold the secret disposition of all men’s hearts. We, whose eyes are too dim to behold the inward man, must leave the secret judgment of every servant to his own Lord, accounting and using all men as brethren both near and dear unto us, supposing Christ to love them tenderly, so as they keep the profession of the Gospel, and join in the outward communion of saints. Whereof the one doth warrantize unto us their faith, the other their love, till they fall away, and forsake either the one, or the other, or both; and then it is no injury to term them as they are. When they separate themselves, they are αὐτοκατάκριτοι, not judged by us, but by their own doings. Men do separate themselves either by heresy, schism, or apostasy.Threefold separation. If they loose the bond of faith, which then they are justly supposed to do, when they frowardly oppugn any principal point of Christian doctrine, this is to separate themselves by heresy.1. Heresy. If they break the bond of unity, whereby the body of the Church is coupled and knit in one, as they do which wilfully forsake all external communion with saints in holy exercises purely and orderly established in the Church, this is to separate themselves by schism.2. Schism. If they willingly cast off and utterly forsake both profession of Christ and communion with Christians, taking their leave of all religion, this is to separate themselves by plain apostasy.3. Apostasy. And St. Jude, to express the manner of their departure which by apostasy fell away from the faith of Christ, saith, “They separated themselves;” noting thereby, that it was not constraint of others which forced them to depart, it was not infirmity and weakness in themselves, it was not fear of persecution to come upon them, whereat their hearts did fail; it was not grief of torments, whereof they had tasted, and were not able any longer to endure them. No, they voluntarily did separate themselves with a fully settled and altogether determined purpose never to name the Lord Jesus any more, nor to have any fellowship with his saints, but to bend all their counsel and all their strength to raze out their memorial from amongst men.
12. Now because that by such examples, not only the hearts of infidels were hardened against the truth, but the minds of weak brethren also much troubled, the Holy Ghost hath given sentence of these backsliders, that they were carnal men, and had not the Spirit of Christ Jesus, lest any man having an overweening of their persons should be overmuch amazed and offended at their fall.SERM. V. 13. For simple men not able to discern their spirits, were brought by their apostasy thus to reason with themselves: If Christ be the Son of the living God, if he have the words of eternal life, if he be able to bring salvation to all men that come unto him, what meaneth this apostasy and unconstrained departure? Why do his servants so willingly forsake him? Babes, be not deceived, his servants forsake him not. They that separate themselves were amongst his servants, but if they had been of his servants, they had not separated themselves. “ They were amongst us, not of us,” saith St. John; and St. Jude proveth it, because they were carnal, and had not the Spirit. Will you judge of wheat by chaff which the wind hath scattered from amongst it? Have the children no bread because the dogs have not tasted it? Are Christians deceived of that salvation they looked for, because they denied the joys of the life to come which were no Christians? What if they seemed to be pillars and principal upholders of our faith? What is that to us, which know that Angels have fallen from heaven? Although if these men had been of us indeed (O the blessedness of a Christian man’s estate!), they had stood surer than the angels, they had never departed from their place. Whereas now we marvel not at their departure at all, neither are we prejudiced by their falling away; because they were not of us, sith they are fleshly, and have not the Spirit. Children abide in the house for ever; they are bondmen and bondwomen which are cast out.
13. It behoveth you therefore greatly every man to examine his own estate, and try whether you be bond or free, children or no children. I have told you already, that we must beware we presume not to sit as gods in judgment upon others, and rashly, as our conceit and fancy doth lead us, so to determine of this man, he is sincere, or of that man, he is an hypocrite; except by their falling away they make it manifest and known what they are. For who art thou that takest upon thee to judge another before the time? Judge thyself. God hath left us infallible evidence, whereby we may at any time give true and righteous sentence upon ourselves.SERM. V. 14. We cannot examine the hearts of other men, we may our own.Infallible evidence in the faithful, that they are God’s children. “That we have passed from death to life, we know it,” saith St. John, “because we love our brethren :” and, “Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates ?” I trust, beloved, we know that we are not reprobates, because our spirit doth bear us record, that the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ is in us.
14. It is as easy a matter for the spirit within you to tell whose ye are, as for the eyes of your body to judge where you sit, or in what place you stand. For what saith the Scripture? “Ye which were in times past strangers and enemies , because your minds were set on evil works, Christ hath now reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to make you holy and unblamable and without fault in his sight; if you continue grounded and established in the faith, and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel .” And in the third to the Colossians, “Ye know, that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of that inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ .” If we can make this account with ourselves: I was in times past dead in trespasses and sins, I walked after the prince that ruleth in the air, and after the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience; but God, who is rich in mercy, through his great love, wherewith he loved me, even when I was dead, hath quickened me in Christ. I was fierce, heady, proud, high-minded; but God hath made me like the child that is newly weaned . I loved pleasures more than God; I followed greedily the joys of this present world; I esteemed him that erected a stage or theatre, more than Salomon which built a temple to the Lord; the harp, viol, timbrel, and pipe, men-singers and women-singers, were at my feasts; it was my felicity to see my children dance before me ; I said of every kind of vanity, O how sweet art thou unto my soul! All which things now are crucified to me, and I to them: now I hate the pride of life, and pomp of this world: now “I take as great delight in the way of thy testimonies, O Lord, as in all riches ;”SERM. V. 15. now I find more joy of heart in my Lord and Saviour, than the worldly-minded man, when “his wheat and oil do much abound;” now I taste nothing sweet but the “bread that came down from heaven, to give life unto the world ;” now mine eyes see nothing but Jesus rising from the dead; now my ear refuseth all kind of melody to hear the song of them that have gotten victory of the beast, and of his image, and of his mark, and of the number of his name, that stand on the sea of glass, “having the harps of God, and singing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, O King of Saints .” Surely, if the Spirit have been thus effectual in the secret work of our regeneration unto newness of life; if we endeavour thus to frame ourselves anew: then we may say boldly with the blessed Apostle in the tenth to the Hebrews, “We are not of them which withdraw ourselves to perdition, but which follow faith to the conservation of the soul .” For they that fall away from the grace of God, and separate themselves unto perdition, they are fleshly and carnal, they have not God’s holy Spirit. But unto you, “because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts ,” to the end ye might know that Christ hath built you upon a rock unmovable; that he hath registered your names in the Book of Life; that he hath bound himself in a sure and everlasting covenant to be your God, and the God of your children after you; that he hath suffered as much, groaned as oft, prayed as heartily for you, as for Peter, “O Father, keep them in thy name; O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee, but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. I have declared thy name unto them, and will declare it, that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them .” The Lord of his infinite mercy give us hearts plentifully fraught with the treasure of this blessed assurance of faith unto the end!
The papists falsely accuse us of heresy and apostasy.15. Here I must advertise all men, that have the testimony of God’s holy fear within their breasts, to consider how unkindly and injuriously our own countrymen and brethren have dealt with us by the space of four and twenty years , from time to time, as if we were the men of whom St. Jude here speaketh; never ceasing to charge us, some with schism, some with heresy, some with plain and manifest apostasy, as if we had clean separated ourselves from Christ, utterly forsaken God, quite abjured heaven, and trampled all truth and all religion under our feet. Against this third sort, God himself shall plead our cause in that day, when they shall answer us for these words, not we them. To others, by whom we are accused for schism and heresy, we have often made our reasonable, and in the sight of God, I trust, allowable answers. “For in the way which they call heresy, we worship the God of our fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and the Prophets .” That which they call schism, we know to be our reasonable service unto God, and obedience to his voice, which crieth shrill in our ears, “Go out of Babylon, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues .” And therefore when they rise up against us, having no quarrel but this, we need not seek any farther for our apology, than the words of Abiah to Jeroboam and his army: “O Jeroboam and Israel, hear you me: ought you not to know, that the Lord God of Israel hath given the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons, by a covenant of salt ?” that is to say, an everlasting covenant. Jesuits and papists, hear ye me: ought you not to know that the Father hath given all power unto the Son, and hath made him the only head over his Church, wherein he dwelleth as an husbandman in the midst of his vineyard, manuring it with the sweat of his own brows, not letting it forth to others? For, as it is in the Canticle, “Salomon had a vineyard in Baalhamon, he gave the vineyard unto keepers, every one bringing for the fruit thereof a thousand pieces of silver ;” but my vineyard, which is mine, is before me, saith Christ. It is true, this is meant of the mystical head set over the body, which is not seen. But as he hath reserved the mystical administration of the Church invisible unto himself, so he hath committed the mystical government of congregations visible, to the sons of David, by the same covenant; whose sons they are in the governing of the flock of Christ, whomsoever the Holy Ghost hath set over them, to go before them, and to lead them in their several pastures, one in this congregation, another in that; as it is written, “Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock whereof the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood .”The pope’s usurped supremacy. Neither will ever any pope or papist under the cope of heaven be able to prove the Romish bishop’s usurped supremacy over all churches by any one word of the covenant of salt, which is the Scripture. For the children in our streets do now laugh them to scorn, when they force, “Thou art Peter,” to this purpose. The pope hath no more reason to draw the charter of his universal authority from hence, than the brethren had to gather by the words of Christ in the last of St. John, that the disciple whom Jesus loved should never die. “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee ?” saith Christ. Straightways a report was raised amongst the brethren, that this disciple should not die. Yet Jesus said not to him, he shall not die; but “if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” Christ hath said in the sixteenth of St. Matthew’s Gospel to Simon the son of Jonas, “I say to thee, Thou art Peter .” Hence an opinion is held in the world, that the pope is universal head of all churches. Yet Jesus said not, The pope is universal head of all churches; but, Tu es Petrus, “Thou art Peter.” Howbeit, as Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, the servant of Salomon , rose up and rebelled against his Lord, and there were gathered unto him vain men and wicked, which made themselves strong against Roboam , the son of Salomon , because Roboam was but a child, and tenderhearted, and could not resist them; so the son of perdition and Man of Sin, (being not able to brook the words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, which forbade his disciples to be like princes of nations, “They bear rule, and are called gracious, it shall not be so with you ,”) hath risen up and rebelled against his Lord; and, to strengthen his arm, he hath crept into the houses almost of all the noblest families round about him, and taken their children from the cradle to be his cardinals ; he hath fawned upon the kings and princes of the earth, and by spiritual cozenage hath made them sell their lawful authority and jurisdiction for titles of Catholicus, Christianissimus, Defensor Fidei, and such like; he hath proclaimed sale of pardons, to inveigle the ignorant; built seminaries , to allure young men desirous of learning; erected stews , to gather the dissolute unto him. This is the rock whereupon his church is built. Hereby the Man is grown huge and strong, like the cedars which are not shaken with the wind, because princes have been as children, over tenderhearted, and could not resist.
Hereby it is come to pass, as you see this day, that the Man of Sin doth war against us, not by men of a language which we cannot understand, but he cometh as Jeroboam against Judah, and bringeth the fruit of our own bodies to eat us up, that the bowels of the child may be made the mother’s grave, that hath caused no small number of our brethren to forsake their native country, and with all disloyalty to cast off the yoke of their allegiance to our dread Sovereign, whom God in mercy hath set over them; for whose safeguard, if they carried not the hearts of tigers in the bosoms of men, they would think the dearest blood in their bodies well spent. But now, saith Abiah to Jeroboam, “Ye think ye be able to resist the kingdom of the Lord, which is in the hands of the sons of David. Ye be a great multitude, the golden calves are with you, which Jeroboam made you for gods: have ye not driven away the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests like the people of nations? whosoever cometh with a young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a priest of them that are no gods .” If I should follow the comparison, and here uncover the cup of those deadly and ugly abominations, wherewith this Jeroboam, of whom we speak, hath made the earth so drunk that it hath reeled under us, I know your godly hearts would loath to see them. For my own part, I delight not to rake in such filth, I had rather take a garment upon my shoulders, and go with my face from them to cover them. The Lord open their eyes, and cause them, if it be possible, at the length to see how they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Put it, O Lord, in their hearts to seek white raiment, and to cover themselves, that their filthy nakedness may no longer appear. For, beloved in Christ, we bow our knees, and lift up our hands to heaven in our chambers secretly, and openly in our churches we pray heartily and hourly, even for them also: though the pope hath given out as a judge, in a solemn declaratory sentence of excommunication against this land, that our gracious Lady hath quite abolished prayers within her realm ; and his scholars, whom he hath taken from the midst of us, have in their published writings charged us not only not to have any holy assemblies unto the Lord for prayer, but to “hold a common school of sin and flattery; to hold sacrilege to be God’s service; unfaithfulness, and breach of promise to God, to give it to a strumpet, to be a virtue; to abandon fasting; to abhor confession; to mislike with penance; to like well of usury; to charge none with restitution; to find no good before God in single life, nor in no well-working;” . . . “that all men, as they fall to us, are much worsed, and more than afore corrupted.” I do not add one word or syllable unto that which Master Bristow , a man both born and sworn amongst us, hath taught his hand to deliver to the view of all. I appeal to the conscience of every soul, that hath been truly converted by us, Whether his heart were never raised up to God by our preaching; whether the words of our exhortation never wrung any tear of a penitent heart from his eyes; whether his soul never reaped any joy, any comfort, any consolation in Christ Jesus, by our sacraments, and prayers, and psalms, and thanksgiving; whether he were never bettered, but always worsed by us.
O merciful God! If heaven and earth in this case do not witness with us, and against them, let us be razed out from the land of the living! Let the earth on which we stand swallow us quick, as it hath done Corah, Dathan, and Abiram! But if we belong unto the Lord our God, and have not forsaken him; if our priests, the sons of Aaron, minister unto the Lord, and the Levites in their office; if we offer unto the Lord every morning and every evening the burnt-offerings and sweet incense of prayers and thanksgivings; if the bread be set in order upon the pure table, and the candlestick of gold, with the lamps thereof, to burn every morning; that is to say, if amongst us God’s blessed sacraments be duly administered, his holy word sincerely and daily preached; if we keep the watch of the Lord our God, and if ye have forsaken him: then doubt ye not, this God is with us as a captain, his priests with sounding trumpets must cry alarm against you; “O ye children of Israel, fight not against the Lord God of your fathers, for ye shall not prosper .”
THE SECOND SERMON.
Epist. Jude, vers. 17-21.
But ye, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:
How that they told you, that there should be mockers in the last time, which should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
These are makers of Sects, fleshly, having not the Spirit.
But ye, beloved, edify yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.
And keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto eternal life.
SERM. VI. 1, 2.1. HAVING otherwhere spoken of the words of St. Jude, going next before, concerning Mockers, which should come in the last time, and backsliders, which even then fell away from the faith of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; I am now, by the aid of Almighty God, and through the assistance of his good Spirit, to lay before you the words of exhortation which I have read.
2. Wherein first of all, whosoever hath an eye to see, let him open it, and he shall well perceive how careful the Lord is for his children, how desirous to see them profit and grow up to a manly stature in Christ, how loth to have them any way misled, either by examples of the wicked, or by enticements of the world, and by provocation of the flesh, or by any other means forcible to deceive them, and likely to estrange their hearts from God. For God is not at that point with us, that he careth not whether we sink or swim. No, he hath written our names in the palm of his hand, in the signet upon his finger are we graven, in sentences not only of mercy, but of judgment also, we are remembered. He never denounceth judgments against the wicked, but he maketh some Proviso for his children, as it were for some certain privileged persons; “ Touch not mine anointed, do my prophets no harm:SERM. VI. 3. Hurt not the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of God in their foreheads.” He never speaketh of godless men, but he adjoineth words of comfort, or admonition, or exhortation, whereby we are moved to rest and settle our hearts on him. In the Second to Timothy, the third chapter , “Evil men,” saith the Apostle, “and deceivers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned.” And in the First to Timothy, the sixth chapter , “Some men lusting after money, have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, fly these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” In the Second to the Thessalonians, the second chapter , “They that have not received the love of the truth, that they might be saved, God shall send them strong delusions, that they may believe lies. But we ought to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and faith in the truth.” And in this Epistle of St. Jude, “There shall come mockers in the last time, walking after their own ungodly lusts. But, beloved, edify ye yourselves in your most holy faith.”
3. These sweet exhortations, which God putteth every where in the mouths of the prophets and apostles of Jesus Christ, are evident tokens, that God sitteth not in heaven careless and unmindful of our estate. Can a mother forget her child? Surely a mother will hardly forget her child. But if a mother be haply found unnatural, and do forget the fruit of her own womb; yet God’s judgments shew plainly, that he cannot forget the man whose heart he hath framed and fashioned anew in simplicity and truth to serve and fear him. For when the wickedness of man was so great, and the earth so filled with cruelty, that it could not stand with the righteousness of God any longer to forbear, wrathful sentences brake out from him, like wine from a vessel that hath no vent: “My Spirit,” saith he, “can struggle and strive no longer; an end of all flesh is come before me.” Yet then did Noah find grace in the eyes of the Lord:SERM. VI. 4, 5. “ I will establish my covenant with thee,” saith God; “thou shalt go into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.”
4. Do we not see what shift God doth make for Lot and for his family, in the nineteenth of Genesis, lest the fiery destruction of the wicked should overtake him? Overnight the angels make inquiry, what sons and daughters, or sons-in-law, what wealth and substance he had. They charge him to carry out all, “ Whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring it out.” God seemeth to stand in a kind of fear, lest something or other would be left behind. And his will was, that nothing of that which he had, not a hoof of any beast, not a thread of any garment, should be singed with that fire. In the morning the angels fail not to call him up, and to hasten him forward; “ Arise, take thy wife and thy daughters which are here, that they be not destroyed in the punishment of the city.” The angels having spoken again and again, Lot for all this lingereth out the time still, till at the length they were forced to take “ both him, his wife, and his daughters, by the arms (the Lord being merciful unto him), and to carry them forth, and set them without the city.”
5. Was there ever any father thus careful to save his child from the flame? A man would think, that now being spoken unto to escape for his life, and not to look behind him, nor to tarry in the plain, but to hasten to the mountain, and there to save himself, he should do it gladly. Yet behold, now he is so far off from a cheerful and willing heart to do whatsoever is commanded him for his own weal, that he beginneth to reason the matter, as if God had mistaken one place for another, sending him to the hill, when salvation was in the city. “ Not so, my Lord, I beseeeh thee; behold, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life. I cannot escape in the mountain, lest some evil take me and I die. Here is a city hard by, a small thing; O, let me escape thither, (is it not a small thing?) and my soul shall live.” Well, God is contented to yield to any conditions.SERM. VI. 6, 7, 8. “ Behold, I have received thy request concerning this thing also, I will spare this city for which thou hast spoken; haste thee, save thee there. For I can do nothing till thou come thither.”
6. He could do nothing! Not because of the weakness of his strength (for who is like unto the Lord in power?) but because of the greatness of his mercy, which would not suffer him to lift up his arm against that city, nor to pour out his wrath upon that place, where his righteous servant had a fancy to remain, and a desire to dwell. O the depth of the riches of the mercy and love of God! God is afraid to offend us which are not afraid to displease him; God can do nothing till he have saved us, which can find in our hearts rather to do any thing than to serve him. It contenteth him not to exempt us when the pit is digged for the wicked; to comfort us at every mention which is made of reprobates and godless men; to save us as the apple of his own eye when fire cometh down from heaven to consume the inhabitants of the earth; except every prophet, and every Apostle, and every servant whom he sendeth forth, do come loaden with these and the like exhortations, “O beloved, edify yourselves in your most holy faith. Give yourselves to prayer in the Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God. Look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
7. “Edify yourselves.” The speech is borrowed from material builders, and must be spiritually understood. It appeareth in the sixth of St. John’s Gospel by the Jews, that their mouths did water too much for bodily food: “ Our fathers,” say they, “did eat manna in the desert, as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat; Lord, evermore give us of this bread.” Our Saviour, to turn their appetite another way, maketh them this answer: “ I am the Bread of Life; he that cometh to me shall not hunger; and he that believeth in me shall never thirst.”
8. An usual practice it is of Satan, to cast heaps of worldly baggage in our way, that whilst we desire to heap up gold as dust, we may be brought at the length to esteem vilely that spiritual bliss.SERM. VI. 9. Christ, in the sixth of Matthew , to correct this evil affection, putteth us in mind to lay up treasure for ourselves in heaven. The Apostle (1 Tim., third chapter), misliking the vanity of those women, which attired themselves more costly than beseemed the heavenly calling of such as professed the fear of God, willeth them to clothe themselves with shamefastness and modesty, and to put on the apparel of good works. Taliter pigmentatæ, Deum habebitis amatorem, saith Tertullian. Put on righteousness as a garment; instead of civet , have faith, which may cause a savour of life to issue from you, and God shall be enamoured, he shall be ravished with your beauty. These are the ornaments, and bracelets, and jewels, which inflame the love of Christ, and set his heart on fire upon his spouse. We see how he breaketh out in the Canticles at the beholding of this attire: “ How fair art thou, and how pleasant art thou, O my love, in these pleasures!”
9. And perhaps St. Jude exhorteth us here not to build our houses, but ourselves, foreseeing by the Spirit of the Almighty which was with him, that there should be men in the last days like to those in the first, which should encourage and stir up each other to make brick, and to burn it in the fire, to build houses huge as cities, and towers as high as heaven, thereby to get them a name upon earth; men that should turn out the poor, and the fatherless, and the widow, to build places of rest for dogs and swine in their rooms; men that should lay houses of prayer even with the ground, and make them stables where God’s people have worshipped before the Lord. Surely this is a vanity of all vanities, and it is much amongst men; a special sickness of this age. What it should mean I know not, except God have set them on work to provide fuel against that day, when the Lord Jesus shall shew himself from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire. What good cometh unto the owners of these things, saith Salomon , but only the beholding thereof with their eyes? “ Martha, Martha, thou busiest thyself about many things; one thing is necessary.” Ye are too busy, my brethren, with timber and brick; they have chosen the better part, they have taken a better course, that build themselves.SERM. VI. 10. “ Ye are the temples of the living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and will walk in them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”
10. Which of you will gladly remain or abide in a mishapen, a ruinous, or a broken house? And shall we suffer sin and vanity to drop in at our eyes, and at our ears, at every corner of our bodies, and of our souls, knowing that we are the temples of the Holy Ghost? Which of you receiveth a guest whom he honoureth, or whom he loveth, and doth not sweep his chamber against his coming? And shall we suffer the chamber of our hearts and consciences to lie full of vomiting, full of filth, full of garbage, knowing that Christ hath said, “ I and my Father will come and dwell with you?” Is it meet for your oxen to lie in parlours, and yourselves to lodge in cribs? Or is it seemly for yourselves to dwell in your ceiled houses, and the house of the Almighty to lie waste, whose house ye are yourselves? Do not our eyes behold, how God every day overtaketh the wicked in their journeys, how suddenly they pop down into the pit? how God’s judgments for their crimes come so swiftly upon them, that they have not the leisure to cry, alas? how their life is cut off like a thread in a moment? how they pass like a shadow? how they open their mouths to speak, and God taketh them even in the midst of a vain or an idle word? and dare we for all this lie down, take our rest, eat our meat securely and carelessly in the midst of so great and so many ruins? Blessed and praised for ever and ever be his name, who perceiving of how senseless and heavy metal we are made, hath instituted in his Church a spiritual supper, and an holy communion to be celebrated often, that we might thereby be occasioned often to examine these buildings of ours, in what case they stand.The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. For sith God doth not dwell in temples which are unclean, sith a shrine cannot be a sanctuary unto him; and this supper is received as a seal unto us, that we are his house and his sanctuary; that his Christ is as truly united to me, and I to him, as my arm is united and knit unto my shoulder; that he dwelleth in me as verily as the elements of bread and wine abide within me;SERM. VI. 11, 12. which persuasion, by receiving these dreadful mysteries, we profess ourselves to have, a due comfort, if truly; and if in hypocrisy, then woe worth us:—therefore ere we put forth our hands to take this blessed sacrament, we are charged to examine and to try our hearts whether God be in us of a truth or no: and if by faith and love unfeigned we be found the temples of the Holy Ghost, then to judge whether we have had such regard every one to our building, that the Spirit which dwelleth in us hath no way been vexed, molested, and grieved: or if it have, as no doubt sometimes it hath by incredulity, sometimes by breach of charity, sometimes by want of zeal, sometimes by spots of life, even in the best and most perfect amongst us: (for who can say, his heart is clean?) O then, to fly unto God by unfeigned repentance, to fall down before him in the humility of our souls, begging of him whatsoever is needful to repair our decays, before we fall into that desolation whereof the Prophet speaketh , saying, “Thy breach is great like the sea, who can heal thee?”
11. Receiving the Sacrament of the Supper of the Lord after this sort (you that are spiritual, judge what I speak) is not all other wine like the water of Marah, being compared to the cup which we bless? Is not manna like to gall, and our bread like to manna? Is there not a taste, a taste of Christ Jesus, in the heart of him that eateth? Doth not he which drinketh behold plainly in this cup, that his soul is bathed in the blood of the Lamb? O beloved in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, if ye will taste how sweet the Lord is, if ye will receive the King of Glory, “build yourselves.”
12. Young men, I speak this to you, for ye are his house, because by faith ye are conquerors over Satan, and have overcome that evil. Fathers, I speak it also to you; ye are his house, because ye have known him, which is from the beginning. Sweet babes, I speak it even to you also; ye are his house, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake . Matrons and sisters, I may not hold it from you; ye are also the Lord’s building, and, as St. Peter speaketh , “heirs of the grace of life,” as well as we.SERM. VI. 13, 14, 15. Though it be forbidden you to open your mouths in public assemblies, yet ye must be inquisitive in things concerning this building which is of God, with your husbands and friends at home; not as Dalila with Samson , but as Sara with Abraham; whose daughters ye are, whilst ye do well, and build yourselves.
13. Having spoken thus far of the exhortation, as whereby we are called upon to edify and build ourselves; it remaineth now, that we consider the thing prescribed, namely, wherein we must be built. This prescription standeth also upon two points, the thing prescribed, and the adjuncts of the thing. And that is, our most pure and holy faith.
14. The thing prescribed is faith. For as in a chain, which is made of many links, if you pull the first, you draw the rest; and as in a ladder of many staves, if you take away the lowest, all hope of ascending to the highest will be removed: so, because all the precepts and promises in the law and in the Gospel do hang upon this, Believe; and because the last of the graces of God doth so follow the first, that he glorifieth none, but whom he hath justified, nor justifieth any, but whom he hath called to a true, effectual, and lively faith in Christ Jesus; therefore St. Jude exhorting us to build ourselves, mentioneth here expressly only faith, as the thing wherein we must be edified; for that faith is the ground and the glory of all the welfare of this building.
15. “Ye are not strangers and foreigners, but citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,” saith the Apostle , and are built upon the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom all the building being coupled together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord, in whom ye also are built together to be the habitation of God by the Spirit.” And we are the habitation of God by the Spirit, if we believe. For it is written , “Whosoever confesseth that Jesus is the Son of God, in him God dwelleth, and he in God.” The strength of this habitation is great, it prevaileth against Satan, it conquereth sin, it hath death in derision; neither principalities nor powers can throw it down;SERM. VI. 16. it leadeth the world captive, and bringeth every enemy that riseth up against it to confusion and shame, and all by faith; for “this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcometh the world, but he which believeth that Jesus is the Son of God ?”
16. The strength of every building, which is of God, standeth not in any man’s arms or legs; it is only in our faith, as the valour of Samson lay only in his hair. This is the reason, why we are so earnestly called upon to edify ourselves in faith. Not as if this bare action of our minds, whereby we believe the Gospel of Christ, were able in itself, as of itself, to make us unconquerable, and invincible, like stones, which abide in the building for ever, and fall not out. No, it is not the worthiness of our believing, it is the virtue of him in whom we believe, by which we stand sure, as houses that are builded upon a rock. He is a wise man which hath builded his house upon a rock; for he hath chosen a good foundation, and no doubt his house will stand. But how shall it stand? Verily, by the strength of the rock which beareth it, and by nothing else . Our fathers, whom God delivered out of the land of Egypt, were a people that had no peers amongst the nations of the earth, because they were built by faith upon the rock, which rock is Christ. “And the rock,” saith the Apostle in the First to the Corinthians, the tenth chapter , “did follow them .” Whereby we learn not only this, that being built by faith on Christ as on a rock, and grafted into him as into an olive, we receive all our strength and fatness from him; but also, that this strength and fatness of ours ought to be no cause why we should be highminded, and not work out our salvation with a reverent trembling, and holy fear. For if thou boastest thyself of thy faith, know this, that Christ chose his Apostles, his Apostles chose not him; that Israel followed not the rock, but the rock followed Israel; and that thou bearest not the root, but the root thee . So that every heart must this think, and every tongue must thus speak, “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,” nor unto any thing which is within us, but unto thy name only, only to thy name belongeth all the praise of all the treasures and riches of every temple which is of God.SERM. VI. 17, 18, 19. This excludeth all boasting and vaunting of our faith.
17. But this must not make us careless to edify ourselves in faith. It is the Lord that delivereth men’s souls from death, but not except they put their trust in his mercy. It is God that hath given us eternal life, but no otherwise than thus, If we believe in the name of the Son of God; for he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life . It was the Spirit of the Lord which came upon Samson, and made him strong to tear a lion, as a man would rent a kind; but his strength forsook him, and he became like other men when the razor had touched his head. It is the power of God whereby the faithful “have subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained the promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword :” but take away their faith, and doth not their strength forsake them? are they not like unto other men?
18. If ye desire yet farther to know how necessary and needful it is that we edify and build up ourselves in faith, mark the words of the blessed Apostles : “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” If I offer unto God all the sheep and oxen that are in the world; if all the temples that were builded since the days of Adam till this hour, were of my foundation; if I break my very heart with calling upon God, and wear out my tongue with preaching; if I sacrifice my body and my soul unto him, “and have no faith,” all this availeth nothing. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”No pleasing of God without faith. Our Lord and Saviour therefore being asked in the sixth of St. John’s Gospel, “What shall we do that we might work the works of God?” maketh answer, “This is the work of God, that ye believe in him whom he hath sent .”
19. That no work of ours, no building of ourselves in any thing can be available or profitable unto us, except we be edified and built in faith, what need we to seek about for long proof? Look upon Israel, once the very chosen and peculiar of God, to whom the adoption of the faithful, and the glory of Cherubins, and the covenants of mercy, and the law of Moses, and the service of God, and the promises of Christ were made impropriate, who not only were the offspring of Abraham, father unto all them which do believe, but Christ their offspring, which is God to be blessed for evermore.SERM. VI. 20.
20. Consider this people, and learn what it is to build yourselves in faith. They were the Lord’s vine: “ He brought it out of Egypt, he threw out the heathen from their places, that it might be planted; he made room for it, and caused it to take root, till it had filled the earth; the mountains were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were as the goodly cedars. She stretched out her branches unto the sea, and her boughs unto the river.” But, when God having sent both his servants and his Son to visit this vine, they neither spared the one, nor received the other, but stoned the prophets, and crucified the Lord of glory which came unto them; then began the curse of God to come upon them, even the curse whereof the prophet David hath spoken , saying, “Let their table be made a snare, and a net, and a stumblingblock, even for a recompense unto them, let their eyes be darkened, that they do not see, bow down their backs for ever,” keep them down. And sithence the hour that the measure of their infidelity was first made up, they have been spoiled with wars, eaten up with plagues, spent with hunger and famine; they wander from place to place, and are become the most base and contemptible people that are under the sun. Ephraim, which before was a terror unto nations, and they trembled at his voice, is now by infidelity so vile, that he seemeth as a thing cast out, to be trampled under men’s feet. In the midst of these desolations they cry, “ Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts, look down from heaven, behold and visit this vine:” but their very prayers are turned into sin, and their cries are no better than the lowing of beasts before him. “Well,” saith the Apostle , “by their unbelief they are broken off, and thou dost stand by thy faith. Behold therefore the bountifulness and severity of God; towards them severity, because they have fallen, bountifulness towards thee, if thou continue in his bountifulness, or else thou shalt be cut off.” If they forsake their unbelief and be grafted in again, and we at any time for the hardness of our hearts be broken off, it will be such a judgment as will amaze all the powers and principalities which are above.SERM. VI. 21, 22. Who hath searched the counsel of God concerning this secret? and who doth not see, that Infidelity doth threaten Lo-ammi unto the Gentiles, as it hath brought Lo-ruchama upon the Jews? It may be that these words seem dark unto you. But the words of the Apostle, in the eleventh to the Romans, are plain enough; “ If God have not spared the natural branches, take heed, take heed, lest he spare not thee.” Build thyself in faith. Thus much of the thing which is prescribed, and wherein we are exhorted to edify ourselves. Now consider the conditions and properties which are in this place annexed unto faith. The former of them (for there are but two) is this, Edify yourselves in your faith.
21. A strange and a strong delusion it is wherewith the Man of Sin hath bewitched the world; a forcible spirit of error it must needs be, which hath brought men to such a senseless and unreasonable persuasion as this is, not only that men clothed with mortality and sin, as we ourselves are, can do God so much service, as shall be able to make a full and perfect satisfaction before the tribunal seat of God for their own sins, yea a great deal more than is sufficient for themselves; but also that a man at the hands of a bishop or a pope, for such or such a price, may buy the overplus of other men’s merits, purchase the fruits of other men’s labours, and build his soul by another man’s faith. Is not this man drowned in the gall of bitterness? Is his heart right in the sight of God? Can he have any part or fellowship with Peter, and with the successors of Peter, who thinketh so vilely of building the precious temples of the Holy Ghost? Let his money perish with him, and he with it, because he judgeth that the gift of God may be sold for money.
22. But, beloved in the Lord, deceive not yourselves, neither suffer ye yourselves to be deceived: ye can receive no more ease nor comfort for your souls by another man’s faith, than warmth for your bodies by another man’s clothes, or sustenance by the bread which another doth eat.SERM VI. 23, 24, 25. The just shall live by his own faith. “Let a saint, yea a martyr content himself, that he hath cleansed himself of his own sins ,” saith Tertullian. No saint or martyr can cleanse himself of his own sins. But if so be a saint or a martyr can cleanse himself of his own sins, it is sufficient that he can do it for himself. Did ever any man by his death deliver another man from death, except only the Son of God? He indeed was able to safe-conduct a thief from the cross to paradise: for to this end he came, that being himself pure from sin, he might obey for sinners. Thou which thinkest to do the like, and supposest that thou canst justify another by thy righteousness, if thou be without sin, then lay down thy life for thy brother; die for me. But if thou be a sinner, even as I am a sinner, how can the oil of thy lamp be sufficient both for thee and for me? Virgins that are wise, get ye oil, while ye have day, into your own lamps. For out of all peradventure, others, though they would, can neither give nor sell. Edify yourselves in your own most holy faith. And let this be observed for the first property of that wherein we ought to edify ourselves.
23. Our faith being such, is that indeed which St. Jude doth here term faith: namely, a thing most holy. The reason is this; we are justified by faith: for Abraham believed, and this was imputed unto him for righteousness. Being justified, all our iniquities are covered; God beholdeth us in the righteousness which is imputed, and not in the sins which we have committed.
24. It is true we are full of sin, both original and actual; whosoever denieth it is a double sinner, for he is both a sinner and a liar. To deny sin, is most plainly and clearly to prove it; because he that saith he hath no sin, lieth, and by lying proveth that he hath sin.
25. But imputation of righteousness hath covered the sins of every soul which believeth; God by pardoning our sin hath taken it away: so that now, although our transgressions be multiplied above the hairs of our head, yet being justified, we are as free and as clear as if there were no one spot or stain of any uncleanness in us.SERM. VI. 26, 27, 28. For it is God that justifieth; “and who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s chosen?” saith the Apostle in the eighth chapter to the Romans.
26. Now sin being taken away, we are made the righteousness of God in Christ. For David speaking of this righteousness, saith , “Blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven.” No man is blessed, but in the righteousness of God: every man whose sin is taken away is blessed; therefore every man whose sin is covered, is made the righteousness of God in Christ. This righteousness doth make us to appear most holy, most pure, most unblamable before him.
27. This then is the sum of that which I say: faith doth justify; justification washeth away sin; sin removed, we are clothed with the righteousness which is of God; the righteousness of God maketh us most holy. Every of these I have proved by the testimony of God’s own mouth. Therefore I conclude, that faith is that which maketh us most holy; in consideration whereof, it is called in this place, “Our most holy faith.”
28. To make a wicked and a sinful man most holy through his believing, is more than to create a world of nothing. Our faith most holy! Surely, Salomon could not shew the queen of Saba so much treasure in all his kingdom, as is lapt up in these words. O that our hearts were stretched out like tents, and that the eyes of our understanding were as bright as the sun, that we might throughly know the riches of the glorious inheritance of saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power towards us, whom he accepteth for pure, and most holy, through our believing! O that the Spirit of the Lord would give this doctrine entrance into the stony and brazen heart of the Jew , which followeth the law of righteousness, but cannot attain unto the righteousness of the law! Wherefore? saith the Apostle. They seek righteousness, and not by faith. Wherefore they stumble at Christ, they are bruised, shivered to pieces as a ship that hath run herself upon a rock. O that God would cast down the eyes of the proud, and humble the souls of the high-minded,SERM. VI. 29. that they might at the length abhor the garments of their own flesh, which cannot hide their nakedness, and put on the faith of Christ Jesus, as he did put it on, which hath said, “ Doubtless I think all things but loss, for the excellent knowledge sake of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have counted all things loss, and do judge them to be dung, that I might win Christ, and might be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, even the righteousness which is of God through faith.” O that God would open the ark of mercy, wherein this doctrine lieth, and set it wide before the eyes of poor afflicted consciences, which fly up and down upon the water of their afflictions, and can see nothing but only the gulf and deluge of their sins, wherein there is no place for them to rest their feet. The God of pity and compassion give you all strength and courage, every day, and every hour, and every moment, to build and edify yourselves in this most pure and holy faith. And thus much both of the thing prescribed in this exhortation, and also of the properties of the thing, “Build yourselves in your most holy faith.” I would come to the next branch, which is of prayer; but I cannot lay this matter out of my hands, till I have added somewhat for the applying of it both to others and to ourselves.
29. For your better understanding of matters contained in this exhortation, “Build yourselves,” you must note, that every church and congregation doth consist of a multitude of believers, as every house is built of many stones. And although the nature of the mystical body of the church be such, that it suffereth no distinction in the invisible members, but whether it be Paul or Apollos, prince or prophet, he that is taught, or he that teacheth, all are equally Christ’s, and Christ is equally theirs: yet in the external administration of the church of God, because God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, it is necessary that in every congregation there be a distinction, if not of inward dignity, yet of outward degree; so that all are saints, or seem to be saints, and should be as they seem. But are all Apostles? If the whole body were an eye, where were then the hearing?SERM. VI. 30, 31. God therefore hath given some to be Apostles, and some to be Pastors, &c. for the edification of the body of Christ. In which work we are God’s labourers, saith the Apostle, and ye are God’s husbandry, and God’s building.
30. The Church, respected with reference unto administration ecclesiastical, doth generally consist but of two sorts of men, the labourers and the building; they which are ministered unto, and they to whom the work of the ministry is committed; pastors, and the flock over whom the Holy Ghost hath made them overscers. If the guide of a congregation, be his name or his degree whatsoever, be diligent in his vocation, feeding the flock of God which dependeth upon him, caring for it, “ not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;” not as though he would tyrannize over God’s heritage, but as a pattern unto the flock, wisely guiding them: if the people in their degree do yield themselves framable to the truth, not like rough stone or flint, refusing to be smoothed and squared for the building: if the magistrate do carefully and diligently survey the whole order of the work, providing by statutes and laws, and bodily punishments, if need require, that all things may be done according to the rule which cannot deceive, even as Moses provided that all things might be done according to the pattern which he saw in the Mount; there the words of this exhortation are truly and effectually heard. Of such a congregation every man will say, “Behold a people that are wise, a people that walk in the statutes and ordinances of their God, a people full of knowledge and understanding, a people that have skill in building themselves.” Where it is otherwise, there, “as by slothfulness the roof doth decay;” and as by “idleness of hands the house droppeth thorough ,” as it is in the tenth of Ecclesiastes, verse 18, so first one piece, and then another of their building shall fall away, till there be not a stone left upon a stone.
31. We see how fruitless this exhortation hath been to such as bend all their travail only to build and manage a Papacy upon earth, without any care in the world of building themselves in their most holy faith.SERM. VI. 32, 33. God’s people have inquired at their mouths, “What shall we do to have eternally life?” Wherein shall we build and edify ourselves? And they have departed home from their prophets, and from their priests, laden with doctrines which are precepts of men; they have been taught to tire out themselves with bodily exercise: those things are enjoined them, which God did never require at their hands, and the things he doth require are kept from them; their eyes are fed with pictures, and their ears filled with melody, but their souls do wither, and starve, and pine away: they cry for bread, and behold stones are offered them; they ask for fish, and see they have scorpions in their hands. Thou seest, O Lord, that they build themselves, but not in faith; they feed their children, but not with food: their rulers say with shame, Bring, and not build. But God is righteous; their drunkenness stinketh, their abominations are known, their madness is manifest, the wind hath bound them up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed of their doings. “ Ephraim,” saith the Prophet, “is joined to idols, let him alone.” I will turn me, therefore, from the priests, which do minister unto idols, and apply this exhortation to them whom God hath appointed to feed his chosen in Israel.
32. If there be any feeling of Christ, and drop of heavenly dew, or any spark of God’s good Spirit within you, stir it up, be careful to build and edify, first yourselves, and then your flocks, in this most holy faith.
33. I say, first yourselves; for, he which will set the hearts of other men on fire with the love of Christ, must himself burn with love. It is want of faith in ourselves, my brethren, which maketh us retchless in building others. We forsake the Lord’s inheritance, and feed it not. What is the reason of this? Our own desires are settled where they should not be. We ourselves are like those women which have a longing to eat coals, and lime, and filth; we are fed, some with honour, some with ease, some with wealth; the gospel waxeth lothsome and unpleasant in our taste; how should we then have a care to feed others with that which we cannot fancy ourselves?SERM. V. 34. If faith wax cold and slender in the heart of the prophet, it will soon perish from the ears of the people. The Prophet Amos speaketh of a famine, saying, “ I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst of water, but of hearing the word of the Lord. Men shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north unto the east shall they run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” “ Judgment must begin at the house of God,” saith Peter. Yea, I say, at the sanctuary of God this judgment must begin. This famine must begin at the heart of the prophet. He must have darkness for a vision, he must stumble at noon-day , as at the twilight, and then truth shall fall in the midst of the streets; then shall the people wander from sea to sea, and from the north unto the east shall they run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord.
34. In the second of Haggai, “ Speak now,” saith God to his prophet, “speak now to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, prince of Judah, and to Jehoshua, the son of Jehozadak the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying, Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory, and how do you see it now? Is not this house in your eyes, in comparison of it, as nothing?” The prophet would have all men’s eyes turned to the view of themselves, every sort brought to the consideration of their present state. This is no place to shew what duty Zerubbabel or Jehoshua doth owe unto God in this respect. They have, I doubt not, such as put them hereof in remembrance. I ask of you, which are a part of the residue of God’s elect and chosen people, Who is there amongst you that hath taken a survey of the house of God, as it was in the days of the blessed Apostles of Jesus Christ? Who is there amongst you that hath seen and considered this holy temple in her first glory? And how do you see it now? Is it not in comparison of the other almost as nothing ? When ye look upon them that have undertaken the charge of your souls, and know how far these are for the most part grown out of kind, how few there be that tread the steps of their ancient predecessors, ye are easily filled with indignation, easily drawn unto these complaints, wherein the difference of present from former times is bewailed, easily persuaded to think of them that lived to enjoy the days which now are gone , “Surely they were happy in comparison of us that have succeeded them:SERM. VI. 34. were not their bishops men unreprovable, wise, righteous, holy, temperate, well reported of, even of those which were without? Were not their pastors, guides, and teachers, able and willing to exhort with wholesome doctrine, and to improve which gainsaid the truth? had they priests made of the refuse of the people? were men, like to the children which were in Nineveh , unable to discern between the right hand and the left, presented to the charge of their congregation? did their teachers leave their flocks, over which the Holy Ghost had made them overseers? did their prophets enter upon holy things as spoils, without a reverend calling? were their leaders so unkindly affected towards them, that they could find in their hearts to sell them as sheep or oxen, not caring how they made them away?” But, beloved, deceive not yourselves. Do the faults of your guides and pastors offend you? It is your fault if they be thus faulty. Nullus, qui malum rectorem patitur, eum accuset; quia sui fuit meriti perversi pastoris subjacere ditioni, saith St. Gregory ; “Whosoever thou art whom the inconvenience of an evil governor doth press, accuse thyself, and not him: his being such is thy deserving.” “ O ye disobedient children, turn again,” saith the Lord, “and then will I give you pastors according to mine own heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” So that the only way to repair all ruins, breaches, and offensive decays, in others, is to begin reformation at yourselves. Which that we may all sincerely, seriously, and speedily do, God the Father grant for his Son our Saviour Jesus’ sake, unto whom, with the Holy Ghost, three Persons, one eternal and everlasting God, be honour, and glory, and praise, for ever. Amen.
A SERMON, FOUND AMONG THE PAPERS OF BISHOP ANDREWS.
Matth. vii. 7, 8.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For whosoever asketh, &c.
SERM. VII.AS all the creatures of God, which attain their highest perfection by process of time, are in their first beginning raw; so man, in the end of his race the perfectest, is at his entrance thereunto the weakest, and thereby longer enforced to continue a subject for other men’s compassions to work upon voluntarily, without any other persuader, besides their own secret inclination, moving them to repay to the common stock of humanity such help, as they know that themselves before must needs have borrowed; the state and condition of all flesh being herein alike. It cometh hereby to pass, that although there be in us, when we enter into this present world, no conceit or apprehension of our own misery, and for a long time after no ability, as much as to crave help or succour at other men’s hands; yet through his most good and gracious providence, which feedeth the young, even of feathered fowls and ravens, (whose natural significations of their necessities are therefore termed in Scripture “prayers and invocations ” which God doth hear), we amongst them, whom he values at a far higher rate than millions of brute creatures, do find by perpetual experience daily occasions given unto every of us, religiously to acknowledge with the Prophet David , “Thou, O Lord, from our birth hast been merciful unto us,” we have tasted thy goodness, hanging even at our mothers’ breasts.SERM. VII. 1. That God, which during infancy preserveth us without our knowledge, teacheth us at years of discretion how to use our own abilities for procurement of our own good.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” For whosoever doth ask, shall receive; whosoever doth seek, shall find; the door unto every one which knocks shall be opened.
In which words we are first commanded to “ask,” “seek,” and “knock:” secondly, promised grace answerable unto every of these endeavours; asking, we shall have; seeking, we shall find; knocking, it shall be opened unto us: thirdly, this grace is particularly warranted, because it is generally here averred, that no man asking, seeking, and knocking, shall fail of that whereunto his serious desire tendeth.
1. Of asking or praying I shall not need to tell you, either at whose hands we must seek our aid, or to put you in mind that our hearts are those golden censers from which the fume of this sacred incense must ascend. For concerning the one, you know who it is which hath said, “Call upon me ;” and of the other, we may very well think, that if any where, surely first and most of all in our prayers, God doth make his continual claim, Fili, da mihi cor tuum , Son let me never fail in this duty to have thy heart.
Against invocation of any other than God alone, if all arguments else should fail, the number whereof is both great and forcible, yet this very bar and single challenge might suffice; that whereas God hath in Scripture delivered us so many patterns for imitation when we pray, yea, framed ready to our hands in a manner all, for suits and supplications, which our condition of life on earth may at any time need, there is not one, no not one to be found, directed unto angels, saints, or any, saving God alone. So that, if in such cases as this we hold it safest to be led by the best examples that have gone before, when we see what Noah, what Abraham, what Moses, what David, what Daniel, and the rest did; what form of prayer Christ himself likewise taught his Church, and what his blessed Apostles did practise; who can doubt but the way for us to pray so as we may undoubtedly be accepted, is by conforming our prayers to theirs, whose supplications we know were acceptable?
Whoso cometh unto God with a gift, must bring with him a cheerful heart, because he loveth hilarem datorem , a liberal and frank affection in giving. Devotion and fervency addeth unto prayers the same that alacrity doth unto gifts; it putteth vigour and life in them. Prayer proceedeth from want, which being seriously laid to heart, maketh suppliants always importunate; which importunity our Saviour Christ did not only tolerate in the woman of Canaan (Matth. xv.), but also invite and exhort thereunto, as the parable of the wicked judge sheweth (Luke xiii).
Our fervency sheweth us sincerely affected towards that we crave: but that which must make us capable thereof, is an humble spirit; for God doth load with his grace the lowly, when the proud he sendeth empty away: and therefore to the end that all generations of the world might know how much it standeth them upon to beware of all lofty and vain conceits when we offer up our supplications before him, he hath in the Gospel both delivered this caveat, and left it by a special chosen parable exemplified. The Pharisee and publican having presented themselves in one and the same place, the temple of God, for performance of one and the same duty, the duty of prayer, did notwithstanding, in that respect only, so far differ the one from the other, that our Lord’s own verdict of them remaineth as (you know) on record, “They departed home,” the sinful publican, through humility of prayer, just; the just Pharisee, through pride, sinful. So much better doth he accept of a contrite peccavi, than of an arrogant Deo gratias.
Asking is very easy, if that were all God did require: but because there were means which his providence hath appointed for our attainment unto that which we have from him, and those means now and then intricated, such as require deliberation, study, and intention of wit; therefore he which emboldeneth to ask, doth after invocation exact inquisition; a work of difficulty. The baits of sin every where open, ready always to offer themselves; whereas that which is precious, being hid, is not had but by being sought. Præmia non ad magna pervenitur nisi per magnos labores, Bernard: straitness and roughness are qualities incident unto every good and perfect way. What booteth it to others that we wish them well, and do nothing for them? As little ourselves it must needs avail, if we pray and seek not. To trust to labour without prayer, it argueth impiety and profaneness; it maketh light of the providence of God: and although it be not the intent of a religious mind, yet it is the fault of those men whose religion wanteth light of mature judgment to direct it, when we join with our prayer slothfulness and neglect of convenient labour. He which hath said, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask”—hath in like sort commanded also to seek wisdom, to search for understanding as for treasure. To them which did only crave a seat in the kingdom of Christ, his answer, as you know, in the Gospel, was this ; To sit at my right hand and left hand in the seat of glory is not a matter of common gratuity, but of Divine assignment from God. He liked better of him which inquired, “ Lord, what shall I do that I may be saved?” and therefore him he directeth the right and ready way, “Keep the commandments.”
I noted before unto you certain special qualities belonging unto you that ask: in them that seek there are the like: [in] which we may observe it is with many as with them of whom the Apostle speaketh , they “are alway learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Ex amore non quærunt, saith Bernard; they seek because they are curious to know, and not as men desirous to obey. It was distress and perplexity of mind which made them inquisitive, of whom St. Luke in the Acts reporteth, that sought counsel and advice with urgent solicitation; Men and brethren, sith God hath blessed you with the spirit of understanding above others, hide not from miserable persons that which may do them good; give your counsel to them that need and crave it at your hands, unless we be utterly forlorn; shew us, teach us, what we may do and live. That which our Saviour doth say of prayer in the open streets, of causing trumpets to be blown before us when we give our alms, and of making our service of God a means to purchase the praise of men, must here be applied to you, who never seek what they ought, but only when they may be sure to have store of lookers on. “On my bed,” saith the Canticles , “there did I seek whom my soul doth love.” When therefore thou resolvest thyself to seek, go not out of thy chamber into the streets, but shun that frequency which distracteth; single thyself from thyself, if such sequestration may be attained. When thou seekest, let the love of obedience, the sense and feeling of thy necessity, the eye of singleness and sincere meaning guide thy footsteps, and thou canst not slide.
You see what it is to ask and seek; the next is “knock.” There is always in every good thing which we ask, and which we seek, some main wall, some barred gate, some strong impediment or other objecting itself in the way between us and home; for removal whereof, the help of stronger hands than our own is necessary. As therefore asking hath relation to the want of good things desired, and seeking to the natural ordinary means of attainment thereunto; so knocking is required in regard of hindrances, lets, or impediments, which are doors shut up against us, till such time as it please the goodness of Almighty God to set them open: in the mean while our duty here required is to knock. Many are well contented to ask, and not unwilling to undertake some pains in seeking; but when once they see impediments which flesh and blood doth judge invincible, their hearts are broken. Israel in Egypt, subject to miseries of intolerable servitude, craved with sighs and tears deliverance from that estate, which then they were fully persuaded they could not possibly change, but it must needs be for the better. Being set at liberty, to seek the land which God had promised unto their fathers did not seem tedious or irksome unto them: this labour and travel they undertook with great alacrity, never troubled with any doubt, nor dismayed with any fear, till at the length they came to knock at those brazen gates, the bars whereof, as they have no means, so they had no hopes, to break asunder. Mountains on this hand, and the roaring sea before their faces; then all the forces that Egypt could make, coming with as much rage and fury as could possess the heart of a proud, potent, and cruel tyrant: in these straits, at this instant, Oh, that we had been so happy as to die where before we lived a life, though toilsome, yet free from such extremities as now we are fallen into! Is this the milk and honey that hath been so spoken of? Is this the paradise in description whereof so much glosing and deceiving eloquence hath been spent? Have we after four hundred and thirty years left Egypt to come to this? While they are in the midst of their mutinous cogitations, Moses with all instancy beateth, and God with the hand of his omnipotency casteth open the gates before them, maugre even their own infidelity and despair. It was not strange then; nor that they afterward stood in like repining terms: for till they came to the very brink of the river Jordan, the least cross accident, which lay at any time in their way, was evermore unto them a cause of present recidivation and relapse. They having the land in their possession, being seated in the heart thereof, and all their hardest encounters past, Joshua and the better sort of their governors, who saw the wonders which God had wrought for the good of that people, had no sooner ended their days, but first one tribe, then another, in the end all, delighted in ease; fearful to hazard themselves in following the conduct of God, weary of passing so many strait and narrow gates, [they] condescended to ignominious conditions of peace, joined hands with infidels, forsook Him which had been always the Rock of their salvation, and so had none to open unto them, although their occasions of knocking were great afterward, moe and greater than before. Concerning Issachar, the words of Jacob, the father of all the patriarchs, were these; “Issachar, though bonny and strong enough unto any labour, doth couch notwithstanding as an ass under all burdens; he shall think with himself that rest is good, and the land pleasant; he shall in these considerations rather endure the burden and yoke of tribute, than cast himself into hazard of war .” We are for the most part all of Issachar’s disposition, we account ease cheap, howsoever we buy it. And although we can happily [i.e. haply] frame ourselves sometimes to ask, or endure for a while to seek;SERM. VII. 2. yet loth we are to follow a course of life, which shall too often hem us about with those perplexities, the dangers whereof are manifestly great.
But of the duties here prescribed of asking, seeking, knocking, thus much may suffice. The promises follow which God hath made.
2. “Ask and receive, seek and find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” Promises are made of good things to come; and such, while they are in expectation, have a kind of painfulness with them; but when the time of performance and of present fruition cometh, it bringeth joy.
Abraham did somewhat rejoice in that which he saw would come, although knowing that many ages and generations must first pass: their exultation far greater, who beheld with their eyes, and embraced in their arms, Him which had been before the hope of the whole world. We have found that Messias; have seen the salvation: “Behold here the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world .” These are speeches of men not comforted with the hope of that they desire, but rapt with admiration at the view of enjoyed bliss.
As oft therefore as our case is the same with the prophet David’s; or that experience of God’s abundant mercy towards us doth wrest from our mouths the same acknowledgments which it did from his, “I called on the name of the Lord, and he hath rescued his servant: I was in misery, and he saved me: Thou, Lord, hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling :” I have asked and received, sought and found, knocked and it hath been opened unto me: can there less be expected at our hands, than to take the Cup of Salvation, and bless, magnify, and extol the mercies heaped upon the heads of the sons of men? Are we in the case of them, who as yet do only ask and have not received? It is but attendance a small time, we shall rejoice then; but how? we shall find, but where? it shall be opened, but with what hand? To all which demands I must answer.
Use the words of our Saviour Christ;SERM. VII. 3.Quid hoc ad te? what are these things unto us? Is it for us to be made acquainted with the way he hath to bring his counsel and purposes about? God will not have great things brought to pass, either altogether without means, or by those means altogether which are to our seeming probable and likely. Not without means, lest under colour of repose in God we should nourish at any time in ourselves idleness: not by the mere ability of means gathered together through our own providence, lest prevailing by helps which the common course of nature yieldeth, we should offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving for whatsoever prey we take to the nets which our fingers did weave ; than which there cannot be to Him more intolerable injury offered. Vere et absque dubio, saith St. Bernard, hoc quisque est pessimus, quo optimus, si hoc ipsum quo est optimus adscribat sibi ; the more blest, the more curst, if we make his graces our own glory, without imputation of all to him; whatsoever we have we steal, and the multiplication of God’s favours doth but aggravate the crime of our sacrilege. He, knowing how prone we are to unthankfulness in this kind, tempereth accordingly the means, whereby it is his pleasure to do us good. This is the reason why God would neither have Gideon to conquer without an army, nor yet to be furnished with too great an host. This is the cause why, as none of the promises of God do fail, so the most are in such sort brought to pass, that, if we after consider the circuit, wherein the steps of his providence have gone, the due consideration thereof cannot choose but draw from us the selfsame words of astonishment, which the blessed Apostle hath: “O the depth of the riches of the wisdom of God! how unsearchable are his counsels, and his ways past finding out !” Let it therefore content us always to have his word for an absolute warrant; we shall receive and find in the end; it shall at length be opened unto you: however, or by what means, leave it to God.
3. Now our Lord groundeth every man’s particular assurance touching this point upon the general rule and axiom of his providence, which hath ordained these effects to flow and issue out of these causes; gifts of suits, finding out of seeking, help out of knocking: a principle so generally true, that on his part it never faileth.
For why? it is the glory of God to give; his very nature delighteth in it; his mercies in the current, through which they would pass, may be dried up, but at the head they never fail. Men are soon weary both of granting and of hearing suits, because our own insufficiency maketh us still afraid, lest by benefiting of others we impoverish ourselves. We read of large and great proffers, which princes in their fond and vain-glorious moods have poured forth: as that of Herod; and the like of Ahasuerus in the Book of Hester. “Ask what thou wilt, though it reach to the half of my kingdom, I will give it thee :” which very words of profusion do argue, that the ocean of no estate in this world doth so flow, but it may be emptied. He that promiseth half of his kingdom, foreseeth how that being gone, the remainder is but a moiety of that which was. What we give we leave; but what God bestoweth benefiteth us, and from him it taketh nothing: wherefore in his propositions there are no such fearful restraints; his terms are general in regard of making, “Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name ;” and general also in respect of persons, “whosoever asketh, whosoever seeketh.” It is true, St. James saith , “Ye ask, and yet ye receive not, because you ask amiss;” ye crave to the end ye might have to spend upon your lusts. The rich man sought heaven, but it was then, when he felt hell. The virgins knocked in vain, because they overslipped their opportunity; and when the time was to knock, they slept: but Quærite Dominum dum inveniri potest , perform these duties in their due time and due sort. Let there, on our part, be no stop, and the bounty of God we know is such, that he granteth over and above our desires. Saul sought an ass, and found a kingdom. Solomon named wisdom, and God gave Solomon wealth also, by way of surpassing. “Thou hast prevented thy servant with blessings ,” saith the prophet David. “He asked life, and thou gavest him long life, even for ever and ever.” God a giver; “He giveth liberally, and upbraideth none in any wise :” and therefore he better knoweth than we the best times, and the best means, and the best things, wherein the good of our souls consisteth.
Incorporating Mr. Furnivall’s Glossary.
Abate (an opinion), II. vi. 3.
abidden, V. lxxxi. 6.
ableness, V. App. 1. 1.
abroach, to set, V. ii. 2: Serm. II. 26, p. 522.
absolute (= perfect), II. vi. 1: V. lxxvi. 9: Serm. II. 31.
accidents, I. viii. 5; VIII. i. 5.
addle speech, III. viii. 10.
adjoin, I. x. 15.
adunited, VIII. i. 6.
affect, I. v. 2; x. 4.
affiance, V. lxv. 20.
afford, V. lxxv. 3.
after-meal, Serm. II. p. 488.
after-wit, VI. vi. 11.
agnize, V. lxxi. 11.
agree unto, VIII. iv. 6.
ancient, the, V. xxxvii. 2; xxxix. 5; xli. 2; xlii. 13; xlv. 1, etc.
ancient (plural), V. lxi. 1.
ancients = elders, IV. xiii. 9.
antichristianity, IV. iii. 2: Serm. II. 27.
“anvil, strike on this,” V. lxi. 3; lxv. 7.
apostata, III. i. 12 (1st ed.): VI. vi. 15.
appale (? = appal), Serm. I. p. 481: Serm. III. p. 606.
apparance, V. xii. 1; lx. 6 (1st ed.): Serm. II. 11.
apparency, V. lx. 6.
apparent (= manifest), VII. v. 4.
apparently (= manifestly), I. xiv. 1: IV. i. 1: V. xxii. 20.
appendent, III. iii. 4.
appliable, Pref. viii. 7: V. lv. 8.
art, word of, V. xviii. 1.
ascertain, I. xvi. 5: VI. vi. 17.
assay (noun), V. lxxi. 2.
assecure, V. lxii. 19.
assecured, V. lxii. 19: VI. vi. 1.
assoil, VI. vi. 5, 12.
attendance (= waiting), Serm. VII. p. 706.
attendancy, VII. xx. 4.
available, I. x. 8: II. vii. 8.
awe (= protection), VII. xxiv. 22.
Bag and baggage, II. v. 7.
baggage, Serm. VI. p. 684.
bane (verb), V. xv. 2.
battle (adj.), V. iii. 4, vid. note 2.
bear in hand, VI. vi. 13.
beat on, II. iv. 3: V. ii. 1.
befool, V. lxxvii. 5.
behoveful, I. viii. 9; x. 4: III. x. 8.
being, III. xi. 20: V. ii. 1; lxviii. 6.
bent (strain), V. xxxii. 4.
better foot of a lame cause, Serm. II. p. 537.
bishoply, VIII. vii. 1: Serm. II. 32.
blockish, Serm. III. p. 603.
bloom (verb active), V. iii. 4.
bolster, III. viii. 8.
bolt out, V. lxv. 15.
bonny, Serm. VII. p. 705.
bow of two strings, V. lxxx. 9.
brayed, V. xxii. 12.
briars, out of the, IV. iv. 1: VI. vi. 13: VII. viii. 5; xiv. 2.
burdenous, Serm. II. 9.
Cam (or kam), Serm. III. p. 599.
captivate, Serm. II. 28.
card, I. ii. 5: Serm. IV. p. 652.
casteth him therewith in the teeth, IV. ix. 1.
casualties, Pref. vii. 11.
cecity, Serm. III. p. 602.
chair, “imagination, the peculiar chair of memory,” V. lxv. 7.
chariness, Serm. I. p. 473.
check, IV. xi. 3.
chiefty, VII. ii. 3; vi. 6: VIII. ii. 11; vi. 12.
circuitions, V. ix. 2.
circulatory, V. liii. 4.
circumstance of the place (= context), II. v. 3; = qualification, V. xlv. 2.
civet (sp. civit), Serm. VI. p. 685.
civil, I. xv. 4.
clay colour, IV. xiii. 6.
coaction, V. lxviii. 10.
coagmentation, VIII. ii. 2.
coat, “any of that,” Serm. II. 27, p. 526.
co-efficient (noun subst.), V. App. 1, p. 554; (adj.), Serm. II. 4.
collection, V. lviii. 4.
commander, V. lxxi. 4; lxxix. 14: VIII. ii. 1; vi. 13.
commandress, V. viii. 1.
commissionary, VIII. viii. 3.
common sense, I. vi. 5; viii. 4.
commonwealth’s-men (= citizens), VII. xxiv. 20.
complement, V. lviii. 4; lxiv. 4; lxv. 5: VIII. iv. 3.
conceit = opinion (passim), spelled “conceipt,” v. V. xlvii. 2.
conceited (“strongly”), V. i. 3.
concinnate, Serm. III. 4.
condescend (= agree), V. lxxix. 9: Serm. V. p. 668: VII. p. 705: VIII. ii. 7, 11.
conditioned, VII. xviii. 10.
conjuring, V. lxxxi. 2.
conjuring exhortations, V. lxxxi. 2.
conscience = consciousness, II. vii. 2: VI. iv. 6.
consort, V. v. 1.
conster, III. v. 1 (1st ed.): IV. xi. 7; xii. 3.
contentation, I. xi. 4.
continent, V. lxxix. 7.
continent, “of all she possesseth,” V. lxxix. 7.
control, II. vii. 10: V. lxi. 3; lxv. 15; lxxvii. 5: VII. xi. 11.
conveniency, II. iv. 5.
convented, VII. xxiii. 4.
conveyance, III. v. 1; vii. 5.
convocate, VII. viii. 12.
cope, Serm. V. 15.
copesmates, VI. v. 9.
corps, V. lxxx. 11.
corrosive, IV. x. 1.
corse, V. lxxv. 4.
countenance, III. xi. 18.
countervailed, V. ix. 1.
course, words of, III. xi. 7.
crazedness, Pref. iii. 8.
crime = charge, Serm. II. 39.
curry favour, IV. vii. 4.
Dally, VII. xv. 10: VIII. ix. 5.
damnify, V. lxxxi. 16.
decease, III. x. 2.
defeat, I. iii. 2: III. i. 12: V. xxii. 13; lxii. 13.
delicates, IV. vii. 2.
demi-premisses, V. lxxxi. 4.
demurely, Serm. II. 17.
deodate, VII. xxii. 4.
derive, V. lxxvii. 8: VIII. vi. 11.
detecteth, VI. iv. 9.
device, V. Ded. 2.
devolution, VIII. vi. 14.
dint, Pref. iii. 3.
dirity, Serm. III. 5.
disauthorize, vol. iii. p. 467.
dischurch (an “unusual word”), G. Cranmer, vol. iii. p. 111.
dischurched, VI. App. p. 111.
discoherence, vol. iii. p. 633.
discommend, V. xlvi. 1: VII. xv. 6.
discommodious, V. lxxi. 8.
discommoned, VIII. i. 6.
discourse, I. vi. 4; vii. 7; xiv. 1.
discover, I. i. 2; iii. 4.
disgorge, V. lxiv. 6.
disgrace, Pref. iii. 3: I. vii. 7; xvi. 2: II. i. 4: III. viii. 4: V. xxxiv. 3; xxxviii. 3; lxii. 14.
dislike, II. vii. 2.
disparagement, Serm. III. p. 603.
displeasant, Pref. vii. 3.
distract, VIII. i. 4, 6.
disusage, IV. xiv. 3: VII. xxiv. 11.
ditty, V. xxxviii. 1.
dive (= dip), IV. xii. 3.
divinely, I. viii. 1.
divisibly, VIII. iv. 6.
Economy, V. liv. 6.
elevate (= disparage), II. vii. 8: V. lx. 3.
elide, IV. iv. 1.
embase (“imbase,” Serm. II. 34), VII. xi. 9.
emprese, Pref. iv. 3.
enable, III. viii. 10: V. xxvii. 3.
endammage, V. xlii. 12.
ensignes, V. lxiv. 6.
ensorceled (reading of 1st ed.), Serm. I. p. 477.
ensue (transitive), V. lxv. 18.
enthronize, VI. vi. 13: VIII. ii. 13.
epicure, VIII. ii. 15.
every of these, I. xvi. 5: III. xi. 13.
evict (= prove), VIII. ix. 5.
evitable, I. viii. 8.
exagitate, III. xi. 16.
excellency, IV. ix. 3.
exequies, V. lxxv. 4.
exhibit, V. lxiv. 5; lxvii. 6.
exigent, Pref. iv. 7.
exorbitant, III. xi. 8; Serm. III. 1.
exquisite, I. v. 2: Serm. I. p. 475.
extemporality, vol. iii. p. 464.
extraordinancy, VII. xv. 8.
extreme, V. ix. 1.
Fact, III. xi. 15.
fall into (= be incident to), I. xi. 3: III. x. 3.
famously (= notoriously), VI. iv. 10, 13: VIII. ii. 11; ix. 5.
feeling, I. xii. 2: V. xxxix. 1; li. 3 (sense): VII. xxiv. 15.
festination, Answ. to Trav. 21.
flannel, “for gold hath flannel,” V. lxxix. 16.
flit, Serm. II. 26, p. 517.
float, Pref. ix. 4: V. lxxi. 7.
foot, “set the better foot of a lame cause foremost,” Serm. II. 33.
foreceable, V. App. 1. 33.
forcible (= efficacious), V. xxii. 6, cp. V. lxvii. 1; VI. iv. 13: VII. xv. 14.
foreprized, V. lxxi. 4.
foreslow, VI. iii. 4; iv. 6.
forlorn, V. lxv. 17; lxvi. 9.
formal, V. lxiv. 4.
formalize, V. lvi. 11.
formally, Serm. II. 21.
forsaken, III. i. 8: V. xlii. 13: VI. iii. 5: VII. xvi. 9: Answ. to Trav. 22.
forth (“have their forth?”), V. lxii. 8.
fortuned, VII. v. 5.
framable, vol. iii. p. 696.
frankness, V. lxxii. 11.
frequent = crowded, V. lxxx. 7.
frier’s-gray, IV. xiii. 6; opposed to “clay-colour.”
from (= away from), VIII. iv. 7.
fumbling shifts, V. lxii. 14.
fumingly, V. xxii. 7; lxii. 21.
furious (= mad), I. ix. 1: V. lxiv. 4: VI. v. 8.
General (of the whole kind), II. viii. 1: IV. vi. 3: V. lv. 1.
genitive (1) no mark of inflexion, “work sake,” Pref. i. 1; “distinction sake,” V. iv. 3 (in old edd.); (2) “his,” “Novatianus his conceit,” V. lxii. 5; “Dionysius his navigation,” lxxix. 15; “Glaucus his charge,” lxxix. 16.
gentility (heathendom), V. ii. 4.
gestured, V. xxvii. 1.
girdler, VII. viii. 11.
glass, Pref. vii. 1.
“Glaucus his change,” V. lxxix. 16.
glorious, V. lxxi. 7.
gloses, V. xxii. 10; lxii. 14.
glosing, V. iv. 2.
gravelled, VI. iv. 12.
grisly, VI. vi. 15.
guard (ward), V. lxiv. 6.
Habilitie, Serm. III. 2 (so passim in original edd.)
handfast, Serm. I. vol. iii. p. 476.
hands, “work with two hands,” Serm. II. 33.
handsel, V. lvi. 11.
happily, for haply, Pref. ii. 3, and passim in 1st edd.
haps, VI. iv. 6.
hardlier, V. lxxxi. 6.
“have their forth” (?), V. lxiii. 1.
heaved at, VII. xxiv. 2.
her (instead of its), “the appetite,” I. v. 3; “discipline,” Pref. viii. 3: V. lxiii. 1.
heteroclites, vol. iii. p. 605.
his (instead of its), “that which is of God—his kind,” I. xiv. 5; “operation,” I. xvi. 5; “creature,” V. lv. 2; “body,” lviii. 4.
hold out with, III. xi. 19.
hungry, V. xxii. 19.
Idea, I. iv. 1.
idol (so, 1597-1616, instead of “idle”), V. xi. 3, vid. note 1.
ifs or ands, Pref. ii. 6.
illation, Serm. II. 9.
imbecility, V. xxii. 17; xxv. 1.
imbreathed with, vol. iii. p. 611.
impaled, VIII. i. 4.
impardonable, V. lxv. 1.
implead (raise a plea against), VI. iv. 10.
implement, I. x. 2.
import (“their souls”), VI. iv. 15.
impotent, Pref. ii. 4: IV. ix. 1.
impreparation, V. ii. 2.
impression, I. iii. 3; xvi. 3.
improve (= improbare), V. xxii. 10; vol. iii. p. 699.
imps (and limbs of Satan), III. i. 7.
incantations, IV. iv. 1.
incident into, I. iii. 3: II. iii. 1; vii. 5: V. lxii. 14 (passim) (unto only in the later xviith century edd.)
inclinable, VII. xiv. 2.
incommodious, IV. vi. 2.
inconformitie, IV. xi. 4.
incredibility, V. App. 1. 36.
indifferent, II. i. 3.
infested, III. xi. 9.
inflammations, V. xxxiv. 1.
infringe, V. lxxxi. 3.
ingenuity, V. xx. 20.
injuried, I. i. 2, 4: V. xvi. 1.
injury (to), III. viii. 9: VI. iii. 3; v. 2.
inn, V. lxvii. 10.
innocent (n.), I. vi. 3: III. viii. 11: V. lx. 7; lxiv. 2, 3, 5.
inrailed, IV. xiii. 7.
instinct, VII. v. 7.
intentive, I. xi. 4.
intercourse (= alternation, “day and night”), Serm. I. vol. iii. p. 474.
interessed, V. Ded.; V. xl. 3; lxiv. 5; lxxx. 9.
interlace, V. xxvi. 2; lxii. 14.
inure with, I. i. 2; vi. 3: III. xi. 3: V. xl. 3: Answ. to Trav. 16.
inure unto, V. xlii. 11.
invective (adj.) V. lxxii. 12.
irefully, Pref. ii. 2.
its (I. iii. 5: V. xxix. 6 in Keble’s text; but in early edd. the).
John a Style, Serm. II. 35.
judicials, I. xv. 1: III. x. 4.
jump, I. viii. 8.
Kind, “grown out of,” vol. iii. p. 698.
known of his faults, VI. iv. 5.
Lapt up, Serm. VI. 28.
leave or liking, Pref. viii. 13.
leisurable -y, V. xlvi. 1, 2.
“let or hindered,” I. ii. 6: II. ii. 3.
lets, I. i. 1.
lifted at, VII. xxiv. 26.
like of (to), I. iv. 3: VIII. vi. 14.
limbs, III. i. 7.
list (= border), V. xx. 10.
list (v.), V. xxii. 9; lxx. 1; lxxi. 4; lxxvii. 3.
listed, VII. viii. 4.
litigious (of things, “feast of Easter”), IV. xi. 12.
livery, V. lxxi. 7.
loam, “wash a wall of,” Serm. II. 19.
loden, Pref. iii. 13.
long of them, V. i. 1.
look (interj.), I. viii. 10: VII. vi. 9: VIII. vi. 6.
loover, Pref. iv. 4.
Maims, IV. xii. 6: V. lxv. 7; lxx. 4.
malapert, VII. xv. 15.
malignants, III. vii. 10: V. ii. 4.
manner (“all, no, manner”), Pref. viii. 6: I. iv. 1; viii. 10: II. vii. 4; v. 2: V. vi. 1; liv. 7: VIII. ii. 13.
manuary, V. lxxxi. 8.
manumised, V. lxxxi. 15.
markable, VIII. vi. 14.
mast, VIII. iii. 2.
medled (= mixed), IV. viii. 1.
meeken, to, vol. iii. p. 623.
mel-pell, VIII. ix. 5.
merry, “more merry than wise,” V. lxxiv. 3.
meslin, IV. vi. 3.
mettle, “softer,” V. lxv. 6 (cf. lxv. 15, 1st ed.; lxxix. 5).
mincingly, I. xi. 6.
minerals, I. iv. 3.
mingle-mangle, Serm. V. 7.
miscollecting, vol. iii. p. 595.
misconceit, Pref. i. 2: III. i. 10: VIII. i. 4.
miscreants, III. i. 8: V. lxiii. 1: VI. v. 8.
misdesert, V. lxxvii. 3.
misdistinguish, III. ii. 2; iii. 1.
miserable (= miser), V. lx. 20.
misinfer, V. lii. 4.
misordered, VI. v. 9.
moe, Pref. ix. 4: II. v. 5: III. v. 1; xi. 21: IV. ii. 2; xiii. i. 9: V. Ded. p. 3; xxii. 8; xxxv. 2; lvi. 10; lxxviii. 12; lxxx. 4, 11.
momentany, I. viii. 5.
montanize, IV. vii. 4.
mother-cause, v. I. iii. 2; viii. 6: VIII. ii. 12.
mother of life, vol. iii. p. 650.
mother-sentence, Serm. II. 36.
motioner, VIII. viii. 4.
Namely, VI. iv. 4.
natural, “a mere n. man,” III. viii. 6.
nemo scit, a, V. lxxix. 5.
nephew (= grandson), V. xx. 11: VI. App. p. 133.
nice, made it not, VI. iv. 2.
nocive, Serm. IV. p. 649.
noon’s meal, V. lxxii. 6.
not no, I. xii. 2; III. xi. 9.
no, not, V. xxii. 14; lxxi. 8.
no, no, VI. iv. 14.
note, (of this n.), vol. iii. p. 481.
notional, V. lxxxi. 5.
nuzzled, Answ. to Trav. 26.
Object (adj.), Serm. I. vol. iii. p. 478: E. P. III. i. 2: IV. i. 3.
observants, I. iv. 1.
occasioned to, Pref. ii. 1.
occurrents, V. Ded. i. 3.
odds (sing.), what odds there is, I. viii. 2; VIII. iv. 5.
opinative, V. lx. 5.
opposite (subs.), I. xvi. 5: III. xi. 9: IV. vii. 6: V. vii. 3.
oratorial, III. viii. 9.
organize (“soul of the body”), V. lviii. 1.
orient, VIII. ii. 8.
over-carried, vol. iii. p. 565.
overcast, to (v.), V. xxxii. 3.
over-having (“an over-having disposition”), VII. xxiii. 5.
over-seeing (cf. oversight), vol. iii. p. 607.
overseen, I. viii. 3.
oversight, III. i. 9, 12.
overskip, Pref. iii. 2.
overslip, V. lxxii. 14.
oversway, IV. xiii. 9.
Pageants, V. lxxvii. 14.
pale (“the common pale”), IV. xiii. 7.
panical (terrors), vol. iii. p. 615.
paramount, paravaile, Serm. II. 28, p. 527.
participate (transitive), V. lxv. 20; lxxi. 4.
party, IV. i. 4: V. i. 3; xliii. 3; lxxx. 5, 12: VI. iv. 7; v. 8.
peers (“two cases be peers”), V. lxii. 13.
pensive, V. lxxii. 1: VI. iii. 3; iv. 6; v. 4.
perceivance, Serm. I. vol. iii. p. 477.
permit to, Serm. II. 27, p. 525.
person (= mask?), V. ii. 3.
petit, V. lxxiv. 4.
petitionary, V. xlviii. 2.
pew-fellows, VI. iv. 10.
phrenetical, V. App. 1. 38.
pin, III. iv. 1.
pinch, IV. xiii. 1, 9.
pitch, a field, V. xxxi. 1.
platform, III. vii. 4.
politician, VII. xxiv. 3.
politicly, VII. xxiv. 22.
politics, V. App. 2. 5: VII. xxiv. 22.
powerable, VII. xviii. 9: Serm. II. 11.
preach, a (n.), V. xxviii. 3.
precincts (= limits), V. lxxx. 2 (v. VII. ii. 1; viii. 3).
preconceit, Pref. iii. 9.
predicants, Serm. II. 12.
prejudice, Pref. ii. 8: I. vii. 6; x. 13.
prest, Serm. IV. p. 649.
pretence, V. lxii. 8.
pretend (= put forward), II. v. 6; (= claim) VI. v. 1.
prettily, V. xxii. 7.
prime, II. iv. 6: V. lxv. 2: VII. xxii. 6.
proctor, IV. ix. 3: V. Ded. 7.
propense, Pref. iii. 13.
puddle, Serm. II. 28, p. 528.
puissance, V. xxxviii. 1.
punned (= bruised), V. xxii. 12 (T. C.)
purchase (= obtain), Pref. ii. 8: I. vii. 1: V. xxiii.
purity, I. iii. 4.
put up injuries, VII. xv. 3.
Querulous (= quarrelsome), III. xi. 10.
quite and clean, I. xii. 3: III. i. 8, 13: IV. xii. 7: V. ii. 1; xx. 2: VIII. i. 6.
quite, to, I. xi. 5.
Race, “the race of Christ,” IV. v.; V. lvi. 11.
rake (“billows raking a boat”), Travers, vol. iii. p. 550.
ransom, put to his (opposed to “amerced” or fined), III. p. 552.
readunited, VIII. i. 6.
reasoned, be, VII. xv. 14.
rebukeable, IV. vii. 5.
recharge, III. xi. 13.
recidivation, Serm. VII. 1.
reckless (= rechless, wretchless), V. lxxi. 9.
recognizance, V. xlii. 10.
recomforted, V. lxxv. 3.
redeem, IV. xiv. 3.
refel, VI. vi. 6.
regalities, VIII. vii. 7.
rein, “the question shorter,” Serm. II. 28, p. 527. Cp. V. xliii. 4.
religion, “they of the religion in France,” IV. viii. 4.
rely myself on, V. lxvii. 12.
remonstrances, V. lxxvi. 6.
remorse, V. lx. 6.
rent (verb), VI. iii. 5.
resemble unto us, I. iv. 1: V. vi. 2; xxxviii. 1: III. iii. 4 (?).
respected (regarded), III. xi. 20: V. lxvi. 4.
respective, V. i. 1; xxix. 8.
respectively (with respect of person), Pref. ii. 4.
revisit (= review), vol. iii. p. 564.
rewardable, I. ix. 1.
riotous, I. xiii. 3.
rise, III. viii. 10: V. iii. 4.
ruff (“in their chiefest r.”) Serm. III. 4.
Sabboth, for Sabbath, III. viii. 10, vid. note: IV. xiii. 1, passim.
safeconduct, to, vol. iii. p. 693.
sallet (1st and 2nd edd. = salad K.), V. lxxvi. 8.
salt apology, VI. vi. 6.
sanctimony, VI. v. 6.
says (= essays), V. lxx. 4 (cf. lxxi. 2).
scapes and oversights, Serm. II. 39.
scholies -y, III. viii. 2, 16; xxxi. 3; lxxxviii. 2.
scholy, to (v.), V. xxii. 7: VI. iv. 10.
scopious (?), Serm. III. p. 623.
sea (“a sea of such matter”), vol. iii. p. 587: E. P. Pref. i. 1; viii. 11: I. xi. 3: V. lxxi. 7: VI. iii. 3.
sear, VI. iv. 6.
sedulity, V. iii. 1.
seedsmen (= sowers), VIII. ii. 8.
several, I. x. 13; xiv. 3: IV. xiii. 1: V. xiv. 1.
severed from, IV. xiii. 1.
shadowish, VIII. iii. 1.
shame (= to be ashamed), VII. xxiv. 22.
“shorten the reins of their censure,” V. xliii. 4.
“shorter commons,” V. lxxviii. 5.
side respect, I. x. 7.
side (= page), vol. iii. p. 661.
silly, III. viii. 10; xi. 8.
sith, IV. xii. 5 and passim.
skilleth, III. vii. 3.
sleight, Pref. viii. 10.
slight, Pref. iii. 16.
slips (branches), II. i. 1: V. lxxviii. 5: VI. xv. 13.
slought, V. App. 1. 5.
smally, III. xi. 5.
soder, V. xxix. 7.
soon or sine, Serm. III. p. 627.
soonest, with the, VII. xiii. 2.
sophisticate, V. lxxvii. 14.
sound that way, Pref. iii. 9: V. ii. 1; xx. 12; xxxviii. 3.
sound to, Pref. iii. 9: V. xxxviii. 3.
sound towards, Pref. iii. 9: V. xx. 12; xlii. 10: VIII. ii. 15.
spit-venom, V. ii. 2.
sponged out, V. xix. 2; lxvi. 9.
square (out of), III. i. 10: V. lxv. 11; lxxxi. 1.
stand to, Pref. viii. 2: I. viii. 7.
stand with, III. ix. 3; xi. 18: V. lxii. 22.
stand upon, II. iv. 1: III. iii. 4; v. 1: V. lxv. 20: VII. xxiv. 13: Answ. to Trav. 8.
stand in stead, III. ix. 1: V. lxxii. 2.
“stews of idols,” V. lxii. 17.
stint (= limit), IV. xiv. 3: VII. vxxiii. 10, 11.
stomach, Pref. ii. 6: II. v. 7: V. xlii. 2.
stormingly, V. App. 1. 44.
stroke, VIII. vi. 13.
stupidity (ἀναισθησία), VI. vi. 6.
sugared, vol. iii. p. 474.
suit (of one), Pref. viii. 7: III. iii. 2.
sup up words, V. lxii. 14.
suppage, V. lxxii. 6.
suppled, V. lxviii. 11.
suppositum, vol. ii. p. 230, note 1.
suspense (adj.), Pref. ii. 2.
Teeth, “from the t. outwards,” V. lxviii. 6.
teeth, “with t. and all,” VIII. vi. 2.
tempts (= attempts), V. lxxvi. 7.
tender (v.), IV. xi. 5.
tenor, IV. ii. 2.
tenure, I. iii. 2: III. i. 12.
thought, “half a thought the better,” IV. xiii. 10.
too too (manifest), Serm. II. 29, p. 528; vid. T. C. quoted, vol. ii. p. 94.
touch, hold the, VI. iv. 11.
touch of mercy, V. li. 3.
touch of his person, vol. iii. p. 559.
toy, IV. i. 3: V. lix. 3.
toyish, V. lxiv. 1, 4.
tract of time, IV. xiv. 1: V. xxix. 7; lxxviii. 5.
treatable, V. xlvi. 1: -y, V. lxxix. 16.
trencher-mates, V. ii. 2.
Unbeseeming, I. viii. 9.
unbuilded (conclusions), II. vii. 5.
uncapable, I. iii. 3.
uncomfortable, I. iv. 1.
uncommanded, VIII. ii. 1.
unconscionable -ly (= against conscience), VII. xxiv. 25.
unconsonant, V. li. 3.
uncredible, vol. iii. p. 476.
unculpable, III. vii. 2.
underlie, VIII. i. 2.
underset, V. xv. 5.
undispensable, VII. xiv. 4.
undistinctly, V. lxviii. 9.
undividable, VII. xxiv. 20: Serm. III. 4.
unemptiable, II. i. 4.
unfallible, VI. vi. 5.
unforcible, V. lxv. 9.
unframable, I. xvi. 6.
ungroundedly, vol. iii. p. 627.
unindifferent, IV. vii. 4: vol. iii. p. 550.
unlapt, vol. iii. p. 567.
unpartial, VI. vi. 5.
unperfect, V. ix. 3.
unrequisite, III. xi. 16.
unresistable, Pref. ii. 3: V. i. 3; lxi. 4.
unsensible, VII. xiv. 2.
unseparable, VII. xxii. 5.
unstrengthened, V. viii. 4.
unsubject, VIII. ii. 13; viii. 1.
unweariable, Pref. iii. 12.
upshot, V. lxv. 12: VI. v. 5.
ure, “put in,” Pref. ii. 2: II. vii. 9: V. lxxiii. 8: Serm. II. 11.
— out of, VII. xiv. 2.
Vice-agent, V. xli. 1.
voyage (French sense), V. lxxix. 7.
vulgar, VI. vi. 8.
Wade, I. ii. 2; iii. 2: V. lxv. 13; lxvii. 4; lxxxi. 4: Serm. II. 37.
warfaring, VIII. iv. 6.
warrantize, Serm. V. 11.
wash a wall of loam, Serm. II. 19.
wave in and out, V. xliii. 5.
weeds, IV. xiii. 6: V. xxix. 3; lxx. 4.
well-willers, V. lxxii. 14; lxxvi. 2: VIII. iv. 10.
willinger (more willing), V. i. 2.
withal = with, III. xi. 10: IV. vii. 2.
woe worth, Serm. II. 13: Serm. V. 6: VI. 10.
worsed, vol. iii. p. 679.
wreath (= strand of a cable), VII. xviii. 10.
wretchless, Serm. VI. 33.
wringeth, V. App. ii. 4.
writhed, IV. xiii. 5.