The sixt Chapter, That we ought to submit our selues to the schoole of the Crosse: and still looke and learne in the booke of the Crucifix.
TRulie it may be most iustlie verified, that to behold Christ crucified, in spirit, is the best meditation that can be. I certeinlie neuer knew mine owne miseries and wretchednes so well by booke, admonition, or learning; as I haue done by looking into the spirituall booke of the Cruci∣fix. I lament much I haue passed so manie yeeres, not regarding that diuine booke: but I iudged, & thought my selfe to be well instructed in the same: wheras now I am of this opinion, that if God would suffer me to liue here a thousand yeeres, and should studie continu∣allie in the same diuine booke, I should not be filled with the contemplation thereof. Neither hold I my selfe contented, but alwaies haue a great desire, to learne and studie more therein. I neuer knewe mine owne wickednes, neither lamented for my sinnes tru∣lie, vntill the time God inspired me with his grace, that I looked in this booke: then I began to see per∣fectlie, that mine owne power and strength could not helpe me; and that I was in the Lords hand, euen as the claie is in the potters hand; then I began to crie and saie:
Alas Lord that euer I haue so wickedlie offended thee, being to me from the beginning so gratious and so good a father, and most speciallie now hast declared and shewed thy goodnesse vnto me, when in the time I haue done thee most iniurie, to call me, and also to make me knowe & take thee for my Sauior and redee∣mer. Such be the wonderfull works of God to call sin∣ners to repentance, & to make them to take Christ his welbeloued sonne for their Sauior: this is the gift of God, & of all Christians to be required and desired. For Page 59 except this great benefit of Christ crucified be felt and fixed surelie in mans hart, there can be no good worke done acceptable before God. For in Christ is all ful∣nesse of the Godhead, and in him are hid all the trea∣sures of wisdome and knowledge. Euen he is the wa∣ter of life, whereof whosoeuer shall drinke, he shall ne∣uer more thirst; but it shall be in him a well of water, springing vp into euerlasting life. S. Paule saith, There is no damnation to them that are in Christ, which walke not after the flesh, but after the spirit. Moreouer he saith: If when we were enimies, we were reconciled to God, by the death of his son: much more, seeing we are reconciled, we shall be preserued by his death. It is no little or small benefit we haue re∣ceiued by Christ, if we consider what he hath done for vs, as I haue perfectlie declared heretofore. Where∣fore I praie the Lord, that this great benefit of Christ crucified, may be stedfastlie fixed & printed in all Chri∣stians harts, that they may be true louers of God, and worke as children for loue: and not as seruants, com∣pelled with threatenings, or prouoked with hire.
The sincere and pure louers of God doo embrace Christ, with such feruencie of spirit, that they reioice in hope, be bold in danger, suffer in aduersitie, continue in praier, blesse their persecutors. Further, they be not wise in their owne opinion, neither high minded in their prosperitie, neither abashed in their aduersitie: but humble and gentle alwaies to all men. For they knowe by their faith they are members all of one bo∣die, and that they haue possessed all one God, one faith, one baptisme, one ioie, and one saluation. If these pure and sincere louers of God were thicke sowne, there should not be so much contention and strife growing on the fields of our religion, as there is. Well, I shall praie to the Lord to take all contention and strife a∣waie, and that the sowers of sedition may haue mind Page 60 to cease their labour, or to sowe it among the stones, and to haue grace to sowe gratious vertues, where they may both take roote, and bring foorth fruit, with sending also a godlie vnitie and concord amongst all Christians, that we may serue the Lord in true holi∣nesse of life.