Comfortable exhortations against the manifold assaults of Sathan.
IF thou perceiue that the storme of tempta∣tion doth verie often and greeuouslie assault thee, dismaie not therefore thy selfe, neither be displeased with thy selfe, as though al∣mightie God nothing regarded thee; but rather thank him that he instructeth and teacheth thee, as one to be his heire; that he punisheth and correcteth thee, as his most deere soune; that he prooueth and assaieth thee as his welbeloued freend. It is a manifest and great to∣ken, that man is reiect from the mercie and fauour of God, when he is troubled with no temptation.
In thy temptation remember the holie Apostle S. Paule, which being rapt to the mysteries of the third heauen, was vexed with the Angel of Sathan. Page 196 Remember the temptation of the holie man Iob, and other which were greeuouslie troubled with their of∣fences. O happie and fortunate man, in whome this earthlie Adam is so mortified and subdued, that it in no wise resisteth the spirit! But whether this perfect quietnesse may be in anie, I will not affirme; perad∣uenture it is not necessarie to be. For Paule in this life, notwithstanding his high perfection and grace, had a motion of the flesh to vexe and trouble him. And when he thrise desired God to be deliuered from the said motion, he onelie had this answere: Paule, my grace is sufficient, for vertue is made perfect by vexa∣tion. Paule was vexed by pride, that he should not be proud: to be perfect and strong in God, he was caused to be weake and feeble. For he caried the treasure of heauenlie reuelation in a fraile and brittle vessell, that the honour and victorie should onlie be in God, not in himselfe. This one example of Paule, is erudition and learning in manie things, when that we be entised and moued to sinne, that we diligentlie call to almigh∣tie God by praier.
Remember that Dauid the Prophet, King Salo∣mon, and Peter the Apostle, notwithstanding they were great lights and examples of holinesse, yet they fell into greeuous and great sinnes, whome almightie God peraduenture suffered to fall for this cause, speci∣allie that thou shouldst not despaire. Lift vp thy selfe therefore vpon thy feete, and with high courage, and bold stomach returne againe into battell against thy enimies, not onlie more fierce and bold, but also more ware and diligent. And thinke with thy selfe what in∣tollerable and inuincible temptations Christ suffered for thee; wherein there appeared no helpe, comfort, aide, nor defence anie where; wherein God and the whole world seemed to be his most cruell and malici∣ous enimies, when that he cried alowd, My GOD, Page 197 my GOD, why hast thou forsaken me? Trulie this was a most greeuous, painefull, and bitter temptati∣on, which Christ suffered for vs, that he might make the waie of the crosse easie for vs.
Therefore prepare thy selfe patientlie to drinke of that cup, which Christ Iesu thy head hath so willing∣lie dronke on, for the saluation of all mankind. And see∣ing therefore that Christ so willinglie put himselfe in subiection, and dipped himselfe in those so horrible and intollerable sorowes and calamities (our most louing and heauenlie father willing the same out of doubt,) he also vnderstandeth and knoweth our infirmitie: out of doubt he taking compassion on vs, will not extreme∣lie deale with vs; but will rather beare with our im∣becillitie and weakenesse. Doth not he himselfe calling all men vnto him saie? Come vnto me all yee that la∣bour and are heauie laden, and I will refresh you. What greater comfort I praie you can be giuen vs? How could Christ speake more mercifullie vnto vs?
There be manie things that greeuouslie vexe and trouble man, but what thing can more cruellie vexe and torment his conscience ouerwhelmed with sinne, than when he doubteth of the mercie of God? When he dreadeth least God be his aduersarie, and will reiect him? When he is not able to conceiue this faith of his mercie; and doth imagine himselfe to be cast awaie, as a drie member that is cut off?
Be present heere, O Iesus Christ with thine aide and helpe; heere we haue neede of thy comfort: let not this blacke, violent and horrible tempest of troubles ouerthrowe and drowne wretched man.
But there is no cause why we should doubt. Christ is true, he will make his promise to appeare, he will helpe vs and refresh vs. Therefore, whereas thy faith is not strong ynough; whereas thou feelest thy selfe to doubt of Gods mercie; and hast well-neere no faith Page 198 at all; streightwaies call vpon God; bewaile thy mi∣serie and lacke of beleefe before him; seeke for his aide and succour by feruent praier, and he will both helpe and refresh thee; he hath taken vpon him thus to doo, and he will bring it to passe.
But take heede thou cease not to call vpon God; be∣seech thou, without ceasing, the father of all consolati∣on and comfort, with sighes from the bottome of thine heart, that he turne not his face from thee: laie thy weakenesse vpon him, and powre out into his bosome all things which trouble and torment thee. Crie out with his disciples; O Lord increase my faith. Like∣wise saie thou with the father of the lunatike childe; Lord, I beleeue, helpe thou mine vnbeleefe; make haste O Lord to helpe me, before that I oppressed with this weight be drowned. O most louing and most mercifull father; Lord God of my health, our onlie helpe and refuge: enter not into iudgement with thy seruants. Christ is my righteousnesse, redemption and innocen∣cie, which suffered most bitter and cruell death for my sake. Let those things moue thee O father of all com∣passion; haue mercie vpon me for thy sonnes sake; confirme and strengthen my hart by faith in Christ; comfort me with the consolations of the holie Ghost, that I may enioie the true ioies of euerlasting life, through the merits of my Lord and Sauiour Iesus Christ: to whom with the Father and the holie Ghost, be all praise and glorie for euer and euer,