of a ſynner,
made by the moſte vertuous
ignoraunce of her blind
ſet foorth & put inn
print at the inſtant deſire
of the right gracious
lady Caterine ducheſſe
of Suffolke, and
the erneſt requeſt of the
right honourable Lord
William Parre, Marqueſſe
Wylliam Cicill havyng taken muche profite by the readyng of this treatiſe folowyng, wiſheth unto every Chriſtian by the readyng thereof like profite with increaſe from God.
Moſt gentle and Chriſtian reader, if matiers ſhould be rather cōonfirmed by their reporters, thāan the reportes warraunted by the matiers, I might juſtly bewayle our tyme wherin evil dedes be well woorded, & good actes evil cleped. But ſynce trueth is, that thynges bee not good for theyr prayſes, but be prayſed for theyr goodnes, I doe not move the to like this chriſtiāan treatiſe, becauſe I have mynde to prayſe it, but I A.ii.exhorte 4A2v exhorte the to mynde it, and for the goodneſſe, thou ſhalt allowe it, for whoſe likyng I laboure not to obtaine, onely moved by my example, theyr judgement I regarde, chiefly confirmed by the matier. Truely our tyme is ſo diſpoſed, to graunt good names to evil fruites, and excellent termes to meane workes, that neither can good dedes enjoy theyr due names beyng defrauded by the evil, neither excellent workes can poſſeſſe theyr worthy termes beyng forſtalled by the meane.
Inſomuche that menne ſeeke rather, how muche they can, then how muche they ought to ſay: inclinyng more to theyr pleaſure, then to theyr judgement, and to ſhewe theim ſelves rather eloquent, then the matier good: ſo that 5A3r that neither the goodneſſe of the cauſe can move them to ſay more neither the evilneſſe leſſe. For if the excellencie of this chriſtian contēemplacion, ether for the goodneſſe herein to mervaile appearyng, either for the profite hereupon to the reader enſewyng ſhould be with due cōommendacion folowed, I of neceſſitie ſhould either travaile to fynde out newe wordes, the olde beyng anticipated by evil matiers, or wiſhe that the commen ſpeache of praiſyng were ſpared until cōonvenient matiers were founde to ſpende it: ſuche is the plentie of praiſyng, and ſcarcenes of deſervyng.
Wherefore lackyng the maner in woordes, and not the matier in deede of high commendacion, I am cōompelled, to kepe in my judgementA.iii.ment 6A3v ment with ſilence, truſtyng whōom my report could not have moved to like this preſent treatiſe, the worthyneſſe of the matier ſhall compell to geve it honour.
Any yearthly manne would ſone be styrred to ſee ſome miſtery of Magike, or practiſe of Alchumy, or perchaunce ſome enchauntement of Elementes: But thou whiche art chriſtened, haſt here a wonderful miſtery of the mercye of God, a heavenly practiſe of regeneracion, a ſpiritual enchaūuntment of the grace of God. If joy and triumphes be ſhewed when a kynges chylde is borne to the worlde, what joye is ſufficient, when Goddes childe is regenerated from heaven. Thone is fleſhe whiche is borne of fleſhe: the other is ſpirit, which is borne of 7A4r of ſpirite. The one alſo ſhall wither like the graſſe of the yearth in ſhorte time, the other ſhal live in heaven beyond all tyme.
If the findyng of one loſt ſhepe, be more joyfull, then the havyng of nientie and nyne, what joye is it to conſyder the returne of a ſtraye childe of almightie God, whoſe returne teacheth the nientie and nine to come to their fold? Even ſuche cauſe of joye is this, that the Aungelles in heaven take coumforte herein: be thou therefore joyefull where a noble childe is newly borne: ſhewe thy ſelfe gladde where the loſt ſhepe hath wunne the whole flocke: be thou not ſad, wherin Aungelles rejoyce. Here mayeſt thou ſe one, if the kynde may move the a woman, if degre may provoke the a woman 8A4v woman of highe eſtate, by byrthe made noble, by mariage mooſte noble, by wyſedome godly, by a mightie kyng, an excellēent quene, by a famous Henry, a renoumed Katerine, a wife to him that was a kyng to realmes: refuſyng the worlde wherin ſhe was loſte, to obteyne heaven wherin ſhe may be ſaved: abhoryng ſynne, whiche made her bonde, to receive grace, whereby ſhe may bee free: diſpiſyng fleſhe the cauſe of corrupcion, to put on the ſpirite, the cauſe of ſāanctificacion: forſakyng ignorance wherin ſhe was blind, to come to knowledge, whereby ſhe may ſee: removyng ſuperſticion, wherwith ſhe was ſmothered, to enbrace true regilligion, wherewith ſhe may revive. The fruit of this treatiſe (good reader) is thy 9A5r thy amendement: this onely had, the writer is ſatiſfied. This good lady thought no ſhame to detect her ſynne, to obtein remiſſion: no vilenes, to become nothing, to be a membre of him, whiche is all thynges in all: no folye to forget the wyſedome of the worlde, to lerne the ſimplicitie of the goſpel: at the laſt, no diſpleaſauntnes to ſubmitte her ſelfe to the ſchole of the croſſe, the lernyng of the crucifixe, the boke of our redempcion, the very abſolute library of Goddes mercy and wyſedome.
This way thought ſhe her honor encreaſed, and her ſtate permanent, to make her yearthly honor heavenly, and neglect the tranſitorye for the everlaſtyng. Of this I would the warned that the profite may enſue. Theſe great miſteries 10A5v miſteries, and graces be not well perceived, excepte they be ſurely ſtudied, neither be they perfitely ſtudied, except they be diligently practiſed: neither ᶈprofitably practiſed, without amendement. Se and learne hereby what ſhe hath doone, then mayeſt thou practiſe, and amend that thou canſt do: ſo ſhalt thou practiſe with eaſe havyng a guide, & amend with profite, havyng a zeale. It is eaſyer to ſee theſe, then to learne: begyn at the eaſyeſt to come to the harder: ſee thou her confeſſion, that thou mayeſt lerne her repēentance: practiſe her perſeveraunce, that thou mayeſt have like amendemente: diſpleaſe thy ſelfe, in eſchewyng vice, that thou mayeſt pleaſe God in aſkyng grace: let not ſhame hinder thy confeſſion, whiche 11A6r whiche hindred not the offence: be thou ſure if we knowelage oure ſinnes, god is faithful to forgeve us, and to clenſe us from all unrighteouſnes: obey the Prophetes ſaiyng: declare thy wayes to the lorde. Thus farre thou mayeſt learne to knowe thy ſelfe: nexte this be thou as diligent to releve thy ſelf in Gods mercy, as thou haſt been to revele thy ſelfe in thyne own repentaunce. For God hath cōoncluded al thinges under ſynne, becauſe he would have mercye upon al, who hath alſo borne our ſynnes in his body, upōon the tree, that we ſhould be delivered frōom ſinne, & ſhuld live unto righteouſnes, by whoſe ſtripes we be healed: here is our anker, here is our ſhepherd, here we be made whole here is our life, our redempcion, our 12A6v our ſalvacion, and our bliſſe: let us therfore now fede by this gracious Quenes example, and be not aſhamed to become in confeſſion Publicanes, ſince this noble lady wyll be no Phariſie.
And to all ladies of eſtate I wiſh as earneſt mynde to folowe our Quene in vertue, as in honour: that they might ones appeare to preferre God before the worlde: and be honourable in religion, whiche now be honorable in vanities: ſo ſhall they (as in ſome vertuous ladyes of right highe eſtate it is with great cōomfort ſeen) taſt of this fredom, of remiſſion, of the everlaſtyng bliſſe, whiche excedeth all thoughtes & underſtandynges, and is prepared for the holy in ſpirite, for the whiche let us with oute interceſſion in holynes 13A7rholines and purenes of life, offre our ſelves to the heavenly father an undefiled hoſt: to whom be eternall prayſe and glorye, through all the yearth, without ende. Amen.14 A7v 15 A8r 16 A8v
A lamentacion or complaynt of a Sinner.
When I conſidre By knowledge of ſin, cōommeth coneſſffeſſion in the bethinking of myne evill, & wreched former lyfe, myne obſtinate, ſtonye, and untractable herte, to have ſo muche exceded in ivilnes, that it hath not only neglected, yea contēemned, and diſpiſed gods holye preceptes and cōommaundmentes: But alſo embraced, receyved, and eſtemed vayn, foliſh, and feyned trifles: I am partly by the hate I owe to ſinne, who hath reigned in me, partly by the love I owe to all ChriſtiansA.i.ans 182A1v ans, whome I am contente to edifye, even with thexample of myne owne ſhame, forced Charitie is not abaſhed. and conſtrayned with my harte and wordes, to confeſſe and declare to the world, how ingrate, negligent, unkynde, and ſtubberne, I have bene to god my Creatour: & howe beneficial, mercyful, and gentill, he hath been alwayes to me his creature, beyng ſuche a miſerable, and wreatched The argumēent of the booke. ſinner. Truly I have taken no lytle final thing upon me, firſt to ſetfurth my whole ſtobernes, The authors ſinnes. & contempt in wordes the whiche is incomprehenſible in thought (as it is in the Pſalm.xii. Pſalme) who underſtandeth his fauts: next this to declare The goodnes of god. the excellent beneficence, mercy,and 192A2r cy, and goodnes of god, whiche is infinite, unmeſurable: neyther can all the wordes of Angels, and men, make relacion thereof, as apperteyneth to his moſte high goodnes.
Who is he that is not forced to confeſſe the ſame, if he conſider what he hath receyved of God, and doeth daylye receyve? Luke.xix Yea if men would not acknoweledge, & confeſſe the ſame, the ſtones would crye it out. Truly I am conſtrained and forced to ſpeak and write therof to mine own confuſion and ſhame, but to the glorye God in goodnes meervaylous. and praiſe of god. For he as a lovyng father, of moſt abundant and high goodnes, hath heaped upon me, innumerable benefites:and I 20 2A2v
Man in evilneſſe wounderous. And I contrary, have heaped manyfolde ſinnes, diſpiſyng that whiche was good, holye, pleaſaūunt, & acceptable in his ſight, & choyſing that whiche was delicious, pleaſant, & acceptable in my ſighte. And no mervayle it was that I ſo dyd, for I woulde not learne too knowe the lorde & his wayes, Iohun. iii. but loved darknes better thāan The jugemēent of man is corrupt in al thīinges. lyght, yea darknes ſemed to me light. I ēembraced ignorance as perfect knowledge, & knowledge ſemed to me ſuperfluous and vayne: I regarded little gods worde, but gave myſelf to vanities and ſhadowes of the worlde. I forſoke hym, in whome is al truth, & folowed the vain foliſh imaginacions of my hert. I would have coveredue- 212A3r vered my ſinnes with the pretence of holynes, I called ſuperſticion, godly meaninge, & true holynes, errour: the lord did ſpeake many pleſant and ſwete wordes unto me, and I would not hear: he called me diverſly but through frowardnes I woulde not aunſwere. Mine evils & miſeries be ſo Every māannes ſin accuſeth hīim ſelfe. many & gret, that they accuſe me even to my face. Oh howe miſerably & wretchedly am I confounded? When for the multitude & greatnes of my ſines I am compelled to accuſe my ſelf. was it not a marveilous unkyndenes when God dyd ſpeake to me, & alſo call me, that I woulde not anſwere hym? what māan ſo called would not have heard? or what man hearyng,ryng 222A3v ryng, woulde not have aunſwered? If an earthly Prince had ſpoken, eyther called him I ſuppoſe there be none but would willingly have dooen bothe. Now therfore what a wretche & Caytif am I? that when the Prince of princes, the king of kinges, did ſpeak many pleaſaunt & gentle wordes unto me, and alſo called me ſo many & ſundry times, that they can not be numbred: And yet notwithſtanding theſe greate ſignes and tokens of love, I would not cum unto him, but hid my ſelf out of his ſight, ſeking many croked & by wayes wherein I walked ſo long that I had clene loſt his ſight And no mervayle or wundre, for I had a blynde gyde calledled 232A4r A blinde gyde for a blynde waye. led Ignoraunce, who dymmed ſo myne iyes, that I coulde never perfectelye gette anye ſighte of the fayer, goodlye, ſtreyght, and right wayes of his doctrine: but continually travayled uncomfortably, in foule, wicked, croked, and The nūumber of people maye not be folowed, but the goodnes. perverſe wayes. Yea and becauſe they wer ſo muche haūunted of manye, I coulde not thinke but I waulked in the perfit and right way, having more regarde to the noumbre of the walkers, then to the order of the walking: beleyvyng alſo moſte ſuerlye with company to have walked to heaven, where as I am moſt ſure they woulde have broughte me downe to hell.
I forſoke the ſpiritual honoringA.iiii.ryng 242A4v A fleſhly man regardeth not ſpiritual thinges, ring of the true livyng God, & wurſhipped viſible idoles, & ymages made of mennes handes, beleving by theym to have gotten heven, yea to ſay the truthe I made a great ydol of my ſelf: for I loved my ſelf better then god. And certaynly Mark a number of Idols. looke how many thinges are loved or preferred in our hartes before god, ſo many are taken and eſtemed for ydoles, and falſe gods.
Alas howe have I violated this holly, pure, & moſte high precept & cōommaundment of the The ſin agaīinſt the firſt commaundement. love of god? whiche precepte byndeth me to love hym with Deut.vi. my hole hearte, minde, force, ſtrengthe, & underſtandyng. And I lyke unto an evil wicked,ked 252A5r ked, diſobedient chylde, have given my wyl, power, & ſences to the contrary: makyng almoſt of every earthly & carnal thing a god: furthermore The bloud of Chriſte. the bloud of Chriſte was not reputed by me ſufficiēent for to waſh me from the filth of my The worde of God is onelye the doctrin of ſalvacion. ſinnes: neyther ſuche wayes as he hath appoynted by his word. But I ſought for ſuche Biſ.Biſhop of Rome is an evell vſurper of Chriſtes power. rifraf as the biſhop of Rome hath planted in his tyranny & kīingdom, truſting with great confidence by the vertue & holines of them, to recyve full remiſſiōon of my ſinnes. And ſo I dyd as much as was in me to obfuſcate & darkēen the great benefit of Chriſtes Paſſion: then the which no thought cāan conceyve any thyng of more va- 262A5v The father is honoured in his ſonne. value: There can not be done ſo great an injurie & diſpleaſure to almightie god our father, as to treade under foote Hebre.x. Chriſt, his only begotten and The moſte horrible ſine. welbeloved ſonne. All other ſynnes in the world gathered together in one, be not ſo heynous, & deteſtable in the ſight of God. And no wōonder, for in The honour of God aboūunded upon the croſſe. Chriſt crucified, God doeth ſhewe him ſelfe moſte noble & glorious, even an almightie Hebre.i. God, and moſt lovyng father, in his onely deare and choſen bleſſed ſonne. And therefore I counte my ſelfe one of the moſt wicked & myſerable ſynners, becauſe I have been ſo much contrary to Chriſt my ſavior. i.Corin.ii. S.Saint Paule deſyred to knowe nothyng but Chriſt crucified after 272A6r To knowe Chriſt crucified is the cōonningeſt leſſon in divinitie. after he had been rapt into the thirde heaven, where he heard ſuche ſecretes as were not cōonvenient & mete to utter Philip,iii, to menne: but counted all his workes, and doynges as nothyng, to wynne Chriſt.
And I moſt preſumptuouſly Luke xviii thinkyng nothyng of Chriſt crucified, went about to ſette foorth myne owne righteouſnes, ſaiyng with the proude Phariſey. Man of his owne proude nature is eaſely made a Phariſey. Good Lorde I thanke the, I am not like other men. I am none adulterer, nor fornicatour, and ſo foorth, with ſuch like wordes of vaineglory, extollyng my ſelfe, and diſpiſyng others, workyng as an hired ſervaūunt for wagies, or els for reward: and not as a lovyng childe, onely 282A6v only for very love, withoute reſpect of wagies or reward, Children lern to be thankeful to your father. as I ought to have doen, neyther did I conſidre how beneficial a father I had, who did ſhew me his charitie & mercy Rom.v. of his own mere grace & goodnes, that when I was moſte his enemie, he ſent his only begotten & welbeloved ſoonne into this worlde of wretchednes & miſerie, to ſuffre moſt cruell & ſharp death for my redēemcion. Harde hartes do receyve no print. But my harte was ſo ſtony & hard, that this great benefite was never truly & lively printed in my hert, although with my wordes it was ofte reherſed, thinking myſelf to be ſufficiently inſtructed in the ſame & beyng in dede in blind ignora ūunce. And yet I ſtood ſo wel in 292A7r in myne own judgement & opinion that I thought it vayne to ſeke the increace of my knowlege therein. Paule calleth i.Cor.ii. Chriſt the wiſedome of god, & even the ſame Chriſte was to Two yoke felowes. Blindnes and hardnes of harte. me foliſhnes: my pryde & blīindnes deceived me, & the hardnes of my hart withſtode the growing of truth within it. Suche wer the fruites of my carnall & humayn reaſōons to have roten ignoraūunce in price for ripe & ſeaſonable knolege. Suche alſo is the malice & wikednes that poſſeſſeth the hertes of men ſuch is the wiſdome & pleſing Profeſſion in Baptiſme. of the fleſh. I profeſſed Chriſt in my baptiſme when I begāan to live, but I ſwarved from hym after baptiſme, in continua ūunce of my living, even as the 302A7v the hethen whiche never had Chriſt innocent. Eſai,liii Man ſinful. Phi, ii Chriſt obedient. Man ſtubberne. begunne. Chriſt was innocent and voyde of all ſynne, & I wallowed in filthy ſinnes and was free from no ſynne, Chriſt was obedient unto his father even to the death of the croſſe, & I diſobedient, & moſt ſtubburne even to the confuſion of trueth. Chriſt was Math,x, Chriſt hūumble. Man proud. Ihon.viii Math,iiii. Chriſt heavenly. Māan worldly Ihon.xiii Iohn.vi Ma.xviii meke and humble in heart, & I moſte proud and vainglorious. Chriſt diſpiſed the worlde with all the vanities therof, and I made it my god becauſe of the vanities. Chriſt came to ſerve his brethren, & I coveted to rule over them. Chriſt diſpiſed worldly honor and I muche delited to attain Math.viii ii,Cor,viii. the ſame, Chriſt loved the baſe & ſimple thinges of the world and 312A8r and I eſtemed the moſte fayre and pleaſunt thinges. Chriſt Chriſt poore. Man riche. Luke,xiiii Luke,xxiii Ihon,viii Math,ix loved povertie, and I welth. Chriſt was jentle, and mercyfull to the poore, and I harde hearted and unjentle. Chriſt prayed for his enemies, and I hated mine. Chriſt rejoyſed in the cōonverſion of ſynners, & I was not greved to ſe theyr revercion to ſynne. By this declaracion all creatures may perceive how farre I was frōom Many chriſtians know not theyr patrone. Ignoraunce. Wyſedome. Chriſt, & without Chriſt, yea how contrary to Chriſt, although I bare the name of a chriſtiāan. Inſomuche that if any man had sayd I had been without Chriſt, I would have ſtifely withſtande the ſame. And yet I neither knewe Chriſt, nor wherefore he came.As 32 2A8v
Withoute the cauſe, nothing is rightly knowen. As concernyng the effect and purpoſe of his cūumming, I had a certayne vain blinde knowlege, Rom.ii. both cold & dead, whiche may be had with al ſin, as doth playnly appere by this my cōonfeſſion & open declaracion.
Lamentacion. what cauſe now have I to lament, ſigh & wepe for my lyfe and tyme ſo evyl ſpent? wyth how muche humilitie & lowlines ought I to cum & knowelege my ſinnes to god? gevīing him thankes, that it hath pleſed hym of his aboundaunte goodnes to geve me time of repentaūunce: for I knowe my ſinnes in the conſideracion of thēem to be ſo grevous, and in the number ſo excedyng, that I have deſerved very often eternal dāamnacion. And for the deſervingſeruing 33B1r God ſheweth goodnes in deferring of his wrathe. ſerving of gods wrath, ſo manifoldely due, I muſt unceſſauntly geve thankes to the mercy of god, beſeching alſo that the ſame delay of puniſhment, cauſe not his plage to be the ſorer, ſince myne owne conſcience condēemneth my former doings. But his mercye Pſalm. ciii. excedeth al iniquitie: & yf I ſhoulde not thus hope, Alas what ſhuld I ſeke for refuge & Pſal.cviii. cōomfort? no mortall man is of power to help me: & for the multitude Luke.xviii of my ſinnes, I dare not lift up mine iyes to heaven where the ſeat of jugement Chriſte draweth man from deſperacion. is, I have ſo muche offended god. what ſhal I fal in deſperacion? naye I will cal upon i.Iohun.i Chriſt the light of the worlde the fountayn of life, the relief Bof 34B1v Ihon, iiii of al careful, & the peacemaker i.Iohn.ii betwene god & man, & the only health & comfort of al true Iohn, iii repentant ſynners. He can by his almighty power ſave me, & Math xviii. deliver me out of this miſerable The power & will of God. Iohn.iii No ſavior but one. ſtate, & hath will by his mercy to ſave even the whole ſinne of the world. I have no hope nor confidēence in any creature, neyther in heaven, nor Luke.xix. earth, but in Chriſt my whole & only ſaviour. He came into Math.ii the world to ſave ſīinners, & to heale them that are ſicke, for he ſayeth: the hole have no nede Mannes humilitie. of a phiſicion. Beholde lorde howe I cum to the, a ſynner, ſick, & grevouſly wounded, I Math.xv. aſke not bread, but the crums that fal from the chyldrēens table. Caſt me not oute of thy ſyght, 35B2r ſight, although I have deſerved to be caſt into hell fyer.
If I ſhoulde loke upon my ſinnes, & not upon thy mercy I ſhoulde diſpayer: for in my ſelfe I fynde nothing to ſave me, but a dunghyll of wikedneſſe, to condemne me: yf I ſhoulde hope by myne owne ſtrengthe, and power to cum out of this maſe of iniquitie, & wikednes, wherein I have walked ſo long, I ſhoulde be deceyved: for I am ſo ignoraunt blynde, weak, and feble A maze of ſin. that I can not bring myſelfe out of this intangled & waywarde maze: but the more I ſeeke meanes and wayes to wynde my ſelfe out, the more I am wrapped and tangled therein.B.ii. So 36 B2v
So that I perceyve my ſtriving therin to be hinderance, my travail to be labour ſpent Pſal.xviii. in going backe. It is the hand of the lorde that can and wyl Phil.ii. ii,Cor.iii. bring me oute of this endeles maſe of death: for without I be prevēented by the grace of the lord, God begīinneth with manne. I can not aſk forgevenes nor be repentant or ſory for them. There is no man can avow that Math.xvi. Chriſte is thonly ſaviour of the worlde, but by the holy goſte: yea as ſ.saint Paul ſayeth, no man can ſay the lorde Jeſus, but by the holy goſte. Roman.viii. i.Cor.xli. The ſpirit helpeth our infirmitie, & maketh continuall interceſſion for us, with ſuche ſorowful gronings, as cannot be expreſſed. Therfore I wil firſt require & praye the lorde, to geve me his holy ſpiritto 37B3r rit to teache me to avow that The teaching of the hollye ſpirit. Chriſte is the ſaviour of the world, and to utter theſe wordes: the lord Jeſus, Jeſus. , & finally to help mine infirmities, & to intercede for me. For I am moſt certaine & ſuer, that no creature in heaven Actes.iiii. God is onelye the helper. nor earth is of power, or can by any mean help me, but god who is omnipotente, almighty, beneficial & merciful wel willing, and loving to al thoſe that cal & put their hole cōonfidence & truſte in hym. And i.Iohn.ii. Chriſte is the only mean betwene god and man. Objection. What maketh man bolde. therefore I wyl ſeke no other meanes nor Advocate, but chriſtes holy ſpirit, who is ōonly the advocate & mediatour betwene god & man, to help & relyve me. But now what maketh me ſo bolde, & hardye, to preſume to cum to the lord with B.iiiſuche 38B3v ſuche audacitie & boldnes beyng Solucion. ſo great a Sinner: truly nothyng but his own worde: for he ſayth: Cum to me al ye that labour, & are burdened, and I ſhal refreſh you: The promiſe of Chriſte. Math.xi. what gentle, merciful, and comfortable woordes are theſe to all ſinners? wer he not a frantik, mad, beaſtly & folyshe man, that woulde run for ayde, helpes, or refuge to any other creature? What a moſt gracious comfortable, and gentle, ſaying was this, with ſuche pleſant and ſwete wordes, to allure his enemies to cum unto him? Is there anye worldlye prince or magiſtrate, that would ſhewe ſuche clemencye, and mercie, to their diſobedient & rebellious ſubjectes, having offended 39B4r Apocapl.xvii. offended thēem? I suppoſe they would not with ſuch wordes allure them excepte it were to cal theym, whom they cannot Math.vii. take, & puniſhe theym beyng taken. But even as Chriſte is Prince of Princes, and lorde of lordes, ſo his charitie, and mercye excedeth & ſurmounteth all others. Chriſt sayeth, if carnall fathers doo geve good giftes to theyr children when they aſke theym, howe muche more ſhall your heavenlye father, beyng in ſubſtaunce all holye, and moſte highly good, geve good gyftes to al them that aſke hym? It is no ſmall nor litle gyfte that I nowe requyre, neyther thinke I my ſelfe woorthy to receyve ſuche a noble gyfte B.iiii.beyng 40B4v being ſo ingrate, unkinde, & The goodnes of god boldeneth his choſen. wicked a childe. But when I behold the benignitie, liberalitie, mercy, & goodnes of the lord, I am encoraged, boldened, & ſtired to aſk ſuch a noble gift. The lord is ſo bountiful, Zacharie.x. & liberal, that he wil not have us ſatiſfied & contented with one gift, neyther to aſke ſimple & ſmal gifts. And therfore he promiſeth and bindeth Iohn.xvi. hym ſelf by his word, to geve good & beneficial giftes to al Fayth is ever neceſſarie. them that aſk him with tru faith without whiche, nothing can be Rom.xiii. Rom.iii don acceptable or pleaſing to god. For fayth is the foūundacion, & grounde of al other giftes, vertues and graces: and therefore I wyll ſaye, Lorde encreace my faythe.For this 41 B5r
i,Ihon,iiii Learne what true fayth doth in man. Oſe,ii, Ephe.ii Roma,v Gala,iii For this is the life everlaſtyng lorde, that I muſt beleve the to be the true god, & whōom thou diddeſt ſende, Jeſu Chriſt.
By this fayth I am aſſured: and by this aſſuraunce I fele the remiſſion of my ſynnes: this is it that maketh me bolde: this is it that comforteth me, this is it that quencheth all diſpayre.
I know O my lorde, thy iyes loke upon my fayth: Sainct Paule ſayeth, we be juſtified by the fayth in Chriſt, & not by the dedes of the lawe. For Juſtificaciōon by a chriſtiāan fayth. Roma,iii Gala,ii if righteouſnes come by the law, then Chriſt dyed in vain Sainct Paule meaneth not here, a dead humaine, hiſtorical fayth, gotten by humaine induſtry, but a ſupernal livelyB.v. ly 42B5v Gala.v. ly fayth, whiche worketh by charitie, as he him ſelf plainly Dignitie of faith hurteth no workes: expreſſeth. This dignitie of fayth is no derogacion to good woorkes, for out of this fayth ſpringeth al good workes. Worke dilig ently with out offence. Yet we may not impute to the worthynes of fayth or workes, our juſtificacion before God: but aſcribe & geve the worthines of it, wholly to Roma.iii. the merites of Chriſtes paſſion, and referre and attribute the knowledge & perceivyng therof, onely to fayth: whoſe very true only propertie, is to Roma.v take, apprehend & hold faſt the promiſes of Gods mercy, the which maketh us righteous: and to cauſe me continually to hope for the ſame mercy, & in love, to worke all maner of wayes 43B6r wayes allowed in the ſcripture that I may be thankefull for the ſame.
Thus I fele my ſelfe to cum, as it were in a new garment, before God, and nowe by his mercy, to be taken juſt & righteous, whiche of late without his mercy, was ſinfull & wicked; & by fayth to obtaine his mercy, the whiche the unfaithfull can not enjoye. And although Ihon,iii Objeccion. ſainct John extolleth charitie in his epiſtle ſaiyng i,Iohn,ii. that God is charitie, & he that dwelleth in charitie, dwelleth Solucion. in God. Truely charitie maketh men live like Angelles. And of the moſte furious unbrydled carnall men, maketh meke lambes.yea 44 B6v
Yea with how fervent a ſpirit ought I to cal, crye, and pray to the lord, to make his great charitie to burne, and flame in my heart, beyng ſtony, and evil affected, that it never would cōonceive, nor regarde the great ineſtimable charitye, and love of God, in ſendyng his onely begotten and deare beloved ſonne into this vale of miſery to ſuffre the moſte cruel and ſharpe death of the croſſe for my redempcion? Yet I never had this unſpeakable & moſt high charitie, and aboundant love of god, printed and fixed - in my heart duely, tyl it pleaſed God of his mere grace, mercy, and pitie, to open mine iyes, makyng me to ſee, and beholde with the iye of lively fayth 45B7r Charitie knoweth not Chriſt, but by reporte of faith. fayth, Chriſt crucified to be myne onely ſavior & redemer. For than I begāanne (and not before) to perceive & ſee myne owne ignoraunce & blyndnes: the cauſe therof was, that I would not learne to knowe Chriſt my ſaviour & redemer. But when God of his meere goodnes hadde thus opened myne iyes, and made me ſee & beholde Chriſt, the wyſedome i,Corin,i, Iohn,i of God, the light of the worlde, with a ſupernatural ſight of fayth. Al pleaſures, vanities, honour, riches, welth & aydes of the worlde began to waxe bitter unto me: than I knewe it was no illuſion of the devil nor falſe, ne humaine doctrin I had received: when ſuche succeſſe came therof, that I had 46B7v had in deteſtacion & horrour, that whiche I erſt ſo much loved & eſtemed: beyng of God forbidden that we ſhuld love i.Iohn.ii, the world or the vain pleaſures & ſhadowes in the ſame. Thāan began I to perceive that Chriſt was my only ſaviour & redemer, & the ſame doctrine to be al divine, holy & heavēenly, infuſed by grace, into the heartes of the faithful, which never can be attaīinned by humain doctrin wit nor reaſon, although thei ſhuld travaile & labour for the Ihon.xiiii ſame, to thende of the worlde. Charitie immediately foloweth lively fayth. Then began I to dwel in god by charitie, knowyng by the lovyng charitie of God in the remiſſion of my ſynnes, that God is charitie as S.SaintJohn ſayeth. So that of my fayth wherby 47B8r (whereby I came to knowe God, & wherby it pleaſed god even becauſe I truſted in him to juſtifie me) ſprang this excellent charitie in my heart.
Secrete objeccion. I thinke no leſſe but many wyl wonder & mervail at this my ſaiyng, that I never knew Chriſt for my ſaviour & redemer, untyl this tyme, for many have this opinion, ſaiyng: who knoweth not there is a Chriſt? who beyng a chriſtian doeth not confeſſe him his ſaviour? And thus belevyng theyr dead, humain, hiſtorical faith, & knowlage (which thei have learned in their ſcholaſtical bokes) to be the true infuſed fayth and knowlage of Chriſt, which may be had (as I ſayd before) with all ſynne. Thei 48B8v They uſe to ſay by theyr own experience of them ſelfes, that theyr fayth doeth not juſtifye them. And true it is, except they have this fayth the whiche I have declared here before, they ſhal never be juſtifyed, And yet it is not falſe that by fayth onely I am ſure to be juſtified: even this is the cauſe that ſo manye impugne this office and dutie of true fayth, becauſe ſo many lacke the true fayth. And even as the faythful are forced to allowe true fayth, ſo the unfaithful can in nowyſe ᶈprobably intrete therof: the one felyng in themſelfe that he ſayth, thother havyng not in him for to ſay. I have A milde and true ſolucion certainly no curious lernyng to defend this matter withal, but 49C1r but a ſimple zele & erneſt love to the truth, inſpired of god, who promiſeth to powre his ſpirit upon al fleſh, whiche I have by the grace of god (whōom I moſt humbly honor) felt in my ſelf to be true. Let us therfore now I pray you by faith behold & cōonſidre the great charitie & goodnes of god, in ſending his ſōonne to ſuffre deathe for oure redemcion, when we wer his mortal enemies, & after what ſort & maner he ſent How God ſēent his ſon. hym. Firſt it is to be conſidered, yea to be undoubtedly with a perfect fayth beleved that god ſent him to us frely, for he did geve him & ſolde hym not. A Iohn.iii more noble and riche gifte, he could not have geven. He ſēent not a ſervaunt, or a frend, but C.his 50C1v his only ſonne, ſo derely beloved: not in delytes, riches, & honoures, but in croſſes poverties, & ſlaunders: not as a Phil.ii. lord but as a ſervaunt: yea, & in moſt vile, & paynfull paſſions, i.Iohn.i. to waſh us, not with water but with his own precious blud, not frōom myer, but frōom the puddle & filthe of our iniquities. Roman.viii. He hath gevēen hīim, not to make us pore, but to enriche us with his divine vertues, merites, & graces, yea and in hym he hath geven us al good thynges, and finally hymſelfe: & that with ſuche great charitie as can not be expreſſed.
Was it not a moſt high, and aboundaunt charitie of god, The charitie of God towarde man. to ſende Chriſte to ſheade his bloud, to looſe honour, lyfe and 51C2r & Rom.v. all, for his enemyes? Even in the tyme when we had doen hym mooſte injurie, he firſte ſhewed his charitie to us, with ſuche flambes of love that greater could not be ſhewed. god in Chriſt hath opened unto us (although we be weake and blynde of oure ſelves) that we maye beholde in this miſerable eſtate, the greatte wiſdome, goodnes and truth with all the other godly perfeccions, whiche be in Chriſt. A godly meditacion. Therefore inwardelye to beholde Chriſte crucified upon the croſſe is the beſt and godlyeſt meditacion that can be. The bewty of the ſoule. We maye ſee alſo in Chriſte crucifyed, the bewtie of the ſoule, better then in all the bokes of the worlde.C.ii. For 52 C2v
For who that with lively fayth, ſeeth and feleth in ſpirit that Chriſte the ſonne of God, is dead for the ſatiſfiyng & the purifiyng of the ſoule, ſhal ſe that his ſoule, is appoynted for the very tabernacle, & māancion Iohn.xiiii. of the ineſtimable, & incomprehenſible majeſtie and honour of god: we ſe alſo in Chriſt crucified, how vaine & The worlde vayne. folyſh the worlde is, and how that Chriſte beynge moſt wiſe diſpiſed the ſame. We ſee alſo howe blynde it is, becauſe the Blynde. Unkynde. ſame knoweth not Chriſt, but perſecuteth hym. We ſee alſo howe unkynde the worlde is by the kyllyng of Chriſte, in the tyme he dyd ſhew it moſte favour. Howe harde, and obſtinate was it that would not be 53C3r be mollified with ſo manye teares? ſuche ſweate, and ſo muche bloude ſhedde of the Soonne of God, ſufferinge with ſo greate and high charitie?
Therefore he is nowe verye blynde, that ſeeth not howe Sinne. vayne foolyſh, falſe, ingrate, crewell, harde, wycked, and evyll the worlde is, we maye alſo in Chriſte crucified wey our ſinnes, as in a divine balaunce, how grevous & how weyghtye they be, ſeyng they have crucified chriſt: for they would never have ben counterpayſed but with the great and precious weyght of the bloud of the Sonne of God. And therfore god of his high goodneſſe, determyned that hys 54C3v his bleſſed ſonne ſhoulde rather ſuffer bludſhed, then our ſinnes ſhoulde have condemned us. We ſhal never know oure owne miſerie and wretchednes, but with the lyghte of Chriſte crucified. Then we ſhall ſee oure owne crueltie, when we feele his mercy, our owne unrightwyſenes and iniquitie, when we ſee his righteouſneſſe and holynes. A Chriſtian mans booke. Therefore to learne to know trulye oure owne ſinnes, is to ſtudye in the booke of the crucifixe, by continuall converſacion in faythe: and to have perfecte and plentyfull charitie, is to learne fyrſte by faythe the charitie that is in Leſſons of the Crucifix. God towardes us.
We maye ſee alſo in Chriſte vpon 55C4r Payne of hel. upon the croſſe, howe greate the paynes of hell, and howe Joy of heven. bleſſed the joyes of heaven, be: and what a ſharpe, painfull thyng it ſhall be to them that from that ſwete, happy, & glorious joy, Chriſt, ſhalbe depryved. Then this crucifix i,Corin,ii, is the boke, wherin god hath included all thynges, & hath moſte cōompendiouſlye written therin, al truthe, profitable & neceſſarye for our ſalvacion. Therfore let us indevor our ſelfes to ſtudy this boke, that we being lightned with the ſpirit of god, may geve him thāankes for ſo great a benefit. If we loke further in this boke, Christes victorye. we ſhal ſe Chriſts gret victory upōon the croſſe, which was ſo noble & mightie, that ther never was 56C4v was, neyther ſhal be ſuche.
Yf the victorie and glorye of worldely Princes were great becauſe they dyd overcumme greate hoſtes of menne, how muche more was Chriſtes greater? whiche vanquiſhed not onely the Prince of thys worlde, but all the ennemies Colloſſen.ii. of God: triumphynge over perſecucion, injuries, villanies, ſclaunders, yea deathe, the worlde, ſinne, and the devill: and brought to confuſion all carnal prudence.
The Princes of the worlde never did fight withoute the ſtrengthe of the worlde.
Chriſte contraryly, wente to warre, even agaynſte all the ſtrengthe of the worlde.He 57 C5r
He would fight as David did Sapi.xvii David and Chriſt cōompared in fight. with Golias, unarmed of all humain wyſedom, and policy and without all worldely power and ſtrength. Nevertheleſſe he was fully repleniſhed and armed with the wholle armour of the ſpirite. And in this one battail, he overcame for ever, all his enemies.
There was never ſo glorious a ſpoyle, neither a more riche and noble, then Chriſt was upōon the croſſe: whiche delivered all his electe, from ſuche a ſharpe miſerable captivitie. He had in this battaile many ſtripes, yea, and loſt his life, but his victory was ſo muche the greater. Therfore when I loke upōon the ſonne of God with a ſupernatural fayth & C.v.light 58C5v light, ſo unarmed, naked, geven up, and alone with humilitie, Spiritual armour. pacience, liberalitie, modeſtie, gentlenes, and with al other his divine vertues bearyng doune to the ground all Ephe.v Gods enemies, and makyng the ſoule of man ſo fayre, and beautiful, I am forced to ſay that his victory and triumph Mat.xxvii was mervailous. And therfore Chriſt deſerved to have Jeſus title. this noble title. Jeſus of Nazareth, kyng of the Jewes.
But if we wyll perticulerly unfolde, & ſee his great victories, let us fyrſt behold how he overcame ſynne, with his innocencie: and confounded pride, with his his humilitie: Quenched all worldely love, with his charitie: appeaſed the 59C6r the wrath of his father, with his mekenes: turned hatred into love, with his ſo many benefites, and godly zele.
Victory over ſynne. Collo.i Chriſt hath not onely overcum ſynne, but rather he hath killed the ſame: in aſmuche as Actes.vii he hath ſatiſfied for it himſelf with the moſte holy ſacrifice and oblacion of his precious bodye, in ſufferyng moſte bitter and cruel death. Alſo after an other ſorte, that is. He geveth all thoſe that love him, ſomuche ſpirite, grace, Rom.vi.vii vertue, and ſtrēength, that they may reſiſt, impugne & overcome ſinne, & not conſent, neither ſuffer it to reigne in thēem. He hath alſo vāanquiſhed ſinne becauſe he hath taken awaye the force of the ſame: that is, he 60C6v he hath cancelled the lawe Collo.ii whiche was in evil menne the Sin hurteth not the elect. occaſion of ſynne. Therfore ſynne hath no power againſt theim, that are with the holy ghoſt united to Chriſt. In them there is nothing worthy of damnacion. And although the dregges of Adam, do remaine, that is our concupiſcēences, whiche in dede be ſynnes: Cōoncupicence the original ſinne. nevertheleſſe they be not imputed for ſinnes, if we be truly Roma,viii Objeccion. planted in Chriſt. It is true that Chriſt might have taken Solucion. away all our immoderate affeccions, but he hath lefte thēem for the greater glory of his father, and for his own greater triumph. As for an example: A ſimilitude. When a prince fighteth with his enemies, whiche ſomtyme had 61C7r had the ſoveraigntie over his people, & ſubdewyng theim, may kyl theim if he wyll, yet he preſerveth & ſaveth theim: And wheras they wer lordes over his people: he maketh them after to ſerve, whōom they before had ruled. Now in ſuche a caſe, the prince doeth ſhewe him ſelfe a greater conqueror, in that he hath made theim whiche were rulers to obey: and the ſubjectes to be lordes over theim, to whom they ſerved, then if he had utterly deſtroyed theim upōon the conqueſt. For now he leaveth continuall victorye to theim, whom he redemed, wheras otherwyſe thoccaſion of victory, was taken away, where none were lefte to be the ſubjectes.iectes 62C7v jectes. Even ſo in like caſe, Applicacion of the ſimilitude. Chriſt hath lefte in us theſe concupiſcences, to the entent they ſhould ſerve us, to the exerciſe of our vertues, where fyrſt they did reigne over us, to the exerciſe of oure ſynne. And it may be plainely ſeene, that whereas fyrſt they were ſuche impedimentes to us, we could not move our ſelfes towardes god, now by Chriſt we have ſo muche ſtrength, that notwithſtāanding the force of theim, we may aſſuredly walke to heaven. And although the children of God ſometyme do falle by frailtie into ſome ſynne, yet that fallyng maketh them to humble them ſelves, & to reknowlage the goodnes of God, & to cum to 63C8r to him for refuge and helpe. Lykewiſe Chriſt with his death Victory over the devil. Collo,ii hath overcome the prince of devils with all his hoſte, and hath deſtroyed them all. For as Paule ſayeth, this is verified that Chriſt ſhould breake Gene,iii the ſerpentes head, propheſied by God. And although the devil tēemte us, yet if by fayth we be plāanted in Chriſt. we ſhal not periſhe: but rather by his temptacion, take great force and might. So it is evident, that the triūumph, victory & glory of Chriſt, is the greater, havyng in ſuche ſorte ſubdued the devil, that whereas he was prince and Lorde of the worlde, holdyng all creatures in captivitie, now Chriſt uſeth him as an inſtrumente to 64C8v to puniſhe the wicked, and to exerciſe and make ſtrong the elect of God, in chriſtian warfare. Chriſt likewyſe hath overcome Victory over death. death in a more glorious maner, (if it be poſſible) becauſe he hath not taken it away, but levyng univerſally all ſubjecte to the ſame. He hath geven ſo muche vertue, and ſpirit, that wheras afore we paſſed therto with great fear, now we be bold through the ſpirite, for the ſure hope of reſurreccion, that we receive it with joy. It is now no more bitter, but ſwete: no more feered, but deſyred: It is no death, but life. And alſo it hath pleaſed God that the infirmities & adverſities do remaine to the ſight of the world: but 65D1r Philip.iiii ii.Cor.i. but the chyldren of God are by Chriſt made ſo ſtrōong, rihgghteous, whole and ſound, that the troubles of the worlde be All thinges ᶈprofit the choſen. comfortes of the ſpirit: The paſſions of the fleſh, are medicines of the ſoule. For al maner Rom.viii. thinges worketh to theyr commoditie and profite: for they in ſpirit feele, that God theyr father, doeth governe them, & diſpoſeth all thinges for their benefit: therfore thei feele themſelves ſure. In perſecucion they are quiete, and peaceful: in tyme of trouble, they are without werynes, feares, anxieties, ſuſpicions, miſeries, & finally al the good, & evill of the world, wurketh to theyr cōommoditie. Moreover they ſee that the tryumphe of DChriſt 66D1v Chriſt hath ben ſo great, that not onely he hath ſubdued & vāanquiſhed all our enemies & the power of thēem, but he hath overthrowen & vanquyſſhed thēem after ſuch a ſorte, that all things ſerve to our helthe, he might & could have taken thēem al away, but wher thēen ſhould have ben our victory, palme, & crowne? For we dayly have fightes in the fleſh, & by the ſuccour of grace, have continual victories, over ſinne, wherby we have cauſe to glorify god that by his ſōonne hath weakened our enemy the devil, & by his ſpirit, geveth us ſtrengthe to vanquiſh his ofſprings. So doe we knowelege dayly the great triūumph of our ſaviour, & rejoice in our own fightes, the 67D2r the which we can no wiſe impute to any wiſdome of this world: ſeing ſinne to encreace by it. And where worldly wiſdome moſte governeth, there moſt ſinne ruleth. For as the worlde is ennemy to god, ſo alſo the wiſdome therof is adverſe to God. And therefore The wiſdome of the world. Chriſt hath declared & diſcovered the ſame for foliſhnes. i,Corin,iii, And although he could have taken away al worldly wyſedome, yet he hath lefte it for his greater glory, & triumph of his choſen veſſelles. For before, where as it was oure Ruler agaynſte God, nowe by Chriſte we are ſerved of it for God, as of a ſlave in worldlye thynges.
Albeit in ſupernaturall thingesD.ii.ges68D2v ges the ſame is not to be underſtand. And further yf any time men woulde impugne, & gainſay us, with the wiſdom of the worlde, yet we have by Chriſte, ſomuche ſupernatutural light of the truthe, that we make a mocke of all thoſe that repugne the truth. Chriſte Victorye over the worlde. alſo upon the croſſe, hath triumphed over the world. Firſte bycauſe he hath diſcovered the Iohn.xiiii. ſame to be naught, that wheras it was covered with the vayl of ipocriſy, and the veſture of moral vertues, Chriſte hath ſhewed that in goddes ſight, the righteouſnes of the world is wickedneſſe: and he hathe yelded witnes, that the workes of menne, not regenerated by him in fayth, are evyl. And ſo Chriſte 69D3r Iohn,iii Roman.xiii. Chriſte hath judged, and condemned the world, for naught. Furthermore he hathe geven to all his, ſo much light, & ſpirit, that they know it & diſprayſe How Chriſtians regard the worlde. the ſame: yea and trede it under theyr feete, with al vayne honours, dignities, & pleaſures, not taking the fayer promiſes neither the offers whiche it doeth preſent. Nay they rather make a ſcorn of them. And as for the threatnynges A Concluſion of the victories. and force of the worlde, they nothyng feare. Nowe therefore we maye ſee howe great the victorie and tryumphe of Iohn.xvii. Chriſte is, who hath delyvered all thoſe the father gave Colloſſen.ii. hym, from the power of the devyll, cancellyng upon the croſſe, the writing of our dettes:D.iii.tes, 70D3v tes: for he hath delyvered us frōom the condemnacion of ſin, from the bondage of the law, from the fear of death, from the daungier of the worlde, & from al evils in this life, & in thother to cūum. And he hath enriched us, made us noble, & moſt highly happy, after ſuch a glorious & triumphāant way as can not with tong, be expreſſed. And therfore we are forced to ſay his triumph is merveylous. Chriſte is Messias. It is alſo ſeen and knowen that Chriſteis the true Meßias, for he hath delivered man from al evils, & by hym man hath al goodnes, ſo that he is the true Meſſias. Therefore all other helpers be but vaine, & coūunnterfeyted Saviours, ſeing that by this oure Meſſias 71D4r Meſſias Chriſt, wholy & only we be delivered frōom al evyls, & by hīim, we have al goodnes. And that this is true, it is evidēent & cleare, becauſe the very true chriſtiāan is a chriſtiāan by Chriſt, And the true chriſtian feleth inwardly by Chriſt, ſo muche ii,Corinth.iiii goodnes of god, that even troublous lyfe & deathe be ſwete unto hym, & miſeries happye, Roman.vii. the true chriſtian by Chriſt, is diſburdned frōom the ſervitude of the lawe, having the lawe of grace (graven by the ſpirit) inhabiting his hart, & from ſin that reyned in hym, from the power of thinfernal ſpirites, from dampnacion, and from The title of Chriſtian. every evyl: & is made a ſonne of God, a brother of Chriſte, heyre of heaven, and lorde of D.iiii.the 72D4v Roman.viii. the worlde. So that in Chriſt and by Chriſte, he poſſeſſeth all good thinges. But let us knowe that Chriſte yet fyghteth in ſpirit in his elect veſſelles, and ſhall fyghte even to the daye of judgement. At whiche daye, ſhall that great enemy deth, be wholy deſtroyed, and ſhalbe no more. Then ſhal the children of god rejoyce Oſee.xiii. on hym, ſayng: O deth where is thy victory & ſting? There ſhall be then no more trouble nor ſinne, naye rather none evyl: but heaven for the good, and hel for the wieked. Then ſhal wholy be diſcovered the victory & triumph of Chriſt: i.Corinth.xv. who (after Paul) ſhal preſent unto his father, the kingdome togethers with his choſen ſaved by hym.It 73 D5r
It was no lytle favor towardes Salvacion by the croſſe. Roma,iiii. his children, that Chriſt was choſen of God, to ſave us his electe, ſo highly by the way of the croſſe. Paule calleth it a grace, & a moſte ſingular grace. We may well thynke, that he havyng been to the worlde ſo valliaunte a capitaine of God, was ful of light, grace, vertue & ſpirite. Therefore he might juſtly ſay: Ihon.xix Conſummatum eſt. We ſeyng then that the triumph and victory of our capitaine Chriſt, is ſo merveilous, glorious & noble to the whiche warre we be appointed, let us force our ſelfes to folowe him, with bearyng our croſſe, that we may have Roma.viii. felowſhippe with him in his kyngdome.D.v. Truely 74 D5v
The boke of the crucifix. Truely it may be moſt juſtly verified that to behold Chriſt crucified, in ſpirite, is the beſt meditacion that can be. I certainly never knew myne own miſeries & wretchednes ſo wel by booke, admonicion, or lernyng, as I have done by lokyng into the ſpiritual boke of A preſumptuous truaunt. the crucifix. I lament muche I have paſſed ſo many yeres not regarding that divine boke, but I judged, & thought my ſelfe to be well inſtructed in the ſame: whereas now, I am of this opinion, that if God woulde ſuffre me to lyve here a M.1000 yere, and ſhoulde ſtudy cōontinually in the ſame divine A man is never glut with knowlage. booke, I should not be filled with the contemplacion therof. Neither holde I my ſelfe contented 75D6r contented, but alwayes have a great deſyre, to learne and The fyrſt leſſon in the booke. ſtudy more therin. I never knewe myne own wickednes, neither lamēented for my ſīinnes truely, untyll the tyme God inſpired me with his grace, that I looked in this booke. Then I beganne to ſee perfectly, that mine own power & ſtrength could not helpe me, and that I was in the lordes Hie,xviii. hand, even as the clay is in the potters hande: then I began A chriſtian complaint. to crye, & ſay: Alas lorde that ever I have ſo wickedly offēended the, beyng to me from the beginnyng ſo gracious, and ſo good a father, and moſte ſpecially now haſt declared, & ſhewed thy goodnes unto me whāan in the tyme I have done the 76D6v the moſte injurie, to call me, and alſo to make me know, & take the for my ſavior & redemer: Suche be the wonderful workes of god, to cal ſynners Math,ix to repentaunce, and to make them to take Chriſt his well beloved ſōonne for theyr ſavior: this is the gifte of God, & of Roma,vi, all chriſtians to be required, and deſyred. For except this great benefite of Chriſt crucified Ihon,xv be felte, and fixed ſurely in mannes heart, there can be no good worke done, acceptable before God. For in Chriſt Chriſt is the fulnes of the godhead. Collo,ii, is all fulnes of the godhead, and in him are hid al the treaſures of wiſedome and knowlage: even he is the water of life, wherof whoſoever ſhall drynke, he ſhall nevermore thyrſt 77D7r thyrſt, but it ſhalbe in him, a Iohun.iiii, well of water, ſpringyng up into everlaſtyng life. Sainct Roma.viii Paule ſayth there is no damnacion to theim that are in Chriſt, which walke not after the fleſhe, but after the ſpirit. Paules argument. Roma,v, Moreover he ſayeth: if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God, by the death of his ſōonne: much more ſeyng we are reconciled, we ſhalbe preſerved by his death. It is no lytle or ſmalle benefite we have received by Chriſt, if we cōonſider what he hath done for us, as I have perfitely declared Chriſtian praier. heretofore. Wherfore I pray the lorde that this great benefite of Chriſt crucified, may be ſtedfaſtly fixed and printed in all chriſtiāan heartes that 78D7v that they may be true lovers of God, and worke as childrēen i,Peter,i, for love: and not as ſervauntes, compelled with threatnynges, or provoked with hyer. True chriſtians. The syncere, and pure lovers of God, do enbrace Chriſt, with ſuche fervencie of ſpirite, that Roma.xii they rejoyce in hope, be bolde in daungier, ſuffre in adverſitie, continue in praier, bleſſe theyr perſecutours: further they be not wiſe in theyr own opinion, neither high minded in theyr proſperitie, neither abaſhed in their adverſitie: but humble and jentle alwayes to Roma,xii all men. For they knowe by i,Corin.xii theyr faith they are membres all of one body, and that they have poſſeſſed al one god, one Ephe.iiii fayth, one baptiſme, one joy, and 79D8r and one ſalvacion. If theſe pure, & ſincere lovers of God wer thicke ſowen, there ſhuld not be ſo muche contencion & ſtrife growyng on the fieldes of our religion, as there is.
Praier. Well, I ſhal pray to the lorde to take al cōontencion & ſtrife away, & that the ſowers of ſedicion, may have mynd to ceaſe theyr labour, or to ſowe it amongſt the ſtones, & to have grace to ſowe gracious vertues, where they may bothe roote and bring foorth fruite: with ſendyng alſo a godly unitie, & concorde amongeſt al Luke.i, chriſtians, that we may ſerve the lord in true holines of life. The exāample of good livyng is required of all chriſtians, but eſpecially in the eccleſiaſtical paſtours 80D8v paſtours, and ſhepherdes, for thei be called in ſcripture, i,Cor.iii. i,Corin,iiii Math,v workemen with God, diſburſers of Gods ſecretes, the light of the worlde, the ſalte of the yearth, at whoſe handes all other ſhould take comforte, in woorkyng, knowledge of Gods wyll, & ſight, to becum children of light, and taſte of ſeaſonable wyſedome.
Preachyng. They have or ſhuld have, the holy ſpirite abundauntly to pronounce, and ſet foorth, the worde of God, in veritie and ii.Ti.iiii. trueth: if ignoraunce & blindnes reigne among us, they ſhould with the trueth of Gods worde, inſtructe and ſet us in the trueth, and directe us in the waye of the Lorde. But thankes be geven unto the Lorde 81E1r Lorde that hath now ſent us ſuche a godly & learned king King Henrye the eyght. Moyſes. in theſe later dayes to reigne over us that with the vertue & force of gods worde, hath taken away the vailes & miſtes of errors, & broughte us to the knowlege of the truthe, by the light of gods worde, whiche was ſo long hidd & kept under, that the people wer nigh famiſhed, & hungred for lack of ſpiritual foode: ſuche was the charitie of the ſpiritual curates & ſhepherdes. But our Moyſes, & moſte godly, wiſe governer & kyng hath delivered us oute of the captivitie & bondage of Pharao. I mene by this Moyſes kyng Henry the eight, my moſt ſoverayne favourable lorde & huſband. E.one 82E1v Judge Chriſtenly. one (If Moyſes had figured any mo then Chriſt) through the excellent grace of god, mete to be an other expreſſed veritie of Moſes conqueſte over of Rome. Pharao. And I mene by this Pharao the biſhop of Rome, Pharao. who hath bene, & is a greater perſecutor of all true chriſtians, then ever was Pharao, of the children of Iſrael. For he is a perſecutor of the goſpel, & grace, a ſetter furthe of all ſuperſticion, and counterfeit holynes, bringing many ſoules to hell, with his alchimie and counterfeit money, deceivyng the poore ſoules under the pretence of holynes: but ſo muche the greater ſhall be his damnacion, becauſe he deceyveth & robbeth under chriſtesſtes 83E2r A godly wiſh ſtes mantle. The lorde kepe & defend al men frōom his jugleinges & ſleytes. But ſpecially the poore ſimple, unlearned A ſure leſſon. ſowles. And this leſſon I wold al men had of him, that when they begyn to miſlyke his doyng, then onely begyn Good preachers. they to lyke god, & certaynly not before. As for the ſpiritual paſtours, & ſhepherdes, I thinke they wil cleave & ſtick faſt to the word of god even to the death, to vāanquiſh all gods enemies, if nede ſhal requyre al reſpects of honor, dignitie ryches, welth, & their private cōommodities layed apart, folowing alſo the examples of Chriſt & his choſen apoſtles, in preching & teching ſincere & holſum doctrin, & ſuch thīings as E.ii.make84E2v make for peace, with godlye leſſons, wherwith they maye edifie others, that every man may walke after his vocaciōon i.Ti.ii in holynes of life, in unitie & concord, which unitie is to be deſyred of all true Chriſtiāans. It is muche to be lamēented the Contencions īin Religion. ſciſmes, varieties, contencions & diſputaciōons, that have ben & are in the world aboute Chriſten religion, & no agrement nor concord of the ſame emong The Devill. the learned mēen. Truly the devill hath ben the ſowier of the ſeed of ſedicion, & ſhal be the maynteyner of it, even tyl Warre in religion. gods wil be fulfylled. There is no warre ſo cruel & evil as this: for the warre with ſwerde kylleth but the bodyes, and thys ſleyeth manye ſoulles, for 85E3r for the poore unlearned perſons remayne confuſed, and almoſte every one beleveth ii.Cor.i. One truthe. and worketh after hys owne way. And yet there is but one Pſal.i truth of goddes word, by the whiche we ſhalbe ſaved. Happy be they that receive it, and moſt unhappy are they, whiche neglect and perſecute the Perſecutours of the worde. Math.x, ſame. For it ſhalbe more eaſy for Sodome & Gomor at the daye of judgement, then for them: & not without juſt cauſe, yf we conſidre the benevolence, goodnes, & merci of god, who hath declared his charitie towardes us, greater, & more ineſtimable, then ever he dyd to the Hebrues.
Heb.x. For they lyved under ſhadowes and fygures, and were E.iiibound 86E3v Gallath.iiii. bound to the law. And Chriſte (we beyng his greateſt ennemies) hath delivered us frōom the bondage of the lawe, and Math.xi. hath fulfilled al that was figured in theyr lawe, & alſo in their prophecies, ſheding his own precious blud, to make us the children of his father, and his bretherne, and hath II.Corinth.iii. made us free, ſettyng us in Chriſten libertie. a godly libertie: I mene not licence to ſinne, as manye be glad to interprete the ſame, when as Chriſtien libertie is godly intreated of.
Trulye it is no good ſpirite that moveth menne to fynde faulte at everye thynge, and when thinges may be wel taken, to perverte them into an evil ſence and mening. There be 87E4r be in the world, many ſpekers of holynes, & good workes, but very rare and ſeldome is declared whiche be the good Holy workes. and holy workes. The workes of the ſpirite be never almoſt ſpoken of. And therfore very fewe knowe what they be. I am able to juſtifie the Fewe knowe the true holynes. ignoraunce of the people to be greate, not in this matter alone, but in many other, the whiche were moſte neceſſarye for Chriſtians to knowe.
Becauſe I have hadde juſte proofe of the ſame, it maketh me thus muche to ſaye wyth no little ſorowe and gryefe in my harte for ſuche a miſerable ignoraunce, and blyndenes emongeſt the people.
Mathewe.xi I dout not but we can ſay al E.iiii.Lord, 88E4v Lorde, Lord: but I feare god, may ſaye unto us, this people Math,xv. honoreth me with theyr lippes but theyr hartes be farre frōom me. God deſireth nothing but the hart, & ſayeth he wyll Ihon,iiii be wurſhipped in ſpirite and truth. Christe condemned all hipocriſie & fayned holynes, and taught ſincere, pure, and true godlynes: but we wurſe Tradicions of men. then frantike or blynde, wyll not folow Chriſtes doctrine, but truſt to mens doctrines, judgementes, and ſayinges, Math.xv. whiche dimmeth oure iyes, and ſo the blynde leadeth the blynde, and bothe falle into the dyche. Truly in my ſimple, and unlearned judgemēent no mannes doctryne is too be eſtemed or preferred lyke vnto 89E5r unto Chriſtes & the Apoſtles, The worde of God is the onely ſure doctrine. nor to be taught as a perfite and true doctrin, but even as it doeth accorde & agree with the doctrine of the goſpel.
But yet thoſe that be called ſpiritual paſtours, although The cauſe of theſtimacion of tradicions they be moſt carnal, as it doth very evidently and plainely appeare by theyr fruites, are ſo blynded with the love of them ſelves, and the worlde, that they extolle mens invencions and doctrines, before the doctrine of the goſpel. And whēen they be not able to maintaine theyr owne invencions and doctrine with any jote of the ſcripture, then they moſte cruelly perſecute them that be contrary to the ſame. Be ſuch the lovers of Chriſt? nay, nay E.v. they 90E5v thei be the lovers of the wicked Māammon, neither regardyng God, nor his honor. For filthy lucre hath made them almoſt madde, but frantike they be doubtles. Is not this miſerable ſtate of ſpiritual men in the worlde, muche to be lamēented of all good chriſtians? But yet I can not allowe, neither praiſe al kynd of lamentaciōon, but ſuche as may ſtand with i.Corin.xiii Charitie. Chriſtian charitie. Charitie ſuffereth long, and is jentel, enveyeth not, upbraydeth no man, caſteth frowardely no faultes in mens teethe, but referreth all thynges to God: Ephe.iiii beyng angry without ſynne, refourmyng others without their ſclaūunders, carriyng ever a ſtorehouse of milde wordes to 91E6r to perce the ſtony hearted mēen. A godly wiſh I would all chriſtians, that like as they have profeſſed Chriſt, would ſo endevoure themſelves to folowe him, in godly livyng. For we have not put on Chriſt to live any Ephe.iiii, more to our ſelves, in the vanities, delites, and pleaſures of the worlde, and the fleſhe, ſufferyng the concupiſcences & carnalitie of the fleſh to have Gala,v. his full ſwynge: For we muſt walke after the ſpirite, & not after the fleſhe, for the ſpirite iſ ſpiritual, and coveteth ſpiritual thynges: and the fleſhe Roma.viii, carnal; and deſireth carnall thinges: the men regenerate Chriſtēen men. by Chriſt, diſpiſe the worlde, and al the vanities and pleaſures therof.They 92 E6v
They be no lovers of theimſelves, Selfe love. for they feele how evil & infirme they be, not beyng hable to do any good thyng without the helpe of God frōom whōom they knowlage al goodnes Iaco.i, to procede. They flatter worldes love not them ſelves, with thynkyng every thyng which ſhyneth to the worlde, to be good and holy, for they know al externe and outward workes be thei never ſo glorious & fayre to the worlde, may be done of the evil, aſwel as of the goode; and therfore thei have in very lytle eſtimacion, the outward ſhew of holynes, becauſe they be all ſpiritual, caſtyng uppe theyr iyes upōon heavenly thinges: neither lookyng nor regardyng the yerthly thinges for 93E7r for they be to theim vile, and Simple wiſedome in men. Mat.x. abjecte. They have alſo the ſimplicitie of the dove, & the policie of the ſerpent: for by ſimplicitie, they have a deſire to do good to all men, and to hurte no man, no though thei have occaſion geven. And by policie they geve not, nor miniſtre any juſte cauſe to any Chriſtian cōonſtantnes. Math,xi, man, whereby theyr doctrine might be reproved. They be not alſo as a rede ſhakēen with everye wynde, when they be blaſted with the tempeſtes, & ſtormes of the world, then remaine they moſt firme, ſtable and quiet, felyng in ſpirite, i,Corin,iiii that god (as theyr beſt father) doeth ſend & ſuffre al thinges for theyr benefite and cōommoditie. i,Peter,ii, Chriſt is to them a rule, a line 94E7v Example of a Chriſten man. a line, an example of chriſtian life. They be never offended Chriſten contentacion. at any thyng, although occaſion be miniſtred unto them for like as Chriſt when Peter would have withdrawen him from death, aunſwered, and Math,xvi ſayd: goe backe from me Sa than, for thou offendeſt me, that is: aſmuche as lyeth in thee thou geveſt me occaſion with thy wordes, to make me withdraw my ſelfe from death, although I yelded not therto, for this thy procurement can not extynguiſh the brennyng deſyre I have, to ſhedde my bloud for my choſen: Even ſo the perfite menne are never offēended at any thyng. For although the worlde were full of ſynne, they would not with draw 95E8r drawe them ſelves frōom doyng of good, nor waxe colde in the love of the lorde. And muche leſſe they would be moved to be evil: yea rather they be ſo muche the more moved to do The workes of God offende not the chriſtian. good. The regenerated by Chriſt, are never offended at the workes of God, becauſe they know by fayth, that god doeth all thynges well. And that he cannot erre neither for want of power, nor by ignoraunce nor malice: for they Hebre.iiii, knowe him to be almightie, and that he ſeeth all thynges and is moſte aboundauntly good: they ſee & fele in ſpirite that of that wil, moſte highly perfite, can not but procede moſte perfite workes.
Lykewyſe they be not offendedded 96E8v The workes of men offēend not the Chriſtiāan ded at the workes of men: for if they be good, they are moved by them to take occaſion to folowe them, & to reknowlage the goodnes of God, with gevyng of thēankes, & praiſyng his name dayly the more: but if they be indifferent, & ſuche as may be done with good & and evil intentes, they judge the beſt parte, thinkyng they Math.vii may be done to a good purpoſe, & ſo they be edified: but if they be ſo evil, that the can not be taken in good part, by any meanes, yet they be not offended although occaſion be geven, nay rather they be edifyed, inaſmuche as they take occaſion to be better although Ephe,v the contrary be miniſtred unto them.They 97 F1r
Then begyn they to thinke & The Chriſtiāan profiteth by ſinne. ſay thus: if god had not preſerved me with his grace, I ſhoulde have cōommitted thys Pſal.cxlv. ſinne, & wurſe. O how muche am I bounde to confeſſe and knowlege the goodnes of god. They go alſo thinking & ſaying further: He that hath ſinned, may be one of gods elect peradventure the lorde hath ſuffered him to fal, to thentēent he may the better know hym ſelf. I knowe he is one of thēem that Chriſte hath ſheade hys blud for, and one of my Chriſten brethren. Truly I wil admoniſh and rebuke hym, and in caſe I fynde hym deſperat I wyll coumforte hym, and ſhewe hym the greate goodneſſe and mercye of God, in F Chriſte 97F1v Chriſt: & with godly conſolacions I wyll ſee, yf I can lift hym up. And thus ye may ſee how the men regenerated by Chriſt, of every thyng, winne & Weakelinges miſlyke all thynges. receyve frute. And contrary the younglynges and unperfect, are offended at ſmall tryfles, taking every thing in evil part, grudgyng and murmuryng agaynſt theyr neighbour: Actes.xiii. & ſo muche the more as they ſhew themſelves fervēent in their ſo doing, they are juged of the blynde world, and of theym ſelves, great zealebearers to god. If this were the greateſt evil of theſe yūunglinges, it wer not the moſte evyll: but I feare they be ſo blynde and ignoraunte, that they are offēended alſo at good thynges 98F2r thinges: and judge nothing good but ſuche as they enbrace and eſteme to be good, with murmuryng agaynſt al ſuch as folow not their wayes. If there be anye of thys Godly. ſorte, the lorde geve them the lyght of his truthe, that they maye encreſe & grow in godly ſtrengthe. I ſuppoſe yf ſuche yonglynges & unperfect, had Mathewe.xv ſeen chriſt & his diſciples eat meat with unwaſhed handes Math.ix, or not to have faſted with the Phariſeis, they would have ben offended, ſeing him a breaker of mennes tradicions: Their affecciōons diſpoſe theyr iyes too ſee thorough other men, and they ſee nothing in themſelves: where Charitie (although it be moſte full of F.ii. iyes 99F2v i.Corinth.xlii. iyes to ſee the faultes of others whome it coveteth to amend) thīinketh none evil, but diſcretly & ryghtlye interpreteth all thinges: by the which more juſtly & truly, everye thing is taken. Now theſe ſuperſticious weaklinges, yf they had bene converſant with Chriſte, and ſeen hym lede his lyfe ſūumtyme with womēen, ſumtyme with Samaritanes, with Publicanes, ſinners, & with the phariſies they would have murmured at hym. Alſo yf they had ſeen Math,xxvi. Marie powre upon Chriſte, the precious oyntment, they would have ſaid with Judas this ointment might have be Math.xxi. ſold, & geven to the poore. If thei alſo had ſeen Chriſt with with whippes dryve out of the tem- 100F3r temple thoſe that bought & ſold, they woulde furthwith have judged Chriſte to have bene troubled & moved with angre, & Iohn.vii. not by zele of charitie. How woulde they have bene offended, Mat.xii. yf they had ſeen hym goe Ihon,iiii to the Jewes feaſte, heale a ſickeman upon the Saboth daye, practiſe with the womāan of Samary, ye & ſhewe unto her, of his moſte divine doctrine & life? Thei would have taken occaſion to have hated & perſecuted hym, as the Scribes & Phariſeis dyd. And even ſo ſhould Chriſt the Saviour of the worlde, have ben to them an offence and ruine. Rom.ix A ſecond ſorte of weaklings. Ther be an other kynde of litleones unperfect, which are offended after this ſort & maner:F.iii. ner: 101F3v ner: as when they ſee one that is reputed and eſtemed holye to commyt ſinne, furthewith they learne to dooe that, and wurſe, and waxe colde in doyng of good, and confyrme themſelves in evyll: and then they excuſe their wicked lyfe, publiſhing the ſame, with the ſclaunder of their neybour. If any manne reprove them, they ſaye: ſuche a man dyd this, and wurſe. So it is evident that ſuche perſons wold deny Chriſt, yf they ſaw other menne doe the ſame. If they went to Rome and ſaw the enormities of the prelates whiche is ſayed to reigne there emonge them, I doubt not yf they ſaw one of thēem ſin which were reputed & taken for holy theyr 102F4r theyr faythe ſhoulde be loſte, but not the faythe of Chriſte, whiche they never poſſeſſed, but they ſhoulde leſe that humain opinion, which they had of the goodnes of the prelates. Ephe.i. For yf they had the fayth of Chriſt, the holy ghoſt ſhould be a wytneſſe unto them, the whiche ſhoulde be mightie in them, that in caſe al the worlde would deny Chriſte, yet they woulde remayne firme and ſtable in the true faythe. The Phariſeis. Phariſeis alſo toke occaſion of the evil of others, to waxe hautie & proud, taking them ſelves to be men of greatter perfection then any other, becauſe of their vertue, even as Luke.xvii. the phariſie did, when he ſaw the Publicanes ſubmiſſion: F.iiii. And 103F4v And ſo they be offended with every litle thing, judging yll murmuring agaīinſt their neybour, & for the ſame, they are of many, reputed & taken for the more holy & good: whereas in deed they be the more wiked. The moſt wiked perſons are offended even at themſelves: for at their litle ſtabilitie in goodnes, & of their deteſtable & evil lyfe, they take occaſion to deſpayre, where they ought the more to cōommit themſelves to god, aſking mercye for theyr offences: And furthwith to geve thankes that it hath pleaſed him of his goodnes to ſuffre thēem ſo lōong a time But what nedeth it anymore Wicked men miſlyke good thinges. to ſay: the evil men are offended even at the workes of god. They 104F5r They ſee God ſuffre ſynners, therfore thinke they, ſinne diſpleaſeth him not: And becauſe thei ſee not the good rewarded with riches, oftentymes Pſal.xxxvii. they imagine, that God loveth them not: it ſemeth to them God is parcial, becauſe Offence of gods eleccion Roma.ix,, Roma,xi,, he hath elected ſum, and ſum reproved. And therfore they ſay, that the elected be ſure of ſalvacion, takyng by that, occaſion Pſal xxxiii. to dooe evil ynough, ſaiyng: whatſoever God hath determined, ſhalbe perfourmed. If alſo they ſee the good menne oppreſſed, and the evil men exalted, they judge God unjuſte, takyng occaſion to live evilly, ſaiyng: inaſmuche as God favoureth the naughty men, let us doe evil inough F.v. to 105F5v to thentent, he do us good.
Roma,iii, If then the wicked be offēended even at God, it is no wonder if they be offended at thoſe that folow, & walke in his pathes Vayne goſpellers. and wayes. Now I wyll ſpeake with great doloure, & hevines in my heart, of a ſort of people, whiche be in the worlde that be called profeſſours of the goſpel, & by their wordes do declare and ſhew, they be muche affected to the ſame. But I am afrayde, ſum of them doe builde upon the Actes,xiii ſand, as Simon Magus did, makyng a weake foundacion. I meane, they make not Chriſt their chiefeſt foundacion, profeſſyng his doctrine of a ſincere, pure, and zelous mynde, but either for becauſe thei 106F6r they would be called goſpellers to procure ſome credite, and good opinions, of the true and very favourers of Gala,v. Chriſtes doctrine, either to finde out ſome carnal libertie either to be contencious diſputers, fynders, or rebukers of other mennes faultes, or ils finally to pleaſe & flatter Roma.ii the worlde: ſuche goſpellers are an offence, and a ſlaunder to the worde of God, & make the wicked to rejoyce, & laugh at them, ſaiyng: beholde I pray you theyr fayre fruites.
What charitie? what diſcrecion? what godlines? holynes, or puritie of life is amōongeſt theim? Be not they great avengears, foule glottons, ſlaunderers107F6v ſlaunderers, backebyters, advouterers , fornicators, ſwearers, and blaſphemers? yea & wallow, & tūumble in all ſynnes: Theſe be the fruites of theyr Evil livyng ſlaundereth the beſt profeſſion. Pſal.xii doctrine. And thus it may be ſeen how the worde of god is evil ſpoken of through licencious and evil livyng: & yet the worde of God is all holy, pure, ſincere, & godly, beyng the doctrine and occaſion of al holy and pure livyng: It is the wicked that perverteth Math,vii. al good thinges, into evil, for an evil tree can not bryng A ſimilitude Math. xiii. foorth good fruit. And when good ſeede is ſowen in a barrein & evil grounde, it yeldeth no good corne: and ſo it fareth by the woorde of God: for Applicacion. when it is heard and knowen of107F7r of wicked men, it bringeth no good fruite: but when it is ſowen in good grounde, I meane the heartes of good people, it bringeth furth good fruite aboundantly: ſo that the want and faut is in men, and not in the woorde of God. I Praier. pray God al men and women may have grace to become mete tillage for the fruites of the goſpel, and to leave onely Ihon.i. the janglyng of it: for onely ſpeakyng of the goſpel, maketh not men good chriſtians but good talkers, except their factes and workes agre with the ſame: ſo then theyr ſpeach Math xii is good, becauſe their heartes be good. And even as muche talk of the woorde of God, Pſal,l, without practiſyng the ſame in108F7v in our livyng is evil and deteſtable in the ſight of God, ſo it is a lamentable thyng to heare how there be manye in the worlde, that do not well digeſt the readyng of ſcripture, Readyng of the ſcripture. and do commende and prayſe ignoraunce, & ſay that muche knowlage of Gods worde, is the original of all diſcencion, ſciſmes, and contencion, and maketh men haute, proude, & preſumptuous by readyng of the ſame. This manere of ſaiyng is no leſſe then a plain blaſpheme againſt the holy goſt. For the ſpirite of God is The worde of God. the authour of his worde, and ſo the holy ghoſt is made the authour of evill, whiche is a Ihon.xvi. moſte great blaſphemye and (as the ſcripture ſayeth) a ſinne that109F8r that ſhall not be forgeven in this worlde, neither in the other Math.xii to come. It were all our partes and dueties, to procure & ſeke all the wayes & meanes poſſible, to have more knowleage of Goddes woorde, ſet foorth abrode in the worlde, & not allowe ignoraunce, and Knowlage wiſhed againſt ignoraunce diſcommende knowelage of Goddes worde, ſtoppyng the mouthes of the unlearned, with ſubtle & craftie perſuacions of Philoſophie, & Sophiſtrie, whereof commeth no fruite, but a great perturbacion of the mynde, to the ſimple and ignoraunt, not knowyng whiche waye to turne them.
For howe is it not extreme wickednes, to charge the holy ſanctified worde of God, with thoffences110F8v thoffences of man? To allege the ſcriptures to be perilous lernyng, becauſe certain readers thereof, fall into hereſies? Theſe men might be inforced by this kynde of argumente, Lyke reaſon, like cōoncluſion to forſake the uſe of fyer becauſe fier burned theyr neighbors houſe, or to abſtaine frōom meate or drynke, becauſe they ſee many ſurfeyte. O blynde hate, they ſlaunder God for mans offences, and excuſe the man whom they ſee offende, & blame the ſcripture, whiche they cannot improve: yea I have heard of ſome that have very wel underſtand the Latyne Good Latiniſts 1 characterillegible evil divines. toungue, that when thei have heard learned men, perſuade to the credite & belief of certain unwritten verities (as111G1r (as they call them) whiche be not in Scripture expreſſed, & yet taughte as doctrine apoſtolike, & neceſſarie to be beleved: they have ben of this opinion, that the learned men forged wrytynges. have mo Epiſtles written by thapoſtles of Chriſt, then we have abrode in the Canon of the olde & newe teſtament, or knowen of anye but onely to them of the Clergie. Whiche belief I did not a litle lament in my hart to heare that any creature ſhoulde have ſuche a blinde ignoraunt opinion.
Sum kinde of ſimplicitie is to be praiſed, but this ſimplicitie without the veritie, I can neither prayſe nor allow. And thus it may be ſeen how we that be unlettred, remain Gconfuſed112G1v The unlerned be taughte by grace. confuſed, without god of his grace lighten oure hartes & mīindes with a heavenly light and knowlege of his will, for we be geven of oure ſelves to beleve men better then god. I pray god ſende all learned menne the ſpirite of god aboundantly, that their doctrine This age requireth learnyng. maye bring furth the fruites thereof. I ſuppoſe there was never more nede of good doctrine to be ſet furth in the world than nowe in this age: for the Worldly chyldren. carnall children of Adam be ſo wiſe in theyr generacion, that if it wer poſſible they would deceyve the children of light. The worlde loveth his owne Math,xxiiii. and therfore theyr factes and doinges be highly eſtemed of the world: but the childrēen of god are113G2r Iohn.xvii. Gods chyldrēen are hated, becauſe they be not of the worlde, for theyr habitacion ii.Corinth.v. is in heaven, and they do diſpiſe the world as a moſt vile ſlave. The fleſhlye chyldren of Adam be ſo politike, ſubtil, craftie, & wiſe in theyr kynde, that the electe ſhould be illuded, yf it were poſſible: for they are clothed with Chriſtes garmente, in utter apperaunce, with a fayer ſhewe of al godlynes, & holynes in theyr wordes, but they have ſo ſhorne, nopped, and turned Chriſtes garmente, and have ſo diſguiſed them ſelves, that the chyldren of lyghte beholding theym with a ſpirituall iye, dooe accounte, and take theym for menne which have ſolde theyr maſters garment, G.ii.and116G2v Lyke garmēent lyke man. and have ſtollen a piece of every mans garment: yet by theyr ſubtill arte, and craftie wittes, they have ſo ſet thoſe patches and pieces together, Craftye Taylours. that they do make the blinde world, & carnal men to beleve it is Chriſtes very māantle: but the children of light, knowe the Gods children be wiſe. contrarye, for they are led by the ſpirit of god to the knowlege of the truthe, & therfore they diſcerne & judge al thinges right, & know frōom whence they cūum even frōom the biſhop of B.Bishop of Rome. Rome, & his membres, the head ſpring of al pryde, vainglorie, ambicion, hipocriſie & fained holines. The chyldren of god be not abaſhed, although the world hate them they beleve they are in the grace and fauour117G3r favour of god, & that he as a beſt father, doeth govern thēem in al thinges, putting awaye frōom them all vayn confidence & truſt in their own doinges: for they know they can do no Roman.vii. thyng but ſin of themſelves: they be not ſo folyſhe & chyldiſh, not to geve god thāankes for their eleccion, which was before the beginnyng of the Ephe.i. Sure faythe. worlde: for they beleve moſte ſurely they be of the choſen, for Roman.viii. the holy goſte doeth witneſſe to their ſpirit, that they be the childrēen of god, & therfore they beleve god better than man. Rom.viii. They ſaye with ſaint Paule: who ſhall ſeperate us from the love of god? ſhal tribulacion anguiſh, perſecucion, hunger nakednes, peril or ſwearde? G.iii.as118G3v as it is written: for thy ſake are we kylled all day long, & are counted as ſhepe appoynted to be ſlayne. Nevertheles in al theſe thinges we overcūum thorow hym that loveth us: For I am ſure that neyther death nor lyfe, nether angels nor rule, neyther power, neyther thinges preſent, neyther things to cum neither quāantitie or qualitie, neyther any creture ſhalbe able to depart us from the love of god whiche is in Chriſt Jeſu our lord They are not by this godlye Of godly faythe none evyll cummeth. faythe preſumptiouſly inflamed, nor by the ſame becum they leuſe, ydle or ſlowe in doing of godly workes as carnall men dreame of them, ſo muche the more fervent they be in119G4r be in doing moſt holy & pure wurkes, which god hath commaunded them to walke in: They wandre not in mennes tradicions & invencions, leaving the moſte holy and pure precepts of god undone, whiche they know they be boūunde to obſerve & kepe. Alſo they Mathewe.xv wurke not lyke hyerlynges for meede, wagies or reward but as lovyng children, with oute reſpecte of lucre, gayne, i.Petre.i. or hyer. They be in ſuche libertie of ſpirite, and joye ſomuche in God, that theyr inwarde conſolacion cannot be expreſſed with toungue: all feare of dampnacion is goen from theym, for they have putte their whole hope of ſalvacion in hys handes whiche wyll120G4v wil & can performe it, neither have thei any poſt or piller to lean to, but god & his ſmothe and unwrynkled churche.
For he is to them al in al thinges, and to him they lean, as a moſte ſure ſquare piller, in proſperitie & adverſitie, nothyng doubtyng of his promiſes & covenaūuntes, for they beleve moſte ſurely they ſhal be fulfilled. Alſo the children Gods ſecrets. of god be not curious in ſerchyng the highe miſteries of god, whiche be not meete for them to know: nether do go about Eccle.iii with humaine & carnal reaſōons to interpret ſcripture, perſwading men by their ſubtyll wyttes and carnall doctrine, that muche knowlege of Scrypture, maketh men heretikes121G5r heretikes, without they tēempre it with humaine doctrin, Sophiſtrie, Philoſophie, & Logicke: wherwith to be ſeduced accordyng to the tradicions Collo,ii, of men, after the ordinaunces of the worlde, and not after Chriſt. Sainct Paule doeth i,Timo,vi, Prerogative of the ſcripture mooſte diligently admoniſhe us, whiche artes are not convenient and mete to be made checkmate with ſcripture: for the ſcriptures be ſo pure and holy, that no perfeccion can be added unto them. For even A ſimilitude. as fine golde doeth excell all other mettalles, ſo dooeth the Applicacion. woorde of God, all mennes doctrines. I beſeche the lorde to ſende the learned and unlerned ſuche aboundaunce of his holy ſpirite, that thei may G.v.obey122G5v obeye and obſerve the moſte ſincere & holy worde of God, and ſhewe the fruites thereof, whiche conſiſteth chiefely in charitie & godly unitie: that as we have ᶈprofeſſed one God, one fayth, and one baptiſme: ſo we may be al of one minde & one accorde, puttyng away al bityng and gnawyng: for in backbityng, ſlaunderyng, and miſreportyng our chriſtēen brethren, we ſhewe not our ſelves the diſciples of Chriſt, whōom we profeſſe. In him was Chriſt is our example. moſt high charitie, humilitie, and pacience, ſuffering moſt paciently al ignominie, rebukes and ſlaunders, praiying Prayes. to his eternal father for his enemies, with moſte fervent charitie: & in all thinges did remit123G6r remit his wyl to his fathers, as the ſcripture doeth witnes Math,vii when he praied in the mount: A goodly example and leſſon for us to folowe at all tymes and ſeaſons: as well in proſperitie, Pſa, xxxvii as in adverſitie, to have no wyl but Gods wyl, cōommittyng and leavyng to him, all our cares and griefes, and to abandon all our policies and invencions, for they be moſte vain, and foliſhe, and in dede very ſhadowes & dreames.
But we be yet ſo carnal and fleſhly, that we rūunne hedling like unbridled coltes, without ſnafle or bit.
The love of God. If we had the love of God prīinted in our hartes, it would kepe us backe from runnyng aſtray.And 123 G6v
And untyll ſuche tyme as it pleaſe God to ſende us this bitte to holde us in, we ſhall never runne the right way, although we ſpeake and talke never ſo muche of God & his Every man attende his vocacion. worde. The true folowers of Chriſtes doctrine, hath alwayes a reſpect, and an iye to Preachers, theyr vocacion. If they be called to the miniſtery of Gods worde, they preache and teach ii,Cor,iiii it ſincerely, to the edifiying of others, and ſhewe them ſelfes in their livyng, folowers of Lay men. Ephe,vi the ſame. If they be maried menne, havyng children and familie, they noriſhe & bryng them up, without al bitternes and fiercenes, in the doctrine of the lorde, in all godlynes & vertue, cōommittyng the inſtruccioncion124G7r cion of others, whiche apperteineth not to theyr charge, to the reformacion of God, and his miniſters, whiche chiefely be kynges & princes, bearyng the ſweard even for that purpoſe, to puniſhe evil doers.
If they be childrēen, they honor Roma.xiii, Children. theyr father & mother, knowyng it to be Gods cōommaundement, and that he hath therto annexed a ᶈpromiſe of long life. Deut.v Servauntes If they be ſervauntes, they obey and ſerve theyr maſters with all feare and reverence, even for the lordes ſake, neither with murmuryng nor grudgyng, but with a free heart and mynde. If they be Ephe.vi, huſbandes. Ephe.v, houſebandes, they love theyr wyves, as theyr own bodies, after the example as Chriſt loued125G7v loved the congregacion, and gave him ſelfe for it, to make it to him a ſpouſe, without ſpot Wyves obedience. or wrinkle. If they be women maried, they learne of ſainct Paule, to be obedient to their i.Timo.ii Silence. houſbandes, & to kepe ſilence in the congregacion, and to learne of theyr huſbandes, at Apparel ii,Timo.ii, i,Peter.iii home. Alſo they weare ſuche apparel as becommeth holynes, and comly uſage, with ſobernes: not beyng accuſars or detractours, not geven to much eating of delicate meates, & drinkyng of wyne, but they teache honeſt thinges, to make the yong women ſobre mynded, to love theyr huſbandes, to love theyr children, to be diſcrete, chaſt, houſwyfely, good, obediente, unto theyr houſbandes126G8r houſbāandes: that the worde of God be not evil ſpoken of.
Verely if all ſortes of people would loke to theyr owne vocacion, and ordeine the ſame accordyng to Chriſtes doctrin we ſhould not have ſo many iyes & eares to other mennes Overmuche iye ſight. fautes as we have. For we be ſo buſye & glad to fynde and eſpy out other mens doinges that we forget, and can have no tyme to weye and ponder oure owne, whiche after the worde of God, we ought firſt Math.vii to refourme: and then we ſhal the better helpe an other with the ſtrawe out of his iyes.
But alas we be ſo muche geven Selfe love. to love and to flatter our ſelves, & ſo blinded with carnall affeccions, that we can ſe and perceiue127G8v perceive no faut in our ſelfes And therfore it is a thyng verye requiſite and neceſſarie for us to pray al with one heart and mynd to God, to geve us an heavēenly light & knowlage of our owne miſeries, & calamities that we may ſe them & acknowlage thēem truly before A conclucion with an anſwere to objeccion. him. If any man ſhalbe offended at this my lamenting the fautes of men, whiche be in the worlde fantaſyng with them ſelfes, that I do it either of hatred, or of malice, to any ſorte or kind of people: verely in ſo doing they ſhall do me great wrong, for I thanke God by his grace, I hate no creature: yea, I wold ſay more to geve witnes of my conſcience, that neither life, honour, riches, neither128H1r nether whatſoever I poſſeſſe here, which apperteyneth unto mine own private cōommoditie, be it never ſo deerly beloved of me but moſte willingly & gladly I woulde leave it to winne any man to Chriſte, of what degre or ſort, ſoever he were. And yet is this nothing in compariſon to the charity that god hath ſhewed me in ſendyng Chriſte to dye for me: no yf I had all the charitie of angelles and apoſtles, it ſhould be but like a ſparke of fyre compared to a greate heape of burning coles. God knoweth of what intent and mynde I have lamēented myne owne ſinnes & faultes to the worlde. I truſt no bodye wyll judge that I have doen it for Hprayſe129H1v prayſe, or thanke of any creature, ſince rather I myght be aſhamed then rejoice in reherſal thereof. For yf they knowe howe litle I eſteme and weye the prayſe of the world, that It is lawefull to boſt in god. opinion were ſoone removed & taken awaye: for I thanke god (by his grace) I know the world to be a blynde Judge, & the prayſes thereof vayne, & of litle moment: and therfore I ſeeke not the praiſes of the ſame, nether to ſatiſfy it, none otherwiſe, then I am taught by Chriſt to doe, according to Godly wyſh. Chriſten charitie. I would to god we would al (when occaſion doeth ſerve) confeſſe our faultes to the world, al reſpectes to our owne commoditie layed aparte. But alas, ſelfe loue130H2r love doeth ſo muche reigne amongeſt Shame hyndreth confeſſiōon. us, that as I have ſayed before, we can not eſpie oure owne faultes. And although ſumtime we find our owne gilt, either we be favourable to interpret it no ſinne, orels we be aſhamed to confeſſe our ſelves thereof. Yea & we be ſore offended & grieved to heare our faultes charitably & godly told us of other, putting no differēence betwene charitable warnyng, and malicious i.Corinth.vi. accuſing. Truly if we ſought goddes glorye as we ſhoulde do in all thynges, we ſhould not be aſhamed to confeſſe our ſelfes to digreſſe frōom Goddes preceptes and ordinaunces, when it is manifeſt we have doen, and dayly do. I pray131H2v I pray god our own faultes and dedes condemne us not, Math.xxv. at the last daye, when everye man ſhal be rewarded according A true threatnyng. to his doinges. Trulye yf we dooe not redreſſe and amende our living, accordyng to the doctrine of the goſpel, we ſhal receyve a terrible ſentence Domeſday cōom pred to a law daye. of Chriſte the ſon of god when he ſhall cum to judge & condemne all trannſgreſſours and brekers of his preceptes and commaundementes, and to rewarde all his obediente and loving children, we ſhall have no man of law to make oure plea for us, neyther can we have the day deferred, neither wil the juſt judge be corrupted with affeccion, bribes, or132H3r or rewarde, neither wyll he heare any excuſe or delay, neither ſhall this ſainct, or that Martier helpe us, be they never ſo holy, neither ſhall our ignoraunce ſave us from dāamnacion. Wylful ſyn is the greateſt. But yet wylful blindnes, & obſtinate ignoraunce, ſhal receive greater puniſhem ēent, & not without juſt cauſe. Then ſhall it be knowen who hath walked in the darke, for al thinges ſhal appere manifeſt, before him. No mannes Apoca xxii. deedes ſhal be hidden, no, neither wordes, nor thoughtes: the poore & ſimple obſervers of Goddes cōommaundementes ſhalbe rewarded with everlaſtyng life, as obedient childrēen to the heavenly father. And Rewarde of ſynnres. the tranſgreſſours adders, & diminiſhers133H3v diminiſhers of the law of God, ſhall receive eternal damnacion, for theyr juſt rewarde.
Praier. I beſeche god we may eſcape this feareful ſentence, and be found ſuche faythful ſervaūuntes, and lovyng children, that we may heare the happye, comfortable, and moſt joyful ſentence, ordeined for the childrēen of God, whiche is: Come hither ye bleſſed of my father, and receive the kyngdome of heaven, prepared for you before the beginnyng of the worlde: Math,xxv, Unto the Father, the Sonne, and the holy Goſt be all honor & glory world without ende.
in Fleteſtrete at the ſigne of the
Sunne over agaynſt the conduyte
by Edwarde Whitchurche
1548-03-28The.xxviii.day of Marche
the yere of our lorde.