A LEARNED AND EXCELLENT Treatise containing all the principall grounds of Christian Religion. Set downe by way of conference in a most plaine and familiar maner.

Written first in French by maister Mathew Vi­rell, after translated into Latine: and now tur­ned into English for the vse of our Countrey­men.

1. Tim. 4. 15.

These things meditate, and labour in them, that thy profiting may be manifest to all.

The second Impression, corrected and amended.

‘DEVS IMPERAT ASTRIS.’

Imprinted at London by Richard Field for Robert Dexter, dwelling in Paules church­yard at the signe of the brasen serpent. 1594.

TO THE CHRISTIAN Reader, an admonition touching reading.

IT falleth out in matter of learning as it doeth in matter of meats. For as in meates, one, & the selfe same dish is diuersly set forth, according to the inuention of the dresser, and appetite of the eater: so in lear­ning, one, and the selfe same point is diuersly handled, according to the discretion of the writer, and capacitie of the Reader. Hence it commeth that in humane learning, euery writer (almost) hath his Grammer, his Rhetoricke, his Logicke, his Philo­sophy; and in diuine knowledge, his Catechisme, his Common places, his Commentaries. Many complaine of this, as a thing which distracteth the mind, cōfoun­deth the memorie, and hindereth the iudgement. And not without cause. For as varietie of meates do cor­rupt in the stomacke, and breede sickenesse, rather then preserue health: so variety of treatises, vppon one and the selfe same thing, doth hinder the growth and profiting of diuerse, in soundnesse of iudgement and godly life. But the reformation hereof, is a worke worthy of all the Churches, Princes, and states in chri­stendome; for the beginning and perfecting where­of, priuate men can but pray and wish well; and euery man carefully look to the warrant of his own worke. In the mean time let no man condemne, the variety and choise of Gods manifold gifts, which both in bodily and spirituall thinges, set foorth the riches of his wise­dome and goodnesse. What then? Surely the corrup­tion and vanity of men, who, doe eyther not vse at all, or else greatly abuse the gifts and blessings of God be­stowed vpon them. This vanity appeareth partly in the foode of the body, but more specially in the food of the soule. 1. Sam. 28. 23. For no man will refuse his meate except it be in some extreame passion. Besides, how carefull are the most part in making their prouision? how curious in as­king [Page] what is wholesome or hurtfull for thē? how precise and constant in keeping their hours for dinner & sup­per? how willing to keep themselues to some few kinds of meat, though they haue often tasted & fed on them before? But touching the food of the soule (which cō ­sisteth chiefly in the pure vse of Gods publick worship, and partly in holy praiers, meditations, and readings in priuat) how many do refuse it as a fruitlesse & vnsauory thing? And though the most part be content, for some carnall respect, to shew themselues in the publicke as­semblies: yet who shall find a faithfull Christian, that is carefull to redeeme the time, and to make himselfe, by priuate reading and meditation, more fit to reape fruit by the publicke ministery of the word and sacraments? But know thou (beloued) that as they, who, through er­ror, preiudice, or self loue, are so addicted to their pri­uat studies that they despise or neglect the publick mi­nistery, shall (without speedy mercy from God, fal into diuerse fond opinions, and dangerous errors, and pine away in their ignorāce & sins: so to little purpose is out hearing of sermons abroad, if there be not a setled and constant course of priuat prayer, reading, meditation, and conference at home. But because my purpose is now to speak only of reading, and that very briefly (for the argument is infinit, and I haue somewhat touched it else where,) Preface to master Cup­pers Sermōs I would entreat thee Christian reader, and in the Lord Iesus beseech thee (if my request may seeme reasonable) that thou wouldst be as wise for thy soule as thou art for thy body; as mindfull of the life to come, as thou art of this present life; Four things to be obser­ued in rea­ding. and that for this end thou wouldest obserue these foure things, as well for the one as for the other. 1 Prouide the best bookes. First therefore make thy prouision of good books, especially of the booke of all books, I meane the holy Canonicall Scriptures, in that respect called the Bible: & then of some other, such as are most fit for thy calling and capacitiy. And because thou shalt want either money to buy, leysure to reade, iudgement to vnderstand, or memory to bear away the substance of al good books, prouide the best. Many wil [Page] say, they find by experience that in meate and apparel the best is best cheape: and thou shalt bee sure to find, that among bookes the best will yeeld most fruit to thy soule. 2 In chus [...]ng vse the ad­uise of the godly lear­ned. Secondly, because the most part are babes in iudgement and discerning of spirituall things (though euery foole be wise in his own eyes) not knowing what is fit & profitable, or what is hurtfull and inconueniēt: let me intreat thee to aske counsell and aduise of the godly learned, especially of thine owne pastor (if God haue blessed thee with an able & faithful mā) Heb. 5. 14. or other­wise of him whose publicke ministerie may giue thee hope that his senses are exercised in the discerning of good and euill. No wise man will receaue a writing for the least plot of ground without the counsaile of some learned Lawyer, nor a medicine for his body, without the aduise of some learned Phisitiō: and wilt thou ven­ture vpō a booke, wherein may be some dānable error, which may cōuay frō thee thy heauēly inheritance; or some deadly poison, which may kill the soule, without the direction of some godly diuine? do it not. 3 Be constant in keeping of houres. Thirdly, remember that nothing is more hard, then to be con­stāt in holy exercises. For herein the subtiltie and rage of our inuisible enemie Sathan doth most notably ap­peare, herein the frailtie & corruption of flesh & bloud will bewray it selfe. Here profit & pleasure, businesse, & idlenesse, matters at home & matters abroad, cōpany, & a thousand occasions will lye in our way as so many Lions to let & hinder vs. Therefore herein gird vp the loynes of thy mind, put vpon thee the whole armour of God, & dayly renue thy couenāt of redeeming the time made with God and thy owne conscience. Thou seest that men who are most greedy of the world, will not misse (scarce once in a yeare) their ordinary hours of eating and drinking. Why then shouldest thou be so sickle & vnfaithfull in forgetting & omitting the times of reading and praying vnto God. 4 Read a good booke through, and read it often ouer. Fourthly, whē thou hast begun a good booke, giue not ouer till thou haue ended it, & when thou hast read it ouer once, let it not be tedious vnto thee to read it ouer again & again, for [Page] thou shalt finde the second reading more fruitfull thē the first, & the third more fruitfull then the second, & so the oftener the better This is a great vanitie & an euill sicknesse among mē, that if they haue once seene the title of a booke, and the authors name, & read two or three leaues, it is cast at their heeles for euer after, as if they had attained all that could be learned by it, when they can name the title & author of it. Where­fore for this point marke the course & manner of mē in the keeping and encreasing of their bodily strēgth though they eate their fill of this kinde of meate to day, yet they come with great desire and fresh appe­tite to the same againe within a day or two, yea of­tentimes the same day: otherwise it argueth either an extreme weakenesse or an intollerable daintinesse of the stomacke. Here perhaps thou wilt aske what bookes, beside the holy Bible I would commend vn­to thee: Wherein though I see some difficultie, be­cause it cannot be done without cōparisons which are coūted odious: yet for thy good I wil not spare to shew my poore opiniō: No one book of the like volume more fruite­full then Vi­rell. which is that no one mā (that I haue seen) hath set down the summe & grounds of Christiā Religion more holily & happily, for the capacitie and edifying of all sortes, thē this present author. For this cause I specially recōmend him to thee, as one by whō thou mayst specially profit if thou call vpō the name of God through Iesus Christ, & bind thy selfe to diligēce & constancie: remembring that as one dish of meate, well chewed & digested, will cōfort nature more then diuers delicates, that lye raw & vndigested in the sto­mack, so one booke often & throughly read wil do thy soule more good, then the superficiall fight and tast of a thousand. And so I commend thee to the Lord, who vouchsafe to giue thee wisedome in all thinges, for his mercies sake. Blacke Friers the 23. of Iuly. Thine in the Lord Iesus.

STEPH. EGERTON.

The argument and order of the three bookes of Christian Religion.

The first Booke.

  • DEclareth the fundamentall pointes of our saluation, & it standeth vpon four heads. 1
    • 1 The first intreateth of the knowledge of God, who being perfectly iust, and perfectly mercifull, doth not onely shew mercie, but doth also declare his iustice. ibidem.
    • 2 The second of the knowledge of man, who being a most miserable sinner, is guiltie of eternall death before the iudgement seate of God. 9
    • 3 The third of the knowledge of Christ, who ha­uing satisfied the most perfect iustice of God for vs, openeth a way vnto his most perfect mercie, that we may obtaine forgiuenesse of our sinnes. 15
    • 4 The fourth of faith, whereby we are made one with Christ, and so partakers of all his bene­fites, and euen of euerlasting life. 22

The scond Booke.

  • COntaineth the testimonies of our saluation, and that standeth vpon two speciall pointes, whereof
    • 1 The first intreateth of good workes, by the which faith lying hid in our hearts, is manife­sted. 78
    • 2 The second of prayer, which hath the first and chiefe place among good works, to testifie and con­firme our faith. 188

The third Booke.

  • SEtteth before vs the outward meanes, where­by God bringeth vs vnto saluation, and it con­sisteth vpon foure principall points. 219
    • 1 The first entreateth of the ministerie of the word, by the which the holy Ghost begetteth faith in our hearts, keepeth it there, and increaseth it. ibidem.
    • 2 The second of the Sacramentes ordained of God to be as seales of the word, to the ende we might with greater assurāce embrace the promi­ses reuealed vnto vs in the word of Christ. 140
    • 3 The third of Baptisme, whereby God testi­fieth that we are receiued of him into couenant, while by it he communicateth Christ vnto vs, to­gether with his benefites. 248
    • 4 The fourth of the Lordes Supper, by the which God witnesseth, that his couenant is con­firmed in vs by it, making vs more and more par­takers of Christ and his gifts. 259
  • A summe of all, set downe in a triple or three­fold method, that we may the better know the or­der and coherence of euery point of Christian Re­ligion, as also the truth, excellencie, and profit of the same. 259

THE FIRST BOOKE of Christian religion, wherein the grounds of our saluation are handled.

Speakers.

  • Theophilus.
  • Mathew.

CHAP. I. Of the knowledge of God, who being perfectly iust, and perfectly mercifull, doth neuer exercise his mercy, but he doth also exercise his iustice.

Theophilus.

MOst dearely beloued brother, I haue oftentimes desired to heare of you, all the doctrine of Christian religi­on in exact order, because once I heard you plainely and briefly dis­coursing of some points thereof, wherein I was not a little satisfied.

Mathew.

As my good will hath not at anie time in anie thing ben wanting vnto you (most louing Theophi­lus) so I will with the more readie mind performe that which you desire when it shall be conuenient, because the thing of it selfe is profitable, and I trust it shalbe to mine own edifying. For this is proper to Christian do­ctrine, that the oftner it is handled, the more plenti­fully it setteth forward the force and working of it in the hearts of the faithfull.

Theoph.

Go to then, hast thou not now leysure, to declare vnto me euery head of Christian religion, in the order, wherein I haue determined to aske thee? I will cause them to be put in writing, and so to be com­municated [Page 2] with my brethren.

Mat.

If I had not leysure, there is not any businesse which I would not leaue to satisfie you in this behalfe: for what is there, wherein time can be better spent?

Theoph.

Seeing therefore our disputation shall be of Christian religion, I desire to be taught, what is meant by the word Religion.

Mat.

Before I answer, I pray God our heauenly Fa­ther, to be present with vs by his holy Spirite, that we may neither thinke nor speake any thing, which may not tend to the honor of his own name, and to the e­dification of his whole Church.

The word, Religion, is deriued of a word that signi­fieth to binde And it is a spirituall bond, by the which men in a certaine holy reconciliation are made one with God, and are kept in his loue and feare, that at length they may be partakers of his heauenly glory, & of the blessed life. Which no Religion can do but that which is Christian, that is to saie, that which hath the foundation in Christ.

Theoph.

Why so?

Mat.

Because by Christ alone through faith we are reconciled vnto God, and that freely, and so are made one with God by a most neare bond, that he may bee glorified of vs in this life, and eternally in the heauēs.

Theoph.

From whence haue we proofe of that?

Mat

Out of the word of God, which is most cer­taine, and vpon the truth whereof resteth all Christi­an doctrine.

The.

What vnderstandest thou by the word of God?

Mat.

The Canonicall books of the Bible, whereun­to for this cause is giuen the name of holy Scripture.

Theoph.

How came it to passe, that those Bookes were called the Bible?

Mat

The Christians of the primitiue Church, after they had gathered into one volume the bookes of the Prophets and Apostles, by an excellency called that volume in Greeke [...], because those bookes farre passe others. For truly the word of God in worthinesse [Page 3] and excellency goeth beyond all the words of men.

Theoph.

But how maie it certainely be proued, that the doctrine which is contained in those bookes is the word of God, seeing that the Prophets and Apostles, who it is certainely knowne were men, were the au­thors and writers of them?

Mat.

First of all indeed it is necessarie, that the ho­ly Ghost which spake by them, nay whose instruments onely they were, do engraue that faith in our hearts. Then, that assurance maie be confirmed by obseruing the speciall excellency, which it is easie to perceiue in those writings, as also the most holy effects which they worke in vs.

Theoph.

What excellency do you meane?

Mat.

effect 1 First of all, the maiesty of the Spirit of God, which shineth in thē most euidently. For, euery where there appeare diuine and heauenlie things, nothing earthlie and mortall, or that agreeth with the corrupt affections of the flesh.

effect 2 Secondly, the consent of all the parts among them selues: for although they were written by diuerse wri­ters, in sundry places, and at sundrie times, yet there is no lesse agreement betweene them, then if they had agreed together of the matter before.

effect 3 Finally the fulfilling of all the prophesies, deliuered long before, yet precisely accomplished each of them in their proper time. Ier. 26. 12. Dan 9. 24. Hence it is that Dauid giueth thē most excellent commendation, saying: Psal. 12. 6. The words of the Lord are pure words, as the siluer is tried in a for­nace of earth, fined seauen fold. I say nothing of their antiquitie, and that not without a miracle they were preserued among so manie enemies, which wold haue destroied them, and among such cruell persecutions.

Theoph.

But what holy effects do they worke in vs?

Mat.

This generall we maie marke, that the Church hath alwaies (as it is at this day) beene gathered toge­ther by the authoritie of the holy Scripture: that is to saie, a companie of men of diuers ages, sexes, and con­ditions, which worshippeth God according to the in­structions [Page 4] and doctrine of that Scripture: a good part whereof in all ages hath sealed the same with their bloud. But the speciall or particular effects are, that they rauish the reader, & enforce him to the reuerēce of God, no otherwise then as if God himself did speak.

Moreouer, that by the reading of them, our hearts are touched with an earnest feeling of our sinnes.

Last of all, that they lift vp our minds aboue all hea­uens, kindle within vs a desire of a better life, & cause vs that in comparison thereof, we do easily despise all other things.

All which are not done by the writings of men, not­withstanding they be artificiallie handled. Therefore the Apostle to the Hebrues saith, that the word of God is liuing, mightie in operation, and piercing more then anie two edged sword, and that it doth reach e­uen Heb. 4. 12. to the diuiding asunder of the soule and the spi­rite, of the ioynts and marrow.

Theoph.

Verily these are most strong arguments, to prooue the truth of Gods word. But there bee some which say, that all the authority of it dependeth vpon the Church.

Mat.

They do, as if one should say, that the light of the sunne hangeth vpon the testimony of men. For as the Sunne shall not cease to shine, although all men be blind: euen so the word of God, shall neuer receiue losse, whether it be allowed or dissalowed of men.

Moreouer how can it be, that the authority of the word of God, should depend vpon the allowance or consent of the Church, seeing that the Church it selfe borroweth all her authoritie of the word, as it were of her foundation? for it is built vpon the foundation of Ephes. 2. 20. the Apostles and Prophets.

Theoph.

But they say, that in this place, it is not meant of the truth of the word in it selfe, but of the meane whereby it is vnderstood, and receiued of men. Which they affirme to hang vppon the testimony and allowance of the Church. To which purpose they al­leadge this saying of a certaine Father, I should not [Page 5] haue beleeued the Gospell, if the authoritie of the Aug. contra epist. fund. Manich. Church did not moue me

Mat.

This sentence maketh not for them. For this was the mind of that holy man, that being a stranger from the faith, he was moued by the authoritie of the Church to embrace the Gospell, and that after by the working of the holy Ghost, he was confirmed it that faith. Which hee doth a little before declare in these words; The Church first calleth vs to beleeue that, which yet we are not able to see, that being made strō ­ger in faith, we may come to vnderstand that which we beleeue, not now men, but God himselfe inwardly strengthening and lightning our mind.

Which thing I doubt not but it is true, namely that the witnesse which the Church giueth to the word of God, doth not a little moue vs to embrace it. But then onely this is, when our faith is beginning: for when it is come to any age, and we our selues by reading & hea­ring of the word, haue tasted of that truth, then we beleeue not by the testimony of the Church, but by that which the holie Ghost sealeth in our hearts. In so much as if the Church should then teach vs a doctrin diuerse from that, we would not giue our consents vn­to it. This shall be made plaine by the example of the Samaritanes. Those hearing the report of the woman with whō the Lord had spokē, that he was the Christ, beleeued. But after that themselues had heard him, they said vnto the woman, now wee beleeue not any Ioh. 4. 39. 42. more for thy saying, for we haue heard him our selues, and do know, that this is indeede the Christ, the Sa­uiour of the world.

Theoph.

This example bringeth no small light to this doubt. But hitherto sufficientlie of the truth, and au­thoritie of the word of God: now let vs in a few words consider, what it doth containe.

Mat.

It hath in it at large, whatsoeuer concerneth the glorie of God for our good and saluation.

Theoph.

By what meanes doth it teach vs to attaine saluation?

Mat.

By the true knowledge of God, and of Iesus Christ, which it doth teach.

Teoph.

Let vs therefore first intreate of the know­ledge of God, and after we will speake of Christ in the proper place. What do the holy Scriptures teach vs concerning God?

Mat.

Three heads or principall things, whereby he is distinguished from all fayned Gods, besides those which we do know by the naturall instinct giuen vs of God, and by consideration of the creatures. Namely that God is a spirituall essence, eternall, of infinit wise­dome, goodnesse, and power.

Theoph.

Rehearse the first of those there.

Mat.

Of the Tri­nitie. That in one diuine essence, there be three di­stinct persons, the Father, the Sonne, the holy Ghost.

The Father indeede is the beginning of the God­head, but yet in respect of the order of the persons. For in the Godhead, we may not seeke for any first or last.

The Sonne is the wisedome of the Father, begotten of himselfe before the worlds.

The holy Ghost is the infinit power proceeding frō the Father and the Sonne.

Now these three persons are distinct one from the other, not onely by those incommunicable properties which each of them hath by himselfe, that none of the other can haue, but also by the difference of their a­ctions. For the Scripture ascribeth to the Father, the beginning of working, to the Sonne, wisedome & coun­sell, and to the holy Ghost, vertue and power. Not­withstanding they be alike in all things, in respect of eternitie, dignitie and power, because there is one most vndiuided diuine essence common to them, and so they are one God. Howbeit so often as at one time there is mention of the Father and the Sonne toge­ther, or of the holy Ghost, the name of God is then peculiarly giuen to the Father, as vnto the first person of the Deitie, & yet nothing is diminished of the God­head of the Sonne or of the holy Ghost: but the vni­tie of the essence is kept, and respect is had of the or­der [Page 7] of the persons. Hence it is, Ioh. 3. 16. that the Sonne is called the Sonne of God, Gen. 1. 2. and the spirit is called the spirite of God. But whensoeuer the name of God is put indefi­nitely, the Sonne and the Spirite are no lesse noted by it, then the Father; as when the Scripture saith: Mat. 4. 10. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him onely shalt thou serue. 1. Tim. 1. 17To the king eternall, immortall, inuisible, to God onely wise be honor & glorie for euer and euer.

Theoph.

Verily this doctrine is beyond all the reach and vnderstanding of man.

Mat.

It is indeed: and yet to be beleeued, as that which God in his word hath reuealed for our saluatiō, which cannot stand without it.

Theoph.

In what place of Scripture is this doctrine taught?

Mat.

It may be gathered out of diuerse places, but most easily it is declared by this of Iohn: there be three 1. Ioh. 5. 7. which beare witnesse in heauen, the Father, the Word, and the holy Spirit, and these three are one. When he saith three, he noteth the distinction of the persons: when he saith one, he sheweth the vnity of the essence.

Theoph.

What is the reason, that the Sonne of God is called, Word: and the third person Spirit?

Mat.

To the Sonne, that name is attributed by a si­militude. For, as speech is the declarer of the mind in men, so by his Word doth God make himselfe knowne vnto vs Concerning the third person, that also is called the Spirit, by a likenesse taken from men, to the ende we may vnderstand it to be, as it were, a breath com­ming out of the mouth of God, not vanishing away, but that which is his power spread ouer all things, which notwithstanding alwayes abideth in him self. The Pro­phet doth not darkly expresse either of the similitudes in these words; By the word of the Lord were the hea­uens Psal. 31. 6. made, and by the breath of his mouth all the host of them. Wherein he doth plainly teach, that the Fa­ther by his eternall wisedome which is the Sonne, and by his infinit power, which is the holy Ghost, did make all things.

Theoph.

Hitherto enough of the Trinitie: for the more deepely the sharpnesse of mans witstriueth to looke into it, the more is it blunted with the greatnesse of that mysteric. Now therefore, declare the other head of the knowledge of God.

Mat.

It teacheth, that God did not only in six daies by his immeasurable power make all things, but also that they are still preserued and gouerned by his wise­dome and prouidence, and that his hand is alwaies at worke, insomuch as nothing of all that is done in hea­uen or earth, commeth to passe by chance or by for­tune. For the Scripture witnesseth;

That the Lord sendeth thunders, windes & tēpests.Psal. 29.

That he thundreth with his voice, and saith to the snow, be thou vpon the earth.Iob. 37. 5. 6.

That hee couereth the heauens with clouds, and prepareth the raine for the earth.Psal. 147. 8.

That he deuideth the sea, when the waues thereof do roare.Isa. 51. 15.

That he giueth meate vnto all flesh.Psa. 136. 25

That he maketh peace, and createth euill.Isa. 45. 7.

That he killeth, and maketh aliue: that he bringeth downe to the graue, and bringeth vp againe.1 Sam. 2. 6.

That he maketh the wound, and bindeth it vp, smi­teth, and maketh whole.Iob. 5. 18.

That he changeth times and seasons, taketh away kings, and setteth vp kings.Dan. 2. 21.

That he ordereth wars, and appointeth the victory.Psal. 33. 16

That he throweth down and lifteth vp.Psal. 75. 8.

That he directeth the steps of men.Pro. 16. 9.

That he guideth the answer of the tongue.Pro. 16. 1.

That he turneth the hearts of men at his pleasure.Pro. 21. 1.

Finally, the prouidence of God leaueth no place for fortune. For Salomon affirmeth, Pro. 16. 33. that euen the whole disposition of the lot is of the Lord. It is plaine there­fore, that God ordereth all things, but is not troubled with any thing.

Theoph.

Now remaineth the third point of the know­ledge of God.

Mat.

That God is perfectly iust, and perfectly mer­cifull. For seeing he is of an infinit essence, all his pro­prieties and vertues be also infinite▪ for they be essen­tiall in him, with whō (saith Iames) there is no change Iam. 1. 17. or shadow of turning. That is to say, that in God there is nothing subiect to increase change, or lessening. He doth therefore not only shew mercy; but doth also de­clare his iustice, punishing the offenders & guiltie per­sons, with deserued punishment. For this cause, when Moses had largely in these words commēded the mer­cy Exo. 34. 67. of God the Lord God mercifull and gratious, slow to anger, and abounding in goodnesse, straight way af­ter he addeth: not making the wicked innocent.

CHAP. II. Of the knowledge of man, who being a most mise­rable sinner, is before God, guiltie of eternall death.

Theophilus.

SEing God acquiteth not the guilty, it is so far off that by the knowledge of him, man is lifted vp into the hope of saluation, that cleane con­trariwise he perceiueth his condē ­nation to be proued & confirmed, because he aboundeth with innu­merable both infirmities and sinnes, for the which he is found guiltie before the most iust iudgement seate of Almightie God.

Mat.

Of mās free will. Man is not onely as thou sayest, defiled with many vices and infirmities, but also by his own nature, 1. an enemie of God. 2. Full of wickednesse. 3. A seruant of sinne. That is to say, such a one as hath neither will nor power to do well.

Th.

Thou doest indeed very much throw down man.

Mat.

Gen. 6. 5. I do it not, but God himself in these words. The wickednesse of man is great in the earth, Gene. 6. 5. and all the imaginatiōs of the thoughts of their heart is only euil [Page 10] continually. Moreouer in the same Chapter he tea­cheth vs, Verse. 3. that man is nothing else but flesh.

And Saint Paule plainly affirmeth, Rom. 8. 7. that the vnder­standing of the flesh is enmitie against God: because saith he, it is not subiect to the law of God▪ for indeed it cannot be.

The same also he affirmeth in another place, when he saith, Col. 1. 21. that we are strangers from God, and enemies, our mind being set vpon euill workes. As if he should say, that the enmitie hid in the heart, was bewrayed by euill deeds.

Rom. 7. 14. In another place also the same Apostle saith, that we are carnall, sold vnder sinne: that is, that we are the bondslaues of sinne.

2. Cor. 3. 5. Yea, he proceedeth so farre, to say, that of our selues we are not sufficient to thinke, much lesse able to do that which is good.

Theoph.

But was this the mind of the Apostle, to shew that all generally be bondmen of sinne?

Mat.

Rom. 3. 9. Yea verily. For, speaking of the natural corrup­tion of man, out of the testimonie of Dauid, he plainly saith: We haue proued before, that both Iewes and Gentiles be vnder sinne. As it is written, there is none iust, no not one: there is not any which vnderstandeth, Psal. 14. 3. 53. 3. or which seeketh after God. They haue all gone out of the way, they haue bin made altogether vnprofitable. There is none that doth good, no not one.

The faithfull indeed, be exempted from that num­ber, but yet not because they be not such by nature. But because God (such is his mercy) amendeth our wic­kednesse and corruption, by the benefit of regenera­tion, whereby he worketh in vs, both the will and the power to do well, as in the proper place shall be more largely declared. But all the vnbeleeuers, as they be vnprofitable to any good worke, so they are carried with great violence vnto euill.

Theoph.

But the thing of it selfe seemeth to prooue that it is otherwise. For there be, as there euer haue bene, some which haue bene endued with most excel­lent [Page 11] gifts.

Mat.

The Scripture saith, it cannot be, that an ill tree should bring foorth good fruit. It may in deede sometime bring foorth such as be faire to the outward appearance, which notwithstanding are not good. So also a man may find many infidels, which do works ha­uing a beautifull shew, but such as cannot be good in deed. For the heart, which God specially looketh vn­to, is corrupt and vncleane: for it cannot any way be made cleane but by faith. Therefore the Apostle saith: Act. 15. 9. Rom. 14. 23 What soeuer is not of faith is sinne.

Theoph.

Wherein standeth that vncleannesse of the heart?

Mat.

In that doing those beautifull works, they be neither touched with the loue nor feare of God, and therfore do not thinke of yeelding him obedience: nei­ther is it maruell, seeing they know him not. Whom notwithstanding no man can loue or feare, before he do know him.

Theoph.

What is it then that mooueth them to do those works which are so faire in shew?

Mat.

cause 1 Some, because naturally they be not giuen to the vices which they leaue.

cause 2 Others, because they be restrained by a slauish feare of Gods iustice: or else for that they dreame to deserue somthing at the hands of God.

cause 3 Others for feare of lawes: or lest they should do any thing that might hinder their prosperitie.

cause 4 Or else their lustes doe striue as the [...]des, so as that which is the stronger preuayled ouer the rest, and bridleth them from breaking [...]orth into action. As for example, A vaingloriou [...] man will make a shew to be liberall, to the end he [...]ay serue the turne of his ambition. On the oth [...] [...]de, a couetous man, that he may spare charges, wi [...] light by honor, although his mind within be [...] fire with ambition. A proud man will be boun [...], to get prayse among the cōmon peo­ple. Sh [...] [...]at feareth the reproch of the people, al­ [...] her mind be defiled with vnchast lusts, yet out­wardly [Page 12] will be chast. Finally, the vnfaithfull neuer re­spect the glorie of God, when they thinke to do good works. Which neuerthelesse, is as it were the very life of good works; so as if it be wanting, they cannot be acceptable vnto God.

Theoph.

If therefore all the goodly deeds which the vnfaithfull do, be of no account with God, he shall be in no better case which carrieth himselfe modestly, & keepeth vnder the lusts of his flesh, then he which pas­seth away all his life dissolutely.

Mat.

No verily, not so. For God rewardeth those works, but only in this life. And oftentimes also he gi­ueth thē such things, in respect whereof they did their good deeds, as health, quiet life, prayse, good report a­mong men, and such like. Therfore our Sauiour Christ saith, that the Scribes & Pharisies, in that they prayed Mat. 6. 16. and fasted to be praysed of men, had their reward.

Mat. 11. 22 Moreouer, the state of such as in this life haue beha­ued themselues modestly, shall be easier in the day of iudgement then of the other.

Theoph

How can it be, that God should reward works which he liketh not, being such as were not done for his sake?

Mat.

Therby he declareth, how pleasing a thing true obedience is vnto him, for asmuch as he rewardeth the very shadow of it. Adde this hereunto, that he hath regard vnto those workes, not as they come from vn­cleane p [...]sons, but from himselfe.

Theoph.

[...] what sense sayest thou, that those workes come from Go [...]

Mat.

I say that [...]d to the end that order & euē dis­posing of things may [...] kept in the world, doth bridle the wickednesse of some and so maketh them fit to follow vertue. In respect [...]ereof we feare not in our common speach, to call them [...]ll borne, or of a good nature; whereby we meane, that [...] from the begin­ning of their life, God gaue them som [...] speciall grace. Which if it be not, there is no doubt but [...] be such, as they are liuely pictured out of the Apost [...] [...] [Page 13] after he hath sayd, Rom. 3. 12. that there is not one which doth good, straightway he addeth, Psal. 5. 10. Their throat is an open sepulcher, they haue vsed their tongues to deceipt: the poison of Aspes is vnder their lips. Psal. 10. 7. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitternesse. Their feete are swift to shed bloud. Isay. 59. 1. Destruction and calamitie are in their wayes. And the way of peace they haue not knowne. The feare of God is not before their eyes. Psal. 36. 2. Which testimo­nies are gathered by him out of sundry places of the old Testament, that he might procure the more autho­ritie and credit touching this matter.

Theo.

But how could it be, that man the most excel­lēt creature of al others, should be so much corrupted?

Mat.

It was not by his first nature, for he was made like vnto God, but by originall sinne, wherewith Adam by his disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit, infe­cted himselfe and all mankind.

Theoph.

Tell me what that likenesse of God is, wher­in thou sayest the first man was created: as also the ori­ginall sinne, wherwith mankind was tainted afterward.

Mat.

Of the I­mage of God. The likenesse of God was, that the vnderstan­ding of man, was lightened with the true knowledge of God, and of the worship due vnto him. That also he had a right will framed to the obediēce of God. Now it is called the image or likenes of God, because in those excellent gifts, man did shew & set out the wisedome, goodnesse and power of his creator. But when Adā by rebellion fell frō this his estate, he was depriued of this likenesse, & together put on the likenesse of the deuill. That is to say, he was spoiled of those notable gifts, in stead whereof came in all manner of vices. As,

1 The ignorance of God, and of his seruice.

2 Wickednesse, for he hated vertue, and loued sinne.

3 Weakenesse, vnto all goodnesse:

Of originall sinne. And this is the blot of the originall sinne, which be­ing within vs as a fire of wickednesse and lust, doth cō ­tinually breath out the fruits and effects of it, to wit, vngodlinesse and vnrighteousnesse.

Theoph.

But that corruption seemeth to be accoun­ted, [Page 14] rather a punishment of Adams sin, then sin it selfe.

Mat

It is indeed a punishment of sinne, & the foun­taine and welspring of all sinnes. Neuerthelesse it is also sinne, and worthy of death, euen as Paule saith: As by one mā sinne came into the world, and death by Rom. 5. 12. sinne, and so death went ouer all men through him in whom we haue all sinned, that is to say, were infected with originall sinne.

Theoph.

But how could Adam make all his posteritie partakers of that infection of sinne?

Mat.

By generation: For he could not beget any children but such as were like himselfe: euen as a viper bringeth forth none but vipers.

Now it is called originall sinne, to shew that we are corrupted, not by any wickednesse taken to vs or farre fet, but that we do bring with vs corruption bred with­in, euen from our mothers wombe. Which Dauid con­fesseth of himselfe, Psal. 51. 5. Behold I was borne in iniquitie, and in sinne hath my mother conceiued me.

CHAP. III. Of the knowledge of Christ, who hauing satisfied for vs the perfect righteousnesse of God, hath opened a way to his infinit mercy, through the which at length we may come to eternall life.

Theophilus.

LEt vs repeate the order of our former speach. Forasmuch as God cannot denie his iustice, neither yet shew mercy without the vpholding of his iustice, and man is so corrupt as hath bin declared by thee out of the Scrip­ture, he cā looke for nothing else, but: he wrath of God and eternall death.

Mat.

God himselfe hath giuen the sentence. For he saith by his Prophetes: Deut. 27. 26. Cursed be euery one that continueth not in al things written in the booke of the Law to do them. And againe: Ezech. 18. 4 The soule that sinneth, [Page 15] that shal die. Which things are to be vnderstood, as well of the eternall death, as of the natural, as it is ex­pressed by the Apostle Iohn. But in Christ there is Apoc. 21. 8. remedy offred vnto vs. Therfore the knowledge of him in the holy Scriptures, is ioyned with the knowledge of Ioh. 17. 3. God, by the which we may attaine eternall saluation.

Theoph.

Let vs therefore speake of the knowledge of Christ. And first of all, declare thou those things which concerne his person, and then we shal see, what reme­dy is brought vnto vs by him for our saluation.

Mat.

Of the perso [...] of Christ. Concerning the person of Iesus Christ, he is the eternal Sonne of God, which tooke vpon him the na­ture of man, that is to say, was made man in soule and bodie, like vnto vs in all things, sinne onely excepted. Therefore the nature of God and man, are so ioyned together in him, that they make but one person. Hee hath also but one Father, and one mother: A father in respect of his Godhead, a mother in respect of his mā ­hood: the Virgine Marie, of whose substance hee was conceiued, by the power of the holy Ghost.

Theoph.

Prooue all these things briefly out of the word of God.

Mat.

Saint Paul speaking of Christ, saith; when the fulnesse of time was come, God sent his sonne made of Gal. 4. 4. a woman. When he saith, that God sent his Sonne, he declareth, that Christ is the second person of the Tri­nitie, and therefore God: which also elsewhere hee confirmeth in these words; Who is God ouer all, bles­sed Rom. 9. 5. for euer. But when he addeth, made of a woman, he plainely declareth that hee is verie man. Which also he affirmeth elsewhere in these wordes; 1. Tim. 2. 5. There is one God, also one Mediatour of God and men, the man Christ Iesus. Whereof it followeth that Christ is verie God and man. For although each nature hath it own property remayning distinct to it selfe, yet to the end we may vnderstand, that in Christ they be ioyned to­gether by a most neare bond, so as they make but one person, the Scriptures oftentimes say that of the Di­uinity, which agreeth to the humanity. As when it is [Page 16] said, that God had purchased his Church with his own Act. 20. 28 blood. And contrariwise, those things are saide of the humanitie, which appertaine to the Diuinitie: where­unto that saying of Christ is to be referred, no man as­cendeth vp into heauen, but hee which came downe Ioh. 3. 13. from heauen euen the Son of man which is in heauē.

Theo.

Declare a little more plainly, what thou mean­test by this, when thou say dest, that each nature hath his property remaining distinct vnto it selfe?

Mat.

The diuinity was not changed into the huma­nitie: for it remained, eternall, infinit and impassible. Againe, the humanitie was not turned into the God­head. For before the death and resurrection of Christ, it was passible, such a nature as might suffer. And be­fore as also after death, created and finite, which at one time could not be in more places, for this is con­trarie to the nature of a true body.

Theoph.

This doctrine againe is beyond the reach of man.

Mat.

It is indeed: as Paule himselfe proueth in these words: Without controuersie great is the mystery of 1. Tim. 3. 16 godlinesse God manifest in the flesh.

Theoph.

Hitherto wee haue heard sufficiently of the person of Christ, nowe let vs speake of the remedie brought by him for our saluation.

Mat.

Of the re­medy by Christ. Hee hath fully satisfied the iudgement of God for our sinnes, and hath so redeemed vs from euerla­sting death, and hath together made vs capable of the heauenlie life, so as we be partakers of his gifts.

Theop.

There come three things to my mind, wher­of I will aske thee.

1 How Christ hath satisfied the iudgement of God for our sinnes.

2 How he maketh vs partakers of the heauenly life.

3 And why it is necessarie, that his gifts should be made ours.

Mat.

To the end it may the more easily bee vnder­stood, we must remēber that, whereof we spake before; namely that God hath pronounced the curse against [Page 17] all such as transgresse his Law, and that wee in two re­spects haue broken it: that is to say, transgression 1 by leauing vndone the good which he requireth: transgression 2 and by doing the euill which he forbiddeth. Now Christ hath prouided a re­medie for both: for while he was in this earth, hee did fully and perfectly fulfill the Law for vs. Moreouer, he suffred the death of the crosse with extreme reproch, that hee might to the vtmost endure the punishment due to our sins. By which meanes, hauing abundantly satisfied the perfect iustice of God for vs, he maketh a way to his mercy, whereby we may obtain the forgiue­nes of sins. And in this sense it is said, 1. Pet. 1. 19 That we were re­deemed by the precious bloud of Christ. 1. Pet. 2 24 That Christ vpon the tree did beare our sins in his bodie. 1. Ioh. 17. That the bloud of Christ, doth cleanse vs from all sinne.

Theoph.

I cannot sufficiently wonder at the excee­ding great loue of God toward vs, that hee gaue his most dearly beloued Son to the death to redeeme vs.

Mat.

Adde this, which were his enemies; which also is diligently obserued by the Apostle in these wordes: Doubtlesse one wil scarse die for a righteous man: for, Rom. 5. 7. for one that is profitable to him, peraduenture some man will die. But God commendeth his loue towards vs, that when we were yet sinners Christ died for vs. From whence he draweth this most comfortable con­clusion: If when wee were enemies, we were reconci­led Rom. 5. 10. to God, by the death of his Sonne, much more be­ing reconciled shall we be saued by his life.

Theoph.

But could the iudgement of God bee no o­therwise satisfied for our sinnes, except his beloued Sonne had taken vpon him our nature, therein to suf­fer death, the death (I say) of the Crosse?

Mat,

No; for man which hath offended the infinite Maiesty of God, doth deserue infinit punishment, that is to say, eternall death, which could not be suffred and ouercome of anie, but of the eternall and infinit Sonne of God. Moreouer, the iustice of God required this, that the nature which had sinned, should suffer the punishment of sin. But because God could not suffer, [Page 18] and man could not ouercome death, it was necessarie that the Redeemer should be verie God, & very man, to do both. Wherein also it is to be marked, how neere an atonemēt God hath entred into with vs by Christ, in whom the parties at variance be inseparably ioyned together: whereby it is come to passe, that God hath turned the fall of man to his great good: for, thereup­on he hath taken occasion to vnite vs more nearly with him selfe. Rom. 5. 20. Wherefore where sinne was increased, there grace hath abounded much more by Christ.

Theoph.

Hitherto we haue heard sufficiently of the first point, namely, how Christ hath satisfied the iudg­ment of God for our sinnes: now let vs come to the o­ther; which is, by what right wee may claime to our selues euerlasting life.

Mat.

By a double right through Christ. First, be­cause for vs he hath fulfilled the whole Law, Leuit. 18. 5. and God hath promised life to such as fulfill it. Secondly by the right of inheritāce. For after that Christ is made ours, we are not onely partakers of his spirituall riches, as his perfect righteousnesse and obedience, whereby wee are accompted iust before God, but also of his dignity, namely, that with him we are reckened and taken for the children of God.

Rom. 8. 17. Therefore Paule saith, If we be sonnes, wee are also heires; heires indeed of God, but heires annexed with Christ. And againe in another place, he calleth eter­nall life the inheritance of the Saints, and so hee com­priseth both the rights, by the which wee lay claime to Colos. 1. 12. it for our selues.

Theoph.

Therefore in Christ alone we find all things necessarie to saluation.

Mat.

Yea verily: For in him there is righteousnesse, and the fulnesse of life, and without him, man full of sinne, findeth nothing but euerlasting malediction and Act. 4. 12. curse. Therefore Peter saith: that neither saluation is in any other: and that there is no other name vnder heauen giuen among men, whereby we may be saued. For this cause also, the name of Iesus Christ was giuen [Page 19] him from heauen, by the which his office is plainly set forth, that is to say, all that which he hath performed for our saluation, and doth still performe.

Theoph.

Go to therefore, tell me what the name of Iesus Christ signifieth, as also of whom it was giuen him.

Mat.

The name Iesus signifieth (Sauiour): and an Angell gaue it to the Son of God, because (as he him­selfe expounded it) he should saue his people frō theyr sinnes. Concerning the name of Christ, it is to bee vn­derstood, Mat. 1. 21. that in times past in the old Testamēt, Christ was figured or shadowed in the Kings, Prophetes and Priests, who when they were cōsecrated, were annoin­ted with oyle, which signified the giftes of the holy Ghost. Now the Redeemer promised, in Hebrew was called Messias, but in Greeke it is translated by the Dan. 9. 25. word Christ, which in Latine signifieth annointed. By which name, we are taught that he is the chiefe.

1. King.Luc. 1. 33.

2. Prophet.Deu. 18. 18

3. Priest.Psal. 110. 4

Howbeit he was annointed not with cōmon visible oyle, but with the grace of the holy Ghost, & that most fully, that from him as from the head, it might be pow­red into each member, namely into all the faithfull: in so much as they also together with him are made Kings, Prophets and Priests. Now the name of Christ hath bin retained in all tongues, because the Apostles them selues wrote in Greeke. This therefore is the cause, why that name was giuen vnto him, as also why all the faithful are called christians: euen because they be partakers of his annointing, & therefore of his king­dome, prophesie, and priesthood.

Theoph.

Of the office of Christ. First therefore we must see, how Christ per­formed the office of King, Prophet and Priest. And af­terward how hee communicateth the same with the faithfull.

Mat.

He did the office of a king, when by his diuine power, he deliuered vs from the tyranny of our ene­mies, [Page 20] the deuill, sinne and death, whom hee ouercame, that he might make vs his seruants, and subiects to his kingdome: which indeed he doth continually exercise in vs, when he ruleth vs by the scepter of his word, and by the power of his spirite He did the office of a Pro­phet, in that hee declared all the will of God vnto vs by his word: he gaue the holy Ghost, by the helpe whereof it might be vnderstood of vs, and we yeeld our consents vnto it. This office also hee exerciseth euerie day, when by the ministerie of the word and working of the Spirite he causeth vs daily to profite and to go forward in that knowledge.

Finallie, he did the office of a Priest, when vpon the Crosse he offred his body and bloud for vs to God the Father, that he might bee a satisfaction for our sinnes. The execution of which office is also at this day, when he maketh intercession for vs. Now this priesthood of Christ is the truth, and fulfilling of all the sacrifices of the old Testament.

Theoph.

Let vs now speake of our kingdome, priest­hood, and prophetship.

Mat.

Apot. 1. 6. We are spiritually kings in Christ, that we may ouercome the deuill and sinne.

1. Pet. 2. 9. We are Priests, through him to offer vp an accepta­ble sacrifice of praise to God.

Act. 2. 17. Wee are prophets, that being taught the truth, wee may teach others, and open to them the misteries of the kingdome of Heauen.

Theoph.

It hath bin sufficiently declared, how Christ hath deliuered vs from condemnation, as also by what means he hath made vs fit to attain to eternal life. Now the third point remaineth, namely, why it is necessary, that his gifts should be made ours.

Mat.

Because otherwise they shall no way helpe vs to the satisfying of the perfect iustice of God: euen as other mens riches profit not to deliuer vs out of debt, except they become ours.

Theoph.

How therefore may his gifts become ours? Mat. If we be made one with him. For by the bene­fite [Page 21] of that vnion, we are made partakers of all his spi­rituall Of the vnion with Christ. graces and riches, which are no lesse imputed vnto vs before God, thē as if they were ours by nature. For this cause the Apostle saith, Coloss. 1. 22. that we are by Christ reconciled in that bodie of his flesh through death. By which wordes of his, he meaneth, that the merite of Christs death pertaineth not to anie, but vnto such, as be grafted into his bodie, and are made his members.

Theoph.

Can therfore no man be partaker of Christs gifts, except he be made one with him?

Mat.

He cannot Euen as a woman cannot be parta­ker of the riches and honor of some great man, except she be ioyned with him in mariage, that they become one bodie and one flesh: the mēbers also cannot draw life from the head, if they be not ioyned with it. There is therefore no true partaking of Christ, except there be an vnion with him. For this cause therefore Christ said to the Capernaits, Vnlesse ye eate of the flesh of Ioh. 6. the Sonne of man and drinke his bloud, ye shall haue no life in you. In which words he plainly sheweth, that we are not partakers of his gifts vnto saluation, except we be as nearely coupled with his humanitie, as meate and drinke are ioyned with our bodie, which of all o­thers is a most neare vnion. For, meat & drinke, when they are digested in our stomach, are so turned into our substance that they cannot be distinguished, much lesse separated from it.

Theoph.

This doctrine also is aboue the capacitie of man.

Mat.

Ephes. 5. 32. It is indeed. Wherefore Paule speaking of it, saith, that it is a great misterie. Now if we can neuer so litle see the bodie of the Sunne, but our eyes do dazell: how can our mindes pierce to that inaccessible light of the diuine maiestie, to conceiue his heauenly myste­ries? such as be the points which we haue hādled first,

1. Concerning the Trinitie.

2. Of the vnion of two natures in Christ.

3. And of coupling the faithfull, with the humane nature of Christ.

[Page 22]

It is therfore our duty, rather holily to beleeue these three fundamentall points, or principles of Christian religion, then curiously to examine them by the rule of our reason.

CHAP. IIII. Of Faith, by the which we are made one with Christ, and so be partakers of all his gifts.

Theophilus.

HItherto I haue hard. First that God which is perfectly iust, doth no way absolue the guiltie. Secondly, that men, which are most miserable sin­ners, are before the iustice of God, guiltie of eternall death Thirdly, that Iesus Christ by his death hath satisfied the exact righteousnesse of God; which is im­puted vnto vs, to the end that being set free from con­demnation, we may be partakers of eternall life, so as we be ioyned with him. It remaineth therefore that I vnderstand, how we are made one with Christ.

Mat.

By faith, euen as he him selfe testifieth in the prayer which he made to God for all the faithfull, in these words; Ioh. 17. 20. Father I pray thee for such as shal beleeue in me, that they may be all one, as thou (O Father) art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in vs.

Whereunto also that saying of Paul is to be referred, Ephes. 3. 17. that Christ dwelleth in our hearts by faith. And here­vpon it is, that these sentences be often repeated in the Scriptures.

1 That euery one which beleeueth in him is absol­ued an [...] discharged.Act. 13. 39.

2 Is made the child of God.Iohn 1. 12.

3 Doth not perish, but hath euerlasting life.Iohn 3. 16.

In which places those things be attributed to faith, which we receiue of Christ alone, to the ende we may vnderstand, that both he and his gifts are committed to vs by faith.

Theoph.

Thou hast touched a little concerning the [Page 23] righteousnesse of faith, which I desire to haue declared Of Iustifica­tion. by thee somewhat more at large, for I perceiue that Paule oftentimes speaketh of it.

Mat.

To be iustified before God, is to be accomp­ted iust, that is to say, without blot, & vnreproueable. Now Paule doth often handle this point, because it is one of the speciall groundes of our faith. For no man can please God, but he that is iustified.

Theoph.

How so?

Mat.

Because as God is perfectly iust and holy, so he loueth holinesse and iustice: on the other side hee hateth vnrighteousnesse, & therefore we can haue no fellowshippe with him, to be partakers of his heauenly glorie, except we be perfectly righteous. Therefore he saith, that no vncleane thing shall enter into the holy Apoc. 21. 27 Citie.

Theoph.

How then are we iustified or made righte­ous before God?

Mat.

In the Scriptures, there be two righteousnes­ses set forth to vs, which also do verie much differ the one from the other. These are.

1 The righteousnesse of the law, and

2 The righteousnesse of faith.

But the holy Scriptures do teach vs, that we can­not be iustified by the former, which is of the Law, to the end we might flie to the other, which is of faith.

Theoph.

Declare vnto me, wherein both these righ­teousnesses do stand, as also what the difference is be­tweene them.

Math.

The righteousnesse of the law, is the perfect keeping of the law. For if we did but fully and perfect­ly fulfill whatsoeuer that cōmandeth, we should by our works be iust before God, neither should we need anie other righteousnesse. But the Apostle in diuerse places sheweth, Rom. 3. 20. Gal. 3. 11. that this can not be, for as much as all men be sinners, and therefore vnrighteous: (which shall not be omitted by vs when we speake of workes) and there­fore he concludeth, that we are iustified by faith.

But the righteousnesse of faith, is the righteousnesse [Page 24] of Iesus Christ, which by faith is freely imputed vnto vs of God. By these things thou mayst vnderstād, what the difference is betwixt the righteousnesse of the law, and the righteousnesse of faith.

1 The Law requireth it of our selues, but faith cal­leth vs from our selues to seeke for it in Christ, in whō onely it is, and that indeed perfectly.

2 Againe the Law requireth vs to obserue and do all that it commandeth, otherwise it threatneth the curse But faith requireth this one thing, namely that we beleeue, and promiseth all kind of blessings to such as beleeue.

3 Finally the righteousnesse of the Law comming from our selues, should set vp merit, & put away grace. Contrariwise the righteousnesse of faith, which is from God, taketh away merit, and setteth vp grace.

Theoph.

Now I vnderstand, wherin both these righ­teousnesses consist, and in what things the one diffe­reth from the other: But I thinke it may be gathered of your wordes, that we are not properly iustified by faith, but by the merit of Christ.

Mat.

Thou gatherest rightly: For if faith should iu­stifie by any inward vertue, as it is always weake & im­perfect, our righteousnesse also should be imperfect. Faith therefore is as it were an instrument wherewith we take hold vpon our perfect righteousnesse, which is in Christ: which Paul plainly expresseth in these words; All haue sinned, and are depriued of the glory of God: Rom. 3. 23. 24. 25. but are iustified freely, that is to say, by his grace, by the redemption made in Iesus Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a reconciliation through faith in his bloud.

1 First the Apostle witnesseth, that all men be vn­righteous, for as much as all men haue sinned, and therefore be depriued of the fauour of God.

2 Then he teacheth vs, that the righteousnesse, by the which we are iustified before God, hath the foun­dation in the onely merit of Christs death, wherewith God is pacified, so as he is become mercifull and fa­nourable vnto vs.

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3 To conclude, he sheweth that freely by faith, we are made partakers of that righteousnesse of Christ. How often soeuer therefore this manner of speach is vsed by the Apostle: we are iustified by faith; he vn­derstādeth, that this is done by the most perfect righ­teousnesse, obedience, and satisfaction of Iesus Christ, which gifts are imputed vnto vs, when we are by faith made one with him.

Theoph.

it followeth then, that all our righteousnesse is onely in imputation.

Mat.

Yea truely. For it is necessary to the end we may be accounted righteous before God, that our vnrighteousnesse be not imputed vnto vs, and that Christes righteousnesse be imputed. Now Christ per­formeth both these, the imputation of whose giftes, causeth that our sinnes be not layd to our charge, for as much as by the benefite of that imputation they be couered & remoued out of the sight of God, although he knoweth euery one of them, so as he can tell their very number. This case therefore standeth as it doth with the blacknesse of a coale set on fire, which black­nesse we know to be in the coale, although we see it not with our eves.

Theoph.

Psal. 32. 1 That excellent saying of Dauid calleth these things to my remembrāce. Blessed are they whose ini­quities be forgiuen, and whose sinnes be couered Bles­sed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not sinne. But seeing our righteousnesse and all our saluation de­pendeth vpon faith in Christ, tell me what faith is.

Mat.

Faith in Christ, is a certaine speciall assurance, by the which we know that we are partakers of the merite of the death and resurrection of Christ, so as it is satisfaction for vs, and forgiuenesse of all our sinnes: which indeed is the foundation of the Christian faith. Gal. 2. 16. Ioh. 6. 47. Rom. 3. 23. Ephes. 2. 8. Whereupō it is that they be indifferētly vsed. For som­time the scripture saith, that we are iustified by faith in Crhist: and somtime it ascribeth it simply vnto faith.

Theoph.

What then is faith?

Mat.

Of Faith. The word faith hath many significations. For [Page 26] sometimes it is as much as a promise to performe som­what: thereupon to keepe faith, is the same with stan­ding to a mans promise. signification 1 Hereunto may be referred the saying of Paule: God is faithfull: as if he had sayd, that God (which men doe often) neuer faileth of his promise. signification 2 Somtimes also it is taken for the gift to worke miracles: as when Paule saith, 1. Cor. 13. 2. that if he had all faith, so as he could remoue mountaines, yet if he had not loue, that he were nothing. signification 3 Besides it signifieth the wholesome doctrine of godlinesse, as when Paule chargeth Titus; Tit. 1. 13. Admonish them that they be sound in faith. In which sense he is cōmonly sayd, to thinke ill of the faith, which erreth frō the puritie of doctrine. signification 4 But the most proper signification of the word faith, is that wherof we speake in this place, whereof also there is so often mention in the Scriptures, Gal. 2. 16. Ephes. 2. 8. when in euery place we are sayd to be iustified and saued by faith, and that without faith no mā can please God. Heb. 11. 6. Thē indeed faith is the certifying of vs of the loue of God toward vs.

Theoph.

But why saydest thou at the beginning, that faith in Christ is the foundation of faith it selfe?

Mat.

Because we cannot certainly determine, that God will be mercifull vnto vs, except we do first know that Christ by his death hath made satisfactiō to God for our sinnes, and reconciled him vnto vs. Therefore Peter saith, 1. Pet. 1. 21. that through Christ we beleeue in God, which raised him from the dead, and gaue him glorie, that our faith and hope might be in God. From whēce it is easie to gather, that Christ is the onely foundati­on of our faith, which the holy Ghost hath ingrauen in our hearts. And this is as it were the summe of the Christiā faith, which commonly is called the Apostles Creede.

The exposition of the Apostles Creede.

Theoph.

Let vs therefore speake of this confession of faith, the whole whereof I desire thee to expound vnto me. But before I come to the partes of it, I will propound three things, wherein I desire to be satisfied [Page 27] of thee.

proposition 1 First, why it is called the Apostles Creede.

proposition 2 Secondly, seeing the doctrine which is contained in it, generally belongeth to all the faithfull, why we say: I do beleeue in God, not we beleeue in God.

proposition 3 Thirdly, what properly it is to beleeue in God.

Mat.

The word (Symbolum) which in English some­times we translate Creede, in this place signifieth as it were the gathering together of many parts into one: which terme doth not vnfitly agree to the confession of faith, which we see is made of many articles.

Now it is called the Apostles Creede, because it containeth as it were a brief summe of all the Aposto­licall doctrine, written in the bookes of the old and new Testament.

Theoph.

Let vs come to the other point whereof I doubted: why do we say rather, I beleeue in God, then we beleeue, seeing this doctrine is generall, and all Christians are bound to beleeue it?

Mat.

That is for two causes. cause 1 First because every man can giue testimonie of his owne faith, but of ano­ther mans faith he cannot.

cause 2 Secondly, to the end we should vnderstand, that these articles were not written so much to teach vs, as that by them we should be built vp to saluation: other­wise they should profit vs no more, then if a sicke man saw a medicine hauing vertue to driue away a mala­die, the working whereof he knew, and yet did neglect to take it.

Now, we professe that applying of it to our selues, when euery of vs saith, I beleeue.

Theoph.

As farre as I perceiue, there is no little like­nesse, betweene the sickenesse of the body and the sick­nesse of the mind, as also betweene the way of attay­ning the health of the one, & the health of the other.

Mat.

Yea indeed, there is great likenesse. For, as in the sicknesse of the body, there be three degrees to the obtaining of health, that is to say, the

1 Knowledge of the sickenesse.

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2 The knowledge of the remedy.

3 And the applying of it.

So also it fareth with our spirituall sicknesse, sinne. For, whosoeuer knoweth that sicknesse, is come to the first degree of health. If he know the remedy which is Christ, he is in the second. But all this is to no purpose, except the remedy by applied by faith.

Theoph.

Let vs therefore come to the third. What is it properly to beleeue in God?

Mat.

To beleeue in God. When we speake of God, we say that we be­leeue three manner of wayes.

belief 1 First to beleeue one God.

belief 2 Secondly to beleeue God.

belief 3 Thirdly to beleeue in God.

Wherof the first two degrees are they, by the which at length we come to the third.

To beleeue one God, is as much to say, thou belee­uest that there is one God.

To beleeue God, is to beleeue that God is true con­cerning his promises declared in his word.

To beleeue in God, is according to those promises to put thy whole trust and hope in God: which belon­geth to the faithfull only, who by true faith apply those promises to themselues.

Theoph.

Thou doest then account them infidels, that stand still in the first or second degree.

Mat.

I do indeed: for they beleeue no more then the deuils themselues do.

Theoph.

Thou hast satisfied me, we are therefore to come to the parts of the Creede.

Mat.

The parts of the Creede. They are foure.

1 Of faith in God the Father.

2 Of faith in his sonne Iesus Christ.

3 Of faith in the holy Ghost.

4 And concerning the Church.

Theoph.

Why our faith is referred to each person by it selfe. But why is our faith distinctly referred to euery person by it selfe, seeing that it is one God, in whom we beleeue?

Mat.

That our faith may be the better strengthened [Page 29] which is then done, when seuerally we perceiue what each person by his distinct propertie, hath wrought in our saluation. Our faith notwithstanding is referred to one God.

Theoph.

How?

Mat.

It is all one, as if a man should say, I put all my hope and trust in one God, of whose loue I can not doubt: For, whereas he is distinguished into three persons, euery one of them confirmeth in me the assurance of that loue. For the Father hath both created me by his omnipotencie, and doth also guide me by his mercifull prouidence. The Sonne hath redeemed me by his death, reconciled me to God the Father, and euen now maketh intercession to him for me. The holy Ghost by his diuine power hath sanctified me, & ioyned me with Christ & his Church, that with it I might be partaker of all his giftes, vntill he bring me vnto eternall life.

The first part of the Apostles Creede, which is of faith in God the Father.

Theoph.

In this exposition of the Creede, which thou hast euen now made, there be some few things where­of I will aske thee. I will keepe the order of the parts in propounding my questions.

Whether the Father onely crea­ted vs. I wil therfore begin with God the Father, by whose gracious prouidence, thou saidest that we are ruled.

question 1 First I demand therefore, whether the Father one­ly created vs?

question 2 Secōdly why thou makest here mention of his mer­cifull prouidence, whereof there is no one word in the Creede. Now answer me to the first.

Mat.

Those three persons for as much as they haue all one essence, namely the Godhead, and therfore are one God, do nothing apart, or a sunder one from the other. Therfore, both in our creation, redemption, and sanctification, euery one of the persons wrought ac­cording to their distinct propertie.

Theoph.

In those three diuine workes, shew me this distinctly.

Mat.

Psal. 33. 6. Concerning the creation, the Scripture doth teach vs, that the Father made all things by his word, that is to say, by his Sonne, and by his spirite. Concer­ning our redemption, the Father (saith Christ) so lo­ued Iohn. 3. 16. the world, that he gaue his onely begotten Sonne to the death for our redēption, which death the Sonne suffered by the power of the holy Ghost. The same al­so Heb. 9. 14. so is to be vnderstood of our sanctification, whereof the Father is as it were the beginning. For Christ pray­ing for the faithfull, saith: Father sanctifie them. The matter of our sanctification is in the Sonne, for he ad­deth; Iohn. 17. 17. & 19. I sanctifie my selfe, that they also may be sancti­fied. And the holy Ghost is as it were a cōduit, through the which that holinesse floweth from Christ, which is the head, into vs that are his members.

Theoph.

How cōmeth it to passe then, that the Scrip­ture ascribeth creation to the Father, redemption to the Sonne, and sanctification to the holy Ghost?

Mat.

Why the Scripture as­cribeth the creation to the Father. It is in respect of our rudenesse, because the worke of the Father is more manifest & euident in the creation, the worke of the Sonne in the redemption, and the worke of the holy Ghost in the sanctification. For, Gen. 1. in the creation the Scripture setteth the Father before vs as some mightie king commanding.

In the redemption, it setteth forth the Sonne, Phil. 27. which manifested himselfe vnto men in the flesh, wherein he suffered death for vs.

In the sanctification it setteth forth the holy Ghost, Tit. 3. 6. 1. Cor. 6. 19 Act 4 24. Rom. 4. 9. 1. Cor. 12. 3. which declareth his diuine vertue and power wherby he dwelleth in vs. Hence it is that the Father is called the creator, the Sonne our Lord, that is to say redee­mer, and the Spirit holy to the end we may vnderstād that we are sanctified of it.

Theoph.

Wherfore sayest thou, that when the Sonne is called our Lord, it is all one as if a man did call him redeemer?

Mat.

How Lord signifieth re­deemer. Because he hath gotten this Lordship by his [Page 31] redeeming of vs. For, so hee hath deliuered vs from the tyranny of the Diuell, and made vs subiect to his owne kingdome.

Theoph.

I had thought the holy Ghost had there­fore beene called holy, to note the holinesse where­with he is indued.

Mat.

Why the holy Ghost is called holy. Surely in that sense hee cannot bee called holy more then the Father, or the Sonne, who it is certaine are also holy: But therefore hee is called holy, in re­spect of the holinesse which he worketh in vs.

Theoph.

Touching the first part, I require no more. I come therefore to the other. Wherefore thou ma­kest mention of the gracious prouidence of GOD, whereof this confession of our faith maketh no men­tion at all.

Mat.

Of the pro­uidence of God toward the faithfull. The prouidence of God is ioyned to the cre­ation with so neare a band, that of the one, the other doth necessarily follow. For it is altogether contrarie to the nature of God, to neglect all thinges after hee had once made them, especially when we speake of the elect, for whose saluation hee gaue his onely begotten Sonne vnto death. Howsoeuer therefore God do guide all things by his prouidence, as it is before declared of vs, yet after a speciall manner hee looketh vppon the faithfull, to bee present in their necessitie, and to deli­uer them from dangers, whom whosoeuer toucheth, toucheth the apple of his owne eye. Now all these Zach. 2. 8. things are plainly comprehended in the article, which is of the faith in God the Father.

Theoph.

Goe to therefore, handle each point by it selfe.

Mat.

I beleeue in God the Fa­ther. When wee call God father, it is first indeede in respect of Christ, which is his onely begotten Son. Notwithstanding from thence we gather, that hee is a father to vs, whō through him, or for his sake, he hath adopted and taken for his children. Therefore the name of Father doth secretly containe in it, the loue of God towards vs. Omnipotēt. Hee is called omnipotent, not so much that we should know that he is able to do what­soeuer [Page 32] he will, as, because he not onely wisheth vs wel, but also can do his owne pleasure, so as nothing can keepe him from being present with vs.Mat. 19. 16

Maker of heauen and earth. Finally, he is saide to bee the maker of Heauen and Earth, Act. 4. 24 not onely to teach vs that all things in heauen and earth were made by him, but also to shew, that hee hath all things vnder his hand, to be a helpe vnto vs if neede be. And that he doth so bridle the deuill, and all our enemies, that they cannot hurt vs. Therefore the faithfull do not in vaine put their trust in God, but with Dauid may say: Psal. 18. 6. The Lord is with mee, I will not feare what man can do vnto me.

Psal. 23. 4 Although I should walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will feare none ill, because thou art with me.

Theoph.

But often times it falleth out, that the faith­full are most cruelly handled by their enemies.

Math.

Mat. 10. 30 That neuer commeth to passe but by the will of God, without whom not one hayre can bee pluckt from vs. Whereupon it is, that hee which lo­ueth vs (for hee is our Father, and also is omnipo­tent) doth not suffer them so much as that, but to our good.

Theoph.

Were it not more fit, if wee sayd according to the common receiued opinion, that these were only by the sufferance of God, and not by his will?

Math.

No man can seperate the sufferance of God from his will, but hee doth manifest iniurie vnto God, and taketh from vs a chiefe part of our comfort.

Theoph

Why so?

Mat.

Because by that meanes God should be made idle, and al occasion of putting our trust in him should be taken away. And indeede the state of the faithfull were most vnhappie, if they lay open to the assaultes of raging Sathan, and to the blouddy lust of the vn­godly. Iob. 1. 12. But the holy Scriptures teach vs far otherwise, that the diuell could do nothing to Iob, before he had obtained leaue of God. Also that he could not enter Mat. 8. 31. into swine, but when Christ bad him. And that the [Page 33] wicked be in the hand of the Lord. Psa. 17. 14. That Sennacherib the enemy of Gods people, was a rod of Gods wrath, Isai. 10. 5. and the staffe of his hand.

Theoph.

But how can it be, that euill thinges should be done by the will and appointment of God, and hee allow them not? is not this altogether vnworthie of God? Moreouer if that were true, the wicked should be without fault, seeing that when they doe euill, they execute the will of God.

Mat.

Although euill things can not bee done with­out the will and appointment of God; yet hee neither willeth nor alloweth them, so farre forth as they be e­uill, but rather abhorreth them, as cleane contrary to Psal. 5. 5. his nature But the good which by his maruailous wis­dome he bringeth out of those euils, hee both willeth and alloweth. Which may be seene in the verie death of Christ, whom Peter affirmeth to haue beene deli­uered Act. 1. 23. by the determinate counsell and foreknowledge of God, out of the which hee brought the saluation of the world, although he neither allowed the treason of Iudas, nor the wicked enuy of the Iewes.

Hereuppon it is, that notwithstanding the wicked do the will of God, yet are they no whit the lesse guilty before him. For they haue no purpose to do it.

Theoph.

Therefore vnlesse I bee deceiued, the wic­ked doe not the will of God, but God doth his will by the wicked.

Mat.

Thou iudgest rightly. For the purpose of the wicked in doing the will of God, is far vnlike the pur­pose of God himselfe. Which Isaiah himselfe doeth plainely note, speaking of Sennacherib. For, after that Isai. 107. he had saide, that hee was the rod of Gods wrath, and the staffe of his hand, whom hee sent to a dissembling nation, whom also he would command to pray and to take the spoile of the people of the Lordes wrath, straight way he addeth: But he thinketh not so, neither will his heart esteeme it so, for he imagineth to destroy and to cut off not a few nations.

Theoph.

God then is the maruailous workman which [Page 34] can vse any instrument to do his worke by.

Mat.

Yea indeede, he vseth both good and euill to his glorie, but in farre vnlike respect. For, hee gui­deth the affections of the former, namely of the An­gels and of the faithfull, by his holy spirite, so as the worke which he doth by them is altogether good. But the other, that is to saie, the diuell and the wicked, are moued by their owne malice, and so they do whol­ly differ from God, who neuerthelesse by his wonder­full wisedome doth so guide their actions, that in the end they fall out vnto his glorie.

Theoph.

This doctrine excellently agreeth with that which I haue heard of thee more then once: namely that the sinnes of the wicked bee from them­selues, but while as sinning they do this or that thing, that is of God.

Mat.

Thou gatherest well. For, so doth God exe­cute his iudgements. For hee punisheth sin with ano­ther sinne, and for the most part with a sin of the same kinde. As murther with murther theft with theft, ac­cording to the vnchangeable sentence pronounced by himselfe. Gen. 9. 6. Whosoeuer sheddeth man his bloud, by man his bloud shall bee shed. Isai. 33. 1. Woe to thee that spoilest, when thou hast made an end of spoiling, thou shalt bee spoiled.

Theoph.

But often times it falleth out that the wic­ked prosper, so as they be free from all aduersitie, yea from deserued punishments, & the godly euery where be pressed down with afflictions.

Mat.

Indeede, God punisheth some sinnes in this world, that both his prouidence and iustice may ap­peare, for else he might seem not to care what mē did. And againe he leaueth many things vnpunished, that we may vnderstand, there is another life after this, wherein he will most seuerely reuenge all the sinnes of men, yea with the greatnes of punishment recompēce his long patience toward them: wherewith by his in­numerable benefites he called them to repentance.

But concerning the afflictions of the godly, when [Page 35] God sendeth thē, he hath regard both to his own glo­ry, and to our saluation. For, according to the saying of the Apostle, all thinges worke together for the best Rom. 8. 28. vnto them that loue God. I omit that there may be many Hypocrites among the faithfull, whose sinnes God doth worthely punish.

Theoph.

Of afflictiōs. But what profite may the faithfull reape by their afflictions?

Math.

What profite? not one kinde but manie, which for the helpe of memorie, I will bring into sixe heads.

Theoph.

Declare the first.

Mat.

The first vse of afflictiōs, humilitie. By them God bringeth vs to humilitie, while by our owne experience hee prooueth, that what soe­uer goodly thing wee wondred at in our selues is no­thing. Hereuppon was that speach of Dauid, With rebukes thou chastisest men for iniquitie, thou ma­kest his beautie to consume as a moth: surelie euerie Psa. 39. 11 man is vanity.

Theoph.

What is the cause that God doth so hum­ble vs?

Mat.

1 First, that all glory and praise may bee gi­uen vnto him alone.

2 Secondly, that we may put away that same vaine confidence which naturally sticketh within vs, so to fly to him alone; and to put our trust in him.

3 Last of all, that we may bee the better prepared to receiue his gifts, 1. Pet. 5. 5. which hee giueth not but to the humble.

Theoph.

Come to the second point.

Mat.

The second vse of afflic­tions, repen­tance. By afflictions God calleth vs to true repen­tance. For when he chastiseth our sinnes, hee doeth this to make vs vnderstand, how much hee detesteth sinne, wherein we do not a little flatter our selues, that so also we might detest them.

Moreouer, with this he tameth the rebellion of our flesh, euen as husband-men are wont to tame theyr stout cattell with the plough, and daily more and more teacheth vs obedience: Hereuppon Dauid sayth, It [Page 36] is good for mee that I was afflicted, that I may learne Ps. 119. 71. thy statutes.

Theoph.

This bringeth that to my remembrance, which before this time I haue heard of thee: namely that God by afflictions doth correct our vices, that he may allure vs vnto vertue.

Mat.

Thou sayest well. For, euen as iron if it bee not occupied is marred with rust, and the earth ex­cept it bee dressed bringeth foorth onely briers and brambles. So also the godly, if they bee not exerci­sed with diuerse afflictions, do as it were fall a sleepe in their pleasures, and become dull and slowe to Gods seruice, so as in steade of fruites beseeming repentance, they bring foorth nothing but vanity and folly. Therefore the Apostle sayeth to the He­brewes: Heb. 12. 11. euery affliction for the present time seemeth not ioyous, but greeuous, but afterwards it bringeth the quiet fruite of righteousnesse vnto them that are thereby exercised.

Theoph.

It is now time to come to the third point.

Math.

The 3. fruite of afflictions pitty to o­thers. By afflictions God worketh this in vs, that wee learne to pitty such as be in distresse. For no man hath compassion or suffereth with another, who himselfe hath not suffered before. By this argu­ment the Apostle to the Hebrewes prooueth, that Christ will haue compassion vppon our afflictions, and that hee will bee our aduocate, with his Father. These bee his wordes: wee haue not an high Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infir­mities, but such a one as was in all thinges tempted in like sort, yet without sinne.

Theoph.

Go forward, declare vnto me the fourth point.

M

The fourth vse of afflic­tions, praier. By afflictions, the Lord shaketh of our drousines, and doth stirre vs vp to earnest prayer. In so much as not without good cause, afflictiōs be called the schoole of the holy Ghost, where we are taught to pray well. The Lord also commaundeth vs to pray in the time of trouble, & promiseth that we shall be heard. Call vpon [Page 37] Psal. 50. 15 me in the time of thy trouble, and I will deliuer thee, & thou shalt glorifie me. Which all the faithfull do often proue true in their owne experience. For, as the same Prophet saith: Psal. 34. 19 the Lord is neare those that be broken in heart, and will saue the contrite in spirit.

Theoph.

That is a most excellent vse of afflictions. Now declare the fift.

Mat.

The fift vse of afflictions, the triall of our faith. By them the Lord bringeth our faith to light, that we may be confirmed in it: For Peter sayth, 1. Pet. 1. 7. that it is tried no otherwise, then gold is tried in a fornace of fire: which similitude is most fit. For, as the fire either consumeth base things, as it doth wood or straw. or else hardneth, as it doth the clay; but precious things, such as be gold and siluer it melteth and cleanseth so there be diuerse effects of afflictions, according to the varie­tie of the persons to whom they be sent. For, they do either consume the wicked through impatiēce, or else they harden them through despaire.

1 On the contraie side, they soften the hearts of the godly to call vpon God.

2 They cleanse their hearts, for as much as by affli­ctions our concupiscence is mortified.

3 Finally they trie our faith, For, while the Lord doth temper the bitternesse of them with his loue and gentlenesse, he causeth vs to take them patiently, and to fashion our selues to his most holy will, by the which meanes our faith is manifested. Hereupon Iames cal­leth afflictions by the name of temptatiō. Iam. 1 12. Blessed is the man which endureth temptation. For when hee hath bene tried, he shall receiue the crowne of life. Where­unto also that is to be referred, which is spokē of Paul: Rom. 5. 3. that affliction bringeth forth patience, patience expe­rience, & experience hope. For this the Apostle mea­neth, that God by the comfort which he giueth vs in afflictions, by experi [...]nce proueth vnto vs the truth of his promises, by the which we are for the time to come confirmed in the hope of eternall life.

Theoph.

Indeed the former foure verses of afflictiōs are most excellent, and this fift is nothing inferiour. [Page 38] Hasten therefore vnto the last.

Mat.

The sixt vse of affliction, the renoun­cing of the world, and desire of e­ternall life. By afflictions God wil call our minds away frō these earthly things, that we may earnestly desire the life to come. For the Israelites if they had not bin ill in­treated, both in Egypt, and in the wildernesse, would neuer haue throughly thought vpon going to the land of Canaan, which was a figure of the heauenly inheri­tance. Therfore God doth as a carefull nurse, who whē she would weane the child, layeth some bitter thing v­pon the teat, to cause the child to hate and abhorre it.

Thou hast now how many wayes afflictions bee ne­cessarie for vs. Thou seest therefore that wee are not without cause warned by the Apostle, to beare thē pa­tiently, as sent from God our father, when he saith; Heb. 12. 5. 6. 7. 8. My sonne despise not the chastening of the Lord, neither faint when thou art corrected of him. For, whom the Lord loueth he chastiseth, and scourgeth euerie sonne whom he receiueth. If you endure chastening, God of­fereth himself vnto you as vnto sonns. (For what sonne is there whom the father chasteneth not?) But if you be without chastening, whereof all be partakers, verily you are bastards and not sonnes. Moreouer we had the fathers of our bodies chastisers of vs, and we did them reuerence, should we not much more be in subiection to the father of spirits, that we might liue? For they in­deed for a few dayes corrected vs after their own plea­sure, but he chastiseth vs for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holinesse.

Theoph.

There is no cause then, why the faithfull in this world should looke for all prosperitie.

Mat.

True, vnlesse they wil deceiue them selues: for otherwise it were necessarie, that

1 The deuill should be without enuie.

2 The world without malice.

3 And we our selues without sinne.

But the Deuill will alwayes burne in enuie against the faithfull. The world with malice and mad hatred, and our sinnes will minister sufficient matter vnto God, (who in the meane time hath care of our saluation) to [Page 39] giue the raines vnto those our enemies, to molest and trouble vs. Wherefore according to the saying of the Apostle, 2. Tim. 3. 12 let all such as desire to liue godly in Christ Ie­sus make their accompts, that they shall suffer persecu­tions. Of prosperi­tie. Adde hereunto, that prosperitie is not alwayes profitable for vs, nay oftentimes it hurteth vs.

Theoph.

Why so?

Mat.

Because often it hindereth our saluation, for it bringeth foorth fruits, altogether contrarie to those, which we reckened vp euen now.

2 For, it maketh vs proud and insolent, and kee­peth vs from the acknowledging of our sinnes.

3 It stirreth vs vp to serue our owne wicked lusts, and it is vnto them, as a baite, wherwith they are more and more set on fire.

4 It maketh vs negligent in prayer, and as it were putteth out in vs the desire to pray.

5 It prouoketh vs to impatience and wrath, and maketh vs voyd of the affection of mercie.

6 Finally, it maketh vs drunken with the loue of our selues, and of the world, & draweth vs away from the meditation of the heauenly life. Act. 14. 22. Therefore, not without cause the Scripture testifieth, that wee must through many afflictions enter into the kingdome of God. Now these in the holy writings, are not seldome called strikings, to the end we might know them to be as it were certaine spirituall medecines, which be di­uersly administred by God him selfe the best spirituall Phisition, to sundrie purposes, according to the quality of our sicknesses and necessitie. Notwithstanding, he dealeth alwayes so gently with vs, that he suffereth vs not to be tempted, aboue that wee are able to beare. For, while he chastiseth vs with the one hand, he doth lift vs vp with the other, and causeth, that the issue of the affliction is alwayes happie. And so he declareth his goodnesse to vs in aduersitie, as well as in prospe­ritie. For, often, hee tempereth them both together, or sendeth them by course, least wee should bee too much puffed vp with prosperitie, or throwne [Page 40] downe with aduersitie. Hereupon the Prophet saith: Psal. 30. 5. weeping may abide in the euening, but ioy commeth in the morning. And that more is, he vseth this course of things, that we may the more acknowledge, what the sweetnesse of prosperitie is, & so be more earnestly bent to yeeld him thanks. For, as it is in the prouerbe:

Sweet things deserued hath not be,
VVhich before did bitter neuer see.
Theoph.

Hitherto thou hast declared certaine verie excellent points concerning afflictions, which if they be earnestly fixed in our minds, they wil bring no small comfort, nor a litle stirre vs vp to patience. Now these vnlesse I be deceiued, are

1 First, that afflictions come not to vs, but by the will of God.

2 That they be sent vnto vs frō God to our good.

3 That God will assist vs to the patient bearing of them.

4 That God promiseth vs a blessed issue, yea at length a full deliuerance.

5 Finally, that by meanes of them, prosperitie is made more pleasant and delectable.

Mat.

Thou passest ouer the chief point, that is to say, the fatherly loue that God sheweth euen then whē he doth chastise vs, for he alwayes dealeth mercifully and gently with vs in the very afflictions. Which thing Da­uid witnesseth in these words; The Lord is mercifull & gentle, slow in wrath, and great in goodnesse. He is not Psal. 103. 8. 9. &c. wont to chide alwayes, neither will he keepe his wrath for euermore. He hath not dealt with vs according to our sinnes, neither hath he rewarded vs according to our iniquities. Because according to the height of the heauens aboue the earth, so great is his goodnesse vpō them that feare him. As far as the East is frō the West, so far hath he remoued our sinnes from vs. As a father hath compassion on his children, so hath the Lord cō ­passion on them that feare him. For he knoweth wher­of we be made, he remembreth that we are but dust.

Theoph.

Why callest thou this the chiefe point?

Mat.

Because vnlesse that loue of God be before our eyes in our afflictions there can nothing else be to any purpose: On the other side if this go before, and the o­ther which thou euen now reckenedst vp do follow, ei­ther I am greatly deceiued, or else there is no afflictiō so hard, which a faithfull man may not be able to o­uercome, especially if it be to be suffered for the testi­mony of the truth of the Gospell.

Theoph.

Why so?

Mat.

Afflictions for righte­ousnesse. There may fiue causes be alledged, besides those which thou hast heard already.

Theoph.

My heart desireth to heare them.

Mat.

The first is this, that by afflictions for righte­ousnesse sake the Lord vouchsafeth vs the honor to be Martyrs, that is to say, witnesses of his truth. And so he turneth the punishment ioyned with shame which we haue deserued, into most glorious sufferings. Where­upon Peter speaking of them, saith: that it is better, if so the will of God be, that doing well we should be pu­nished, then doing euill.

2 Another is, that by them we are made like, not onely to the holy Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, & o­ther Martyrs, which liued before our times: but also to Christ himselfe, which hath set himselfe before vs as a patterne of thē; with whom (saith the Apostle) Rom. 8. 17. 2. Tim. 2. 12. we shall no otherwise be glorified, except we suffer with him.

3 The third is, because the glorie of God, which ought to be farre dearer vnto vs, then our owne life, is thus not a little aduanced: for, it commeth to passe, that the very enemies of the Christian truth, are called to the knowledge of Christ, and the weake be confir­med in it, by our constancie, and open confession of God his name. Therfore it was well sayd of one of the auncient fathers, Tertul. in apol. adu. gent. that the bloud of the Martyrs is the seede of the Church.

4 The fourth is, that while we be made partakers of Christes sufferings, the spirit of God resteth vpon vs, wherewith we are maruellously comforted. 1. Pet. 4. 14 2. Cor. 1. 5. For, as the sufferings of Christ abound in vs, euen so through [Page 42] Christ aboundeth our comfort.

5 The fift is, because our reward is great in heauen, euen as Christ himselfe witnesseth, Mat. 5. 12. Yea he willeth vs to reioyce and to leape for ioy in the middest of afflic­tions. Paule also saith the same in these wordes: Luc. 6. 23. The momentanie lightnesse of our affliction, 2. Cor. 4. 17. causeth vnto vs a farre most excellent eternall weight of glory while we looke not on things which are seene, but on things which are not seene. For the things which are seene are temporall, but the things which are not seene, are eternall Therefore we haue no occasion of heauinesse offered vnto vs by suffering in this sort: yea rather we ought to receiue great matter of comfort and ioy, as of the greatest good which is wont to be giuen of God, and as of a speciall gift which he giueth not, but to his elect, and most dearely beloued children. For Paule teecheth, Phil. 1. 29. that it is giuen vs not onely to beleeue in Christ, but also to suffer for him. In another place also the same Apostle saith of himself; Gal. 6. 14. 4 God forbid that I should boast in anything, saue in the Crosse of our Lord Iesus Christ, by the which the world is crucified vnto me, and I vnto the world.

The second part of the Apostles Creede, which is of faith in Christ.

Theoph.

We haue spoken largely inough of the first part of the Creede, the matter therfore requireth that we come to the second: which is cōcerning the sonne, of whom thou saydest we were redeemed, and that he did continually make intercession for vs.

I do therfore demand of thee, in which articles that redemption and intercession is contained?

Mat.

The founda­tion of our redemption. Indeede redemption hath chiefly the foun­dation in the article of the death & passion of Christ, which is as it were the price of our redemption: For by it, ioyning thereto the resurrection, we were de­liuered from the tyrannie of the deuill, and brought into the libertie of Gods children, which Christ him [Page 43] selfe witnesseth in these wordes, The sonne of man is come into this world to giue his life a price of redemp­tion Mat. 20. 28 for many.

Concerning his intercession: it is ioyned by Paule with the article of sitting at the right hand of God, as a part thereof. These be his wordes, What is he that Rom. 8. 34. shall condemne? It is Christ which is dead, yea rather which is raised vp from the dead, who also is at the right hand of God, and maketh intercession for vs. For because the sitting at the right hand of the father, is referred to the dignitie, whereunto he is aduanced with the father, by a similitude taken from kings, which are wont to place those at their right hand, that be most welcome and acceptable to them, & whom they desire to haue most honored therefore doth he ioyne his intercession with it, to the end we might know, that Christ bestoweth the great authoritie he hath with his Father in this, that by the benefite of his death, he might become mercifull vnto vs.

Theoph.

Forasmuch as in these three articles of the death, resurrection, & the sitting of Christ at the right Why there be in the Creed more articles of Christ then these three. hand of the Father, the chiefe points of our saluation be conteined, why were the other articles put into the Creede, especially seeing it is a summe, & as it were an epitome or abridgement of the things which are to be beleeued to our comfort and saluation?

Mat.

It was that our faith might be the better de­fenced, against the temptations of the deuill and the flesh.

Theoph.

I do desire to haue these things declared by thee more at large, and to be instructed, to what temp­tation, each article of the faith is opposed or set a­gainst, that if at any time neede shall be, I may make my vse of them.

Matth.

The vse of the articles of the faith against the sundry tēp­tations. The things which haue bene spoken by me in the former Chapter, of the person and office of Christ, there is no cause in this place to repeat. This onely I will shew, that each article is placed in most exquisite order, to the end we might acknowledge in [Page 44] Christ, remedies against euery kind of spirituall sick­nesses, and against all the punishments which we haue deserued. Psal 51. 7. Ephes. 3. As first of all, we indeed be conceiued in sinne, by meanes whereof it is that wee are the chil­dren of wrath. The remedie against this euill, is that, which in the first place we beleeue of Christ, Conceiued by the holy Ghost. Math. 1. 20 namely, that he was conceiued by the holy Ghost, that we may know our conception to be sanctified in Christ, so as now euen from our first beginning, we are by him con­secrated to God the Father.

Theoph.

Why was it necessarie, that for these things Christ should be conceiued by the holy Ghost?

Mat.

Because the naturall order of humane gene­ration is defiled and corrupted, so as it was altogether necessarie, that the holy Ghost should haue the worke in that conception, to purge and cleanse the substance of the virgin of whom he was conceiued, and that thus he might be pure, and farre from the blot of originall sinne, wherewith if he had bene defiled, he himselfe should haue needed a redeemer and mediator, so farre should he haue bene from redeeming vs, and from be­ing able to reconcile vs to God the Father. Ad here­unto, that there can be no ioyning of the Godhead, with that that is vncleane.

Theoph.

Borne of the virgin Marie. Gal. 4. 14. Mat. 1. 13. Wherefore, hauing mentioned his concep­tion, is it by and by added, that he was borne of the vir­gin Marie?

Mat.

It was to teach vs, that he did not onely take our nature, as one which was made of a woman, as Paule speaketh: Gal. 4. 4. Mat. 1. 23. but also that we might know him to be that verie redeemer and Messias promised to the fathers: for as much as he was borne of a virgine des­cending from Adam and Dauid, according to the Pro­phesies of the Prophets, and that in the time and place by them appointed.

Theoph.

Why was it necessary that his mother should be a virgin?

Matth.

That both in his conception and natiuitie, the worke of God might the more plainer appeare, [Page 45] and that there might be nothing whereby to darken it neuer so little.

Theoph.

Declare the other articles.

Mat.

Because after our conception and birth, for the innumerable sinnes by vs daily committed, we had deserued to suffer euen in this life all manner of re­proches and contumelies, and besides in time to come hereafter, most grieuous torments both in soule and body, it is expresly mentioned, that Christ suffered all those things for vs, when it is sayd, Suffered vn­der Pontius Pilate. he suffered vnder Pontius Pilate: for vnder him, for vs or in our steed, he was bound, railed vpon, beaten and crowned with thornes Moreouer, we had deserued most cruell death with reproch and shame, this also Christ suffred for vs: Crucified. Mat. 27. 35 For he was crucified between two theeues, which kind of death was accursed of God himselfe, for it was ap­pointed for euill doers & wicked men. Dead. But by dying he ouercame death, so as death is now to vs, not deadly, but making aliue. Mat. 27. 50 Moreouer, the Iudge is named vnder whō he suffered, not so much to proue the certainty of the story, as to teach vs that Christ, notwithstāding he were most iust & innocent, was for vs condēned before an earthly Iudge, as a guiltie person, that by his most vniust condemnation, we should haue full absolution and discharge before the Iudgement feate of God.

Theoph.

I desire to haue that more largely declared by thee, which I heard euen now of the death of Iesus Christ; namely that by dying he ouercame death, so as it is not now deadly vnto vs, but making aliue.

Matth.

How Christ brought death to death. That thou mayest vnderstand these things rightly, it is to be knowne, that death whē it wold haue swallowed vp Christ, in whō is the foūtaine of life, was it selfe swallowed vp of him, so as he became deadly to death, according to the Prophesie of Hosea; Hos. 13. 14. O death I wil be thy death. Seing therfore by the death of Christ, death is swallowed vp in victorie, now the faithfull are deliuered frō the tyrannie of it. There is no cause then, why we should feare it, nay rather let vs be bold to prouoke, and as it were to challenge death with the A­postle [Page 46] crying out, 1. Cor. 15 54.O death where is thy victorie?

Theoph.

But it doth still daily exercise it tyrannie v­pon the faithfull, for it killeth them.

Mat.

Death deli­uereth the faithfull frō innumera­ble deaths. Nay rather cleane contrariwise: For while it seemeth to kill them, it deliuereth them from a thou-and deaths, that is to say, from the innumerable trou­bles of this world, to the end they may liue most bles­sedly in the heauens.

Theoph

Let vs go forward to the rest.

Mat

We had deserued, that our bodies after death, should be thrust into the graue, which is deaths prison, and that our soules should be cast downe into hell, to be tormented with euerlasting paines.

Christ, that he might remedy both these euils, would haue his body buried, that so he might pursue death it selfe being ready to dye, into his owne hold, that is to say into the graue: whose nature therfore he changed, so as it is no more to vs the goale of death, but a place appointed of God, wherin our bodies are kept against the day of the glorious resurrection.

For this cause the scripture affirmeth, Acts. 7. 60. 1. The. 4. 13 that the faith­full departed, are not dead but a sleepe. Whereupon it came to passe, that the fathers of the primitiue church named those places wherein the bodies of the faithful were buried [...], that is to say, sleeping places.

Moreouer, Christ would tarrie in the graue some dayes, that so it might certainly appeare, that he was dead indeede. But then he descended into hell for vs, He descen­ded into hell. when he endured those most extreme torments and sorrowes, euen the wrath of God, which we had deser­ued. Now those were the euerlasting punishments, Mat. 26. 38 which we should haue suffered.

Vpon the feeling of these sorrowes, he sweat bloud in the garden, and not for feare of bodily death, for o­therwise he should haue bene the most fearefull of all other men.

Moreouer these sorrowes caused, Luc. 22. 44. Mat. 27. 46 that in the verie agonie he cryed out; my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Yet, not that God euer forsoke him, but [Page 47] because hee was in out steed, and offred himselfe to his Father as a baile for vs, it was necessarie that his diui­nitie should be hidden for a time, vntill the humanity had suffered all the things, which both here and in the world to come we had deserued Howbeit, the punish­ment which in respect of vs was eternall and endlesse, in Christ was made temporarie and hauing end, be­cause he himselfe is eternall and infinit, and therefore he put an end to those euerlasting punishments, wher­unto we were accursed.

Theoph.

But this article of Christs descending into Hell, is placed in the Creed after his buriall: where­fore it seemeth, that it cannot be referred vnto those paines which he suffered before death: for the order it selfe is against it. Moreouer, this selfe same thing seemeth to bee contained in another article, euen in that he suffered vnder Pontius Pilate, in which words, not those paines onely are to bee vnderstood, which hee suffered in his body, but those also which he suf­fered in his soule.

Mat.

This article of Christs descending into Hell, cannot otherwise be expounded, but as it hath beene expounded of me: for if it be referred to his buriall, as some would haue it, bringing for the confirmation of their opinion those places of Scripture, wherein the graue it selfe is called by the name of Hell, it shall bee nothing else, but a repetition of that which is farre more plainely set out in the former Article: which in­deede doeth not agree to so short a summarie as the Creede is. Much lesse is this article to be vnderstood, of Christs soule going downe into the place of the dam­ned. For Christ said to the theefe, this day shalt thou Luc. 23. 43. be with me in Paradise. Moreouer, there was no such thing further required, for as much as all things were finished vpon the Crosse: for he said a little before his death: it is finished. Concerning the order or method, Ioh. 19. 39 it hath beene before declared by vs, that they which wrote this Creed, looked vnto this, that in each article they might set before vs, the seuerall remedies, which [Page 48] be ministred vnto vs by Christ, against all kindes of temptations and spirituall discases. Therefore they would not onely expresse the paines which he suffered in his body, but also the fearefull torments which he suffered in his soule, and which vnto vs are most ter­rible, for these we haue deserued to endure for euer in Hell it selfe▪ the temptations whereof farre excee­deth that which ariseth of the afflictions of this life, yea and of bodily death. Wherefore hauing compre­hended all these paines generally in this Article; hee suffered vnder Pontius Pilate, afterward they would handle them particularly. And first of all, those which The order of the arti­cles which respect Christ. he suffered in body, in these words, Hee was crucifi­ed, dead, and buried: for they purposely ioyned his buriall, that as it were in one rowe they might com­prehend all things, which appertaine to the abasing of his body. Which being declared, they added those horrible torments, which he suffered in his soule, in these words; Hee descended into Hell. Which they did, to the end we may vnderstand, that Christ when hee had suffered all the things, which we should haue suffered in Hell, did as much, as if by a locall descen­ding, hee had descended into Hell it selfe; and that therefore we are free from it.

Theoph.

Now do I verie well allow the exposition of this article which you haue deliuered, as that which bringeth vs no small comfort. Yea I do verie well like the order it selfe. For it is easier to applie the suffe­rings of Christ to our selues, when they are reckened vp in that order wherein we should haue suffred them, then in any other.

Mat.

Thou iudgest rightly: for the temptation of the second death, that is to say, of the punishments which abideth for vs in hell, is wont to come into our minds, after the temptation of the first death.

Theoph.

Declare vnto me the other articles.

Mat.

The third day he arose againe. The resurrection followeth, by the which Christ ouercame, death, hell, sinne, yea and the Diuell him­selfe, and triumphing ouer them, and leading them [Page 49] captiues, Act. 10. 46 Ephe. 4. 8. He ascēded into heauen Act. 1. 9. he ascended into Heauen, whither he is gone vp with the greatest glorie, not so much for himself, as thereby to open a way for vs, and to take possession of it in our name, vntill our soules come to possesse it after death, and body and soule together after the re­surrection. But because so long as we here liue, euen after wee are by faith made partakers of Christs gifts, wee fall into manie sinnes, which are wont to trou­ble our consciences, and to weaken our faith, it is by and by added, And sitteth at the right hād of God the father almightie. that he sitteth at the right hand of the Father, to the end we might know, and be assured of that intercession which hath before beene mentioned. And so we might vnderstand, that after hee had once suffered death vpon the Crosse for our sinnes, he doth continually offer the merit thereof vnto his father for vs, and therefore causeth the father himselfe to be fa­uourable vnto vs. Which thing Paule sheweth in these words; Christ is at the right hand of the Father, Rom. 8. 34. and maketh request for vs.

More, he vseth that great authoritie whereunto hee is aduanced, to the gouernment & help of his church, against all the hurtes that might come vpon it, and to the accomplishment of our saluation Finally, because (such is the weakenes of our faith) some feare of con­demnation may assaile our mindes in that last daie, Mat. 16. 27 wherein the Lord will render to euerie one according to his workes: therefore that this temptation may bee met with, it is said further; that Christ which is our in­tercessor, shall also be our Iudge. And this is the mea­ning of that article, Frō thence he shall com [...] to iudge quick and dead. wherein we beleeue that hee shall come to iudge quicke and dead: euen that we might be without all feare of condemnation; and contrariwise, certainly know, that by the sentence of the Iudge him­selfe, we shall obtaine saluation.

Theoph.

Who are those quicke, and dead, who thou sayest shalbe iudged of Christ?

Math.

The quicke, are they which at that daie shall be aliue, who also as Paule saith, 1. Cor. 15. 52 shall bee changed in the twinckling of an eye: and the dead are they, whom [Page 50] death before shall haue taken out of the companie of the liuing.

Theoph.

But is it necessarie, that the dead should rise againe in that daie, of whom iudgement was giuen be­fore, whether they be good or euill?

Mat.

These thinges shall not let their appearing at that daie, and that for two causes.

1 The first, because that first iudgement, pertaineth onely to the soule: but the later to the whole man.

2 The other is, that that particular iudgement may be proclaimed before all men, and so there maie be a more manifest declaration of God his righteous­nesse.

Therefore the Scripture affirmeth, that in that day both good and bad shalbe iudged by Christ accor­ding to their workes: which without doubt shall bee brought to light, as it were manifest testimonies, either of the faith, or the vnbeliefe, lying hid in the heart, al­though faith it selfe, or vnbeliefe in those that come to years, be special causes either of the saluation or dam­nation of men, as it is declared by the Iudge himselfe; Ioh. 3. 18. & 5. 24. He that beleeueth in me, is not condemned: but hee which beleeueth not, is condemned alreadie, because he hath not beleeued in the name of the onely begot­ten Sonne of God.

Theoph.

Why Christs death is mē ­tioned oft­ner in the Scriptures, then the o­ther things he did for vs I do now at length acknowledge all the ar­ticles which appertaine to the faith in Christ, to be in­deed profitable, yea necessarie to the establishment of our faith I would notwithstanding know, why in the Scriptures his death onely is for the most part spoken of, as in that place of Paule, Rom. 5. 10. We are reconciled by the death of his sonne.

Mat.

By such kind of speeches, the scriptures, desirous of breuity and shortnes, of the chiefe part nameth the whole. Neuerthelesse, sometimes his resurrection also Rom. 4. 25. is ioyned because in it Christ ouercame death, where­upon it is, that the force of Christs death hangeth vp­on his resurrection. For if Christ be not raised vp (saith Paul) 1. Cor. 15. 14 our faith is vaine. This also is to be noted by the way, that the death of Christ is not seldome vnder­stood [Page 51] by his bloud, because that powring out of his bloud, amongst other things, which he suffered for vs, is verse excellent and notable.

Theoph.

Bring forth some testimonies for it.

Mat.

They are to be found euerie where in the ho­ly writings. Peace being made by the bloud of Christ, by him he hath reconciled all thinges to him selfe, as well those that bee in earth as those that be in heauen, that is to saie, both those that be in the Church alrea­die receiued into heauen, as those that bee yet in the militant Church below.

1. Pet. 1. 19 We were redeemed not with corruptible things, as siluer or gold: but with the precious bloud, as of a Lambe without spot, and vndefiled, euen of Christ. Rom. 5. 9. We are iustified by the bloud of Christ.

The third part of the Apostles Creed, which is faith in the holy Ghost.

Theoph.

Wee haue proceeded farre inough concer­ning faith in Christ. Now therefore wee must come to the third part of the Creed, which is of the holy Ghost, whereunto thou did dest attribute, that it doth sancti­fie vs, and ioyne vs with Christ. But there bee two things, which I wil propound vnto thee to be declared.

1 First, wherein that sanctification standeth.

2 Secondly, in what sence thou saiest, that wee are by the holy Ghost ioyned with Christ, forasmuch as e­uen now thou ascribedst that vnto faith.

Math.

The sanctification which the holy Ghost worketh in vs, standeth herein, that it amendeth the corruption planted in our mindes, and repaireth the decay of our soules, otherwise cast away and vndone by originall sinne.

Theoph.

Declare to mee the effects of that repairing.

Mat.

First of all, it lightneth our minds, so as we do acknowledge the true God in Christ, and yeeld him the worship due to his maiestie.

Secondly, it reformeth our hearts, working faith in [Page 52] them, which pietie or godlinesse followeth, that is to say, the loue and feare of God, from whence also sprin­geth repentance it selfe. For this faith which lieth hid in the heart, sheweth it selfe, as it were visible to the eyes. But the sanctification whereof we speake, is not seldome called by the name of regeneration.

Theoph.

Why is it called also by this name?

Math.

Because, when the holy Ghost by his grace and vertue worketh in vs, stedfastly to beleeue the things, which in former times wee condemned, and that truely repenting, wee do the things which be di­rectly contrarie to our former actions: Ephe. 4. 24. 2. Cor. 5. 17 we do in verie deede seeme to be borne againe, and to be made new men, as Paule speaketh. And verily then all the parts and qualities of our soule are so reformed, as they may seeme to be altogether changed.

Theoph.

What our regenetatiō or sanctifica­tion is. Therefore this sanctification or regenera­tion, is nothing else, but the repairing of the image of God, which we lost in Adam.

Math.

Thou iudgest rightly: and Paule himselfe te­stifieth this, whē he saith; Col. 3. 10. that we haue put on the new man, which is renued into knowledge, agreeable to the image or likenesse of him that created him. But Christ is he, by whom that likenesse of God is brought from Heauen vnto vs, and communicated by spirituall regeneration, euen as Adam by carnall generation had made vs partakers of sinne with him.

Theoph.

Thou speakest of two generations, verie much differing the one from the other, I meane the first which wee haue from Adam, from that which Christ worketh in vs by his spirit.

Mat.

Verily, by that first generation wee are borne vnto sinne, but by this latter, we are borne vnto righte­ousnesse.

2 By the first we are borne children of wrath: by the later, children of God.

3 By the first we are borne vnto death; by the later vnto euerlasting life. And for this cause Christ said to Nicodemus, Ioh. 3. 3. Except a man be borne againe, hee can­not [Page 53] not see the kingdome of God.

Theop.

Hitherto I haue heard what sanctification or regeneration is, namely that it consisteth in the vnder­standing of heauenly things concerning our saluation; and in the reformation of our heart & will, which cau­seth vs to beleeue in God through Christ, & to obey him. But how is it that the Apostle whom thou citedst speaking of this repairing, maketh mention only of the vnderstanding, and not of the wil? For he saith, that we haue put on that new man, which is renued into know­ledge Col. 3. 10. agreeable to the image of him that created him.

Mat.

In that place indeede there is onely mention of knowledge, but vnder the name of knowledge are vnderstood both holinesse of life & reformatiō. Which also in another place are by name spokē of by the same Apostle, when he saith; Ephes. 4. 24. that that newe man is put on which is created after God in righteousnesse and true holinesse. Thou seest that in those places, one part is ta­ken for both, because they are at once or together re­formed by the holy Ghost, although in diuerse maner. For to some he giueth more knowledge then reforma­tion. And contrariwise to some others, more zeale and reformation, then knowledge.

Theop.

But how is it, that there be many also found, vnto whom there is giuen more then common know­ledge of God, and of his truth, whose life notwithstan­ding is most wicked?

Math.

In deed I grant this, that God sometimes gi­ueth euen to the vnfaithfull some knowledge of his trueth, which also for the most part is coloured with great words, and externall shew. But it is not the right knowledge of the true God, which is alwayes ioyned with his obedience. Neither in deede can anie man know him, but he is straight wayes beloued of him: but that loue cannot stand, except we do obey his cōman­dements. Therefore Iohn saith, By this we know that we know him, if we keep his commandements. He that sayth, 1. Ioh. 2. 3. I know him, & keepeth not his commandemēts, is a lyer, and the truth is not in him.

Theoph.

But whether of those two is the better, ei­ther the knowledge of God, or the obedience of his cō ­mandements?

Mat.

Indeed knowledge is better then obedience in this, that it begetteth in vs both the loue and obediēce of God: but especially for that by it we are transformed as the Apostle speaketh from glory vnto glorie, 2. Cor. 3. 18. that is to say, as it were by certaine degrees as that knowledge getteth increase in vs. Neuerthelesse that image or likenesse of God, doth not so expressely shine in vs in knowledge, which for the most parte lyeth hid in the mind, as it doth in obedience, namely while we liue tē ­peratly, iustly, and godly, for those excellent vertues de­clare vs not to be bastards, but the true childrē of God.

Theoph.

Why so?

Mat.

Because we are thought their children accor­ding to the flesh, whose likenesse we haue concerning the bodie: so are we accounted his spirituall children, whose spirituall likenesse we shew in our works.

Theoph.

Thou callest the wordes of Christ to my re­membrance; wherewith he reproueth the Scribes and Phatisies, bosting them selues to be the children of A­braham. If you were Abrahams children, you would do the works of Abraham. Ioh. 8. 39. You are of your father the De­uill and the lusts of your father will you fulfill.

Matth.

Verie truly. Hereunto also may be referred that saying of Christ, which he addeth after that hee had exhorted vs to holinesse of life: That you may be the children of that your Father wh [...]ch is in heauē. Math. 5. 45. But this holinesse and reformation of life are effectes and fruites of repentance, whereof mention was made be­fore by vs, when we spake of sanctification.

Theoph.

Of repen­tance. Let vs therefore nowe speake somewhat of repentance, and first what is repentance?

Mat.

It is the hatred of sinne, and an earnest loue of righteousnesse, by the which we are continually stir­red vp to abhorre our vices, and are mooued to doe good workes, not for feare of punishment, or hope of reward, but for that loue wee beare towardes God, [Page 55] which worketh in vs, that with a ioyfull heart wee are moued to his obedience, and with griefe go astray from his cōmandements. And therein is the promise fulfil­led made vnto vs of God by his Prophets, Ier. 31. 33. Ezec. 36. 26 namely that he will take from vs the stonie heart, in stead whereof he will giue vs an heart of flesh wherein he will engraue his Law, that we may walke in his commaundements. Hence it commeth, that the Law of God, which in for­mer times was grieuous and hated of vs, is nowe not onely not grieuous, but most acceptable & delightfull, euen as it is written by the Prophets.Psal. 110. 14. 17. 47.

Theoph.

How many parts of repentance be there?

Mat.

Two. Namely,

1 The mortification or killing of the old man, that is to say, of the corruption which by reason of sin stic­keth within vs.

2 And the resurrection of the new man.

The same also be the partes of regeneration, for it is necessarie, that the holy Ghost doe first kill all euils, and euen corruption it self, before it plant good things in our hearts. But that mortification hath it force from the death of Christ, of whom when we are made parta­kers by faith, he doth not onely blot all our sinnes, but also causeth that we acknowledge them, and being ac­knowledged, do hate them. Which thing Paule tea­cheth vs in these words: This we know, that our olde man is crucified with Christ, Rom. 6. 6. that the bodie of sinne might be weakned, that hereafter we should not serue sinne.

Moreouer the rising againe of the new man, which borroweth his force and efficacy from the resurrection of Christ, worketh strength in vs, by meanes whereof from the heart we apply our selues to the obedience of God, which also the same Apostle plainely teacheth, where he saith; We are buried together with Christ by Baptisme into his death, Rom. 6. 4. that as Christ is raised vp frō the dead, into the glorie of the Father, euen so should we walke in newnesse of life.

Theoph.

Are then these two partes ioyned together [Page 56] by so strict a band, that the former can neuer be seue­red from the later?

Math.

They are indeed, for it is impossible that any man should be partaker of Christs death, but the same also is partaker of the fruit of his resurrection. The A­postle expresly affirmeth it; If we be grafted with Christ Rom. 6. 5. to the similitude of his death, euen so shall we be to the similitude of his resurrection. For this cause so often as the Scripture speaketh of repentance, it doth not only simply vnderstand, some grief conceiued for our sinnes, but reformatiō of life, and returning to a better course, which be witnesses of that sorow lying hid in the heart.

Therefore such as bragge of repentance, and yet do not returne, nor giue them selues to amendement of life, are lyers, and do mocke God himselfe.

Theoph.

Thou sayest truly, for in our common life, he should be thought to mocke vs, that said he was sure he had done vs wrong, and yet in deed continued in the thing it selfe. I do rest satisfied in this doctrine of rege­neration. But by it, that is not a litle confirmed which was before proued by thee in the chapter of man, name­ly, that man by his owne nature is the seruant of sinne, which neither vnderstandeth heauenly things that ap­pertaine to his saluation, neither hath anie freedome or power to do that which is good. For seeing those fa­culties and powers are giuen vnto vs by the spirit of re­generation, it is without doubt that we lacke them and therfore that we are altogether vnable of our selues to beleeue, or to do well.

Mat.

Thou gatherest well: Of mans free will. But because this doc­trine concerning mans Free will, before this time, be­ing as it is at this day in controuersie, is notwithstan­ding of great force, to the establishment of the glory of God, and of our owne saluation, although it hath before bin declared by vs, yet I wil not thinke much to speake of it againe, and to confirme it by testimonies of the Scripture. And first of all, concerning the true know­ledge of God and of Iesus Christ, which is the founda­tion of our saluation: Christ himself saith; No mā know­eth [Page 57] Mat. 11. 17 the Sonne but the Father, neither doth any man know the Father but the Sonne, and he to whom the Sonne will reueale him. Iohn. 6. 44. No man can come to me, ex­cept the Father that sent me draw him. But concerning the wil, and that power whereby we do obey God, Paul saith: It is God which worketh in vs to will, and to per­forme Phil. 2. 13. it. Which also is confirmed of Christ himselfe, by a most fit similitude, in these wordes; As the branch Iohn. 15. 4. can beare no fruit of it selfe, except it abide in the vine: euen so neither can you, except you abide in me. He that abideth in me, & in whom I abide, the same brin­geth much good fruit, for without me you can do no­thing. Which things being so, what can man of himself beleeue in the matter of Religion, but errour and lyes? what is he able to do when the question is of worship­ping God, but all manner vice and wikednesse? I will ad a place out of Paule, wherein all this doctrine in one word is plainly set down. You were dead in sinnes and Ephes. 2. 1. trespasses. He saith not you were sicke, so as some little life was left in you, but you were altogether dead. The self same thing also he confirmeth afterward, when he saith: Ephes. 2. 6. that we are raised vp from the dead, when God doth regenerate vs. If therfore the vnregenerate man be spiritually dead in sinnes, it followeth that he hath no more vnderstanding in things pertaining to eter­nall saluation, then hath a dead man in the things of this life.

Moreouer if a man vnregenerate be spiritually dead in sinnes, he hath no more power to do a good deede, then a dead man hath to do the actions of the body.

Therefore euen as our soule giueth life to the body, so also the spirite of God is the life of our soule, being otherwise dead, and vnable to beleeue or do any thing that is good.

Theoph.

Although I do wholly giue consent to this doctrine, which I see hath expresse grounds in the ho­ly Scriptures, yet I will propound vnto thee a certain obiection, sometimes put forth to my selfe: about the answering whereof, I found no small difficultie: name­ly [Page 58] that God seemeth to mock vs, which so often by the Prophets exhorteth vs to turne vnto him, and to keepe his commandements, if it were not in our power, at least in some part to do this.

Furthermore, that exhortations be made in vaine, the vse of admonitions is but needlesse, and that re­proofes are but ridiculous, if it were not in the power of the sinner not to sinne.

Matth.

They that measure the strength of man by Gods commandements, be altogether deceiued. For Christ commandeth vs: Thou shalt loue the Lord thy Mat. 22. 37 God, with all thy heart, with all thy soule, and with all thy minde. And againe, Be you perfect, as your father which is in heauen is perfect.

But what is he which confesseth not, that he can ne­uer come to that diuine perfection, nor loue him with that loue that is due?

In Enchiri. ad Lauren. de gratia & lib, arbit. Therefore as it is notably written by Austen, God commandeth the things which we cannot do, that we might know what we ought to aske of him.

Which indeede may appeare euen by this, that euery where by the Prophets, the Lord commandeth vs to turne vnto him, and to repent vs of our sinnes. But Ieremie answereth, Ier. 31. 18. Eze. 18. 30. Ioel. 2. 12. correct me Lord, and I shalbe corrected: when thou diddest correct me, I did repent. For this cause the same Austen, Confess. l. 10 which handled this doctrine of Free will most excellently, writeth in ano­ther place. O Lord giue me that which thou comman­dest, and command what thou wilt.

Theoph.

Indeede this is a solution or answer to that obiection, not to be despised.

Mat.

I do ad, that it may be gathered out of Paule, that exhortations to holinesse of life, haue not their foundation vpon our naturall powers, but vpon the promise of God, wherein he promiseth to be with vs, not to helpe our Free will in part, but wholly and alto­gether himselfe alone to make it good in vs.

Theoph.

Bring some places out of Paule, for the con­firmation of this doctrine.

Mat.

Writing to the Thessalonians, 1. Thess. 5. 23. 24. when he hath admonished them to liue, blamelesly, iustly, and sober­ly, in loue & in patience, he prayeth to God to sanctifie them, to the end they might be able to performe those things: & at length saith; Faithfull is he that hath cal­led you, which will also do it. In another place also, af­ter he had exhorted the Philippians, to worke out their owne saluation with feare and trembling, presently he addeth: Phil. 2. 12. 13. For it is God which worketh in you, both the will and the deede, euen of his good pleasure.

Theoph.

What vse is there of exhortations, admoni­tions and reprehensions to the vnbeleeuers?

Mat.

They shall be a witnesse against them, when they come to the iudgement seate of God: For they shall the more be conuinced of rebelling against God, and of the hardening of their owne hearts.

Theoph.

I am now well furnished against those, that shall hereafter set vpon me with that obiection.

To cōclude, it seemeth to me, that this doctrine may fitly be referred to that, which sometimes I haue heard of thee; namely that all the sinnes of men be of them­selues, & not of God: but that their good works, if they do any, be not of themselues, but of God.

Mat.

True. Neither is there any cause, why we should feare to receiue this for true doctrine, forasmuch as it tendeth both to the glory of God, and to the throwing downe of our selues, which is a most certaine marke, whereby we may discerne or know true doctrine from false, according to the rule of Christ.Iohn. 7. 18.

Theoph.

Now we are to go forward to the rest. We haue at large hādled the first effect of the holy Ghost: let vs therefore come to the other. How makest thou the holy Ghost the author of our vnion or being made one with Christ, which in the beginning of this Chap­ter, thou didst attribute vnto faith?

Matth.

In what sēse the holy Ghost is sayd to be author of our vnion with Christ. When I did attribute or giue it to faith, I did it according to the vse of the scripture, but this I meant that faith is the instrument, and as it were a spirituall hand, by the which we do receiue Christ with all his [Page 60] gifts. In the meane time, this is to be vnderstood, that the holy Ghost is author of them all. For, that vniting of vs to Christ which is in heauē, is not done but by his own diuine power. Adde hereunto, that the holy Ghost begetteth faith in vs, and sanctifieth vs, that so we may be made fit to receiue Christ, and apply him, with all his gifts vnto our selues.

The fourth part of the Apostles Creede, which is concerning the Church.

Theoph.

We haue expounded three partes of the Creed, it remaineth that we come to the fourth, which is of the Church. Now there come two things to my minde, whereunto I would haue thee to answer. First:

1 What the Church is: and

2 Why thou saidest, that by the working of the ho­ly Ghost, we are ioyned with it.

Mat.

What the Church is. The word Church, signifieth a companie: in this place it is taken for the companie of the faithfull chosen of God.

But although the Church be onely one, which is the spouse and the misticall body of Christ, yet it is wont to be considered in two respectes:

1 As it is inuisible. And

2 As it is visible.

Theoph.

Of the inuisible Church. What doest thou vnderstand by the name of the inuisible Church?

Mat.

All the elect, which may be deuided into three sortes.

1 The first, of them which already be receiued into heauen, who for that cause are called the Triumphant Church, because they haue ouercome all temptations and troubles, they do enioy the heauenly glorie.

2 The secōd is, of thē which do yet liue in the earth.

3 The third, of them that are yet vnborne. Now these three parts in that last day, shall be gathered to­gether into one body, and then shall be a Church all together triumphant and glorious.

Theoph.

Which is the visible Church?

Mat.

Of the visi­ble Church. The companie of the faithfull, gathered to­gether in the name of Christ: to be instructed and confirmed in his faith, by the sincere preaching of the word, as also by the vse of the Sacraments, which are two most certaine marks, wherwith God would marke her out, and as it were, set her forth to be seene, that she might be knowne of all her children, and they might be gathered vnto her.

Now this is that which is called the militāt Church, because continually it warreth with the deuill, the flesh and the world.

Theoph.

Why will God haue all his children ioyne themselues to the visible Church?

Matth.

That he may be worshipped of vs, which is when we do consent together in calling vpon him, and that he, as a good house-holder, may feede vs with his word, the spirituall foode, wherewith we may be dayly strengthened, vntill he bring vs to the cele­stiall inheritance.

Theoph.

What is the vse of this article?

Mat.

It shall most easily be perceiued of thee, if thou do but marke the testimonies of prayse and com­mendation, wherewith Paule decketh the Church, which indeede are answerable to diuers places of the Prophets. Now they be three, and those most excellent▪ For he termeth her

1 The house of God.

2 The pillar of truth.

3 The mother of all the faithfull.

Theoph.

We are to examine the reason of these titles giuen vnto her. And first of all, why doest thou call it the house of God?

Mat.

That we may vnderstand, that God dwelleth in his Church, doth defend it, and guide it by his holy spirite. Euen as Christ himselfe sayth: Where two or there be met together in my name, there am I in the Mat. 18. 19 middest of them.

Theoph.

Why is it called the pillar of truth?

Mat.

Because by the ministerie thereof, God pre­serueth and keepeth his truth in the world.

Theoph.

What is that truth?

Mat.

Christ himselfe, when as he is acknowledged to be not onely verie God and verie man in one per­son, but also a Sauiour & Redeemer, which is the most certaine truth, and most profitable to the beleeuers: for, by it they attaine eternall life. Which Christ him­selfe affirmeth in these words: I am the way, the truth Iohn. 14. 6. and the life.

Theoph.

Therefore it followeth, that this Church which we beleeue, forasmuch as it is the pillar of truth, cannot erre.

Mat.

Indeed in those points which appertaine to the person and office of Christ, it cannot erre, but in some other parts of doctrine it may erre, which falleth out not seldome.

Theoph.

Why may it not erre in the things which cō ­cerne Christ, as well as in others?

Mat.

Because by the testimonie of Paule, Christ is the only foundation of the Church, which being takē 1. Cor. 3. 11. away, it can no more stand, then an house without a foundation.

Theoph.

What if the Church erred in those things?

Mat.

It should then not be a Church, but rather the synagogue of Sathan, seeing that it had ouerthrowne or puld downe Christ it owne true foundation.

Theoph.

Of the foun­datiō of the Church. But Christ seemeth to haue appointed an other foundation of the Church beside himself, name­ly Peter the Apostle, to whom he sayd, thou art Peter, and vpon this rocke will I build my Church.

Mat.

The name of rocke no way can or ought to be referred vnto Peter himselfe, although the words seeme to beare it. For Paule affirmeth, that no other 1. Cor. 3. 11. foundation can be laid by any, besides that that is layd, which is Iesus Christ. Moreouer, how absurd a thing should it be, that the Church which is inuisible, should haue her foundation in a mortall man, and that which more is, one very weake, so as not long after he denied [Page 63] Christ? Verely it hath neede of a stronger foundation, that it may bee able to stand against so many assaults, wherewith it hath beene and still is set vpon, by the de­uill and the world, euen from the beginning.

Theoph.

Deliuer therefore the true sence of those words of Christ to Peter.

Math.

Because Peter had confessed Christ to bee the sonne of the liuing God, Christ answereth; But I say that thou art Peter. Now he is called by that name which Christ had before giuen vnto Symon, because Math. 4. 18 & 10. 2. hee was a liuing stone in the building of the Church, who acknowledged Christ to bee the sonne of God, and therefore the chiefe stone in the Church. When therefore he addeth; Vpon this rocke I will build my church, that is referred to that rock, which Peter him­selfe had confessed. Austen agreeth with this inter­pretation: Vpon Idm. tract, 124.. for he saith; The church is built vppon the rocke, whereof euen Peter had his name. Therefore truely the Lord saith; Vpon this rocke will I build my Church, because Peter had said; Thou art Christ the sonne of the liuing God. Vpon this rocke therefore saith he, which thou hast confessed, will I build my church. For the rock was Christ, vpon the which foun­dation Peter himselfe was builded. For no other foun­dation can any man lay, but that which is already laid, which is Christ Iesus. These be the words of that fa­ther, wherewith also agreeth that which Peter saieth; when he exhorteth the faithfull, that as liuing stones, 1. Pet. 2. 5. they would be built vpon Christ that chiefe stone. But he proueth this out of the testimonie of Esay: Behold, I put in Sion a chiefe corner stone, elect & precious, in whom whosoeuer beleeueth shall not be ashamed. Hee addeth also out of the Psalme: The stone which the builders refused, is made the head of the corner, that is to say, vpholdeth all the building.

Theoph.

Hitherto we haue heard sufficiently of the second thing testified in the praise of the church: wee must come to the third. Why is it called the mother of vs all?

Mat.

First, because God therein hath begotten vs with the incorruptible seede of his word. And then be­cause he hath put vs ouer vnto it, as to a speciall good mother, to be guided and brought vp, that wee may daily wax elder in faith, vntill we come to the inheri­tance of our heauenly father. Wherefore, whosoeuer refuse the gouernment of this mother, can neither haue God for their father, nor claime to themselues a­ny right in his inheritance.

Theoph.

Why the Church is called holy. Let vs consider the verie words of the creed, and first of all; Why is the Church called holy?

Mat.

For two causes, the first whereof and the chiefest is this, because as Paule speaketh; It is sancti­fied after that hee hath cleansed it, by the washing of Ephe. 5. 26. water, through the word. As if he should say, that it was made cleane from all sinne, by the precious bloud of Christ, which is daily presented vnto vs, both in the word and in the Sacraments.

The other cause is, for that the members of it, which indeede are regenerated of the holy Ghost, and sanctified, do apply themselues diligently to holinesse of life: wherein by the benefit of the ministerie of the Church, they go forward euerie day somewhat. Not­withstanding, in themselues it is certaine, they bee de­filed with manie filthinesses and sinnes, which indeed are not imputed vnto them, for they are partakers of Christes merit, by whose helpe they obtaine forgiue­nesse of sinnes.

Theoph.

Let vs come to the other title of the church: why is it called catholicke or vniuersall?

Mat.

Why the Chuch is called ca­tholicke. That wee may vnderstand, it is not now tyed to anie certaine place or people, as wee read it was vnder the Law, before the comming of Christ: but that it is dispersed and scattered throughout the whole world, and distinguished into manie members, which are particular Churches, gathered together in sundre places, which notwithstanding make one bo­die of the Church, for they bee endued with the same faith, and hope in Christ.

Theoph.

Of the church be­fore Christ. It may seeme then, that the Church which was before the comming of Christ, was diuerse from ours.

Mat.

Thou gatherest ill: for although in some cir­cūstances, it differed from ours, yet it was one Church in substāce, for as much as both of them acknowledge

1 One and the selfe same father, God.

2 One Iesus Christ, redeemer and mediator.

3 Because also that old Church, had the same hope with vs, namely to obtaine saluation by faith in him; by the which faith, the beleeuers euen then cō ­municated with his bodie, and therefore were parta­kers of all his gifts.

4 Because they had the same ministery of the word and sacraments with vs, as concerning the substance.

Theoph.

But how could this bee, that the faithfull should bee partakers of the true body of Christ, which was not yet borne?

Mat.

It was then indeede spiritually receiued by faith, as it is this day of vs: this only is the difference, that our faith looketh to Christ now lōg ago manife­sted: but the faith of those auncients looked to Christ, which was not then come. Neither were they therfore excluded from the true partaking of him. For all things are present with God. Hence is that of Iohn; The Lambe (meaning Christ) slaine euen from the Apoc. 13. 8. foundations of the world.

Christ also confirmeth the selfe same thing, when he saith; Ioh. 8. 56. Abraham reioyced to see this my daie, and he saw it, and was glad.

Theoph.

But be there anie places of scripture, where­by this may bee determined, that the faithfull which were vnder the law, were in deed and truly, partakers of Christes body?

Math.

1. Cor. 10. 3 There be: For Paule saith; That all the fa­thers did eate the same spirituall foode with vs, and that they all dranke the same spirituall drinke: for they dranke of the spirituall rocke that followed them, and that rocke was Christ. By which wordes hee meaneth, [Page 66] that the fathers by their Sacraments, did no lesse com­municate with the body of Christ and his gifts, thē we do at this day by outs.

Theoph.

What therefore is the difference, betweene their and our church?

Mat.

There be reckoned not one, but foure.

1 First, because the old church, did set forth Christ his death and resurrection darkely, by certaine out­ward ceremonies, as sacrifices, lights, washings, and such other, Col. 2. 17. which of the same Apostle are called sha­dowes of things to come, but the body is Christ.

Wherefore seeing that by his comming hee hath put an end vnto those ceremonies, he hath now laide himselfe open vnto vs farre more plainly. For he com­meth forth, as it were in the mid-day, abounding with his gifts, that euerie one may see and know them. For this cause the Apostle compareth the fathers which liued vnder the Law, vnto children, which did learne as it were their letters and first grounds, to giue vs to vnderstand, that wee may be called learned and skil­full if we be compared with them. This therefore is the first difference.

Theoph.

Declare the second.

Mat.

This consisteth in reformation of life; for as the knowledge of Christ is greater, so also the effica­cy and working of the holy Ghost, is farre greater, which mortifieth our flesh, so as we do more earnest­ly obey his commandements, according to the pro­mises declared by the Prophets; This is the couenant Ier. 31. 33. which I will make with the house of Israell; After those daies (saith the Lord) I will put my Law in their in­ward Eze. 36. 27. parts, and will write it in their hearts. I will put my Spirit within you, and wil cause you to walke in my statutes, and to keepe my iudgements, that you may do them. Yet not that the godly before the comming of Christ, were without the Spirit of regeneration, but that we might be taught, how the Lord in the very cō ­ming of Christ, by whose bloud hee renewed the coue­nant with vs, did more aboundantly bestow his giftes [Page 67] vpon his people. For this cause the Lord did suffer not a few blemishes of the Israelites, which among vs were not to be borne: no otherwise then as a most wise Father will beare with many childish faults of his sons, as long as they be children, but when they be come to yeares, he will in no case beare them.

Theoph.

I would haue thee shew me some example.

Mat.

Mat. 19. 8. I will alledge one; The bill of diuotsement, which was nothing else but a libertie to put away the wife, euen for the smallest cause. But the Lord affir­meth, that it was permitted to the Israelites, for the hardnesse of their hearts, that is to say, as wel for their rudenesse, as for their infirmitie. Notwithstanding, he sheweth, That for the time to come, it was not lawfull but for fornication.

Theoph.

But it may be obiected, that it is so farre of, that the fathers of the Israelites church are excelled by vs in holinesse and sanctimonie of life, that contra­riwise, there bee, not a few of them found, which did a great deale go beyond vs; such as were Moses, Elias, Daniel, &c.

Mat.

When wee speake of the difference betweene the church of the Israelites and ours, wee must not al­ledge some speciall gifts graunted to some speciall mē, but it must be considered, what was the whole body of that Church, for therein standeth the difference.

Theoph.

Declare the third difference.

Math.

It is herein, that euerlasting life was obscure­ly and darkely offered to the Israelites, wrapped or fol­ded vp in earthly promises. For they were children, as Paule speaketh, whose age farre more esteemeth some smal things, then those that be of the best value. But now after we be come to age, and are taught the Gos­pell, by meanes whereof, the benefite of eternall life is much more plainly made knowen vnto vs, wee are in the verie right way, ledde to the hope and medi­tation of it, neither do wee stay in these earthly and fraile things. And this was the cause why the Fa­thers vnder the Law esteemed this life, more then [Page 68] we ought to esteeme it.

Theoph.

Now remaineth the last difference.

Math.

It is that, whereof by the waie we made men­tion: namely, that the church vnder the law, was as it were bounded with the borders of Iudea, or shut vp within that countrey. But now it is scattered through­out the whole world, neither is it tied to any place.

Mat. 10. 5. For this cause Christ, when he sent forth his disci­ples to preach the Gospell before his death, in plaine wordes forbad them to go to the Gentiles, but to the lost sheepe of the house of Israell. But after his resurre­ction, when hee had put an end to the ceremonies of the law, hee biddeth his Apostles, going into all the Mar. 16. 16 world, to preach the Gospell to euerie creature.

Behold what the differences be between the old and our Church. Now these haue beene the cause, that the bookes of the Bible which respect the state of the Church before Christ was borne, had the name of the old Testament, and those which were written after his resurrection, are called the new Testament, or the new couenant, yet not that there be two couenants, or two Testaments betwixt God and his Church for there is onely one which is diuersely considered.

Theoph.

Let vs goe forward to the rest. What is the reason that wee say: I beleeue the Church, and not I see the Church?

Mat.

Although particular Churches, be seen of vs, yet because here is intreated of the vniuersall church, which we cannot behold with the eyes of the bodie: therefore wee doe not saie, I see, but I beleeue the Church. I adde moreouer that the Church properly is no other but that companie of the elect. For the hypo­crites and reprobats which are mingled with the par­ticular Churches, are not members of the vniuersall Church. I do annex furthermore for a larger decla­ration of these two arguments. First,

1 That it falleth out not seldome, that by the perse­cutions of the enemies, the Church is so scattered, that it seemeth almost to be cleane put out: Howbeit [Page 69] it is not so, but onely for a time it is remoued from our fight euen as the wheat lieth hidden vnder the chaffe. Which indeed came to passe in the dayes of Elias: for 1. Reg. 19. 10. the Prophet complained that he aloue was left. For he thought that all the people were fallen away from true Religion. Notwithstanding the Lord answered: There be remaining vnto me seuen thousand, which haue not bowed their knee before Baal. Therefore when the Church is hidden either in the whole or in the partes, yet ought we not thereupon to ceasse to beleeue that it is: For the Lord said by the Prophet, that Israels seed Ier. 31. 36. should not faile, as long as Sunne and Moone should bee in the heauens The same thing doth Christ con­firme, Mat. 16. 18. whē he saith, that it shall neuer be, that the gates of hell shall ouercome the Church, that is to say, that neither the Deuill nor his Angels shall euer bee able to bring to passe the finall or vtter destruction of the Church, howsoeuer God sometimes so giue them the bridle, that is to say, such libertie, that they bring vp­on it great calamitie. The Church therefore may most fitly be compared to that bush which Moses heretofore saw in the wildernesse, Exod. 3. 2. which burnt in the fire, and yet was not consumed.

Theoph.

Howe doth the speech of the gates of Hell, whereof Christ maketh mention, agree with the prac­tises, deceipts and counsels of the deuill?

Mat.

It is a similitude or likenesse taken from com­mon wealths, in the which in former times iudgement was vsed at the gates of their Citties, where also the store of Armour & munition for warre was kept. Here­upon Iudg. 5. 8. it grew, that cōmonly in ancient times the gates were taken for strength and counsell.

Theoph.

Bring forth the other argument, by the which thou mayst proue, that the Catholike Church is to be beleeued.

Mat.

It is drawne from this that although in it there haue alwayes bin manie elect (seeing the word of God is neuer preached in vaine,) yet neuer the lesse all they that ioyne them selues to particular churches, do not [Page 70] straight way belong to the vniuersall church: that is to say, are not by and by of the number of the faithfull and chosen. For as (saith Austen) Hom. 45. v­pon Iohn. there bee many sheepe without the sheepfold of Christ, which God in his time will call, so there be many wolues in the verie Church, whose hypocrisie the Lord in their time will discouer. Therefore God onely knoweth who be his, to vse the wordes of the Apostle. And this is the cause, why ma­king 2. Tim. 2. mention of the inuisible Church, I comprehēded vnder it the elect of God still liuing in the earth.

Theoph.

But are the elect them selues being called of God, and ioyned to the particular churches vncertaine of their saluation?

Mat.

No not so: For, each of them may know their owne faith, by the feeling put into them by the holie Ghost, and anothers faith they cannot. The word of be­leeuing containeth all these things. For it is as if thou saydest, I beleeue that there is a certaine companie of the faithfull and elect in the Church, which God de­fendeth in this world, of whose number I certainely know that I am. In the meane time Christian charitie requireth this, that we iudge well of all those, that haue ioyned thēselues to particular churches, so long as they shew themselues tractable, and do obey admonitions.

Theoph.

It commeth to my remembrance, that the article of the Church is set after the article of the holy Ghost, because the holy Ghost beareth witnesse within vs, that we be members of it.

Mat.

Not only for this cause, but especially because it is gathered together by the diuine working of it, by the which indeede we are knit together into one bodie with Christ, and are partakers of all his giftes, that is to say, the merit of his death is communicated vnto vs, by the which wee obtaine forgiuenesse of sinnes, the force also of his resurrection is imparted, by the which we shall rise againe in that last day, & shal liue eternally with him. All which things, are in the Creed in exact order declared presently after the article of the church

Theoph.

Hitherto we haue spoken sufficiently of the [Page 71] true Church, therefore we haue dispatched the first point that I propounded. Of the com­munion of Saints. Let vs therfore come to the other. What is the cause that thou saydest, we were no lesse ioyned by the holy Ghost with the Church, then with Christ?

Mat.

Because it cannot ioyn the faithful with Christ, but it doth also ioyne them together among thēselues, euen as the members cannot be ioyned with the head, but they be also vnited together into the bodie. Now this is a most fit similitude, and best agreeth to the vniō which we haue with Christ. For as the head, if it be ioyned with the members, guideth them, nourisheth them, and giueth them life and motion, euen so Christ perfourmeth all these things to his Church, with the which he is made one by the working of the holy ghost. For this cause is this sentence so often repeated of the Apostle; Col. 1. 18. 1. Cor. 12. 27 Christ is the head of the bodie of the Church. The faithfull are the bodie of Christ, and members for their part. Therefore also Christ him selfe giueth his owne name to the Church, as when he reproued Paul: Act. 9. 4. Saule Saule, why persecutest thou me? and this he doth because the head and members be one.

A short exposition of the Apostles Creede.

Theoph.

Thou hast made mee to vnderstand all the articles of the Apostles Creed: Neuerthelesse I do de­sire, to the ende the things which thou hast sayd may the better stick in my mind, that the summe of the same articles should againe be declared in some short Para­phrasis or exposition: as also to be taught how the faith­full may apply them to them selues.

Mat.

Thou desirest a thing (except I be deceiued) not vnprofitable. Therefore euerie one may compre­hend the summe of the Creed, and apply it to himselfe, in these words; I put my whole trust in God the father, I beleeue in God the Fa­ther. as in him which will blesse me. For I doubt not, seeing he is the Father of Iesus Christ, but he is also my fa­ther, and therefore loueth me perfectly and infinitely, euen as he him selfe is perfect and infinite.

[Page 72]

Now, that will of his cannot be hindered by impo­tencie Almightie maker of heauen and earth. or weakenesse, as our earthly parentes are often wont: For he is omnipotent, and hath all creatures, as well those that be in heauen, as those that be in earth in his hand, to do me good, to keepe me safe from all sinnes, and to helpe me in all my necessities, so far forth as he him selfe shall know to be expedient for me: who also doth so keep in, bridle, and hold backe the deuill & all mine enemies, that they cannot by any meanes hurt mee.

And in Iesus Christ his only Sonne our Lord. I do also put my whole trust in Christ Iesus our Lord, the onely Sonne of God, of the same essence with the Father and the holy Ghost, who came downe into the earth, that he might lift me vp into heauen; which was made man, to the ende he might haue the same God with me, and I might haue the same Father with him. For these be his words, I ascend or go vp to my Father, Ioh. 20. 17. and your Father, and my God and your God.

Which was conceiued by the holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffe­red vnder Pontius Pi­late. Who also that he might reconcile mee to God the Father, was conceiued by the holy Ghost, and borne of the Virgine Marie: Moreouer vnder Pontius Pilate he suffred all the reproches which I had deserued. For he was bound as a guiltie person, that I might be loosed out of the chaine of the Deuill and sinne. He was con­demned of an earthly Iudge, notwithstanding he were most iust and innocent, that I which am guilty of innu­merable transgressions, might be discharged before the tribunall seate of the heauenly Iudge.

Who in scorne was clothed with purple, and crow­ned with a crowne of thornes, that he might make me partaker of his glorious crowne and kingly dignitie.

Crucified dead and buried. Who was nayled to the crosse, dead, and buried, that he might deliuer me from the curse of death, and sla­uerie of sinne, and the tyrannie of the deuill.

Who for me descended into hell, while as in the ve­rie time of that passion, he suffred both in soule and bo­die, He descen­ded into hell. the fearefull torments of the wrath of God, which I had deserued, and wherewith I should for euer haue beene ouerwhelmed in hell, who also the third day [Page 73] rose againe from the dead, that for my sake death be­ing The third day he rose againe from the dead. He ascēded into heauen. fully ouercome, he might giue me life.

Who finally ascended into heauen, from whence I was banished for my sinnes, that he might set open a passage for me into it, and might in my name take pos­session of the heauenly kingdome.

Sitteth at the right had of God the Father almightie. But now he sitteth at the right hand of God the Fa­ther almighty, and there continually maketh interces­sion for me with his Father, and offreth for me the me­rite of his death, that so he may become mercifull vn­to me.

From thēce he shall come to iudge the quicke and dead. I beleeue also that at the last day he shall come visi­bly downe from the heauens to iudge both quicke and dead. Neither is there any cause why I should feare, or be afrayde of condemnation, seeing I shall stand at the iudgement seate of that Iudge, which is also my patron and aduocate. I do therefore assuredly know, that he will giue sentence on my side, and absolue me, that I may be partaker of his glory.

I beleeue in the holy Ghost. I do also put my whole trust in the holy Ghost, which is God of the same essence with the Father and the Sonne, who also hath ioyned me with Christ, and san­ctified me in him.

Which beareth witnesse with my Spirite, that I am the child of God.

Which maketh request for me with sighs that cānot be expressed.

Which comforteth me in aduersitie.

Which kindleth a desire in vs to lead our liues in the obedience of God, strengtheneth vs, and finally gi­ueth vs the gift of perseuerance to the end. Cōfirmeth me against all temptations. If at any time I fall, it rai­seth me vp by true repentance, and promiseth to be with me with his grace euen vnto death.

The holy Catholicke Church. I beleeue the Catholick Church, gathered together by the power of the holy Ghost, that is to say, the com­pany of the faithfull chosen of God, which are scatte­red throughout the whole world, of whose number I do certainly know my selfe to be one.

[Page 74]

I beleeue that all we which are faithful, are so vnited The cōmu­niō of saints. and ioyned with Christ our head, that we are made partakers of his gifts, that is of the merite of his death, and the power of his resurrection.

The remis­sion of sins. Resurection of the body. The life e­uerlasting. Whereupon I am assured of the full forgiuenesse of my sinnes, and of my glorious resurrection in the last day, which the partaking of eternall life shall follow, together with all the faithfull and elect, with whom he shall for euer be praysed of me in the heauens.

Theoph.

I haue verily heard of thee an excellent Pa­raphrasis or short exposition of the Apostles Creede, & such a one as doth not a little serue for edification. But that thou mayst prouide for, and helpe the memorie of the vnlearned, draw all this into as short a summe as thou canst.

Mat.

The summe of the Creede. It cannot be made shorter, then if thou say: I put the whole hope of my saluatiō in one Iesus Christ crucified, who being giuen vnto me by the mercie of the Father, communicateth himselfe vnto me by the power of the holy Ghost, to make me partaker of the merite of his death, and also of eternall life. Now this agreeth with that which the Apostle saith, 1. Cor. 2. 2. I determi­ned to know nothing among you, but Iesus Christ, and him crucified.

Theoph.

I am fully satisfied with this exposition of the Apostles Creede, and it containeth many things, which bring no small comfort to the hearers. And I pray our good and heauenly Father, to engraue them in our hearts by the working of the holy Ghost, & that so we may earnestly acknowledge & stedfastly beleeue that immeasurable loue wherewith he loueth vs in Christ Iesus. By whō he hath redeemed vs, from euer­lasting death, and hath taken vs for his children, that at length we may be heires of his kingdome.

Mat.

But now night draweth on, wherefore I would aduise, that we put off the rest till to morow. Farewell Theophilus.

Theoph.

Fare thou well also Matthew.

The end of the first Booke.

THE SECOND BOOKE OF CHRISTIAN Religion, wherein the testimo­nies of our saluation are declared.

CHAP. I. Of good workes, by the which the faith that is hidden in our hearts is manifested, that it may be seene and knowne.

Theophilus.

GOd saue thee most dearely beloued Matthew.

Mat.

God saue thee also most lo­uing Theophilus: hast thou thought vpon the things, which were hand­led of vs yesterday?

Theoph.

Yea indeede most dili­gently, in somuch as they occupied my mind in my sleepe, wherof to make proofe, if it be not troublesome to thee, I will comprehend them in a short summe, which shalbe as an entrance for vs to the rest.

Mat.

Thou shalt do me a very great pleasure.

Theoph.

The summe of our speach yesterday may be referred to foure heads.

1 The first whereof, is of God, distinct in three per­sons. Who also by his prouidence gouerneth all things, is most perfectly iust, and most perfectly mercifull.

2 The second is of man, who being by his owne na­ture, a most wretched sinner, is guiltie of eternall death before the iudgement seate of God.

3 The third is of Christ Iesus, whose death is a most present remedie for vs against death.

4 The fourth is of faith, wherby that remedy is ap­plied to vs for our saluation.

Now vnlesse I be deceiued, order requireth, that we [Page 76] speake of good works, which do necessarily cleaue vn­to faith, & be effectes of it. Moreouer, seeing in the first Chapter of the former booke, it hath bene declared, what manner one God is, and in the third and fourth Chapters, what a one he sheweth himselfe towards vs; this one thing seemeth now to remaine, that we vn­derstand, how we should carrie our selues toward him, that is to say, what works are to be done of vs, that we may obey him, and be acceptable to his Maiestie.

Mat.

Thou hast verie well deliuered the summe of our yesterdayes talke, I do also allow the order pro­pounded by thee concerning good works.

This one thing remaineth, that thou moue thy que­stions of thē in some easie method, to the end, that this place which of it selfe is somwhat intricate and doubt­full, may be plainly and clearely handled of vs.

Theoph.

I haue no easier order, then that, which som­times I learned of thee, namely that all this discourse be brought vnto three heads.

1 First, what be the good works, to be done of vs, that we may please God.

2 How those works may be performed of vs.

3 And thirdly, to what end they must be done, and what is the vse of them.

But in the former booke, when we spake of regene­ration, we did sufficiently discusse that second point. For, we taught that man of himselfe could do no good thing, and that God by his spirite, wrought in vs both to will and to be able to do. There are therefore be­hind the two other points to be examined of vs, which will cause vs to deuide this Chapter into two parts, if it so seeme good vnto thee.

The first part of this Chapter, sheweth what good workes are to be done of vs.

Theoph.

Let vs therfore come to the first part: name­ly what good works are to be done, that we may obey God.

Matth.

Before we go any further, we are to call vpon him, without whose guidance, no good thing can be thought, much lesse performed of vs. I do therefore pray our good God and heauenly Father, to giue vs the spirite of wisedome and vnderstanding, that the things which we shal speake of good works, may agree with the truth, so as they may tend to his glorie and the building vp of his Church. Now Theophilus, do I answer vnto thy question, that we must do those good works to obey God, which himselfe hath commanded in his owne Law.

Theoph.

Why so?

Mat.

For he hath plainly forbidden, that any thing be added vnto it, or taken from it, and that any man should turne aside from it, either to the right hand or Deut. 4. 2. Deut. 5. 32. to the left.

Theoph.

What if men be so rash, that they dare do it?

Mat.

The Lord will not accept their foolish deuises for good works, but will demand of them, that which in former times he demanded of the Israelites: Isay. 1. 12. Who re­quired these things at your hands?

Theoph.

I confesse it to be a most righteous thing, that the worship of God should be according to his owne prescription, and not after the inuention of men. Forasmuch as we also which are created of him, do re­quire this of our seruants, that they serue vs according to our direction.

Matth.

Right, for otherwise we might thinke our selues not the masters, but the seruants of our seruants. Should it therefore be righteous and iust, that God which is our Creator & Lord, should allow that in vs, which is of vs condemned in our seruants as a thing vnrighteous and vniust?

Theoph.

Seeing they onely be good works, which God hath commanded in his law, let vs see what that law of God is.

Mat.

It is that which himselfe deliuered to his peo­ple by the hand of Moses, which also with his owne fin­ger he wrote in two tables of stone, fifty dayes after the [Page 78] deliuerance of the people out of their bōdage in Egipt, which also is commonly called the morall law; The morall law. Exod. 20. 2. Deut. 5. 6. begin­ning thus, Heare Israell, I am the Lord thy God.

Theoph.

Why is it called Morall?

Mat.

Because it entreateth of manners, as it appea­reth by the etimologie or true interpretation of the word. For it sheweth vs the vertues to be followed, to obey God, as also the vices to be auoyded, least we run into his displeasure. The Morall law distinct from cere­moniall and Iudiciall. But it is also called Morall, for dif­ference sake frō the ceremoniall, which cōprehendeth the ceremonies prescribed of God in the old Church, as also from the Iudiciall or Politicall law, which con­teineth iudgements, and the penalties to be inflicted vpon the breakers of this morall law.

Theoph.

Is not this morall law the same doctrine, whereof the Philosophers wrote so many bookes, and which they called Morall Philosophie?

Matth.

The Morall law grauen in the minds of men, as it were renued by Moses, & expounded in many pla­ces of the Scripture. Altogether. For it is nothing else, but the law of nature, which God hath in grauen in the hearts of men, which also, because by little and little it wore out, (for it was greatly darkened by sinne) he did as it were renew by that proclaiming and writing of it. There­fore concerning the Philosophers, they onely attai­ned vnto and taught the shadow of that, the bodie whereof, and the very truth it selfe, is most briefly pur­trayed or painted in this law, and is after beautifully set out in the proper colours in the writings of the Prophets and Apostles. For, the Prophets and Apo­stles so often as they entreate of vertues and vices, be the true interpreters of this law.

Theoph.

Wherfore sayest thou that the Prophets and Apostles, when they speake of vertues and vices, be the true interpreters of this law?

Mat.

Forasmuch as the Lord forbad, that any thing should be added to the law, or taken from it, it followeth necessarily, that it is most perfect, and that therefore whatsoeuer the Scripture in any place doth command or forbid vs, ought of necessitie to be re­ferred vnto the law, and be accounted an exposition [Page 79] of it. And indeed by this meanes he would take away all excuse from the transgressors of the Law.

Theoph.

How?

Mat.

The morall law compri­sed in verie few words. First, that no man should pretend the large­nesse of it as an excuse, why hee had not learned it by heart, the Lord would haue it brought into so manie precepts, as we haue fingers vpon our hands. Where­vpon more then once it is called of Moses: ten words.

More large­ly declared. Afterward, least anie by the shortnesse should seeke to excuse himselfe, that hee could not come to the vn­derstanding of it, the Lord would expound and de­clare his owne minde more at large by his Prophets and Apostles.

The exposition of the morall Law.

Theoph.

Wee are therefore to examine this morall Law. How manie parts be there of it?

Math.

The Lord himselfe is the deuider of it, and hath deuided it into two Tables. In the former where­of, Two Tables being comprised in foure commandements, hee would establish true religion: for, it teacheth all the worship which he requireth of vs. But in the later, in six commandements, he hath taught the loue, friend­ship, and fellowship, to bee kept among men: for in it, hee hath commanded all the things which serue to maintaine peace and agreement amongst vs. Brieflie, the first Table commandeth all the dueties which man oweth to God. And the later, all that man ow­eth The summe of the moral Law. to man, according to the will of God. For the commandements of the later Table, are to be referred to the first, that is to saie, they ought to bee kept, not indeed for our neighbours sake, but for Gods sake, of whom they be commanded.

The first Table of the Law.
Theo.

Now we are come to the exposition of the for­mer commandements of the first table. I do therefore demand of thee, what order thou thinkest good to bee kept, that the whole matter may be made the plainer?

Mat.

The order of the first Table. 1 My counsellis, that in the first place we ex­pound the Preface set before the Law.

2 Secondly, I will deliuer some general rules of spe­ciall good vse, to giue light to euerie commandement.

3 Which things being set downe, these foure com­mandements of the first Table shall generally bee ex­pounded, and together it shall be obserued of vs, how well they agree one with the other. And at length wee will come to the exposition of each commande­ment by it selfe.

The preface of the law.
Heare O Israell, I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Theoph.

I will follow the order which thou aduisest, and will begin at the preface of the law. What there­fore is the meaning of it?

Matth.

First, the Lord would make vs attentiue to the hearing of the Law, when hee saith: Heare Israell.

2 Hee doth also challenge to himselfe power, and the right of authoritie in these words; I am the Lord; wherein he shewerh, that wee owe him obedience as vnto our Lord.

3 But because he requireth of vs, not a constrained but a voluntarie and willing obedience, he allureth vs vnto it, by a rehearsall of his loue toward vs, and that is propounded in these wordes thy God, that is to say, which do embrace thee with good will and fauour.

Finally, he bringeth forth a notable testimonie of that loue, when he saith; Which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. In which words he declareth the selfe same thing, as if he should say; I haue deliuered you from the tyranny of the diuell and sinne that I might bring you to eternall life. For, that temporall benefite in times past besto­wed vppon the people of Israell, was a tipe or figure of the spirituall deliuerance of the Church.

Theoph.

But the Lord seemeth not to speake to vs in these words, Heare Israell, but onely to the Israelites that came of Abraham and Iacob, to whom the name of Israell was giuen by the Angell.

Mat.

The Apostle witnesseth, that all they that be of faith, are the sonnes of Abraham. And therefore in the name of Israell, all the faithfull are spoken vnto: and yet not that the vnfaithfull and vnbeleeuers are exempted from keeping of the law, but because they haue not eares to heare, much lesse an heart to vn­derstand, therefore the Lord speaketh not vnto them.

Theoph.

I haue attained the sence and meaning of this Preface. Now declare those generall rules, which thou saidest were helping to the vnderstanding of the Law.

Mat.

They bee three. The first whereof is this, that when God commandeth good, hee doth not on­lie forbid the euill that is contrarie vnto it, which indeed is done in the lawes of men. But when he for­biddeth euill, he commandeth the good that is con­trarie vnto it, and this is peculiar or proper to the law of God. For example. When God forbiddeth to take his name in vaine, he doth on the contrarie side com­mand that it be hallowed and honored of vs. When he forbiddeth, that no man steale, he commandeth vs to giue our selues vnto charitie. And so of the rest of the commandements.

Theoph.

Why bee almost all the commandements deliuered rather negatiuely then affirmatiuely, that is to say, so as they rather forbid euill, then command that which is good?

Mat.

Indeede that is well marked of thee; for, only two, namely the last of the first table, wherein the ob­seruation of the Sabaoth day, and the first of the se­cond Table, wherein the honour of parents bee com­manded, be propounded affirmatiuely, all the rest ne­gatiuely, and so forbid euils. But this was done that we might vnderstand, that no man can giue his minde to that which is good, before he haue laide aside the [Page 82] euill that fighteth with it. Euen as we see that thorns must be first pulled vp, before good seede bee sowen. Therefore the Prophet calling the Israelites to repen­tance, saith; Iere. 4. 3. Plowgh vp your fallow ground, and sow not vppon thornes. Moreouer euerie where in the ho­ly Scripture is this order kept, that it first forbiddeth e­uill, before it command good, as where the Prophets say: Isai. 1. 16. Psal. 34. 15 Cease to do euill, learne to do well, decline from euill, and do that which is good.

Theoph.

Let vs come to the second rule.

Mat.

The Lord minding to forbid diuerse euils of the same kinde, he comprehended them in the name of the greatest, and as it were of the chiefe, to the end we might know, that the sinnes which seem to be most small by the iudgement of men, are accompted with God, of the same nature with that vnder the which they bee forbidden. As for example. When God would forbid murthers, reuenges, iniuries, and priuy hatreds, he comprehended them all vnder the word murther, to teach vs, that he which hateth his brother, is a murtherer, as Iohn saith. The same is to be said 1. Ioh. 3. 15. of him, which looketh vpon a woman to lust after her: for Christ affirmeth, that such a one hath committed Mat. 5. 28. adulterie in his heart.

Theoph.

The third rule is behinde.

Mat.

When anie vice is forbidden, not only they be forbidden that be of the same kind, but also all the de­grees by the which men come vnto them, yea and all such things, which by any meanes may minister occa­on of our falling into such vices. On the contrary side, when vertue is commanded, all those thinges also bee commanded, that may draw vs on forward vnto it.

Theoph.

How the 4. commande­ments of the first table a­gree toge­ther. Those generall rules being declared, we are to consider the coherence or agreement of the foure commandements of the first Table, according to the order which thou diddest prescribe.

Mat.

I did therefore set downe this order, because it will bring greater light to each commaundement. Thou hast heard alreadie, that in the first table, God [Page 83] hath commanded, the worship due vnto him. Seeing therefore he is to bee worshipped of vs no lesse in our bodies then in our soules, as he that is creator of both,

In the first commandement, he setteth out the du­tie of our soule: for he sheweth what inward knowledg he requireth of vs.

In the second, he reformeth the disposition and be­hauiour of our bodies, in the things which appertaine to his worship. And together cōdēneth Idolatry, wher­in men do chiefly sinne against this commandement.

In the third, he restraineth our speech: for by it wee ought also to declare that inward worship.

In the 4. he appointeth a certaine day of the weeke wherein these things may be called to practise, as well these before mentioned, as those also which be com­manded in the later table; & this indeed is the cause, why it is placed betweene both the tables.

The first commandement.
Thou shalt haue no other Gods before me.
Theoph.

Let vs at length come to the special exposi­tion of the first commandement. What the meaning of it is, it is sufficiently vnderstood by that which hath beene said: let vs therefore see what be the parts of it, then let vs follow each of them in their order.

Mat.

Seeing this commandement is deliuered ne­gatiuely, by our first rule, it containeth the affirmatiue vnder it. Therefore it is to be deuided into two parts.

1 In the first, which is not expressed, he will be ac­knowledged of vs for our God.

2 In the later, which is indeed expressed, he for­biddeth that we acknowledge any others for our God, beside himselfe.

Theoph.

Of how many parts standeth that acknow­ledgement which God requireth?

Mat.

Vpon foure: namely,

1 Adoration, or worship.

2 Trust.

3 Inuocation, or praier.

[Page 84]

4 And thankesgiuing.

Now this acknowledgment proceedeth from know­ledge, for he cannot be acknowledged except he bee first knowen.

Theoph.

Declare this vnto me in those seueral parts.

Math.

First he cannot be worshipped of vs (now he is worshipped when euerie of vs submitteth himselfe vnto his greatnesse) but hee is also acknowledged our creator and Lord. We can not put our trust in him, but we must confesse him to be omnipotent and perfectly good, that he may helpe our necessities. We will neuer thinke vpon praying and giuing thankes vnto him, ex­cept we be well assured that hee is the fountaine and well-spring of all good things.

Theoph.

Are these foure vertues onely included in the first commandement?

Mat.

If thou respect the substance, these onely: how­beit many other spring from them. For true adora­tion or worship, hath alwaies piety for a companion, that is to say, a child-like feare, and willing obedience towardes him.

Out of trust, ariseth:

1 Hope, that is, a certaine looking for the fruiti­on of the heauenly promises.

2 Patience in aduersitie.

3 Perseuerance or continuance in his seruice.

4 A holy security, so long as wee keepe our selues within the bounds of our callings.

From praier and thankesgiuing springeth true hu­militie of heart: For by them we be admonished, that we be emptie of all kinde of good things, vntill they be giuen vs of God, and that if there be any good thing in vs, it is of God That humilitie also bringeth forth modesty, which causeth that wee desire not a higher place, but bee content with the condition whereunto God hath called vs.

Theoph.

For asmuch as wee haue reckned vp the vertues contained in this commandement, now wee must oppose or set against them, the vices where­unto [Page 85] they be contrarie.

Matth.

These are:

1 Rebellion against God.

2 Doubting of his promises.

3 Desperation.

4 Impatience in aduersitie.

5 Inconstancie in the worship of God, and in our owne vocation.

6 Falling away from the truth of the Gospell.

7 Pride.

8 Disdaine.

9 Ambition.

10 Faint heartednesse in good things, and finally rashnesse, which aduentureth vpon vnnecessarie daun­gers, vnder a colour of Gods prouidence.

Theoph.

The later part of the first commā ­dement. Let vs come to the other part of this com­mandement. Now in it is forbidden, that we acknow­ledge anie other but the true God. How do we fall in­to this sinne?

Math.

When wee giue vnto creatures those foure points or any of thē. For then they be made our Gods, when we ascribe the things vnto thē, which appertaine to one God. Therfore in this commandement the Lord sayth not; Thou shalt acknowledge mee for thy God, but, thou shalt haue no other Gods before me; but in these words he compriseth three things:

First, that we ought to haue one God.

Secondly, that him selfe is hee, whom we are to ac­knowledge for our God, euen as it is plainly expressed by him in the Preface, in these wordes, I am the Lord thy God.

Thirdly, that it is not sufficient if hee be taken of vs for our God, except we take him alone, so as we ioyne no other Gods as it were fellowes vnto him, which they do especially that pray vnto Saincts, and put their trust in them, what so euer they may pretend, or howsoeuer they may seeke to shift the matter.

Theoph.

Is it not also forbidden, that we should in a­ny case put our trust in the liuing? as for example, in [Page 86] our kinsfolkes and friends, to craue their helpe if need be, or to giue them thanks for benefites receiued?

Mat.

No not so, so as they bee acknowledged of vs onely as instruments, by which God will helpe vs, and that they haue their will & abilitie to do vs good from God: For then wee put not our trust in the creature, but in the Creator himselfe, in whom onely we confesse is the power to helpe vs: without whom men can haue no helpe at all for vs. Notwithstanding, it is meet, that we do giue them thanks, so often as we receiue any be­nefite from them, so long as wee remember that the chiefe thankes is to be reserued vnto God the true gi­uer of all giftes.

Theoph.

What if wee put our trust in creatures more then in the creator?

Mat.

Then be they our Gods: therefore Paul spea­king of couetousnesse, Coloss. 3. 5. calleth it Idolatrie, by which words he meaneth, that couetous men take their riches for their Gods, seeing they trust in them more then in God himselfe. Which indeed is not onely true in that, but also as oft as we preferre any other creature before the creator, whether we feare, loue, or obey it more: for then it is made our God. Therefore Paule speaking of such, who that they may liue daintily and quietly, cast off the seruice of God, saith their god is their belly.

Theoph.

Phil. 3. 19. I thinke that to be the meaning of Christ, when he saith; Call no man your father on the earth, for one is your father which is in heauen.

Mat.

It is indeed: for in those words he doth not on­ly warne vs to acknowledge God for the chiefe father, Math. 23. 9. but especially that we loue, feare, and worship him far aboue our earthly parents, and all others that bee set ouer vs.

Theoph.

Now do I vnderstand in what manner wee should seeke for helpe at the hands of men, and trust in them without diminishing the honor of God. But what letteth, that we may not do the same toward the Saints alreadie receiued into heauen? that is to say, call vpon them, and in some sort put our trust in them, vpon this [Page 87] condition, that we take them as instruments appointed of God for our helpe?

Mat.

God verily giueth this abilitie to those that be aliue, yea he hath commanded that one should helpe another: but this cannot be in the dead, for Salomon saith: Also their loue, & their hatred, and their error, Eccles. 9. 6. is now perished, and they haue no more portion for e­uer, in all that is done vnder the sunne.

Theoph.

How knowest thou, that God hath not giuen this power to the dead to be able to helpe vs, and that therefore they are not to be prayed vnto when any ne­cessitie presseth vs?

Mat.

There is no one example of this in all the scrip­ture, which notwithstanding is the most certaine rule of truth. Ier. 17. 10. Psal. 7. 10. Moreouer it teacheth vs, that God only know­eth the things that be absent, and vnderstandeth the heart of man, so as he heareth and fauourably heareth our prayers and complaints, and helpeth vs.

Wherefore no man can call vpon the dead, or can any way trust in them, but he taketh away the honour due vnto God, which he giueth vnto them: and there­fore maketh them his Gods.

Theoph.

If it will be none otherwise, the things which haue bene spoken of the dead, seeme not to appertaine vnto the Angels, specially seeing that it is manifest by the testimonie of the Scripture, Psal. 91. 11 Heb. 1. 14. that God oftentimes vseth their seruice to helpe vs, and that they be conuer­sant among vs, so as they may heare our prayers. Ther­fore it shall be no hurt, if we call vpon them to helpe vs, as we do vpon the liuing, yet with this condition, that they bee taken onely for God his instruments ap­pointed by himselfe.

Mat.

Thou gatherest ill: for they can not helpe vs, saue in those things which be expressely commaunded them of God, which indeed be vnknowne vnto vs. But forasmuch as they do most readily performe the things they be commanded, it is not necessarie to call vpon them, although wee our selues knewe those thinges. Howbeit it is altogether necessarie to speake to the li­uing [Page 88] here vpō the earth, because for the most part they scarce yeeld any helpe except they be so called vpon, that it trouble them. But whereas thou saydest, that the Angels be amongst vs, do vnderstād what we need, and heare our prayers it is indeed true. Neuerthelesse they cannot be euerie where, nor knowe all things, for that is proper to God onely, which is a cause that they ought not to be prayed vnto of vs. But although all the things which we haue alleaged were of no force, there is no commandement of it in all the Scripture, nor anie example whereby we may be enformed, that worship­ping of Angels is pleasing to God, albeit Paule affir­meth, Rom. 14. 23. that whatsoeuer is done without faith is sinne.

Theoph.

Now the exposition of this commandement, wanteth this one thing, that thou shewe why these words be added, In my sight or before me.

Mat.

That he might more and more keepe vs from the transgressing of it, while he teacheth how great in­iurie is done to his Maiestie, when wee dare commit so hainous an offence euen in his presence. For, although that impietie and vngodlinesse be hidden in the heart, yet it is manifest to the eyes of the Lord, whereunto all things are naked and open saith the Apostle. It is ther­fore as if an vnhonest woman, should prouoke & set on Heb. 4. 13. fire the mind of her husbād, by bringing before his face the partie with whom she playeth the harlot, & by com­mitting of the very act of vncleannesse in his presence.

The second commandement.
Thou shalt not make to thy selfe any grauen Image, nor any likenesse of the things that be in heauē aboue, nor of the things that be in the earth beneath, nor of the things that be in the waters vnder the earth. Thou shalt not bow downe to them, nor serue them: For I the Lord thy God am a iealous God, visiting the sinnes of the fathers vpon the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and shewing mercie vnto thousands of them that loue me & keepe my com­mandements.
Theoph.

Thou hast satisfied me concerning the first comm [...]ndement, let vs go forward to the second. How many parts hath it?

Mat.

Three.

1 The first of the forbidding of the things wherein a man may sin, in the outward worship due vnto God.

2 The second is of the things commanded, which are to be performed in the profession of that worship, which is done by the outward behauiour of the bodie: now this precept is comprehended vnder the prohibi­tion by the first generall rule.

3 The third containeth threatnings against the breakers of the law, and setteth before vs a promise to such as keepe it.

Theoph.

Let vs in the first place consider of that pro­hibition.

Mat.

It is contained in these words: Thou shalt not make to thy selfe any grauen image, neither any like­nesse of the things that be in heauen aboue, nor of the things that be in the earth beneath, nor of the things that be in the waters vnder the earth. Thou shalt not bow downe to them, neither serue them.

Theo.

Why after the words, Thou shalt make thee no grauen image, it is presently added, nor any likenesse?

Mat.

It is, that we may know, that pictures painted, or any other kind of images, be forbidden of God, no lesse thē grauen images, which are by name mētioned.

Theoph.

What vnderstandest thou, by the things that are in heauen?

Mat.

The Sunne, Moone, starres, birds: & vnder the things that be vpon the earth are comprehended, mē, brute beasts, plants, trees: and finally by those that be in the waters, fishes. Moreouer the waters, that is, the sea, is sayd to be vnder the earth, in respect of men that do inhabit it: for otherwise the sea together with the earth, make a globe, whereof nothing is highest or lowest.

The.

Why would God thus reckē vp all his creatures?

Mat.

Because there was no kind of them, which the heathen did not at that time abuse to idolatrie, which [Page 90] custome the Iewes themselues followed, notwithstan­ding Ezech. 8. this prohibition giuen them.

Theoph.

But in this place there is no mention of spiri­tuall and heauenly things, whereof neuerthelesse there is very often abuse among the heathen to idolatrie.

Matth.

True. But here is no mention of them, be­cause they cannot be represented, but by borrwing the forme or shape of the visible things, which in this place are reckened vp. Therefore vnder the visible, the inui­sible also are comprehended.

Theoph.

But is euery kind of picture and images for­bidden of God?

Mat.

It is truly condēned, Deut. 4. 15. Act. 17. 28. if they be made to repre­sent his Maiestie, for that is directly forbidden by him.

Theoph.

Why so?

Mat.

Because it cannot be done but to the contempt of his diuine Maiestie, forasmuch as he which is eter­nall, infinite, without bodie, and inuisible, is represen­ted in the likenesse of a fraile creature, finite, hauing a body, and being visible. For this cause Esay going a­bout to reproue the madnesse of the idolaters of his time, that did set forth God in a visible shape, descri­beth his wonderfull greatnesse, howbeit in termes a­greeable to our capacitie, when he saith, Who hath measured the waters in his first, and counted heauen Isay. 40. 12 with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in a waight, and the hils in a ballance. And a little after he addeth: To whom then will ye make God like, or what simili­tude Isay. 40. 18 will ye set vp vnto him?

Theoph.

I graunt that God is not to be set out in any visible shape, but why may it not be lawfull so to repre­sent things created?

Mat.

It is lawfull: so long as it is not done to adore or worship them: which the Lord straightway addeth, af­ter the forbidding of making images in these wordes: Thou shalt not bow downe to them, nor serue them.

Theoph.

Thinkest thou that it is all one for a man to bow himselfe to idols, and to adore or worship them?

Mat.

Altogether. For, adoration signifieth all reli­gious worship, but no man boweth himselfe to idols, but with religious worship.

Theoph.

What vnderstandest thou by the name of worship?

Mat.

That they be not apparelled and decked; that incense be not burnt to them, temples built, altars set vp, holy dayes kept, and such like.

Theoph.

Therefore it is lawfull to haue any images, so as it be not to adoration and worship, except those that be made to represent God.

Mat.

All religious images be also to be excepted, by the precept of our third rule, least men abuse them to idolatrie, being of their owne nature aboue measure prone to that wickednesse. Which thing gaue Iohn oc­casion that in the end of his Epistle he ioyned this ad­monition: 1. Iohn. 5. 2. Babes keepe your selues from idols, that is, from images made for religious vse.

Theoph.

But they may teach the ignorant people, ac­cording to the common speach: Images are vnlearned mens bookes.

Mat.

They be indeed the bookes of the vnlearned: For, they can teach nothing but vanitie and lying, as the Scripture testifieth: and therefore they hold men in ignorance, and make them idiots and vnlearned, which experience it selfe proueth. But the most sure way whereby all the faithfull of what degree soeuer may be taught, and that with fruit, is that which the Lord himselfe hath appointed: that is, the preaching of his word, by the which Paule saith, that Christ is pain­ted before our eyes.

Theoph.

Let vs go forward: Is there no other euill forbidden in this commandement, besides the adora­tion and worshipping of images?

Matth.

Two other besides be forbidden, namely,

1 Worshipping of creatures: and

2 Superstition.

Theoph.

What cause hast thou to say, that these two euils be forbidden in this commandement?

Mat.

Because they be of the same kind with idola­trie, for they tend hereunto, to declare by the outward gesture of the bodie, the worship which they thinke they giue vnto God. Whereupon it is that these two be called by the name of idolatrie.

Theoph.

Right. For, both the worshippers of creatures and superstitious persons, haue accustomably bin cal­led idolaters, as well as the worshippers of idols.

Mat.

And verily they be ioyned together, by a most neare bond: for idolatrie alwayes accompanieth the worshipping of creatures, and bringeth forth sundrie superstitions.

Theoph.

Of the ado­ratiō of cre­atures. Let vs speake of these two euils. What vn­derstandest thou by the adoration of creatures?

Mat.

The religous worship, which is giuē vnto them.

Theoph.

Why so?

Mat.

Because adoration belōgeth onely vnto God, whereof the Scripture it selfe is a plentifull witnesse. Whereupon it followeth, that we can bestow neuer so litle of it vpon any creature, whether it be visible or in­uisible of what condition soeuer, but we do take from and diminish the worship due to the creator. Therfore the Angell sayd vnto Iohn, Apo. 19. 10 which had fallen downe at his feete to worship him: See thou do it not, I am thy fellow seruant, one of thy brethren Worship God.

Theoph.

But doest thou comprehend vnder that pro­hibition, the worship & reuerence which is vsually gi­uen to men that be aliue?

Mat

Not so verily, so as it be onely ciuill: for, if there be neuer so litle affectiō mingled tending toward Reli­gion, it is corrupt and displeaseth God. For this cause Peter refused the reuerēce done to him by Cornelius: Act. 10. 26. for the holy Apostle perceiued, that that reuerence was not meerely ciuill, but had mixed with it somwhat of Religiō Now if it be vnlawful to worship Saints, yea the very Angels themselues, how much more vnlawful is it to worship their images, reliques, the crosse of Christ, the likenesse of it, and such like?

Theoph.

Let vs come to superstition: what meanest [Page 93] thou by this word?

Mat.

Is it called superstition, when any worshippeth God, by rites or ceremonies deuised of men. Of this sort are.

1 To weare a certaine kind of apparell for Religion sake.

2 To hold difference of place in worshipping of God.

3 To obserue dayes and times for that purpose.

4 To make a difference of meates.

5 To abstaine from mariage, and such other inuen­tions of men, whereof Paule thus speaketh, Col. 2. 23. which things haue indeed a shew of wisedome, in voluntarie Religion, and humblenesse of mind, and in not sparing of the bodie, yet they are not any thing worth. Yea ra­ther they are to the contempt of God, and hinder our saluation.

Theoph.

How are they to the contempt of God?

Matth.

Because he preferreth obedience before sa­crifice, and will be worshipped not after the inuentions of men, but according to his owne will, which he hath therefore made knowne vnto vs. Therefore Christ sayd to the Scribes and Pharisies, Mat. 15. 9. They worship me in vayne, teaching doctrines that be the commande­ments of men. Moreouer, superstitions bring in the contempt of Gods commandements, and of that wor­ship, which he requireth of vs to be performed vnto him, which experience doth plentifully proue.

Theoph.

But how do superstitiōs hinder our saluatiō?

Mat.

Because superstitious persons, imagine that they merite somwhat by them, which thought turneth men from Christ, and therefore from their owne sal­uation. For that cause Paule calleth the forbidding of meats and of mariage, 1. Tim. 4. the doctrine of deuils. It is ther­fore a great deale better, to go on slowly in the wayes of the Lord, then to runne a pase in the way of super­stiton: which who soeuer hath entred into, the further he goeth forward, the further he goeth from God, and therefore from eternall life.

Theoph.

Now do I vnderstand what superstition is. [Page 94] I demaund, why, seeing there be three euils, by the which the worship of God is defiled, Idolatrie onely is shortly touched in this commandement?

Mat.

It is according to our second rule, namely, that God when he meaneth to forbid many sinnes of the same kind, forbiddeth them all vnder the name of one, and that the greatest, such a one as idolatrie is.

Theoph.

Why thinkest thou idolatrie to be a greater sin, then the worshipping of creatures, or superstition?

Matth.

The reason in my iudgement is most plaine. For, although a man be mad already, when he for­saketh God, for some excellent gifts wherewith any creature hath beene adorned of God, and worship­peth that creature: yet then he may be sayd to be striken through with rage and furie, when he wor­shippeth an sdoll, made by the industrie and helpe of man. Therfore, the Scripture describing that va­nitie, calleth Idols the works of mens hands, and presently after addeth: They haue a mouth and speake Psal. 115. 4. not; they haue eyes and see not; they haue eares and heare not; they haue noses and smell not; they haue hands and handle not; they haue feete and walke not; and finally that they be dead. In which words he signi­fieth, that men be altogether out of their wits, which worship the worke of mans hands, an Image, dumbe, blind, deafe, that perceiueth nothing, and is voyde of all the sences, and therefore inferior to his maker and worshipper: which appeareth euen by this, that nei­ther of them would be like their Idoll.

Theoph.

Against worshipping of Idols. But the worshippers of Images, will not graunt thee that thou sayest, namely that they worship the Images, much lesse take them for Gods. For they say, they be not so voyde of reason, but they know, they be either of wood, or stones, or of painting. But rather they affirme boldly and constantly, that all the worship is done by them, in the honour of God or of the Saints, whereof they be Images.

Mat.

What although we should graunt them all that they say? were not this extreme madnesse, that [Page 95] they will worship God, by doing the thinges, that bee directly forbidden of him? Which also hee affirmeth to be despight against him. But howsoeuer they de­nie it, it is so. For, when they preferre one Idoll be­fore another, and for religions sake take vppon them long pilgrimages, to salute such an Image, do mum­ble their praiers before them, euen as for that purpose they haue manie Images with them: it is clearer then the light, that they thinke there is in them some di­uine power. And therefore they bee conuinced, that those Images be taken of them for Gods. Whereupon the Idolaters of that time are most sharpely reproued by Esay, although they euen then sought the same Isa. 44. 7. shifts. So is the Deuill wont to bewitch all those, that receiue Idols for religions sake; for at the beginning indeede, he perswadeth them, that they bee receiued that God may bee worshipped in them; but by little and little, he blindeth them with their mad religion, so as at the length they both worship them, and put their trust in them. And indeede (as Austen said most truely) no man looking vpon Images, can doe them any worship, whose minde is not so moued, as if he were heard of them.

For this cause, the Fathers of the Elibertine coun­sell, the yeare from the birth of Christ 330, decreed thus concerning this matter; Can. 36. It hath seemed good vnto vs, that there be no pictures in Churches, least that which is painted vpon the wals, should bee wor­shipped and adored. Against those which then would haue Images placed in Churches.

Theoph.

How came it to passe, that afterward they were receiued into Churches?

Matthew.

It was decreed after many contentions and iarres in the last counsell of Nice, about the yeare 754. when the Deuill had before brought in manie superstitions into the Church: But it lacked Images all the time, from the comming of Iesus Christ, vntill that counsell.

Theoph.

Truely I am glad, that in going ouer these [Page 96] things, I haue learned at what time Images were brought into the church. Now I will returne againe to the order of our speach. Thou saidest, that in former times the old Idolaters, vsed the same excuses to de­fend their Idolatries, which the Idolaters of our time do vse now, who do specially complaine of this, that they haue very great wrong done them, when they bee compared with those auncients, for asmuch as there is great difference betweene themselues and the other.

Mat.

If it shall seem good vnto thee to propound the things, wherein they say that difference is, I will cause thee to vnderstand, that whatsoeuer they alledge is most vaine: and moreouer, that the Idolatrie of our time, is altogether the same, with that ancient Idola­trie of the Heathen and Iewes.

Theoph.

It shall verie much please me to heare that of thee. But they make foure heads of that diffe­rence.

The excuses of the newer Idolaters. 1 First, that those auncients, both Heathen and Iewes, (say they) beleeued their Images to be gods, which is not beleeued of vs.

2 Secondly; they made many Gods, we only one.

3 Thirdly, because they worshipped the Images of thinges without sence and reason, or else of most wicked men, as Iupiter, Mars, Venus, and many other of this sort: and those Images (say they) bee forbidden in this commandement, but not the Ima­ges which wee worship, as of Christ, the Virgine Mary, and of the Saints that now liue most blessedly in Heauen.

4 Fourthly, and last of all, we giue not that diuine worship to our Images, which in former times was gi­uen by Idolaters to their Idols and fained Gods. V­pon which things they gather, that indeed those aun­cients are worthelie called and esteemed Idolaters: but that they haue great iniurie done vnto them, when they be charged with this fault, from the which they thinke themselues free, vpon the reasons which I haue reckened vp.

Mat.

The answer to the excu­ses of the newer Ido­laters. I will answere in order vnto these foure points.

1 First, they be fowlly deceiued in this, that they thinke those old Idolaters beleeued their Idols to bee gods: for they chāged thē according to their pleasure, but they alwayes kept the same Gods in their mind.

2 Moreouer, there was no God of theirs, which had not many Images: and yet they did not according to that multitude, make to themselues many gods.

3 Finally, they did daily consecrate new Ima­ges, yet it was not in their minde to make new gods. Whereuppon it is plaine, that they were not so bloc­kish and without sence, to beleeue, that an Idoll of stone, or of wood, or of golde, or of siluer, was the verie essence of God: but onely a similitude or like­nesse of God. It is indeede certaine, that the Pro­phets sometimes reprooued the Israelites for this, that they saide to theyr Idols: Thou art my God. But this was done for the cause which I spake of before, for that giuing to Images the honour due vnto God alone, they esteemed them in the place of God, notwithstanding, they coloured that Idolatrie with faire excuses.

Theoph.

Concerning the first point, thou hast suffi­ciently satisfied me. Let vs therefore come to the se­cond; Namely, that the Heathen had many gods.

Math.

That indeede is true, but they did neuer e­steeme them alike; but rather constantly continued in this minde, that there was one chiefe God, to whom all the rest were subiect. For, so is the feeling of one God-head grauen in the mindes of men, that it can not bee pluckt out, notwithstanding it be corrup­ted by their own mad inuentions, and that more is, by their Idolatrie, as Paule saith vnto the Romaines.Rom. 1.

Therefore the other Gods whom they adored be­sides that chiefe God, were for this end worshipped, that they might bee their patrons: which selfe same thing they also doe at this daie, which adore men Saints, and women Saints. For they take them in the stead of their Gods, when they giue that worship [Page 98] to their reliques and Images, which is due vnto one highest God.

Theoph.

Let vs now come downe to the third point: it is this; That the prohibition which is contained in this commandement, is vnderstood onely of those I­dols, which are the likenesses of fained Gods, which the olde Ethnicks and Iewes Idolaters did worship, and that it is not extended to the Images of the Saints that be in Heauen.

Math.

This distinction is most false, for [...] in Greeke, is altogether the same, that Image is in La­tine. But both doe signifie the likenesses which are made vppon foolish deuotion. Whereuppon it is, that they of whome they bee worshipped, are called [...], that is, worshippers of Idols or Images.

But let vs graunt there is that difference or diuer­sitie betweene these wordes which they affirme, what will it make for them, for as much as there is so ge­nerall a prohibition in this commaundement; Thou shalt make to thy selfe no grauen Image, neither anie likenesse of the things &c. that it admitteth no excep­tion orrestraint? For it doth plainely comprehend e­uery religious likenesse of all things as well liuing as without sense, reasonable or vnreasonable, men and women as well which now liue blessedly in Heauen, as of the wicked, which now suffer the torments of theyr sinnes in Hell. For, the difference of the thinges to whom the worship due to God is giuen, taketh not a­waie the reproch and iniurie done vnto God.

Theoph.

Now what answerest thou to the last point, namely, that they giue not the same worship to theyr Idols, which in times past the auncient Ethnicks gaue to their fained Gods?

Mathew.

Acomparing of the old & new Idola­trie. I aunswere, that they be altogether like, which shall plainely appeare, if wee do a little more di­ligently looke into both, and make a comparison be­tweene them.

1 The Ethnicks sacrificed to their Idols: so also do the Idolaters of our time: For they say Masses, (which [Page 99] they hold to be sacrifices) to the honor of Saintes, yea at their Altars.

2 They offered them gifts, and so also do ours.

3 They saluted them, they fell downe vpon their knees before them, and finally made their praiers vn­to them. Which thing also is diligently obserued and done by the Idolaters of our time.

4 They called vppon some for the plague, vppon other some for the safe deliueraunce of women, other some for tempestes vppon the Sea, other some to ob­taine raine, and other some for faire weather: so also do our Idolaters.

5 They apparelled them, they set vp lights to them, they burnt incense: the same also do our Idolaters.

6 They carried them about in their solemne sup­plications, they followed them most deuoutly, being carried vppon mens shoulders, and with this minde that they might obtaine their requests. The same also is vsed among ours.

7 They appointed vnto them formes of praiers and worship, they built them Churches, and or­dayned Priestes, of whome their seruice might bee done: so also is ours.

8 They sought high places, and places out of the company of men planted with trees, wherin they built the chappels of their Idols, by means wherof wretched men (made drunke with blind deuotion) were so out of their wits, that there was verie great resort of people vnto them, no otherwise then as if God himselfe had bin present there. The Idolaters of our time haue care­fully done all these things to the very selfe same end.

9 In each cittie and towne one was chosen, to be the patrone of the place, and the protecting God. The same also do ours.

10 They swore by their names, and had them conti­nually in their mouth, & alwaies carried about with thē their Images to worship. The same also is done of our idolaters. To cōclude, at length the names of the Idols were changed, but the same Idolatry is still retained.

[Page 100]

But we must diligently marke the craft of Sathan in this behalfe: For, to the end he might restore or bring in againe the old Idolatrie, hee hath borrowed the names of the holy Apostles and Martyrs, by whom in former times it was ouerthrown and driuen away, and by this meanes it hath put on another person, that it might not be knowen.

Theoph.

I haue taken no small pleasure by that which thou hast spoken vppon these foure points. Now that our speech may end there where it begun, I doe ac­knowledge that the Deuill which in our age hath set in againe the auncient Idolatrie, vpholdeth it by no o­ther arguments, then those wherewith in former times it was defended by him.

Math.

It is altogether so. For, whereas the Idolaters of our age, deuising a worship of God and Images of Saints, pretend and say, that the remembrance of God is the better engrauen in their mindes, the selfe same thing was pretended by those old Idolaters.

Theoph.

It is verie like that men euen from the be­ginning were by these two reasons mooued to Ido­latrie; namely, that both they might worship God better, and deepely fasten the remembrance of him in their mindes.

Mat.

But there is nothing which is more to the dis­honor of God, and more putteth him out of the minds of men, then Idolatrie.

Theoph.

Why so?

Mat.

Because there can be no greater despite done to God, then (contrarie to his expresse forbidding) to giue the worship due to him, vnto dead Images, which also we may liken to stocks, snares, or gins, wherewith men be held fast vpon the ground, being lets and hin­derances to their minds, that they look not vp to hea­uen, neither come vnto God with true knowledge and remembrance of him.

Theoph.

I desire, if it shall not be troublesome to thee, to alleadge three obiections, wherewith Idolaters la­bor to defend themselues, not that I make any doubt [Page 101] of things so plaine, but to the end I may be able fitly to answer the aduersaries, if at any time I haue occasion.

Math.

Thou shalt not trouble me, though thou en­large this speech, for I am much delighted when anie occasion is giuen me, to lay open the craft of the deuil, who vnder a colour of religion & of worshipping God, bringeth it to passe, that hee himselfe is worshipped of Idolaters. Therefore propound those obiections.

The ph.

The first ob­iection of the Idolaters of our time. The first of them is this, that they giue not to the Images the adoration or worship due vnto God: For they say, they giue to Images onely that worship which they call [...], and that they do reserue [...] vnto God.

Math.

The answer to it. This distinction is nothing else but a matter fayned of the Greekes, as it may appeare by the words them selues being Greeke, wherwith they might couer the vngodlines of the idolatry brought into the church by them. Howbeit by this distinction they menat that they worshipped God, and serued the Images. But their deeds declare that the matter is farre otherwise. For, if it were their purpose to worship the images with the worship which they say is to bee kept vnto God, what would they do more? seeing they fal downe vpon their knees, and most deuoutly salute them whensoeuer they come in their sight. But let vs graunt that the Idols (as they say) be not worshipped, but serued of them, are they not in expresse words condemned of God by the prohibition of this commandement, when after these words; Thou shalt not bow downe to them, the Lord straight way addeth, Neither shalt thou serue them? Which things being so, it is plaine that this distinction is most friuolous, and that it is onely in wordes, by the which they would blind the eyes of the simple, especi­ally seeing it is certaine that the Scripture vseth those words, [...] and [...] for the selfe same thing, and attributeth both of them vnto God.Rom. 1. 9. & 7. 6. & 12. 11.

Theoph.

The second obiection. Exod. 25. 18 Num. 21. 8. Now I come to their other obiection, which is of the Cherubins, and the Brasen serpent, that was made by God his owne commaundement. The Cheru­bins [Page 102] to couer the Arke of the couenant, but the brasen serpent was set vp in the wildernesse, that such as were stong by the byting of the serpents, by the sight there­of might be healed, and deliuered from present death, whereupon they will haue it proued, that it is lawfull to haue Images in churches.

Matth.

The answer. These examples do not any thing at all serue their turne. For God him selfe had commaunded the Cherubins, as also the brasen Serpent, not indeed to be adored or worshipped, but to represent or signifie some things fit for that time, when the ceremoniall law was in vse. For, the Cherubins were bestowed in that holy inner place which is called the holiest of all, out of the sight of all, saue onely of the high Priest, who went in­to Exod. 30. 10. it onely once euerie yeare, so as all occasion of abu­sing them was taken away. Concerning the brasen ser­pent, 2. Kin. 18 4. Ezechias is in that behalfe specially commended of the holy Ghost, for that he brake it, because after a sort it was worshipped of the people. Now therefore with what face dare they alledge these examples to vp­hold their images, set vp contrarie to the expresse com­mandement of God, seeing especially there is so filthy an abuse of them vnto all kind of idolatrie?

Theoph.

But what did the Cherubins, and the brasen serpent signifie?

Math.

Euerie Cherubin had foure wings, with two they couered their face, whereby was taught, that the Angels them selues be so stricken with that brightnesse of the diuine Maiestie, that they cannot endure it, and so be cōpelled to couer their faces: with the other two wings they couered the mercie seate which was vpon the Arke, to instruct vs that God is incomprehensible, and therefore ought not to be represented by anie hu­maine likenesse Touching the brasen serpent, God sig­nified by it, that all they whom that old serpent (name­ly the deuill, with whose poyson and that indeed dead­ly, we are infected through sinne) had bitten, were healed, so as by faith, they do flie vnto Christs death. For the brasen Serpent was a figure of Christ, as the [Page 103] Lord himselfe teacheth in these words; As Moses lifted Iohn 3. 14. vp the serpent in the wildernesse, so must the Sonne of man bee lifted vp: that who soeuer beleeueth in him should not perish, but haue life euerlasting.

Theoph.

The third obiection. I am satisfied for the second obiection, the third is behind, wherin they alledge almost innumera­ble miracles, which were wrought in fauour of the wor­shippers of Idols, and for the punishment of such as de­spised them.

Matth.

The answer. Although I might most worthely reiect the greatest part of those miracles as false and fayned, yet will I grant this, that they may be all taken for miracles indeed. But what can they build with them? might not the Heathen boast the selfe same things of their Idols?

Valer. M [...] lib. 1. Cap. [...]. Let prophane histories bee read, they will affoord infinite examples of those things, neither indeede is it maruell. For, the deuill to the ende he might esta­blish his owne false doctrine, would therein followe God.

Theoph.

How?

Matth.

As God when hee meant to open his trueth vnto men, sent foorth true Prophets and Apostles to preach it, and furnished them with the power of the holy Ghost, that they might confirme it by sundrie mi­racles. So the deuill the father of lyes assayed the same thing, when he would bring in Idolatrie and superstitiō into the world. For, he raised vp false Prophets and A­postles to preach it, and put into them the power of working miracles, for the confirmation of it. Hereupon it is that Christ warneth vs, diligently to take heede of Mat. 24. 24. false Prophets, who (saith he) shall do great signes and miracles, so as they shall deceiue (if it might be) the verie elect. Whereunto also may be applied the saying of the Apostle speaking of Antechrist; Whose cōming 2. Thes. 2. 9. is by the working of Sathan, with all power, and signes, and lying wonders.

Theoph.

Why doth the Apostle call them lying won­ders?

Matth.

Not so much to note the falshood of them, [Page 104] as to giue vs to vnderstand of the ende, whereat those miracles do shoot. And that is to confirme most false and lying doctrine, such as are Idolatrie and supersti­tiō, which are directly contrary vnto Gods word, which indeed ought to be vnto vs in stead of a touchstone, by the which to discerne true miracles from false, that we be not deceiued by them.

Theoph.

Thou thinkest therefore that all miracles, which serue to confirme false doctrine, are wrought by the deuill, and therefore to be refused, as lyes, and done to deceiue.

Matth.

I thinke so. And for this cause, doth the Lord warne vs by Moses, if there arise in the middest of vs a Deut. 13. 1. 2. 3. Prophet, that foresheweth things to come, or sheweth anie other signes for this purpose, to turne vs aside frō his worship, that we do not heare such a Prophet: for the Lord your God (saith he) proueth you, to see whe­ther you loue him with all your heart.

Theoph.

But howe can the deuill haue the power to worke miracles, which appertaineth onely to God?

Matth.

The Lord looseth the bridle vnto him, and giueth that power, that he may auenge him selfe, vpon those which despise and refuse his truth, of whom Paule thus writeth; Therefore will the Lord send them the 2. The. 2. 11 strength of delusion, that they may beleeue lyes.

Theoph.

Thou hast now satisfied me concerning the first part of this commaundement, and those abuses haue bene discussed in it, which are wont to be brought into the worship of God, but chiefly the greatest amōg them, namely Idolatrie. It remaineth therfore that we The other part of the 2. commande­ment. come to the other part, to the end we may know, what is to bee done in the outward seruice of God, that is framed according to his owne will.

Matth.

That is, when a worship is giuen both agree­able to his nature, and acceptable to his Maiestie.

Theop.

What is that worship or adoration agreeable to the nature of God?

Math.

Of spiritual worship. It is taught of Christ himself, Ioh. 4. 23. speaking to that woman of Samaria; he saith, The houre commeth, and [Page 105] now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Fa­ther in spirite and truth: for the Father requireth euen such to worship him. Now he opposeth or setteth spi­rituall worship which God requireth, against carnall worship deuised by men: which, because it is answera­ble to their carnal, and corrupt nature, maruellously pleaseth themselues, but doth most of all displease God that is a spirite. Yea indeed no worship but spirituall is acceptable vnto him.

Theoph.

Now it is to be seene, wherein that adora­tion or spirituall worship standeth.

Mat.

Sincere prayer is the chiefe part of it, whe­ther it be publi [...]e or priuate, when our hearts be lift vp vnto God with a pure cōscience, all things being taken away, that may withdraw or estrange our mindes from him, as images, candles, and such other inuentions of men: falling downe vpon our knees, our heads vnco­uered, and hands lifted vp to heauen.

Theoph.

Are not kneeling, vncouering of the head, & lifting the hands vp to heauen carnall ceremonies?

Matth.

No in no wise. For we call them carnall cere­monies, that were deuised by men, and such as tye our mindes to these earthly things: but these are both or­dained of God, and do bring forth farre diuers or vn­like effects. For they call our mindes from these earth­ly and fraile things, and do lift them vp to true pietie, and spirituall meditation.

Theoph

Is there nothing else required to worship God spiritually, besides the things which thou hast reckened vp?

Mat.

There is somwhat else required: namely, that we do heare his word & receaue the Sacraments with humblenesse and reuerence of mind, & with puritie of cōscience. Cōcerning the rest, so as we auoyd all super­stitious & humane ceremonies, we must vse the liber­tie which Christ by his death hath purchased for vs.

Theoph.

What is that Christian libertie?

Matth.

Of Christian libertie. It is in euery part of it, a spirituall thing: the whole force whereof standeth in the appeasing and [Page 106] quieting of fearefull consciences, that God may be so much the more earnestly glorified in vs Howbeit it cō ­sisteth of foure parts, the first two whereof (notwith­stāding they be the chiefe) do not make much for that we haue in hand: they were also handled by vs in the former booke, yea rather they be the argument of it.

Theoph.

Neuerthelesse I would haue them declared by thee in a few words, that my memory might be rub­bed againe, with the things that haue bin already spo­ken before.

Matth.

part 1 The first is, an effect of our redemption: namely, that Christ hauing by his death redeemed vs frō the slauerie and tyranny of the deuill, hath brought vs into the most happy libertie of his kingdome. For by it we be taken for the sonnes of God, & therfore heires of his kingdome. For this cause Christ sayd to the Iewes: Iohn. 8. 35. The seruant abideth not for euer in the house, but the sonne abideth for euer. Therefore if the sonne haue freed you, you shall be free indeed.

part 2 The other part hangeth vpon the former, and it is a fruit of our regeneration, by the which when Christ hath set vs free from the seruice of sin, we are brought into libertie by his spirit, so as both we haue a will and be also able from the heart to serue God. Therefore the Apostle saith: 2. Cor. 3. 17. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is libertie.

Theoph.

Declare the other parts of Christian liber­tie, appertaining to the speach we haue in hand.

Mat.

Either of them hangeth vpon our redemptiō. Now the first is this: part 3 that Christ by his death hauing put an end to all the ceremonies (which were nothing else but shadowes & figures) he hath deliuered vs from the bondage of them, to the end we might offer vnto him a worship meerely or altogether spirituall.

But if we be deliuered from all those ceremonies which were commanded of God, Col. 2. 6. Heb. 10. 1. by much more strōg reason are we set free from those, which were inuented by men, which also haue in them plaine superstition.

part 4 The last part standeth herein, that by the death of [Page 107] Christ, the lawfull vse of the creatures, which we had Of the vse of meates & o­ther things. lost in Adam through sinne, is againe restored and re­nued vnto vs.

Theoph.

By what meanes?

Matth.

Men by sinne became the enemies of God, and therefore vnworthy to vse his goods: but being made at one with him by the death of his Sonne, and adopted or taken to be his sonnes, we may now with li­bertie of conscience vse all the blessings of the earth, & other creatures which he giueth vs to sustaine our life, to the end he may be with the more vehemēcie serued of vs, vntill he trāslate vs frō this life, into that eternall inheritance. Hence is that of Paul, To the pure indeed Tit. 1. 15. all things are pure: but to the defiled and vnbeleeuers nothing is pure. By which things it appeareth that Christian libertie doth by no meanes loose the bridle to our carnal desires: but stādeth onely in this, to bring peace to troubled consciences, whether they be out of quiet, and full of care about the forgiuenesse of their sins, or else be troubled about the vse of the creatures, & of other indifferent things, so as they may vse them most freely, without any doubt or scruple of cōsciēces.

Theoph.

But that vse of indifferent things, seemeth not to auaile much to the quieting of our conscience, much lesse to the spirituall worship of God, whereunto notwithstanding it was ascribed by thee.

Matth.

It profiteth much vnto both: and indeede first of all except we do certainly know, that we may freely vse the creatures of God, our cōsciēces shall ne­uer haue rest, yea rather they shall be tossed to and fro with doubting and superstition. Therefore Paule saith, Blessed is he that condēneth not himself in that which Rom. 14. 22 he alloweth: that is to say, which is certainly perswa­ded with himself, what is allowed or disalowed of God. Concerning the spirituall worship due vnto God, as it is defiled by a superstitious abstaining from the crea­tures, so it is much enlarged by a lawfull vse ioyned with his feare, and without offence: yea rather in this part, there is a certaine testimony of the spirituall wor­ship [Page 108] which we desire to giue vnto him, when as we will not submit our selues to the superstitious commande­ments of men. Therefore Paule speaking of his Chri­stian libertie, saith: Gal. 5. 1. In the libertie wherewith Christ hath made vs free, continue or stand you, and be not a­gaine entangled with the yoke of bondage.

Theoph.

What meantest thou, when thou saydest, we were to vse the creatures of God in his feare?

Mat.

That it is to say, soberly, and reuerently, as it were before him.

Theoph.

Why madest thou mention of offence?

Mat.

Because it must specially be taken heed vnto, that by our libertie we giue no offence to the weake: For, the doctrine of Christian libertie, is not against the rule charitie.

Theoph.

What is an offence?

Mat.

Of offences. The word properly signifieth something layd in the way, vpon the which he that walketh may stum­ble and fall. In this place by translation, or a borrow­ed kind of sence, it is taken for that, by the which we are hindered from receiuing the doctrine of the truth, or else be turned from it, after we haue receiued it. In which sence he is sayd to offend one, which either saith or doth any thing, whereby the saluation of his neigh­bour is hindered. Now that is a most grieuous sinne: For Christ saith; Whosoeuer shall offend one of these little ones that beleeue me, it were better for him that Mat. 18. 6. a mill stone were hanged about his neck, and he drow­ned in the depth of the sea.

Theoph.

May there not be some certaine rule set downe, whereby it may be vndoudtedly knowne, in what things and how we are to beware, that we giue not offence to our neighbour?

Matth.

There is. But that we may rightly vnder­stand it, we must know, that there be two kinds of of­fences. The one is called an offence taken, which fal­leth vpon the head of the taker, forasmuch as none occasion was giuen. As for example, if any take offence because his neighbour doth somewhat that is cōman­ded [Page 109] of God, or refuseth to do some euill thing, forbid­den of God. For, euen as our libertie must be subiect vnto charitie, so charitie ought to be subiect to the pu­ritie of faith and righteousnesse of the law. Therefore thou mayest not offend God, to auoyd the offence of thy neighbour. The other kind of offence, is called of­fence giuen, the fault and condemnation whereof, lighteth vpon him of whom it is giuen: as when one giueth offence to his neighbour, by doing something forbidden of God, or else offendeth the vnskilfull and weake, by vsing indifferent things ill.

Theoph.

What vnderstandest thou by the name of indifferent things?

Mat.

Those which of themselues be neither good nor euill, such as it is knowne these be; to eate flesh or fish. Now I sayd, that the weake were not to be offen­ded for the vse of them. For the Apostle saith; Rom. 14. 15 Destroy not thou him with thy meate, for whom Christ died.

1. Cor. 8. 13. And againe in another place; If meate offend my brother, I will eate no flesh while the whole standeth, that I may not offend my brother.

The.

But why doest thou mētiō the weake only, whē thou speakest of an offence giuē in different things?

Matth.

Because we must abstaine from them onely for the weakes sake, vntill they haue bene taught and confirmed in the knowledge of Christian libertie, but not for the malitious men, and mockers of Christian libertie; among whom also sometime it is profitable, that we claime and take our libertie, that it may be knowne what doctrine or Religion we professe.

Theoph.

The third part of this commandement is be­hind, I would haue that declared in few words.

Mat.

It beginneth at these words; I am the Lord thy God, strong, iealous, &c. He calleth himselfe our God, both to oppose himselfe vnto Idols, as especially to shew, that it is he alone, to whom we ought to cleaue, seeing that he is our God, that is, mercifull and good. He calleth himselfe strong and iealous, to teach vs, that he both can and will reuenge so great an iniu­rie, [Page 110] and indeede with so grieuous vengeance, that it shall stretch it selfe to their children, euen to the third and fourth generation, of such as follow the vngodli­nesse of their fathers. Euen as also he sheweth his per­petuall mercie and goodnesse, to many generations vnto them which loue him and keepe his law.

Theoph.

There be three things in this thy expositiō, of which I thinke it fit to aske thee.

Why God is called iea­lous. First, in what sence God is sayd to be iealous, foras­much as the affection of iealousie doth not any way a­gree to his maiestie.

Mat.

The Lord giueth himselfe this title, hauing respect to the couenant made with vs: Now this he of­ten cōpareth vnto mariage, aswell for the vnion which we haue with him, as for the mutuall fidelitie which we also haue promised vnto him. Hereof it commeth, that by the Prophet he saith; Hos. 2. 20. I will marrie thee vnto my selfe in faithfulnesse. As if he did say, that as he perfor­med to vs all the duties of a faithfull and true husband, euen so he required againe by couenant of vs, loue and chastitie, required in mariage. And for this cause he complaineth, and not seldome by his Prophets; Ierem. 3. Hos. 2. that Is­raell committed fornication with Idols, and was pol­luted or defiled with adulterie. When therefore he cal­leth himselfe iealous, he doth it, that with one word, he may cut of all the vaine excuses, wherewith Idolaters seeke to hide themselues. For this he meaneth, that he cannot by any meanes beare it, that vnder any colour, we should giue the loue and reuerence due to him vn­to Idols; as an husband that religiouslie and holilie loueth his wife, cannot endure it, whatsoeuer she pre­tendeth, that his wife should bestow the signes of her friendship and loue vpon another. Moreouer, by this title he warneth vs, that at last he will execute no lesse punishment vpon Idolaters, then a iealous husband v­pon his wife often taken by him in adulterie.

Theoph

The other thing commeth to my remem­brance, whereof I sayd I would aske: how it agreeth with the iustice of God, to require the punishment of [Page 111] the fathers offence of his posteritie.

Matth.

The Lord meaneth not, that the children should bee punished for the sinnes of the parents, for as much as he saith by his Prophet; That he will not, Eze. 18. 20. that the sonne should beare the iniquitie of his father, or the father beare the iniquitie of the sonne. But this visitation is fulfilled, when the Lord taketh from the house of the vngodly his grace, the light of his trueth, and the other helpes of saluation. Now then, nothing else can bee looked for, but that the children being forsaken of God, should liue most wickedly, and moue God to take vengeance vpon them. From hence is that preposterous and disordered desire of the chil­dren, to follow the Idolatrous waie of their parents, whereuppon it commeth, that they excuse their Ido­latrie by this one pretence, namely the example of their fathers. But if the Lord do threaten so great punishment Against the Nicodemits. to Idolaters so much blinded, that they think God is rightly worshipped of them: how much more fearefull iudgement ought they to looke for, that be illuminated with the light of his truth, and notwith­standing defile themselues with Idolatrie and supersti­tions against their consciences?

Theop.

Those men are wont to answer (which also my selfe haue heard of them more then once) that they acknowledge no sinne in that, seeing they lift vp their mindes vnto God in the middest of those vngodly su­perstitions, which also they hate with all their hearts.

Mat.

It is a most vaine excuse, which the Deuill hath prompted them, to lull their consciences a sleep, and so to hold them in his nets.

Theoph.

But how can they be conuinced of Idolatry, for as much as we ought to iudge of the outward acti­ons of men, by the inward affection of the heart?

Mat.

That indeed is true, in such things as of them­selues bee good or indifferent, and which bee made ill by an ill intent, as if one praied to God to be praised & well thought of. But concerning actions of their owne nature euill, and expresly forbidden of God, as is out­ward [Page 112] idolatry, there is no inward affection of the mind which can make them good, & acquite them from sin.

Theop.

In what place is outward idolatry forbidden?

Matth.

In the second commaundement, where by name the Lord forbiddeth, that no man bow himselfe to Idols or worship them. Which thing is euery where often repeated in sundrie places of the Scripture.

Moreouer, it may be gathered of that, which the Lord answered Elias, when he noted, and as it were by outward signes marked the Israelites, which had not fallen away from his religion. For he saith; Rom. 11. 4. I haue re­serued to my selfe seaven thousand men, which haue not bowed the knee to the Image Baal. In which words he declareth that all such as worshipped Baal with the outward gesture, were Idolaters, notwithstanding they pretended the inward affection of their minde to be o­therwise. Is it not also iust and right, that God should bee worshipped of vs in our bodies, as well as in our minds, for as much as he is the maker of both?

Theoph.

Againe, they do alleadge for themselues the example of Naaman the Syrian: who being lightened with the knowledge of the true God, by that miracu­lous cure, said vnto the Prophet; Herein the Lord be mercifull to thy seruant, when my Lord shall go into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and shall leane vppon my hand, and I bowe my selfe in the house of Rimmon, in this bowing my selfe in the house of Rim­mon, the Lord I beseech to forgiue his seruant in this thing. To whom the Prophet answered; Go in peace. Of which words they gather, that the Prophet gaue his consent, he should do that thing.

Matth.

This example maketh more against them, then for them. For that Naaman the Sirian, the chiefe Captaine of the hoast of the king of Aram, and most deare to the King himselfe, when he was first conuer­ted to the religion of the true God, knew that he sin­ned, if hee did but onely apply himselfe in his seruice, and bowing to the King while he worshipped, and hee prayeth God to forgiue him that sinne. But these our [Page 113] Nicodemits, which haue so many yeares bene taught the knowledge of God and of his spirituall worship, and indeede farre more clearly, then the Fathers vn­der the Law euer were, cannot be brought thus farre: to confesse that they sinne, when euerie where of their own voluntarie accord, and without anie inforcement of the kings authoritie, that vseth their seruice, they be partakers of Idolatrie and superstitions. Verily the confession of Naaman the Syrian shall be sufficient to condemne them in the day of iudgement: so farre off therefore is it, that by it they can by anie meanes de­fend themselues. Concerning the answer of the Pro­phet; Go in peace, he doth not by it allow the sinne of Naaman. Neither was it his mind to flatter Naaman, but when hee saw him in so little space of time to haue profited so well in the knowledge and feare of God, so as freely he confessed and condemned his owne infir­mitie, he incouraged him, and putteth him in hope, that God would strengthen him, and bring that to perfection, which he had begun in him.

For this cause he saith; Go in peace. But if he had had to do with the Nicodemits of our age, hee would haue vsed farre other manner of speach, & would haue alowd cried out the same thing, which Elias that went before him did to the Iewes of his time, mingling the worship of Idols with the seruice of God; How long 1. Reg. 18. 22. do you halt betweene two opinions? if the Lord bee God, follow him: but if Baal be he, go after him.

Theoph.

I am not a little glad, that I haue gotten the meaning of that place: for sometimes I haue beene troubled about the loosing or vntying of that knot, I do not therefore now thinke, that the Nicodemits haue any excuse, wherewith to cleare themselues from the crime of Idolatry. For as much as it is plaine, that this excuse of theirs is nothing worth.

Math.

Adde hereunto, that there be against them the examples of Daniell and his fellowes, and of innu­merable Martyrs, who rather chose to suffer most cruell death, then neuer so little to make sh [...]we that [Page 114] they worshipped Idols. For as much therefore as they dare not accuse these faithfull seruants of God of rash­nesse, of whom the Scripture it selfe reporteth honou­rably, this one thing remaineth, that they condemne themselues, because they feare men more then God, of which fault, there is no doubt but their owne con­science accuseth them. Let them therefore thinke v­pon that sentence pronounced by God against the fearefull, that is, such as knowing the trueth, doe for feare dissemble it, whom he ioyneth with vnbeleeuers, abhominable murtherers, whoere-mongers, sorcerers and lyers, to whom he saieth; their part is appointed in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. Let them I say remember Apoc. 21. 8. that sentence, that if they haue any care of their salua­tion, they may preuent the wrath and iudgement of God by true repentance.

Theoph.

Let vs now returne to the wordes of the commandement, why did he rather say, to them that hate me, then, to them which do not obey me?

Math.

That he might make the vngodlinesse of such as obey him not, especially which breake this com­mandement, more manifest For, by that disobedience, they doe declare the inward hatred, which they haue against him. But contrariwise the godly, by keeping of his commandements, doe witnesse the loue and reuerence they carrie him. Whereby it is apparant, how much Idolaters and superstitious persons be de­ceiued, when they thinke to declare their loue toward God, by their mad Religions. For as much as God himselfe testifieth, that those deuises bee signes of ex­treame hatred against him. And indeede by these Of good in­tents. thinges is ouerthrowen that most false and hurtfull principle of Idolaters, wherein they affirme, that all things which be done with a good intent, that is with a minde to serue God, are well done.

Theoph.

But surely it seemeth necessarie, that good intents cannot be ill.

Math.

True, if thou vnderstand them of such as be [Page 115] good indeede.

Theoph.

What are they?

Matt.

Such as are grounded vpon the expresse word of God. For, the other which bee against the word of God, howsoeuer men esteeme them to be good, yet are they most naught & displeasing vnto God. There­fore the good intentes, as they call them, of Idolaters and superstitious persons, are no better then the in­tents of the Iewes, which put Christ to death, or of them which haue slaine almost innumerable faithfull seruants of Christ, of whom Christ himselfe witnesseth, Ioh. 16. 2. that they thought they did God seruice.

Theoph.

Let vs go forward. Why doth God speaking of punishment, mention onely three or foure genera­tions, and of reward, nameth thousands?

Math.

To teach vs, that hee is more inclining to gentlenesse, and doing of good, then to seuerity. Not­withstanding, the sentence pronounced of God is not so generall, but hee keepeth this free vnto himsefe, to shew himselfe mercifull when hee pleaseth to the chil­dren of the wicked, and also to refuse and cast off, of the children of the faithfull, whom it shall seeme good vnto him. Neuerthelesse hee so tempereth it, that it may bee knowen, that his promise and threat­ning are neither vaine nor deceitfull.

Theoph.

But these thinges seeme to agree rather to the whole Law, then to this one commandement.

Matth.

Right, for the Apostle witnesseth, Ephes. 6. that the fift commaundement is the first with promise, namely speciall.

Theoph.

Wherefore then are they put into this com­mandement?

Mat.

Because the breach of the whole law followeth vppon the breaking of this: For where any goeth a­bout to set vp another, besides the true God, the whole law is now broken of him. For whatsoeuer may be per­formed or done by him, cannot be iudged to be the o­bedience of God, but of the Idol which he hath made.

Moreouer, Idolaters are so wholly occupied in their [Page 116] superstitions ioyned most nearely with Idolatrie, and do so swell with a vaine opinion of merite, that they easily despise and set light by the lawfull keeping of Gods commandements, which daily experience doth plentifully witnesse.

The third commandement.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vaine, for the Lord will not hold him guiltlesse that taketh his name in vaine.
Theoph.

We haue beene long in the exposition of the second commandement, because the matter it selfe re­quired it. Now we are to come to the third. And first let vs see how many parts there be of it.

Mat.

Three, as of the former. In the

1 First is forbidden, the rash vse of Gods name.

2 In the second is commanded the sanctifying of it, and this is contained vnder the prohibition.

3 The third is a threatning against the breakers of this commandement.

Theoph.

That the exposition of this commandement may be the easier, I will demand three things.

1 First, in what sence the name of God is taken in this place?

2 Secondly, what it is to take the name of God in vaine.

3 Thirdly, how many waies it may bee taken in vaine; declare what the name of God signifieth.

Mat.

The first part of the third com­mand. of Gods name. It is first taken for God himselfe, as it easie to gather out of the words of Moses; Deu. 28. 58 If you shall not keep to do all the words of this Law, which are written in this booke, to fear that glorious and terrible name, the Lord thy God, the Lord will make thy plagues won­derfull. Secondly it signifieth all those things, which concerne his glorie, as his word and workes.

Theoph.

But now what is it to take the name of God in vaine?

Mat.

How the name of God is takē in vaine. To speake of God, or his wordes, or workes, contemptuously, lightly and rashly, that is, to misuse [Page 117] and to do wrong to his Maiestie. For this cause he sayd rather, the name of the Lord thy God, then my name. For, this he meant that seeing the Lord is our God, we ought to thinke so reuerētly of his Maiesty, that to vs it should be most holy, & without all pollution or disdain.

Theoph.

How manie waies it is ta­ken in vaine. Nowe we are to see how manie wayes the name of God is taken in vaine, which is the third point of the first part of this commandement.

Mat.

It may indeed be taken in vaine sundrie wayes, which notwithstanding I will reduce vnto fiue.

1 The first which is also the most grieuous, is blas­phemie, that is rayling, namely when a man doth not onely speake contemptuously of God, but doth also vse reprochfull wordes, and such as sauour of contempt a­gainst his Maiestie: as they do that renounce God To whom also wee do ioyne all those, that trample vnder their feete the most holy mysterie of our saluation that Christ hath wrought for vs, and euery where do sweare by his death, blood, bodie and parts therof, as his head and belly, and that most commonly, purposely, not be­ing stirred and moued by anger, although indeed there be no anger, which can excuse so horrible blasphemie before God.

Theoph.

Such men verily be far off from giuing those thankes which we owe vnto him, that he vouchsafed to take vpon him our humane nature, and that in it to de­liuer vs from euerlasting death, he would be abased to the death of the crosse full of reproch.

Mat.

Thou sayest true And therin they shew them­selues worse then the very Iewes, of whom he was cru­cified. For if they had known him, they would not haue 1. Cor. 2. 8. crucified the Lord of glorie, saith Paule. Therefore ex­cept they repent, it will atogether come to passe, that to their great euill, they shall feele his most iust wrath & iudgement, for as much as they do purposely so pro­fane the benefit of redēption, procured vnto vs by him.

Theoph.

Let vs examine another way, by the which the name of God is taken in vaine.

Mat.

The propha­ning of gods word. When we do abuse the holy Scripture, which [Page 118] is done specially three wayes.

1 First when it is prophaned by ridiculous scoffes and mockings, as drunkards and vngodly persons are wont.

2 Secondly, when it is corrupted, that is, wrested otherwise then the true sense is, as hereticks do.

3 Thirdly, when any abuseth it, to enchantments or sorceries, for the healing of men or beastes, & such like.

Theoph.

But they which heale diseases especially of men by that meanes, say that there is no sinne in it, see­ing they vse good works, whereof there followeth a ve­rie good effect, namely good health, for the most part restored to the sicke.

Theoph.

The deuill vseth to assaile men disguised, that is to say, he changeth himselfe into an Angell of light, to the end he may be the better receiued: 2. Cor. 11. 14 For he know­eth that if he were knowne, all would abhor him. Ther­fore he can find no better colour, then if he make shew of the word of God, which neuerthelesse is both cor­rupted by him, and wrested from the true meaning, e­uen as he doth with hereticks, or else it is turned from the right and lawfull vse, namely doctrine, reproof, cor­rection, and instruction, to the healing of bodies, and such other delusions, wherewith both it is prophaned, and the name of God is taken in vaine. Whereupon it is plaine, that the healing which sometimes followeth those deceipts and iuglings, be not of God, against whō there is that way great sinne committed, but from the Deuill.

Theoph.

Canst thou proue that those kinde of hea­lings be of the Deuill?

Mat.

Yea indeed, and that most easily. For, God v­seth onely two wayes to the curing of diseases, whereof one is naturall and ordinarie, namely by the helpe of medicines, whereinto he hath put that vertue & force: the other is besides the course of nature, miraculous, when God him selfe doth it by his owne power. But that way of healing by rehearsing wordes of the holy Scrip­tures, cannot be called ordinarie or naturall, for as [Page 119] much as the word of God is not giuen to heale bodies but soules; neither can it bee reckened among the mi­racles, which proceed from the power of God. For, the power of God is not tyed to the vttering of certaine words, notwithstanding they bee verie good: or else there were not anie which might not doe miracles at his pleasure, which in verie deede is most absurd. For, thereupon it should followe, that God declareth his power not according to his owne will, but according to our pleasure. Therefore no man ought to doubt, but that these kinds of healings be of the Deuill, and not of God.

Theoph.

They obiect that it is not like, that the De­uill the enemie of mankind, should regard and care for the good health of men.

Mat.

That which traitors and poisoners are wont to do, namely to flatter thee for a time, to the ende they may afterward lay handes vpon thee the more easily, the same vseth the Deuill: For, if he heale the diseases of cattell, he doth it with no other minde, but to bind the owners of them to him selfe: if he bring any case to our bodies, he doth it to bring the soule in bondage to him selfe, & for that cause; that at length he may thrust bodie and soule with him selfe into hell. Finally he doth alwayes vsurpe dominion and Lordship ouer them, to whom he maketh shew of seruing for a time.

Theoph.

It were therefore better for a man to serue himselfe, then to haue such a seruant.

Matth.

It were so, and indeed to be holden with sick­nesse all the time of our life, rather then to recouer our health by his helpe.

Theoph.

I will yet demaund one thing: whence hath the deuill this power, that he can heale the diseases of our bodie?

Matth.

God permitteth it vnto him by his iudge­ment, as it hath bene sayd of vs, that they should more and more be blinded, which flie to the deuill, that by their owne desert they may perish in their errors.

Theoph.

The third manner of taking Gods name in [Page 120] vaine is behind.

Mat.

Gods name takē in vain by dissolute­nesse of life. It is, when a man professeth him selfe to know God, but denieth him in his deeds, that is, whose whole life yeeldeth nothing but offences & stumbling blocks. Of whom there is mention in the Prophet▪ for thus the Lord chideth with them; Why doest thou declare my statutes, & takest my law in thy mouth, seeing thou ha­test Psal. 50. 16. to be reformed, & hast cast my words behind thee? The same also is to be thought of hypocrites, which are farre worse then these: for, in words & outward deeds they doe vainely make shew of the feare of God, but their heart is verie farre off from him. To this number also they may be reckened, whose minde wandreth a­bout other matters, while they are praying.

Theoph.

Let vs come to the fourth maner of taking Gods name in vaine.

Mat.

When wee speak of god without cō ­sideration. When this word God, or the name of Iesus, is vsed of vs either rashly or without cause: as manie do, with whom it is ordinary, that in the way of maruelling or wondring, they oftē vse these speeches, my God, Iesus.

Theoph.

But thou shalt hardly perswade these, that they take the name of God in vaine, notwithstanding it be often vsed of them: for they say, it is better to name God then the Deuill.

Mat.

Our nature is so corrupt, and so vsed to sinne, that we see not anie but the greatest, which indeede if they be weighed by our iudgement, shall bee taken for verie small. For this cause, God gaue vnto vs his Lawe, which is as it were a glasse, and a most perfect patterne of holinesse, that by comparing our actions with it, wee might acknowledge our sinnes, and studie to amende. But of these things shalbe spoken more at large, when we shall come to the vse of the Law. Now we are to ex­amine that most damnable maner, and to compare it with this commaundement of the Law; Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vaine.

What is this, in vaine? do we onely then sinne against it, when it is set vpon by vs with blasphemies & renoun­cings of it? No in no case, but then also, whē it is named [Page 121] either with contempt or rashly. But what is he, that be­ing in his right mind, seeth not, that it is both cōtemp­tuously and rashly vsed in these maners of speaking? If any haue bin at a feast, which peraduenture hath not bin without riot and other sinnes, he will not feare to vtter these words, according to the custome amōg vs; ‘O my God, how excessiuely haue we laughed?’ ‘O my God, how richly & daintily were we entertained?’ If any of our seruāts disquiet vs, by their vnskilfulnesse or slownesse, straightway he shall heare, ‘O God how foolish thou art?’ ‘O God how slow thou art?’ If we find any place filthy and vncleane, or if we smell any ill sauour, by and by shal the name of God be min­gled with these things, in these words: ‘O God what a filthy place.’ ‘O God what an ill sauour do I smell?’

These examples most common among our coun­treymen, were to be alledged, that we might so much the more plainly shew, how greatly the name of God is vsed contemptuously and rashly of vs. A certaine ancient left it written, that if we haue a costly garment, we do then onely put it on, when we go to the compa­nie of great personages, and do most carefully looke vnto it that it be not spotted: in somuch as we shun and auoyd all such things as might soile it. But the most ho­ly name of God, with the excellencie and worthinesse whereof, no garment, no not any creature is indeed to be compared, is so little esteemed of vs, that it is conti­nually intermedled, with vaine and idle speeches, with raylings, and filthinesse.

Theoph.

I do acknowledge that the name of God is abused with very great cōtempt, in the speeches which thou hast reckened vp: but that sin is so common, that in very deede the godly themselues, and such as desire to reforme their liues be not free from it: for, a mā shall find very few, that sinne not in this point.

Mat.

It was the cause why I haue handled that sinne more at large, to the end it may the better be knowne, [Page 122] especiallie to such as be touched with any feare of God, that by the reuerence wherewith they honor his name, they may be moued to amendment, which they shall with very small labour attaine, if they giue their minds vnto it.

Theoph.

Let vs come to the fift and last way, where­by the name of God is taken in vaine.

Matth.

When any sweareth by him vainly.

Theoph.

Of swearing Before I demand how any sweareth by the name of God vainly, I would haue thee to declare what an oath is.

Matth.

It is the calling of God to witnesse, for the confirmation of the vnknowne truth of our speech.

Theoph.

How many kinds of oaths be there?

Mat.

Two: For, the one is of things past, the other of things to come, namely when any thing is promi­sed with an oath: which promise, if it be made vnto God, is called a vow.

Theoph.

Let vs consider how a man sweareth by the name of God in vaine.

Mat.

That is as often as those circumstances, which are required in an oath, are not kept.

Theoph.

How many are those circumstances?

Matth.

In an oath which is of things past, there are three, without which, the oath shalbe altogether vaine.

1 The first is: that the thing whereupon we are a­bout to sweare, be not only true, but also that the truth of it be certainly knowne to vs.

2 The second is: that the thing be of some weight, aswell to the glory of God, as to the loue of our neigh­bour.

3 The third is: that the truth of that thing, by any o­ther meanes cannot be brought to light, for otherwise the very name of God is contemptuously vsed.

But as an oath respecteth things to come, there be fiue things to be obserued.

1 First, that the thing be of some importance.

2 That it be iust and lawfull.

3 That it be in our power.

4 That we be prepared to do it.

[Page 123]

5 Finally, that in time we performe it indeede, al­though it should be to our losse, as we be taught of the Prophet.Psal. 15. 4.

Theoph.

What if all these circumstances be not ob­serued, is not the name of God taken in vaine?

Mat.

It is, and very great reproch is done vnto him, especially, if that whereof we sweare be not true: for then he that doth that, accuseth God of lying and fals­hood, & therfore so much as in him lyeth, taketh from him his Godhead, and maketh him like the deuill, that is the father of lyes.Iohn. 8. 44.

Theoph.

But if we haue taken our oath to do some ill thing, as for exāple to kil, are we boūd to perform that?

Mat.

No not so: for in our Baptisme we vowed vnto God, that we would serue him, and obey his will. And that oath cutteth off all other contrary vnto it.

Sin therefore is cōmitted, in that an vnlawfull oath was takē vainly & rashly, & contrary to the will of God: howbeit the sin should be farre greater, if it were kept. But if we be not bound to do ill things, although we haue expresly promised them, much lesse if they be re­quired of vs vnder the colour of some general promise; For secretly they be excepted which are not lawful, no lesse thē those which cannot be done, or be impossible. And therfore Herod was not bound to cut off the head Mat. 14. 7 of Iohn Baptist, by his oath taken to Herodias.

Theoph.

The second part of the third com­mandement of sanctify­ing Gods name. We haue spoken sufficiently of the first part of this cōmandement; let vs come to the other. Now, that pertaineth to the sanctifying of Gods name. By what wayes therefore may the name of God be sancti­fied or hallowed of vs?

Mat.

By fiue, euen in a like nūber with those, where­by it is taken in vaine.

Theoph.

Declare seuerally euery of these wayes.

Mat.

The first is, that we sing his prayses, reade his word, and speake reuerently of him.

2 The other is, that in aduersitie he be praysed of vs, both in heart and mouth: as we reade Iob did in these words; Iob. 1. 2. Let the name of God be blessed.

[Page 124]

3 The third is, that so often as need shall require, we do make a most franke confession of his truth: and leade a life agreeable to that confession.

4 The fourth is, that we pray vnto him, and from our heart giue him thankes.

5 The fift, that when it shall be necessary, we sweare by his name.

Theoph.

How is the name of God sanctified, when we sweare by it?

Matth.

Because by an oath lawfully taken, he is ac­knowledged of vs for the true God: forasmuch as we confesse him to be the searcher of the hearts & secret thoughts, whē we cal him to be a witnesse of the things that be hidden from men.

Secondly, because we flie to him as a most earnest defender of truth, and therefore a most seuere reuen­ger of lyers, and such as forsweare themselues. And these indeed be the proper offices of God alone.

Finally, by an oath his name is sanctified, seeing that by it controuersies which hurt Christian charitie, be ended, as the Apostle speaketh.Heb. 6. 16.

Against A­nabaptistes, that wholy condemne swearing. From whence we may gather, how wonderfull the kindnesse of God is toward vs, who doth so farre abase himselfe, that he will be present at our controuersies, and make an end of them. Therefore there is no cause, why we should doubt, to sweare by his name, in the place of iudgement, or elsewhere, so as all the condi­tions be kept. For whosoeuer refuseth to sweare, refu­seth to giue glorie vnto God.

Theoph.

But Christ commandeth that we sweare not at all, neither by the heauen, nor by the earth; Mat. 5. 34. and that our communication be yea, yea, nay, nay: affirming fur­ther, that whatsoeuer is more, is of euill, which also is confirmed by Saint Iames.Iam. 5. 12.

Mat.

That indeede is true. But Christ in the same Chapter plainly saith; That he came not destroy the law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them. Therefore his purpose is not to cōdemne the right vse of an oath, ex­presly commanded of God in these wordes of Moses: [Page 125] Deut. 6. 13. Thou shalt feare the Lord thy God, and shalt serue him onely, and sweare by his name.

Theoph.

In what sence therefore, did Christ forbid swearing altogether?

Mat.

That he might bring againe this commande­ment to the true vnderstanding of it, which had beene much corrupted by the false gloses of the Scribes and Pharisies. For, they taught it was no sinne, when any swore in vaine by the creatures, as by heauen and earth, seeing that the name of God was not expres­sed. But Christ meaneth to shew, that although the name of God was suppressed, or not mentioned, yet secretly it was sufficiently expressed in such oathes: and that therefore therein sinne was committed a­gainst this commandement. Therefore his purpose is not to forbid the lawful vse of an oath, but the abuse: as when a man sweareth vainly, by what name, or in what manner soeuer it be done.

Theoph.

It followeth therefore, that it is lawfull to sweare by creatures, so as it be not vainly, forasmuch as the name of God is secretly vnderstood in them.

Matth.

Yea verily; yet with this condition, that those creatures be auoyded in swearing, which haue beene commonly abused to Idolatrie. Thus this learned man and some o­ther haue thought of this matter. For then the name of God is not vnderstood vnder them, but it is euen suppressed, that they may haue his roome, the honour being giuen vnto them, which belongeth to the Maiestie of God alone. But this do they, which sweare by the names of Saints departed. In which re­spect the Lord is bitterly angrie with them that sweare by other Gods, and taketh that kind of swearing, to be an argument of manifest falling away from him. Whereupon he complaineth of the Israelites in Iere­mie, in these words: Ierem. 5. 7. Thy children haue forsaken me, & sworne by those which are not Gods. And that indeed very iustly, for the breaking of the second & third com­mandement, is a signe of breaking the first.

Theoph.

How so?

Mat.

Euen as he worshippeth God with spirituall [Page 126] worship, and sweareth by his name so oft as the Lord shall require, which spiritually hath conceiued & com­prehended him in his mind: so whosoeuer hath imagi­ned to himselfe a false God, or many Gods, doth forth­with declare it by worshipping of Idols, whose names he hath in his mouth, when he sweareth. It is therefore truly sayd, that Idols be first in the heart, before they be brought forth either with the hand or mouth.

Theoph.

Let vs come to the third part of this com­mandement, which is the threatning against such as breake it.

Mat.

The third part of the third com­mandemēt. It is conteined in these words; The Lord will not hold him guiltlesse which taketh his name in vaine. Whereby it appeareth, that the transgression of this commandement is accounted a most hainous sin before God, notwithstanding it be thought light of men, and that therefore he will with grieuous punish­ment, be auenged vpon such as be guiltie of it.

Theoph.

Is there any thing that doth so much aggra­uate this sinne?

Matth.

Yea verily. For there is no commandement, in the breaking whereof there is seene such insolent contempt of God.

Theoph.

Why so?

Matth.

Because we are brought to breake the other commandements, either vpon a false opinion of wor­shipping God, as when we giue ouer our selues to Ido­latrie and superstition; or for our owne estimation, when we yeeld our selues to reuenge: or for our plea­sure, when we commit fornication; or for our profit, when we steale; or for some feare, as when we tell a lye: but for the breaking of this commandement, we can pretend neither the worshipping of God, nor our pro­fit, nor our pleasure, neither any feare. Therefore the transgression of this commandement, but especially blasphemy, hath no other beginning, but a most mani­fest contempt of Gods maiestie.

Theoph.

Some are wont to excuse the matter by cu­stome, to cleare themselues of the sinne of the con­tempt [Page 127] of God.

Math.

But I would demaund, whence that custome sprong: Did it not come from the very impiety & mad contempt of God, wherewith our mindes were wholly taken vp and possessed before? For it is certaine, when at the first the mind of man is lightened with the least sun-beame of the feare of God, that that bad custome is presently changed, howsoeuer it might goe about to defend it selfe, by prescription of verie long time.

The fourth commandement.
Remember the Sabbaoth day, to keepe it holy; six dayes shalt thou labour, and do all thy worke, but the seauenth day shall bee the Sabbaoth of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt do no manner of worke, thou. nor thy sonne, nor thy daughter, thy man seruant, nor thy maide seruant, nor thy cattell, nor the stranger that is within thy gates, for in six dayes the Lord made the heauen and the earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seauenth day, wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbaoth day and hallowed it.
Theoph.

The fourth commaundement of this first table is yet behinde: to the exposition whereof, that wee may make an easier way, let vs see of how manie parts it standeth?

Matth.

Of foure.

1 The first containeth the summe of the whole commandement, in these words; Remember the Sab­baoth daie, to keepe it holy.

2 The second sheweth, which that Sabbaoth day is, when he saith; Sixe dayes shalt thou labour, and do all thy worke: but vpon the seauenth day, shall be the Sabbaoth to the Lord thy God.

3 The third teacheth, how that day is to be kept holy. Thou shalt do no worke, neither thou, nor thy sonne, nor thy daughter, nor thy man seruant, nor thy maide seruant, nor thy cattell, nor the stranger that is within thy gates.

4 The fourth rendreth a reason, why hee appoin­ted [Page 128] the seauenth day, rather then any other day, vn­to this rest. For in sixe dayes, God made heauen, the earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seauenth day, therefore hee blessed the Sabbaoth day and hallowed it.

Theoph.

These foure parts are to be followed of vs in order. Declare therefore the meaning of the first.

Matth.

When the Lord saith; Remember the Sab­baoth daie, he teacheth vs, that this commandement is of verie great waight. Which to be most true, appea­reth euen by this, that the keeping of the rest of the commandements, dependeth vppon the keeping of this. In respect whereof, the Lord euerie where by his Prophets, obiecteth to the Israelites the transgression of this commandement, when hee meaneth to signifie the breach of the whole Law. He addeth after: that thou sanctifie or hallow it; that is, cease and abstaine from bodily workes, that thou maiest apply thy selfe earnestly to spirituall and heauenly.

Theoph.

Which callest thou heauenly and spiritu­all workes?

Mat.

Why the Lord vnder the Law, commanded the sabaoth. That we may vnderstand that point, we must know, that the Sabbaoth was commanded of God for two causes, the first whereof was ceremoniall. That ceremonie also is considered in two respects. For, by that bodily rest, the Lord meant to warne the people of Israell, to abstaine and rest from their owne workes being carnall and defiled, that they might suffer the holy Ghost to worke in them. This doth he himselfe witnesse in these wordes; See that you keepe my Sab­baoth, because it is a signe betweene mee and you in your generations, that you may know, that it is I the Lord, which sanctifie you. Out of which wordes it is plaine, that that ceremonie, was a type or shadowe of our regeneration.

Secondly, that ceremony serued, to signifie the e­uerlasting rest of the kingdome of heauen, which was as it were a part of the former. For that cause the Lord calleth the land of Canaan, rest, because it [Page 129] was a signe or token of eternall life, according to the interpretation of the Apostle to the Hebrewes.

The other end of the bodily rest, is this, that we may wayte vpon the ministerie of the Church: for that is e­stablished by God in this commandement. Moreouer, that we may meditate vpon his workes, and dilgently applie our selues, to the loue of our neighbour, and the instructiō of our houshold & familie. These are the two endes of this bodily rest, the first whereof together with the rest of the ceremonies, is taken away by the comming of Christ, which is the trueth of it. But the other is perpetuall and to continue for euer. There­fore that rest belongeth vnto vs, and is euery weeke to be kept one day.

Theoph.

Let vs come to the other part.

Mat.

After that the Lord had commanded one day for rest, now he sheweth which day he will haue kept, and that is the seuenth, namely the last of the weeke. He doth also teach, howe wee should spend the rest of the weeke, namely in working, that is, in doing our earthly businesses, to the ende we may be the fitter for the rest of the seuenth day, and to the performance of such things, as he him selfe hath commanded.

Theoph.

Which was the seuenth day?

Mat.

That which we do yet call Saterday. For, the Lords day properly, is the first day of the weeke, ac­cording to the distinction made by God himselfe. But that seuenth day the Apostles changed, to teach that the ceremonie was done away, and the rest they put off to the Lords day, vpon the which, Christ by his re­surrection had put an end vnto that ceremonie.

Theoph.

How did Christ by his resurrection, put an end vnto that ceremonie?

Math.

Because, by the vertue and power thereof, we are spiritually raysed vp, that we may serue God, & mortifie our concupiscences all the dayes of our life, so as for this purpose, we do not now stand in need of the obseruations of anie day.

Theoph.

Is not this to obserue dayes, which thou cō ­demnest [Page 130] as a superstitious thing, in the exposition of the former commandement?

Matth.

To obserue daies and times, is nothing else, but to thinke one daie or time holier then another, which agreeth not to the hallowing of the Lords day. For, we do not attribute vnto it greater holinesse then to another. But when the Apostles would take away the ceremony of the seauenth day, they appointed this, which came first in place to that vse. And as ano­ther day had beene as fit, so neither is this lesse fit or conuentient, then any other.

Theo.

Declare the third part of the cōmandement.

Mat.

It teacheth that no worke concerning this life is to be done, vnlesse it bee necessarie, vpon that day. But it is to bee marked, that such workes were then iudged to be faulty and sinfull among the Iewes, be­cause they were contrary to the ceremony which they were bound to keepe: But now that ceremonie being taken away, they are not forbidden as euill in them­selues, but because they hinder vs and call vs away frō holy studies and meditations.

Theoph.

But why is there mention of the rest of men seruants, and of maide seruants, of cattell, and of strangers?

Matth.

Concerning men seruants, and maid ser­uants, God commanded this, as well that they might haue some ease from labour, as also that they might attend vppon the ministery of the Church, and so to care for, and looke to their own saluation, no lesse then their maisters. The rest of beasts God doth therefore mention, because they worke not but with the seruice and helpe of seruants. He speaketh also of strangers, because if they bee of the same profession with vs, they also are bound to keepe the law of God, if not, yet at least heed must bee taken that they be not an e­uill example to the rest.

Theoph.

The fourth part is remaining.

Mat.

The Lord setteth before vs his own example, the more earnestly to pricke vs forward to the keeping [Page 131] of that rest. Hee doth also call to our remembrances the creation of the world, that we might remember of whom wee haue our beginning, and the innumerable benefites that we enioy. The Sabbaoth day therefore should be vnto vs as it were an image of the creation of the world: and vppon that day ought we to medi­ditate and thinke vppon that creation, least we bee guilty of that fault, which God in former times by Moyses vpbraided the Iewes with; Thou hast forgot­ten that strong God which hath begotten thee, the God which made thee thou hast not remembred.

Hereuppon it is, that by name he reckeneth vp eue­ry of his workes by it selfe, for in sixe dayes the Lord made the heauen and the earth, the sea and all that is in them. But here is mention of the Lordes resting, not because hee hath cast off the care of his workes, fer he continually worketh to preserue his creatures, and to guide them by his prouidence. But this hee would teach vs, that hee hath ceased from making of the kindes of thinges. Finally the blessing and hallow­ing of the Sabbaoth day is after added, not because that day is in it selfe holier then others, but for that it is of God, appointed for this purpose, that wee should rest from our owne workes, and diligently giue our selues to holy workes.

Theoph.

The Sabbaoth day therefore is sanctified of God, in that hee did appoint it to holy and religious workes: It is also sanctified of vs, when wee giue our selues carefully to performe those workes.

Matth.

It is true.

Theoph.

But are not the rest of the daies so hallowed of God, namely that they bee appointed to holy and religious workes?

Matth.

Altogether, so farre forth indeede as may be for our businesses. But vpon the Sabbaoth, all other things are to be set aside, that we may with earnestnes apply our selues to those workes. And verily men bee without all excuse, except they do this. For whereas the Lord hath deuided the weeke into seauen daies, he [Page 132] giueth one only to himselfe, but the other sixe he hath left vnto vs, to looke to our owne matters.

The second Table of the Law.
Theoph.

The foure commandements of the first ta­ble being expounded, order requireth that wee come to the sixe last. But before wee go to the exposition of each by it selfe, I desire that thou propound a generall declaration of them, and that briefe, which may shewe how they agree together, as thou diddest when thou handledst the first table.

Mat.

As in the first table the Lord doth teach true religion, that is, the way whereby he may be truly wor­shipped The summe of the last table. of vs. So in the last he prescribeth a holy polli­cy or gouernment vnto men, that they may keep peace among them selues, and serue God with vnited minds. But for the vpholding of that pollicie, it is necessarie that some be superiors, and other some inferiors, and that the superiors be armed with some authority, wher­with they may keepe the subiects within the bounds of their dutie, and prouide that the mightier do no wrong to men of meane qualitie. Nowe all these things doth the Lord ordaine in the fift commandement. For by li­tle and litle he doth in continuance of time bring vs to all lawful subiection, beginning with that which is most easie to be borne. Hauing setled and appointed Magi­strates, he doth presently ioyne laws, by the which they ought to gouerne their subiectes peaceably, and keepe them in equitie and iustice: From whence also euerie one should seeke the rule of loue, that they may liue with their neighbours according to the will of God.

And first, because nothing is more necessarie for the safegard of humane societie, thē that the life of man be preserued, in the sixt commandement the Lord forbid­deth murther, and also commandeth that euerie one preserue the life of his neighbours, no otherwise then their own. When he hath taken order for the safegard of mens liues, because men are mortall, in the seuenth commandement, forbidding whoredome, he enioineth [Page 133] mariage to all men that haue not the gift of continen­cie, to the end mankind may be preserued and increa­sed. And because a familie or houshold followeth ma­riage, to the sustaining whereof riches are required, in the eight commandement he appointeth to euerie one proprietie of goods, while he forbiddeth theft where­with quiet possession is disturbed and troubled. And doth also command, that we labour to get riches, both for our owne vse, and by vs to be giuen to the poore. Af­terward because it cannot be (such is the desire & co­uetousnesse of men) that goods can be enioyed of vs, but that oftentimes there arise strifes & controuersies, which the Magistrates cannot appease, except they do plainly know the truth of the matter, in the ninth com­maundement the Lord forbiddeth false witnesse bea­ring, which is no small hinderance to the ending of cō ­trouersies, & doth command that we speake the truth, both before the Magistrate, and elsewhere in all kinde of matters. Finally, because the Law-giuer is spirituall, he would teach vs that his law also is spirituall: that is, that not onely outward obedience is required by it, as the lawes made by men do, but euen the inward affe­ction of the heart. Therfore vnder the name of concu­piscence, which he forbiddeth in the last commaunde­ment, he requireth also this, that we obey him with all our heart, so as there be not anie thing in vs, be it neuer so litle, that is contrarie to his will.

The fift commandement of the Law.
Honor thy father & thy mother, that thy dayes may belōg in the lād, which the Lord thy God giueth thee.
Theop.

Let vs go to the particular exposition of each commandement of the last Table. And let vs begin at the fift, which is the first. These be the words of it; Ho­nor thy father and thy mother, &c. Of how many parts standeth it?

Math.

Of two, the first is a precept, namely that we honor father and mother: the other is a promise made to the keepers of this commaundement, which is that [Page 134] they shall liue long, wherein secretly is contayned a threatning against such as breake it.

Theoph.

That we may clearly vnderstand the former part, two questions are to be determined of vs. First, whom God comprehēdeth vnder the name of parents. Who be cō ­prehended vnder the name of pa­rents. And secondly what is to be vnderstood by the name of Honor. Answer therefore to the first question.

Matth.

Vnder the name of parentes they all be com­prehended, who by any means in respect of their office are bound to do the dutie of parents toward vs, name­ly they that ought to haue care for our instruction, health, life, preseruation of our goods, credit and peace. For in these things is contained the dutie of parentes toward their children. Therfore vnder the name of pa­rents, are to be vnderstood, first:

1 Gardiās & tutors, that be to vs in stead of parents.

2 Magistrates, who also bee called fathers of the countrey.

3 Ministers of the Church, and Schoole-maisters, which be our spirituall parents.

4 Husbands toward their wiues.

5 Maisters toward their seruants.

Theoph.

What is the cause, that God hath compre­hended all these aboue mentioned vnder the name of parents?

Mat.

Because such is the naughtinesse and pride of mans nature (for it is puft vp with the desire of high­nesse and excellencie) that it hardly suffereth it selfe to be subiect vnto anie. For this cause that superioritie is spoken of for an example, that is by nature most amia­ble and least enuied, because it might more easily softē our minds, and bow them to the custome of subiection.

Theoph.

What the word Honor signifieth. Let vs come to the other question. What containeth the honour which we are commaunded to giue to our parents?

Matth.

It standeth vpon three parts, First:

1 Vpon outward saluation proceeding from the inward reuerence which we ought to yeeld vnto them; which shall be done, if we acknowledge them to be the [Page 135] ministers of God for our good.

2 The second is, the obedience that wee performe to their commandements, so as they be not contrarie to the will of God: for then by the rule of Peter, Act. 5. 29. wee ought to obey God rather then men.

3 The third is, that when they be poore, wee do helpe them with our goods. It is in the meane time to be obserued, that God doth not onely prescribe a rule to inferiors, whereby they may giue due honor to their superiours, but doth also teach superiours their dutie which they ought to do to their inferiours.

Theop.

What if the superiours faile in their dutie, are not the inferiours discharged from the honor due to them?

Matth.

No not so: for our sinnes are not excused by the sinnes of others. Moreouer the obedience we giue them is directly referred vnto God, of whom it is com­manded, and not properly to them selues.

Theoph.

We haue stayed long enough vpon the for­mer part of this commandement, let vs therfore come to the other: It is the promise, the wordes whereof be these; That thou mayest liue long in the land which the Lord thy God giueth thee. To the expositiō wher­of there be fiue things, whereof I will aske thee.

1 First, why the Lord ioyned a promise to this com­mandement, rather then to the rest of the comman­dements of this later table?

2 Why he promiseth long life, rather then anie thing else?

3 What good we haue by long life, that is subiect to so manie troubles?

4 What that land is, whereof mention is made in this place?

5 How this promise is fulfilled, forasmuch as it is certaine, that sometimes obedient children be taken away by vntimely death, and the stubburne and diso­bedient liue long? Now therefore answer to the first. What is the cause that the Lord ioyned a promise to this commandement?

Matt.

He teacheth superiors by his owne example, how they ought to behaue them selues toward their in­feriours, namely to allure them to obedience rather by gentlenesse & promises, thē by seueritie & punishmēts.

Theoph.

Go forward, and in like sort answer to the second. Why is long life promised by God, rather then anie thing else?

Matth.

The promise is very fitly applied to the com­mandement it selfe: for, it teacheth modest and obedi­ent children, while they honor the instruments of this life graunted to them, namely their parents, that they shall long enioy it. But on the contrarie side, it threat­neth death to the disobedient, because they be altoge­ther vnworthie to haue the vse of that benefite, the in­struments whereof they honor not.

Theoph.

The third point followeth. What profite haue we by a long life, seeing it is subiect to so many af­flictions?

Math.

I grant indeed that this corporall life, if it be separated from the fauour of God, is most miserable & vnhappie: but it is a blessing to the faithfull. For, con­tinuing in it, we serue to his glorie, and sometimes he granteth vs this, that with great peace and quietnesse, we enioy sundrie temporall benefites. Moreouer this promise is applyed to the common opinion of men. For they account long life for a great blessing.

Theoph.

Let vs come to the fourth point. What is that land, whereof the Lord maketh mention in this place?

Matth.

In respect of the Israelites, it is to be vnder­stood of the land of Canaan, which they had receiued of the Lord to possesse it; but in respect of vs, it is exten­ded further. For wheresoeuer we be in the world, wee haue right of dwelling there, from the Lord whose the earth is.

Theoph.

The last point is behind. How this promise is fulfilled, seeing it is certaine that in many places o­bedient and sober children dye being young, and the disobedient liue long?

Matth.

It is taught by the exāples of Absolom, Core, [Page 137] Dathan, Abiron, & of the sonnes of Helie. Experience also confirmeth the thing, of stubburne & disobedient children; for they be for the most part seene, either in prisons or vpon the gallowes. Contrariwise the well ad­uised and obedient, for the most part haue long life, with great quietnesse and peace. But if at any time it fall out to be otherwise, we must remember that all the promises of God concerning earthly things be with condition, namely, so farre forth as he shall know them to be expedient, both for his owne glorie, and for our saluation. When therefore God doth betimes call his out of this life vnto himselfe, he prouideth farre better for them, then if he gaue them long life. For he taketh them from the miseries of this world, and putteth them into the possession of eternall life. On the other side, sometimes he giueth the wicked long life, but so weake and full of miserie, that it is more grieuous then death it selfe. For this cause Moses repeating the law of God, Deut. 6. 2. declareth that promise in these wordes: That it may be well with thee vpon the land which, &c. But, if it fall out otherwise, it was for the cause which was at large set forth by vs, when we intreated of afflictions For, in that place we taught wherefore the Lord will haue the wicked somtimes to liue long & happily in this world, and the godly to suffer all kind of afflictions. Yet not­withstanding, that saying of Salomon abideth true: Al­though Eccles. 8. 12 the sinner commit euill an hundred times, and God prolongeth his dayes, yet I know that it shall be well with them that feare the Lord.

The sixt Commandement.
Thou shalt not kill.
Theoph.

Hauing finished the treatise of the fift com­mandement, we are now to come to the sixt. How ma­ny parts be there of it?

Mat.

Two.

1 First, the forbidding of murther.

2 The commanding of keeping peace and friend­ship with our neighbours.

Theoph.

How large is the word, killing?

Mat.

The exposi­tion of the first part. It containeth all the degrees and steps by the which we come to it: yea indeed all those things, by the which we are procured & stirred to commit murther, according to the third rule.

Theoph.

Rehearse those steps or degrees.

Mat.

They be three. The first whereof is hatred con­ceiued in the heart, forasmuch as it is in plaine words forbidden in Moses; Thou shalt not hate thy brother in Leu. 19. 17. thy heart.

Theoph.

What if our enemie be a wicked man, is it not lawfull to hate him?

Matth.

We may indeed hate his sinnes, but not his person. But we must diligently beware of two extremi­ties wherein we do sinne on either side.

The first is, that we hate not the person of the sinner.

The other, that we loue not the sinne for the persons sake.

Theoph.

Let vs come to the second degree, by the which we come to murther.

Matth.

It is anger: for it is a declaration of the ha­tred lying hid in the heart.

Theoph.

Thinkest thou it to be altogether vnlawfull to be angry with any?

Mat.

I do not thinke so: for, anger is a naturall affe­ction, wherein if moderation be kept, it deserueth as much prayse, as the two extremities deserue disprayse.

Theoph.

What is that moderation?

Matth.

When, with zeale for the glory of God, or with iust sorrow we be angry, because iniurie is done vnto vs without our desert, & that keeping a meane, & with this caution, that we neither speake nor do any thing, that is against the honour of God, Christian mo­destie, and the loue of our neighbour. In which sence Paule commandeth; Ephes. 4. 26. Be angry, and sinne not.

Theoph.

Let vs consider of the two extremities of anger: and first let vs speake of that, which sinneth in exceeding.

Mat.

We doe then fall into it, when we be angry [Page 139] rashly, that is, without a lawfull cause: or else when be­ing moued for a iust cause, we do passe the bounds of moderation, speaking or doing the things that be a­gainst the honour of God, neighbourly charitie, and Christian modestie. But that falleth out, when we be so taken vp with that affection, that the iudgemēt is trou­bled, and reason it selfe is darkened, for then for a time, we are like vnto mad mē, that know not what they do. For this cause Iames saith; Iam. 1. 20. The wrath of man perfor­meth not the righteousnesse of God.

Theoph.

Let vs come to the other extremitie. How do we sinne in the defect or want of anger?

Matth.

When, perceiuing that God is offended, or our credit hurt without cause, we are notwithstanding not moued, as our dutie requireth: which would haue vs not to suffer euils, but that according to our callings we should set our selues against them. Hence it was, that Moses was so angry in the wildernesse with the Israelites, whom he saw worshipping the golden Calfe with the Idolatrous worships, Iohn Baptist with the Scribes and Pharisies and Iacob with his father in law Laban. Moses indeede being moued with most iust anger, drew out the sword, because he was a Magi­strate. Iohn vsed most sharpe and vehement repre­hensions, because he was a minister of Gods word, and had to do with hypocrites, and men hardened in their sinnes. Iacob dealeth with moderate and gentle admo­nitions, because he was a priuate person, and his owne matter was in question.

Theoph.

The third step by the which men come to murther is behind.

Matth.

It is, euery hurt offered to the person of our neighbour, whereupō also, sometimes ensueth murther it selfe, which fault is indeed most grieuous in the sight of God, as appeareth by that which the Lord saith, that he abhorreth the man-slayer, and by the penaltie appointed by himselfe vnto men-killers. For, he ordai­ned, that not onely men, but also the very brute beasts that had slaine man, should be put to death. For which [Page 140] cause he forbad his people the eating of bloud: Leuit. 7. 26. for, by that ceremonie he would shew how much he abhorred the shedding of bloud, and therefore murther.

Theoph.

Is there any speciall cause, which maketh murther to be esteemed so hainous a sin before God?

Matth.

There is: and he doth declare it himselfe in the ninth Chapter of Genesis. For, after these wordes; Who so sheddeth mans bloud, by mans his bloud shall be shed: presently he addeth, because in the image of God made he man. By which words he teacheth, that his owne image which he hath engrauen in man, is wronged and misused by man-slaughter.

Theoph.

But whether was that image or likenesse of God blotted out in man by originall sinne, as it hath beene sayd by thee in the second Chapter of the for­mer booke?

Mat.

It was indeede, but not so farre, that there be no steps of it at all remaining: for, the spirituall gifts (as one of the auncients saith) giuen of God to men for their saluation, were by original sinne taken away, such as be the true knowledge of his Maiestie, and of the worship due vnto him: But the naturall gifts, that is, such as concerne this life, were onely corrupted, as vn­derstanding & reason, so farre forth as they respect hu­mane things, but they were not altogether takē away, as experience it selfe doth sufficiently witnesse.

Theoph.

Let vs come to the other part of this com­mandement, & together let vs consider of the vertues, which are commanded in it.

Mat.

The meaning therof is this, that we be meeke, louing peace and concord, gentle, peace-makers, and desirous of reconciliation. Briefly, in this commande­ment, God requireth foure things of vs, the first two whereof do shew what is to be auoided, and the later two, what is to be done of vs, to the fulfilling of it.

Theoph.

Rehearse the first two.

Matth.

That we hate no man, much more that we hurt not either by words, or deede. Secondly, that if we be offended, we follow the counsell of Paule, Rom. 12. 19 that [Page 141] we auenge not our selues, but suffer the iniurie patient­ly, leauing vengeance vnto God, that claimeth it to himselfe. Vengeance is mine, I will repay it. For this Psal. 94. 1. cause also in another place he is called the God of vē ­geance, or God the auenger.

Theoph.

But while we beare iniuries patiently, do we not giue our enemies occasion to be more cruell and fierce vpō vs, according to our manner of speach: that wolues be more fierce vpon such as follow sheepe?

Mat.

It is indeed certaine, that our enemies some­times waxe the prouder, and more insolent, because of our meekenesse: but this is nothing to the matter. For we ought to be ready rather to beare diuers iniuries, then to reuēge that which we haue receiued, and that by the commandement of Christ; Mat. 5. 39. Resist not euill: but who so shall strike thee on thy right cheeke, turne to him the other also. And this is the true sence of that place. For the Lord would not haue vs, when we haue receiued one iniurie, to pull another vpon our selues, as the words at the first sight seeme to require. For it were a sinne, not to take heed of an iniurie fore­seene, especially, when oportunitie is offered vs. For, Christ himselfe, and after him Paule, when they were striken vpon the one cheeke, did not turne the other: but did greatly find fault and complaine of the iniury done vnto them. But concerning that prouerbe, that the wolues be fierce vpon such as follow sheepe, it is a verie deuise of the deuill, and therefore most false: For, whosoeuer in that behalfe doth imitate sheepe, is safe from the assaults of all wolues, being pro­tected by the crooke or staffe of that chiefe shepheard of our soules. But on the cōtrary side, whosoeuer reuē ­ging his iniuries, followeth wolues, he goeth out of the fold of Christ (in which they at the last be admitted, that be indeed sheepe) and offereth himselfe as a pray vnto Sathan, of whom Peter saith, 1. Pet. 5. 8. Why God claimes ven­geance to himselfe. He goeth about like a roaring Lion, seeking whom to deuour.

Theoph.

Why doth the Lord challenge to himselfe the office of reuenging, and so earnestly forbiddeth [Page 142] vs, that we reuenge not?

Matth.

It seemeth to be for three causes; the first, because he himselfe is specially offended with the iniu­rie done vnto vs.

Theoph.

Why so?

Mat.

Because, being our chiefe Lord, he ought much more to be reuerenced of vs, then man which is his creature. As often therefore as we despise and breake his commandements, doing iniurie vnto any, is not the offence especially done against God?

Theoph.

Declare another cause.

Matth.

Because he doth a great deale better know the greatnesse of the iniurie, then doth he that is iniu­red: for he pierceth into the hidden and most secret thoughts of men.

Theoph.

Declare the last cause.

Matth.

Because he hath the chiefe power to re­uenge iniuries, as he shall know to be right and expe­pedient, which we cannot doe. For he sometimes, increaseth the iniurie, which thought to haue reuen­ged it. But although we had that power in our selues, the affections that rule vs, would carrie vs beyond the bounds of moderation. For these causes hath the Lord challenged vengeance to himselfe, and promi­sed that he will indeede repay it, and so he hath freed vs from that labour, and those discommodities, which might hurt vs in reuenging. But that he might take from vs all excuse, he hath appointed the Magistrate, which in his name should execute vengeance, and hath for this purpose armed him with strength and au­thoritie, that with a stayed mind he should consider the greatnesse of the offence, to punish it without any troublous passion, and represse the boldnesse of those which haue hurt vs.

Theo.

It is therfore lawfull to flie to the Magistrate, & to pursue the punishment of them that haue hurt vs?

Mat.

It is lawfull, for we seeme after a sort to flie to God himselfe, whē we craue the helpe of his ministers, so as it be done without any affection of reuenge, ha­uing [Page 143] this onely in our mindes, to helpe forward com­mon peace, while we call those to punishmēt, of whom it was disturbed and broken.

Theophilus.

What if the Magistrate refuse to helpe, or if we cannot go to him, what thinkest thou then to be done?

Matth.

The whole matter must be committed to God, which one day will take vengeance, both vpon him that hath done vs the wrong, and also vpon the Magistrate, which in this behalfe hath failed in his du­tie. And indeede this is the best way: for, if we our selues will reuenge when we be able, we shall do farre more hurt to our selues, then to our aduersarie. For, we shall hurt but the goods or the bodie of our ene­mies: but we so hurt our conscience, that we bring our owne soule into extreame hazard of vtter peri­shing. I omit the discommodities that are wont to arise of it, while the Magistrate demandeth an account of the fact. Therefore the best is to beare iniuries pa­riently, for by that meanes we doe not onely turne a­way from our selues many inconueniences, and innu­merable troubles and dangers, but also the Lord, to whom our moderation and obedience is seene, giueth vs his fauour and all kind of blessings. And yet the re­uenge that is deferred, is not taken away: for the Lord wil repay it farre more grieuously, then if we our selues had assayed to do it.

Theoph.

It is therefore monster-like, that we be so de­sirous of reuenge, & that there be so few, which in this behalfe suffer themselues to obey God.

Matth.

It is indeede: and thereby it appeareth, that we be the children of Adam, and heires of sinne, while we doubt not to make our selues equall with God.

Theoph.

Wherefore?

Matth.

Because the Lord challengeth reuenge to himselfe alone. But there is nothing that man desi­reth so feruently, forasmuch as many times he offe­reth his owne life vnto all dangers, that in this point [Page 144] he may haue his desire. Therfore, they onely that haue put off the olde Adam, and put on the new, be able to ouercome these euill affections, & to leaue vengeance vnto God.

Theoph.

Let vs come to those two last things, which the Lord requireth of vs, to the fulfilling of this com­mandement. Declare the first.

Mat.

That we should go to him, with whom we be at variance, to be reconciled according to the comman­dement of Christ; If thou bring thy gift vnto the altar, Mat. 5. 23. and there remembrest that thy brother hath ought a­gainst thee, leaue thy gift there before the altar, & go thy wayes, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Now he teacheth by that cere­monie of the Law, which was then in vse, that all the worship which we offer vnto God, is displeasing vnto him, so long as we be at vaniance with our neighbours.

Moreouer, Paule warneth, that this reconciliation is soone to be made, and not to be put off from daie to day, For he saith; Ephes. 4. 26 Let not the Sunne go downe vppon your wrath. Which indeede is the most fit remendy to breake off hatred, and to bridle reuenge. For, euen as diseases and sores at the first easie to be cured, by de­laie are made incurable, and that more is, deadly: so hatred will grow past cure, if thou represse it not spee­dily. For this cause Paul after these words, let not the Sun go down vpon your wrath, by and by addeth, nei­ther giue place to the Diuell.

Theoph.

Wherefore doth he adde these wordes?

Math.

Because hatred if it bee neuer so little a time hidden in our mindes, maketh an entrance for the Deuill, who hauing entred vppon our hearts, doeth so wholly possesse them, that refusing reconciliation, hee stirreth vs vp to the desire of reuenge, till at length hee haue throwen vs headlong to destruction.

Seeing therefore hee is so hurtfull a guest, there is cause that betimes we shut the doores against him, by vnfained reconciliation.

Theoph.

The other point is remaining of the thing [Page 145] which wee are bound to doe for the fulfilling of this commandement.

Mat.

It is, that after we haue diligently done our duety, if our aduersarie doe obstinately refuse recon­ciliation, we leaue not to loue him, to pray vnto God for him, and in all things to pleasure him, according to the commaundement of Christ; Loue your enemies, Mat. 5. 44. blesse those that curse you, do good vnto them that hate you, and pray for them that hurt you and perse­cute you, that you may be the children of your father that is in Heauen. Hither also may be referred the ex­hortation of Paul; Rom. 12. 20 21. If thine enemy hunger, giue him meate if he thirst, giue him drinke: For, if thou doe this, thou shalt heape coales of fire vpon his head. Fi­nally, that also is to be marked, that Paul presently ad­deth; Be not ouercome of that which is euill, but o­uercome euill with goodnesse.

The seuenth commandement.
Thou shalt not commit adulterie.
Theoph.

Let vs come to the seuenth commandement of the Law. How manie parts be there of it?

Mat.

Two. In the first hee forbiddeth adulterie, in the last he commandeth chastity.

Theoph.

What doth the Lord vnderstād by the name of adulterie?

Mat.

The exposi­tion of the first part. Not onely the companie of man with woman out of mariage, but also all kinde of filthinesse, by the which man may be defiled. Moreouer, all the affec­tions of concupiscence and finally whatsoeuer stirreth vp vnto lust, and nourisheth it. Of which sort are:

Vnlawfull touchings.

Wanton apparelling of the body.

Filthie speach.

Vncleane songs.

Filthy reading.

Too familiar companie with those, of whom it is ve­rie like that they be tempted with lust.

Wanton lookes.

[Page 146]

Idlenesse, that is the mother of all vices, and name­ly of whooredome.

Dancings, which are most manifest stirrers and pro­uokers of lust.

Seeing therefore it is certaine, according to the say­ing; Eccle. 3. 27. He that loueth danger shall perish in it, that wee are by nature prone vnto lust: except wee diligently take heede of all these prouocations, it will verily come to passe, that at length we shall be driuen to the verie act it selfe: which sin notwithstanding is before God esteemed most hainous, especially in those, that pro­fesse the name of Christ.

Theoph.

Why so?

Matth.

Paule giueth a reason in these wordes; 1. Cor. 6. 15. Do you not knowe that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God for­bid. Know you not that hee which is coupled with an harlot, is one body with the harlot? For he saieth, they which were two shall be one flesh. But he which is ioy­ned to the Lord, is one Spirite. Flie fornication: euery sinne that a man doth is without the bodie: but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body.

But if the iniury be great that is done vnto Christ, verily that must not bee thought little that is done to our neighbour. For, there followeth vppon this, the staine of honest families. Moreouer maidens other­wise to haue beene well bestowed, are thus not seldom brought to an haynous offence, to their dishonour and punishment. But the iniury shall be greatest if adultery be committed that is, if either the man or the woman, or both of them be married. For so the faith of mari­age is shamed, and the band broken: the whole family is ouerthrowen, and sometimes bastards be suborned for lawfull children, vnto whom the inheritance com­meth. For this cause the Lord ordained in the Law, Leu. 20. 10. Deu. 22. 22. that the adulterer should die the death.

Theoph.

The exposi­tion of the second part. Let vs come to the other part of this com­mandement. Is there any other thing to be obserued [Page 147] in it, besides the chastitie which we ought to keepe?

Mat.

There is. Namely that God commandeth ma­riage to all those, that are not euen inwardly endued with the gift of continency. For as Paul saith, 1. Cor. 7. 9. It is bet­ter to marrie then to burne.

Theoph.

Seeing thou hast made mention of marriage, I will haue thee shew the causes, why it was ordayned.

Math.

They be three.

1 First procreation of children.

2 Mutuall helpe one to another.

3 The auoiding of fornication.

Theoph.

Which is the chiefest of these causes?

Mat.

The first, in respect of God, namely the increase of mankinde, but in respect of vs, the last, namely the auoiding of fornication.

Theoph.

Why saiest thou, that this is the chiefe in respect of vs?

Mat.

Because it layeth vpon vs a necessity of mary­ing, which the other two do not. For this cause, Paul saieth; For the auoiding of fornication, let euery man haue his own wife, and let euery woman haue her own husband. Howbeit he speaketh to those that haue not the gift of continency, whom he expresly commandeth in those wordes to marrie. Notwithstanding heed must be taken, that wee defile not so holy an ordinance, by dissolute wantonnesse. Of the which thing we be war­ned by the Apostle, when he saith; Mariage is honou­rable amongst all, and the bed vndefiled.

Theoph.

What noteth he in this testimony?

Matth.

Wee are by it admonished, that although the Lord hath ordayned marriage to bee a remedy a­gainst our infirmitie, it may not therefore bee abused to vnbridled pleasures, for as much as the chastity of marriage forbiddeth it. For, if the honestie of marriage doe hide the filthinesse of incontinency, it must not therefore be continually a stirring vp or prouoking of it. Wherefore, such as bee married may not thinke all things lawfull for them according to the lust of the flesh, but let them carrie them selues modestlic one to [Page 148] another in the feare of the Lord, so dealing that they doe not any thing at all vnbeseeming the honestie and temperance of mariage. Wherefore also Paul warneth vs saying; Let euery of you know, to possesse his vessell 1. Thes. 4. 4 with holinesse and honor, not in the lust of concupis­cence as the Gentiles which know not God.

The eight commandement.
Thou shalt not steale.
Theoph.

How manie parts be there of this eight com­mandement?

Matth.

Two. The first, the forbidding of theft, the other a commandement contrarie to the prohibition, namely that wee labour to defend and helpe forward the profites and commodities of our neighbour euen as our owne, and to helpe the necessity of others.

Theoph.

What doeth the Lord comprehend vnder the name of theft?

Math.

All euill trades and deceipts, by the which wee hunt after other mens goodes, and seeke to get them to our selues: which is vsually done fiue waies, First:

1 By sacriledge, when a man taketh to himselfe the goods dedicated to God.

2 Secondly, by robbery, when any getteth to himself anie thing of another mans by open or secret force.

3 Thirdly, by fraud or legerdemaine, when any selleth counterfaite wares for good: or by pratling ex­acteth a greater prise, or else deceiueth by a false mea­sure or waight.

4 Fourthly, by vsurie, when any for lending mo­ney requireth gaines more then the Lawes allow, which indeede hurteth both lender and borrower, the former in his goods, the other in his soule.

Theoph.

Thou doest not therefore condemne that gaine, which is taken according to order of Law.

Matt.

I condemne it not.

Theoph.

Luk. 6. 35. But how agreeth it with the saying of Christ, lend looking for nothing againe.

Mat.

It is to be vnderstood of the poore, to whom if we be commanded to giue, much more to lend looking for nothing. But, when we lend to the rich, which be a­ble to restore and that with increase, who also for the most part are wont to borrow to make gaine by it, I see not what letteth but that we may follow the law of the Magistrate, so as it be not against the rule of charitie. For, he that borroweth maketh more gaine of it if he be thriftie, then doth he that lendeth it.

Theoph.

There must therefore respect be had of him that borroweth; it must also be enquired, why he doth it, and whether he be thriftie, or a riotous spender.

Mat.

I thinke so: For if it be like that he will wastful­ly spend that he borroweth, it ought not to be lent.

Theoph.

Let vs come to the fift meane, by the which a man may vniustly conuay to him selfe another mans goods.

Mat.

It consisteth in a more hidden kinde of decei­uing, namely, when anie vnder colour of law stealeth other mens goods: which they doe that peruert the law. But vnder these kindes be comprehended, the fa­uourers of theft, the receiuers, & all they which by any meanes giue their consent vnto theft.

Theoph.

Is nothing else contayned vnder this prohi­bition?

Mat.

Yes verily, namely whatsoeuer may be a pro­uocation to theft.

Theoph.

Rehearse them all.

Mat.

First of all, couetousnesse, that is, desire of ri­ches, which the Apostle affirmeth to be the roote of all 1. Tim. 6. euils, because there is no wickednesse, be it neuer so hainous, whereunto men are not driuen and brought by that wicked desire.

Secondly prodigalitie, because when a man hath wastfully spent his own goods, he is stirred and moued to get the goods of other men by vnlawfull meanes.

Last of all, idlenesse, for by it men be brought to po­uertie by meanes whereof they fall to theft. For this cause Paul warneth, Let him that stole, steale no more: [Page 150] but let him rather labor with his hands the thing that Ephes. 4. 28. is good, that he may giue to him that needeth.

Theoph.

Now wee are to come to the other part of this commandement: What is contained in it?

Mat.

First, that to our power we preserue the goods of our neighbor, which in the Scripture is called iudg­ment, where in many places it admonisheth vs to doe iustice and iudgement. For by the name of iustice hee vnderstandeth this, that wee giue vnto euerie one his right: and by iudgement, that we giue no consent to any iniurie done to our neighbour, but that wee put it away so farre forth as in vs lieth.

Secondly, we be cōmanded to deale with our neigh­bours according to charitie, seeing God hath giuen vs goods, to be stewards of them, to vse them ourselues, so farre foorth as necessity requireth, and to helpe the poore and needie. But whosoeuer keepeth not this rule, he conueigheth to himselfe other mens goods.

Theoph.

Doest thou thinke therfore, that they which helpe not the poore and needie, be before God accōp­ted guiltie of the sinne of theft?

Matth.

Yea verily. And indeeed of a farre greater theft, then if a Bayliffe of husbandrie, should refuse to pay his Lord the fruites of his farme. For, whatsoeuer goods we haue be the Lords, and he hath giuen them vnto vs vpon this cōdition, that we should pay a year­ly rent, the gatherers and receiuers whereof hee hath appointed the poore. Whosoeuer therefore refuseth or draweth backe to helpe the poore, are guilty before God not only of theft, but also of sacriledge, and there­fore be altogether worthie, whom hee may depriue of all good things: seeing they do not according to their dutie acknowledge him, from whom they haue thē all.

Theoph.

There is therefore a verie great number of robbers of God.

Mat.

A verie great number indeed. For a man shall find verie few, which in this behalfe do their duty. But this ariseth vppon a false opinion, wherewith rich men deceiue them selues: namely, because they imagine [Page 151] that all the goods they haue, whether they came by inheritance, or were otherwise gotten, bee so their owne, that they be wholly and altogether left to their owne will. And therefore that they bee not bound to helpe such as neede, if they list not. Moreouer, coue­tousnesse is ioyned to this vain imagination, which so shutteth vp in them the bowels of mercy, that they become vtterly vnmercifull. And that for the most part falleth out with them, that are most wealthie. For, euen as couetousnesse most commonly springeth from plentie and abundance, so is it farre more fitly nourish­ed and strengthened by it, then by pouertie.

Theoph.

There want not some, which thinke, that these two wordes, mine and thine, breede all the stirres, wherwith the world in this part of it is troubled at this day: and doe affirme, that things should bee best or­dered, if there were such a communitie of goods, as they dreame was vsed among the Christians a litle af­ter the death of Christ.

Matth.

Whosoeuer goe about to defend that com­munitie, they thinke them selues to be wiser then God himself, which is the author of the proprietie of goods. This indeed is true, that the most part of men do abuse it, whereuppon do arise the innumerable confusions, which euerie man seeth in the world. But when we vse it as it is meete and according to the meaning of this commandement, it bringeth forth fruits most conue­nient for the furthering of Christian charitie, and the preseruation of humane societie.

Theoph.

Now describe me those that abuse the pro­prietie of goods against the meaning of this comman­dement.

Mat.

They be of three kinds. In the first place they are to be put, which say; Whatsoeuer is mine, is mine, but whatsoeuer is thine, is mine. That is, mine owne is not sufficient for me, but I do also gape for thine. And in this nūber are they all to be reckned, that by any ill meanes get the goods of other men to themselues.

In the second place we will set them that say; That [Page 152] that is mine, is mine, but that which is thine, is thine. That is, I will not conueigh thy goods to my selfe, nei­ther also will I giue thee anie part of mine. And this kinde of men refraine indeede from taking away, that which is anothers, but they cannot abide to pleasure or freely to do good vnto anie.

In the last ranke we will place them, which say; That that is mine is thine, and that which is thine is mine. That is, I am readie to giue thee part of that I haue, but with this conditiō, that thou also wilt pleasure me with that which thou hast.

The first of all these therefore be further off frō cha­ritie then the second, and the second further then the last, who it is manifest come somewhat toward it.

Theoph.

I see not wherein the last do offend.

Mat.

In that they giue no part of their goods, but to those, of whom they looke to receiue the like, and therefore obey not Christ giuing them good counsell; When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy Luc. 14. 12. friends, neither thy brethren, nor thy kinsfolkes, nor thy rich neighbours: lest they also bid thee againe, and thou be recompenced. But when thou makest a feast, call the poore, the maimed, the lame and the blind: & thou shalt be blessed, because they cannot recompence thee, for thou shalt be recompenced at the resurrection of the iust. And yet Christ doth not altogether forbid rich men to feast among them selues, or to pleasure one another, so as they haue regard of the poore as it is meete.

Theoph.

How then may those wordes mine and thine be lawfully vsed?

Matth.

The contrarie altogether must be sayd vnto that, that is sayd of those first: namely that which is mine is thine: but that which is thine is thine owne. That is, I am readie to make thee partaker of that I haue, although thou art not able to do the like for me.

Theoph.

But if they to whom we communicate our goods, haue such wealth that they be able to restore them vnto vs, is it not lawfull to require them againe?

Mat.

It is lawfull: so as at the first we shew that that is our meaning. For it is vnlawfull to demand that a­gaine which was giuen. Therefore altogether with that caution we must require our goods againe, which we may keepe for the poore, that by their owne labour are not able to helpe their necessitie. For they that be able by labour to sustaine their life, and in the meane time become poore by idlenesse and slouth, be altoge­ther vnworthy to be releeued. For the Apostle com­mandeth; 2 Thes. 3. 10. If any will not worke, let him not eate.

Th.

But how much are we boūd to giue to the poore?

Matth.

So much as their necessitie requireth. For Iohn Baptist goeth so farre, that he teacheth; He that Luc. 3. 11. hath two coates, let him giue to him that hath none. In the which sense, that communitie of good whereof thou spakest before is to be taken. Namely, that none Act. 4. 34. of the faithfull thought any thing he had to be his own, but did most liberally make all things common so farre forth as the necessitie of the Church required it. For they sold fields and houses, that they might helpe the poore. This is the true meaning of that place, but we must not imagine any confusion of goods, as if the faithfull had liued in common. For although I should not say, that they could not then do it, the words of Pe­ter to Ananias be against it; If so be thou hadst kept it, Act. 5. 4. did not thy field remaine to thy selfe? and after it was sold, was it not in thine owne power?

Theoph.

I confesse, that the communitie of goods is so to be taken. Howbeit since that time charitie hath bene verie cold in the Church: for now there bee none that sell fields or houses to giue to the poore.

Mat.

Yea rather they be most few, that distribute anything to the poore, of their yearely rents & super­fluities. Howbeit the cause that is wont to stay vs from liberalitie (namely the feare of pouertie, and desire to increase our wealth) ought especially to kindle vs vp vnto it, if we beleeued the promises of God, by the which we are admonished, that they shall neuer come to pouertie, that haue releeued the necessitie of the Pro. 19. 17. [Page 154] poore: but that such as haue turned their eyes from them shall be full of curses. Therefore, he that with his plentie helpeth the poore, lendeth money vnto God, who without doubt, will pay it again. Nay rather Christ addeth; who so shall giue a cup of cold water to any of Mat. 10. 42 these in the name of a disciple, shall not lose his re­ward So that of the things which we possesse, nothing may worthily be accounted our own, but that which we giue to the poore: for, all the rest is scarse safe, at least­wise by death, we shall be takē away frō the enioying of thē. Those that of charitie be bestowed vpō the poore, are by their hands sent vp into heauen, shall there be diligētly kept of God, and at the last day shall be resto­red, and that with increase, for so he hath promised.

Theoph.

God therefore yeeldeth much of his owne right, whē he promiseth to restore vs, and that with in­crease, the things that haue bin giuen vnto the poore, seeing we can giue nothing, but of his owne.

Mat.

Thou iudgest rightly: but this he doth to stirre vs vp to the loue and desire of charitie, whom he seeth to be very slacke and cold in it.

Theoph.

What letteth but that the Lord should giue riches vnto all, especially to the faithfull, whom he lo­ueth & hath care of, so as one of vs might well be with­out the helpe of another?

Matth.

The Lord will exercise the charitie of the rich, and the faith and patience of the poore. Now by that inequalitie of goods, he preserueth the societie of mankind, which indeed could not stād, if all men were alike in wealth and honour.

The ninth Commandement.
Thou shalt not beare false witnesse against thy neigh­bour.
Theoph.

Let vs go on to the ninth commandement, how many parts be there of it?

Mat.

Two, as of the former three, for false witnesse is forbidden, and true witnesse is commanded.

Theoph.

What doth God vnderstand by the name of [Page 155] false witnesse?

Matth.

The exposi­tion of the first part. All the things wherewith we may hurt our neighbour with the tongue. Howbeit, this kind it set down for an example, according to our 3. rule, because we do most of all hurt our neighbour by false witnesse.

Theoph.

I would haue thee recken vp all the seuerall kinds, that be contained vnder this commandement.

Mat.

We will therefore deuide them into two sorts. The one, of false witnesse that is borne in iudgement. The other, that is out of iudgement, concerning the things, that we haue to doe with, in dealing with men. Touching false witnesse in iudgement, because an oath commeth between, and the matter concerneth either the life or goods of our neighbour, that wickednesse cannot be committed, but three abhominations come forth at one time together; namely false witnesse, per­iurie, theft, or murther. For this cause God appointed Deut. 19. 19 the same punishment to the false witnesse, which he a­gainst whom he witnessed had deserued, if he had bene truly accused. Notwithstanding we must know, that there be two kinds of false testimonies in iudgement. The one altogether false, such as was that wherewith Naboth was accused, that he had blasphemed God & 1. King. 21. 13. the king. The other false onely in part, and it is called a cauill or craftie accusatiō, when something is either ta­ken from the truth, or put to it, or changed, as they did Mat. 26. 61 that testified against Christ, affirming that he said; I cā destroy the tēple of God, & build it againe in 3. dayes. When notwithstanding his words were these; Iohn. 2. 19. Destroy this temple, and in three dayes I will raise it vp againe.

Theoph.

Of false wit­nesse, out of iudgement. Now we are to come to those false testimo­nies, that are out of the place of iudgement.

Matth.

There be diuerse kinds of them, but we will bring them to three. And they be these;

1 Backbiting or slandering.

2 Flatterie.

3 Lying.

Theoph.

Backbiting. Let vs therefore in the first place, speake of backbiting; What is backbiting or slandering?

Matth.

When a man disprayseth, or mocketh his neighbour being absent, and so empaireth his name & credit. Which is a most grieuous offence, for a slande­rer hurteth three at once.

1 Himselfe.

2 The heate: rfor he is guilty of receiuing the slan­der, which God hath expresly forbidden.

3 Him that is mocked or slandered. Howbeit the slander least of all hurteth him, for his name onely is hurt; but the conscience of both the former is hurt, by a sinne committed against God and their neighbour.

In this rancke are to be placed, whisperers, or secret cary-tales, who indeede do much aggrauate the sinne they haue committed in receiuing the slander, when as whispering or muttering it, they giue occasiō of ma­ny cuils, and especially, if it be amplified and enlarged of them, which most commonly falleth out. For this cause Salomon saith; Prou. 6. 16. Six things the Lord hateth, but his soule abhorreth the seuenth, namely him that sow­eth dissention among brethren. Vnder this kind be all those things conteined, that minister occasion of euill speech: namely an euill or false suspition of our neigh­bour, without an euident cause giuen; for it is against Christian charitie, which Paule saith is not suspitious.1. Cor. 13. 5.

Also a rash iudging of our neighbour, which is ex­presly forbidden by Christ.

Theoph.

What if he that disprayseth or reporteth ill of his neighbour, speake the truth, may that be called backbiting or slandering?

Matth.

It ought: for he sinneth in a double respect. First his mind is estranged frō the affectiō of Christiā charitie, yea rather he is moued to that wickednesse, by a desire of speaking euill; or else, that he may get him­selfe prayse, by the disprayse of another. Which thing indeed appeareth euen by this, that such backbiters passe ouer all the vertues of their neighbour, but their faults they recken vp, and not seldome enlarge them.

Secondly, he obiecteth those things against his neighbour, not with a mind to amend them, neither [Page 157] doth he make report of them vnto such to whom it ap­pertaineth to admonish them, but he muttereth and whispereth it to him, that cannot apply any remedy to the fault: yea rather he hath an ill opinion of his neigh­bour, which doth not a litle hinder Christian charitie.

Theoph.

Flatterie. Let vs come to flatterie, which thou saydest was the secōd kind of false witnesse bearing, that is out of iudgement.

Math.

This vice is not so hainous as the former, for it is not so farre off from Christian charitie. Moreouer the flatterer hurteth onely two, namely himselfe, and him whom he flattereth. But the backbiter as was sayd, hurteth three at once. Howbeit, this sinne is condem­ned of the Lord: for the flatterer fostereth the sinnes of him whom he flattereth so smoothly, and doubteth not to colour or paint them ouer with the name of ver­tue. For this cause the Prophet saith; Isay. 5. 20. Woe vnto them, that call euill good, and good euill.

Theoph.

There is behind, the third kind of false wit­nesse out of iudgement, namely lying.

Matth.

Lying, three kinds of it. There be diuerse kinds of this sinne: for some lyes proceede from couetousnesse, and they be the most hainous, because they most hurt our neigh­bour. Others be of infirmitie and feare, such as was the lye of Abrahā, saying that Sarah was his sister. Gen. 12. 13 & 20. 2. Others be of lightnesse for pleasures sake, which notwithstan­ding be sinnes, for Christ saith; that whatsoeuer idle word men shall speake, they shall giue accounts of it in Mat. 12. 36 the day of iudgement.

There be some other lyes vnder a colour of loue, & are called officious lyes, when a man by them thin­keth to do his neighbour good. Because he so deliue­reth him either from imminent danger, or from losse, or reproche; or else when any lyeth for his owne pro­fit, that he may turne such discōmodities from himself. These be the chiefe kind of lyes, vnder the which also counterfeiting & dissimulation is comprehended, whē a man faineth that, that is not, as also cloaking and dis­guising, when a man hideth that that is indeede, to the [Page 158] end the conttary may appeare or seeme to be.

Theoph.

Whether thinkest thou all those kinds of lyes to be sinfull and euill?

Mat.

I thinke they be. For the Scripture cōdemneth all lying, and warneth vs to be true in all things.

Theoph.

Is it not therefore lawfull sometimes to hide the truth?

Matth.

Is is not onely lawfull, but also many times expedient, in respect both of the common and priuate profite of our neighbours. Yet with this condition, that we be not bound by oath before the Magistrate to de­clare it. For otherwise, it should not be lawfull for vs to conceale the truth: except the question were of the peace of the Church, or the safety of our brethren. For Christian charitie requireth, that we should suffer any thing, rather then bring danger to any brother, much more to the whole Church.

As for example, if a man were held prisoner of ene­mies, he ought rather to suffer all kinds of torments, then to declare any thing, that might be to the hurt of his countrey, or of his neighbour.

Theoph.

The conclusion is, that thou thinkest it law­full, yea sometime expedient, to conceale the truth, but that it is not lawfull to lye vpō any occasion, no not for our owne safetie, or the safetie of our neighbour.

Mat.

I thinke so. For, the glorie of God, that abhor­reth lyes, ought to be preferred before our owne life, & the loue of our neighbour. Moreouer, the rule of cha­ritie requireth it not, that we should by a lye, hide the sinne of our neighbour, which by the commandement of God is to be punished.

Theoph.

Now I see that there is no lye, that is not e­uill. But thinkest thou not, that it is to be accounted a­mongst the least sinnes?

Matth.

The often vse of it, causeth that we thinke it light, but the Scripture iudgeth farre otherwise; for it saith: Psal. 5. 6. O Lord, thou shalt destroy them that speake lyes. In another place also, reckening vp the sinnes that hinder the saluation of men, it doth by name make [Page 159] mention of this, & numbreth it with murthers, whore­domes, and other hainous offences: for Iohn saith; Apoc. 21. 8. The fearefull, and vnbeleeuing, & murtherers, and whore­mongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, & all lyers, shall haue their part in the lake, which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. Neither doth it that without cause, for it directly fighteth with the na­ture of God, which is the truth; contrariwise it agreeth with the deuill that is the father of lying. But there is no sinne whereunto we do more encline, euen frō our birth. Which indeede doth sufficiently shew, that by o­riginall sinne we haue put off the image of God, and haue put on the image of the deuill, as it hath bin de­clared before, namely in the Chapter of man.

Theoph.

Enough hath bene spoken concerning the former part of this commandement, that is of the pro­hibition; it followeth therefore, that we come to the o­ther, that is to that that is commanded.

Mat.

In it is commanded, that we helpe our neigh­bours with our testimonie, if at any time neede shall so require, both publikely in the place of iudgement, and priuatly without that place. Moreouer, that to our power we defend the good name of our neighbour, that we put far away the slander raised vp agaist him, at least witnesse by our sower countenance, that we be not pleased with such speeches. For Salomon faith; As the Northwind driueth away the raine, so doth an an­gry Pro. 25. 23. countenance the slandring tongue.

Last of all, that in all things we pleasure our neigh­bour, if he shall stand in neede of our counsell. To comfort him in his troubles. If at any time he go astray, patiently, and by the rule of loue to admonish him, that he may be brought againe into the right way. These be the chiefe points, wherein our neighbour may be hol­pen of vs by our speech, according to the meaning of this commandement.

Theoph.

I haue nothing further to aske concerning the exposition of it. Notwithstanding before we come to the tenth commandement, wherein the inward lust [Page 160] or concupiscence of the mind is forbidden, I would vn­derstand of thee, to what commandement the forbid­ding of drunkennesse and enuy is to be referred: which are two most common sinnes.

Matth.

There be some sinnes which for the diuerse respect of the effectes, may be referred to the forbid­ding of diuerse commandemēts. Of which sort it is cer­taine they be, which thou hast euen now mentioned. For, we may referre drunkennesse to the prohibition Against drū ­kennesse. contained in the second, third, and fourth commande­ments of this later Table. For it bringeth forth braw­lings, which sometimes murthers and slaughters do follow. Moreouer although drunkards abstaine from the slaughter of others, yet are they guiltie of the mur­ther they commit against themselues, according to our prouerbe; Gluttonie slayeth more then the sword. Fur­thermore, it stirreth vp men to lust. It also bringeth them to pouertie, which theft followeth. Adde hereun­to, that whosoeuer wasteth the gifts of God so intem­perately, with the want wherof many be oppressed, are in that respect holden guiltie of theft.

Last of all, when they are heat with wine, the tongue by and by is set at libertie, and vnbrideledly, by slande­ring & backbiting shamefully defameth the good name of our neighbour.

Theo.

Thou hast indeed reckened vp many sins, that spring frō the abuse of a most excellēt creature of God.

Matth.

But by that it appeareth, how great the cor­ruption of man is. For he is not onely an enemy vnto God, but also to himselfe, for as much as he abuseth to his owne destruction, the gifts that God hath giuen him to his profite and delight. As for example: God hath giuen vs wine to be nourishment, but man tur­neth it vnto poyson: God hath giuen it to reioyse our heart, but man changeth it vnto heauinesse: God hath giuen it to preserue the health of the bodie, but man altereth it to the sickenesse of body and soule. To conclude, that which is the greatest thing of all, by it man wittingly and willingly transformeth himselfe in­to [Page 161] a bruite beast, when as he spoileth himselfe of rea­son, by the which he differeth from them.

Theoph.

Thou saist true, but I see not what it is, by the which men be allured to that sinne. For neither glory, nor profit, nor pleasure can be sought by it. For, what pleasure is it if a man drinke, not being a thirst?

Matth.

No greater then it should be, if a man after dainty cheare, did presently eate. But therein the ve­rie bruite beasts go beyond them in moderation. For, a man shall not see any of them endure to drinke more then is necessarie.

Theoph.

Hitherto inough of drunkennesse, now let vs speake somewhat concerning enuie.

Matth.

Of enuie. It may bee referred to two commaunde­ments. Namely to the second of this later Table, and also vnto this fift. For, seeing hatred is the perpetuall companion of it, it compelleth men verie oftentimes to murther, which is sufficiently proued by the ex­ample Gen. 4. 8. of Cain.

Theoph.

Thou iudgest rightly. For, by enuie Cain was stirred vp to kill his brother, because his sacrifice was not accepted of God, but Abels. Let vs now see how enuie may be referred to this commandent.

Matth.

Because by it wee are mooued to poure out manifold slanders and backbitings against our neigh­bour, no lesse then by hatred that continually ac­companieth it. But this sinne is most lothsome vnto God, as that which proceedeth of pride, and is con­trarie to Christian charitie, whereof Paul saieth; 1. Cor. 13. 4. cha­ritie enuieth not.

The tenth commandement.
Thou shalt not couet thy neighbours house, thou shalt not couet thy neighbours wife, nor his seruant, nor his maide, nor his oxe, nor his asse, nor any thing that is his.
Theoph.

The tenth commandement is behinde, the meaning whereof I haue heard before, wee are there­fore to come to the exposition of the text it selfe. Con­tayneth [Page 162] it anie other thing, besides the desiring of our neighbours house and family in it expressed?

Mat.

God would rehearse those things, the obiects whereof for the most part are wont to affect and mooue vs, vnder which hee comprehendeth all of the same kinde: namely all lustes, by the which wee are stirred vp to the transgressing of any commandement of the later Table.

Theoph.

Is not that lust only forbidden in this com­mandement, whereunto our will giueth consent?

Matth.

That lust was contained in the former com­maundements, wherein not onely wicked deedes, but also counsels, and deliberat consent of the will bee for­bidden. Therefore in this commandement, the Lord proceedeth further, hee requireth somewhat more of vs, namely that we be not tickled with any kind of lust, although our will consent not, yea also be against it.

Theoph.

But how canst thou shewe that this is the minde of God?

Matth.

Most easily: for the Apostle saieth; I had not knowen lust, if the Law had not saide, thou shalt Rom. 7. 7. not lust: But it is more cleare then the light, that all men without the Law could haue vnderstood, that concupiscence ioyned with consent was sinne, and therefore it is apparant, that the Apostle meant, that the concupiscence which the will resisteth is forbid­den by the Law. That may also bee gathered by the summe of the Law, wherein the Lord commandeth, Mat. 22. 37 that we loue him with all our heart, with all our soule, and with all our minde: whereupon it followeth, that we cannot be tickled euē with the least cōcupiscence, but presently there is something in our minde voide of the loue of God, and therefore that it is a sinne against this Law.

Theoph.

So farre foorth as I see, God in his Law re­quireth of vs most exact perfection.

Matth.

Math. 5. 48 He requireth it indeede. For he would haue vs to bee perfect, euen as he himselfe is perfect. And therefore hee hath set before vs his Law instead [Page 163] of a glasse, and a most perfect pattern of righteousnes, that the life of man might be conformable to the puri­ty of his diuine Maiestie. In so much as if there were any that did perfectly keepe it, hee should in this life perfectly set foorth the image and likenesse of God.

The summe of the Law. Mat. 22. 37.
Thou shalt loue the Lord thy God, with all thine heart, with all thy soule, and with all thy minde. This is the first and the great commandement. And the se­cond is like vnto this. Thou shalt loue thy neighbour as thy selfe. On these two commandements hangeth the whole Law and the Prophets.
Theoph.

I am throughly satisfied concerning the ex­position of the Law. Now I would haue the summe of it, which thou repeatedst euen now to be declared by thee, that I may vnderstand it. And first why he com­prehendeth all the keeping of the first Table, vnder the loue of himselfe.

Matth.

This was done that wee might vnderstand from what fountain that loue floweth, and what effects it worketh in vs.

Theoph.

From whence floweth it?

Matth.

From the knowledge of him, and the assu­rance of the loue wherewith hee loueth vs. For it can not bee that wee should loue any, except wee know him, and doe certainely know that wee are lo­ued againe of him.

Theoph.

What effect worketh that loue of God in vs?

Matth.

Willing obedience. For, we desire to obey him whom wee loue, and the more loue increaseth, the more obedience increaseth. By these things therefore, it is plaine that the obseruation of the whole first Ta­ble, is contained vnder the loue of God. For, he can­not be loued of vs, but we do in like manner

1 Reuerence him.

2 Put our whole trust in him.

3 Call vpon him when soeuer any necessity pres­seth vs.

[Page 164]

4 And giue him thāks for his innumerable benefits.

Moreouer, if he bee loued of vs, wee will not giue the worship due vnto him alone to creatures, or to dumbe Idols: but according as he requireth, wee will spiritually worship him.

If he be loued of vs, it will be our chiefest delight to speake of him, which shall be done of vs with due re­uerence and religion, diligently taking heede that we offend not him with a word.

If (I say) he be loued of vs, his Sabbaoth shall be our delight, because wee may, speake with him more commodiouslie, as well by the holy ministery of the word and reading, by the which he speaketh vnto vs, as by prayers, by the which we speake vnto him. More­ouer, those delights will engraue such sweetenesse in our mindes, that wee shall easily despise all sports and other worldly things, wherein worldlie men are wont to spend those daies.

Hereuppon it is plaine, that so many as loue God do keepe the whole first Table.

Theoph.

But wherfore doth the Lord adde, that God must be loued of vs, with all our hart, with all our soule, and with all our vnderstanding.

Matth.

To the end wee may know, that our minde and soule ought to bee filled with his loue, and that therefore it is required, that he might be most entire­ly loued of vs aboue all others, aboue parents, bre­thren, sisters, wiues, children, friends, goods, yea and our selues also. But if at anie time, a man should bee set betweene two loues, the one whereof is that that is due vnto God, and the other that, that is due vnto pa­rents, brethren, sisters, wiues, children, friends, and these two loues cannot stand together, so as while we apply our selues to the one, we neglect the other, then the Lord is to bee preferred before all the other, and all other things are to bee neglected that wee may fol­low him. For so Christ himselfe saieth; Hee that lo­ueth Mat. 10. 37 father or mother more then me, is not worthie of me, and he that loueth sonne or daughter more thē [Page 165] me, is not worthie of me. As if hee saide, whosoeuer forsaketh not wife and children, and all his goods, ra­ther then denieth me▪ is not worthie of me. And that more is, in the same sense he saieth; If anie commeth vnto me, and hateth not his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, and euen his owne life, he cannot be my Disciple.

Theoph.

But vnlesse I be deceiued, the loue of God doeth not wholly but in part, seclude the loue of our neighbour.

Mat.

It doth indeede wholly seclude all false loue, but the true loue it establisheth: now that is it, which Christ made the sum of the later table in these words; Thou shalt loue thy neighbour as thy selfe

Theoph.

Declare vnto mee that true loue which is e­stablished by the loue of God: then I wil demād of thee why Christ made it the summe of the later Table.

Mat.

Then is our neighbour loued of vs, when we loue him onely in God, and for Gods cause: For, if he bee loued of vs, either because he is our kinsman, or friend, whithout any respect to the loue God, that loue is not Christian but naturall, and agreeth vnto brute beastes. For this cause Christ said; If you loue Luk. 6. 32. them that loue you, what thanke shall you haue? for euen sinners loue those that loue them. Therefore also hath hee commaunded the loue of our enemies: for, therein appeareth most manifestly that whereof wee now speak: That our neighbour is to be loued for God: for an enemie cannot bee loued for his owne sake, yea rather, he ought to be hated. But when he is conside­red in God, then he ceaseth to be an enemy, & is made a neighbour. Euen as therefore all flouds do come out of the sea, and do fall againe into the sea: so our loue toward our neighbour, ought to begin in God, and to end in God, otherwise it is vitious and euill.

Theoph.

Wherefore saidest thou, that this true loue of our neighbour, which thou hast euen now expoun­ded, is stablished by the loue of God?

Mat.

Because it is one loue, but the difference stan­deth [Page 166] in the obiects: for when God sawe, that himselfe because he is inuisible, should hardly bee loued of vs, that doe so much cleaue to the loue of things that bee seene; hee hath set our neighbour before vs as a visible obiect, in whom he engraued his owne image, that we should worship him with some part of that loue toward our neighbour, that is wholly due vnto himselfe; and bestow vppon our neighbour some of those duties and benefites, which by good right doe altogether apper­taine to his Maiestie. Forasmuch as (according to the saying of Dauid) our well doing reacheth not to him, Psal. 16. 2. and indeede he hath no neede of it. Wherefore as no man can rightly loue his neighbour, but he first loueth God, so can no man sincerely loue God, but hee doeth also loue his neighbour, whom he hath so earnestly cō ­mended vnto vs. Hence is that saying of Iohn; If any say, I loue God, and hareth his brother, hee is a lyer. 1. Ioh. 4. 20. For, he that loueth not his brother, whō he seeth, how can he loue God whom he hath not seene?

Theoph.

Now I vnderstand what the true loue of our neighbour is, and how it springeth from the loue of God. It is therefore to bee seene, why Christ setteth it downe for the summe of the later Table.

Matth.

Because as the loue of God containeth the whole obseruation of the first table, as hath beene said before: so the loue of our neighbour, the whole second Table, so that hee be loued of vs as our selues. Which Christ did not omit.

Theoph.

Declare these things vnto me more at large.

Matth.

If we loue our neighbours as our selues, wee shall do to him, all that which we would haue him doe vnto vs: and we will not do those things, which wee would not haue done to our selues. And therefore we will honor parents and other superiors: for if wee were in their place, wee would be honored. We will do no despite to our neighbour, which we would not suffer to be done to our selues. Wee will not by adultery defile the wife, sister, or daughter of our neighbour, because wee would not haue so great an iniury done to our [Page 167] selues. Wee will not steale his goods, yea rather, if the matter so require, we will releeue his pouertie with our plenty: for so would we haue it done with our selues. We will not beare false witnesse against him, neither backebite him, neither will wee vexe or mooue him, with scornes, flouts, mocks and taunts: for we would take it grieuously, if it were done to our selues. To con­clude, we will couet nothing that is his: forasmuch as if any coueted our goods, wee would condemne him. By which it appeareth, that the fulfilling of the second Table is contained vnder the loue of our neighbour, & the breaking of it, vnder the hatred of him.

Theoph.

But who is our neighbour, of whome there is mention in this place and otherwise in many places in the Scripture?

Matth.

Vnder this name be comprehended not only friends, kinsfolkes and alliance by mariage, but also all Who is our neighbour. others, of whatsoeuer sexe, countrey, condition, or re­ligion they be; & that more is, our enemies also, which is plaine to gather, by the example alledged by Christ.Luc. 10. 33

But that letteth not a distinction of persons, of whom we ought to helpe some before others, according to the band wherewith we be bound to them, and by name their faith. For Paul saith; Gal. 6. 10. Do good vnto all, but espe­cially to the houshold of faith. In which words he tea­cheth, that charitie or loue rightly ordered, beginneth with the faithfull, & afterward is deriued vnto others. For, if our loue (which we taught before) ought to bee referred vnto God, verily the nearer any commeth to God, so much the more high degree of it doth hee de­serue: then, the rest wee ought to reserue to our kin­dred and allies, as euerie one shall bee ioyned vnto vs by the nearer band.

The other part of this Chapter. For what ende good workes are to bee done, and what is the vse of them.

Theoph.

Wee haue made an end of the former part [Page 168] of this chapter, wherin thou hast declared, what works be worthie the name of good workes: let vs therefore come to the other part, which we appointed to the dis­course of their end and vse.

The faithful cannot bee iustified by workes. First therefore, I demand, whether the faithfull may be iustified by good workes, for as much as by regene­ration they be made fit to doe them?

Matth.

Two things let, that it cannot be so.

Theoph.

What are they?

Matth.

Because iustification, and therefore saluation goeth before good workes. For, the way which the holy Ghost vseth to make vs able for them, is this, namely, that by faith it ioyneth vs with Christ. Whereof Christ himselfe is witnesse, when he saieth; As the branch can Ioh. 15. 4. beare no fruite of it selfe, that is, except it abide in the vine, euen so you, except you abide in mee. I am the vine, you are the branches: he that abideth in me, and he in whom I abide, bringeth foorth much fruite: For, without me you can do nothing.

Imputation is to haue it accompted ours. Therefore by faith being vnited or made one with Christ, we are iustified and saued, by the imputation of his most perfect holinesse & righteousnesse, the effects or fruits whereof, be the good works that we do. Ther­fore, good workes goe not before our iustification and saluation, but they follow after, as it was well saide by one of the ancients; But that which followeth after, cānot be the cause of that which goeth before. By this argument Paule proueth that wee are not iustified by Ephes. 2. 8. workes. For he saith; You are saued by grace, through faith, and that not of your selues, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast himselfe. For, we are his workemanship, created in Christ Iesus vnto good works, which God hath ordained that we should walke in them. In which words he sheweth, that good workes cannot be said to be the cause of our saluation, because they bee done by God himselfe in vs through Christ, after that we be saued by faith in him.

Theoph.

Let vs come to the other thing, which thou saidest did let, that wee are not iustified nor saued by [Page 169] our good workes.

Mat.

It is more plaine then the former, namely, be­cause to the end a man may be iustified by workes, it is necessarily required, that he haue fulfilled the whole Law, and that he be not found so much as sprinkled or wet with any euē the very least spot of sin before God. For, euen as one litle drop of inke, staineth a whole go­blet of cleare water: so onely one sinne is sufficient to ouerthrow all righteousnesse of workes. For this cause Iames saith; Whosoeuer keepeth the whole Law, & of­fendeth Iam. 2. 20. in one point, is guiltie of all. But it is certaine, that the faith full in this life, cannot at any time come to the highest degree of that perfection, no not to the middle of it. Therfore the defect or want of righteous­nesse, doth by many degrees exceede all the ablenesse vnto it, which any may attaine vnto, by the directiō of the holy Ghost. Therfore by works they ought to looke for the curse only which the Scripture pronoūceth, a­gainst those that haue not perfectly fulfilled the law.

Theoph.

Whether the faithfull can keepe the law. How knowest thou, that the faithfull after regeneration cannot fulfill the law?

Matth.

Paule doth most plainly witnesse it, in his owne person, speaking of the condition of a man rege­nerated, in these wordes; We know that the law is spi­rituall▪ Rom. 7. 14. 18. but I am carnall, sold vnder sinne: for to will is present with me, but I find no meanes to persorme that which is good. For this cause Dauid saith; Psal. 143. 2 Enter not into iudgement with thy seruāt: for no man liuing shall be iustified in thy sight.

Theoph.

But Luke speaking of Zacharie and Eliza­beth, saith; They were both iust in the sight of God, wal­king in all the commandements and ordinances of the Lord without reproofe.

Mat.

Gene. 6. 9. The same thing is also said of Noah by Moses; Noah was a iust and an vpright man in his time. How­beit, the Scripture saith not, that they were without sinne: but that they diligently applied themselues vnto righteousnesse, and laboured to walke in the comman­dements of the Lord. In which sence the faithfull in [Page 170] many places are called iust or righteous, as well to note that zeale by the which they seeke to come to the perfection of righteousnesse, as also that we may vn­derstand, that their obedience notwithstanding it be imperfect, is as acceptable to God through Christ, as if it were perfect.

Theoph.

But how knowest thou, that this is the mea­ning of the Scripture, and that they, who it saith were iust, were not without sinne, seeing the words do sound so much?

Matth.

It is not hard to gather it, out of the things which presently after be obserued of the Scripture it selfe: namely, that Zacharie beleeued not the wordes of the Angell, and that Noah was drunken. Moreo­uer, these things be plainly expressed in it: If we say, 1. Ioh. 1. 10. that we haue not sinned, we make God a lyer, and his word is not in vs. And indeede, if we do but a little more attentiuely consider of it, what is he that in this life can euer,

Loue God with all his heart?

Put his whole trust in him alone?

Perfectly rule his owne affections?

So keepe his tongue vnder, that it send out no idle wordes, whereof at the last day, Christ saith: Mat. 12. an ac­count must be giuen?

So keepe his eyes in order, that they lust not, & his mind that it thinke no vaine thing?

If at any time he serue God, to do it with that affe­ction, namely so perfect, pure, and whole, as it is requi­red of him?

Finally, which letteth not many occasions of doing well, or of doing something better then he doth it, to escape him?

1. Ioh. 3. 20. If our owne heart condemne vs in these, and in ma­ny other the greatest things; God (saith Iohn) is grea­ter thē our heart, that is, knoweth innumerable sinnes, which we our selues know not. Of this is that saying of Dauid; Who vnderstādeth his faults? cleanse me from Psal. 19. 13 secret faults.

Theoph.

I haue in thy speech obserued foure kinds of sinnes, whereof men are guiltie before God.

The committing of euill.

The leauing the good vndone.

Hidden sinnes.

The imperfection of the good deeds, which in small number are done of vs.

Which things, if they haue place in the faithfull, I do indeede confesse, that they be farre off from being iustified by their workes.

Mat.

There is no doubt, but they be in the very best, which also the Scripture cōfirmeth, when it saith; Iob. 11. 16. Man drinketh in iniquitie as water: as if it sayd, that iniqui­tie was as familiar and common a thing with him, as to drinke. Isay. 64. 6. Psal. 62. 9. We be all of vs as an vncleane thing, and all our righteousnesse is as filthy cloutes The children of men are vanitie, the chiefe men are lyes, to lay them vpon a balance, they are altogether lighter then vanitie,

Theoph.

Do these things agree to the faithfull, as well as to the vnfaithfull.

Mat.

Yea verily: for they of whom these things were written, were faithfull & beleeuers; neuerthelesse, they did recken themselues also in that number: as Esay by name, for he saith; We all are as vncleane things: & a­gain; all our righteousnesses as filthy cloutes. But if our iustice & righteousnesse be such, how I pray thee must it be thought of our vnrighteousnesse and sinnes?

Theoph.

What diffe­rēce cōcer­ning good works, is be­tweene the faithfull and the vnfaith­full. Seeing the matter is so, it seemeth altoge­ther to follow, that there is verie little difference con­cerning good workes, betweene the beleeuers, and the vnbeleeuers.

Mat.

It followeth not for sinne only dwelleth in the faithfull, but it raigneth not: Howbeit, in the vnfaith­full and vnbeleeuers, it both dwelleth and raigneth. Therefore euery beleeuer may vse that saying of Paul; I doe not the good that I would. The vnbeleeuers Rom. 7. 19. cleane contrariwise; We doe not so much euill as we would: Which howsoeuer they speake not, they haue it in their mind. As it is to be seene in drūkards, theeues, [Page 172] fornicators, ambitious & couetous persons, whose lust cā neuer be satisfied. Moreouer, the wicked waxe eue­ry day worse and worse: contrariwise, the faithfull make proceedings in goodnesse, by the which (notwithstan­ding they be but small) it is apparant that sinne is ouer­come of them.

Theoph.

But how cōmeth it to passe, that a beleeuer being regenerated and lightened with the holy Ghost, cannot perfectly obey God?

Matth.

Because our regeneration is onely begun in vs, but in this life is neuer perfected. For by that meanes the Lord will keepe vs in humilitie, as also to­gether with it giue place to his owne infinite mercie. Therefore, so long as we liue here, as well our faith, as our repentance, be very farre off from perfection. For there is still behind in vs, some part of our corruption, which the Scripture calleth flesh, and the old mā, it re­sisteth or standeth against the part that is regenerate, which is called the spirite, and the new man. And all these things Paule notably comprehendeth in these words; The flesh lusteth against the spirite, and the spi­rite Gal. 5. 17. against the flesh: and these be contrary the one to the other, so as you do not the things that you would.

Theoph.

The battell of the flesh and spirit. Wherein standeth this striuing of the flesh and the spirit?

Mat.

1 The flesh is puft vp with ignorance & loue of the world: but the spirit is endued with the know­ledge, loue, and feare of God.

2 The flesh striueth to follow it owne pleasures and wicked affections for it is giuen vnto all sinnes but the spirit giueth it selfe to this one thing, that it may obey God, and set forth his glorie.

3 The flesh is full of distruct and impatience: but the spirit humbleth it selfe vnder the mighty hand of God, resteth in his mercy, & fashioneth it selfe vnto his will.

Finally, the flesh holdeth vs in these earthly things: but the spirit lifteth vs vp into heauen.

Moreouer, this contrarietie breedeth in vs a conti­nuall warfare: for the flesh alwayes stirreth vs vp, and [Page 173] setteth vpō vs, with so many entisements & crafts, that except we take diligent heed, we be easily deceiued & ouercome of it. For this cause Christ warneth vs, that we should watch; Watch and pray, least ye enter into Mat. 26. 41 tentation (that is, least you be ouercome of tentation) the spirit indeed is ready, but the flesh is weake.

Theoph.

Doth the spirit at length go alwayes away with the victorie?

Mat.

It doth indeede, but not without great labour: for the flesh many wayes woundeth vs: for it causeth vs many times to fall into most hainous sinnes. Moreouer, although we do oftē ouercome, it ceaseth not to renew the battell. For the deuill the enemie of our saluation, ioyneth himselfe vnto it, who vseth that domesticall or houshold enemie, that he may the more easily enter into out hearts, and at length ouercome vs. For this cause Paul most feruently desired to be deliuered from it: for he saith; Rom. 7. 24. O wretched man that I am, who shal de­liuer me frō this body of death? He calleth it death, be­cause he thought that continuall battell more grieuous then death it selfe.

Theoph.

Now I will returne to the order of our dis­course; For I see, that the faithfull cannot fulfill the law of God. And this also I grant, that the faithful cānot be altogether iustified by their works; but may not this be done in part, so as Christ supply that which wanteth?

Matth.

I am. 2. 10. This indeed cannot be, for Iames saith; Who­soeuer keepeth the whole law, and yet faileth in one point, is guiltie of all. Therefore Paul intreating of the way whereby we attaine iustification and saluation, ex­cludeth works, not in part, but wholy. As for example, In the Epistle to the Romains, after long disputation of this matter, at length he addeth; We conclude ther­fore, Rom. 3. 28. that a man is iustified by faith, without the workes of the law: and in the Chapter following; To him that Rom. 4. 4. worketh, the wages is not counted by fauour, but by debt: but to him that worketh not, but beleeueth in him that iustifieth the vngodly, his faith is counted for righteousnesse. The same also he writeth in another [Page 174] place; Ephes. 2. 8. You are saued by grace, through faith, and that not of your selues, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anie should boast himselfe. In which words he doth suf­ficiently Why we be iustified be­fore God, no otherwise then by faith. declare, that good works be of no account be­fore God, to iustifie and saue vs: but that all is to be ascribed to the onely mercie and grace of God by faith in Christ. Moreouer, grace should not be truely grace in respect of God, if it be not wholly and altogether free, for workes & it cannot stand together in the mat­ter of saluation.

Theoph.

Why so?

Matth.

Because the one destroyeth the other, as the Apostle testifieth to the Romanes in these words; If we Rom. 11. 6. be saued by grace, it is no more of workes, or else were worke no more worke. Where he sheweth, that there is no place for the grace of God, vntill we haue throwne away all trust and confidence in our owne works: which thing the same Apostle testifieth, that himselfe did. For, notwithstanding. concerning the righteousnesse which Phil. 3. 6. is by the law, he were without reproofe, he esteemed all his good workes as dung, that he might be found not hauing his owne righteousnesse, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ.

In another place also, he warneth vs of the same thing; Ye are made voide of Christ, as many of you as Gal. 5. 4. be iustified by the law. and are fallen from grace. Now, he speaketh to those that would ioyne the righteous­nesse of the law, with the righteousnesse of faith.

Theoph.

But some do obiect, that the Apostle, when soeuer he saith, we are not iustified by the workes of the law, speaketh of the ceremoniall law, that was then abolished by the comming of Christ, but not of the morall law.

Matth.

That is a vaine shift, which also is most easie to cōfute, by the order of the Apostles speech: and first of all in the Epistle to the Romains, before he draw­eth out this conclusion, that is in the third Chapter; By the workes of the law shall no flesh be iustified in the sight of God.

[Page 175]

In the first Chapter indeed hee proueth that all the Heathen were full of all vnrighteousnesse, fornication, wickednesse, couetousnesse, & other innumerable sins. But in the second he sheweth that the Iewes notwith­standing they made a faire shew of outward holinesse, yet were infected & stained with the same sins they cō ­demned in others. Whereupon it is plaine that in that place, there is only mention of moral works and not of the ceremonial. Likewise also in the Epistle to the Ga­lathians, where he doth especially entreat of the cere­monies, hee alleadgeth both the sentences of Moyses, namely the curse to those that fulfil not the whole law, and life to those that keep it. And in the former indeed hee teacheth, that so many as trust to the workes of the Law to be iustified by them, be vnder the curse, be­cause they cannot wholly and fully keepe it. But in the other, he declareth that there is so much differēce be­tweene the law and faith, that if any man bee iustified by faith, hee cannot in any sort obtaine it by the Law. But it is certain, that as well the curse threatned to the transgressors of the Law, as the promise to eternal life made to such as fulfill it, are not to be restrained to the ceremonies alone, but also are to bee referred to the morall Law, and that too by more right: for as much as God (as Hosea saith) preferreth mercy before sacri­fice. Hos. 5. 7. Moreouer, after the Apostle in the secōd chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, hath affirmed, that wee are saued by grace through faith, and that not of our selues: he addeth, but of the gift of God, not of workes, least any man should boast himselfe. Which wor is do most euidently shew, that the Apostle speaketh not of the ceremoniall works, but of morall, which giue men far more large matter of boasting then the ceremoni­all doe. Finally, when he writeth to Titus, Tit. 3. [...]. that wee are saued not by the works of righteousnesse which we haue done, but by the mercy of God, who seeth not that the Apostle doth especially entreate of morall works, to whom the title of righteousnesse agreeth far better, then to the ceremoniall? Which things being [Page 176] so, there is no doubt but that the Apostle whensoeuer he speaketh of the workes of the Law, to proue that we are neither saued nor iustified by them, doth no lesse meane the morall then the ceremoniall, yea ra­ther that he doth shut out both from the cause of salua­tion and righteousnesse.

Theoph.

But why be they so often called of him the workes of the Law?

Matth.

To teach, that if the workes commanded of God, and euen contained in his own law, be to no pur­pose to iustifie vs, that the works commanded and de­uised by men are much lesse able and fit to do it.

Theoph.

Why God gaue a Law that we can­not keepe. Now do I agree vnto thee. For I perceiue that we are neither iustified nor saued by workes, nei­ther in the whole, nor in part, as hath beene diligently proued by thee. And verily (vnlesse I be deceiued) there is great iniury done to the glory of God, while mē go about to darken the force & power of his grace and mercie, mingling the same with the filthinesse of our works. But seeing the matter is so, why did God giue the morall law?

Mat.

Of the vse of the Law. The Apostle witnesseth, Gal. 3. 21. 12. that it was not to the end we should be iustified or saued by it: For, he sayth, If there had bene a Lawe giuen that could haue giuen life, surely righteousnesse should haue bene by the Law. But the Scripture hath concluded all vnder sinne, that the promise by the faith of Iesus Christ, should be giuē to them that beleeue. Notwithstanding it is not vnpro­fitable to the faithfull, nay rather they do reape a dou­ble commoditie by it, wherein bee comprehended the ends for the which God gaue it vnto vs. I sayd to the The vse of the Law, in respect of the vnfaithfull. faithfull, because it hath this onely worke toward the vnbeleeuers, that their condemnatiō may be the more heauie: for as much as comming to the knowledge of Gods will by it, they do willingly run into the contrarie.

Theoph.

Let vs consider of that double commoditie which thou saydest the beleeuers reape by it: & declare the first.

Mat.

It is noted by the Apostle in the Epistle to the [Page 177] Galathians. For after that he hath shewed that we can Gal. 3. 19. not attaine saluation by the Law, he addeth: wherfore then serueth the Law? It was added because of the transgressions, that is, that by the helpe of it, we might acknowledge our sinnes, as the same Apostle in ano­ther place expoundeth it in these words; By the Law Rom. 3. 20. commeth the knowledge of sin. For, if we do examine our works by that perfection which the Law requireth of vs, then it shall appeare most euidently, how manie waies wee be guilty before God, and therefore what fearefull condemnation we haue deserued.

Theoph.

But what profite haue we by that?

Mat.

Much. For, as a sicke man, except he through­ly feele his sickenes, and perceiue present danger, will not go to the Phisition: euen so the feeling of our sins, and the danger of eternall death, which we see hang­eth ouer our heads, driueth vs to seeke for that true Phisition of our soules Christ Iesus, from whome by faith wee may receiue the remedie offered vs in the Gospell, which otherwise we would haue neglected. Therefore Paul saieth: The Law was our schoolemai­ster Gal. 3. 24. to bring vs vnto Christ. And in another place: Christ is the end of the Law, for righteousnesse vnto Rom. 10. 4. euerie one that beleeueth. And this is the first com­moditie which we haue by the Law.

Theoph.

Shew briefly the other.

Math.

After that wee be regenerated and therefore made fitte to do good workes, then the Law teacheth vs, whatsoeuer is to be performed of vs, that we may obey God. For, although we can not come to the per­fection whereunto it leadeth vs, yet we must set it be­fore our eies as a marke whereat we are to leuell con­tinually, that daily more and more we may striue to hit it. Hereunto appertaineth that exhortation of Christ; Bee ye perfect, as your father which is in heauen is Mat. 5. 48. perfect. The Law therefore is as it were a glasse wher­in we may behold the spots of our soule, and so indeed be compelled by faith to wash them away in Christes bloud. Moreouer, it is a lanterne vnto our feete, which [Page 178] guideth vs that wee goe not out of the right way from the path of righteousnesse.

Theoph.

Seeing good works be not the cause of sal­uation, it seemeth to follow that they bee altogether vnprofitable, and therefore that we neede not to bee greatly carefull of them.

Matth.

It followeth not. For, God hath deliuered vs out of the hands of our spirituall enemies, namely the Deuill and sinne (saieth Zacharie) Luk. 1. 74. that we should serue him with holinesse and righteousnesse in his sight all the daies of our life. Paul also cōfirmeth the same thing in the Epistle to the Ephesians: Ephes. 2. 8. 9 10. For, after that he hath affirmed, that we are saued by grace through faith, and that not of our selues, it was the gift of God, not of workes: presently he addeth; For, wee are his worke­manship created in Christ Iesus vnto good workes which God hath prepared that we should walk in thē. And againe in another place; The grace of God that Tit. 2. 12. bringeth saluation vnto all men hath appeared, teach­ing vs, that denying vngodlinesse and worldly lusts, we should liue soberly, and iustly, and godly in this present world. Thou seest how diligently good works be com­mended in the Scripture, as those that bee acceptable vnto God through Christ, by whose holinesse all their filthinesse and vncleannesse is couered.

Theoph.

But what vse is there of them?

Mat.

A three fold vse of good workes. The vse is three-folde, and those indeed most profitable. The first, which is also the chiefe, respecteth the glorie of God, that ought to be dearer vnto vs thē our owne saluation. But by them it is especially aduan­ced, as it appeareth by the wordes of Christ; Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good Mat. 5. 16. works, and glorifie your father which is in heauen. For this cause Paul warning the Philippians to be ful of the fruits of righteousnesse which are by Christ Iesus, ad­deth; Phil. 1. 11. to the glorie and praise of God.

The second vse respecteth our neighbour. For, by the vprightnesse and integritie of our life, he is prouo­ked to the same earnest desire and exercise of godli­nesse. [Page 179] I passe ouer the good turnes which hee hath by our charitie and good workes. The third vse standeth in this, that by them our conscience is quieted. For, they be testimonies and witnesses of our faith, & ther­fore of our saluation.

Theoph.

But how can it be, that good works shall be witnesses of our faith?

Mat.

The cause hath already bene shewed of vs be­fore: namely, for that the holy Ghost doth neuer work faith in our hearts without repentance, from whence good works do flow, which therefore be visible or seen testimonies of our inuisible or vnseene faith: euen as the goodnesse of the tree is iudged by the good fruite, and the inward health or soundnesse of a mans bodie, by the outward disposition of all the parts.

Theoph.

Therefore, vnlesse I be deceiued, this thou saiest, that faith cannot be without good works.

Matth.

I say so. Euen as fire cannot be without heat, and the Sunne without light. And verily faith of it own Faith cānot bee without good works. nature bringeth forth good workes. For how can it be, that our hearts should be reformed by faith, so as wee do embrace the loue wherewith God loueth vs in Christ, but that they be also stricken with loue toward him again, by meanes whereof they both earnestly de­sire to obey him, and doe labour to auoide rebellion a­gainst his maiesty. I doe adde moreouer, that faith can no more stand together with an euill conscience, then water with fire. For it cannot bee, that so long as sinne raigneth in vs, and we willingly offend God, that wee should be assured of his loue, so as wee may put our whole trust in him, and repose our hope in his fauour and goodnesse, notwithstanding that infinite merite of Christes death be knowen and perceiued of vs.

Theoph.

As farre as I see, faith bringeth foorth good workes, by the which it is afterward preserued in our hearts.

M.

Faith the mother of good works, of wich it is after preser­ued. Yea verily: euen as fire causeth ashes, wherewith it is afterward cherished, fed, and maintained. But by these things it is plaine, that it is so farre off that faith, [Page 180] (which notwithstanding some say) should destroy good works, that rather by it they are built vp and fortified.

Theoph.

Seeing then faith cannot bee without good works, it followeth, that all they which boast of it, & do not good workes, be liers, and deceiue themselues.

Matth.

It followeth: and that is the disputation of Iames the Apostle against the Libertines, whome hee speaketh vnto in these wordes; Shew mee thy faith Iam. 2. 18. without thy workes, and I will shew thee my faith by my workes, whereby hee sheweth, that no man can be certaine of his faith, which is inuisible, but he hath visible testimonies of it, namely good workes Where­uppon it is that the same Apostle in the end of that Chapter concludeth thus; As the body without the vers. 26. spirite is dead, euen so that faith, that is without good workes is dead, that is, it is not true, but a shadow, and a vaine empty likenesse of it.

Theoph.

Therefore we are neither iustified nor saued without good workes, although neither of them, nor by them.

Mat.

I graunt it. For, although the kingdome of hea­uen be not the wages of seruants, but the inheritance of children: yet no man is reckned among the children of God, that is not lead by the spirite of God, (as Paul speaketh) Rom. 8. 14. and therefore doth the workes of the spirit, such as be these; Loue, ioy, peace, long suffering, gen­tlenesse, Gal. 5. 22. 23. goodnesse, faith, meekenesse, temperance, and such like. Therefore the same Apostle in ano­ther place giueth warning; Be not deceiued: neither 1. Cor. 6. 9. fornicators, nor Idolaters, nor adulterers, nor wan­tons, nor theeues, nor couetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners shall inherite the kingdome of God. The same thing also doth Christ himself con­firme, when hee saieth; not euerie one that saieth to Mat. 7. 21. me: Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdome of hea­uen, but he that doth my fathers wil, that is in heauen.

Mat. 5. 20. And againe in another place; I saie vnto you, except your righteousnesse exceede the righteousnesse of the Scribes and Pharisies, you shal not enter into the king­dome [Page 181] of heauen.

Theoph.

Now do I consent vnto thee, & do acknow­ledge, that good workes be not vnprofitable, although we be neither iustified nor saued by them: Yea rather that they bee of speciall vse, and therefore that the faithfull with al their hearts should giue themselues to them, for as much as they serue,

1 To the glorie of God.

2 The edification of our neighbour.

3 And to the confirmatiō of our faith & saluatiō.

Mat.

Adde hereunto, that God to whom they be ac­ceptable through Christ, rewardeth them with sundry blessings both spirituall & temporall, according to the promises almost without nūber contained in his word. Moreouer hither is to be referred, the word of Reward which is vsed in many places in the Scripture, as when Iohn exhorteth the faithfull to perseuerance, he saith; 2. Ioh. 8. Looke vnto your selues, that we loose not the thinges we haue wrought, but that you may haue a ful reward. Christ also speaking of those which suffer persecution for righteousnesse sake, saith, Mat. 5. 12. Great is your reward in heauen. In another place also; Mat. 10. 42. Whosoeuer shall giue a cup of cold water only, to one of these litle ones in the name of a disciple, shall not lose his reward.

Theoph.

The confu­tation of merite. Seeing therefore God promiseth reward to our workes, it seemeth they deserue somewhat.

Matth.

It followeth not: For, that reward proceedeth of his meere grace and vndeserued fauour, without a­ny desert of ours.

Theoph.

Doest thou take from the faithfull all meri­ting with God?

Mat.

Not I, but the word of God, wherein his owne mercie is established; and merit is ouerthrowen euen to the very ground: For these two can not stand toge­ther. Furthermore, if any a litle more diligently exa­mine the nature of merit or desert, he shall neuer find that it hath any place before God.

Theoph.

Why so?

Mat.

Because that we may deserue any thing, this is,

[Page 182]

1 First required, that we be nothing in his debt, of whom we desire to deserue.

2 Secondly, that we bring him such things as be our owne.

3 And last of all, that that which we bring or bestow be equall, or as much worth as the thing that we seeke to deserue. If but anie one of these conditions fayle, it can be no merit or desert. How much lesse therefore if they be all wanting together? But they be wanting in all our good works.

Theoph.

Declare that vnto mee one after another particularly.

Matth.

The exami­nation of the merit of works. First, whatsoeuer good works may be perfor­med of vs, are due vnto God, by a double right, namely of our creation and adoption. Hereupon is that saying of Christ warning his Disciples; Luc. 17. 10. When yee haue done all the things that are commanded you, say, We be vn­profitable seruants: for we haue done nothing, but that which was our dutie to do.

Moreouer, it is certain that whatsoeuer good thing can be done of vs, is from God, which worketh in vs both the will and the deede.Phil. 2. 13.

Therefore it was notably sayd of one of the ancient fathers; God rewardeth his owne good workes in vs, and not ours. Paule also saith; 1. Cor. 4. 7. What hast thou, that thou hast not receiued? and if thou haue receiued it, why dost thou boast, as though thou hadst nor receiued it? Therefore among men indeede there may be merit or desert: For the husbandman after hee hath digged all day in the vineyard, shall receiue his reward by de­sert. But with God, we can deserue nothing, but that he should punish vs for our offences.

Theoph.

The objectiō of the defen­ders of merit The defenders of the opinion of merits, do obiect, that good workes be not meritorious of them­selues, but in respect of the promise of God him selfe, wherein he hath promised those things, which other­wise were not due.

Matth.

The answer to it. They are not by this pretence acquit of sa­criledge or robbing God. For, they attribute that to [Page 183] themselues, which appertaineth to God alone. For, when God made that promise vnto vs, hee did it of his meere grace and fauor, and therefore merit or desertis shut out. But I will make the whole matter plaine by a familiar example. If any king should promise his bond-slaue an hundred thousand crownes, vpon condition that he diligently do a businesse committed to him, the bondslaue hauing done the commandement, may re­quire the gold, yet not because he hath deserued it. But we that haue not fulfilled the condition enioyned vs, how much lesse haue we deserued the reward promised to our workes?

Theoph.

What letteth that we fulfill it not, when we obey the Lord from the heart?

Matth.

Of [...] perfection [...] our workes. The cause hath bin declared already before: namely for that there can be no good thing done of vs, that is not vncleane and defiled. For, as the most pure water, if it run through an vncleane conduit, is corrup­ted with the stincke of it: so the good workes that God worketh in vs, be soiled and stained with the filthinesse of our flesh. Therefore euen as the promise of reward is altogether free, and without respect of anie desert, so is the fulfilling of that promise.

Theoph.

Why therfore doth God promise reward to our works, which he may by right require of vs?

Mat.

That, that promise may be as a spurre vnto vs, by the which we might be driuen forward, to the desire and doing of them: and that indeed not without cause, for we are by our nature verie slacke vnto them.

Theoph.

There is one thing behind, which I will de­mand of thee: namely concerning that which was said of thee before, that the obedience which is vndertaken vpon hope of reward, is not acceptable vnto God.

Mat.

This also is indeed true, if that affection raigne in vs as it doth in the vnfaithfull. Howbeit, it shall not hurt, so as the loue and feare of God go before, if we be allured and drawen on to his seruice, by the hope and looking for of the reward. And on the other side, be kept and held from disobeying him, by the feare of [Page 184] the punishment, that is of eternall death.

Theo.

But ought not the loue of God to be sufficient, to bring forth that obedience in the harts of the faith­full, without borrowing anie other spur frō elsewhere?

Mat.

If our regeneration were perfect, as is the re­generation of them, which liue blessedly in heauen, we should know God perfectly, whereby we should be stir­red vp to obey him perfectly: But because there is al­wayes behind in vs something not regenerated, which of it owne nature is in bondage, full of ignorance, with­out loue of God, it is necessarie, that we should be stir­red vp to that obedience by the hope of reward: and on the other side, by feare of punishments be held backe, and kept in obedience. Hereupon it is, that God both rewardeth our good works in this life, according to his promises, and also correcteth our slacknesse and inso­lencie by diuerse afflictions which hee sendeth dayly, whereby it appeareth, that he is true, as well in his pro­mises, as in the execution of his threatnings. But seeing thou hast nothing more to propound, I would aduise, that wee put of the rest of the disputation till another time, for I see that it is now almost noone.

Theoph.

I haue heard thy discourse of Good workes, as also the exposition of the morall law, with so great delight, that the time of thy speech hath seemed to me verie short.

Mat.

Indeed it is a most pleasant thing to intreat of Good workes, so as it be done holily, and by the rule of Gods word. Howbeit, that shall be litle, except the pra­ctise be ioyned, which verily getteth praise with men, The vse of the doctrine of Good-workes. pleasure to the conscience, & profit with God. Therefore true and sound vertue, is greatly commended, before vaine pratling, or the vnprofitable idle knowledge of it.

Theoph.

I do remēber an excellent similitude, which I haue oftentimes heard of thee, and it is this. As a pre­cious garment shut vp in a chest, is altogether vnpro­fitable, but if it be put on, it is honour, delight, and profit vnto vs: so it is with Good works; for, the know­ledge and vaine discoursing of them, is of no vse, ex­cept [Page 185] they be brought to practise.

Matth.

It is most true. Therefore I pray God and our heauenly father, that as he hath imprinted his law in our mindes, so he will engraue it together with his loue and feare in our hearts, by the power of his holy spirit, that being alwayes clothed with righteousnesse and holynesse, we may serue him with due reuerence and humilitie all our life.

1 And so he may be glorified of vs.

2 Our neighbour edified.

3 Our faith & saluation may be confirmed through Iesus Christ our Lord.

Theoph.

So be it.

CHAP. II. Of Prayer: which hath the chiefe place among Good workes, to testifie and confirme our faith.

Theophilus.

OVr helpe is in the name of the Lord, which hath made both heauen & earth.

Matth.

So be it.

Theoph.

Concerning the doctrine of good workes, I am sufficiently satisfied (most dearely beloued brother) for I haue learned, that they onely be worthy the name of Good works, which be commanded of God in his law: also, that they be not the causes of our iustification and saluation: neuerthe­lesse, that they be profitable, both to the glory of God, and to the edification of our neighbours, & very much to the assurance of our saluation and faith.

Which is the chiefe good work. A short de­scription of true prayer. Now I demand of thee, which hath the first place a­mong Good workes?

Math.

True prayer, namely that which is powred from the heart vnto God, with this confidence, that we shall be heard.

Theoph.

Why giuest thou it the chiefe place among Good workes.

Matth.

Because by the helpe of it we obtaine this, [Page 186] The excel­lencie of prayer. that we bee able to performe the other Good workes. Moreouer, it yeeldeth vs the greatest testimonie of our saluation.

Theoph.

Whereupon is it, that it yeeldeth a fuller te­stimonie of our faith, then the other Good workes?

Matth.

Hereupon, because prayer with certaine hope of being heard cannot bee made, but wee are therewithall perswaded of the loue and good will of God toward vs. For as Paule saith; Rom. 10. 13 14. How shall they call vpon him, in whom they haue not beleeued? For this cause, the same Apostle affirmeth out of the prophesie of Ioel; Whosoeuer shall call vpon the name of the Lord, shallbe saued.

Theoph.

But from whence haue we that assurance, seeing wee be guiltie vnto our selues of our owne vn­worthinesse, by the which we deserue, that both we our selues & our prayers, should be driuen backe from the seate of his Maiestie?

Matth.

By the intercession or mediation of Iesus Christ, who (as it was shewed by vs in the Chapter of faith) doth alwayes offer vp to God the Father the me­rit of his death, for full satisfactiō of all our sins. Wher­upon it commeth to passe, that he is made mercifull vnto vs, and such a one as will be entreated of vs, so as we shall receiue, what soeuer we aske of him. And that doth the Scripture teach in these wordes; 1. Iohn. 2. 1. We haue an aduocate with the Father, Iesus Christ.

Theoph.

It followeth therefore, that the office of the mediatour, is by a most straight band ioyned with the office of the redeemer.

Mat.

It is so, and therefore, Iohn after those words; We haue an aduocate with the Father Iesus Christ the righteous, presently addeth; and he is the propitiation 1. Iohn. 2. 2. for our sinnes. Hereupon it is, that Paule ioyneth both the offices together, when he saith; 1. Tim. 2. 6. There is one me­diatour of God and men, the man Christ Iesus, which gaue himselfe a ransome for all men.

Theoph.

Seeing therefore, one is our redeemer, euen Christ Iesus, it seemeth to follow, that he alone can [Page 187] also fulfill the office of the mediatour for vs with the Father.

Matth.

The confu­tation of the error about prayer to Saints. It followeth, and that indeed necessarily, and for this cause, in the places which we haue heard, we reade it written; One aduocate, one mediatour, for the word one, is expresly added, to the end we might know, that besides him alone, there can be no other.

Theoph.

Therefore they deale foolishly, and without any good ground, whosoeuer seeke other patrons and mediatours besides Christ.

Matth.

Verie foolishly. For they forsake, the Crea­tour, to go to the creature: the Lord, to go to the ser­uant: the most dearely beloued Sonne of the Father, which is in the highest authoritie and fauour with him, to pacifie his wrath, to go to those, which lacke all the things that be required to wash away sinnes, and therefore bee vnable to make our prayers acceptable and of force. Moreouer, they do esteeme Christ, as it were not sufficient enough for the office of the media­tour, and therefore denie him to be our true Sauiour. For if he be fit, and sufficient for so great an office, why doe they take to themselues other mediatours beside him? If they say they doubt not, but that he is both most power-full and most fit for this thing, but doe doubt somewhat of his will, they do therein very much bewray themselues to be vnbeleeuers, which refuse to giue credit vnto him, after that he hath giuen vs so no­table a pledge of his exceeding loue. Namely, when he vouchsafed, both to take vpon him our humane na­ture, and to suffer the death of the Crosse for our re­demption. Adde hereunto, that most louingly he cal­leth vs vnto himselfe by his word, when he saith; Mat. 11. 28. 30. Come vnto me all that labour and be laden, and I will cause you to haue ease, & yee shall find rest vnto your soules.

Finally, whither soeuer they turne themselues, they shall neuer escape, but be foūd iniurious against Christ, for as much as they take frō him the office of the me­diatour purchased by his owne bloud, to giue it to bles­sed creatures that be in heauen.

[Page 186] [...][Page 187] [...]
Theoph.

They obiect, that the office of Christ is not translated by them to the dead Saints, seeing they end all the prayers they make to God with these wordes: Through Iesus Christ our Lord: whereby they say is declared, that the chiefe honour is giuen to Christ himselfe.

Mat.

The confu­tation of it. It is a craft of Sathan, by the which he would haue the wickednesse of praying to Saints to be hid­den, and so the manifest wrong that they offer vnto Christ, which put ouer his office vnto Saints, while they pray God, that by their merites and intercession, he will grant the things that they desire, and at length ad, through Iesus Christ our Lord. Wherein they imi­tate & follow him, who after he hath giuen his Prince a blow, would humbly do him reuerence.

Theoph.

Is it therefore vnlawfull for the faithfull be­ing a liue, mutually amōg themselues, the one to com­mend the saluation of the other vnto God by prayer, seeing it cannot be, but some thing is taken away from the intercession of Christ?

Matth.

The confu­tation of the obiection. Not so: for many causes may be alledged, for the which, the one is not onely vnprofitable, but also forbidden, and therefore to be auoided: but the other, not onely to be lawfull, but also profitable and necessarie.

Theoph.

Declare those causes.

Mat.

I will marke foure chiefe.

1 Because loue that is so much commēded vnto vs, is both cherished and increased by praying one for an­other. But this can haue no place in the dead, of whom Salomō speaking saith; Eccles. 9. 6. Both their loue, & their hatred, and their enuie is now perished, & they haue no more portion for euer, in all that is done vnder the sunne.

2 Because praying one for another, we thinke not to be heard for his sake that prayeth for vs, which they do, that pray to the Saints departed, & by that meanes giue vnto them the office of Christ.

Theoph.

But it may be, that the same thing may befall them, which desire to be holpen with the pray­ers [Page 189] of the godly that be aliue: for why may not some thinke, that they shall be heard for their holinesse and good workes sake?

Matth.

I grant, it is not impossible, that some should after that manner abuse the prayers of the godly, but there is the least danger in this behalfe, if it be compa­red with the other. For, it cānot be in any but the igno­rant and vnskilfull, for whose ignorance we ought not to refuse that so holy an ordinance of God. But the in­tercession of departed Saints, doth bring with it most manifest danger: for, no man can pray vnto them, but he thinketh for their sakes to obtaine the things which he desireth of God [...]. The proofe whereof are all the formes of prayers written by such as worshipped them.

Theoph.

Go forward, alledge the third cause.

Matth.

cause 3 The faithfull that be aliue, may one of them know the necessities of another, and pray vnto God for them: which the faithfull departed cannot. I am not ignorant what they be wont to obiect, that the Saints dead, do in God, as it were in a glasse, see all the things that be done in this world: but that is altogether to di­uine or gesse, without any testimonie of Scripture.

Theoph.

Declare the fourth cause.

Mat.

cause 4 That is the chiefe: namely, because the prayers of the godly being aliue, one for another, are groūded vpon the testimonie of the word of God, also vpon ex­amples and promises, by the which it is confirmed, that they shall not be in vaine: but the prayers of the dead, are neither grounded vpon any testimonie of Gods word, neither vpon promises, nor examples.

Theoph.

Sayest thou so?

Matth.

I say it, and therefore it is done of faith, for the word of God is the onely foundation of it. Where­fore Paule affirmeth; Rom. 14. 23 that whatsoeuer is not of faith is sinne: And this reason is sufficient to ouerthrow the in­tercession of the departed Saints. For who can beare this, that man should lift vp himselfe aboue God?

Theoph.

I do now confesse that all prayers which are made to dead Saints, for this end that they should be [Page 190] our intercessors and mediatours to God, are to be dri­uen out and hissed at: and that Christ alone whose of­fice this is, is sufficient.

Matth.

Why Christ onely suffi­ceth the faithfull, to do the office of the me­diatour with the Father. Yea truely, it is extreame madnesse for any to seeke to himselfe another mediatour. For as much as he can do it most perfectly, because he lacketh none of the things that suffice to pacifie God, and to cause him to be mercifull vnto vs. Moreouer he loueth vs most dearely, and therefore is touched with pitie vpon our infirmities. He knoweth our prayers, presently when they be conceiued. He commandeth that wee should come vnto him, as often as we will craue any thing at the hands of God.

Finally he telleth vs for a suretie, that we shall ob­taine all the things which wee shall aske in his name, when he saith; Iohn. 16. 23 Verily, verily, I say vnto you, whatsoe­uer you shall aske of the Father he will giue it you: Hi­therto haue you asked nothing in my name: aske and you shall receiue. And in another place he saith: Iohn. 14. 13 what­soeuer you shall aske in my name, I will do it.

Theoph.

What meane these words, to aske any thing in the name of Christ?

Mat.

It is to pray God to heare our prayers, not in­deede hauing respect to our vnworthinesse, but to the merit that is continually offered to him of Christ Iesus for vs. Therfore to aske any thing of God in the name of Christ, is answerable to his intercession with the fa­ther for vs, and that more is an approbation or allow­ance of it, and the way to be partaker of it.

Theoph.

But ought the promise of Christ, wherein he assureth vs, that we shall receiue whatsoeuer we aske in his name, to be extended to all things that shall come into our minds, without putting any exception?

Matth.

Not so: For our desires for the most part be euill: which if they were fulfilled, would be to our de­struction rather then to our profit. Therefore Christ vnderstandeth onely those things which concerne the glory of God and our commoditie and saluation: all which things indeede he hath in few wordes compre­hended [Page 191] in that forme of prayer, which he hath giuē to vs; namely; Our father which art in heauen, &c.

The.

Must we therfore vse no other forme of prayer?

Mat.

If thou respect the matter or substance, we may vse no other: but it is in our libertie to enlarge it, whereof the holy Scripture yeeldeth vs many exāples, in those formes of prayer which it setteth before vs, namely the Psalmes which all verily be referred to this forme appointed by Christ.

The exposition of the Lords prayer.

Theoph.

Let vs examine the forme of prayer that Christ hath deliuered: how many parts be there of it?

Matth.

The summe and parts of the Lordes prayer. In the beginning it containeth a preface, and afterward six petitions. The first three whereof do im­mediatly respect the glory of God. But the later three containe those things that appertaine to our selues, both for the helpe of this life, and for euerlasting sal­uation. And they be therefore placed after those that concerne the glorie of God, to the end we might vn­derstand, that the later three be not rightly conceiued and made, vnlesse they be referred to the glory of God: as it were vnto their proper end: and that therefore they shall not be heard, according to the saying of the Apostle; You aske and receiue not, because you aske a­misse, Iames. 4. 3. that you might consume it vpon your lustes.

The Preface of the Lords prayer.

Our Father which art in heauen.
Theoph.

Let vs consider of the Preface of the Lordes prayer.

Matth.

It is contained in these wordes, Our Father which art in heauen.

Theoph.

Who is that Father, vnto whom Christ bid­deth vs to flie?

Mat.

It is the first person of the holy Trinitie, name­ly, the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ.

Theoph.

Is therefore one only person of the Trinitie to be prayed vnto?

Matth.

We must know, that in true prayer we are onely the instruments of God, who alone in that as in other good workes, worketh the things that concerne our saluation. But that is to be vnderstood of all the persons according to the distinct proprietie of euery of them. For the holy Ghost prayeth in vs, as appeareth by the saying of the Apostle; The spitit maketh request Rom. 8. 27. for the Saints according to the will of God. The Sonne offereth our prayer to the Father. This prayer the fa­ther receiueth and louingly heareth. Therefore law­full and true prayer is that which is made from the heart, the holy Ghost stirring vs vp, which also is directed to the Father in the name of Iesus Christ his Sonne. Indeede we haue an example in the holie Scriptures of a certaine prayer made to the Sonne, in the which this distinction of the persons is not obser­ued: namely in that which Steuen made while hee was stoned; Lord Iesus receiue my spirite. Howbeit Actes. 7. 59 this example, and if there be any such other, is not contrarie to the rule of right praying. But because we haue begun the exposition of the Lordes prayer, wee are to returne to the issue of the speech wee haue in hand: and it is this, that in this place we be taught, that our prayers must be directed to the father, which Paule testifieth that himselfe did in these wordes; I bow Ephes. 3. 14. my knees to the father of our Lord Iesus Christ. We may also pray vnto Christ, not onely as he is God, but also as he is the Mediator, that is, as he is one person consisting of two natures: yet so, as the deity be the ob­iect or the thing which we set before our eyes in pray­ing. Likewise also we may pray to the holy Ghost, distin­guished frō the other persons, who with the Father & the Sonne is very God. And indeede the godly that ex­ercise thēselues in such prayers, do a thing profitable & worthy to be done, so as they be not distracted with the deepe meditation of the distinction of the three per­sons, but alwayes haue their minds fixed & setled vpon the vnitie of the essence. This also is to be obserued, that the name of God is not seldome in the Scripture [Page 193] referred to the whole Godhead. And let these things bee spoken by the way. For, it is not my purpose at this time, to declare all things particularly that apper­taine vnto this place.

Theoph.

But why doeth Christ commaund vs, that comming to his Father, we should cal him by the name of our owne Father?

Matth.

Not onely that we should gather, seeing hee is the father of Christ, that he is also our father: but especially for three causes.

1 First, that we may call vpon him with true faith, that is, that we may beleeue that he which is our fa­ther, will not deny vnto vs the thinges which we shall aske of him, according to that saying of Christ; What Mat. 79. 10. 11. man is there of you, who if his sonne shall aske bread of him, will giue him a stone? and if he shall aske fish, will he giue him a serpent?

2 Another cause is, that wee might vnderstand (which hath beene alreadie saide of vs) that we ought not to draw near vnto God, but in the name of his na­turall sonne Iesus Christ. For in him alone wee are a­dopted and made his children.

3 The third, when we are commanded to call him our father in common, rather then particularly & pro­perly, my father, wee be taught that true charitie and brotherly loue towardes our neighbours is required of vs in praier: for as much as wee be all the children of the same father, & heires of one and the selfe same in­heritance. Whosoeuer therefore make not their pray­ers to God in the name of Iesus Christ, or doe carry priuy hatred or enmitie against their brethren, cannot pray to God with this forme of praier.

Theoph.

Why hath Christ added these words; which art in heauen?

Mat.

Not to signifie that his Maiesty is shut vp with­in heauen, which indeede as it is infinite, the whole world containeth not. But▪

1 That he may bee distinguished from our earthly fathers, and that together wee might vnderstand how [Page 194] much better he is then they, and more able to help vs. Therefore Christ said to his Disciples; If you therefore Mat. 7. 11. which are euill can giue good giftes to your children, how much more wil your father that is in heauen giue good things to them that aske them of him?

2 Secondly, those wordes were added, that comming to God, wee should lift vp our mindes a­boue all earthly and fraile things, how beautifull or goodly soeuer.

3 Finally, that we might earnestly and indeed ac­knowledge the incomprehensible greatnesse, the mar­uailous wisedome, and infinite power of him whom we pray vnto: which verily doe farre more clearly shine in the heauens, then in the earth, to the end we might worship him with the more reuerence, and rest vppon him with greater trust and assurance.

The first petition.

Hallowed be thy name.
Theoph.

Let vs come to the three petitions that res­pect the glory of God. Which is the first of them?

Matth.

It is contained in these wordes; Hallowed be thy name.

Theoph.

What is the meaning of it?

Mat.

The exposi­tion of the first petition We desire of God, that the knowledge of him may bee spread abroad throughout the whole world, that his name may be sanctified, that is, that all men may giue him his due honor.

Theoph.

Wherefore makest thou mention of the knowledge of God, which Christ mentioneth not in this petition?

Mat.

Because God cannot be truely hallowed and worshipped, except his knowledge go before. For we cannot worship nor praise him, of whom we be igno­rant, and whose excellency and power is vnknowen to vs. Hence is that saying of the Prophet; According to Psal. 48. 10 thy name (O God) so is thy praise vnto the worlds end.

Theoph.

Is not this hallowing of the name of God, the same with that whereof thou spakest in the exposi­tion [Page 195] of the third commandement?

Matth.

The very same: and therefore the expositi­on of that commandement, may be in stead of an ex­position to this petition, and shew how the name of God is to be hallowed.

The second petition.

Thy kingdome come.
Theoph.

Let vs passe ouer to the second petition.

Matth.

The exposi­tion of the 2. petition. It is this; Thy kingdome come. Now in it wee desire of God, that the knowledge of his Maiestie being giuen vnto men, he will cause all to be gathered in the Church. For in it hee raigneth by the scepter of his word, and by the power of his spirite.

Theoph.

That I may the more easily come to the true meaning of this petition, I doe first demaund of thee wherefore that rule and dominion which God exerci­seth ouer his Church, is called his kingdome: after I will aske thee, concerning the word, Come.

Mat.

That rule is called by the name of kingdome, for the likenesse it hath with earthly kingdomes.

Theoph.

Of the king­dome of God. Wherein standeth that likenesse?

Mat.

In foure heads or principall pointes, namelie because in the Church there be

1 One king.

2 Subiects.

3 Lawes.

4 Gouernors, who as in earthly kingdomes, haue the charge to see to the keeping of those lawes. For, in the Church there is one king, namelie Iesus Christ which of his father is appointed the Lord in it, to rule and gouern it, which is confirmed by the words of the Angell to Marie; The Lord God will giue vnto him the Luc. 1. 32. seat of his father Dauid: & he shal reign ouer the house of Iacob for euer, & there shalbe none end of his king­dome. Therfore the kingdome of God, & the kingdome of Christ, is one and the selfe same. The faithfull be the people of this kingdome, whom Christ hath redeemed with his death, & set free frō the tyranny of the deuill, [Page 196] that hee might deliuer them vp to his own kingdome, to become his subiects. The lawes of it, are the word of God, wherein all things be commanded and declared, that appertaine both to the humble seruice and obedience of that King, and to the concord of the Citizens or subiects. The officers which are special­ly occupied about this kingdome, are the ministers of the word, or pastors, vpon whom this charge is laide, that they preach the word, and see to the keeping of those lawes. Who also (as the Apostle speaketh) 2. Cor. 10. 6. haue in readinesse vengeance against all disobedience.

Theoph.

I haue heard the agreement of the kingdom of God with the kingdome of men: but I desire to vn­derstand the difference betweene them.

Matth.

1 First, all things in the kingdome of God are spirituall, namely the King himselfe, his glory, pow­er, subiects, lawes, reward, punishments of the re­bels. Hereupon Christ saide vnto Pilate; My king­dome Ioh. 18. 36. is not of this world.

2 Secondly, Christ requireth no such thing of his subiects, as earthlie Kings are wont to aske: but con­trariwise doth continually enrich them with his owne gifts and spirituall riches.

3 Thirdly, he maketh them all partakers of his kingly dignitie, which earthly kings cannot do.

4 Fourthly, he doth not only command, as other kings do, but giueth vs his owne spirite, which putteth power into vs, whereby we are made able to yeeld our hūble & dutiful obedience vnto his commandements.

Finally, all other kingdomes be subiect vnto altera­tion and change, but this kingdome is inuincible and shall endure vntill the last comming of Christ.

Such is the kingdome of God and of Christ, which indeede (as hath bene said) is not to be referred but to the rule, which he exercise ouer his beloued children, and those that be receiued into the Church.

Theoph.

Who therefore hath the rule ouer the vn­beleeuers and wicked?

Matth.

The Deuill: and for that cause, he is cal­led [Page 197] the Prince of this world; The king­dome of Sa­than. yet notwithstanding, the Lord hath the chief power both ouer the vnbeleuers, and ouer their Captaine, which by his just iudgement hath made them subiects to that vnbeleeuing tyrant, to the end they may bee vexed and tormented of him according to their deserts, for as much as they haue refused to obey Christ, that is a most louing and mer­cifull king. Moreouer, that kingdome of Sathan hath immortall hatred against the kingdome of Christ; the head (I say) of that kingdome, namely Sathan and his souldiers, whom he stirreth vp to make outward war against the kingdome of Christ, while he in the meane time assaulteth it within. For, both of them labour and striue with all their might, to spoile and sacke that kingdome of Christ. But they do it in vaine: for, how much the more furiously they seeke to ouerthrow it, so much the more do they helpe it forward: & at length pull vpon themselues extreme destruction.

Theoph.

We haue beene long inough in the exposi­tion of the kingdome of God, let vs go forward to the other member. What meaneth that word; Let it come, or let it approch?

Matt.

How the kingdome of God cō ­meth. The office of a good king standeth in two spe­ciall things.

1 First to rule his subiects, namely such as yeeld him fidelitie and obedience, to keepe in peace, defend, handle mercifully, and louingly, and redeeme them if they be taken captiues.

2 Secondly, to punish the rebels, and to destroy & throw down the enemies of his kingdom. When ther­fore wee desire of God that his kingdome may come, we do as if we prayed, that he would encrease the nū ­ber of beleeuers, enlarge his Church euerie day, more and more heape vppon it his giftes, and settle it with right order. And contrariwise, that he would cut off all the enemies of it, ouerthrow their counsels, destroy their purposes, & that the defēding of the Church may beeuery day encreased, til at lēgth it come to the high­est perfection. Howbeit that shal not be before the day [Page 198] of iudgement, at what time al his enemies being ouer­come, he shal make them his foote stoole. And then (as the Apostle saith) hee shall deliuer vp the kingdome to God the father, that is, he shall reigne quietly without 1. Cor. 15. 24. any rebelliō and resistance, & we shal liue peaceably in him, being deliuered frō al feare & trouble of enemies.

The third petition.

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heauen.
Theoph.

Let vs come to the third petition, being the last of them that respect the glorie of God.

Matth.

It is this: Thy will bee done in earth as it is in heauen. Wherein indeede wee do not simply desire of God, that his will may be done, the fulfilling where­of there is verely nothing that can let: but that he will so guide vs with his spirite, that we may be ready to do his will, reuealed vnto vs in his word, and that with no lesse desire then the heauenly Angels do. But concer­ning his secret will, we desire that if when it is done, a­ny aduersities befall vs, namelie losse of goods, hinde­rance, afflictions, whether they concerne the soule or the bodie, we may beare them all patiently as sent frō his hand, and so obey his will, that ours may whollie and altogether giue place vnto it.

Theoph.

Indeed he were happie, that after this man­ner should conforme himselfe to the will of God.

Mat.

Yea surely, because he might worthily glorie in this, that God did nothing but that which hee wil­led, seeing that he willed no other thing but that which was acceptable and pleasing vnto God. And assuredlie there be many things that call vs vnto that. For, if God our heauenly Father be wiser then we (which all men do confesse) it is not to bee doubted, but hee knoweth what we haue neede of better then our selues, and that therefore by good right wee ought to preferre his holy and good will before our owne, which is wicked and corrupt: yea rather often like vnto children, wee know not what we would haue. For many times wee change our purposes, and forthwith or a little after, we disalow [Page 199] that, which a little before was very greatly alowed of vs. For this cause the Lord without any respect of our will or intents, as a good father sendeth those things, which he knoweth to be necessarie for vs, both for his owne glorie, and for our profite and saluation, which indeede are to be receiued with a quiet and thankfull Of Christian patience. minde as from his hand, vnlesse we meane to be mise­rable for euer, which we shall neuer escape, so long as we cleaue to our owne will.

Theoph.

I haue long since laboured to performe this, but as yet I haue not attained it: but especially I finde by experience, that the vse of this doctrine is most hard, when any great trouble commeth, whether it be of bodie or minde.

Matth.

It is not only hard, but verily cannot be ge­nerally brought to practise, especially if respect be had of our owne flesh, which maruelously pleaseth it selfe in the owne will and affections, and seeketh for no­thing else but delights and pleasures. For this cause, in this place Christ teacheth vs to desire it of his Father: but Iames assureth, Iam. 1. 5. that wee shall receiue it, so as wee aske it in faith; If any of you lacke wisedome, let him aske it of God, which giueth it liberally vnto all, and casteth no man in the teeth, and it shall be giuen vnto him. But let him aske in faith, not doubting.

Theoph.

In that place Iames speaketh of wisedome, but we speake of patience.

Mat.

There is no doubt, but by the word wisdome, he vnderstandeth patience, wherevnto he had exhor­ted the faithfull in the former verse, in these wordes; Let patience haue the perfect worke, that you may be perfect and intire, so as nothing be wanting.

But because we cannot doe it of our selues, here he sheweth by what meanes wee may haue it from God, when he saith; if any man lacke wisdome, let him aske it of God, which giueth it to all men liberally.

Theoph.

But what is the cause, that hee calleth pati­ence by the name of wisedome?

Matth.

To the end wee might vnderstand, that a [Page 200] mans chief wisedome standeth therein, that in his ad­uersities & troubles he patiently submit himselfe to the will of God: but on the contrary side, that it is the ex­treamest foolishnesse and madnes, if any dare resist & set himselfe against it. For what good doth he by it? Can he change the will of God? No verily. Nay rather hee maketh his own case worse, as well with inward griefe that tormenteth him, as also because hee pulleth the wrath of God vpon himselfe. For by our stubburnnesse he is compelled to lay more grieuous punishments v­pon vs. On the other side, by our patience he is moo­ued vnto pitie, so as he turneth our afflictiōs into kind­nesse, and doing vs good: euen as good parents are wont, when they perceiue, that their children bee brought into good order by their corrections.

Theoph.

I see it is a thing profitable and necessarie: howbeit, I thinke that the meditation of the things which thou declaredst (when wee spake of afflictions) do make not a little for this purpose.

Matth.

Thou iudgest rightly. For in that place ma­ny things were deliuered of vs, which may worke com­fort, and that not common in the heartes of the faith­full. Neuerthelesse, I will adde vnto them two other besides, as an ouerplus.

1 First, when we be ouerladen with troubles, the euils which we suffer are not so much to be cōsidered, as those which wee haue deserued, and yet notwith­standing be not laide vpon vs. Furthermore, wee must thinke vppon the good things wherewith the Lord la­deth vs on the other side: and so indeed we shall find, that God dealeth most mercifully, euen in the middest of our troubles, if they bee examined according to the greatnesse of our sinnes.

2 Secondly, that wee are not to looke vpon them onely, which in outward shew be a little happier then wee, and whom we see to be exempted from the trou­bles wherewith we are grieued: but vpon infinite and innumerable others, which are in farre greater mise­ries, then are those that we suffer, whose sins notwith­standing [Page 201] are not so great as ours.

Theoph.

I do very much reioyce that I haue heard these two things, for I will daily make vse of them, as occasion shall serue.

Matth.

Thou speakest wisely, when thou addest the word, daily. For the Lord our master, that we should not forget this doctrine so profitable, is wont often­times to beat it into our heads, by sending of troubles, wherein we might practise it. And verily we ought to be well acquainted with it, seeing we are so often exer­cised in it.

Theoph.

But I for my part do find it true, by daily ex­perience, that I am very little exercised in it. Neuer­thelesse, I hope, that by the grace of God, I shall profit better in it thē heretofore I haue done: especially, see­ing now I know the way, how I may doe it, namely, to craue it of God by daily prayers, and continually to haue in mind, the things which thou hast sayd. But now, for as much as I haue heard the meaning of this third petition, which is the last of those that concerne the glorie of God, let vs go forward to the rest. But be­fore I come to the three following, which intreate of our own profit and saluation, I would haue thee to de­clare the order of these petions, and with it, how fitly they be ioyned together.

Matth.

The cohe­rence & sum of the three former peri­tions of the Lordes prayer. These former agree together most excel­lently, for as much as they be of the same kind. For, after that we are made partakers of the knowledge of God, by the which wee are moued to enter into his kingdome, that is, into his Church, it is meete and conuenient, that this should be desired of vs, that wee may bee informed and taught the obedience of his will, whereunto the ministerie of the Church calleth vs daily.

Finally, in these three petitions, we desire of God, to giue men such knowledge of his Maiestie, as they may willingly submit themselues to his kingdome and rule, and from their hearts obey his pleasure, and so be glo­rified of them, and in them.

The fourth petition.

Giue vs this day, our daily bread.
Theoph.

We are to come to the three last petitions of the Lordes prayer, wherein we sayd those things were The summe of the last three peti­tions. contained, which concerne both our soule and body.

Mat.

True: For the first of them comprehendeth the things that be necessarie, to the passing through or fi­nishing of this life: but the other two, those that apper­taine to our saluation.

Theoph.

Recite therefore the first.

Matth.

Giue vs this day our daily bread.

Theoph.

What is the meaning of it?

Matth.

To the end we may serue God according to our calling, in this petition we desire of him, to giue vs our daily bread, that is, that euery day he would mini­ster The exposi­tion of the fourth peti­tion. vnto vs those things that be necessarie for this life: for al those be cōprehēded vnder the name of bread, as of a thing most necessarie. Howbeit, this is to be noted, that (while we aske of God our daily bread) we doe al­so desire all such things as be requisite and necessarie, that we may eate it quietly.

Therefore this petition generally containeth what­soeuer may be desired to liue quietly in this world. Ne­uerthelesse, we ought to depend and hang vpon the pleasure of our heauenly Father; For he will giue vs such things, as he shall know to be profitable, as well for his owne glorie, as for our saluation. And here­upon it may be gathered, why he would haue bread on­ly asked by vs, namely, that we might know, that bread ought to suffice vs, if the Lord shall see it good, to giue vs no other thing to nourish vs.

Theoph.

There doe fiue principall points come into my mind, cōcerning this thy exposition of daily bread, whereof I will aske thee.

1 The first wherof is this, why we pray to haue dai­ly bread giuen vs, seeing we are commanded to pro­uide vs by our honest labour, such things as be neces­sarie for this life.

Mat.

Because our labour shallbe to no purpose, ex­cept the blessing of God be added vnto it; euen as the Psalmist expresly teacheth.

Theoph.

point 2 Wherefore are we commāded to craue that bread, which we call our?

Matth.

The word our was added for two causes; The first, that we might vnderstand, that that bread is promised of God, and therefore is by good right cal­led ours, and so might certainly know, that it cannot be denied vnto vs. The other, to the end we might re­member, that that bread is to be prouided by lawfull meanes and wayes, & such as be allowed of God, but not by theft or deceit; For otherwise we eate not our own bread, but another mans, receiued not from God, but from the deuill.

Theoph.

point 3 The third point followeth: why are these wordes added; This day, and daily?

Matth.

That we might altogether, and wholy de­pend vpon the prouidence of God, so as we should not be carefull for things to come, as if we did distrust, but be content with those that be necessarie for our pre­sent neede, with this hope, that the Lord will prouide for the morrow.

Theoph.

point 4 I come to the fourth point: How well a­greeth it, that they which haue plentie of things, and whose barnes and store houses be ful, should aske their daily bread?

Matth.

Because we must hold it for a certaintie and truth, that bread of it selfe cannot nourish, except the blessing of God be added: For sometime rich men are seene worne and pined away with leannesse. For this cause Moses saith; Man liueth not by bread onely, but by euery word that cōmeth out of the mouth of God. In which wordes, the Prophet doth also signifie this, that the power of God doth not so cleaue vnto bread, that hee cannot nourish vs without it, as oft as shall please him. Whereof he gaue the Israelites a singular proofe, whom he fed in the wildernesse by the space of fortie yeares without bread.

Theoph.

point 5 The last point is behind. Why doth Christ command vs to pray for bread in common, in these wordes; Giue vs our bread, rather then priuately, after this manner; Giue me my bread.

Matth.

To the end we might know, that we are to pray for it, not for our selues alone, but also for our neighbours, of whose profit and commoditie Christian charitie requireth, that we should be no lesse carefull then of our owne. Moreouer, by this manner of pray­ing, we are more & more assured, that we shall obtaine the bread which we pray for. For as much as the whole Church doth not onely craue it with vs, but also for vs: euen as we also do craue the same both with it, and for it. For we are all the sonnes of one & the same Father, euen as we are taught in the beginning of this prayer, while we say in cōmon; Our father. For the same cause also, the two petitions following bee deliuered in the same forme of wordes: Namely; Forgiue vs our tres­passes, and leade vs not into tentation. Howbeit, they containe all the things that appertaine to the heauen­ly life, euen as this containeth those which be necessa­rie for this present life.

Theoph.

Wherefore are the things that concerne our saluation, contained in two petitions?

Matth.

Because our saluation standeth vpon two parts. The first; that we be reconciled vnto God; and this we desire in the fift petition, which intreateth of the forgiuenesse of our sinnes. The other, that being reconciled vnto him by the forgiuenesse of sinnes, wee be kept in his loue and obedience, so as we obey him, being mindfull of that infinite benefite which he hath bestowed vpon vs.

The fift petition.

Forgiue vs our trespasses, as we forgiue them that trespasse against vs.
Theoph.

The two last petitions do remaine to be con­fidered of vs: Let vs therefore first come to the fift, What is the meaning of it?

Matth.

Because we be all miserable sinners, by rea­son whereof the Lord is iustly angry with vs, yea rather is so long angry, as our sinnes shall before him be layd vnto our charge, in this petitiō we pray, that for his in­finite mercies sake he will forgiue them all, to the end that for the time to come hee may fauour vs being at one with vs, namely by the forgiuenesse of our sinnes.

Theoph.

But why do we craue of God to forgiue vs our sinnes, for the which Christ hath most fully satis­fied: seeing there is no place for forgiuenesse, where sa­tisfaction is made?

Mat.

If the satisfaction were of our selues, this were indeede true, but seeing it is by Christ, which is freely giuen vs of his father, forgiuenesse agreeth necessarily with it. And verily it is as if a man condemned in some summe of money were to be cast into prison, vntill he had payd the whole summe, and yet were not able to do it. Whō if the Prince meant to pleasure without any hinderance of the law, and should freely giue him that wherein he was to haue bin fined, should he not haue done as much, as if he had forgiuen the offence? He should indeede. But this similitude is most fit: For as much as in this petition our sinnes be called debtes, to the end we might vnderstand, that by them we are no lesse debters vnto God, then if a mā were in great debt vnto another, & yet had not wherof to pay any thing at all. With this similitude agreeth also that, that is writtē of Paul; Putting out the hand-writing that was against Col. 2. 14. vs, which was contrary vnto vs, he euen tooke it away, and fastned it vpon the Crosse. In which words he tea­cheth, that Christ hath most fully satisfied for our sins.

Theoph.

The more diligentlie I consider the mysterie of our redemption, so much the more commeth to my remembrance, the infinite maruellous wisedome of God, which by a way altogether wonderfull, hath knit or ioyned together his perfect iustice with his perfect mercy, and that as well to his owne glory, as to our sal­uation and benefite.

Mat.

True indeed. But if thou do with a litle more [Page 206] diligence marke that way, thou shalt find three things which the reason of man could neuer haue deuised, and which out of Christ are found no where else, for the auoyding of the punishment due for our sinnes: and they be these: That we should our selues pay our debts vnto God: or else seeke another, which is both able to pay them, and also doth acquite vs of them: or that God himselfe should forgiue vs whatsoeuer we be in­debted vnto him.

Theoph.

I would haue these things declared by thee a little more largely.

Matth.

First therefore I will shew, that these three cannot any where be found, sauing in Christ, And veri­ly whatsoeuer men can imagine, they shall neuer find in themselues wherewith to satisfie God. Who also (as the Apostle saith) Rom. 11. 32 hath shut all vnder sinne, that he might haue mercy vpon all.

Neither shall they find any creature in heauen or in earth sufficient to doe this office. But if they flie vnto God his mercy, to obtaine forgiuenesse of their sinnes, his perfect iustice will be a let, which requireth to be fully satisfied.

Theoph.

Let vs now see, how God hath ioyned these three things together in Christ, to reconcile his ex­ceeding great mercy with his most perfect righteous­nesse, vnto our saluation.

Matth.

Being made one with Christ by faith, and therefore also partakers of his goods, wee our selues pay all our debtes vnto God, and that of the riches of Christ, which are truely made ours. And by this meanes the perfect iustice of God is fully satisfied, which indeed requireth this, that he which oweth the debt should pay it. Neuerthelesse another hath payd it for vs, namely Christ, who alone hath drunke vp the cup of God his wrath, (and as the Apostle saith) hath 1. Pet. 2. 24 borne our sinnes in his body vpon the tree. And there­in most manifestly appeareth the great mercy of God, that gaue his most dearely beloued Sonne for vs his enemies vnto a most shamefull death.

[Page 207]

Finnally, because he that hath satisfied the heauen­ly Father for vs, is his dearely beloued Sonne, & euer­lasting God with the Father, freely giuen vnto vs; the continuall forgiuenesse of sinnes (as hath bin sayd) is ioyned with his satisfaction, and that doth especially make stedfast and sure his immeasurable mercy.

Theoph.

Verily a notable discourse, and very full of comfort. Let vs now returne to the exposition of our petition: Why is this clause added in the end: as we for­giue them that trespasse against vs?

Matth.

That is according to the promise made vs of the forgiuenesse of our sins, vpō this condition, that we forgiue them that hurt vs. And Christ would haue it expresly mentioned; because he knew how hardly we forgiue others their trespasses. Therefore in this clause he calleth vs to remember that wee shall not obtaine forgiuenesse of our sinnes at the hands of God, except we also forgiue our neighbours their offences. Here­upon is that threatning of God by the Prophet against the Israelites; When you shall stretch out your hands, Isay. 1. 15. I will hide mine eyes from you, although you make many prayers I will not heare you: for your hands are full of bloud.

Theoph.

Therefore this manner of speech doth not appoint an equalitie, as if God forgaue vs so much, as we shall forgiue.

Mat.

No, not so: For, our forgiuenesse euen as we our selues be imperfect, is alwayes imperfect, and sa­uoureth of the vncleannesse of our flesh: whereupon it commeth to passe, that euen in them that are most re­generated, notwithstanding they doe vnfainedly for­giue as God requireth, and desire no reuenge, yea ra­ther be ready to do good vnto such as haue hurt them, and do daily pray for them: yet there remaineth some bitternesse, so as we do not embrace them with that af­fection of heart, which we would haue embraced them with, if we had alwayes beene well pleased with them, which if God should do, we were in very ill case.

Therefore this is the meaning of this petition; ô [Page 108] Lord according to thy promise forgiue vs our sinnes fully and perfectly, as the most perfect God. For as much as we as most imperfect men according to thy commandement haue bene fauorable vnto them that haue hurt vs.

Theoph.

In what place are this commandement and promise?

Matth.

They be presently added by Christ after this prayer in these wordes; If you forgiue men their offen­ces, Mat. 6. 14. your heauenly Father will also forgiue you. But if you shall not forgiue men their offences, neither will your Father forgiue you your offences.

Theoph.

I grant it is very right, that we should doe those things to our neighbours, which we desire to be done to ourselues. And so that God doth most worthi­ly denie them forgiuenesse, that will not forgiue their neighbours.

Matth.

True: especially seeing our sinnes against God whereof we craue pardon, are farre more grie­uous, and farre more in number then are they which our neighbours can euer commit against vs. And this doth Christ plainly teach, in an excellent parable, whē he saith; Mat. 18. 23 The kingdome of heauen is like vnto a king, which would demand an account of his seruants. And when he began to recken, there was one brought vnto him which ought ten thousand Talents. And when he was not able to pay it, his Lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife and children, and all he had, and the debt to be payd. The seruant therefore fell downe and besought him, saying; Master, appease thine anger to­wardes me, and I will pay thee all. Then that seruants master had compassion vpon him, and loosed him, and forgaue him the debt: but when the seruant was depar­ted, hee found one of his followes that ought him an hundreth pence, and he layd hands vpon him, & tooke him by the throat, saying, pay me that thou owest. Thē his fellow fell downe at his feete, and besought him, saying, appease thine anger towards me, and I will pay thee all: yet he would not, but went & cast him into pri­son, [Page 209] till he should paie the debt. And when his other fellowes saw what was done, they were verie sory, and came and declared vnto their maister all that was done. Then his maister called him, and said vnto him: O euill seruant, I forgaue thee all that debt, because thou prayedst me: oughtest not thou also to haue had pitie vppon thy fellow, euen as I had pitie on thee? So his maister was wroth, and deliuered him vnto the Iaylers, till hee should pay all that was due vnto him. So likewise (saieth Christ) shall mine heauenly Father do vnto you, except ye forgiue from your hearts each one to their brother their trespasses.

The sixt petition.

And leade vs not into temptation, but deliuer vs from euill.
Theoph.

The last petition is behinde.

Mat.

The exposi­tion of the last petition Hauing obtained forgiuenesse of sinnes, we de­sire of the Lord to be present with vs, that wee fall not againe into them, when we say, lead vs not into temp­tation, but deliuer vs from euill. For, this wee pray, that he will not giue vs ouer into the power of the de­uill, to be ouercome of him in temptation as we haue deserued: but contrariwise, that he would strengthen vs against the assaults and deadly subtleties of so great an enemy, that so daily more and more we may apply our selues to amendment of life, and obey him.

Theoph.

When therefore God leadeth men into tēp­tation, doth he not stirre them vp to euill?

Matth.

Not so. For that is altogether vnworthy of his Maiesty, and is contrary to his diuine nature.

Iam. 1. 13. For this cause Iames saieth; Let no man when hee is tempted, say, he is tempted of God. For God can­not be tempted with euils, neither doth he tempt any man. But euery one is tempted, while he is drawen a­side and snared of his owne concupiscence.

Therefore as God defendeth the faithfull with his mercie, neither suffereth them to be deceiued or ma­stered of the Diuell, to be ouercome of sinne: so on the [Page 210] contrarie side, such as he meaneth to punish, hee deli­uereth ouer to the Diuell as to a tormentor, to bee o­uercome & vanquished of him in temptation. In which sense the Apostle saieth, that they which glorifie not Rom. 1. 14. God, are giuen vp to the lustes of their owne hearts. Which neuerthelesse hee doth without any allowance of sinne, as hath beene saide in his place.

Theoph.

So far as I see, God punisheth sins with sins.

Matth.

Yea verily: but by a way diuerse from that whereof I spake, when wee entreated of afflictions: In which place wee saide, that God sometimes stir­reth vp one, which committeth that sinne against vs, which wee our selues had committed against another: an example whereof wee haue in Dauid. He had de­filed the wife of Vriah, the Lord raised vp his sonne Absolom, to defile his fathers Concubines. But of all the temptatiōs sent of God, that is the most grieuous, when God deliuereth men vp to the deuill, to bee o­uercome of him in temptation. For then hee giueth them ouer into a reprobate sense, that when they haue heaped sinnes vppon sinnes, they may at length runne headlong into eternall destruction, except the Lord (which sometimes he doth) by his mightie hand stay the course of that downe fall.

Theoph.

What meaneth the conclusion added to this prayer, For thine is the kingdome, the power and glo­rie, for euer and euer. Amen?

Mat.

It containeth the cause for the which we craue all the former things, namely for that they concerne his kingdome, power, and glorie. For, by the first three his kingome is made manifest, and by the last three his power is exercised; whereuppon followeth the in­crease of his glorie. Therefore this conclusion is ad­ded, The exposi­tion of the conclusion. that wee may with more boldnesse come vnto God, and craue of him the things wee haue spoken of, who onely is able to giue them vnto vs: and that with greater assurance we might beleeue that wee shall ob­taine them; For as much as while he bestoweth them vpon vs, he declareth himselfe to bee a most mightie [Page 211] king, whereuppon followeth his owne glorie.

Theoph.

I can not sufficiently maruaile at this a­bridgement or breuiarie of prayer, as also the two for­mer, namely of faith and the law, seeing that in so few words, and in so exact order, they containe such hard things, and so excellent doctrine.

Matth.

Thou doest indeede not without cause mar­uaile at them: For in them shineth the wonderfull wis­dome of God, and they doe verie well agree together amōg themselues, in that order wherein we haue pro­pounded them. For faith teacheth vs al things that are Faith. to be beleeued vnto our saluation: and I set it in the first place, as it were the foundation of the rest. But the The Law. law concerning al things that he required to the yeel­ding of obedience vnto God, followeth in most excel­lent order, as the fruit and witnesse of faith. Finally in Prayer. the last place commeth prayer, because of our selues we cā neither beleeue, or do any thing that is pleasing vnto God; by the which we be taught, by what means we may obtaine both at his hands. And in these is con­tained the summe of all Christian doctrine.

Theoph.

Before I go to any other thing, I wil aske thee two questions concerning the doctrine of prayer.

1 First, prayer seemeth to be vnprofitable, seeing we can by it obtaine nothing at the hands of God, be­sides that which he hath already determined in his vn­changeable prouidence to giue vs: neither doeth hee cease to giue it, although we pray not.

2 Secondly it seemeth superfluous, that we should pray vnto God to shew him what things we haue need of, for as much as he knoweth them better then our selues: Now it is thy part to answere to the former, which concerneth the prouidence of God.

Matth.

Whether the proui­dence of God should keepe vs frō prayer. They bee much deceiued which for this cause abstaine from prayer: for the prouidence of God taketh not away second causes, such as prayer is, yea, rather it doth stablish and strengthen them, for God vseth them as instruments, for the performance of that which he had appointed before. But I remem­ber [Page 212] a storie, which if I bee not deceiued, will bring light vnto this question. A certaine noble man well furnished with horses, and armour went to warre. Now it fell out that hee tooke his iourney by the house of a verie faithfull Pastor of the Church knowen to him long before. This man gaue not ouer to warne him, to be diligent in prayer, by the which he might mooue the Lord to fauour his enterprises. He straight waie reasoneth concerning the prouidence of God, as if he should haue sayde, that God had already determined of all things that should come to passe: and therefore that his decree could not bee changed by his prayers. That good minister aunswered; I would therefore ad­uise thee, to send away thy horses and thine armour as things vnprofitable, for as much as the issue of warre dependeth vppon the prouidence of God, so as no other thing can come to passe, besides that which he determined. The souldier answered, that such as went to warre could not without rashnesse lay aside their armour, because they were instruments, by the which God is woont to giue the victorie to such as it seemed good vnto him. The same also might I say of praier (saith the Minister) by the which the Lord vseth to giue vs the things that be necessarie, as well for the vse of this life, as for euerlasting saluation, and there­fore that it was no lesse rashnesse, to neglect it vnder the pretence of Gods prouidence, especially seeing it is in so manie places commended of God with innu­merable promises made vnto those that did often ex­ercise themselues in it: and the sonne of God himselfe had giuen vs an example thereof, who also doth com­mād that we should pray without ceasing. By the which answer that Noble was man not a litle edified.

Theoph.

I may confesse the same of my selfe: Fur­thermore I do acknowledge, that hitherto I did ne­uer know the answere of this question so clearely, as I haue vnderstood it by this comparisō of armor, which indeed I thinke most fit to bring light vnto this doubt. And verily in the meane time it doth not a little agree [Page 213] vnto prayer: For prayer is vnto vs in stead of spirituall weapons, by the which wee may fight against and o­uercome our spirituall enemies, the deuill, the flesh and sinne. Hithervnto is referred the saying of Paul; Rom. 15. 30 I beseech you brethren for our Lord Iesus Christes sake, and the loue of the spirite, that yee would striue with mee by your prayers to God for me. Moreouer, this reason ought to take place in all the affaires of men, the euent and issue whereof notwithstanding it depend and hang vppon Gods prouidence, yet are not humane meanes to be neglected, which the Lord mi­nistreth vnto vs to doe them by: otherwise God is tempted and despised. Let vs come to the other que­stion, what needes it to craue of God by prayer things necessarie, seeing that he knoweth them farre better then we our selues?

Mat.

That it is necessary to pray to God although he know better then our selues what is expedient for vs. Notwithstanding he would that we should ob­taine them by daily prayers;

1 First, that we may be kept in some feare and re­uerence by this outward adoration and worship, by the which also hee meaneth to exercise vs continually in thankefulnesse, that we may so much the more ac­knowledge him to be the fountaine of all good things.

2 Secondly, he doth the more declare his loue to­wards vs, when hee doth so farre abase himselfe that hee vouchsafeth to heare our complaints one after an other peculiarly, that he may prouide for them, so much as he shall know to bee conuenient. And by this meanes hee enflameth vs to the loue of himselfe, and causeth vs to put all our hope and confidence in him.

3 Thirdly, by that familiar commoning or talking with him, he meaneth to make vs wel acquainted with his excellent maiestie, that we may bee bold to flie to him the more freely in all our necessities, as vnto our most mercifull father.

4 Last of all, he doth this, that wee may more and more confesse, that whatsoeuer good thing we haue, commeth from him alone, that wee should giue him thankes, and vse it to his owne glorie. For if hee gaue [Page 214] vs good things vnasked, we should easily beleue either that they were from our selues, or else that they came to vs by chance.

Theoph.

While thou shewest me the cause, while the Lord would haue vs to obtaine by prayer the thinges that he hath determined to giue vs, thou hast by the same labour declared the excellencie and worthinesse of it. For I perceiue that by it, almost the whole first table of the Law is fulfilled.

Mat.

Thou iudgest right. For by it, God is acknow­ledged with the mind, worshipped with the bodie, and sanctified and hallowed with the mouth.

Therefore also he requireth prayer of vs as his es­peciall worship, and among all the good thinges that he bestoweth vppon vs, it is the greatest: forasmuch as by it, wee may haue accesse to his Maiestie, so often as we please. For, that good heauenly Father suffereth vs comming to him familiarly, and laying open our wants to him, euen as we might do with some familiar friend of ours. Moreouer, as the lawfull vse of prayer is very acceptable to God, and most profitable for our selues: so on the contrarie side, there is nothing more displeasing vnto God, and that doth more prouoke his wrath, then the abuse of it.

Theoph.

What is that abuse?

Mat.

It may be referred to sixe heads.

1 First, when we make our prayers to any others, What cor­ruptions Sa­than hath brought in­to prayer. or vnto himselfe in any other name, but in the name of Christ. And in this Idolaters do offend, that flie to An­gels, or to the Saints receiued into heauen.

2 Secondly, when the power of God is tied to some certaine prayers, which superstitious persons do, that number their prayers, who also haue certain set forms of praying, which they thinke vnlawful to exceede.

3 Thirdly, when God is prayed to, onely with the mouth, the heart in the meane time being verie farre off, by the which sinne, the Maiesty of God is indeede shamefully despised. But therein they are especially deceiued, that pray in a strange tongue they vnder­stand [Page 215] not: For, it is impossible that our mind should at­tend vpon the things which we vnderstand not.

4 Fourthly, when anie prayeth vnto God with a vaine opinion of his owne righteousnesse, so as he is no whit touched with the true sence & feeling of his owne miserie. And therein hypocrites, and iusticiaries doe offend; of which number that proud Pharisie was, who in praying, gaue thankes to God that he was not like other men.

5 Fiftly, when anie impenitent person, or that tra­uelleth not to amend his life, prayeth: and this is the most common sinne of prayer, and vsuall also with them, which otherwise bragge of the profession of the Gospell. Who notwithstanding they auoided the foure former faults, yet are not free from this prophaning of the name of God, but do most of all fall into the con­tempt of it.

Theoph.

How?

Mat.

Doest thou aske? Is not this to contemne his maiestie, when they pray to God that his name may be hallowed, which they do defile and vnhallow in their blasphemies and great othes?

That his kingdome may come, when they make a scorne of the ministerie of the Church?

That his will may be done: which they do euery day set them selues against, and that more is, be in a great fume, if any thing fall out besides their owne will?

Craue daylie bread, which they get by vnlawfull meanes?

That hee will forgiue them their sinnes as they for­giue their neighbours; in the meane time pursue them with deadly hatred, that haue done them wrong, and worke them all euils and mischiefe?

That he will not leade them into temptation: but in the meane while purposely seeke vanities and allure­ments of the world, whereinto they may be led?

Theophilus.

But it may bee obiected, that none but meere prophane persons, do the things that be against this prayer.

Matth.

I graunt: But if a man be against it it in one onely point, hee doth no lesse mocke God; for, that cannot spring from any where else, saue from the con­tempt of his most holy Maiesty, so as hee do it knowing it, and willingly.

Iam. 2. 10. Therefore Iames saieth; Whosoeuer keepeth the whole Law, and yet faileth in one point, is guilty of all. For, euen as if one of the vitall parts, wherein the life is in a mans bodie, bee hurt, it bringeth death vnto a man, although all the other be well. So falleth he into destruction, that applieth himself to some good works, and abstaineth from many sinnes; neuerthelesse in the meane time, he continueth in one sinne, and flattereth himselfe in it, and repenteth not.

Theoph.

But thou vnderstandest not this, of the sins which oftentimes through the infirmity of our flesh, be committed of vs.

Matth.

These things bee vnderstood, neither of o­ther, nor of these sinnes, so as there be repentance and a desire to amend; for then all be forgiuen by the mer­cy of God in Christ.

Theoph.

The sixt and last fault in prayer is behinde.

Matth.

When a man prayeth without faith, that is, without assurance of being heard, and it is as it were the effect, and that which hangeth vppon the former fiue. Neuerthelesse, this is a most grieuous sinne, for that distrust must needes arise from this, that wee be­leeue that God either cannot, or will not performe the things wee pray for, or else that hee heareth not our prayers, which verily cannot come into the minde of any man, but hee denieth either his power, or his goodnesse, or his Godhead.

Iam. 1. 6. For this cause Iames saieth, that euerie one should pray with faith and wauer not: for he that wauereth, is like a waue of the sea, tost of the winde, and carried away; neither let that man thinke, that he shall ob­taine any thing of God. Christ also saieth; Whatso­euer Mat. 21. 22 you shall aske in prayer, if you beleeue, you shall receiue it.

Theoph.

But why doest thou call this fault the effect of the former?

Matth.

Because faith cannot be with idolatrie, nor with superstition, nor with prophanesse, nor with hypo­crisie. But especially, if there be an euill conscience: for euen the faithfull themselues find it true by expe­rience in themselues, that they cannot assure them­selues that God is mercifull to them to heare their prayers, if through infirmitie they fall into any sinne, till they be reconciled to him by true repētance. I her­fore, faith is as it were the soule of true prayer, for it comprehendeth all the conditions of it. Moreouer, as by it God is glorified, so also it is alwaies heard of him. But cōtrariwise, as the fained is despised, so he not on­ly neuer heareth it, but doth also contemne it, & most grieuously reuengeth the makers of it, as those of whō his most holy name is prophaned.

Theoph.

This morning thy discourse of good works, did not a litle delight me, but this our disputation of prayer, hath very greatly edified and comforted me. And by it in summe I haue learned these things.

1 How we ought to pray: namely, that our prayers be directed vnto God from the heart: but yet so, that we be touched with the right feeling of our own pouer­tie and miserie, & with true repentance of our sinnes.

2 Secondly, what is to be asked at the hands of God, namely the things that concerne his glorie, and our owne saluation and profit.

3 Finally, by what meanes we shall obtaine them: euē if they be asked of vs with faith in the nake of our Lord Iesus Christ. But I beseech God our heauenly Fa­ther, that the prayers that shall be made of vs, may be free from all those euill conditions which thou hast reckened vp, that he himselfe may so much the more be glorified by them, and we dayly haue experience of the effect of them: so as,

He may comfort vs in our aduersities.

Helpe our necessities.

Succour our infirmities.

[Page 218]

Bring helpe to our weakenesse.

And strengthen vs in his loue and feare.

And finally, confirme vs in the hope of euerlasting life, through Iesus Christ his Sonne our most beloued Lord.

Matth.

So be it.

But now the chiefe points of Christian Religion haue bene declared by vs, and I hope by the grace of God, that they which are behind shall be handled to morrow. In the meane time, I pray God to giue thee good night.

Theoph.

And I do also pray the same for thee.

The end of the second Booke.

THE THIRD BOOKE OF Christian Religion: intreating of the outward meanes, by the which God bringeth vs to saluation.

CHAP. I. Of the ministerie of the word, by the which the holy Ghost begetteth faith in our hearts, kee­peth and increaseth it.

Theophilus.

GOd saue thee most dearely beloued and reuerend brother.

Matth.

God saue thee also, most louing Theophilus.

Theoph.

Shall it not be trouble­some to thee, for vs to returne to the disputation we brake off, and to assay to bring it to an end?

Matth.

Nay rather (Theophilus) it shall be a most plea­sant thing vnto me. Neuerthelesse, before we come to [Page 219] the matter, I pray God, that as hitherto he hath beene with vs, he will also be with vs hereafter to the end.

Theoph.

So be it. I will in few words repeate our for­mer discourse, that the things which haue bin handled already, may be ioyned with those that follow.

1 First, hitherto hath beene handled the chiefe A briefe re­hearsall of the former bookes. grounds of our saluation, namely the perfect iustice of God, and the deadly sicknesse of mans sinne.

2 Secondly, the most perfect remedie of it, euen Iesus Christ.

3 Furthermore, the applying of this remedie vnto vs by faith, by the which we recouer spirituall health, that is, we are iustified before God, in so much as we are made partakers of eternall life.

4 And last of all faith, which is wrought in out hearts by the holy Ghost that regenerateth vs, toge­ther with repentance, from whence good workes doe flow: which indeed be testimonies of our faith, but espe­cially prayer. Therefore this one thing remaineth that The summe of the third Booke. we vnderstād by what meanes the holy Ghost doth re­generate or renew vs.

Mat.

Peter affirmeth, 1. Pet. 1. that we are begotten againe, not of corruptible seede, but of incorruptible, by the word of the liuing God. And therefore we doe by good right say, that by it the holy Ghost begetteth in vs, both faith and repentance.

Theoph.

When hath the word of God that force?

Mat.

When it is preached of such as haue a lawfull calling vnto it. For Paule saith: How shall they be­leeue in him of whom they haue not heard? How ther­fore Rom. 10. 13 without preaching? but how shall they preach ex­cept they be sent? Out of which words he draweth this conclusion; Therefore faith is by hearing, and hearing Rom. 10. 17 by the word of God.

Theoph.

There be therefore diuers degrees or steps of our saluation. For it is plaine by that which hath bin said, that we cannot obtaine it;

1 But we must be reconciled with God.

2 But wee cannot be reconciled to God, without [Page 220] Christ.

3 Christ without faith we can neuer haue. Lo here three degrees, and now thou addest the fourth.

4 That we cannot haue faith without the prea­ching of the word.

Mat.

Of the word preached & rec [...]ed by faith. So it is: whosoeuer therefore despise the prea­ching of the word of God (which is in respect of vs the first step of our saluation) do despise & contemne their owne saluation. For the Apostle saith; 1. Cor. 1. 21. After that the world in the wisedome of God knew not God by his wisedome, (that is by the frame and workemanship of this world, by the which God maketh manifest his ex­ceeding power and wisedome) it pleased God by foo­lish preaching to saue beleeuers.

Theoph.

Why calleth he preaching foolish, which in the former verse he had so highly extolled?

Mat.

He doth that according to the opinion of men, of whō for the most part it is despised, no otherwise, thē if it were foolinesse: notwithstanding he teacheth, that with God it is the greatest wisdome vnto those of whō it is receiued & entertained with due reuerence: which Christ cōfirmeth when he saith; Mat. 13. 44 The kingdome of hea­uen is like a treasure hidden in the field, which when a man found, he hid it, and for ioy he hath of it, he goeth aside and selleth all he hath, and buieth that field.

Theo.

But in those parables, Christ intreateth not of the preaching of the word, but of the kingdome of hea­uen, which indeed he saith is like vnto sundry things.

Matth.

It is not to be doubted, but that by the name of the kingdome of heauen, hee doth vnderstand the preaching of the word: and this is easily gathered euen out of the former parables wherein he speaketh of the seede; for in them by the interpretation of Christ him­selfe, the preaching of the word is meant.

Theoph.

Why is the preaching of the word called of Christ by the name of the kingdome of heauen?

Matth.

To the end he might shew, that it is as it were a key, by the which the gate of the kingdome of hea­uen is opened vnto vs. Which thing in another place [Page 221] he confirmeth, when he calleth the ministerie of the word, the keyes of the kingdome of heauen.Mat. 16. 19

Theop.

Now do I desire to heare of thee what Christ meaneth by those parables of the treasure hidden in the field, and of that precious pearle, to the purchasing whereof, he counselleth vs to sell all we haue.

Matth.

This is his mind, that the ministerie of the word far excelleth all earthly riches, and that therfore it is to bee preferred before all our goods, yea rather that they ought all to bee forsaken, then to suffer our selues to be depriued of it.

A most pro­fitable ad­monition to such as heare the preching of the word. In the meane time notwithstanding, we must dili­gently take heed of two extremities, whereunto Sathan laboureth all he can to throw vs, that he may take from vs the fruite which we are to reape of the preaching of the word. The one is the contempt of him which prea­cheth the word. The other when we attribute or giue vnto him more then is right.

Theoph.

What discommoditie haue we by the former extremitie?

Mat.

That we haue no fruit of his preaching, whose person wee despise. For the contempt of the doctrine doth necessarily follow the contempt of his person. For this cause Paul meaning to cōmend Pastors in respect of the excellencie of their office, applyeth vnto them this saying of Esay; Isa. 52. 7. Rom. 10. How beautiful are the feet of them that preach peace, and bring tidings of good things.

Theoph.

What discommoditie ariseth of the other extremitie?

Mat.

When too much is ascribed to the person of him which preacheth the word, it followeth, that the force of preaching is attributed vnto his person. And there­fore when that is yeelded to men that is due vnto God, men spoile thēselues of the fruit of the ministerie. Now that is that wherein in former times the Corinthians offended, when one sayd; 1. Cor. 1. 12. I am Paules; I am Apolloes; I am Cephas his; and I am Christes: which mischiefe that the Apostle might remedie, he beateth downe the persons of the Ministers in these words; 1. Cor. 3. 5. Who then is [Page 222] Paul, & who is Apollos, but the ministers by whom you haue beleeued? I haue planted, Apollo hath watered, but God hath giuen the increase. Therefore, saith he, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth, but god which giueth increase. For this cause the same Apostle saith; 2. Cor. 4. 7. God hath put the treasure of preaching in earthē vessels that the excellency of that power might be of God, & not of vs. That is to say, God for the most partsendeth ministers of abiect and base condition, that their excellencie should not darken the power, which he declareth by their ministerie.

Theoph.

Now do I see the inconueniences whereun-those two extremities doe carry vs, which that we may auoide, the meane must be held and kept, namely that we honour the Ministers for the preaching committed vnto them, & their preaching in respect of God, whose power is manifested by it.

Mat.

Thou iudgest rightly: For we must do as if a king should send vs some gift by the meanest of his seruāts: for we would entertaine him honorably, in cōsideratiō of the gift brought by him: but the gift it selfe we would receiue for the kings sake, from whom it was sent.

Theoph.

Let vs go forward. I desire that thou wouldest shew, what is the vse of preaching, after that the holy Ghost by it hath wrought in vs faith and repentance.

Matt.

What the vse of prea­ching is, af­ter we haue faith and re­pentance. That both may be preserued in vs, yea rather increased. For as a yong child after he is borne, stan­deth in need of nourishment, that life may be both pre­serued and increased: so he that is begotten a new by the seede of the word of God, must be fed by the same, that he may get strength, & spirituall increase, till saith the Apostle, we come to a perfect mā, and to the mea­sure Ephes. 4. 16. of the age of the fulnesse of Christ, that is, till we come to perfection it selfe, whither indeede we shall neuer come so long as we liue in this world.

Theoph.

Is not the reading of the word of God suffi­ciēt for these things, although there be no preaching?

Mat.

No not so: euen as the vse of meates is not suffi­cient to the nourishment of mans body, except they be [Page 223] dressed and prepared. For which cause verily, God when he would threaten an extreame punishment to his people, saith; Amos 8. 1 [...] Behold the daies come that I wil send a famine into the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst of water, but of hearing the word of God.

By the which words he meaneth, that we cannot be spiritually fed without preaching. Yet neuertheles the oftē reading of the word of God, bringeth no litle help to the preaching of it; For otherwise it should neuer haue beene so diligently commended of God.

Whereby it appeareth, that the holy Ghost, after it hath by the vncorrupt seed of the word of God, wrought in vs faith and repentance, confirmeth, and as it were nourisheth them, both by the preaching and reading of the same word, and by the vse of the Sacramentes, ordained of God for the ratifying and sealing of it.

Theoph.

We will therefore speake of the Sacraments when we haue handled two questions appertaining to the preaching of the word.

Of the cal­ling of the Ministers of the word. 1 The first is, concerning the calling of the Pa­stors, to whom the preaching is committed.

2 The other is, of the word that they are to preach.

I will therefore begin with the first: For what cause saidest thou, that the Pastors ought to be lawfully cal­led to preach that word?

Matth.

The cause is most euident. For euen as in a kingdome well ordered, there is no man which ought or may exercise any publick office but by the cōman­dement of the king: so none ought or can bee accomp­ted a true Pastor in the Church of God to preach his word, except he be by him called with a lawful calling.

For how can wee beleeue, that God ratifieth that which a mortall man doeth with vs, vnlesse it be first certainly known that he hath his commission frō him?

Theoph.

What is that lawfull vocation or calling?

Matth.

Vocation of Ministers two-fold. It is two-fold.

The one ordinary.

The other extraordinary.

Theoph.

What is that extraordinary calling?

Mat.

When any is called immediatly of God: such as was the calling of the Apostles.

Theoph.

What is the meaning of the word Apostle?

Mat.

It is a Greeke word, which signifieth sent, and they were called by that name, to declare their office: namely because they were sent of God by Christ, to preach the Gospell throughout the whole world.

Iohn 20. 21 Therefore Christ saide vnto them: As my father sent me, so doe I send you.

Theoph.

Why callest thou that calling extraordinary?

Mat.

Extraodina­rie calling. Because God vseth it extraordinarily, and that onely for a time, namely when the Churches are not yet setled and established: as in the time of Christ when the Gospell was scarse known to any mortal mā.

Theoph.

This therefore thou meanest, after the Churches be planted and setled, that ordinary calling should succeede the extraordinarie, to the end it may haue the place in them.

Mat.

Yea verily.

Theoph.

Let vs now therefore entreat of that ordina­ry calling, and first shew thou what it is.

Mat.

It is two-fold.

Ordinary calling. 1 Inward, and, 2 Outward.

Theoph.

What is the inward calling?

Matth.

That holy desire which any hath in the mini­sterie of the Church to serue the glorie of God, where­with he is mooued to prepare himselfe to the faithfull execution of that office, when he shalbe called there­unto with the outward calling.

Theoph.

What is that outward calling?

Mat.

The lawfull choise of a visible Church met to­gether in the name of Christ. For he hath promised that if but two or three bee gathered together in his name, to be presēt in the midst of them. After this ma­ner were the pastors of the primitiue church called to the ministery: & this is the true dore of Christs sheep­fold, wherof mention is made in Iohn, in these words; Verily verily I say vnto you, hee that entreth not in by Iohn 10. 1. the dore into the fold of the sheepe, but climeth vp a­nother [Page 225] way, is a theefe and a robber.

Theoph.

How manie things bee required, that the choise of the Church may be lawfull?

Mat.

3. thinges re­quired in the lawfull cal­ling of a mi­mister. Three, first, that there be a search & triall both of the conuersation, & also of the learning of him that is to be chosen. And this indeed is necessarily required in a minister, as Paul expresly warneth; Tit. 1. 7. A Bishop must be faultlesse, as Gods steward: not frowardly pleasing himselfe, not angry, nor giuen to wine, no striker, not couetous of filthy gaine, but giuen to hospitality, a lo­uer of those that are good, temperate, iust, holy, so­ber, holding fast that faithfull word which serueth to doctrine, that he may also be able to exhort with whol­some doctrine, and to conuince the gainesayers.

Theoph.

Is the office of a Bishop, the same with the office of a Pastor?

Matth.

Yea altogether. For when Paul calleth them by that name, they bee put in remembrance of their duety, as also by other names, by the which they bee called euerie where in the Scriptures, as Ministers, Shepheards, Elders.

Theoph

Let vs therefore weigh the signification, and reason of these names.

Mat.

Bishop. First of all, the name of Bishop which signifi­eth an espiall, or one that watcheth; admonisheth thē that are called to the ministerie of the Church, to watch, and to haue their eyes alwaies set vppon the flocke committed to their charge, that it be not cor­rupted either with ill manners, or with false doctrine.

Minister. Secondlie, they are called Ministers or seruants of Iesus Christ, that they may vnderstand, that they serue not men but God, and therefore ought with the more diligence to apply themselues to the execu­tion of their function.

Shepheards. Thirdlie, they bee called Pastors or Shepheards, to put them in remembrance that the flocke of Christ is continually to be fed with the word of God, and to be looked vnto, that the diuell which is a rauening wolfe enter not into it.

[Page 226]

Finally, they be called Seniors, Elders or Ancients. Elders. to declare the grauitie of manners, wherewith it is fit they should be beautified, so as they may be free from all lightnesse and vanitie, which for the most part is v­suall in young yeares.

Theoph.

Therefore these sundrie names, are not to­kens of any degrees or dignitie.

Matth.

No, not so: For Christ heretofore comman­ded this to his Disciples striuing among themselues for the primacie or chiefty, that he which would be the chiefe among them, should bee seruant to all. Which indeede was not spoken for their sakes alone, but is set forth as a rule to all Ministers of the Church.

Theoph.

Thou hast now declared vnto me that first condition of the lawfull calling of Ministers: I pray thee go on to the other.

Matth.

Another is this, that men come not to it by any corruptions or giftes, but that it be free, so as they that haue the power to chuse, haue onely the glorie of God, and the edification of his Church be­fore their eyes.

Thirdly, that he which is chosen haue a Church ap­pointed vnto him for the executiō of his office, whose dutie it is to looke vnto it diligently and carefully.

Theoph.

If it fall out that hee which is chosen, doe forsake his calling, is he to bee accompted a Pastor or Minister?

Mat.

No verily, vnlesse peraduenture his health en­force him vnto it. For otherwise hee is as worthie the name of a Shepheard, as hee that hath layd aside all keeping and care of the flocke.

Theoph.

Is it lawfull for him that is called to the Mi­nisterie of the Church, to leaue off that calling to take another?

Matth.

It is not lawfull, vnlesse it be vpon some ve­ry speciall knowen and approued occasion: For the A­postle witnesseth, that a necessitie lyeth vppon him to 1. Cor. 9. 16. preach the Gospell, which is once called to the mini­sterie of the Church: wo vnto him (saieth hee) if he [Page 227] preach not the Gospell.

Theoph.

Thou hast verely reckned vp worthie condi­tions, which whosoeuer hath, is indeed to be accōpted a Pastor or Shepheard in the flocke of Christ, namely

1 That he feele within himselfe an inward calling.

2 Be of good conuersation.

3 Of sound doctrine.

4 Apt to teach.

5 Be lawfully chosen of the Church.

6 And finally perform his office diligently toward the flocke committed to his charge. Personall succession. Howbeit thou makest no mention of personall succession from the A­postles time, without which notwithstanding manie thinke that the calling is voide and of none effect.

Matth.

I doe grant indeede, that Apostolicall suc­cession is required, to the end any may be lawfully cal­led to the Ministerie of the Church: which neuerthe­lesse is to bee vnderstood of the doctrine of the Apo­stles, not of their persons. For euen as heretofore Mat­thias succeeded Iudas: that is a holy seruant of God a traytor: so also it hath fallen oftētimes, that Iudas suc­ceeded Matthias, that is schismatickes and heretickes succeeded the most faithfull seruants of Christ. More­ouer there is no testimonie in all the Scripture, by the which it can be proued, that that personal succession is required as necessarie to the calling of the Ministers. This indeed is true, if there be both, the calling there­by hath the more authoritie, as it was in that which they call the primitiue Church: for in it the personall succession was ioyned with the truth of doctrine. But when the truth of doctrine is ouerthrown, then perso­nall succession is nothing else but a visard, which Satan vseth to blindfold the eyes of men, to the end hee may keepe them in errour. Therefore, when it commeth so to passe, as it is now in the Church of Rome, what madnesse is it, to desire that the election and calling of Ministers to preach the doctrine of Christ and his Apostles, should hang vppon their person and will, that bewray themselues to bee his open enemies, and [Page 228] whose calling if it were examined by the former rule expressed in the word of God, should be found to bee voide and nothing worth?

Theoph.

I desire thee in few words to declare vnto me those points, wherein the trueth of Christian do­ctrine is ouerthrowen in the Papacy.

Matth.

A short re­hearsall of Popish im­pieties. It standeth chiefly in two heads and princi­pall things.

The first, is in that the sincere and true worship of God is defiled with innumerable superstitions, yea with Idolatrie. The other in that which respecteth the benefite of Christ, which indeede is ouerthrown, with the doctrine.

1 Of free will.

2 Of iustification by workes.

3 Of the merit of workes.

4 Of the intercession of Saints.

5 Of the Popes supremacy.

6 Of the workes of supererogation.

7 Of Pardons.

8 Of Purgatorie fire.

Of which wicked opinions, the Masse was at length framed of them.

Theoph.

The first fiue of these haue already bene de­clared by thee: but the sixt, namely of workes of super­erogation, I scarse vnderstand what it meaneth. I would therefore haue thee shew it me briefly.

Mat.

Workes of supereroga­tion. To supererogat in Latine signifieth so much, as in the businesse of another mā to lay out a greater sum then we receiued of him, by means wherof he is made bebter vnto vs.

But these mē dreame, that men maie do more good works then God hath commanded: and those accor­ding to this similitude, they call workes of supereroga­tion, signifying that in respect of them they accompt God to be in their debt; then which doctrine, what is there more monster like? for any to beleeue, that a mortall man can binde his creator vnto him, to whom notwithstanding, whatsoeuer good thing hee is able at [Page 229] any time to performe, that all he is indebted & boūd to do, according as hath bene shewed of vs in the chapter Workes. But what a mischiefe is it, that a great part of these works of supererogation, is nothing els but idola­trie or superstitiō, such as be religious pilgrimages, mo­nasticall life, & such other of that kind, wherewith God is euen offended? Wherfore seeing they haue set them selues against his will, the Lord is not onely nothing in their debt: but contrariwise, they are so much the more holden guiltie before his iudgement seate.

Theoph.

Popish par­dons. Verily till now I knew not that opinion, as neither the other concerning pardons, which I desire thee to declare vnto me.

Matth.

It is no lesse absurd then that, forasmuch as it hangeth vpon it. Howbeit, these doctrines do leane and stay them selues, vpon two most impious and vngodly foundations.

1 First because they thinke that Christ by his death hath satisfied, not for the punishment, but for the fault onely of those sinnes which are committed of vs after baptisme: and therefore that we our selues must [...]atis­fie for it, either in this life, or in purgatorie fire, till it be fully payd.

2 Or else that one drop of Christs bloud was suffi­cient for our redemption. And that whatsoeuer he suf­fered besides, which is indeed an infinite merit, is layd vp in the treasurie of the Church, together with the in­numerable workes of supererogation wrought by hee-Saints and she-Saints, for the which God is indebted vnto them. Of this treasure (say they) the Pope is the disposer and steward, whereof he giueth to such as he seeth good, that is, to such as pay money. That gift they call indulgences or pardons, because they serue to re­mit or lessen somewhat of the punishment, to be other­wise suffered in Purgatorie fire.

As often therefore as the Pope by his indulgences granteth, ten, twentie, or an hundred yeares of pardon, this he meaneth, that so much is diminished of the time of that punishment, which wee had deserued for [Page 230] full satisfaction to be suffered for our sins, either in this life, or in the life to come. Yea they say further (such is the height of their impiety) that these pardons do pro­fit the dead, namely such as be in the fire of Purgatory; in somuch, as that if the Pope would seriously and in earnest, draw foorth that his treasure of Pardons, he could (say they) empty it, and send the soules tormen­ted in Purgatory the right way into the heauens.

Theoph.

Why therefore doth he it not, according to the patterne of that Pardon, the Vicar wherof he saith that he is vpon the earth?

Mat.

Least that Purgatorie fire should be altoge­ther put out, by the which the Church of Rome hath gotten so great riches as it now aboundeth with.

Theo.

I do verily see, that vpō good cause it was sayd of thee, that the truth of doctrine is vtterly ouerthrowē in the Church of Rome. For these two points which thou hast euē now spokē of, do almost altogether abo­lish and take away the grace of God, and benefite of Christ. Let vs now go forward to the rest: concerning the first part of this point, namely the lawfull calling of Ministers, I require no more. Let vs speake of the o­ther, namely of the word of God which they are to preach How many principall parts be there of it?

Matth.

Two: the Law, and the Gospel.

Theoph.

What vnderstandest thou by the name of the Law?

Matth.

The Law. That doctrine, by which is taught what is to be done to obey God; which indeede is contained in the ten commandements, lately expounded of vs.

Theoph.

But what is the Gospell?

Matth.

The Gospel. The word of it selfe signifieth good tidings: but in this place it is taken for that doctrine, which cō ­taineth the promise of for giuenesse of sinnes, & euer­lasting life, made vnto vs of God in the word by his sonne. And it is called good tidings, because it is the most excellent message of all that can be brought.

Theoph.

To what end must the law be preached?

Math.

That men by the knowledge of their sinnes [Page 231] may bee brought to Christ, and to repentance and a­mendment of life. For therefore God gaue it, as wee haue said in his place.

Theoph.

Whereunto is the preaching of the Gospell to be referred?

Matth.

That the penitent may be assured of the for­giuenesse of sinnes, and the enioying of eternall life. For this cause Christ saith; Luc. 24. 46. that so hee ought to haue suffered, and rise againe the third day: and that in his name, repentance and forgiuenesse of sinnes should be preached vnto all nations. But he saith expresly in his name, because as well repentance, as the forgiue­nesse of sinnes, haue their ground and foundation in the force of his death and resurrection, without the which we can neither repent, nor obtaine forgiuenesse of sinnes, as it hath also beene said in his place.

Theoph.

What is the cause that Christ maketh men­tion of repenetance before the forgiuenesse of sinnes?

Mat.

Not indeed to teach that repentance goeth be­fore forgiuenesse of sins, forasmuch as this rather go­eth before that; for no man can repent, except his sins being pardoned, the holy Ghost be giuen him, by the helpe whereof he may repent: but to teach the Mini­sters, that the doctrine of remission of sins, is not to be applied but to the penitent: seeing that faith, by the which wee are made partakers of Christ and his bene­fites, maketh it selfe apparant and to bee seene by re­pentance, which also was shewed in the proper place.

Theoph.

The agree­ment and disagreemēt of the Law and Gospell. Seeing repentance is to bee preached with remission of sinnes, it followeth, that the morall law is not contrarie to the Gospell of Grace.

Matth.

Neither is it indeed contrarie, but in respect of them which seeke their saluation, either in the whole or in part by their good workes: for the Apostle saith; Gal. 5. 4. As many of you as bee iustified by the law, are made voide of Christ, and are fallen from grace.

But in respect of the faithfull, who know that their saluation dependeth vpon the onely mercy of God in Christ, there is a good agreement betweene the law & [Page 232] the Gospell. For the Law sheweth vs sinne, & the dam­nation that we haue puld vpon our selues by it, and so it leadeth vs to the Gospell, by the which sinne is put away, and we be discharged of condemnation.

Secondly, the law sheweth what is to be done: but the Gospell by the spirite of regeneration, ministreth vnto vs power, both to will and to do.

Theoph.

Seeing there is so good a consent betweene the Law and the Gospell, wherefore doth Paule say; You are not vnder the Law, but vnder grace? for it see­meth he would say thus much; that the Law is aboli­shed Rom. 6. 14. and taken away by the Gospell of grace.

Matth.

And indeed he vnderstandeth it of the abo­lishing of the Law by the Gospel; but only concerning How the law is takē away. the condemnation and curse of it▪ as he himselfe in an­other place expoundeth in these wordes; Christ hath redeemed vs from the curse of the Law, when hee was Gal. 3. 13. made a curse for vs. Howbeit, concerning the vse of it, it is no way abolished: for Christ him selfe saith; Mat. 5. 17. I came not to take away the Lawe, but to fulfill it. Which also the Apostle confirmeth in the Epistle to the Romanes: for after that he had taught, that wee are iustified not by the Law, but by faith in Iesus Christ, he presently ad­deth; Do we therefore make the Law voyde through faith, God forbid: yea rather we establish the law. And indeed, why should that most excellent benefite which the Gospell yeeldeth vnto vs, discharge vs from wor­shipping and seruing of God? by the which we are ra­ther to be stirred vp to giue it vnto him more & more.

Theoph.

Is the Lawe therefore neuer to be separated from the Gospell?

Mat.

The law ne­uer to be se­parated frō the Gospell. The one indeed is to be distinguished frō the other, that we cōfound not the mercy of God with our workes, which they do corruptly, that will mingle the righteousnesse of faith, with the righteousnesse of the Law, that is to say, heauen with the earth: neuerthe­lesse, they are not to be separated, neither yet to bee preached a part.

Theoph.

But Christ sending foorth his Apostles to [Page 233] preach the Gospell throughout the whole world, ma­keth mētion only of the Gospel: for he saith; Mat. 16. 15 Go preach the Gospell to euery creature.

Mat.

The word Gospell set by it selfe, comprehēdeth also vnder it the doctrine of repentance, and therefore the law, no lesse then the doctrine of remission of sins. Which indeede is plaine, by the place of Luke alledged euen now, who expoundeth these wordes of Marke his words be these, Luc. 24. 46. Christ ought to suffer, & in his name re­pentance & forgiuenesse of sinnes to be preached. A right ma­ner of prea­ching. It is therfore the dutie of ministers, in their sermons by the preaching of the law, to bring men to the true know­ledge and feeling of their sinnes, & to ioyne therewith the threatnings denounced against the breakers of the law, and to exhort them to true repentance and a­mendement of life. Then they ought to set before them the forgiuenesse of sinnes, from the doctrine of the Go­spell of grace But cōtrariwise, they ought to propound wrath, and the iust iudgement of God, against the dis­obedient & stubburne, except they conuert & repent. The keyes of the Church. And these indeede be the keyes of the Church, which Christ had promised to Peter, and in him to the other Apostles, and to all Pastors: which also after his resur­rection he deliuered to his Apostles, whē he sent them to preach the Gospell throughout the whole world.

Theoph.

But why did he then promise those keyes to Peter alone, which neuerthelesse as thou sayest, he meant to giue to the other Apostles also?

Matth.

Because then he spake to Peter onely. But as a little before, Peter not onely in his own name, but al­so in the name of all the rest of the Apostles, which had that one faith, had confessed that Iesus was the Christ, and the sonne of the liuing God: in like manner when Christ promised the keyes to Peter, hee meant that they were also promised to the rest of the Apostles, which hee doth sufficiently declare in the deliuerie of thē, for he saith to all at once; Receiue the holy Ghost. Whose sins you remit, they be remitted to thē: whose sinnes you retaine, they be retained. I same also did [Page 234] the other Apostles, and all Pastors confirme, when ex­ercising their ministerie, they vsed those keyes.

Theoph.

Wherefore doth Christ call the ministerie of Pastors by the name of keyes?

Matth.

To the end we might vnderstand, that the kingdome of heauē (as we haue declared before) is by the ministery of the Church, set open to the beleeuers and penitent, and that it is shut against the vnbelee­uers and stubburne, namely when as by it the former haue their sinnes forgiuen, that so they may come to eternall life: but to the other they be retained, that so they may be shut from it. For God doth ratifie that in heauē, which the Ministers vpon earth pronounce out of his word, euē as it appeareth by the words of Christ himselfe vnto Peter: for after promise of the keyes, presently hee addeth; Whatsoeuer thou shalt bind in Mat. 16. 19 earth, shalbe bound in heauen: and whatsoeuer thou shalt loose on earth, shalbe loosed in heauen. And the selfe same thing he repeated after to all the Apostles, to shew that they had like authoritie of binding & loo­sing, giuen to them with Peter.

Theoph.

Therfore to bind & loose, is nothing else but to declare the remission of sinnes, or to retaine them.

Matth.

What it is to bind and loose. Indeede nothing, as it is plaine by the inter­pretation of Christ himselfe: for he sayd to his Apostles in the place which euen now we recited; Receiue the holy Ghost: whose sinnes yee remit, they be remitted vnto them: whose sinnes you shall retaine they shall be retained. For there is no harder bond then sinne, forasmuch as being bound with it, we be held, and indeed willingly, vnder the power and tyrannie of the deuill & death, and it cannot be loosed by any strength of man, but by the onely might of Christ.

Theoph.

Why then doth Christ commit the office of binding and loosing to the ministers, seeing he himself alone, hath the power of binding and loosing?

Mat.

It is, that we may vnderstād, that the Ministers be as it were Ambassadors, & proclaimers of the will of God, which Paule teacheth in these words; 1. Cor. 5. 19 God was in [Page 235] Christ, reconciling the world to himselfe, not imputing to them their sinnes: and hath put in vs this word of re­conciliatiō. Therefore we are ambassadors in the name of Christ: as God by vs did exhort you, we entreat you in Christes stead to be reconciled to God.

Theoph.

I see not therefore that the Ministers haue more power of binding and loosing granted them, then any other priuate man. For there is none that may not assure the beleeuer and penitent of the forgiuenesse of his sinnes: contrariwise which may not set the iudge­ment of God before the vnbeleeuer and obstinate ex­cept he repēt. And that verily shalbe confirmed in hea­uen, as it was pronounced by that priuate person, for that is the will of God reuealed in his word.

Mat.

Of the au­thoritie of the Mini­sters of the Church. That is right indeed, but there is some speciall thing to be considered, in the promise of Christ made to the Ministers: namely that by his spirite he will giue more efficacie & force to their words, thē to the words of any priuate man, so as they shall by faith be receiued of the beleeuer, but shall terrifie the conscience of the vnbeleeuer, & set before his eyes the wrath & iudge­ment of God. For otherwise the name of the keyes of the kingdome of heauen, should falsely be giuen vnto the ministery of the Church: seeing, that we may enter into it, it is not inough that the doctrine of forgiuenesse of sins, beat our eares, but especially that it enter into our hearts, and be receiued of vs by faith & obedience. Whereunto is referred that saying of Paul; Neither my 1. Cor. 2. 4. speech, nor my preaching stood in the entising wordes of mans wisedome, but in the demonstration or eui­dence of spirituall power. For this cause also Isaiah cal­leth the preaching of the word, the arme of the Lord, Isay. 53. that is, the instrument, by the which he declareth his might and power, that he may bring vs to saluation.

Theoph.

I do see indeede, that the force and fruite of preaching the word of God is very great: For those three steps by the which wee obtaine spirituall health, wherof thou diddest entreate in the Chapter of Faith, are by it daily called to vse and practise.

Matth.

Thou iudgest right For first the law is prea­ched, that wee may acknowledge our deadly disease, namely sinne: Secondly the Gospell is preached, wher­in the sauing remedie is offered vnto vs in Christ.

Last of all, faith which is wrought in vs, and increa­sed by the preaching of the word, applieth that medi­cine vnto vs, so as we obtaine saluation, euen the full forgiuenesse of all our sinnes.

Theoph.

The article of remissiō of sins in the Creede, vnlesse I be deceiued, is therefore set after the article of the Church, to the end we might know, that it is of­fered vnto vs by the ministerie of it.

Mat.

It is indeede: and therefore there is no forgi­uenesse of sins, neither saluation without the Church; as in the floud there was no safetie out of the Arke of Noah, wherein also at that time the Church of God was then shut vp, [...]hat being as it were a type of it.

Theoph.

Thou hast hitherto largely inough taught, that by the ministery of the word, we do truely obtaine forgiuenesse of our sinnes. Notwithstanding there be two things behind whereof I will aske thee, before we come to the other treatise.

1 First whether God do wholy (as they say) forgiue to the repentant all their sinnes?

2 Secondly, whether hee forgiue them perfectly, namely remitteth the punishment and the fault, so as they be not any more imputed vnto vs.

Mat.

Let vs speake of the former in the first place. Iohn saith, 1. Iohn. 1. 7. All sinnes be forgiuen to the penitent. that the bloud of Christ doth wash vs from all sinne. He that saith (all) excepteth nothing. Now re­pentance yeeldeth vnto vs a more certaine testimonie of our faith, by the which as hath beene sayd, wee be made partakers of Christ, and of his gifts. Whereupon it followeth, that whosoeuer repenteth may most cer­tainly determine, that all his sinnes notwithstanding they be grieuous, are forgiuen and done away. Which also is taught by the examples of that sinfull woman, and of the theefe.

Theoph.

But Christ saith, Math. 12. 32. that the sinne against the [Page 237] holy Ghost shall neuer be forgiuen.

Mat.

Of the sinne against the holy Ghost. He saith so indeed: But the Apostle to the He­brewes sheweth, Heb. 6. 4. that it is impossible that such as fal in­to it should be renewed by repentance: for that is the gift of God, granted to them onely, of whom he hath determined in Christ to haue mercy.

Theoph.

But what is that sin against the holy Ghost?

Mat.

These words: Against the holy Ghost: do suffi­ciently declare what it is: namely, whē any after that he hath by the holy Ghost beene lightned with the know­ledge of the truth of the Gospell, standeth against that truth, not for feare or through infirmitie, but vpon wil­full malice. For then wittingly & willingly he resisteth the holy Ghost, and maketh warre against him.

Theoph.

How knowest thou that this is the sinne a­gainst the holy Ghost?

Matth.

First, it may be gathered of that, which gaue our Sauiour Christ occasiō to speake of it: namely, that he might proue the Scribes and Pharisies to be guiltie of that horrible sin, who sayd, that the miracles which he did were wrought by the Deuill, whereof notwith­standing they were not ignorant that God was the au­thor, and Christ himselfe by most certaine arguments did declare. And his miracles they did maliciously dis­prayse in the hatred of his doctrine, which they percei­ued was manifestly confirmed by them. From thence therefore it is plaine, that they sinne against the holy Ghost, that vpon set malice stand against the knowen truth. Ad hereunto that by sundry places of the Scrip­ture it appeareth that euery other sinne is forgiuē, not excepting that which is against the doctrine of faith, so as it be done of ignorance, as it was with Paul when he persecuted the Church: or through infirmitie and weakenesse, as when Peter denied Christ.

Theoph.

It is verily a wonder, that so horrible wicked­nesse can enter into the minds of men, vpon purposed malice to striue against the knowen truth.

Matth.

It commeth to passe by the iust iudgement of God, vnto those that haue long and much despised [Page 238] and set light by his most precious gifts, namely his lo­uing kindnesse and mercie in Christ, the knowledge whereof notwithstanding he had vouchsafed them: & at length they be deliuered to the power of the Deuill, that by steps & degrees they may fall to that extreame and finall apostasie. And because they are by it become like vnto Sathan, namely, when vpon knowledge and willfull malice they resist the truth, they be no other­wise then himselfe depriued of all hope of saluation.

Theoph.

Let vs now come to the other question. Whē God forgiueth sinnes, whether doth he it perfectly so as he remitteth the punishment and the fault?

Mat.

Whether God remit­teth the punishment & the fault. As God is perfect, so doth he perfectly forgiue sins, so as he neuer remembreth thē, nor imputeth thē vnto vs. Fo so he saith euery where by his Prophets; Isay. 1. 18. Isay. 44. 12. Mich. 7. 19. If your sinnes were as crimson, they shall be made whiter then snow, if they were as red as scarlet, they shall be as woll. I haue put away thy trāsgressions as thick clouds, & thy sinnes as a mist. He will lay aside our iniquities, and cast all our sinnes into the bottome of the sea. Ps. 103. 12. As farre as the East is distant from the West, so far doth he remoue our sins from vs. Neither is this any maruell, for seeing the forgiuenesse of our sins is grounded vpō Christ, in whom they be fully punished, God should be vniust, if he required any thing further for them.

Theoph.

But wee reade that Dauid suffered many punishments, after that by the message of Nathan, he was certified of the forgiuenesse of his adulterie. An obiectiō against the doctrine of remitting the punish­mēt & fault. For the child that was borne vnto him of Bethsheba, died. Moreouer also his sonne Absolom was raised vp a­gainst him, which both made warre vpon him, and defiled his wiues. Which punishment was indeed de­nounced against him by the Prophet: whereupon it seemeth to follow, that God forgiueth the sinne, but retaineth the punishment.

Matth.

The answer to the obie­ction. This is the doctrine of the Romanists, from whence came the dreame of Pardōs & Purgatory fire, as hath before bene declared of vs. Neuerthelesse I am glad it is so come to passe, that we may fitly speake of it [Page 239] in this place. For I will shew that it is most absurd, in as much as it separateth those things, which of their own nature do wholly hang together. For if thou take away the fault, there is no place left for punishment, other­wise God should be vniust, if he should punish whom he accoūteth not faultie. Moreouer seeing Christ himself in his owne body suffered the punishments due to our sins, it is not to be doubted but that he hath discharged vs from the same: euen as Esay expresly affirmeth, in these wordes; Verily he hath borne our griefs, & hath Isa. 53. 4. caried our sorrowes, & we thought him strickē, woun­ded of God and humbled: but he was wounded for our iniquities, & broken for our sinnes. The chastisemēt of our peace was vpon him, and by his stripes we are hea­led. All we as sheepe haue gone astray, euery one hath turned to his owne way, and the Lord hath layd vpon him the iniquities of vs all. For this cause also Paule saith; Rom. 8. 1. That there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Iesus. Wherby it plainly appeareth, that God whē through Christ he forgiueth sins, doth no lesse re­mit the punishment of them, then the fault For other­wise our case were most miserable, yea rather euē now we were vtterly vndone, & the forgiuenesse of our sins is vnprofitable to vs, if the punishment be retained.

Theoph.

Why so?

Mat.

Because we be vnable to beare the burthen of it, for as much as it is infinit no lesse then the fault, for they be of the same nature.

Theo.

What thinkest thou of the afflictiōs which God sendeth vnto vs, euen after the forgiuenesse of sinnes?

Matth.

I say they be not sent to be punishments of sinnes: but to be vnto vs in stead of chastisements and corrections to humble vs, and that we may be the wi­ser after: for the Apostle saith; 1. Cor. 11. 32. When we are chastised, we are instructed of the Lord, that wee should not be condemned with the world.

Theoph.

Therefore the nature of afflictions be chan­ged, when as they be sent to the godly: for they be not punishments of sins to satisfie the iudgements of God.

Matth.

Thou sayest well & he same is to be thought of the infirmities of the body, which we know bee left vs, not to be punishments of sinnes, but an exercising of patience. The same also is to be sayd of death, which to vs is as a bridge, by the which we passe ouer vnto e­uerlasting life, and a way is made for the resurrection, which neuerthelesse of it owne nature is a punishment of sinne and putteth vs in mind of it. But it is not sent to the faithfull to call them to account for their sinnes, as it commeth to passe to the wicked.

Theoph.

Whether the declara­tion of Gods mercy giue men occasiō to continue in their sins. By the solution and answere of these questi­ons, me thinkes I vnderstand this, that by the ministe­ry of the Church, all sinnes of what kind soeuer be for­giuen to the penitent. Moreouer, that there is no other satisfaction for them required of God, besides the most precious bloud of Iesus Christ, by the which both the fault & punishment of them is wholly takē away, which doctrine doth indeede bring the greatest consolation. Howbeit before I make an end of this speech, I wil aske of thee, whether that indulgēce of God or easinesse to forgiue, ministreth vnto men occasion to flatter them­selues in their sinnes, and to continue in them?

Matth.

Yea rather cleane contrariwise: for the hope and assurance of obtaining pardon, doth stirre vp the godly, that they do not cloake or maintaine thēselues in their sinnes. Whereunto that saying of the Prophet is to be referred; With thee there is mercie, that thou Psal. 138. 4 mayest be feared. For from whence is obedience, but from loue? and againe, whence is loue, but from the knowledge and assurance of Gods goodnesse toward vs? Moreouer this doctrine of the forgiuenesse of sins, pertaineth not to any saue to the penitent. But con­cerning the rest, the Scripture denounceth to them the wrath & iudgement of God. Yea rather the Lord saith by the Prophet, that euen as hee will forget the Ezech. 3. 20 sinnes of him that repenteth, so he will not remember the righteousnesse of him that shall turne frō the right way. Whereupon it is plaine, that this doctrine doth not onely bring very great comfort to the faithfull, but [Page 241] also doth continually spurre them forward, to apply themselues to amendement of life.

CHAP. II. Of the Sacraments, ordeined of God to bee as it were seales of the word, that wee may with more assurance embrace the promises by Christ, reuealed in the word.

Theophilus.

HItherto we haue sufficiently spokē of [...]he ministery of the word. Now we are to come to the sacraments. And first declare vnto me, what Sacra­ments be.

Mat.

What Sa­craments be They be signes and Sacra­mentall rites, ordained of God in the Church, to bee adioyned to the preaching of the word, that the promises of Christ made in it, may be confirmed in vs more and more.

Theoph.

Why are those signes and Sacramētall rites called Sacraments?

Mat.

The ancient teachers of the Christian church, called them by this name, in respect of the affinity or nearenesse betweene them and a Sacrament, that is to say, that solemne oath, by the which souldiers bound themselues to the Emperour or chiefe Captaine.

Theoph.

Shew me that affinitie or agreement.

Mat.

First, as souldiers when they receiued their pay, bound themselues to the Emperour by solemne oath, to liue and die vnder his gouernment: so we when wee are partakers of the signs, which God hath appointed in his Church, by the which hee bestoweth vppon vs spirituall giftes, do binde our selues to him by the same oath. Moreouer, as souldiers when they tooke vp­on them this oath, receiued the Emperours badge, that by it they might shew themselues to be as it were [Page 242] addicted and giuen vnto him: so also we when we are publicklie partakers of the Sacramentes, which God hath instituted in his Church, do as it were take vpon vs the ensigne or armes of Christ, that it may be kno­wen we serue God, and professe true Religion.

Theoph.

I vnderstand the meaning of the word. Now we are to come to the thing it selfe. Thou saidest they were ordained of God, for the confirmation of the promise made of God through Christ in his word. What is that promise?

Matth.

It is expounded of Christ himselfe in these words; So God loued the world, that he gaue his onely Iohn. 3. 16. begotten Sonne, that whosoeuer beleeueth in him should not perish but haue life euerlasting.

The Sacraments therefore bee as it were visible pledges of the loue of God towards vs, by the which we are confirmed in it. But because that loue is groū ­ded in Christ alone, the Sacramentes represent vnto vs no other thing, but the vniō and fellowship [...] we haue with him and his giftes.

Theoph.

Of whom ought the Sacraments to bee ministred?

Matth.

Of whō the Sacraments ought to be ministred. Christ committed that office to them alone, to whom the preaching of the word is committed, without the which the Sacramentes ought not to bee ministred, for they be as seales of it.

Theoph.

There is therefore a verie great likenesse & agreement betweene the word and the Sacraments.

Matth.

Verie great. For by both of them God doth offer vnto vs Iesus Christ his sonne with all his giftes, and we are made partakers of them, if they bee not re­fused of vs by vnbeliefe. This is one difference, that the preaching of the word affecteth the hearing, but the Sacraments affect the other senses: whereuppon of a certaine father, they bee most fitly called, visible words: for they do present Christ and his benefits, as it were before our eies, and deliuer them into our hands, that our faith might bee confirmed by those sundrie meanes, we come so much the nearer vnto him, & feel [Page 243] the greater working of his spirite within vs.

Theoph.

What conditions bee required in the Sa­craments?

Matth.

Three, without which they cannot be truely Sacraments, but false.

Theoph.

What are those conditions?

Matth.

What con­ditions be required in Sacraments. First, that they be ordained of God.

2 Secondly, that there bee a commandement of God for vs to vse them.

3 Thirdly, that there be also a certaine promise, by the which it is assured, that we shall be partakers of the things that are represented by them.

Theoph.

Why saiest thou it is necessarie that they be ordained of God?

Matth.

The first cō ­dition. Because as there is none besides himselfe, which can assure vs of the loue he beareth towards vs in Christ: so is there not any man that may ordaine visible signes to confirme it. Moreouer in the instituti­on it selfe, there be three things to be noted.

1 The signes, and Sacramentall rites.

2 The spirituall and inuisible things signified by those signes.

The second condition. 3 The analogie or agreement of the signes with the things signified.

Theoph.

I doe acknowledge it to be necessarie, that Sacraments be ordained of God, but I desire to vn­derstand this, why this also is necessarie, that there should be a commandement of God, to vse them.

Matth.

Because nothing is to be done in the Church of God, except there be first the expresse commande­ment of God, who in it is Lord and maister: especially when the question is of things that concerne our sal­uation, such as the Sacraments be.

Theoph.

Why is it againe required, that there bee a promise added?

Mat.

The third condition: Because vnlesse there be a promise, the Sacra­ments shalbe vnprofitable vnto vs. Now that promise which on the behalfe of God, hath the effect, is as it were the soule of the Sacraments, whereupon all their [Page 244] force and efficacy dependeth, and not vppon the ho­linesse or worthinesse of him of whom they bee mini­stred, or vpon the vertue of some wordes pronounced. Therefore without that promise, the Sacraments shall be nothing else but vaine and fruitlesse ceremonies.

Theoph

Thinkest thou that the Sacraments if they be ministred of some wicked man and hipocrite, haue as much efficacie and force, as if they were ministred by some good man?

Mat.

I thinke it, so as on our part, we bring nothing to hinder it: as good seed if it finde good ground will beare fruit, notwithstāding it be sowen, of some naugh­ty Vpon whō dependeth the efficacy of the Sa­craments. The number of the Sacraments. and wicked man. For the vertue of it hangeth not v­pon the lower, as the Sacraments do not vpon the Mi­nister, but vppon the blessing and grace of God alone.

Theoph.

Let vs come to the number of the Sacra­ments. How many be there in the Christian church?

Mat.

Two, namely baptisme and the Lords supper.

Theoph.

Seeing they declare vnto vs one thing, euen as the word doth, namely the loue of God toward vs in Christ, what is the cause that they be two in nūber?

Matth.

Because by Baptisme God doeth witnesse, that we be receiued of him into couenant through the communion of Christ and his giftes: but by the sup­per hee assureth that wee are held and kept in, vntill we bee receiued into the heauenly life. And for this cause Baptisme is onely once ministred, but the Sup­per oftentimes.

Theoph

Declare this reason to me more at large.

Matth.

Yet to me it seemeth easie. For seeing Bap­tisme is the assured conueyance vnto vs of the coue­nant made with vs in Christ, if it should be iterated or vsed the second time, or oftner, it were all one, as if we said, that God had abrogated or disanulled the first couenant to ordaine or appoint another, which indeed is altogether contrary to the verie nature, truth, and constancy of God: For the Apostle saith; I am. 1. 17. With him there is no changing, or shadow of turning. But con­cerning the Supper, it is altogether required, both for [Page 245] edifying and for comfort, that it be oft repeated [...] [...] ­sed of vs, for asmuch as (such in the wea [...]nesse of [...] faith) wee do euery moment call into doubt whether God will continue in his loue toward vs, or no, especi­ally when we looke vnto our daily sinnes by the which we are indeed worthie to be excluded by [...] by this Sacrament, God would assure vs of hi [...] [...] the which he doth both offer & exhibit or giue Iesus christ vnto vs with his treasures, in whom alone as hath bin said, that couenant and loue hath the foundation.

Theoph.

Whether the Sacra­ments be necessary to saluation. I wil yet demand of thee one question gene­rally pertaining to the Sacraments, before wee begin the particular exposition of them both. Whether are they so necessarie to saluation, that no man can be sa­ued without partaking of them.

Matth.

It is a most absurd opinion of them, who think that God hath tyed his grace to the Sacramēts: for they be onely for this end ordained, that the grace and fauour yeelded vs before in Christ, should be con­firmed and ratified: therefore it was most excellentlie said of an ancient father; Bernard. epist. 77. That the wāt of Baptisme did not condemne, but the contempt of it.

Theoph.

But Christ saith; Mar. 16. 16 Whosoeuer beleeueth and is Baptised shall bee saued. Out of which words it see­meth may be gathered, that Christ determineth Bap­tisme to be necessarie to saluation, no lesse then faith: and that the same may bee concluded concerning the Supper, out of that which Christ himselfe said in ano­ther place; Iohn 6. 53. Verily, verily, I say vnto you, except you eat the flesh of the sonne of man, and drinke his bloud, you haue no life in you.

Matth.

In the first place I will answer to those things which thou saidest of Baptisme: whereof I say, that in that place Christ doth not set downe the necessitie of Baptisme, but rather, what is that true faith, by the which we are saued namely that it is not dead and hid­den, but liuely and declared by outward confession. In­somuch as the beleeuers be ioyned to the church, and be partakers of the preaching of the word, and admi­nistration [Page 246] of the Sacraments: wherunto that saying of Paul ought to be referred; We beleeue with the heart Rom. 10. 10 to righteousnesse, and confesse with the mouth to sal­uation. And that this is the minde of Christ, it is ga­thered by the member following: for he saith; But who­soeuer beleeueth not shall be condemned. For if this had bin his meaning, that no mā could haue bin saued without Baptisme, he would haue said thus; But who­soeuer shal not beleeue, or shall not be baptized, shalbe condemned. Seeing therefore he saith, that vnbeliefe is the cause of condēnation, by the contrary he meaneth that faith is sufficient to saluation, which hee himselfe oftentimes cōfirmeth, when he saith; Iohn. 3. 36. & 5. 24. & 6. 4. He that beleeueth in the son, hath life euerlasting: but hee that beleeueth not in the sonne, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth vpon him. Concerning the other place of ea­ting the flesh of Christ, and drinking his bloud, he doth not there entreat particularly of the Supper, but gene­rally of the vnion that we ought to haue with his body: which indeed is altogether necessarie vnto saluatiō, as hath bin shewed of vs in the first booke. But that vnion is wrought no lesse by the word receiued by faith, then by the Sacraments, as it hath beene said already.

CHAP. III. Of Baptisme: by the which God testifieth that we are receiued into couenant of him, whiles hee doth communicate Christ Iesus vnto vs toge­ther with his benefites.

Theophilus.

NOw wee are to weigh those two Sa­craments each by it selfe, and in both, those three conditions are to bee searched out, that are required to make them truely Sacraments. Let vs therefore begin with Bap­tisme: [Page 247] what is the institution of it?

Mat.

The institu­tion of Bap­tisme. First indeed it was instituted of God, by the mi­nistery of Iohn Baptist, which thereupō had his name. Afterward it was dedicated and sanctisied of Christ in his own body, when he would be baptized of him, and when he commanded the Apostles to baptize.

Theoph.

Let vs see those three things which thou saidest were required in the lawfull institution of a Sa­crament, namely:

1 The signe and sacramentall rites.

2 The signification of them.

3 The likenesse and agreement betweene both.

Matth.

The signe. The signe of this Sacrament is water, which signifieth the bloud of Christ, that is, the force of his death, because it hath that effectuall working in clean­sing our soules from the filthinesse of sinne, which ma­teriall water hath in clensing our bodies. Thereupon this Sacrament hath the name of Baptisme, for it signi­fieth washing. Now thou hast the signe.

The sacra­mentall rite. But the sacramentall rite is, that he which is to bee baptized, be sprinckled with water, or dipped in it, which was vsed in formet times, and by it two thinges were signified vnto vs.

1 First, that our soules are sprinkled with the bloud of Christ, that is, bee indeed partakers of the merite of his death, by the which we obtaine full forgiuenesse of all our sinnes.

2 Secondly, that we be regenerated into a new life. Therefore Baptisme of Paule is called the lauer of re­generation: by the which wordes those two giftes of God, that we haue by Baptisme are excellently noted.

Theoph.

How can the sprinkling of water, be a signe or token of our regeneration?

Matth.

The scripture is wont to set downe two parts of it, namely the mortification or death of the old mā, and the rising againe of the new man, as it hath beene saide of vs in his place. But this mortification which hath the force and working from the death and buri­all of Christ, is most fitly represented by the sprinkling [Page 248] of water: for it is all one as if our old man had the death, wound giuen it, or being swallowed vp of death it selfe were buried with Christ. Then followeth the resurrection of the new man, which hangeth vppon the resurrection of Christ, and is represented by the waters making cleane. For by it is signified, that to­gether with him wee doe rise from the graue of death, to become new creatures.

Theoph.

There be yet behinde, the promise & com­mandement of this Sacrament.

Mat.

The pro­mise and commande­ment. The words of Christ set down by Matthew, doe containe both; Mat. 28. 19 Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Sonne, and the holy Ghost.

Theoph.

The commaundement I see, but not the promise.

Matth.

It is contained vnder the commandement. For when any is baptised in the name of the Father, Sonne, and holy Ghost, it is as if it were said vnto him; By this visible signe I do assure thee, that all thy sinnes be washed away, and that thou art regenerated, not by any power, or by the force of this water wherewith thou art forinckled, but by the mercy of the heauenly father, who for this purpose, doth be the power of the holy Ghost, communicate vnto thee Christ Iesus his sonne, with all his benefites, and doth vnite thee vnto him. so as thou art made partaker of him Seeing ther­fore Christ commandeth, that these things should bee preached, it is not to be doubted, but that he promi­seth the thing it selfe. Baptisme therefore is giuen vs of God, as it were writings sealed by the which hee assu­reth vs of the full forgiuenesse of all our sinnes.

Theoph.

What sinnes thinkest thou bee done away by Baptisme: onely originall sinne?

Matth.

What sinnes be put away in Baptisme. That indeede is first done away, not that it doth not remaine in vs, but because it is not imputed. The same also we may affirme of other sinnes that bee effects of it: for they bee put away by this Sacrament, they be put away (I say) both those that be past, & those [Page 249] that are to come. The words therefore deliuered of the Minister in Baptisme, by the commandement of God: namely, I Baptise thee in the name of the Father, Son, & holy Ghost should alwayes be in our eares, euen vn­till the last gaspe, & by them ought we to be assured of the full forgiuesse of our sinnes. For the bloud of Christ in the which we are once Baptized, is neuer drawne dry, but is alwayes fresh, (as the Apostle speaketh) that is, full of officacie and strength, to the continuall wa­shing away of all our filthinesses and iniquities.

Theoph.

Of our vnion with Christ. Thou saydest in the expositiō of this promise, that in this Sacrament, the Father did communicate Christ & his benefites vnto vs. But both the signe of it, & the Sacramētall rites, do onely represent vnto vs the participation or fellowship which wee haue with his death, but not the community we haue with his body.

Matth.

We haue taught in the first booke, that no man can be partaker of Christs benefites, which is not made one with him; the one therefore followeth vpon the other. By these things therefore it is proued, that by Baptisme wee bee truely made partakers both of Christs body, and of his benefits, which also Paul con­firmeth in these wordes; So many of you as be Baptized Gal. 3. 27. into Christ, haue put on Christ.

Theoph.

I come againe to the institutiō of Baptisme, wherein Christ saith to his Apostles; Go teach all na­tions, Mat. 28. 19 Baptizing thē in the name of the Father, Sonne, and holy Ghost. What is the cause that Christ cōman­deth his Apostles, to teach first before they Baptize?

Matth.

The reason is most euident: for, seeing the Sacraments be as seales of the word, it is sit that euery Why Christ would haue the word preached, before Bap­tisine he mi­nistred. one should be first instructed in the doctrine, before he be Baptized, or confirmed in the same doctrine: excep­ting onely the childrē of the saithfull, of whom there is another reason, which causeth, that they be to be Bap­tized presently after they be borne.

Theoph.

What is that reason?

Matth.

Because God hath promised in the person of Abraham, that he will be the God of the faithfull, and of their seede, which selfe same thing, God confirmeth [Page 250] in the law, when he saith; Evod. 20. That he is such a one, as sheweth mercy to a thousand generatiōs, of those that loue him, and keepe his commandements. Seeing therefore the children of beleeuers appertaine to the couenant of God, it is not to be doubted, but that the Sacrament of it, namely Baptisme, is to be ministred to them. Which is againe confirmed by the example of the Israelites, who by the commandemēt of God Cir­cumcised their children the eight day.

Theoph.

Is there the same reason of Baptisme and of Circumcision?

Matth.

The agree­ment be­tweene Cir­cumcision & Baptisme. Yea altogether: and in very deed it is one & the selfe same Sacrament as concerning the substance. For Baptisme came in stead of Circumcision after the comming of Christ, by the which the gifts of God were not diminished, but increased vnto vs. For euen as the Sacramēts of the new Testament are far more easie & more significāt then the Sacraments of the old Testa­ment: so the force & working of them is farre greater.

Theoph.

But what profit can there come by Baptisme to a child without vnderstanding and knowledge?

Mat.

Much, if thou consider both the glory of God, the comfort of the parents, and finally the edification and saluation of the child.

Theoph.

Why so?

Mat.

First of all God is glorified, for that he sheweth himselfe true in his promises, by the which it is that he hath mercy vpon the faithfull euē to the thousand ge­neration. Moreouer the parent himselfe is wonderful­ly comforted, & confirmed in the loue of God, whē he seeth that not onely he himselfe is beloued of God, but also that the loue & grace of God is deriued vnto his children, which God assureth him of by that visible signe. Finally cōcerning the child, it hath a maruellous benefit bestowed vpō it, that he doth so soone obtaine the partaking of Christ and his benefits, by the which he hath the inheritance of eternall life. By the remem­brance whereof when he commeth to age, he is won­derfully cōfirmed in the loue and feare of God, name­ly whē he calleth to mind, that he is so much esteemed [Page 251] of God, that euen from his comming into the world, he obtained fellowship in his couenant.

Theo.

How the children of beleeuers lacking faith be par­takers of Christ. But how can a yong child by Baptisme be par­taker of Christ and his benefites, seeing it is certaine that he lacketh faith, without which thou affirmedst before that no man can haue that felowship?

Mat.

That indeed is true in those that be of yeares, and in such as for their age may beleeue. But God wor­keth in the childrē of the faithfull belonging to his co­uenant, another way vnknowen vnto vs, whō also the Apostle doubteth not to call holy, 1. Cor. 7. 14. in so much as they cannot perish, seeing they haue in them the seede of faith, which verily in the due time worketh the effects, in some sooner, but in other later, as it seemeth good to the Lord to call them.

Theoph.

How the children of the godly be borne in originall sin. I do now see that the children of the godly are to bee Baptized. Notwithstanding I will yet pro­pound one questiō, before I go from the speech which I haue begun. How can it be that those children of the faithfull, should be borne defiled with originall sinne, whose parents be cleansed from it?

Mat.

Austen by an excellent similitude, Austen. de penit. merit. & remis. li. 3. cap. 18. answereth this question in these words; Euen as the chaffe which by the helpe of man is seuered with great diligence frō the wheate that is threshed, notwithstanding remai­neth in the fruite which groweth of the sayd cleansed wheate being sowen: so sinne that by Baptisme is clean­sed in the parents, remaineth in those whom they haue begotten. Therfore our children except they be borne againe by a spirituall birth, cannot bee accounted the children of God, nor heires of eternall life.

CHAP. IIII. Of the Supper of the Lord. By the which God wit­nesseth that his couenāt is most certain toward vs, for asmuch as by it he maketh vs more and more partakers of Christ and his benefites.

Theophilus.

HItherto hath bin spoken of Baptisme, let vs now come to the Supper of the Lord, and let vs begin at the institu­tion of it.

Mat.

Of the word Supper, and the institu­tion of it. The Euangelistes shew that it was instituted of Christ, the same night hee was betrayed after hee had supped, and had eaten the Easter I am be according to the Law.

Theoph.

I thinke it was thereupon called Supper.

Mat.

It is called Supper of the Apostle, not so much for this cause, as to shew that it is indeede a spirituall Supper giuen of God vnto the faithful, wherein he fee­deth them with the body and bloud of Iesus Christ in­to the hope of eternall life.

Theoph.

The three heads of the institution are to be examined of vs, namely:

1 The signes and Sacramentall rites.

2 Their signification.

3 And finally the likenesse or agreement between both.

Matth.

The signes of the sup­per. The signes are bread and wine, which in­deed do signifie the body and bloud of Christ. Because the body and bloud of Christ haue that force and effi­cacie of feeding, in our soules, which bread and wine haue in our body. And for this cause Christ often cal­leth himselfe the bread of life.Iohn. 6.

Theoph.

What difference makest thou betweene the bread and wine of the Supper, and the bread and wine which we vse for our ordinarie meate and drinke?

Mat.

In substance indeede none, but in the vse and ministring of the Supper, cōcerning which this I hold, that the one are set before vs for the nourishmēt of the body, but the other be ordained of God to be signes of the body and bloud of Christ. The same also is to be thought of the water of Baptisme.

Theoph.

Why there is a double signe in the Supper. Why be there two signes in the Supper?

Matth.

To the end we might know, that in Christ we haue whole and perfect spirituall food, that is, what­soeuer [Page 253] is requisite to our saluation. It was also done for a fuller remembrance of his death. For the wine that is the signe of his bloud, doth as it were represent it be­fore our eyes.

Theoph.

Let vs come to the Sacramentall rite and signification of it.

Mat.

It is double or two-fold.

1 For the one respecteth the Minister.

2 The other him which is is partaker of the Supper.

The Sacra­mentall rite of the Sup­per. What is the duety of mi­nisters in ministring the Supper. The first is this, to take the bread and to breake it, whereby is signified, that Christ with sufferings was broken for our redēption, which himselfe declared in these words; This is my body that is broken for you Af­ter to giue it being broken, and to deliuer the wine in the cup, by which rites is meant, that God doth offer & giue Christ vnto vs, together with all his benefites. The duetie of them that come to the Lords Table The later rite is, that he which commeth to the Supper, should receiue, eate and drinke, the bread and wine gi­uen vnto him, which indeede doth signifie, that in the Supper we do truely receiue Christ, eate his body and drinke his bloud, by the which we are nourished into the hope of eternall life, if we do not cast him from vs through vnbeliefe.

Theoph.

What is it to eate the body of Christ?

Mat.

To be so nearely ioyned with his body, as is the meate which we eate with our owne body.

Theoph.

What is it to drinke the bloud of the Lord?

Mat.

To be as truly partakers of his death & passiō, as if we our selues had suffered the same. And this doth our Sauiour of Christ meane whē he saith; Verily, veri­ly I say vnto you, except you eate the flesh of the sonne of man and drinke his bloud, you haue no life in you. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my bloud, hath eternall life. But this is to be remembred, which wee spake before in the Chapter of Faith, namely, that by the merit of Christes death represented in the holie Supper by wine that signifieth his bloud, the Scripture vnderstandeth all the benefites of Christ: but for the most part maketh mention of that only, because it hath as it were the first and chiefe place.

Theoph.

Let vs go forward. What vnderstandest thou by that spirituall food, which thou saydest came by the eating of Christes body, and drinking his bloud?

Matth.

Our spiritu­all foode in the Supper. First, peace of conscience, namely, because we are more & more assured of the forgiuenesse of our sins promised by baptisme. Secōdly, the daily growth & increase of the new man, begun in vs in our Baptisme, so as we haue power giuen vs to serue God better, and to resist the temptations, that are wont to call vs away from his obediēce. Whereupon followeth an effect of this spirituall food, by name, that we are cōfirmed dai­ly in the hope of eternall life. And by these things ap­peareth that, which I haue said of the difference of the Sacraments, that Baptisme doth testifie the beginning of our partaking with Christ and his benefites, and the Supper the continuance and increase thereof.

Theoph.

Now we are to come to the commandement and promise of the Sacrament.

Mat.

Both be added presently after the words of in­stitution. Take, eate, drinke you all of this, do this in re­membrance of me. Loe, the cōmandement it set down, thē the promise. This is my body. This is my bloud. For the meaning of these wordes is as much, as if Christ sayd; This bread and this wine doe so represent vnto you my body and bloud, that they assure you receiuing the visible signes, to bee indeede partakers of those things that be signified by them, euē my body & bloud.

Theoph.

But the words of Christ seeme not to haue that meaning, but rather that the bread and wine are transubstantiated or turned into his body and bloud.

Matth.

The exposition of Christes wordes. The wordes themselues cannot beare it. For if Christ meant to haue signified that, he would haue sayd thus: Let this be made my body, or let it be chan­ged into my body.

Theoph.

What then were the meaning of Christes wordes, if they were to be expounded according to the letter, as they say?

Matth.

They should rather signifie, that his body and bloud were changed into bread and wine. For if any saw the piller of salt, whereinto Lots wife was tur­ned, [Page 255] out of all doubt he would say; This thing, that is, this Piller of salt is Lots wife, that hee might declare that she was turned into that Piller, and such as heard those wordes, would take them in that sence.

Theoph.

I perceiue indeede that those words if they were to be expounded literally, doe properly signifie as thou sayest: Howbeit that sence agreeth not to the wordes of Christ.

Mat.

Thou thinkest rightly, and that former agreeth nothing more, namely, whereby transubstantiation is builded: which indeed the very words do not beare, yea rather out of it foure absurdities do follow.

Theoph.

Rehearse them.

Mat.

A consuta­tion of the absurdities following v­pon Popish transubstan­tiation. 1 First, if the bread & wine be turned into the body and bloud of Christ, there shalbe no signes in the holy Supper, and therefore it shall not be a Sacrament, which indeed cannot be without a visible signe.

2 Secondly, Christes bloud shalbe separated from his body, which is most absurd, & can neuer be. More­ouer, the body of Christ should be infinite, & therefore he should not be a very man, neither should he haue truely ascended into heauen, by which opinion the chiefe points of our faith should be ouerthrowen.

Theo.

Some do obiect that Christs body is now glori­fied, & at one & the same time may be in diuers places.

Mat.

This objection is vaine, for when Christ insti­tuted the Supper, his body was not glorified. Adde hereunto, that the glorification hath not taken from it the nature of a true body, but hath taken away the in­firmitie and weaknesse of it: which was very well obser­ued of one of the fathers. For this cause Peter saith; Actes. 3. 21 The heauen must hold him vntill the time of the resto­ring of all things. And the Angels in another place; Actes. 1. 11. So shall he come, as you haue seene him go into heauen.

Theoph.

Shew the fourth absurditie.

Mat.

It is this; that the wicked and hypoerites com­ming to the Supper, should bee indeede partakers of the bodie and bloud of Christ: which verilie were no­thing else but to ioyne God & Sathā together. Moreo­uer, contrarie vnto that which the Scripture expresly [Page 256] teacheth, the vnbeeleuers should be saued. For Christ affirmeth; Iohn. 6. Whosoeuer eateth my flesh and drinketh my bloud hath euerlasting life.

Theo.

Against those who say the re­probat [...] [...] the Supper, be parta­kers of Christes bo­dy & bloud. But Christ vnderstādeth those which eate his flesh & drinke his bloud worthily: For the Apostle saith; 1. Cor. 11. 29. He that eateth this bread, & drinketh this cup vnwor­thely eateth and drinketh to himselfe damnation.

Mat.

The Apostle saith not, who so eateth the body of Christ, & drinketh the bloud of Christ vnworthely, but hee that eateth the bread, and drinketh the cup. For Christ should offer his body to be prophaned, if he made the vnworthy partakers of it. Moreouer, his gifts be inseparably ioyned with his person, and therefore it is impossible, that any should communicate with his body, but the same also must bee partakers of all his benefites, & euē of euerlasting life. For this cause Iohn saith; 1. Ioh. 5. 12 He that hath the sonne, hath life: He that hath not the sonne of God, hath not life. Those foure absurdi­ties rec [...]ned vp by vs, doe most manifestly ouerthrow the opinion of transubstātiation, against the which ex­perience it selfe it, for as much as the bread & wine of the Supper, if they be kept long do corrupt. Whereupō it is plaine, that their substance it not changed.

Theoph.

I do indeede perceiue that the wordes of Christ do not establish trāsubstantiatiō or the turning of the signes into the things signified, both because the wordes themselues cannot beare it, and especially in that most grosse absurdities do follow thereupon. But by what arguments canst thou proue, that the exposi­tiō brought by thee doth expresse the sence of Christs wordes, and that that was his meaning?

Mat.

Of the expo­sition of Christes words in the Supper. Seeing there must be an exposition of them, it is not to be doubted, but that is true and proper, which may be confirmed by the testimonie of the holy Scrip­ture, & whereof no absurditie followeth But that which I haue brought is such: therefore it is true and proper.

Theoph.

If thou prouest these two points, thou shalt verily ouercome.

Mat.

First, that exposition is confirmed by the testi­mony of the holy Scripture: For, Paule thus expoūdeth [Page 257] the words of Christ instituting the Supper; The cup of 1. Cor. 10. 16 blessing, which we blesse, is it not the Communion of the bloud of Christ? the bread which we breake, is it not the Cōmuniō of the body of Christ? Which words do indeed signifie no other thing, but that wee should vnderstand the bread and wine to bee most certaine signes of our Communion and felowship with Christs body and bloud. And that doth altogether agree with my exposition. Moreouer, that is the meaning of these words; This is my body, which is of these; This is my bloud: But Luke expoundeth them thus; This cup is Luc. 22. 20. that new Testament by my bloud, which is shed for you. The same exposition also did Paul follow, repea­ting the wordes of the institution. And this maner of speach, can not admit any other sense without iniurie and violence done to the wordes, but that we say, that the wine offered in the up is a most sure pledge of the new couenant, which God hath made with vs by the precious bloud of Christ. The same therefore is to be said of the bread, namely that it is a most sure pledge of the vnion which we haue with the body of Christ.

Theoph.

Concerning the first part thou hast satisfied me, it followeth that we come to the other.

Mat.

In it I said, that the exposition which I brought had no absurditie: For there is no let, but that we may trulie eate the body of Christ, and drinke his bloud to our saluation: Yea the foure absurdities which I spake of euen now be auoided.

For the signes retaine their owne nature.

The bloud of Christ is not separated from his body.

The truth of his humanitie, ascention, and sitting at the right hand of the Father remaineth safe.

Finally, the vnbeleeuers are not partakers of his body and bloud.

Theoph.

Why Christ vsed those wordes, and no other in the institutiō of the Sup­per. If that were the meaning of Christ, why did he not expresse it in plainer words and lesse doubtfull?

Mat.

He could not expresse that promise in fewer & more significant wordes: for if he had said, This is a pledge or signe of my body, there had beene no pro­mise. It had therefore beene necessary for him, to haue [Page 258] vsed long circumstances of words after this manner; I do assure that this bread, and this wine doe represent vnto you my body and bloud, that as often as you re­ceiue these visible signes, you shalbe truly and indeede partakers of the things, whereof they be signes. And this kinde of speach had not beene of such force and weight, as that is which he vsed; This is my bloud, for it compasseth all those things vnder it, but with a greater maiestie. And for this cause the holy Ghost vsed a like The confir­mation of the former interpretati­on. kind of speach in the Sacraments of the old Testamēt, in that it giueth the name of the thing signified to the signs themselues, to teach vs, that such as receiue wor­thelie, be truly partakers of the thing signified.

Theoph.

Declare that vnto me particularly in some Sacraments of the old Church.

Matth.

Gen. 17. 9 10. 11. First, God meaning to assure Abraham and his posteritie, that Circumcisiō was vnto them a most certaine signe that they were reckened in his couenāt, calleth it his couenant. The same also saith Moses of Exo. 12. 11. the Sacrament of the passouer: For hee calleth it the Lordes passeouer, to giue vs to vnderstand, that it was a most certaine token of the good will of God, which the Israelites had experience of, when the Angell de­stroied the first borne of the Egiptians, and passed o­uer their houses without touching them, whereof the passeouer was a Sacrament.

The.

Indeed these kinds of speaking, do come some­what neare to the words of Christ vsed in the institu­tion of the holy Supper. But I aske of thee, if there bee any altogether like vnto them, and that haue the same meaning with that, which thou hast alledged?

Mat.

There be. For the Apostle speaking of the Sa­craments, which the fathers vsed in the wildernesse, saith; 1. Cor. 10. 4. that the rocke, that is the water, which Moyses had (not without miracle) brought out of stone, was Christ: To teach that it was vnto them a most effectu­all Sacrament, of the Communiō and fellowship which they had with Christ. For the same Apostle affirmeth: that the fathers did eate the same spirituall meat with vs, and dranke the same spirituall drinke. Loe there­fore [Page 259] a manner of speach altogether like to that, which Christ vsed in the institution of the Supper, and which hath the same interpretatiō, with that which I brought a little before. Yea and that more is, there is vse of this kinde of speach, not onely in the Scripture, but also in our common talke: for; if a king will forgiue an offen­der the punishment of his faultes, deliuering vnto him his letters patents, confirmed by his hand writing and seale, he will say; behold thy pardon. And yet he mea­neth not, that the letters patents bee his pardon, but onely a certaine testimonie of his pardon. And this si­militude very excellently agreeth with the sacramēts, that be as it were seales of the word, as the Apostle te­stifieth, speaking of circumcision: for hee calleth it the seale of the righteousnesse of faith.

Theoph.

I doe now see that thy interpretation doeth expresse the true meaning of Christs words: I do also graunt that by those words Christ assureth vs, that we are as verily partakers of his body and bloud, as we do receiue the bread and wine. But how can that be? vn­derstandest thou that his body is shut vp or inclosed in the bread, and his bloud in the wine?

Matt.

Against the error of con­substantia­tion. No not so: for the words themselues cannot a­ny way beare it: for Christ must haue said, my body is with this bread, and my bloud is with this wine.

Secondly, wee should make a carnall eating, which should lead vs to the three latter absurdities, reckened vp of vs, when we spake of transubstantiation; namely that the bloud of Christ, should bee seuered from his bodie, that his body should be insinite, and finally, that the wicked comming to the supper, should communi­cate with the body and bloud of Christ, and therefore should obtaine euerlasting life. Moreouer, Christ him­selfe doth teach the contrarie: for vnto his disciples iudging the speach which he had of eating his body to he hard, he answereth thus; It is the spirit that giueth life, the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I speak vnto you are spirit and life. By which words he decla­reth most euidently, that hee speaketh not of any car­nall but of spirituall eating.

Theoph.

Thou hast affirmed before, that Christ in that place did not speake of the eating which is in the sup­per, but of that which is spiritually by faith.

Matth.

Of the ea­ting of Christs body and drink­ing his bloud Euer as the Scripture doth set before vs one Christ, so it sheweth one way how to eate his flesh and drinke his bloud, that is, whereby wee may bee made one with him, to be partakers of all his benefites, and this is spiritually by faith. Seeing therefore this spiri­tuall eating, is aboundantly sufficient to our saluation, and is grounded vpō the word of God, it ouerthoweth that carnall eating, which men by the example of the Capetnaits haue deuised to themselues: frō the which also if it could be, there is no other profite to be looked for, but that which we do receiue by spirituall eating.

Therefore, notwithstanding Christ in that place, speaketh not of the sacramentall eating, but of that which is by the word receiued by faith: neuertheles it may & ought to be referred vnto that, because it is one and the same eating, and therefore whatsoeuer is said of the one, must necessarily agree to the other. And in­deed seeing the question is of the foode of our soules, which is spirituall, & the meat is spirituall, it followeth of necessity, that the eating is spirituall; euen as we can not nourish our bodies, except earthly foode be visibly and sensibly eaten, for the preseruation of this life.

Theoph.

What doest thou properly vnderstand by spirituall eating?

Matth.

How wee that be in the earth, be partakers of Christ his body which is in heauen. That Christ, although (concerning his hu­mane nature) he go not out of the heauens, yet by the power of the holy Ghost, doth communicate vnto vs his body and bloud, and that by faith, which is in stead of a spirituall hand and mouth, by which wee receiue him, and apply him vnto vs, as hath bin more at large declared of vs, in the chapter of Faith. And this is the spiritual eating of christ by faith, cōtrary to the carnal, which som haue dreamed was with the bodily mouth, insomuch as the very substance of the body and bloud of Christ, was eaten with it. Which is a most absurd de­uise, and yet it is no maruell that some are fallen vnto it. For as the spirituall man when he heareth, that the [Page 261] body of Christ is to be eaten, and his bloud to be drun­ken, vnderstandeth it spiritually, for his spirituall hun­ger and thirst, and therefore prepareth his heart by faith so contrariwise, the carnall man thinketh nothing but carnally in all this matter, and therefore prepareth the mouth of his body to deuour Christ. But the say­ing of Austen is notable; Why doest thou make ready thy teeth and belly? beleeue and thou hast eaten.

Theoph

But how can it be that Christ which is in hea­uen, should truly communicate his body vnto vs, that be conuersant vpon the earth?

Matth.

That ought not to seeme maruelous vnto vs: for if the sunne being a creature without life, do by his beames communicate the effect and power of it vnto vs that liue vppon the earth, by a much more strong reason may Christ which is the sunne of righteousnes, by the immeasurable power of the holy Ghost, truely make vs partakers of his body in the Supper, to whom it is not harder to ioyne thinges together farre distant the one from the other, then those that be most nigh. Which indeed appeareth euen by that, that it ioyneth together all the faithfull, notwithstāding they be scat­tered here and there, to become one body, whereof Christ is the head. That also is shadowed in the Sup­per, for the Apostle saith; 1. Cor. 10. 17 We which are many are one body: for all of vs are partakers of one bread.

Theoph.

An obiectiō against spiri­tuall eating. But some obiect, that if in the supper of the Lord, we do only spiritually and by faith communicate with the body of Christ, there is no great profite of it, seeing that is daily fulfilled in vs by the ministery of the word receiued by faith.

Matth.

It followeth not. For there be diuerse helps ordained of God to the same end, namely to further our saluation in Christ, by the holy Ghost. Euen as a good Phisition helpeth the health of the patient com­mitted to his trust by sundry meanes. Wherefore, not­withstanding Christ receiued in the word by faith, be alreadie spiritually eaten of vs, yet neuerthelesse it is more and more fulfilled in the Supper, by the which the Lord so worketh according to his promise, that our [Page 262] hearts be more aboundantly inflamed with his loue, & confirmed in the hope of euerlasting life.

Theoph.

Seeing then it is certaine, that we are not o­therwise partakers of Christ in the supper but spiritu­ally and by faith, it followeth that all they which come to it without faith, haue no fruit or benefite by it.

Mat.

That indeede is most true: for by their vnbe­liefe they refuse Christ whom God oftereth to them in the Supper. Wherefore they be onely partakers of the signes, and that to their condemnation: seeing that (so much as in them is) they prophane and vnhallow that most holy spirituall banket prouided of God for his children, whiles they come vnto it not furnished with that most precious garment, namely faith, wher­by we are iustified before God, made the sons of God, and bee accompted worthie to sit downe at his table. For this cause the Apostle commandeth: that euerie 1. Cor. 11. 28 one should prooue himselfe, and so eate of that bread, and drinke of that cup.

Theoph.

What is the way, whereby each ought to prooue himselfe?

Matth.

Let him try himselfe, and see whether hee haue faith, which shall bee easie to perceiue by repen­tance, as it hath beene said of vs in the proper place. Whosoeuer therefore is not any way touched with re­pentance, is altogether vnworthie to bee admitted to the Supper of the Lord.

Theop.

But what thinkest thou of him, that hath some feeling of repentance, notwithstanding it be little?

Matth.

If it be so little that it shew not it selfe by tur­ning vnto God, and amendment of life, it ought to be suspected for true repētāce notwithstāding it be weak, doth alwaies shew it selfe by the outward workes.

In the meane time it is not to bee doubted, but that as our faith is alwaies verie weake, so the same is true concerning our repentance. And this indeed is so in the most regenerate, although diuersly, for in some it is more, in others it is lesse. Notwithstanding it is so farre off, that that weaknesse should driue vs from the holy Supper, that it ought rather to spurre vs for­ward [Page 263] to come vnto it, that by it wee might be streng­thened in faith and repentance. Euen as the sick man, the weaker he knoweth himselfe to be, should so much the more earnestly desire meate, both to receiue nou­rishment, and to refresh his strength. Therefore they onely bee vnworthie to come to the Lords Sup­per, that be ignorant, and delight in their sinnes, and continue in them: for that spirituall foode doeth not as yet belong to them.

Theoph.

But if such men come to the Supper, what thinkest thou is to be done?

Matth.

Ecclesiasti­call disci­pline. If their vnworthinesse be secret and hidden, they ought to be left to the iudgement of God, which will one day take vengeance vppon them: but if it bee knowen, by the order of Ecclesiasticall or Church dis­cipline, they ought to be kept from it.

Theoph.

What callest thou Ecclesiasticall discipline?

Matth.

The order in the church instituted of God, specially for two ends.

1. Cor. 14 40 The first, that the ministerie may be preserued, that (as Paule saith) all things may bee done in the church, decently and in order. Also that sermons may be made, and the sacraments administred vpon certaine daies, at certaine houres, and with due reuerence frequen­ted and resorted vnto of such as haue ioyned them­selues to the Christian church.

The other end is, that the conuersation and doc­trine of euerie one may bee looked into, that such as haue giuen offences, may be amended, according to the degrees prescribed by Christ. Yea if they be stub­burne, Matth. 18. to be at length excommunicated, that is, cut from the body of the Church, that God himselfe bee not reproached, and the flocke infected by their euill example. Moreouer, that if it be possible (as Paule tea­cheth) they may by that shame be called to repentāce.

Theoph.

Of whome ought that ecclesiasticall disci­pline to be ministred?

Mat.

Of the Pastors of the Church, whereunto are to be adioyned certaine Seniors or auncients, for this end as necessitie shall require, chosen of the Church.

T [...]e summe of all Christian religion, declared by a three-fold method or order.

Theoph.

Thanks be to God, from whom we haue re­ceiued this benefit, that we haue happily in my iudge­ment handled all the parts of Christian religion. Now I would that thou shouldest draw the chiefe heades of it into a short summe, before wee make an end of this our disputation.

Matth.

That abridgement or breuiarie may be done in a triple or threefold method, so as the first may bee profitable to the instruction of the godly: the other to their comfort: and the third to consist of both, by ma­king an opposition or contrariety of true religion, with all other religions.

Theoph.

Go to therefore, declare the first.

Mat.

The first epitome. It shall declare the order of the whole booke, which indeed may be brought to fiue heads or princi­pall points, the coniunction or ioyning together wher­of, sheweth what is the certainty and truth of euerie one of them, and so of all Christian religion, as it hath beene declared of vs.

Theoph.

Rehearse those chiefe points.

Matth.

1 The first entreateth of God.

2 The second of man.

3 The third of Christ.

4 The fourth of Faith.

5 The fift of the holy Ghost.

Theoph.

It shalbe so much the more easie to remem­ber them, because each of them may be applied to ech finger of the hand. Declare them therefore to mee in order, and shew mee the coherence and agreement which thou diddest attribute vnto them.

Mat.

God. First, we must hold this principle, that God see­ing he is perfectly iust, and perfectly merciful, doth not onely shew his mercy, but doth also declare his iustice.

Man. This foundation being layd, it followeth that man who o [...] his owne nature is a wretched sinner, can not be saued from eternall death, which he hath deserued, [Page 265] except he haue some fit meane, by the which the per­fect iustice of God is satisfied. But there cannot bee Christ. found any other meane, besides the merite of Christes death. For by it the wrath of God being appeased, there is a way made for vs vnto his mercy, and there­fore vnto eternall life. But Christ shall profite vs no­thing, Faith. except we be members of his body, and so bee partakers of his benefites. And both of these we ob­taine by faith, which indeede sheweth it selfe by good workes, but namely by prayer. Finally, the holy Ghost The holy Ghost. worketh this faith in the hearts of the godly, by the preaching of the word, & confirmeth and keepeth it, as well by that preaching as by the vse of the Sacramēts, till at length he bring vs to euerlasting life.

Theoph.

This is an excellent breuiary, for in most few wordes and fit order, it containeth the summe of Christiā doctrine, to the instruction of the godly. Now The second Epitome. therefore let vs come to the other, which thou saydest was profitable for the comfort of the faithfull.

Matth.

That shalbe set out in an order diuerse from the former, but it may also be brought vnto fiue heads.

1 The first is of repentance.

2 The second of faith.

3 The third of Christ.

4 The fourth of God.

5 The fift of eternall life.

And these also be ioyned together betweene them­selues by a most neare bād, for the confirmation of the saluation of the godly.

Matth.

Shew me that band.

Mat.

Repētance. First, whosoeuer doth truly repent (and that is easily perceiued, when we serue God from the hart) he hath faith. But whosoeuer hath Faith, is partaker of Faith. Christ and his benefites. And againe, whosoeuer is par­taker Christ. of Christ and his benefites, is iustified, and made the child of God. But whosoeuer is iustified and made God. the child of God, shall be deliuered from condēnation, & be partaker of eternall life. Whereupon it followeth, Eternal life. that he which by good workes is assured of his repen­tance, shall neuer perish but haue life euerlasting. And [Page 266] those fiue staires or steps may be in stead of a ladder, by the which we may clime euē vp into the heauens, to vnderstand certainely, whether our names be written in the booke of life or not: but the first onely is hard.

Theoph.

Why so?

Mat.

Because there is no little labour to be bestowed in the deniall of sinne, that we may serue God from the heart, but whē a mā by the grace of God hath profited so farre, there is very little labour behind. From hence it is, that sometimes the Scripture attributeth our sal­uation vnto workes, namely to note vnto vs this order: as whē he saith; Rom. 2. 6. Iohn. 5. 29. God will giue to euery one according to his workes. They shall come forth that haue done well, to the resurrection of life. Whereunto also that ought to bee referred, which is sayd in another place; Psa. 119. 1 Blessed are they that walke in the Law of the Lord.

Theoph.

There is one doubt behind within me, which seemeth to let, that the godly cānot be sure of their sal­uatiō: namely because thereunto is required, that they be sure of perseuerance & continuing to the end, with­out which Christ affirmeth that none cā be saued. Ne­uerthelesse there be many found, which in shew begin happily, yea also haue long continued in the know­ledge and confession of the truth, who notwithstāding do so fall from it, that they neuer returne.

Matth.

It is true indeed that perseuerance is neces­sary to saluation howbeit the Apostle affirmeth; that Phil. 1. 6. he which hath begun the good worke in vs, will perfect the same euē vnto the day of Christ, that is, to the end of the battell. And concerning them that fall away, the words of the Apostle be manifest; They went out from 1. Ioh. 1. 19. vs, but they were not of vs: for if they had beene of vs, they should haue continued with vs. But this is done that it might appeare, that all were not of vs. Moreouer they be those of whom Christ speaketh, when he saith; They which receiued the seede (that is the doctrine of the truth of the Gospel) in stony groūd, are they which Math. 13. 2 22. heare the word, & straightway receiue it with ioy, but they haue no roote in themselues, but are for a time, & when trouble or persecution ariseth for the words sake, [Page 267] they are by and by offended. But they which receiued the seede among thornes, are such as he are the word, but the cares of this world and the deceitfulnesse of ri­ches choaketh the word, and it is made vnfruitefull.

Theoph.

This therefore is thy meaning, that they which so fall from the profession of the Gospell, that they neuer returne againe, did neuer truly beleeue the Gospell, notwithstanding for a time, outwardly in shew they made profession of it.

Matth.

Thou thinkest right: For true faith hath the place in the heart, & there taketh roote by the effectu­all working of the holy Ghost. which he bestoweth not vpō any, but those that be chosen of God in Iesus Christ vnto saluation. And by this meanes he openeth vnto vs the counsell of God, which we otherwise know not, cō ­cerning sauing vs. Whosoeuer therefore by their true repentāce be assured of their faith, ought not to make any doubt either of perseuerance, or of eternall life.

Theoph.

Of the eter­nall election of God. Thou hast touched a doctrine, which to some seemeth difficult & hard. Neuerthelesse, I desire it may be briefly handled of vs: for I account it among those things, which the more they be searched into, the more they be obscured and darkened.

First shew me what is the foundation of it.

Mat.

First it may be gathered out of the whole Chri­stian doctrine, but especially out of the doctrine of iu­stification by faith, & of regeneration, by which we are taught that our saluatiō is freely giuen vnto vs in Iesus Christ, & that it cannot spring from our selues. Seeing therefore God bestoweth not so great a benefite vpon euery one, it followeth necessarily, that they which ob­taine it, were chosen of God himselfe according to the good pleasure of his will. And therefore that the eter­nall electiō of God cannot be takē away, but together with it bee ouerthrowen the principall foundations of Christian Religion and our saluation made voyde.

Theoph.

Is there not some expresse testimonie of it in the Scripture?

Mat.

There is, and not onely one, but more, & those most plaine: amōg the which the words of Paul writing Ephes. 1. 4. 13. 14. [Page 268] to the Ephesians be the chiefe; God hath chosen vs in Christ before the foundations of the world vere layd, making knowen vnto vs the misterie of his will accor­ding to his good pleasure, which he had purposed in himselfe. And we are sealed with that holy spirite of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance.

Theoph.

A few words indeed, but by the which the A­postle bringeth light vnto this doctrine: for it is made the easier by the distinctiō which he vseth, namely ac­cording to the persons of the Trinitie, whiles he attri­buteth the beginning of it to the Father, the matter to the Sonne, and the manifesting of it to the holy Ghost.

Matth.

Thou iudgest rightly: And so indeede is that doctrine to be cōsidered to our edification & comfort. For they that looke to it as it were lying hid in the coū ­sell of God, reape nothing by it, but trouble of mind & vexation of conscience. For, they do as if one to see the better, should fixe his eyes vpō the globe of the Sunne, by the beholding of which light, it is not to be doub­ted, but his eyes would waxe dim. Who if he looked vp­on that light in the Sunne beames, might haue vse of it, & see all things offered to his sight, & how and what way to direct his steps. Likewise also this doctrine while it is considered in Christ, in whom we are chosen, and we seeke for in our selues, the testimonie that the holy Ghost yeeldeth vs by our effectuall calling, then it af­foordeth vs especiall comfort, and assureth vs of our saluation, otherwise doubtfull and vnknowen vnto vs.

Theoph.

Of the cal­ling of the elect. What meanest thou by that effectuall calling by the which thou saiest, that we are by the holy Ghost assured of our election?

Matth.

I called it so, to put a difference betweene the true calling of the faithful, & the false, which is alwayes weake and vnprofitable. For they which are called by the later, will not heare the voyce of God, or if they heare it, yet refuse to draw neare vnto him, or if they draw neare, it is with a double & an hypocritical heart, and not long after they fall from him. But they that be called with the other, are lightned by the holy Ghost, so as the word of God entreth into their hearts, they [Page 269] come vnto God, & follow him with obedience of faith. And such kind of calling as this, is alwayes ioyned with election, for it is the iudge and declarer of it.

Theoph.

Of regene­ration. But that effectuall calling seemeth to be no­thing else, but the regeneration, which the holy Ghost worketh in vs, whereof we haue spoken before.

Mat.

Thou sayst true: for by it he openeth our eares, to heare the voyce of God that calleth vs. He lightneth the eyes of our mind, to know him in Christ sesus. He disposeth our hearts, to beleeue his doctrine, to em­brace it, confesse it, and follow it by true faith. He con­firmeth our will, to loue and feare him, and so to keepe our selues in the reuerence & worship of his Maiestie.

Theoph.

Therefore whosoeuer is assured of his effe­ctuall calling by the fruite of regeneration, he ought not to doubt of his election and saluation.

Mat.

Of the assu­rance of sal­uation. He ought not yea contrariwise he ought to be sure of it, which also we professe in the last article of the Creede: when we say, I beleeue the life euerlasting. For by it we not onely vnderstand, the we beleeue there is an euerlasting life: but that we are assured, that we our selues shall one day be partakers of it. And that article is set at the end of the Creede, as a necessary conse­quence of the things going before, but especially of the article cōcerning the holy ghost, for the which we haue that assurance. That also doth the Lord confirme vnto vs, both by the ministery of the word, whereby he assu­reth the penitent of the forgiuenesse of their sins, as al­so by the Sacraments, which bee as seales and pledges of that loue, wherewith the Father loueth vs in Christ.

Theoph.

Doth not that assurance of our election and saluation, which thou art about to perswade the faith­full, make them slouthfull to good workes?

Mat.

The assu­rance of sal­uation, is co­firmed by sanctificatiō begun. How can that be, seeing it is certaine, that our election and saluation is confirmed by good workes, without which as hath bin sayd it can no way be? For which cause, Peter warneth vs thus; Pet. 1. 10 Wherefore bre­thren, giue diligence to make your calling and election sure: For if you do these things, you shall neuer fall. Moreouer the holy Ghost, which sealeth that assurāce [Page 270] in our hearts, cannot dwell in vs, but it causeth good workes. Whereupon Iohn saith; 1. Iohn. 3. 9. Whosoeuer is borne of God sinneth not: because his seede remaineth in him, neither can he sinne, because he is borne of God: be­cause he cannot so giue ouer himself to sinnes, to con­tinue in them, for as much as he is raised vp with true repentance by the holy Ghost.

Theoph.

The second Epitome bringeth no lesse com­fort to the minds of the godly, then the first did instru­ction. For by it, both the conscience is appeased, & the minde comforted by a most certaine hope & assurance of eternall saluation. Now the third is behind, which thou saydest consisted of both.

Matth.

The third Epitome. It containeth an Antithesis or contrarietie of Christian Religion with all other. For in the diffe­rence betweene thē a faithfull man shall see, as it were a new breuiarie of all Christian doctrine, which indeed shalbe both to his comfort and instruction.

Theoph.

Let vs therfore consider of that difference.

Matth.

It consisteth especially in fiue heads or prin­cipall points.

1 First, that Christiā Religiō maketh all the chiefe points of the doctrine of it, to agree with the nature of the true God, in the knowledge of whom it strengthe­neth and keepeth the godly.

2 The other is, that it establisheth the glory of God in the saluation of men, and so the godly are more and more confirmed in the certaintie of their saluation.

3 The third, that it ioyneth good workes with our saluation by a most neare band, although it be no way grounded vpon them, so that the faithfull cannot take any matter of boasting in them.

4 The fourth, that it openeth a way for vs vnto God, to craue of him all things necessarie.

5 The fift, that it yeeldeth the godlie matter of pa­tience in aduersitie, and assurance in daungers. These be the true notes of Christian Religion, which indeede all other Religions do vtterly ouerthrow, because they admit not Christ, or else do onely receiue him in part.

Theoph.

We are therfore to weigh these notes, to the end we may shew they be established of true Religiō, & [Page 271] ouerthrowen of the rest. Let vs therefore begin at the Christian Religion keepeth the faithfull in the know­ledge of the true God. first: I would haue thee declare vnto me, how it kee­peth the faithfull in the knowledge of the true God.

Matth.

It doth specially appeare by this, because it maketh his perfect iustice to agree with his perfect mercy. I say his perfect iustice, in as much as it setteth before our eyes, no other way to satisfie it, but the infi­nite merit of Christ his sonne, wherein also his perfect mercy is manifested vnto vs, in that of his meere grace and fauour he gaue him to the death of the Crosse ioy­ned with extreme reproch to be our redemption: as al­so that for his sake, he giueth vs freely euerlasting life, hauing no respect to our workes. For this cause Paule calleth Christ the Image of the inuisible God. In which Col. 1. 15. wordes he sheweth, that God cannot be knowen, so as his perfect righteousnesse should agree with his most perfect mercy, but in Iesus Christ alone. Whereunto al­so ought to be applied the wordes of Christ vnto Phi­lip; Iohn. 14. 9. Philip, he that seeth me, seeth the Father.

Theoph.

It remaineth that thou shew, that all other Religions do ouerthrow this foundation.

Mat.

False Reli­gions ouer­throw the knowledge of the true God. I will do that with a very little labour: for this is common to them all, to say, that men by humane workes and inuentions may satisfie the iudgement of God: & so they do ouerthrow his righteousnesse, which they thinke they can satisfie with vaine deuises, by the which he is displeased. Moreouer that men by their workes be able to deserue eternall life. But whiles they set vp their own righteousnesse, thereby to obtaine sal­uation either in whole, or in part, they ouerthrow the infinit mercy of god, so as they worship an idol in stead of the true God. Whereuppon is that saying of Paule; Ephes. 2. 12 The heathen be without God in the world. For as Iohn saith; 2. Epist. 9. whosoeuer abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. And againe Christ affirmeth; Iohn. 14. 6. no man commeth to the Father but by me.

Theoph.

Let vs come to the other difference, & let vs see how true Religion establisheth the glory of God in the saluation of men: & moreouer doth assure thē of it.

Mat.

That is by the same doctrine, namely because [Page 172] it teacheth, Christiā Re­ligion assu­reth men of their salua­tion. that wee haue eternall life of the meere grace of God, without any respect of our works. For by this meanes all occasion of glorying is takē frō men, & is giuē vnto God alone, which the Apostle witnesseth. Ephes. 2. 9. For after that hee hath taught, that wee are saued by grace through faith, and that not of our selues, it is the gift of God, not of works: he presently addeth; least any should boast. And in another place he saith; Ephes. 1. 5. he hath a­dopted or taken vs to bee his children through Iesus Christ according to the good pleasure of his will. But whatsoeuer serueth to set forth the glory of God, is a true and sound foundation of our saluation. For seeing it leaneth vpon the euerlasting & vnchangeable good pleasure of God in Christ, it is so sure to those that by true faith be made his members, that it cā neuer be o­uerthrowen, euē as Christ himselfe witnesseth in these words; Ioh. 10. 27. My sheepe heare my voyce, & I know them, and they follow me: & I giue vnto thē eternall life, neither shall they perish for euer, neither shall any take thē out of my hād. My father which gaue thē vnto me is grea­ter thē all, neither can any take thē out of my Fathers hand. And for this cause hee saith in another place; He Iohn. 5. 24. that beleeueth in him that sent me, hath euerlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but hath passed from death to life. Which things being so, the faithfull may reioyce with Paule in these wordes; I am perswaded that neither life nor death, neither Angels, Rom. 8. 36. nor principalities, nor powers, neither things present, nor things to come, neither height, nor depth, nor any other creature can be able to separate me frō the loue of God, which is in Christ Iesus our Lord.

Theoph.

It is now thy part to shew that this funda­mentall point is ouerthrowen of other Religions.

Mat.

False Reli­gions ouer­throw the glorie of God. And this also shalbe done most easily. For they ouerthrow the glory of God, & set vp the glory of mā, in that they giue vnto men the glory of their owne sal­uation. Yea rather their owne saluation is also by this meanes ouerthrowen, seeing that it leaneth vpon so weake a foundation, as their own good works and me­rites. Whereof their owne conscience is a witnesse. For [Page 273] notwithstanding they deceiue themselues with hypo­crisie, it is continually in doubt and troubled with di­strust, but especially when they perceiue death to draw neare vnto them. For then they are so disquieted, that they cannot tell where to turne them.

Theoph.

Yea but the faithfull themselues sometimes be striken with the feare of death & Gods iudgement, no lesse then the wicked.

Matth.

I would not deny, but they be oftentimes striken with it, namely when they set before their eyes, the infinite number of their sinnes, and the greeuous­nesse of them, together with the depth of Gods most perfect iustice: neuerthelesse when they cast their eyes vppon Christ crucified for them, they be presently de­liuered from that feare, by the which indeed the wic­ked be swallowed vp, so as they are not holpē with the benefit of Christ. The godly therefore in that combat may be compared with a man vpon the top of a tower, whose foundation and wals are most strong: For he if he looke downward, is striken with some sodaine fear, from the which he is presently deliuered, when he per­ceiueth the strēgth of the building. But the wicked are like vnto one on the top of a tower but such a tower as threatneth falling, yea rather is shakē with the winds, which indeede presently falleth.

Theoph.

Thou hast also sufficiently satisfied mee con­cerning this difference. Let vs come to the third.

Matth.

True religiō containeth the doctrine & practise of good works It standeth herein, that good Works be ioy­ned with our saluation by a most neare band: although it do no way hang vppon them, as it hath beene decla­red of vs before in the Chapter of Works. For it can­not by any other meanes be, that we should be parta­kers of Christ to the obtaining of saluation, but by the power of the holy Ghost dwelling in vs: by the which we are not only made fit to do well, but also kept in the feare of God, so as we runne not headlong into sinnes. Notwithstanding, although the godlie do good workes, Phil. 2. 19. yet cā they haue no cause from them to boast, for it is God that worketh in vs, both to will and to performe, according to his good pleasure. Wherefore they be al­together [Page 274] referred to the glorie of God, as also our sal­uation it selfe, whereof they be most certaine markes. False religi­ons be a­gainst those that be in­deede good works. False religions establish superstitious workes, which indeede bee refused of vs, but good workes they put away: for they so busie their followers and schollers in the obseruation of mens precepts, that they set light by, and despise Gods commaundements, euen as experience doeth aboundantly witnesse. Whereof this seemeth to bee the speciall cause, that the wicked to performe their owne workes, trust to their owne free-will, that is, to their naturall strength, which in very deede is none at all, and so they goe away from Christ, who neuerthelesse saith; Euen as the branch cannot beare fruite of it selfe, that it, except it abide in the Vine: euen so you, except you abide in me. For without me you can do nothing.

Theoph.

True religiō calleth vpon the true God purely, through the onely medi­ator: but the false do farre otherwise. Declare the fourth difference.

Matth.

It may bee taken from those thinges, which were said before of vs in the Chapter of prayer, name­ly, that Christ being made ours by faith, doth continu­ally make intercession for vs with his father: whervpon it is that he is mercifull vnto vs, and heareth our prai­ers. The wicked contrariwise, while they come to God in their own name or any other name beside Christes, they doe nothing with their prayers, as well because they be vnworthy to be heard, as also because their in­tercessors are not sufficient for that office: for they haue not wherwith to appease the wrath of God most iustly kindled against him that prayeth. Therefore the vngodly can neuer obtaine anie thing at the hands of God, vnlesse it be in his anger, and that which falleth out vnto their owne condemnation.

Theoph.

Declare the last difference, and together shewe, how Christian religion ministreth to the godly matter of patience in aduersitie, and for thinges to come putteth them in good assurance.

Matth.

That is, by the doctrine of Gods prouidence, wherewith when the godlie vnderstand, that all things bee gouerned, although they seeme to be compassed about with all aduersities, yet they doe from thence [Page 275] take comfort, because they know they bee loued of God, and therefore that aduersities be not sent but to their saluation, as is was at large declared by vs in the Chapter of Faith.

For this cause, Dauid did beare the railings and e­uill speaches of Semei most patiently; he commanded the souldiers to forbeare to kill him: for saith he; Hee 2. Sam. 16. 10. curseth, because God hath commanded him to curse Dauid. In another place also, being most greeuouslie oppressed of his enemies, hee saith thus; I was dumbe, Psal. 39. 10 neither opened I my mouth: for thou ô Lord diddest this. Iob also hauing lost his goods, being destroyed Iob. 1. 30 partly by thunder, and partly taken away by the Chal­deans, tooke comfort of this, that the Lord had giuen, and the Lord had taken away. By the same means also we are comfortable concerning things to come: for the Apostle saith; Rom. 8. 30. If God be with vs, who can be against vs? He that spared not his owne Sonne, but gaue him for vs all, how shall he not also with him freely giue vs all things? As if he said; Seeing God is our most merci­full Father, and also omnipotent, we ought to beleeue that he will deliuer vs from all dangers, so far forth as he shall know it to tend to his glory and to our saluati­on, and will also helpe our necessities: which verily is confirmed by the Prophet in these words; Behold the Psa. 33. 16. eyes of the Lord are vpon them that feare him, which trust in his mercy, to deliuer their soules from death, and to quicken them in the time of famine.

The same Prophet also in another place, warneth vs, saying; Cast thy waies vppon the Lord, and trust in him, and hee will bring it to passe. But other reli­gions Psal. 73. 5. False religi­ons driue mē to impati­ence and desperation. take from men all matter of patience and confi­dence, whiles they make the wisedome or foolishnesse of men, the causes of all the things that befall vs. Or else doe imagine a certaine bare permission or suffe­rance of God, separated from his will, or else doe ad­mit fortune.

All which things doe ouerthrow the prouidence of God, being the ground work of cōfort, to those that be assured of their saluation. It cannot therfore be but the [Page 276] vnbeleeuers are striken with impatience, as often as troubles draw neare: for it falleth out to them as vnto dogges, that bite the stone, letting him goe that threw it. But concerning things to come, they bee alwayes distrustfull, wherwith they are continually disquieted, so as they neuer be at rest.

Theoph.

Thou hast sufficiently satisfied me with this opposition betweene true religion, and all other false religions. But before we end this our speach, I would haue a comparison made betweene the followers of them both.

Matth.

What is the happinesse of the godly euen in this life. It may be easily gathered of the former, yea rather in most of the special points, both of them were to be ioyned together of vs: neuertheles, seeing it see­meth so good vnto thee, I will handle it by it selfe, to the end it may appeare, that the godly that follow the true religion, are in a farre more happie estate, then the vngodly, foolishly giuen ouer to most fond super­stitions. And that not onely in the life to come, but al­so in this present life: although thou shouldest recken vp all the troubles, which wee are compelled to suffer for the profession of the Gospell.

Theo.

But how agreeth that with the saying of Paul? If in this life onely we beleeue in Christ, wee are of all 1. Cor. 15. 19 men the most miserable.

Mat.

These words of Paule are not contraie to that which hath beene said of vs of the happinesse of the godly euen in this life: for I do not meane a happinesse that standeth in pleasures, riches, no nor indeede in earthly commodities, for in these for the most part they be far gone beyōd of the wicked: but rather in spi­rituall goods which God giueth vnto vs, namely when we be assured of his loue and good will, and that more is, of our saluation by Christ. I doe therefore thinke with Paule, that of all men wee are most miserable, if there were not hope of a better life, especially conside­ring the afflictions, which we are constrained to suffer for the professiō of the Gospell, from the which in the meane time the wicked be free. But on the other side, we are of all men most happie, when we haue before vs [Page 277] the assurance of the loue and good will of God, & the hope of our saluation. For it skilleth little if the wicked excell vs in riches, honour, and other commodities of this life: for they be things vaine and fleeting, which also commonlie bring with them more disprofite then profite. But we contrariwise haue spirituall riches, that can neuer be taken from vs, which also bring with thē sound and true ioy, and that euerlasting. Hereof it is that Paule affirmeth; Godlinesse is profitable to all 1. Tim. 4. 8 things, as that which hath the promises of this present life, and of that that is to come. By which words hee sheweth, that the fatherly loue of God towardes his children, is manifested both in this life and in the life to come.

Theoph.

Shew me therefore, wherein that happinesse of the godly in this life standeth?

Matth.

I say that it leaueth vppon foure foundati­ons especially.

Theoph.

Declare the first.

Mat.

That the faithfull being iustified by faith, haue peace with God through Christ Iesus, through whom (saith the Apostle) Rom. 5. 1. Wherin the happinesse of the godly in this life standeth. wee haue by faith an entrance to that grace wherein we stand, and do glory in the hope of the glorie of God, whereby it commeth to passe, that death it selfe is not fearefull to vs: when as contrari­wise, it striketh horrors and terrors into the wicked, by reason of the torment of conscience, wherewith they be continually vexed.

Theoph.

Go to the second.

Mat.

That the faithfull by Christ being set free from the seruice of sinne, do ouercome their affections and lusts, whereunto the wicked bee bond-slaues. Hereof it is, that wheras the godly leade an vnreproueable & quiet life, the wicked contrariwise, are tossed with sundry perturbations of the minde, because they can­not satisfie their lusts: and oftentimes they both vexe themselues to come by them, and after they haue them, they bee tormented both with pouerty and sick­nesses: sometimes also they become infamous, and are punished of the magistrate.

Theoph.

Declare the two last points.

Mat.

The third is this, that the godly haue alwaies an entrance to the mercy of God through Christ, and that which more is, by prayers obtaine of him what­soeuer is necessarie▪ but the wicked are neuer heard. Finally, the godly that be assured of the good will and fauor of God through Christ, do wholly commit them­selues to his prouidence, and by the power of the holie Ghost dwelling in them, do patiently beare all aduer­sities, yea rather doe meekelie receiue them, as at the hand of a most kinde Father. The wicked contrariwise abide ouerwhelmed vnder the burthen of their affli­ctions, because they can neuer be assured of the loue of God, of whose prouidence they be altogether igno­rant: and therefore be depriued of the spirite of com­fort, and doe run headlong either into blockish sence­lesnesse, or else indeed into desperation. Which things being so it is not to bee doubted, but that the state of the faithfull euen in this life, is farre more happy then the state of the wicked. For this cause Dauid, which had more then once tried all the things which haue beene said of the godlie, speaking vnto God, saith after this manner; Behold ô God our shield: and looke v­pon Psalm. 8. 4. the face of thine annointed. For one daie in thy courts, is better then a thousand elsewhere: I had ra­ther be a doorekeeper in the house of my God, then to dwell in the tabernacles of wickednesse.

The reason whereof he presentlie rendreth in these wordes; Because the Lord God is the sunne & shield, he giueth grace and glorie: hee keepeth backe no good thing from them that walke vprightly; O Lord God of hoastes, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

Theoph.

Now it remaineth, that we consider of the difference that shall be betweene the faithfull and vn­faithfull after this life.

Matth.

The diffe­rence be­tweene the beleeuers & vnbeleeuers after this life. It shall be verie great, insomuch that it shall farre passe that which wee said euen now, concerning this life for so long as we liue vpon this earth, our hap­pinesse lieth hidden vnder the shame of the Crosse; and the wicked on the other side in this life, common­ly [Page 279] haue all things according to their desire, for they be rich, and be in honour and fauour. But their case shall be farre otherwise, when they come to the iudgement seate of the highest Iudge: for then all the reproch of the godly shall be turned into euerlasting glorie: and on the other side, the glorie of the wicked shall be tur­ned into euerlasting shame.

Theoph.

Shew the cause of this.

Matth.

It might haue beene gathered by thee from our discourse, notwithstanding for memorie sake, I will in few words repeate it in this place: which is that be­ing clothed by faith with the most perfect righteousnes of Christ, wee shall finde the tribunall seat of God full of mercy and grace, so as wee shall be receiued into e­ternall glorie, together with Christ our head, the an­gels and all Saintes, that aswell of vs as of them God may be praised, and we liue happily for euer.

On the other side, the wicked being void of righte­ousnesse, yea rather infected with innumerable sinnes, shall find the iudgement seat of God seuere, insomuch as they shall bee ouerwhelmed with the horrible wrath of his iust iudgement, and shall at length hee cast into eternall hell fire, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The conclu­sion of the former dis­course. Out of these things therefore thou maiest ga­ther, that there is no religion worthy of this honorable name, beside that which is grounded vpon Christ: for­asmuch as all superstitions, which teach men not to come to God, but to go away from him, reconcile them not vnto him, but do more and more prouoke him vn­to wrath, do not only not bring thē vnto saluation, but do lead them away vnto euerlasting destruction.

Theoph.

Hitherto we haue sufficiently heard of the antithesis or contrariety betweene religion and super­stitions, and the followers of both. I doe indeed see that the Christian Religion is the onely true Religion, and that the followers of it alone are happie and bles­sed, whether wee looke to this life, or that that is to come. For all other men are on euerie side most mi­serable, yea they are more vnhappie then the bruite beasts, which while they liue be free from all cares, and [Page 280] after death be deliuered from all labour and paine.

Mat.

That indeed is true: But as the Prophet saith; A foolish man knoweth not this, and an vnwise man Psal. 92. 7. vnderstandeth not this.

Theoph.

I am verily sufficiently satisfied, with this thy holy instruction, wherein thou hast runne ouer all the chiefe points of Christian Religion. Notwithstanding I will commit them to writing when I haue leysure, in the order they were deliuered by thee, that both my selfe may bee edified and comforted with the reading of them, and that I may communicate them with my brethren. In the meane time I giue thee as great thanks as I can, for the paines which for my sake thou hast taken in this behalfe.

Matth.

Nay rather let vs giue thanks vnto God our heauenly Father, that hath giuen vnto vs this know­ledge of the truth, and hath granted that we haue bene able to declare it. Let vs also intreat him, that as this The summe of the duety of Christiās. truth is grounded only in Iesus Christ his sonne: so by the power of the holy Ghost it may bee grafted in our minds, that we may sincerely beleeue it with the hart, constantly confesse it with the mouth, and expresse the effects of it by outward works, euen to our last breath. Which that it may be, hee grant vs this also, that wee may ioyne our selues to the militant Church, and by the ministery thereof be confirmed in the loue & feare of God, that so we may at length be receiued into the triumphant Church, together with our head and Lord Iesus Christ.

Theoph.

I doe therefore pray thee (most mightie God and heauenly Father) to grant vs these benefits, and to cause that the knowledge of thy truth may bee spread abroad throughout all the world, that al may acknow­ledge thee the only true God, & Iesus Christ thy Son the only Sauiour and Mediator of mankinde. And to thee alone be praise and glorie both now and for euer.

FINIS.

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