« 上一頁繼續 »
The Second Part of the Sermon of the Mifery of Man. FORASMUCH as the true knowledge of ourfelves is very neceffary to come to the right knowledge of God, ye have heard in the laft reading, how humbly all godly men always have thought of themfelves; and fo to think and judge of themfelves, are taught of God their Creator, by his holy word. For of ourselves we be crab-trees, that can bring forth no apples. We be of ourfelves of fuch earth, as can bring forth but weeds, nettles, brambles, briers, cockle, and darnel. Our fruits be declared in the fifth chapter to the Galatians. We have Gal. v. neither faith, charity, hope, patience, chastity, nor any thing else that good is, but of God; and therefore thefe virtues be called there the fruits of the Holy Ghost, and not the fruits of man. Let us therefore acknowledge ourfelves before God (as we be indeed) miferable and wretched finners. And let us earnestly repent, and humble ourselves heartily, and cry to God for mercy. Let us all confefs with mouth and heart, that we be full of imperfections: let us know our own works, of what imperfection they be; and then we fhall not ftand foolishly and arrogantly in our own conceits, nor challenge any part of juftification by our merits or works. For truly there be imperfections in our beft works: we do not love God fo much as we are bound to do, with all our heart, mind, and power: we do not fear God fo much as we ought to do: we do not pray to God, but with great and many imperfections: we give, forgive, believe, live, and hope imperfectly we fpeak, think, and do imperfectly: we fight against the devil, the world, and the flesh imperfectly: let us therefore not be afhamed to confefs plainly our ftate of imperfection: yea, let us not be afhamed to confefs imperfection, even in all our own best works. Let none of us be afhamed to fay with holy Saint Peter, I am a finful man. Let us fay with the holy Prophet David, Luke v. We have finned with our fathers; we have done amifs, and Palm cvi. dealt wickedly. Let us all make open confeffion, with the prodigal fon, to our Father, and fay with him, We have Luke xv. finned against heaven, and before thee, O Father: we are not worthy to be called thy fons. Let us all fay with holy Baruch, O Lord our God, to us is worthily afcribed Shame Baruch ii. and confufion, and to thee righteoufnefs: we have finned, we have done wickedly, we have behaved ourfelves ungodly in all thy righteoufnefs. Let us all fay with the
Dan. ix. holy Prophet Daniel, O Lord, righteoufnefs belongeth to thee, unto us belongeth confufion. We have finned, we have been naughty, we have offended, we have fled from thee, we have gone back from all thy precepts and judgments. So we learn of all good men in holy Scriptures, to humble ourselves, and to exalt, extol, praise, magnify, and glorify God.
Thus we have heard how evil we be of ourselves, how of ourselves, and by ourselves, we have no goodness, help, nor falvation; but contrariwife, fin, damnation, and death everlafting which if we deeply weigh and confider, we fhall the better understand the great mercy of God, and 2 Cor. iii. how our falvation cometh only by Chrift. For in ourfelves (as of ourselves) we find nothing, whereby we may be delivered from this miferable captivity, into the which we were caft, through the envy of the devil, by breaking Pfal. xlix. of God's commandment in our firft parent Adam. We are all become unclean: but we all are not able to cleanse ourselves, nor to make one another of us clean. We are by Ephef. ii. nature the children of God's wrath: but we are not able to make ourselves the children and inheritors of God's glory. We are Sheep that run aftray: but we cannot of our own power come again to the fheepfold, fo great is our imperfection and weakness. In ourselves therefore may not we glory, which, of ourselves, are nothing but finful: neither may we rejoice in any works that we do, which all be fo imperfect and impure, that they are not able to ftand before the righteous judgment-feat of God; as the Pfal. cxliii. holy Prophet David faith, Enter not into judgment with thy fervant, O Lord for no man that liveth shall be found righteous in thy fight. To God therefore muft we flee, or elfe fhall we never find peace, reft, and quietnefs of 2 Cor. i. confcience in our hearts. For he is the Father of mercies, and God of all confolation. He is the Lord, with whom Pfal. cxxx. is plenteous redemption: he is the God, which of his own
1 Pet. ii.
mercy faveth us, and fetteth out his charity and exceeding love towards us, in that of his own voluntary goodness, when we were perifhed, he faved us, and provided an everlasting kingdom for us. And all thefe heavenly treafures are given us, not for our own deferts, merits, or good deeds, (which of ourselves we have none,) but of his mere mercy freely. And for whofe fake? Truly for Jefus Chrift's fake, that pure and undefiled Lamb of God. He is that dearly beloved Son, for whofe fake God is fully pacified, fatisfied, and fet at one with man. He is the Lamb of God which taketh away the fins of the world;
of whom only it may be truly spoken, that he did all things well, and in his mouth was found no craft nor fub- 1 Pet. ii tilty. None but he alone may fay, The prince of the world came, and in me he hath nothing. And he alone may alfo fay, Which of you shall reprove me of any fault? John viii. He is the high and everlasting Prieft, which hath offered himself once for all upon the altar of the cross, and with Heb. vii. that one oblation hath made perfect for evermore them that are fanctified. He is the alone Mediator between God 1 John ii. and man, which paid our ranfom to God with his own blood, and with that hath he cleanfed us all from fin. He is the Phyfician, which healeth all our difeafes. He is that Saviour, which faveth his people from all their fins : Matth. i. to be fhort, he is that flowing and moft plenteous fountain, of whofe fulness all we have received. For in him alone are all the treafures of the wisdom and knowledge of God hidden. And in him, and by him, have we from God the Father all good things, pertaining either to the body or to the foul. O how much are we bound to this our heavenly Father for his great mercies, which he hath fo plenteously declared unto us in Chrift Jefus our Lord and Saviour! What thanks worthy and fufficient can we give to him? Let us all with one accord burft out with joyful voices, ever praifing and magnifying this Lord of mercy, for his tender kindness fhewed to us in his dearly
beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Hitherto have we heard what we are of ourselves; very finful, wretched, and damnable. Again, we have heard how that of ourselves, and by ourselves, we are not able either to think a good thought, or work a good deed; fo that we can find in ourselves no hope of falvation, but rather whatsoever maketh unto our deftruction. Again, we have heard the tender kindnefs and great mercy of God the Father towards us, and how beneficial he is to us for Chrift's fake, without our merits or deferts, even of his own mere mercy and tender goodness. Now, how thefe exceeding great mercies of God, fet abroad in Chrift Jefus for us, be obtained, and how we be delivered from the captivity of fin, death, and hell, fhall more at large (with God's help) be declared in the next fermon. In the mean feafon, yea, and at all times, let us learn to know ourselves, our frailty and weaknefs, without any cracking or boafting of our own good deeds and merits. Let us alfo acknowledge the exceeding mercy of God towards us, and confefs, that as of ourfelves cometh all evil and damnation, fo likewife of him cometh all goodness
and falvation, as God himself faith by the Prophet Hosea, Hofea xiii. O Ifrael, thy deftruction cometh of thy felf: but in me only is thy help and comfort. If we thus humbly fubmit ourselves in the fight of God, we may be fure that in the time of his vifitation he will lift us up unto the kingdom of his dearly beloved Son, Chrift Jefus our Lord; to whom, with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory for ever. Amen.
Salvation of Mankind, by only Chrift our Saviour, from
BECAUSE all men be finners and offenders against God, and breakers of his Law and Commandments, therefore can no man by his own acts, works, and deeds (feem they never fo good) be juftified, and made righteous before God: but every man of neceffity is conftrained to feek for another righteoufnefs, or juftification, to be received at God's own hands; that is to fay, the forgiveness of his fins and trespasses, in fuch things as he hath offended. And this juftification, or righteoufnefs, which we fo receive of God's mercy and Chrift's merits, embraced by faith, is taken, accepted, and allowed of God, for our perfect and full juftification. For the more full understanding hereof, it is our parts and duty ever to remember the great mercy of God, how that (all the world being wrapped in fin by breaking of the Law) God fent his only Son our Saviour Chrift into this world, to fulfil the Law for us, and, by fhedding of his moft precious blood, to make a facrifice and fatisfaction, or (as it may be called) amends to his Father for our fins, to affuage his wrath and indignation conceived against us for the fame.
Infomuch that infants, being baptized and dying in The effitheir infancy, are by this facrifice washed from their fins, cacy of brought to God's favour, and made his children, and in- tion and Chrift's pafheritors of his kingdom of heaven. And they, which in oblation. act or deed do fin after their baptifm, when they turn again to God unfeignedly, they are likewife wafhed by this facrifice from their fins, in fuch fort, that there remaineth not any spot of fin, that fhall be imputed to their damnation. This is that juftification, or righteoufnefs, which