¶ Certaine Sermons made vppon this Text. 1. Cor. 10. 1. &c.
SAint Paul (dearely beloued) from the beginnyng of this Epistle, blamed the Corinthians, for sundry faultes, and corruptions among them: As that they had factions and dissentions, one parte a∣gainst another, that they more e∣steemed in their Preachers, elo∣quence of speeche, then the simpli∣citie of Christ crucified, that they made small accompt of him, in cōparison of some other corrupt teachers, that they suffered incest among them vnpunished: that they resorted to Idolatrous feasts with the heathen, and did eate of those things that were offered to Diuels, contrary to the sinceri∣tie of true Christians. Now because men are very prone, to flatter their owne mindes by vaine pretences, and to feede* themselues in euill doing, he preuenteth an obiection or ex∣cuse, y• happily they might make for themselues. For they might haue said: Sir, we beare y• name of Christ, and bee Christians, wee haue his Gospell among vs, and vse hys Sacramentes, whereby his merite is sealed in vs. There∣fore wee are sure, that wee are in the fauour of God, and that his displeasure and plague, shal not lyght vpon vs. &c. Page 117 To this S. Paule aunswereth, that this trust and secure confidence in the profession of Christianitie, and vse of the Sacramentes, is but vayne, vnlesse they approue & make good their fayth, and outward profession of Christ, wyth the exercise of honest lyfe, and Godly conuersation. This he confyrmeth by comparison of the Israelites. The peo∣ple of Israell, (sayth S. Paule,) were the chosen people of God, they had his law and Ceremonies among them: yea, they had promise of saluation, by the same blessed sede that we haue, they did vse in effect the same Sacramentes that we doe, they were baptised in the Cloude, and in the Sea, they did eate of the same spirituall meate that we doe, they did drinke of the same spirituall drinke, that we drinke of, for the Rock that they dranke of, was Christe. And yet many of them, by Gods heauy hand, perished in the Wil∣dernesse. And if you looke into the cause, you shall fynde it to be nothing else, but for y• they were inclinable & proane to the corruption of Idolatrie, that they were giuen to for∣nication and vncleannesse, that they tempted Christe, and munnured against God, and committed other like naugh∣tinesse against the will of God &c.
Seing it is so, you may be sure that God is no change∣ling, but will deale in the same manner with you nowe, as he did with his people before time. Now for so much as S. Paules reason doth principallie stand vpon the vse of the Sacramentes, and that the people in those dayes, were more skilfull and better taughte the effecte, nature, and strength of a Sacrament, thē in this time they be (through slacknesse of teaching, and way wardnesse in learning) be∣fore I come to that, which S. Paule principallye respec∣teth in this place, I thinke it necessary for your better in∣struction, fyrst to speake generally of Sacraments, and to shew what a Sacrament is, of what partes it standeth, for what causes they are ordayned, and what fruite maye be taken of them. Secondly because he sayth. The Rocke was Christ, and that they did eate and drinke of the same Page 118 Christ, I will declare what manner of speethe this is, and shew why Chist and his blood is called meate and drinke, and how he is to be eaten and drunken in the sacramente truely, and in deede. And lastly I will let you vnderstand, that the bare professyon of Christianitie, the externall vse of the sacramentes, and outward exercise of praying, and o∣ther •the thinges, are not sufficient, without the inwarde worshipping in spirite and truth, and christian obedience to the will and lawe of God.
A sacrament is a reuerend and holy misterie ordayned* of God, wherin he by his holy word and promise, doth both stirre vp and practise the faith of his people, and by y• opera∣tion of the holy ghost increase his grace in them, & besto• his benefites and blessinges vpon them, & wee on the other part, testifye our obedience toward him, & vnity of faith a∣mong our selues. The authour and ordainer of sacramēts* is none but God himself. No Patriarche, nor prophet, nor Apostle, nor Father, nor the whole church hath autho•••• to ordayne a sacrament. Who is authour of Sacraments* (sayth Ambrose,) but the Lord Iesus. These Sacramēts came from Heauen. &c.
A sacrament is a part of Gods worship, but no creature can ordayne any part of Gods worship, but himself, accor∣ding to that saying of the Prophet: In vaine they worship* me, teaching the traditions of men. In the old Testa∣ment, if a man had offered any sacrifice not appointed by God, it was esteemed little better then Idolatrie. It is knowne what happened to the sonnes of Aaron, for that* they brought strange syre to the Alter of God: much lesse may any appoint straunge sacramentes, not ordayned by the expresse word of God in his scriptures.
Sacramentes be seales that confyrme Gods promises, and looke what a counterfeyted seale is to a mannes wri∣ting or deede, that is a sacramente in the Churche, not or∣dayned by GOD. If this be true, as in deede it is moste true, what shall we saye of the Church of Roome,Page 119 which hath presumed not, only to alter those Sacraments that Christ appoynted, but also to ordayn sundry other sa∣cramentes, without any iust warrant of gods word, onlye vpō forced interpretaciōs, deuised of thēselues? Penance, Orders, & Matrimony (corrupt Doctrine being taken frō thē) be good things, & to be exercised in y• church, & so like∣wise are prayer, fasting, and almes deedes, & yet I see n• cause, why they shold be called sacramēts. Ther is a great differēce betwene a sacramēt, & an other godly exercise cō∣manded in y• church, as herafter you shal better vnderstād. Seing therfore christ is author of sacramēts, & none other, you may not think thē to be trifles, vaine Ceremonies, and mens deuises, y• you may vse or not vse at your pleasures, as you list, but you ought to reuere••• thē, as y• ordinance of God, & to receiue thē, euen as at Christs own hand. For as whē gods word is taught you, by the ministery of men, you must not receiue it as mans word, but as the word of* God, as it is in deede, and therefore the Prophet sayd, the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it: euen so the Sacra∣ments, when you receiue them at the hands of a fraile and mortall, yea and sometime a sinfull man, you must looke to the Authour, and in your faith see the hande of God offe∣ring* the same vnto you. The sacramentes take not their excellencye and worthinesse of him that Ministreth them, though he be neuer so holy, neyther. be they disgraced, or weakened, though the Minister be wicked and euill.
And therfore the errour of y• Donatistes, Anabaptists, and some other is sharpelye to bee reprooued, that thinke the sacramentes of Christ to bee of leesse value, if they be ministred by an euill or sinfull man. In deede the haud of the receiuer, being withoute Fayth, maketh the sacra∣mentes, that of themselues bee good, to bee vnto him of no Force, because of his vnbeleefe: But a wicked Mi∣nister cannot in anye wyse make frustrate, or deceiue the Fayth of the Godlye Receauer. Iudas was a wic∣ked and false Traytoure, and a Couetous naughtys Page 120 person, al the time that he followed Christ, & yet I doubte not but that the baptisme, that he ministred, was as auail∣able to the faithful receiuer, as the baptisme of Peter was,* or of any other of the Apostles. S. August. vseth the same example. Whereas (fayth he) there was great difference betweene Peter and Iudas, yet was there no difference, betweene the baptisme ministred by Peter, & that was ministred by Iudas, that was all one, but of the partyes, one was a member of Christ, another a member of the Deuill. And agayne he sayth, Such are the Sacramentes,* as they are, that come vnto them. Whereby one maye profitablely receiue the Sacrament of an ill minister, so he himselfe be good. This is a great comfort to the god∣ly, that in receiuing the Sacramēt, they neede not to loke into the life of the Minister, but to examine theire owne hartes.
Now as touching the partes of a Sacrament, you shall vnderstande it consisteth of three partes. The fyrste is the* externall signe, as the Lambe in the Passouer, the cutting of the fore skinne in Circumcision, water in Baptisme,* bread and wyne in the Lordes supper. Because of these outwarde •ignes, a Sacrament is called a signe, a Seale, a Visible word, so that it were a Monster, to haue a sacra∣ment without an externall signe or elemente, to the oute∣warde substaunce of it.
Water in Baptisme signifieth, that as water naturally hath a propertie, to wash and clense the filth frō the body: so doth the grace of God through Christ his blood, wash a∣way the gilt and filthinesse of our soules. As breade and wine by naturall effect nourisheth our bodyes, & strength∣neth and comforteth oure spirites: so doeth the heauenlye foode of Christes body and blood, broken and shead for vs vpon the Crosse, nourish our soules, and quicken our Spi∣rites to eternall life with God. As the breade is made of many graynes kneaded into one loafe, and the Wine pres∣sed out of many Grapes into one cuppe: so the multitude of Page 121 Christians communicating at the Lordes Table, thoughe many in number are ingrafted into Christ, & made mēbers of his misticall body, and ioyned in mutuall loue one with the other, so that nowe they liue by the spirite of Christe, as the members of a naturall bodye lyue, and haue sence by that Spirite that commeth from the harte, and from the heade. This proportion and similitude betweene the signes and the spirituall effectes of the sacrament, S. Cyprian acknowledgeth. As this cōmon b•ead saith he*being chaunged into fleshe and blood breedeth life to to our bodies: so by the accustomed nature of thinges, the weakenesse of our fayth being holpen, is taughte in sensible argument, that in visible Sacramentes are the effect of eternal life. These godly instructions and •we•e comfortes, the Church of Roome weakeneth and •aketh* away, by their monstrous doctrine of Transubstāciation▪ Wherein they teache that the substaunce of Breade and wyne, is cleane vanished and consumed awaye, so that there remayneth no Bread, nor Wyne in the Sacra∣ment, and that is in effecte to make it no sacrament. For as I haue tolde you before, there canne bee no Sacra∣mente, without an externall Elemente, to bee the oute∣warde signe thereof. But what externall signe canne there bee, when •••y withoute substaunce, and accidents, and qualities, nourishe the substaunce of oure bodyes?
Or if they cannot, howe maye they represente vnto vs, that as they nourishe oure bodyes, so Christe his blood nourisheth our soules? yea rather they teach the contrary, that as qualities do• not nourishe the substaunce of our• body, so doth not Christs body nourish our soules. Wher∣fore al good Christians, haue to deteste that blasphemous Doctrine, broughte in by the Church of Rome, which, as I haue sayde, taketh awaye the right nature and proporti∣on of a sacrament.
By this that I haue sayd already, you maye perceiue that there is some further ende, then the vse of the signes Page 122 in the Sacramentes, and that the Externall Ele∣mentes* are not orday•ed for themselues, but for some •∣ther purpose. In the olde time the sacramentes and Ce∣remonies were profytable for the bodilye nourishmente, as the water gushing ou•e of the Rocke, Manna, and the Paschall Lambe: but in oure sacramentes God smallye consydereth our bodies, but principallye and whollye the •eleefe, ease, and comforte of our soules. Therefore as in the olde Testament, so now much more in the sacraments, is to be consydered some spirituall & internall thing, to the vnderstanding wherof, the lykenesse of the external signes* doe leade vs: as in baptisme, our regeneration and new byrth, and the washing away of our sinnes, by the death & p•ssion of Christ, In the Lords supper the heauenly foode of our soules, with the bodye that was broken, & his blood that was shead vpon the Crosse. Wherfore good christiās in receiuing y• sacrament, must not haue so much regard to the signe, as to the spirituall thing it selfe, for which y• out∣ward token was o•dayned. So doeth the Councell of Nice exhorte vs: Lette vs not bende oure cogitation ba•ely to Bread and Wine layde before vs, but lifting vp our mind through faith, let vs behold the Lambe of god taking away the sins of the world, to be on that ta∣ble. &c. And Chrisost. hom. 7. 1. ad Cor. The heathen per∣son*when he hea•eth of baptisme perswadeth himselfe that it is water only, but I do not simply see that I doe see, but also the cleansing of my soule, by the spirite of God. He thinketh my body onelye to be washed, but I beleeue that my soule is cleansed and made holy. And*Aug. That which you see is bread, and the cuppe, as your eyes declare vnto you, but as touching that wher∣with your faith is to be instructed, the bread is to you the body of Christ, & the wine his blood. Wherfore the especiall & principall part of the sacrament is the spiritual and internall thing, as in baptisme (as I haue sayd) rege∣neration and sanctification, and in the Lords supper y• body Page 123 and blood of Christ. And here (dear•lye beloued) I muste put you in mind, that they which teache this, doe not saye that the sacramentes are bare signs and tokens, as the ad∣uersaries of the Gospell doe slaunder vs. Our doctrine of the Sacraments, is farre more fruitfull and comfortable then theirs is. For we teach and beleeue that, these spiri∣tuall effectes are as certainely wrought, by the holy ghost in the sacramentes, as we see that the externall elementes* haue their operation in the course of nature. For the sa∣cramentes are as the deedes and Seales of almighty god, whereby he doth in deede and verily, not only by significa∣tion, but effectually conueighe vnto vs, the possession of his spirituall blessinges, and yet do• wee not maynetayne the carnall and Reall presence of Christe his body and blood, within the compasse of the Sacramente, so that it shoulde enter into the •oundnesse of the mouth, and descende into the naturall partes of our body.
That grosse opinyon I leaue to the schole of Roome,〈◊〉〈◊〉 I f••d it not in Christes institution, nor in the s•hole of the holy Ghoste, that is, the Scripture of God. As a prince in his letters patentes vnder his greate Seale, giueth to a man happily a thousand pou•de Lande by the yeare, so that the partye hauing that deede, may as∣sure himselfe that he hath full right and possessyon thereof, and as surely as it were possible, he haue the L••de i• s••f in his •••de: yet can he not be so sencelesse and foolishe, to thinke that he hath the very substaunce of the Lande in the Bo•e wherein the deede is. So doeth Christe in the Sacrament louingly 〈◊〉 to the faythfull hart, the posses∣sion of his body and blood with all the benefits by the same procured to mankinde, that he may iu••lye say•, that the• be his, and by the ••liueth, and is nourished to eternall life, yet he may not be so foolish, to thinke that he hath not the fruit of it, vnlesse it goe reallye and Carnallye into his body.
For Christes body & blood are meat & drink for our soule, & Page 124 not for our body, to be nourished by, as it is by breade and Wyne. 〈…〉. The thirde part of the sacramente, is that* which giueth strength and effecte to the residue, that is to say, the word of Christes institution & promise, which is as it were the soule and life of the sacramente. For whereto serueth a seale to a blanke, wherein nothing is written, by whiche wee maye clayme anye Benefyte? whereto serueth an externall signe, if we haue not a promise to at∣tayne a spirituall thing? And no mans hande or writing will serue to make perfecte this deede: It muste bee Gods onlye. For he hath only the giuing of such things, wherefore it must be Gods word, that must assure vs here∣of. Well (sayd Aug.) Let the word come to the element,* and it maketh the Sacrament▪ And agayne: How com∣meth it to passe, that water toucheth the body, & clen∣feth the hart 〈…〉t by the power of the word, and that not because it is spoken, but because it is beleued? And how can a man beleeue that which he •ea•etl• not, nor vnderstandeth.•ereby ••• may consider •how 〈◊〉 yo• haue bene deceaued by them, which haue 〈…〉ed the sa∣cramentes vnto you in a straunge and vnknowne tongue that you vnderstoode not. These comfortable wordes 〈…〉 Lordes cuppe, This is my blood which is shead for you,* and for ma•y for ••••ssion of •••nes, with playn• Sa∣••••ege haue they kept from you, and 〈◊〉 you not only of the pro••se contayned in the words, but also of one part of the sacrament, for they inims•red it vnto you of the lay∣•ie, alway vnder one kyn•e, y•••▪ as they say▪ vnder y• forme of bread onelye, whiche greate 〈◊〉 to after both the wordes ••• partes of the Sacramentes▪ is 〈◊〉 entelye to bee noted in them, and greatly to be 〈…〉. When we speake therefore of the sacrament, we must speake as it is in it selfe, by the force of Gods worde, consisting of all three partes, and not as the baldnesse of men, or the weakenesse and imperfection of oure fayth maye make it ••w vs.
Page 125Nowe let vs consider the causes and endes, for which* Christes pleasure was, to ordaine Sacramentes in hys Church, that we may thereby also in part learne what fruit and benefite wee take by them. The first cause is, partly* our owne infirmitie and weakenesse, beyng dull and slowe in the vnderstanding of heauenly things: partly the great goodnesse and loue of God, that woulde vouchsafe to attem∣per himselfe to our simple capacitie, and seeke meanes by outward things to ease and helpe the same. For this cause, in the Scripture doth he so often vse parables and simili∣tudes of those things, that are within the compasse of our vnderstāding, by those the sooner to induce vs to the know∣ledge of his heauenly doctrines. This cause the auncient and learned Fathers did acknowledge in their writinges. The Lord (saith Chrisostome) geueth vs not any thing, that*is sensible, but insensible things▪ The outward things are sensible, but all thinges are to bee vnderstanded in the minde. In Baptisme, water is sensible, but our regenera∣tion and renewing, is perceiued in the minde. For if thou wert spirituall and without a body, he would haue giuen all these things to thee naked & bare, but because with thy minde there is ioyned a grosse body, in things sensible he declareth vnto thee things, by thy minde to be vnderstanded. Like wordes almost hath Dionysius in Caelost. Hier. Because of carnall persons (saith Augustine)*visible Sacramentes were instituted, to the end that by things, that be seene with your eyes, your minde may be transformed, to those things that be vnderstanded. Our vnderstanding is weake and dull, our memorie is fraile and fickle, and soone forgetteth the benefite of God. Both these our unperfections, God by his Sacramentes helpeth, our vnderstanding is •ed by the similitude, and lykenesse of the external signes, as before I haue noted. Our Seuces also are by the erercise of the Sacramentes stirred vp, to be in∣strumentes to helpe one mynde and weake faith. Our re∣membraunce also, by the same 〈◊〉 is marueilously•Page 126 strengthened. And therefore a seconde cause or ende of a* Sacrament is, that it maye bee to vs a blessed exercise, whereby wee call to remembraunce, the benefite of our re∣demption in Christ, and yeelde to him most hartie thankes, and praise for the same, according as Christ teacheth vs, in the institution of his laste Supper: Doe this in remem∣braunce of mee. And Saint Paule, so often as you eate of this bread, and drinke of this cuppe, you shall set forthe the death of the Lorde, vntill his comming, &c. They therefore which come to receaue the Sacrament, and neuer thinke of this, nor call to theyr remembraunce to prayse God for this vnestimable benefite, but thinke that the out∣warde vse of the Sacrament is sufficient, are among the number of them that receyue vnworthily, and make lyttle accompt of Christes benefite procured for vs. A thyrde* cause and ende of a Sacrament is, that wee by the practice and vse thereof, myght bee traded to the obedieuce of Gods holye wyll and commaundementes, thoughe the thinges seeme to our selues neuer so simple and mean•: and also that thereby wee myght openly before God and the worlde, protest and acknowledge that we are his people, and of the number of them▪ that looke to be saued, preserued & defen∣ded by the benefite of Christ onely. So that the open vse of the sacramentes is a parte of that confession, wherevnto S. Paule attributeth saluation, when he sayeth, If thou con∣fesse with thy mouth the Lord Iesus, and beleeue in thy* hart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt bee saued, for by the heart wee beleeue to righteousnesse, and by the mouth confession is made to saluation. In the vse of the sacramentes, wee confesse both by mouthe an• testimonie of all the partes of our bodye, that Christ Iesus is our Lorde and sauiour. A fourthe cause and ende* of the Sacramentes is, that they myght bee as bandes and linkes of loue, vnitie, and concorde among our selues. Therefore Saint Paule when hee exhorted to vnitie and loue, among other thinges a〈…〉th. Wee haue one faith,*Page 127 one Baptisme. And agayne in another place: Wee are* one bodye as manye as bee partakers of one lofe. For this cause, doth Saint Augustine call the Sacrament of* the Supper, Sacramentum vnitatis. i. A Sacrament of vni∣tie, and teacheth vs (as before I haue saide,) that as a loafe of breade is made of manye graynes, and a Cuppe of Wyne of many Grapes: so wee, thoughe manye in num∣ber, are made members of one mysticall bodye of Christ Iesu. A foule thing it is to see the seruauntes of one Mai∣ster, that weare one cognizaunce or liuerie, to fall out a∣mong themselues, it can not bee without some reproche of their Maister. All Christian men weare one cognizaunce and badge: for the Sacraments are the marks of Christes sheepe. Therfore not to loue & agree together, is a reproch wrought to our Lord and Maister. Wherby in a maner we protest to the world, that we be not seruaunts of his fami∣lie, For in this (sayeth he) shall men knowe you to be my* Disciples, if you loue one another, as I haue loued you. Hereof doth the right vse and vnderstanding of the Sacra∣meutes, very notably put vs in remembraunce. For it teacheth vs, that in Baptune wee are all newe borne, chil∣dren of God, and graffed into one bodie, and in the Lordes supper fedde and nourished, with one heauenly foode of the body and blood of Christ, and therefore that we should with faithfull and vnfained loue hartelie embrace one the other, as the children of one father, the members of one body, and the seruauntes of one Maister, fed at one table, and nouri∣shed with one foode to eternal life. Let them therfore looke, with what consciences they come vnto the Sacramentes, y• reserue bytter rancour & malice in their hartes, let them consider what heauy testimony, they giue against thēselues before God & his Angels. The last cause & end of a sacra∣ment* y• I meane nowe to speake of, is that by those, as by blessed instrumentes of the holye Ghostes working, hee myght imparte vnto vs, and bestowe vppon vs hys vn∣estimable Graces, and benefytes together wyth all the Page 128 fruites of our redemption in Christ Jesu. For as his worde is, so are his Sacraments, instrumentes and Meanes by the working of his holy spirite, to bring vnto vs the whole benefite of our saluation. And here againe because of our sclaūderous aduersaries, I must put you in remēbraunce, that we which teache thus, teache not as it is fathered vp∣on vs, that the Sacramentes are but bare signes. For you* heare vs teach, and as you loue the saluatiē of your soules, require you to beleeue, that they be signes and figures in deede, but such, as most assuredly bring vnto the faithfull harte, verily and in truth the selfe same things, that they signifie: so that the faithfull Christian receauer, maye as∣sure himselfe, that as truely as God is God, so truely he re∣ceaueth those things, which the outward Sacrament doth signifie. We ought therefore (deerely beloued,) with hum∣ble hartes to giue immortall thankes to the eternall God, in our Sauiour Christ Jesus, that he hath vouchedsafe so graciously, and so mercifully, to haue consideration of our infirmitie, to helpe our frailtie, and as it were to leade vs like children by the hand, and appoint vs whether to goe, and what to doe: and to giue vs those exercises to trade vs to the obedience of his will, and confession of his name, to marke vs with his badges and cognizances, that wee may be knowen to be his, to fasten vs together with these linkes of vnitie and Christian concorde, and finally to prepare for vs such and so blessed instrumentes, to bring vnto vs hys heauenly blessings. Herein also we may behold his great wisedome, that he would not lay forth vnto vs his spiritual mysteries and promises in wordes onely, least they myght slip away and be forgotten, but confirmeth and establisheth the same by his deede and seale also, as I haue declared, that we might the more assuredly embrace them. We reade in Histories, and see by experience, that when men make any Couenaunt or bargayne, they either shake handes, or vse some other like ceremonie or solemnitie to confirme it. In olde time among the heathen, they vsed to kill a hogg•Page 129 or a pigge, &c. and to vse at the same certaine protestatious and curses, if they stoode not to their couenaunt and league. And euerie matter of conueighance we see passeth by deede and seale. The Lorde when he made his promise to Abra∣ham,* willed a Bullocke, a Goate, and a Weather to bee kylled, and the Lorde in forme of a burning lyght passed be∣tweene them, by that solemnitie assuring him, that whatso∣euer he had promysed, should in truth be performed. The outwarde Circumcision, the Paschall Lambe, and all the multitude of Sacrifices of the olde lawe, were nothing but seales to confirme the trueth of Gods promise of saluation, in the true sacrifice that shoulde come. Euen so dealeth Christ with vs in his Sacramentes, Those he hath orday∣ned as his deedes, and instrumentes, as before I haue men∣tioned, to assure vs of his promyses. And so much are his deedes more sure, and his promyses more certaine and in∣fallible, than any mans can bee: as his wyll is more iust, to stande to that he hath sayde, and his habilitie to performe it greater.
Nowe for so much as S. Paule in this place maketh com∣parison betweene the Sacramentes of the olde Lawe, and of the Gospell, and saith that the Israelites were Baptized in the cloude, and in the sea, and in Manna dyd eate the same spirituall meate, and in the Rocke drinke of the same spiri∣tuall drinke that wee doe: I thinke it necessarie somewhat* to note, what difference is betweene theyr Churche and ours, and their sacramentes and ours. And principally I do this, because many through ignoraunce are of that opinion, that the saluation of mankinde by Christ was neuer hearde of in the worlde, before Christ came in fleshe, and that the Iewes had some other meane of saluation than by him, and therefore that their sacramentes and ours are nothing like. But this errour taketh away from all Christians a passing great comforte, that is, that Christian Religion, and that Meanes of saluatiō, is no new thing, but hath continued e∣uer since the beginning of the world, according as it is said Page 130 of Christ, Agnus qui dccifus est ab origine mundi. i. That he*is the Lambe which was slaine, from the beginning of the world.
First therefore you must vnderstande, and the whole course of the Scriptures teacheth vs, that there is but one eternall and immutable GOD of both those Churches, I meane of the Iewes before Christ, and of christians nowe, whome they both, dyd worshyppe in spirite and in trueth. For Christians must bee farre from that dinelish, and wic∣ked heresie of Marcion, Valentinian, and other, whiche taught, that there were two Gods, one of the Iewes, ano∣ther of the Christians, a good God, and a badde, a GOD that created the worlde, and a good God that was Father of Christ Iesu. But this detestable heresie hath beene iust∣ly condemned, and cast out of the Churche manye hundred yeeres since. Secondlye, both those Churches haue but one manner of saluation proposed to them in the promyses of GOD, that is, by the death of Christ, the Messias and sonne of God. Thys maner of saluation was first deui∣sed by the wysedome of God, and layde vp in the secrete clo∣set of his diuine prouidence, before the worlde was made. So saith Saint Paule, Blessed bee God the Father of our*Lord Iesus Christ, which hath blessed vs with all spiritual blessing in heauenly things in Christ, as he hath chosen vs in him before the foundation of the worlde. Thys manner of saluation God himselfe first vttered and publy∣shed in Paradice, saying to the Serpent after sinne com∣mitted, I will sette enmitie betweene thee and the wo∣man,* and betweene thy seede and hir seede, and thy seede shall breake his heade, &c. Here is promysed that one should come of the seede of the womā that should breake the serpentes heade, that is, vtterly destroye the power of the Diuell, and deliuer mankinde from his tyrannie. The same promyse was confirmed to Abraham, and ratified to all the Patriarches in these wordes: In thy seede all the* nations of the earth shal be blessed. This promyse so much Page 131 moued faithfull Abraham, that, as Christ saith, he greatly longed in spirite, to see the day of Christ, and he sawe it, and* exceedingly reioyced: and vndoubtedly so did the other Pa∣triarches and Prophetes as S. Peter beareth witnesse here∣of. All the Prophetes from Samuel, and thenceforth, as* many as haue spoken, haue borne witnes of these dayes. What shall I saye of the whole manner of the law, ceremo∣nies and Sacramentes? but that they were Preachings of that redemption, that should be in Christ Iesu? It were in∣finite to giue you examples in al, I will note vnto you one∣ly two or three. What can bee more euident than the Sa∣crament of the Passouer? That as a Lambe without spot was killed: so the immaculate Lambe Christ Iesu, should be sacrificed for our deliuerance, out of the spiritual Aegypt of the Diuels kingdome: where vnder the heauie burdens of sinfull workes, wee were holden thrall and in bondage. And as the blood of the Lambe sprinkled vppon the poste, was a token for the Angell of Gods wrathe to passe that house: so as many as by fayth haue the doore postes of their heartes sprinkled with the bloud of Christ, the true Lamb, that taketh away the sinnes of the worlde, shall bee sure to be saued from that wrath of God, wherein the wicked and vnbeleeuers shall bee wrapped. And because S. Paule spea∣keth here of Manna, doe you not see it a marueilous Image of Christ? Manna came from heauen, so did Christ, Manna was deliuered to all in lyke measure: so is Christ an indif∣ferent and full saluation to all men. Manna, was white of colour, and pure of substaunce: so is Christ pure and vn∣spotted of sinne and infirmities. Manna, that it myght bee nourishment, was beaten and bruised in a morter: so Christ that he myght bee the foode of lyfe was broken and brused on the crosse. Manna was the onely substaunce whereby the Israelites lyued in the wyldernesse: so is, Christ the onely foode whereby the true Israelites and children of Abraham lyue in the desert and wildernesse of this wicked worlde.
Page 132This similitude vndoubtedly, and many suche other in the residue of their sacramentes, the faithfull Jewes before the comming of Christ did see, although not so plainely as wee doe nowe in the time of the Gospell. And so S. Paule signi∣fieth in this place, when he sayth: That they did eate the* same spirituall meate, and drinke the same spirituall drinke, which they could not possibly haue done, if in Man∣na, & in the Rocke, they had not vnderstanded Christ, for Christ was Manna, and Christ was the Rocke. For wee maye not thinke that they iudged Manna or the Rocke, or any of their Sacramentes to bee of that price and worthy∣nesse, that for the vse of them they shoulde bee saued, and in the fauour of God. For God by his Prophetes sundrye times telleth them the contrarie. Therefore it is not to bee doubted, that in their sacrifices and sacramentes they sawe the true Messias and Sauiour, and vnderstoode that those things were but Sermons and Preachings to direct them to the beliefe thereof. Thirdly, we must consider that both the people of the Jewes before Christ, and wee nowe since Christ, haue but one meanes to apprehende this way of sal∣uation, and to apply the same vnto them, that is by fayth in the promyses of God. For as we beleeue to be saued nowe by Christ that is come, so they beleeued to bee saued by Messias that should come. As we bee sure of saluation by faith in Christ, that hath redeemed vs, so they were sure of saluation by the same Messias that shoulde worke their re∣demption. For it is not our owne dignitie in any respect, but the assured trust of Gods mercie through Christ, that saueth vs. Wherefore as the faythfull nowe after their departure out of this lyfe, passe to most assured ioy and com∣fort, so the faithfull departing then in lyke manner passed to ioye and felicitie. Therefore the Papisticall doctrine is* false and wicked, that teacheth eyther Lymbum Patrum, or else that Christ deliuered the Fathers out of hell at hys descendyng thither. Seeyng they had the same meanes of saluation, that wee haue, seeyng then there is but out Page 133 God of both these people truely to be worshipped, one ma∣ner of saluation in Christ proposed to them both, one mea∣nes to apprehende and applye that saluation vnto them, one Churche, one spirituall baptisme, one spirituall meate and drinke, as Saint Paule here witnesseth: I see not by what authoritie of Gods worde, our Sacramentes canne haue any other difference from theirs, then in the external signes and respecte of tyme: as that theire Sacraments* ledde them to beleeue that a Messyas and Sauyour should come, by whome they shoulde bee delyuered from the bon∣dage of sinne: and oures leade vs to vnderstande, that this Sauioure is come, and hath ransommed and deliuered vs, and maketh vs partakers of the benefite thereof. I knowe what difference the Churche of Roome putteth betweene the Jewes Sacramentes and ours, that is, that the Sa∣craments of the old law, do but signifie and promise grace and saluation: and ours giue, & exhibite the same: Which I thinke they gathered of some sentences of S. Aug. and o∣ther Fathers not rightlye vnderstanded. The Sacraments* (sayth Aug.) of the new law, be more wholesom & hap∣pie, then those that were in the olde lawe: for they pro∣mise, and these giue. But the same father, in other places* expoundeth himselfe, as when he sayth, The Sacramentes of the olde law, signifie before hand: and our sacramēts declare that is done. And agayne, The sacramentes of the olde law, were promises of thinges that shoulde be fulfilled: and ours are notes of things that are fulfilled. I graunt, Aug. and other fathers haue said our sacraments are more happy, and of more excellente grace and vertue, meaning therby only, that they were more ful and perfect, more euident and playne. In many places Augustine no∣teth* this difference, that our sacraments are fewer, easyer, more bewtifull, more playne and euident, and so truelye they are. The same August. expounding this very place of Paule, sayth in this manner: All doe eate the same spiri∣tuall meate, It might seeme sufficient to haue sayde: AllPage 134did eate spirituall meate, but he addeth (the same) I find not how to vnderstande it, but the same that wee also doe eate. But some will say vnto me, Is Manna the same thing that I doe now eate, than nothing is now come, if the same were before, and Christ his passion is voyde? how then, saith he the same, but that he addeth (spirituall) for they that did eate it as meate only to feede theire*Bodies, did not eate the same meate that wee doe. &c. Breefely therefore I say, whosoeuer in Manna did vn∣derstande Christ, did eate the same spirituall meat that we doe. &c. so likewise the same spirituall drinke that we doe, for the Rock was Christ: for there was not one Christ then, & another now, for thē christ was to come, Now he is come. To come & is come, are diuers words, but one Christ. In the 26 Tract. vpon Iohn, he hath a like* discourse to the very same purpose, touching y• same place of Paule. Where he sheweth, that as many did eate Man∣na, (& mortui sunt. i.) and are dead: so diuers did eate it, (& mortui non sunt. i.) and are not dead. Moises, Aaron, Phinees did eat it, and died not, because they did vnder∣stande the visible meate spirituallye, to the ende they might spiritually be satisfyed with it. &c. And it follo∣weth, This bred Manna did signifie this bread the Table of the Lord doth now signifie. They were Sacramēts in signs diuers, in the thīgs that are signified, the self same. Heare what the Apostle sayth, I would not haue you ig∣norante my bretheren, that they did eate the same spi∣rituall meate, for their bodily meate was not the same, they did eat Manna, we eat another thing, but they did eate the same spiritual meat. &c. And so they did drink the same spirituall drinke. They one thing, and we ano∣ther, as touching the visible kinde, which yet in spiritu∣all vertue signified the selfe same thing. By these words of S. Aug. that I haue heare layde downe, and by many o∣ther like, that I might alleage, I truste all suche as feare God, and will iudge indifferently, may perceiue, that this Page 135 is no new doctrine, which at this time I taught, touching* the likenesse of the Jewes religion and Sacramentes to ours now in time of the Gospell, Herevnto I must add this note by the way. If the Israelites vnder the old law, did in their sacramēts eat y• same spirituall meat, & drink y• same spiritual drink y• we do in ours, that is Christ, & that effec∣ally and to saluation, before Christes natural body & blood were borne, and come really into the worlde: it maye euy∣dently leade vs also to vnderstande, what manner of eating and drinking it is, that we also should vse in our sacramēts to saluation, that is, a spirituall eating and drinking of Christ, and not such a grosse, carnall, and reall eating as the Church of Rome now striueth for. But of this I haue to speake in the nexte part. Therefore here I will make an ende. &c.
¶ The seconde Sermon vpon this part of the Text. 1. Cor. 10. 3. &c.
NOt only S. Paule in this place,* but the spirite of God in sunde∣rye other Places of the Scrip∣tures teacheth vs, that Christe only is the blessed and Heauen∣lye foode of oure soules, where∣with we are fed and nourished, to eternall life. Of this meate and drinke Esay prophecied ma∣ny yeares before Christ came in fleshe, Oh (sayd he) come* all ye that be thirstie, come to the waters, and yee that haue no siluer, come buy and eate, come I say, bye wine and milke without money, wherfore do you lay out sil∣uer, for that which is no fode, & bestow your labor for that which cannot satisfye you, harken dilligently vnto me, & eat that which is good. &c. In which words he ca∣led the hungry & thirstie consciences of gods people, to that heauenly foode of Christ, which in his gospel is laid before the faithfull, by it to be fedde to eternall life, and reproueth them for seeking other foode besyde Christ, because indeed there is none that can satisfie them, but onelye hee. This doth Christ himself seeme to expound, in this maner in the gospel, when he sayth, If any man thirst, let him come to* me and drinke. But most euident in John the sixte, hee declareth himselfe to be the onely foode of oure soules, of which we must feede vnto saluation. For vppon the oc∣casyon* of the Jewes following him with a carnall affecti∣on to haue their bodyes fedde by myracle, as before he had Page 137 done, he sharply reproueth that affection in them, & willeth thē to labour and trauatle, not for the meat that perisheth, but for the meate yt shold endure to euerlasting life, which the sonne of man should giue vnto them. And after, Moises* gaue you not bread from heauen, but my father giueth you the true bread from heauen. For the bread of God is he who cōmeth down from heauen, to giue life vnto the world. And after a few words, he sayth plainely, I am* the bread of life, he that commeth to me shal not hun∣ger, and he that beleueth in me shall neuer thirst. And a∣gaine, I am the bread of life, your fathers did eat Manna* in the wildernesse and are dead. This is the bread of life, which commeth downe from heauen, of which he that eateth should not die, I am the liuing bread, that came downe from heauen, if any man eate of this bread, hee shall liue for euer, and the bread which I wil giue, is my fleshe, which I will giue for the life of the worlde. &c. Except ye eate of the fleshe of the son of man, & drink* his, blood, you haue no life in you. Whosoeuer eateth my fleshe, and drinketh my blood, hath eternall life, &c I will raise him vp at the last day. For my flesh is meate in deede, and my blood is drinke in deede. &c. Seing then it is very euident that Christ is the meate and drinke of all true Christians, it behoueth vs next to learne, why Christ is called meate and drinke, for we may not groselye vnderstand it as y• Capernaites did, that it is a Meat wher∣with our bodies are to be nourished, as with other natural foode, God forbid. For Christ himselfe a little after sayth. The words that I haue spoken are spirite and life: Gy∣uing* vs thereby to vuderstande, that hee is oure spiritual meate, and his wordes spiritually to be vnderstanded.
This speech then that Christ is meate an drinke vnto* Christians, is not a naturall and proper kinde of speaking, but metaphoricall and figuratiue, transferred from the bo∣dye to the soule, from a worldlye meaning, to a spirituall Seuce.
Page 138Which the better to perceaue, you must remēber that man consisteth not of body only, but of soule also. And as yt body,* hath his life and death, so the soule hath her life and death. And as the body hath certayn means to keepe of death, and for the time to mayntayne lyfe, so hath the soule meanes to preserue the life thereof, and to put awaye death. The lif of the body is the ioyning of the soule and the bodye to∣gither, and the death thereof is the separation of the soule from the bodye. The meanes to preserue the life of the bodye, that is, to continue the bodye and soule togeather, is foode and sustenaunce, meate and drinke, for we daylye and howerly doe consume, and the substance of our bodies wasteth by the pores of oure skinne, so that when Na∣ture feeleth wante of Substaunce to supplye the wa∣sting of the body, then it is sayde in proper speeche to hun∣ger, or to thirst, that is, to desyre and couette that thing whereby the waute of naturall Substaunce and moys∣ture maye be supplyed, least the Instrumentes of the soule shoulde bee made feeble, and so the soule departe, and the body dye. Nowe looke what the soule is to the he∣dye,* that is GOD vnto the soule. As the lyfe of the bodye is the ioyning of the soule to the bodye (for wyth∣out the Soule there is no life) so the life of the Soule, is the ioyning of GOD and the Soule togeather, and the death of the Soule is the separation of GOD from the soule, for without GOD, the soule hath no lyfe.
And yet you maye not thinke that the Soule dyeth, after that sorte that the bodye doeth, by ceassyng to haue a beeing, or a continuaunce, but it dreth a spirituall death by separation of God from it, so that the tyme that it is, and hath a beeing withoute God, is nothing but a moste horrible tormente, and more greeuous then a thousande bodilye deathes. Nowe further as the bo∣dy hath a certayne meanes by foode and Sustenaunce to preserue life, that is the soule and body togeather: so hath Page 139 the soule a meanes by foode and sustenaunce, to continue GOD and the soule togeather, and so to preserue lyfe, and putte away the death thereof. The bodye when it wanteth this sustenaunce is sayde to hunger and to thirst, so the Soule when it feeleth lacke of that Heauenlye and Spirituall foode, whereby the lyfe therof is continued, it is not in proper speeche but Figuratiuelye sayde to hunger and to thyrste, that is, earnestly to long and desyre to bee made partaker of that Foode, by the Vertue whereof onely, God and it is ioyned and preserued togea∣ther. This blessed foode is Christe himselfe and none other, eyther thing or person, for by him onelye are wee reconciled vnto GOD, and kepte in vnitie wyth him vnto eternall lyfe: and withoute him, wee by sinne re∣mayne separated from GOD, and so in Death eternal, vnlesse Christe doe ioyne vs vnto him. He that hath the Sonne of GOD, (sayth Iohn) hath life, he that hath* not the sonne of GOD hath not life. By this com∣parison, I trust you maye see why Christe is called the meate and drinke of Christians, that is, of the likenesse that hee hath with bodily foode and sustenaunce, that kee∣peth in life, and preserueth the Soule and the bodye to∣geather. Wee haue nowe further to consyder, not one∣lye* that Christe is the foode of oure Soules, and why hee is so called: but also howe hee is made the Foode of oure soule. I am (sayth Christe) that bread of Lyfe that came from Heauen, that is, hadde hee not beene GOD as well as Manne, hee coulde not haue beene the Meate of our Soules. We must ascende higher therefore, then to the humanitie of Christe, or to his Na∣turall bodye and blood, and conceaue that it is the bodye and blood of the Sonne of God, and hee too God eternall with the Father, or else he coulde not haue wrought the Mysterye of our Redemption.
There be certayne necessary causes very profytable and cōfortable to remēber, why Christ must be both god & man.
Page 140First, it was necessary he should bee GOD, that hee* might know the will of God, and reueale the same vnto vs For we of our selues cannot see God and his will, but wee knowe, as S. Iohn sayth, That the sonne of God came, to giue vs a mynde to know him that is true. Ano∣ther cause is, that the price of our redemption mighte be e∣quiualent and of like worthinesse, as the offence was in the sighte of GOD, which could not haue bene, vnlesse that person that was the sonne of God, had dyed for vs. For neyther Golde nor Siluer, nor anye other pretious thing could redeeme vs, but the blood of the immaculate and vn∣defyled Lambe, Christ Jesus. Furthermore if hee had not bene God, he coulde not haue ouercome Death, and y• De∣uill, vnder whose captiuitie we were holden, and there fore, The Sonne of GOD appeared, that he might dis∣solue* the Workes of the Deuill. Vnlesse hee hadde bene verye God, hee coulde not haue giuen vs power to bee* made the Sonnes of God, and Heires of eternall lyfe. He could not haue bene Our eternall Bishop, and perpe∣tually sitte on the right hande of God, to be intercessoure for vs. He could not haue bene present at all times, and in all places, to gather his church, to direct the harts of the faithfull, to heare their prayers, and to remitte their sinne. He could not haue rayned the dead to life, abolishe Death, exercise iudgement, and giue eternall life vnto the Fayth∣full* that loue his comming. There be reasons also why Christe must be very manne, and as hee came from Hea∣uen as GOD, so in Earth to take fleshe of the Blessed Virgine, like vnto oures, Sinne onely excepted. First that the Justice of GOD requyred, that as Manne of∣fended, and brake his Lawe and Commaundemente, so manne also shoulde satisfye fullye for the same, that his righteousnesse mighte iustlye bee imputed to other. Se∣coulye, that the appoynted Messias, and Sauiour mighte fustaine that punishment, which by gods sentence was due for sinne, that is death, but god alone could not haue dyed.
Page 141Thirdly, that we myght haue the surer comfort and con∣fidence in our necessitie, to appeale to the throne of his Ma∣iestie, seeing he being our hygh Byshop was verie man as wee are, and partaker of our infirmities. Fourthlye, that we myght more certainly be assured of our Resurrection, as also that we both in soule and body, should enioy eternal life in heauen, seeyng Christ our sauiour hauing the same fleshe that we haue, hath raised it from death, and caried it wt him into heauen, there as our head keeping possession for vs, vntill the time that wee as members of hys mysticall body, shall be ioyned to hym. For where the head is, there the members must be, as Christ himselfe sayeth, Where I* am, there my Ministers shall be. Furthermore it was ne∣cessarie that Christ should be man, that we myght haue the more confidence by him in our necessitie, to appeale to the throne of Gods mercy, knowing, that we haue such an high* Byshop, as being in manhood like vnto vs, hath sense of our infirmitie, and hath beene tempted, euen as we are. For the humanitie of Christ is, as it were, the Conduite pipe, by which onely the liuing waters of Gods mercie, floweth vn∣to vs. Lastly, Christ was man that we myght be the more assured of our Resurrection from the dead, and possession of eternall lyfe, not in soule onely but in body also, seeing this our sauiour hauing the lyke fleshe vnto ours in all thinges, Sinne onely excepted, hath raised vp the same fleshe from death, and caried it with him to heauen, there to keepe pos∣session of that eternall kingdome for vs. Especially consi∣dering that he by the price of his blood, hath taken away the guilt of sinne, from our mortall bodyes. Thus in part you vnderstand howe Christ became the true & liuely foode of Christian people, that is, because by the vnestimable wisedome and mercy of God, he was prepared to bee in per∣son God and man. All kinde of nourishment hath some pro∣portion of lykenesse with that bodye, which it nourisheth, and so Christ the naturall sonne of God became man also, that by that likenesse he might be apt and fitte nourishmēt, Page 142 to preferre vs to eternall lyfe. But this meate, must be yet further prepared, or else it woulde not serue our turne in feeding of vs. Christ therefore was prepared and made apte meat for vs to eate, vpon the Aulter of the Crosse, where his body was broken, and his blood shedde, and he offered him∣selfe to God the father, a ful & perfect sacrifice for our sinne, and afterward raised the same his body from death to life, y• it might be very true sustenaunce to euerlasting life, aptly, and truely in all respectes prepared to that end.
Forsomuch as you haue now heard yt Christ is the onely* foode of life, why he is so called, & howe he was prepared so to be, we must next consider how this blessed meat is truely & rightly eaten, both in the sacraments, & without the vse of of Sacramentes. This question hath vexed all Christen∣dom, nowe for the space of certaine yeres, & hath exercised the pennes and tongues almost of all learned men of this age, with great vehemencie on eche side. But surely if they would with single mindes, without heat of contention true∣ly consider, howe the fruite and benefite of this heauenly foode is receaued, this controuersie might bee easily ended, and many a troubled conscience quieted, which now almost only are by this meanes stayed, from embracing the trueth of the Gospell. They doe not so greatly mislike the other parts of our doctrine, but this sticketh in their consciences, that wee denie the body and blood of Christ, really and car∣nally eaten and drunken in the Sacrament. Wherefore I hartely desire al such, for the time to laye aside that settled perswasion, wherewith their mindes hitherto hath beene so holden, that they could not abide to heare any thing of the contrarie, and with indifferent and charitable mindes care∣fully to consider, that which in parte I haue, and now here∣after shall speake touchyng this matter. First, therefore* you must call to your remembraunce, that Christes bodye, is not carnall meate and drinke for our bodyes, but spiritu∣all meat and drinke for our soules, and for that cause S. Paul in this place so calleth it, saying, That the olde FathersPage 143did eate of the same spirituall meate, and drinke of the same spiritual drinke. And yet I must needes confesse that this spirituall meate is profitable, not to the soule onely, but to the body also. For Christ dyed for preseruation both of soule and bodye. But this benefite of nourishment, is not first receaued of the bodye, and throughe it passeth to the soule, for that were monstrous, but beeyng first recea∣ued of the soule, it profiteth the bodye. For as Christ sayth, That which entreth into the bodily mouth defy∣leth* not the man, but that commeth out of the mouth from the corrupte hearte and mynde. So contrari∣wyse not that good thing, that entreth by the bodye dothe profyte the soule, but that which entered first by the soule, and is receaued by it, profyteth also the bodye. For the body and bloud of Christ, beeyng in deede the true foode of lyfe, when it is spiritually eaten by the soule, through the operation of the holye Ghost, maketh vs apte to Resur∣rection, and in due tyme transformeth our mortall bodyes, to the lykenesse of his glorious bodye. If the spirite of* him that raised Christ from death dwell in vs, he that raised Christ from the dead, shall also quicken our mor∣tall bodies, because that his spirit, through Christ, dwel∣leth in vs. The better to vnderstand what it is to eate this spirituall foode, and how it is truely & effectually receaued to eternall lyfe: I must put you in minde of the comparison that before I vsed betweene the body and the soule. As the bodye is sayde to eate when it receaueth that sustenaunce, wherewith the hunger thereof is stayed and satisfied, and as it is sayde to drinke, when it receaueth that liquour, wherewith the thirst is quenched: euen so our soule is sayde to eate and to drinke, when it receaueth that heauenly and blessed foode of Christ Jesus crncifyed, wherewith the hungry, and thirstie appetite thereof, that is, the vehement desire of the fauour of God and saluation, is fully satisfyed, and appeased.
As there commeth no benefit to the body, of meat & drinke, Page 144 vnlesse it bee eaten and drunken: so the bodye and blood of Christ crucified, doth not helpe vs anye thing, if it bee not worthily and truely receaued. The body receaueth hys foode, by the mouth of the body, the soule receaueth hirs, by the mouth of the soule. As it is not sufficient to hunger and thirst, nor to receaue sustenaunce, vnlesse there be a na∣turall strength in our bodyes to receaue, concoct, and digest the same: so there must be in our soules that strength, that may surely receaue Christ, and wrappe him or embrace him in the bowels of our heart, that he may thereby, as it were, be turned into vs, and wee into him, but that strength is not in our selues, but is giuen of God. We must therefore haue it from him, from whom all good giftes proceede, that is, From the father of lyghtes. And this gift wherewith* Christ is truely and effectually receaued, is nothing but faith. For by fayth we receaue Christ, and assure our selues in our hartes, that wee are partakers of that redemption, which by his death he hath procured for vs, and with that firme perswasion, lay him vp in the bowels of our heartes, that in all our temptations and troubles, we may feede vp∣on him, and gather strength and comfort, in the assuraunee of Gods fauour purchazed by him: so that so often as our heartes bee shaken with mistrust and feare, this faith doth comforte and releeue vs agayne. Nowe that faith is the* mouth and meanes, whereby onely, wee receaue and eate Christ to saluation: I will let you vnderstand it both by Christes owne wordes in S. Iohn, and by the iudgement of diuers learned, and auncient Fathers. For Christ vseth these wordes indifferently, and as of one force and significa∣tion, To beleeue in him, To eate him, To drinke him, To* come vnto him, and doth attribute to eche of these, y• same effectes. To beleeue in Christ is the proper worde, to eate* Christ or to come vnto him are Metaphores and figuratiue speeches, but all of one force. I am the bread of life (saith Christ) he that commeth to me shall not hunger, and he that beleeueth in me, shall neuer thirst. Marke diligently Page 145 (deerely beloued) what Christ sayth, He that commeth to me shall not hunger, therfore to come vnto Christ, is to eat Christ. And againe he saith: He that beleeueth in mee, shall neuer thirst, therfore to beleeue in Christ, is to drinke Christ. To eat and to drinke are meanes to take away hun∣ger and thirst, but to come vnto Christ, & to beleeue in him, as Christ himselfe saith, doth take away hunger and thirst: therefore to come vnto him, and to beleeue in him, is to eate him, and to drinke him. An other out of the same place is this, Christ attributeth the same effectes and fruits to them which beleeue in him, that he doth to them that eate his bo∣die and drinke his blood: therefore by eating and drinking, he meaneth nothing but beleeuing. His wordes bee these Iohn. 6. verse. 54. He that eateth my fleshe and drinketh my blood hath eternall life, and I will raise him vp at the last daye. Note the effectes that he gyueth to eatyng his fleshe and drinking his blood, that is, to haue euerlasting lyfe, and bee raysed at the last daye. In the. 40. verse of the same Chapter hee sayeth: This is the wyll of my fa∣ther that sent mee, that euerie one that seeth the sonne, and beleeueth on him, should haue eternall life, & I will raise him vp at the last daye. Who seeth not heere that Christ attributeth the same force to beleeuing, that in the o∣ther verse he did to eating and drinking, and therfore vseth y• wordes indifferently, as beyng of one meaning. I myght stay vpon many other places, wherein the holy Ghost wyt∣nesseth that we haue eternall life by beleeuing in Christ, as in the same place, He that trusteth in me hath eternal life,* but the matter is needelesse, and the time will not suffer me. Therefore by Christes owne wordes to beleeue in Christ is to eat Christ. That you may not thinke this is a new deuise proceeding from my selfe, or from the Preachers of thys tyme, hearken you what S. Augustine sayeth: This is the* bread, that came from heauen, that if any doe eate of it he shoulde not die, but that stretcheth to the Vertue of the Sacrament, & not to the visible Sacrament. He that Page 146 eateth within, not he that eateth without, he that eateth with the hart, and not he that presseth it with his teeth. Marke I pray you, y• he attributeth the true & effectuall ea∣ting, not to the pressing with the teeth and bodyly mouthe, but to the inward eating with the hart, and what is that but by faith and beleeuing, spiritually to eate him, and so he ex∣poundeth himselfe in an other place. This it is therefore,* fayeth he, to eate that foode that perisheth not, but re∣maineth to eternall lyfe. What preparest thou thy tooth and thy belly, beleeue and thou hast eaten. And againe, To beleeue in hym, that is it, to eate the bread of lyfe. Cyprian also to the same purpose writeth, These things so* often as wee doe, wee sharpen not our teeth to byte, but with sincere fayth, wee breake and diuide that holye breade. Some happily thinke that this spirituall eating by faith, is but a •leight matter, and of no great weyght, and so the teachers of the Churche of Rome woulde perswade men, but they consider not the great vertue, power and strength of Faith. By Fayth wee knowe Christ, and the* true meane of our saluation by hym. By Faith wee bee graffed into Christ, as braunches into the roote and stocke, so that wee lyue now by him and by his spirit, as the braun∣ches doe by the Iuice, that commeth from the bodye of the tree. By Fayth wee bee so vnited vnto Christ, that we may iustly saye whatsoeuer is hys, is ours also: by fayth we are made the chyldren of God, and heyres of eternall lyfe. By fayth wee haue peace wyth God, and are assured of hys fa∣uour in the myddest of all our troubles: by fayth wee dare boldly approche to the throne of Gods mercie. This might and strength of fayth they feele not, that thinke it so simple a matter to eate Christ by fayth. Christ witnesseth, That* by eating him by faith and beliefe, we haue saluation and eternall lyfe, and that hee will raise vs at the last daye. Wherefore I woulde knowe of them what other eating there is beside thys, whereby wee maye assure our selues of Saluation. Truely the Scriptures mention none. Page 148 And that carnall eating, for which the Churche of Rome striueth, is suche as they themselues confesse, that Iudas and all wicked persons may vse, and bee damned. Nowe I appeale to the consciences of them that feare GOD, and will not willyngly runne into errour, whether wee or they deale with the people of God more sincerely. They without any euident proofe of the Scriptures contende, as I haue sayde, for that reall and bodily eating with which damnation maye bee ioyned: wee endeuour to perswade men that manner of spirituall eatyng by faythe, throughe which, by the testimonie of the whole Scriptures, wee shall be assured of eternall lyfe, and with which, damnati∣on can not bee ioyned. Some perchaunce wyll saye vnto* mee, or wyll thinke with themselues in their mynde: If this doctrine bee true, then are Sacramentes needelesse. For wee may eate Christ by fayth, spiritually, in such sort as you haue sayd, without any vse of the Lordes supper, and therefore it maye seeme superfluous. God forbydde that the most perfect Christians and of strongest fayth, should once thinke Sacramentes to bee superfluous and needelesse. They bee the blessed and holy ordinaunces of Christ, by his mercy and goodnesse appoynted for our great helpe and be∣nefite, as I haue in the former Sermon declared. And yet I must confesse to the great comforte of many godlye per∣sons, that the faythfull Christian maye, and doth often feede vpon Christ to saluation, beside the vse of the Sacra∣ment. For the spirituall grace and benefites, which as I haue sayd before is the principall parte of a Sacrament, is not of necessitie alwaye so tyed to the outwarde signes, that without them God can not, or doth not sometime be∣stowe the same. I doubte not but the Theefe vppon the* Crosse without vse of the Sacrament, dyd eate the bodye and blood of Christ in such sort, that he was the same day wt him in Paradise. We see in the Actes of the Apostles, that*Cornelius and hys company was sealed with the spirite of GOD, before the receauing of the outward Sacrament, Page 148 in such sort, that if he had then immediatly departed out of this life, he should haue gone to heauen, which coulde not bee, vnlesse he had spiritually by fayth eaten the true foode of euerlasting life, that is Christ Jesus crucifyed, which he fed vppon most assuredly, whyle he heard Saint Peter preach Christ. There were in tyme of the Primitiue Churche, great numbers of godly Martyrs saued, which neuer out∣wardly receaued the Sacrament of the Lordes supper, and yet fruitfully and effectually did eat Christ by faith: And so doe many at this daye, which either by sicknesse, or by im∣prisonment, or by any other lyke cause of necessitie, are tyed from the outwarde vse of the Sacraments. Yet, as I haue fayde, God forbyd that we shoulde thinke the Sacrament of the Lordes supper superfluous, but rather exceeding profita∣ble. In the vse of yt Sacrament there is a double eating, of which one helpeth the other.† As manne consisteth of two partes, bodie and soule: so the bodye feedeth vppon the out∣warde* elementes of bread and wyfe, but the soule feedeth in deede and truely vpon Jesus Christ crucified. The out∣ward eating by y• instrumēts of our body, causeth al our sen∣ses, our hearing, our seeing, our feeling, our tasting to helpe our inwarde eating by faith, & by the same quickeneth, stir∣reth, strengtheneth, & increaseth our faith, yt we may eate yt body and blood of Christ more effectually & fruitfully. For when the faithful christian, heareth the wordes of Christes institution sounde in his eares, This is my body that is gi∣uen for you, & this is my blood that is shed for the remis∣sion of your sinnes, it stirreth vppe his faith (for faith is by hearing) to lay strong howfast vppon this promise, & in his hart doth assure himselfe that Christ dyed and shed his blood, not onely for the redemption of the whole worlde ge∣nerally, but for hys also particularly, and that he vndoub∣tedly is partaker of that blessed worke of our redempti∣on. When wee heare these woordes, Doe this in re∣membrance* of me, our faith is assured, yt it is Christs com∣maundement, that wee shoulde vse this Sacrament, to call Page 149 to our remembraunce the benefite of our faluation by the death of Christ, and in hart and minde at al times, but then especially, to shew our selues truely thankefull to him for the same. When our sight beholdeth vpon the Table, the* bread and wyne by Christes ordinaunce broken and pow∣red out for vs to vse, the Fayth is moued this to thinke: As surely and truely as my bodily eyes behould vpon the ta∣ble of the Lord the Creatures of bread and wine, as the outward parte of his sacramente, and see the same broken, and poured out for mee: so assuredly doe I with the eye of my faith, beholde the body and blood of Christ, broken and shead for me, vpon the Alter of the Crosse, and the same my Sauiour sitting now on the right hand of god the father, with the same body and blood now gloryfyed, wherewith vpon the Crosse, he payd the price of my redemption. Whē we see the Minister offering to vs the bread and the cup,* and wee receaue the same in our hande, and by our sence feele them: inwardly in our hartes our fayth is mooned to haue this cogitacion: As truely as our Sauioure Christe vpon the Crosse by his body broken, and his blood sheade wrought our redemption, and offered the benefite thereof, to all that would beleeue generally: so truelye am I assu∣red that now in the vse of this holy Sacrament, by his mi∣nister he offereth the same to me, particularly to be applied to my selfe. And as surely as my hande receaueth the out∣warde creatures, so surelye by my fayth, doe I receyue Christ himselfe, and in my hart feele him, and with my spi∣rituall armes imbrace him, as the onely price and meanes of my saluation.
When we eate of the holy breade, and drinke of the re∣uerend* cuppe, and by our cast haue sence of the sweetenesse of them, and fele them passe downe into our stomache there to rest, that they may be according to their nature, meanes to nourishe and strengthen our bodie to continue it in lyfe, the fayth is stirred vp by these sences thus to thinke: Euen as certainly as my taste feeleth the sweetenesse of Breade Page 150 and wyne, and thereby perceiue in deede, that their opera∣cion is to nourish and strengthen my body, and to quicken my naturall spirites, which without suche nourishmente would perishe: euen so the taste of my faith, and sence of my hart doth feele the sweetenesse of Christe his body and blood, broken and shead for mee and all mankinde vppon the Crosse, and perceiue it thereby to be the onely foode of my soule, without which I shoulde perishe both soule and bodye Eternallye. And as certainlye as I feele with bodilye sence, that the Breade and Wyne passeth into my Stomache, and there according to their proportion, feede, strengthen, and quicken my Naturall bodye and Spi∣rites: so assuredlye doe I, with my inwarde and Spi∣rituall sence, perceiue the bodye and blood of Christe, and the whole benefite of his death and passiō, to passe into the stomache of my soule, and bosome of my hart, there, through the strength of a true Christiā faith to be laid vp, wrought and digested, as that onelye nourishmente that keepeth the life of the soule, and preserueth mee both soule and bodye to eternall life. They that will Christianlye and chari∣tablely, and in the feare of GOD weighe and consyder these thinges, I truste will not thinke eyther that wee make lighte accoumpte of the Externall Sacramente, or in oure Doctrine teache a syngle and sleighte manner of eating of Christ by fayth, as the fauourers of the church of Rome doe charge vs.
And I appeale to the Consciences of all them that fol∣lowe theire Doctrine, whether euer they were taughte to take suche sweete instruction and comfort, in the vse of that blessed Sacrament, or no.
These good Fruites of that Sacramente are muche furthered and increased by sunderye other Godlye cogita∣tions,* which the Scriptures teache true Christians to vse in the administration of it. The worde of GOD teacheth that the vse of the externall Sacramentes, is a manner of confession, whereby men acknowledge them∣selues Page 151 before GOD and the World, that they are Chri∣stians. Therefore the faythfull receauer, when hee com∣meth to the Sacrament, thinketh this with himselfe: I by comming to this place proteste before GOD, and his Angels, and before all the Creatures of Heauen and earth, that in my harte I deteste the Religion of Jewes, Turkes, Infidels, Heretiques, and all other that denye saluation to come by the death of Christe: and I acknow∣ledge my selfe vnfaygnedlye, to bee of the number of them, that hope to haue the fauoure of GOD, and to bee saued by the merite and passion of Christe onelye. The worde* of GOD teacheth that Sacramentes are, as it were Seales to confyrme the truth of Gods promises, and to strength our fayth. Therefore by this seale of the Lords Supper, wee assure oure selues that wee are partakers of all that Legacie, which Christ our Sauyour in his last will bequeathed to vs, that is, that his bodye was broken vpon the Crosse for our redemption, and his blood sheadde for the remission of oure Sinnes. The Scriptures* teache that in the vse of the sacramentes through Fayth, wee bee vnited vnto Christ, and ingraffed into his Mysti∣call body, so that wee liue nowe onelye by him, and whatsoeuer is his, by the truth of his promise, is oures also.
The worde of God teacheth, that the Sacrament of the* Lordes supper is a linke of vnitye, that knitteth vs to∣gether as members of one Mysticall bodye, and therefore that wee oughte to bee ioyned in mutuall loue and chari∣tie among our selues, and that it is a foule reproch both to Christe oure head, and to the whole body, if we hate, hurte or hinder one another. For by the vse therof, we confesse y• we are all members of one bodye, all Seruantes of one Mayster, all Children of one Father, all Subiectes vnder one Lorde and King, all Partakers of one re∣demption, all Heires of one Heritage, and Gifte of Eternall Lyfe. And in so manye L•••es of Vnitye Page 152 to be at discorde among ourselues, is in Gods iudgemente an heauy testimouie agaynst vs in the day of his wrath. Fi∣nally the word of God teacheth vs that the Sacrament of the Lordes supper, is our heauenlye Feaste, in whiche the Lambe of God that taketh away the sinnes of the worlde, is offered vnto vs, spiritually to feede vppon in our fayth, that by him, as I haue before declared, we maye be nouri∣shed, strengthened, and preserued to eternall life, and ther∣fore that we ought to bee verye carefull so coprepare oure¦selues; that we may be worthy Guestes for that blessed ta∣ble. Wherefore I thinke it necessary in a worde or two to teach you how Christians should prepare themselues, as worthy guestes, to come to this holy Table. But before I come to that, I will fyrste aunswere an euell and per∣uerse Doctrine broughte into the Church, by the Sea of Roome, and the Preachers and teachers thereof, directlye both agaynste Christes owne wordes, and agaynst the doc∣trine of the auncient fathers, that is, that very wicked mē, and horrible sinners, as Iudas and other, doe eate in the sa∣crament, the very Reall and naturall body of Christe, as fully as Peter, or any other Saint of God, or other fayth∣full Christian hath done, or doth. This Doctrine, as it is* reprochefull to the body and blood of Christ, so it is plainly against yt which Christ himself teacheth in Iohn. For there Christ sayth thus: He that eateth my flesh, & drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the liuing Father sent me, and I liue by the Father, so hee that ea∣teth me, shall liue by me. I adde, But the wicked & naug∣ty persons abide not in christ, nor liue by him, therfore sin∣full, and wicked faythlesse persons doe not eate Christ, nor drinke his blod. In the same place Christ sayeth further. Whosoeuer eateth my fleshe, and drinketh my blood,* hath eternall life. &c. I adde here likewise. But the wic∣ked haue not eternall life by christ, nor shall bee raysed to life, but to eternall damnation: therefore it is a false and a wicked Doctrine, that Iudas and such other naughtie per∣sons Page 153 doe eate the very true, reall, and Naturall bodye of christ, for if they did, they shold thē be partakers of those be∣nefits, which christ (truth it self) promiseth to thē yt eat him. Though this their doctrine, to any godly man may seeme absurde in it selfe, and Christ his wordes against it be plain ynough, and will not easylye admitte any glose, yet if the aunciente Fathers also teache not herein, as wee doe, let vs be thought to deuise it of oure selues. Origin sayeth this: These thinges haue I spoken of the typicall and fyguratiue body. Much also may be spokē of the word himselfe, which became fleshe, whome, whosoeuer shall eate, shall surely liue for euer, (and he addeth) Whome no euill man can eate. For if it could be that he which cō∣tinueth euill, did eate the word that became flesh, seing that he is the word & bread of life: it would neuer haue ben writtē, whosoeuer eateth the bread shall liue for e∣uer. Hitherto Orig. And S. Aug. He that discordeth frō* Christ, eateth not his flesh, nor drinketh his blood, but he receaueth the Sacrament of so holy a thing, to the iudgement of damnation against himselfe. And y• same father vpō S. Joh. The Apostles, sayth he, did eat the bred that was the Lord, but Iudas did eate the breade of the Lord, against the Lord. But most plainly he sayth in an o∣ther place, The sacramēt of the vnity of the body & blod of Christ, is receiued at the Lords table, of some to life, of some to destruction. But the thing it selfe whereof it is a sacrament, is life to euery man and death to none, whosoeuer shall be partaker of it. And in the same place. To eate that meate, and to drink that drinke is to dwel in Christ, & to haue christ dwelling in him. And by that it followeth, that he which dwelleth not in Christ, nor hath christ dwelling in him, vndoubtedly doth not spi∣ritually eat his flesh, nor drink his blood, although car∣nally & visibly he presse with his teeth, the sacrament of the body & blood of Christ, &c. Although I might al∣leage a nūber of other places to yt same purpose, yet because Page 154 these fathers vndoubtedly did know the fayth & Doctrine of the church in their time, this may be sufficient to such, as haue not a minde willingly to abyde in errour. Seing none be partakers of that heauenly foode, laid forth at that holy table, but such as worthily come to receaue the same, it behoueth all good Christians, as before I haue sayde, to learne how to prepare themselues to the worthy receiuing thereof. And how that may be done. S. Paule in generall* words brecfely sheweth. Let a man (sayeth hee) prooue himselfe, and so let him eate of this bread, and drink of this Cuppe. The meanes therefore to come worthilye, is to proue and trie our selues, whether those thinges bee in vs, which the worthy Guestes of that Table should haue. First therefore we must looke vnfainedlye into our selues whether we haue an appetite or desyre to eate of yt blessed foode. For a loathing stomache neuer perfectly digesteth any meat, yt it receaueth, but turneth it to the hurt of the body. This Appetite or desire cannot be in vs, vnlesse it be wrought by the sharpe sauce of seuere repentance for our sinnes, which we shall the better prepare, if wee examine* our selues, by the perfect rule of Gods iustice in his law, & consider how farre we are from the same, and what danger hangeth ouer our heads for the wante thereof. God sayth in his law. Thou shalt loue the Lord thy god with al thy hart, with all thy foule, with all thy minde, with all thy strength, and thy Neighbour as thy selfe. That is, wee should loue, we should hate, we should feare, we shold hope for nothing but in God, and to his glory: we should thinke or muse vpon nothing in our minde and vnderstanding, but that may make to the honour and glory of god. We should imploye all the powers of our bodye, and of our worldelye giftes to the same ende: wee shoulde doe nothing to anye other man, which we woulde not willinglye bee contented should be tone vnto vs. If wee examine our selues by this rule, we shal see we be so farre from that we should be, that ••nos• we haue not one branche thereof in vs, whiche will Page 155 more euidently appeare, if wee will trie our selues by e∣uery particular commaundemente rightely and truely vn∣derstanded. Seing then we be so farre from the iustice of Gods lawe, the curse thereof must needes be due vnto vs, for God sayth, Cursed is he, whosoeuer keepeth not all* thinges written in the booke of his lawe. In this man∣ner if wee examine our selues sincerely, we shall through∣ly know what wee are in the sight of God, as well by the corruption of oure nature, as by the course of our euill and naughtie lyfe, wee shall haue sence of our own sinne, wee shall hate and detest it, wee shall from the bottome of oure hartes be sory for it, with trembling mindes we shal feare the heauie iudgement of God against vs, and so will there be stirred vp in vs that Godly appetite, and greedye desyre to eate of that spirituall meate, whiche onelye can satisfye our troubled conscience, and cure our repentaunt and bro∣ken hattes. &c. But though the appetite and desyre bee neuer so great, in vayne he commeth to any table, that hath no mouth to eate, nor strength of stomache to digeste. A true and strong Christian fayth, is the mouth of the soule, and the power wherewith wee doe receiue and digeste Christ Jesus crucified, as the foode of our saluation. We* must looke therefore to our selues, first whether we knowe and vnderstande the mistery of our redemptiō, that is, that the vnspeakeable mercy of God sent downe the second per∣son in Trinitie, to take flesh of the blessed Virgine, to lyne in the shape of a most contemptible man in this worlde, and in the ende to haue suffered cruell death for the redemption of mankinde.
Secondlye whether we feele in our harts a strong per∣swasiō,* that we also through the merciful promises of god, are partakers of the same worke of our redemption. For a true Christian must not only haue a generall knowledge, but also by a fyrme faith, hee must haue • particular appli∣cation of the same to himselfe. Furthermore, as it is* necessarye to haue both a desyre to eate, styrred by a Page 156 sence and feeling of true repentaunce, and also an assured fayth to receiue and digest this wholesom and comfortable medicine of oure soule: so because God bestoweth not his mercy by his sonne Christ in vayne, or to the end we should still continue in sinne, we must further try our selues, whe∣ther we feele an vnfained desire to rise to a newnesse of life, and an earnest study hereafter to amēd our former faults, and to strayn our selues to a Godly and honest conuersati∣on, that God in vs maye bee glorified, and the mouthes of his Ennemies stopped. Lastly, wee muste examine oure consciences, whether we haue a feruente and great desyre, to call to oure remembraunce, the vnestimable Benefyte of oure Redemption, made by the price of his bodye and blood, and to acknowledge and confesse the same vn∣faignedlye before GOD, and the Worlde, and to yeeld vnto him moste hartye thankes for the same, and the resi∣due of his benefytes, not at this present tyme onelye, but euer hereafter, vntill the time of his comming.
This is the Godly and Christian tryall of oure selues, which if we vse, by the grace of Gods Spirite working in vs, wee shall becomme eyther worthye Guestes, or muche more fytte then other wayes wee shoulde bee. &c.
Happylye some will thinke that this Admonition is* a Terroure and tormente to theire consciences, to feare men from comming to this blessed Sacramente, rather than an Exhortation or Incouragemente vnto it. For if the Daunger bee in it selfe so great, as the vnworthye Receauer eateth Damnation to himselfe, and the pre∣paration and triall so streighte as you haue made it, it were better neuer to come to it. For what one is there among a thousande, that doth in this manner trye his conscience? or if he doe, hee must needes feele so great want and imperfection, either in sorrow for his sinnes, or in sence of Gods wrath, or in weakenesse of his Fayth, or in the studie of newe lyfe, or in the Coldenesse of his Page 157 charitie, or in the feeblenesse to giue thinkes and set forth the glory of God, or in all these things, that he must needes be ouerwhelmed in conscience, and feared to make hymselfe partaker of these holy mysteries. But (deerely beloued) let* not this feare, shake your consciences, nor driue you backe from this blessed table. This e•amination and tryall must be within the boundes of humaine frailtie, and God in this, as in all other doynges, for Christes sake will vse hys mercie and clemencie. For he knoweth our corruptions &* imperfections, and will haue regarde of our infirmities. Onely let vs not be secure, slacke and negligent, but feeling by this triall great want in our selues, with lowelye, humble, and confessing hartes, let vs acknowledge the same and say vnto God: I am sorie O Lorde for my sinnes, but* not as the greeuousnesse of them requireth, Augment O Lord, by thy spirit the sense of thy wrath in me. I beleeue and know with other christians that thy sonne hath shed his blood for mee, but increase my faith, O God, and helpe my vnbeliefe, I desire to liue according to the calling of a chri∣stian, but the fleshe and the world maketh this studie cold in me: therefore doe thou strengthen me with thy blessed spi∣rit. I know it is my bounden duetie to yeelde vnto thee im∣mortall thankes, as well for all other thy benefites, as prin∣cipally for the whole worke of our redemption by the death of thy deerely beloued sonne: but I feele this zeale to be so faint and feeble, that it is nothing according to my duetie, and for that cause I lyft vp myne eyes to the throne of thy mercy, and humbly desire thee to pardon all my imperfecti∣ons and to heale all my infirmities. The sense and know∣ledge of my weakenesse may not feare me from this holy ca∣ble. For this heauenly feast is a medicine for them that bee sicke, a comfort to them that be penitent sinners, a free and liberall gift to such as bee poore and haue nothing of them∣selues. Christ in this feast is giuen as meate, without which we know we must of necessitie perish. And he is giuē as lyfe vnto vs, and therfore without him we can haue nothing but Page 158 death. The best worthinesse that wee can bring to these re∣uerend and holy mysteries, is, that we confesse our owne vn∣worthinesse, to the end thy mercy may make vs worthy: that we despaire in ou• selues, to the end thy grace may comforte vs, that we humble our selues, to the end thy goodnesse may raise vs vp: that wee ac•use our selues, to the end thy sonne by his merite may iustifie vs. For though of our selues wee are able to doe nothing, yet by hym wee shall be able to doe all things▪ &c. These or lyke cogitations if wee haue, in pre∣paring our selues to that blessed nourishment of our •oules, he that breaketh no• a brused •eede, nor putteth out smoking flaxe, will no• cast aside our infirmitie, but mercifully re∣ceaue vs. The sorrowfull Father which with care for hys sonne •ryed vnto Christ, I beleeue Lorde, but helpe thou* myne vnbeliefe, thoughe his faith, as it myght appeare, was very weake, yet obtained hys purpose at Christes han• to haue his sonne by myracle healed. If our fayth hee but as a grayne of Mustarde seede, yet it wyll muche preuayle with Gods mercy.
The Apostles of Christ which were admitted to his last Supper were notwithstanding weake, and touched wyth many infirmites, althoughe they were not altogether wic∣ked and faythlesse, as Iudas was. They beleued in Christ, they loued Christ, and they loued one an other, and yet at the verye table of the Lorde they shewed theyr weakenes. Peter not without some reproche of the residue, preferred himselfe before them all, Though all other, (sayth he) bee offended* by thee, yet will not I bee offended by thee. They am∣bitiously contended amōg themselues, which of them should* bee the greater. I wyll not mention, that immediately af∣ter Supper they through timorous•esse fledde from Christ, and for the tyme forsooke hym, whiche was an euident to∣ken of the weakenesse of their fayth, after the knowledge of his doctrine and experience of many and wonderfull My∣racles. Yet it pleased the great mercye of our Sauiour fa∣uourably to accept them, and to admitte them as singular Page 159 instrumentes of his grace. Wee may not therefore for our weakenesse and imperfection despaire, and refuse the com∣fort of that heauenly Table. &c.
¶ The thirde Sermon vppon this part of the Text. 1. Cor. 10. 5. &c.
NOw Saint Paule in these wordes vttereth the seconde proposition of hys reason agaynst the Corin∣thians. Which was this, Our forefathers the people Israell were the chosen people of God, and bare hys name. They had the Lawe of God among them, they vsed in effect the same Sa∣cramentes that we do•. And yet, sayth he now, God had no lyking in many of them, because they shewed not themsel∣ues in theyr conuersation, as the people of GOD shoulde haue done. Where vppon followeth Saint Paules conclusi∣on, that it was not sufficient for the Corinthians, nor any o∣ther Christians to professe Christ, & to vse his Sacraments and seruice, vnlesse by the fruites of true fayth, that is, god∣ly conuersation of lyfe, they ratifye and confirme their cal∣lyng, and outwarde profession of Christ and his Religion, For Christians may not ly•e as Heathens doe, they are cal∣led to an holye callyng, to bee the sonnes of GOD, the chyldren of lyght, Citizens and subiectes of the kyngdome of Christ, and housholde seruauntes of the familie of God▪ Our lyfe therefore should expresse the holynesse of our hea∣uenlye Father, the obedience to the Lawes of Christes kyngdome, the orders and statutes of the housholde of God. Page 160 Christians therefore should be such, as they are, to whose s•∣cretie by their calling they are ioyned. They are come.* (saith the Apostle,) to the Citie of the liuing God, the ce∣lestiall Hierusalem, to the company of innumerable An∣gells, to the congregation of the first borne, which are written in heauen, to God the iudge of all, and the spi∣rites of the iust and perfect men, and Iesus himselfe the mediatour of the new Testament &c. This so blessed and high state of calling should be of Christians duely conside∣red, that they may s•••i• with a• godly i•deuour, to frame themselues proportionably therevnto, and to shunne al those things, whereby the honourable state of Christianitie maye be blemished.
In these wordes of S. Paule here recited▪ I note these two things: first that outwarde profession of Christianitie and v•e of Sacramentes, and externa• seruice is not suffici∣ent. And secondly when God punisheth and plagueth euill Christians for their wickednesse, that it is not only done for them, whom God specially toucheth, but for example and in∣struction of all other that doe the lyke. As touching the* first our Sauiour Christ saith, Not euery one that sayth vnto me Lorde, Lorde, shall enter into the kingdome of heauen, but he that doth the will of my Father that is in Heauen: Many shall say vnto mee in those dayes, Lorde, Lord, haue we not prophesied in thy name? and haue we not •ast out Diuels by thy name? and by thy name done great Myracles? Then will I protest vnto them: I neuer knewe you, depart from me all you that worke wicked∣nesse. Marke these wordes I pray you, and consider that Christes meaning can be no other but this, that outwarde profession of his name, and the vse of e•ternall thinges, can not be sufficient to keepe the plague of Gods iust punishm•t from vs: but that wee must als• in lyfe and beede followe Christ and his holy wi•, and the prescript rule of gods word. Where are then the voyces and cogitations of them, that a∣mong Christians and professors of the Gospel, flatter them∣selues Page 161 in this manner, when the Preachers threaten that Gods iust plagues, wil come vpon them for their unthank∣fulnesse, in slaundering the Gospel with their wicked life? Oh, say they, we are Baptized in y• name of Christ, we eat & drinke at his holy table in the Communion: we beare the name of the true Church of God. We receaue the Gospell, it is preached in our Churches: it is read in our priuate houses, it ringeth in euerie mans eares, it is confirmed wt publique authoritie. Will not Christ therefore knowe vs, who mercifully receaueth all? wyll he cast vs of, & make place againe for Antichrist, or for the Turke? &c. Against this hypocrisie & vaine ostentation of Christianitie, no∣thing can be more plain thē y• S. Iames saith: Be doers of* the word, sayth he, & not hearers only deceauing your selues. They deceaue them selues sayth S. Iames, y• flatter their owne phantasies wyth such outward shewes, & haue not the substaunce therof in their hartes, nor declare it wt the proofe of their doings, & this he declareth by a •erie fit s•nilitude. He that heareth the worde, & doth it not, is like vnto one that beholdeth his natural face in a glas, & forgetteth immediatly what manner of man he was. But who so looketh into the perfect law of libertie, and continueth therin, being not a forgetfull hearer, but a doer of the worke, shal be blessed in his deed. Christi∣ans must not learne to know onely, or to speake, but they must learne to doe yt, which they know. For Christianitie consisteth not in speculation only, but in practize & doyng, & in constant abiding therein. And therefore saith Christ, Blessed is he that heareth the word of God, & keepeth* it. This doctrine Christ confirmeth by sundry parables, & chiefly by this, Mat. 7. Whosoeuer heareth these words,*& doth the same, I wil likē him to a wise mā, that buil∣deth his house on a rocke, & the raine fell, & the flouds came, & the wind blew, & beat vpon the house, & it fell not, because it was builded vpon a rock. But whosoeuer heareth my wordes & doth them not, shall bee likenedPage 162to a foolish man, that hath builded his house vpon the sandes. &c By which parable we are taught, y• true chri∣stians sho•ld lay the foundation of their professiō vpon the rock Christ Jesus, not sleightly heard, & coldly conceaued, but deepely placed, & settled in the bottome of their hartes, & then shall stand co•stantly against all tempe•ts & stormes of temptation, that y• Diuel or the world can worke agains• them: because they haue the testimonie of a good cōscience, bearing them witnesse, yt they follow Christ, not in wordes onely, but in i••tation of lyfe also. And co•trariwise doth it fall out to them that be idle professors, & no godly doers, & most of all to them that beside idle and vaine shew of pro∣fessions, scl•under Gods word by their naugh•ie and wic∣ked lyfe, and cause it among the aduersaries, to be euil spo∣ken of. We must therfore carefully looke & diligently stu∣die, that wee bee not, in the Vineyard of God, vnfruitefull*••ggetrees, making shewe of Christianitie, with the faire greene leaues of hearing Gods worde, commyng to the Church, vsing of the Sacramentes, talking oftentimes of the Scriptures, &c. But the sound and true fruites of god∣ly conuersation we shew not. For if we remaine such vn∣profitable trees, we shall be cut downe, cast into the fire, and haue our partes with hypocrites, where shall bee wee∣ping and gnashing of teeth, &c.
The next note of this text is, that when God punisheth* and plagueth wicked & naughtie men, for doing contrarie to his will, it is not done onely for them vppon whom the particular punishments light, but for the example of other also, in al ages & times. These things, saith S. Paul, are ex∣amples for vs, &c. And afterward, All these things came to them as ensamples, & were written to admonishe v•, vpon whom the endes of the world are come. The bet∣ter to vnderstande this, I will first declare vnto you two pointes, the one, that all things that come to man, co•e not by fortune, by chaunce, or by natural course onely, but by y• certaine prouidence & appointment of God, & secondly for Page 163 what causes, God most commōly sendeth such plagues vpō men. And then will I adde y• conclusion, y• Christians must make applicatiō of such examples to themselues, and how y• is to be done. As God of his vnestimable goodnes made* the world & all that therein is, for the benefite & commodi∣tie of mā, that he might vse all the inferiour creatures to Gods glory: so doth the same Lord & maker, by his almigh∣tie power & infinite wisedome, continue & preserue y• same. My father yet still worketh (faieth Christ) and I worke.* By him onely we moue, liue, & haue our being, as Saint Paul saith, & as Dauid in sundry Psalmes wit•esseth, whē thou hidest thy face they are troubled, whē thou takest away their breth they die, & are turned into their dust. whē thou lettest thy breath go fo•th they shal be made, & thou shalt renew the face of the earth. That wee call* and esteeme nature, is nothing but the very •inger of God working in his creatures, much more the alteration of na∣tural courses & things done extraordinarily. As god made clouds at y• beginning to water y• earth, so doth he preserue them, & by his mightie power holdeth them houering in y• aire, y• they fal not downe immoderatly to drowne y• earth, but shedde thēselues temperatly by drops, & sweet showers to season y• same. Wherefore whē raine falleth excessiuely to hurt y• earth, or hinder mankinde, as it did in the time of Noah, or whē the clouds be cleane dried vp that there is no* raine at al, as it fell out in y• time of Achab, it is most eui∣dent to be y• worke of God, according to his iustice puni∣shing y• breaking of his law, & vnthankfulnesse of his peo∣ple. So likewise as God made y• aire, so it is he y• for lyke causes keepeth it in seasonable maner, somtime moist, som∣time dry, somtime weate, sometime colde, somtime whole∣some, somtime infectious & daūgerous, whervpō followeth sicknes & death of men, & murrens of cattle, &c. In like ma∣ner I might speake of y• earth, y• water, y• Sonne, y• Moone, & residue of the starres & planets. In all & euerie of which, as it is the finger of God, that keepeth thē in their natural Page 164 order, so it is his power y• doth alter & chaunge the same, & for causes to his wisdome knowē, bringeth out such effects as be hurtfull rather then beneficiall vnto man. Therfore whē we see infections, sicknesses, disseases, deathes, mur∣raines, losse of corn or hay, destructiō of cattle, great fluds, burnings, blastings, & a nōber of such like, we must looke further then into y• course of nature, & vnderstand y• there is a God, & an ouerruler of nature, y• doth those things. This is not true only in these things y• appertaine to nature, but in those also y• be done by the will of man, or as we say pro∣phanely, by chaunce or fortune. For in deede there is no chāce or fortune. And therfore y• good father Aug. doth re∣noūce* those heathenish names, & repe•ted that euer he vsed thē. That which we call fortune, is nothing but y• hand of* God, working by causes, & for causes, that we knowe not. Chaūce or fortune are gods deuised by man, & made by our ignorance of y• true, almighty, & euerlasting God. Are not* two sparrowes solde for a farthing, & one of them fal∣leth not to the ground without your father, yea all the heires of your head are nūbred, feare you not therefore, you are more worth then many sparrowes, The sense of these words is, y• the prouidence of God ertēdeth it selfe to al creatures, so y• there is nothing so base or simple, eyther wtout man or wtin him, which he neglecteth or is ignorant of. Of those things that be without man, nothing almost is of lesse value, or lesse esteemed, than a poore sillie spar∣row, & yet one of them falleth not to the grounde, without our heauenly Father. Of such things as appertaine to mā, nothing is of lesse price than a heare, & yet one of thē peri∣sheth not, but by Gods prouidence. This doctrine maketh greatly to the aduauncement of the true knowledge of God. For it teacheth vs, as I haue sayd before, not onely* that he is y• maker of heauen & earth, & of all y• creatures in them contained, but also that he doth gouerne and dispose them all, & preserue them that they may continue so long, as to his blessed will shall seeme conuenient.
Page 165The scriptures in sundry places witnesse the same, both in the course of his doing in sundrye Histories of Ioseph, of Iob, of Saule, of Dauid, and in particuler testimonles of sundrye Godly men, and holy Prophets, but noue more e∣uidently and zealously, than Dauid in many Psalmes, but principally in the 104. 107. Vnto which places I referre the Godly hearer, for this time would not serue, if I sholh but meanely declare vnto you the wholesome instructions, and assured comfortes that are to be gathered, both by the* examples and particular testimonies. Christ in the words before recited, extendeth the carefull prouidence of God to Sparrowes, and to the heares of oure heades, to the end no man should thinke or imagine, that it is onelye a generall prouidence, as many doe in these days, which as they dare not deny, that the world is gouerned by the wisedome and power of God, so they thinke it an absurde thing to teach, that God is occupied about all particular Creatures, and specially them that be of the meanest sort. Therefore they expound chose wordes that Christe vseth here, or the scrip∣ture in other places, to be spoken by Hiperbole, that is, a manner of fyguratiue speeche, passing all truth, thereby to signifie a meane truth. But I would learne of these mē, what it is, that sauing the nature of his Godhead, maye in this kind of thing be spoken of him more then truth, seeing he is Omnipotent, of infinite knowledge, and is present in al places. So much as they shal exempt from Gods disposi∣tion in his Creatures, so much shall they with dishonour of God, pul from his Almightie power and infinit wisdome. We may not think it is any disgracing of y• maiesly of god, to drawe the same his prouydence to the preseruation and direction euen of his meanest creatures. For he worketh not as men do with labour and greefe, or torment of mind. His very beck, will, and countenaunce is ynough to doe, or alter all thinges, euen to shake Heauen and earth, as the blinde Heathen Poet Homere could saye. Yea this is the greatest profe that can be of his exceeding maieftie, that he Page 166 seeth all thinges, that he dispofeth and worketh al things, that he directeth all his Creatures to that ende, for which in the beginning he made them. If this be so, some wil say vnto mee, why then, as God is to be praysed and thanked, for all that is good, so whatsoeuer is euill also, is to bee imputed vnto him, and no man or other creature, no nor the Deuil himselfe to be blamed for any hurt that is done, because it is Gods will and disposition it shoulde bee, and agaynst that, who is able to stande? And so GOD shall* be accounted the Authoure of sinne, whiche is a wicked, and horrible assertion. These daungerous cogitations are by Sathan thrust into the mindes of Christians, purposely to make them to murmure against God and his prouidēce. And as I am very loth in this Auditory, to enter into the searche of Gods secrete Judgementes, so may I not cleane omit to take away the offence of this vngodlye cogitation. And yet meane I not to doe that deepelye, and with intri∣cate and harde reasons, but such, as the meanest person not voyde of naturall vnderstanding, may sufficientlye con¦ceaue. Who knoweth not that the end wherevnto anye* thing is done, maketh one and the same thing eyther good or badde, iust or vnuiste? A Magistrate putteth a man to death, not for hatred of the person, not for particular re∣ueugement, nor to haue benefite by his goods, and in this he doth well, being the Minister of God, by him appoyn∣ted so to die. A Ruffyan or a Theefe, killeth a man to be reuenged on him, to haue his goods, or to th'end he may auoyde some daunger thereby, and in this he sinneth gree∣uously. And yet to kill a man, or to put him to death is all one act, iust and good in the one, wicked and naughty in the other. So GOD by his prouidence, maye dispose those thinges to bee done which wicked persons, as his Instru∣mentes doe perfourme, & the same iust in God, in them sin∣full and naught. For God in those thinges respecteth his owne glorye, or the punishmente of vice and wickednesse, without any corrupt affection at all.
Page 167The naughtie men whome the wisedome of God vseth as instruments herein, haue not the sayd ends, but with al indeuour seeke to satisfye their own ambition, cruelty, co∣uetousnesse, pride, or other sinfull passion of the mind, and haue no regarde to the iustice of God, and fulfilling of hys holy will, I will vse but one example, notwithstanding the scriptures minister to me a great number.
God had often times by his Prophets, called his people the Jewes to leaue their Superstition and Idolatrie, to leaue their wickednesse and naughtie life, and to returne to him by repentaunce, and yet they would not: I rose vp* earely, sayth God by the mouth of Ieremy) and sent vnto you all my Prophets, and you haue not heard me, nor haue not in cliued your eare vnto mee, but haue done worse then your forefathers. &c. Therefore he was re∣solued according to their deseruing iustely to punish them. And who can denye, but this resolution in God was moste iuste. For his Instrumente he vsed the Kinge of Assiria, a* prowde, a cruell, and a wicked Prince, who came vppon the Jewes and shewed toward them all crueltie, and ex∣tremitie, in no part respecting the satisfying of Gods Jus∣tice, or the punishing of his naughtie people, but the fulfil∣ling of his owne ambitions and eruell affection, wherwith he thought to inlarge his Empyre, and so sette foorth hys owne glory. And who can denie but that this doonig was in the King stafull and naughte, and therefore was this enill mind in him, not long after punished by GOD himselfe. And this maketh verye greatlye to the setting foorth of Gods wisedome, that hee canne vse naughtie In∣strumentes,* to punishe naughtye men, and turne the minds and indeuoures of wicked persons to his glorye, and to the satisfying of his iustice, though they in no parte regard the same. But I see a desyre to aunswere the peruerse co∣gications of euill mindes, hath drawne mee somewhat from my purpose.
Page 168Let vs nowe therefore come to the seconde note, that is,* with what causes God is vsually mooued, to worke such plagues and euils to men, & those generally are two. The first is, the punishment of sinne, and the transgression of his* commaundementes, as infinite Examples, and almoste the whole course of the scriptures teache vs. For their owne sinnes, sayth Moyses, and for the sinnes of their fathers, shall they be plagued to confesse theire iniquities. &c. And agayne, If you shall leaue the Lorde your God, and* shall serue strange Gods, he will turn himself and punish you. But of al other places most plainly, Deut. 21. Leuit.* 26. ver. 14. Where after god hath signifyed what worldly blessings should come vnto them, if they did obserue and keepe his lawes, he addeth: But if thou wilte not obeye* me, nor doe all these commaundementes. &c. then will I also doe this vnto you, I will bring vppon you feare∣fulnesse, a consumption, a burning, and the burning▪ a∣gue to consume the eyes, and make the heart heauie, & you shall sowe your seede in vaine, for your enimies shal eate it, and I wil set my face against you, and you shall fal before your enimies, and they that hate you shal raigne ouer you. I will breake the pride of your power, and make your Heauen as yron, and youre Earth as Brasse, your strength shall be spent in vaine, neither shall thee Trees of the Lande giue their fruites, I will sende wylde beastes vpon you, which shall spoile you & destroy your Cattell, and make you few in number, for youre highe wayes shal be desolate: I will send a sworde among you and when you be gathered in your Citties, I will sende the pestilence vpon you, and ye shall be deliuered into the hand of the ennemie. And so continueth God to rec∣ken vp all these miseries and calamities that anye wayes may come to man, and that he will send them. Whereby we are by the mouth of God instructed, as well that suche plagues and miseries come (as before I haue sayde) by the prouidence and appointment of God, as also that they are Page 169 vsually cast vpon men for sinne and wickednesse, and for re∣uolting from his holy will and true worship vnto supersti∣tion & Idolatrie. But here we must haue in mind yt which S. Paule meaneth in this place, that God sheweth not his particular punishmentes only because of them whose per∣sons they touch, but by their example call other home also, that be gone astray. And in deede happye is he, that came* learne to take heede by other mens perill, before y• scourge light vpon himselfe. Our corrupt nature vnderstanding that God is a iust God, and will punish sinne, when wee see any notable plague or misery sent to a man, by and by with great rigour we condemne him as a uery euil man, though in dede, we neuer knew euill by him. And because God doth not in like manner touch vs, we flatter our selues, and perswade our owne mindes that God fauoureth vs, and is delighted in our manner of life, though it be happily farre worse thā the other, and so do we fede our selues in vanity, and continew in wickednesse. But S. Paule in this place, and Christ •〈…〉 Lake teacheth vs another manner of Les∣son. Whēn certaine tolde Christ of them, whose blood Pi∣late had mixed with their sacrifice: Why (sayth Christe)*thinke you that these Galileans, aboue all other were greatest sinners, because they suffered such punishment? Nay, I saye vnto you, vnlesse you all repent, you shall in like manner perishe. Or thinke you that those 18. that perished by fall of the Tower of Siloah, were of all other in Hierusalem, the greatest sinners? Nay, I say vnto you, vnlesse ye repent, ye shall al in like manner perish. Here first we are taught that not only they, vpō whom the exter∣nall punishment lighteth are sinners, but all other, euen y• very child that is this day borne, if Gods iustice consider him in himselfe: much more suche, as in continuaunce of their life, haue heaped on sinne daily, by wicked thoughts, naughtie wordes, and e•ill doinges, and therefore if God should deale with all according to his iustice, it shoulde fall to all other, as well as to them.
Page 170This did good and godly men vnderstande, as Dauid whē he sayd. Enter not into iudgemente with thy seruant O* Lord, for if thou obserue our iniquities, who shalbe able to abide it? And therefore Christ our sauiour teacheth vs dayly to say, Forgiue vs our trespasses, &c. There is no mā but he trespasseth, & deserueth Gods punishmēt, whiche thing, if christians would according to duety consider, vn∣doubtedly they should be moued both more fauourablye to ••ge of other mē, & when they see their punishments, to be afrayd also of thēselues. For this they should certaynly in godly meditation thinke wt themselues: Seing that al mē are sinners, if God did not mean by example of such punish∣ments to stirr vp other, he would secretly punish thē, & nat to openly shew his wrath. Therfore by sight of such exam∣ples, we must not only be moued to praise God, & to extolle his iustice for punishing iniquity, but euter depely into our selues also, & searche our own consciences, liues, & doings; whether there be not as great, or greate• cause in vs to pul the iust wrath & plague of god vpō our 〈…〉, if we in time repent not, and turne to him for mercie. •lms must we learne to applie to our instruction, not onely such exam•¦ples of Gods iustice, as in oure life time wee see agaynste wicked & notorious sinners, but other also yt are recorded in y• holy scriptures. For whatsoeuer things are written they are writtē for our instructiō, y• they may be exāples for vs, vpon wh•• y• lattes ends of the world are fallen. It is written. Num. 11. That the childrē of Israell whom god by Moises deliuered out of Egipt, lusted wickedly against GOD, saying: Who shall giue vs flesh to eate, we re∣member* the fishe that we did eate in Aegipt, the Cucū∣bers & Popons, the Leekes, the Oynons, & the Garlike, but now our soule is dried away, we can see nothing, but this Māua, They did not only luthe gods good blessing to∣warde them, but also longed and lusted, after theire owne grosse feeding in Aegipt. Therefore God satisfyed their desyre, and fed them with Duailes, a whole Moneth toge∣ther, Page 171 but their own lust was their destruction, and white the meate was yet in their mouthes, the wrathe of God came vpon them, and destroyed a greate number of them.
This shoulde be one Example for vs, that wee doe not in like manner loathe the sweete and dayntye Foode of the Gospell and Doctrine of our Saluation by Christ, which God myraculouslye hath restored vnto vs, that with mur∣muring hartes, luste lewdoly after Oyni••s, garlike, and other stuicking and grosse feéding, wherewith wee were fedd in Aegipt vnder Antechrist: I meane Masses, Pardōs; Purgatory, Pilgrimages, and such like corrupt foode of our soules, that may make vs to sauour ill in the fighte of the Lord. For if we do, God wil deale with vs, as he did with them: hee win make our ownt ••st to he our confusion, & the meanes to pull his iust wrath vppon vs. It maye be, that heé will satisfye our vnthankefull desyre, but it will be in such sort, that they which long most greedily for it, wil soo∣nest, be weary of it, & feele the punishment thereof most bit∣terlye. It is written Num. 25. That the people defyles* themselues with wkoredom, with the daughters of Moab. and y• for the same wicked offence, 24000. were slayne, and because the cheefe Ringleaders of that lewdenesse, y• gaue example to the other, were Nohle persons, and the héades and Peeres of the people: god commaunded Moises for the more terroure of other, to hang them vp agaynst the S••. And shall wee thinke in these dayes, when Adulterye and whoredome ouerwhelnieth the ea•th, and is of all sorts al∣most esteemed a small offence, or none at all, that god will suffer the same vnpunished? No surely, thoughe hys long sufferaunte to allure vs to repenta••ce, beareth of for the time the execution of his present wrath, when it com∣meth it will be the greater. It is written Nume. 16. That Corah, Dathan, Abyram, with their confederates murmured against Moses & Aaron the Magistrate & Mi∣nister, by gods speciall prouidence appointed to deliuer his people, & to guide thē through the wildernesse, & they sayd: Page 172Ye take to much vpon you, why do you lift your selues* aboue the congregation? is it a small thing, that thou hast brought vs out of a Land, flowing with Milke and Hony, to kill vs in the Wildernesse? excepte thou make thy selfe Lord and Gouernoure ouer vs also? &c. But God declared how greeuous and vnpleasaunte a thing it is in his sight, for people to rebel or murmure against their samfull Magistrate, and tooke the reproche thereof vnto himselfe. And therefore caused the earth to swallow vp, the cheefe ring leaders of that mischeefe, and destroyed of the residue 14700. Hereby they maye learne what is due vnto them, and what wil come vpon them, which not onlye in their harts secretly, but openly in their assemblies, whē they dare murmure at our gracious Gouernour, whome God hath appointed to deliuer vs out of Aegipt, and by the Gospell of his sonne Christe, to bring vs into the Lande of promise, and cause their patrones and defenders in their flaunderous Libels and bookes openly published, like trai∣toures to disgrace her magestie with titles of an Vsurper, a scismatike, a feducer of the people from the Churche of God, and they that be at home giue oute the same thinges, in their secrete speeches. And all as truely and iustly, as Dathan and Abyram charged Moyses with vsurping au∣thoritie ouer them, and with leading of the people purpose∣ly to destroy them in the Wildernesse. But I doubt not, the God of truth wist (as hither to be hath done) take vpon him the defence, and preseruatiō of his lawfull Magistrate and Gouernour, agaynst these traiterous murmurers, and mutterers, and in the end, vnlesse they repente, will sende them their iust reward. In the meane time we oughte in our prayers earnestly to call vpon God, that hee will holde his mercifull hande ouer vs, and that hee will mooue the mindes of oure Prince and Counsaile, to haue a more careful eye to these murmurers, which openly shewe themselues by forbearing oure communion in Prayers & Sacramentes, and in the meane time with greedy mynds Page 173 lust & long for that •ay, in which they may poure out their traiterous malice toward God & their Prince. Moreouer, it is written in Esay: That euen in the time of that good* king Ezechias, who had cast out superstition and idolatrie, and very exactly reformed Gods true Religion, accordyng to his: law, yet that the ••uell Tyran••Sennacherib & the Assyrians entred Jewrie spoyled the countrey, destroyed all their great Cities, & beseeged the Citie H•••••alem; & the king himself in it, then which calamitie, the people of God had scantly at any time felt a greater or more greeuous. And what I pray you might be the cause hereof? vndoub∣tedly because the people did vnthankefully receaue y• godly & happie reformation of Religiō. Some murmured at it, & kept their monuments of idolatrie for a day, some receaued it holowly & coldly: either to please the Prince, & to haue some benefite or countenaunce by it, or else to keepe them∣selues from the penaltie & daunger of the Lawe. The most that did soundlye embrace it, did not conforme themselues in life accordingly, but wt little or no amendmēt, continued their old corruption. Some notable faultes were also in yt king himselfe, though otherwise a blessed Prince. There∣fore God vsed that sharpe scourge, as well instly to punishe the obstinate, as also to bring the repentaunt home to hys mercy & reformation of life. By this we are taught, that •lb•it it hath pleased God by our Prince, to cast out super∣stition and idolatrie, to driue awaye the vsurped power of the Bishop of Rome, to restore true religion, & the right vse of the Sacraments, & by lawe and authoritie to confirme y• same: yet we may not herein flatter our selues, as though we were safe from Gods displeasure, or greatly in his fa∣uour. For if we doe not thankefully receaue this his vne∣stimable benefit, & in lyfe and godly conuersation conforme our selues vnto it, that his name may be glorified in vs: we must assure our selues, that this wil fal to our great iudge∣ment, & that in the time of our Ezechia, he wil plague vs, as he did the Jewes by Sennacherib, in time of their good Page 174 king. Thus haue I noted vnto you, three or foure exam∣ples, that by them you may know how to apply the res•ue. Now least by rashnesse and ignoraunce, men vncharitably condemne the 〈…〉 and good man, because hee seeth him touched with affliction and trouble: I must let you* vnderstand that beside the iust punishment of the open and notorious 〈…〉 whereof hitherto I haue spoken, there is also an other cause wherewith God is moued, to se••• a∣mong men myselfe, trouble, affliction, and griefes of this worlde, that is to trie and proue suche as bee good and godlye; that theyr vertues maye more shyne among men, to the honour and glorye of God. The fornace (sayth Je∣sus*Syrache) tryeth the Potters vessell, and affliction try∣eth the iust and godly. And Salomon, As •iluer and* Golde is tryed by fire, so doth God proue and trie the heartes of men. Your Fathers (sayeth Judith) were*tempted that they myght bee tryed and prooued, whe∣ther they truely from their hearte worshipped God. In this ma•••r GOD tempted and prooued his fayth∣full seruantes, Abraham, Ioseph, and Iob, that by the tryall of their constancie, theyr fayth myght hee the more notable and famous, and both themselues more in faythe confyrmed, and GOD, as I haue sayde, by them more glorifyed. When God cast vppon Iob all those my∣series, which the Scriptures mention, hys vnnaturall wyfe and vnkynde friendes, with rashe and vncharitable iudgement, woulde needes perswade hym that it was the anger of GOD, and iust punishment for hys sinnes, that brought all those thinges vppon hym. But he stay∣ed vppon the testimonie of a good conscience, and the constancie of hys fayth, assured hymselfe of the good wyll and fauour of GOD, and therefore hee tooke all pati∣ently, saying. The Lorde gaue it, and the Lorde hath* taken it awaye, euen as the Lord will, so be it. In which wordes wee haue to learne the exceedyng comforte, which the godly take in the myddest of their troubles, by the doc∣trine Page 175 of the prouidence of God: whereof I spake before. For because nothyng is done wythout hym, by hys onely sufferaunce Tyrauntes persetute, they spoyle men of theyr goods, they cast them into banishment, into prison & bondes, they kyll them, and exercyse all kynde of cruel∣tie agaynst them. It is his wyll also that men bee afflic∣ted wyth sickenesse, wyth pouertie, wyth hunger, wyth colde, with sclaunder and reproche, wyth losse of children and goodes, and with all myseries that may fall in the lyfe of man. But because the same Lorde and God, which as a iust iudge sendeth all these thinges, is also a most mer∣cyfull, tender, and kynde father: vndoubtedly hee wyll not suffer any thing to happen to vs, but that shall bee profitable, and a furtheraunce to our saluation. Where∣fore in all troubles, and myseries, seeme they at the be∣ginning neuer so greenous and vntollerable), the godlye receaue them, and adyde in them, not onely wyth patience, but wyth ioye and gladnesse▪ They are perswaded, as the truth is, That God chas•ise•h euerie sonne that he* receaueth, and therefore with cheerefull heartes, *They glorye in their afflictions knowing that tribulation bringeth patience, patience experience, experience hope, and hope confoundeth not, nor maketh asha∣med. This comforte it was that made Iob so patiently to abyde losse of goodes, the spoyle of hys landes and hou∣ses, and the myserable destruction of hys chyldren. The same comfort caused Ioseph, wyth lyke patience to endure bondage, imprisonment, sclaunder, reproch, and daunger of his lyfe. For he was assuredly perswaded that nothyng was done, without the certayne prouidence of hys louyng and mercifull Lorde and God, and therefore was assured, that it woulde fall out to the best in the end. This if wee soundly and truely consider, wee shall neither rashely con∣demne other, whose sinnes bee not notoriouslye knowne, and when any euill happeneth to our selues, by this com∣fort, we shall sustayne it patiently.
Page 176Nowe haue I briefely declared vnto you, as you haue heard, first that outwarde profession and externall seruice,* and vse of Sacramentes, is not sufficient for Christians, but that to the glorie of God, they must confirme their cal∣ling, with the practise of a vertuous & godly life. Second∣ly* whensoeuer misery or plague happeneth to mā, it com∣meth not by chaunce or fortune, or by a course of nature, as vaine worldly men imagine, but by the assured prouidence of God, that seeth, knoweth, & worketh all things. Third∣ly,* that God is moued with two causes, to cast such mise∣ries and afflictions vpon men, somtime by iust punishment of sinne, for transgression of his holy lawe, and secondly to trie the faithfull and godly. And lastly, I haue tolde you,* what good instructions are to be taken of true Christians, in both those wayes. It remaineth that we pray vnto God most hartely, that this doctrine may be so imprinted in our harte•, as it may bring forth due fruites to hys glorie: to whom bee honour and glory foreuer and euer. So •• it. ∵