The second Tome of Homi­lees, of such matters as were pro­mised, and intituled in the former part of Homilees.

Set out by the aucthoritie of the Queenes Maiestie: And to be read in eue­ry parishe Church agreeably. 1571.

The Table of homilees ensuyng.

  • 1 OF the ryght vse of the Churche.
  • 2 Against peril of Idolatrie. iii. partes.
  • 3 For repayryng and kepyng cleane the Churche.
  • 4 Of good workes. And first of fastyng. ii. partes.
  • 5 Agaynst gluttonie and dronkennesse.
  • 6 Agaynst excesse of apparrell.
  • 7 An Homilee of prayer. iii. partes.
  • 8 Of the place and time of prayer. ii. partes.
  • 9 Of common prayer and sacramentes.
  • 10 An information for them which take offence at certayne places of holye scripture. ii. partes.
  • 11 Of almes deedes. iii. partes.
  • 12 Of the Natiuitie.
  • 13 Of the passion, for good Friday. ii. Homilees
  • 14 Of the Resurrection, for Easter day.
  • 15 Of the worthy receauing of the sacrament. ii. partes.
  • 16 An Homilee concerning the cōming downe of the holye Ghost, for Whitsunday. ii. partes.
  • 17 An Homilee for rogation weeke. iiii. partes.
  • 18 Of the state of matrimonie.
  • 19 Agaynst idlenesse.
  • 20 Of repentaunce and true reconciliation vn­to God. iii. partes.
  • 21 An Homilee agaynst disobedience and wyl­full rebellion. vi. partes.

¶ An admonition to all Ministers ecclesiasticall.

FOR that the Lorde doth re­quire of his seruaunt whom he hath set ouer his house­holde, to shewe both fayth­fulnesse and prudence in his office: it shalbe necessarye that ye aboue al other do be­haue your selfe moste fayth­fully and diligently in your so hygh a function: that is, aptly, playnely, and distinctly to reade the sacred scriptures, diligently to instruct the youth in their Catechisme, grauely and reuerently to minister his most holy Sacramentes, prudently al­so to choose out such Homilees as be most meete for the time, & for the more agreeable instruction of the people committed to your charge, with such discretion, that where the Homilee may ap­peare to long for one readyng, to diuide the same to be read part in the fore noone, and part in the after noone. And where it may so chaunce some one or other chapter of the olde Testament to fal in order to be read vppon the Sundayes or holye dayes, whiche were better to be chaunged with some other of the newe Testament of more edifi­cation: it shalbe wel done to spende your tyme to consyder wel of such chapters before hand, wher­by your prudence and diligence in your office may appeare, so that your people may haue cause to glorifie God for you, and be the redyer to im­brace your labours, to your better commendatiō, to the discharge of your cōsciences & their owne.

An Homilee of the ryght vse of the Churche or temple of God, and of the reuerence due vnto the same. ¶ The first part.

WHERE there appeareth at these dayes great slacknesse & negligence of a great sorte of people, in resorting to the Church, there to serue God their heauenly father, accor­dyng to their most bounden duetie, as also muche vn­comely and vnreuerent behauiour of many per­sons in the same, when they be there assembled, and thereby maye iust feare aryse of the wrath of GOD, and his dreadfull plagues hanging ouer our heades for our greeuous offences in this be­halfe, amongst other many & great sinnes which we dayly and hourely commit before the Lorde. Therefore for the discharge of al our consciences, and the auoydyng of the common peryl & plague hangyng ouer vs, let vs consyder what may be sayde out of Gods holy booke concernyng this matter, whereunto I pray you geue good audi­ence, for that it is of great wayght, and concer­neth you all.

Although the eternall and incomprehensible maiestie of God, the Lorde of heauen and earth, Act. 7. whose seate is heauen, & the earth his footestole, can not be inclosed in temples or houses made [Page 5] with mans hande, as in dwelling places able to receaue or conteyne his maiestie, accordyng as is euidently declared by the prophete Esaias, and by the doctrine of saint Steuen, and saint Paul Esai. 16. Act. 7. 17, in the Actes of the Apostles. And where kyng Salomon (who builded vnto the Lorde the most glorious temple that euer was made) sayth, Who shalbe able to buylde a meete or worthye house for hym? if heauen, and the heauen aboue all heauens can not contayne hym: howe muche lesse can that whiche I haue builded? And fur­ther confesseth: What am I, that I shoulde be a­ble to buylde thee an house O Lord? But yet for 3. Reg. 8. 2. Par. 2, and▪ 6. this purpose only it is made, that thou mayest regarde the prayer of thy seruaunt and his hum­ble supplication. Muche lesse then be our Chur­ches meete dwellyng places to receaue the in­comprehensible maiestie of God. And in deede, the cheefe and speciall temples of God, wherein he hath greatest pleasure, and moste delyghteth to dwell and continue in, are the bodyes and myndes of true Christians, and the chosen peo­ple of GOD, accordyng to the doctrine of the holye scripture, declared in the firste Epistle to the Corinthians. Knowe ye not (sayth Saint Paul) that ye be the temple of God, and that the 1. Cor. 3. spirite of God dwelleth in you? If any man de­fyle the temple of God, hym wyll God destroye. For the temple of God is holy, which ye are. And agayne in the same Epistle: Knowe ye not that 1. Cor. 6, your body is the temple of the holye ghost dwel­lyng in you, whom ye haue geuen you of God, and that ye be not your owne? for ye are dearely [Page 6] bought. Glorifie ye nowe therefore God in your body, and in your spirite, whiche are Gods. And therefore as our sauiour Christe teacheth in the Gospell of saint John, they that worshyp God Iohn. 4. the father in spirite and trueth, in what place so euer they do it, worshyp hym a ryght: for suche worshyppers doth God the father looke for. For God is a spirite, & those that worshyp hym, must worship him in spirit and trueth, sayth our saui­our Christe. Yet all this notwithstandyng, the material Church or temple is a place appoynted aswell by the vsage and continuall examples ex­pressed in the olde Testament, as in the newe, for the people of God to resort together vnto, there to heare Gods holy worde, to call vpon his holy name, to geue hym thankes for his innumera­ble and vnspeakeable benefites bestowed vppon vs, and duely and truely to celebrate his holy sa­cramentes (In the vnfayned doyng and accom­plyshyng of the whiche, standeth that true and right worshipping of God afore mentioned) and the same Churche or temple, is by the scriptures both of the olde Testament and the newe, called the house and temple of the Lorde, for the pecu­lier seruice there done to his maiestie by his peo­ple, & for the effectuous presence of his heauen­lye grace, where with he by his sayde holye word endueth his people so there assembled. And to the sayde house or temple of God, at all tymes by common order appoynted, are all people that be godly in deede, bounde with all diligence to re­sorte, vnlesse by sicknesse or other moste vrgente causes they be letted therefro. And all the same [Page 7] so resortyng thyther, ought with all quietnesse and reuerence there to behaue them selues, in doing their bounden duetie & seruice to almigh­tie God, in the congregation of his Saintes. All which thinges are euident to be prooued by Gods holye worde, as hereafter shall playnelye appeare.

And firste of all, I wyll declare by the scrip­tures, that it is called (as it is indeede) the house of God, and temple of the Lorde. He that swea­reth by the temple (sayth our sauiour Christe) Mat. 2 [...]. sweareth by it and hym that dwelleth therein, meanyng God the father, whiche he also expres­seth playnely in the Gospell of Saint John, say­ing: Do not make the house of my father the Iohn. 2. house of marchaundize. And in the booke of the Psalmes, the Prophete Dauid sayth, I wyll Psal. 5. enter into thyne house, I wyll worshyp in thy holy temple, in thy feare. And it is in almost in­finite places of the scripture, specially in the pro­phetes Psal. 1 [...]1. and booke of psalmes, called the house of God, or the house of the Lorde. Sometyme it is named the tabernacle of the Lord, and sometime Exo. 25. Leui. 19. the sanctuarye, that is to say, the holy house or place of the Lorde. And it is in lykewyse called the house of prayer, as Salomon, who buylded 3. Reg. 8. 2. Par. 26. the temple of the Lorde at Hierusalem, doth ofte call it the house of the Lorde, in the whiche the Lordes name should be called vpon. And Esaias in the. 50. Chapter, My house shalbe called the Esai. 50. house of prayer amongst all nations. Which text our sauiour Christ alleageth in the newe Testa­ment, as doth appeare in three of the Euange­listes, [Page 8] and in the parable of the Pharisee and the Mat. 21. Mark. 11. Luk. 19. Luk. 18. Publicane whiche went to pray, in which para­ble our sauiour Christ sayth, They went vp into the temple to pray. And Anna the holy wydo we and prophetisse, serued the Lorde in fastyng and prayer in the temple, nyght and day. And in the Luke. 2. Act. 3. storie of the Actes it is mentioned, how that Pe­ter & John went vp into the temple at the houre of prayer. And saint Paul praying in the tem­ple Act. 2 [...]. at Hierusalem, was rapte in the spirite, and did see Jesus speaking vnto him. And as in all conuenient places, prayer may be vsed of the godly priuately: So it is most certaine, that the Churche or temple is the due and appoynted place for common and publique prayer.

Nowe that it is lykewise the place of thankes geuyng vnto the Lorde for his innumerable and vnspeakeable benefites bestowed vppon vs, ap­peareth notably in the latter ende of the Gospell of saint Luke, and the begynnyng of the storie of the Actes, where it is written that the Apo­stles Luke. 24. Act. 2. and disciples after the assention of the lord, continued with one accorde dayly in the temple, alwayes praysyng and blessyng God.

And it is lykewyse declared in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, that the Churche is the 1. Cor. 9. due place appoynted for the reuerent vse of the Sacramentes. It remayneth nowe to be de­clared, Act. 13. that the Churche or temple is the place where the lyuely worde of God (and not mans inuentions) ought to be read & taught, and that the people are bounde thyther with all diligence to resort: and this proofe likewise to be made by [Page 9] the scriptures, as hereafter shall appeare.

In the storie of the actes of the apostles, we reade that Paul and Barnabas preached the worde of God in the temples of the Jewes at Salamine. And when they came to Antiochia, they entred on the Sabbath day into the Sy­nagogue or Churche, and sate downe, and after the lesson or readyng of the lawe and the pro­phetes, the ruler of the temple sent vnto them, saying: Ye men and brethren, yf anye of you haue any exhortation to make vnto the people, saye it. And so Paul standyng vp, and makyng scilence with his hande, sayde? Ye men that be Israelites, and ye that feare God, geue eare, and so foorth, preachyng to them a sermon out of the scriptures, as there at large appeareth. And in the same storie of the actes, the seuenteenth Act. 17. Chapter, is testified howe Paul preached Christ out of the Scriptures at Thessalonica. And in Act. 15. the fifteenth Chapter, James the apostle in that holy councell and assemblie of his felowe Apo­stles sayth, Moyses of olde tyme hath in euery Citie certayne that preache hym in the Sy­nagogues or temples, where he is read euerye Sabbath day. By these places ye maye see the vsage of readyng of the Scriptures of the olde Testament among the Jewes in theyr Sy­nagogues euery Sabbath daye, and sermons vsually made vpon the same. Howe muche more then is it conuenient that the Scriptures of God, and specially the Gospell of our sauiour Christ, should be read and expounded to vs that be Christians in our Churches, speciallye our [Page 10] sauiour Christe and his apostles allowyng this most godly and necessarie vsage, and by theyr ex­amples confirming the same.

It is written in the stories of the Gospels in Mat. 4. Mark. i. Luk. 4. Mat. 13. 20. Mark. 6. Luk. 13. diuers places, that Jesus went rounde about all Galilee, teachyng in theyr Synagogues, & prea­ching the Gospell of the kyngdome: In which places is his great diligence in continuall prea­chyng and teachyng of the people, most euident­ly set foorth.

In Luke ye reade, howe Jesus accordyng to Luk. 4. his accustomed vse came into the temple, and howe the booke of Esaias the prophete was de­liuered him, howe he read a text therein, & made a sermon vpon the same.

And in the. xix. is expressed howe he taught Luk. 19. dayly in the temple. And it is thus written in the. viii. of John: Jesus came agayne earlye in Iohn. 8. the mornyng into the temple, and all the people came vnto hym, and he sate downe and taught them. And in the. xviii. of John, our sauiour testifieth before Pilate, that he spake openly vn­to Iohn. 18. the world, and that he alwayes taught in the Synagogue and in the temple, whyther all the Jewes resorted, and that secretely he spake no­thing. And in saint Luke: Jesus taught in the Luk. 21. temple, and all the people came early in the mor­ning vnto hym, that they myght heare hym in the temple.

Here ye see aswell the diligence of our saui­our in teaching the worde of God in the tem­ple dayly, and specially on the Sabbath dayes, as also the redynesse of the people resortyng al­together, [Page 11] and that early in the morning, into the Temple to heare hym.

The same example of diligence in preachyng the worde of God in the Temple, shall ye fynde in the Apostles, and the people resortyng vnto them. Act. the. v. Howe the Apostles, although they had ben whypped and scourged the day before, and by the hygh priest commaunded that they shoulde preache no more in the name of Je­sus, yet the day folowyng they entred earlye in the mornyng into the Temple, and dyd not ceasse to teache and declare Jesus Christe. And in sun­drye other places of the storye of the Actes, ye shall fynde lyke diligence both in the Apostles in Act. 13. 15. 17. teachyng, and in the people in commyng to the temple to heare Gods worde. And it is testifi­ed in the first of Luke, that when Zacharie the Luke. 1. holy priest, and father to John baptist, dyd sacri­fice within the temple, al the people stoode with­out a long tyme praying, suche was theyr zeale and feruencie at that tyme. And in the seconde Luke. 2. of Luke appeareth what great iourneyes men, women, yea and chyldren tooke, to come to the temple on the feast day, there to serue the Lorde, and specially the example of Joseph, the blessed virgin Marie mother to our Sauiour Jesus Christe, and of our sauiour Christe hym selfe be­yng yet but a child, whose examples are worthy for vs to folowe. So that yf we woulde com­pare our negligence in resortyng to the house of the Lorde there to serue hym, to the diligence of the Jewes in commyng dayly verye early, some­tyme [Page 12] great iourneyes to theyr temple, and when the multitude coulde not be receaued within the temple, the feruent zeale that they had, declared in standyng long without and praying: We may iustly in this comparison condemne our slouth­fulnesse and negligence, yea playne contempt in comming to the Lordes house, standyng so nere vnto vs, so seldome, and scarcely at none time. So farre is it from a great many of vs to come early in the morning, or geue attendaunce with­out, who disdayne to come into the temple, and yet we abhorre the verye name of the Jewes when we heare it, as of a moste wycked and vn­godly people. But it is to be feared, that in this poynt we be farre worse then the Jewes, and that they shall ryse at the day of iudgement to our condemnation, who in comparison to them, shewe suche slackenesse and contempt in resor­tyng to the house of the Lorde, there to serue him, according as we are of duetie most bounde. And besides this moste horrible dread of Gods iust iudgement in the great day, we shall not in this lyfe escape his heauie hande and venge­aunce for this contempt of the house of the Lord and his due seruice in the same, accordyng as the Lorde him selfe threatneth in the firste Chapter of his prophete Aggeus after this sort: Because you haue left my house desert and without com­payne Agge. 1. (sayth the Lorde) and ye haue made haste euery man to his owne house, for this cause are the heauens stayed ouer you that they shoulde geue no deaw, and the earth is forbidden that it [Page 13] shall bryng foorth his fruite, and I haue called drought vpon the earth, and vppon the moun­taynes, and vpon corne, and vpon wyne, and vp­pon oyle, and vpon al things that the earth brin­geth foorth, and vpon men, and vppon beastes, and vpon all thynges that mens handes labour for. Beholde, yf we be such worldlinges that we care not for the eternall iudgementes of GOD, (whiche yet of all other are moste dreadfull and horrible) we shall not escape the punishment of God in this worlde by drought and famine, and the takyng away of all worldlye commodities, whiche we as worldlinges seeme only to regard and care for. Whereas on the contrary part, yf we woulde amende this faulte or negligence, slouthfulnesse and contempt of the house of the Lorde, and his due seruice there, and with dili­gence resort thither together, to serue the Lorde with one accorde and consent, in all holines and ryghteousnesse before hym: we haue promises of benefites both heauenly and worldly. Whereso­euer Mat. 18. two or three be gathered in my name (saieth our sauiour Christ) there am I in the middest of them. And what can be more blessed thē to haue our sauiour Christe amongst vs? Or what a­gaine can be more vnhappy or mischeuous, then to driue our sauiour Christe from amongst vs, and to leaue a place for his and our most aunci­ent and mortall enemie the olde dragon and ser­pent Satan the deuyll in the middest of vs?

In the second of Luke it is written, how that Luk. 2. the mother of Christ and Joseph, when they had long sought Christ whom they had lost, & coulde [Page 14] finde hym no where, that at the last they founde hym in the temple, sittyng in the middest of the doctours. So if we lacke Jesus Christe, that is to say, the sauiour of our soules and bodyes, we shall not finde hym in the market place, or in the guylde hal, much lesse in the alehouse or tauerne amongst good felowes (as they call them) so soone as we shall fynde hym in the temple the Lordes house, amongst the teachers and prea­chers of his worde, where in deede he is to be founde. And as concerning worldly cōmodities, we haue a sure promise of our sauiour Christe: Seke ye first the kingdome of God, and the righ­teousnesse therof, and al these thinges shal with­all be geuen vnto you. And thus we haue in the first part of this Homilee declared by gods word, that the Temple or Churche is the house of the Lorde, for that the seruice of the Lorde (as tea­ching and hearing of his holy worde, calling vp­pon his holye name, geuyng thankes to hym for his great and innumerable benefites, and due ministring of his sacraments) is there vsed. And it is lyke wyse declared alredy by the scriptures, howe all godly and Christian men and women ought at tymes appoynted, with diligence to re­sort vnto the house of the Lord, there to serue hym, and to glorifie hym, as he is most worthy, and we most bounde, to whom be all glory and honor world with­out ende,

Amen.

The seconde part of the Homilee of the ryght vse of the Churche.

IT was declared in the firste part of this Homilee, by gods word, that the temple or Churche is the house of the lord, for that the seruice of the Lorde (as teaching & hearyng of his holy worde, calling vpō his holy name, geuyng thankes to hym for his great and innu­merable benefites, and due ministring of the sa­cramentes) is there vsed. And it is lyke wyse alre­dy declared by the scriptures, how all godly and christian men & women, ought at times appoin­ted, with diligence to resort vnto the house of the Lorde, there to serue him, and to glorifie hym, as he is most worthy, and we most bounden.

Nowe it remayneth in this second parte of the Homilee concernyng the ryght vse of the temple of God, to be likewyse declared by Gods worde, with what quietnesse, scilence, and reuerence, those that resort to the house of the Lord, ought there to vse and behaue them selues.

It may teache vs sufficiently how well it doth become vs christian men reuerently to vse the Churche and holy house of our prayers, by consi­dering in how greate reuerence and veneration the Jewes in the olde lawe had their Temple, whiche appeareth by sundrye places, whereof I wyll note vnto you certayne. In the xxvi. of Mat. 26. Matthewe, it was laide to our sauiour Christes charge before a temporall iudge, as a matter [Page 16] worthy death, by the two false witnesses, that he had sayde, he could destroy the temple of GOD, and in three dayes buylde it agayne, not doub­ting but yf they might make men to beleue that he had sayde any thyng agaynst the honour and maiestie of the temple, he should seeme to al men moste worthy of death. And in the. xxi. of the Actes, when the Jewes found Paul in the tem­ple, Actes. 21. they layde handes vppon hym, crying: Ye men Israelies helpe, this is that man who tea­cheth all men euery where agaynst the people and the lawe, and agaynst this place: besydes that, he hath brought the Gentiles into the tem­ple, and hath prophaned this holy place. Behold howe they tooke it for a lyke offence to speake a­gaynst the temple of God, as to speake agaynst the lawe of God, and howe they iudged it conue­ment, that none but godly persons and the true worshippers of God, should enter into the temple of GOD. And the same fault is layde to Paules charge by Tertullus an eloquent man, and by the Jewes in the. xxiiii. of the Actes, before a tem­porall Act. 24. Judge, as a matter worthy death, that he went about to pollute the temple of GOD. And in the. xxvii. of Matthewe, when the cheefe priestes had receaued agayne the peeces of siluer Mat. 27. at Judas hande, they sayde, It is not lawfull to put them into Corban (whiche was the treasure house of the temple) because it is the price of blood. So that they coulde not abyde that not onely any vncleane person, but also any other dead thyng that was iudged vncleane, shoulde once come into the temple, or any place thereto [Page 17] belonging. And to this ende is saint Paules say­yng in the second Epistle to the Corinthians the 2. Cor. 6. vi. Chapter to be applyed: What felowshippe is there betwixt righteousnes, & vnrighteousnes? or what communion betwene light & darknesse? or what concorde betweene Christe and Beliall? or what part can the faythfull haue with thun­faythful? or what agremēt can there be betwene the temple of God and images? Which sentence, although it be cheefly referred to the temple of ye mynde of the godlye: yet seeyng that the simili­tude and pith of the argument is taken from the material temple, it enforceth that no vngodlines, specially of images or idols, may be suffred in the temple of God, whiche is the place of worshyp­pyng God: and therefore can no more be suffered to stande there, then light can agree with darke­nes, or Christ with Belial: for that the true wor­shipping of god, and the worshipping of images, are moste contrarye. And the settyng of them vp in the place of worshyppyng, may geue great occasion to the worshyppyng of them. But to turne to the reuerence that the Jewes had to their temple. You will say they honoured it su­perstitiously, & a great deale to much, crying out, the temple of the Lorde, the temple of the Lorde, being notwithstanding most wicked in life, & be therfore most iustly reproued of Jeremie the pro­phete Hier. 7. of the Lorde. Trueth it is, that they were superstitiously geuen to the honouryng of theyr temple: But I woulde we were not as farre to short from the due reuerence of the Lords house, as they ouershot them selues therein. And if the [Page 18] prophete iustlye reprehended them, hearken also what the Lord requireth at our handes, that we may know whether we be blame worthy or no.

It is written in Ecclesiastes the fourth Chap­ter: When thou doest enter into the house of God Eccle. 4. (saith he) take heede to thy feete, draw neare that thou mayest heare, for obedience is muche more worth then the sacrifice of fooles, whiche know not what euill they do. Speake nothyng rashly there, neyther let thyne heart be swyft to vtter wordes before God. For God is in heauen, and thou art vpon the earth, therfore let thy wordes be fewe. Note (welbeloued) what quietnesse in gesture and behauiour, what scilence in talke & wordes, is required in the house of God, for so he calleth it. See whether they take heede to theyr feete, as they be here warned, which neuer ceasse from vncomely walking and ietting vp & downe and ouerthwarte the Churche, shewyng an eui­dent signification of notable contempt, both of God, and all good men there present: and what heede they take to their tounges, & speach, which do not only speake wordes swiftly and rashly be­fore the Lorde (whiche they be here forbydden) but also often tymes speake fylthyly, couetously, and vngodly, talkyng of matters scarce honest or fytte for the alehouse or tauerne, in the house of the Lorde, lytle consyderyng that they speake be­fore God, who dwelleth in heauen (as is here de­clared) when they be but vermins here creeping vpon the earth, in camparison to his eternall maiestie, and lesse regarding that they must geue an accompt at the great day, of euery ydle worde Mat. 4. [Page 19] whersoeuer it be spoken, muche more of fylthye, vncleane, or wicked words spoken in the Lordes house, to the great dishonour of his maiestie, and offence of all that heare them. And in deede con­cernyng the people and multitude, the temple is prepared for thē to be hearers, rather then spea­kers, consyderyng that aswell the word of god is there read or taught, whereunto they are bound to geue diligent eare with all reuerence and sci­lence, as also that common prayer and thankes geuyng are rehearsed and sayde by the publique minister in the name of the people & the whole multitude present, wherunto they geuyng their redye audience, shoulde assent and say Amen, as S. Paul teacheth in the firste Epistle to the 1. Cor. 14. Corinthians. And in another place, glorifiyng God, with one spirite and mouth: which can not be when euery man and woman in seuerat pre­tence of deuotion, prayeth priuately, one askyng, another geuyng thankes, another readyng doc­trine, & forceth not to heare the common prayer of the minister. And peculierly, what due reue­rence is to be vsed in the ministring of the Sa­cramentes in the temple, the same saint Paul 1. Cor. 11. teacheth in his Epistle to the Corinthians, rebu­kyng suche as dyd vnreuerently vse them selues in that behalfe. Haue ye not houses to eate and drynke in (sayth he?) Do ye despise the Churche or congregation of God? What shall I saye to you? Shall I prayse you? In this I prayse you not. And God requireth not onely this outward reuerence of behauiour and scilence in his house, but al inward reuerence in clensing of the [Page 20] thoughtes of our heartes, threatning by his pro­phete Ose in the. ix. Chapter, that for the malice Ose. 9. of the inuentions and deuises of the people, he will cast them out of his house: whereby is also signified the eternall castyng of them out of his heauenlye house and kyngdome, whiche is most horrible. And therefore in the. 19. of Leuit. God sayth, Feare you with reuerence my sanctuarye, Leui. 19. for I am the Lorde. And accordyng to the same the prophete Dauid sayth, I wyll enter into Psal. 5. thine house, I wyll worshyp in thy holy temple in thy feare: shewyng what inward reuerence and humblenes of mynde the godly men ought to haue in the house of the Lorde. And to alleage some what concerning this matter out of the newe Testament, in what honour God woulde haue his house or temple kepte, and that by the example of our sauiour Christe, whose auctho­ritie ought of good reason with all true Christi­ans Mat. 21. Mark. 11. Luk. 19. Iohn. 11. to be of most wayght and estimation: It is written of all the foure Euangelistes, as a nota­ble acte, and worthy to be testified by many holy witnesses, how that our sauiour Jesus Christe, that mercifull and mylde Lorde, cōpared for his meekenesse to a sheepe, suffring with scilence his fleece to be shorne from him, and to a lambe led Esai. 53. Act. 8. without resistaunce to the slaughter, whiche gaue his body to them that dyd smyte hym, aun­swered not hym that reuiled, nor turned away his face from them that dyd reproche hym and Esai. 50. Mat. 5. spit vpon him, and accordyng to his owne exam­ple, gaue preceptes of mildnes and sufferaunce to his disciples: Yet when he seeth the temple and [Page 21] holy house of his heauenly father misordred, pol­luted, and prophaned, vseth great seueritie and sharpenes, ouerturneth the tables of thexchaun­gers, subuerteth the seates of them that solde doues, maketh a whip of cordes, and scourgeth out those wicked abusers and prophaners of the temple of God, saying, My house shalbe called the house of prayer, but ye haue made it a den of theeues. And in the. ii. of John, Do not ye make Iohn. 2. the house of my father, the house of marchaun­dize. For as it is the house of GOD, when Gods seruice is duely done in it: So whē we wickedly abuse it with wicked talke or couetous bargay­ning, we make it a den of theeues, or an house of marchaundize. Yea, and suche reuerence woulde Christe shoulde be therein, that he woulde not Mar. 11. suffer any vessell to be caryed through the tem­ple. And where as our saniour Christe (as is be­fore mentioned out of S. Luke) coulde be founde no where (when he was sought) but only in the temple amongst the doctours, and nowe agayne exerciseth his aucthoritie and iurisdiction, not in castles and princely palaces amongst souldiers, but in the temple: Ye may hereby vnderstande in what place his spirituall kyngdome (whiche he denyeth to be of this worlde) is sonest to be founde, and best to be knowen of all places in this worlde. And accordyng to this example of our sauiour Christe in the primitiue Churche, which was most holy & godly, and in the which due discipline with seueritie was vsed agaynst the wicked, opē offenders were not suffered once to enter into the house of the Lorde, nor admit­ted [Page 22] to common prayer, and the vse of the holye Sacramentes with other true Christians, vntil they had done open penaunce before the whole Churche. And this was practised, not only vpon meane persons, but also vpon the ryche, noble, and mightie persons, yea, vpon Theodosius that puissaunt and mightie Emperour, whom for cō ­mittyng a greeuous and wylfull murther, S. Ambrose Byshop of Millayne reproued sharply, and did also excommunicate the said Emperour, and brought hym to open penaunce. And they that were so iustly exempted and banished (as it Chrisost. were) from the house of the Lorde, were taken (as they be in deede) for men diuided and separa­ted from Christes Churche, and in most daunge­rous estate, yea as S. Paul sayeth, euen geuen [...]. Cor. 5. vnto Satan the deuyll for a tyme, and theyr company was shunned and auoyded of all godly men and women, vntyll suche tyme as they by repentaunce and publique penaunce were re­conciled. Suche was the honour of the Lordes house in mens heartes, and outwarde reuerence also at that tyme, and so horrible a thing was it to be shut out of the Churche and house of the Lorde in those dayes, when religion was most pure, and nothyng so corrupt as it hath ben of late dayes. And yet we wyllyngly, eyther by ab­sentyng our selues from the house of the Lorde, do (as it were) excommunicate our selues from the Churche and felowshyp of the Saintes of God, orels comming thyther, by vncomely and vnreuerent behauiour there, by hastie, rashe, yea vncleane and wicked thoughtes and wordes be­fore [Page 23] the Lorde our God, horribly dishonour his holy house the Churche of GOD, and his holy name and maiestie, to the great daunger of our soules, yea, and certayne damnation also, yf we do not spedily and earnestly repent vs of this wic­kednesse.

Thus ye haue hearde (dearely beloued) out of Gods worde, what reuerence is due to the holye house of the Lorde, how all godly persons ought with diligence at times appoynted thither to re­payre, howe they ought to behaue them selues there, with reuerence and dread before the Lord, what plagues and punyshementes, as well tem­porall, as eternall, the Lorde in his holy worde threatneth, aswell to suche as neglect to come to his holy house, as also to suche, who commyng thither, do vnreuerently by iesture or talke, there behaue them selues. Wherefore, if we desyre to haue seasonable weather, and thereby to enioye the good fruites of the earth, yf we wyll auoyde drought and barrennesse, thirste and hunger, whiche are plagues threatned vnto suche as make haste to go to their owne houses, to ale­houses, and to tauernes, and leaue the house of the Lorde emptie and desolate, yf we abhorre to be scourged, not with whyppes made of cordes, out of the materiall temple only (as our sauiour Christe serued the defilers of the house of God in Hierusalem) but also to be beaten and dryuen out of the eternall temple and house of the Lorde (which is his heauenly kingdome) with the iron rodde of euerlastyng damnation, and caste into outter darkenes, where is weeping and gna­shing [Page 24] of teeth, if we feare, dread, and abhorre this (I say) as we haue most iust cause to do: then let vs amende this our negligence and contempt in comming to the house of the Lorde, this our vn­reuerent behauiour in the house of the Lorde, and resortyng thither diligently together, let vs there with reuerent hearyng of the Lordes holy worde, calling on the Lordes holy name, geuing of heartie thankes vnto the Lorde for his many­folde and inestimable benefites daily and hourly bestowed vpon vs, celebrating also reuerently of the Lordes holy Sacramentes, serue the Lorde Epes. 3. in his holy house, as becommeth the seruauntes of the Lorde, in holines and righteousnes before him all the dayes of our lyfe, and then we shalbe assured, after this lyfe, to rest in his holy hyll, and to dwell in his tabernacle, there to prayse and magnifie his holy name in the congregation of his saintes, in the holy house of his eternal king­dome of heauen, which he hath purchased for vs, by the death and sheddyng of the pretious blood of his sonne our sauiour Jesus Christ, to whom with the father and the holy ghost, one immortal maiestie of GOD, be all honour, glorie, prayse, and thankesgeuyng, worlde without ende,

Amen.

An Homilie against perill of idolatrie, and superfluous decking of Churches. The first part.

IN what poyntes the true orna­mentes of the Church or temple of GOD do consiste and stand, hath ben declared in the two last Homi­lies, intreating of the right vse of the temple or house of god, & of the due reuerence that all true Christian people are bound to geue vnto the same. The summe wher­of, is that the Churche or house of God, is a place appoynted by the holy scriptures, where ye lyuely word of God ought to be read, taught, & hearde, the Lordes holy name called vpon by publique prayer, heartie thankes geuen to his maiestie for his infinite and vnspeakeable benefits bestowed vpon vs, his holy Sacramentes duely and reue­rently ministred, & that therfore all that be godly in deede, ought both with diligence at times ap­poynted, to repayre together to the said Church, and there with all reuerence to vse and behaue them selues before the Lorde. And that the sayde Church thus godly vsed by the seruauntes of the Lorde, in the Lordes true seruice, for the effectu­ous presence of Gods grace, wherewith he doth by his holy word and promises, endue his people there present and assembled, to the attaynement aswell of commodities worldly, necessary for vs, [Page 26] as also of all heauenly gyftes, & lyfe euerlastyng; is called by the worde of GOD (as it is in deede) the temple of the Lorde, and the house of God, and that therefore the due reuerence thereof, is stirred vp in the heartes of the godly, by the con­syderation of these true ornamentes of the sayde house of God, and not by any outwarde ceremo­nies, or costly and glorious deckyng of the sayde house or temple of the Lorde, contrarie to the which most manyfest doctrine of the scriptures, & contrary to the vsage of the primitiue Church, whiche was most pure and vncorrupt, and con­trary to the sentences and iudgementes of the most auncient learned and godly doctours of the Churche (as hereafter shall appeare) the corrup­tion of these latter dayes, hath brought into the Churche infinite multitudes of images, and the same, with other partes of the temple also, haue decked with golde and siluer, paynted with co­lours, set them with stone & pearle, clothed them with silkes and pretious vestures, phantasyng vntruely that to be the cheefe deckyng & adour­nyng of the temple or house of God, and that all people should be the more moued to the due reue­rence of the same, if all corners thereof were glo­rious, and glisteryng with golde and pretious stones. Whereas in deede they, by the sayde ima­ges, and suche glorious deckyng of the temple, haue nothing at all profited suche as were wyse and of vnderstandyng: but haue thereby greatly hurt the simple and vnwyse, occasionyng them thereby to commit most horrible idolatrie. And the couetous persons, by the same occasion, see­myng [Page 27] to worshyp, & peraduenture worshippyng in deede, not onely the images, but also the mat­ter of them, golde and siluer, as that vice is of all others in the scriptures peculierly called idola­try or worshipping of images. Against the which Ephes. 5. Coloss. 3. foule abuses and great enormities, shalbe allea­ged vnto you: First, the aucthoritie of Gods holy worde, aswell out of the olde Testament, as of the newe. And secondly, the testimonies of the holy and ancient learned fathers and doctours, out of their owne workes and auncient histo­ries ecclesiasticall, both that you may at once knowe their iudgementes, and withall vnder­stande what maner of ornamentes were in the temples in the primatiue church in those times, whiche were moste pure and sincere. Thirdly, the reasons and argumentes made for the de­fence of images or idols, and the outragious dec­king of temples and Churches, with golde, syl­uer, pearle, and pretious stone, shalbe confuted, and so this whole matter concluded. But least any shoulde take occasion by the way of doub­tyng by wordes or names, it is thought good heere to note first of all, that although in com­mon speache we vse to call the lykenesse or simili­tudes of men or other thynges images, and not idols: yet the scriptures vse the saide two wordes (idols and images) indifferently for one thyng alway. They be wordes of diuers tongues and soundes, but one in sense and signification in the scriptures. The one is taken of the Greeke worde [...], an idoll, and the other of the La­tin worde Imago, an image, and so both vsed as [Page 28] Englishe termes in the translatyng of scriptures indifferently, accordyng as the Septuaginta haue in their translation in Greeke [...], and saint Hierome in his translation of the same places 1. Iohn. 5. in Latin hath Simulachra, in Englishe, images. And in the newe Testament, that whiche saint John calleth [...], Saint Hierome lyke wyse translateth Simulacrum, as in all other lyke pla­ces of scripture vsually he doth so translate. And Libr. de corona militis. Tertullian, a most ancient doctour, and wel lear­ned in both the tongues, Greeke & Latin, inter­pretyng this place of Saint John, Beware of idols, that is to say (sayeth Tertullian) of the ima­ges them selues: The Latin wordes whiche he vseth, be Effigies and Imago, to say, an image. And therfore it forceth not, whether in this pro­cesse we vse the one terme or the other, or both together, seyng they both (though not in com­mon Englishe speache, yet in scripture) signifie one thyng. And though some, to blynde mens eyes, haue heretofore craftily gon about to make them to be taken for wordes of diuers significa­tion in matters of religion, and haue therefore vsually named the lykenesse or similitude of a thyng set vp amongst the heathen in their tem­ples or other places to be worshipped, an idoll. But the lyke similitude with vs, set vp in the Churche, the place of worshippyng, they call an image, as though these two wordes (idoll and image) inscripture, dyd differ in proprietie and sense, whiche (as is aforesayde) differ onely in sound and language, and in meaning be in dede all one, specially in the scriptures and matters [Page 29] of religion. And our images also haue ben, and be, and yf they be publiquely suffred in Churches and temples, euer wilbe also worshipped, and so idolatrie committed to them, as in the last part of this Homilie, shall at large be declared and proued. Wherefore our images in temples and Churches, be in deede none other but Idols, as vnto the whiche idolatrie hath ben, is, and euer wyll be committed.

And first of all, the scriptures of the olde Testa­ment, condemnyng and abhorring aswell all idolatrie or worshyppyng of images, as also the very idols or images them selues, speciallye in temples, are so many and plentiful, that it were almoste an infinite worke, and to be conteyned in no small volume, to recorde all the places con­cerning the same. For when God had chosen to him selfe a peculier and speciall people from a­mongst all other nations that knewe not God, but worshypped idols and false gods: he gaue vnto them certayne ordinaunces and lawes, to be kept and obserued of his sayde people. But concerning none other matter did he geue either mo, or more earnest and expresse lawes to his sayde people, then those that concerned the true worshyppyng of hym, and the auoyding and flee­yng of idols and images, and idolatrie: for that, that both the sayde idolatrie is moste repug­naunt to the ryght worshipping of him and his true glorye aboue all other vices, and that he knewe the pronenesse and inclination of mans corrupt kynde and nature, to that most odious [Page 30] and abominable vice. Of the whiche ordinaun­ces and lawes so geuen by the Lorde to his peo­ple concerning that matter, I wyll rehearse and alleage some that be moste speciall for this pur­pose, that you by them may iudge of the rest.

In the fourth Chapter of the booke named Deuteronomie, is a notable place, and most wor­thy with all diligence to be marked, whiche be­gynneth Deut. 4. Num. 23. thus: And nowe Israel heare the com­maundementes and iudgements which I teach thee (sayth the Lorde) that thou doyng them, mayest liue, and enter & possesse the lande which the Lorde God of your fathers wyll geue you. Ye shall put nothyng to the worde whiche I speake to you, neyther shall ye take anye thyng from it. Kepe ye the commaundementes of the Lorde your God, which I commaund you. And by and by after he repeateth the same sentence three or foure tymes, before he come to the mat­ter that he woulde specially warne them of, as it were for a preface, to make them to take the bet­ter heede vnto it. Take heede to thy selfe (sayth he) and to thy soule, with all carefulnes, lest thou forgettest the thynges whiche thyne eyes haue seene, and that they go not out of thy heart all the dayes of thy life, thou shalt teach them to thy children and nephues, or posteritie. And shortly after, The Lorde spake vnto you out of the mid­dle of fire, but you hearde the voyce or sounde of his wordes, but you did see no fourme or shape at al. And by and by foloweth, Take heede there­fore diligently vnto your soules, you sawe no maner of image in the day in the which the lord [Page 31] spake vnto you in Horeb, out of the myddest of the fyre, least peraduenture, you beyng deceaued, shoulde make to your selues any grauen image, or lykenesse of man or woman, or the lykenesse of any beaste whiche is vppon the earth, or of the birdes that flee vnder heauen, or of any creeping thing that is moued on the earth, or of the fishes that do continue in the waters: leste paraduen­ture thou lyftyng vp thyne eyes to heauen, do see the sunne and the moone, and the starres of hea­uen, and so thou being deceaued by errour, shoul­dest honour and worshyp them whiche the Lord thy God hath created to serue all nations that be vnder heauen. And agayne: Beware that thou forget not the couenaunt of the Lorde thy God, whiche he made with thee, and so make to thy selfe any carued image of them whiche the Lorde hath forbidden to be made: for the Lorde thy God is a consumyng fyre, and a ielous God. If thou haue chyldren and nephues, and do tary in the lande, and beyng deceaued do make to your selues any similitude, doyng euyll before the Lord your GOD, and prouoke hym to an­ger: I do this day call vppon heauen and earth to wytnesse, that ye shall quicklye peryshe out of the lande whiche you shall possesse, you shall not dwell in it anye long tyme, but the Lorde wyll destroye you, and wyll scatter you amongst all nations, and ye shall remayne but a verye fewe amongst the nations, whyther the Lorde wyll leade you away, and then shall you serue gods whiche are made with mans handes, of wood and stone, whiche see not, and heare not, neyther [Page 32] eate, nor smell, and so foorth. This is a notable Chapter, and entreateth almoste altogether of this matter. But because it is to lōg to write out the whole, I haue noted you certayne principall poyntes out of it. First, howe earnestly and ofte he calleth vpon them to marke & to take heede, & that vpon the perill of their soules, to the charge which he geueth them. Then, howe he forbyd­deth by a solemne & long rehearsal of all thinges in heauen, in earth, and in the water, any image or lykenes of any thyng at all to be made. Third­ly, what penaltie and horrible destruction, he so­lemly, with inuocation of heauen & earth for re­corde, denounceth and threatneth to them, their children, and posteritie, if they contrary to this commaundement, do make or worshyppe anye images or similitude, which he so straightly hath forbidden. And whē they, this notwithstanding, partlye by inclination of mans corrupte nature moste prone to idolatrie, and partly occasioned by the Gentiles and Heathen people dwellyng about them, who were idolaters, dyd fall to the makyng and worshyppyng of Images: GOD accordyng to his worde, brought vp­pon them all those plagues whiche he threat­ned them with, as appeareth in the bookes of the kinges and the Chronacles, in sundrye pla­ces at large. And agreeable hereunto are many other notable places in the olde Testament. Deuteronomie. xxvii. Cursed be he that ma­keth a carued image, or a cast or moulten image, whiche is abomination before the Lorde, the worke of the artificers hand, and setteth it vp in [Page 33] a secret corner, and all the people shall say Amen.

Reade the, xiii. and. xiiii. Chapters of the booke of wysedome, concernyng idols or images, howe they be made, set vp, called vppon, and offered vn­to, and how he prayseth the tree whereof the gybbet is made, as happye, in comparison to the tree that an image or idoll is made of, euen by these very wordes, Happie is the tree where­through ryghteousnesse commeth, (meaning the gybbet) but cursed is the idoll that is made with handes: yea, both it, and he that made it, and so foorth. And by and by he sheweth how that the thynges whiche were the good creatures of God before (as trees or stones) when they be once al­tered and fashioned into images to be worshyp­ped, become abhomination, a temptation vnto the soules of men, and a snare for the feete of the vnwyse. And why? the seekyng out of images, is the begynnyng of whoredome (sayth he) and the bryngyng vp of them, is the destruction of lyfe: for they were not from the begynnyng, neyther shall they contynue for euer. The welthy idlenesse of men hath founde them out vppon earth, therefore shall they come shortlye to an ende, and so foorth to the ende of the Chapter, conteynyng these poyntes: Howe idols or ima­ges were fyrste inuented, and offered vnto, how by an vngratious custome they were estably­shed, how tyrauntes compell men to worshyppe them, how the ignoraunt and the common peo­ple are deceaued by the cunnyng of the worke­man, and the beawty of the image, to do honour vnto it, and so to erre from the knowledge of [Page 34] God, and of other great and many mischefes that come by images. And for a conclusion he sayth, that the honouring of abhominable images, is the cause, the begynnyng, and ende of all euyll, and that the worshippers of them be either mad, or most wycked. See and view the whole Chap­ter with diligence, for it is worthy to be well con­sydered, speciallie that is wrytten of the decea­uing of the simple and vnwyse common people by idols and images, and repeated twyse or thrise least it shoulde be forgotten. And in the Chapter Sapi. 15. folowyng be these wordes: The paynting of the picture and carued image with dyuers co­lours, enticeth the ignoraunt so, that he honou­reth and loueth the picture of a dead image that hath no soule. Neuerthelesse, they that loue such euyll thynges, they that trust in them, they that make them, they that fauour them, and they that honour them, are all worthy of death, and so foorth.

In the booke of Psalmes, the Prophet curseth Psal. 95. Psal. 1 [...]5 and. 134. the image honourers in diuers places. Confoun­ded be all they that worshyp carued images, and that delight or glorye in them. Like be they vnto the images that make them, and al they that put their trust in them.

And in the Prophete Esai, sayth the Lorde: Euen I am the Lorde, and this is my name, Esai. 42. and my glorye wyll I geue to none other, ney­ther my honour to grauen images. And by and by: Let them be confounded with shame that trust in idols or images, or saye to them, you are our Gods. And in the. xl. Chapter, af­ter Esai. 11. [Page 35] he hath set foorth the incomprehensible ma­iestie of God, he asketh to whom then wyll ye make God lyke? Or what similitude wyll ye set vp vnto hym? Shall the Caruer make hym a carued image? and shall the Goldsmyth couer hym with Golde, and cast hym into a fourme of syluer plates? And for the poore man, shal the image maker frame an image of tymber, that he maye haue somewhat to set vp also? And after this he cryeth out: O wretches, hearde ye neuer of this? Hath it not ben preached vnto you since the begynnyng, and so foorth, how by the creation of the worlde, and the greatnesse of the worke, they myght vnderstande the ma­iestie of God, the Creator and Maker of all, to be greater then that it shoulde be expressed, or set foorth in anye image or bodilye similitude? And besides this preachyng, euen in the lawe of God wrytten with his owne fynger (as the scripture speaketh) and that in the fyrste table, and the be­gynnyng Exod. 20. thereof, is this doctrine aforesayde agaynst images (not breefely touched) but at large set foorth and preached, and that with de­nuntiation of destruction to the contemners and breakers of this lawe, and their posteritie Exod. 20. Leuit. 19 Deut. 5. after them. And least it shoulde yet not be mar­ked, or not remembred, the same is wrytten and reported not in one, but in sundrye places of the worde of God, that by ofte readyng and hea­ryng of it, we myght once learne and remem­ber it, as you also heare daylie read in the Churche, God spake these wordes and sayde, I am the Lorde thy God. Thou shalt haue none [Page 36] other Gods but me. Thou shalt not make to thy selfe any grauen image, nor the lykenesse of anye thyng that is in heauen aboue, or in the earth beneath, nor in the water vnder the earth, thou shalt not bow downe to them, nor worship them, For I the Lorde thy God am a ielous God, and visite the synne of the fathers vpon the chyldren, vnto the thirde and fourth generation of them that hate me, and shew mercie vnto thousandes, in them that loue me and keepe my commaunde­mentes. All this notwithstandyng, neyther coulde the notablenesse of the place, beyng the verye begynnyng of the lyuyng Lordes Lawe, make vs to marke it, nor the playne declaration by recountyng of all kynde of similitudes, cause vs to vnderstand it, nor the oft repeating and re­portyng of it in diuers and sundrye places, the oft readyng and hearyng of it coulde cause vs to re­member it, nor the dread of the horrible penaltie to our selues, our children and posteritie after vs, feare vs from transgressing of it, nor the great­nesse of the rewarde to vs and our chyldren after vs, moue vs any thing to obedience, and the ob­seruyng of this the Lordes great lawe: But as though it had ben wrytten in some corner, & not at large expressed, but breefely & obscurely touch­ed, as though no penaltie to the transgressours, nor rewarde to the obedient, had ben adioyned vnto it, like blinde men without all knowledge & vnderstandyng, like vnreasonable beastes; with­out dread of punishment or respecte or rewarde, haue diminished & dishonoured the high maiestie of the liuing God, by the basenesse and vilenes of [Page 37] sundrye & diuers images of dead stockes, stones, and mettals. And as the maiestie of God, whom we haue lefte, forsaken, and dishonoured, and therefore the greatnesse of our synne and offence agaynst his maiestie, can not be expressed: So is the weakenesse, vylenesse, and foolishnesse in Places of the Scripture a­gaynst idol [...] or image [...]. deuice of the images (whereby we haue disho­noured hym) expressed at large in the scriptures, namely the Psalmes, the booke of wysedome, the Prophete Esaias, Ezechiel, and Baruch, spe­ciallye in these places and Chapters of them. Psalm. Cxv. and. Cxxxiiii. Esai. xl. and. xliiii. Ezechiel the. vi. Wysedome. xiii. xiiii. xv. Baruch vi. The whiche places, as Jexhort you often and diligentlye to reade, so are they to long at this present to be rehearsed in an Homilee. Notwith­standyng, I wyll make you certayne breefe or short notes out of them, what they say of these idols or images. Fyrste that they be made but of small peeces of wood, stone, or mettall, and therfore they can not be anye similitudes of the greate maiestie of God, whose seate is heauen, and the earth his footestoole. Secundarilye, that they be dead, haue eyes and see not, handes and feele not, feete and can not go. &c. and therefore they can not be fitte similitudes of the lyuyng God. Thirdely, that they haue no power to do good nor harme to others, though some of them haue an axe, some a sworde, some a speare in their handes, yet do theeues come into their Temples and robbe them, and they can not once stur to defend them selues from the theeues: nay if the Temple or Churche be set a fyre, that their [Page 38] priestes can runne away and saue themselues, but they can not once moue, but tary still lyke blockes as they are, and be burned, and therefore they can be no meete figures of the puissaunt and myghtie GOD, who alone is able both to saue his seruauntes, and to destroy his ene­mies euerlastinglye. They be trimlye deckt in Golde, Siluer, and Stone, aswell the images of men, as of women, lyke wanton wenches (sayth the Prophete Baruch) that loue para­mours, Baruc. 6. and therefore can they not teache vs, nor our wyues and daughters, anye sobernesse, mo­destie, and chastitie. And therefore, although it is nowe commonly saide that they be the lay mens bookes, yet we see they teache no good lesson, neyther of GOD, nor godlynesse, but all errour and wyckednesse. Therefore GOD by his word, as he forbiddeth anye idols or images to be made or set vp: so doth he commaund suche as we fynde made and set vp, to be pulled downe, broken, and destroyed.

And it is wrytten in the booke of Numbers, Num. 2 [...]. the. xxiii. Chapter, that there was no idoll in Jacob, nor there was no image seene in Israel, and that the Lorde God was with that people. Where note, that the true Israelites, that is, the people of GOD, haue no images among them, but that God was with them, and that therefore their enemies can not hurt them, as appeareth in the processe of that Chapter. And as concernyng images alredye set vp, thus Deut. 7. and. 12. sayth the Lorde in Deuteronomie: Ouerturne their aulters, and breake them to peeces, cut [Page 39] downe their groues, burne their images: for thou art an holy people vnto the Lorde. And the same is repeated more vehemently agayne in the twelth Chapter of the same booke. Heare note, what the people of God ought to do to images, where they finde them. But least anye priuate persons, vppon colour of destroying of images, should make any sturre or disturbaunce in the common wealth, it muste alwayes be re­membred, that the redresse of such publique enor­mities apparteyneth to the Magistrates, and suche as be in aucthoritie onlye, and not to pry­uate persons, and therefore the good kynges of Juda, Asa, Ezechias, Josaphat, and Josias, are hyghly commended for the breakyng downe and destroying of the aulters, idols, and images. 3. Reg. 16. 2. Par. 14. 15. 31. And the Scriptures declare that they, speciallye in that poynt, dyd that whiche was ryght before the Lorde. And contrarywyse, Hieroboam, Achab, Joas, and other Prynces, whiche ey­ther set vp, or suffered suche aulters or images vndestroyed, are by the worde of God reported to haue done euyll before the Lorde. And yf anye, contrarye to the commaundement of the Lorde, wyll needes set vp suche aulters or ima­ges, or suffer them vndestroyed amongest them, the Lorde him selfe threatneth in the syrst Chap­ter of the booke of Numbers, and by his holye Prophetes, Ezechiel, Micheas, and Abacuc, that Num. 1. he wyll come hym selfe and pull them downe. And nowe he wyll handle, punyshe, and destroy the people that so set vp, or suffer suche aulters, images, or idols vndestroyed, he denounceth by [Page 40] his Prophete Ezechiel on this maner: I my Ezech. 6. selfe (sayth the Lorde) wyll bryng a sworde ouer you, to destroy your hygh places, I wyll caste downe your aulters, and breake downe your images, your slayne men wyll I lay before your Gods, and the dead karcases of the chyldren of Israel wyll I caste before their idolles, your bones wyll I strowe round about your aul­ters and dwellyng places, your Cities shalbe desolate, the hyll Chappelles layde waste, your aulters destroyed and broken, your goddes cast downe and taken awaye, your Temples layde euen with the grounde, your owne workes cleane rooted out, your slayne men shall lye a­mongest you, that ye maye learne to knowe how that I am the Lord, and so foorth to the Chap­ters end, worthy with diligence to be read: that they that be neare, shall perish with the sworde, they that be farre of, with the pestilence, they that flee into holdes or wyldernesse, with hun­ger: and if anye be yet left, that they shalbe ca­ryed awaye prysoners to seruitude and bondage. So that if eyther the multitude, or playnenesse of the places myght make vs to vnderstande, or the earnest charge that GOD geueth in the sayde places moue vs to regarde, or the horri­ble plagues, punyshmentes, and dreadfull de­struction, threatned to such worshyppers of ima­ges or idols, setters vp, or maynteyners of them, myght ingender anye feare in our heartes, we woulde once leaue and forsake this wyckednesse, beyng in the Lordes sight so great an offence and abhomination. Infinite places almoste [Page 41] myght be brought out of the scriptures of the old Testament concernyng this matter, but these fewe at this tyme shall serue for all.

You wyll say peraduenture these thinges par­teyne to the Jewes, what haue we to do with them? Indeede they parteyne no lesse to vs Chri­stians, then to them. For if we be the people of God, how can the worde and lawe of GOD not apparteyne to vs? Saint Paul alleaging one texte out of the olde Testamente, concludeth generallye for other scriptures of the olde Testa­mente Rom. 15. as well as that, saying, Whatsoeuer is wrytten before (meaning in the olde Testament) is wrytten for our instruction: whiche sentence is moste speciallye true of suche wrytynges of the olde Testamente as conteyne the immutable lawe and ordinaunces of GOD, in no age or tyme to be altered, nor of anye persons of anye nations or age to be disobeyed, such as the aboue rehearsed places be. Notwithstandyng, for your further satisfiyng herein, accordyng to my pro­mise, I wyll out of the Scriptures of the newe Testamente or Gospell of our Sauiour Christe, lykewyse make a confirmation of the sayde doc­trine agaynste idols or images, and of our duetie concernyng the same.

First the Scriptures of the new Testament do in sundry places make mention with reioycing, as for a moste excellent benefite and gyft of God, that they whiche receaued the fayth of Christe, were turned from their dumbe, & dead images, vnto the true & lyuyng God, who is to be blessed for euer: namely in these places, the. xiiii. &. xvii. [Page 42] of the Actes of the Apostles, the. xi. to the Ro­manes, the fyrste Epistle to the Corinthians the xii. Chapter, to the Galathians the. iiii. and the first to the Thessalonians, the first Chapter.

And in lyke wyse the sayd idols or images, and worshyppyng of them, are in the Scriptures of the newe Testament by the spirite of God much abhorred and detested, and earnestly forbydden, as appeareth both in the forenamed places, and also manye others besydes, as in the. vii. and. xv. of the Actes of the Apostles, the fyrste to the Ro­manes, where is set foorth the horrible plague of idolaters, geuen ouer by God into a reprobate sense, to worke all wyckednesse and abhominati­ons not to be spoken, as vsuallye spirituall and carnall fornication go together.

In the first Epistle to the Corinthians the fifth Chapter, we are forbidden once to keepe com­pany, or to eate and drynke with suche as be cal­led brethren or Christians that do worshyp ima­ges. In the fifth to the Galathians, the worship­pyng of images is numbred amongst the workes of the fleshe. And in the firste to the Corinthians the tenth, it is called the seruice of deuilles, & that such as vse it shalbe destroyed. And in the. vi. Chapter of the said Epistle, & the fifth to the Ga­lathians, is denounced, that suche image wor­shyppers shall neuer come into the inheritaunce of the kingdome of heauen. And in sundry other places is threatned, that the wrath of God shall come vpon al such. And therfore. S. John in his [...]. Iohn. 5. Epistle exhorteth vs as his deare children to be­ware of images. And. S. Paul warneth vs to flee [...]. Cor. 10. [Page 43] from the worshyppyng of them yf we be wyse, that is to say, yf we care for health and seare destruction, yf we regarde the kyngdome of God, and lyfe euerlastyng, and dread the wrath of God and euerlastyng damnation. For it is not possible that we shoulde be worshyppers of ima­ges, and the true seruauntes of God also, as. S. Paul teacheth, the seconde to the Corinthians the. vi. Chapter, affyrming expresly that there can be no more consent or agreement betweene the Temple of God (which al true Christians be) and images, then betweene ryghteousnesse and vnryghteousnes, betweene lyght and darknesse, betweene the faythfull and the vnfaythfull, or betweene Christ and the deuyll. Which place en­forceth both that we shoulde not worshippe ima­ges, and that we should not haue images in the Temple, for feare and occasion of worshyppyng them, though they be of them selues thynges in­different: For the Christian is the holye Temple and lyuely image of God, as the place well decla­reth, to suche as wyll reade and weight it. And where as all godly men dyd euer abhorre that a­ny kneelyng and worshipping or offeryng should be vsed to them selues when they were alyue (for that it was the honour due to God onlye) as ap­peareth in the Actes of the Apostles by Saint Act. 1 [...] Peter forbidding it to Cornelius, and by Saint Paul and Barnabas forbiddyng the same to the Citezins in Lyftra: Yet we lyke mad men fall Act. 14. downe before the dead idols orimages of Peter and Paul, and geue that honour to stockes and stones, whiche they thought abhominable to be [Page 44] geuen to them selues beyng alyue. And the good angell of God, as appeareth in the booke of S. Johns reuelation, refused to be kneeled vnto, when that honour was offered hym of John: Beware (sayth the angell) that thou do it not, for I am thy felowe seruaunt. But the euyll angell satan, desyreth nothyng so muche as to be knee­led vnto, and thereby at once both to robbe God of his due honour, and to worke the damnation of suche as make hym so lowe curtesie, as in the storic of the Gospell appeareth in sundry places. Yea, and he offered our Sauiour Christe all earthly goodes, on the condition that he woulde Mat. 4. Luke. 4. kneele downe and worshyp hym. But our Saui­our repelleth Satan by the Scriptures, say­ing, it is wrytten, Thou shalt worshyppe thy Lorde God, and hym alone shalt thou serue. But we by not worshyppyng and seruyng God alone (as the Scriptures teacheth vs) and by wor­shypping of images, contrary to the Scriptures, plucke satan to vs, and are readye without re­warde to folowe his desyre: yea rather then fayle, we wyll offer hym gyftes and oblations to receaue our seruice. But let vs, brethren, ra­ther folowe the counsell of the good angell of GOD, then the suggestion of subtyll satan, that wycked angell and olde serpent: Who accordyng to the pryde whereby he firste fell, at­tempteth alwaye by suche sacriledge to depryue God (whom he enuyeth) of his due honour: and (because his owne face is horrible and vglye) to conuey it to hymselfe, by the mediation of gylte stockes and stones, and withall to make vs the [Page 45] enemies of God, and his owne suppliantes and slaues, and in the ende, to procure vs for a re­warde euerlastyng destruction and damnation. Therfore aboue all thinges, if we take our selues to be Christians in deede (as we be named) let vs credite the worde, obey the lawe, and folowe the doctrine and example of our Sauiour & maister Christe, repelling satans suggestion to idolatrie and worshyppyng of images, accordyng to the trueth alleaged and taught out of the Testa­ment and Gospell of our sayde heauenly doctour and scholemaister Jesus Christe, who is God to be bicssed for euer.

Amen.

¶ The seconde part of the Homilee agaynst perill of Idolatrie.

YOu haue hearde (welbelo­ued) in the fyrst parte of this Homilee, the doctrine of the word of God against idols & images, agaynste idolatrie and worshipping of images, taken out of the scriptures of the olde Testament & the newe, and confirmed by the examples as well of the Apostles, as of our Sauiour Christ him selfe. Nowe although our Sauiour Christe taketh not, or needeth not anye testimonie of men, and that whiche is once confirmed by the certaintie of his eternall trueth, hath no more neede of the confirmation of mans doctrine and wrytinges, then the bryght sunne at noone tyde hath neede [Page 46] of the light of a litle candle to put away darknes, and to encrease his lyght: yet for your further contentation, it shall in this second part be decla­red (as in the begynnyng of the firste parte was promised) that this trueth and doctrine concer­nyng the forbidding of images and worshipping of them, taken out of the holy Scriptures aswell of the olde Testament as the newe, was beleued and taught of the olde holy fathers and most an­cient learned Doctours, and receaued in the olde primatiue Churche, which was most vncorrupt and pure. And this declaration shalbe made out of the sayd holy Doctours owne wrytynges, and out of the auncient histories ecclesiasticall to the same belongyng.

Tertullian, a most auncient wryter and Doctor of the Churche, who lyued about one hundreth Lib. con­tra coro­nandi morem. and threescore yeres after the death of our Sa­uiour Christe, both in sundrye other places of his workes, and speciallye in his booke wrytten a­gaynst the maner of crownyng, and in another litle treatise entituled, of the souldyers crowne or garlande, doth moste sharplye and vehementlye wryte and inuey agaynste images or idols. And vpon S. Johns wordes, the firste Eyistle and. v. Chapter, saith thus, Saint John (saith he) depe­lye consydering the matter, sayth: My litle chyl­dren, [...]. Iohn. 5. keepe your selues from images or idols. He sayth not nowe, keepe your selues from ido­latrie, as it were from the seruice and worshyp­pyng of them: but from the images or idols them selues, that is, from the verye shape and lyknes of them. For it were an vn worthye thyng [Page 47] that the image of the lyuyng God should become the image of a dead idoll. Do not you thynke, those persons whiche place images and idols in Churches and Temples, yea, shryne them euen ouer the Lordes Table, euen as it were of pur­pose to the worshipping and honouring of them, take good heede to either S. Johns counsels or Tertullians? For so to place images and idols, is it to keepe them selues from them, or els to re­ceaue and imbrace them?

Clemens in his booke to James brother of the Lib. 5. ad Iacob. do­mini. Lorde, sayth: What can be so wycked or so vn­thankfull, as to receaue a benefite of God, and to geue thankes therefore vnto stockes and stones? Wherefore awake ye, & vnderstande your health, for God hath neede of no man, nor requireth any thyng, nor can be hurt in any thyng. But we be they whiche are eyther holpen or hurte, in that we be thankfull to God, or vnthankfull.

Origenes in his booke agaynste Celsus, sayth thus: Christian men and Jewes, when they heare these wordes of the lawe (Thou shalt feare the Lorde thy God, & shalt not make any image) do not onlye abhorre the Temples, aulters, and images of the gods, but if neede be, wyll rather dye then they shoulde defyle them selues with anye impietie. And shortlye after he sayth: In the common wealth of the Jewes, the car­uer of idols and image maker, was cast farre of and forbidden, least they shoulde haue any occa­sion to make images, whiche myght plucke cer­tayne foolishe persons from God, and turne the eyes of their soules to the contemplation of [Page 48] earthly thynges. And in an other place of the same booke: It is not only (sayth he) a mad and [...]rantike parte to worshyp images, but also once to dissemble or wynk at it. And a man may know God and his onely sonne, and those whiche haue had suche honour geuen them by God, that they be called Gods: But it is not possible that anye should by worshypping of images get any know­ledge of God.

Athanasius in his booke agaynst the Gentiles, hath these wordes: Let them tell I pray you, how God maye be knowen by an image. If it be by the matter of an image, then there needeth no shape or fourme, seeyng that God hath appea­red in all materiall creatures whiche do testifie his glorye. Nowe if they say he is knowen by the fourme or fashion: is he not better to be knowen by the lyuyng thynges themselues, whose fashi­ons the images expresse? For of suretie, the glo­rye of God shoulde be more euidentlye knowen, if it were declared by reasonable and lyuyng creatures, rather then by dead and vnmoueable images. Therefore when ye do graue or paynte images, to the ende to knowe God thereby, sure­lye ye do an vnworthye and vnfitte thyng. And in an other place of the same booke he sayth: The inuention of images came of no good, but of euil, and whatsoeuer hath an euyll begynnyng, can neuer in any thyng be iudged good, seeyng it is altogether naught. Thus far Athanasius, a very auncient, holy, and learned Byshop and Doctor, who iudgeth both the first beginnyng & the end, and altogether of images or idols, to be naught.

[Page 49] Lactantius likewise an old and learned wryter in his booke of the Origine of errour, hath these words: God is aboue man, and is not placed be­neath, but is to be sought in the hyghest region. Wherfore there is no doubt, but that no religion is in that place wheresoeuer any image is. For if religion stande in godly thinges (and there is no godlynesse but in heauenly thynges) then be images without religion. These be Lactantius Lib. 2. cap. 16. wordes, who was aboue. xiii. hundreth yeres ago, and within three hundreth yeres after our sauiour Christe.

Cirillus an olde & holy doctour, vpon the Gos­pell of Saint Iohn hath these wordes: Many haue left the creatour, and haue worshypped the creature, neyther haue they ben abashed to say vnto a stocke: thou art my father, & vnto a stone: thou begottest me. For many, yea almost all (a­las for sorowe) are fallen vnto suche folly, that they haue geuen the glorie of deitie or God head, to thinges without sense or feelyng.

Epiphanius Byshop of Salamine in Cipres, a verye holye and learned man, who lyued in Theodosius the Emperours tyme, about three hundreth and ninetie yeres after our Sauiour Christes ascention, writeth this to Iohn Patri­arke of Hierusalem: I entred (sayth Epipha­nius) into a certayne Churche to pray, I founde there a lynnen cloth hangyng in the Churche doore, paynted, and hauyng in it the image of Christe, as it were, or of some other Saint (for I remember not well whose image it was) there­fore when I did see the image of a man hanging [Page 50] in the Churche of Christ, contrary to thauetho­ritie of the scriptures, I did teare it, and gaue councell to the kepers of the Churche, that they shoulde winde a poore man that was dead in the sayde cloth, and so bury hym. And afterwardes the same Epiphanius sendyng another vnpayn­ted cloth for that paynted one whiche he had torne, to the sayde Patriarche, wryteth thus, I pray you wyll the elders of that place to receaue this clothe whiche I haue sent by this bearer, and commaunde them that from hencefoorth no suche paynted clothes, contrary to our religion, be hanged in the Churche of Christe. For it be­commeth your goodnes rather to haue this care, that you take away such scrupulositie, which is vnsitting for the Churche of Christe, and offen­siue to the people committed to your charge. And this Epistle, as worthy to be read of many, dyd saint Ierome hym selfe translate into the Latine tongue. And that ye may knowe that saint Ierome had this holy and learned Bishop Epiphanius in most high estimation, and therfore dyd translate this Epistle, as a wrytyng of auc­thoritie: heare what a testimonie the sayde saint Ierome geueth him in another place in this trea­tie agaynst the errours of Iohn Byshop of Hie­rusalem, where he hath these wordes: Thou hast All notable Bishoppes were then cal­led P [...]pes. (sayth saint Jerome) Pope Epiphanius, whiche doth openlye in his letters call thee an Ieritike. Surely thou art not to be preferred before hym, neyther for age nor learnyng, nor godlynesse of lyfe, nor by the testimonie of the whole worlde. And shortlye after in the same treatie sayth [Page 51] Saint Jerome: Bishop Epiphanius was euer of so great veneration and estimation, that Valens the Emperour, who was a great persecutour, dyd not once touche hym. For heritikes beyng princes, thought it theyr shame yf they shoulde persecute suche a notable man. And in the try­partite Lib. 9. cap. 48. ecclesiasticall hystorie, the. ix. booke and xlviii. Chapter, is testified, that Epiphanius be­yng yet alyue dyd worke miracles, and that af­ter his death, deuils being expelled at his graue or tombe, dyd rore. Thus you see what auctho­ritie saint Ierome and that moste auncient hystorie geue vnto the holy and learned Byshop Epiphanius, whose iudgement of images in Churches and temples, then begynnyng by stealth to creepe in, is worthy to be noted.

First, he iudged it contrary to Christian religi­on and the aucthoritie of the scriptures, to haue any images in Christes Churche. Secondly, he reiected not only carued, grauen, and moulten images, but also painted images out of Christes Churche. Thirdly, that he regarded not whe­ther it were the image of Christe, or of any other saint, but beyng an image, woulde not suffer it in the Churche. Fourthlye, that he dyd not onlye remoue it out of the Churche, but with a vehement zeale tare it a sunder, and exhorted that a corse shoulde be wrapped and buryed in it, iudgyng it meete for nothyng but to rotte in the earth, folowyng herein the example of the good kyng Ezechias, who brake the brasen serpent to peeces, and burned it to ashes, for that idolatrie was committed to it. Last of al, that Epiphanius [Page 52] thinketh it the duetie of vigilant Byshoppes, to be carefull that no images be permitted in the Churche, for that they be occasion of scruple and offence to the people committed to theyr charge. Nowe wheras neyther saint Hierome, who did translate the sayde Epistle, nor the aucthours of that most auncient historie ecclesiasticall trypar­tite (who do most highly commende Epiphanius as is aforesaid) nor no other godly or learned Bi­shop at that time or shortly after, haue wrytten any thing against Epiphanius iudgement concer­ning images: it is an euident profe, that in those dayes, whiche were about foure hundreth yeres after our sauiour Christe, there were no images publiquely vsed and receaued in the Churche of Christe, whiche was then muche lesse corrupt, & more pure then nowe it is.

And where as images began at that tyme se­cretelye and by stealth to creepe out of priuate mens houses into the Churches, and that firste in paynted clothes and walles: such Byshops as were godlye and vigilante, when they espied them, remoued them away, as vnlawfull & con­trary to Christian religion, as dyd here Epipha­nius, to whose iudgement you haue not onlye Saint Ierome the translatour of his Epistle, and the wryter of the Historie tripartite, but also all the learned and godly Byshops and Clarkes, yea and the whole Churche of that age, and so vpwarde to our sauiour Christes tyme, by the space of about foure hundreth yeres, consenting and agreeyng. This is written the more largely of Epiphanius, for that our image maynteyners [Page 53] nowe a dayes, seeing them selues so pressed with this most playne and earnest act and wrytyng of Epiphanius, a Byshop and doctour of suche anti­quitie, holynesse, and aucthoritie, labour by all meanes (but in vayne agaynst the trueth) eyther to proue that this Epistle was neyther of Epi­phanius wrytyng, nor saint Ieromes translati­on: eyther yf it be, say they, it is of no great forte, for this Epiphanius, say they, was a Iew, and beyng conuerted to the Christian fayth, and made a Byshoppe, retayned the hatred whiche Iewes haue to images still in his mynde, and so dyd and wrote agaynst them as a Iewe, rather then as a Christian. O Iewishe impudencie and malice of suche deuisers, it woulde be prooued, and not sayd only, that Epiphanius was a Iewe. Furthermore concernyng the reason they make, I would admit it gladly. For if Epiphanius iudge­ment agaynst images is not to be admitted, for that he was borne of a Iewe an enemie to ima­ges, whiche be Gods enemies, conuerted to Christes religion: then lykewyse foloweth it, that no sentence in the old doctours and fathers soundyng for images, ought to be of any auctho­ritie, for that in the primitiue Churche the most part of learned wryters, as Tertulian, Cip [...]i­an, Ambrose, Austen, and infinite others, were of Gentiles (whiche be fauourers and wor­shyppers if images) conuerted to the Christian fayth, and so let some what slyppe out of theyr pennes sounding for images, rather as Gentiles then Christians, as Eusebius in his History eccle­siasticall, and saint Ierome sayth playnelye, [Page 54] that images came firste from the Gentiles to vs Christians. And much more doth it folowe, that the opinion of all the rablement of the Popyshe Church, mainteyning images, ought to be estee­med of small or no aucthoritie, for that it is no maruell that they whiche haue from their child­hood ben brought vp amongst images & idolles, and haue drunke in idolatrie almost with theyr mothers mylke, holde with images and idolles, and speake and wryte for them. But in deede it woulde not be so muche marked whether he were of a Jewe or a Gentile conuerted to Chri­stes religion, that wryteth, as howe agreeably or contrarily to Gods worde he doth wryte, and so to credite or discredite hym. Nowe what gods worde sayth of idols and images, and the wor­shyppyng of them, you hearde at large in the first part of this Homilee.

Saint Ambrose in his treatie of the death of Theodosius the Emperour, sayth, Helene founde the crosse and the tytle on it. Shee worshypped the kyng, and not the wood surely (for that is an ethnyshe errour, and the vanitie of the wycked) but she worshypped hym that hanged on the crosse, and whose name was written in the title, and so foorth. See both the godly Empresse fact, and saint Ambrose iudgement at once. They thought it had ben an Heathenyshe errour and vanitie of the wycked, to haue worshypped the crosse it selfe which was embrewed with our sa­uiour Christes owne precious blood. And we fal downe before euery crosse peece of tymber, whi­che is but an image of that crosse.

[Page 55] Saint Augustine, the best learned of al aunci­ent doctours, in his. xliiii. Epistle to Maximus sayth, Knowe thou that none of the dead, nor any thing that is made of God, is worshipped as god, of the catholique Christians, of whom there is a Churche also in your towne. Note, that by Saint Augustine, suche as worshypped the dead or creatures, be no catholique Christians.

The same saint Augustine teacheth in the. xxii. booke of the citie of God, the tenth Chapter, that neyther temples or Churches ought to be buylded or made for martyrs or saintes, but to God alone: and that there ought no priestes to be appoynted for martyr or saint, but to God onlye. The same saint Augustine in his booke of the maners of the catholique Churche, hath these wordes: I knowe that many be worship­pers of tombes and pictures, I know that there be manye that banquet moste ryotously ouer the graues of the dead, and geuyng meate to dead carkases, do bury them selues vppon the buried, and attribute theyr gluttonye and drunkennesse to religion. See, he esteemeth worshyppyng of saintes, tombes, and pictures, as good religion as gluttonie and drunkennesse, and no bettter at all. Saint Augustine greatlye alloweth Mar­cus Lib, 4. de ciuita, dei cap. 4 [...]. In Psal. 36. &. 113. Varro, affirming that religion is moste pure without images, and sayth hym selfe, images be of more force to crooken an vnhappy soule, then to teache and instruct it. And sayth further: Euery childe, yea euery beast knoweth that it is not God that they see. Wherefore then doth the holy ghost so often monyshe vs of that which all [Page 56] men knowe? Whereunto saint Augustine hym selfe aunswereth thus, For (sayth he) when images are placed in temples, and set in honou­rable sublimitie, and begyn once to be worshyp­ped, foorth with breedeth the moste vyle affecti­on of errour. This is saint Augustines iudge­ment of images in Churches: that by and by they breede errour and idolatrie. It would be to tedious to rehearse al other places whiche might be brought out of the auncient doctours against images and idolatrie. Wherefore we shall holde our selfe contented with these fewe at this pre­sent. Nowe as concernyng histories ecclesiasti­call, touchyng this matter, that ye may knowe why and when, and by whom images were first vsed priuately, and afterwardes not only recea­ued into the Christians Churches and temples, but in conclusion worshypped also, and how the same was gaynesayde, resisted, and forbidden, as­well by godly Bishoppes and learned doctours, as also by sundry Christian princes: I wil breefe­ly collect into a compendious historie, that whi­che is at large and in sundrye places written by diuers auncient wryters and historiographers concernyng this matter.

As the Jewes, hauyng moste plaine and ex­presse commaundement of God, that they should neyther make nor worshyp any image (as it is at large before declared) dyd notwithstandyng, by the example of the Gentyles or Heathen people that dwelt about them, fall to the makyng of images, and worshyppyng of them, and so to the committyng of moste abominable idolatrie, for [Page 57] the whiche God by his holy prophetes doth most sharpely reprooue and threaten them, and after­warde dyd accomplyshe his sayde threatnynges by extreme punyshyng of them (as is also aboue specified) Euen so some of the Christians in olde tyme, whiche were conuerted from worshyp­pyng of idols and false Gods, vnto the true li­uyng GOD, and to our sauiour Jesus Christe, dyd of a certayne blynde zeale (and as men long accustomed to images) paynt or carue images of our sauiour Christe, his mother Marie, and of the Apostles, thynkyng that this was a poynt of gratitude and kyndenesse towardes those by whom they had receaued the true knowledge of God, and the doctrine of the Gospell. But these pictures or images came not yet into Churches, nor were not worshypped of a long tyme after. And least you shoulde thynke that I do say this of myne owne head onlye without aucthori­tie, I alleage for me Eusebius Byshop of Cesa­rea, and the moste auncient aucthour of the ec­clesiasticall historie, who lyued about the, 330. yere of our Lord in Constantinus magnus dayes, and his sonne Constantius, Emperours, in the seuenth booke of his historie ecclesiasticall, the xiiii. Chapter, and saint Jerome vppon the, x. Chapter of the prophete Jeremie: who both ex­presly say, that the errours of images (for so saint Jerome calleth it) hath come in and pas­sed to the Christians from the Gentyles, by an Heathenyshe vse and custome. The cause and meanes Eusebius she weth, saying, It is no mar­uell if they whiche beyng Gentiles before, and [Page 58] did beleue, semed to offer this, as a gyft vnto our sauiour, for the benefites whiche they had recea­ued of him. Yea and we do see no we that images of Peter and Paul, and of our sauiour hym selfe be made, and tables to be paynted, whiche me thynke to haue ben obserued and kept indiffe­rently by an Heathenishe custome. For the Hea­then are wont so to honour them whom they iudged honour worthy, for that some tokens of old men should be kept. For the remembraunce of posteritie, is a token of theyr honour that were before, and the loue of those that come after.

Thus farre I haue rehearsed Eusebius wordes. Where note ye, that both saint Jerome and he agreeth herein, that these images came in a­mongst Christian men by suche as were Gen­tyles, and accustomed to idols, and beyng con­uerted to the fayth of Christe, retayned yet some remnauntes of gentilitie not throughlye pur­geth: For saint Jerome calleth it an errour ma­nifestlye. And the lyke example we see in the Actes of the Apostles, of the Jewes, who when Actes. 15. they were conuerted to Christe, woulde haue brought in theyr circumcision (whereunto they were so long accustomed) with them, into Chri­stes religion. With whom the Apostles (namelye saint Paul) had muche ado for the staying of that matter. But of circumcision was lesse mar­uell, for that it came first in by Gods ordinaunce and commaundement. A man may most iustly wonder of images, so directly agaynst gods holy worde and straight commaundement, how they should enter in. But images were not yet wor­shypped [Page 59] in Eusebius tyme, nor publiquely set vp in Churches and temples, and they who priuat­ly had them, dyd erre of a certayne zeale, and not by malice: but afterwardes they crepte out of priuate houses into Churches, and so bread first superstition, and last of all idolatrie amongst Christians, as hereafter shall appeare.

In the tyme of Theodosius and Martian Empe­rours, who raigned about the yere of our Lorde 460. and. 1100. yeres ago, when the people of the citie of Nola once a yere dyd celebrate the byrth day of saint Felix in the temple, and vsed to banquet there sumptuouslye, Pontius Paulinus Byshop of Nola caused the walles of the temple to be paynted with stories taken out of the olde Testament, that the people beholdyng and consyderyng those pictures, might the better ab­stayne from to muche surfetting and ryot. And about the same time Aurelius Prudentius, a very learned & Christian poet, declareth howe he dyd see paynted in a Church, the historie of the passi­on of saint Cassian, a scoolemaister and martyr, whom his owne scollers at the commaūdement of the tyraunt, tormented with the pryckyng or stabbing in of theyr poyntelles or brasen pennes into his body, and so by a thousand wounds and mo (as sayth Prudentius) most cruelly slew him. And these were the first payntings in Churches that were notable of antiquitie. And so by this example came in painting, and afterwarde ima­ges of tymber and stone, and other matter, into the Churches of Christians. Nowe and ye wyll consyder this beginning, men are not so redye to [Page 60] worshyppe a picture on a wal, or in a wyndowe, as an embossed and gylte image set with pearle and stone. And a processe of a storie, painted with the gestures and actions of many persons, and commonly the summe of the storie written with­all, hath another vse in it, then one dumbe idoll or image standing by it selfe. But from learning by paynted stories, it came by lytle and litle to idolatrie. Whiche when godly men (aswell Em­perours and learned Byshoppes, as others) per­ceaued, they commaunded that suche pyctures, images, or idols, shoulde be vsed no more. And I wyll for a declaration therof, begin with the de­cree of the auncient Christian Emperours, Va­lens, and Theodosius the seconde, who raigned about foure hundreth yeres after our sauiour Christes ascention, who forbad that anye ima­ges shoulde be made or paynted priuatelye. For certayne it is, that there was none in temples publiquely in theyr tyme. These Emperours dyd write vnto the capitayne of the armie atten­dyng on the Emperours, after this sorte, Va­lens and Theodosius Emperours, vnto the cap­tayne of the armie: Whereas we haue a dili­gent care to maynteyne the religion of GOD aboue, in all thynges: We wyll graunt to no man to set foorth, graue, carue, or paynt the image of our sauiour Christe in colours, stone, or any other matter, but in what place soeuer it shalbe founde, we commaunde that it be ta­ken away, and that all suche as shall attempte any thyng contrary to our decrees or commaun­dement herein, shalbe moste sharpely punished. [Page 61] This decree is written in the bookes, named Li­bri Augustales, the Emperial bokes, gathered by Tribunianus, Basilides, Theophilus, Dioscorus, & Satira, men of great aucthoritie and learnyng, at the cōmaundement of the Emperour Iustiniane, and is alleaged by Petrus Erinilus, a notable lear­ned man, in the. ix. booke and. ix. Chapter of his worke, entituled, De honesta disciplina, that is to say, of honest learnyng. Heare you see what Christian princes of most auncient times decreed agaynst images, whiche then began to creepe in amongst the Christians. For it is certayne that by the space of three hundreth yeres and more, after the death of our sauiour Christe, and be­fore these godlye Emperours raigne, there were no images publiquely in Churches or temples. Howe woulde the idolaters glory, if they had so muche antiquitie and aucthoritie for them, as is here agaynst them?

Nowe shortlye after these dayes, the Gothes, Uandales, Hunnes, and other barberous and wicked nations, burst into Italie, and all partes of the westcountreyes of Europe, with huge and mightie armies, spoyled all places, destroyed Ci­ties, and burned Libraries, so that learning and true religion went to wracke, and decayed incre­diblye. And so the Byshops of those latter dayes, beyng of lesse learnyng, and in the myddest of warres, takyng lesse heede also then did the By­shops afore, by ignoraunce of Gods worde, and negligence of Byshops, and specially barbarous princes, not ryghtly instructed in true religion, bearyng the rule, images came into the Church [Page 62] of Christe in the sayde west partes, where these barbarous people ruled, not nowe in paynted clothes only, but embossed in stone, tymber, met­tall, and other lyke matter, and were not onlye set vp, but began to be worshypped also. And therefore Serenus Byshoppe of Massile the heade towne of Gallia Narbonensis (nowe called the Prouince) a godly and learned man, who was about sixe hundreth yeres after our sauiour Christe, seeyng the people by occasion of images fal to most abominable idolatrie, brake to peeces all the images of Christe and saintes whiche were in that citie, and was therfore complayned vpon to Gregorie, the first of that name Byshop of Rome, who was the first learned Byshop that dyd alowe the open hauyng of images in Chur­ches, that can be knowen by any wrytyng or hi­storie of antiquitie. And vpon this Gregorie do all image worshyppers at this day ground theyr defence. But as all thinges that be amysse, haue from a tollerable beginning growen worse and worse, tyll they at the last became vntollerable: So dyd this matter of images. Firste, men vsed priuately stories paynted in tables, clothes, and walles. Afterwardes, grosse and embossed ima­ges priuately in theyr owne houses. Then after­wardes, pictures first, and after them embossed images began to creepe into Churches: learned and godly men euer speaking agaynst them. Then by vse it was openly mayneteyned that they might be in Churches: but yet forbidden that they shoulde be worshypped. Of which opi­nion was Gregorie, as by the sayde Gregories [Page 63] Epistle to the forenamed Serenus Bishop of Mas­sile, playnely appeareth. Whiche Epistle is to be founde in the booke of the Epistles of Gregorye, or Register, in the tenth part of the fourth Epi­stle, where he hath these wordes: That thou did­dest forbid images to be worshipped, we praise al­together, but that thou diddest breake them, we blame. For it is one thyng to worshyp the pyc­ture, and another thyng by the pycture of the sto­rie, to learne what is to be worshypped. For that whiche scripture is to them that reade, the same doth picture perfourme vnto idiottes or the vn­learned, beholdyng, and so foorth. And after a fewe wordes: therefore it shoulde not haue ben broken, whiche was set vp, not to be worshipped in Churches, but onlye to instruct the mindes of the ignoraunt. And a lytle after, thus thou shouldest haue sayde, If you wyll haue images in the Churche for that instruction wherefore they were made in olde tyme, I do permit that they may be made, and that you may haue them. And shewe them, that not the syght of the storie, whiche is opened by the picture: but that worshyppyng whiche was inconueniently geuen to the pictures, did mistike you. And if any woulde make images, not to forbid them: but auoide by all meanes to worship any image. By these sentences taken here and there out of Gre­gories Epistle to Serenus (for it were to long to rehearse the whole) ye may vnderstand wherun­to the matter was now come. vi. hundreth yeres after Christe: that the hauyng of images or pyc­tures in the Churches, were then maynteyned [Page 64] in the west part of the worlde (for they were not so frowarde yet in the easte Churche) but the worshyppyng of them was vtterlye forbidden. And you may withall note, that seeyng there is no grounde for worshyppyng of images in Gre­gories wrytyng, but a playne condemnation thereof, that suche as do worshyp images, do vn­iustly alleage Gregorie for them. And further, if images in the Churche do not teachemen accor­dyng to Gregories mynde, but rather blynde them: it foloweth, that images shoulde not be in the Churche by his sentence, who onely woulde they shoulde be placed there, to the ende that they might teache the ignoraunt. Wherefore, if it be declared that images haue ben and be worshyp­ped, and also that they teache nothyng but er­rours and lyes (which shall by Gods grace here­after be done) I truste that then by Gregories owne determination, al images and image wor­shippers shalbe ouerthrowen. But in the meane season, Gregories aucthoritie was so great in all the west Churche, that by his incouragement, men set vp images in all places: but their iudge­ment was not so good to consider why he would haue them set vp, but they fell all on heapes to manifest idolatrie by worshyppyng of them, which Bishop Serenus (not without iust cause) feared woulde come to passe. Now if Serenus his iudgemēt, thinking it meete that images wher­vnto idolatrie was committed, should be destroi­ed, had taken place, idolatrie had ben ouerthro­wen: For to that which is not, no man commit­teth idolatrie. But of Gregories opinion, thyn­kyng [Page 81] that images might be suffered in churches. so it were taught that they should not be wor­shipped: what ruine of religion, and what mys­chiefe insued afterwarde to all Christendome, ex­perience hath to our great hurt and sorowe pro­ued. First, by the scisme rysing betwene the East and the West Churche about the sayde images. Nexte, by the diuision of the Empire into twoo partes by the same occasion of images, to the great weakening of all Christendome, whereby last of all, hath followed the vtter ouerthrowe of the christian religion and noble empire in Grece and all the east partes of the worlde, and the en­crease of Mahomets false religion, and the cruel dominion & tyrannie of the Sarasens & Turks, who do nowe hange ouer our neckes also that dwell in the west partes of the worlde, readye at all occasions to ouerrunne vs. And all thys do we owe vnto our idols and images, and our ido­latrie in worshipping of them.

But nowe geue you eare a little to the processe of the historie, wherin I do much follow the hi­stories of Paulus Diaconus, & others, ioyned with Eutropius an olde writer. For though some of the Eutrop. li. de rebus. Rom. 23 aucthours were fauourers of images: yet doe they most playnely and at large prosecute the hi­stories of those times, whom Baptist Platina also Platina in vitis Con­stantini & Grego. ii. in his historie of Popes, as in the lyues of Con­stantine, and Gregorie the seconde, byshoppes of Rome, and other places (where he intreateth of this matter) doth chieflye followe. After Grego­ries time, Constantine bishop of Rome assembled a councell of bishoppes in the west Churche, and [Page 66] did condempne Philippicus then emperour, and John bishop of Constantinople, of the heresie of the Monothelites, not without a cause in deede, but very iustly. When he had so done, by the consent of the learned about him, the sayd Con­stantine Bishop of Rome, caused the images of the auncient fathers which had ben at those sixe councels which were alowed and receaued of all men, to be paynted in the entrie of saint Peters Church at Rome. When the Grekes had know­ledge hereof, they began to dispute and reason the matter of images with the Latines, and held this opinion, that images could haue no place in Christes Churche, and the Latines helde the contrarie, & toke part with the images. So the east & west Churches which agreed euil before, vpon this contention about images fell to vtter enmitie, which was neuer well reconciled yet. But in the meane season Philippicus and Arthe­mius, or Anastasius Emperours, commaunded images and pictures to be pulled downe, & rased out in euery place of their dominion. After them came Theodosius the third: he commaunded the defaced images to be paynted agayne in their places: but this Theodosius raigned but one yere. Leo the third of that name succeeded him, who was a Syrian borne, a very wyse, godly, mer­cifull, & valiaunt prince. This Leo by proclama­tion commaunded, that al images set vp in chur­ches to be worshipped, should be plucked downe and defaced: and required specially the bishop of Rome that he should do the same, and himselfe in the meane season caused all images that were [Page 67] in the imperial citie Constantinople, to be gathe­red on an heape in the middest of the citie, and there publiquely burned them to ashes, and whyted ouer, and rased out al pictures paynted vpō the walles of the temples, & punished sharp­lie diuers maynteyners of images. And when some did therefore report him to be a tyraunt, he aunswered, that such of al other were most iust­ly punished, whiche neither worshipped God a­ryght, nor regarded the imperial maiestie and aucthoritie, but malicioustie rebelled agaynst holsome and profitable lawes. When Gregorius, the third of that name bishop of Rome, hearde of the Emperours doinges in Grece concerning images, he assembled a councell of Italian By­shops agaynst him, and there made decrees for Images, and that more reuerence and honour shoulde yet be geuen to them then was before, and stirred vp the Italians against the Empe­rour, first at Rauenna, and moned them to rebel­lion. And as Aspurgensis and Anthonius Bishop of Florence testifie in their Cronicles, he caused Rome & all Italie at the last to refuse their obe­dience and the payment of any more tribute to ye Emperour: and so by treason & rebellion mayn­teyned their idolatrie. Whiche example, other bi­shoppes Treason [...] rebellion for the de [...] [...] images. of Rome haue continually folowed, and gone through with all most stoutly.

After this Leo, which raigned. xxxiiii. yeres, succeeded his sonne Constantine the fifth, who after his fathers example, kept images out of the temples. And being moued with the coun­cell whiche Gregorie had assembled in Italie for [Page 84] images agaynst his father: he also assembled a councell of all the learned men and Bishoppes of Asia & Grece, although some writers place this councel in Leo Isauricus his fathers latter daies. In this great assemble they sate in councel from the fourth of the Idus of Februarye, to the sixth of the Idus of August, and made concerning the [...] co [...] a­gaynst Ima­ges. vse of images this decree. It is not lawfull for them that beleue in God, through Jesus Christ, to haue any images, neyther of the creatour, nor of any creatures, set vp in temples to be worship­ped: but rather that all images by the lawe of God, and for the auoyding of offence, ought to be taken out of the Churches. And this decree was executed in all places where anye images were founde in Asia or Grece. And the Empe­rour sent the determination of this councel hol­den at Constantinople, to Paule then Bishop of Rome, and commaunded hym to cast all images out of the Churches: whiche he (trusting in the frendship of Pipine a mightye prince) refused to do. And both he and his successour Stephanus the third (who assembled another councell in Italie for images) condempned the Emperour and the councell of Constantinople of heresie, and made a decree that the holye images (for so they called them) of Christe, the blessed Uirgin, and other sayntes, were in deede worthy honour and wor­shipping. When Constantine was dead, Leo the fourth his sonne raigned after him, who maried a woman of the citie of Athens named Theodo­ra, [...] who also was called Hyrene, by whom he had a sonne named Constantine the sixth, and dying [Page 69] whylest his sonne was yet young, left the regi­ment of the empyre & gouernaunce of his young sonne to his wyfe Hyrene. These thynges were done in the Churche about the yere of our Lord 760. Note here I pray you in this processe of the storie, that in the Churches of Asia and Grece, there were no images publiquely by the space of almost seuen hundred yeares. And there is no doubt but the primitiue Churche next the Apo­stles tyme was most pure. Note also, that when the contention beganne about images, howe of sixe Christian Emperours, who were the chiefe magistrates by Gods lawe to be obeyed, onelye one, whiche was Theodosius, who raigned but one yere, helde with images. All the other Em­perours, and all the learned men and Bishops of the Easte Churche, and that in assembled coun­cels, condemned them, besydes the two Empe­rors before mentioned, Valen [...], and Theodosius the seconde, who were long before these tymes, who strayghtly forbad that any Images should be made. And vniuersally after this tyme, all the emperours of Grece (only Theodosius excepted) destroyed continually all images. Nowe on the contrarie parte, note ye, that the Byshoppes of Rome, beyng no ordinarie magistrates appoyn­ted of God, out of their diocesse, but vsurpers of princes aucthoritie contrarie to gods word, were the mainteyners of images against Gods word, and stirrers vp of sedition and rebellion, and workers of continuall treason against theyr so­ueraigne Lords, contrary to gods lawe and the ordinaunces of all humane lawes, beyng not [Page 70] onely enemies to God, but also rebels and tray­tours against their Princes. These be the first bringers in of images openly into Churches, these be the mainteiners of them in the Chur­ches, and these be the meanes wherby they haue maynteyned them [...]to wit, conspiracie, treason, and rebellion agaynst God and their princes. Nowe to proceede in the historie, most worthye to be knowen. In the nonage of Constantine the sixth, the Empresse Hyrene his mother, in whose handes the regiment of the Empire re­mayned, was gouerned muche by the aduyse of Theodore Byshop, and Tharasius patriarche of Constantinople, who practised and helde with ye Bishop of Rome in mainteining of images most earnestly: By whose councell and entreatie, the Empresse first most wickedly digged vp the body of her father in lawe Constantine the fifth, and commaunded it to be openly burned, & the ashes to be throwen into the sea. Whiche example (as the constant report goeth) hadde lyke to haue ben put in practise with Princes corses in our dayes, had the aucthoritie of the holy father con­tinued but a little longer. The cause why the Empresse Hyrene thus vsed her father in lawe, was, for that he when he was alyue had destroy­ed images, and had taken away the sumptuous ornamentes of Churches, saying that Christ, whose temples they were, allowed pouertie, and not pearles and pretious stones. Afterward the said Hyrene, at the perswasion of Adrian bishop of Rome, & Paul the patriarch of Constantinople & his successour Tharasius, assembled a councel of [Page 71] the bishops of Asia and Grece, at the citie Nicea, where the bishop of Romes legares, being presi­dentes of the councell, and ordring all thinges as they listed: the counsell which was assembled before vnder the Emperour Constantine the fift, and had decreed that all images shoulde be de­stroyed, was condempned as an hereticall coun­cell and assemble: And a decree was made, that images shoulde be set vp in all the Churches of Grece, and that honour and worshippe also [...] images [...] be worshipped. should be geuen vnto the sayd images. And so the Empresse, sparing no diligence in setting vp of Images, nor cost in decking them in all chur­ches, made Constantinople within a short tyme altogether lyke Rome it selfe. And nowe you may see that cummen to passe whiche Bishop Serenus feared, and Gregorie the first forbad in vayne: to wit, that Images should in no wyse be worshipped. For nowe not onely the simple and vnwyse (vnto whom Images, as the scrip­tures teach, be specially a snare) but the bishops and learned men also, fall to idolatrie by occasi­on of images, yea and make decrees and lawes for the mayntenaunce of the same. So harde is it, and in deede impossible any long time to haue images publiquely in churches & temples with­out idolatrie, as by the space of little more then one hundred yeres betwixt Gregori the first, for­bidding most strayghtly the worshipping of ima­ges, and Gregorie the thirde, Paule, and Leo the third, Bishops of Rome, with this councel com­maunding and decreeing that images should be worshipped, most euidently appeareth.

[Page 72] Nowe when Constantine the younge Empe­rour came to the age of twentie yeares, he was dayly in lesse and lesse estimation: for suche as were about his mother, perswaded her that it was Gods determination that she should raigne alone, and not her sonne with her. The ambiti­ous woman beleuing the same, depryued her sonne of all imperiall dignitie, and compelled all the men of warre, with their Capitaynes, to sweare to her that they would not suffer her sonne Constantine to raigne during her lyfe. With which indignitie the young Prince being moued, recouered the regiment of the Empyre vnto him selfe by force, and being brought vp in true religion in his fathers tyme, seing the su­perstition of his mother Hyrene, and the Idola­trie committed by images, cast downe, brake, and burned al ye idols and images that his mo­ther had set vp. But within a fewe yeares after, Hyrene the Empresse, taken agayne into her sonnes fauour, after she had perswaded him to put out Nycephorus his vncles eyes, and to cut out the tounges of his fowre other vncles, & to forsake his wyfe, and by suche meanes to bring him in hatred with all his subiectes: nowe fur­ther to declare that she was no chaungeling, but the same woman that had before digged vp and burned her father in lawes bodye, and that she would be as naturall a mother as she had bene kynde daughter, seing the images which she lo­ued so well, & had with so great cost set vp, daily destroyed by her sonne the Emperoure: by the helpe of certaine good companions, depriued her [Page 73] sonne of the Empire: And first, lyke a kinde and louyng mother, put out both his eyes, and layd hym in prison, where after long and manye tor­mentes, she at the last most cruellie [...]ue him. In this historie ioyned to Eutropius it is writ­ten, that the sunne was darkened by the space of xvii. dayes most strangely and dreadfully, & that all men sayde, that for the horriblenes of that cruell and vnnaturall fact of Hyrene, & the put­ting out of the Emperours eyes, the sunne had lost his light. But in deede, God would signifie by the darkenes of the sunne, into what darke­nesse and blindenes of ignoraunce and idolatrie all christendom should fall by the occasion of ima­ges. The bright sunne of his eternall truth and lyght of his holy word, by the mistes and blacke cloudes of mens traditions being blemished and darkened, as by sūdry most terrible earthquakes that happened about the same tyme, God signi­fied, that the quiet estate of true religion, should by such idolatrie be most horribly tossed and tur­moyled. And here may you see what a gratious and vertuous lady this Hyrene was, how lo­uing a neece to her husbandes vncles, how kind a mother in lawe to her sonnes wyfe, howe lo­uing a daughter to her father in lawe, how na­turall a mother to her owne sonne, and what a stoute and valiaunt Capitaine the Bishoppes of Rome had of her, for the setting vp and main­tenaunce of their idols or images. Surely, they coulde not haue founde a meeter patrone for the maintenaunce of suche a matter, then this Hy­rene, whose ambition and desyre of rule was in­satiable, [Page 74] whose treason continually studied and wrought was most abominable, whose wicked and vnnaturall crueltie passed Medea & Progne, whose detestable paricides haue ministred mat­ter to Poetes to write their horrible tragidies. And yet certaine Historiographers, who do put in wryting all these her horrible wickednes, for loue they had to images, which she mainteined, do prayse her as a godly Empresse, & as sent from God. Such is the blyndnes of false superstition, if it once take possession in a mans mynde, that it will both declare the vices of wicked princes, & also commend them. But not long after, the said Hyrene being suspected to the princes and lordes of Grece of treason, in alienating the Empire to Charles king of the Francons, and for practising a secrete mariage betwene herselfe and the sayd kyng, and being conuicted of the same, was by the sayd Lordes deposed and depriued againe of the Empire, and caried into exile into the Iland Lesbos, where she ended her leude lyfe.

Whyles these tragidies about Images were thus in workyng in Grece, the same question of ye vse of images in churches began to be moued in Spaine also. And at Eliberi, a noble citie, nowe called Granate, was a councel of Spanishe By­shoppes Anoth [...] coun­cell agaynst [...]es. and other learned men assembled, and there, after long deliberation and debating of the matter, it was concluded at length of the whole councell after this sort, in the 36. article.

We thinke that pictures ought not to be in Churches, least that which is honoured or wor­shipped [...] of the c [...]ell a­ga [...] [...]. be paynted on walles. And in the. xli. [Page 75] Canon of that councell it is thus written: We thought good to admonishe the faythfull, that as much as in them lyeth, they suffer no images to be in their houses, but if they feare any vio­lence of their seruauntes, at the least let them kepe themselues cleane and pure from images, if they do not so, let them be accompted as none of the Churche. Note here I pray you, howe a whole and great countrey in the West & South partes of Europe, nearer to Rome a great deale then to Grece in situatiō of place, do agree with the Grekes against images, and do not onely for­bid them in churches, but also in priuate houses, and do excommunicate them that do the contra­rie: and another councell of the learned men of all Spaine also, called Concilium Toletanum yet [...]n [...]th [...] cou [...]cell [...] gaynst [...] duodecimum, decreed and determined lykewyse agaynst images and image worshippers. But when these decrees of the Spanishe councell at Eliberi came to the knowledge of the byshoppe of Rome & his adherents, they fearyng least al Ger­manie also would decree against images, and for­sake them, thought to preuent the matter, and by the consent & helpe of the Prince of Francons (whose power was then most great in the West partes of the world) assembled a counsell of Ger­mans at Frankford, and there procured the spa­nishe councel against images, afore mentioned, to be condemned by the name of the Foelician he­resie, (for that Foelix Bishop of Aquitania was chiefe in that councell) & obteyned that the actes of the second Nicene counsel, as [...]ēbled by Hyrene (the holie Empresse whom ye hearde of before) [Page 76] and the sentence of the bishop of Rome for ima­ges, might be receaued. For much after this sort do the papistes report of the historie of the coun­cell of Frankforde. Notwithstanding the booke of Carolus magnus his owne writing, as the ty­tle sheweth, whiche is nowe put in print, and commonly in mens handes, sheweth the iudge­ment of that prince, and of the whole councel of Frankforde also, to be against images, & against the second councell of Nice assembled by Hyrene for images, and calleth it an arrogant, foolishe, and vngodly councel, and declareth the assemble of the councell of Frankforde, to haue ben direct­ly made and gathered against that Nicene coun­cell, & the errours of the same. So that it must needes folow, that either there were in one prin­ces time two councels assembled at Frankforde, one contrarie to another, whiche by no historie doth appeare, or els that after their custome, the Popes and Papistes haue most shamefully cor­rupted that councell, as their manner is to han­dle, not onely councels, but also all histories and wrytinges of the olde Doctours, falsifiyng and corrupting them for the mayntenaunce of their wicked and vngodlie purposes, as hath in tymes of late come to lyght, and doeth in our dayes more and more continuallye appeare most euidentlie. Let the forged gyft of Con­stantine, [...]he [...]o [...]g [...]d gift of Con­stantine. &c. and the notable attempt to falsifie the first Nicene councell for the Popes suprema­cie, Nicene coun­cell lyke to be [...]alsitied. practised by Popes in Saynte Augustines tyme, be a witnes hereof: which practise in deede had then taken effect, had not the diligence and [Page 93] wisedome of saynt Augustine and other learned and godly bishoppes in A [...]rike, by their great la­bour and charges also resisted and stopped the same. Nowe to come towardes an ende of this historie, and to shewe you the principall poynte that came to passe by the maintenaunce of ima­ges: Where as from Constantinus Magnus tyme vntil that day, al aucthoritie imperiall & princely dominion of the empire of Rome, remayned cō ­tinually in the right and possession of the Empe­rours, who had their continuaunce and seat im­periall at Constantinople the citie royall.

Leo the third, then Bishop of Rome, seing the Greeke Emperours so vent agaynst his Gods of golde and syluer, tymber and stone, and hauyng the kyng of the Francons or Frenchemen, named Charles, whose power was exceeding great in the west countries, very appliable to his mynde, for causes here after appearing: vnder the pre­tence that they of Constantinople were for that matter of images vnder the Popes ban & curse, and therefore vnworthy to be emperours, or to beare rule, and for that the emperours of Grece being farre of, were not redye at a beche to de­fende the Pope agaynst the Lumbardes his ene­mies, and other with whom he had variaunce: This Leo the thirde, I saye, attempted a thyng exceeding straunge and vnhearde of before, and of incredible boldnesse and presumption: For he by his papall aucthoritie, doth translate the go­uernement of the Empire, and the crowne and name imperiall from the Greekes, and geueth it vnto Charles the great, kyng of the Francons, [Page 78] not with out the cōsent of the forenamed Hyrene empresse of Grece, who also sought to be ioyned in mariage with the said Charles. For the which cause, the sayd Hyrene was by the Lordes of Grece deposed and banished, as one that had be­trayed the empire, as ye before haue heard. And the said princes of Grece did, after the depriuati­on of the sayde Hyrene, by common consent, elect and create (as they alwayes had done) an Emperour, named Nycaephorus, whom the Bi­shop of Rome and they of the west would not ac­knowledge for their Emperour, for they had al­redy created them another: and so there became two Emperours. And the empire whiche was before one, was diuided into two partes, vppon occasion of idols & images, and the worshipping These things were done a­bout the 803. yere of our Lord. of them: Euen as the kingdome of the Israe­lites was in olde tyme for the lyke cause of Ido­latrie diuided in King Roboam his tyme. And so the Byshoppe of Rome hauing the fauour of Charles the great by this meanes assured to him, was wonderously enhaunced in powe [...] and auc­thoritie, and did in all the west Church (specially in Italie) what he lust, where images were set vp, garnished, and worshipped of al sorts of men. But images were not so fast set vp, and so much honoured in Italie and the west: but Nycaepho­rus emperour of Constantinople, and his succes­sours Scauratius, the two Michaels, Leo, Theo­philus, and other emperours their successours in Or Staura [...]ius. the empire of Grece, continually pulled them downe, brake them, burned them, and destroyed them as fast. And when Theodorus Emperour, [Page 79] would at the councel of Lions haue agreed with the Bishop of Rome, and haue set vp images: he was by the nobles of the empire of Grece depri­ued, and another chosen in his place: and so rose agelousie, suspition, grudge, hatred, and enmitie betwene the christians and empires of the East countries and west, which could neuer be quen­ched nor pacified. So that when the Sarasens first, and afterwarde the Turkes, inuaded the Christians: the one part of christendome would not helpe the other. By reasō wherof, at the last, the noble empire of Grece, and the citie imperial Constantinople was lost, and is come into the hands of the infidels, who now haue ouerrunne almost all christendome, and possessing past the middle of Hungarie, whiche is part of the west empire, do hang ouer all our heades, to the vt­ter daunger of all christendome.

Thus we see what a sea of mischiefes the maintenaunce of images hath brought with it, what an horrible scisme betweene the east and the west Churche, what an hatred betwene one christian and another, councels agaynst coun­cels, churche agaynst church, christians agaynst christians, princes against princes, rebellions, treasons, vnnaturall and most cruell murders, the daughter digging vp and burning her fa­ther the Emperours bodye, the mother for loue of idols most abominably murdering her owne sonne being an Emperour, at the last, the tearing in sunder of Christendome and the em­pire into two peeces, till the Infidels, Sara­sens, and Turkes, common enemies to bothe [Page 96] partes haue most cruellye vanquished, destroyed, and subdued the one parte, the whole empire of Grece, Asia the lesse, Thrasia, Macedonia, Epirus, and manye other great and goodlye countries and prouinces, and haue wonne a great peece of the other empire, and put the whole in dreadfull feare and most horrible daunger. For it is not without a iust and great cause to be dread, leaste as the Empire of Rome was euen for the lyke cause of images and the worshyppyng of them torne in peeces and diuided, as was for Idolatry the kyngdome of Israel in olde tyme diuided: so lyke punyshment, as for the lyke offence fel vpon the Jewes, wyll also lighte vppon vs: That is, least the cruel tyrant and enemie of our common wealth and religion the Turke, by Gods iuste vengeaunce, in lykewise partly murder, & partly leade awaye into captiuitie vs christians, as dyd the Assyrian and Babylonian kynges murder and leade away the Israelites: and least the empire of Rome & christian religion be so vtterly brought vnder foote, as was then the kyngdome of Isra­el and true religion of God, whereunto the mat­ter already (as I haue declared) shrewdlye incly­neth on our part, the greater part of christendom within lesse then three hundreth yeares space, be­yng brought into captiuitie and moste miserable thraldome vnder the Turke, and the noble em­pire of Grece cleane euerted. Whereas yf the christians, diuided by these image matters, had holden together, no Infidels and miscreauntes could thus haue preuayled against christendome. And all this mischiefe and miserie, whiche we [Page 81] haue hitherto fallen into, do we owe to our mightie gods of gold and siluer, stocke and stone, in whose helpe and defence (where they can not helpe them selues) we haue trusted so long, vntyl our enemies the Infidels haue ouercome and o­uer runne vs almost altogether. A iust rewarde for those that haue left the myghtie lyuyng God, the Lorde of hostes, and haue stopped and geuen the honour due to hym, to dead blockes & stockes, who haue eyes and see not, cares and heare not, feete and can not go, and so foorth, and are cursed of God, and all they that make them, and that put their trust in them.

Thus you vnderstande (welbeloued in ou [...] Sauiour Christe) by the iudgemente of the olde learned and godly Doctours of the Church, and by auncient histories Ecclesiasticall, agreeyng to the veritie of Gods worde, aleaged out of the olde Testament and the newe, that images and image worshyppyng, were in the primatiue Churche (whiche was most pure and vncorrupt) abhorred and detested, as abhominable and con­trary to true Christian religion: And that when images began to creepe into the Churche, they were not onlye spoken and wrytten agaynste by godly and learned Byshoppes, Doctours, and Clarkes, but also condemned by whole coun­selles of Byshoppes and learned men assembled together, yea, the sayde images by many Christi­an Emperours and Byshopyes, were defaced, broken, and destroyed, and that aboue. vii. C. and viii. C. yeres ago, and that therefore it is not of late bayes (as some woulde beare you in hande) [Page 82] that images and image worshyppyng haue ben spoken and written agaynst. Finally you haue heard what mischeefe and miserie hath by the oc­casion of the saide images, fallen vppon whole Christendome, besides the losse of infinite soules, which is most horrible of all. Wherefore let vs be­seche God that we beyng warned by his holye worde, forbidding all idolatrie, and by the wry­tynges of olde godly Doctours and ecclesiasticall histories wrytten, and preserued by Gods ordi­naunce for our admonition and warnyng, may flee from all idolatrie, and so escape the horrible punishment & plagues, as well worldly, as euerla­styng, threatned for the same, whiche God our heauenly father graunt vs, for our onlye Saui­our and Mediatour Jesus Christes sake.

Amen.

¶ The thirde parte of the Homilee against images and the worshipping of them, con­teyning the confutation of the principall argu­mentes whiche are vsed to be made for the mayntenaunce of images. VVhich part may serue to instruct the Curates them selues, or men of good vnderstandyng.

NOwe ye haue heard howe plaine­lye, how vehementlye, and that in manye places, the worde of God speaketh agaynste not onlye idolatry and worshipping of ima­ges, but also agaynste idols and images them selues: (I meane [Page 83] alwayes thus herein, in that we be stirred and prouoked by them to worshyp them, and not as though they were simplie forbidden by the newe Testament, without suth occasion and daunger) And ye haue hearde lykewyse out of histories Ecclesiasticall, the begynnyng, proceedyng, and successe of idolatrie by images, and the greate contention in the Churche of Christ about them, to the great trouble and decay of Christendome: and withall ye haue hearde the sentences of olde auncient fathers and godly learned Doctours and Byshoppes agaynste images and idolatrie, taken out of their owne wrytynges. It remay­neth, that suche reasons as be made for the main­tenaunce of images, and excessyue payntyng, gyldyng, and deckyng, aswell of them, as of the Temples or Churches, also be aunswered and confuted, partly by application of some pla­ces before alleaged, to their reasons, and partly by otherwyse aunswering the same. Which part hath the last place in this treatise, for that it can not be well vnderstanded of the meaner sorte, nor the argumentes of image maynteyners, can without prolixitie to muche tedious, be aunswe­red without the knowledge of the treatise going before. And although diuers thyngs before men­tioned, be here rehearsed agayne: yet this repe­tition is not superfluous, but in a maner necessa­rye, for that the simple sorte can notels vnder­stand how the foresayde places are to be applied to the argumentes of suche as do maynteyne images, wherewith otherwyse they myght be abused.

[Page 84] Firste, it is alleaged by them that maynteyne images that all lawes, prohibitions, and curses, noted by vs out of the holy Scripture, & senten­ces of the Doctours also by vs alleaged, agaynst images and the worshyppyng of them, appar­teyne to the idolles of the Gentiles or Pagans, as the idoll of Iupiter, Mars, Mercurie, &c. and not to our images of God, of Christe, and his Saintes. But it shalbe declared both by Gods worde, and the sentences of the auncient Doc­tours, and iudgement of the primatiue Church, that all images, aswell ours, as the idolles of the Gentiles, be forbidden and vnlawfull, name­ly in Churches and temples. And fyrste this is to be replyed out of Gods worde, that the images of God the father, the sonne, and the holy ghost, eyther seuerally, or the images of the Trinitie, which we had in euery Church, be by the Scrip­tures expresly and directly forbidden, and con­demned, as appeareth by these places: The Lorde spake vnto you out of the middle of fyre, you hearde the voyce or sound of his wordes, but [...]. you dyd see no fourme or shape at all, least perad­uenture you beyng deceaued, shoulde make to your selfe anye grauen image or lykenesse, and so foorth, as is at large rehearsed in the first part of this treatie agaynst images. And therefore in the olde lawe, the middle of the propitiatorie whiche presented Gods seate, was emptie, least any should take occasion to make any similitude or lykenesse of hym. Esaias, after he hath set foorth the incomprehensible maiestie of God, he asketh, to whom then wyll ye make God lyke? or [...]. xl. [Page 85] what similitude wyl ye set vp vnto hym? Shall the Caruer make hym a caruen image? and shall the Goldsmyth couer hym with golde, or cast him into a fourme of syluer plates? And for the poore man, shall the image maker frame an image of tymber, that he maye haue somwhat to set vp also? And after this he cryeth out: O wretches, heard ye neuer of this? Hath it not ben preached to you since the beginning, how by the creati­on of the worlde, and the greatnesse of the worke, they myght vnderstande the maiestie of God, the Maker and Creatour of all, to be greater then that it could be expressed or set foorth in any image or bodily similitude? Thus farre the Pro­phet Esaias, who from the. xliiii. Chapter, to the xlix. intreateth in a maner of no other thyng. And. S. Paul in the Actes of the Apostles eui­dentlye Actes. 17. teacheth the same, that no similitude can be made vnto God in golde, siluer, stone, or anye other matter. By these and many other places of scripture it is euidēt, that no image either ought or can be made vnto God. For how can God, a most pure spirite, whom man neuer sawe, be ex­pressed by a grosse, bodily, and visible similitude? How can the infinite maiestie & greatnes of god, incomprehensible to mans mynde, muche more not able to be compassed with the sense, be ex­pressed in an infinite and litle image? How can a dead and dombe image expresse the lyuyng God? What can an image, which when it is fallen, can not ryse vp agayne, which can neyther help his freendes, nor hurte his enemies, expresse of the moste puissaunt and myghtie God, who alone is [Page 86] able to rewarde his freendes, and to destroy his enemies euerlastyngly? A man myght iustly crye with the prophet Habacus, Shall suche images instruct or teach any thyng ryght of God? or shall Habac. 20. they become doctours? Wherfore men that haue made an image of God wherby to honour hym, haue therby dishonoured him most hyghly, dimi­nished his maiestie, blemished his glorye, and fal­sified his trueth. And therefore saint Paul saith, that suche as haue framed anye similitude or Rom. 1. image of God lyke a mortall man, or anye other lykenes, in tymber, stone, or other matter, haue chaunged his trueth into a lye. For both they thought it to be no longer that whiche it was, a stocke or a stone, and toke it to be that which it was not, as God, or an image of God. Wherfore an image of God, is not onlye a lye, but a double lye also. But the deuill is a lyer, and the father of lyes: wherefore the lying images which be made of God, to his great dishonour, and horrible dan­ger Iohn. 8. of his people, came from the deuyll.

Wherefore they be conuict of foolishnesse and wickednesse in making of images of God, or the Trinitie: for that no image of God ought or can be made, as by the scriptures and good rea­son euidently appeareth: yea, and once to desyre an image of God, commeth of infidelitie, think­ing not God to be present, except they myght see some signe or image of hym, as appeareth by the Hebrues in the wyldernesse, wyllyng Aaron to make them gods whom they might see go before them. Where they obiect, that seeyng in Esaias and Daniel be certayne descriptions of God, as [Page 87] sittyng on a hygh seate. &c. why may not a payn­ter lykewyse set him foorth in colours to be seene, as it were a iudge syttyng in a throne, as well as he is described in wrytyng of the prophetes, se­ing that scripture or wrytyng, and picture, differ but a litle? Firste, it is to be aunswered, that thynges forbidden by Gods worde as payn­tyng of images of God, and thynges permitted of God, as such discriptions vsed of the prophets, be not all one: neyther ought, nor can mans rea­son (although it shewe neuer so goodly) preuayle anye thyng agaynste Gods expresse worde, and playne statute lawe, as I may well tearme it. Furthermore, the scripture although it haue certayne discriptions of God, yet if you reade on foorth, it expoundeth it selfe, declaring that God is a pure spirite, infinite, who replenisheth hea­uen and earth, whiche the picture doth not, nor expoundeth not it selfe: but rather when it hath set God foorth in a bodily similitude, [...] a man there, and wyll easyly bryng one into the heresie of the Anthropomorphites, thinking God to haue handes and feete, & to sit as a man doth: which they that do (sayth saint Augustine in his booke de fide & simbolo cap. 7.) fall into that sa­criledge which the apostle [...], in [...] who haue chaunged the glorye of the [...] God, into the similitude of a [...] [...]n. For it is wyckednesse for a Christian to [...] suche an image to God in a Temple, and muche more wyckednesse to erecte suche a one in [...]is heart by [...] [...]yng of it. But to this [...], that this rea [...]on notwithstandyng, [...] of [Page 88] Christe may be made, for that he toke vppon him fleshe, and became man. It were well that they woulde firste graunt, that they haue hytherto done moste wyckedlye in makyng and mayntey­ning of images of God, and of the trinitie in eue­ry place, whereof they are by force of Gods word and good reason conuicted: and then to discend to the tryall for other images. Nowe concernyng their obiection, that an image of Christe may be made: the aunswere is easy. For in Gods worde and religion, it is not onlye requyred whether a thyng may be done or no: but also, whether it be lawfull and agreeable to Gods worde to be done, or no. For al wyckednesse may be & is dayly done, which yet ought not to be done. And the wordes of the reasons aboue alleaged out of the Scrip­tures are, that images neither ought nor can be made vnto God. Wherefore to reply that images of Christe maye be made, excepte withall it be proued that it is lawfull for them to be made, is, rather then to holde ones peace, to say somwhat, but nothyng to the purpose. And yet it appea­reth, that no image can be made of Christe, but a lying image (as the scripture peculierlye calleth images lyes) For Christ is God and man. Seing Rom. 1. therefore that for the Godhead, which is the most excellent parte, no images can be made, it is falsly called the image of Christe: wherefore images of Christe be not onlye defectes, but also lyes. Which reason serueth also for the images of saintes, whose soules, the more excellent partes of them, can by no images be represented and ex­pressed. Wherefore, they be no images of saintes, [Page 89] whose soules raigne in ioy with God, but of the bodies of Saintes, whiche as yet lye putrified in the graues. Furthermore, no true image can be made of Christes body, for it is vnknowen nowe of what fourme and countenaunce he was. And there be in Grece and at Rome, and in other pla­ces, dyuers images of Christe, and none of them lyke to other, and yet euerye of them affirmeth, that theirs is the true and liuely image of Christ, which can not possible be. Wherefore, as sone as an image of Christe is made, by and by is a lye made of hym, which by Gods word is forbidden. Which also is true of the images of any Saintes of antiquitie, for that it is vnknowen of what fourme and countenaunce they were. Wherefore seeing that religion ought to be grounded vppon trueth, images whiche can not be without lyes, ought not to be made, or put to anye vse of religi­on, or to be placed in Churches and Temples, places peculierly appoynted to true religion and seruice of God. And thus much, that no true image of God, our sauiour Christe, or his saintes can be made: wherwithall is also confuted that their allegation, that images be the laye mens bookes. For it is euident of that whiche is afore rehearsed, that they teache no thinges of God, of our sauiour Christe, and of his saintes, but lyes and errours. Wherfore, either they be no bookes, or if they be, they be false and lying bookes, the teachers of all errour.

And nowe if it should be admitted & graunted, that an image of Christe could truely be made, yet it is vnlawfull that it shoulde be made, yea, [Page 90] or that the image of anye saint shoulde be made, speciallye to beset vp in Temples, to the greate and vnauoydable daunger of idolatrie, as here­after shalbe proued. And fyrste concernyng the image of Christe, that though it myght be Lib. 1. ca. [...]4. had truelye, yet it were vnlawfull to haue it in Churches publiquely, is a notable place in Ireneus, who reproued the heritikes called Gno­stici, for that they caryed about the image of Christe, made truely after his owne proportion in Pilates tyme (as they said) and therefore more to be esteemed, then those lying images of hym which we nowe haue. The whiche Gnostici also vsed to set garlandes vppon the head of the sayde image, to shewe their affection to it. But to go to Gods worde. Be not I pray you the wordes of the scripture playne? Beware least thou beyng Leui. 2 [...]. Deut. 5. Sculptile, [...]u [...]le. Similitu­do. Deut. [...]7 deceaued, make to thy selfe (to say to any vse of re­ligion) anye grauen image, or anye similitude of any thyng &c. And cursed be the man that maketh a grauen or molten image, abhominati­on before the Lorde. &c. Be not our images such? Be not our images of Christe and his saintes, [...] [...]ed, or molten, or caste, or similitudes of men and women? It is happye that we haue not folowed the Gentiles in makyng of images of [...]es, fyshes, and vermynes also. Notwith­standyng, the image of an Horse, as also the [...] the Asse that Christe [...]ode on, haue in di­ [...] places ben brought into the Churche and Temple of God. And is not that whiche is writ­ten in the begynning of the Lordes moste holye Exod. 20. lawe, and dayly read vnto you, moste euident [Page 91] also? Thou shalt not make any lykenesse of anye thyng in heauen aboue, in earth beneath, or in the water vnder the earth. &c. Coulde anye more beforbidden and sayde then this? eyther of the kyndes of images, whiche be eyther carued, molten, or otherwyse similitudes? or of thynges whereof images are forbidden to be made? Are not all thinges either in heauen, earth, or water vnder the earth? And be not our images of Christe and his saintes, lykenesses of thynges in heauen, earth, or in the water? If they continue in their former aunswere, that these prohibiti­ons concerne the idols of the Gentiles, and not our images: Fyrste that aunswere is alreadye confuted, concernyng the images of God and the trinitie at large, and concerning the images of Christe also, by Ireneus. And that the lawe of God is lykewyse to be vnderstanded agaynst all our images, aswell of Christe, as his saintes, in Temples and Churches, appeareth further by the iudgement of the olde Doctours, and the pri­matiue Churche. Epiphanius rentyng a paynted cloth, wherein was the picture of Christe, or of some saint, affyrmyng it to be agaynst our re­ligion, that any such image shoulde be had in the temple or Church (as is before at large declared) iudged that not onlye idols of the Gentiles, but that all images of Christe and his saintes also, were forbidden by Gods worde and our religion. Lactantius affyrming it to be certayne that no true religion can be where an image or picture is, (as is before declared) iudged, that aswell all images and pictures, as the idols of the gentiles, [Page 92] were forbidden, els woulde he not so generallye haue spoken and pronounced of them. And saint Augustine (as is before alleaged) greatlye al­loweth Lib. 4. ca. 3. deciuit. dei. M. Varro, affyrmyng that religion is moste pure without images: and sayth hym selfe, Images be of more force to crooke an vnhappye soule, then to teache and instruct it. And he sayth further, Euery chyld, yea, euerye beast knoweth, that it is not God that they see. Wherefore In Psal. [...]6. and, 113 then doth the holye ghost so ofte monishe vs of that whiche all men knowe? Whereunto saint Augustine aunswereth thus. For (saith he) when images are placed in Temples, and set in honou­rable sublimitie, & begyn once to be worshypped, foorthwith breedeth the most vyle affection of er­rour. This is saint Augustines iudgemente of images in Churches, that by and by they breede errour and idolatrie. The Christian Emperours, the learned Byshops, all the learned men of Asia, Grece, and Spayne, assembled in counselles at Constantinople and in Spayne. vii. and. viii. C. yeres ago and more, condemnyng and destroying al images, aswell of Christ, as of the Saintes, set vp by the Christians (as is before at large decla­red) testifie, that they vnderstood Gods worde so, that it forbad our images, as well as the idols of Sapi. 14. the Gentiles. And as it is written. Sapi. xiiij. that images were not from the beginning, neyther shall they continue to the end: so were they not in the begynnyng in the primatiue Churche, God graunt they may in the ende be destroyed. For all Christians in the primatiue Churche, as Origen agaynste Celsus, Ciprian also and Arnobius do [Page 93] testified, were sore charged and complayned on, Origen. cont. Cel­sum. lib. 4. et. 8. Ci­prianus cont. De­metrium. that they had no aulters nor images. Wherefore dyd they not I pray you, confourme themselues to the Gentiles in makyng of images, but for lacke of them sustayned their heauie displeasure, if they had taken it to be lawfull by Gods worde to haue images? It is euident therefore that they toke al images to be vnlawful in the Churche or Temple of God, and therefore had none, though the Gentiles therefore were most highly displea­sed, folowing this rule: We must obey God rather then men. And Zephirius in his notes vppon the Apologie of sertullian, gathereth, that all his ve­hement Actes. 5. perswasion shoulde be but colde, except we know this once for all, that Christian men in his tyme dyd moste hate images with their orna­mentes. And Ireneus (as is aboue declared) re­proueth the heretikes called Gnostici, for that they caryed about the image of Christ. And there­fore the primatiue Church which is speciallie to be folowed as most incorrupt and pure, had pub­liquely in Churches, neyther idols of the Gen­tiles, nor any other images, as thynges directly forbidden by Gods word. And thus it is declared by Gods worde, the sentences of the Doctours, and the iudgement of the primatiue Churche, whiche was moste pure and sincere, that all ima­ges, aswell ours, as the idols of the Gentiles, be by Gods word forbidden, and therfore vnlawful, specially in Temples and Churches.

Nowe yf they (as their custome is) flee to this aunswere, that Gods worde forbiddeth not ab­solutely all images to be made, but that they [Page 94] shoulde not be made to be worshypped, and that therefore we maye haue images, so we worshyp them not, for that they be thynges indifferent, which may be abused, or wel vsed. Which semeth also to be the iudgement of Damascene and Gre­gorie Damas. lib. 4. de si­de orth. ca. 17. Gre go. in E­pisto. ad Serenum Massil. the firste, as is aboue declared. And this is one of their cheefe allegations for the mayntey­nance of images, whiche haue ben alleaged since Gregorie the first his tyme.

Well, then we be come to their seconde allega­tion, whiche in parte we woulde not sticke to graunte them. For we are not so superstitious or scrupulous, that we do abhorre eyther flowres wrought in Carpettes, hangynges, and other arrasse, eyther the Images of Princes prynted or stamped in their Coynes, whiche when Christe did see in a Romane Coyne, we reade not that he reprehended it, neyther do we condemne the artes of payntyng and image making, as wicked of them selues. But we would admit and graunt them, that images vsed for no religion, or super­stition rather, we meane images of none wor­shipped, nor in daunger to be worshypped of any, may be suffred. But images placed publiquely in Temples, can not possiblye be without daunger of worshyppyng and idolatrie, wherfore they are not publiquely to be had or suffered in Temples and Churches. The Jewes, to whom this lawe was firste geuen (and yet beyng a morall com­maundement, and not ceremoniall, as all Doc­tours interpret it, byndeth vs aswel as them) the Jewes I saye, who shoulde haue the true sense and meanyng of Gods lawe so peculierly geuen [Page 95] vnto them, neyther had in the begynnyng anye images publiquely in their Temple (as Origines Origen. cont. Cel­sum. lib. 4. Ioseph. an­tiq. lib. 17. cap. 8. lib. 18, ca. 5 lib. 18. c [...]. 15. and Iosephus at large declareth) neither after the restitution of the Temple, would by any meanes consent to Herode, Pilate, or Petronius, that ima­ges shoulde be placed only in the Temple at Hie­rusalem, although no worshyppyng of images was requyred at their handes: but rather offered them selues to the death, then to assent that images shoulde once be placed in the Temple of God, neyther woulde they suffer anye image ma­ker among them. And Origene addeth this cause, least their myndes shoulde be plucked from God, to the contemplation of earthly thynges. And they are muche commended for this earnest zeale, in maynteyning of Gods honour and true religion. And trueth it is, that the Jewes and Turkes, who abhorre images & idols as directly forbiddenby Gods worde, wil neuer come to the trueth of our religion, whiles these stumbling blockes of images remayne amongest vs, and lye in their way. If they obiect yet the brasen serpent which Moyses dyd set vp, or the images of the Cherubims, or anye other Images whiche the Jewes had in their Temple, the aunswere is ea­sy. We must in religion obey Gods general lawe, which bindeth al men, & not folowe examples of particuler dispensation, which be no warrantes for vs: els we may by the same reason resume cir­cūcision & sacrifising of beastes, & other rites per­mitted to ye Jewes. Neither can those images of cherubim, set in secret wher no man might come nor behold, be any example for our publique set­vp [Page 96] of images in Churches and Temples. But to let the Jewes go. Where they say that images, so they be not worshypped, as thynges indifferent maye be tollerated in Temples and Churches: We inferre and say for the aduersatiue, that all our images of God, our Sauiour Christ, and his Saintes, publiquely set vp in Churches & Tem­ples, places peculierlye appoynted to the true worshipping of God, be not thynges indifferent, nor tollerable: but agaynst Gods lawe and com­maundement, taking their owne interpretation and exposition of it. Firste, for that all images so set vp publiquely, haue ben worshipped of the vn­learned and simple sorte, shortly after they haue ben publiquely so set vp, and in conclusion, of the wyse & learned also. Secondly, for that they are worshypped in sundry places now in our time al­so. And thirdly, for that it is impossible that ima­ges of God, Christe, or his Saintes, can be suffe­red (specially in Temples and Churches) anye while or space without worshipping of them: & that idolatrie, which is most abhominable before God, can not possibly be escaped & auoyded, with­out the abolishing and destruction of images & pictures in Temples and Churches, for that ido­latrie is to images, speciallye in Temples and Churches, an inseparable accident (as they tearme it) so that images in Churches, and ido­latrie, go alwayes both together, and that there­fore the one can not be auoyded, except the other, (specially in all publique places) be destroyed. Wherefore, to make images, and publiquely to set them vp in Temples and Churches, places [Page 97] appoynted peculierly to the seruice of God, is, to make images to the vse of religion, and not on­lye agaynst this precept: Thou shalt make no maner of image, but agaynst this also: Thou shalt not bow downe to them, nor worship them. For they beyng set vp, haue ben, be, and euer will be worshipped. And the full proofe of that which in the beginning of the first part of this treatie was touched, is here to be made & perfourmed: To wit, that our images, and idols of the Gen­tiles be all one, aswell in the things them selues, as also in that our images haue ben before, be now, and euer wilbe worshypped, in like fourme and maner, as the idols of the Gentiles were worshipped, so long as they be suffered in Chur­ches and temples. Whereupon it foloweth, that our images in Churches haue ben, be, and euer wil be none other but abominable idols, and be therefore no thynges indifferent. And euerye of these partes shalbe proued in order, as hereafter foloweth.

And firste, that our images and the idols of Simula­chra gen­t [...]um, Argentū & aurum, Fusile. Similitud Sculptile. Simula­chrū ope­ra manu [...] hominū the Gentiles be all one concernyng themselues, is most euident, the matter of them beyng golde, siluer, or other mettall, stone, wood, clay, or pla­ster, as were the idols of the Gentiles, and so be­yng eyther moulten or caste, eyther carued, gra­uen, hewed, or otherwise fourmed and fashioned, after the similitude and likenesse of man or wo­man, be dead and dumbe workes of mans han­des, hauing mouth and speake not, eyes and see not, handes and feele not, feete and go not, and so aswell in fourme as matter, be altogether like [Page 98] the idols of the Gentiles. Insomuch that al the titles which be geuen to the idols in the Scrip­tures, may be verified of our images. Wherfore, no doubt but the lyke curses whiche are mentio­ned in the scriptures, wyll lyght vppon the ma­kers and worshippers of them both. Secondly, that they haue ben and be worshypped in our tyme, in lyke fourme and maner, as were the idols of the Gentiles, is nowe to be proued. And for that idolatrie standeth cheefely in the minde, it shal in this part first be proued, that our image maynteyners haue had, and haue the same opi­nions and iudgement of saintes, whose images they haue made and worshipped, as the Gentiles idolaters had of theyr gods. And afterwarde shalbe declared, that our image maynteyners and worshyppers, haue vsed, and vse the same outwarde rites & maner of honouryng and wor­shipping theyr images, as the Gentiles dyd vse before their idols, and that therefore they com­mit idolatrie, aswell inwardly and outwardlye, as dyd the wycked Gentiles idolaters.

And concerning the first part of the idolatri­ous opinions of our image maynteyners. What I pray you be suche saintes with vs, to whom we attribute the defence of certayne countreyes, spoylyng God of his due honour herein, but Dij tutelares of the Gentiles idolaters? Suche as were Belus to the Babylonians and Assyrians, Dij tute­lares. O siris and Isis to the Egyptians, Vulcane to the Lemnians, and such other. What be such saintes to whom the sauegarde of certayne cities are ap­pointed, Dij praesi­des. but Dij praesides, with the Gentiles ido­laters? [Page 99] Suche as were at Delphos Apollo, at Athens Minerua, at Carthage Iuno, at Rome Quirinus. &c. What be such saints, to whom con­trary to the vse of the primitiue Churche, Tem­ples and Churches be buylded, and aulters erec­ted, but Dij patroni, of the Gentiles idolaters. Dij patro­ni. Such as were in the Capitol Iupiter, in Paphus temple Venus, in Ephesus temple Diana, & such lyke. Alas, we seeme in thus thynkyng and do­yng, to haue learned our religion not out of Gods worde, but out of the Pagan poets, who say, Excessere omnes aditis, aris (que) relictis, Dij qui­bus imperium hoc steterat. &c. That is to say: All the gods by whose desence this Empire stoode, are gone out of the temples, and haue forsaken their aulters. And where one saint hath images in diuers places, the same saint hath diuers na­mes thereof, moste lyke to the Gentiles. When you heare of our Lady of Walsingham, our Lady of Ipswich, our Lady of Wilsdon, & suche other: what is it but an imitation of the Gentiles ido­laters? Diana Agrotera, Diana Coriphea, Diana Ephesia, &c. Venus Cipria, Venus Paphia, Venus Gnidia. Whereby is euidently meant, that the saint for the image sake, shoulde in those places, yea in the images them selues, haue a dwellyng, whiche is the grounde of theyr idolatrie. For where no images be, they haue no such meanes. Terentius varro sheweth, that there were three hundred Iupiters in his tyme, there were no fe­wer Veneres and Dianae, we had no fewer Chri­stophers, Ladies, and Marie Magdalens, and other saintes. Oenomaus and Hesiodus shewe, [Page 100] that in theyr time there were thirtie thousande Gods. I thinke we had no fewer saintes, to whom we gaue the honour due to God. And they haue not only spoyled the true liuing God of his due honour, in temples, cities, countreyes and landes, by suche deuises and inuentions, as the Gentiles idolaters haue done before them: but the Sea and waters haue aswell speciall saintes with them, as they had Gods with the Gentiles, Neptune, Tritron, Nereus, Castor, & Pollux, Venus, and suche other. In whose places be come saint Christopher, saint Clement, and diuers other, and specially our Lady, to whom shypmen syng Aue maris stella. Neyther hath the fyre scaped theyr idolatrious inuentions. For in steade of Vulcane and Vesta, the Gentiles gods of the fyre, our men haue placed saint Agatha, and make letters on her day for to quenche fyre with. Euerye artificer and profession hath his speciall saint, as a peculier God. As for example, scollers haue saint Nicholas and saint Grego­rie, paynters saint Luke, neyther lacke souldi­ers theyr Mars, nor louers theyr Venus, amon­gest Christians. All diseases haue theyr speciall saintes, as gods the curers of them. The pockes saint Roche, the fallyng euyll saint Cornelis, the toothe ache saint Appoline. &c. neyther do beastes and cattell lacke theyr Gods with vs, for saint Loy is the horseleache, and saint Anthonie the swinehearde. &c. Where is Gods prouidence and due honour in the meane season? who sayth, The heauens be myne, and the earth is myne, the whole worlde and al that [Page 101] in it is, I do geue victorie, and I put to flight, of me be al councels and helpe. &c. Except I kepe the citie, in vayne doth he watch that kepeth it, thou Lorde shalt saue both men and beastes. But we haue left hym neyther heauen, nor earth, nor water, nor countrey, nor citie, peace no warre to rule and gouerne, neyther men, nor beastes, nor theyr diseases to cure, that a godlye man myght iustlye for zelous indignation crye out, O heauen, O earth, and seas, what mad­nesse and wickednesse agaynst God are men fal­len into? What dishonour do the creatures to theyr creator and maker? And yf we remember God sometime, yet because we doubt of his ha­bilitie or will to helpe, we ioyne to hym another helper, as he were a nowne adiectiue, vsyng these sayinges: suche as learne, God and saint Nicholas be my speede: such as neese, God helpe and saint John: to the horse, God and saint Loy saue thee. Thus are we become like horses and moyles, whiche haue no vnderstandyng. For, is there not one God only, who by his po­wer and wysdome made all thynges, and by his prouidence gouerneth the same? and by his goodnes maynteyneth and saueth them? Be not all thynges of hym, by hym, and through hym? Why doest thou turne from the creatour to the creatures? This is the maner of the Gentiles idolaters: but thou art a Christian, and there­fore by Christe alone hast accesse to God the fa­ther, and helpe of him only. These thynges are not wrytten to any reproche of the saintes them selues, who were the true seruauntes of God, [Page 102] and dyd geue all honour to him, taking none vn­to themselues, and are blessed soules with God: but against our foolishnes and wickednes, ma­kyng of the true seruauntes of God, false gods, by attributyng to them the power and honour whiche is Gods, and due to hym only. And for that we haue suche opinions of the power and redy helpe of saintes, al our Legendes, Hymnes, Sequences, and Masses, dyd conteyne stories, laudes, and prayses of them, and prayers to them: yea, and sermons also altogether of them and to theyr prayses, Gods worde beyng cleane layde asyde. And this we do altogether agreea­ble to the saintes, as dyd the Gentiles idolaters to theyr false gods. For these opinions whiche men haue had of mortall persons, were they ne­uer so holye, the olde moste godlye and learned Christians, haue written agaynst the faygned gods of the Gentiles, and Christian princes haue destroyed theyr images, who yf they were nowe lyuyng, woulde doubtlesse lykewyse both wryte agaynst our false opinions of saintes, and also destroye theyr images. For it is euident, that our image maynteyners, haue the same opinion of saintes, whiche the Gentiles had of theyr false gods, and thereby are moued to make them images as the Gentiles dyd. If aunswere be made, that they make saintes but interces­sours to God, and meanes for suche thynges as they woulde obteyne of God: that is euen after the Gentiles idolatrious vsage, to make them of saintes, gods, called Dij Medioximi, to be meane Medioxi­mi Dij. intercessours and helpers to God, as though he [Page 103] dyd not heare, or shoulde be weerye yf he dyd all alone. So dyd the Gentiles teache, that there was one cheefe power workyng by other, as meanes, and so they made all gods subiect to fate or destenye: as Lucian in his dialogues fayneth, that Neptune made suite to Mercurie, that he myght speake with Iupiter. And therefore in this also, it is moste euident that our image mainteiners be al one in opinion with the Gen­tiles idolaters.

Nowe remayneth the thirde parte, that theyr rites and ceremonies in honouryng & worship­ping of the images or saintes, be all one with the rites whiche the Gentiles idolaters vsed in honouryng theyr idols. First, what meaneth it, that Christians after the example of the Gen­tiles idolaters, go on pylgrimage to visite ima­ges, where they haue the lyke at home, but that they haue a more opinion of holynesse and ver­tue in some images, then other some, lyke as the Gentiles idolaters had? whiche is the redyest way to bryng them to idolatrie by worshypping of them, and directly against Gods worde, who sayth, Seeke me, and ye shall lyue, and do not Amos. v. seeke Bethel, neyther enter not into Gilgal, ney­ther go to Bersaba. And agaynst suche as had any superstition in the holynesse of the place, as though they shoulde be hearde for the places sake, saying, Our fathers worshypped in this Iohn 4. mountayne, and ye saye, that at Hierusalem is the place where men shoulde worshyp, our sa­uiour Christe pronounceth: Beleue me, the houre commeth when you shall worshyppe the [Page 104] father neyther in this mountayne, nor at Hieru­salem, but true worshippers shall worshyp the father in spirite and trueth. But it is to well knowen, that by suche pilgrimage goyng, Lady Venus and her sonne Cupide, were rather wor­shipped wantonly in the fleshe, then God the fa­ther, and our sauiour Christe his sonne, truely worshipped in the spirite.

And it was verye agreeable (as saint Paul teacheth) that they which fell to idolatrie, which Rom. [...]. is spirituall fornication, shoulde also fall into carnall fornication, and all vncleannesse, by the iust iudgementes of God, deliuering them ouer [...]o abominable concupiscences.

What meaneth it that Christian men, after the vse of the Gentiles idolaters, cap and kneele be­fore images? whiche if they had any sense and gratitude, woulde kneele before men, Carpen­ters, Masons, Plasterers, Founders, and Gold­smithes, theyr makers and framers, by whose meanes they haue attayned this honour, which els shoulde haue ben euyll fauoured and rude lumpes of claye, or plaster, peeces of tymber, stone, or mettall, without shape or fashion, and so without all estimation and honour, as that idol in the Pagane poete confesseth, saying, I was Ho [...]a [...]ius. once a vyle blocke, but nowe I am become a God. &c. What a fonde thyng is it for man, who hath lyfe and reason, to bowe him selfe to a dead and vnsensible image, the worke of his owne hande? is not this stouping and kneeling before Adorare. Gene. 23. and. 33. them, adoration of them, whiche is forbidden so earnestly by Gods worde? Let suche as so fall [Page 105] downe before images of saintes, knowe and 3. Reg. [...]. confesse that they exhibite that honour to dead stockes and stones, whiche the saintes them selues, Peter, Paul, and Barnabas, would not Actes. [...]. and. 14. Apo. 19. to be geuen them beyng alyue: which the angel of GOD forbiddeth to be geuen to hym. And yf they say, they exhibite suche honour not to the image, but to the saint whom it representeth, they are conuicted of follye, to beleue that they please saintes with that honour, whiche they abhorre, as a spoyle of Gods honour. For they be no chaungelynges: but nowe both hauyng greater vnderstanding, and more feruent loue of God, do more abhorre to depriue him of his due honour: and beyng nowe lyke vnto the angels of God, do with angels flee to take vnto them by sacrilege the honour due to God. And here­withall is confuted theyr lewde distinction of Latria and Dulia: where it is euident, that the saintes of God can not abyde, that as muche as any outwarde worshippyng be done or exhibited to them. But satan, Gods enemie, desyryng to robbe God of his honour, desyreth exceedynglye that such honour might be geuen to him. Wher­fore, Mat. 4. those whiche geue the honour due to the creatour to any creature, do seruice acceptable to no saintes (who be the freendes of God) but vn­to satan, Gods and mans mortall and sworne enemie. And to attribute suche desyre of diuine honour to saintes, is to blot them with a moste odious and deuilyshe ignominie and villanie, and in deede of saintes, to make them satans and very deuils, whose propertie is to chalenge [Page 106] to them selues, the honour which is due to God onelye. And furthermore, in that they say that they do not worshyp the images, as the Gentiles dyd theyr idols, but God and the saintes whom the images do represent, and therefore that theyr doynges before images, be not lyke the idolatrie of the Gentiles before theyr idols: saint Au­gustine, Lactantius, and Clemens, do proue eui­dently, that by this theyr aunswere, they be all one with the Gentiles idolaters. The Gen­tiles (sayth saint Augustine) whiche seeme to Augusti. Psal. [...]. be of the purer religion, say, We worship not the images, but by the corporall image, we do be­holde the signes of the thynges which we ought to worshyp. And Lactantius sayth, The Gen­tiles Lactan. li.2. institu. saye, we feare not the images, but them after whose lykenesse the images be made, and to whose names they he consecrate. Thus farre Lactantius. And Clemens sayth, That serpent the deuyll, vttereth these wordes by the mouth Lib. 5. ad [...]acobum Domini. of certayne men: We to the honour of the inui­sible God, worship visible images: whiche sure­lye is moste false. See howe in vsyng the same excuses whiche the Gentiles idolaters preten­ded, they shewe them selues to be all one with them in idolatrie. For notwithstandyng this excuse, saint Augustine, Clemens, and Lactan­tius prooue them idolaters. And Clemens say­eth, that the serpent the deuyll putteth suche excuses in the mouth of idolaters. And the Scriptures sayth, they worshyppe the stockes and stones notwithstandyng this excuse) euen as our image maynteyners do. And Ezechiel [Page 107] therefore calleth the gods of the Assyrians, stockes and stones, although they were but images of theyr gods. So are our images of God and the saintes, named by the names of god and his saintes, after the vse of the Gen­tiles. And the same Clemens sayeth thus in Lib. 5. ad Iacobum Domini fratrem. the same booke, They dare not geue the name of the Emperour to anye other, for he puny­sheth his offendour and traytour by and by: but they dare geue the name of god to other, because he for repentaunce suffereth his offendours. And euen so do our image worshyppers, geue both names of god and the saintes, and also the honour due to God, to theyr images, euen as dyd the Gentiles idolaters to theyr idols. What shoulde it meane, that they accordyng as dyd she Gentiles idolaters, lyght candelles at noone time, or at mydnyght, before them, but therwith to honour them: for other vse is there none in so doyng. For in the day it needeth not, but was e­uer a prouerbe of foolishnesse, to lyght a candle at noone tyme. And in the nyght, it auayleth not to light a candle before the blynde: and god hath neyther vse nor honour thereof. And concer­ning this candle lighting, it is notable that Lac­tantius aboue a thousande yeres ago hath writ­ten, Liber. 6. iustit. ca. 2 after this maner, If they woulde beholde the heauenlye lyght of the Sunne, then should they perceaue that God hath no neede of theyr candelles, who for the vse of man hath made so goodly a lyght. And whereas in so lytle a cir­cle of the Sunne, whiche for the great distaunce, [Page 108] seemeth to be no greater then a mans head, there is so great bryghtnesse, that the syght of mans eye is not able to behold it, but if one sted­fastlye looke vpon it a whyle, his eyes will be dulled and blynded with darknesse. Howe great lyght, howe great clearenesse may we thinke to be with God, with whom is no night nor dark­nesse? and so foorth. And by and by he sayth, Seemeth he therefore to be in his ryght minde, whiche offereth vp to the geuer of lyght, the lyght of a waxe candell for a gyfte? He requireth another lyght of vs, whiche is not smokye, but bryght and cleare, euen the lyght of the mynde and vnderstandyng. And shortlye after he say­eth, But theyr gods, because they be earthlye, haue neede of lyght, lest they remayne in darke­nesse, whose worshyppers, because they vnder­stande no heauenlye thyng, do drawe religion whiche, they vse, downe to the earth, in the whiche beyng darke of nature, is neede of light: Wherefore they geue to theyr gods no heauen­lye, but the earthlye vnderstandyng of mortall men. And therefore they beleue those thynges to be necessarie and pleasaunt vnto them, which are so to vs, who haue neede eyther of meate when we be hungrye, or drynke when we be thirstie, or clothyng when we be a colde, or when the sunne is set, candle lyght, that we maye see. Thus farre Lactantius, and muche more, to long here to wryte, of candle lyghtyng in temples before images and idols for religion: whereby appeareth both the foolyshnesse there­of and also, that in opinion and acte, we do [Page 109] agree altogether in our candle religion, with the Gentiles idolaters. What meaneth it that they, after the example of the Gentiles idolaters, burne incense, offer vp golde to images, hang vp crouches, chaynes, and shyppes, legges, armes, and whole men and women of waxe, before ima­ges, as though by them, or saintes (as they say) they were deliuered from lamenesse, sicknes, cap­tiuitie, or shypwracke? Is not this Colere imani­nes, Colere to worship images, so earnestly forbidden in Gods worde? If they denie it, let them reade the xi. Chapter of Daniel the prophete, who sayth of Antechriste: He shall worship God whom his fathers knewe not, with golde, syluer, and with precious stone, and other thinges of pleasure: in whiche place the Latine worde is Colet. And in the seconde of Paralepomenon the. xxix. Chap­ter, all the outwarde rites and ceremonies, as burnyng of incence, and suche other, wherwith God in the temple was honoured, is called Cul­tus Cultus. (to say) worshyppyng, whiche is forbidden strayghtly by Gods word to be geuen to images. Do not all stories ecclesiasticall declare, that our holy martyrs, rather then they woulde bow and kneele, or offer vp one crumbe of incense before an image or idoll, haue suffered a thousande kindes of most horrible and dreadfull death? And what excuse soeuer they make, yet that all this running on pilgrimage, burning of incence and candels, hanging vp of crouches, chaines, ships, armes, legges, and whole men and women of waxe, kneelyng and holdyng vp of handes, is done to the images, appeareth by this, that [Page 110] where no images be, or where they haue ben and be taken away, they do no suche thynges at all. But the places frequented when the ima­ges were there, now they be taken away, be for­saken and left desart, nay nowe they hate and abhorre the place deadlye, whiche is an euident proofe, that that whiche they dyd before, was done in respect of the images. Wherefore, when we see men and women on heapes to go on pyl­grimage to images, kneele before them, holde vp theyr handes before them, set vp candles, burne incense before them, offer vp golde and siluer vn­to them, hang vp shyps, crouches, chaynes, men and women of waxe before them, attributyng health and sauegard, the giftes of God to them, or the saintes whom they represent, as they ra­ther woulde haue it: Who I say, who can doubt, but that our image maynteyners, agree­yng in all idolatrious opinions, outwarde rites and ceremonies with the Gentiles idolaters, agree also with them in committing moste abo­minable idolatrie. And to encrease this mad­nesse, wycked men whiche haue the kepyng of suche images, for theyr more lucre and aduaun­tage, after the example of the Gentiles idola­ters, haue reported and spreade abroade, aswell by lying tales, as wrytten fables, diuers mira­cles of images: Is that suche an image miracu­lously was sent from heauen, euen lyke Palladi­um, or magna Diana Ephesiorum. Such another was as miraculously founde in the earth, as the mans head was in Capitol, or the horse head in Capua. Suche an image was brought by an­gels. [Page 111] Suche an one came it selfe farre from the east to the west, as Dame Fortune flyt to Rome. Suche an image of our Ladie was paynted by saint Luke, whom of a phisitian they haue made a paynter for that purpose. Such an one a hun­dred yokes of oxen coulde not moue, lyke Bona Dea, whom the shyp coulde not carry, or Iupiter Olympius, whiche laught the artificers to scorne that went about to remoue him to Rome. Some images, though they were harde and stony, yet for tender heart & pitie, wept. Some like Castor and Pollux, helpyng theyr freendes in battayle, swet, as marble pyllers do in dankyshe weather. Some spake more monstrouslye then euer dyd Balams Asse, who had lyfe and breath in him. Suche a creple came and saluted this saint of oke, and by and by he was made whole, and lo here hangeth his crouche. Suche an one in a tempest vowed to saint Christopher, and scaped, and beholde here is his shyp of waxe. Suche an one by saint Leonardes helpe brake out of pry­son, and see where his fetters hang. And infi­nite thousandes mo miracles, by lyke o [...] more shamelesse lyes were reported. Thus do our image maynteyners, in earnest applye to theyr images, all suche miracles as the Gentiles haue fayned of theyr idolles. And yf it were to be ad­mitted, that some miraculous actes were by illusion of the deuill done where images be: (For it is euident that the moste part were fay­ned lyes, and craftie iuglynges of men) yet foloweth it not therefore, that suche images are eyther to be honoured, or suffred to remayne, [Page 112] no more then Ezechias lefte the brasen serpent vndestroyed, when it was worshipped, although it were both set vp by Gods commaundement, and also approued by a great and true miracle, for as many as beheld it, were by and by healed: neyther ought miracles to perswade vs to do contrarye to Gods worde. For the Scriptures haue for a warnyng hereof foreshewed, that the kyngdome of Antechriste shalbe myghtie in mi­racles and wonders, to the strong illusion of all the rebrobate. But in this they passe the follye and wyckednesse of the Gentiles, that they ho­nour and worship the reliques and bones of our saintes, whiche proue that they be mortall men and dead, & therefore no gods to be worshypped, whiche the Gentiles woulde neuer confesse of their gods for very shame. But the reliques we must kisse and offer vnto, speciallye on relique Sunday. And whyle we offer (that we shoulde not be weery or repent vs of our cost) the musicke and mynstrelsie goeth merylye all the offertorie tyme, with praysyng and callyng vpon those saintes whose reliques be then in presence. Yea, and the water also wherein those reliques haue ben dipped, must with great reuerence be reserued, as very holy and effectuous. Is this agreeable to saint Chrisostome, who wryteth Homilia de sep [...]ē. Macha­baeis. thus of reliques? Do not regarde the ashes of the saintes bodies, nor the reliques of their fleshe and bones, consumed with tyme: But open the eyes of thy fayth, and behold them clothed with heauenly vertue and the grace of the holy ghost, and shynyng with the bryghtnesse of the hea­uenly [Page 113] lyght. But our idolatours founde to muche vauntage of reliques and relique water, to folowe saint Chrisostomes counsell. And be­cause reliques were so gaynefull, fewe places were there, but they had reliques prouided for them. And for more plentye of reliques, some one saint had manye heades, one in one place, and a­nother in another place. Some had sixe armes, and xxvi. fyngers. And where our Lorde bare his crosse alone, if all the peeces of the reliques thereof were gathered together, the greatest ship in Englande woulde scarsly beare them, and yet the greatest part of it, they say, doth yet remayne in the handes of the Infidels, for the which they way in their beades biddyng, that they may get it also into their handes, for suche godly vse and purpose. And not onlye the bones of the saintes, but euery thyng apparteynyng to them was an holy relique. In some place they offer a sworde, in some the scaberd, in some a shoe, in some a saddle that had ben set vppon some holy horse, in some the coales where with saint Laurence was rosted, in some place the tayle of an asse whiche our Lorde Jesus Christe sate on, to be kyssed and offered to for a relique. For rather then they woulde lacke a relique, they woulde offer you a horse bone, in steade of a virgins arme, or the tayle of the asse, to be kyssed and offered vnto for reliques. O wicked impudent, and moste shame­lesse men, the deuisers of these thynges, O sely, foolyshe, and dastardly dawes, and more beastly then the asse whose tayle they kyssed, that beleue su [...]he thynges. Nowe God be mercyfull to suche [Page 114] miserable and seely Christians, who by the fraude and falshood of those which shoulde haue taught them the way of trueth and life, haue ben made not onlye more wycked then the Gentyles idolaters, but also no wyser then asses, horses, and moyles, which haue no vnderstandyng.

Of these thynges alredy rehearsed, it is eui­dent, that our image maynteyners haue not on­ly made images and set them vp in Temples, as dyd the Gentyles idolaters their idols: but also that they haue had the same idolatrious opini­ons of the saintes, to whom they haue made images, whiche the Gentyles idolatours had of their false Gods, and haue not onlye worshypped their images with the same rites, ceremonies, superstition, and all circumstaunces, as dyd the Gentyles idolatours their idols: but in manye poyntes also, haue farre exceeded them in al wyc­kednes, foolyshnesse, and madnesse. And if this be not sufficient to proue them image worshyppers, that is to saye, idolaters: Lo you shall here their owne open confession, I meane, not onlye the decrees of the seconde Nicene counsell vnder Hirene, the Romane counsell vnder Gregorie the thirde, in the which as they teache that ima­ges are to be honoured and worshipped, as is be­fore declared: so yet do they it warelye and feare­fullye, in comparison to the blasphenious bolde blasyng of manyfest idolatrie to be done to ima­ges, set foorth of late, euen in these our dayes, the lyght of Gods trueth so shynyng, that aboue other abhominable doynges, and wrytynges, a man would maruaile moste at their impudent, [Page 115] shamelesse, and most shameful blusteryng bolde­nesse, who woulde not at the least haue chosen them a tyme of more darkenesse, as meeter to ve­ter their horrible blasphemies in: But haue now taken an harlottes face, not purposed to blushe, in settyng abroade the furniture of their spiritu­all whordome. And here the playne blasphemie of the reuerend father in GOD, Iames Naclan­tus byshop of Clugium, wrytten in his exposition of saint Paules Epistle to the Romanes, and the fyrste Chapter, and put in prynte nowe of late as Venice, may stand in steade of all, whose wordes of image worshyppyng be these in Latin, as he dyd wryte them, not one silable altered.

Ergo non solum fatendum est, fideles in Ecclesia adorare coram imagine (vt nonnulli ad cautelam forté loquuntur) sed & adorare imagine, sine quo volueris scrupulo, quin & eo illam venerantur cul­tu, quo & prototypon eius, propter quod si illud habet adorare latria, & illa latria: si dulia, vel hi­perdulia, & illa pariter eiusmodi cultu adorāda est.

The sense wherof in English is this: Therfore it is not only to be confessed, that the faythfull in the Churche do worshippe before an image (as some peraduenture do warely speake) but also do worshyp the image it selfe, without anye scruple or doubt at al: Yea, and they worshyp the image with the same kynde of worshyp, wherwith they worship the copy of the image, or the thing wher after the image is made. Wherefore if the copy it selfe is to be worshypped with diuine honour (as is God the father, Christe, and the holye ghoste) [Page 116] the image of them is also to be worshypped with diuine honour. If the copye ought to be wor­shypped with inferiour honour, or hygher wor­shyp: the image also is to be worshypped with the same honour or worshyp. Thus farre hath Naclantus, whose blasphemies let pope Grego­rius the first confute, & by his aucthority dam [...]n [...] them to hell, as his successours haue horribly thundred. For although Gregorie permitteth images to be had, yet he forbiddeth them by any Gregor. Episto. ad Serenum Massil. meanes to be worshypped, and prayseth muche Byshop Serenus for the forbyddyng the worshyp of them, and wylleth hym to teache the people to auoyde by all meanes to worshyp anye image. But Naclantus bloweth foorth his blasphe­mous idolatrie, wyllyng images to be worshyp­ped with the hyghest kynde of adoration and worshyp: and least suche wholsome doctrine shoulde lacke aucthoritie, he groundeth it vppon Aristotle in his booke de somno & vigilia, that is, of sleeping and waking, as by his printed booke, noted so in the margent, is to be seene, whose impudent wyckednesse and idolatrious iudge­mente, I haue therefore more larglye set foorth, [...] that ye may (as Virgil speaketh of Simon) of one, knowe all these image worshippers and ido­laters, and vnderstande to what poynt in con­clusion, the publique hauing of images in Tem­ples and Churches hath brought vs: compa­ring the tymes and wrytynges of Gregorie the first, with our daies, and the blasphemies of such idolaters as this beast of Belial, named Naclan­tus, is. Wherefore, nowe it is by the testimonie of [Page 117] the olde godly fathers and doctours, by the open confession of Byshops assembled in counselles, by most euident signes and argumentes, opinions, idolatrous actes, deedes, and worshyppyng done to our images, and by their owne open confessi­on and doctrine set foorth in their bookes, decla­red and shewed, that our images haue ben, and be commonly worshipped, yea, and that they ought so to be: I wyll out of Gods worde make this generall argument agaynst al such makers, letters vp, and maynteyners of images in pub­lique places. And firste of all I wyll begyn with the wordes of our sauiour Christe. Do be to that Mat. 18. man by whom an offence is geuen, wo be to him that offendeth one of these litle ones, or weake ones: better were it for him, that a milstone were hanged about his necke, & he cast into the middle of the sea and drowned, then he should offend one of these litle ones or weake ones. And in Deut. God himselfe denounceth him accursed that ma­keth Deut. 27. the blinde to wander in his way. And in Leuit. Thou shalt not lay a stumbling blocke or Leuit. 19. stone before the blynd. But images in Churches and temples haue ben and be, and (as afterward shalbe proued) euer wilbe offences & stumbling blockes, specially to the weake, simple, and blind common people, deceauing their heartes by the cunnyng of the artificer (as the scripture expressy in sundrye places doth testifie) and so bryngyng Sapi. 1 [...], &. 14. them to idolatrie. Therefore wo be to the erecter, setter vp, and maynteyner of images in Chur­ches and temples, for a greater penaltie remay­neth for hym then the death of the body.

[Page 118] Jf aunswere be yet made, that this offence may be taken away by diligent and sincere doctrine & preachyng of Gods word, as by other meanes: And that images in Churches and Temples therefore, be not thynges absolutely euyll to all men, although daungerous to some: And there­fore that it were to be holden, that the publique hauyng of them in Churches and Temples, is not expedient, as a thyng perilous, rather then vnlawfull, as a thyng vtterly wycked.

Then foloweth the thirde article to be pro­uen, whiche is this: That it is not possible, if images be suffered in Churches and Temples, either by preachyng of Gods worde, or by any o­ther meanes, to keepe the people from worshyp­pyng of them, & so to auoyde idolatrie. And firste concernyng preachyng, if it shoulde be admitted, that although images were suffred in Churches, yet might idolatrie by diligent and sincere prea­chyng of Gods worde be auoyded: it shoulde fo­lowe of necessitie, that sincere doctrine myght alwayes be had and continue, [...] as images. And so that wheresoeuer, to offence, were erected an image, there also of reason, a godly and sin­cere preacher shoulde and myght be continually maynteyned. For it in reason, that the warnyng be as common as the stumblyng blocke: the re­medie as large as is the offence: the medicine as generall as the poyson, but that is not possible, as both reason and experience teacheth. Where­fore preachyng cannot stay idolatrie, images be­yng publiquely suffered. For an image whiche will last for many hundred yeres, may for a litle [Page 119] be bought: but a good preacher can not be with muche contynually maynteyned.

Item if the prince wil suffer it, there wil be by and by many, yea, infinite images: But sincere preachers were and euer shalbe but a fewe, in re­spect of the multitude to be taught. For our saui­our Christe sayth, the haruest is plentifull, but the workemen be but a fewe: whiche hath ben hitherto continually true, and wyl be to the worldes ende. And in our tyme, and here in our countrey so true, that euery shyre shoulde scarsly haue one good preacher, if they were diuided.

Nowe images wyl continually to the behol­ders preache their doctrine, that is, the worship­ping of images and idolatrie, to the whiche prea­ching mankynde is exceedyng prone, and encli­ned to geue eare and credite: as experience of all nations and ages doth to muche proue. But a true preacher to stay this mischeefe, is in very manye places scarsly heard once in a whole yere, and some wheres not once in seuen yeres, as is euident to be proued. And that euyll opinion whiche hath ben long rooted in mens heartes, can not sodenly by one sermon be rooted out cleare. And as fewe are inclined to credite sounde doctrine: as many, and almost all, be prone to su­perstition and idolatrie. So that herein appea­reth not only a difficultie, but also an impossibi­litie of the remedie.

Further, it appeareth not by any storie of cre­dite, that true and sincere preachyng hath endu­red in anye one place aboue one hundred yeres: But it is euident, that images, superstition, [Page 120] and worshyppyng of images and idolatrie, haue continued manye hundred yeres. For all wry­tynges and experience do testifie, that good thynges do by litle and litle euer decaye, vntyll they be cleane banished: and contrarywyse, euyll thynges do more and more encrease, tyll they come to a full perfection of wyckednesse. Ney­ther neede we to seeke examples farre of for a proofe hereof, our present matter is and example. For preachyng of Gods worde (moste sincere in the begynnyng) by processe of tyme, waxed lesse and lesse pure, and after corrupt, and last of all, altogether layde downe and left of, and other inuentions of men crept in place of it. And on the other parte, images among Christian men were firste paynted, and that in whole stories to­gether, whiche had some signification in them: Afterwardes, they were imbossed, and made of tymber, stone, playster, and mettall. And firste they were only kepte pryuately in pryuate mens houses: And then after, they crepte into Chur­ches and Temples, but fyrst by payntyng, and af­ter by embossyng: And yet were they no where at the fyrst worshypped. But shortlye after, they began to be worshypped of the ignoraunte sorte of men: as appeareth by the Epistle that Grego­rie the firste of that name Byshop of Rome, dyd wryte to Serenus Byshop of Marcelles. Of the whiche two Byshoppes, Serenus for idolatrie committed to images, brake them, and burned them, Gregorie although he thought it tolle­rable to let them stande: yet he iudged it abho­minable that they shoulde be worshypped, and [Page 121] thought (as is nowe alleaged) that the wor­shyppyng of them myght be stayed, by teachyng of Gods worde, accordyng as he exhorteth Sere­nus to teache the people, as in the same Epistle appeareth. But whether Gregories opinion, or Serenus iudgement, were better herein con­syder ye I pray you, for experience by and by con­futeth Gregories opinion. For notwithstan­dyng Gregories wrytyng, and the preachyng of others, images beyng once publiquely set vp in Temples and Churches, simple men and women shortly after fell on heapes to worshyp­pyng of them: And at the last, the learned also were caryed away with the publique errour, as with a violent streame or fludde. And at the seconde counsell Nicene, the Byshoppes and Cleargie decreed, that images shoulde be wor­shypped: and so by occasion of these stumblyng blockes, not onlye the vnlearned and simple, but the learned and wyse, not the people onlye, but the Byshoppes, not the sheepe, but also the shepheardes them selues (who shoulde haue ben guydes in the ryght way, and lyght to shyne in darkenesse) beyng blynded by the be witching of images, as blynde guydes of the blynde, fell both into the pitte of damnable idolatrie. In the whiche all the worlde, as it were drowned, con­tynued, vntylourage, by the space of aboue eight hundred yeres, vnspoken agaynst in a maner. And this successe had Gregories order: whiche mischeefe had neuer come to passe, had Byshoppe Serenus way ben taken, and all idols and ima­ges ben vtterly destroyed and abolished: for no [Page 122] man worshippeth that that is not. And thus you see, how from hauing of images priuately, it came to publique settyng of them vp in Chur­ches and Temples, although without harme at the fyrste, as was then of some wyse and learned men iudged: and from simple, hauing them there, it came at the last to worshippyng of them. Firste, by the rude people, who specially (as the Sapi. 13, & 14. Scriptures teacheth) are in daunger of supersti­tion and idolatrie, and afterwardes by the By­shoppes, the learned, and by the whole Cleargie. So that laytie and Clearge, learned and vnlear­ned, all ages, sectes, and degrees of men, women and children of whole Christendome (an horrible and most dreadfull thyng to thynke) haue ben at once drowned in abhominable idolatrie, of all other vices most detested of God, and moste dam­nable to man, and that by the space of eight hun­dred yeres and more. And to this end is come that beginning of settyng vp of images in Churches then iudged harmelesse, in experience proued not onlye harmefull, but exitious and pestilent, and to the destruction and subuertion of all good re­ligion vniuersaliye. So that I conclude, as it may be possible in some one Citie or litle Coun­trey, to haue images set vp in temples and Chur­ches, and yet idolatrie, by earnest and continual preachyng of Gods true worde, and the sincere Gospel of our sauiour Christe, may be kept away for a short tyme: So is it impossible, that (ima­ges once set vp and suffred in temples and Chur­ches) any great countreys, muche lesse the whole worlde, can any long tyme be kepte from idola­trie. [Page 123] And the godly wyll respect not onely their owne Citie, Countrey, and time, and the health of men of their age: but be carefull for all places and tymes, and the saluation of men of all ages. At the leaste, they wyll not lay such stumblyng blockes and snares, for the feete of other coun­treymen and ages, whiche experience hath alre­die proued to haue ben the ruine of the worlde.

Wherefore I make a generall conclusion of all that I haue hitherto sayde: yf the stumblyng blockes, and poysons of mens soules, by settyng vp of images, wyl be many, yea, infinite yf they be suffered, and the warnynges of the same stum­blyng blockes, and remedies for the sayde poy­sons by preachyng, but fewe, as is alredy decla­red: yf the stumblyng blockes be easy to be layde, the poysons soone prouided, and the warnynges and remedies harde to knowe or come by: yf the stumblyng blockes lye continuallye in the way, and poyson be redye at hand euery where, and warnynges and remedies but seldome geuen: and if all men be more redy of them selues to stumble and be offended, then to be warned, all men more redie to drynke of the poyson, then to taste of the remedie (as is before partly, and shall hereafter more fully be declared) and so in fine, the poyson continually and deepely drunke of many, the remedie seldome and fayntly tasted of a fewe: Howe can it be but infinite of the weake and infirme shalbe offended, infinite by ruine shall breake their neckes, infinite by deadly v [...] ­nome be poysoned in their soules? And howe is the charitie of God, or loue of our neyghbour in [Page 124] our heartes then, if when we may remoue suche daungerous stumbling blockes, suche pestilent poysons, we wyll not remoue them? What shall I saye of them whiche wyll laye stumbling blockes, where before was none, and set snares for the feete, nay, for the soules of weake and sim­ple ones, and worke the daunger of their eternal ruine, for whom our Sauiour Christe shed his precious blood, where better it were that the artes of painting, playstering, caruing, grauing, and foundyng, had neuer ben founde nor vsed, then one of them, whose soules in the syght of God are so precious, should by occasion of image or picture perishe and be loste. And thus is it declared that preachyng can not possiblye stay idolatrie, if images be set vp publiquely in Tem­ples and Churches. And as true is it, that no other remedye, as wrytyng agaynst idolatrie, counsels assembled, decrees made agaynste it, se­uere lawes lykewyse and proclamations of prin­ces and Emperours, neyther extreame punysh­mentes and penalties, nor anye other remedye coulde or can be possiblie deuised for the auoy­dyng of idolatrie, if images be publiquely set vp and suffered. For concernyng wrytyng agaynste images, and idolatrie to them committed, there hath ben alleaged vnto you in the second part of this treatise a great manye of places, out of Ter­tulian, Origene, Lactantius, S. Augustine, Epipha­nius, S. Ambrose, Clemens, and diuers other lear­ned & holy byshops and doctours of the Churche. And besides these, all histories ecclesiasticall, and bookes of other godlye and learned byshoppes [Page 125] and Doctours are full of notable examples and sentences agaynst images and the worshyppyng of them. And as they haue moste earnestly wryt­ten, so dyd they sincerely and most diligently in their time teache and preache, accordyng to their wrytynges and examples. For they were then preachyng Byshops, and more often seene in pul­pittes, then in prynces palaces, more often occu­pyed in his legacie, who sayde, go ye into the whole world, and preache the Gospell to all men: then in imbassages and affayres of princes of this worlde. And as they were moste zealous and diligent, so were they of excellent learnyng and godlynes of lyse, and by both of great aucthoritie and credite with the people, and so of more force and lykelyhood to perswade the people, and the people more lyke to beleue and folowe their doc­trine. But if their preachynges coulde not helpe, muche lesse could their writynges, which do but come to the knowledge of a fewe that be learned, in comparison to continuall preachyng, whereof the whole multitude is partaker. Neyther dyd the old fathers, Byshoppes, & Doctours, seueral­lye onlye by preachyng and wrytyng, but also to­gether, great numbers of them assembled in sy­nodes and counsels make decrees and ecclesiasti­call lawes agaynst images, and the worshipping of them: neyther dyd they so once or twyse, but diuers times, and in diuers ages and countreys, assemble synodes and counsels, and made seuere decrees agaynst images and worshyppyng of them, as hath ben at large in the seconde parte of this Nomilee before declared. But all their [Page 126] wrytyng, preachyng, assemblyng in counselles, decreeyng, and makyng of lawes ecclesiasticall, coulde nothyng helpe eyther to pull downe ima­ges to whom idolatrie was committed, or a­gaynst idolatrie whilest images stood. For those blynde bookes and dumbe Scholemaisters, I meane images and idols (for they call them laye mens bookes, and Scholemaisters) by their car­ued and paynted wrytynges, teachyng and prea­chyng idolatrie, preuayled agaynst all their wryt­ten bookes, and preachyng with lyuely voyce, as they call it. Well, if preachyng and wrytyng could not keepe men from worshyppyng of ima­ges and idolatrie, if pennes and wordes coulde not do it, you woulde thynke that penaltie and swordes myght do it, I meane, that prynces by seuere lawes and punishmentes, myght stay this vnbridled affection of al men to idolatrie, though images were set vp and suffered. But experi­ence proueth, that this can no more help agaynst idolatrie, then wrytyng and preachyng. For Christian Emperours (whose aucthoritie ought of reason, and by Gods law, to be greatest) aboue eight in number, and sixe of them successiuelye raigning one after another (as is in the histories before rehearsed) makyng moste seuere lawes and proclamations agaynst idols and idolatrie, images, and the worshipping of images, and exe­cuting most greeuous punishmentes, yea, the pe­naltie of death, vpon the mainteiners of images, and vppon idolaters and image worshyppers: could not bryng to passe, that either images once set vp, myght throughly be destroyed, or that [Page 127] men shoulde refrayne from the worshyppyng of them, beyng set vp. And what thynke you then wyll come to passe, yf men of learnyng shoulde teache the people to make them, and shoulde maynteyne the settyng vp of them, as thynges necessarie in religion? To conclude, it appeareth euidently by all stories and wrytynges, and expe­rience of tymes past, that neither preaching, ney­ther wrytyng, neyther the consent of the learned, nor aucthoritie of the godly, nor the decrees of counsels, neyther the lawes of prynces, nor ex­treame punyshmentes of the offendours in that behalfe, nor no other remedy or meanes, can help agaynst idolatrie, if images be suffered publique­lye. And it is truely sayde, that tymes past are scholemaisters of wysedome to vs that folow and lyue after. Therefore in tymes past, the vertuest and best learned, the moste diligent also, and in number almoste infinite auncient fathers, By­shops, and Doctours, with their wrytyng, prea­chyng, industrie, earnestnes, aucthoritie, assem­bles, and counselles, coulde do nothyng agaynst images & idolatrie, to images once set vp: What can we, neyther in learning, nor holinesse of lyfe, neither in diligence, neither aucthoritie to be compared with them, but men in contempt, and of no estimation (as the world goeth now) a fewe also in number, in so great a multitude & malice of men: What can we do I say, or bryng to passe, to the stay of idolatrie or worshippyng of images, if they be alowed to stand publiquely in temples and Churches? And if so many, so mightie Em­perours, by so seuere lawes and proclamations, [Page 128] so rigorous and extreame punishmentes and exe­cutions, coulde not stay the people from settyng vp and worshypppng of images: what wyll en­sue thynke you, when men shall commend them as necessarie bookes of the lay men? Let vs there­fore of these latter dayes learne this lessen of the experience of the auncient antiquitie, that idola­trie can not possiblie be separated from images anye long tyme: but that as an vnseparable acci­dent, or as a shadowe foloweth the body when the sunne shyneth, so idolatrie foloweth and clea­ueth to the publique hauing of images in Tem­ples and Churches. And finally, as idolatrie is to be abhorred and auoyded, so are images (whiche can not be long without idolatrie) to be put a­way and destroyed. Besides the whiche experi­mentes and proofes of tymes before, the very na­ture and origine of images them selues draweth to idolatrie most violently, and mans nature and inclination also is bent to idolatrie so vehement­ly, that it is not possible to seuer or parte images, nor to kepe men from idolatrie, if images be suf­fred publiquely. That I speake of the nature and origin of images, is this: Euen as the fyrste in­tention of them is naught, & no good can come of that whiche had an euyll begynnyng, for they be altogether naught, as Athanasius in his boke against the gentiles declareth, and saint Jerome also vppon the prophet Jeremie the. vi. Chapter, and Eusebius the seuenth booke of his ecclesi­asticall historie the. xviii. Chapter testifieth, that as they first came from the Gentiles, which were idolaters and worshippers of images, vnto vs, [Page 113] and as the inuention of them was the begin­ning of spirituall fornication, as the worde of God testifieth, Sap. 14. So will they naturally (as it were, and of necessitie) turne to their ori­gine from whence they came, and draw vs with them most violently to idolatrie, abominable to God and all godly men. For if the origine of ima­ges, and worshipping of them, as it is recorded in the eight chapter of the booke of wysedome, began of a blynde loue of a fonde father, framing for his comfort an image of his sōne, being dead, and so at the last men fel to the worshiping of the image of him whom they did know to be deade: Howe much more will men & women fall to the worshipping of the images of God, our sauiour Christ, & his saintes, if they be suffered to stande in churches & temples publiquely? For the grea­ter thoppinion is of the maiestie & holines of the person to whom an image is made, the sooner will the people fall to the worshipping of the sayd images. Wherfore the images of God, our sauiour Christ, the blessed virgin Mary, the apo­stels, martirs, and other of notable holinesse, are of all other images most daungerous for the peril of idolatrie, and therefore greatest heede to be taken that none of them be suffered to stande publiquely in Churches and temples. For there is no great dread least any should fall to the wor­shipping of the images of Annas, Cayphas, Pilat, or Iudas the traytour, if they were set vp. But to the other, it is alredy at full proued, that ido­latrie hath ben [...] is, and is most lyke continually to be committed. Nowe as was before touched, [Page 130] and is here more largely to be declared, the na­ture of man is none otherwyse bent to worship­ping of images (if he maye haue them and see them) then it is bent to whoredome and adultrie in [...]he company of harlots. And as vnto a man geuen to the lust of the fleshe, seyng a wanton harlot, sitting by her, and imbracing her, it pro­fiteth little for one to saye be ware of fornication, God will condempne fornicatours and adulte­rers: [...]. Cor. 6. i. Tess. 4. Heb. 13. For neyther will he, being ouercome with greater enticementes of the strumpet, geue eare or take heede to suche godlye admonitions, and when he is left afterwardes alone with the har­lot, nothing can follow but wickednes: Euen so, suffer images to be syght in Churches and Temples, ye shall in vayne did them beware of images (as saint John doth) and flee idolatrie, as all the scriptures warne vs, ye shall in vayne Iohn. 5. preache and teache them against idolatrie. For a number will notwithstanding fall headlonges vnto it, what by the nature of images, and by the inclination of their owne corrupt nature. Wherefore as a man geuen to luste, to sit downe by a strumpet, is to tempt God: So is it lyke­wyse to erect an idoll in this pronenesse of mans nature to idolatrie, nothing but a tempting. Nowe if any will saye that this similitude pro­ueth nothing, yet I pray them let the worde of God, out of the whiche the similitude is taken, Leui. 17. and. 20. Num. 25. Deute. 31. Baruc. 6. proue something. Doth not the woorde of God call idolatrie spirituall fornication? Doth it not call a gilt or paynted idoll or image, astrumpet with a paynted face? Be not the spirituall wic­kednes [Page 131] of an idols intising, like the flatteries of a wanton harlot? Be not men & women as prone to spirituall fornication (I meane idolatrie) as to carnall fornication? It this be denied, let all na­tions vpon the earth which haue ben idolaters (as by all stories appeareth) proue it true. Let ye Jewes & the people of God whiche were so often and so earnestly warned, so dreadfully threatned concerning images & idolatrie, and so extremely punished therefore (and yet fel vnto it) proue it to be true: as in almost al the bookes of the old Te­stament, namely the Kings & the Cronicles, and the Prophetes, it appeareth most euidently. Let all ages and times, and men of all ages & times, of all degrees and conditions, wise men, learned men, princes, idiotes, vnlearned, and comminal­tie, proue it to be true. If you require examples: For wyse men, ye haue the Egyptians, and the Indian Gimnosophistes, the wysest men of the worlde, you haue Salomon the wysest of all o­ther. For learned men, the Grekes, and namely the Atheniens, exceeding all other nations in su­perstition and idolatrie, as in the historie of the Actes of the Apostles saint Paul chargeth them. Actes. 17. For princes and gouernours, you haue the Ro­manes, Rom. i. the rulers of the roste (as they saye) you haue the same forenamed king Salomon, and al the kinges of Israel and Juda after him, sauing Dauid, Ezechias, and Josias, and one or two more. All these (I say) and infinite others, wyse, learned, princes, and gouernours, being all ido­latours, haue you for examples and a proofe of mens inclination to idolatrie. That I may [Page 116] passe ouer with silence in the meane tyme, infi­nite multitudes and millions of idiotes and vn­learned, the ignorant and grosse people like vnto horses and moyles in whom is no vnderstāding, Psal. 31. whose perill and daunger to fall on heapes to idolatrie by occasion of images, the Scriptures specially foreshe we and geue warning of. And Sap. 13, 14. in deede howe should the vnlearned, simple, and foolishe, scape the nettes and snares of idols and images, in the whiche the wysest and best lear­ned haue ben so entangled, trapped, and wrap­ped? Wherfore the argument holdeth this groūd sure, that men be as enclyned of their corrupt nature to spirituall fornication as to carnall, which the wisedome of God foreseeing, to the ge­nerall prohibition that none shoulde make to them selues anye image or similitude, addeth a cause, depending of mans corrupt nature: Least (sayth God) thou being deceaued with errour, Deut. 4. honour and worship them. And of this grounde of mans corrupt inclination, as well to spiritu­all fornication as to carnall, it must needs folow, that as it is the dutie of the godlie Magistrate, louing honestie, and hating whoredome, to re­moue all Strumpets and harlots, specially out of places notoriouslie suspected, or resorted vnto of naughtie packes, for the auoyding of car­nall fornication: So it is the dutie of the same godly magistrate, after the examples of the godly Kynges Ezechias and Josias, to dryue away all spirituall harlottes (I meane idols and images) specially out of suspected places, churches & tem­ples, daungerous for idolatrie to be committed [Page 133] to images placed there, as it were in the appoyn­ted place and height of honour and worship (as saint Augustine sayth) where the liuing god only (and not dead stones and stoches) is to be wor­shipped: Augustin. in psal. 36. et 113. et. li. 4. ca. 3. de ciuitate dei. It is I say ye office of godly magistrates lykewyse to auoyde images and Idolles out of Churches and Temples, as spirituall harlottes out of suspected places, for the auoyding of ido­latrie, whiche is spirituall fornication. And as he were the enemie of all honestie, that woulde bring strumpettes and harlottes out of their se­crete comers into the publique market place, there freely to dwel and occupie their filthy mar­chaundyse: So is he the enemie of the true wor­shipping of God, that bringeth idols and ima­ges into the Temple and Churche the house of God, there openly to be worshipped, and to spoile the zelous GOD of his honour, who will not geue it to any other, nor his glorie to caruen J­mages, who is as muche forsaken, and the bond of loue betwene man and him as muche broken by idolatrie, whiche is spirituall fornication, as is the knot and bonde of mariage broken by carnall fornication. Let all this be taken as a lye, if the worde of God enforce it not to be true. Cursed be the man, saith God in Deuteronomi­um, Deut. 2 [...]. that maketh a caruen or moulten Image, and placeth it in a secrete corner: and all the peo­ple shall say Amen. Thus sayth God, for at that time no man durst haue or worship images opē ­lye, but in corners onely, and the whole world being the great Temple of God, he that in any corner thereof robbeth God of his glory, and ge­ueth [Page 134] it to stockes and stones, is pronounced by Gods worde accursed. Nowe he that will bring these spirituall harlottes out of their lurkyng corners, into publique Churches and Temples, that spirituall fornication maye there openlye of all men & women without shame be committed with them, no doubte that person is cursed of God, and twyse cursed, and all good and godlye men and women will say Amen, & their Amen will take effect also. Yea, and furthermore the madnesse of all men professing the religion of Christe, nowe by the space of a sorte of hundred yeares, and yet euen in our tyme in so great light of the Gospell verye manye running on heapes by sea and lande, to the great losse of their tyme, expence and waste of their goodes, destitution of their wyues, children, and families, and daun­ger of their own bodies and liues, to Compostile, Rome, Hierusalem, and other farre countries, to visite dumbe and dead stockes and stones, doth sufficiently proue the pronenesse of mans corrupt nature to the seeking of idolles once set vp, and the worshipping of them. And thus aswell by the origin and nature of Idolles and Images them selues, as by the prouenesse and inclinati­on of mans corrupt nature to idolatrie, it is eui­dent, that neither images, if they be publiquely set vp, can be separated, nor men, if they see ima­ges in Temples and Churches, can be stayd and kept from idolatrie. Nowe where as they yet alleage, that howsoeuer the people, princes, learned, and wyse of olde tyme, haue fallen into idolatrie by occasion of images, that yet in our [Page 135] tyme the most part, specially the learned, wyse, and of any aucthoritie, take no hurt nor offence by idolles and images, neyther do runne into farre countreyes to them and worshippe them: And that they knowe well what an idoll or J­mage is, and howe to be vsed, and that there­fore it foloweth, images in Churches and tem­ples to be an indifferent thing, as the whiche of some is not abused: and that therefore they may iustly holde (as was in the beginning of this part by them alleaged) that it is not vnlawfull or wicked absolutelye to haue images in Chur­ches and temples, though it maye for the daun­ger of the simple sorte seeme to be not altogether expedient.

Whereunto maye be well replied, that Salo­mon also the wysest of all men, did well knowe what an idoll or image was, and neyther tooke any harme thereof a great whyle himselfe, and also with his godlye Wrytinges armed others a­gaynst Sap. 13. 14. the daunger of them. But yet afterward the same Salomon suffering his wanton Para­mours to bryng their idolles into his court and palace, was by carnall harlottes perswaded and brought at the laste to the committing of spiritu­all fornication with idolles, and of the wysest and godliest prince, became the most foolyshest Eccle. iii. and, xiii. i. Cor. x. and wickeddest also. Wherefore it is better euen for the wysest to regarde this warning, He that loueth daunger shall perishe therein: and, let him that standeth, beware least he fal, rather then wit­tyngly and willingly to laye suche a stumblyng blocke for his owne feete and others, that maye [Page 136] perhappes bring at last to breakenecke. The good Kyng Ezechias dyd know well enough, [...]. Reg. 18. that the brasen Serpent was but a dead image, and therefore he tooke no hurte himselfe thereby through idolatrie to it: Did he therefore let it stand, because himselfe tooke no hurte thereof? No not so: but being a good kyng, and therefore regarding the health of his seely subiectes, de­ceaued by that image, and committing idolatry thereto, he did not onely take it downe, but also breake it to peeces. And this he did to that image that was set vp by the commaundement of God, in the presence whereof great miracles were wrought, as that whiche was a figure of our sauiour Christ to come, who shoulde deliuer vs from the mortall styng of the olde Serpent Sa­than. Neyther did he spare it in respect of the auncientnesse or antiquitie of it, which had con­tinued aboue seuen hundred yeares, nor for that it had ben suffred, and preserued by so many god­ly kynges before his tyme. Howe thynke you woulde that Godly Prince (if he were nowe li­uing) handle our Idolles, set vp agaynst Gods commaundement directly, and being figures of nothing but folly, and for fooles to gase on, till they become as wyse as the blockes them selues whiche they stare on, and so fall downe as da­red Larkes in that gase, and being them selues alyue, worship a dead stocke or stone, golde or sil­uer, and so become idolaters, abhominable and cursed before the liuing God, geuing the honour due vnto him whiche made them when they were nothing, and to our Sauiour Christ who [Page 137] redeemed them being lost, to the dead & dumbe idoll, the worke of mans hande, whiche neuer did nor can do any thing for them, no is not able to stirre nor once to moue, and therefore worse then a vyle worme which can moue and creepe. The excellent kyng Josias also did take him selfe no hurte of Images and Idols, for he did knowe well what they were: did he therefore because of his owne knowledge let Idols and images stand? muche lesse did he set any vp? Or rather did he not by his knowledge and auctho­ritie also succour the ignoraunce of suche as did not knowe what they were, by vtter taking awaye of all suche stumbling blockes as might be occasion of ruine to his people and subiectes. Will they because a fewe toke no hurt by images or idols, breake the generall lawe of God, Thou shalt make to thee no similitude. &c They might aswell, because Moyses was not seduced by Ie­throes daughter, nor Boos by Ruth, being straungers, reason, that all the Jewes might breake the generall lawe of God, forbidding his people to ioyne their children in mariage with straungers, least they seduce their children that they shoulde not followe God. Wherefore they which thus reason, Though it be not expedient, yet it is lawfull to haue images publiquely, and do proue that lawfulnesse by a fewe pyked and chosen men: if they obiecte that indifferently to all men, whiche a verie fewe can haue without hurte and offence, they seeme to take the multi­tude for vyle soules (as he sayeth in Virgil) of whose losse and safegarde no reputation is to be [Page 138] had, for whom yet Christe payde as dearelye as for the myghtiest prince, or the wysest and best learned in the earth. And they that will haue it generally to be taken for indifferent, for that a verye fewe take no hurte of it, though infinite multitudes besyde perishe thereby: shewe that they put little difference betwene the multitude of christians and bruite beastes, whose daunger they do so little esteeme. Besides this, if they be Byshoppes or parsonnes, or otherwyse hauing charge of mens consciences, that thus reason, It is lawfull to haue images publiquely, though it be not expedient, what maner of pastours shew they thē selues to be to their flocke, which thrust vnto them that, which they them selues confesse not to be expedient for them, but to the vtter ruyne of the soules committed to their charge, for whom they shall geue a strayte accompt be­fore the prince of pastours at the last daye? For in deede, to obiecte to the weake and redy to fall of them selues such stumbling blockes, is a thing not onely not expedient, but vnlawful, yea, and most wicked also. Wherefore it is to be wondered how they can cal images, set vp in churches and temples to no profite or benefite of any, and to so great peril and daunger, yea, hurt and destruc­tion of manye, or rather infinite, thinges indif­ferent. Is not the publique setting vp of them rather a snare for all men, and the tempting of God? I beseche these reasoners to call to mynd their owne accustomed ordinaunce and decree, whereby they determined that the Scripture, though by GOD him selfe commaunded to be [Page 139] knowen of all men, women, and children, should not be read of the simple, nor had in the vulgare Deut. 31. tongue, for that (as they sayd) it was daunge­rous, by bringing the simple people into errors. And will they not forbid Images to be set vp in Churches and Temples, whiche are not com­maunded, but forbidden most straytlye by God, but let them stil be there, yea, and mainteine thē also, seing the people are brought, not in daun­ger onelye, but in deede into most abhominable errour and detestable idolatrie thereby? Shall Gods worde, by God commaunded to be read vnto all and knowen of all, for daunger of here­sie (as they saye) be shut vp? and idolles and ima­ges, not withstanding they be forbidden by God, and not withstanding the daunger of idolatrie by them, shall they yet be set vp, suffered, & main­teyned in churches and temples? O worldly and fleshely wysedome, euer bent to maynteyne the inuentions and traditions of men by carnal rea­son, and by the same to disanull or deface the ho­ly ordinaunces, lawes, and honour of the eter­nall God, who is to be honoured and praysed for euer. Amen.

Nowe it remayneth for the conclusion of this treatie, to declare aswell the abuse of churches & temples, by to costely and sumptuous deckyng and adourning of them, as also the leude pain­tyng, gylding, and clothing of idols and images, and so to conclude the whole treatie. Tertull. Apollog. cap. 39.

In Tertulians tyme, an hundred and three­score yeares after Christe, Christians had none [Page 140] other temples but commō houses, whyther they for the most part secretely resorted. And so farre of was it that they had before his tyme any goodly or gorgious declied temples, that lawes were made in Antonius Verus and Commodus the Emperours times, that no christians should dwell in houses, come in publique bathes, or be Eus. lib. 5. Eccl. hist. seene in streetes, or any where abroade, and that if they were once accused to be Christians, they should by no meanes be suffred to escape. As was practised in Apolonius a noble Senatour Hieroni­mus. of Rome, who being accused of his owne bonde­man and slaue that he was a Christian, coulde neyther by his defence and appologie learnedly and eloquentlie written, and read publiquely in the Senate, nor in respect that he was a ci [...]zen, nor for the dignitie of his order, nor for the vyle­nesse and vnlawfulnesse of his accuser, being his owne slaue, by lykelihoode of malice moued to forge lyes against his lorde, nor for no other res­pect or helpe, could be deliuered from death. So that christians wer then driuen to dwel in caues and dennes: so farre of was it that they had any publique temples adourned and decked as they now be. Which is here rehearsed to the confu­tation of those impudent shamlesse lyers, whiche reporte suche glorious glosed fables, of the good­ly and gorgious Temple that Saynt Peter, Li­nus, Cletus, and those thirtie Bishoppes their successours had at Rome, vntill the time of the Emperour Constantine, and whiche saint Poli­carpe should haue in Asia, or Ireneus in Fraunce, by suche lyes, contrarie to all true Histories, [Page 125] to maynteyne the superfluous gylding and dec­king of Temples now a dayes, wherein they put almost the whole summe and pith of our religi­on. But in those tymes the worlde was wonne to Christendome, not by gorgious, gylted, and paynted temples of christians, which had scarse­ly houses to dwell in: but by the godly, and as it were golden mynds, and fyrine fayth of suche as in al aduersitie & persecution professed the trueth of our religion. And after these tymes, in Maxi­mian Eus. lib. 8. cap. 19. et li. 9. ca. 9. and Constantius the Emperors proclama­tion, the places wher Christians resorted to pub­lique prayer, were called conuenticles. And in Galerius Maximinus the Emperors Epistle, they are called Oratories and Dominica, to saye, pla­ces dedicate to the seruice of the Lorde. And here by the waye it is to be noted, that at that tyme there were no Churches or temples erected vnto any saint, but to God onely, as Saint Au­gustine De ciuita. li. 8. ca. 1. also recordeth, saying: we buyld no tem­ples vnto our martirs. And Eusebius him selfe calleth Churches, houses of prayer, and sheweth that in Constantine the emperours tyme, al men reioyced, seeing in steade of lowe conuenticles, whiche tyraunts had destroyed, hygh temples to be buylded. Loe, vnto the tyme of Constantine, by the space of aboue three hundred yeares after our sauiour Christ, when christian religion was most pure, and in deede golden, Christians had but lowe and poore conuenticles and simple ora­tories, yea, caues vnder the groūd called Cryptae, Cryptae [...]. where they for feare of persecution assembled se­cretely together. A sigure whereof remayneth in [Page 142] the vaultes whiche yet are buylded vnder great Churches, to put vs in remembraunce of the old state of the primitiue church before Constantine, where as in Constantines tyme, and after him, were buylded great and goodly temples for chri­stians, called Basilicae, either for that the Grekes Basilicae. vsed to call all great and goodly places Basilicas, or for that the hyghe and euerlasting kyng God and our Sauiour Christe was serued in them. But although Constantine, and other princes, of good zeale to our religion, did sumptuouslye decke and adourne Christians temples, yet did they dedicate at that time all Churches and tem­ples to God or our Sauiour Christe, and to no saint, for that abuse began long after in Iustini­ans Nouel constitu. 3. et. 47. tyme. And that gorgeousnes then vsed, as it was borne with, as rysing of a good zeale: so was it signified of ye godly learned euen at that tyme, that such coste might otherwyse haue ben better bestowed. Let saint Jerome (although o­therwyse to great a lyker and a lower of exter­nall and outwarde thinges) be a proofe hereof, who hath these wordes in his Epistle to Deme­triades: Let other (sayeth saint Jerome) buylde Churches, couer walles with tables of marble, carrye together huge pyllers, and gylde their toppes or heades, whiche do not feele or vnder­stande their precious decking and adourning, let them decke the doores with iuorie and siluer, and set the golden Aulters with precious stones, I blame it not, let euerye man abounde in his owne sense, and better is it so to do, then care­fullye [Page 143] to keepe their ryches layde vp in store. But thou hast another waye appoynted thee, to cloth Christ in the poore, to visit him in the sicke, feede him in the hungrie, lodge him in those who do lacke harbour, and specially suche as be of the householde of fayth.

And the same Saint Jerome toucheth the same matter some what more freelye in his trea­tie of the lyfe of Clarkes to Nepotian, saying thus: Many buylde walles, and erect pyllers of Churches, the smoothe marbles do glister, the roofe shyneth with Golde, the aulter is set with precious stone: But of the ministers of Christe, there is no election or choyce. Neither let any man obiecte and aleage agaynst me the ryche temple that was in Jurie, ye table, candlestickes, incense, shippes, platters, cuppes, morters, and other thinges all of golde. Then were these thin­ges allowed of the Lorde, when the Priestes of­fered sacrifices, and the blood of beastes was ac­compted the redemption of sinnes. Howbeit, all these thinges went before in figure, and they were written for vs, vppon whom the ende of the worlde is come. And nowe when that our Lorde beyng poore, hath dedicate the pouertie of his house, let vs remember his crosse, and we shall esteeme ryches as myre ordongue. What do wee maruell at that whiche Christe calleth wicked Mammon? Whereto do we so hyghlye esteeme and loue that, whiche saint Peter doth for a glorie testifie that he had not. Nytherto saint Jerome.

[Page 128] Thus you see how saint Jerome teacheth the sumptuousnes amongst ye Jewes to be a figure to signifie, and not an example to follow, & that those outward thinges were suffered for a tyme, vntill Christ our Lorde came, who turned all those outwarde thinges into spirite, fayth, and trueth. And the same saynt Jerome vpon the se­uenth chapter of Jeremy saith: God commaun­ded both the Jewes at that time, and nowe vs who are placed in the Churche, that we haue no trust in the goodlinesse of building and gylte rooffes, and in walles couered with tables of marble, and say: the temple of the Lord, the tem­ple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord. For that is the temple of the lorde wherein dwelleth true fayth, godly conuersation, and the company of all vertues. And vppon the Prophet Agge, he descrybeth the true and ryght decking of orna­mentes of the Temple after this sorte: I (sayth Saint Jerome) do thinke the siluer wherewith the house of God is decked, to be the doctrine of the scriptures, of the whiche it is spoken: The doctrine of the Lorde is a pure doctrine, siluer tryed in fyre, purged from drosse, purified seuen tymes. And I do take golde to be that which re­mayneth in the hid sense of the saintes, and the secrete of the heart, and shyneth with the true lyght of God. Which is euident that the Apostle also meant of the saintes that buylde vppon the foundation of Christ, some siluer, some golde, some precious stones: that by the Golde, the hid sense, by siluer, godlye vtteraunce, by preci­ous stones, workes whiche please God, myght [Page 145] be signified. With these mettals, the Churche of our sauiour is made more goodly and gorgeous, then was the synagogue in olde tyme. With these liuely stones, is the Churche and house of Christ builded, and peace is geuen to it for euer. All these be saint Hieromes sayinges. No more dyd the olde godly Bishops and doctours of the Churche, allowe the outragious furniture of Temples and Churches, with plate, vesselles of golde, siluer, and precious vestures. Saint Chri­sostome sayth, In the ministerie of the holy Sa­cramentes, there is no neede of golden vesselles, but of golden mindes. And saint Ambrose saith, 2. Offi ca­pitu. 28. Christe sent his Apostles without golde, and ga­thered his Church without golde. The Churche hath golde, not to hepe it, but to bestowe it on the necessities of the poore. The Sacramentes looke for no golde, neyther do they please God for the cōmendation of golde, which are not bought for golde. The adournyng and deckyng of the Sacramentes, is the redemption of captyues. Thus much saint Ambrose.

Saint Hierome commendeth Exuperius By­shop of Tolose, that he caryed the Sacrament of the Lordes bodye in a wycker basket, and the Sacrament of his blood in a glasse, and so caste couetousnes out of the Churche. And Bonifacius Tit. de cō ­secra. can. Triburien Byshop and martyr, as it is recorded in the de­crees, testifieth, that in olde tyme the ministers vsed treene, and not golden vessels. And Zephe­rinus the. xvi. Byshoppe of Rome made a decree that they shoulde vse vesselles of glasse. Lyke­wyse were the vestures vsed in the Churche in [Page 146] olde tyme very playne and single, and nothyng costly. And Rabanus at large declareth, that this Li. 1. insti. cap. 14. costly and manifolde furniture of vestmentes of late vsed in the Churche, was fet from the Je­wishe vsage, and agreeth with Aarons appa­relling almost altogether. For the maintenaunce of the which, Innocentius the Pope pronounceth boldly, that all the customes of the olde lawe be not abolished, that we might in suche apparel, of Christians, the more willingly become Jewish. This is noted, not agaynst Churches & temples, which are most necessary, & ought to haue theyr due vse and honour, as is in another Homilee for theyr purpose declared, nor against the conue­nient cleanlinesse and ornamentes thereof: but agaynst the sumptuousnes & abuses of Temples and Churches. For it is a Churche or Temple also, that glistereth with no marble, shyneth with no golde, nor syluer, glittereth with no pearles nor precious stones: but with plainnesse and frugalitie, signifieth no proude doctrine nor people, but humble, frugall, and nothyng estee­myng earthly and outwarde thynges, but glori­ouslye decked with inwarde ornamentes, accor­ding as the prophet declareth, saying, The kings daughter is altogether glorious inwardlye.

Nowe concernyng outragious deckyng of ima­ges and idolles, with paynting, gyldyng, adour­nyng with precious vestures, pearle, and stone, what is it els, but for the further prouocation and intisement to spirituall fornication, to decke spirituall harlottes moste costly and wantonlye: which the idolatrious Churche vnderstandeth [Page 147] wel enough. For shee beyng in deede not only an harlot (as the scriptures calleth her) but also a foule, fylthye, olde, withered harlot (for she is in deede of auncient yeres) and vnderstandyng her lacke of naturall and true beawtie, and great lothsomenesse, whiche of her selfe she hath, doth (after the custome of suche harlottes) paynte her selfe, and decke & tire her selfe with golde, pearle, stone, and all kinde of precious iewels, that she shyning with the outward beawtie and glory of them, may please the foolyshe fantasie of fonde louers, and so entice them to spirituall fornicati­on with her: Who, yf they sawe her (I wyll not say naked) but in simple apparell, woulde abhorre her, as the fowlest and fylthyest harlot that euer was seene: Accordyng as appeareth by the discription of the garnyshyng of the great strumpette of all strumpettes, the mother of whoredome, set foorth by saint John in his Apo. 16. 18 reuelation, who by her glorye prouoked the Princes of the earth to committe whoredome with her. Whereas on the contrarye part, the true Churche of GOD, as a chaste matrone, espoused (as the scripture teacheth) to one husbande, our sauiour Jesus Christe, whom alone she is content onlye to please and serue, and looketh not to delyght the eyes or phanta­sies of any other straunge louers, or wooers: is content with her naturall ornamentes, not doubtyng, by suche sincere simplicitie, best to please him, which can well skil of the difference betweene a paynted visage, and true naturall beawtie. And concerning such glorious gildyng [Page 148] and decking of images, both Gods worde wryt­ten in the. x. Chapter of the prophete Hierome, Hier. 10. and saint Hieromes commentaries vppon the same, are moste worthye to be noted. Firste, the wordes of the scriptures be these: The worke­man with his are he wed the tymber out of the wood, with the worke of his handes, he dec­ked it with golde and syluer, he ioyned it with nayles and pinnes, and the stroke of an hammer, that it myght holde together. They be made smothe as the Palme, and they can not speake: yf they be borne, they remoue, for they can not go. Feare ye them not, for they can neyther do euyll nor good. Thus sayth the prophete. Upon which text, saint Hierome hath these wordes: This is the description of idols, which the Gen­tiles worshyp, theyr matter is vyle & corruptible. And whereas the artificer is mortal, the thinges he maketh must nedes be corruptible, he decketh it with siluer and golde, that with glitteryng or shynyng of both mettals, he may deceaue the simple. Which errour in deede hath passed ouer from the Gentiles, that we should iudge religion to stand in riches. And by and by after, he saith, They haue the beawtie of mettals, & be beawti­fied by the arte of payntyng, but good or profite is there none in them. And shortly after againe, They make great promises, and deuise an image of vayne worshipping of theyr owne plantasies, they make great bragges to deceaue euery simple body, they dull and amase the vnderstandyng of the vnlearned, as it were with golden senses, and eloquence, shynyng with the bryghtnesse of [Page 149] syluer. And of theyr owne deuisers and makers, are these images aduaunced and magnified, in the whiche is no vtilitie nor profite at all, and the worshyppyng of the whiche, properly partei­neth to the Gentiles and Heathen, and suche as knowe not God.

Thus farre of faint Hieromes wordes. Where­vpon you may note aswell his iudgement of images them selues, as also of the paynting, gil­dyng, and deckyng of them: that it is an errour whiche came from the Gentiles, that it perswa­deth religion to remayne in richesse, that it ama­seth & deceaueth the simple and vnlearned, with golden senses and syluer shinyng eloquence, and that it apparteyneth properlye to the Gentiles and Heathens, and suche as knowe not GOD. Wherefore the hauyng, payntyng, gyldyng, and deckyng of images by S. Hieromes iudgement, is erronious, seducing and bringing into errour (specially the simple and vnlearned) heathenish, and voyde of the knowledge of God.

Surely the prophete Daniel in the. xi. Chap­ter declareth such sumptuous decking of images with golde, syluer, and pretious stones, to be a token of antechristes kingdome, who (as the pro­phete foresheweth) shall worship God with suche gorgeous thynges. Nowe vsuallye suche out­ragious adorning & deckyng of images, hath ry­sen and ben maynteyned, eyther of offrings pro­uoked by superstition and geuen in idolatrie, or of spoyles, robberies, vsurye, or goodes other­wyse vniustly gotten, whereof wicked men haue geuen parte to the images or saintes, (as they [Page 150] call them) that they myght be pardoned of the whole: as of diuers writings & old monuments, concerning the cause and ende of certayne great gyftes, may well appeare. And in deede suche money so wyckedly gotten, is moste meete to be put to so wycked a vse. And that whiche they take to be amendes for the whole before God, is more abominable in his syght, then both the wycked gettyng, and the more wycked spendyng of all the reste. For howe the Lorde aloweth suche gyftes, he declareth euidentlye in the pro­phete Esaias, saying, I (sayth the Lord) do loue iudgement, and I hate spoile and rauenie offred Esai. 61. in sacrifice: whiche the verye Gentiles vnder­stoode. For Plato sheweth, that such men as sup­pose Dialogo. de legib' 10. that God doth pardon wicked men, yf they geue parte of theyr spoyles and rauine to hym, take hym to be lyke a dogge, that woulde be en­treated and hired with part of the pray, to suffer the Wolues to weerye the sheepe. And in case the goodes wherwith images be decked, were iustly gotten, yet is it extreame madnesse, so foolyshly and wickedlye to bestowe goodes purchased by wisdome and trueth. Of such lewdnesse Lactan­tius Li. 2. insti. cap. 4. wryteth thus. Men do in vayne decke ima­ges of the gods with golde, Juorie, and precious stone, as though they coulde take any pleasure of these thinges: For what vse haue they of preci­ous giftes, which vnderstand nor feele nothing? Euen the same that dead men haue. For with like reason do they bury dead bodies, farced with spyces and odours, and clothed with precious vestures, and decke images, which neither felt or [Page 151] knewe when they were made, nor vnderstande when they be honoured, for they get no sense & vnderstanding by their consecration. Thus farre Lactantius, and muche more, to long here to re­hearse, declaryng that as litle girles playe with litle puppettes, so be these decked images great puppettes for olde fooles to play with. And that we may knowe what, not only men of our reli­gion, but Ethnikes also, iudge of suche decking of dead images, it is not vnprofitable to heare what Seneca, a wyse and excellent learned Se­natour of Rome and Philosopher, sayth concer­nyng the foolyshnesse of auncient & graue men, vsed in his tyme in worshyppyng and decking of images: We saith (Seneca) be not twyse children (as the common saying is) but alwaies children: but this is the difference, that we beyng elder, play the children, and in these playes they bryng in before, great and well decked puppettes (for so he calleth images) oyntmentes, incense, and odours. To these puppettes they offer vp sacri­fice, whiche haue a mouth, but not the vse of teethe. Uppon these they put attyryng and pre­cious apparell, whiche haue no vse of clothes. To these they geue golde and syluer, whiche they who receaue it (meanyng the images) lacke, aswell as they that haue geuen it from them. And Seneca muche commendeth Dionisi­us kyng of Sicile, for his merrye robbyng of suche decked and iewelled puppettes. But you wyll aske, what doth this apparteyne to our images, whiche is wrytten agaynst the idols of the Gentiles? Altogether surelye. For [Page 152] what vse or pleasure hath our images of theyr deckyng and precious ornamentes? Dyd our images vnderstande when they were made? or know when they be so trimmed and decked? Be not these thinges bestowed vpon them, as much in vaine, as vpon dead men which haue no sense? Wherefore it foloweth, that there is like foolish­nesse and lewdenesse in deckyng of our images, as great puppettes for olde fooles, like children, to playe the wycked play of idolatrie before, as was among the Ethnikes and Gentiles. Our Churches stande full of suche great puppettes, wonderously decked and adourned, Garlandes, and Coronettes be set on theyr heades, precious pearles hangyng about theyr neckes, theyr fyngers shyne with rynges, set with precious stones, theyr dead and styffe bodyes, are clothed with garmentes styffe with golde. You woulde beleue that the images of our men saintes, were some Princes of Persie lande with theyr proude apparell, and the idolles of our women saintes, were nice & well trimmed harlottes, temptyng theyr paramours to wantonnesse: Whereby the saintes of God are not honoured, but most dis­honoured, and theyr godlynesse, sobernesse, cha­stitie, contempt of riches and of the vanitie of the worlde, defaced and brought in doubt, by suche monstrous deckyng, moste differyng from theyr sober and godlye lyues. And because the whole Pageaunt muste throughly be playde, it is not enough thus to decke idols, but at the last come in the Priestes them selues, lykewyse decked with golde and pearle, that they may be meete [Page 153] seruauntes for suche Lordes and ladies, and fyt worshyppers of suche gods and goddesses. And with a solemne pace they passe foorth before these golden puppets, and downe to the ground on theyr marybones before these honourable idols, and then rising vp againe, offer vp odours and incense vnto them, to geue the people an ex­ample of double idolatrie, by worshyppyng not only the idoll, but the golde also, and rychesse wherewith it is garnished. Which thinges, the most part of our olde martyrs rather then they would do, or once kneele, or offer vp one crumbe of incense before an image, suffered moste cruell and terrible deathes, as the histories of them at large do declare. And here agayne theyr allega­tian out of Gregorie the first and Damassen, that Gregor. Episto. ad Serenum Massile. Damas. de fide or tho. lib. 4. cap. 17. images be the laye mens bookes, and that pyc­ture is the scripture of idiottes and simple per­sons, is worthy to be consydered. For as it hath ben touched in diuers places before, howe they be bookes teachyng nothyng but lyes, as by saint Paul in the first Chapter to the Romanes euidently appeareth, of the images of GOD: So what maner of bookes and scripture these paynted and gylte images of saintes be vnto the common people, note well I praye you. For after that our preachers shall haue instruc­ted and exhorted the people to the folowyng of the vertues of the saintes, as contempte of this worlde, pouertie, sobernesse, chastitie, and suche lyke vertues, whiche vndoubtedlye were in the saintes: Thynke you assoone as they turne their faces from the preacher, and looke vppon the [Page 154] grauen bookes and paynted scripture of the glo­rious gylte images and idolles, all shynyng and glytteryng with mettall and stone, and couered with precious vestures, or els with Choerea in Terence, beholde a paynted table, wherein is set foorth by the art of the paynter, an image with a nice and wanton apparell and countenaunce, more lyke to Venus or Flora, then Marie Mag­dalene, or yf lyke to Marie Magdalene, it is when she played the harlot, rather then when she wept for her sinnes. When I say they turne about from the preacher, to these bookes and scoolemaisters and paynted scriptures: shall they not fynde them lying bookes? teachyng other maner of lessons, of esteeming of riches, of pride, and vanitie in apparell, of nycenesse and wan­tonnesse, and peraduenture of whoredome; as Choerea of lyke pyctures was taught. And in Lucian, one learned of Venus Gnidia a lesson, to abominable here to be remembred. Be not these thynke you pretye bookes and scriptures for simple people, and specially for wyues and young maydens to looke in, reade on, and learne suche lessons of? What wyll they thinke eyther of the preacher, who taught them con­trarye lessons of the saintes, and therefore by these caruen doctours, are charged with a lye, or of the saintes them selues, yf they beleue these grauen bookes and paynted scriptures of them, who make the saintes nowe raignyng in heauen with God, to theyr great dishonour, scoolemaisters of suche vanitie, which they in theyr lyfe tyme moste abhorred? For what [Page 155] lessons of contempte of rychesse and vanitie of this worlde, can such bookes so besmeared with golde, set with stone, couered with silkes, teache? What lessons of sobernesse and chastitie, can our women learne of these pyctured scriptures, with theyr nice apparell and wanton lookes? But away for shame with these coloured clokes of idolatrie, of the bookes and scriptures of ima­ges and pictures, to teache idiottes, nay to make idiotes and starke fooles & beastes of Christians. Do men, I pray you, when they haue the same bookes at home with them, runne on pylgry­mage to seeke like bookes at Rome, Compostella, or Hierusalem, to be taught by them, when they haue the lyke to learne of at home? Do men reuerence some bookes, and despyse and set lyght by other of the same sorte? Do men kneele before theyr bookes, light candels at noone time, burne incense, offer vp gold and siluer, and other giftes to theyr bookes? Do men eyther fayne or beleue miracles to be wrought by theyr bookes? I am sure that the newe Testament of our saui­our Jesus Christe, conteynyng the worde of lyfe, is a more lyuely, expresse, and true image of our sauiour, then all carued, grauen, moulten, and paynted images in the worlde be, and yet none of all these thynges be done to that booke or scripture of the Gospell of our sauiour, which be done to images & pictures, the bookes and scrip­tures of lay men and idiotes, as they call them. Wherfore call them what they list, it is most eui­dent by theyr deedes, that they make of them no other bookes nor scriptures then suche as teache [Page 156] most fylthye and horrible idolatrie, as the vsers of such bookes dayly proue by continuall practi­syng the same. O bookes and scriptures, in the whiche the deuilyshe scoolemaister satan, hath penned the lewde lessons of wicked idola­trie, for his dastardelye disciples and scollers to beholde, reade, and learne, to Gods most hygh dishonour, and theyr moste horrible damnation. Haue not we ben muche bounde, thinke you, to those whiche shoulde haue taught vs the trueth out of Gods booke and his holye scripture, that they haue shut vp that booke and scripture from vs, and none of vs so bolde as once to open it, or reade on it? and in steade thereof, to spreade vs abroade these goodly caruen and gylted bookes and paynted scriptures, to teache vs suche good and godly lessons? Haue not they done wel, after they ceassed to stande in pulpittes them selues, and to teache the people committed to theyr in­struction, kepyng scilence of Gods worde and be­come dumbe dogges (as the prophete calleth them) to set vp in theyr steade, on euery pyller and corner of the Church, such goodly doctours, as dumbe, but more wicked then them selues be? We neede not to complayne of the lacke of one dumbe Parson, hauing so many dumbe deuelish Uicars (I meane these idols & painted puppets) to teache in theyr steade. Nowe in the meane sea­son, whilest the dumbe and dead idols stand thus decked & clothed, contrary to gods law and com­maundement, ye poore christian people, the liuely images of God, commended to vs so tenderly by our sauiour Christe as moste deare to him, stand [Page 157] naked, shyneryng for colde, and theyr teeth chat­teryng in theyr heades, and no man couereth them, are pyned with hunger and thirste, and no man geueth them a peny to refresh them, where as poundes be redye at all tymes (contrarye to Gods worde and will) to decke and trymme dead stockes and stones, whiche neyther feele colde, hunger, ne thirst.

Clemens hath a notable sentence concernyng this matter, saying thus, That serpent the de­uyll Lib 5. ad Iacobum Domini. doth by the mouth of certayne men vtter these wordes: [...]e for the honour of the inuisible god, do worship visible images: which doubtlesse is most false. For yf you wyll truely honour the image of God, you should by doyng well to man, honour the true image of God in hym. For the image of God is in euery man: But the likenesse of God is not in euery one, but in those onlye which haue a godly heart and pure mynde. If you wyll therefore truely honour the image of God, we do declare to you the trueth, that ye do well to man, who is made after the image of God, that you geue honour and reuerence to hym, and refreshe the hungry with meate, the thirstie with drynke, the naked with clothes, the sicke with attendaunce, the straunger harbour­lesse with lodgyng, the prysoners with necessa­ries, & this shalbe accompted as truely bestowed vpon God. And these thynges are so directlye apparteynyng to Gods honour, that whosoeuer doth not this, shall seeme to haue reproched and done villanye to the image of GOD. For what honour of God is this, to runne to images of [Page 158] stocke and stone, and to honour vayne and dead figures of God, and to despise man, in whom is the true image of God? And by and by after he sayth, Understande ye therefore that this is the suggestion of the serpent satan, lurkyng with­in you, whiche perswadeth you that you are god­lye when you honour insensible & dead images, and that you be not vngodly when you hurt or leaue vnsuccoured the lyuely and reasonable cre­atures. All these be the wordes of Clemens.

Note I pray you, howe this most auncient and learned doctour, within one hundred yeres of our sauiour Christes tyme, moste playnely tea­cheth, that no seruice of God, or religion accepta­ble to him, can be in honouryng of dead images: but in succouring of the poore, the liuely images of God, according to saint James, who sayth, This is the pure and true religion before God the father, to succour fatherlesse and motherlesse chyldren and wyddowes in theyr affliction, and to hepe hym selfe vndefyled from this worlde. True religion then and pleasing of god, standeth not in makyng, settyng vp, payntyng, gylding, clothing, & decking of dumbe and dead images (which be but great puppettes and mawmettes for old fooles in dotage, and wicked idolatrie, to dally and play with) nor in kyssyng of them, cap­pyng, kneelyng, offeryng to them, in sensyng of thē, setting vp of candels, hanging vp of legges, armes, or whole bodies of waxe before them, or praying, & askyng of them or of saintes, thynges belongyng onlye to God to geue. But al these thynges be vayne and abominable, and moste [Page 159] damnable before God. Wherefore all suche do not only bestowe theyr money and labour in vayne: but with theyr paynes and coste, purchase to them selues gods wrath & vtter indignation, and euerlasting damnation both of bodye and soule. For ye haue hearde it euidently proued in these Homilees against idolatrie, by Gods word, the doctours of the Churche, ecclesiasticall hi­stories, reason, and experience, that images haue ben and be worshypped, and so idolatrie commit­ted to them by infinite multitudes, to the great offence of Gods maiestie, and daunger of infinite soules, and that idolatrie can not possiblye be separated from images set vp in Churches and Temples, gylded and decked gorgeouslye, and that therfore our images be in deede verye idols, and so all the prohibitions, lawes, curses, threatnynges of horrible plagues, as well tempo­rall as eternall, conteyned in the holy scripture, concerning idols, and the makers, mainteyners, and worshyppers of them, apparteyne also to our images set vp in Churches and Temples, to the makers, maynteyners, and worshyppers of them. And all those names of abomination, which Gods word in the holy scriptures geueth to the idols of the Gentiles, apparteyne to our images, beyng idolles like to them, and hauyng lyke idolatrie committed vnto them. And Gods owne mouth in the holye scriptures calleth them vanities, lyes, deceyptes, vncleanlynesse, fylthynesse, dounge, mischeefe, and abomina­tion before the Lorde. Wherefore Gods horrible wrath, and our moste dreadfull daunger, can [Page 160] not be auoyded, without the destruction and vt­ter abolishing of all suche images and idols out of the Churche and Temple of God, whiche to accomplyshe, GOD put in the myndes of all Christian princes. And in the meane tyme, let vs take heede and be wyse, O ye beloued of the Lord, and let vs haue no straunge gods, but one only god, who made vs when we were nothing, the father of our Lord Jesus Christe, who redee­med vs when we were lost, and with his holye Iohn. 17. spirite who doth sanctifie vs. For this is lyfe euerlastyng, to knowe hym to be the onlye true God, and Jesus Christe whom he hath sent. Let vs honour and worship for religions sake none but him, and hym let vs worshyp and honour as he will him selfe, and hath declared by his word, that he wil be honoured and worshipped, not in, nor by images or idolles, whiche he hath moste strayghtly forbidden, neyther in kneelyng, lygh­tyng of candels, burnyng of incense, offeryng vp of gyftes vnto images & idols, to beleue that we shall please hym, for all these be abomination be­fore God: but let vs honour and worshyp god in spirite and trueth, fearyng and louing hym Iohn 4. aboue all thynges, trustyng in hym onlye, callyng vppon hym, and praying to hym only, praysyng and laudyng of hym onlye, and all other in hym, and for hym. For suche worshyp­pers doth our heauenly father loue, who is the most purest spirite, and therefore wyll be wor­shypped in spirite and trueth. And suche wor­shyppers were Abraham, Moyses, Dauid, Heli­as, Peter, Paul, John, and all other the holye [Page 161] patriarkes, prophetes, apostles, martyrs, and all true saintes of God, who all as the true friendes of God, were enemies and destroyers of images and idols as the enemies of God and his true re­ligion. Wherefore take heede and be wyse, O ye beloued of the Lorde, and that whiche others, contrarie to gods worde, bestowe wickedly, and to their damnation, vpon dead stockes & stones, (no images, but enemies of god and his saintes) that bestowe ye, as the faithfull seruauntes of God, according to Gods worde, mercifully vpon poore men and women, fatherlesse children, wy­dowes, sicke persons, straungers, prisoners, and such others that be in any necessitie, that ye may at that great daye of the Lorde, heare that most blessed and comfortable saying of our Sauiour Christ: Come ye blessed into the kingdome of my father, prepared for you before the beginning of the worlde. For I was hungrye, and ye gaue me meate, thirstie, and ye gaue me drinke, naked, & ye clothed me, harbourlesse, and ye lodged me, in prison, and ye visited me, sicke, & ye comforted me. For whatsoeuer ye haue done for the poore and needie in my name, & for my sake, that haue ye done for me. To the which his heauenly king­dome, God the father of mercies bring vs, for Jesus Christes sake our onelye sauiour, media­tour, and aduocate, to whom, with the holy ghost, one immortall, inuisible, and most glorious God, be all honour and thankesgeuing, and glorie world without end.

Amen.

❧ An Homilee for repairing and keping cleane, and come­lye adourning of Churches.

IT is a cōmon custome vsed of all mē, when they intend to haue their freendes or neighbours to com to their houses to eate or drink with them, or to haue anye so­lempne assembly to treate & talke of anye matter, they will haue their houses which they kepe, in conti­nuall reparations, to be cleane and fine, lest they should be counted sluttish, or litle to regard their frendes, and neighbours. How much more then ought the house of God, whiche we commonlye call the Church, to be sufficiently repaired in all places, and to be honorably adourned and garni­shed, and to be kept cleane and sweete, to the com­fort of the people that shall resort thereto.

It appeareth in the holy scripture, how Gods house, which was called his holy temple, and was the mother Churche of all Jewry, fell some­times into decaye, and was oftentymes propha­ned and defiled, through the negligence and vn­godlinesse of suche as had charge thereof. But when godlye Kynges and gouernours were in place, then commaundement was geuen foorth­with, that the Churche and temple of god should [Page 163] be repaired, and the deuotion of the people to be gathered, for the reparatiō of the same. We reade in the fourth booke of the kinges, how that king 4. Reg. 1 [...]. Joas, being a godly prince, gaue commaunde­ment to the priestes, to conuert certaine offrings of the people, towardes the reparation and a­mendement of Gods temple.

Lyke commaundement gaue that most godly king Josias, concerning the reparation and ree­dification 4. Reg. 22. of Gods te aple, whiche in his time he founde in sore decay. It hath pleased almightye God, that these histories touching the reedifying and repayring of his holy temple, should be writ­ten at large, to the end we should be taught ther­by: First, that God is well pleased that his peo­ple should haue a conuenient place to resort vn­to, and to come together, to praise and magnifie Gods holy name. And secondly, he is hyghlye pleased with all those, whiche diligentlye and ze­lously go about to amende and restore suche pla­ces as are appoynted for the congregation of Gods people to resort vnto, and wherein they humblye and ioyntly render thankes to God for his benefites, and with one heart and voyce praise his holy name. Thirdlye, God was sore displeased with his people, because they builded, decked, and trimmed vp their owne houses, and suffred Gods house to be in ruine and decay, to lye vncomly and fulsomly. Wherefore God was sore greeued with them, and plagued them, as appeareth in the Prophete Aggeus. Thus say­eth Agge. [...] the Lorde: Is it time for you to dwel in your seeled houses, & the Lordes house not regarded? [Page 164] Ye haue sowed much, and gathered in but little, your meate and your clothes haue neither filled you, nor made you warme, and he that had his wages, put it in a bottomlesse purse. By these plagues whiche God layde vppon his people for neglecting of his temple, it maye euidentlye ap­peare that GOD will haue his Temple, his Churche, the place where his congregation shal resort to magnifie him, well edified, well repay­red, and well mainteined. Some, neither regar­ding godlines, nor the place of godlye exercise, will say: The temple in the olde lawe, was com­maunded to be buylte and repayred by God him selfe, because it had great promises annexed vn­to it, and because it was a figure, a sacrament, or a signification of Christe, and also of his Churche. To this maye be easylye aunswered: First, that our Churches are not destitute of pro­mises, forasmuche as our Sauiour Christ sayth: Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the middest among them. A great number therefore comming to Church together in the name of Christ, haue there, that is to saye in the Churche, their God and Sauiour Christ Jesus, presently among the congregation of his faythfull people, by his grace, by his fauour and godlye assistance, according to his moste assured and comfortable promises. Why then ought not Christian people to buylde them Temples and Churches, hauing as great promises of the pre­sence of God, as euer had Salomon for the ma­teriall temple whiche he did buyld? As touching the other point, that Salomons temple was a [Page 165] figure of Christ: We knowe that nowe in the tyme of the cleare light of Christe Jesus the sonne of God, all shadowes, figures, and signi­fications are vtterly gone, all vayne and vnpro­fitable ceremonies, bothe Jewishe and Heathe­nishe, fully abolished. And therefore our chur­ches are not set vp for figures and significations of Messias and Christe to come, but for other godly and necessarie purposes. That is to saye, that lyke as euery man hath his owne house to abyde in, to refreshe him selfe in, to rest in, with such like commodities: So almightie God will haue his house and palace whyther the whole parishe and congregation shall resort, whiche is called the Churche and temple of God, for that the Church, which is the company of Gods peo­ple, doth there assemble and come together to serue him. Not meaning hereby, that the Lord whom the heauen of heauens is not hable to holde or compryse, doth dwell in the Churche of lyme, and stone, made with mans handes, as wholly and onely contayned there within, and no where els, for so he neuer dwelt in Salomōs temple. Moreouer, the Churche or Temple is counted and called holy, yet not of it selfe, but because Gods people resorting thereunto, are holye, and exercyse themselues in holy and hea­uenlye thinges. And to the intent ye maye vn­derstand further, why Churches were buylte among Christian people, this was the greatest consideration: that God myght haue his place, and that God myght haue his tyme, duely to be honoured and serued of the whole multitude in [Page 166] the parishe. Fyrst there to heare and learne the blessed worde and will of the euerlasting God. Secondly, that there the blessed Sacramentes, whiche our Lorde and Sauiour Christ Jesus hath ordayned and appoynted, should be dulye, reuerently, and honorably ministred. Thirdlye, that there the whole multitude of Gods people in the parishe, should with one voyce and heart, call vpon the name of God, magnifie and praise the name of GOD, render earnest and hartye thankes to our heauenly father, for his heape of benefites dayly and plentifully powred vpon vs, not forgetting to bestow our almes vpon Gods pouertie, to the intent GOD may blesse vs the more rychely. Thus ye may well perceaue and vnderstand wherfore Churches were buylt and set vp amongst Christian people, and dedicated and appoynted to these godly vses, and vtterlye exempted from all filthy, prophane, and worldly vses. Wherefore all they that haue litle mynde or deuotion to repayre and buyld Gods Temple, are to be counted people of muche vngodlinesse, spurning against good order in Christes church, despysing the true honour of God, with euill ex­ample offendyng and hinderyng their neygh­bours, otherwyse well and godly disposed. The worlde thinketh but a trifle to see their Churche in ruyne and decay. But who so doth not laye to their helping handes, they sinne against God, and his holye congregation. For if it had not ben sinne to neglect and passe little vppon the re­edifying and buylding vp againe of his Temple, God would not haue ben so muche greeued, & so [Page 167] soone haue plagued his people, because they buylded and decked their owne houses so gorge­ouslye, and despysed the house of God their lord. It is sinne and shame to see so manye Churches, so ruynous, and so fouly decayed, almoste in eue­ry corner. If a mans priuate house wherein he dwelleth be decayed, he will neuer cease till it be restored vp againe. Yea, if his barne where he kepeth his corne be out of reparations, what diligence vseth he to make it in perfeete state a­gaine? If his stable for his horse, yea, the stye for his swyne, be not able to holde out water and wynde, howe carefull is he to do cost thereon? And shall we be so myndful of our common base houses, deputed to so lowe occupying? And be forgetfull toward that house of God, wherin be ministred the wordes of our eternall saluation, wherein be intreated the Sacramentes and mysteries of our redemption? The fountaine of our regeneration is there presented to vs, the partaking of the body and blood of our Sauiour Christe, is there offered vnto vs: And shal we not esteeme the place where so heauenly thinges be handled? Wherefore if ye haue any reuerence to the seruice of God, if ye haue any common hone­stie, if ye haue any conscience in keeping of neces­sary and godly ordinaunces, kepe your churches in good repayre, wherby ye shal not onely please God, and deserue his manifolde blessinges, but also deserue the good report of all godly people.

The seconde poynt, whiche apparteyneth to the mayntenaunce of Gods house, is, to haue it well adourned, & comely, & cleane kept. Whiche [Page 168] thinges maye be the more easylye perfourmed, when the Churche is well repayred. For lyke as men are wel refreshed and comforted, when they fynde their houses hauing all thinges in good order, and all corners cleane and sweete: So when Gods house the Churche is well adour­ned, with places conuenient to sit in, with the pulpit for the preacher, with the Lordes table for the ministration of his holy supper, with the Fonte to Christen in, and also is kept cleane, comely, and sweetely, the people is the more de­syrous, and the more comforted to resort thyther, and to tarrye there the whole tyme appoynted them. With what earnestnesse, with what vehe­ment zeale did our Sauiour Christ driue the by­ers Mat. v. and sellers out of the temple of God, and hur­led downe the tables of the chaungers of mony, and the seates of the doue sellers, and could not abyde that any man should cary a vessel through the temple? He tolde them that they had made his fathers house a denne of theeues, partelye through their superstition, hypocrisie, false wor­ship, false doctrine, and insatiable couetousnes, and partly through contempt, abusing that place, with walking and talking, with worldly matters, without all feare of God, and due reue­rence to that place. What dennes of theeues the Churches of Englande haue ben made by the blasphemous bying and selling the moste preci­ous body and blood of Christe in the Masse, as the worlde was made to beleue, at Diriges, at monthes myndes, in trentalles, in abbeyes and chauntries, beside other horrible abuses (Gods [Page 169] holy name be blessed for euer) we no we see and vnderstande. All these abominations, they that supplie the roome of Christe, haue cleansed and purged the Churches of Englande of, takyng awaye all suche fulsumnesse and filthynesse, as through blynde deuotion and ignoraunce hath crept into the Churche this manye hundred ye­res. Wherefore, O ye good Christian people, ye dearelye beloued in Christ Jesu, ye that glory not in worldly and vaine religion, in phantasticall adourning and decking, but reioyce in heart to see the glory of God truelye set foorth, and the Churches restored to their auncient and godly vse, render your most harty thankes to the good­nesse of almightie God, who hath in our dayes styrred vp the hearts, not onely of his godly prea­chers and ministers, but also of his faythfull and most Christian magistrates and gouernours, to bring suche godly thinges to passe.

And forasmuche as your Churches are scoured and swept from the sinnefull and superstitious fylthynesse wherewith they were defiled and dis­figured: Do ye your partes, good people, to kepe your Churches comely and cleane, suffer them not to be defyled with rayne and weather, with dounge of doues, and owles, stares, & choughes, and other filthinesse, as it is soule and lamen­table to beholde in many places of this countrey. It is the house of prayer, not the house of tal­king, of walking, of [...]rawling, of minstrelsie, of hawkes, of dogges. Prouoke not the displeasure and plagues of God, for despysing and abusing his holy house, as the wicked Jewes did. But [Page 170] haue God in your hart, be obedient to his blessed wil, bynde your selues euery man and woman, to their power, towarde the reparations and cleane keeping of your Church, to the entent ye may be partakers of Gods manifolde blessings, and that ye may be the better encouraged to re­sort to your parish churche, there to learne your duties toward God and your neighbour, there to be present and partakers of Christes holye sa­cramentes, there to render thankes to your heauenly father for the manifolde bene­fites whiche he dayly powreth vp­pon you, there to pray toge­ther, and to call vp­pon Gods holye name, whiche be blessed, worlde without ende.

❧ An Homilee of good workes. And first of Fasting.

THE lyfe whiche we liue in this worlde (good Christian people) is of the free benefite of God lent vs, yet not to vse it at our pleasure, after our own fleshly wil: but to trade ouer ye same in those workes which are beseeming them that are become new creatures in Christ. These workes the Apostle calleth good workes, saying: Ephes. [...]. We are Gods workemanship, created in Christ Jesu to good workes, which God hath ordained that we should walke in them. And yet his mea­ning is not by these words, to induce vs to haue any affiaunce, or to put anye confidence in our workes, as by the merite and deseruing of them to purchase to our selues and others remission of sinne, & so consequently euerlasting lyfe, for that were mere blasphemie against Gods mercy, and great derogation to the bloodshedding of our sa­uiour Jesus Christe. For it is of the free grace & mercy of God, by the mediation of the blood of his sonne Jesus Christ, without merite or deser­uing on our part, that our sinues are forgeuen vs, that we are reconciled and brought agayne into his fauour, and are made heyres of his hea­uenly kyngdome. Grace (sayth S. Augustine) [Page 172] belongeth to God, who doth call vs, and then hath he good works, whosoeuer receaued grace. Augu. de diuer. que­sti. ad sim­plic. lib. i. quest. 28. Good workes then bring not foorth grace: but are brought foorth by grace. The wheele (sayeth he) turneth rounde, not to the ende that it maye be made rounde: but because it is firste made rounde, therefore it turneth round. So, no man doth good workes, to receaue grace by his good workes: but because he hath first receaued grace, therefore consequentlye he doth good workes. And in another place he sayth: Good workes go not before in him whiche shall afterwarde be iustified, but good workes do folow after when Augu. de fide & o­peribus cap. 4. a man is first iustified. Saynt Paule therefore teacheth, that we must do good workes for dy­uers respectes. First, to shewe our selues obedi­ent children vnto our heauenly father, who hath ordeyned them, that we shoulde walke in them. Secondly, for that they are good declarations and testimonies of our iustification. Thirdly, that others seing our good workes, may the ra­ther by them be stirred vp and excited to glorifie our father which is in heauen. Let vs not there­fore be slacke to do good workes, seyng it is the will of God, that we should walke in them, assu­ring our selues that at the last daye, euery man shall receaue of God for his labour done in true faith, a greater rewarde then his workes haue deserued. And because somewhat shall nowe be spoken of one particuler good woorke, whose commendation is both in the lawe, and in the Gospell: thus muche is sayde in the beginning generally of all good workes. First, to remoue [Page 173] out of the way of the simple and vnlearned, this daungerous stumbling blocke, that anye man should go about to purchase or bye heauen with his workes. Secondly, to take away (so nyghe as may be) from enuious myndes, and slaunde­rous tongues, all iust occasion of slaunderous speaking, as though good workes were reiected. This good worke which now shall be entreated of, is Fasting, whiche is founde in the scriptures to be of two sortes. The one outwarde, partey­ning to the body, the other inward, in the hart and mynde. This outward fast, is an abstinence from meate, drinke, and all naturall foode, yea, from al delicious pleasures & delectations world­ly. When this outward fast parteyneth to one particuler man, or to a few, and not to the whole number of the people, for causes whiche hereaf­ter shalbe declared, then it is called a priuate fast: But when the whole multitude of men, wo­men, and children, in a towneship of Citie, yea, though a whole countrey do faste, it is called a publique fast. Suche was that fast whiche the whole multitude of the children of Israel were commaunded to keepe the tenth daye of the se­uenth moneth, because almightie God appoyn­ted that daye to be a clensing day, a day of an a­tonement, a tyme of reconciliation, a day where­in the people were cleansed from their sinnes. The order and maner how it was done, is writ­ten in the xvi. and. xxiii. Chapter of Leuiticus. That day the people did lament, mourne, weepe Leui. xvi. and. xxiii. and bewayle their former sinnes. And whoso­euer vpon that day did not humble his soule, be­wayling [Page 174] his sinnes, as is sayd, abstayning from all bodyly foode, vntill the euening, that soule, (sayeth almightie God) should be destroyed from among his people. We do not reade that Moyses ordayned by order of lawe, any dayes of publique fast throughout the whole yere, more then that one day. The Jewes notwithstanding had more tymes of common fasting, whiche the Prophete Zacharie reciteth, to be the fast of the fourth, ye Zach. 8. fast of the fifth, the fast of the seuenth, and the fast of the tenth moneth. But for that it appea­reth not in the leuiticall lawe when they were instituted, it is to be iudged, that those other times of fasting, more then the fast of the seuenth moneth, were ordeyned among the Jewes by the appoyntment of their gouernours, rather of deuotion, then by any open commaundement geuen from God. Upon the ordinaunce of this general fast, good men tooke occasion to appoynt to them selues priuate fastes, at suche tymes as they did eyther earnestlye lament and bewayle their sinfull lyues, or did addict them selues to more feruent prayer, that it might please God to turne his wrath from them, when eyther they were admonished and brought to the considera­tion therof by the preaching of the Prophetes, or otherwise when they sawe present daunger to hange ouer their heades. This sorowfulnes of heart, ioyned with fasting, they vttered some­tyme by their outwade behauiour and gesture of body, putting on sackcloth, sprinckling them selues with ashes and dust, and sitting or lying vppon the earth. For when good men feele in [Page 175] them selues the heauy burden of sinne, see damp­nation to be the rewarde of it, and beholde with the eye of their mynde the horrour of hell, they tremble, they quake, and are inwardly touched with sorowfulnesse of heart for their offences, and cannot but accuse them selues, and open this their griefe vnto almyghtie God, and call vnto him for mercye. This being done seriously, their mynde is so occupyed, partly with sorrowe and heauinesse, partly with an earnest desyre to be deliuered from this daunger of hell and dam­nation, that all lust of meate and drinke is layde apart, and lothsomnesse of all worldlye thinges and pleasures commeth in place, so that nothing then liketh them more, then to weepe, to lament, to mourne, and both with wordes and behaui­our of bodye, to shewe them selues weary of this lyfe. Thus did Dauid fast, when he made inter­cession to almightie God for the chyldes lyfe, be­gotten in adultrie of Bethsabe Vrias wyfe. King Achab fasted after this sorte, when it repented him of murdering of Naboth, bewayling his owne sinfull doinges. Suche was the Nini­uites fast, brought to repentaunce by Ionas prea­ching. When fourtie thousande of the Israelites were slayne in battaile against the Beniamites, the scripture sayeth: All the children of Israel, Iudg. 20. and the whole multitude of people went out to Bethel, and sate there weeping before the Lord, and fasted all that daye vntill nyght. So did Daniel, Hester, Nehemias, and many others in ye olde testament fast. But if anye man will saye, it is true, so they fasted in deede, but we are not [Page 176] nowe vnder that yoke of the lawe, we are set at libertie by the freedome of the Gospell: therfore those rites and customes of the olde lawe, bynde not vs, except it can be shewed by the scriptures of the new Testament, or by examples out of the same, that fasting nowe vnder the Gospell, is a restraint of meate, drynke, and all bodily foode and pleasures frō the body, as before. First, that we ought to fast, is a trueth more manifest, then that it should here neede to be proued, the scrip­tures whiche teache the same, are euident. The doubt therfore that is, is whether when we fast, we ought to withhold from our bodyes all meat and drinke, duryng the time of our fast, or no? That we ought so to do, may be well gathered vppon a question moued by the Pharisees to Christ, and by his aunswere againe to the same. Why (say they) do Johns Disciples fast often, & praye, and we lykewyse? but thy disciples eate Luke. v. and drinke, and fast not at all. In this smoothe question, they coutch vp subtilly this argument or reason: Who so fasteth not, that man is not of God. For fasting and prayer are workes bothe commended, and commaunded of GOD in his scriptures: and all good men, from Moyses till this time, as well the prophetes, as others, haue exercised them selues in these workes. John al­so and his disciples at this daye do fast oft, and pray muche, and so do we the Pharisees in lyke maner: But thy disciples fast not at all, whiche if thou wilt denye, we can easylye proue it. For whosoeuer eateth and drinketh, fasteth not. Thy disciples eate and drinke, therefore they fast not. [Page 177] Of this we conclude (say they) necessaryly, that neyther art thou, nor yet the disciples of GOD. Christe maketh aunswere, saying, Can ye make that the children of the weddyng shal fast, while the brydegrome is with them? The dayes shall come, when the bridegrome shalbe taken from them: In those dayes shall they faste. Our saui­our Christe, like a good maister, defendeth the in­nocencie of his disciples, agaynst the malice of the arrogant Pharisees, and prooueth that his disciples are not gyltie of transgressyng any iot of Gods lawe, although as then they tasted not, and in his aunswere reproueth the Pharisees of superstition and ignoraunce. Superstition, be­cause they put a religion in theyr doyngs, and as­cribed holynesse to the outward worke wrought, not regardyng to what ende fastyng is orday­ned. Of ignoraunce, for that they coulde not discerne betweene tyme and tyme. They knewe not that there is a tyme of reioycyng and myrth, and a tyme agayne of lamentation and mour­nyng, whiche both he teacheth in his aunswere, as shalbe touched more largely hereafter, when we shall shewe what tyme is moste fit to fast in.

But here beloued let vs note, that our saui­our Christe, in makyng his aunswere to theyr question, denyed not, but confessed that his disci­ples fasted not, and therefore agreeth to the pha­risees in this, as vnto a manifest trueth: that who so eateth and drynketh fasteth not. Fastyng then, euen by Christes assent, is a with holdyng of meate, drinke, and all naturall foode from the body, for the determined tyme of fastyng. And [Page 178] that it was vsed in the primatiue Churche, ap­peareth most euidently by the Chalcedon coun­sell, one of the foure first generall counselles. The fathers assembled there, to the number of. 630. consydering with them selues howe acceptable a thing fasting is to God, when it is vsed accor­dyng to his worde: Agayne, hauing before theyr eyes also the great abuses of the same, crept into the Churche at those dayes, through the negli­gence of them whiche shoulde haue taught the people the right vse thereof, and by vaine gloses, deuised of men: To refourme the sayde abuses, and to restore this so good and godly a worke, to the true vse therof, decreed in that counsell, that euery person, aswell in his priuate as publique fast, shoulde continue all the day without meate and drinke, till after the Euenyng prayer. And whosoeuer did eate or drinke before the Euening prayer was ended, shoulde be accompted and re­puted not to consyder the puritie of his fast. This cannon teacheth so euidently howe fastyng was vsed in the primatiue Churche, as by wordes, it can not be more plainely expressed.

Fasting then, by the decree of those sixe hun­dreth and thirtie fathers, groundyng their deter­mination in this matter vppon the sacred scrip­tures, and long continued vsage or practise, both of the prophetes and other godly persons before the comming of Christe, and also of the apostles and other deuoute men in the newe Testament: is, a with holdyng of meate, drinke, and all natu­rall fodde from the body for the determined time of fastyng. Thus muche is spoken hytherto, to [Page 179] make playne vnto you what fastyng is. Nowe hereafter shalbe shewed the true and ryght vse of fastyng.

Good workes are not all of one sorte. For some are of them selues, and of their owne pro­per nature alwayes good: as to loue God aboue all thinges, to loue my neighbour as my selfe, to honour father and mother, to honour the higher powers, to geue to euery man that which is his due, and suche like. Other workes there be, whiche consydered in themselues without fur­ther respect, are of their owne nature, mere in­different, that is, neither good nor euill, but take their denomination of the vse or ende whereun­to they serue. Whiche workes hauing a good ende, are called good workes, and are so in deede: but yet that commeth not of them selues, but of the good ende wherevnto they are referred. On the other side, if the ende that they serue vnto be euill, it can not then otherwyse be, but that they must needes be euill also. Of this sort of workes, is fasting, which of it selfe is a thing meerely in­different: But is made better or worse by the ende that it serueth vnto. For when it respec­teth a good ende, it is a good worke: but the ende beyng euill, the worke it selfe is also euill. To fast then with this perswasion of minde, that our fasting, and our good workes, can make vs perfect and iust men, and finally, bring vs to hea­uen: this is a deuelish perswasion, and that fast, so farre of from pleasing god, that it refuseth his mercie, and is altogether derogatorie to the me­rites of Christes death, and his pretious blood [Page 180] shedding. This doth the parable of the Pharisee and the Publicane teache. Two men (sayth Luke. viii. Christe) went vp together into the Temple to pray, the one a Pharisee, the other a Publicane. The Pharisee stoode & prayed thus within hym selfe: I thanke thee O God, that I am not as o­ther men are, extortioners, vniust, adulterers, & as this Publicane is. I fast twise in the weeke, I geue tithes of all that I possesse. The Publi­cane stoode a farre of, and woulde not lift vp his eyes to heauen, but smote his brest, and sayde, God be mercifull to me a sinner. In the person of this Pharisee, our Sauiour Christ setteth out to the eye, and to the iudgement of the worlde, a perfect, iust, and righteous man, suche one as is not spotted with those vices that men common­lye are infected with, extortion, briberie, pol­ling, and pilling their neighbour, robbers and spoylers of common weales, craftie, and subtile, in chopping & chaunging, vsing false waightes, and detestable periurie in their buying and sel­ling, fornicatours, adulterers, & vicious liuers. The Pharisee was no such man, neyther faultie in any suche like notorious crime. But where other transgressed by leauing thinges vndone, whiche yet the lawe required: this man dyd more then was requisite by lawe. For he fasted twyse in the weeke, and gaue tythes of all that he had. What could the worlde then iustly blame in this man? yea, what outwarde thing more could be desired to be in him, to make him a more perfect, and a more iust man? Truelye nothyng by mans iudgement: And yet our Sauiour [Page 181] Christe preferreth the poore Puplicane without fasting before him with his fast. The cause why he doth so, is manifest. For yt Publicane hauing no good works at al to trust vnto, yelded vp him selfe vnto God, confessing his sinnes, and hoped certainely to be saued by Gods free mercie only. The Pharisee gloried, & trusted so much to his workes, that he thought him selfe sure enough without mercie, and that he should come to hea­uen by his fasting and other deedes. To this ende serueth that parable. For it is spoken to them that trusted in them selues, that they were ryghteous, and despised other. Nowe because the Pharisee directed his worke to an euill ende, seeking by them iustification, whiche in deede is the proper worke of God, without our merites, his fasting twise in the weeke, and all his other workes, though they were neuer so many, and seemed to the worlde neuer so good and holy, yet in very deede before god, they are altogether euil and abominable. The marke also that the Hypo­crites shoote at with their fast, is, to appeare holy in the eye of the worlde, and so to winne com­mendation and prayse of men. But our Saui­our Matth. [...]. Christe sayth of them, they haue theyr re­warde, that is, they haue prayse and commenda­tion of men, but of God they haue none at all. For whatsoeuer tendeth to an euill ende, is it selfe by that euyll ende, made euill also. Agayne, so long as we kepe vngodlinesse in our heartes, & suffer wicked thoughtes to tary there, though we fast as oft as dyd eyther saint Paul, or John Baptist, and kepe it as strayghtly as d [...]d the [Page 182] Niniuites: yet shall it be not onlye vnprofitable to vs, but also a thing that greatlye displeaseth almightie God. For he sayth, that his soule ab­horreth Esai. 1. & hateth such fastings, yea they are a bur­then vnto him, & he is weary of bearyng them. And therefore he inuayeth moste sharply against them, saying by the mouth of the prophete Esai, Beholde, when you fast, your lust remaineth stil, for ye do no lesse violence to your debters. Lo, ye Esai. 8. fast to strife and debate, and to smite with the fiste of wickednes. Nowe ye shall not fast thus, that you maye make your voyce to be hearde a­boue. Thinke ye this fast pleaseth me, that a man should chasten him selfe for a day? should that be called a fasting, or a day that pleaseth the Lorde? Nowe dearely beloued, seeyng that almightie God aloweth not our fast for the workes sake, but chiefely respecteth our heart howe it is affec­ted, and then esteemeth our fast eyther good or euill by thend that it serueth for: it is our part to rente our heartes, and not our garmentes, as we are aduertised by the prophete Joel, that is, Joel. 2. our sorowe and mournyng must be inwarde in heart, and not in outward shewe onlye, yea it is requisite that first before all thinges we cleanse our hearts from sinne, and then to direct our fast to such an ende as God wyll alowe to be good.

There be three endes, whereunto if your fast be directed, it is then a worke profitable to vs, and accepted of God.

The first is, to chastise the fleshe, that it be not to wanton, but tamed and brought in subiecti­on to the spirite. This respecte had Saint Paul [...]. Cor. 9. [Page 183] in his fast, when he said, I chastice my body, and bring it into subiection, least by anye meanes it commeth to passe, that when I haue preached to other, I my selfe be founde a castaway.

The seconde, that the spirite may be more fer­uent and earnest to prayer. To this ende fasted the prophetes and teachers that were at Anti­oche, Actes. 13. before they sent foorth Paul and Barna­bas to preache the Gospell. The same two Apo­stles fasted for the like purpose, when they com­mended to God, by their earnest prayers, the con­gregations that were at Antioch, Pisidia, Iconi­um, Actes. 14. and Listris, as we reade in the Actes of the A­postles.

The thirde, that our fast be a testimonie and witnesse with vs before God, of our humble sub­mission to his high maiestie, when we confesse and acknowledge our sinnes vnto him, & are in­wardly touched with sorowfulnesse of heart, be­wayling the same in the affliction of our bodies. These are the three endes, or ryght vses of fa­sting. The first belongeth most properlie to pri­uate fast The other two are common, aswell to p [...]que fast, as to priuate. And thus muche for the vse of fasting. Lorde haue mercie vppon vs, and geue vs grace, that whyle we liue in this miserable worlde, we maye through thy helpe bring foorth this & suche other fruites of the spi­rite, commended & cōmaunded in thy holy word, to the glory of thy name, and to our comfortes, that after the race of this wretched lyfe, we may liue euerlastingly with thee in thy heauenlye kyngdome, not for the merites and worthynesse [Page 184] of our workes, but for thy mercie sake, and the merites of thy deare sonne Jesus Christe, to whom with thee and the holy ghost, be all laude, honour, and glory, for euer and euer.

Amen.

The seconde part of the Homilee of fasting.

IN the former Homilee (be­loued) was shewed, that a­mong ye people of ye Jewes, fasting as it was cōmaun­ded them from god by Moy­ses, was to abstaine ye whole day, frō morrowe til night, from meate, drinke, & al ma­ner of foode that nourisheth the body, & that who so tasted ought before ye Euening, on the day ap­pointed to fasting, was accompted among them a breaker of his fast. Whiche order, though it see­meth strange to some in these our dayes, because it hath not ben so vsed generally in this Realme of many yeres past: yet that it was so amōg gods people (I meane the Jewes) whom before ye com­ming of our sauiour Christ, god did vouchsafe to chose vnto him selfe, a peculier people aboue all other nations of the earth, and that our sauiour Christ so vnderstood it, & the apostles after Chri­stes ascention did so vse it, was there sufficiently proued by the testimonies & examples of the holy scriptures, aswel of the new Testament, as of the [Page 185] olde. The true vse of fasting was there also she­wed. In this seconde part of this Homilee shall be shewed, that no constitution or lawe made by man, for thinges whiche of their owne proper nature be meere indifferent, can bynde the con­science of Christen men to a perpetuall obserua­tion and keping therof, but that the higher pow­ers hath full libertie to alter and chaunge euery such lawe and ordinaunce, eyther ecclesiasticall, or politicall, when time and place shall require. But first an aunswere shalbe made to a question that some may make, demaunding what iudge­ment we ought to haue of suche abstinences as are appoynted by publique order & lawes made by princes, and by the aucthoritie of the Magi­strates, vpon policie, not respecting any religion at all in the same. As when any Realme in con­syderation of the mainteyning of fissher townes borderyng vpon the seas, and for the encrease of fisshermen, of whom do spring Mariners to go vpon the sea, to the furnishing of the nauie of the Realme, whereby not onlye the commodities of other countreys maye be transported, but also may be a necessarie defence to resist the inuasion of the aduersarie.

For the better vnderstanding of this question, it is necessarie that we make a differēce betwene the pollicies of princes, made for the orderyng of their common weales, in prouision of thinges seruing to the more sure defence of their subiects and countreyes, and betweene ecclesiasticall pol­licies, in prescribing such workes, by whiche, as by secondary meanes, Gods wrath may be paci­fied, [Page 186] and his mercie purchased. Positiue lawes made by princes for conseruation of theyr polli­cie, not repugnaunt vnto Gods lawe, ought of all Christian subiectes with reuerence of the ma­gistrate to be obaied, not only for feare of punish­ment, but also (as the apostle sayth) for conscy­ence sake. Conscience I say, not of the thing which of the owne nature is indifferent: but of our obedience, which by the law of God we owe vnto the Magistrate, as vnto Gods minister. By whiche positiue lawes, though we subiectes for certaine times & dayes appoynted, be restrained from some kindes of meates and drinke, whiche God by his holy worde hath left free to be taken and vsed of all men with thankes geuing in all places and at all times: yet for that suche lawes of princes and other magistrates are not made to put holines in one kinde of meate & drinke more then another, to make one day more holye then another, but are grounded merely vpon poliicie, al subiectes are bound in conscience to kepe them by Gods commaundement, who by the Apostle willeth all without exception, to submit them selues vnto the aucthoritie of ye higher powers. And in this point concerning our dueties which be here dwelling in Englande, enuironed with the sea as we be, we haue great occasion in rea­son to take the commodities of the water, which almightie God by his diuine prouidence hath layd so nye vnto vs, whereby the encrease of vic­tuals vppon the land may the better be spared & cherished, to the sooner reducing of victualles to a more moderate price, to the better sustenaunce [Page 187] of the poore. And doubtlesse he seemeth to be to daintie an English man, which consydering the great commodities whiche may ensue, wyll not forbeare some peece of his licentious appetite vpon the ordinaunce of his prince, with the con­sent of the wyse of the Realme. What good Eng­lishe heart woulde not wishe the olde auncient glory should returne to ye realme, wherin it hath with great commendations excelled before our dayes, in the furniture of the Nauie of the same? What wyll more daunt the heartes of the aduer­sarie, then to see vs as well fenced and armed on the sea, as we be reported to be on the lande? If the prince requested our obedience to forbeare one day from fleshe more then we do, and to be contented with one meale in ye same day, shoulde not our owne commoditie thereby perswade vs to subiection. But now that two meales be per­mitted on that day to be vsed, whiche sometime our elders in very great numbers in the Realme dyd vse with one onlye spare meale, and that in fishe onlye: shall we thinke it so great a burthen that is prescribed?

Furthermore consyder the decay of the townes nye the seas, whiche shoulde be most redy by the number of the people there to repulse the ene­mie, and we whiche dwell further of vppon the lande, hauing them as our buckler to defend vs, should be ye more in suretie. If they be our neigh­bours, why should we not wish them to prosper? If they be our defence, as nyest at hand to repell the enemie, to kepe out the rage of ye seas whiche els woulde breake vpon our faire pastures, why should we not cherish them? Neither do we vrge [Page 188] that in the ecclesiasticall pollicie, prescribing a fourme of fasting, to humble our selues in the sight of almightie God, that that order whiche was vsed among the Jewes, and practised by Christes Apostles after his ascention, is of suche force and necessitie, that that onlye ought to be vsed among Christians, and none other, for that were to binde Gods people vnto the yoke & bur­then of Moyses pollicie, yea, it were the verye way to bring vs whiche are set at libertie by the freedome of Christes Gospel, into the bondage of the law againe, which God forbid that any man shoulde attempt or purpose. But to this ende it serueth, to shewe howe farre the order of fasting nowe vsed in the Churche at this day, differeth from that which then was vsed. Gods Churche ought not, neither may i [...] be so tied to that or any other order nowe made, or hereafter to be made and deuised by thaucthoritie of man, but that it may lawfully for iust causes, alter, chaunge, or mitigate those ecclesiasticall decrees & orders, yea recede wholy from them, & breake them, when they tende eyther to superstition, or to impietie, when they drawe the people from God, rather then worke any edification in them. This auc­thoritie Christ him selfe vsed, and left it vnto his Church. He vsed it I say: For the order or decree made by the elders for washing oft times, which was diligently obserued of the Jewes: yet ten­dyng to superstition, our sauiour Christe altered and changed the same in his Church, into a pro­fitable sacrament, the sacrament of our regene­ration or newe birth. This aucthoritie to mitti­gate lawes and decrees ecclesiasticall, thapostles [Page 189] practised, when they, wryting from Hierusalem Actes. 15. vnto the congregation that was at Antioche, signified vnto them that they would not lay any further burthen vppon them, but these necessa­ries: That is, that they shoulde abstayne from thinges offered vnto idols, from blood, from that whiche is strangled, and from fornication, not­withstandyng that Moyses law required many other obseruances. This aucthoritie to chaunge the orders, decrees, and constitutions of the Churche, was after the Apostles time vsed of the fathers about the maner of fasting, as it appea­reth in the Tripartite historie, where it is thus Tripartit. hist. lib. 9. cap. 38. written: Touching fasting, we finde that it was diuersly vsed in diuers places by diuers men. For they at Rome fast three weekes together before Easter, sauing vpon the Saterdayes and Sun­dayes, whiche faste they call Lent. And after a fewe lines in the same place, it foloweth: They haue not all one vniforme order in fastyng. For some do fast and abstayne both from fishe and fleshe. Some when they fast, eate nothyng but fishe. Others there are, which when they fast, eate of all water foules, as well as of fishe, groun­ding themselues vpon Moyses, that such foules haue their substaunce of the water, as the fishes haue. Some others when they fast, wyll neither eate hearbes nor egges. Some fasters there are, that eate nothing but drye bread. Others when they fast, eate nothing at all, no not so muche as drye bread. Some fast from all maner of foode tyll nyght, and then eate, without makyng any choyse or difference of meates. And a thousande [Page 190] such like diuers kindes of fasting may be founde in diuers places of the worlde, of diuers men di­uersly vsed. And for all this great diuersitie in fa­sting, yet charitie the very true bonde of Christi­an Eus. lib. 5. cap. 24. peace was not broken, neyther dyd the diuer­sitie of fasting breake at anye time their agree­ment and concorde in fayth. To abstaine some­time from certayne meates, not because the meates are enill, but because they are not neces­sarie: Dogma. ecclesiast. cap. 66. This abstinence (sayth Saint Augustine) is not euill. And to restraine the vse of meates when necessitie and time shall require: this (say­eth he) doth properly parteyne to Christian men.

Thus ye haue hearde good people, fyrst that Christian subiectes are bound euen in conscience to obey princes lawes, whiche are not repug­naunt to the lawes of God. Ye haue also hearde that Christes Churche is not so bounde to ob­serue any order, lawe, or decree made by man, to prescribe a fourme in religion: but that the Churche hath full power and aucthoritie from God, to chaunge and aulter the same when nede shall require, which hath ben shewed you by the example of our sauiour Christe, by the practise of the apostles, and of the fathers since that time.

Nowe shall be shewed briefely what tyme is meete for fasting, for all times serue not for all thinges. But as the wyse man sayth: All thin­ges haue their times. There is a time to weepe, and a time agayne to laugh, a time to mourne, Ecclesi. 3. and a time to reioyce. &c. Our Sauiour Christe excused his disciples, & reproued the Pharisees, because they neyther regarded the vse of fasting, [Page 191] nor consydered what tyme was meete for the same. Which both he teacheth in his aunswere, saying, The chyldren of the maryage can not Matth. 9. mourne, whyle the bridegrome is with them. Their question was of fasting, his aunswere is of mournyng, signifying vnto them plainely, that the outwarde fast of the body, is no fast be­fore God, except it be accompanyed with the in­warde fast, whiche is a mournyng and a lamen­tation in the heart, as is before declared. Con­cernyng Matth. 9. Luke. 5. the time of fasting, he sayth? The dayes wyll come, when the bridegrome shalbe taken from them, in those dayes they shall fast. By this it is manifest, that it is no time of fastyng whyle the mariage lasteth, and the bridegrome is there present. But when the mariage is ended, and the bridegrome gone, then is it a meete time to faste. Now to make plaine vnto you what is the sence and meanyng of these wordes: VVe are at the mariage, and agayne, The bridegrome is taken from vs. Ye shall note, that so long as GOD re­uealeth his mercie vnto vs, and geueth vs of his benefites, eyther spirituall or corporall, we are saide to be with the bridegrome at the mariage. So was that good olde father Jacob at the ma­riage, when he vnderstood that his sonne Joseph was aliue, and ruled all Egypt vnder king Pha­rao. So was Dauid in the mariage with the bridegrome, when he had gotten the victorie of great Goliah, and had smitten of his head. Ju­dith and all the people of Bethulia were the children of the wedding, and had the bridegrome with them, when God had by the hande of a [Page 192] woman slayne Holofernes, the graund captaine of the Assyrians hoaste, and discomfited al theyr enemies. Thus were the Apostles the children of the mariage while Christe was corporally pre­sent with them, & defended them from all daun­gers, both spirituall and corporall. But the ma­riage is saide then to be ended, and the bryde­grome to be gone, when almightie God smiteth vs with affliction, and semeth to leaue vs in the middest of a number of aduersities. So GOD sometime striketh priuate men priuatelye with sundry aduersities, as trouble of minde, losse of frendes, losse of goodes, long and daungerous sicknesses. &c. Then is it a fitte time for that man to humble him selfe to almightie God by fasting, and to mourne and bewayle his sinnes with a sorowfull heart, and to pray vnfaignedly, saying with the prophete Dauid: Turne away thy face, Psalm. 51. O Lorde, from my sinnes, and blot out of thy re­membraunce all myne offences. Agayne, when God shal afflict a whole region or countrey with warres, with famine, with pestilence, with straunge diseases, and vnknowen sicknesses, and other such lyke calamities: then is it tyme for all states and sortes of people, hygh and lowe, men, women, and chyldren, to humble them selues by fasting, and bewayle their sinfull li­uing before God, and pray with one common voyce, saying thus, or some other suche like pray­er. Be fauourable, O Lord, be fauourable vnto thy people, whiche turneth vnto thee, in wee­pyng, fasting, and praying, spare thy people whom thou hast redeemed with thy pretious [Page 193] blood, and suffer not thine inheritaunce to be de­stroyed and brought to confusion.

Fastyng thus vsed with prayer, is of great efficacie, and wayeth much with God. So the angell Raphel tolde Tobias. It also appeareth Tobi. 12. by that which our sauiour Christe aunswered to his disciples, demaunding of him why they coulde not cast foorth the euyll spirite out of him that was brought vnto them. This hynde (sayth he) is not cast out but by fastyng and prayer. How auayleable fasting is, how muche it way­eth with God, and what it is able to obteyne at his hande, can not better be set foorth, then by openyng vnto you, and laying before you some of those notable thynges that hath ben brought to passe by it.

Fastyng was one of the meanes whereby al­myghtie God was occasioned to alter the thyng whiche he had purposed concernyng Ahab, for murdering the innocent man Naboth, to possesse his vineyarde. God spake vnto Elia, saying: Go thy way and say vnto Ahab, Hast thou killed, and also gotten possession? Thus sayth the Lord: 3. Reg. 11. It the place where dogges licked the blood of Naboth, shall dogges euen licke thy blood also. Beholde, I wyll bryng euill vpon thee, and wyll take away thy posteritie: Yea, the dogges shall eate him of Ahabs stocke that dyeth in the Citie, and hym that dieth in the feelde shall the foules of the ayre eate. This punishment had almightie God determined for Ahab in this worlde, and to destroy all the male kynde that was begotten of Ahabs body, besides that punishment whiche [Page 194] shoulde haue happened vnto hym in the worlde to come. When Ahab heard this, he rent his clo­thes, and put sackcloth vppon hym, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went bare footed. Then the word of the Lord came to Elia, saying: Seest thou how Ahab is humbled before me? Because he submitteth hym selfe before me, I wyll not bryng that euyll in his dayes, but in his sonnes dayes wyll I bryng it vpon his house. Although Ahab through the wicked counsell of Iesabel his wyfe had committed shamefull murder, and a­gaynst all ryght, disherited and dispossessed for euer Nabothes stocke of that vineyarde: yet vp­pon his humble submission in heart vnto God, whiche he declared outwardly by putting on sackcloth and fasting, God changed his sentence, so that the punishmente whiche he had determi­ned, fell not vpon Ahabs house in his tyme, but was deferred vnto the dayes of Ioram his sonne. Here we may see of what force our outwarde fast is, when it is accompanyed with the inward fast of the mynd, which is (as is sayde) a sorowful­nesse of heart, detesting and bewayling our sin­full doinges. The lyke is to be seene in the Nini­uites: For when God had determined to destroy the whole Citie of Niniue, and the time which he had appoynted, was euen no we at hande, he sent the prophet Ionas to say vnto them: yet fourtie Ionas. 3. dayes, and Niniue shalbe ouerthrowne. The peo­ple by and by beleued God, and gaue them selues to fasting, yea, the kyng by thaduise of his coun­sell caused to be proclamed, saying: Let neyther man nor beast, bullock nor sheepe tast any thing, [Page 195] neither feede, nor drinke water: But let man and beast put on sackcloth, and cry mightilie vnto God, yea, let euery man turne from his euil way, and from the wickednes that is in their handes. Who can tell if God will turne and repent, and turne away from his fierce wrath, that we perish not? And vppon this their heartie repentaunce, thus declared outwardly with fastyng, renting of their clothes, putting on sackcloth, and sprink­ling them selues with dust and ashes, the scrip­ture sayth: God saw their workes that they tur­ned from their euill wayes, and God repented of the euill that he had sayde that he woulde do vn­to them, and he dyd it not. Nowe beloued, ye haue hearde firste what fasting is, aswell that whiche is outwarde in the body, as that whiche is inward in the heart. Ye haue hearde also that there are three endes or purposes, whereunto if our outwarde fast be directed, it is a good worke that God is pleased with. Thirdely, hath ben de­clared what tyme is moste meete for to fast, either priuately or publiquely. Last of al, what thynges fastyng hath obteyned of God, by the examples of Ahab and the Niniuites. Let vs therefore dearely beloued, seeing there are many more causes of fa­styng and mournyng in these our dayes, then hath ben of manye yeres heretofore in anye one age, endeuour our selues both inwardly in our heartes, and also outwardly with our bo­dies, diligently to exercise this godly exercise of fastyng, in suche sorte and maner, as the holy prophetes, the Apostles, and diuers other de­uoute personnes for their tyme vsed the same. [Page 196] God is now the same God that was then, God that loueth ryghteousnesse, and that hateth ini­quitie, God whiche wylleth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he turne from his wyc­kednesse, and lyue. God that hath promised to turne to vs, if we refuse not to turne to hym: yea, if we turne our euyll workes from before his eyes, ceasse to do euyll, learne to do well, seeke to do ryght, releeue the oppressed, be a ryght iudge to the fatherlesse, defende the wydowe, breake our bread to the hungry, bryng the poore that wander into our house, clothe the naked, and despise not our brother which is our owne fleshe: then shalt thou call (sayth the Prophete) and the Lorde shall aunswere, thou shalt cry, and he shal saye, here am I: Yea, God whiche heard Ahab and the Niniuites, and spared them, will also heare our prayers, and spare vs, so that we, after their example, will vnfaignedly turne vnto him, yea he wyll blesse vs with his heauenly benedic­tions the tyme that we haue to tary in this worlde, & after the rase of this mortal life, he will bring vs to his heauenly kingdome, where we shall raigne in euerlasting blessednesse with our sauiour Christ, to whom with the father and the holy ghost be all honour and glory for euer and euer.

Amen.

¶ An Homilee agaynst gluttony and and drunkennesse.

YE haue heard in the former Sermon welbeloued, the description and the vertue of fastyng, with the true vse of the same. No we ye shall heare howe foule a thing gluttony and drunkennesse is before God, the rather to moue you to vse fasting the more diligently. Un­derstande ye therefore, that almightie God (to to thend that we might keepe our selues vndefi­led, and serue him in holinesse & ryghteousnesse according to his word) hath charged in his scrip­tures, so many as looke for the glorious appea­ring Titus. 2. of our sauiour Christe, to leade their liues in al sobrietie, modestie, & temperancie. Wherby we may learne how necessarie it is for euery Christi­an that wyll not be founde vnready at the com­myng of our sauiour Christe, to liue sober min­ded in this present worlde, forasmuche as other­wise being vnready, he can not enter with Christ Titus. 2. into glorie: And being vnarmed in this behalfe, he muste needes be in continuall daunger of that cruel aduersarie the roring Lion, agaynst whom the Apostle Peter warneth vs to prepare our selues in continuall sobrietie, that we may resist, being stedfast in fayth. To the intent therefore 1. Pet. 5. that this sobernesse may be vsed in all our be­hauiour, [Page 198] it shalbe expedient for vs to declare vnto you how muche all kynde of excesse offendeth the maiestie of almightie God, and how greeuous­lye he punisheth the immoderate abuse of those his creatures whiche he ordeyneth to the mayntenaunce of this our needy lyfe, as meates, drynkes, and apparell. And agayne to shewe the noysome diseases and great mischeefes that com­monly do folow them that inordinately geue vp them selues to be caryed headlong with suche pleasures as are ioyned eyther with daintie and ouerlarge fare, or els with costly and sumptuous apparell.

And firste, that ye may perceaue how detesta­ble and hatefull all excesse in eatyng and drynk­ing is before the face of almyghtie God, ye shall call to mynde what is wrytten by saint Paul to the Galathians, where he numbreth gluttonie Galat. v. and drunkennesse among those horrible crimes, with the whiche (as he sayth) no man shall inhe­rite the kyngdome of heauen. He reckeneth them among the deedes of the flesh, and coupleth them with idolatrie, whoredome, and murder, whiche are the greatest offences that can be named a­mong men: For the first spoyleth God of his ho­nour, the seconde defileth his holy Temple, that is to wit, our owne bodyes, the third maketh vs companions of Cayne in the slaughter of our brethren, and who so committeth them as saint Paul sayth, can not inherite the kyngdome of God. Certaynly, that sinne is very odious and lothsome before the face of God, whiche causeth hym to turne his fauourable countenaunce so [Page 199] farre from vs, that he shoulde cleane barre vs out of the dores, and disherite vs of his heauenly kyngdome. But he so much abhorreth all beastly Luke. 6. banquetting, that by his sonne our Sauiour Christe in the Gospell, he declareth his terrible indignation agaynst all belly Gods, in that he pronounceth them accursed, saying: Wo be to you that are full, for ye shall hunger. And by the prophet Esaias he crieth out: Wo be to you that rise vp early to geue your selues to drunkennesse, and set al your myndes so on drinkyng, that ye Esaias. 5. sit swearing therat vntil it be nyght. The harpe, the lute, the shaume, and plentie of wyne are at your feastes, but the workes of the Lord ye do not behold, neither consider the workes of his hands, Wo be vnto you that are strong to drinke wyne. and are mightie to aduaunce drunkennesse. Here the prophet playnely teacheth, that feastyng and banquetting maketh men forgetfull of their due­tie towardes God, when they geue themselues to all kyndes of pleasures, not considering nor re­garding the workes of the Lorde, who hath cre­ated meates and drinkes, as. S. Paul sayth, to be receaued thankfully of them that beleue & know the trueth. So that the very beholdyng of these creatures (beyng the handy worke of almyghtie God) might teache vs to vse them thankfully as 1. Tim. 4. God hath ordeined. Therefore they are without excuse before god, which either filthily feed them­selues, not respecting the sanctification which is by the word of god & praier, or els vnthankfully a­buse the good creatures of God by surfetting and drunkennes, forasmuch as Gods ordinaunces in [Page 200] his creatures playnely forbiddeth it. They that geue them selues therefore to bibbing and ban­quetting, being altogether without considera­tion of Gods iudgementes, are sodenly oppres­sed in the day of vengeaunce. And therfore our sauiour Christe warneth his disciples, saying: Take heede to your selues, least at any time your Luk. 2. heartes be ouercome with surfetting and drun­kennesse, and cares of this worlde, and so that day come on you vnwares. Whosoeuer then wyl take warning at Christe, let him take heede to Luk. 12. him self, least his heart being ouerwhelmed by surfetting, and drowned in drunkennesse, he be taken vnwares with that vnthriftie seruaunt, which, thinking not on his maisters comming, began to smite his felow seruauntes, and to eate and drinke, and to be drunken, and being soden­ly taken, hath his iust rewarde with vnbelee­uing hypocrites. They that vse to drinke depely, and to feede at full (wallowing them selues in all kinde of wickednesse) are brought a sleepe in that slumbring forgetfulnesse of Gods holy wyll and commaundementes. Therefore al­mightie God crieth by the prophet Ioel: Awake ye drunkardes, weepe and howle all ye drinkers Ioel. 1. of wine, because the newe wine shalbe pulled from your mouth. Here the Lord terribly threat­neth to withdrawe his benefites from suche as abuse them, and to pull the cup from the mouth of drunkardes. Here we may learne not to sleepe in drunkennes and surfetting, least God depriue vs of the vse of his creatures, when we vnkind­ly abuse them. For certainely the Lorde our God [Page 201] wyl not only take away his benefites when they are vnthankfully abused: but also in his wrath and heauye displeasure, take vengeaunce on such as immoderatly abuse them. If our firste pa­rentes Gene. 3. Adam and Eue had not obeyed their gree­dy appetite, in eating the forbidden fruite, ney­ther had they lost the fruition of Gods benefites which they then enioyed in paradice, neither had they brought so many mischeefes both to them­selues and to all their posteritie. But when they passed the bondes that God had appointed them, as vnworthy of Gods benefites they are expelled and dryuen out of paradice, they may no longer eate the fruites of that garden, whiche by ex­cesse they had so much abused: As transgressours of Gods commaundement, they and their poste­ritie are brought to a perpetuall shame and con­fusion, and as accursed of God they must nowe sweate for their liuing, which before had aboun­daunce at their pleasure. Euen so, if we in eating and drinking exceede, when God of his large liberalitie sendeth plentie, he wyl soone chaunge plentie into scarsenesse: And where as we gloryed in fulnesse, he wyll make vs emptie, and confounde vs with penurie, yea we shalbe compelled to labour and trauaile with paynes, in seekyng for that whiche we sometime enioyed at ease. Thus the Lorde wyll not leaue them vnpunished, whiche not regardyng his workes, folowe the lustes and appetites of their owne Gene. 3 Noah. heartes. The patriarch Noah, whom the Apo­stle calleth the preacher of ryghteousnesse, a man exceedingly in Gods fauour, is in holy scripture [Page 202] made an example, whereby we may learne to a­uoyde drunkennesse. For when he had powred in wine more then was conuenient, in filthie ma­ner he lay naked in his tent, his priuities disco­uered: And whereas sometyme he was so muche esteemed, he is now become a laughing stocke to his wicked sonne Cham, no small greefe to Sem and Japheth his other two sonnes, whiche were ashamed of their fathers beastly behaui­our. Here we may note that drunkennesse bryngeth with it shame and derision, so that it neuer escapeth vnpunished. Lot in lyke maner beyng ouercome with wine, committeth abo­minable incest with his owne daughters. So wyll almyghtie God geue ouer drunkardes, to the shamefull lustes of their owne heartes. Here is Lot by drinkyng fallen so farre beside hym Gene. 3. Lot. selfe, that he knoweth not his owne daughters. Who woulde haue thought that an olde man in that heauie case, hauing lost his wyfe and all that he had, whiche had seene euen nowe Gods vengeaunce in fearefull maner declared on the fiue Cities for their vicious lyuyng, shoulde be so farre past the remembraunce of his duetie? But men ouercome with drynke, are altogether madde as Seneca sayth. He was deceaued by his daughters: but nowe many deceaue themselues, Epist. 84. neuer thinking that GOD by his terrible pu­nishmentes wylbe auenged on them that of­fend by excesse. It is no small plague that Lot purchased by his drunkennesse? For he had copu­lation moste filthily with his owne daughters, whiche conceaued thereby, so that the matter is [Page 203] brought to lyght, it can no lenger be hid. Two incestuous chyldren are borne, Ammon and Mo­ab, of whom came two nations, the Ammonites and Moabites, abhorred of God, and cruel aduer­saries to his people the Israelites. Lo Lot hath gotten to hym selfe by drynking, sorow, and care, with perpetuall infamie and reproche vnto the worldes ende. If God spared not his seruaunt Lot, being otherwyse a godly man, nephewe vn­to Abraham, one that entertained the angelles of God: What wyll he do to these beastly belly slaues, whiche voyde of all godlynes or vertuous behauiour, not once, but continually day and nyght, geue them selues wholly to bibbyng and banquetting? Butlet vs yet further beholde the terrible examples of Gods indignation agaynst 2. Sam. 13. suche as greedyly folowe their vnsatiable lustes. Ammon the sonne of Dauid, feastyng hym selfe Ammon with his brother Absolon, is cruelly murthe­red of his owne brother Holophernes, a valeant and mightie captaine, being ouer whelmed with Iudith. 19. wine, had his head stricken from his shoulders by that seely woman Iudith. Simon the hie priest and his two sonnes Mattathias and Iudas, be­ing entertained of Ptolomie the son of Abobus, 1. Mac. 18. who had before maryed Simons daughter, after muche eatyng and drynkyng, were trayterously murthered of their owne kynsman. If the Isra­elites had not geuen them selues to belly cheare Fxod. 32. they had neuer so often fallen to idolatrie: Ney­ther woulde we at this day be so addict to super­stition, were it not that we so much esteemed the fillyng of our bellies. The Israelites when they [Page 204] serued idolles, sate downe to eate and drynke, 1. Cor. x. and rose agayne to play, as the scripture repor­teth. Therefore seeking to serue their bellyes, they forsooke the seruice of the Lorde their God. So are we drawne to consent vnto wickednesse, when our heartes are ouerwhelmed by drunken­nesse and feasting. So Herode setting his minde on banquetting, was content to graunt that Mat. 14. the holy man of God John Baptist shoulde be beheaded at the request of his whores daughter, Had not the riche glutton ben so greedely geuen to the pamperyng of his belly, he woulde neuer Luk. 6. haue ben so vnmercifull to the poore Lazarus, neyther had he felt the tormentes of the vnquen­chable fire. What was the cause that god so horri­bly punished Sodoma and Gomorrha? was it not Eze. 16. their proud banquetting and continual idlenes, whiche caused them to be so lewde of lyfe, and so vnmercifull towardes the poore? What shall we nowe thinke of the horrible excesse whereby so many haue perished, and ben brought to destruc­tion? Alexan. The great Alexander after that he had conquered the whole worlde, was himselfe ouer­come by drunkennesse, insomuche that being drunken he slewe his faythfull freende Clitus, whereof when he was sober, he was so muche ashamed, that for anguishe of heart he wished death. Yet notwithstandyng, after this he left not his banquetting, but in one nyght swilled in so muche wine that he fell into a feuer, and when as by no meanes he woulde abstaine from wine, within fewe dayes after in miserable sorte he ended his lyfe. The conquerour of the whole [Page 205] worlde is made a slaue by excesse, & becommeth so madde that he murdereth his deare freend, he is plagued with sorowe, shame, and greefe of heart for his intemperauncie, yet can he not leaue it, he is kept in captiuitie, and he whiche sometyme had subdued many, is become a sub­iect to the vile belly. So are drunkardes and gluttons altogether without power of them selues, and the more they drynke, the dryer they waxe, one banquet prouoketh an other, they stu­die to fyll their greedy stomackes. Therefore it is commonly sayde, A drunken man is alwayes dry, and, A gluttons gutte is neuer filled. Unsatiable truely are the affections & lustes of mans heart, and therfore we must learne to bridle them with the feare of God, so that we yeelde not to our owne lustes, lest we kyndle Gods indignation a­gaynst our selues, when we seeke to satisfie our beastly appetite. Saint Paul teacheth vs, whe­ther we eate or drynke, or whatsoeuer we do, to do all to the glory of God. Where he appoynteth as it were by a measure, how muche a man may 1. Cor. x. eate and drynke: that is to wit, so much that the mynde be not made sluggishe by cromming in meate, and powring in drynke, so that it can not lyfte vp it selfe to the glory and prayse of God. Whatsoeuer he be then, that by eating & drinking makes him selfe vnlusty to serue God, let him not thinke to escape vnpunished.

Ye haue hearde how muche almyghtie God detesteth the abuse of his creatures, as he hym selfe declareth, aswell by his holy worde, as also by the fearefull examples of his iust iudgement. [Page 206] Nowe if neyther the worde of God can restrayne our ragyng lustes and greedy appetites, neyther the manyfest examples of Gods vengeaunce, feare vs from riotous, and excessiue eatyng and drynking, let vs yet consider the manyfolde mischeefes that proceedeth thereof, so shall we know the tree by the fruites. It hurteth the bo­dy, it infecteth the mind, it wasteth the substance, and is noyfull to the neyghbours. But who is able to expresse the manifold dangers and incon­neniences that folow of intemperate diet? Ofte commeth sodayne death by banquettyng, some­tyme the members are dissolued, & so the whole body is brought into a miserable state. He that eateth and drynketh vnmeasurably, kyndeleth ofte tymes suche an vnnaturall heate in his bodye, that his appetite is prouoked thereby to desire more then it should, or els it ouercommeth his stomacke, and fi [...]leth all the body full of slug­gishnes, makes it vnlusty and vnfitte to serue ey­ther God or man, not norishyng the body, but hurtyng it: and last of all, bryng many kyndes of incurable diseases, whereof ensueth some­tymes desperate death. But what shoulde I neede to say any more in this behalfe? For ex­cept God blesse our meates, & geue them strength to feede vs: agayne except GOD geue strength to nature to digest, so that we may take profite by them, eyther shall we filthily vomite them vp agayne, or els shall they lye stinking in our bodyes, as in a lothesome sinke or chanell, and so diuersly infecte the whole body. And surely the blessyng of God is so farre from suche as vse [Page 207] riotous banquetting, that in their faces be some tymes seene the expresse tokens of this intempe­rauncie: As Salomon noteth in his prouerbes. To whom is wo (sayth he) to whom is sorowe? Pro. 23. to whom is stryfe? to whom is brawling? to whom are woundes without cause? & for whom is the rednesse of eyes? euen to them that tarry long at the wine. Marke I beseche you the ter­rible tokens of Gods indignation: wo and so­rowe, stryfe and brawling, woundes without cause, disfigured face, and rednesse of eyes are to be looked for, when men set them selues to excesse and gurmaundise, deuising all meanes to en­crease their greedy appetites by tempering the wine, and sawcing it in suche sort, that it may be more delectable and pleasaunt vnto them. It were expediente, that suche delicate persons should be ruled by Salomon, who in considerati­on of the aforesaid inconueniences, forbiddeth the very sight of wine. Looke not vppon the wyne (saith he) when it is red, & when he sheweth his colour in the cuppe, or goeth downe pleasauntly: for in the ende thereof it will bite lyke a serpent, and hurte lyke a cockatrice. Thyne eyes shall looke vpon strange women, and thine heart shal speake lewde thynges, and thou shalt be as one that sleepeth in the middes of the sea, and as he that sleepeth in the toppe of the mast. They haue stricken me thou shalt say, but I was not sicke, they haue beaten me, but I felt it not, therefore wyll I seeke it yet still [...] Certaynely that must needes be very hurtfu [...] which [...]eth, and infecteth lyke a poysoned [...]ent, whereby [Page 208] men are brought to filthie fornication, whiche causeth the heart to deuise mischeefe. He doubt­lesse is in great daunger that sleepeth in the middest of the sea, for soone he is ouerwhelmed with waues. He is like to fal sodenly that slee­peth in the toppe of the maste. And surely he hath lost his senses, that can not feele when he is stricken, that knoweth not when he is beaten. So, surfetting and drunkennesse bites by the belly, and causeth continual gnawing in the sto­macke, bringes men to whoredome and lewde­nesse of heart, with daungers vnspeakable: so that men are bereeued and robbed of their sen­ses, and are altogether without power of them selues. Who seeth not nowe the miserable estate where into men are brought, by these foule fil­thie monsters, gluttony, and drunkenes. The bo­dy is so muche disquieted by them, that as Jesus the sonne of Sirach affirmeth, the vnsatiable feeder neuer sleepeth quietly, such an vnmeasu­rable heate is kindeled, wherof ensueth continu­all Ecclesi. 31. ache and payne to the whole body. And no lesse truely the minde is also annoyed by surfet­ting banquettes: For somtymes men are stricken with frensie of minde, and are brought in maner to meare madnesse, some waxe so brutishe and blockishe, that they become altogether voyde of vnderstanding. It is an horrible thing that any man shoulde mayme him selfe in any member: but for a man of his owne accord to bereeue him selfe of his wittes, is a mischeefe intollerable. The Prophet Osee in the fourth Chapter sayth, that wine and drunkennesse taketh away the Osee. 4. [Page 290] heart. Alas then, that any man shoulde yelde vnto that, whereby he myght bereeue hym selfe of the possession of his owne hearte. Wyne and Eccle. 1 [...]. women leade wyse men out of the way, and bryng men of vnderstanding to reprofe & shame, saieth Jesus the sonne of Sirach. Yea, he asketh what is the lyfe of man that is ouercome with drunkennes. Wine drunken with excesse, maketh Eccle. 3 [...]. bitternesse of mynde, and causeth brawling and stryfe. In Magistrates it causeth crueltie in steade of iustice, as that wyse Philosopher Plato perceaued ryght well, when he affirmed that a drunken man hath a tyrannous heart, & therfore will rule all at his pleasure, contrarie to ryght and reason. And certaynly drunkennesse maketh men forget both lawe and equitie, which caused kyng Salomon so straightlye to charge that no Prou. 31. wyne should be geuen vnto rulers, least perad­uenture by drinking, they forget what the lawe appoynteth them, and so change the iudgement of all the children of the poore. Therfore among De rep [...]. lib. 3. all sortes of men, excessiue drynking is most in­tollerable in a magistrate, or man of aucthoritie, as Plato sayth: For a drunkarde knoweth not where he is himselfe. If then a man of auctho­ritie should be a drunkarde, alas, howe might he be a guyde vnto other men, standyng in neede of a gouernour himselfe? Besides this, a drunken man can keepe nothyng secrete, manye fonde, foolyshe and filthye wordes are spoken when men are at their bankettes. Drunkennesse (as Seneca affirmeth) discouereth all wickednesse, and bryngeth it to lyght, it remoueth all sham [...] [Page 210] fastnesse, & encreaseth all mischiefe. The proude man being drunken, vttereth his pryde, the cruel man his crueltie, and the enuious man his en­uie, so that no vyce can lye hid in a drunkarde. Moreouer in that he knoweth not him selfe, [...]umbleth and stam [...]ereth in his speache, stag­gereth to and fro in his goyng. beholdeth no­thing stedfastly with his staring eyes, beleueth that the house runneth rounde about him. It is euident that the mynde is brought cleane out of frame by excessiue drinking, so that whosoeuer is deceaued by wyne or strong drinke, be [...]ōmeth as Salomon sayeth, a mocker, or a mad man, so Prou, 20. that he can neuer be wyse. If anye man thinke that he may drinke much wyne, and yet be well in his wittes, he may aswell suppose, as Seneca sayth, that when he hath drunken poyson, he shall not dye. For whersoeuer excessiue drinking is, there muste needes followe perturbation of mynde, & where the belly is stuffed with daintie fare, there the mynde is oppressed with s [...]othfull sluggishnesse. A full belly, maketh a grosse vnder­standing, Ad soro­rem ser­mona. 24. sayth saint Barnarde, and much meat maketh a weary mynde. But alas, now a daies men passe litle eyther for body or mynde: so they haue worldlye wealth and ryches aboundaunts to satisfie their vnmeasurable lustes, they care not what they do. They are not ashamed to she we their drunken faces, and to playe the mad men openly. They thinke them selues in good case, and that all is wel with them. if they be not pynched by lacke and pouertie. Least anye of [...]s therefor [...] myght take ocasion to flatter him [Page 211] selfe in this beastly kynde of excesse, by the aboun­daunce of ryches, let vs call to mynde what Sa­lomon wryteth in the. xxi. of his Prouerbes, He Prou. 21. that loueth wyne & fat fare, shall neuer be riche sayeth he. And in the xxiii. Chapter, he maketh a vehement exhortation, on this wise, Keepe not Prou. 2 [...]. companye with drunkardes and gluttons, for the glutton & drunkarde shall come to pouertie. He that draweth his patrimonie through his throte, and eateth & drynketh more in one houre or in one day, then he is able to earne in a whole weeke, must needes be an vnthrift and come to beggerye. But some will say, what neede any to fynde fault with this? H [...] hurteth no man but him selfe, he is no mans foe but his owne. In deede I know [...] this is commonlye spoken in de­fence of these beastly [...]elly gods, but it is easye to see how hurtful they are, not onely to thē selues, but also to the common wealth, by their exam­ple. Euery one that meeteth them is troubled with brawling and contentious language, and oft tymes ragyng in beastlie lustes, lyke fedde Horses, they ney on their neighbours wyues, as Hieremie sayeth, and defyle their children and daughters. Their example is euill to them a­mong whom they dwell, they are an occasion of offence to many, and whyles they waste their substaunce in banquetting, their owne house­holde is not prouided of thynges necessarie, their wyues and their children are euill intrea­ted, they haue not where with to releeue their poore neighbours in [...]me of necessitie, as they myght haue, if they [...]yued soberlye. They [Page 212] are vnprofitable to the common wealth. For [...] drunkarde is neither fit to rule, nor to be ruled. They are a slaunder to the Churche or congrega­tion of Christe, and therefore saint Paul doth ex­communicate [...]. Tim. 5. them amonge whoremongers, idolaters, couetous persons, and extortioners, forbidding Christians to eate with anye suche. Let vs therefore, good people, eschew euery one of vs, all intemperauncie, let vs loue sobrietie and moderate dyet, oft geue our selues to absti­nence and fasting, whereby the mynde of man is more lift vp to God, more redy to all godly exer­cises, as prayer, hearing and reading of Gods worde, to his spirituall comfort. Finally, who­soeuer regardeth the health and safetye of his owne body, or wisheth alwayes to be well in his wittes, or desyreth quyetnesse of mynde, and ab­horreth furye and madnesse, he that woulde be ryche and escape pouertie, he that is willing to lyue without the hurt of his neighbour, a profi­table member of the common wealth, a christian without slaunder of Christ and his Churche: let him auoyde all ryotous and excessyue banquet­ting, let him learne to keepe such measure as be­houeth him that professeth true godlinesse, let him folow saint Paules rule, and so eare & drinke, to the glorie and praise of God, who hath created al thin­ges to be soberly vsed with thanks geuing, to whom he all honour and glory foreuer.

Amen.

An Homilee against excesse of apparell.

WHere ye haue heretofore ben excited & stirred to vse tempe­raunce of meates & drinkes, and to auoide thexcesse ther­of, manye wayes hurtfull to the state of the common wealth, & also odious before almightie God, being the aucthour and geuer of such creatures, to comfort and stablishe our fraile nature, with thanks vnto him, & not by abusing of thē to prouoke his liberalitie to seuere punish­ing of that disorder. In lyke maner it is cōueniē [...] that ye be admonished of another foule and char­geable excesse: I meane, of Apparell, at these dayes so outragious, that neyther almighty god by his worde can staye our proude curiositie in the same, neyther yet godly and necessary lawes made of our Princes, and oft repeated with the penalties, can bridle this detestable abuse, wher­by both god is openly contemned, and the prin­ces lawes manifestly disobeyed, to the great pe­rill of the Realme. Wherefore, that sobrietie also in this excesse may be espyed among vs, I shall declare vnto you, both the moderate vse of apparell, approued by God in his holye worde, and also the abuses thereof, which he forbiddeth and disaloweth, as it may appeare by the incen­ueniences whiche daylye encrease by the iuste [Page 214] iudgement of God, where that measure is not kept, which he himselfe hath appoynted. If we consider the end & purpose wherunto almightie God hath ordeyned his creatures, we shal easyly perceaue, that he aloweth vs apparel, not onely for necessities sake, but also for an honest come­linesse. Euen as in hearbes trees, and sundrye fruites, we haue not only, diuers necessary vses, but also the pleasaunt syght and sweete smell, to delyght vs withall, wherein we may behold the singuler loue of God towardes mankynde, in that he hath prouided both to relieue our necessi­ties, & also to refreshe our senses with an honest & moderate recreation. Therefore Dauid in the Ciiii. Psalme, confessing Gods carefull proui­dence, Psal. 104. sheweth that God not onelye prouideth thinges necessary for men, as hearbes and other meates, but also suche thinges as maye reioyce and comfort, as wyne to make glad the heart, oyles and oyntmentes to make the face to shine. So that they are altogether past the limittes of humanitie, which yelding onely to necessitie, for­bid the lawfull fruition of Gods benefites. With whose traditions we may not be led, if we geue eare to saint Paule, who writing to the Collossi­ans, willeth them not to harken vnto such men Colloss. 2. as shall saye, touche not, taste not, handle not, superstitiouslye bereeuing them of the fruition of Gods creatures. And no lesse truelye ought we to beware, least vnder pretence of Christian libertie, we take lycence to do what we liste, aduauncing our selues in sumptuous apparell, and despysing other, preparing our selues in [Page 215] fyne brauerie, to wanton, lewde, and vnchaste behauiour. To the auoyding whereof, it beho­ueth 4. Lessons vs to be myndefull of foure lessons, taught in holye scripture, whereby we shall learne to temper our selues, and to restraine our immode­rate affections, to that measure which God hath 1. Rom. 1 [...]. appoynted. The first is, that we make not pro­uision for the flesh, to accomplish the lustes ther­of, with costlye apparell, as that harlot did, of Prou. 7. whom Salomon speaketh, Prouerbes the▪ vii. which perfumed her bed, and deckt it with costly ornamentes of Egipt, to the fulfilling of her lewde lust: but rather ought we by moderate temperaunce to cut of al occasions, whereby the fleshe might get the victorie. The second is writ­ten 2 1. Cor. 7. by saint Paul, in the▪ vii. Chapter of his first Epistle to the Corinthes, where he teacheth vs to vse this worlde, as though we vsed it not. Whereby he cutteth away, not only al ambition, pryde, and vayne pompe in apparel: but also all inordinate care & affection, which withdraweth vs from the contemplation of heauenly thinges, and consideration of our duetie towardes God. They that are muche occupyed in caryng for thynges parteyning to the bodye, are moste commonlye negligent and carelesse in matters concerning the soule. Therefore our Sauiour Math. [...]. Christe willeth vs not to take thought what we shall eate, or what we shall drynke, or where­with we shall be clothed, but rather to seeke the kingdome of God▪ and the ryghteousnesse thereof. Whereby we maye learne to beware, least we vse those thynges to our hinderaunce, [Page 216] whiche God hath ordayned for our comfort and furtheraunce toward his Kingdome. The third is, that we take in good part our estate and con­dition, and content our selues with that whiche 3. God sendeth, whether it be muche or little. He that is ashamed of base and simple attyre, wil be proude of gorgeous apparell, if he maye get it. We must learne therefore of the Apostle S. Paul Phil. 4. both to vse plentye, and also to suffer penurye, remembring that we must yeelde accomptes of those thinges whiche we haue receaued, vnto him who abhorreth al excesse, pride, ostentation, and vanitie, who also vtterly condempneth and disaloweth whatsoeuer draweth vs from our dutie towardes God, or diminishe our charitie towardes our neighbours and brethren, whom we ought to loue as our selues. The fourth and 4. last rule is, that euery man beholde and consider his owne vocation, in as much as God hath ap­poynted euery man his degree and office, within the limittes whereof it behoueth him to keepe him selfe. Therefore all may not looke to weare lyke apparel, but euery one according to his de­gree, as God hath placed him. Which, if it were obserued, manye one doutlesse shoulde be com­pelled to weare a russet coate, which nowe ruf­feleth in silkes and veluettes, spending more by the yere in sumptuous apparel, thē their fathers receaued for the whole reuenue of their landes. But alas nowe a dayes how many maye we be­holde occupyed wholly in pampering the fleshe? taking no care at all, but onely howe to decke them selues, setting their affection altogether [Page 217] on worldly brauerye, abusing Gods goodnesse, when he sendeth plentie, to satisfie their wanton lustes, hauing no regarde to the degree wherin God hath placed them. The Israelites were contented with such apparel as God gaue them, Deut. 2 [...]. although it were base and simple: And God so blessed them, that their shoes and clothes lasted them fourtie yeres, yea, and those clothes which their fathers had worne, their children were cō ­tent to vse afterwarde. But we are neuer con­tented, and therfore we prosper not, so that most commonly he that ruffleth in his Sables, in his fine furred gowne, corked slippers, trimme bus­kins, and warme mittons, is more redy to chill for colde, then the poore labouring man, which can abyde in the fielde all the day long, when the north wynde blowes, with a fewe beggerlye cloutes about him. We are loth to weare suche as our fathers haue left vs, we thinke not that sufficient or good enough for vs. We must haue one gowne for the day, another for the night, one long, another short, one for wynter, another for sommer, one through furred, another but faced, one for the workyng daye, another for the holye day, one of this colour, another of that colour, one of cloth, another of sylke or Damaske. We must haue chaunge of apparel, one afore dinner, another after, one of the Spanishe fassion, ano­ther Turkie, and to be briefe, neuer content with sufficient. Our sauiour Christ bad his Disciples Mat. 10. they should not haue two coates: but the moste men, farre vnlyke to his scollers, haue their presses so full of apparell, that manye knoweth [Page 218] not how many sortes they haue. Whiche thyng caused Saint James to pronounce this terrible Iacob. 5. curse agaynst such welthy worldlynges. Go to ye riche men, weepe and houle in your wretched­nesse that shall come vppon you, your ryches are corrupt, and your garmentes are moth eaten, ye haue lyued in pleasure on the earth, and in wan­tonnesse, ye haue nourished your heartes, as in the day of slaughter. Marke I besech you, saint James calleth them miserable, notwithstanding their riches and plentie of apparell, forasmuche as they pamper their bodies, to their owne de­struction. What was the ryche glutton the better for his syne fare and costly apparell? Did not he nourishe him selfe to be tormented in hell Luke. 16. fyre? Let vs learne therefore to content our selues, hauing foode and raiment, as saint Paul 1. Tim. 6. teacheth, least desyring to be enryched with a­boundaunce, we fall into temptations, snares, and many noysome lustes, whiche drowne men in perdition and destruction. Certaynlye, suche as delyght in gorgeous apparel, are commonlye puffed vp with pryde, and filled with dyuers vanities. So were the daughters of Sion & people of Hierusalem, whom Esai the Prophete Esaias. 3. threatneth, because they walked with stretched out neckes and wandring eyes, mincing as they went, and nicely treading with their feete, that almightie God shoulde make their heades balde, and discouer their secrete shame. In that daye, sayth he, shall the Lord take away the ornament of the slippers, and the caules, and the rounde attires, and the sweete balles, and the bracelets, [Page 219] and the attires of the head, and the sloppes, and the headbandes, and the tablettes, and the eare­rynges, the ringes, and the mustlers, the costlye apparel, and the vayles, and wymples, and the crisping pinne, and the glasses, & the fine linnen, and the hoodes, & the lawnes. So that almigh­ty god would not suffer his benefites to be vain­ly & wantonly abused, no not of that people whō he most tenderly loued, and had chosen to him selfe before all other. No lesse truely is the vani­tie that is vsed amongst vs in these dayes. For the proude & hautie stomackes of the daughters of Englande, are so mainteyned with diuers dis­guised sortes of costlye apparell, that as Tertuli­an Apollog. con. gen. tes. cap. 6. an auncient father sayth, there is lefte no dif­ference in apparell betweene an honest matrone and a common strumpet. Yea manye men are become so effeminate, that they care not what they spende in disguysing them selues, euer de­syring newe toyes, and inuenting new fassions. Therefore a certayne man that woulde picture euery countrey man in his accustomed apparell, when he had paynted other nations, he pictured the English man all naked, and gaue him cloth vnder his arme, and bad him make it him selfe as he thought best, for he chaunged his fassion so often, that he knewe not how to make it. Thus with our phantasticall deuises, we make our selues laughing stockes to other nations, while one spendeth his patrimonie vppon pounces and cuttes, another bestoweth more on a daun­cyng shyrt, then myght suffyce to buy him ho­nest and comelye apparell for his whole bodye. [Page 220] Some hang their reuenues about their neckes, ruffling in their ruffes, & many a one ieopardeth his best ioynt, to maynteyne him selfe in sump­tuous rayment. And euery man, nothing consi­dering his estate and condition, seeketh to excell other in costely attyre. Whereby it commeth to passe, that in aboundaunce and plenty of al thin The cause of dearth. ges, we yet complayne of want and penurye, whyle one man spendeth that whiche myght serue a multitude, and no man distributeth of the aboundaunce whiche he hath receaued, and all men excessiuely waste that which should serue to supplye the necessities of other. There hath ben very good prouision made agaynst such abu­ses, by dyuers good and wholsom lawes, which if they were practised as they ought to be of all true subiectes, they myght in some part serue to diminishe this ragyng and ryotous excesse in ap­parell. But alas, there appeareth amongst vs litle feare and obedience eyther of God, or man. Therefore must we needes loke for Gods fearful Act. 12. vengeaunce from heauen, to ouerthrowe our presumption and pryde, as he ouerthrewe He­rode, who in his royall apparell, forgetting God, was smitten of an Angell, and eaten vp of wormes. By whiche terrible example, God hath taught vs that we are but wormes meate, al­though we pamper ourselues neuer so muche in gorgeous apparell.

Here we may learne that which Jesus the sōne of Syrache teacheth, not to be proude of clothing Eccle. 11. and rayment, neyther to exalte our selues in the day of honour, because the workes of the Lorde [Page 221] are wonderfull, and glorious, secrete, and vn­knowen, teaching vs with humblenesse of mynde, euery one to be myndeful of the vocation whereunto God hath called him. Let Christians therefore endeuour them selues to quenche the care of pleasing the fleshe, let vs vse the benefites of God in this worlde, in such wise, that we be not to much occupied in prouiding for the bodye. Let vs content our selues quyetlye with that which God sendeth, be it neuer so litle. And if it please him to sende plentye, let vs not waxe proude thereof, but let vs vse it moderatly, aswel to our owne comfort, as to the reliefe of such as stande in necessitie. He that in aboundaunce and plentye of apparell, hydeth his face from him that is naked, despyseth his owne fleshe, as Esai Esai. 58. the Prophete sayeth. Let vs learne to know our selues, and not to despyse other, let vs remember that we stand all before the maiestie of almygh­tie God, who shall iudge vs by his holy worde, wherein he forbiddeth excesse, not onely to men, but also to women. So that none can excuse them selues, of what estate or condition so euer they be. Let vs therfore present our selues before his throne as Tertulian exhorteth, with the or­namentes whiche the Apostle speaketh of, Ephe­sians the. vi. Chapter, hauing our loynes gyrte Ephe. 6. about with the veritie, hauing the brest plate of ryghteousnesse, and shodde with shoes prepared by the Gospell of peace. Let vs take vnto vs sim­plic [...]e, Mat. 11. c [...]itie, and comlinesse, submitting our ne [...]s to the sweete yoke of Christ. Let women be subiect to their husbandes, and they are suffi­ciently [Page 222] attyred sayth Tertulian. The wyfe of one Philo an heathen Philosopher, beyng demaun­ded why she ware no golde? she aunswered, that she thought her husbandes vertues sufficient or­namentes. Howe muche more ought Christian women, instructed by the word of God, to cōtent them selues in their husbandes? Yea, how much more ought euery Christian to content him selfe in our sauiour Christe, thinkyng him selfe suffi­cientlye garnished with his heauenlye vertues? But it wil be here obiected and said of some nyce and vaine women, that al which we do in pain­tyng our faces, in dying our heere, in embaw­ming our bodyes, in decking vs with gay appa­rell, is to please our husbandes, to delyght his eyes, and to retayne his loue towardes vs. O vayne excuse, and most shameful aunswere, to the reproche of thy husband. What couldest thou more say to set out his foolishnes, then to charge him to be pleased and delyghted with the deuyls tyre? Who can paint her face and curle her heere, and chaunge it into an vnnaturall colour, but therein doth worke reprofe to her maker, who made her? As though she coulde make her selfe more comely then God hath appointed the mea­sure of her beawtie. What do these women, but go about to refourme that whiche God hath made? not knowing that all thinges naturall is the worke of God, and thinges disguysed and vnnaturall be the workes of the deuill. And as though a wyse and Christian husbande shoulde delyght to see his wife in such painted & florished visions, which common harlottes mostly do vse, [Page 223] to traine therwith their louers to naughtinesse, or as though an honest woman could delight to be lyke an harlot for pleasing of her husbande. Nay, nay, these be but vayne excuses of suche as go about to please rather others, then their hus­bandes. And such attyres be but to prouoke her to shewe her selfe abroade, to entyce others a worthy matter. She must kepe debate with her husbande to maynteyne such apparel, whereby she is the worse huswyfe, the seldomer at home to see to her charge, and so to neglect his thrift, by geuing great prouocation to her housholde to waste and wantonnes, whyle she must wander abroade to shew her owne vanitie, and her hus­bandes foolishnesse. By whiche her pryde, she styrreth vp muche enuye of others whiche be so vaynly delighted as she is. She doth but deserue mockes & scornes, to set out all her cōmendation in Jewish & Ethnick apparel, and yet bragge of her Christianitie. She doth but waste super­fluouslye her husbandes stocke by suche sumptu­ousnesse, and sometymes is the cause of muche bryberie, extortion, and deceipt in her husbands occupying, that she may be the more gorgeouslye set out to the sight of the vaine worlde, to please the deuils eyes, & not gods, who geueth to euery creature sufficient & moderate comlynes, wher­with we should be contented if we were of God. What other thing doest thou by those meanes, but prouokest other to tempt thee, to deceaue thy soule, by the bayte of thy pompe and pryde? What els doest thou, but settest out thy pryde, and makest of thy vndecente apparell of thy [Page 224] body, the deuils net, to catche the soules of them whiche beholde thee? O thou woman, not a Christian, but worse then a Painim, thou mini­ster of the deuill: Why pamperest thou that car­ren fleshe so hye, whiche sometime doth stinke and rot on the earth as thou goest? Howsoeuer thou perfumest thy selfe, yet cannot thy beastly­nesse be hidden or ouercome with thy smelles & sauours, whiche do rather defourme & mishape thee, then beawtifie thee. What meant Salomō to say, of such trimming of vaine women, when he sayd, A fayre woman without good manners and conditions, is lyke a Sowe whiche hath a ryng of golde vpon her snout: but that the more thou garnishe thy selfe with these outwarde bla­singes, the lesse thou carest for the in warde gar­nishing of thy mynde, and so doest but defoule thy selfe by such aray, and not beawtify thy selfe? Heare, heare, what Christes holye Apostles do write, Let not the outward apparell of women (sayth saint Peter) be decked with the broiding of heere, with wrapping on of golde, or goodlye clothing: but let the mynde, and the conscience, whiche is not seene with the eyes, be pure and cleane, that is, sayth he, an acceptable and an ex­cellent thing before God. For so the old auncient holy women attyred themselues, and were obe­dient to their husbandes. And saint Paule sayth, that women shoulde apparell them selues with shame [...]astnesse & sobernes, and not with braydes of their heere, or golde, or pearle, or precious clo­thes, but as women shoulde do whiche will ex­presse godlinesse by their good outward workes. [Page 225] Jf ye wyll not kepe the Apostles preceptes, at the least let vs heare what pagans, whiche were ig­noraunt of Christe, haue sayde in this matter. Democrates sayth, The ornament of a woman, standeth in scarsitie of speache & apparel. Sopho­cles sayth of such apparel thus, It is not an or­nament, O thou foole, but a shame and a many­fest shewe of thy folly. Socrates sayth, that that is a garnishyng to a woman, whiche declareth out her honestie. The Grecians vse it in a pro­uerbe: It is not golde or pearle whiche is a beau­tie to a woman, but good conditions.

And Aristotle byddeth that a woman shoulde vse lesse apparell then the lawe doth suffer. For it is not the goodlynesse of apparel, nor the excel­lencie of beautie, nor the aboundaunce of golde, that maketh a woman to be esteemed, but mode­stie, and diligence to liue honestly in althynges. This outragious vanitie is nowe growne so farre, that there is no shame taken of it. We reade in histories, that when king Dionisius sent to the women of Lacedemon riche robes, they aunswe­red & saide, that they shall do vs more shame then honour: and therefore refused them. The women in Rome in olde tyme abhorred that gaye appa­rell whiche kyng Pirrus sent to them, and none were so greedy and vaine to accept them. And a law was openly made of the senate, and along time obserued, that no womā should weare ouer halfe anounce of golde, nor should weare clothes of diuers colours. But perchaunce some dain­tie dame wyll say and aunswere me, that they muste do somthyng to shewe their byrth and [Page 226] blood, to shewe their husbandes riches. As though nobilitie were cheefely seene by these thynges, whiche be common to those whiche be most vile, as though thy husbandes riches were not better bestowed then in such superfluities, as though when thou were christened, thou diddest not renounce the pryde of this worlde, and the pompe of the flesh. I speake not agaynst conueni­ent apparel for euery state agreeable: but against the superfluitie, agaynst the vayne delyght to co­uet such vanities, to deuise new fashions to feede thy pryde with, to spende so muche vpon thy car­kasse, that thou and thy husbande are compelled to robbe the poore, to mainteyne thy costlynesse. Heare how that noble holy woman Queene He­ster, setteth out these goodly ornamentes (as they be called? when (in respecte of sauing Gods peo­ple) she was compelled to put on suche glorious apparell, knowing that it was a fit stale to blind the eyes of carnal fooles. Thus she prayed. Thou knowest, O Lorde, the necessitie which I am dri­uen to, to put on this apparell, and that I ab­horre this signe of pride, and of this glory which I beare on my head, & that I defie it as a filthie cloth, and that I weare it not when I am alone. Agayne by what meanes was Holophernes de­ceaued, but by the glitteryng shewe of apparell, whiche that holy woman Iudith did put on her, not as delighting in them, nor seekyng vaine vo­luptuous pleasure by them: but she ware it of pure necessitie by Gods dispensation, vsyng this vanitie to ouercome the vayne eyes of Gods ene­mie. Suche desyre was in those noble women, [Page 227] beyng very loth and vnwylling otherwyse to weare suche sumptuous apparell, by the whiche others shoulde be caused to forgette them selues. These be commended in Scripture for abhor­ring suche vanities, whiche by constraynt and great necessitie agaynst their heartes desyred were compelled to weare them for a tyme. And shall suche women be worthy commendations, whiche neyther be comparable with these wo­men aforesayde in nobilitie, nor comparable to them in their good zeales to God and his peo­ple, whose daily delight and seeking is to flo­rishe in suche gaye shiftes and chaunges, neuer satisfied, nor regardyng who smarteth for their apparel, so they may come by it? O vayne men, whiche be subiectes to their wyues in these in­ordinate affections. O vayne women to pro­cure so muche hurt to them selues, by the whiche they come the sooner to miserie in this worlde, and in the meane tyme be abhorred of God, ha­ted and scorned of wyse men, and in the ende, lyke to be ioyned with suche, who in hell to late repenting them selues, shall openly complayne with these wordes: What hath our pryde profi­ted vs? or what profite hath the pompe of ryches brought vs? All those thynges are passed away lyke a shadowe: As for vertue we dyd neuer shewe any signe thereof: And thus we are con­sumed in our wickednesse. If thou sayest that the custome is to be folowed, & the vse of the worlde doth compell thee to suche curiositie, then I aske of thee, whose custome shoulde be folowed? wyse folkes maners, or fooles? If thou sayest the wyse: [Page 228] then I say folowe them: For fooles customes, who shoulde folow but fooles? Consider that the consent of wyse men, ought to be alleaged for a custome. Nowe if any lewde custome be vsed, be thou the firste to breake it, labour to diminishe it and lay it downe: and more laude afore God, and more commendation shalt thou win by it, then by all the glory of such superfluitie.

Thus ye haue hearde declared vnto you, what God requireth by his worde concernyng the mo­derate vse of his creatures. Let vs learne to vse them moderatly as he hath appoynted. Almygh­tie God hath taught vs, to what end and pur­pose we shoulde vse our apparell: Let vs therfore learne so to behaue our selues in the vse thereof, as becommeth Christians, alwaies she wing our selues thankfull to our heauenly father for his great and mercyfull benefites, who geueth vnto vs our daily bread, that is to say, al thyngs neces­sarie for this our needie life, vnto whom we shall render accomptes for all his benefites, at the glo­rious appearing of our sauiour Christe, to whom with the father, & the holy ghost, be all honour, prayse, and glory, for euer and euer.

Amen.

¶ An Homilee or Sermon concerning prayer.

THere is nothing in al mans lyfe (welbeloued in our saui­our Christe) so needeful to be spoken of, & daily to be called vpon, as heartie, zeious, & deuout prayer, the necessitie whereof is so great, that without it nothing may be wel obteyned at gods hande. For as the Apostle Iacob. 1. James saith, Euery good & perfect gift commeth from aboue, and proceedeth from the father of lyghtes, who is also said to be rich and liberal to­wardes all them that cal vpon hym, not because Rom. x. he eyther wyll not or can not geue without as­kyng, but because he hath appoynted prayer as an ordinarie meanes betweene hym & vs. There is no doubt but he alwayes knoweth what we Mat. 6. haue neede of, and is alwayes most redy to geue aboundaunce of those thynges that we lacke. Yet to the intent we myght acknowledge hym to be the geuer of all good thynges, and behaue our selues thankfully towardes hym in that be­halfe, louyng, fearyng, and worshippyng hym sincerely and truely, as we ought to do, he hath profitably and wysely ordeyned, that in tyme of necessitie we shoulde humble our selues in his sight, powre out the secretes of our heart before hym, and craue helpe at his handes, with conti­nuall, [Page 230] earnest, and deuout prayer. By the mouth of his holy prophete Dauid, he sayth on this wyse: Call vppon me in the dayes of thy trouble, and I wyll deliuer thee. Lykewyse in the Gospel by the mouth of his welbeloued sonne Christe, Mat. 7. he sayth: Aske, and it shalbe geuen you, knocke, and it shalbe opened: for whosoeuer asketh, recea­ueth, whosoeuer seeketh, findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shalbe opened. Saint Paul also moste agreeably consenting hereunto, wylleth men to pray euery where, and to continue therin [...]. Tim. Phil. 4. Colo. 4. with thankes geuyng. Neyther doth the blessed Apostle saint James in this poynt any thing dis­cent, but earnestly exhorting all men to diligent prayer, sayth: If any man lacke wysedome, let him aske it of God, which geueth liberally to all men, and reprocheth no man. Also in an other Iacob. 1. place, Pray one for another (saith he) that ye may be healed: For the ryghteous mans prayer auayleth muche, if it be feruent. What other Iacob. 5. thyng are we taught by these and such other pla­ces, but only this, that almyghtie God notwith­standyng his heauenly wisedome and foreknow­ledge, wylbe prayed vnto, that he wilbe called vppon, that he wyll haue vs no lesse wylling on our part to aske, then he on his parte is wyllyng to geue? Therefore most fond and foolishe is the opinion and reason of those men, which therfore thynke all prayer to be superfluous and vayne, because God searcheth the heart and the raynes, and knoweth the meanyng of the spirite before we aske. For if this fleshly and carnall reason were sufficient to disanull prayer: then why dyd [Page 231] our sauiour Christe so often crye to his disciples, Mat. 1 [...]. watche and pray? Why did he prescribe them a fourme of prayer, saying, when ye pray, pray af­ter this sorte: Our father whiche art in heauen Luk. [...]. &c. Why dyd he pray so often and so earnestly hym selfe before his passion? Finally, why did the Act [...]. 1. Apostles immediatly after his ascention, gather them selues together into one seuerall place, and there continue a long tyme in prayer? Ey­ther they muste condemne Christe and his Apo­stles of extreame follie, or els they must needes graunt that prayer is a thyng most necessarie for all men, at all tymes, and in all places. Sure it is, that there is nothyng more expedient or need­full for mankynde in all the worlde, then prayer. Pray alwayes (sayth saint Paul) with all ma­ner Ephes. 6. prayer and supplication, and watche thereto with all diligence. Also in another place he wil­leth vs to pray continually without any inter­mission 2. Thes. 3. or ceassyng, meanyng thereby that we ought neuer to slacke or faynt in prayer, but to continue therein to our lyues ende. A number of other suche places myght here be alleaged of lyke effect, I meane, to declare the great necessi­tie & vse of prayer: But what neede many proofes in a playne matter? seyng there is no man so ig­noraunt but he knoweth, no man so blynde but he seeth, that prayer is a thyng most needefull in all estates and degrees of men. For onlye by the helpe hereof, we attayne to those heauenly and euerlastyng treasures, whiche God our heauen­ly father hath reserued and layde vp for his Iohn. 16. chyldren in his deare and welbeloued sonne [Page 232] Jesus Christe, with this couenaunt and promise moste assuredly confirmed and sealed vnto vs, that if we aske, we shall receaue.

Nowe the great necessitie of prayer being suf­ficiently knowne, that our myndes and heartes may be the more prouoked and stirred therunto, let vs breefely consider what wonderful strength and power it hath, to bryng straunge and mygh­tie thynges to passe. We reade in the booke of Exodus, that Iousa fighting agaynst the Amale­kites, Exod. 17. dyd conquere and ouercome them, not so muche by vertue of his owne strength, as by the earnest and continuall prayer of Moyses, who as long as he held vp his handes to God, so long dyd Israel preuayle. But when he faynted, and let his handes downe, then did Amaleck and his people preuayle. Insomuch that Aaron and Hur, beyng in the mount with hym, were fayne to stay vp his handes vntyl the goyng downe of the sunne, otherwyse had the people of God that day ben vtterly discomfited and put to flight. Also we reade in an other place of Iosua hym selfe, how he at the beseging of Gibeon, makyng his Iosua. [...]. humble petition to almyghtie God, caused the sunne and the moone to stay their course, and to stand still in the middest of heauen for the space of a whole day, vntyll suche tyme the people were sufficiently auenged vpon their enemies.

And was not Iehosaphates prayer of great force and strength, when God at his request caused 2. Par. 20. his enemies to fall out among them selues, and wylfully to destroy one another? Who can mar­uayle 3. Reg. 18. enough at the effecte and vertue of Elias [Page 233] prayer? He being a man subiect to affections as we are, prayed to the Lorde that it myght not rayne, and there fell no rayne vpon the earth for the space of three yeres and. vi. moneths. Againe, he prayed that it myght rayne, and there fell great plentie, so that the earth brought forth her encrease most aboundauntly.

It were to long to tell of Iudith, Hester, Susan­na, and of diuers other godly men and women, how greatly they preuayled in all their doinges, by geuing their myndes earnestly and deuoutly to prayer. Let it be sufficient at this tyme to con­clude with the sayinges of Augustine and Chri­sostome, wherof the one calleth prayer the key of Aug. Ser. 26. de tem por [...]. Chri. sup. Mat. 22. heauen, the other playnely affyrmeth that there is nothyng in all the worlde more strong then a man that geueth hym selfe to feruent prayer. Nowe then, dearely beloued, seeing prayer is so needeful a thyng, and of so great strength before God, let vs, accordyng as we are taught by the example of Christe and his apostles, be earnest and diligent in calling on the name of the Lord. Let vs neuer faynt, neuer slacke, neuer geue ouer, but let vs daily and hourely, early and late, in season, and out of season, be occupyed in godly meditations and prayers. What if we obtayne not our petitions at the firste? yet let vs not be discoraged, but let vs continually crye and call vpon God: He wyll surely heare vs at length, if for no other cause, yet for very importunities sake. Remember the parable of the vnryghte­ous iudge, and the poore wydowe, how she by Luk. 17. [Page 234] her importunate meanes caused hym to do her iustice agaynst her aduersarie, although other­wyse he feared neyther God nor man. Shall not God muche more auenge his elect (sayth our sa­uiour Christe) whiche crye vnto hym day and nyght? Thus he taught his disciples, & in them all other true Christian men, to pray alwayes, and neuer to faint or shrinke. Remember also the Mat. 15. example of the woman of Canaan, how she was reiected of Christe, and called dogge, as one moste vnworthie of any benefite at his handes: yet she gaue not ouer, but folowed hym still, crying and callyng vppon hym to be good and mercifull vn­to her daughter. And at length by very importu­nitie, she obtayned her request. O let vs learne by these examples, to be earnest and feruent in prayer, assuryng our selues that whatsoeuer we aske of God the father in the name of his sonne Christe, and accordyng to his wyll, he wyll vn­doubtedly graunt it. He is trueth it selfe and as truely as he hath promised it, so truely wyll he Iohn. 16 perfourme it. God for his great mercies sake so worke in our heartes by his holy spirite, that we may alwayes make our humble prayers vnto hym as we ought to do, and alwayes obtayne the thyng which we aske, through Jesus Christe our Lorde, to whom with the father and the holy ghost, be al honour and glory, worlde with­out ende.

Amen.

The second part of the Homilee concernyng prayer.

IN the firste parte of this ser­mon ye hearde the great ne­cessitie, & also the great force of deuout and earnest praier declared & proued vnto you, both by diuers waightie te­stimonies, and also by sun­dry good examples of holy scripture. Now shal you learne whom you ought to call vppon, and to whom ye ought alwayes to direct your prayers. We are euidently taught in Gods holy Testament, that almightie God is the only fountayne and welspring of al goodnes, and that whatsoeuer we haue in this world, we receaue it only at his handes. To this effecte ser­ueth the place of S. James: Euery good and per­fect Iacob. 1. gift, sayth he, commeth from aboue, and pro­ceedeth from the father of lyghtes. To this effect also serueth the testimonie of Paul, in diuers pla­ces of his Epistles, witnessing that the spirite of wisedome, the spirite of knowledge and reuelati­on, yea euery good and heauenly gyfte, as fayth, hope, charitie, grace, and peace, commeth onely and solely of God. In consideration whereof, he bursteth out into a sodayne passion, and say­eth: O man, what thyng hast thou, whiche thou i. Cor. 4. hast not receaued? Therefore whensoeuer we neede or lacke any thyng, parteyning eyther to the body, or to the soule, it behoueth vs to runne onely vnto GOD, who is the onely geuer [Page 236] of all good thynges. Our sauiour Christe in the Gospell, teachyng his disciples how they shoulde pray, sendeth them to the father in his name, say­ing: Uerily, verily, I say vnto you, whatsoeuer ye aske the father in my name, he wyll geue it vnto you. And in an other place, when ye pray, pray after this sorte: Our father whiche art in Iohn. 19. Mat. 6. Luk. 11. heauen. &c. And doth not God hym selfe, by the mouth of his Prophete Dauid, wyll and com­maunde vs to call vpon hym? The Apostle wysh­eth grace and peace to all them that call on the Psalm. 50. name of our Lord, and of his sonne Jesus Christ, as doth also the Prophet Joel, saying: And it shall come to passe, that whosoeuer shall call on Ioel. 2. Actes. 1. the name of the Lorde, shalbe saued.

Thus then it is playne by the infallible worde of trueth and lyfe, that in all our necessities we must flee vnto God, direct our prayers vnto hym, call vppon his holy name, desyre helpe at his handes, and at no others. Whereof if ye wyll yet haue a further reason, marke that whiche folow­eth. There are certayne conditions most requisit to be founde in euery suche a one that muste be called vppon, whiche if they be not founde in hym vnto whom we pray, then doth our prayer auayle vs nothyng, but is altogether in vayne.

The first is this, that he to whom we make our prayers, be able to helpe vs. The second is, that he wyll helpe vs. The thirde is, that he be suche a one as may heare our prayers. The fourth is, that he vnderstand better then we our selues what we lacke, and howe farre we haue [Page 237] neede of helpe. If these thynges be to be founde in any other sauing onely God, then may we lawfully call vpon some other besides God. But what man is so grosse, but he wel vnderstandeth that these thynges are only proper to him which is omnipotent, and knoweth al thyngs, euen the very secretes of the heart, that is to say, only and to God alone, whereof it foloweth, that we must call neyther vpon angell, nor yet vpon saint, but only and soly vpon God, as S. Paul doth write: Now shall men call vppon hym in whom they haue not beleued? So that inuocation or prayer, may not be made without faith in hym on Rom. x. whom they call, but that we must first beleeue in hym, before we can make our prayers vnto hym, whereuppon we must only and solely pray vnto God. For to say that we shoulde beleeue eyther in angell or saint, or in any other liuing creature, were more horrible blasphemie against God and his holy worde, neither ought this fancie to en­ter into the heart of any Christian man, because we are expressly taught in the worde of the Lorde only to repose our fayth in the blessed trinitie, in whose only name we are also baptized, according to the expresse commaundement of our sauiour Jesus Christe, in the last of Matthewe. Mat. 28.

But that the trueth hereof may the better appeare, euen to them that be moste simple and Despi. & lit. cap. 50. vnlearned, let vs consider what prayer is. Saint Augustine calleth it a liftyng vp of the mynde to God, that is to say, an humble and lowly pow­ring De som­mo bono ca. 8. li. 3. out of the heart to God. Isidorus sayth, that it is an affection of the heart, and not ala­bour [Page 238] of the lippes. So that by these places, true prayer doth consist not so muche in the outward sounde and voyce of wordes, as in the inwarde gronyng, and crying of the heart to God.

Nowe then, is there any angell, any virgin, any patriarche or prophete among the dead, that can vnderstand, or knowe the meanyng of Psalm. 7. Apoca. 2. Iere. 7. 2. Par. 6. the heart? The scriptures sayth, it is God that searcheth the heart and raynes, and that he only knoweth the heartes of the chyldren of men. As for the saintes, they haue so litle knowledge of the secretes of the heart, that many of the aunci­ent fathers greatly doubt, whether they knowe any thing at al, that is commonly done on earth. And albeit some thynke they do, yet saint Augu­stine Lib. de cu­ra pro mort. agē da. cap 13 a Doctour of great aucthoritie, and also an­tiquitie, hath this opinion of them: that they knowe no more what we do on earth, then we know what they do in heauen. For proofe wher­of, he alleageth the wordes of Esai the prophete, where it is sayde, Abraham is ignoraunt of vs, De vera reli. ca. 55. and Israel knoweth vs not. His mynde there­fore is this, not that we shoulde put any religi­on in worshyppyng them, or praying vnto them: but that we shoulde honour them by folowyng their vertuous and godly lyfe. For as he wit­nesseth Lib. 22. de ciuit. dei. ca. 10. in an other place, the martyrs and holy men in tymes past, were wont after their death, to be remembred, and named of the prieste at di­uine seruice: but neuer to be inuocated or called vpon. And why so? because the prieste (sayth he) is Gods priest, and not theirs: Whereby he is bounde to call vpon God, and not vpon them. [Page 239] Thus you see, that the aucthoritie both of scrip­ture, and also of Augustine, doth not permit, that we should pray vnto them. O that al men would studiously reade, and searche the scriptures, then Iohn. 5. shoulde they not be drowned in ignoraunce, but shoulde easily perceaue the trueth, aswell of this poynt of doctrine, as of all the rest. For there doth the holy ghost playnely teache vs, that Christe is our only mediatour and intercessour with God, and that we muste seeke and runne to no other. If any man sinneth saith saint John, we haue i. Iohn. [...]. an aduocate with the father, Jesus Christe the ryghteous, and he is the propitiation for our i. Tim. 2. sinnes. Saint Paul also sayth, There is one God, and one mediatour betweene God and man, euen the man Jesus Christe. Whereunto agreeth the testimonie of our sauiour hym selfe, Iohn. 14. witnessing that no man commeth to the father, Ibidem. but onely by hym, who is the way, the trueth, the life, yea and the only dore whereby we muste Iohn. 10. enter into the kingdome of heauen, because GOD is pleased in no other but in hym. For Mat. 16. whiche cause also he cryeth, and calleth vnto vs, that we shoulde come vnto hym, saying: Come Mat. 11 vnto me all ye that labour and be heauie laden, and I shall refreshe you. Woulde Christe haue vs so necessarily come vnto hym? and shall we moste vnthankfully leaue hym, and runne vnto other? This is euen that whiche God so greatly com­playneth of by his prophet Ieremie, saying, My people haue committed two great offences, they haue forsaken me the fountaine of the waters of lyfe, and haue digged to them selues broken pits [Page 240] that can holde no water. Is not that man thinke you vnwyse, that wyll runne for water to a litle brooke, when he may aswell go to the head spryng? Euen so may his wisedome be iustly sus­spected, that wyll flee vnto saintes in tyme of necessitie, when he may boldly and without feare declare his greefe and direct his prayer vnto the Lorde himselfe. If God were straunge, or daungerous to be talked withall, then myght we iustly drawe backe and seeke to some other. But the Lorde is nygh vnto them that call vp­pon hym in fayth and trueth, and the prayer of Pal. 144. the humble and meeke hath alwayes pleased hym. What if we be sinners, shall we not there­fore Iudith. 9. pray vnto God? or shall we dispayre to ob­teyne any thyng at his handes? Why dyd Christe then teache vs to aske forgeuenesse of our sinnes? saying: And forgeue vs our trespasses, as we for­geue them that trespasse agaynst vs. Shall we thynke that the saintes are more mercifull in hearing sinners, then God? Dauid sayth, that the Lorde is full of compassion and mercy, slowe to anger, and of great kyndnesse. Saint Paul Psal. 103. sayth, that he is riche in mercy towardes all them that call vppon hym. And he hymselfe by Ephes. 2. the mouth of his prophet Esai sayth: For a litle while haue I forsaken thee, but with great compassion wyll I gather thee: For a moment Esai. 52. in myne anger, I haue hid my face from thee, but with euerlastyng mercy haue I had compas­sion vpon thee. Therefore the sinnes of any man ought not to withholde hym from praying vnto the Lorde his God. But if he be truely penitent [Page 241] and stedfast in fayth, let him assure him selfe that the Lorde wylbe mercifull vnto hym, and heare his prayers. O but I dare not (wyll some man say) trouble God at all times with my prayers: We see that in kinges houses & courtes of prin­ces, men can not be admitted, vnlesse they fyrst vse the helpe and meane of some speciall noble man, to come vnto the speache of the kyng, and to obtayne the thing that they woulde haue. To this reason doth saint Ambrose aunswere verye Ambro. sup. cap. 1, Rom. well, writing vppon the first Chapter to the Ro­manes. Therefore (sayth he) we vse to go vnto the king by officers and noble men, because the kyng is a mortall man, and knoweth not to whom he maye commit the gouernment of the common wealth. But to haue God our frende, from whom nothing is hid, we nede not any hel­per, that should further vs with his good worde, but only a deuoute and godlye minde. And yf it be so, that we neede one to entreate for vs: why Hebre. 7. maye we not content our selues with that one mediatour, whiche is at the ryght hande of God the father, and there liueth for euer to make in­tercession for vs? As the blood of Christe dyd re­deeme vs on the crosse, and cleanse vs from our sinnes: euen so it is nowe able to saue all them that come vnto God by it. For Christe sitting in heauen, hath an euerlasting priesthoode, and alwayes prayeth to his father for them that be penitent, obtayning by vertue of his woundes, whiche are euermore in the sight of God, not only perfect remission of our sinnes, but also all other necessaries that we lacke in this worlde, so [Page 242] that his only mediatour is sufficient in heauen, and nedeth no others to helpe him. Why then do Matth. 6. Iacob. 5. Coloss. 4. 1. Tim. 2. we pray one for another in this lyfe, some man perchaunce wyll here demaunde? Forsoothe we are wylled so to do, by the expresse commaunde­ment both of Christe and his disciples, to declare therein aswell the fayth that we haue in Christe towardes God, as also the mutuall charitie that we beare one towardes another, in that we pi­tie our brothers case, and make our humble pe­tition to God for him. But that we shoulde pray vnto Saintes, neyther haue we any commaun­dement in all the Scripture, nor yet example whiche we maye safely folowe. So that beyng done without aucthoritie of Gods worde, it lac­keth the grounde of fayth, and therefore can not be acceptable before GOD. For whatsoeuer is not of fayth, is sinne. And the Apostle sayth, Heb. 11. Rom. 14. Rom. 10. that fayth commeth by hearing, and hearing by the worde of God. Yet thou wylt obiect further, that the saintes in heauen do praye for vs, and that their prayer proceedeth of an earnest cha­ritie that they haue towardes their brethren on earth. Where to it may be well aunswered. First, that no man knoweth whether they do pray for vs or no. And yf any wyll go about to prooue it by the nature of charitie, concludyng, that be­cause they dyd praye for men on earth, therefore they do muche more the same nowe in heauen: Then may it be sayde by the same reason, that as oft as we do weepe on earth, they do also weepe in heauen, because whyle they liued, in this worlde, it is moste certayne and sure they dyd so. [Page 243] And for that place whiche is written in the Apo­calips, namely that the angell dyd offer vp the prayers of the saintes vpon the golden aulter: it is properly meant, and ought properly to be vn­derstoode of those saintes that are yet liuing on earth, and not of them that are dead, otherwyse what neede were it, that the angell shoulde offer vp their prayers, beyng nowe in heauen before the face of aimightie god? But admit the saintes do pray for vs, yet do we not knowe howe, whe­ther specially for them whiche call vppon them, or els generally for all men, wishing well to eue­rye man a like. If they pray speciallye for them whiche call vpon them, then it is like they heare our prayers, and also knowe our heartes desyre. Which thing to be false, it is alredy proued both by the scriptures, and also by the aucthoritie of Augustine. Let vs not therefore put our trust or confidence in the saintes or martyrs that be dead. Let vs not call vppon them, nor desyre helpe at their handes: but let vs alwayes lift vp our heartes to GOD, in the name of his deare sonne Christ, for whose sake as God hath promi­sed to heare our prayer, so he wyll truelye per­fourme it. Inuocation is a thing proper vnto God, whiche yf we attribute vnto the saintes, it soundeth to their reproche, neyther can they well beare it at our handes. When Paul had Actes. 14. healed a certayne lame man, whiche was im­potent in his feete, at Listra, the people woulde haue done sacrifice to him and Bar­nabas: who renting their clothes, refused it, and exhorted them to worship the true GOD. [Page 244] Likewyse in ye reuelation, when saint John fell before the angelles feete to worship him, the an­gell Apoc. 19. woulde not permit him to do it, but com­maunded him that he shoulde worship GOD. Whiche examples declare vnto vs, that the saintes and angels in heauen, wyll not haue vs to do any honour vnto them, that is due and proper vnto God. He only is our father, he only is omnipotent, he onlye knoweth and vnder­standeth all thing, he onlye can helpe vs at all times, and in all places, he suffereth the sunne to shine vppon the good and the bad, he feedeth the young Rauens that crie vnto him, he saueth both man & beast, he wyl not that any one heere of our head shall perishe: but is alwayes redye to helpe and preserue all them that put their truste in him, accordyng as he hath promised, saying, Before they call, I wyll aunswere, and whyles Esai. 55. they speake, I wyll heare. Let vs not therefore any thing mistrust his goodnesse, let vs not feare to come before the throne of his mercie, let vs not seeke the ayde and helpe of saintes: but let vs come boldlye our selues, nothing doubting but God for Christes sake in whom he is well plea­sed, will heare vs without a spokes man, and ac­complishe our desyre in all suche thinges as shal­be agreeable to his most holye wyll. So sayth Chrisostome, an auncient Doctour of the Chriso. 6. Home. de profectu. Euange. Churche, and so must we stedfastly beleue, not because he sayth it, but much more because it is the doctrine of our Sauiour Christe him selfe, who hath promised that if we pray to the father in his name, we shall certainely be hearde, both [Page 245] to the reliefe of our necessities, and also to the sal­uation of our soules, whiche he hath purchased vnto vs, not with golde or siluer, but with his pretious blood, shed once for all vppon the crosse. To him therefore, with the father and the holye ghost, three persons and one God, be all honour, prayse and glory, for euer and euer.

Amen.

The thirde parte of the Homilee concerning prayer.

YE were taught in the other part of this Sermon, vnto whom ye ought to directe your prayers, in time of neede and necessitie, that is to witte, not vnto angels or saintes, but vnto the eter­nall and euerlyuing God, who because he is mercifull, is alwayes redye to heare vs, when we call vppon him in true & per­fect faith. And because he is omnipotent, he can easily perfourme and bring to passe, the thing that we request to haue at his handes. To doubt Psalm. 5. of his power, it were a plaine poynt of infideli­tie, and cleane agaynst the doctrine of the holye ghost, which teacheth that he is al in all. And as touching his good wyl in this behalfe, we haue expresse testimonies in scripture, howe that he wyll helpe vs, and also deliuer vs, if we call vpon him in time of trouble. So that in both these [Page 246] respectes, we ought rather to cal vpon him, then vpon any other. Neither ought anye man there­fore to doubt to come boldlye vnto God, because he is a sinner: For the Lorde (as the prophete Dauid sayth) is gratious and mercifull, yea, his Psal. 107. mercie and goodnesse endureth foreuer. He that sent his owne sonne into the worlde to saue sin­ners, 1. Tim. 1. wyll he not also heare sinners, yf with a true penitent heart and a stedfast faith they pray vnto him? Yes, yf we acknowledge our sinnes, God is faythfull & iust to forgeue vs our sinnes, 1. Iohn. 1. and to clense vs from all vnrighteousnesse, as we are plainely taught by the examples of Da­uid, Peter, Marie Magdalene, the Publicane, and diuers other. And where as we must nedes vse the helpe of some mediatour & intercessour, let vs content our selues with him that is the true and only mediatour of the new Testament, namely the Lorde and Sauiour Jesus Christe. For as saint John sayth, If anye man sinne, we 1. Iohn. 1. haue an aduocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous, who is the propitiation for our sinnes. And saint Paul in his first Epistle to Timothie, sayth, There is one God, and one me­diatour 1. Tim. 1. betweene God and man, euen the man Jesus Christe, who gaue him selfe a raunsome for all men, to be a testimonie in due time.

Nowe after this doctrine established, you shal­be instructed for what kinde of thinges, and what kinde of persons ye ought to make your prayers vnto God. It greatly behoueth all men, when they pray, to consyder well and diligently with them selues, what they aske and require at [Page 247] Gods handes, lest if they desyre the thing which they ought not, their petitions be made voyde, and of none effect. There came on a time vnto Agesilaus the king, a certaine importunatesuter, who requested him in a matter earnestly, saying, Sir, and it please your grace, you dyd once pro­mise me. Trueth quoth the king, if it be iust that thou requirest, then I promised thee: otherwyse I did onlye speake it, and not promise it. The man woulde not so be aunswered at the kynges hande, but still vrging him more and more, said: It becommeth a kyng to perfourme the leaste word he hath spoken, yea yf he should only becke with his head. No more sayth the kyng, then it behoueth one that commeth to a king, to speake and aske those thinges whiche are rightfull and honest. Thus the kyng cast of this vnreasona­ble and importunate suter.

Nowe if so great consyderation be to be had, when we kneele before an earthly kyng: howe much more ought to be had, when we kneele be­fore the heauenly kyng, who is onlye delighted with iustice and equitie, neyther wyll admit any vayne, foolishe, or vniust petition? Therefore it shalbe good and profitable, throughly to consyder and determine with our selues, what thinges we may lawfully aske of God, without feare of repulse, and also what kinde of persons we are bound to cōmend vnto god in our dayly prayers. Two thinges are chiesely to be respected in eue­rye good and godly mans prayer: His owne ne­cessitie, & the glory of almightie God. Necessitie belongeth eyther outwardly to the body, or els [Page 248] inwardly to the soule. Whiche part of man, be­cause it is muche more pretious & excellent then the other, therefore we ought first of all, to craue such thinges as properly belong to the saluation thereof: as the gift of repentaunce, the gyfte of fayth, the gifte of charitie and good workes, re­mission and forgeuenesse of sinnes, patience in aduersitie, lowlinesse in prosperitie, and suche other like fruites of the spirite, as hope, loue, ioy, peace, long suffering, gentlenes, goodnes, meeke­nesse, Gala. 6. and temperauncie, which thinges God re­quireth of all them that professe them selues to be his children, saying vnto them in this wyse: Let your light so shine before men, that they Matth. 5. may see your good workes, and glorifie your fa­ther whiche is in heauen. And in another place he also sayth: Seeke first the kingdome of God, Matth. 6. and his righteousnesse, and then al other things shalbe geuen vnto you. Wherin he putteth vs in mind, that our cheefe and greatest care, ought to be for those things which parteine to the health and safegarde of the soule, because we haue here (as the apostle sayth) no continuing citie, but do Hebre. 13. seeke after another in the worlde to come.

Nowe when we haue sufficiently prayed for thinges belonging to the soule, then may we lawfully and with safe conscience, pray also for our bodily necessities, as meate, drinke, clothing, health of body, deliueraunce out of prison, good lucke in our dayly affayres, and so foorth, accor­dyng as we shall haue neede. Wherof, what bet­ter example can we desire to haue, then of Christ him selfe, who taught his disciples, and all other [Page 249] Christian men, first to pray for heauenly things, Matth. 6. Luke. 11. and afterwarde for earthly thinges, as is to be seene in that prayer, whiche he lefte vnto his Churche, commonly called the Lordes prayer? In the thirde booke of kinges and thirde Chap­ter, it is written, that God appeared by night in a dreame vnto Salomon the king, saying, Aske of me whatsoeuer thou wylt, and I wyll geue thee. Salomon made his humble prayer, and asked a wise & prudent hearte, that might iudge and vnderstande what were good, & what were ill, what were godlye, and what were vngodly, what were righteous, and what were vnrighte­ous in the sight of the Lorde. It pleased God wonderously that he had asked this thing. And God sayd vnto him, Because thou hast requested this worde, and hast not desyred manye dayes and long yeres vpon the earth, neither aboun­daunce of ryches and goodes, nor yet the lyfe of thyne enemies which hate thee, but hast desyred wisdome to sit in iudgement: Beholde, I haue done vnto thee accordyng to thy wordes, I haue geuen thee a wyse heart, full of knowledge and vnderstāding, so that there was neuer none like thee before time, neither shalbe in time to come. Moreouer I haue besides this, geuen thee that whiche thou hast not required, namelye world­lye wealth and richesse, princely honour and glo­rie, so that thou shalt therein also passe all kynges that euer were. Note this example, howe Salomon beyng put to his choyse to aske of God whatsoeuer he woulde, requested not vaine and transitorie thinges, but the high and [Page 250] heauenly treasures of wysdome, and that in so doyng, he obtayneth as it were in recompence, both riches and honour. Wherein is geuen vs to vnderstande, that in our dayly prayers, we should chiefely and principally aske those things which concerne the kingdome of God, and the saluation of our owne soules, nothyng doub­ting but all other thinges shall (accordyng to the promise of Christe) be geuen vnto vs. But here we must take heede, that we forget not that o­ther ende whereof mention was made before, namely the glorye of God. Whiche vnlesse we minde, and set before our eyes in makyng our prayers, we may not looke to be harde, or to re­ceaue any thing of the Lorde. In the. xx. Chap­ter of Matthewe, the mother of the two sonnes of Zebedee came vnto Jesus, worshipping him, and saying: Graunt that my two sonnes may sit in thy kingdome, the one at thy ryght hand, and the other at thy left hande. In this petition she dyd not respect the glory of GOD, but plaine­ly declared the ambition and vaine glory of her owne minde; for which cause she was also moste worthyly repelled, and rebuked at the Lordes hande. In lyke maner we reade in the Actes of one Simon Magus a Sorcerer, howe that he Actes. 8. perceauyng that through laying on of the Apo­stles handes the holy ghost was geuen, offered them money, saying: Geue me also this power, that on whom soeuer I lay my handes, he may receaue the holy ghost. In makyng this request, he sought not the honour and glorye of GOD, but his owne priuate gayne and lucre, thinking [Page 251] to get great store of money by this feate, and therefore it was iustly sayde vnto him: Thy mo­ney perishe with thee, because thou thinkest that the gifte of God maye be obtayned with money. By these and suche other examples we are taught, whensoeuer we make our prayers vnto God, chiefely to respect the honour and glorye of his name. Whereof we haue this generall pre­cept in the Apostle Paul: Whether ye eate or 1. Cor. 10. Coloss. 3. drinke, or whatsoeuer you do, looke that you do it to the glory of God. Which thing we shal best of all do, if we folowe the example of our sauiour Christe, who praying that the bitter cuppe of Mat. 26. Luke. 22. death myght passe from him, woulde not there­in haue his owne wyll fulfilled, but referred the whole matter to the good wyll and pleasure of his father.

And hytherto concernyng those thinges, that we may lawfully and boldly aske of God.

Nowe it foloweth, that we declare what kinde of persons we are bounde in conscience to praye for. Saint Paul wryting to Timothie, exhor­teth 1. Tim. 2. him to make prayers and supplications for all men, exempting none, of what degree or state soeuer they be. In which place he maketh men­tion by name of Kynges and Rulers whiche are in aucthoritie, putting vs thereby to know­ledge howe greatlye it concerneth the profite of the common wealth, to praye diligentlye for Coloss. 4. Rom. 15. 2. Thes. 3. Ephes. 6. the higher powers. Neyther is it without good cause, that he doth so often in all his Epi­stles craue the prayers of Gods people for hym selfe. For in so doyng, he declareth to [Page 252] the worlde, howe expedient and needefull it is dayly to call vppon GOD for the ministers of his holy worde and sacramentes, that they may haue the doore of vtteraunce opened vnto them, that they may truely vnderstand the scriptures, that they may effectually preache the same vnto the people, and bring foorth the true fruites thereof, to the example of all other. After this sorte dyd the congregation continually pray for Peter at Hierusalem, and for Paul among the Actes. 12. Gentiles, to the great encrease and furtherance of Christes Gospell. And if we, folowyng theyr good example herein, wyll studie to do the lyke, doubtlesse it can not be expressed, howe greatly we shall both helpe our selues, and also please God.

To discourse and runne through all degrees of persons, it were to long. Therefore ye shall briefely take this one conclusion for all: Whom­soeuer we are bounde by expresse commaunde­ment to loue, for those also are we bound in con­science to pray. But we are bounde by expresse commaundement, to loue all men as our selues: therefore we are also bound to pray for all men, euen as well as if it were for our selues, notwith­standyng we knowe them to be our extreme and deadly enemies. For so doth our sauiour Christe plainely teache vs in his Gospell, saying, Loue your enemies, blesse them that curse you, do Matth. 5. good to them that hate you, praye for them that persecute you, that ye may be the children of your father whiche is in heauen. And as he taught Luke. 25. his disciples, so dyd he practise him selfe in his [Page 253] life time praying for his enemies vpon the crosse, and desyring his father to forgeue them, because they knewe not what they dyd: As did also that holy and blessed martyr Stephen, when he was Actes. 7. cruelly stoned to death of the stubberne and stif­necked Jewes, to the example of all them that wyll truely and vnfaignedly folowe their Lorde & maister Christe in this miserable & mortal life.

Nowe to entreate of that question, whether we ought to pray for them that are departed out of this world, or no. Wherein yf we wyll cleaue only vnto the word of God: then must we nedes graunt, that we haue no commaundement so to do. For the scripture doth acknowledge but two places after this life. The one proper to the elect and blessed of god, the other to the reprobate and dampned soules, as may be well gathered by the parable of Lazarus and the riche man, whiche place saint Augustine expoundyng, sayth in this wyse: That which Abraham speaketh vnto the Luke. 10. riche man in Lukes Gospel, namely that the iust can not go into those places where the wicked Lib. 2. Euange. questi. cap. 38. are tormented: What other thinges doth it sig­nifie, but only this, that the iust by reason of gods iudgement, which may not be reuoked, can shewe no deede of mercie in helping them, which after this lyfe are cast into prison, vntill they pay the vttermost farthyng? These wordes as they confounde the opinion of helping the dead by prayer, so they do cleane confute and take away the vaine errour of purgatorie, which is groun­ded vpon this saying of the gospell: Thou shalt not depart thence, vntill thou hast payde the vt­termoste [Page 254] farthing. Nowe doth saint Augustine say, that those men which are cast into prison af­ter this life, on that condition may in no wyse be holpen, though we woulde helpe them neuer so much. And why? Because the sentence of God is vnchaungeable, & can not be reuoked agayne. Therfore let vs not deceaue our selues, thinking that eyther we maye helpe other, or other maye helpe vs by their good and charitable prayers in time to come. For as the preacher saith: When the Eccle. 11 tree falleth, whether it be toward the South, or towarde the North, in what place soeuer the tree falleth, there it lyeth: meanyng thereby that euery mortall man dyeth eyther in the state of saluation or dampnation, accordyng as ye words of the Euangelist John do also plainely impart, saying, He that beleueth on the sonne of God, Iohn. 3. hath eternall lyfe: But he that beleueth not on the sonne, shall neuer see lyfe, but the wrath of God abideth vpon him. Where is then the thirde place whiche they call purgatorie? or where shall our prayers helpe and profite the dead? Saint Augustine doth onlye acknowledge two places Li. 5. Hy­pogno. after this life, heauen and hell: As for the thirde place, he doth plainely denie, that there is anye suche to be founde in all scripture. Chrisostome Chris. in Heb. 2. Hom. 4. Ciprian. cont. De metrianū. likewyse is of this minde, that vnlesse we washe away our sinnes in this present worlde, we shall finde no comfort afterwarde. And saint Ciprian sayth, that after death, repentaunce and sorowe of paine shalbe without fruite, weping also shal­be in vayne, and prayer shalbe to no purpose. Therefore he counselleth all men to make proui­sion [Page 255] for them selues whyle they maye, because when they are once departed out of this lyfe, there is no place for repentaunce, nor yet for sa­tisfaction. Let these and such other places be suf­ficient to take away the grosse errour of Purga­torie out of our heades, neyther let vs dreame a­nye more, that the soules of ye dead are any thing at all holpen by our prayers: But as the scrip­ture teacheth vs, let vs thinke that the soule of man passing out of ye body, goeth straightwayes eyther to heauen, or els to hell, whereof the one nedeth no prayer, and the other is without re­demption. The onlye Purgatorie wherein we must trust to be saued, is the death and blood of Christe, which if we apprehend with a true and stedfast fayth, it purgeth and clenseth vs from all our sinnes, euen as well as if he were now han­ging vpon the crosse. The blood of Christe sayth 1. Iohn. 1. saint John, hath clensed vs from all sinne. The blood of Christe sayth saint Paul, hath purged Heb. 9. our consciences from dead workes, to serue the liuing God. Also in another place he sayth: We Heb. 10. be sanctified and made holy, by the offering vp of the body of Jesus Christe done once for all. Yea Ibidem. he addeth more, saying With the one oblation of his blessed body & pretious blood, he hath made perfect for euer and euer all them that are sancti­fied. This then is that Purgatorie, wherein all Christian men must put their whole truste and confidence, nothing doubting, but yf they truely repent them of their sinnes, and dye in perfecte fayth, that then they shall foorth with passe from death to life. If this kinde of purgation wyll not [Page 256] serue them, let them neuer hope to be releassed by other mens prayers, though they shoulde conti­nue therein vnto the worldes ende. He that can not be saued by fayth in Christes blood, howe shall he loke to be deliuered by mans intercessi­ons? Hath God more respect to man on earth, then he hath to Christe in heauen? If any man sinne (sayth saint John) we haue an aduocate Iohn. 2. with the father, euen Jesus Christe the righte­ous, and he is the propitiation for our sinnes. But we must take heede that we call vpon this aduocate whyle we haue space geuen vs in this life, lest when we are once dead, there be no hope of saluation left vnto vs. For as euery man slee­peth with his owne cause, so euerye man shall ryse agayne with his owne cause. And looke in what state he dyeth, in the same state he shalbe also iudged, whether it be to saluation or damp­nation. Let vs not therfore dreame either of pur­gatorie, or of prayer for the soules of them that be dead: but let vs earnestly & diligently praye for them whiche are expresly commaunded in holye scripture, namely for kinges and rulers, for mi­nisters of Gods holy worde and sacramentes, for the saintes of this worlde, otherwyse called the faithfull: to be short, for all men liuing, be they neuer so great enemies to god and his people, as Jewes, Turkes, Pagans, Infidels, Heretikes, &c. Then shall we truely fulfill the commaunde­ment of God in that behalfe, & plainely declare our selues to be the true children of our heauen­ly father, which suffreth the sunne to shine vpon the good and the bad, and the rayne to fall vpon [Page 257] the iust and the vniust: For whiche and al other benefites moste aboundauntlye bestowed vppon mankynde from the beginning, let vs geue him hearty thankes, as we are most bound, & prayse his name for euer and euer.

Amen.

An Homilee of the place and tyme of prayer.

GOD through his almighty power, wisedome, and good­nes, created in ye beginning heauen & earth, the Sunne, the Moone, the starres, the fowles of ye ayre, the beastes of the earth, the fishes in the sea, and all other creatures, for the vse & commoditie of man, whom also he had created to his owne image and likenesse, and geuen him the vse & gouernement ouer them al, to the end he shoulde vse them in suche sort as he had geuen him in charge & commaundement, & also that he should declare him selfe thankful and kynde for al those benefites, so liberally & so graci­ously bestowed vpon him, vtterly without anye deseruing on his behalf. And although we ought at al times, & in al places to haue in remēbrance, & to be thankful to our gracious Lord, according as it is written: I wil magnifie ye lord at al times. Psal. 33. Psal. 102. And agayne: Wheresoeuer the lord beareth rule, [Page 258] O my soule prayse the Lord: Yet it appeareth to be Gods good wil and pleasure, that we shoulde at special times, and in special places, gather our selues together, to the intent his name might be renowmed, and his glory set forth in the congre­gation and assembly of his saintes. As concer­ning the tyme whiche almightie God hath ap­poynted his people to assemble together solemly, it doth appeare by the fourth commaundement of God: Remember saith God, that thou kepe ho­lye the Sabbath day. Upon the which day, as is playne in the actes of the Apostles, the people ac­customablye Actes. 13. resorted together, & hearde diligent­ly the lawe and the prophetes read among them. And albeit this commaundement of God doeth not bynde christian people so straytlye to obserue and keepe the vtter ceremonies of the Sabbath day, as it was geuen vnto ye Jewes, as touching the forbearing of worke and labour in tyme of great necessitie, and as touching the precise kee­ping of the seuenth day, after the manner of the Jewes. For we keepe now the first day, which is our sunday, and make that our sabbath, that is, our day of rest, in the honor of our sauiour christ, who as vpon that daye rose from death, conque­ring the same most triumphantly: Yet notwith­standing, whatsoeuer is found in the commaun­dement apparteyning to the lawe of nature, as a thyng most godlye, moste iuste, and needeful for the setting forth of Gods glorie, it ought to be retayned and kept of all good Christian people. And therfore by this commaundemēt, we ought to haue a tyme, as one day in a weeke, wherein [Page 259] we ought to rest, yea from our lawfull and nede­full workes. For like as it appeareth by this com­maundement, that no man in the syxe dayes ought to be slouthfull or ydle, but diligentlye to labour in that state wherein God hath set him: Euen so, God hath geuen expresse charge to all men, that vpon the sabbath day, which is now our sunday, they should ceasse from all weaklye and workeday labour, to the entent, that lyke as God him selfe wrought sixe dayes, and rested the seuenth, and blessed, and sanctified it, and conse­crated it to quyetnes and rest from labour: euen so Gods obedient people shoulde vse the sundaye holyly, and rest from their comon and daily busi­nesse, and also geue them selues whollye to hea­uenly exercises of Gods true religion and seruice. So that God doth not onely commaunde the ob­seruation of this holy day, but also by his owne example doth stirre and prouoke vs to ye diligent keeping of the same. Good natural children wil not onelye become obedient to the commaunde­mēt of their parents, but also haue a diligent eye to their doings, and gladly folow the same. So, if we wil be the children of our heauenly father, we mu [...] be careful to keepe the christian sabbath day, which is the sunday, not onely for that it is Gods expresse commaundement, but also to de­clare our selues to be louing children, in folow­ing the example of our gratious Lorde and fa­ther. Thus it may playnely appeare, that Gods will and commaundement was, to haue a so­lemne time and standing day in the weke, wher­in the people shoulde come together, and haue in [Page 260] remembraunce his wonderfull benefites, and to render him thankes for them, as apparteyneth to louing, kynd, & obedient people. This example and commaundement of God, the godly Christi­an people began to follow immediately after the ascention of our Lorde Christ, and began to chose them a standing daye of the weeke to come toge­ther in: Yet not the seuenth day which ye Jewes kept, but the Lordes day, the day of the Lordes resurrectiō, the day after the seuenth day, which is the first of the weeke. Of the which day men­tion is made of saint Paule on this wyse: In the first day of ye sabbath let euery man lay vp what [...]. Cor. xvi. he thynketh good, meaning for the poore. By the first day of the sabbath, is meant our Sundaye, whiche is the first daye after the Jewes seuenth day. And in the Apocalips it is more plaine, wher as saint John sayth: I was in the spirite vpon the sunday. Sithens whiche time, Gods people Apaca. i. hath alwayes in all ages, without any gaynsay­ing, vsed to come together vpon the Sunday, to celebrate and honour the Lordes blessed name, & carefully to kepe that day in holy rest & quyetnes, both man, woman, chylde, seruaunt, and stran­ger. For the trangression and breache of whiche day, God hath declared him selfe much to be gre­ued, as it may appeare by him who for gathering Num. xv. of sticks on the sabbath day was stoned to death. But alas, all these notwithstanding, it is lamen­table to see the wicked boldenes of those that will be counted gods people, who passe nothing at al of keeping and halowing the sundaye. And these people are of two sortes. The one sort if they [Page 261] haue any businesse to do, though there be no ex­treme neede, they must not spare for the sunday, they must ryde and iourney on the sunday, they must dryue & carry on the sunday, they must row and ferry on the sunday, they must buye and sell on the sunday, they muste keepe markets, and fayres on the sundaye: Finallye, they vse all dayes alike, workdaies, and holy daies al are one. The other sort is worse: For although they wil not trauell nor labour on the sunday, as they do on the weke day, yet they wil not rest in holines, as God commaundeth: but they rest in vngodli­nes & filthines, prauncing in their pryde, pranc­king and pricking, pointing and painting them selues to be gorgeous and gay: they rest in exces & superfluitie, in glutteny and drunkennesse lyke rattes and swyne, they rest in brawling and ray­ling, in quarreling and fyghting: they reste in wantonnes, in toyishe talkyng, in filthy fleshli­nesse, so that it doth to euidentlye appeare that God is more dishonored and the deuill better ser­ued on the sunday, then vpon all the dayes in the weeke besyde. And I assure you, the beastes whiche are commaunded to rest on the sunday, honour God better then this kynde of people: For they offende not God, they breake not their holyday. Wherefore, O ye people of God, lay your handes vpon your heartes, repent & amend this greeuous and daungerous wickednesse, stand in awe of the commaundement of God, gladlye fo­lowe the example of God him selfe, be not diso­bedient to the godly order of Christes Churche, vsed and kept from the apostles tyme, vntill this [Page 262] day. Feare the displeasure and iust plagues of al­mighty God, if ye be negligent and forbeare not labouring and trauayling on the sabbath day or sunday, and do not resort together to celebrate & magnifie Gods blessed name, in quiet holinesse and godly reuerence.

Nowe concerning the place where the people of God ought to resort together, and where espe­cially they ought to celebrate and sanctifie the sabbath day, that is the sunday, the day of holye rest: That place is called Goddes Tentple or the churche, because the company & congregation of Gods people (which is properly called ye church) doth there assemble them selues on the dayes ap­pointed for such assemblies & meetinges. And sor­asmuch as almightie God hath appointed a spe­ciall time to be honored in, it is very meete, god­ly, and also necessary, that there should be a place appoynted where these people should meete and resort, to serue their gracious God and merci­full father. Trueth it is, the holy Patriarches for a great number of yeres had neyther temple, nor churche to resort vnto. The cause was, they were not stayed in any place, but were in a con­tinuall perigrination and wandering, that they could not conueniently buyld any churche. But so soone as God had delyuered his people from their enemies, and set them in some libertie in the wildernes, he set them vp a costly & a curious tabernacle, whiche was as it were the paryshe church, a place to resort vnto of the whole multi­tude, a place to haue his sacrifices made in, and other obseruaunces and rites to be vsed in. Fur­thermore, [Page 263] after that God according to the trueth of his promise, had placed and quyetlye setled his people in the land of Chanaan, now called Jury, he commaunded a great and a magnificent tem­ple to be buylded by kyng Salomon, as seldome the lyke hath ben seene, a temple so decked and adourned, so gorgeously garnished, as was meete and expedient for people of that tyme, whiche would be allured & stirred with nothing so much as with suche out warde goodlye gaye thinges. This was nowe the temple of God, indued also with many gyttes & sundry promyses. This was the paryshe churche, and the mother Churche of all Jury. Here was God honoured and serued. Hyther was the whole realme of all the Israe­lites bounde to come at three solempne feastes in the yere, to serue their Lord God here. But let vs proceede further. In the tyme of Christe and his Apostles, there was yet no temples nor Churches for Christian men. For whye? they were alwayes for the moste part in persecution, veration, and trouble, so that there coulde be no libertie nor lycence obteyned for that purpose. Yet God delyghted much that they shoulde often resort togyther in a place, and therefore after his ascention they remayned togyther in an vpper chamber, sometyme they entred into the Tem­ple, sometyme into the synagoges, sometyme they were in pryson, sometymes in theyr houses, sometymes in the feeldes. &c. And this conti­nued so long, till the fayth of Chryste Jesus be­gan to multiplye in a great parte of the worlde. Nowe when dyuers Realmes were establyshed [Page 264] in gods true religion, and God hath geuen them peace and quyetnes: then began kynges, noble men, and the people also, stirred vp with a godly zeale and feruentnesse, to buylde vp temples and Churches, whyther the people might resort, the better to do their dutie towardes God, & to keepe holy their sabbath daye, the daye of rest. And to these temples haue the Christians customably vsed to resort from tyme to tyme, as vnto meete places where they might with common consent prayse and magnifie Gods name, yeelding him thankes for the benefites that he dayly powreth vpon them, both mercifully and aboundantlye, where they might also heare his holy word read, expounded, & preached sincerely, and receaue his holy sacramentes ministred vnto them duely and purely. True it is that the chiefe and special tem­ples of God, wherin he hath greatest pleasure, & most delighteth to dwel, are the bodies & mindes of true christians, and the chosen people of God, according to the doctrine of holye scriptures, de­clared by Saint Paul. Knowe ye not (sayth he) 1. Cor. 3. that ye be the temple of God, and that the spirite of God doth dwell in you? The temple of God is holy, whiche ye are. And againe in the same E­pistle: Know ye not that your body is the temple 1. Cor. 6. of the holye Ghost dwelling in you, whom you haue geuen you of God, and that ye be not your owne? Yet this notwithstanding, God doeth alowe the materiall temple made with lyme and stone (so oft as his people come together into it, to praise his holy name) to be his house, and the place where he hath promised to be present, and [Page 265] where he wil heare the prayers of them that call vpon him. The which thing both Christ and his apostles, with all the rest of the holy fathers, do sufficiently declare by this: That albeit they cer­taynlye knewe that their prayers were heard in what place soeuer they made them, though it were in caues, in woodes, & in desartes, yet (so oft as they could conueniently) they resorted to the material temples, there with the rest of the con­gregation, to ioyne in prayer and true worship.

Wherefore (dearely beloued) you that professe your selues to be Christians, and glory in that name, disdaine not to folow the example of your maister Christe, whose schollers you saye ye be, shew you to be lyke them whose scholemates you take vpon you to be, that is, the Apostles and dis­ciples of Christe. Lift vp pure handes, with cleane heartes in all places, & at all tymes. But do the same in the temples and Churches vpon the sabbath daies also. Our godly predecessours and the auncient fathers of ye primitiue Church, spared not their goodes to buylde Churches, no they spared not their lyues in tyme of persecuti­on, and to hazarde their blood, that they myght assemble them selues together in Churches. And shal we spare a little labour to come to churches? Shall neither their example, nor our duety, nor the commodities (that thereby shoulde come vn­to vs) moue vs? If we will declare our selues to haue the feare of God, if we will shewe our selues true christians, if we will be the folowers of Christ our maister, and of those godly fathers that haue liued before vs, & now haue receaued [Page 266] the rewarde of true and faythfull christians, we must both willingly, earnestly, and reuerently, come vnto the material churches and temples to praye, as vnto fit places appoynted for that vse: And that vppon the sabbath day, as at most con­uenient tyme for Gods people, to cease from bo­dyly and worldlye businesse, to geue them selues to holy rest, and godly contemplation parteining to the seruice of almightie God: Wherby we may reconcile our selues to God, be partakers of his reuerent sacramentes, and be deuout hearers of his holye worde, so to be established in fayth to godwarde, in hope agaynst all aduersitie, and in charitie towardes our neighbours. And thus running our course as good christian people, we may at the last attaine the reward of euerlasting glorie, through the merites of our sauiour Iesus Christe, to whom with the father and the holye Ghost, be all honour and glorye.

Amen.

The seconde part of the Homilee of the place and tyme of prayer.

IT hath ben declared vnto you (good Christian people) in the former Sermon read vnto you, at what tyme and into what place ye shal come togyther to prayse God.

Now I entende to set before your eies, first how zelous & [Page 267] desirous ye ought to be to come to your Church. Secondly, how sore God is greeued with them that do despyse or little regarde to come to the Churche vpon the holy restfull day. It may wel appeare by the scriptures, that many of the god­ly Israelites beyng no we in captiuitie for their sinnes among the Babilonians, full often wys­shed and desyred to be agayne at Hierusalem: And at their returne, through Gods goodnesse (though many of the people were negligent) yet the fathers were maruelous deuout to buyld vp the temple, that Gods people might repayre thy­ther to honour him. And Kyng Dauid when he was a banished man out of his countrey, out of Hierusalem the holye Citie, from the sanctu­arie, from the holye place, and from the taberna­cle of God: What desyre, what feruentnesse was in him towardes the holye place? What wysshinges and prayers made he to God to be a dweller in the house of the Lorde? One thing (sayth he) haue I asked of the Lorde, and this will I still craue, that I maye resorte and haue Psal. 16. my dwelling in the house of the Lorde, so long as I lyue. Agayne, Oh howe I ioyed when I heard these wordes, VVe shall go into the Lordes Psal. 121. house. And in other places of the Psalmes he de­clareth for what intent and purpose he hath such a feruente desyre to enter into the Temple and Churche of the Lorde: I will fall downe (sayth Psal. 157. he) and worship in the holy temple of the Lord. Agayne, I haue appeared in thy holy place, that Psal. 63. I myght beholde thy myght and power, that I myght beholde thy glory and magnificence.

[Page 268] Finally he sayth, I will shewe foorth thy name to my brethren, I will prayse thee in the middes Psal. 21. of the congregation. Why then had Dauid suche an earnest desyre to the house of God? First, be­cause there he would worship and honour God. Secondly, there he would haue a contemplati­on and a syght of the power and glorye of God. Thirdly, there he would prayse the name of god, with all the congregation and companye of the people. These considerations of this blessed prophet of God, ought to stirre vp and kindle in vs the lyke earnest desyre to resort to the church, especially vppon the holy restfull dayes, there to do our duties & to serue God, there to call to re­membraunce how God, euen of his mere mercie, & for the glory of his name sake, worketh mygh­tely to conserue vs in health, wealth, and godly­nesse, & myghtyly preserueth vs from the assaults and rages of our fierce and cruell enemies, and there ioyfully in the number of his faithfull peo­ple to prayse and magnitie the Lords holy name. Set before your eyes also that auncient father Simeon, of whom the scripture speaketh thus, to his great commendation, and an incouragemēt for vs to do the lyke. There was a man at Hie­rusalem named Simeon, a iust man, fearing God: Luke. 2. he came by the spirit of God into the temple, and was tolde by the same spirite that he shoulde not dye before he sawe the annoynted of the Lorde. In the temple his promise was fulfilled, in the temple he sawe Christ, & toke him in his armes, in the Temple he braste out into the myghtye prayse of God his Lorde. Anna a Prophetisse, Anna. [Page 269] an olde widowe, departed not out of the temple, geuing her selfe to prayer & fasting day & nyght: And she comming about the same tyme, was likewise inspyred, and confessed and spake of the Lorde to all them that looked for the redemption of Israel. This blessed man, and this blessed wo­man, were not disapoynted of wonderfull fruit, commoditie and comfort whiche God sent them, by their diligent resorting to Gods holy temple. Nowe ye shall heare howe greuouslye God hath ben offended with his people, for that they passed so litle vpon his holy Temple, and foully eyther despysed or abused the same. Whiche thyng maye playnely appeare by the notable plagues and pu­nishmentes which God hath layde vpon his peo­ple, especially in this, that he stirred vp their ad­uersaries, horribly to beate downe, and vtterly to destroye his holy temple with a perpetuall deso­lation. Alas, how many Churches countreyes & kingdomes of christian people, haue of late yeres ben plucked downe, ouerrunne, & left wast, with greeuous & intollerable tyrannye and crueltie of the enemy of our Lord Christe the great Turke, who hath so vniuersally scourged the Christiās, that neuer the lyke was heard & read of? Aboue thirtie yeres past, the great Turke had ouerrun, conquered, and brought into his dominion and subiection twentie Christian kingdomes, tur­nyng away the people from the fayth of Christe, poysonyng them with the dyuelishe religion of wicked Mahomet, and eyther destroying their Churches vtterly, or filthily abusing them with their wicked and detestable errours. And nowe [Page 270] this great Turke, this bitter and sharpe scourge of Gods vengeaunce, is euen at hande in this part of christendome, in Europe, at the borders of Italy, at the borders of Germany, greedylye gaping to deuour vs, to ouerrunne our country, to destroye our Churches also, vnlesse we repent our sinfull lyfe, and resort more diligently to the Church to honour God, to learne his blessed wil, and to fulfill the same. The Jewes in their time prouoked iustly the vengeaunce of God, for that partly they abused his holy temple with the de­testable idolatrie of the heathen, & supersticious vanities of their owne inuentions, contrary to Gods commaundement, partly they resorted vn­to it as hypocrites, spotted, imbrewed, and fouly defyled with all kinde of wickednesse and sinfull lyfe, partly many of them passed little vpon the holy temple, & forced not whether they came thi­ther, or no. And haue not the Christians of late dayes, and euen in our dayes also, in lyke maner prouoked the displeasure and indignation of al­mighty God? partly because they haue propha­ned and defyled their churches with heathenishe and Jewish abuses, with images and idols, with numbers of aulters, too too superstitiously, & in­tollerablye abused, with grosse abusing, and fyl­thye corrupting of the Lordes holye supper, the blessed sacrament of his body and blood, with an infinite number of toyes and tryfles of theyr owne deuyces, to make a godly outwarde shewe, and to deface the homely, simple, and sincere re­ligion of Christ Jesus, partlye they resort to the Churche lyke hypocrites, full of all iniquitie and [Page 271] sinfull lyfe, hauing a vayne & daungerous fansie and perswasion, that if they come to the church, besprinkle them with holy water, heare a masse, and be blessed with the challice, though they vn­derstand not one worde of the whole seruice, nor feele one motion of repentaunce in their hearts, all is well, all is sure. Fye vpon suche mocking & blaspheming of gods holy ordinaunce. Churches were made for an other purpose, that is, to resort thyther, and to serue God truelye, there to learne his blessed will, there to call vpon his myghtye name, there to vse the holy sacraments, there to trauayle howe to be in charitie with thy neygh­bour, there to haue thy poore and needy neygh­bour in remembraunce, from thence to departe better and more godly then thou camest thyther. Finallye, Gods vengeaunce hath ben, & is dayly prouoked, because much wicked people passe no­thing to resort to the Church, either for that they are so sore blinded that they vnderstand nothing of God and godlines, and care not with deuilishe example to offende their neighbours, or els for that they see the Churche altogether scoured of such gay gasing sightes as their grosse phantasie was greatly delyghted with, because they see the false religiō abandoned, & the true restored, whi­che seemeth an vnsauery thing to their vnsauery taste, as may appeare by this that a woman said to her neighbour: Alas gossip, what shal we now do at Church since al the saints are taken away, since al the goodly sightes we were wont to haue are gone, since we cannot heare the like pyping, singing, chaunting, & playing vppon the organs [Page 272] that we could before. But (dearelye beloued) we ought greatly to reioyce and geue God thankes, that our Churches are deliuered of all those thin­ges which displeased God so sore, & filthily defi­led his holy house and his place of prayer, for the which he hath iustly destroyed many nations, ac­cording to the saying of saint Paule: If any man defyle the temple of God, God will him destroye. 1. Cor. iii. And this ought we greatly to praise god for, that such superstitious & idolatrious maners as were vtterly naught & defaced gods glory, are vtterly abolished, as they most iustly deserued: and yet those things that either god was honored with, or his people edified, are decently reteyned, and in our Churches comely practised. But nowe forasmuch as ye perceaue it is gods determinate pleasure, ye should resort vnto your churches vp­pon the day of holy rest, seyng ye heare what dis­pleasure God conceaueth, what plagues he pou­reth vpon his disobedient people, seyng ye vnder­stand what blessinges of God are geuen, what heauenly cōmodities come to such people as de­sirously & zelously vse to resort vnto their Chur­ches, seyng also ye are now freendly bidden and ioyntly called, beware that ye slacke not your du­tie, take heede that you suffer nothing to let you hereafter to come to the Church at such times as you are ordinarily apoynted & cōmaunded. Our sauiour Christe telleth in a parable, that a great Luke. iiii. supper was prepared, gestes were bidden, many excused themselues & would not come: I tel you (sayth Christ) none of them that were called shal taste of my supper. This great supper, is the true [Page 273] religion of almightie God, wherewith he wyll be worshipped in the due receauyng of his sacra­mentes, and sincere preaching and hearyng his holy word, and practising the same by godly con­uersation. This feast is nowe prepared in Gods banquetting house the Churche, you are ther­vnto called and ioyntly bidden: yf you refuse to come, and make your excuses, the same wyll be aunswered to you, that was vnto them. Nowe come therefore (dearely beloued) without delay, and chearefully enter into Gods feastyng house, and become partakers of the benefites prouided & prepared for you. But see that ye come thyther with your holiday garment, not like hypocrites, not of a custome and for maner sake, not with lothsomnesse, as though ye had rather not come then come, yf ye were at your libertie. For God hateth & punisheth such counterfaite hypocrites, as appeareth by Christes former parable. My freend (sayth God) how camest thou in without a wedding garment? And therfore commaunded his seruauntes to binde him hand & foote, and to cast him into vtter darknesse, where shalbe wee­ping and wayling, and gnashyng of teethe. To the intent ye maye auoyde the lyke daunger at Gods hand, come to the Church on the holyday, & come in your holyday garment, that is to say, come with a cheareful and a godly mind, come to seeke Gods glory, and to be thankfull vnto hym, come to be at one with thy neighbour, and to en­ter in frendship and charitie with him. Consyder that all thy doings stinke before the face of God, yf thou be not in charitie with thy neighbour. [Page 274] Come with an hearte syfted and clensed from worldly and carnall affections and desires, shake of all vaine thoughtes whiche may hynder thee from Gods true seruice. The birde when she wil flee, shaketh her winges: Shake and prepare thy selfe to flee hyer then all birdes in the ayre, that after thy duetie duely done in this earthlye Temple and Church, thou mayest flee vp and be receaued into the glorious Temple of GOD in heauen, through Christe Jesus our Lorde, to whom with the father, and the holy ghost, be all glory and honour.

Amen.

¶ An Homilee wherein is declared that Common prayer and Sacramentes, ought to be ministred in a tongue, that is vnderstanded of the hearers.

AMong the manifolde exer­cises of Gods people (deare Christians) there is none more necessary for al estates and at all times, thē is pub­lique prayer, & the due vse of sacramentes. For in the first, we beg at Gods hande all suche thinges, as otherwyse we can not ob­tayne. And in the other, he imbraseth vs, and offreth him selfe to be imbrased of vs. Knowyng therfore that these two exercises are so necessarie for vs, let vs not thinke it vnmeete to consyder, [Page 275] fyrst what prayer is, and what a sacrament is, and then howe many sortes of prayers there be, & howe many sacramentes, so shal we the better vnderstand howe to vse them aright. To knowe what they be, saint Augustine teacheth vs in his August de spiritu & anima. booke entituled, Of the spirite and the soule. He sayth this of prayer: Prayer is (saith he) the de­uotion of the minde, that is to say, the returning to God through a godlye and humble affection, which affection is a certaine willing and sweete enclining of the minde it selfe towardes GOD. August. lib. 2. con­tra aduer­sarios le­gis & pro­phete. August. ad Boni­facium. And in the seconde booke agaynst the aduersarie of the lawe & the prophetes, he calleth sacramen­tes holy signes. And writing to Bonifacius of the baptisme of infantes, he sayth, If sacramentes had not a certayne similitude of those thinges whereof they be sacramentes, they shoulde be no sacramentes at all. And of this similitude, they do for the moste part receaue the names of the selfe thinges they signifie. By these wordes of saint Augustine it appeareth, that he aloweth the common description of a sacrament, whiche is, that it is a visible signe of an inuisible grace, that is to saye, that setteth out to the eyes and other outwarde senses, the inwarde workyng of Gods free mercie, and doth (as it were) seale in our heartes the promises of God. And so was circumcision a sacrament, whiche preached vn­to the outwarde senses, the inwarde cutting a­way of the foreskin of the hearte, and sealed and made sure in the heartes of the circumcised, the promise of god touching the promised seede that they loked for. Nowe let vs see howe many sortes [Page 276] of prayer, and howe many sacramentes there be. In the scriptures we reade of three sortes of prai­er, whereof two are priuate, and the thirde is common. The first is that whiche Saint Paul speaketh of in his Epistle to Timothie, saying, I wyll that men pray in euery place, lyfting vp 1. Tim. 2. pure handes without wrath and sttriuing. And it is the deuout lifting vp of the minde to God, without the vttering of the heartes griefe or de­syre by open voyce. Of this prayer we haue ex­ample in the first booke of the kynges in Anna the mother of Samuel, when in the heauinesse of 1. Reg. 1. her heart she prayed in the temple, desyring to be made fruitefull. She prayed in her heart (sayth the tert) but there was no voyce hearde. After this sorte must all Christians pray, not once in a weeke, or once in a day onlye: but as saint Paul writeth to the Thessalonians, without ceassyng. [...]. Thes. 5. Iacob. 5. And as Saint James wryteth, The continuall prayer of a iust man is of much force. The second sort of prayer is spoken of in the Gospel of Mat­thew, where it is sayd, When thou prayest, enter into thy secrete closet, and when thou hast shut Matth. 6. the doore to thee, pray vnto thy father in secrete, and thy father which seeth in secrete, shal reward thee. Of this sorte of prayer, there be sundry ex­amples in the scriptures, but it shall suffise to rehearse one, which is writtē in the Actes of the Apostles. Cornelius a deuoute man, a captayne Actes. 10. of the Italian army, sayth to Peter: that beyng in his house in prayer, at the ninth houre there appeared vnto hym one in a white garment. &c. This man prayed vnto God in secrete, and was [Page 277] rewarded openly. These be ye two priuate sortes of prayer. The one mentall, that is to say, the deuoute lifting vp of the minde to God: And the other vocall, that is to saye, the secrete vtteryng of the griefes & desires of the heart with wordes, but yet in a secrete closet or some solitarie place. The third sort of prayer, is publique or common. Of this prayer speaketh our Sauiour Christe, when he sayth, If two of you shall agree vppon earth vpon any thing, whatsoeuer ye shall aske, Matth. 18. my father which is in heauē shal do it for you, for wheresoeuer two or three be gathered together in my name, there am I in the middest of them. Although God hath promised to heare vs when we pray priuately, so it be done faythfully and deuoutly (For he sayth, Call vppon me in the day Psalm. 50. Iacob. 5. of thy trouble, and I wyll heare thee. And Elias being but a mortall man, sayth Saint James, prayed, and heauen was shut three yeres and sixe monethes, and againe he praied, and the heauen gaue rayne:) Yet by the histories of the Bible it appeareth, that publique and common praier is most auaileable before god, and therfore is much to be lamented that it is no better esteemed a­mong vs whiche professe to be but one bodye in Christe. When the citie of Niniue was threatned to be destroyed within. xl. dayes, the Prince and Ionas. 3. people ioyned them selues together in publique prayer and fasting, and were preserued. In the prophete Ioel, God commaunded a fasting to Ioel. 2. be proclaymed, and the people to be gathered together, young and olde, man and woman, and are taught to say with one voyce: Spare vs O [Page 278] Lorde, spare thy people, and let not thine inheri­taunce be brought to confusion. When ye Jewes shoulde haue ben destroyed all in one day tho­rowe the malice of Haman, at the commaunde­ment of Hester they fasted and prayed, and were Hester. 4. preserued. When Holophernes besieged Bethulia, by the aduice of Iudith they fasted and prayed, and were deliuered. When Peter was in prison, the Iudith. 8. congregation ioyned them selues together in prayer, and Peter was wonderfully deliuered. Actes. 12. By these histories it appeareth, that common or publique prayer is of great force to obtayne mercie, & deliueraunce at our heauenlye fathers hand. Therfore brethren, I beseche you, euen for the tender mercies of GOD, let vs no longer be negligent in this behalfe: but as the people wyl­ling to receaue at Gods hand such good thinges as in the common prayer of the Church are cra­ued, let vs ioyne our selues together in the place of common prayer, and with one voyce and one heart, begge at our heauenlye father all those thinges, which he knoweth to be necessarie for vs. I forbid you not priuate prayer, but I exhort you to esteeme common prayer as it is worthye. And before all thinges, be sure, that in all these three sortes of prayer, your mindes be deuoutlye lifted vp to God, els are your prayers to no pur­pose, & this saying shalbe verified in you: This people honoureth me with their lips, but theyr Esai. 29. Matth. 15. heart is farre from me. Thus much for the three sortes of prayer, wherof we reade in ye scriptures.

Nowe with lyke or rather more breuitie, you shall heare howe manye sacramentes there be, [Page 279] that were instituted by our Sauiour Christe, and are to be continued, and receaued of euerye Christian in due time and order, and for suche purpose as our sauiour Christe wylled them to be receaued. And as for the number of them, yf they shoulde be consydered according to the exact signification of a sacrament, namely for the visi­ble signes, expreslye commaunded in the newe Testament, whereunto is anexed the promise of free forgeuenesse of our sinne, and of our holy­nesse and ioynyng in Christe: there be but two, namely Baptisme, and the supper of the Lorde. For although absolution hath the promise of for­geuenesse of sinne: yet by the expresse worde of the newe Testament, it hath not this promyse annexed and tyed to the visible signe, whiche is imposition of handes. For this visible signe (I meane laying on of handes) is not expresly com­maunded in the newe Testament to be vsed in absolution, as the visible signes in baptisme and the Lordes supper are: and therefore absoluti­on is no suche sacrament as baptisme and the Communion are. And though the orderyng of ministers hath his visible signe and promise: yet it lackes the promise of remission of sinue, as all other sacramentes besides do. Therefore nei­ther it, nor any other sacrament els, be suche sa­cramentes as Baptisme and the Communion are. But in a generall acception, the name of a Sacrament maye be attributed to anye thing whereby an holye thing is signified. In whi­che vnderstandyng of the worde, the auncient writers haue geuē this name, not only to ye other [Page 280] fiue, commonly of late yeres taken and vsed for supplying the number of the seuen sacramentes: Dionisi. Barnard. de coena domini, & abluti pe­dum. but also to diuers and sundry other ceremonies, as to oyle, wasshing of feete, and suche lyke, not meaning thereby to repute them as sacraments, in the same signification that ye two forenamed sacramentes are. And therefore saint Augustine weyghyng the true signification and exact mea­nyng of the worde, wryting to Ianuarius, & also in ye thirde booke of christian doctrine, affirmeth that the sacramentes of the Christians, as they are most excellent in signification, so are they most few in number, and in both places maketh mention expressedlye of two, the sacrament of baptisme, and the Supper of the Lorde. And al­though there are reteined by thorder of ye church of England, besides these two, certayne other Rites and Ceremonies about the institution of ministers in the Churche, Matrimonie, Confir­mation of children, by examining them of theyr knowledge in the articles of the faith, & ioynyng there to the prayers of the Church for them, and like wise for the visitation of the sicke: yet no man ought to take these for sacramentes in suche sig­nification & meaning, as the sacrament of Bap­tisme and the Lordes Supper are: but eyther for godly states of life, necessarie in Christes church, and therfore worthy to be set foorth by publique action and solempnitie by the ministerie of the Church, or els iudged to be such ordinaunces, as may make for the instruction, comfort, and edifi­cation of Christes Churche.

Now, vnderstandyng sufficiently what prayer [Page 281] is, and what a sacrament is also, and how many sortes of prayers there be, and howe many sacra­mentes of our sauiour Christes institution: let vs see whether the scriptures and the examples of the primatiue Churche wyl alowe any vocall prayer, that is, when the mouth vttereth the pe­titions with voyce, or any maner of sacrament, or other publique & common rite or action, par­teyning to the profite and edifying of the poore congregation, to be ministred in a tongue vn­knowen or not vnderstande of the Minister or people: yea, and whether anye person maye pri­uately vse any vocall prayer, in a language that he him selfe vnderstandeth not. To this question we must aunswere, no. And fyrst of Common prayer and administration of Sacramentes. Al­though reason, yf it myght rule, woulde soone perswade vs to haue our cōmon prayer & admi­nistration of sacramentes in a knowen tongue, both for that to pray cōmonly, is for a multitude to aske one & the selfe thing with one voyce and one consent of minde, and to administer a sacra­ment, is by the out warde worde and element, to preache to the receauer the inwarde & inuisible grace of God, & also for that both these exercises were first instituted, and are still continued, to the ende that the congregation of Christe might from tyme to tyme be put in remembraunce of their vnitie in Christe, and that as members all of one bodye, they ought both in prayers & other­wyse to seeke and desire one anothers cōmoditie, and not their owne without others: Yet shall we not neede to flee to reasons profes in this [Page 282] matter, syth we haue both the plaine & manifest wordes of the scripture, and also the consent of the most learned & auncient writers to cōmende the prayers of the congregation in a knowen tongue. First, Paul to the Corinthians sayth: 1. Cor. 14. Let all thinges be done to edifying. Whiche can not be, vnlesse commonpraiers & administration of sacramentes be in a tongue knowen to the people. For where the prayers spoken by the mi­nister, and the wordes in the administration of the sacramentes, be not vnderstanded of them that be present, they can not thereby be edified. For as when the trumpet that is blowen in the feelde geueth an vncertaine sounde, no man is therby stirred vp to prepare him selfe to the fight: And as when an instrument of musicke maketh no distinct sound, no man can tel what is piped: Euen so when prayers or administration of sa­cramentes shalbe in a tongue vnknowen to the hearers, which of them shalbe thereby stirred vp to lyft vp his minde to God, and to begge with the Minister at Gods hand, those things which in the wordes of his prayers the minister asketh? Or who shall in the ministration of the Sacra­mentes vnderstande what inuisible grace is to be craued of the hearer, to be wrought in the in­warde man? Cruely no man at al. For (sayth S. Paul) he that speaketh in a tongue vnknowen, shalbe vnto the hearer an alient, whiche in a Christian congregation is a great absurditie. For we are not straungers one to another, but we are the citizens of the saintes, & of the house­holde of GOD, yea, and members of one bodye. [Page 283] And therfore whiles our minister is in rehersing Ephe. 2. 1. Cor. 10. and. 12. the prayer that is made in the name of vs all, we must geue diligent eare to the wordes spoken by him, and in hearte begge at Gods hande those thinges that he beggeth in wordes. And to signi­fie that we so do, we say Amen at the ende of the prayer that he maketh in the name of vs al. And this thing can we not do for edification, vnlesse we vnderstand what is spoken. Therfore it is re­quired of necessitie, that ye common praier be had in a tongue that the hearers do vnderstande. If euer it had ben tollerable to vse strange tongues in the congregations, the same myght haue ben in ye time of Paul & the other apostles, when they were miraculously endued with the gift of ton­gues. For it might then haue perswaded some to imbrace the Gospell, when they had hearde men that were Hebrues borne, & vnlearned, speake ye Greke, the Latin, & other languages. But Paul thought it not tollerable then: And shall we vse it now, when no man commeth by ye knowledge of tongues, other wyse then by diligent & earnest study? God forbid. For we should by that meanes bring all our Church exercises to friuolus super­stition, and make them altogether vnfruitefull. Luke writeth, that when Peter and John were Actes. 4. discharged by the Princes and high Priestes of Hierusalem, they came to their felowes, & tolde them al that the princes of the priestes and elders had spoken vnto them. Which when they heard, they lyfted vp their voyce together to God with one assent, and sayde, Lord, thou arthe that hast made heauen and earth, the sea, and all thinges [Page 284] that are in them. &c. Thus coulde they not haue done, yf they had prayed in a straunge tongue, that they had not vnderstande. And no doubt of it, they dyd not all speake with seuerall voyces: but some one of them spake in the name of them all, & the rest geuing diligent eare to his wordes, consented therunto, and therefore it is sayd, that they lifted vp their voyce together. Saint Luke saith not, Their voices, as many: but, their voice, as one. That one voyce therefore was in suche language as they al vnderstood, other wyse they coulde not haue lifted it vp with the consent of their heartes. For no man can geue consent of the thing he knoweth not. As touching ye times before the comming of Christe, there was neuer man yet that would affirme, that eyther the peo­ple of God or other, had their prayers or admini­strations of sacraments, or sacrifices, in a tongue that they them selues vnderstood not. As for the time since Christe, tyll that vsurped power of Rome began to spreade it selfe, and to enforce al the nations of Europe to haue the Romishe language in admiration, it appeareth by ye con­sent of the most auncient & learned writers, that there was no straunge or vnknowen tongue v­sed in the congregations of Christians. Instinus martyr, who liued about. 160. yeres after Christ, Iustinus. Apol. 2. sayth thus of the administration of the Lordes supper in his time, Upon the Sunday assembles are made, both of them that dwel in cities, and of thē that dwell in ye countrey also. Amongst whō, as much as may be, the writinges of the apostles & prophets are read. Afterwards, when ye reader [Page 285] doth ceasse, the chiefe minister maketh an exhor­tatiō, exhorting them to folow so honest things. After this, we ryse altogether and offer prayers, which being ended (as we haue saide) bread and wine and water are brought foorth: Then the head minister offereth prayers & thankesgeuing with al his power, & the people aunswere, Amē. These wordes with their circumstaunces beyng duely consydered, do declare plainly, that not on­ly the scriptures were read in a knowen tongue: but also that praier was made in the same in the congregations of Iustines tyme. Basilius magnus, and Iohannes Chrisostomus dyd in theyr tyme prescribe publique orders of publique admini­stration, which they call Liturgies, and in them they appoynted the people to aunswere to the prayers of the Minister, sometime, Amen, some­tyme, Lorde haue mercie vppon vs, sometyme, and with thy spirite, and, we haue our heartes lyf­ted vp vnto, the Lorde, &c. Which aunsweres the people coulde not haue made in due time, yf the praiers had not ben in a tongue that they vnder­stoode. The same Basil writing to the Cleargie of Epist. 63. Neocaesaria, sayth thus of his vsage in common prayer, appoynting one to beginne the song, the rest folow: And so with diuers songes & prayers, passing ouer the night, at the dawnyng of the day, altogether (euen as it were with one mouth and one heart) they sing vnto the Lorde a song of confession, euery man framing vnto him selfe meete wordes of repentaunce. In another place he sayth, If the Sea be faire, howe is not the assemble of the congregation muche more fayre, [Page 286] in which a ioyned sounde of men, women, and children (as it were of the waues beating on the shore) is sent forth in our prayers vnto our God? Marke his wordes: A ioyned sounde (sayth he) of men, women, and children. Which can not be, Basil. Rom. 4. vnlesse they all vnderstande the tongue wherein the prayer is sayde. And Chrisostome vppon the wordes of Paul sayth, So soone as the people heare these words, worlde without ende, they all do forthwith aunswere, Amen. This coulde they 1. Cor. 14. not do, vnlesse they vnderstood the worde spoken by the priest. Dionisius sayth, that hymnes were Dionisi. sayde of the whole multitude of people in the ad­ministration of the Communion. Ciprian sayth, Ciprian. Ser. 6. de ora. do­minica. the Priest doth prepare the mindes of the bre­thren, with a preface before the prayer, saying, Lyft vp your heartes: That whyles the people doth aunswere, VVe haue our heartes lyfted vp to the Lord, they be admonished that they ought to thinke on none other thing then the Lorde. Saint Ambrose wryting vppon the wordes of saint Paul, sayth, This is it that he sayth, be­cause 1. Cor. 14. he which speaketh in an vnknowētongue, speaketh to God, for he knoweth all thinges: but men know not, and therefore there is no profite of this thing. And agayne vppon these wordes: If thou blesse, or geue thankes with the spirite, howe shall he that occupieth the roome of the vnlearned, say Amen at thy geuing of thankes, seeyng he vnderstandeth not what thou sayest? That is (sayth Ambrose) yf thou speake ye prayse of God in a tongne vnknowen to the hearers. For the vnlearned, hearing that whiche he vn­derstandeth [Page 287] not, knoweth not ye end of the pray­er, and aunswereth not Amen, whiche worde is as much to saye, as trueth, that the blessing or thankesgeuing may be confirmed. For the con­firmation of the prayer is fulfilled by them that do aunswere, Amen, that all thinges spoken, might be cōfirmed in the mindes of the hearers, through the testimonie of the trueth. And after many weightie words, to the same end, he saith: The conclusion is this, that nothing shoulde be done in the Churche in vaine, and that this thing ought chiefely to be laboured for, that the vnlearned also myght take profite, least any part of the body should be darke through ignoraunce. And least anye man shoulde thinke all this to be meant of preaching, and not of prayer, he taketh occasion of these wordes of saint Paul (If there be not an interpreter, let hym keepe silence in the Churche) to say, as foloweth: Let hym praye secretly, or speake to GOD, who heareth all thinges that be dumbe: For in the Churche must he speake that maye profite all personnes. Saint Hierome wryting vpon these wordes of saint Paul, Howe shall he that supplieth the 1. Cor. 14. place of the vnlearned. &c. sayth, It is the laye man whom Paul vnderstandeth here to be in the place of the ignoraunt man, which hath no ecclesiasticall office: How shal he aunswere, Amen to the prayer that he vnderstandeth not? And a litle after, vppon the wordes of saint Paul, For yf I shoulde pray in a tongue. &c. he sayth thus, This is Paules meanyng: If any may speake in straunge & vnknowen tongues, his minde is [Page 288] made vnfruitefull, not to hym selfe, but to the hearer: For whatsoeuer is spoken, he knoweth it not. Saint Augustine wryting vpon the. xviii Psalme, saith: What this shoulde be we ought to vnderstande, that we maye sing with reason of Psalm. 28. man, and not with chattering of birdes. For Owles, Popingayes, Rauens, Pies, and other such like birdes are taught by men to prate they know not what: But to sing with vnderstāding, is geuen by Gods holy wil to the nature of man. Againe, the same Augustine sayth, There nedeth no speache when we pray, sauing perhappes as De ma­gist. the priestes do, for to declare their meanyng, not that God, but that men maye heare them. And so beyng put in remembraunce by consentyng with the priest, they may hang vpon God:

Thus are we taught both by the scriptures and auncient doctours, that in the administra­tion of Common prayer and Sacramentes, no tongue vnknowen to the hearers ought to be vsed. So that for the satisfying of a Christian mans conscience we nede to spend no more tyme in this matter. But yet to stoppe the mouthes of the aduersaries, whiche stay them selues muche vpon generall decrees, it shalbe good to adde to these testimonies of scriptures and doctors, one constitution made by Iustinian the Emperour, who liued fiue hundred and twentie and seuen yeres after Christe, and was Emperor of Rome. The constitution is this. We commaunde that Nouell. Consti. 23. all Byshops and Priestes do celebrate the holye oblation, and the prayers vsed in holye Bap­tisme, not speakyng lowe, but with a cleare or [Page 289] loude voyce, whiche may be heard of the people, that therby the mind of the hearers may be stir­red vp with great deuotion in vttering the pray­ers of the Lorde God, for so the holy Apostle tea­cheth in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, say­ing: Truely, if thou only blesse or geue thankes in spirite, howe doth he whiche occupyeth the place of the vnlearned, say Amen at thy geuyng of thankes vnto God, for he vnderstandeth not what thou sayest? Thou verily geuest thankes well, but the other is not edified. And agayne in the Epistle to the Romanes, he sayth: With the heart a man beleueth vnto ryghteousnesse, and with the mouth confession is made vnto sal­uation. Therefore for these causes it is conueni­ent that among other prayers those thinges also whiche are spoken in the holy oblation, be vtte­red and spoken of the moste religious byshoppes and priestes, vnto our Lorde Jesus Christe our God, with the father and the holy ghost, with a loude voyce. And let the most religious priestes knowe this, that if they neglecte any of these thinges, that they shal geue an accompt for them in the dreadfull iudgement of the great God and our sauiour Jesus Christe: Neyther wyll we when we knowe it, rest and leaue it vnreuenged.

This Emperour (as Sabellicus wryteth) fauou­red the byshoppe of Rome, and yet we see ho we playne a decree he maketh for the praying and administring of sacramēts in a knowne tongue, that the deuotion of the hearers might be stirred vp by knowledge, contrary to the iudgement of them that woulde haue ignoraunce to make de­uotion. [Page 290] He maketh it also a matter of dampnati­on, to do these thynges in a tongue that the hea­rers vnderstand not. Let vs therefore conclude with God and al good mens assent, that no com­mon prayer or Sacramentes ought to be mini­stred in a tongue that is not vnderstanded of the hearers. Nowe a worde or two of priuate pray­er in an vnknowne tongue. We tooke in hande where we began to speake of this matter, not onely to proue that no common prayer or admi­nistration of Sacramentes, ought to be in a tongue vnknowne to the hearers: but also that no person ought to pray priuately in that tongue that he hym selfe vnderstandeth not. Whiche thyng shall not be harde to proue, if we forget not what prayer is. For if prayer be that deuo­tion of the mynde whiche enforceth the heart to lift vp it selfe to God: howe shoulde it be sayde, that that person prayeth, that vnderstandeth not the wordes that his tongue speaketh in prayer? Yea, how can it be sayde that he speaketh? For to speake, is by voyce to vtter the thought of the mynde. And the voyce that a man vttereth in speakyng is nothyng els, but the messenger of the mynde, to bryng abroade the knowledge of that, whiche otherwyse lyeth secret in the heart, and can not be knowne, according to that which Saint Paul wryteth: What man (sayth he) kno­weth 1. Cor. 2 the thynges that apparteyne to man, sa­uyng only the spirite of man, which is in man? He therfore that doth not vnderstand the voyces that his tongue doth vtter, can not properly be sayde to speake, but rather to counterfayte, as [Page 291] parattes, and suche other byrdes vse to counter­faite mens voyces. No man therefore that fea­reth to prouoke the wrath of God agaynst hym selfe, wylbe so bolde to speake of God vnaduised­ly, without regarde of reuerent vnderstanding, in his presence, but he wyll prepare his heart be­fore he presume to speake vnto God. And there­fore in our common prayer the minister doth of­tentymes say. Let vs pray, meanyng thereby to admonishe the people that they shoulde prepare their eares to heare, what he shoulde craue at Gods hand, and their heartes to consent to the same, and their tongues to say Amen at the ende thereof. On this sort dyd the prophet Dauid pre­pare his heart, when he sayde: My heart is redy (O God) my heart is redy, I wyll syng and de­clare Psal. 57. a Psalme. The Jewes also, when in the tyme of Iudith they dyd with all their heart pray God to visite his people of Israel, had so prepa­red their heartes before they began to pray. After this sorte had Manasses prepared his heart before he prayed, and sayde: And nowe (O Lorde) do I bow the knees of myne heart, asking of thee part 2. Par. 36. of thy mercyful kindnes. When the heart is thus prepared, the voyce vttred from the heart, is har­monious in the eares of god: otherwyse he regar­deth it not to accept it. But forasmuch as the per­son that so [...]ableth his wordes without sense in the presence of God, sheweth hymselfe not to re­garde the maiestie of hym that he speaketh to: He taketh hym as a contemner of his al­myghtie maiestie, and geueth hym his rewarde among hypocrites, whiche make an outwarde [Page 292] she we of holynesse, but their heartes are full of abhominable thoughtes, euen in the tyme of their prayers. For it is the heart that the Lorde looketh vppon, as it is wrytten in the historie of 1. Reg. 16. kynges. If we therefore wyll that our prayers be not abhominable before God, let vs so prepare our heartes before we pray, and so vnderstande the thynges that we aske when we pray, that both our heartes and voyces may together sound in the eares of Gods maiestie, and then we shall not fayle to receaue at his hand the thinges that we aske: as good men whiche haue ben before vs dyd, and so haue from tyme to tyme receaued that whiche for their soules health they dyd at any tyme desyre. Saint Augustine seemeth to De cathe­chizandis rudibus. beare in this matter: For he sayth thus of them, whiche beyng brought vp in grammer and rhe­thoricke, are conuerted to Christe, and so must be instructed in Christian religion: Let them know also (sayth he) that it is not the voyce, but the affection of the minde that commeth to the eares of God. And so shall it come to passe, that if hap­ly they shall marke that some byshoppes or mini­sters in the Churche do call vppon God, eyther with barbarous wordes, or with wordes disorde­red, or that they vnderstande not, or do disorderly diuide the wordes that they pronounce, they shal not laugh them to scorne. Hitherto he seemeth to beare with praying in an vnknowne tongue. But in the next sentence he openeth his mynde thus: Nor for that these thynges ought not to be amended, that the people may say Amen to that whiche they do playnely vnderstande: But yet [Page 293] these thyngs must be godly borne withal of these catechistes or instructours of the faith, that they may learne, that as in the common place where matters are pleaded, the goodnesse of an oration consisteth in sounde: so in the Churche it consi­steth in deuotion. So that he alloweth not the praying in a tongue not vnderstand of hym that prayeth: But he instructeth the skilfull Oratour, to beare with the rude tongue of the deuout sim­ple minister. To conclude, if the lacke of vnder­standyng the wordes that are spoken in the con­gregation, do make them vnfruitfull to the hea­rers: How should not the same make the wordes read, vnfruitfull to the reader? The mercyfull goodnesse of God, graunt vs his grace to call vp­pon hym as we ought to do, to his glory and our endlesse felicitie, whiche we shall do, if we humble our selues in his sight, and in all our prayers both common and priuate, haue our myndes fully fixed vpon hym. For the prayer of them that Eccle. 35. humble them selues, shall pearse through the doudes, and tyll it drawe nygh vnto God, it wyl not be aunswered, and tyll the moste high do re­garde it, it wyll not departe. And the Lorde wyll not be slacke, but he wyll deliuer the iust, and execute iudgement. To hym therfore be all honour and glory, for euer & euer.

Amen.

An information for them whiche take offence at certayne places of the holy Scripture. The first part.

THe great vtilitie and profite that Christian men and wo­men may take (if they wil) by hearing and reading the ho­lye scriptures (dearely belo­ued) no heart can sufficiently conceaue, muche lesse is my tongue able with wordes to expresse. Wherefore satan our enemy, seing the scriptures to be the very meane and right way to bring the people to the true knowledge of God, & that Christian religion is greatly furthered by diligent hearing & reading of them, he also per­ceauing what an hinderance & let they be to him and his kingdome, doth what he can to driue the reading of them out of Gods Churche. And for that end, he hath alwayes stirred vp in one place or other, cruel tyrauntes, sharpe persecutors, and extreame enemies vnto God and his infallible trueth, to pull with violence the holy Bibles out of the peoples handes, and haue moste spite­fully destroyed and consumed the same to ashes in the fyre, pretendyng moste vntruely, that the muche hearyng and readyng of Gods worde, is an occasion of heresie and carnall libertie, and the ouerthrowe of all good order in all well orde­red [Page 295] common weales. If to knowe God aryght, be an occasion of euyll, then must we needes graunt, that the hearyng, and readyng of the ho­ly scriptures, is the cause of heresie, carnall li­bertie, and the subuertion of all good orders. But the knowledge of God, and of our selues, is so farre from beyng an occasion of euill, that it is the redyest, yea, the only meane to brydle car­nall libertie, and to kyll all our fleshly affections. And the ordinarie waye to attayne this know­ledge, is with diligence to heare and reade the holy scriptures. For the whole scriptures (say­eth Saint Paule) were geuen by the inspiration 2. Tim. 3. of God. And shall we Christian men thynke to learne the knowledge of God and of our selues, in anye earthly mans worke or wrytyng, sooner or better then in the holy scriptures, wrytten by the inspiration of the holy ghost? The scrip­tures were not brought vnto vs by the wyll of man: but holy men of God (as witnesseth Saint Peter) spake as they were moued by the holye spirite of God. The holy ghost is the scholemai­ster 2. Pet. 1. of trueth, whiche leadeth his schollers (as our Sauiour Christe sayeth of hym) into all Iohn. xvi. trueth. And who so is not led and taught by this scholemaister, can not but fall into deepe errour, howe godly soeuer his pretence is, what knowledge and learnyng soeuer he hath of all other workes and wrytynges, or howe fayre soe­uer a shewe or face of trueth he hath in the esti­mation and iudgement of the worlde. If some man wyll say, I woulde haue a true paterne and a perfect discription of an vpryght lyfe, ap­proued [Page 296] in the sight of God: can we fynde (thinke ye) any better or any suche agayne, as Christe Je­sus is, and his doctrine? whose vertuous conuer­sation and godly lyfe, the scripture so liuely pain­teth and setteth foorth before our eyes, that we beholding that paterne, myght shape and frame our lyues as nigh as may be, agreeable to the perfection of the same: Folow you me (sayth. S. 1. Cor. 2 Paul) as I folowe Christe. And saint John in his Epistle sayth: Who so abydeth in Christe, must walke euen so as he walked before hym. 1. Iohn. 2. And where shall we learne the order of Christes lyfe, but in the scripture? Another woulde haue a medicine to heale all diseases and maladies of the minde. Can this be found or gotten other where, then out of Gods owne booke, his sacred scrip­tures? Christe taught so muche when he sayde to the obstinate Jewes: Search the scriptures, for Iohn. 3. in them ye thynke to haue eternall lyfe. If the scriptures conteyne in them euerlastyng lyfe, it must nedes folow, that they haue also present re­medie agaynst all that is an hinderaunce and let vnto eternall lyfe. If we desire the knowledge of heauenly wysedome: why had we rather learne the same of man, then of God hym selfe, who (as saint James sayth) is the geuer of wysedome? Iacob. 2. Yea, why wyl we not learne it at Christes owne mouth, who promising to be present with his Churche tyll the worldes ende, doth perfourme Mat. 28. his promise, in that he is not only with vs by his grace and tender pitie: but also in this that he speaketh presently vnto vs in the holy scriptures, to the great and endlesse comfort of all them that [Page 297] haue any feelyng of God at all in them. Yea he speaketh nowe in the scriptures more profitably to vs, then he dyd by worde of mouth to the car­nall Jewes when he liued with them here vpon earth. For they (I meane the Jewes) coulde ney­ther heare nor see those thynges whiche we may nowe both heare and see, if we wyll bryng with vs those eares and eyes that Christe is hearde and seene with, that is, diligence to heare and reade his holy scriptures, and true fayth to be­leue his most comfortable promises. If one could shewe but the printe of Christes foote, a great number I thynke would fal downe and worship it: But to the holy scriptures, where we may see daily (yf we wyll) I wyll not say the print of his feete onlye, but the whole shape and liuely image of hym, alas we geue litle reuerence or none at all. If any coulde let vs see Christes coate, a sorte of vs woulde make hard shift except we mought come nygh to gase vppon it, yea and kysse it to: And yet all the clothes that euer he dyd weare, can nothyng so truely nor so liuely expresse hym vnto vs, as do the scriptures. Christes images made in wood, stone, or mettall, some men for the loue they beare to Christe, do garnishe and beautifie the same with pearle, golde, and preti­ous stone: And shoulde we not (good brethren) muche rather imbrace and reuerence Gods holy bookes, the sacred bible, whiche do represent Christ vnto vs, more truely then can any image? The image can but expresse the fourme or shape of his body, if it can do so muche: But the scrip­ture doth in such sort set foorth Christe, that we [Page 298] may see both God and man, we may see hym (I say) speakyng vnto vs, healyng our infirmi­ties, diyng for our sinnes, rysing from death for our iustification. And to be short, we may in the scriptures so perfectly see whole Christ with the eye of fayth, as we lacking fayth, coulde not with these bodily eyes see hym, though he stoode now present here before vs. Let euery man, wo­man, and chylde, therefore with all their hearte, thirst and desyre gods holy scriptures, loue them, embrace them, haue their delight and pleasure in hearing and readyng them, so as at length we may be transfourmed and chaunged into them. For the holy scriptures are Gods treasure house, wherein are found al thynges needefull for vs to see, to heare, to learne, and to beleue, necessarie for the attaynyng of eternall lyfe. Thus muche is spoken, onely to geue you a taste of some of the commodities whiche ye maye take by hearing & reading the holy scriptures. For as I said in the beginning, no tongue is able to declare and vtter all. And although it is more cleare then the noone day, that to be ignorant of the scriptures, is the cause of errour, as Christe sayth to the Saducees: Ye erre, not knowing the scriptures, and that errour doth holde backe, & plucke men Mat. 22. away from the knowledge of God. And as saint Hierome sayth: Not to know the scriptures, is to be ignoraunt of Christ. Yet this notwithstan­dyng, some there be that thynke it not meete for all sortes of men to reade the scriptures, because they are, as they thynke, in sundry places stum­blyng blockes to the vnlearned. Fyrst, for that [Page 299] the phrase of the scriptures is somtyme so hom­lye, grosse, and playne, that it offendeth the fine and delicate wittes of some courtiers. Further­more, for that the scripture also reporteth, euen of them that haue their commendation to be the children of God, that they did diuers actes, wher­of some are contrary to the lawe of nature, some repugnaunt to the law wrytten, and other some seeme to fight manifestly agaynst publique ho­nestie. All whiche thynges (say they) are vnto the simple an occasion of great offence, and cause many to thynke euyl of the Scriptures, and to discredite their aucthoritie. Some are offended at the hearyng and readyng of the diuersitie of the rites and ceremonies of the sacrifices and ob­lations of the lawe. And some worldly witted men, thynke it a great decay to the quiet and pru­dent gouerning of their common weales, to geue eare to the simple and plaine rules and preceptes of our sauiour Christe in his Gospell, as beyng offended, that a man shoulde be redy to turne his right eare, to hym that strake hym on the lefte, and to hym whiche woulde take away his coate, to offer hym also his cloke, with suche other say­inges of perfection in Christes meanyng. For carnal reason beyng alway an enemie to God, and not perceauing the thynges of Gods spirite, doth abhorre suche preceptes, whiche yet rightly vnderstanded, infringeth no iudiciall policies, nor Christian mens gouernementes. And some there be, whiche hearyng the scriptures to bid vs to lyue without [...], without studie or forecasting, do deride t [...]e [...]ities of them. [Page 300] Therefore to remoue and put away occasions of offence so muche as may be, I wyll aunswere or­derly to these obiections. Firste I shall rehearse some of those places that men are offended at, for the homelynes and grossenesse of speach, and wil shewe the meanyng of them. In the booke of Deuteronomie it is wrytten, that almyghtie God made a lawe, yf a man dyed without issue, his brother or next kynsman shoulde marrye his wydowe, and the childe that were firste borne be­tweene them, shoulde be called his chylde that was dead, that the dead mans name myght not be put out in Israel: And if the brother or nexte kynsman would not marry the widow, then she before the magistrates of the Citie shoulde pull of his shoe, and spitte in his face, saying: So be it done to that man that wyll not buylde his bro­thers house. Here (dearely beloued) the pullyng of his shoe and spitting in his face, were ceremo­nies to signifie vnto all the people of that Citie, that the woman was not nowe in faulte that Gods lawe in that poynt was broken, but the whole shame and blame therof did now redound to that man whiche openly before the magistra­tes refused to marry her. And it was not a re­proch to hym alone, but to all his posteritie also: For they were called euer after, the house of hym whose shoe is pulled of. Another place out of the Psalmes: I wyl breake (saith Dauid) the hornes of the vngodly, and the hornes of the ryghteous Psal. 75. shalbe exalted. By anhorne, in the scripture, is vnderstand power, myght, strength, & sometime rule & gouernment. The prophet then saying, I [Page 301] wyll breake the hornes of the vngodly, meaneth, that all the power, strength, and myght of Gods enemie, shall not onlye be weakened and made feeble, but shall at length also be cleane broken and destroyed, though for a tyme for the better triall of his people, God suffereth the enemies to preuayle and haue the vpper hande. In the▪ 132. Psalm. 132. Psalme it is sayde, I wyll make Dauids horne to florishe. Here Dauids horne signifieth his kyngdome. Almightie God therefore by this ma­ner of speakyng, promiseth to geue Dauid victo­rie ouer all his enemies, and to stablishe hym in his kyngdome, spyte of all his enemies. And in the threescore psalme it is wrytten: Moab is my Psalm. 60. washpot, and euer Edom wyl I cast out my shoe, &c. In that place the prophete sheweth how gra­ti [...]usly God hath dealt with his people the chil­dren of Israel, geuing them great victories vpon their enemies on euery side. For the Moabites and Idumeans, being two great nations, proude people, stout and mighty, God brought them vn­der, and made them seruauntes to the Israelites, seruantes I say, to stowpe downe, to pul of their shoes, and washe their feete. Then Moab is my washpot, and ouer Edom wyl I cast out my shoe, is as if he had sayde: The Moabites and the Idu­means, for all their stoutnesse agaynst vs in the wyldernesse, are now made our subiects, our ser­uauntes, yea vnderlynges to pull of our shoes, and washe our feete. Nowe I pray you, what vncomly maner of speach is this, so vsed in com­mon phrase among the Hebrues? It is a shame that Christian men shoulde be so light headed, to [Page 302] toy as ruffians do of suche maner speaches, vtte­red in good graue signification by [...]he holy ghost. More reasonable it were for vaine men to learne to reuerence the fourme of Gods wordes, then to gaude at them to his damnation. Some againe are o [...]ended to heare that the godly fathers had many wiues and concubines▪ although after the phrase of the scripture, a concubine is an honest name, for euery concubine is a lawfull wyfe, but euery wyfe is not a concubine. And that ye may the better vnderstande this to be true, ye shall note that it was permitted to the fathers of the olde Testament, to haue at one time mo wiues then one, for what purpose ye shall afterwarde heare. Of whiche wyues some were free wo­men borne, some were bond women and ser­uauntes. She that was free borne, had a prero­gatiue aboue those that were seruauntes & bond women. The free borne woman was by mari­age made the ruler of the house vnder her hus­band, & is called the mother of the housholde, the maistres or the dame of the house after our ma­ner of speaking, and had by her mariage an inte­rest, a right, and an ownership of his goodes vnto whom she was marryed. Other seruauntes and bond women wer geuen by the owners of them, as the maner was then, I wyll not say alwaies, but for the moste parte, vnto their daughters at that day of their mariage, to be handmaydens vnto them. A [...]ter such a sort did Pharao kyng of Egypt geue vnto Sara Abrahams wyfe, Agar the Egyptian to be her mayde. So dyd Laban geue vnto his daughter Lia, at the day of her mariage, Gen. 29. [Page 303] Zilpha, to be her handmayde. And to his other daughter Rachell, he gaue another bond­mayde, named Bilham. And the wyues that were the owners of their handmaydes, gaue them in mariage to their husbandes, vppon di­uers occasions. Sara gaue her maide Agar in ma­riage Gen. 15 [...] to Abraham. Lia gaue in lyke maner her mayde Zilpha to her husbande Jacob. So dyd Rachell his other wyfe geue hym Bil [...]am her mayde, saying vnto hym: Go in vnto her, and she Gen. 3 [...]. shall beare vppon my knees, whiche is, as if she had sayde, take her to wyfe, and the chyldren that she shall beare, wyll I take vpon my lappe, and make of them as if they were myne owne. These handmaydens or bond women, although by mariage they were made wyues, yet they had not this prerogatiue to rule in the house, but were styll vnderlinges, and in subiection to their maisters, and were neuer called mothers of the houshold, maistresses, or dames of the house, but are called sometymes wyues, sometyme concu­bines. The pluralitie of wyues, was by a speciall prerogatiue suffered to the fathers of the olde Testament, not for satisfiyng their carnall and fleshly lustes, but to haue many children, because euery one of them hoped, and begged oft tymes of God in their prayers, that that blessed seede whiche God promised shoulde come into the worlde to breake the serpentes head, myght come and be borne of his stocke and kinred.

Now of those whiche take occasion of carnali­tie and euil life, by hearing and reading in Gods boke, what God hath suffered euen in those men, [Page 304] whose commendation is praysed in the scripture. As that Noe, whom. S. Peter calleth the eight 2. Pet. 2. preacher of ryghteousnesse, was so drunke with wyne, that in his sleepe he vncouered his owne priuities. The iust man Lot was in lyke maner drunken, and in his drunkennesse lay with his Gen. 9. Gen. 19. owne daughters, contrary to the law of nature. Abraham, whose fayth was so great, that for the same he deserued to be called of Gods owne Gen. 17. Rom. 4. mouth a father of many nations, the father of all beleuers, besydes with Sara his wife, had al­so carnall company with Agar, Saraes hande­mayde. The patriarche Jacob had to his wyues two sisters at one tyme. The Prophete Dauid Gen. 16. and king Salomon his sonne, had many wyues and concubines. &c. Which thinges we see plain­ly to be forbidden vs by the lawe of God, and are now repugnaunt to all publique honestie. These Gen. 29 and suche lyke in Gods booke (good people) are not wrytten that we shoulde or may do the lyke, folowyng their examples, or that we ought to thynke that God dyd alow euery of these thyngs in those men: But we ought rather to beleue and to iudge that Noe in his drunkennesse offended God highly. Lot lying with his daughters, com­mitted horrible incest. We ought then to learne by them this profitable lesson, that if so godlye men as they were, which otherwise felt inward­ly Gods holy spitite inflamyng in their heartes, with she feare and loue of God, coulde not by their owne strength kepe them selues from com­mittyng horrible sinne, but dyd so greeuous [...]y fal, that without Gods great mercie they had peri­shed [Page 305] euerlastinglye: Howe much more ought we then miserable wretches, which haue no feeling of God within vs at al, continually to feare, not onely that we may fall as they did, but also be o­uercome and drowned in sinne, which they were not? And so by consydering their fal, take the bet­ter occasion to acknowledge our owne infirmitie and weaknesse, and therefore more earnestlye to call vnto almightie God with heartye prayer in­cessauntlye for his grace, to strengthen vs, and to defende vs from all euill. And though through infirmitie we chaunce at any tyme to fall, yet we may by harty repentaunce and true fayth, speedi­ly rise againe, and not slepe and continue in sinne as the wicked doth.

Thus good people, shoulde we vnderstande such matters expressed in the diuine scriptures, that this holye table of Gods worde be not tur­ned to vs to be a snare, a trappe, and a stumbling stone, to take hurt by the abuse of our vnderstan­ding: But let vs esteeme them in suche a reue­rent humilitie, that we may fynde our necessary foode therein, to strengthen vs, to comfort vs, to instruct vs (as God of his great mercye hath ap­poynted them) in all necessarye workes, so that we may be perfect before him in ye whole course of our lyfe: Whiche he graunt vs, who hath redeemed vs, our Lorde and Sauiour Je­sus Christe, to whom with the fa­ther, and the holy ghost be all honour and glory for euermore.

Amen.

¶ The seconde part of the informati­on for them which take offence at cer­tayne places of the holy scripture.

YE haue heard (good people) in the Homilee last read vn­to you, the great commodi­tie of holye Scriptures, ye haue heard how ignoraunt men, voyde of godlye vnder­standing, seeke quarrelles to discredite them: Some of their reasons haue ye heard aunswered. Nowe we will proceede and speake of suche politique wyse men whiche be offended, for that Christes preceptes should seeme to destroy all order in go­uernaunce, as they do alleage for example such as these be. If any man strike thee on the right Mat. [...]. Mat. 18. cheeke, turne the other vnto him also. If anye man will contende to take thy coate from thee, let him haue cloke and all. Let not thy left hand knowe what thy ryght hand doth. If thine eye, thine hande, or thy foote offende thee, pull out thine eye, cut of thine hand, thy foote, and cast it from thee. If thine enemie (sayeth saint Paul) be an hungred, geue him meate, if he be thirstie, Rom. xii. geue him drinke: so doing, thou shalt heape hotte burning coales vpon his head. These sentences (good people) vnto a naturall man seeme mere absurdities, contrary to all reason. For a natu­rall man (as saint Paule sayeth) vnderstandeth [...]. Cor. ii. not the thinges that belong to God, neyther can [Page 307] he, so long as olde Adam dwelleth in him. Christ therfore meaneth, that he would haue his faith­full seruaunts so farre from vengeaunce and re­sisting wrong, that he woulde rather haue him redy to suffer an other wrong, then by resisting to breake charitie, and to be out of pacience. He would haue our good deedes so farre from al car­nall respectes, that he would not haue our nyest freendes know of our wel doing, to win a vaine glorye. And though our freendes and kynsfolkes be as deare as our right eyes and our right han­des: yet if they woulde plucke vs from God, we ought to renounce them, and forsake them.

Thus if ye wil be profitable hearers and readers of the holye scriptures, ye must firste denye your selues, and keepe vnder your carnall senses taken by the outward wordes, and searche the inward meaning: reason must geue place to Gods holye spirite, you must submit your worldly wisedome and iudgement, vnto his diuine wysdome and iudgement. Consyder that the scripture, in what straunge fourme soeuer it be pronounced, is the word of the lyuing God. Let that alwayes come to your remembraunce, which is so oft repeated of the prophete Esaias: The mouth of the Lorde (sayth he) hath spoken it, the almighty and euer­lasting God, who with his onely worde created heauen and earth, hath decreed it, the Lorde of hoastes, whose wayes are in the Seas, whose pathes are in the deepe waters, that Lorde and God by whose worde all thynges in heauen and in earth are created, gouerned, and preser­ued, hath so prouided it. The God of Goddes, [Page 308] and Lorde of all Lordes, yea, God that is God alone, incomprehensible, almyghty, and euerla­sting, he hath spoken it, it is his worde. It can not therefore be but trueth, whiche proceedeth from the God of all trueth: it can not be but wise­ly and prudently commaunded, what almightie God hath deuysed, how vaynely soeuer through want of grace, we miserable wretches do ima­gine and iudge of his most holy worde. The pro­phete Dauid describing an happye man, sayeth: Blessed is the man that hath not walked after the counsayle of the vngodlye, nor stande in the Psal. 1. waye of sinners, nor sit in the seate of the scorne­full. There are three sortes of people, whose com­panye the prophete would haue him to flee and auoyde, which shall be an happy man, and parta­kers of Gods blessing. First, he may not walke after the counsayle of the vngodlye. Secondlye, he may not stand in the waye of sinners. Third­lye, he muste not sit in the seat of the scornefull. By these three sortes of people, vngodly men, sin­ners, and scorners, all impietie is signified and fully expressed. By the vngodly, he vnderstādeth those which haue no regarde of almightye God, being voyde of all faith, whose heartes & mindes are so set vpon the worlde, that they studie onely howe to accomplishe their worldlye practises, their carnall imaginations, their filthy lust and desyre, without anye feare of God. The seconde sort he calleth sinners, not such as do fal through ignoraunce, or of frailenesse, for then who should be found free? What man euer liued vpon earth (Christe onely excepted) but he hath sinned? The [Page 309] iust man falleth seuen times, and ryseth agayne. Though the godly do fall, yet they walke not on Prou. 24. purposely in sinne, they stande not still to conty­nue and tarye in sinne, they syt not downe like carelesse men, without all feare of Gods iust pu­nishment for sinne: but defying sinne, through Gods great grace and infinite mercye, they ryse agayne, and fight agaynste sinne. The Prophete then calleth them sinners whose heartes are cleane turned from God, and whose whole con­uersation of lyfe is nothing but sinne, they de­light so much in the same, that they choose conti­nually to abyde and dwell in sinne. The thyrde sorte he calleth scorners, that is, a sorte of men whose heartes are so stuffed with mallyce, that they are not contented to dwell in sinne, and to leade their lyues in all kynde of wickednesse: but also they do contempne and scorne in other, all godlinesse, true religion, all honestie and vertue. Of the two first sortes of men, I will not say but they may take repentaunce, and be conuerted vn­to God. Of the third sort, I thinke I may with­out daunger of gods iudgement pronounce, that neuer anye yet conuerted vnto God by repen­taunce, but continued on still in their abhomi­nable wyckednesse, heaping vp to them selues damnation, agaynst the day of Gods ineuitable iudgement. Examples of such scorners, we reade in the seconde booke of Chronicles: When the good kyng Ezechias, in the beginnyng of his 2. Par. 30. raygne, had destroyed idolatrie, purged the tem­ple, and refourmed religion in his Realme, he sent messengers into euerye Citie, to gather the [Page 310] people vnto Hierusalem, to solemnize the feast of Easter, in such sort as God had appoynted. The postes went from citie to citie, through the land of Ephraim and Manasses, euen vnto Zabulon. And what did the people thinke ye? Did they laude and prayse the name of the Lorde whiche had geuen them so good a kinge, so zelous a Prince to abolish idolatrie, and to restore againe Gods true religion? No, no. The scripture say­eth, The people laughed them to scorne, and mocked the kynges messengers. And in the laste Chapter of the same booke it is written, that al­myghtie God, hauing compassion vppon his people, sent his messengers the Prophetes vnto them, to call them from their abhominable ido­latrie and wicked kinde of liuing. But they moc­ked his messengers, they dispised his wordes, & misused his Prophetes, vntill the wrathe of the Lord arose against his people, and till there was no remedie: For he gaue them vp into the hands of their enemies, euen vnto Nabucodonozar kyng of Babilon, who spoiled thē of their goods, brent their citie, and led them, their wyues, and their children, captiues vnto Babylon. The wicked people that were in the dayes of Noe, made but a mocke at the worde of God, when Noe tolde them that God woulde take venge­aunce vppon them for their sinnes. The fludde therefore came sodainely vpon them, and drow­ned them with the whole worlde. Lot preached to the Sodomites, that except they repented, both they and their Citie shoulde be destroyed. They thought his sayings impossible to be true, [Page 311] they scorned and mocked his admonition, and re­puted him as an olde doting foole. But when God by his holy angels had taken Lot, his wyfe and two daughters from among them, he raig­ned downe fyre and brymstone from heauen, and brent vp those scorners and mockers of his holye worde. And what estimation had Christes doc­trine among the Scribes and Pharisees? What rewarde had he among them? The Gospell re­porteth thus: The Pharisees whiche were co­uetous did scorne him in his doctrine. O then ye see that worldly riche men scorne the doctrine of their saluation. The worldly wyse men scorne the doctrine of Christe, as foolishenesse to their vnderstanding. These scorners haue euer ben, and euer shal be to the worldes ende. For Saint Peter prophesied, that suche scorners shoulde be 2. Pet. 2. in the worlde before the latter daye. Take heede therefore (my brethren) take heede, be ye not scor­ners of Gods most holy worde, prouoke him not to powre out his wrath now vpon you, as he did then vppon those gybers and mockers. Be not wilfull murderers of your owne soules. Turne vnto God whyle there is yet tyme of mercye, ye shall els repent it in the worlde to come, when it shal be to late, for there shall be iudgement with­out mercy. This might suffise to admonishe vs, and cause vs henceforth to reuerence Gods holy scriptures, but all men haue not faith. This ther­fore shal not satisfy and content al mens mindes: but as some are carnal, so they will stil continue, & abuse the scriptures carnally, to their greater dampnation. The vnlearned and vnstable (saith [Page 312] saint Peter) paruerte the holy scriptures to their owne destruction. Jesus Christ, as (saint Paul ii. Pet. ii. sayth) is to the Jewes an offence, to the Gen­tiles foolishnesse: But to Gods children, as wel i. Cor. i. of the Jewes as of the Gentiles, he is the power and wisdome of God. The holy man Simeon say­eth, Luke. ii. that he is set foorth for the fall and rysing againe of many in Israel. As Christe Jesus is a fall to the reprobate, which yet perishe through their owne default: So is his worde, yea the whole booke of God, a cause of dampnation vn­to them, through their incredulitie. And as he is a rysing vp to none other then those whiche are Gods children by adoption: So is his worde, yea the whole scripture, the power of God to sal­uation to them onelye that do beleue it. Christe him selfe, the Prophetes before him, the apostles after him, all the true ministers of Gods holye worde, yea euery worde in Gods booke, is vnto the reprobate, the sauour of death vnto death. Christ Jesus, the prophetes, the apostles, and all the true ministers of his worde, yea euery iot and title in the holy scripture, haue ben, is, and shal be for euermore, the sauour of lyfe vnto eternall lyfe, vnto all those whose heartes God hath pu­rified by true fayth. Let vs earnestlye take heede, that we make no iesting stocke of the bookes of holy scriptures. The more obscure and darke the sayinges be to our vnderstanding, the further let vs thinke our selues to be from God and his ho­lye spirite, who was the aucthour of them. Let vs with more reuerence endeuour our selues to searche out the wisdome hidden in the outwarde [Page 313] barke of the scripture. If we can not vnderstand the sense and the reason of the saying, yet let vs not be scorners, iesters, and deryders, for that is the vttermost token and shewe of a reprobate, of a playne enemie to God and his wysdome. They be not ydle fables to iest at, whiche God doth se­riouslye pronounce, and for serious matters let vs esteeme them. And though in sundrye places of the scriptures, be set out diuers rites and cere­monies, oblations, & sacrifices: let vs not thynke straunge of them, but referre them to the tymes and people for whom they serued, although yet to learned men they be not vnprofitable to be cō ­sydered, but to be expounded as figures and sha­dowes of thinges and persons, afterwarde open­lye reuealed in the new Testament. Though the rehearsall of the genealogies & petegrees of the fathers, be not to much edification of the playne ignoraunt people: yet is there nothyng so im­partinently vttered in all the whole booke of the Byble, but may serue to spirituall purpose in some respecte, to all suche as will bestowe theyr labours to searche out the meanynges. These may not be condemned, because they serue not to our vnderstandyng, nor make not to our edi­fication. But let vs turne our labour to vnder­stande, and to cary away suche sentences and sto­ries as be more fyt for our capacitie and instruc­tion. And wheras we reade in diuers Psalmes, how Dauid did wyshe to the aduersaries of god sometymes shame, rebuke, and confusion, some­tyme the decay of theyr ofspryng and issue, some­time that they might peryshe and come sodaynly [Page 314] to destruction, as he did wishe to the Captaynes of the Philistians: Cast forth (sayth he) thy lyghtening and teare them, shoote out thyne ar­rowes and consume them, with such other ma­ner Psal. 144. of imprecations: Yet ought we not to be of­fended at suche prayers of Dauid, being a pro­phete as he was, singulerly beloued of God, and rapte in spirite, with an ardent zeale to gods glo­rie. He spake them not of a priuate hatred, and in a stomake against their persons: But wyshed spirituallye the destruction of suche corrupt er­rours and vyces, whiche raygned in all diuilishe persons, set agaynst God. He was of lyke mynd as saint Paule was, when he did deliuer Hime­neus and Alexander, with the notorious fornica­tour, to Satan, to their temporal confusion, that their spirite might be saued against the daye of the Lord. And when Dauid did professe in some places that he hated the wicked: yet in other pla­ces of his Psalmes he professeth, that he hated them with a perfect hate, not with a malitious hate, to the hurt of the soule. Whiche perfection of spirite, because it can not be perfourmed in vs, so corrupted in affections as we be, we ought not to vse in our priuate causes the lyke wordes in fourme, for that we cannot fulfil the like wordes in sense. Let vs not therefore be offended, but searche out the reason of such wordes before we be offended, that we may the more reuerentlye iudge of such sayinges, though straunge to our carnall vnderstandinges, yet to them that be spi­ritually minded, iudged to be zelously and godlye pronounced. God therefore for his mercies sake, [Page 315] vouchsafe to purifie our myndes through fayth in his sonne Jesus Christ, and to instill the hea­uenly droppes of his grace into our harde stonye heartes to supple the same, that we be not con­temners & deriders of his infallible worde: but that with all humblenes of minde and Christian reuerence, we may endeuour our selues to heare and to reade his sacred scriptures, and inwardly so to digest them, as shall be to the comfort of our soules, and sanctification of his holye name, to whom with the sonne and the holy ghost, three persons and one lyuing God be al laude, honor, and prayse, for euer, and euer.

Amen.

❧ An Homilee of Almes deedes, and mercifulnes to­warde the poore and needie.

AMongst the manifolde due­ties that almighti god requi­reth of his faithful seruants the true Christians, by the which he woulde that both his name should be glorified, & the certaintie of their voca­tion declared, there is none that is either more acceptable vnto him, or more profitable for thē, then are the workes of mercye & pity, shewed vpon ye poore, which be afflicted wt any kinde of misery. And yet this not wt standing, [Page 316] (suche is the slouthfull sluggishnesse of our dull nature, to that whiche is good and godlye) that we are almoste in nothing more negligent and lesse carefull then we are therein. It is therfore a very necessary thing, that Gods people should awake their sleepie myndes, and consyder their duetie on this behalfe. And meete it is, that all true Christians should desyrously seke and learne what God by his holy word doth herein requyre of them: that fyrst knowing their duetie (where­of many by their slacknes seeme to be very igno­raunt) they maye afterwardes diligentlye ende­uour to perfourme the same. By the which, both the godly charitable persons may be incouraged to go forwardes and continue in their mercifull deedes of almes geuing to the poore, and also suche as hytherto haue eyther neglected or con­temned it, may yet now at the length (when they shall heare howe much it apparteyneth to them) aduisedly consyder it, and vertuously apply them selues therevnto.

And to the intent that euerye one of you maye the better vnderstande that whiche is taught, and also easylier beare awaye, and so take more fruite of that shall be sayde, when seuerall mat­ters are seuerally handeled: I mind particulerly, and in this order, to speake and intreat of these poyntes.

Fyrst, I will shewe how earnestly almyghtie God in his holye worde, doth exact the doyng of almes deedes of vs, and how acceptable they be vnto him.

Secondlye, how profitable it is for vs to vse [Page 317] them, and what commoditie and fruit they will bring vnto vs.

Thyrdly and laste, I will shewe out of Gods worde, that who so is liberall to the poore, & re­leeueth them plenteously, shal notwithstanding haue sufficient for himselfe, & euermore be with­out daunger of penurie and scarcitie.

Concerning the first, which is the acceptati­on and dignitie or pryce of almes deedes before God: Knowe this, that to helpe and succour the poore in their neede and miserie, pleaseth God so much, that as the holy scripture in sundry places recordeth, nothyng can be more thankfullye ta­ken or accepted of God. For firste we reade, that almightie God doeth accounte that to be geuen and to be bestowed vpon himselfe, that is besto­wed vppon the poore. For so doth the holy ghost testifie vnto vs by the wyse man, saying, He that hath pitie vpon the poore, lendeth vnto the lord Prou. 10. him selfe. And Christe in the Gospell aduou­che [...], and as a moste certayne trueth, byndeth it with an othe, that the almes bestowed vppon the poore, was bestowed vpon him, & so shall be reckoned at the last daye. For thus he saith to the charitable almes geuers, when he sitteth as iudge in the doome, to geue sentence of euery mā accordyng to his desartes: Uerylye I saye vnto you, whatsoeuer good & mercifull deede you did Mat. 25. vpon any of the least of these my brethren, ye did the same vnto me. In releeuing their hunger, ye releeued mine, in quenching their thirst, ye quen­ched mine, in clothing them, ye clothed me, and when ye harboured them, ye lodged me also, whē [Page 318] ye visited them being sicke or in prison, ye visited me. For as he that receaueth a Princes imbassa­dours, and entertayneth them wel, doth honour the Prince, from whom those imbassadours do come: So he that receaueth the poore and nee­dy, and helpeth them in their affliction and dis­tresse, doth thereby receaue and honour Christe their maister, who as he was poore and needye him selfe, whylest he lyued here amongst vs, to worke the mysterie of our saluation, so at his de­parture hence, he promised in his steede, to sende vnto vs those that were poore, by whose meanes his absence should be supplied: and therfore that we would do vnto him, we muste do vnto them. And for this cause doth almyghtye God say vnto Moyses, The land wherin you dwell, shall ne­uer be without poore men: because he woulde Deut. 15. haue continual trial of his people, whether they loued him or no, that in shewing them selues o­bedient vnto his will, they might certaynlye as­sure them selues of his loue and fauour towar­des them, and nothing doubte, but that as his lawe and ordinaunces (wherein he commaun­ded them that they shoulde open their hande vn­to their brethren that were poore and needye in the lande) were accepted of them, and willingly perfourmed: So he woulde on his part louyng­ly accept them, and truely perfourme his promi­ses that he had made vnto them. The holy Apo­stles and disciples of Christ, who by reason of his dayly conuersation, saw by his deedes, and heard in his doctrine, how much he tendered the poore: the godly fathers also, that were both before and [Page 319] since Christ, indued without doubt with the ho­ly ghost, and most certaynly certified of Gods ho­ly wil: they both do most earnestly exhort vs, and in all their wrytinges almost, continually admo­nishe vs, that we woulde remember the poore, and bestowe our charitable aimes vppon them. Saint Paul cryeth vnto vs after this sort, Com­fort i. Thes. v. the feeble mynded, lift vp the weake, and be charitable toward all men. And agayne, To do Heb. 13. good to the poore, and to distribute aimes glad­ly, see that thou do not forget, for with such sacri­fices God is pleased. Esai the Prophete teacheth Esai. liii. on this wyse, Deale thy bread to the hungrye, and bring the poore wandering, home to thy house. When thou seest the naked, see thou cloth him, and hyde not thy face from thy poore neigh­bour, neyther despise thou thyne owne fleshe. And the holy father Tobi geueth this councell, Tobi. iiii. Geue almes (sayeth he) of thine owne goodes, and turne neuer thy face from the poore, eate thy bread with the hungry, and couer the naked with thy clothes. And the learned and godly doc­tour Chrisostome geueth this admonition, Let Ad pop. Anto. Hom. 35. mercifull almes be alwayes with vs, as a gar­ment, that is, as mindefull as we will be to put our garmentes vpon vs, to couer our nakednes, to defende vs from the colde, and to shewe our selues comely: So mindfull let vs be at al times and seasons, that we geue almes to the poore, & shewe our selues mercifull towardes them. But what meane these often admonitions & ernest ex­hortations of the prophetes, apostles, fathers, & holy doctours? Surely, as they were faythful to [Page 320] Godwarde, and therefore discharged their dutie truely, in telling vs what was Gods wyl: so of a singuler loue to vs ward, they laboured not on­ly to infourme vs, but also to perswade with vs, that to geue almes, and to succour the poore and needie, was a very acceptable thing, and an high sacrifice to god, wherin he greatly delighted, and had a singuler pleasure. For so doeth the wyse man the sonne of Syrach teach vs, saying: Who Eccle. 33. so is mercifull and geueth almes, he offereth the right thanke offring. And he addeth thereunto: The ryght thanke offering, maketh the aulter fat, and a sweete smell it is before the hyghest, it is acceptable before God, and shall neuer be for­gotten. And the trueth of this doctrine is very­fied by the examples of those holy and charitable fathers, of whom we reade in the scriptures, that they were geuen to mercifull compassion to­wardes the poore, & charitable releeuing of their necessities. Such a one was Abraham, in whom God had so great pleasure, that he vouchsafed to come vnto him in fourme of an Angell, and to be intertayned of him at his house. Such was his kinseman Lot, whom God so fauoured for re­ceauing his messengers into his house, whiche otherwyse should haue layne in the streete, that he saued him with his whole familie, from the destruction of Sodome and Gomorra. Suche were the holy fathers Job and Toby, with ma­ny others, who felte most sensible profes of Gods especiall loue towardes them. And as all these by their mercifulnes and tender compassion which they shewed to the miserable afflicted membres [Page 321] of Christe, in the releeuing, helpyng, and succou­ring them with their temporall goodes in this life, obteyned gods fauour, & were deare, accepta­ble, and pleasaunt in his sight: so now they them selues take pleasure in the fruition of God, in the pleasaunt ioyes of heauen, and are also in Gods eternall worde set before vs, as perfect examples euer before our eyes, both howe we shall please God in this mortall lyfe, and also howe we may come to lyue in ioy with them in euerlastyng pleasure & felicitie. For moste true is that saying whiche. S. Augustine hath, that the geuing of almes and releuing of the poore, is the right way to heauen, Via coeli pauper est: The poore man (sayth he) is the way to heauen. They vsed in tymes past, to set in hye wayes sides, the picture of Mercury, poyntyng with his fynger, whiche was the ryght way to the towne. And we vse in crosse wayes to set vp a wodden or stone crosse, to admonishe the trauailing man whiche way he muste turne when he commeth thither, to direct his iourney aright. But Gods worde (as. S. Au­gustine sayth) hath set in the way to heauen the poore man & his house, so that who so wyl go a­ryght thyther, and not turne out of the way, muste go by the poore. The poore man is that Mercury that shall set vs the redy way? and if we loke well to this marke, we shal not wāder much out of the ryght path. The maner of wise world­ly men amongst vs is, that if they knowe a man of meaner estate then thē selues to be in fauour with the prince, or any other noble man, whom they eyther feare or loue, suche a one they wyl be [Page 322] glad to benefite & pleasure, that when they haue neede, they may become their spokes man, either to obteyne a commoditie, or to escape a displea­sure. Nowe surely it ought to be a shame to vs, that worldly men for temporall thinges that last but for a season, should be more wise & prouident in procuring them, then we in heauenly. Our sa­uiour Christ testifieth of poore men, that they are deare vnto him, & that he loueth them especially: For he calleth them his litle ones, by a name of tender loue, he sayth they be his brethren. And saint James sayth, that god hath chosen them to be the heires of his kyngdome. Hath not God Iacob. 1. (sayth he) chosen the poore of this worlde to hym selfe, to make thē hereafter the rich heires of that kyngdome which he hath promised to them that loue hym? And we knowe that the prayer which they make for vs, shalbe acceptable and regar­ded of God, their complaynt shalbe hearde also. Thereof doth Jesus the sonne of Sirach cer­taynely assure vs, saying: If the poore com­playne Eccle. 4, of thee in the bitternesse of his soule, his prayer shalbe heard, euen he that made hym shall heare hym. Be curteous therfore vnto the poore. We knowe also, that he who acknowledgeth him selfe to be their maister and patrone, and re­fuseth not to take them for his seruantes, is both able to pleasure and displeasure vs, and that we stande euery houre in neede of his helpe. Why shoulde we then be eyther negligent or vnwyl­ling to procure their frendship and fauour, by the whiche also we may be assured to get his fauour that is both able & wyllyng to do vs all pleasures [Page 323] that are for our commoditie and wealth? Christe doth declare by this, how much he accepteth our charitable affection toward the poore, in that he promiseth a rewarde vnto them that geue but a cup of cold water in his name to them that haue neede thereof, and that rewarde is the kingdome of heauen. No doubt is it therfore that god regar­deth highly, that which he rewardeth so liberal­lye. For he that promiseth a princely recompence, for a beggerly beneuolence, declareth that he is more delighted with the geuyng, then with the gyfte, and that he as muche esteemeth the doyng of the thyng, as the fruite and commoditie that commeth of it. Who so therefore hath hytherto neglected to geue almes, let hym know that God now requireth it of him, & he that hath ben libe­ral to the poore, let him knowe that his godly do­ings are accepted, & thankfully takē at gods han­des, which he wyll requite with double & treble. For so sayth the wyse man: He whiche sheweth mercie to the poore, doth lay his money in banke to the Lorde, for a large interest and gayne. The gayne beyng cheefely the possession of the lyfe e­uerlastyng, through the merites of our sauiour Jesus Christe, to whom with the father & the ho­ly ghost, be al honour and glory for euer.

Amen.

The seonde part of the sermon of almes deedes.

YE haue hearde before (dearely beloued) that to geue almes vnto the poore, and to helpe them in tyme of necessitie, is so acceptable [Page 327] vnto our sauiour Christe, that he counteth that to be done to him selfe, that we do for his sake vn­to them. Ye haue heard also howe earnestly both the apostles, prophetes, holy fathers, & doctours, do exhort vs vnto the same. And ye see how wel­beloued and deare vnto God they were, whom the scriptures reporte vnto vs to haue ben good almes men. Wherefore if either their good exam­ples, or the holesome counsell of godly fathers, or the loue of Christ, whose especial fauour we may be assured by this meanes to obteyne, may moue vs, or do any thyng at all with vs: let vs prouide that from hencefoorth we she we vnto Godward this thankful seruice, to be myndfull and redy to helpe them that be poore and in miserie.

Nowe wyll I this second tyme that I entreate of aimes deedes, shewe vnto you how profitable it is for vs to exercise them, and what fruite ther­by shall aryse vnto vs, if we do them faythfully. Our sauiour Christe in the Gospell teacheth vs, that it profiteth a man nothyng to haue in pos­session Mat. 16. al the ryches of the whole worlde, and the wealth or glory thereof, if in the meane season he lose his soule, or do that thing whereby it should become captiue vnto death, sinne, & hell fire. By the which saying, he not only instructeth vs how muche the soule health is to be preferred before worldly commodities: but also serueth to stirre vp our myndes, and to pricke vs forwardes to seeke diligently and learne by what meanes we may preserue and kepe our soules euer in safety, that is, howe we may recouer our health, if it be lost or impayred, and how it may be defended and [Page 325] maynteyned, if we once haue it. Yea, he teacheth vs also thereby to esteeme that as a precious me­dicine and an inestimable iewel, that hath suche strength and vertue in it, that can either procure or preserue so incomparable a treasure. For if we greatly regard that medicine or salue that is a­ble to heale sundrye and greeuous diseases of the body: muche more wyll we esteeme that whiche hath lyke power ouer the soule. And because we might be better assured, both to knowe and haue in redynesse that so profitable a remedye: he as a most faythfull and louyng teacher, sheweth hym selfe both what it is, and where we may fynde it, and how we may vse and applye it. For when Luk. 11. both he and his disciples were greuously accu­sed of the Pharisees, to haue defyled their soules in breakyng the constitutions of the elders, be­cause they went to meate and washed not their handes before, accordyng to the custome of the Jewes: Christe aunswering their superstitious complaynte, teacheth them an especiall remedye howe to keepe cleane their soules, notwithstan­dyng the breache of suche superstitious orders. Geue almes (sayth he) and beholde all thynges are cleane vnto you. He teacheth them, that to be mercyful and charitable in helping the poore, is the meanes to keepe the soule pure and cleane in the syght of God. We are taught therefore by this, that mercyfull almes dealyng, is profitable to purge the soule from the infection and filthie spottes of sinne. The same lesson doth the holy ghost also teache in sundrye places of the scripture, saying: Mercyfulnesse and almes ge­uing Tobi. 4. [Page 326] purgeth from all synnes, and delyuereth from death, and suffereth not the soule to come into darknes. A great confidence may they haue before the hygh God, that shewe mercie and compassion to them that are afflicted. The wyse preacher the sonne of Sirach confirmeth the Eccle. 5. same, when he sayth, That as water quencheth burning fyre, euen so mercie and almes resisteth and reconcileth synnes. And sure it is, that mer­cifulnesse quayleth the heate of synne so muche, that they shall not take holde vpon man to hurt him, or if ye haue by any infirmitie and weaknes ben touched and annoyed with them, straight­wayes shall mercyfulnesse wipe and washe them away, as salues and remedies to heale their sores and greeuous diseases. And therupon that holy father Ciprian taketh good occasion to exhort earnestly to the mercyfull worke of geuyng al­mes and helpyng the poore, and there he admo­nisheth to consider how holesome and profitable it is to releeue the needy and help the afflicted, by the which we may purge our synnes, and heale our wounded soules.

But here some wyll say vnto me, If almes ge­uyng, and our charitable workes towardes the poore, be able to washe away synnes, to re­concile vs to God, to delyuer vs from the peryll of damnation, and make vs the sonnes & heires of Gods kingdome: then is Christes merites de­faced, and his blood shed in vayne, then are we iustified by workes, and by our deedes may we merite heauen, then do we in vayne beleue that Christ dyed for to put away our synnes, and that [Page 327] he rose for our iustification, as saint Paule teach­eth. But ye shall vnderstande (dearely beloued) that neither those places of scripture before allea­ged, neither the doctrine of the blessed martyr Ci­prian, neither any other godly and learned man, when they in extolling the dignitie, profite, fruit, and effect of vertuous and liberall almes, do say that it washeth away synnes, and bryngeth vs to the fauour of God, do meane that our worke and charitable deede, is the originall cause of our acception before God, or that for the dignitie or worthynesse thereof, our sinnes may be washed away, and we purged & cleansed of al the spottes of our iniquitie: for that were in deede to deface Christ, and to defraud him of his glorie. But they meane this, and this is the vnderstandyng of those and suche lyke sayinges: That God of his mercie and especial fauour towards them whom he hath appoynted to euerlastyng saluation, hath so offred his grace especially, and they haue so receaued it fruitfully, that although by reason of their sinfull lyuyng outwardly, they seemed before to haue ben the children of wrath and per­dition, yet nowe the spirite of God mightily workyng in them, vnto obedience to Gods wyll and commaundementes, they declare by their outward deedes and lyfe, in the shewyng of mer­cie, and charitie (which can not come but of the spirite of God and his especiall grace) that they are the vndoubted chyldren of God appoynted to euerlastyng lyfe. And so, as by their wyckednesse and vngodly lyuyng, they shewed them selues ac­cordyng to the iudgement of men, which folowe [Page 328] the outward appearaunce, to be reprobates and castawayes: So nowe by their obedience vnto Gods holy wyll, and by their mercyfulnesse and tender pitie (wherin they shew them selues to be lyke vnto God, who is the fou [...]yne and spryng of all mercye) they declare openly and manyfestly vnto the sight of men, that they are the sonnes of God, and elect of hym vnto saluation. For as the good fruite is not the cause that the tree is good, but the tree must firste be good before it can bryng foorth good fruite: so the good deedes of man are not the cause that maketh man good, but he is firste made good by the spirite and grace of God that effectually worketh in hym, and af­terwarde he bryngeth foorth good fruites. And then as the good fruite doth argue the goodnesse of the tree, so doth the good and mercyfull deede of the man, argue and certainely proue the good­nesse of hym that doth it, accordyng to Christes sayinges: Ye shall knowe them by their fruites. And if any man wyl obiect, that euil and naugh­ty men do sometymes by their deedes appeare to be very godly and vertuous: I wyll aunswere, so doth the crab and choke peare seeme outward­ly to haue sometyme as fayre a redde, and as melow a colour, as the fruite whiche is good in deede. But he that wyl byte and take a taste, shall easily iudge betwixt the sower bytternesse of the one, and the sweete sauorines of the other. And as the true christian man, in thankfulnesse of his heart, for the redemption of his soule pur­chased by Christes death, sheweth kyndly by the fruite of his fayth, his obedience to God: so the [Page 329] other, as a marchaunt with God, doth all for his owne gayne, thynking to win heauen by the me­rite of his workes, and so defaceth and obscureth the pryce of Christes blood, who only wrought our purgation. The meanyng then of these sayinges in the scriptures and other holy wry­tinges: Almes deedes do washe away our sinnes, and, mercie to the poore doth blot out our offen­ces, is, that we doing these thynges accordyng to Gods wyl & our duetie, haue our sinnes in deede washed away, and our offences blotted out: not for the worthinesse of them, but by the grace of God which worketh al in al, and that for the pro­mise that God hath made to them that are obedi­ent vnto his commaundement, that he which is the trueth, might be iustified in perfourming the trueth, due to his true promise. Almes deedes do wash away our sinnes, because god doth vouch­safe then to repute vs as cleane and pure, when we do them for his sake, and not because they de­serue or merite our purgyng, or for that they haue anye suche strength and vertue in them selues. I know that some men, to much addict to the aduauncing of their good workes, will not be contented with this aunswere: & no mar­uaile, for suche men can no aunswere content nor suffice. Wherfore leauing them to their owne wylful sense, we wyll rather haue regarde to the reasonable and godly, who as they most certayn­ly know and perswade them selues, that al good­nes, al bountie, al mercy, al benefites, al forgeue­nes of sinnes, & whatsoeuer can be named good and profitable, either for the body or for the soule, [Page 330] do come only of Gods mercie and mere fauour, & not of them selues: So though they do neuer so many & so excellent good deedes, yet are they ne­uer pufte vp with the vayne confidence of them. And though they heare and reade in gods word, and other where in godly mens workes, that al­mes deedes, mercy, and charitablenes, doth wash away sinne, and blot out iniquitie: yet do they not arrogantly and proudly sticke and trust vnto them, or bragge them selues of them, as the proud Pharisee did, lest with the Pharisee they shoulde be condemned: but rather with the humble and poore Publicane, confesse them selues sinfull wretches, vnworthye to looke vp to heauen, cal­lyng and crauyng for mercie, that with the Pub­licane they may be pronounced of Christ to be iu­stified. The godly do learne that when the scrip­tures saye, that by good and mercifull workes we are reconciled to Gods fauour: we are taught then to knowe what Christe by his intercession and mediation obteyneth for vs of his father when we be obedient to his wyl, yea they learne in such maners of speakyng a comfortable argu­ment of Gods singuler fauour and loue, that at­tributeth that vnto vs and to our doynges, that he by his spirite worketh in vs, and through his grace procureth for vs. And yet this notwith­standyng, they crye out with saint Paule, Oh wretches that we are: & acknowledge (as Christe teacheth) that when they haue all done, they are but vnprofitable seruauntes: & with the blessed kyng Dauid, in respect of the iust iudgementes of God, they do tremble, and say: Who shalbe [Page 331] able to abide it Lorde, if thou wylt geue sentence accordyng to our desertes? Thus they humble them selues, and are exalted of God: they count them selues vyle, and of God are counted pure and cleane: they condemne them selues, and are iustified of God: they thinke them selues vnwor­thy of the earth, and of God are thought worthy of heauen. Thus of Gods worde are they truely taught how to thynke ryghtly of mercyfull dea­lyng of almes, and of Gods especial mercie and goodnesse are made partakers of those fruites that his word hath promised. Let vs then folowe their examples, and both shew obediently in our lyfe those workes of mercie that we are com­maunded, and haue that ryght opinion & iudge­ment of them that we are taught, and we shal in lyke maner as they, be made partakers, and feele the fruites and rewardes that folowe such godly lyuyng, so shall we knowe by proofe what profite and commoditie doth come of geuyng of almes, and succouring of the poore.

The thirde parte of the Homilee of almes deedes.

YE haue alredye hearde two partes of this treatise of almes deedes. The fyrste howe pleasaunt and accep­table before God the doyng of them is, the second, how muche it behoueth vs, and how profitable it is to apply [Page 332] our selues vnto them. Nowe in the thirde parte wyll I take away that let that hindereth manye from doyng them. There be many, that when they heare how acceptable a thyng in the syght of God the geuing of almes is, and howe muche God extendeth his fauour towardes them that are mercyfull, and what fruites and commodi­ties doth come to them by it, they wishe very gladly with them selues that they also myght obteyne these benefites, and be counted suche of God as whom he woulde loue or do for. But yet these men are with greedy couetousnesse, so pulde backe that they wyl not bestowe one halfe peny, or one shiue of bread, that they might be thought worthie of Gods benefites, and so to come into his fauour. For they are euermore fearefull, and doubting, least by often geuing, although it wer but a litle at a tyme, they shoulde consume their goodes, and so impouerishe them selues, that euen them selues at the length shoulde not be a­ble to lyue, but shoulde be dryuen to begge, and lyue of other mens almes. And thus they seeke excuses to withhold them selues from the fauour of God, and choose with pinchyng couetousnes, rather to leane vnto the deuill, then by charita­ble mercyfulnesse, eyther to come vnto Christe, or to suffer Christe to come vnto them. Oh that we had some cunning and skilful phisition that wer able to purge them of this so pestilent an humor, that so sore infecteth, not their bodies, but their myndes, and so by corrupting their soules, bryn­geth their bodyes and soules into daunger of hell fire. Nowe least there be anye suche among vs [Page 333] (dearely beloued) let vs diligently search for that phisition, whiche is Jesus Christe, and earnestly labour that of his mercie he wyll truely instruct vs, and geue vs a present remedie agaynst so pe­rilous a disease. Hearken then, whosoeuer thou art that fearest least by geuyng to the poore thou shouldest bryng thy selfe to beggery. That which thou takest from thy selfe to bestowe vpon Christ, can neuer be consumed & wasted away. Wherein thou shalt not beleue me, but if thou haue fayth, and be a true Christian, beleue the holy ghost, geue credite to the aucthoritie of Gods worde that thus teacheth. For thus sayth the holy ghost by Salomon: He that geueth vnto the poore, shal neuer want. Men suppose that by hoording and laying vp styll, they shall at length be riche, and that by distributing and laying out, although it be for moste necessarie and godly vses, they shalbe brought to pouertie. But the holy ghost, which knoweth all trueth, teacheth vs another lesson, contrary to this. He teacheth vs that there is a kynde of dispendyng that shall neuer diminishe the stocke, and a kynde of sauing that shall bryng a man to extreame pouertie. For where he sayth, that the good almes man shall neuer haue scars­citie, he addeth: But he that turneth away his eies from such as be in necessitie, shal suffer great pouertie him selfe. Howe farre different then is the iudgement of man, from the iudgement of the holy ghost? The holy Apostle Paul, a man ful of the holy ghost, and made priuie euen of the se­crete wyll of God, teacheth: that the liberall almes geuer, shall not thereby be impouerished. [Page 334] He that ministreth (saith he) seed vnto the sower, 2. Cor. 9. wil minister also bread vnto you for foode, yea, he wyl multiplie your seede and encrease the fruites of your ryghteousnesse. He is not content here to aduertise them that they shall not lacke, but he sheweth them also after what sorte God wyl pro­uide for them. Euen as he prouideth seede for the sower in multipliyng it & geuing great encrease: so he wyl multiplie their goodes, & encrease them that there shalbe great aboundaunce. And least we should thynke his sayinges to be but wordes and not trueth, we haue an example thereof in the thirde booke of kynges, which doth confirme and seale it vp as a moste certayne trueth. The poore widow that receaued the banished prophet of God Elias, when as she had but an handful of meale in a vessell, and a litle oyle in a cruse, wher­of she would make a cake for her selfe and her son, that after that they had eaten that, they myght dye, because in that great famine there was no more foode to be gotten: yet when she gaue parte therof vnto Elias, & defrauded her owne hungry belly, mercifully to releeue hym, she was so bles­sed of God, that neyther the meale nor the oyle was consumed all the tyme whyle that famine dyd laste, but therof both the prophet Elias, she, & her son were sufficiently norished & had enough. Oh consider this example ye vnbeleuing & faith­les couetous persons, who discredit Gods word, and think his power diminished. This poore wo­man, in the time of an extreame & long dearth, had but one handfull of meale and a litle cruse of oyle, her onlye sonne was redy to perishe before [Page 335] her face for hunger, and she her selfe lyke to pyne away: and yet when the poore prophet came and asked part, she was so myndfull of mercyfulnesse, that she forgat her owne misery, and rather then she woulde omit the occasion geuen to geue al­mes, & worke a worke of ryghteousnes, she was content presentlye to hazarde her owne and her sonnes life. And you who haue great plenty of meates and drynkes, great store of motheaten apparell, yea, many of you great heapes of gold & syluer, and he that hath least, hath more then suf­ficient, nowe in this time, when (thankes be to God) no great famine doth oppresse you, your chyldren being wel clothed and wel fed, & no dan­ger of death for famine to be feared: will rather cast doubtes & perils of vnlikely penury, then you wyl part with any peece of your superfluities, to helpe to feed and succour the poore, hungry, & na­ked Christe, that commeth to your doores a beg­ging. This poore and seely wydowe neuer cast doubtes in al her miserie what want she her selfe should haue, she neuer distrusted the promise that god made to her by the prophet, but straightway went about to releeue the hungry prophete of god, yea preferring his necessitie before her own. But we, lyke vnbeleeuing wretches, before we wil geue one mite, we wyl cast a thousand doub­tes of daunger, whether that wyll stand vs in a­ny stead that we geue to the poore, whether we should not haue need of it at any other time, and whether here it would not haue bē more profita­bly bestowed. So that it is more hard to wrench a strong nayle (as the prouerbe sayth) out of a [Page 336] poste, then to wryng a farthyng out of our fyn­gers. There is neyther the feare nor the loue of God before our eyes, we wyl more esteme a mite, then we either desire gods kingdome, or feare the deuils dungeon. Hearken therfore ye mercylesse misers, what wyl be the end of this your vnmer­cyful dealyng. As certaynly as God norished this poore wydowe in the tyme of famine, and en­creased her litle store, so that she had enough, and felt no penurie when other pyned away: so cer­tainly shall God plague you with pouertie in the middest of plenty. Then when other haue aboū ­daunce and be fed at full, you shall vtterly waste and consume away your selues, your store shalbe destroyed, your goodes pluckt from you, all your glory and wealth shall perishe: and that whiche when you had, you myght haue enioyed your selfe in peace, and might haue bestowed vpon o­ther most godly, ye shal seke with sorow & sighes, and no where shall find it. For your vnmerciful­nesse towardes other, ye shall finde no man that will shew mercy towardes you. You that had sto­ny heartes towardes other, shal finde all the cre­atures of god to youward as hard as bras, & iron. Alas what furie and madnesse doth possesse our myndes, that in a matter of trueth & certayntie, we wyll not geue credite to the trueth, testifying vnto that which is most certayne. Christe sayth, that if we wyl first seeke the kyngdome of God, & do the workes of righteousnes therof, we shal not be left destitute, al other thinges shalbe geuen to vs plenteously. Nay say we, I wil first looke that I be able to lyue my selfe, and be sure that I haue [Page 337] enough for me and mine, and if I haue anything ouer, I wil bestowe it to get Gods fauour, & the poore shal then haue part with me. See I pray you ye peruerse iudgement of men, we haue more care to norishe the carcasse, then we haue feare to see our soule perishe. And as Ciprian sayth, why­lest we stande in doubt least our goodes fayle, in Sermon. de Elemo­sina. being ouer liberall, we put it out of doubt that our life & health faileth, in not being liberall at al. Whilest we are carefull for diminishing of our stocke, we are altogether carelesse to diminishe our selues. We loue Mammon, & lose our soules. We feare least our patrimonie shoulde perishe from vs, but we feare not lest we shoulde perishe for it. Thus do we peruersly loue that we should hate, and hate that we shoulde loue, we be negli­gent where we should be careful, & careful wher we nede not. This vaine feare to lacke our selues if we geue to the poore, is muche like the feare of children & fooles, which when they see the bright glimmering of a glasse, they do imagine straight way that it is the lightning, & yet the brightnes of a glasse neuer was ye lightning. Euen so, when we imagine that by spending vppon the poore, a man maye come to pouertie, we are cast into a vaine fare, for we neuer heard or knewe that by that meanes any man came to miserie, and was left destitute, and not consydered of god. Nay we reade to the contrary in the scripture (as I haue before shewed, & as by infinite testimonies and examples maye be proued) that whosoeuer ser­ueth God faithfully and vnfaignedly in any vo­cation, god wil not suffer him to decay, much lesse [Page 338] to perish. The holy ghost teacheth vs by Salomō, Prou. 10. that the Lorde wyll not suffer the soule of the ryghteous to perishe for hunger. And therefore Dauid sayth vnto all them that are merciful: O feare the Lorde ye that be his saintes, for they that feare hym lacke nothyng. The Lions do lacke and suffer hunger: but they which seeke the Lord shal want no maner of thing that is good. When Elias was in the desart, god fed him by the ministerie of a Rauen, that euenyng & morning brought him sufficient victuals. When Daniel was shut vp in the Lions denne, God prepared meate for him, & sent it thither to him. And there was the saying of Dauid fulfilled: The Lions [...]. Reg. 17. do lacke & suffer hunger, but they which seeke the Lorde, shall want no good thing. For whyle the Lions which should haue ben fed with his flesh, roared for hunger & desire of their pray, whereof they had no power, although it were present be­fore them: he in the meane tyme was freshe fed from God, that should with his fleshe haue filled the Lions. So mightily doth God worke to pre­serue & mainteine those whom he loueth, so care­full is he also to feede them who in anye state or vocation do vnfaignedly serue him. And shal we nowe thinke that he wylbe vnmyndfull of vs, yf we be obedient to his worde, & accordyng to his wyl haue pitie vpon the poore? He geueth vs all wealth, before we do any seruice for it: and wyll be see vs lacke necessaries when we do hym true seruice? Can a man thinke that he that feedeth Christe, can be forsaken of Christe, and left with­out foode? Or wyl Christe denie earthly thinges, [Page 339] vnto them whō he promiseth heauenly thinges for his true seruice? It can not be therfore (deare brethren) that by geuing of almes we shoulde at any time want our selues, or that we whiche re­lieue other mens neede, shoulde ourselues be op­pressed with penurie. It is contrarye to Gods worde, it repugneth with his promise, it is a­gaynst Christes propertie and nature to suffer it, it is the craftie surmise of the deuill to perswade vs it. Wherefore sticke not to geue almes freely, and trust not withstandyng, that Gods goodnes wyll minister vnto vs sufficiencie and plentie, so long as we shall liue in this transitorie lyfe, and after our dayes here wel spent in his seruice and the loue of our brethrē, we shalbe crowned with euerlasting glory, to raigne with Christe our sa­uiour in heauen, to whom with the father & the holy ghost, be al honour & glorie for euer.

Amen.

An Homilee or Sermon concer­nyng the Natiuitie and byrth of our Sauiour Iesus Christe.

AMong al the creatures that god made in the beginnyng of the worlde most excellent and wonderfull in their kynde, there was none (as the Scripture beareth wit­nesse) to be compared almost in any poynt vnto manne, who aswell in bodye and in soule exceeded all other no lesse, then the Sunne in brightnesse [Page 340] and lyght exceedeth euery small & litle starre in the firmament. He was made accordyng to the image and similitude of GOD, he was indued with all kinde of heauenly giftes, he had no spot of vncleannesse in him, he was sounde and per­fect in al partes, both outwardly and inwardly, his reason was vncorrupt, his vnderstandyng was pure and good, his wyll was obedient and godly, he was made altogether lyke vnto God, in ryghteousnesse, in holinesse, in wysdome, in trueth, to be short, in all kinde of perfection.

When he was thus created and made, almigh­tie GOD, in token of his great loue towardes him, chose out a speciall place of the earth for him, namely Paradice, where he liued in all tranquilitie and pleasure, hauyng great aboun­daunce of worldly goodes, and lackt nothing that he myght iustly require or desyre to haue. For as it is sayde, God made him Lord and ruler Psalm. 8. ouer all the workes of his handes, that he should haue vnder his feete all sheepe & oxen, all beastes of the feelde, all foules of the ayre, all fishes of the sea, and vse them alway at his owne pleasure, according as he shoulde haue nede. Was not this a mirrour of perfection? Was not this a full per­fect and blessed estate? Coulde any thing els be well added hereunto, or greater felicitie desyred in this worlde? But as the common nature of all men is, in tyme of prosperitie and wealth, to forget not only them selues, but also God: Euen so did this first man Adam, who hauing but one commaundement at Gods hande, namely that he shoulde not eate of the fruite of knowledge of [Page 357] good & ill, dyd not withstanding, most vnminde­fully, or rather moste wylfully breake it, in for­getting the straight charge of his maker, and geuing eare to the craftie suggestion of that wicked serpent the deuill. Whereby it came to passe, that as before he was blessed, so nowe he was accursed, as before he was loued, so now he was abhorred, as before he was most beautifull and pretious, so nowe he was moste vyle and wretched in the sight of his Lorde and maker. Insteade of the image of God, he was nowe be­come the image of the deuill. Insteade of the citezin of heauen, he was become the bondslaue of hell, hauing in hym selfe no one part of his former puritie & cleannesse, but being altogether spotted & defiled, insomuch that nowe he seemed to be nothing els but a lumpe of sinne, and ther­fore by the iust iudgement of god, was condemp­ned to euerlasting death. This so great and mise­rable a plague, if it had only rested on Adam, who first offended, it had ben so muche the easyer, and myght the better haue ben borne. But it fell not only on hym, but also on his posteritie & children for euer, so that the whole broode of Adams flesh should sustaine the selfe same fall & punishment, which their forefather by his offence most iustly had deserued. Saint Paul in the fifth Chapter to the Romanes sayth, By the offence of onlye Adam, the fault came vpon all men to condemp­nation, & by one mans disobedience many were made sinners. By which words we are taught, that as in Adam al men vniuersally sinned: so in Adam all men vniuersally receaued the reward [Page 358] of sinne, that is to say, became mortall & subiect vnto death, hauing in them selues nothyng but euerlasting dampnation both of body and soule. They became (as Dauid sayth) corrupt & abomi­nable, they went all out of the way, there was none that dyd good, no not one. O what a mise­rable & wofull state was this, that the synne of one man should destroy and condempne al men, that nothyng in all ye worlde might be looked for but only pangues of death, & paynes of hell? Had it ben any maruaile if mankinde had ben vtter­lie driuen to desperation, beyng thus fallen from life to death, from saluation to destruction, from heauen to hell? But beholde the great goodnes & tender mercie of god in this behalf: Albeit mans wickednes & sinfull behauiour was such, that it deserued not in any part to be forgeuē, yet to the intent he might not be cleane destitute of al hope and comfort in tyme to come, he ordeyned a new couenaunt, & made a sure promise thereof, name­ly that he would send a Messias or mediatour in­to the world, which shoulde make intercession, & put him selfe as a stay betweene both parties, to pacifie ye wrath & indignation conceaued against sinne, & to deliuer man out of the miserable curse and cursed miserie wherinto he was fallen head­long by disobeying the wyll & commaundement of the only Lord & maker. This couenaunt and promise was first made vnto Adam him selfe im­mediatly after his fall, as we reade in the thirde of Genesis, where God sayd to ye serpent on this wyse: I wyll put enmitie betweene thee and the woman, betweene thy seede & her seede. He shall [Page 359] breake thyne head, & thou shalt bruse his heele. After warde, the selfe same couenaunt was also more amplie & plainely renued vnto Abraham, where God promised him, that in his seede all Gen. 10. nations & families of the earth should be blessed. Agayne it was continued and confirmed vnto Isahac, in the same fourme of wordes, as it was Gen. 26. before vnto his father. And to the intent that mankinde myght not dispaire, but alwayes lyue in hope, almightie god neuer ceassed to publishe, repeate, confirme, & continue the same, by diuers and sundrye testimonies of his prophetes, who for the better perswasion of the thing, prophe­sied the tyme, the place, the maner and circum­staunce of his birth, the affliction of his life, the kinde of his death, the glory of his resurrection, the receauing of his kingdome, the deliueraunce of his people, with all other circumstaunces be­longing thereunto. Esaias prophesied that he should be borne of a virgin, and called Emanuel. Micheas prophesied, that he shoulde be borne in Bethlehem a place of Jurie. Ezechiel prophesied that he shoulde come of the stocke and lynage of Dauid. Daniel prophesied that all nations and languages shoulde serue him. Zacharie prophe­sied that he should come in pouertie, riding vpon an Asse. Malachie prophesied that he shoulde sende Elias before him, whiche was John the Baptist. Hieremie prophesied that he should be solde for thirtie peeces of siluer. &c. And all this was done, that the promise & couenaunt of God made vnto Abraham & his posteritie concerning the redemption of the worlde, myght be credited [Page 360] and fully beleued. Nowe, as the Apostle Paul sayth, when the fulnesse of time was come, that is, the perfection and course of yeres, appoynted from the beginning, then God accordyng to his former couenaunt and promise, sent a Messias, otherwyse called a mediatour, vnto the worlde, not such a one as Moyses was, not such a one as Josua, Saul, or Dauid was: but suche a one as shoulde deliuer mankinde from the bitter curse of the lawe, and make perfect satisfaction by his death, for the sinnes of all people, namely he sent his deare and only sonne Jesus Christ, made (as the Apostle sayth) of a woman, and made vnder the lawe, that he might redeeme them that were in bondage of the lawe, & make thē the chyldren of God by adoption. Was not this a wonderfull great loue towardes vs that were his professed and open enemies, towardes vs that were by nature the children of wrath, and fyrebrandes of hell fyre? In this (sayth Saint John) appeared the great loue of God, that he sent his onlye be­gotten sonne into the worlde to saue vs, when we were his extreme enemies. Herein is loue, not that we loued him, but that he loued vs, and sent his sonne to be a reconciliation for our sinnes. Saint Paul also sayth, Christ, when we were yet of no strength, dyed for vs being vngod­lye. Rom. 5. Doubtlesse a man wyll scarse dye for a rygh­teous man. Peraduenture some one durst dye for him of whom they haue receaued good. But god setteth out his loue towardes vs, in that he sent Christe to dye for vs when we were yet voyde of all goodnesse. This and such other comparisons [Page 361] doth the Apostle vse, to amplifie and set forth the tender mercie & great goodnes of God, declared towardes mankinde, in sendyng downe a saui­our from heauen, euen Christe the Lorde. Which one benefite among all other, is so great & won­derfull, that neyther tongue can well expresse it, neither heart thinke it, much lesse geue sufficient thankes to god for it. But here is a great contro­uersie betwene vs and the Jewes, whether the same Jesus which was borne of the virgin Ma­rie, be the true Messias and true sauiour of the worlde, so long promised & prophesied of before. They, as they are and haue ben alwayes, proude & stiffe necked, woulde neuer acknowledge hym vntil this day, but haue loked and gaped for ano­ther to come. They haue this fond imagination in their heades, that Messias shall come, not as Christ did, like a poore pilgrime and simple soule rydyng vppon an Asse: But lyke a baliaunt and mightie king in great royaltie & honour. Not as Christ did, with a fewe fishermen, and men of small estimation in the world: but with a great armie of strong men, with a great traine of wyse & noble mē, as knightes, Lords, Earles, Dukes, Princes, & so foorth. Neither do they thinke that their Messias shal slaunderously suffer death, as Christ dyd: but that he shall stoutly conquer and manfully subdue al his enemies, and finallie ob­tayne such a kingdome on earth, as neuer was seene from the beginning. While they faigne vn­to them selues after this sort a Messias of theyr owne brayne, they deceaue them selues, and ac­compt Christe as an abiect & foole of the worlde. [Page 362] Therefore Christ crucified (as saint Paul sayth) is vnto the Jewes a stumbling blocke, and to the Gentiles foolishnes, because they thinke it an ab­surde thing, and contrary to all reason, that a redemer and sauiour of the whole world, should be handled after suche a sort as he was, namelye scorned, reuiled, scourged, condempned, and last of al cruelly hanged. This, I say, seemed in their eyes straunge, and most absurde, and therefore neyther they would at that tyme, neyther wyll they as yet, acknowledge Christe to be theyr Messias and sauiour. But we (dearely beloued) that hope & loke to be saued, must both stedfastly beleue, and also boldly confesse, that the same Je­sus, which was borne of the virgin Marie, was the true Messias and mediatour betweene God and man, promised and prophecied of so long be­fore. For as the Apostle writeth: With the heart Rom. 10. man beleueth vnto righteousnesse, and with the mouth confession is made vnto saluatiō. Againe in the same place: Whosoeuer beleueth in hym, shall neuer be ashamed nor confounded. Wherto agreeth also the testimonie of saint John, writ­ten in the fourth Chapter of his first generall Epistle, on this wyse: Whosoeuer confesseth that Jesus is the sonne of God, he dwelleth in God, and God in hym.

There is no doubt, but in this poynt all Chri­stian men are fully and perfectly perswaded. Yet shal it not be a lost labour to instruct and furnish you with a fewe places concerning this matter, that ye maye be able to stoppe the blasphemous mouthes of all them, that moste Jewishely, or [Page 363] rather diuelishly, shall at any time go about to teache or maintaine the contrary. First, ye haue the witnesse and testimonie of the angel Gabriel, declared aswel to Zacharie the high priest, as al­so to the blessed virgin. Secondly, ye haue ye wit­nesse and testimonie of John the Baptist, poyn­ting vnto Christe, and saying, Behold the lambe of God that taketh away the sinnes of ye worlde. Thirdly, ye haue the witnesse and testimonie of God the father, who thundred from heauen, and sayde, This is my dearelye beloued sonne, in whom I am well pleased, heare him. Fourthly, ye haue the witnesse and testimonie of the holye ghost, whiche came downe frō heauen in maner of a white doue, and lighted vpon him in time of his baptisme. To these myght be added a great number more, namely the witnesse & testimonie of the wise men that came to Herode, the witnes and testimonie of Simeon and Anna, the wit­nesse and testimonie of Andrew and Philip, Na­thanael, and Peter, Nicodemus, and Martha, with diuers other: But it were to long to repeate all, and a fewe places are sufficient in so plaine a matter, specially among them that are alredye perswaded. Therfore if the priuie impes of ame­christe, and craftie instrumentes of the deuil, shal attempt or go about to withdrawe you frō this true Messias, and perswade you to loke for ano­ther that is not yet come: let thē not in any case seduce you, but cōfirme your selues with these & such other testimonies of holy scripture, whiche are so sure & certaine, that all ye deuils in hell shal [Page 364] neuer be able to withstand them. For as truelye as God liueth, so truelye was Jesus Christe the true messias and sauiour of the worlde, euen the same Jesus which as this day was borne of the virgin Marie, without all helpe of man, only by the power and operation of the holy ghost.

Concerning whose nature and substaunce, be­cause diuers & sundry heresies are rysen in these our dayes, through the motion and suggestion of Satan: therefore it shalbe needefull & profitable for your instruction, to speake a worde or two al­so of this parte. We are euidently taught in the scripture, that our Lord and sauiour Christ con­sisteth of two seuerall natures, of his manhood, being thereby perfect man, and of his Godhead, being thereby perfect God. It is written, The worde, that is to say, the seconde person in Tri­nitie, Iohn. 1. became fleshe. GOD sendyng his owne sonne in the similitude of sinfull fleshe, fulfilled Rom. 8. those thinges which the lawe coulde not. Christ being in fourme of God, toke on him the fourme of a seruaunt, & was made like vnto man, beyng Phillip. 2. founde in shape as a man. GOD was shewed in fleshe, iustified in spirite, seene of angels, prea­ched 1. Tim. 3. to ye Gentiles, beleued on in the world, and receaued vp in glorye. Also in another place: There is one God, and one mediatour betwene God and man, euen the man Jesus Christe.

These be plaine places for the profe and declara­tion of both natures, vnited and knitte together in one Christe. Let vs diligently consyder and waygh the workes that he dyd whiles he lyued on earth, and we shall thereby also perceaue [Page 349] the selfe same thing to be most true. In that he did hunger and thirst, eate and drinke, sleepe and wake, in that he preached his Gospell to the peo­ple, in that he wept and sorowed for Hierusalem, in that he payde tribute for him selfe and Peter, in that he dyed and suffered death, what other thing dyd he els declare, but onlye this, that he was perfect man as we are? For whiche cause he is called in holye scripture, sometyme the sonne of Dauid, sometime the sonne of man, sometime the sonne of Marie, sometime the sonne of Jo­seph, and so foorthe. Nowe in that he forgaue sinnes, in that he wrought myracles, in that he dyd cast out deuils, in that he healed men with his only worde, in that he knewe the thoughtes of mens heartes, in that he had the seas at his cōmaundement; in that he walked on the water, in that he rose from death to lyfe, in that he as­cended into heauen, and so foorth: What other thing dyd he shew therein, but only that he was perfect god, coequal with the father as touching his deitie? Therfore he sayth, The father and I are all one, which is to be vnderstood of his god­head. For as touching his manhood, he sayth, The father is greater thē I am. Where are nowe those Marcionites, that denie Christ to haue ben borne in the fleshe, or to haue ben perfect man? Where are nowe those Arians, whiche denye Christe to haue ben perfect God, of equall sub­staunce with the father? If there be any suche, ye may easyly reproue them with these testimonies of Gods word, and such other. Wherevnto I am most sure, they shall neuer be able to aunswere. [Page 350] For the necessitie of our saluation dyd requyre such a mediatour & sauiour, as vnder one person should be a partaker of both natures: It was re­quisite he shoulde be man, it was also requisite he shoulde be God. For as the transgression came by man, so was it meete the satisfaction shoulde be made by man. And because death, accordyng to S. Paul, is the iust stipende and rewarde of sinne: therfore to appease the wrath of God, and to satisfie his iustice, it was expedient that our mediatour shoulde be suche a one, as might take vpon him the sinnes of mankinde, and sustayne the due punishment therof, namely death. More­ouer he came in fleshe, and in the selfe same fleshe ascended into heauen, to declare and testifie vnto vs, that all faithfull people, whiche stedfastly be­leue in hym, shall likewyse come vnto the same mansion place, whereunto he beyng, our chiefe captayne, is gone before. Last of all, he became man, that we thereby might receaue the greater comfort, as well in our prayers, as also in our ad­uersitie, consydering with our selues, that we haue a mediatour that is true man as we are, who also is touched with our infirmities, and was tempted euē in like sort as we are. For these and sundry other causes, it was most nedefull he shoulde come, as he dyd, in the fleshe.

But because no creature, in that he is onlye a creature, hath or maye haue power to destroye death, and geue lyfe, to ouercome hell, and pur­chase heauen, to remit sinnes, and geue ryghte­ousnesse: therefore it was needefull, that our Mēssias, whose proper duetie and office that [Page 351] was, shoulde be not onlye full and perfect man, but also full and perfect GOD, to the entent he myght more fully and perfectly make satisfacti­on for mankind. God sayth, This is my welbelo­ued Matth. 3. sonne in whom I am wel pleased. By which place we learne, that Christ appeased and quen­ched the wrath of his father, not in that he was only the sonne of man: But muche more in that he was the sonne of God.

Thus ye haue hearde declared out of the scrip­tures, that Jesus Christe was the true Messias and sauiour of the world, that he was by nature & substaunce perfect God, and perfect man, and for what cause it was expedient he should be so. Nowe that we may be the more mindefull and thankefull vnto God in this behalfe, let vs brief­ly consyder and call to minde, the manifolde and great benefites that we haue receaued by the Natiuitie and byrth of this our Messias and sa­uiour.

Before Christes comming into the worlde, all men vniuersally in Adam, were nothyng els but a wicked and crooked generation, rotten and corrupt trees, stony ground ful of brambles and bryers, lost sheepe, prodigall sonnes, naugh­tie and vnprofitable seruauntes, vnryghteous stewardes, workers of iniquitie, the broode of Adders, blind guides, sitting in darknesse and in the shadowe of death: to be shorte, nothyng els but chyldren of perdition, and inheritours of hell fyre. To this doth saint Paul beare witnesse in diuers places of his Epistles, and Christe also him selfe in sundrye places of his Gospell. [Page 352] But after he was once come downe frō heauen, and had taken our frayle nature vppon hym, he made all them that woulde receaue hym truely, and beleue his word, good trees, & good ground, fruitefull and pleasaunt braunches, chyldren of light, citezins of heauen, sheepe of his folde, members of his body, heyres of his kyngdome, his true freendes and brethren, sweete and liuely bread, the elect and chosen people of God. For as saint Peter sayth in his fyrst Epistle and seconde Chapter: He bare our sinnes in his body vppon the crosse, he healed vs, & made vs whole by his stripes: and whereas before we were sheepe go­ing astray, he by his comming brought vs home agayne to the true shephearde and Byshop of our soules, makyng vs a chosen generatiō, a roy­all priesthood, an holy nation, a peculier people of GOD, in that he dyed for our offences, and rose agayne for our iustification. Saint Paul to Timothie the thirde Chapter: We were (sayth he) in tymes past vn wyse, disobedient, deceaued, seruing diuers lustes and pleasures, liuyng in hatred, enuie, maliciousnesse, and so foorth. But after the louing kindnesse of God our Sa­uiour appeared towardes mankynde, not accor­dyng to the ryghteousnesse that we had done, but accordyng to his great mercie, he saued vs by the fountayne of the newe byrth, and by the renewyng of the holy ghost, whiche he powred vpon vs aboundauntly, through Jesus Christe our sauiour, that we beyng once iustified by his grace, shoulde be heyres of eterna [...]l lyfe, through hope and fayth in his blood.

[Page 353] In these and suche other places, is set out before our eyes as it were in a glasse, the aboundaunt grace of God, receaued in Christ Jesu, whiche is so muche the more wonderfull, because it came not of any desert of ours, but of his meere & ten­der mercy, euen then when we were his extreme enemies. But for the better vnderstanding and consyderation of this thyng, let vs beholde the ende of his comming, so shall we perceaue what great commoditie and profite his Natiuitie hath Matth. 2. Matth. 5. Iohn. 18. Luke. 4. Iohn. 8. Matth. 9. brought vnto vs miserable and sinful creatures. The ende of his comming, was to saue and de­liuer his people, to fulfill the law for vs, to beare witnesse vnto the trueth, to teache and preache the wordes of his father, to geue light vnto the world, to cal sinners to repentaunce, the refreshe them that labour and be heauy laden, to cast out Matth. 11. Iohn. 12. the prince of this worlde, to reconcile vs in the body of his fleshe, to desolue the workes of the de­uill, last of all, to become a propitiation for our Collos. 1. Hebru. 10 Rom. 3. sinnes, and not for ours onelye, but also for the sinnes of the whole worlde.

These were the cheefe endes wherefore Christ became man, not for any profit that should come to him selfe thereby, but onely for our sakes, that we might vnderstande the will of God, be par­takers of his heauenly lyght, be delyuered out of the deuils clawes, releassed from the burthen of sinne, iustified through fayth in his blood, and fi­nally, receaued vp into euerlasting glory, there to raigne with him foreuer. Was not this a great and singuler loue of Christ towardes mankynd, that being the expresse and liuelye image of God, [Page 354] he woulde notwithstanding humble him selfe, and take vppon him the fourme of a seruant, and that onely to saue and redeeme vs? O how much are we bounde to the goodnesse of God in this behalfe? Howe manye thankes and prayses do we owe vnto him for this our saluatiō wrought by his deare and onely sonne Christe? who be­came a pilgrime in earth, to make vs citizens in heauen, who became the sonne of man, to make vs the sonnes of God, who became obedient to the lawe, to deliuer vs from the cursse of the lawe, who became poore, to make vs rich, vyle, to make vs precious, subiect to death, to make vs liue for euer. What greater loue coulde we seelye creatures desire or wishe to haue at Gods handes? Therefore dearelye beloued, let vs not forget this exceeding loue of our Lorde and saui­our, let vs not shew our selues vnmyndful or vn­thankefull towardes him: but let vs loue him, feare him, obey him, and serue him. Let vs con­fesse him with our mouthes, praise him with our tongues, beleue on him with our heartes, and glorifie him with our good workes. Christe is the light, let vs receaue the light. Christe is the trueth, let vs beleue the trueth. Christ is the way, let vs folowe the way. And because he is our onely maister, our onely teacher, our onely shepheard and cheefe captayne: therfore let vs be­come his seruantes, his schollers, his sheepe, and his souldiers. As for sinne, the flesh, the worlde, and the deuill, whose seruantes and bondslaues we were before Christes comming, let vs vtterly cast them of, and defie them, as the cheefe & onely [Page 355] enemies of our soule. And seing we are once de­liuered from their cruel tyrannie by Christ, let vs neuer fal into their hands againe, lest we chance to be in a worse case then euer we were before. Happy are they, saith the scripture, that continue to the ende. Be faythful (sayth God) vntil death, and I wil geue thee a crowne of lyfe. Agayne he sayth in another place: He that putteth his hand vnto the plough, and looketh backe, is not meete for the kyngdome of God. Therefore let vs be strong, stedfast, and vnmoueable, abounding al­wayes in the workes of the Lord. Let vs receaue Christ, not for a tyme, but for euer, let vs beleue his worde, not for a tyme, but for euer, let vs be­come his seruaunts, not for a tyme, but for euer, in consyderation that he hath redeemed & saued vs, not for a time, but for euer, and will receaue vs into his heauenly kingdome, there to raygne with him; not for a tyme, but foreuer. To him therfore with the father and the holy ghost, be all honour, prayse, & glory, foreuer and euer.

Amen.

¶ An homilee for good Friday, con­cerning the death and passion of our sauiour Iesu Christ.

IT shuld not become vs (wel­beloued in christ) being that people whiche he redeemed frō the deuil, from sinne and death, and from euerlasting damnation, by Christ, to suf­fer this time to passe foorth [Page 356] without any meditation, and remembraunce of that excellent worke of our redemption, wrought as about this time, through the great mercy and charitie of our sauiour Jesus Christ, for vs wret­ched sinners, and his mortall enemies. For if a mortal mans deede, done to the behofe of ye com­mon wealth, be had in remembrance of vs, with thankes for the benefite and profite whiche we receaue thereby: How much more redily shoulde we haue in memorie this excellent act and bene­fite of Christes death? whereby he hath purcha­sed for vs, the vndoubted pardon and forgeuenes of our sinnes, whereby he made at one the father of heauen with vs, in suche wyse, that he taketh vs now for his louing children, and for the true inheritours with Christe his naturall sonne, of the kyngdome of heauen? And verily, so muche more doth Christes kindnes appeare vnto vs, in that it pleased him to deliuer him selfe of all his godly honour which he was equally in with his father in heauen, and to come downe into this vale of miserye, to be made mortall man, and to be in the state of a most lowe seruaunt, seruing vs for our wealth and profite, vs I saye, whiche were his sworne enemies, whiche had renoun­ced his holy law and commaundements, and fo­lowed the lustes and sinfull pleasures of our cor­rupt nature. And yet I say did Christe put him Collos. 2. selfe betwene Gods deserued wrath, & our sinne, and rente that obligation wherein we were in daunger to God, and payde our dette. Our dette was a great deale to great for vs to haue payde. And without payment, God the father coulde [Page 357] neuer be at one with vs. Neyther was it possi­ble to be losed from this dette by our owne habi­litie. It pleased him therefore to be the payer thereof, and to discharge vs quite. Who can now consyder the greuous det of sinne, whiche coulde none otherwyse be payde but by the death of an innocent, and will not hate sinne in his heart? If God hateth sinne so much, that he would al­lowe neither man nor Angell for the redempti­on thereof, but onely the death of his onelye and welbeloued sonne, who will not stande in feare thereof? If we (my freendes) consyder this, that for our sinnes this most innocent lambe was dri­uen to death, we shall haue much more cause to bewayle our selues that we were the cause of his death, then to crye out of the mallice and crueltie of the Jewes, whiche pursued him to his death. We did the deedes wherefore he was thus stric­ken and wounded, they were onely the ministers of our wickednes. It is meete then we shoulde step lowe downe into our heartes, and bewayle our owne wretchednes and sinful liuing. Let vs know for a certainetie, that if the most dearly be­loued sonne of God was thus punished and stric­ken for the sinne which he had not done him self: how muche more ought we sore to be stricken for our dayly and manifolde sinnes whiche we com­mit agaynst God, if we earnestlye repent vs not, and be not sorye for them? No man can loue sinne, which God hateth so much, and be in his fauour. No man can saye that he loueth Christe truely, and haue his great enemie (sinne I meane, the aucthour of his death) familiar [Page 358] and in frendship with him. So much do we loue God and Christe, as we hate sinne. We ought therefore to take great heede, that we be not fa­uourers thereof, least we be founde ennemies to God, and traytours to Christe. For not onelye they whiche nayled Christe vppon the crosse, are his tormentours and crucifiers: but all they (sayth saint Paule) crucifie agayne the sonne of God, as muche as is in them, whiche do commit Heb. 6. vice and sinne, which brought him to his death. Rom. 6. If the wages of sinne be death, and death euer­lasting: Surely it is no small daunger to be in seruice thereof. If we liue after the fleshe, and af­ter the sinfull lustes thereof, saint Paule threat­neth, Rom. 8. yea almightie God in saint Paule threat­neth, that we shal surely dye. We can none other­wyse Rom. 8. liue to God, but by dying to sinne. If Christ be in vs, then is sinne dead in vs: and if the spirit of God be in vs, which raysed Christ from death to lyfe, so shall the same spirite rayse vs to the re­surrection of euerlasting lyfe. But if sinne rule Rom. i. and raigne vs, then is God, whiche is the foun­taine of all grace and vertue, departed from vs: then hath the deuill & his vngratious spirit, rule and dominion in vs. And surelye if in suche mi­serable [...]iate we dye, we shall not ryse to lyfe, but fall downe to death & dampnation, & that with­out ende. For Christe hath not so redeemed vs from synne, that we may safely returne therto a­gayne: but he hath redeemed vs, that we should Christ hath not redeemed vs from sinne, that we should [...] in sinne. forsake the motions thereof, & liue to righteous­nes. Yea, we be therfore washed in our baptisme from the filthynes of sinne, that we should liue [Page 359] afterwarde in the purenesse of lyfe. In baptisme we promised to renounce the deuill and his sug­gestions, we promised to be (as obedient chyl­dren) alwayes following Gods will & pleasure. Then if he be our father in deede, let vs geue him his due honour. If we be his children, let vs shew him our obedience, like as Christ openly declared his obedience to his father, which (as saint Paul Phil. 2. wryteth) was obedient euen to the verye death, the death of the crosse. And this he did for vs all that beleue in him. For him selfe he was not pu­nished, for he was pure and vndefiled of al maner of sinne. He was wounded (saith Esai) for our Esai. 4. wickednes, and striped for our sinnes: he suffred the penaltie of them him selfe, to deliuer vs from daunger: he bare (sayth Esai) al our sores and in­firmities vpon his owne backe. No payne did he refuse to suffer in his owne body, that he myght deliuer vs from payne euerlasting. His pleasure it was thus to do for vs, we deserued it not. Wherfore the more we see our selues bound vnto him, the more he ought to be thanked of vs, yea, and the more hope may we take, that we shall re­ceaue all other good thinges of his hand, in that we haue receaued the gifte of his onelye sonne, through his liberalitie. For if God (sayth Saint Rom. 8. Paul) hath not spared his owne sōne from paine and punishment, but deliuered him for vs all vn­to the death: how should he not geue vs all other thinges with him? If we wante any thing, ey­ther Iohn. 1. for body or soule, we may lawfully and bold­lye approche to God, as to our mercifull father, to aske that we desyre, and we shall obtaine it. [Page 360] For such power is geuen to vs, to be the children of God, so many as beleue in Christes name. In his name whatsoeuer we aske, we shall haue it Mat. 11. graunted vs. For so well pleased is the father almighty God, with Christ his sonne, that for his sake he fauoureth vs, and will denye vs no­thyng. So pleasant was this sacrifice and obla­tion of his sonnes death, which he so obediently and innocently suffred, that he would take it for the onelye and full amendes for all the sinnes of the worlde. And such fauour did he purchase by his death of his heauenly father for vs: that for the merite thereof (if we be true Christians in deede, and not in worde onely) we be now fullye in Gods grace agayne, and clearelye discharged from our sinne. No tongue surelye is able to ex­presse the worthines of this so precious a death. For in this standeth the continual pardon of our daylye offences, in this resteth our iustification, in this we be allowed, in this is purchased the euerlasting health of al our soules. Yea, there is Act. iiii. none other thing that can be named vnder hea­uen to saue our soules, but this onelye worke of Christes precious offering of his body vppon the aulter of the crosse. Certes there can be no worke of any mortall man (be he neuer so holy) that shal be coupled in merites with Christes moste holye act. For no doubt, all our thoughtes and deedes were of no value, if they were not allowed in the merites of Christes death. All our ryghteousnes is far vnperfect, if it be compared with Christes ryghteousnes. For in his actes and deedes, there was no spot of sinne, or of any vnperfectnes. And [Page 361] for this cause they were the more able to be the true amendes of our vnryghteousnes, where our Our [...] be full of [...] perfection. actes and deedes be ful of imperfection, and infir­mities, & therfore nothing worthy of them selues to stirre God to anye fauour, muche lesse to cha­lenge the glory that is due to Christes acte & me­rite. For not to vs (sayeth Dauid) not to vs, but Psal. 11 [...]. to thy name geue the glory, O Lord. Let vs ther­fore (good freends) with al reuerence glorifie his name, let vs magnifye and prayse him for euer. For he hath dealt with vs according to his great mercy, by himselfe hath he purchased our redem­tion. He thought it not enough to spare him Heb. 1. selfe, and to sende his Angel to do this deede, but he would do it him selfe, that he might do it the better, and make it the more perfect redemption. He was nothing moued with the intollerable paynes that he suffered in the whole course of his long passion, to repent him thus to do good to his enemies: but he opened his heart for vs, and be­stowed him selfe wholly for the raunsomming of vs. Let vs therefore nowe open our heartes a­gaine to him, and studie in our lyues to be thank­full to such a Lorde, and euermore to be mynde­full of so great a benefite, yea let vs take vp our crosse with Christe and folowe him. His passion is not onely the raunsome & whole amendes for our sinne, but it is also a most perfect example of all patience and sufferaunce. For if it behoued Act. [...]. Christ thus to suffer, & to enter into the glorye of his father: how should it not become vs to beare paciently our small crosses of aduersitie, and the troubles of this world? For surely (as saith sayn [...] [Page 362] Peter) Christ therefore suffred, to leaue vs an ex­ample to folow his steps. And if we suffer with i. Pet. 2. i. Tim. ii. him, we shall be sure also to raigne with him in heauen. Not that the sufferaunce of this transi­tory lyfe should be worthy of that glory to come, Rom. 8. Mat. 5. but gladly should we be contented to suffer, to be lyke Christ in our lyfe, that so by our workes we may glorifie our father which is in heauen. And Heb. 11. as it is paynefull and greuous to beare the crosse of Christe in the greefes and displeasures of this life: so it bringeth forth the ioyfull fruit of hope, in all thē that be exercised therewith. Let vs not so much beholde the payne, as the rewarde that shall follow that labour. Nay, let vs rather ende­uour Iacob. 1. our selues in our sufferaunce, to endure innocentlye and gyltlesse, as our sauiour Christ did. For if we suffer for our deseruinges, then hath not patience his perfect worke in vs: but if vndeseruinglye we suffer losse of goodes and lyfe, i. Pet. 2. if we suffer to be euill spoken of for the loue of Christe, this is thankfull afore God, for so did Christ suffer. He neuer did sinne, neyther was The pa [...]ienc [...] of Christ. there any guyle found in his mouth. Yea, when he was reuyled with tauntes, he reuyled not a­gayne. When he was wrongfullye dealt with, he threatned not againe, nor reuenged his quarrel, but deliuered his cause to him yt iudgeth right­lye. Perfect pacience careth not what nor howe Perfect [...]. much it suffereth, nor of whom it suffereth, whe­ther offrende or foe: but studyeth to suffer inno­cently, and without deseruing. Yea, he in whom Mat. 5. perfect charitie is, careth so litle to reuenge, that he rather studieth to do good for euill, to blesse & [Page 363] say well of them that curse him, to pray for them that pursue him, according to the example of our sauiour Christe, who is the most perfect example The meekenes of Christ. & paterne of all meekenes & sufferaunce, whiche hanging vpō his crosse, in most seruent anguish bleeding in euery part of his blessed body, being set in the middes of his enemies & crucifiers: & hee, notwithstanding the intollerable paynes which they saw in him, being of them mocked & scorned despitefully without all fauour and com­passion, had yet towardes them such compassion in heart, that he prayed to his father of heauen for them, & said: O father forgeue them, for they Luk. 2 [...]. wote not what they doe. What pacience was it also which he shewed, when one of his own apo­stles & seruaunts which was put in trust of him, came to betray him vnto his enemies to ye death? He said nothing worse to him, but, Frend wher­fore Mark. 26. art thou come? Thus good people, shoulde we call to minde the great examples of charitie which Christe shewed in his passion, if we will fruitfully remember his passion. Suche charitie and loue shoulde we beare one to another, if we Mat. 5. will be the true seruauntes of Christe. For if we loue but them which loue & say wel by vs, what great thing is it that we do, saith Christ? Do not the Panims & open sinners so? We must be more perfect in our charitie then thus, euen as our fa­ther in heauen is perfect, whiche maketh ye light of his sunne to rise vpon the good & the bad, and sendeth his rayne vpon the kind & vnkind. After this maner should we shewe our charitie indiffe­rētly, as wel to one as to another, as wel to frende [Page 364] as foe, lyke obedient children, after the example of our good father in heauen. For if Christe was obedient to his father euen to the death, and that the most shameful death (as the Jewes esteemed it) the death of the crosse: Why should we not be obedient to God in lower pointes of charitie and patience? Let vs forgeue then our neighbours their small faultes, as God for Christes sake hath Eccle. 28. forgeuen vs our great. It is not meete that we should craue forgeuenes of our great offences at Gods handes, and yet will not forgeue the small trespasses of our neighbours agaynst vs. We do Mat. 28. call for mercy in vayne, if we will not shew mercy to our neighbours. For if we will not put wrath and displeasure forth of our hearts to our christi­an brother, no more wil God forgeue the displea­sure and wrath that our sinnes haue deserued a­fore him. For vnder this condition doth God for­geue vs, if we forgeue other. It becommeth not Christian men to be harde one to another, nor yet to thinke their neighbour vnworthye to be forgeuen. For howsoeuer vnworthy he is, yet is Christ worthy to haue thee do thus much for his sake, he hath deserued it of thee, that thou shouldest forgeue thy neighbour. And God is also to be obeyed, which commaundeth vs to forgeue, if we will haue any part of the pardon which our sauiour Christ purchased once of God the father by shedding of his precious blood. Nothing be­commeth Christes seruantes so much, as mercy Iacob. 5. and compassion. Let vs then be fauourable one to another, and praye we one for another, that we maye be healed from all frailties of our lyfe, [Page 365] the lesse to offende one the other, and that we maye be of one mynde and one spirite, agreeing together in brotherly loue and concord, euen like the deare children of God. By these meanes shal we moue God to be mercifull to our sinnes, yea, Ephes. [...]. and we shall be hereby the more redy to receaue our sauiour and maker in his blessed sacrament, to our euerlasting comfort and health of soule. Christ delighteth to enter and dwell in that soule where loue and charitie ruleth, and where peace & concord is seene. For thus wryteth saint John, 1. Iohn. 4. God is charitie, he that abydeth in charitie, aby­deth in God, and God in him. And by this (sayth he) we shall know that we be of God, if we loue our brethren. Yea, and by this shall we knowe, i. Iohn. iii. that we be shifted from death to lyfe, if we loue one another. But he whiche hateth his brother (sayth the same Apostle) abydeth in death, euen i. Iohn. 2. in the daunger of euerlasting death, & is moreo­uer the childe of damnation & of the deuil, cursed of God, and hated (so long as he so remayneth) of God and all his heauenly company. For as peace and charitie make vs the blessed children of al­mightie God: so doth hatred and enuie make vs the cursed children of the deuill. God geue vs all grace to folow Christes example in peace and in charitie, in pacience & sufferaunce, that we now may haue him our ghest to enter and dwel with­in vs, so as we may be in ful suretie, hauing such a pledge of our saluation. If we haue him and Rom. 8. his fauour, we may be sure that we haue the fa­uour of God by his meanes. For he sitteth on the right hand of his father, as our proctour & attur­ney, [Page 366] pleading and suing for vs in all our needes and necessities, Wherfore, if we want anye gyft of godlye wisdome, we maye aske it of God for Christes sake, & we shall haue it. Let vs consyder and examine our selfe, in what want we be con­cerning this vertue of charitie and patience. If we see that our hearts be nothing inclined ther­vnto, in forgeuing them that haue offended a­gainst vs, then let vs knowledge our want, and wishe to God to haue it. But if we want it, and see in our selfe no desyre thereunto, veryly we be in a daungerous case before God, and haue nede to make muche earnest prayer to God, that we may haue such an heart changed, to the gra [...]ing in of a newe. For vnlesse we forgeue other, we shall neuer be forgeuen of God. No, not all the praiers and merites of other, can pacifie God vn­to vs, vnlesse we be at peace, and at one with our neighbour. Nor all our deedes and good workes can moue God to forgeue vs our dettes to him, except we forgeue to other. He setteth more by mercy, then by sacrifice. Mercye moued our sa­uiour Christ to suffer for his enemies: it becom­meth vs then to follow his example. For it shall litle auayle vs to haue in meditation the fruites and pryce of his passion, to magnifie them, and to delyght or trust to them, except we haue in mynd his examples in passion to folowe them. If we thus therefore consyder Christes death, and will sticke thereto with fast fayth for the merite and deseruing thereof, and will also frame our selfe in such wyse to bestowe our selues, and all that we haue by charitie, to the behoofe of our neygh­bour, [Page 367] as Christe spent him selfe whollye for our profite, then do we truelye remember Christes death, and being thus folowers of Christes steps, we shal be sure to followe him thyther where he sitteth now with the father and the holye ghost, to whom be all honour and glory.

Amen.

¶ The seconde homilee concerning the death and passion of our sauiour Christ.

THat we may the better con­ceaue the great mercy and goodnesse of our Sauiour Christ in suffering death v­niuersally for all men: it be­houeth vs to descende into the bottome of our consci­ence, & deeply to consider the first and principall cause wherefore he was com­pelled Gen. 5. so to do. When our great graundfather A­dam had broken Gods commaundement, in ea­ting the apple forbidden him in paradice, at the motion and suggestion of his wyfe, he purcha­sed therby, not onelye to him selfe, but also to his posteritie for euer, the iust wrath & indignation of God, who according to his former sentence pro­noūced at the geuing of the cōmaundement, con­demned both him & all his to euerlasting death, both of body and soule. For it was said vnto him, Thou shalt eat frely of euery tree in ye garden: but Gen. 2. as touching the tree of knowledge of good & ill, [Page 368] thou shalt in no wyse eat of it. For in what houre soeuer thou eatest thereof, thou shalt dye the death. Now as the Lorde had spoken, so it came to passe. Adam toke vppon him to eate thereof, and in so doing he dyed the death, that is to saye, he became mortall, he lost the fauour of God, he was cast out of paradice, he was no longer a ci­tizen of heauen: but a fyrebrand of hell, and a bond slaue to the deuil. To this doth our sauiour beare witnesse in the Gospell, callyng vs loste Luke. xv. sheepe, which haue goue astray & wandred from the true shephearde of our soules. To this also doth saint Paule beare witnesse, saying, That by the offence of onely Adam, death came vppon all Rom. v. men to condempnation. So that no we neyther he, nor any of his, had any ryght or interest at all in the kyngdome of heauen, but were become plaine reprobates and castawayes, being perpe­tually dampned to the euerlasting paynes of hell tyre. In this so great miserie and wretchednes, if mankind could haue recouered him selfe againe, and obtayned forgeuenes at Gods handes, then had his case ben somwhat tollerable, because he might haue attempted some way how to deliuer him selfe from eternall death. But there was no way left vnto him, he coulde do nothyng that might pacifie gods wrath, he was altogether vn­profitable in that behalfe. There was none that Psalm. v. did good, no not one. And howe then coulde he worke his owne saluation? Should he go about to pacifie gods heauie displeasure by offering vp brent sacrifices according as it was ordayned in the olde lawe? by offering vp the blood of Oxen, [Page 369] the blood of calues, the blood of goates, the blood of lambes, and so foorth? O these thinges were Hebr. 9. of no force nor strēgth to take away sinnes, they could not put away the anger of God, they could not coole the heate of his wrath, nor yet bryng mankynd into fauour againe, they were but on­ly sigures and shadowes of things to come, and nothing els, Reade the Epistle to the Hebrues, Hebr. [...]. there shall you find this matter largely discussed, there shal you learne in most plaine wordes, that the blooddy sacrifice of the olde lawe was vnper­fect, and not able to deliuer man from the state of dampnation by any meanes, so that mankind in trusting thereunto, shoulde trust to a broken staffe, and in the ende deceaue him selfe. What should he then do? Shoulde he go about to ob­serue and kepe the lawe of God diuided into two tables, & so purchase to him selfe eternall life? In deede, if Adam and his posteritie had ben able to satisfie and fulfill the lawe perfectly, in louyng God aboue all thinges, and their neyghbour as them selues: then shoulde they haue easily quen­ched the Lordes wrath, and escaped the terrible sentence of eternall death pronounced agaynst them by the mouth of almightie God. For it is Luke. 10. written. Do this, & thou shalt liue, that is to say, fulfill my commaundementes, kepe thy selfe vp­right and perfect in them accordyng to my wyll, then shalt thou liue, and not dye. Here is eternal lyse promised with this condition, so that they kepe and obserue the lawe. But suche was the frailtie of mankinde after his fall, suche was his weakenes & imbecilitie, that he could not walke [Page 370] vpryghtly in Gods commaundementes though he woulde neuer so faine, but dayly and hourely fell from his bounden duetie, offending the Lord his God diuers wayes, to the great encrease of his condempnation, insomuch that the prophete Dauid cryeth out on this wyse: All haue gone Psalm. 5. astray, all are become vnprofitable, there is none that doth good, no not one. In this case what profite coulde he haue by the lawe? None at all. For as saint James sayth, He that shall obserue Iacob. 2. the whole lawe, and yet faileth in one poynt, is become giltie of all. And in the booke of Deute­ronomie it is written, Cursed be he (sayth God) Deut. 27. which abydeth not in all thinges that are writ­ten in the booke of the lawe to do them. Behold, the lawe bringeth a curse with it, and maketh vs giltie, not because it is of it self naught or vn­holy (God forbid we shoulde so thinke) but be­cause the frailtie of our sinfull fleshe is such, that we can neuer fulfill it, accordyng to the perfecti­on that the Lorde requireth. Coulde Adam then (thinke you) hope or trust to be saued by the law? No, he could not. But the more he looked on the law, the more he sawe his owne dampnation set before his eyes, as it were in a most cleare glasse. So that now of him selfe he was most wretched and miserable, destitute of all hope, & neuer able to pacifie Gods heauie displeasure, nor yet to es­cape the terrible iudgement of God, wherinto he and all his posteritie were fallen, by disobeying the straight commaundement of the Lorde theyr God. But O the aboundaunt ryches of Gods Rom. 11. great mercie. O the vnspeakable goodnes of his [Page 371] heauenly wysoome. When all hope of righteous­nes was past on our part, when we had nothing in our selues, whereby we myght quenche his burning wrath, & worke ye saluation of our owne soules, and rise out of the miserable estate wher­in we lay: Then, euen then dyd Christ the sonne of God, by the appoyntment of his father, come downe frō heauen, to be wounded for our sakes, to be reputed with the wicked, to be cōdempned vnto death, to take vpon him the rewarde of our sinnes, and to geue his body to be broken on the crosse for our offences. He (sayth ye prophete Esai, Esai. 55. meaning Christe) hath borne our infirmities, & hath caried our sorowes, the chastisement of our peace was vpō him, & by his stripes are we made whole. Saint Paul like wyse sayth: God made 2. Cor. 5. him a sacrifice for our sinnes, whiche knewe not sinne, that we should be made the righteousnesse of God by him. And saint Peter most agreeably wryting in this behalfe, sayth: Christe hath once died & suffered for our sinnes, the iust for ye vniust, &c. To these myght be added an infinite number of other places to the same effect: but these fewe shalbe sufficient for this tyme. Now then (as it was said at ye beginning) let vs ponder & weigh the cause of his death, that therby we may be the more moued to glorifie him in our whole lyfe. Whiche yf you wyll haue comprehended briefe­lye in one worde, it was nothyng els in our parte, but onlye the transgression and sinne of mankinde. When the angell came to warne Jo­seph, that he should not feare to take Mary to his wife: Did he not therefore will ye childes name to he called Jesus, because, he should saue his people [Page 372] from their sinnes? When John the Baptist prea­ched Christ, and she wed hym to the people with Iohn. 1. his finger: Dyd he not playnely say vnto them, Behold the lambe of God whiche taketh away the sinnes of the worlde? When the woman of Canaan besought Christ to helpe her daughter Matth. 15. which was possest with a deuil: did he not open­ly confesse that he was sent to saue the lost sheepe of the house of Israel, by geuing his life for theyr sinnes? It was sinne then, O man, euē thy sinne that caused Christe the onlye sonne of God to be crucified in the fleshe, and to suffer the most vyle & slaunderous death of the crosse. If thou had­dest kept thy selfe vyryght, if thou haddest obser­ued the commaundementes, yf thou haddest not Rom. 5. presumed to transgresse the wyll of God in thy fyrst father Adam: then Christe being in fourme of God, needed not to haue taken vppon him the shape of a seruaunt: being immortall in heauen, he needed not to become mortal on earth: beyng the true bread of the soule, he needed not to hun­ger: being the healthfull water of lyfe, he needed not to thirst: being life it selfe, he needed not to haue suffred death. But to these and many other suche extremities, was he dryuen by thy sinne, which was so manifolde & great, that god could be onlye pleased in hym, and none other. Canst thou thinke of this; O sinful man, and not trem­ble within thy selfe? Canst thou heare it quiet­lye without remorse of conscience, and sorowe of heart? Did Christ suffer his passion for thee, and Matth. 27. wylt thou shewe no compassion towardes hym? Whyle Christe was yet hangyng on the Crosse, [Page 373] and yelding vp the ghost, the Scripture witnes­seth that ye vale of the temple did rent in twaine, and the earth dyd quake, that the stones claue a­sunder, that the graues dyd open, & the dead bo­dyes rise. And shall the heart of man be nothyng moued to remember how greeuously and cruel­ly he was handled of the Jewes for our sinnes? Shall man shew himselfe to be more hard hear­ted then stones, to haue lesse compassion thē dead bodies? Call to minde, O sinful creature, and set before thyne eyes Christe crucified. Thinke thou seest his body stretched out in length vppon the crosse, his head crowned with sharpe thorne, his handes & his feete pearsed with nailes, his heart opened with a long speare, his fleshe rente and torne with whippes, his browes sweating wa­ter and blood. Thinke thou hearest hym nowe crying in an intollerable agonie to his father, & saying, My God, my God, why hast thou forsa­ken me. Couldest thou behold this wofull sight, or heare this mournefull voyce without teares, consydering that he suffered all this, not for any desart of his owne, but only for the greeuousnes of thy sinnes? O that mankinde shoulde put the euerlasting sonne of God to such paines. O that we should be the occasion of his death, & the only cause of his condempnation. May we not iustly crye wo worth the time that euer we sinned? O my brethren, let this image of Christe crucified, be alwayes printed in our heartes, let it stirre vs vp to the hatred of sinne, & prouoke our mindes to the earnest loue of almightie God. For why? Is not sinne thinke you, a greuous thing in his [Page 374] sight, seing for the transgressing of Gods precept in eating of one apple, he condempned all the world to perpetuall death, and would not be pa­cified, but only with the blood of his own sonne? True, yea moste true is that saying of Dauid: Thou O Lorde, hatest all them that worke ini­quitie, neyther shall the wicked and euill man Psal. 5. dwell with thee. By the mouth of his prophete Esai, he cryeth mainely out agaynst sinners and sayth: [...]o be vnto you that draw iniquitie with cordes of vanitie, and sinne as it were with cart Esai. 5. ropes. Dyd not God geue a plaine token howe greatly he hated & abhored sinne, whē he drow­ned Gen. 7. all the world saue only eyght persons, when he destroyed Sodome & Gomorra with fire and brimstone, when in three dayes space he killed Gen. 19. 4. Reg. 29. with pestilence threescore and ten thousande for Dauids offence, when he drowned Pharao and al his hoast in the red sea, when he turned Nabu­chodonozor Exo. 14. the kyng into the fourme of a bruite beast, creeping vppon all foure, when he suffered Daniel. 14. Achitophel & Iudas to hang them selues vpō the remorse of sinne, whiche was so terrible to theyr 2. Reg. 17. Actes [...]. eyes? A thousand such examples are to be found in scripture, yf a man would stand to seeke them out. But what neede we? This one example which we haue now in hande, is of more force, & ought more to moue vs, then all the rest. Christe being the sonne of god, and perfect God him self, who neuer committed sinne; was compelled to come downe from heauen, & to geue his body to be bruised & broken on the crosse for our sinnes. Was not this a manifest token of Gods great [Page 375] wrath and displeasure towardes sinne, that he could be pacified by no other meanes, but onlye by ye sweete & precious blood of his deare sonne? O sinne, sinne, that euer thou shouldest dryue Christe to suche extremitie. Wo worth the tyme that euer thou camest into the world. But what booteth it now to bewayle? Sinne is come, and so come that it can not be auoyded. There is no Prou. 24. man liuing, no not the iustest man on the earth? but he falleth seuen times a day, as Salomon sayth. And our Sauiour Christe, although he hath deliuered vs from sinne: yet not so that we shalbe free from committing sinne: But so that it shal not be imputed to our condempnation. He Rom. 6. hath taken vpon him the iust rewarde of sinne, which was death, & by death hath ouerthrowen death, that we beleuing in him, myght lyue for euer, and not dye. Ought not this to engender extreme hatred of sinne in vs, to consyder that it did violently, as it were, plucke God out of hea­uen, to make him feele the horrours and paynes of death? O that we would sometimes consyder this in the middest of our pompes & pleasures, it would bridle the outragiousnesse of the fleshe, it would abate and asswage our carnall affectes, it woulde restraine our fleshly appetites, that we shoulde not run at randon as we commonly do. To commit sinne wylfully & desperatly without feare of god, is nothing els but to crucifie Christ a new, as we are expressly taught in the [...] H [...]bre. [...] to ye Hebrues. Which thing if it were denc [...] prin­ted in all mens heartes, then shoulde not sinne raigne euery where so much as it doth, to ye great [Page 376] griefe and torment of Christe, nowe sittyng in heauen. Let vs therefore remember, and alwaies beare in minde Christe crucified, that therby we may be inwardly moued both to abhorre sinne throughly, and also with an earnest and zelous heart to loue God. For this is another fruite which the memoriall of Christes death ought to worke in vs, an earnest and vnfayned loue to­wardes God. So God loued the worlde (sayth Iohn. iii. saint John) that he gaue his only begotten sōne, that whosoeuer beleued in hym, shoulde not pe­rishe, but haue life euerlasting. If god declared so great loue towardes vs his seely creatures: how can we of ryght but loue him agayne? Was not this a sure pledge of his loue, to geue vs his own sonne from heauen? He myght haue geuen vs an angel if he would, or some other creature, and yet should his loue haue ben farre aboue our de­sartes. Nowe he gaue vs not an angell, but his sonne. And what sonne? His only sonne, his na­turall sonne, his welbeloued sonne, euen that sonne whom he had made Lorde and ruler of al thinges. Was not this a singuler token of great loue? But to whom did he geue him? He gaue him to the whole worlde, that is to say, to Adam and all that should come after him. O lord what had Adam or anye other man deserued at Gods handes, that he should geue vs his owne sonne? We are all miserable persons, sinfull persons, dampnable persōs, iustly driuen out of paradice, iustly excluded from heauen, iustly condempned to hell fyre: And yet (see a wonderfull token of Gods loue) he gaue vs his only be gotten sonne, [Page 377] vs I say, that were his extreme and deadly ene­mies, that we by vertue of his blood shed vppon ye crosse, might be cleane purged from our sinnes, and made righteous agayne in his sight. Who can chose but maruaile, to heare that god should she we such vnspeakable loue towardes vs, that were his deadly enemies? Indeede, O mortall man, thou oughtest of ryght to marueyle at it & to acknowledge therein Gods great goodnesse and mercie towards mankind, which is so won­derful, that no fleshe, be it neuer so worldly wyse, may wel conceaue it or expresse it. For as Saint Paul testifieth, God greatly commendeth and Rom. v. setteth out his loue towardes vs, in that he sent his sonne Christ to die for vs, when we were yet sinners, and open enemies of his name. If we had in any maner of wyse deserued it at his han­des, then had it ben no marueile at all, but there was no desert on our part wherefore he shoulde do it. Therefore thou sinful creature, when thou hearest that GOD gaue his sonne to dye for the sinnes of the worlde, thinke not he dyd it for any desert or goodnes that was in thee, for thou wast then the bondslaue of the deuill: But fall downe vpon thy knees, and crye with the prophete Da­uid, O Lorde, what is man, that thou art so Psal, viii. mindefull of him? or the sonne of man, that thou so regardest him? And seeing he hath so greatlye loued thee, endeuour thy self to loue him againe, with all thy heart, with all thy soule, and with all thy strength, that therin thou mayst appeare not to be vnworthy of his loue. I report me to thyne owne conscience, whether thou wouldest [Page 378] not thinke thy loue ill bestowed vpon him, that could not finde in his heart to loue thee agayne? If this be true (as it is most true) then thinke howe greatly it behoueth to thy duetie to loue God, whiche hath so greatly loued thee, that he hath no [...] spared his owne onlye sonne from so cruell and shamefull a death for thy sake. And hi­therto concerning the cause of Christes death & passion, which as yet was on our part most hor­rible and greeuous sinne, so on the other side it was the free gift of God, proceeding of his meere and tender loue towards mankind, without any merite or desert of our part. The Lorde for his mercies sake graunt that we neuer forget this great benefite of our saluation in Christe Jesu, but that we alwayes shewe our selues thanke­full for it, abhorring all kinde of wickednesse and sinne, and applying our myndes wholy to the seruice of God, and the diligent keeping of his commaundementes.

Now resteth to shewe vnto you, howe to ap­plie Christes death and passion to our comfort, as a medicine to our woundes, so that it maye worke the same effect in vs wherefore it was ge­uen, namely the health & saluatiō of our soules. For as it profiteth a man nothing to haue salue, vnlesse it be well applied to the part affected: So the death of Christ shall stand vs in no force, vn­lesse we applie it to our selues in suche sorte as God hath appoynted. Almightie God common­ly worketh by meanes, and in this thing he hath also ordained a certaine meane, wherby we may take fruite and profite to our soules health. [Page 379] What meane is that? forsooth it is fayth. Not an vnconstant or wauering fayth: but a sure, sted­fast, grounded, and vnfaigned fayth. GOD sent his sonne into the worlde (sayth Saint John.) Iohn. 3. To what end? that whosoeuer beleueth in hym, shoulde not perishe, but haue lyfe euerlasting. Marke these wordes: that whosoeuer beleueth in him. Here is the meane whereby we must ap­ply the fruites of Christes death vnto our deadly wounde. Here is the meane whereby we must obtaine eternall lyfe, namely fayth. For (as saint Paul teacheth in his Epistle to the Romanes) Rom. 10. With the heart man beleueth vnto ryghteous­nes, and with the mouth confessiō is made vnto saluation. Paul beyng demaunded of the keeper of yt prison what he should do to be saued? made Actes. 16. this aunswere. Beleue in the Lorde Jesus, so shalt thou and thyne house both be saued. After the Euangelist had described and set foorth vnto Iohn. 20. vs at large, the life and the death of ye Lorde Je­sus, in the end he concludeth with these wordes: These thinges are written, that we may beleue Jesus Christe to be the sonne of God, a through sayth obtayne eternall lyfe. To conclude with the wordes of saint Paul which are these: Christ is the ende of the lawe vnto saluation, for euery Rom. 10. one that doth beleue. By this then, [...] wel perceaue, that the only meane and instrument of saluation required of our partes, is faith, that is to saye, a sure trust and [...] in the mer­cies of God, Whereby we perswade our selues, that God both hath and [...] our sinnes, that he hath accepted vs againe into his sauour, [Page 380] that he hath released vs frō the bondes of damp­nation, and receaued vs againe into the number of his elect people, not for our merites or de­sartes, but onlye & solely for the merites of Chri­stes death and passion, who became man for our sakes, and humbled him selfe to sustayne the re­proche of the crosse, that we thereby might be sa­ued, and made inheritours of the kingdome of heauen. This fayth is required at our handes. And this yf we keepe stedfastly in our heartes, there is no doubt but we shall obtayne saluati­on at gods handes, as did Abraham, Isahac, and Jacob, of whom the scripture saith, that they be­leued, Gen. xv. Rom, vii. and it was imputed vnto them for ryghte­ousnesse. Was it imputed vnto them onlye? and shall it not be imputed vnto vs also? Yes, yf we haue the same fayth as they had, it shalbe as tru­ly imputed vnto vs for righteousnesse, as it was vnto them. For it is one fayth that must saue both vs and them, euen a sure and stedfast fayth in Christ Jesu, who as ye haue heard, came into the worlde for this ende, that whosoeuer beleue in him, shoulde not perishe, but haue lyfe euerla­sting. But here we must take heede, that we do Iohn. iii. not hault with God through an vnconstant and wauering saith, but that it be strong and stedfast to our liues ende. He that wauereth (saith saint James) is lyke a waue of the sea, neyther let Iacob, [...]. that man thinke that he shall obtaine any thing at Gods handes. Peter comming to Christe vp­on the water, because he fainted in faith, was in daunger of drowning. So we, yf we beginne to Mat. xiiii. wauer or doubt, it is to be feared lest we shall [Page 381] sinke as Peter dyd, not into the water, but into the bottomlesse pit of hell fyre. Therefore I saye vnto you, that we must apprehende the merites of Christes death and passion by faith, and that with a strong and stedfast fayth, nothyng doub­ting, but that Christe by his owne oblation, and once offring of him selfe vpon the crosse, hath ta­ken away our sinnes, & hath restored vs agayne into Gods fauour so fully and perfectly, that no other sacrifice for sinne, shall hereafter be requi­site or nedefull in all the worlde. Thus haue ye hearde in fewe wordes, the meane whereby we must applie the fruites and merites of Christes death vnto vs, so that it may worke the saluatiō of our soules, namely a sure, stedfast, perfect, and grounded fayth. For as all they whiche behelde stedfastly the brasen serpent, were healed and de­liuered Num. 21. Iohn. 3. at the very sight therof, from their corpo­rall diseases, and bodyly stinges: euen so all they which beholde Christe crucified, with a true and liuely fayth, shal vndoubtedly be deliuered from the greuous woundes of the soule, be they neuer so deadly or many in number. Therfore (dearely beloued) yf we chaunce at anye tyme through frailtie of the fleshe, to fall into sinne (as it can not be chosen, but we must nedes fall often) & yf we feele the heauie burden thereof to presse our soules, tormenting vs with ye feare of death, hell, and dampnation, let vs then vse that meane which God hath appoynted in his word, to wit, the meane of faith, which is the only instrument of saluation nowe left vnto vs. Let vs stedfastly beholde Christe crucified with the eyes of our [Page 382] heart. Let vs only trust to be saued by his death and passion, & to haue our sinnes cleane wasshed away through his most precious blood, that in the end of the world, when he shal come agayne to iudge both the quicke and the dead, he may re­ceaue vs into his heauenly kingdome, and place vs in the number of his elect and chosen people, there to be partakers of that immortal and euer­lasting life, whiche he hath purchased vnto vs by vertue of his bloddy woundes: To him ther­fore, with the father, and the holy ghost, be al ho­nour and glorie, worlde without ende.

Amen.

An Homilee of the Resurrection of our Sauiour Iesus Christe. For Easter day.

IF euer at any tyme ye great­nesse or excellencie of anye matter spirituall or tempo­rall, hath stirred vp your mindes to geue diligent eare (good Christian peo­ple, and welbeloued in our Lord and Sauiour Jesus Christe) I doubt not but that I shall haue you nowe at this present season moste diligent and ready hearers of the matter, whiche I haue at this tyme to open vnto you. For I come to de­clare that great and most comfortable article of [Page 383] our Christian religion and fayth, the resurrecti­on of our Lorde Jesus. So great surely is the matter of this article, and of so great wayght and importaunce, that it was thought worthie to kepe our sayde Sauiour still on earth fourtie dayes after he was rysen from death to lyfe, to the confirmation and stablishment therof in the heartes of his disciples. So that (as Luke clear­lye testifieth in the first Chapter of the Actes of the Apostles) he was conuersaunt with his di­sciples by the space of fourtie dayes continual­lye together, to thintent he would in his person beyng nowe glorified, teache and instruct them, whiche shoulde be the teachers of other, fullye and in most absolute and perfect wise, the trueth of this moste Christian article, whiche is the grounde and foundation of our whole religion, before he would ascend vp to his father into the heauens, there to receaue the glorye of his most triumphant conquest and victorie. Assuredly, so highly comfortable is this article to our consci­ences, that it is euen the very locke and key of all our Christian religion and fayth. If it were not true (sayth the holy Apostle Paul) that Christe rose agayne: then our preaching were in vayne, 1. Cor. 15. your fayth whiche you haue receaued were but voyde, ye were yet in the daūger of your sinnes. If Christ be not rysen againe (sayth the apostle) then are they in very euill case, and vtterly peri­shed, that be entred their stepe in Christ, then are we the most miserable of al men, which haue our hope fixed in Christ, if he be yet vnder the powre of death, & [...] not restored to his blisse againe. [Page 384] But nowe is he rysen agayne from death (sayth the Apostle Paul) to be the first fruites of them that be a sleepe, to thintent to raise them to euer­lasting life agayne: Yea, yf it were not true that Christe is risen againe, then were it neither true that he is ascended vp to heauen, nor that he sent downe from heauen vnto vs the holy ghost, nor that he sitteth on the right hand of his heauenly father, hauing the rule of heauen & earth, raig­ning (as the prophete sayth) from sea to sea, nor Psalm. 17. that he should after this worlde, be the iudge as­well of the liuing as of the dead, to geue reward to the good, and iudgement to the euill. That these linkes therefore of our faith should al hang together in stedfast establishment and confirma­tion, it pleased our Sauiour not straight way to withdrawe himselfe from the bodyly presence & sight of his disciples, but he chose out- [...]l-dayes, wherein he woulde declare vnto them by mani­fold & most strong argumentes and tokens, that he had conquered death, and that he was also truely risen againe to life. He began saith Luke) Luke, 24. at Moyses and al the prophetes, and expounded vnto them the prophesies that were written in all the scriptures of him, to thintent to confirme the trueth of his resurrection, long before spo­ken of: whiche he verified in deede, as it is declared very apparauntly and manifestlye, by his oft appearaunce to sundry personnes at sun­dry times. First, he sent his angels to the sepul­chre, who dyd shewe vnto certayne women the Matth. 18. emptie graue, sauing that the buriall linnen re­mayned therein. And by these signes were these [Page 385] women fully instructed, that he was rysen a­gayne, & so dyd they testifie it openly. After this Iohn. 20. Jesus himselfe appeared to Marie Magdalen, & after that to certayne other women, and straight afterwarde he appeared to Peter, then to the two disciples whiche were goyng to Emaus. He 1. Cor. 1 [...]. Luk. 24. appeared to the disciples also, as they were ga­thered together for feare of the Jewes, the doores shut. At another tyme he was seene at the sea of Iohn. 21. Tiberias of Peter and Thomas, & of other disci­ples, when they were fishyng. He was seene of more then fiue hundred brethren in the mount of Galilee, where Jesus appoynted them to be by his angell, when he sayde: Behold, he shal go be­fore you into Galilee, there shall ye see hym as he hath sayde vnto you. After this, he appeared Act. [...] vnto James, and last of all he was visibly seene of all the Apostles, at suche tyme as he was taken vp into heauen▪ Thus at sundry tymes he shew­ed hymselfe after he was rysen agayne, to con­fyrme and stablish this article. And in these reue­lations somtime he shewed them his handes, his feete, and his side, and bad them touch him, that they shoulde not take hym for a ghost or a spirite. Somtyme he also dyd eate with them, but euer he was talkyng with them of the euerlastyng kyngdome of God, to assure the trueth of his re­surrection. For then he opened their vnderstan­dyng, that they myght perceaue the scriptures, & Luk. 24. sayde vnto them: Thus it is written, and thus it behoued Christe to suffer, & to rise from death the third day, and that ther should be preached open­ly in his name, penaunce and remission of sinnes [Page 386] to all the nations of the worlde. Ye see (good Christian people) howe necessarie this article of our fayth is, seeing it was proued of Christe him selfe by suche euident reasons and tokens, by so long time and space. Nowe therefore as our saui­our was diligent for our comfort and instruction to declare it: so let vs be as redy in our beleefe to receaue it to our comfort & instruction. As he dy­ed not for him selfe, no more dyd he ryse agayne for hym selfe. He was dead (saith Saint Paul) for our sinnes, and rose agayne for our iustificati­on. O moste comfortable worde, euermore to be borne in remembrance. He dyed (saith he) to put away sinne, he arose agayne to endowe vs with righteousnes. His death tooke away sin & maledictiō, his death was the raūsome of them both, his death destroyed death, & ouercame the deuill, which had the power of death in his subiection, his death destroyed hell, with all the damnation therof. Thus is death swallowed vp by Christes victorie, thus is hell spoyled for euer. If any man doubt of this victorie, let Christes glorious resur­rection declare hym the thyng. If death coulde i. Cor. xv. not kepe Christ vnder his dominion and power, but that he arose agayne, it is manifest that his power was ouercome. If death be conquered, then muste it folowe that sinne wherefore death was appoynted as the wages, muste be also de­stroyed. If death & sinne be vanished away, then is the deuilles tyranny vanished, whiche had the power of death, and was the aucthour & brewer of sin, and the ruler of hell. If Christ had the vic­torie of them all by the power of his death, and [Page 387] openly proued it by his most victorious and vali­aunt resurrection (as it was not possible for his great myght to be subdued of them) and then this true that Christ died for our synnes, and rose agayne for our iustification: Whye may not we that be his members by true fayth, reioyce and boldly say with the prophete Osee, and the Apo­stle Paul, Where is thy darte O death? where is thy victorie O hell? Thankes be vnto God, say they, whiche hath geuen vs the victorie by our Lorde Christe Jesus. This mightie conquest of his resurrection, was not onlye signified before by diuers figures of the olde Testament, as by Sampson when he slewe the Lion, out of whose mouth came sweetenes and hony, and as Dauid Luk. xiiii. bare his figure when he deliuered the lambe out of the Lions mouth, and when he ouercame and slew the great gyaunt Goliath, and as when Jo­nas 3. Re. xvii, was swall [...]wed vp of the Whales mouth, Ionas. ii. and cast vp agayne on lande alyue: but was also moste clearely prophesied by the prophetes of the olde Testament, and in the newe also confyrmed by the apostles. He hath spoyled, saith saint Paul, rule and power, and all the dominion of our spi­rituall enemies. He hath made a shewe of them Coloss. ii. openly, and hath triumphed ouer them in his owne person. This is the myghtie power of the Lorde, whom we beleue on. By his death, hath he wrought for vs this victorie, and by his resur­rection, hath he purchased euerlastyng lyfe and righteousnesse for vs. It has not ben enough to be delyuered by his death from synne, excepte by his resurrection we had ben endowed with [Page 388] ryghteousnes. And it shoulde not auayle vs to be delyuered from death, except he had rysen againe to open for vs the gates of heauen, to enter into lyfe euerlastyng. And therefore saint Peter than­keth God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ for 1. Pet. 1. his aboundaunt mercie, because he hath begot­ten vs (sayth he) vnto a lyuely hope by the resur­rection of Jesus Christe from death, to enioy an inheritaunce immortall, that neuer shall perish, which is layd vp in heauen for them that be kept by the power of God through fayth. Thus hath his resurrection wrought for vs life & righteous­nes. He passed through death and hell, to the in­tent to put vs in good hope, that by his strength we shall do the same. He payde the raunsome of synne, that it shoulde not be layde to our charge. He destroyed the deuill and all his tyrannye, and openly triumphed ouer hym, & tooke away from hym all his captiues, and hath raysed and sette Ephes. 2. them with himselfe amongst the heauenly Cite­zins aboue. He dyed to destroy the rule of the de­uill in vs, and he rose agayne to sende downe his holy spirite to rule in our heartes, to endowe vs with perfect righteousnes. Thus it is true that Dauid song: Veritas de terra orta est, et iustitia de Psal. 84. coelo prospexit, The trueth of gods promise is in the earth to man declared, or from the earth is the euerlasting veritie Gods sonne rysen to life, & Ephe. 4. Captinam duxit cap­tinitatem▪ the true righteousnesse of the holy ghost lookyng out of heauen, and is in most liberal larges dealt vppon all the worlde. Thus is glory and prayse rebounded vpwarde to God aboue for his mercie and trueth. And thus is peace come downe from [Page 389] heauen to men of good and faythfull heartes. Thus is mercie and trueth as Dauid wryteth Luk. 2. Psalm. 84. together met, thus is peace and ryghteousnesse imbrasing and kissing eache other. If thou doub­test of so great wealth & felicitie that is wrought Misericor­dia & ve­ritas obui­auerunt sibi. for thee O man, call to thy mynde that therefore haste thou receaued into thyne owne possession the euerlasting veritie our sauiour Jesus Christ, to confyrme to thy conscience the trueth of all this matter. Thou hast receaued hym, yfin true fayth and repentaunce of heart thou haste recea­ued hym: yf in purpose of amendement, thou haste receaued hym for an euerlastyng gage or pledge of thy saluation. Thou hast receaued his body which was once broken, & his blood which was shedde for the remission of thy synne. Thou hast receaued his body, to haue within thee the father, the sonne, and the holy ghost, for to dwell with thee, to endow thee with grace, to strength thee agaynst thyne enemies, and to comfort thee with their presence. Thou hast receaued his bo­dy to endow thee with euerlasting righteousnes, to assue thee of euerlastyng blisse, and lyfe of thy soule. [...]r with Christe by true fayth art thou quickened agayne (sayth saint Paul) from death Ephes. [...]. of synne, to lyfe of grace, and in hope translated from corporal and euerlastyng death, to the euer­lastyng lyfe of glorye in heauen, where nowe thy conuersation should be, and thy heart and desyre set. Doubt not of the trueth of this matter, how great and hygh soeuer these thynges be. It be­commeth God to do no litle deedes, how impos­sible so euer they seeme to thee. Pray to God that [Page 390] thou mayest haue fayth to perceaue this greate mysterie of Christes resurrection: that by fayt [...] thou mayst certaynely beleue nothyng to be im­possible with God. Onlye bryng thou fayth to Christes holy worde and sacrament. Let thy re­pentaunce Luk. 18. shewe thy fayth, let thy purpose of a­mendement and obedience of thy heart to Gods lawe, hereafter declare thy true beleefe. Ende­uour thy selfe to saye with Saint Paul, From hencefoorth our conuersation is in heauen, from whence we looke for a sauiour, euen the Lorde Jesus Christe, whiche shall change our vile bo­dyes, that they may be fashioned like his glorious body, which he shal do by the same power wher­by Phil. 4. he rose from death, and wherby he shalbe able to subdue all thynges vnto hym selfe. Thus (good Christian people) forasmuche as ye haue hearde these so great and excellent benefites of Christes myghtie and glorious resurrection, as howe that he hath raunsomed synne, ouercome the deuill, death, and hell, and hath victoriouslye gotten the better hande of them all, to make vs free and safe from them, and knowyng that we be by this benefite of his resurrection, rysen with hym by our fayth, vnto lyfe euerlastyng, beyng in full suretie of our hope, that we shall haue our bodyes lykewyse raysed agayne from death, to haue them glorified in immortalitie, and ioyned to his glorious bodye, hauyng in the meane while his holy spirite within our heartes as a seale and pledge of our euerlastyng inheri­taunce. By whose assistence we be replenished with all ryghteousnes, by whose power we shal­be [Page 391] able to subdue all our euyll affections, rysyng agaynst the pleasure of God. These thynges I say well consydered, let vs nowe in the rest of our lyfe declare our fayth that we haue to this moste fruitful article, by framyng our selues therunto, in rysyng dayly from sinne, to righteousnes & ho­lines of lyfe. For what shall it auayle vs (sayth saint Peter) to be escaped & deliuered from the 2. Pet. 2. filthynesse of the worlde, through the knowledge of the Lorde and sauiour Jesus Christe, if we be entangled agayne therewith, and be ouercome agayne? Certaynely it had ben better (sayth he) neuer to haue knowne the way of righteousnes, then after it is knowne and receaued, to turne backwarde agayne from the holy commaunde­ment of God geuen vnto vs. For so shall the pro­uerbe haue place in vs, where it is sayde: The dogge is returned to his vomite agayne, and the sowe that was washed, to her wallowyng in the myre agayne. What a shame were it for vs, beyng thus so clearely and freely washed from our synne, to returne to the filthynesse thereof agayne? What a follie were it, thus en­dowed with ryghteousnesse, to lose it agayne? What madnesse were it, to lose the inheritaunce that we be nowe set in, for the vyle and transi­torie pleasure of synne? And what an vnkynde­nesse shoulde it be, where our sauiour Christe of his mercie is come to vs, to dwell within vs as our g [...]este, to dryue hym from vs, and to banishe hym violently out of our soules, and in steade of hym in whom is all grace and vertue, to receaue the vngratious spirite of the deuyil, the founder [Page 392] of all naughtines and mischeefe. How can we fynde in our heartes to shewe suche extreame vn­kyndnesse to Christe, which hath now so gently called vs to mercie, and offered him selfe vnto vs, and he nowe entred within vs? yea, howe dare we be so bolde to renounce the presence of the fa­ther, the sonne, and the holy ghost? (For where one is, there is God all whole in maiestie, toge­ther with all his power, wysedome, and good­nesse) and feare not I say, the daunger and peryll of so traiterous a defiaunce and departure? Good Christian brethren and sisters aduise your selues, consyder the dignite that ye be nowe set in, let not follie lose the thyng that grace hath so preci­ously offered and purchased, let not wylfulnesse and blindnesse put out so great lyght that is now shewed vnto you. Onlye take good heartes vnto Ephes. 6. you, and put vppon you all the armour of God, that ye may stand agaynst your enemies, which woulde agayne subdue you, and bryng you into their thraldome. Remember ye be bought from your vain conuersation, and that your freedome is purchased neyther with golde nor syluer, but 1, Pet. 1. with the price of the precious blood of that most innocent lambe Jesus Christe, which was ordei­ned to the same purpose before the worlde was made. But he was so declared in the latter tyme of grace, for your sakes which by hym haue your fayth in God, who hath raysed hym from death, and hath geuen hym glory, that you shoulde haue your fayth and hope towarde God. There­fore as you haue hytherto folowed the vayne lustes of your myndes, and so displeased God, to [Page 393] the daunger of your soules: So nowe lyke obe­dient chyldren, thus purified by fayth, geue your selues to walk that way which God moueth you to, that ye may receaue the end of your fayth, the saluation of your soules. And as ye haue geuen 1. Pet. 1. your bodyes to vnryghteousnes, to synne after sin: so now geue your selfe to ryghteousnes, to be sanctified therein. If ye delyght in this article of your fayth, that Christ is rysen again from death Rom. 6. to lyfe: then folowe you the example of his re­surrection, as Saint Paul exhorteth vs, saying: As we be buried with Christ by our baptisme in­to death, so let vs dayly dye to synne, mortifiyng Rom. 6. and kylling the euill desires and motions therof. And as Christe was raysed vp from death by the glorye of the father, so let vs ryse to a newe lyfe, and walke continually therin, that we may like­wyse as naturall chyldren liue a conuersation to moue men to glorifie our father which is in hea­uen. If we then be risen with Christ by our faith to the hope of euerlastyng lyfe: let vs ryse also Mat. 5. with Christe, after his example, to a newe lyfe, and leaue our olde. We shal then be truely rysen, if we seeke for thynges that be heauenly, if we haue our affection on things that be aboue, and not on thynges that be on the earth. If ye desyre to knowe what these earthly thynges be which ye shoulde put of, and what be the heauenly thynges aboue, that ye should seeke and ensue: saint Paul in the Epistle to the Collossians decla­reth, when he exhorteth vs thus: Mortifie your Coloss. 3. earthly members and olde affections of synne, as fornication, vncleannesse, vnnaturall luste, euyll [Page 394] concupiscence, and couetousnesse, whiche is wor­shipping of idols, for the whiche thinges, the wrath of god is wont to fal on the children of vn­beleefe, in which thinges once ye walked, when ye liued in them. But now put ye also away from you wrath, fiercenes, malitiousnes, cursed spea­kyng, filthie speaking out of your mouthes. Lie not one to another, that the olde man with his workes be put of, and the newe be put on. These be the earthly thinges whiche. S. Paul moueth you to caste from you, and to plucke your heartes from them: For in folowing these, ye declare your selues earthly and worldly. These be the fruites of the earthly Adam. These shoulde you daily kil, by good diligence, in withstandyng the desyres of them, that ye might rise to righteousnesse. Let your affection from henceforth be set on heauen­ly thinges, sue and searche for mercie, kyndnesse, meekenes patience, forbearing one another, and forgeuyng one another. If any man haue anye quarrell to another, as Christe forgaue you, euen so doye. If these and suche other heauenly vertues ye ensue in the residue of your lyfe, ye shall shew playnely that ye be rysen with Christ, & that ye be the heauenly chyldren of your father in heauen, from whom, as from the geuer com­meth these graces & gyftes. Ye shall proue by this Iacob. 1. maner, that your conuersation is in heauen, where your hope is: and not on earth▪ folowyng the beastly appetites of the fleshe. Ye must consy­der that ye be therefore cleansed & renued, that ye Phil. 3. shoulde from hencefoorth serue God in holines & righteousnesse al the dayes of your lyues, that ye [Page 395] may raigne with them in euerlastyng lyfe. If ye refuse so great grace whereto ye be called, what Luk. 1. other thing do ye, then heape to you damnation more & more, and so prouoke God to caste his dis­pleasure vnto you, and to reuenge this mockage of his holy sacramentes in so great abusyng of them? Apply your selues (good freends) to lyue in Christ, that Christ may still liue in you, whose fa­uour & assistence if ye haue, then haue ye euerla­styng life alredye within you, then can nothyng hurt you. Whatsoeuer is hitherto done & cōmit­ted, Christ ye se hath offered you pardon, & clearly receaued you to his fauour agayne, in ful suretie wherof, ye haue him now inhabiting and dwel­ling Iohn. 5. within you. Only shew yourselues thanke­full in your liues, determine with your selues to refuse & auoyde al such thinges in your conuer­sations Coloss. 3. as shoulde offend his eyes of mercy. En­deuour your selues that way to rise vp agayne, which way ye fell into the wel or pit of sin. If by your tongue ye haue offended, now therby rise a­gayne, and glorifie God therewith, accustome it to laude and prayse the name of God, as ye haue there with dishonored it. And as ye haue hurt the name of your neighbour, or otherwise hindered hym, so nowe intend to restore it to him agayne. For without restitution, God accepteth not your Restituti­on. confession, nor yet your repentaunce It is not e­nough to forsake euil, except you set your courage to do good. By what occasion soeuer you haue of­fended, turne now the occasion to the honouring Psal 36. of God, and profite of your neyghbour. Trueth it is that synne is strong, and affections vnrulye. [Page 396] Hard it is to subdue and resist our nature, so cor­rupt & leauened with the sowre bitternes of the poyson whiche we receaued by the inheritaunce of our olde father Adam. But yet take good cou­rage Mat. 6. sayth our sauiour Christe, for I haue ouer­come the worlde, and all other enemies for you. Synne shall not haue power ouer you, for ye be now vnder grace saith saint Paul. Though your Rom. 6. power be weake, yet Christe is rysen agayne to strength you in your battayle, his holy spirite shall helpe your infirmities. In trust of his mer­cie, take you in hande to purge this olde leauen Rom. 8. of sinne, that corrupteth and sowreth the sweete­nes of your lyfe before God, that ye may be as newe and freshe dowe, voyde of all sowre leauen of wyckednesse, so shall ye shewe your selues to be 1. Cor. 5. sweete bread to God, that he may haue his de­lyght in you. I saye kyll and offer you vp the worldly and earthly affections of your bodyes. For Christe our Easter lambe is offered vp for vs, to slea the power of synne, to deliuer vs from the daunger therof, and to geue vs example to dye to synne in our lyfe. As the Jewes dyd eate their Easter lambe, & kept their feast in remembrance of their deliueraunce out of Egypt: Euen so let vs kepe our Easter feast in the thankfull remem­braunce of Christes benefites, whiche he hath plentifully wrought for vs by his resurrection & passing to his father, whereby we be delyuered from the captiuitie and thraldome of all our ene­mies. Let vs in lyke maner passe ouer the affecti­ons of our old conuersation, that we may be dely­uered frō the bondage therof, & rise with Christe. [Page 397] The Jewes kept their feast in abstayning from leauened bread by the space of seuen dayes. Let Exod. 7. vs Christian folke kepe our holy day in spirituall maner, that is in abstainyng, not from material leauened bread, but from the old leauen of synne, the leauen of malitiousnes and wyckednesse. Let vs cast from vs the leauen of corrupt doctrine, that wyl infect our soules. Let vs kepe our feaste the whole tearme of our lyfe, with eatyng the bread of purenes of godly life, and trueth of Chri­stes doctrine. Thus shal we declare that Christes giftes and graces haue their effect in vs, and that we haue the ryght beleefe and knowledge of his holy resurrection: where truely if we apply our fayth to the vertue thereof, and in our lyfe con­fourme vs to the example & signification meant thereby, we shalbe sure to ryse hereafter to euer­lastyng glory, by the goodnesse and mercie of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the father and the holy ghost, be all glory, thankes geuyng, and prayse, in infinita seculorum secula.

Amen.

¶ An homilee of the worthy recea­uyng and reuerent esteeming of the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christe.

THE great loue of our Sauiour Christ towardes mankynd (good Christian people) doth not onlye appeare in that deare bought benefite of our redemption & sal­uation by his death & passiō, but [Page 398] also in that he so kindlye prouided, that the same most mercyful worke myght be had in continual remembraunce, to take some place in vs, and not be frustrate of his ende and purpose. For as ten­der parentes are not content to procure for their chyldren costly possessions and liuelode, but take order that the same may be conserued and come to their vse: So our Lorde and sauiour thought it not sufficient to purchase for vs his fathers fa­uour agayne (whiche is that deepe fountayne of all goodnesse and eternall lyfe) but also inuented the wayes most wysely, whereby they myght re­dound to our commoditie & profite. Amongst the which meanes, is the publique celebration of the memorie of his pretious death at the Lordes table. Whiche although it seeme of small vertue to some, yet beyng ryghtly done by the fayth­full, it doth not onlye helpe their weaknesse (who be by their poysoned nature redyer to remem­ber iniuries then benefites) but strengthneth & comforteth their in ward man with peace & glad­nesse, and maketh them thankfull to their redee­mer, with diligent care and godly conuersati­on. And as of olde tyme God decreed his won­derous benefites of the delyueraunce of his peo­ple Exod. xii. to be kepte in memorie by the eatyng of the passeouer, with his rites and ceremonies: So our louyng Sauiour hath ordeyned and estably­shed the remembraunce of his great mercie ex­pressed in his passion, in the institution of his heauenly supper, where euery one of vs must be Mat. xxvi. i. Cor. xi. ghestes and not gasers, eaters, and not lookers, seedyng our selues, and not hiryng other to feede [Page 399] for vs, that we may lyue by our owne meate, and not perishe for hunger, whiles other deuour all. To this his commaundement forceth vs, saying: Luk. 22. i. Cor. xi. Mat. xxvi Do ye thus, drinke ye all of this. To this his pro­mise enticeth: This is my body whiche is geuen for you, this is my blood whiche is shed for you. So then as of necessitie we muste be our selues partakers of this table, and not beholders of o­ther: So we must addresse our selues to frequent the same in reuerent and due maner, least as phi­sike prouided for the body, beyng misused, more hurteth then profiteth: so this comfortable medi­cine of the soule vndecently receaued, tendeth to our greater harme and sorow. And saint Paul i. Cor. xi. sayth: He that eateth and drynketh vnworthyly, eateth and drynketh his owne dampnation. Wherefore that it be not saide to vs, as it was to the ghest of that great supper, Freende howe ca­mest Mat. xxii. thou in, not hauing the mariage garment? And that we maye fruitfully vse Saint Paules counsell, Let a man proue hym selfe, and so eate i. Cor. xi. of that bread, and drynke of that cuppe: We muste certaynelye knowe, that three thynges be requisite in hym which woulde seemely, as becommeth suche hygh mysteries, resorte to the Lordes table. That is, Fyrste, a ryght and a worthye estimation and vnderstandyng of this mysterie. Secondely, to come in a sure fayth. And thirdely, to haue newenesse or purenesse of lyfe to succeede the receauing the same.

But before all other thynges, this we must be sure of especially, that this Supper be in suche [Page 400] wyse done and ministred, as our Lorde and saui­our did, and commaunded to be done, as his holy Apostles vsed it, and the good fathers in the pri­matiue Churche frequented it. For (as that wor­thy man saint Ambrose sayth) he is vnworthy of the Lord, that otherwise doth celebrate that my­sterie, then it was delyuered by him. Neither can he be deuout, that other waies doth presume thē it was geuen by the aucthor. We must then take heede leaste of the memorie it be made a sacrifice, least of a cōmunion it be made a priuate eatyng, least of two partes we haue but one, least apply­ing it for the dead, we lose the fruit that be aliue. Let vs rather in these matters folowe the aduice of Ciprian in the lyke cases, that is, cleaue fast to the firste beginnyng, holde fast the Lordes tradi­tion, do that in the Lordes cōmemoration which he him selfe did, he him selfe commaunded, & his apostles confirmed. This caution or foresight yf we vse, then may we see to those thynges that be requisit in the worthy receauer, wherof this was the fyrste, that we haue a ryght vnderstandyng of the thyng it selfe. As concerning which thing, this we maye assuredlye perswade our selues, that the ignoraunt man can neyther worthyly esteeme, nor effectually vse those marueilous gra­ces and benefites offered and exhibited in that Supper: but eyther wyll lightly regarde them, to no small offence, or vtterly condempne them, to his vtter destruction. So that by his negli­gence he deserueth the plagues of God to fall vp­pon hym, and by contempt he deserueth euerla­styng perdition. To auoyde then these harmes, [Page 401] vse the aduice of the wyse man, who wylleth thee when thou sittest at an earthlye kynges ta­ble, Pro. xxiii. to take diligent heede what thinges are set before thee: So nowe much more at the kyng of kynges table, thou must carefully: searche and knowe what dainties are prouided for thy soule, whyther thou art come, not to feede thy senses and belly to corruption, but thy in warde man to immortalitie and lyfe, nor to consyder the earth­lye creatures whiche thou seest, but the heauen­lye graces which thy, fayth beholdeth. For this table is not (sayth Chrisostome) for chattering Jayes, but for Egles, who flee thither where the dead bodye lyeth. And yf this aduertisement of man can not perswade vs to resorte to the lordes table with vnderstandyng: see the counsell of GOD in the lyke matter, who charged his peo­ple to teache their posteritie, not onlye the rites and ceremonies of the Passouer, but the cause and ende thereof. Whence we may learne, that both more perfect knowledge is required at this tyme at our handes, and that the ignoraunt can not with fruite and profite exercise hym selfe in the Lordes Sacramentes. But to come nygher to the matter, Saint Paul blaming the Corin­thians for the prophaning of the Lordes supper, concludeth that ignoraunce both of the thing it selfe; and the signification thereof, was the cause of their abuse: for they came thither vnreuerent­lye, not discerning the Lordes bodye. Ought not we then by the monition of the wise man, by the wisdome of God, by the fearefull example of the Corinthians, to take aduised heede, that we [Page 402] thrust not our selues to this table, with rude and vnreuerent ignoraunce, the smart whereof Christes Churche hath rued and lamented these many dayes and yeres? For what hath ben the cause of the ruyne of Gods religion, but the ig­noraunce hereof? What hath ben the cause of this grosse idolatrie, but the ignoraunce hereof? What hath ben the cause of this mummishe mas­syng, but the ignoraunce hereof? Yea what hath ben, and what is at this day the cause of this want of loue and charitie, but the ignoraunce hereof? Let vs therfore so trauaile to vnderstand the Lordes Supper, that we be no cause of the decaye of Gods worship, of no idolatrie, of no dumme massing, of no hate and malice, so maye we the boldlyer haue accesse thyther to our com­fort. Neyther neede we to thinke that suche ex­act knowledge is required of euery man, that he be able to discusse al high pointes in the doctrine thereof: But this muche he must be sure to hold, that in the supper of the Lorde there is no vaine i. Cor. xi. ceremonie, no bare signe, no vntrue figure of a thing absent: But (as the Scripture sayth) the Mat. xxvi. table of the Lorde, the bread and cuppe of the Lorde, the memorie of Christe, the annuntiati­on i. Cor. x. of his death, yea the Communion of the bo­dye and blood of the Lorde, in a marueylous in­corporation, whiche by the operation of the ho­lye ghost (the verye bonde of our con [...]unction with Christe) is through fayth wrought in the soules of the faythfull, whereby not onlye theyr soules lyue to eternall lyfe, but they surely trust to winne to their bodyes a resurrection to im­mortalitie. [Page 403] The true vnderstandyng of this Irene. lib. 4. cap. 34. fruition and vnion, whiche is the bodye and the head betwixt the true beleuers and Christe: the auncient Catholique Fathers, both perceauing them selues, and commendyng to theyr people, Igna. Epi. ad Ephe. Dionisi. Origen. Optat. were not afrayde to call this Supper, some of them, the salue of immortalitie and soue­raigne preseruatiue agaynst death, other, a deifi­call Communion, other, the sweete dainties of our Sauiour, the pledge of eternall health, the defence of fayth, the hope of the resurrection, Ciprian. De coena Domini. Athanas. de pecca. in spiritu sancto. other the foode of immortalitie, the healthfull grace, and the conseruatorie to euerlastyng lyfe. All which sayinges, both of the holy Scripture and godly men, truely attributed to this celestial banquet and feaste, yf we woulde often call to minde, O how woulde they inflame our heartes to de [...]e the participation of these mysteries, and oftentimes to couet after this breade, continual­lye to thirste for this foode? Not as speciallye re­garding the terrene & earthly creatures which remayne: but alwayes holdyng faste and clea­uyng by faith to the rocke whence we may sucke the sweetenesse of euerlasting saluation? And to be briefe, thus much more the faithful see, heare, and knowe the fauourable mercies of God sea­led, the satisfaction by Christe towardes vs con­firmed, and the remission of sinne established. Here they may feele wrought the tranquilitie of conscience, the encrease of fayth, the strength­ning of hope, the large spreadyng abrode of bro­therly kindnes, with many other sundry graces of God. The taste whereof they can not attayne [Page 404] vnto, who be drowned in the deepe durtie lake of blyndnesse and ignoraunce. From the whiche (O beloued) washe your selues with the liuyng waters of Gods worde, whence you maye per­ceaue and know, both the spirituall foode of this costly supper, and the happy trustinges & effectes that the same doth bring with it.

Now it foloweth to haue with this knowledge a sure and constant faith, not only that the death of Christe is auayleable for the redemption of all the world, for the remission of sinnes, and recon­ciliation with God the father: but also that he hath made vppon his crosse a full and sufficient sacrifice for thee, a perfect clensyng of thy sinnes, so that thou acknowledgest no other Sauiour, redeemer, mediatour, aduocate, intercessour, but Christe only, and that thou mayst say with the Apostle, that he loued thee, and gaue him selfe for thee. For this is to sticke fast to Christes promise made in his institution, to make Christe thyne owne, and to applicate his merites vnto thy selfe. Herein thou nedest no other mans helpe, no other sacrifice or oblation, no sacrifisyng Priest, no masse, no meanes established by mans inuen­tion. That faith is a necessarie instrument in al these holy ceremonies, we may thus assure our selues, for that as Saint Paul sayth, without fayth it is vnpossible to please god. When a great Hebr. xi. number of the Israelites were ouerthrowen in the wildernesse, Moyses, Aaron, and Phinees dyd eate Manna, and pleased God, for that they vnderstoode (sayth Saint Augustine) the visible In Iohan. Hom. vi. meate spiritually. Spiritually they hungred it, [Page 405] spiritually they tasted it, that they myght be spi­ritually satisfied. And truely as the bodily meate can not feede the outward man, vnlesse it be let into a stomake to be digested, whiche is health­some and sound: No more can thy inwarde man be fed, except his meate bereceaued into his [...]oule, and hart sound & whole in fayth. Therfore (saith De coena Domini. Ciprian) when we do these thinges, we nede not to whet our teethe: but with sincere fayth we breake and diuide that holy bread. It is wel kno­wen, that the meate wee seeke for in this sup­per, is spiritual foode, the norishmēt of our soule a heauenly refection, and not earthly, an inuisi­ble meate, and not bodylye, a ghostly substaunce, and not carnall, so that to thinke that without fayth we maye enioye the eatyng and drynkyng therof, or that that is the fruition of it, is [...]ut to dreame a grosse carnall feeding, basely obiecting and byndyng our selues to the elementes and creatures: Whereas by the aduice of the counsel of Nicene, we ought to lyft vp our mindes by Conciliu Nicen. faith, & leauing these inferiour and earthly thin­ges, there seke it, where the s [...]nne of ryghteous­nesse euer shineth. Take then this lesson (O thou that art desyrous of this table) of Emissenus a Euseb. Emiss. Sermon de Eucha. godly father, that when thou goest vp to the re­uerent Communion, to be satisfied with spiritu­all meates, thou loke vp with faith vpon the ho­ly body and blood of thy god, thou maruel with reuerence, thou touche it with thy minde, thou receaue it with the hand of thy heart, and thou take it fully with thy inwarde man.

Thus we see (beloued) that resortyng to this [Page 406] table, we must plucke vp all the rootes of infide­litie, al distrust in Gods promises, we must make our selues lyuing members of Christes bodye. For the vnbeleuers and faithlesse, can not feede vpon that pretious body: whereas the faythfull haue theyr life, their abiding in hym, their vniō, and as it were their incorporation with hym. Wherefore let vs proue and trye our selues vu­faignedly, without flattering our selues, whe­ther we be plantes of that fruitful Oliue, liuyng braunches of the true vine, members in deede of Christes mystical body, whether God hath puri­fied our heartes by fayth, to the sincere acknow­ledging of his Gospel, and imbracing of his mer­cies in Christe Jesu, that so at this his table we receaue not only the outwarde Sacrament, but the spirituall thing also, not the figure, but the trueth, not the shadowe only, but the bodye, not to death, but to lyfe, not to destruction, but to sal­uation: which God graunt vs to do, through the merites of our Lord and Sauiour, to whom be all honour and glory for euer.

Amen.

The seconde part of the Homilee, of the worthy receauing and reuerent esteeming of the sacrament of the body and blood of Christe.

IN the Homilee of late rehearsed vnto you, ye haue hearde (good people) why it pleased our saui­our Christe to institute that hea­uenly memorie of his death and passion, and that euery one of vs [Page 407] ought to celebrate the same at his table, in our owne personnes, and not by other. You haue hearde also with what estimation & knowledge of so hygh mysteries, we ought to resort thyther. You haue hearde with what constant fayth we shoulde clothe and decke our selues, that we myght be fit and decent partakers of that celesti­all foode.

Nowe foloweth the thirde thing necessarie in him that woulde not eate of this breade, nor drinke of this cuppe vnworthyly, which is, new­nesse of lyfe, and godlinesse of conuersation. For newenesse of lyfe, as fruites of fayth are requi­red in the partaker of this table. [...]e maye learne by the eating of the tipicall lambe, wher­vnto no man was admitted, but he that was a Jewe, that was circumcized, that was before sancti [...]ed. Yea, Saint Paul testifieth, that al­though i. Cor. x. the people were partakers of the Sa­cramentes vnder Moyses, yet for that some of them were still worshippers of images, whore­mongers, tempters of Christe, murmurers, and coueting after euill thinges: God ouerthrewe those in the wyldernesse, and that for our exam­ple, that is, that we Christians shoulde take heede we resorte vnto our Sacramentes with holinesse of lyfe, not trustyng in the outwarde receauing of them, and infected with corrupte and vncharitable maners. For this sentence of GOD must alwayes be iustified: I wyll haue mercie and not sacrifice. Wherefore ( [...]ayth Bas [...]l) De Bapt. lib. i. ca, iii▪ it behoueth him that commeth to the bodye and blood of Christe in commemoration of hym that [Page 408] dyed and rose agayne, not only to be pure from all filthynesse of the fleshe and spirite, least he eate and drinke to his condempnation: but also to shewe out euidently, a memorie of hym that dyed & rose agayne for vs, in this point, that he be mortified to sinne and the world, to liue now to God in Christe Jesu our Lorde. So then we must shewe outwarde testimonie, in folowyng the signification of Christes death, amongst the which this is not esteemed least, to render than­kes to almightie God for all his benefites, briefe­ly comprised in the death, passion, & resurrection of his dearely beloued sonne. The which thing, because we ought chiefly at this table to solemp­nise, the godly fathers named it Eucharistia, that is, thankesgeuing. As yf they should haue sayde, Nowe aboue all other tymes ye ought to laude and prayse God. Now may you beholde the mat­ter, the cause, the begynning and the ende of all thankesgeuing. Nowe yf you stacke, ye shewe your selues most vnthankfull, and that no other benefite can euer stirre you to thanke God, who so litle regarde here so many, so wonderfull, and so profitable benefites. Seeyng then that the Heb. xxiii name & thing it selfe doth monishe vs of thanks, let vs (as saint Paul sayth) offer alwayes to god, the hoste or sacrifice of prayse by Christe, that is, the fruite of the lippes which confesse his name. For as Dauid singeth: He that offereth to God Psalm. l. thankes and prayse, honoureth hym. But howe fewe be there of thankfull personnes, in compa­rison Luke. xvii to the vnthankfull? Loe ten Lepers in the Gospell were healed, and but one only returned [Page 409] to geue thankes for his health. Yea happye it were, yf among fourtie Communicantes, we coulde see two vnfaignedly geue thankes. So vnkinde we be, so obliuious we be, so proude beggers we be, that partly we care not for our owne commoditie, partlye we knowe not our duetie to God, and chiefely we wyll not confesse all that we receaue. Yea, and yf we be forced by Gods power to do it: yet we handle it so coldely, so drylye, that our lippes prayse him, but our heartes disprayse hym, our tongues blesse hym, but our lyfe curseth hym, our wordes worshippe hym, but our workes dishonour him. O let vs therfore learne to geue God here thankes aright, and so to agnise his exceeding graces powred vp­pon vs, that they beyng shutte vp in the treasure house of our heart, maye in due tyme and season in our lyfe and conuersation, appeare to the glo­rifying of his holye name. Furthermore, for newenesse of lyfe, it is to be noted that Saint Paul wryteth: that we beyng many, are one bread and one body. For all be partakers of one bread. Declaring thereby, not onlye our Com­munion with Christ, but that vnitie also, wher­in they that eate at this table, shoulde be knitte together. For by discention, vaineglory, ambiti­on, strise, enuying, contempt, hatred, or malyce, they shoulde not be disseuered: but so ioyned by the bonde of loue, in one mysticall bodye, as the cornes of that bread in one lofe. In respecte of which strait knot of charitie, the true Christians in the tender tyme of Christes Churche, called this supper, loue. As yf they shoulde saye, none [Page 410] ought to sit downe there, that were out of loue and charitie, who bore grudge & vengeaunce in his heart, who also dyd not professe his kynd af­fection by some charitable reliefe, for some parte of ye congregation. And this was their practise. O heauēly [...]anket then so vsed. O godly ghestes, who so estemed this feast. But O wretched crea­tures that we be at these daies, who be without reconciliation of our brethren whō we haue of­fended, without satisfying them whom we haue caused to fall, without any kynde of thought or compassion toward them whō we myght easyly relieue, without any conscience of slaunder, dis­dayne, misr [...]poet, diuision, rancour, or inwarde bitternes. Yea, being accombred with the cloked hatred of Caine, with the long couered malice of Gen. iiii. Gen. xxvii ii. Sam. iii. Esau, with the dissembled falshood of Ioab, dare ye presume to come vp to these sacred and feare­full mysteries? O man, whyther rushest thou vn­aduisedly? It is a table of peace, and thou art redy to fight. It is a table of singlenes, and thou art imagining mischeefe. It is a table of quiet­nesse, and thou art geuen to debate. It is a table of pitie, and thou art vnmercifull. Doest thou neyther feare GOD the maker of this feast? nor reuerence his Christe the refection and meate? nor regardest his spouse his beloued ghest? nor weighest thyne owne conscience which is some­time thyne inwarde accuser? Wherfore (O man) tender thyne owne saluation, examine and trye thygood wyl and loue towardes the chyldren of God, the members of Christe, the heyres of the heauenly heritage: yea, towardes the image of [Page 411] GOD, the excellent creature thyne owne soule. If thou haue offended, nowe be reconciled. If thou hast caused anye to stumble in the waye of God, nowe set them vp agayne. If thou haue disquieted thy brother, nowe pacitie hym. If thou haue wronged hym, nowe reliefe hym. If thou haue defrauded hym, nowe restore to hym. If thou haue nourished spite, nowe embrace frendshippe. If thou haue fostred hatred and malice, nowe openly shewe thy loue and chari­tie, yea be [...]este and redye to procure thy neygh­bours health of soule, wealth, commoditie, and pleasure as thyne owne. Deserue not the heauie and dreadfull burden of Gods displeasure for thyne euyll wyll towardes thy neyghbour, so vnreuerentlye to approche to this table of the Lorde. Last of all, as there is here the mysterie of Chrisost. ad popu. Ant. Ho­mi. 6. peace, and the Sacrament of Christian societie, wherby we vnderstand what sincere loue ought to be betwixt the true communicantes: So here be the tokens of purenesse and innocencie of lyfe, whereby we maye perceaue that we ought to purge our owne soule from all vncleannesse, ini­quitie, and wickednesse, lest when we receaue the mysticall bread (as Origen saith) we eate it in an vncleane place, that is, in a soule defiled and pol­luted with sinne. In Moyses lawe, the man In Leuit. Cap. xxiii i. Cor. xi. Luke. xvii Hom. xiiii that dyd eate of the sacrifice of thankesgenyng, with his vncleannesse vppon him, shoulde be de­stroyed from his people. And shal we thinke that the wicked and sinfull person shalbe excurable at the table of the Lord? [...]e both [...]eade in S. Paul, that the Churche at Corinth, was scourged of [Page 412] the Lorde, for misusing the Lordes supper, and we maye plainelye see Christes Churche these many yeres miserably vexed and oppressed, for the horrible prophanation of the same. Where­fore let vs al vniuersall and singuler, behold our owne maners and liues, to amende them. Yea nowe at the least, let vs call our selues to an ac­compt, that it may greeue vs of our former euyll conuersation, that we may hate sinne, that we may sorowe and mourne for our offences, that we may with teares powre them out before god, that we may with sure trust desire and craue the salue of his mercie, bought and purchased with the blood of his dearelye beloued sonne Jesus Christe, to heale our deadly woundes withall. Chrisost. ad popu. Ant. Ho­mi. 6. For surely yf we do not with earnest repentance clense the filthy stomacke of our soule, it must needes come to passe, that as wholsome meate receaued into a rawe stomacke corrupteth and marreth all, and is the cause of further sicknesse: so shal we eate this healthsome bread, and drinke this cup to our eternall destruction. This we, and not other, must throughly examine, and not lyghtly loke ouer our selues, not other men, our owne conscience, not other mens liues: whiche we ought to do vpryghtly, truely, and with iust correction. O (sayth Chrisostome) let no Judas resort to this table, let no couetous personne ap­proche. Ad popu. Ant. Ho­mi. 6. Mat. xxvi. If any be a disciple, let hym be present. For Christe sayth, With my disciples I make my Passouer. Why cryed the Deacon in the prima­tiue Church, If any be holy, let him draw neare? Why dyd they celebrate these mysteries, the quier [Page 413] doore beyng shut? Why were the publique peni­tentes and learners in religion, commaunded at this tyme to auoyde? Was it not because this table receaued no vnholye, vncleane, or sinfull ghestes? Wherefore, yf seruauntes dare not pre­sume to an earthly maisters table, whom they haue offended: Let vs take heede we come not with our sinnes vnexamined, into this presence of our Lorde & iudge? If they be worthy blame, which kisse the Princes hand with a filthy & vn­cleane mouth: shalt thou be blamelesse whiche with a filthy stinking soule, ful of couetousnesse, fornication, drunkennesse, pride, full of wretched cogitations & thoughts, doest breath out iniqui­tie and vncleannesse on the bread and cup of the Lorde. Thus haue you heard, howe you shoulde Epilog. come reuerently and decentlye to the table of the Lord, hauing the knowledge out of his word, of the thing it selfe, & the fruites thereof, bringing a true & constant faith, ye roote and welspring of all newnes of life, aswell in praysing God, & louyng our neighbour, as purging our owne conscience from filthines. So that neither the ignoraunce of the thing shall cause vs to contempne it, nor vnfaithfulnes make vs voyde of fruite, nor sinne and iniquitie procure vs Gods plagues: but shal by fayth, in knowledge and amendement of lyfe in fayth, be here so vnited to Christe our head in his mysteries, to our comfort, that after we shall haue full fruition of him indeede, to our euerla­sting ioy and eternall lyfe, to the which he bryng vs, that dyed for vs, and redeemed vs, Jesus Christe the righteous, to whom with the father [Page 414] and the holy ghost, one true and eternall God, be al prayse, honour, and dominion for euer.

Amen.

An Homilee con­cerning the comming downe of the holy ghost, and the manifolde giftes of the same. For Whitsunday.

BEfore we come to the decla­ration of the great and ma­nifolde gyftes of the holye ghost, wherwith the church of God hath ben euermore replenished: it shall first be nedefull, briefly to expound vnto you, wherof this feaste of Pentecoste or Whitsuntide had his first begin­nyng. You shall therefore vnderstande, that the feast of Pentecoste, was alwayes kept the fiftie day after Easter, a great & solempne feast among the Jewes, wherein they dyd celebrate the me­moriall of their deliueraunce out of Egypt, and also the memoriall of the publishing of the lawe, whiche was geuen vnto them in ye mount Sinai, vpon that day. It was fyrst ordeyned and com­maunded to be kept holye, not by anye mortall man, but by the mouth of the Lorde him selfe, as we reade in Leuit. 23. & Deut. 16. The place ap­poynted for the obseruation thereof, was Hieru­salem, where was great recourse of people from [Page 415] all partes of the worlde, as may well appeare in the second Chapter of the Actes, wherein menti­on is made of Parthians, Medes, Elamites, inha­bitours of Mesopotamia, inhabitours of Iurie, Capadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, & diuers other such places, whereby we may also partly gather, what great and royal solempnitie was commonly vsed in that feast. Nowe as this was geuen in cōmaundement to the Jewes in the olde lawe, so dyd our Sauiour Christe, as it Actes. l. were, confirme the same in the tyme of the Gos­pell, ordeyning after a sort, a newe Pentecost for his disciples, namely when he sent downe the holy ghost visiblye in fourme of clouen tongues lyke fyre, and gaue them power to speake in such sort, that euery one myght heare them, and also vnderstand them in his owne language. Which miracle, that it myght be had in perpetuall re­membraunce, the Church hath thought good, to solemnize and kepe holy this day, commonly cal­led Whitsunday. And here is to be noted, that as the lawe was geuen to the Jewes in the mount Sinai, the fiftie day after Easter: so was the prea­ching of the Gospell, through the myghtie pow­er of the holy ghost, geuen to the Apostles in the mount Sion, the fiftie day after Easter.

And hereof this feast hath his name to be called Pentecoste, euen of the number of the dayes. For (as Saint Luke writeth in the actes of the Apostles.) When fiftie dayes were come to an ende, the Disciples beyng altogether with one accorde in one place, the holy ghost came sodenly among them, and sate vpon eche of them, lyke as [Page 416] it had ben clouen tongues of fyre. Whiche thing was vndoubtedly done, to teache the Apostles and all other men, that it is he whiche geueth eloquence & vtteraunce in preaching the Gospel, that it is he which openeth the mouth to declare the mightie workes of God, that it is he whiche engendreth a burnyng zeale towardes Goddes worde, and geueth all men a tongue, yea a fierie tongue, so that they may boldly and chearefullye professe the trueth in the face of the whole world, as Esai was indued with this spirite. The Lord Esai. l. (saith Esai) gaue me a learned & a skilful tongue, so that I might knowe to rayse vp them that are fallen, with the worde. The prophete Dauid cryeth to haue this gyft, saying, Open thou my lippes, O Lorde, and my mouth shall shew forth Psalm. l. thy prayse. For our sauiour Christe also in the Gospel sayth to his disciples, It is not you that speake, but the spirite of your father whiche is within you. Al whiche testimonies of holy scrip­ture, do sufficiently declare, that the mysterie in the tongues, betokeneth the preachyng of the Matth. x. Gospell, and the open confession of the Christian faith, in all them that are possessed with the holy ghost. So that if any man be a dumbe Christiā, not prosessing his fayth openly, but clokyng and colouring hym selfe for feare of daunger in tyme to come, he geueth men occasion, iustly and with good conscience to doubt, least he haue not the grace of the holy ghost within hym, because he is tongue tied, and doth not speake. Thus then haue ye hearde the first institution of this feaste of Pentecoste or Whitsuntide, aswell in the olde [Page 417] law among the Jewes, as also in the tyme of the Gospell among the Christians.

Nowe let vs consyder what the holy ghost is, and howe consequently he worketh his miracu­lous workes towardes mankind. The holy ghost is a spirituall and diuine substaunce, the thyrde person in the deitie, distincte from the father and the sonne, and yet proceedyng from them both, which thyng to be true, both the Creede of Atha­nasius beareth witnesse, and may be also easilye proued by most playne testimonies of Gods holy worde. When Christe was baptized of John in the ryuer Jordan, we reade that the holye ghost Mat. 3. came downe infourme of a Doue, and that the father thundred from heauen, saying: This is my deare and welbeloued sonne, in whom I am well pleased. Where note three diuers and di­stinct persons, the father, the sonne, and the holy ghost, which all notwithstandyng are not three Gods, but one God. Likewyse, when Christe dyd Mat. 28. fyrste institute and ordeyne the sacrament of bap­tisme, he sent his disciples into the whole world, willyng them to baptize al nations in the name of the father, the sonne, and the holy ghost. And in an other place he sayth: I wyll pray vnto my Iohn. 4. father, and he shall geue you another comforter. Agayne, when the comforter shall come whom I wyll sende from my father. &c. These and suche Iohn. 25. other places of the newe Testament, do so playn­ly and euidently confirme the distinction of the holy ghost, from the other persons in the trinitie, that no man possibly can doubt thereof, vnles he will blaspheme the euerlastyng trueth of Gods [Page 418] worde. As for his proper nature and substaunce, it is altogether one with God the father, and God the sonne, that is to say, spirituall, eternall, vncreated, incomprehensible, almyghtie, to be short, he is euen God & Lord euerlastyng. There­fore he is called the spirite of the father, therefore he is sayde to proceede from the father, and the sonne, and therefore he was equally ioyned with them in the commission that the Apostles had to baptize al nations. But that this may appeare more sensibly to the eyes of all men, it shalbe re­quisite to come to the other parte, namely to the wonderfull and heauenly workes of the holye ghost, whiche playnely declare vnto the worlde his myghtie and diuine power. Fyrste it is eui­dent, that he did wonderfully gouerne and direct the heartes of the patriarkes and prophetes in olde tyme, illuminating their myndes with the knowledge of the true Messias, & geuing them vtteraunce to prophesie of thynges that shoulde come to passe long tyme after. For as saint Pe­ter witnesseth, the prophesie came not in olde 2. Pet. 1. tyme by the wyll of man: But the holye men of God spake as they were moued iuwardly by the holy ghost. And of Zacharie the hygh priest, it is sayde in the Gospell, that he beyng full of the Luk. 1. holy ghost, prophesied and praysed God. So dyd also Simeon, Anna, Marie, and diuers other, to the great wonder and admiration of all men. Moreouer, was not the holy ghost a mightie worker in the conception and the natiuitie of Christe our sauiour? Saint Matthewe sayth, Mat. 1. that the blessed virgin was founde with chylde [Page 419] of the holy ghost, before Joseph and she came to­gether. And the Angell Gabriell dyd expreslye tell her that it shoulde so come to passe, saying: Luk. 1. The holy ghost shall come vppon thee, and the power of the most hygh shall ouershadowe thee. A marueylous matter, that a woman shoulde conceaue and beare a chylde, without the know­ledge of man. But where the holy ghoste wor­keth, there nothyng is vnpossible, as maye fur­ther also appeare by the inwarde regeneration and sanctification of mankynde. When Christe sayde to Nicodemus, vnlesse a man be borne a newe, of water and the spirite, he can not enter into the kyngdome of God: he was greatly ama­zed in his mynde, and began to reason with Christe, demaundyng howe a man myght be borne whiche was olde? Can he enter (sayth he) Iohn. 3. into his mothers wombe agayn, and so be borne a newe? Beholde a liuely paterne of a fleshely and carnall man. He had litle or no intelligence of the holy ghost, and therefore he goeth bluntly to worke, and asketh howe this thyng were possible to be true. Whereas otherwyse, yf he had knowne the great power of the holye ghost in this behalfe, that it is he whiche in wardlye worketh the regeneration and newe byrth of mankynde, he woulde neuer haue marueyled at Christes wordes, but woulde haue rather ta­ken occasion thereby to prayse and glorifie God. For as there are three seuerall and sundrye per­sons in the deitie: So haue they three seuerall and sundrye offices proper vnto eache of them. The father to create, the sonne to redeeme, [Page 420] the holy ghost to sanctifie and regenerate. Wher­of the last, the more it is hidde from our vnder­standyng, the more it ought to moue all men to wonder at the secrete and mightie workyng of Gods holy spirite whiche is within vs. For it is the holy ghost, and no other thyng, that doth quicken the mindes of men, stirring vp good and godly motions in their heartes, which are agree­able to the wil & commaundement of God, suche as otherwyse of their owne crooked and peruerse nature they shoulde neuer haue. That whiche is borne of the fleshe (sayth Christe) is fleshe, and Iohn. 5. that which is borne of the spirite, is spirite. As who shoulde saye: Man of his owne nature is fleshly and carnal, corrupt and nought, synnefull and disobedient to God, without any sparke of goodnes in hym, without any vertuous or godly motion, onely geuen to euyl thoughtes and wic­ked deedes. As for the workes of the spirite, the fruites of fayth, charitable and godly motions, if he haue anye at all in hym, they proceede only of the holy ghost, who is the onlye worker of our sanctification, & maketh vs newe men in Christ Jesu. Dyd not Gods holy spirite miraculously worke in the childe Dauid, when of a poore shep­hearde, he became a princelike prophet? Dyd not 1. Sa. 17. Gods holy spirite miraculously worke in Mat­thewe, sitting at the receipte of custome, when of a proude Publicane, he became an humble and lowly Euangelist? And who can choose but mar­uayle Mat. 9. to consyder, that Peter shoulde become of a simple fisher, a cheefe and mightie Apostle? Paul of a cruell and bloody persecutour, a faythful dis­ciple [Page 421] of Christe, to teache the Gentiles. Suche is the power of the holy ghost, to regenerate men, and as it were to bryng them foorth a newe, so that they shalbe nothyng lyke the men that they were before. Neyther doth he thynke it suffici­ent inwardlye to worke the spirituall and newe byrth of man, vnlesse he do also dwell and abide in hym. Knowe ye not (sayth saint Paule) that [...]. Cor. 3. ye are the temple of God, and that his spirite dwelleth in you? Knowe ye not that your bodies are the temples of the holy ghost, which is with­in 1. Cor. 3. you? Agayne he sayth, You are not in the fleshe, but in the spirite. For why? The spirite of God dwelleth in you. To this agreeth the doc­trine Rom. 8. of saint John, wrytyng on this wyse: The annoyntyng whiche ye haue receaued (he mea­neth 1. Iohn. 2. the holy ghost) dwelleth in you. And the doc­trine of Peter sayth the same, who hath these wordes: The spirite of glory, and of God, resteth 1. Pet. 4. vppon you. O what comfort is this to the hearte of a true Christian, to thynke that the holy ghost dwelleth within hym. If God be with vs (as the Rom. 5. Apostle sayth) who can be agaynst vs? O but howe shall I knowe that the holy ghost is with­in me, some man perchaunce wyll say? Forsoth, as the tree is knowne by his fruite, so is also the holy ghost. The fruites of the holy ghost (accor­dyng Gala. 5. to the mynde of saint Paule) are these: Loue, ioy, peace, long sufferyng, gentlenes, good­nesse, faythfulnesse, meekenes, temperaunce, &c. Contrarywyse, the deedes of the fleshe are these: Adultrie, fornication, vncleannesse, wantonnes, idolatrie, witchcrafte, hatred, debate, emulation, [Page 422] wrath, contention, sedition, heresie, enuie, mur­ther, drunkennesse, gluttonie, and such lyke.

Here is nowe that glasse wherein thou muste behold thy selfe, and discerne whether thou haue the holy ghost within thee, or the spirite of the fleshe. If thou see that thy workes be vertuous and good, consonant to the prescript rule of gods worde, sauouring and tastyng not of the fleshe, but of the spirite, then assure thy selfe that thou art endued with the holy ghoste. Otherwyse in thynkyng wel of thy selfe, thou doest nothyng els but deceaue thy selfe. The holy ghost doth alwayes declare hym selfe by his fruitefull and gratious gyftes, namely by the worde of wyse­dome, by the worde of knowledge, whiche is the vnderstandyng of the scriptures, by fayth, in do­yng of miracles, by healyng them that are dis­eased, 1. Cor. 12. by prophesie, whiche is the declaration of Gods mysteries, by discerning of spirites, diuersi­ties of tonges, interpretation of tonges, and so foorth. All whiche gyftes, as they proceede from one spirite, and are seuerally geuen to man, ac­cordyng to the measurable distribution of the ho­ly ghost: Euen so do they bryng men, and not without good cause, into a wonderfull admira­tion of Gods diuine power. Who wyll not mar­ueyle at that whiche is wrytten in the Actes of the Apostles, to heare their bolde confession be­fore the counsell at Jerusalem? And to consyder Actes. 5. that they went away with ioy and gladnesse, re­ioycing that they were counted worthy to suffer rebukes and checkes for the name and fayth of Christe Jesus? This was the myghtie worke of [Page 423] the holy ghost, who because he geueth patience and ioyfulnesse of heart in temptation and afflic­tion, hath therefore worthyly obtayned this name in holye scripture, to be called a comfor­ter. Who wyl not also marueyle to reade the lear­ned and heauenly sermons of Peter, and the disciples, consyderyng that they were neuer brought vp in schole of learnyng, but called euen from their nettes, to supply roomes of Apostles. This was lykewyse the mightie worke of the ho­ly ghost, who because he doth instruct the hearts Iohn. 14. of the simple in the true knowledge of God and his holy worde, is moste iustly tearmed by this name and title, to be the spirite of trueth. Eusebi­us Lib. 11. cap. 3. in his ecclesiasticall historie, telleth a straunge storie of a certayne learned and subtill Philoso­pher, who beyng an extreame aduersarie to Christ and his doctrine, could by no kynd of lear­nyng be conuerted to the fayth but was able to withstande all the argumentes that coulde be brought agaynst hym, with litle or no labour. At length there started vp a poore simple man of small wit, and lesse knowledge, one that was re­puted among the learned as an ideote: And he on Gods name woulde needes take in hande to dis­pute with this proude Philosopher. The By­shoppes and other learned men standyng by, were marueylously abashed at the matter, think­ing that by his doynges they shoulde be all con­founded and put to open shame. He notwith­standyng goeth on, and begynnyng in the name of the Lorde Jesus, brought the Philosopher to suche poynte in the ende, contrary to all [Page 424] mens expectation, that he coulde not choose but acknowledge the power of God in his wordes, and to geue place to the trueth. Was not this a miraculous worke, that one seely soule of no learnyng, shoulde do that whiche many byshops of great knowledge and vnderstanding, were ne­uer able to bryng to passe? So true is the saying of Bede: Where the holy ghost doth instruct and Homi. 9. sup. Lucā. teache, there is no delay at al in learnyng. Much more myght here be spoken of the manyfolde gyftes and graces of the holy ghost, moste excel­lent and wonderfull in our eyes. But to make a long discourse through all, the shortnes of tyme wil not serue. And seing ye haue heard the chee­fest, ye may easily conceaue and iudge of the rest. Nowe were it expedient to discusse this question: Whether all they whiche boaste and bragge that they haue the holy ghost, do truely chalenge this vnto them selues, or no? Which doubt, because it is necessarie & profitable, shall (God wylling) be dissolued in the next part of this Homilee. In the meane season, let vs (as we are most bounde) geue heartie thankes to God the father, and his sonne Jesus Christ, for sendyng downe this com­forter into the world, humbly beseeching him, so to worke in our heartes by the power of this ho­ly spirite, that we beyng regenerate and newely borne agayne in all goodnesse, righteousnesse, so­brietie and trueth, may in the end be made parta­kers of euerlastyng lyfe in his heauenly kyngdome, through Jesus Christe our Lorde and sauiour.

Amen.

The seconde part of the Homilee concernyng the holy ghoste, dissoluing this doubt: whether al men rightly chalenge to them selues the holy ghost or no.

OUR sauiour Christe depar­tyng out of the worlde vnto his father, promised his dis­ciples Iohn. 14. 15 to sende downe ano­ther comforter, that shoulde continue with thē for euer, & direct them into al trueth. Which thyng to be faythful­ly & truely perfourmed, the scriptures do suffici­ently beare witnes. Neither must we thinke that this comforter was either promised, or els geuen, onlye to the Apostles, but also to the vniuersall Church of Christe, dispearsed through the whole world. For vnles the holy ghost had ben alwaies present, gouernyng and preseruing the Churche from the begynnyng, it coulde neuer haue sustay­ned so many and great bruntes of affliction and persecution, with so litle dammage and harme as it hath. And the wordes of Christe are moste playne in this behalfe, saying, that the spirite of Iohn. 24. Matth. 21. trueth shoulde abyde with them for euer, that he woulde be with them alwayes (he meaneth by grace, vertue, and power) euen to the worldes ende. Also in the prayer that he made to his father a litle before his death, he maketh in­tercession, Iohn. 17. not only for him selfe and his apostles, but indifferently for all them that shoulde beleue in hym through their wordes, that is to wit, for [Page 426] his whole Churche. Agayne saint Paule sayth: If anye man haue not the spirite of Christe, the Rom. 8. same is not his. Also in the wordes folowyng, We haue receaued the spirit of adoption, wherby Ibidem we crye abba, father. Hereby then it is euident and playne to all men, that the holy ghost was geuen, not onlye to the apostles, but also to the whole body of christes congregation, although not in lyke fourme & maiestie as he came downe at the feaste of Pentecost. But nowe herein stan­deth the controuersie: Whether al men do iustly arrogate to thē selues the holy ghost, or no? The Byshops of Rome haue for a long tyme made a sore chalenge therunto, reasoning for them seues after this sort. The holy ghost (say they) was pro­mised to the Churche, and neuer forsaketh the Church. But we are the cheefe heades, & the prin­cipall part of the Churche, therefore we haue the holy ghost for euer, & whatsoeuer thynges we de­cree, are vndoubted verities, and oracles of the holy ghost. That ye may perceaue the weakenes of this argument, it is needfull to teach you, first what the true Churche of Christe is, and then to conferre the Churche of Rome therewith, to dis­cerne howe well they agree together. The true Churche is an vniuersal congregation, or felow­ship of Gods faythfull and elect people, buylt vp­pon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christe hym selfe beyng the head corner Ephes. 2. stone. And it hath alwayes three notes or marks wherby it is knowne. Pure and sound doctrine, the sacramentes ministred accordyng to Christes holy institution, and the right vse of ecclesiastical [Page 427] discipline. This description of the Churche is a­greeable both to the scriptures of God, and also to the doctrine of the auncient fathers, so that none may iustly fynd fault therewith. Now if ye wyll compare this with the Churche of Rome, not as it was in the begynnnyg, but as it is pre­sently, and hath ben for the space of nine hundred yeres and odde: you shall well perceaue the state thereof to be so farre wide from the nature of the true Churche, that nothing can be more. For ney­ther are they buylt vppon the foundation of the apostles and prophetes, retaynyng the sound and pure doctrine of Christe Jesu, neyther yet do they order eyther the sacraments, or els the ecclesiasti­call keyes, in such sort as he dyd first institute and ordeyne them: But haue so intermyngled their owne traditions and inuentions, by choppyng & chaungyng, by addyng and pluckyng away, that now they may seeme to be conuerted into a new guyse. Christe commended to his Church a sacra­ment of his body and blood: They haue changed it into a sacrifice for the quicke and the deade. Christ dyd minister to his apostles, & the apostles to other men, indifferently vnder both kindes: They haue robbed the lay people of the cup, say­ing that for them one kind is sufficient. Christ or­deyned no other element to be vsed in baptisme, but only water, wherunto when the word is ioy­ned, it is made (as S. Augustine saith) a ful & per­fect Augusti. sacrament: They beyng wyser in their owne conceipte then Christ, thinke it is not wel nor or­derly done, vnles they vse cōiuration, vnles they halow the water, vnles there be oyle, salt, spittle, [Page 428] tapers and suche other dumbe ceremonies, ser­uing to no vse, contrary to the playne rule of. S. Paul, who wylleth all thynges to be done in the Churche vnto edification. Christe ordeyned the 1. Cor. 14. aucthoritie of the keyes to excommunicate noto­rious sinners, and to absolue them whiche are truely penitent: They abuse this power at their owne pleasure, aswell in cursyng the godly, with bell, booke, and candles, as also in absoluing the reprobate, whiche are knowne to be vnworthy of any Christian societie. Whereof he that lust to see examples, let them searche their lyues. To be shorte, looke what our sauiour Christe pronoun­ced of the Scribes and Pharisees, in the Gos­pell, the same may we boldly and with safe con­science pronounce of the bishops of Rome, name­ly that they haue forsaken, & dayly do forsake the commaundementes of God, to erect & set vp their owne constitutions. Which thyng beyng true, as al they which haue any light of Gods word must needes confesse, we may wel conclude according to the rule of Augustine: That the byshoppes of Rome & their adherents, are not the true church of Christe, muche lesse then to be taken as cheefe August. contra Petiliani Donatistae Epi. ca. 4. heades and rulers of the same. Whosoeuer (sayth he) do discent from the scriptures concernyng the head, although they be found in al places where the Church is appoynted, yet are they not in the Churche. A playne place, concluding directly a­gaynst the Churche of Rome. Where is now the holy ghost whiche they so stoutly do clayme to them selues? Where is now the spirite of trueth, that wil not suffer them in any wise to erre? If it [Page 429] be possible to be there where the true Churche is not, then is it at Rome: otherwyse it is but a vayne bragge, and nothyng els. Saint Paule (as ye haue hearde before) sayth: If anye man haue not the spirite of Christe, the same is not his. And by turnyng the wordes, it maye be as truely sayd: If any man be not of Christe, the same hath not his spirite. Nowe to discerne who are truely his, and who not, we haue this rule geuen vs, that his sheepe do alwayes heare Iohn. x. his voyce. And saint John sayth: He that is of God, heareth Gods worde. Whereof it folow­eth, Iohn. 8. that the popes in not hearing Christes voyce, as they ought to do, but preferring their owne decrees before the expresse worde of God, do playnely argue to the worlde, that they are not of Christe, nor yet possessed with his spirite. But here they wyll alleage for them selues, that there are diuers necessarie poyntes not expressed in holy scripture, whiche were left to the reuela­tion of the holy ghost. Who beyng geuen to the Churche, accordyng to Christes promise, hath taught many thynges from tyme to tyme, which Iohn. 16. the apostles coulde not then beare. To this we may easily aunswere by the playne wordes of Christe, teachyng vs that the proper office of the holy ghoste is, not to institute and bring in newe ordinaunces, contrary to his doctrine before taught: but to expound & declare those thynges whiche he had before taught: so that they might be wel & truely vnderstode. When the holy ghost Iohn. 15. (sayth he) shall come, he shall leade you into all trueth. What trueth doth he meane? Any other [Page 430] then he him self had before expressed in his word? No. For he sayth: He shal take of myne, and shew it vnto you. Agayne, he shall bryng you in re­membraunce of all thynges that I haue tolde Iohn. 15. you, it is not then the duetie and part of any chri­stian, vnder pretence of the holy ghost, to bryng in his owne dreames and phantasies into the Churche: but he must diligently prouide that his doctrine & decrees be agreeable to Christes holye testament. Otherwise in making the holy ghost the aucthour thereof, he doth blaspheme and be­lye the holy ghost, to his owne condempnation.

Now to leaue their doctrine, and come to other poyntes. What shall we thynke or iudge of the popes intollerable pryde? The scripture sayth, that God resisteth the proude, and sheweth grace to the humble. Also it pronounceth them blessed, which are poore in spirite, promising that they which humble them selues, shalbe exalted. And Christe our sauiour, wylieth all his to learne of Mat. 5. hym, because he is humble and meeke. As for pryde, saint Gregorie sayth, it is the roote of all Mat. 24. mischeefe. And saint Augustines iudgement is this, that it maketh men deuilles. Can any man then, whiche eyther hath or shall reade the popes Ecclesia. lyues, iustly say that they had the holy ghoste within them? First, as touching that they wil be tearmed vniuersall byshoppes and heades of all Christian Churches through the world, we haue the iudgement of Gregory expresly against them, Lib. 3. Ep. 76. 78. who wrytyng to Maritius the Emperour, con­demneth John, bishop of Constantinople, in that behalfe, calling him the prince of pryde, Lucifers [Page 431] successour, and the forerunner of Antechriste. Saint Barnarde also agreeing thereunto, sayth, Serm. 3. de resur. dom. What greater pride can there be, then that one man should preferre his owne iudgement before the whole congregation, as though he onlye had the spirite of God? And Chrisostome pronoun­ceth a terrible sentence agaynst them, affyrming Dialogo­rum. lib. 3. playnly, that whosoeuer seeketh to be cheefe in earth, shall finde confusion in heauen, and that he whiche striueth for the supremacie, shall not be reputed among the seruauntes of Christe. Agayne he sayth: To desire a good worke, it is good, but to couet the cheefe degree of honour, it Chrisost. sup. Mat. is mere vanitie. Do not these places sufficient­ly conuince their outragious pride, in vsurping to them selues a superioritie aboue all other, as­well ministers and byshops, as kynges also and Emperours? But as the Lion is knowne by his clawes, so let vs learne to knowe these men by their deedes. What shall we say of hym that Sabelli. Ennead. 9. Lib. 7. made the noble kyng Dandalus to be tyed by the necke with a chayne, and to lye flat downe be­fore his table, there to gnaw bones lyke a dogge? Shal we thynke that he had Gods holy spirite within hym? and not rather the spirite of the de­uil? Such a tyraunt was pope Clement the sixt. What shall we say of hym that proudly and con­temptuously trode Fredericke the Emperour vn­der his feete, applying the vearse of the Psalme vnto him selfe: Thou shalt go vpon the Lion and Psal. 60. the Adder, the young Lion & the Dragon thou shalt tread vnder thy foote? Shal we say that he had Gods holy spirite within hym? & not rather [Page 432] the spirite of the deuyll? Suche a tyraunt was pope Alexander the thirde. What shall we say of him that armed and animated the sonne against the father, causing him to be taken, & to be cruel­ly famished to death, contrary to the law both God, and also of nature? Shall we say that he had Gods holy spirite within hym? and not ra­ther the spirite of the deuyll? Suche a tyraunt was pope Pascall the seconde. What shall we saye of hym that came into his popedome lyke a foxe, that raigned lyke a Lion, and dyed lyke a dogge? Shal we say that he had Gods holy spirite with­in hym? and not rather the spirite of the deuyll? Suche a tyraunt was pope Boniface the eyght. What shall we say of hym that made Henrye the Emperour, with his wyfe and his young childe, to stande at the gates of the Citie in the rough winter, bare footed and bare legged, only clothed in lincie wol [...]ie, eatyng nothyng from mornyng to nyght, and that for the space of three dayes? Shal we say that he had Gods holy spirite with­in hym? and not rather the spirite of the deuyll? Suche a tyraunt was pope Hildebrande, moste worthy to be called a fyrebrand, if we shal tearme him as he hath best deserued. Many other exam­ples might here be alleaged. As of pope Jone the harlot, that was delyuered of a chylde in the hygh streate, goyng solempnly in procession. Of pope Iulius the seconde, that wilfully cast Saint Peters keyes into the ryuer Tiberis. Ofpope Vrban the sixte, that caused fiue Cardinals to be put in sackes and cruelly drowned. Of pope Ser­gius the thirde, that persecuted the dead bodye of [Page 433] Formosius his predecessour, when it had ben bu­ried eight yeres. Of Pope John the. xiiii. of that name, who hauing his enemy deliuered into his handes, caused him first to be stripped starke na­ked, his beard to be shauen, and to be hanged vp a whole day by the heere, then to be set vpon an Asse with his face backward towardes the taile, to be caryed round about the Citie in dispite, to be miserablye beaten with roddes, laste of all, to be thrust out of his countrye, and to be banished for euer. But to conclude and make an ende, ye shall breefly take this shorte lesson, Wheresoeuer ye fynde the spirite of arrogancye and pryde, the spirite of enuye, hatred, contention, crueltie, murder, extortion, witchcraft, necromancie. &c. Assure your selues that there is the spirite of the deuill, and not of God, albeit they pretende out­wardly to the worlde neuer so muche holinesse. For as the Gospell teacheth vs, the spirit of Je­sus is a good spirit, an holy spirit, a sweete spi­rite, a lowely spirite, a mercifull spirite, full of charitie and loue, ful of forgeuenes and pitie, not rendring euil for euill, extremitie for extremi­tie: but ouercomming euill with good, and re­mitting all offence euen from the heart. Accor­dyng to which rule, if any man liue vprightly, of him it may be safely pronounced that he hath the holy ghost within him. If not, then it is a plaine token that he doth vsurpe the name of the holye ghost in vaine. Therfore (dearely beloued) accor­ding to the good councel of S. John, beleue not 1. Iohn. 4. euery spirite, but firste trie them whether they Matth. 24. be of God or no. Manye shall come in my name [Page 434] (sayeth Christe) and shall transfourme them selues into Angels of light, deceauing (if it be possible) the very elect. They shall come vnto you in sheepes clothing, being inwardlye cruell and rauening Wolues. They shall haue an out­warde shewe of great holines and innocencie of Mat. 7. lyfe, so that ye shall hardly, or not at all discerne them. But the rule that ye must folowe, is this, to iudge them by their fruites. Which if they be wicked and naught, then is it vnpossible that the tree of whō they proceede should be good. Such Luke. 6. were all the popes and prelates of Rome for the most parte, as doth well appeare in the storye of their lyues, and therefore they are worthylye ac­counted among the number of false prophetes, and false Christes, whiche deceaued the worlde a long whyle. The Lorde of heauen and earth de [...] fende vs from their tirannie and pryde, that they neuer enter into his vineyarde agayne, to the disturbaunce of his feely poore flocke: but that they may be vtterly confounded and put to flight in all partes of the worlde. And he of his great mercy so worke in al mens heartes, by the migh­ty power of the holy ghost, that the comfortable Gospell of his sonne Christe may be truely prea­ched, truely receaued, and truelye followed in all places, to the beating downe of sinne, death, the pope, the deuil, & all the kingdome of Antichrist, that lyke scattered and dispearsed sheepe, beyng at length gathered into one folde, we maye in the ende rest altogether in the bosome of [...]braham, Isaac, and Jacob, there to be partakers of eter­nal and euerlasting life, through the merites and death of Jesus Christ out sauiour.

Amen.

❧ An Homilee for the dayes of rogation weeke.

That all good thynges commeth from God.

I Am purposed this day (good deuout Christian people) to declare vnto you the most de­serued praise & commendati­on of almighty God, not on­ly in the consyderation of the marueylous creation of this worlde, or for conseruation and gouernaunce thereof, wherein his great po­wer and wysedome might excellentlye appeare, to moue vs to honour and dread him: but moste specially in consyderation of his liberall & large goodnes, whiche he daylye bestoweth on vs his reasonable creatures, for whose sake he made the whole vniuersall worlde, with all the commodi­ties and goods therein. Which his singuler good­nes well and diligently remembred on our part, shoulde moue vs (as dutie is) agayne with hartye affection to loue him, and with word and deede to praise him, and serue him all the dayes of our lyfe. And to this matter, being so worthye to entreate of, and so profitable for you to heare, I trust I shal not neede with much circumstaunce of words to stirre you to geue your attendance to heare what shalbe said. Only I would wish your affection inflamed in secrete wyse within your selfe, to rayse vp some motion of thankes geuing [Page 456] to the goodnes of almightie God, in euery [...]che poynt as shal be opened by my declaration parti­culerly vnto you. For els what shall it auayle vs to heare and knowe the great goodnesse of God towarde vs, to knowe that what soeuer is good proceedeth from him, as from the principal foun­tayne and the onelye aucthour, or to knowe that what soeuer is sent from him must needs be good and holsome: if the hearing of suche matter mo­ueth vs no further but to knowe it onely? What auayled it the wyse men of the worlde to haue a knowledge of the power and diuinitie of God, by the secrete inspiration of him: where they did not honor and glorifie him in their knowledges as God? What prayse was it to them, by the con­syderation of the creation of the world, to behold his goodnesse: and yet were not thankful to him againe for his creatures? What other thing de­serued this blindnes and forgetfulnes of them at Gods handes, but vtter forsaking of him? and so forsaken of God, they could not but fall into ex­treme ignorance and errour. And although they muche esteemed them selues in their wittes and knowledge, and gloried in their wisdome: yet va­nished they away blyndly, in their thoughtes be­came fooles, & perished in their folly. There can be none other ende of suche as draweth nygh to God by knowledge, and yet depart from him in vnthankfulnes, but vtter destruction. This ex­perience sawe Dauid in his dayes. For in his Psalme he saith: Behold, they which withdrawe them selues from thee, shall perishe, for thou hast destroyed them all that are strayed from thee. Psal. 72. [Page 437] This experiēce was perceaued to be true, of that holy prophete Jeremie: O Lord (sayth he) what Iere. 17. soeuer they be that forsake thee, shalbe confoun­ded, they that depart from thee, shalbe written in the earth and soone forgotten. It profiteth not (good people) to heare the goodnes of God decla­red vnto vs, if our heartes be not inflamed ther­by to honour & thanke hym. It profited not the Jewes whiche were Gods elect people, to here much of God, seyng that he was not receaued in their heartes by fayth, nor thanked for his bene­fites bestowed vpon them, their vnthankfulnes was the cause of their destructiō. Let vs esche we the maner of these before rehearsed, and folowe rather the example of that holye Apostle Saint Rom. 11. Paul, whiche when in a deepe meditation he dyd beholde the marueylous proceedinges of al­myghtie God, and consydered his infinite good­nes in the ordering of his creatures, he brast out into this conclusion: Surely (sayth he) of hym, by hym, and in him, be al thinges. And this once pronounced, he stacke not still at this poynt, but forthwith therupon ioyned to these wordes: To him be glory & prayse for euer, Amen. Uppon the grounde of which wordes of Saint Paul (good audience) I purpose to builde my exhortation of this day vnto you. Wherein I shall do my ende­uour, first to proue vnto you that al good things commeth downe vnto vs from aboue from the father of lyght. Secondly, that Jesus Christ his sonne, and our sauiour, is the meane by whom we receaue his liberall goodnesse. Thirdly, that in the power and vertue of the holy ghost, we be [Page 438] made meete and able to receaue his giftes & gra­ces. Which thinges distinctly & aduisedly consy­dered in our myndes, must needes compell vs in most low reuerence, after our bounden duety, al­wayes to render him thankes againe, in some te­stification of our good hearts, for his deserts vn­to vs. And that the entreating of this matter in hand may be to the glory of almighty God, let vs in one faith and charitie call vpon the father of mercy, from whom commeth euery good gyfte, and euery perfect gift, by the mediation of his welbeloued sonne our sauiour, that we maye be assisted with the presence of his holye spirite, and holsomelye on both our partes, to demeane our selues in speaking and hearing, to the salua­tion of our soules. In the beginning of my spea­king vnto you (good Christian people) suppose not that I do take vpon me, to declare vnto you the excellent power, or the incomparable wisdom of almightie God, as though I would haue you beleeue that it myght be expressed vnto you by wordes. Nay it maye not be thought, that that thing maye be comprehended by mans wordes, that is incomprehensible. And too muche arro­gancie it were for dust and ashes, to thynke that he could worthyly declare his maker. It passeth farre the darke vnderstanding of wysedome of a mortall man, to speake sufficiently of that diuine maiestie whiche the Angels cannot vnderstand. We shall therefore lay apart to speake of that pro­founde and vnsearcheable nature of almightie God, rather acknowledging our weaknes, then rashely to attempt that is aboue all mans capa­citie [Page 439] to compasse. It shall better suffise vs in low humilitie to reuerence and dreade his maiestie, whiche we can not comprise, then by ouermuch curious searchyng, to be ouercharged with the glorie. We shal rather turne our whole contem­plation, to aunswer a whyle his goodnes to war­des vs, wherein we shall be muche more profita­bly occupied, and more may we be bold to search. To consyder this great power he is of, can but make vs dreade and feare. To consyder his hygh wisedome, myght vtterly discomfort our frailtie to haue any thyng adoo with him. But in consy­deration of his inestimable goodnes, we take good heart agayne to trust wel vnto hym. By his goodnes we be assured to take him for our refuge, our hope and comfort, our mercyfull father, in all the course of our lyues. His power and wise­dome, compelleth vs to take hym for God omni­potent, inuisible, hauyng rule in heauen and earth, hauyng all thynges in his subiection, and wyll haue none in counsell with hym, nor any to aske the reason of his doyng. For he maye do Daniel. xi. what lyketh hym, and none can resist hym. For he worketh all thynges in his secrete iudgement to his owne pleasure, yea euē the wicked to dam­nation saith Salomon. By the reason of this nature, he is called in Scripture, consumyng Prou. xvi. Heb. xi. fyre, he is called a terrible and fearefull GOD▪ Of this behalfe therefore, we maye haue no fa­miliaritie, no accesse vnto hym, but his good­nesse agayne tempereth the rigour of his hygh power, and maketh vs bolde, and putteth vs in hope that he wyll be conuersaunt with vs, [Page 440] and easye vnto vs. It is his goodnesse that mo­ueth him to say in scripture: It is my delyght to be with the children of men. It is his goodnesse Prou. 8. that moueth him to call vs vnto him, to offer vs his frendship & presence. It is his goodnes that paciently suffereth our straying from him, and suffreth vs long, to winne vs to repentaunce. It is of his goodnes that we be created reasonable creatures, where els he myght haue made vs bruite beastes. It was his mercye to haue vs borne among the number of christian people, & thereby in a muche more nyghnes to saluation, where we might haue ben borne (if his goodnes had not ben) among the Panims, cleane voyde from God, and the hope of euerlasting lyfe. And what other thing doth his louyng and gentle voyce spoken in his worde, where he calleth vs to his presence & frendship, but declare his good­nes, onelye without regarde of our worthynes? And what other thing doth stirre him to call vs to him, when we be straied from him, to suffer vs paciently, to win vs to repentaunce: but onelye his singuler goodnes, no whit of our deseruyng? Let them all come together that be nowe glori­fied in heauen, and let vs heare what aunswere they will make in these poyntes afore rehearsed, whether their fyrst creation was in Gods good­nes, or of them selues. Forsooth Dauid woulde make aunswere for them all and say: Knowe ye for suretie, euen the Lorde is God, he hath made vs, and not we our selues. If they were asked a­gaine, who should be thanked for their regenera­tion? for theyr iustification? and for their salua­tion? [Page 441] whether their desertes? or Gods goodnes only? Although in this poynt, euery one confesse sufficiently the truth of this matter in his owne person: yet let Dauid aunswere by the mouth of them all at this tyme, who cannot choose but saye: Not to vs, O Lord, not to vs, but to thy name geue all the thanke, for thy louyng mercy, and for thy truethes sake. If we shoulde aske a­gayne, from whence came their glorious workes and deedes, which they wrought in their lyues, wherewith God was so hyghly pleased and wor­shipped by them? Let some other witnesse be brought in, to testifie this matter, that in the mouth of two or three may the truth be knowen. Ueryly that holy prophete Esai beareth recorde, Esai. 26. and sayeth: O Lord, it is thou of thy goodnesse that hast wrought all our workes in vs, not we our selues. And to vpholde the truth of this mat­ter, agaynst all iusticiaries and hipocrites, which rob almyghty God of his honour, and ascribe it to them selues, saynt Paule bringeth in his i. Cor. 3. beleefe: We be not (sayeth he) sufficient of our selues, as of our selues once to thinke any thing: but all our ablenes is of Gods goodnes. For he it is in whom we haue all our beyng, our lyuing, Act. 17. and mouing. If ye wil know furthermore, where they had their gyftes and sacrifices, which they offred continually in their liues to almighty god, they cannot but agree with Dauid, where he sayth: Of thy liberal hand, O Lord, we haue re­ceaued that we gaue vnto thee. If this holy com­pany therfore confesseth so constantly, that al the goodes and graces wherewith they were indued [Page 442] in soule, came of the goodnes of God only: what more can be sayde to proue that all that is good, commeth from almightie God? Is it meete to thynke that all spiritual goodnes commeth from God aboue onely: and that other good thinges, eyther of nature or of fortune (as we call them) commeth of any other cause? Doeth God of his goodnes adourne the soule, with all the powers thereof, as it is: and commeth the giftes of the body, wherwith it is indued, from any other? If he doth the more, can not he do the lesse? To iusti­fie a synner, to newe create hym from a wicked person to a ryghteous man, is a greater act (say­eth S. Augustine) then to make such a new hea­uen and earth as is alredy made. We must nedes agree, that whatsoeuer good thyng is in vs, of grace, of nature, or of fortune, is of God only, as the only aucthour & worker. And yet it is not to be thought, that God hath created al this whole vniuersall worlde as it is, and thus once made, hath geuen it vp to be ruled and vsed after our owne wittes & deuice, & so taketh no more charge therfore. As we see the ship wright, after he hath brought his ship to a perfect end, then delyuereth he it to the maryners, & taketh no more cure ther­of. Nay God hath not so created the worlde, that he is carelesse of it: but he styl preserueth it by his goodnes, he styll stayeth it in his creation. For els without his speciall goodnes, it coulde not stande long in his condition. And therfore saint Paule sayth, that he preserueth all thynges, and Heb. i. Heb. iii. beareth them vp styl in his word, left they should fall without hym to their nothing againe, wher­of [Page 443] of they were made. If his speciall goodnes were not euery where present, euery creature shoulde be out of order, and no creature should haue his propertie wherein he was firste created. Hee is therfore inuisible euery where, and in euery cre­ature, and fulfilleth both heauen and earth with his presence. In the fyre, to geue heate, in the wa­ter, to geue moysture, in the earth, to geue fruit, in the hart, to geue his strength, yea in our bread and drinke he is, to geue vs norishment, where without him the bread and drynke cannot geue sustinaunce, nor the hearbe health, as the wyse man plainly confesseth it, saying: It is not the in­crease of fruites that feedeth men, but it is thy Sapi. 18. worde (O Lorde) whiche preserueth them that trust in thee. And Moyses agreeth to the same, when he sayeth: Mans lyfe resteth not in bread Deut. 8. onely, but in euery word which proceedeth out of Gods mouth. It is neyther the hearbe nor the plaster, that geueth health of themselues, but thy worde, O Lord (sayth the wyse man) which hea­leth Sapi. 17. all thinges. It is not therefore the power of the creatures which worketh their effectes, but the goodnes of God which worketh in them. In his worde truely doth al thinges consist. By that same word that heauen and earth were made, by the same are they vpholden, maynteyned, & kept in order (sayth saynt Peter) & shall be till almigh­tie i. Pet. 3. God shall withdrawe his power from them, and speake their dissolution. If it were not thus, that the goodnes of God were effectuallye in his ceratures to rule them, howe coulde it be that the maine sea, so ragyng and labouring to ouer­flowe [Page 444] the earth, could be kept within his bondes and banks as it is? That holy man Job euident­lye spyed the goodnes of God in this poynt, and confessed, that if he had not a speciall goodnes to the preseruation of the earth, it coulde not but shortly be ouerflowed of the sea. Howe coulde it be that the elementes, so dyuers and contrary as they be among them selues, should yet agree and abyde together in a concorde, without destructi­on one of another to serue our vse, if it came not onely of Gods goodnes so to temper them? How could the fyre not burne and consume al things, if it were left loose to go whyther it woulde, and not stayed in his sphere by the goodnesse of God, measurably to heate these inferiour creatures to their ryping? Consyder the huge substaunce of the earth, so heauye and great as it is: Howe coulde it so stande stablye in the place as it doth, if Gods goodnes reserued it not so for vs to tra­uayle on? It is thou O Lorde (sayeth Dauid) Psal. 103. which haste founded the earth in his stabilitie, and duryng thy worde, it shall neuer reele or fall downe. Consyder the great strong beastes and fyshes, farre passing the strength of man, howe fierce so euer they be and strong, yet by the good­nesse of God they preuayle not agaynst vs, but are vnder our subiection, and serue our vse. Of whom came the inuention thus to subdue them, and make them fit for our commodities? Was it by mans braine? Nay rather this inuētion came by the goodnes of God, which inspyred mans vn­derstandyng to haue his purpose of euerye crea­ture. Who was it (sayth Job) that put will and Iob. 33. [Page 445] wisdom in mans head, but god only of his good­nes? And as the same saith agayne, I perceaue that euery man hath a minde: but it is the inspi­ration of the almightie that geueth vnderstan­ding. It could not be veryly (good Christian peo­ple) that man of his owne wit vnholpen, should inuent so many and dyuers deuyses in al craftes & sciences, except the goodnes of almyghtye God had ben present with men, and had stirred their wittes and studies of purpose, to knowe the na­tures and disposition of all his creatures, to serue vs sufficiently in our needs and necessities. Yea, not only to serue our necessities, but to serue our pleasures and delight, more then necessitie requi­reth. So liberall is Gods goodnes to vs, to pro­uoke vs to thanke him, if any heartes we haue. The wise man in his contemplation by him self, coulde not but graunt this thing to be true that I reason vnto you. In his handes (sayth he) be we and our wordes, and al our wisdom, and al our sciences and workes of knowledge. For it is he that gaue me the true instruction of his crea­tures Sapi. 7. both to know the disposition of the world, and the vertues of the elementes, the beginning and ende of tymes, the change and diuersities of them, the course of the yere, the order of ye starres, the natures of beastes, and the powers of them, the power of the windes, and thoughtes of men, the differences of planets, the vertue of rootes, and what soeuer is hid and secrete in nature, I learned it. The artificer of all these taught me this wisdome. And further he sayeth: Who can Sapi. 9. searche out the thinges that be in heauen? for it [Page 446] is harde for vs to searche suche thinges as be on earth, and in dayly sight afore vs. For our wits Sapi. 9. and thoughtes (sayth he) be imperfect, and our pollicies vncertaine: No man can therfore search out the meaning in these things, except thou ge­uest wisdome, and sendest thy spirit from aboue. If the wise man thus confesseth all these thinges to be of God, why should not we acknowledge it? and by the knowledge of it, consyder our dutye to Godward, and geue him thanks for his good­nes? I perceaue that I am farre here ouerchar­ged with the plentie and copye of matter, that myght be brought in for the proofe of this cause. If I should enter to shewe howe the goodnesse of almightie god appeared euery where in the crea­tures of the worlde, howe marueylous they be in their creation, howe beawtified in their order, howe necessary they be to our vse, all with one voyce muste needes graunt their aucthour to be none other but almighty God, his goodnes must they needes extoll and magnifie euery where, to whom be all honour and glory for euermore.

¶ The seconde part of the Homilee, for rogation weeke.

IN the former part of this Homi­lee (good Christian people) I haue declared to your contem­plation, the great goodnes of al­mightie God, in the creation of this world, with all ye furniture [Page 447] thereof, for the vse and comfort of man, whereby we might the rather be moued to acknowledge our duetie againe to his maiestie. And I trust it hath wrought not onelye credit in you, but also it hath moued you to render your thankes secret­ly in your heartes to almightie God for his lo­uing kyndnes. But yet peraduenture some will say, that they can agree to this, that all that is good parteyning to the soule, or what soeuer is created with vs in body, should come from God, as from the aucthour of all goodnesse, and from none other: But of suche thinges as be without them both, I meane, such good things which we call goodes of fortune, as riches, aucthoritie, pro­motion, and honour: some men may thynke, that they should come of our industrie & diligēce, of our labour and trauayle, rather then superna­turally. Now then consyder, good people, if any aucthour there be of suche thinges concurraunt with mans labour and indeuour, were it meete to ascribe them to any other then to God? as the Panim Philosophers and Poets did erre, which toke Fortune, and made her a Goddesse to be ho­noured for such thynges? God forbid (good Chri­stian people) that this imagination shoulde ear­nestlye be receaued of vs that be worshippers of the true God, whose workes and proceedings be expressed manifestly in his worde. These be the opinions & sayinges of Infidels, not of true chri­stians. For they indeede (as Iob maketh menti­on) Iob. 22. beleue and say, that God hath his residence & resting place in the cloudes, & consyder nothyng of our matters. Epicures they be, that imagine [Page 448] that he walketh about the coastes of the hea­uens, and haue no respect to these inferiour thin­ges, but that all these thinges shoulde proceede either by chaunce or at aduenture, or els by dispo­sition of fortune, and God to haue no stroke in them. What other thing is this to say, then as the foole supposeth in his heart, there is no God? Psal. 14. Whom we shall none otherwise reproue, then with Gods owne words by the mouth of Dauid. Heare my people (sayeth he) for I am thy God, thy verye God. All the beastes of the wood are Psal. 99. myne. Sheepe and Oxen, that wandreth in the mountaynes. I haue the knowledge of all the [...]les of the ayre, the beawty of the feelde is my handy worke, myne is the whole circuite of the worlde, & all the plentie that is in it. And againe by the Prophete Hieremie: Thinkest thou that I Iere. 23. am a God of the place nye me (sayeth the Lorde) and not a God farre of? Can a man hide him selfe in so secrete a corner, that I shall not see him? Do not I fulfill and replenishe both heauen & earth, sayth the Lorde? whiche of these two shoulde be most beleued? Fortune, whom they paynte to be blynde of both eyes, euer vnstable & vnconstant in her wheele, in whose handes they saye these thyngs be? Or God, in whose hand and power these thynges be in deede, who for his truth and constance was yet neuer reproued? For his sight loketh thorowe heauen and earth, and seeth all thinges presently with his eyes. Nothing is to darke or hidden from his knowledge, not the pri­uie thoughtes of mennes myndes. Trueth it is, that of God is all ryches, all power, all aucthori­tie, [Page 449] all health, wealth, & prosperitie, of the which we shoulde haue no part without his liberal di­stribution, and except it came from hym aboue. Dauid first testifieth of rychesse and possesiions: If thou geuest, good lucke they shall gather, and Psal. ciiii. if thou openest thy hand, they shalbe full of good­nesse: but yf thou turnest thy face, they shalbe troubled. And Salomon sayth, It is the bles­syng Prou. [...]. of the Lord that maketh riche men. To this agreeth that holy woman Anne, where she saith i, Reg. ii. in her song: It is the Lord that maketh ye poore, and maketh the riche, it is he that promoteth & pulleth downe, he can rayse a needye man from his miserie, & from the dounghill, he can lyfte vp a poore personage to sit with princes, and haue the seate of glory: for all the coastes of the earth be his. Nowe yf any man wyll aske, What shal it auayle vs to knowe that euery good gyft, as of nature and fortune (so called) and euery perfecte gyft, as of grace, concernyng the soule, to be of God, and that it is his gyft onlye? Forsoothe for many causes is it conuenient for vs to knowe it. For so shall we knowe (if we confesse the trueth) who ought iustly to be thanked for them. Our pride shalbe thereby abated, perceauing naught to come of our selues but sinne and vice: yf anye goodnes be in vs, to referre all laude & prayse for the same to almyghtie God. It shal make vs not to aduaunce our selues before our neyghbour, to despise him for that he hath fewer giftes, seeyng God geueth his giftes where he wyll. It shall make vs by the consyderation of our giftes, not to extoll our selues before our neyghbours. [...]t Ierem. [...]. [Page 450] shal make the wyse man not to glory in his wys­dome, nor the strong man in his strength, nor the riche to glory in his riches, but in the liuing god which is aucthour of all these: lest yf we should do so, we myght be rebuked with the wordes of saint Paul, What hast thou, that thou hast not i. Cor. ix. receaued? and if thou hast receaued it, why glo­riest in thy selfe, as though thou haddest not re­ceaued it? To confesse that all good thinges com­meth from almightie God, is a great poynt of wysdome my freendes: For so cōfessing, we know whyther to resort for to haue them yf we want, as saint James bid vs, saying, If any man wan­teth Iacob. i. the gyft of wysdome, let hym aske it of God that geues it, & it shalbe geuen hym. As the wyse man in the want of such a lyke gyft, made his re­course to God for it, as he testifieth in his booke. After I knew (sayth he) that otherwyse I coulde Sapi. x. not be chast, except God graunted it, (and this was as he there wryteth, hye wysdome to know whose gyft it was) I made haste to the Lorde, & earnestly besought hym, euen from the rootes of my heart, to haue it. I woulde to God (my frendes) that in our wantes and necessities, we would go to God, as saint James biddeth, & as the wyse man teacheth vs that he dyd. I woulde we beleued stedfastly that God only geues them: If we did, we would not seeke our want and ne­cessitie of the deuil and his ministers so oft as we do, as dayly experience declareth it. For yf we stand in necessitie of corporal health, whyther go the cōmon people, but to charmes, witchcraftes, and other delusions of the deuill? If we knewe [Page 451] that god were thaucthour of this gift, we would only vse his meanes appoynted, and bide his lea­sure, till he thought it good for vs to haue it ge­uen. If the marchaunt and worldlye occupyer knewe that God is the geuer of riches, he would content himself with so much as by iust meanes appproued of God he could get to his liuing, and woulde be no rycher then trueth woulde suffer hym, he woulde neuer procure his gayne & aske his goodes at the deuils hande. God forbyd ye wyll say, that any man should take his ryches of the deuill. Ueryly so manye as increase them selues by vsurie, by extortion, by periurie, by stealth, by deceytes and crafte, they haue theyr goodes of the deuils gyfte. And all they that geue them selues to suche meanes, and haue re­nounced the true meanes that god hath appoin­ted, haue forsaken him, and are become worship­pers of the deuill, to haue their lukers and ad­uauntages. They be suche as kneele downe to the deuill at his bidding, and worship hym. For he promiseth them for so doyng, that he wyll geue them the worlde, and the goodes therein. They can not otherwyse better serue the de­uyll, then to do his pleasure and commaunde­ment. And his motion and wyll it is, to haue vs forsake the trueth, and betake vs to falshood, to lyes and periuries. They therefore whiche bele­ueth perfectly in theyr hearte that God is to be honoured, and requested for the gyft of all thyn­ges necessarie, woulde vse no other meanes to relieue their necessities but trueth and veritie, and woulde serue GOD to haue competencie [Page 452] of all thinges necessarie. The man in his neede would not relieue his want by stealth. The wo­man would not relieue her necessitie and pouer­tie by geuing her bodye to other in adulterie for gayne. If God be the aucthour in deede, of lyfe, health, richesse, and welfare, let vs make our re­course to him, as the aucthour, and we shal haue it, sayth Saint James. Yea it is hie wysdome by the wyse man therfore to knowe whose gyft it is. For manye other skilles it is wysdome to knowe and beleue that al goodnes and graces be of god, as the aucthour. Whiche thing well consydered, must needes make vs thinke that we shall make accompt for that whiche God geueth vs to occu­pie, and therefore shall make vs to be more dili­gent well to spende them to gods glorye, and to the profite of our neyghbour, that we may make a good accompt at the last, & be praysed for good stewardes, that we maye heare these wordes of our iudge: Well done good seruaunt & faythfull, Mat. xxiiii thou hast ben faythfull in litle, I wyl make thee ruler ouer much, go in into thy maisters ioy. Be­sides, to beleue certaynely god to be the aucthour of all the giftes that we haue, shal make vs to be in scilence & pacience when they be taken againe from vs. For as God of his mercie doth graunt vs them to vse: So other whyles he doth iustlye take them againe from vs, to proue our pacience, to exercise our fayth, and by the meanes of the taking away of a few, to bestow the more ware­ly those that remayne, to teache vs to vse them the more to his glory, after he geueth them to vs agayne. Many there be that with mouth can [Page 453] say that they beleue that God is the aucthour of euery good gifte that they haue: but in the tyme of temptation they go backe from this beliefe. They say it in worde, but deny it in deede. Con­syder me the vsage of the worlde, & see whether it be not true. Beholde the riche man that is in­dued with substaunce, yf by anye aduersitie his goodes be taken from hym, howe fumeth and fretteth he? how murmureth he and dispaireth? He that hath the gyft of good reputation, yf his name be anye thing touched by the detractour, howe vnquiet is he? howe busie to reuenge his despite? If a man hath the gyft of wysdome, and fortune to be taken of some euyll wyller for a foole, & is so reported: howe much doth it greeue hym to be so esteemed? Thinke ye that these be­leue constantly that God is the aucthour of these giftes? If they beleue it veryly, why shoulde they not patiently suffer God to take away his giftes agayne, whiche he gaue them freely, and lent for a time? But ye wyl say, I could be content to re­signe to God such giftes, yf he toke them agayne from me: But nowe are they taken from me by euyll chaunces and false shrewes, by naughtye wretches, how should I take this thing patient­lye? To this may be aunswered, that almightye God is of his nature inuisible, & commeth to no man visiblye after the maner of man, to take a­way his giftes that he lent. But in this poynt whatsoeuer God doth, he bryngeth it about by his instrumentes ordeyned therto. He hath good angels, he hath euill angels, he hath good men, and he hath euyll men, he hath hayle and rayne, [Page 454] he hath winde and thunder, he hath heate and colde. Innumerable instrumentes hath he, and messengers, by whom agayne he asketh suche giftes as he committeth to our trust, as the wyse man confesseth, The creature must needes waite to serue his maker, to be fierce agaynst vniust Sapi. xvii. men to their punishment. For as the same auc­thour sayth, He armeth the creature, to reuenge his enemies. And otherwhiles to the probation of our fayth, styrreth he vp suche stormes. And therfore by what meane and instrument soeuer God takes from vs his giftes, we must patient­ly take gods iudgement in worth, and acknow­ledge him to be the taker & geuer, as Job sayth: The Lorde gaue, and the Lorde toke, when yet Iob. i. his enemies draue his cattell away, & when the deuill slue his chyldren, and afflicted his bodye with a greeuous sicknes. Such meekenesse was in that holy king and prophete Dauid, when he was reuyled of Semei, in the presence of all his hoast, he toke it patiently, & reuyled not agayne. But as confessing God to be the aucthour of his innocencie & good name, and offering it to be at his pleasure: Let hym alone (sayth he to one of [...]. Reg. xvi. his knightes that woulde haue reuenged suche despite) for God hath commaunded hym to curse Dauid, and peraduenture God intendeth there­by to render me some good turne for this curse of him to day. And though ye minister otherwhyses doth euill in his acte, proceedyng of malice, yet forasmuch as God turneth his euil act to a profe of our pacience, we shoulde rather submit our selfe in patience, then to haue indignation at [Page 455] gods rod, which peraduenture whē he hath cor­rected vs to our nurture, he wyll cast it into the fire as it deserueth. Let vs in lyke maner truely acknowledge all our gyftes and prerogatiues, to be so gods giftes, that we shalbe ready to resigne them vp at his wyll and pleasure againe. Let vs throughout our whole lyues confesse all good thinges to come of God, of what name and na­ture soeuer they be, not of these corruptible thyn­ges only, whereof I haue nowe last spoken, but much more of all spiritual graces behoueable for our soule, without whose goodnesse no man is called to fayth, or stayed therein, as I shall here­after in the next part of this Homilee declare to you. In the meane season forget not what hath alredy ben spoken to you, forget not to be confor­mable in your iudgementes to the trueth of this doctrine, and forget not to practise the same in the whole state of your lyfe, whereby ye shall ob­tayne ye blessing promised by our sauiour Christ: Blessed be they which heare the word of God, & fulfilleth it in lyfe. Whiche blessing he graunt to vs all, who raigneth ouer all, one God in Trini­tie, the father, the sonne, and the holye ghost, to whom be all honour and glory for euer.

Amen.

¶ The thirde part of the Homilee for Rogation weeke.

I Promised to you to declare that all spirituall giftes & graces com­meth specially from God. Let vs consyder ye trueth of this matter, [Page 456] and heare what is testified fyrst of the gyfte of faith, the first entrie into the Christian life, with­out the which no man can please God. For S. Paul confesseth it plainely to be Gods gyft, say­ing, Ephes. ii. Fayth is the gyft of God. And agayne saint Peter sayth, It is of Gods power that ye be kept i. Pet. i. through fayth to saluation. It is of the goodnes of god that we faulter not in our hope vnto him. It is verily gods worke in vs, the charitie wher­with we loue our brethren. If after our fall we repent, it is by him that we repent, whiche rea­cheth foorth his mercifull hande to rayse vs vp. If any wyll we haue to ryse, it is he that preuen­teth our wyll, & disposeth vs therto. If after con­trition we feele our conscience at peace with god, through remission of our sinne, and so be re­conciled againe to his fauour, and hope to be his children & inheritours of euerlasting lyfe: who worketh these great myracles in vs, our worthy­nesse, our deseruinges & endeuours, our wittes, and vertue? Nay veryly. Saint Paul wyll not suffer fleshe and clay to presume to such arrogan­cie, & therfore sayth, All is of God, which hath re­conciled vs to hym selfe by Jesus Christe. For God was in Christe when he reconciled ye world vnto him selfe. GOD the father of all mercie, wrought this high benefite vnto vs, not by his owne person: but by a meane, by no lesse meane then his only beloued sonne, whom he spared not from any payne & trauayle that myght do vs good. For vpon him he put our sinnes, vpon him he made our raunsome, hym he made the meane betwixt vs & him selfe, whose mediation was so [Page 457] acceptable to GOD the father, through his pro­found and perfect obedience, that he toke his acte for a full satisfaction of all our disobedience & re­bellion, whose ryghteousnesse he toke to waye a­gaynst our sinnes, whose redemption he would haue stande agaynst our dampnation. In this poynt, what haue we to muse within our selues good freendes? I thinke no lesse then that which saint Paul sayde, in the remembraunce of this wonderfull goodnesse of God, Thankes be to al­mightie Rom. vii. God, through Christe Jesus our Lorde: for it is he for whose sake we receaued this hygh gyft of grace. For as by him (beyng the euerla­styng Ephes. i. wysdome) he wrought all the worlde and that is contayned therein: So by him only, and wholy woulde he haue all thynges restored a­gayne in heauen and in earth. By this our hea­uenly mediatour therefore, do we knowe the fa­uour and mercie of God the father, by him know Hebr. i. we his wyll and pleasure towardes vs, for he is the brightnesse of his fathers glorye, and a verye Mat. iii. cleare image and paterne of his substaunce. It is he whom the father in heauen delyghteth to haue for his welbeloued sonne, whom he auc­thorised to be our teacher, whom he charged vs to heare, saying, Heare him. It is he by whom ye Ephes. i. father of heauen doth blesse vs with all spiritual and heauenly giftes, for whose sake and fauour (writeth saint John) we haue receaued grace & Iohn. i. fauour. To this our sauiour & mediatour hath God the father geuen the power of heauen and earth, and the whole iurisdiction & aucthoritie, to distribute his goodes and gyftes committed to [Page 458] hym. For so wryteth the apostle: To euery one of vs is grace geuen, accordyng to the measure of Ephes. iiii. Christes geuing. And thereupon to execute his aucthoritie committed, after that he had brought sinne and the deuill to captiuitie, to be no more hurtfull to his members, he ascended vp to his father agayne, & from thence sent liberall gyftes to his welbeloued seruauntes, and hath styll the power to the worldes ende to distribute his fa­thers giftes continually in his Churche, to the establishment and comfort thereof. And by hym hath almyghtie God decreed to dissolue ye world, to call al before him, to iudge both the quicke and the dead, and finally by hym shall he condempne the wicked to eternall fyre in hell, and geue the good eternall lyfe, and set them assuredly in pre­sence with hym in heauen for euermore. Thus ye see how all is of God, by his sonne Christe our Lord and sauiour. Remember I say once againe your duetie of thankes, let thē be neuer to want, still ioyne your selfe to continue in thankes ge­uyng, ye can offer to God ne better sacrifice. For he sayth hym selfe: It is the sacrifice of prayse and thankes that shall honour me. Which thyng was well perceaued of that holy prophete Da­uid, when he so earnestly spake to him selfe thus: O my soule blesse thou the Lorde, and all that is Psalm. l. within me blesse his holy name. I say once again O my soule blesse thou the Lorde, & neuer forget Psal. ciii. his manifolde rewardes. God geue vs grace (good people) to know these things, & to feele thē in our heartes. This knowledge and feeling is not in our selfe, by our selfe it is not possible to [Page 459] come by it, a great pitie it were that we shoulde lose so profitable knowledge. Let vs therefore meekely cal vpon that bountiful spirite the holy ghost, which proceedeth from our father of mer­cie, & from our mediatour Christ, that he woulde assist vs, and inspire vs with his presence, that in him we may be able to heare the goodnes of god declared vnto vs to our saluation. For without his liuely & secrete inspiration, can we not once so muche as speake ye name of our mediatour, as saint Paul plainely testifieth: No man can once name our Lorde Jesus Christe, but in the holye ghost. Much lesse shoulde we be able to beleue & knowe these great mysteries that be opened to vs by Christe. Saint Paul sayth, that no man i. Cor. xii. can knowe what is of god, but the spirite of god. As for vs (sayth he) we haue receaued not the spi­rite of the world, but the spirite which is of god, i. Cor. ii. for this purpose: that in that holye spirite we myght knowe the thynges that be geuen vs by Christe. The wyse man sayth, that in the power & vertue of the holy ghost, resteth al wysdome, & al habilitie to know God, and to please hym. For he writeth thus: Be know that it is not in mans power to guide his goinges. No man can know thy pleasure except thou geuest wysdome, & sen­dest thy holy spirite frō aboue. Send him downe Sapi. ix. therefore (prayeth he to God) from thy holy hea­uens, & from the trone of thy maiestie, that he may be with me and labour with me, that so I may knowe what is acceptable before thee. Let vs with so good heart pray, as he dyd, & we shall not faile but to haue his assistance. For he is sone [Page 460] seene of them that loue him, he wyll be founde of them that seeke him: For very liberall and gentle is the spirite of wisdome. In his power shall we haue sufficient abilitie to knowe our duetie to God, in him shall we be comforted and couraged to walke in our duetie, in hym shall we be meete vessels to receaue the grace of almightie God: for it is he that purgeth and purifieth the minde by his secrete working. And he onlye is present eue­ry where by his inuisible power and conteineth all thinges in his dominion. He lyghtneth the heart to conceaue worthy thoughtes to almygh­tie God, he sitteth in the tongue of man to stirre him to speake his honour, no language is hyd from him, for he hath ye knowledge of al speache, he only ministreth spiritual strength to the pow­ers of our soule & body. To hold the way whiche God had prepared for vs, to walke ryghtly in our iourney, we must acknowledge that it is in the power of his spirite which helpeth our infir­mitie. That we may boldly come in prayer, and call vpon almyghtie God as our father, it is by this holy spirite, whiche maketh intercession for vs with continuall sighes. If any gyft we haue Galat. iiii. Rom. viii. wherewith we may worke to the glory of God, & profite of our neyghbour, all is wrought by his owne & selfe same spirite, whiche maketh his di­stributions peculierly to euerye man as he wyl. i. Cor. xii. If any wysdome we haue, it is not of our selues, we can not glory therein as begun of our selues, but we ought to glory in God from whō it came to vs, as the prophete Jeremie wryteth: Let him Ierem. ix. that reioyceth, reioyce in this, that he vnder­standeth [Page 461] & knoweth me, for I am the lord which sheweth mercie, iudgement, and righteousnes in the earth, for in these thinges I delight saith the Lorde. This wysdome can not be attayned, but by the direction of the spirite of God, & therefore it is called spiritual wysdome. And no where can we more certainely searche for the knowledge of this wyll of God (by the which we must direct al our workes & deedes) but in the holy scriptures, for they be they that testifie of hym, sayth our sa­uiour Christe. It maye be called knowledge and Iohn. v. learnyng that is other where gotten out of the worde: but the wyse man plainely testifieth, that Sap. xiii. they al be but vaine which haue not in them the wisdome of God. We see to what vanitie the olde Philosophers came, which were destitute of this science, gotten & searched for in his worde. We see what vanitie the schole doctrine is mixed with, for that in this world they sought not the wyll of God, but rather the wyll of reason, the trade of custome, the path of the fathers, the practise of the Churche. Let vs therfore reade & reuolue the holy scripture both day & nyght: for blessed is he Psalm. i. Psal. cxix. that hath his whole meditatiō therin. It is that that geueth light to our feete to walke by. It is that whiche geueth wysdome to the simple and Psal. xix. ignoraunt. In it may we finde eternall lyfe. In the holy scriptures find we Christ, in Christ find Iohn. v. we God: for he it is that is the expresse image of the father. He that seeth Christ, seeth the father. Hebre. i. Iohn. xiiii Hierome. And contrary wyse, as Saint Hierome sayth, ye ignorance of scripture, is the ignorance of Christ. Not to knowe Christ, is to be in darknesse, in the [Page 462] middes of our worldly and carnal light of reason and philosophie. To be without Christe, is to be Colloss. ii. in foolishnes: For he is the only wysdome of the father, in whom it pleased hym that all fulnesse & perfection shoulde dwel. With whō whosoeuer is indued in heart by faith, & rooted fast in chari­tie, hath layde a sure foundation to buylde on, whereby he may be able to comprehende with al saintes what is the breadth, length, & deapth, & Ephes. iii. to know the loue of Christe. This vniuersal and absolute knowledge, is that wysdome which S. Paul wisheth these Ephesians to haue, as vnder heauen the greatest treasure that can be obtey­ned. For of this wysdome the wyse man wryteth thus of his experience. All good thinges came to Sapi. vii. me together with her, and innumerable ryches through her handes. And addeth moreouer in that same place: She is the mother of all these things. For she is an infinite treasure vnto men, which who so vse, become partakers of the loue of God. I might with many wordes moue some of this audience to searche for this wysdome, to sequester their reason, to folowe gods commaun­demēt, to cast frō them ye wittes of their braines, to fauour this wysdome, to renounce the wyse­dome & pollicie of this fonde worlde, to taste and sauour that whereunto the fauour & wyll of god hath called them, and willeth vs finally to enioy by his fauour, if we would geue eare: But I wil haste to the thirde part of my text, wherein is ex­pressed further in sapience, how God geueth his electe an vnderstandyng of the motions of the heauens, of the alterations and circumstaunces [Page 463] of time. Whiche as it foloweth in wordes more plentifull in the text which I haue last cited vn­to you: So it must needes folow in them that be indued with this spiritual wysdome. For as they can searche where to finde this wysdome, and know of whom to aske it: So know they againe that in time it is found, and can therefore attem­per them selues to the occasion of the time, to suf­fer no time to passe away, wherein they maye la­bour for this wysdome. And to encrease therein, they knowe how God of his infinite mercie and lenitie geueth all men here tyme and place of re­pentance. And they see howe the wicked (as Job Iob. xxiiii wryteth) abuse the same to their pride, & therfore do the godly take the better holde of the time, to redeeme it out of suche vse as it is spoyled in by ye wicked. They which haue this wisdome of God, can gather by the diligent and earnest studye of the worldlinges of this present lyfe, howe they wayte theyr times, and apply them selues to eue­ry occasion of time to get riches, to encrease their landes & patrimonie. They see the tyme passe a­way, and therefore take holde on it, in such wise, that otherwhyles they wyll with losse of theyr sleepe & ease, with suffering many paynes, catche the offer of their time, knowyng that that which is once past, can not be retourned agayne, repen­taunce maye folowe, but remedie is none. Why shoulde not they then that be spiritually wyse in their generation, waite their time to encrease as fast in their state, to win & gaine euerlastinglye? They reason what a bruite forgetfulnes it were in man indued with reason, to he ignoraunt [Page 464] of their times and tides, when they see the Tur­tle doue, the Storke, & the Swallowe to wayte their times as Jeremie saith: The Storke in the Iere. viii. ayre knoweth her appoynted tymes, the Turtle, the Crane, and the Swallowe obserue ye time of their comming: but my people knoweth not the Ephes. ii. iudgement of the Lorde. Saint Paul wylleth vs to redeeme the tyme, because the dayes are e­uill. It is not the counsell of Saint Paul onlye, but of all other that euer gaue preceptes of wyse­dome. There is no precept more seriously geuen and commaunded, then to knowe the time. Yea christian men for that they heare how greuously God complaineth, and threatneth in the scrip­tures them whiche wyll not knowe the tyme of his visitations, are learned thereby, the rather earnestly to apply them selues thereunto. After our sauiour Christ had prophesied with weeping Luke. xix. teares of the destruction of Hierusalem, at the last he putteth the cause: For that thou hast not knowen the time of thy visitation. O England, ponder the tyme of Gods mercifull visitation, which is shewed thee from day to day, & yet wylt not regarde it, neyther wylt thou with his pu­nishment be dryuen to thy duetie, nor with his benefites be prouoked to thankes. If thou kne­west what may fal vpon thee for thine vnthank­fulnesse, thou wouldest prouide for thy peace. Brethren, howsoeuer the world in generalitie is forgetfull of God, let vs particulerly attende to our time, & win the time with diligence, & applie our selues to that light & grace that is offered vs, let vs, if gods fauour and iudgementes which he [Page 465] worketh in our tyme, can not stirre vs to call home to our selfe to do that belong to our salua­tion: At the least way, let the malice of the deuil, the naughtines of the worlde which we see exer­cised in these perilous and last times, wherin we see our dayes so daungerously set, prouoke vs to watche diligently to our vocation, to walke and go forwarde therein. Let the miserie and short transitorie ioyes, spyed in the casualtie of our dayes, moue vs, while we haue them in our han­des, & seriously stirre vs to be wise, and to expend the gratious good wyl of God to vs ward, which all the day long stretcheth out his handes (as the Esai. 65. prophete sayth) vnto vs, for the moste part his mercyfull handes, sometyme his heauy handes, that we beyng learned thereby, may escape the daunger that must needes fal on the vniust, who leade their dayes in felicitie & pleasure, without the knowyng of Gods wyll towarde them, but sodenly they go downe into hell. Let vs be found watchers, founde in the peace of the Lorde, that at the last day we may be founde without spot, & blameles: yea let vs endeuour our selues (good Iob. 22. Christian people) diligently to kepe the presence of his holy spirite. Let vs renounce all vnclean­nes, for he is the spirite of puritie. Let vs auoyde all hypocrisie, for this holy spirite wyll flee from that which is faigned. Cast we of all malice & all Sapi. 1. euill will, for this spirite will neuer enter into an euill willing soule. Let vs cast awaye all the whole lumpe of sinne that standeth about vs, for he will neuer dwell in that body that is subdued Hebr. 12. to sinne. We can not be seene thankefull to al­mightie [Page 466] God, and worke suche dispite to the spi­rite of grace, by whom we be sanctified. If we do our endeuour, we shall not neede to feare, we Hebr. 10. shall be able to ouercome all our enemies that lyght agaynst vs. Onely let vs apply our selfe to accept that grace that is offred vs. Of almightie God we haue comfort by his goodnes, of our sa­uiour Christes mediation we may be sure. And this holy spirite will suggest vnto vs that shal be holsome, and confirme vs in all thinges. There­fore it cannot be but true that saynt Paule affir­meth: Of him, by him, and in him, be al things, and in him (after this transitorie lyfe wel passed) shal we haue all thinges. For saint Paule sayth: When the sonne of God shall subdue all thinges vnto him, then shall God be all in all. If ye will knowe howe God shall be all in all, veryly after 1. Cor. 15. this sense may ye vnderstand it: In this worlde ye see that we be fayne to borowe many thinges to our necessitie, of manye creatures: there is no one thing that suffiseth all our necessities. If we be an hungred, we lust for breade. If we be a thirst, we seeke to be refreshed with ale or wyne. If we be colde, we seeke for cloth. If we be sicke, we seeke to the phisition. If we be in heauines, we seeke for comfort of our frendes, or of compa­ny, so that there is no one creature by it selfe that can content al our wantes & desyres. But in the worlde to come, in that euerlasting felicitie, we shall no more begge and seeke our particuler comfortes and commodities of dyuers creatures: but we shall possesse al that we can aske & desyre, in God. And God shall be to vs all thinges. He [Page 467] shall be to vs both father and mother, he shall be breade and drinke, cloth, phisitions comfort, he shall be all thinges to vs, and that of much more blessed fassion and more sufficient contentation, then euer these creatures were vnto vs, with much more declaration then euer mans reason is able to conceaue. The eie of man is not able to 1. Cor. 2. behold, nor his eare can heare, nor it can be com­passed in the heart of man, what ioye it is that God hath prepared for them that loue him.

Let vs all conclude then with one voyce with the wordes of saint Paul: To him which is able to do aboundauntlye beyonde our desyres and Ephe. 3. thoughtes, accordyng to the power workyng in vs, be glory and prayse in his Church, by Christ Jesus for euer, world without ende.

Amen.

❧ An exhortation to be spoken to such parisshes where they vse their perambulation in ro­gation weeke for the ouersight of the bondes and limits of their Towne.

ALthough we be nowe assembled together (good Christian people) moste pryncipallye to laude and thanke almyghty GOD for his great benefytes, by beholdyng the [Page 468] feeldes replenished with all maner fruite, to the maynteynaunce of our corporall necessities, for our foode and sustenaunce, and partelye also to make our humble suytes in prayers to his Fa­therlye prouidence to conserue the same fruites, in sending vs seasonable weather, whereby we maye gather in the sayde fruites, to that ende for which his fatherly goodnesse hath prouided thē: Yet haue we occasion secondarilye geuen vs in our walkes on these dayes, to consyder the olde auncient bondes and limittes belongyng to our owne Towneship, and to other our neyghbours bordering about vs, to the intent that we should be content with our owne, and not contentious­ly stryue for others, to the breache of charitie, by any incroching one vppon another, or clayming one of the other, further then that in auncient ryght and custome our forefathers haue peacea­blye layde out vnto vs for our commoditie and comfort. Surely a great ouersight it were in vs, which be christian men in one profession of faith, daylye looking for that heauenlye inheritaunce which is bought for euery one of vs by the blood­shedding of our sauiour Jesus Christe, to striue and fall to variaunce for the earthly boundes of our townes, to the dis [...]uyet of our lyfe betwixte our selues, to the wasting of our goods by vaine expences and costes in the lawe. We ought to re­member, that our habitation is but transitorie and short in this mortall lyfe. The more shame it were to fall out into immortall hatred among our selues, for so brittle possessions, and so to loose our eternall inheritaunce in heauen. It [Page 469] maye stande well w [...]th charitie, for a Christian man quietlye to maynteyne his ryght and iuste title. And it is the part of euerye good townes man, to preserue as much as lyeth in him, the libertyes, franchises, boundes, and limittes of his towne and countrye. But yet so to striue for our verye ryghtes and dueties with the breache of loue and charitie, whiche is the onelye liuery of a Christian man, or with the hurt of godly peace and quyet, by the whiche we be knit toge­ther in one generall fellowship of Christes fami­lie, in one common housholde of God, that is vt­terly forbidden. That doth God abhorre and de­test, which prouoketh almightie Gods wrath o­ther while to depriue vs quite of our commodi­ties and liberties, because we do so abuse them for matters of stryfe, discorde, and discention. Saynt Paule blamed the Corinthians for suche contentious suing among them selues, to the slaunder of their profession, before the enemies 1. Cor. 9. of Christes religiō, saying thus vnto them: Now there is vtterly a fault among you, because ye go to lawe one with another. Why rather suffer ye not wronge? Why rather suffer ye not harme? If Saint Paule blameth the Christian men, whereof some of them for their owne right, went conten iouslye so to lawe, commending there­by the profession of patience in a Christian man: If Christe our Sauiour woulde haue vs rather Mat. 5. to suffer wronge, and to turne our left cheeke to hym whiche hath smitten the ryght, to suffer one wrong after another, rather then by breach of charitie to defende our owne: In what state [Page 470] be they before God, who do the wronge? What curses do they fall into, which by false witnesse defraude eyther their neyghbour or towneship of his due ryght and iust possession? which will not let to take an othe by the holy name of God, the aucthour of all trueth, to set out a falshoode and a wrong? Know ye not (sayth saint Paule) that 1. Cor. 6. the vnryghteous shall not inherite the kyngdom of God? What shall we then winne to encrease a little the boundes and possessions of the earth, and loose the possession of the inheritaunce euer­lastyng? Let vs therfore take such heede in main­teyning of our boundes and possessions, that we commit not wrong by encroching vppon other. Let vs beware of sodayne verdite in thinges of doubt. Let vs well aduise our selues to aduouch that certaynly, whereof eyther we haue no good knowledge or remembraunce, or to claime that we haue no iuste title to. Thou shalt not (com­maundeth almyghtie God in his lawe) remoue thy neyghbours marke, which they of olde tyme Deut. 19. haue set in thine inheritaunce. Thou shalt not (sayth Salomon) remoue the auncient boundes Prou. 22. which thy fathers haue layd. And lest we should esteeme it to be but a lyght offence so to do, we shall vnderstande, that it is reckoned among the curses of God pronounced vpon sinners. Accur­sed be he (sayth almyghtye God by Moyses) who remoueth his neyghboures doles and markes, Deut. 27. and all the people shall saye, aunswering Amen thereto, as ratifying that cursse vpon whom it doth lyght. They do much prouoke the wrath of God vppon them selues, which vse to grynde vp [Page 471] the doles and markes, whiche of auncient tyme were layde for diuision of meeres and balkes in the feeldes, to bryng the owners to theyr ryght. They do wickedlye whiche do turne vp the auncient terries of the feeldes, that olde men before tymes with great paynes did treade out, whereby the Lordes recordes (whiche be the te­nauntes euidences) be peruerted and transla­ted, sometyme to the disheriting of the ryght ow­ner, to the oppression of the poore fatherlesse, or the poore wyddowe. These couetous men know not what inconueniences they be aucthours of. Sometyme by suche crafte and deceipt, be com­mitted great discordes and ryottes in the chal­lenge of their landes, yea sometymes murders and bloodshed, whereof thou art gyltye whoso­euer thou be that geuest the occasion thereof. This couetous practisyng therefore with thy neyghbours landes and goodes, is hatefull to al­myghtie God. Let no man subtillye compasse or defraude his neyghbour (biddeth saint Paul) 1. Thess. 4. in any manner of cause. For God (sayth he) is a reuenger of all such. God is the God of all equitie and ryghteousnesse, and therefore forbiddeth all suche deceipt and subtiltie in his lawe, by these wordes, Ye shall not do vniustlye in iudgement, Deut. 19. in lyne, in wayght, or measure. You shall haue iuste ballaunces, true wayghtes, and true mea­sures. False ballaunce (sayth Salomon) are an Pro. 11. 20. abomination vnto the Lord. Remember what Saint Paule sayeth, God is the reuenger of all wrong & in iustice, as we see by dayly experience, howe euer it thriueth vngratiouslye whiche is [Page 472] gotten by falshoode and craft. We be taught by experience, howe almighty God neuer suffereth the thirde heyre to enioy his fathers wrong pos­sessions, yea, manye a tyme they are taken from him selfe, in his owne lyfe tyme. God is not bound to defend such possessions as be gotten by the deuill and his counsel. God will defende all suche mens goodes and possessions, whiche by him are obteyned and possessed, and will defend them against the violent oppressour. So wyt­nesseth Salomon, The Lorde will destroye the Prou. 25. house of the proude man: But he will stablishe the borders of the widowe. No doubt of it (sayth Dauid) better is a little truelye gotten to the ryghteous man, then the innumerable ryches of Psal. 36. the wrongfull man. Let vs flee therefore (good people) all wrong practises in getting, maintei­ning, and defending our possessions, landes, and liue [...]odes, our boundes and liberties, remem­bring that such possessions be all vnder Gods re­uengeaunce. But what do we speake of house and lande? Nay it is sayd in scripture, that God in his yre doeth roote vp whole kingdomes for wronges and oppressions, & doth transtate king­domes from one nation to another, for vnrygh­teous dealing, for wronges and ryches gotten by deceite. This is the practyse of the holy one (saith Daniel) to the intent that lyuing men maye know, that the most hie hath power on the king­domes Daniel. 4. of men, and geueth them to whom soeuer he will. Furthermore, what is the cause of pe­nurie and scarcenesse, of dearth and famine? a­ny other thing but a token of Gods yre, reuen­gyng [Page 473] our wronges and iniuries one done to a­nother? Ye haue sowen muche (obraydeth God by his prophete Aggei) and yet bryng in little, ye eate, but ye be not satisfyed, ye drynke, but ye be Agges. 1. not filled, ye cloth your selues, but ye be not warme, and he that earneth his wages, putteth it in a bottomlesse purse: ye looke for muche en­crease, but loe, it came to little, and when ye brought it home (into your barnes) I did blow it away, sayth the Lorde. O consyder therefore the yre of God agaynst gleaners, gatherers, and incrochers vppon other mennes landes and pos­sessions. It is lamentable to see in some places, howe greedy men vse to plowe and grate vppon their neighbours lande, that lyeth next them, howe couetous men nowe a dayes plowe vp so nyghe the common balkes and walkes, whiche good men before tyme made the greater and bro­der, partlye for the commodious walke of his neyghbour, partlye for the better shacke in har­uest tyme, to the more comfort of his poore neigh­bours cattell. It is a shame to behold the insacia­blenes of some couetous personnes in their do­ynges: that where their auncetours left of their lande a broade and sufficient beere balke, to ca­ry the corps to the Christian sepulture, how men pinche at suche beere balkes, which by long vse and custome ought to be inuiolablye kept for that purpose. And nowe they eyther quite ere them vp, and turne the dead bodye to be borne farther about in the hye streates, or els if they leaue anye such meere, it is to strayte for two to walke on. These straunge encrochementes (good [Page 474] neighbours) should be loked vpon. These should be consydered in these dayes of our perambulati­ons. And afterwarde the parties admonished, & charitablye refourmed, who be the doers of such priuate gainyng, to the staunder of the towne­ship, and to the hinderaunce of the poore. Your hye wayes should be consydered in your walkes, to vnderstād where to bestow your daies works, accordyng to the good Statutes prouided for the same. It is a good deede of mercy, to amend the daungerous and noysome wayes, whereby thy poore neyghbour sitting on his seely weake beast foundereth not in the deepe thereof, and so the market the worse serued, for discouraging of poore vittailers to resorte thyther for the same cause. If now therfore ye wyl haue your prayers hearde before almyghtie God, for the increase of your corne and cattel, and for the defence therof, from vnseasonable mistes and blastes, from haile and other such tempestes, loue equity, and rygh­teousnes, ensue mercy and charitie, whiche God most requyreth at our handes. Which almighty God respected cheefly, in making his ciuile lawes Leui. 19. Deut. 24. for his people the Israelites, in chargyng the owners not to gather vp their corne to nye at haruest season, nor the Grapes and Oliues in gatheryng tyme, but to leaue behynd some eares 1. Cor. 9. of corne for the poore gleaners. By this he ment to induce them to pitie the poore, to releeue the needye, to shew mercye and kyndnes. It can not be lost, whiche for his sake is distributed to the poore. For he which ministreth seed to the sower, and bread to the hungrye, which sendeth down [Page 475] the earely and latter rayne vpon your feeldes, so to fill vppe the barnes with corne, and the wyne presses with wyne and oyle, he I say, who recom­penseth all kynde of benefites in the resurrection Ioel. 8. of the iust, he will assuredly recompence all mer­cifull deedes shewed to the needy, howsoeuer vn­able the poore is, vpon whom it is bestowed. O Prou. 3. (sayth Salomon) let not mercye and trueth for­sake thee. Bynde them about thy necke (sayth he) and write them on the table of thy hart, so shalt thou fynde fauour at Gods hand. Thus honour thou the Lorde with thy rytches, and with the firste fruites of thyne encrease: So shall thy barnes be filled with aboundaunce, and thy presses shall brust with newe wyne. Nay, God hath promysed to open the windowes of heauen, vppon the liberall ryghteous man, that he shall want nothyng. He wyll represse the deuouryng Caterpiller, which should deuour your fruites. He wyll geue you peace and quyete to gather in your prouision, that ye may sit euery man vnder 1. Mach. 4. his owne vyne quyetly, without feare of the for­rayne enemyes to inuade you. He wyll geue you not onelye foode to feede on, but stomackes and good appetites to take comforte of your fruites, whereby in all thinges ye may haue sufficiencie. Finally he will blesse you with all maner aboun­daunce in this transitorye lyfe, and endue you with all maner benediction in the nexte worlde, in the kyngdome of heauen, through the merites of our Lorde and Sauiour, to whom with the father and the holy ghost, be all honour euerla­styngly.

Amen.

❧ An Homilee of the state of Matrimonie.

THe worde of almyghtie god doth testify & declare, whēce the originall beginning of matrimonie commeth, and why it is ordeyned. It is in­stituted of God, to ye intent that man & woman should liue lawfully in a perpetu­all frendly felowship, to bring forth fruit, and to auoyde fornication. By whiche meanes a good conscience might be preserued on both parties, in brideling the corrupt inclinations of the fleshe, within ye limits of honestie. For God hath strait­ly forbidden all whoredome and vncleannesse, & hath from tyme to tyme taken greuous punish­ments of this inordinate lust, as al stories & ages hath declared. Furthermore it is also ordeyned, that the church of God & his kingdom might by this kinde of lyfe be conserued and enlarged, not only in that God geueth children by his blessing, but also in that they be brought vp by ye parents godly, in the knowledge of Gods word, that thus the knowledge of God and true religion myght be deliuered by succession from one to another, that finally many might enioye that euerlasting immortalitie. Wherefore, forasmuch as Matri­monie serueth as well to auoyde sinne & offence, as to encrease the kingdom of God: you, as al o­ther which enter yt state, must acknowledge this [Page 477] benefite of God, with pure & thankeful mindes, for that he hath so ruled our heartes, that ye fo­lowe not the example of the wicked worlde, who set their delyght in filthynesse of sinne, where both of you stande in the feare of God, and ab­horre all filthynesse. For that is surelye the sin­guler gyft of God, where the common example of the worlde declareth how the deuill hath their heartes bound and entangled in dyuers snares, so that they in their wyuelesse state runne into open abhominations, without anye grudge of their conscience. Whiche sorte of men that liueth so desperately and filthylye, what dampnation taryeth for them, saynt Paule descrybeth it to them, saying: Neither whoremongers, neyther adulterers, shall inherite the kingdome of God. i. Cor. 5. This horrible iudgement of God ye be escaped through his mercy, if so be that ye lyue insepa­rately, accordyng to Gods ordinaunce. But yet I woulde not haue you carelesse without wat­ching. For the deuill will assaye to attempt all thinges to interrupte and hynder your heartes and godly purpose, if ye will geue him anye en­trye. For he will eyther labour to breake this godly knot once begun betwixt you, or els at the leaste he will labour to encumber it with diuers greefes and displeasures.

And this is his principall craft, to worke dis­sention of heartes of the one from the other: That whereas nowe there is pleasaunte and sweete loue betwixt you, he wyll in the steede thereof, bryng in moste bitter and vnpleasaunt dyscorde. And surelye that same aduersarye of [Page 478] ours, doth as it were from aboue, assault mans nature and condition. For this folly is euer from our tender age growen vp with vs, to haue a desyre to rule, to thynke hyghlye by our selfe, so that none thynketh it meete to geue place to ano­ther. That wicked vyce of stubburne will & selfe loue, is more meete to breake and to disseuer the loue of heart, then to preserue concorde. Where­fore maryed persons must apply their myndes in moste earnest wyse to concorde, and must craue continually of God the helpe of his holy spirite, so to rule their heartes, and to knit their myndes together, that they be not disseuered by any diui­sion of discorde. This necessitie of prayer, must be oft in the occupying and vsing of maryed per­sons, that oft tymes the one shoulde pray for the other, lest hate and debate do arise betwixt them. And because fewe do consyder this thing, but more fewe do perfourme it (I saye to praye dili­gently) we see howe wonderfull the deuill de­ludeth and scorneth this state, howe fewe matri­monies there be without chydinges, brawlings, tauntinges, repentinges, bitter cursinges, and fyghtinges. Which thinges whosoeuer do com­mit, they do not consyder that it is the instigati­on of the ghostly enemie, who taketh great de­lyght therein: For els they woulde with all ear­nest endeuour, stryue agaynst these mischeefes, not onely with prayer, but also with all possible diligence. Yea they woulde not geue place to the prouocation of wrath, which stirreth them either to such rowgh & sharpe words, or stripes, which is surely compassed by the deuill, whose tempta­tion, [Page 479] if it be folowed, must needes begin & weaue the web of all miseries and sorrowes. For this is moste certaynly true, that of suche beginninges must needes ensue the breache of true concorde in heart, whereby all loue must needes shortly be banished. Then can it not be but a miserable thing to beholde, that yet they are of necessitie compelled to lyue together, which yet cannot be in quyet together. And this is most customably euery where to be seene. But what is the cause thereof? Forsoth, because they will not consyder the craftie traynes of the deuill, and therefore geueth not them selues to praye to God, that he woulde vouchsafe to represse his power. More­ouer they do not consyder how they promote the purpose of the deuill, in that they followe the wrath of their heartes, whyle they threate one a­nother, whyle they in their follye turne all vp­syde downe, whyle they will neuer geue ouer their ryght as they esteeme it, yea, whyle manye tymes they will not geue ouer the wrong parte in deede. Learne thou therefore, if thou desyrest to be voyde of all these miseries, if thou desyrest to lyue peaceably and comfortablye in wedlocke, howe to make thy earnest prayer to God, that he would gouerne both your heartes by his holy spirite, to restrayne the deuils power, whereby your concorde may remayne perpetuallye. But to this prayer, muste be ioyned a singuler dili­gence, whereof saint Peter geueth this precept, saying: You husbandes deale with your wyues i. Pet. 3. accordyng to knowledge, geuing honour to the wyfe, as vnto the weaker vessell, & as vnto them [Page 480] that are heyres also of the grace of lyfe, that your prayers be not hyndered. This precept doth par­ticulerly parteyne to the husband. For he ought to be the leader & aucthour of loue, in cherishing and increasing concorde, whiche then shall take place, if he will vse measurablenesse and not ti­rannie, & if he yelde some thinges to the woman. For the woman is a weake creature, not endued with like strength and constancie of mynd, there­fore they be the sooner disquieted, and they be the more prone to all weake affections & dispositions of mynde, more then men be, and lighter they be, and more vaine in their fantasies and opinions. These thinges muste be consydered of the man, that he be not to stiffe, so that he ought to winke at some thinges, and must gentlye expounde all thynges, and to forbeare. Howbeit the common sorte of men doth iudge, that suche moderation should not become a man. For they say that it is a token of womanishe cowardnesse, and therfore they thynke that it is a mans parte to fume in anger, to fyght with fiste and staffe. Howbeit, howsoeuer they imagine, vndoubtedlye Saint Peter doth better iudge what should be seeming to a man, and what he should most reasonablye perfourme. For he sayth, reasoning should be v­sed, and not fyghting. Yea he sayth more, that the woman ought to haue a certayne honour at­tributed to her, that is to say, she muste be spa­red and borne with, the rather for that she is the weaker vessel, of a frayle heart, inconstant, and with a worde soone stirred to wrath. And there­fore consydering these her frayleties, she is to be [Page 481] the rather spared. By this meanes, thou shalt not onlye norishe concorde: but shalt haue her heart in thy power and wyll. For honest natures wyl sooner be retayned to do their duetie, rather by gentle wordes, then by stripes. But he which wyl do al thynges with extremitie and seueritie, and doth vse alwaies rigour in wordes & stripes, what wyll that auayle in the conclusion? Uery­ly nothyng, but that he therby setteth forwarde the deuilles worke, he banisheth away concorde, charitie, and sweete amitie, and bryngeth in dis­cention, hatred, and yrkesomnes, the greatest greefes that can be in the mutuall loue and fe­lowship of mans lyfe. Beyonde al this, it bryn­geth another euil therewith: For it is the destruc­tion and interruption of prayer. For in the tyme that the mynde is occupyed with discention and discord, there can be no true prayer vsed. For the Lordes prayer hath not only a respect to particu­ler persons, but to the whole vniuersall. In the whiche we openly pronounce, that we wyll for­geue them which hath offended against vs, euen as we aske forgeuenes of our synnes of God. Which thyng how can it be done ryghtly, when their heartes be at discention? Howe can they pray each for other, when they be at hate betwixt them selues? Now, if the ayde of prayer be taken away, by what meanes can they sustayne them selues in any comfort? For they can not other­wyse eyther resist the deuill, or yet haue their heartes stayed in stable comfort in al perilles and necessities, but by prayer. Thus all discommodi­ties, aswell worldly as ghostly, folowe this fro­warde [Page 482] testinesse, and cumbrous fiercenes, in ma­ners, which be more meete for brute beastes, then for reasonable creatures. Saint Peter doth not alowe these thynges, but the deuil desyreth them gladly. Wherefore take the more heede. And yet a man may be a man, although he doth not vse such extremitie, yea though he should dissemble some thynges in his wyues maners. And this is the part of a Christian man, which both pleaseth God, and serueth also in good vse to the comfort of their mariage state. Nowe as concernyng the wyues duetie. What shall become her? shall she abuse the gentlenes and humanitie of her hus­bande? and at her pleasure, turne all thynges vp­syde downe? No surely. For that is farre repug­naunt agaynst gods commaundement. For thus doth Saint Peter preache to them: Ye wyues, be [...]. Pet. 3. ye in subiection to obey your owne husband. To obey, is another thyng then to comptrole or com­maund. Which yet they may do to their chyldren, and to their familie. But as for their husbandes, them must they obey, and ceasse from commaun­dyng, and perfourme subiection. For this surelye doth norish concorde very muche, when the wyfe is redy at hand, at her husbandes commaunde­ment, when she wyll apply her selfe to his wyll, when she endeuoureth her selfe to seeke his con­tentation, and to do him pleasure, when she wyll esche we all thynges that myght offend hym. For thus wyll moste truely be verified the saying of the Poet: A good wyfe by obeying her husbande, shall beare the rule, so that he shal haue a delyght and a gladnesse, the sooner at al tymes to returne [Page 483] home to her. But on the contrary part, when the wyues be stubborne, froward, and malapert, their husbandes are compelled therby to abhorre and flee from their owne houses, euen as they shoulde haue battayle with their enemies. How­beit, it can scantly be, but that some offences shal sometyme chaunce betwixt them: For no man doth liue without fault, specially for that the wo­man is the more frayle partie. Therfore let them beware that they stande not in their faultes and wylfulnesse: but rather let them acknowledge their follies, and say: My husband, so it is, that by my anger I was compelled to do this or that, forgeue it me, and hereafter I wyll take better heed. Thus ought the women the more redily to do, the more they be redy to offende. And they shall not do this only to auoyde strife and debate: but rather in the respect of the commaundement of God, as Saint Paule expresseth it in this fourme of wordes: Let women be subiecte to their husbandes, as to the Lorde. For the hus­bande Ephes. 5. is the head of the woman, as Christ is the head of the Churche. Here you vnderstand, that God hath commaunded that ye shoulde acknow­ledge the aucthoritie of the husbande, and referre to hym the honour of obedience. And Saint Pe­ter 1. Pet. 3. sayth in that place before rehearsed, that holy matrones dyd sometyme decke themselues, not with gold and syluer, but in putting their whole hope in God, and in obeying their husbandes, as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling hym lord, whose daughters ye be (saith he) if ye folowe her exam­ple. This sentence is very meete for woman to [Page 484] print in their remembraunce. Trueth it is, that they must specially feele the greefe and paynes of their matrimonie, in that they relinquish the li­bertie of their owne rule, in the payne of their traueling, in the bryngyng vp of their chyldren: In whiche offices they be in great perils and be greued with great afflictions, which they might be without if they lyued out of matrimonie. But saint Peter sayth, that this is the cheefe orna­ment of holy matrones, in that they set their hope and trust in God, that is to say, in that they refused not from mariage for the busynes therof, for the greefes and perils thereof: but committed al suche aduentures to God, in most sure trust of helpe, after that they haue called vppon his ayde. O woman, do thou the lyke, and so shalt thou be most excellently beautified before God and al his angels and saintes, and thou needest not to seeke further for doyng any better workes. For obey thy husbande, take regarde of his requestes, and geue heede vnto hym, to perceaue what he requi­reth of thee, and so shalt thou honour God, and lyue peaceably in thy house. And beyond all this, God shall folowe thee with his benediction, that all thynges shal well prosper, both to thee and to thy husband, as the Psalme sayth: Blessed is the man whiche feareth God, and walketh in his wayes, thou shalt haue the fruite of thyne owne handes, happie shalt thou be, and well it shall go with thee. Thy wyfe shalbe as a vine, plentifully spreadyng about thy house. Thy chyldren shalbe as the young sprynges of the Oliues about thy table. [...]othus shall that man be blessed (sayth [Page 485] Dauid) that feareth the Lorde. This let the wyfe haue euer in minde, the rather admonyshed ther­to by the apparell of her head, whereby is signi­fied, that she is vnder couert and obedience of her husbande. And as that apparell is of nature so appoynted to declare her subiection: So biddeth saint Paul that all other of her rayment shoulde expresse both shame fastnes and sobrietie. For if it be not lawful for the woman to haue her head bare, but to beare thereon the signe of her power wheresoeuer she goeth: more is it required that she declare the thyng that is meant thereby. And therefore these auncient women of the old world called their husbandes lordes, and shewed them reuerence in obeying them. But peraduenture she wyl say, that those men loued their wyues in deede. I know that wel enough, and beare it wel in minde. But when I do admonishe you of your dueties, then cal not to consideration what their dueties be. For when we our selues do teache our chyldren to obey vs as their parentes, or when we refourme our seruauntes, and tell them that they shoulde obey their maisters, not only at the eye, but as to the Lorde: If they shoulde tell vs agayne our dueties, we would not thynke it wel done. For when we be admonished al our dueties and faultes, we ought not then to seeke what other mens dueties be. For though a man had a companion in his fault, yet should not he therby he without his fault. But this must be onlye lo­ked on, by what meanes thou mayst make thy selfe without blame. For Adam did lay the blame vpon the woman, & she turned it vnto the serpēt: [Page 486] but yet neyther of them was thus excused. And therefore bryng not suche excuses to me at this tyme: but applye al thy diligence to heare thyne obedience to thy husbande. For when I take in hande to admonyshe thy husbande to loue thee, and to cherishe thee: yet wyll I not ceasse to set out the lawe that is appoynted for the woman, as well as I woulde requyre of the man what is wrytten for his lawe. Go thou therefore about such thynges as becommeth thee only, and shew thy selfe tractable to thy husbande. Or rather if thou wylt obey thy husband for gods precept, thē alleage such thyngs as be in his duetie to do, but perfourme thou diligently those thynges which the lawmaker hath charged thee to do. For thus is it moste reasonable to obey God, if thou wylt not suffer thy selfe to transgresse his law. He that loueth his freende, seemeth to do no great thyng: but he that honoreth hym that is hurtful & hate­full to hym, this man is worthy much commen­dation: Euen so thinke thou, if thou canst suffer an extreame husband, thou shalt haue a great re­warde therefore. But if thou louest hym only be­cause he is gentle & curtesse, what rewarde wyll God geue thee therefore? Yet I speake not these thynges that I would wish the husbandes to be sharpe towardes their wyues: But I exhort the women that they woulde patiently beare the sharpnesse of their husbandes. For when eyther partes do their beste to perfourme their dueties the one to the other, then foloweth theron great profite to their neighbours for their examples sake. For whē the woman is redy to suffer a sharp [Page 487] band, & the man wil not extreamely intreate his stubborne & troublesome wife, then be al things in quyet, as in a most sure hauē. Euen thus was it done in olde time, that euery one did their own duetie and office, & was not busie to require the duetie of their neighbours. Consyder I pray thee that Abraham tooke to him his brothers sonne his wyfe dyd not blame hym therefore. He com­maunded him to go with him a long iourney [...]he did not gaynesay it, but obeyed his precept. Agayne, after all those great miseries, labours, & paines of that iourney, when Abraham was made as lord ouer al, yet did he geue place to Lot of his superioritie: whiche matter Sara toke so litle to greefe, that she neuer once suffered her tong to speake such wordes as the cōmon maner of womē is wont to do in these daies, when they see their husbandes in suche roomes, to be made vnderlyngs, and to be put vnder their youngers, then they vpbrayde them with combrous talke, and call them fooles, dastardes & cowardes for so doyng. But Sara was so farre from speakyng any such thing, that it came neuer into her mynd and thought so to say, but allowed the wysdome and wyll of her husbande. Yea, besydes all this, after the sayde Lot had thus his wyll, and left to his vnkle the lesser portion of lande, he chaun­ceth to fall into extreame peryll. Whiche chaunce when it came to the knowledge of this sayd Pa­triarche, he incontinently put al his men in har­nes, & prepared him self with al his family & fren­des, against the hoast of the Persians. In which case, Sara dyd not counsayle hym to the contra­rie, nor dyd say, as then myght haue ben sayde: [Page 488] My husbande, whither goest thou so vnaduised­ly? Why runnest thou thus on head? Why doest thou offer thy selfe to so great perylles, and art thus redy to ieopard thyne owne lyfe, and to pe­rill the lyues of all thine, for suche a man as hath done thee suche wrong? At the least way, if thou regardest not thy selfe, yet haue compassion on me, whiche for thy loue haue forsaken my kynred and my countrey, and haue the want both of my freendes and kynsfolkes, and am thus come into so far countreyes with thee, haue pitie on me, & make me not here a wydowe, to cast me to suche cares and troubles. Thus myght she haue sayde. But Sara neither said nor thought such words, but she kept her self in scilence in al thynges. Fur­thermore, all that time when she was baren, and toke no paynes as other women did, by bringing foorth fruite in his house? What dyd he? He com­playned not to his wyfe, but to almyghtie God. And consyder howe eyther of them dyd their due­ties as became them. For neyther dyd he despise Sara because she was baren, nor neuer dyd cast it in her teeth. Consyder agayne how? Abraham expelled the handmayde out of the house when she requyred it: So that by this I maye truely proue, that the one was pleased and contented with the other in all thynges. But yet set not your eyes only on this matter, but looke further what was done before this, that Agar vsed her maistresse despitefully, and that Abraham hym selfe was somwhat prouoked against her, which must needes be an intollerable matter & a payne­ful, to a free hearted woman and a chast. Let not [Page 489] therfore the woman be to busie to call for the due­tie of her husbande, where she shoulde be redy to perfourme her owne, for that is not worthy any great commendation. And euen so agayne, let not the man onlye consyder what longeth to the woman, & to stand to earnestly gasing theron, for that is not his part or duety: But as I haue said, let eyther partie be redy & willyng to perfourme that which belongeth specially to them selfe. For if we be bounde to holde out our left cheeke to straungers which wyll smyte vs on the ryght cheeke: how much more ought we to suffer an ex­treame and vnkynd husbande? But yet I meane not that a man should beate his wife, God forbid that, for that is the greatest shame that can be, not so much to her that is beaten, as to hym that doth the deed, but if by such fortune thou chaun­cest vpon such an husband, take it not to heauily, but suppose thou, that therby is layde vp no smal rewarde hereafter, and in this lyfe tyme no small commendation to thee, if thou canst be quyet. But yet to you that be men, thus I speake, Let there be none so greeuous fault to compell you to beate your wyues. But what say I your wyues, no, it is not to be borne with, that an honest man should lay handes on his may [...] seruaunt to beat her. Wherfore if it be a great shame for a man to beate his bonde seruaunt, muche more rebuke it is, to lay vyolent handes vppon his tree woman. And this thyng may be well vnderstande by the lawes whiche the painims hath made, whiche doth discharge her any longer to dwell with such an husbande, as vnworthye to haue any further [Page 490] pany with her that doth smyte her. For it is an extreame poynt, thus so vyle to entreate her lyke a slaue, that is felowe to thee of thy lyfe, and so ioyned vnto thee before tyme in the necessarie matters of thy lyuyng. And therefore a man may well lyken such a man (if he may be called a man, rather then a wylde beaste) to a kyller of his fa­ther or his mother. And whereas we be com­maunded to forsake our father and mother, for our wyues sake, and yet thereby do worke them none iniurie, but do fulfill the law of God. Howe can it not appeare then to be a poynt of extreame madnesse, to entreate her despitefully, for whose sake God hath commaunded thee to leaue pa­rents? Yea, who can suffer such despite? Who can worthi [...]y expresse the inconuenience that is, to see what weepynges and waylinges be made in the open streates, when neighbours runne toge­ther to the house of so vnruly an husband, as to a bedlem man, who goeth about to ouerturne all that he hath at home? Who would not think that it were better for such a man to wish the ground to open, and to swallowe hym in, then once euer after to be seene in the market? But peraduēture thou wilt obiect, that the woman prouoketh thee to this point. But consyder thou again that the woman is a frayle vessel, & thou art therefore made the ruler and head ouer her, to beare the weakenes of her in this her subiection. And ther­fore study thou to declare the honest commenda­tion of thyne aucthoritie, whiche thou canst no way better do, then to forbeare to vtter her in her weakenes & subiection. For euen as the kyng ap­peareth [Page 491] so muche the more noble, the more excel­lent and noble he maketh his officers and leefete­nauntes, whom if he should dishonour, & despise the aucthority of their dignitie, he should depriue hym selfe of a great part of his own honor: Euen so, if thou doest despise her that is set in the nexte roome besyde thee, thou doest much derogate and decay the excellencie and vertue of thyne owne aucthorite. Recount all these thynges in thy mynde, and be gentle and quiet. Understand that God hath geuen thee chyldren with her, and art made a father, & by such reason appease thy selfe. Doest not thou see the husbandmen what dili­gence they vse to tyll that grounde whiche once they haue taken to farme, though it be neuer so full of faultes? As for an example, though it be drye, though it bryngeth foorth weedes, though the soyle can not beare to much wette, yet he tyl­leth it, and so winneth fruite thereof: Euen in lyke maner, if thou wouldest vse lyke diligence to instruct and order the mind of thy spouse, if thou wouldest diligently applye thy selfe to weede out by litle and litle the noysome weedes of vncomly maners out of her mind, with holsome precepts, it could not be, but in tyme thou shouldest feele the pleasaunt fruite thereof to both your com­fortes. Therefore that this thyng chaunce not so, perfourme this thyng that I do here counsayle thee: Whensoeuer any displeasaunt matter riseth at home, if thy wife hath done ought amisse, com­fort her, & encrease not the heauines. For though thou shouldest be greeued with neuer so manye things, yet shalt thou find nothing more greuous [Page 492] then to want the beneuolence of thy wyfe at home. What offence soeuer thou canst name, yet shalt thou fynde none more intollerable, then to be at debate with thy wyfe. And for this cause most of all oughtest thou to haue this loue in re­uerence. And if reason moueth thee to beare any burthen at any other mens handes, muche more at thy wyues. For if she be poore, vpbrayde her not, if she be simple, taunt her not, but be the more curteous. For she is thy body, and made one fleshe with thee. But thou peraduenture wylt say that she is a wrathfull woman, a drunkarde, and beastly, without wit and reason. For this cause bewayle her the more. Chafe not in anger, but pray to almyghtie God. Let her be admoni­shed and holpen with good counsayle, & do thou thy best endeuour, that she may be delyuered of al these affections. But if thou shouldest beat her, thou shalt encrease her euil affections. For fro­wardnes & sharpnes, is not amended with fro­wardnes: but with softnes and gentlenes. Fur­thermore, consider what reward thou shalt haue at Gods hande: For where thou myghtest beate her, and yet for the respecte of the feare of God, thou wilt abstaine and beare patiently her great offences, the rather in respect of that lawe which forbiddeth that a man shoulde caste out his wyfe what faulte soeuer she be combred with, thou shalt haue a very great rewarde, & before the re­ceipt of that rewarde, thou shalt feele many com­modities: For by this meanes she shalbe made the more obedient, and thou for her sake shalt be made the more meeke. It is wrytten in a storye [Page 493] of a certayne straunge Philosopher, which had a cursed wyfe, a frowarde, and a drunkarde. When he was asked for what consyderation he dyd so beare her euyll maners? He made aunswere. By this meanes (sayde he) I haue at home a Scholemaister, and an example howe I shoulde behaue myselfe abroade. For I shall (sayth he) be the more quiet with other, beyng thus dayly exercised and taught in the forbearyng of her. Surely it is a shame that painims shoulde be wyser then we, we I say, that be commaunded to counterfayte angels, or rather God hym selfe through meekenesse. And for the loue of vertue, this saide Philosopher Socrates woulde not ex­pell his wyfe out of his house. Yea some say that he dyd therefore marrye his wyfe, to learne this vertue by that occasion. Wherefore, seeyng many men be farre behynd the wysedome of this man, my counsell is, that fyrste and before all thynges, that man do his best endeuour to get hym a good wyfe, endued with all honestie and vertue. But if it so chaunce that he is deceaued, that he hath chosen suche a wyfe as is neyther good nor tolle­rable, then let the husband folowe this Philoso­pher, and let hym instruct his wyfe in euery con­dition, and neuer lay these matters to syght. For the marchaunt man, except he fyrst be at compo­sition with his factour to vse his interaffayres quietly, he wyll neyther stirre his shippe to sayle, nor yet wyll lay handes vpon his marchaundize. Euen so, let vs do all thynges, that we may haue the felowship of our wyues, which is the factour of all our doynges at home, in great quiet and [Page 494] rest. And by these meanes all thynges shall pros­per quyetly, and so shall we passe through the daungers of the troublous sea of this worlde. For this state of lyfe wyll be more honorable and comfortable then our houses, then seruauntes, then money, then landes and possessious, then all thynges that can be tolde. As all these with se­dition and discord, can neuer worke vs any com­fort: So shall all thynges turne to our commo­ditie and pleasure, if we drawe this yoke in one concorde of heart and mynd Whereupon do your best endeuour, that after this sorte ye vse your matrimonie, and so shall ye be armed on euerye syde. Ye haue escaped the snares of the deuyll, and the vnlawfull lustes of the fleshe. Ye haue the quietnesse of conscience by this institution of matrimonie ordeyned by God. Therefore vse oft prayer to hym, that he woulde be present by you, that he woulde continue concorde and charitie betwixt you. Do the best ye can of your partes, to custome your selues to softnesse and meeknes, and beare well in worth suche ouersightes as chaunce. And thus shall your conuersation be most pleasaunt and comfortable. And although (whiche can no otherwyse be) some aduersities shall folowe, and otherwhiles nowe one discom­moditie, nowe another shall appeare: yet in this common trouble and aduersitie, lyfte vp both your handes vnto heauen, call vppon the helpe and assistaunce of God, the aucthour of your ma­riage, and surely the promise of releefe is at hand. For Christe affyrmeth in his gospell: Where two or three be gathered together in my name, and [Page 495] be agreed, what matter soeuer they praye for, it shalbe graunted them of my heauenly father. Why therefore shouldest thou be afrayde of the daunger, where thou hast so redy a promise, and so nye an helpe? Furthermore you must vnder­stande, how necessarie it is for Christian folke to beare Christes crosse: For els we shall neuer feele how comfortable Gods helpe is vnto vs. There­fore geue thankes to God for his great benefite, in that ye haue taken vpon you this state of wed­locke, and pray you instauntly, that almyghtie God may luckely defende and maynteyne you therein, that neyther ye be ouercommed with any temptation, nor with any aduersitie. But before all thynges, take good heede that ye geue no occasion to the deuyll to let and hynder your prayers by discorde and discention. For there is no stronger defence and stay in all our lyfe, then is prayer, in the which we may call for the helpe of God and obteyne it, whereby we may winne his blessyng, his grace, his defence and protecti­on, so to continue therein to a better lyfe to come. Which graunt vs he that died for vs all, to whom be all honour and prayse, for euer and euer.

Amen.

An Homilee against Idlenesse.

FOrasmuche as man, beyng not borne to ease & rest, but to labour & trauell, is by cor­ruption of nature through synne, so farre degenerated & growen out of kynde, that he taketh idlenesse to be no euyl at all, but rather a com­mendable thyng, seemely for those that be weal­thy, & therefore is greedyly imbraced of most part of men, as agreeable to their sensuall affection, & all labour and trauayle is diligently auoyded, as a thyng paynful & repugnaunt to the pleasure of the flesh: It is necessarie to be declared vnto you, that by the ordinance of God, which he hath set in the nature of man, euery one ought in his lawful vocation and callyng, to geue hymselfe to labour: And that idlenes, beyng repugnaunt to the same ordinaunce, is a greeuous sinne, & also for the great inconueniences & mischeefes which spryng thereof, an intollerable euill: to thintent that when ye vnderstande the same, ye may dili­gently flee from it, & on the other part earnestlye applye your selues, euery man in his vocation, to honest labour and busynes, which as it is enioy­ned vnto man by Gods appoyntment, so it wan­teth not his manyfold bleslynges & sundry bene­fites. Almyghtie God, after that he had created mā, put him into paradice, that he might dresse & [Page 497] kepe it: But when he had transgressed gods com­maundement, eating the fruite of the tree which was forbidden hym, almyghtie God foorth with Gen. iii. did cast him out of paradice into this wofull vale of miserie, enioyning him to labour the grounde that he was taken out of, and to eate his bread in the sweate of his face all the dayes of his lyfe. It is the appoyntment and wyll of God, that euery man, during the tyme of this mortall and transi­torie lyfe, should geue himself to some honest and godly exercise & labour, and euery one to do his owne busines, & to walke vpryghtly in his owne Iob. v. Eccle. vii. calling. Man (sayth Job) is borne to labour. And we are commaunded by Jesus Syrach, not to hate painefull workes, neyther husbandry, or other such mysteries of trauaile, which the high­est hath created. The wise man also exhorteth vs Prou. v. to drinke the waters of our owne cesterne, and of the riuers that runne out of the middes of our owne well: meanyng therby, that we should lyue of our ownelabours, & not deuour the laboures of other. Saint Paul hearing that among the ii. The. iii. Thessaloniās there were certayne that liued dis­solutely & out of order, that is to say, whiche dyd not worke, but were busybodyes, not getting their owne liuing with their owne trauaile, but eating other mens bread of free coste, dyd com­maunde ye said Thessalonians, not only to with­drawe them selues, and abstaine from the fami­lier company of such inordinate persons, but al­so that yf there were any such among them that would not labour, the same shoulde not eate, nor haue any liuing at other mens handes. Whiche [Page 498] doctrine of S. Paul (no doubt) is grounded vp­pon the generall ordinaunce of God, whiche is, that euery man should labour: And therfore it is to be obeyed of al men, and no man can iustly ex­empt hym selfe from the same. But when it is sayde, al men should labour, it is not so straightly meant, that all men should vse handye labour. But as there be diuers sortes of labour, some of the minde, & some of the body, and some of both: So euery one (except by reason of age, debilitie of body, or want of health, he be vnapt to labour at all) ought both for the getting of his owne li­uyng honestly, and for to profite others, in some kind of labour to exercise him selfe, accordyng as the vocation wherevnto God hath called hym, shall require. So that whosoeuer doth good to the common weale and societie of men with his industry and labour, whether it be by gouerning the cōmon weale publiquely, or by bearing pub­lique office or ministerie, or by doyng any cōmon necessary affayres of his countrey, or by geuyng counsell, or by teachyng & instructing others, or by what other meanes soeuer he be occupied, so that a profite and benefite redound thereof vnto others, the same person is not to be accompted idle, though he worke no bodyly labour, nor is to be denied his liuyng (yf he attende his vocation) though he worke not with his handes. Bodyly labour is not required of them which by reason of their vocation and office, are occupied in the labour of the minde, to the profite and helpe of o­thers. Saint Paul exhorteth Timothie, to es­che i. Tim. v. we and refuse idle widowes, which go about [Page 499] from house to house, because they are not onlye idle, but pratlers also and busybodyes, speakyng thinges whiche are not comely. The prophete Ezechiel declaring what the sinnes of the citie of Ezec. xvi. Sodome were, reckeneth idlenesse to be one of the principall. The sinnes (sayth he) of Sodome were these: Pride, fulnes of meate, aboundance, and idlenesse. These thynges had Sodome and her daughters, meaning the cities subiect to her. The horrible and straunge kynde of destruction of that citie, and al the countrey about the same, (which was fyre and brimstone raigning from heauen) most manifestly declareth, what a gree­uous sinne idlenesse is, and ought to admonishe vs to flee from the same, and embrace honest and godly labour. But yf we geue our selues to idle­nesse & slouth, to lurking and loitering, to wylful wandering, & wastefull spending, neuer setling our selues to honest labour, but liuing like drone bees by the labours of other men, then do we breake the Lordes cōmaundement, we go astray from our vocation, and incurre the daunger of Gods wrath and heauie displeasure to our end­lesse destruction, except by repentaunce we turne agayne vnfaignedly vnto God. The inconueni­ences and mischeefes that come of idlenes, aswel to mans body, as to his soule, are more then can in short time be well rehearsed. Some we shall declare and open vnto you, that by consyderyng them, ye may the better with your selues gather the rest. An idle hande (sayth Salomon) maketh Prou. x. poore, but a quicke labouring hand maketh rich. Agayne, he that tillleth his lande, shall haue [Page 500] plenteousnesse of bread, but he that floweth in idlenesse, is a very foole, and shall haue pouertie Pro. 11. 28. enough. Agayne, a slouthfull body wyl not go to plowe for colde of the winter, therefore shal he go Prou. x. a beggyng in sommer, and haue nothyng. But what shall we nede to stand much about the pro­uing of this, that pouertie foloweth idlenesse? We haue to much experience therof (the thing is the more to be lamented) in this Realme. For a great part of the beggery that is amōg the poore, can be imputed to nothyng so muche, as to idle­nesse, and to the negligence of parents, which do not bryng vp their chyldren, eyther in good lear­nyng, honest labour, or some commendable occu­pation or trade, wherby when they come to age, they myght get their liuing. Dayly experience also teacheth, that nothyng is more enemie or pernicious to the health of mans bodye, then is idlenesse, to much ease and sleepe, and want of ex­ercise. But these and suche lyke incommodities, albeit they be great & noysome, yet because they concerne chiefely the body and externall goodes, they are not to be compared with the mischeefes & inconueniences, which through idlenesse hap­pen to the soule, whereof we wyll recite some. Idlenes is neuer alone, but hath alwaies a long tayle of other vices hanging on, whiche corrupt and infect the whole man, after such sort, that he is made at length nothyng els but a lumpe of sinne. Idlenesse (sayth Jesus Syrach) bringeth Eccle. 33. much euill and mischeefe. Saint Barnarde calleth it the mother of al euyls, and stepdame of all vertues, addyng moreouer, that it doth pre­pare [Page 501] and as it were treade the way to hell fyre. Where idlenesse is once receaued, there the deuill is alwaies redy to set in his foote, and to plant al kind of wickednesse and sinne, to the euerlasting destruction of mans soule. Whiche thing to be most true, we are plainely taught in the. xiii. of Matthewe, where it is sayde: That the enemie Mat. xiii. came while men were a sleepe, & sowed naughtie tares among the good wheate. In verye deede the best tyme that the deuyll can haue to worke his feate, is when men be a sleepe, that is to say, idle. Then is he moste busie in his worke, then doth he soonest catch men in the snare of perditi­on, then doth he fill them with all iniquitie, to bryng them (without Gods speciall fauour) vn­to vtter destruction. Hereof we haue two nota­ble ii. Reg. xi. examples most liuely set before our eyes. The one in kyng Dauid, who tarying at home idelly (as the scripture sayth) at suche tymes as other kynges go foorth to battaile, was quicklye se­duced of Satan to forsake the Lord his God, and to commit two greeuous & abominable sinnes in his sight: adultrie and murther. The plagues ii. Reg. xii that ensued these offences, were horrible and greeuous, as it may easyly appeare to them that wyl reade the story. Another example of Samp­son, Iudg. xvi. who so long as be warred with the Phili­stines, enemies to the people of God, could neuer be taken or ouercome: But after that he gaue him selfe to ease and idlenesse, he not onlye com­mitted fornication with the strumpet Dalila, but also was taken of his enemies, and had his eyes miserablie put out, was put in prison, and [Page 502] compelled to grinde in a myl, and at length was made the laughing stock of his enemies. If these two who were so excellēt men, so welbeloued of God, so endued with singuler and deuine giftes, the one namelye of prophesie, and the other of strength, and such men as neuer coulde by vexa­tion, labour, or trouble, be ouercome, were ouer­throwen and fell into greeuous sinnes, by ge­uing them selues for a short time to ease and idle­nesse, and so consequently incurred miserable plagues at the handes of God: What sinne, what mischeefe, what inconuenience and plague is not to be feared of them whiche all theyr lyfe long geue them selues wholye to idlenesse and ease? Let vs not deceaue our selues, thynkyng litle hurte to come of doyng nothyng. For it is a true saying: When one doth nothing, he lear­neth to do euyll. Let vs therefore alwayes be do­yng of some honest worke, that the deuill maye finde vs occupied. He hym selfe is euer occupied, neuer idle, but walketh continually seekyng to deuoure vs. Let vs resist hym with our diligent watching, in labour, and in well doyng. For he that diligently exerciseth hym selfe in honest bu­sinesse, is not easily catched in the deuils snare. When man through idlenesse, or for default of some honest occupation or trade to liue vpon, is brought to pouertie, and want of thinges neces­sarie, we see howe easyly suche a man is induced for his gaine, to lye, to practise howe he maye de­ceaue his neyghbour, to foresweare him selfe, to beare false witnesse, and oftentimes to steale and murther, or to vse some other vngodly meane to [Page 503] liue withall. Whereby not onlye his good name, honest reputation, and a good conscience, yea his life is vtterly loste, but also the great displeasure and wrath of God, with diuers and sundry gre­uous plagues, are procured. Lo here the ende of the idle and sluggishe bodyes, whose handes can not away with honest labour: losse of name, fame, reputation, & life here in this worlde, and without the great mercie of god, the purchasyng of euerlasting destruction in the worlde to come. Haue not al men then good cause to beware and take heede of idlenesse, seeyng they that embrace and folowe it, haue commonly of their pleasant idlenesse, sharpe and sowre displeasures? Doubt­lesse good and godly men waying the great and manifold harme that come by idlenesse to a com­mon weale, haue from tyme to tyme prouided with all diligence, that sharpe and seuere lawes myght be made, for the correction and amende­ment of this euill. The Egyptians had a lawe, Herodo­tus. that euery man should weekely bryng his name to the chiefe rulers of the prouince, & there with­all declare what trade of life he occupied, to thin­tent that idlenesse myght be worthyly punished, and diligent labour duely rewarded. The Athe­nians dyd chastice sluggishe and slouthful people, no lesse then they dyd heynous & greeuous offen­ders, consydering (as the trueth is) that idlenesse causeth much mischeefe. The Arreopagites cal­led euery man to a strayght accompt howe he ly­ued. And yf they founde anye loyterers that dyd not profite the common weale by one meanes or other, they were driuen out and banished as [Page 504] vnprofitable members, that dyd onlye hurt and corrupt the body. And in this Realme of Eng­lande, good and godlye lawes haue ben diuers times made, that no idle vagaboundes and loy­tring runnagates, should be suffered to go from towne to towne, from place to place, without punishment, which neyther serue God nor their prince, but deuoure the sweete fruites of other mens labour, being common liers, drunkardes, swearers, theeues, whoremaisters, and murthe­rers, refusing all honest labour, and geue them selues to nothyng els, but to inuent and do mis­cheefe, whereof they are more desyrous and gree­dy, then is any Lion of his pray. To remedy this inconueniencie, let al parentes & others, whiche haue the care and gouernance of youth, so bring them vp eyther in good learnyng, labour, or some honest occupation or trade, whereby they may be able in time to come, not only to sustaine them selues competently, but also to relieue and supplie the necessitie and want of others. And saint Paul sayth: Let hym that hath stolen, steale no more, and he that hath deceaued others Ephe. iiii. or vsed vnlawful wayes to get his liuing, leaue of the same, & labour rather, workyng with his handes that thing whiche is good, that he may haue that which is necessarie for hym selfe, and also be able to geue vnto others that stande in neede of his helpe. The prophet Dauid thinketh Psalm. 128 him happy that liueth vpon his labour, saying, When thou eatest the labours of thyne handes, happy art thou, and wel is thee. This happines or blessing consisteth in these & such like pointes. [Page 505] First it is the gyft of God (as Salomon sayth) Eccle. iii. when one eateth and drinketh, and receaueth good of his labour. Secondaryly, when one li­ueth of his owne labour (so it be honest & good) he liueth of it with a good conscience. And an vpryght conscience is a treasure inestimable. Thirdly, he eateth his bread not with brawling and chiding, but with peace and quietnes: when he quietly laboureth for the same, accordyng to saint Paules admonition. Fourthly, he is no mans bondman for his meate sake, nor needeth not for that, to hang vpon the good wyll of other men: but so liueth of his owne, that he is able to geue part to others. And to conclude, the labou­ryng man and his familie, whyles they are bu­silie occupied in their labour, be free from many temptations and occasions of sinne, which they that liue in idlenesse, are subiect vnto. And here ought Artificers and Labouring men, who be at wages for their worke and labour, to consyder theyr conscience to God, and theyr duetie to their neighbour, least they abuse their tyme in idle­nesse, so defraudyng them whiche be at charge both with great wages, and deare commons. They be worse then idle men in deede, for that they seeke to haue wages for their loytring. It is lesse daunger to God to be idle for no gayne, then by idlenes to win out of theyr neyghbours purses, wages for that which is not deserued. It is true that almyghtie God is angry with suche as do defraude the hyred man of his wages. The crie of that iniurie ascendeth vp to Gods eare for vengeaunce. And as true it is, that the hyred [Page 506] man, who vseth deceipt in his labour is a theefe i. Thes. iiii before God. Let no man (sayth saint Paul to the Thessalonians) subtilly beguile his brother, let him not defraud him in his busines: For the lord is reuenger of suche deceiptes. Wherevppon he that wyll haue a good conscience to God, that la­bouring man, I say, which dependeth wholye vpon Gods benediction, ministring all thynges sufficient for his liuing, let hym vse his tyme in faythful labour, and when his labour by sicknes or other misfortune doth ceasse, yet let him think for that in his health he serued GOD and his neyghbour truely, he shall not want in tyme of necessitie. God vppon respect of his fidelitie in health, wyll recompence his indigence, to moue the heartes of good men, to relieue suche decayed men in sicknesse. Where otherwyse, whatsoeuer is gotten by idlenesse, shall haue no foyson to helpe in tyme of neede. Let the labouryng man therfore eschew for his part, this vice of idlenesse and deceipt, remembring that saint Paul exhor­teth Ephes. iiii. euery man to lay away al deceipt, dissimula­tion and lying, and to vse trueth & plainenesse to his neyghbour, because (sayth he) we be mem­bers together in one body, vnder one head Christ our sauiour. And here myght be charged the ser­uing men of this Realme, who spend their tyme in much idlenesse of life, nothyng regardyng the oportunitie of their time, forgetting how seruice is no heritage, howe age will creepe vpon them: where wysdome were, they should expende theyr idle time in some good businesse, whereby they myght increase in knowledge, & so the more wor­thy [Page 507] to be readye for euery mans seruice. It is a great rebuke to them, that they studie not eyther to write fayre, to kepe a booke of accompt, to stu­die the tongues, and so to get wysdome & know­ledge in suche bookes and workes, as be nowe plentifully set out in print of all maner langua­ges. Let young men consyder the pretious va­lue of their time, and wast it not in idlenesse, in iolitie, in gaming, in banqueting, in ruffians company. Youth is but vanitie, and must be ac­compted for before God. Howe mery and glad so­euer thou be in thy youth, O young man (sayth the preacher) how glad soeuer thy heartbe in thy Eccle. xi. young dayes, how fast and freely soeuer thou fo­lowe the waies of thine owne heart, and the lust of thyne owne eyes, yet be thou sure that God shal bring thee into iudgement for al these thin­ges. God of his mercie put it into the heartes & mindes of all them that haue the sworde of pu­nishment in their hands, or haue families vnder their gouernance, to labour to redres this great enormitie, of al such as liue idelly and vnprofita­bly in the cōmon weale, to the great dishonour of God, & the greeuous plague of his seely people. To leaue sinne vnpunished, and to neglect the good bryngyng vp of youth, is nothyng els but to kindle the Lordes wrath agaynst vs, and to heape plagues vpon our owne heades. As long as the adulterous people were suffered to liue li­cenciously without reformation: so long dyd the plague continue and increase in Israel, as ye may see in the booke of Numbers. But when Num. 25. due correction was done vpon them, the Lordes [Page 508] anger was straightway pacified, and the plague ceassed. Let al officers therefore loke straightly to their charge. Let all maisters of housholdes re­fourme this abuse in their families. Let them vse the aucthoritie that God hath geuen them. Let them not mainteyne vagaboundes and idle persons, but deliuer the Realme and their house­holdes from suche noysome loyterers, that idle­nesse, the mother of al mischeefe, being cleane ta­ken away, almyghtie God may turne his dread­ful anger away from vs, & cōfirme the couenant of peace vpon vs for euer, through the merites of Jesus Christ our only Lord & sauiour, to whom with the father and the holy ghost, be all honour and glory, worlde without ende.

Amen.

An Homilee of repentaunce, and of true reconciliation vnto God.

THere is nothing that the ho­ly ghost doth so much labour in all the scriptures to beate into mens heads, as repen­taunce, amendement of life, and speedye returnyng vnto the lord God of hoastes. And no maruayle why. For we do daily and hourely by our wickednes and stub­burne disobedience, horriblye fall awaye from God, thereby purchasing vnto our selues (yf he shoulde deale with vs accordyng to his iustice) eternall dampnation. So that no doctrine [Page 509] is so necessarie in the Churche of God, as is the The doctrine of repentance is most neces­sarie. doctrine of repentaunce & amendement of lyfe. And veryly the true preachers of the Gospell of the kingdome of heauen, and of the glad and ioy­full tidinges of saluation, haue alwayes in their godly sermons and preachinges vnto the people, ioyned these two together, I meane repentance and forgeuenes of sinnes, euen as our Sauiour Jesus Christe did appoynt him selfe, saying, So it behoued Christe to suffer, & to ryse agayne the thirde day, and that repentance and forgeuenes Luk. xiiii. of sinnes should be preached in his name among all nations. And therefore the holy Apostle doth in the actes speake after this maner: I haue wit­nessed both to the Jewes & to the Gentiles, that Actes. xx. repentaunce towardes God, and fayth towards our Lord Jesu Christe. Dyd not John Baptist, Zacharias sonne, begin his ministerie with the Matth. iii. doctrine of repentaunce, saying, Repent, for the kingdome of God is at hande? The like doctrine Matth. iiii did our sauiour Jesus Christe preache hym selfe, and cōmaunded his Apostles to preache ye same. I myght here alleage very many places out of ye prophetes, in the whiche this most holsome doc­trine of repentaunce, is very earnestly vrged, as most nedefull for all degrees and orders of men, but one shalbe sufficient at this present tyme. These are the words of Joel the prophete. Ther­fore also nowe the Lorde sayth, Returne vnto Ioel. ii. me with al your heart, with fastyng, weepyng, and mournyng, rent your heartes and not your clothes, and returne vnto the Lorde your God, for he is gratious and merciful, slow to an­ger, [Page 510] and of great compassion, and redy to pardon [...] perpetuall [...]ule whiche all [...]ust folowe. wickednes. Wherby it is geuen vs to vnderstād, that we haue here a perpetuall rule appoynted vnto vs, which ought to be obserued and kept at all times, & that there is none other way where­by the wrath of god may be pacified, and his an­ger asswaged, that the fiercenes of his furie, and the plagues or destruction, which by his ryghte­ous iudgement he had determined to bring vpō vs, maye depart, be remoued and taken away. Where he sayth, But nowe therefore, sayth the Lord, returne vnto me: It is not without great importaunce, that the prophete speaketh so. For he had afore set foorth at large vnto them, the horrible vengeaunce of god, which no man was able to abide, and therfore he doth moue them to repentaunce, to obtayne mercie, as yf he shoulde say: I wyl not haue these thinges to be so taken, as though there were no hope of grace left. For although ye do by your sinnes deserue to be vt­terly destroyed, and God by his righteous iudge­mēts hath determined to bryng no smal destruc­tion vppon you, yet nowe that ye are in a maner on the very edge of the sworde, yf ye wyll spedyly returne vnto hym, he wyll most gently and most mercifully receaue you into fauour again. Wher­by we are admonished, that repentaunce is ne­uer to late, so that it be true and earnest. For sith that God in the scriptures wylbe called our fa­ther, doubtlesse he doth followe the nature and propertie of gentle and mercifull fathers, which Luke. xv. seeke nothing so much, as the returning againe, and amendement of their chyldren, as Christe [Page 511] doth aboundauntly teache in the parable of the prodigall sonne. Doth not the Lorde hym selfe Ezec. 18. Esai. i. say by the prophete: I wyll not the death of the wicked, but that he turne from his wicked waies and liue? And in another place: If we confesse i. Iohn. ii. our sinne, God is faythfull and righteous to for­geue vs our sinnes, and to make vs cleane from all wickednesse. Whiche moste comfortable pro­mises are confyrmed by manye examples of the scriptures. When the Jewes dyd wyllingly re­ceaue and embrace the wholesome counsel of the prophete Esai, God by and by dyd reache his hel­ping hande vnto them, and by his angell, dyd in Esai. 37. one nyght slea the moste worthye and valiaunt souldiers of Sennacheribs campe. Whereunto may kyng Manasses be added, who after al ma­ner of dampnable wickednes, returned vnto the ii. Par. 33. Lorde, and therefore was hearde of hym, and re­stored againe into his kingdome. The same grace and fauour dyd the sinfull woman Magdalene, Zacheus, the poore theefe, and many other feele. Luk. 7. 16. All whiche thynges ought to serue for our comfort agaynst the temptations of our consci­ences, whereby the deuill goeth about to shake, or rather to ouerthrowe our faith. For euery one of vs ought to applye the same vnto hym selfe, and say: yet nowe returne vnto the Lorde, ney­ther let the remembraunce of thy former lyfe dis­courage thee, yea the more wicked that it hath ben, the more feruent and earnest let thy repen­taunce or returnyng be, and foorth with thou shalt feele the eares of the Lorde wide open vnto thy prayers. But let vs more narowly loke vpon [Page 512] the cōmaundement of the Lorde touchyng this matter. Turne vnto me (sayth he by his prophete Joel) with al your heartes, with fasting, weping and mourning. Rent your heartes and not your garments. &c. In which wordes, he comprehen­deth al maner of things that can be spoken of re­pentaunce, whiche is a returning agayne of the whole man vnto God, from whom we be fallen away by sinne. But that ye whole discourse there­of may the better be borne away, we shall fyrst consyder in order foure principall poyntes, that is, from what we must returne, to whom we must returne, by whom we may be able to con­uert, and the maner howe to turne to GOD.

First, from whence, or from what thynges we must returne. Truely we muste returne from From whence we must re­turne. those things, whereby we haue ben withdrawē, pluckt, and led away from God. And these gene­rally are our sinnes, which as the holy prophete Esai doth testifie, do separate God and vs, and Esai. lix. hide his face, that he wyll not heare vs. But vn­der ye name of sinne, not only those grosse wordes and deedes, which by the common iudgement of men are counted to be filthy and vnlawfull, and so consequently abominable sinnes: but also the filthy lustes and inwarde concupiscences of the fleshe, whiche as (saint Paul testifieth) do resist the wyll and spirite of God, and therefore ought Galat. v. earnestly to be brydled and kept vnder. We must repent of the false and erronious opinions that we haue had of god, and the wicked superstition that doth breede of the same, the vnlawfull wor­shipping and seruice of God, and other lyke. All [Page 513] these thinges must they forsake, that will truely turne vnto the Lorde and repent aryght. For sith that for suche things the wrath of God commeth vpon the children of disobedience, no ende of pu­nishment Ephe. 5. ought to be looked for, as long as we continue in such thinges. Therfore they be here condempned, which will seeme to be repentaunt sinners, and yet will not forsake their Idolatrie and superstition. Secondlye, we muste see vnto whom we ought to returne. Reuertimini vsque ad me, sayeth the Lord: that is, Returne as farre as vnto me. We muste then returne vnto the [...]nto who [...] we ought to returne. Lord, yea we must returne vnto hym alone: for he alone is the trueth, and the fountayne of all goodnesse: But we muste labour that we do re­turne as farre as vnto hym, and that we do ne­uer cease nor reste till we haue apprehended and taken holde vpon him. But this must be done by fayth. For syth that God is a spirite, he can by no other meane be apprehended and taken hold vp­pon. Therefore, first they do greatly erre, which do not turne vnto God, but vnto the creatures, or vnto ye inuentions of men, or vnto their owne merites. Secondly, they that do begin to returne vnto the Lord, & do faynt in the myd way, afore they come to the marke that is appoynted vnto By whom [...] must returne v [...]o [...]. them. Thirdly, because we haue of our owne selues nothing to present vs to God, and do no lesse flee from him after our fall then our fyrst pa­rent Adam did, which when he had sinned, did seeke to hyde hym selfe from the syght of God, we haue nede of a mediatour for to bring and re­concile vs vnto him, who for our sinnes is angry [Page 514] with vs. The same is Jesus Christe, who being true and naturall God, equall and of one sub­staunce with the father, did at the tyme appoyn­ted take vpon hym our frayle nature, in the bles­sed virgins wombe, & that of her vndefyled sub­staunce, that so he myght be a mediatour be­twixt God and vs, and pacifie his wrath. Of hym doeth the father hym selfe speake from hea­uen, saying: This is my welbeloued sonne, in Mat. 3. whom I am wel pleased. And he him selfe in his Gospell doth crye out and saye: I am the waye, Ioh. xiiii. the truth, and the life, no man commeth vnto the father but by me. For he alone did with the sa­crifice Iohn. i. i. Pet. i. of his body and bloode, make satisfaction vnto the iustice of God for our sinnes. The Apo­stles do testifie, that he was exalted for to geue Act. v. Luke. 24. repentaunce and remission of sinnes vnto Isra­el. Both whiche thinges he hym selfe did com­maunde to be preached in his name. Therefore they are greatlye deceaued that preache repen­taunce without Christ, and teach the simple and ignoraunt that it consisteth onely in the workes of men. They may in deede speake many things of good workes, and of amendement of lyfe and Iohn. xv. maners: but without Christe they be all vayne and vnprofitable. They that thynke that they haue done much of them selues towardes repen­taunce, are so much more the farther from God, because that they do seeke those thinges in their owne workes and merites, which ought only to be sought in our sauiour Jesus Christ, and in the merites of his death, passion, and bloodshedding. Fourthly, this holy prophete Joel doth lyuelye [Page 515] expresse the maner of this our returning or repē ­taunce, comprehendyng all the inward and out­warde The maner o [...] o [...] returning. thinges that may be here obserued. First, he will haue vs to returne vnto God with our whole heart, whereby he doth remoue and put away all hypocrisie, lest the same myght iustly be sayde vnto vs: This people draweth neare vnto Esaias. 29. Mat. xv. me with their mouth, and worshippeth me with their lippes, but their heart is farre of from me. Secondlye, he requyreth a sincere & pure loue of godlynes, & of the true worshipping and seruice of God, that is to say, that forsakyng al maner of thinges that are repugnaunt and contrary vnto Gods wil, we do geue our heartes vnto him, and all the whole strength of our bodyes and soules, according to that which is written in the lawe: Thou shalt loue the Lorde thy God with all thy Deut. 6. heart, with all thy soule, & with all thy strength. Here therefore nothing is left vnto vs, that we may geue vnto the worlde, and vnto the lustes of the flesh. For sith that the heart is the fountayne of al our works, as many as do with their whole heart turne vnto the Lord, do liue vnto him one­lye. Neyther do they yet repent truelye, that hal­tyng Haltyng on both sydes. on both sydes, do otherwhiles obey god, but by & by do thynk, that laying him aside, it is law­full for them to serue the worlde & the fleshe. And because that we are letted by the natural corrup­tion of our owne fleshe, & the wycked affections of the same, he doeth bid vs also to returne with fasting, not thereby vnderstanding a superstiti­ous abstinence and chosing of meates: but a true discipline or tamyng of the fleshe, whereby the [Page 516] norishmentes of filthy lustes, and of stubborne contumacie and pryde, may be withdrawen and pluckt awaye from it. Whereunto he doth adde weeping and mourning, whiche do conteine an outwarde profession of repentaunce, which is very needefull & necessary, that so we may part­ly set foorth the ryghteousnes of God, when by such meanes we do testifye that we deserued pu­nishmentes at his handes, and partly stoppe the offence that was openlye geuen vnto the weake. This did Dauid see, who beyng not content to haue be wept and be wailed his sinnes priuately, Psal. 25. would publiquelye in his Psalmes declare and set forth the ryghteousnes of God, in punishing sinne, and also stay them that mought haue abu­sed his example to sinne the more boldely. Ther­fore they are farthest from true repentaunce, that wyll not confesse and acknowledge their sinnes, nor yet bewaile them, but rather do most vngod­ly glory and reioyce in them. Now least any man shoulde thinke that repentaunce doeth consist in outward weeping and mourning onely, he doth rehearse that wherein ye cheefe of the whole mat­ter doth lye, when he sayth: Rent your heartes, Psal. 52. and not your garmentes, and turne vnto the Lord your God. For the people of the East part of the worlde were wont to rent theyr garmen­tes, if anye thing had happened vnto them that seemed intollerable. This thing did hypocrites sometyme counterfaite and followe, as though the whole repentaunce did stande in suche out­warde Hypocrites do counterfait all maner of [...]hinges. gesture. He teacheth then, that an other maner of thing is requyred, that is, that they [Page 517] be contrite in their heartes, that they must vtter­lye detest and abhorre sinnes, and being at defy­aunce with them, returne vnto the Lorde theyr God, from whom they went awaye before. For God hath no pleasure in the outwarde ceremo­nie, but requyreth a contrite and humble heart, which Psal. 51. he will neuer dispyse, as Dauid doth testi­fie. There is therefore none other vse to these outwarde ceremonies, but as farre foorth as we are stirred vp by them, and do serue to the glorie of God, and to the edifying of other.

Now doth he adde vnto this doctrine or exhor­tation, [...]ow repen­taunce is [...] vnprost [...]able. certayne godlye reasons, whiche he doeth grounde vpon the nature and propertie of God, and whereby he doth teach, that true repentaūce can neuer be vnprofitable or vnfruitfull. For as in all other thinges mens heartes do quaile and faynt, if they once perceaue that they trauayle in vayne: Euen so most specially in this matter, muste we take heede and beware that we suffer not our selues to be perswaded that all that we do is but labour lost. For thereof eyther sodayne desperation doth aryse, or a licentious boldnesse to sinne, which at length bringeth vnto despera­tion. Least any suche thing then shoulde happen vnto them, he doth certifie them of the grace and goodnes of God, who is alwayes moste redye to receaue them into fauour agayne, that turne speedylye vnto him. Which thing he doth proue with the same titles whorwith god doth discribe and set foorth himselfe vnto Moyses, speaking Exod. 34. on this maner: For he is gracious and merciful, slowe to anger, of great kyndnesse, and repenteth [Page 518] hym of the eui [...], thatis, suche a one as is sorye for your afflictious. Fyrst he calleth hym gentle & gracious, as he who of his own nature is more prompt and redye to do good, then to punyshe. Whereunto this saying of Esaias the Prophete Esaias. 55. seemeth to parteyne, where he sayeth: Let the wycked forsake his waye, and the vnryghteous his owne imaginations, and returne vnto the Lorde, and he will haue pitie on him, and to our God, for he is verye redye to forgeue. Secondly, he doth attribute vnto him mercy, or rather (ac­cordyng Psal. 103. to the Hebrewe word) the bowels of mer­cies, whereby he signifyed the naturall affecti­ons of parentes towardes their children. Which thing Dauid doth set foorth goodlye, saying: As a father hath compassion on his children, so hath the Lorde compassion on them that feare hym, for he knoweth whereof we be made, he remem­breth that we are but duste. Thyrdlye, he sayth, that he is slowe to anger, that is to saye, long sufferyng, and whiche is not lightly prouoked to wrath. Fourthly, that he is of muche kindnesse, for he is that bottomlesse well of all goodnesse, who reioyceth to do good vnto vs. Therefore did he create and make men, that he myght haue whom he shoulde do good vnto, and make parta­kers of his heauenly ryches. Fifthlye, he repen­teth of the euyll, that is to saye, he doeth call backe agayne, & reuoke the punyshment whiche he had threatned, when he seeth men repent, turne, and amende. Whereupon we do not with­out a iust cause, detest and abhorre the dampna­ble [...] the [...] oppinion of them which do most wickedlye go [Page 519] about to perswade the simple and ignoras [...]t peo­ple, that if we chaunce after we be once come to God, and graffed in his sonne Jesu Christe, to fall into some ho [...]rible sinne, repentaunce shall be vnprofitable vnto vs, there is no more hope of reconciliation, or to be receaued agayne into the fauour and mercy of God. And that they may geue the better colour vnto their pestilent and pernicious errour, they do commonlye bryng in the sixth & tenth Chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrues, and the second Chapter of the seconde Epistle of Peter, not consyderyng that in those places the holy Apostles do not speake of the dai­ly falles, that we as long as we cary about this body of sinne are subiect vnto: but of the finall fallyng away from Christ and his Gospel, which Mat. 12. Mark. 3. The sinne a­gaynst the holy ghost. is a sinne agaynst the holy ghost that shall neuer he forgeuen, because that they that do vtterlye forsake the knowen trueth, do hate Christe and his worde, they do crucifie and mocke him (but to their vtter destruction) and therefore fall into desperation, and cannot repent. And that this is the true meanyng of the holy spirite of God, it appeareth by manye other places of the Scrip­tures, which promiseth vnto all true repentaunt sinners, and to them that with their whole hart do returne vnto the Lorde their God, free par­don and remission of their sinnes. For the pro­bation hereof, we reade this: O Israel (sayeth Hiere. 4. the holy prophete Hieremie) if thou returne, re­turne vnto me sayeth the Lorde, and if thou put away thyne abominations out of any syght, then shalte thou not be moued. Agayne, these are [Page 520] Esaias words: Let the wicked forsake his owne wayes, and the vnrighteous his owne imagina­tions, Esaias. 55. and turne agayne vnto the Lorde, and he will haue mercye vpon hym, and to our God, for he is redye to forgeue. And in the prophet Ozee, Ozee. 6. the godlye do exhort one another after this man­ner: Come and let vs turne againe vnto the lord, for he hath smitten vs, and he will heale vs, he hath wounded vs, and he will bynde vs vp a­gayne. It is most euident and playne, that these [...]. thinges ought to be vnderstanded of them that were with the Lorde afore, and by their sinnes and wickednesse were gone awaye from hym. For we do not turne agayne vnto hym with whom we were neuer before, but we come vnto him. Nowe, vnto all them that will returne vn­faynedlye vnto the Lorde their God, the fauour and mercye of God vnto forgeuenesse of sinnes, is liberally offered. Whereby it followeth necessa­rilye, Eccle. 7. i. Iohn. i. that although we do, after we be once come to God and graffed in his sonne Jesus Christe, fall into great sinnes (for there is no ryghteous man vpon the earth that sinneth not, and if we saye we haue no sinne, we deceaue our selues, & the trueth is not in vs) yet if we ryse agayne by repentaunce, and with a full purpose of amende­ment of lyfe do flee vnto the mercye of God, ta­king sure holde thereupon, through fayth in his sonne Jesu Christe, there is an assured and infal­lible hope of pardon and remission of the same, & that we shall be receaued agayne into the fauour of our heauenly father. It is written of Dauid: Act. 13. I haue founde a man accordyng to myne owne [Page 521] heart, or, I haue found Dauid the sonne of Jesse, a man accordyng to myne owne heart, who will do all thinges that I wyll. This is a godly com­mendation of Dauid. It is also moste certayne, 2. Sam. 7. that he did stedfastly beleue the promise that was made hym, touching the Messias, who shoulde come of him touching the fleshe, and that by the same fayth he was iustifyed, and graffed in our sauiour Jesu Christ to come, and yet afterwards he fell horribly, committing moste detestable ad­ultrye 2. Sam. 11. and damnable murther, and yet assone as he cryed peccaui, I haue sinned vnto the Lord, his sinne beyng forgeuen, he was receaued into fauour agayne. Now will we come vnto Peter, 2. Sam. 12. Peter. of whom no man can doubte but that he was graffed in our sauiour Jesus Christe, long afore his deniall. Whiche thing may easylye be proued by the aunswere whiche he did in his name, and in the name of his fellowe Apostles, make vnto our sauiour Jesu Christ, when he saide vnto thē: Will ye also go away? Maister (sayth he) to whō Iohn. 6. shall we go? Thou haste the wordes of eternall lyfe, and we beleue and knowe that thou art the Christe the sonne of the lyuing God. Whereunto may be added the lyke confession of Peter, where Christ doth geue this most infallible testimonie: Thou art blessed Simon the sonne of Jonas, for neither fleshe nor blood hath reuealed this vnto thee, but my father which is in heauen. These words are sufficient to proue that Peter was al­redye iustifyed, through this his lyuelye fayth in the onely begotten sonne of god, wherof he made so notable and so solemyne a confession. But did [Page 522] not he afterwardes moste cowardlye denye his maister, although he had heard of hym: Whoso­euer denyeth me before men, I wyll denye hym before my father? Neuerthelesse, assone as with Mat. 26. Mat. 10. weeping eyes & with a sobbyng heart he did ac­knowledge his offence, and with earnest repen­tance did flee vnto the mercy of God, taking sure holde thereupon, through faith in him whom he had so shamefullye denyed, his sinne was forge­uen him, & for a certificate and assurance therof, the roome of his Apostleship was not denyed vnto him. But now marke what doth followe. After the same holy Apostle had on Whitsondaye Act. 2. with the reste of the Disciples receaued the gyft of the holy ghost most aboundauntly, he commit­ted no smal offence in Antiochia, by brynging the consciences of the faythfull into doubt by his ex­ample, Galath. 2. so that Paule was faine to rebuke him to his face, because that he walked not vprightlye, or went not the ryght way in the Gospell. Shall we now say, that after this greeuous offence, he was vtterly excluded and shut out from the grace and mercy of God, & that this his trespasse, wher­by he was a stumbling blocke vnto manye, was vnpardonable? God defende we shoulde saye so. But as these examples are not brought in, to the ende that we shoulde thereby take a boldnesse to sinne, presuming on the mercye and goodnesse of God, but to the ende that if through the frayle­nesse of our owne fleshe and the temptation of the Deuill we fall into the lyke sinnes, we shoulde in no wyse dispayre of the mercy and goodnes of God: Euen so muste we beware and take heede, [Page 523] that we do in no wise thinke in our heartes, ima­gine, What we [...] be more of. or beleue, that we are able to repent aright, or to tourne effectuallye vnto the Lorde by our owne myght and strength. For this must be ve­rifyed in all men: Without me ye can do nothing. Iohn. 15. 2. Cor. 3. Agayne: Of our selues we are not able as much as to thynke a good thought. And in another place: It is God that worketh in vs both the wyl Phillip. 2. and the deede. For this cause, although Hiere­mie had sayde before, If thou returne, O Isra­el, Hiere. 4. returne vnto me, sayeth the Lorde: Yet af­terwardes he sayeth, Turne thou me, O Lorde, and I shall be turned, for thou art the Lorde my God. And therefore that holye wryter and aun­cient father Ambrose doth playnely affirme, that Ambros. de vocat. gentium. lib. 1. ca. 9. the turnyng of the heart vnto God, is of God, as the Lorde hym selfe doth testifie by his prophete, saying: And I will geue thee an heart to knowe me, that I am the Lorde, and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, for they shal re­turne vnto me with their whole heart. These thinges beyng consydered, let vs earnestlye pray vnto the liuyng God our heauenlye father, that he wyll vouchsafe by his holye spirite, to worke a true and vnfained repentance in vs, that after the paynefull labours and trauayles of this lyfe, we may liue eternally with his sonne Jesus Christe, to whom be all prayse and glorye for euer and euer.

Amen.

¶ The seconde parte of the Homilee of Repentaunce.

HJtherto haue ye heard (wel beloued) how needeful & ne­cessary the doctrine of repen­taunce is, & how earnestly it is throughout all the scrip­tures of God vrged and set foorth, both by the auncient prophetes, by our Sauiour Jesu Christ, & his Apostles, and that forasmuche as it is the conuertion or turning agayne of the whole man vnto God, from whom we go away by sinne, these four pointes ought to be obserued, That is, from whence or from what thinges we muste returne, vnto whom this our returnyng muste be made, by whose meanes it ought to be done that it may be effectual, and last of all, after what sort we ought to behaue our selues in the same, that it may be profitable vnto vs, and at­tayne vnto the thing that we do seeke by it. Ye haue also learned, that as the opinion of them that denie the benefite of repentaunce vnto those that after they be come to God and graffed in our sauiour Jesu Christe, do through the fraylenesse of theyr fleshe, and the temptation of the deuill, fall into some greeuous and detestable sinne, is most pestilent and pernitious: So we muste be­ware, that we do in no wyse thynke that we are able of our owne selues and of our own strength to retourne vnto the Lorde our God, from whom we are gone awaye by our wyckednesse and sinne. Nowe it shall be declared vnto you, [Page 525] what be the true partes of repentaunce; & what thinges ought to moue vs to repent, and to re­turne vnto the Lorde our God with all speede. Repentaunce (as it is sayde before) is a true re­turning vnto God, whereby men, forsakyng vt­terlye their idolatrie and wickednes, do with a lyuelye fayth embrace, loue, and worship the true lyuyng God onelye, and geue them selues to all maner of good workes, whiche by Gods worde they knowe to be acceptable vnto him. Nowe there be foure partes of repentaunce, which be­yng There be foure partes of repentaunce set together, maye be lykened to an easie and short ladder, whereby we may clymbe from the bottomles pit of perdition, that we caste our selues into by our daylye offences and greeuous sinnes, vp into the castle or to wre of eternal and endelesse saluation. The fyrst is the contrition of the heart. For we must be earnestly sorye for our sinnes, and vnfaynedlye lament & be wayle that we haue by them so greuously offended our most bounteous and mercifull God, who so tenderlye loued vs, that he gaue his onely begotten sonne to dye a most bitter death, & to shed his deare hart blood for our redemption and deliueraunce. And veryly this inward sorowe and greefe being con­ceaued in the heart for the haynousnesse of sinne, if it be earnest and vnfayned, is as a sacrifice to God, as the holy prophete Dauid doth testifye, saying: A sacrifyce to God is a troubled spyrite, Psal. 51. a contrite and broken heart, O Lord thou wylt not dispyse. But that this may take place in vs, we must be diligent to reade and heare the scrip­tures and worde of God, whiche most lyuely do [Page 526] paynt out before your eyes our naturall vnclean­lynesse, and the enormitie of our sinfull lyfe. For vnlesse we haue a through feeling of our sinnes, how can it be that we shoulde earnestlie be sorye for them? Afore Dauid did heare the worde of the Lorde by the mouth of the prophet Nathan, ii. Sa. xii. what heauinesse I praye you was in hym for the adultrie and murther that he had committed? So that it myght be sayd right wel, that he slept in his owne sinne. We reade in the Actes of the Apostles, that when the people had hearde the Act. iiii. Sermon of Peter, they were compunct and pric­ked in theyr heartes. Whiche thing woulde ne­uer haue ben, if they had not heard that holsome Sermon of Peter. They therefore that haue no mynde at all neyther to reade, nor yet to heare Gods word, there is but smal hope of them that they wil as muche as once set their feete, or take holde vpon the fyrst staffe or steppe of this ladder: but rather will sinke deeper and deeper into the bottomlesse pit of perdition. For if at anye tyme through the remorse of their conscience, which accuseth them, they feele any inwarde greefe, so­rowe, or heauines for their sinnes, forasmuch as they want the salue and comfort of Gods worde, which they do dispyse, it will be vnto them ra­ther a meane to bryng them to vtter desperation then otherwyse. The seconde is, an vnfayned confession and acknowledgyng of our sinnes vn­to God, whom by them we haue so greeuouslye offended, that if he shoulde deale with vs accor­dyng to his iustyce, we do deserue a thousande helles, if there coulde be so manye. Yet if we [Page 527] wyll with a sorowfull and contrite hearte make an vnfayned confession of them vnto God, Ezech. 18. he will freely and frankly forgeue them, & so put all our wickednes out of remembraunce before the syght of his maiestie, that they shall no more be thought vppon. Hereunto doth parteyne the golden saying of the holy prophet Dauid, where he sayth on this maner: Then I acknowledged Psal. xxxi. my sinne vnto thee, neither did I hyde myne in­iquitie: I sayde, I will confesse agaynst my selfe my wickednes vnto the Lorde, & thou forgauest the vngodlines of my sinne. These are also the wordes of John the Euangelist: If we confesse i. Iohn. i. our sinnes, God is faythfull & ryghteous to for­geue vs our sinnes, & to make vs cleane from all our wickednes. Which ought to be vnderstanded of the confession that is made vnto God. For these are saint Augustines wordes: That confession In Epist. ad Iulian [...] comitem. 30. whiche is made vnto God, is requyred by Gods lawe, whereof John the apostle speaketh, saying: If we confesse our sinnes, God is faythfull and ryghteous to forgeue vs our sinnes, and to make vs cleane from all our wickednesse. For without this confession, sinne is not forgeuen. This is then the cheefest & most principal confession that in the scriptures & worde of God we are bydden to make, and without the whiche we shal neuer obteyne pardon and forgeuenesse of our sinnes. In deede, besydes this there is another kynde of confession, whiche is needefull and necessarye. And of the same doth Saint James speake after this maner, saying: Acknowledge your faultes one to another, and praye one for another, that [Page 528] ye may be saued. As if he should saye: Open that whiche greeueth you, that a remedye maye be founde. And this is commaunded both for hym that complayneth, & for hym that heareth, that the one should shew his greefe to the other. The true meaning of it is, that the faythfull ought to acknowledge their offences, whereby some ha­tred, rancour, grudge, or malyce, hauyng rysen or growen among them one to another, that a brotherlye reconciliation maye be had, without the which nothing that we do can be acceptable vnto God, as our sauiour Jesus Christ doth wit­nesse Mat. 5. himselfe, saying: When thou offerest thyne offeryng at the aulter, if thou remembrest that thy brother hath ought agaynst thee, leaue there thyne offryng, & go and be reconciled, and when thou art reconciled, come and offer thine offring. It may also be thus taken, that we ought to con­fesse our weakenesse and infirmities one to ano­ther, to the ende that knowing eche others frail­nesse, we may the more earnestly pray together vnto almyghtye God our heauenly father, that he will vouchsafe to pardon vs our infirmities, for his sonne Jesus Christes sake, and not to im­pute them vnto vs, when he shall render to eue­ry man according to his workes. And where as the aduersaries go about to wrest this place for to maynteyne their auriculer confession withal, they are greatlye deceaued themselues, and do Aunswere to the aduersa­ries, which mainteyne au­riculer con­fession. shame fullye deceaue others. For if this texte ought to be vnderstanded of auriculer confession: then the Priestes are as muche bounde to con­fesse them selues vnto the laye people, as the lay [Page 529] people are bound to confesse them selues to them. And if to pray, is to absolue: then the laytie by this place hath as great aucthoritie to absolue the priestes, as the priestes haue to absolue the laytie. This dyd Iohannes Scotus, otherwyse Iohannes Scotus. li. 4. senten. distinc. 17. quest. 1. called Duns, well perceaue, who vppon this place wryteth on this maner, Neyther doth it seeme vnto me that James dyd geue this com­maundement, or that he dyd set it foorth as be­yng receaued of Christe. For fyrst and foremoste whence had he aucthoritie to bynde the whole Churche, syth that he was only Byshoppe of the Churche of Hierusalem? except thou wylt saye that the same Church was at the beginnyng the head Church, and consequently that he was the head Byshop, which thyng the sea of Rome wyll neuer graunt. The vnderstandyng of it then, is as in these wordes: Confesse your synnes one to another. A perswasion to humilitie, whereby he wylleth vs to confesse our selues generally vnto our neyghbours that we are synners, accordyng to this saying: If we say we haue no synne, we Math. 8. deceaue our selues, and the trueth is not in vs. And where that they do alleage this saying of our sauiour Jesu Christe vnto the Leaper, to proue auriculer confession to stande on Gods worde, Go thy way and shewe thy selfe vnto the prieste: Do they not see that the Leaper was cleansed from his leprosie afore he was by Christ sent vnto the priest for to shewe hym selfe vnto hym? By the same reason we must be cleansed from our spirituall leprosie, I meane, our synnes muste be forgeuen vs afore that we come to con­fession. [Page 530] What neede we then to tell foorth our synnes into the eare of the priest, sith that they be alredy taken away? Therefore holy Ambrose in his seconde sermon vpon the hundred and nyne­teenth Ambrose Psalme, doth say full well: Go shewe thy selfe vnto the prieste. Who is the true prieste, but he whiche is the prieste for euer after the order of Melchisedech? Whereby this holy father doth vnderstande, that both the priesthood and the law beyng chaunged, we ought to acknowledge none other prieste for delyueraunce from our synnes but our Sauiour Jesus Christe, who be­yng our soueraigne Byshop, doth with the sacri­fice of his body and blood, offered once for euer vppon the aulter of the crosse, moste effectuallye cleanse the spirituall leprosie, and washe awaye the synnes of all those that with true confession of the same do flee vnto hym. It is moste eui­dent and playne, that this auriculer confession hath not his warraunt of Gods worde, els it had not ben lawfull for Nectarius Byshoppe of Constantinople, vpon a iust occasion to haue put it downe. For when any thyng ordeyned of Nectari­us soro­menus ecclesiast. histo. li. 7. cap. 16. Lib. 10. confessio­num. ca. 3. God, is by the lewdenes of men abused, the abuse ought to be taken awaye, and the thyng it selfe suffered to remayne. Moreouer, these are Saint Augustines wordes: What haue I to do with men, that they shoulde heare my confession, as though they were able to heale all my diseases? A curious sorte of men to knowe another mans lyfe, and slouthfull to correct and amende their owne. Why do they seeke to heare of me what I am, whiche wyll not heare of thee what they [Page 531] are? And howe can they tell when they heare by me of my selfe, whether I tell the trueth or not, syth that no mortall man knoweth what is in man, but the spirite of man which is in him? Au­gustine woulde not haue written thus, if auricu­ler confession had ben vsed in his tyme. Beyng therfore not led with the conscience therof, let vs with feare and tremblyng, and with a true con­trite heart, vse that kynde of confession, that God doth commaunde in his worde, and then doubt­lesse, as he is faythfull and ryghteous, he wyll forgeue vs our synnes, and make vs cleane from all wyckednesse. I do not saye, but that if anye do fynde them selues troubled in conscience, they may repayre to their learned Curate or Pastour, or to some other godly learned man, and shewe the trouble & doubt of their conscience to them, that they may receaue at their hand the comfor­table salue of Gods worde: but it is agaynst the true Christian libertie, that any man shoulde be bound to the numbryng of his synnes, as it hath ben vsed heretofore in the tyme of blindnesse and ignoraunce.

The third part of repentaunce, is fayth, wher­by we do apprehende and take holde vppon the promises of God, touchyng the free pardon and forgeuenes of our synnes. Whiche promises are sealed vp vnto vs, with the death and bloodshed­dyng of his sonne Jesu Christe. For what should auayle and profite vs to be sorye for our sinnes, to lament and bewayle that we haue offen­ded our moste bounteous and mercyfull father, or to confesse and acknowledge our offen­ces [Page 532] and trespasses, though it be done neuer so ear­nestly, vnlesse we do stedfastly beleue, and be fully perswaded, that God for his sonne Jesu Christes sake, wyl forgeue vs al our synnes, and put them out of remembraunce, and from his syght? Ther­fore they that teach repentaunce without a liue­lye fayth in our sauiour Jesu Christe, do teache none other but Judas repentaunce, as all the The repen­taunce of the [...]ole men. Schole men do, whiche do onlye alowe these three partes of repentaunce: the contrition of the heart, the confession of the mouth, and the sa­tisfaction of the worke. But all these thynges we fynde in Judas repentaunce, whiche in out­warde appearaunce dyd farre exceede and passe Judas and his repentaunce. the repentaunce of Peter. For fyrst and foremost we reade in the gospel, that Judas was so sorow­full and heauie, yea that he was fylled with such Mat. 27. anguishe and vexation of mynde, for that which he had done, that he coulde not abide to lyue any longer. Dyd not he also afore he hanged hym selfe, make an open confession of his faulte, when he sayde, I haue synned, betraying the innocent blood? And veryly this was a very bolde confes­sion, whiche might haue brought hym to greate trouble. For by it he did lay to the hygh priestes & elders charge, the sheddyng of innocent blood, and that they were moste abhominable murthe­rers. He dyd also make a certayne kynde of satis­faction, when he dyd cast their money vnto them agayne. No suche thyng do we reade of Peter, al­though he had committed a very heynous synne, and most greeuous offence, in denying of his ma­ster. Peter and his repentaunce. We fynde that he went out and wept bytter­lye, [Page 533] whereof Ambrose speaketh on this maner: Peter was sory and wept, because he erred as a Depeni­tentia di­stin. 1. cap. petrus man. I do not fynde what he sayed, I know that he wept. I reade of his teares, but not of his sa­tisfaction. But howe chaunce that the one was receaued into fauour agayne with God, and the other cast away, but because that the one dyd by a lyuely fayth in hym whom he had denyed, take hold vpon the mercie of God, and the other wan­ted fayth, whereby he dyd dispayre of the good­nesse and mercie of God? It is euident and playn then, that although we be neuer so earnestly so­rye for our synnes, acknowledge and confesse them: yet all these thynges shalbe but meanes to bryng vs to vtter desperation, except we do stedfastly beleue, that God our heauenly father wyll for his sonne Jesu Christes sake, pardon and forgeue vs our offences and trespasses, and vtterly put them out of remembraunce in his syght. Therefore, as we sayde before, they that teache repentaunce without Christe, and a lyue­ly fayth in the mercie of God, do onely teache Cains or Judas repentaunce. The fourth is, an amendement of lyfe, or a newe lyfe in bryngyng foorth fruites worthy of repentaunce. For they that do truely repent, must be cleane altered and chaunged, they muste become newe creatures, they must be no more the same that they were before. And therefore thus sayde John Baptist vnto the Pharisees and Saduces that came Matth. 3. vnto his baptisme: O generation of vypers, who hath forewarned you to flee from the anger to come? bryng foorth therefore fruites worthy [Page 534] of repentaunce. Whereby we do learne, that if we wyll haue the wrath of God to be pacified, we muste in no wyse dissemble, but turne vnto hym agayne with a true and sounde repen­taunce, whiche may be knowne and declared by good fruites, as by moste sure and infallible signes thereof. They that do from the bottome of their heartes acknowledge their synnes, and are vnfaignedly sory for their offences, wyll cast of al hypocrisie, and put on true humilitie, and low­lynesse of heart. They wyll not onlye receaue the Phisition of the soule, but also with a moste feruent desyre long for hym. They wyll not only abstaine from the sinnes of their former lyfe, and from all other filthy vices, but also flee, exchew, and abhorre all the occasions of them. And as they dyd before geue them selues to vncleannesse of lyfe, so wyll they from henceforwardes with all diligence, geue them selues to innocencie, purenesse of lyfe, and true godlynesse. We haue the Niniuites for an example, whiche at the preachyng of Jonas dyd not onlye proclayme Ionas. 3. a generall fast, and that they shoulde euery one put on sackloth: but they all dyd turne from their euill wayes, and from the wyckednesse that was in their handes. But aboue all other, the Luk. 19. historie of Zacheus is moste notable. For beyng come vnto our sauiour Jesu Christe, he dyd say: Beholde Lorde, the halfe of my goodes I geue to the poore, and if I haue defrauded any man, or taken ought away by extortion or fraude, I do restore hym foure folde. Here we see that af­ter his repentaunce, he was no more the man [Page 535] that he was before, but was cleane chaunged and altered. It was so farre of, that he woulde continue and byde styll in his vnsatiable coue­tousnesse, or take ought awaye fraudulentlye from any man, t [...]at rather he was most wylling and redye to geue away his owne, and to make satisfaction vnto all them that he had done in­iurie and wrong vnto. Heare may we ryght well Luk. 7. adde the synfull woman, whiche when she came to our sauiour Jesu Christe, dyd powre downe suche aboundaunce of teares out of those wan­ton eyes of hers wherwith she had allured many vnto follie, that she dyd with them washe his feete, wypyng them with the heres of her head, whiche she was wont moste gloriously to set out, makyng of them a nette of the deuyll. Hereby we do learne, what is the satisfaction that God doth require of vs, which is, that we ceasse from euyll, and do good, and if we haue done anye man wrong, to endeuour our selues to make hym true amendes to the vttermoste of our po­wer, folowyng in this the example of Zacheus, and of this sin [...]ull woman, and also that good­ly lesson that John Baytist Zacharies sonne Iohn. 5. dyd geue vnto them that came to aske coun­sayle of hym. This was commonly the pe­naunce that Christe enioyned synners: Go thy way, and synne no more. Whiche penaunce we Iohn. 15. shall neuer be able to fulfyll, without the speciall grace of hym that doth say, Without me ye can do nothyng. It is therefore our partes, yf at least we be desyrous of the health and saluation [Page 536] of our owne selues, most earnestly to praye vnto our heauenly father, to assist vs with his holye spirite, that we may be able to hearken vnto the voyce of the true shephearde, and with due obedi­ence to folowe the same. Let vs hearken to the voyce of almightie God, when he calleth vs to re­pentaunce, let vs not harden our heartes, as suche Infidels do, who abuse the tyme geuen them of God to repent, and turne it to continue their pride and contempt against God and man, whiche knowe not howe much they heape Gods wrath vppon them selues, for the hardnesse of their heartes, whiche can not repent, at the day of vengeaunce. Where we haue offended the law of God, let vs repent vs of our straying from so good a Lorde. Let vs confesse our vnworthynesse before hym, but yet let vs trust in Gods free mer­cye for Christes sake for the pardon of the same. And from henceforth let vs endeuour our selues to walke in a newe lyfe, as newe borne babes, whereby we may glorifie our father which is in heauen, and thereby to beare in our consciences a good testimonie of our fayth. So at the last, to obteyne the fruition of euerlasting lyfe, through the merites of our saui­our, to whom be al prayse and honour for euer.

Amen.

The thirde parte of the Homilee of repentaunce.

IN the Nomilee last spoken vnto you (right welbelo­ued people in our sauiour Christ) ye heard of the true partes & tokens of repen­taunce, that is, heartie con­trition and sorowfulnes of our heartes, vnfaigned confession in worde of mouth for our vnworthy lyuyng before God, a stedfast fayth to the merites of our sauiour Christe for pardon, and a purpose of our selues by Gods grace to renounce our for­mer wycked lyfe, and a full conuersion to God in a newe lyfe, to glorifie his name, and to liue or­derly and charitably, to the comfort of our neigh­bour, in al righteousnes, and to lyue soberly and modestly to our selues, by vsing abstinence, and temperance in word & in deed, in mortifying our earthly members here vpō earth. Nowe for a fur­ther perswasion to moue you to those partes of repentance, I wil declare vnto you some causes, which should ye rather moue you to repentaunce. The causes that should moue vs to repent. Esai. 31.

Fyrst, the commaundement of God, who in so many places of the holy and sacred Scriptures, doth byd vs returne vnto hym. O ye chyldren of Israel (sayth he) turne agayne from your infi­delitie, wherein ye drowned your selues, Againe, Turne you, turne you from your euil wayes: Ezech. 33 For why wyll ye dye, O ye house of Israel? And in an other place, thus doth he speake by his ho­ly Ozee. 14 prophete Ozee: O Israel, returne vnto the Lorde thy God: For thou hast taken a great fall [Page 538] by thyne iniquitie. Take vnto you these wordes with you, when you turne vnto the Lorde and say vnto hym: Take away all iniquitie, and re­ceaue vs gratiously, so will we offer the calues of our lippes vnto thee. In all these places we haue an expresse commaundement geuen vnto vs of God for to returne vnto hym. Therefore we must take good heede vnto our selues, least wher­as we haue alredy by our manyfolde synnes and transgressions, prouoked and kindeled the wrath of God agaynst vs, we do by breakyng this his commaundemente, double our offences, and so heape styll dampnation vppon our owne heades by our dayly offences and trespasses, whereby we prouoke the eyes of his maiestie, we do well de­serue (if he should deale with vs accordyng to his iustice) to be put away for euer from the fruition of his glorye. Nowe muche more then are we worthy of the endlesse tormentes of hell, yf when we be so gently called againe after our rebellion, and commaunded to returne, we will in no wyse hearken vnto the voyce of our heauenlye father, but walke stil after the stubbornnes of our owne heartes?

Secondely, the moste comfortable and sweete promise, that the Lorde our God dyd of his mere mercy and goodnesse, ioyne vnto his comaunde­ment. For he doth not only say, Returne vnto me O Israel: but also, If thou wylt returne, and put Hier. 4. away all thyne abhominations out of my syght, thou shalt neuer be moued. These wordes also haue we in the Prophet Ezechiel: At what tyme Ezech. [...]8. soeuer a synner doth repent hym of his synne, [Page 539] from the bottome of his heart, I wyll put all his wyckednesse out of my remembraunce (sayth the Lorde) so that they shalbe no more thought vpon. Thus are we sufficiently instructed, that God wyll accordyng to his promise, freely par­don, forgeue, and forget al our synnes, so that we shal neuer be cast in the teeth with them, if, obey­ing his commaundement, and allured by his sweete promises, we wyll vnfaignedly returne vnto hym.

Thirdly, the filthinesse of synne which is such, that as long as we do abyde in it, God can not but detest and abhorre vs, neyther can there be any hope, that we shall enter into the heauenlye Hierusalem, except we be first made cleane & pur­ged from it. But this wyll neuer be, vnlesse forsa­kyng our former lyfe, we do with our whole heart returne vnto the Lorde our God, & with a full purpose of amendement of lyfe, flee vnto his mercy, taking sure hold therupon through fayth in the blood of his son Jesu Christe. If we should suspect any vncleannes to be in vs, wherfore the Simili­tude. earthly prince should lothe and abhorre the sight of vs, what paynes woulde we take to remoue & put it away? Howe muche more ought we with all diligence and speede that may be, to put away that vncleane filthynesse that doth separate and Esai. 59. make a diuision betwixt vs and our God, & that hideth his face from vs, that he wil not heare vs? And verily herein doth appeare howe filthie a thyng sin is, syth that it can by no other meanes be washed away, but by the blood of the onely begotten sonne of God. And shall we not from [Page 540] the bottome of our heartes detest and abhorre, & with all earnestnesse flee from it, syth that it dyd cost the deare heart blood of the onlye begotten sonne of God our sauiour & redeemer, to purge vs from it? Plato doth in a certayne place wryte, that if vertue coulde be seene with bodily eyes, all men woulde wonderfully be enflamed and kyndeled with the loue of it: Euen so on the con­trary, if we myght with our bodily eyes beholde the filthynesse of synne, and the vncleannes ther­of, we coulde in no wyse abyde it, but as most pre­sent and deadly poyson, hate and eschewe it. We haue a common experience of the same in them which when they haue committed any heynous offence, or some filthy and abhominable synne, if it once come to lyght, or if they chaunce to haue a through feelyng of it, they be so ashamed (their owne conscience puttyng before their eyes the filthynes of their acte) that they dare looke no man in the face, muche lesse that they shoulde be able to stande in the syght of God.

Fourthly, the vncertayntie and brittlenesse of our owne lyues, whiche is such, that we can not assure our selues, that we shall lyue one houre, or one halfe quarter of it. Whiche by experience we do fynde daily to be true, in them that beyng nowe mery and lustye, and sometymes feastyng and banquettyng with their freendes, do fall so­denly dead in the streetes, and otherwhyles vnder the boarde when they are yet at meate. These daily examples, as they are moste terri­ble and dreadfull, so ought they to moue vs to seeke for to be at one with our heauenlye iudge, [Page 541] that we may with a good conscience appeare be­fore hym, whensoeuer it shal please him for to cal vs, whether it be sodaynly or otherwyse, for we haue no more charter of our lyfe, then they haue. But as we are moste certayne that we shall dye, so are we most vncertayne when we shal dye. For our lyfe doth lye in the hande of God, who wyll take it away when it pleaseth hym. And veryly Death the Lordes [...]. when the hyghest somner of all, which is death, shall come, he wyll not be sayde nay: but we must foorth with be packyng, to be present before the iudgement seate of God, as he doth fynde vs ac­cordyng as it is wrytten: Wheras the tree falleth, Eccle. 11. whether it be towarde the South, or towarde the North, there it shall lye. Whereunto agreeth the saying of the holy martyr of God S. Ciprian, Contra Demetri­anum. Eccle. 5. saying: As God doth fynde thee when he doth call, so doth he iudge thee. Let vs therefore fo­lowe the counsayle of the wyse man, where he sayth: Make no tarrying to turne vnto the Lorde, and put not of from day to day. For so­denly shall the wrath of the Lorde breake foorth, and in thy securitie shalt thou be destroyed, and shalt perishe in tyme of vengeaunce. Whiche wordes I desyre you to marke diligently, because they do most lyuely put before our eyes, the fond­nesse of manye men, whiche abusyng the long sufferyng and goodnes of God, do neuer thynke on repentaunce or amendement of lyfe. Folowe not (sayth he) thyne owne mynde and thy strength, to walke in the wayes of thy heart, ney­ther say thou, who wyll bryng me vnder for my workes: For God the reuenger, wyll reuenge [Page 542] the wrong done by thee. And saye not, I haue synned, and what euyll hath come vnto me? For the almyghtie is a patient rewarder, but he wyll not leaue thee vnpunished. Because thy synnes are forgeuen thee, be not without feare to heape sin vpon synne. Say not neyther, The mercie of god is great, he wil forgeue my manifold sinnes: For mercy and wrath come from him, and his in­dignation commeth vpon vnrepentant synners. As if he should say? Art thou strong and mygh­tie? Art thou lustye and young? Haste thou the wealth and ryches of the worlde? Or when thou hast synned, hast thou receaued no punishment for it? Let none of all these thynges make thee to be the slower to repent, and to returne with speede vnto the Lorde. For in the day of punish­ment and of his sodayne vengeaunce, they shall not be able to helpe thee. And speciallye when thou art eyther by the preaching of Gods worde, or by some inwarde motion of his holy spirite, or els by some other meanes called vnto repen­taunce, neglect not the good occasion that is mi­nistred vnto thee, least when thou wouldest re­pent, thou hast not the grace for to do it. For to repent, is a good gyft of God, which he wyll ne­uer graunt vnto them, whiche lyuyng in carnal securitie, do make a mocke of his threatnynges, or seeke to rule his spirites as they list, as though his workyng & gyftes were tyed vnto their wyll. Fifthly, the auoydyng of the plagues of God, and the vtter destructiō that by his ryghteous iudge­ment doth hang ouer the heades of them all that will in no wyse returne vnto the Lorde: I wyll [Page 543] (saith the Lorde) geue them for a terrible plague Iere. 24. to all the kyngdomes of the earth, and for a re­proche, and for aprouerbe, and for a curse in all places where I shall cast them, and wyll send the sworde of famine, & the pestilence among them, tyll they be consumed out of the land. And wher­fore is this? Because they hardned their heartes, and woulde in no wyse returne from their euyll wayes, nor yet forsake the wyckednesse that was in their owne handes, that the fiercenesse of the Lordes furie myght departe from them. But yet Rom. 2. this is nothing in comparison of the intollerable and endlesse tormentes of hell fyre, whiche they shalbe fayne to suffer, who after their hardnesse of heart that can not repent, do heape vnto them selues wrath, against the day of anger, and of the declaration of the iust iudgement of God: Wher­as if we wyll repent, and be earnestly sory for our synnes, and with a full purpose of amendement of lyfe, flee vnto the mercie of our god, and taking sure holde thereuppon through fayth in our saui­our Jesus Christe, do bring foorth fruites wor­thy of repentaunce: he wyll not onlye powre his manifold blessynges vpon vs here in this world, but also at the last, after the paynefull trauayles of this lyfe, rewarde vs with the inheritaunce of his chyldren, whiche is the kyngdome of heauen, purchased vnto vs with the death of his sonne Jesu Christe our Lorde, to whom with the father and the holy ghoste, be all prayse, glory, and ho­nour, worlde with­out ende.

Amen.

❧ An Homilee a­gaynst disobedience and wyl­ful rebellion. The fyrst parte.

AS GOD the creatour and Lord of al thynges, appoyn­ted his angels and heauen­ly creatures in all obedience Psalm. 96. b. 8. &. 102 d. 20. & 148. a. 2. Dani. 3. c. 58. &. 7. c. 10. Mat. [...]6 c. 55 Coloss. 1. b 16. Heb. 1. b. 4. c. 14. Apoca. 19. b. 10. Gen. 2. c. 17. Gen. 1. d. 28. to serue and to honour his maiestie: so was it his wyl that man, his cheefe crea­ture vpon the earth, shoulde lyue vnder the obedience of his creator and Lord: and for that cause, God, assoone as he had created man, gaue vnto him a certayne precept and law, whiche he (beyng yet in the state of innocencie, & remaynyng in paradise) shoulde obserue as a pledge and token of his due and bounden obedi­ence, with denuntiation of death if he dyd trans­gresse & breake the said lawe & commaundement. And as God would haue man to be his obedient subiect, so did he make al earthly creatures subiect vnto man, who kept their due obedience vnto man so long as man remayned in his obedience vnto god: in the which obedience if man had con­tinued stil, there had ben no pouertie, no diseases, no sicknesse, no death, nor other miseries where­with mankynde is nowe infinitely and most mi­serably afflicted and oppressed. So here appea­reth the originall kyngdome of God ouer angels [Page 545] and man, and vniuersally ouer all thinges, and of man ouer earthly creatures whiche God had made subiect vnto him, and withall the felicitie and blessed state, whiche angels, man, and all creatures had remayned in, had they continued in due obedience vnto GOD theyr kyng. For as long as in this fyrst kyngdome the subiectes continued in due obedience to God theyr kyng, so long dyd God embrace all his subiectes with his loue, fauour, and grace, whiche to enioy, is perfect felicitie, whereby it is euident, that o­bedience is the principall vertue of all vertues, and in deede the verye roote of all vertues, and the cause of all felicitie. But as all felicitie and blessednesse shoulde haue continued with the continuaunce of obedience, so with the breache of obedience, and breaking in of rebellion, all vi­ces and miseries dyd withall breake in, and ouerwhelme the worlde. The first aucthour of which rebellion, the roote of all vices, and mo­ther of all mischeefes, was Lucifer, fyrst Gods most excellent creature, and moste bounden sub­iect, Mat. 4. b. 9. Mat. 25. d. 43 Ioh. 8. f. 44. 2. Pet. 2. a. 4. Epi. Iud. a. 6 Apo. 12. b. 7. who by rebelling agaynst the maiestie of God, of the bryghtest and most glorious angell, is become the blackest and moste foulest feende & deuill: and from the heyght of heauen, is fallen into the pit and bottome of hell.

Here you may see the first aucthour and foun­der of rebellion, and the rewarde thereof, here Gene. 3. a. 1. &c. Sap. 2. d. 24. Gen. 3. b. 8. 9 &c. c. 17. &. d. 23. 24. you maye see the graunde captayne and father of all rebels, who perswadyng the folowyng of his rebellion agaynst GOD their creator and Lorde, vnto our fyrst parentes Adam and Eue, [Page 546] brought them in high displeasure with GOD, wrought their exile and vanishment out of para­dise, a place of all pleasure and goodnesse, into this wretched earth and vale of all miserie, pro­cured vnto them sorowes of their mindes, mis­cheefes, sicknesse, diseases, death of theyr bodies, and whiche is farre more horrible then all worldly and bodyly mischeefes, he had wrought thereby theyr eternall and euerlastyng death and dampnation, had not GOD by the obedi­ence Rom. 5. c. 12. &c. &. d 19. &c. of his sonne Jesus Christe repayred that, whiche man by disobedience and rebellion had destroyed, and so of his mercie, had pardoned and forgeuen hym: of whiche all and singuler the premises, the holye scriptures do beare re­corde in sundrye places. Thus you do see, that neither heauen nor paradise coulde suffer anye rebellion in them, neyther be places for any re­bels to remayne in. Thus became rebellion, as you see, both the first and greatest, and the verye roote of all other sinnes, and the first and princi­pall cause both of all worldlye and bodyly mise­ries, sorowes, diseases, sicknesses, and deathes, and whiche is infinitely worse then all these, as is sayde, the very cause of death and dampnation eternall also. After this breache of obedience to God, and rebellion agaynst his maiestie, all mis­cheefes and miseries breaking in therewith, and ouerflowyng the worlde, lest all thinges shoulde come vnto confusion and vtter ruine. GOD Gen. 3. d. 17. foorthwith by lawes geuen vnto mankynde, re­payred agayne the rule and order of obedience thus by rebellion ouerthrowen, and besides the [Page 547] obedience due vnto his maiestie, he not onlye Gene. 3. c. 16. ordayned that in families and housholdes, the wyfe shoulde be obedient vnto her husbande, the chyldren vnto their parentes, the seruauntes vnto their maisters: but also when mankynde increased, and spread it selfe more largely ouer Iob. 34. d. 30. &. 36. a. 7. Eccl. 8. a. 2. &. 10. c. 16. 17. &. d. 20. Psal. 18. g. 50. &. 20. b 6. &. 21. a. 1. &. 144. a. 1. Pro. 8. b. 15 the worlde, he by his holye worde dyd constitute and ordayne in Cities and Countreys seuerall and speciall gouernours and rulers, vnto whom the residue of his people shoulde be obedient.

As in readyng of the holye scriptures, we shall finde in very many and almoste infinite places, aswell of the olde Testament, as of the newe, that kynges and princes, aswell the euill as the good, do raigne by Gods ordinaunce, and that subiectes are bounden to obey them: that God doth geue princes wysdome, great power, and aucthoritie: that God defendeth them agaynst their enemies, and destroyeth their enemies hor­ribly: that the anger and displeasure of the prince is as the roaring of a Lion, and the very messenger of death: and that the subiect that prouoketh hym to displeasure, sinneth agaynst his owne soule: With many other thinges, con­cernyng both the aucihoritie of princes, and the duetie of subiectes. But here let vs rehearse two speciall places out of the new Testament, which may stand in steade of all other. The first out of saint Paules Epistle to the Romanes and the. 1 [...]. Rom. xiii. Chapter, where he wryteth thus vnto all sub­iectes, Let euery soule be subiect vnto the hygh­er powers, for there is no power but of God, and the powers that be are ordeyned of GOD. [Page 548] Whosoeuer therfore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinaunce of God: and they that resist, shall receaue to them selues dampnation. For princes are not to be feared for good workes, but for euil. Wylt thou then be without feare of the power? Do well, so shalt thou haue prayse of the same: For he is the minister of GOD for thy wea