Diuers Sermons of Ma­ster Iohn Caluin, concerning the Diuinitie, Humanitie, and Natiui­tie of our Lorde Iesus Christe:

As also touching his Passion, Death, Resurrection, Ascention: togeather with the comming downe of the holy Ghoste vpon his Apostles: and the first Sermon of S. Peter.

The order of which you shall finde in the Page ensuing.

At London printed for George Byshop. 1581.

The order and number of the Sermons conteined in this Booke.

The first Sermon of the Diuinitie of Christe, taken out of the first Chapter of Saint Iohns Gospel.

One Sermon of the Natiuitie of Christ taken out of the second Chapter of Saint Luke.

Nine Sermons of his Passion, death, buriall, and resurre­ction, taken out of the xxvj. of Saint Matthew.

Seuen Sermons of the mysterie of his death and passion, taken out of the Lij. and Liij. Chapters of Isaiah.

Fower Sermons of his Ascention, and of the comman­dement which hee gaue vnto his Apostles, taken out of the first of the Actes.

Fowre Sermons of the descending of the holy Ghost at Whitsuntide, and of Peter his first Sermō, taken out of the second of the Acts.

One Sermon of the latter comming of our Lord Iesus Christ, taken out of the first Chapter of the second E­pistle to the Thessalonians.

To the right honorable Edward de Veere, Earle of Oxonford, Vicunt Bulbacke, Lord of Escales, and Badlesmere, and Lorde great Chamberlaine of England. The Lorde God graunt increase a liuely and true faith, and continu­ance in the zeale of the blessed religion of our alone Sauiour Iesus Christe for euer.

IT is impossible (right honorable) for a man to turne himselfe any kinde of way heere in this world, either in cal­ling to minde generally, the heauens and earth, either yet particulerly, the glorious garnishing, light, brightnes, & mouings of the one, and the great plentie of all sortes of beasts, foules, and fruits of the other, together with the infinite diuersitie of flowres, wherewith God, by his heauenly wisedome and goodnesse, euery yeere afreshe, meruellously clotheth, and repareth them, as it were with rich, and beautifull attyres and colours: But that hee, as of­ten (I say) as hee beholdeth these so wonderful works of his ma­iestie, muste euen so often needes confesse that there is set before his eyes, a most large matter & argument for him, to glorifie thee altogether good, & only omnipotēt God, who hath not created all things for the vse of man only, but also euen for his delight and pleasure. For hee is so good and glorious a Father to all his chil­dren, as that his very meaning is) so wee take them modestly and thankfully) to haue vs freely vse his benefits for our necessitie, yea, and receiue them with pleasure, and delight, without scruple of conscience▪ For els, to what purpose should we haue created such a number of sortes of fruites, differing in substance, strength and nurriture, & of so sundry shapes, in greatnes thicknes, & colour, in smel, tast, & sauor, except it had bin both to strēghtē & delight vs? For doth wine onely strengthen our bodies? doth it not likewise, as Dauid reckoneth it amōgst the benefites of the Almighty, glad the heart of man. And therefore, what is hee that can bee so bloc­kish, as not to thinke as much generally, of all the rest of the bene­fites [Page] of God, which he dayly bestoweth vpon vs, for the sustening of our bodies. Yet notwithstanding, this were not enough for vs, hereupon to acknowledge, as our dutie is, the fatherly care which hee hath ouer our present life, in administring to vs whatsoeuer is needfull for the same: except wee eftsoones learned also heereby, that hee alone, who principally is the father of our soules, (for, it is hee that hath created and regenerated them) giueth the foode of euerlasting life vnto them, by the bread of his holy word: to the end we might be drawn as it were by degrees, by our bodily food to attaine vnto spirituall life: and thereby eternally liue in blisse, which neuer shal haue end. And in deed, the eternall God brought the children of Israel heereunto, by that Manna wherwith he fed them in the wildernesse. Whereupon, it will come to passe, that if we doe, as many of thē did, who made none other reckoning but of stuffinge their paunches, and thereby looked into none o­ther matter: that wee also shal die, euen as they did. For as it is im­possible for vs to liue heere in this world, without the vse of bread and other food, which God the Creator hath ordeined, as means wherby he adioyning thereto his heauenly power, would susteine vs in this corporal life: Euen so likewise is it as impossible for vs to be partakers of euerlasting life, except we be fed with this food of the soule: wherewith being appointed by God, to the same end, the holy Ghoste serueth as it were for an instrument, to cause vs possesse, through a liuely and true faith Christe Iesus, who is a­lone giuen to vs for life, and without whom, we continually abide in death. Wherefore, seeing the soule is more excellent then the body, the heauenly bread more precious then corruptible bread, and euerlasting life, farre more worth, then the transitory life for a day, it is most certaine, that heauenly benefits are without al com­parison, a great deale more excellent then corporal, and to be pre­ferred before them. Now, if wee woulde at the least consider, as in deede wee ought, what a benefite were it, to haue the true feare and knowledge of God, in steede of being altogether igno­rant thereof, and contemning the same: to trust surely in him a­lone, in stead of trusting too too muche vnto our selues: vnfei­nedlye to loue our neighbors, in steade of enuying and hating of them, before wee are regenerate: and to haue a pure and [Page] sounde heart belonging to euerlasting life, in steade of all ini­quitie, wherein wee bathe and feede our selues as fish in the wa­ter? To bee short, if wee thinke it no small matter, that all super­naturall giftes: altogether abolished in man through sinne, be re­stored to vs, through Christ Iesus alone: and that, reason, vnder­standing, iudgement, will, and other such naturall giftes, which man had of his Creator, howbeit, corrupted by the same fall, be likewise, through the same Sauiour renued in vs: and to speake in one word, if the image of God, which was defaced by man his dis­obedience, bee repaired in vs by our Redeemer, who alone hath recōciled vs to God his Father, cleansing vs from our sinnes, ma­king vs his brethren, and enheritors of the kingdome of heauen, freed from the tyranny of sinne, and of the Deuill, empouerishing himselfe to make vs Princes, and companions with Angels, and by his death recouering vs life: If these inestimable benefites (I say) be not lightly considered of vs, we should esteeme of them, as it is good reason, aboue all other things, yea, we should leaue & forsake all other things, to seeke and enioy them, and neuer bee wearied with any paine, neither yet faint hearted, seeing it is the bread of the word of God that wee must all, seeke after. And this bread, a­mongst other vertues, hath this, that is, it maketh him who is daily fed therewith, more and more encrease in the vnitie of faith, vntill such time as hee commeth to the fulnesse of a perfect man. And without fayth there is no saluation, and fayth (as the Apostle witnesseth) commeth by hearing, and hearing commeth by prea­ching of the word, so that without hearing of the word preached, there can be no fayth, and consequently, no saluation. This bread also of the word hath so pleasant a taste, as that if the sweetnesse of honie it selfe, be compared with it, it shall be as bitter as Gal. Sure­ly, the godliest and best fruits of the earth, in respect of this which restoreth the soule, reioyceth the heart, strengtheneth the weake, and comforteth the afflicted, are all but rotten, and no whit plea­sant or delightfull. To be short, ouer and besides, that we are with so great pleasure thereby in such sort strengthened, as no tongue is able to expresse, we are moreouer so enriched therewith, as that all the treasures in this world, in regard of it, can be but filthy and stinking. And therefore, euery one is to consider and vnderstande, [Page] that the whole felicitie of man, resteth in this spiritual foode. Here is likewise to be ioyned withall, that our labour in trauelling for the same, shal not be lost: For, God the Creator, sendeth vs not at this day (thankes be giuen to him for it for euer) scarcitie of this Manna and heauenly doctrine: But most abundantly giueth and poureth it abroad without money, all the world ouer, to all such as hunger after it: But vnto such as are full gorged and lothed there­with, so that they reiect it, and cast it vp againe, by reason of their vnthankfulnesse, it turneth to them in stead of good nutriment, in­to deadly poison. And contrariwise the more a man desireth it, the more it nourisheth, & doth him good. Wherefore our good God, and louing Father, knowing what neede we haue to be strengthe­ned with this spirituall foode, not for a day only, but euen so long as we shall creepe here vpon the earth, and must haue it put into our mouthes like young children, hath appointed Pastors, & Tea­chers in his Church, soundly and truly to breake vnto al his faith­ful ones, this bread of his word, Euen as a father who giuing bread to his children, cutteth euery one such a morsel, as he seeth to bee most necessarie for him. And therefore in this behalfe (my good Lord) the Church of England, hath greatly to thanke the lord our God, in that hee hath furnished it, with such a number of godly, faithfull, and sound Ministers, as distribute vnto his people the worde of trueth: For they in stead of confusedly heaping & hud­ling one thing in an others necke, doe verie familiarly and plainely handle and dispose the matter by peece meale, and after an excellēt good order: and in stead of cutting, tearing in sunder, wreasting it into a wrong sense, and resting in the Barke without making a through entrance, doe soundly, perfectly, truely, verie reuerently, and without falsifiyng, deliuer it vnto vs, and feed our soules with the marow thereof.

Wherefore (right honourable) seeing this foode of the soule which is the word of God, is so precious a thing, as that all the kingdomes of the world are not valuable vnto it, I haue takē bold­nesse to beseech your honor to be the Patron and defender of this my poore trauell in the translation of these Sermons following, which I haue done for the benefit & good of the meanly lettered sort of my countrimen, verie notably & learnedly handled by M. Iohn Caluin, whose authoritie, & sound dealing in such causes, If I [Page] should take in hand to commend, I should seeme, (as we say) with a Lanterne to giue light vnto the bright shining Sunne, & therfore wil hold my peace. Againe, the doctrine set down by him in them, affourdeth vnto all the Readers therof so great commoditie of it selfe, as that it needeth not the commendation of any other. And I haue the rather dedicated this my rude translatiō vnto your Lord­ship, partly, for that I would shew some peece of my humble dutie vnto your honour, as a publike testimony therof, in respect of be­ing sometimes, as then verie young, brought vp in your L. fathers house: but especially & chiefly, because (Syr) you seeke by al means possible, (the Lord bee thanked for it, & continue you in the same minde all your life long to his glorie) to vse conference with a cer­teine godly learned man, for the better reforming of your self and your whole family, to the obedience of the word. Which word as Solomon saieth, Shal guide you when you walke, watch for you when you sleepe, and talke with you when you are awake. Prou. 6.22 And in the verse following hee saieth, That the word is a Lanterne, and Instruction, a light, & correction, for instructions, are the way of life &c. Thus haue I my good Lord, boldly presumed of your noble and gracious cur­esie, to present these Sermons vnto your honour, beseeching you in the behalfe of the Church of God to accept of them. In the meane while, I shall beseech the Lord our God, the Father of all mercy and consolation, to strengthen you in that good course, which he of his meere loue and singular goodnesse, hath so lately begun in you, that you may bee like vnto a confortable bright shi­ning light in his Church, to shewe your selfe a constant mainteiner of the trueth of the glorious Gospell of his deare Sonne Christ Ie­sus our Lorde, for the stirring vp of many thereto. And because I feare that I haue troubled your Lordship with an ouerlōg Epistle, I most humbly take my leaue, committing both you, and all your affayres, to the protection of the Almighties most sacred Maiestie. London, the vi. of May. 1581.

Your Lordships most duetifully to bee com­maunded in the Lord Iesus. Tho. Stocker.

To all the faithfull dispersed people of God, in what Countries and Nations soeuer, Conrade Badius wisheth Grace, and peace from our Lorde and Saui­our Iesus Christ.

IT is not vnknowne vnto vs (Christian Readers) what the proude secte of the Pharisees was, in whom, although there was nothing els but darknesse, and igno­raunce, yet boasted and bragged they of them selues, to bee the most notable en­terpretors of the lawe, insomuche, that from thence they tooke their name, as if the verie marowe, and secret meaning of the scriptures had beene enclosed and fast shut vp in their breastes. And yet in the meane while, in stead of fee­ding the poore people with true and wholesome doctrine, they instructed them I know not with what mockeries and vaine ceremonies, which they them selues had inuented, cleane besides the worde of God. And so, after the like manner doe our great Doctours of Sorbone, and all our howling Monkes and Fryers deale at this day with vs: of which company, the one sorte of them, although they thinke them selues to be the pillers of the Church, fellowes with the Apostles, and the verie shoppe of the holie Ghost, from whence wee must fetch the full exposition of the scriptures, and the verie assured resolution of all the pointes of religion, yet tell they vs nothing els but vaine and doltish tales, either busie them selues about curious questions, and ful of Sophistrie, besides a thousand other subtle­ties, seruing to no edification in the whole world. The other sort of them, in stead of the word of God, preach nothing els, but constitutions and or­dinaunces of their owne making, for the establishing of the tyrannie of their holie Father the Pope, the verie Antechrist and enemy to the truth: and the third sort, vomit and cast vp arrogant and proude speeches in the Pulpyt against the children of God, & against all such as Iesus Christ hath reuealed him selfe vnto, in these latter dayes, calling them Lutherans, and seditious persons, falsly deuising a thousand leasings against them, and in steade of feeding their miserable starued sheepe with the true foode of the worde of God, they are faine to moysten their soules with those pestilent [Page] kindes of poisons, whereas they should be fed with spiritual and heauenly nurriture.

Wherefore, dearely beloued brethren in our Lorde and Sauiour Iesus Christ, whensoeuer that God sendeth vnto vs any good and faithfull tea­cher, who sincerely and purely deliuereth vnto his Auditorie the worde of the Lorde, wee ought to make a meruellous great account of him: for, we shal finde verie few such men as will faithfully acquite them selues of their charge and function: and we ought amongst other things greatly to reuerence all those whom God hath endowed with speciall graces and the gift of enterpreting▪ Euen as at this day the faithful Pastor and good seruant of God Iohn Caluin, hath made that precious talēt which God be­stowed vpō him verie profitable, whose Sermons yelde vnto vs a good te­stimony therof, which also, (in the iudgement of indifferēt men) were not slightly made, nor hastily hudled vp, but duely & truely premeditated and rightly deliuered vnto the capacitie of his flocke, hauing alwayes in open shew, the liuely impression of the benefit of the Lord Iesus in their hearts. Neither are these like vnto common places caught in a net, either yet bo­some Sermons, which may serue for any text of scripture, as a stoole for al feete: But are true, sincere, plaine, and meete expositions seruing for the text which he had to treate of: neither are they stuffed with friuolous ex­hortations: either yet filled with ambitious inuectiues. For, as it is verie needful that the superstitions of Poperie shoulde, by the worde of God, bee daily enueighed against, to the ende they, might be cleane rin­sed and scowred out of our heartes, as a strong sauour wherewith we haue beene seasoned euen from our infancie, yet if the place which hee hand­led did not orderly speake against such abuses, hee woulde not passe the boundes of his Texte, and crye out, vpon them: as the Papists, alwaies, and to no purpose, like Mastife Curres barke and baye against the Gospell, renued in this latter age of the worlde: But his manner was to holde a plaine and direct course, tending to edification, without omitting any thing which might serue and make for the honour of God, and instructi­on of his Auditorie. I woulde, if it pleased God, there were a great many moe his lyke: For then I knowe, that the Church of Christ, should be greatly eased and furthered: But it is out of al doubt, that our vnthank­fulnesse is the cause why God sendeth not moe faithfull Pastours at this present then are: for if there bee any that will duetifully discharge their office, and deliuer the word of God freely (as Saint Paule commaundeth) reproouing sinne, and setting them selues against iniquitie, for the main­tenaunce [Page] of his honour, by whom they are sent, they are foorthwith fu­riously dealt with, rayled on, and slaundered. As questionlesse, the par­tie before saide, who for his vprightnesse, and great fidelitie by him vsed in the executing of his charge, hath gotten such a mightie number of ene­mies, as that they which neuer see nor heard him, neither yet euer read two wordes of his woorkes, haue wished his death. Howbeit, God be thanked for it, his good conscience and the testimonie which hee had before God, his Angelles, and the faithful which daily heard him, did so assure him that men did him wrong for wishing of him so great hurt, as that they encouraged him, constantly to pursue the Lordes workes. He sawe howe hardly his maister was dealt with, and after him the Apostles: and therefore it greeued him not to follow their steppes, because he knew that God was of power able to defende and keepe his pledge, and that they which suffred for his sake, should be taken to be worthie of the king­dome of heauen. Nowe, because all men could not bee of that Church whereby they might be partakers of the heauenly foode which this good shepheard many yeares ceased not to administer: and that it was very ex­pedient that they which were newly come to the charge which hee had, might see his manner of teaching, and so followe it: and likewise, that they which thought hee did nothing els but speake euill and crye out a­gainst the Pope, and all his rable of shauelinges, thundring against their traditions, without any other handling of the Scripture, or els that hee went about none other thing but to bring the people vnto a carnal liber­tie, and thereby cast of the obedience and subiection which they ought to Kinges and Princes, to the end therefore that they might read his Ser­mons, and thereby see that hee hath great iniurie done vnto him in ha­uing this blame laide vpon him, and cease the yl opinion which they haue conceiued of him, many godly honest men determined to prynt a certein of them, but especially Lawrence of Normandie, whose zeale and god­ly conuersation is sufficiently wel knowne, & hath for many yeares besto­wed all his studie & trauel to prynt bookes for the edifiyng of the Church. In verie deede, I must needes say thus much (as I haue in the preface of the Sermons of the tenne Commaundementes let you before vnder­stande) that the Authour was not willing nor yet consenting here­too: not that hee woulde hinder the benefite and fruite that hereby might redounde to the Church: but wished that his Sermons might passe no further then vnto his owne flocke: as well for that they [Page] were specially made for his sheepe, vnto whose capacitie he fra­med him selfe the best he could: and therefore thought that an other or­der and disposition were more requisite therin for the publishing them a­brode in the view of al the world: but as for the ouer looking of them to the ende to polish them, ouer and besides that his leasure would not serue him, hee would neuer busie himselfe about the matter. For if he himselfe had meant to haue put them foorth, he intended to haue made new homi­lies of them, and better penned, and not to haue published any thing sodē ­ly spoken by him. Neuerthelesse, we seeing the great benefite which might come by the putting abrode of these Sermons, were not afeard somewhat to displease and disobey him heerein, to the end we might make you par­takers of those excellent riches, which wee possesse in this litle Angle and corner of the world, so abhorred and detested, howbeit precious in the sight of the Lord. In deede we were so much the bolder, by reason of the liberal dealing of our honorable Lords and magistrates, who desiring the aduancement of the Church of God, haue priuiledged vs to print them.

Now, when we see that we were to make choyse of such a great nūber of collections as were of them, we thought it best to set a few of them abrod to the end that as we see them thankefully receiued, so also we might goe forward in putting foorth of moe. This then is the order which wee haue taken.

In the first place, we haue set downe a congregation vpon the beginning of the Gospell of S. Iohn, where is largely handeled the diuinitie of our Lord Iesus Christ. Now by this word Congregation, I meane a certaine as­semble, which is made one day in the weeke at the Church, where euery Minister in order handleth some text of the scripture, more like the maner of a reading then of a preaching: that being done, if any of the rest vnto whome the spirite of God hath reuealed any thing tending to the better vnderstanding and laying open of that which hath beene spoken, hee hath free libertie to speake.

After that foloweth the Sermon, touching the natiuitie of Iesus Christ. Next to it wee haue placed the Sermons of his death and passion, of his resurrection and ascention, of the comming downe of the holy Ghost vp­on the Apostles, Of the first Sermon that Peter, made after he had recei­ued the holy Ghost. Last of al, we haue set downe a Sermon treating of the last comming of Iesus Christe.

After we had thus doone, and thinking to haue finished this booke it pleased God to graunt vs to come to the hearing of the most excellent sermons [Page] that are possibly to be hard or spoken, vpon the end of the fiftie two Chapter of the Prophet Isaiah, & vpon al the fiftie three, wherin the mi­stery of the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christe is set foorth, and so liuely pictured out that a man would thinke that the holy Ghost meant to set before our eyes Iesus Christ condemned in our name, and nayled to the crosse for our sinnes, to the end that he suffering the punishmente for them which was due to vs, and bearing the wrath and iudgement of God for our sakes, hath deliuered vs from eternal death, which Sermons doe so agree with the Sermons going before, which wee haue heere set downe, that wee coulde not choose to ioyne them vnto them, because we woulde not bereaue you of so great a benefite. Moreouer, wee haue had respect to choose out those Sermons aswell as we coulde, which were vp­on such dayes as the Lordes Supper was administred in this Churche, as­well for that that there is a farre greater and more effectuall vehemencie in them, as also for that the point of this Sacrament is therein more cleere­ly shewed, for the which at this day, is the greatest contention and striefe in the worlde. And therefore we haue determined hereafter too deliuer vnto you the Sermons, which this godly learned man hath made vpon the tenth and the eleuenth Chapter of the Epistle of S. Paul to the Corinthi­ans, wherein is manifestly set foorth the true institution of the Supper & the corruption and abuse which sithence haue come vnto it, liuely refu­ted. Wherefore, if wee perceiue that these presents like you, wee will vse all the meanes possible that God shal graunt vs, to make you partakers of the heauenly riches, which he vouchsafeth vpon his seruants heere in this Church. In the meane while wee beseech you dearely beloued to fol­low that blessed coursse, and not feare the threats and cruelties of tyrants, who thinke at this day to do god high seruice in persecuting Iesus Christ in his members: and set before you this incorruptible crowne and euer­lasting prepared for you, if you constantly perseuere vnto the ende in your holy calling, knowing that the sufferings which you abide in this pre­sent life, are not worthie the glory of the life to come: wherevnto wee may attaine through Iesus Christ our Lord.

A Sermon made by M. Iohn Caluin, vpon the beginning of the Gospell according to S. Iohn, in which the diuinitie of our Lorde Iesus Christ is excellently prooued.

1 In the beginning was that worde, and that word was with God, and that word was God.

2 This same was in the beginning with God.

3 All thinges were made by it: and without it was nothing made of that which was made.

4 In it was life, and that life was the light of men.

5 And that light shineth in the darknesse, and the darknesse comprehended it not.

THis worde Gospel,The word Go­spell what it meaneth, signifieth the de­claration that God hath shewed vs, of his loue in our Lorde Iesus Christ, when hee sent him into the worlde: which thing we ought wel to marke, because it is verie much to know the vse of the holie Scripture, euen in re­spect of the wordes it vseth. It is true that wée ought not to stand simply or onely vpon the words: and yet for all that we are not able to comprehend howe excellent Gods doctrine is, vnlesse wée knowe the procéeding that it vseth, and also what is the style and spéech therof. And indéed we are so much the more to marke and weigh this worde, because it is a verie common re­ceiued sentence to distinguish the holie Scripture into the law and the Gospell: and those that speake thereof in that sort, meane,Diuision of the Scripture. that all the promises which are conteined in the olde Testament, ought to bée referred to this word Gospel. If any man speake, let him speake as the words of God. 1. Pet. 4.11. True it is that their meaning is good, but for all that, the holie Scripture vseth not such manner of spéech, and we ought to be sober in that respect, and to yéelde such a reuerence to Gods spirite, as to kéepe such a manner of speaking as hée him selfe vseth to teach vs withall. Behold thus much then concerning the word Gospell, which is a publishing that God hath [Page] made vnto vs at the comming of our Lord Iesus Christ his sonne, declaring him selfe a father to all the worlde: as also Saint Paule speaketh thereof in his Epistle to the Ephesians, Ephe. 2.19. when hee saieth that Iesus Christ came to preach the Gospel vnto them that were nigh, and to those that were farre of from God: nigh, to wit, the Iewes, who were alreadie entred into the Couenant with God: and farre, to wit, of the Pagans and Heathen, who are as it were farre remooued from his Church. Now when wée shall haue loo­ked euerie where, we shall finde that this worde Gospel is not ta­ken in any other signification. And beholde also wherefore men haue giuen this name or title to the foure histories that are writ­ten touching our Lorde Iesus Christ how he came into the world, and was conuersant therein: howe he died, rose againe, and went vp into heauen: men I say, haue giuen the name or title of the Gospell to this. And why so? because the substance of the Gospell is comprehended in the person of God his sonne as I haue alrea­die saide. The auncient fathers had in déed the promises of saluati­on:The difference betwene the fa­thers vnder the law, and as vn­der the Gospel. they were also very well assured that God would be their fa­ther, but yet they had not (in such plaine sort as we haue) the gage and pledge of Gods loue towards them, & of their owne adoption. For when Iesus Christ came into the world, then God signed and sealed his fatherly loue vnto vs, and we had the full testimonie of life, and in déed haue also the substance thereof in Iesus Christ, as I haue alreadie saide. [...]. Cor. 1.20. And this is the cause why S. Paule saieth, That all Gods promises are in him, yea and Amen: to wit, because then God ratified and confirmed all that which he had spoken be­fore, and had promised to men. So then it is not without cause that these foure histories (wherin is declared vnto vs how the sonne of God was sent, that he tooke mans flesh, also that he liued here vp­pon earth amongst men) haue béen so named. Men then haue com­prehended all this vnder the worde Gospell, 2. Tim. 2.8. because therein it is declared and set out vnto vs, howe God hath made perfect and ac­complished all that which was requisite for mens saluation, and that we haue had the fulfilling of al, in the person of his sonne. In­déed S. Paul speaketh of his Gospell, but after what sort? It is not as though he had writtē an history of ye Gospel, but because his do­ctrine was conformable & agréeable, to all that which is conteined therein. So according to that which I haue alreadie saide, when [Page 2] the Gospel was preached vnto vs,S. Paules E­pistles, not cal­led the gospell, & in what sense it is a plaine manifesting of Ie­sus Christ to the ende that we should know that in him all things are perfected, and that we haue the trueth of that, which had béen promised in all times before. And yet for all this, S. Paules Epi­stles, are not called the Gospell. And why so? because that therein wee haue not a continuall historie which declareth vnto vs after what sort God sent his sonne, howe it pleased him that in putting vpon him our nature, hée might haue a true brotherhood with vs, how he died, rose againe, and ascended into heauen. This I say, is not largely laid out, with a continual order & course of spéech in S. Paule, very certaine is it, that the doctrine which is conteined in his Epistles, is conformable and agréeable with ye doctrine of the Gospel: But for all that, that word Gospell, is specially attributed to these foure histories, for the reason which I haue alreadie alled­ged. Nowe where we say that the substance of the Gospell is com­prehended in the person of the Sonne of God, this is not onely to say that Iesus Christ came into the world, but yt we should know also what his office is, what charge God his father hath commit­ted vnto him, and what vertue & power he hath, which thing wée ought to mark wel: for from thence we may gather the difference of the Gospel according to S. Iohn, Wherin the 4. Euangelists a­gree. Hebr. 4.15. and those which the other thrée wrote. The foure Euangelists agrée verie well in this, that they declared vnto vs, how the sonne of god appeared in the world, that he became true and verie man, like vnto vs in all thing, sin excep­ted. Afterwards they declare vnto vs, how he died, rose again, and ascended into heauen. To be short, all that was committed vnto him, to draw vs to God his father by, is declared and set foorth vn­to vs therein. But there are two thinges which are peculiar to S. Iohn: One is,Iohn hath two things peculi­ar too him selfe from the other Euangelists. that he stayeth and standeth vpon the doctrine of Ie­sus Christ, more then the other Euangelists doe: The other, that with a greater liuelinesse he declareth vnto vs Iesus Christes ver­tue and power. True it is, that the other Euangelists speake well of the doctrine of Iesus Christ, but that is rather briefly and short­ly, as who haue collected some small Summaries and Abridge­mentes thereof.Iohn. 6.1.2. But S. Iohn maketh a long and large declaration therof, as we sée in ye sixth Chapter, where mention is made of that myracle which he wrought in ye wildernesse, whē he refreshed & fed so great a multitude. For therevpon S. Iohn commeth to enter into [Page] spéech, and to shewe howe Iesus Christ is the bread of eternall life. We sée then this doctrine of Iesus Christ, which was decla­red at large by S. Iohn, and that with a more great dilating & dis­coursing thereon, then is set out by the other Euangelistes, yea we sée that they quite and cleane omitted that doctrine. So much also may be saide of the rest: for after that he hath touched some my­racles and histories,Iohn. 12. to 18. hee alwayes commeth backe to the doctrine, and taketh occasion to enter into the matter, to handle and speake of the power of our Lorde Iesus Christ: as from the xii. Chapter til you come to the historie of the Passiō he intreateth of nothing,The Gospel ac­cording to S. Io. giueth light to the other E­uangelistes. but this doctrine. So then now we sée what difference there is be­twéene the Gospell according to S. Iohn, & the other thrée Euan­gelistes, insomuch, that to speake rightly, the Gospell according to S. Iohn, is, as it were the key, to giue vs some entraunce and o­pening to the other. For if we reade S. Matthew, S. Marke, and S. Luke, we shall not so well know wherefore Iesus Christ was sent into the worlde, as when we shal haue read S. Iohn. Hauing reade S. Iohn, we shall knowe afterwardes to what ende it ser­ueth vs, that Iesus Christ hath wrought, and also that he hath ta­ken mans flesh, and that he died and rose againe: We shal know I say, what is the ende and substaunce of all these thinges in rea­ding this Gospell. And this is the cause why hée standeth not so much vpon the historie, as we shall sée by the order which he will kéepe hereafter. It is true, that these thinges rightly deserue, to be more largely diducted and layde out: but because there is great matter in the Text which we haue to expounde, I doe but touche these thinges as briefly as I can. Wherefore let vs content our selues with that which we haue summarily and shortly touched, concerning the office of Iesus Christ:Wherefore Christ came in­to the world. that is to say, that S. Iohn declareth vnto vs how he was sent of God his father, to the ende he might accomplish and make perfect the saluation of men. Hée declareth howe he tooke mans fleshe, and howe he died also, and rose againe, that he is the pledge of Gods loue, that he is (as it were) the soule of our redemption, and that Gods promises are in him ratified and established.The summe of the Gospell ac­cording to S. Iohn. Moreouer we must marke (as I haue alreadie saide) that S. Iohn toucheth the stories more briefly then the other thrée Euangelistes doe, but for all that he stayeth him­selfe more vpon the substance of the matter, that is to say, to de­clare [Page 3] vnto vs what the doctrine of Iesus Christ is: & what charge God the father hath committed vnto him: and to be short, what is his vertue, his power, and goodnesse towardes vs. As concer­ning the signification of the worde in it selfe, Gospell is as muche to say, as a good newes or glad tidinges: but this woorde ought to be vnto vs as it were hallowed or sanctified, to the end to cause vs to hate the thinges of this worlde, and to the ende that wée might know, that all our goodnesse and our felicitie, ioye, and glorie is in Iesus Christ alone. Wherfore when we shal pronounce or speake this worde Gospell, which is as muche to say, as good newes or glad tidinges: Let vs learne not to reioyce beyond measure, in the thinges of this worlde which are brittle and vaine: let vs not re­ioyce in delightes, in pleasures, nor in any thing whatsoeuer it be:Wherein true Christians should chiefly reioyce. but let vs be glad and reioyce in this, that Christ was sent vnto vs, that God is offered and giuen vnto vs in his person: that Ie­sus Christ is come to the ende that he might be our reconciliation betwéene God and vs, that God accepteth vs for his children, to the end we should not perish and be condemned. Behold how this word ought to be sanctified or hallowed vnto vs, to the end to cause vs reuerently to regarde that inestimable goodnesse, which hath béene brought vnto vs by our Lord Iesus Christ. And it is expres­ly saide, that this Gospel is according to S. Iohn, to the ende wée should know, that it is not from a mortall man, but that S. Iohn, was onely the minister or meane thereof. From whom then shall we say that we holde the Gospell? From S. Iohn, The Gospell is from Iesus Christ. Iohn. 7.16. or from Iesus Christ? Certainly from Iesus Christ. And in déede Iesus Christ vseth this manner of spéech, as to say, that the doctrine is not his, but that hee preached it in the authoritie of God his father from whom it procéeded: and al this is to the end that we should beare so much the more reuerence to this doctrine, and that we should not receiue it, as a common thing, but as the pure truth of God, which was preached and declared by his onely sonne. S. Iohn then was indéede the meane or instrument that God vsed, euen as a Penne that will write in a mans hande, but yet for all that we must not receiue the Gospell, which was written by him, as from a mor­tall man. Let vs nowe come to the Text. The worde (saieth hée) was in the beginning. The purpose of Saint Iohn is to declare vnto vs howe the sonne of God did not then begin to be, when hée [Page] appeared or shewed himselfe in the world:Christ is verie God from all eternitie. neither yet that then he began onely to spread abroad his power in euery place, (for he was alreadie from al time, and before all time, his power abroad alrea­die in him selfe, and he tooke it not from any other) but that there was a power which was in the word of God from the beginning, which at the last was manifested, and we know it now, séeing Ie­sus Christ hath béen sent into the world. Wherfore S Iohn ment to declare here, that when Iesus Christ came into the worlde, hée that came was our eternall God, who also hath redéemed vs. But yet to ye end that we may the better vnderstand the whole, we must particularly & by péecemeale mark the things that are here spokē. The word was in the beginning. There is no doubt, but that hée héere calleth the Sonne of God The worde. Why Christ is called the word The reason is, because it is that verie wisedome which hath alwayes béene in God, and his Counsell, and his power. True it is, that we haue not in this place the thinges declared and set out, as they are in their owne greatnesse & excellencie, I meane, euen as they are here propoun­ded and set foorth vnto vs by S. Iohn. For albeit that the spirite of God spake by his mouth, yet so it is, that he hath not yet declared and set forth the matters vnto vs, in their greatnesse and maiestie. And héerein we derogate nothing from the spirit of God,The Lord in setting out him selfe and Christ to vs, had re­spect to our weaknesse. when we say, that he hath not fully & in perfection set out the thinges which are héere signified vnto vs, for the holie Ghost therein applieth him selfe vnto our infirmitie and weakenesse. And in déede, if wée shoulde heare God, speaking vnto vs in his maiestie, it shoulde be vtterly vnprofitable for vs, because we could comprehende or conceiue nothing thereof.

So then, because we be carnall, he must néeds stut and stammer as it were, or els he would not be vnderstoode of vs. By this then we sée, that we are to vnderstand, that God is as it were become litle, and hath abased him selfe, that he might declare him self vn­to vs: And that so it is, tell mée, howe should it bee possible to ex­presse what Gods maiestie is, If we speake mens spéech & words? Is it not thinke you a farre vnequall measure? S. Iohn then albe­it he be the holie Ghosts instrumēt, speaketh not of these matters, according to their greatnesse, & yet notwithstanding he speaketh in a spéech, which is as it were vnknowne to vs. And therefore wée must cōclude, that the secrets which are cōteined in this place, are [Page 4] not so openly & plainly declared, as that we are able to vnderstand the same, in such sort as we vnderstand the matters of the world: but let vs content our selues with that which is here simply decla­red vnto vs: for our Lord knew yt which was sufficiēt for our good,God hath in his word reuealed sufficient for his children, and he applied himself vnto vs and our infirmitie, in such sort that he hath not forgotten or omitted any thing which was good & pro­fitable for vs to know. So let vs learne to kéepe vs fast to this pu­ritie and simplicitie of his doctrine, considering how the worlde in this behalfe hath béen foulely abused by foolish imaginations, and vaine speculations, and by a certaine deuilish boldnesse: For when the question hath béene to handle these matters, men haue ouer­whelmed them selues in as much as they ment (besides the reue­latiō of the doctrine) to search out wt a certain curiositie & boldnes, the eternal essence and being of Almightie God: as a man in the Papacie shall heare disputations that are made thereof, euen as if men disputed of a flocke of Goates, or I know not whereof. They haue no more reuerence to God, thē to a beast: Now we néede not séeke out a better witnesse against the doctrine of the Sophisters of Sorbone to know that the Deuill raigneth there,Sorbone, is the name of the place, wher the brotherhood of the Sorbo­nists, doe yet re­maine to this day in Paris. and hath al­wayes raigned there, thē this. And this I say, that albeit their doc­trine were not false, yet so it is that when men sée they haue so li­tle reuerence and regard to Gods maiestie, we must néeds say that it is a deuilish doctrine, euē that I mean, which is at this day prac­tised, by the Sophisters & Sorbonists, in all the Popes Colledges. So then, let vs (as I haue saide) content our selues with that sim­plicitie, which is declared vnto vs by ye holy spirite, for he toucheth and speaketh of that which is good & profitable for our saluation: and as I haue alreadie declared he hath heere brought and deliue­red vnto vs that which was méete & fit for vs to knowe.Iam. 1.17. Rom. 11.29. Let vs come now to this true word. When S Iohn calleth Iesus Christ, That word, it is as if he should say: the eternall counsell of God, or the wisdome that remaineth in him. Notwithstanding we must marke that God is not like to men: when we haue a Counsell it may alter and chaunge, but it is not so with God: for that which is in God is vnchaungeable. Besides the counsell which we haue,Though man be wauering, yet God is con­stant. Iames 1.17. is not our verie Essence▪ or substance: but the counsell which is in God, is verely & truly God: for God is not as a vaile or couerture, wher ther are shadowy places, as S. Iam. vseth this similitude, we [Page] are as a shadowe that flitteth vp and downe, and we cannot abide firme and constant. But this is not in God: for that which is in him, is of his essence and eternitie. And this is the cause wherfore S. Iohn declareth, that this word is verely and truely God. But as concerning the worde, wee must not (as I haue alreadie saide) imagine a counsell or a wisedome in God, which should be like to the worde of men. True it is, that we may well take some com­parison from our selues, but yet we ought alwayes to marke, the long distance and great difference,An apt simili­tude. that is betwéene vs and God: for if the heauens be much higher than the earth, much more must it néedes be, that we should knowe and confesse, that God is more high than we, yea there is no proportion or resemblance as it were betwéene God and men. So then when men shall bring or alledge vnto vs some similitude taken from the creatures, wée must al­wayes marke this great distance & difference,There are two partes or po­wers of a mans soule, to wit, vnderstanding and will. See his Institut. Lib 1. Cap. 15. Sect. 5.7. which is betwéene God and vs. As a man may verie well say, that in the soule of a man, there is a certaine vnderstanding, which is in such sort ioy­ned to the soule, that the soule cannot be without vnderstanding. There is also a will, not as when we haue nowe one desire, nowe another, but a certaine power (as a man would say) to wil, which thing man hath in him self, for man is not as a stone, or as a pile of wood without sense and reason, but he hath imprinted in him this propertie, to will this or that. So then we may take and vse such similitudes: but yet notwithstanding we must consider, that spéech is here had of so high thinges, as of necessitie all mans vnderstan­ding and wit must be abased and brought low: and we must han­dle them, and intreate of them in all humilitie, applying them to their true meaning,Curiositie and vaine imagina­tions must be auoided. & must not be ouer curious: we then haue that fonde imagination which hath borne swaye and ruled heretofore in the worlde: but we must come to Gods schoole, to hearken to that which he shall speake vnto vs, and to flye from al that which men shall set out,Gods voice must onely be obeied. and shalbe founde contrarie to that, which the holie Ghost hath left vs. Nowe furthermore we must also marke, that some hauing been thrust forwarde by the deuill, haue peruer­ted the meaning of this doctrine, affirming that this worde was nothing els,A perillous o­pinion confu­ted. but some certaine counsell, deliberation and purpose that God had to redéeme mankinde in the person of Iesus Christ (who was a certaine forme, as they call him, as when a man shal [Page 5] haue purposed to doe some worke, and shall haue conceaued the same in his spirite or vnderstanding) leauing not by so saying, e­uerlastingnes of essence or being to the sonne of God. But we sée alreadie, & shall sée héereafter more largely, how and in what sort S. Iohn calleth Iesus Christe that worde of God, thereby to de­clare & set out his deitie, as I haue alredy said. And that so it is, be­hold a plaine testimonie of God himselfe, for he saeith, that this worde was in the beginning: so then it must néedes be, that it hath béen eternall & euerlasting. It is true, that some will replie against it, because Moses saith,Gen. 1. [...]. that God in the beginning created heauen & earth: and that now S. Iohn saith, that this word was in the beginning, yt it séemeth hereby, séeing yt so it is, that the hea­uen, the earth, & other creatures had a beginning, that we cannot proue, the eternitie or euerlastingnes of Iesus Christ, because it is saide that the worde was in the beginning. But the answere is easie: to wit, that when Moses speaketh of the beginning,An obiection answered. we are to remember & mark whereof he speaketh: that is of heauen, of earth & other things, that haue indéede a beginning. But now let vs weigh and marke, that which S. Iohn saith, In the beginning (saith he) was that word. And where was the beginning? verely in God. And what is Gods beginning, I pray you? Certainely he had none: for otherwise it must néeds be, that God should be fra­med & made. So that when mention is made of the beginning of God, we must conclude, that it is such a beginning, as hath not a­ny time at al. There is then much to be sayd, and great difference also betwene Moses his place, when he saith,Iesus Christ i [...] our God eter­nall. 1. Tim. 3.16. that God created all in the beginning, and this when it is said, that that worde was in the beginning. For Moses speaketh of the creatures, which had their beginning to be at a certaine time. But héere S. Iohn spea­keth not of any thing but of God, which cannot be without his e­ternitie and euerlastingnes. Wherefore we must conclude, that this beginning, hath not any beginning. And héereby wée sée that Iesus Christe hath béen alwaies. It is as much then, as if Saint Iohn had saide, that Iesus Christ is our eternall God, who hath appeared & béen made manifest vnto vs in the flesh, as also Saint Paul speaketh therof. Now he addeth afterwards: this word was with God: as if hee shoulde say you must of necessitie sepa­rate and distinguishe him from all creatures. Marke the [Page] purpose of the Euangelist. We must not so much as imagine (saith hée) that this word had any thing at all, like vnto creatures: wée must go out of the world, wée must ascend aboue the earth & hea­uen,A hard questi­on answered. when we thinke vpon this word. A man might demaund, Be­fore there was either heauen or earth, was it possible, that this word should be in the beginning? yea in déede, for S. Iohn for a ful answere, separateth this worde from all the creatures: as if hée should say, when I speake vnto you of this worde, you must come to God, for it is in God. Let vs then regard and cōsider it, as a cer­taine eternitie or euerlastingnesse, which is not in the creatures, neither in the heauen, nor in the earth, nor in any thing whatsoe­uer. And notwithstanding all this, yet so it is, that the Euangelist in this place setteth out vnto vs, a distinction betwéene God and his worde.The father di­stincted from the sonne, not in essence, but in person. 1. Cor. 8.4.6. 1. Tim. 2.5. And what maner a one is this distinction? It is not of their essence, for he meaneth alwayes that this word is God: & wée must conclude, séeing that we haue but one onely God, and that there is but one simple essence or being in him, that Iesus Christ, that is to say, this eternall word whereof mention is made in this place, hath not béene separated or sundred from God his father, in respect of essence: and yet notwithstanding there is some distincti­on. And howe is that then? thus it is: because we are not able to comprehend that which is so high aboue al our vnderstanding and reason,Howe there are three persons in the Godhead. the auncient Doctors haue vsed the word persons, & haue saide, that in God there are thrée persons: not as we speake in our common spéeche, calling thrée men thrée persons, or els as in the Popedome, they wil be so bold as to point thrée Puppets or Mun­keyes, and say, Loe the Trinitie: but this worde persons in this matter, is vsed plainly to expresse and set out the proprieties, that are in the essence of God. The word substance, or (as the Gréekes speake) Hypostasis is in déede more méete and conuenient, because it is a worde of holie scripture, and the Apostle vseth it in the first Chapiter of his Epistle to the Hebrewes,Hebr. 1.3. when hée saieth, that Ie­sus Christ is the liuely image, and the brightnesse of the glorie, yea the image or ingraued forme of the substance or person of God his Father. When he speaketh in that place of the substaunce or person of God, hée meaneth not the essence or béeing, but hée spea­keth of his proprietie which is in the father, to wit, that he is the fountaine of al things. But now let vs looke to their thrée substan­ces [Page 12] or persons, as we call them,Gods worde onely, must be the rule of our faith, in all pointes, but specially in the article of the Trinitie. and marke howe they accord and agrée, so farfoorth, as God teacheth vs concerning them (as I haue alreadie said:) for we must not at any hand go beyond these bounds and limittes. And therefore let vs haue an eye thereto, so farfoorth as shalbe requisite, for the exposition of the place: When men speake of God, true it is that men of them selues are confounded, and knowe not what to thinke or imagine, sauing that they goe astraie in their owne cogitations and thoughtes,Rom. 1.21. as Saint Paule saieth: and therevppon it falleth out, that they waxe thereof ouer proude, through their owne prudencie and wisedome: and there­fore GOD also doeth in suche sort punishe them, that they in­tangle them selues, in such horrible labyrinthes and mazes, that they can not at any hand come out. But when we will suffer God to guide vs vnto him selfe by the holie scripture, we shall knowe him so farfoorth as shalbe necessarie and méete for vs.The Trinitie prooued. For we shall come to the father as to the fountaine of all thinges: and then wée can not conceiue or think vpon the father without his counsel and eternall wisedome: besides there is a certaine vertue & power that remaineth in him, which we shall also perceiue & féele verie well. Marke then how we shal finde these 3. proprieties in the essence of God. And this is that which S. Iohn mēt to say in this place, that that word was with God. If there were not some distinction, hée could not speake so, for that should be to speake vnproperly to say, God was with him self. So then let vs know, that this word hath some distinction, and is indéed to be distinguished from the heauen­ly father: for it is that worde,Christ begot­ten from before all beginnings. that was begotten from before all time, séeing that God alwayes had his counsell and his wisdome. And we must not for all that so much as imagine or thinke vpon a beginning: for we may not say, that God hath at any time béene without his vnderstanding, counsell, and wisedome. So then wée must not set aside, and separate from God the proprietie of this word, as to say, that we could iudge,The Trinitie, destroieth not the vnitie: nei­ther doeth the vnitie infringe the Trinitie. Gregor. Nazi [...]n sermo de sacro Basil, that there had béen some cer­taine time wherein it had not béene with God: for this should bée to make an idole of it, as it were. But as I haue said, the thrée per­sons are but one God: & yet for all that we must distinguish them, because there is a certain & assured distinction of them, as is in this place declared. And withall let vs remember an old Doctours sen­tence, which is verie worthie to be thought vpon, because it is ex­cellent. [Page] I cannot (saith he) thinke vpō these thrée proprieties, ye are set out vnto me in God, but ye immediatly my vnderstanding com­meth backe againe to one: & on the other side, it is impossible for me to know one only God, but yt I regard & looke vpō al ye thrée propri­eties, & sée thē distinguished in mine own vnderstāding, according to ye light which is geuē me therof in ye holy scripture. Behold how ye faithful shal know God: knowing ye father, they wil come to his wisedome, who is this word of which there is spokē in this place, they will come also incōtinētly, to that vertue & power wherof we haue in part said somwhat. And whē they shall haue once knowne these thrée persons, they wil not any more straggle & wāder hither & thither, but they wil come to this one & only essēce, to know that there is no more but one only God, yea such a one and only God in­déed, as hath in such sort created ye world, yt he hath not left vndone any thing of al that, which was requisite & necessary to accomplish our redēption. Thus much thē we are to marke, as cōcerning that which is said, that this word was with God, to wit, that the Euā ­gelist ment to separate Iesus Christ frō al creatures,The perfection of Gods works. and yet not­withstanding to declare vnto vs the distinction which is betwéene him & the father. Now he addeth, that that word was God: & this he doth ye more fully & better to expresse, ye which he meant, to wit, that Iesus Christ was not a thing created,Christ is very God. which had had a begin­ning, but that he is our true & very God, This place hath bin ill vnderstood of some,Read this with reuerence and iudgement. and they haue also foolishly translated it, as to say God was the word: for if we should say, that God is the worde, the father should be no more God, the holy Ghost should bee no more God. But S. Iohn ment to speake altogether the cōtrary, to wit, ye this word is God, as if he should say, ye Iesus Christ in respect of his deitie & Godhead, is of the same essence with the father. So he shut­teth not the father out from the deitie, but declareth that ther is no more, but one only essence in God: & although there be a distinction betwéene God and his word, yet must wee alwayes come backe to this simple & plaine trueth that they are one God, which we must worship.Arius Nestorius &c. It is true yt ye old heretikes trauelled very sore, to peruert this place to the end they might not be inforced to confesse, that Ie­sus Christ was our true God. But we sée héere, that S. Iohn spea­keth so plainly, of the euerlastingnes and eternitie of this worde, yt there is no place left, either for wrangling, or starting into holes. Hée addeth afterwarde yt this woord was in the beginning with God: He had not before spoken these two words together: hée had [Page 7] only said, This word was in the beginning also. It was with God. But nowe he ioyneth both of them together. Marke then how we [...]ght in such sort to beholde Iesus Christ that we should continu­ally beléeue, that he is verie God, and of the same essence with the father. Indéede he was created in respect of his manhood,Christ in re­spect of his hu­manitie a crea­ture. but wée must passe further, to the ende we may knowe him to be our eter­nall God, who is so indéede our God, that withall he is also, the wisedome of his father, which hath béen with God from before all time. Beholde then, what is the summe of this place. Now if wée shall kéepe and holde fast this exposition, (as it is simply & plainely set downe vnto vs) it shalbe sufficient for vs, to instruct vs to our saluation. And this verelie is all that ye we are to know touching this point: for if we begin here foolishly to dispute, that wil fal out vpon vs, which in this behalfe is fallen vpon the Papistes, as I haue alreadie saide. Moreouer let vs note,Blessed are they, whom o­ther mens harmes make to beware. It is a fonde trauaile to con­firme diuinitie, by Philoso­phie. that this is a certaine foolish studie and indeuour, to labour much to confirme that which the Euangelist speaketh in this place, by the doctrine of the olde Philosophers, as there are certaine people, that let and trouble them selues in it. It is true that we shall finde in Plato, that hée had some vnderstanding of God: for when he speaketh of God, hée saieth that God alwayes had his vnderstanding in him selfe: and almost all other Philosophers speake after this manner. Nowe these that are so curious & desirous, in such sort to make the Phi­losophers agrée with the holie scripture: suppose that they haue much profited the Christian congregation, when they are able to say, that the Euangelistes, who haue spoken after this manner, haue not béen alone, but that the Pagans and Heathen themselues haue in déed knowne such things. Verely this is much to the pur­pose: it is euen as if a man would put a vaile or shadowe, before brightnesse or light it selfe. Behold God,A fit similitude. who inlightneth vs by the doctrine of his Gospell, and wee will come and put a vaile or shadowe before it and say, ho, this light and brightnesse will bée more apparant and glitering by that vaile. It is verie certayne, that God woulde, that euen these thinges should be knowne to the Heathen Philosophers,Heathen Phi­losophers had some light, and wherefore it was giuen them. to make them thereby so much the more inexcusable before his Maiestie: but that prooueth not this, to wit, that his doctrine should be confirmed by that which they haue said: for verily we sée, that so much the néerer they thought to come nigh [Page] vnto God, so muche the further off in that respect they remooued them selues.Rom. 1.21. And therein was fulfilled this sentence of S. Paule which he vttereth against all mankinde: that all they that would be ouer sharpe sighted and subtle witted, and did not séeke God in such reuerence and humilitie as they ought, are fallen into a bot­tomlesse depth of errour. And certainly this is a iust iudgement of almightie God, when wée procéede so farre to defile his doctrine mingling it amongest the foolishe inuentions of men. But let vs nowe goe further. The Euangelist saieth: That all thinges were made by it, & that without it nothing was made of all that which was made. After that he had assured vs, of the eternall essence of that word of God, he addeth a confirmation, thereby to set out vn­to vs his eternall deitie, to the ende wee may be verie certaine of the whole matter.The creation of all things by Christ, is a plaine proofe of Christes Godhead. Rom. 1.19.20. All thinges (saieth hée) were made by it. The essence of God is knowne to vs, not onely by that which wée can conceaue or comprehend therof in our owne vnderstandinges, but also when it pleaseth him to declare him selfe vnto vs by his crea­tures: for whē the scripture handleth that, then doth he make him selfe visible, & not onely visible, but S. Paul passeth yet somewhat further, saying, that although we were blinde, yet we may therby féele him as it were with ye hand So then though we had our eyes shut,Act. 17.27.28. yet so it is that we may know this power of God. And howe so? Because it is here within vs. In whō is it that we liue, that we haue our moouing and being? It is in God, who hath breathed life into vs, & by whom we subsist or stand. This thē is that which S. Iohn sheweth vs, saying, that all things were made by it. By this we know, that that worde of God hath béene from the beginning, who also is our God.God applieth himselfe to our rudenesse. And how know we this? Certainely we can­not climbe so high, and therefore God is come down euen vnto vs, God I say, with that his word, so that we may knowe him. And albeit that our vnderstanding stretcheth not it selfe so far, neither yet is able to ascende aboue the cloudes, yet so it is that wée are constrained to knowe that this worde is truely God. And how so? Because all things were made by it. In it is it then, that all thinges haue béen, as the Apostle Paule in his Epistle to the Hebrues she­weth the same.Hebr. 1.2. Hebr. 11.3. Wee confesse (saieth hée) that the word of God is eternall and euerlasting. And why so? Because so it is, that by this word all thinges were made. And this is also the same yt S. Paule [Page 8] speaketh in the 17. Chap. of the Actes of ye Apostles,Act. 17.24. Act. 14.17. that God hath not manifested himself vnto vs, without a large testimony & wit­nesse, because we may behold him in all his creatures. So then, in as much as al things were made by his word,He meneth Ser­uetus & his ad­herents, as I take it. See In­stitut. Lib. 1. Gap. 13. Sec. 7.8.23. Ge [...]. 1.3. we must know that he is our eternall God. There are certaine Heretiques that sup­pose, that this worde of God, had beginning in the creation of the worlde, because there was neuer any spéech had of the worde, vn­till suche time as the worlde was created: As Moyses saith, God saide, let there be light, and the light was made, &c. Nowe they woulde inferre héere vpon that that worde then beganne. Is it so? we may rather contrariwise by that conclude, that that worde is eternall. For if a man begin to doe some thing, we can not there­vppon say, that hée was not before that. If this be true in crea­tures what will it be, when wée shall come to God? So then albe­it that worde of God hath not spread abroade and made manifest the power therof, before ye creation of the world yet none can ther­vpon conclude, that it was not already before that time. And this is that which S. Iohn ment to set out & declare by this manner of spéech, wherin it is said, yt al things were made by this word. More­ouer let vs marke,A good [...] which ought well to be re­membred. Rom. 11.36. that when we speake of God the Father and of his worde, we say then, that God made all thinges whatsoeuer, and that by his worde: and this word by, is attributed onely vn­to Iesus Christ. True it is that when we speak of God singly and by himselfe, and without distinction of the persons, we may well say, that all thinges are by and from God: but when there is a di­stinction, as in this place there is, behold then the proprietie which belongeth and agreeth to Iesus Christ, to wit, that al things were made by him. And this is that distinction of persons which I haue alreadie spoken of, that is, that all things are of God the father, but that Iesus Christ is the meane thereof Marke then what S. Iohn ment as if hée should say, that God by his worde hath made all things. Wherefore God sheweth that hée is the fountaine of them all and that it must néedes bée that hée shoulde make and create all thinges, but yet by the meane and power of that his woorde. And without it nothing was made of that which was made, Saint Iohn commeth héere to repeate the same Sentence,Two causes of S. Iohns repe­tition. not onely because it is his custome to repeate one and the selfe same thing after two sorts, but also by reason of mens ingratitude & vnthank­fulnesse. [Page] For albeit that it is saide vnto them, that God made all thinges by his worde, yet they doe not at the first, conceiue, vnder­stand, or beléeue the same. Wée sée that Gods Creatures touch vs not to the quicke, and that we are so dull and so blockish in our vn­derstanding, that we are notable to comprehend these things, euen in such plaine and simple sort, as they are propounded and set out vnto vs. Wherfore S. Iohn, that he might the better expresse the same vnto vs, addeth, without it nothing was made, of that which was made. The dulnesse of mans wit in Gods matters, should teach vs true humilitie. As if he should say, Surely we are accursed if we doe not receiue this eternall word of God, séeing that by it is that wée haue béene created, yea that all the worlde hath béene made, the heauen, the starres, and the earth, which bringeth foorth for vs our foode and nourishment: to be short, that all good thinges haue béen giuen vs by the meanes of this word. So then séeing wée perceiue that our life procéedeth from thence, wée must wholy kéepe our selues fast thereto, and cast from vs all that, that men will set be­fore vs to the contrarie. This is here a double exposition, in respect of the placing of the words, not that they are changed, but because wée haue diuersly disposed and placed them. Our sort read it thus: That by that word all thinges were made, We must hee­de [...] looke howe woordes and matters are placed in the scripture. and that without it no­thing was made, and ende there their sentence: afterwards they adde, All that which was made, was life in it: But this declarati­on is not aptly set. It is true that the sense which they giue is in déede almost all one: for they haue in a maner the same exposi­tion that we haue: but the maner of speech is verie straunge: for it is not saide of the creatures that they are life, but that is attri­buted vnto God,Rom. 8.10. as Saint Paule saieth in his Epistle to the Ro­mans, that the Spirite is life, by reason of the fréedome that hath béene bestowed vpon vs by Iesus Christ. To be short, though wée shall viewe all the holie Scripture, yet wée shall neuer finde that it is saide,There is a dou­ble life euen in this life. Act. 17.28. that wée are life in our selues, but that God only hath life, and that not onely the spirituall life, but euen that life, from which all things haue their being, and by which wée liue, and that we haue life and breath in him, as I haue alreadie alleadged out of S. Paules saying. And by this we sée the trueth of this sentence, to wit, that nothing of all that which was made, was made with­out that worde of God. And this is the order of the reading that hath béen found and obserued, in all the most old Gréeke Doctors, [Page 9] and other expositors:The Manichees and their opini­on confuted. neither was there any but one alone that hath otherwise expounded it. Furthermore we haue to note, that the Manichees laboured to peruert and wrest this place, (saying, All that was made in him was life) to prooue their foolish opinions: as that all creatures had life in them and were liuing, for example Stones, Trées, Corne, Otes: All this in their fantasie was liuing, insomuch that they durst not eate bread, vnlesse they were sancti­fied of God before hande. And wherefore? hée must be good, that ea­teth this, woulde they say. The Deuill certainly possessed them, and yet notwithstanding they would alledge places of Scripture,The Deuil and his instrumētes do continually wrest the scrip­tures. and abuse them, to prooue their foolish speculations withall. Now I ment in déede to touch this by the way, to declare that the De­uill hath alwayes indeuoured to peruert, wrest and wring the ho­lie Scripture: but whatsoeuer it be, if wée search and séeke after Gods trueth, wée shall finde it pure and simple as it is, and the Deuill shall not be able to deuise or perfourme any thing against it or vs, to turne vs away from it, because it is shewed and set out vnto vs before our eyes, and it shall appertaine to none but to vs, if wée will beholde it in his puritie, and kéepe it in such sort, as God hath reuealed the same vnto vs. Then let vs come to the naturall meaning. After that Saint Iohn had said, That nothing was made of that which was made without this worde: Hée ad­deth, That in it was life. Nowe héere hée mindeth to set out two di­uers thinges: that is to say, that as all was once created by the power of that worde of God: so all thinges continue and are pre­serued by that power, and by the same meane.Two thinges worthie to be marked. And these are two matters which it behooueth vs wel to consider and way. The one, that we haue our beginning and life by this word: the other, that we are vpholden and mainteined therby, and that not wée onely, but all the worlde: Also, that the worlde was not onely created at the beginning by this word, but also that it should bée no more nor continue any longer, vnlesse it were preserued in it owne estate, by the same meane. And therefore as I haue saide, let vs marke and kéepe fast,All things in the world are vphelde by Christ. these two thinges as they are in this place pointed out vnto vs with the finger by S. Iohn. In the first place then hée declareth vnto vs, That nothing of that which was made, was made without this worde. And howe then? Mindeth hée to accept I know not what, that was not made? Séemeth it, that he would [Page] say, that the Angels were not created? No, no, he meaneth no such thing: but mindeth to declare that we haue nothing at all which dependeth not wholy of God, and hath not it being altogether in him.Touching An­gels. It is true that the Angels haue a very noble and excellent na­ture, but yet notwithstanding they subsist and haue their being by this word, and are founded in it: otherwise they could not cōtinue and abide: As also there is nothing in the world but it is preserued by this verie word. Now here we are taught and instructed, howe great our pouertie and wretchednesse would be, vnlesse that God vphelde vs by his grace. And this is it that the Psalmist speaketh, that so soone as God shal withdraw his spirit from vs, Psal. 104 29. beholde we returne to pouder and dust, and vanish away altogether. It is true that he speaketh in that place of creatures & bodely things: but so it is, that we sée how all the rest also is vpholden, by the vertue and power of this word. Now euen as we cannot subsist or be, but by that word of God: so we must likewise marke, that it is by the meanes thereof, that we haue begun to haue life. And who is hée that declareth the same vnto vs? The Euangelist. This is also the selfe same which the Apostle saith in the first Cap. to the Hebrues, that the sonne of God is the brightnesse of the glory, Hebr. 1.3. or the image of his substance and person of God his Father, and that he vphol­deth all thinges by his worde. Hée vseth there the worde, worde, but yet in such a signification, that hée meaneth not onely the po­wer of the sonne of God, but also a certaine wonderfull dispositi­on, & a verie fit and séemely order, which hée hath set in the thinges created, because he is the wisdom of God, & we may behold him in al the creatures, because he vpholdeth al things by his vertue and power. Marke then how we haue life & moouing, and after the first day of our life we continue in the same, to wit, because that God preserueth vs:Mans life, and the continu­ance thereof is from God alone for in respect of our selues we must néedes perishe euerie minute of an houre, if this were not that that word of God mainteineth vs. Behold then in what sense the Euangelist saieth, that that word was life: that is, that not onely all thinges were made by it, but that they must of necessitie also be grounded there­vpon, and that it mainteine them in their being. Nowe he addeth afterwards, that that life was that light of men. And wherefore is it that hée addeth this? It is for two causes. The first is, that after that we haue knowne the might of God, and the power of that his word, both on high, and beneath, and euerie where, we must then come to our selues: for this is good reason, that we should and that [Page 10] with a greater diligence beholde that, which toucheth vs verie nigh. As how? I ought to knowe Gods goodnesse in this, that hée preserueth, Horses, and Oxen: as Dauid speaketh to vs therof,Psal. 36.6. Psalm. 104.27. Gen. 1.1 [...]. saying that it is hée that giueth nourishment, and foode to euerie beast. I sée on the other side the Earth, which by the commaunde­ment and blessing of God bringeth foorth her fruites. If I looke thē vpon beastes, I ought to knowe the goodnesse of God which decla­reth it selfe euen towards Asses, & Dogs, but much more towards mée God commeth to mée, that I might inwardly féele his power: hée giueth mée bread wherewith I am nourished, and ought I not to be touched to the quicke for so many benefits & blessinges, It is true that I should. Besides also when men set out Gods workes, they speak expresly of men,Gods power appeareth speci­ally in man. because that God doth set out his most great & excellent power rather in vs then in other creatures. God then wil in déed be magnified, both in heauen & in earth, and in all his workes that we sée: but yet much more in a man, because hée hath imprinted his own Image in vs, rather then in all the rest of his creatures. For he hath not said of the Sun, the Starres, or any other creature how excellent soeuer it be,Gen. 1.26. I wil make now a chief worke, which may be to mine owne Image and likenesse. So then the Euangelist after that he had spoken of the power of that word of God, which spreadeth it selfe to all creatures, hée commeth to men. And in this hée sheweth vnto vs, that if men beholde the goodnesse of God in euerie place where they looke, they cannot but much more consider and beholde the same, within their owne per­sons. And forasmuche as God hath done vs this honour, that wée are magnified & made excellent in our selues, insomuche that the verie Pagans and Heathen haue called Man a little world,Man a little world, and why he is so called. because we may sée in him a principall woorke that surpasseth all the rest, good reason is it, that we should knowe & confesse in it, the vertue and power of God. It is true that wée may behold God in al his creatures, but when hée manifesteth himselfe in man, then we sée him, as it were by face and countenance: whereas looking vppon him in other creatures, wée sée him darkely, and as it were on the backe partes. So then albeit that it be said, that God is made visible vnto vs in his creatures, yet it so falleth out, that in them we sée but as it were, his féete, his handes, and his backe: but in Man wée sée as it were his face. Not that it is his face, so that wee can beholde him there in imperfection I meane [Page] not so,God is visible in his crea­tures chiefly in man, but in none can Gods maiestie be per­fectly set out for I speake not now of diuine and heauenly thinges, but onlye of this, that it hath pleased God to be knowne in this world to high and lowe. Beholde then the summe of that which S. Iohn saieth, to wit, that that life was that light of men: as if hée should say, It is true, that there is in déede a certaine life spread abroade ouer and in all creatures. And what manner a one is that, euen that all thinges are made and preserued by that worde of God:Mans soule a verie excellent thing. but yet there is a more excellent matter in man, to wit, the soule, vn­derstāding & reason. For a man shal not be wtout sense & féeling, as stones: he shall not be wtout vnderstāding & reason as brute beasts: but he hath a more excellent life, yea euen to beholde the thinges which are aboue and beyond the worlde. Nowe consequently hee addeth: that that light shineth in the darknesse, and that the dark­nesse comprehended it not. Hée expresly putteth downe that, be­cause that that light which God placed in man, is as it were alto­gether put out: and in déede if we should iudge according to that which wée nowe can sée in mortall men, wée shall not muche re­gard and estéeme the grace of God. For albeit that man was crea­ted to the image of God,Sinne defaced Gods image in man. yet so it is, that through sin he hath béene disfigured and defamed. What is it then that wée sée in men? Wée sée there an image of God which is altogether defaced and mar­red, because that the Deuill hath defiled it through sinne. But al­beit that men following altogeather that which Satan prompted them too,Satan neither by force nor fraud, can hin­der Christ the light. haue quenched and put out the light of God: yet so it is notwithstanding that the Deuill was not able by his subtiltie to bring so much to passe, that this light of God, should not yet shine foorth in the middest of darkenesse. And this is it that Saint Iohn minded to declare, as if he should say, It is true (my children) that if that which was first giuen vnto men had continued and abidden with them, wée should haue séene nothing now, but the glorie of God shining in euerie place, in stéede that nowe we behold his I­mage wonderfully defaced: and yet notwithstanding all this, if so falleth out that wée may perceiue in Man some brightnesse that God hath left him,Some sparkes of light remain notwithstan­ding mans soule fall. and some little sparke of that his light. And this is that which the Euangelist ment to declare. I leaue vntou­ched other things because the time suffereth vs not to speake any more thereof, and because I haue alreadie béene ouerlong.

Notwithstāding we are to marke yt men haue so much light of the knowledge of God, as is sufficient to winne them, and make them inexcusable before him.Men are not what they think of themselues, but what God pronounceth of them. Let vs indeuer to make our selues beléeue of our selues what we will or can, yet beholde God, who pronoun­ceth, that we are al darknes. And how so? let vs not attribute that vnto GOD, but to our owne fault. Now then, eyther God must inlighten vs with his brightnesse, or else otherwise there shall bée nothing but darknesse in vs, and it cannot be auoyded but we shal stumble and fall downe, if we will but once lift vp our selues to go forward one stepp, without his guiding & gouernment. And yet so it is (as I haue already said) ye God hath not so destituted vs, that wée are altogether forsaken of him, so that we haue nothing remai­ning of his gifts. And that so it is, there is yet some séed of religiō in men, they haue yet some remnantes of their first creatiō: as a mā may sée that euē in the most wicked and reprobate: there is some impression and print of the image of God,Mans light maketh him without excuse before God, as Rom. 1.20. and this is to make them so much the more inexcusable: forsomuch as they haue not profited therby, theyr condemnation shalbe therfore so much the more grie­uous, and without doubt it shall bée doubled vpon them. Beholde then how notwithstanding that our nature was so corrupted wée doe yet reteine some little sparke of that grace, which God put in our father Adam: So that this sentence is verye true, yt that light shineth in darknesse. Now further the Euangelist saith, that the darknesse comprehended it not. Wherin he sheweth howe greate the vnthankfulnesse of men is. Beholde God, who maketh his brightnesse to shine in vs, and his word to lighten vs,Mans malice the cause of his owne blindnes. and yet not­wtstanding we darkē & dim the same through our malice. It is true that the Gospel it selfe, is a manifestation and declaration of this light, but yet that malice and vnthankfulnesse which is in vs, put­teth it out, as much as in vs is, vnlesse God remedied and redres­sed it, making a change in vs by his power & infinite goodnesse. And this is that which Saint Iohn ment to declare in this place: and withall he beginneth to prepare vs to that, which hee will speake afterward, that is to say, to what ende this word (which is Iesus Christ) was sent vs of God his father, that is,The mysterie of our redemp­tion very great and needfull. to the end he might be manifested in the flesh, for our saluation. He ment then to de­clare howe greate the mystery of our redemption was, and what neede wée had of it, in saying, that wee haue not compre­hended [Page] the brightnesse that was in vs: as if hee shoulde say, It could nothing at all haue profited vs, to haue the light that shineth in vs, vnlesse we had withall béene redéemed, and that this worde had executed and performed the loue of God towarde vs, in repai­ring his image,The light of our owne miserie is a good meane to make vs feele the my­sterie of our re­demption. which was defaced in vs through our sinne, and wholie disfigured in the first man. Marke I say howe Saint Iohn mindeth to prepare vs to know the effect of our redemption: and besides hée ment also to shewe vnto vs, how that the word of God declareth it selfe in his creatures, in as much as all things are pre­serued by his strength and power. And withall hée exhorteth vs to knowe and confesse, the graces that God hath bestowed vpon vs, more excellent in déede than vpon other creatures, to the ende wée might magnifie and prayse him:The endes of our light and knowledge. moreouer to knowe, that séeing hée hath from the beginning imprinted his owne liuely image in vs, and hath made vs féele his power, it is good reason wée should learne, to holde our selues fast to this worde, and to confesse both generally and particularly, the good thinges that God hath done for mankinde, to the ende that the light which hée hath plentifully communicated vnto vs, of his grace and goodnesse onely, may not be quenched or put out through our malice, but that Iesus Christ may in such sort dwell in the middest of vs, that being guided and gouerned by the holie Ghost, wée may haue such accesse to the fa­ther, that hée may at the length bring vs into his heauenly glorie. Thus I haue handled these thinges as shortly as was possible for mée,What men should looke at in expounding the scripture. respecting alwayes to touch the marke, wherat the Euange­list in this place aimeth: notwithstanding if there bee any thing that hath béene omitted because a man can not remember all, let euerie one speake thereof that, which God shall haue giuen him in that behalfe: and if there be any doubt, propound the matters, to the ende that putting them out, they may be made cleare and ma­nifest, and that the Church of God may therby bée more and more edified, when thinges shall not remaine in doubt, but shall be vn­derstood according to their true meaning, after that wée shall haue disputed and reasoned vpon them, as is séemely, and according to God and godlinesse.

A Sermon of the birth of our Lorde Iesus Christ.

Luke. Cap. 2.

1 ANd it came to passe in those dayes, that there was a commaundement from Augustus Caesar, that all the world should be taxed.

2 (This first taxing was made when Cyrenius was Gouernor of Syria,)

3 Therefore all went to bee taxed, euerie man to his owne Citie.

4 And Ioseph also went vp from Galilee, out of a Citie called Nazareth into Iudea, vnto the Citie of Dauid, which is called Bethlehem, (because he was of the house and linage of Dauid)

5 To be taxed with Mary that was giuen him to wife, which was with childe.

6 And so it fell out, that while they were there, the dayes were accomplished that shee should be deliuered.

7 And she brought foorth her first begotten Sonne, & wrap­ped him in swadling cloathes, and laide him in a man­ger because there was no roume for them in the Inne.

8 And there were in the same countrey shepheardes, abiding in the fielde and keeping watch by night, because of their flocke.

9 And loe, the Angell of the Lorde came vpon them, and the glorie of the Lord shoane about them, and they were sore afraide.

10 Then the Angell saide vnto them be not afraide, for be­hold I bring you tydinges of great ioy that shall be to all people.

11 That is, that vnto you is borne this day, in the Citie of Dauid, a Sauiour which is Christ the Lord.

12 And hee shall be a signe to you, yee shall finde the childe swadled and laide in a Maunger.

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13 And straightway there was with the Angel, a multitude of heauenly souldiers, praysing God and saying.

14 Glorie be to God in the high heauens, & peace in earth, and towardes men good will.

WE knowe (beloued in the Lorde) that all our felicitie ioy, & peace, is this, euē to be conioyned & knit together with the sonne of God, for as he is our head, so are we likewise his body, and do al­so receiue from him our life, & health, and all whatsoeuer blessednesse else. And beside, we see in very déede, howe miserable our estate should be, if wée can not to him, to be preserued vnder his protection. But by the way, we are neuer able to attaine and reach so high (séeing we are scarcely able to crawle vpō the ground) without he were alredie come néere vnto vs by reason of his birth, who hath taken vpon him our flesh, and is therby become our bro­ther. Neither could we at this present flye vnto our Lorde Iesus Christ sitting at the right hand of God his father,1. Tim. 2.5. Isaiah. 7.14. Math. 1.23. in ye glory of the heauens, without he had abased himself to become a mortal man, & his estate & condition to become also like vnto ours. And here we may likewise sée, why the name of man was giuen vnto him, whē as hée is called the Mediatour betwéene God and man: and so by the selfe fame reason is called Immanuel, which is as much to say, as God with vs. And therefore as often as wée séeke to be relieued and eased of our miseries by our Lord Iesus Christ, and to make him our sure and vndoubted defence, wee must first of all, begin at his birth. Nowe, wee are not onely here taught that he was made man like vnto vs, but was also so despised, and made of so smal ac­count, as that he was scarcely taken to be named among the num­ber of men. For he was as it were banished & denied all harboure and company, and was lodged in a Stable, and laide in Manger. Since thē it is thus, let vs here acknowledge that Gods of his good­nesse hath bountifullie spreade abroade his infinite treasures, when as hee woulde in this sorte abase, his deare Sonne for our sakes. And let vs also acknowledge that our Lorde [Page 13] Iesus Christ hath so suffred for vs, as that, so often as wée séeke him, we néede neuer to goe verie farre about, to finde him, nor yet to vnite our selues truly vnto him. For, for that cause was he con­tented to submit him selfe vnto all shame and rebuke, insomuche, that all men as it were vtterly forsooke him. And therefore let vs here learne also by the way, humblenesse, and lowlinesse, if we meane that he shoulde entertayne vs. For it is verie good rea­son, that at the least there should be a conformitie or an euen agrée­ment betwéene the head and the members. Neither must wée so despise our selues as to make no reckoning of our selues: for wée shal by nature finde such pouertie and wants in our selues, as that we shal haue very good occasiō altogether to abase our selues. But let vs acknowledge our selues to be such as in déede we are to the ende we might offer vp our selues in true humilitie vnto our Lord Iesus Christ, that he might acknowledge & allow vs for his. Wée haue moreouer to note by the way, that in the history which Saint Luke here reciteth, that on the one side we are to learne, that the sonne of God made himself of no reputation, for our saluation: and yet on the other side, notwithstanding that he ceased not to bee a sure and vndoubted testimonie, that he was the Redéemer of the worlde, promised from the beginning: neither tooke hee vpon him our nature, because he was not able to defende and preserue his heauenly Maiestie. Both which are heere set downe vnto vs: for our Lorde Iesus Christ was laide in a Manger, as one cleane forsaken of the worlde, and in extreame pouertie, with­out honour, without reputation, and as one subiecte to all bon­dage and slauerie: and yet did the Angelles in heauen magnifie him, dooing him all homage and reuerence. And heere in the first place, an Angell brought tydinges of his byrth: but hee was soone after accompanied with an whole armie, who were all present and appeared, as witnesses sent from God, to shewe, that although our Lord Iesus Christ was so abased, for our saluation, yet was he for all that the King of the whole worlde, and had all thinges vnder his power and rule. And beside, the place of Bethle­hem yelded a good proofe that it was euen hee that was promised from the beginning. For the Prophet Micheah, Micheah. 5.2 had so propheci­ed of him, where it is saide, And thou Bethlehem, although thou bee of no great reputation, like vnto a village which maketh no [Page] great shewe, neither verie well inhabited, yet out of thee shall hée, come foorth vnto me, who shal be the ruler of my people: whose going foorth, haue béen from euerlasting. And here we sée, that our Lord Iesus Christ hath not spared himselfe, to the ende we might haue readie passage vnto him, & not doubt but that he will receiue vs as his owne bodie, séeing he woulde not only become a mortall man, clothed with our nature, but also become like vnto a poore worme of the earth, voide of all felicitie. And therefore, let vs not doubt how miserable soeuer we be, but yt he will take vs alwayes for his members. Howbeit on the other side, we sée him marked as it were by ye hand of God, to ye end he should be willingly receiued, as the man, frō whō we must looke for our saluation, & by whō we are receiued into ye kingdom of God, frō which we were before ba­nished. For we sée a diuine or heauenly power & maiestie to be in him, because ye Angels tooke him as it were for their superior & so­uereigne king: neither must we doubt yt whē we are vnder his pro­tectiō, yt he hath wherwithal to defēd & preserue vs. Howbeit, let vs know this by ye way, yt although he hath so abased himself, yet that it is no whit derogatory frō his diuine power, neither yet any hin­derance to vs, from being safe & sure vnder his gouernment. Here, therfore we sée ye sum & effect of this history: which is, that in ye first place we might acknowledge ye sonne of God, euē our mediator, to be linked vnto vs with such a bond, as yt we should not doubt, but that we are alwayes pertakers, both of his life, & also of his riches. And in the mean while, let vs likewise acknowledge, yt he brought wt himselfe to vs, whatsoeuer was requisit for our saluatiō. For (as we haue alredy said) he was not made of so vile reputatiō, but that he alwayes kept with him his heauenly power & maiestie: and al­though the world accounted him to be of no credit, yet neuertheles, he was alwayes not only ye enheritor of this worlde (because hée is head of the Church) but also verie God for euer. Moreouer let vs learn of them who are here appointed to be our maisters & guides, how to come to our lord Iesus Christ. In very déed, ye wise men of this world, so swell wt pride & presumption, as yt they will scarcely vouchsafe to bee taught of simple men, and of shepheardes of the fielde: and yet all the wisedome we haue, is to learne of these shep­heards (of whom we haue here spoken) to come vnto our Lord Ie­sus Christ. For if our heades were fraught with all the know­ledge in the worlde, to what ende serued it if wée had not life, to [Page 14] wit, him, in whome, as Saint Paule sayeth,Colos. 2.3. all the trea­sures of the worlde lie hid. heere wee sée therefore at which ende we must begin: which is, That it is not hurtfull vnto vs to fol­low their steppes, who haue shewed vs the way to come vnto our Lord Iesus Christ. Now God hath not done this honour vnto the mighty men of this world, neyther to the wise, nor to the rich, ey­ther yet to the noble: but hath chosen very shepheards for the pur­pose. And since it is so, let vs follow the order there set downe.Matth. 2.1. It is very true that the wise men came from the East to doe homage vnto our Lord Iesus Christ but it so fell out, that the shepheards first beganne, to the end al pride and presumption might be cut of, and that hée who would be taken for a Christian, might bee as it were a foole héere in this world. Wherefore, let not foolish arrogā ­cie so carry vs away,1. Cor. 3.18. as to iudge of the woonderfull secretes of God, after our owne fantasies, but simply woorship them. Moreo­uer, let vs consider of the faith of these shepheardes, and then wée shall thinke it no hard thing to followe them: For, they came to woorship the Redéemer of the world: but in what case found they him? Forsooth they found him lodged in a Manger, and swadled in poore and simple swadling clouts, according to the signe which the Angel had geuen them. Now, this straunge sight séeme to abashe them, yea, and to make them goe backe, and not to acknowledge Iesus Christ to be a Sauiour. For the Scribes, and doctors of the Iewes thought in very déede, that the Redéemer which was pro­mised, should come with great pompe, and bring all the world vn­der his subiection, and be in such woonderfull prosperitie, as that they should haue the world at will, & get al the substance & riches of the earth into their possession. And thus we see, that the messuage which was told them that they should find him in a Stable swad­led in blankets, was such a stumbling block vnto these poore men, as was able to haue broken the very hearts of them, and make thē to be of that mind, neuer to come néere our Lord Iesus Christ, but rather altogether to flie his company. Now, we sée yt this was the signe which was geuen of the Redeemer, that he was laid in a Mā ­ger, as one not worthy the companie and felowship of men. And yet woulde not all this withdraw their mindes from the visiting of him. Their cōming then was for this cause, to acknowledge him to be as it were ye Lord, cōfessing ye God had cōpassion of them, and would in the end accomplish and fulfill the promise which hée had [Page] made them from the beginning, and so confirmed them selues thereof by this spectacle. Seeing then these Shepheardes had so great fayth, that it straue against all whatsoeuer might pull them backe from comming vnto our Lorde Iesus Christe, wee shalbe worthie double blame, and without all excuse, except wee learne and take foorth this lesson in their schoole: and make not the byrth of our Lorde Iesus Christe (although there appeared no­worldly dignitie, pompe or noblenesse therein) a stumbling blocke to stay, or withdrawe vs from the right way, to come to submit our selues vnto him as vnto our siege king, and vnto him, vnto whom al power and dominion is giuen both in heauen and earth. And surely this is an admonitiō very needful for vs: for as I haue alreadie saide, The doctrine of the Gospell is a very stumbling blocke to all proude and foolish men, and to suche as thinke them­selues wise, we sée also yt many fantasticall felowes spurne against whatsoeuer is contrary to their owne mindes. On the other side, there were many mockers & skorners, who were neuer touched with any féeling of their sinnes: and because they are prophane people, who neuer thinke to come to an account, and know not a­ny other better life then this whiche they sée héere belowe, they thinke it therefore méere foolishnesse so to folow the sonne of God, and to be acquainted with him. And the more we sée this, so much the more ought this aduertisement to strengthen vs, to wit, yt the sonne of God loseth not a iote of his maiestie and glorie, neither is any whit lessened, because he hath abased himselfe for our saluati­on: but we ought rather to woonder at it, knowing his inestima­ble goodnesse & loue towardes vs. We sée then howe we must put this doctrine in practise, which is, wée must not cease to come vnto our Lord Iesus Christ, although we finde not at his handes at the first chop, the thing which our flesh, or naturall affection, desireth. And although at his birth he was swadled vp in cloutes, and laide in a Manger, yet let vs know & be fully resolued that hee was not­withstanding a Mediatour to draw vs vnto his father, to open the kingdome of heauen for vs, whereout wee were vtterly reclosed. And although euen at this day, he reigneth not gloriously, and his Churche despised, yet remayneth there suche a playnenesse in his worde, as the mightie euen of this worlde reiecte: howe­beeit let not vs for all that cease to holde our selues vnto [Page 15] him continually, and submit our selues vnder his dominion, in true obedience of Faith. As for example, when any man prea­cheth, it is not the thing that greatly draweth vs according to our custome. Wée heare a man speake, and what is that? It is of no great dignitie and credite: and besides, in effect, there is nothing but the worde: on the other side, in that which is preached by the Gospell, there are many thinges which séeme to vs to bée against all reason, if wée shoulde iudge thereof after our owne mindes. Let vs therefore vnderstande that wée shall neuer sub­mit our selues vnto the thing which God sheweth and declareth vnto vs, except we humble our selues in the first place. And for a confirmation which hée hath added vs, vnto his worde, we haue the Sacraments. And will one droppe of water suffice to assure vs of remission of our sinnes, and that God hath adopted vs for his children, and that although wée bée fraile, shall we notwith­standing bée cloathed with his heauenly glorie, which neuer shall decaye? Is it possible for vs to take a pawne and pledge of so no­table and great thinges, in so small a deale of water? May a péece of bread, and a little Wine in the Supper of the Lorde suffice to assure vs that God alloweth vs for his children, that wée liue in Iesus Christ, and no seperation betwéene vs? For this might seeme rather to bée a matter of nothing, to sée suche Ceremonies wherein is no great glorie and pompe. So then, wée somewhat better sée, this thing whiche is béere spoken by the Ministers, belongeth to vs, and that wée haue to make our profite thereof at this day: to wit, let not vs cease to drawe néere vnto our Lorde Iesus Christe, and assure our selues that hée it is in whome wée must finde all goodnesse, and all ioye and glorie, although it séemeth, that hée is yet as it were in the Stable, in the Maunger, and in his swadling cloathes: to wit, that there are many thinges which are able to make vs become dissolute or wanton, or at the least bleare our eyes, that wee shall not bée able to perceiue the heauenly glorie which GOD his Father hath giuen him: I say in the same humane na­ture, whiche hée tooke vppon vs. For in as muche as hée is GOD, hée hath all thing of him selfe (as it is said in the seuen­teenth Chapter of Saint Iohn) but in that hée is man, what­soeuer hée bringeth vs, hée hath receiued of frée gift,Iohn. 17. that wée [Page] might drawe out of his fulnesse,Iohn. 1.16. and finde in him whatsoeuer is to be desired, and so rest & content our selues in him alone. Moreo­uer, let vs heere note, that the holy Ghost meaneth to assure vs, that we following the Ministers who are héere appointed for mai­sters and guides, ought not to feare falling away: for séeing, the Shepheardes had none other signe but the Stable and a Man­ger, wée may say: Beholde a sorte of simple idiotes, who are foo­lishly, and without any reason, made to beléeue, that this was the Redéemer of the worlde: and yet this woulde bée too too easie a matter for vs to doe. And therefore wée might stande in doubt: but on the other side, the shepheardes were confirmed verie cer­tainly that hée was the Sonne of God, euen hée that laye so in the Manger: to wit, when the Angell appeared vnto them, and after they had heard this songe which Saint Luke setteth downe, where all the kingdome of heauen beare witnesse of our Lorde Ie­sus Christ, that hée had all power ouer the creatures both of hea­uen and earth. Let vs therefore learne to receiue (in the assurance of the fayth of Iesus Christ) whatsoeuer is héere set before vs. For this is certaine and sure that God meaneth to conuince all those, of vnthankfulnesse, who at this day vouchsafe not to wor­ship his onely Sonne, séeing hée sent suche a multitude of Angels to declare that hée was the promised Redéemer. We then haue a trimme way to flatter our selues in our incredulitie, as we sée a number of blockish people doe: who make no reckoning of what­soeuer is written in the Gospell. There are also certaine scor­ners of God so senslesse, as, that whatsoeuer is preached, is to them all one, for they account of it no better then of the telling of fables. Nowe, as many as submit not them selues to the woor­ship of our Lorde Iesus Christ, are to be condemned of most obsti­nate and deuillish rebellion. And because there are many faith­lesse people, an infinite number of the Angels of heauen shal beare witnesse against them: for they are the Ministers of the trueth of God. Let all the wicked therefore, and as many as lye powdred and seasoned in their sinnes and corruptions, smoothe, and harden themselues as much as they will in their infidelitie, and they are sure of this, that they haue ouer many sufficient witnesses to ratefie and confirme their condemnation. For the Angels in hea­uen appeared, to the ende wée shoulde not bée excused, when as [Page 16] we will not receiue Iesus Christ for our soueraigne King, and submit our selues vnto his maiestie. And therefore by the way, Let vs for our part note, that God procured our saluation, when as hée sent suche a multitude of Angelles, that wée might come to our Lorde Iesus Christ with a chearefull minde, without any more disputing, or doubting. But bée fully resolued, that wée shall finde in him, whatsoeuer is wanting in vs, and that hée will haue wherewith to supplye all our pouerties and miseries: And to bée short, That it is euen hée, by whom God ment to com­municate him selfe vnto vs. And will wée then séeke for our life, any other were then in God? Nowe,Coloss. 2.9. all the fulnesse of the God-head is in our Lorde Iesus Christe. And therefore when wée haue suche a testimonie, it is as much as if God stretched forth his armes, to make vs féele his inestimable goodnesse, and onely to shewe, that when wée haue fayth in Iesus Christ (I meane no hypocriticall fayth) we might fully rest on him, and considering that wée must holde all of him, wée shall then be partakers of all his benefites, which wée want, and hunger after. Moreouer, although wée sée not at this day the Angels, who for that time on­ly appeared, yet is this testimonie registred, that it might bée autenticall. For the holie Ghost hath spoken it by the mouth of Saint Luke. Wherefore, let vs be contented that wee haue such a testimonie from God, as telleth vs that the Angels haue borne witnesse of the birth of our Lorde Iesus Christ, that we knowing that hée was made man, yea, & that of no estimation, for our sakes, might haue an earnest desire to attaine vnto the kingdome of hea­uen, to the ende to cleaue vnto him in the true vnitie of fayth▪ Wée are after a while to consider also of the place of his birth, to wit, of Bethlehem. Which thing is no small nor light confirmation, when as we sée the Sonne of God to be borne, which the Prophet so long tyme before had foretolde. For if Ioseph and Marie had had their house in Bethlehem, and remayned there, it had beene no straunge case, if shée had béen there deliuered, and Iesus Christ to haue béene borne in the same place: But the thing which at this day shoulde haue serued our purpose, had béene verie greatly darkened: for it had not béene knowne that the Prophet had not said without cause, And thou Bethlehē, although [Page] at this day thou be of no great reputation, like vnto a village which maketh no great shewe, yet shalt thou bring foorth him, who shall bée the ruler of my people. But when Ioseph and Mary a­boad in Nazareth, and came vnto the Towne of Bethlehem at the verie time when shée was vppon the pointe of her deliueraunce, and Iesus Christe borne, who seeth not but that the hande of GOD guided all this géere? And therefore it can not be but that men must bée willingly and wickedly blinde, when as they will not acknowledge héere the handie woorke of God, who hath set a marke of his onely Sonne, that hée might without all doubt bée receiued, as the promised Messiah. In verie déede there was good occasion that made Ioseph to come vnto Bethlehem, and that was the publike Edict of the Romane Emperour: but to bring a woman thither great with childe, and vpon the point of her deliueraunce, surely this was not any man his déede, but the handie woorke of God. And againe we sée that GOD vseth straunge kinde of dealing for the accomplishing of his will. For what imported this Edict of Caesars, but a tyrannicall sub­iection for the taxing of the people of the Iewes, and a laying of a tribute of euerie man at that time, whiche was a signification that they shoulde not looke for any more libertie: Iesus Christ was promised to deliuer the Iewes and all the faithfull from the subiection of Satan, and from all tyrannie: and it séemed that this Edict was made to close vp the gate, that GOD should neuer accomplishe the thing yt he had promised to his people: and yet this was the meanes to perfourme it. For when Ioseph and Mary came like poore soules to serue a Tyraunt, a Pagane, and an Infidell, wee sée the Prophecie prooue true, that Iesus was borne in Bethlehem. And GOD him selfe (as I haue al­readie saide) giueth here a full certaintie vnto all his, not to doubt of the birth of our Lorde Iesus Christ.

And héere wee sée howe wée must applye the instruction of these thinges which are heere recited vnto our selues. For it was not the meaning of S. Luke, or rather of the holie Ghost who spake by his mouth, simplye to describe vnto vs an historie of that whiche came to passe: But hath on the one side laide foorth vnto vs, that GOD spared not his onely Sonne for vs: [Page 17] and besides on the other side, that hée brought an vndoubted testimonie with him that hée was the redéemer of the worlde, and that hée might bée so receiued. Let vs nowe consider with our selues to make our profite by this historie, so that wée may a­grée with the song of Angelles in glorifiyng of God, and receiue also that whiche it affoordeth vs for the gladding of our soules. In the first place, The Angell (who brought the message vnto the Shepheardes) saide, Bee not afraide, for beholde, I bring you tydinges of great ioy. And besides, this was the common te­stimonie of all the multitude of the Heauenly Souldiers, which GOD had sent, And peace in earth to men. And thus wée sée what it is that wée must holde fast in the first place, which is, wée muste séeke all our ioy in Iesus Christe. For to say the trueth, when as wee are full of delightes and voluptuousnesse, it is without question, wée will bathe our selues in all pleasures: and yet yf wée bée not too too drowsie, yea altogether blockishe, our consciences will neuer bée quiet, but bée tormented with­out ende and measure: For this worme (whereof the Scripture speaketh) will gnawe vs, our sinnes will checke vs, and wee shall féele that God of very right, is vtterly against vs, and our professed enimie. And therefore cursed are all the ioyes of the worlde, because they shall bée turned into gnashing of téeth, vntill suche time as wée are an attonement with God. Cursed then are all ioyes, all honours, and all thinges els that are to bée de­sired, vntill wée féele Gods mercy vppon vs: and when wée are thus reconciled vnto him, wée may not onely reioyce with an earthly ioy, but with that ioye whiche is namely promised in the holy Ghoste, to the ende wée might looke for the same in him.

Nowe, peace and ioy are thinges whiche cannot bee sepa­rated: For howe can it bée that we should haue any thing where­in to ioy, when as wée sée our selues compassed about with so many miseries. And besides, when wée sée our selues cursed in Adam, The children of wrath, and God being our iudge, armed to execute vengeance to the throwing of vs downe into the bot­tomlesse depth, what ioy is it possible for vs to conceiue, who stande in suche a desperate estate? And surely when wée thinke héereon, It cannot bée that wée shoulde bée onely tormented with [Page] vnquiet mindes, but also bée oppressed with the horrour of Hell fier, which surpasseth all the griefes of this worlde: except surely the Diuell hath bewitched vs: as many wée sée which ceasse not héerein to make themselues mery, although they bée at open defi­ance euen with God himselfe. But if wee had but one droppe of féeling within vs, without doubt wée shoulde alwaies liue in torment, vntyll such time as wée finde God to shewe him­selfe mercifull vnto vs. And therefore this peace must goe before, that wée are fully assured that God alloweth vs for his children and that because hee imputeth not our sinnes vnto vs. Nowe, are wée in this sorte at peace with God? And if wée bée so, then surely wée haue wherefore to reioyce: yea euen with God, accor­ding to that which I haue alreadie touched. For the very In­fidelles haue a certaine kinde of peace (that is to say, They are so sensles, as that they make no reckoning of the iudgement of God yea they are euen angrie with him) but it is not with God. For they neuer are at peace and rest, without it bée when they forget both God, & themselues, & become altogether brutish, howbeit S. Paul exhorteth vs to be at peace with God:Rom. 5.2. that is to say, to looke vnto him & search how wée may be at peace, that is, wee drawing néere vnto him, are certaine & sure of his loue, But how shal this bée doone? forsooth euen by the forgiuenesse of our sinnes, through the loue which hée beareth vs in our Lord Iesus Christe. Let vs héere now note, yt the peace which the Angels of heauen preached at this time, brought this ioy, whereof the first Angel made men­tion, saying, Beholde, I bring you tydinges of great ioy, that is, The saluation which you haue in Iesus Christ. For hée is cal­led our peace: and this title declareth vnto vs, that wée should bée altogether separated from God, without he receiued vs, by the meanes of his onely sonne.

Moreouer, héereon wée haue also wherfore to glory, when God alloweth vs for his children, and giueth vs leaue to claime him with open mouth as our father, to come fréely vnto him, and in him to haue our refuge Let vs héerevpon gather by the way, that God hath so appointed his Gospell to bée preached by the mouth of men, as yet notwithstanding the Angelles haue gone before them and leade them the way. True it is, that at this day the Churche must bée taught by the meane of mortall creatures [Page 18] But howe euer it is, this is no straunge thing that wee bring, but doe onely recite the preaching of the Angelles of heauen: and that of no smale number neither, but of an infinite multitude, and of an huge armie.

Moreouer, wée cannot but néedes bée inflamed to magnifie our God, whenas wée are throughly certified of his goodnesse. Sée nowe why these two things are ioyned together, that the Angels exhort all the worlde to glorifie GOD, it is because hée gaue suche a peace vppon the earth, wee inioy therefore the bene­fite which God hath largely bestowed vpon vs by the meane of our Lorde Iesus Christe his onely sonne. And hée hath taken the possession of this peace, to the ende our prayses might bée heard to the heauens, & pearse the cloudes and that all the world might resound this songe. The Lorde bée blessed and magnifi­ed for euer. Héerevpon wée are to gather, that our mouthes must alwaies bée stopped, and that wée can neuer praise God, vn­till suche time as hée hath caused vs to féele his great goodnesse. For to say truely, how is it possible for miserable sinners to blesse and magnifie the name of God, so long as they haue that trouble of conscience, that they knowe not whether God loueth or ha­teth them? But contrariwise, their mouthes, by reason of their griefes, must néedes be fast closed vp, so that they are not once a­ble to open their lippes. And therefore muste GOD let vs so vnderstande in very good earnest the loue hee beareth vs, as that wee may bée fully assured, that hee is alwaies our Fa­ther: and then shall wee haue wherefore to blesse his name.

But as wée cannot possibly, in trueth praise God, vntill such time as hee hath declared vnto vs his bountie, euen so let vs also learne not to haue a dead and idle faith: but when wée sée that he hath bountifully bestowed vpon vs the great treasures of his mercie: let our mouth then doe his office in stirryng vp it selfe to blesse his name, and let our whole life also answere the same. For this is the very right signe, Euery of vs must conscecrate himself to ye true seruice & worship of God, because we knowing, that hée hath so dearely bought vs, ought by good reason to bestow all our thoughts & déedes in the blessing & magnifying of his most holy & glorious name. And that when we acknowledge ourselues [Page] to bée in very déede his, wée might vnderstande that it procéedeth of his frée mercy and goodnesse, that it hath so pleased him to ac­cept vs vnto himselfe. And therefore this saying is not set downe without cause, That peace is graunted to men: not for any de­sert, or for that wée haue purchased the same, but because it plea­sed God. For the spéeche, which Saint Luke vseth, importeth this much, yt wée must séek after none other reason why our Lord Iesus Christe appeared to vs: but because that God had compas­sion of our miseries: as it is also saide in Iohn, That God so lo­ued the worlde,Iohn. 3.16. as that hée spared not to deliuer his onely begotten Sonne to death for vs. And therefore let vs after this manner come vnto our Lorde Iesus Christe: to wit, that the message which is héere published vnto vs by the Angels, might bée a bur­ning Lanterne to shew vs the way, & faith to bée our guide, so that wée might vnderstande that hée is nowe God in vs, because he is God with vs. For (as I haue alreadie saide) hée is declared to bée our God with vs, when as hée meant to dwell in our humane nature, as in his temple: But hée is nowe God in vs. That is to say, wée féele him conioyned to vs in farre greater power, then when hée shewed and declared himselfe a mortal man. Yea, for he is nowe both God and man in vs. For, first hée quickneth vs by the power of his holy spirite: and hée is besides, man in vs, because hée maketh vs pertakers of the Sacrifice which hée offered vp for our saluation: and declareth vnto vs that it was not without cause that hee saide, that his fleshe was meate indéede, and his blood, drinke in déede. And therefore wée sée why the holy Table is made ready for vs, to wit, to ye end that wée knowing our Lord Iesus to bée descended héere belowe,Iohn. 6.35. and vtterly abased, yet that hée is not for all that separated from vs, although hée bée ascended into the heauens in glory and maiestie. But rather vpon this con­dition that wée might bée partakers of his body and blood. And why so? For wée knowe that his righteousnesse and obedience was the satisfaction for our sinnes, and hath appeased the wrath of God, through the Sacrifice whiche hée offered of his body and blood in the same humane nature which hée tooke vpon vs. Since thē it is so, let not vs doubt when Iesus Christ biddeth vs to this Table, although wee can perceiue nothing els but bread & wine, but that hee verily dwelleth in vs, and wee so surely knit vnto [Page 19] him, that there is nothing which is his, but hée will communicate the same to vs. Let vs therefore (I say) acknowledge this, to the end we might know to make our profit of this Sacrament which he himselfe hath established: and let vs vnderstande, that so often as wée receiue the same, that hée might verie well haue deliuered vs by some other meane from the bottomelesse pitte of Condem­nation, wherein wée were if it had pleased him: but that his meaning was to graunte vs more assurance of the loue hée beare vs, when as we haue Iesus Christ for a pawne, because we might séeke after our saluation in him: and acknowledge that wée are no manner of way whatsoeuer, able to reioyce, vntill suche time as hée bée geuen vs as it were amongest vs, and bée so néere vs, as that by his meanes wée might bée brought to the kingdome of heauen, whereof wée were depriued by reason of our sinnes. And thus wée sée that Iesus Christ must bée the ready way for our sal­uation, if euer wée intend to come vnto God, & desire to haue a true spirituall ioy, and a spirituall contentation and quietnesse: and if wee also desire to bee armed against all the temptations, wherewith Satan is able to attempt vs. But and if wée will be partakers of this holie table, let vs consider wel with our selues, & in the first place acknowledge our miseries, and be displeased, and vtterly ashamed of them. Moreouer, let vs acknowledge and con­fesse, that God meant to asswage all our sorowes & griefes, when as hée so liberally shewed himselfe in his onelye begotten Sonne, and would haue vs fully and wholy ioye in him. And although we be subiect to many miseries in this world, and are besieged with e­nimies like vnto rauening woolues, so that the deuill ceaseth not to make a pray of vs, and the Infidelles barke at vs like mastyfe curres: although (I say) wée be on euery side troubled and threa­tned: and although we must abyde many griefes:Philip. 4.7. yet let vs hold this for a most sure ground, that wée shall haue alwayes peace in our God: and let vs beséech him, that he will make vs féele it by his holy spirite, because it is a thing that surpasseth all mans rea­son (as we haue already touched of S. Paule) and learne to bée so contented with our Lord Iesus Christ, and with the spirituall be­nefites wherof we are pertakers, as that we may patiently abide all the afflictions and miseries of this worlde. And besides, let vs [Page] beséeche him that wée take it not in euill parte to bée contem­ned, and on euery side troubled, to bée short, to bee put too all reproche and shame, so that Iesus Christe bée with vs, and bles­seth all our myseries and afflictions, and that wée bryng foorth suche fruite thereby, as that it may bee knowne, that in the middest of all our miseries wée desire nothing els but the glo­fiyng of our GOD. And where the worldlinges triumphe to their shame and confusion, because all their ioy is too striue against GOD, Let our true ioy bée too serue him in all feare and humilitie, and yeelde our selues wholy to his obedience. And héere wée sée the way by which wée must make our profite vpon this doctrine.

Let vs nowe fall downe before the Maiestie of our good GOD, and acknowledge our faultes, beséechyng hym too make vs more and more to féele them: that héereby we may learne to submit our selues vnto our Lorde Iesus Christe: knowyng that if wee bée separated from him, all our whole life, and whatsoeuer benefites els wee receiue from GOD, shall turne to our most gréeuous condemnation. And that wée maye féele his death and passion to bée communicated vnto vs, and bee taken for the members of his body, to the ende the af­flictions whiche wée shall abide héere in this worlde, may be so many helpes and furtherances vnto saluation. So that wée may all saye, O moste Mightie GOD, and Heauenlie Fa­ther. &c.

The first Sermon of the passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ.

Math Cap. xxvi.

36 Then went Iesus with them into a place called Gethse­mane, and saide vnto his Disciples, Sit ye here, while I goe, and pray yonder.

37 And he tooke Peter, and the two Sonnes of Zebedeus, and beganne to waxe sorrowful, and grieuously troubled.

38 Then sayde Iesus vnto them, my Soule is very heauy, euen vnto the death, tarie yee here, and watch with me.

39 So he went a little farther, and fel on his face, and praied, saying, O, my Father, if it be possible, Let this cup passe from me: Neuerthelesse, not as I will, but as thou wilt.

WHen any thing is spoken, which con­cerneth our saluation, The scripture setteth before vs thrée endes. The one is, That wée might know the in­estimable loue, which GOD beareth vs, to the end wée might glorifie him therfore, as he is worthy. The se­cond, That wée should abhorre our sinnes, as we ought, and to bée truely ashamed to humble our selues before the Maiestie of our GOD. The thirde, that wée might in such sorte estéeme of our saluation, as that it might make vs for­sake the worlde, and whatsoeuer thinge else belongeth vnto this transitorie lyfe, and to bée in loue with this enheritaunce, which was so déerely purchased for vs.

And héere we sée whereon we must cast our eies, and bestow all our senses, when it is told vs, that the Sonne of GOD hath re­déemed vs from euerlasting death, and purchased for vs euer­lasting lyfe. Wée must therefore in the first place learne, [Page] to render vnto God the prayse due vnto him. Now, to say truely, he might, if hée had pleased) haue deliuered vs from the bottome­lesse depthes of death after an other sorte: But his good will was, largely to bestow and powre vpon vs the treasures of his infinite goodnesse, when as hée spared not his onely sonne. And our Lord Iesus would héerein giue vs an excellent pawne of his wonderful care towardes vs, when as he offred himselfe willingly to death. For we shal neuer bée touched to the quick, nor enflamed to praise our God, without we on the other side doe examine our estate, and be as it were throwne downe into the bottomlesse pit of hell, kno­wing what a thing it is to haue prouoke his wrath, and to becom our mortall enimie, hauing him as a terrible and fearefull Iudge: so that it were a great deale better, that heauen and earth, and all the creatures had conspyred against vs, then that wée shoulde once come néere his Maiestie, so long as he is against vs. Wher­fore it is very méete that sinners should be wounded with the fée­ling and conceiuing of their sinnes, that they might know them­selues to bée most miserable, and feare their estate, to the end they might thereby knowe how greatly they are beholden and bounde vnto God, in that he hath compassion vpon them, and séeing them in a desperate case, hath very good will to helpe them, without re­gard of any their worthinesse, but onlie for their myseries sake. And so also is it (as we haue already saide) because we are too too much intangled here below, and when as God calleth vs vnto him, our mindes and affections, so kéepe vs backe, as that we had néed to make much of the heauenly life, as it is woorthy, and knowe with how déere a price it was purchased for vs. And héere wée sée why it is told vs, that our Lorde Iesus Christ did not only meane to suffer death, and offered himselfe a Sacrifice to appease the the wrath of God his Father, but also, to the ende, that hée might truely and indéede be our pledge, he refused not to abide the angui­shes and griefes, which were prepared for all such as in conscience are touched, and féele themselues guiltie of euerlasting death and condemnation before God. Let vs then heare rightly note that the Sonne of God, was not contented to offer vp his fleshe and blood and yéeld himselfe vnto death, but would withall, appeare before the iudgement seate of GOD, in the name and person of all sin­ners, ready, there to be condemned: and that because he beare our [Page 21] burden. And therefore we must not be ashamed, séeing the sonne of God hath submitted him selfe to such an infirmitie. Neither was it without cause that Saint Paule exhorteth vs, not to be asha­med of the preaching of the Crosse, albeit it be to some foolishnesse, and an offence to many. For, the more that our Lord Iesus Christ was humbled, we sée thereby that the offences for the which wée were in arrerages and behinde with God, could not be abolished, without great extremitie. And in déed, we know that he was made weake, that wée might be made strong by his power, and besides, hée would abide all our sufferinges, sinne excepted, to the ende hée might be readie at this day to helpe vs. For if hée had not felte in his owne person the feares, doubtes, and torments, which we en­dure, he would not be so enclined to be mercifull vnto vs as hée is. Wée say, that he who knoweth not what hunger and thirst mea­neth, will neuer be stirred vp to haue compassion vpon those that féele it, because they haue alwayes taken their ease, and liued in pleasure. Now it is true, that although God in his owne nature suffereth not any of our passions, yet ceaseth hée not for all that to be curteous vnto vs: but that is because hée is the fountayne of all goodnesse and mercy. Neuerthelesse, to the end we might be assured that our Lord Iesus Christ knoweth our weaknes to help it, & that we might come the boldlier vnto him, & haue a more fami­liar accesse. The apostle saith,Hebr. 2.10. yt he would for the same cause be tēp­ted euen as we are. So then, we haue to obserue in this text which we haue read, yt whē our Lord Iesus was come into this village of Gethsamene, & namely, into the Mount Oliuet, it was to offer him self willingly to death. And herein, his will was to be discharged of the office & charge that was committed vnto him. For why cloa­thed he him self with our flesh & nature, without it were to repaire all our rebellions through his obedience, to the end to purchase vs full & perfect righteousnes before God his Father? And therefore offered he him self to death, because we might not be reconciled by any other meane, neither yet appease the wrath of God, prouoked by sin, but by this onely obedience. Thus we sée why the Sonne of God came fréely vnto the place, where he knew that Iudas should finde him. And let vs knowe that it so fell out, because our father Adam through his transgression, had throwne vs all downe head­lōg into ye bottomlesse depth, that the sonne of God who had power [Page] ouer all creatures, might be subiect, and take vpon him the state of a seruant: as he is likewise called the seruant of God, & of all his. Sée also why S. Paul,Isaiah. 42.1. in shewing vs how we must stay our selues when we call vpon God with full assurance, & be heard as his chil­dren, saith that we are reputed righteous through the obedience of our Lord Iesus Christ.Rom. 5.19. For this is as it were a cloake to couer all our sinnes & offences: so that the thing that might hinder vs for the obteining of grace, might not come into a reckoning before God. But we on the contrary part sée, that the price of our redemption cost very deare, when as our Lord Iesus Christ was so tormented that hee aboad the very terror & feare of death: insomuch that hée sweat droppes of blood, & was as it were lyke one besides himselfe, desiring if it were possible that hée might escape that distresse. And therfore since we sée it to be thus, it is good for vs to come to the ac­knowledging of our sinnes. For, it is no time for vs to rocke our selues here a sléepe through flattery, when wee sée the Sonne of God plunged in this extremitie, as though he were in the bottom­lesse depthes. Nowe if this onely came to passe vnto a iust man, then ought we to be touched, insomuch as it fell out that a poore in­nocent suffered for our raunsome, which thing came to passe to the Sonne of God. But beholde howe the fountayne of life, hath submitted him selfe vnto death: and hee which vpholdeth all the worlde by his power, is now become weake: and hée who hath de­liuered the creatures from all feare, hath susteined so wonderfull horror. Wherfore, when this is told vs, it can not be but that eue­rie of vs must néedes be most blockish, if we enter not euerie man-into him selfe, and being touched with his faultes and iniquities, is not ashamed before God, and so sigh and grone: and namely, by this meane to be brought vnto God with true repentaunce. Nowe it is impossible for vs, rightly to conuert vnto God, without wée condemne our selues, and conceiue both the very terror and griefe of the curse which is prepared for vs, vntill such time, as wée bée brought againe into fauour with God. But because we may the better conceiue of the whole matter, it is said, that our Lord Iesus tooke onely thrée of his Disciples, & left the rest of the company a good way of: neither had he them through with him, but prayde vn­to God his father secretly. Wherfore, when we sée this, we are to note, that our Lord Iesus had no companion when he offered him [Page 22] selfe an oblation for vs: But finished whatsoeuer was requisit for our saluatiō. And namely, it is yet better declared vnto vs, whē as the Disciples slept, & could not be keptwake, although they had bin so oftētimes before warned, that the houre drew neare wherin our Lord Iesus must suffer for the redemption of mankinde, & had ex­horted them by the space of thrée houres, declaring vnto them con­tinually without ceasing, that his death approched. Yet notwith­stāding all this, they slept stil. Wherein is shewed vnto vs, as in a liuely picture, yt it was méet that the sonne of God should take vpō him all our burdēs: neither was it fit that he should looke for any o­ther. And it was to none other end, but that we should take vp our selues for straying, as we sée the miserable Infidels doe, who can not be contented to stay them selues vpon our Lord Iesus Christ, but imagine that they must haue Patrons, & Aduocats, as if there were many Redéemers. For we sée namely, the blasphemies which reigne in that cursed papacy, that the merits of Saints must serue to helpe the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christ, that by the same we might be freed & discharged towardes God For although (say they) there was a generall forgiuenesse for the fault of origi­nall sinne, and of actual sinnes, yet must they be mingled together: and the blood of Iesus Christ is not sufficient except the Martyres, had ouer and besides, merited: and therfore we must also haue re­course thether, to the end God might be mercifull vnto vs. Nowe, when the Deuil hath after this maner ouerune the whole world, so much the more ought we to beware, that we holde vs fast vnto our Lord Iesus Christ, & knowe that it is in him alone yt we must finde all perfection of saluation. And sée why it is namely saide in the Prophet Isaiah, That God wondred,Isaiah. 63.5. when hee sée that there was none on ye other side to vphold. It is verie true that God right well knew, that he alone must make our saluation perfect: But it was to the ende that wée might be ashamed, and not bée deceiued with hypocrisie, as if wée brought nothing with vs for the hel­ping of the forgiuenesse of our sinnes, & for the cause of God to re­ceiue vs into his loue and fauour: so that, we might not runne hi­ther & thither to finde out Mediators. And therefore, for the cutting off, of all this geare, it is saide that God holpe him selfe with his owne arme, and ended all by his iustice, without any compa­nion. Nowe this is declared vnto vs euen as it were before [Page] our eyes, when it is said, that thrée of the chiefe of all the Disciples, slept like miserable beastes: in whom was nothing els but beastly blockishnesse: which thing was as it were a Monster against na­ture. to sée them sléepe in such extremity. And to the end we might withdraw our confidence from all Creatures, and shut it wholly vp in our Lorde Iesus Christ, sée why it is sayde, That hée wente forwarde to the combate. Moreouer, in that he went to God his fa­ther, hée sheweth vs the remedy for the easing of all our griefes, for the mytigating of our sorowes, and euen for the raysing of our selues vp agayne, when as wée shall bée as it were cleane throw­en downe. For if wée bée grieued and vexed, wée knowe that God is not in vayne named the Father of Consolation.2. Cor. 2.3. Againe, if wée bée separated from him, where must wée finde power and strength but in him? But by the way, wée sée that hée woulde in no wise let his businesse be vndone. Let vs then héere beholde the Sonne of GOD, who, when wée are in sorow and anguishe guideth vs by his exāple vnto the true refuge, But let vs also note what forme of prayer hée vseth, O my Father, if it bee possible, Let this cup passe from mee, or this drinke: For this is spoken by way of similitude, when hée speaketh of a Cruse, Glasse, or a Cuppe? Be­cause the Scripture calleth afflictions, bytter drinkes, to the ende wée might knowe that nothing commeth by chaunce: But that God as an Housholder distributeth to euery man as pleaseth him. For like as a Father will geue vnto euery of his children his portion, or a Maister to his seruantes, Euen so doeth God shewe that hee scourgeth and afflicteth them with his owne hand: And likewise when we haue any benefits, it cōmeth of his frée goodnes, and geueth vs as much of thē as hee thinketh to be good for vs. And after this cōmon maner it is, yt our Lord Iesus saith that death is to him so bitter drink, & would gladly haue it to passe frō him, yea If it were possible, In very déed, about this, might many questions be moued: For it should séeme at ye first sight, that Iesus Christ had forgoten our saluatiō, or rather in flying frō ye light, ment to leaue vs in destructiō, by reasō of ye feare that he had cōceiued. Now, this wil neuer agrée wt yt which we haue said: & especially, ye loue which he hath shewed vs should be greatly darkened. But we néed not to enter into such subtill disputations: Bicause we know that a pas­siō, oftētimes so taketh away ye mind of a man, as that he thinketh [Page 23] not either of one thing or of an other: But béeing vexed with the present griefe, he there casteth himselfe, without hauing any other regard for the vpholding of himselfe. Wherefore, when our minds are thus rauished, we cannot say that the rest is cleane blotted out of our heartes, and that wee haue no affection. As for example, A man that considereth of some affliction of the Churche, namely, of a particular affliction, hée will pray vnto GOD as if the rest of the worlde were nothing to him. Nowe, is it therefore for vs to say, that this is an vnkinde man, and hath no care of his bre­thren, who haue as great néde also to be prayed for? No: But it is because that this affection hath taken suche a mightie pos­session in him, as that the reste of his affection, is as it were se­parated for a time. Wée reade, that Moses prayed to bee blot­ted out of the Booke of life: Nowe, if wée woulde cull the grea­ter from the lesse,Exod. 32.32. wée woulde say that Moses blasphemed against GOD, because hée spake, as if GOD had béene chaungea­ble. For they whom GOD hath ordayned to euerlasting life, can neuer perishe: And therefore it séemeth that Moses striueth héere with GOD, and that hée will doe as wée doe, who chaunge our councell and determinations. And besides, howe honoured hée GOD when as hée knewe himselfe to bée of the number of the chosen, and knew that God had marked him euen from his childehood to commit so notable a charge vnto him, as to bée the Leader of his people, and yet desired to bée razed and cut of from GOD? And whither then was this gone? nowe, a man might make many argumentes: But the solution is easie, For Moses hauing so feruent a zeale for the saluation of the peo­ple, and séeyng besides, the horrible threat which God had pro­nounced by his owne mouth, forgotte himselfe for a minute of time, and desired nothing els but the helpe of the people.

Let vs then sée howe our Lorde Iesus Christe behaued him­selfe. For if it was méete that hée shoulde suffer an hundreth deathes, yea a Myllion, without doubte hée was prepared for that purpose before: Howebeit, suche was his will, not for him­selfe, but for vs, to abide the anguishes whiche plunged him in­to it as wée sée. And thus much for this poynt. Nowe for the se­conde, If it bée asked, howe our Lorde Iesus Christ, who is saide to bée altogether righteous, the Lambe without spotte, and the [Page] verie rule and glasse of all righteousnesse, holinesse, and perfection, could will, contrarie to God his will. This is the answere, that God is the whole perfection of righteousnesse and iudgement. For although the Angels are conformable to the will of God, and who­ly obedient vnto him, yet is their will separate: For, because they are creatures, they may haue affections which apperteine not to God. But as for vs who are compassed about with this lump of sinne, we are so blockish as that we are verie farre from the will of God: for our desires excéede, yea and are oftentimes verie mani­festly Rebellious. But if we cōsider of man as he was in his pure­nesse, to wit, without this corruption of sinne, yet without doubt his affections shall come nothing nigh vnto Gods, and yet not bée corrupt. As if Adam were not thus peruerted as hée is, but had continued in the same estate, wherein hée was created, yet had hee abidden heate and cold, and might haue suffered cares, and feares, and such other like. And such a one we sée was our Lorde Iesus Christ. For we know that his affectiōs were without spot or blot, and they all were squared vnto the obedience of God, but yet (be­cause hée had taken our nature vpon him) hée was subiect to feare and to this terror wherof we euen now spake, and vnto cares and such like. We cannot sée this in vs, no more then in pudly wa­ter a man can iudge of anything. And thus we sée how these earth­ly affections cause vs to flote from one side to an other, and so tosse vs, as that God had néede to vpholde vs: But the affections which we that are descended of Adam haue, are like vnto clay excéedingly tempered with infection, so that we cannot sée what this passion of our Lord Iesus Christ was, if we measure it as we are men. For when we do any thing to a good end, & our affection of it self is iust, and allowed of God, yet shall we continually fayle therein. For is not this a good and holie thing, for a father to loue his chilren? And yet for all that, this is sinne in vs: because there is not that order and moderation that is required in the same: for amongest all the vertues which wée may haue, GOD maketh vs to sée that there are vices in them, to the ende our pryde might the bet­ter bée abated, and wée might alwayes haue occasion to caste downe our heades, and bée ashamed, séeing our verie goodnesse is corrupted through sinne which dwelleth in vs, and where­with [Page 24] wée are filled, and full fraught.

Moreouer, as for our Lorde Iesus Christ (as I haue alreadie said) it is not for vs to meruel (forasmuch as he was mā) although his will differed from the will of God his Father: But yet wée must not hereby iudge that there was any sinne and transgressi­on in him. And (as wée haue before saide) wée héerein especial­ly sée, the inestimable loue hée beare vs, whenas hée so great­ly feared death, that yet of his owne good will hée submitted him selfe thereto. And besides, when as hée neither withstood it, nor yet gainesaide the supping vp of this drinke wherein hée felt no bit­ternesse, what a thing was this for vs to bée in this manner re­déemed? Howbeit this might séeme to bée a merry iest: neuer­thelesse, when it so fell out that our Lorde Iesus Christ had en­dured suche anguishes, it was a signe that hée so loued vs, as that hée forgot him selfe, and suffered the whole tempest to light vpon his owne head, that wée might bée deliuered from ye wrath of God. Now, there remaineth for vs to note, when the Sonne of God was after this manner tormented, that it was not be­cause hée was to depart out of this lyfe: For if there had béene none other thing but the separation of the soule, from the bo­die, together, with the tormentes which hée was to suffer in his bodie, this had béen no such affliction.

But let vs consider of the qualitie of his death: and let vs chiefly come to the originall thereof. For death did not one­ly dissolue the man, but made him also to féele the curse of God. For ouer and besides that, that God taketh vs out of his world, and that wée leaue this present lyfe, Death is vnto vs an en­traunce as it were into the gulfe of hell. And therefore, when wee heare death spoken of, wée must néedes bee separated from GOD, and cut off from all hope of saluation, without wee had this remedie, to wyt, that our Lorde Iesus Christ hath suffered for vs, to the ende that the wounde which came by reason of it, might bee no more deadly. For without him, we were so wounded by death, that there was no more hope of sal­uation for vs: but now the sting therof is broken: yea the poyson therof is so clēsed & wiped away, that we being humbled by death, [Page] it serueth vs at this day for a medicine, and is no more deadly, because Iesus Christe hath swallowed vpp all the curse which was in it. Nowe let vs sée what it is, that wée haue too kéepe in mynde, whiche is, that sonne of God in crying out, O my Father, if it be possible, let this drinke be taken from me, did not regard on­lie the suffringes in his bodie, neither the shame of men, nor yet the leauing of the worlde: (for he could easily abide all these things) But hée respected his comming before God, and before his iudge­ment seate, to make an account for all our sinnes, and to behold al the curses of God which were prepared. For when as there was but one only sinner, what was this to the wrath of GOD? And when it is said that God is against vs, & wil display his pow­er to confound vs, Alas, what shall become of vs? Now, it hath so fallen out, that Iesus Christ did not onely striue against suche a feare, but against all the cruelties that might bee heaped vp toge­ther. And therefore when wée sée GOD call to a reckoning all those who haue deserued euerlasting condemnation, and are guil­tie of sinne, and that hée himselfe is there to pronounce suche sen­tence as they haue deserued, who will not conceyue all the deathes, doubtes, and terrors, which may bée in euery one. And then what a destruction will there bée in this? Nowe, it hath fal­len out that our Lorde Iesus Christe himselfe alone without anie helpe, hath borne such a burden.

Let vs therfore iustly weight ye sorow of the Sonne of God, & therevpon, let vs returne to the thing which wee haue already touched which is, y on the one side we might knowe how déere our saluation, & how precious our soules were vnto him, when as hée woulde bring himselfe into so great extremitie for our sakes: and in acknowledging that that wee haue deserued, Let vs sée what our estate had béene, if hée had not holpen vs. And in the meane while, let vs reioyce, when as wée sée death to haue no more pow­er ouer vs that may hurt vs. In verie déede, wée shoulde naturally alwayes feare Death, and flie it: But it is to this ende, that wee should thinke vpon that inestimable benefite whiche the Sonne of God hath purchased by his death: & alwaies consider, yt it commeth through death it selfe, which death importeth the wrath of God, & which wrath is as it were the gulfe of hell.

Moreouer, yt when we are to fight against this feare, we might [Page 25] know yt our Lord Iesus Christ hath so prouided for al these feares, as that wee might euen in the middest of death it selfe, come with bolde countenance before our God. True it is, that wée shoulde before all thinges humble our selues, and must as we haue before­saide, bée touched with the iudgement of God, and with the terror thereof, if wée intend to hate our sinnes, and bée displeased with them: howbeit in the meane while when God calleth vs vnto him, wée must then come with chéerefull countenance. And see also what boldnesse is graunted to all the faithfull:2. Tim. 4.8. for Saint Paule saith, That our Lorde Iesus Christe hath prepared a crowne for all those which looke for his comming. Wherefore, if we hope not for life in comming before the heauenly Iudge, without doubt hée will refuse vs, and not know vs, neither will hee allowe of vs, although wée professe our selues to bée Christians. And surely we cannot waite for our Lorde Iesus Christ without we bée resolued and perswaded that he hath so fought against the feares of death, that wée are thereby made free, and that hée obteined victory for vs. And although wée are to fight, to the ende wée might féele our infirmities, and thereby haue recourse vnto God, which might continually draw vs to a true confession of our sinnes, so that God himselfe might bée declared to him alone to bee iust: yet notwith­standing let vs assure our selues that Iesus Christe hath so fought as that he hath got the victorie, not onely for himself, but for vs al­so: And neuer doubt but that by this meanes we may now ouer­come all cares, feares, and terrors, and call vpon God, séeing wée are assured that he continually stretcheth foorth his armes to im­brace vs. And héere we sée, what we must obserue, which is, we must know that this is no speculatiue doctrine, when it is saide, That our Lorde Iesus Christ hath abiden the horrible feares of death, because he felt that he was before our iudge as our pledge, to the end that in ye power of that combate we might get aduantage ouer our infirmities, & constantly abide in calling vpon the name of God, doubting but that hée will heare vs, and bée continually ready, of his goodnesse to receiue vs, vnto himselfe: so that by that meanes we shall passe both through life and death, fier, and wa­ter: and so might all féele, that our Lorde Iesus hath not fought in v [...]ine for the obteining of such a victory, for all such as come vnto him in faith. Héere then wée see in summe, what it is [Page] that wée must remember. But yet by the way wee sée that wée must fight against our affections, and without wée so doe, it is impossible for vs to remoue our finger, but that wee shall eft­soones prouoke the wrath of GOD. For beholde our Lorde Iesus Christe who was both pure and sounde, as wée haue alrea­dy declared: But if any man aske what his will was, it was in very déed the weake will of a man: but yet no sinfull will, as the will of those who were corrupted in Adam: for there was not one spot of sinne in him. Loe héere a man voide of all sinne: But howeuer it was, yet must he in the ende, striue and indeuour to forsake himselfe, and cast all this vnder his féete, that hee might yeeld his obedience vnto his father. And nowe let vs see what shall become of vs, what are our affections and thoughtes?Rom. 8.7. Euen so many enimies (saith Saint Paule) as fight against God. Wée see heere, that God saith that we are altogether wayward, & that whatsoeuer the mind of man deuiseth, is nothing els but lea­sing and vanitie: yea we shew our selues, euen from our childhood to be seasoned with the whole infection of sinne. For the very yong children who come into the worlde, and whose wickednesse appea­reth not, are notwithstanding young serpents full of the poyson of malice and disdaine. And héere wée sée what our nature is euen from the beginning what then will wee be (I beséeche you) when wée come to ryper yéres? Surely (as I haue already saide) we are so very wicked, as that we cannot thinke one only thought, which shal not be very many rebellions against God: insomuch, that we shall neuer be able to giue our selues either to one thing or other, but that we shall swarue from the right rule, yea, and spurne as it were dispituously against his Maiestie. And therefore what conflict is it that wée can set in order to doe any good? For when we sée that our Lord Iesus Christe, in whom was nothing but pure­nesse and righteousnesse, was not able to submit himself vnto God his father, without he had denied himselfe, is it not to bee doubted that we are any way able throughly to performe it. Let vs then learne to fight more couragiously: But because we see we cannot and that all our strength and power bendeth it selfe rather to doe euill, and not one droppe of goodnesse in our nature, but so weake as that wée shoulde be ouercome an hundred times euery minute [Page 26] of an houre, let vs come to him that was made weake, that wée might (as S. Paule saieth) be filled with his power. And there­fore since our Lorde Iesus Christe hath thus denied him selfe, let vs learne, if wée will bée his Disciples to doe the like. And be­cause wée sée that wée cannot of our selues attaine thereto, but goe altogether backewarde, let vs beséeche him,2. Cor. 13.4. that hée woulde by the power of his holy spirite haue dominion in vs to strengthen vs, as it is said, yt hée suffered in the infirmitie of his fleshe, but was raised vp againe through the power of the spirite, that we might bée partakers of the afliction which hée susteined, and féele the fruit and excellencie of his power in vs. Heere nowe wée sée in effect what it is that wée must beare in minde, when it is saide that Christe gaue ouer his owne will, that hee might fully and who­ly submit himselfe vnto God his Father. Notwithstanding, we haue heere continually to remember, that the Sonne of GOD determined not onely to set foorth himselfe héere for an example or glasse, but to shew vs how dearely our saluation cost him. For the Deuill, meaning to darken the infinite grace of GOD, which hath béene shewed vs, hath saide, That Iesus Christe was onely as it were a patterne of all vertue. For marke how these hypocriticall pratling Iacke dawes in Popery behaue them selues, who although they cannot set down what obedience is, nor yet what it is to forsake a mans selfe, yet they say, that whatso­euer the Euangelist hath written of Iesus Christe is to this ende that wée shoulde followe him, and bée like vnto him. Now, this is somewhat: But yet not all, neither the principall matter For an Angell might very well haue béene sent, to haue tolde vs that wee muste followe him: But when Iesus Christe became the redéemer of the worlde, hée of his owne good will submitted himselfe vnto this miserable condition, as héere wée see. And therefore must wée alwayes vnderstande, that when wée can finde nothing in our selues that may giue vs any hope of saluation, it remaineth that wée must séeke for that in him, which is wanting in vs. For wee are neuer able to obteine the grace and fauour of GOD, nor yet come néere him, without wee come as poore Beggers, vnto Iesus Christe, which can neuer bee doone, vntyll such time as we [Page] knowe our miseries and wants: and to be short, except we know vtterly our vnablenesse, wee sée then what it is that wee are to remember, to the end that after we haue vnderstood, that ye whole perfection of our life is to obey God, and to forsake our affections and thoughts, and whatsoeuer els that is in our nature which is to make vs agréeable vnto him: when wee vnderstand this much, we must craue at the handes of God, that, which we haue not: And that wée might know also, that our Lorde Iesus Christ is not deliuered vnto vs for an example onely, but is eft soones declared vnto vs, that if we be separated from him, our life must néedes bee accursed, and that in death we sée the bottomlesse depthes of the curse, and that gulfe of Gods wrath to swallowe vs quite vp, and that not onely one feare, but a million of feares haue laide fast holde on vs, and al the creatures of God crie for vengeance on our behalfe. And therfore let vs haue this féeling, because we might acknowledge our sinnes, sigh, and be ashamed of our selues, and take boldnesse to come vnto God with true humilitie and repen­tance. Let vs likewise estéeme of the goodnesse and mercy of our God as héere is shewed vs, and haue our mouthes wide open to pay vnto him the Sacrifice of thanksgiuing, and depart from the inticements of Satan, who hath pitched his nettes to holde vs still in this worlde. Let vs also leaue our commodities and pleasures, that wee might come vnto this heauenly inheritance, which hath béen so dearely purchased for vs, and because we haue to commu­nicate the Supper of the Lorde the next Sunday, and that God, after he hath opened vnto vs the kingdom of heauen, setteth before vs a spirituall banket, let vs bée so much the more touched with this doctrine. And to say the trueth, when wée dayly eate and drinke for the refreshing of our hungry bodies, God therein she­weth vs sufficiently that he is our father, and careth for these earthly bodies: insomuch that we cannot eate one morsell of bread but that it witnesseth vnto vs, that God is careful ouer vs. But in the Supper, is a speciall reason: for God doth not there fill our bel­lies, but lifteth our mindes vp into the kingdome of heauen, hee setteth before vs our Lorde Iesus Christe his sonne, for meate and drinke. And Iesus Christe is not onely contented to receiue vs to his Table, but intendeth therewith to bee our féeder: for hee she­weth vs in effect, that his fleshe is meate in déede, and his blood [Page 27] drinke indéede. Wherefore, when wée sée our Lorde Iesus, thus gently to bid vs vnto him, are not wée too too villanous, if we holde not our selues back from doing of any thing that may withdraw vs from him? And although we come but as men trai­ling our legges after vs, yet let vs stil be displeased with our sins, that we might obey him, and streine our selues so much as is pos­sible, to be rid of this worlde, and come to the kindgdome of hea­uen. And therefore let euery one consider, to what ende the holy Supper serueth, For when we see that our Lord Iesus calleth vs vnto it, that we might be partakers of his death and passion, let vs inioy the fruite which he hath obteined for vs, & by that meane be fully resolued, that God alloweth vs for his children, and with open mouth claime him for our father. Let vs also bring with vs a true faith, because we knowe wherefore God the father sent our Lorde Iesus vnto vs, and is at this day a Mediator as he hath al­wayes béen. And thereupon, set vs labour to bée so vnited to him, as that we may knowe yt this is not onely spoken to euery of vs in particuler, but to euery of vs in generall. Let vs also liue together in mutuall and Brotherly concord, because he himself hath sustei­ned and borne the condemnation which God his father had pro­nounced against vs all. And therefore let vs bende our selues that way, and let euery of vs not onely come thither by himselfe alone (as I haue already said) but also bring his fellowes with him, and stirre one another vp, constantly to marche forward: hauing al­wayes respect that our life is as were away which wée must goe through withall, and not stay in the middest thereof: but from day to day so profite, and also take paine to bring them néere, who are farre of, as that it may be our whole ioy, life glory, and content­ment, and in such sorte helpe one another, vntyll the time that GOD hath fully and wholy gathered vs together vnto him­selfe.

Let vs nowe therefore fall downe before the Maiestie of our good GOD, and acknowledge our sinnes, beséeching him to cause vs so to féele them, as that wee bée not onely displeased with them, but also that wée may bée more and more rydde and clean­sed of them, and so fight against our selues, as that he alone may beare rule in vs, and wée well agrée vnto his holy will. And in the meane while, let vs likewise beséech him that it would please [Page] him to haue mercy vpon his miserable worlde: and that as it was his will in generall, his onely sonne shoulde bee a redéemer for all, & his Gospell preached to all, so also yt hée would not suffer vs at this day to bée hard hearted, & flie form such a benefite: But that wée might haue an eie and eare thereto, and one of vs drawe on another, vntill such time as he hath brought vs to bée perfect with himselfe. So that wée may all say with an humble heart, O Almightie God, and heauenly father, &c.

The second Sermon of the Passion.

Matthew xxvj.

40 AFter that, he came vnto his Disciples, and found them a sleepe, and said to Peter, What? could ye not watch with me one houre?

41 Watch and pray, that yee enter not into temptation: the spirite in deede is ready, but the fleshe is weake.

42 Againe, he went away the second time, and prayed, say­ing, O my father, if this Cup cannot passe away from mee, but that I must drinke it, thy will bee doone.

43 And he came and founde them a sleepe againe, for their eyes were heauie.

44 So hee left them and went againe, and praied the thirde time, saying the same wordes.

45 The came hee vnto his Disciples, and saide vnto them, sleepe hence foorth and take your rest, beholde the houre is at hand, and the sonne of man is giuen into the handes of sinners.

46 Arise, let vs goe: beholde, he is at hande that betrayeth mee.

47 And while hee yet spake, Loe Iudas, one of the twelue came, and with him a great multitude with Swordes and staues, from the high Priestes and Elders of the people.

48 But hee that betrayed him, had giuen them a token, say­ing [Page 28] whom soeuer that I shall kisse, that is he, lay hold on him.

49 And foorthwith he came to Iesus, and said, God saue thee Maister, and kissed him.

50 Then Iesus saide vnto him, Friende, wherefore commest thou? then came they, and laide handes on Iesus, and tooke him.

WE haue this morning séene, howe the Sonne of God was strengthened by prayer for the abiding of so hard and dangerous a combate, as the appea­ring before the iudgement seat of god his father to receiue sentence of com­demnation as our pledge or borrowe. For it behooued that mans weakenes should be séene in him: and yet was this nothing at all derogatorie from his diuine Maiestie, although hée was thus made of no reputation for our saluation. And wée haue héere besides to note, that he pray­ed not onely once wherein wée sée, that hée hath by his example, ex­horted vs not to faint, although we are not hearde so soone as wée woulde. Wherefore they that are faint hearted, because God, answereth them not at the first, shew that they knowe not what prayer is: For the right rule for vs to come vnto God, is to per­seuer and continue. And therefore the chiefest exercise of our faith is prayer, Yet, faith cannot be without hope. Then there is no question of it that God shoulde féede our homours so soone as wée haue once opened our lippes, and framed our petitions? But it is méete that hée shoulde delay them, and make vs oftentimes to languishe, that wée might know what it is to pray earnestly, and without hypocrisie, and that wée might also declare that our faith is so established vpon the worde of God, as that it brideleth, to the ende wée might paciently abide, vntill such time as the fit oppor­tunitie be come, wherein we should be holpen. Let vs therefore marke that our Lord Iesus Christ did not pray onely once, to God his father, but went also againe the second time.

Moreouer, wée are to call to minde the thing before touched, to wit, that our Lord Iesus Christ hath not here framed a light prai­er, but yet was such an one as if hée were determined to be quite ryd of him selfe: yea that hée, who is the power of God his father, and who vpholdeth the whole worlde, yet because he must shewe him selfe a weake man, kéeping our place, and setled in our per­son, hath shewed, that when hée went againe to pray, that hée did it not to make a shewe therof (as many prophane people imagine, that when Iesus Christ appeared, hée suffered nothing) but to the ende to teach vs that wée are no way able to escape the hande and punishment of God, and his curse, but by this meane. Nowe, it is hére declared vnto vs (as it was this morning) that our Lord Ie­sus Christ was put to the extremitie, because that the burthen which hée had taken vpon him was not to be borne, without the inuincible power of the spirite of God, had holpen him. Neyther must wée thinke this to be any superfluous kinde of spéech, when hée repeated these wordes.Mat. 6.7. For, that which is said in the other text, That when wée pray vnto God we must not vse much babble, as they doe who vse many repetitions, thinking thereby to obteyne verie much, is not meant but that we should continue in prayer: but it is spoken to this ende, to finde fault with the hypocrisie and superstition of those who thinke (as a man would say) to rend the eares of God therewith, to make him beléeue, and persuade him to doe that for them which they desire: which folly wée haue séene reigne in the world. And yet euen among vs, how many are there, which vse this kinde of sorcerie, for although they say not their Aue Maria, yet when they haue saide their Pater Noster, doe thinke that they haue obteined verie much, and thinke that God taketh a reckoning of all the words which they haue thus repeated in their prayer. Now, I call that, right sorcerie: for they villainously pro­phane the prayer which our Lord Iesus Christ deliuered vnto vs, wherein hée hath commaunded vs in a short summarie, whatsoe­uer wée ought and is lawfull for vs to craue at the handes of God. And yet this is no let, why a man who is sore gréeued, but that he may oftentimes returne and pray vnto God: and when hee hath powred out some sighes, hée may also begin againe. And therefore when wee goe vnto him without ambition, and for no glorious shewe: and besides, think not by our ouer much babbling to haue [Page 29] gotten any thing, but are driuen by an earnest affectiō, then is our perseuerāce right, after ye example of our Lord Iesus Christ. Now this point is to bée marked of vs which wée haue touched, to wit, that the chiefest point of all our petitions is this, to haue God so to rule ouer vs, as that wée agrée with one accord, to submit our selues vnto his good will. And this, I say, is a necessary point, for vs. For looke vpon our Lorde Iesus Christ, although all his affections, were iust holy, and agréeing vnto righteousnesse, yet because hee was a naturall man, it was méete hee should fight a­gainst anguishe, and sorrowe, that might any way lay holde on him, and holde him captiue vnder the obedience of GOD his fa­ther. And therfore how shall wée do, in whom is nothing els but wickednesse, and rebellion, and so corrupt, as that wee are not able to apply our mindes to nothing whatsoeuer, but that God is eft soones offended therewith, Since then it is so, let vs, when wée pray vnto GOD, so bridle our selues, as that none of vs fol­lowe our owne lustes as wée are wonted: But let vs vnderstand that wée shal haue greatly profited, whenas wée can subdue them, to the ende that God might haue maistrie ouer vs, There is al­so a very notable saying, Whēas our lord Iesus Christ saith vnto his Disciples, Watch, and pray, that yee enter not into tempta­tion: for although the spirite in deede bee ready, yet is the fleshe weake. Hée then héere sheweth that the principallest spurre to pricke vs on to call vpon God is this, That wee must fight, and that our enimies are at hand, and very strong, & we not able possi­bly to resist them, except our aide come from aboue, and that God fighteth for vs. And this wée knowe, that when a man is assu­red of himselfe, hée desireth to followe altogether his pleasures, and to sléepe at his ease: for wee are not willingly carefull nor stu­dious, except necessitie driueth vs thereto. Surely, it is an excel­lent thing to bée at rest and quiet: But wee thinke wée shall ne­uer bée at rest, without wee become as it were like bruite beastes. And therefore it is euen so, as that necessitie must driue vs to bée watchfull. Wherefore it was not causelesse that our Lorde Iesus tolde vs that wée must abide many allarmes. For that which hee once spake vnto his Diciples, apperteineth vnto vs all in generall: because wée must all our life long, bee continually ready to abide many temptations. For the Diuell is our per­petuall [Page] enemie, if wée bée the members of our Lord Iesus Christ. And therefore there will bée open warre without ende or mea­sure. Let vs also sée with what an enimie wée haue to deale withall: it is not with one alone, but the number of them is in­finite.

Moreouer, the Diuell hath an excéeding number of waies to cast vs downe into the bottome of Hell: one while hée trippeth vs openly, another while hée playeth vnder the boord, and by his craft wyll sodenly bée vpon vs an hundred thousande times before wee thinke on him. And if there were none other thing in it but euen the saying of Saint Paule,Ephe. 6.12. it were sufficient enough to make vs to bée carefull and to take héede, for thus hée saith, That our eni­mies are mightie which rule in the aire ouer our heads, and wee héere, lyke vnto poore wormes of the earth, créeping below. Saint Peter also vseth the like reason,1. Pet. 5.8. and saith, That our enimie is like vnto a roring Lion which séeketh his play, and neuer resteth. And héere wée sée what wée are to obserue, in that our Lord Iesus saith, That wée must stande vpon our garde least wee enter into temptation.

Moreouer, although wée bée wakefull, and kéepe good watch, yet can wée not bée so frée, but yt the Diuel will lyft him self vp against vs, and assaile vs many and sundry wayes. Neither can wee breake his blowes so farre of: but that before wée enter into the fight, wée had néed beware that wée be not tempted ouer head and cares, as wée say, And therefore let vs learne, that although the faithfull and children of God desire to bée at rest, yet must they not desire to bée heere at theyr ease: but be contented to haue God to make perfect his power in their infirmitie: For Saint Paule al­so saieth that hée must doe the like. [...]. Cor. 12.9. And this is, say I, the state and condition of all the children of GOD, euen to fight in this worlde, because they cannot serue God without some striuing. For although they bee weake, and may be letted, yea euen often­times throwne downe,1. Iohn. 5.4. let it suffice them that God helpeth them, and alwayes rest vpon this promisse, That our faith shall continu­ally ouercome the worlde. Neuerthelesse, the remedie is set be­fore vs, which is, wée must fight. True it is that Satan will ne­uer leaue to beginne againe to assayle vs, but yet Iesus Christe on [Page 30] the otherside, commaundeth vs to watch.

Moreouer, he sheweth that they which presume vpon their owne strengthes, that Satan will an hundred thousand times sooner o­uerthrowe them, then that they shall get any one maistrie of him. What is it then that wée must doe? Forsooth, wée must humbly confesse that there is nothing in vs, and therfore must runne vnto our good God. And thus wée sée what our true armour & weap on is: what it is that putteth from vs all feare and terror, and what it is that must assure and resolue vs to continue safe and sounde euen vnto the ende: to wit, whenas we call vpon the name of god: For as Solomon saith, his name is an inuincible strong Tower,Pro. 18.10. and that the righteous which runneth to it, shall bée exalted. And that is it which is spoken by the Prophet Ioel,Ioel. 2.32. That although the world were turned vpside down, yet whosoeuer shal call vpon the name of the lord shal be saued.Acts. 2.21. Which thing is namely applied vn­to the reigne of our Lorde Iesus Christe, to the ende wée might be perswaded, that although our saluation were as it were waue­ring, and wée as it were see a thousande hazardes, yet that God will protect vs, and wée féele his power alwayes néere vs, and ready to helpe vs, if so bée wée wyll séeke vnto him by prayers and supplications, which is the very summe and effect of that wee are to remember.

Nowe, that wée might bée the better confirmed in this doctrine, let vs note, that when our Lorde Iesus prayed, hée did not onely pray for himselfe, and for his owne behoofe, but hath so consecrated all our petitions and prayers, as that they are sanctified, and al­lowed of God according to his heartes desire, as is saide in Iohn,Iohn. 17. Hée was sanctified, that wée might bée sanctified in him. And this may also bee a very good conclusion for vs. That hee prayed, be­cause his prayer is auaileable, and strong, euen at this day, by meane whereof wée are all hearde? And this reason wée are highly to estéeme of, when hée saith, that the spirite is ready, but the fleshe, weake: which declareth vnto vs, that wée haue all néede, of that remedy which hée héere ordeined for his Disciples. For many thinke, that if they bee neuer so little well dispo­sed, that they haue gotten all the worlde: and this supposall in very déede maketh them nothing worth. And héereby they be­come soone after so idle, and colde, as that they fall from GOD, [Page] and contemne his ayde: which is the cause also why God many times withdraweth him self & hideth his power. For it is good rea­son that when men truste too much vnto them selues, they should bée left to their owne willes, that GOD might scorne their arrogant and foolish imagination. Wherefore, to the end, both great and small, might knowe and vnderstande that they ought not lightly to passe ouer the helpe of God, and the graces which they haue receiued of him, hée must therefore alwayes con­tinue and increase that in them, which hée hath giuen vnto them, that they might be made strōg. It is said here that the spirit is rea­die, &c. That is to say, that although wée féele some willingnesse in our selues, and that God hath set vs in the right way, and giuen vs his hande, so that wée may finde by very good proofe that hée guideth vs by his holy spirite: Although I say, we haue all this, yet must we not bée slacke in praying. And why so? Because if we well consider the matter, wée are no better then a puft of winde. Now, no doubt of it wée shall finde many remnants of infirmities in vs, & although god hath alredie so holpē vs, as that we are high­ly to thanke him, and to magnifie his goodnesse, yet is it good rea­son wée shoulde stoupe and cast downe our heads, and sée in very déed that if hée forsake vs, wée shall soone, I say, not onely be wea­kened, but bée vtterly ouerthrowne. To be short, our Lorde Iesus Christe his meaning héere, is to shewe, that the most perfect, and forewarde of those, vpon whom God hath enlarged the graces and vertues of his holy spirite, must notwithstanding humble them­selues, and carefully and fearefully walke, and call vpon God e­uery houre, that they might knowe that it is not enough for him to haue begunne, except hée make it perfect: and that all goodnesse commeth from him: so that when hée hath giuen a good minde, hee must eftsoones graunt the perfourmance thereof: Forsomuch as, perseuerance is the most speciall and rarest gift that may be. And thus we sée whereunto the exhortation of our Lorde Iesus ten­deth.

Now, if they who call themselues spirituall, to wit, who haue a feruent zeale to serue GOD, and still haue recourse vnto his Maiestie with Prayers and supplications, are yet so weake, as that they may bee ouerthrowne, euen in the minute of an houre, except they continually call vpon GOD: Howe [Page 31] shall they then doe, who are so earthly and heauie as is lamenta­ble, insomuch as they are not able to traile their legges after them and haue scarsely any good motion, or yet one good thought: howe greatly ought these men, I say, in respect of the rest inforce them­selues? Let euery man therefore examine himselfe, and wée shall finde our selues to bée so cold and blockishe, as when any question shall bée mooued of praying vnto God, wee goe to it, sometimes more for a fashion, then for any affection and loue we haue there­to, when we see this to be in vs, let vs learne to bée displeased with such a vice, and with such a coldnesse: yea & let vs detest such a cor­ruption, and doe our best to call vpon God, and lift vp our mindes vnto heauen, and séeke for the remedie which is héere set before vs Thus wee see in effect what it is that we must remember. For where it is saide that the Disciples were a sléepe the thirde time, yea although they were so liuely stirred vp (ouer and besides that which we haue this morning spoken of, to wit, that we right well see that our Lorde Iesus Christe chose vnto him no companion for the helping of him to finishe the worke of our saluation) Let vs al­so behold our dulnesse: for it is most certaine, that wée haue no more ablenes then these thrée of whō mention is héere made: and yet were they the most notable men of all the company, and those whom Iesus Christe had marked as it were to bee the very floure of the twelue, for the publishig of the Gospell throughout the worlde. And although héere was already neuer so good a begin­ning, yet for all that, wée sée howe weake they were. And this is set downe to this ende, that we should altogether haue recourse vnto the Sonne of God, and seeke for our want, in him: and not to bee faint hearted, whenas we shall féele suche weaknesse in our selues. In very déede, the example of the Apostles must not giue vs occasion to flatter ourselues (as, many there are which wil say that they may very well sléepe, because that Peter, Iohn and Iames stept) But let vs be angrie with our selues for our sinnes and know that our Lorde Iesus is ready to receiue vs, if that wée will come vnto him.

Moreouer, this hath alwayes béene the most speciall reason which wee haue declared this morning. That what soeuer is in men, must néedes bée weake, to the ende wee might knowe that [Page] in him is the accomplishment of our saluation, whom God had ap­pointed to bée our Mediator. And besides, wée are to note, that the néerer wée come vnto our Lorde Iesus Christe, wée ought then to bée most watchfull. For, the worldlinges, and such as God hath cut of as rotten members, and forsaketh thē, neuer haue any great conflict: Because the Diuell hath alreadie dominion ouer them. And therefore wée see that they may sléepe at pleasure. But as our Lorde Iesus sheweth vs this fauour, to call vs vnto himselfe, and familiarly to come néere vs, euen so likewise doeth Satan prepare combates for vs, because hée woulde retire vs from the obedience of the sonne of God. And therefore, I say, when hée séeth vs in any good towardnesse, then doeth hée most roughly assaile vs. Where­fore let euery man make readie himselfe, knowing whereunto God hath called him, and what his charge is. This then is the summe of that we are to kéepe in minde.

Moreouer, where it is said, Sleepe hence foorth and take your rest, behold, the houre is at hande: this is as muche as if hée had saide that they shoulde bée soone sodainely set vpon, except God watched ouer them, And yet by the way, hée checked them, say­ing, What? Doe you sée in what state you stande? Beholde the Diuell bendeth all his power for the distruction of mankinde, and it must come passe that in mée the kingdome of God must bée re­couered, or els all creatures must perishe: and yet you still sléepe héere. Nowe this admonition serued for the present: But in the ende, the Disciples knewe that they must yéelde all the prayse of saluatiō vnto God: yea considering their vnthankefulnes, which appeared in so beastly blockishnes. And so, wée are not admoni­shed (as I haue already said) that the sonne of God must shew him selfe to bée our redéemer, euen himselfe alone, without any com­panion.

Moreouer, let vs eft soones learne, that it is néedefull that God shoulde watche ouer vs, so long as wée our selues doe sléepe. For, how often shall it come to passe that the Diuell will oppresse vs an hundred thousande times: and what way haue wée to re­sist him, except God hath compassion on vs, although hee séeth vs therein to bée as it were like bruite beastes? But yet must not this giue vs occasion to goe astray, and to leaue our prayers and [Page 32] supplications. But wée must rather continually call to minde this saying of the Psalme, hée that watcheth ouer Israel nei­ther sléepeth nor slumbereth. And therefore, let vs for our parts bée watchful, according to that exhortation which wée haue heard made vnto vs. And yet let vs vnderstande thus much, that how euer wée watch, yet must God kéepe a good watche, or els our eni­mies woulde soone haue great aduantage of vs. It followeth that Iesus Christe saide vnto his Disciples, Arise, let vs goe, be­holde, hee is at hand, which betrayeth vs. Hée would not haue them to goe with him (as hath béene before said) but because hee would haue them sée, howe that hee spared not himselfe for them, nor yet for all mankinde, for hée offered himselfe to receiue all the blowes, to frée them: that this saying might bée accomplished, That hee had lost no whit of all that which his heauenly Father had giuen him, and committed vnto his charge and protection. Howbeit, hée sheweth héereby that hee went willingly to death according to that which wée haue this morning handeled, that the Sacrifice of obedience must answere the blotting out of all our re­bellions. For if our Lorde Iesus Christe had not willingly of­fered vp himself to appease the wrath of God his Father, his death and passion had serued vs to no purpose: But hée came to this point, and declared howe hee had taken vpon him our nature, be­cause hée would accomplishe our redemption, and when he was in the principall action, hée meant not to giue ouer his office. For it is saide in the Story, That Iudas had giuen them a token, that whomsoeuer hee kissed, the same was Iesus, and should lay handes on him, and when hee was come neere him, he kissed him, and said vnto him, All Haile, or God saue thee Maister. Nowe let vs note, that this was the manner of saluting, As wée see, that in some Countries they imbrace one another, and other some shake handes. And the maner of the Iewes was altogether to kisse one another, as wée sée by the holy Scripture. Moreouer, a man would thinke it very strange, that Iudas being gone form the cō ­pany of Iesus Christ but a while before, to wit, euen the selfesame night before, returned and kissed him, as if hée had come from some farre iourney. But he vsed this maner of curtesie because hée came lyke a man halfe afraide. And marke, why it is [Page] said in the other Gospel, That he said, Maister, God saue thée, or all haile Maister, hée séemed at that time to be very angrie, that his Maister was thus dealt with: and when he saw such a compa­ny come to take him, hée drew néere and kissed Iesus Christe, as who shoulde say, O my good Maister, They séeke for thée, see howe thine enimies compasse thée, séeking to take away thy life, and to cut thée of, from amongst men if they once lay hold on the. Nowe this seemed to bée a signe of great compassion in Iudas. But it is said soone after that Iesus Christe rebuked him, saying, Friende, Wherefore art thou come? Which is asmuch as if he had saide, Thou wicked man which hast sitte at my Table with mée, and wast as one of my owne body, when wee were vnited together as the children of God (for as I was your head, euen so did I ac­knowledge you to bée as my members) and nowe thou commest be betray mée, yea euen with a kisse. And héerevpon wee haue to note, that the Sonne of God must néedes bee marked, that the Scripture might bée the better thought of and beléeued, and wée might knowe, that GOD had chosen him to bée our redéemer. For all this was prefigured in the person of Dauid, who was as it were a Mirrour and image of the Sonne of God. And againe, hee saieth they were no strangers that shewed them­selues his open enimies:Psal. 41.9. But it was (saieth hee (euen my fa­myliar friende whome I trusted, who eate of my bread, that trayterously lifted vp the heele against mee, it is hee euen hee, that hath circumuented mee, and falsly betrayed mée. Yea, euen the very selfe same man (as it is saide in another place) which accompanied mee to goe into the house of the Lorde toge­ther.Psal. 55.14. As if hee he shoulde haue saide, it was not onely a fami­liar and gentle kinde of friendship, as shoulde bee betweene men that liue in common one with another: But also an holy bro­therhoode consecrated vnto the name of the Lorde. And thus wee see what the meaning of the holy Ghoste is to shewe vs, that is, that nothing came to passe vnto the Sonne of GOD, which was not both spoken of and figured before, to the end we might be so much the more confirmed, that is hee whom GOD had alwayes established, since hee carried with him such, and so infallible markes.

Moreouer wée sée in the person of Iudas, that the Church of God shall continually be subiect to much treason. True it is, that it is verie much to haue Satan and all his furniture against vs, and all that which wée haue before spoken of, and besides, to haue them also our enemies who openly fight against God, and séeke altoge­ther the ouerthrow of his Church. This, I tell you, is verie much that wée haue to deale against suche enemies: But yet it pleaseth the Lord to proue our patience herein, that is, that there should bee alwayes amiddest vs home enemies, who should be full of treason and disloialtie. And although this be an horrible pestilence, yet shal the Church neuer be without it, nor cleane rid thereof. In déed wée ought to looke well vnto it, and kéepe vs from it, and it is the du­tie of euerie man as much as lyeth in him, to roote and blot out this filthy infection: and yet when we haue all done, God will haue a number of Iudasses continually to be in it. For since, it was figu­red in Dauid, and perfourmed in our Lord Iesus Christ, it is méet that wée should be made like vnto him (according to that saying of Saint Paule) for he beare as it were the ensignes,Rom. 8.29. and badges of the house of God, being the first born of all the faithful. And therfore our estate ought to be like vnto his. But we may here sée, that this is spoken of a troubled cōscience, when as God sendeth a troubled, frantike, or blockishe minde, whereof he oftentimes speaketh by his Prophetes. Wherefore, let vs here looke vpon Iudas, who sheweth the rewarde of those which wittingly fight against God, that they must néedes become so desperate, as that there is in them neyther sense nor reason: and yet notwithstanding, altogether goe about hypocritically to hide it, vntill such time as God spyte of their téethes draweth, and bringeth them vnto their last con­demnation. It shoulde séeme at the first sight, that these two thinges shoulde bée contrarie the one to the other, that a man shoulde runne his head against God, lyke a wylde Bull, and so forget him as to doe nothing else but spit at the Sonne, and be an­grie with nature, and yet notwithstanding goeth about to hyde him selfe with subtlenes, and thinketh to haue gotten something through his hypocrisie. It may be saide, that these two thinges agrée not verie well together: But we sée them agrée well enough in Iudas For he had founde by good proofe the heauenly power of our Lorde Iesus Christ: & for his owne part, had both séene, and [Page] done a number of myracles in his name. And although he knewe, the Sonne of God, to be Lord both of life and death, yet betrayeth hée him, and biddeth them wisely to kéepe him, for otherwise (saith hée) hée will soone be gone and escape from you. We sée héere then that Iudas, was altogether without sence and reason, and as it were like a frantike or madde man: and yet by his kisse, and faire wordes, in saying, Alas good Maister, hée thought by these shiftes honestly to discharge him selfe. But sée howe Satan bleareth their eyes whom hée holdeth within his nettes.

Let vs therefore learne in the first place to humble our selues, to the ende none of vs spurne against this so hard a stone: to wit, that we make not warre against our Lorde Iesus Christ. And therefore let vs beware howe wée lift vp our selues in so deuilishe a rage, as to fight against the trueth, and so skirmishe agaynst our consciences, as wittingly to prouoke the wrath of God against vs, as if wée woulde stande at defiaunce with him. Let vs, I say, take héde of this thing: and in the meane while, let vs not so flatter our selues in our hypocrisie, and fonde deuises, least in the ende wée deceiue and beguile our selues. For wee sée howe it fell out with Iudas (as the storie telleth vs) he néeded no iudge to condemne him, nor yet to bée enforced to vnsay that hée had saide: But hée confessed that hée had solde and betrayed innocent blood. And yet craued hée not pardon for his misdéed: but went, and desperately hung him selfe, and therewithall his bowelles burst out.

Acts. 18.Let vs therefore be well aduised how wée suffer Satan to haue any such entraunce into vs, least hée cleane put out our eyes, when as wée shall lye sléeping in our sinnes: and thinke by such meanes to escape the hande of God:Psal. 2.12. and let vs put farre from vs this hy­pocrisie. And besides, let vs knowe, that wée are commaunded to kisse the Sonne of God: But to this ende, to reuerence him as our King, and as the souereigne Lorde ouer all creatures. For this saying, to kisse, importeth nothing else, but a reuerence, and solemne protestation that wée are his: as hée sayeth: yée call mée Maister, and therein you doe well. But let vs, when we come vnto him, bée well aduised, not to call him Maister at the tongues ende, and in the meane while are no better then his enemies: and make an hypocriticall kinde of reuerence,Iohn. 13.13. and kicke against him [Page 34] with the héele: That is to say, Let vs not become like Rebelles, and disloyall Roges, but shewe our selues to haue sought none o­ther meanes then to kéepe vs within his Church, to the ende wée might serue our God. Let vs then take héede vnto all this. Moreo­uer, although the wordes of our Lord Iesus Christ, did not at the first, shewe their effect in Iudas, yet in the ende, by the vertue of the same wordes, yet it fell out that hée hung him selfe,Ioh. 18.6. without looking for any other condemnation. And in verie déede S. Iohn telleth vs how our Lord Iesus Christ hath thundred, although hée vseth but few wordes, against them who came to séeke him, say­ing, I am hee. Beholde, what a bande Pylate the Gouernour of the countrie sent: and what a number of people the Priestes had gotten together, and sent them out furnished with Clubs, swords, and staues: and Iesus Christ is him selfe alone:Isaiah. 53.7. and (as Isaiah sayeth of him) lyke a Lambe brought to the shambles. And what were the wordes hee spake: forsooth euen this, I am hee. And by and by they all went backe, and fell foorthwith to the grounde. Wherevpon came this falling? Herein we sée, that although our Lord Iesus Christ humbled him self for a time, yea and was made of no reputation, yet kept he with him, when he thought good, his heauenly power, that he might throw downe headlong all his ene­mies, whensoeuer it pleased him. Let vs nowe compare our time, with the time that was then. It fell out, that Iesus Christ was ti­ed and fast nayled (as hereafter we shall see) and must cease to bee Lord ouer his enemies: For Satan had let goe the raynes to push them on into all furie and crueltie.Luke. 22.53. And this is it wherof S. Luke speaketh. This is the power of darknesse. But how euer it was, in thus saying, I am he, it so fell out that the enemies were confoun­ded and ashamed. What will he then doe, when he commeth in Maiestie with all his Angels? When he shall make a footestoole of all those that haue resisted him? When he commeth with a terri­ble countenance, & incomprehensible wrath? According to the say­ing of Paul to the Thessalonians.Thess. 2. [...]. How then shall the wicked and contemners of the Maiestie of God, & of the word of our lord Iesus Christ stand before his face, when as he so ouerthrew his enemies, euen then when hée was readie to suffer, and vse none other de­fence then the same, which God his Father vsed: for as he saide, hée could haue called to haue had a million of Angelles to bée sent [Page] him, but he would not, and yet his meaning was to shew, that hée could, if it pleased him, euen with the breath of his mouth ouer­throw whatsoeuer stood against him. By this we haue to learne, to feare the wordes of our Lord Iesus Christ: and although he is not here conuersant amongst vs, after a visible sort, neuertheles, since the Gospel is preached by his authoritie, & that he saith, he that hea­reth you,Luk. 8.16. heareth mée: Let vs learne most reuerently to receiue whatsoeuer is preached in his name, & submit our selues thereto: and we shal finde yt this saying which thus made the souldiers, and those that were sent against him, too fall, must be our onely foun­dation, & stay. For what is all our ioy & comfort without the sonne of God, appeareth vnto vs, & that we sée him nigh vs, & sheweth vs what a one he is, & wherefore it was that God his Father sent him vnto vs? And so, let vs vnderstand, by this saying, I am hee, That when it shal please our Lorde Iesus Christ to manifest him selfe, as he doth to all his faithful, that he therin declareth vnto vs, why he calleth vs vnto him selfe, why he is come downe vnto vs, & why he dwelleth in vs, by the power of his holie spirite, and thus we sée wherein all our felicitie and quietnesse resteth. But if we will be­come rebellious, and contemne the worde of God, as a number of prophane men doe, wheron we ought to build our saluation let vs be assured that it will be a lightening to throw vs all downe head­long into the pit of hell. And so let vs feare, and although our Lord Iesus Christ openeth vnto vs the gate, and saieth after an other manner, beholde mée, which hée hath not done to those who were his professed enemies, let vs come vnto him. Moreouer, let vs also learne, so patiently to beare the treasons which wée sée to bée at this day in the Church, as that we yet abhorre and detest them, and so shewe our selues truely and in déede to cleaue fast vnto the Sonne of God, because he is our head: and since we haue his truth, let vs liue so together one with an other, as that we may be vni­ted together in true & brotherly cōcord. And this is it that wée are to remember. But howe euer it be, let vs learne this principall point for our instruction, which we must gather out of this Text, to wit, That the Sonne of God became fully and wholy obedient, that he might repaire our transgressions. It is verie true (as I haue alreadie saide) that all the members of God must be ruled after his example: and it is great reason, since hee who is Lorde [Page 35] and maister ouer all, so humbled him self, that we should be readie both in life and death to obey our God: But yet let vs vnderstand, yt this is an especiall obedience which our Lord Iesus Christ shew­ed in this behalfe, to wit, by reason of the fruit & effect which came thereby. The Apostle tooke the death of our Lord Iesus Christ for an example, verie wel, for it strengthened them when as they were to abide the combat for the testimony of the Gospel: then slept they not: for we sée their watchfulnesse, and readinesse in the following of their calling: neither feared they the torments of death, but of­fered them selues when God called them thereto for the glorifying of his name, and the confessing of our Lord Iesus Christ: But they chiefly stood vpon this, that all our spottes are washed and clean­sed by the sheading of the blood of our Redéemer, that he fully sa­tisfied God his father for all our debtes for which we were bound, and hath obteined for vs perfect righteousnesse. And therefore wée must vnderstand the difference that is betwéene the head and the members: & learne, that by nature we are wholy giuen to doe euil, and although God hath partly regenerated vs, yet doeth our fleshe stil resist against his maiestie notwithstanding through the power & vertue of ye obediēce which we sée to be in our Lord Iesus Christ, let vs not leaue of to do those things which may please our God ac­cording to his heartes desire. And although we cannot doe the good we would, but do the euill we would not, and oftentimes slip, or els are too too slack, let vs looke vnto that which the Sonne of God hath suffered for the amending of all our offences. and behold that he hath so combatted, as that he was not against it, when as our sinnes & offences were layd vnto him, as this morning hath more at large béen spoken. Seeing then that our Lord Iesus Christ, hath fully & wholy made satisfactiō, & that although we at this day haue done our best to obey God, & cannot come to yt perfection we ought, but continually traile our legges after vs, & haue many thinges in vs which may be amēded, yet let vs know yt we shal not but please God, & our imperfections be continually abolished through the o­bedience of our Lord Iesus Christ, so yt they shal neuer come in ac­count against vs before his maiestie. And besides, let euerie one ac­cording to the measure of the faith, & grace which he hath receiued, striue to fight, vntil the time we attaine vnto the heauenly rest. And although we sée our weaknes to be so great, & conuinced that wée [Page] are not able once to thinke a good thought, and being cast downe, not able to rise againe, except God reach vs his hand, and strength­neth vs euerie minute, Let vs beséeche him to augment in vs the graces of his holie spirite, as he hath promised vs, and hath set Ie­sus Christ before vs to be our head and Captaine, to the ende wée might get that victorie which hee hath obteined for vs, the fruite whereof we alreadie féele, and then shall perfectly and throughly féele.

Let vs nowe fall downe before the Maiestie of our good God, in such acknowledgement of our offences, as that it may rightly humble vs before him, and bring vs to true repentance: and more and more labour to make voide whatsoeuer is against his righte­ousnesse. And because we cannot be without conflicts and enemies, that it would please him to powre vpon his, the succour which hée hath promised: and make vs so to féele it, as that we may resist vn­to the end, all temptations: and learne also to thanke him for all our victories, without attributing any of them vnto our selues, to the end we prouoke not his wrath through arrogancy, but besée­ching him to continue his graces continually in vs, and prosecute more and more the thing which he hath done and begunne in vs. That hée will not onely bestowe this grace, &c.

The third Sermon of the Passion.

Matthew xxvi.

51 ANd behold, one of them which were with Iesus, stret­ched out his hand, and drew his swoord, and strooke a seruant of the high Priest, and smote of his eare.

52 Then Iesus said vnto him, put vp thy sword into his place, for all that take the sword, shal perish with the sword.

53 Either thinkest thou, that I cannot pray to my Father, and he wil giue me moe then twelue legions of Angels?

54 How then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say, that it must be so?

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55 The same houre saide Iesus to the multitude, yee be come out as it were against a theefe, with swordes & staues to take mee: I sate dayly preaching in the Temple a­mong you, and ye tooke mee not.

56 But all this was done, that the Scriptures of the Prophets might be fulfilled, Thē all the Disciples forsooke him and fled.

57 And they tooke Iesus, and ledde him to Caiphas the high Prieste, where the Scribes and the Elders were assem­bled.

58 And Peter followed him a farre of vnto the high Priestes hall, and went in, and sate with the seruants to see the ende.

59 Now the chiefe Priestes and the Elders, and all the whole Councell sought false witnesse against Iesus, to put him to death.

60 But they founde none, and though many false witnesses came, yet found they none: but at the last came two false witnesses.

61 And said, This man said, I can destroy the Temple of God, and build it in three dayes.

62 Then the chiefe Priest arose, and saide to him, answerest thou nothing? What is the matter, that these men wit­nesse against thee?

63 [...]ut Iesus held his peace, Then the chiefe Priest answered, and said to him, I charge thee by the liuing God, that thou tell vs, if thou be the Christ, the Sonne of God.

64 Iesus said to him, thou hast saide it: Neuerthelesse, I say vnto you, hereafter shal yee see the sonne of man, sit­ting at the right hand of the power of God, & come in the cloudes of the heauen.

65 Then the high Priest rent his cloathes, saying, Hee hath blasphemed: What haue we any more neede of wit­nesses? Behold, now ye haue heard his blasphemy.

66 What thinke yee? They answered and said, hee is worthie to dye.

IF we would at the first sight, accor­ding to mans reason, iudge of the ta­king of our Lorde Iesus Christ, it would amaze vs to sée that hée neuer resisted. For a man would thinke it became not his maiestie to suffer such shame and rebuke, and not to withstand it any whit at all. On the other side, Peters zeale were great­ly to bee commended, because hée ad­uentured him selfe vnto death. For, he sée before his face the mul­titude of the enemies: and him selfe alone man: yet, by reason of the loue hée beare to his maister, hée drewe, and desired rather to dye foorthwith, then to suffer his maister to be so wronged. Wher­in we sée, that we must verie humbly and modestly acknowledge to what ende it was why the Sonne of God did, and suffered all these thinges, and also vnderstand, that whatsoeuer séemeth good in our eyes, to be starke staring naught: But wée are to beséeche God so to guide and gouerne vs, as that we none otherwise iudge, then accordingly as hée hath shewed vs in his worde. For behold, what an offence the Gospell is to a number of people: and what a number of scoffers there are of it, and all to their destruction: By reason of their arrogant, and rashe iudgement thereof. How­béeit, to the ende wée might not bée deceiued, wée must alwayes in the first place, returne to that which our Lorde Iesus Christ setteth downe vnto vs: which is, the will of God his father. And thus much for this point. And besides, wée are to consider of the ende thereof, which to vs, woulde séeme verie straunge. Where­fore when wée looke vnto these two considerations, wée shal then haue occasion to honour God, and acknowledge that whatsoeuer wée thinke to bée foolishe; the verie Angelles account it to be great wisedome. And for the better vnderstanding hereof, let vs looke vnto that which is here recyted of Peter. For thus it is said, That when hee had drawne his Swoorde, hee cut off Malchus eare, a seruaunt of Caiphas. Héere, wée sée, howe foole har­die wée are, when we follow our own opinion: & are so blinded, as yt we care not what we do: But when we should obey God, we are [Page 37] so slacke as is lamentable: & in such sort forget our selues, as that the least thing in the worlde maketh vs to chaunge our copie. And thus we sée we shal haue alwaies an hundreth times more mynde to follow our fond imaginations, then to doe the thing which God cōmandeth vs, & which our calling beareth vs in. We see this ouer much in the example of Peter. For as after shalbe shewed, whē he was to cōfesse our Lord Iesus Christ, hee sweare to his owne de­structiō: & yet was he cōtēted to aduēture his life, whē as he had no such cōmandement. Nowe, what was the cause that made him to drawe? Surely he did it as it were in a furie: For his Maister taught him not to doe any such thing. And whē he forsooke his mai­ster, knew he not before this saying, Whosoeuer shall deny me be­fore men, I will denie him before my father which is in heauen?Mat. 10.33. But he was (as I haue before said) cockbrayned: & this fond desire which he had to defend our Lord Iesus after his maner, caried him away. Let vs therefore after his example, learne to endeuour our selues to walke whither soeuer God calleth vs, and not to thinke it any hard matter to do which he cōmandeth: neither let vs attempt any thing, no not so much as the wagging of our litle finger, except God allow of it, and that we haue a testimonie that he guideth vs. And thus much for this point, And in very déede, our Lorde Iesus sheweth him that he hath grieuously offended, because he was not ignoraunt of this poynt of the lawe, which sayeth, that whosoeuer sheddeth mans blood, his blood shall be shed agayne.

And therefore Sainte Peter was to haue kepte this lesson in mind, That God would not haue anie force nor violēce vsed.Gen. 9.6. And (that which is more) in what Schoole was hee brought vp by the space of thrée yéeres? And besides, did not our Lorde Iesus put him in mind, as much as was possible, to behaue himselfe gently & gra­ciously? From whence then should he fetch any allowance of this his rashe dealing. Wherefore wée haue so much the rather to obserue that which wée haue already spoken: to wit, that if wée fetche our zeale from men, & bée flattered, & well like off, yet will GOD condemne vs, if wée transgresse his commaunde­ment neuer so little. And therefore wée shal neuer bée saide to bée prayse worthy, except we walke as God teacheth vs by his word. For so soone as we passe this measure, all our vertues stinke and become abhominable. Loe then what becommeth of all our deuo­tions: [Page] For when soeuer we shall haue trauailed neuer so much to do the thing which seemeth good in our owne braines, God wyll vtterly condemne it, without it be squared by his word: For he al­loweth not nor accompteth any thing to be lawful in truth, but his very word. But as for the history which we are now in hād wt, the secōd reasō is much more to be cōsidered of. For, the matter which we haue already touched is general: but this saing properly belō ­geth vnto the death and passiō of our Lord Iesus Christ, when hée saieth, Thinkest thou that I cannot pray to my father, and he will giue me more then twelue legions of Angels. Now a legion, in those dayes was woont to be four or fiue thousand men. And ther­fore (saith hée) sée what an heauenly army I am able to haue, and yet am I contented to put all this quietlye vp, why then comest thou to take vpon thée héere more then God would haue thée to doo, or can abide thou shouldest doo.

Now it is very lawfull for vs to call vpon God, and to beséeche him to defend our lyfe: and as he accompteth it to be precious, e­uen so must we desyre him, that it would please him also to kéepe and preserue it. But our Lord Iesus telleth hym that hee woulde nor ought not now to doo it. And wherefore then woulde Peter vse violence, contrary to that order which God hath permitted and e­stablished by his worde. If a meane which of it selfe is lawfull, ought not to be practised: what shall become of that whiche God hath forbidden, and declared to be punishable?

We then héere sée (as I haue already said) that the sonne of God submitted him selfe to all rebuke and shame, and desired rather to be bound and fast manacled as a malefactor and a condemned per­son, then to be made a lyer by any myracle, and would haue god to stretch forth his arme to warrant him. And héereby wee may vn­derstande how greatly he estéemed of our saluation. Howbeit héere is one point which I haue already noted: to wit, that he sendeth vs back to the will & purpose of God his father. For wtout this also it shuld séeme strange, yt he would not craue ye aid which he right wel knew he might haue: & it should séeme he tempted God, whenas he would not pray for it. For, we are promised, yt the Angels shall be round about them which feare God: yea & shal beare them in their handes,Psal. 34.7. Psal. 91.11 yt they shal not hurt them selues against a stone, & no euill shal come to them in their waies: now when God promiseth vs a­ny [Page 38] thing, he would that the same should put vs in minde to praye vnto him for it. And therefore as often as we are in néede, our re­course must be vnto him, yt he might place his Angels to guide vs, euery one according to his roome and office. And this order we sée ye holy Patriarks & Fathers practised. For thus said Abraham, the Angel of the Lorde who neuer fayled mée,Gen. 24.7 shal be in thy way with thée, & make thy iourney prosperous. This order thē vsed the holy fathers. Wherefore then would our Lord Iesus Christ haue ye An­gels to help him?Luk. 22.43. For bicause (as S. Luke reciteth) he was there­vpon before comforted, and the Angels serued him, to the ende to mittigate the anguish wherein he was. Why, it should séeme then that he contemned the necessary ayde of God, no not so, but he res­pected that which afterwarde he saide, How shoulde the scriptures be fulfilled? &c. As if he should haue saide, that if we doubted of a­ny thing, we might and ought then to beséeche the Lorde to looke vpon vs with his eye of mercy and compassion, so make vs by all meanes possible to féele his power and vertue: But when we are resolued that of necessitie it must be so, and know the will of God to be such, then must we none otherwise beséech hym but to fortify vs with an inuincible and constant power, neuer to gaine say it, nor yet be carried away with our affections, but wholye goe with chearefull courage and countenaunce whether soeuer it pleaseth him to call vs. As for example, if our enimies persecute vs, and we know not how God hath determined to deale wt vs, nor what wyll be our ende, we are to beséeche him, yt as our life is deare vnto him, and hath taken it to kéepe, that he would also shew our dely­ueraunce by the effect. And when we are persuaded that God mea­neth to call vs vnto him selfe, we must leaue of all kinde of questi­ning, and fully resolue our selues to obey his maiesties vnchange­able decrée and ordenaunce. And thus we sée the meaninge of our Lord Iesus Christ. For he prayed all his lyfe long, yea & before he entred into ye mighty combat which he abode, he besought his hea­uenly Father, yt if it were possible, yt that cup might pas ouer him: But hee by & by concluded, yt since God his father had so ordeyned it, & say yt he must discharge that charge which was cōmitted vnto him which was to offer vp an euerlastīg sacrifice, to blot out y sins of the world: & when he sée him selfe to be called thereto, & yt it was a resolute conclusiō set down, ye same I say was ye very cause why [Page] he absteyned from praying to God for the contrary And therfore he would not that eyther Angels or yet men shoulde helpe him, nor yet to haue God his father cause him to féele his power for his deli­uerance from death: but it sufficed him that hee had this spirite of constancie, willingly to goe to doe his office. Loe héere the full con­tent and meaning hereof. We nowe sée in the first place, that the will of GOD must so stay and bridle vs, as that when wee thinke thinges to be farre vnlike and against al reason, to estéeme more of the ordinance of God, then of any thing that our fond and vayne brayne can comprehend. Wherefore we must throw our imagina­tiōs cleane vnder ye féet, whē we perceiue that God hath otherwise prouided. And this is one péece of the obediēce of our faith, whē we thinke God to be so wise, as that he hath power & authority to doe whatsoeuer pleaseth him. And although wee can make reasons to ye contrary, let vs wel vnderstand that they are but smoke & vanity, & yt God knoweth al things, & frō whō no secretes are hid, yea and his wil to be the rule of al wisedome and righteousnesse. And be­sides, whatsoeuer our mind saith to the contrary, it is by reason of our grosse vnderstanding, for we know that the wisedome of God is infinite, and scarcely haue wée thrée drammes of wit. It is there fore no maruell though men grow wilde and sauage, whē God ru­leth thē not as they would thēselues. And why so? Forsooth bicause we are very ydiots. And in very déede, so long as our wit and rea­son beare any rule, it is euen very beastly: Wherefore, because we cannot finde out the bottomlesse depth of Gods iudgementes, let vs learne to honour that which is kept secrete from vs: Let vs I say, humbly & reuerently honour it, and say that whatsoeuer God doth is iust and right, though we cannot perceiue how. And thus much for this, Nowe, séeing it was the will of God that his sonne should be put to death, let not vs be ashamed of that which hee suf­fered: nor yet think yt the wicked did beare ye sway, & that ye sonne of God could not haue found meanes to haue defēded himselfe: For all came frō ye wil, & vnchangeable decrée of God, which he had de­termined therin. And therfore we sée why our Lord Iesus saith in S. Luke.Luke. 22.53. This is now your very houre, & ye power of darknes. As if he shuld haue said, what? make no great boast of yt you haue done For ye diuel is your maister & ringleader: By wc he sheweth yt they did nothing but by ye leaue of God: And although ye diuel vrged thē thereto, [Page 39] yet neither they nor hee coulde haue brought any thing to passe, if God had not licēsed them. Thus we sée in sūme, that our eyes & all our senses must be fastened vpon the wil of God, and vpō his euer­lasting councel, when we heare the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ spoken of, For he declared that this was the will of God, because it is writtē. For if Iesus Christ had not had some te­stimony of ye thing which God his father had ordeined, he might as yet haue stood in doubt, but he knew what his office was. And God would not haue sent him downe here below, but that hée gaue him forthwith an expresse charge withal. It is very true, that inasmuch as our Lord Iesus is God eternal, that he néeded not to be taught of ye scripture: but inasmuch as he is our redéemer, & is clothed with our nature, yt he might be of right brotherhood, it was méet he shuld be taught the holy scripture, & we sée also that he at no time refused any such instruction. So thē, because God shewed him, wherunto he had called him, we sée wherupō he established himselfe: & we also sée why he behaued himselfe like a prisoner, & would not start away, because he knew that he must fulfil the charge cōmitted vnto him, which was, to offer himselfe a sacrifice for the redēptiō of vs al: And therefore we are to learne, that forsomuch as the will of God is se­crete, & incōprehēsible in himselfe, we must haue recourse vnto the holy scripture. True it is, that God determineth of things in his se­crete councel, which wee thinke to come by chaunce (as wee say) which is not shewed vnto vs: neither haue wee alwaies a speciall reuelatiō, that we are able to say, that God hath determined either this thing or that. And therfore must we suspēd our iudgemēts: for we sée why it is that we pray him to heale vs of our sicknes, or why we would haue him to deliuer vs from any other affliction where­into we are fallen. And why doe wée so? Because wee knowe not what he wil doe. In very déed, we must not appoint him a law, but that this conditiō must alwaies be adioyned, that his wil be done: But all our prayers ought to tende to this pointe, to craue at his handes whatsoeuer he knoweth to be necessary & profitable for vs, and to leaue vnto himselfe whatsoeuer is laid vp in his secret coun­cel, to the end hee might doe that which to his maiesty shall séeme best. But whē wee haue a testimony out of the holy scripture, that God willeth any thing, we must not (as I haue already said) stand against it. Now, we are here a great deale better confirmed as tou­ching [Page] the person of our Lorde Iesus Christ, that hee was not thus cruelly afflicted, & so shamefully & slanderously handled, onely as the vngodly & wicked men lusted, but because God had so decréed it. And how appeareth this by the holy scripture? For were not ye sacrifices in ye law ordeined two thousād yeres before Iesus Christ was borne? And had not God enspired & taught the auncient Fa­thers how to sacrifice, before the law was eyther giuen, or written. Or could the blood of bruite beastes obtaine remission for sinnes, and make men acceptable vnto God? No: But it was to shew, that God should be reconciled by a Redéemer whom he had established: and sithens that time he hath set downe an expresse mention and declaration by the scriptures.Isaiah. 53.2. We also sée howe the Prophets haue spoken thereof, and namely he alledgeth them. For, when Isaiah saieth, That the Redéemer should be disfigured, and disdayned, de­formed, and vnbeautifull like a Leaper, scourged and beaten by the hande of God, that he should be an horrible thing to beholde: to be short, that his life should be taken from him: in what power was this prophecied of? was it because God could not withstande Satan and all the rable of the wicked? No: But it was because he had pronounced by the mouth of Isaiah the thing which he had before appointed.Dan. 9.24. And in Daniell it is a great deale more expresly set downe. Séeing then it is so, that God hath declared that his onely Sonne must be sacrificed for our redemption and saluation, we are nowe much more confirmed in that which I haue alreadie spoken, which is, we must alwayes sée that it is the hand of God which gouerneth, when as we see the Sonne of God to be so sub­iected to the slaunders and reproches of mortall men. Wee see also why Saint Peter namely saieth in the Actes,Act. 4, 27. That Iudas, all the Iewes, yea, and all the souldiers, and Pylate also, had done none other thing, but that which the hande and Councell of God had determined: as hereafter shall more at large be handled. And here we sée wherevnto wée must looke, when we would not be troubled in our foolish imaginations, which is, that God hath sent downe here belowe his onely begotten Sonne, that he might accept his obedience through his death and passion, for the taking away of all our sinnes and iniquities. And this is the second point which I haue handled, to wit, the fruit & benefit which commeth to vs by the suffering of our Lorde Iesus. For if we knew not why it [Page 40] was, we should lose the tast of yt which is here recited vnto vs. But whē it is said yt he was bound & manacled for our deliuerance: and that we sée what the state & condition of our nature is, to wit, that Satan holdeth vs vnder the tyranny of sinne and death, that wée are very bondslaues, so that in stead that we were created after the image of God, there must néeds be found in vs nothing but corrup­tiō, and accursednesse, & must be led into this cursed captiuitie like miserable & wretched beastes. Now, when we know all this, and that we on the other side sée, that the Sonne of God refused not to be slaunderously bound, to the end that al the spiritual bonds of sin & death, wc kéepe vs boūd vnder ye bōdage of Satā, might be brokē in sunder, thē haue we wherefore to glorify God, & wt opē mouth to triumph in the death & passiō of our Lord Iesus Christ,Luke. 22.51. & in his ta­king, wherof mētion here is made. Thus we sée what we haue to remēber in this place: & héervpō ye euāgelist saith, yt our Lord Iesus healed the seruaunt whom Peter hurte, not because he was woor­thy to be healed, but for the saluing of the offence that was geuen. For this had béen a defaming of the doctrine of the Gospel, and of the redemption of our Lorde Iesus Christ, (I call that the redemp­tion of our Lorde Iesus Christ which hee purchased for vs) if this hurt had not béen healed: so that it might haue béene sayde that hée had withstood the Gouernour of the Countrey, and all the Priests, and that he kept in that place, as it were a standing, for théeues & robbers. And this was to haue darkened all the glory of the sonne of God, and to haue made the Gospel for euer to haue béene slande­red. We sée also that this zeale of Peters was diuelishe: For the Diuell went about to make Iesus Christe and all his doctrine to be infamous. And héere we sée to what end all our painted deuotiō tendeth, whē we wil serue God as pleaseth our selues, & euery mā take leaue to doe whatsoeuer he thinketh best in his owne eyes.

Wherfore, Iesus Christ ment to take away this offence, to the end hée would not haue his doctrine to bée slaundered. Howbéeit wée may héere sée the abhominable vnthankfulnesse of such as are not mooued by suche a myracle. For behold, the Souldiers who came to manacle our Lorde Iesus Christ, sée what a number of wayes the power of the Spirite of GOD wrought in him: For, but a little before, he had with a woord of his mouth, made them turne backe: and by and by, hée healeth a man who hadd his eare cutte of: and yet all this did them no good. Wée see then, [Page] that when the Deuil hath once bewitched vs, and bleared our eyes, that neyther the graces of GOD, nor yet all his power, can touch vs, but that we will followe, and goe on in our furie and rage: and haue as it were euen a swines snowte to roote in euerie thing: and let God say and doe what he please, yet will we, conti­nually remayne obstinate, which is an horrible thing. And there­fore we are to beséeche the Lorde to graunt vs wisedome that wée may profite by his graces, and be brought to loue him, and that we may be also touched when he lifteth vp his hand to shew vs, that he is our iudge, so that we be not afeard to return vnto him in true re­pentance. And this is in effect the thing that we are to learne here­by. But howe euer it was, our Lorde Iesus Christ stopped the mouthes of the vngodly when as hee had healed Cayphas seruant. Herevpon it is saide, that Iesus was led to Cayphas house, and was there examined to the ende. Iohn. 18.13. Nowe, for the making shorte of the matter, wée wil not speake of that which Saint Iohn writeth of Annas, who was Cayphas father in lawe: and it may bée that Iesus Christ was led thither for honours sake, or els because the way so serued, hoping that all were there assembled. Well, Iesus was ledde to Cayphas house, and there examined. And it is name­ly sayde, That the high Priestes sought false witnesse against him, but they founde none. And in the ende, That there came twoo false witnesses, and sayd, That he saide, he woulde buylde vp the temple agayne in thrée dayes, héere wée say that our Lorde Iesus was charged: not that the high priests were moued with any zeale: as many times they which persecute innocentes, thinke they doe God high seruice, for in very déede wée see, how Saint Paule was driuen with such a fury,1. Tim. 1.13. as that hée was like vnto a théefe (for so he calleth himselfe) who wasted and spoyled euery where: and yet thought himself to be a very zealous man. But it fared not so with Cayphas and his company. For what was it that they sought, but onely vniustly to ouerthrowe Iesus Christ? And thus wée see that it was very ambytion that draue them, manifestly to stande agaynst God, which is a most horrible thing. For Cayphas and all his company were the children of Leui, euen an holy Tribe which GOD himselfe had chosen? and not menne, for God had so appoynted yt by his Lawe. In very déede there was a villanous and horrible corruption amongest them, because the [Page 41] priesthood was bought at those dayes, and whereas it should haue béene an office for tearme of life (as God had ordayned it) euerye one circumuented his fellow, and whosoeuer brought the greatest summe of mony, carried away this dignitie. Now, this was a vil­lanous and detestable corruption, that they woulde make them selues lyke vnto théeues and vnlawfull dealers in so holy and ho­norable an estate, neuer the lesse, the Priest alwayes continued in the tribe of Leui, which God had consecrated to doe him seruice. And yet we sée that they became all the enemies of God, Satan had made them all drunke, yea they were all starke madd against the redéemer of the world, who was the ende of the law.

Let vs therefore héereuppon note, that they whiche are in dignitie and in high degrée, will not at all times so faithfully doo their duties, but that they had néede beware of themselues, euen as of those which might become the enemies of God. And héerein wee may sée the ouer grosse folly of the Papistes, when they rest vpon this title and dignitie of priesthood. For, put the case that God had commaunded there should be a Pope (which neuer was commaunded) and that his seat should be at Rome (which is yet a lesse matter) howbeit if all this were true, yet wée sée that in the person of Cayphas and his like, as many as haue bene aduaunced to honor, may abuse their power and authoritie. And therfore let not vs be so foolish as to occupie our heades about maskes: neither yet let God lose his authoritie, when soeuer any honorable title is geuen vs: as we sée the Papists doo, when as they forsake all the holy scripture & reuerence their idoles. Let vs learne then not to lessen the glory of God, vnder ye coulor of any worldly dignity, but let him haue all his soueraigne dominion.Psal. 118.22. And thus much for this point. And as for any offence which we may conceiue in our owne fantasies, let vs marke that which is saide in the Psalme (as also our Lord Iesus Christ hath before alleaged) That hée is the cor­ner stone which the builders forsooke.Mat. 21.42. And who were they that were the builders of the house and Church of God? forsooth the Priests: for it is they that should indéede discharge them selues of that office: & yet they forsooke the head corner stone which god had laid. And although this stone was refused, yet was it laide in the chiefe place of the building: that is to say, God left not to accom­plish that which he had ordayned by his councell, when he raised [Page] vp his onely sonne, and had aduanced him agreat deale more, then hee was before abased:Phil. 2.10. For euery knée must bow to hym. Now, when it is sayde that the Priestes went about to séeke false wit­nesses against him, they dyd it not simply to forge or feinge a falt against hym, but that they might haue some coulor and cloke to vexe and greeue our Lord Iesus. And this is verye true, that hee spake these wordes, destroye you this Temple, and within thrée dayes I wyll build it vp agayne. And héere wee sée the wordes of our Lord Iesus Christ as they procéeded out of his mouth.Ioh. 2.19. Now, the witnesses which were brought in rehearce the very selfe same words, wherfore, a man would say that these were good and faith­ful witnesses: & yet the holy ghost calleth them false witnesses, be­cause they turned this saying wickedly: For our Lord Iesus spake of his body, which was the true temple of his diuine maiestie. For the materiall Temple which was builte in Ierusalem was but a figure, & shadow therof, as we know: But the whole fulnesse of the Godhead had his being in our Lorde Iesus, as S. Paul wit­nesseth, yea corporally and substantially. And therefore héere is to be noted,Col. 2.9. that we must not simply looke into the words of a testi­monye, but to the meaning of the speaker. Now, this is a verye good and profytable instruction for vs, because wée are so greatly giuen to wickednesse and leasing, that if wee haue any coulor, it is inough, and doo thinke that God hath pardoned vs, when wee haue by any such false meanes charged any man. And therfore, we must not stay simply vpō words, neither yet vpon the maner & fa­shion of thē but looke to the worthines of the cause. For they which may at al times defend & say yt they haue deposed nothing but that which was said or done, are yet takē before god for fals witnesses, as here we sée: wherupō it is said, yt Cayphas said vnto Iesus christ What is the matter? answerest thou nothing? seest thou not that these men witnes against thee? And yet Iesus Christ al this while, held his peace, & put vp al these reuiling and slaunderous words. Now, it may bee thought a strange thing ye Iesus Christ who had very iust occasion to disproue such a false testimony, did not once gaine say it: howbeit) as I haue before said, and as héereafter shall more at large appeare) Iesus christ was not thē to defend his doc­trine as before he had done. And therfore we are wisely to distin­guish of al ye circumstaūces: for, after Iesus christ had fasted in the wildernes, god his father sent him to puplish ye doctrin of ye gospel. [Page 42] Now wée sée that all that time, he alwaies mightily defended the doctrine whereof he was a minister: and wée see also how hée set himfelfe against whatsoeuer might bée said to the contrary. And thus wée sée how hée discharged his duetie, because he was appoin­ted and sent to bée a Minister of the worde. But héere is one spe­cial regard to bée had: and that is this, that hee must bée the redée­mer of the worlde, and be condemned not because hée preached the Gospell, but that hée shoulde bée throwne downe into the bottom­lesse depth, & suffer for our cause, by reasō he beare as it were in his owne person all the curses and transgressions of those who deser­ued euerlasting death. Wherefore, because Iesus Christ tooke vp­on him this office, to beare the burden of all such as haue deadly offended the Maiestie of God, that was the reason why hée helde his peace. And so, let vs note, that when it was méete for Iesus Christ to defend the doctrine of the Gospel, and that it so stood with his office & calling, he faithfully discharged the same. But when in holding his peace he plaied the part of a redéemer, as though hee was contented willingly to be condēned, it was not for his owne cause yt he held his peace, but (as I haue alredy said) for our sakes. True it is yt he spake (as we shal ofttimes sée) but it was not in his owne defence, which did but so much the more kindle the rage and fury of the vngodly against himselfe. And thus wée see, that it was not his meaning to escape death, but was contented, willing­ly to be ouerthrowne, to the end he might declare that he had quite forgotten himselfe, to discharge vs before God his father. Now hée neither respected himselfe, his owne life, nor yet his honor: For he cared not to abide all the shame and slaunder of the world, so that our sinnes might bée taken away, and we pardoned of our cōdem­nation. And héereupon it is said, That the high Priest charged him by the liuing God, to tell him, whether he were Christ, the blessed sonne of God, hée answered, That it was so: But that they should sée his Maiestie, when it woulde bée too late for them, because such their dealing shoulde bée their destruction and ouerthrowe. Nowe our Lorde Iesus Christe spake not this héere, to make the high Priest and his company to yéelde gently, but rather to pricke him faster on: and as he was before full of malice & crueltie, this was to make the fier to burst out into a greater flambe, Howbeit wée haue saide, that Iesus Christe respected not himselfe, but rather [Page] discharged that office wherof he had taken the charge, which was, to be the redéemer of the world. Moreouer, we sée heere in the first place, that the contemners of God, and such as Satan hath altoge­ther possessed, wyll vse some coulored kind of religion: For a man would think, that the hye Priest dyd his dutie in charging Iesus Christ by the name of the liuing God. But sée into what a mis­chiefe we are plunged, when Satan hath once blindfoulded our eyes: for he then throweth vs headlong into such shamlesnesse, as that we haue no more reuerence vnto God, then we are ashamed before men. Now, this answere of our Lord Iesus, giueth vs to note, that he meant to declare to Cayphas, and the rest, that al­though he were for a time, as a man would say, abased, yet would not yt lessen his maiestie, but that he should be alwaies taken to be ye only son of God. But yet there is one thing farther to be conside­red of: which is, for our better confirmation, that although he was thus abased for our saluation, he lost no part of his heauenly ma­iestie, but was contented that men should oppresse him, to the end we might be fully certified, that we should be founde honourable before God, because that all the shames which we haue deserued, should be abolished. And therefore, because our Lord Iesus helde his peace, and defended not his good cause, let our mouthes now be opened to call vpon God, as if we were iust: for he is our aduocat which speaketh for vs: now then, because our Lord Iesus held his peace, he dyd it to this ende that he might now fréely make inter­cession for vs vnto God his father: and although we are but mise­rable wormes, yet haue we accesse to God, to call famyliarly vpō him & wc open mouth to chalenge him for our father. And this is it which he ment to shew vs, saying, Heereafter shall you see the son of man, sitting at the right hand of the power of God. We must therfore let slip all regard which might bring with it any offence, when as we sée our Lorde Iesus to be thus abased. And let vs al­so sée what the ende of it was: His meaning then was to bee con­demned without resistaunce before the iudgment seat of God, that we might frankly go thither without feare. Let vs therefore in summe learne, that as often as we heare the passion of the history recited vnto vs, so to sigh and grone, since the sonne of God must néedes so wonderfully suffer for vs, as that in the meane while we tremble at his maiestie, vntill such time as he appeareth vnto [Page 43] vs: and be so fully resolued, that when soeuer he shal come, it shal make vs effectually to féele the frute which he hath purchased vnto vs by his death and passion. And besids, let vs feare to be of ye num­ber of such as he thus threatneth, saying, Heereafter shall you see: For it is méete that the wicked and reprobate should féele how terrible the iudgement seat of God is, and how great his power is to throw them headlong into hell, when as he setteth him selfe a­gainst them.

And when Saint Paul also wil speake of the condemnatiō which the wicked & cursed of God shal abide, he saith yt they shal tremble & feare at the countenaunce of his infinite maiestie. Since thē it is so, let vs learne to humble our selues before our Lord Iesus,2. Thes. 1.9. let vs not looke to beholde with the eye the maiestie which he wyll shew at his last comming, but let vs looke vpon him at this day as our King and as he is head of the Angelles and of all creatures, and re­ceiue him as our souereigne Prince: giuing vnto him that honour which to him belongeth, knowing, that since he is made our wis­dome, redemption, rightuousnesse, and holinesse in God his father, that to him wee must giue all praise,1. Cor. 30. and be filled with the fulnesse which we must draw out of him. And therfore let vs be well adui­sed to doo this honour vnto our Lord Iesus Christ, although we sée not at this day his iudgment seat set vp: but let vs beholde it with the eyes of faith, and beséeche God to inlightē vs with his holy spi­rite, that we may be strengthened to call vpon him in the last ho­ur, so that it may carye vs beyonde all our wittes and vnderstan­dings, that we might so glorifie our Lorde Iesus Christ at this day as he deserueth. And this is the effect which we are to kéepe in minde. But as concerning that which is sayde, yt Cayphas and the Priestes condemned him to death, let vs learne, not to feare the obstinate bouldnesse of the vngodlye, and enemies of the trueth. Now, this is a very necessary doctrine for vs at this day: for wee sée the mightie men of this world, with open mouth speake euill of the Gospell: yea we sée some euen amidst vs which professe the Gospel, and would be taken for people reformed, and from whom, as it should séeme, there commeth nothing els out of their mouths but the Gospell, who notwithstanding lyke Deuilles incarnate, or rather lyke wylde and cruell beastes whom Satan possesseth, do condemne the doctrine of the Gospell. And we néede not go ve­rie [Page] far to sée al these things. Wherfore that we might be strength­ned against such offences, and learne, alwaies to glorifie our God: Let Cayphas and such lyke vomit out their blasphemies as much as they lust, and say that Iesus Christ is worthy of death, & must hold his peace at such a poynt, because it is naught. And let them also infect the ayre with their villanous and damnable blasphe­mies neuer so much: yet let vs hold vs to this saying of our Lord Iesus Christ: that although we at this day so falsely condemne his trueth, and stand in doubt of it, and that it be also falsified, euill spoken of, and turned cleane contrary to the meaning thereof, yet is he, strong and mightie inough to defende it, and let vs paciently looke for his apparaunce, for our redemption. And in the meane while, let vs al learne to humble our selues, & giue hym all the glory, since it was his wyll so to abase him selfe, and to make him selfe of no reputation in the world for our saluation.

Let vs now fall downe before the maiestie of our good God and acknowledge our offences, beséeching him to cause vs more & more so to féele them, as that wee may bee brought with true con­fession, to séeke for the grace of our Lord Iesus Christ, as behoueth vs to doo, & come vnto hym lyke famished & hungry soules, & make accompt, that the benefits which he hath purchased for vs, are not to be valued, to the end to make vs féele our selues to bee so much the more bound vnto him, that we might thereby be stirred vp to giue our selues wholy to worship him, and be displeased with our sins & iniquities, vntil such time as we be euen ashamed of them and that God hath mercy & compassion vpon vs, and not suffer vs when we are once come vnto hym, neuer to forsake hym, but to be more and more confirmed towardes him, and not to care for what soeuer offences the Deuil shal lay before vs: and that we might in such sort perseuer vnto the ende in the confession of his Gospell, as that our Lorde Iesus Christ might acknowledge and al­low vs at the latter day for his Schollers. Now, that it would not onely please hym to be­stow vpon vs this grace. &c.

The fourth Sermon of the passion.

Matthew Cap. xxvi.

67 Then spatte they in his face, and buffeted him, and other smot him with their roddes.

68 Saying, prophesie vnto vs O Christ, who is he that smote thee.

69 Peter sate without in the hall: and a Mayde came vnto hym, sayinge, thou also waste with Iesus of Galy­le.

70 But hee denied before them all, sayinge, I woat not what thou sayest.

71 And when he went out into the Porche, another Mayde saw hym, and sayde vnto them that were there, this man was also with Iesus of Nazareth.

72 And againe he denied with an othe, sayinge, I knowe not the man.

73 So after a while, came vnto him they that stood by, and sayd vnto Peter, Surely▪ thou art also one of them, for euen thy speach bewraieth thee.

74 Then began he to curse himselfe, and to sweare, sayinge, I knowe not the man, and immediatlye the Cocke crew.

75 Then Peter remembred the wordes of Iesus, whiche had sayde vnto him, before the Cock crow, thou shalt de­nye mee thrise. So he went out and wept bitterly.

Chapter xxvij.

1 When the morning was come, all the chiefe Priestes, and Elders of the people, tooke counsell againste Iesus, to put him to death.

2 And led hym away bound, and deliuered him vnto Ponti­us Pylate the Gouernour.

3 Then, when Iudas whiche betrayed hym, sawe [Page] that hee was condemned he repented himselfe, and brought againe the thyrtie peeces of Siluer, to the chiefe Priestes and Elders.

4 Saying, I haue sinned betrayinge the innocent blood. But they sayde, what is that to vs? looke thou to it.

5 And when he had cast downe the Siluer peeces in the tem­ple, he departed and hanged him selfe.

6 And the chiefe priests tooke the Siluer peeces, and saide, it is not lawfull for vs to put them into the treasurie, because it is the price of blood.

7 And they tooke counsell, and bought with them a potters fielde, for the buriall of Straungers.

8 Wherefore, that fielde is called, the field of blood, vntill this day.

9 (Then was fulfilled that whiche was spoken by Ieremiah the Prophet, saying, and they tooke their siluer pee­ces, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel valued.

10 And they gaue them for the potters fielde, as the Lorde appoynted mee.)

11 And Iesus stood before the Gouernour, and the Gouer­nour asked him, sayinge, Art thou the Kinge of the Iewes? Iesus saide vnto him, thou saist it. &c.

2. Cor. 2.16. AS Saint Paul telleth vs that the prea­ching of the Gospell is a sauour of life vnto those whom God hath called to be saued, and a sauour of death vnto the reprobate which perish: euen so haue wee héere also two notable examples set before vs, and worthy the remem­braunce, to shewe that the death and passion of the sonne of God, was sal­uation vnto the one, and a condemnation to the other. For in the fall of Peter, wee sée what the worke was, which must draw him from out the bottomlesse death, wherinto he fell headlong. For, as [Page 45] much as in hym lay, he banished himselfe the heauenly kingdome, estraunged him selfe from all hope of saluation, and cut hym selfe cleane of from the Churche, as a rotten member. And yet the death of our Lorde Iesus Christ was it, that must doo hym good, although he deserued it not.

And as for Iudas, it is saide, that when hee sée our Lorde Iesus Christ to be condēned, he desperatly hung himself. Now, he should (as we haue said) haue taken a good hart wt hym, to haue put his trust in God, by reason of the condemnation of our Lorde Iesus Christ: bicause we are pardoned by the power and vertue thereof. Howbeit, it was méete that these two specktacles should héere bee set before vs, to the ende we might the better know, that if we are not called by an especiall grace and fauour, to bee pertakers of the fruite of the death and passion of the sonne of God, it will avayle vs nothing. And therfore, it is not enough that our Lord Iesus Christ suffered, without the benefit which he obtayned for vs, bée bestowed vpon vs, & we to haue the full possession therof. And euen then are we most assured of it, whēas we are drawne vnto him by Faith. But to the end we might the more perfectly vnderstand the matter, let vs follow the text of the Storye as it is set downe. It is sayde, that our Lorde Iesus Christ was shamefully entrea­ted in the house of Cayphas, that they spit in his face, buffeted him and slaunderously skorned him, by callinge him a Prophet. Now, all this, was to let vs vnderstand, that what soeuer he suffered in in his owne person, was to deliuer and frée vs before God and his Angels. For there néedeth no spitting in our face, to cause vs ap­peare before God, spotted and blemished, because we are not onely deformed and ougly by reason of our sinnes, but also full of abho­minable infections.

Moreouer, we héere sée how that the Sonne of God the derye liuely Image of his Father,Heb. 1.13. in whom his glorye and maiestie shi­neth, hath suffered all these shames, that wee might now appeare before God in his name to obtayne fauour and grace, and thereby acknowledge vs as his Children, being cleane voyde of all spots & blemishes. And this is it which we are to consider of, in this fyrst place. Now let vs come to the fall of Peter. It is sayde, That when a Mayd saw him, she tolde him that he was one of Iesus Dis­ciples, but he denied it. And that an other Mayde tolde him the like [Page] tale, and he agayne denied it. Afterwarde, diuers pressed him with it, and vrged it more vpon him, and then hée began to sweare and curse him selfe, as if he should haue saide, I pray God I bee dam­ned and come to naught, and the earth open and swallow mée vp, If I know him.

Héere then we sée how horribly and gréeuouslye Peter fell thrise, which ought greatly to feare vs in reading of the Story. Now, we know how zealous hee was:Iohn 24. Moreouer our Lorde Iesus Christ commended him, and was called Péeter to signifie vnto vs the constancy of his faith: he was brought vp in a very good Schoole, and he had heard this doctrine taught, whosoeuer denieth mée be­fore men,Math. 10.33. I wyll also denie him before my father which is in hea­uen. And yet we sée how he fell. And héere euery of vs hath good oc­casion to tremble and be afearde: because Peters weaknesse was no greater then ours, if we be not holpen from aboue: wherfore, in the first place we sée, how fraile we are, so soone as God taketh his hande from vs. For mention is not héere made of a skorner, nor of a prophane man, neither yet of one who had not tasted of the gos­pel, nor that feared God, or yet reuerenced our Lord Iesus Christ. But it was all cleane contrarye: because there were excellent giftes in Peter.Math. 16.17. For the sonne of God fayde vnto him, Fleshe and blood hath not reuealed these things vnto thée, but my father which is in heauen. We sée then that the holy ghost was in Peter. And yet what a combat had he about the denyinge of our Lord Iesus? yea with a silly Mayd. But if a man, had so spoken vnto him, or if some honorable personage had made him afeard, he might haue had some coulor for himselfe, but we sée yt a poore Mayd was enough to cause him forsake the hope of lyfe and saluation. Let vs therefore looke vpon the person of Péeter, and we shal sée that God had néede to strengthē vs euery mynute of an howre, because we are not els able to abide it: and although we haue laboured to come néere vn­to his maiestie, and that wee haue done many vertuous déedes, yet shall we, in the turning of an hande, be altogether chaunged, without God continueth in vs an inuincible constancie, & therfore let vs learne to put Paules admonition in practise, which is this let him that thinketh he standeth, [...]. Cor. 10.12 beware he falleth not. It is ve­ry true, we are not able to vphold our selues, but let vs runne vn­to him that hath the meane to do it: and in the meane while, let vs [Page 46] (as Saint Paul sayeth in another place) walk most humbly: since it is God that giueth both to wyll and to perfourme, and that of his frée mercy and goodnesse. For thus it is sayde, make an ende of your saluation in feare and in trembling: as if he should haue sayd, put a part from you all presumption and negligence Now, when wee sée how many wayes we haue néede of Gods helpe,Phil. 2.12. is it not good reason that we should stand vpon our garde, and not presume any whit of our owne strength, but carefully night and daye call vpon him, and put our selues into his keeping and gouernment. And we are besides to weigh and consider, that although the temp­tations be not great, yet wold they soone oppresse vs, if God of his grace dyd not helpe, and remedy them. And they who thinke them selues most bould, when they are farre from blowes, become euen lyke white lyuered souldiers, if there blow neuer so small a wind. In very déede if God assist vs, we are sure to stande fast, although there arise neuer so great tempestes. For we vnderstande by the similitude which our Lorde Iesus Christe bringeth in that if an house bee buylt vpon a rock, although there come neuer so great rage of winds and waters, yet will it stand faste: But that which is built vpon the sand wyll haue a great fall and soone decay. So then when we shall be built vpon God,Matth. 7.24. and that hee shall holde vs with his mighty hand, we may very well abide great and stout a­larmes: But if there were no enemye at all to fighte against vs, yet shoulde wee bee soone ouerthrowne, if God once holde hym­selfe farre from vs, and taketh from vs his hande as wee haue séene by Peter.

But hee hath done a great deale worsse, for hee denyed not our Lorde Iesus Christ for once, but as often as hee was asked the question. We sée, that hee forced not to passe continually from euill to worse, as to fall to cursing, whenas he prayd God that hée would curse him, and swallow him vp into the pyt of Hell. And therfore when wee sée this, let vs vnderstand, that hee whiche fal­leth, whenas he had most néede to stande vp, will throw him selfe continually downe into a greater depth of destruction, yea euen vnto his vtter ouerthrow for euer, without God helpe to remedy him. Thus we sée what our estate and condition is: for euen from the beginning it is a wōder to see how we flatter our selues of our owne strength and therefore our Lord Iesus sheweth vs by proofe [Page] that it is nothinge, and that whensoeuer there bloweth neuer so litle a winde, we are soone ouerthrowne. And yet wee perswade our selues, that we are able to stand as of our selues: But we doo but al this while encrease our owne sorrow, adding sinne to sinne, and excéede more gréeuously in wickednesse. If Saint Peter had bene tēpted an hundred times, in a day, he would haue denied Ie­sus Christe an hundred tymes, and a thowsande in the head of it. Loe in what case he had bene, if God had not had compassion vpon him: but he spared hym, and woulde not proue him any further. Surely, these thrée fals which are heere spoken of, are euen enow to shew vs an horrible example, and to make ye haires of our head stand vpright, to sée peter so forget him selfe the third time, and be­come a very beast in the denying of his saluation. But ouer and besides this, wee are to marke that if hee had bene troubled with any other temptations, hee woulde none otherwise haue resisted them, and that had bene to haue cast him to the déepest place of hell, if God had not so greatly fauoured him.

And thus wee sée what profyt wee are to prick out of this doctrine. Now, we heare not these thinges, to the ende we should iudge Pe­ter, and condemne his cowardlynesse. Yet may we in trueth iust­ly doe it: But yet by the way, wee must in the first place learne, that in knowing our weakenesse, we might likewise vnderstande that there is nothing in vs, and not be proudlye puffed vp, by at­tributing to our selues through a vaine and foolishe opinion, any power or strength. And in the meane while, let vs also know, that for so much as ye deuil hath so many waies, to deuise our destruc­tiō yt he wil soone compasse vs, séeing S. Peter fel whē there was no shew of it. And besides, let vs at last vnderstande that our Lord Iesus hath compassion vpon vs, when hee will not suffer vs to bée tempted aboue our strengthes. For it is certayne, that ye mischiefe wyll be so much the more séene, and we shall vnderstand that after we haue committed one offence, wee shall be ready to redouble it, and neuer haue ende, except he, through his goodnesse holde vs in. And thus we see all the thinges whiche héere are to bee obserued. But by the way it is saide,Luke. 22.61. That after Peter heard the Cock crowe and (as S. Luke reciteth it) after that Iesus Christ had looked vp­on him, he went out and wept bitterly. Vpon this conclusion, it is shewed vs (as I haue before said) that the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christ had presently brought forth her effect & power, [Page 47] for so much as Peter was raysed vp from so horrible a fall. For, was not this a miracle, that God should haue compassion on him, and that he had already obtayned mercy, after hee had committed so detest able a falt? we haue sayde that it could not bée excused by ignoraunce, as if it had bene a small falt? to denye Iesus Christe: for it was saide, and tolde him, that if he rendered not a reason and a testimony of his faith before men, he was worthy to bee altoge­ther rased from before the Angelles of God,Luke. 9.26. and his name blotted out of the booke of lyfe: and yet he made no reckoning to redéeme this miserable and transitory lyfe, with so villanous and straunge a denyal: not being called to come before ye iudges. He was not ex­treamely questioned withall, for it was but a Mayde that spoke to him: and if they had dealt somewhat more roughlye with hym, the very worst had béene this, they woulde haue but scourged and beaten him lyke a miserable wretched caytife. And yet he styl for­got the feare of God.

Wherfore, when we sée this, let vs so much the more thinke of our selues, that it must néedes be that God would powre out the infinite treasures of his goodnesse, whenas he made Peter to be a pertaker of the fruite of the death and passion of his sonne. Héere is thē a myracle, to cause vs all to be in an admiration, that Peter obtayned forgiuenesse for so hainous an offence: as appeareth by his repentance. For this is most sure, that if a man be touched to the quicke, after hee hath fallen, and wéepeth and growneth be­fore God for his pardon, it is a token that God hath already recei­ued him, and reconciled him vnto him selfe. For repentaunce, is a singuler gift procéeding from the holy Ghost, shewing vs that god is mercyfull vnto vs, & would not haue vs to perish, but draweth vs vnto him self. And this we sée to be in Peter: wherfore it folow­eth, yt the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christ was already available vnto him, after a wonderful maner, as hath bene before saide. But let vs héere in the first place note, that S. Peter aboad still sleepy and blockishe, vntill such time as he perceiued the to­ken which our Lord Iesus had tolde him of, to wit, that the Cock should not crow till he had denied him thrise, or els that the Cocke should not crow the second time, before Peter had made his thrée denials. Since then it is so, if our Lord Iesus Christ had not fore­warned him, he had stoode styff in his sin, & bene plunged alwaies in destructiō, knowing yt we had neede to be stil called vpon whēas [Page] we haue commited any offence. For if God should take away his grace from vs, & not exhort vs to turne vnto him, without doubte, Satan would preuent vs, and al our sences would become block­ish, so that we should haue no one good motiō to returne into ye way of saluation. And this is it which we are ouer & besides, to beholde in the person of Peter. But when S. Luke telleth ye Iesus Christ looked on him, we are héereby the better taught, yt it is not enough that we be pricked forward, and be pulled by the eare to returne vnto God, but Iesus christ must also cast his looke & countenance vpon vs. Now, this is true, that he speaketh not heere, but of ye looke of the eyes: but although our Lord Iesus be not conuersaunt wc vs in a visible maner: yet without doubt, vntil such time as he casteth his eie vpon vs, we shal be altogether dulled in our sinnes, & neuer think ether of wéeping or groning, & although wee haue prouoked the wrath of God, & although he hath bent his bow, and drawn his sword, yet wyll we still be negligent, vntil such time as our Lorde Iesus christ causeth vs to féele yt he hath not forgotten vs, & would not haue vs perish, but wyll draw vs out of destruction. And to proue this to be so, we dayly heare Sermons, by which we are ex­horted to repentaunce: but how are we touched with them? nether were there euer, any mo admonitions: and besides, doo not al thē creatures of God stirre vs vp to come vnto him? surelye, if there were but one drop of wisdome in our mindes, would not the very rising of the Sunne call vs to an acknowledgement of the wor­ship of God. And besides, if we beholde how the earth and the Ele­ments doo their duties, and the beastes and trées theirs, this were enough to shew vs that we must submit our selues vnto his ma­iestie, to the end he might be gloryfyed in vs: and yet we thinke no whit at all of it. But the Cock may crow as lowde as hee lust, and not ye Cocke alone, but God also causeth al his creatures both in heauen and earth to crye out, to exhort vs to come vnto him: and that which is more, he vouchsafeth to open his holy mouth both by his law, Prophets, & Gospel, and saieth vnto vs, returne vnto mee O yée people: and yet we sée our selues to be so dull and blockish, as is monstrous. And therefore our Lorde Iesus Christ must looke vpon vs with his eye of mercy, as hée dyd vpon Péeter, that he might draw out of vs true gronings, to be witnesses of our re­pentaunce. For, where it is saide, that Peter wept bitterly, it was [Page 48] to this ende to declare vnto vs the sorrow whereof Saint Paul speaketh, that is to saluation, and therefore we should not flye it,2. Cor. 7.10. but séeke after it & although we naturally desyre to be continual­ly in pleasure, and to féele no crosse, yet must we be brought to bee sorrowfull, for when God afflicteth vs, our hartes must néedes bée gréeued in that we haue offended him: for this sorrow bringeth vs to quietnes, & maketh vs to reioyce both before God & the Angels. And we shall anone sée that Iudas repented him, but it was after another and diuers maner. But we finde by Peters wéeping, that he was greatly displeased with his sinne, and returned forthwith vnto Iesus Christ. We are also to note, that he went out to weepe. Surely, this procéeded of weaknesse, because he was a fearde that the company should sée him repent. But be as be may, no doubt of it when he wept by him selfe, it was a good token that hee was touched with his sinne and offence: because he sought not to haue men to be witnesses of his repentance, but wept alone before God. And in this we sée what it is for vs to doo: for if we onely bewaile our sinnes and transgressions in the sight of men, by this we shew our hypocrysie: but when we withdraw our selues from company and examine our sinnes and offences, and be then sorrowfull, that argueth that we are no hypocrites, but that we know who is our Iudge, and doo there beséech him of pardon and forgiunesse, know­ing also that it is the office of God, to pull all damned soules out of the pitte of hell. And this is the summe which wee are to consi­der, of that whiche is héere mentioned, of Peters fall, and of the thrée denialles, by which hee deserued to bee cleane cut of from the Kingdome of God, if so bee Iesus Christ had not stretched out the power of his death & passion, to bring him to repentaunce, as héere it came to passe, now, it is saide anone after, that the Priestes and gouernours tooke counsell to condemne hym: But because they had no power to doo it, they brought him manacled and bound vnto Pontius Pilate, the gouernour of ye Country, who had authoritie, After this, it is said in the Gospel, ye Iudas repented him, when he sée ye Iesus Christ was condemned, and cast them the mony, which he had receued for a reward, for his treachery, & therwt cōfessed his falt. Howbeit, ye priests would not receiue the mony, but bought a field of a Potter, wherin was potters earth, which serued to none other purpose, for it was good, neither for tyllage nor séede. [Page] And this Fielde they bought to burye the dead bodies: whiche they did vnder a coulor of deuotion: for they saide it was not law­full to put that siluer among the offerings of the temple. And here­vpon the Euangelist sayeth, that that which the Prophet had spo­ken of was accomplished, yt the thirtie pence which the children of Israell valued God at, might bee bestowed vpon a potters yarde. Héere we are to consider of that which hath bene before spoken, to wit, that the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ is not effectuall to all men, because it is a speciall grace whiche God be­stoweth vpon his chosen, whenas hee toucheth them by his holy spirit, and although they fal, yet lifteth he them vp agayne, yea & though they stray lyke wandring shéepe, yet gathereth he them to­gether agayne, and giueth them his hand to bring them to ye fould. For wee sée how Iudas was cleane rased out from amongst the number of Gods Children, and therfore it was méete his condem­nation should bee séene and layde wide open before the face of the whole worlde. And so let vs learne (as we haue already said) alto­gether to acknowledge the inestimable goodnesse of our God. For as he hath declared his loue vnto mankynde, when hee spared not his onely begotten sonne, but put him to death for sinners: Euen so declareth he vnto vs the especall loue he beareth vs, whenas he toucheth vs with the acknowledging of our sinnes by his holy spi­rit, and causeth vs to grone, that wee might bee brought vnto him by true repentaunce.

Wherefore, the entraunce whiche wee haue to come vnto our Lorde Iesus Christe, commeth not from our selues, but because that God gouerneth vs, & pleaseth to shew his choice. Now, these circumstaunces are greatly to be noted: wee sée that Iudas who was one of our Lorde Iesus Christ his Disciples, wrought myra­cles in his name: and yet what became of him? let vs learne care­fully to feare and walke, and submit our selues wholye vnto our God: & beséeche him, not to suffer vs so shamefully to fall, as dyd this miserable man. And agayne, let vs also beséech him, that if we shal fal at any time into the like, to lift vs vp by his power, that we may returne vnto him: not with such repentaunce as Iudas dyd, but with a true and right confession. For, the wicked as it is said by the prophets Ieremiah and Ezechiel, will laugh God to skorne as much as is possible: because they take pleasure, & glory in their [Page 49] sinns, and in the end become lyke shameles whores. But yet God at the last maketh them to féele their sinnes, and so terrifieth them as that they chafe and cry out alas: neuerthelesse, they doe not thus of any hope they haue neither doe they present them selues before God: But are rather pushed forward with a fury: and flye from him as farre they can, and woulde bee glad to pluck him out of his thorne by the eares. For there is no speaking to thē, because they are angry, and rebelliously whet their téeth against him. Howbeit we must be brought to another kinde of repentaunce: whiche is, we must not become like wilde and sauage beastes, séeing we can­not escape the hande and heauy iudgement of God: but let vs con­fesse our sinne, and abhorre it, and stil draw néere vnto God, with out enforcement: and worship him willingly, & confesse ye we are worthy of destruction: but yet let vs be assured, that although we are guilty of an hundred thousand deathes, that hee will alwayes haue compassion on vs, for we sée how Peter repented. But the re­pentaunce of Iudas ought to shewe vs, that it is not enough that we féele our sinnes, bt we must be fully brought home vnto God. And this is a very notable thing to consider: because we sée that a great number, and almost all men doo flatter themselues: for they thinke, that if they haue in worde acknowledged their offences, be they neuer so haynous, that they are cleane discharged of them, as if their mouthes were fully cleansed. Agayne if a man be earnest with them, they think they are offered great wronge. What? saye they, haue I not confessed my falts? and haue I not repented me? And this is al the reckoning that they make of it: as if God were a yong child who would be appeased wt a smiling & dissembling coū ­tenance, ful of leasing & hipocrysy. Howbeit this is our cōmon mā ­ner, for we would appease god we know not how: euē as it is said with such a repentance as Iudas repēted. Wherfore, let vs feare and tremble when God giueth vs warning, & causeth vs to féele our sins, & not stay altogether vpon it: for yt is no true repentance: but this is the true triall by which we must know whether we be true penitent sinners or not: which is, whenas we of our owne ac­cord, séeke to be at peace with God, & forsake not his iudgmēt, yea, seing he receiueth vs to mercy. Which, he wil do whenas we shal condem our selues: for whsoeuer shal be his own iudge, & condēne himself before God, & before Angels, & men, ye man I say, shall bée iustified & pardoned, because hee desyreth none other thing but to [Page] haue God mercyfull vnto him. This then is the summe and effect of that which we are héere to obserue. Now, Iudas must néedes make this confession, because the priests might be so much ye more without excuse. The Euangelist likewise maketh this recital, that we might the better behold how Satan had blinded al these re­probates: and that euery of vs might looke narowly into himselfe. And when God setteth before vs such exampels of his yre & ven­geance, and (to be short) that we, like men betwitched, and voyd of sence & reason, become so beastly, as to throw our selues headlonge into an hellishe furie: This is to make euerye of vs to stoupe, and to cause vs know that wee may oftentimes fall into the same were if not that our God preserueth vs by his grace and goodnesse. But by the way let vs beware that we fight not agaynst our own consciences, as the priestes did: for as many as so harden them­selues against God, shal in the end fall into such a reprobate sence, as that they shall be cleane without all reason: for, after they haue once so excéeded against GOD, they will also bee past all shame before men. For it is good reason that the whole worlde should sée their beastlinesse, and yt there shamlesnes should be so knowne, as that euery man might abhorre their villanie. Héere then wee sée why the Euangelist maketh this recitall, that when Iudas came to restore the siluer, the priestes were no whit moued therewith. Indéede, they sayde it was not lawfull to put it into the treasury, because it was the price of blood. And héere also we may sée, that hy­pocrits will alwaies be sure to haue some fine shifttes or other, to shadow and couer their iniquities, but it is all to mock God: For they neuer come perfectly and soundly vnto him. For, what is this to say, ho, surely we wyll neuer put this siluer amongst the holye offerings, because it is the price of blood. Now, I pray you tel mée, from whence came this siluer? truly, we know this, that ye priests liued vpon the offerings of the temple: as at this day, they whiche in popery, are called prelats and churchmen, glottonously consume the offrings, and neuer care to what vse they put them. But al­though the Priests took from the oblations of the temple, the sil­uer which they gaue to Iudas, they neuer cared, nor yet respected it: & now they make a doubt to put yt siluer againe into the Trea­surie. But by your leaue, they thrust back Iudas as it were after a scoffing maner, & as if they should haue sayd, now sir, this villaine [Page 50] hath betraied his maister, & it is no matter to vs whether he hath done well or yll: neuerthelesse, because we for our partes wyll not be pertakers of his offence, and make cleane handes of it (because they had bestowed this mony to such an vse) wee will buy a fielde with it to bury straungers in. As who should say, that they had sa­tisfied God well enough, & that hee coulde desire no more at their handes, although they had offended in that thing which they dyd. Thus we sée, yt hypocrits will be sure to haue wherewith to make satisfaction, and so thinke by this meane to buy out them selues: howbeit these are but childish toyes. Neuerthelesse, let vs vnder­stand, that this thing is set downe vnto vs, yt we might know, that when we haue fallen, we should acknowledge our falts indéede, and not goe about the bush this way and that way, but wholy and fréely condemn our selues, & this is it, which we are héere shewed. But in the meane while, let vs beséech the Lorde to take away the wymples wherwith Satan goeth about to blindfould vs, that wée stand not stiffe in our flatteries, therby to excuse our naughtines, and let vs more and more make a good tryall to condemne all our sins, & confesse thē truly. Moreouer, we sée also how god ouerthroweth the opinion of hypocrits, so that in the end they are cleane put by, their pretended purpose. For, the priests woulde gladly haue blotted out their offence, that it might neuer haue come in questiō againe: and this was their pretence, whenas they bought a field to bury straungers in But God turned all quite and cleane against their meaning: for the Field was to be called the bloodye, & mur­thering field, euerlastingly to remaine in the mouthes of men, wo­men and children: so that this detestable falt whiche the priestes committed, might be daylye made knowne and manifested, that it might bee saide, this is the bloody fielde, which was bought with the price of treason. And who were they that dyd it? Forsooth, euen the priestes and heads of the people.

So then we sée, that when hypocrits go about to hide and muffle their misdéeds, then God so much the more discouereth their villa­nies, and causeth all men to knowe, and abhorre theyr detestable shamlesnesse. And héere wee sée the reason why wee haue saide, that we ought so much the more aduisedlye to come vnto God, & lay open our sinnes, which is to this ende, yt it would please him to [Page] bury thē euen in the sight of himself, of his Angels, and of the whol world, whenas we, for our partes haue thus acknowledged them. And in the end, the Euāgelist alledgeth one place out of ye prophet, to shew, that this is not only recited because of Iudas sin, & of the diuelish obstinacie of the priests, but for the condemnatiō of all the people in generall. For there it is said, that that which was writ­ten by the Prophete was accomplished, That God was valued at thirtie péeces of siluer,Zach. 11.13 & the same was cast into the Potters fielde, now Zachariah, out of whom this place is taken, compareth our Lord Iesus vnto a shepheard, & saith that whē he meant to gouern the people of the Iewes, he tooke his staffe or shepheards crooke cal­led beautie, that he might be able to say, that the estate of this peo­ple was so wel appointed as was possible, if it could haue byn con­tented to haue byn guyded by the hand of God. And could they de­sire any thing more? Now to prooue that this is true, I pray you what great ioy & felicity could we haue, if God were not careful o­uer vs, & playd the part of a shepheard amongst vs. And thus we sée what a gouernment God vsed ouer this people, whenas this wand is spoken of, and not of a staffe to lay on them and vtterly to bruise them, but to guide & gouerne the shéepe peaceably which were tra­ctable & teacheable. Howbeit it is said that he tooke a wand the se­cond time, as indéed, when the people returned from the captiuity of Babylon, God thrust himselfe into the office of a shepheard: For after so horrible an ouerthrow as was before, he gathered the peo­ple together, that he might peaceably gouerne them vnder his hād. But in the end they dealt so vnthankfully with him, as yt he could not choose but cléerely forsake them. And therfore he said Ah Sirrha I sée wel ynough howe it fareth with you: and I doe nothing els but lose both my time and trauel amongst you. And there he spake after the maner of men. Well, goe to now, dispatch me at once, & pay me, that I were gone And thervpon they brought him thirtie péeces of siluer. What quoth hée, is this the rewarde & pay which I shall haue of you? For when hée spake of the thirtie pence, hée had respect vnto the oblations that were offered in the Tē ­ple. For as they hypocritically vsed them without faith and re­pentaunce) they were no better then vayne ceremonies and yet notwithstanding the Priestes made great accompt of them.

And after this sorte, deale the Papistes at this daye, for when they haue made a great number of whim whames, and glorious deuo­tions, they by & by think that God is as a man would say greatly behoulden to them. Now, God sayeth for all this, that they are but apish toyes. For, sayeth he, what haue I got by you? yée sée wel enough that I haue but a Shepheardes paye, and yée think I am bound vnto you for it. Tush, tushe, it is nothing so, for I haue no néede of it: goe your wayes and cast it into the Potters house, & fill vp your holes and cranies therewith: go your waies I forgiue you, and bestow it on your Potters clay. As if he should haue said, If you like to haue it in your temple, stuffe that with it? For I wil haue no part nor portion with you, and wil rydde my hands clear­ly of it: and think not yt I wyll be contented in bringing me héere as it were trifles for pay: for be you assured that I lyke not of any of all this geare. And this is the summe and effect which the Pro­phet ment hereby. Now, we know that, that which was then fore­tolde of our God, was fulfilled in the person of our Lorde Iesus Christ, who is our very God manifested in the flesh.

Wherefore it must néedes be that this place should be veryfied by a visible manner, and that Iesus Christ shoulde bee valued at thirtie pence onely, that is to saye,1 Tim. 3.16. the people very vnthankfullye dealt with him▪ whom God had appoynted to bee the euerlastinge Shepheard of this people. And this is most certaine, that because the people could not abide that God shoulde bee their Gouernour, yet our Lorde Iesus hath alwaies played the office of a mediator, although he neuer shewed him selfe in our humane nature. And this is it which we ought héere still to remember, to the ende that we for our partes might learne, séeinge that God hath bene so fa­uourable vnto vs to gather vs together as it were vnder his pro­tection, and to take vs to be of his fould, and deliuereth vnto vs our Lord Iesus Christ for our shepherd, let not vs in such sort wound him, as to gréeue his spirit through our rebellious and vnthankful dealing, and not pay him (as we saye) with nifles and trifles, but let vs take him for our God and Kinge, since he hath pleased so to vouchsafe it, and consecrate our selues vnto him all the dayes of our lyfe, and not pay hym with counterfet coyne, but yéelde vnto him both our bodies and soules. For it is good reason that wee should yéelde vnto him all gouernment ouer vs, and we to be only [Page] his, séeing he séeketh onely our saluation. Now to conclude it is sayd that when our Lorde Iesus was brought before Pylate hee made no answer, and that Pylate asked him, saying, why speakest thou not? doest not thou see that these men witnesse against thee? and that he held his peace, insomuch that the Iudge wondered at hym. Now, wee are héere in the first place to call to minde, that when our Lorde Iesus Christ appeared before an earthly Iudge, it was to this ende, that we might be deliuered from the condem­nation which we haue deserued to féele,Isai. 45.23. before the heauenly Iudge. For we know that we cannot goe from that which is spoken of, by ye Prophet Isaiah, yt euery knée must bowe before the maiestie of God. And therefore, since God is the Iudge of the whole world how is it possible that wee can stande before his face? for there is none of vs all, but must needes be enforced to say, that we are wor­thy to be condemned an hundred thousand times. And although we haue lyued but one yeare, yet haue we committed an hundred thousand faults, which deserue euerlasting condemnation, and is so engraued in our hartes as that we cannot denie it. Wherefore, since God is clearer sighted then we, how can it bee that he should not condemne vs, séeing euery of vs must néedes in sundrye wise condemne hym selfe? howbeit we sée our Lord Iesus Christ to bée driuen to this extremitie, as that he was accused before an earthly Iudge, and so prophane a man, as that there was nothing in hym but couetuousnesse and ambition. And therefore since the sonne of God was brought thus lowe, it was to this ende that wee might vnderstand and know that wee might bouldlye present our selues before the maiesti of God, for the receiuing of vs, so that we should neuer néede to feare couragiously to come before his tribunal seat, because we are sure that he wyll haue mercy vpon vs. Moreouer, we know yt Iesus Christ hath power, authoritie, & dominion to be Iudge ouer the whole world: and yt when Pylate had thus condē ­ned him, it was to this end that we might bouldly come vnto him, because we know, that he shall come to be our Iudge. And againe, that we might vnderstand, because he held his peace, that his mea­ning was to abide to be condemned for vs, and not answere for his iustification, since hee knewe hee must bee condemned for our sakes. For although he was without fal [...], yet bare hee all our sins vpon him. And therfore it is no wonder though he helde his peace, [Page 52] and were ouercome: for otherwise hee could not haue performed the office of a Mediator, without he had bene condemned, and con­fessed that he was worthy to dye for our cause. And this is the meaning why our Lorde Iesus Christ held his peace, that wee might with open mouth call vpon God, and beséech him of pardon for all our sins and transgressions.

Let vs now fall downe before the maiestie of our good God, and acknowledge our offences, beséeching him to touch vs vnfeynedly and to the quick, that wee might grone and wéepe before him for the same. And although they be great and gréeuous, yet that hee would not suffer vs to be desperately shut out, but to bee alwayes subiect & runne vnto him. And forsomuche as of our selues we are blockish, and shall be neuer able to attayne thereto, let vs beséeche hym to looke vpon vs with his eye of mercye, as hee hath or­dayned our Lorde Iesus Christ to haue care ouer vs, as a Shep­harde hath ouer his Shéepe, that he woulde also so gather vs vnto himselfe, as yt we folow not the war of destruction from the which he hath pulled vs, but walke in that good way, wherinto hee hath brought vs. Let vs also beséeche him so to continue vs in it, as that we prouoke not his heauy wrath against vs, and therby forsake vs for being any longer our Shepherd: But to defend vs with his fa­vour and grace, and offer vp such sacryfices vnto him, as that wee might know that he hath not lost his labour in gouerninge of vs, but that we might answere his holy calling. And for somuch as it hath pleased him to draw vs vnto him, and ch [...]se vs for his people, and enheritance although we are no waye able to satisfie the hun­dreth part of our duty, yet that it would please him to vpholde vs through his goodnesse, and that we might alwayes make an esti­mation, of the benefit of the death and passion, whiche our Lorde Iesus Christ hath suffered, vntill such time as we are rydde of all our sinnes, and bee clothed with the perfection whereunto he hath at this day called vs. That hée woulde not onely bestow this grace vpon vs, but vp on all people and nations of the worlde. &c.

The fyfth Sermon of the passion.

Matthew xxvii.

11 And Iesus stood before the Gouernour, and the Gouer­nour asked him saying, arte thou the King of the Iewes; Iesus sayde vnto him, thou saiest it.

12 And when he was accused of the chiefe priest and Elders, hee answeared nothing.

13 Then sayd Pylate vnto him, hearest thou not how many thinges they lay agaynst thee?

14 But he answeared hym not one worde: insomuch that the Gouernour marueled greatly.

15 Now at the feast the Gouernour was wonted to delyuer vnto the people a prisoner, whom they woulde.

16 And they had then a notable prysoner called Barab­bas.

17 When they were gathered together, Pylate sayde vnto them, whether will yee that I let lose vnto you Barab­bas, or Iesus which is called Christ?

18 For hee knewe well, that for enuy they had delyuered him.

19 Also when hee was set downe vpon the iudgement seate, his wife sent to hym, sayinge, haue thou nothinge to do with that iust man: for I haue suffered many thin­ges this day in a dreame, by reason of him.

20 But the chiefe Priestes and the Elders had perswaded the people that they should aske Barabbas & destroy Iesus.

21 Then the Gouernour answeared, and sayde vnto them, whether of the twayne wyll yee that I let lose vnto you? and they sayd Barabbas.

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22 Pylate saide vnto them, what shall I doe then with Iesus which is called Christ? They all saide vnto him, let him be crucified.

23 Then saide the Gouernour, But what euill hath he done? Then they cryed out the more, saying, Let him be cru­cified.

24 When Pylate sawe that hee preuailed nothing, but that more tumult was made, he tooke water & washed his handes before the multitude, saying I am innocent of the blood of this iust man: looke you vnto it.

25 Then answered all the people and said, his blood be vpon vs, and on our children.

26 Then let he Barabbas loose vnto them, and scourged Ie­sus, and deliuered him to be crucified.

WEe haue héere before alreadie séene, that our Lord Iesus so willingly of­fered himselfe to be made a sheriffee, for the repairing and blot [...]ing out of our iniquities through his obedience, as that hée was verie wel contented to be cōdemned. And here we sée why it is saide, that he answered to none of the accusations that were brought a­gainst him. Hée was able [...]ust [...]i [...]al­ly to haue done it, but he held his peace, as it is also laide of him by the Prophet Isaiah. Which thing was not done,Isaiah. 53.7. onely to shew his patience, but also that we might be able at this day fréely to glorie, that we are iust and innocent before God (although our owne consciences accuse and condemne vs) because we knowe hee hath receiued vs to [...]y, and that also in sinnes are taken away by reason of the perfection thee was found to be in our Lord Iesus Christ. And thus we see how that the Sonne of God hath purcha­sed vs libertie, that we might be able boldly to glorie that we are the children of God, and taken before him to be righteous, to wit, when he would make no reply for the setting foorth of his purenes of life. Now, in verie déede a man would at the first sight, thinke it [Page] verie straunge that he held his peace, & yet saide, that he was King of the Iewes: For these things séeme to be cleane contrary. How­beit,Ioh. 6.15. S. Iohn goeth on further, and saith that hée declared, that his kingdome was not of this world: and besides, said, that he was the Sonne of God: For he protested that he was come into the world to defend the trueth. And all this agreeth verie well together: For it must néedes be that our Lord Iesus should shewe him selfe to bée the King of the Iewes, and the Sonne of God also: without yee would haue denied the Prophecies; howbeit hée did not this to ac­quit himself: but choose rather to hold his peace, and vse few words because he would be condemned. We haue then here to note, that when we heare the silence of Iesus Christ spokē of, it was, because he would make no excuse: and therfore held his peace: and yet was he cōtented to speak as much as was néedful. We sée also why. S. Paul saith that he made a good confession before Pontius Pylate.1. Tim. 6.13. For if our Lord Iesus would haue stood to his defence, the Iudge was alreadie persuaded of his innocency. And so by his speaking he might haue had the day. And this was it that made Pylate so to wonder: and yet our Lorde Iesus was contented [...]o vn [...]nesse as much as God had enioyned him to do: not [...] that he should teach (for that was no place for the purpose bu [...] to confirme and ratefie the doctrine, which before he had de [...]e [...]. Nowe we are on the one side to note by the way, that the offence which chiefliest troubled the Iewes, was that he had made a gar [...]o [...] & hindred the payment of tribute to the Emperour of Rome: which was a thing to moue the Gouernor being a Pagan, whom the Emperour had sent thither to wrath. In deed this is very certaine, that our Lord Iesus shewed himself to be a king,Iohn. 6.15. but yet no earthly Prince: for we sée, that whē the Iewes would haue crowned him, he with­drew himselfe and hid him in a mountaine: and thereby he cut the throate of this slaunder, because he should haue made the Gospel to haue béen euil spoken of if he had peruerted the politike order and gouernment of the world. For be that came to call vs all to ye king­dome of heauen and to make vs partakers therof, meant not to a­bolish earthly kingdoms, séeing they are vpholden by him, and his power. And therfore it was not méet that the Gospell should carry with it any such blame, as that Iesus Christ was come to vsurpe any worldly power, or authoritie. And héere we sée why he namely [Page 54] saieth vnto Pylate that his kingdome was not of this world. And to say the trueth, what were it, and if the kingdom of Iesus Christ were earthly. For what should we get by putting our trust in him,1. Cor. 15.19. when as we sée our estate to be so miserable in the worlde. Truely the very Infidels are in better case then we, considering the afflicti­ons which we must abide. In déede it is true that God sendeth his scourges ouer the face of the whole earth; and they which desire as much as is possible to be freed from them, shal neither will nor choose but be subiect to a number of miseries and afflictions. And yet for al this, we shal alwayes be more roughly handled: For God must first begin, to chastise his owne house and Church. And ther­fore, if our Lord Iesus had béen an earthly King, it shoulde séeme that we were méere straungers vnto him.

Moreouer, let it bée that wée had all the pleasures in the world, and that by the meane of the Sonne of God, wée were héere as in a Paradise, yet shoulde our life bée but a shadowe, and our fe­licitie verie short, and transitorie. And therefore, we ought ve­rie well to knowe, and be fully persuaded, that the kingdome of our Lorde Iesus Christ is heauenly, that wée might bende our selues to the euerlasting life, wherevnto wée are called. Thus we sée, that the kingdome of Iesus Christ is euerlasting, because it consisteth not of any thing in this corrupt worlde. Let vs there­fore patiently beare all our aduersities, considering, it neither di­minisheth nor lesseneth the grace which our Lorde Iesus Christ hath obteined for vs: for they are euē so many helps to our saluati­on, as Paule witnesseth.Rom. 8.28. And when the worlde shall despise and mocke vs, & we suffer many slanders, abide hunger, and thirst, drawe our legges after vs, and be harried on euerie side, yet must we haue this consideration, that God accepteth of vs. And this is, as if hée chocked vs by the thinne, and saide, Looke vp a soft, and set not your mindes vpon these worldly matters. This then is the summe which wée are héere to obserue. And to say the trueth, it is not without cause that our Lorde Iesus spake so confidently, that hée was borne and came into the worlde to say the trueth: and that whosoeuer woulde haue any good taste, shoulde stay him selfe vpon his worde. By this wée sée, that this is a doctrine of great weight [...] to vnderstande that the kingdome of our Lord Iesus Christ is not héere on earth.

For if this had béen a light saying, hee would haue passed it ouer lightly: But when he said that he came into the worlde to tell the trueth, this was as if he would haue vs giue good eare, meditate in our heartes, and apply our mindes to this doctrine: this was, to make vs forsake the world and all the creatures thereof, that wée might come to this heauenly King, and séeke after the spirituall benefites, which are communicated to vs in him, to the ende we might enioy them in such measure as he knoweth [...]o be most pro­fitable for our saluation. And let vs, of all that which we sée to bée the verie summarie of the Gospell, note well this saying, That Ie­sus Christ came into the world to speake the trueth: to the end we might herevpon conclude, that whensoeuer we shall giue diligent eare vnto his worde, that it shall not be in vaine: because this is a certaine & resolute conclusiō, that whatsoeuer he had giuen them the choyse either of Iesus, or Barabbas, who (as S. Iohn saith) was a théefe:Iohn. 18.40. and the other Euangelistes say, that he was a noto­rious naughtie man, both a murtherer, and a sower of sedition and trouble in the Towne. Now, this was a detestable pestelence of al others: and yet the people cryed out, Let vs haue Barabbas, and let him be pardoned, and Iesus Christ crucified. By this custome of letting loose a prisoner at Easter, we sée with what foolish deuoti­ons men are carried. For they thought the feast to be so muche the more honourable, in the loosing of a prisoner, and that they did God great seruice: and yet all was verie abhominable: For it is saide, That he that iustifieth the wicked,Prou. 17.15. & he that condemneth the iust, euen they both are abhomination vnto the Lord And therfore it is méete that they which sit in the place of iustice should be of vpright mindes: For when he armeth them with his sword, he saieth not, do as you thinke good your selues. For his meaning is, that they should haue a fatherly care ouer the people, and to be verie warie how they lift vp them selues cruelly, to wrong others, by abusing of their credit and authoritie, but would haue them rather be gen­tle and pitifull. Yet must they punish wickednesse, for God so com­maundeth them. But what do we men? Forsooth, we think we ho­nour the feast of Easter, when as we offende God, and manifest­ly transgresse his worde. By this wée are admonished not to fo­lowe our owne fantasies, when the matter concer [...]eth the ser­uice of God, but altogether doe his will.

Let vs not therefore fayne a deuotion which séemeth good in our owne eyes, but be contented to do the thing which God hath ordei­ned & allowed. And here we sée what ariseth vpon this kinde of cu­stome, to wit, that we make lawes accordingly at this day: so that whatsoeuer is receiued for a common order, séemeth to be lawfull. And yet howsoeuer it séemeth to vs, God vtterly condemneth it. Nowe, wee sée what abuse hath come heerein, which is this, that this corruptiō hath made Barabbas to be preferred before ye sonne of God. A man here would at the first sight thinke it very straunge that our Lord Iesus should be thus lightly estéemed of, and a théefe and murderer greatlier priuiledged then he: that he, shoulde finde such fauour & grace amongst men, & Iesus Christ to be so shame­fully & slanderously handled. For, was it not enough that the sonne of God was crucified, & aboad a most slāderous kind of death, with­out he must also be greatly tormented. The death of the crosse was but as a punishment for théeues: & it was not onely, as at this day the gallowes should be, but it was as if he should haue abidden the whéele. Was it not then enough, that after Iesus Christ had béen buffeted, & spetted on, & brought euen downe to the pitte of hell, but that he must in comparison be shewed to be accursed of al ye world? For, if we should iudge of it according to natural reasō, & looke vp­on the outward shew, surely we should be cōfounded, but we must lift vp the eies of faith a great deale higher, & come vnto that which before we haue said: to wit, that all this was gouerned by ye counsel of God And therfore let vs not stand vpon that which the people, & Pylate did, but let vs behold ye vnchangeable decrée of God: which is, yt for the better humbling of vs, his wil was to haue his Sonne so shamefully to be cast down, yea to be cast vnder the féete of al the malefactors of the world: béeing crucified betwéene two théeues, as hereafter shalbe seene. We sée thē what it is for vs to obserue, whē it is here said that Barabbas must be let lose, and Iesus Christ bée made the most abhominable man of the world Yet for all this, Pi­late went about to haue deliuered our Lord Iesus: but it was by a deuilish meane, to wit, by buffeting of him (which they then called punishing) & would haue let him gone, whē he had so punished him, as one that had committed a fault: For by this he pretended to ap­pease the stirre of the people. Now, if our Lord Iesus had bin thus deliuered, what had become of the Gospell, and of the saluation of [Page] the world? For this correction which Pylate, brought him to, was a signe and token of dishonestie for euer, as if the Gospell had béen a wicked doctrine, considering, that the Iudge of the countrie con­demned it: and the person of our Lord Iesus Christ was clearely refused. And yet, had we all bin lost, because there was none other meane to recōcile vs vnto God, but by the death of his onely sonne. And thus we sée that the death of our Lord Iesus, was the very o­pen way vnto life. So then, we sée that the Deuill did the best hée could not to haue our Lord Iesus to dye: and yet who clapped, the Priestes & their like, vpon the backes to pursue Iesus Christ vnto death, but the Deuil himselfe? This is very true. for hée bewitched them: & as we sée that God sendeth the spirit of trouble & madnesse vpon all the vngodly, so that they are one against an other: euen as the waues of the Sea beate one an other: euen so was the Deuill carried, when as on the one side, he went about to abolish the me­mory of our Lorde Iesus Christ, & besides, on the other side, meant to hinder the redemption of mankinde. But God so handled ye mat­ter, as that the verie mouth of the Iudge shoulde beare witnesse of the innocency of his sonne: & yet for all yt hée hath promised he will perfourme. And therfore when Dauid would strengthen him selfe against all temptatiōs,Psal. 12. he saith that the word of God was like vn­to siluer which had béen seuen times purified in the fyre. Euen so, as oftentimes as we doubt of ye promises of our lord Iesus Christ, and shal be troubled and gréeued (as that is the subtletie of Satan, to make vs loath our selues, & to be out of heart.) Let vs returne vnto this testimony, that howeuer it is, our Lorde Iesus Christ hath appeared vnto the world, that he might be a faithful witnesse for vs: and let vs at this day be assured, that hée in effect sheweth vs, that he hath not giuen vs all these promises in vaine, because he will without all doubt performe them. And thus much we haue in summe to consider of. Moreouer whē Pylate saide, What is the truth? Let vs note that whē he moued this question, he spake it not for any desire to learne, but after a despightful & scornfull manner: which is at this day, a vice that reigneth in many. For when wée speak of the truth of God, we mean the doctrine of the Gospel: And S. Paul also so calleth it,Ephe. 1.13. to ye end we might make a differēce therof frō all other knowledge. In very déed if any thing be told vs which hath bin done, yt is a truth: But whē God calleth vs vnto him, and [Page 56] would draw vs from this worlde, that we might come to the hea­uēly life, this truth ought to be set in the highest degrée, and should make no reckoning of the rest in respect of it. Let vs nowe consider how the world reuerenceth the word of the Gospel. The wysest worldlinges (for so they are accompted) are so presumptuously blind, as when that is spoken of vnto them, will thus say, what I beséech you? Haue wée liued thus many yéeres in the worlde, and doe you thinke we knowe not the Gospel, nor any thing els. But they wil al be ashamed whenas they shalbe tolde that the truth of the Gospel hath béen buried, and that they ought to looke more nar­rowly vnto it: Now héerevpon we heare wel enough howe they scoffe and iest. And euen so fared it with Pylate. For because the Emperour had sent him to be his Lieutenant in the Countrey of Iudea, hée thought hée had greate wrong done him, when a man spake of a truth which he knew not of. What? (sayeth hée) thin­kest thou that wée are all fooles? and doe nothing else but lie? Are wée not able to discerne betwéene good and yll? And is it méete for thée to reprooue mée and say, I knowe not the trueth, who am héere set in office, and doe represent the person of the Emperour? Thus wée sée the meaning of Pylate, which is, hée proudely swelled like a Toade, and woulde not bée so taken, as to bée once thought, that hée was not able to discerne betwéene good and bad.

And indéede, we sée that hée tarried not to heare what our Lord Iesus woulde say, but caste out these despitefull woordes, and wente his way. Since then it is so, let vs consider with our selues, that although there bée at this day, many Pylates which refuse to learne in the schoole of GOD, and to become teachea­ble, as if they were wise enough, yet let not vs geue ouer submit­ting of our selues vnto his obedience, but accept of that which our Lorde sheweth and setteth before vs: because wée knowe that the truth wil not grow vp in our mindes, by reason they are ful of va­nitie and leasinges, and we plunged ouer heade and eares in darke­nesse, vntil such time as God draweth vs out of it.

And therfore, let vs vnderstād yt the truth farre passeth our minds and powers, and that GOD muste bée our Maister, to bring vs vnto it: & wée also very young and féeble, to receiue yt which hée sheweth vs: and let vs holde this trueth for so precious a Iewell, [Page] as that when wée haue compassed both heauen and earth, & thinke wée haue learned all, that it is all but smoke, and wil sléete away, vntil such time as we buyld vpon this most certaine & vnchangea­ble woorde. And this is the effect of that which héere wee are to con­sider of. Now, it is by & by said, That as Pilate was set downe in the iudgement seate, his wife sent vnto him and prayed him not to cō ­dēne Iesus Christ, because she had byn troubled with many things in her dreames▪ of him. No doubt of it, it was ye wil of God, diuers wayes, to testify of his innocencie: yea euen by Pylates owne mouth (as already hath bin said, & as herafter shalbe seene more at large) not but that God had concluded what should become of his onely Sonne. And so, forsomuch as his will was that hée shoulde be the Sacrifice, to take away, the sinnes of the worlde, it must néeds be yt the Scripture should be fulfilled. But it must also néeds fal out yt our Lord Iesus must be proued a iust & an innocēt man, yt we might ye better vnderstand that he was condēned for our sakes, of which condēnation we were guilty: & that whēsoeuer we heare of the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christ, wée shoulde con­tinually remember our sinnes and iniquities. Hereupon it is said, That Pilate desired to let loose our Lorde Iesus: For although he had the chiefest authority, without controlmēt, yet because he was in a strange countrey, and amongst a mutinous companie, yea, & had a garrison in the towne, the sedition troubled him. And here we sée what the cause was why he would subtilly & friendly procéed in the matter, Forsooth it was by reason that hée would haue appea­sed the people. Then it is said, that hée offred them their auncient custome, which was, That euery Easter hee shoulde let loose vnto thē whatsoeuer prisoner they would. For his meaning was that hée should die, yt he might be ye sacrifice, wc should be offered for our saluatiō & redēption. God hath but one only & plain wil & meaning, but it is wonderful to vs, & his procéedings are so strange, that we must be faine to cast down our eyes, and yet confesse that our Lord Iesus hath suffered, but not as mē would, but because yt we should haue such a pawne of ye infinite loue of God, & that our Lorde Iesus Christ might declare it, wherby he might shew how precious & déer yt saluatiō of our soules are to him, & therfore let vs wel cōsider of al these thinges. Moreouer, in the end Iohn saith, That although Iesus Christ was scourged, yet that the people strayned them­selues, [Page 57] to cry out the lowder, to haue him put to death. Thē Pilat rehearsed againe, that he heard that Iesus was the sonne of God: which were the wordes that touched him, and was more a fearde of that, then he was before. And marke why he asked, whence art thou? and when Iesus Christ helde his peace, knowest not thou (sayeth he) that I haue power to loose and condemne thée. Now, we sée heere why the Iewes brought in, such an accusation against our Lord Iesus Christ.

In very déede, the offence whiche might the rather moue the Gouernour of the Country, was, because hee tooke vpon him a kingdome: But when they sée that their malice was discoue­red, and that Pylat right well knewe that they were but fained leasings, they thereupon said, we haue a law by which he ought to dye. And that, they reserued for their priuiledge, to the ende they might not reason about religion. For the Romaines who were prophane people, and serued their idols onely for fashions sake, would maintaine their dominion, euery man as hée was minded. And thereupon they saide, hee hath made him selfe the Sonne of God, and therefore hath he blasphemed. It is true, that if our Lorde Iesus had not bene the redéemer of the world, hee had bene worthy to haue dyed, for callinge of him selfe the onely Sonne of God: For we are all the Children of God, séeing hée hath adopted vs by his grace, and this is the common vaine, and phrase of the holy scripture. And they which haue receiued any special grace, as Princes, and magistrates, are called the Sonnes of God another way.

Wherefore, by a farre greater reason, may Iesus Christ,Psal. 82. [...]. who was perfectly anoynted with the graces and vertues of the holy Ghost, very well be called the Sonne of God. But if hee had not bene the redéemer of the world, and had called himselfe, for honors sake the onely sonne of God, surely it had bene a deadlye offence. But how fell it out, that the Iewes accused him heereof? In the first place we are to note that it was for want of knowledge of the scriptures, because they knew not that he which should be the redéemer, should be manifested, to be the liuing God. And therfore because they had no knowledge of the Scripture, nor acquainted therewith but were lyke vnto brut beastes by reason of their neg­ligence, sée why they were so bould to condemne Iesus Christ.

The like rashnesse we sée to be in al those which are ignorant. For when we shall at this day heare them crye, thou hereticke: they speake it not because they are able to proue it, but the most doltish of them are carried with such a rage, as that they wyll (forsooth) he zealous, of the honour of God, and yet know why nor wherefore. Moreouer, they must enquire whether Iesus Christ was the Mes­sias, or not: howbeit the Iewes refused him without asking any question.

By this we are to learne, that if wee will haue such a zeale as God lyketh of, wee must bee ruled by a true knowledge and bee taught by his worde. For we may vtter whoat wordes, but they shall be but so many of Satan his rages, if we speake not like the Schollers of God: because hee is the onely competent Iudge, and reserueth this office to himselfe, to shewe vs, what his wyll is. Seing then it is so, let vs follow the word of God simplye, and bee quiet: and let our zeale be ruled by it, & this is it which we are to obserue in the first place. But when it is saide, That Pylate was more afearde then hee was before, when hee hearde the Sonne of God spoken of: heere we sée in the person of a wretched pagan, that a little séede of religion moued and pricked him, and so solycited his conscience as that he knewe not which way to turne him. Hée sée Iesus Christ altogether deformed, and hee him selfe had caused him to be scourged and he was before that very sham­fully vsed, with spitting and buffeting in the house of Cayphas to be short, a man vtterlye dispised and forsaken of all men: and yet the name of God moued Pontius Pilate, and engendred in him a meruelous feare. What then shall we do whenas we shal become lyke vnto brute beastes. For when any man shal speake to vs of God, if we be not some way kept in & restrained, we shal after the example of Pylate, be condemned in the latter day, we shal at this day sée such deuilish and horrible skorners, that if a man say vnto them, beholde what God sheweth vs, and alleadge his worde, and allow of that which they refuse, they care not, but wyl stoppe their eares, hood wynke their eyes, and their myndes are otherwyse oc­cupied, and so proude, as that there is no speaking of giuing eare: For thus they please them selues we are at a good poynt (say they) and so it shall be: It is euen so, yet looke vpon Pilate, who neuer had heard a word of the doctrine of God, yea he cōtemned the law [Page 58] so that what soeuer the Iewes dyd, he thought it to be but a fonde deuised thing, and worshipped his Idols: yet the name of GOD touched him, and hee conteined himselfe thereby, whenas hée hard it spoken of. And did hée this for any Maiestie or pompe that he sée to bee in Christe Iesus? No, for, the very name of God was it, that mooued him to this reuerence. What then shall become of them who shall bée condemned by this feare of Pilat, so long as they followe their accustomed maner of life, so that there can bee nothing wrong from them, although a man doe not onely talke vnto them of the name of God, and speake as it were sometimes glaunsingly, but offereth also both to teache them, & point thē out with the finger, the testimonies of the Scripture? If they vouch­safe not to consider of it, nor yet giue any diligent attendance ther­to, must it not néedes bée, but that the Diuell hath altogether pos­sessed them, and giue vs to vnderstande that they are very mon­sters, who haue quite giuen ouer all the séede of Religion, and ob­stinately set themselues against God, in dispite of nature? And this is it which we haue to consider of. Nowe howeuer it is, wée on the contrary part also sée, that whatsoeuer feare wée haue, and whatsoeuer our mindes and vnderstanding can comprehende for the honouring of God, wyll bée like none other thing but as a bright lightning, which flasheth in our faces, and is soone gone. For how did Pilate feare God, wee sée that it stande him not, but shewed so great crueltie, as if God had neuer béene? Thus wée sée, that they who are not gouerned by the spirite of God, shall on the one side bee so possessed with feare, as that they shall at some­tymes bee made to stoupe: But yet they newe gi [...]e ouer [...]ting vp of their hornes, quickely forgetting themselues,Exo. 8.8.28. &. 9.17. & 10.17. & Ex. 8.19. and dulling theyr consciences to doe wickedly. For wée sée that Pharao was many times put in feare, when as hée saide, I beséech thée pray vn­to God for me, And when he sée the wo [...]de of God so apparantly Surely, quoth hée, this is the finger of GOD, and I muste needes submit my selfe vnto him. But within a while after hée became worse, then euer hee was, euen so fared it with Pilate. Nowe, this is to admonishe vs, that wee make not accompt of the feare of GOD, as of a blaste of winde, but let it bee strongly rooted in our hearts. For how did Pilate feare God, For­sooth it was such a feare as made him only to be more inexcusable. [Page] And here wee may sée why God awakeneth the cōsciences of those that are a sléepe, and would vtterly cast of the yoke, which brin­geth them to a more narrow consideration of themselues, so that they shalbe made, spite of their téethes, to acknowledge their mise­ries, and féele their sinnes, although they woulde walter them­selues asléepe in them. And therefore all the doubtes, which all the contemners of God and the wicked haue, are euen so many ad­iournaments or dayes ouer, which God graunteth them, to make them voide of all excuse of ignorance. But anon after, they let slippe the Reine, and runne at randon, without any stay: as héere wée sée Pilate did. At the beginning hée was greatly afearde, but soone after hée returned to his olde byas againe. For thus he saide to Iesus, Knowest not thou that I haue power to loose, and condemne thee? Let vs héere in the first place note, that if he had béene a théefe, yet could not he once remoue his finger, with­out God had giuen him power. Howe then durst Pilate warrant himselfe such an outragious licence, to condemne and pardon as pleased him. And surely it were much better to set at libertie all Théeues, to robbe and spoyle in the woods, then to set men in so honorable a place. who take pleasure and delight in their authori­tie, and neuer haue any care of conscience, but bring the whole worlde vnto confusion.

Nowe, wée sée héere (as I haue said) that Pilate his feare neuer tooke déepe roote in him, but was onely a puft of winde. Where­fore let vs learne to haue asure and constant feare of God, that we may walk in his obedience, and valiantly fight against whatsoe­uer might put vs by, and alwayes thus restraine our selues, as that we prouoke not him to wrath, who hath all power ouer vs. And this is it which wée are héere to consider of. Let vs also be­sides consider, that the glory which Pilate attributed to himselfe, is notwithstanding turned to his great shame. For his enimies coulde neuer speake worse of him then for this: to wit, that hee woulde be taken to be a man of no discretion to discerne betwixte good and bad: and yet hée boasted himselfe of it. Héere therefore wée sée, that the higher the dispisers of God think to aduance them selues, they must alwayes feele, that they are the more shameful­ly to bée throwne downe: and God so giueth them ouer into a re­probate sence, as that they bragge of their iniquities, that they [Page 59] might become detestable both in heauen and earth. What is there then for vs to doe? Forsooth, let vs learne to glory in that which is good, and haue an eye to doe the thing that is lawefull. For they which glory in their mightinesse, and in their authoritie, without doubt doe prouoke the Lorde to anger, because they haue many times gotten their riches and credit by vnlawfull meanes, as by rioting, crueltie, and all kindes of extortion. Wherfore when they glory héerein, it is as it were to set them selues against the Lord. For he that hath gotten euery way by spoyle, will say I am wealthie: and sée, he wil say, I haue gotten, whenas he hath sucked the blood of the poore out of them. But howe? Surely, by deceipt and wicked practises, in robbing the one, and glutting the other. Another man, through abition, and vnlawful meanes, is aduaunced to some honor, and héerevpon forsooth, this man would bée greatly feared. And this kinde of dealing is manyfestly to stande against God, And therefore (as I haue said) let vs learne to glory in that which God alloweth and liketh of. True it is, that although there bée valure in vs, yet is it not lawfull to vsurpe the commendation which God reserueth to himself, and for the which wée ought to honor him, because, all that we haue commeth of his frée gifte. Wherefore, wée must not without doubt, glory in our selues, as if that which God giueth vs apperteined vnto vs: But, I say, our glory shoulde be onely in this, that it hath pleased God to adopt vs for his children, and hath giuen vs his grace to walke in his feare, and power also to abstaine from euill. And héerin, ought to be all our glory. And besides, if wée bée of no reputation in the worlde, let vs beséeche him to graunt vs pacience, and ra­ther desire to liue in this estate, then to bée exalted, and yet to re­ioyce and bée glad, but not as the worldlinges doe, who, make thē ­selues such sporte, as that there is nothing that is able to holde them in. And therefore the summe and effect wherein wée must glory: is this, to wyll and desire no more then God woulde haue vs to doe, and set our selues against whatsoeuer hée misliketh of, although the worlde and all such as commit tyranny, and excéede in doeing wickedly, reioyce in it. Wherefore let vs gladly and willingly leaue all these glories, desiring nothing els but to haue God to acknowledge and allow vs for his children. And this is in effect, the thing which wée haue héere to consider of.

Nowe, for a full conclusion, it is saide, That when Pilate sawe he preuailed nothing, and that the people made a greater stirre, hee washed his handes, and saide, I am innocent of the blood of this man. Wée haue already saide, that our Lorde Iesus muste bée founde innocent, euen by the Testimonie of the iudges owne mouth. For where it is laide that Iesus Christe was condem­ned, and suffered vnder Pontius Pilate, it is not sufficient for vs that wée haue vnderstood the History. But wée must eftsoones ac­knowledge that Iesus Christe was not onely innocent, but was also the fountaine of all holinesse and perfection. Why then was he condemned?Iohn. 1.29. 1. Pet. 1.19. Galat. 3.13. it shoulde séeme that héere are two diuers and sun­dry thinges. For, it is saide, that hée is the vnspotted Lambe of God. And because hee was the Lambe of God, it was méete that hee shoulde bée condemned as a Sacrifice. This worde, Lambe, importeth that hée must bée offered vp. And what is it that the law calleth Sacrifices? Forsooth, it is sinnes, and curses. And wée sée why it is said that our Lord Iesus was accursed for vs: to wit, he receiued vnto himselfe, the curse which was due for our sinnes. Thus wée sée in what qualitie and state hée was condemned: be­cause GOD had established, that hée shoulde bee as it were the Lambe, which shoulde be offered for a Sacrifice. Howbeit it was méete hée shoulde bée knowne to be without spot, and his puritie be openly séene, to the ende wée might take holde of our sinnes, vntyll the time wée knowe Iesus Christe to bée the myrror of all perfection, and enter into the tryall and examining of our sinnes, and bée displeased with them, and condemned, and we should haue béene, had he not deliuered and fréed vs. Nowe, when Pilate had taken the Bason and washed his hands, that was ouer trifling a a Ceremony and a very foolish fashion: as though he coulde haue discharged himself before God for it: Howbeit, when he attempted to appease the rage of the people, that was not to make his ex­cuse vnto God, For, he protested not before God, that he was inno­cent: but said only to the people, looke well to your selues my mai­sters: For, as for my selfe I am innocent. As if hée shoulde haue said, it is you that inforce mée to doe this. But all this (as I haue said) wil not excuse him. Neither did he the duetie of a Iudge: For he shoulde haue chosen rather to die an hundred times, then to haue declined from the doing of his duetie, whenas he sée such [Page 60] troubles in the worlde, yea, hée ought to haue had this magnani­mitie with him, to do the thing which he knew to be both good and iust. But when he saw the people in this heat, he was contented to be carried as pleased them. Notwithstanding, he must, in spite of his bearde, be a witnesse of the innocency of Iesus Christe, euen for the iustifiyng of him by his owne mouth. And yet he would néedes condemne him, howbeit therein lyeth al our comfort: for we know that when we are at this day brought to appeare before the iudge­ment seat of God, it is not to the end wee shoulde bee condemned. But because the blood of our Lorde Iesus Christ which was shed for vs, is the true and right clensing and washing of our soules, hée receiueth vs as pure and cleane. And thus wée see whereunto wée must trust. Yet for all this, we héere what the Iewes say: for they are so headlong caried, by the strength of Satan, as that they crie out, His blood be vpon vs and vpon our children. Now they were Gods inheritance, and the very elect and chosen amongest all the nations of the earth, and yet they gaue ouer this honor, and all the promises of saluation, and this holy aliance which God had establi­shed with their line. And héere we sée how they were deproued of al the benefites which God had before distributed vnto them, because they came of the seede of Abraham: and it came so to passe that the blood of our Lorde Iesus must fall on their heads euen to the vtter destruction of them and their posteritie, as before he had also de­clared▪ For thus it is saide,Mat. 23.3 [...] It must néedes be that your iniquitie must be great, and yt the blood of Martyres euen from the iust A­b [...], vnto Zachare as the sonne of Ba [...]acheas whom yée somtime slew, do put you in remembrance, and that you might sée that you haue béen alwaies murderers of the Prophets, and by that meane haue wa [...]ed against God and his worde. Thus we sée that the blood of our Lorde Iesus, which shoulde bee the saluation of the whole worlde, but specially of the Iewes, because the first begot­ten, apperteineth to them, hath cryed for vengeance against them. Howbeit, let vs nowe learne to plunge our selues in, and beséeche the Lorde to light vpon vs after another maner, both vpon vs and vpon our children particularly: that is to say, yt we myght be wa­shed & cleansed of thē, whēas we sée our selues, by reasō of our sins, to be abominable in ye sight of god, vntil such time as we be washed: [Page] and let vs suffer the blood which hath béene shed for our redempti­on, to light vpon vs, and bée deawed with it, by the power of the holy Spirite (as Saint Peter saieth in his Canonicall Epistle) and haue great regarde howe wée refuse the grace which God of­fereth vnto vs,1. Pet. 1.2. which ye Iewes lost through their vnthankfulnes, and prouoked him more and more to wrath. And therefore let vs at this day dispose our selues and bée ready to receiue the clean­sing of our Lorde Iesus Christe, which wée cannot lay holde on, but by faith, and beséeche the Lorde, that wee may not receiue this washing in vaine: but that wée may from day to day haue all our spots wyped away. Let vs also desire our God that it woulde please him to increase in vs this puritie, which our Lorde Iesus Christe purchased for vs, vntil such time as wée are come vnto his kingdome, where we shalbe discharged of all the corruptions of our sinnes.

Let vs nowe fall downe before the Maiestie of our good God, and acknowledge our offences, beséeching him that wée may haue such a liuely féeling of them, as that it may make vs runne with a greater desire to the remedie which is set before vs: (to wit, to the death which his onely Sonne suffered. And that wee may come with suche repentance, as may obteine mercy at his handes: and that, not onely for a day, but that it may also continue with vs both in life and death. And in the meane while that wée myght bée so renued by his holy spirite, as yt wée might perseuer in seruing and glorifiyng of him as he is worthie, and wholy cléene vnto our Lorde Iesus Christe: that since hée died, and is rysen againe, wee might liue and die in him, & seeke nothing els, but to make our selues conformable and fitte vnto his worde. And so, Let vs all say, O Almightie God, and heauenly father, &c.

The sixt Sermon of the Passion.

Matthew .xxvii.

27 THen the souldiers of the gouernour tooke Iesus in­to the common hall, and gathered about him the whole band.

28 And they stripped him, and put vpon him a Scarlet Robe.

29 And platted a crowne of thornes, & put it vpon his head, and a reede in his right hand, and bowed their knees before him, and mocked him, saying, God saue thee King of the Iewes.

30 And spetted vpon him, and tooke a reede and smote him on the head.

31 Thus, when they had mocked him, they tooke the Robe from him, and put his own raiment on him, and lead him away to crucifie him.

32 And as they came out they founde a man of Cyrene, na­med Simon, him they compelled to beare his crosse.

33 And when they came to the place called Golgotha (that is to say, the place of dead mens sculles)

34 They gaue vineger to drinke, mingled with Gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drinke.

35 And when they had crucified him, they parted his gar­ments, and did cast lots, that it might bee fulfilled, which was spoken by the Prophet, They deuided my garments among them, and vpon my vesture they cast lottes.

36 And they sate and watched him there.

37 They set vp also ouer his head the cause, written, THIS IS IESVS THE KING OF THE IEWES.

38 And there were two theeues crucified with him, one on the right hand, another on the left.

39 And they that passed by, reuiled him, wagging their heads.

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40 And saying, thou that destroyedst the temple, and buil­ded st [...] in three dayes, saue thy selfe: If thou bee the sonne of God come downe from the crosse.

41 Likewise also the high Priestes mockinge him with the Scribes and Elders, and Pharisees saide,

42 Hee saued others, but he cannot saue himselfe. If hee bee the King of Israel, let him nowe come downe from the crosse, and wee will beleeue him.

43 Hee trusteth in God, let him deliuer him now, if hee will haue him: for he said, I am the sonne of God.

44 That same also, the theeues which were crucified with him, cast in his teeth.

AS concerning the matter which before we haue handeled, we must yet a great deale better consider, that the kingdom of our Lorde Iesus Christe is not of this worlde. For wée sée that he was shamefully dealt withall and made a very iesting stocke: and in stéede of a kingly Diademe, hée had a crowne of thorne: in stéede of a Scepter a Réed, and besides, whatsoeuer shame might bée deuised against a man, it was done to him. And therefore if we shal let our senses stay vpō the thing which is héere rehearsed it will bée a maruellous obiect of offence as it were, to estrange vs from our Lorde Iesus Christe, and so consequently from all hope of saluation. But wée must looke vpō the spiritual kingdom, wher­of mention hath héere before ben made, by faith: and then conclude, That although wée make a iest at the kingdome of our Lorde Ie­sus Christe, yet doth God and the Angelles estéeme of it according to the worthinesse thereof. Yea and we are to call to minde, that the sonne of God was after that sort entreated, in his owne person, to the end hée might take vpon him all the rebuke & shame, which wée iustly had deserued. For, how can wée come before the Maie­stie of God, so long as we are defiled with sinne and iniquitie? But because our Lorde Iesus was contented to haue his face spet on, to bée buffetted, and abide all reproche, sée howe wée at this day [Page 62] are acknowledged and allowed to [...]e the children of God▪ and here­in standeth all our trust and confidence. We haue moreouer conti­nually to consider, that GOD will cause vs a little better to féele our sinnes and iniquities, to the end wée might abhorre and dete [...] them, when as wée sée, that the Sonne of God must repayre and amende them, and suffered so muche, to purchase vs grace and pardon, and the heauenly father also, not to spare him, for the doyng of it. Thus, when we sée that our sinnes were such as wrought so great a confusion and shame to the Sonne of God, we ought to be humbled, and be altogether ashamed of our selues, yet notwithstanding, we must take a good heart vnto vs, and be so ful­ly assured as not once to doubt when we shal come before the Ma­iestie of God, that our Lord Iesus Christ hath purchased our par­don, seing he was cōtented, for our cause, to be so lightly regarded. For by this mean, he hath gottē vs glory & worship euē before God & his Angels. Now it is here said that our Lorde Ies [...], was [...] to the place called Golgotha, to wit, a place of dead mens [...]kulles▪ The Hebrue woorde, from whence this is deriued, signifie th [...] to rowle or bowle: Howebeit they then vsed it so, because that whe [...] any carcase is through rotted and turned to dust, the head is then very drie, and like a round bowle: Wherefore they called the name of this place Golgotha, because that many malefactors [...] there punished, & there their heades remayned. And here we are to remember the saying of the Apostle in his Epistle to the Hebrues,Heb. 13.11. That our Lorde Iesus Christ was led out of the Towne as the burnt offrings were woont to be, whose blood was carries into the Sanctuarie for the wyping away of the sinnes of the people▪ Now, it was saide, that that sacrifice was as a man w [...]d say, accursed: and therfore it was méete it should be carried a great way of.

Thus we sée, that the sonne of God would take vpon him this state and condition, that we might in very [...] to that God hath now fréed and pardoned vs; For we are woorthie that GOD should geue vs ouer, and powre vpō vs his h [...]rrible [...], so lōg as he séeth what we are. Wherfore, there is now other way for vs to obtaine pardō, but to come vnto our Lord Iesus Christ, & re­ceiue al our succor from him, because he discharged vs of a greate burden, whenas hee woulde as it were, be [...]e accused and [Page] abhorred for our sakes that we might finde fauour before God, and so obey his holy will. For, although Pylate his Iudge, had often­times iustified him, yet for al that must he take vpon him in his owne person, al whatsoeuer was requisite for our redemption, for hée was our pledge and surety, and therefore must wholly answers for vs. So then, whē we haue vnderstood that our Lord Iesus was thus cast of, as one not worthy to be accōpted amongst ye felowship of men, yea, euen so stinking, as that he could not be abidden: whē we sée al this, I say, let vs learne to follow him, & forsake ye world, as here in this place we are exhorted. And if it so fall out, that wée must néeds be made iesting stockes, and bée cut of as rotten mem­bers, and bée abhorred and detested. Let vs paciently abide al this geare, and not sée it, vntill such time as that day commeth wher­in our sorowes shalbée turned into ioy, & God shal wype away the teares from our eyes, and that the thing which is nowe thought to bée, as shameful, shall then bée wholly turned to honour and glory. For without al doubt, looke whatsoeuer wée suffer for the name of Iesus Christ, is more honorable before God, then all the pompes and glittering shewes of this worlde. And this is it which wée are to consider of in this place. Nowe the Euangelist goeth on and saieth, that they which passed by, mocked our Lord Iesus, but especially the Priestes, the Scribes, and such like. And what was the matter I beséeche you? Forsooth thus they saide: If hee bee the Sonne of GOD, let him come downe and saue himselfe for hée hath saued others, and if hée bée the king of Israel, let him nowe shewe himselfe so. Héere wée sée howe terrible blinde these wretched people were, whom Satan had so possessed as that they had neither féeling nor yet discretion. Wée sée also the Priestes, who shoulde haue béene the Angels or messengers of GOD: for hée had appoynted them for that purpose,Malach. to the ende his worde and will, might be knowen from their mouthes. VVee sée likewise the Scribes, who were acquainted with the lawe, and yet by thin­king to make our Lorde Iesus no bodie, declared that they troade vnder foote the Holie Scripture, al the Religion where­of they so much bragged. For when the Messias was spoken of vnto them before,Mat. 2.5. they coulde say that hee muste bee borne in Bethlehem, and they were aduertised and informed also that the redéemer whiche was promised them, muste suffer such a death. [Page 63] And this was no darke thing: The place of Isaiah also was ma­nifest, if so be there had béene a recitall made of that which our Lorde Iesus indured. They might therefore, knowe that it was impossible to haue those thinges better set downe in order, then the Prophet had doone, although hee spake of it many yéeres before. And besides, there are many sayinges both in Zachery, & in Da­niell, that God would gather his people together, and thereby re­store his Churche againe: which is, that the redéemer should suf­fer all the shame and curse of the worlde. Why then are they so bent against the sonne of God, when hee discharged his office, as hath sufficiently béen declared by the Prophetes? Surely, wee may see that Satan carried them away, whenas they had forgot­ten all that they knewe before. And therefore, let vs be wel ad­uised, so to walke in the feare of God, as that when we haue had a taste of his worde, we reuerently receiue him, & obey our Lorde Iesus Christe who is there, offered vnto vs. For in him it is, that wée must finde all perfect blessednesse: if so bee we come humbly vnto him. For if we thinke to rest with God, it is reason our foole hardinesse should be paid the same wages, that these wretched men of whom héere we reade, were, who were so violently carried with fury and rage.

Now, we are to make our profite by these blasphemies, in tur­ning them cleane contrary. For we see, that because our Lorde Ie­sus Christe woulde be our king and head, it cost him therefore his life, And the enimies of the truth said. [...]f he be the king of Israel, let him saue himselfe: But this must he abide in his owne person, for the purchasing of our saluation. Whie then would not our Lorde Iesus Christe spare himselfe? Wherefore suffered he so bitter and slaunderous a death, but because it could not be, that we should bée deliuered but only by such a raunsome. And therefore we ought to bend our selues against all the supporters of Satan, & against all such villanies as vomite out such blasphemies as the Euangelist speaketh of: and be most assured, that we haue in déed a king, who hath more estéemed of our saluation, then of his owne life, and a­bidden whatsoeuer was méet for our redēption, hauing none other respect, but to redéeme that which was lost. For our case were de­sperate, if the sonne of God had left vs in our estate & conditiō. But when he so hūbled himselfe vnto death, by which we are deliuered [Page] and abode al this so paciently, this is the cause why God now stret­cheth foorth his hande & power, to succour vs in our necessitie. And therfore it was méete ye God should forsake our Lord Iesus Christ, that wée might at this day vnderstand, that hée is watchfull ouer our saluation, and will be redy to helpe our wantes, when we call on him for it. Let vs also learne to arme our selues against such temptations, whenas the Diuell shall goe about to assaile vs, and woulde make vs beléeue that God hath forsaken vs, and turned his backe vpon vs, thereby to make vs thinke it, a vaine thing, to put our trust in him. Wherefore, let vs euen then vnderstand, that Iesus Christe is the true defendor of all the faithfull, and hath she­wed vs the way what to do: and therfore it is good reason that we should follow him in the same trace. For, he hath abidden, to haue such blaspemies to bée powred out against him, and yet hath so con­stantly withstood, as that he hath obteined heereby victory for vs. And therefore let vs valiantly resist whenas the Diuel shall come to attempt vs, to turne our faith vpside downe, and shut the gate against vs, that wée should not haue accesse to God, as though hée had cléerely forgotten vs. But let vs follow our Lord Iesus Christ & waite the good time when god stretcheth foorth his arme, to shew that he hath cōpassion vpon vs, and is our father, although hée suf­fereth vs for a while to be so beaten downe. And thus we sée what ye iestes & scofs are which were blyrted out against our Lord Iesus Yet had they moe of them, for thus they said, He trusted in God, let him deliuer him now, if he loue him. This saying, was alreadie prefigured in the person of Dauid:Psal. 22.9. For these very wordes are re­cited, when as he complained that his enimies had taken occasion to speake euill against him, and treade him vnder foote, reproching him for the trust and confidence that he had in God. Now, it is cer­taine, that this is the deadliest woūd that Satan can giue vs: For as the life of man consisteth in the soule, euen so the life of the soule consisteth in faith, & in the refuge which we haue vnto God, being stayed vpon his promises. If we be spoyled héereof, wée are cleane vndone, & vtterly spoiled. And thus we sée why Satan went about to turne the faith which Iesus had in God his father vpside down It is true that Iesus Christe fought with another manner of po­wer thē we are able: for no incredulitie could touch him: But how­euer it was, yet he felt how gréeuous those temptations were. For [Page 64] as the Diuell had before deuised such thinges, hée now redoubled them in his supporters. For hée had said vnto him, If thou bee the sonne of God make these stones to become bread, that thou maiest eate: because thou art hunger staruen.Ma.. 4.13. And séest thou not that thou must be tryed whether thou hast any power or no.

Now in this, Iesus Christe felt no more, then when they héere reproched him for putting his trust in God. And although we haue not the like power so to resist, without falling: yet ought we to be strengthened by him, because wée knowe that hée vanquished and ouercame all these temptations for vs, and for our commoditie. And this is also another thing which they said, That hee had saued others, and could not saue himselfe. Héere wée sée again, that they were giuen ouer into a reprobate sense. For, in that hée saued o­thers, was not this a sure and an infallible token of his heauenly power? Iesus Christe raysed the dead, which they knewe well e­nough, hée gaue the blinde their sight, hée healed the sicke of the pal­sie, restored the lame, and cast out the Diuels themselues. And thus wée sée that Iesus Christe powred foorth the great treasures of his goodnesse, and power in all his myracles: and yet they repro­ched him with them for all that. Wée therefore héere sée that these miserable bewitched people, without constraint of any man, are their owne Iudges, to take away all excuse from themselues: so that when they shall appeare before the iudgement seat of our Lorde Iesus Christe, they shal neuer bée able to alleadge any thing to saue themselues: for beholde their owne mouthes condemne them. For if our Lorde Iesus saued other, without doubt hée was able to saue hymselfe, but that he preferred others before him selfe. What other thing can héere bée seene, saue onely a wonder­full goodnes, in that he would bée throwne downe as men thought to drawe vs out of the bottomeles depthes: that he woulde suffer all that wée deserued, to the end he might acquite vs thereof: to be short, hée forsooke all temporall welfare: that is to say, hée cared not for his life, hée spared not his owne person, that wee might bee assured of our euerlasting saluation, and haue such a pawne and payment for it. So much the more therefore ought our faith to bée strengthened: and when wée sée, that al whatsoeuer the diuel hath deuised to trouble and hinder vs from going to our Lorde Iesus [Page] Christ, ought to serue for our furtherance, that we might be there­of assured and profite our selues thereby. Now, this is certaine, that the Diuell bendeth all his force to hinder vs in this behalfe. For hée knowing wherein our saluation lyeth, hath set himselfe al­together against it, that hée might spoyle vs thereof. For hée knoweth, that if hée can bring vs to bée offended at the person of our Lorde Iesus Christe, that wée are all vndoone by it: and wée haue too too much experience thereof.

Moreouer, all the offences which the Diuell rayseth against vs, and setteth before our eyes, to withdrawe vs from the sonne of God, should be things to confirme vs. For (as alredy hath béene declared) when it is saide that Iesus Christe saued others, and not himselfe: it is a speache which in our iudgement shoulde cause vs to conceiue a disdaine against the person of the sonne of God euen to refuse him, and not to truste in him. But let vs cleane contrary vnderstand, that when the sonne of God had no regard to himselfe nor cared for his owne life, it was, because hée estéemed the salua­tion of soules to bée so deare and precious, as that he would bestow all hée had thereon. And therefore, since it is so, wée shoulde bée so fully minded, as to call on him, and be throughly certified, that he suffered not on vaine for vs.

Now, for that they said, Behold him which destroyeth the tem­ple, and buildeth it again it three dayes, this was too too villanous a malice to faine that Iesus Christe saide, that he woulde destroy the Temple.Iohn. 2.19. But he said, destroy yée this Temple, and in the ende of thrée dayes I will builde it againe. Now, hée had none other meaning, but that his enimies should be the destructiō of the tem­ple which he spake of. And when they had crucified him, might they not thē haue vnderstood yt the thing was alreadie begun to be accomplished? For they were not ignorant that Iesus Christe she­wed himselfe to be the true Temple of God, as touching his hu­mane body: [...]. Tim. 3.16. for séeing his Godhead was manifested in the fleshe, and his diuine being, was vnited vnto our nature, since I say, all the fulnesse of the Godhead dwelleth in him, it is out of all doubt, that his Body was more worthie to bée called a Temple, then the Temple of Ierusalem, yea, more worthie then all the hea­uens. Now, they destroyed it, as much as lay in them, and hee [Page 65] built it againe in the ende of thrée dayes. Neither had they forgot­ten it: for they knewe,Mat. 27.63. that they had soone after tolde as muche to Pylate. But héerein we sée, that when the Deuill hath taken pos­session of vs, hee maketh vs so blockish, as that there is no wit in vs to discerne betwéene good and euil: and wée grow so ful of mad­nesse, as that wée will clearely cast God out at the Cartes arse, as wée say, euen as though fully, and of set purpose we meant to di­strust him. Now, when we sée this, let vs be admonished to walke so much the rather in the feare of God, when we knowe howe hée hath wrought by his wonderfull power, to declare that Iesus Christ spake not these wordes out of his owne mouth in vayne, Destroy this Temple, and in thrée dayes I will build it agayne. For, to the outwarde shewe, and according to our reason, we sée nothing els in his death, but shame and confusion: howbeit Iesus Christ amended all in his resurrection. And therefore, since it is so, our faith ought to be so much the rather confirmed, and wée to set our selues against Satan, and against all that hée is able to i­magine and deuise for the shaking of our faith, and making of vs to doubt. As concerning that which is saide, That they gaue our Lorde Iesus Christ vineger, mingeled with Gall and Myrrhe, to drinke, It is to be presumed that they did it, according to the cu­stome that was in those dayes, to shorten the life of malefactors. Howbéeit our Lorde Iesus, when hée had tasted of it, woulde not drinke it, because hée knew that his houre was not yet come. They had then a custome, that before the malefactors were vpon the top of the Gallowes, to giue them this drinke, that it might trouble the blood, and so they should yéeld vp the ghost the sooner. For this kinde of death was verie cruell, and therefore they had néed of these helpes. And in déede, wée shall hereafter sée, that the théeues had their bones crushed and broken, to the end they might féele no more payne. But howeuer it was, our Lord Iesus would not drinke this drinke, because hée would shew that hée was readie, obedient­ly to receiue the state and condition, which God his Father had committed vnto him. In déede, this was a verie sharpe kinde of death: For (as we haue before heard) ouer and beside the terrible­nesse of it, there were in it spirituall torments, whereof by Gods leaue we will speake to morrow. All which, were to cause our Lord Iesus to hasten his death as much as was possible: but his [Page] will was, to submit him selfe, most obediently to abide what pu­nishment soeuer, vntill hée were deliuered without the helpe of man. And this is it which here we haue to consider of. But as for the parting of his garments, and the casting of lots on them, these thinges were done,Psal. 22.19. that the scipture might be fulfilled. For Da­uid being a figure of our Lorde Iesus Christ maketh the like com­plaintes. True it is that this was spoken but by way of a simili­tude, when it is saide, that vineger and gall were mixt together in his drink,Psal. 69.22. and that there was a deuise made to spoile him, and that hée should be more and more greeued in his afflictions: euen as cru­ell and sauage people will adde more affliction vnto miserable soules, whē they haue done the worst they can. And this similitude Dauid vsed, when it is said that hée was made a pray, euen for the spoile. For he spake it in respect of his wife, his house, and of all his goods and state of life. Howbeit, it must néedes be, that this must be openly séene in the person of our Lord Iesus Christ. And therefore, vineger & gall was giuen him, that it might be knowne that Da­uid was but a figure of him in déed, & that hée was the true Redée­mer, promised from the beginning. For, why was the kingdom ad­uaunced in the house of Dauid, except it had béen promised that it should longer continue, then the Sunne and Moone? And therefore it was the euerlasting kingdome, which was established in ye per­son of the Redéemer. For it was méete, that these thinges which were shadowed and figured in the person of Dauid, should be made perfect in Iesus Christ, as here we sée. Moreouer, as for that which the Euāgelist speaketh of, for the théeues that were with our Lord Iesus Christ, who mocked him, that is set downe as a thing by it selfe:Luke. 23.39. as appeareth by S. Luke, who hath declared these thinges more at large. Howbeit, this is a common maner of spéech: as if a man should say, This is spoken as if it were to yong children, for if there were but one, yet it would bee taken in the plurall number. It was méete also that there should be some women amongst. And yet there was but one. And therfore, after this maner it is said, yt al men set thēselues against him, & mocked & blasphemed him, euen the théeues themselues. For when a man is hanged betwéene two théeues, it is to the end, the more to aggrauate this shameful death. In déed, this was ye place, where they were wonted to execute ma­lefactors. And yet they were not contented that they had put him to this foyle: But it must néedes be, that he must be estéemed to be [Page 66] worse then the arrandest and strongest théeues of the world, when as they were both hanged, one each side one, to the end it might bée said, that hée was the maister théefe amongst them all. And heerein (as S. Marke saith) the saying of the Prophet was verified,Mar. 15.28. that he was accounted amongst the wicked. Now, and if he had not béen thus accounted of, in what case should we at this day stand before the Lord? For we could not obteine grace without iustice. It is méet that God should hate & reiect vs, vntill such time as we were made righteous, and cleansed of all our sinnes and offences in his sight. And that it might be so, could God deny himselfe? Could he be robbed of his holinesse, righteousnesse, & puritie? And therfore whē ­soeuer we shal come before him all filthy and besmeared, hée must néedes abhorre vs. How should we then be iustified before God, ex­cept our Lorde Iesus Christ had béen accounted amongst malefac­tors. Wherefore we are exempt out of this ranke, & God receiueth vs, and taketh vs as me according vnto his hearts desire, as if we were altogether cleane & innocent, because our Lord Iesus Christ suffred such shame and slander before men. And this is it which in summe we are to consider of touching théeues. But to make a full conclusion, we must set down the words of S. Luke, which is, that one of the théeues, rebuked his companiō, when as he sée him so ob­stinate. What saith he, it wil be hie time for thée now, or els neuer, to stoupe & humble thy self. For behold, the cōdemnation & punish­ment which thou suffrest for thy misdéeds & faults: thou art a man plunged ouer head and eares in all curses: & although thou hast bin so beastly, as to delight thy selfe all thy life long in thy wickednes, yet shouldest thou now begin to sigh and grone. For, the most disso­lute man that is, although he wantonly passe his time all his life long and neuer thinketh to come to a reckoning, & scorneth iustice, and setteth himself against it, because he thinketh he shal escape vn­punished, yet whē he is laid hold on, words wil not serue his turn. Behold (saith he) in what great torments thou art: and thou seest that both God & men do bring thée to an account: & thy cōscience al­so telleth thée, yt it is for thy sins that thou suffrest this: & wilt thou for all this, set thy selfe against God. Thus we sée, yt this saying ve­rie well declareth, that this théefe was taught by the spirit of God. And although we shal, out of all cry (as we say) sée this verie often: yet may we iudge by this saying, what a good schoolemaster ye spirit [Page] of God is, when as he so well instructeth those who haue erred, and haue become like bruite beasts: that they haue not onely acknow­ledged their offences, and submitted them selues for the obteining of grace: but also haue béen able eftsoones to talke lyke Doctours, and like men which had long time béene acquainted with the holy Scriptures. For, can we make a better and sounder exhortation to a man that is growne so hard hearted, and which neuer ceaseth to storme against God, when as hée should yéeld, and come to re­pentaunce, then such a one, as this wretched théefe hath here made. But how euer it is, this kind of admonitiō did him no good, whom Satan in such sort had possessed, but to make him without excuse. And although it did him no good to whom it was made, yet let it auayle vs at this day. And albeit God spareth vs, yet let vs learne to feare him: But chiefly and aboue all, if hée scourgeth vs, and will haue vs féele that hée is angrie with vs, Let vs then bée the rather touched to groane, and constantly and patiently suffer our afflictions, as wée sée the poore théefe to haue done: and not proud­ly and outragiously lift vp our selues as the other did.

Moreouer, we sée these two, to be as it were the mirrours of all mankinde: because we sée in what miseries we are wrapped. For this life is euen an hell of all miseries, euen the verie fruite of our sinnes, because we were depriued of the blessing of God by the fall of Adam. And yet this is true, that God of his inestimable good­nesse hath surpassed this curse, when as hée continually hath she­wed him selfe sundrie wayes: a Father, making vs to féele the gentlenesse, and loue which hee beareth vs, and the care also which hée hath ouer vs. Howbeit we haue many signes and tokens of our sinnes, by which we may perceiue that God curseth vs both in heauen and in earth: because that death is common to vs all. For when we haue languished in this world, and haue béene subiect to many diseases, to heate and colde, and haue béen gréeued and tor­mented diuers manner of wayes: to be short, that we haue suffe­red infinite miseries, what will be the end of all? Surely euen this, That we must turne into rottennesse and dust. Now, we sée some, whom God so toucheth, as that the afflictions which they endure serue them for their benefite, and are good helpes vnto them accor­ding to that saying of S. Paule.Rom. 8.28. And others we sée to waxe worse: [Page 67] and in steade of humblinge them selues, and to bee repentaunt, are so much the more infected and poysoned: prouokinge eftsoones the wrath of God, and driuing him into an hoat burning flame, to consume them therin: and all this we sée. And therefore let vs looke vpon these two théeues, as the mirrors of all the worlde: for from hte hyest to the lowest, wee are all gultye before the Lorde. Yea and yf we all suffered this together, what is hee that might bragge of his innocencye: or who is hee that coulde purchase his pardon? Wherefore séeinge wee are ouer head and eares in con­demnation, wee iustly suffer for our sinnes: and yet we wyll not all alyke graunt it: because there are some (as we haue said) which waxe rather worse, and there rebellion agaynst God is openlye séene: For they gnashe their téeth, spewe out their rage and cru­eltie, and will neuer agrée to this condemnation: or els they take the bit in their mouthes, and shewe them selues so stubborne, as that they wyll not stick to saye, that God shall winne nothing by it, nor yet haue the masterie of them.

Now, let vs conclude, that when miserable sinners acknow­ledge their sinnes, and be humbled, and confesse the debt, giuinge glory to God, declaring also that he handleth thē iustlye and right­lye, and yt it is good reason they should be so chastised: when I say, wretched sinners be drawne to this reason, let vs vnderstand, that God hath put to his hande, and touched them with his holy spirit, that we may sée his wonderful infynit goodnes, whēas he pulleth those out of destruction, and hell, whose case before, was as it were desperat.

In sūme, we sée in the person of this miserable théefe, so excellent an example of faith as neuer was séene. And therfore we should be so much the rather rauished with such a miracle as thē God wrou­ght for in what state stoode he? Beholde he was nie his death: hée suffered horrible tormentes: he looked to haue his bones to be cru­shed and broken, and to be dismembered: whiche was so sharppe and terrible a torment, as that it was euen enough to haue made him haue lost both sence and memorye: hee sawe also our Lorde Iesus who most flaunderouslye was to be hanged there, as well as him selfe: and yet sée what wordes he vsed? for he doth not onely acknowledge his sinnes for the humblinge him selfe be­fore [Page] God, he doth not onely vse the office of a teacher to bring home his companyon, and to set him in the right way, but maketh suche a confession as is more worth then all the rest, if we consider well the circumstances. I beseeche thee (saieth hée) remember mee whenas thou commest into thy kingdome. How was it possible that he could conceiue that Iesus Christ had a kingdome? for hee was hanged on trée, and cursed of God and men. For, this sayinge of the lawe, was spoken by the mouth of God: cursed is hee that hangeth on tree.Deut. 21.23. Galat. 3.13. Neither dyd this come to passe by chaunce (as we commonly say) that God put his onely sonne to it. And therefore, when he sée Iesus Christ to be there accursed both before God, and men, yea as one throwne downe into a desperat case, as farre as mans reason could reach vnto, hee had not such a stayed brayne to say that Iesus Christ was a Kinge, without hee had spoken it in faith and in spirit. For, he saw such thinges as might haue made him decline from ye son of God, & to haue made him thus conclude, yt it was but an abuse & mockery to trust in him: and yet he called him king, whē he sée him ready to dye. I beseeche thee (sayeth hee) saue mee, and graunt mée lyfe: For it thou wilt remember mée, that, is all the blessednesse that I desyre.

Now, when wee shall well consider of these circumstances, without all doubte, the faith of this théefe was so excellent and great, as that neuer any man that euer lyued, had the lyke. And therefore, let not vs be a shamed to be his disciples: for, to say the trueth, the death of our Lord Iesus Christ wyll neuer stande vs in any stead except we condemne our selues, that we might be saued through him: neither will God euer pardon vs, without wee con­fesse our selues to be most wicked & filthy. Since then it is so that we are guiltie before God, and that our owne cōsciences doo iudge and condemne vs, let vs not be a shamed to folow this théefe his steps, séeing he may be a good Scholemaster vnto vs. And because our Lord Iesus is ascended now into heauen, and hath taken pos­session of the glory which God his father hath giuen him,Phil. 2.10. to ye end euery knée might bow vnto him, let vs not doubt to put our selues wholy into his custody, & cōclude & say, loe wherin lieth our felicity to wit ye Iesus Christ is mindful of vs, & gouerneth vs: & because he was ordayned to be our shepheard, he wil be watchful ouer our saluation, yt we might be safe & sure vnder his hand and protection.

Moreouer, let vs learne, paciently to beare the miseries of this present life, so that it maketh not vs decline from comming vnto our Lord Iesus Christ. For we sée here, that the théefe was heard: and yet was hee faine to abide and harde and terrible death. Let vs therefore so estéeme of the spirituall grace which is giuen vs by our Lord Iesus Christ, and which is dayly offred vnto vs by the prea­ching of the Gospell, as that it may make vs ouercome all the an­guishes, griefes, domages, troubles and temptations, which any way may come vnto vs, so that all our afflictions might be miti­gated: because we know that they shal all turne to our benefit and welfare, through the grace of our Lord Iesus Christ. And this is it which we are here to obserue. And besides, let vs here to ioyne the the answere of our Lord Iesus Christ, when he promised that hée should be that day with him in Paradise. For, although our Lord Iesus was not as yet risen from death, nor had not accomplished all that was requisit for our redemption, and saluation, yet had hée alreadie powred abroad the power & fruit of his death and passion. True it is, that the fulfilling of all, rested in the resurrection: But since it is conioyned with his death and passion, and that we know he suffred in the weaknesse of his flesh, euen so is he risen again by the vertue of his spirit: and as he suffred for our sinnes, that wée might be made frée before God: so likewise rose he againe for our iustification: Nowe, when we knowe all this, I say, let vs with so much the more bold courage, come frankly vnto him: & not doubt, but that whē he pleaseth to remember vs, and hide vs vnder ye sha­dow of his winges, that we may be able to stande against Satan, death, and al miseries, & glory in our weaknesse. And although we be in the sight of the world, but miserable wretched ca [...]tifes, yet let vs not for all that cease to reioyce in God, by reason of ye tast which he giueth vs by faith, of the heauenly glory & enheritance which hée hath so dearely purchased for vs, from the which we cannot be put if we hope for it.

Let vs now fall downe before the maiestie of our good God, and acknowledge our offēces, beséeching him to make vs more & more, to féele the gréeuousnes of them, & to be so touched with thē, as that our repentance might continually, be mightiller cōfirmed, that we might grone for them and so walk in the feare of our God, as that, he might be glorified by vs: to the end we might shew wherfore hée hath redéemed vs, and learne to consecrate our selues in all puritie [Page] to him, and to this great Sauiour, who hath sanctified him selfe, that we might also be pertakers of his holinesse. And that it would please him to poure the graces of his holie spirite vpon vs, that by the same meanes wée might be cleansed of all the infirmities and corruptions of our flesh. That hée would not onely graunt vs, this grace, but vnto all people, &c.

The seuenth Sermon of the passion.

Matthew xxvii.

45 ANd from the sixt houre, there was darknesse ouer all the lande, vnto the nineth houre.

46 And about the ninth houre, Iesus cryed out with a loude voice, saying, Eli, Eli, Lamasabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken mee?

47 Then, some of them which stood there, when they heard that, saide, This man calleth for Elias.

48 And by and by, one of them ranne, and tooke a spoonge, and when hee had filled it full of vineger, and put it on a reede, hee gaue him to drinke.

49 The rest saide, Let bee, Let vs see whether Elias will come to saue him.

50 When Iesus had cryed againe with a loude voice, hee yeel­ded vp the Ghost.

51 And behold, the vayle of the Temple was rent in two pee­ces, from the toppe to the bottome, and the earth did quake, and the stones rent.

52 And graues were opened, and many bodies of Saintes which slept, arose.

53 And after they were come out of the graues after his re­surrection, came into the holie Citie, and appeared vnto many.

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54 When the Centurion and they that were with him, who watched Iesus, sawe the Earth quake, and the thinges that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truely, this was the Sonne of God.

WE saw and heard yesterday, that al the scorners and blasphemers of the Ma­iestie of God, were no wayes able to hinder and let, that the death & passi­on of our lord Iesus, should not bring foorth and manifest the power & force thereof, euen amiddest the most hor­rible cōtemners and vnthankful peo­ple of the world. For, marke and be­holde, that notwithstanding the hor­norablest of the Iewes, chiefliest scorned the sonne of God: yet had hée compassion of the poore and miserable théefe, and graunted him euerlasting life. And therefore, no man ought to darken and lessen the glorie of the Sonne of God. Nowe, if any man alledge & say, that the state of the miserable théefe is not to be compared with the chiefe Gouernours of the Church, being the Priestly trybe whom God had chosen, for the teaching of the lawe: it is out of all doubt, that when we speake of the saluation which God of his fré mercy purchased for vs, we must not looke for any worthinesse that is to be founde in vs: But rather agrée to that saying of Saint Paule.1. Tim. 1.13. That this is a true doctrine, that Iesus Christ came into the world to saue sinners. And therefore, when wée consider of the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christ, it is méete that all men should yéeld, and confesse them selues to be most miserable and shameful, to the end God might poure vpon them by that meanes the trea­sures of his mercy, without any other regard to helpe vs, saue that he seeth vs, most miserably to be plunged ouer head and eares. And because that this théefe was a most abiect man, and that God had so sodeinly called him yet séeing the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ, which hée suffred for all mankinde, was auaileable vnto him, the same should a great deale the rather confirme vs. [Page] Wherefore, it is out of all question, that God, here thrusteth out his hand as it were, to all those who thinke them selues worthie thereof, and deserue it, or at the least to such as the common people thought the most excellent. But when hée pulleth damned soules out of the pyt of hell, and when hée sheweth himselfe merciful vn­to those who were vtterly voide of all hope of life, herein shyneth his wonderful goodnes. And this is it which giueth vs an entrance into saluation: for although hypocrites confesse that they are great­ly beholden vnto God for his grace and fauour, yet shut they the gate vpon them selues, by reason of their arrogancy: for their pride is such, as that they cannot submit them selues vnto our Lord Ie­sus Christ. And therfore, let vs in the first place be fully resolued, that Iesus Christ calleth vnto him miserable sinners, which are a­shamed of themselues, & stretcheth out his armes to receiue them. For, if this be not in vs, we shal neuer haue the heart to come vnto him. But when we shal be throughly persuaded, that hée purchased saluation for those who would acknowledge and submit thēselues, to be most miserable and wretched sinners, and be vtterly asha­med, & cōfesse their giltines, (as in déed they ought) before ye iudge­ment seate of God: let vs be well assured that we shal soone attain to be partakers of the righteousnes which is héere offred vs, which is, the obteining of fauour and grace at the handes of God. Now, héere vpon followeth, That from the sixt houre vnto the nineth, there was darknesse ouer all the lande: Hée speaketh thus cleane contrary to our common maner of spéech, for wee woulde say from six houres to nine houres. But the Euangelist hath followed the ordinary maner of spéech that was then vsed. For whē he speaketh of the third houre, hée meaneth not at thrée of the clocke: but the fore part of the day. And here in summe, are two things to be consi­dered of. The one is, that they counted the houres otherwise then we doe at this day: for they reckoned, the day to beginne from the Sunne rising, vnto the going downe, which was twelue houres, where we take the day to be foure and twentie houres, accounting from midnight, vntill midnight folowing. And therfore the clocks were to be set in such sort, as that the houres in Sommer shoulde not be longer then they were in Winter, and as the dayes were longer or shorter, euen so were the houres longer or shorter. The other point is this, They deuided the day into foure partes, & quar­tered [Page 70] it frō thrée houres, to thrée houres, calling euery quarter by the beginning of the first houre. Insomuch, that, ye time which was from the Sunne rising, vnto ye second part of ye day, they called the first houre. The second part, which was from that time vnto myd­night, they called the third houre. The third houre, beganne after midnight, & lasted thrée or foure houres after. And the fourth & last part, continued from the Sunne setting vntill night. And sée, why one of the Euāgelists saith, that Iesus Christ was crucified about the third houre: where it is here said, yt it was about the sixt houre.Mar. 15.25. Now, our Euangelist saith, that there was darknesse from the sixt hour vnto the ninth. For our lord Iesus was crucified betwixt the third & sixt houre: and was condemned by Pylate about the third houre. And S. Marke his meaning is, that it was in the ende of the third houre, & not at the beginning of it, when as hée describeth the time that our Lord Iesus was led vnto Golgotha. Now, hée was vpon the Crosse vntill the ninth houre, euen then when as it drew all to an ende. And so it is most like to be true, yt our Lorde Iesus hung not on the Crosse aboue thrée houres. During which time, it is said, yt there was darknesse ouer the face of all the whole land of Iudea. For it was not a generall Eclipse ouer the whole worlde. For, if it had bin so in déede, it would haue blemished the myracle which God ment to shew: for then the Eclipse would haue bin said to come by the order of nature. And on the other side, few mē wold haue said, that it had béene in other countries: and they also which make mention therof, might iustly be suspected. But behold, it was the onely countrey of Iudea that was couered with darknesse. And what time? forsooth euen about thrée houres after noone, when as the Sunne was nothing néere the setting: But it behooued that it should then be so darke, contrary to all common order, because it might bring a terror and feare vpon all the land. Now, some think that this was done in token that God abhorred the déede, as if hée meant to cyte the Iewes, to the ende they might haue some féeling of this their horrible cryme which they had committed: and as if hée would signifie vnto them by this visible signe, that all the crea­tures in the world ought to be ashamed of so detestable an act, as the putting of our lord Iesus Christ in such sort to death.

But wée haue to note, that in respecte of the Iewes, the death of our Lorde Iesus Christe ought to bée taken [Page] as it were for a most terrible offence, and surely God greatly dete­sted their villainous iniquitie: because it surpassed all the rest. And to say the trueth, if murther and such like things are to be hated, what shall we say to the most wicked handeling of the Sonne of God? As to sée men to be so bewitched, euen to make no account of him who was the very fountain of life: and so to lift vp themselues as to abuse the memorie of him, by whom we were created, and by whose power we liue and haue our being. And yet the death of our Lorde Iesus Christ is become a swéete smelling sacrifice: for wée must haue continuall recourse to this,Ephe. 5.2. that it was the reconciliati­on of the worlde, as heretofore we haue saide. Moreouer, darknesse was ouerspread, that the Sonne might bee a witnesse of the di­uine and heauenly Maiestie of our Lord Iesus. And therefore, al­though he were for a short time abased and contemtible: yea (and as S. Paule saith) made of no estimation amōgst men: yet did the Sonne shewe his reuerence to him: and in token thereof hid him­selfe.Phil. 2.7. Since then it is so, Let vs vnderstande that God, because hée woulde make the wicked to bee so muche the more inexcusable, meant that Iesus Christ should shew him selfe in his death to bée the soueraigne King ouer all creatures: & that the tryumph wher­of Saint Paule speaketh,Colos. 2.15. beganne alreadie, where it is saide that Iesus Christ tryumphed vpon the Crosse. It is true, that hée appli­ed it vnto that, that hée had cancelled the Obligation which was against vs, and whereof hée discharged vs before God, by which meane Satan was ouercome: yet notwithstanding this was declared by the Eclipse of the Sunne.

Neuerthelesse, this conuinced the Iewes of ignoraunce, yea, of a malitious and phrantike ignorance, euen as if a man had séene before his eyes that Satan had possessed them, and were become lyke monsters against nature. And héere wée are in summe to vnderstande what to consider of, when it is saide, that darknesse was spread ouer the face of the earth. In verie déede, we are made cleare and bright at this day, by the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christ. For how cometh it to passe, that the Gospell sheweth vs the way to saluation? And howe are we enlightened to come vnto God, were it not that the Sonne of God with the fruite [Page 71] and power of his death were offred vs in it. And therefore Iesus Christ is in verie déed the Sonne of righteousnesse, because he hath purchased vs lyfe, by his death: howbeit the Iewes are depri­ued of this benefite. And in that the Sunne became darke, they were conuinced as men altogether reprobate, so that no teaching coulde serue their turnes to bée profitable for their saluation, since by their wickednesse they went about to quenche and abo­lishe whatsoeuer might put them in any hope: For that hope was onely in the Mediator, whom, they through their wickednesse, and vnthankfulnesse, tooke in hande to make of no estimation. Wherefore, it was good reason that they should be vtterly voyde of all soundnesse of saluation, to the ende the wrath of God might shewe it selfe in a visible manner vpon them. It followeth, that our Lorde Iesus cryed out, saying,

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken mee? Psal. 22.1. Saint Mat­thew, and Saint Marke, recyte the wordes of our Lorde Iesus in the Syrian tongue, which is taken out of the Psalme. 22. Nowe the Euangelistes doe not so fully and wholly recite the wordes, as they are set downe in the text of the Psalme: namely in this word, Eli, which is to say, My God, we sée that Saint Marke saieth, Eloe, But that was by reason of the corruption of the tongue, as heretofore wée haue noted: For, the Iewes, when they returned from Babylon, had neuer so pure and sounde a tongue, as they had before. Howbeit this complaint and crye is taken out of the twentieth and two Psalme, the first verse. And therefore GOD would namely haue this to bée recyted in two languages, thereby to declare that it was a matter of great weight, which we ought verie diligently to marke. And to say the trueth, except we would imagine (as many fantasticall people doe) that Iesus Christ spake after the iudgement of men, and not after his owne féeling and af­fection, it would make vs all to wonder, that Iesus Christ com­playned, that God his Father had forsaken him. For it were too too blockish and foolish a thing, to say that our Lorde Iesus Christ was not sore tormented and vexed in heart: but that hée simplie saide, They thinke that I am forsaken. Nowe, this declareth, that they which séeke after suche gloses, are not onely ignorant, but also verie blockheades and doltes: and cease not besides, to barke and blaspheme, lyke Mastife Curres, against the Maie­stie [Page] of God. And as many as thus say, without doubt, there is no more religion in them, then in dogges and bruit beastes, for they know not how dearely the sonne of God paide for their saluation. And that which is worse, they mocke them selues like villaines as they are. Therfore we must absolutely conclude, that when our Lord Iesus was brought to this extremitie, and torment, he cryed out with a loude voice (yea like vnto those which are in most ter­rible panges) My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken mée? And in déed, we haue before said, that we had but a cold pull (as we say) by the storie of his death, if we cōsidered not of the obedience which he yéelded vnto God his Father. Thus we sée what the principall point is, that we should looke vnto, when as we would be assured of our saluation: which is that if we haue committed many offen­ces, rebellions, and iniquities against God, that all shal be buried, because our Lord Iesus hath by his obedience iustified vs, & made vs acceptable with God his Father. Now, wherin consisteth this obedience, but that Christ Iesus, although he suffred a cruel & ter­rible death, yet was contented to yéeld himself vnto it. For if he had felt no hardnesse nor striuing in it, his obedience had béen nothing: But inasmuch as our Lorde Iesus abhorred death by nature, yea, and that it was a fearefull thing to appeare before the iudgement seate of God in the behalf of all wretched sinners (for he stood foorth there to beare all our burthens) and yet for all that was contented to humble himselfe to be thus condemned for vs, Let vs acknow­ledge his perfect obedience: and therein we haue verie good matter to glorie,Hebr. 5.7.8. as the Apostle in the Epistle to the Hebrews saith, That the feare of our Lorde Iesus Christ was heard: But howeuer it was, it was méet that hée should suffer and abide so hard & weighty a cause, yea cleane against all worldly affection and desire. And therefore, it behooued that God his Father should so acquaint him with it, to the ende (as hée saith) his obedience might be knowne. Wée sée then that the Apostle namely specifieth, that it must néedes bée that our Lorde Iesus shoulde bée wonderfully afeard: for els wée shoulde neuer haue knowne what this sacrifice had béene worth,Act. 2.24. by which wée are reconcyled. And S. Peter also sheweth that our lord Iesus Christ suffred both in body and soule, whē as he saith, yt he straue a gainst the sorrowes of death. In very déed the scripture oftentimes telleth yt we are redéemed by the blood [Page 72] of Iesus Christ, because he offered vp his bodie for a Sacrifice: & wée also sée why it is said, that his flesh is spiritual meate & drinke:Iohn. 6.55. but it is so spoken by reason of our grosenesse. And because wée are canally minded, the holy Ghost sendeth vs backe vnto that that is visibly to be perceiued in the death of Iesus Christ, that by it wee might haue an assured pawne of our saluation. And yet this taketh not away the thing that is shewed vs out of other places: neyther doeth it derogate from this poynt, that the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christ had serued to no purpose for the blotting out of ye iniquities of the world, without he had obeyed, yea euen to the submitting of himselfe vnto so terrible a death, neither obeyed hée (as I haue before said) like one that was without féeling & vnder­stāding: For although he was to abide maruellous terrible feares and extremities, yet for al that, he preferred our saluation before al other respects whatsoeuer.

Thus wee sée what it is, that wee are to obserue in this place, to witte, that the Sonne of GOD hath not onely suffered in body so cruel & tormentrous a death (as already hath byn séene) but was also touched to the quicke, whenas he was to abide suche horrible assaultes, as if God had forsaken him. For, to say ye truth, as he tooke vpon him our causes (as hath béene saide) it must also néedes be, that hee must féele the condemnation which was due for wretched sinners. For, by our sinnes, we are as people estranged from God, and therfore he must néedes leaue vs, that we might vn­derstand, that he taketh vs for castawayes. Here then we sée what the estate & condition of sinners is: And this is out of all doubte, that GOD the Father neuer forsooke Iesus Christe: yet not­withstanding it must néedes bée, that hée shoulde suffer those paynes, and that hée shoulde valiauntly resist them, to the ende, the benefite of the victory might at this day redounde to vs.

Wée haue therefore to vnderstande that when our Lorde Iesus was driuen to this extremitie, as if GOD his Fa­ther hadde cutte all hope of lyfe cleane from him, it was (as wée haue sayde) because hée suffered the curse of our sinnes in his owne bodie, whiche were the cause that separated vs from the Maiesty of God. For wherein haue wée any felicity except we bée quickened by the grace of GOD, and enlightened with [Page] his brightnesse? For hée is the verie fountaine of all life and bles­sednesse, & our sinnes make a great separation betwéene him and vs. And therefore it was méete that Christ Iesus should féele this. Nowe, let vs come to that that may be saide. Is it possible that Iesus Christ should be so fearefully troubled, séeing hée was per­fection it selfe? For this séemeth to derogate from the Faith which he ought to haue had, and whatsoeuer we ought to beléeue of him: which is, yt he was without spot of sin. Now, this matter is soone answered. For when Satan tempted him, it must néedes fall out that hée should be so taken, as to be set vpon the toppe of a pynacle, and according to mans nature,Mat. 4.5. be subiect to such an illusion: and yet this no whit empaired his diuine power. But we haue rather oc­casion to magnifie his mercy and goodnesse to vs warde, forsomuch as he so abased himselfe to saue vs. It is eftsoones said that he cryed out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsakē me. In the first place it is most certaine, yt Iesus Christ, inasmuch as he was God, could haue no such conceit. No: But vntill such time as it fell out, that his Godhead must giue place to the death which hee must suffer. And thus we sée that the power of our Lord Iesus Christ lay as it were hid for a time, vntill hée had made an end of whatsoeuer was requisite for our redemption. But nowe, in as much as hée was man, Let vs note that this complaint, féeling, and feare, whereof we nowe speake, hath no manner of way derogated from the faith of our Lord Iesus Christ. For, in that hée was man, hée trusted altogether in God, as we haue alreadie heard, and as was yester­day sufficiently handled. This then was the verie true patterne of a right, perfect, and sounde fayth. Now, it is here said, that he was so sore tormented, as that it séemed that God his Father had forsa­ken him: and yet had hée alwayes a perfect fayth, without béeing ouerthrowne or shaken any kinde of way. Why then saieth hée, Wherefore hast thou forsaken mee? This procéedeth from a natu­rall mans conceit. Thus we sée that our Lord Iesus Christ, as tou­ching weake flesh, is as a man forsaken of God, & yet he giueth not ouer his trust that hée had in him. Now in déed we sée two pointes in these words, which at the first sight séeme cleane cōtrarie one to the other, & yet they agrée very wel together. For whē he saith, My God, my God, with such a redoubling, he sheweth therin the con­stancy of his faith. He saith not, wher is God, what? hath he forsakē [Page 73] me? But hée cōtinually sticketh fast vnto him. And therfore it can­not bée but that he was perswaded & fully resolued, that hée should haue fauourable accesse alwaies vnto God his father. Héereby (I say) wée sée a certaine and vndoubted testimonie of the faith of our Lorde Iesus Christe, whenas in the middest of all his extremities and torments he ceassed not to call vpon God his father, without hypocrisie: because he was assured that he woulde be merciful vn­to him so long as he called on him. And thus wée sée, I say, a suffi­cient declaration of the faith of our Lorde Iesus Christe: and yet for all that hée redoubleth it, because it was an harde and dange­rous combate: as if he meant to set himselfe against all the temp­tations wherewith Satan coulde any way assaile him, and sought to strengthen his faith, to the ende hée might continually perseuere in calling vpon God.

Nowe hée eftsoones saith, Why hast thou forsaken mee: and this hée spake according to mans reach. For it coulde not be chosen but that hée must grow to that point (as wée haue said) and yet not be ouercome thereof, according to that saying of Saint Peter,Acts. 2.24. that it was impossible for him to bée kept vnder with the sorrowes of death, that is to say, that death had taken holde of him, as of a mise­rable, wretched, and oppressed man. But yet it was impossible for him, as saieth Saint Peter, to bée holden downe. And so he wanne the victorie euen in the middest of the fight: and this is so much the greater glory vnto our Lorde Iesus Christe. Dauid had partly a féeling héereof: for this is most sure that in the middest of all his greatest afflictiōs, hée perseuered in calling vpon God, and trusted in him: But because hée was a weake and fraile man, his faith was oftentimes shaken, as he confesseth himselfe. Howbe­it there was a speciall matter to bée considered of, in our Lorde Ie­sus (whereof wée spake on Sunday last) and that was this, that al his sufferinges were rightly squared and ordered, by reason of his integritie and purenesse, in whom was no corruption of nature: But it oftentimes commeth to passe that our sorrowes, yea our feares, and cares proceede from a iust cause: and yet they shall al­waies be intermedled with sinne, because all our passions are cor­rupt. But there was no vnquietnesse nor yet disorder in our Lord Iesus. Whereupon it followeth, that his torments were not such but that he had alwaies a sure and an vndoubted trust in God, and [Page] so, firmly and constantly called vpon him, because hee right well knew that he would saue him euen in the greatest extremitie. And thervpō it is said, That some of those which were about him, mocked him. This man, say they, calleth vpon Elias, let vs sée and if Elias wil come & help him. It is to bee thought yt the Souldiers, who knew not the law, might haue saide so, wel enough: and yet it had bene but a foolish kinde of speach, for they knewe not what the meaning of Elie was. And it is not like that the Priestes who were acquanited with the lawe, woulde speake this blasphemye. What? were they deceiued in the saying of our Lorde Iesus? no: for the Prophet Elias was not named after that sort. The name therefore was not abused: because there coulde be no doubt in it, séeing the word of Elias is otherwise pronounced: & the word E­lie, that is to saye, my God, was as common as was possible, and to ye cause could not rayse any doubt. And therfore they dyd this of a malicious impudencye vnto our Lorde Iesus Christ, when hee saide Elie. And if this séeme straunge to vs, I beséeche the Lorde, there be not the lyke examples among vs at this day. For we shall sée the Papistes euen at this day slaunderouslye backbite and de­praue whatsoeuer we teach, to wit, whatsoeuer is taken out of the pure worde of God, and doo wittinglye and in good earnest blas­pheme, to make our doctrine hatefull with poore and simple soules, and such indéede as neuer heard vs once preach. Yea they falselye depraue whatsoeuer wee say, and turne it which way they please (as may easely be séene) to coulour their leasings with and to en­tertayne the myserable blynde and ignoraunt soules with their fond and fantasticall lyes. We sée héere, how the enemies of God, whom Satan possessed, had of a malicious purpose taken excepti­ons to the words of our Lorde Iesus Christ: & euen so at this day (as I began to say) fareth it with the papists. And this is not onely séene in poperie, but there are also amongst vs certaine beggers, which will not stick to saye, that we goe about to make them be­léeue that Iesus Christ was in a desperate case and past all hope whenas we say that he suffered the torments of death, and that he was cast downe, as it were into ye bottom of hell, for so much as he presented himselfe there in our behalfe, and beare the burthen of our sinnes: howbeit al this is no whit derogatorye from his con­stant and vnchaungable faith.

And héere these dogges professors of the Gospell, neuer cease blas­pheming, wherein they shewe themselues to bée farre worse, then those, which are in this place spoken of. Since then wée sée, that the Diuell hath at this day whetted the tongues of his Supporters, and that euery of them with a beastly shamelessenesse vometeth out his poyson against the puritie of doctrine, let not vs thinke it strange, séeing our Lorde Iesus was thus slaundered, but pacient­ly beare these blasphemies, and beséech the Lorde (as it is saide by the Psalmist,) To cut out their villanous tongues,Psalm. 12.4. which are so full of vyllanie and cursing, tending to none other ende but to the blaspheming of his name, and darkening of his trueth. Nowe, héereupon the Euangelist telleth, That there was a vessel ful of vi­neger (yea, as before hath béene saide mingled with Gall) and that one tooke a Réed, or (as Saint Iohn saith) a long Isop braunch, and tyed a spunge at the ende therof, to put it to the mouth of our Lord Iesus. Now Saint Iohn speaketh of this matter more distinct­ly, For hée saith, That Iesus Christe knowing that all thinges were ended, saide that hée was dry, and thereupon saide againe, It is fi­nished. Wée sée then what is héere for vs to note, when this drinke was giuen to the sonne of God: to wit, that hée desired not to drinke because hée was drye: for hée refused it as wée haue here­tofore séene, And why did hée so? Because forsooth, this drink was giuen him to shorten his life. Nowe our Lorde Iesus meaning was, altogether paciently and quietly to waite vpon the leasure of God his Father. Thus we sée what the cause was why he would not hasten his death, but helde himselfe quiet and obedient vntyll such time as all was finished, although hee had not as yet yéelded vp the Ghost, nor was risen againe: for the meaning was that he had shewed his full obedience hytherto, so that there was no let why he might not nowe render vp his soule vnto God his Father. Héere wée then see howe this place is to bée vnderstood: which is this, that our Lorde Iesus declared that there wanted nothing to the finishing of our redemption, sauing his departure out of the worlde which hee was very ready to doe, and to yéelde his soule vnto God. Wherefore, when hee sawe that he had dischar­ged the office of the Mediatour, and had doone whatsoeuer was requisite for the appeasing of the wrath of GOD for our sakes, and satisfied for our sinnes, he determined to call for this drinke. [Page] And héere, is a most notable and excellent saying, All is finished. For this is certaine, yt our Lord Iesus spake not of any trifling or ordinary thing: but hée meant, that in his death, we haue all what­soeuer that is to bée had for our cōming vnto God, and ye obteining of his grace. Not that his resurrection is héereby taken away, but it is as much as if he had said, that he had faithfully done his dutie, and came not like an halfe Sauiour, but perfourmed the charge committed vnto him euen to the vttermost, leauing nothing of his fathers wil vnfulfilled. And since it is so, we are taught, to put our trust fully and wholy in our Lorde Iesus Christe, because wee knowe that euery part and percell of our saluation is finished in that which hée hath done and suffered for vs. And héere wée sée also why his death is called an euerlasting Sacrifice, by which the faithfull and chosen children of God are sanctified? Will wée then be throughly assured that God is our father? Would wée haue frée libertie to call vpon him? Woulde wée haue peaceable and quiet consciences? Woulde wée bée fully assured that wée are reputed for righteous, that wée might be acceptable vnto God. Let vs then abide in Christe Iesus, and wander neither to nor fro, and knowe that in him lieth all perfection. They therfore which séeke after o­ther helpes, & would be supplied this way, &, that as if there might bée something wanting in the death and passion of our Lorde Ie­sus Christ, doe cléerely forsake the power, whereof wée now speak. To bée short, they trample the blood of our Lorde Iesus Christ vn­der foote: because they dishonor him. And therefore what other thing is there in all Popery, but an vtter deniall of the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christe? For inasmuche as they thinke to doe good workes, which they call merites, by which they thinke to purchase the fauour of God, surely, they deny the saying of our Lorde Iesus Christe, All is finished. And this prooueth it to bée so, for when they thinke to bée saued before God, and would bee par­doned of their sinnes, whether runne they but vnto their foolish de­uotions? For euery man will frame vnto himselfe, some mas­king mawmetrie at his pleasure, so that all the religions of Pope­ry, is so many blasphemies, to make this saying of our Lord Iesus Christe of none effect, All is finished, What shall wée then doe? Let vs vnderstande that there is not a droppe of vertue nor me­rite in vs, without wée come vnto this fountaine, wherein is all [Page 75] fulnesse. And thus we sée that our faith must be setled in our Lord Iesus Christe.

Moreouer, let vs chiefely vnderstand, that when hée offered himselfe for a Sacrifice, that it was for the pardoning of vs for e­uer, and as the Scripture saith, to sanctifie vs perpetually. And therefore let vs looke for none other sacrifice but him. In very déed this abhominable diuelishe Masse, is called in Popery, a dayly sa­crifice: & they say,Psal. 110.4. Heb. 7.21. yt Iesus Christ was once for al offered for a Sa­crifice for ye obteining of the forgiuenes of our sins, yet neuertheles that hée must bé dayly offered vp: which is manifest blasphemie, because they falsly take vpon them the office which was appointed to our Lorde Iesus Christe, whenas hée was ordeined to bée the onely euerlasting Priest, yea, and God bound it with an othe, that his Priesthood shoulde last for euer. And therefore, when mortal men will thrust in themselues to come before God, & offer vp Ie­sus Christe, doe they not robbe him of the honor which hée reserued vnto himselfe alone, and which may not bée giuen to any other creature? Since then it is so, wée sée that these miserable blinde soules, thinking to make peace with God, prouoke his wrath and vengeance, denying the death & passion of our Lord Iesus Christe, And therefore ought wée, so much the more magnifie the grace of God, for that hée hath drawne vs out of such a bottomelesse depth, that when we thought to haue come néere him, wée set our selues openly against him: For wee rob him of the benefite of his death and passion, when wée seeke after any other Sacrifice then that which he offered in his owne person. Nowe it is saide, That he cryed againe with a loude voice, and yeelded vp the Ghoste: and this was it, Into thy hands I commit my soule or my spirite. And héerein wee see that our Lord Iesus so fought against the sor­rowes of death, as that he became afterwarde a Conquerer, and tryumphed, because he had ouercome the hardest matter of al. And this is the thing which belongeth to vs, to wit, we must apply it vnto our owne vse. For wee are assured that the sonne of God did not onely fight for vs, but also that the victory which hee obteined for vs apperteineth vnto vs, and that we shoulde not at this day be afeard of death, because wée knowe that the curse of God which was so terrible, is abolished, and that death in stéede that it might haue deadly wounded vs, serueth vs now for a medicine, to yéelde [Page] vs life. Nowe, as hée had before saide, after the example of Da­uid, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken mée? Euen so likewise taketh hée at this present, the prayer which Dauid made in the one and thirtie Psalme, Into thy handes I commend my spirite. In very déede, Dauid saide these wordes when he was in the middest of all his dangers:Psal. 31.6. as if hée shoulde haue saide, O Lorde, I beséeche thée receiue mée into thy protection: for my soule is as it were in my hands & is there euen at randon: for I sée how I am thrust out to all hazardes, and my life hangeth as by a thréed: and therefore thou must protect mée. Wée sée héere then, that Da­uid by this prayer, made God his protector: and yet gaue hée not o­uer, but still called on him whenas he was at the point of death, al­wayes assuring himselfe that God woulde saue his chosen, not on­ly in defending thē héere in this worlde, but also when hée calleth them vnto himselfe. For the chiefest regarde that God hath on vs, is this, that when hée hath taken vs out of this worlde, hee hi­deth vs vnder his winges that we might inioy his presence,2. Cor. 5.8. accor­ding to the saying of Saint Paule to the Corinthes. For when our Lorde Iesus made this prayer, hée sheweth that he died quiet­ly, whenas he ouercame all the combates which hee susteined for vs, and triumpheth in our behalfes, both for our profite, and for our saluation. And a none after, he declareth by the same meanes that God is his Sauiour, & kéepeth his soule as a sufficient pledge For this much his request imported, when he said, My God, thou shalt preserue my soule euen when I am dead. When our Lorde Iesus speaketh after this sort, it is as muche as if hée assured vs all, that wee cannot doe amisse in submitting our selues vnto our GOD, séeing that hée, for the defending of vs, vouchsafeth to take the charge of vs, and that we shall neuer perish vnder his hand Now, we haue eftsoones to consider, that when Iesus Christ saide, Into thy handes O Lorde I commend my spirite, that hee obteined this priuiledge which Saint Stéeuen gaue him in the se­uenth of the Acts,Acts. 7.59. which is, hée was made the preseruer of all our soules. For what was it that S. Stéeuen saide when hee went to his death? Forsooth these were his wordes, Into thy hands O Lorde I commende my spirite. And héere wée sée, that Saint Stéeuen shewed the benefite of the request, which Iesus Christe made: to wit, that wée may nowe come vnto him, and that wee [Page 76] ought to doe so, declaring that since God his Father had made him a Shephearde for vs, that wee shoulde not doubt but to bée at peace, come life, come death, knowing that all shall bee for our pro­fite, and turne to our benefite: and as Saint Paule saieth, that when hee had Iesus Christe, hee had riches enough,Phil. 1.21. and cared nei­ther for life nor death: for all shoulde be gayne vnto him. Wher­fore, let vs nowe learne, that when death shall assaile vs, that Iesus Christe hath broken the sting, which might haue stoong vs deadly to the heart, and that death shall no longer hurte vs, and that when our Lorde Iesus yéelded vp his Spirite vnto God his Father, it was not onely to haue it conserued in his owne person, but that hee myght haue this Priuiledge that ours might bee pre­serued eftsoones by the power of this request, whenas wee shall come vnto him, as vnto one vnder whose protection we cannot pe­ryshe, as hee himselfe declareth. And this is that triumph wher­of wee haue spoken, which alreadie profiteth vs. For our Lorde Iesus sheweth howe precious his death is, when as hee went so fréely vnto his Father, as that wee might bee brought vnto him, and to shewe vs the way. But the principall point is this, yt wee might vnderstande what benefite wée receiue thereby, because he hath cancelled the Obligation that was against vs, that hée hath so purchased full satisfaction for our sinnes, as that wee may bee bolde to come before God his Father, so that death it selfe is no way able to harme nor hurt vs. And although wee see many thinges in vs which might make vs afearde, through the féeling of our miseries, let vs not for all that cease to glory in him who so a­based himselfe for vs, to the ende hée myght rayse vs vp with him­selfe. And although there is nothing in vs but shame and rebuke, yet, séeing that Iesus Christe hung vpon the Crosse, God woulde haue him by the mouth of Pilate to bee called a King. And so, although the kingdome of our Lorde Iesus Christe is nothing e­stéemed of héere in this worlde, yet let vs account it to bée the foundation of all our glory, and let vs also vnderstande that al­though wée be put to shame vnder his conduct, yet that wee haue whereof to reioyce, because our estate shall be alwayes blessed, for­somuch as, that whatsoeuer miseries, afflictions, and rebukes wée shall abide are more honorable and precious before God, then all [Page] the Scepters, pompes, and the most honourable thinges wherein wée take any pleasure and delight. Thus wée sée how wee must come vnto our Lorde Iesus Christe, and so stick vnto him, as that we might vnderstand of what valure the riches are which he bringeth vs, but especially, when hée, guideth vs by his Gospell, let vs forsake all the commodities and pleasures of this world, and also abhorre them, whenas they shal withdrawe vs frō the right way. To be short, let our Lord Iesus haue ye honor which he deserueth, & let not vs for our parts be like vnto Réedes carried wt euery wind: but being established in him, let vs call vpon God, & we shall haue victory ouer life & death, ouer which he hath alreadie triumphed. And besides, let vs whiles we are yet in this worlde, yéeld him this honour, to wit, euen to acknowledge that he is our defender, which he will do, whenas we truly come vnto him, neither wil he, I say, doe it after an ordinary maner, but euen myraculously: For al­though death shoulde cast vs downe headlong, yet is it his office to drawe vs out of it, and guide vs vnto the heauenly inheritance, which he so dearely hath purchased for vs.

Let vs nowe fall downe before the Maiestie of our good God, & acknowledge our offences, beséeching him that hee will make vs féele them otherwise then we haue done, And that we might bee so touched with the lothing of them, as that we might returne vnto our God with heartie repentance. And not for a day onely, but to cōtinue it with sighing and groning. And although we shall beheld within this prison of bondage, yet let vs alwayes lift vp our harts vnto the heauens, and come familiarly vnto our God, since he is so enclined to mercy, and calleth vs of his owne accord, without tar­rying till wée séeke him. And when wée see that our Lorde Iesus doeth not onely come néere vs, to the end he might declare this his loue vnto vs, but woulde be so abased for a time, as that he might lift vs aloft, so that we through faith shoulde not doubt to attaine thereto, tarrying and wayting vntill we be al come thither toge­ther. That hée will not onely graunt vs this grace, but also all nations, &c.

The eight Sermon of the Passion.

Matthew .xxvii.

55 AND there were many women, beholding him a far of, which folowed Iesus from Galilee, ministring vn­to him.

56 Among which was Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of Iames, and Ioses, and the mother of Zebedes chil­dren,

57 When euening was come, there came a riche man from the Citie of Arimathea, named Ioseph, who also had been Iesus Disciple.

58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Iesus: then Pi­late, commaunded the body to be deliuered.

59 And when Ioseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a cleane linnen cloth.

60 And laide it in his newe Tombe, which hee had heawen out of the rocke, and when hee had rolled a greate stone to the dore of the Sepulchre, hee departed.

WE haue héeretofore séene, and hearde howe our Lorde Iesus hath shewed and set foorth the fruite and power of his death in this poore theefe, who sée­med to be as a lost and damned soule. Now, if all they that before had béen instructed by the Gospell, had fallen away from it, whenas they sée the sonne of GOD put to death, a man woulde thinke that the preaching thereof had béen both vaine & vnprofitable. And besides, we know that the Apostles were chosen to this state of life, to be as ye chiefe rulers in the Church. wherefore it is not like that this election of theirs, to this office and estate, was a vaine and friuolous thing. [Page] And therefore it is héere set downe vnto vs, that although the A­postles left this estat, wherin they shewed a beastly cowardlynes for Saint Peter himselfe denied our Lord Iesus, whereby he was as one cut of from all hope of our saluation, and worthy to bee ta­ken as a rotten member, yet would not God suffer, that the Gos­pel which they had before receiued, should be quenched and vtterly abolished. In very déede S. Mat. lyketh rather of the faithful con­stancy of the Women then of the men, and it is to this ende that we might learne to magnify the goodnesse of God so much ye more, who by his power strengthneth our weaknes. To this entent & purpose are also the wordes of Saint Paule, saying, that God hath chosē ye weak ones of this world, to confound the mighty & strong, to the ende they should not glorifye themselues.1. Cor. 1.27. Since then it was héere this spoken of men, and of their great courage, and whiche followed our Lorde Iesus Christ vnto his death, this might be ta­ken to be as a naturall cause: But whenas women being guided by the spirite of God, were founde to bee more valyant then those men, who were chosen for the publishing of ye Gospel throughout the world, let vs by this vnderstand that it was the work of God, and therfore the prayse to be giuen to him. Now it is namly saide, that these women followed our Lorde Iesus, to serue or minister vnto him. Which thing, a great deale more declareth their affecti­on, in profyting by the Gospell. For this was no trifling power that was in them whenas they would leaue their owne houses to wander vp and downe hether and thither, both to their great pain, and shame also. And we know in what state and condition our Lorde Iesus stood, whiles he liued héere in this worlde. For thus he saith, ye Foxes had holes, and the Birdes of the ayre nestes, but that he,Mat. 8.20. had no place wherin to hide his head. Contrarywise, we sée, that these women had wherwith to liue quietly and pleasantly. They then which wandred after this sort and could hardly get any lodging, féeling hunger & thirst, & were also mightely skorned and laughed at, besides their being chased and troubled euery where, and yet ouercame all this geare and bare it pacientlye, wee must néedes iudge that God strengthned them. Now, they also decla­red, euen at his death, the hope which they had had in our Lord Ie­sus christ. For although their harts were dead as it were (as héer­after shalbe declared more at full) and that they thought him to be [Page 78] cleane dispatcht, yet they might perceiue not long after, that they were deceiued. For, he had told them, yt he should restore the king­dome of God: & he had also spoken vnto them of perfect blessednes, & of the saluation which he must make an ende of. And what of all these things? forsooth, héereby we sée, that although these séely wo­mens harts were sore troubled, bicause they knew not what wold become of our Lord Iesus, yet dyd he strengthen thē by his migh­tie power, & in ende, brought it to so passe, as that they might both vnderstand and iudge, that hee had made them no vaine promise. For, they looked for the promise of his resurrection, which in ye iudgment of the world was not to be hoped of. Notwithstāding, we sée how he exercised their faith, to the ende we should not trouble our selues beyond measure, although to ye outwarde shew it might ap­peare yt God had forsaken vs, & all the promisses of the Gospell to be as thinges abolished, but that wee should neuerthelesse Stand fast & sure in thē. For if we do not, these women will bewitnesses against vs to our great condemnatiō, if we faile in these conflicts. Woulde wee haue a grosser tryall then that whiche they abode? And yet by Faith they obtayned victorye. And therefore let vs arme our selues, when we are tolde of the attemps wherwith Sa­tan goeth about to assaile vs, and let vs, I say, be well appoynted before the blow come, and shew our selues to be so setled in ye pow­er of our Lord Iesus Christ, that although wee cannot at the first perceiue, how the thing which is tolde vs, may come to passe, yet let vs rest in him, & doo him this honor, to beléeue, that hee will at last shew him selfe faithfull. And it is very néedefull yt we shoulde be thus tryed euen to the vttermost. For otherwise, we would bée to to fine and nice, and laye our faith to morgage, or els faine vs héere an earthly paradice, & so our sences woulde neuer be able to raise vs as hie as heauen, yt we might forsake this world. Which thing we may very perfectlye sée in the mother of Iohn & Iames. For we vnderstand, yt she was before that, so ambitiously carried, as yt she would haue had our Lord Iesus sit in his Kingly throane with all the pompe and brauery that might be, & her sonnes to sit by him, as his two Lieftennaunts. For thus she said vnto him,Math. 20.21 I beseech thée Sir cōmaund that one of my sons may sit on thy right hand, and the other on thy left. Héere we sée a foolishe glorious wo­man, who woulde faine haue séene her children in some glistringe earthly tryumph.

But beholde she saw héere a farre other manner of Schole: for she saw our Lorde Iesus Christ hanging vpon the Crosse, so shamful­ly and reprochefully as that all the worlde was against him: and there, honge, as if God had cursed and forsaken him. And thus wée see, that when we shall bee brought vnto such a shame, as that our mindes shal be terrifyed with feare & gréefe, that God then taketh from vs all earthly affections, to the ende we might not be hinde­red from lifting vp our mindes vnto heauen and to the spirituall lyfe, wherunto we must attaine. Which we shall neuer be able to come vnto, except we be cleansed of al whatsoeuer kepeth vs back, héere below. Thus we sée what we are to consider of touchinge these women.Iho. 19.26. And yet for all that, the meaning is not but that there were men also (for we know that our Lord spake vnto Iohn and commēded his mother vnto him). But the intent & purpose of the holy ghost was to set héere such a mirror or glasse before vs, to the ende we might vnderstand that it was God who guided these women by his holy spirit by which hee would set forth his power and grace, by choosinge, in mennes iudgementes suche féeble and weake instrumēts. The like was also seene in Nicodemus, and in Ioseph. Indéede S. Matthew, S. Luke, and S. Marke, make mē ­tion of none but of Ioseph, because it was he that came to Pilat, & thervpon, Nicodemus tooke hart, when hee sée himselfe to haue so good a guide. True it is that Nicodemus was a Doctor of great estimation: and Ioseph of Arimathea was a riche man, and of hie calling, and a Counsailor also (as héere it is said) But yet let vs sée whether their zeale was such as that they would geue their liues for our Lorde Iesus Christ or not, and whether they had in their life time forsaken their houses to follow him.

No, no, but when it came to that, that they must giue theyr liues, it was God that stirred them therto cleane contrary to all worldly iudgement. Héere then we sée, that God hath made a straunge and wonderfull alteration, in geuing this bouldnesse to Ioseph and Nycodemus, that they feared not the rage of the people, when they came to bury our Lorde Iesus Christ. Before time, Nyco­demus came in the night for feare of being euill spoken of, and yet when it was growne euen now to the worst,Ioh. 3.2. he burieth him. And therfore it cannot be chosen but that God gaue him a new harte: for he came before closely, & there was no darknesse dark ynough, [Page 79] considering his fearefullnesse and cowardize, if God had not corre­cted this fault in him. To be short we see, what good the death of our Lorde Iesus Christe hath done, in that he then powred out the graces of his holy spirite, vpon these wretched people, who neuer before durst declare their faith, nor yet render a reason thereof. Wherefore, they doe not onely confesse it with their mouth, but that which they did, sheweth that they had rather bee accounted cursed before the worlde, then yt they would not be the disciples of our Lorde Iesus Christ, and so the thing which they had before ob­teined, to wit, the free saluation which was set before them. And héere we also sée, why it is namely said, that Ioseph looked for the kingdome of God. Now by these woordes wée are tolde that God hath forsaken vs, and we are banished his kingdome, vntyll such time as hée gathereth vs vnto himselfe as his people, in the name of our Lorde Iesus Christe. Wherefore, wée sée how mi­serable our estate is, vntill our Lorde Iesus calleth vs vnto him­selfe, to consecrate vs vnto God his father. And if this bene­fite bée taken away from vs, cursed and confounded are we.

Nowe, this then was a wonderfull power & strength to waite for the kingdome of God, because the Iewes were made Bastards vnto it, and in the opinion of the worlde, the occasions therof were very great. For the Prophets had foretold, that at the returne of the people out of Babylon,Agge. 2.10. that God woulde become such a redée­mer vnto them: that his kingdome should florish most honorably & that the temple should be built more gloriously then euer before it was: that they should inioy al the pleasures that might be, & lead a most blessed life, that all men should be in quiet, & no talk be had but of reioysing in God, of blessing his name, and of yéelding him praise, & thansgiuing. And this is it which the Prophets promised. But how fared it with the people? Forsooth their neighbours dyd eate & drinke thē vp, they gréeued, & vexed them, & there was such tyranny vsed, as yt innocēt blood was spilt throughout al ye towne, the booke of the law burnt, & euery man forbidden vpon paine of death not once to read it, & such cruelties cōmitted, as were horri­ble. The temple also was altogether polluted. And what became of the house of Dauid? Forsooth, it was cut cleane downe, & at last: the whole state became worse & worse. And therfore no maruel, al­though so rude a people & so giuen ouer to all their desires & lustes, [Page] had not almost fallen from the true religion, and béen cleane out of heart: because we sée that the number of those which paciently suf­fered,Luk. 2.25.36 Mat. 2.19. and were constant in faith, were very rare and fewe. And of this number were Simeon, Anna the Prophetesse, and Ioseph. But what? The holy Ghost setteth downe vnto vs in so great a multitude, amongest the Iewes, and in a countrie so notably peo­pled, foure or fiue, as a thing which was not ordinary, and witnes­seth that it were they onely who looked for the kingdome of God: and it was to this end, yt we might learne, that when things were confounded & in a desperate case, that we should then looke stedfast­ly vpon God. And because his trueth is infallible & vnchangeable, let vs bée constant vnto the end, & ouercome all troubles, offences, and griefes of the world, neither let vs when we sigh & grone, cease to go on whither our Lord calleth vs, which is, let vs paciently abide vntyll his kingdome bée established in vs, and in the meane while let it suffice vs that hée hath giuen vs a pawne from his ho­ly Spirite, by which hee witnesseth vnto vs our frée adoption. And therefore, when God sheweth, that hee taketh vs for his children, and engraueth the same in our heartes by his holy Spirite: and besides, when wée haue the doctrine of the Gospell dayly sounding in our eares, Let our faith be confirmed, and let vs not slyde, albe­it all thinges were so confounded, as could not be possibly be more wished. And thus wee sée what it is that we haue to consider of out of this place. Wee are also to note the thing that Saint Iohn reciteth before our Lord Iesus was taken from the crosse: to wit, that hée was thrust into the side, to sée whether he had yéelded vp ye Ghoste or not. For they hastened not his death so fast, as they dyd the two Théeues: But when they thought him to bee dead, they thrust a Speare into him: and then they knewe that he was dead: which pleased well the souldiers.

Now it is true, that if we shoulde not be able to bring in the lawe for a testimonie, we should haue somewhat a cold pull of it, But S. Iohn giueth vs a full proofe that our Lorde Iesus Christe was the true Paschall Lambe, since he was, by the wonderfull prouidence and counsell of God, preserued, that there was not a­bone of him broken.Exod. 12.46. Num. 9.12. For it said in Exodus, that the Paschal lambe should bée eaten, but there should not one bone of him bée broken. And why were not the bones of Iesus Christe crushed? since it [Page 80] was the common maner at those dayes. Surely, their will was not to spare him, and hée was hanged betwéene two Théeues, be­cause they thought him to be the most vyle and detestable person. Wée sée then héere, that this was the worke of God, in kéeping backe the handes of the Souldiers, and his will also was that his Sonne should make a spéedie dispatch, to the ende hée woulde pre­serue him, and that it might bée an euident signe vnto vs in this place, that in him the trueth of this auncient figure shoulde be ful­filled. Héere then are wée to obserue, that the bones of the Sonne of God were preserued from breaking, because we might take him for our Paschall Lambe, who shoulde preserue vs from the wrath of God, whenas wée are marked with his blood. And therefore must wée come to this point: that since he is our Paschall Lamb, wée must eftsoones bee dewed and sprinckled with his blood: for without that, the shedding of it will doe vs no good: But when we shall accept him with this Sacrifice, and séeke remission of our sinnes also thereby, because we know that vntyll hée hath washed and cleansed vs, wée are very filthie, then are wee be dewed with his blood, through the spinckling of the holy ghost vpon our soules, and so are made cleane: and God accepteth and taketh vs for his people, and we are assured that although his wrath and vengeance bée ouer all the worlde, yet looketh hée on vs with his eye of mercy and alloweth vs for his children. Wée sée then in this place, what wée are to consider, when it is saide, That the bones of our Lorde Iesus were not broken, to the end we might vnderstand, that the thing which was declared by figure in the law, was verified in his body. And besides, it is also saide, That water and blood issued out of his side, and hee that sawe it, beare witnesse thereof. When wée sée that water & blood issued so out, wée must remember that it was hee, as Saint Iohn sayeth in his Canonicall Epistle,1. Iohn. 5.6. who by his sacrifice wrought our purgation and peace, for the blotting out of all our sinnes. In very déede, Blood, when one is dead, wil waxe thicke by nature, and from it will very thinne water come, because the colour and thickest of the blood wil goe from it. But howeuer it is, Saint Iohn saieth, that GOD woulde shewe for what cause the death of his sonne profiteth vs, to wit,Heb. 9.2 [...]. in the first place, hée is at peace with vs by reason of the shedding of blood, for as it is saide, There can bée no remission of sinnes [Page] without the effusion of blood. For beholde why Sacrifices were v­sed from the beginning of the worlde. And God hath saide, that hée would be mercifull to all miserable sinners which put their truste in him: But yet he woulde haue sacrifices to bee offered, as if hée should haue said, that men should be fréely forgiuen their sinnes, because they can bring nothing of their own with them to obteine it. But must haue a mediator to recompence it. Wée sée then that the blood which ranne downe from the side of our Lorde Iesus, wit­nesseth vnto vs, that the Sacrifice which hée offered, was a satis­faction for all our iniquities, so that we are discharged of them be­fore God. True it is we must cōtinually féele our selues to be gilty that we might bée humbled, and brought to true repentance, and bée cléerely voide of all presumption. But howeuer it is, wée are assured that God acquitteth and pardoneth vs in the name of his sonne, when we come to acknowledge our sinnes and iniquities. And why so? Because the sacrifice of his death is sufficient, to blot out the memory of al our transgressions. It is the water then that cleanseth. Wherefore, to the end we might be washed from all our spots, let vs vnderstande, that the meaning of our Lord Iesus Christe was that water shoulde issue out of his side, to declare that hée is in very déede our puritie, and that wée must séeke for none o­ther remedy to washe vs from all our filthinesse. And thus wée sée howe water and blood came from him, by which meane wee are throughly saued in him, and therefore must make no wandlesses, to séeke our ayde els where. But when wée shall consider more néerely of the matter, wée shall sée a very notable similitude be­twéene the blood and the water which issued out of the side of our Lorde Iesus Christe, and the Sacraments of the Church, in which the thing that was perfourmed in his death is allowed and sealed vnto vs. For after hée had suffered whatsoeuer was requisite for our saluation, and fully satisfied GOD his Father, by sanctifi­yng, and purchasing vs full righteousnesse, hée would that all the whole matter should bée witnessed vnto vs, in ye two sacraments of his owne institution. I speake of two: because there are no moe instituted in his worde, But Baptisme, and the Supper. For all the reste is but a vaine imagination, deuised by the rashe bolde­nesse of men. Thus wee see that our Lorde Iesus Christe [Page 81] powreth out the vertue of his death and passion, aswel vpon Bap­tisme, as on the holy Supper. For Baptisme is a witnesse vnto vs, that hée hath so washed and cleansed vs from all our filthinesse, as that God receiueth vs vnto his fauour, as if wée came cleane and neate before him.

Now, wée must vnderstand that the water in Baptisme wor­keth not this effect. For howe can a corruptible Element washe and cleanse our soules? But the matter is, because water issued out of the side of our Lorde Iesus Christ. And therefore, when wée woulde that Baptisme should doe vs good, let vs goe vnto him who was crucified for vs, and when we would féele the fruit ther­of, let vs runne vnto our Lord Iesus Christ, who would haue vs séeke for euerie parte and parcell of our saluation in him, without wandring and whéeling hither and thither. And besides, wée haue in the holie Supper a testimony, that Iesus Christ is our Shep­heard, and that vnder the bread, and wine, hée presenteth vnto vs his bodie and blood. Héere then wée sée the whole perfection of our saluation, when as wée are thus cleansed, and that God accepteth vs as if wée were pure, and righteous, and are so acquited before him as giltlesse, because our Lorde Iesus Christ hath made full satisfaction for vs. Thus we sée howe wée must profite by the Sa­cramentes, by directing our whole fayth vnto our Lorde Iesus Christ, and not to encline vnto creatures. Wée sée also howe wée ought to be confirmed by the suffring of our Lorde Iesus Christ, and let it be alwayes freshe in our mindes, when as God sheweth vs euen to our faces, of what valure the issuing out of blood & wa­ter from the side of our Lorde Iesus Christ, is. And so, this is in summe the thing which we are to consider of, concerning the per­sing of the side of our Lorde Iesus Christ. And besides, when it is saide, That the Scripture was accomplished, let vs vnderstand, that this was spoken long before this time, that all was gouerned by the secrete Councell of God: and although the Souldiers knew not what they did, yet God effectually executed that which he had spoken, aswell by Moses, as by his Prophet Zachary. Wée haue alreadie séene the testimony of Exodus: and Saint Iohn hath also put too the saying of the Prophet Zachary, whose words are these. They shall see him whom they had perced. In déede God vseth in that a similitude: For,Zach. 12.20. hée setteth him selfe against the contem­ners [Page] of his worde, whose heartes were rebelliously and wickedly hardened. Well (saieth hée) they thinke they make warre agaynst the Preachers of my word, and that they may by this meane stop them. Notwithstanding, it is against mée they fight, and whenso­euer they contemne and refuse my word after this maner: it is as if they wounded me with the stabbe of a dagger: and so shal they sée him whō they had persed. But this was truely accomplished in the person of our Lord Iesus Christ, for they persed him in his mortal body. And thus we sée how he was manifested to be ye liuing God, who was in all ages spoken of by his Prophetes, since we sée that whatsoeuer was spoken, was accomplished in his person. Now, it is afterward said, that when Ioseph had obteined of Pilate to take away the bodie of Iesus from the Crosse, to bury him, that he tooke a cleane linnen shéete, and bought swéete ointments also (which as S. Iohn saieth,Iohn. 19.39. cost a great summe of mony) of Myrrhe and Aloes, and buried him in a new Tombe, which hée had newe made and heawen out of a rocke. In this Sepulcher or Tombe, our Lorde Iesus Christ first began to shew the issue of his death: which was, that hée shoulde verie spéedely glorifie himselfe in his resurrection, and it was the will of God eftsoones to manifest it. And here we sée an infallible testimony, that amongest so many confusions which we read in this history, that might trouble vs, and as it were shake our Fayth, we may perceiue that God had alwayes care of his onely Sonne, as of the head of his Church, and of his welbelo­ued: not to the end onely that we should trust in him, but that wée should also by litle & litle looke vnto it, that since we are the mem­bers of his bodie, that the Fatherly care of God will stretch it self not onely vnto vs, but also to euery one els which trust in him. But by the way, this question might be asked, why our Lorde Ie­sus would be so sumptuously buried. For it should séeme, that it was a superfluous thing, to vse the costlinesse of Aloes & Myrrhe, and such lyke. And to say the trueth, what profiteth this a dead man, to be washed, and annointed, or to haue any other glorious shew.

And therfore a man would think, that this agreed not with the doctrine of the Gospell, where as it is saide, that wée shall bée ray­sed vp agayne at the latter day, by the wonderfull power of our [Page 82] God. Wherefore, it séemeth that all those pompes shoulde be naught set by, and be cleane forgotten. And héerevpon it might be thought, that Ioseph his religion was but foolish, which should darken the hope of the resurrection. Howbeit wée haue héere to note, that the Iewes vsed these kinde of Ceremonies, vntill the time our Lord Iesus Christ had accomplished all whatsoeuer was requisite for our saluation. And the buryall at those dayes were as the Sacrifices, washinges, and lightes of the Temple, and such lyke. And because they were rude people, it was méete they should be handled like yong children. In verie déed, buryall was taken to be an holie thing all the world ouer, and it was the wil of God, that it should be engrauen in the heartes of the verie paganes, be­cause they might haue no excuse, when as they would be so beast­ly, as not to hope for a better lyfe. Nowe, the Paganes abused the same: But be as be may, it will be cast in their téethes at the latter day, that they were ouer curious in the burying of the dead, for there was not so barbarous a nation in the world, which made not great account thereof. And yet they knew not why they did so, no more then they knew the meaning of their sacrifices: how­beit, this is enough to condemne them, insomuch as they departed from the trueth of God, and corrupted the testimony that was giuen them, which should haue brought them to the beliefe of the heauenly lyfe. But howeuer it is, The Buriall of it selfe, was alwayes as a myrror of the resurrection: For they put the bodie into the grounde, to be kept for a time. For if there were no re­surrection, it were no matter if they had been cast out of the dores to haue bin eaten of Dogs, or wilde beasts: But they honourably buried them, that they might not be pulde in péeces, although they were sure, they turned to dust. In déede the Iewes obserued ma­ny Ceremonies. And yet the Egyptians farre passed them: But this their great sorrowing, lamenting, and tearing of their haire, were all but bragges. This then was the manner of the Egyp­tians, whom the Deuill had bewitched, because they peruerted all good order. But the Buriall of the Iewes, strengthened their be­liefe of the resurrection. And so, according to that which I haue saide, our Lorde Iesus would be buried after the auncient fashion, because hée had not as yet, by his resurrection, fully accomplished our saluation.

This is true, that at his death, the vayle of the Temple rent in sunder, wherein God shewed, that that was the ende and perfecti­on of all thinges̄, and that the figures and shadowes of the lawe should last no longer. Howbeit the world sée not this, neither was any man able to conceiue, that all the figures of the lawe, were ended in Iesus Christ. And therefore his will was to be buried. And thus much for this point. Let vs now also vnderstand, that our Lorde Iesus Christ hath purchased vs life by his resurrection, so that wee must goe strait to him, wtout séeking any other meanes to direct vs, then such as hée hath assigned vs. We haue also alrea­die saide, that hée hath ordeined two Sacramentes for our better confirmation. If the manner of the Iewes buriall had béen neces­sarie for vs, no doubt, Iesus Christ would haue had it continue in his Church. But hée would not that we should stay our selues vpō this earthly and childish Elements. And therfore it is enough for vs to vse the plaine order of burying, & leaue the swéet ointments which figure vnto vs the resurrection, and was manifested in our Lord Iesus Christ. Wherefore we should but separate our selues from him, if we would be thus basely and simply instructed. For marke what Saint Paul saieth,Colos. 3.2. That if our affection be on things aboue, we must séeke it in fayth and in spirit, and be conioyned vn­to our Lord Iesus Christ:Colos. 12.8.9. & 18. that we should bend our selues to him, and not be nusseled in any thing which might withdraw, hinder, or kéepe vs backe from being vnited to him as vnto our head, since his body is said to be the Temple of God. And thus much wée are to consider of for buryall. Howbeit this is also to be remembred, that hée was laide in a newe Tombe, which was not made, but by the singular prouidence of God: For he might verie wel haue béen buried in a Tombe which had serued for that purpose long before. For Ioseph of Arimathea had many auncestors, and in such weal­thy mens houses, there was a commō Tombe made for the nonce. Notwithstanding, God had otherwise prouided for the matter, and would haue our Lorde Iesus Christ to be laide in a newe Tombe, wherin neuer man had béen laide. Neither was it without cause that hée was called the first fruites of the resurrection, and the first borne of the dead: who had béen made partakers of life before our Lord Iesus Christ. For we read that Lazarus rose again. Wée sée also that Enock & Elie were taken vp, and neuer felt any naturall [Page 83] death, but were gathered together into an incorruptible life: How­béeit al this hangeth vpon the resurrection of our Lord Iesus. And therfore we must take him to be as the first fruites. In the law, the fruites of the yéere were consecrated to GOD, by the only brin­ging of an eare of Corne, and a bunche of Grapes, to lay vpon the Au [...]ter. Now when this was offered to God, it was a generall consecrating of al ye fruits of the yéere. When ye first born also were cōsecrated to God, it was a declaratiō of ye holines of the tribe of Is­rael, & that God accompted it for his inheritaunce, which he had re­serued to himselfe, and contented himselfe with this people, as if a man would be contented with his Patrimonie, Euē so, let vs vn­derstand, yt when we come to our Lord Iesus Christ, we are al cō ­secrated and offered in his person, to the end we might at this day, receiue life through death, & that it should no more be deadly as be­fore it was. And thus we sée what we are to obserue as concerning the new Tombe: that is, that the buriall of our Lord Iesus Christ must bring vs vnto his resurrection.

Neuerthelesse let vs looke wel to our selues: for al whatsoeuer that must serue our faith, hath béene accomplished in the person of the Sonne of GOD: And although wée haue a sure testimonie that it is sufficient for vs, yet by reason of our grosenesse & weake­nesse, wée are very farre from comming vnto Lorde Iesus Christ. And therefore let euery of vs which acknowledge our offences, séeke remedy for them, & be of good courage. For we sée how Ioseph & Nicodemus did. Now, here are two things to be considered of for our example. The first is, that they had no cléere insight in the fruite of the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ. Where­fore their vnderstanding was grosse, and their faith very weake. The other is, that notwithstanding this extremitie, yet fought they against all temptations, and came to looke for our Lorde Ie­sus Christ who was dead, to put him into the Tumbe, protesting that they hoped to come to the blessed resurrection which was pro­mised them. And although we feele our selues weake, yet let it not discourage vs. It is true indéed, that we are weake, and God may reiect vs, when as hée shal roughly entreate vs. But yet when we shall féele these wantes, let vs vnderstand that he will accept our desire, although it be imperfect.

Moreouer, since at this day, our Lorde Iesus is risen in glory, [Page] and although we must here suffer many miseries and calamities, and that a man would thinke he were daily crucified in his mem­bers, as in déed, the vngodly as much as in thē lieth doe: yet let not vs quayle for al this, because we knowe that we cannot be put be­side that, which is promised vs in the doctrine of the Gospel: and although wee must runne through a number of afflictions, yet let vs alwayes haue an eye vnto our heade. For Ioseph and Nicode­mus neuer had the aduantage that wée at this day haue, which is, they neuer beheald the power of the spirite of God, which is shew­ed in the resurrection of our Lorde Iesus Christ, and yet was not their faith for all this wholly morgaged. And since our Lorde Ie­sus calleth vs now vnto him, and telleth vs allowde that hée is ascended into heauen, to the ende he might gather vs altogether, let vs constantly perseuere both to séeke him, and follow him, and that it is no hurt for vs to die with him, since we shalbe partakers of his glory. And Saint Paule exhorteth vs to be like vnto Ie­sus Christ, not onely as touching his death, but also as concer­ning his buriall. For there are some that coulde bée contented to die wt our Lord Iesus Christ for a minute of an houre, but it wold grieue them to doe it any longer. And for this cause I haue sayde, that wée must not die for a while, but wée must also paci­ently abide, at last to be buried. I call this dying, whenas God séeth vs so suffer for his names sake: for although wée bée not at the first, condemned, and brought to the stake, yet when wée are afflicted, this is a kinde of death which wée must paciently a­byde. But because wée are not by and by humbled, it is méete wée shoulde bée longer time scourged, and bée contented, and pa­ciently beare it. For as the Diuel neuer ceaseth to deuise what­soeuer may withdrawe vs, and make vs growe woorse and woorse: Euen so must wée al our life long fight against him. And al­though this be a very hard and grieuous condition, yet let vs ta­ry til the time bee come, that God calleth vs vnto him, and not bée wéery in confessing our fayth, and therein followe Nicodemus, but not in his temerousnes. For when he first came vnto our Lord Iesus Christ, hée kept himselfe very couert and close, and was a­fearde to shewe himselfe a true Disciple (for wée knowe that the confession of our faith is required in vs)Iohn. 2. & 2 [...].1 [...]. But when hée came to [Page 84] bury him, he declared, and confessed that he was of the number of the faithfull company. Wherefore since he did so, let vs at this day follow his constancy. And although the worlde hateth and detest­eth our Lorde Iesus Christ and the doctrine of his Gospell, yet let vs stick vnto it. Let vs also vnderstande, that the greatest benefite and contentation that wee can continuallye haue is this, whenas God accepteth and liketh of our seruice, and besides, although wée must suffer & abide troubles here in this worlde, yet let vs knowe this yt because he hath gloryously rysē againe, that he dyd it not to the ende to make a separation betwéene him and vs, but that hee would when he sée his good time gather vs vnto him selfe.

Moreouer, let vs not maruell although our Lorde Iesus rose a­gaine the third day: for it is very good reason that hee should haue some more priuiledge then the common order of the church.

And héerein is the saying of the Psalmist fulfilled. Thou shalt not suffer thine holy one to sée corruption.Psal. 16.10. And therefore it was méete that the body of our Lord Iesus should remaine vncorrupt vntill the third day: but it was for that time, so appoynted and e­stablished by the counsell of GOD his Father. Howbeit wee, haue no time assigned, but the last day. And therefore let vs a­byde troubles and miseries so long as it pleaseth GOD, and let vs vnderstand that he wyll in the ende, when hee séeeth conueni­ent time, restore vs, after wee haue bene cast quite and cleane downe, For therevnto Saint Paul exhorteth vs,1. Cor. 15.10. when as hée saieth, that Christ Iesus is the first fruites: whiche is, to pull backe that feruent zeale wherewith wee are often times too too much carryed awaye: for by our wylles wee woulde flye with­out winges, and wee are gréeued with God for houldinge vs so longe heere in this worlde, because hée wyll not bringe vs to hea­uen euen at the fyrst,2. Kin. 2.11. and carry vs vp in a fiery Charit as Eilas was: to be short, we would faine triumph before we haue fought a blow.

Now, that we might withstand this desire, and these foolish lusts, Saint Paul telleth vs that Iesus Christ is the first fruites, & wée must be contented that by his death we haue a sure pawne of the resurrectiō. Neuertheles, bicause he sitteth at ye right hād of god his Father hauing all rule and dominion both in heauen and earth: [Page] and although his maiestie hath not as yet appeared, and that our life is hid in him, let vs become like wretched dead people, and al­though we séeme to be liuing héere in this world, yet let vs bée as men quite forlorne: and abide all this, vntill the comming of our Lord Iesus: For euen then shall our life be made manifest by him, when as he shall thinke it good. And thus we sée what it is that wée must obserue about the buriall of our lord Iesus Christ, vntil such time, as we attaine to the rest, which will be a declaration, that he hath not onely made satisfaction for all our sinnes, but also hath by his victorie, obteined all perfect righteousnesse for vs, by whiche meane we are become acceptable at this day vnto the maiestie of God, both to haue frée accesse vnto him, and also to call vpon his holie name.

And in this confidence and beliefe, Let vs fall downe before his diuine maiestie, beséeching him to receiue vs all to his mercy, and that we may not cease to haue recourse vnto his frée goodnes, how miserable & wretched soeuer we bée. And although we dayly pro­uoke his heauy wrath and indignation against vs, and iustly de­serue that hée should forsake vs, Let vs patiently wayte vntill hée sheweth the fruit and power of the death & passion which his one­ly Sonne hath suffred, by which we are reconciled, and not doubt but that hée will be alwayes our Father, so long as hée wil graunt vs this fauour, as that we may be able to shew our selues his true children. Let vs also beséech him that hée will cause vs to declare this by the effect, in such sort, as that we desire nothing els but to be wholy his: and as hée hath very dearely bought vs, so wee may also of right, fully and wholly agrée to serue him. And forsomuch as our weaknesse is such, as that we are not able to discharge the hundreth part of our duetie, without hée worke it in vs by his holy spirite: because the infirmities of our flesh doe alwayes beare such a resisting and striuing sway, as that we doe nothing els but euen créepe, where we should in déede march as becommeth vs, Let vs beséech him to ryd vs of all together, that we might be vnited to him by that holy bond which bée hath ordeined, to wit, our Lorde Iesus Christ his onely Sonne. That hée will not onely graunt vs this grace, &c.

The ninthe Sermon is of his resurrecti­on, at which time was celebrated, the holie SVPPER.

Matthew xxviii.

1 IN the latter ende of the Sabboth day, whiche dawneth the first day of the weeke, came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the Sepulchre.

2 And beholde there was a great earthquake, for the Angell of the Lorde descended from Heauen, and came, and rowlled back the Stone from the Dore, and sate vp­on it.

3 His countenaunce was like lightninge, and his rayment white as Snow.

4 And for feare of him the keepers dyd shake, and became as dead men.

5 The Angell aunswered and sayde vnto the women, feare yee not: for, I knowe yee seeke Iesus whiche was cru­cifyed.

6 He is not heere, hee is risen as he saide, come, see the place where that the Lord was laide.

7 And goe quickly and tel his disciples that hee is risen from the dead. And beholde, he goeth before you into Ga­lile, there shall you see him: loe, I haue tolde you.

8 And they departed quickly from the Sepulchre, with feare. and great ioye, and dyd runne, to bring his Disciples worde.

9 And as they went to tell his Disciples, beholde Iesus met them saying, al hayle: And they came and helde him by the feete, and worshipped him.

10 Then sayd Iesus vnto them, bee not afraide: goe tell my Brethren that they go into Galile, and there shal they see mee.

A Man would at the first sight thinke it straunge, that our Lorde Iesus Christ woulde shew him selfe after his resur­rection, rather to women, then vnto his Disciples. Howbeit wee are here­by to consider, that his meaning was to trye the basenesse and lowlinesse of our faith. Because we must not build vpon mans wisdome, but obedientlye receiue what soeuer we know to come from him. Againe, no doubt of it, his meaning was to correct his Disciples, whenas he sent women to teach them, because yt ye thing which hee had taught them serued them to no purpose, when it came to the pinch. For beholde all the Disciples were scattered, they forsooke their maister, and feare ouercame them. For what learned they for thrée whole yéeres together, in the schoole of the Sonne of God? And therefore such frewandise deserued great cor­rection, euen to haue al the knowledge which they had before time receiued to be cleane taken away, because they had troade it vnder foote, & buried it. Now it was not the meaning of our Lorde Iesus, to correct them sharply, but to make thē amend their fault, by mild & gentle correction, in yt he appointed thē women to be their School mistresses. He had before, chosen them to preach the Gospel all the worlde ouer (for they in very déede were the first Doctours of the Church) But because they were such Trewands and so busie min­ded, as that their faith was, as it were, laide asoke or saped, it was good reason they should vnderstand that they were not woorthy a­nie more to heare our Lord Iesus Christ preache. And héere we sée the cause why they were sent backe to women, vntill such time as they had better acknowledged their offences, & that our Lorde Ie­sus Christ of his méere fauour & grace had set them againe in their estate and degrée. And besides (as I haue already sayd) we are all generally aduertised, to receiue the testimonie which God sendeth vs, and it were by the mouthes of men of slender quality, & of no credit & estimatiō in the world, for we indéed sée, yt whatsoeuer hée is, yt is chosē & appointed to be a register or publike person, that the thing which he doth, is receiued for autenticall. Neither will men say one thing or another against him: because al men reuerence the [Page 86] office which he hath. And shall God haue lesse preheminence then earthly princes, shal not he ordaine such as pleaseth him, to be his witnesses, frō whose mouthes wée should receiue whatsoeuer they shal say without gainsaying? surely, furely it is good reasō it should be so, except we would become rebels against God himselfe. Héere then we sée, what it is that wée must consider of in the first place. Moreouer, let vs also note & marke that although our Lord Iesus appeared to ye women, which was a very honorable thing vnto thē yet himself not long after, sufficiently testified his resurrection. In­somuch that if we close not vp our eyes, stop our eares, and become maliciously hard hearted, and blockish,1. Cor. 15.6. wée are fully assured of this Article of our faith, which is of great importaunce. For when S. Paule rebuked the infidelity of those that stoode as yet in doubt of the resurrection of Iesus Christ, hée brought not in only women, but also Peter and Iames and all the twelue Apostles, & fiue hun­dreth Disciples moe, vnto whom our Lord Iesus Christ appeared Which way then are wée able to excuse our selues of our wicked­nesse & rebellion, if wée credit not aboue fiue hundreth witnesses, whom God himselfe hath appoynted for the same purpose. Neither did our Lord Iesus Christ declare vnto them only once,Mark. 16.14 yt hée was aliue, but euen many times. And therfore the doubt and incredit­lity which was in the Apostles ought to confirme vs a great deale the more:Luk. 24.25. for if they at the first had beléeued that our Lorde Iesus Christ was risen againe, it might haue byn said that they had bene ouerlight of credit.

Howbéeit, they were so slow of beliefe, as that it was méet our Lord Iesus Christ should find fault with their blockishnes & faith­lesnes, & besides, they were so grose & carnally minded, as that they could vnderstād nothing. Since thē ye apostles so hardly could come to this article of our faith ye same ought ye rather cōfirm vs: for seing they were brought to it, as it were by force, it is very good reason ye we at this presēt should follow this saying, Thomas,Iohn. 20.2 [...]. bicause thou hast séen me thou beleuest: but blessed are they wt haue not séen and yet haue beleued. So thē, whē we héere it said, yt our Lord Iesus ap­peared to 2. womē, let vs also cōsider of ye saying of S. Paul in ano­ther place: yt is to say, we must not stay our selues vpō mēs words & beleue what they say, as they of quality & cōditiō:1. Thes. 2.13. But we must rather lift vp our eyes & minds vnto heauē, and submit our selues [Page] vnto God, who is worthy of all superioritie ouer vs, and be obedi­ent vnto his word. For, if we be not teachable, it is out of al doubt, that we shall neuer profyt our selues by the doctrine of the Gospell neither must we accompt it, for foolishnes, which we receiue from the mouth and testimony of God. And when wee shall learne to profyt by our obedience, in faith, and in his Schole, wee shall vn­derstand, that to be subiect to him, is the very perfection of all righ­teousnesse.

Let vs now come to the story as it is héere deliuered vnto vs. It is sayd, That Mary Magdalene, and her companion, came the first day of the Sabboth, to see the sepulchre: to wit the first day in the wéek. For ye Iewes kept the Sunday, which they called ye sabboth, for the day of rest, as indeede the worde so signifyeth, and besides, they called all the dayes of the wéek following, the 1. day of ye Sab­both, the 2. day of the sabboth, the 3. day of the sabboth, &c. Now, bi­cause the day began after the Sonne setting, it is saide, yt the two Maries bought swéete oyntmetes, after the Sabboth was ended, and prepared themselues to come the next day in the morning to ye Sepulchre. Howbeit they were more then two. Neuerthelesse S. Iohn nameth Mary Magdalen only: but S. Matth. nameth two of them, and we sée that S. Luke faith ye there were a great number of thē, & yet al this agréeeth wel together: for Mary Magdalen led the way, and the other Mary is eftsoones named, bicause she folow­ed hard after Mary Magdalene. But by the way, there were many wt came to annoint ye body of our lord Iesus: neuertheles, it is here namely sayd, yt it was they which came to sée whether they might enter the Sepulchre or not. We sée then why these two were héere specially marked. Howbeit S. Matth. saith that the Angel appea­red vnto thē, since there were two of them: but because one of thē carried word, therfore it is so especially named. In the end, as they were going thence, they met with our Lord Iesus, who sent them vnto his Disciples, that they might all méete in Galile, entending to shew them that he was risen againe: for somuch as the Citie of Ierusalem had bereft it selfe of so notable a testimonie, by reason of their horible impietie. And yet for all that, it, still remayned the fountayne of life: for out of it was the lawe, and the worde of God taught: neuerthelesse, our Lord Iesus Christ would not shew him selfe vnto his Disciples in that Citie, séeinge the wickednesse of it [Page 87] to be as yet so fresh in memory: and on the other side his meaning was to conforme him selfe vnto their grosnesse: for they were as it were so amazed, as that lookes would not haue contēted thē, with out he had taken them aside, and in such sort haue so shewed hym­selfe, as that they might haue bene fully satisfyed. Howbeit we sée that the women which are héere named, forgot not to reuerence our Lord Iesus Christ as their maister, although they were great­ly troubled with his death: whervpō may consequently be iudged, that the word of God was déeply rooted in their harts: for although their faith was weake, yet sought they for our Lorde Iesus at the Sepulchre. And as for ignoraunce, it, could no waies excuse them, bicause they should haue lifted vp their minds into heauen, looking from thens, the resurrection that was promised them séeing it was appointed out vnto them by name to be the third day. Now, their mindes were so occupied, as yt they could not comprehend the prin­cipall matter, to wit, ye our Lord Iesus should ouercome death, yt he might therby obtaine life and saluation for vs. I call it, the prin­cipall poynt, because that without it (as Paul sayeth) the Gospell should haue bene in vaine, & our fayth in vaine.1. Cor. 15.14 Euen so although these poore women, had a good minde vnto the Sonne of GOD, and knew that the Gospel whiche was preached vnto them, was the very truth: yet were they so troubled, and in such a maze, as that they were not able to reache vnto the depth of his resurrecti­on: and therfore came vnto the Sepulchre with their swéete oynt­ments. Now, this was a falt worthy condemnation: and yet God accepted of their ministery: for he excused that, their amazednesse, vntil he had brought them back to the consideration of the matter. Héereby we sée, that when our Lorde alloweth of any thing we do, it is so farre of, that we shoulde make an accompte, that we haue deserued any thinge, as that contrarywise, hée of his frée mercy and goodnesse alloweth the thing, which inveridéede was not wor­thy to be offered vnto him. For God may alwayes haue good oc­casion to condemne our workes, if hee woulde straightly examine them: because they shall neuer be founde vnspotted. Howbeit, God spareth vs, & is contented to receiue the thing which we offer vnto him, be it neuer so weake and fauty: so that we deliuer it vp in an assured and pure faith, and acknowledge, that he accepteth vs, for Iesus Christ his sake.

And this is it which wée haue in this place to obserue. But in the meane while, let vs also vnderstand, that it was méete there shuld in the buriall of our Lord Iesus Christ, be another maner, and a better sauour and of greater force, then all the swéete oyntmentes which are héere spoken of. We haue already saide, that the Iewes customably vsed to anoynt the bodies, for the confirmation of their hope in the resurrection, and of the heauenly lyfe: which was a sig­nification that the bodies did not so corrupt, but that they shoulde be preserued vnto the last day, till God had restored them. But the body of our Lord Iesus Christ was clearly exempt from this corruption. Now, it was not the swéete baulmes which could doo it:Psal. 16.10. but because it was said, that God would not suffer his holy one to see corruption, we sée yt our Lorde Iesus was by miracle preser­ued frō all corruptiō. And because he was exempt from corruptiō, we are at this present, certen & assured, of the glory of ye resurrectiō which we haue already seene in his owne person: wherefore, wée sée the swéet sauour of the buriall & resurrection of our Lorde Iesus Christ, hath so farre stretched out it selfe, as that wee are thereby quickned. What then remaineth there to be done? forsooth, let not vs séeke any longer for the Sepulchre, as these women did, whose ignoraunce and weaknes hath stoode vs in some stead: but let vs looke vp into heauen, since he calleth vs thither vnto him: and hath shewed vs the way thereto, and hath beside declared vnto vs, that he hath taken possessiō of his heauenly kingdom, to ye end he might make a roome & place ready for vs,Iohn. 14.2. whē as we shal there seeke after him. Howbeit, we must also note the saying of S. Mat. for, the an­gel (saith he) appeared, who so feared the Souldiers, as that they be came like dead men. The women also were in the like flight, but ye Angel forthwith comforted them saying: feare you not, for I know yée séeke Iesus which was crucified, he is risen as he saide. Wée sée héere how God, so accepteth, of the affection & zeale of these womē, as yt he correcteth notwithstanding, the thing which he mislyketh. I meane, hee correcteth by the mouth of the Angell whom hee ap­poynted there in his turne. We haue already sayde that it procée­deth of the singuler mercy and goodnesse of God, whenas hee recei­ueth our imperfect ministery, which he might very wel abhor. How­beit he receueth of vs ye thing which is of no value, euen as a father taketh of his children many things in good part, which otherwise [Page 88] were very bables and trifles, Thus we sée how liberally God dea­leth with vs, and yet he woulde not haue vs please and flatter our selues in our sinnes. Let vs therefore beholde how the Angell cor­recteth these womens imperfection: & although their drift was to a good ende, yet are they condemned of a perticuler vice whiche was in them. And loe, why S. Luke saith that they were most sharplye rebuked: when it is saide,Luk. 24.5 wherfore séeke you the liuing among the dead? but we are héere to obserue, that the faithlesse & wicked soul­diers, who had no feare either of God, or of religion, were terrefied, & became like mad men: indéede the women were also afeard, but they were foorthwith comforted. And thus we sée how terrible the maiesty of God is to all those vnto whom he sheweth himselfe, and he doth it because we should féele our fraylnes, whenas God manifesteth himselfe vnto vs: and where before, we were presumptuos­ly puffed vp, and so imbouldned, as that we thought our selues too be no mortall men, whenas God shewed vs any signe of his pre­sence, therfore it was méete, that of necessitie we should be confoū ­ded, and be brought to acknowledge our estate to be but dust & as­shes, & al our vertues to be, but as slitting & vanishing smoke. And this falleth out, both to good & bad. Moreouer, when God terrifieth the faithles, he leueth them as reprobats, because they are no way worthy to tast of his goodnes. Wee also sée, why they flye his pre­sence, why they set them selues against him, & gnash their téethe, & become so furious as that they are without all wit & reason, & doo become euen very brutish. But the faithfull although they bee ter­rified, yet ar they reléeued, and take good courage, because that God comforteth and gladdeth them. And therfore, the feare wherewt the presence of the maiestie of God terrifieth the faithfull, is but a preparatiue to humble them, to the ende they might reuerence and obey him as he is worthy, and confesse themselues to be nothinge, that they might looke for al their blessednes in him alone. Héere then we sée why the Angell saide, feare not. Now, this sayinge, is worthy the noting: for it is as muche as if hee had saide, I wyll clearely giue ouer these faithlesse and scombe of the world, for they are not worthy of any mercye, and I direct my speache vnto you, and bring you glad tidinges. Be not you therfore afeard, because yée come to séeke Iesus Christ. Nowe, when wee sée this, let vs learne to séeke our Lorde Iesus, but not (as I haue sayde) thus [Page] grosely as these women of whom we haue spoken, did (as indéede there is now no occasiō to séeke the sepulchre) but let vs go direct­ly & without hipocyisie vnto him by faith. And let vs vnderstand, that this message appertaineth to vs, and is spoken to vs, that wée might bouldly, and without feare come vnto him, and not in con­temptuous maner (for we ought to worship the maiesty of GOD in feare and trembling) but how euer it is, let vs not be so sauadge, as though distrust had oppressed vs. And therfore let vs vnderstād that the sonne of God will conforme him selfe like vnto vs, when­as we come vnto him by faith, yea and wee shall bee sure to finde wherwith to comfort and glad our selues, because he hath purcha­sed the kingdome and principalytie of euerlasting life, for our pro­fit and welfare. And yet notwithstandinge, the women departed quicklye with feare, and great ioy. Loe, how the weaknesse of their faith appeared. I haue saide that the thing which they went about was to a good ende, but they kept not the right course: as may be séene by their feare, for they were not fully resolued and as­sured of the resurrection. And yet they had hearde it many times spoken of: but their mindes were not so setled as to conclude for a truth, that there was no looking for our lord Iesus in the sepulchre. We sée then from whence this feare came. And hereby wee may perceiue that this is a sinful affection. Indéede, wee must (as I haue saide) feare GOD, reuerence his maiestie, obey him, and wholy be humbled, to ye end he might be gloriously exalted, and all mouthes be stopped, & he therby be known, to be ye only iust, wise, & omnipotēt god. But this feare wherof mentiō is made in ye 2. place is wicked & dānable: for it turned to the shame of these séely womē, bicause yt although they both sée & heard the Angel speake, yet they thought it to be but a dreame as it were. Now, by this we are ad­uertised, ye god oftētimes so worketh in vs, as yt we do not perceue, as a man would say, whether we haue profited any whit or not: for we ar so ignorant & so fantastical, as yt we are ouershadowed as wt clouds, wherby we are not able to behold the clere light, to be short, all the doctrine of God séemeth to vs very vnprofitable: & yet wée find some tast amongst, which maketh vs féele yt god hath wrought in our harts. For although ther be but a spark of grace in vs, let vs not be discouraged: but beséeche the Lord to encrease yt litle that he hath begun, vntil such time as we be brought to a ful perfection, frō the which we are as yet very far of.

And although the feare and ioy which these women had, be accom­ted and condemned for a falt, yet we sée that God continually go­uerned them by his holy spirit, and that the message which the An­gel deliuered vnto them, was not altogether vnprofitable. We are now to looke farder into the matter: and that is this, that Lord Ie­sus appeared in the way vnto them, and said, feare ye not but goe and tell my Brethren, that they meete altogether in Galile, and there they shall see mee. We see héere in this place, a great deale more, how that the sonne of God draweth vs vnto him by degrées, vntill such time as we be throughly confirmed, whereof wee haue great néede. Now, this was sufficient enough that the women had hard the message deliuered by the mouth of the Angel, & the signes and tokens wer such as that they could not chuse but think that he was sent from God, for his face did shine, as it were. In very déede, the whit garment and such like, was not, liuely to expresse ye ma­iestie of God, howbeit the women had an assured testimony that it was not a mortall man which spake, but an Angell from heauen. And therfore, this was a sufficiēt testimony vnto thē, but yet they were a great deale the more assured, whenas they had séene our Lord Iesus, whom they before knew to be the sonne of God, & his vnchaungable truth. And this more fully ratified the thing, which they had before heard by the mouth of the Angel. And thus wee sée how we may encrease in faith: for at the first, we shal not be able to vnderstand, what power and effect is in the worde of God, but if we be taught well, somthing we learne by it, and yet is this litle or nothing God wat: howbeit, God by litle and litle toucheth vs wt his holy spirit, & in the end sheweth vs that it is he himselfe which speaketh. And then are we fully resolued, insomuch as we haue not only some knowledge, but we are also so perswaded, as yt when the deuill shall go about to deuise whatsoeuer he can possibly, yet shall he neuer be able to shake our faith, because we hold this principle, that the sonne of God is our teacher, vpon whom we stay, because we know him to haue all mastership ouer vs, & is worthy of most excellent authority. And this we sée was in these women. Indéede, God worketh not alike, in al men. For God wil so cal some, euen at the first, as yt we shall perceue yt he hath powred vpon thē won­derful extraordinary power, & yet we shal be oftentimes so taught, as yt we may plainly sée our grossenes and weaknes, to the end we [Page] might therby so much the more gloryfy our God, & acknowledge, yt whatsoeuer we haue, commeth al from him Let vs now come to ye saying, which hath bene already spoken of, Go & tel my Brethrē, that they meete all together in Galile. We see then héere, that ye son of God appeared not to Mary, and to the company which were wt her only, as to show himself to seuen or eight persons, but his mea­ning was yt this message should be published vnto the Apostles, & ye it should be at this present deliuered vnto vs, that we might be partakers therof. And to say the truth, if it were not so, what shoulde the story of the resurrection availe vs? but when it is said, yt ye Son of God was so manifested, & would haue the benefit therof to be cō ­municated vnto al the world, we may now the better tast of it. So then, let vs vnderstand, that our Lord Iesus his meaning was, yt we should be certified of his resurrectiō, bicause that whē we know in truth, that our Lord Iesus is risen againe, that therin consisteth all the hope of our saluation, & rightuousnesse. Not that he hath not cleansed al our filthines by his death & passiō: but because it should not remaine & continue stil weak. And therfore, it behoued that hée should poure abrod the vertu of his holy spirit, that he might by his resurrection,Rom. 1.4. be declared to bee the sonne of God: as S. Paul in the Epistle to the Romaines, and in diuers other places, sufficiently declareth.

Thus now we sée, that we must assure our selues, that our Lord Iesus is rysen againe, & leaueth the way open vnto vs, that wee might come vnto him: & looketh not that we should séeke him, but hath prouided that we might be called by the preching of ye gospel, & that his message should sound in the mouthes of those his heralts whom he had chosen. Since then it is so, let vs vnderstand, that the rightuousnes whiche wee at that this daye haue for the attaining vnto the heauenly Kingdome, wee enioy by the righteousnesse of our Lord Iesus Christ, because he will not seperat him selfe from vs. And héere we sée why he calleth the Disciples his brethren. In­déede, this is an honorable name: and was reserued for all those whom he accompted as his houshold Seruants: and this kinde of speche no doubt he vsed,Iohn 20.17. to shew the brotherhood that hee would, should betwéene him and them. And so also is it common to vs, as Saint Iohn more plainly declareth.

Now, to say truly,Psal. 22.23. we must haue recourse vnto that saying of the Psalm, out of which this place is taken: I will declare thy name vnto my Brethrē: which place the Apostle in the exposition of the person of our Lord Iesus Christ, did not only comprehend the 12.hebr. 2.11. Apostles by the name of the Brethren of Iesus Christ, but geueth also the same title generally to as many as follow the sonne of god and would haue vs to enioy the selfe same honor. We sée also why our Lorde Iesus saide, I goe vnto my God, and to your God, vnto my father, and vnto your father: now this was not ment by a few but it was spoken to ye multitude of all the faithfull. And although our Lord Iesus Christ bee our eternall God, yet is hee contented notwithstanding euen in the person of a mediator, to abase himself and come néere vs, and to haue all thinges common with vs, in respect of his humaine nature. For although hee, bee the naturall Sonne of God, and we by adoption, and grace, yet this community remayneth, that the Father of our Lorde Iesus Christ, is by his meane ours also, in diuers respectes. For it is not méete that wée should be exalted as hie as our head and soueraine: and surely this could not but be a wonderfull confusion, if the head of a mans bo­dye should not be aboue all the rest of the members, for otherwise it would séeme a very monster, and a confused lump: and therefore it is also very good reason, that our Lord Iesus Christ should kéepe his chiefe degrée, because he is by nature the only sonne of God: and yet this letteth not but that we may be ioyned with him in Bro­therhood, that we might fréely and with good assueraunce call vpon God, and bee hearde, because we haue familiar accesse vnto him. We sée then what the meaning of this saying is, when our Lorde Iesus calleth his Disciples, Brethren: to wit, he dyd it to this end, that we at this day should haue the like priuiledge with them, by the meane of faith. And yet this is nothing derogatorye from the power and maiestie of the Sonne of God, when he thus conioyneth himself with such wretched creatures as we are, and be as it were one of our company. Wherfore we ought to bee so much the more in an admiration, with the matter, whenas we sée him vse such his goodnes towards vs: as yt by his resurrection hée hath purchased for vs ye heauenly glory, for the purchasing wherof he abased himself, & became of no reputation. Since it is so, that our Lord Iesus vouch­saueth to allow vs for his Brethrē, to the end we might come vnto [Page] God, let vs boldly séeke him, and come vnto him, whiles hée thus gently inuileth vs: neither doth he maruellous cōsiderately, vse his word only to draw vs, but addeth withal a visible sacramēt also, ye we might be brought thereto according to our smal ability. And to say ye truth, let it be, that we be neuer so weak & blockishe, yet shall we not be able to excuse our slacknes, if we come not vnto our lord Iesus Christ: behold ye table wherunto he hath called vs: & to what end? forsooth it is not to the end to fil our bellies: although that ther­in, God declareth himself to haue a fatherly care ouer vs, and our Lorde Iesus also sheweth, that he himselfe is indéede the life of the world. Wherefore, when wée daily eate and drinke, it witnesseth thus much vnto vs, that our Lord Iesus declareth his goodnes vn­to vs: But in this table, there is a special cōsideration to be had: for it sheweth vs that we are the brethrē of our Lord Iesus Christ: to wit,Iohn 17.21. that because (as S. Iohn saith) he hath vnited vs vnto himself, he hath also vnited vs vnto God his father, & so by little & little tel­leth vs, that he is our meat, & our drinke: & we are takē to be of his own substaunce, that wee might haue al our spirituall life in him. And this is more then if hée called vs his brethren an hundered times.

Let vs therfore vnderstand and know the vnitie yt wee haue with our Lord Iesus Christ: to wit, that he will haue his life to be com­mon with vs, and his lyfe, to be our life: yea that he wil effectually dwell in vs, and not by imagination: and after an earthly maner, but after a spiritual: & how euer it is, he so worketh in vs by his ho­ly spirit, as that we are knit faster & suerer vnto him, then the mē ­bers to the body. And as the roote of a trée thrusteth out his sub­staunce and strength into all the braunches, euen so receiue we our substaunce & life from our Lord Iesus Christ.1. Cor. 5.7. And this also is the cause why Saint Paul saieth, that our paschall Lamb was cruci­fied, and offered vp: and that we should now kéepe holyday, and bée partakers of the sacrifice. And as in the old law, when any sacrifice was offered, they did eat and were mery, euen so likewise must we now come and receiue our spirituall meat and foode, which is héere offered vnto vs in this sacrifice, for our redemption. In veridéed wee must not eate Iesus Christ fleshly, for he is not betwéene our téethes, as the Papistes doo dreame: But wee take Breade, for a sure & vndoubted pawne, that we féede on the body of Iesus Christ [Page 91] spiritually: and we receiue a litle wine, to shew that we are spiri­tually sustained by his precious blood. Howbeit let vs with all note, the saying of Saint Paul, that because vnder the figures of the lawe, it was not lawfull to eate leauened bread, and that wee are now no more vnder such shadowes, wee must cast away the leauen of maliciousnesse, and wickednesse, and of all our corrup­tions, and take to vs the bread which hath no bitternesse but the bread of purenesse, and truth. And therefore, when we come vnto this holy Table, wherein the sonne of God sheweth vs, that he is our meat, and giueth him selfe vnto vs for a full and whole repast, and would haue vs be now partakers of ye sacrifice which he once offered for our saluation, we ought to looke well vnto it, that wee come not hether spotted and filed with sinne and iniquity, but vt­terly to forsake them all and be altogether cleansed of them, to the ende our Lorde Iesus might allow vs to bee the members of his body, and by that meanes also be partakers of his life. And thus we sée how we must profyt our selues at this day by this holy sup­per which is made ready for vs: which is this, that it may lead vs vnto the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ, and also vn­to his resurrection: that therby we may trust to haue life & saluati­on, because that by his victorious resurrectiō, we are made righte­ous, and the gates of heauen in such sort set open vnto vs, as that we may bouldly approche vnto our God, and offer our selues be­fore him, since wee knowe that hee wyll alwayes take vs as his children.

Let vs now fall downe before the maiestie of our good God, & acknowledge our offences, beséechinge him to haue mercy vpon vs, that we may finde fauour at his handes, although we deserue it not. And that he will not pardon onely the sinnes whiche wee haue already committed, but also ridde vs of all the faultes and miseries of our flesh, vntill such time as hee hath clothed vs with the perfection of his holynesse, wherevnto hee dalye exhorteth vs. And so, let vs all say: O almighty God and heauenly Father. &c.

The first Sermon of the Prophesie of Iesus Christ as concerning his death and passion taken out of the Prophete Isaiah.

Isaiah. Lij.

13 BEholde my seruaunt shall prosper: he shalbe exalted, and extolled, and be very high.

14 As many were astonied at thee. (His visage was so de­formed of men, and his forme of the Sonnes of men) so shall he sprinkle many nations: the kinges shall shut their mouthes at him: for that which had not beene tolde them shal they see, and that which they had not heard shall they vnderstand.

Chap. Liij.
1
VVHo will beleeue our reporte? and to whom is the grace of the Lord reueiled▪

THe Prophet hauing generally spokē of al ye people of the Iewes, commeth now to the head, vpon whō hangeth al, that hath bin before said. For their redemption was only grounded in & vpon our Lord Iesus Christ,2. Cor. 1.20. because in him, are al the promises of God accomplished. Now it is long time past sithence the redéemer was promised: But when it was thoughte that the ligne of Dauid was vtterly extinguished, the hope of the faithfull might altogether haue bin abolished. For it was said yt God would establish a king for euer,2. Kin. 24.15 2. Chro. 36.10 & would set him on Dauids seate, & not­withstanding that he should haue ye sunne and the moone of heauē, yet should this kingdom be mainteined & cōserued: & that although al ye world should perish, yet should this be so stable & sure, as that [Page 92] it should very wel be séen, that this was a kingdom wholly conse­crated vnto God. And yet for al yt, it decreased: yea, & soone after by little & little fell in decay, vntil such time as the last king saue one,2. Kin. 15.7. Ierem. 39.6.32.9. was carried away captiue, & al the kingly ligne translated, & as it were cleane cut of. And ye last king, who was created at the charge of an Infidel, & an enemie vnto al religion, in the ende playing the rebell, against him, it so fell out as that the king was takē, his eyes put out, he was indited, his children were slaine, he himselfe was most shamefully condemned: & the temple, with al his houses were burnt. What was to be thought héervpon? Forsooth, it must néeds bée, that the Iewes assured themselues by the Prophet, that God would in ye end, take compassion on them, and bring them out of captiuitie: For it was méete he shoulde tel them, that, that which was spoken to Abraham in the old time was not spokē in vayne, That in his séede, all the nations of the earth shoulde bee blessed: and that there should be a king of the ligne of Dauid established, whose Empire should be euerlasting and without end.

And therefore we sée, why Isaiah restraineth heere his spéeche vnto the person of our Lorde Iesus Christ: to this end & purpose (I say) that the redēption & returne of the people, which before hée had spokē of, might be holden to be most certayne and sure. Nowe we haue séene here aboue,Isaiah. 42.1. that our Lord Iesus was called The ser­uaunt of God, forsomuch as he most obediently submitted himself for our saluation: yea, beyng hée, who was Lord of glory, the head of the Angels, and before whom euery knée must bowe. Wherfore, since this name of seruaunt is geuen vnto him, let vs vnderstande that it is, because he tooke vpō him our nature, and yt hée would not only abase himselfe therein, but also be made of no reputation. For it coulde not bée chosen but that our transgressions and iniquities, must be repayred through his obedience. And according to that, which hée saide to Iohn Baptist,Mat. 3.1 [...]. hée must néedes fulfil the measure of al righteousnesse: Thus wée sée, that although our Lord Iesus Christ was ful of al maiesty, & God euerlasting, yet because he took vpon him our nature, and became like vnto vs hée thought not skorne too bée of the lowest degree of men whiche cannot bee gainesayd. For although his diuine nature was no whit chaunged [Page] Yet if we consider well of the matter, it was méete he should abase himselfe,Galat. 4.4. as he was a Mediator betwixt God and vs: for it is said, that he was made subiect to ye law, although indéed he was no whit indebted to ye same, for it was he that must rule all, and vnto whō al subiection was due: howebeit he placed himselfe in that ranke that he might frée vs frō the yoke which we were not able to beare. For the law was a burden to presse vs cleane downe, if so be our Lorde Iesus Christ had not borne it, and had fréede vs thereof by that meane. Neither let vs thinke it straunge that hée was called the seruant of God: séeing hée refused not eftsoones to become our seruant, which was very much. For if wée consider of our owne e­state, wée sée it is but a vayne thing, wée are but sillie woormes of the earth, and the Deuill, and sinne haue power ouer vs: and yet behold how the only sonne of God hath abased himselfe to become our seruant,Rom. 15.8 according to the saying of Saint Paule. For hée is (I say) the Minister of Circumcision.

Moreouer, the Prophet namely vseth the selfe same woordes, to the ende wee might vnderstand, that whatsoeuer is héere spoken of him, is for the common benefite & welfare of the whole church. Nowe, we must consider whervnto it was, that Iesus Christ was called: to wit, to be the Redéemer of al the faithful and chosen peo­ple of God. And therefore, since this charge was committed vnto him, and that he was so called, let vs not stande in doubt, but that whatsoeuer is saide of his person, is common to vs, and that the benefite thereof shall redound vnto vs, which héereafter we shal sée. And thus much of the meaning of the Prophet. Now it is said, that Iesus Christ being called: which was to an office to saue those that are his, shoulde floorishe, and bee woonderfully exalted and magnified,

This was spoken to this ende, that all the faithfull might bée armed against the temptation wherwith they might be attēpted before Iesus Christ shuld appeare in glory and maiesty, yt is to say before that he, who was God eternal, and ful of glory, were mani­fested in the fleshe. For when the Iewes were translated into Babylon (as hath béene before saide) then was the dignitie of Dauid his ligne cleane scraped out and defaced. Howbeit this is [Page 93] true in déed, that after the returne of a few of them, there was one Zorobabell who was taken for a Captein and chief: But he ware no Kingly Diadeame or Crowne, hée had but a certaine title of ho­nour giuen him: because the people beare alwayes a reuerence vn­to the house of Dauid. Thus we sée (I say) that Zorobabell was obeyed: yea forsooth, but yet there was no shew of gouernment in him. And therefore it was méet that the faithfull should be armed against such a temptation, & that God should assure them that the Redéemer should come, and notwithstanding that the earth and all bottomlesse depthes should open to giue him place to come out, and that hée might be aduanced aloft, yet for all that, must this thing néedes come to passe. And so, it is not to be doubted, yt the Prophet maketh here a cōparison betwéen two contrary things: that is, that Iesus Christ must be as it were lōg time hid, yea, & as one plunged ouer head & eares in the bottomles depths: & besides, yt whē he shuld come, yt he should not come in such great glory & pompous shewe, as yt men should make any great estimation of him: But contrari­wise, yt he should be naught set by, or els so cōtemptible, as yt a man would think, ye saluation of the people, should neuer be accōplished, and brought about, by his meane: & yet should he be exalted. But it is a great deale more plainly expressed, when as the Prophet saith, That he was more disfigured then any man, & no forme nor fashi­on to beseene in him, as if he were not worthy to come into ye com­pany of men, but to be taken to be a most detestable fellow, & the ve­ry countenance of him, only to be abhorred. Thus we sée ye pretense of the Prophet, in saying that Iesus Christ was exalted. Héere are then two things, which should séeme at the first sight, to be nothing like, nor possible to be recōciled: to wit, that Iesus Christ was not to be knowne: to be sought for, and not found: & when he should bée séene, no account to be made of him: last of all: yt there was nothing to be found in him worthy of reputation, & yet that God woulde so lift him vp, magnifie, & exalt him, as that hée should surpasse what­soeuer we might any way cōceiue of his maiesty, here in this world. A man might say, that these two things could no more agrée toge­ther thē fire & water: & yet the Prophet saith, that we must beléeue that God wil in such sort work, as that base beginnings shal be no let to bring things to a perfect end. Mark also why it is said, that he shal be wonderfully lifted vp, exalted, & aduanced: For, this was a [Page] temptation hardly to be withstood & ouercome. Neither is it also e­nough that God declareth vnto vs in a word, what he meaneth to doe, but whē we sée how his doings are withstood, & that it séemeth, that, that, which God hath said, is impossible to be brought to passe, yet let vs be confirmed & strengthened, and be able to haue where­with to ouercome whatsoeuer may be laid before vs, to hinder our beléeuing the promises of God. And therfore, this is euen as much as if the Prophet had said, My friends, assure your selues that God will exalt the Redéemer, yea, he will doe it in déede. But if we will reply & say, you say wel sir, but I pray you which way? For we sée, that the meanes are too too strange. Well haue you no doubt there­of: because the power of God is of so great might as you are not a­ble to vnderstand it: But (howeuer it is) if you doubt, & wauer, and fall to reasoning, & wil not be cōtented with these words, withstād I say, these fond imaginations, & be strong, set your selues agaynst your vnbeliefe: & be of this resolute minde, that howeuer it is, God will worke farre beyond your expectation, & farre beyond your opi­nion and reason. Thus we sée the pretense of the Prophet by vsing these thrée, or rather foure kindes of sayinges, which notwithstan­ding do signifie all one thing. And he declareth it very wel to be so, by saying, That he was foule and yll fauoured, and not worthie to be looked on, because there was neither beautie nor good counte­nance in him, but was as one cut off from the company of all men, and not worthy to be placed amongst mortal men. Now, this, whē time serueth, shal be more amply declared: For this very sentence shal be again rehearsed, for a more large setting forth of the matter. But howeuer it is, the prophet hath alredy declared, that ye Iewes, in looking for their Redéemer, must close vp their eyes against all such things as they haue bin wonted to séeke after, & giue place vn­to faith, & so be assured of the goodnes of God, although all were cō ­trary to their opinion. And this is not onely spoken of the person of our Lord Iesus Christ, but also of the whole course of his Gospell, and of the whole order which he taketh for the maintenance & go­uernment of the faithfull. And therefore if we would be assured of our saluation in Iesus Christ, we must in the first place, not be asha­med that he was so disfigured after the maner of men, & being sent into the world, was taken to be as one most accursed: and soone af­ter, his Gospel was in such sort slaundered as we sée it to be euen at [Page 94] this day. For if we be ashamed to receiue our Lorde Iesus Christ crucified, without doubt we are excluded from all hope of saluatiō. For, how are we saued by him? How belongeth the heauenly enhe­ritance to vs, without he had béen made accursed for vs, & not only accursed before mē, but also by the mouth of God his father? Thus we sée, that Iesus Christ, the fountaine of all blessing, hath neuer­theles borne our sinnes, and was made like vnto the old sacrifices which were called sin offrings,1. Cor. 5. [...]. because the wrath of God was she­wed in thē, & men were freed & pardoned by them. And howe could Iesus Christ be called our life, if he had not swallowed vp death by his death? Either how could we be exalted by him, but because hée went down into the bottom of hell, to wit, he susteined the horrors that were vpon vs, and wherwith, by reason of our sinne, we were held vnder? For it must néedes be that God must be our Iudge for euer: & this is the most fearfull thing that may be, to haue God our enemy. And it behoued yt Iesus Christ should enter into it, as our pledge, & as one that should make satisfaction for vs, and sustayne our cōdemnation, yt we therby might be pardoned. And therefore, let vs thinke it no strange thing to sée him thus disfigured: & if this in our reason, be foolishnesse, let vs vnderstand (as S. Paul saith) that the foolishnesse of God surpasseth all the wisdom of the world. Hée calleth that, the foolishnesse of God, in that our Lorde Iesus Christ was so abased, & surely, if we wold here set down our iudge­ment, we would say without doubt, that it were an absurde thing. For, to what purpose could it be any way possible that hée, who was to be worshipped both in heauen and in earth, shoulde be so shamefully dealt withall? Thus we sée howe that we in our arro­gancie, & presumption, will, as rashly and boldly as may be, con­tinually condemne, whatsoeuer God doth for our redemptiō: how­beit God in his secret counsell sheweth, yt he hath more wit, thē we, any way are able to cōceiue of. And therfore, let vs in the first place hold this for a sure ground, that séeing our Lord Iesus Christ was not only cōtemptible, & abased, but also made of no reputatiō for our sakes, not to forget (as S. Paul saith) to giue him the honour, belō ­ging vnto him: for, his glory was no whit empaired therby, althogh al men knew it not: yet did his gratious goodnes shine so much the more clearly. And besides we ought to trēble, whēas we sée yt ye sōne of God, refused not to be as it wer disfigured, being ye very image of [Page] God his father:Hebr. 1.3. For, all this he did, because hée would repaire this image in vs. And this is certaine, we are so spotted, as that when we shal appeare before the maiestie of God, it cannot be chosen but that he must reiect vs, vntill such time as our Lorde Iesus Christ hath set his brand vpon vs, whereby we might become acceptable vnto God, and finde fauour at his hands. So, when we heare yt hée was vgly, & yll fauoured, let vs looke well to our selues, & vnder­stand that hée, must take vnto himself, all our spots & blots, to the end we might be clensed of them, bringing now with vs before the iudgement seate of God, nothing but righteousnes & holines, which we could neuer haue had, except God had communicated the same vnto vs in Iesus Christ. And herevpon he saith, That the mouthes of Kings shal be stopped, when as he shal haue beene thus exalted, and that they shoulde sée suche a chaunge as neuer was thought of. Here then, we are told, that we must not rashly iudge, when as we sée our lord Iesus Christ to be thus abased, & naught set by, but we must consider to what end the Lord hath so brought him: which is, that such an excellent name was giuen him aboue all other crea­tures, as yt euery knée should bow before him, as it is said in the se­cond to the Philippians.Phili. 2.9. For whē S. Paul hath exhorted vs to mo­destie, & shewed that we should not estéeme of our selues, he setteth before vs our Lord Iesus Christ, as a glasse & pattern. Who (saith hée) being the true God, thought it no robbery to be equal wt God, & made him selfe of no reputation, taking vpon him the forme of a seruant: yea & became obedient euen vnto that most slaunderous and cursed death, the death of the crosse, and that, before God and men: and all this hée did, to the ende hée woulde take vpon him whatsoeuer was dewe to vs.

Wherefore, saieth hée, God the Father hath exalted him, and giuen him such a name, as that euerie knée should bowe, of things in earth, and thinges vnder the earth, & that euerie tongue shoulde confesse that the Lord is Iesus Christ, to the glory of God the Fa­ther: and that if we would sée what the maiestie of God is, & glori­fie him as hée is worthie, we must néedes come vnto our Lorde Ie­sus Christ. And this is in effect the meaning of the Prophet, That we must not for the basenes of Iesus Christ for a time, but beléeue in him, and set our whole heart on him: and also consider to what end he was thus handled: and that whensoeuer we speake of [Page 95] his death, we must foorthwith remember his resurrection, & ioyne them both together: For these are two inseperable thinges, That Iesus Christ would suffer in the weaknes of our flesh, and ryse a­gaine in the power of his spirit: and that in this last point,1. Tim. 3.16. 2. Cor. 13.4. Rom. 1.4. (as S. Paul saith) he shewed himself to be the true sonne of God. And we sée also besides, the pretence of the Prophet in this place. We haue before saide, that this was not onely séene in the person of Iesus Christ, but also in his Gospel. For, how was Iesus Christ known? and what obedience did the world yéeld him, whē the Gospell was preached? We sée, that they vnto whō the greatest authoritie was giuen, did not only scorne & condemne men, but also beat them, and scourged them, and in the ende put them to most shamefull death. And therfore, since it is so, Let vs ouercome all such offences, and being armed, as the Prophet héere speaketh of, Let vs consider to what ende it was, that our Lord Iesus came to stop the mouthes, that is to say, to make men astonied, that they shoulde not be able to reply, as we sée the Ganderlike gagling and iangling Infidelles and faithlesse doe. Now, it is true, that there is such dealing, and they cannot come to honour our Lorde Iesus Christ, because (as they thinke) they haue some reason, to say to the contrary. Howbe­it, we are héere told, that if wée did consider, wherfore it was, that our Lorde Iesus came, and what the ende, and fruite, of his death and passion which hée suffered for vs, was, that then our mouthes shoulde bée stopped. For, when the Scripture speaketh after this sort, it bringeth vs to a consideration of the sure established, and setled woorkes of God. For, so long as our mouthes are open, (as I haue alreadie saide) wée will enter into the cause, and so reason, as that God shall bee shut cleane out of the doores, and whatsoeuer hée hath done, shall be naught set by. But when it is saide, that e­uerie mouth shall holde it peace, and be silent before the Lorde, this sheweth that all our reasons should bée daunted and empriso­ned, yea euen to bridle our tongues, that we might quietly cōfesse, that God is to be glorified in the person of his onely Sonne. And if this be saide of Princes, what shall the common people doe? Wée are therefore, throughly to consider of the order which the Prophet héere setteth downe: For hée giueth vs this animaduersion or war­ning, that our Lorde Iesus Christ must be as it were vgly and yll fauoured, and be refused of the worlde. Wherefore, since the holy [Page] Ghost thus warneth vs, Let vs not thinke it straunge, nor yet bée carelesse to embrase him with a liuely faith: & although his Crosse (which is a detestable Gallow trée in the sight of men) might with­draw vs, and altogether estraunge vs from him, yet let not vs bée slacke in séeking after our whole glorie, to wit, in Iesus Christ cru­cified. Moreouer, let vs not stay our selues vpō his suffring, wher­by we might conceiue a great shame in him, whervnto he willing­ly submitted himselfe for vs: But let vs ioyne his resurrection and his death together, and vnderstand that although he was crucified, yet that hée sitteth as Lieftenant to God his Father, exercising the most excellent gouernment, hauing all power giuen him aswell in heauen, as in earth. And here we sée, why it is said that he shall bée exalted. In verie déed, that he was lifted vp & exalted vnto the gal­lowes, was in the sight of men a shamefull thing: howbeit he moc­ked and beguiled the Deuil, & set himself against all the world, in saying that hée should be liuely exalted: and when he was put to this shame, that euery mans tongue walked, & vomited out their blasphemies & villainies against him, yet sitteth hée in his throne, as we haue alredie declared out of the place of S. Paule.Colos. 2.15. And in an other place, hée namely saieth, that the Crosse, although it was be­fore time a Gallowes full of shame, was now as it were a Chary­ot of tryumph: and that Iesus Christ hath not only ouercome the Deuill therein, but also hath shewed that we might nowe glorifie our selues, forsomuch as we are freed from all condemnation: that sinne hath no more power ouer vs, and yt al the deuils in hel are al­together cut off, from all kinde of pretense whatsoeuer against vs. We sée then in summe, that we must ascend vp by fayth vnto the glory of our Lord Iesus Christ, to the ende we might not be asha­med to séeke for our saluatiō in his Crosse, our blessing in his curse, our life, in his death, our glory in his shame, and our ioy in his an­guishes, out of which came water and blood. And this is the summe which we haue to consider of in this place.Luk. 22.44. Nowe, the Prophet namely saith, That he will bedeaw, or sprinkle. In very déede, this saying, by a similitude, signifieth also to speake fayre: But when we shall consider better of the matter, we shall finde, that the natu­rall meaning of the Prophet in these wordes, That Iesus Christ shall bedeaw all nations is this: to wit, that although hée be a dry and fruitlesse blocke, yet shall all the worlde be bedeawed through [Page 96] his power and vertue. To be short, he sheweth that God wil work after an incomprehensible maner, and that the Iewes should not looke for any worldly helpe, but beleeue that God will surpasse all mens thoughtes and imaginations. For, when we are told of my­racles, our sences must needes fayle vs: and when we are tolde of misteries, that is to say, secrets, we must vnderstand, that we are not sufficient Iudges nor Arbiters, or dayes men, to say, it must néedes be so: But let vs worship the thing that cannot sinke into our brayne, nor which we cannot finde out the reason of. And thus much we haue in summe to consider of. Now, this admonition ap­perteineth to vs: for, as I haue alredie saide, we should abide to be bedewed with our Lord Iesus Christ: and although he hath appea­red to be as one that were fruitlesse, and that there can be nothing found in him, worthy reputation, yet, when hée shall offer him­self vnto vs, and come néere vs, let vs not thrust him back through misbeliefe, but rather giue him frée accesse through fayth And this is in summe, the thing which we are to learne out of this doctrine of the Prophet. Moreouer, hée saieth, that all the world shall be be­deawed with our Lord Iesus Christ, to wit, by the preaching of the Gospell.

For, they (saieth hée) who neuer heard any speech of him, shall heare of him: and they which neuer vnderstood, shall vnder­stand of him.

Héere, the Prophet amplifieth his purpose, shewing that God the Father would send our Lorde Iesus Christ, not onely to bée a Sauiour vnto the Iewes (although hée was liuely promised vnto them) but also vnto the whole world. Now, to proue the meaning of the Prophet to be thus,Rom. 15.21 S. Paul himself saith as much in his E­pistle to the Romans, applying this saying vnto his, being sent in­to straunge countries, hauing trauelled here and there, filling all nations with the Gospell, & in such places as God was neuer spo­ken of, preaching not only vnto the Iewes, but also vnto the Gen­tiles.

Thus we sée the drift of the Prophete: and this place ought to bée as a keye, to open vnto vs the kingdome God. For if Iesus Christ had not béene promised but onely to the ligne of Abraham, what had wée béene the better for him? For al­though hée was a Sauiour and Redéemer, yet is this nothing [Page] to vs, we haue neither part nor portion herein. But because it was tolde of so long time, before hée was sent, that hée should bedeaw all people: Forsooth, because that they which neuer before vnderstood, might vnderstand: and that they to whom it was neuer before told, might heare: Let vs vnderstande, that our God had adopted vs, when as Iesus Christ came into the worlde, and that hée accom­plished whatsoeuer was requisite and necessarie for our saluation: insomuch that the Gospell is nowe as a rayne to giue vs heauenly strength, by reason we are altogether fruitlesse, and because wée are hunger steruen, and voide of the grace of God, we must bee strengthened by the doctrine of the Gospell, that wée might féele what the death of our Redéemer is woorth, and what it auayleth vs, and that his life is the perfection of our ioy. Now, it is most cer­tain, that the Prophet would neuer haue spokē here of the Iewes, had they not bin brought vp & acquainted with the law: but would haue included the strange nations, who before had béen brought vp in all superstition and idolatry. For all the world cut off the God of Israel, & had him in contempt, and the Gentiles, made a scorne at the true religion. Now, it is said that they should heare, and ha­uing heard,Rom. 10.17. should also vnderstand. By these wordes, the Prophet sheweth, from whence fayth commeth, to wit, by hearing of the worde of God: But by the way, hée also meaneth that it is not e­nough to haue our eares beaten with the hearing of the Gospell, without wée vnderstande it. Nowe, this is not giuen to all men: and therfore this saying must be restrayned vnto Gods chosen peo­ple, and to suche as are renued by the holie Ghost: as also it is more liuely declared when as he saith, Who will beleeue our prea­ching? and to whom shall the arme of the Lord be reuealed?

Héere the Prophet pauseth in the middest of his wordes, and cryeth out as one that were merueylously astonied. And this place, is greatly woorth the noting. Wée haue heard, that hée exhorteth the faythfull to magnanimitie and constancy, as if hée had sayde, My good friendes, be not abashed although your Redéemer bee of no estimation nor credite, in the worlde, but is rather spetted vp­on, despighted, and also accursed and banned: yet let not vs for all this loath him, because God hath so ordeined it. But in the end you shall sée, that when hée arose againe out of the bottomlesse depth of death, hée was so highly exalted, as that he had al power giuen him [Page 97] both in heauen and in earth. And therefore, sticke not to worship this Redéemer, who hath so abased himselfe for your benefite.

Now in very déede, he compareth him to rayne, and sayth that God shall bedeaw or sprinckle those which neuer vnderstood the trueth, but were as a man woulde say like vnto bruite beastes. They, sayth hée, shall be taught, and be made partakers of the be­nefite which was purchased, and the Church of God shalbe so spred ouer the face of ye whole earth, as that they which haue blaspemed this sincere doctrine, shall haue their mouthes stopped, except they will moste reuerently and soberly confesse, that there is none but the GOD of Israell that is to bée honoured, and that his onely Sonne, the very liuely Image of his glory and Maiestie, ought to bee receiued and worshipped. Yea kings them­selues although they be neuer so proudly bente, shalbe enforced to abase themselues, and most willingly obey. Thus wee sée howe honourable the wordes of the Prophet are.

Nowe, hée foreséeth that when the Gospell shall bee preached throughout the face of the whole earth, that some will make a iest at it, some will bee madde at it, some wyll neuer finde any taste in it, some will be blockishe, other some will hypocritically lye vnto GOD, and make a shewe that they loue and obey the Gospell, and yet all shall bee but plaine dissembling. Wherefore, the Prophet séeing the worlde to bee thus wicked, and foreséeing that God shoulde not bee hearde, nor yet his worde so reuerently recei­ued as it ought, wondered, and cryed out saying, Who shal beleeue our doctrine? As if hee shoulde haue saide, Alas, I preache héere saluation vnto the worlde, but it is all loste labour without this remedie bée had: to wit, that GOD will sende his onely sonne, to fight against the Diuell and death, that hée myght thereby purchase vs righteousnesse, and life: For this doctrine is it that must bedeawe all the worlde ouer, otherwise wee are very fruitlesse. There is in vs nothing but drynes and wret­chednesse: and yet God tarrieth not vntill such time as wee desire him to bedeawe vs but commeth first to vs and franckly offereth himselfe, presenting vnto vs his onely sonne with his doctrine: and heerein, he sheweth himselfe so louing, as that hée ought to bee re­ceiued without gaynesaying: yea shoulde not euery man be so ze­lously inflamed, as not to make any reckoning of all the rest what­soeuer, [Page] for the imbrasing of this Redéemer which hath appeared. Nowe, this déede is so farre of, as that a man shall hardly find the tenth part of the hearers which shall bee earnestly touched. And in déede, wee are taught by experience that some make a test at it, as commonly all these contemners of God doe, in whome there is as much faith & religion as in a Mastiffe Curre: accounting all whatsoeuer is preached vnto thē of euerlasting life, but as an old wiues tale: Other some there are who are not cōtented with this cōtempt of the word, without they go farder: for they are stark sta­ryng madde at it.

Moreouer, there are some which blaspheme it with open mouth and othersome desire but to hold themselues vnto that which they haue conceiued in their fantastical crowing braine. Besides, there are some so blockish, as that they are neither named nor touched, more then stones, and othersome there are, who though they haue a fayre cloke of godlinesse, yet are they lyars and periured per­sons, and nothing in them but deceit and hypocrisie. This, we well enough sée, and although the Prophet had said nothing, yet we wil open our eyes, we shal sée it to bée so. And is not this a fearefull thing, and a monster against nature? yes no doubt of it.

Now, héere might maruellous offences be taken, to serue as it were for a barre to kéepe vs from comming to the Gospell, if wee should looke into the dealings of the world, so that wee might say, what? if the word of God be our most excellent blessednesse and fe­licitie, how falleth it out that it is thus reiected. And besides, what is the cause that God suffereth himselfe thus to bee scorned, and resisted, and that he maketh them not to heare him, & to giue him ye credite which apperteineth vnto him? So what tēptations héere are, to cause vs not to beléeue the Gospel. Surely, héere is a great speake, as though our misbeliefe did derogate frō the truth of God, and lessened his honour. And therfore, it is not without cause, that the Prophet Isaiah hath interlaced this saying. For if hée had sim­ply saide, as héere before we haue séene, that is, that all the worlde should be bedeawed by our Lord Iesus Christ, and that the gospell should be spred al ouer, & kinges & princes should subiect thēselues vnto him: we would at this present say, ho, this was not spoken by the Prophet Isaiah for our time: For we see al to be cleane contra­ry, & in stéed that the earth should be bedeawed for the obteining of [Page 98] saluation, we sée here to be a deluge or monstrous flood of al iniqui­tie: we sée that we become as it were brutished with an hellish re­bellion, euen to the casting of, of God & all godlinesse. To be short, wée sée the Gospel to be so ill intreated, as is horrible. And since it is so, the saying of the Prophet shall not be as yet verified. Nowe, this (as I haue alredy said) were euen enough to turn our faith vp­side downe: but when this saying is ioyned with that, that went before: which is, that notwithstanding that God sendeth raine to quicken and refresh vs, hee bestoweth not this speciall grace vpon all men, to receiue that which is spoken of: But that the greatest number of the faithlesse will haue their eares stopped, or els will bee so hard hearted as that they will bée the more inuenomed to doe mischiefe: and the rest will make no reckoning of the inestimable benefite which is communicated vnto them. Wherefore, séeing the Prophet hath declared all these things, and that wée sée it, we must not be abashed thereat: But our faith should rather be strengthe­ned thereby. Héere then we sée (in summe) what we haue to consi­der of this. And so, let vs make this reckoning that the world will neuer bée conuerted vnto God in such sorte, but that Satan will haue the possession of the greatest number, who shal continue bloc­kishe, desiring rather to perish, then to receiue the benefite offered. And there are diuers kindes of them, as hath béene before saide: Some will bée blockish, some will haue a pride to iest at GOD, and bée so foolishe arrogant as to condemne all that is conteined in the Gospell: and other some will bée ouer head and eares in the carckes and cares of this world, and will bee so preuentyng of things by their cunning and deceites, that they wil tast of nothing that is heauenly: and other some will bee so brutishe as that it is impossible for a man to enter into their mindes, to shewe them any doctrine. And therefore, when wée sée all this geare, let vs make this reckoning, that although the Gospell bée preached, and that the voice of GOD resoundeth and ringeth throughout the worlde, yet will a great number of people be no changelinges out continue as they were, so that all doctrine shal lye dead to them as it were. And thus much for this point. Wée sée also, that the belée­uing number is very smal. And therefore we are to beware howe wee become wanton, but let vs rather vnderstande, that whatsoeuer god hath spokē, he will performe. And in ye mean time, [Page] we should be the carefuller to shroude our selues vnder his wings, by reason that the worlde at this day is full of wickednes and rebellion In very déede, wee ought to stande in feare, and walke more carefully. For, if all men were well giuen to serue God, wee shoulde haue good examples on euery side, which shoulde sufficiently stirre vs vp, very valiantly for our partes, to bestowe our selues, but when it is saide, that the greatest number of those which come to heare the Gospell preached, shall liue like Diuels, and nothing els to be found amongst them but dissolutenesse and wantonnesse, so that a man woulde thinke that the world had con­spired to estrange vs quite and cleane from God, then had we most neede to walke in trembling and in feare, For, if God myraculous­ly preserued vs not, what would become of it? And therfore, let all such as meane to stand to the gospel, prepare thēselues to withstād the like occasions: although we see that other men do not their du­ties as they ought, yet let vs take héede that we turne not aside: But let vs when we sée the whole worlde treade the word of God vnder foote, sticke to it, and not that onely, but let vs so much the more duetifully submit our selues vnto our God, whenas wee see that offences and euill examples, might giue vs occasion to slyde a­way from him, and continue in the Gospell whereunto God hath called vs. Thus we sée what it is that wee haue to consider of the Prophetes crying out, when hee sayeth, who will beleeue our doctrine? For, hee presupposeth that the number of thē will be thinne sowen: and whenas the Gospell shall be published ouer the face of the whole earth, if wée looke what great effect it hath wrought, we shall find, that it hath taken déepe roote but in a very fewe, for the reformation and bettering of their life, forsaking thē selues, and consecrating them wholy vnto God: wée shall sée, I say, very fewe suche. But hée setteth downe by the way, the cause which at this present wee cannot handle: to wit, that in it wee shoulde also note that faith is an especiall gifte of God, and that to haue our eares beaten with the doctrine is not al, that is required: but God must also touch vs, and so worke in vs by his secrete po­wer, as that we may be drawne to him, and be edified by the prea­ching which is deliuered vnto vs. Howbeit because we cannot goe forward with it at this present, therefore we will reserue it vntyll another time.

Nowe let vs fall downe before the Maiestie of our good God, and acknowledge our offences, beseeching him to make vs more and more to féele them: that we may come vnto him so repentant as that we neuer cease all our life long to labour for it, vntill such time as all our corruptions, vices, and wicked lustes be abolished and wee bee deliuered of them by his holy spirite looking after no­thing els but the glorifiyng of our God. And because he would haue all prayse rendered vnto him in the person and mediation of his onely Sonne, let vs beséech him, that wee may all moste humbly imbrace this Redéemer which is offered vs: and in the meane while bée so mortified, as that we may bée exalted to that Maiesty which hée hath giuen vs, for the partaking of the life purchased by him for vs. That it woulde please him to bestowe this grace not onely vpon vs, but vpon all people and nations of the earth. &c.

The second Sermon of the Prophe­sie of Christe.

Isaiah. liii.

1 WHO will beleeue our report? And to whom is the grace of the Lord reueiled? But he shall grow vp be­fore him as a braunche, and as a roote out of a dry grounde.

2 Hee hath neither forme nor beautie: When wee shall see him, there shall bee in no forme that we should desire him.

3 Hee is dispised and reiected of men: Hee is a man full of sorowes, and hath experience of infirmities: We hyd as it were our faces from him: he was despised, and wee esteemed him not.

4 Surely, hee hath borne our infirmities, and carryed our sorrowes: yet we did iudge him as plagued and smit­ten of God, and humbled.

WE haue already begunne to treatise and say, that although the Gospell shoulde bée published throughout the face of the whole earth, yet, yt it should be very hardly receiued, & intreated, by the greatest number: which thing the Prophet hath also so declared, to the end the children of God might not bée abashed, whenas they sée the faithles­nesse of such as haue had their eares beaten with the doctrine of saluation, and yet haue cared no whit at all for the same. And is not this a strange kinde of dealing, that when God as much as is possible calleth vs vnto himselfe, and la­boureth so gently and graciously to winne vs, that we should per­uersly drawe our heades out of the collor as wée say, and euen for the very nonce refuse to receiue the benefite thus offered vnto vs? A man woulde thinke, that this were an impossible thing: and yet wée dayly sée it by experience. Loe here why it is that the Prophet cryeth out, whenas God, as it were, by the sound of a trūpet would publish his Gospel, & yet yt there should be notwithstanding so fewe beléeuers, hée addeth the reason, that it was very méete that God should shew forth his power, to graunt faith vnto those which na­turally would be faithlesse. What is the cause that wée sée so ma­ny people reiect, loath, & cōceiue so great an hatred against the Go­spell, & had rather be like vnto them which so set thēselues against God, then quiethly come néere him? What is the cause, I say? For­sooth, nothing els but yt we imagine we haue faith tied to our gyr­dels. Howbeit, the Prophet telleth vs another maner of thing, for he saith, that although god cōmaūded that his word should be pub­lished to all both good & bad, yet worketh hée such a secrete effect in his chosen, as if he made thē féele his arme & power. And therefore let this bée our obseruation, that whensoeuer the Gospell is prea­ched, it wyll bée but as an vnprofitable sounde, vntyll such time as our Lorde sheweth that it is hée him selfe which speaketh: nei­ther bestoweth hee this benefite vpon all men.

Thus wee see, the power of GOD to bee hidde from the reprobate and therfore, that this priuiledge belongeth but to a few, whō he hath chosen & adopted to attaine to euerlasting life, [Page 100] whenas hée telleth them that the Gospell is the doctrine of salua­tion: and a most infallible trueth, whereto they must sticke. Thus we sée in summe, the meaning of the Prophet in this place. Nowe we must heereupō, be fensed & armed against this obiect which the diuel setteth before our eyes, whēas we sée such a mightie number of people withstand the Gospel, euen of the greatest and highest in calling: for thē we think it, as a mā would say, not to be ye worde of God. And why so? verily, because we depend too too much vpon mē, thus we sée howe weake and vnstable our faith is. And therefore let vs ouercome the worlde, and let vs vnderstand that when God speaketh, we must submit our selues vnto him: and although none will accompanie vs héerein, but bée all against vs, yet let vs for al that, be contented to receiue with a pure and cleane faith, whatsoe­uer God speaketh vnto vs.

Moreouer, to the end we might not be abashed to sée men so wic­kedly bent as to fight against their God, yea euen their Creator, & Redéemer, let vs therefore vnderstande, that faith is not giuen to all men, but is a singuler gift which God hath reserued as a preci­ous Iewell for his elect and chosen: and although we vnderstande that our duetie is to cleaue vnto him, yet let vs, notwithstanding know, that euery of vs hath not faith of our owne proper motion, but that God hath inlightened vs, & made vs sée by his holy spirite and in thus doing hath shewed his power: that is to say, hath giuē vs such a liuely féeling thereof in our heartes, as that we may very wel know yt the Gospell is not of men, but frō him. And this is the effect which we are to consider of out of this place. To be short, let vs boldly set our selues against the faithlesnes & stubbornes of all such as are the enimies of God, & let vs march on, whither soeuer he calleth vs, & receiue the benefit which he offereth vs, to ye end we may be found blameles of this vnthākfulnes, wherof the Prophet accuseth & condēneth héere, all such as would not obey the doctrine of the Gospell. Nowe héereupon he sheweth that they vouchsafed not to beléeue Iesus Christ, because they sée him as a forlorne and cōtemptible man.R [...]m. 9.32. 1. Pet. 2.8. We know that our Lord Iesus Christ is called the stone of offence and stumbling blocke, because the worde stum­bled at him. And yet God his father gaue him to vs for another vse: which is, that wée might bée grounded vpon his fauour and grace, and as a stone vppon which wee myght all stande: [Page] because there is none other sure stay, but hée. And therefore wée stand all in réeling maner, and Hell mouth is wide open to swal­lowe vs vp. Thus wée sée that our saluation hath no sure ground worke in this worlde, and therefore must we stay our selues vpon our Lorde Iesus Christe.Isaiah. 8.14 Wherefore, sée why it is saide, That he shoulde be placed as a precious stone, vpon which the Temple of God shoulde bée built, and such a sure stone as shoulde bee able to beare the whole building, the Prophet also furder saith, that he shoulde be a stumbling stone vnto the kingdome of Iuda, and to the house of Israel. And according héereunto: it is nowe saide that he shalbe as A small twigge, and as a roote comming out of a dry and barren grounde: And that when he should be séene, no man shoulde once vouchsafe to looke on him: but that euery man shoulde turne away his face from him, and abhorre him. Wée see nowe, that there are but a fewe which will beléeue the Gospel: for wée séeke continually to make a goodly outwarde shew, and would gladly that all shoulde bée séene and come to light.

Nowe, the dealing of the Lorde God was after another ma­ner, when he ment to redéeme vs: For, (as Saint Paule saith) because the worlde woulde not benefite it selfe by the wisedome of God, whenas he in such sorte shewed himselfe the Creator, as that the very beholding of the heauen & the earth might haue sufficiently made it to haue come vnto him,1. Cor. 1.21. hee then made an alteration in the worlde, and hath vsed as it were, a certaine kinde of foolishe­nesse to teache vs For, (as I haue saide) wée shoulde haue beene taught by the wonderfull wisedome of God, which appeared both in the heauens and in the earth vnto the whole worlde, but wee haue béen ouer blockishe théerein. And therefore God hath vsed a kinde of foolishnesse, when as he sent his onely sonne, who sub­mitted himselfe to all our infirmities, whom the worlde refused, and being borne in a Stable, lead all the dayes of his life like a mi­serable poore handicraftes man: and at last, wée sée that all men set themselues against him: and so raged, as that they detested and hated him, and to make fewe wordes, and well crucified him.

Now, this was a death which God cursed: and hée was not on­ly disfigured with buffetting, spitting on, & crowned with thorne but also was accursed, being hanged betwéene two théeues, as if hée had béene the most horrible villaine that euer was knowne or [Page 101] hearde of. And this was a terrible kinde of death, because it was accursed by the law. We sée how fouly hee was disfigured: which was the very meane why he became a stumbling blocke vnto the worlde. And therefore, the Prophet namely saith that they would not beléeue the Gospell: because the world could not conceiue it to bée a reasonable thing, neither yet [...]llow, that the only Sonne of God, the very glory of the Lorde, shoulde bée put to such shame and rebuke: This eternall counsell of God, which was from the be­ginning, coulde neuer sinke into their braine. And thus wée sée the meaning of the Prophet. Now it is hereupō said notwithstanding That he shalbe exalted. Although at the first there is no shewe of it, yet God will increase him: and they shall sée, saith he, euen be­fore their faces, that although he was miserable and bare, & a poore twigge, yet that this was no let vnto his aduancement, nor to his glorious floorishing: because that God woulde put his hād & bring it to passe. And besides, he bringeth vs backe to our sinnes, that hee might take away our conceiued offence, by reason of the ouer­thwartnes of our vnderstanding. Wherfore, to the end we should not refuse to come vnto our Lord Iesus Christ, by séeing him thus disfigured, the Prophet sheweth vs the cause why. For, to say true­ly, if we come once to the acknowledging of our sinnes, and foorth­with conceiue of the wrath of god for the same, then shall we come to our Lord Iesus Christ, & desire him to helpe vs, & be so much the more earnest to receiue his death and passion: for wée must vnder­stand, that it is the most necessary remedy that may be, for the euil that is in vs, Thus in sume we sée here the procéeding of ye Pro­phet. Now, when he maketh comparison betwéen our Lord Iesus Christ, and a smal twigge or braunch & a roote in a dry and barren ground it is to shew, that the beginnings should be base & of no va­lure, so that all the worlde should scoffe & laugh at them. In the e­leuenth Chapter he compareth him vnto a sory twigge or braunch saying that he should come of the stocke of Isai Dauid his father. And therefore, because the kingly house was then base, and of no honour, hee said it shoulde be as sometimes it had béen, that Isai was a countrie man, & his children Neat heardes, & Shepheardes. This house in those dayes was nothing, and of no reputation: and besides, was like vnto the body of a trée lying on the groūd, which men troode vpon, and of no estimation. Iesus Christe then was [Page] like vnto a silly twigge or branche: But it is saide soone after, that hée should so wonderfully growe, as that hée shoulde ouershadowe the whole worlde. Héere, the Prophet also sheweth, that it muste néedes bée that our Lorde Iesus shoulde bee thus contemptible at the first. For if this had not béen namely declared, they might ve­ry well haue béen offended, whenas they see our Lord Iesus Christ to be thus contemptible as touching the worlde. For it was saide, that one should cōtinually sit vpon the seat of Dauid, & that this kingdome should florish, although he held the Sun & Moone. And now behold, that this princely house was as it were razed & vtter­ly defaced: & who would thinke that the promise should be accōpli­shed in the persō of our Lord Iesus? For, there was no likelihood, that he should haue béen restored to ye princely estate, but whē it is said yt this house should as it were come to naught, & he of no more estimation, nor haue no more rule, & preheminence, & that it should be ashame, as a man would say, to sée such a destruction and confu­sion: when the Prophetes, I say, haue told this much, then haue wee a very good entrée, to wit, Iesus Christ. Neither must wee bee abashed, as at a strange & vnknowne thing, although our Lord Iesus Christ shewed himself, in so base a state and condition. For, to say the trueth, it is not in this place alone, that the holy Ghoste hath thus saide. Wée sée also what the Prophet Amos saith, That God will raise this seate,Amos. 9.11 Acts. 15.16. which before was ouerthrowne: And this place is also set downe in the Acts of the Apostles, to de­clare that our Lorde Iesus Christe shall beginne to raigne, when it shal please God to repare the things that were confounded. And namely it was said, that this kingdome, with the kingly crowne, shoulde be trode vnder foote as it were, and haue no head, vntill such time as the Redéemer were come into the worlde. And there­fore all these thinges should confirme and strengthen vs, to the end these base beginnings of our Lorde Iesus Christe might not séeme strāge vnto vs. Moreouer, by this saying of a desert or barrē land, the Prophet meaneth, that it should séeme, that our Lorde Iesus should no more increase or grow vp, then a trée in the desert, where is neither moystnesse nor any goodnesse. Behold then he is like vn­to a disfigured or yll fauoured trée, which wanteth nourishmente, and the substance and moysture of the earth.

Nowe, it is saide that Iesus Christe shalbe so from the begin­ning, [Page 102] expressing thereby that there shoulde be no meanes héere on earth to make him florish, but that he should be increased frō hea­uen, & that by the secrete power of God his Father: and not be ay­ded by the worlde, because it is altogether barren & fruitlesse. And this was not only said of his byrth, but is also to be referred to the whole course of the Gospell. In déede, this was a signe that Iesus Christ was but a poore twig, whenas he could not get a place to be lodged amongst men, but was like one that was banished & exclu­ded frō all cōpany, & so poorely brought vp as euer was man. And this was to prepare the hearts of the faithful to vnderstād that Ie­sus Christ should be reiected & contēned as touching the world: but the principal matter for thē to vnderstād was, whē he should come to preach the Gospel, and execute the charge cōmitted vnto him by God his father. For then they began to say, Is not this the Carpē ­ters sonne, doe not we know his bringing vp? And in what schoole he hath learned to be so great a Doctor?Mat. 15.55 And his kindred séeing him to be so extréemely hated, would haue made him beléeue yt hee had béen mad, & that he must be tied, & kept frō doing his duty, for feare the people would haue stoned thē all to death: for they saw well e­nough that this malice would stretch it selfe foorth to the whole fa­mily & kindred, And at last, behold Iesus Christ was crucified. So that thē a man would haue thought the gospel had béen cléerely bu­ried with him, & the remembrance thereof quite put out. Who would haue said that the Apostles had euer béen able thus to haue set foorth the doctrine of the Gospell: For, marke what simple men they were, such as neuer knew what learning meant, altogether vnacquainted with the holy scripture, & vtterly without skill & a­bilitie: and besides, a refuse people, whō no man wold vouchsafe to heare, although in very déed they had spokē with ye tongues of An­gels. And what is to be séen herein, but euē a very wildernes? wher are ye honorable shewes, & preparatiōs, yt should make kings & princes to stoupe to ye gospel. For sooth, heere are none at al. But on the cōtrary part, behold naked swordes, fire & faggot, to stop the course therof. Wherfore, we right wel sée yt it was like vnto a smal graffe planted in a barrē land. And who would say yt it should grow to be a trée to ouershadow all the world, vnder ye which euery mā might shroud himself? who was euer able to immagine this, séeing so vn­likely beginnings. Therefore it is not wtout cause yt the prophet I­saiah declareth, yt the world wc is too too much addicted to glory, wil [Page] neuer vouchsafe to looke vpon our Lord Iesus Christe, but rather despise him, because he is like vnto a little twigge & science of a trée taken out of a barren land, where was neither water, moysture, substance, or yet strength.

Now, this is namely laide before vs, to the end we might not bée drawne away through any such offence, but be able redily to come vnto our Lord Iesus Christ. And therefore, when wee heare after what sort the Gospell shalbe preached vnto the world, and that we sée the like of it at this day: to wit, that the church shalbe as a small handfull of rascall people, and that wée shalbe abhorred of all those that beare the greatest sway in the worlde, let not vs for al that be faint harted. For we sée how our Lord Iesus Christ appeared at ye first, & although his meaning is that his kingdome should bee con­serued after this maner at this day, yet let not that stay vs from yéelding our obedience vnto him.1. Cor. 1.25. And since we know (as S. Paule saith) yt the foolishnesse of God hath surpassed the wisdom of man, let not vs be so arrogantly minded as to set our selues against it: But let vs vnderstand that as God his meaning was to make his sonne of no reputation, so likewise entended he to exalt him aboue the heauens: and let not vs finde fault with that which he hath or­deined in his secrete counsel, but therein rest our selues.

Moreouer, let vs well cōsider of these words, That he shall sprout vp before him. For, if we, through our pride and disdaine, think to tread Iesus Christe vnderfoote, & kéepe him vnder, we deceiue our selues: because he shal grow vp in despite of mans incredulitie, ma­lice, vnthankfulnesse, and enmitie, but it shall be, before God. It is true also, that he groweth vp aswell before the faithfull: because they must obediently worship him, & acknowledge that the excellēt name which god hath giuē him, is worthie to haue euery knée bow vnto it. But the Prophet hath namely said, that hee shall grow vp before God, setting héere a ballance as it were betwéene such mē as goe about to ouerthrow & suppresse the glory of our Lord Iesus Christ: and besides, God his father who will giue him his hād, wil bring it so to passe, as yt nothing shalbe able to kéepe him frō attai­ning vnto the fruite of his glory and Maiestie, whereunto hee is called. Thus wee sée the very naturall and true meaning of these wordes, That to the outward shewe, our Lorde Iesus is but as a twigge, in a dry or barren grounde, because there is no meanes in this worlde to make him growe vp: and yet bée [Page 103] as be may, he shal growe vp. But how? Forsooth, euen before God.

And therefore, let it not dismay vs, when wée shall sée men make a iest at the Gospell, & to become as a flaunderous and shamefull thing, by reason of the pride of the faithlesse: But when wée shall sée the enimies of the trueth ware to arrogant, and lift vp their hornes against our Lorde Iesus Christ, and furiously fight against him, let vs turne away our faces from it: and not be so foolishe as to set light by the sonne of God, because it is not the blinde, & such as Satan possesseth, and who are altogether bewitched, that doe praise and magnifie him and his worthines: but let vs rather looke vnto God, and then shall wée be throughly instructed in our faith. For since Iesus Christe so groweth vp before God his Father, it is good reason that we for our partes shoulde magnifie him, and yéelde him the honour that belongeth vnto him: To bée short, let vs learne to stay our selues wholy vpon god, & thē we may boldly & fréely stand against all the world. And although there bee no rec­koning made of the word of God, yet let vs yéeld our obedience vn­to it as it were vnto himselfe. And why so? Forsooth because that God should be far dearer vnto vs then an infinite number of those gainesayers which would withdrawe vs from comming vnto our Lorde Iesus Christ. And this is a very necessary point for vs euen at this day: For (as wée haue saide) we sée that the mightiest and wisest men of this worlde, fight notwithstanding against the Go­spell, yea euen they which are not contented to be called Chri­stians only, but which also will be aboue all others, in the highest degrées, and yet are these men, I say, but Satans supporters to a­bolish the trueth of God, & such as set thēselues against our Lorde Iesus Christ & his word. If this, I say, feare vs let vs consider wel of ye which is héere said, That if we sée men so obstinate & hard har­ted, as that they wil not receiue the sonne of God when he offereth himselfe vnto them, wée ought to set our selues against euen the mightiest of thē: because then are but doung in respect of God. In very déede, as for the present time, they are of so great Maiestie as that to our séeming all the world should bowe & tremble before thē: But if we would lift vp our mindes vnto God, & looke vnto him, wtout doubt wee woulde care no more for al these fray baggles, then for a rush. Thus we sée how we should lift vp our faith to the end yt nothing which is héere below, might bee any let why Iesus [Page] Christ should not rule ouer vs. And this is it which we haue to cō ­sider of in this place. But because God worketh after a strange & incomprehensible maner, it shoulde confirme vs a great deale the more. For if the Gospell were preached by men of great esti­mation, so that kings and princes, and al honourable estates euery where submitted thēselues vnto it, & that it might bee thus cōclu­ded whereunto we must sticke, This is the heauenly trueth which we must agrée vnto? And euery man is to fauour it, and to put to all his force and substance. Nowe, this were like vnto a far groūd well tylled, planted with trées & vines, & sowen with wheat, which at the world helpeth, & spareth for no cost. When land, then, is this tilled, & hath raine in due season: and should continue so, euer after: and to be short, no cost to be spared: Why? Surely this were the very naturall & kindly handeling of ground: and therefore a man woulde thinke, that God had not put his hande herevnto. But when wée sée what disputations and resistances are at this day to oppresse the gospel, & what a number of hired tongues for the same purpose (for not only the popish hypocrites at this day, let out their tongues like cōmon harlots to blaspheme God & his word, but also a many of curres euen amongst vs) yet shal we besides likewise see what crueltie they vse against the poore childrē of God, laying cōti­nually strange platfourmes to the deuising of Edict, vpon Edict, to bring this doctrine vtterly to naught. We shall also sée at this day what vile and scornefull spéeches prophane men wil haue, because they would abolish al religion. And therefore when we looke vpon al these things we must néedes cōclude that God is aboue them al, & the doctrin victorious, & procéedeth frō him▪ Wherfore, this ought to confirme vs, yt although we sée there is nothing in the world to aduaunce ye dominion of our Lord Iesus Christ, & the doctrine of his gospel, but yt al things rather hinder it: yet notwithstanding, that it findeth an entrāce & kéepeth his course. In the meane while we are conuinced of vnthākfulnes, if we take any offence thereat, séeing God calleth vs vnto himself, & sheweth vs, that it is his hādy worke: and therefore we must necessarily conclude, that it is mira­culous, to sée the gospel thus prosper. Thus we sée in summe, how we must put in practise this doctrin in these daies. Yet there is som­thing more, and that is this, that Iesus Christ must be disfigured. The Prophet hath already saide, That hee should be like vnto a small twigge: But that which is more, he should bee contemned, [Page 104] refused, & not once vouchsafed to be looked on, neither should there be any thing in him, that were to be desired. And this is to declare, that our Lord Iesus Christ should, as we haue already said, be vi­ly estéemed of the world, and suffer al reproch and shame, as if men had not onely forsaken him, but God also. Now to séek our saluati­on, which is a thing so greatly to be desired, in him, in whom is no kinde of likelihood, this should seeme to be a great abuse. And there­fore, if we wil come to Iesus Christ, we must ouercome this tēpta­tiō. Now, this is a very necessary point, first, bicause the Iewes loo­ked for an earthly kingdō: for this was so couetous & proud a natiō as yt they thought god could not shew himself merciful vnto thē ex­cept he heaped on thē great riches of ye worlde, yt they might liue gloriously, & in al pleasure: thus we sée, what a redemer it was yt they looked for: and yet had God throughly aduertised thē, that the rede­mer should be like vnto a litle twig whō ye world shuld refuse. And this admonitiō was not only necessary for thē, but also as necessa­ry for vs euē at this day: for this offēce remained after ye resurrectiō of our Lord Iesus Christ, for S. Luke saith, yt the Gentiles made a mocke as it were, at Iesus Christ, & the Iewes were venimously & maliciously armed against him, & stumbled at him as at a stūbling stone. And of these exāples, we haue ynough euen at this day with vs. Wée are therfore to consider so much the more of this doctrine, that is, that it must néedes bée that the sonne of God must be thus mishappen, and yll fauoured, and that there shoulde bée nothing in him woorthy commendation, in the sight of the worlde: for by the way, we must alwaies haue this note which S. Iohn speaketh of, that the glory of the sonne of God appeared in him: howbeit ther were many blind fooles which neuer vnderstood thus much. Now, when the Prophet Isaiah saieth, that Iesus Christ shalbée like a mishappen & forlorne man, & ful of deformity, he signifieth héereby that it was impossible for a naturall man to vnderstande that hée was sent to saue them, & that hée should haue all power both of life and death, and that the fulnes of al righteousnesse, wisedome, and holinesse shoulde bée in him no man, I say, was able to conceaue this in his head. Thus we sée how this place is to be taken: For al­though our Lorde Iesus Christ had done many notable miracles which testified his heauēly power, yet for all that, he remayned stil disfigured and the faithlesse perceiued it neuer a whit.

And therefore this place of the Prophet hath fully béene accom­plished,Psal. 45.3. that there was no gloriousnes in Iesus Christ to draw mē to like of him. It is very rightly saide of the Psalmist, that he shuld be gloriously and beautifully lifted vp aboue al mankind: But this is a spiritual beautifulnesse, accordingly as we haue already said, That the glorie of the sonne of God appeared in him: euen vnto al those that had had their eyes, and were able to sée him. Loe then how our Lord Iesus Christ hath surpassed all men in beautie: be­cause God had geuen him infallible markes & tokens, wherby hée might be known that he was in very déed, the liuely image of God his father.Iohn. 1.14. We haue then sufficient reason ynough to magnifie our Lorde Iesus Christ: Howbeit the worlde knew it not. And so, we must come backe againe vnto the saying of the Prophet, that euery man hath turned his backe, and closed vp his eyes, as a­gainst a most horrible and detestable thing. What? to seeke for lyfe in death? to trust to him that coulde not helpe himself? to séeke strength and power in him, that was so weake? what a thing were this? To be short, we al know, & haue had too too much experience in our selues, yt as our Lord Iesus Christ was abased in his death euē so wil our faith he cast downe headlong, if it be not vpholden from elswhere. When there is any questiō of the setling our selues vpō our Lord Iesus Christ, in running, & trusting fully & wholly to him, then this cōsideration cōmeth into our minds, what, how be this? why he was so abased in his death, as yt a man would thinke al were marred, & cleane lost. Thē must wee haue recourse to this saying of the Prophet: that although hee was abased in his death, yet ye God exalted him aboue al the rest of his creatures. And thus must we lift vp our faith vnto the heauens. But, hée as be may, let vs learne not to take any offence, at the crucifiyng of the sonne of God neither yet at the shames & slanders which he suffered in his owne person, nor at the disdaining of his members at this day, and at all the reproches which are done vnto them in the whole world: let not al these dooings, I say, withdraw vs frō continually remai­ning firme & constāt in ye faith of the Gospel, Now, because this cō ­bate or cōflict is hardly to be performed, marke why ye prophet bringeth vs back to ye reasō, why our Lord Iesus suffred: for, to say tru­ly, it is impossible for vs to trust vnto ye sōne of god, vntil such time as we are surely & certainly persuaded of the fruit & benefit which [Page 105] cōmeth vnto vs by his death & passiō. And why so? forsooth, because at ye first sight (as I haue already said) a mā would cōdemne it to be a foolish thing, yt a mortal man should be the Author of life: that he should die no simple death, but such a slanderous death, as God cur­sed, euen to be hanged as a théefe vpon the Gallow trée. Now whē we shoulde sée all this geare, no doubt of it, wée should be brought into such a maruellous hatred of the matter, as that we should ne­uer be able to come vnto Iesus Christ, but héere is the rightest re­medie that we haue, that we vnderstād why he died, how his death hath profited vs, & what benefit we haue receiued by it: & then wée shall auoyde all offences. As for exāple, if griefe & sorrow oppresse my hearte, and doe beholde the onelie Sonne of God to bée, as it were, troade vnder foote, and abhorred of all men, I must néeds enter into a cōsideration with my selfe: For if I looke but only in­to Iesus Christ, I shal passe it ouer, & make no reckoning of it: but if in the first place I looke vnto my selfe, & afterwarde come vnto him, then shal I finde a good sauour and taste in his suffering. And how so? Forsooth if I consider with my selfe that I am a miserable sinner, and haue so prouoked the wrath of God against me, as that he is become mine enemy, and my Iudge: if then I thinke of my sinnes, and therevpon doe conceyue what an horrible and terri­ble thing the wrath of God is, and that hée is my iudge to cast mée into the bottomlesse pitte of hell, then will I begin to say, Goe to now, what meane hast thou to make an attonement betwéen God and thée? Art thou able any way to satisfie him, only for the least of­fence that thou hast committed against him? Alas no, thou arte no way able. Can I with trauelling by Sea and lande all the worlde ouer, be able to make recompence? Can the Angels of heauen helpe mée? No surely. Why then it is Iesus Christ alone that must ap­peare for mée in my name, & he must bée my pledge and warrant. Thus we sée that the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ shalbee no more any foolishnesse vnto vs: but wee shall thinke that because wée were thus accursed, and had no remedie to find fauour at the handes of GOD, since we had so prouoked him to bée our enimie, it could not bée chosen but that wee must néeds bée eftsoones subiect to Satā & vnto his tiranny, vntil such time as Iesus Christ had deliuered & quited vs of thē, Thus we sée how we should begin [Page] to magnifye the infinit goodnesse of this our God, which is an ab­horring our sinnes, and by being a shamed of them as much as is possible. We also sée how this imaginatiue offence and fond deuice of the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christ, shall bee blotted out, to wit when we shal enter into the consideratiō of our selues, and truly trie our sinnes, and acknowledge that we are so detesta­ble vnto God, as that he him selfe must néedes come in the person of his sonne to make satisfaction for them, & to repayre our iniqui­ties, to the ende we might be reconciled vnto him. And this is héere the order of the Prophet On the one side he sayeth, that Ie­sus Christ shall haue nether forme nor fashion, and that nothing shall be founde in him worthy to bée desired. And that which is more, to sée him a farre of, would make a mans hart yarne. How­beit, when he had said all this, he addeth, Now, it was for our sins, that he was afflicted. As if he had saide, Ah miserable blind soules, you make no reckoning of the sonne of God: yea and euery of you through your vnthankfulnesse shutteth the gate so hard vpon him-as that you are no way able to come néere him, to obtaine the sal­uation which he bringeth you. And what should be the cause? truly, for that you haue not knowne your sins, that you might be hum­bled, and because you are drowsy and blockish, and féede your sel­ues with your vaine flatteries: but looke into your miseries & cor­ruptions, and then wyll you be ashamed of your state & conditiō, & acknowledge that you haue none other meane, but Iesus Christ alone to be your mediator, who taketh vpon his owne person, the thing which made you the enimies of God, who becommeth your pleadge, & maketh him selfe as a poore sinner, to lay vpon his own shoulders ye burthē of your sins. Now, when you shal think vpō all these things, thē wil you find some good sauor to submit your selues vnto ye sonne of God: & not cleaue any more to your vain fantasies, nether yet be offended that Iesus Christ was thus bacely accomp­ted of, whenas you shall vnderstande in what condemnation you haue deserued, and the recompence and satisfaction due for ye same. Moreouer, ye Prophet namly saith, we haue seene him, & disdained him, therby to declare, yt our Lord Iesus should not only be contē ­ned & reiected of the smalest nūber of people, but euen of the gretest nūber of his peculier people. for whē ye prophet setteth hī in ye ranke of those which had refused our Lord Iesus, he had a regard vnto ye people of the Iewes, whereof he came: and he ment also, ouer and [Page 106] besides this, to shewe that this was the common opinion as a man would say, that Iesus Christ was reiected in all places. And there­fore we are so much the more surely armed, not to tie our selues to mens fantasies, when as we shall not onely sée in this behalf hun­dreths of infidels, but also great troupes, and mightie armies, yea Myllions, that a man shall hardly finde thrée or foure amongst an hundreth, which will quietly submit them selues vnto our Lorde Iesus Christ: and albeit we sée it to be thus, yet let vs for all that cleaue fast vnto him. Thus we sée in summe, what we haue to cō ­sider of, in this place. For, if we should at this day come to voy­ces, and a fewe weake people should beholde it, what? would they say, There is but a small handfull of men which beléeue the Gos­pell: howbeit, if they were the greater number, I could bée well contented to goe that way: but for mée, to thrust my selfe into so small a company, and forsake the greater multitude, what a folly were that? Now, the Prophet, to the end hée might cut the throat of these obiections, sayeth, that there woulde not be aboue foure or tenne at the most, but that all men for the more parte, woulde refuse to obey our Lorde Iesus Christ. And no doubt of it, his meaning was to finde fault perticulerly with the Iewes: For wée haue alredie alledged out of the eight Chapiter, that hée should be a stumbling blocke to these two houses, to wit, to the trybe of A­braham. Wée sée then, that a man would haue thought that the people whom God had specially chosen to him selfe, must néedes haue knowne their Redéemer. For, to whom was Iesus Christ promised? Forsooth, euen to the Iewes: For it is saide, that he was the Minister of the Circumcision, to the ende hée might accom­plishe the promises made vnto the Fathers.Rom. 11.8▪ Psal. 118.22 And therefore the Iewes must néedes bée acquainted with Iesus Christ before he appeared vnto the worlde, and with ease receiue him: Nowe, it is sayde, that the principall and chiefe builders refused him, to wyt, the Princes and heades of the people. And euen so fareth it at this day: For, not onely Turkes, and Infidelles refuse Iesus Christ, but also verie many false Christians in name: yea, and wée shall haue numbers that professe the Gospell, who many tymes, become prophane, and villainous scorners of God, and woulde gladly that all the doctrine of saluation were clearely abolished: for the shewe that they make of it, is [Page] onely for the shame of men. But howeuer it is, we are sure of this, that Iesus Christ shall be refused and contemned: and if it had not béen so foretold of, our fayth might very wel haue bin sha­ken. But this saying of Isaiah is a verie good staffe for vs to leane vnto, euen as vnto a sure rock, when as we sée all the worlde thus stumble at him, as to sée some, to set them selues furiously against him & his doctrine, some to scorne him, and put out their tongues to speake euill of all religion. But yet let vs notwithstanding, con­stantly perseuere in our Fayth. Surely, it is greatly to be wished for, that we might sée Iesus Christ a far off, and submit our selues vnto him, because hée is the true Glasse and patterne of al holines. Howbeit, the more we sée the world refuse him, the greater ought our fayth to be. For howe is it possible for vs to discerne, that Ie­sus Christ is the Redéemer of the worlde? Forsooth, let vs consider what all the Prophets haue saide of him. For, to say truely, this is the onely Glasse, wherein we must beholde the onely Sonne of God: For, behold the true testimonies which God hath sent down from heauen to set a sure marke of him, that should be the Redée­mer, to wit, that all the worlde should forsake him, and euery man lift him selfe vp against him. And therefore since it is so, let vs re­ceiue him with this condition, and not doubt, that although it sée­meth to vs, that we should be vtterly ouerthrowne, and troad vn­der foote through the boldnesse and pride of the vngodly, yet that God will magnifie our Lorde Iesus Christ, and so strengthen our fayth by his holie spirit, as that it shall haue victorie vnto the end: and that as our Lorde Iesus hath ouercome the Deuill, as in the end, both hée, and all his Supporters, must be made his footestoole: euen so likewise, will hée cause vs to tryumph with him to march vpon all those which persecute, and lift them selues vp so furiously against vs, and against all those which contemne, and despight him.

Nowe, let vs fall downe before the Maiestie of our good God, and acknowledge our offences, beséeching him to cause vs so to féele them, as that we may grone and sigh for them, so that we be­ing after, truely humbled, may come to our Lorde Iesus Christ, knowing that in him must be all our helpe and comfort. And for­somuch as, it pleased God his Father to punish him for our sinnes, Let vs set all our affection vpon him: and be so willingly gréeued [Page 107] for our prouoking of our God vnto anger, as that we may haue, both our selues, and our sinnes, in detestation and hatred, vntill such time as we be throughly cleansed of them. And that it would please him in the mean time so to assist vs, as that we neuer dout, but that hée will be alwayes mercifull vnto vs, because that Ie­sus Christ hath not once onely suffred to abolish our sinnes, but also, daily offreth vs forgiuenesse of the same, when as we séeke that, at his handes, which is wanting in vs. So let vs beséech him, that hée will not onely graunt vs, this grace, but vnto all people and nations of the world, &c.

The third Sermon of the Prophe­sie of Christe.

Isaiah. liii.

4 SVrely, hee hath borne our infirmities, and carryed our sorrowes: yet we did iudge him as plagued and smit­ten of God, and humbled.

5 But hee was wounded for our transgressions, hee was bro­ken for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was vpon him, and with his stripes we are healed.

6 All wee lyke sheepe haue gone astray: wee haue turned e­uerie one to his owne way, and the Lorde hath layde vpon him the iniquitie of vs all.

WHen wee beholde all the woorkes of GOD héere in this worlde, wee are taught to prayse him according to his excellency and highnesse: But when we looke vpon the person of our Lord Iesus Christ, wée are then to magni­fie him in his lowlinesse and humili­tie. Héere then are two manner of wayes set downe vnto vs howe to praise God, The one is, Because hée [Page] sheweth vs his infinite goodnesse, righteousnes and power, in the creation and framing of all things, and in the ordering and dispo­sing of the same, therefore we ought also to honour and exalt him, not that we are able, to make him honourable: But the scripture vseth this kinde of spéech, to the ende we might lift vp our mindes vnto heauen, aboue all worldly things, whē as we would glorifie our God according vnto his worthines. The other is, that because our Lorde Iesus Christ, in whom dwelleth the fulnesse of ye God­head, was not onely abased for our saluatiō, but also wold be made of no reputation, no not refusing to suffer the sharpe anguishes of death, as if he had entred into hell: for this cause therfore, I say, is God more to be glorified, then for all the mightie gloriousnesse that is to be séene in all the worlde besides. And of this we spake some­what yesterday: But because the Prophet goeth on with the mat­ter, we are to ayme cōtinually at this marke, that where the fayth­lesse are abashed, whē as they sée how God ye father, hath after this sort afflicted & tormented his sonne Iesus Christ, & do take occasiō of offence to estrange themselues far from him, we, ought so much the rather to be stirred vp to séeke after him, & to be farther in loue with him, since he spared not himself to take vpon him our whole burthen, that we might be eased therof. And therfore, when as wée sée that our Lord Iesus Christ hath made such an [...]xchange for vs, and taken vpon him to paye all our debtes, to the ende to discharge vs, and woulde bée condemned in our behalfes, and in our person, that wée thereby might be pardoned, sée what a merueilous occa­sion hée hath offred vs to drawe néere vnto him, yea, to be altoge­ther earnestly in loue with him, because in him, resteth all our qui­etnesse. Nowe, it is saide,

That he was afflicted by the hande of God: but it was for our transgressiōs. For if we looke into the iudgement of God, the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christ shal be to vs as an vnprofita­ble thing, neither shal we receiue any fruite or benefit thereby. For the principal point is, that we might be at an attonement wt God, who is our enemy, vntil such time as our offences are buried, be­cause that he who is the fountain of righteousnes, cannot abide to loue iniquitie. And therefore, so long as he imputeth vnto vs our sins, & seeth what we are, he must néeds be our iudge: But when as Iesus Christ cōmeth betwéene vs & him, & speaketh for vs, we are [Page 108] then acceptable in the sight of God, because he hath made satisfacti­on for all our iniquities. For, the cōdemnation which our Lord Ie­sus Christ suffred, cannot be vaine. Now, hée, in very déed had com­mitted no fault, neither was he guiltie in any thing. And therefore he was cōdemned, that we might be pardoned:1. Pet. 1.19. for the which cause he is called the immaculate Lambe, which sheweth, that hée beare our burthen. And for this cause also is it said, that his blood, is our washing: For we are abhominable filthy & foule, vntil such time as the blood of our lord Iesus Christ cleanseth vs. Wherfore, it is not for naught, that the Prophet bringeth vs back to the consideration of Gods iudgement, saying, That Iesus Christ was afflicted, that hée might beare our cōdemnation. To be short, so often as we think for what cause it is, yt the death & passion of our Lord Iesus Christ hath done vs good, let euery of vs put himself ouer vnto the iudge­ment seat of God: and there we shall finde that we are worthie of death. Now, what is the rigour of Gods iudgemēt, & how horrible is his vengeance? Surely, it is euen to swallow vs vp, & to cast vs all down headlong into the bottomles pit of hell. Howbeit, because God spared not our Lord Iesus Christ, but laide the rigour of his iudgement on him, & that hée became our pledge, we may nowe be assured, that God will no longer pursue vs, nor call vs to any fur­ther reckoning, neither yet punish vs according to our deserts and offences. And why so? Forsooth, because Iesus Christ hath cleare­ly discharged vs of them all. Now, this is true, that God was ne­uer otherwise affected towardes his onely Sonne, then as hée had pronounced, when as hée saide,Mat. 3.17. & 17.5. Ephe. 1.6. This is my beloued Sonne in whom I am well pleased, heare him. God then had long before saide, that Iesus Christ contented him verie well, and that in him was his whole delight. And in déede (as S. Paule to the E­phesians saith) it were impossible for vs to be acceptable before the lord God, in the name of his onely sonne, without in the first place hée were the best beloued, and in the highest degrée.

Notwithstanding, this was no let to our discharge, because God had laide his rigour vpon our Lorde Iesus Christ: For, al­though hée loued him, yet would hée afflict him for our offences. For hée had no regarde to the righteousnes, sinceritie, and perfection that was in him: But rather tooke him as one that beare the per­son of all sinners vpon him.

Thus we sée howe Iesus Christ was charged wt all our sins & ini­quities: not yt hée was any way guiltie of thē, but would haue thē all to be imputed vnto him, and take the reckoning vpon him, and the payment. Wée sée then howe the wordes of the Prophet are to be vnderstood, when hée saieth that Iesus Christ was not cruci­fied onely by the handes of men, but that hée also stood foorth before the iudgement seate of God, answered for vs, and submitted him selfe to beare the burthen which wée were worthie to haue borne. Marke also why hée sayeth,

1. Pet. 2.24. That hee beare all our sinnes and transgressions, for so are also the wordes of Saint Peter, who naming the Crosse, meant to sig­nifie,Deu. 21.23. that, that kinde of death which the sonne of God suffred, was a visible and open testimony, that our iniquities were layde vpon him: because it was saide in the lawe, cursed be hée that hangeth on trée. Iesus Christ was hanged thereon, to the ende wée might vnderstande and knowe,Gala. 3.13. that hée was as one accursed in our be­halfe, according to the saying of Saint Paule to the Galathians. For hée there telleth vs, that therin wée are to consider of the won­derfull goodnesse of God, and of the infinite loue of our Lord Iesus Christ to vs warde, when as hée was not onely contented to dye for vs, but suffred also a most cursed death, to the ende wée might be blessed of God. And although our sinnes and iniquities haue terrefied vs (for it could not be chosen but that wée must be afeard of the iudgement of God, when as we heare the thinges that are héere set downe: to wit, that wée are abhominable by reason of our thus offending our good God, and that our conscience so telleth vs) yet let vs be assured that hée will forgiue vs our sinnes, & receiue vs as his best beloued children: yea, euen as iust & righteous peo­ple, because our curse was abolished by this Gallow trée, wheron our Lorde Iesus Christ was hanged. Loe, héere the meaning of the Prophetes spéech, for the more liuely setting foorth of the mat­ter.

Nowe, hée eftsoones setteth downe, That hee was afflicted, be­cause the correction, or chastisement of our peace was laide vpon him, hée set downe no straunge thing, but declared him selfe more familiarly, that hée might shewe howe the thing was to bée vn­derstood, and taken: which was, that our Lorde Iesus Christ was beaten and smitten by the hande of God, to the ende wée might bée [Page 109] discharged. And therfore hée beare the correctiō of peace which was due to vs. In déede some men vnderstand it, that it was méete that our Lorde Iesus Christ should be thus punished for our sakes, be­cause wée were stubborne, & that none of vs thought once to hum­ble our selues before God, but were altogether blinded in our offē ­ces. Howbeit we sée that this is the naturall meaning of the Pro­phet, that for the obtaining of peace at the handes of God, it must néedes be that we were to be reconciled by an other meane. I haue alredie said, that God being the iudge of the world, could not choose but of verie right, hate and detest vs: for (as shall be soone after de­clared) what haue we brought out from the wombe of the sea, and what treasure haue wée gathered together all our life long? Sure­ly, wée doe nothing els but prouoke the wrath of God, as if wée had made a league with Satan, continually to encrease, more and more, his fury. Sée nowe, in what sorte wée haue deser­ued to bée hated and reiected at the handes of God: Beholde how his wrath is kindled against vs? and it is impossible but that hée must néedes be our enemy, because wée fight against him, and with might and mayne make suche warres, as that we vyolate and breake all order of iustice. And therefore (I say) must God, in this respect, ryse vp in iudgement agaynst vs: because, wée knowe it to bée his verie office, to maintaine and defende equi­tie and right. Wherfore since it is so, that he seeth vs to be ful of in­iquitie and corruption, and altogether rebellious, it is meete hée shoulde stretch foorth his arme, and shewe, that because we are his enemyes, hée will render vs the lyke.

And therefore wée had néede to haue peace, and our conscien­ces will alwayes witnesse agaynst vs: and although wée goe a­bout carelesly to sleape in our flatteryes, yet will GOD so pricke and spurre vs, and make vs féele in despight of our téeth, that wee are altogether malicious and vnthankfull. Wherefore it is impossible that GOD shoulde bée mercifull vnto vs, and wée to bée assured to finde fauoure with him, vntill such tyme as wée féele his correction. Not that GOD is desirous of re­uenge as men are.

For, a man when he is in an heate, woulde haue the fault that is committed to bee amended, and some redresse and pu­nishment to be made, and had, that hee might be reuenged. How­beit [Page] there are no suche passions in God. But how euer the case standeth, God will haue his iustice and iudgement to be knowne and feared, to the ende wée might the rather bée afearde of our sinnes, and learne to abhorre and detest them. For if GOD woulde haue forgiuen vs, except Iesus Christ had made interces­sion, and pawned him selfe for vs, wée woulde haue made no ac­count of the matter: and euerie of vs woulde haue smoothed him selfe, and woulde haue taken also a greater occasion of lycense to sinne. But when we sée that God hath not spared, so rigorously and extreamely to handle his onely Sonne, as that hée did not onely cause him to suffer the most gréeuous torments in body that might bée, but also, so extremely afflicted his soule, as that hée made him to crye out and say, My God, My God, why haste thou forsaken mée?Mat. 27.46. When wée sée all these thinges, I say, it is im­possible (except our heartes bée harder then flynt stones) but that wée must bée gréeued, and conceiue suche a feare, as that it must vtterly confounde vs: and neyther will nor choose but detest our sinnes and iniquities, since they so prouoke the heauy wrath of God against vs.

Thus wée sée why it was requisite that our whole correction of peace shoulde bée layde vpon Iesus Christ, to the ende wée might finde fauour before God his Father: that is to say, that we might be at such a league with him, as that we might at this day be bold, and frée, to call vpon God as our Father, although of very right hée is our enemy, and hateth vs, as wée are in our owne na­ture.

Wée sée then at this present, what the Prophet his meanyng is, when hée sayeth, that our Lorde Iesus Christ was afflicted by the hande of God, disfigured, and forsaken of all men, and that no man once vouchsafed to looke vpon him, by reason of his meruey­lous deformitie. Howbeit, hée sayeth, that it was because God had kindled his wrath against vs, and was armed and bent to cō ­founde and throwe vs downe headlong into the pit of hell, vntill such time as that attonement was made. And which way came it to passe? Forsooth, God of his méere mercy and goodnesse, fréely forgiueth vs our sinnes: howbeit, the price of our redemption was in the person of his onely Sonne.

Now we haue héere to note that by reason of the condemnation of our Lord Iesus Christ, we are pardoned, and al our sinnes buri­ed, & shal neuer again rise vp against vs before the maiesty of God: whē we speak of ye forgiuenes of our sins, it is not spokē as though God had so discharged vs, as if we, had throughly cōtented & payde him: but we are acquited by his méere liberality. And although we are guilty before him, yet forgetteth he al, & receiueth vs to mercie,Mat. 7.19. because, as the prophet saith, he casteth our sins into the bottome of the sea: but by the way we haue also here to note, yt this was no frée forgiuenes vnto ye persō of our lord Iesus Christ, for it cost him the setting on, as we say. Now if we cōsider, what a grieuous, cruel, & slanderous death this was which he abode: & besides, what angui­shes his soule endured, whē he was called before the iudgemēt seat of God his father to abide our condēnation: if we cōsider wel, of all this geare I say, we shal find yt our Lord Iesus Christ hath made a woonderful paymēt for the discharging of our sins. Loe here, howe we at this day are fréed of thē. And héerof, we are throughly to cōsi­der: for the diuel hath cōtinually gone about to darkē this doctrine, because it is the chiefest article of our faith. In the beginning of the world, God would haue sacrifices offred vnto him, for the forgiue­nesse of sinnes. And why was that? Forsooth, it was to this ende and purpose, that men should not trust vnto him, but by the meane of a sacrifice and the shedding of blood. And therefore, they all prote­sted in their sacrifices yt they were not able to come néere vnto god, except they had béen redéemed, by the purging of their sinnes & in­iquities, which was to be done, by our Lord Iesus Christ. And yet by the way, neither Iew nor Gentile but trusted to their own me­rits, & thought themselues able to make satisfaction vnto God by thē. Here then we sée, yt ye diuel euē at ye time wtdrew miserable sin­ners frō our lord Iesus Christ, & frō ye payment which he had made by his death & passiō. And yet now, sée in what case the papists are For they wil cōfesse that wee haue full remission of our sinnes by the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christ, yea, but that is as they thinke onely before baptisme. For thus they reason: little children, say they, receiue the grace of God, and are pardoned of Originall sinne in baptisme, by the power of ye death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christ: But say they, whē we are once baptized & then sin Iesus Christ alone, is not sufficiēt to make vs acceptable [Page] vnto the Lord and to blot out the remembrance of our sins, but we our selues also must make recompence. And this is the cause of the deuising of their workes of superogation: as to wander vp & down lyke Rogs a Pilgrimage, to haue many trentals of Masses, & such lyke diuelish inuentions. So, that if a man aske the Papists why the roge vp and downe a pilgrimage as they doo, to sée their mow­ing apes and marmesets, why they fast such and such a daye, why they build Churches, and why they cause masses to bee songe: for­sooth wyll they say, euen to redéeme our selues before the Lord our God: for, it is very méete that when we haue vnderstood of our sins, that we should make satisfactiō for thē, to ye end God might acquite & discharge vs of the same. Sée here, how they make ye death & passi­on of our lord Iesus Christ of none effect: & so ye papists are not able to go on, one foot forward to do their deuotiōs, but yt they blaspheme God opēly deny the death & passiō of our Lord Iesus Christ, & cast thēselues down into hel mouth: thus we sée, whether their diuelish deuotions (which they cal good) lead thē. And therfore we are to ob­serue the words of the Prophet whē he saith, that the correction of our peace, was laid vpō our Lord Iesus Christ, because yt by his meane God is appeased & set at one with vs for hée beareth all the sinnes & iniquities of the world vpon him. So thē, let vs here note, that when we sée what maner ones we are, we shuld alwaies stād in feare, because God is our enemie, & our iudge. And besides, wée must in the secōd place cōclude, that there is no other meane either in heauen or yet in the earth to make vs at one with God, but by the price which our lord Iesus hath paid & satisfied, euē by his death & passiō. Haue we this? let vs then with bold chéere, & countenance, come before our God: & yet not so but that we must alwaies hum­ble our selues, & be ashamed of our sinnes: Howbeit, that wil be no let vnto vs, but that we may frankly cal vpon our God as vpō our father, neither coulde wee glorify our selues, wtout he reputed vs to be iust, & al our debts payd, because we are pardoned by the power of the condemnation which Iesus Christ suffred. Thus we sée, how this place must be practised of vs, Marke also why hee saieth, That wee are healed by his woundes. In very déede, we shal neuer bée able to sée throughly into our sinnes, because hipocrisie blindfol­deth our eyes, & pride hath alwaies mighty rule ouer vs: & therfore wee greately deceiue our selues, and make our selues beléeue that [Page 111] God is highly beholden vnto vs: or els, wée are so blockish, as that wée neuer thinke to come to a reckoning. Now, it falleth out here, that the Prophet sheweth, that wée are but dead, if it were not for the woundes of our Lord Iesus Christ, and therfore that we must néedes séeke to be healed by him. When then wée would féele the benefite which commeth vnto vs by the death and passion of the Sonne of God, Let vs note, that looke howe many sinnes as are rooted in our nature, although they appeare not, are euen so ma­ny deadly woundes and diseases. I beséech you, if there shall be an Apostume about the stomake of a man, or in his bowels, should it be euer a whit the woorse for the man if it were séene, that it might be launced: If a man then thinketh him selfe to be whole and sound, because he will not sée his disease, surely, he must néedes be voide of all wit and reason. And therefore our diseases must bée so much the more deadly, when as they are secret and not knowne. And, ouer & besides the sinnes which we beare about with vs (the rootes of which are hid in vs) there are sinnes in vs which we com­mit daily, which sufficiently declareth, that our nature is fro­ward and cursed, and that wée are altogether peruerted. Wherfore since wée are wholly infected with spirituall leprosie, and that our iniquitie is rotten in vs, what shall wée doe in this case? & what remedie is to bée had? Shall wée séeke for helpe at the Angels in heauen? Alas, they can doe no good: and therefore we must go vn­to our Lorde Iesus Christ, because hée would bee disfigured euen from the crowne of the head, vnto the soale of the foote, would be al to wounded, scourged and buffeted with one blow vpon an other, crowned with thorns, tyed & fast nayled to the Crosse, and at last persed through the side with a speare. And here we see how wée are healed, here is the right medicine for our disease, wherwith we must be contented, & whervnto also we must apply our whole affection, knowing that we are neuer able to be at quiet with our selues but that we must stil be extreamly tormented & vexed, were it not that Iesus Christ comforted vs, and appeased the wrath of God for vs. Now, when wée are sure of this, it giueth vs occasion to sing prai­ses vnto his holy name, where before, wée could doe nothing else, but grone, and be vtterly confounded. And this is in summe the thing which we are to learne out of the words of ye Prophet. Now S. Matthew, alledgeth this place,Mat. 8.17. when he maketh mention of all [Page] the diseases which our Lord Iesus Christ healed, how he made the blinde to sée, the lame to goe, the deafe to heare, set a foote suche as were half dead, & sick of the palsie, & cast deuils out of mens bodies. This (saith hée) declareth, that it was not for naught that the Pro­phet Isaiah said, that hée beare our infirmities, and susteined our griefes. Without doubt, the Prophet speaketh not héere of bodely diseases. Wherefore, it séemeth that the Euangelist hath applyed this testimony but yll. But hée, in declaring that our Lorde Iesus Christ healed outward diseases, meaneth to bring vs to an higher consideration, because he would haue vs to beholde as it were in a figure, the reason of his comming into the world. And therfore, whē we heare, that our Lord Iesus Christ healed the sicke of the palsy, but especially raysed the dead, & that hée also healed al maner of dis­eases, let vs vnderstand euē in the view of the eye, according to our grose & weak capacities, that he hath told vs that he is our spiritu­all Phisitiō: & let vs also learn (as I haue alredy saide) that all the vices wherevnto we are enclined, are so many corruptions in our soules. And as there are many euil humors in the body, euē so like­wise are there many other like things: To be short, there are many secret diseases & euen so fareth it wt our soules: & because they are ful of vices before the lord God, they had also néed of a phisitiō. And who shal he be? we shall not finde him either in heauen or in earth, except it be he whō the heauenly father hath giuen vs: to wit, our Lord Iesus Christ. And therfore if we can reach to ye vnderstāding how our Lord Iesus Christ hath brought health to our soules, let vs come to figure out ye which is here shewed vs, whē he made the blinde to sée: for, this is out of al doubt, yt our soules are both blinde & beastly. Besides, Iesus Christ, made the dumbe to speak. Nowe, we giue our tongues to nothing els but to wickednes, vntill such time as Iesus Christ hath giuen it the right vse. And we are more then deafe, because the word of God can haue no entrance into vs, & therfore it is our Lorde Iesus Christ that must giue vs also our hearing. To be short, whē we shal ioyne the words of S. Mathew, with the meaning of the Prophet Isaiah: to wit, that we for our partes are full of corruption, & villainy & that there is no health in vs, & our soules full of all deadly sinnes: But that our Lord Iesus Christ hath ryd vs of them all, & that in comming to him, wée shall finde health: when I say, wée shall thus ioyne one with an other, [Page 112] then shall we vnderstand, that except we haue recourse vnto this Redéemer, we must néedes alwaies lye stone stil in our sinnes and miseries, & rot altogether in thē. And thervpon he goeth on farther, and saith, That we haue all declined & gone astray. Here, the Pro­phet meaneth, better & more liuely to tell (as yesterday we hand­led it) that wée cannot in good earnest feele our necessitie to be hea­led by our Lorde Iesus Christ, vntill such time as euery of vs hath truely examined his owne estate, & knoweth what is within him. For, what is the reason why we are so cold & slack, whē we are told of comming vnto our Lord Iesus Christ? Truely, it is because wée haue no capacitie, but are like verie blockheads. For, we shall sée howe these common drunkardes are knoden together in their in­temperancy, & will neuer giue ouer, vntil such time as they gnashe their téeth, & are able to doe no more. If a man speake to them of phisicke & Phisitions, hée shall be but scorned for his labour: they will wagge the head, yea, & despise all helpes. Nowe, there is not a worse kinde of drunkennesse, then this blockishnes wherin all mi­serable sinners are ouerwhelmed, vntill suche time as they féele what it is to haue God their enemy. So then, euery man will giue him selfe ouer to all kinde of lewdnesse, & by that meane, the death & passion of our Lord Iesus Christ shall be cōtemned, & no account made of it. And therefore it is not without cause that the Prophet for the awaking of vs, & for the bestowing, of the most desired be­nefite that may be, which is brought vnto vs by our Lord Iesus Christ, sheweth that we haue all erred & gon out of the way. Now, ouer and besides that I haue saide, that as there are prophane con­temners of the iudgement of God, euen so also are there foolish pre­sumptuous and arrogant men. Wherfore there are two sortes of people which cannot doe them selues any good by this infinit grace and fauour which the Sonne of God hath purchased for vs: because the one sort of them thinke them selues to be righteous, and haue workes and merites able to answere the iustice of God. As we sée these Popish hypocrites, who doe not onely thinke themselues, to be discharged before God, but doe also sell some parte of their merites, as if they had a superfluitie of them: and that man or wo­man is well at ease and happie, that may be partaker of their per­fection and holinesse, because they are in an Angellike estate.

Now, these men thinke that they haue no néede of the death and passion of Iesus Christ: but they will partly cōfesse that they haue néede: and yet we sée it cleane otherwise: because they kéepe faires and merkets of their merites, and haue of them to sell and resell, to the ende they would haue others to settle them selues and trust vpon such profanation. Moreouer, forsomuch as there is in Po­pery, both men and women hypocrites, they are euen so many hornes or powers set vp against God: For this pride is alwayes in them, to say, what good Syr? I beséech you if I deserue not, to what purpose were it for mée to haue so many good deuotions, to cause so many Masses to be soonge, to haue chaunted so muche, to haue runne so many times from one Aulter to an other, to haue praied to such a Saint, & to haue made such & such a feast: To bée short, they haue alwayes this cursed & hellish opinion with them, that God is bound, & greatly beholdē vnto them. Thus we sée howe Satan so deceiueth them with such illusions, as yt they cannot pos­sibly féele to what end the death & passion of our lord Iesus Christ serueth them. The other sort, trust not to their merittes, for drun­kardes, whoremongers, and wanton people will not say, wée are like vnto litle Angels, we haue liued well, we haue béen earnest in our deuotions: But wil sport them selues (as I haue alredie said) and think to escape the hand of God by mocking and scorning. And for this cause, the Prophet calleth vs all here, & saith, Consider yée poore soules in what case you stād, vntil such time as God hath she­wed you his compassion in our Lord Iesus Christ his Sonne: For you haue al erred, & are al like lost shéepe. Mark his meaning: for he saith, We all, because he putteth in himself. Yea verely, for we haue alredie séene, yt the Iewes were included within this general curse of men, because they thought that they should haue bin exempt out of it: For they were euer thus foolish arrogāt, as to think yt because God had adopted & chosen thē, yt they were a great deale more wor­thy then the rest. Now, the Prophet foldeth them vp here in euer­lasting death, vntil such time as they séeke for the remedie of their deliuerance in Iesus Christ. We are then all included within this cōdemnation: & he putteth in this word, All, to the end there should be no exceptiō of any: as if he should haue said. And therefore let no mā brag of himselfe, no not an inch, to be iust before God, & to ouer slipt ye remedy wherof I euē now spake: for he yt is ye perfectest in ye [Page 113] iudgemēt of men, shalbe foūd guiltie before the maiestie of god, We sée héere then the meaning of the Prophet: howbeit he is not for al that, thus contented, but saith, That euery man is declined from his way. But why repeateth he the saying, of al, to euery one. For­sooth, I will tell you, because, when as wee are generally condem­ned, we are not so liuely moued and touched as we ought to be. In déede, this must néedes bée a plaine condemnation, whenas it is saide, that there is not amongst the children of men, one iust man:Psal. 14.2. and is also said, in another place of the Psalmist, That God loo­ked downe from heauen, & saw not one man that was not corrupt in his sinnes. Hée speaketh also there aswell of the godly who were in great estimation and dignitie, as also of the wicked. It is saide that all men haue gone astray, and that there could not bée founde one who was not corrupt before the Lorde: and of this doctrine, the holy Scripture is full:Rom. 3.9. Saint Paul also sheweth this very suf­ficiently in his Epistle to the Romans, whenas he bryngeth in the sayinges of the Psalmist and of the Prophets, where any thing is spoken of infamous men, saying, That there is nothing but malice and treason in them, full of crueltie, poyson, violence, deceipt and robbery, and their throat an open Sepulchre. When all these thinges are spoken of, Saint Paule saith, that all men are heerein comprehended without exception, vntill such time as GOD hath changed and renued them by his holy Spirite.

Nowe, let this doctrine bée preached, and wée must néedes all stoupe and yéelde: for, shame and feare will not suffer vs to reply against our God. And to say the trueth, what shall wée get by our reasoning and disputing? For, wee must feele, in despite of our téethes, that wée are not condemned in vaine, since it is God that iudgeth vs. And yet notwithstanding euery of vs wil return home to his house, and bee no whit moued thereat: and the thing that hath béene tolde vs will not touch vs at all. Wée will well enough agrée that wee are all sinners, and that euery man is guiltie before the Lorde: But doe wée in the meane while féele the burden of our sinnes, and be displeased with them, and besides, are we stirred vp to séeke for the fauour of our Lorde Iesus Christe, and deny our selues? No, no: and yet we think we are sufficiently dis­charged, if wée say that wée are sinners. And that which is worse wée shall oftentimes sée men bouldly couer and cloke their sinnes [Page] when they are accused and conuinced of them. Ho good Syr, wyll they say, It is very true yt al mē are sinners. Surely, if a mā exhort a wicked blasphemer of the name of God, or some such one as hath committed a cursed and horrible déede, hee will deny it at the first chop: and neuer confes it but by constraint. But what if he see him selfe to be conuicted? In very déede Syr, will he thē say, we are all sinners. And that is asmuch to say, that thou art a wicked hypo­crite that thus scornest God. Thus we sée that vnder these general words, there are very many which wil finde out this excuse, to the end they would not haue their filthinesse knowne as it ought to be And for this cause, after the Prophet had saide, That all haue erred, he addeth, Euery one, euery one, as if he should haue saide, looke not generall what mankinde is, but let euery man sift him­selfe a part, and consider and way wel with your selues what you are. For, the way to cause vs to be touched with the iudgements of God, and to be brought to true humilitie is, whenas wee are brought to repent vs of our wickednesse, & that euery man in this sort shall as it were, haue secretely examined his owne conscience. Thus we sée the meaning of the Prophet. Moreouer, when hee saith, That euery man hath departed from his way, hee declareth in the first place that he speaketh of those mē, who are gouerned by their lustes, and according to their owne reason and wisdome. And this is a point to be throughly marked of vs, because we sée the fol­ly of some to be such, as that all the persuasions in the worlde can­not withdrawe them from running into destruction, by doing of that which séemeth best in their owne eyes: The other sort, doe so beastly follow their desires, as that they vnderstand not that they plunge themselues wittingly into the bottome of Hell, except god restrained them. For we sée how the Papists at this day deale, whenas they are found fault with, by the word of God, & are con­uinced therby. I beséech you sir, wil they say, let me alone, for be as be may, I will be sure to go on that course which I haue begunne. And wilt thou so? why then thou surely goest the direct way to hel: for this is thy way, if thou folow yt thy course. Ho, tush, why man, I haue such a good deuotiō, as yt it is impossible for God to reiect it. Wel sir, but the Prophet Isaiah speaketh also héere of the deuotiō, which euery man maketh to himself: & thinkest thou that the holy ghost who spake in those daies by his mouth, knew not that thou [Page 114] wouldst be an hypocrite, full of poyson & pride: that thou wouldest be ruled as thou lustest: yt thou wouldst deuise a seruice of god at thy owne pleasure: yt thou wouldst worship idols, & thinke thou did­dest wel: & that therein should stand thy religiō, hath the holy ghost vnderstood all thy villanies? Then looke thou to that which he hath spoken, Euery man hath walked in his owne way, to wit, euery mā hath gone the straite way to hell. Euery man hath run into destru­ction, by taking his own course. Héere then we see what the waies are that we take. And so, we are taught by this place to cast of all fond arrogancie, & to vnderstand, that when we doe that which sée­meth good in our own eies, & which we think to be very resonable, it is as if we had made a league wt Satā to catch vs in his snares. And therfore this doctrine serueth for the correction of all presump­tion, to the end we might be cōtented to be ruled only by spirite of God, & by his word: and let vs also in like maner obserue, that the Prophet Isaiah hath declared by these wordes, that although wee know the thing yt is good, yet wil we not leaue frō doing the thing yt is wicked & naught. And why so? Forsooth, because al our affections are enimies to God: & although we sée that we must refuse the euil yet wil we be carried away therwith, & that not forcibly, but euen very wittingly wickedly, & it is so hid in vs, as that the fruit must néedes shew what the rootes are. And therefore, let vs in the first place vnderstand, yt we know not how to walke a right, & there is but one only way which God alloweth of, & which wil bring vs to saluatiō: to wit, whenas our Lord Iesus shal take vs into his pro­tection. & be the shéepe of his flocke, & follow him as our shepheard, let vs also further vnderstand, yt al the affections are corrupt, & wil hunt after euill in stéede of good, vntil such time as our Lord Iesus Christ hath corrected & reformed vs, & put into vs a right affection to obey him. And this is it which the Prophet meaneth to declare. Now, let vs conclude, that all such as tosse to & fro, doe depart frō our Lord Iesus. For the Prophet saith, That all the Patriarkes & Prophets & euery one of the holy Fathers and Martyrs, haue née­ded to be reconciled vnto God, through the death and Passion of our Lord Iesus Christ. For, if Abraham the father of the faithful, If Dauid the mirrour of al righteousnesse, and if others such like, as Iob & Daniell, who are called as it were, the myrrours of all holinesse and perfection: If these, I say, were poore strayed [Page] and lost shéepe, vntill such time as they were recōciled by our Lord Iesus Christe, Alas, what shall become of vs? And therefore when we shall séeke after our Mediators, and thinke by their meanes to escape the destruction wherein wée are, do wée not shew our selues too too vnthankefull vnto our Lord Iesus Christ? And are not wée in the meane while too too voyde of sense and reason, to craue any thing at their handes, who also haue néede to runne for help to the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ? For, if necessitie in­forceth vs to séeke for remedie, we must goe vnto him, vnto whom all the faithfull in euery age had recourse: For neither Saint Pe­ter, nor yet Saint Paul, ne the virgin Mary, nor any whatsoeuer, yt are exempt frō it. And therefore let vs learne to goe to the spring head and fountaine, and drawe cut of that which is wanting vnto vs. For our Lorde Iesus hath wherewith to satisfie vs all: and wée must not feare that the fulnesse of his grace, can any way bée drawne dry: but bée assured, yt he will giue to euery one his parte and portion thereof, which will come to séeke for it. Wherefore, let vs come vnto our Lorde Iesus Christe, and he will satisfie vs all: But whosoeuer declineth from him either one way or other, suche a one cannot bée holpen with that remedie which is offered vnto him, but refuseth it asmuche as in him lyeth: so that his vnthank­fulnesse is a let for the inioying of the grace that is presented vnto him. And so much the more shall wée bée inexcusable, since this is dayly preached vnto vs. For, God was not contented to haue sent his Sonne for a time, to thrust him out to bée slaine, and to beat him in his wrath, although hée loued him as his onely sonne (for, notwithstanding he woulde cast him downe to the outward shew and vsed all the rigour that was possible against him, yet was hée alwayes his best beloued sonne, as alredy hath béene said: howbe­it all was to the end that we might bée pardoned) yet was hée not I say, contented with this: but dayly deliuereth vnto vs this trea­sure, to the end wée might inioy it: hée declareth vnto vs that Ie­sus Christe who was thrust into the side, hath at this day his hart as it were wyde open, that wée might bée assured of the loue hee beareth vs, and that as his armes were tyed fast to the crosse, euen so hath he now stretched them out to imbrase vs and pull vs vnto him: and woulde haue all these thinges to doe vs good: and as hée hath shed his blood, so would hée that wée should at this day bée [Page 115] plunged therein. Wherefore, when God so neatly inuiteth vs, and that Iesus Christ also séeth before vs the benefite of his death and passion, and telleth vs that his blood is alwayes freshe (accor­ding to the saying of the Apostle to the Hebrewes) that it is not like dry blood, which becōmeth nothing:Heb. 10.2 [...]. but because it is sanctified by his heauenly power, therefore this blood is continually fresh: for the Apostle hath vsed this spéeche, that wee might vnderstand, that his power is not lessened, but hath continually his full and whole strength, such as it had from the beginning, to the end wée myght all come and submit our selues vnto our Lord Iesus Christe. And after wée haue confessed our sinnes, and be ashamed of them, let vs not doubt, but yt he is sufficient to giue vs such remedy, as that we may conclude that God hath receiued and allowed vs, as his own children, and accounteth vs as righteous and perfect, where before wée were abhominable in his sight. Thus wée sée what we haue to learne out of this doctrine. And because we sée that at this day some iest and mock, and other some waxe proude & presumptuous, and thinke by their righteousnesse to satisfie God, let vs deny all such blasphemies, and in true faith and repentance séeke for our Lorde Iesus Christe, and with all our affections submit our selues to him, whenas we shall féele our selues thus charged with so in­supportable a burden.

Let vs nowe fall downe before the Maiestie of our good God, & acknowledge our offences, beséeching him to cause vs so to féele them, as that wée may grone for them all our life longe, and be moued to haue recourse vnto him: and not to wander and roile in our foolish, wicked, and diuelish opinions: But in vnderstan­ding that al our blessednesse, and whatsoeuer els belongeth to our saluation, is in our Lord Iesus Christ, that it would please this our good God, to make vs come wholy vnto him, and so kéepe our faith, as that we neuer be turned away from it And that it would please him also, by his holy spirite so to worke in our heartes, that we knowing our selues to bee fréely forgiuen of our sinnes, might also acknowledge, what a great pryce it cost, and howe deare and precious it was vnto his onely Sonne, that thereby wée might bée so much the more styrred vp to magnifie him. And forasmuche as wee must bee healed by him, that it woulde please him to cleanse vs dayly of all our faultes and sinnes, vntyll such time as hee hath [Page] brought vs vnto that perfection, wherunto wee ought to growe al our life long: that it would please him not onely to shew vs this fa­uour, but also vnto all people and nations of the earth, &c.

The fourth Sermon of the Prophe­sie of Christe.

Isaiah. liii.

7 HEE was oppressed and afflicted, yet did hee not open his mouth: hee is brought as a sheepe to the slaugh­ter, and as sheepe before her sherer, is dumbe, so he o­peneth not his mouth.

8 Hee was taken out from pryson and from iudgement, and who shal declare his age? for he was cut frō out of the land of the liuing, for the transgression of my people was hee plagued.

WHen the Prophet had shewed that e­uery of vs was to looke into himselfe and vnto his owne sins, if we woulde receiue any benefite by the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christe, hée now saith, that he suffered not cōstrai­nedly, but willingly: for, if he had not done so, we should neuer haue been iu­stified, neither yet shoulde any attone­ment haue béen made betwéene God & vs: to wit, if Iesus had not repared our transgressions through his obedience. And therfore if ye death of the sonne of God had been con­strained, and that he had not submitted himselfe willingly, it had not béen a Sacrifice to haue blotted out our sinnes:Rom. 4.9. for S. Paul al­so bringeth vs backe to this consideration, whenas hee saith that our transgressions were taken away by the obedience of one man. What was the cause that made God become our enimie, and yet is, but, for that wée neuer leaue offending of him? Hée created [Page 116] vs that he might peaceably and quietlye enioy vs: but when wée refuse to beare his yoke, he is of very right to detest vs, and not to allow vs for his creatures.

We sée then why it is said, yt our Lord Iesus was not only chasti­sed for our sins & transgressiōs, but also, that he did not once open his mouth, nor yet gaue any foule language: but bicause he knew that he was appointed for yt purpose, & yt it was the eternall decrée of god his father, he shewed himselfe obedient euen vnto the death. And therfore when we would haue a more féeling of the power of the death & passiō of the sonne of god, let euery man consider wt him selfe, how many sundry wayes he hath withstood the will & iustice of God. Surely if we doo so, we shall finde that wee doo nothing els but make war against him, and as if we would willingly & wit­tingly dispite him. Wherfore we néede neuer be abashed, to haue the want of such a remedy: to wit, that for the burying of the remē ­braunce of all our iniquities, the sonne of GOD must obey in our behalfe.

It is true indéede that our Lord Iesus spake before Pylate his Iudge: but he dyd it not to escape death,Luk. 23.3. but rather offered himself vnto it: neither would he accept of any occasion, to be pardoned, be­cause it was very méete that he should be condemned in our name. Wherfor it is not for naught that the Prophet saith, that hee was like a dumbe man: and compareth him vnto a sheepe, or vnto A Lambe: hauing regarde vnto the figure of the auncient sacrifices: for, when we héere the death and passion of our Lord Iesus spoken of, we must take it to be a sacrifice, wherwith God the father was appealed, because that sinnes (as we haue héertofore declared) could not be taken away, to please God, but by that meane. And to say the truth, whenas in the time of the law, men would craue pardon for their sinnes, there must of necessitie be sacrifices done. For they were neuer able to make any recompence: and therefore God tolde them, that it was sufficient that they builded vpon the promise made vnto them in the redéemer. Wherefore, to the end the Iewes might vnderstād, that Iesus Christ should fulfil whatsoeuer was then figured in ye law, this name of a lambe was namly giuē vnto him, and vnder one kinde, the Prophet hath comprehended all: as if he should haue saide, that Iesus Christ, in his death and passion, should first take away all our iniquities, because he should submit [Page] himselfe vnto the will of God his father▪ and besides, that in the second place, he should be sacrificed as a Lamb, to the end that by the shed­ding of his blood, all our spots shoulde be washed and made cleane. Wherefore, when we shall be rebuked for a great number of falts which we commit, and can neither will nor chuse but féele ye wrath of God, let vs haue recourse vnto that which is héere set before vs. to wit, that it was not for nought that our Lorde Iesus woulde not answer againe, although his afflictions were very extreame, and although God powred vpon him his whole rigour, yet dyd hée quietly suffer all, to the ende wee, by that his obedience might bée reconciled. And by the way, wee are also exhorted to fashion our selues after his example: not that we are able, throughly & perfec­tly to humble our selues before GOD, but yet wee must striue to doo it.

This then, I say, that when it shall please his maiesty to make vs féele his most heauy hand, so that wée thinke that we are verye hardly dealt withall, yet let vs holde our peace, and confesse that God is iust, & full of equitie, and not be hearde once to grudge: but rather gloryfie God by holding our peace, like miserable sinners, that are conuinced of their transgressions, and haue not a worde to say to the contrary.

Pet. 1.3.18.Loe then how Saint Peter applieth this place: That is, that when wée are afflicted by the hand of God, yea and persecuted by men, let vs paciently beare the iniuries done vnto vs, because we know yt it is the mind of God to proue & try vs, or rather to punish vs for our sins: & let vs beware we make no vaine excuses as many men doo, who alledge their infirmitie and ouer great weaknesse, so that they cannot be quiet, so long as GOD presseth them greuos­ly. Howbeit wee must frame our selues like vnto the sonne of God: for, he is our glasse and patterne, not that (as I haue saide) there is in vs the like power, but yet although wee cannot come néere him, let vs notwithstāding striue to come as néere him as we may.Psal. 38.14. & 39.10. Moreouer, we sée that Dauid being a frayle man, as we are, did yet put in practise this doctrine: as he saith in one place, O Lord because I knew yt it was thy heauy hand that was vpō me, there­fore I helde my peace. And in another place he saieth, since thou O Lorde hast slaked the raynes of mine enimies, I haue pacientlye suffered the wronges and outrages that they haue done vnto mée. [Page 117] héere then we sée what wee haue to learne out of these wordes: to wit, that as the Sonne of God was mute, because hee would glo­rifie God, and would not replye in all his afflictions; euen so lyke­wise let vs suffer God to chastice vs when he thinketh good: or els to trie our obedience, in letting lose the raines to the vngodlye, to persecut vs.

Now, it is impossible for vs to reache to it, vntill such time as we be fully resolued of this doctrine, that our Lorde by holding his peace both before God his father and also before men, hath repai­red all our sinnes and iniquities. Moreouer, when we are tolde, that by the holding of his peace he purchased vs righteousnesse, we sée that this silence, bred vs eftsoones this benefit, that hee did it to defende our cause, and is now become our mediator vnto God, ha­uing his mouth alwayes wide open: to witte, being euer ready to make intercession, for the helping of all the offences, whiche wee haue committed. For, in as much as he abode extreme persecution, & neuer gaue any words, he attained to this office, that if we be convinced in conscience before God, and are to be condemned, for want of abilitie to say any thing for our excuse, yet will hee defende vs, and God will also adiudge vs for innocentes, because our sinnes were thus repayred.

Thus we sée at what end we must begin, and then shal we haue greater courage, and be much better disposed to kéepe our tonges, whenas we shall be any way afflicted by the hand of God. And héerevpon the Prophet saith, that he was lifted out of anguishe, or out of prison (for the word importeth thus much) & of iudgemet. There are some which expound it, as if Iesus Christ had bene put to death by some sodaine violēce: but we are rather told that death ouercame him not, but was raised vp againe by the power of God his father.

Now, it is not enough for vs that we vnderstande, that our Lorde Iesus hath suffered for our saluatiō, and when we haue examined our life, we shal feele yt without this help, we were al damned & vt­terly lost, & if there were nothing els spoken of, but of the death and passion of the sonne of God, we should alwaies stande in doubt, for how can it be possible that we should hope for life at his hands, sée­ing he himself was hedlong cast down into death? surely we should neuer perceiue any diuine nor heauenly power, without the which [Page] wee can no way conceiue to put our trust in him: because wee should sée nothing but weakenesse, which would feare vs. And as the Prophet hath héeretofore spoken of the frute which we receiue by the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ, euen so doth he now say, that it is because he shall be lyfted vp by the power of god his father, he was lifted vp (saith he) out of anguish and iudgemēt. And although he was condemned yet did not God leaue puttinge to his helping hand, but exalted him, that hee might haue ye chiefe dominion, and rule ouer all creatures.

Rom. 1▪4.This is it which S. Paul setteth foorth in the Epistle to the Ro­maines, where he saith, that he shewed himselfe to be the son of god by his rising againe. For if we doo but only looke into the lyfe of Ie­sus Christ, as he liued héere amongst men, and also into his death, we should neuer finde that in him, which is requisit for our salua­tion. In very déede, the miracles which he dyd, ye doctrine which he preached, and the rest of the signes which he shewed, was suffici­ent to declare him to be the son of god, without our faith were to to weake. And yet should we remaine alwaies in shame and doubt to sée Iesus Christ offer himselfe, as a common and contemptible man: and besides, it woulde make vs more ashamed and gréeued, whenas we should sée him in the ende subiect to so cursed & shame­full a death. But when we passe from his death, vnto his resurrec­tion, then we know, that our Lord Iesus Christ got the victory for vs. And to the same purpose is that saying of S. Paul to the Corin. that although hée was crucified in weaknesse,2. Cor. 13.4. yet rose hée againe by the power of God his Father. So then, the order which the pro­phet héere kéepeth, tendeth to the same ende, that we shoulde not stand in doubt, but yt our Lord Iesus Christ had life in his hand, and was Lord & maister therof. because it was séene in his owne person. And therefore let vs vnderstande, yt the sonne of God was made of no reputation for our sakes: bicause wee know eftsoones, that he was not spoyled of his power: and although he kept it close for a time, yet haue we such a sure testimonie thereof in his resur­rection, as that we shall not néede to make any excuse, but fully and wholy beléeue in him: and bouldly set our selues against hel, & sin: séeing Iesus Christ hath triumphed ouer them, and the hande of God sustained him to be exempt of all anguishes: and was exalted by himselfe to be God his Fathers lieutennaunt: & (as I haue al­ready said) to haue the chiefest gouernment in the worlde. This [Page 118] then is the effect of ye which wee are to learne, whenas it is saide. that he was lifted from out of prison, & iudgement. Now, it must néedes fal out, yt our Lord Iesus should discend into ye bottomlesse depthes, before such time as he should be exalted into the glory of heauen: for if he had appeared onely in maiestie, how is it possible for vs at this day to bee assured, that our sinnes are forgiuen vs. Surely, wée might sée the sonne of God the fountaine of lyfe, but wée should sée him as one deuided from vs, and wée should haue nothing that is common to him, nor yet once come néere him.

Moreouer, wée should haue alwaies matter enough to dispaire on, because we are guilty of an infinit number of sinnes And ther­fore, if our Lorde Iesus Christ had gone downe into the bottom­lesse depthes and had not bene afterwarde exalted into heauen, what had wée ben the better? truly, no whit, but alwayes remaine lyke miserable caytiues, out of all measure disquieted, and horry­bly tormented, by séeing the wrath of God continuallye vpon vs. But when it is saide in the first place, that he was condemned, and suffered most fearefull panges, to the ende we might be freed from them, and be at peace with God (as yesterday was tolde you) wée now know, that he loueth and fauoureth vs, & receiueth vs to mercy: and therefore when we vnderstande that Iesus Christe was therevpon exalted: wée may also very well conclude that it was to draw vs vnto him, to the ende we might be partakers of the glory which was giuen vnto him by God his father.

Moreouer, we are also to note the wordes of the Prophet which followeth, Who is he that is able to number his yeares. For, by these wordes he meaneth to shew, that the effect and power of the resurrection of our Lord Iesus was for euer, and that it is no tem­poral thing which many times melteth and vanisheth away. And this is a very necessary point: for, some haue taken this age, for the eternall generation of our Lord Iesus Christ, because he was be­gotten by God his father from all eternitie. Some other haue strayned the woordes of the Prophet this way and that: but when we shall looke more narrowly into the matter, there is no doubt, but that he meant to shewe, that the honour which was giuen to Iesus Christ, was not for him selfe, and his owne person, and for a day onely, but that he purchased vs euerlasting life, for as Saint Paule sayeth, That inasmuch as he dyed, he dyed once for sinne,Rom. 6.10. But in yt he now liueth, he liueth vnto God, & shal neuer die again.

By this he declareth, that the sacrifice whiche our Lorde Iesus Christ offered, is sufficient for vs, because hee hath most perfectlye sanctified vs by that meane. And therefore it was not néedefull that the Sonne of God should suffer any more then once:Heb. 7.27. but be­cause this power was in him, to blot out all our iniquities at once, let vs bouldly runne vnto his death and passion, and not doubt but that it wil alwayes haue this strength in it, as to reconcile vs vn­to God.

Now, the life wherinto our Lorde Iesus Christ entred, is hea­uenly: for it was such a perfect condition, as could not be amended. And when S. Paul saieth, that he liueth vnto God, it is as muche as that he is now cleane exempt from all our miseries, and from the condition that hée had before taken, which was to become a mortall man. Wherefore, Iesus Christ hath discharged al this geare, and is now rid of all humaine frailenesse, to the end that we which are his members, might hope for the like in our selues. And so let vs in the first place note, yt the Prophet hath héere declared, that our Lorde Iesus Christ rose not agayne, to bée any more sub­iect to death, but hath purchased euerlasting life. In the 2 place we haue to learne, yt this was not done onely for himselfe, but also for all his whole Church. For, when it said by the Psalmist, that God was exalted, and tooke the spoyle of his enemies: this is to shewe, that when our Lord Iesus christ was lifted vp after his death, that it all turned to the common benefit & welfare of his Churche.Psal. 68.19. The ouercomming then of Satan and of sinne, was to this end, that we might be deliuered of them, and enioy the fruit of such a conquest, and therein triumph. This then is the very effect of that whiche we haue to learne out of this place. Now, the whole substance of ye matter is this, that wée might vnderstand, how to apply it rightly vnto our owne vse. And therfore, when it is saide, yt the son of God was, lifted vp from out of anguish & condemnation, let vs learn, that when we are moued to become desperat, to set Iesus Christe before our eies, since we know that he hath passed ye course: & that God his father stretched out his hand vnto him, that he might not be oppressed, all which was done for our sakes. Wherfore, we haue a very good way to come out of our angushes and paines, so long as we haue Iesus Christ for our Captaine, and follow his steps, be­cause, yt whatsoeuer was accomplished in him, as being our heade, [Page 119] belongeth to vs, and the effect thereof will appeare in euery faith­full man. And when his age is spoken off, it is to this end, that we might vnderstande, that hee will bee of power able to defende his Church euen vnto the ende: for he will not be deuided from his bo­dy. In very déede, our estate and condition differeth greatly from his, vntill such time as wée be taken out of this world: but in that he is the first borne of the dead, he is also the first fruits of all those which shall rise againe. Let vs then vnderstande,1. Cor. 15.20. Coll. 1.18. that because the Sonne of God, is not onely in his owne essence or being, and in his deuine maiestie immortall, but also in his flesh, and humaine na­ture, that it is to this end, that his church might be alwaies preser­ued in this world, & neuer [...]ecay. True it is, we shal sée great trou­bles, and indéede a man would think many times, that the church of God, should vtterly perish: for, if there arise neuer so small a tempest, ye surges will by and by, be so mightie & horrible, as that a mā would say, all were lost, & cleane dasht. And this is so common a thing as may be. For, what outwarde shew of maintenaunce can there be to the church of God, whēas it is assailed thus on al hands? must it not néedes be thought, that it cannot be but vtterlye ouer­throwne, whenas it is thus wonderfully assaulted? howbeit, this is the truth of it, we must be faine to resort to our head. Wher­fore, since the age of our Lord Iesus is without end, and yt all the changes in the world cannot stay him from hauing a very good eye vnto his church, although the temptations were farre greater, and more violent then they are, yet let not vs shrink at the matter. And this is not to be applied only to the whole company of the faithful, but also to euery one of vs. And therefore let vs vnderstand and be throughly perswaded, that although our Lyfe be but a blast, & we ready euery minute to vanish away, yet notwithstanding that we haue a lyfe which lasteth for euer, because we are the members of our Lorde Iesus Christ. Moreouer, let vs eftsoones learne, to walk through this world, since this is not our life, which we héere presently enioy, but a pilgrimage which we must passe on quickly, vntil such time as we haue come vnto our quiet enheritance. Thus we sée, yt in hoping for euerlasting life, wee must forsake all this, which is but a shadow: & not suffer our sences to be ēfolded in that which we openly sée, and may occasion vs to tarry stil héere in this world: for surely, as many as haue their mindes set héere on this [Page] lyfe, without doubt doo thereby seperate themselues from the sonne of God, and are vnworthy to haue any part or portion with him in his euerlasting kingdome. And therfore, let vs forsake this world, if we wil ioyne our selues vnto ye son of god. Furthermore, because this doctrine might take ye better holde of vs, ye prophet cryeth out he saieth not that the age of our Lord Iesus Christ shall be onelye euerlasting, but casteth it out as a man meruelously abashed, say­ing, Who shall be able to number his yeares. Wherfore we are ad­monished to striue against all temptations: & although we be some times hindred this way and that: & be as it were cast downe wtout mouing, yet let vs resist, & with much to doo enforce vs, vntill such time as wée haue attained vnto this which is héere shewed vs: to wit, ye mans reason is not able to vnderstande, nor yet any mouth able to expresse the age of our Lord Iesus. And for the bringing of this matter about we must be also very wel aduertised to surmoūt all our thoughts, whēas we fal in reasoning of putting our trust in our lord Iesus Christ, & folow him, for the partaking of the heauē ­ly enheritaunce, which he hath purchased for vs. Neither must we stick to our own opinion and fantasy, whenas this doctrine shal be well treated of, as if it were to bée debated by words. But let vs know this, that although our faith hangeth vpon hearing, yet shall it neuer haue through assurance, except it receiue such a testimony from God and from his holy spirite, as surpasseth whatsoeuer the tong of man is able to expresse. For this cause, must wée not dwell in our owne vnderstandinges, and iudge as we thinke best, but let vs know that it is a wonderfull and an in comprehensible secret, ye the sonne of God became a mortall man, and subiect to death, that wée might be exempt from it, and that now, in the middest of al our weaknes, we should haue neuertheles life euerlasting which must be obtained by fayth, vntil such time as it be throughly manifested vnto vs at his comming, in the last day. And this is the effect of that which wée are to learne out of this place. Now the Prophet goeth on further, and saieth, That hee was cut of from out of the lande of the liuing, & receued the wounds which were due to his people. This is a confirmation of that which wée lately handeled: to wyt, that the age of our Lorde Iesus Christ should not serue for himself alone, but also for the whole body of his Church, wherevnto hee is vnited, and bounde as it were with an inseperable bonde. For the [Page 120] Prophet sheweth, that without it, it might be saide that the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christ should be vnprofitable. Now this were a blasphemie not to be borne, to think that ye son of God came downe into ye world, to abide so cruel a death, and to haue the iudgement of God fall so on his head, as that he beare the punish­ment for our sinnes, and was taken to bee the greatest malefactor in ye world: & yet al this not to profit his faithful seruants ani thing at all, yt might well inough be saide, yt this were, as a man would say, a very iest. Wherfore, ye prophet bringeth vs back to this cōsi­deration, yt we should well vnderstand, for what end & purpose our Lord Iesus was thus scourged & beaten. And this came not by for­tune, as hath ben before declared. Nether must wée looke only vnto that which men did, and to those which vniustly slew him, but wée must lift vp the eies of our faith vnto the counsell of God, by which he had ordained yt Iesus Christ should be sacrificed, to the ende hée might purchase remission of our sinnes for vs. Wherefore, since it is so, we are alwaies to conclude, that Iesus Christ suffered not for himselfe, but receyued the woundes which were due to vs, we are héere in this first place exhorted to enter into the knowledge and examination of our sins, whenas the death & passion of our Lord Ie­sus Christ is set before vs. It is very true ye God therein powreth out the infinit treasures of his goodnes: for, indéede, when S. Paul hath saide that we ar iustified by our lord Iesus, & yt in staying our selues vpon his death & passion, we may boldly present our selues before god, & be glad that hée wil alwaies except of vs. After Saint Paul, I say, hath handled this doctrin, that although we be misera­ble sinners, yet wil not God cast vs off, but vpholde vs, because hée receiueth vs in the name of his only son, he goeth on farther, & say­eth, I beséech you Brethren euen in the bowels of the goodnes and mercie of God. Wherin he sheweth, that in the suffering of Iesus Christ, we haue a testimony of the infinit loue of god: as if he wold lay open his hart, and shew vs his bowels to testefye vnto vs how deare and precious wée and our soules are vnto him.

Howbeit this is not sett downe, to the ende wée shoulde sléepe and take pleasure in our sins: For the more that God sheweth himself lyberal in the person of our Lorde Iesus Christ, so much the more ought wee to féele, what a gréeuous thing it is for vs to become [Page] his enemies, and fight against his iustice, and cause him to set him­selfe against vs: for, the grace which God sheweth vs in our Lord Iesus Christ, ought to draw vs continually to repentaunce. Now, the papistes at this day, go about falsely to accuse vs of the doctrine which we preach, which is this, that we must be saued by the frée mercy of God, haue our whole recourse vnto Iesus Christ, bicause we knowe that therein wee haue all our perfection of rightuous­nes. Now forsooth Sir, say they, you haue made a great speake, for, then euery man may liue as he lust, and they néede neuer care any more for the offending of God.

Indéed, these dogs may bark thus, because they neuer knew what it is to tast of the forgiuenesse of sinnes. For these hipocrites make a skorne at God, and at all religion, and haue neuer learned, what it is to transgres the law of God. And wee also sée, how iollily they thinke themselues discharged, if they haue once song a Masse, blea­ted, and masked, and they think that God is as well pleased with this, as a young Child is pleased with a pudding.

Thus we sée how these skorners of God, can blaspheme ye gospell, but when we haue come once to the acknowledgment of our sins, and know to what ende the inestimable grace of God is preached vnto vs, without doubt wée shoulde bee touched with repentance, and be mortally wounded with the horror of anguishe and payne, when wée sée God to bee our enimie, because wée haue prouoked him to wrath. And this is héere the meaning of the prophet, that Iesus Christ hath sustained ye wonds which were due to vs. Wherin he sheweth yt we can neuer liuely féele, what good the death and pa­ssion of our Lord Iesus Christ hath done vs, except we be inward­ly throughly touched with the offending of our God, wherby wee haue made him to become as our Iudge & enemy, vntill such time as we be reconciled vnto him by his méere goodnesse and mercy.

Now, this is sufficiently declared to vs in the holy Scripture: but héerein resteth the whole matter, that wée applye our witte and studie thereto.Math. 11.28 Neuerthelesse, be as be may, we sée that our Lorde Iesus Christ calleth none but such as doo labor, and are hea­uy laden.

By this he excludeth all such as sléepe in their iniquities, and flatter them selues in them, or els which giue them selues to al ly­cenciousnesse, without any feare of God. And therefore, they which [Page 121] are thus giuen ouer to all wickednesse, cannot possibly come néere vnto our Lord Iesus Christ, for who shall giue vs an entraunce vnto him, but the voyce whiche calleth vs? Euen so fareth it with them, who are so proude and presumptiouslye blinde, as that they make them selues beléeue that they are righteous through their owne deserts, and surely, he shutteth the gate against all such kind of people, so that they can haue no hope that our Lord Iesus christ bringeth them any comfort or solace. And why so? forsooth, because he thus saith, come vnto mée, who are they? All the world. Indéed, this is true that he calleth all the worlde, howbeit hee maketh a distinction of it, for thus he saithe, all yée that labor and are heauy loden. For, after he had called all such as had néede of his helpe, hée sheweth that none can be partakers thereof but such as doo la­bor and are heauy loden.

And therfore, when we shall féele our burden, and so groane vn­der it, as that we are able to beare no more, sée what a way is laide open vnto vs, to come vnto our Lord Iesus Christ, because he hath stretched out his armes to imbrace vs. For, we shall sée héerafter, yt hée was sent vnto those whose hartes were abased and cast downe. Wherfore, wée must bée sacrificed after this maner, that wée might bée made like vnto our Lord Iesus Christ.

In very déede, the sacrifice which he offered, is our full hope and as­suraunce: to wit, we must not presume to adde any thing vnto our Lorde Iesus Christ: because he hath purchased ful saluation, by his sacrificing of him selfe vnto God his father: but by the way, it is méete that wée shoulde be threatned by the iudgements of God, to the ende we might vnderstand, how gréeuos a thing it is, that wée béeing poore wormes of the earth, should lift our selues vp against the maiestie of our creator, and violate his iustice, considering that we are placed héere in this world to serue and honor him. And therfore let vs haue a liuely féeling of this, that wee might come vnto our Lord Iesus Christ.

Now it should séeme héere at the first sight that the Prophet had set downe a straunge reason, when hée saith, bicause hee was cut of from the lande of the liuing. For, in asmuch as Iesus Christ was exalted, and hath now the rule both in heauen and in earth, it shuld séeme yt this was no fit meane, without he had first bene as one cut of: For this glory, wherein now he is, he alwayes had,Iohn. 17.5. before the world was made according to the saying of S. Iohn. And therfore [Page] Iesus Christ as touching his deuine essence or being, obtained vn­to himselfe no straunge thing.

Now, to bee cast downe into the bottomlesse pitte of death as it were, was not the way to come vnto heauenly glory: and to be con­demned by a mortall man, is not like that he should be made iudge of the whole worlde. Howbeit, the meaning of God was such, as yt he would worke beyond mans reason: neither must wée bring our counsell hether with vs, and think that wée are able to amend this counsel, which wée know, to be the cause and springhead of our sal­uation: but let vs most humbly gloryfy God, because hee woulde haue his sonne to be thus cut off from the lande of the liuing. Now the Prophet namely speaketh after this manner, as though Iesus Christ had bene vtterly abolished: and would not make mention onely of a common death, but euen of such a death as should vtter­ly root him out, as if the remembrance of him had bene cléerelye a­bolished and defaced. For although of necessitie, all men must dye, & thereby are cut of from the land of the lyuing, yet hath this ben spe­cially séene in our Lord Iesus Christ, that his death was to haue shut him quite out from the company of men. For (as we haue al­ready said) it was a most shamefull death, and curssed of God: and besides, it was almost euen the very gulfe of hell: yet not yt Iesus christ was swalowed vp of it: howbeit he straue mightely against the angushes of death. And therefore it is not for naught that ye pro­phet setteth him downe héere as one that had ben abolished from amōgst mē. Neuertheles how euer it is he obtained by this menes such maiestie in this nature of ours, as yt at this day he being our brother,Eph. 2.8. yet ceaseth not also to become our iudge. And marke what S. Paul saith of it, that he rendred himself obedient vnto death, yea euen to the most curssed death of the Crosse, in saying that he ren­dred himselfe obedient, he noteth vnto vs that which wee haue al­ready declared out of the prophet, to wit, that, that which our Lord Iesus Christ suffered, was willingly done. But because wee are guilty before god, & are his enemies, it is saide yt Iesus Christ sub­mitted himself: for as S. Paul saith, he who had all power and au­thority, tooke vpon him the forme of a seruant, & the state of those yt were vnder ye yoke. Thus we sée how obedient he was all his lyfe long, & would be vnder the law. And not only in this, but although he felt ye horrible panges of death, which made him sweat water & [Page 122] blood, & draue him to say, O father, if it be possible, I beséech thée,Mark. 14.36 let this so sower a cup passe ouer mée: neuertheles he restraineth him­selfe & saith: yet not my will, but thine be done. Now herevpon S. Paul saith yt God his father, for this cause, exalted him, & gaue him a name aboue all other names, yt euery knée at this day might bow vnto. Wherfore, let vs vnderstand that Iesus Christ himself, hath euen in our nature, an excellent maiestie, to ye end we might come to him in full assurance: for, vpon what condition is he made iudge ouer all the world? forsooth, it is because yt he is not onely made our Brother, but also for yt he offred himself to be our pledge & borrow and hath borne al our sins. He was scourged & beaten by the hand of god, yt we might be healed of ye wounds which we deserued to haue and for this cause is he now exalted, to ye ende we might bouldlye draw néere vnto him. Now this is very true, yt the wicked ones, & the deuils, must in despite of their téethes, féele that the son of God is far aboue them, for he must tread all his enemies vnder his féet.Psal. 110.1 [...] Howbeit, we for our parts ar to do him honor willingly, to submit our selues quietly vnto him, & acknowledge the, maiestie that was giuen vnto him in his humane nature, to the ende we might haue wherewith to glory & triumph against sin. Now, yt this is ment by the person of our Lord Iesus Christ, sufficiently appeareth, by ye words of S. Luke, for when the Eunuke was come to worship at the temple of Ierusalem, he read this place,Luk. 8. [...]2. & it was expounded vn­to him by Philip, whom God had sent by the liuelye ministerie of an Angell, to the end he might come to this poore blinde & ignorant man which sought after God, hauing as yet no knowledge of him. Howbeit this place was in such sort expounded vnto him, as that with once preaching he was conuerted vnto our lord Iesus Christ, crauing and requ [...]ering that he might be baptised in his name.

And this is a thing that should greatly touch vs: for in the first place we are admonished, that although we are not able at the first chop to haue the sound vnderstanding of the doctrine of our Lord Iesus Christ, and what fruit we gather out of that which is dayly preach­ed vnto vs, yet must we not dispaire for all that, but search out of ye Scripture that thing which we know not, and then, God hauinge pittie on vs, will giue vs his hand, and set vs in the right way. And since this poore & ignorāt mā, who gaue himself to read in ye bible, & [Page] knew not what it meant, was thus conuerted vnto our Lorde Ie­sus Christ: let vs take good héede howe we play the sluggards: but rather follow the Counsell of the Psalmist, who saith: To day if yée heare his voyce harden not your heartes.Psal. 95.8. And therefore, let vs take such a tast of the doctrine which is here preached vnto vs, as that wee may bee brought vnto our Lord Iesus Christ, and so ac­cept of him, as that we may cleaue vnto him with a sure and con­stant faith: that we may profite thereby, and be strengthened euen to the end: so that after we are truely humbled, we may come and offer our selues vnto our God, and beséeche him of pardon and for­giuenes: and although we are vnwoorthy, yet let vs not leaue lif­ting vp of our heades vnto heauen, and fully assure our selues, that God will accept of vs in the name of this great and mighty Rede­mer. And although he was for a little while cast downe, yet let vs come backe to this poynt, that he was notwithstanding exalted a­boue the heauens, that (as S. Iohn saith) he might draw vs vnto himself,Iohn. 22.32. for thus it is said, when I shal be exalted out of this world, I will draw al things vnto my selfe.

Let vs now fal downe before the maiesty of our good God, and acknowledge our offences beséeching him to make vs otherwise féele them, then héeretofore we haue done, and that it would please him to open our eies, and [...] touche our hartes, as that wee may submit our selues wholy vnto him, and holde the meane whiche is set downe vnto vs in his worde, that is, to hate our selues, and de­test al our sinnes, so that wée may be able to receiue ye grace which he hath once shewed vs in our Lorde Iesus Christ, and which hée would haue vs now inioy by the meane of the Gospell. And so let vs all most humbly say, O almighty GOD and heauenlye Father, thou hast promised to héere all our requestes. &c.

¶ The fift Sermon of the Prophesie of Iesus Christ.

Isaiah. L.iij

9 And he made his graue with the wicked, and with the riche in his death though he had done no wickednesse, nei­ther was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet would the Lord breake him, and make him subiect to infirmities, when he shall make his Soule an offering for sinne, he shall see his Seede and prolong his dayes, and the wyll of the LORDE shall prosper in his handes.

THe Prophet continueth héere the doc­trine before specified: to witte, that there was such inimity betwéene God and vs, as that the wrath of God could by no meanes be appeased, but by Ie­sus Christ his answering of the same, euen to the vttermost. For, by how much the more the suffering of the son of god was, by somuch ye more mai we gather, how greeuous our sinnes are, and how wonderfully God abhorreth them: considering (as wee haue héeretofore saide, and as héereafter shall be more at large spo­ken) that there is no superfluous nor vnprofitable thing in the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ. And therefore, for so­much as he was terribly tormented, hee hath on the one side wit­nessed vnto vs his infinite goodnesse and loue, and we, on the other side are to looke what it is that our iniquities haue deserued before the maiestie of our good God.

Now, it is heere sayde, that ouer and besides that, which hath [Page] beene alreadie recited, that our Lord Iesus Christ was put to be skorned and shamed of the vngodly, that they might euen glory and triumph ouer him: for there is no doubt, but that the Pro­phet by this word Graue, ment to expresse, that Iesus Christ was subiect to all rebuke and shame, and that God woulde forsake him as it were for a season, to the end the worlde might make no reckoning of him: accordingly as it is set downe vnto vs in the Gospell. For they did not onely crucifie Iesus Christ, but they also put out their tongues at him: rayling and scoffing, and as much as in them lay, went about to make him desperate. Which thing was very well foretolde by the Psalmist, to witte, that the most wicked and vngodly, should put out their tongues at him. For this was the speech they had, he hath saued others, say they and therefore let him now saue him selfe if he can. Why calleth not hee vpon his God?Psal. 22.8. Mat. 27.42. we shall see whether hee so greatly loueth him or no. We see then how the wicked wounded our Lord Ie­sus Christ, and how furiously men outraged against him: and it was to this end and purpose, that we might finde so much fauour at the handes of God, as to haue our sinnes couered: and although Satan hath wherefore to accuse vs, yet shall all the shame wher­vnto he is any way able to put vs, be clearely buried. Wherefore since our Lorde Iesus Christ would néeds beare all our blame and shame, it was to this ende that all our filthinesse might be couered before the Lord our God, so that they should neuer be able to come in minde any more.

And when the prophet speaketh héere of the Riche, it is as much as if he had saide, the most outragious kind of people. For we know, that when men are riche and in authoritie, they goe about to make them selues to bée feared, alwayes abusing their power and cre­dit. And this also we sée, that very few or none of these men kepe a­ny temperatnesse and measure, either yet become gentle and mild, when they may hurt. But as for the poore soules, although indéede they are fearce and cruel enough, yet are they kept backe from doo­ing any harme, euen by maine force, & thereby the mischief which they would gladly doe, is not seene. Howbeit as for the rich and mightie ones, they are without all order, and thinke whatsoeuer they doe is lawfull. To be short, the Prophet his meaning is, that our Lord Iesus Christ was thrust into the hands of men, to the end he might be so vilainously handled, as that he was not woorthie to [Page 124] be accounted amongest the contemptible & petie companions: but to be taken as a worme of the earth, and to haue all the mocks and skornes that might be, to be laid vpon him. Thus we sée the summ and effect of this first part. Now, he by and by after sayth, That he had for all this done no wickednes, whereby he ment to shew, that that ye son of God, as touching himselfe being innocent, would take vpon him all our burdens, wherewith we were ouercharged: for there was no mortall creature that was able to beare and suffer that which our Lord Iesus Christ dyd. And so by that meane, the prophet againe declareth vnto vs, that it was not for his owne de­serts, neither yet was he guiltie of any thing whenas they thus cruelly and tirrannously vsed him: but abod all this geare for our sakes. And to say the truth, if we looke well into the life of our Lord Iesus,Iohn. 18.3 [...]. we shall finde that neuer any man had iust occasion to at­tempt any thing against him. In very déede the priests tolde Py­late, that they would neuer haue brought him before his worship without he had bene a malefactor.Mat. 11.5. Iohn. 6.11. Now it is so farre of that Ie­sus Christ dyd any shrewd turnes, if the matter be throwly exami­ned, as that he dyd none other hurte, but make the blinde to sée, the lame to goe, heale the sick and diseased, raise the dead, & fil ye hungry & néedy: to be short, all the riches, of the goodnes, & mercy of God, yt were to bée séene, were powred out vpon him. What was the reasō then, yt mē thus persecuted him? surely it must néeds be, yt this pro­céeded from some other cause. Héere therefore wée sée why ye prophet bringeth vs back to ye remēbrance of our sins & iniquities, whēas he speaketh of ye purenes of our lord Iesus Nether must we think that ye prophet ment héere, simply to iustifie the sonne of God. For this were a very bare kinde of speach to say, loe I beséeche you, hée was guilty in nothing, but so behaued himself, as yt al ye world was to loue & honor him. Al this is true indéed, howbeit, this were ouer cold a kind of doctrin to be taught, yt our lord Iesus had néede to be excused, & exempt, from all blame. And therefore the prophet had a farder consideratiō wt him: & ioineth these 2 points together which are héere set downe: to wit, ye god had put his only son to al horrible rebuke & shame, & yet was innocent & guiltles. Now, if men should lift vp thēselues against him, & it not done by the prouidēce & coun­sel of god, it might be said yt they were furiously bēt, & yet knew not any cause why: neuertheles, it is said yt it was done by ye hande of God. For, although the priestes, and all the Iewes in general & the [Page] Souldiers, were stirred vp by the Deuill, to vomit out these blas­phemies, which we read of in the Gospell, against our Lord Iesus, yet, Isaiah saith, that they had neuer bin able to haue done it, with out the appointment of the Lorde, and therefore we must not fixe our eyes onely vpon men, to say, that this or that they haue done: but it is as if God had set him selfe downe in his iudgment seat, to haue fully determined to sende his onely sonne into the handes of such wicked and cruell tirauntes, as that no shame and villanye that was possibly to be deuised should not light vpon him. And therfore, when it is not onely said that men, but ye God his father also spared him not:Iohn. 3 16. who gaue him to death for our redemption (whereof Saint Iohn also speaketh, that God so loued the world, as that hée woulde shewe it in the person of his Sonne, because he gaue him ouer to so bitter a death for vs) if we so lift vp our eyes, as to acknowledge that nothing came vnto the person of our Lorde Iesus Christ, but by the determination of God, we must conclude, that since Iesus Christ was innocēt (as indéede he was) that ther­in, manifestly appeared, our sinnes and iniquities, so that all the shames and reproches which lighted vpon him, shoulde haue bene vpon vs. And therfore let vs vnderstande, that it is méete that all the Creatures in the worlde shoulde arme them selues to crye for vengeaunce vpon vs: yea and although they haue neither mouthe nor tongue, yet might they be there so, to discouer all our shames and vices, as that both heauen and earthe might bee ashamed of vs.

Wée sée now what we are to consider of in this first place: For either God must at pleasure haue thus afflicted his onely sonne, or els haue shewed vs what we deserued for ye greeuosnes of our sins: to wit, that wee are blame worthie of al handes. In very deede wee cannot a way with the least punishment that may be: and be­sides, we are so effeminate and impacient, as that if our credit bée touched, we will eftsoones, wonderfully storme: and all this is be­cause we know not what we are, neither iudge wée whether wée bée rightfully or wrongfully blamed.

Wherfore, let vs well consider, that although the rebuke and shame which we deserue, are abolished in the person of our Lorde Iesus Christ, yet is it méete that God should moue and stirre vs to [Page 125] repentance: & although we would not by our willes enter into the tryall and examination of our shame, yet rayseth hée vp men to a­wake vs: and the more that wée woulde goe about to hyde our faultes by vaine excuses, the more layeth hée our shame open before vs, to the ende it might bée knowne, Saint Paule amongst the fruites of repentance, setteth downe this,1. Cor. 14.25 2. Cor. 7.11. That when we think of our wicked life past, wée shoulde close our eyes, grone before the Lord God, and be ashamed of our selues. But what is he that doth it so perfectly, as it ought to bée done. Nay we rather séeke after an hipocritical maner to forget our sinnes and iniquities: and GOD meaneth to remember vs and to call vs to an account, whenas he séeth vs so sleightly and cunningly hide them. But by the way, let vs consider, that wee may now present our selues before God and his Angels, and be assured that our sinnes shall not bée layde vnto our charge, neither yet our vncleannesse bée discouered, and that because our Lorde Iesus hath borne such blame: neither was this by chaunce as wée commonly say, neither yet did men falsely take this matter vpon them against him, without the good will and pleasure of God: But because God had thus established the matter by his heauenly iudgement. Nowe forsomuche as our Lorde Iesus was iust and righteous, it was also very méete that hée should beare our burden vpon him, being in this sort afflicted. And therefore, let vs in the first place vnderstand, that we deserue to haue all rebuke and shame to bee laide vpon vs: and yet for all this, that wée are pardoned of the same, because he hath discharged vs thereof, and hath made satisfaction for it in his owne person. Thus wée sée why, and to what purpose the innocencie and puri­tie of the Sonne of God is héere spoken of. For it is not set downe to the ende to excuse him, but for this cause, that we might féele what wee are, and whether we must néedes be brought, except we were redéemed and bought from it.

Moreouer, the Prophet meaning to expresse such a full per­fection as coulde not be amended, sayth, That there was no deceite founde in his mouth. Nowe Saint Iames saith,Iames. 3.2. That he must needes be a very perfect man, out of whose mouth escapeth not an ill word, because the tongue is the weakest thing that maybe. And although we be too too much inclined to al kind of wickednes, yet, [Page] that man that can refrain his handes and féet, and in such sort lead the whole course of this life, as that he is séene to liue vertuously & in the feare of God, yet is hée neuer able to refraine his tongue, but that there wyll appeare some light, inconsiderate, lying or dissem­bling spéeche in him. To bée short, it is saide that there was no deceite to bée founde in our Lorde Iesus Christe, to shewe, that in all his wordes and deedes, hée was a myrrour of all holinesse.

Nowe, it is most certaine that all the miseries which we féele are the very fruites of our sinnes. For, had we aboade in the same puritie wherein God set our father Adam, our punishments should cease and bée abolished in the worlde. And therefore the fruit of our sinnes is the cause of our punishments. So then, wée are to con­clude, that forsomuch as there was not found the least blot that might bée in our Lorde Iesus Christe, he therefore beare the puni­shment, which we were worthie of, and deserued. And marke be­sides, why the Prophet addeth, that God woulde make him subiect to infirmities. This worde Infirmitie, hath a large scope in the Scriptures, for it importeth all the thinges which make men con­temptible, as wée sée in many places thereof. For, pouertie, sick­nesse, griefe of minde, or contemptiblenesse, and a man that hath no good grace either to speake or do well, neyther yet good gesture or behauiour, nor habiltie of wit and discretion, are al called in the Scripture infirmities. To bée shorte, this is to bryng vs backe to the thing which the Prophet hath already touched: to wit, that our Lorde Iesus Christe was like a deformed Creature, and suche a one as in whom was no shew of reputation and credit amongst men. And yet not such a one neither, but that there appeared in him, sure and certaine markes and tokēs, that he was to bée hono­red as the onely Sonne of God:Iohn. 1.14. But it was in such sorte darke­ned by his sufferings, and his infirmitie such, as that there was no power or vertue séene in him, and it séemed that there was no grace nor fauour in hym why hée shoulde bée estéemed and had in honour. Wée must also call to minde the thing that hath béene before recited, to wit, that he was beaten and scourged by the hand of God, suffered the horrible anguishes of his iudgement, & in his body beare the fearefullest torments that might be: and ouer and besides all this, he was so vily thought of, as that he was not estée­med to bée placed amongst the most wicked and slauishe company. [Page 126] Thus wée sée howe the Sonne of God was punished. Where­fore, since the case thus standeth, let vs vnderstande, that forso­muche as God spared not him, that wée for our partes shall not bée spared: and yet notwithstanding hée hath giuen vs occasion to humble our selues, to the ende wée shoulde not waxe prowde, and take in hand to iustifie our selues, or els not cast our sinnes behind our backes, but dayly thinke vpon them and bée ashamed, when­as wée sée howe deare a recompence was made for them. For, is this such a triflyng matter? If a miserable and wretched théefe shall haue committed many theftes and robberies, and after that his wicked déedes were knowne, the sonne of a King shoulde bée brought to be arrained and condemned for the same, and so beare the punishment therof, & the théefe to be discharged and pardoned, should he reioyce and make a scofe at him, whenas he sée the sonne of a King to bée put to death, and suffer the punishment that he de­serued? Euen so at this present fareth it with vs. For, be­holde howe Iesus Christe the onely sonne of God is imprisoned, and wée deliuered, hée condemned, and wée pardoned: he put to all shame, and we receiued to honour, at last hée descended into the bottomeles pit of Hell, and the kingdome of heauen is set open for vs to enter into. And therfore when we here al these things, is it for vs to be drowsie headed & liue securely, and to delight and flat­ter our selues in our sinnes and iniquities? Wherefore, let vs well consider of the meaning of the holy Ghoste, and alwayes weigh these wordes, That it was the wyll of God to haue him thus af­flicted: as if hée shoulde haue saide,Actes. 2.23. & 4.28. That it is not for vs to thinke that our Lord Iesus was forsaken, as that the wicked ones might torment him at their will and pleasure: For, as Saint Peter saith in the Actes of the Apostles, They could doe nothing against him otherwise then had béen determined before by the secret coun­sell of God. And therefore it is not for naught that the Prophete bringeth vs alwaies back to this, that we must lift our minds vn­to God, & acknowledge yt he being iudge of the world, would be sa­tisfied for our sinnes & offences euen in the person of our Lorde Ie­sus Christ his only sonne, to the end we might be discharged of thē and that it was not without cause yt Iesus Christe was so rudely: hādeled, yt we might looke vp ye cherefullier: and yt we might vnder­stād that God would not remēber our faults, wt made vs to be as it [Page] were detestable in his sight. Wherefore, when wée shall haue knowne all this, we shall haue greatly profited not onely for a day, but also all the dayes of our life. For to say the trueth, it is a doctrine wherewith wee must so acquaint our selues, as that al­though we thinke we know it wel enough, yet yt we must not cease more & more to cōforme our selues thereto. And for yt more liuely expressing héere of, sée why the prophet goeth on further and saith, That hee will make his soule an offering for sin: to wit, that Iesus Christ will forget his own life for the redéeming of our liues, & the price of our sinnes and iniquities. Héere the Prophet againe set­teth before vs the willing obedience of the Sonne of God: For, as hee hath saide, that as it was the will of the father hee shoulde bee afflicted, euen so likewise hée nowe saith, that the Sonne yéelded himselfe willingly thereto, thrusting himselfe forwarde to become a Sacrifice without force or constraint. For, the common maner of offering vp of Sacrifices vnto the Lorde God, was alwayes done of a francke will and deuotion. And therfore it must neces­sarily fall out that our Lorde Iesus Christe shoulde yéelde and of­fer vp himselfe to the death, which he suffered. For, without that, (as yesterday was declared) our rebellions had neuer béen repared before God: But when he offered vp his soule, to wit, that he was prest and redy to suffer the condemnation that we deserued, in this we may sée, that we haue by his death full assurance of saluation. And this he himselfe saith in the Gospell after Saint Iohn, No mā,Iohn. 16.18. saith he, shal take away my life, but I wil fréely offer it vp my selfe. In déede, his life was taken from him when he was crucified, and wée sée also how vngently & furiously they dealt with him that crucified him. Howbeit they coulde neuer haue doone any thing a­gainst him, do the best they had could, without it had béen so before ordeined by the sacred decrée & appointment of God the father, as hath béen alredy alledged out of the Actes,Acts. 2.23. & 4.28. where it is saide. That they did nothing but that which the hand and counsell of God had ordeined. But ouer and besides all this, our Lorde Iesus Christe was contēted & well pleased with the sentence & iudgement yt was giuen vpon him for our sakes. Now the prophet setteth it namely down yt it was, for sin. For, all sacrifices were called sin offerings, because yt he who had cōmitted an offence, whē he came to ask par­don, brought his sacrifice with him, & thereupon was discharged: [Page 127] as if hée should haue said, Alas my good God, behold I stande héere before thée as a guiltie & condemned person: and it is impossi­ble for mee to beare the punishment yt I haue deserued for it: but should rather bée a burden vtterly to cast mée downe into the pit of hell: Howebeit for remedie héereof, I craue pardon at thy ma­iesties hand by meane of the sacrifice which héere is offered vp vn­to thée. Héere we see why they were called sinne offeringes: to wit, because the curse which we deserued, & vnder the which we were altogether cast downe, was as it were discharged, and laid vpon a bullocke or shéepe, or vpon some such like thing that was offered. Now, all this was done in the lawe vnder a figure. So then, our Lorde Iesus was called sinne, because he bare our curse, that God his Father might blesse vs. Neither let vs thinke that this is any whit derogatory from his Maiestie, but that wée ought rather so much the more to magnifie him: For as S. Paule saith in his E­pistle to the Corinthes, That hée who knew not what sin meant,2. Cor. 5.21. was made sinne for vs, that we might be ye righteousnes of God in him. There is no doubt but that Saint Paul meant to set foorth vnto vs the fruite, and benefite of the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christ, euen as the Prophet héere setteth it downe vn­to vs. Wée sée then that Iesus Christ was innocent, without spot or wrinkle. And therefore since it is so, hée was méetest to beare the charge of others. Nowe hée in such sort beare it, as that hée was made sinne: to wit, hée susteined our curse. And how so? For­sooth, to the ende that wée now might haue righteousnesse to aun­swere the Maiestie of God. For the obedience of our Lord Ie­sus Christ is as a cloke to couer al our iniquities: and besides, his blood is as a thing to cleanse vs, when wée are washed therein, and as Saint Peter saith, Bedeawed and begot therewith by his holy Spirite. Héere then wée sée the meaning of this place,1. Pet. 1.2. Marke also héere againe, that to the ende wée might detest and abhorre both our sins & our selues, we must cōsider of the wonderful sufferings of the sonne of God: because it is so strange a thing, as yt it ought to put vs in a maruellous admiration: that he who is the fountaine of all righteousnes, was made sinne: that hée who is blessed, & san­ctifieth all things, yea euen the very Angels of heauen, became ac­cursed. Nowe, when wée heare all these thinges spoken of, and sée them to bée very strange, yet haue wée not the wit and vnder­standing, [Page] to apply them to our edifying. For since the Sonne of God was brought to this point, is it possible for vs to finde any re­medy els where? No surely: for wée may soone iudge, that neither men, Angels, nor nothing els whatsoeuer, was able to doe vs any good, but yt we must néedes haue our help at ye hāds of the sonne of God. And therfore this Diuel Seruetus (which was héere execu­ted) is so much the more accursed and damnable: because he hath falsified & stayned the holy Bible, in saying that all this was pro­phesied of Cyrus an Heathē Idolater: and robbed our Lord Iesus Christe of the thing which so properly belonged vnto him, as that when Isaiah had fastened this as it were vnto a liuely Table, that euen thē Iesus Christ was crucified, the things could not be made more manifest and plaine. And yet this Diuell brought with him such an horrible wickednesse, as that hée hath spoyled our Lorde Iesus Christ both of his dignitie and office, and saith, That it was an Heathen man that suffered for the people, whenas in déede what by reason of his ambition and couetousnesse hée would néedes shed the blood of a man, and therefore receiued his iust re­warde for the same. Howbeit this is a fearefull falsifiyng of this godly Prophesie, and to say truely, neuer man aliue euer once thought of any such meanyng, as this cursed fellowe hath deuised. For, although a great number of shamelesse Heretikes haue per­uerted the doctrine of the holy Scripture, yet neuer did any of them come thus farre. And therefore, it cannot bée chosen but that al the signes and tokens of a reprobate appeared in this cursed man. Wherfore, wée are héere so much the rather to note, that whē the Prophet bringeth vs backe to the consideration of our Lorde Iesus Christe, that (in the first place) it is to this ende that wee might bée ashamed of our selues: and besides, that we might mag­nifie the inestimable goodnesse of our God, because hée would haue his onely Sonne to become sinne for vs: and that our Lord Iesus Christe himselfe refused it not, but as one forgetting himselfe had such care of our saluation, as that hée descended into the bottome­les depthes of horror, to the ende hee would beare our curse. And therefore wée are héere also to consider of this point, that there is none other meane for vs to be discharged before God, but to set be­fore vs the satisfaction of the Sacrifice which was offered vp for vs once for all. Indéede this is very true, that the worlde alwaies [Page 128] hath a meaning to deuise some one thing or an other, I know not what, wherewith to pay God (as hath heeretofore béene saide) and for example, wée sée what store of pretie fonde triflyng bables ma­ny Papistes vse wherwith to appease ye wrath of god For in déed, they tell vs that it is impossible for vs to bée forgiuen, without we make satisfaction: for, say they, although God of his frée mercy & goodnesse forgiueth vs the fault, yet hée reserueth alwayes the pu­nishment, vntill such time as euery of vs hath discharged himself before him. And héereupon wée sée from whence commeth the foun­dation of Purgatorie: For, because wée cannot whiles wée lyue héere make satisfaction, but that there must remaine alwaies some remnant and arrerages, wée must therefore, say they, beare the punishment out of this worlde, & that is it that must pay god. Loe héere howe the miserable worlde hath béen deceiued and blin­ly lead with the leasinges and doting dreames of Satan. And therfore wée are so much the rather to make an obseruation of this doctrine: That as God hath not set downe in the Law, and saide, You shall not serue mée this way, and that, as pleaseth you: But placed and ordeined the sacrifices, & Ceremonies conteined in the Law, & thereon stay them selues without deuising any newe and strange kind of Seruice & meane to obteine fauour & grace: Euen so likewise must we at this day be contented with the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christe, because we know that that is the only meane by which God will be mercifull & fauourable vnto vs, & by which also he wil receiue & adopt vs vnto himselfe. Thus we namely sée what it is that the Prophet meaneth to offer héere vnto vs. Now, it is moreouer said, That he will prolong his dayes, & that he shall see his seed to be permanent, & that the wil (or ple­sure) of the Lorde shall prosper in his handes. Héere, he bringeth vs yet once againe back vnto the consideration of the glory & excellen­cie of our Lord Iesus Christ, to the end wee might be so muche the more assured yt we may come vnto him: for if hée had remoued in death as a vanquished person, it had béen impossible for vs to haue béen euer iustified & quickened by his grace. For how could death a lone haue brought righteousnes & life with it, as of it selfe: but be­cause of ye sacrifice of his death he rose again, therin resteth our ful & whole cōfidēce. Thus we sée yt we haue obteined victory ouer sin, to ye end we might be takē to be righteous: & death is abolished in vs, yt [Page] wée might haue life: In déede, this in the first place, hath relation vnto the person of the Sonne of God, For, as wée haue alredy said hée dyed according to the infirmitie of his fleshe,2. Cor. 13.4. howbeit, the hea­uenly power of his holy Spirite was shewed in his resurrection: and heereof hée gaue this testimony, for these were his wordes, de­stroy yée this Temple, and within thrée dayes I will rayse it vp againe.Iohn. 2.19. Loe héere howe the Sonne of God, as touching his person did sée a great age: For hee rose not againe to shew himselfe vnto the worlde for a whyle, and then dye againe: But after hée had shewed himselfe vnto his Disciples, and made them witnesses of his resurrection, hée ascended into heauen, and so exempted himself from all humane frailtie. This then it is whereon wee must builde our faith in him, when as wee sée him to haue in such sort o­uercome death, and the Diuell, and triumphed ouer him, as that after that hée was offered vp for a Sacrifice, hée was receiued and exalted vnto this power and dignitie, whereof mention hath alre­dy béen made. But wée must also note by the way, that all this belongeth to the whole body of the Church: for it is not the pur­pose of Iesus Christe to separate himselfe from it.Heb. 2.11. And in déede it is further said, that hee shall see his seed. True it is wée are cal­led the brethren of Iesus Christe: For wée coulde not bée called the children of god but by the same name. And therfore, hée who is the onely beloued must receiue and ioyne vs so vnto himselfe, as that we might haue that by adoption, which is onely his by nature howbeit, this is no let vnto vs from being as children ingendred of his séede. For, what is the true séede of the Churche? Verily euen the worde of the Gospell as Saint Peter telleth vs.1. Pet. 1.23. & 25. And in déede it is the very selfe & same which we haue already séene very­fied vnto vs out of the Prophet Isaiah, That the worde of the Lorde endureth for euer, because by it wee are made incorrup­tible,Isaiah. 40.8. whenas wee receiue profite thereby, according to that mea­sure that it is giuen vnto vs by the holy ghost, this then is the séede by which wee are regenerate into euerlasting life. Howbeit wee must fyrst come vnto our Lorde Iesus Christe. And how commeth it to passe that the Gospell hath this office and Property to beget vs to bée the children of GOD, Forsooth the reason is this, because the blood of our Lorde Iesus Christe was a true [Page 129] séede to quicken vs. And therefore it is not for naught sayde héere. That hee shall see a seede of long continuance, or an euerlasting seede. So then, wee are againe to conclude, that the benefit which our Lorde obteined by his resurrection, was not particuler for him selfe alone: But that wée might haue parte thereof, and be called vnto his company, because we are members of his bodie.

Nowe, wée are héere, by the way admonished, not to séeke for one droppe of life in our selues, but to take it wholly from our lord Iesus Christ. Why? howe will God then acknowledge vs to be his children? Howe shall wée haue any place in his Church? Howe shall wée be taken to be of his flocke? Forsooth wée must come to this point, Because wée are partakers with our lord Iesus Christ: Thus wée sée howe God accepteth of vs, this is our begetting, and first birth. And nowe let our fréewill men goe and brag of their frée will, by which they suppose them selues to be readie to receiue the grace of God. For what abilitie is hée able to haue to doe, eyther good or yll, that is not yet begotten in the wombe of his mother. Wherefore, let vs vnderstande thus much, that since our chiefe and first creation is this, that we are begotten in Iesus Christ, that wée are able to doe nothing, neither yet that any thing procéedeth from our power and strength, but that all whatsoeuer wée haue, commeth from that frée goodnesse of his, whereof we are made partakers. And this is the summe and effect of all that which wée haue to consider of. But by the way, to the ende wée might also haue a great deale the better taste of his death & passion, it is saide,

Because hee gaue his soule an offring for sinne (to wit, for sa­tisfaction▪ or for sacrifice) that hee should see his seede. For, wée right well shewe, that wée would blot out all hope of saluation, if wée glorified not the goodnesse of God, in the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ. And to say truely, they that proudly dis­daine to cleaue vnto our Lorde Iesus Christ, because hée was cru­cified, rightly declare that they haue not knowne the ende thereof: For without it, what should become of vs? Surely, wée shoulde haue no Church in the worlde, there should be no saluation, and to be short, there should bée no hope of any goodnesse: For with­out doubt wée should bée all remedilesse confounded, lost, and con­demned, without Iesus Christ had offred vp his soule, & bought [Page] vs againe by that onely meane.

1. Cor. 6.30.And for this cause the Scripture also oftentimes sheweth vs, that wee were redéemed with no small price. And thus much we haue to consider of for this pointe.

Nowe, it is saide, for a finall conclusion, That the will of God shall prosper in his handes. The wordes which the Pro­phet heere vseth, signifieth a worldly will, and frée fauour: For, it were not enough that our Lord Iesus Christ should execute the will of God: But that it shoulde be a will procéeding of loue, as a testimony of his fatherly affection. For, Moses executed the will of God when hée published the lawe: and yet notwithstan­ding euerie man was afeard at the thunders & lightnings: for there was nothing els but threatnings of death. And why so? Forsooth, because the law brought nothing els with it but wrath and ven­geance. For, it was méet that the world should féele in it an horri­ble condemnation,Hebr. 12.18. & be wonderfully afeard. Howbeit, there appea­red an other maner of wil of God, in Iesus Christ: & that is this, his meaning was to receiue vs vnto himself, & to haue mercy vpō vs, to abolish our sins, & to discharge vs of the condemnation wherein we were. Thus we sée ye propertie of the spéech which the Prophet here vseth, when he saith, That ye wil of God should prosper. Now it is by & by after said, in his hands, which signifieth, yt Iesus Christ should be a distributer and bestower of the grace of God for our sal­uation. True it is, that God might by some other death haue deli­uered vs from death, howbeit it was not his meaning, neyther yet was it so good. And therefore hée appointed our Lord Iesus Christ, to the ende wée might by him, be redéemed and reconcy­led: and to bée short, that by him wée might obtayne whatsoeuer was requisite for our saluation.

Let vs nowe make a collection of the summe and effect of this saying, It is saide, That the good will and free fauour of GOD should prosper in the hands of Iesus Christ. Wherefore speaketh the Prophet after this maner? Forsooth, because, we are enclyned vnto mistrust, and haue a number of lettes to make vs fainte, the holie Ghost, preuenteth the matter, and declareth vnto vs, that howsoeuer the worlde goeth, the grace of God shall worke it ef­fect, and be accomplished,

And therefore, although the Deuill craftely goeth about to de­uise to make the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christ to bée of no force and effect vnto vs, and bring foorth no fruit in vs: and al­though wée for our partes are so wicked and peruerse, as that wée will so fall from it, as that wée will make it altogether vnpro­fitable vnto vs: yet will God by his infinite goodnesse ouercome it all. To bée shorte, the Prophete his meaning héere in this place is, that the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christe, hath not béene onely sufficient for the saluation of the worlde, but also that God will make it so forcible, as that wée shall sée the fruite thereof, and féele and proue it by experience.

And heerevpon wée are to gather, that God will alwayes haue a Church in the worlde, and that the Deuill may very wel deuise all the mischiefe hée can possible, and bende all his force to ouerthrowe the house of God, and yet, be as be may, Christ Ie­sus shall haue the victorie, and the grace, whereof hée is a distri­buter and bestower, shall bée beneficiall, and perfourmed amongst men.

And for this cause it is saide by the Psalmist,Psal. 2.1. Why haue the Kinges and Rulers of the earth lifted vp themselues? and made co­uenantes with the people? Yet must God in the ende, execute his Counsell and iudgement. In verie déede, they will goe about to imagine muche, but yet hée which dwelleth aboue in the heauens will mocke them all to scorne in his wrath. Let vs therefore well consider, that the meaning of the holie Ghost is to declare, that the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christ wil alwayes worke his effect, to the end the Church of God might stande firme and sure, so that it shall neuer be ouerthrowne, by all the assaultes, tempestes and whirlewyndes, whatsoeuer that the enemies with Satan their head, can any way possible raise vp against it. And this saying, to prosper, is set downe, to shew, that God will make the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christ florish, to the end it might more and more fructifie: and when it shall séeme, that it shoulde bée vtterly defaced; that God will vpholde it, and ouer­come whatsoeuer may bée any let for the bringing of it to a per­fect ende. Moreouer, euery of vs ought to apply this vnto himselfe, and not doubt, that although our winges flagge▪ and we the bond­slaues of sin, yet that God will deliuer vs from out of that slauerie [Page] wherin we are, make perfect that which hée hath begun in vs, and amend also whatsoeuer is wanting in vs. And how? Forsooth, wee must first come vnto our Lord Iesus Christ: because it is he which putteth to his hande, and to him the charge thereof is committed, and this office hée receiued from God his Father. And therefore let vs be contented, that since hee is appointed to be the Minister of our saluation, there shall be no defect or want which hée will not accomplish by his meane, and that because hée hath so determined it.2. Cor. 5.19. Now, let vs by the way, apply to this which is héere set downe, the place of Saint Paul before by vs alledged, to the end we might be partakers of the fruit of the death and passion of our Lord Iesus Christ: that is, let vs giue eare vnto the message that is dayly brought vs. For it were not enough that Iesus Christ had suffred in his owne person, and appointed to be a sacrifice for vs: but wée must also be certified thereof by the Gospell: that wée haue this te­stimony by it, and not doubt but that wée are iustified by him, be­cause we knowe that hée hath made satisfaction for our offences. And therevpon let vs looke that God will in such sort continue his woorke in this Redéemer, as that hée will make it encrease more and more, vntill hée hath brought it to a full end and perfection.

Let vs now fall downe before the Maiestie of our good God, and acknowledge our offēces, beséeching him so to make vs féele them, as that wée may be more & more displeased with them, & also learne vs so to looke into the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ, as that it may be a good instruction for vs to be gréeued and grone for our sinnes & not doubt, since that our Lorde Iesus Christ hath discharged vs of that whereof we were guiltie, but that wée might nowe come before the Maiestie of God his Father, and be receiued as his children, although in déede we are vnworthie to be reckoned amongst the number of his creatures. And that wée may in this strength fight against all our vices and wicked lustes, and so bée made partakers of the forgiuenesse of our sinnes, as also we might be strengthened, to make all our whole life agréeable vnto God: and as hée hath shewed him selfe fauourable vnto vs, we might al­so labour most obediently to please him. That it would please him not to shew this fauour vnto vs onely, but also vnto all people and nations on the earth, &c.

The sixt Sermon of the Prophesie of our Lord Iesus Christ.

Isaiah. Liii.

11 HE shall see of the trauaile of his soule, and shall bee sa­tisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous seruant iustifie many: for hee shall beare their iniquities.

ALthough the Prophet, for a confirma­tion of that which hée hath alredy said, bringeth in this sentence: to wit, that the death of the Sonne of God shoulde not be vnprofitable, but should yéeld a most excellent fruite for the saluation of the worlde: yet doeth hée more liue­ly set it foorth then héeretofore hée hath done: For, in the first place, hée shew­eth vnto vs the loue whiche Iesus Christ beare vs, saying, That hee shall be satisfied, by reason hée had purchased for vs, by his death, euerlasting life: and besides, hee sheweth in the second place, that hée shall not suffer onely in his bodie, but in his soule also. Nowe, we knowe that this say­ing, to be Satisfied, or to be Contented, importeth or carieth with it, a great desire. For, many thinges shall come to passe, which shall touch vs no whit, and we ouerslip them: yea, and although they be for our commoditie, yet is not for vs to say, that we altoge­ther rest in them. And a man may haue a great number of things, and yet not be contented: For it is possible that he hath not the prin­cipall, or els that hée hath not the whole: But the Prophet shew­eth that the Sonne of God shal be throughly satisfied, neuer respec­ting him selfe, when as hée shall sée that hée hath gotten vnto him his Church, and that poore sinners shal be deliuered from the curse wherein they were, and so be reconciled vnto God, for the obtay­ning [Page] of the heauenly enheritance. To be short, wée sée here that our Lorde Iesus neuer respected his owne person, but was raui­shed with the loue of vs, wherin hée sought his whole contentment and felicitie, as if that had béene his onely desire, loue, and care. Now, we haue againe here to note, that if so be we looke for the be­nefite which our Lorde Iesus Christ purchased for vs, by Fayth, which is dayly offred vnto vs by the Gospell, wée shall neuer be voide of our hope. For the Prophet sayeth, That hee shall see, by which hée expresseth, that God doeth not onely meane to shewe his mercy vnto vs in the person of his Sonne, when as hée deli­uered him to death: But will bring it also to passe by his holy spi­rite, that this his death shall not be fruitlesse, and that many shall see, & finde by experience, that it was not in vayne, nor for naught, that hée suffred so great tormentes. And therefore let vs embrase our Lorde Iesus Christ, to the end we drawing neare vnto him by fayth, might be made partakers of the fruite of his death & passion: and let vs be assured, that whēsoeuer we shal at any time estrange our heartes from him, that God will not adde this benefit with the rest, that as his wil was that his Sonne should be our Redéemer, euen so also should we truly enioy ye benefit which he hath brought vs, and vnderstande that it was not in vaine that hée suffred such cruell torments for vs. And this is the thing which we are to con­sider of out of this place. As for the second point which is propoun­ded, it is here shewed that Iesus Christ should not onely be beaten, scourged, and afflicted by the hand of God his father, that he might beare the chastisement which wée were woorthie of, but that his soule also shoulde bée gréeued and vexed. It is not héere said, that hée shall sée the fruite of his strypes, affliction, and death, as the Prophet had before saide: But also the fruite of the trauayle and griefe of his soule. For the woordes which hée vseth, importeth as much. And therefore hée meant to expresse that Iesus Christ was not onely crucified, after hée had aboad the gréeuous tormēts in his bodie, but that hée should goe a great deale farther: to wyt, that hée should be heauy and sory for vs, and suffer the sorrowes of death, and be euen subiect theretoo for our iustification. And to say truly, to what purpose had it bin, if our Lord Iesus Christ had but openly suffred, & in the sight of the world? For if he had suffred but in body, hee should then haue bin a Redéemer of bodies onely. [Page 132] But because the principall matter why wée should beléeue in him, is, that we might féele and be fully persuaded, that death shal be no more deadly vnto vs, and that wée are freed from the curse of God, it was méet that our Lord Iesus shoulde féele these pointes in himselfe: & so comming before God, might be as a wretched male­factor before his Iudge. For, we know that the sin of man brought not with it a temporall death onely, but also a féeling of the enmi­tie of God, and of his horrible iudgement against vs. And what is that? Forsooth, the most insupportable and terrible thing that pos­sibly may be. And therfore it was méet that our Lord Iesus shuld be driuen theretoo, for our deliuerance: and this is it whiche the Prophet at this present declareth vnto vs. And héere we sée a great deale the better, howe God hath loued vs, and what the infinite Treasures of his grace and goodnesse are, which hée hath powred out vpon vs. Moreouer, wee may also verie well vnderstande, what care and zeale our Lorde Iesus Christ had ouer our saluati­on, when as hée forced not to make his owne bodie answere the sa­tisfaction of our sinnes, but also to bring him selfe into such an hor­rible feare, as one that should féele the iudgement of God, who layde holde on him, as vpon him who had deserued the curse which God had pronounced from his owne mouth: to wyt, that it was the verie thing to swallowe vs vp into hell, and a gulfe vtterly to destroy vs. And therefore it was méete that Iesus Christ should féele all this. Nowe, to say the trueth, when wée sée that hée had thereby sweat water and blood,Luk. 22.3. and that the Angels came downe to comfort him: this could not choose but be an wonderfull extream sorrow and griefe: séeing the like example had neuer béen séene all the worlde ouer. Thus we sée the meaning of these wordes, Of the trauaile, or griefe of the soule of our Lorde Iesus Christ. Nowe, it is true (as Saint Peter sayeth) that the sorrowes of hell could not hold him vnder: howbeit it was méet hée should striue with them:Act. 2.24. and in the end hée had the victorie ouer them, but it was not with­out great and painefull fight. Moreouer, wée are presently to ga­ther out of this place, that although wée must dye, wée must not therefore say that the death and passion of Christ was not effectual, nor yet profited vs so much as was expedient: because, the death wherevnto wée are nowe subiect, is but a warning vnto vs of the curse of God.

For, if wée were clearely exempt from death, we should then ne­uer know the grace which was purchased for vs by our Lorde Ie­sus Christ. And we also knowe what néede we haue to bée hum­bled, and that God maketh vs alwayes to féele his wrath: For al­though we were altogether exempt thereof, yet ought we to think still of it, to the ende we might grone by reason of our sinnes, and therefore magnifie his mercy so much the more. Wherefore, the death to speake properly, which all men now dye as it were, is not deadly, to those which haue faith in Iesus Christ, because they passe out of this life, to liue vnto God. And therefore when we dye, wée are to comfort our selues and reioyce, because we know that God will be mercifull vnto vs, and conuert the euill into good, & make death (which before brought with it a mortall wound) to serue for a plaister. And howe is that? Forsooth, because we shall vnder­stande that God will not become a seuere Iudge vnto vs, & poure out his vengeance vpon vs, when as we bring Iesus Christ with vs, to shewe that hée hath made satisfaction for vs. And therfore death hath not taken such fearefull holde on vs, as to confound vs, and bring vs to dispaire:Ioh. 6.39. & 10.28. But doe come, fréely to put our selues in­to the handes of God. For, as it said that Iesus Christ commen­ded his soule vnto God his Father, Let vs vnderstand, that it was to make him Gardaine of our soules, and therefore may wée com­mende them most assuredly into his handes: because hée hath said, that whatsoeuer is giuen to him to kéepe, shall neuer perish. Thus then we sée to what ende this anguish of our Lorde Iesus Christ serueth: and that ouer and besides he aboad death, and the rest of the tormentes, yet had hée also this terrour of the féeling of God to be his Iudge, as if hée shoulde haue suffred the paynes of hell. Nowe, it is so farre off that this is any whit derogatorie from his Maiestie, as that it is to make vs a great deale the better vnder­stand, howe greatly hée estéemed of our saluation, and how deare and precious we and our soules were vnto him. And therefore, although hée was made of no reputation (as before hath béen séene) and had neither fourme nor fashion, why men shoulde be desirous of him, yet was this his light estimation of him to exalte him so much the more.

And in déede, although God shewed his highnesse and infinite Maiestie in the creation of the worlde, yet haue we a farre more [Page 133] large cause to glorifie God in the death and passion of our Lord Ie­sus Christ, because Iesus Christ abased and humbled him selfe for vs and for our saluation: and although hée was not robbed of his diuine Maiestie, yet laye it hyd for a time, and was neuer per­ceiued by any man. And this is in summe, that which the Prophet here handleth, as concerning the payne and greefe of our Lord Ie­sus. Now, we sée herein that hée forgot him selfe as it were, and neuer cared for him selfe, and the reason is, because hée was alto­gether giuen to saue vs: And so answered for vs both in bodie and soule, and was our onely pledge. And in this we sée, that the verie curres who would at this day abolish this doctrine, haue neyther faith nor religion in them, but bark at it like Mastifes, they know not why nor wherfore. And although our Popish hypocrites who vnderstand this but by halfes, are yet notwithstanding, howsoeuer the world goeth, driuen to confesse, that Iesus Christ felt most ter­rible panges. In déed they were neuer able fully to define of al that was in it: But yet, how euer it commeth to passe, they iumble part­ly at it. Notwithstanding, there are here a company of villaynes, more Monkish thē they which liue in their Celles, & in those stews out of which they come, who haue brought their stench & infectiō in­to the Church of God. And therefore this is most certaine, yt these Dogges which at this day carry the name of Ministers, and do al­so occupie that place, and yet make a Swynes stye of the Church of God, being like Dogges without all religion, and goe about no­thing els but to deface and put out of mens mindes all the grace of God, and whatsoeuer els our Lord Iesus Christ hath done for vs. Now, when we sée that Satan hath thus pushed them forward, as to become like shamelesse whores, we ought so much the rather to consider of this Article of our faith: which is, That Iesus Christ was not onely condemned of Pylate, being an earthly Iudge, to the end we might be pardoned before God his Father: and not on­ly crucified, that wée might be deliuered from the curse: that hée did not onely suffer death, that we might be freed from it, But also that we at this day might haue peace of conscience, and be glad in that we féele the fatherly loue of our God, and so may be bolde to call vpon him with open mouth, being assured yt he will receiue vs, & that we shal be acceptable vnto him. And it was méet yt Iesus Christ should be plunged in these horrors which he felt, it was also [Page] méete that he who was the immaculate Lambe of God, should be made like vnto a wretched malefactor, and that hée who was the mirror & paterne of all holinesse & perfection, should answere for vs, and become our Borrow euen to that verie pinch, as if hée shoulde haue béen condemned vnto the bottomlesse pit of hel. Moreouer, he vanquished & ouercame all these sorowes (as we haue before said) but yet he wrestled stoutly against them first. Thus we sée what the meaning of Isaiah is, when he saith, that Iesus Christ must sée trauels & griefes in his soule: howbeit we sée that he was notwith­standing well contented and fully satisfied therwith, alwayes pro­uided that we might be redeemed by that meane. And therfore wée may at this day be so much the more bold, knowing that if we haue a true obedience of fayth, whereby to receiue the inestimable bene­fite which our Lorde Iesus Christ hath obtained for vs, wée may féele that hée suffred not all these torments for vs, in vaine. Wher­fore, our vnthankfulnesse shall be so much the more inexcusable, when as we come not vnto him with such an earnest zeale, to enioy this inestimable benefite whereinto he is entred, and whereof hée hath in our behalfe, taken possession, hauing tolde vs that hée hath reconciled vs vnto God his Father, who is readie to receiue vs as his children. Thus we sée in summe, what we haue to consider of in this place. Now, the Prophet goeth on farther, and saith, That by his knowledge, my righteous seruant shall iustifie many. As for this word, Seruant, we haue before séene, that it is no whit deroga­torie from the maiestie of our Lorde Iesus Christ: For, although hée was Lord ouer all Creatures, yet obteined he a newe gouern­ment in the person of a Mediatour, and in our nature, according to that saying of Saint Paule to the Philippians, and as we haue al­so séene partly heretofore:Phil. 2.9. for it was his meaning to become a ser­uant, and to humble him selfe vnder that state and condition. And therefore it was not in vaine, that hée was called the seruaunt of God. Now, this ought to be no straunge thing vnto vs: But this should be much more strange vnto vs, that Iesus Christ being the verie Sonne of God,Iohn. 17.9. and coequall with God his Father in glorie, should become a seruant to men (as it is saide in the Gospell after Saint Iohn) and so abase him selfe vnder this condition,Mat. 20.28 as that hée woulde serue vs: and yet notwithstanding it was so in déede. Marke also why hée saide, I was conuersaunt amongst you as a seruant, and not as a Maister.

Nowe, since it is so, that Iesus Christ became so humble, as to make him selfe the seruant of men, it is not for naught then that hée is here called the seruant of God. And to say the truth, he could not otherwise haue redéemed vs. I speake now in respect that God his Father had so decréede it, as we haue alredie heretofore sayde. For, I know that God could, if it had pleased him haue saued vs without any meane, But we are alwayes to presuppose that it was Iesus Christ which must purchase life for vs. And therefore, for the bringing of this matter to passe, it was eftsoones méet that he should become a seruant: because hee could not otherwise haue yéelded his obedience vnto God his Father: and without this obe­dience, it was impossible for him to haue repaired our transgressi­ons and iniquities. Thus then we sée why he was called a righte­ous seruant. To be short, the Prophet doeth vs to wit, that because we were, and yet are, rebels to God, vntill such time as he hath re­formed vs by his holy spirit: and againe, although after he hath gi­uen vs the touch of a good mind, yet are we vnprofitable seruants, and tryp and stumble euerie hand while: and besides, when wée shall thinke that the seruice which we doe him, should be well ac­cepted of him, yet may it be verie well amended, yea & worthie to be reiected: and therefore for the blotting out of our offences, it was méete that the seruice and obedience of our Lord Iesus Christ should please God: and that it should also carry with it a right and full satisfaction. This then is the summe and effect of his meaning. And herevpon we are to gather, that Iesus Christ did not onely iu­stifie vs in that he was God, but through the power of his obedi­ence, in that he tooke vpon him our nature, and therein would ac­complish and fulfill the lawe, which was impossible for vs to doe, because it was such a burthen as would haue pressed vs all downe, and haue broken our neckes. Forsomuch then as our Lord Iesus Christ forsooke himselfe for our saluation, and became obedient vn­to God his Father, we sée in what sort he hath iustified vs. Now, he speaketh also namely of his knowledge, meaning thereby to ex­presse, that it was not inough that our Lorde Iesus Christ perfor­med in his own person, all whatsoeuer that was necessarie for our saluation, but that wee also should take fast hold therof by fayth.

And therefore knowledge is verie requisite. For how many incredulous or vnbeléeuing persons doe we sée perishe, vnto whom [Page] the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ, serueth to none other purpose, saue onely for their greater condemnation, because they treade his most holie and precious blood vnder their féete, and vtterly refuse his grace which hee offreth vnto them.Iohn. 3.14. Numb. 21.9 And so, al­though our Lorde Iesus Christ be lyke vnto the Serpent whiche was set vp in the wildernesse, for the healing of all diseases, yet can we for our partes receiue no profite by him, except we know him. For, as it was méete also that the brasen Serpent should be looked on in the wildernesse, and without which looking on, the byting or stinging of the Serpentes was alwayes deadly: Euen so at this day, is the Gospell vnto vs as a Scaffolde whereon to set vp our Lorde Iesus Christ: or els lyke a Banner to represent him vnto our eyes,3. Cor. 4.1. that we might sée him a great way of. To bee short, The preaching of the Gospell (as Saint Paule sayeth) is not darke: For we may in it beholde the grace of God, appearing in our Lorde Iesus Christ, or els the Deuill hath blindfolded our eyes. But howe euer it is, we are throughly to consider of that which is here spoken, that Iesus Christ iustifieth not but by his knowledge. In deede it is most true, that the verie substance of our saluation must come from thence: For, when it is saide, that we are iustified by Fayth, this is not to exclude Iesus Christ, ney­ther yet the mercies of God, but rather to lead vs and bring vs vn­to them. But to the ende we might the easelyer come to the vnder­standing hereof, we are to consider in the first place, that we are not righteous of our selues, since we must borrowe it of some o­ther: For if wee were able so to rule and order our life, that it might be all in all answerable vnto the law, and will of God, then in déed we deserued that hee should accept vs. And why so? For­sooth, because he is to allowe of the good, since he is the fountayne thereof: for els, hee shoulde deny him selfe. And therefore if we coulde frame our lyues to agrée with the lawe of God, and bee so perfect as hee requireth, we should then without doubt, be iustifi­ed by our woorkes, and Iesus Christ (as Saint Paul saith) should profite vs nothing.

Collos. 5.4.But contrariwise, when we are driuen to borow our righteous­nesse of our Lorde Iesus Christ, and séeke it at his handes: that is as much to say, that we are as bare of it, as we say, as my nayle.

Wherefore let vs thus conclude, that the whole worlde is con­demned of sinne, and God sheweth vs that wee are all accursed, when as it is saide, that wee must come vnto our Lorde Iesus Christ. And thus much for this point. Now, to say the trueth, the auncient Philosophers spake thus much of vertue: and this hath béene alwayes a common opinion, that God will accept of vs for our good life and conuersation: But what are wee the bet­ter for all this? For there was nothing but hypocrisie in the best liuers, and in such as was thought coulde in no wise be touched: and as for the rest, they were altogether giuen to wickednesse: But to speake of those who were thought of all others to bée the most able and renowmed people, were notwithstanding infected with verie gréeuous sinnes.

And therefore let men presume as much as they lust, and think howe they will to liue vertuously, yet when they haue done all they can, and set downe many lawes and rules for their gouern­ment, they shall neuer be able to be iustified before God by that meane. And why so? Forsooth, because sinne hath taken suche déepe roote in vs, as that it cannot bee pulde out of vs by mans helpe. To bee shorte, wee shall neuer bee iustified by goyng to Schoole with men, although they teache neuer so muche what vertue is. And that which is more, Beholde, God publisheth the lawe wherein is true and perfect righteousnesse: for marke what Moyses sayeth, Beholde, sayeth hee, I pronounce at this day both good and euill: I shewe vnto thee the way both of life and death. But by the way, can wee bee iustified by it? Can it so order vs, as that God will take our life to bee good and holie?2. Cor. 3.7. Rom. 4.15. No surely, it is all cleane contrarie: For the lawe engendreth death, redoubleth our condemnation, and kindleth the wrath of God against vs.

Thus wee see what tytles the holie Scripture giueth vnto it. And therefore since the lawe of it selfe cannot iustifie vs, how then is it possible for men by their doctrine, statutes, and ordinaunces, make vs to be truely righteous.

Nowe, if it be asked howe and wherefore the lawe is not able to iustifie: the reason is alredie set downe. It is true in deed that God declareth vnto vs in his lawe, howe wee ought and may at­tayne vnto lyfe, if so bee wee were suche as that there were no [Page] let in vs. Wherefore, although the lawe of God speaketh vnto vs, yet it refourmeth not our heartes. For, when God telleth vs and sayeth, Beholde, what it is that I require at your handes: But & if in the meane while all our desires, affections & thoughts bee altogether against that which hee commaundeth, wée are not onely condemned, But the lawe also, as I haue alredie saide, ma­keth vs so muche the more guiltie before the Maiestie of God. For before the lawe was giuen, wée sinned through ignoraunce: but nowe, wee so wittingly and willingly stande against him, as that it séemeth we woulde euen despight him. For we know that the seruant which knoweth his Maisters will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many strypes. Thus we see why it [...]e said, that the lawe engendreth nothing els but wrath: to wit, that when wée haue béen instructed in it, it kindleth God his wrath so muche the more against vs: and bringeth with it death, but howe? Because forsooth we sée in it, that we are condemned and vtterly cast away. What? is it so that it announceth not life? no: and yet by the way, we cannot attaine theretoo. And therefore we must be iustified af­ter an other maner, which is, by the Gospell. For, God saieth not vnto vs in the Gospell, Beholde, yée shall doe this or that: But hée saieth, Beléeue that my onely Sonne is your Redeemer: embra [...]e his death and passion as a remedie for all your diseases: wash your selues in his blood, and he shall purge you, and ye shall bee made cleane therewith: staye your selues vpon the sacrifice whiche hee hath offred vp vnto mee, and then see in what sort you shal bee iu­stified. Wherefore forsomuch as the Gospell bringeth vs back vn­to our Lorde Iesus Christ, and commaundeth vs to seeke for all our righteousnesse in him, because he hath made full satisfaction for vs through the free mercy of God, see howe we shall be iustified by his knowledge. Rom. 10. And this is it which Saint Paule handleth in his Epistle to the Romanes, For there hee maketh a comparison be­tweene the righteousnesse of the lawe, and the righteousnesse of Fayth. For, he sayth, that there is this righteousnesse in the lawe, when as it sayeth, Whosoeuer shall doe all these thinges, shal liue by them. For, this is most true, that if wee be able to fulfill all the commaundementes of God, so that our life be in such sort ruled as that it is without spot or wrinckle, God hath promised to receyue vs as righteous, that wee shall be verie sure of our rewarde, and [Page 136] not misse of it.

Marke then the certayntie that is in the lawe: but tel mée who it is that doeth al that the law commandeth? Surely we goe alto­gether backward, and a man would thinks (as I haue beforesaid) that wée would go about euen to set our selues against God Thus we sée yt the gate of ye righteousnesse of the law is quite shut vp a­gainst vs, and that there remayneth nothing els for vs, but the ve­ry curse of God. But in the Gospel, it is saide, behold, the woorde is in thine heart, and in thy mouth. But how? forsooth, after thi [...] sort▪ S. Paule speaketh of it, and saith,Rom. 10. [...]. That if wée will haue the word in our heartes and mouthes, wée must come vnto Iesus Christe: because it is hée which wryteth and imprinteth the doctrine of saluation by his holy spirite: with which doctrine wée haue had our eares beaten vnprofitably and in vayne. And therefore since our Lorde Iesus Christ putteth his word in our heartes, let [...] be­séech him to graunt vs this grace as that we may haue a pure and frée affection, to the end we might séeke in him whatsoeuer is wan­ting in vs. Thus wée sée howe wée shall bée iustified by his know­ledge: for it is out of al doubte that wée are no way able to bring any satisfaction of our owne with vs which may please God, and to make this accompt, as to say, wée haue deserued, O Lord, that thou shouldest receiue vs: but we should rather say, we confesse, O Lorde, that wee are miserable sinners, bound ouer so thy iudge­ment, and it is impossible for vs to make satisfaction therto, so that wée must néeds acknowledge that there is no sufficiēcie in any but in Iesus Christ alone to make satisfaction for the same.

Wherfore we should most humbly cōfesse this: & say that we are forlorne & damned creatures vntil such time as our Lorde Iesus reacheth out his hand to p [...] vs out of the pit of hell Now here we confessed all this to be so: And besides, wee knowe that our Lorde Iesus also supplyeth all our wantes. For, if wée [...]ée foule and filthie, his blood washeth vs, wherewith wee [...] [...]eane. If wee bee fallen in debte, not onelye vnto GOD [...]ut also vnto Satan, as too our enemie,Ephe. 5.1. the payment was made [...] the death and passion of the Sonne of GOD▪ And if wée bée defyled, and not to bée abidden, the Sacrifice which our Lorde Iesus Christe offered is suche a sweete smelling sauour as that all our wickednesse is defaced.

Thus then we sée how we are iustified by the knowledge of our Lord Iesus Christ. And according to this doctrine, wée sée in ye first place, yt we must not séeke far for our righteousnes, because we shal find it in the persō of our Lord Iesus Christ, in yt he is clothed with our nature, & is become our brother: & this is a matter of great im­portāce: for if we should be iustified by ye diuine essēce or nature of our lord Iesus Christ, we must néeds be far of frō his righteousnes, and wee were neuer able to come néere it. But when we are tolde that the righteousnesse which he bestoweth on vs, was fulfilled in his humane nature: marke then howe much more familiarly wee may come vnto him. Cōsider also why Satā would so fain cōfound this doctrine, and there are likewise some fantastical spirits, which fondly dreame that our Lord Iesus Christ, as he is God, iustifieth the faithful. But wee must (as I haue already saide) séeke for our righteousnes very farre of, & that were ynough to make vs faint­hearted, & to make vs also vanish away before wee came at him. But cōtrariwise, as he is a mortal mā, he calleth vs vnto himselfe, and made himself a Mediator, because we might séeke for our righ­teousnes therein. And this is a point worthy the obseruation: & be­sides, let vs alwayes come vnto this knowledge. And because the faithlesse shut the gate vpon themselues, and so spoyle thēselues of the benefit which they should receiue by our Lord Iesus Christ, let vs therfore be diligēt to receiue the testimonie which is geuē vnto vs by the Gospel. We bring you (saith S Paule) the Ambassade in the name of our Lorde Iesus Christ, beséeching you to reconcile yourselues vnto God. S. Paule setteth downe a double reconcilia­tion,2. Cor. 5.10. the one is, the sacrifice which our Lord Iesus Christ made for vs in his owne person, the other is that which wée dailie ob­tayne through fayth, when as GOD telleth vs, that although wée haue mooued him to anger, yet is hée continually readye to for­get our faults, and tread them vnder his féete, so that we make ac­compt of the benefit which he offreth vs.

And therefore, let vs learne too esteeme of the Gospell a greate deale more then heeretofore wee haue done: and vn­derstande, that it is to this ende too make vs Partakers of the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christe. For wee are ingraffed into his bodie, & made his members, and al whatsoeuer [Page 137] is his, is also ours, and that through the aptnesse of the Gospell: and for this cause it is, that Saint Paul saith,Rom. 1.16. that the Gospell is the power of God vnto saluation, to all that beléeue: shewing héere­by, that if we refuse to be saued by the Gospell, it is as much as if we reiected the saluation which God woulde obtaine for vs in the person of his Sonne, and wherunto hée dayly bideth and exhorteth vs. And this is the summe and effect of that which we haue héere to obserue.

And therefore, we ought so much the more make estimation of the Gospell, whenas we sée that it was in popery so darkned, yea and in such sorte, altogether defaced, as that the poore soules were vtterly famished. For, although it was somewhat slightly preach­ed, yet left they alwaies the poore people doubtfull, and superstici­ous, without hauing any assueraunce of the mercy of God. Yea, and the Papistes saye, that wee must not presume to assure our selues of the loue of God, but onely liue vpon coniectures and ges­ses. Howbeit this is to make the fruite of the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ of none effect. And therefore let vs learne so to benefite our selues by the Gospell, as that we may bee certified that God loueth vs, and taketh vs for his owne deare chil­dren. Wherfore, let vs (as I haue already sayde) so much the more praise and magnifye this grace, whenas wée sée the greatest part of the world to be so farre from it.

Now, it remaineth that the Prophet addeth and saieth, that he layde downe his soule for many. Whereby he signifieth, that wee are not iustified by a certaine vaine imaginatiue faith, in onely be­léeuing that there is a God, and by a confused knowledge and ge­nerall conceit to vnderstande, that Iesus Christ hath suffered death and passion: but because wée are made partakers, by fayth, of the sacrifice that was offered for vs, to the ende God might bée fauourable vnto vs, and not impute our sinnes and iniquities any more vnto vs. Surely, the Papists are so blockish and brutishe, as that when they would shew that we are not iustified by Faith on­ly, they reason after this maner, we are (say they) iustified by the mercy of God: and therefore not by faith onely: Moreouer they say, we are iustified by the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ: and therefore no more, by faith onelye: it is much like as if a man woulde say, we are made warme by heate, and therefore [Page] not by the Sunne: wée are lightned by the light, and therefore not by the Sunne.

Now, let vs héere note, yt when we speake of faith, it is to this end to bring vs back to the Gospell: for (as I haue already saide) héere are two kindes of righteousnesse. For we are saide to be iustifi­ed by the law, whenas wee haue fulfilled all whatsoeuer God hath commaunded vs therein. Now, it is impossible to come to the perfection thereof and therefore wée sée that wée are bare of this righteousnesse, and vtterly cut of from it.

There is also another kinde of righteousnesse, and that is the righteousnesse of Iesus Christ, for after wee haue bene throughlye examined and tried, we are sure to be founde guilty of malice and wickednesse, so that wée must needes bée afearde, bicause wee feele God to be so armed in wrath against vs, as that he doth nothing els but thunder out vengeance vpon vs to throw vs down into the pitte of hell. And therefore, when we are driuen to this so great an extremitie, beholde how Christ graunteth vs a remedy to miti­gate and assawge all our sorrowes: which is this, he certefieth vs, that hée him selfe alone will be altogether sufficient to bring vs the sauing helth which he hath purchased for vs. Thus we sée, that wée are iustified, by faith, wherefore wée may perceiue that the Prophet speaketh after the selfe same manner that Saint Paul spake, after his time, that is, hee maketh vs in the first place to come vnto the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ, behol­ding him crucified for our sakes, and besides, that wee are assured by the Gospell that whatsoeuer Iesus Christe dyd and suffered, be­longeth and is to be applyed to vs at this day, because the Father would not haue this his death to be vnprofitable: but that it should bée a Sacrifice full of power and effect, to fruictifie dayly in vs. And this is the summe of that which wée haue, to remember out of this place. But by the way, let vs héere note, that this knowledge of our Lorde Iesus Christ is no vaine thing: as many, when the knowledge of the Gospell is tolde them of, vnderstande it, for they think it sufficient, if they doo but sleightly conceiue of that whiche is taught: but wée are taught to take our Lorde Iesus to be the on­ly cause of our saluation.

Whiche thinge wée are ne [...]er able to doo without wée liuely féele that wée are lost in our selues: and besides, that as God ment to [Page 138] receiue vs once for al to his mercy, euen so he at this day encreaseth the same in vs. And to say the trueth, it is impossible for vs to at­tain to this knowledge, except we be inlightened with his holy spi­rite. Which whē we haue obteined, it is an vndoubted signe yt god meaneth to worke in vs, to the ende he woulde put vs into the pos­session of that righteousnesse, from the which wée were before ve­ry farre of, Wée see then that God would gladly haue the Go­spell preached. But yet that is not enough: for, we shoulde vnder­stande no more of it, then an high Almane (as we say) vntill suche time as he inwardly touched vs with his holy spirite (thus wée sée from whence faith procéedeth) and then are we the true & good dis­ciples of Iesus Christ, able to feele the fruite of this doctrine. And this is it, which the Prophet here sheweth vnto vs. Now, he again maketh a recitall of Iesus Christ his bearing of sinnes, whereby he meaneth to declare, that he made satisfaction for them, and that our sinnes should be such a charge as should cast vs headlong into the bottomeles pit of hel if we were not holpen & eased by our lord Iesus Christ. For what is meant by sin, but the very wrath of god? For, if God but once hold vp his finger, it is enough to destroy and ouerthrow the whole world: for it is said, that with his breath the rockes should riue in péeces,Psal. 104.32. & the mountaines bee softned & melt like waxe. Wherefore, if God sheweth the least token of his fury and wrath, there is nothing so firme & sure in the worlde, but shall melt away: and what shall become of vs then, who are so fraile creatures, when as God shall shewe vnto vs the face of a terrible iudge, & call vs to an account? Were it not méete that we shoulde hearken vnto his voice: howebeit the only signe that hee will giue vs to summon withall shalbe a bottomeles depth to swalow vs vp in. And therfore it cannot be chosen but that our sinnes must néeds bée a burden not able for vs to beare. Nowe, there is an infinite number of them in vs: and we haue not the shoulders to stand vnder them and to beare them. But although our Lord Iesus Christ suffered in the weaknesse of his flesh, yet did the power of the spi­rite, which he had alwaies vphold him.2. Cor. [...]3.4. Collos. 2.1.5. And marke howe hee him­selfe (as Saint Paule sayeth) tryumphed vpon the Crosse. And therefore wée muste alwayes come backe againe to the saying of the Prophete: and Saint Peter also is a good expositour heereof, when hee sayeth, That hee beare our sinnes▪ [Page] vpō the trée.1. Pet. 2.24 Indéed the vertue of the trée did no way help our Lord Iesus Christe for the bearing of our sinnes: howbeit it is said hee bare thē on the tree, because yt whē he was crufied, he was as one accursed of God, and had receiued the whole curse wherein wee were plunged. All this then he tooke vpon him, to the end that we might féele the fruite thereof, and reioyce in the victory, where­of at this day he hath made vs partakers. And therefore if wee be ouercharged, let vs come vnto our Lorde Iesus Christe that we might be eased, and acknowledge him to be the meane, because we are so discharged by him of al our debts, as yt we must not once imagine that we are euer able to make satisfaction, or payment, when as we shal come to make our Audite before God, we must therfore beginne at this end to be vtterly ashamed: and besides, not stand in doubt but that we are nowe discharged, since our Lorde Iesus Christe hath borne our burden: and that wee may also be bold, be­cause we knowe that we are freed from the iudgement of God. This then is the summe of that which we are héere to consider of, That forsomuch as we haue once for all beene sanctified through the Sacrifice which Iesus Christe offered vp, whenas he consecra­ted himselfe vnto the seruice of God, as he then saide: wee must at this day lay all our sinnes on his backe,Gala. 3.10 Deut. 27.29 and séeke our full righte­ousnesse in him: for the perfourming wherof, let vs lend our eares to the hearing of the Gospell, because we knowe that God with a louing voice calleth vs vnto himself, requiring no impossible thing at our handes, which might make vs dispaire: as it is saide in the Lawe, Cursed be he which doeth not fulfill all these things (which was to exclude vs from all hope of saluation) But that it is héere tolde vs, that although we are miserable sinners, yet that God ap­plyeth a conuenient remedy vnto vs: which is, that we comming vnto our Lorde Iesus like poore beggers, might be iustified by him and be holpen in such a necessitie as in deede wee are. And be­sides, that we might vnderstande, that when our Lorde is called Righteous, Rom. 10.6. it is to shewe vs that we are iustified by him. inasmuch as he hath taken vpon him our nature, that we might haue fami­liar recourse vnto God, for the inioying of such a benefite: and not say, Who shall ascend vp into heauen? For, when Saint Paule alleadgeth this place of Moses, he sheweth, that when wee heare the Gospell preached, we must not make any long discourses, to [Page 139] knowe whether God bee neare vs or not. For that were to plucke Iesus Christe out of his heauenly throne. And likewyse, that we myght no more say, Who shall goe down into hell? For Iesus Christe descended thither, to the ende we might be assured that hee hath fetcht vs out thence, and playeth nowe the parte of a Media­tor: and meaneth to make vs such partakers of his righteousnes, as that wee shall be clothed therewith, and haue suche possession thereof, as that it shall dwell in vs, and that by it we might with a full hope be so lifted vp vnto God his father, as to call vpon him without doubting.

Let vs nowe fall down before the Maiestie of our good God, and acknowledge our offences, beséeching him to make vs so too féele them, as that we may truely repent vs of them, and dayly a­mend our liues, vntill such time as we haue so muche profited, as that we may be ioyned vnto that perfection of his righteousnesse whereunto wée must bende our selues, and also seeke to attaine vnto it all the dayes of our life. And in the meane whyle in suche sort magnifie the grace of our Lorde Iesus Christe, as that wee may wholy rest therein: so that we might no more wonder after our false and deceitefull imaginations, which Satan continually laboureth to set before vs (as at this day the miserable worlde is seduced and beguiled with. But let vs vnderstande that all the perfection of our saluation resteth in our Lord Iesus Christ: & then let vs by no meane decline from him, but in such sorte possesse him as we may be wholy contented with him, and that he also may al­together take pleasure in vs: and to be short, that we may féele, that his death and passion, hath béen auailable & profitable vnto vs. That it would please him to graunt vnto vs onely, this grace & fauour. But vnto all people and natiōs of the world. &c.

The seuenth Sermon of the Prophe­sie of Christe.

Isaiah. liii.

12 THerefore will I giue him a portion with the great, and hee shall double the spoyle with the strong, because he hath powred out his soule to death, and he was coun­ted with the transgressors, & bare the sins of many, and prayed for the trespassers.

THE Prophete declareth héere in summe, that our Lorde Iesus Christe hath not onely ouercome death by death, But that he hath also a iust ti­tle and interest to take away the sub­stance of his enimies, and to make a spoyle of them, euen as a conquerour that hath wonne the fielde. In déede I must néeds say this, that our Lord Ie­sus Christ inriched not himself with the goods of this world. But that which he did was to this end as I haue said, to ouercome death. Wee knowe that it was méet yt Sa­tan, who is said to be the Prince of this worlde, should bee displa­ced of his kingdome: For if it had not béen so, our estate had béene most miserable. And besides, it was méete that sinne should beare no more sway.Ephe. 4.8. Psal. 68.19. Thus wee sée how our Lord Iesus Christ made a spoyle of his enimies, to wit, because we might be no more vnder the tyrānie of Satan, & the bōdage of sin, but be set at libertie. And to say the trueth, S. Paule alleadging the saying of the Psalmist, sheweth after what sort this place was fulfilled, when it is saide, That God ascended on high, and lead captiuitie captiue: and kept his enimies bound and fettered, so that they were not able to resist him: receiuing also homage and tribute of men. Indéede Dauid in that place speaketh by way of similitude: For when it is said that God ascended on high, it was because he made a shew for a time as [Page 140] though he had béen a sléepe: so yt whē things were after such a cōfu­sed maner, it might make the faithfull grone when as they see no helpe, and cause the wicked to run headlong into all licentiousnesse. Wherefore when there arise such troubles in the worlde, and that we thinke ourselues neuer a whit the better for the calling vpon God, hée is for the time as it were one that were lost, and that had hid himselfe. And contrariwise, by this reason, whenas God hath defended the cause of his Church, in destroying the enimies therof Dauid saith, that he arose vp. Howbeit S. Paule saith, That this was accomplished in the person of our Lorde Iesus Christ, because his maiestie was darkened, and was had in no estimation of men for a season. And therefore it was méete, saith hée, that he shoulde come downe on the earth, and bee contemned of men, that he might in the ende bée so exalted, as that he might not onely be simply and plainly honoured of men, but that he might also make a distributi­on of the spoiles and tributes. For where the Psalmist saith, That he tooke the tributes which belonged vnto him, as vnto one who had brought his aduersaries in subiection, S. Paule saith, that hée liberally bestowed his gifts amongst men. A man would think at the first sight, these were things cleane cōtrary one to another, and yet they right well agrée, because our Lord Iesus Christe was not inriched particularly for himselfe, for he had no néed of any thing, but it was to this end, as the Psalmist saith, to bestow the spoyles on vs, so that not onely they which should fight, should haue parte of the bootie, but women also who neuer set one foote out of doores.Psal. 68.13. For, to say the trueth, we féele how God by the death & passion of our Lord Iesus Christ, hath filled vs with his benefites: not for that there was any vertue or industry in vs: For we are of as litle force as women with their distaffs, when as we come to the fight. Wherefore, when it is saide in this place that GOD will giue to Iesus Christ the booties of the enimies which he had conquered, as strong & mightie as they were, it was not only for himself, but it was to the end that we might vnderstand, that the Diuell hath no title nor interest in vs whēas we are partakers of ye death & passiō of ye sonne of god: which we obtain by the mean of ye gospel And therfore let vs without hipocrisy, submit our selues vnto our Lord Iesus, & take him for our king: & not doubt but that in ye first place hee will surely set vs frée, and besides, that wée shall receiue from [Page] his handes all such benefites as we haue néede of, and are necessa­ry.

Let vs now then consider yt if Satan were not spoyled, how mi­serable we should bée: For he possesseth and peaceably inioyeth vs: For as our Sauiour Christe Iesus saith:Iuke. 11.21. we are euen as his own proper possession and demaines. Wherefore wee had néede that the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christe shoulde, bring foorth fruite in vs, and that our enimies being conquered, shoulde be eftsoones chased away, that Iesus Christe shoulde so treade on their neckes, as that they shoulde neuer bée able to rise againe, al­though they went about to deuise to do all the mischiefe they could against vs. And héere he namely speaketh of strong and great men to the ende wée shoulde not bée abashed at the force, munition, & all the furniture of our enimies: For this were enough to feare vs, to sée on the one side, our owne weaknesse, and to know on the other side that the Diuell is like a roaring Lion,1. Peter. 5.8. and sinne to haue domi­nion ouer vs: this, I say, were euen enough to feare vs, except we were assured of this, that neither power, strengthes, nor any thing els whatsoeuer, can let our Lorde Iesus Christe from spoyling of all his enimies, from chasing and bereauing of them of all they haue, so that which before was hurtfull vnto vs, shall now be tur­ned to our good and benefite. And this is not onely meant of Sa­tan, the captaine of all the wicked, but also of all our Aduersaries: For, looke how many faithlesse people there are, euen so many fu­ryous enimies haue we against vs: and to make fewe words, wée sée all the worlde almost on our toppes. And therefore what shoulde become of vs, if Iesus Christe coulde not ouercome all the strong and mightie ones of the earth? So then, we sée héere in the first place what it is that we haue to cōsider of out of these words, That Iesus Christ being ascended, hath not onely held al our eni­mies captiue, but also hath made an vtter spoyle of them: and wée haue receiued all the giftes which were giuen him for homage, to the end we might be inriched by his liberalitie, being of our selues altogether poore and néedy.

Nowe, it is namely said, Because hee hath powred out his soule to death. Whereby Isaiah againe expresseth that our Lorde Iesus Christe, of his owne frée will, offered vp himselfe for these words, to poure out, signifieth, that he spared not himself, nor sor­rowed [Page 141] for the matter. For hée that giueth with a good will, and in the ende slacketh his hande, maketh alwayes a shewe of sparing. But hée that powreth out, sheweth yt he giueth lustily, & liberral­ly. So then, it is shewed vs, that our Lord Iesus was so feruently inflamed with the loue of vs, as that his life gushed out like wa­ter, and that hée became a willing Sacrifice, thereby to shew, that hee desired nothing els, but for reconcilement vnto God his father. And this is alwaies for our greater confirmation, to the ende that when wée come vnto him, we should neuer doubt but that he wold most gently and louingly receiue vs. For, how is it possible that he should so reiect vs as members cut of from him, séeing hée so vtter­ly as it were, forsooke himselfe for our sakes, and shed his precious heart blood. Wherefore, when we heare this, we are occasioned to come more boldly vnto him, and to assure our selues that he at this day will make this Sacrifice, which hee so fréely offered vp vnto God his father of great effect by reason of the wonderfull loue hée bare to vs ward,

Moreouer, forsomuch as the death and passion of our Lord Ie­sus Christ is perpetuall, let vs vnderstand, that we are at this day inriched as much as is néedfull, as by experience we féele: For, Ie­sus Christe must néedes helpe vs in all the distresses wherewith we are incompassed. For otherwise how should we do, if his hand were not alwayes vpon vs to vphold vs? Surely it were impos­sible for vs to stand. And therefore he alwaies giueth vs wherwith to relieue al our néedes and necessities. And to say the truth, al the graces of the holy Ghoste are a part of the spoyle of our Lorde Ie­sus Christe: For, God his father hath inriched him with them, be­cause we might be as a man wold say, familiarly acquainted with them, and the Diuell wil still bee a let that the power of the holy Ghost might not haue his course with vs: howbeit we are now in­riched with them, in asmuch as al lets are taken away: yea, and (as I haue alredy said) that thing that was an hinderance vnto vs in this world, is nowe turned to our good and benefite, because our Lorde Iesus hath made a spoyle of all his enimies. Nowe, it is namely said, Because he was accounted amongst sinners, and bare the iniquities of many, and prayed for the trespassers. We haue al­redy heard, that our Lord Iesus bare the transgressions of many: and that was because he susteined the punishment which was im­possible [Page] for vs to beare. And besides, we were too too fraile & weake to stand before the maiestie of God, if we should be burdened with our sins: because there is no meane in the whole world to be found to discharge vs of them. And therefore it was méete that our Lord Iesus for the easing of vs should present himselfe in our stéede, & be charged with our sinnes, that they might be imputed vnto him be­fore God his father, and hée be bound for the paiment of them. For, when a man shall onely owe a thing that hée is neuer able to pay, hée is like vnto one that were stiffe and croked, and knewe not which way to turne him, and hath such a burden on his back, as it were, that so crusheth & bruiseth his shoulders, as that it maketh him to stoupe again: what shal thē become of vs, who are not debt­ters to a mortall man, but euen vnto the liuing God? & not debters of gold and siluer, but of our sinnes, which deserue as the scripture telleth vs his fearefull indignation. Thus we sée howe the iudge­ment of euerlasting death was prepared for vs, vntill such time as our Lord Iesus Christ had discharged vs therof. And to say truly, how had we béen euer able to haue discharged it, except hée who had a most triumphant power ouer all creatures, had placed himselfe in our stéed, and supplied our wants? Thus wée sée howe our Lord Iesus Christ bare the sinnes and iniquities of many.Iohn. 3.16. Rom. 8.32. Indeede this saying of many, is oftentimes taken for all. True it is that our Lord Christ offered vp himselfe for all the worlde, for it is not spo­ken by thrée or foure, when it is said, God so loued the worlde that hée spared not his onely sonne. But by the way, we must note, that which the Euangelist further saith in this place, That whosoeuer beléeueth in him shold not perish, but haue euerlasting life. We sée then that our Lord Iesus Christe suffered for all, so that neither great nor small can excuse themselues at this day, since by him we may be saued. And therefore the vnbeléeuers who by their wicked­nesse turn a side, & depriue themselues héereof, are at this day twise guiltie. For what colour can they set in it to excuse their vnthank­fulnes, in yt they receiue not the benefit, wherof they might be par­takers through faith. Wherfore let vs heere learne, that although we should come by heapes vnto our Lord Iesus Christe, one of vs should be no let to another, but yt hee is able to suffice euery of vs. Indéed if the questiō were to be holpen & eased by a mortal man, it were another matter. For, if one should come & say, I beséeche you [Page 142] beare this burthen for mée and another say asmuch, and so an hun­dreth at once: surely, although hée were very desirous to helpe and ease them all, it could not be chosen but that they woulde make his shoulders crack: for, it were impossible for him to be of that strēgth to beare al yt they would lay vpō him, And so likewise if the questi­on were of borrowing, for put the case that they were hungry, and thirstie, and should goe to some man & beséech him to giue vs meat and drink, and it may bée that hée were well able to bestow meat and drink of a dosen persons: But if there should come such a great number as that his victualles shoulde faile him, wée should sée him come short of his reckoning. So then, with vs mē, it is méete yt whē a great number haue néede, that there shoulde be also many to help and aide them: but when wée come to Iesus Christ, wée neede not feare the want of his abilitie, for when euery man shall haue his portion, yet hath hée neuer a whit the lesse, and others also shal find inough at his hands, for the moe of vs that come vnto him, the ri­cher shall we finde him to help our néede. And therefore we haue héere to note, that it is not for naught that the prophet saieth, that he bare the sinnes of many: to wit, to the ende we should not ma­lice and enuy our neighburs, as if wée could not be holpen, bicause some of them haue to much of him. This then is the summe and e­ffect of that which we are to learne out of this place.

Moreouer, it is said, That it was, because hee was accounted a­mongest transgressors. We are héere to obserue in the firste place, that hée must néedes be hanged betwéene two théeues, that hée might suffer all the condemnation that wée deserued, and to the ende that wée might haue a more sure and certaine pawne, that God his Father hath pardoned and forgiuen vs all our sinnes and iniquities.

Marke also why Saint Mark aleadgeth this saying of the Pro­phet,Mark. 15.2 [...] yt there were two Théeues hanged with our Lorde Iesus Christe, to shewe, that hée was taken to bée a most detestable and cursed man: and to the end it might bee openlye séene that hée was placed in ye rank with all shame & rebuke, because we should at this dai be exempt from ye wrath of god, & from ye punishment of ye euill déeds which we had deserued: and where before we were cast down euen vnto the pit of hell, wee might now bee coupled together [Page] with the Angels of heauen, who altogether worshippe God, and haue fulfilled all righteousnesse. All this benefit then haue wee by this, in that it hath pleased our Lorde Iesus Christ to take vpon him this place and to become a malefactor, to the end he would bée thought the most shamefull amongst men.

Thus wee see how the shame of our Lorde Iesus Christ hath ex­alted vs on hie, to the ende sinne should not be laide to our Charge, and we to be free from all condemnation. For, wherein consisted our saluation if our sinnes were not couered and taken away? su­rely we were neuer able to come to this by any other meane, with­out the sonne of God as S. Paul saith, were our redemption, that is to say,1. Cor. 1.30. he was the price and paiment of that which wee owed, to the end, that we might now be quitted and discharged therof. And therfore it was not for naught that the Prophet ioyned these two thinges together: and dayly sheweth vs, as héeretofore hath béene saide, that wée haue wherefore to gloryfie our Lorde Iesus Christ, in that he was put to all the shame that might bée, séeing the fruite and commoditie that wée reape thereby. For if our Lorde Iesus Christ should haue done that onely, for a shew and token of humi­lytie, it had béene too too bare a matter: but hée did it to this end and purpose, that we might finde that in him, which we want, and that it might also be the remedy for the same thing which might gréeue and oppresse vs.

Wherefore, when we are so reconciled vnto God, as that wée ob­taine righteousnesse thereby, and full forgiuenesse of our sinnes, Beholde, wée néede not then be a feard to come vnto our Lorde Ie­sus Christ, albeit his crucifying in the view of the worlde, séemeth at the first blush, to bée very shamefull: and yet wée sée, that hée so triumphed ouer Satan & sinne, as that he hath made vs righteous, and canceled the obligation that was against vs, so that wee may now come bouldly to God, with good assuraunce that wée are righ­teous: and with open mouth glorifie him for it, wherfore before we were most horribly condemned. And this is the effect of that which the Prophet meaneth, againe to put vs in minde of.

After all these thinges, he saithe, that he praid for the trespassers. This is namely put in, to shew that Iesus Christ in his death and passiō, plaid the part of a priest: for if this had not ben done also, we shuld neuer haue had al ye was requisit for ye assurāce of our saluatiō [Page 143] True it is, that forsomuch as the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ is the sacrifice whereby our sinnes are wiped away, and his blood our washing and cleasing, his obedience the avoli­shing of all our rebellions, & the obteining of our righteousnes by this we haue wherin to reioyce. Howbeit this is not all: Because it is said, That whosoeuer calleth vpon the name of God shall bee saued. Neuerthelesse,Ioel. 2.3 [...]. howe were it possible for vs to haue recourse vnto God? What boldnes were it for vs to pray, and cry out with open mouth and say, O our father? Were not this ouermuch pre­sumption to come thus pure and cleane to God, and vaunt our selues to bée his children, if we had not the word to beare vs in it? And againe, where shoulde wee find such an Aduocat and Proctor that would doe so much for vs, except we come to Iesus Christe? Thus then we sée what the Prophet meant to adde for a conclusi­on of that which went before. To wit, that Iesus Christ praied for the trespassers. Now, this is very true, yt he praied of god his father when he was on the Crosse, that he would pardon and forgiue his persecutors. For these are his wordes, Father, saith he, I beséeche thée pardon thē, for they know not what they do.Luke. 23.34. Here we sée what a prayer our Lord Iesus made for the trespassers, & for his enimies who so cruelly handeled him, & by whose handes he was crucified. But it was not the meaning of the Prophet to speake only of this especiall prayer, but rather to declare the Sacrificing of our Lord Iesus Christ. And by the way let vs here wel consider, that it was not for naught that he spake here of the Trespassers. It is said a litle before, that he beare the sinnes of the people of God, and suffered for the transgressions of many: But now the Prophet attributeth another name to those for whom Christ praied, & calleth thē trans­gressors. When he spake of the people of God, it was to shewe that those whom a man would thinke to be most excellent & righteous, had néede of forgiuenesse of sinnes, which they could neuer haue had, had it not béen that Iesus Christe had shed his most precious heart blood for the washing & cleansing of them. And thus muche then for this point: That if we would be of the Church, & be allow­ed to be of the congregation of God, we must néedes vnderstand, yt it is because Iesus Christ is our redéemer, and therefore let vs not feare to come in great companies to him, & rather then faile let e­uery one bring his neighbour with him, because he is able to saue [Page] vs al. Moreouer, it is here set downe, that we are all transgressors to the end we might throughly consider of our sins: For we know our selues to be so bold and rash, as that we will oftētimes be more shamefast & sober in requiring of any thing at the hands of amor­tall man, thē we wil be when we come before the Maiestie of god. Now the Prophet, héere pulleth downe all the Peacocks plumbs, when he calleth vs transgressors: as if he should haue said, O you cursed & wicked ones, what are you that dare presume to cal vpon God by the name of father? Frō whence haue you this dignitie? What is he ye dareth once enterprise to come before the presence of the Maiestie of god, and say, I am one of thy children? Away (saith he) and goe hide your selues, for you are al malefactors, and in com­ming before God, you come before your Iudge, and therefore you ought to tremble & be vtterly ashamed. Howbeit the onely reme­dy to assure your selues is this, that when you call vpon ye name of God, you haue an inuincible defense by the power & intercession of the Mediatour. For without him there is no hope of your saluati­on, but are altogether dead in your sinnes. And therefore vnder­stand you, that you had néede haue the sonne of God to be betwéene you & him, & to make intercession for you, by playing the Priestes part. We sée then here why the Prophet namely calleth vs al tres­passers & transgressors, to wit, to the end we might know that the gate is shut vpon vs, & are vnworthie to come neare vnto God: and that we are all oppressed & confounded, if we run not to that help: For without this remedy, we must néedes perish and rotte in our wretchednes and miseries. Now, when we are thus humbled, then may we come to our Lord Iesus Christ, Because we knowe that it is he that speaketh for vs, & that by him also wée may bold­ly call our selues the children of God. For when wée come to pray, & say, O our father which art in heauen: we must néedes acknow­ledge that our mouthes, as cōcerning our selues, are filthie, & ther­fore not worthie once to call God, our Creator, & it is so farre of in déede, as that we ought not to bee so presumptuous as to take our selues for his children. And yet our Lord Iesus Christ speaketh for vs,Heb. & so by his mean our prayers & supplications are sanctified: For so it is said in the Epistle to the Hebrewes, That by him it is by whom we render vnto god the sacrifice of praise, & all our praiers, and that he is our mediator, in whose name at this day, we cal vp­on [Page 144] God our Father. And therefore wee may boldly glorifie our selues in that he will take vs for his children. Wée sée then howe we are to put this place in practise. Now we sée that our Lord Ie­sus Christ hath verified this, when he prayed for his, as appeareth in the Gospell after S. Iohn, Looke vnto them,Iohn. 17.11. holy Father which thou hast giuen mée: for now I goe out of the world. Those that thou gauest mée I haue kept, & none of them is lost, but ye lost child: but those whom thou gauest me in charge, haue I kept. Nowe I pray for them, & not onely for them, but also for al those which shal beléeue on me through their preaching, I pray not for the worlde, but for those whom thou hast giuen me, that thou wouldest blesse & sanctifie them, that they might also be one as we are. When then we see the sonne of God pray: and sée him also, who is God eternall, so to abase himself, as to become a peticioner, and offer vp his sup­plication vnto God his father in our name: should not we here ac­knowledge an infinite goodnesse? And wee are in the first place al­waies to consider of that which hath gone before: to wit, that wée shall doe nothing els but prophane the name of God with calling vpon him, if we do it not in the name of Iesus Christ, And why so? Forsooth, because our mouthes are filthie & vncleane: yea & we our selues full of corruption: & no better then stinking wormes: but be­cause our Lord Iesus Christ abased himselfe euen vnto the state of a Begger, & to become a peticioner vnto god his father for vs: there should be a sure & setled staiednes in vs, whē there ariseth any que­stion in the framing of our prayers at this day. It is true, that as the Prophet Isaiah saith: that Iesus Christ praied for the trāsgres­sors, euē so likewise saith he himself yt he praied not for al the world for such as take pleasure in their iniquities, & continue obstinate, for such men are quite & cleane cut of frō this benefite & priueledge which is onely reserued for the children of God. And therefore if we remain still in the world, & be separated frō our Lord Iesus Christ without doubt, no whit of the prayer which he made vnto God his father, apperteineth vnto vs, neither shall it doe vs any good: But let vs hearken to that which he saith, Behold,Iohn. 17.6.2 [...] I haue shewed thy word vnto them, & they beléeued it. I pray for thē saith he, and not onely for them (to wit the Disciples) But also for all those which shall beléeue their preaching. And therefore let vs at this day vnderstande that wée are made companions with the Disciples, [Page] and Apostles of our Lord Iesus Christ, and that this prayer which hée once made, will very well serue our turnes, and leaue an open way for our prayers, so that we receiue the doctrine of the Gospell, in faithful obediēce. Wherfore we néed not now stād in doubt how to frame our petitions: For since we know that Iesus Christ hath prayed, we haue no more to say, howe shall we be assured that the power of this prayer shall doe vs good? Forsooth, let vs beléeue the Gospel, and then we shall follow the Apostles and Disciples and be linked together with them. Would we make the sonne of God a lyer, who is the euerlasting and vnchangeable trueth? I thinke there is none that would. Now hee hath spoken it with his owne mouth, that all they that will receiue the preaching of the Gospell, are linked to this prayer, and comprehended within it. Since then it is so, although on the one side wee are miserable transgressors, and therefore not worthie to come néere vnto God, yet when we by the meane of the Gospell, doe imbrace through faith the promises therein conteined, then may wée present our selues vnto the Lord, because he wil not only accept vs, forasmuch as his onely Sonne hath made intercession for vs, but that we may also at this day call vpon him, and be likewise, as hee himself saith, Companions with him,Isaiah. 8.18. Heb. 2.13. for these are his wordes, Behold mee, and the seruants which thou hast giuen mée. He offereth himselfe héere in the first place (as hath already béen declared in the viii. Chapter) and then bringeth with him his whole company. Now it is said, that hee, and all the company which were giuen vnto him, were there redy to worship God his Father. And therefore there is no doubt but that we shall all be linked together in this prayer, & in all the prayses & thankes giuing vnto the Lord, and that Iesus Christ doth as a man would say, powre out and become as it were, the chiefe chaunter, to bring vs into our prayers, so that by his meane the sound of our voices do in such sort ioyne together, as that they make very swéet & pleasāt harmony. For, when we & the Angels of heauen shal pray together to God, will not this be a most excellent priuiledge? But, when the sonne of God wil vouchsafe to be so familiar wt vs, as to say, come your wayes, & I will be your spokes man, would not this meruel­lously rauish vs? Moreouer, his was figured in the Lawe when­as the high Priest did not onely offer vnto God the Sacrifices, but ioined also with them prayers & supplications. And therfore vnder the auncient shadowes, no Priest could make intercessiō vnto god, [Page 145] and be made acceptable without the sheading of blood: howbeit, hée ioyned also with blood prayers, that the sinnes of the people might be forgiuen, and that God might receiue such to mercy, as were worthie to be reiected. Thus we sée that our Lord Iesus Christ hath taken away the figures of the lawe, and hath fulfilled and en­ded them in his owne person. That is, hée hath offred vp blood for the washing away of our sinnes, not the blood of Calues,Hebr. 9.14 and shéepe, as the maner was in the lawe, but euen his owne precious blood, which was consecrated by the holie Ghost, to the ende wée might be wholly sanctified by him. And yet hée ioyned prayers with the effusion of blood. And therefore we sée why at this day he is called our Mediatour, and maketh intercession for vs. And when Saint Paule speaketh of prayers, hée saieth,1. Tim. 2.5. That there is one God, and Mediatour, euen the man Iesus Christ. Hée might verie well haue sayde, There is one God, and one Iesus Christ who is the eternall word of God, and of the selfe same essence, glo­rie, and maiestie.

Nowe, hée vseth not this kinde of spéech: But hée saieth, there is one God, and one Mediatour betwéene God and men, euen the man Iesus Christ: As if hée should haue sayde,Hebr. 4.15. Hebr. 7.27. & 9.7. Behold the Sonne of God, who after hee had taken vpon him our nature, and was made man lyke vnto vs, sinne except, maketh now intercession for vs. Nowe, the Priestes in the olde time, néeded to pray for them selues (and so they did) and for the sinnes of all the people, in which number they were also comprehended. But our Lord Ie­sus as touching him selfe, néeded not so to doe: neither is there any cause why he should for his parte, craue pardon for any sinnes that hée had committed: but maketh intercession for vs.Rom. 8.31 And there­fore when Saint Paule would enbolden vs to come vnto God, hée namely saith, If God be on our side, who shall be against vs? For, although we haue many enemies, yet let vs not be afeard: and vn­to whom must we yéeld an account of the bestowing of our whole life? Who also is our Iudge? Forsooth, euen the man Iesus Christ, and he him selfe also is our Aduocate, to make intercession, and an agréement betwéene God and vs. It is euen he that must obtayne grace for vs. Wherfore we may with good courage come before the maiestie of God, yea, & boldly present our selues before his iudge­ment seat, since we haue Iesus Christ to stand there betwéene him [Page] and vs.

Thus then we sée what is the effect of that which we haue to consider of, when as this saying of intercession is here spoken of. To be short, as often as the death and passion of our Lorde Iesus Christ is talked of, let vs ioyne theretoo eftsoones the prayer which he made once for all, to the ende it might remaine for euer, and woorke his effect: For it is not nowe needfull for our Lorde Iesus Christ to kneele on his knees before God his Father, to pray vnto him: In deede it is saide, that he will make alwayes intercession for vs. But howe? Forsooth, euen by the power of his death and passion, and by the prayer that is made at this day. For, through the power thereof we are heard, as if he him selfe at this day spake for vs, and besides (as I haue saide) all our prayers are sanctified by him, otherwise they should be but prophane. And to say truely, as often as ye faithfull prepare themselues to pray vnto God, They (where the Papists sprinkle holy water, as they call it, about, and charme & coniure, or rather mask & mumme) should féele that their praiers are besprinckled with the blood of Iesus Christ, to the ende they might be pure and cleane, and that God might receiue them as a swéete smelling sacrifice. And herevpon, let vs vnderstande that our Lorde Iesus Christ was not a sacrificing Priest for a day onely, but kéepeth that office still euen vnto this day, and for euer, that we might alwayes féele the fruit therof. Now, if this had been rightly knowne, men woulde not haue exceeded (as hath come to passe) in so many villainies & superstitions. For, we sée howe the Papists at this day wander about lyke miserable stray beasts, not knowing which way or path to take, to pray vnto God. For they haue an infinite number of Patrones and Aduocates, and euerie man buildeth vpon his owne Patrone and Aduocate. In déede, they haue many common and ordinarie ones, but yet after al their kyries (as they say) euerie man will say his deuotions to ye Saint which he hath forged vnto him self. Thus we see how Iesus Christ is robbed of his honour and glorie. And this is out of all doubt, that when they are not contented with Iesus Christe, it must bee that the Deuill hath possessed them, and put them in such a furie, as it were, to despight God, who speaking of Iesus Christ in giuing him that office, they haue giuen the right of it to this bodie & that. [Page 146] As the Papistes as this day, call the virgine Marie their Me­diatrix. Nowe, the Deuill goe with all their prayers: For this is as much as if they forsooke God, and our lord Iesus Christ. And it cannot be chosen but that the virgine Mary her selfe cryeth out for vengeance against them,Iohn. 5.45. because they haue made a detestable Idoll of her, and robbed Iesus Christ of the honour of this sacrifice, ratefied by God with a solemne oth: and haue done all they can to falsefie the whole scripture. The Papistes think that the virgine Mary will help them, but shée will rather (as I haue alredie saide) call for vengeance against them, for the wrong which they haue done her: For, if they should spit on her, & do her all the villainies that were possible to be done, without doubt, they could not deuise to do her a greater shame, then to call her a Mediatrix. And why so?Psal. 110. [...] Hebr. 5.6. & 7.17. Forsooth, because it is said, that Iesus Christ was appointed to be the Sacrificer of God his Father. And how? Truely euen with a solemne oth. I haue sworne (saieth hée) and doe not repent mée of it.

Here then we sée whervpon we should lay our foundation, to wyt, vpon the intercession of our Lord Iesus Christ, because (as Saint Paule saieth to the Ephesians) we may come neare vnto God,Ephes. 3. [...] and present our selues vnto him, when as our Lord Iesus Christ shall guide vs the way, who (as I haue alredie saide) is hée, that must bring vs into the fauour with him. Now, what would the Papists doe? Forsooth, euen make the sacrifice of our Lord Iesus Christ of none effect, and to be nothing at all. And when they will come with such a Deuilish boldnesse as to ouerthrow the vnchaungeable de­crée of God, how can they hope any way to be heard? Let vs there­fore conclude, that all this doctrine was cleane buried in Poperie. And why so? Verely, I know they will say, that we are vnworthy to come before the Maiestie of God, That is verie true, and who doubteth thereof? But let vs consider by the way, where it is that we must séeke for our dignitie, must we not séeke it in Iesus Christ alone? And yet will they runne, to the virgine Mary, to Saint Michaell, and to the Apostles: and besides, they will haue their Saintes of their owne deuising, whiche were neuer heard of in the whole worlde before, or else whiche were canonized at the Popes pleasure, euen in the bottome of hell. Loe, [Page] here are their goodly Patrons and Aduocates. But, let it be that wée graunted the Papistes all this, That their Saints which ne­uer were, or els which were half Deuils, & phantasticall spirites, had béene Apostles and Martyres, and had liued as holily as were possible, had not they, I beséech you, as great néede of a Medya­tor as the rest. This is most certaine, that the Virgine Marie could not finde grace before the Maiestie of God, without the head and principall▪ it was as néedfull for her that Iesus Christ should be her Redéemer, as well as oures. The Apostles, Martyres, Patryarches,Mat. 11.28 and Prophetes, had also the selfe same néed to runne vnto this common Redéemer of all men. And what shall we doe when we goe about to séeke him? Wherefore, forsomuch as the Apostles doe sende vs vnto Iesus Christ, and haue tolde vs that it is hée that must be our guide and stay, and who inuiteth vs so lo­uingly, saying, Come vnto mée, &c. Let vs not draw backward, nor royle abroade, but boldly drawe néere vnto him. For, hée spake not these woordes onely for the behoofe of the Apostles, Mar­tyres, or for the Virgine Mary, But his meaning was to enter­taine vs all with him selfe, as in déede it is most necessarie for vs. Let vs, I say, learne not to wander too and fro when we pray vn­to God, and let vs also vnderstande what a good turne hée hath done vs, when as it hath pleased him to draw vs from out of this bottomlesse confusion of Poperie, and sheweth vs an open plaine way to come vnto him, to wit, Because Iesus Christ is our In­tercessour.

Let vs rest our selues there, without turning either to the one side or yet to the other. For this is out of all doubt, that if our pray­ers be not ordered and squared according to the worde of God they are altogether vayne and of none effect, and God vtterly reiecteth them: and besides, they can not be made in Fayth, without the certaintie of them procéedeth from the trueth of God. Now then if wée would build our Prayers vpon fayth, they must be agréeable vnto the worde of God, and wée must followe that which hée com­maundeth vs: and that is, wee must take Iesus Christ for our In­tercessour, Aduocate, and Mediator. Thus wée sée what a proppe it is which hée giueth vs, and what the foundation is wherevpon wée must stay our selues, that we might not be shaken like Réedes with euerie winde.

Wée sée also why hée so often saieth,Ioh. 14.15. & 15.16.16.24. Whatsoeuer yée aske my Father in my name, hée will giue it you. Yea, and we our selues likewise sée, that although the faythfull who liued vnder the law, sée not so clearely as we at this day sée, by reason of the Gospell, yet had they Iesus Christ euer before their eyes, euen vnder that fi­gure which was giuen them. For thus they say,Psal. 84.9. Looke vpon the face of thy Christ, O Lord, and heare vs for thine annointed sake. Daniell likewise saieth, O eternall God, heare vs for the Lordes sake: and this kinde of saying is in the Psalmes verie often repea­ted. In déede, all this was spoken by Dauid: but it was because hée was a figure of our Lord Iesus Christ. And besides;Dan. 9.17. when Da­niell saieth, For the Lordes sake: hée verie well declareth that it was the Redéemer that was promised, and whose comming was then neare at hand. Howbeit, Iesus Christ speaketh more plainly,Iohn. 16.24. and saieth, Hethertoo haue yée asked my Father nothing in my name: But aske now, and it shall be giuen you. As if hée shoulde haue saide, Hethertoo yée haue not knowne that mine office was to be a Mediator betwéene God my Father and you. And in déede, hée was not as yet ascended into heauen, neither had he yet brokē the vayle of the Temple, that we might haue accesse vnto him.Hebr. 9.24. But we may nowe come verie familiarly vnto him, because the vaile of the Temple is broken, and Iesus Christ is entred, not into a ma­teriall Sanctuary (as the Priests in the old law did) but into hea­uen in the maiestie of God his Father, that there with him wée might finde grace: So yt the Throne of God is not now a Throne of maiestie to feare vs, but hée graciously, and after a Fatherly lo­uing maner calleth vs, because wee came vnto him in the name, and by the mean of this Priest which was appointed for vs. Thus then we sée, that the intercession of our Lorde Iesus Christ is al­wayes profitable, and an inuicible strength for vs: and that so for­cible also, that whē we come vnto him, he will so heare vs, as that we shall by proofe féele, that whosoeuer calleth vpon the name of the Lorde, shall be saued.Ioel. 2.32. Rom. 10.22. And although the Prophet Ioell spake these wordes before the comming of our Lord Iesus Christ, yet the faithfull who liued in the time of the lawe, did so practise it, as that we our selues, by their example, ought to be conformable and assu­red (we, I say, that haue the full perfection and accomplishment of all that was shadowed vnder the law) that whē we come to pray, [Page] and call vpon our God in the name of him who was established our Mediator, we should in trueth alwayes féele him to make interces­sion for vs, to the ende that all our petitions might be heard.

Let vs nowe fall downe before the Maiestie of our good God, and acknowledge our offences: beséeching him to make vs more and more féele them, that it might bée so to our humbling, as yt wée might daily fight against them, and be spoiled of all together: and that we might séeke to be clad with his righteousnesse, and enri­ched with the giftes of his holy spirite, to the end we might appeare pure and innocent before him. And forsomuch as we had néede to be daily reconciled vnto him by meane of the Mediator, that it would please him to graunt vs the grace to pray vnto him with a sure hope and trust, so that we staying our selues on him, might by true faith and power, embrase the promise which hée hath made vs,Mat. 11. [...]8. when as hée saieth, Come vnto mée all yée that labour and are heauy laden, and I wil ease and refresh you: So that we may féele that the office of the Mediator which was giuen him, is not in vain and of no effect: But that by his meane wée might at this day bée heard, and our petitions and supplications so dedicated and conse­crated vnto him, as that God would receiue and allowe them. Let vs therefore beséech him, that hée will not shewe this fauour to vs alone, but also vnto all people and nations of the world, &c.

The first Sermon of the ascention of our Lord Iesus Christ.

Actes. first.

1 THe former booke haue I made, O Theophilus, of all that Iesus began both to doe and teach.

2 Vntill the day in which hee was taken vp, after that hee through the holy Ghost, had giuen commandements vnto the Apostles, whom he had chosen.

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3 To whom also he shewed himselfe aliue, after his passion, and that by many tokens, appearing vnto them fortie daies, & speaking of the kingdome of God.

4 And gathering them together: commaunded them that they shoulde not departe from Hierusalem, but wayte for the promise of the Father, whereof saieth he you haue heard of me.

BEcause wée are too buyld our faith vp­pon God and his truth, S. Luke héere telleth vs, that Iesus Christ sent not his Apostles to teach what they them­selues thought good: But put his word into their mouthes, and gaue them sure and certaine instruction, to the end they might carrie such a faithfull message, as yt wee might take no occa­sion to doubt thereof. And therefore, when as we at this day heare the Gospel preached, we ought to be fully resolued, that it is the charge which God committed vnto his Apostles, and receiue it as the thing which commeth from himself, as indéede it doeth.

Moreouer, to the end we should beare greater reuerence vnto the Gospel, it is not said only that Iesus Christ deliuered it, but that it was also done by the holy Ghost. For as Iesus Christ is the very natural Sonne of God, euen so likewise is he man, and hath taken vpon him our fleshe and nature. Nowe vnder this shadowe (as no doubt of it, the worlde is wicked) a man might vnder a colour take occasion to contemne this doctrine, or els not make so greate an account of it. Here then we sée that Saint Luke saith, that the charge which was geuen vnto the Apostles to teach, procéeded not from Iesus Christ alone, but from the holie Spirite also. Where­fore, wée at this present sée, that the preaching of the Gospell, is heauenly, and not earthly, and ratified, by God himselfe.

Notwithstanding, wée muste also obserue, that the summe and effect of the Gospel is comprehended in these fewe woordes, to wit, That Iesus Christe both taught and made it: So that if [Page] we will beare the name of Christians, we must be taught that do­ctrine which Iesus Christ brought vs: and besides, be also eftsoones confirmed therein. For he hath not onely spoken, but hath likewise accomplished whatsoeuer was necessary for our saluation.

Moreouer, because his death and resurrection was of al the rest, the most principall poynt, wée haue therefore spoken of it in order, as it followeth, S. Luke then saith, that Iesus Christ, after he had suffred, shewed himselfe aliue vnto his Disciples: and that, by ma­ny manifest proofes, which was not without good cause: For when wée heare the promises of God spoken on, our faith wil still hang in suspence, vntil such time as we are assured of his grace and fauour: which can neuer be, without the gage which he hath geuen vs: to wit, that Iesus Christ suffered for our redemption, & beare the punishment due for our sinnes.

Thus héere wée sée that Saint Luke speaketh not in vaine of the proofes which were giuen to assure vs that Iesus Christ is ri­sen againe.1. Cor. 15.14 For harken what Saint Paul saieth, that if Christ be not risen, our faith is in vaine, and our Preaching also in vaine, wée haue no more hope then very Beastes. By this we sée, that the ende of our hope is, that Iesus Christ is rysen from the dead. And this is the victory indéed which he hath gotten: yea, euen to shew that he is Lorde ouer lyfe and death.

Rom. 4.15Saint Paul also saith, that Iesus Christ dyed for our sinnes: and if hée had remayned dead still, what hope might wée haue had by him? but beholde hée rose agayne, & that is the triumph which he had ouer death, to the end we might beléeue in him.

Saint Peter likewise to shew, that wée ought to beléeue in Iesus Christ,1. Peter 3.21. bringeth for proofe héereof none other thing but his resurre­ction. Let vs therefore obserue, that when Saint Luke sayeth, that Iesus christ shewed himselfe aliue, he speaketh of a thing that was requisit for the assurance of our saluation. Wherefore, if wée woulde haue the principall poynt of Christianitie, wée must come to this resurrection, by which hee purchased for vs lyfe and saluation, and shewed himselfe to bée the very Sonne of God.

Moreouer, let vs also learne, that since Saint Luke saieth, that Iesus Christ hath made vs such proofes of his resurrection, let vs not call that thing into question, which God himselfe hath so well approued.

And therefore if we are not at this day fully persuaded, that Ie­sus Christ is risen agayne, let vs thanke our owne vnthank­fulnesse.

Saint Luke also vseth a kinde of spéech, which a fourdeth an argument that bringeth with it a present proofe. And in deed, we sée what payne the Euangelistes haue taken in this matter. For, when they come to speake of the resurrection, they lay foorth all the circumstaunces, and besides, they recyte all the testimonies of his wordes, for hée hath saide, and declared that it was no vaine ima­gination or vision, whereby some trouble might afterward arise. And therefore, wée ought to vnderstande and knowe, that since they haue taken so great paynes héerein, that wée must not stande in doubt of it, but it is fit wée should receiue their wordes as sure and certaine, séeing they bring so good a proofe with them. And therefore, for this matter, whereof Saint Luke speaketh, that Iesus Christ shewed him selfe a lyue, after hée had béen dead, with so manifest and many proofes, wée must learne to build vpon such a foundation as shall neuer be able to be shaken. And as he hath thus ouercome death, euen so doeth hée now stretch foorth his hand to guide and bring vs to saluation. And so often, as wée would assure our selues of our saluation, wée must not runne vnto Crea­tures, but let vs behold as it were in a glasse, that as Christ Iesus is risen againe, and hath ouercome death, euen so also hath he ope­ned the kingdome of heauen, that we might enter into it vnder his charge.

It is further saide, that when hée shewed him selfe, That hee spake of the kingdome of God, amongst his friendes. Wherein wee are to note, that the Commission which was graunted vnto these, from whom we receiue the doctrine of the Gospell, was not set downe in a worde, or for a minute of an houre, but, that they were, so sufficiently instructed, for a long while, and that they haue not instructed vs at randon, not knowing what they meant, but were taught and instructed as they shoulde bée. And when they had, thus fully and wholly receiued this doctrine, and therewithall authoritie to bestow it, they haue deliuered the same faythfully vnto vs.

Thus we sée what wée haue to note in this saying. Nowe, [Page] it is saide, that Iesus Christ shewed him selfe vnto his Apostles, and in shewing him selfe, Hee spake of the kingdome of God a­mongst them. But héere we are to vnderstande, what it is that Saint Luke meaneth by the kingdome of God: hée meaneth not by this kingdome of God, euerlasting life, as we commonly take it, and as at the first sight, it might here be taken, as who shoulde say, That, that, is the kingdome of God, which we wayte for, through hope. But Saint Luke taketh it to bee the spirituall gouernment, by whiche Iesus Christe holdeth vs in his obedi­ence, vntill hée hath wholly refourmed vs vnto his owne Image, and hauing dispoyled vs of this mortal body, sendeth vs to heauen. And this is the very meaning of S. Luke: But to make the matter more easie and plaine, let vs take the kingdome of God cleane con­trarie: and that is this, the life of men, which follow their corrupt nature. And in déede, if Iesus Christ should goe from vs, and let vs goe whether we listed our selues, surely we should be quite & clean out of the kingdome of God. For by the kingdom of God, is meant a reformation: and we bring nothing with vs but miseries & cor­ruptions in this worlde: to be short, we are wandring beasts, and the Deuill ruleth vs, and so, thralleth vs, euen as it pleaseth him selfe.

Thus, we sée what man is, vntill God hath refourmed him. Wherefore, let vs take out this lesson, to know what wée are, vntill such time as Iesus Christ hath refourmed vs. Why then? would we haue a greater mischiefe then this, as to haue Satan so to possesse vs, and to be our Maister? And thus, I say, we sée what we are, vntill such time as God of his infinite goodnesse, stretcheth foorth his hande vnto vs, euen to bring vs into his kingdome, that we might be obedient vnto him, and to his iustice. Nowe, by the way, we are also to sée, howe highly we ought to estéeme of this grace when it is offred vs, and that Iesus Christ draweth vs vn­to him. And loe here is all our blessednesse, that God is our King. In déed, although Kings couet to haue kingdomes to encrease their honour and wealth, and to be Lordes ouer nations, without any regard to a better ende, yet if any Prince be endued with excellent graces, euerie man will think him selfe blessed that is his subiect. But when Iesus Christ reigneth ouer vs, we haue a king yt is not onely endued with many excellent graces, but also who reigneth o­uer [Page 150] vs for our benefit. And to say the trueth, he is no whit bettered by vs: for we can no more encrease, then we can diminish.Psal. 16.2. Thus we sée, that the thing which I haue alredie said, is very true, That we are blessed, when as God setteth vp his kingly throne amongst vs, to reigne ouer vs. Here we sée what we are taught in the secōd place, to wit, to esteeme and make muche, of such a benefite when God bestoweth it vpon vs: now, the meane commeth by ye Gospel. We also sée, why Iesus Christ spake so oftentimes of the Gospel,Mat. 13.24.31.33.44.45. calling it the kingdome of God: For if we sticke not to it, we are verie rebelles to God, and banished from all his graces: For wée shall neuer haue parte of them, vntill we be refourmed. Which thing the Gospell worketh by calling vs to Iesus Christ, and she­wing vs that we must be regenerate by his holie spirite. Since then it is so, when the Gospel is preached, it is to the end we might bée lyke vnto Iesus Christ, & forsake whatsoeuer is in our selues, that we might be raysed vp agayne by his grace: And therefore the Gospell is not called the kingdome of God without good cause. And in déede, as without it the Deuill reigneth, and by reason therof is called the King of this world: Euen so when Iesus Christ causeth his Gospell to be preached in any countrie, it is as much as if hée shoulde say, I will reigne ouer you and be your King: But yet it cannot be saide, that all they which dwell in that countrie where the Gospell is preached, doe obey God: For we sée some of them lift them selues vp, and shewe foorth their iniquitie which be­fore laye hid in them: and othersome contemne the doctrine, in whom is no fruite of the kingdome of God. And yet Christ Ie­sus hath alwayes a little congregation, where the Gospel is prea­ched. And howe so? Forsooth, because there is no King, but hath subiectes.

Neuerthelesse, wée may conclude, that it is an inestimable be­nefite, when GOD offreth vs his Gospell. For what would wée more, then when our Lorde Iesus Christ sayeth vnto vs. Loe héere I am: and take charge of you, to the ende you might bée vnder my winges and protection, nowe, what can you desire more? Wée knowe then that all this commeth vnto vs by the Gospell. And this is the perfection of all our happinesse, if wée could rightly vnderstand it.

Moreouer, this is certaine, that when Iesus Christ thus brin­geth vs into his kingdome, and taketh vs vnto him selfe, it is be­cause hée woulde cloth vs so much the rather with immortalitie & incorruption, to the ende wée might enter into his promised glory And therfore when we receiue this Gospel, we enter into the king­dome of God. But what? This is only but an entraunce, howbeit we must go on a great deale further into it: which thing is brought to passe, when as he deliuereth vs from this cursed bondage of sin, and setteth vs at the libertie which he promised vs. Thus wée sée, that it is not enough to haue an entraunce, but wée must goe still forwarde, vntill such time as wee are wholly vnited vnto Iesus Christ. And in déede, we knowe, that although God enlightneth vs with his holie spirite, and we haue a desire to walk in his feare, and acknowledge his goodnesse wherevnto wee trust, yet are our infirmities so many as is lamentable, and we are to fight against a number of temptatiōs, wherwith we are oftentimes ouercome. What shall become then of all this geare? Is it enough that wée haue entred? No, no: But wée must vnderstande that our lyfe, is a way, and we must still be going on, vntill wee be come vnto our Lorde Iesus Christ. And so must the kingdome of God, more and more encrease, vntill wée are quite rydde of sinne: For wée daily haue experience enough héereof, although we are a great way of, from being vnited to God as we ought. Wherefore, this is a token that God reigneth not in vs as hée shoulde: For if he did, all our power and force woulde bende it selfe that way. Contra­riwise, wée féele euen as great rebellion as may be, when as wée woulde goe about to doe that whiche God teacheth vs. Séeing then we in such sort stande against God and his iustice, it is a signe that hée ruleth not vs peaceably: For, all that euer we haue, euen without our bellies, as we say, should goe that way, that the glo­rie of God might appeare and shine throughout. Contrariwise, we sée that there is nothing in vs, euen from the toppe to the toe, but horrible rebellion.

[...] Cor. 15.18.And thus we may sée, that the kingdome of God is not accompli­shed. Wherefore, we are admonished to goe on, vntill such time as God is all in all: to wyt, we should be so full of him, as that we should be emptie of our selues: namely, we shoulde be vncloathed of this bodie, & be raysed vp into that glory which is promised vs.

The spéech then which our Lord Iesus Christ had with his Apo­stles of the kingdome of God, tended to this end, that wée shoulde forsake our selues, and ouerthrow whatsoeuer is oures, and that Iesus Christ might set vp his Throne, and guide vs, so yt we might be altogether agréeable vnto his righteousnes, & seeke only to folow him as our soueraigne and liege Lord & King. And all this is spo­ken to vs. Why so? Forsooth, because ye Apostles were not taught onely for them selues, but for vs. And therefore let this be a note vnto vs, that whensoeuer the Gospel is deliuered vnto vs, it is to this end that we should be readie to leaue this world: to wit, al the wicked affections, and vanities that are in vs, which kéepe vs back here below: For we must be wholly chaunged, & God must giue vs a new life. Thus we sée how it is, that the Gospell must doe good, to the end it might be indéed the verie kingdome of God, & beare such authoritie with vs as is méete. And by the way, God calleth vs not vnto him, meaning to kéepe vs alwayes in one state, but will con­tinually pricke vs on, vntill he hath brought vs to perfection, ma­king vs to vnderstande that this present life is like a Sea full of all miseries: thus we sée howe Iesus Christe bendeth him selfe to bring vs vnto the heauenly kingdome, after we are once entred in­to the kingdome of God in this world. It is saide, That he forbad them going from Ierusalem, vntill such time as they had receiued the promise of God. And all this was spoken for the building vp of our Fayth: For we sée howe necessarie it is for vs to be assured and resolued of this point: to wyt, that men, deuised not the doctrine of the Gospell, but that God sent it from heauen. And therfore this ought to be put out of all doubt. What would then become of it, if it were not throughly declared and verified vnto vs, that Iesus Christ in such sort sent his Apostles, and were not ledde by their owne motion, counsell, or will, but sent by God, who taught them their lesson, and vnderstood not of their owne witts this doc­trine, but by the holie Ghost.

And therefore the wordes of Saint Luke are here to bée well marked, that hée handled this doctrine oftentimes amongst them, to the ende they might be the better instructed therein, and not runne at randon. Ouer and besides this, it is saide, that they must néedes be enlightened with the holie Ghost, that they might bée quite voide of all worldly wisedome, and that it might be knowne [Page] that their doctrine was the verie word of God.

Let vs therfore marke this well, that our Fayth may alwayes cleaue vnto God, as a fast Anker holde: For wée shall finde no­thing in the Creatures, but shall flyt away lyke water, and ther­fore it were an yll foundation to builde our Fayth on them: but when we shall builde it vpon God, it shall not be subiect to réele this way and that, but shall stande fast and sure. And héere wée sée why the Apostles were forbidden to departe from Ierusalem, vntill they had receiued the holie Ghost.

Nowe, by this, we sée their obedience: For, in mans reason, they might haue somewhat replyed and saide, What? Are not we the Apostles of God? haue not we authoritie to preach his worde? Are not we able to execute our charge? They had some shewe why they might thus haue saide. For to what purpose had God iusti­fied them in this charge, without they might doe it? But they knew well enough that it was he whom they must obey, For cursed is that man who trusteth in him selfe to doe any worke, before God putteth him forwarde to doe it. And contrariwise, when God sen­deth him, hée must not striue against it, but say, Loe here am I Lorde, employ mée as pleaseth thée. And thus we sée howe Saint Luke sheweth, that the Apostles obeyed Iesus Christ, when as he forbad them to depart from Ierusalem, vntill suche time as God had perfourmed his promise vnto them. And herein we sée that the grace of the holy Ghost had alredie wrought in them: For not long before, they were clean out of the way, they had forsakē their Mai­ster, they knew nothing what ye assistance & sauegard of God ment: and suffred Satan to disperse them abroad. But what? when as God had once graunted them the grace to vnderstande his voyce and meaning, hée néeded not but to haue beckened his finger, and they woulde haue obeyed him. And if he had forbidden them any thing, they would not haue attempted it: But contrariwise when he commaunded them to goe, neither fyre nor water coulde staye them. Thus then wee sée that it is God whiche must worke in vs, to bring vs vnto such a subiection. For els, when he would say, retyer, we would goe on, and when he woulde byd vs march on,Num. 14.3.40. we woulde goe backe. Nowe, héere we sée what our nature is. And this notable myrror haue wee euen in the Iewes. For if we reade howe they behaued them selues, after they were de­liuered [Page 152] out of Egypt, wée shoulde there sée their wonderfull vn­thankfulnesse. For, when God commaunded them to goe against their enemies, and promised them that they should haue victorie, they woulde not goe on, but murmured against him. Why, say they, whether shoulde wée goe? It shoulde séeme that hée goeth a­bout to destroy vs, and to sende vs lyke shéepe to the Butcherie. Loe such was their rebellion.

Contrariwise, when God saide, stirre not: they would néedes march on, and would not be staide. What? (say they) wee loose time, why march we not forwarde? Héere we sée, howe that wée will march, when God sayeth we shall not, againe, when he saieth march on, there is no man that will step one foote forward. To be short, it séemeth we woulde endeuour our selues to gainsay God, Loe, here our dealing. Surely we are much of the boldnesse of mad men: For they are strong, and a mad man will be strong enough both to kill him selfe, and others. For when God woulde retire vs, we are madde, and would make hauocke of all thinges, and a­gaine, when God would haue vs march on, we are so slack, as that euerie finger is a thumbe. And therfore we are to beséech the Lord, to graunt vnto vs the lyke grace that hée gaue vnto his Apostles, that we stay when he commaundeth vs to stay, and march on whē hée biddeth vs. Thus we sée, why hée hath appointed to euery one his seuerall office and charge. When he ordeined housholdes, hée declared what authoritie the man should haue ouer his wife, and family, and what the womans obedience was vnto the husbande, and the childrens to the Parentes, so, hée ordeined a lawe for eue­rie one. And to the same purpose and effect was his ordinaunce, for the administration of Ciuill gouernment. For, hée declared vnto Magistrates, what their duetie was, and howe they ought to vse the authoritie committed vnto them: and to the Ministers of his worde likewise, hée set downe a lesson in writing. Thus wée sée that Iesus Christ hath so well ordered vs,Rom. 14.25. as that if we haue a­ny regarde vnto him, we will attempt nothing, which hée com­maundeth vs not. We sée also the saying of Saint Paule, That whatsoeuer is not of Fayth is sinne. Nowe, if God leaueth vs in doubt of any thing that we haue to doe, we cannot but continually sinne: and therfore he hath set downe a rule vnto vs what we shal doe, and what we shall not doe.

Wherfore, let vs looke well that we be ruled by him, and attempt nothing, on our owne foolish braine.

Moreouer, we sée that the Apostles staied in Ierusalem, because Iesus Christ had so willed them: yea, although they knewe that God had ordeined them to that calling. And although Iesus Christ had giuen them the holie Ghost by breathing vpon them, neuerthe­lesse they might very well know, that they were not as yet fenced as was méete,Ioh. 26.22. but looked for the promise of the Father. This promise (as wée shall héereafter sée) was the holie Ghost. Where­fore wayted they? forsooth, it was euen for vs.

Wée sée then héere, that although Iesus Christ was ascended into heauen, yet that hée had care of vs, & helpeth vs from thence: neither is hée so farre from vs, but that hée keepeth vs companie, and gouerneth vs by his grace. And héere wée sée why S. Luke sayeth, that hée was taken vp into heauen, after that hée had by his holie spirite giuen commaundement to his Apostles whom hée had chosen. And hée went not thus away without thinking of vs. Howe then? Forsooth, hée gaue a charge vnto his Apostles, and shewed them, howe they shoulde gouerne them selues, after they had receiued the holie Ghost. And now wée haue héere a pledge, that wée shall neuer want his helpe, so that wée sticke vnto him. Moreouer, this is one notable comfort for vs, that Iesus Christ béeing ascended into heauen, hath all power and authoritie in his owne hande, and is aboue all Creatures, because hée is made Gods Lieutennaunt, to the ende hée might rule all thinges both in heauen and in earth.

Nowe, that wée might make our profite by this, let vs marke, that although God hath so highly exalted Iesus Christ, as that all Creatures are subiect vnto him,Col. 1.16.17.18. yet is hée our head, and that this his great rule and Empire, is all for our benefite, if so be we are his members: But hée can not be our head, without we be true­ly vnited vnto him. This then is the full assuraunce of our sal­uation: which is, that because Iesus Christ is ascended into hea­uen, and ruleth all thinges, insomuch that the verie Angels are his subiectes: both they and all the rest of the Creatures, shoulde minister to vs herein.

And againe, hée so fast and sure holdeth in the Deuilles, as that they can doe nothing without his leaue.

Wherefore, we are assured that they can doe vs no hurt. And why so? Forsooth, because they were not able any way to stand against him.

Moreouer, wée must ioyne this glorious power, with that knowledge which wée héere haue: not as though it was doone but for that present, but the power thereof extendeth it selfe euen vnto vs, because it reacheth ouer heauen and earth. Nowe, this wit­nesseth vnto vs, that hée is with vs, whenas wée vnderstande his word: because hée hath so promised, and hée vseth not to lye as men doe. Thus wée sée howe sure wée are of his presence, and wil de­fend vs by his holy spirite. For els what should become of vs? Eue­ry thing woulde make vs quaile: because wee are as fraile as is possible. Contrariwise, wée sée howe the Diuell, is armed at all pointes against vs. And therfore it is néedefull that God shoulde assist vs with his holy spirite, that wée might withstande all his forces. Wée sée then that although the body of our Lorde Iesus Christe bée farre from vs, yet are wée néere him through his power and might, which thing hée sheweth vs in the Supper, and there­fore are to apply this doctrine to our selues. For the bringing of which to passe, wée must not approch vnto him as many doe, which come vnto him like beastes, but let vs vnderstand what it is that is there giuen vs. When wée see God giue vs foode for our bodies it is a great blessing: But wée come not thither to fill our paun­ches. Why so? Because it signifieth vnto vs, that wée ought not to séeke for our bodily sustenance therein. For as Saint Paule saith,1. Cor. 11.22 Wée haue houses to eate and drinke in: and therefore wée came not hither to fill our bellies. Wherefore then? Forsooth, it is a testimonie that Iesus Christe will féede our soules. What? shall our soules bee fed with bread and wine? No, no, that is not the meaning. For there is nothing wherewith they can bée fed, but with Iesus Christe, For they must bee mainteined with euerla­sting life, which the Angels themselues cannot giue. For as they had no being from eternitie, so also may they haue an ende. And therefore, wée must conclude that there is but one Father of life, which is Iesus Christ. Wherefore wée come to séeke him in the Supper, and euery one that commeth must haue this setled mind, to bée able to say, I come hyther to haue a testimony that Iesus Christe is my life, that being incorporate into him, I might liue [Page] for euer. But after what sort come wée to finde him in the sup­per? If wée come after the manner of the Papistes to find the bo­dy of our Lord Iesus, we deceiue our selues: For that is the moste cursed Idolatrie that may bée, to thinke the bread that we receiue there, to bée the body of our Lorde Iesus Christe. Wée muste therfore séeke for him aboue: and although we know him to be in heauen, yet doubt we not but that he is with vs by his grace: inso­much, that euen as we sée and touch the signes, so likewise doth Ie­sus Christe accomplish in vs the thing which the signes represent vnto vs: to wit, that he dwelleth in our soules. And although by nature our soules are in déede dead, by reason of our sinnes, yet wil he make vs partakers of this euerlasting life. For, as he saith, This bread presenteth vnto you my body, euen so doth he truly ac­complish the same in our soules: and as our bodies are susteined with bread, euen so our soules receiuing Iesus Christ for a spiritu­all foode, are preserued by the power of God, and hee remaineth in vs by his grace. Howbeit héere is not al, to haue vnderstoode thus much: but we must also lift vp our mindes vnto heauen, for els we should neuer be vnited to Iesus Christe. No doubt of it there are many which know well enough that Iesus Christe, is not in the bread and wine, but in the meane while where are their harts? Forsooth, some of their heartes are plunged ouer head and eares in couetousnesse, some of them are drunken with ambition, and o­ther some, their heartes are wrapped vp in all kind of villanie. For behold, the Whooremonger his mind, is set on nothing els, but vp­on Lecherie: others vpon drunkennesse, and belly cheare: in other some is nothing but blasphemy, murmuring, & all villanie, which Saint Paule calleth earthly members.Colos. 3.5. If you will (saith he) come néere vnto Iesus Christ, you must mortifie your earthly members What? must we forgoe our handes, and féete? No, that is not his meaning: But we must mortifie our fornications, vncleannesse, inordinate affections, euill concupiscences, ambition, and coueto­usnesse, which is worshipping of Images, and all other such like. Would wée then séeke for Iesus Christ in heauen? Then must we rid our selues of al these earthly mēbers. For what agréement can there be betwéene vs & Iesus Christ? Wée must not thrust him a­mongest our pollutions, but let vs goe vnto him, that hée may rid vs of them. Thus we sée, that wee must not onely vnderstande [Page 154] that he in heauē, but we must also mortifie these earthly members which doe separate vs from him, and haue our mindes occupied a loft. How is that? Let vs liue chastly, soberly, charitably, temperat­ly, patiently, and altogether vertuosly. And these are the fethers wherewith we must flie vp into heauen: although to speake pro­perly, wee must haue neither winges to flie with, nor yet ladders to climbe vp: But it is Iesus Christe that bringeth vs thither, and rayseth vs vp by the graces which I haue named, and which hée bestoweth vpon vs. Héere then wée sée, howe wee must apply this doctrine to the Supper: so that when the bread and wine shal be deliuered vs, wée must learne to séeke for all our felicitie in Ie­sus Christe liue in brotherly loue together, and euery man morti­fie his sinfull lustes and affections. If I féele my selfe to bée by any meanes carried away from Iesus Christe, I ought to pull that meane from mée, out by the rootes: that I might bee truely raysed vp to Iesus Christ: not that we can be perfectly raysed vp, but we must labour to goe more and more on. For in déede, the Supper was ordeined to that end, and we should not receiue it onely once in our life, but very often: to signifie vnto vs, that we must goe on in this worlde, vntill such time as he hath deliuered vs from this corrupt body, and brought vs vnto himselfe.

And according to this holy doctrine, let vs fall downe before the face of our good God, and acknowledge our offences, beséeching him that he will not suffer vs to be so giuen ouer vnto thē as héere­tofore we haue béen, but so weane vs from them, as that we séeke after none other thing, but our Lorde Iesus Christ, and obey his commandementes, because, that is the rule and order by which he would haue vs to bée brought vnto himselfe. And so let vs all say, O Almightie God, and heauenly father. &c.

The second Sermon of the Ascention.

Acts first.

4 AND when Iesus had gathered his Disciples together, hee commaunded them that they shoulde not depart from Ierusalem, but waite for the promise of the Fa­ther, of whom, saith hee, ye haue heard of mee.

5 For Iohn truely baptized with water, but yee shall be bap­tized after a while with the holy Ghost.

WEE haue héeretofore spoken of the o­bedience of the Apostles, and of their patient wayting for the promise which Iesus Christ had made them by mouth and besides, although they were ap­pointed to this office of Apostleship, yet did they not thruste them selues in to preach, before such time as they had bin confirmed by the holy Ghost. Héere then wée see their obedience, ioyned with humilitie, in that they acknowledged God, to bee their guide. And now wée are to handle that which followeth, that when Ie­sus Christe told them of the promise of God his father, hée said, yee haue hearde of mee, heretofore. As if hée should haue said, That they were not to looke for that at the handes of God, which they in their owne iudgement thought to bée best, but for the thing which he had promised. To bée short, wee must héere gather a doctrine vnto our selues, which is this, wée must not build our faith vpon a­ny thing that we our selues shall imagine,Rom. 10.17. but vpon the promises of God. For Saint Paule saith, That faith commeth by hearing: not by the hering of mens spéeches and talkes, but only by the hea­ring of the worde of God. And in deed, because wee are inclined to diuers temptations, it is méet we should build vpon God, and vp­on his worde. Yea verily, howbeit he will not come downe from [Page 155] heauen to speake to vs. That is true in déede: but we must be wel assured that the doctrine which is preached vnto vs, commeth from him: whereof Iesus Christe is a witnesse when he spake vnto his Apostles. For all things (saith hee) that I haue hearde of my Fa­ther, haue I made knowne vnto you.Iohn. 15.15. And therefore you muste not in any wise distrust me, because I am a faithfull witnesse. For we sée that Iesus Christe neuer went beyond his bondes, What­soeuer therfore that we waite for, let vs neither looke this way nor that, but stand to his worde.

Moreouer, because the name of God is often abused, let vs looke narrowly and warely whether it is hée that hath spoken vn­to vs or not. And although Iesus Christe himselfe speaketh not at this present vnto vs, yet hath hee ratified whatsoeuer is contei­ned in the Lawe and the Prophetes. Wee must not therefore stand in doubt of the doctrine. Why so? Because it is allowed.

Thus we sée, that if wée follow this doctrine, we cannot do amisse: and contrariwise, this were a trimme kinde of spéeche, to say, wee are Christians, when in very deede, there is nothing in vs but a vaine opinion.

And nowe let vs beholde the faith which is taught in Popery. They will say forsooth, I beléeue this and that but if they be asked why beléeue you so? They will answere, because they were so told. But who is it that taught you thus? Our auncestours. Thus wée sée, that there is no certentie in their beliefe, but a vaine opinion. And therefore we are to consider of the great grace of GOD to vs warde, in that he hath pluckt vs from that religion: for wée go not nowe by thinking and ghessing, but we must stay our selues vpon this infallible trueth which he hath giuen vs. In very déede wee cannot doe thus, without the holy Ghoste ratifie the same in our heartes. For otherwise it were a iolly kinde of spéeche to say, God hath saide it, and this is his doctrine. And therefore vntill suche time as the holy Ghost hath wrought in vs to shew vs that the promises of God are Autenticall, wée shall but stumble. But as Ie­sus Christe is a faithfull witnesse of God his Father, euen so con­firmeth hee vs by his holy spirite, and wee are to beseech him that he would perfourme it more and more in vs. And this is it which wee at this present are to stande vpon. For Iesus Christe promi­sed to send the holy Ghoste vnto his Apostles, as may bee seene in [Page] Iohns Gospell,Iohn. 14.16.26. & 15.26. where this promise is set downe that Iesus Christ said vnto them, when I am ascended vp into heauen, I will sende you the holy Ghoste. This saying then hée confirmed vnto them, that they might constantly looke for it.

It followeth, Iohn baptized with water, but yee shall be bapti­zed with the holy Ghost. And this is a confirmation of the pro­mise which he gaue them: as if hée shoulde haue saide, my office is to baptize, not with water: but with the holy Ghost. And God my Father h [...]th not giuen mée this office in vaine: and therefore you must féele the benefite thereof by experience. Let vs therefore vn­derstand this one point, yt nothing is in vain giuē to Iesus Christ. Now he hath no néede of this himselfe: But it is for his members, to the end we might all draw grace with grace,Iohn. 1.16. out of his fulnesse. And so let vs conclude, that since Iesus Christe hath this office of baptizing with the holy Ghoste, wée must néedes féele it by proofe, and be partakers of such a benefite: for otherwise it were but an vncertaine title, and no trueth in it: which were very blasphemie so to say. Wee are therefore to vnderstand, that Iesus Christ ac­quainteth vs with such a Baptisme. For, mark what it was that he said to his Apostles. Now S. Iohn Baptist, had told the Iewes before, that he baptized but with water, and the reason why hee so saide, was this, that they would haue giuen ouermuch honor vn­to him, and so haue derogated from Iesus Christ. And therefore he refused this, and said, that he did but administer the visible signe of water: so that it belonged not to him to giue grace to Baptisme, but was the office of Iesus Christ to doe it. Behold (saith he) I baptize you with water:Mat. 3.11. Mark. 1.7. Luke. 3.16. Iohn. 1.26. But there is one whom you yet know not, that hath power to baptize with the holy Ghoste: whose shoe lat­chet I am not worthy to vntie: for although I came before him, yet am I, no body, and it is hée that must haue all the honor. And this is the spéech of Iohn Baptist: and now Iesus Christ vseth ye same, as if he should say, This ought to be no strange thing vnto you: for it was knowne vnto you long ago, how that the priuiledge of bap­tizing with the holy Ghost, was reserued to me alone. Nowe, héere might arise a questiō, why Iesus Christ rather spake of Iohn bap­tist, thē of any other. The reason is manifest: because the greatnes of Iohn Baptist, as they had abused it, was a let, yt Iesus Christe was not honored as he ought, & although he had spokē of any other, [Page 156] yet would it haue ben thought notwithstanding yt Iohn might wel enough haue béen compared to Iesus Christ. And therfore he chose to speak of the most excellent man, to the end he wold shew that he would not haue the worlde deceiued, but that it was himself vnto whom all honor was to be giuen. And thus we sée, yt where men go about to get themselues credite & estimation amongst men, Saint Iohn baptist here doth al he can to abase himself,Iohn. 3.30. because he would haue no more giuen vnto him, then became him. And after hee had vsed many spéeches, hée concluded, that he must be abased, and Ie­sus Christ exalted, Neither was this hypocritically saide of him, but in trueth and in déede. And I would it pleased God that the world would take foorth this lesson. But what? Wée are so conti­nually giuen to this wicked superstition, as that we looke stil vnto the creatures, who are so many vailes, to kéepe vs from beholding of Iesus Christ, And by this wée sée what the cause hath béen of the setting vp of such an infinite number of Idols in ye world. For, looke how many holy men and women haue béene in the world, euen so many Idols haue béen set vp: yea, although the graces which God hath liberally bestowed vpon vs, ought to be Argumentes suffici­ent to haue vs put our trust in him, & not in creatures. And the pa­pists, when they will honor their Saints, say, it is written. Praise God in his Saints I will not call them beastes,Psal. 150.1. for taking of this place after this sorte, séeing the Prophet in saying, Praise God in his holy place, or in his Sanctuary, meaneth the heauens: as if hée should haue said, praise this diuine maiestie, who ruleth in his heauenly throne, ouer all his Creatures. And yet they so magnifie the Saints amongst them, as that (as they themselues say) God is not knowne from his Apostles, or els is placed all in one ranke with the rest. Now this diuelish Prouerbe which is among them, A man cannot know God from his Apostles: will bée a testimony against them, yt they haue torne in peeces the glory of god, like ma­stiffe Curres, & haue bestowed one péece of it in this place, and an­other in that: and haue diuided it euen as pleased themselues: and whereas Iesus Christe shoulde haue béene onely exalted, and the Prophetes, and Martyrs made of no estimation in respect of him, they haue turned all cleane contrary. Wherefore séeing we are inclined to this sinne, to magnifie Creatures, and to robbe Christ Iesus of his glory, Let vs so muche the rather remember [Page] that which is said, That Iohn baptized with water, to shew yt if we would haue any grace, we must neither goe to Peter, nor yet to Iohn,Iohn. 1.15. & 3.34. but to Iesus Christ, of whom it is saide, that he receiued the grace of God full and whole: to shewe that we must come to him alone.

Moreouer, héerein hath béen occasion taken, to say, that the bap­tisme of Iohn was imperfect: but this is plain deceite: for the mea­ning of Iohn, when he spake so, was not to declare the truth of the Sacrament, which hee administred, but onely to shewe the diffe­rence that was betwéene him, & Iesus Christe. And therefore al­though the sacrament of Baptisme which Iohn administred, and the Sacrament which Iesus Christ administred, was al one, & tended to one & the selfesame end, yet Iohn declared that it was not in his power to make baptisme of any force, But that Iesus Christe must do it. And therefore it is not to be doubted, but that he admi­nistred true baptisme: For we looke not to the signe, but to ye truth: and yet the signe agréeeth with the trueth of Iesus Christ. But the principall matter which we haue to consider of in Baptisme, con­sisteth vpon two points: that is, that we haue put of the old Adam, and are renued, & vnited to Iesus Christ: & cleansed of al our spots, when God forgiueth vs our sinnes. And this is the summe & effect of Baptisme,

Mat. 3.2.8. Mar. 1.4 Luke. 3.3.8.Let vs now consider if Iohn did not al this. It is most certaine that he did: For he came & preached remissiō of sins: & baptized to that end & purpose. Moreouer, whē he baptized, he preached repen­tance, which importeth as much as we haue said, That wee our selues must be mortified, & this corruptiō which wee receiued frō Adam, must be put of, that the righteousnes of god might reigne in vs. And so, when as we haue thrust out all the corruption we can, yet shal we find nothing els in vs But what? we must make a difference betwéene the person of the Minister, and the person of Iesus Christ. In déed this is true, that when we speake of baptisme as it is in it self,Acts. 9.18 it is a washing away of our sinnes. How so? Because, by it we are cōfirmed & ingraffed into Iesus Christ, that we might be cleansed, & liue by his mighty power. For so saith the scripture, as may be séen whē Annanias baptized Paul, who said to him, come, and wash away thy sins. And whē baptisme is spokē of, we speake not only of the signe, but of ye thing signified: to wit, that we are ac­ceptable [Page 157] to God through the forgiuenesse of sinnes, and renued by his holy spirit, to ye ende we might no longer liue to our selues and as we lust. Wherfore doo wée saye that all this is within the com­passe of Baptisme, forsooth, because the commission of Iesus Christ is most certaine and sure: and hee performeth that inwardlye whiche is outwardlye signified: for otherwise it were but a may game, if the truth were not ioyned together with the signe.

Thus we sée how God ioyneth the truth with the signe to the end wée might vnderstand, and know that as the visible signe sig­nifieth a thing, euen so also receiue we the graces therein signified. And the like may bée saide of the Supper. For when wee come to the supper, looke how the minister distributeth to vs the bread and wine, euen so doth Iesus Christ make vs partakers of his body & blood, that we might bee truly, and indéede, his members: and by that meane, we may say that the supper is a partaking of the bo­dy and blood of our Lorde Iesus. But when wee shall come to handle by péece meale the thing which mortall man doth, we must then looke what power and authoritie he hath. As when I bap­tise, to wit, whether haue I the holy ghost in my sléeue to giue or not? or when I celebrate the holy supper, haue I the body & blood of our Lord Iesus, to giue to whom it liketh mée? Now this were ouer great arrogancy, to attribute that, to mortall men which pro­perly belongeth to Iesus christ. And therfore let vs not take from Iesus Christ, the office of baptising with the holy ghost. For, as I take water to baptize, euen so doth Iesus Christ accomplishe the thinge which I signifie, by his owne power and might. Where­fore let vs mark the saying of Saint Iohn, I baptise with water (saith hée) and Iesus Christ baptiseth with the holy ghost. Thus we sée what we haue héere already handled, and shal be more thro­ughly in the eleuenth chapter.

Moreouer, it is for vs thus to make aunswer: to witte,Acts. 11.16. that wée cannot fulfyl the things, wherof we make a shew. And yet neuer­thelesse, we must assure our selues this, that God accomplisheth yt, which is signified by the signe: and as by ye water, is signified the washing away of sinnes, euen so doth he accomplish it by his blood. And thus we sée how we must distinguish betwéene the person of our Lord Iesus Christ, and the person of the Minister, to the ende [Page] euery man might haue his degrée and measure, and wée to know, that Iesus Christ is the fountaine of all perfection.

Moreouer, this is certaine, that whē Iohn said that Iesus Christ should baptize with the holie Ghost and with fire, this doth not re­strain,Mat. 3.11. but that the holy Ghost did once appeare in the same shape: For this promise hath byn already performed, and shal take place vnto the worldes end. Let vs then consider, yt when the holy Ghost was visibly sent vnto the Apostles, it was to signifie vnto vs, yt the Church should bée alwayes gouerned by the holie Ghost, & should fill vs with so many of his graces as were néedfull. In very déede, we shal neuer haue them in ful perfection, because it is néedful that we should be humbled. For if wée shoulde haue them in ful perfe­ction, what would become of vs? Surely, we would neuer haue a­nie care to call vpon God, neither yet once thinke that wée stoode in néede of him. And therefore it is méete wée shoulde alwayes féele the want of his benefites, to the end wée might bée stirred vp to be­séech him liberally to bestow them on vs. But by the way, let vs vnderstand that wée are all baptized with the holy Ghost and with fire: and that Iesus Christ will in no wise that his Sacramentes should bée receiued in vayne of his faithful ones. In déed, although a man bée baptized in the name of God, yet when hée commeth to age, wée sée him enclined to all mischiefe, and therefore wée cannot say that hée is a new man, but rather like a bruite beast. And yet wée cannot say, but that the Sacrament had his full nature and proprietie: For baptisme of it selfe is as much as if we were renu­ed: and then if wée bée not so, the fault is oures: because wee will not suffer Iesus Christ to accomplishe his grace in vs, and so for want of beliefe, wée in such sort close vp our heartes, as that there is no entraunce for his graces, which hée woulde largely be­stow vpon vs.

Thus we sée that the Sacrament is neuer without his power and vertue, howbeit we receiue no fruit nor benefite by it, because it cannot enter without faith. Wée haue héere therefore to note, that the trueth of Baptisme is not in the water, but in the holie Ghost. And besides Iesus Christ geueth vs the holie Ghost. And therefore wée are throughly to marke, that if we woulde bée bene­fited by Baptisme, we must not sticke so much to the water, as though our saluation were enclosed therein: but let vs vnderstand [Page 158] that it is the holie Ghost that must woorke all.

Moreouer, wée sée that the worlde hath receiued this doctrine very perniciously: for the Papistes thinke, that the grace of God is tyed to it, and they charme it like Coniurers, geuing to the wa­ter, the power of the Sacrament. And therefore they say, that that childe that is not baptized, is damned. Wherefore, for the preuen­ting of this danger, they are not onely contented to geue power & authoritie to all men, of what state and condition soeuer they bée, to baptize, but euen to women also: for feare, say they, that the chil­dren might die without baptisme. And so, they think that the truth of baptisme consisteth in the water: so that by this meane the blood of Iesus Christ is layde cleane aside. But as for vs, let vs learne, that ye truth of baptisme is not in the water, but in the holy Ghost. And yet is not the signe vnprofitable: for it witnesseth vnto vs that our soules are washed: But if wée wil haue the truth of it, we must come to the holie Ghost as wée haue already shewed.

Moreouer, it is saide, that Iesus Christ giueth the holy Ghost to the end wée should neither séeke for it in the water, nor yet at the handes of men, but looke vp vnto heauen. And this is also a poynt wherewith the world hath béen deceiued. For who is hée that loo­keth to Iesus Christ, when we speake of any thing concerning our saluation? No man: For wée thinke it to bée in the power of men, as if Iesus Christ had resigned his office vnto them, & that he had no more to doe in heauen: Sée I pray you, how blockishe wee are. Nowe the Scripture choketh vs by the chin (as wée say) to make vs looke aloft: for in it, is the thing which wée heare Iesus Christ teache vs, beholde, it is I that baptizeth you. I graunt, it is said that God sendeth the holie Ghost: and so doeth Iesus Christ also:Iohn. 14.16.26. Iohn. 15.26. & 16.7. Mat. 28.18. For when the father sendeth him, hée sendeth him in the name of Iesus Christ, & at his request: And besides, Iesus Christ speaking of himself said, that hée would send him. And indéede, hée is one and the selfesame God with the father. And besides, inasmuch as being made man, hée became our Mediator, al power both in heauen and earth was giuen him, so that hée is as it were the very arme and hande, to bestow ye graces of God vpon vs. Let vs also note, why it was that Iohn spake of the Baptisme with the holie Ghost and with fire, vsing these twoo woordes: For it is all one thing.

When hée speaketh of fire, it is because hée meaneth to boyle vs [Page] againe, to scombe of al our filthynesse: as men vse to melt golde or siluer, when they would fine it, and as we sée men purge filthy pla­ces with fyre. And therfore the holy ghost beareth not this name in vaine: séeing it is hée that must purge all our spots and blots: and it is also to signifie vnto vs, that so soone as we come into this worlde, we bring nothing with vs but vncleanesse, and the longer wée liue, the greater heape of vncleane thinges wée lay vp toge­ther: whereof Ieremie speaketh sayinge, that man knoweth not himselfe:Ierem. 17.9. for there is such a gulfe of wickednesse in vs, as there is none but God alone that knoweth it.

A man may well cast an Anchor into the bottom of the sea, but none is able to search our harts but God. For we stinke before the face of God, and are more filthy then Lazarus, yea too too horrible stinking and filthy. But what of all this? Beholde héere is our comfort, whenas wée sée that Iesus Christ wil purge vs by his ho­ly spirit: for we haue thereof a sure testimonye in Baptisme, that he wil make vs new cretures, by purging of our infirmities. But as by purging with fyre, all superfluities are taken away, euen so also let vs vnderstande that when God will reconcile vs to him­selfe, all what soeuer is ours must bee cleane taken away.

Moreouer, let vs note, that so longe as wee shall remayne in our selues, wee cannot choose, but perish, and yet if wée would al­waies remaine safe and sounde, GOD must néedes bray vs that hée might saue vs, and make vs become acceptable in his sighte. And this hée doth by his holy spirit. And thus wée sée yt it is by God alone that we must be gloryfied.

Indéede, we are contented to haue a good opinion of our selues, that we might be extolled amongst men: but when it shall be sifted before the maiestie of God, the thing that wée thought to be excel­lent, hée will make no reckoninge of. Let vs learne then, that there is no goodnesse at all in vs: but if there be any, it is because that he hath purged vs with his holy spirit.

Moreouer, when he saieth, That it shall be after a while, it is to encourage them the more: and not to murmer, and be discouraged when God deferreth his aide: for wee must appoint him no time. And indéede, the time which he taketh is alwaies very short, How so? because hée leaueth vs not one minute of an houre without [Page 159] ayde. As for example, let it be, that we are any war, afflicted, and then we call vpon God: howbeit, he wil not at the first cho [...], forth­with deliuer vs, but commonly for the most part, the torment en­creaseth: and yet God assisteth vs, because hée comforteth vs. And this shall we verie well perceiue, when as we fall into the conside­ration thereof: For what man is able to beare the least griefe that is if God assist him not? By this we see a proofe of his ayde, when as we quaile not. For as S. Paule saieth, if we haue any tribulati­on, and doe beare it paciently, then we knowe that God aydeth vs.Rom. 5.4. Thus we sée that although God deliuereth vs not foorthwith, yet leaueth he not vs euer languishing: For so long as we are able to say, that we haue life, God promiseth to assist vs against all assalts, and to deliuer vs: howbeit we must warre against all the tempta­tiōs of our flesh, so long as we are in this world. That is very true: But if we looke into the shortnes of our life, shal we finde it to be of any long continuance? No,2. Pet. 3.8. For, a thousand yeares are as but one day with God. If we cōsider thē of this, it wil be no charge vn­to vs to abide it all our life long. Let vs now sée, wherefore hée said that it should be within a short time after. And so let vs learne to make our profit vpon this place: which is, not onely to vnderstand that Iesus Christ spake it to his Apostles, but that it was also spo­ken to vs. True it is, that we receiue not the holy Ghost in a firie maner: and yet this office was not giuen to Iesus Christ in vaine, and we haue also the power thereof: neither hath hée taken Bap­tisme a way with him: But euen as hée hath left vs the signe, so likewise is it eftsoones a manifest proofe, that he will alwayes bée present with vs, to make this Sacrament availeable vnto vs by his holie spirite. And we must also acknowledge, that we are alto­gether polluted, to the ende we might goe to Iesus Christ, and bée made cleane by him. In déed, this counsell would neuer come from our selues, and therefore must God, by the admonitions which he hath set downe for that purpose, bring vs to Iesus Christ for the finding out of the trueth of Baptisme. And let vs no [...] be [...] foo­lish as to thinke that any creature is able to helpe vs: But let vs goe directly on, to Iesus Christ, and acknowledge him to be wholy ours. Surely, when it is saide, That he baptizeth, although we sée him, to be far frō vs, & aduanced vnto this excellēt maiesty aboue al [Page] other creatures: a man would thinke that this might bée an occ [...] ­sion for vs to mistrust: but because hée is our brother, wée haue a ready way to come vnto him. Let vs therefore beléeue that hée will stand to his promise, and that whatsoeuer hée hath said, is vndoub­tedly true: and besides, that it will not bée long too. Wherefore, when wée haue abidden a day, let vs also bée ready to tarrie a mo­neth, and looke vnto that euerlasting kingdome: and so without doubt, wée shall not onely steppe for ward, but also continue to goe on, vntil such time as wée haue attained vnto the marke which is set before vs.

And according to this doctrine, let vs fall downe before the face of our good God, and beséech him not to punishe vs for our sinful life past, but so renue vs with his holy spirit, as that we cease not mar­ching on, vntil such time as we be come vnto this glorie, wherof he hath already giuen vs some taste and féeling. And so let vs say, O Almighty God, and heauenly Father. &c.

The third Sermon of the Ascention.

Actes first.

6 VVHen they therefore were come together, they as­ked of him, saying, Lorde, wilte thou at this time restore the kingdome of Israel?

7 And hee saide vnto them, it is not for you to knowe the times and the seasons, which the father hath put in his owne power.

8 But yee shall receyue power, after that the holy Ghost is come vpon you, and yee shalbee witnesses vnto mee, both in Hierusalem in all Iurie, and in Samaria, and e­uen vnto the worldes ende.

IF wée could enter into the considera­tion of our weakenesse, whenas God forsaketh vs, we should doe our selues greate good. Nowe, vnder this woorde weaknesse, I meane all our vices and imperfections: as very féeble thinges, and easily to bée ouercome with euery temptation, according to the corrupti­on and peruersenesse of our grose wits and mindes. Wherefore, whenas wée shal haue déepely considered of these thinges, wée must pray vnto God, and beséech him to haue an eye to the remedying of all the mi­series, wherunto wée are subiect. Thus we sée I say, how wée shal greatly profite our selues, by the consideration of these things. We haue therfore to note the matter which Saint Luke setteth downe héere in this place: because hée declareth how grosse mynded the A­postles were, hauing béen taught by the space of thrée whole yéeres, from the mouth of our Lorde Iesus Christ all whatsoeuer belon­ged to their saluation. Héere then wée sée that they are like vnto young Schollers, as if they had neuer vnderstood one woord of that which was taught them. And what is the reason? Forsooth, wée should bée continually vnable to any goodnesse without GOD shoulde firste correct this ignoraunce: which is a thing that ought greatly to humble vs. And therefore, wée must vnderstand that our hearing of whatsoeuer is saide vnto vs, will bée to no purpose, and that because it is spoken as vnto a Blocke, vntil such time as God taketh away the grosnesse of our corrupt nature: for els wée shall neuer vnderstand what hée saith vnto vs: by reason his woord is farre beyong our reach. Neither néed wée any other proofe to cō ­demne the ignorance of the Apostles, thē their own words. For the questiō which they asked Iesus Christ was foolish, & of no valure: but only a superfluous curiosity, whenas they saide vnto him, wilt thou at this time restore ye kingdō of Israel? now by saying, at this time they declared yt they would euē at the first dash, haue come to honor without any more paynes taking, & whereas they were cal­led to take paines for ye plāting of ye gospel throughout ye world, they wold in no wise away wt yt, but be forth wt filled wt al maner of pro­sperity, wt was a double fault: besides, whē they spake of the King­dome, [Page] they [...]ayled also in that: For they thought our Lorde Ie­sus Christ should haue béen an earthly King, and reigne after the manner of worldly Princes: and so they being neare about him, should take no paine nor haue any harme, but liue honourably with great offices, and in high dignitie. And they fayled also in na­ming of Israel: because they restrained the grace of God to Israel, which hée had promised to all the world. Thus we sée that they spake neuer a word which was not false and erronious. Moreouer, Iesus Christ reproued them with the answere which hée made them: and although hée saide not flatly, you are deceiued: yet, the wordes which hée vsed, declare no lesse, but that hée spake them to their reproofe, when as hée saide, It is not for you to know the times and the seasons, which the Father hath put in his owne power: hée reproued them of this fonde curiositie, for where they shoulde haue enquired after some necessarie, or profitable matter, their mindes roued at curious thinges, and of no valure. Howbéeit we must content our selues with that which it pleaseth God to de­clare vnto vs, and we cannot doe better then to be ignorant of that which God will not teach vs in the scripture, and thus we sée how hee reproueth this their curiositie.

Besides, when hee saide vnto them, Yee shall receiue power af­ter the holy Ghost is come vpon you: Héereby hée shewed them, that they were fooles to aspire so high, as to enquire and seeke after the secretes of God: For they were not able to attaine thereto, vn­till they had receiued this power from aboue. In déede, they had receiued some portion of the holie Ghost: but hee tolde them that it was verie néedfull the same should be encreased in them: and that it was then, no time to tryumph, but to fight: and they might sée also, that it was not long before it should come to passe. And af­terwarde hée saide, Yee shall be witnesses vnto mee, both in Ieru­salem, in all Iewrie, and in Samaria, and euen vnto the worldes ende: As if hée shoulde haue saide, you thinke that I shoulde reigne lyke a worldly Prince, but you are deceiued, for my king­dome is spirituall.

And thus hée correcteth their last errour, touching their question of the kingdome of Israel, by saying, that the Gospell must be con­neied euen to Samaria: For there was great inimitie betwéene the Iewes and the Samaritanes, albeit they were néere neigh­bours, [Page 161] and agréeed so me what in the principles of religion, as wée and the Papists doe at this day: For there is a kinde of familiari­tie betwéene vs, because we haue the Gospell, and they also say, that they haue it. The Samaritanes likewise had the same law, with the Iewes, but they had altogether peruerted it, euen as the Papists now do: and therefore the hatred was the greater be­tweene them.

Now, Iesus Christe telleth his Apostles héere, That the Go­spel must bée preached to the Samaritanes. Wée see then that Ie­sus Christe liuely reproueth their errors, and bringeth them into the right way. This must wée apply to our owne vse: and in the first place, if the Apostles were so grosse minded, as wée may sée very well, this vice was not in them alone, but it is also in vs. And therefore let vs looke vpon this as in a glasse, that it is not enough that we bée preached vnto, but God must also inlighten vs, & make a way for his worde that it might enter into vs, and open also the eyes of our mindes, that wée may bée able to comprehend his wil: for els our hearing will bée to no purpose, and without profite.

And therefore let vs beséeche God to graunt vs his grace to vn­derstand his will: or els wée shall remaine in our beast linesse stil. Héere wée sée what wée are to note in the first place of this Scrip­ture.

Now, for the faultes which the Apostles cōmitted in their que­stion, we must consider of them, by the reprochfull answere which Iesus Christ maketh them. In the first place we sée, that wée our selues haue experience euen of our selues, how curious we are. And now let vs sée whether we are giuen to desire such thinges as are necessary & méete for vs. Surely no, for, if we be told twise of a thing, we thinke it doth but breake our braine. Againe, if an harde matter, yea & such a thing as in déed is most necessary to be vnder­stood, be told vs in two words, we thinke it euen enough. What an inconstancie is this in vs, not to settle our mindes vpon necessary things? But if we should heare a sort of tales, lyes, and things no­thing worth, ho, wee would neuer bée weary of hearing of them all the day and night long. And thus we sée yt our minds are so toyish, as that we haue no care of any necessary things: but are desirous of all vaine and vnprofitable matter: yea, and to speake of any [Page] good and profitable thing, it is (as wée say) lost labour. Héere wée may perceiue, how wée ought to bestow al our life time, to wit, to consider of the grace that God hath giuen vs, in sending of vs Ie­sus Christ to make vs wise: for this wisedome stretcheth it selfe through heauen and earth. And this is it whereof S. Paule spea­keth to the Ephesians,Ephe. 3.18. when he maketh mention of length, bredth, heigth, and depth: That is to say, that so farrefooth as our mindes are able to reache, we should giue our selues more and more to vn­derstande the loue which Iesus Christ hath shewed vs, in bestow­ing of vs his welbeloued Sonne Iesus Christ. After this sort (as I haue saide) must wée bestow our time: and yet if we be but prea­ched vnto, one halfe houre, wée thinke it ouer long. Whereby we sée howe wandring minded wée are to all vayne and vnprofitable thinges: and therein take all our delight and pleasure. But if there bée any matter in question that might confirme and stay vs, or that wée bée tolde of thinges that shall come vnto vs, wée will neuer hearken to that, but our minde will foorthwith be turned cleane away, wandring too and fro, building (as wée say) castles in the ayre: so that hée which hath Goods, thinketh neither of his possessions, nor of his riches, and hée that hath none, will continue and abide like a senslesse bruite beast, and neuer once thinke vpon that which is spoken vnto him. Behold I pray you how closely we are linked to this vice, and there is no man, but is condemned be­fore God thereof. And although wée sée that the Apostles were curi­ous to vnderstande of thinges which appertayned nothing vnto them, yet let not vs be busie to condēne them in it, but let vs know that there is matter ynough in vs to condemne our selues. Séeing then wée know this to bée so common a fault, euery of vs ought to withdraw his mind from being so fantasticall, and not wittingly, be so toy headed, but let vs apply our minds, to vnderstand what­soeuer it pleaseth God liberally to bestow vpon vs from out of the knowledge of his counsell, and hold vs there: and let vs diligently weigh the saying that is héere set downe. It is not for you to know the times and seasons, which the father, hath put in his owne pow­er. Now this saying ought to bridle vs and pull vs backe at once, from al curiositie, yea and although our nature would pricke vs to goe on, yet ought wée to draw backe, and vnderstand what Solo­mon [Page 162] saieth, that hée which goeth about to seeke out the secretes of God, shall bée oppressed with his glory.Prou. 25, 27. And therefore if wée be such curious searchers, hée will make vs right well feele, that hée spake not this in vayne. Wherefore let not vs goe beyond this reach: but let vs looke what it is that hée forbiddeth vs to searche after: That which the Father hath put in his owne power. Now héere might rise a questiō, to wit, whether the father hath put in his owne power, Winter, and Summer, and the rule of all times, and seasons? Yea, it is true. It should séeme then, that his meaning is, that wée ought not to make enquiry after these thinges. No not so, for that is not the thing which the father hath in his owne power, whereof Iesus Christ spake vnto his Apostles, that it is not for them to know of it: but hée spake of thinges which hée reserued a part vnto himselfe, and the knowledge of which, is cléerely forbidden vs: and therefore not for vs to know of it. Now hée hath declared vnto vs, the thinges which come by order of nature: that winter must bée cold, and Summer whot. For if wée haue any great colde in Sum­mer, let vs vnderstand that such a peruerting of the order of nature commeth by reason of our sinnes, and that for the horriblenesse of them wée iustly deserue, that all thinges shoulde bée turned out of course: Howbeit God ceaseth not to helpe all those things. So thē, since God hath declared this vnto vs, hée hath not reserued it, to himselfe alone. For hée would not haue vs to imagine his power to bée a superfluous power: but the thing which hée would not haue vs know, hée so kéepeth backe, as that wée shall neuer bée able to vnderstand it.

This saying then of Iesus Christ, it is not for you to knowe the times & seasons which the Father hath put in his owne power is as much as if hée had sayde, Bée contented with that which I haue sayde vnto you, and hold you there: For if you would enter into disputation with him to enquire after that which he would not haue you knowe, It woulde turne to your confusion: sée­yng hée hath not spared to let you vnderstande, whatsoeuer hee thought to bée méete for you to knowe. Nowe, if wée woulde goe beyonde this, this were, as a man would say to set our selues against him.

Let vs sée then what we are to note out of this place, to witte, [Page] wée must learne to submit and kéepe our selues within a compasse and not séeke after that which God would not haue vs know, and diligently vnderstand and search to know, whatsoeuer hée woulde haue vs for to learne. And ouer and besides all this, let vs not bée too too inquisitiue and say, Why is this: and wherefore is that: But let vs take héede of such curiousnesse, as of a deadly Plague. Now, this can no man doe, without euery of vs violently striueth against his owne nature: for we are naturally inclined to such foo­lishnesse, as to leaue the principall matter which is most necessary for vs, and to occupie our heads about that which is neither neces­sary nor profitable, but onely foolish and vaine curiousnesse: as eue­ry of vs for our own part sheweth himself▪ As for example: behold, wée haue the Gospell, the very fountaine of all wisedome, which teacheth vs to beléeue in God, to runne onely to him, and cal vpon him, to the end we might fight against all our carnall affections, to submit our selues wholy obedient vnto him. Loe, this is the very meaning of our Lord, throughout all the Scripture.

Now, wée thinke this to bée but a small matter to vnderstand, & euery of vs séeketh to sticke vnto such thinges as God woulde not haue vs knowe: wée woulde faine contruoll our Lorde: and wee thinke hee had doone better, if hée had doone otherwise, Marke, how it fareth with vs. And therefore as I haue said, If we would put this doctrine in practise, and not bée curious, wée must euery of vs brydle his nature, because it driueth vs into such imaginations whereby, man is not contented to consider of God in the creation of the world, although these workes therein are enough where­with to satisfie vs. But what? Wée forget euen those his workes which he wrought for our redemption (a worke without length, depth, breadth, and heigth) and goe about to enquire why God so greatly busied himselfe in the creation of the worlde,Ephes. 3.18. séeing it is not yet seuen thousand yéeres since it was made. But let vs note, that before God created the worlde, hée had made Hell to throwe suche curious searchers into. And surely hée had great reason in it: for ouer and besides, that this curiositie of entring into such thoughts is worthie reprehension, what a boldnesse is this to lift our selues vp against GOD, in lifting vp our selues against his workes, as though wée thought them not to bee good?

We sée therefore that we must content our selues with the things which God hath giuen vs to vnderstand: for although we haue be­held them all our lyfe long, yet haue we not haue had time inough to vnderstand ye least part of them. And let euery man know, that he must obey whatsoeuer Iesus Christ hath saide, and not en­quire after that which the Father hath reserued to himself, to wit, the thinges which are not declared by his word.

Héereby, we sée that he sheweth vs our vncapablenesse, which hée more and more confirmeth in this that followeth, saying, But you shall receiue power, after the holy ghost is come vpon you: and then shall you be better able to vnderstand the thing whiche God hath declared vnto you.

In this, Iesus Christ aduiseth vs, that wee doo rashly in enqui­ring to vnderstand farther of any thing, then God declareth vnto vs For it is as if wée who haue no winges, would flye beyond the Moone: séeing that if wée knew our state, wée would be very wa­rie how wée aduaunced our selues as wée are wonted to doo. And héerein we are diligently to note this saying, The power of the ho­ly ghost comming vpon you: Which is as much as if he had said, vnderstand yee poore and miserable wretches, What you are, what spirite haue you to vnderstand so hie thinges? how is it pos­sible for these thinges to enter into you. Learne therefore to humble your selues rather, and acknowledge your ignorance, and pray vnto God.

In summe, wée haue héere a generall aduertisment, that whiles God leaueth vs to our owne wittes, we are as bruitishe as maye be, and the least thing in the world will dull vs: so that wee shall not be able to vnderstand the least percell of scripture, although it be handeled before vs péecemeale. And therfore this vnderstanding must come from God, who of his méere goodnesse bestoweth it vp­on vs. For although we haue the Scriptures expounded vnto vs, it is none otherwise then as if the Sun shined vpō vs, being stark blinde. Wherfore, there remaineth nothing for vs, but to beséech the Lorde to helpe our ignoraunce.

Let vs now come to the seconde errour, which is, they woulde haue bene honorable at the first, and besides they would haue ly­ued according to their harts desire without any paines takinge. Now, this is a falt which is common vnto vs all: for there is ne­uer [Page] a man in the worlde but desireth to reigne with Iesus Christe in that euerlasting kingdome which he hath promised: But when we are tolde of the bearing of his Crosse, and of fightinge against Satan, the world, and our owne flesh, when we are tolde of this, I say, wée would gladly draw our selues out of the heape. Wherfore wée are so much the rather to consider of this place, to witte, that if we would be partakers of the benefits of Iesus Christ, wee must euen in this lyfe set our hand to the labor.

Would wée bée conquerours with him? let vs thē fight whiles wée are in the warres. And if we would be partakers of al his benefits we must abide all the miseries which he will haue vs beare in this world.Rom. 8.17. 2. Tim. 2.12. For as Saint Paul saith, if we bee partakers of his suf­feringes, we shall also be partakers of his ioyes.

Behold, Iesus Christ now sitteth in his glorious throne, into whose hande all things are put: But how behaued hée himselfe in this world before he came to it? what numbers of afflictions suf­fered he? surely he was so afflicted, as that his life was thought to be accursed: for, he was continually tormented all his life longe: and in the ende, wée sée that he suffered the most cruell death, that was possibly to be deuised, and that which is more, it séemed that God his father had forsaken him, in that he suffered him to be thus condemned by the world. Héere then we are to consider, that if we entend to enter into this immortall glory, wee must beare his crosse in this present lyfe.

Now, we coulde be very well contented to beare a litle blame for him. But we would not step one foote forewarde to abide to be hated, despised, and afflicted. And yet this must wee doo because it is not in vs to chaunge the inviolable order, which God hath sette downe. We would bee glad to know what is done in heauen, but we would not hold the way thither, and surely God hath not pla­ced vs héere belowe, but to the ende to serue Iesus Christ in this worlde, that we might be partakers of his glory, after yt wee haue with might and maine resisted all the assaultes whiche were at­tempted against vs, for the withdrawing of vs from him. But if we haue a desire to know what is done in heauen, and will not holde the way thither, it is very mockery. Wee must therefore, looke whereunto God hath called vs, and wee shall finde that hee hath called vs to fight, and it is so harde a matter for vs to ouer­come [Page 164] these combates as that wee shall haue no leysure to occupie our selues to séeke after vaine and curious thinges which serue vs to no purpose: but let it suffice vs that we haue this worde which sheweth vs which way to holde. Now, héere are two things wher­with Iesus Christ correcteth the curiositie of his Apostles: to wit, he telleth thē, that they must discerne of the thing which they haue to doe. Loe here I say, is the way whereby to correct this faulte whereunto we are enclined: to wit, we must looke vnto the thing which God teacheth vs by his worde: and then if we shall be very diligent héerein, we shal surely be quit of this fault, of béeing ouer foole hardie and curious. First of all, they haue the promises which Iesus Christ made them: The holie Ghost shall come vpon you: As if he shoulde haue saide, Bee you contented with that which God meaneth to send you. And therefore let vs learne, that when our nature tickleth vs, to cast away our fond presumption, and hold vs to the promises of GOD, and acknowledge and say, Loe wherunto it is that we must sticke, let vs then be contented here­with, & féed and refresh vs with it. And besides, wée haue the com­maundements of God to leade vs to vnderstand what he wil haue vs to doe.

When then wee knowe all this, wée shall haue no leysure to roame ouer the fieldes: But wée shall finde roome ynough in the high way: yea euen to flye when there were any thing spoken of which hée commaunded vs. Which thing wée shoulde more easily vnderstand, if we knewe that the woorde of God were the phisicke that coulde amend this curiositie. Howe is that? Beholde that GOD promiseth to assist vs in this present life: and Iesus Christ likewise hath taught vs to desire our daily bread. But what of all this? yet is not this the principall poynt: for hée extendeth his hand euen to the bruite beastes and féedeth them.

And therefore it were nothing for vs to looke into: But our principall matter is, to taste his mercie, knowing that hée hath compassion vpon most miserable wretched sinners, and woulde not haue vs perishe in our follies, but stretcheth foorth his hande to pull vs out of them, and therefore let vs trust vnto it. And be­sides, hee calleth vs vnto euerlasting life with Iesus Christ & pro­miseth vs that we shalbée vnited to him.

Séeing then we haue all these promises, let euery of vs acquainte himselfe with the same both morning and eueninge, and let it bee our wisdome. And besides, wée haue his commaundementes whereunto wée must cleaue, & not bée bée smeared with superstiti­on, and let euerye man forsake him selfe, and liue to together in loue and charitie one with another, soberly, chastly, humblye, and honestly: and be pure & cleane from all the filthinesse of the flesh: loe héere a generall rule.

Moreouer, in them euery man is taught his perticular lesson. For firste the Husbande is taught to vnderstande what loue hee ought to beare vnto his wife, and the wife her dutie towardes her Husband: and either of them are aduertised what instruction they ought to giue vnto their Children.

Moreouer, the Maiestrates are taught their lessons, and the Minister of the worde theirs. To be short, this is a perfect doct­trine accomplished in all poynts, where euery man is so sufficient­lye instructed, that no man can be ignoraunt of his charge and du­ty. And thus we sée what we haue to note: And therefore, if euery man apply himself héereunto as he ought, without doubt hee shall haue no leasure to royle ouer the féeldes.

Moreouer, if wée be such royling roges, surely it is a signe that we neuer vnderstood the principall point of our saluation, nor yet how to bée the Disciples of our Lorde Iesus Christ. And thus we may be able to reproue these curious questioners, and saye vnto them, freind, because you are so full of fryuelous questions, surelye you neuer yet vnderstood the effect of your Baptisme: for by it you should acknowledge the forsaking of your selfe, but you could now be wel pleased that God would giue you leaue to wander whether you lust your selfe: well, goe your waies and study of these questi­ons, and an hundred yeares hence they shall be disputed of.

Wherefore wée ought to bée so much the rather dilligent, thus to think, marke whereunto God calleth vs: to witte, that we might vnderstande, wherein the hope of our saluation consisteth, and be­sides, let vs beséeche him that hée would haue mercy vpon vs, and that we might also learne to amend our liues.

And héereunto must wee bende all our wit and force: and when wée shall stande in doubte to bée drawne this way and that, wee [Page 165] must altogether endeuour our selues to haue a regard to our con­sciences, and then is Iesus Christe our Phisition, who is able to remedy vs.

And according to this doctrine, let vs fal down before the Maie­stie of our good God, and acknowledge our offences, beséeching him not to remember our life passed, but to giue vs warning thereof, to the end that wée being ashamed of our selues, it would please him so to gouerne vs, as that after this life wée might reigne also with him, And so let vs say, O Almightie God, and heauenly father, &c.

The fourth Sermon of the Ascention.

Acts first.

9 AND when he had spoken these thinges, while they be­held, hee was taken vp an high, and a cloude receiued him vp out of their sight,

10 And while they looked vp stedfastly towarde heauen, as he went, behold two men stood by them in white ap­parrell.

11 Which also said, yee men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing vp into heauen, This same Iesus which is taken vp frō you into heauen, shall so come euen as you haue seene him goe into heauen.

NOw we haue at this time to hādle the matter which S. Luke héere setteth down, of the Apostles beholding of the Ascention of our Lord Iesus into hea­uen. Now, it is not enough for vs that we knowe the hystorie, but wée are al­so to note that hée setteth downe this as a chiefe Article of our Faith: and surely the Articles of our faith are not onely profitable, but also necessary for [Page] our saluation. Howbeit wée shall neuer profite our selues greatly by the Ascention of our Lorde, without we know it to be true in déede. And therefore Saint Luke saith, that the Apostles sawe him ascend: and saith besides, that they abode stil gazing there vn­till such time as they were told that they must tarry no longer, but returne to Ierusalem to doe their office as was commanded them, vntill the iudgement day. Thus we sée what he saith of the As­cention of our Lorde, to the end it might not be called againe into question. Very true it is, that is saide, that they are blessed which haue beléeued, and not séene. Wherefore, wée must beléeue this As­cention rather then if wée had séene it: for since the Apostles see it,Iohn 20.29. and tell vs of it, it is not for vs any whit to doubt thereof. Let vs nowe come, to the wordes of S. Luke, That a clowd receiued him vp out of their sight. Now, here might a questiō be asked, why the heauens opened not, that the Apostles might haue séen the glo­rious estate of our Lord Iesus. But there was great reason, why they should loose the sight of him, by meane of a cloude: because our Lord knoweth well enough our condition, and therefore for the correcting of our high minds, it is good we should be restrained. Yea verily, for if the Apostles had séene into heauen, wée woulde haue taken occasion thereby to haue growne hautie: as wée sée in déede we are thereto ouermuch giuen. For we are too too mad headed, and without modestie, to desire to vnderstand euen those secretes of God, which hée woulde not haue vs to knowe. And therefore it was expedient that this clowde shoulde be betwéene them and him. By this then wée are let to vnderstande, that we must be humbled, and not be so arrogant as to ascend vp into the heauens to search after the workes of the Lord. And this instruction are we to learne by this place.

Now, it is saide that there appeared two Angels: but Saint Luke calleth them men, according to the common maner of the Scripture: For because Angels are naturally spirituall, wee can­not sée them, except they shewe themselues in some visible shape. Wée sée now the reason why our Lorde would from the beginning haue them appeare in mens shapes: Howbeit he left alwaies som token with them that they might bée knowne to be Angels. For if we vnderstand thē to be only as mortall men, we would neuer do [Page 166] them that honor which vnto them apperteined, which woulde de­rogate from the giuing credite vnto their message. And there­fore God alwaies set a marke on them, that we might know them. For beholde, why it is héere saide,Iohn. 20.12. that they were clad in white ap­parrell: and in the resurrection also of Iesus Christe they appea­red in white garments. Héerein then the mind of our Lord was to declare that wée should reuerently receiue them, and vndoubtedly credite their message. Thus, I say, we sée, why S. Luke heere sayth, that they were apparrelled in white garments.

Now we are héere to note all the circumstances of this matter, for God would not haue any one of them to be lost, nor yet ouer­slipt: such is his infinite wisedome ouer all the worlde. If the An­gels then, haue such a Maiestie in their appearance vnto vs, what shall we say of the glorious appearing of our good God? For, the brightnesse of God his glorious Maiestie, is not only as the bright­nesse of the Sunne, but farre excelling the brightnesse of an hun­dred thousand Sunnes, if they shoane héere all at once in ye world. So then, whenas wée sée that the Angels should be so precious vn­to vs, as that wée should so wonderfully reuerence them, we must consider what the Maiestie of God is to bée spoken of, yea euen the very thinking of him, shoulde cause vs meruellously to worship him, and acknowledge our selues to be no body, in respect of him, who is maiestie it selfe. And thus wée sée what is meāt by the spea­king of the maiestie of Angels, although they appeare but in mens shapes? Now let vs come to their spéech, Yee men of Galilee (say they) why stand yee gazing vp into heauen? It is cōmonly thought that the Apostles were héere called Galileans by way of reproche: for wée sée that the Galileans were of no greate estimation in the world And therfore this was the opiniō that went of thē, as if the Angels should haue said, O yée miserable blockheads, know ye not that as hée is ascended vp into heauen, that so hee shall also come a­gaine? Howbeit you perceiue not why this was thus spoken, and in this sense. And therefore, let vs vnderstand, that the angels called the Apostles galileans, because they were taken to be such, & Iesus Christ was also so called: and when ye Disciples should haue béen accused to be of ye company of Iesus Christ, it was asked thē,Matth. 2 [...]. Are not you also of Galilée: And sithēce ye death of our Lord Iesus, [Page] the wicked haue vsed this saying, as may be perceiued by the wic­ked Apostate Iulian, who at his death said, Thou hast ouercome mée O Galilean: being angry and dispited with Iesus Christ, be­cause he felt that hée had ouercome him. And so were the Apostles called héere Galileans, because they were taken, for those countrie men.

Moreouer, it is not without cause that the Angels héere reproue them: For they knewe that Iesus Christe should ascend into hea­uen, because he had many times foretold them, and also said vnto them,Iohn. 16.7. It is expedient for you that I depart hence, For if I goe not away, the comforter wil not come vnto you: but if I depart, I wil send him vnto you. And therfore it must néeds be that they had for­gotten it, séeing they stoode gazing vp into heauen, to sée the issue thereof. For (as I haue already said) he had told them that it was expedient that he shoulde depart from them, and had also foretolde them that he must reigne, and that they shoulde serue him, héere in the meane time. Hée had likewise foretold them that he must sit at the right hand of God his Father, to make intercession for all the faithfull: but they rightly shewed that they had cleane forgotten whatsoeuer hée had so oftentimes manifested vnto them.

Now, this their ignorance should serue vs for a good aduertise­ment: For this was not spoken only for their cause, but for ours also. And therefore let vs marke the saying of the Angels, that we might vnderstand what cōmoditie redoundeth to vs by the ascen­ding of Iesus Christ. But as touching this saying, That he shoulde come, euen as they had seene him goe vp into heauen, That de­clareth that we must not loo [...]e for him héere belowe, but when hee shall come to iudge the world. And therefore, if wée will séeke for him now, wée must doe it by faith, which surpasseth all mens vn­derstanding. This then is the first point of this place that is wor­thie the obseruation. For since we naturally haue our mindes set­led héere belowe, it would goe very hardly with vs, if wée supersti­tiously bent not our selues, whenas wée shoulde heare the Ascen­sion of our Lorde Iesus Christe spoken of. And in déede, wee sée that this is already come to passe, For although hée be ascen­ded into heauen, and that it is written, that hee shall come downe héere below euen as hée was seene to ascende, yet are there greate numbers of suche as call them selues Christians, [Page 167] who haue not ceased looking for him héere on earth. So that, it hath come thus to passe, that they seeke for Iesus Christe in bread and wine, close him vp in a Pipe, carry him hither & thither, and play with him as they would play with a Puppet. And from whence came these superstitions, but because our nature is like a s [...]one heere on earth? Nowe when I say that we are giuen to be alto­gether earthly minded, it is because wee would eftsoones draw god and whatsoeuer knowledge we haue of him, to vs, and make him like vnto our selues. Wée see then by experience, that we would haue Iesus Christe continually in the flesh with vs: But wee see on the other side that the Angels would put vs beside such specula­tions, for they said, yée men of Galilée, why stand yee gazing vp in­to heauen. In very déede, if wée wil séeke for our Lorde Iesus, we must lift vp our mindes vnto heauen, but we must not séek for him after our owne mindes and vnderstandings, and therefore faith must at this present beare rule ouer vs. For, doe not we know, that faith surmounteth all mens reason? Neither haue wée suche a benefit by inheritance, but it is a grace giuen vs of God to amend our nature. Wée must then séeke for our Lorde Iesus but not with our eyes, eares, feete, nor handes, But it is faith that muste supply all our wantes. Euen so, whenas wee shall haue right­ly vnderstoode this place, we shalbe sufficiently fenced agaynst all popish fātasies, where they say by a peece of bread, Behold héere is God: & thinke he may be closed vp like a Puppet, Wee shall, I say, be sufficiently fenced against them, whenas we vnderstand, that it is said, that we must not seek for him according to a natural mans reason, but by faith.

Moreouer, wee are admonished, not to slacke the raines to su­perstition, and thinke that we cannot haue God corporally with vs. And because we haue béen continually infected with this vice, wee ought the more wisely to beware of this point.Exod. 32. Wee see that the Iewes said vnto Aaron, Make vs Gods to goe before vs. See howe wee woulde haue GOD to bee with vs, that wee myght handle him, and make sporte with him? Let vs therefore con­sider of this place, that wee might bee armed agaynst this vice: For, although Iesus Christe hath shewed himselfe vnto vs, and is our brother, yet can wee not comprehende him but by faith: nei­ther [Page] must we, when he offereth himselfe vnto vs, imagine of him according to our fantasie.

Moreouer, since we knowe that hée is ascended into this hea­uenly glory. Let vs marke why he is there. Let vs in the first place remember vs of that which is said, That he is not entred into the holy place made with mans handes,Heb. 9.24. but that he is in heauen, and therevpon maketh intercession for vs vnto God his Father: so that whensoeuer we pray vnto God, hée will not heare vs, with out Iesus Christ were there in our name: & being there, hée is our Intercessour, and is the cause that our praiers come vnto him, and that they are hearde, euen as though we our selues were priueled­ged, to speake our mindes, and powre out our heartes before God. And this is it which wée reade in the Epistle to the He­brewes,Exo. 28. That as the high Priest entred into the Sanctuary for all men. Euen so, since Iesus Christe is in heauen, wée shoulde bée certaine and sure, that hée maketh intercession for vs. For, when the high Prieste entred into the Sanctuary, hée had vpon his head the names of the children of Israell, and before him hée had twelue stones, which signified the twelue Tribes of Israell: which declared, that although hée went in alone, yet hee did it for all the rest.

Since then Iesus Christe is entred into heauen, and beareth vs there, although wee bee, as it were bruite beastes: and carrieth vs also before him, to declare that he hath vs in his heart: we must not then pray vnto God doubtingly, but be assured that our praiers shall alwaies be acceptable vnto him, because Iesus Christe spea­keth vnto him for vs.

Now, if this had béene before time throughly vnderstood, there had not béen such stoare of Superstition in Popery. For, what is the cause that they haue so many Patrones? Why runne they so faste vnto the Virgin Mary? Forsooth, because they neuer vn­derstood wherefore it was that Iesus Christe ascended into hea­uen, For if they had knowne yt hée had ascended to bée our Interces­sour, they would neuer haue saide that they had béen vnworthie to haue offered vp their prayers vnto God: and therfore had néede of Aduocates: But they had knowne yt since Iesus Christ is there in our name, and in our behalfe, wée might there haue accesse vnto [Page 178] him, without either Patrones or Aduocates. And this wee haue to vnderstande in the first place.

Moreouer, hée ascended, to the end that sitting at the right hand of God his Father, he might gouerne the worlde: and so gouerneth it, as that he alwayes assisteth his faithfull ones, and hath a special care ouer them.

Now, if Iesus Christ had continually abode with vs, ouer and besides that we had béen more giuen to superstition, hée had not had the power to haue had all thinges vnder his subiection. In déede hée might haue had it: But we speake not nowe of him, but according to that order which hée hath set downe in his Gospell. And to say the trueth, it were a foolishe kinde of reasoning to say, that otherwise hee had not béen able to haue done either this thing or that, because his power is infinite. But yet he saide after his re­surrection, that God had giuen him all power and authoritie: and this is also our beliefe,Math. 28.18 Mat. 28.18 That hee sitteth at the right hande of God his Father Almightie. What? is the meaning héere of this, that hée hath a seat, and sitteth in it? No, no▪ But this is it, that hée is an assistant vnto God, as his Lieuetenaunt. For, if wée woulde stande before the glorious Maiestie of God, we shoulde bée crushed to powder: but because wée might come vnto him, wée haue for vs there Iesus Christ, vnto whom hée hath giuen all thinges in sub­iection both in heauen and earth. And although our Lord Iesus had from eternitie all power, yet wée saide not, that hée sitteth at the right hande of God, vntill such time as we saide that he was ascended into heauen. Wée sée then that he had this preheminence ouer all, after that he was ascended. And héere wee haue to note, that the principalitie which Iesus Christe had, is for vs: because hée hath no néede of it himselfe, séeing hée is euerlasting with the Father. But what? hée is at the right hande of God in our nature, And it is to this end, that wée might bée assured wée shall take no harme being vnder his protection. In very déed, hée is wel cōtented that our fleshe shoulde bée troubled, and that wée shoulde bée wrap­ped in many miseries: But what then? Hee is alwayes ready to stretch foorth his hande to helpe vs: and let vs be assured, that al­though wée abide it for a time, yet in the ende it shall turne to our benefite. This then is it that we must vnderstand, when we heare his ascension spoken of.

Euen so, since he is ascended into heauen for vs, let vs note, that we ought not to feare any thing so long as we are in this world. Sure­ly, wée are subiect to so many miseries, as that it is lamentable to sée our estate (for we are more then miserable:) and yet wee must not be abashed for all that nor yet regarde our owne persons, but wée must haue a respect to our head, who is alredy in Heauen, and saye, although I be weake, yet beholde Iesus Christ is stronge i­nough to make mée stand vpright: although I be féeble, yet loe, Ie­sus Christ is my force: and although I bee full of miseries, yet is Iesus Christ in immortall glorye, and looke what hée hath, shall one day be mine, and I shall bee partaker of all his benefites.

Iohn. 12.31. Eph. 6.12True it is, that the Deuill is called the Prince of this worlde: but what then? yet Iesus Christ keepeth hym short: because hée is King both of heauen and earth.

Beholde the Deuils that are aboue in the ayre who warre a­gainst vs: but what of al that? Iesus Christ reigneth aboue them all, and directeth all our fight: and therefore we ought not to doubt of victory. I am héere subiect to such a number of changes, as might euen take a way my courage: but what then? Beholde, the sonne of God is my head, in whom there is no chaunge, and therefore I must trust to that.

Thus wee sée what a regarde wée must haue vnto his ascensi­on, and make it profitable vnto our selues. Let vs now come to the saying of the Angels, yee shall see him come downe from hea­uen, euen as you haue seene him goe vp: meaning that wée should not looke for him, vntill he come to the day of iudgement. Now, this shoulde not onely plucke all superstition vp by the rootes out of vs, but also draw vs to heauen vnto him. Howbeit wee haue already saide,Col. 3.2. that we must not séeke for him but by Faith. And since it is so, let vs harken to the saying of Saint Paule to the Col­lossians, Séeing Christ Iesus your head dwelleth in Heauen, in whom is all your lyfe, it is méete that your affection should bée on thinges aboue, although your bodies be héere. Wherefore, since wée know Iesus Christ to be aboue, wée must learne to forsake the world, and be vnited to him. There is a great space betwixt him and vs: & therefore it were impossible for vs to be ioyned together except we should vse the meane which S. Paule telleth vs, which is, to mortefye these earthlye members: as, Fornication, vn­cleannesse, [Page 169] couetousnes, gluttonie, pride, enuy, and al such like: would we be partakers of this Ascension? Then must we not se­parate our selues frō him. But how should we be ioyned vnto him? Forsooth, wee must mortifie these earthly members, and all other thinges that holde vs héere belowe. Some are geuen to vnclean­nesse, some to reuenge, some to gluttonie, and other some to cer­taine other vices.

Now then, as faith looketh vpward, euen so must our affections follow, to the end we might forsake the world, and al other things whatsoeuer which may any way hinder vs from béeing vnited vn­to our head. Héere wée sée what is meant by this saying, That he will come in such sort as he was seene to goe vp into Heauen, to the end wée might learne héereby to ioyne vnto him with al the af­fections of our heart. By this, ye Angels had no pretence nor colour to speake either of the apparrel of Iesus Christ, eyther yet of anie other things: as many fantastical braynes doe, séeking after things neyther requisite nor yet profitable to saluation: But the spéech of the Angels was to this purpose, to shew that he would come in visible maner.

As if they should haue said vnto the Apostles, it gréeueth you that your maister is taken from out of your company: howbeit let not ye gréeue you: because you shall sée him come againe in such immor­tal glorie, as yée now sée him. Nowe the Papistes haue other pretie childish subtleties, saying, that their GOD is in their masse, and and make such sport with him there, euen as they lust. Indéed say they, it is very true that Iesus Christ wil come visibly and mani­festly, to iudgement: But yet say they, at this present he commeth closely and couertly. Surely, he commeth daylie vnto vs: and it is not for nothing, that the Scripture saith the GOD visiteth vs: and it is also wel said of vs, that the Gospel is a testimonie of his presence.

But let vs marke how it is that hée dwelleth with vs. Indéed, S. Paule saith, that he dwelleth in vs by faith.1. Cor. [...].19. 2. Cor. 6.1 [...]. And therefore let vs not geue place vnto our foolishe dolteries, but vnderstande it accor­ding to the meaning of S. Paule, saying, Knowe yée not that you are the Temple of the liuing GOD, which dwelleth in you? And so as God is inuisibly euery where, and in all thinges, euen so Ie­sus [Page] Christ communicateth himselfe with vs.

And therefore, when wée are vnited to him, our soules are fedde with the very substance of his bodie (although he be in heauen) but it is through the operation of faith & of the holie Ghost. For Iesus Christ commeth not downe corporally. Wherfore, the papists are doltishly ignorant, when they say that he commeth closely▪ and hy­deth himselfe vnder the bread and wine, playing bo péepe. Nowe since we know the meaning of these wordes, let vs apply them to our vse: we haue saide that the Angels promised the Apostles (be­cause they shoulde not thinke that they had lost his presence) that like as they had séene him ascend into heauen, euen so hee shoulde come downe agayne. For, what should his descending, and the suf­fering of his death and passion, do vs good if we hoped not to sée him againe? But séeing it was promised vs yt he should come againe to gather vs together, & vnite vs to himselfe, what a notable comfort is this for vs. And therefore this was not spoken only in the be­halfe of the Apostles, but also for our behoofe: and herein resteth our comfort, that although we are separated from him a great long di­stance of, yet wil he shew himselfe for our redemption. And there­fore wée may boldly lift vp our heades, and ouercome whatsoeuer griefes may come vnto vs.

By this we may very wel iudge whether we beléeue in Iesus Christ or not. For when we heare it said, that he wil come againe, and then reioyce at it, and féele his comming in our heartes, it is a token that we haue a true beliefe in him. But contrariwise, if wée stande in doubte of that day, and haue a mynde to put it of, if it were possible, this is a true token of our infidelitie. Wée sée then, that faith at this day is very rare to bee founde in all the worlde. For, to heare the day of his comming spoken of, should bée a greate comforte to vs: because it is the day of our redemption, as Paule to the Romanes saith.Rom. 8.23.

Howbeit there are very few that beléeue it. But if we bee sorie and grieued to heare it spoken that that day will come, is this a to­ken that we hope Iesus Christ to bee our Redéemer? Surely our redemption was purchased by his death: but yet when wee shall be ridde of this bodie, no doubte of it wee shall then bee ridde of the bondage of sinne.

Loe, what an acceptable thing death should be vnto vs. Howbéeit, because the vniuersall redemption shal not be vntil the latter day, we ought to grone, as all the Creatures grone looking for that day, because they are subiect to corruption by reason of our sinnes, and desire to bée deliuered thereof.

Wée sée then that heauen and earth, and all the rest of the Crea­tures within them, doe desire the appearing of our Lorde Iesus Christ: and shall not wee be more ashamed, if wée haue no grea­ter desire of his comming, then in sensible beastes? For wée, haue not onely the knowledge which God hath giuen vs, as mortall men, but hée hath also giuen vs an vnderstanding to wishe and desire his comming. And therefore,Luk. 21.28. this is a verie notable true signe of infidelitie, when as wée haue no desire to sée that day: and besides, if wee rere not vp our heades so often as wée heare this saying pronounced, we sufficiently declare that we haue no fayth in Christ Iesus. Moreouer, as the faythfull are comforted by this sentence, euen so must the wicked féele an inward feare of this comming. And although they make a iest at it, yet doeth feare and trembling possesse their heartes: which is this, that our Lorde Iesus putteth them ouer vnto his iudgement.

And the reason why many men take Iesus Christ for their Iudge,Iohn. 19.37 is this: because they haue no will to receiue him, when as God his meaning is, to giue them him to be their Redéemer. In verie déede, there are a number which at this day, make but a laughing game thereat: yet shall they neither will nor choose,Apoc. 1.7. but feele his heauy hande whom they had persed. For there are some suche men, vnto whom if the iudgement of God be named, that wil an­swere and say, Well Syr well, we shall be sure to sée him, but not vntill hée come. As certeine of my gentle scoffers, scoffed here vpon Tuesday last past, who not onely made light account, and set them selues against God in the Tauernes, but also made a mu­ster héere, of their impyetie and shamelesnesse: and because they woulde shewe them selues to be lyke the most impudent whores of the Stewes, they came and scoffed at God and his word, euen in the Church, in the presence of all his faythfull. Well let them scoffe at him and spare not, yet shall they féele him, I say, whom they had pearsed.

And let them be sure that he will come, yea that he will come, For he is not ascended vp into heauen, to suffer ye wicked ones to scoffe at him, but that hee will surely be reuenged of them: and kéepeth a register of all their scoffes and scornes. And since they wil not wil­lingly come to a reckoning, they shall neither will nor choose but receiue iudgement with their fathers and brothers, the Deuilles. Nowe, since this doctrine is deliuered vnto vs for our instructiō let vs in Gods name learne to humble our selues, and worship Iesus Christ: for since he is Prince and Gouernour of the Angels, whom they obey, let vs follow them for company. And besides, let vs be well assured, that we may boldly pray vnto him, since hée stand­deth for vs before God his Father. Moreouer, let vs comfort our selues, if at this day we suffer much, and let vs looke for that day of the Lorde, whereat our Lorde Iesus hath promised to be, to v­nite vs vnto him selfe.

And according to this holie doctrine, Let vs fall downe be­fore the Maiestie of our good God, and acknowledge our offences, beséeching him that he will not suffer vs to walter our selues con­tinually a sleape in them, but awake vs and vnite vs vnto his Sonne, And since hée hath called vs to the knowledge of him, that it woulde please him to graunt vs the grace to profite our selues therein, vntill such tyme as wée bée brought to that perfection, wherevnto hée calleth vs. And so let vs all say, O Al­mighty God, & hea­uenly father, &c.

The first Sermon of the descending of the holie Ghost.

Actes. second.

1 ANd when the day of Pentecost or Whitsontide was come, they were all with one accord, in one place.

2 And sodainly there came a sounde from heauen, as it had been the comming of a mightie winde, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

3 And there appeared vnto them clouen tongues, like as they had been of fyre, and it sate vpon each one of them.

4 And they were all filled with the holie Ghost, and began to speake with other tongues, as the spirite gaue them vtteraunce.

WEe are all, so naturally enclined vnto incredulitie, as that it behoueth vs to haue the trueth of the Lord, Authen­tically sealed in our hearts, to the end we might receiue it, & stay our selues wholly thereon.Ephe. 1.13. It is verie true that God sealeth it in the heartes of all his faythfull ones by the holy Ghost: and marke also, why it is called the seale of the Gospell: yet they which are to deliuer this doctrine all the worlde ouer, ought first of all to be sea­led, and besides, God must so gouerne and guide them, as that we might at this day be fully assured of the doctrine which they haue published vnto vs, and not receiue it from them as from mortall men, but as from God the true Authour thereof. For we know, that our fayth should haue a weake foundation, if we should laye it vpon the authoritie of men. And we shoulde then continually wauer and doubt, if we lifted not vp our mindes farre beyonde the worlde, and founded them in, and vpon God, since we know, that [Page] this word of saluation which is daily preached vnto vs, commeth from him. Thus we séee, why it is, that this historie is set downe vnto vs in writing: to wit, because, that as often as we read, or heare the word of God, we should remember, that whatsoeuer is cōteined in the old and new Testament, was not deuised by mans brayne, but that God hath testified by a visible signe, so farfoorth as was néedfull, that men were but the instrumentes onely of his holie spirite. For, as concerning Moses and all the rest of the Pro­phetes, they approued them selues to be sent of God: Insomuch, that if we should stande in doubt of their doctrine, it were both vn­thankfully and wickedly done of vs.

Now, it is here said, That before the Apostles preached the Go­spell throughout the world, God sent downe his holy spirite vpon them: to the ende we might know, that they deliuered nothing as from them selues, but faithfully distributed the thing which God had commaunded them. We sée then to what purpose this present historie must serue our turnes: For if we were not assured that the Apostles had as it were, become newe men, and that God had gi­uen them a sure and certaine token which declared, that he allow­ed, and authorized them, what should become of our faith? Surely it would be but a running opiniō. For thus we might well enough say, I think so, or, it should séeme so: But it were impossible for vs to say, that we were rightly and firmely grounded & stayed theron. For, what is in man? And therfore because this worlde is nothing but vanitie,Hebr. 6.9. it is very méet we should, according to the saying of the Apostle, take Anker hold in heauen. Here then we sée, how we may ryde out, all stormes & tempests: so yt whatsoeuer either the world, or the Deuil deuise, yet are they not any way able to hurt vs: But we shall alwayes haue a sure faith which shal neuer bend one way or other, whē we shal take this for a grounded principle, That it is God that guideth & calleth vs to himself, & that the doctrine which is taught vs, is his pure & vndoubted trueth. Loe then, to what end we must referre ye whole summe & effect of that which we haue at this present read: Forsooth, euen to this ende & purpose, yt whē God raised vp this mighty winde, his meaning was to declare by a visi­ble signe, yt he had chosen the twelue Apostles to carry the glad ty­dings of saluation hither & thither. In very déed, there were at that time but eleuen of them: But yet there remained alwayes a full [Page 172] and setled number, because that Matthias was placed in Iudas stead. Thus we sée, that the number was filled vp which was be­fore scattered: howbeit this want, was but for a litle while, as appeareth by the words of Saint Luke in the first Chapiter going before.Act. 1.26. Here nowe we sée the full number of the twelue Ambassa­dours of our Lorde Iesus Christ, whom he had before chosen and marked. Neuerthelesse, it was méete hée should furnish them with graces sufficient and requisite for so high and wonderful a calling. Wherefore it was behoueful they should be fashioned and framed from aboue, and that God should miraculously worke in them far beyond mans reach and capacitie.

Now, as for the sound of a mightie winde or tempest, that, shewed that the holy Ghost came not downe vpon the Apostles, to make them, onely partakers of his graces, but also that the whole world should be shaken therwith: For it was so spoken of by the Prophet Aggeah, in these words: After a while, saith the Lord,Agge. 2. I will make heauen & earth tremble. Which was in déede fulfilled, in the prea­ching of the Gospel. We sée then, yt when the holy Ghost descended, that it was not only for a handful of men, but he came down to fill all the endes and borders of the worlde: For otherwise, we shoulde haue had but a colde pull of it, as we say, if we were not through­ly persuaded that God all at one time sent his holy Ghost for vs also, for the establishing of our fayth. Moreouer, God could haue sēt the holie Ghost after a mylder maner, if he had listed: But let vs note, that this sodeine violent winde was to abate the pride of the flesh: and againe to waken vs, because we are ouer slow and drou­sie. Surely, there are two great faultes in vs, which hinder our féeling of the power of the spirite of God, for the submitting of our selues vnto the Gospell. The one, is, That wee are proude and verie presumptuous. Nowe, all this must be pulde downe, that both great and smal of vs might humbly learn, so to worship God, as to abase our selues altogether, and be contented to liue by him and by his méere fauour & grace. And therfore it is méete that this pryde which is so déepely rooted in our nature, should be violently reformed: Because we are ouer much hardened therein. On the o­ther side, euery mā féeleth such an heauy earthly burthē in himself, as that our mindes are altogether occupied & nusled in this world. [Page] To be short, we are become so blockish, as it were, as that we can féele no taste either of God, or of the power of his holie spirit, with­out we be wakened spite of our téethes. We sée then why it is saide, that there arose a tempest, as if it had béen a violent or migh­tie winde. Nowe, we are to consider in the first place, that the ho­lie Ghost descended to shake, and terrefie the whole worlde, and all mankinde, that we might worship God with one accorde, and bée obedient vnto him. But by the way, we must be wakened, be­cause we are too too blockish: and we must also lay aside all arrogā ­cie, that wée might be brought to obey his Maiestie, séeing wée right well know that we are most miserable, and no better then dust and ashes: yea our soules also are verie corrupt, vntil it plea­seth the Lord to renue them. Moreouer, when the holie Ghost came downe in such a likenesse, to wit, in clouen and firie tongues, that was the more liuely to expresse vnto vs, howe, God would worke, by the preaching of the Gospell. If a man speake, his voice vani­sheth away in the ayre,Rom. 1.16. and dyeth. Nowe, it is saide that the Gos­pell is the power of God vnto saluation, to all beléeuers. What? can a sounde which flyeth in the ayre and vanisheth, bring vs to the kingdome of heauen? There is no man liuing that is able of him selfe to make the least flye that is: it is saide, That the image of God is repaired in vs, [...]. Pet. 1.23. and that wee receiue this incorruptible séede, whereby we might attaine to this heauenly glorie, be com­panions with the Angels, be transfigured euen into the glory and immortalitie of our Lorde Iesus Christ, and be partakers, as S. Peter saieth,2. Pet. 1.4. of the diuine nature. And may all this be done by the voice of a man? No sure: But it is here namely saide, that the ho­lie Ghost is linked with an inseparable bonde, vnto the word prea­ched. For, why tooke hée vpon him this shape of tongues? Sure­ly, there is alwayes some likelihood, betwéene the visible signes, and th [...] trueth which is figured in them.

And therefore we are to consider, wherefore the holy Ghost ap­peared in the fourme of tongues: forsooth, it was to shew, that hée woulde be in the mouthes of the Apostles, and woulde giue them whatsoeuer was requisite for the executing of their office and com­mission: and likewise, so blesse their labour, as that it should not be vnprofitable.

Nowe, we knowe in the first place, that the most able man [Page 173] that is to be found, cannot vtter one word, without ye spirit of God gouerneth him. And herein, God sheweth what we are,1. Cor. 12.3. séeing wée are not able to open our mouthes, to speake one word to his glory, which shall turne to any purpose, without it come from him.

It must therefore néedes fall out, that the spirite of God gouerned the Apostles, for els, they had become dumbe. We sée besides, how groase headed they were: For they might haue bin more quick and sharpe witted, but that God meant to shew vnto vs, as in a glasse, by their groasenesse, what we are, vntill such time as he hath en­lightned vs with his grace. In déed, when the Apostles kept com­pany with our Lord Iesus, whō they tooke to be their maister, they verie soberly obeyed his doctrine: But in the meane while, what was their knowledge? without doubt, we sée that they were verie beastes, insomuch that when we consider of them, howe litle they profited in so good a Schoole, their slacknesse should make vs asha­med. Howbeit this their dealing hath greatly profited vs: For, be­hold, they were chaunged in the minute of an houre, whereby the grace of God hath shined a great deale the more, because wée sée they spake so wonderfull mightely of the secretes of God, whereat euerie man was abashed, where, before, it was thought to be no­thing.

Moreouer, let vs consider of their power and constancy: surely, they all quayled, and it should séeme that their fayth was dead and of no force. For, mark how Peter euen one of the chiefest of them villainously forsooke his Maister, and yelded himself the bondslaue of Satan. Wherefore it was God that must put too his hand: be­cause it was impossible for any man to helpe it. And so, let vs ob­serue, that it was not without cause that the spirite of God appea­red in the likenesse of tongues, because it was a declaration, that God, by that meane had allowed and sealed vp the doctrine of the Gospell, to the ende we might reuerently, and humbly receiue it, and not reason from whence it came: séeing God hath stretched foorth his arme, and declared him selfe to be the Authour thereof. And besides, it is not without cause, that they were clouen and fie­rie tongues. For we know, how mankinde had deuided it selfe, by the estraunging of it selfe from God. And the platforme that was layde for the building vp of the Tower of Babylon,Gen. 11 7. was the cause that men vnderstood not one an other, nor yet spake one to the o­ther: [Page] so that they thought, that God of verie anger had deuided them. Howe falleth it out then, that the Apostles hauing been al­wayes enclosed, as simple and vnlearned people, in this corner of Iudea, were able to publish the Gospell throughout the worlde, if God had not accomplished that which before hee had promised: to wit,Isaiah. 19.18. that all languages and nations should know him? In déede, it was said that all men should speake the Hebrew tongue, that they might agrée together in one true fayth: But it is more manifestly set foorth when as it is saide, that all the faithfull, of what nation soeuer they were, should call vpon God with one accord, and crye Abba,Rom. 8.15. Father: notwithstanding their sundry languages. Thus we sée how the spirite of God would poure abroad the power of his tongues,Ephes. 2.14. to the end that all men might call vpon the name of God, that we might all, be made partakers together of this couenant of saluation which apperteined onely to the Iewes, vntill the wall was broken downe. And herein we sée the vnspeakeable goodnesse of God, in conuerting of yll into good. For if we séeke for the cause, why there are so many languages in the worlde, we must néedes confesse it to be the curse of God, and yet herein appeareth his won­derfull fatherly goodnesse and mercy, to haue the glad tydinges of e­uerlasting life to be caried through ye world in all languages. Thus we sée howe God hath conuerted euill into good. And therefore we haue hereby the more to glorifie and blesse his holy name, because wee knowe that the diuersitie of tongues haue not letted him to declare vnto all the worlde that hée meaneth to receiue all such as had before estraunged them selues from him, and thrust them all, as it were into his bosome, vntill suche time as hée hath brought them together into the heauenly enheritance. And thus much for this. Howbeit, this were not enough to haue the Gospell preached, and to haue God to be knowne all the world ouer, without this doctrine had foorthwith power, liuely to touch mens heartes, that they might be brought to obedience. This then was the cause why the fyrie tongues appeared. Yea verely, For in the first place, we had néede to be purged, because we are altogether corrupt and defiled. For let our mindes be searched, our affections and desires examined, and they will be founde altogether soule and stinking. And therefore we must be as men new perboyled, that God might purge vs after a straunge maner.

Agayne, wée are on the other side as colde as may bée. Where­fore wée had néede to bée enflambed with the loue of GOD: and where wée are wholly geuē to the world, let vs looke vp into heauē, which must bée brought to passe by his word. Thus we sée, to what purpose this historie serueth vs at this day: In the first place, it is to the end we might receiue the doctrine of the Gospel, as a certain and vndoubted truth: because it beareth about with it the marke of God, is sealed with his holy spirite, and is also an excellent testi­monie of our adoption. Wée sée then how we are brought to obedi­ence, by reason that God hath allowed, and confirmed his Gospel, to the ende our faith shoulde not be changeable, and wée become wauering, for the altering of our mynde and opinion: But that wée shoulde goe on continually in the right way, vntil such time as we haue finished our course. Here we sée howe by the power of the spirite of God our faith shal ouercome the worlde.Colos. 2.23. For (as wée haue already said, and as S. Paule also saith) if we should buylde vpon the wisedome of men, what should become of it? But so long as we haue the spirite of God for our ground woorke, let vs be sure neuer to bee shaken. In the meane while, wée haue to cōsider with our selues, because God maketh vs at this day Partakers of the thing which we haue of late declared: that is, let vs call vpon him with one accord (although I say we are deuided in tongues) & be­sides let vs become new mē through the doctrine which is preached vnto vs: in such sort as yt we might know, that there is fire in it to change and cleanse our minds, wits, & hearts, frō al the corruptiōs of this world. For although Gods chosen people are brought home agayne by the meane of ye Gospel, yet sée wée the enemies of ye truth become more cruel and rebellious, so that it is euen sufficient to set all the worlde together by the eares, as by experience at this day may bée séene. For during the time that the Gospel was not prea­ched, all the world liued carelesly and quietly: and there were not many questions nor disputatiōs. And how so? Forsooth because the diuel then raigned without gainsaying. But when our Lord Iesus appeared with the pure doctrine of the Gospel, what skirmishing was there foorthwith. Wée sée also at this day, what contentions there are amongst those which beare the name of Christians.

So much the rather therefore are wée to beséech the Lorde, to [Page] make vs féele wherefore the holie Ghost descended vpon his Apo­stles, and to beséech him also to graunt vs that grace, that we may obediently testifie that it was to gather vs together, that where before we were seuered, wee might nowe bee conioyned vnto our Lorde Iesus Christ, as members of his bodie, and let him bee our true head.

Moreouer, for the attayning thereto, we are also to beséech him so to strēgthen vs as that our hearts may be set on fire, where now they are key colde: and also to perboyle vs▪ that the corruptions of our nature might be scoombed of, and to be short, that we might bée so renued, as that wee might be quite and cleane separated from the worlde. Wée shal oftentimes sée how the word of God becom­meth a fire, but it is after another sort, euen to cōsume those which speake against it: according to that saying of the prophet Ieremiah, where he sheweth that it fared euen so with the children of Israel, whom the worde of God consumed like straw and stubble for their wickednesse and rebellion. And I beséech you let vs sée, how many at this day can pleade not guiltie because they stubbornely lifte vp themselues against God, like foming wild beasts: or els some scor­ning, and profane men, who set themselues against God, not ge­uing any authoritie or honour vnto his holy word? In very déede these people shal neuer make the worde of GOD vnprofitable, not yet without power, but it will consume them like a whot con­suming fire, to cender and ashes. Let vs therefore make this obser­uation, why it was the wil of God to haue the holie Ghost appeare in fyery tongues: Surely, it was to this end and purpose, that the faithfull might vnderstande that they had great néede to be so tou­ched to the quicke, as that GOD might chaunge and renue them.

Thus wee see in summe, what wee are to consider of, for the better applying of this historie to our vse. Howbeit, ouer and besides al this, let vs marke the twoo principall poyntes of fayth: and then let vs returne to our selues, and vnderstand what wée woulde doe, if GOD wrought not therein. First of all, there is in faith, knowledge and certayntie, and next of all, is assured­nesse and constancie.

Now whē God speaketh, we are euē deaf at his words, bicause our [Page 175] mindes are altogether set vpon this world: and indéed we wil ac­count all the wisedome that is conteined in the Gospell to be verie foolishnesse, vntill such time as God hath enlightened vs.1. Cor. 2.14. In the first place therefore, God must open our hearres for the vnderstan­ding of this trueth, & for sticking thereto, otherwise we shall be both deafe, blockish, & without apprehending of this word. Thus much then for this point. Nowe, for the second point, it shall stand vs in hand stoutly to withstand all the assaultes & attempts wherewith Satan assaileth vs: and to be well armed & appointed for the same purpose. And how is it possible for vs to be so, vntill such time as God hath put to his helping hand? and there is no way to help that but by the onely power of the holy Ghost. And therefore, although we be an hundreth times taught the Gospel, yet forsomuch as wée are light & fickle brained, we should soone be pulled from it, if God did not strengthen vs therin: yea and at this day it is so full of pe­rils & threates, as that the silly faithfull soules can no sooner open their mouthes to call vpon God, but that they are foorthwith, at the point, to be put to death: neither can they any sooner confesse their faith, but that the fire is lightned vtterly to abolish the memo­rie of our Lord Iesus Christ. Since then it is so mightily stood a­against, as that they who should defend the Christian faith, Satan hath enflamed thē, if it were possible, vtterly to ouerthrow al, must not God therfore shew his power herein? We are then at this day taught by experience, & admonished, what néede we haue to put in practise the thing cōteined in this history, & thervpon pray vnto the Lord, & beseech him, that as his wil & pleasure was to testifie vnto vs the comming of the Gospel into the world, which was wrought by the power of his holy spirit, euen so likewise that euery of vs for our part might feele ye same. And, as we ought fully to be persuaded and resolued, that the word which is preached to vs is not of men: Euen so also ought not the interpretation therof, as S. Peter saith,1. Pet. 1. 20 he handled according to euery mans fantastical head: for he setteth down these two pointes together, saying, Since the spirite of God hath spoken by his holy Prophets, we for our parts also, when wée wold vnderstand that, which is deliuered vnto vs by their doctrine, ought to lay aside our owne naturall reason, & fantasies, in saying, It séemeth thus to mée, & I thinke so: & soberly & discréetly, beséech the Lorde to gouerne, and lead vs by his holie spirite vnto the vn­derstanding [Page] of his word, wherof he him selfe is Authour. And thus much for this: now, forsomuch as, at this day we see, how the De­uill hath filled the world with a number of Sectes, so that there are many heretikes which cease not to trouble and infect the puritie of the Gospell: and besides, since there are such a sort of contemners of God, and of Mastife Curres, in whom is neither fayth nor yet religion: so much the rather had we néede, continually to offer our selues before the Lord, to the end he might enlighten vs with his trueth, and we to be so vnited vnto our Lord Iesus Christ, as that nothing may be able to separate vs from him. And againe, let vs beséech him to graunt vs a stout and constant minde vnto the end: Because, that although the enemies of the truth be neuer so fierce, yet that we may notwithstanding perseuere & cōtinue still therin, that Satan therby might be vāquished. Neither must we be care­ful onely for our selues, but also, think of others. In déed, it is an ea­sie matter for vs here at this day, to make cōfession of our faith: for we sée not the bright stambing fires before vs, as our poore brethrē do, neither do we heare ye terrible threats wherwith they are threa­tened, nor yet féele we the tempests & garboiles that [...]ight vpō their heads: & yet are we the members of one bodie. Now, what is ye rea­son why we thus assemble our selues together, but to the ende wée might be ioyned together in a true brotherhood, since God of his in­finite goodnesse hath adopted vs for his children, & daily witnesseth vnto vs, that he will be our Father? And therfore it is good reason that we should be careful for these who are as it were, in ye Wolfes chapes, & daily féele straunge troubles: let vs haue this compassion vpon them at the least, as to beséech the lord to succour and streng­then them in all their conflicts, so farfoorth as shall be néedfull: and not suffer them to be confounded: So that howsoeuer Satan go­eth about to ouerthrow their fayth, yet that it would please him to giue them patience and perseuerance vnto the ende. We had néede also to be admonished of the thinges that are euen at this day come to passe: For, if euer there were any persecution, at any tyme at­tempted, it is euen nowe, and especially, in one place the furie of the enemies of God, hath within these eight dayes béene so set on fire, as that they haue taken greater occasion thē euer hath hither­to yet been séene, to execute their crueltie against the poore fayth­full soules of God. We sée also howe Satan hath possessed these [Page 176] cursed Tyrauntes, insomuch that they are become so frantike, as that there is no hope any way of their recouerie. And euen there, are our poore afflicted brethren thrust out for a pray, being wat­ched and narrowly looked vnto, and it may very well bée séene yt there is the greatest preparation for fury and cruelty that may possibly bée thought on: so that the obstinacy of the wicked against God, is more incorrigible then euer yt was. This then is our be­nefite, that God in the meane while hath graunted vs leasure earnestly to consider of it, and to put this historie in practise which here we sée: to wit, that since the holy Ghost descended vpon them who were of one accord (as Saint Luke maketh mention) Let vs learne to assemble our selues: and although we be far from blows, yet let vs ioyne our selues with them that fight, by ayding them in their conflictes, with our prayers, and supplications: and that in such sort, as that the spirit of God may be the guider of the whole, and we for our part, so zealously enflamed, that in stead of our key coldnesse, that we may feruently and earnestly call vpon our God. And as for our brethren who haue néede to be confirmed in such as­saultes wherewith they are attempted, let our good God shew that it is he him selfe which worketh in them, and guideth and gouer­neth them.

Moreouer, we are throughly to consider of this saying, of consent and accord, that we might be brought backe againe vnto our head, euen Iesus Christ our lord. For we sée, how plentifully the Gospell is at this day preached: but if there were a register kept of ye faith­full, we should finde a small number of them, & thin sowne: For there are but a fewe places where the pure doctrine of God is prea­ched: and yet, where there is any Church, there are in it many cō ­temners of God, and dissolute and prophane people, who would in­fect all the rest, if God by his wonderful power preserued them not. And besides, there are some which would euen cōtinue stil in their beastlines. Yea, ther are such a number of them at this day, as that for these twenty or two and twenty yeares a man cannot perceiue that they haue gone one step forward in the knowledge of God: for they no more know faith, nor worship, thē very bruit beasts. Other some there are, who although they haue knowledge sufficient, yet want courage and boldnes, and are altogether drowsie, making no reckoning either of God or of his word so that the number of ye true shéepe & Lambes is verie small.

Now, we sée by the way, what scope and elbow roome the Deuill hath all Europe ouer: for there, all his leasings, deceits, and illusi­ons are receiued: and the world is so bewitched, as that it is im­possible to bring it againe in frame. We sée how men doe not onely set them selues against God, & wittingly blaspheme him, but also are furiously enflamed, that a man woulde thinke they would pull the Sonne out of heauen, & take his light from him. Now, when we sée all this geare, we had need ioyne our selues againe vnto our head, Christ Iesus our Lord. For, what is the cause of this cōtempt and vngodlines, & of so many rebellions & mockeries in the world, but because grace is not graunted to all men to be ledde vnder this excellent Shepheard, whom God his father hath appointed for vs. And we know that they whō he kéepeth, shall neuer perish, as hée himself hath said.Iohn. 6.39. & 10.28. Wherfore, let vs submit our selues vnto our lord Iesus Christ, if we will féele the benefite & accomplishment of the thing which S. Luke here speaketh of, to our saluation: to wit, that God doth not onely speake to our eares, & his voice resounde in the ayre: But his doctrine also, pearseth our heartes, that wée might be so enflamed, perboyled, & renued, as that we might cast away the corruptions of this world: So that, as we would be taken & allow­ed for his people, we might in trueth call vpon our God in ye name of our Lord Iesus Christ, vnto whō we are conioyned, to this end, that he might perfectly vnite vs vnto God his father. And therfore behold why this holy Table is at this present made readie for vs. For, as I haue before said, we cannot possibly be partakers of any of the graces of the holy Ghost, but by being the members of our Lord Iesus Christ. Now, how can we attain therto, without he of­fer himself vnto vs, & biddeth vs vpon such a condition, as truely ioyneth vs vnto him: and he so dwelleth in vs, as yt whatsoeuer hée hath, is oures, whereby we might enioy the benefites which were graunted to him in our name:Isaiah. 11.2. It is said in the prophesie of Isaiah, That the spirit of God rested on him: howbeit, it was not, because he had any néed of the same, nor yet for his own priuate vse: But it was for the benefite of his whole body: to wit, the whole Church. Let vs then know, that since the Supper is at this time offred vn­to vs, that the meaning of our Lord Iesus is, that we shoulde séeke all our felicitie in him. And because we are very farre from him, he of his great goodnesse commeth neare to vs.

In very déed, hée leaueth not his heauenly glory: For we must not thinke that hée descendeth héere below (as the Papists imagine) to bestowe his body and blood vpon vs: But although wée are farre from him, yet ceaseth hée not to refresh vs with his body and blood, neyther let vs leaue so farre foorth as shall be néedefull for vs to bée perfectly vnited to him.

Nowe, marke why I say, perfectly, although in very déede hée maketh vs go on in some measure: but yet how euer it is, let not vs leaue to ioyne our selues to him. And let vs vnderstand that hee will not deceiue vs of our hope séeing hee hath declared vnto vs, that hée is our head, and wée his members: and that if wée suffer him to gouerne and guide vs, wée shall finde him to bée a good and sure guide: and the power of his holy Spirite to bée infinite to de­fend vs. In the first place then, when wée come to this holy Ta­ble, Let vs vnderstand that it is a secrete, surpassing our capacities and therefore wee must héere giue place vnto faith. And let vs know, that the thing which wée cannot conceiue and vnderstand, is notwithstanding accomplished by the secret and inuisible grace of the holy Ghost: for, sée how we are made partakers of the body & blood of our Lord Iesus Christe.

Moreouer, since hée dwelleth in vs, and that wée are truly and in déed his body, let vs not doubt, but that whatsoeuer Isaiah spea­keth, of the graces of the holy Ghoste, they belong and are pro­per vnto vs, In very déede, wee receiue not the holy Ghoste per­fectly:Ephe. 4.7. because there is a measure of the gift (according to the say­ing of Saint Paule) and wée must increase in it more & more. Be­sides, it is not without cause that our Lorde Iesus hath so distri­buted it to vs by certaine and sure portions and degrées: For, it is néedefull that his power shoulde bee made perfect in our weake­nesse, to the end wée might hang alwayes vpon him,2. Cor. 12.9. and carefully call vpon his holy name: that wée myght also bée humbled, because wee know that there are many things in vs which may be amen­ded. Wée see then that wee should vnderstand, that Iesus Christ dwelleth not in vaine in vs: because hee will effectually witnesse vnto vs, that his holy Spirite will powre foorth his power to strengthen vs in him, that we might forsake this world, and come vnto heauen. It is said in that place of Isaiah, That the Spirit of wisedome rested vpon him: by which hée meaneth to shew, that [Page] we are nothing but darknesse and miserable blinde foules: and in steed of thinking our selues to be both able and skilfull, wee shal alwaies peruert and falsifie the trueth of God, vntill such time as hée inlightened vs, and graunted vs an heauenly cléerenes, which commeth not vnto vs either by birth or yet by inheritance. And it is said besides, that he hath the spirite of the feare of God: and al because our desires are so many enimies against the will of God, vntill such time as they be refourmed,Rom 8.7. and altogether chaunged. Besides, it is said also that he hath the spirite of power, to the ende we might vnderstand our weakenesse, so that we coulde not choose but quaile, if we were not strengthened from aboue, wée shoulde then feele al these things, whenas we should come to the receiuing of the testimonie which is héere set downe vnto vs: and we should be persuaded that as mortall men distribute the bread and wine, e­uen so will our Lord Iesus worke therein, because it is done by his authoritie & in his name: & is no deuised thing of mans braine, but that Iesus Christe is the Authour thereof. Thus we sée wherunto we must apply this history.

Moreouer, let vs bée so vnited vnto this head, as that wee may worship our God with one heart and one mouth and in the meane while let vs ioyne our selues together. For it is not said that the a­postles ioyned with all, in one accord Because al the whole towne of Ierusalem was an enimie vnto them: and yet although they were but few in number, and a contemptible people, they ceased not to persist, and ioyne themselues together vnder the Ensigne or banner of God, in the name of our Lord Iesus Christ. Euen so thē séeing there are such a number of Curre Dogges barking against vs, and that the Diuell raiseth vp, so diuersly, many troubles, let vs ioyne our selues together so much the more constantly: and let not the bond of our concord bée loosed,Rom. 12.18. that wée may by that meane be able to set our selues against Satan & all his supporters. True it is that we ought generally to séeke for peace with all men with­out exception: For we should loue those which hate and persecute vs, and wish them good, although they deserue it not: and yet wee must be their enimies, for otherwise we should separate our selues from Iesus Christe. And therefore, let vs set our selues against all the world and let vs besides vnderstand that we must forsake our selues to be ioined to our Lorde Iesus Christe: and he doth vs no [Page 178] hurt nor wrong in raysing vp the incredulous people against vs, whenas we goe about to make an accord amongst our selues, and to ioyne and vnite our selues together in the name of our Lord Ie­sus Christ: and let vs also vnderstand that he alloweth and liketh of our accord, and although we are but a handfull of people, yet let vs boldly contemne the worlde, and all Satans adherents, & gods enimies. And although in respect of them wée are nothing, let vs not doubt but that God alloweth of vs, and dwelleth amongst vs. At what time that S. Luke described this matter here in this place the Sacrifices were vsed in the Temple as they had béene before time, and the Priest was there present in all his dignitie and pon­tificalibus. There was also the common order of all their glorious and glittering shew, so that a man would haue thought that God had been tyed to this people.

Now, the holy Ghost descended, but vpon one house, nay rather but vpon one chamber, wherein the poore fearefull Disciples were euen like silly lambes cōpassed about with wolues. A man would haue thought that the state of these people was miserable: and yet see, the holy Ghost appeared vnto this little and simple company. Euen so, although we at this day be contemptible in the worlde, & no great number, yet let vs not doubt but that the Sonne of God will poure out the power of his holy spirite vpon vs, and cause vs to féele his graces so farre foorth as he séeth to bée néedefull: and therfore let vs be so cōtented with this inestimable benefit, as that we enuie not the prosperity of the vngodly, & enimies of God: and that hee doth vs no wrong that the worlde desp [...]eth vs, and bee ta­ken for rotten mēbers: let this bée but as a matter of nothing vnto vs, so that we remain vnited and ioyned together: I meane in that vnite which we haue by the meane of the Gospell, and of our Lord Iesus Christ, who is the fountaine of all goodnesse and life, and in whom also is all perfect ioy.

Now let vs fall downe before the Maiestie of our good God, and acknowledge our offences, beséeching him to forgiue vs them, to correct vs for them, & wholy to rid vs of them. And so let vs al say, O Almightie God and heauenly Father. &c.

The second sermon of the descending of the holy Ghoste.

Actes. 2.

13 OThers mocking, saide, These men are full of newe wine.

14 But Peter standing forth with the eleuen, lift vp his voice and said vnto them, Yee men of Iury, and all yee that dwell at Ierusalem, be this known vnto you, and heare my wordes.

15 For these are not drunken, as yee suppose, seeing it is but the third houre of the day.

Ioel. 2.28. 16 But this is that which was spoken by the Prophete Ioell.

17 And it shall come to passe in the laste daies (saith God) that I will powre out my spirite vpon all fleshe: and your sonnes and daughters shall Prophesie, and your young men shall see visions, and your olde men shall dreame dreames.

THese wordes which Saint Luke hath héere set down in the beginning of this percell of Scripture, serue for a nota­ble example of the wickednes and vn­thankefulnesse of men. For beholde how the Apostles, who were very wel knowne to bée plaine countrie men, & of base estate, spake diuers and sundry forreine tongues and languages, excellently handling the true religion, and declaring the saluation which was in Christe Iesus. Nowe, this thing in déede, was sufficient to haue caused thē, who heard it spo­ken of many dayes after, to fall into a great admiration: and there­fore it could not be chosen, but that they which presently beholde, & with their owne eares heard them speake, must néedes bee stirred [Page 179] vp to bée brought to the true obedience of the worde. Howbeit they would not acknowledge the workes of God, whereby they ought to haue magnified and glorified him, but euen made a iest at them. Well, this fault was not onely in the worlde at those dayes: but wee may sée it also in this our age. For God worketh so mightily and effectually alwaies, as that wee are no way able to compre­hend his doings: and yet for all that, wee are no whit moued to thanke him for them, but especially, for that great benefite of cal­ling vs to the knowledge of his Gospell, which hée hath largely be­stowed vpon vs. But cōtrariwise, do we not see a rabble of scoffers mocke and iest at the wordes of the Lorde, and make as great an account of preaching, as if it were an olde wiues tale tolde vnto them? In which their doing, beare they that reuerence vnto the worde of God which they ought? without all doubt, no. Notwith­standing, although there bée a great number of suche scoffers, as neither profite by the word of God, nor yet by his miracles, (as some such there were in ye cōpany of the Apostles) yet let vs not be any whit offended at them, but continue firme and constant, least we fall into the like condemnation, for the contempt of the won­derfull works of God, & for our not honouring of him as hée ought And this is a good obseruation for vs in the first place. Now, S. Luke saith, that Peter in the behalfe of all the Apostles shewed that the scoffers and contemners of God were greatly ouershot, to scorne and iest at such a myracle which they manifestly saw before their eies, and that they ought not to haue attributed it vnto any. such drunkennesse, wherof they accused the Apostles. For, he saith, Yee men of Iewry, and all yee that dwell at Ierusalem, bee this knowne vnto you, and heare my wordes: for these are not drun­ken as yee suppose, seeing it is but the thirde houre of the day. We haue héere first of all to obserue, that the men in olde time reckoned the houres otherwise then we doe: For they made the first houre to begin at the rising of the Sun, and so they had alwaies twelue houres from the Sunne rising vnto the going downe thereof, and as the daies grew lōger or shorter, euen so made they their houres. Moreouer, they deuided the day into four quarters, to wit, the first quarter beganne at the first houre, and continued vntill the third, the second, from the thirde houre, vnto the sixte, the thirde, from sixe to nine, and the fourth, from nine vnto twelue. So that the [Page] sixt houre was as it were, noone, and the third, was betwixt eight and nine in the morning as wée reckon.

Let vs now come to the reason which S Peter brought, by which hée shewed that they were not drunke, as the Iewes thought. For, it is as much as if hée had saide, It is nowe about the thirde houre of the day, and that is (as I haue alredy saide) betwixt eight and nyne in the morning: and therfore it is not likely that men would bée drunke at that time of the day: and such men especially which gaue themselues to serue God, And héerein Saint Peter re­prooueth drunkennesse, and sheweth it to bée a very dishonest thing for a man to be drunke in the morning. And yet wée shall finde a great many moe then néedeth, that are giuen to bée so drunkenne as that they haue neither wit, nor reason. And some of them will not bée drunke with that which they take in the morning, but will be so blockish with their wine which they gull in the euening, as that a man woulde thinke they had doone nothing els but bybbed from the péepe of the day. Another sorte there are, who for feare they should not haue drinke enough, will beginne so early, as that they will bée drunke all day long: and thereupon the wine so berea­ueth them of their wit and vnderstanding, as that they can neither goe nor stand. And therefore Saint Peter saith, That these men héere are not drunke: whereby he declareth that God is highly dis­pleased therewith.

Nowe, wée are in this place to note, that the Iewes so abhor­red drunkennesse, as that when any of them woulde fall to bee drunke, they woulde bée sure to drinke drunke in the night, be­cause they were ashamed that any other should sée thē. And héerein we sée that men were more shamefast at those dayes then they are in these: because at yt time they loued to doe it in the night season, & now they make no reckoning to be drunk at noone dayes: and then forsooth, they must néedes haue a nap, & so kéepe the liquor warme in the presse. And this we are sure to sée by them, that they will shew themselues what they are euen at the sermon time: For yée shall not see them scarscely an houre at the hearing of the worde of God, but they will foorthwith manifest ye very effect of their drun­kennesse by their drowsines, so that they receiue no benefite in the whole worlde by comming thither. And no maruell: For the wine and the meate being not perfectly digested, by reason of [Page 180] the ouer gorging of them selues, wherein they excéede the very bruite beastes, causeth them to be so heauie a sléepe. Yea, and yée shall many times see them sléepe at a Sermon in the morning, whenas a man would think they had neither eate nor drunke. But héerein they shewe what greate delight they haue in the woorde of God: and to this they can make no excuse, because they come pre­sently from their rest. And now to the matter, S. Peter speaketh according to the manner and custome that then was, saying, It is not like that these men are drunken, since it is but the thirde houre of the day.

Hee nowe heere applieth this myracle which was doone vn­to his doctrine. For, the holie Ghost was not geuen to the Apostles that they should bée silent, whenas any thing were mooued which tended to the glorifiyng of the woorkes of GOD: but that they shoulde be strong, constantly to deliuer out the woorde of God, and publishe the Gospel accordingly as our Lorde Iesus had graunted them the meane. And therefore wée sée that God wrought wonder­fully, and that the preaching of the Gospel throughout the whole worlde by so small a number, came not from men. Now, S. Pe­ter in his Sermon sheweth an holy boldnesse of the spirite of God, and geueth them to vnderstand, who made a mocke at the myracle that was done, and thought not reuerently of it, that Iesus Christ manifesteth not himselfe vnto those which scorne and scoffe at his woorkes.

Moreouer, when hée sayeth, And all yee that dwell at Hierusa­lem, Hée speaketh vniuersally to all men, and yet it appertayned not but vnto those which made a scoffe at the myracle. For there were many at that time, who reuerently accompanied the Apo­stles, that greatly woondred at the matter.

Why doeth S. Peter then attribute it to all those that ie­sted thereat? Forsooth hée did it to this ende and purpose, that by the reproouing of this their faulte, hee meant too doe good too all the companie, and by that occasion confirme so muche the rather the heartes of all suche as were abashed, and make them in an admiration and reuerence of the woorkes of GOD, by vtterlye refusing the foolishe and fantasticall opinion of all these, and suche like Gybers. And euen so woulde wée [Page] likewise at this day doe: For if there were any scoffers amongest vs, and that we meant to reprooue this fault, we would crie out a­gainst all, although the whole companie were not to bée charged therewith. And yet no doubt of it, all they whose consciences were guilty, would surely condemne themselues: for their owne wicked­nesse would sufficiently witnesse against them, without béeing charged therewith, or yet the matter by péecemeale layde open. Neuerthelesse, it is méete that men sometimes shoulde somewhat bée narrowly pressed, and found fault with, as it were, by name, and to bée remembred, and poynted at with the finger for their of­fences: because they woulde then, bée more ashamed, then if they were generally reprooued.

Howbeit it is a wonder to sée, that some men can in no wise abide to be rebuked of their faultes, although it bee generally done: for thus they would couer it, why say they, although there are a great many guiltie of the vice which is spoken of, yet are there some, in­nocent thereof. And so, we shall heare them murmure, saying, why crieth he out thus against al mē? For, if ther be any such, must hée therfore reproue al the rest, and speake it so generally. Thus wée sée howe al of vs continually murmure against doctrine, and yet we sée, that although there are but a very fewe which made a iest at this myracle here spoken of, yet S. Peter deliuereth his spéeche vnto all men, when he saieth, All yee that dwell in Hierusalem, be this known vnto you that these are not drunke as yee thinke. And therfore when we sée that S Peter spake after this maner, let not vs be wiser then the holy Ghost, and when there shal bee a faulte which is not in all men, yet let not vs for al that cease to tel al men of it, and although there may be some which are not guiltie there­of, yet let them by this example take héede they murmure not, be­cause they knowe themselues to be voyde of such a vice, and yet if they should be more narrowly looked into (it may be) they woulde be found guiltie of a thousand other as great. Let vs now see what Saint Peter meaneth by the making of this Sermon: Forsooth, his intent is, to bring the people to the knowledge of Iesus Christ: and this was indeed the end why the tongues were geuen to the Apostles. For the diuersitie of tongues did euen shut vp the gate against the Gospel, so that without the knowledge of them, it seemed impossible to haue the Gospel to bee preached throughout [Page 181] the worlde. And therefore Saint Peter saith, If yée remember the prophesie of the Prophet Ioel, the promise therein conteined, is accomplished by the comming of Iesus Christe. For, after the threatnings of the Prophet, hée setteth downe this promise, That God woulde powre out his Spirite vpon all fleshe. Wherein hée sheweth, that when God will punishe the iniquitie of ye world, it is not to make his chosen people dispaire, but to confirme them by the exercise of the troubles in this world, which are rather laide vpon the chosen then vpon the reprobate.

Wée sée then, how yt our Lord is not so redy to powre out his ven­geance, but that he pardoneth al those which haue recourse vnto his goodnesse and mercy. For hée is alwayes néere vnto thē,Psal. 145.18. which truly call vpon him. Now this hath continually béen the common vaine of the Prophetes, that when they woulde comfort poore sin­ners, they would bring them to the knowledge of Iesus Christe. And it was not without cause: for take vs from Iesus Christ, and then, what shall wée finde in God? Surely we shall finde suche an excellencie and highnesse in him, as shall throwe downe all crea­tures into the bottomeles depth: because that when we are come to the knowledge of our selues, wée shall finde nothing in vs, saue sinne and iniquitie: to present our selues before the maiestie of so great and mightie a Iudge, wée can by no meanes possible looke for any other thing, then the iustice and rigour of his vengeance, pre­pared for vs by reason of our iniquities. And I beséeche you, which of vs in déed shall bée able to exempt him self from out of the num­ber of sinners, that hée may bée bolde to say, hée had not néede haue recourse vnto the knowledge of Iesus Christe? And yet wée sée howe carelesse wée are in this behalfe. In déede there is no man that will openly say, that he woulde not know Iesus Christ: how­beit there are but a fewe which will trauell to séeke for him as hée ought to bée sought for. And therefore it is no maruell though the Prophetes stoode alwaies vpon this point to bring vs to the knowledge of Iesus Christe: for that is the only meane by which wée must bée reconciled vnto God, and wheron we must be groun­ded.

Wée sée then that when the holy Ghost came downe so abundant­ly, that it was to none other end, but that al such as were estraun­ged from the knowledge of Iesus Christe, might bee called and [Page] we al be brought together to be the people of God, & so receiue him. But for the better vnderstanding of this place, we must lay open the saying of the Prophet, It will come to passe (saith hée) in the lat­ter dayes that I will powre my spirite vpon all fl [...]she: and your sonnes and daughters shall prophesie: and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dreame dreames. Heerein is to bee obserued, that although the Prophet saith that the holy ghoste shall bée powred out vpon all fleshe, yet that all men shall not re­ceiue him: because we sée that a great many are bereaued thereof. Neuertheles, God calleth vs all, but we vnthankefully and wic­kedly withstand him. And this is alwayes a true saying, That none commeth to him, but such as the holy Ghost draweth. By this also wee are let to vnderstande, that if wee come vnto Iesus Christe by faith, and so, humbly holde vs there, we shal receiue the graces of the holy Ghoste so abundantly, as that we may bee able to communicate them vnto our neighbours. And thus we see, that Iesus Christe calleth vs all in generall: howbeit it is very farre of, that all doe come vnto him, because we refuse the benefit that is offered vs. And how so? Forsooth by reason we make our selues not worthie thereof, alwaies desiring rather to giue our selues vn­to our vanities, then vnto the feare of God.

Wherefore, since it is so that many receiue not the graces which are offered them, although they are all called: heere might a question be asked, why the Prophet then speaketh after this ma­ner. In very deede, the Prophet his meaning is to vse this gene­rall kinde of speech, to shew that God wil bring some of all estates and ages to knowe him: and also because he maketh now no diffe­rence betweene the Iewe and the Gentile: For the power of the holy Ghoste worketh euery where. We see that the people of the Iewes, were euen the very first amongst all other nations, who knew the true God: and although the beléeuing Iewes were few in number, yet was the holy G [...]st offered vnto them all. In like case were the Gentiles also instructed by ye preaching of the Gosp [...]l. Thus we sée it to be no wonder in the saying of the Prophet, that God hath powred out his spirite vpon all flesh.

Nowe the doctrine which at ye beginning was set foorth by ye preaching of the Gospell came first of all to the Iewes, to the ende [Page 182] that the saying of Ezechiel might be fulfilled, that from the foun­taine of Hierusalem, the riuers should ouerflowe euen vnto the vt­termost partes of the earth. Wherein, the meaning of the Prophet is, that the diuersitie of tongues had neuer byn spread abroade, if ye holy Ghost had not byn sent vnto the Apostles, to haue dispersed their doctrine throughout al the world. And therefore let vs right­ly cōsider, how God by his incōprehēsible wisedom hath woonder­fully wrought to haue ye gospel to be published: for although Iesus Christ had very sufficiently instructed the Apostles: yet were they but grosse headed, vntill such time as they had receiued the holye Ghost: But after they had receiued him, sée howe they became of simple soules, such great and learned Clarkes, as that they vnder­stood the diuersitie of tongues, the want of which (as I haue alrea­die said) was an hinderance to the publishing of the Gospel. And therefore, it was not without cause that the Prophete Ioel saide, that God had powred out his spirite, vpon al flesh.

Moreouer, wee are to obserue héere in this place, this saying, That the olde men and young men shoulde prophesie. Where­by hee declareth that both olde and young shoulde bee partakers of the grace of the holie Ghost, And therefore, it is not now néedful for vs to séeke for any glose, to vnderstand the meaning of the pro­phet in this spéech, All fleshe▪ because the very Texte, sufficiently sheweth his meaning. Nowe, when hée saieth, That the young men should prophesie, Hée spake then according to the manner of the time in those dayes: because GOD vsed these two kindes of meanes with his seruantes, either in vision, or els in dreame, ac­cording to that which is set downe in the booke of Numbers,Num. 12.6. that God would shew himself vnto his Prophets by visiōs, & speake vnto them in dreames: But it is said, that he would speake with his seruant Moses, mouth to mouth. Howbeit it might bee alleadged, yt the doctrine of the law & the doctrine of the Gospel is not like: & yt although God manifested himselfe vnto the Prophetes in the olde Testament, yet will hée not shewe himselfe vnto vs after that sort. To answere this, it is to bée considered, that although the prophet vseth these tearmes, yet doeth he it, only to fit himself vnto the time wherin he was, because we shuld not say, but yt we haue a greater measure of knowledge. For to say truely, GOD neuer shewed [Page] himselfe so manifestly in the olde Testament, as hée hath nowe doone to vs by Iesus Christe. For where God had appointed the of­ferings to bée sacrificed in the old Lawe, which were but figures and shadowes to bée oftentimes vsed, that it might bée séene that men could not come néere vnto God, but by the meane of a Media­tor: wée haue at this present the personall presence of the Media­tor himself, who once for all hath fulfilled euery thing, by his alone Sacrifice. And therefore there is nowe no Sacrifice to bée doone for the purging and sanctifiyng of sinnes,Mala. 1.11 but onely the Sacrifice of thankesgiuing vnto our GOD: who therewith is well pleased through our Lorde Iesus Christe. And although it is said in the Scripture, that at the comming of our Lord Iesus Christe, Altars shoulde bée set vp throughout the whole worlde, to Sacrifice vnto the Lorde our God, yet must wée leaue the figure, and rest in the trueth. For, inasmuch as the Altar was a signe of the worship of God, because it is saide that Sacrifice should bée doone all the worlde through, the meaning is, that God shoulde vniuersally bee worshipped. No doubt of it, the Pope, with all his Colledge of Cardinalls, and all other his deare friendes the Romanistes, wyll conclude vppon this place, that there must néedes bée Sacrifices had. And therefore, when they woulde haue their Masse allow­ed, they bring in this testimony of ye Scripture. Howbeit if it were so, as they make themselues beléeue, Surely, surely they muste néedes conclude that Iesus Christe hath not yet appeared, nor that his kingdome is yet come. Neuerthelesse, wée sée the contrary. And therefore, séeing the Prophets haue thus said, it is not only to shew that God should be vniuersally worshipped in spirite & trueth, and not in figures:

Moreouer, héere is to bée noted, that the saying of Prophesie, is not meant by the Prophet, to tell of things to come, as in the olde time it was taken: but the meaning is, that whosoeuer shal haue the gift of Prophesie, shoulde bée able to teache and apply doctrine, to the ende wee might bée brought to the knowledge of the trueth and profite therby, And so, the promise that was made vnto vs of the cōming of Iesus Christ, conteyneth thus much yt we should be more déeply séene in heauēly things, then heretofore we haue béen. For we sée in very déede yt S. Paul calleth it the wisdome of God: [...]. Cor. 2. [Page 183] vnder which all things should be subiect. Wée are nowe therefore, briefly to conclude vpon all things: That as our Lord in sen­ding Iesus Christe his sonne into the worlde, to make vnto vs a more liuely assurance of our saluation: Euen so, by sending vnto vs his holy spirite, hée hath made vs greater partakers of his graces, then euer hée did before. The Prophet Ioel soone after setteth downe in this place, That God will doe wonderful things in heauen aboue, and signes in the earth belowe, blood, fire, and vapour of smoke: that the Sunne shall bee turned into darkenes, and the Moone into blood. These wordes shewe, that greate and maruellous things must come to passe, whenas Iesus Christ shall manifest himselfe. And why so? Forsooth, because the the worlde shall then bée changed. For they which woulde fol­lowe Iesus Christe, must wholy alter their nature. And there­fore is the comming of our Lorde Iesus Christe called the latter dayes.

Moreouer, this is not spoken for a day, or for a moneth: But the Prophet referreth all that is héere spoken, vnto the whole time frō the comming of our Lorde Iesus Christe, vntill the day of iudge­ment: so that wée must inclose the wonders which shall bée doone at the comming of our Lorde Iesus Christe, from the time of his comming, vnto the last day. And to say truely, the forwarder wee goe, the greater thinges will hée doe, as wee dayly finde by experi­ence. Nowe, that we vnderstand the meaning of the Prophete, let vs apply the same to our owne vse. For where it is said in the first place, that God will powre out his spirite vpon all flesh, we are to consider, that the greatest benefite which we can possibly haue, is to bée partakers of the graces of his holy spirite. And this is the most excellent gift which God bestoweth vpon vs, in respect wher­of, all the worldly liberalitie which he rendreth vnto vs is nothing For, whensoeuer wée are bereaued of this gift, Iesus Christe is taken from vs, and vntill suche time as wée are clothed with him, all whatsoeuer wée doe, tendeth to our condemnation. Where­fore, God saith, that we cannot be his children, without wee bee be­deawed and sprinkled with his holy spirite.

Nowe, if wee bée not his children, wée shall neuer be partakers in the communitie of Iesus Christe. For although God offereth vnto vs his graces, yet is Iesus Christ nothing vnto vs vntill such [Page] time as wée haue receiued the holy Ghoste. Let vs then conclude héereupon, that vnto the time that wee are partakers of the holy Ghost, wée are reprobate, and the children of perdition: because it is hée which sanctifieth and maketh vs holy in the sight of God. So then, vntil such time we be as called by ye knowledg of ye holy scrip­ture (which wée can no way haue, but by the gift of the holy ghost) to lift vp our mindes on high, wée are fast tyed to the earth, as if it were in Hell. And héereupon it is that Saint Paule speaketh, when he saith,Rom. 8.14. That they which haue receiued the holy Ghost, gui­ding themselues according to the will of God declared in his word are I say, the children of God: and they, without all doubt are the children of the Diuell, who following their carnall affections giue themselues ouer to their pleasure and delight. Thus we sée how necessary a thing it is for all those that would bee acccounted the children of GOD, to haue the knowledge of Gods trueth.

Moreouer, wée cannot excuse our selues, if wée receiue not his graces: because hée offereth them vnto al: but wée are so accursed as that we forsake the benefite which hée would bestowe vpon vs. And héerein is knowne the goodnesse of God to vs warde, that al­though wée striue alwaies against his will, yet ceaseth hée not for all that, to offer himselfe vnto all: as it is héere said by the Prophet That young, and olde, men and women, shal all receiue of one and the selfe same spirite. And it is to this end, that no man might bée able truely say, O Sir, I am vtterly vnlearned: and therefore it is impossible for one to vnderstand the Scriptures, whereby I might receiue the holy ghost. Why, I beséech you, hath God pro­mised vnto the learned alone, the grace of his holy spirite, & to none other? Nowe, surely this is a very strange kinde of excuse. And therefore, when wée sée that God so liberally dealeth, as that hée will neither exclude age nor sexe from receiuing of the holy ghoste, are not wée very accursed to withdraw ourselues from him, when as hée is desirous to come néere vs? And to say the truth, the pro­phesie that is héere spoken of, is to be accomplished at the comming of our Lorde Iesus Christe. Wherfore since he at this day hath all power and dominion, it must néedes bée manifested, & wée must also vnderstand, that the thing which was foretolde, is most true. And therfore since the thing that was spoken of, hath so manifest­ly appeared, cursed are we, if wée doe not our best to walke in the [Page 184] feare of the Lorde, and receiue the graces whiche hee offereth vs. Wée haue alredye saide, that hée taketh exceptions too none: Howbeit wée are so wicked, as that wée cannot take in good part the thing offered vnto vs. What is the cause thereof? surely, surely, our infidelitie. Wherefore neither young nor old can ex­cuse themselues of this fault, in not submitting themselues vnto the obedience of God, séeing hée hath called all thereto. Neither is it to be wondered at, although they so little profit in this doctrine For if we marke it, the elder sort will growe so obstinate, and ouer growne in wickednesse, as that no exhortation will doe them good. And the younger sort are as dissolute as Diuels: For if they bée exhorted, they waxe so madde as that to any mans thinking they would tread vnder foote, both God, and his worde, and as many as deliuer it.

Now, Iesus Christe, who is the wisedome, mildenesse, and méekenesse of the Father, wyl haue nothing to doe with such foxes and Lions. And if they be told, that they must humble themselues vnder the mightie hand of God, to the ende they might vnderstand that they haue a Father in heauen, who will not care onely for their bodily nurriture, but will also en