PETERS FALL. ¶ Two Sermons vpon the Historie of Peters denying Christ. Wherin we may see the causes of mans falling from God, and the manner how, both of the wicked thorough incredulitie, and of the godly by infirmitie: and also the way that God hath set downe in his word to rise againe. By IOHN VDALL, Preacher of the word of God at King∣ston vpon Temmes.
Prouerbs. 24, 16. A iust man falleth seauen times, and riseth againe, but the wicked fall into mischiefe.
¶Printed at London by Iohn Windet, and Thomas Iudson for Nicho∣las Lyng. Anno. 1584.
To the right Honorable Lord, Frauncis, Earle of Bedford, Knight of the noble order of the Garter, one of her Maiesties most honorable priuie Counsell, IOHN VDALL wisheth increase, and continuance of vertue and godlines.
THE greatest difference that the Philosophers could finde (right Honorable) betweene man and beast, was the rule of reason, wherby they could perceiue that man could giue iudgement of things present and things past, and comparing them together, could (after a sort) prognosticate of things to come, which moued them according to theyr power and vnderstanding, to labour night and day in continuall meditation of the excellencie of the same, to seeke the adorning and beauti∣fying thereof, with all those things which brute beasts for lacke of reason coulde not haue: as namely, the continuall searching out of natu∣rall Page [unnumbered] causes, the daily consideration of the effects, and operations of things in this world: and the particular qualities of euery seuerall beast, bird, fish, tree, herbe, worme, fruite, stone, and e∣uerie other creature whatsoeuer. The benefite of whose diligēce redoundeth euen to our great good, and consolation, as the Physitian verie well knoweth, and the diseased patient sensibly feeleth: yea, and (which more is) they stayed not themselues in this alone, but labouring still to beautifie that same diuine part of mans mind (I meane reason) they inuented another kynde of flower, whiche they called Morall Philosophie, wherewithall their meaning was, to haue the effects of reason rightly ruled, to shine foorth most brightly in euery particular action of mans life, putting all their contem∣plations by this meanes, in assiduall and dayly practise: wherein, how excellent they were, and how forcibly they vsed it in their conuersation, and also how equally it directed all their deedes by iustice and equitie, their owne writings re∣maining yet, and their notable acts recorded in histories, do better & more plentifully declare, then either I can, or my present purpose may suffer me. Onely thus much is to be saide, that their vertues were so excellent, that we aime stil at them, and their common wealths so well or∣dered, that we make them our continuall plat∣forme & patterne: and the nearer we come vnto diuers of thē, the better we thinke our gouern∣ment established. Now it is not vnknowne vnto your honor, nor to any other that haue the true feeling of Gods grace working in their hearts, Page [unnumbered] and the Sunne of righteousnes shining in theyr consciences: that the Lord our God, the creator of all things, our redeemer, preseruer and sancti∣fier, hath giuen vnto vs not only the knowledge of all these things (in some measure) which they had in great aboundance, but (which more is) a farre surpassing and more excellent difference, to seuer vs withall from the rest of his creatures, then euer they had, or once thought of, to wit, the knowledge of his loue and fauour towards vs in his Sonne Iesus Christ. For albeit it be true that reason is the essentiall and formall dif∣ference, as they call it, betweene man and beast, yet we see euen in them some sparke, and as it were, some speciall kind of reason: for to try the same in particular effects, we see that a Dog can discerne his maister from another man, yea, though he be twenty yeares from him, if it be true that Homer reporteth of Vlisses his dog,* & him that vseth to hurt him he can shun, and can fawne on him that cherisheth him. The bird also can foretell whē raine wil fall. The Emit in the time of sommer, maketh prouision for winter. Many there be, such like as these which we reade of in Pliny & Aristotle, writing of the nature of beasts, and whiche by our owne experience we daily see. But this is so farre from seeming to be reuealed to any other creature, that it is a para∣dox, and a strange thing to many of vs, that dif∣fer frō bruite beasts by reason, & therfore which is the drift of this whole discourse, it standeth vs vpon which professe the name of Iesus Christ, which do acknowledge him to be giuē of God the Father, and sealed vnto vs by God the holy Page [unnumbered] Ghost, for our eternall saluation: to haue an especiall care, that as Christ sayth of the wicked, (that they be wiser in their generation, then the children of light) so it be not sayde of vs,* that the Paganes, Heathen, and Gentile Philoso∣phers, be not found in the sight of God more diligent in their humane profession, then we in the profession of Iesus Christ: I meane more glorious in shewing foorth the fruite of their Philosophy in their actions, then we of our di∣uinitie in our life and conuersation. And sure∣ly, I would to God that we could truly and rightly follow their steps in one thing, which is this: I reade of them that the more know∣ledge they obteined in their Philosophy, the more they abandoned themselues from the va∣nities of the world, so that one casteth his gold into the sea,* another carried all his substance with him wheresoeuer he went: another con∣tented himselfe with a tub or tunne to dwell in,* in steede of his house:* all of them whatsoe∣uer they possessed, they did willingly employ it to the encrease of knowledge in themselues and others. But do we so? no. We seeke how to serue God and Mammon too:* we labour to become religious in shewe, and couetous in deede: We desire to come to Christ by night with Nicodemus,* for feare of worldly losses, we seeke to crie Lord, Lord, but we haue no care to do the works of the Lord.* We make a shewe of godlinesse, but we denie the power thereof: we wish to sit at the right and left hand of Iesus in his kingdome, but we are loth to drinke of his cup. (All in one word) We professe Iesus Page [unnumbered] Christ,* but turne the grace of God into wan∣tonnesse. Hence it is that wickednesse doth so abound, that Sathan hath preuailed so much, and that so few endeuour a godly life: euen for that the enemie can perswade them that profes∣sion will serue, that a shewe is sufficient. But howsoeuer it be, that so many be drunke with this cup of Sathans poison, against whome in truth, the Heathen Philosophers that neuer knew God, shall rise in the day of iudgement and condemne them, for that they haue beene more carefull to shew the fruite of their profes∣sion in vpright dealing (though it was in vaine) then these haue bene, yet it behoueth all them that see these things, and are greeued with the consideration thereof, and are not spotted with the same brand, to be so much the more care∣full, as the euill is common, that they smell not of their abhomination, that they depart from them,* and be not partakers of their sinnes, that they hate the garment spotted by the flesh, that they fashion not themselues like vnto thys world,* but that they be changed in their shape, by the renewing of their mindes, and that thereby their profession may be adorned,* and the truth thereof in their hearts and conscien∣ces forceablie established. When I considered these things (right Honorable) and sought out of Gods booke (which is the looking glasse discouering all enormities) wherein the chiefe cause heereof should consist: I perceyued (so farre as my small knowledge could atteyne vn∣to) that the lacke of the right vse of Gods word, and heedefull care to be gouerned by the Page [unnumbered] same, did ingender these, and infinite other ab∣hominations: and therefore for mine owne comfort, and the instruction of others, I dyd make choyse of the history of Peters denying of Christ to entreate vpon: which being ended, for certayne considerations heereafter mentio∣ned, I haue so neere as I could, penned it accor∣ding as it was spoken: Most humblie beseeching your Honour, that the same may proceede vn∣der the wings of your defence and protection, which I doubt not shall be by that meanes of the godly sort, the better accepted, and of the cankered caterpiller the lesse touched, so shall I be bound (which notwithstanding is my du∣tie) to pray vnto the Lord God of heauen, for the encrease and continuance of the graces of his holie spirit vnto your honour, to guide and direct the same in all your good and godly en∣terprises whatsoeuer, that thereby Gods holie name heere vpon earth may be glorified, hys children mainteined and cherished, sinne and iniquitie cut downe and quenched, Iesus Christ his Gospell promoted and ad∣uanced, and your owne conscience vnfaynedly comforted. Amen.
Your Honours most humble to commaund. IOHN VDALL.
To the Godly and well disposed Reader.
HAuing taken in hand to in∣treat of this place of Scrip∣ture (according to my poore talent, wherwith God hath enabled me) I was very ear∣nestly requested by some of my friendes (such as feare God vnfainedlye) to put the same in printe for the benefite (as they said) of others But considering with my selfe, the greate number of learned and godly treatises already extant, & how vnnecessary it should be for my greene & vntimely blos∣some to appeere in this age of the ripe Har∣uest, and also howe readye mans nature is to cauill at the doings of others: and like the spi∣der to suck poyson out of the finest Flowers, I was fully determined it should neuer shew it selfe in the worlde: yet beeing mooued wyth their earnest suite, and at length being ouer∣come with their forceable perswasions, I haue Page [unnumbered] penned the same as neere as I can remember. Now (good Reader) if thou be desirous to knowe what benefite thou shalt reape by the same, I am very loth to indent with thee be∣fore hand for if I should promise nothing, I were to be blamed to trouble thee, which else mightest be better imployed. If I shoulde pro∣mise that which peraduenture thou maiest finde: I might seeme to arrogate too muche vnto my selfe, & therfore I commit it to thy godly consideration and iudgement. But for the place of scripture it selfe, thus muche I dare say (and that I trust with the consent of all the godlye learned) that if thou desire to vnderstand how the wicked doe begin to fall from the Lord: what causes doe concurre, and in what order they proceede vnto the height of iniquitie: If thou desire to know what it is that mooueth the godly to fall & offend god And lastly if thou be willing to vnderstand what things bee necessary and expedient for thy selfe, being fallen to returne vnto god, & to stand in his fauour when thou art in it, I am sure thou maiest learne it out of this hi∣story. Now if I haue not so fully discoursed of euery point, as thou couldest wish, nor so lear¦nedly proceeded, as the matter doth require: Page [unnumbered] I praye thee beare with me, and praye to the Lord to encrease his beginnings in me, & sup¦ply my want? concerning the last parte of al, which is repentance, I haue of purpose beene sparing in it, because others haue learnedlye and at large intreated thereof: whoseful in∣treaty if thou desire, haue recourse vnto those their writings. To conclude, if any thyng doe here please thee, giue God his due for it (to whome all honour belongeth) If ought be lacking, helpe me I beseeche the with thy praiers to God our father, that it woulde please him to direct al our indeauoures to the aduancement of his glory, the benefite of his Church, and comfort of our consciences that we may walke warily and cir∣cumspectly amongst this frow∣ard & crooked generatiō.
The Text out of Saint Mathevv and S. Luke confer∣red both togither.
IEsus said vnto Peter, verilye I say vnto thee,* that this night before the Cocke crow thou shalt deny me thrice.
Peter saide vnto him, though I shoulde dye with thee,* yet will I not deny thee.
And Peter followed a far off, & when they had kindled a fire in the middest of the Hall,* and were set downe togither, Peter also sat downe amongst them.
And a certaine maíde beheld him as he sat by the fire,* and hauing well looked on him saide, this man was also with him.
Page [unnumbered]But he denied againe with an oth, saying: I knowe not the man.
Then began he to cursse him selfe,* and to sweare, saying: I knowe not the man.
And immediately while he yet spake,* the Cocke did crowe.
Then the Lord turned backe, and looked vpō Peter, and Peter remembred the wordes of the Lord, how he had saide vnto him be∣fore the Cock crow, thou shalt denye mee thrise.
And Peter went out and wept bitterly.*Page [unnumbered]
The Method and order of the whole matter in this booke.
- the cau∣ses,
- within himselfe,
- presump¦tion, in
- forsaking Gods word. 1.
- leaning to hys owne power. 2.
- following a farre off. 3.
- presump¦tion, in
- without himself,
- the companye, the hygh priestes seruantes. 4.
- the place, the warme fire. 5.
- within himselfe,
- the man∣ner how,
- 1. By bare denying. 6.
- 2. By swearing. 7.
- 3. By execration.
- the cau∣ses,
- rising again
- the cau∣ses.
- without himself.
- the crowing of the cocke. 9.
- the looking backe of Iesus. 10.
- within himselfe
- what Christ had saide. 11.
- what he had done. 12.
- without himself.
- the man∣ner how.
- his going out. 13.
- his sorrowing. 14.
- the cau∣ses.
Math. 26, 34.
Iesus sayde vnto Peter, verily I say vnto thee, that this night before the Cocke crowe, thou shalt denie me thrise, &c.
AS there is nothing set downe in the worde of God, which is not in his singular wisedome pro∣pounded vnto his chil∣dren, either to teache them the will of the Lord,* and the re∣ligion that they must professe, or to fur∣nish them with sufficient armour, to conuince their aduersaries, or to in∣struct them how to frame their liues and conuersation according to hys will, or to reproue them that walke inordinately, or lastly, to comforte them being distressed and afflicted in this world:* so there is no example set before our eyes, in the whole booke of God, more necessary for vs continual∣lie to be meditated vpon, then this of Peters fall. For in the same, is firste painted out vnto vs, the miserable e∣state Page [unnumbered] of man, being left vnto himselfe: then the excéeding mercie of God to∣wards man. Secondly we may sée in it the beginnings, procéedings, and man∣ner how all men doo sinne, whether it be the godly falling by infirmitie, or the wicked transgressing thorough infide∣litie, and then how and by what de∣grées the godly be reclaimed and resto∣red againe. So that in this historie we haue two things offered to our conside∣rations. First, Peters fall. Secondly, his rising againe. In his fall we note the causes that mooued him therevnto, and the maner how it was. The causes be either in himselfe, or accidentarie without himselfe: within himselfe, his presumption▪ in departing from the word of God, and leaning vppon his owne power, and his slowe following: the causes without himself be his com∣panie, the high Priests seruants, and the place where he was, ye warme fire. The maner how he did fall, is first in bare deniall: then with binding it with an oth: and lastly, by curssing himselfe if euer he knew Christ. In his rising a∣gaine, Page [unnumbered] are likewise the causes and the maner how: the causes without himself and within himselfe: without himselfe, the crowing of the Cocke, & the looking back of Iesus: within himselfe, his re∣membrance what Christ had said, and what he had done, the manner how he rise, his going out, and his sorrowing.
The firste cause of his fall (as you sée) was his presumption, and that is [ 1] also in two things. The first is, in not leaning vnto the wordes of his Lorde and maister. For Christ told him that he should denie him. But he notwith∣standing being either blinded with the consideration of his owne power, (as hereafter shall appeare) or else carried away with a preposterous zeale to fol∣low him whether soeuer he went, re∣plyed, that though all men should for∣sake him, yet he would not. And sure∣ly this is most worthy the considerati∣on. For if we beginne at the first man that euer was, and continue thorough out the whole scriptures, we shal finde that the little regarde giuen vnto the worde of God was the beginning of Page [unnumbered] their fall.
The father of mankinde, the firste founder of his misterie Adam, hauing receiued this especiall commandement (of the trée of knowledge of good and euill,* thou shalt not eate.) Yet this bée∣ing put out of his heart, partly thorough the subtiltie of Sathan (wherewith∣all he was assayled) partly by the pro∣uocation of the woman (whome great∣ly he loued) and partly with the beau∣tie and delicacie of the Apple (with whiche he was allured:) He notwith∣standing did take of it, and eating of the trée forbidden, fell from the Lorde his God, and was cast out of that place of pleasure,* where before he dwelled. So did Caine,* forgetting the comman∣dement of God, yea and the law of na∣ture, kill his brother Abell.*Lamech not considering that the Lord God had made man and woman to bée one flesh,* tooke vnto him two wiues, and so fell from the Lorde. Saule hauing recey∣ued a precept to destroy Amalecke, and all that pertayned vnto them,* that he should haue no compassion on them, Page [unnumbered] but shoulde slaie both man and wo∣man, both infant and suckling, both Oxen and Shéepe, and Camels, and Asses: yet directing not hys dooings according to hys commission, but yéelding vnto hys owne fantasie, in sparing the King Agag, and the bet∣ter Shéepe, and fat Oxen to sacrifice, (as was pretended) vnto the Lorde, was rewarded with depriuation from his Kingdome. The lyke may be said of the rebellious Israelites in the wil∣dernesse,* (who hauing the promise of Gods speciall protection) yet murmu∣red often times. The same is playne in the rebellious Iewes in the tyme of the Prophetes, and brieflie thorough out the whole booke of God: that when soeuer the Prophetes be resisted, the Apostles persecuted, or any other sinne whatsoeuer committed: whether it be of the godlie falling by infirmitie, or by the wicked offending of obstinacie. The first originall and beginning is this, that the worde of the Lorde in that respecte, is eyther not knowen, or not remembred, and therefore Sa∣than Page [unnumbered] strooke verie déepe, and in verie déede, at the surest roote of mans safe∣garde, when he put it into the head of his sonne and heire Antichrist, the childe of perdition (the Pope of Rome) to keepe the people from the know∣ledge of Gods word, for he knew well ynough, that the worde of God béeing manifest vnto all the world, as the in∣strumente to kéepe man from grosse sinnes, for verie shame and feare of pu∣nishment, and many in faith and obe∣dience vnto the Lord for loue, and zeale vnto his glory, and desire of their owne saluation, whiche otherwise shoulde wander in darkenesse, and in the sha∣dowe of death: because that they bée∣ing blinde for want of knowledge, should haue swallowed many moates of iniquitie: but to let him goe, and come nearer vnto our selues: what is the cause that euen in this light, and glorious Sunne beames of Christ his Gospell, so many be so softed and drow∣ned in idolatrie and superstition, that they are not ashamed with whorishe faces, not blushing to maintaine, and Page [unnumbered] defend the heathenish fashion of wor∣shipping of God in Images (for theyr owne shame hath fomed out the wor∣shipping of the Image it selfe) but on∣ly this, that the seconde Commande∣ment is blotted out of theyr heart,* and also out of their bookes, and the true ex∣position that our sauiour Christ giueth vnto the same: that the true worship∣pers shall worship in spirit and truth, that as he is a spirit, requiring spiri∣tuall seruice, is either not knowne, or else misconstrued: or what is the cause, that the blasphemer of Gods name hath such delight and pleasure in swearing, cursing, and prophaning (or rather renting in péeces) the dreadfull name of the most glorious God: but only this, that the commandement is not before his eyes, which is enioyned vnto all them that be (or be desirous to be called) the children of God, that they neuer presume to take his name into theyr mouth, without a singu∣lar reuerence of hys Maiestie, or the threatninges therevnto annexed. For GOD pronounceth them that Page [unnumbered] sweare (by those which were no Gods) to be none of his:* for he saith they haue forsaken him in so doing: also a man that vseth much swearing, shall be fil∣led with wickednes, and the plague of God shall not departe from his house, vntill it be vtterly wasted and consu∣med. The whoremaister goeth on in his filthines, because he forgetteth the commaundement of God: Thou shalt not commit adulterie, and the threat∣ning: that whoremongers, and adul∣terers, God will iudge.* To conclude the like is truly to be thought of all o∣ther sinnes, that the casting off the worde of God behinde their backs, and treading (Gods vengeance threatned against sinne) vnder theyr féete, is the first step vnto that iniquitie whiche they commit. Nowe if we will applie this to our edification and benefite, we must learne by the harmes of o∣ther men, to be more warie and cir∣cumspecte: If we sée that others be∣gin their transgressions, by neglecting the word of God, that we must begin our obedience in imbracing it, in lear∣ning, Page [unnumbered] meditating, and exercising our selues in the same continuallye.* For the Prophet Dauid maketh it the one∣ly ioye and delyght that Godlye men can finde in thys worlde. Whereunto appertayneth it, that the Lorde appoin∣ting vnto his seruaunt Iosua the go∣uernement of his People in steade of Moses,* saith: let not thys Booke of the Lawe departe out of thy mouthe, but meditate therein daye and nyght, that thou maiest obserue, and doo accordyng to all that is written therein. Where you sée, that he setteth meditation and continuall exercise therein, to goe be∣fore the seruice of the Lord, and indéede by very good reason, for the worde of God being his will, and the thyng that he enioineth vs to doe, howe can it bée that we shall doe it before wée learne it, and how can wée learne it if wée neuer giue our selues therevnto, nor regarde it. Well, howsoeuer the wic∣ked of the worlde care not for it, nor the preaching thereof: because through the hardenes of their hartes it séemeth foolishnes vnto them, yet surs we are it Page [unnumbered] is the power of GOD vnto saluation, vnto all those that beléeue it,* It is the sworde of the Spirite that cutteth a∣way the bonds of sinne:* it is the grayne of mustarde séede, that at firste is verye small, but taking roote, and increasing in the children of God, it groweth vp to suche an height, that it possesseth the whole harte and mynde: It is the fire which burneth and cōsumeth the dregs of iniquitie.* It is also that Honye, the swéetenes whereof doth bothe delyght the soule, and also temper the troubles of thys worlde, that they become tolle∣rable and easie: it is the raine, showers and dewes moistyng the stonye heart.* And lastlye, it is the séede whose rootes doe take so déepe holde, and are so sure∣ly fastened, that it neuer ceasseth from growyng, vntyll it bryng the Soule whiche it possesseth into the kingdome of heauen. Thys beyng so precious, and yet not beléeued, to bée so by them that are not called vnto the Faythe of Ie∣sus Christe. Therfore the Lord God, to allure them whome he hath elected, and to take all excuses from them that bée Page [unnumbered] reiected, hathe set downe moste excel∣lente and singular allurementes, and swéete speaches vnto them, to inuite them vnto a loue and lyking of the same. The wyse man Salomon brin∣geth in the Lorde speaking, or rather speakyng hymselfe in the name of the Lorde: sayth, let thyne harte holde faste my words, kéepe my commandements and thou shalt lyue,* get wisedome, get vnderstandyng, neyther declyne from the wordes of my mouth. And there he sheweth what the word of GOD shal bryng vnto the louers thereof: namely honour, ryches, long life and suche like: which indéede figureth vnto vs al ioyes whatsoeuer, whyche the Godlye shall haue in the lyfe to come: if I shoulde stande vpon this, I might shewe many moste excellente places for thys pur∣pose, as the excellencye thereof descri∣bed by the Prophete Dauid, and the greate benefites that he professeth hym∣selfe to haue receyued by the same.* As that he had perished in his troubles, if the comforte thereof had not sup∣ported hym, and thinketh it no bragge Page [unnumbered] to saye,* he hath more vnderstandyng than his teachers, because hys medita∣tion was in the worde of God, and vn∣derstoode more than the auncient, be∣cause he kept Gods preceptes, and he was made wiser than hys enimies, because Gods preceptes were al∣wayes wyth hym. The whole 119. Psalme, is concerning thys argument. And was it so excellent, so precious, and so fruitfull in Dauid for him selfe only: no, but it is also for our instructi∣on, that wée myght be stirred vp by the example of Dauid, to take so great de∣light in it, as he dyd: For God is the same he was, and hys worde of it selfe as forcible (if not more forcible) then it was. So that we néede not to dispaire of gods goodnes in this cause. For sure the cause why we come so farre be∣hinde Dauid in zeale and godlines, is our owne carelesnesse, and hardnesse of harte, and our presumption in that we (wyth Peter here) perswade our selues better of our selues, than indéede we either néede or shoulde. Let vs then awake,* and shake off the drowsines Page [unnumbered] of our soule, let vs vnlode our selues of all that presseth downe, let vs looke vnto that whyche GOD commaun∣deth, and not to that small procéedyng which we haue made, and so muche the rather (my déere beloued Brethren) because wée sée the worlde more lulled in securitye, than euer it was before, that we can eyther reade or heare of. The worde of God hath no more force wyth the greatest number, than if they were stockes or stones: whereas the threatenyng of Gods vengeaunce agaynste Sinne shoulde pricke their heartes, and mooue them vnto repen∣taunce, it bryngeth them a sléepe: whereas the Preaching of the Gos∣pell, shoulde bring them to Fayth in Chryste, it séemeth vnto them a Fa∣ble and a méere inuention of men: nowe the case standyng desperatelye wyth them (for thys is the cause why I speake it) it behooueth vs to bée more circumspecte and carefull, that the looue and likyng, and continual ex∣ercise and obedience, in, and vnto the word of GOD doe so possesse vs, that Page [unnumbered] we neuer bée drawne from the same, but so surelye fasten our soules, hartes, and wyls therevnto, that we may ther∣by haue a sure testimonye in our con∣sciences, that we bée the Children of GOD, because we kéepe his comman¦dementes. Whereas contrary, the wic∣ked haue wythin them a note of con∣demnation,* in that they regarded not Gods worde, neyther haue any regarde in hearyng, or learnyng, or practising the same in their life and conuersati∣ons.
[ 2] The seconde braunche of Peters presumption consisteth in thys, that he sayeth: I am readie to go with thee into prison, and vnto death. Peter thought he was strong inough to be a Martyr, when indéede he had scarce learned the principles of hys faith, nor that whyche is most necessary for all men to knowe: namely, his owne power and hability, and howe he muste learne to stande be∣fore the Lord. Here you sée Peter thyn∣king him selfe a valiant Soulder, and yet is not so: out of whyche we note the pryde of mans hearte, and confidence Page [unnumbered] that fleshe and bloud conceiueth of him∣selfe: For by nature we are so blynde that though we be naked, yet we vaunt our selues, as thoughe we were gorge∣ously apparrelled, thoughe we be of no force to doe any thyng. Yet we followe Nemrode and hys wycked complices,* and thinke to builde a tower to heauen. If we viewe the stories of the worde of God, concerning them that haue thus bragged of theyr owne power,* we shall see their successe moste miserable. Pha∣raoh being so proud in him selfe, that he contemned God euen in flat wordes, yet the rewarde of hys pride was hys destruction in the red sea. Goliah who rayled on the liuyng Lord and his chyl∣dren,* was ouerthrowne with a stone, by (the weake man) lyttle Dauid. Yea and some of them that seemed to bee great pillers in the Church of GOD,* as Rehaboham the sonne of wise Salo∣mon, who throughe pryde sayth vnto his subiects that he would make his lit∣tle finger heauier vnto thē, than al his Fathers bodye: but for hys pryde, ten parts of his kingdome was taken from Page [unnumbered] him. And therfore the Lord both know∣ing, and foreseeyng, that we are moste fit and readye to bée infected wyth this disease: hath prouyded by speciall com∣maundement for hys Children in thys case. Beware sayth he, leaste thou say in thy hart,* my power and the strength of my owne hande hath prepared me this substance: but remember the Lord thy God: it is he that giueth thée power to get substance.
And to this purpose it is: when the Lorde ordayned Gedeon, to delyuer his People, and he had gathered a great multitude togyther: GOD com∣maunded hym to sende manye of them awaye, leaste Israell (sayth he) vaunt agaynste me and say, mine owne pow∣er hathe saued me.* And therefore it behooueth vs, séeyng the shamefull fal of the proud and high conceited people: and contrarywise, the speciall com∣maundement that God hath set downe vnto vs in thys behalfe, that we shun and beware the one, and diligentlye embrace and followe the other. And the better to apply our selues vnto this Page [unnumbered] humilitie of Spirit, let vs marke what reasons the holye Ghoste vseth to per∣swade vs therevnto. They bée especi∣ally two most forcible and strong. The firste is the consideration of our estate by nature: as namely the mettal where of wée bée made. It is not only Earth, whych we dayly treade vnder our féete, but euen the very duste and slime of the Earth:* we are robbed and vtterly spoy∣led of all our good gyftes whatsoeuer, and so lye wallowyng in the myre of Sinne. There is no man that sinneth not:* All are gone astraye, and are be∣come vnprofitable, there is none that doth good,* no not one: our condition in thys worlde is moste miserable. A con∣tinuall warrefare: our age is as the lengthe of a spanne,* our substaunce re∣maining we knowe not to whome, and whiche of all other is moste miserable after thys lyfe (not called to grace in this Pilgrimage) the praye of Sathan, the firebrande of Hell. So that the ryghte and due consideration of thys, is able for to pull downe the stouteste Champion in the worlde, and to Page [unnumbered] consume all the figge leaues of vanity, and pryde of mans hearte whatsoeuer. And indeede it is moste effectuall in the Children of God.* It mooued Abraham to terme hym selfe duste and ashes. It made Moyses saye,* who am I that I shoulde go to Pharaoh: the same is to be seene of Dauid, hauyng the Kynges Daughter offered to wyfe:* who am I (saythe he) or what is my Fathers house in Israell, that I shoulde bée the Kinges sonne in Lawe. So then if they beyng mooued wyth the consideration of theyr naturall estate, haue thus pas∣sed theyr time with all humilitie: much more it is our dutye so to doe, conside∣ryng that our infirmities be many mo than theirs, whiche ought to abase vs lower than they. A seconde argument: the Spirite of God vseth in the whole Scriptures to mooue all men to hu∣militie, and that is thys: to consider whence they haue that good thyng whyche they possesse, whither it be ri∣ches, honour, pleasure, lyfe, or whatso∣euer it is, all commeth from the Lorde. And therefore no man may arrogate a∣nye Page [unnumbered] thyng vnto hym selfe in any re∣specte of them. Whiche reason the A∣postle Paule vseth in expresse wordes, to beate downe the pryde of the Corin∣thians,* saying: what haste thou ye thou haste not receyued: if thou hast recey∣ued it, why reioycest thou as thoughe thou haste not receyued it. So then this argument ought to bée in force wyth e∣uerye one of vs. For if thou be rych, who dyd giue it vnto thée:* The Lord giueth and is able to take awaye. If thou bee in estimation in the worlde:* The Lorde setteth vp and pulleth downe:* If thou haste cunning or skill in anye thyng whatsoeuer: And if thou arte come to the knowledge of Gods worde and faith in Christ Iesus,* It is the gift of GOD, and not of thy selfe. So that in all thynges whatso∣uer, thou art to humble thy self, know¦ing this, that thou hast nothing of thy selfe but a lumpe of Sinne. And if god hath bestowed his giftes vppon thée in greater measure than vpon others thy Brethren, that are as déere vnto hym, as thou arte, thou hast no iuste occasion Page [unnumbered] to be puffed vp therewithal: but contra∣riwyse. For if thou be the steward of much, thine account shall be for muche: if thou hast fiue Tallents the Lord wil look for the increase of fine: If thou hast more riches than others, it is bestowed vpon thée,* that thou maiest relieue and succoure those that want. Not to lay vp in store for thy selfe for many yeares: or to bestowe it in excesse of pride or ban∣quetting.* If thou hast more wisedome or learning, more knowledge or féeling of Gods graces in thée than others haue it is not only for thy selfe, but also for ye benefite of that body whereof thou art a member. If the graces and giftes of god be thus first cōsidered from whēce they came, then emploied to those ends wher vnto the Lord hath ordained them: they will be so far from exalting him yt hath them by making him proude, that they wil ingender in him a great and singu∣ler humilitie.
Page [unnumbered]Peter followed a farre off. When our sauiour Christe walked at liberty, ma∣ny thousands followed him, and séemed very desirous of his doctrine: but now when he is apprehended and like to suf∣fer troubles for his doings, they all for∣sake him, only Peter followeth peaking a loufe.
If Christe had béene nothing else but a familiar friende vnto them, yet thys had béene greate ingratitude in them:* But he was their mayster, theyr Lord and theyr GOD, therfore theyr fault the greater. But let vs leaue them all, and consider Peter hys doynges onelye. Not long before hys courage was so stoute, that he woulde stande when all fledde, he woulde lay downe hys life for hym, and séemed to bée displeased with hys Mayster, that hée woulde not suffer hym so to doe: say∣ing: why can not I followe thée now.* But when he seeth plainelye that hys Maister is in troubles indéede, then he pulleth in the shoulder, the burthen is heauye vnto hym: before he féeleth it, Page [unnumbered] he is very desirous to serue Christ, but he is not willing to take paynes wyth hym.* So were the Israelites very desi∣rous to come to Canaan, but loath to be troubled by the waye in the wildernes.* They that went to viewe the lande of Canaan, with Caleb and Iosua, cōfessed it to bee a Countrey so fruiteful, that it flowed with milke and honye, and did desire to come thither, neuertheles they were vnwilling to enter combate wyth the Iebusites, Amalachites, Cananites, and other people that shoulde bee ouer∣come before they should possesse it. The Sonnes of Zebedee did desire to sit at Christes elbowes in hys kingdome but they had forgotten that they must firste drinke of the cup that Christ did drinke of,* and to bee baptized with his Bap∣tisme. And therefore it is, that our sa∣uiour Christe termeth those hearers,* whome tribulation doth driue from the gospel to be like vnto the stony ground into the which the word of GOD can sende no roote, because of the hardenes thereof. Manye also dyd depart from Chryste, whiche before did follow him Page [unnumbered] willingly, because their grosse capacity coulde not conceiue howe they shoulde eate the flesh of the son of man,* & drinke his bloud and truly the worlde is ful of suche people at this daye, that bee verye willing to heare and learne the worde of God, because that they knowe that it is the waye to eternall life, but if any troubles shoulde séeme to arise for the same, they are gone: they are willing to come to Christe by nighte, because they feare troubles by daye: but they are not discerned in these dayes, by their reuolting in time of persecution: because (the Lordes name bee praysed for it) all men may fréelye professe the Gospell,* but by theyr carnal and fleshly conuersation, their contrarye life and dealing, for the trée is knowne by the fruite: they loue to heare how to come to Heauen, but they like not thys, that they muste addresse themselues to obe∣dience, that they muste forsake theyr wicked conuersation, and frame theyr doynges to the rule of Gods worde, and therefore they turne the grace of God into wantonnesse.* So there bee Page [unnumbered] a greate number that be followers of Peter in thys poynte: for he followed, because of his promise, but it was a farre off, so they followe the Gospell, because of their present safegard, which else they could not enioy. But as Peter durst not come neare for feare of trou∣bles, so dare they come no faster on, for feare of after clappes: they thinke that keeping themselues a loofe, they maye bee safe at all seasons, if a change comer (for which they gape) then they thynke they may with honestye change: lyke∣wyse: whereas if they shoulde be desi∣rous to pull downe Papistrie (if they bée in any authoritie) and earnestlye e:+stablishe the preachyng of the Gospell, they shoulde •e ashamed in those dries, whyche I truste shall neuer bée, but in the meane whyle, lette them knowe that they haue well profited towarde the Diuell, when they be in that case: for manye denye with Peter, but few wéepe with hym. Wel, howsoeuer it be that the worlde doe thus fall from the Lorde, and pull away theyr shoulder from hys obedyence, yet they that Page [unnumbered] feare God in déede, and doo vnfaynedly beléeue that which they professe, doo to∣gether with the profession thereof vn∣dergo, and willingly receyue all trou∣bles which follow the same. They first sit them downe and cast their accounts (as Christ counsaileth them) and not rashly aduēture,* they know not what, as Peter did:* So did Moyses though he might haue had great preferment in Pharaoh his Court, yet he chose rather to suffer affliction with the children of the Lord, then to enioy the pleasures of sinne for a season, knowing this to be most true: that it is better to be a dorekéeper in the house of the Lorde,* then to dwel in the tabernacles of wic∣kednes. Then if we desire to come vnto that place whervnto these are gone, we must followe their good examples. I knowe it for a most certaine truth, that all that will liue godly in Christ Iesu, shall suffer persecution. And therefore we must endeuor our selues to indure the same,* for we shall haue Sathan continually to assaile vs with diuers temptations, we shall haue the world, Page [unnumbered] alluring vs vnto the deuises thereof by sundry entisements, yea and our owne flesh (through the condition of our cor∣rupt nature) vncessantly pricking vs forward into all kindes of vanitie: so true it is that Ecclesiasticus saith,* that temptation trieth the hearts of men: now as the Lorde hath ordeined, that these trials should befall his children in this world, so he hath also left especi∣all consolation vnto them, and ordeined meanes how they must be ouercome. That one place of the Apostle Paule to the Ephesians is sufficiēt for this mat∣ter to furnish the souldiour of Christe with complete armoure.* Firste, his ioynes shoulde be girded with the truth, that is, a sincere mind and affe∣ction, putting away all dissimulation whatsoeuer. Secondly, his brest must be fenced with righteousnes: that is, his life and conuersation must be holy, and vpright. Thirdly, the preparation of the Gospell of peace, that is, the de∣termination to depend vpon the recon∣ciliation that the Gospell affoordeth. Fourthly, the shield of faith, that is, the Page [unnumbered] safe protection, that you may haue tho∣rough an vndoubted faith. Fiftly, the helmet of saluation, that is, an earnest desire of the kingdome of heauen. Sixt∣ly, the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God: It is called a sword, be∣cause thorough it, Sathan is beat back, the worlde crucified vnto vs, and our owne sinnes cut away. Seauenthly, the last and chiefest, is continuall pray∣er vnto God, for thereby his grace is obteined to ouercome all temptations, and his protection to shielde vs from falling: so that these things being taken vnto vs aright, they will helpe vs to passe through all troubles or affliction in this world, whatsoeuer.
And when they had made a fire, &c. It [ 4] followeth to speake of those accidenta∣rie causes, which were without him, or adioyned vnto hym, which be in number two. The first, is the compa∣ny, with whome: and the seconde, the place where. The company be the high Priests seruants: for as it appeareth in this Chapter, when they had taken Christ, & brought him to ye place apoin∣ted, Page [unnumbered] they hauing done their feate, came into the hall, and making a fire there to warme them, Peter sate downe also amongst them: marke how fitly Peter applieth himselfe to the time, and com∣panie: with the professors of Christ he professeth, but with persecutors he de∣nieth. Peter is not the first of the chil∣dren of God, that hath béene ouergone, and taken tardie in this case of béeing corrupted with wicked companie. For the seruant of God,*Lot, being sore op∣pressed with the rigorous dealing of the wicked Sodomites, was constray∣ned to passe the compas of his religion, & to vse vnlawfull meanes to kéepe the strāgers (whom he had lodged) frō vio∣lēce, offring his daughters to be vsed at their filthy pleasure. So faithfull Abra∣ham was cōpelled to make a lie for his owne safegard in the country of Gerar,* reporting his wife to be his sister, be∣cause the inhabitants had not the feare of God before their eies. Godlie Ioseph dwelling in Aegypt amongst the wic∣ked, through custome and long conti∣nuance,* was brought to break the chie∣fest Page [unnumbered] point of his religion the worship of God, & to sweare by the life of Pha∣raoh: holy Daniel, by reason of conti∣nuall familiaritie with king Darius seruants, vsed also that kinde of flatte∣ring spéech,* O King liue for euer. Zea∣lous Peter (in this place) abiding with godlesse persecuters, is become a deni∣er of his maister. The consideration of this: namely, that the companie of the wicked is forcible to peruert euen the godly,* moued the wise man Salomon to giue his sonne this counsell, Enter not into the way of the wicked, & walke not in the way of euill men, and in a∣nother place,* Desire not to be with them. It was a speciall precept set down to the Israelites, that they should especially take héede that they make no couenant with the inhabitants of the land whether they went,* least they be the cause of theyr ruine. But they little regarding this commandement,* made league with them: therefore the punishment did also fall vpon them, for the spirit of God saith, they shall be as thornes in their sides: and how sharply Page [unnumbered] they pricked them, it appeareth through the whole bookes of Iudges, Samuel, and the Kings.* King Asa, because hée made a league with Benhadad, King of Aran, was therefore punished with warres all his life time. But the ex∣ample of Iosaphat the King of Iuda, is notable to this purpose,* who because he ioyned with Achab, being a wicked King, they both were discomfited in battell. The consideration of this mo∣ued the Apostle S. Paule to exhort the Church of God,* that they should marke those that made dissention, and fly from their company: and likewise S. Iohn, that we should not bid them God spéed,* that is, haue so little to doo with them, that we should shew them no signe of familiaritie: and surely he shewed an excellent example of the same himself, for (as we reade in the Ecclesiasticall historie) he comming into a bath to wash him, and espying the wicked and great heretike Cirin•hus in the same,* leaped backe suddenly, and said to them that were with him, let vs go hence, least the Bath fall vpon vs, wherein is Page [unnumbered]Cirinthus, the enemie of God and his truth. The same in the foresaid storie is reported of Policarpus,* Saint Iohns scholler, who méeting Martion in the face, said nothing vnto him: but when the proude heretike saide, Doest thou not knowe vs? he aunswered: Yes, I knowe thée to be the first begotten of Sathan. To conclude, the Prophet Ie∣remie lamenting his owne case, that he should be reserued to liue in so wic∣ked a time as that was, protesteth that he did not sit in the assembly of moc∣kers, but sate alone.* Now if this infec∣tion be so daungerous, that it ouerta∣keth the children of God: if the spirit of God hath giuen vs so many caueats: if the godly haue so warely looked vnto themselues to auoide it, howe muche greater ought our care to be in this case, because the infection is now more daungerous, the plague more commō, & the euils more rise in all places. And notwithstanding all these precepts and examples, yet if we consider the trade of the world, and dealing of the most in this respect, we shall finde, that it is a Page [unnumbered] thing made indifferent, and (as it were) at a mans choise, to choose his familia∣ritie, to marrie the daughters of God to the sonnes of men,* (so that they be rich) is thought no sinne: that is, if he that professeth the word of God, match his daughter to an idolatrous Papist of sufficient lands and reuenues, it is accounted no crime. The man that is in the world a buier or a seller, careth not with whome he make his match, so that it be for his profite. The gamester, so that he may haue his pleasure in ga∣ming, careth not whether it be Turke or Iewe, Gods seruant or Satans, that beare him company. Nay, it is growen to that, that Dauids sonne can not be nourtered aright, vnlesse he be sent to Pharaohs Court. The Marchaunt of England can not be rich inough, vn∣lesse he make hys continuall abode in Spayne, and suche other idolatrous nations, where he can not continue without daily seruice vnto Baal. The English Gentleman can not be suffici∣ent ciuill, vnlesse he go ouer into Italy to fetch home the practises of Machiuel.Page [unnumbered] And yet the prouerbe is not vnknow∣en in England, though it did arise in Italy, that an Englishman Italinate, is a diuell incarnate. Well, the worde of God alloweth no such dealing, but commaundeth the contrarie: so that it behoueth all them that feare God, to looke vnto themselues, and if they finde their owne consciences accusing them in this respect, that they reforme it: and as for the other, it will séeme but a mockerie vnto them, but they shall beare their owne shame. The Prophete Dauid béeing in straunge landes, because he was banished from his owne Countrey, by the rigorous dealing of King Saule, lamented his owne estate: saying, Woe is me, that I am constrained to dwel in Meshech,* and to haue mine aboade amongest the tentes of Cedar. And the greate griefe that he had in his heart then, moued him to pronounce the sparowes estate to be most happie,* to builde her nest neare to the Alter, so great was his desire to go away from the wicked, and to come thither where God is de∣uoutely Page [unnumbered] serued: I would to God, that all they that haue any féeling and taste of Gods truth, would haue that care in this respect, that is expedient, and so much the rather, for that we be ming∣led so with Antichristians, prophane persons, Papists, and others of Satans broode, that we can not vtterly auoide them, vnlesse (as S. Paule saith) we wil go out of the world: yet for all that we ought to beare them aloofe, to vse no fa∣miliaritie with them, but séeke to ad∣ioine our selues to thē that feare God: and surely if we obserue this order, we knowe not what great good we may do euen to the wicked, for he may by occa∣sion thereof thinke thus with himselfe: why do these men shun my companie? what am I? what foule enormitie is in me, that they detest: and I know, I am a drunkard, or I am a whoremonger, or I am a swearer: if men will not come neare me, because of my sinne, sure God will reiect me much rather, therefore it is best for me to amend. I am perswaded, that where this order is obserued, the wicked come into such Page [unnumbered] consideration of themselues very often, and the Lord may worke so, that it may be the beginning of their conuersion, whereas if we kéepe them companie, if we banquet, eate & drinke with them, and shew them a familiar countenance, we kéepe them secretly in their sinnes, and so we being hinderers of their re∣pentance, by this meanes are parta∣kers of their sinnes. Then let Lot goe out of Sodome,* least he be burned: let Noah get him into the Arke,* least he be drowned: let them that feare the Lord God of heauen, go out from the compa∣nie of the wicked, least they be parta∣kers of their sinnes, and so consequent∣lie of their punishment: I knowe what this worketh in the reprobate, and how they account of the godlie for so doing: they say, they be proude, straunge, and disdainefull persons, but I had rather they should thinke and speake so of me falsely, then (being familiar with the wicked) to prouoke the Lord my God vnto anger wilfully.
Peter also sate downe, &c. Now follo∣weth the last cause, which is the place Page [unnumbered] to wit, the warme fire, a verie forcible thing, to ouerthrowe the strongest ser∣uant of God, vnlesse Gods especiall fa∣uor do support him, for what a gret tēp∣tation was this, Peter whē he followed Christ at his héeles, did suffer hunger, colde, & much trouble. But now when he followeth a far off, he cōmeth to the warme fire: no doubt satās deuise, was to bring him to this mind. Is it true, yt when I do but slack a little frō my vsu∣al zeale, my condition is so much bette∣red? Doubtles if I leaue it altogether, I shall come to some excellent estate. And surely, satan hath vsed this tēpta∣tion to many of Gods children, & doth also vse it daily. For he yt is poore, shall haue the diuell put these things in his hart. I stand now in néede: I want ma∣ny things that others haue: & I might haue the same, if I would leaue off this precisenes, in following Gods word in al points: and what néed is it ye I should do so: did not Christ die for sinnes? &c. Then when he is come to this, his tempter will not leaue him, til he haue brought him to the depth of vniust dea∣ling. Page [unnumbered] So the lecherous mā, he wil tempt with the swéetenes of ye sin: the ambiti∣ous man, with excesse of honor: ye proud man, with brauery of raiment: to say al in one word, he tempteth all men, ey∣ther with that that their corrupt affecti∣ons do lust after, or else with yt, whiche they séeme to want in this world. For so was the beloued seruant of God Da∣uid tempted:* he saith plainly, that whē he did sée the wicked prosper, not being in trouble as other men were: hauing all things at their hearts desire, and yet setting their toungs & déeds euē against heauen, & the hiest: that his foot was al∣most gone, & his steps had welnie slipt, & that he had then cleansed his heart in vaine, & washed his hands in innocen∣cie, for he was daily punished. Let vs weigh this diligētly, & sure it is a sore temptatiō, if we cōpare ye state of ye wic∣ked, & the condition of the godly in this together, & haue no further respect, we shal surely be brought to say, it is a vain thing to serue God:*Dauid being pressed with this distresse, was very carèfull to search out the cause of it. But though Page [unnumbered] he did beate his braine neuer so much, yet it was too painefull a thing for him to search out by naturall reason, (for it is a thing that mans wit can not reach vnto) what did he then? vntill I went vnto the Sanctuary (saith he) then did I vnderstand their end.* Then we sée, how Dauid was tempted, & how he a∣uoided it, the which thing we must ap∣ply to our selues in this case: for Satan doth euen at this day vse this engine to batter the faith of man, but we must go into the Sanctuarie of God, that is, in∣to his word, and praie to God that his spirit may be our guide, and then we shall sée that they shall stand in slippery places, and perish as a dreame, and flo∣rishing as a flower, be quickly cut downe, and cast into the fornace of e∣ternall condemnatiō: contrariwise, the godly being troubled héere for a time, shall quietly be released, and enioy the sight of God for euer. This being that shield wherewithall many of the chil∣dren of God, haue driuē back ye blowes of this temptation, yet notwithstan∣ding diuers haue béene ouertaken with Page [unnumbered] it: for the warmth of worldly promo∣tion is a swéet poison, & very delicate at the first, so was this fire very pleasant, and preuailed with Peter. The lyke is plaine in Dauid,* who when hée was troubled, did fight the Lords battaile most valiantly, and ouercome the Phi∣listians triumphantly, and doubtlesse framed his conuersation according to Gods word verie sincerely. But being setled in the Kingdome of Israell,* and fighting against his enemies by hys Lieutenants and Captaynes, and he quiet at home, committed those two most grosse sinnes, of murther in kil∣ling Vriah, and adulterie in taking vnto him Bethsabe his wife. His sonne Salomon at the first serued God very deuoutly,* and God blessed him with all wisedome, honour, wealth, and digni∣tie that his heart could desire. But be∣ing besotted in the sléepe of securitie,* fell from the Lord into maine idolatry, from which it is not read in the worde of God, whether euer he departed by repentance or no.* King Asa in the be∣ginning was very zealous for the glo∣rie Page [unnumbered] of the Lorde God, and broke downe Idolatrie, and did that whiche was good in the sight of the Lorde. But af∣terwardes forgetting Gods goodnesse towardes him, and sléeping in world∣ly delightes, forsooke God, and put his trust (when he was sicke) in Phi∣sitians.*Vzziah sought the Lorde in the daies of Zachary the Prophete,* and prospered. But in the same Chapiter it is reported, that when hée was strong, his heart was lifted vp to hys destruction. So hard it is to flow in the prosperitie of the world, and enioy the warmth of worldly delights, without reuolting (or at the least) slacke procée∣ding in the seruice of the Lord. And to this purpose is that of the Prophete, speaking of the backsliding of the Israe∣lites, they were filled,* sayth he, and their heart was exalted, therefore haue they forgotten me. The conside∣ration héereof mooued the wise man Salomon, or rather the Prophet Agur, to pray vnto the Lorde, that he woulde neither giue him pouertie nor riches, least (saith he) I be full and denie thée,*Page [unnumbered] and say, who is the Lord: and least I bée poore and steale, & take the name of my God in vaine.* It mooued Dauid to saye, It is good for me that I haue béen afflic∣ted, that I may learne thy statutes. For before thou didst humble me I went a∣stray, but now I kéepe thy worde. Iob likewise séeing both the inconuenience of continuall successe, and also the neces¦sitie of correction, saith in the midst of his misery.* Blessed is the man whome God correcteth, he maketh the wound, and bindeth it vp, he smiteth, and hys handes maketh whole, he shal deliuer thée in sixe troubles, and in the seuenth the euill shal not touch thee. The reason hereof is euident: for that we by nature are of our selues so stout and so proude, that without correctió, we run on as an vntamed Heyfer. Therefore the Lorde to reclaim vs vnto him, vseth this school of his rodde to bring vs home with all, least we should perish with the world. And verilye if we had neyther example nor sentence in the whole booke of god, yet our owne experience would suffici∣ently shewe this vnto vs moste plaine Page [unnumbered] and euident. For many there be that at the first when they are not setled in the warmth of this world, but follow christ into woodes and desertes ouer Sea and lād, neuer resting in one place: then they be so zealous and forward in the cōbate against Sathā that they doo with great praise vnto Gods name, and singular vtilitie vnto Christs Church, procéede in their busines of godlines. But when they come to sit downe at the warme fire of worldly wealth, and be hedged in with promotions of this worlde, then they be so clogged and cloyed therewith all, that they séeme as far gone frō their integritie and zeale. as Peter was when he sate by the fire. But let them beware in what state they stand. For when Pe∣ter came to that estate, he was quicklye ouerthrowne. And let all other that sée the same, and be not guilty, resist at the first entrāce of this cold sto∣mach, & prouide preserua∣tions & restoratiues out of the worde of the Lorde.
Let vs pray.Page [unnumbered]
The second Sermon.
Luke. 22, 56.
And a certaine maide beheld him as he sat by the fire, and hauing well looked on him, saide: This man was also with him, &c.
ANd a certaine maid, &c. We haue séene the cau∣ses of his fall, and howe by degrées he commeth to the fall it selfe. For when once he had reiec∣ted Gods word, & was puffed vp in the perswasion of his owne power, set a∣mongst the wycked, and swadled in the warmth of prosperitye, what re∣mayneth now for Peter, but euen at al assaies, and by euerye light occasion to denye his profession and forsweare hys maister. And in trueth, the first assaulte was not strong: for it was but a Page [unnumbered] woman, a party very weak. But indéed if she be bent to trouble Gods children, very ready to compasse hir matters. As we may sée in Iesabell, Herodias, Irene the Empresse and such like, marke this well: The highe Prieste persecuteth Christ, his seruauntes apprehende him and bring him to their Maister, yea and his maide also helpeth the matter for∣warde. Here we may sée the patron of a familie rightly disposed in his kind, as is the maister, so be his seruantes. All a∣grée in this to persecute Christ: and in∣déede it hath béene, is, and euer will bée, that the wicked housholders, yea the wicked Kinges haue had generally all their seruants and subiects of their own disposition. Ahab being a wicked Kyng, they did so generally follow him, that Eliah thought onely himselfe to serue God,* and all the rest of the land to haue followed Baall. So it was likewise in all the time of the wicked Kinges, and so it is in all wicked housholders. For if he be a Papist, hys Seruantes be so, or else they abide not wyth him long. If he be a Neuter and care for no religion, Page [unnumbered] his seruantes are not kept in order, and so they likewise become of the like con∣dition: so that the saying of Salomon is verified in this case,* if the Prince be giuen to lyes, all his seruants are wyc∣ked. And what haue we to learne by thys? Surely a profitable doctrine for al them that haue gouernement of fami∣lies, that they fearing God and profes∣sing his Gospell, beware that the chyl∣dren of this world be not wiser in their generation than they:* that is, that the wicked bée not founde more carefull to dispose their families to their owne hu∣mour, than the Godly bée. And I knowe not howe they can looke vnto thys bet∣ter, but by following the example of Dauid in choosing Seruauntes, and of Abraham in teaching them. For the prophet Dauid knowing that he should bée King, casteth in his mynde a fore∣hande, what kynde of persons he wil retaine into his seruice. Myne eyes (saythe he) shall bée vnto the faythful of the Land,* that they may dwell with me. He that walketh in a perfecte waye, he shall serue me. There shall Page [unnumbered] no deceitfull man dwell in my house, he that telleth lies shall not remaine in my sight. Thus we see what kinde of persons Dauid will haue. This ought duely to be looked vnto of all them that doe professe the same God that he did: but we shall sée it farre otherwise in the moste, for so that he may serue his turne for that purpose, wherevnto he will allot him, It is not regarded whi∣ther he bée Papist or Atheist, godlye or faythlesse, whither his Religion be to∣ward GOD or the diuell. But Dauid had this consideration in hys mynde, that none could do him faithfull seruice sauing they onely whose heartes were true to the Lord, which is a thing most sure. For well he may doo his duty for a time in hys calling, but surely he will at length play the slipperye marchaunt wyth thée in one thyng or other. Now to Abraham whome we must follow in instructing of our Seruauntes,* who at the commaundement of God, did cir∣cumcise all the men children in hys fa∣milie, they were (no doubt of it) wel in¦structed in the Religion of the Lorde, Page [unnumbered] that obeyed therevnto so willynglye without any resistaunce. And therefore it is, that the Lorde maketh this especi∣all reason, why he should shewe the pu∣nishment intended agaynste Sodome and Gomorrah to Abraham,* because he knew that Abraham would commande his sonnes and his housholde after him, that they kéepe the waye of the Lorde. So that the thing whych we are to fol∣lowe in Abraham is this: that euerye householder be diligent to teach his ser∣uants their duties out of Gods worde, and trayne them vp in the feare of the Lord. It is a thing worthy to be mar∣ked, that we finde diuers families in the scriptures conuerted vnto the Lord with their maisters, as namely the cap∣taine and the Jailer,* to shewe vnto vs, that all the Seruauntes ought to bée taught the way of the Lord, as well as their Maisters. Well notwithstan∣ding, it was but a simple Gyrle: yet Pe∣ter flatly saith, I knewe not the man. Peter had not such a politicke heade as the denyers nowe a dayes haue: Those I meane, that in harte and déede deny Page [unnumbered] Christ, but in worde deny him not. For if you come to hym that is greatlye sus∣pected of Poperye, and knowne to haue béene of that stampe, if he bée a formal fellow, suche a one as will not stande to the daunger of professing the same, and tell hym that he is verily a Papist, for he hathe beene séene at Masse, and his déedes and other dealings bewray him: he will not say I knowe not the Pope, I neuer came in company wyth masse∣mongers, but his answere will ra∣ther be thus: Sure I must confesse I haue in my tyme leaned that waye, but I am not nowe of that mynde: I haue reneued my copie (onely because of his newe Landlord) and my opinion is altered: And so he being an Acade∣micke, rather than a sure beléeuer, maketh Religion to bée but an opini∣on. O Peter thou lackest thys subtel∣tie: for thou mightest with this haue stopped the Damosels mouthe at the first, thou myghtest haue sayde: Surely I confesse I did followe thys fellowe, because I had some pleasure in hys wonders that he dyd: But nowe I Page [unnumbered] holde wyth the Scribes and Pharisies, and doe beléeue the Lawe of Moyses. But subteltie had not entered so farre into the Church of GOD as nowe it hathe: the vaile of Hipocrisie was not so close as in these dayes it is. And truely that kynde of people is nowe the rifest, and yet the woorste of all other. For Dauid had manye greate iniuries done vnto hym: but that whych his pre∣tended friend did, was the greatest grief of all, in so muche that he saithe: if it had béen his enimie, he could haue born it. But it was euen he with whome he had singular consultations in the word of GOD.* And therfore if Dauid were so troubled with suche, then we haue greately to looke vnto our selues, and to auoide them as néere as we may. For most certayne it is, that the Churche of God hathe not at this day a greater e∣nimie than they that bee nourished, kepte, fostered and promoted in hyr owne lappe, that through pretence of Religion, become euen betraiers of Christ, and hinderers of the procedings Page [unnumbered] of his gospel. And sure it is to be wished that all men woulde boldelye professe that which in hart they embrace: that the one partie might be vtterly cōfoun∣ded. For he that with a Papist is a Papist, with a professour is a professor, lyke the weathercocke turning wyth the wynde: an vnconstant Camelion, euery where and no where, is the sorest enimie to Religion, and therefore guil∣ty of no small punishment. And there∣fore God sayth thus of suche, I knowe thy workes, thou arte neyther hoat nor nor colde:* I woulde thou were colde or hot. Therefore because thou art luke warme, and neyther colde nor hot. It will come to passe that I shall spewe thée out of my mouth.* Let euerye one (to conclude) set the saying of Elias the Prophet before hys eyes. If the Lorde be God, follow him, if Baall be he, go to him and follow him, & halt not betwéen two opinions, but stande faste to the one.
He denied before them al, &c. Now the holy Ghoste setteth downe the parties, before whom he denied: namely, before Page [unnumbered] them all: which circumstance aggraua∣teth greatly the sinne of Peter. For he had heard his Mayster teache thys les∣son. That whosoeuer shoulde deny him before men,* him would he denye before hys heauenly father. But he not regar∣ding thys, dyd boldely deny him before them all. Thys ought to mooue vs to labour in the worde, and prayer most earnestlye. that our confession and cer∣taintie of Fayth may bée constant and surely grounded, that we neuer deny our Sauiour before anye man: For denying hym before weake beléeuers, (besides that we procure Christ to deny vs before God) we doe as muche as in vs lyeth, to ouerthrowe so many soules into Hell. And if it bée before the wic∣ked whiche be the enimies of God, and his trueth, we doo set open the window to their blasphemye, and so we bée the meanes whereby the worde of God is euill spoken off. Contrariwyse, if our confession be stedfaste, it vpholdeth our owne Fayth,* confirmeth our Bre∣thren, and maketh the enimye asha∣med.
Page [unnumbered] [ 7] And after a while, &c. Nowe come we to the second deniall, for when that he affirmed that he knew him not, thin∣king thereby to escape: They were not contented wyth that, for presently an other came vnto hym: Mathew repor∣teth it was another Damosell, and so doth Marke, but all is to one effect. For the firste voyce béeyng vttered by one, and receiued by a common applause, no doubte many did speake the same at once, as Iohn recordeth. But whither it were one or more, sure it is that he was not long quiet tyll they had tryed hym further:* where we may beholde the malice of persecutoures, that be ne∣uer contented with anye answere, vn∣till they haue vtterly ouerthrowne the partyes persecuted. So Paule before his conuersion being a persecutour, was not contented to make hauock of the ser¦uantes of the Lorde in Ierusalem. But because some had escaped his hands,* he procured Letters of commission to fol∣lowe them to Damascus, vtterly to ex∣tinguishe them.* Likewtse the Scribes and Pharises being often put to silence Page [unnumbered] by our sauiour Christ and conuicted,* yet their rage neuer ceassed vntill they had put him to death. The Papistes also in time of persecution here in Englande, could neither be satisfied with stocking, imprisoning, racking nor scourging, vn¦til they had burned the bodies of ye poore saints. [ 7]
Denyed with an oath, &c. Peter had thought that he had bin quiet, and there∣fore it was that he firste denied: but sée∣ing that that woulde not serue, for his credite sake he wil not cal back his for∣mer deniall (which is a right propertye of a worldelye man, who thinketh it a discredit to call back that which first he hath set downe) but tieth it with an oth, that he knewe not the man.* Where we sée that they which once crack the bonds of conscience in hope of any benefite in this world, are very like to go further, rather than they will misse of their pur∣pose. The end that Peter looked vnto in his first denial, was his owne safegard: but séeing that woulde not serue, he procéedeth further, and ceasseth not vn∣till he haue satisfied the aduersaries (a Page [unnumbered] practise indéede common to those that bée backe-sliders, who beyng vrged to yéelde in small matters, for theyr qui∣etnesse bée contente so to doo. If they be put vnto a great trial, and pricked at to slyde from theyr whole profession (I pray God they followe not Peter, and content them selues to doe any thyng) so that they may be quiet, and the other partyes not displeased. And therefore it shall bée very good for vs to kéepe the profession of Fayth most sincere, and to stande as stoutelye, and defende as con∣stantly the small matters as the great: knowing thys, that we may not séeme to yéeld vnto any thyng, wherevnto the spirite of God hathe commaunded vs to stand fast.
Then came they vnto him, &c. The first assaulte is noted to bée but by one, and that a Mayde. It is nowe augmented, that they came in greater numbers, whiche thyng we sée practized continu∣ally, that if any one godlesse man haue, or pretende to haue any quarrel against such as feare the Lorde, all the birds of that Uiperous Feather, doe violentlye Page [unnumbered] flocke togither agaynste that poore ser∣uant of God: yea if they heretofore haue beene foes, they agrée togither to perse∣cute the Godly:* for Herode and Pilate will be made friendes, that theyr pow∣er may bée the more agaynste Christe, that their pollicies may bée conioyned to determine hys Death. Beholde here againe, the wicked wiser in theyr gene∣ration than the Godlye: for if a godly thyng bée motioned in an assemblye or conference, the rest shoulde be very for∣warde to helpe it, but (alas) the rem∣nauntes of olde Adam doe sticke so fast on, and priuate considerations doe so violentlye carry men away, that they wyll rather be hinderers than furthe∣rers, casting doubtes and inconuenien∣ces in the way, thoughe the motion bée drawne out of the Fowelles of Gods owne worde: against which, no mouth shoulde once dare to speake: whervpon it commeth, that Religion is receyued, according as man is dyrected by hys owne naturall reason, and Gods word is obeyed, so farre as we thinke it con∣uenient for the maintenaunce of our Page [unnumbered] owne honor, dignitye and estate: yea thoughe our honor dishonor the Lorde, and our dignitie bring discredite to our profession, and our wealthe procure want to the church of GOD: but they whome the Lorde hath truelye conuer∣ted vnto him selfe, whose heartes the holye Ghost hathe seazed vppon for the Lorde to dwell in, and whose myndes he hath inlightned to attende vnto the trueth,* are carefull that the will of god be performed, that reason be restrained and all their affections ruled by the line of his most blessed worde, whereby eue∣ry one of vs may haue good occasion to examine our selues, how farre we haue profited, or whither or no we haue ente¦red into the way of true religion.
For thy speech bewraieth thee, &c. whē they sée that he denieth it, they goe a∣bout by circumstaunces to prooue it a∣gainste hym: to wyt, that hys spéeche be wrayed hym, for you must note that as in our Nation, the property of the spéeche in the North doeth differ from that of the Southe, whereby a man Page [unnumbered] is knowne, what countrie man he is, euen so the spéech vsed in Galile, diffe∣red something from that which was in vse about Ierusalem: by whiche they gathered, that he was a Galilean: note the marke whereby Peter is knowen, euen his spéech: he was a Mi∣nister of the word, he had learned the doctrine of the Gospell, and gouerne∣ment of the Church, from the mouth of Christ: and yet he is not discerned by his apparell, from another man: whereby we learne, that in the primi∣tiue time of the Gospell, the Ministers of the word were knowen by their do∣ctrine, and other notes belonging vnto them, and not by any outward forme: but as religion decaied, so the true notes of Gods Ministers vanished a∣way, and because the people were be∣come blinde, in discerning the spirites, they must haue notes applied to theyr sight: to wit, to knowe him by his gar∣ment, which (they thinking to be the shéepes clothing) did deceiue the peo∣ple, by the effects of rauening wolues: and this fond, or rather obstinate blind∣nesse Page [unnumbered] (the more is the pitie) remaineth yet among vs, that carnall men, whose knowledge is fleshly, must haue a sen∣sible and pompous shew in the world, to perswade them that such and such be ministers: but (my brethren) as this argueth in them, that they be altoge∣ther carnall, so contrariwise, let vs la∣bour to find out, by the marks that God hath set vpon them, and not the badges of men (that may deceiue vs) who be the true shepheards of Christes shéepe, and vpon whome we may be bolde to receiue the foode of our soules, least in stead thereof we receiue ranke poyson: for the most infecting venime, that e∣uer polluted the soule of man, hath béene couered with the vaile of those marks, which now the world woulde haue the ministers of Gods word dis∣cerned by.
Then began he to cursse, &c. They are not yet contented, although he hathe sworne vnto them (as faithles persons make no reckoning of an oath.) For now they come together, and affirme that he was verily with them. Now Page [unnumbered]Peter séeing their importunate suite, is determined to féede their humor, though it cost him the losse of his owne soule, for he cursseth himselfe, if he knew the man: héere we may see the iust iudge∣ment of God, that they that thinke best of themselues, and boast most of theyr owne habilitie, doo most euident∣lie declare the contrarie by the effect. For Peter who before woulde neuer forsake Christ, is now gone so farre from him, as any man can: for hée is now throwne into the verie deapth of sinne, into the gates of hell, and into Sathans clawes, nothing remaineth of his owne part vnfinished, that can encrease his eternall destruction, a case most lamentable, and yet it is the state of all mankinde, not vpholden with Gods spirite.* I woulde verie gladly be resolued of this doubt by any Pelagi∣an Papist, or anie other that main∣taineth fréewill in man, howe muche Peter had left within him, when he did fall. For this I am sure, he had all his natural power remaining within him, so that if he had any, how then came Page [unnumbered] it to passe, that he had no benefit by it, if he had none, then sure it is that by na∣ture we haue no inclination to doo well: for if any haue power of himselfe, to stand in that grace that he is placed in, then Peter might (for he had profited well in godlinesse.) But if none can stand when he is set vpon the féete of Gods mercy, without the speciall vp∣holding of the Lorde, then much lesse can any being throwne downe in the mire of their naturall corruption, doo a∣nie thing of himselfe that is good to∣ward his owne saluation: away then with all such fréewill, and let vs by the example of Peters downefall, begin to learne another lesson: namely, that man of himselfe can not thinke a good thought,* and therefore, in so much that euery good thing commeth from the Lorde,* that we in all humilitie submit our selues, confessing our nakednesse, that by his mercifull goodnesse we may be preserued. And againe, where we sée that Peter a very vpright man, and zea∣lous in the seruice of God, hauing once begun to depart from the Lord, hath no Page [unnumbered] staie of himselfe, but runneth headlong into the bottome of iniquitie, we are e∣specially to take héede that we vse those meanes which God hath appointed in his word, to stay the beginnings of sin, for if it enter once with the head, it is that Serpent that will easily winde in the whole bodie: if Satan had plainely said to Peter at the first, curse thy selfe, if euer thou didst knowe Christ, I am perswaded, that he would haue loathed it extremely, and not haue hearkened vnto him, but he was subtiler then so, for he brought him vnto that at the last without anie staie, which at the first, he greatlie detested: so likewise when he goeth about to perswade any man to adultery, he will not at the first throw him into the harlots bed, but bring him to behold her, then to haue a liking of her, then to haue familiarity with her, then lastly to commit the hai∣nous fact of whoredome: if he go about to bring one man to murther another, he doth not bring him vnto it at the firste, but beginneth by sowing of dis∣cord, then of hatred, last of all to actuall Page [unnumbered] murther, his practise is the like in all o∣ther sinnes, especially if he deale with those that séeme to make some consci∣ence of sinne, and haue in their heart a∣nie detestation of iniquitie. Such was his dealing in erecting vp the king∣dome of Antichrist, for it was a thou∣sand yeares at the least in patching, be∣fore it came to his height, and top of in∣iquitie. Therefore let all them that de∣sire to auoide the actuall sinne, ende∣uour also to cut off all occasions of his beginning. If thou wilt not commit a∣dultery, cut off thy wanton lookes: If thou be loth to murther any man, pull downe thy haughtie heart, and roote out the affections of disdaine from thy mind, and learne out of Gods worde, how to apply thy selfe to singlenes and humilitie: let the example of yong Da∣niel neuer go out of thy remembrance, who refused euen the portion of meate that was allotted vnto him by Nabu∣chadnezar,* (which of it selfe was law∣full to be receiued with giuing of thanks,) because the King shoulde not entice him thereby to forsake the true Page [unnumbered] God, and leane to his religion: so it is our duty, not only to kéepe our selues vndefiled from euery sinne, but also frō euery thing that may be a meanes to bring vs vnto it. Thus we sée the causes that moued Peter to fall, and in∣déede they be the same that moue all mē to sinne, whether it be the godly that fal through infirmitie, or the wicked that procéede on in sinning daily, and neuer returne vnto the Lord. And we sée also by what steps and degrées Peter came to the height of his offence, whose trace we doo all treade so oft as we fall, al∣though euerie one go not so farre as he did, because Gods grace preuenteth him sooner: beholde then in him thine owne frailtie. But now we come to make a separation betwéene them that fall and neuer rise againe, and them that be renued by repentance.
And immediately, while he was a spea∣king, &c. Nowe we come to the behol∣ding of the excéeding mercie of oure good and gratious God, who though he suffer vs for a time to goe after our owne fantasies, yet at the last his out∣stretched Page [unnumbered] arme will helpe those that be his, he suffered Peter to fall into sinne: yet he is readie to help him vp againe: yea, euen when Peter was a curssing, God entended towards him a blessing: and surely it is not without the speciall prouidence of the spirit of God, set downe héere by Luke, that while Peter yet spake, or was a speaking, the Cocke did crowe: because the enemies of Gods grace and their owne saluation, the Papistes (who will play at small game rather then they will sit out) when they can not wring it from vs, that man hath frée will to do well, or merit his own saluation: yet they must haue it graunted, that we be copart∣ners with GOD in that worke: I hope they will graunt vnto vs, that Peter, who was called, and nowe is fallen, had as muche power, and did as muche further his restoring a∣gaine, as they that haue neuer tasted of the swéetenesse of Gods worde and grace. Now Christ did begin Pe∣ters conuersion when the Cocke did crowe, and what was Peter then do∣ing, Page [unnumbered] helping: yea, helping himselfe to hell-warde, for he was then curssing himselfe. So that if Peter coulde not helpe himselfe into Gods fauour a∣gaine, sure it is that none can: away then with that fonde imagination, that any thing is in man to further his owne saluation, for God must first conuert vs, and then we shall be con∣uerted, God must be mercifull vnto vs,* and then we shall be saued.
The cock crew, &c. This is ye first cause [ 9] that God setteth forward towarde the conuersion of Peter. For the Lord be∣holding in what desperate case he was went about to deliuer him out of it, and that in all haste: for God knewe verie well, that if he should continue any space in the swéetenesse, wherein sinne had swadled him (for it is swéete to all them whose hartes God hath not called from it by the grace of his holy spirite) he had béene hardened in the same, as the wicked sorte of the world be, who tasting thereof, and fin∣ding their corrupte and sicke senses delighted with it, committe the same Page [unnumbered] with gréedinesse, and doo so greatly please themselues with it, that they conceiue an earnest lothing of all god∣linesse and vertue: and that is the cause that many (of whome we may reade) who hauing once tasted of the swéete word of God, and after reuerted from the same,* haue become the greatest e∣nemies that euer the Churche of God hath had at any time: and (if it were Gods will) I would we felt it not in present experience: and therefore the Lord God (as he is most carefull for his children) maketh haste to deliuer Peter quickly. This crowing of the Cocke was the same vnto Peter, that the prea∣ching of Gods Ministers is vnto vs. (For God doth not alwaies vse his or∣dinarie meanes) so that when soeuer we haue the word of God preached, at what time soeuer we heare our sinnes laid open before vs, and rebuked, we must thinke with our selues that God doth with vs, as he did to Peter, name∣ly, vseth meanes to call vs frō sinne, & bring vs to repentance & amendmēt of life. This meanes the Lord vseth gene∣rally Page [unnumbered] vnto all (for his Gospell must be preached, throughout the whole world, for a witnesse vnto all nations) and yet we knowe,* though many be called, yet few are chosen. Therefore it behoueth vs to know whether ye Cocke doo crowe vnto vs to our saluation or no:* and the first triall consisteth in this, that the Cocke of Gods word croweth vnto all men, and yet onely they imbrace his sound aright that shall be saued: if then thou féelest thy selfe to heare the same with all due reuerence, if thou beléeuest the promises therof to belong vnto thée with all stedfastnes, and endeuourest to frame thy life according to the same,* with al diligence, thou maist assure thy selfe, that thou art the child of God: for they be of God that doo thus heare his word: contrariwise, if thou hearest the word preached, and perceiuest thy se∣crete sinnes thereby laid open, and thy owne conscience in thy selfe is witnes,* that thou art conuinced, and yet art so farre from beléeuing it, or framing thy life according to it, that thou doest both mocke it (as manie nowe a daies de∣light Page [unnumbered] to doo) and also séeke to pull the cocke downe from the pearch, that he crowe no more: thou maist assure thy selfe (for sure it is) thou art in the way of destruction: a necessarie meditation for all men.
[ 10] The Lord looked backe, &c. The se∣conde cause followeth: the cocke had crowen, and yet Peter had not remem∣bred himselfe, neither was he awaked out of his sinfull sléepe, vntill the Lorde turned backe his countenaunce vpon him: but when once he looked vpon his face, whose knowledge he had denied, then began he to remember himselfe, and consider that things were amisse. But was it the turning backe of his face that wrought this in Peter? No, for then it might haue conuerted Iu∣das, whome he looked vpon, when he betraied him.* But it was his grace, and holie spirite, which did merciful∣ly fall downe into his heart, when the cocke did crowe. Whereby we sée plainely, that it is not the outwarde ministerie of the word of God onely that bringeth saluation vnto man∣kinde: Page [unnumbered] for Paule planteth,*Apollo watereth, but God giueth the increase: and this is the reason, that so many heare the word, and so few profit there∣in, because it belongeth to the Lorde to shew mercie to whome he will shewe mercie.* And therefore when the Gos∣pell was preached to them of Antioch, by S. Paule,* it is said, that so many as were ordained to saluation, beléeued: so that if thou hearing, or reading Gods word,* doest desire that it may worke to thy saluation, pray earnestly vnto the Lord, that it would please him of hys infinite mercie to looke backe vpon thée with the eies of his grace, and so fra∣ming thy selfe in a true faith and a single heart, to applie it vnto that ende wherefore it is giuen thée, thou shalt surely féele in thy soule an especiall o∣peration of the spirite of God, to thy greate comforte. Thus much briefly concerning the first two causes of Pe∣ters conuersion, where note by ye way, that the two first causes of his fall were within himself, but the first that worke to his rising againe, are without him∣selfe, Page [unnumbered] to teach vs that all our sinnes pro∣céede of our selues, and come from our selues: but all goodnesse, not of vs but from the Lord, that his name only may be praised for all good things, and we our selues blamed for all euill.
[ 11] Peter remembred, &c. Now followe the causes within himselfe, but marke this first, the Cocke did crow, no doubt of it, more did heare him then Peter: but because he was ordeyned as a meanes to call Peter home, therefore he only being guilty, was pricked in heart, and none else moued. So God hath ordeyned the Preaching of hys worde to be an instrument to put all men in minde of their faults, and that they mighte amend. And such is the force thereof, that the worde preached generally, doth mooue euery mans con∣science which is guiltie of that crime, whiche is reprooued. And therefore there be manie wicked men of the worlde, that doo imagine the Prea∣cher to harpe onely vppon them, be∣cause they be guiltie: as if he speake against Papistrie, euerie massemonger Page [unnumbered] thinketh he pointeth at hym: if he in∣neigh againste Swearers, Usurers, whoremaisters, or théeues, euery swea∣rer, Usurer, Whoremaister and théefe, thinketh his owne doinges to bee tou∣ched. And in déede (though they turne it to a fault in the Preacher) this shew∣eth vnto vs the wonderfull vertue of Gods word, that can speake so to euery mans heart and thought. Therefore when thou hearest thy owne faults re∣buked, & euen that which thou though∣test all the world had not knowen, o∣penly reuealed: doo not thinke that he speaketh it of choller, or hath learned it of thy trustie familiars, but thinke rather that Gods spirite whiche sear∣cheth all mens thoughtes, doth speake vnto thée, that thou shouldest amende it. For as Peter béeing guiltie alone, was onely pricked in conscience and did repent, so it is thy duetie to con∣sider thy owne estate, and repent thée of thy fault, that God may be mercifull vnto thée.
Peter remembred, &c. The worde [ 12] preached, and Gods grace working in∣wardly, Page [unnumbered] doo bring Peter to remēbrance. First that Christ had sayde, Before the [ 13] Cocke crowe, thou shalt deny me thrise, &c. And secōdly, that he had so doon in déed, (for they must be handled together:) let vs then note this diligently: before the crowing of the cocke, and the looking back of Iesus, there was no such thing in his minde: but they two comming together, doo bring him into considera∣tion of his estate. Adam and Heuah, when they had transgressed the lawe of the Lord, made no care of it at the first. But when the word of the Lorde and his spirite said,*VVhere art thou, he re∣membred what God had said, that he should not eate of the trée of knowledge of good and euill, and that he had eaten of it. King Dauid when he had commit∣ted those hainous sins of murther and adultery, slept quietly therein, vntil the Prophet Nathan came to rebuke him,* and the spirite of the Lorde withall wrought in his heart, then he remem∣bred his grieuous sinne, and the law of the Lord God to the contrarie. Manas∣ses the son of godly Ezechiah,* thought Page [unnumbered] Idolatrie no Sinne, and to make the stréets of Ierusalem swymme with the bloud of innocentes no offence. But when the troubles that he sustained in the time of his captiuitie (which were in stead of the preaching of gods word) did pintch him,* and the Lorde stretched forth the hands of his mercy to receyue him, then he saw the horriblenes of his sinne.* The like is euident in S Paule, who before his conuersion thought he did god good seruice in séeking the vtter extinguishing of the saincts of god. But when the light did shew him the blind∣nes of his mind, and the voice of Christ did aske him why he did so persecute him, he was stroken downe in conside∣ration of his offence. To leaue off to rec¦ken anye more examples out of Gods word. The same is most true in all mā¦kinde, & euen in our selues, For before we be called vnto the trueth in Iesus Christ, we walke in the waies of our owne imaginations, we liue without god,* & be strangers from the couenant of the promise of GOD. But when it pleaseth him of hys goodnesse to call vs Page [unnumbered] vnto the knowledg of his grace by prea¦ching his word vnto vs, and that he look backe vpon vs with the eies of his mer∣cye.* Then we see plainelye what is the rule of righteousnes that God hath in∣ioyned vnto al the sonnes of Adam, and comparing the same with our déeds, we sée how great is our debt that we haue vnpayed, howe many be our Sinnes that we haue committed, and how vain our former conuersation hath béene: whereas before this be reuealed vnto vs, we procéede securely in our owne in¦iquity, and as all worldlings doo, think our owne wayes to be right and honest. Wherefore if this be the way and firste entrance into the schoole of Christe (to wit the word of God preached to shewe vs our sins). What a great care ought we to haue, so lōg as we liue in this bo∣dy of clay, where we sin continually, to vse al waies & meanes that we can law¦fully deuise, that we may haue ye same continually sounding in our eares, to a∣wake our drowsy affections, & put vs in mind of our daily misdéeds, that we be∣ing mooued therewithall, may begin to Page [unnumbered] loth our owne euill liues, and turne vn¦to the Lord. And what an earnest care ought we to haue also when we haue the same, that we make the fruit and bene∣fite of it to settle into our owne hartes and consciences, to the amendement of our wicked waies. But this being the first gate to enter in at, towards ye school of Christ: the wicked (because they will not enter) doo here part cōpany with the godly, who knowing the necessity of ye word of God preached, doo labour ear∣nestly to haue it established amōgst thē. But the vngodly who haue neither care to learn the wil of god, nor cōscience to frame their liues according to the same, be either negligēt in this behalfe, or slat hinderers of it: for they doo know before hand, that it will reueale their sin, and make their doinges knowne to all the world. The papist which is an Idolater doth knowe, that if the Arke of God bée brought into the Temple, Dagon will fall downe:* that is, if Gods worde bée preached, his superstition will bée kno∣wen. The vsurer feareth that it wyll discrie his crueltye, for he selleth hys Page [unnumbered] brother for money. The couetous man doubteth that his corrupt dealings wil be espied: through it the worldling thin∣keth that it wil detect his carelesnes to∣ward the seruice of god. Briefly whoso∣euer is addicted to any notorious sin, & determineth to continue in it, he cannot away with the word preached, and ther¦fore you shall heare thē vtter these spée∣ches: haue we not our 10. cōmandemēts haue we not the Articles of our beliefe, and our Pater noster: haue we not homi¦lies appointed to be read: Let vs learne thē. First we know that we must loue god aboue al things, & our neighbour as our self, & can the preacher teach vs any more. Nay they wil go yet further and say, where is more preaching thā in Lō∣don? and yet where is more pride, whor¦dome, and all kinde of villany commit∣mitted, as though Gods word were the cause thereof. As if I should say in such a place is moste store of meate and drynke, and there is moste drunken∣nesse, I wyll therefore neither eate nor drinke at all, leaste I bée so too: but then I shall starue for lacke of foode. Page [unnumbered] And worthily: so thou (O wicked man) because some of thy liuery (sathans ser∣uants) vnder the visar of Gods word do cōmit naughtines. Therefore thou wilt not haue Gods worde preached at all. They wil tel you and sweare it too, that they beléeue as well in Christe, as the proudest pratling Gospeller of them al: (for these be their termes) what a sturre then kéepe you with your preaching, thus they think they prooue themselues sound Catholiques:* but if they will bée filthy, let them be filthy still, and let vs leaue them to gods iudgemēt. Sure we are, that there is none ye hath any spark of gods grace, or séed of faith in his hart, that speaketh or thinketh so: but rather thus, god hath giuen vs his word, to the ende that we might learne it, and we must dayly learne it, that we may con∣tinually practise it God saith, they that be blessed haue their meditatiō in it day and nyght.* It is swéeter in the children of God, than hony, they desire it aboue al treasure of the Worlde, they are taught thereby to be wary and circum∣spect in all their doings, and I am very Page [unnumbered] desirous to be one of Gods childrē: ther∣fore I must put my chiefe delight in it, I am forgetfull, slow and dull, and ther¦fore néede it is that I be rowzed with it continually, and though many abuse it to a liberty for the flesh, and to liue care∣lesly, yet I must not follow them, nor be dismaide from the foode of my soule, be∣cause many surfet with it. But I muste so exercise my selfe in it, so lay it vp in my mind, & so séeke to know it, that eue∣ry thing that I do, may haue his warrāt out of it, that al my doings may be direc¦ted by the same so long as I liue in this miserable world, least the deceits of sa∣than, or the enticements of this wicked world, or the desires of the flesh doe pull me from my God.
Peter went out, &c. Now followeth the maner how he was conuerted in his go∣ing out, and his wéeping. For the firste, Peter is now brought to ye consideration of his sin: for he seeth both the way of the Lord which he shoulde haue followed, & also how horrible his offence is: now he beginneth to amend, and that is, firste in his going out. He began to deny in yePage [unnumbered] wicked company, and therefore that he may the better repent and amende, he breaketh company and biddeth thē fare∣well, minding to haue no more dealing with them. So did S. Paule, who know¦ing by the grace of Christ, that the high Priests, Scribes & Pharises, were wic¦ked men men and persecutours of gods seruants,* continued at Damascus: after¦ward returning to Ierusalem, sought ra∣ther to win him selfe to the brethren, & forsooke his former companions so quite that they were gone quickly out of his knowledge and remembrance. And tru¦ly this is a thing very méete, that al the children of god doo not only forsake thē,* with whom in time of their infidelitye they walked familiarly: but also all thē whose cōpany haue béene vnto them oc∣casion of falling, and doo yet abide in en∣mity to ye truth. For if an infant hauing béene heretofore burned with fire, will beware that he come no more néere it: If a horse will refuse that ditch, where∣into he hathe béene plunged: and if a Dog wyl not come néere that man who Page [unnumbered] hath vsed to beat him: then much more it behooueth the Children of God to a∣uoide the company of those persons, by whose occasion they haue béene allured to sin. If then thou hast béene familiar with mockers & deriders of gods worde and his ministers, and desirest to frame thy self from that vice, and determinest with thy self to leaue it, sée yt thou shake off the society of deriders. If thou haste béene a blasphemer of gods holy name, and nowe séeing the hainousnes of that offence, wilt amend: vse no maner of fa∣miliar countenance to suche persons as haue béene thy fellowes in such wicked∣nes: If thou hast béene a drunkard, and now wilt be so no more, part from the company of tospots: If thou wilt leaue thy former whordome, shake off the fa∣miliarity of that kind of people, and so of all other sins: if thou detestest ye fault kéepe thy selfe from them that delight therein.* For can a man (saith Salomon) take fire in his bosome,* and not burne his clothes, or go vpon coles & his féete not scorched? & whosoeuer toucheth pitch must néeds be defiled therewithal: euen Page [unnumbered] so, they that vse the society of the wicked must néedes smel of their wickednes as is prooued before.
Wept bitterly, &c. Now Peter béeyng conuicted of his sinnne, and consideryng through the grace of Gods holye spirite, that the guilt therof deserueth great and endles punishment, beginneth to repent and turne vnto the Lord. This conuer∣sion and turning, is contained in thys word wept, the outwarde token of hys sorrow, expressing the inward griefe of his mind: for we muste not thinke that his wéeping was the repentance it self, least we make Iudas and Esau to be cō∣uerted vnto the Lord by repentāce. But that the excéeding sorrowe of his minde did wring out his wéeping. This repen∣taunce (to pretermit all our aduersaries fond deuises concerning the same) may be rightly thus defined.* It is a true tur∣ning of our life vnto god, procéeding frō a pure and earnest feare of God, which consisteth in the mortification of ye flesh and quickning of the spirite. This was in Peter when he wept for his fault, it is in all them that be truly called vnto Page [unnumbered] the faith in Iesus Christ, and ought to be in vs all cōtinually, because we cease not to transgresse the lawes of the Lord continually. Now to explane the parts of this definition, it is called a turning vnto God,* because so often as we sin, we depart from God, walking after the de∣sires of our own flesh: this turning must begin at the hart: for the thoughtes of mans hart are altogither wicked natu∣rally, therfore ye turning vnto god must begin at the renuing of the same: so com¦mandeth the Lorde by the Prophet say∣ing:* Make you a new hart, & in another place, breake vp your fallow grounds, sow not your séeds among thornes: that is, plucke out of your hartes your wic∣kednes and impietie, & doo not receyue Gods mercies into your soules, deligh∣ting still in wickednes: this turning must be tried without any dissimulatiō, or hipocrisie, that if it be begun aright, it maketh the hart to lothe, detest, and ab∣horre his former life and to sighe, sob & lament that his vngodlye demeanour hath so hainously transgressed the laws of his gentle and mercifull GOD, and Page [unnumbered] deserued such extreme paine & torments this is that terror, and feare that the pro¦phet speaketh of. Haue mercy vppon me O Lord, for I am weake: O Lord heale me,* for my bones are brused, and there is nothing sound in my fleshe because of thine anger, neither is there any rest in my bones, because of my sin: and so for∣ward in that psalme, Dauid declareth how grieuously he was troubled in hys body and minde, because he considered Gods iudgements against sin, which in∣déede is in all the childrē of god (in some measure) but vtterly vnknowne, and strange to secure and carelesse persons, that sléepe in their owne iniquitie, and for lacke of this, doo neuer come to anye remorse in consciēce but doo waxe worse and worse:* but it is vnto the Godlye a great coōfort: for although they féele the heauy wrath of God against their sinne yet they knowe that is the beginning & first entrance into Gods fauour againe: for ye rigor of his wrath driueth vs back from our selues, and maketh vs séeke vnto his mercy This must procéed from an earnest feare of God, that is, (as be∣fore Page [unnumbered] is declared) from the consideration what God in iustice requireth of vs, and how farre contrary we haue liued, and also that he will execute iudgement agaynste all Sinne and Iniquitye.
The feare of this maketh vs to séeke what waye to haue Gods wrath appea∣sed agaynste vs, which is onely done by Fayth in Iesus Christe, who came into ye world for that purpose, that he might be a mediator and reconciler of sinners vnto God his Father: so that euery one that shall come to the fauour of God a∣gain, must certainly and stedfastly with out wauering beléeue, that Christ his bloud hath béene shed for the satisfaction of Gods wrath agaynste hym for hys sins. And so being perswaded, hys con∣science is at quiet with god, and the ter∣ror of Gods wrathe, whiche before dyd appéere, is nowe pacified and satisfied in Iesus Christe. But because mans harte is full of hypocrisie, and a beast in his owne knowledge, béeyng blinded through vaine confidence, may per∣swade himselfe, that God hath receiued him into his fauour, when in déede it is Page [unnumbered] not so. Therefore it is said, that this re∣pentance consisteth in the mortifying of the fleshe, and quickening of the spi∣rit: that is, in crucifying and killing within himselfe the world and flesh, to wit, all sinne whatsoeuer, and the quickening of the spirite,* which is by continuall endeuour to frame our liues precisely, according to Gods word. And because this can not be done perfectly, no not in the best, by reason of sin and iniquitie, that cleaueth so fast vnto them, therefore they thinke it their du∣tie, so long as they carrie about with them this bodie of sinne, to grone vnder the burthen thereof and to vse all those meanes that God hath set downe for them in his word: to continue and a∣bide in repentance and amendment of life without ceassing, that Gods holie name may be glorified, and their con∣sciences surely setled in the mercies of the Lorde, and sinne daily more and more abolished, the whiche the Lorde God of his infinite mercie graunt vnto all them that earnestly séeke and la∣bour for it, Amen.
Let vs pray.
O Eternall GOD, and our most louing and mercifull father, whiche of thy great mercie hast reuealed vnto vs, by the example of thy holy Apostle S. Peter, that of our selues and in our owne imaginations, wee wander daily further and further from thee. Poure downe thy spirit (O Lord) into our hearts, to perswade and certi∣fie vs vnfainedly of the truth heereof, and to bring vs by consideration of the same, vnto a true acknowledge∣ment of our owne misery, and thereby, to that humilitie, which may declare vnto vs our wretched estate without thee, that by the weying of the same a∣right, we may knowe the necessitie of thy holy and blessed word, which not only discouereth vnto vs all our natu∣rall blemishes and corruptions, but al∣so teacheth how to knowe thee, and to worship thee truly, and therby be mo∣ued to haue an especiall care to heare the same taught publikely, to reade it priuately for our comfort, and to me∣ditate in it continually: that wee lear∣ning Page [unnumbered] out of the same the absolute vp∣rightnesse that thy law requireth, may be cast downe, and the mercie that thou offerest to repenting sinners, may ground our vnfained faith vpon thy promises, and by the consideration of thy greate mercies offered vnto vs in thy Sonne our Sauiour Iesus Christe, may endeuour diligentlie to glorify thy holy name with that obedience that thou requirest, and to shunne all things both in our religion and con∣uersation, that hath no warrant out of thy blessed will, that abandoning all fancies of mans traditions, and will-worshippers (pleasant in the eyes of flesh and bloud) we may cleaue vnto thy perfect will, reuealed vnto vs by thy Prophets and Apostles, and shew∣ing forth thy prayse according there∣vnto, heere in this world may tho∣rough thy mercie be glorifi∣ed in the world to come, through Iesus Christ our Lord & only Sauiour.