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but me ye
or the laws of God: that alone hath moved these turmoils, that hath stirred the whole world, whether more credit is to be given unto a man or unto God.
I know that these things seem new to the most of you, and not to be believed: but put from you, I beseech you, your affections, and that opinion of things which you have already conceived, and you shall well perceive that I feign nothing for the time's sake, but that I speak the thing itself. Christ hath ordained the holy communion in remembrance of himself: men do neither retain any remembrance of Christ, nor yet communion, but have changed all the whole matter into a gay shew, and almost a stage-play. Christ saith : “ Ye shall have the poor always with you,
shall not have always :” “I leave the world and go to my Father:” “ It is expedient for you that I go away:” and Christ spake this, not of his Godhead, wherewith he was equal to the Father, or of his heavenly nature, but of this body. Men say that Christ neither hath with his body left the world, nor yet gone from hence to his Father. Paul saith that Christ is in heaven at the right hand of the Father; Peter saith in the Acts of the Apostles, “Heaven must hold him until the time that all things are restored :" men say that the body of Christ is in heaven and in earth both at once, and is dispersed into an infinite multitude of places at one time. Paul saith that “ Christ hath once entered into the holy places,” and “hath with one only sacrifice and one oblation made perfect all things :" men say that they can sacrifice Christ himself again every day, not only for remembrance sake, but in very deed, and that in infinite places. Christ saith: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve:" men worship the eucharist, alack the while ! being neither Lord nor God, but a sacrament of the Lord, without authority of the scriptures, or example of the apostles, and that as God. For by the living God I beseech you, consider in your minds, brethren, who ever, I will not say of the apostles, but of the holy fathers, hath either worshipped the sacrament himself, or hath shewed it forth to be worshipped of others ? I see that I speak these things, not before the common sort of men, but before them who are profoundly learned. I appeal to all your consciences, I will use in this matter your own testimony. Christ hath commanded the sacrament to be delivered whole: men have torn the same after a miserable manner. Christ willed that nothing should be added to his law : men do not only add many things, but the same they prefer before the word of God. But why should I reckon up more ?
consuetudines retinendæ sint, an leges Dei. Id solum has turbas edidit, id omnem terrarum orbem commovit, hominine major fides habenda sit, an Deo.
Scio ego, ista plerisque vestrum nova videri et incredibilia. Sed ponite, quæso, affectiones, fratres mei, et præjudicatam de rebus opinionem ; et me nihil temporis causa fingere, sed rem ipsam dicere sentietis. Christus sacram communionem in sui recordationem instituit: homines nec memoriam Christi ullam, nec communionem retinent, sed rem omnem in ludicrum apparatum et tragicum pene spectaculum commutaverunt. Christus ait: “Pauperes semper habebitis vobiscum, me autem semper non habebitis.” “ Relinquo mundum et discedo ad Patrem :" “Expedit vobis ut ego abeam :" atque hoc Christus non de numine suo, quo Patrem æquabat, aut cælesti natura, sed de corpore suo loquebatur: homines aiunt Christum nec mundum corpore reliquisse, nec abiisse ad Patrem. Paulus ait, Christum in cælo esse ad dextram Patris: Petrus in Act. Apostol. ait, “eum oportet cælum capere usque ad tempora restitutionis omnium :" homines aiunt corpus Christi simul et in cælo et in terris esse, et in infinitam multitudinem locorum eodem tempore dissipari. Paulus ait “Christum semel ingressum esse in sancta,” et “omnia unico sacrificio et una victima perfecisse :” homines aiunt se posse Christum ipsum denuo in singulos dies, non memoriæ tantum causa sed re ipsa, infinitis in locis sacrificare. Christus ait, “Dominum Deum adorabis, et eum solum coles ;" homines eucharistiam, nec Dominum nec Deum, sed sacramentum Domini, sine auctoritate scripturarum aut exemplo apostolorum, pro dolor! adorant pro Deo. Nam per Deum immortalem, cogitate cum animis vestris, fratres, quis unquam, non dico apostolorum, sed sanctorum, eucharistiam vel adoravit ipse, vel aliis proposuit adorandam? Video me ista non apud vulgus hominum, sed apud doctissimos viros dicere. Appello vestras omnium conscientias, utar in hac re vestro ipsorum testimonio. Christus eucharistiam integram tradi jussit: eam homines miserum in modum lacerarunt. Christus ad legem suam nihil ascribi voluit: homines non tantum ascribunt plurima, verum etiam ea præferunt verbo Dei. Sed quid plura commemoro? Longum esset omnia
[* His, 0. E. 1609.)
This only will I speak, and that in a word : they which brought in transubstantiations, masses, calling upon saints, sole life, purgatory, images, vows, trifles, follies, babbles, into the church of God, have delivered new things, and which the scriptures never heard of. Whatsoever they cry or crack, they bring not a jot out of the word of God.
And these, as I have said, are the things wherewith the church of God at these days are disquieted. Upon these lieth the watch and ward of the church. These they honour instead of the scriptures, and force them to the people instead of the word of God: upon these men suppose their salvation and the sum of religion to be grounded.
And that which is much more grievous, notwithstanding at this present, by the great goodness of God, religion is restored almost to her former dignity and light; yet poor and pitiful souls, they set great store by these things, they to them again, and teach them, as though without them the church could not be in safety. O if the word of the Lord might be heard among so many clamours, and in so great a hurly-burly; if we would suffer God himself to sit as judge in his own case, the matter would be passed over with less tumult a great deal, and more easily might we agree about the whole matter. Wherefore, if all the worship of God, all godliness, all religion, be to be sought out of the word of God; if the institutions of men have miserably perverted all things in all times, let us, my brethren, unto whom the office of teaching is allotted, consider how dangerous a thing it is to speak more ; and let all who will be, and will have themselves accounted to be Christians, remember how dangerous a thing it is to believe more. And if there be any of this whole number which hath given himself to any other kind of life, yet let him consider that these things belong unto him, so that, if he neither can nor will teach, yet let him diligently and attentively hear him that speaketh, and give God thanks, that he hath happened on those times in which he may hear the word of God freely and purely. Let us not be wedded too much to our own wit; let us not be wedded too much to the fathers and forefathers. Let us not unadvisedly think that men are so luckily born, that, whatsoever they say, they cannot err. When we shall be placed before that dreadful judgment-seat, when all things shall burn, and the angels of God shall tremble ; to what fathers, to what decrees of our forefathers, shall we wretches then appeal ? We shall then have refuge to Christ alone, then shall we use the aid and word of Christ alone. Wherefore let us not be of so secure a mind in so great a matter. Our life, our soul, our salvation, is the thing in hand. The heavenly Father
inter se componere. Hoc tantum uno verbo dicam, Qui transubstantiationes, qui missas, qui divorum invocationes, qui cælibatum, qui purgatorium, qui statuas, vota, nugas, ineptias, quisquilias in Dei ecclesiam invexerunt, nova tradiderunt et inaudita scripturis. Quicquid clamant aut crepant, ne apicem quidem proferunt e verbo Dei.
Atque hæc, ut dixi, ca sunt, quibus hodie ecclesia commovetur. Hic excubatur, hic prospicitur ecclesiæ. Hæc scripturarum colunt loco, et obtrudunt populo pro verbo Dei : hic homines salutem suam et religionis summam sitam esse arbitrantur. Quodque multo est gravius, postquam hodie, summo Dei beneficio, religio ad pristinam pene dignitatem et lucem rediit
, miseri tamen homines et deplorati ista mirantur, ista repetunt, ista docent, quasi sinc his ecclesia salva esse non possit. O si inter tot clamores et in tanto tumultu verbum Domini audiri posset ; si Deum ipsum per nos liceret in sua causa sedere judicem, minus magno cum tumultu res transigeretur, faciliusque de toto negotio conveniret. Quapropter si e verbo Dei omnis cultus numinis, omnis pietas, omnis religio petenda sit, si hominum instituta omnia omnibus temporibus misere perverterint, cogitemus, fratres mei, quibus docendi provincia contigit, quam sit periculosum plura dicere : omnes autem, qui se Christianos numerari et esse volunt, meminerint quam sit periculosum plura credere. Si quis autem est ex hoc omni numero, qui se ad aliud vitæ genus contulit, meminerit tamen ad se ista pertinere, ut si docere aut non possit aut nolit, dicentein tamen diligenter et attente audiat, et Deo gratias agat in ea se tempora incidisse, cum verbum Domini libere pureque audire possit. Ne nimium prudentiæ nostræ, ne nimium patrum et majorum auctoritati tribuamus: ne temere putemus homines ea felicitate natos esse, ut quicquid dixerint, errare non possint. Cum ad horrendum illud tribunal sistemur, cum omnia deflagrabunt, et angeli Dei contremiscent, quos tum ad patres miseri
, ad quæ majorum decreta provocabimus? Ad solum tum Christum refugiemus, Christi tum solius præsidio verboque utemur. Quapropter ne simus animo tam securo in re tanta. Agitur vita, agitur anima,
offereth himself unto us, and of his own accord meeteth us : Jesus Christ crieth out, and calleth every one of us, “ Come unto me,
which are grieved ; and I will refresh you.” How blind be we if we see not, how blockish if we understand not, how miserable if we run from this! Where shall the word of Christ be heard, if it cannot be heard among Christians ? If it cannot be heard
among Christians, where shall it be heard ? Let us once yet open, brethren, let us open our eyes, that it may not be spoken against our stubbornness, “Therefore you hear not, because you be not of God;" and that that saying of Esaias be not conveniently applied against us: “The heart of this people is waxen gross, and they have hardly heard with their ears, and they have closed their eyes; lest they should at any time see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and they should be converted, and I should heal them.”—And what I should speak more before christian men and the children of God concerning the word of God, I see not.
Now remaineth that which was put in the last part, namely, how the scriptures are to be taught. For not only wisdom and fidelity, but also wisdom and foresight is to be used. Therefore saith Peter, let him not speak only, but, “let him speak as the words of God." Nor yet is it sufficient to profess only, and outwardly to shew, that it is the word of God which we teach, and with a fair face and earnest countenance sing, “The word of the Lord;" for the Jews and Turks and false prophets do so, they all cry out that Christ is theirs, and they all restrain true religion (as belonging) unto themselves. The Pharisees and scribes of these days, when they confirm their own inventions, and refer all things to the apostles as their authors, and do wrest the word of God, yet do they cry nothing either oftener or more importunately than, “ The word of the Lord.”
But Christ hath not taught dissimulation and hypocrisy. He rather teacheth this, that pastors may have in mind that they represent the person of Christ; that they, being induced through the greatness and worthiness of the thing itself, may so reverently do their office, that all men may perceive that it is a heavenly business which they have taken upon them. For the image of God himself must shine in him that is the minister of God. And, if the apostles had not so used themselves, they had never laid the foundations of religion: there would never any have left their altars, their sacrifices, their fires, and their gods themselves, to have been of the opinion of a few fishers. They counted all that they had as nothing in comparison of Christ
agitur salus nostra. Pater cælestis offert se nobis et ultro occurrit: Jesus Christus inclamat, et appellat unumquemque nostrum, “ Venite ad me omnes qui laboratis, et ego reficiam vos. Quam cæci sumus si non videmus, stupidi si non intelligimus, miseri si fugimus! Ubi autem audietur Christi verbum, si a Christianis audiri non possit? Si a Christianis audiri non possit, . ubi audietur ? Aperiamus aliquando, fratres, aperiamus oculos, ne in contumaciam nostram dici possit, “ Propterea vos non auditis, quia non estis ex Deo:" neve in nos conveniat dictum illud Esaiæ, “Incrassatum est cor populi hujus, et auribus graviter audierunt, et oculos suos compresserunt, ne quando videant oculis, et auribus audiant, et corde intelligant, et convertantur, et sanem eos.”—Et de verbo Dei, apud homines Christianos et filios Dei, non equidem video quid plura dicam.
Nunc id superest quod ultimo loco erat positum, quemadmodum scripturæ docendæ sint. III. Non enim prudentia tantum et fides, sed etiam prudentia cautioque adhibenda est. Eoque docendum. Petrus non, “loquatur," inquit, tantum, sed" loquatur ut sermones Dei.” Neque tamen satis est profiteri tantum et præ nobis ferre, Dei evangelium esse quod docemus, et vero vultu serioque occinere, “Verbum Domini :” id enim Judæi, Turcæ, pseudoprophetæ faciunt; omnes enim Christum suum esse clamitant, et veram religionem ad se retrahunt. Horum etiam temporum Pharisi et scribæ, cum sua commenta statuunt, et omnia ad apostolos auctores referunt, et vim inferunt verbo Dei, tamen nihil vel sæpius vel importunius occlamant, quam “verbum Domini.” Verum simulationem et hypocrisin Christus non docuit. Id potius agit, ut pastores meminerint Christi personam sustinere ; ut rei ipsius magnitudine ac dignitate inducti, munus suum ita reverenter administrent, ut omnes intelligant cæleste negotium esse quod susceperint. Nam in ministro Dei Dei oportet ipsius imaginem relucere. Quod ni ita se apostoli gessissent, nunquam illi religionis initia constituissent: nunquam relictis quisquam et aris, et sacris, et focis, et diis ipsis, in aliquot piscatorum sententium concessisset. Omnia illi sua pro nihilo ducebant pre
Jesus. When they were taunted, they taunted not again; when they were condemned to prisons and fires, they never ceased to give thanks, they always greatly rejoiced, for that they were afflicted with all manner of punishments for Christ his sake. There was in them such uprightness of heart, such modesty, such virtue, that, whatsoever they said, others were ashamed to speak against it.
Even so, brethren, our life ought to shine, that, as oft as we speak, we may seem to speak the words of God. For we are the salt of the earth, we are the light of the world, we are that city set upon the hill: all men's eyes are fastened on us: whatsoever we do, straightway example is taken to do the like. It is a burden of great difficulty and weight, that we have taken upon us: which if we would all well weigh, the course of the gospel would not be so hindered, the word of God would not be so much neglected. For, when as we profess God with our mouth, but deny him with our deeds, we fray away the unlearned multitude by our example from religion; and the thing that of all other is most divine we defile, not with unpure hands, but with unpure manners. So for our sakes is godliness despised, for our sake is the truth contemned, for our sake is the majesty of God impaired.
These things, brethren, are diligently to be considered, and earnestly to be regarded of us. For, if we live filthily and wickedly, and bring into the pulpit nothing but a rolling of the tongue and impudency, whatsoever we speak, we speak it not either as it should, or else as the words of God.
But, to the end the word of the Lord may be handled according to the worthiness thereof, two things principally are by us to be taken heed of: the one, that we be not weakened nor feebled by fear; the other, that out of the gospel we reap no jot or piece of praise unto ourselves. A preacher's mind must be prepared and diligently fenced against either of these. For the gospel and the word of God, except it be stiftly and manfully upholden and maintained, neither will seem? the gospel nor the word of God. For error is fearful, base, and quaking ; it feareth all things, it dreadeth all things, it flieth sight and light : but the truth, and the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, never abaseth itself, never flattereth any, dissembleth nothing, feigneth nothing, is unfearful, free, bold to shew her face, and high. Wherefore, as long as we speak the truth, let not the force or authority of any man make
Christo Jesu. Cum maledictis jactarentur, non regerebant maledicta ; cum carceribus et ignibus damnarentur, nunquam intermittebant gratias agere, semper efferebantur gaudio, quod propter Christum omni suppliciorum genere afficerentur. Ea erat in illis æquitas animorum, ca modestia, ea virtus, ut quicquid dixissent, alios puderet refragari. Sic, fratres, nostram vitam lucere oportuit, ut quoties loquimur, loqui videamur sermones Dei. Nos enim sumus sal terre, nos sumus lux mundi, nos civitas illa sumus in monte posita, omnium in nobis oculi figuntur: quicquid a nobis geritur, id statim in exemplum trahitur. Onus longe difficillimum et maximum est quod suscepimus. Hoc si omnes diligenter expenderemus, non ita evangelii cursus impediretur, non ita negligeretur verbum Dei. Nam cum Deum ore quidem profitemur, factis autem negamus, multitudinem imperitam a religione nostro exemplo deterremus, et rem unam omnium divinissimam impuris, non manibus, sed moribus contaminamus. Ita nostra causa pietas despicitur, nostra causa veritas contemnitur, nostra causa Dei majestas imminuitur.
Hæc nobis, fratres, diligenter animadvertenda et serio curanda sunt. Nam si turpiter et flagitiose vivimus, et in suggestum nihil nisi linguæ volubilitatem adferimus et impudentiam, quicquid loquimur, non loquimur vel ut oportuit vel tanquam sermones Dei. Sed ut verbum Domini pro dignitate tractetur, duo nobis in primis cavenda sunt: alterum, ne timore debilitemur; alterum, ne laudis partem aliquam nobis ex evangelio decerpamus. Adversus utrumque concionatoris animum paratum et diligenter munitum esse oportet. Nam evangelium et verbum Dei, nisi fortiter magnoque animo asseratur, nec evangelium videbitur esse, nec Dei verbum. Error enim timidus, supplex, meticulosus est, omnia formidat, omnia extimescit, aspettum et lucem fugit: veritas autem, et veritas evangelii Jesu Christi
, nunquam se demittit, nunquam cuiquam adulatur, nihil simulat, nihil fingit, intrepida, libera, erecta, excelsa est. Quapropter dum verum dicimus, nulla nos cujusquam vis et auctoritas perterrefaciat
[Serve, 0. E.)
us afraid. Let us call to mind that we are the messengers and embassadors of God: let us call to mind that God hath given us power to speak. Of ? what courage doth not Christ make us, when he promiseth that he will be the revenger of the injury done unto us? “He,” saith he, “that despiseth you despiseth me:" "he which hurteth you hurteth the sight of mine eye.” Wherefore let us speak, not dissemblingly, not darkly, as did the Pharisees, but freely and plainly, as having authority, as meet it is that the words of God should be uttered. But nevertheless moderation must be used, that we do not unseasonably touch or spot the good name and fame of others; for then 3 we shall seem to taunt or rail, and to handle our own cause, rather than to teach the word of the Lord, But it becometh the servant of the Lord to be modest and circumspect, not to blab out any thing rashly or cockishly, lest we may seem to speak not out of the holy pulpit, but out of the cart; neither yet to have cited the gospel, but to have brought up again the old manner of comedies.
The next thing is, that a preacher have not too great a conceit of himself, but that he think that that function and office happened unto him from above from God, that he should discharge his duty diligently, and with very great fear, and that he should think that he is occupied not in his own business but in God's business. So Paul saith he is nothing: John crieth that he is unworthy to pull off the shoes of Messias. And therefore, to abate arrogancy, they are in the holy scriptures called not princes, not magistrates, not rulers, not kings, but stewards, bailiffs, preachers or criers, ministers, servants; to the end that, forasmuch as we do this gear in the behalf of another, we should not grow proud for another body's praise. For the Lord hath not therefore committed his talent unto us, that we should convert it to our own commodity. For he would not have us preachers and criers of our own wit and skill, but of his will; neither do we for any other cause carry about this treasure in earthen vessels, than for that it should be the brightness and clear light of the power of God.
I will not stay you with any more words. Ye have heard that a preacher must speak both oft, and out of the word of God, and also gravely and modestly. We, brethren, either are preachers, or will be preachers. Let us bear mind that these things belong to us, and that St Peter saith to
minerimus nos Dei legatos esse, meminerimus Deum nobis fecisse dicendi potestatem. Quos enim nobis animos non facit Christus, cum se injuriarum nostrarum ultorem et vindicem fore pollicetur? “Qui vos," inquit, “spernit, me spernit,” “qui vos lædit, lædit aciem oculi mei.” Quare loquamur, non dissimulanter, non obscure, ut Pharisæi, sed libere ac aperte ut auctoritate præditi, quemadmodum proferri par est sermones Dei.
Sed adhibenda tamen est moderatio, ne importune aliorum nomen et famam traducamus. Tum enim convitiari videbimur, et causam nostram facere potius, quam docere verbum Domini. Servum autem Dei modestum et consideratum esse decet, neque temere quicquam aut petulanter effutire : ne non e sacro suggestu, sed e plaustro loqui, neve evangelium, sed veterem comædiam excitasse videamur.
Proximum est, ne quid concionator de se magnifice sentiat, sed cogitet illud munus a Deo sibi divinitus contigisse, ut diligenter summoque cum timore officio defungatur, cogitetque se in negotio non suo versari, sed Dei. Sic Paulus se nihil esse dicit: Joannes se indignum esse clamat, qui calceos Messiæ detrahat. Eoque ad minuendam arrogantiam, in sacris literis non principes, non magistratus, non præsules, non reges, sed dispensatores, villici, præcones, ministri, servi appellantur; ut quoniam alieno auspicio res gerimus, ne de aliena laude insolescamus. Non enim idcirco Dominus nobis talentum suum concredidit, ut illud in rem nostram converteremus. Non enim nos ingenii nostri præcones esse voluit, sed voluntatis suæ ; neque aliam ob causam circumferimus hunc thesaurum in vasis fictilibus, quam ut splendor sit virtutis Dei.
Non morabor vos pluribus. Audistis concionatori et assidue, et e verbo Dei, et graviter modesteque dicendum esse. Nos, fratres, concionatores aut sumus, aut esse volumus : meminerimus ad nos ista pertinere, et D. Petrum nobis dicere, “Qui loquitur, loquatur tanquam sermones
[ For, 0. E. 1609.]
[ When, 1611.)