The eleuenth Chapter, Of the vertuous properties of Gods children: of whome euerie one attendeth his vocation.
BUT the children of light knowe the con∣trarie: for they are led by the spirit of God, to the knowledge of the truth, and therefore they discerne and iudge all things right, and knowe from whence they come, euen from the bishop of Rome, and his members, the headspring of all pride, vaine glorie, ambition, hypocrisie, and feigned holines.
The children of God be not abashed, although the world hate them; they beleeue they are in the grace and fauour of God, and that he, as a best father, doth gouerne them in all things, putting awaie from them all vaine confidence and trust in their owne doings. For they knowe they can doo nothing but sin of them∣selues. They bee not so foolish, and childish, not to giue God thanks for their election, which was before the beginning of the world. For they beleeue most surelie they bee of the chosen. For the holie Ghost doth witnes to their spirit, that they bee the children of God; and therefore they beleeue God better than man. They saie with Saint Paule, Who shall separate vs from the loue of God? Shall tribulation, anguish, persecu∣tion, hunger, nakednesse, perill, or sword? As it is writ∣ten, For thy sake are we killed all daie long; and are counted as sheepe appointed to bee slaine: neuerthe∣lesse, in all these things wee ouercome, through him that loueth vs. For I am sure, that neither death, nor life, neither Angels, nor rule; neither power, neither Page 74 things present, neither things to come, neither quan∣titie or qualitie, neither anie creature, shall bee able to depart vs from the loue of God, which is in Christ Ie∣su our Lord.
They are not by this godlie faith presumptuouslie inflamed, nor by the same become they loose, idle, or slowe in dooing of godlie works, as carnall men dreme of them: so much the more feruent they be in dooing most holie and pure works, which God hath comman∣ded them to walke in. They wander not in mens tra∣ditions and inuentions, leauing the most holie and pure precepts of God vndone, which they knowe they be bound to obserue and keepe. Also they worke not like hirelings, for meede, wages, or reward; but as lo∣uing children, without respect of lucre, gaine, or hire. They be in such libertie of spirit, and ioie so much in God, that their inward consolation can not be expres∣sed with tongue. All feare of damnation is gone from them; for they haue put their whole hope of saluation in his hands, which will and can performe it; neither haue they anie post or piller to leane to, but God, and his smooth and vnwrinkled Church. For he is to them all in all things, and to him they leane, as a most sure square piller, in prosperitie and aduersitie, nothing doubting of his promises and couenants. For they be∣leeue most surelie they shall be fulfilled.
Also the children of God be not curious in searching the high mysteries of God, which be not meet for them to knowe: neither doo go about with humane and car∣nall reasons to interpret Scripture, persuading men by their subtile wits, and carnall doctrine, that much knowledge of Scripture maketh men heretikes, without they temper it with humane doctrine, So∣phistrie, Philosophie, and Logicke, wherewith to bee seduced according to the traditions of men, after the ordinances of the world, and not after Christ. S. Paul Page 75 doth most diligentlie admonish vs, which arts are not conuenient & meet to be made checkmate with Scrip∣ture. For the Scriptures be so pure and holie, that no perfection can be added vnto them. For euen as fine gold doth excell all other mettals, so doth the word of God, all mens doctrines. I beseech the Lord to send the learned and vnlearned such abundance of his holie spi∣rit, that they may obeie and obserue the most sincere and holie word of God, and shew the fruits thereof, which consisteth chieflie in charitie and godlie vnitie: that as we haue professed one God, one faith, and one baptisme; so we may be all of one mind, and one accord, putting awaie all biting and gnawing. For in backbi∣ting, slandering, and mis-reporting our Christian bre∣thren, we shew not our selues the Disciples of Christ, whom we professe. In him was most high charitie, hu∣militie and patience, suffering most patientlie all ig∣nominie, rebukes, and slanders, praieng to his eter∣nall father for his enimies with most perfect charitie; and in all things did remit his will to his fathers, as the Scripture doth witnesse, when he praied in the Mount. A godlie example and lesson for vs to followe at all times and seasons, as well in prosperitie, as in aduersitie; to haue no will but Gods will, committing and leauing to him all our cares and greefes, and to abandon all our policies and inuentions. For they be most vaine, and foolish, and indeed verie shadowes and dreames.
But we be yet so carnall and fleshlie, that we run headlong like vnbrideled colts, without snaffle or bri∣dle. If we had the loue of God printed in our harts, it would keepe vs backe from running astraie. And vntill such time as it please God to send vs this bit to hold vs in, we shall neuer run the right waie, although wee speake and talke neuer so much of God and his word. The true followers of Christs doctrine haue alwaies Page 76 a respect, and an eie to their vocation. If they be called to the ministerie of Gods word, they preach and teach it sincerelie, to the edifieng of others; and shew them∣selues in their liuing, followers of the same. If they be maried men, hauing children and familie, they nourish and bring them vp, without all bitternesse, and fierce∣nesse, in the doctrine of the Lord, in all godlinesse and vertue; committing the instruction of others, which apperteine not to their charge, to the reformation of God, and his ministers, which chieflie be Kings and Princes, bearing the sword euen for that purpose, to punish euill dooers. If they be children, they honour their father and mother, knowing it to be Gods com∣mandement, and that he hath thereto annexed a pro∣mise of long life. If they be seruants, they obeie and serue their maisters with all feare and reuerence, e∣uen for the Lords sake; neither with murmuring nor grudging, but with a free hart and mind.
If they be husbands, they loue their wiues, as their owne bodies, after the example as Christ loued the congregation, and gaue himselfe for it, to make it to him a spouse without spot or wrinkle. If they be wo∣men maried, they learne of S. Paule to be obedient to their husbands, and to keepe silence in the congregati∣on, and to learne of their husbands at home. Also they weare such apparell as becommeth holinesse, & com∣lie vsage, with sobernesse; not being accusers or de∣tractors, not giuen to much eating of delicate meats, and drinking of wine; but they teach honest things, to make the yong women sober minded, to loue their hus∣bands, to loue their children, to be discreet, chaste, hous∣wifelie, good, and obedient vnto their husbands: that the word of God be not euill spoken of. Uerelie, if all sorts of people would looke to their owne vocation, and ordeine the same according to Christs doctrine, we should not haue so many eies and eares to other mens Page 77 faults as we haue. For we be so busie and glad to find and espie out other mens dooings, that we forget, and can haue no time to weigh & ponder our owne, which after the word of God we ought first to reforme: and then we shall the better helpe an other with the straw out of his eies.
But alas, we be so much giuen to loue and to flatter our selues, and so blinded with carnall affections, that we can see and perceiue no fault in our selues. And therfore it is a thing verie requisite and necessarie for vs, to praie all with one hart and mind to God, to giue vs an heauenlie light and knowledge of our owne mi∣series and calamities, that we may see them, and ac∣knowledge them trulie before him.