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-*. I. On the Nativity of Christ *[ 

-. II. On the Epiphany or Appearing of Christ . . .16 

( J. III. On the Genealogy or Pedigree of Christ . . . 30 

?. IV. On the Hymn of Zacharias 38 

V. On Christ s Passion ....... 58 

VI. On Christ s Resurrection 64 

o. VII. On the Good Shepherd 69 

, VIII. On the Lost Sheep 80 

" IX. Of the Woman of Canaan 106 

/i */. X. Of Salvation by Grace without Works . . . .112 

XI. Of the Kingdom of God 134 

XII. Of Prayer ... 141 

XIII. Of the Bidding of Guests to the Great Supper . . 144 

XIV. On the Works of Charity 149 

XV. The Sum of a Christian Life 160 

" XVI. Of the Question of the Pharisees, and Answer of Christ, 

concerning giving Tribute to Caesar . . . 187 

-?l. XVII. Of Salvation by Christ alone 198 

^J- ./-<,. XVIII. Concerning Good Works, the Fruits of Faith . . 206 
. XIX. Wherein is taught how the Faithful ought to rejoice in God, 

and let their patient mind be known unto Men . 224 

;. -r.,->. XX. Concerning them that are under the Law, and them that 

are under Grace 243 

^ - V- XXL Of Faith and Diffidence in Danger and Trouble . . 281 

-.XXII. Of the Life of a Christian 288 

> XXIII. Of Temptation .299 

. XXIV. Concerning the leading a godly Life . . . .312 
WK* j~. /-. (. XXV. God s Providence and Care for his Children 322 




- XXVI. Concerning Trust in God in Penury and Distress 

XXVII. God s Punishment against the Contemners of his Word 335 

-: XXVIII. The Difference between the Law and the Gospel . . 346 

XXIX. Concerning the Exercise and Increase of Faith . . 35 ( J 

XXX. Of Mercy to some, and Judgment to others . . 369 

. . ,/. XXXI. Teaching that we must cleave wholly to Christ, and look 

to obtain all good things from Him .... 3M) 

. XXXII. Of the Works which Christ hath wrought for us . . 3<J3 

XXXIII. Reason not capable of the Gospel . . . 4l 
XXXIV. Christ the Way to Eternal Life 




Luke ii. 1 14. And it came to pass in those days, that there 
went out a decree from Ccesar Augustus, that all the world 
should be taxed., &c. 

1. As the Evangelist here describeth the time and place of the 
nativity of Christ ; first, herein is required faith of us, viz.. 
That we believe this to be the same Christ, of whom these 
things be recorded. Moreover, the house and stock of David is 
here notified and shewed forth, whereof our Messias should rise. 

2. The shepherds which are mentioned, are the first fruits of 
those Jews, which come unto Christ, as the wise men from the 
East are the first fruits of the Gentiles, and the innocent infants 
of all them which must bear the cross for Christ s sake. 

3. Whereas the angel of the Lord appeareth to the shepherds 
in great glory, it signifieth, that the gospel cometh unto men 
with the glory of God. First, indeed, it maketh us afraid, for it 
condemneth our darkness and whatsoever is in us, until we hear 
the comfort which is here declared unto the shepherds in these 
comfortable words : (6 Fear not, for behold, I bring you good 
tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people ; for unto you 
is born this day a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." 

4. Also, as one angel first preacheth unto the shepherds, 
that noteth unto us the prince of all preachers, Christ himself. 
Secondly, whereas many angels are gathered together, it sig 
nifieth the multitude of preachers, who all say with one mouth, 
Glory be to God, and peace unto men. 

5. The fruit and profit wherefore Christ took flesh upon him, 
is here expressed by evangelical peace and good-will to men, 
whereof the hymn of the angels makes mention : " Glory be to 
God on high, and on earth peace, good-will towards men/ 



Ye have oftentimes heard this history before, and must hear 
it still, both this year, and every year, though to sluggish and 
drowsy Christians, that are soon weary and cloyed with good 
things, the same peradventure may seem tedious. But to them 
that are endued with true faith, it always eometh again as new. 
For the Holy Ghost can speak so diversely of one thing, that to 
them which be his it always seemeth new. Moreover, we might 
speak at large of this history, for it is very full of matter, if we 
should not want time, and if it were not perilous lest we should 
somewhere stray from the purpose: nevertheless, we will speak 
somewhat thereof, as God shall permit. 

Ye have already heard in the text, how the angel himself ex- 
presseth ail this history, giving us to understand, that the same 
is published for our cause ; and that the fruit thereof doth re 
dound and appertain to us only, and is wrought to our salvation. 
And therefore the angel, speaking to the shepherds, saith, in 
these words " Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings 
of great joy, which shall be to all people, for unto you is born 
this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the 
Lord." Here is declared, first, that his nativity doth pertain 
unto us, when he saith, a Unto you is born a Saviour." For 
the Lord Christ came not for his own cause only, but that he 
might help and succour us. AVhcrefore let us diligently endea 
vour, that we believe the angel, and we shall enjoy the whole 
benefit. I have heretofore oftentimes said, that the gospel 
preacheth nothing else but faith, that the angel also here doth, 
and this must all preachers do, otherwise they be no true minis 
ters ; for the angel was here a beginning and example to all 
preachers. Now we must in this place speak of a double nati 
vity, namely, of our own and of Christ s. But before I begin to 
treat hereof, I will handle the history briefly, that ye may lay it 
up in your heart, and may be partakers of the joy which the 
angel here bringeth. First, therefore, the Evangelist saith, 
" And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a de 
cree from Ciesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed ; 
and this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of 
Syria: and all went to be taxed, every one into his own city." 
Ye know right well, that the Jews had a promise made of the 
patriarch Jacob, that a prince, lawgiver, or ruler of the house of 
Judah should not be wanting in Judaea, until the Messias which 
was promised them did come. For the words of Jacob to Judah 
are plain after this sort : " The sceptre shall not depart from 


Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come." 
Gen. xlix. 10. Now at this time the case was so, that the Ro 
mans possessed Judaea, and had set a lieutenant over it, whom 
the Evangelist here calleth Cyrenius. The Jews before for a 
long- time had used priests for kings, when, as the Maccabees 
had obtained the kingdom, so that the dominion of the house of 
Judah was already taken away and suppressed, neither was there 
any prince or ruler, of the stock and blood of Judah, governor 
over the people. But that Christ or the Messias should now 
come, that was a great sign, that the prophecy at that time 
especially might be fulfilled. 

Wherefore the Evangelist saith here, that at the time when 
Christ was born, Augustus Caesar had set a lieutenant over 
Judaea, under whom the Jews should offer themselves to be 
taxed. As if he had said, (e Even at that time at which he 
should be born, he is born." All that lived under the Roman 
emperor were compelled to pay tax, for a testimony that they 
were subject unto him. This the Jews knew, but they did not 
understand the prophecy. Jacob had said thus, " The sceptre 
shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his 
feet, until Shiloh come :" that is, a prince and ruler of the 
stock of Judah shall not be wanting in Judaea, until Christ 
come. Jacob did sufficiently shew in these words, that he 
should be wanting at the coming of Christ. Moreover, they 
understood it so, as though such a Shiloh should come, as 
should bear rule with the sword : it is a false understanding 
thereof, neither can it be gathered out of that text. For he 
saith thus, <f That at the coming of Christ the temporal king 
dom of the Jews shall end." So Luke also here sheweth that 
every time when it behoved this to be done. It folioweth 
moreover in the text : u And Joseph also went up from Galilee 
out of the city of Nazareth unto Judaea, unto the city of David, 
which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house of the 
lineage of David), to be taxed, with Mary his espoused wife, 
being great with child." Joseph also and Mary obeyed this 
commandment of Caesar, and submitted themselves as other 
honest and obedient men, and went to Bethlehem, which was 
the chief and head city of the house of Judah, and suffered them 
selves to be taxed. Mary, inasmuch as she was with child, 
and near her delivery, might have excused herself, that she 
should not take this journey upon her ; but she doth not so : 
they will not be an offence to others. Moreover, it ought thus 


to be that they should come to Bethlehem, because the prophecy 
of the prophet Micah, chap, v., which foretold that Christ 
should be born in Bethlehem of Judah. Mark, I pray you, how 
that tax must serve hereunto, which neither Caesar nor his 
lieutenant did know. 

Thus God dealeth in his works, in which he useth the means 
of heathen and evil men, whereby he may make us, which are 
miserable and wretched men, and so deeply drowned in flesh 
and blood, certain of our faith, which the Evangelist Luke here 
specially sctteth forth, inasmuch as he often declareth in the 
history the places and times, lest that we should be deceived 
concerning this Christ. The manner of his birth the Evangelist 
shevveth, saying, ef And so it was, that while they were there 
the days were accomplished, that she should be delivered : and 
she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapt him in swaddling 
clothes, and laid him in a manger, because 1 there was no room 
for them in the inn." .Let it nothing move us, or be any 
offence unto us, that the Lord came into the world in so great 
poverty and misery. For it ought to bo a great joy and comfort 
unto us, rather than in any wise to discomfort and discourage 
us. It may seem a strange thing and hard dealing, that a 
virgin which was new married, and that year joined to her 
husband, might not be permitted to bring forth her child at 
Nazareth in her own house, but was forced in poor estate to go 
three days journey, being great with child ; and when she came 
at her journey s end, she had not so much room in the inn as 
that she might be delivered in some parlour or chamber. The 
inn being full, there was none that would vouchsafe to give 
place to this woman, being great with child, that she might 
have the use of their chamber ; but she was enforced to go into 
a stable, that there she might bring forth the Creator of all 
creatures. Here may be plainly perceived what is the know 
ledge and wisdom of the world concerning divine matters: 
namely, that it is blind, and vain in understanding, that it seeth 
not the works of God, and if it be so that it seelh them, that it 
knoweth not what they mean. 

From hence let us learn, not to be moved or discouraged, if 
we be poor and miserable, and forsaken of the world, for we 
have here great comfort. If Christ, the maker of all things, 
with his beloved mother, was cast into so great misery, and so 
contemned of the world, why may not the same also come upon 
us ? or why should not we, being in misery, and compassed 


about with all calamities, bear them patiently; yea, if God will 
at any time kill us with adversity and distress ? But this thing is 
to be lamented, that we exclude such an example from our 
eyes, but much farther from our heart ; we should easily suf 
fer adversity and contempt if it be so that we believed, and had 
a sure trust and confidence in God, as we see that the Lord 
Christ suffered this misery, poverty, and calamity. This is 
therefore first thoroughly to be marked and considered of us, 
how Christ came into the world in so great poverty, and found 
not so much as one in so great a city, which was dutiful and 
beneficial toward him. Thus this nativity was received in the 
earth, over which, notwithstanding, all the heavenly host did 
exceedingly rejoice, as it folio weth : ({ And there were in the 
same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over 
their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon 
them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and 
they were sore afraid." Here is declared, how God in heaven 
setteth forth this nativity, which the world contemneth, yea, 
knoweth not, neither seeth. This joy is so great in heaven that 
it cannot be contained therein, but bursteth forth, that it may 
be declared and communicated to the world. For the angel 
here bringeth tidings of great joy to the shepherds, which to 
them is great comfort, which the world, notwithstanding, con 
temneth and rejecteth, but is of the angels had in great admira 
tion ; yea, and if they might, they would with greater praises 
and goodly pomp have set forth so wonderful a thing. But it 
was meet it should be so. For God would set an example in 
this his Son, that the ostentation and glorying of the world 
might at the last be neglected, and that it might be known what 
the world is. Man s reason seemeth always very wise unto 
itself ; it always looketh unto things that are aloft it con- 
sidereth only high matters it humbleth not itself to those 
things that are below. 

This, now, is an excellent comfort, that the angels and all the 
heavenly host esteem him so much, whom the world contemneth ; 
by which we may learn, that although we be outcasts in the 
world, there be, notwithstanding, that have regard and care of 
us. However, we do hardly believe this ; we do not fasten our 
eyes thereupon, but look unto great, precious, and high things, 
according to the example of the world ; and are dismayed 
as s-oon as a little trouble cometh, neither thinking nor know 
ing if any adversity assaileth us, that it is done by the will of 


Gotl. Believe thou this undoubtedly, if it had not so pleased 
God, he would not have suffered this his beloved Son to he laid 
in a manger he would not have permitted him to he horn in so 
great poverty, misery, and contempt. .But the poorer and more 
despised he is before the world, so much greater care and re 
gard God and all the heavenly soldiers have of him, so that we 
may conceive comfort thereby, and believe assuredly, that tiie 
more we are rejected of the world, the more we are esteemed 
before God. Thou maycst find many which here think thus, 
and are touched with such devotion as this : O ! if I had been 
there then, with how great diligence would I have served this 
child, and done for him ; yea, I would have washed even his 
swaddling clothes. O ! if I had been so happy as the shep 
herds, that I also might have seen the Lord in a manger. Now, 
indeed, thou wouldest be ready to do those duties, when thou 
knowest Christ to be so high and noble. Surely thou wouldest 
have been as slack in thy duty, at that time, as the citi/ens of 
Bethlehem were. Thou resolvest in thy mind childish and alto 
gether foolish cogitations. Why dost thou not perform the 
like duties now ? Behold Christ walking before thee in thy 
neighbour, do for him, and bestow benefits upon him? what 
soever thou shalt bestow upon thy neighbour, which is needy 
and destitute of help, that thou shalt bestow upon Christ him 
self, as he shall say in the last day to the elect : Matt. xxv. 40, 
" Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these 
my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Wherefore it is vain 
and very foolish to admit such childish cogitations. Let us 
therefore at the last open our eyes, let us not hear examples of 
so great importance in vain, otherwise the time will come when 
we shall be grievously punished. But with what words did 
the angel speak unto the shepherds ? the Evangelist saith after 
this sort : " And the angel said unto them, Fear not ; for be 
hold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to 
all people, for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a 
Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign 
unto you ; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 
lying in a manger/ Learn by these words of the angel, how 
to use rightly the nativity of the Lord Christ; neither let it 
suffice you to hear them only. 

A great treasure hidden in the earth, or some other where, is 
of no use ; but if it be opened and occupied, then it is profitable 
and precious, Wherefore, give heed hereunto, that thou 


mayest use this nativity ; otherwise, it shall be no advantage 
or comfort unto thee. For as thou knowest the bare history 
only, viz., what came to pass in his nativity, and that he was 
born needy and poor, thou shalt learn no greater use hereby 
than if thou heard an history written of the king of France, or 
of some other puissant prince, whereby no advantage or com 
fort should come unto thee : but how must we use this nativity 
rightly, and with fruit ? Even as I have said, if we be thus per 
suaded that he was born for us, that his nativity is ours. Our 
nativity is such, that it altogether aboundeth with sin, as David 
saith, Psalm li. ; " Behold 1 was shapen in iniquity, and in sin 
did my mother conceive me." As if he would say, here is nothing 
but sin, as well in the conception as in the birth ; whatsoever I 
bring with me from my mother s womb, it is wholly damnable, 
it is due to death, Satan, and hell. Forasmuch then as our 
nativity, skin., and hair, are defiled, what good can come 
thereof ? This is our title which we have received from Adam, 
in this one thing we may glory, and in nothing else ; namely, 
that every infant that is born into this world is wholly in the 
power of sin, death, Satan, hell, and eternal damnation; our 
nativity is altogether miserable, and on every side to be lamented. 
To deliver us from this nativity, God sent another nativity, 
which it behoved to be pure and without spot, that it might 
make this unclean and sinful nativity pure. This is that nativity 
of the Lord Christ, his only begotten Son. Wherefore he 
would not have him born of flesh and blood, infected with sin ; 
but it behoved that he should be born of a pure virgin. He 
suffered no spot at all nor sin in his flesh, but replenished it 
with the Holy Ghost, and permitted nothing to stick therein, 
but those miseries which proceed of flesh and blood ; as hunger, 
thirst, adversity, and death, sin excepted, as the Epistle to the 
Hebrews, chap, iv., witnesseth that he (( was in all points 
tempted like as we are, yet without sin." This is that most 
excellent thing which the Lord our God hath done for us; 
whereof none taketh any fruit, but he that believeth. And none 
will easily believe this, but he that feeleth of what sort his own 
nativity is. He that hath no feeling of his own misery, tasteth 
not of this nativity of Christ. But if we feel our misery, it 
followeth forthwith, that we cry with the prophet David, and 
say, " Behold I was shapen in wickedness, and in sin hath my 
mother conceived me." For we feel our sin, and our evil 
nativity. When death shall come upon us, and our heart shall 


be touched with anguish and grief, then at the last, it may he 
that we would taste of this happy and pure nativity, and will 
exceedingly thirst after it to enjoy it. 

But, now, when as we feel not our sins, neither do as yet 
taste of the bitterness of sin, it slideth coldly to the heart; we 
hear it indeed, but truly it doth not thoroughly enter unto the 
heart. For if a man did believe that this nativity was for his 
advantage, he would fear neither sin nor death. W herefore I 
have said, that a Christian must believe, and doubt nothing 
that the nativity of Christ is as well his as it is the Lord Christ s : 
and as lie hath of the virgin pure blood and flesh, so that he 
himself is also pure; and that this virgin is his mother spirit 
ually, as she was the mother of Christ carnally. Let the heart 
have sure confidence in this persuasion, otherwise it will be in 
an evil case. This the angel signifieth in these words, when he 
sayeth, Unto you he is born ; as if he had said, Whatsoever he 
is and hath, ye may challenge it to yourselves. Also, he is 
your Saviour, not that ye should only look upon him, but which 
is able to deliver you from the tyranny of sin, death, Satan, 
and all evil ; yea, and how great soever it be, he is c born unto 
you," and is yours, with all that he hath. 

Now, forasmuch as he is mine, and hath changed his nativity 
into mine, his flesh and blood also is mine, he himself is mine, 
with all wherewith he is endued, so that I dare say unto his 
mother, Behold, that child which thou hast brought forth is 
mine, his flesh and blood are my flesh and blood, yea, and thou 
art my mother, and I will be counted of thee for thy son ; for 
whatsoever Christ bringeth with him, it must be mine, even as 
he himself is mine : if so be that his nativity is mine, being of 
a virgin, and without sin replenished with the Holy Ghost, my 
nativity also must be of a virgin, and pure from sin. Here, 
now, Eve the first mother is no more my mother ; for it must 
needs be that that nativity utterly die and perish, that there may 
be no sin remaining. Here this mother, Mary, is to be set 
against that mother, of whom 1 was born in sin. And thus the 
angel bringeth with him great joy, for it cannot be but that the 
heart should be made glad, when it enjoyeth this Saviour as its 
own. When we come to hand strokes, that is, when we feel 
our misery and calamity, there remaineth no comfort or help ; 
then my heart cannot lift itself above the heavy burden where 
with it is pressed down, but it must faint and be discouraged : 
but if I conceive a trust, and doubt nothing that Christ s nativity 


is mine, that my sins are taken away by him,, I become exceed 
ing joyful, and am confirmed with comfort, whereby all heavi 
ness and sorrow is shaken off. This only is that comfort, and 
no other which maketh a good conscience : which feareth 
neither death nor hell, for it always resteth upon the word of 
God, which giveth Christ unto us : wherefore it is a thing alto 
gether miserable and lamentable if such a good conscience be 
sought in any other things than here. Thou shalt find no joy, 
no peace of conscience, neither in heaven, nor in earth, but in 
this Christ ; be thou certain and sure thereof. Wherefore let 
all other things pass, and cleave unto him only, if thou desirest 
to be bold and courageous against sin, death, the devil, hell, 
and all things that are against thee : he is the Lord and 

Ye understand, I trust, this right well, forasmuch as ye have 
now heard it so often. But I do with so great earnestness, as 
it were, beat it into your minds, that ye may see, that there is 
but one thing taught in the whole Scripture, which I would have 
to stick firmly and undoubtedly in you ; this is that which I 
have said, that the use of this nativity be known. They which 
seek any other thing, and use not this nativity, are in a despe 
rate case, as ye have heard ; which ye have very well expressed 
in this song, the author whereof, whosoever he was, did nothing 
err from the purpose, viz., that the only child Christ is our 
comfort ; which words surely are of very great importance, and 
deserve most diligently to be weighed. For ye sung after this 
sort : A child, highly to be praised, is born vmto you this day, 
of a chaste virgin, to the comfort of us wretches. If that child 
had not been born, we had perished all. Is it not said here, 
that there is no comfort beside only Christ ? which indeed is 
most true. Without doubt the Holy Ghost taught him that 
made this song to sing after this sort. If the case stands thus, 
it followeth, that monks, nuns, sacrificing priests, and all which 
leave this child, and seek to come to heaven by other ways and 
works, be condemned ; for such say, that they need not this 
child, otherwise they would confess that their own works are 
nothing worth. These therefore do nothing but deceive and 
seduce, by whom men s hearts are procured to depart from 
Christ, and are led away unto Satan. In the aforesaid song is 
contained, moreover, He is the salvation of us all ; oh 1 sweet 
Jesus Christ, forasmuch as thou art born man, defend us from 
hell. I greatly desire that ye did well understand this j it is 


sung abroad everywhere, but there is none that thoroughly 
believeth it. Whereupon it cometh, that some do oppose these 
things, especially they, which know, sing and babble very much 
of them ; so that truly I fear, that Christ is never more blas 
phemed than at this feast of his nativity, and at other great 
feasts; that it should be no marvel, if, when lie is so blas 
phemed, he should suffer the whole world to be swallowed up. 
But the last day is at hand. Wherefore endeavour that ye may 
sound this excellent song in your heart ; and as ye sing it in 
mouth, so ye may also believe it. 

If the case stands thus, that all things without this child are 
vain, what need is there then of much business ? why dost thou 
nm this way and that way, and endeavonrest to do works, 
whereby thou mayest prepare thee a seat in heaven ? which 
they especially do, that murmur over many rosaries, and con 
tinually extol the mother of (iod in mouth only, but in heart 
think more evil of her than of all others ; and not only of her, 
but of Christ himself also, the Lord and Saviour. Wherefore 
commit this so to memory that ye may be certainly persuaded, 
that whatsoever dependeth of any other than of that child, it is 
all damnable; otherwise the angel had lied. This must he ac 
counted for most certain, without any addition ; neither are 
these trifles to be weighed, vi/., that this sufliceth not that 
thou dost believe, more things are to he added. Forasmuch then 
as the angel saith, that this child doth all, and that he is the 
Saviour; and if he he not, that all labour is lost; tell me, how 
can it follow, that something is to be done of thee, when it is 
already done before ? Dost thou go about to do anything that 
thou mayest obtain him ? That child suffereth not himself to 
be apprehended and obtained by works ; for although thou 
heapest together works, notwithstanding thou dost not yet 
enjoy the child. Moreover, thy works be unclean, by which 
such great treasure cannot be gotten ; no, though they were 
even holy. But he is to be apprehended in heart, so that thou 
believe and say to the angel, I believe that it is true which thou 
gayest, and nothing at all doubting, I count this child for a 
Saviour horn unto me. And this part, whereof we have now 
spoken, pertaineth to faith. 

Now we have here also another part, pertaining to Christian 
life, namely, charity, that works may not be rejected. If thou 
wilt do works, do them not in that respect, that thou persuade 
thyself that thou dost obtain anything of God by them : but 


follow this example ; such a one as Christ hath shewed himself 
to thee, he thou also toward thy neighbour. If thou more 
nearly consider the example of Christ, thou shalt find nothing 
but mere love ; whereas he humbleth himself, and is horn in so 
great poverty, that declareth nothing hut love toward thee, 
which moved him to become a servant for thy sake, as Paul 
(Phil. ii. 6) saith, who knew that he might remain in divine 
glory. Now this he did for thy advantage, he bowed his eyes 
to thy misery and calamity, which art so miserable a man, 
wholly damnable, and abounding with sin ; thy nativity is un 
clean,, thy misery is on every side most great, thou hast 
deserved nothing but the wrath of God, and eternal damnation. 
If thou hadst been a Carthusian monk a thousand years, thou 
couldst not deliver thyself from this misery and damnation. But 
Christ is able to help thee, he is rich, and hath strength suffi 
cient ; seeing therefore he can do such things, he doth them 
willingly and with pleasure. Love enforceth him so far, that he 
employs all things for thy sake, and bestows whatever he hath 
for thee. Forasmuch then as Christ sheweth so great love 
toward thee, and giveth unto thee whatsoever he is able, do 
thou likewise to thy neighbour. 

Wilt thou work works ? derive them to thy neighbour, who 
is compassed with troubles and miseries. Thou must do nothing 
for this cause, that Christ hath need thereof, whereby thou mayest 
enrich him ? for neither was he bountiful to this end, that he 
might anything profit his Father thereby, or that he might 
receive any benefit of him ; but he did it only for this cause, that 
therein the Father might be well pleased, inasmuch as he sub 
mitted himself wholly to his Father s will, and loveth us with so 
great affection : after the same sort we also must do in our works 
toward our neighbour, which we ought therefore only to do, that 
we may give thanks to the Father, that he sheweth his favour 
unto us, for that he hath given his beloved Son unto me, to 
bestow upon me whatsoever he hath. 

When I believe this undoubtedly, I burst out and say, If God 
sheweth unto me such benefits and favour in his beloved Son, 
that he suffereth him to bestow all things upon me, I also will 
do the like again, and bestow all things whereby I may do good 
to my neighbour, and love him. And so I do not lift up mine 
eyes unto heaven, but I go thither, where my neighbour is 
oppressed with adversity, poverty, sickness, sin, or error, and I 
help him whereinsoever I am able. Thus do thou, whosoever 


thou art, which mindestto do true good works ; as thou wouldcst 
have done to thyself, if thou wert troubled with poverty, so do 
thou to thy neighbour being poor. Again, if thy neighbour be 
a sinner, and thou seest it, but thou thyself art without sin, and 
hast a holy nativity, go preach unto him, whereby he also may 
be delivered. But thou must do all these things freely in every 
respect^ as Christ hath done for thee without all works and merits 
of pure grace, love, and mercy. Such work sec thou do if thou 
wilt do <^ood and Christian works indeed. God hath no need of 


them, nevertheless thou must do them in respect of him, inas 
much as it so pleaseth him, and he will have it to be so. This 
only is rightly to do good works, which those hypocrites do not, 
which will merit heaven by their chastity, poverty, and obedi 
ence. Unto whom, I pray you, are such work s of theirs good ? 
I myself need them not, neither do they profit my neighbour, 
wherefore it is mere deceit, whereas a name is given to works as 
though they did merit heaven ; whenas they are nothing worth, 
neither profitable to others. Lay up these things in your hearts, 
and do also according to them. 

In all this text being discussed from the beginning to the end 
ing, ye have these two things, namely, faith and love. If ye shall 
keep these, then both the holy nativity of Christ shall be a help 
and comfort unto you, and also ye shall be spiritually the chil 
dren of his mother, as Christ Jesus is her child carnally. 

An exposition of the song of the angels, " Glory be to God 
on high, and on earth, peace, good-will towards men." Foras 
much as this song is very common, and there be few that rightly 
understand it, notwithstanding it containeth many things, 1 think- 
good to handle it somewhat at large. The Angels in this hymn 
apply three things to three: Glory to God, peace to the earth, 
and good-will unto men. The first is the honour or glory of 
God, with which we must begin, that in all things praise and 
glory may be ascribed to God, as to him which doeth, giveth, 
and hath all things, so that none may challenge any good thing 
unto himself, neither ought to count it his own. Glory is so due 
to God only, that no part thereof may be derived to any other. 
Adam being persuaded of Satan, went about to take this glory 
to himself, whereby all men fell into the displeasure of God, and 
have that vice so thoroughly fixed in their mind, that nothing 
can be so hardly plucked away from them. Every man pleaseth 
himself, no man can bear to seem that he is nothing, or is able 
to do nothing, whereof come almost all evils, so many conten- 


tions, wars, and innumerable other inconveniences. This glory 
Christ gave to God his Father, teaching that all our things are 
nothing before God but sin, which deserve his wrath and indig 
nation. Wherefore there is no cause, that we should even never 
so little please ourselves or glory in them, but rather that we 
should be ashamed and fear, being set in so great peril and con 
fusion, that so all our glory and pleasing of ourselves may pass 
away and come to nothing, and we may rejoice, being destitute 
of our own glory, that we may be found and saved in Christ 
alone. The second is peace on earth ; for as where the glory of 
God is not, and where every one seeketh his own glory, there 
cannot be peace, according as Solomon saith, (Prov. xiii. 20,) 
<e Only by pride cometh contention ;" on the contrary, where 
the glory of God is known, there true peace also must needs be. 
For why should they contend ; why should they disagree, 
which know, every one of them, that they have no good thing of 
their own, but that all things which are, which they have, and 
which they are able to do, come from God, to whose power also 
they commit all things, in the mean season being very well con 
tent, that they have God favourable unto them ? How also can it 
be, that when one counteth nothing of himself and the things 
that be his, he should be so careful of himself and his things, 
that he should move contention with any because of them ? Such 
believe that Christ only is made all things unto them, him they 
think on, and for him alone they contend. Hereupon it cer 
tainly followeth, that there can be no contention or discord at all 
among true Christians ; which manner of peace of Christians 
Isaiah declareth, and saith, (chap. ix. 9,) " They shall not hurt 
nor destroy in all my holy mountain j" that is, in the church of 
Christ. The cause hereof he acldeth next after, " for the earth 
shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord ;" that is, for all know 
God as to whom all good things do belong, and all their own 
things they confess to be nothing but sin, they may easily there 
fore have peace among themselves. Wherefore the same Isaiah 
saith, (chap. ii. 4,) (( And he shall judge among the nations, and 
shall rebuke many people : and they shall beat their swords into 
plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks : nation shall 
not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war 
any more." Hereupon Christ is called the King of Peace, or 
the Prince of Peace, of whom Solomon was a figure, who is 
called peaceable. For Christ is truly called our King Solomon, 
that is, peaceable, which hath restored peace unto us inwardly 
with God through faith in him, and outwardly with our neigh- 


bours through love, whereby \ve live friendly with all men ; and 
so by him we have peace everywhere, both inwardly, and out 
wardly in the earth. 

The third is good-will of men. Xot that good-will, whereby 
we work good works, but whereby we take in good part all things 
that happen, whether they be good or evil, sweet or sour, and 
receive them with a quiet heart. The angels knew that the 
peace which they sung of, should be only among Christians, which 
in all things depend upon Christ, and usurp nothing themselves 
as their own. But in the mean season the world and Satan, 
which exceedingly envy them, do on every side procure trouble 
unto them, and persecute them even unto death, so that they may 
look for no peace or quietness at all, for Christ saith, (John xvi,) 
<; In me ye shall have peace, but in the world ye shall have tri 
bulation." Therefore it was not enough for the angels to have 
sung, i( Peace on earth," but it was to be added, " And good-will 
towards men," that when they, as much as they are able, have 
peace with all men, and nevertheless are continually hated of all 
men, and sutVer persecution, they may always keep a good- will 
whereby they may take all things in good part, and give thanks 
to God, however he dealeth with them, or suiYereth them to be 
dealt with, they may not, murmur, but resign and commit them 
selves wholly to the will of God ; yea, (forasmuch as they know 
that God disposes and governs all things, in whom they are sure, 
that they have a merciful and most favourable Father unto them 
through Christ) they may even rejoice and be glad in persecu 
tion, according to that, saying of Paul, in the Epistle to the 
Romans: "We rejoice in afflictions and persecutions." For 
inasmuch as they have a joyful conscience and a sure trust of the 
favour of God, they cannot but count all things for the best, 
whatsoever happen. 

Behold what kind of good-will it is in all things, whether they 
be prosperous or unprosperous, which the angels here wish unto 
men, and sing, to be proper to the believers. Where such good 
will is wanting, there peace cannot belong. Men take all things 
in the worse, they take nothing in good part, but always increase 
and double the evil. Hereupon howsoever God dealeth with 
them, they like it not, but require that they may be dealt other 
wise with ; and so it falletli out, as in Psalm xviii. 20 : (i With 
the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure, and with the fro ward thou 
wilt shew thyself froward ; that is, with him that counteth all 
things pure to himself, and hath that good- will in things, whereof 
we have spoken, thou also doest well agree, us he pleaseth thee 


and all good men. But he that is froward, so that neither thou, 
nor those things that are thine like him, cannot but displease 
thee and all good men. Of this well-pleasing one another Paul 
speaketh, (1 Cor. x. 33,) " Endeavour to please all men, even 
as I please all." By what means shall this be done ? If thou 
take all things in good part, and suffer others to please thee, thou 
also shalt please others. The matter may be comprehended in 
one word : if thou wilt be liked of none, nothing shall be liked 
of thee : if thou wilt be liked of all, suffer that all things maybe 
also liked of thee, but so that thou do not neglect the word of 
the Lord : for that ought to be preferred before all, without any 
regard had of all men, what pleaseth them, or what displeaseth 
them. But whatsoever may be done without transgressing the 
word of God, give place to all, and submit thy judgment to the 
judgment of others, that thou mayest take everything in good 
part, which shall chance unto thee, and so thou shalt have the 
good-will, whereof the angels sung. 

By this song may be understood, what nature the angels have. 
I omit those things which the philosophers have dreamed hereof; 
here is so described what the angels are, that it cannot be more 
fully done, their heart and cogitations being declared. First, 
with great joy they sing praises to God, acknowledging all things 
to be due unto him, and therefore with an ardent mind, sing and 
glorify him. As therefore thou wouldest think of a right, lowly, 
pure, and obedient heart, praising God, and always enjoying 
perpetual gladness in him, so think also of the angels j and thou 
hast now the nature of angels, as much as they have to do with 
God. The second thing to be considered in them is their love 
towards us. Think that they are most loving towards us, which 
desire that it may go as well with us as with themselves ; they 
do no less rejoice for our safety than for their own, and even in 
this hymn, full of love towards us, they declare themselves so 
affected towards us, that surely, we may think and rejoice of 
them, as of most loving friends. This is to know the angels 
truly, not according to their essence, whereof the philosophers 
foolishly and without fruit spake many things, not according to 
their heart and mind, so that although I know not what their 
nature is in itself, yet I know what is their chief desire, and 
their continual work. Thus much shall suffice at this time con 
cerning the song of the angels, and the fruit of the nativity of 
the child Jesus Christ. God grant us his grace, that we may 
print these things in our heart, and according unto them also 
amend our life Amen* 




Matt. ii. 1 11. Now when Jesus was horn in Bethlehem of 

Jitdcca, in the days of Herod the King, behold there came 
wise men from the East to Jerusalem, $c. 

WE celebrate this day a noble and most comfortable feast, con 
cerning the appearing of the Lord Jesus, who appeared a special 
comfort to all them which seek him with a strong faith : First, 
to the wise men which came from the East : Secondly, to John 
the Baptist, when being about thirty years of age lie was baptized 
of him in Jordan, and the Holy Ghost and voice of the Father 
gave testimony of him, that he is the Son of God : Thirdly, 
when he shewed his glory and power in a miracle, wherein he 
turned water into wine at a marriage, whereby he would procure 
reverence and estimation to matrimony, which now, alas! is after 
a shameful sort torn, contemned, and rejected of the Pope and 
his adherents as a certain miserable and wretched state. For 
whatsoever God hath ordained, that of the world is contemned : 
whereof at convenient time we will speak more, and we have 
already, as I think, written sufficient thereof. Now we will speak 
in few words of the first appearance. 

The wise men of Arabia, which were industrious men, and 
without all doubt governors of that country (as it v\ as at that 
time the manner in those parts), when they had seen the star in 
the East, breaking off all delay, made haste to Jerusalem, dili 
gently seeking for the King of the Jews being new born. Where 
we ought to mark, that they could neither seek nor find out this 
King, the Lord Christ, but by the star going before them, which 
at the last led them so far, that by the word of God they were 
certified where this King was to be found. So also it is with us \ 
w r e cannot find Christ without the Gospel, without the word of 
God ; that must shew him unto us, and bring us thither where 
we may find him ; which is only done when we receive the same 
gospel by faith ; otherwise, although we have it, hear it, and 
know it, it profiteth us nothing; we shall not therefore find 
him, no more than the scribes found him, who, notwithstanding 
they had the scriptures readily, and shewed the way to others 


not coming into it themselves, for the thing did not touch their 
hearts ; they did drowsily neglect that King, whom with great 
sighs they had looked for many ages. 

Wherefore it is not enough that we have the gospel, or that 
we hear it, but we must believe it, and lay it up in the secrets of 
our heart,, otherwise we shall never find Christ. Here also you 
see, that it doth not skill., whether one be learned or unlearned, 
instructed in many places of scripture, or in few, unto whom God 
giveth grace, he enjoyeth Christ. He respecteth not the person^ 
but whom he draweth he is drawn, although in the mean season 
he provideth that the gospel be always preached. After, there 
fore, that these wise men had found the child Christ, the King of 
the Jews, at Bethlehem, together with Joseph and Mary, by the 
shewing of the scripture, and guiding of the star, they were not 
offended at the poor estate of the child, but, being taught by the 
word, acknowledged that child for the Messias and King of the 
Jews, whom the Jews had looked for so many years, and opened 
their treasures before him, offering unto him gold, frankincense, 
and myrrh. Wherein again we ought to mark the nature of 
faith, that it is offended at nothing, but cleaveth to the word 
only, and doth not esteem those things that shine outwardly. 
These wise men did not therefore disdain, neither turned back, 
because the child, together with his parents, were without pomp, 
in poverty and misery, and nothing less than a kingly child 
appeareth unto them, but they go on, and undoubtedly acknow 
ledge him for a King, as they had learned concerning him out 
of the scriptures. Moreover, they give unto him the honour 
meet for a King, they offer most precious gifts, which they 
had brought, being even of the best sort, out of their own 

Now the world would have done no such thing, but according 
to the manner thereof, would have looked for garments of 
purple, and resort of servants, and handmaidens. In such places 
it is wont to bestow its gifts, viz., where there is great plenty 
and abundance before : yet it is of that quality that it depriveth 
the poor and afflicted of those things that they have, it taketh 
bread out of the mouth of the hungry and needy, which have 
nothing, but as they get it hardly, by labouring all that they 
are able. Whereof we learn, that if we will honour Christ with 
these wise men, we must shut our eyes, and turn them from all 
that which seemeth fair, goodly, and noble before the world : 
neither must thou be offended or abhor it, if any thing seem, 



vile, contemptible, and ridiculous unto the world : let this suffice, 
that thou knowest that it pleaseth God, which is in heaven. 
Take heed unto thyself concerning these things, which shine 
hefore the world, exercise thyself in those works, which seemeth 
unto reason foolish and light, as are to help the needy, to 
comfort the afflicted, and to count the calamity of thy neigh- 
hour thine own. If thou shalt he diligently exercised in these, 
and, faith being thy guide, shalt, endeavour rightly to apply 
thyself unto them, then other works which have a fair shew, as 
to institute masses, to be occupied in vigils, to build temples, 
and such like follies, shall be pluckt out of thy heart and 
vanish away, unto which works, almost the whole world is 
addicted ; they are, indeed, fair in outward shew, and seem to 
be very precious, notwithstanding they are an abomination unto 

But whatsoever God hath commanded, as to do good to our 
neighbour, and to be touched with his adversities no less than 
with our own, to bear a friendly and willing mind toward him, 
these are neglected, and in the eyes of the world appear trifling 
and foolish 5 whereupon we greatly abhor them. How cometh 
this to pass ? even because they have no goodly shew outwardly. 
And the common people of Germany arc wont to say, That 
which shincth not, and hath not a fair shew, is nothing set by. 
Moreover, God doth sooner suffer himself to want his own honour 
and due service, than he would have us to leave off doing our 
duty toward our neighbour as Christ witnesseth, Matt. v. 23, 
24. (( Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there 
rememberest that thv brother hath ouijht against thee : leave 

* CD O 

there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be 
reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." 
Here you most plainly both hear and see, that God will not be 
served, unless we first go to our neighbour, and be reconciled 
to him. 

For the same cause also God rejectcth the sacrifices of the 
Jews, as it is in the prophecy of Isaiah, i. 11, for they that 
neglected those things which were more necessary, namely, 
mercy and faith ; for thus he saith : " To what purpose is the 
multitude of your sacrifices unto me ? saith the Lord : I am full 
of the burnt- offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts, and I 
delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats. 
When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at 
your hand to tread my courts ? Bring no more vain oblations, 


incense is an abomination unto me, the new moons and sabbaths, 
the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with, it is iniquity, 
even the solemn meeting. Your new moons, and your ap 
pointed feasts, my soul hateth : they are a trouble unto me, I 
am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, 
I will hide mine eyes from you : yea, when ye make many 
prayers, I will not hear : your hands are full of blood. Wash 
ye, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from 
before mine eyes, cease to do evil, learn to do well, seek judg 
ment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the 
widow," &c., as is there rehearsed in Isaiah. By these words 
you see what God requireth and what he alloweth. When we 
neglect these works, by which our neighbour is served, he will 
neglect us. For whatsoever benefit we bestow upon our neigh 
bour, that we bestow upon God and Christ himself, as he shall 
pronounce in the last judgment; Matt. xxv. 40. (i Inasmuch 
as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye 
have done it unto me/ When thou nearest this, thou wilt not 
glory much of the temples which thou hast built, or masses 
which thou hast founded. For then he will say, What have I 
to do with thy temples and masses ? what with thine altar and 
bells ? thinkest thou that I am delighted with stones and wood, 
with bells and banners ? are not all things mine first ? heaven 
is my seat, and the earth is my footstool. Who commanded 
thee to build temples ? I have set living temples before thee, 
these are to be edified, nourished, and relieved, but thou hast 
been occupied with other trifles, which I have not commanded; 
I know thee not, away with thy temples and masses : ye ought 
to have put your trust in me only, but all your delight consisted 
in such works as though it had been your purpose to wrest 
heaven from me, and that I may comprehend all in a brief sum : 
whatsoever I have commanded, that have you neglected, and 
whatsoever I have detested and abhorred, that have you dili 
gently done ; this therefore I will requite you with again. I 
know you not, you may resort unto that God which hath com 
manded you to do these things. 

Hence therefore let us learn, how the wise men did not abhor 
the poor, and on every side miserable appearance of this infant 
and his parents, that we also may be so affected towards the 
miserable and pitiful estate of our neighbours, and may be per 
suaded that we find Christ in them, and that whatsoever is 
bestowed upon them, Christ does acknowledge it as bestowed 

C 2 


upon himself. His kingdom consisteth in the poor, despised, 
and abject, yea, in the holy cross, in contempt, in persecution, 
in affliction and misery,, as St. Paul saith out of the Psalms : 
Psalm xliv. 22. " Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day 
long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter." In another 
place also he saith, 1 Cor. iv. 13. "We are made as the filth of 
the world, and are the offscouring of all things/ Wherefore 
Christ said to his disciples, when he sent them forth to preach 
in Judea, "Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of 
wolves/ Matt. x. 16. They now that seek Christ any other 
than in such a contemptible form in the cross, and in persecu 
tion, do not find him. The wise men find the King Christ being 
newly born, not in Herod s court, not among the princes and 
priests, not at Jerusalem, in so noble and famous a city, but at 
Bethlehem in a stable, with poor and despised creatures, namel) , 
Joseph and Mary. In short Christ will there be found, where a 
man would least seek for him. We must diligently consider 
also, what these wise men signified by their gifts. For as 
suredly they shewed by them, that this child is a King, and not 
a king only, but also God and man. 

In offering gold they acknowledged him for a King, as if they 
would say, We bring unto thee gold, not that we would thereby 
enrich thce. For gold, silver, and whatsoever is made, is thine 
before, but hereby we acknowledge thee to be a most mighty 
King over all things. So we also offer gold unto Christ, when 
we acknowledge him for our King and Lord : but unto this is 
required a very strong faith. For if 1 ought to acknowledge him 
for my King and Lord, all mine own will must be extinguisher^ 
that it reign not in me : for Christ only must reign and rule in 
me, that he may do whatsoever it pleaseth him in me, and con 
cerning me, all things must be committed unto him. So the 
leper in Matthew did, which said unto Christ, "Lord, if thou 
wilt, thou canst make me clean." Therefore my will must be 
utterly extinguished in me, if that I will have Christ to reign in 
me. Christ also suffered not his own will to rule, but he always 
submitted himself to the will of his Father, which he testifieth 
in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of St. John, ver. 38. "For I 
came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will 
of him that sent me." Yea, he obeyed his Father even unto 
death, and submitted himself wholly to his will. We, imitating 
this example, which is written for our singular consolation, 
ought to submit our will to God and his Christ, and to rest 


confidently upon him. He knoweth how to bring the matter to 
pass, as it is said, Psalm xxxvii. 5. ee Commit thy way unto the 
Lord : trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass." And a 
little after, " Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him." 
Such sentences ought to provoke us patiently to suffer the will 
of God in us, whether sweet things or sour, commodities or 
incommodities come unto us : for he knoweth with what tem 
perance to lay them upon us. Blessed is he that believeth 
these things from his heart. Who, being such an one, can be 
troubled with sorrow ? such a man, howsoever he be handled, 
whether he be burned or drowned, cast into prison, or otherwise 
grievously dealt with, he taketh all in good part ; for he knoweth 
that these things shall turn to his advantage. After this sort 
we also offer gold with the wise men, when we take away rule 
from our own will, and suffer Christ to work in us according to 
his will and pleasure. Wherefore they are hypocrites which 
know not to suffer the will of God, but howsoever he dealeth 
with them have always complaints. They, forsooth, suppose, 
that whatsoever they think, it shall have success according 
to their thinking. If it fall out otherwise they are angry, 
they do not patiently suffer persecution and contempt : they 
murmur, they find fault, and vex when those things happen, 
like horses stirred up with fury or rage. So therefore by re 
sisting they stay the kingdom of Christ from them, and deprive 
Christ of gold, which, notwithstanding they ought to offer and 
present unto him, that is, they themselves will bear rule, and 
do not vouchsafe to acknowledge Christ for their King and 

By frankincense they resembled divine honour, which we offer 
unto him, when we confess, that whatsoever we have, we must 
acknowledge to have come from God, and that we have it freely, 
and without any merit of ours j therefore all these things are 
to be ascribed unto him, as to the true Lord, neither must we 
glory in the good things received, but his glory is to be sought 
in them. And if he take them from us again, we ought to suffer 
him with quiet minds, and to bless him with the beloved Job in 
these words: " Naked came I out of my mother s womb, and 
naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath 
taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord," Job i. 21. And 
so we ought to suffer all misfortunes and adversities, as if God 
himself cast them upon our neck, so that none shall be able to 
offend us, unless he take away Christ from us. Not so much as 


a hair of our bead shall perish, as Christ saith to his disciples, 
Luke xxi. Wherefore whatever shall molest us, what adversity 
soever shall come unto us, we ought never to seek any other 
God, we ought nowhere to seek any other help and comfort, 
than of Christ alone. This is he which is made unto us of God 
the Father, wisdom, righteousness, sanctiiication, and redemp 
tion. Then only we offer unto Christ that right frankincense of 
Arabia, when we fly unto him alone in our calamities, afflictions, 
and anguishes. But they that seek after strange helps and 
comforts, as of sorcerers, witches, and such like, they do not 
offer frankincense unto Christ, but stinking brimstone, wherein 
they shall be burned for ever, for that they have not believed 
and trusted in Christ. 

By myrrh they signified a mortal man : for with myrrh dead 
bodies were anointed, that for certain years they should not 
putrify. Now myrrh is a strong and a bitter juice, which dis- 
tilleth from the trees of Arabia, like unto gum, or as with us 
rosin issueth out of the pine-tree, and fir-tree, &c. But then 
we offer myrrh unto Christ, when we firmly believe that he by 
his death hath overcome sin, Satan, and hell. And this i^ a 
special faith. If we but a little doubt here, it is not well with 
us. But if I believe from my heart, that death, sin, the devil, 
and hell are swallowed up in and by the death of Christ, I shall 
not be afraid of them all. I shall easily be preserved from rot 
tenness which death bringeth, when I have myrrh, that is, the 
death of my Lord Christ in my body and soul, this will not 
suffer me to perish. So strong and valiant a thing is faith, unto 
which even all things are possible, as Christ saith, Mark ix. 23. 
Here must we learn daily with our Lord Christ to bring under 
our old Adam, and to mortify his concupiscences, by the cross 
and temptations, not that cross which we choose, but which 
Christ layeth on us, let us bear it patiently and with a willing 
mind, that so our body may be subdued, and made subject to the 
Spirit, that being so buried with Christ through baptism, we 
may be raised up again with him, and he alone may reign and 
live in us. Hereunto sighing is required, which the Holy Ghost 
maketh in us for our sake, as St. Paul saith, Rom. viii. 26, that 
Christ will help us to keep under this unruly and obstinate flesh, 
that it presume not too licentiously, and thrust the noble soul 
into the mire. This our baptism doth signify, viz., that old and 
stinking Adam be mortified and buried, which we ought always 
to revolve in our mind, seeing that as long as we live here, sin 
doth remain in us. 


Wherefore always something must be repaired in us without 
all intermission, through the cogitation of baptism, as it were in 
a house decayed through oldness, even unto such time as we de 
part this life. Whereof St. Paul treateth in very good words, 
Rom. vi. 3, which are diligently to be marked of us ; he saith 
thus : " Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into 
Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death ? Therefore we are 
buried with him by baptism into death : that like as Christ was 
raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we 
also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted 
together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the 
likeness of his resurrection : knowing this, that our old man is 
crucified with him that the body of sin might be destroyed, 
that henceforth we should not serve sin. Now if we be dead 
with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him : know 
ing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more ; 
death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he 
died unto sin once : but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, 
but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." 

Thus much concerning the first appearance. Now we will 
speak somewhat of the second, that is, of the baptism of Christ. 
In the baptism of Christ, three things are to be considered. The 
first, that the heavens were opened when he was baptized. 
The second, that the Holy Ghost was seen in the likeness of a 
dove. The third, that the voice of the Father was heard, which 
said : " This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." 
As Christ vouchsafed to be baptized with water, he hath hal 
lowed baptism, and made the water thereof holy, that he which 
is baptized in his name, might become likewise holy and clean 
from sin, and might have the heavens open. Now Christ was 
not baptized for himself, for he was not infected with the spot of 
any sin, as St. Peter saith, 1 Pet. ii. 22. He behaved himself 
like unto a good physician, which before the sick doth first drink 
some bitter potion, that the sick may more gladly and boldly 
do the same afterward. For we in baptism drink a bitter potion, 
namely, the mortification of the old Adam, which, with the bit 
terness thereof, doth greatly trouble us. For that dipping into 
the water or sprinkling with it doth signify nothing else, but that 
the old Adam should perish and die. This is greatly furthered 
by the cross, which God according to his divine will layeth upon 
us, which we ought not to cast from us, but bear willingly and 
with a patient mind. 


But that this might be easier for us to do, even Christ hath 
taken it upon himself, he suffered himself to be baptized, and 
took his cross and carried it, not resisting or gainsaying, and so 
was obedient to his Father unto the death, even the death of the 
cross, as Paul saith,, Phil, ii., that he might deliver us from sin, 
and might appease his heavenly Father, which he did of his 
mere grace without any desert of ours: whereof we have bap 
tism a sign and pledge, as Paul saith unto Titus, ill. 4 : " But 
after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man 
appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, 
but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of rege 
neration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us 
abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour: that, being jus 
tified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the 
hope of eternal life." Secondly, the Holy Ghost appeared here 
in the likeness of a dove, when Christ is bapti/ed, whereby is 
signified, that we also receive the Holy Ghost in our baptism, 
which ruleth and guiueth us according to the will of God, which 
is present with us, and helpetli us in bearing the burden of the 
holy cross, which exhorteth us, which is instant upon us, cn- 
forceth us, and, when we yield to the burden of the cross, is 
present and helpetli us; if we fall, raiseth us up again, and is 
with us as a certain faithful companion in our journey. He also 
maketh the burden of the cross light, which we were very 
unable to bear, if he did not put his help. If so be that thou 
fall into sin, remember to go back unto thy baptism, for this is 
the only ship wherein we pass over. 

Wherefore take heed of them which make two tables, 
whereby we pass over the sea of sin ; namely, baptism and 
repentance : believe them not, whatsoever they handle, it is mere 
delusion : baptism is the beginning of repentance. As often 
therefore as thou fallest into sin, have recourse unto thy bap 
tism, there thou shalt again obtain the Holy Ghost, who may be 
present with thee. For repentance is nothing else but a dis 
pleasing of himself, a detesting of his wicked life, and renewing 
of the man, which is represented in baptism. After such a 
renewing of the life, followeth the praise of God and thanks 
giving unto him for the grace received ; then such a man bursts 
forth, and behaveth himself friendly towards his neighbour, and 
doth good to him in all things. This is signified by the Holy 
Ghost appearing upon Christ in the likeness of a dove : for a 
dove wanteth the gall. Such they also become which receive 


the Holy Ghost in baptism, viz., they are gentle and without all 
bitterness towards all. Thirdly, the voice of the Father is heard 
in the baptism of Christ, which saith : " This is my beloved Son, 
in whom I am well pleased." This is that Saviour which de- 
livereth us from the tyranny of sin, death, Satan, and hell. 
Hence we may learn how we must come unto God. He that 
desireth to be the gracious and dear child of God the Father, 
must attain unto this through Christ, through him alone the be 
loved Son, who sitteth in the bosom of his Father : unto whom 
alone the Father looketh, without whom he alloweth nothing, 
and whatsoever pleaseth the Father, it pleaseth him in respect 
of his Son. 

Therefore he that desireth to go to the Father, must cleave 
to this beloved Son, must lay himself upon his back. For by 
this voice all titles, albeit they seem very godly and holy, are 
taken away, nothing is of value or estimation with the Father 
but only this his beloved Son, he is in his special favour. Now 
he that desireth to be in favour with the Father, and to be be 
loved of him, let him fly into the bosom of the Son, by whom 
he findeth access to the Father, as St. Paul saith, Eph. i., that 
through Christ we are adopted, without this Christ we are the 
enemies of God. Whosoever therefore cleaveth to Christ through 
faith, he abideth in the favour of God, he shall also be made 
beloved and acceptable as Christ is, and shall have fellowship 
with the Father and the Son. But where this is not done, there 
is nothing but wrath, there is no honesty, no virtue, no free 
will, neither prayer, nor fasting, nor other works shall profit, 
thou shalt but trifle with all these. For this is a most mighty 
and most excellent voice : " This is my beloved Son, 3 in whom 
all things consist and are comprehended, which are extant in the 
whole scripture. Even as all things are delivered into the 
hands of Christ, and gathered into one, that they may obey him, 
as St. Paul saith : for when God saith, " This is my beloved 
Son," by shewing Christ only, and shewing and naming no 
other, he maketh it plain enough, that none is his beloved Son 
beside him. If so be that others are not beloved sons, it is cer 
tain that they are the children of wrath and indignation. For if 
there were more beloved sons, he would not so set forth and shew 
this Son alone, saying : " This is my beloved Son,," neither 
would turn his eyes unto him only, and glory of him alone, as 
though he knew no other. For the words seem to shew, that 
he diligently looked about, and yet found none, beside him, of 


whom he saith, " This is he," as if he had said: Here at the 
last I have found such a one as pleaseth me, and " is my beloved 
Son," all other generally are not such. 

Moreover, these words are not so only to be understood, for 
it is shewed by them that Christ is very God, as the epistle to 
the Hebrews saith : " For unto which of the angels said he at any 
time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thce ? And 
again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son," 
Sec. For it is most certain that Christ in these words is 
declared to be the true and natural Son of (iod, seeing that 
this word was never said to any creature. Howbeit he had been 
as well the Son of Clod, and had so remained for ever, as 
he hath been from everlasting, although this had not been 
spoken unto us from heaven, neither is any thing added or taken 
away from him by this name, but we must thus think and per 
suade ourselves, that so excellent a praise, and so noble honour 
of Christ, was spoken for our cause. For he himself witnesseth, 
.John xii. 30: "This voice came not because of me, but for 
your sakes." He hath no need that it should be said unto him, 
that he is the Son of God. lie knew this before, and hath from 
everlasting and by his nature, that which he heareth. Where 
fore when that is conceived by voice and word, it pertaineth to 
us, and not unto Christ. Christ without the word is such as 
he is said to be. We have the word without him, of whom it 
is spoken. 

Wherefore we must lay fast hold upon the word without the 
essence, even as he hath the essence without the word. But 
what doth this word r it teacheth us to know Christ, in which 
knowledge our salvation consisteth, as Isaiah, Paul, and Peter, 
witness. But how doth it teach us to know him ? so, that he is 
the Son of God, and doth especially please God his Father, by 
which words God cheereth the hearts of all the faithful, and 
greatly delighteth them with mere comfort, and heavenly sweet 
ness. How is this done ? "When I know, and am sure, that 
this man Christ is the Son of God, and doth in all things please 
the Father, whereof I must be most fully persuaded: forasmuch 
as the divine Majesty confirmed this by his voice from heaven, 
which cannot lie, whereby I am certain, that whatsoever that 
man doth speak and work, they are the mere words and works 
of the beloved Son, which are above measure approved of God. 
This therefore 1 singularly well mark, and lay up in the bottom 
of my heart. 


When I hear Christ speak, or see him do any thing, and that 
for my advantage, which surely he everywhere doth (for he saith, 
that he doth, and suffereth all things for us, that he came to serve 
and not that he should be served), then I remember these words 
of the Father, that he is the beloved Son, then I am enforced to 
think that all that Christ speaketh, doth, and suffereth, and that 
for my sake, doth singularly well please God. Now how can 
God pour out himself more liberally, or shew himself more 
lovingly and sweetly, than by saying, that it doth please him 
from the heart, that Christ his Son doth speak so gently with 
me, doth with so great affection look unto my advantage, and 
with such unusual love, suffer, die, and do whatsoever for my 
sake ? Dost thou doubt, that if man s heart did with due sense 
feel such favour of God in Christ, viz., that he doth so much for 
our sakes, it would not for joy burst into pieces ! for then it 
would look into the depth of the divine breast, yea, and into 
the exceeding and eternal goodness and love of God, which he 
beareth towards us, and hath borne towards us from everlasting, 
But we are too hard-hearted and cold, the flesh doth lie more 
heavy upon us, than we are able to comprehend such words, we 
do not well consider them with ourselves, neither doth our heart 
come near to feel what marvellous and unspeakable love and joy 
they contain in them, otherwise without doubt we should per 
ceive, that heaven and earth are full of the fire of the divine love, 
of life, and righteousness, full of honour and praise, whereunto 
the fire of hell, sin, and death, being compared, are nothing but 
as it were a thing painted or pictured. 

But we are cold, sluggish, and unthankful wretches, for we 
pass over such precious words as things of no importance, and 
as uttered of man, as being contained in a book, or written in 
paper as things utterly decayed, and now long since grown out 
of use by long custom, as though they pertain only to Christ, 
and not to us. And being dull and senseless, we do not see that 
they belong not to Christ, but were committed to writing, and 
are extant only for our sake. Seeing therefore that Christ the 
beloved Son, being in so great favour with God in all things that 
he doth, is thine, and doth in the same, serve thee, as he him 
self witnesseth, without doubt thou art in the same favour and 
love of God that Christ himself is in. And again, the favour 
and love of God are insinuated to thee as deeply as to Christ, 
that now God, together with his beloved Son, doth wholly pos 
sess thee, and thou hast him again wholly, that so God, Christ, 


and thou, tlost become as one certain thing. Hereunto make 
many sentences of the gospel,, but especially in John, as this : 
" Tf a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will 
love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with 
him," John xiv. 23. Also, " And where I am, there shall also 
my servant be," John xii. 2G. Again, " That they all may be 
one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee ; that they also 
may be one in us : that the world may believe that thou hast 
sent me," John xvii. 21. But where is Christ? In the favour 
of God, in the depth of his heart : there also are we, if so be that 
we know and love Christ, there 1 think we are safe enough, there 
our refuge is placed high enough, whither no evil can come, as 
in the ninety-first Psalm. But thou seest that faith is required, 
and that unto these things no law, no work, no merit doth 

Hence it cometh to pass, that so precious words are so ab 
struse and unknown unto reason. For it hath been governed by 
Satan from the creation of the world, when as in paradise it 
would be as Cod, and presumed after honour, which God here 
attributeth to Christ alone, as he is his Son, whereunto it is yet 
also prone and inclined, and setteth itself against these words, 
and the words again are against it. For because Christ is here 
declared the only Son of God, it is mightily overthrown, what 
soever maketh itself God. But who be they that make them 
selves God? Surely Satan and man, which please themselves, 
and love themselves : they seek not after God, but strive to attain 
unto this, that they also may become gods. But what will God 
say unto these ? truly a certain contrary thing to that which he 
said unto Christ : " Christ is my beloved Son, in whom I am well 
pleased, seeing that he glorifieth not himself, and maketh not 
himself God although he is God. But ye are wretches, in whom 
I allow nothing, seeing that ye glorify yourselves, and make 
yourselves gods, although ye are creatures and men, and not 
God." So this sentence given of Christ doth humble the whole 
world, doth shew them to be all void of divinity, and ascribcth it 
to Christ, and that all for our use, if we will admit this sen 
tence: or to our condemnation, if we will not; so that I may 
say at once, without Christ there is no favour, nor any beloved 
son, but very wrath and sore displeasure of God. 


Certain sentences out of the Scripture, concerning Christ, wherein 

is declared., that through him we are loved of the Father, 
and ivithout him are refused. 

JOHN i. 16, 17. " Of his fulness (Christ s) have all we re 
ceived, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, 
but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. John iii. 13. No 
man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from 
heaven, even the Son of man, which is in heaven. John iii. 16, 
\7, 18. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten 
Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but 
have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world 
to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be 
saved. He that believeth on him, is not condemned : but he 
that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not 
believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John iii. 
35, 36. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things 
into his hand. Pie that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting 
life : and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life ; but 
the wrath of God abideth on him. John vi. 40. This is the 
will of him that sent me, that every one which secth the Son, 
and believeth on him, may have everlasting life : and I will raise 
him up at the last day. John vii. 37, 38. In the last clay, that 
great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man 
thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on 
me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers 
of living water. Titus iii. 4, 5, 6, 7- But after that the kind 
ness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by 
works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to 
his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and re 
newing of the Holy Ghost ; which he shed 011 us abundantly, 
through Jesus Christ our Saviour : that being justified by his 
grace we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal 
life." Many other such sentences there be, especially out of 
the epistles of Paul, which every one may gather by himself. 




Matt. i. 1 10. The hook of the generation of Jesus Vhrivt, 
the sun of Davidy the son of Abraham, $c. 

1. MATTHEW beginneth his book with a title or inscription, by 
which the believer is provoked with great pleasure to hear and 
read it. For he saith thus much in elVect : Whom the law and 
prophets have hitherto promised and preached, Jesus, that is, a 
Saviour, and Christ, that is an eternal king ; that he, according 
to the promise of God, should spring and come of the seed of 
Abraham and David, even him do 1 describe in this book, vi/., 
that he is now born, and made man, and already come into the 
world. This I handle through this whole book. 

2. Three lines or degrees are here rehearsed. In the first is 
contained the stock of the fathers, in the second of the kings, in 
the third is contained the decaying stock of David ; after the 
decay whereof, it behoved that Christ should come. For so the 
goodness of God is wont to do, when all things seem even past 
hope and recovery, then at the last he cometh. 

o. Matthew omitted one in his rehearsal, but that maketh no 
matter, seeing that he observeth this one thing, that he counteth 
by the right line from David, by Solomon, to Joseph the hus 
band of Mary. Luke counteth otherwise, and useth another 

When Adam our first father, having fallen by a great offence, 
was guilty of death with all his children, as well in body as in 
soul, it was notwithstanding promised unto him, although ob 
scurely, that both he and his posterity should be delivered, in 
those words, which God spake to the serpent, Gen. iii. 1 ."> : " I 
will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy 
seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt 
bruise his heel." Of these words Adam took comfort, that a 
woman should come, by whose fruit such guile and subtilty of 
the serpent should be amended, and Adam redeemed : this com 
fort upheld Adam, with his posterity, until Noah ; for then the 
promise was renewed, when God made a covenant with the sons 


of Noah, and set the rainbow for a sign of the covenant, whereby 
men might conceive a trust and confidence, that God is yet 
favourable unto them, and doth not purpose their destruction ; 
whereby mankind was again upheld and comforted, even until 

In the time of Abraham God did somewhat shew forth his 
mercy, he declared that he would send a Saviour, who should 
deliver us again from death, both of body and soul ; for although 
the body should die, yet it should not always remain in death, 
but rise again with the Lord Christ : the words which God 
spake to Abraham, Gen. xxii. 18, are thus, " In thy seed shall 
all the nations of the earth be blessed/ Here miserable men 
had a cause to hope and look for a saviour, which should de 
liver them. From that time all the prophets did diversely 
foretel of this above measure flowing fountain of all mercy, that 
is, of this seed, of the Lord Christ, how that he at the last 
should come, that all who believe in him might obtain salva 
tion by that promise which cannot be revoked. If men would 
now open their eyes, they must needs confess and say, that a 
strange and incredible thing is done with us ; that man being 
in state of damnation, cursed, and desperate, should be restored 
by the nativity of one man. Hereupon the prophets cried out 
with ardent prayers and unspeakable groaning, that God would 
vouchsafe to send the Saviour whom he had promised. By 
faith in this Saviour the Israelites afterward obtained the law, 
and this honour before all people, that they were called the 
elect people of God. By which ordinances, written of Moses, 
the anointed was plainly figured and signified, whom this text 
which we have now in hand, setteth forth ; what he is, from 
whence he is, and by faith all obtained salvation, from Abraham 
unto David, even as many as were saved. In the time of David 
God made the coming of the Messiah to be more manifestly 
declared, that it might be certainly known of what stock he 
should come, namely, of the stock of David, as when God said 
unto David, 2 Sam. vii. 12 : " When thy days be fulfilled, and 
thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after 
thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish 
his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I 
will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his 
father, and he shall be my son/ And yet more plainly in 
Psalm cxxxii. 11 : " The Lord hath sworn in truth unto 
David, he will not turn from it, Of the fruit of thy body will I 


set upon thy throne." Here Christ is described, that he shall 
he a king, and an eternal king , as it is mentioned of him in 
another Psalm ; Psalm xlv, 6 : i( Thy throne, O God, is for ever 
and ever : the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre." How- 
beit he is a spiritual king, which ruleth the world by his word ; 
and whosoever receiveth his word, pertaineth to his kingdom; 
but lie that is not under this sceptre, neither heareth his word, 
is not of God, neither pertaineth to his kingdom, but is subject 
to the kingdom of Satan, under whose tyranny we all are, until 
the Lord doth deliver us from it, and defend us with this 
sceptre, which is then done when we believe in him. 

Forasmuch therefore as our salvation doth come merely by 
the promise of God, let every one assuredly persuade himself, that 
he shall never obtain salvation without this promise : although 
he should do the works of all saints, yet they should profit him 
nothing hereunto. On the contrary, if we lay hold on the 
sceptre of this king, that is, of the promise of God, we shall not 
perish, although the sins of the whole world should lie upon us; 
they shall be all swallowed up in him, notwithstanding no good 
work be done of us ; as we see in the thief which hung by the 
Lord on the cross, who laid hold on the word of God, and be 
lieved in Christ, and therefore he obtained the promised para 
dise. Here is no doubt left, let us only believe that it is so, 
and it is so indeed ; all things which men teach, or which we 
have done or can do, being set aside. Here all things must 
give place, at the coming of this new King, that he alone may 
rule and reign in us. Let a man intermeddle; with those things 
that are written of this King, as being his own matters and as 
pertaining all unto him ; for whatsoever is written any where of 
Christ, it is written for our comfort, that we may thereby feed 
and cherish our faith. To the establishing such faith, God 
hath mercifully left unto us his promise written, and hath suf 
fered to be published, that he will perform that which he hath 
promised. Whosoever apprehendeth this in his heart, it must 
needs be that with sighing he thirst for such scripture and pro 
mise of God, who of his grace being not provoked of us, 
offereth unto us, and bestoweth upon us such goodness and 

But let us now come to our present text, which not with 
words only, but also with a certain force pierceth the heart, and 
poureth into it love, pleasure, joy, gladness, &c., as if an angel 
should now come from heaven^ and say unto us miserable and 


condemned wretches., after this manner : Behold, O man, thou 
hast sinned^ wherefore thou hast deserved to be condemned for 
ever : (this being heard, the heart must needs tremble.) Now 
although all this be true, yet nevertheless God of his grace hath 
mercy upon thee, and sendeth to thee a Saviour, as he promised 
to Abraham, and his seed ; be of good cheer, and give thanks to 
God, lo ! here is the book of the generation of Jesus Christ, 
who is the son of David, the son of Abraham, so that this is 
not only done, but also written, that thou mayest be certain 
thereof; neither will he, neither can he, deceive ; believe only 
and thou shalt have all things. Now it is to be noted, that 
Matthew setteth David before Abraham, although the promise 
was first made to Abraham, and came afterward to David; 
which promise made to David, the prophets afterward published 
more abroad, and did by it comfort the people, as in the llth 
chapter of Isaiah, where the prophet saith thus ; - ( There shall 
come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a plant shall grow 
out of his roots. Jeremiah likewise saith thus, chap, xxiii. 5, 
" Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto 
David a righteous branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, 
and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth." And 
many other such prophecies there are to be found in the writ 
ings of the prophets, which foretold of David, that his king 
dom should be raised up ; as the Angel also declared unto 
Mary, when he said, Luke i. 32, " The Lord God shall give 
unto him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign 
over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there 
shall be no end." Wherefore Matthew thought good here to 
set David first, as the better known, and next unto him, Abra 
ham, unto whom the promise was first made, as Mary in her 
song saith, Luke i. 54, (t He hath holpen his servant Israel, 
in remembrance of his mercy, as he spake to our fathers, to 
Abraham, and to his seed for ever." And that promise is now 
performed, and in this our text described, as we shall see 

St. Matthew maketh a triple difference of fathers, of whom 
Christ came, fourteen patriarchs, fourteen kings, and fourteen 
princes. For it behoved that the sceptre and kingdom should 
be taken from Judah, according to the prophecy of Jacob, which 
is thus, Gen. xlix. 10 : " The sceptre shall not depart from 
Judah, nor a law-giver from between his feet, until Shiloh 
come, and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." 



Here all things must be fulfilled 5 and there are thrice fourteen 
generations, even as Matthew rehearsed them : From Abraham 
to David fourteen generations, from David till they were carried 
away into Babylon, likewise fourteen generations. However, 
there is a person omitted in Matthew, that is, Jakim ; and it 
ought thus to be written : Josias begat Jakim, and Jakim begat 
Jeconias, and his brethren ; this the Chronicles witness. And 
after they were carried away into .Babylon, until Christ, four 
teen generations. Which triple distinction hath a great mystery, 
as we shall see. The Jews, among other laws, were com 
manded to observe these three precepts, namely, to worship 
that God whom their fathers had worshipped ; secondly, to 
choose no priest of any other stock than of their own, that is, 
of the tribe of Levi ; thirdly, to choose no king but of their own 
people. These three precepts did very well agree in our Lord 
Christ, vi/., that he is that one God, that he is an eternal Priest, 
of our flesh and blood, and a King, our brother, who hath taken 
our nature upon him ; who by his Divine power is able to help 
and save us, and being an eternal Priest, continually makcth 
intercession for us : he is a King also, that he may defend and 
preserve us, who is not to be feared of us, since he is a man as 
we are, yea, and was made a most contemptible man, that our 
heart might be wholly quieted and appeased in him our Saviour, 
who can never forsake us. \Vho are able to stand in the sight 
of God, and not be terrified, if that Priest did not stand before 
God ? Who should defend us, if he were not a King ? \\ ho 
should save us, if he were not God ? How should he have care 
of us, if he were not a man, and our brother ? with whom we 
may speak, as well as we may one with another among our 

O most gracious Saviour, how "wisely hast thou done all 
things? 1 know that thou art my brother, as it is in Psalm xxii. 
22. " I will declare thy Name unto my brethren," as it is 
alledged in the epistle to the Hebrews, although thou art God, 
my Lord Christ, and King of heaven and earth, yet I cannot 
be afraid of thee, for thou art my friend and brother ; this is no 
hindrance unto me, that I am a sinner, and thou holy ; for if I 
had not been a sinner, there had been no need that thou shouldest 
suffer punishment for me. I see also in thy genealogy, that 
both good and evil are rehearsed, of whose posterity thou 
wouldest come, that thou mightest comfort timorous and weak 
consciences; that they should confidently and cheerfully put 


their trust in thee, which hast taken away our sin : and that 
we might be certain hereof, thou hast left us thy word, which 
assuredly declareth it unto us. Among the kings and princes 
which Matthew rehearseth, some were exceeding evil, as we 
may read in the books of the Kings ; yet God suffereth them to 
be mentioned in his genealogy, as if they were worthy, that he 
should come to them ; but he suffered not so much as one 
honest woman to be named therein. Four women are named, 
which all had an evil report, and were counted lewd ; as Tamar, 
Gen. xxxviii. 15, of whom Judah, the father of her husband, 
begat Pharez and Zarah, as in the first book of Moses it is 
mentioned. Rahab is called a harlot, in the book of Joshua, 
ii. 1. Ruth was an heathen woman, of whom although we read 
no evil, yet forasmuch as she was a heathen, she was despised 
of the Jews as a dog, and \vas detested of them. Bathshebah, 
the wife of Uriah, was an adultress before she was married to 
David, and of her he begat Solomon. Which women are un 
doubtedly thereof rehearsed, that we may see how God hath set 
forth, as it were a certain glass unto all sinners, wherein they 
may see, that he would be born of the posterity of sinners, that 
the greater sinners we be, so much more certain and greater 
refuge we might have in so gracious a God, Priest, and King, 
who is our brother ; in whom only, and in none other, we are 
able to fulfil the law, and obtain the grace of God : He came 
down from heaven therefore, neither doth he require any thing 
of us, but that we assuredly believe that he is our God, Priest, 
and King, and then all things shall be well with us ; by him 
alone we become the sons of God, and heirs of the heavenly 
kingdom, as St. Paul saith to the Galatians, ft Ye are all the 
children of God by faith in Christ Jesus :" Gal. iii. 26. Here 
the hearts of all sinners may leap for joy, that they are counted 
worthy of such a Saviour. Must not he needs be regenerate 
whose heart understandeth and feeleth this ? Yea, he is carried 
with a most ardent love to lead a new life, for he is inspired 
with the grace of God, inasmuch as he layeth hold of the pro 
mise of remission of all his sins. 

If we will count upon our fingers the persons named in this 
text, we shall find them to be forty-two, which were in time 
past figured by the two-and-forty mansion places, which the 
children of Israel had, before they came into the promised land, 
as it is written in the fourth book of Moses ; if we also will 
come into the promised land, which the Lord Jesus Christ hath 

D 2 


prepared for us by his nativity, we must also occupy two-and- 
forty mansion places, that is, we must cease from our own pur 
pose, and be regenerate man by man, until we come to Mary 
and Jesus ; there at the last we shall find rest unto our souls. 
But this nativity is hard, for our evil and corrupt nature is very 
loth to leave her own will and purpose ; and again, the case of 
nature is such, that no nativity can be without grief, yet one 
hath more grief, temptation, and affliction than another. The 
thief on the cross leapt at one leap two-and-forty degrees, and 
came suddenly to Christ ; so did many martyrs also, and other 
holy men. Notwithstanding none can go so great ajourney with 
small grief, unless he be carried with a great wind, that is, by 
the Holy Ghost. 

We must go fair and softly from Abraham to Isaac, from 
Isaac to Jacob, and so forth. J5ut we must begin at Abraham, 
that we may be found endued with like faith as he was, and ob 
tain the blessing promised unto him ; then we shall more easily 
and cheerfully go from one patriarch to another. That is, we 
shall pass over one affliction after another, until we be called 
out of this travel and journey unto our rest ; for a man must be 
so long exercised with afflictions, and so oft renounce his own 
will, until at the last he be brought under, and his flesh by this 
means be subdued, that it may obey the Spirit, and walk joy 
fully in the will and obedience of God. Wherefore let no man 
purpose with himself to come unto heaven by leading a quiet 
life, and following pleasure; thus Christ saith to Luke, a It is 
easier for a camel to go through a needle s eye, than for a rich 
man to enter into the kingdom of God :" Luke xviii. 25. And 
in the Acts of the Apostles, Paul teacheth, " That we must 
through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God:" 
Acts xiv. 22. Again, in Luke, Abraham said to the rich glut 
ton, <c Son, remember that thou in thy life-time rcceivedst thy 
good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things : but now he is 
comforted, and thou art tormented:" Luke xvi. 25. So it be 
hoved Christ also to suffer, and by the cross to enter into his 
glory. And St. Paul saith, " All that will live godly in Christ 
Jesus, shall suffer persecution," 2 Tim. iii. 12. Hence we may 
learn, that all is poison which is according to the lust of the 
flesh ; wherefore Paul saith to the Romans, " If ye live after the 
flesh, ye shall die : but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the 
deeds of the body, ye shall live," Horn. viii. 13. 

The Spirit which is of God, is ready to sulTer, but the flesh 


resisteth ; this Jesus signified by his answer unto Peter, when 
he shewed unto his disciples, " That he must go unto Jerusa 
lem, and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests, and 
scribes, and be killed. Then Peter took him, and began to 
rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord : this shall not 
be unto thee. But he turned and said unto Peter, Get thee 
behind me, Satan, thou art an offence unto me : for thou sa- 
vourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of 
men," Matt. xvi. 21. Here it is manifest, that the reason of 
man doth flatly strive against the will of God ; God will have us 
enter into glory by the cross and persecution, but the flesh 
resisteth, and is troubled in affliction. Moreover, they that are 
endued with the Spirit of God, rejoice, if they be afflicted for 
God s sake, as it is written of the apostles ; " They departed 
from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted 
worthy to suffer shame for his name," Acts v. 41. Wherefore 
James saith in his epistle, i. 2, " My brethren, count it all 
joy when ye fall into divers temptations ; knowing this, that 
the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience 
have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, want 
ing nothing/ O how necessary is patience for a Christian man! 
that in your patience ye may possess your souls, as Christ saith 
in Luke xxi. 19, otherwise we shall lose them. 

Wherefore we must enter into a new kind of life ; and if, at 
any time, calamity cometh, we must not burst forth into evil 
speeches, and take it impatiently, but we must always lift up 
our heart to God, and bear his will with a patient mind ; he will 
deliver us in his time, when it seemeth good to him, and we 
must always think that he beareth a fatherly affection toward us, 
even when he sendeth persecutions, anguishes, afflictions, and 
adversities, as the epistle to the Hebrews saith, xii. 5 8, 
" Ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you, 
as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of 
the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him. For whom 
the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom 
he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you 
as with sons : for what son is he whom the father chasteneth 
not ? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are par 
takers, then are ye bastards, and not sons." God give us his 
divine grace, that we may courageously pass these two-and- 
forty degrees, and with the Lord Christ be regenerate into a 
new life. Amen, 



Luke i. 63. Blessed he the Lord God of Israel, for he hath 
visited a/id redeemed his people. 

THAT godly man Zacharias speaketh here of things as already 
done, when he saith, " he hath visited and redeemed his people, " 
&c. For he was certain of them ; now the child John was 
come, being about to begin to preach of our redemption, as the 
Angel had foretold him, that he should " go before the Lord in 
the spirit and power of Llias, to turn the hearts of the fathers 
to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, 
to make ready a people prepared for the Lord :" this promise 
he knew should assuredly come to pass. \V herein this redemp 
tion consisteth, I think it is already sufficiently known unto 
you, namely in this, that God visiteth and delivereth us. Which 
visitation and deliverance is accomplished neither by sword nor 
violence, but by the word alone, wherein consisteth more, than 
in the blood and death on the cross. For because of the word 
Christ shed his blood on the cross. It was the word that John 
preached, when he shewed the Lamb of God which taketh away 
the sins of the world, that is, when he declared our visitation 
and redemption, which Christ purchased with his blood. 

This John was the first messenger which preached the gospel 
to us, to whom the gospel was not before preached, it is as if 
John himself did now preach it, for now is first set forth unto 
us redemption, sweet consolation, deliverance from sin, death, 
hell, and all evil. To visit is to come unto us, to bring and 
declare unto us the word of salvation, by which we are saved. 
Zacharias conceived so great joy and pleasure in his heart, that 
he could not contain himself, but he must needs burst forth 
into those words in this hymn, not only because of the infant 
newly born, although even this brought great joy unto him, but 
also for that by the birth of this child he beholdeth a far greater 
joy, forasmuch as he was a messenger sent of God to preach 
his word to the world. He rejoiceth therefore because of such a 
word which he should hear, and for that he should be as it were 


altered from an old man to a young man, and should become 
the scholar of an infant now lying in the cradle, whom he con- 
fesseth to be a prophet better learned than himself. Manifest 
natural joy is here, for that that infant was born after a mar 
vellous manner. Moreover here is joy of the Spirit, inasmuch 
as that infant should become a preacher of the word of God. 
And I am of that mind that I think there was never any father, 
which conceived so great joy of his child, as this Zacharias did 
of his son, being so wonderfully born by the power of God, and 
for that, especially in the time of his old age, when he was now 
near unto death, he is made a father of so great a Saint, which 
should be a master and teacher of the world. It is a delight 
and pleasure unto us, if we beget a child that is sound, fair, and 
well-proportioned in the body, that I may say nothing, what joy 
it would bring, if our child should be an Apostle and preacher 
of the word of God to the world. Whatever ignominy therefore 
and contempt he suffered before, when he WAS barren together 
with his wife Elizabeth, he is now most abundantly recompensed 
with plentiful honour and joy, such great blessings doth God 
bestow, if we patiently abide his leisure. For if he at any time 
come, he cometh very rich and plentiful in gifts, and giveth 
much more than we ever either wished or hoped for. 

Ver. 69. tf And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us, in 
the house of his servant David." These words are not spoken 
of John, for that he is not a horn raised up in the house of 
David, for he was born of the tribe of Levi ; but Christ our 
Lord is of the house, and of the royal stock and blood of David. 
Wherefore Zacharias -doth not sing here, in the house of Levi, 
but that in the house of David an horn is raised and lifted up ; 
and when Christ was not yet born, he nevertheless singeth so 
as if he were born, neither was the horn of salvation yet come ; 
notwithstanding he knew by the revelation of the Spirit, that it 
should forthwith come. An horn, among the Hebrews, signi- 
h eth power, confidence, dominion, and that whatsoever, wherein 
any man may trust, as we read, Daniel, ch. vii., where the Pro 
phet first seeth kingdoms, then he beholdeth beasts, some having 
one horn, some two horns. And he afterward interpreting him 
self, expoundeth them for kingdoms and kings : and this is a, 
phrase and manner of speaking peculiar to this language. Now 
Zacharias signifieth that Christ is our head, yea, our God, whose 
kingdom is his horn -, thus you have what a horn signifieth 
among the Hebrews. He addeth, the horn of salvation and 


blessedness : some kingdoms are famous in name and power, 
others are large, abounding with plenty of great treasures, much 
people, honours, and all temporal things ; but this is called a 
kingdom of salvation, grace, life, righteousness, truth, and of 
everything that pertaineth to salvation, whereby it differeth from 
all other kingdoms. For although they be large, rich, or 
mighty, yet are they counted the kingdoms of death, for they 
that govern them must at the last fall, die, perish, and leave 
their power and riches behind them. Nor was there ever any 
worldly kingdom, which might be called a kingdom of life, 
wherein is life, peace, and salvation ; for only the kingdom of 
Christ doth glory, and triumph in this title, as God hath raised 
it up, that there may be nothing in it but salvation and felicity. 

I find nothing here spoken of manners and trades of life, or 
of works : For this kingdom consisteth neither in outward life 
or works, but in the horn, in Christ and his Gospel ; this king 
dom is ours whereof ye have heard, that it is a kingdom of 
grace, life, righteousness, salvation, and mercy : so that whoso 
ever is in it, although he be inferior to John in holiness, and 
far unlike Christ in perfection, yet he livcth in a kingdom, 
wherein is nothing but salvation and blessedness, whereof also 
it hath and prescrveth the name ; you see what difference there 
is betwixt other kingdoms, and the kingdom of salvation, which 
God hath raised up. It is said moreover, that this kingdom is 
raised up, in the house of David : but by what means was it 
raised up? even by the holy Ghost, and by his word, he saith 
in the house of David, for it must be a kingdom in the earth, 
and yet a kingdom of salvation : now confer these two one with 
another, the house of David is the tribe and stock of David who 
was a man, as the subjects of this kingdom. So that thou 
canst not say, that he doth here make mention of an heavenly 
kingdom among the Angels, whcnas he doth nothing less; 
but he speaketh of a certain kingdom which is among men, 
which live, clothed with flesh. 

David was a man, the subjects of his kingdom were also men 
subject to death. For as the scripture witnesseth, " Man that 
is born of a woman, livcth but a small time," he cannot pass the 
bounds appointed him : how is it then that honour and dis 
honour come together in this kingdom ? what agreement and 
consent appeareth here, where mortal men are delivered from 
the power of death; where they that are worthy of death enjoy 
life, the unhappy arc happy, and they that are subjects to 


Satan become the sons of God ? the reason hereof I hope you 
are sufficiently instructed in, yea, I think that you understand 
it as well as myself. But because the text requireth it, it must 
be often repeated : we have affirmed that a Christian which 
liveth in this kingdom shall never die, forasmuch as he can 
not die, for Christ had therefore suffered death, that he might 
thereby overcome death, and deliver us from it. He took our 
sins also upon himself, that we might not need to bear them. 
Moreover he subdued, and overthrew Satan, that we might not 
be subject unto him. Wherefore it is given to a Christian, that 
lie can never die, he can never be subject to sin and the devil, 
for that must needs be true which he saith, that he hath raised 
up a horn of blessedness or salvation. And in whatsoever 
place that horn shall be, there is no access, neither for death, 
neither for sin, nor the devil, and that in the house of David. 

Wherefore a Christian is both defiled, and yet without sin, 
and free from Satan. How cometh this to pass ? after this 
manner: Your brotherly charity hath oftentimes heard here 
tofore, that God leaveth in us an appearance and feeling of 
death and the devil. So that my sin disquieteth me, and 
troubleth my conscience, and would drive me into despair. 
Moreover the judgment of God terrifieth me, death assaileth 
me, as if it would devour me. Satan is at hand and seeketh to 
suppress me, God suffereth these to remain, and taketh them 
not quite away. For this appearance must continue, that we 
may perceive and feel that we are nothing of ourselves but sin 
ners, subject to sin and Satan. And yet under this appearance 
lieth hid, life, innocency, dominion, and victory over sin, Satan, 
hell, &c., as Christ himself saith, v Matt. xvi. 18. " Thou art 
Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church, and the gates 
of hell shall not prevail against it -" he saith not, they shall not 
assail it, nor fight against it, for these two remain to sin and 
death. Now it is also expedient that I feel the biting of sin, 
the terror of the wrath of God, the horror of death, yea, and 
death itself. But all this is a certain outward appearance 
before my sight and the sight of the world, which know and 
judge no otherwise, but that sin, death, and Satan, are present. 
Notwithstanding in the mean time under that assault and terror 
the word and spirit are encouraging, preserving and assuring me^ 
that God is not angry with me, that my sin is forgiven me, that 
I shall never die, nor be forsaken : upon this foundation and 
hope my heart doth wholly rest. And no man having such a 


confidence in God, rcmjiinetli under sin, neither is drowned in 
death, but is made a conqueror of sin and death. This is, not 
to prevail or overcome, for although Satan attempteth that, yet 
lie doth not get the victory. 

We call the house of David a mortal house, sinful and subject 
to the devil, according to the manner of all ilesh and blood, and 
yet notwithstanding the horn of salvation is raised up in the 
same, that men of that kingdom may enjoy salvation and feli 
city. Hence ye see that this kingdom is the kingdom of faith, 
which cannot be touched, nor outwardly perceived of any, which 
one cannot shew to another, but every one must have it in him 
self, that when he shall draw near unto death, shall feel sin, or 
even see death before him, he may then in faith lay hold on this 
kingdom, and believe that his sins are forgiven him. For 
Christ therefore died, that thou mightest be in this kingdom of 
faith. Therefore sin shall encounter with thee in vain, death is 
taken away, Christ is with thee, who can hurt thee, who can do 
any evil unto thee? Here life and death, sin and innocency, 
Christ and Satan, light one with another; but Christ, liie, and 
innocency, do overcome and conquer. This is soon spoken, but 
not so easily felt, yea, the contrary surely is rather felt ; there 
fore if thou wilt esteem, and consider this kingdom according to 
the judgment of the world, thou .shalt utterly err and be de 
ceived. The world calleth that a good and peaceable kingdom, 
where all things are quiet, prosperous, and go well forward, 
where is safely, peace and innocency, outwardly. 

But here is the kingdom of salvation and grace, although it 
always appear otherwise ; wherefore all these things are to be 
understood in spirit and faith, and not to be judged according 
to the person or outward appearance. Neither ought it to seem 
strange that this kingdom doth flourish in the midst of sins, the 
force of Satan and death, whereof Zacharias here singeth even 
from the bottom of his heart, and knoweth well how it cometh 
to pass, faith and the spirit revealing it. Concerning sin, 1 
have seen or known none in whom it is not; whomsoever thou 
settest before thee, sin will by and by appear : Paul, a most 
holy apostle, amrmeth of himself, that he feeleth sin in his 
members, Rom. vii. 18. " To will (saith lie) is present with 
me, but how to perform that which is good, 1 find not. For 
the good that I would, I do not : but the evil which I would not, 
that I do." He wished, indeed, to be free from sins, but yet 
he could not but live in them : and I, such like also, am also 


desirous to be exempted from sin, but that can by no means be 
brought to pass ; we do only repress and keep them under ; 
when we have fallen into sin, we rise again : but as long as we 
are clothed with this flesh, and bear the burden about us, so 
long sin is not extinguished, nor can be wholly subdued. We 
may well go about, and endeavour to subdue it; notwithstand 
ing old Adam will lead his life also, until he shall die, and come 
unto the grave. What shall I need to say any more ? The 
kingdom of Christ is a certain special kingdom, wherein every 
one of the saints is compelled to make this confession : Al 
mighty God, unto whose power all things acknowledge them 
selves subject, I confess myself to be a miserable sinner; re 
venge not, I beseech thee, my old iniquities. All also must 
sing this song : <( Our father, &c., forgive us our trespasses, as 
we forgive them that trespass against us." Other righteous and 
holy ones, which know no measure or end of their righteousness 
and holiness, do understand nothing hereof; and therefore 
this gospel is not preached unto them, seeing that they think 
the kingdom of Christ to be such that there is no sin in it, but 
that all things in it are clean and pure : they require such a 
Christian as is wholly clean from all filth of sin, and without sin, 
as Christ himself; such a one they shall never be able to find. 

Now he is a Christian, who being a sinner, confesseth him 
self a sinner; who hateth the feeling of sin, striving against it 
from his heart. He is not a Christian, which thinketh that he 
hath no sin, neither feeleth any; but if them kriowest any such, 
he is an Antichristian, and not a true Christian. The king 
dom of Christ therefore consisteth among sins, it is established 
there where he hath set it ; that is, in the house of David : 
yea, set David himself before your eyes, and ye shall find him to 
have been a sinner ; who, notwithstanding, is bold to glory that 
he is a servant acceptable to his Lord. 

There is none of the faithful which ought to be ashamed of 
this manner of praying unto God, or of any other, not much 
unlike to it : Lord, forgive us our sins. Is it therefore true 
that they have sin, because they say so ? Yea, truly, for if they 
should lie, they should be the children of Satan. But godly 
Christians are weary of this life, greatly desiring the life to 
come ; for it is not given unto them, in this earth, to go so far, 
that they may say, we are subject to no vices, we are clean from 
all sin : if they should go so far, it is Satan that deceiveth them. 
Notwithstanding they are sorry for their sins, and do lament 


them ; yet it gricveth them to the heart, that they must bear 
the miserable burden of this flesh ; and they cry out, together 
with St. Paul, Rom. vii. 24, " O wretched man that I am, who 
shall deliver me from the body of this death !" This loud cry 
all the faithful give ; for, feeling sin, they most earnestly desire 
to be delivered from it : and in this feeling, and knowledge of 
sin, the kingdom of Christ consists : so that even in sin there 
is no sin; that is, although I do acknowledge and feel sin, yet 
salvation, and the kingdom, do so firmly abide in my conscience, 
that (rod saith unto me, 1 will forgive tliee thy sin, for tliou 
hast faith, and believest in Christ my beloved Son, who was 
delivered to death for thce ; neither shall thy sin hurt thec. 
Others, who feel not their sin, but trust in their works, and 
complain not of their faults and offences, thinking themselves 
clean ; such are given to Satan, and not received or admitted 
into the kingdom of Christ: for they which are partakers of 
this kingdom cannot be without conflicts and tribulation. 

And that I may speak more plainly, reckon, I pray thee, any 
of the saints, whom death doth not trouble ; yea, I know tliou 
shalt not find one, who is not afraid, and tremblcth not at the 
horrible sight of death: but the conscience taketh comfort; 
hence the Prophet David saith, " The Lord hath chastened me 
sore ; but he hath not given me over unto death," Psalm cxviii. 
18. Jt iighteth against us indeed, but prevaileth not; thus a 
Christian, wrapped in sin, is both under sin and above sin, and 
at the last, notwithstanding, obtaineth the victory. After the 
same manner, also, must he have to do with Satan, with whom 
he must wrestle all his life, and at the last, overcome him. So 
in the world also, he must suffer many conflicts and troubles, 
and yet, at length, become victor. For although it be a king 
dom of Salvation, which hath neither rest nor quietness, but 
suffereth the force of hell, death, the devil, sin, and all manner 
of adversity and tribulation, yet they which be in it do with 
an invincible courage endure, and at length overcome all evils. 
But God therefore permitteth these things, that our faith may be 
exercised, and shew forth itself. Moreover, that is a pleasure 
to the conscience, and bringeth unto it comfort and joy it hath 
such a kingdom, that it may say : Blessed be the Lord God, 
who hath visited and redeemed us, and hath raised up a king 
dom in the house of David. That is, for he visiteth us by his 
word, delivereth us from sins, and maketh us conquerors over 
death and Satan. 


Thus ye have heard both that a kingdom is raised up in the 
nouse of David., and also that a Christian is both dead and yet 
alive, is innocent in the midst of sins, and although he is subject 
to Satan, yet notwithstanding hath dominion over Satan. For 
both are true, for that sin, death and hell assail the flesh, but do 
not overcome, forasmuch as this kingdom of salvation triumpheth 
over them all. Therefore with a certain great boldness of con 
fidence he calleth it an horn, that is, a strong and puissant 
kingdom, which hath no rest or truce ; but being assailed of 
many and strong enemies, is always diligently occupied in 
defence of itself, and doth notably repel the force of the enemy. 
So a Christian laying hold on this horn, overthroweth sin, death 
and Satan. Neither consisteth this horn in our strength, neither 
are we makers thereof ; for God hath made and raised it up by the 
ministry of his word, whereby we are saved. Therefore Zacha- 
rias singeth, that his song hath respect not to his own son, but 
to Christ. Yea, he celebrateth this kingdom as pertaining to 
the Jews only, and declareth that it shall be glorious, and maketh 
no mention of the Gentiles, how they also should come unto it ; 
as beside others, Simeon in his song, the beginning whereof is, 
te Lord now lettest thou," &c., prophesied that we Gentiles also 
are chosen into that kingdom. But here he foretcllcth of a 
kingdom raised up of God to the Jews, even a kingdom of sal 
vation and blessedness, and that in the house of his servant 
David. Wherefore he saith, verse 70, " As he spake by the 
mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world 
began." Therefore he hath raised up this kingdom, that he 
might confirm his promise, \vhereby he had foretold, that he 
would some time raise up a kingdom, &c. 

And now that time is come, wherein he will fulfil that his 
promise : so Zacharias reduceth the horn of salvation, the king 
dom of Christ, to the Old Testament, that out of it he may bring 
witnesses of so strong and puissant a kingdom ; for the pro 
phets, from the time of David, all prophesied, that the seed of 
David should have a kingdom in the earth, yet a spiritual king 
dom ; and above the rest, Isaiah and Jeremiah foretold that it 
should be such a kingdom, that the government thereof should 
consist in the spirit and word ; to these especially Zachariah 
hath here respect. The other, as Hosea, Micah, and the rest, 
speak of the same kingdom, but not so manifestly. Verse Jl, 
"That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand 
of all that hate us." The Evangelist hath hitherto generally 


rehearsed what that kingdom of Christ is, whereof the pro 
phets prophesied ; now he speaketh of it also, particularly 
declaring wherein it consists : First, in this, that he delivereth 
us from the hands of our enemies, and from all them that hate 

Ye see here and understand, most dearly beloved, that this 
verse doth witness, and most plainly declare, that we, which are 
his people and kingdom, live amongst enemies, and that no other 
is to he looked for of us, but to he hated of them ; that also the 
force, quality, and nature of this kingdom, consists in this, that 
it delivereth us out of the hands of all them that hate us, as the 
prophet David saith, Psalm ex. 2, "The Lord shall send the rod 
of thy strength out of Xion : rule thou in the midst of thine 
enemies." And Psalm xlv. 5, "Thine arrows are sharp in the 
heart of the King s enemies." It is a delight unto Christ, that 
his kingdom is set in the midst of the fight, Jvnil in the midst of 
the haters thereof. These things are written for our comfort, 
that we which mind to serve under the Prince of this kingdom, 
be so instructed, that we look for no other than is here pre 
scribed, and set forth unto us ; that we seek not here to get 
the favour of the world, neither that we serve the world, and 
labour to have no enemies therein ; for the words of Zacharias 
declare, that it is the quality of this kingdom to deliver from 
enemies. Now if it delivereth us from enemies, and draweth us 
out of the hands of them that hate us, surely it cannot be a 
kingdom of peace, but such a kingdom as is subject to the hatred 
and malice of the world ; as ye see at this day, that our enemies 
bear a deadly hatred unto the light, which hath a little sinned 
forth, thanks be to Christ therefore. No man is any where so 
hated as a Christian ; both the Pope, and the furious Bishops, 
with their false apostles, also the raging princes, moreover the 
holy, learned, and wise of the world, all at this day most bitterly 
hate Christians : neither are they content that they be killed 
and slain, but they would have them extinguished and utterly 
rooted out, that there may be no memory of them, as they 
think, left among men. And this is the state, these are the 
badges, and cognizances of Christians ; that when Satan by his 
ministers persecuted! us, he thinketh quite to root us out. 
This verse giveth us to understand, that Christ is our King, 
that he may save and deliver us out of the hands of our ene 
mies, which he notably performs, and shews his power in the 
midst of the world, in the midst of the force of flesh and Satan 5 


as peace and quietness is not left to a Christian but in Christ 

This also we must mark, that there is not one, but many, 
which assault and persecute Christians ; but yet, that we shall 
not therefore be destroyed, forasmuch as we have one which is 
stronger than both the world and the prince thereof, as John 
saith. Now as he promiseth us, we know certainly, that he 
doth will, and is able to perform ; we shall indeed feel the 
assault, but he will not suffer us to be destroyed or overcome, 
so that we hope and trust in him. 

It followeth, Verse 7^ : "To perform the mercy promised 
to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant. Verse J3 : 
The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, that he would 
grant unto us." He will deliver us, not only from all evil both 
of body, and especially of soul, but also from our enemies, 
Satan and men ; and as a Christian must be overwhelmed with 
all evils together, so also he shall be again wholly delivered 
from all evils. 

And he sheweth this grace and blessing was promised to their 
fathers ; such is the manner of the apostles also, that they often 
times have recourse to the Old Testament, as 1 have said before, 
that God spake and promised by the mouth of the prophets, &c., 
even as Zacharias in this place. Some men may now say, They 
are dead, how therefore will he shew mercy unto them ? Again, 
what need is there to rehearse, that he would shew mercy to the 
fathers, when it is declared in the prophets ? But this is done, 
that the truth of God may be shewed forth, and may be approved 
unto us ; that we should not be ignorant, that those things are 
not due to our merits. In the first book of Moses is mentioned, 
Gen. xxii. 18, how God promised to Abraham, That in his 
(e Seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed ;" that is, 
that by Christ should come peace, grace and blessing, to all 
nations : Which promise was deferred so long a time, that it 
appeared that it was in vain and abolished. So unwise, as it 
seemeth to the world, doth God shew himself in his matters, as 
though all things went backward; notwithstanding however it 
was delayed and seemed, yet it is fulfilled and performed, what 
soever was promised to Abraham ; and God hath not only 
delivered him from his enemies, but hath bestowed upon him 
all good things, and hath given himself unto him, and all that 
he hath : And all this is therefore done, because (as Zacharias 
here saith) mercy and goodness was before promised, and con- 


firmed by an oath unto them, which arc long since dead, when 
as yet we were not. He is merciful therefore and favourable, 
not because of our merits, as though he owed it unto our righ 
teousness, but of his only grace, favour and mercy. These are 
horrible thunderings against our merits and works that we 
cannot glory, that we have delivered ourselves from sin, or that 
we have deserved his goodness, and the preaching of the gospel; 
no, it is not so. 

Here is no place for boasting ; but this text saith, that thou, 
O Lord, didst promise, certain thousands of years before I was 
born, that thou wouldest do it. Who did then desire him, that 
he would give us those things, when he had determined with him 
self to give them ? And upon this promise the prophets are bold, 
and stay themselves ; for by it we attain unto true goodness, 
that the mouth of every one may be stopped ; that he that will 
glory, may glory in the Lord. For thus the Lord may say ; 
that thou livest in my kingdom, that thou enjoyest my goodness 
and grace, it is not to be imputed to thee, but unto me ; I pro 
mised, and determined with myself to fulfil my promises, thou 
being ignorant thereof. And here the mouth of every one is 
stopped; so at this day also none of us unto whom, thanks be 
to God, the gospel hath sinned, can glory that we obtained it 
by our own means, labour, or good conversation ; for those 
which are counted the best works, and the most excellent 
studies, are disallowed and overthrown, as, to celebrate mass, to 
join himself to this or that hypocritical sect, which they call an 
Order, &c. These the gospel condemneth and rejecteth ; and 
how can I attain to the gospel, by that which it rejecteth ? 
Wherefore this standeth sure and certain, that all that we have 
is of the mere grace and goodness of God ; so that with this 
honour and praise we may confess, that we have deserved far 
otherwise, namely, hell-fire ; if besides this he bestowed any 
thing upon us, it is the gift of his grace and goodness. And 
this is that which Zacharias saith, that is, was foretold by the 
prophets, and both promised and confirmed by an oath to the 
fathers, that he would perform unto us the covenant made to 
Abraham. Thus he saith to Abraham, Gen. xxii. 10, " By 
myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, that in blessing I will bless 
thee. And in thy seed," &c. Which words the prophets dili 
gently held, marked, handled, and always trusted unto them ; 
for he doth here solemnly swear, that he might wholly assure 
us, that he would pour forth his blessing upon us. 


And now the time is present, the hour is come, wherein he 
hath sworn, that salvation shall come unto us, as it is declared, 
Mark xvi. 15, " Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel 
to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be 
saved ; but he that believeth not, shall be damned." Men 
surely have not merited it ; no, not Abraham himself, who was 
not made partaker of the promise, seeing that he died long 
before the fulfilling thereof; in spirit, in deed, and faith, he was 
partaker of it, but he lived not so long, till the gospel was 
revealed to the whole world. The promise therefore was made 
unto him, although, as I said, he looked not for the fulfilling 
thereof in this life ; that is, his life was not prolonged until the 
preaching of the gospel in the whole world, although in faith he 
obtained the gospel for himself. Therefore it cannot be said, 
that that promise was due to his merits, otherwise, he must have 
lived in the earth until the fulfilling thereof, and a due price or 
reward must have been paid unto him. But now the performing 
of the promise was after his death; so that everyone must 
needs confess, that that promise was not made to Abraham, 
because of his merits. 

Again, it cannot be said, that the Gentiles which enjoy this 
promise have obtained it by their merits, when they were not ; 
God promiseth to the fathers and performeth not, he performeth 
to the Gentiles, to whom notwithstanding no promise was made, 
who all that time were not. God will always retain to himself his 
honour, and be the same God, although the wicked world cannot 
be so persuaded ; he chasteneth, reproveth, rebuketh, provoketh, 
stirreth, allureth, doth whatsoever is to be done ; but the world 
lings rob him of his honour, and attribute it to themselves, that 
is, they will not acknowledge, that whatsoever they possess or 
have, it cometh unto them by the only grace of God. When 
therefore we glory of such good things, and acknowledge not 
God to be the author and giver of them, we make ourselves as 
God and him as our servant ; so he is dishonoured, and the 
honour attributed unto us. But although we make merchandize 
of his honour, yet he hath affirmed in the scriptures, that he 
will keep his honour and glory only to himself ; that so he may 
be acknowledged to give all things of his mere grace. These 
things he that believeth, doth also receive them : he that doth 
not believe, shall at length receive his due reward. Zacharias 
saith moreover, 

Verse J4 } " That we being delivered out of the hands of our 



enemies, might serve him without fear. Verse 75. In holiness 
and righteousness before him all the clays of our life. 5 He hath 
defined the nature and property of this kingdom ; that is, the 
covenant made with Abraham, that in his " Seed all nations of 
the earth should be blessed," &c. Which blessing, saith he, I 
will interpret unto you, that being delivered out of the hands of 
our enemies, we may serve him without fear all our life long in 
holiness and righteousness, before him : which to the world and 
our flesh favoureth not well ; for the world thus murmureth : 
I thought that he would have given us some precious thing, as 
a purse well stuffed with money, a rich wife, fair and beautiful 
children, fine houses, and whatsoever the world is delighted in, 
but I perceive it to be otherwise, I hear that we must without 
fear serve him in holiness and righteousness, and so please him. 
Wherefore it shall be meet that we apply spiritual eyes and 
ears, that we may rightly consider and understand the words. 
Whereas he saith, that he will deliver us from all our enemies, it 
is thus to be understood ; that this kingdom is placed in the 
midst of enemies, and yet is not therefore destroyed, but always 
all its enemies and adversaries are overcome. 

We must understand also, that the deliverance from our 
enemies tendeth thereunto ; that we should always obey him 
that delivereth us without any fear. This is a Christian and an 
amiable kingdom, that a Christian shall lead his life without 
fear; God hath bestowed this upon us, that we should serve him 
alone. The words without fear, include in them, that we shall 
quietly enjoy the good things of this present world, and of the 
world to come ; for a Christian is sure and certain of the for 
giveness of his sins, although as yet he feeleth them. He is 
certain that death hath no power in him ; that Satan doth not 
overcome him ; that the world cannot prevail against him. 
Such a heart is without peril and fear, and plainly free from 
them ; which is not so to be understood, as though we do not feel 
sin at all, but that we are greatly grieved when sins trouble us, 
when the image or sight of death terrifies us, when, being re 
proached and slandered of the world, we stand as destitute, and 
have none to whom we may turn or resort for succour, but 
God alone. 

These things indeed are felt, but they do not prevail, nor 
overcome us : for the heart notwithstanding remaineth safe and 
quiet in God. So poverty also is felt, when thou art pinched 
with hunger ; and hast not wherewithal to iill thy belly, to main- 


tain thy wife, and bring up thy children, nor any certain place 
where to dwell and abide, but all these things shall not hurt 
thee ; thou must ask of God whatsoever thou needest, and serve 
him without fear, as our present text declareth. But herein we 
for the most part behave ourselves not as Christians, we judge 
after our own affection and sense, according as the world blame 
us, or report evil of us. Also when our fields have no corn, no 
money is in our purse, we think ourselves utterly destitute and 
forsaken; but a true Christian, with shut eyes and ears, saith 
with Paul, speaking to the Galatians, chap. ii. and vi., O flesh, 
sin, death, ye are dead unto me, and I again am dead unto 
you, that Christ may live in me. The world is crucified unto 
me, and I unto the world ; that is, the world hath no care or 
regard of me, and my preaching and life is mocked and scorned 
of it. But with the same measure that thou measurest unto me, 
I. will measure to thee again ; if thou despisest me, I also will 
despise thee ; if thou makest no account of me, I will make some 
small account of thee. What care I, if the world hate me, when 
I displease not him that dwelleth in heaven ? If this hatred con 
tinue even daily, if sin rage, and the world talk and prate many 
things, what then ? Let it do so until it be weary, I will pass 
over these things as if I heard them not. 

This is indeed to forsake the world, and die unto it ; to live 
without fear, to be occupied about nothing, but that which is 
according to God s will ; to speak nothing at all but that which 
shall please him, and which I shall know to be agreeable to his 
word ; that I may live so, and do those works, which I know 
certainly are acceptable before him ; that in my whole life what 
soever I do, either outwardly or inwardly, I may be certain that 
I seek his glory, and endeavour to fulfil his will ; so I am sepa 
rated from the world, and notwithstanding do still live in the 
world. No man is less in the world than a sincere Christian ; 
and again, no man is more occupied, and hath to do with the 
world than an entire Christian ; that is, the world doth more at 
tentively look unto him, and Satan more often and vehemently 
assaileth him, than him that is ignorant of Christ, of grace, and 
of faith. Christ and Paul had experience hereof; they had 
combats and conflicts with the world, they were troubled and 
molested, yea, the whole world was against them. Again, a true 
Christian is not in the world, although the world rage and fret 
cruelly against him ; for he always trusteth in God, and saith, 

E 2 


Lord, I am thine, deal well with me, according to thy will ; only 
be thou on my side, and I shall he in safety. 

" All the days of our life." All our life long ; that is,, conti 
nually, without ceasing. " In holiness and righteousness before 
him." Here St. Luke divideth righteousness and holiness into 
two sorts ; of which, one is acceptable before God, the other, 
before him, is of no value. Hence we understand, that the 
righteousness and holiness of God are of no estimation before 


the world, even as the world is in no esteem with God ; for that 
which God calleth just, the world callcth unjust ; and that which 
it calleth right, God calleth crooked ; and so these two cham 
pions are continually at variance between themselves. That 
which God calleth holy, seemeth to the world devilish and un 
righteous ; therefore he comfortetli us here, declaring there be 
two sorts of righteousness and holiness ; one, which we ought 
to observe diligently, another, which we ought to avoid. 

Hitherto it hath heen the chief holiness and righteousness of 
all which could be invented, to run into monasteries, to put on 
monkish apparel, to be shaven, to wear a hempen girdle, to give 
himself to fasting and prayer, to be clothed with hair-cloth, to 
lie in woollen garments, to observe an austere manner of living, 
and in fine, to take upon him monkish holiness and religion ; and 
thus, resting in a shew of good works, we knew not but we 
were holy from top to toe, having regard only to works and the 
body, and not to the heart, where we were full of hatred, fear, 
and incredulity, troubled with an evil conscience, knowing 
almost nothing rightly of God. Then the world cries openly, 
O that holy man, O holy and chaste woman, which have shut 
themselves up within the walls of monasteries, day and night 
kneeling and saying rosaries ; O what holiness is there, where 
even God himself dwelleth, where the Holy Ghost, the Com 
forter, abideth present. These things the world boast of, and 
greatly esteem ; but they mark not, how r they pray with no ear 
nestness of heart, how they teach and instruct no man, how they 
give nothing to any, but catch unto themselves both the blood 
and sweat of the poor, and leave true sincere works undone. 
This righteousness and holiness the world extolleth, which not 
withstanding stinketh, and is wholly unclean before God ; which 
he will have even to be unknown to us, yet the world refuse to 
admit any other. 

But there is another righteousness which God csteemeth and 


accepteth, which also we must consider ; it consists not in a grey 
garment, not in a black or white cowl, but in a pure conscience; 
viz., when I believe that Christ is my salvation, and that my 
works can prevail nothing hereto but he doth all things which 
God hath regard unto. Then I say no more ; a grey garment is 
holy, a red garment is profane, forasmuch as I know, that not in 
a grey garment or any other garment, but in Christ all things 
consist. For no man can attain unto this, that a grey garment 
may cleanse his heart from filth, or that a monastery may purify 
it; for it is necessary that God only purify the heart by faith, 
and the Holy Ghost, as Peter witnesseth, Acts xv. When the 
heart is pure, the house is unto it as the field, and the field as 
the house ; the market is as much esteemed as the monastery ; 
and on the contrary, neither remaineth unto me any work, place, 
or garment, which I count profane ; for all things are alike unto 
me, after that holiness hath fully possessed my heart. That 
even God saith unto me, Thou art godly, I am thy father, thou 
art my Son. And herein we ought to persist, that we, being 
holy, and without fear, obey and serve him. 

Here the titles and badges of a Christian are seen ; and this is 
his cognizance, viz., that being holy, he is the minister of God, 
without fear. But what sinner is there which dare challenge to 
himself this title ? Let one come forth, which dare avouch him 
self to be godly, righteous, holy, and the servant of God ; desti 
tute of no good things, either of men or body. Now he that 
cannot glory of these things, is not a Christian ; for of these 
things must a sincere Christian be a partaker. But what letteth 
that one dare not challenge to himself this title ? Even a timor 
ous conscience ; for we always feel sin, and our life is ever frail. 
I see nothing but an honest life ; although God require this also 
of us, yet he will not be content therewith, but there is need 
that there be a certain higher thing, that I dare be bold to say, 
Lord God, maker of the whole world, I am certain that I am 
holy before thee, and am thy servant ; not for my own sake, 
who do as yet feel sins in myself, but through Christ who hath 
taken away my sin, and made satisfaction for me. 

These things surely I ought to glory of if I am a true Chris 
tian. But this seems difficult and hard; God admits no sin, my 
fearful and weak conscience is against me. How am I his ser 
vant, when I feel in myself, that I serve the devil, and know not 
that I am holy ? I speak not here of the common sort of Chris 
tians, such as I, and such like, are $ but of sincere Christians, 


which have a good conscience, and in whose heart the Spirit of 
God abidcth, whose conscience, although frail and weak, and 
though they feel their sins, yet they are forced to say, however 
sin is, yet I know no sin by myself, neither am I subject to death 
and hell ; and for this cause they strive, and at last overcome, 
and therefore they would even die in that confidence. But I 
find it far otherwise, if I set my life before my sight. Here life 
and the word must be separated far asunder. If thou wilt con 
sider life, I will set also before thce the lives of St. Peter, Paul, or 
John ; thou shalt find even them not to have lived without sin. 

When thou desirest to be holy before God, trust not to thy 
life, unless thou wilt perish for ever ; for thou must trust only to 
mercy and grace, and not to life or works, otherwise thy case 
will be very ill. \Yherefore our heart must be so affected that 
it say, Lord, if thou shouldest call me to an account, 1 should not 
be able either by life or works to stand in thy sight, no, although 
I were even John the Baptist. Nevertheless therefore 1 glory 
that I am godly, and thy servant, for that thou givest me con 
tinually ; and also, as thou hast promised to Abraham, thou 
doest, for thy Christ s sake, vouchsafe to shew thy mercy 
unto me. If I of myself am not godly and righteous, yet he is 
godly and righteous for me- ; if I am profane, he is holy ; if I 
am not the servant of God, he is the servant of God ; if 1 am 
not without fear and carefulness, he is void of all fear and care 
fulness ; that so, I may transfer myself from myself, and pierce 
into him, and glorv, that in Christ and by Christ I am good. 
Thus he will have us glory, that we are godly and holy, but not 
by our own merit ; for we must glory of ourselves, as of most 
desperate wretches. 

And that this may be plain, mark our life, consider our good 
conversation and manners, weigh how foolishly men apply them 
selves to the gospel, that I am almost in doubt, whether I should 
preach any more ; for as soon as these things are taught in a 
sermon, that salvation consists not in our works or life, but in 
the gifts of God, every one is slow to do good, no man will live 
an honest life, and be obedient ; they falsely affirm everywhere, 
that good works are inhibited. Nevertheless, God requireth of 
us, that we lead an honest life outwardly ; and he that doth not 
so, shall at length find his due punishment. Now if it happen 
that we live godly and honestly outwardly, Satan frameth his 
wickedness ; neither do I know, at this day, how to order myself 
in this matter, not because of my own person, but because of 


life ; for if we preach of an .honest and godly life, the world 
furiously attempts., without judgment, to build ladders to heaven ; 
which God neither can, neither will by any means suffer. 
Again, a dishonest and ignominious life doth not become Chris 
tians, neither doth a delicate life become them. What there 
fore must we then do ? They which have respect only to an 
honest and fair life, it were better for them to be adulterers and 
adultresses, and altogether to wallow in the mire ; and yet, not 
withstanding, God will not have us to lead our lives filthily and 
dishonestly, adjudging thee even unto hell therefore, if thou so 
do. And if thou lead an honest life, thou wilt rest in it, and 
arrogate unto thyself; which he cannot suffer. Thou must 
therefore remain in the middle path, declining neither to the 
right hand, nor to the left ; and lead a quiet, fair, and amiable 
life, in the sight of the world, which also may be acceptable 
before God; and yet do not therefore so greatly esteem it, or 
count so of it, as though thou dost merit anything of God 

Thus a Christian continueth the holy servant of God without 
fear, not by his good works and holy life, but by the grace of 
Christ. But he that amrmeth that he is holy by his works, is 
blasphemous against God, robbeth God of his honour, and 
denieth Christ; for whom it were better, that he were ten times 
an homicide, or an adulterer, than that he should thereby ailirm 
himself to be a Christian, or godly and holy ; for he doth plainly 
dishonour Christ, and it is as much as to affirm that there is no 
Christ ; for he is therefore called Christ, for that he is our grace, 
mercy, redemption, and holiness. If I should not attribute to 
the divine mercy, that God himself saves me, what less should 
this be but to say, that he is neither holy nor blessed ? There 
fore if I am a Christian, I must confess that I am holy, and a 
Christian, for this cause, that Christ himself is holy : and although 
my conscience reprove me of sin, yet I must still persevere in 
this, that his holiness is greater than my sins. Thus I must 
live honestly outwardly, but inwardly rest and trust in him 

It followeth, how Zacharias turneth his speech to the child, 
and saith, verse 76, " And thou, child, shall be called the pro 
phet of the Most High : for thou shalt go before the face of the 
Lord to prepare his ways." This shall be thy office ; thou shalt 
be the first, that is, thou shalt be the prophet of the Most High ; 
thou shalt be the forerunner of the Lord, and shalt prepare his 


ways. When any prince cometh, certain go before him, to pre 
pare way and place for him, saying, give place, depart out of 
the way. John, in like manner, runneth before, crying unto 
the people, go aside, turn out of the way, give place, the Lord 
himself cometh. Such a servant is John, whom the Lord fol- 
loweth. Such things no prophet at any time hath spoken, but 
they have prophesied of these things, that a prophet should 
some time come, which should erect a kingdom that should con 
tinue for ever, &c. But all died, not one remained, which beheld 
this being alive. But this prophet lived even at that time, when 
the Lord himself came, and followcth him ; for the gospel was 
begun to be preached, and baptism to be ministered by the 
coining and ministry of John, who ceasing, Christ began, almost 
in the same year. Now what shall be his office ? This truly, 
to prepare a way for the Lord. Which preparation is to bring 
people to the Lord the Saviour; Christ is the grace, gift, King, 
and horn of our salvation. The Lord and King no man receives, 
unless he be first humbled, that he think nothing of himself: 
for he cannot otherwise attain unto Christ, neither can stand 
together, to receive the grace of God by gift, and also to merit 
the same. 

John therefore in this part teacheth men they are sinners, 
and altogether nothing, lie which acknowledged himself, and 
feeleth himself a sinner before, and to be nothing, well under- 
standeth the voice of John, which is, prepare ye the way of 
the Lord : give place to him: he is at hand, who is greater than 
I ; him ye shall hear, him ye shall obey. The other office of 
John which followcth is, that he brought men to the knowledge 
of salvation, and shcweth with his finger that Paschal Lamb, 
who taketh away our sins, that he may fasten them to the cross 
with himself, and abolish them, as Zacharias speaks, verse 77* 
" To give knowledge of salvation unto his people, by the remis 
sion of their sins ;" that is, tliou shalt begin the office, and mi 
nister the word, whereby is taught and learned how we are 
saved : which salvation consists in this, not how we may be 
famous through abundance of riches, glory, and power, in 
earth, as the Jews have hitherto understood it ; but that we may 
obtain remission of sins, and be made partakers of the grace of 
God. Now where remission of sins is, there is no merit, no 
reward or satisfaction ; otherwise it could not be called remis 
sion of sins. 

So that this knowledge is, to understand how God forgiveth 


us our sins without works and merits, and saveth us by mere 
grace and mercy, as it followeth, verse JS " Through the tender 
mercy of our God ; whereby the day-spring from on high hath 
visited us." Here it appeareth that they which teach and ob 
serve laws, works, and merits, strive both against the mercy of 
God and knowledge of salvation ; for he saith not, that forgive 
ness of sins came by the prayers and works of the fathers, or of 
any of the saints, but through the boundless mercy of God, which 
Luke calleth the tender mercy, and such mercy as cometh from 
the most inward affection and bowels. 

Notwithstanding this forgiveness of sin, which cometh unto 
us by mercy, is not without merit, although it cometh to pass 
without our merit ; but a Mediator cometh between, who hath 
in our stead deserved it for us, which is Christ our Lord : for 
God would that satisfaction should be made for our sins, and 
that his honour and law should be performed ; here we were able 
to do nothing. But Christ alone was able, and satisfied for us, 
who of the infinite mercy of the Father was sent for the same 
cause, and that to us, that he might dispatch it; therefore he 
saith, through which infinite and boundless mercy "the day- 
spring from on high hath visited us." Without all doubt it was 
no merit, but only boundless mercy, that Christ came to us, and 
merited and obtained for us remission of sins unto eternal salva 
tion. Now he calls him, " the day-spring from on high," which 
signifieth unto us his divinity. And this is his meaning, " on 
high," that is, above all creatures ; where nothing is higher, 
but height alone, there is Christ in his divinity, as the morning 
or day-spring : For he proceedeth from the Father, as the beams 
do from the sun ; whereof we have elsewhere spoken at large. 

Verse 79. l( To give light to them that sit in darkness, and 
in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." 
Many of the fathers understood this of Lymbus, as they call it ; 
but Luke agreethhere with Isaiah, where he saith, "The people 
that walked in darkness, have seen a great light," &e. His 
meaning is this : Christ therefore came, that he might be the 
light of the world, and by the gospel might enlighten men s 
hearts, and allure them to himself, which were held captive 
under Satan, in blindness and darkness of incredulity ; that so 
he might guide our feet in the way of peace, that is, he might 
govern our conscience well, quietly and cheerfully in the king 
dom of grace; that we may be afraid neither of Satan nor of sin, 
death, hell, nor of any adversity, who before have rested; part 


of us in filthy vices, part in good works, notwithstanding we 
could on neither side enjoy any quietness or peace, but were 
compelled to despair under Satan, and the fear of death ; nor did 
we know how to find that way which leadeth unto peace, accord 
ing to the fourteenth Psalm, " The way of peace have they not 
known," cScc. Thus ye have heard Zacharias, in most goodly 
and fit words, most livelily paint out the gospel and kingdom of 
Christ, with all the fruits, colours and conditions thereof; that 
it is a word and kingdom of grace, of forgiveness of sins, also a 
kingdom of peace, joy, quietness, salvation, and all goodness. 
God grant that we may thoroughly know and feel the same. 



J. SOME think so upon the passion of Christ, that they are 
incensed with anger against the Jews, and envy against wretched 
Judas, which they vent in songs and reproachful words ; and 
thus they are content, and think this to be sufficient, even as 
they are wont, in lamenting the case of others, to take pity on 
them, and to accuse and condemn their adversaries. But that 
cannot be called a remembering of the passion of Christ, but 
rather of Judas and his wickedness. 

2. Some have noted in their minds divers advantages, and 
fruits proceeding from the meditation of Christ s passion, that 
saying which is ascribed to Albertus being commonly in their 
remembrance, That it is better to think upon the passion of 
Christ superficially or once, than if one should fast the space of 
a whole year, and daily in praying go over the whole Psalter, 
&c. This they follow hitherto, being blind and justly stumbling, 
contrary to the true fruit of the Lord s passion : such seek 
their own things therein, and therefore they bring with them 
images, books, letters, and crosses. Some also go so far, that 
they think they shall make themselves safe from waters, terrors, 
fire, and from all danger, as though the Lord s suffering should 
be without suffering in them, contrary to the quality and nature 

3. Some have compassion on Christ, lamenting and weeping 
for him as being an innocent man, like unto the women which 


followed Christ from Jerusalem, who were reprehended and ad 
monished by him, that they should weep for themselves and for 
their children. 

4. Some so call to mind the passion of the Lord, and so con 
sider Christ, that inwardly they are sore afraid, their reason or 
understanding is turned into a certain astonishment or bashful- 
ness ; which fear ought to proceed from hence, that we should 
be put in mind thereby of the wrath and immutable severity of 
God prepared for sin and sinners, forasmuch as he would not 
grant to his only begotten and beloved vSon, that sinners should 
be absolved and pardoned, unless he did make so great a satis 
faction for them as he speaketh by Isaiah, chap. liii. 8, " For 
the transgression of my people was he stricken." What shall 
come unto the sinner, when a son so exceedingly beloved is 
smitten ? It must needs be, that there is an unspeakable and a 
most serious and earnest matter, where so great and excellent 
a person doth descend to do good unto him, and suffer and die 
for him. 

5. Resolve deeply in thy mind, and doubt not a whit, that 
thou art he which so tormented Christ, forasmuch as thy sins 
were most certainly the cause thereof. Thus St. Peter, in the 
2d of the Acts, did strike and terrify the Jews, as it were, with 
lightning, when he said unto them, "whom ye have crucified;" 
so that the very same day three thousand men were greatly ter 
rified, and being pricked in their hearts, said unto the apostles, 
"Men and brethren, what shall we do ?" Wherefore when thou 
consider that his hands were pierced with nails, think that 
it was thy work ; when thou rememberest his crown of thorns, 
persuade thyself that it was thy wicked cogitations which caused 
it, &c. 

6. Think with thyself, that whereas one thorn pricked Christ, 
thou oughtest worthily to be pricked with a hundred thousand 
thorns, and that without intermission, and much more grie 
vously ; and that whereas one nail pierced the hands and feet 
of Christ, thou oughtest to be grieved and molested with many 
and far more sharp nails continually, even as it shall come at 
the last unto those, in whom the passion of Christ hath not been 
effectual, but frustrate ; for Christ, who is the truth itself, will 
lie to no man ; will delude no man ; and that which he attempt- 
eth must needs be a matter of exceeding great importance and 
wonderful high. 


7- Such fear Barnard had conceived thereof, when he said, 
i played abroad in the street, and in the king s privy chamber 
sentence of death was given upon me. The king s only begotten 
son hearing this, laid off his diadem and came forth, clothed in 
sackcloth, his head sprinkled with ashes, and barefoot, weeping 
and crying out, that his servant was condemned to death. 1 
beholding him suddenly coming forth, am amazed at the strange 
ness thereof, I ask and hearken after the cause. What shall I 
do ? Shall I play still, and delude his tears ? Alas, saith he, it is 
no time now to play, it is no time to be secure, when so weighty 
a matter is in hand. So he bid the women that they should not 
weep for him, hut for themselves and for their children ; and he 
adjoineth the cause, " For if they do these things in a green 
tree, what shall he done in the dry?" As if he said, Learn what 
ye obtain by my passion, and howsoever things fall out, yet this 
is true and known among you, that the whelp is sometimes 
smitten, that the mastilT may be terrified. So also the Prophet 
hath spoken : " All kindreds of the earth shall wail before him." 
He saith not they shall bewail him, but, they shall wail before 
him. Moreover they were sore afraid, of whom it is before 
spoken, so that they said unto the apostles, Acts ii., "Men 
and brethren, what shall we do ?" 

8. That this affection may be wrought in us, the Lord s pas 
sion is very diligently to be considered of, and meditated upon, 
as the most certain profit thereof doth much consist herein, that 
a man may come to the knowledge of himself, and tremble and 
be troubled before himself ; whereimto he that doth not come, 
hath not yet attained unto the due profit of the Lord s passion : 
for the passion of Christ hath this proper and natural virtue, 
to make a man like unto him ; that even as he was grievously 
tormented both in body and mind for our sins, so we also, to 
imitate him, must be afflicted in the knowledge of our sins. 
The matter is not done in many words, but in deep cogitation, 
and earnest weighing of sins. Take a similitude : As thou hast 
great cause to fear and tremble, if, when some malefactor is 
condemned for that he hath killed the son of a king or prince, 
thou in the mean season, singing and playing securely as being 
innocent, art terribly apprehended and convicted, that thou didst 
suborn the homicide ; so thou oughtest to become much more 
fearful when thou dost resolve in thy mind the passion of Christ. 
For although the wicked Jews be now judged of God, and dis- 


persed, yet were they ministers of thy transgression, and thou 
for a certain art he, which with thy sins hast crucified and slain 
the son of God,, as it hath been said. 

9. He that feeleth himself so hardened and dull, that the 
passion of Christ doth not terrify him, nor bring 1 him unto the 
knowledge of himself, is in a lamentable case 5 for Christ s pas 
sion is not effectual in him. But it is a hard thing for thee to 
be occupied in these things, and earnestly bent to the medita 
tion of them ; therefore pray God that he will mollify thy heart, 
and give thee grace profitably to meditate upon the passion of 
Christ, because it cannot, in any wise, be that the passion of 
Christ should be inwardly and rightly thought upon and con 
sidered of us, unless God inspire it into our hearts. Neither 
this meditation, nor any other doctrine, is therefore set forth 
unto thee, that thou shouldest boldly rush upon it of thyself to 
fulfil it, but that thou shouldest first ask and desire the grace of 
God, that thou mayest fulfil it, not by thine own strength, but 
by God s grace ; for hereof it cometh, that they of whom it is 
spoken, do not meditate on the passion of Christ aright, because 
they desire not help of God thereunto, but rather trusting unto 
their own strength, and following their own invention, meditate 
upon it after the fashion of men, and after a slender and unfruit 
ful manner. 

10. If one should through the grace of God meditate rightly 
upon the passion of Christ, but the space of one day, or of one 
hour, nay, or the space of a quarter of an hour we would faith 
fully pronounce of him, that he hath done better than if he had 
pined himself with fasting the space of a whole year, or had run 
over the Psalter every day ; for this manner of meditation doth 
change a man, and almost regenerate him anew, like unto bap 
tism. Then indeed the Lord s passion doth its natural, due, and 
noble office; it killeth the old Adam, it driveth away all plea 
sure, joy and confidence, which may be had of creatures, even 
as Christ was forsaken of all, even of his father. 

1 1 . Since such a thing is not in our own power, we often 
times ask it, and yet do not obtain it ; notwithstanding we must 
not therefore despair or cease : For that is sometimes given for 
which we have not prayed, and that sometimes is not granted 
for which we have prayed, even as it is the pleasure of God, 
and as he knoweth to be best for us, for God will have this gift 
to be free and without constraint. 

12. When a man, thus knowing his sin, doth wholly tremble 


in himself, he must endeavour, that sin do not still retain on his 
conscience, otherwise mere despair will come upon him; buthe 
must shake them oiY, and cast them upon Christ, and so un- 
burthen his conscience. Therefore see again and again, that thou 
do not that which perverse men do, which, within the secrets of 
their hearts, do vex and disquiet themselves because of their 
sins; and strive with them, that by good works or satisfactions, 
by going far on pilgrimage, or else by pardons they may become 
safe, and may be made free from sin, which cannot be. And, 
alas, such a false confidence in satisfactions and pardons hath 
prevailed very far. Moreover thou fastest thy sins from thee 
upon Christ, when thou iirmly believest that he suffered and 
was wounded for thy sins, and that he hath payed the full ran 
som and satisfaction for them, as Isaiah saith, chap, liii, "The 
Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." And St. Peter 
tsaith, " Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the 
tree," L Pet. ii. 2-1. St. Paul also saith, " He hath made him 
to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that \ve might be made the 
righteousness of God in him." In these, and such like autho 
rities, thou must repose thy hope with all boldness, and that so 
much the more, as thy conscience doth more grievously vex 
and trouble thee ; but if thou shalt not do this, but presumed 
that thou shalt be quiet by thy contrition and satisfaction, then 
thou shalt never come unto quietness, but at the last shall fall 
even into despair : for our sins kept and meddled within our con 
science, and set before the eyes of our heart, are far stronger than 
we, and live immortally. .But when we see them laid upon 
Christ, and to be victoriously conquered of him by his resurrec 
tion, and confidently believe this, then they are dead and brought 
unto nothing ; and yet being laid upon Christ, they must not 
remain so, for they are swallowed up in the triumph of his re 
surrection ; as saith St. Paul, " Christ was delivered for our 
offences, and was raised again for our justification ;" that is, he 
hath taken upon him our sins in his passion, and hath thereby 
paid the ransom for them ; but by his resurrection he justilieth 
us, and maketh us free from all sin, if so be that we believe this. 
If thou canst not attain unto this faith, thou must, as is before 
said, resort unto God by prayer, forasmuch as this gift is in the 
hand of God only, who bestoweth it when and upon whom it 
pleaseth him. 

Thou mayest also stir up thyself hereunto ; first, not now 
considering the passion of Christ outwardly, (for that hath now 


fulfilled its function and hath terrified thee,) but rather by 
piercing inwardly, and contemplating his most loving heart, 
with how great love towards thee it is replenished, which 
brought him hereunto, that he bears thy conscience, together 
with thy sins, with so great and painful difficulty. So thy 
heart shall wax sweet towards him, and the strength and bold 
ness of thy faith shall be increased. Then having entered unto 
the heart of Christ, ascending higher even unto the heart of God, 
and consider that the love of Christ could not have been shewed 
unto thee, except the will of God by his eternal love had so 
appointed, whereunto Christ by his love toward thee did obey; 
there thou shalt find a divine heart, a good heart, a fatherly 
heart, and, as Christ saith, thou shalt be drawn unto the Father 
by Christ ; there thou shalt understand this saying of Christ, 
" For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten 
Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but 
have everlasting life." For this is to know God aright, when he 
is understood of us, not under the name of power or wisdom, 
(which is a terror unto us,) but under the name of goodness and 
love. Then faith and confidence may stand constantly, and man 
himself is regenerate anew in God. 

When thy heart is thus established in Christ, so that thou art 
now become an enemy of sin, and that by love, and not through 
fear of punishment ; afterwards the passion of Christ ought to 
be an example unto thee, in thy whole life, and is now to be 
considered, in thy mind, after a far other manner than before ; 
for hitherto we have considered it as an outward thing, which 
should work in us, but now we will weigh it so, that something 
is to be done of us also; For example : when grief or infirmity 
molest thee, think how light these are, being compared to the 
crown of thorns, and the nails of Christ. When thou must 
either do or leave that which is grievous unto thee, think how 
Christ was taken and bound, and led up and down. When pride 
tempteth thee, consider with thyself how thy Lord was mocked 
and reputed among thieves. When lust and pleasure prick 
thee, think with what sharpness the tender flesh of Christ was 
torn with whips, and pierced through. When anger, envy, or 
desire of revenge, move thee, think with what tears and cries 
Christ prayed, even for his enemies ; towards whom he might 
more justly have shewed himself sharp and rigorous. When 
sadness, or any adversity whatsoever, either corporal or spiritual, 


trouble tbee, strengthen thy heart and say, Well, why should I 
not also suffer a little sorrowfulness, when my Lord sweat blood 
in the garden, for anguish and heaviness. Surely he were a 
sluggish and ignominious servant who, his master lying at the 
point of death, would be held from him with a soft and easy bed. 
Lo ! thus a man may iind strength and remedy in Christ, 
against all crimes and offences. This is truly, indeed, to me 
ditate upon the passion of Christ ; these are the fruits of the 
Lord s passion, in which, lie that doth after this manner exer 
cise himself, doth surely, without comparison, better, than if he 
heard all passions, or all superstitious masses. Such also are 
called true Christians, which do so represent the life and name 
of Christ in their life, as St. Paul saith, Gal. v. 24, " And they 
that are Christ s, have crucified the flesh, with the affections 
and lusts." For the passion of Christ is not to be handled in 
words and outward show, but in deed and verity : So St. Paul 
admonisheth us, Heb. xii. }, "Consider him that endured such 
contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and 
faint in your minds." And St. Peter saith , " Forasmuch then as 
Christ hath suffered for us in the llesh, arm yourselves likewise 
with the same mind,," 1 Pet. iv. 1. But such meditation is 
now grown out of use and begun to wax rare, wherewith not 
withstanding the epistles of Peter and Paul arc most abundantly 



WE have heard in the treatise of the Lord s passion, that it is 
not sufficient to know only the bare history thereof. After the 
same manner it is not enough here to know how and when 
Christ rose again, but both the use and the profit, as well of his 
passion as of his resurrection, must be preached and known, 
viz., what Christ obtained for us by them. For where only the 
history is preached, it is a frivolous preaching and without fruit, 
which both Satan and the wicked as well know, read, and un 
derstand, as we do. But when the use of them is preached, 
and whereunto they profit, that indeed is a fruitful and whole- 


some sermon, and full of sweet consolation. Wherefore Christ 
hath declared the use and profit of his passion and resurrection,, 
when he thus talketh with the women, Matt, xxviii. 10, " Be 
not afraid : go tell my brethren, that they go into Galilee, and 
there shall they see me." And this is the first word which they 
hear of Christ after his resurrection from the dead, whereby he 
confirmeth all his sayings, and all his benefits shewed unto 
them before, viz., that they should come unto us also that 
should believe in him, and belong only to the believers ; for here 
he calleth not only the Apostles his brethren, but also all 
them which believe in him, although they do not see him visibly 
as the Apostles did. He doth not defer until we pray unto him 
and call upon, that we be made his brethren. Let any of us 
now come forth, and boast of his merit, or of the strength 
whereby he is able to merit anything. What had the Apostles 
merited ! Peter denied Christ thrice. All the rest of the dis 
ciples fled away from him, they persevere and stand by him, 
even as the hare tarrieth with her young ones : he might have 
called them run-aways, and forsakers of their post in the 
midst of their conflict, yea, traitors and wicked men, rather than 

Wherefore of mere grace and mercy this word was brought 
unto them of the matrons, which the apostles themselves then 
well perceived, and we also thoroughly feel, when we are set in 
the midst of sins, and are overcome of damnation. This word 
therefore is full of all consolation and comfort, that Christ careth 
for such wretched men as we are, yea, and that he calls us his 
brethren. If so be that Christ be our brother, surely I would 
fain know what good things we shall want. As therefore the 
case stands among carnal brethren, so doth it stand here. They 
that are German brethren by consanguinity, use their goods in 
common among themselves, having the same father, the same 
inheritance, otherwise they were not brethren ; so we possess 
in common good things which Christ, enjoying the same Father, 
the same inheritance is not diminished, by parting it, as worldly 
inheritances are, but is always made more abundant ; for it is a 
spiritual inheritance, a corporal inheritance, when it is distri 
buted into divers parts, is made smaller, but in this portion of 
the spirit, the case is such, that he that hath gotten part thereof, 
hath obtained the whole. What is therefore the inheritance of 
Christ ? In his power are life and death, sin and grace, and 
whatsoever is contained in heaven and in earth, his are eternal 



verity, strength, wisdom, righteousness. All power is given 
unto him, he hath rule over all things, over hunger and thirst, 
prosperity and adversity, &c. ; he reigneth over all things that 
can he thought, whether they be in heaven or in earth ; and 
that I may speak at once, all tilings are in his power, as well 
eternal things as temporal. Now if 1 cleave unto him by faith, 
I shall be made a partaker of all his good things, and shall not 
obtain a part of the inheritance only, but 1 shall possess even 
with him everlasting wisdom, eternal strength. My belly shall 
not be grieved with hunger, sin shall not oppress me, neither 
shall 1 be afraid of the face of death, neither shall I dread the 
sight of Satan, nor shall 1 want plenty of anything that is good, 
even as he wanteth it not. 

Hence we may easily understand the sayings uttered com 
monly in the prophets, and especially in the Psalms, as where 
.David saith, Psalm xxxiv. 10, " The young lions do lack, and 
suiVer hunger : but they that seek the Lord shall not want any 
good thing." And in another place, " The Lord knoweth the 
days of the upright : and their inheritance shall be for ever. 
They shall not be ashamed in the evil times : and in the days of 
famine they shall be satisfied." And again, " 1 have been 
young, and now am old : yet 1 have not seen the righteous for 
saken, nor his seed begging bread." All which things Christ 
bringeth with him, for that we are, and are called his brethren, not 
because of any merit, but of mere grace. If we would print these 
things in our heart, that we might thoroughly feel them, it should 
go well with us, but they go in at one ear and out at another. 
This is that in which St. Paul so gre atly glorieth, Rom. viii. 14. 
66 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons 
of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again 
to fear ; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby 
we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with 
our spirit, that we are the children of God. And if children, 
then heirs ; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ : if so be 
that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." 
Moreover this title ascendeth so high that man s thoughts are 
not able to comprehend it ; for unless the Spirit, the Comforter, 
impart this grace unto us, no man shall ever he able to say, 
Christ is my brother. For reason cannot be bold to say, although 
one repeat it in words very often, as the new spirits do. It is a 
higher thing than that it can be so spoken, for except the heart 
feel it, as it is requisite it should, it shall be nothing but only 


flattery. But if thou feel it inwardly in thy heart, it will be so 
excellent a thing unto thee, that thou wilt much rather say 
nothing of it, than speak and talk of it ; yea, by reason of the 
greatness of so good a thing, thou wilt perhaps doubt as yet 
and be in an uncertainty whether it be so or not. They which 
only cry out thus, Christ is my brother, are fanatical spirits, 
who vainly pronounce words without any fruit. The case stand- 
eth far otherwise, and far more marvellously with a true Chris 
tian, so that he is thereby enforced to be amazed, neither dareth 
he say or confess anything sufficiently thereof. Wherefore we 
must endeavour, that we do not hear this only with fleshly ears, 
but that we feel it in our heart, then we shall not be so rash, but 
we shall be forthwith carried into an admiration thereof. True 
and sincere Christians enter into the viewing and fear of them 
selves, thinking thus : O wretched and defiled creature, which 
am drowned in sins, am I now made worthy, that the Son of 
God should be my brother ? how do I, miserable wretch, attain 
to such a thing ? Thus he is astonished, and doth not well under 
stand the thing. But great study and endeavour surely is 
required, that a man may believe this, yea, if it were felt, as it 
ought in very deed, a man should forthwith die thereupon ; for 
he cannot understand it according to his flesh and blood, and the 
heart of man in this life is more narrow and straight, than that 
it is able to comprehend so great things ; but in death, when the 
heart shall be stretched out, then I say we shall try what we 
have heard by the word. 

In the gospel of St. John, chap, xx, Christ doth far more 
plainly declare unto Mary Magdalen this use and fruit both of 
his death and resurrection, when he saith, " Go to my brethren, 
and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; 
and to my God, and your God ;" this is one of the most com 
fortable places whereof we may glory and boast. As though 
Christ should say, Mary, get thee hence and declare unto my dis 
ciples, which fled from me, which have thoroughly deserved pu 
nishment and eternal condemnation, that this resurrection of mine 
is for their good, that is, that I have by my resurrection brought 
the matter to that pass, that my Father is their Father, and my 
God is their God. They are but few and very short words 
indeed, but they contain great matter in them, namely, that we 
have as great hope and confidence reposed in God, as his own 
Son himself. Who can comprehend such exceeding joy, I will 
not say, utter it ? that a wretched and denied sinner may be bold 

F 2 


to call God his Father, and his God even as Christ himself. 
The author of the epistle to the Hebrews, chap, ii., did well 
remember the words of the Psalm, and weighed with himself 
how it spcaketh of Christ, who, as he saith, is not ashamed to 
call the believers brethren, saying, " I will declare thy name 
unto my brethren ; in the midst of the church will L sing praise 
unto thee." If any worldly prince or nobleman should humble 
himself so low, that he would say to a thief or robber, or to one 
that is infected with some loathsome disease, Thou art my bro 
ther, it would be a thing which every one would marvel at. 

But as this King which sitteth in glory at the right hand of 
his Father, saith of some poor man, This is my brother, that no 
man layeth up in the bosom of his breast, neither doth any 
man consider of it in his mind, wherein notwithstanding 
our chief comfort and confidence consist eth against sin, 
death, the devil, hell, the law, and against all sinister success 
of things, as well of the body as of the mind. Moreover, for 
asmuch as we are flesh and blood, and therefore subject to all 
kinds of adversity, it followeth, that the case should stand so 
also with our brother, otherwise he should not be like unto us 
in all things. Wherefore, that he might be made conformable 
and like unto us, he tasted and had experience of all things even 
as we have, sin only cxcepted, that he might be our true 
brother, and exhibit himself openly unto us ; which the epistle 
to the Hebrews plainly setteth forth, chap, ii,, " Forasmuch then 
as the children arc partakers of llcsh and blood, he also himself 
likewise took part of the same, that through death he might de 
stroy him that had the power of death that is, the devil; and 
deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime 
subject to bondage. For verily, he took not on him the nature 
of angels ; but lie took on him the seed of Abraham. Where 
fore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his bre 
thren ; that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest, in 
things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of 
the people : for in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, 
he is able to succour them that are tempted." The profit, use, 
and fruit of the Lord s passion and resurrection, St. Paul hath 
gathered very briefly, and as it were into one short sum, when 
he saith, Rom. iv. 125, (e Christ was delivered for our offences, 
and was raised again for our justification." Whereof thus 
much at this time shall suffice. 




John x. 11 16. I am the good sJtepherd : the good shepherd 
giveth his life for the sheep, JG. 

THIS text is full of consolation, which in a goodly parable 
setteth forth Christ our Lord, and tcacheth what manner of 
person he is, what are his works, and how great his affection is 
towards men; nevertheless, it cannot he understood, but by 
comparing together light and darkness, clay and night, that is, 
a good and evil shepherd, as the Lord also in that place. Ye 
have now oftentimes heard, that God hath instituted and 
ordained, in the world, two manners of preaching. One is, 
when the word of God is preached, which saith, Exod. xx. 3, 
" Thou shalt have no other gods before me ;" also, " Thou 
shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not 
steal;" and dost also threaten, that he which doth not keep 
those precepts shall die. But this preaching doth justify no 
man ; for although a man be thereby compelled to show 
himself godly outwardly, before men, notwithstanding, inwardly, 
his heart is offended at the law, and had rather there were no 
law. The other ministry of the word is the gospel, which 
showeth where that is to be received, which the law requireth ; 
it neither urgeth nor threateneth, but allureth men gently; it 
saith not, Do this or that ; but it saith thus, Go to, I will shew 
where thou mayest receive and take, whereby thou mayest be 
come righteous ; behold, here is Jesus Christ, he will give it thee. 
Wherefore, these two disagree one with another, as much as to re 
ceive and give, to exact and reward : and this difference is to be 
well understood and marked. To hardened and untractable men, 
which feel not the gospel, the law is to be preached ; and they 
are so long to be urged, till they begin to be mollified and 
humbled, and do acknowledge their disease ; which when it is 
done, there is then place to begin to preach the gospel. These 
two sorts of preaching were instituted and ordained of God ; 
beside these there are other, which were not ordained of God, 
but are. traditions invented by men, ordained of the Pope and 
his prelates, wherewith they have perverted the gospel ; these 


are not worthy to be called cither shepherds or hirelings, but 
thev are those which Christ callcth thieves, robbers, and wolves, 
For if we will rule and guide men right and well, that must he 
clone by the word of God ; by which, if it be not done, we 
surely labour in vain. 

Further, Christ teaeheth here of that second ministry of the 
word, and describes of what sort it is ; he makes himself the 
chief, yea, the only shepherd, for that which he doth not feed, 
surely remains unfed. Ye have heard that our Lord Jesus 
Christ, after his passion and death, was raised from the dead, 
is entered and placed in immortality, not that he might sit in 
heaven, and rejoice with himself, but that he might receive a 
kingdom, might execute the function of a governor and king, 
of whom all the prophets, and the whole Scripture speakelh 
very much. Wherefore he is to be acknowledged to be unto us, 
continually, a present governor and ruler : neither must we 
think that he is idle in heaven, but that he doth, from above, 
both fill and govern all things, as Paul saith, Kph. iv., who hath 
an especial care of his kingdom, which is the Christian faith ; 
therefore it must needs be, that his kingdom flourish among 
us here in earth. Of this kingdom we have elsewhere said, 
that it is so ordained, that we all increase every day, and be 
come purer, and that it is not governed by any force or power, 
but by outward preaching alone, that is, by the gospel. And 
this gospel comes not from man, but Jesus Christ himself 
brought it, and put it into the hearts of the apostles, and their 
successors, that they might comprehend it, and into their 
mouths,, that they might speak and publish it. Hereby is his 
kingdom governed, wherein he so reigneth, that all the power 
thereof consisteth in the word of God ; now whosoever shall 
hear and believe this, doth pertain to this kingdom. Moreover, 
this word is afterwards made so effectual, that it giveth all 
things which are necessary to man, and bringeth a certain 
abundance of all good things ; " For it is the power of God unto 
salvation to every one that believeth," as Paul witnesseth, 
Rom. i. 16. When thou believest that Christ died for thee, to 
deliver thee from all evil, and so cleavest unto the word, it is 
sure and certain that no creature is able to overthrow thee ; for 
as none is able to overthrow the word, so none is able to hurt 
thee, when thou stickest unto it. By the word, therefore, thou 
dost overcome sin, death, Satan, hell ; and thither thou must 
resort and fly, where the word is, that is, to eternal peace, joy, 


and life ; and briefly, thou shalt be made partaker of all such 
good things as are promised in the word. 

Wherefore the government of this kingdom is marvellous ; 
the word is published and preached through the whole world, 
but the power thereof is very secret, neither doth any man mark 
that it is so effectual, and that it so much profiteth them that 
believe ; howbeit, it must be felt and tasted in the heart. We 
therefore of the ministry are able to perform no more, than that 
we are the mouth of our Lord Christ, and the instrument 
whereby he openly preacheth the word ; for he suffereth the 
word to be published abroad, that every one may hear it. But 
faith maketh that it is felt inwardly in the heart, yea, and it 
is the secret work of Christ, whensoever any knoweth that it is 
his duty, and is also willing to do according to his divine will 
and pleasure. That this may be the better perceived, we w r ill 
now treat of our text, wherein Christ first saith, " I am the 
good shepherd." And what is a good shepherd ? A good 
shepherd, saith Christ, " giveth his life for his sheep : and I 
lay down my life for the sheep." Here the Lord declareth 
what his kingdom is, in the goodly parable of the sheep. Ye 
know that it is a beast of all living creatures most foolish and 
simple, so that it is commonly spoken as a proverb, if we have- 
to speak of a simple one, he is a sheep ; nevertheless, it is of 
that nature, more than any other living creatures, that it quickly 
knoweth the voice of his shepherd, neither follovveth it any 
beside his own shepherd, being always of that quality that it 
cleaveth to him, and seeketh for help of him alone, being not- 
able to help itself, neither to feed itself, neither to heal itself, 
nor keep itself from the wolves, but relies in the help of another. 
Christ, therefore, brings the quality and nature of the sheep in 
a parable, and transformeth himself into a shepherd, whereby 
he shews what his kingdom is, and wherein it consists, and his 
meaning is this : my kingdom is, that ] may feed sheep, that 
is, miserable, needy, and wretched men, which well perceive 
and feel that they have no help or counsel but in me alone. 

But that we may declare this more plainly, we will add a 
passage out of Ezekiel, chap, xxxiv. 2 6, which speakelh of 
evil shepherds : " Woe be to the shepherds of Israel, that do 
feed themselves ! should not the shepherds feed the flocks ? 
Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool : ye kill them 
that are fed, but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye 
not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick/ 


neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have 
ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have 
ye sought that which was lost, but with force and with cruelty 
have ye ruled them. And they were scattered because there is 
no shepherd ; and they became meat to all the beasts of the 
field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through 
all the mountains, and upon every high hill : yea, my flock 
was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did 
search or seek after them." This is well to be marked : his 
meaning in this place is, that he will have the weak, sick, 
broken, abject, and lost, to be strengthened, healed, cured, 
sought, not spoiled and destroyed: these things ye ought to do, 
saith he to the shepherds, but ye have not. Wherefore I my 
self, as he afterwards saith, will deal thus with my sheep : " I 
will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was 
driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will 
strengthen that which was sick." Here thou seest that the 
kingdom of Christ is such as hath to do with those that be 
weak, diseased, and broken, and hath care of them to help 
them. The preaching whereof, indeed, is very full of comfort, 
but this is wanting in us, that we do not thoroughly feel our 
misery and weakness, which, if we felt, we would forthwith 
run unto him. But how did these shepherds behave themselves ? 
They ruled in rigour, and exacted obedience of the law ; more 
over, they added their own traditions, as they do also at this 
day, which if they be not kept, they cry out, and condemn him 
that transgresseth them, so that they urge more and more, and 
command their own inventions. But this is not to feed well, 
or to govern a soul, as Christ saith, who himself is not such a 
shepherd, for by such manner of feeding none is helped, but the 
sheep are utterly lost. 

Now we will speak of this place of the prophet in order. 
First, he saith, that the weak sheep are to be strengthened ; 
that is, the consciences which are weak in faith, and have a 
sorrowful spirit, and are of a faint courage, are not to be forced, 
that it should be said unto them, this thou must do, thou must 
be strong, for if thou be so weak, thou art ordained to eternal 
punishment : this is not the way to strengthen the weak. Thus 
saith Paul, Rom. xiv. 1, " Him that is weak in the faith re 
ceive you, but not to doubtful disputations." And lie addeth, 
Rom. xv. 1, fi We then that are strong ought to bear the 
infirmities of the weak." Wherefore they are not to be severely 


compelled,, but to be comforted, that although they be weak 

they may not despair, for they shall become stronger. Isaiah 

the prophet thus foretold of Christ, chap. xlii. 3, if A bruised 

reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not 

quench." The bruised reed signifieth miserable, weak, and 

bruised consciences, which are so easily shaken, that they 

tremble, and lose hope and trust in God. With these God doth 

not deal rigorously, and after a violent manner, but he dealeth 

gently with them, lest he break them. The smoking flax, 

which as yet burn a little, and nourish more smoke than fire, 

are the same consciences, which ought not to despair, for he 

will not utterly extinguish them, but always kindle them, and 

more and more strengthen them ; which truly to him that 

knoweth it, is a great comfort. Wherefore he which doth not 

gently handle weak consciences, doth not execute the office of a 

true shepherd. Afterwards the Prophet saith, " The diseased 

ye ought to have strengthened." Who are those diseased ones? 

They which in their manner of living, and in their outward 

works, have certain diseases and vices. The first belongs to 

the conscience, when it is weak ; the other to the manners or 

conditions of life, when any, being carried with a wilful mind 

and wayward brain, doth offend, by wrath and other foolish 

doings, as even the apostles fell sometimes grievously. Such 

as are so vicious in the sight of men, that they are an offence to 

others, and are judged obstinate and wayward, God will not 

have to be rejected and despaired of; for his kingdom is not 

ordered after such a manner, that the strong and whole should 

only live therein, (which pertaineth to the life to come,) but 

Christ is therefore set in it, that he may take care of such and 

help them. 

Wherefore, although we are so weak and sick, we must not 
so despair, that we should say, that we are not in the king 
dom of Christ ; but the more we feel our disease, so much the 
more we must come unto him, for he is at hand, that he may 
remedy and heal us. Now if thou be weak and oppressed with 
faintness, feeling great affliction, here thou hast greater occa 
sion to go unto him, and say, Most sweet Christ, I come unto 
thee because I am a sinner, that thou mayest help and justify 
me. Necessity compels thee hereunto ; for the greater thy dis 
ease is, the more needful is it for thee to be healed. And 
Christ himself required! the same of us, and allures us to come 
unto him boldly and cheerfully ; but others, which are not such 


shepherds, think that they shall make men righteous, if they 
exact much of them and urge them much, whereby they only 
make that which is evil worse, as we see done at this day ; 
whereas it is come to that disorder, that all things are most 
miserably brought out of course, as in this place the Prophet 
saith, (( Neither have ye bound up that which was broken," 
To be broken is, as when one s leg is broken, or a wound some 
where given ; that is, when a Christian is not only weak and 
diseased, that he stumbleth sometime, but also runneth into 
great temptations, and so is brought to that pass, that he falleth 
and denieth the gospel, after the manner of Peter, who for 
swore Christ. Now if any should so stumble, and be utterly cast 
down in mind, nevertheless, we must not as yet cast him off, as 
though he did never any more pertain to the kingdom of Christ ; 
for we must leave Christ s property to himself, that his king 
dom may remain unto himself, of mere grace and mercy, whose 
desire is to help them only, which are grieved with their 
calamity and misery, and do greatly desire to he 1 delivered from 
it ; that his kingdom may altogether abound with comfort, and 
he himself he the comfortable and gentle shepherd, which 
allureth every one to come unto him. And all this is done by 
the gospel, whereby the weak are to be strengthened, the sick 
to be healed ; for it is such a word as is fit for all distress of 
consciences, giving comfort to all, that none despair, although 
he he a great sinner. Christ therefore alone is the good shep 
herd, which healeth all sorts of diseases, and healeth them that 
are fallen ; which he that doth not, is not a shepherd. 

The Prophet thus goeth forward, " Neither have 1 ye brought 
again that which was driven away." What is that that is driven 
away r The despised soul, which is so scorned and contemned, 
that it is thought in vain, whatsoever Christian doctrine is be 
stowed upon it ; notwithstanding Christ doih not yet sufler 
that it should be dealt roughly with. His kingdom is not so 
straight bound, that only the strong, whole, and perfect, flourish 
therein, for this pertaineth to the heavenly life to come ; now in 
this kingdom only grace and sweetness abound. As God pro 
mised to the children of Israel, Exod. iii. 17, that that ap 
pointed land of Canaan should How only (i with milk and honey ;" 
even as Paul, 1 Cor. xii. 2f3, affirmeth, that " those members 
of the body which we think to be less honourable, upon these 
we bestow more abundant honour." He concludeth, " Neither 
have ye sought that which was lost." That is lost which 


seemeth to be condemned, of whose return there is scarce any 
hope; of which sort in the gospel were publicans and harlots/ 
and at this day, they who have not so much as a spark of godli 
ness, but are untractable and unruly. Nor are they to be left, 
but all means are to be attempted, that at the last they may be 
reclaimed and brought into the right way ; which St. Paul often 
did, as when he delivered two of this sort unto Satan, 1 Tim. i. 
20, " Whom I have delivered unto Satan that they may learn 
not to blaspheme." And 1 Cor. v. 5, li Deliver such an one 
unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may 
be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." Them he cast off as 
condemned, and yet did not despair of them. Christ therefore 
is so to be preached, that he rejects no man although he be 
weak, but that he willingly receives, comforts, and strengthens 
every man, so that he always appeareth to be the good shep 
herd ; hence it comes to pass, that men willingly resort unto 
him, and there is no need to compel them. The gospel so 
allures, and makes them willing, that they come with a certain 
love and pleasure, and with all boldness ; a desire and love unto 
Christ is increased in them, so that they do any thing willingly, 
who before were not to be urged and compelled. If we be con 
strained, we do grudgingly and unwillingly, which God plainly 
abhorreth ; but when I perceive that God dealetli so lovingly 
and gently with me, my heart is as it were ravished, so that I 
cannot stay myself, but I must even run unto him, leaving all 
other things, after which all pleasure and joy ensueth unto me. 
Now consider how great an evil it is, when one judgeth 
another. The kingdom of Christ, as we have heard, is so 
ordained, that it healeth and justifieth only sick and miserable 
consciences, wherefore all they are far deceived, which have 
regard only to the strong and whole ; it is great therefore, and 
very effectual knowledge whereby Christ is well known. It 
is grafted in us, by nature, to be altogether evil and wicked, and 
yet we would have every one to be honest, we earnestly regard 
strong Christians, not looking to the sick and weak, thinking 
them not to be Christians, if they are not strong, and judge 
others evil, if they be not altogether holy, when we ourselves, 
at the same time, exceed the rest in wickedness. Now the 
cause is our corrupt nature, and our blind reason, which will 
measure the kingdom of God according to her own opinion, 
whereby we think that those things are unclean before God, 
which seem unclean unto us, therefore that opinion must be 


removed out of our mind ; for if thou hast very much regard 
thereunto, thou shalt at the last think, Alas, what shall become 
of me, if all Christians must be such, namely, strong, whole, 
and o-odly ? When shall I once attain so far ? And so thou shalt 
bring thyself into such a perplexity, that thou shalt hardly 
attain unto true comfort and joy. Thou therefore must be so 
affected, that thou say, Most gracious Jesus, although I find 
myself altogether weak, diseased, and in a wretched state, yet I 
will not therefore cast oft all hope, but will fly unto thee, that 
thou mayest succour me ; for thou only art the shepherd, and 
the good shepherd, such ;i one 1 am persuaded thou art, there 
fore I will not despair although I come unto thee being void of 

\Vc must bestow diligence that we may wisely and well know 
Christ, that in his kingdom only the weak and diseased arc con 
versant, and it is nothing else, but as it were an hospital, where 
onlv the sick and feeble lie, of whom a care must be had. Jut 
few men have this knowledge, for this wisdom is exceeding hard 
to be attained unto, so that it is wanting even unto them some 
time, who have the gospel and the spirit, nor can any wisdom 
come unto men which is greater than it. Although men look 
into the scripture, which setteth forth the kingdom of Christ, 
affirming it to be most precious, nevertheless they have not a 
care what the words signify, neither do they mark that true 
wisdom is hidden therein, which excelleth our wisdom by many 
degrees ; for it is not Christian wisdom to have to do with men 
which are accounted wise and skilful, and to make mention and 
talk of them, but to be occupied among the unwise and them 
that lack understanding, not that delight and pleasure should be 
taken thereof, but that they may come from sin and foolishness 
to righteousness and sound understanding. Hence it appears 
that Christian wisdom consists in this, not that we look aloft, 
and consider those things which are high and wise, and behold 
and see ourselves in them as it were in a glass ; but that we 
look to those things that are below, and mark that which is 
humble and foolish. 

He which knoweth this, let him give thanks unto God ; for 
by this knowledge he is able to prepare and apply himself to 
every thing in the world. But ye shall find many, yea, even 
among them that preach the gospel, which are not yet come 
thus far. Hitherto we have been so instructed and accustomed, 
that none must come unto Christ, before he be altogether clean ; 


thou must therefore forsake that opinion, that thou mayest 
attain to true understanding, that thou mayest know Christ 
aright, how he is the true and good shepherd, whereof we have 
heard sufficient : Now he compareth the good shepherd with the 
evil or hireling, and saith, " The good shepherd giveth his 
life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the 
shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, 
and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth : and the wolf catcheth them, 
and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an 
hireling, and careth not for the sheep." It is true indeed, that 
Christ is properly the only shepherd, even as the name of 
Christ belongs to him alone, yet he communicateth the same 
unto us, that we may be called Christians ; so although he be 
the only shepherd, yet he imparteth the same name to them 
that be of the ministry. After the same manner, Matt, xxiii. 9, 
he forbiddeth that we call any man father upon earth, forasmuch 
as there is one only our a Father, which is in heaven;" not 
withstanding Paul calleth himself the father of the Corinthians, 
1 Cor. iv. 15, when he saith, " In Christ Jesus I have begot 
ten you through the gospel." So therefore it seemeth 
though God alone would have the name of a father, and in the 
mean season notwithstanding he granteth the same name to 
men, that they also may be fathers, howbeit that they have not 
of themselves, but by Christ ; even as we are called Christians, 
because we have nothing of ourselves, but that all things are 
given unto us through Christ. Moreover, An hireling, saith 
Christ, which is not the shepherd, " whose own the sheep are 
not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth," 
&c. This surely is a hard saying, that they which truly preach 
the gospel, and strengthen and heal the sheep, nevertheless, 
at the last, suffer the sheep to be caught and torn in pieces, and 
fly away, when the sheep have need of greatest help : When the 
wolves do not appear, they do their duty carefully and diligently, 
but as soon as they see the wolf break in, they forthwith leave 
the sheep. If they then have fed them well, that they be fat, 
strong and whole, they are the better liked of the wolves, for 
whom they have feel them. 

But what is the hidden meaning of this parable ? The mean 
ing of Christ is this : In my kingdom, (which consisteth in 
nothing else, but that the weak be strengthened, the sick healed, 
the faint-hearted encouraged,) the holy cross shall not be want 
ing. For when it is preached, that Christ only, whose silly sheep 


we are, hath care of us, strengthens,, heals, and helps us, and 
that our strength ami our own works are of no importance at 
all, (whereby all works of the world, and the clivers sorts of 
worshipping God, are utterly disallowed.) the world cannot 
abide such manner of preaching ; so that it is a natural property 
of the gospel, to bring the cross with it, so as inseparably to 
accompany it, and he that will unfcignedly profess it before the 
world, must need.- yield himself to bear persecution. Since the 
case stands thus, it is not hard to perceive what great difference 
there is between the true shepherds and the hirelings: lie that 
is an hireling preacheth the gospel as long as he is reported 
among men to be a learned, godly, and holy man ; but when he 
is reproved or set upon as an heretic and wicked fellow, or 
moved to make a recantation, then he either recanteth, or taketh 
himself to his feet, leaving the miserable sheep alone without a 
shepherd, then their case becometh worse than it was before. 
\\hat doth it then avail the sheep if they were well fed before? 
If they were true shepherds, they would spend their lives before 
they would leave the sheep to the jaws oi wolves, and would be 
ready always to offer their necks to the axe for the gospel s sake. 
They therefore are never good shepherds which so preach the 
gospel, that they may thereby get unto themselves honour, 
riches, anil profit ; without ail doubt they arc 1 hirelings, who seek 
after their own things even in sound doctrine, yea, and in the 
word of God ; wherefore they abide no longer, than while they 
gain honour, praise, and advantage thereby, but as soon as the 
wolf cometh, go back, deny the word, and get themselves away, 
leaving the sheep, which very earnestly seek for pasture and 
their shepherd, who may keep them from the injury of tiie 
wolves ; but that good shepherd can nowhere be found, who 
iiieth away even at that time, when the sheep have most need 
of a defender and strengthcner. The same shall happen to us 
in time to come, when we shall once begin to be touched in 
deed ; then the preachers will shut their mouths, and provide 
lor their safety by flying, and the sheep shall be miserably dis 
persed, so that one shall be carried this way, another that way : 
God grant that some of them may stand valiantly in defence of 
the gospel, and spend their blood, if the case so require, in de 
livering their sheep. 

Thus Christ hath painted forth the hirelings in their colours, 
who thus saith, " 1 am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, 
and am known of mino." These words contain much, and I 


should spend over much time if I should handle them severally. 
He speaketh here of the peculiar duty that belongeth to him 
self; I " know my sheep/ saith he, and they know me. 
Now the sum is this : Christ knoweth us to be his sheep, and 
we know him to be our shepherd. He knoweth us to be such 
sheep as are weak and diseased, which he doth not cast off, but 
hath a care of, and healeth them, although they be so diseased, 
that all the world thinketh that they are not his sheep ; and this 
indeed is the knowledge of the world. But Christ doth not so 
know them, nor doth he greatly regard what manner of ones 
they be, but considereth whether they be sheep : They there 
fore are the true shepherds, who following Christ, so know their 
sheep, that they look unto the persons, not to the disease. My 
Father knoweth me, saith Christ, but the world knoweth me 
not ; therefore the hour shall come, that I shall die an ignomi 
nious death upon the cross, and all with one voice will cry out, 
Was this the Son of God ? He must needs be a condemned man, 
and given up unto Satan, both in soul and body. So the world 
will consider and know me, but my Father will say in this sort : 
This is my well-beloved Son, my King and Saviour. He be- 
holdeth not my affliction, my wounds, my cross, and death, but 
he considereth my person, that is, my very self. Therefore if I 
were in the midst of hell, or in the jaws of Satan, yet I should 
come out again, for the Father will not forsake me. Likewise 
I know my sheep, and they know me. They are certain that I 
am a good shepherd, they know me, therefore they come to me 
for succour, and cleave unto me, neither do they fear that they 
are subject to manifold infirmities and diseases, they know very 
well that I would have such sheep to resort unto me. 

" Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold : them also 
I must bring, and they shall hear my voice ; and there shall be 
one fold, and one shepherd." Some have handled this place, 
and affirm it shall be fulfilled before the latter day, when Anti 
christ, John and Elias shall come ; which is flatly against the 
truth, and forged of Satan, that men might believe the whole 
world shall at the last become Christian ; which Satan did that 
he might darken the sound doctrine, that we might never rightly 
understand it. Beware therefore of this delusion, for after the 
ascension of Christ this was done and fulfilled, and is yet at this 
day fulfilled. As soon as the gospel was published, it was 
preached to the Jews, and this people was the sheepfold ; now, 
he saith, that he hath certain other sheep also, which are not of 


this fold, which also he must gather together, whereby he 
sheweth, that the gospel must be preached to the Gentiles, that 
they also may believe in Christ, that the Jews and Gentiles may 
be made one church : Which he performed afterward by the 
apostles, who preached the gospel to the Gentiles, and brought 
them to the faith ; so there is now one body, one church, one 
faith, one hope, one love, one baptism, which continueth at this 
day, and shall continue even to the end of the world. Where 
fore do not so understand it as though all men shall believe in 
Christ, for the cross must always be borne of us, forasmuch as 
the greatest part is always of that faction, which persecuteth 
Christians; the gospel also must be continually preached, that 
always some mny be brought to Christianity. And thus much 
for a compendious exposition of this text. 



Luke xv. 1 7- Then drew -near unto It) in (ill the publicans 
and sinners for to hcnr him, fyc. 

IN this text, dearly beloved, that doctrine is contained, which 
we are persuaded, and glory to be our chief doctrine, and which 
by best right deserveth to be called Christian doctrine, vi/., of 
grace and forgiveness of sins, set down against the doctrine of 
the law and of works. But it is a very shameful thing, that a 
sermon so excellent, and replenished with so great comfort and 
joy, should be heard of a man that is wicked and a contemncr 
of the word of God. Ilowbeit this is much more miserable, that 
all think they have thoroughly learned it; to the knowledge 
whereof every one will seem to have attained, thinking there is 
nothing in it, which he doth not perfectly understand, and that 
there is no need to spend anymore study in learning it; al 
though it be not grievous to God himself, neither doth it weary 
him, every year repeating it, or rather every day exercising it, 
as though he knew to preach nothing else, being unskilful and 
ignorant of all other kind of doctrine. And we miserable and 
wretched men, as soon as we think we have attained to the 


knowledge of the chiefest doctrine, it is wearisome and tedious unto 
us to repeat it, whereby all pleasure and love of the word of God 
dieth and is extinguished in us. But before I declare the article 
or chief point here taught, I think it good that the beginning of 
this chapter be diligently considered. St. Luke she \veth what 
gave Christ cause to make this sermon, where he saith, " Then 
drew .near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear 
him/ In which words he plainly signified! with what men 
Christ kept company, namely, with them, which in the sight of 
all men lived as it did not become them, and were openly called 
sinners and evil persons. 

Whereby it appeareth that the pharisees seemed to have 
sufficient cause to find fault with Christ, for that he, which would 
be counted holy, did familiarly keep company with such men: for 
they were commonly called Publicans, at that time, to whom the 
Romans let out some city or custom, for a certain sum of mo 
ney : as the Turks and Venetians do at this day, for which a 
certain sum of money is yearly paid, and whatsoever they shall 
scrape together by exactions above this sum that is their own. 
So also the aforesaid publicans did, which so gathered those 
tributes and money wherewith they were charged, that they 
themselves might have some gain thereby. And seeing that a 
sum of money to be paid for some city or office was not small, 
they by all means dealt unjustly, and used extortion in all 
things, in all places, and with all persons. For the lords and 
masters held them so strictly, that they could not get much 
thereby, if they dealt rightly and justly, and oppressed no man. 
Hence they had a very evil report, that they were most unjust 
exactors, and endued with small honesty and integrity of life : 
the rest in general were called sinners, which otherwise lived 
dishonestly and wretchedly, and were denied with filthy offences, 
as with covetousness, with whoredom, with surfeiting and 
drunkenness, and such like ; such resort here unto Christ, and 
come to hear him, as before they had known him by report to 
be excellent and famous both in words and deeds. However, 
it is certain that in them, although they seemed even desperate, 
there was a spark of virtue and honesty, inasmuch as they longed 
after Christ, both coveting to hear his doctrine, and also ear 
nestly desiring to see the works which he did, when before they 
knew him to be a good man, and heard no ill report either of 
his doctrine or works, so that their life did far differ from his. 
Nevertheless they are so well disposed, that they are not his. 



enemies, neither refuse nor fly his company, but run unto him, 
not of any evil purpose or intent, but to see and hear some good 
thing, whereby they may amend their life. On the contrary, 
the Pharisees and Scribes, which were counted most righteous 
and holy, are such poisonous beasts, that they are not only sore 
displeased at Christ, whom they can abide neither to see nor 
hear, but also they cannot be content, that miserable sinners 
should come unto him, and hear him, whereby they being led 
by repentance might amend : yea, they also murmur, and re 
prove Christ, for that he admitted and received publicans and 
sinners ; saying, Behold is this that holy and famous man ? who 
will no\v say that he is of God, when he has society with wicked 
wretches ? yea, rather he is a drinker of wine and a glutton, a 
friend to publicans and sinners. Such a report he is constrained 
to bear of the holy Pharisees, not that he gave himself to glut 
tony and surfeiting, or to feed excessively and follow riotous 
pleasure with them, but only because lie admitted such into his 
company, and did not contemptuously reject them. For in 
their opinion he should have gone witli a sad and austere coun 
tenance, in base apparel, and have remained severed from the 
conversation and company of men, and refused their fellowship, 
lest that by familiar custom with them he should be defiled, 
and should not have done as they were accustomed to do after 
the manner of holy men. Of whom Isaiah writeth, that they 
studied for such purity, that they did fear and sulTer against 
their will, even the touching of a sinner; which indeed plainly 
appeareth, Luke vii., in the Pharisee murmuring against Christ, 
because he suffered himself to be touched of the sinful woman: 
and it was they that would always be his masters, and prescribe 
unto him rules whereby to live, and behave himself in this life; 
therefore in this place they murmur that he did not apply him 
self unto them ; neither did disdain the company and conversa 
tion of such sinners according to their example. Now Christ 
also is somewhat stout, plainly shewing here, that he cannot 
suffer the mastership of any, but that he is altogether free and 
exempt from the commands of all, as commonly in the gospels 
we see him to be at his own will and pleasure, who nevertheless 
was both gentler and more serviceable than all others : but 
when they would deal with him by laws, and be his masters, 
then all friendship ceased, for he leapt back, like the adamant 
laid upon the anvil and stricken, speaking and doing the contrary 
of that which they require of him, though they seem to speak 


even right well, alleging the word of God, as they do in this 
place, where they come and say, thou must do thus, thou must 
follow the conversation of honest men, thou must fly the com 
pany of wicked men. 

This truly is a substantial doctrine, and confirmed by testi 
mony of the scripture : for Moses himself commandeth the Jews 
to avoid evil men, and take away evil from among them : by this 
text they confirm their sayings, and come with their Moses, and 
would make Christ subject to their laws, and have him ruled by 
them ; but Christ nevertheless will be at his own liberty : and 
he is not unlike the unicorn, which beast men deny that he can 
be taken alive, for, being hunted, he suffereth himself to be 
wounded, to be stricken with darts, and to be slain, but not to be 
taken ; so doth Christ also, who although he be set upon by 
laws, yet doth he not suffer them, but breaketh through as 
through a spider s web, rebuking them most sharply : as Matt. 
xii., where they found fault with his disciples, because they had 
plucked the ears of corn on the Sabbath day, alleging the com 
mandment of God that the Sabbath was to be kept holy, &c.,he 
avoucheth the clean contrary, tearing in sunder the command 
ment, affirming the contrary both in words and examples, Matt. 
xvi., where he declareth to his apostles that he shall suffer and 
be crucified, but Peter admonished him to be of good cheer, 
and setteth before him in the precept of charities, saying, 
l( Master, pity thyself;" there again he doth earnestly and 
sharply blame and rebuke his admonisher, and saith, " Get 
thee behind me, Satan, thou art an offence unto me, for thou 
savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of 
men." And in short, he is most impatient of all laws where 
with they deal with him, he will be most free from all com 
mandments, and acknowledged to be the Lord of them ; he 
always giveth such answers, as with which he represseth the 
exactors, neither will he keep any law as though he were com 
pelled to do it ; on the contrary, when he cloth anything of his 
own accord, then no law is so little or so light, whereunto he 
doth not willingly obey, and doth much more than it requireth ; 
there can none be found more gentle and serviceable than he, if 
he be not urged or controlled of any : moreover, he so far 
humbled himself, that he washed the feet of Judas which be 
trayed him, according as he himself speaketh, " I came not to 
be served, but to serve others," &c., which is manifest to them 
that consider his life, how he walked abroad in Judaea, Samaria, 

G 2 


Galilee, and in the night slept on the ground, fasted forty clays, 
and took no rest, but patiently sustained so much labour, that 
they feared lest he should be ravished in mind, or finally bring 
some hurt to his body ; he doth all things, but refuseth to be 
compelled, and sulTereth no laws to be prescribed unto him, 
which if any set before him, he most stoutly resisteth and 
striveth against them ; so he is both of a most stout and of a 
most mild spirit, neither is there any more stout or more ser 
viceable than he, who can do none of those things that are 
exacted of him, and nevertheless doth all things even most 
abundantly, and as it were overflowed with a ilood of good 
works, and watereth all things, no man commanding him, or 
by way of controlment exacting and requiring Liny tiling of him, 
but he being permitted to do voluntarily and of his own 

These things are done for our example, that \ve may learn 
what a true Christian man is after the Si/irit, lest we ni(l;e 

i e> 

him according to the law, and according to our own wisdom and 
understanding ; for Christ is therefore our Lord, that he may 
make such men of us, as he is himself ; and as he cannot suiTer 
himself to he tied and bound with laws, but will be Lord of 
laws, yea, and of all things, so also ought not the conscience of a 
Christian to sullcr them ; for we are so much made free by 
Christ, that our conscience mav know nothing concerning any 
law, whose judgment and controlment it may abide to suffer: 
neither ought we any otherwise to be alTected according to the 
state of the inward conscience, than if no law had been given 
or made ; yea, as if neither ten commandments, nor one, either 
of God. or of bishop, or of C;esar, were given to us, that we 
may plainly say, I know nothing of any law, neither will I know 
anything; for in that state and condition, wherein we Chris 
tians are, our works, and the works of all men cease, yea, and 
all laws also : for where there is no work, neither can there be 
any law, requiring a work, and saying, This thing was to be 
done of thee, this is to be left undone ; but we through Christ 
are wholly free from all works, and righteous by mere grace and 
mercy, whereby we live only before God. 

And this is our treasure, whereby we are Christians, and live 
and stand before God ; for how we ought to live in outward con 
versation, vi/., in flesh and blood before the world, it doth 
nothing pertain unto this place : wherefore a Christian must 
learn so to rule his conscience that he suiler it not to be held 


captive or entangled with any law ; but whosoever will bind and 
hold it with any law, let him stoutly and boldly strive against it, 
and do as he seeth Christ do here and elsewhere, where he useth 
stoutness and earnestness of mind,, that no Moses or exactor of 
the law can prevail anything with him, although otherwise lie 
be most humble, most sweet, and gentle of all men ; howbeit, 
this art is above measure high and excellent, which none but 
he understandeth, whereof he is the master, who knoweth how 
to appease all laws and teachers of laws. 

We are not able to do so ; for the devil mightily assaults us, 
and as often as he setteth upon the conscience of man, he driveth 
him to that point, that he entcreth into a dispute with him, 
what he hath done or not done ; then such a dispute beginneth, 
wherein is debated of our sin and righteousness,, even then man 
is brought into a dangerous case and into the mire, where he 
sticketh, neither can lie escape or rid himself out, but is forth 
with deeper and deeper plunged ; for he is laden with a heavy 
burden, which he is not able to bear, wherefore he walketh 
musing, gnawing, and consuming his mind, neither can he get 
any quietness thereof; which I plainly feel in myself, neither 
can I wrestle out, and deliver myself by any travel, although I 
labour always, trying all means to escape out of this gulf, 
that I may answer the law, and obtain so much that it may keep 
silence, and say, now at length them hast done so much, where 
with I am constrained to be content ; but ail endeavour and 
study is in vain ; for such a deep pit and dangerous gulph it is, 
out. of which no man is able to escape, although he joins the 
help of all men to himself, as they can bear me witness which 
have made trial hereof, and do as yet daily try it ; the cause is 
our nature, which will have to do with works and laws, and hear 
what they say, and follow them that say, Why doth he eat with 
publicans and sinners ? if he did not eat and drink with us, he 
should do well. Also, why do thy disciples pluck the ears of 
corn on the Sabbath day, &c., with whom it will have to do so 
long, till the law saith, now thou art righteous ; for it can attain 
to no higher understanding, than that the doctrine of the law is 
the chiefest doctrine, and that the righteousness thereof is the 
best life before God. In it therefore it continually remaineth 
captive and bound, nor can it by any means deliver itself out of 
this prison, being not able to pacify and appease the law, that 
it cloth not exact anything of it, or reprehend it in anything, 
but it is compelled to be captive therein as in a perpetual prison, 


and the longer it strives and fights with the law, so much the 
worse, until at the last it be wholly subdued. 

What therefore must I do, the law assaulting and urging my 
conscience, especially when 1 perceive myself not to do that 
which it requireth ? 1 answer, even that which Christ doth 
here, who admitteth or acknowledged) no law, although brought 
out of the law of Ciod. So learn thou also to do, that thou 
mayest boldly say to the law, Leave oil , Law, to dispute with me, 
1 have nothing to do with thee ; and for that very cause, for 
which thou comest to dispute with mi , and to inquire of me, 
how good and righteous I am, 1 will not hear thee ; for it maketh 
no matter what 1 am, or what 1 ought to do, and what not to 
do, but what Christ himself is, ought to do, and doth ; for now 
we are in the bride-chamber, where only the bridegroom and the 
bride must have to do, and itbchoveth not thee to come thither, 
nor to intermeddle with anything there; but, nevertheless,, 
it now and then knocketh and saith, in the mean season not 
withstanding good works must be done of thee, the command 
ments of Ciod must be kept, if thou wilt obtain salvation. An 
swer again : Hut thou hearest that it is not now time to speak of 
them ; for now I have obtained my righteousness and the sum 
of all my salvation without my works in Christ my Lord, and 
am already saved before thou earnest, therefore I have no need 
of thy presence ; for as 1 have said, where works prevail nothing, 
neither is the law there of any importance or weight, and where 
there is no law, neither is there any sin ; a bride therefore alone, 
all the rest being excluded, must reign in the bride-chamber 
with Christ, in whom she hath all things at once, neither need- 
eth she anything more, which is necessary to salvation : where 
fore the law must be excluded and utterly rejected and east off, 
as often as it will invade and set upon the conscience ; for surely 
it ought not to meddle therewith, neither cometh it in time, 
when it will have much to do there, where it ought to have 
nothing to do, and where it ought in no \vise to come; for the 
conscience resteth in this article of our Christian faith, I believe 
in Jesus Christ my Lord, which suffered, died, and was buried 
for me, c., unto whom both Moses law, and Caesar s, and 
divine laws ought to give place. 

All that therefore is boldly to be chased from me, whatsoever 
will dispute with me of sins, righteousness, and such like things: 
behold, Christ would in this place resemble this liberty unto us, 
that as Christians we suffer no master in our conscience, trusting 


constantly to this one thing, that we are baptized, and called unto 
Christ, and by him justified and sanctified, whereupon we may 
say, he is my righteousness, my treasure, my work against sin 
and unrighteousness (whereof the law endeavoureth to accuse 
me). If it please you to have other righteousness, works, law, 
&c., then may ye take them from whence you will, surely ye 
shall find no place for them in me. Thus may a man defend 
himself, and stand against the suggestions and temptations of 
the devil, and of sin either past or present. 

Wherefore Moses and Christ are far to be separated asunder, 
as also works and faith, the conscience and the outward life, so 
that if the law will set upon me, and make my heart afraid, then 
it is time to send it away, and if it will not give place, to thrust 
it out by force, and to say, I will willingly do good works, and 
will go forward as much as I am able for that time that I live 
among men, but here I will know nothing at all of them in my 
conscience, and therefore let me alone, and talk nothing of 
them ; for here I will vouchsafe to hear neither Moses nor the 
Pharisee, but Christ alone doth obtain place to reign here. I 
will, like unto Mary, sit at his feet to hear his word, but let 
Martha tarry abroad, and busy herself in the kitchen and about 
the household affairs. And in fine, I will not trouble the quiet 
ness of my conscience. 

But what shall I say, whereas in the mean time I daily sin, 
which surely is evil ? I answer, indeed it is true I am a sinner, 
and do unjustly, but I must not therefore despair, as though I 
were subject to condemnation, yea, or tremble because of the 
rigour of the law ; for by faith I apprehended him, which hath 
apprehended me, and apply myself unto him, which hath em 
braced me in baptism, and hath put me in his bosom, and by the 
preaching of the gospel hath called me to the communion of all 
his good things, bidding me to helieve in him. Now as I have 
apprehended him by faith, then may I be bold to bid the Phari 
sees, and Moses with his tables, all the lawyers with their books, 
all men with their works, hold their peace and give place. No 
law hath then any power to convince or accuse me ; for in this 
Christ I have all things abundantly, whatsoever can be required 
in me. 

This, I say, is the doctrine and art of Christians, the scope 
and end whereof is this, even to reign with Christ. But blockish 
men do not understand it, taking hereupon occasion to live 
more freely, as they list ; saying what need is there that I should 


do good works forasmuch as Christ hath abrogated the law, &c. 
Their foolish babbling is in no wise to be borne, for Christ is on 
the other part also to be considered of thee, and them must mark 
what he doth more ; for here he himself saith, That he is that 
man that seeketh the miserable and lost sheep, which also he 
witncsselli by his present deed, by receiving sinners and publi 
cans, and by preaching unto them. Whereby thou seest that he 
doth fulfil much more than the law commandeth to be done, and 
teaeheth thee to do the same, by his example. lie is of such an 
heroical spirit, that he will not be under the law, yet doth he of 
his own accord more than the law requireth ; do thou so also, 
neither look when thou slwlt be forced and driven on by the law, 
but without the law and of thine own accord, do that which is 
needful to be done, as Peter, 1 Pet. ii. 10, admonisheth, saying, 
fl As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of malicious 
ness, but as the servants of CJod." And Paul, Rom. vi. 18, 
" Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righ 
teousness." These are they, which do all things with a free 
conscience, without the law, and unconstrained; for when the 
gospel is truly in the heart, it makelh a man to be such an one, 
as doth not look while the law cometh, but is so full of joy in 
Christ, that he is carried unto good works, doing well to all 
men, as much as he is able, and that of his own accord, before 
the law cometh into his mind. Moreover he bcstoweth both 
body and life, having no regard what he must therefore suffer, 
and so he is full of good works, which voluntarily flowing as it 
were out of a continual fountain are derived unto many : As 
Christ being compelled, doth not abide to take up so much as a 
straw, but uncompelled giveth himself to be crucified for me, 
and for the whole world, dying for the lost sheep. 

Howbeit it is very necessary to discern these things well, 
when it is come to hand-strokes, and within the throwing of the 
dart, as it is said, the law and sin disputing now with thy con 
science, then see that thou do boldly repress Moses, and bid 
him keep silence, sending him abroad to the old man. .Drive 
him into Moses school, that he may dispute with him, and say 
Dost thou hear? Thou art too slou- and sluggish in giving and 
serving thy neighbour. When Christ is to be served of thee, 
thou wilt more willingly serve thy belly ; thou wilt come in no 
peril for Christ s sake, thou dost deceitfully rob thy neighbour 
circumventing him by what means soever thou canst: For that 
sluggish ass flying labour, and following only idleness and 


wantonness, use the tables of stone, whom even against his will, 
constrain to go on in his duty. Wherefore when them shult set 
upon me, in that thing which is right and meet (thou must say 
unto Moses) I will willingly hear thee, and follow thy admoni 
tions, namely, according to the outward man and in outward 
life, where thou raayest bear rule like a school-master, and as 
one governing a family : Where thou hast power to command 
me, to be obedient, modest, patient, good to my neighbour, 
dutiful and liberal to the poor, and to celebrate God with praises 
poured forth to his glory ; moreover to be content for his word 
sake to abide the contumelies and slanders of all persons, and 
to suffer any kind of injury of the world. With all which I am 
not greatly moved, yea, I would do more things than I am able 
to do according to the outward man, for the Spirit, by the testi 
mony of Christ, is willing and ready ; although the flesh be 
weak. But if thou wilt go so far, whether it is unlawful for 
thee to come into my heart and conscience, there will I neither 
see nor hear thee ; for there I have an unspeakable treasure, 
whose name is Christ, and in fine, whatsoever pertaineth to 
bridle the outward man, thou canst not lay on a sufficient burden, 
but thou must not burthen the conscience at all ; for he that 
enjoy eth Christ is above all laws, as Paul saith, the law is not 
given for the just, who notwithstanding in the mean time doth 
more things than he is able to fulfil in the flesh : For according 
to the law, we are sinners, and concerning our person we must 
abide under it ; but through Christ we are far above the law. 
So Moses without Christ must exercise his gross works, whereby 
he may compel men which are not yet Christians, to be honest 
civilly before the world ; for he doth not make Christians righ 
teous and honest : However, I will not deny that he doth this, 
that he sheweth unto them their duties, which otherwise they 
would willingly fulfil and satisfy, but the flesh doth not so willing 
and with that readiness it ought, follow the spirit. In which 
respect they are to be admonished and urged, the conscience 
nevertheless remaining free, so that the law hath no power to 
accuse them ; wherefore such doctrine and admonition ought to 
be among Christians, (as it is certain that among the apostles 
there was,) whereby every man may be admonished of his state 
and office. 

As for the rest, which are not Christians, they must be ruled 
by Moses laws, and burdened with them both outwardly and 
inwardly, whereby they may be forced and afflicted, that they 


may do that which is right, forsaking that which is evil, although 
they do it not with a patient and willing mind. Of which kind 
are the rash multitude of the unruly common sort of obstinate 
people, who do not regard or understand the liberty of Christ, 
although they can babble and glory of many things concerning 
the gospel, and they notwithstanding do abuse it only to the lust 
of their mind ; let them know that they are under the discipline 
and correction of Moses : For they are not such men as are 
capable of this doctrine, which live with such a secure mind, 
that they think they have no need of the gospel, or that they 
sufficiently know it. But they only are capable hereof, which 
are busied with the disputation of the conscience and the law, of 
sin and of the wrath of God, in consideration whereof they 
become astonished, feeling the words of the heart speaking 
thus: Alas ! how wretchedly have 1 led my life ? What account 
shall 1 make unto God? and so they are too fearful and amazed; 
the other more than is meet, secure and presumptuous, feeling 
no law nor sin, no, nor any trouble at all. And the case standeth 
very unequally with both, for they which should have nothing 
to do with the law, do most of all wrestle with it, and alone feel 
it ; but others of whom only the law should be felt, are nothing 
moved with it, yea, the more grievously they are terrified by 
the law and the wrath of God, so much they become more indu 
rate. There must therefore be another master to amend these, 
namely the slayer and tormentor, who may teach them, beinjj 

J i 

unwilling to do well in the name of the Lord and with favour, 
in the name of another to do that that becometh them with no 
favour, the reward also of hell fire, and all miseries being set 
before them. 

Howbeit Christ doth here and every where else, both by 
doctrine and also by his own example teach us, which feel our 
sin and burden of the law, and would willingly be Christians, to 
accustom ourselves to light against it, and drive it from us unto 
others ; to give up no place to the devil, who would by the law 
break up the bride-chamber of Christ, and thrust himself into his 
place; that is, take away from the conscience her joy and com 
fort, whereby he may draw man into despair, that he may not be 
able cheerfully to lift up his heart and head before God : For 
this is the heart of Christians, whom it behoveth to know and 
learn more things, than that profane and blockish common sort 
knoweth and understandeth, that we may know well the manner 
how to fight with the devil, and to bear his assault, as often as he 


shall set upon us, and dispute with us out of Moses ; with whom 
when he goeth about such things, we must not dispute in many 
works, but must forthwith appeal from Moses to Christ, and 
cleave to him : For all his travels and deceits tend unto this end, 
that he may craftily pluck us from Christ, and draw us unto 
Moses ; for he knoweth full well the matter being brought to 
that point, the victory shall be on his side. Wherefore thou 
must again and again take heed that thou suffer not thyself to be 
plucked out of this haven, neither to be enticed out of this circle; 
and although he shall lay many things against thee out of the 
law, as it is the word of God, it is meet that thou obey, yet 
mayest thou answer him and say, Dost thou not hear, that I will 
now know or hear nothing concerning the law ? For we are now 
in that circle and haven, wherein it is not inquired what I must 
do or leave undone, but by what means we obtain to have God 
gentle and favourable unto us, and how we get remission of sins. 
Here I will abide in the arms of Christ, cleaving inseparably 
about his neck, and creeping into his bosom, whatsoever the law 
shall say, and my heart shall feel ; nevertheless, so that we keep 
the principal part of our faith sincere, and the chief point safe, 
outwardly I will willingly do and suffer what burden soever it 
shall lay upon me. 

Behold, he that understandeth this art well, should be a right 
and perfect man, as Christ was, so far above all laws, that he 
might be bold to call Peter Satan, and the Pharisees fools, and 
leaders of the blind, and put Moses himself to silence, and so 
live altogether without the law, and yet at the same time fulfil all 
laws ; be obstinate and stout against all that will enforce and 
constrain him, and yet notwithstanding of his own accord profit 
and obey all. But truly herein consisteth all the defect, that 
we do never fully and perfectly learn this art, the devil so 
letting and hindering us, that we go preposterously to work, 
being too ready and willing to hear all things whatsoever the 
law saith ; at whose threatenings all we are not a little asto 
nished, which it had been better for us not to have heard. 

Again in outward things also we give ourselves to liberty 
more than is convenient, whereas the body should be kept 
under and bridled with works, whereby it might be compelled 
to bear whatsoever should be grievous unto it, when as yet it 
oftentimes sinneth, yet so, that sin abide without, where it 
must abide, and have his Moses, who always may be near unto 
it, with his exactions ; however inwardly, let no sin or law bear 


rule to reign, but let Christ alone rule, and reign by mere grace, 
joy, and comfort. So all things should be done rightly, and 
man should be apt and fit to all good things, both to do and 
also to suffer, with a glad and obedient heart, by faith not 
feigned, in the grace of God through Christ : wherefore let the 
conscience bear rule over all laws, let the flesh be subject to 
every law. Now he that is skilful in this art, let him give 
thanks to God, and take heed that he be not too wise in it, and 
that he conceive not a false persuasion of knowledge; for 1 and 
my like do not yet understand it as we ought to understand it, 
although we be most expert ot all, and have been long exercised 
therein ; for it is such an art as no man k no well), but they which 
are Christians, to the learning whereof they are compelled to 
be scholars all their life long. Therefore far from the kno\\ ing 
hereof are those secure spirits, who alone know all things, but 
who in very deed, beside that false persuasion of knowledge, 
know nothing, and by this very persuasion they are farthest of 
all drawn from this art, and from the whole gospel : neither is 
there any thing more grievous, no, nor a greater hurt can be 
brought unto Christianity, than by those petty doctors and 
masters, which seem unto themselves to have some wisdom ; 
for they fill all corners of the world with sects and factions, 
being such as serve neither God nor men, hear neither the law 
nor the gospel, but contemn the law with a secure mind, and 
loath the gospel with hearing it, always seeking after new doc 
trine. But truly we teach nothing for their sakes, inasmuch as 
they are not worthy of our doctrine, and are so punished of God 
that they can never learn it, and bring forth any fruit thereby, 
although they hear it ; therefore let us keep it, whereof they 
take away nothing from us, but that they hear a vain noise and 
sound of it. 

Thus much for the first part of this sermon, in which Christ 
teacheth by his own example, how every man ought to keep his 
conscience free from all disputation of the law, and terror of the 
wrath of Clod and sin : Now consequently I think it good dili 
gently to consider this excellent parable of Christ, where he 
saith, Luke xv. 4, " What man of you having an hundred 
sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and 
nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he 
find it ? Christ is not only of a great mind, who will not 
follow the words and mastership of them, but bringeth probable 
causes of his greatness, with wisdom repelling their objections, 


and stopping their mouths, so that they cannot murmur against 
him. Moreover, he convinceth them by their own examples 
and deeds, and concludeth, that they ought for good cause to 
be utterly ashamed, being bold to speak unto him, and repre 
hend that in him, in so great a matter, which they themselves 
do in a much less ; for by what means could he more readily 
answer them, than if he should say, Well you, O excellent 
and most wise masters, command this thing, and teach me to 
drive away and alienate from me miserable sinners, which long 
after me, and come to hear me ; there is nothing that you 
yourselves do not for one lost sheep, who, leaving ninety and 
nine in the wilderness, (that is, in the field and at the fold,) run 
to seek that which is lost, neither do ye leave off seeking, until 
ye have found it, and brought it home ? And you count it to be 
well done, for which if any should find fault with you, without 
doubt ye would reprove him as mad and beside himself. And 
should not I, as a Saviour of souls, do likewise with men, as 
you do with a lost sheep ? Seeing there is no comparison even 
of one soul to all the creatures living and breathing in the earth. 
Why therefore are you not utterly ashamed of your doings, pre 
suming to reprehend me in this work, which you yourselves are 
forced to commend ? Wherefore if ye reprove and find fault 
with me, you yourselves are first to be reproved and found fault 
with. This is rightly to have answered, and with honour to 
have stopped the mouths of these fault finders, the causes being 
sufficiently shewed, why they ought not here to find fault with 
or controul him. They have well yielded unto him with shame, 
as it is meet, and have gained nothing by their mastership than 
utter shame and ignominy ; for it is a shame for such masters, 
and an exceeding great abomination, that they stick not to arro 
gate so much upon themselves, as to teach that man and admo 
nish him of his duty, who of God is appointed a master over all. 
But it ought so to fall out, that he which will rule and judge 
a Christian by his mastership, and endeavoureth to bring him 
from his baptism and the article of Christ, to be ruled by his 
wisdom or law, doth not only become a fool, but is also the 
author of extreme abomination and homicide ; for he worketh 
shame to the temple and sanctuary of God, and with devilish 
rashness invadeth his kingdom, where he alone with the Holy 
Ghost must reign. Wherefore he \vell deserveth, that God 
bring him to shame and ignominy before the whole world, see 
ing that he taketh to himself mastership in that place, where 


only Christ ought to be master,, and not unworthily to his great 
evil he kicketh against the goad. Wherefore it is not good to 
jest with Christians, for they are saints, and let him that is 
vise not he too busy with that man, whose name is Christ, for 
he cannot get gain thereby, for Christ is most impatient of all 
their mastership and doctrine : so also a Christian must by no 
means suffer them, for if he suft er them, giving place to such 
suggestions, to wit, thou oughtest to have done this or that, 
or as yet thou oughtest to do it, then is his case become exceed 
ing ill, inasmuch as he hath fallen from Christ. Therefore we 
must endeavour to hold Christ fast, having no regard, although 
all the world should teach us ; for if we shall abide with him, 
and hold the true understanding of the article concerning him, 
we shall easily overcome all such masters and teachers ; for 
this Christ will be free from all mastership, contending to be the 
only master and controller of all men, that either in favour 
they may reverently acknowledge him for their Lord and Master, 
and themselves for fools, or in fury and indignation, being 
subject to the reproach of all men, may utterly perish. 

But I have said before, that the present doctrine for the ex 
ceeding goodness, sweetness, and consolation thereof, is not to 
be set forth to the rude, blockish, and unruly common sort, to 
whom we do not preach it, but to those only, which strive with 
terror and anguish of conscience, or stand in peril and danger 
of death, and dispute with the devil concerning their sins com 
mitted, whereby he would drive them into despair. Before 
these this amiable image is to be set, by which they may re 
ceive comfort and cheerfulness of mind ; as for others which 
live with a secure mind, and little know what anguish and 
spiritual sorrow is, they are to be led to Moses to the tormentor. 
This is an image most pleasant and amiable, and more arti 
ficially painted, than any Apelles is able to paint with his pencil, 
neither doth any man excel in such eloquence of speech, that 
he is able sufficiently to declare and comprehend it in words. 
\\ herefore it is to be apprehended in the heart by faith ; never 
theless we must speak something of it. that we may give cause 
and occasion to others to think and consider more earnestly 

I also, saith he, have an hundred sheep, that is, that little 
flock of all Christendom, of which number one is lost, and fallen 
from the communion of Christians : Now dost thou require to 
know the affection of my mind ? Then must thou bestow thy 


diligence, to paint out well and artfully both the shepherd and 
the lost sheep ; for that shepherd which is but a man, and 
guideth the flock, which is created to be slain, hath great re 
gard to preserve it in safety, and is not a little careful how he 
may find the sheep when it is lost,, and bring it home again ; 
and with no less desire the sheep longeth after the shepherd ; 
whom if it understand to be his own shepherd (as by nature it 
doth) it feareth him not, but runneth unto him with great con 
fidence, and being full of good hope, goe^h before him ; yea, as 
soon as ever it heareth his voice, it answereth by bleating. On 
the other side also, the shepherd hath great care and desire to 
find again the lost sheep which hath strayed from him ; both 
he himself seeketh, and sendeth forth servants to seek, where 
soever he thinketh it is strayed, neither doth he leave seeking, 
until, having found it, he hath brought it home for he is not 
ignorant how miserable a living creature a solitary sheep is,, 
whose life consisteth wholly in the help and safe keeping of the 
shepherd, inasmuch as it cannot help itself, but being destitute 
of a shepherd, perisheth. Moreover it is also fearful and ready 
to go astray, and as soon as it hath wandered out of the way, 
and from the shepherd, forthwith cometh into peril of life, and 
cannot tarry, although it cometh to another flock, and a strange 
shepherd calleth it, it goeth on through thorny and sedgy places, 
through waters and fens, until it come in danger of the wolf, or 
by some other mischief utterly perisheth ; and although it be 
brought into by-ways and deserts, and is now thought to be 
lost, notwithstanding it hath this hope, as much as nature hath 
put into it, that if it might hear his shepherd it should exceed 
ingly rejoice, being delivered from all evil. Moreover, neither 
doth the shepherd therefore seek it, that when he hath found it 
he may wrathfully fight with it, or handle it ill for that it hath 
gone astray, or cast it to the wolf to be torn to pieces but all 
his care and thought is, that he may most gently allure it to 
himself, and deal with it most lovingly, viz., lay it on his shoul 
ders and carry it, until he hath brought it unto the rest of the 

This is that picture, resembled in this simple creature, where 
by Christ shews us, what affection of mind he bears towards us, 
and also what we ought to promise ourselves concerning him ; 
for since this is manifestly true in nature, the same is much 
more true in the kingdom of Christ, which is the kingdom of 
grace, love, and consolation. Therefore see that thou also set 


before thyself the sheep pertaining to this shepherd, then shalt 
thou truly understand how much greater and earnest care he 
hath taken to preserve it, with how great study and diligence, 
from the heart, he is careful for it, that he may find it and bring 
it home again ; for he will have his marvellous and continual 
kindness, and the unspeakable flames of his most fervent love 
to be shewed, or rather poured forth upon miserable, fearful, 
and trembling consciences, which unfeignedly lament their sins, 
and desire to be delivered from them, and such are his true 
sheep; for with a man that hath lost his shepherd, and heareth 
him not, the case standeth as with the lost sheep, which being 
estranged from its shepherd, strayeth more and more from him. 
And although it be called by the voices of others, and runneth 
unto them, thinking that it shall find its own shepherd, yet it 
findeth him not; it runneth from corner to corner, straying up 
and down, and wamlereth further out of the way ; neither is it 
succoured with any comfort or help, before it hear the voice of 
the true shepherd : \Ve learn this to be true by daily experience, 
and every man tryeth it in his own heart ; for the gospel of 
Christ being taken away, or not exercised, some false master, 
or author of some sect, in another place some fantastical IVllow 
thrusteth in himself, one perverteth the supper of the Lord, 
the other baptism, one teachelh this, the other that, of a singu 
lar holiness of life, both which allureth to himself the miserable 
and straying sheep, and sheweth himself so, as though he \vere 
the true shepherd. ]Jnt by the means of these the sheep is 
entangled only with greater errors, nnlil it wandereth altogether 
out of the way : to these cometh the devil also with his cogita 
tions, which he craftily putteth into the heart. Alas ! if tho .i 
had done this or that, r>r had not done, c., with all which he 
practiseth nothing else, but that he may make it fall into great 
errors, that it may not know where to abide ; and this truly 
falleth out, Christ being removed out of sight, and the article 
of him being extinguished : whatsoever shall be taught, coun 
selled, and showed, by what means soever, all things neverthe 
less become worse and draw near unto destruction, unless the 
true shepherd come with his voice, and call back and bring 
again the straying sheep. 

Hence it appears that it is exceeding necessary and conve 
nient, that we learn to know Christ well, that we do not behold 
him as a cruel tyrant or an angry judge, (as the preachers 
hitherto have set him forth to the people, and the devil himself 


showeth him to the hearts of men no otherwise to be thought 
upon and considered,) who hath drawn his sword already against 
us : but as the sheep doth naturally look on the shepherd^ not 
as on him of whom it shall be terrified, chased, and slain, but 
as soon as it beholdeth him is cheered and put in hope of 
help, and is no more in fear or solitariness, but forthwith goeth 
to him with all boldness ; so also when we desire to conceive a 
trust and hope of help, and to be strengthened and eased with 
comfort, then the voice of our shepherd, that is of Christ^ 
must be known and learned well of us, all voices of other shep 
herds not regarded which draw us only into errors, and toss us 
up and down, and that only article must be heard and compre 
hended in mind, which Christ so lovingly and comfortably 
painteth in our heart, as by any means it can be painted, that I 
may with all confidence and boldness say, the Lord Jesus Christ 
is my shepherd, and I, alas ! the lost sheep, which hath strayed 
in the desert, but am troubled with anguish of mind for my 
wretched life, desiring, with most fervent affection, to have 
God favourable unto me, and peace in my conscience ; but 
truly I understand he is no less desirous of me than I am of 
him ; I labour to come unto him, and he is careful and desirous 
that he may bring me unto himself. 

If we were certainly thus persuaded of his affection toward us, 
and did grave in our mind that it so greatly desircth after us, 
and is so sweetly poured forth upon us, it cannot he, that we 
should abhor and fear him, but we should with a cheerful mind 
run unto him, and tarry only with him, abiding to hear the doc 
trine or voice of no other ; for the doctrine of another coming 
between, either of Moses or of any other whatsoever, doth no 
thing but disquiet the conscience, so that it cannot find any 
peace or quietness. Therefore Christ saith, Matt. xi. 28, " Come 
unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give 
you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am 
meek and lowly in heart : and ye shall find rest unto your souls, 
&c." As though he said, Run and seek in what places soever 
ye will, hear and learn whatsoever can be preached unto you, 
yet shall ye find no quietness of heart, ye shall find no peace 
but in me alone. 

We will easily permit good works to be preached, a righteous 
life to be taught, the ten commandments to be delivered by in 
struction, and all things else which serve to the amendment of 
life^ but so far only, as they are taught to the unruly and un- 



tractable common sort, also to force and bridle the wantonness 
of our old Adam. But they which preach to the conscience 
wrapped in anguishes and terrors because of sin, ought to 
preach no other words than of Christ. For this is that lorst and 
miserable sheep, of whom no other master is to be borne with, 
but that only shepherd Christ, who neither urgeth it with the 
law, nor is eager upon it, but most sweetly and gently handleth 
it, and laycth the miserable and Mnful sheep upon his shoulders, 
doing that of his own accord which was to be done of the sheep, 
as we shall hear by and by more at large : but surely in this 
place the doctrine of both, or the voice of Moses and of Christ, 
must be well discerned ; for Moses ought to have no entrance 
to the lost sheep, no nor by any means is to be admitted to it, 
although he preach best of all other: for if confounding these 
we will comfort the troubled conscience by the law after this 
sort; be of good cheer, for thou hast not committed homicide, 
neither hast thou defiled thyself with adultery, neither hast thou 
perpetrated any other heinous offence, or done it with a good 
will, (Sec. This also is a comfort, but endureth a very small 
time, neither can it sustain the assaults and violence of the 
enemy, nor bringeth or containeth it any thing but confidence 
of itself, wherewith the miserable sheep is nothing helped ; for 
it remaineth as much wandering and lost as before, neither can 
it help itself, or come to his own shepherd ; but if we will help 
and succour it, we must show it the true shepherd, who cometh 
to seek it, that having found it he may bring it home, and ex 
hibit his voice unto it. 

Hereby it may obtain true and effectual consolation,, and be 
bold to answer Moses, and say, Now truly ] have not any 
care either of thy comfort or terror, and if it please thee, 
amplify my sins as much as possible thou canst, make me a 
man-slayer and parricide, or the worst man of all men ; for now 
1 will neither hear thee with an astonished mind, nor follow 
thee : but that is the sum of my comfort and salvation, I con 
fidently trust, that 1 have such a shepherd as seeketh me of his 
own accord, and having laid me on his shoulders carrieth me. 
Let us enter into dispute hereof if thou art so disposed, not 
how righteous or unrighteous 1 am, but how I have come unto 
Christ; wherefore we must always preach according to the 
capacity and quality of the hearers ; for I have said that this 
doctrine is not fit for a blockish and untractable man. As it is 
not meet that a laborious thresher should be fed with delicates, 


wherewith the sick are to be strengthened and refreshed, but 
the hireling is to be fed with brown bread and cheese and with 
water j the other dainty meats and easy of digestion thou must 
reserve for the sick or children, which are able to digest no 
gross meat ; so in this thing also thou must observe the same 
difference, that thou rightly distribute these things, and give 
every one his portion as a prudent householder. For thou must 
keep the doctrine of Moses and of the law, until thou light 
upon unruly, hardened, and untractable men, which lead their 
life securely and without fear. Set before these only strong 
and common meats of threshers to be eaten, that is, offer angry 
Moses unto them to be heard, who lightncth and thundereth 
from Mount Sinai, who terrifieth the people of Israel, bringeth 
them into the desert, and drowneth King Pharaoh in the Red 
Sea ; but when thou shalt light upon troubled hearts, and weak 
and afflicted consciences, which are now become lost sheep, 
then speak not a word concerning Moses and all the works of God 
done in the law, but let thy talk be only of the works done by 
Christ in the time of grace, and well and diligently repeat to the 
miserable conscience, how he sheweth himself toward the lost 
sheep, viz., that he is the gentle and good shepherd, which is ex 
ceeding careful for the lost sheep, so that leaving all the rest, he 
travelleth to find that one, and to bring it again into the way, 
neither doth he leave off till he hath brought it home ; for it is 
a great grief unto him, that any man should be in sin, and there 
fore be troubled and fear, neither would he that any should re 
main therein, and so perish ; wherefore he doth most lovingly 
allure and provoke thee by his sweet gospel to come unto him, 
and suffer thyself to be laid upon his shoulders and carried, and 
to be called his well-beloved sheep. 

As for them that live securely and pleasantly, and have no 
regard whether God be angry or pleased, they are not to be 
called lost sheep, but rather wild goats, which suffer not them 
selves either to be fed or ruled : but he, to whom his sins are 
a burthen, and who fighteth in the fight of faith, where he is 
not in danger to lose Moses, but Christ himself, and the prin 
cipal article, that is, where the conscience is in anguish and 
fear, whether it hath God gentle and favourable, this is that 
very man, who with groaning and sighs seeketh out and crieth 
for his shepherd, and desireth to be helped, as David doth, 
Psalm cxix. 176, " I have gone astray like a lost sheep, seek 
thy servant," &c. In the mouth of these this sugar and these 

H 2 


pleasant delicatcs have a good taste, with which the heart is re 
freshed, that it fall not into despair, but being again recreated 
with such a consolation, is lifted up not by Moses but by 
Christ; not that it hath Moses a friend or is able to pacify him, 
but because it hath God favourable through Christ, whereso 
ever Moses remaineth with his comfort ; although it be very 
well, as also it is meet, that we do not contrary, to the law, 
that we steal not, that we commit not homicide, or otherwise 
do injury and hurt to our neighbour : howbeit that is not the 
right comfort of the heart, but only a momentary tickling of 
the outer skin, not during and piercing ; for the devil coming 
and setting upon the heart, all comfort is utterly taken away. 
And although in some point thou hast done well and rightly, 
he nevertheless again bringeth ten-fold more, wherein thou 
hast done amiss, yea, even in the most pure works he can find 
much impurity, and turn all into sin ; wherefore we must in no 
wise trust unto such comfort, but mii^t rather refuse it and 
say, whether J be good or evii at this present 1 do not dis 
pute, but will reserve it rather unto that place, where it shall be 
taught and intreated concerning works ; but in this circle 
wherein 1 now stand, there is no place to intreat of works and 
integrity of life, but of Christ and his works, which he doth 
towards me a lost sheep. \\ herefore if thou demand whether 
I be good or honest, 1 answer plainly, no ; but if thou demand 
whether Christ be good and righteous, that undoubtedly 1 am 
able to confirm, and him i set for my goodness and righteous 
ness, unto whom also alone I courageously appeal. For in his 
name I am baptised, of which thing 1 have a seal and testimony, 
vi/., that 1 am his sheep, and that he is that good shepherd, 
seeking his lost sheep, and dealing with me without all law, 
exacting nothing of me, neither as Moses nrgeth, troubleth and 
and forceth me, but sheweth unto me his mere and sweet 
grace, while he submitteth himself to me, and layeth me on his 
shoulders, and carrieth me ; why therefore should 1 fear the 
thunderings of Moses and of the devil, whenas I rest in his 
safe custody, which hath given unto me his righteousness and 
all other things, which holdeth and carrieth me, so that there 
is now no more danger lest I perish, I remaining a sheep and 
denying not my shepherd, but reposing myself wholly in him ? 
thus hast thou Christ most lovingly set forth unto thee ; now 
only faith is required, whereof there is great need ; for this 
doctrine is excellent, and replenished with most sweet comfort, 


but this is wanting that the use thereof is not felt, where it 
ought to he felt ; for when the sheep go astray, that is, when 
a man feeling himself grieved with his sins, and cannot tell 
where to abide, and is cast of the devil into a great fear of 
mind, then he always runneth unto the contrary, neither can he 
comprehend, or conceive in mind, that this is true, all things 
falling out of his mind which he heard here, because of the 
present feeling and fear. For the devil hath blinded his eyes, 
neither can he perceive any thing else but the wrath and in 
dignation of God. Wherewith his heart is so burdened, that 
he is not able to raise up himself in mind, and to turn his eyes 
any other where : nay, he lieth so drowned in it, that Christ 
appeareth no otherwise unto him but as an angry judge, as he 
hath hitherto been painted out, and is so beaten into the hearts 
of all by the wicked Papists, sitting on the rainbow, with a 
sword coming out of his mouth. 

For this is one of the most deceitful crafts of the devil, yea, 
and of his mischiefs which he practiseth against the miserable 
sheep, to blind his eyes, that he may not know any more his 
own shepherd, and under a pretence of Christ to lead a man to 
Moses, disputing as much of Christ, as lie had accustomed to 
do before of Moses. Wherefore we have need of a strong and 
firm faith, that we may believe these things to be true, when a 
man himself must dispute even against himself ; for the sense 
is vehement of itself, whereunto the devil also cometh marvel 
lously amplifying sin and terror, the greatness and anguish 
whereof is able to consume, even the marrow in the bones, yea, 
and the heart in the body. It cannot therefore be perfectly 
learned so soon as some think. In prosperity it is easily be 
lieved that Christ is sweet and amiable, but anguish and terror 
coming upon and overwhelming the mind, man is blind, and 
without good understanding, and will judge only according to 
the sense and understanding of his own heart, which he fol- 
loweth and confirmeth himself in his own error ; for he is taken 
therein, and can think no otherwise, but that it is true, never 
theless it is not so. Now it were a point of this art, for a man 
thus to say unto his heart, If thou confess thyself to be a lost 
sheep, thou sayest right ; but that thou wilt therefore run from 
Christ, and so think of him in thy mind, as though he were a 
man, which would chase and terrify thee, it is a suggestion and 
temptation of the devil ; for if thou didst rightly consider him, 
and confess him as thy true shepherd, then wouldst thou not 
fly from his sight, neither wouldst conceive terror in thy mind, 


but with all cheerfulness and boldness wouldst run unto him ; 
for surely he is not therefore ready at hand that he may condemn 
thee, but lie comelh to thee, seeking thce, that having laid thee 
on his shoulders he may carry thee, and exempt and deliver 
thee from sins, errors, the devil, and his power, yea, and from 
all peril. Thou perceivest then-fore that thou art a sinner, and 
hast deserved indignation, so much more earnestly is that shep 
herd to be sought and called for of thee, that he may deliver 
thee from it ; of whom consider no otherwise in thy mind, than 
the sheep doth of his own shepherd, whom it cannot fear, but 
seeing and hearing him becometh glad and cheerful, although it 
hath run from him, so that for this deed it hath a suflicient 
cause to fear : the whole matter therefore consisteth only in 
this, that thou do perfectly Irani Christ aright, and consider 
him according to the word of dod, and not according to the 
proper cogitations of thy mind, and thine own senses; for the 
cogitations of men are false and lying, but his words are true 
and cannot deceive : wherefore the word alone is to be engraven 
in our heart, and we must cleave unto it with a constant mind, 
whereby we may reprove our own heart of lying ; for it alone 
must be true, and all things else that are contrary to it, false 
and vain. 

But truly this is an art, whereof I am ignorant, but much 
more those other light spirits, who boast many things of it, as 
they that know all things when they have once heard any thing 
thereof, and nevertheless they do not perceive or try so much as 
any whit of it : for it is an easy thing to speak and preach of it, 
but how hard a thing it is to prove it indeed, they only have 
experience, who earnestly make trial thereof. 

This is a most amiable demonstration of our Christ, described 
by himself in this gospel, wherein he hath most abundantly 
poured forth the flames of his most fervent heart and affection 
toward us, shewing that he hath exceeding great care and re 
gard to recover his sheep, which alone leaving ninety and nine, 
he seeketh and enquireth diligently for, not to terrify it and 
beat it, but that he may help it, and having found it, may bring 
it home, and with his loving and sweet voice and speaking unto 
it, may cheer it, being miserable and afflicted in conscience. By 
all which thou seest, how acceptable a thing thou shalt do unto 
him, if thou trust and cleave unto him with thy w^hole heart, 
and promise to thyself from him all goodness and love. 
Secondly, thou plainly seest this also, how by all manner of 
outward signs and means, he poureth forth his joy and unspeak- 


able goodness, and also having found his sheep how loving he 
sheweth himself, for surely he dealeth not with it by any law, 
as by his right he might deal, and drive it before him as he 
doth the rest, or suffer it to go by him : but he doth none of 
these, but layeth it upon his shoulders, and all the journey 
carrieth it through the desert, taking all the labour and trouble 
upon himself, that at the least wise the sheep may rest. Neither 
doth he it grudgingly, but willingly, for he is full of joy for his 
sheep recovered. 

Now mark this also, how well it goeth with the sheep, with 
how great quietness and ease it lieth on the shepherd s shoul 
ders, neither doth it unwillingly see itself resting so sweetly, 
being delivered from the difficulty of the journey, as also void 
of all fear both of dogs and wolves, that is, of all errors and 
lies, yea, and of all perils and mischiefs : and this surely de- 
serveth to be called a very pleasant picture, exceeding amiable 
and comfortable to be looked upon. No otherwise doth our 
Lord Jesus Christ deal with us, while he delivereth us, which 
he hath once clone corporally, by his passion and death, but 
now doth often the same by his power, and spiritually by the 
preaching of his word. Wherefore he layeth us upon his 
shoulders, carrieth and defendeth us, so that we are safe from all 
perils of death and the devil, which although they terrify us, 
and shew themselves so, as though they would devour us, yet 
prevail they nothing ; for whereas we are carried, it is a safe 
guard unto us, and the same exempteth us from all dangers, 
and putteth away all fear ; as the sheep lying upon the shep 
herd s shoulders, is little careful, though the dogs bark, and the 
wolf craftily goeth up and down, but rather hanging down the 
head, is quiet and sleepeth soundly ; so we also, if we stand and 
abide unmoveable in this article, I believe in Jesus Christ our 
Lord, who suffered, died, rose again for us, &c., there is no 
cause why we should be careful lest we perish, or be devoured 
of the devil, though he open his jaws never so wide ; for we are 
not then in our own way, neither walk we upon our own feet, 
but we hang upon the neck of our shepherd, and lie upon his 
own shoulders, where we are safe enough. 

For sin, death, and hell, although indeed they be terrible, yet 
dare they not set upon him, otherwise if it were not for this, we 
should be miserable sheep, which should forthwith be brought 
into a lamentable and wretched case. For even as a sheep can 
not take heed and foresee to itself, that it stray not out of 
the way, unless it be led of the shepherd, and when it hath 


strayed and is lost, cannot by itself come again to the shepherd, 
but must, be sought and inquired for of him, until he hath found 
it, and so must be laid upon his shoulders, and brought home 
again, lest that it be again frayed and chased from him, or 
catched of the wolf and rent in pieces ; so we also ourselves can 
profit ourselves neither by help nor counsel, that we might 
obtain peace and quietness of conscience, and escape out of 
the hands of the devil, death, and hell, except Christ himself 
repeat his word unto us, and call us again unto him ; and 
although we come unto him, and no\v stand in faith, yet it is 
not in our power to keep ourselves therein, or to stand by our 
own strength, unless he often by the power of his word, hold, 
lift up, and carry us, for the devil always imagineth and pur- 
poselh deceit and destruction towards us, going about like a 
roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, as St. Peter wit- 
nesseth. Here is no place to boast of free-will, or of our own 
strength, which is none, neither in beginning any thing, neither 
in going forward, much less in persevering or continuing in it, 
but Christ our shepherd alone doth all things. But we are 
sure that while we lie upon the shoulders of Christ, we shall 
remain safe from all terror and distress; for he will not su (Tor 
us to be plucked or taken from his neck, neither will he him 
self cast us olT, being so glad and joyful, that he. hath found his 
lost sheep, and brought it again to the rest of the flock ; and in 
fine here is no terror or trouble, but mere life and grace, where 
by he handleth bis sheep most lovingly and gently. 

But on the contrary, Moses, not as a shepherd of miserable 
and weak sheep, but as a master of stronger cattle, drivcth his 
herds with a stafl and rod, three days journey through the de 
sert, until they be tired and weary with walking; of this shep 
herd those hardened and wild ones are to be tamed and bridled; 
and we also, when we shall be under Moses, to wit, according 
to the flesh and the outward life, must go, and do that which the 
law rcquireth. But in that we are, and are called Christians, 
we must by no moans suffer, that any work be laid upon us or 
exacted of us, but must give ourselves only to Christ, to be 
carried and gently lifted up, not upon horses and chariots, but 
even upon his own shoulders ; which cometh to pass, when he 
suffereth the word to be preached unto us, and we believe the 
same, that he died for us, and on the cross he bore our sins in 
his own body, that lie hath overthrown the devil, death, and sin, 
and put them under his feet, and hath made and opened unto us 
entrance to eternal life. We must not have respect to our own 


life, how righteous and strong we are, but we must study upon 
this one thing, that we may rest, lying upon his shoulders : in 
this circle we must have no care of sin, death, life, or pensive- 
ness, inasmuch as we have all things to the full in Christ, who 
heareth and keepeth us. Now he is not content that with such 
great travail he seeketh his sheep, and having found it he carrieth 
it with incredible joy, he maketh festival days, and exceedingly 
rejoiceth, calling together his neighbours and friends, that they 
may rejoice with him ; yea, he affirmeth, that God also in heaven 
with the whole heavenly host, do rejoice over one sinner that 
repenteth. In which words he sheweth who he is, which de- 
serveth to be called the lost sheep, namely, such a sinner, as 
being led by repentance of his former life, most fervently desir 
ing to be delivered from sins, and earnestly endeavouring to 
come unto Christ; such a one hath a miserable and troubled, 
yea, a contrite and humbled heart, and an afflicted conscience, 
the devil by all means fighteth against, and presseth it, that it 
is almost overcome with distresses, &c., but Christ assisteth 
and comforteth him, for he seeketh no sheep but that which is 
lost, and cannot help itself. Can Christ be preached with greater 
gentleness, or more effectual consolation of words ; or what 
should he do more to cheer the mind of a sinner, and confirm in 
him a sure confidence towards himself? We see him set forth 
by himself to us miserable sinners, as a most loving shepherd, 
who most sorrowfully seeketh his sheep being lost, and most 
joyfully bringeth them again, being found, and taketh so great 
joy, that with him all the angels and saints rejoice over us. 

Now he that firmly believeth these things would, without 
doubt, through Christ receive true comfort and joy; as here he 
hath a certain promise, that if he surely cleave unto Christ, and 
rest upon his shoulders, he shall be an acceptable and welcome 
guest in the kingdom of heaven, and shall be received with 
exceeding great joy. But we being troubled with sorrow and 
anguish of conscience, have a far different feeling and affection, 
when the heart thinks that all the angels stand behind us with 
drawn swords, which so troubles us, that we can conceive no 
cheerfulness of mind, neither of God, nor of the angels ; and 
there are some which can behold no creature with a glad mind, 
fearing the beholding of the sun, yea, being sore afraid at the 
noise of a leaf; all which proceed from hence, they trouble and 
vex themselves with their own thoughts, out of which they would 
willingly wrestle, sparing no labour, that they might feel that 


uprightness and integrity, which would he void of fear ; but if 
thou he desirous to conceive true comfort and joy in thy heart, 
then see that thou diligently and well print this amiable image 
of the most loving shepherd, and the word of the gospel, and 
seek it where it is to he sought, that is in Christ, and no where 
else ; for in this man thou shalt find all things, so that thou 
abide in him, and rest upon Ins shoulders ; but whatsoever com 
fort can be obtained without him, it cometh not from the heart, 
although thou call the help of all creatures, and shouldest also 
partake of the pleasure and joy of the whole world. 



Matthew xv. 21 2S. Tltcu ,/rw.v irc/tf t hence, and departed 
into the coasts of Tyre and Sir/on, or. 

IN this text is set forth unto us an example of a constant and 
stedfast faith; for this woman did so persevere, that she over 
came three most sharp conflicts, and notably teacheth us what 
is the quality and proper virtue of a true and right faith, which 
indeed is a certain trust, and most deeply settled in the mind of 
the divine goodness and grace, known and made manifest by the 
word of (iod. For Mark mentioneth that she heard the report 
of Jesus, without doubt, good and joyful, that he is a bountiful 
man, and marvellous ready to help every one ; that report was 
good tidings, and the word of grace unto her, whereupon this 
her faith did begin ; for unless she had believed that she might 
be made partaker of Christ s goodness, she would not have fol 
lowed him, or cried after him, which is what we have often ad 
monished, and which \vc are taught, Rom. x. 17, " Faith cometh 
by hearing." Wherefore the word ought always to go before, 
and give the beginning of salvation ; but how came it to pass, 
whereas many others heard the same report of our Saviour 
Jesus, yet they followed him not, but quite despised that report? 
I answer, they that are not sick, as they have no need of the 
physician, so neither are they desirous of him. J3ut this woman 
was afflicted and felt her necessity ; that report was so joyful 
unto her, that she being stirred up thereby, did follow Christ, 


running after such a pleasant Saviour, Cant. i. Wherefore 
Moses must always go before ; who may teach us to feel sin, 
whereby grace may be wished for and desired of us ; it is vain 
therefore, although Christ be preached to be loving, and to be 
desired and longed for, if a man be not before humbled through 
knowledge of himself, and made desirous of Christ, accord 
ing to the song of Mary. The Lord " hath filled the hungry 
with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away," 
Luke i. 53. 

Now all these things are written for the consolation and lift 
ing up of them which be miserable, poor, needy, and oppressed 
with sin, that they may know to whom they may flee in all 
distresses, and where they may seek for help and safety : But 
see how Christ urgeth and inflameth faith in them that be is, 
whereby they may become stronger and more confirmed. First, 
this woman being encouraged with that alluring faith of him, 
goeth after him and crieth for help, not doubting but she should 
find him to be such an one as she had heard him reported to be, 
and that she should forthwith intreat him for the recovery of her 
daughter. Christ in all respects sheweth himself unto her so, 
as though he would deceive all her trust, and make his report 
false, so that she might think with herself, Is this that man 
which is so bountiful, and ready to help all ? Doth he so fulfil 
the most commendable report which goeth of him ? Where doth 
there appear any thing like those things which men have told 
me of him ? They were deceived themselves, and deceived me 
also. He sheweth himself an enemy rather than a friend ; why 
doth he not so much as speak a word, and friendly deny me 
help, if I be unworthy thereof ? He holdeth his peace, and vouch- 
safeth not to speak a word, neither offereth his help ; here surely 
Christ gave a grievous blow to the mind of the woman ; so it is 
an incomparable torment to them that believe, being in distress, 
when God sheweth himself such an one at their prayers, like 
unto one that is angry, and whom they pray unto in vain, hiding 
so deeply his grace, that they now perceive nothing else, but 
that he will not perform those things which he hath promised, 
and that so he will shew his own words to be false. This truly 
happened to the Israelites at the Red Sea, and to many other ex 
cellent holy men ; but what doth the woman ? She removeth out 
of her sight and mind that Christ sheweth himself so ungentle 
and hard to be intreated, she being constant and not moved 
hereat, persevereth in the trust of his goodness, whereof she had 
heard, and which she had conceived in her mind,, suffering her- 


self in no wise to bo turned from it ; so also must we do : we 
must trust unto the word alone, although God himself, and all 
creatures, pretended otherwise than the word preaeheth. 

But this is most hard to nature and reason, to be so utterly 
destitute, and to depend on the word of God, without any feel 
ing of comfort, even when a man feeleth and trieth all things to 
be contrary ; God give unto us sueh a mind and faith, that we 
may so do, especially at the point of death, and in extreme ne 
cessities. Secondly, as the cry and faith of this woman seemetb 
to have suffered repulse, the disciples come with their faith, 
doubting not but that they shall inlreat the Lord; but when 
they think they shall make him more easy to be intrcated, they 
find him to bo much more hard, repelling, as it appeared, and as 
they thought, the faith and prayers both, of the woman and also 
of themselves. Neither doth Christ hold his peace, and leave 
them in doubt, as before, but he seemeth plainly to deny that 
which they ask, saying, " I am not sent but to the lost sheep of 
the house of Israel;" this stroke is much more grievous than 
the former, where not only the person is repelled, but all hope 
is cut oil , namely, the comfort of the intercession of all other 
Saints and Elect ; for it is almost the last refuge to them that 
sulfer distress and feel the indignation of God, to get themselves 
to good godly and holy men, seeking for comfort and help, and 
as charity recjuircth, they find them ready and willing, but even 
they also some time do in vain ask help and succour, for neither 
arc 1 they heard, so the case of them in distress becomes worse 
and more lamentable ; so the afflicted and desolate may truly 
object unto Christ those words, wherein he hath promised that 
he will hear his Saints : " if two of you shall agree on earth, as 
touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them 
of my Father which is in heaven/ Matt, xviii. 19. Again, 
" whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive," 
Matt. xxi. 22, and many such like ; but if to him that objectcth 
these things, and asketh him how he can go from his words and 
promises, he answereth thus, I go not from my promises, 
I have not promised that I will hear all prayers, but the 
prayers of them that be mine, which are of the house of 
Israel, not of all whosoever. What thinkest thou, having taken 
such a repulse? Such an answer is like a flash of lightning, 
wherewith the heart and all trust is severed and broken in a 
thousand pieces : For what trust can there be left, when he 
heareth that that doth not pertain unto him, which because of 
the word of God he trusted to have obtained,, but unto others, 


Here not so much as a word can be left if one do according 
as he feeleth. But what doth this woman ? She doth not so 
fall from hope, she still sticketh to the words which she had 
heard of Christ, although he went about, by this repulse, to wrest 
them out of her heart, she suffereth not herself to be frayed 
away, neither with his silence, neither with the hard answer, she 
continueth steadfastly in a sure confidence, believing that under 
this difficulty which Christ did pretend, that grace was as yet 
hidden and laid up for her, which she had heard reported of 
him, she cannot be brought as yet to judge Christ, not to be 
bountiful and gracious, and that he can deny the help which she 
desireth. This was to persevere strongly in faith ; she followeth 
Jesus even into the house, as St. Mark writeth, she is instant 
upon him, falleth down before him, and saith, " Lord help me." 
Here the Lord giveth a deadly and the last blow, saying unto 
her face, that she is a dog, and unworthy to be partaker of the 
bread of the children. What can she answer ? For he seemed 
to signify in these words, that she is of the number of the 
damned, which can look for no part with the elect ; this word 
seemeth eternal, and that cannot be gainsaid; for he which doth 
not pertain to the company of the elect by the ordinance of God, 
what may he hope to be left for him ? This woman is not yet 
discouraged and past hope, but yieldeth to this judgment of the 
Lord, she confessed.! of her own accord, that she is a dog, neither 
desireth she any thing but that which is wont to be given to 
dogs, namely, the crumbs which falleth from their master s table. 
She seems to have used great cunning: she takes Christ in his 
own words ; he had made her like unto a dog, she acknow 
ledged! it, and desireth that he will only suffer her to be a dog, 
according to his own saying ; what should he here do ? How 
should he escape ? He was now taken : for the crumbs under 
the table are granted to the dogs, to whom they are said to be 
due ; here therefore Christ being overcome opens himself wholly, 
and granted! the desires of the woman, and showeth that she is 
not a dog, but a true Israelite. 

These things are written for the instruction and comfort of 
us, whereby we ought to learn, how deeply sometimes Christ 
hideth his grace from us, and how we must not judge of God, 
according to our own sense and opinion, but only according to 
his words ; for we see here that although Christ showeth him 
self very hard to this woman, yet he did not plainly deny to 
help her; but whatsoever he answered, howsoever it seemed a 


denial, yet it was not a denial, but left in doubt, leaving art 
entrance for faith, although but small. For he saith not at her 
first petition, 1 will not hear her, but he held his peace, neither 
promising 1 nor denying help. So to the second petition, which the 
Apostles made, he did not say, she is not of the house of Israel; 
I cannot therefore perform that which she desireth, but he only 
saith, u I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of 
Israel;" leaving all things in doubt, between a plain grant and 
denial ; so when she had the third time desired him, he saith 
not, Thou art a dog, get thee hence, the bread of the children 
is not due unto thee, but he saith, " It is not meet to take the 
children s bread," &c., again leaving in doubt whether she was 
a dog or no ; nevertheless all these sayings seem outwardly 
rather a denial of help than room to hope, but in very deed they 
did contain in them rather a promise and hope, than a denial, 
yea, there was nothing but a promise, though most deeply hid, 
and altogether secret under that silence, and answers, although 
they were hard, and a denial only sounded outwardly. 

By these it is showed how our heart is wont to be affected in 
temptation ; for according as that feeleth in temptation, so 
Christ here behavcth himself ; it feeleth all things to be denied, 
when it is far otherwise; wherefore it is requisite, that leaving 
his own feeling, by a sure faith in the word oi (iod, it conceive 
and hold fast the promise of help deeply hidden under the de 
nial, and yield to the sentence of (iod towards us, as this woman 
did, so shall we overcome and take the Lord in his words, that 
he cannot but help us ; so that if we feel in our conscience at 
any time God rebuking us, pronouncing us sinners, and un 
worthy of the kingdom of heaven, then we feel as it were Hell, 
and it seems unto us that we are past all hope and recovery for 
ever : Then if we had the skill of this woman, that we could 
take the Lord in his own judgment, and say, yea, Lord, I am. 
a sinner, and altogether unworthy of thy grace, but thou hast 
promised forgiveness to sinners, neither didst thou come to call 
the righteous, but, as Paul saith, to save sinners, he truly should 
bring to pass, that the Lord should be forced, even by his own 
judgment, to have mercy upon him : So did Manasses, when, 
being penitent, he prayed for pardon, as we read in his prayer : 
he yielded to the judgment of God, acknowledging himself a 
most grievous sinner, and so he bound God with his promise, 
which had promised forgiveness of sin to sinners, not to the 
righteous. The same also did David observe, Psalm li, 4. 


Cf Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and clone this evil in 
thy sight: that thou mightest he justified when tliou speakest, 
and be clear when thou judgest/ For that purchases us dis 
pleasure, that we disdain to suffer the judgment of the Lord, 
and against our wills yield unto his sentence, when he pro- 
nounceth us sinners ; such a hard thing is it to acknowledge 
sins, and to embrace the judgment of God ; we all confess our 
selves sinners in words, but as soon as the Lord speaketh in 
our heart, and pronounceth us sinners, we do not abide by that 
which before we confessed, we had rather be counted righteous 
and free from that judgment. But it must needs be, if God 
must be just in his words that thou be a sinner, then also mayest 
thou use the right of sinners, which God himself hath given 
unto them, namely, to pray with a sure expectation of forgive 
ness of sins, then is it permitted unto thee, not only to feed 
under the table of crumbs after the manner of dogs, but being 
a child of the household, thou shalt sit at the very table, God 
having now, how great soever he be, given unto thee according 
to thy desire. 

Here we have an historical exposition of this text, allegori- 
cally ; for as it chanceth to this woman s daughter being sick, 
for whom, through faith, she obtained health by a miracle, so 
also it falleth out with us, when we are delivered from spiritual 
sickness, to wit, sins, which truly are a most grievous and trou 
blesome evil unto us ; for as she acknowledged herself a dog, so 
must we acknowledge ourselves sinners and judged unto Hell, 
the Lord pronouncing it, which if we can do as she did, we shall 
be safe. We have already spoken elsewhere of other things 
whereof there might be occasion to speak out of this text, as how 
one may obtain grace and safety by the faith of another, as 
here it fell out to the daughter of this woman ; this thing also 
that Christ s disciples, and the woman, are here examples of 
love, forasmuch as none of them pray for, seek or do those 
things that are their own, but every one that which is another s, 
is very manifest by itself, and easily acknowledged of every 
one, especially seeing that we have so largely treated hereof in 
another place. 




Titus iii. 4 7- -Hut after that the kindness and love of God 
our Saviour toward man appeared, fyc. 

PAUL having willed before, that all should be put in mind to be 
obedient to such as be in authority, and u ready to every good 
work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, 
shewing all meekness unto all men," &c., these few words being 
put between, that li we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, 
disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures," &c., 
he added those words which we have already mentioned, as if he 
should say, Wherefore should it grieve us to deserve so well of 
all men, when God before hath dealt so bountifully, kindly, and 
gently with us, with whom, in comparison we are less, and have 
less of him deserved than any, being compared to us, can be, or 
can deserve of us ? As Clod hath with exceeding bountifulncss 
and kindness most gently behaved himself towards us, of his 
mercy granting and giving unto us all things ; so ought we to 
do all things with charity and good-will towards our neighbours, 
although they have otherwise deserved, as we are like unto them, 
subject to sin and evil desires. Here we see how the Apostle 
will have us to be affected towards men : he will have us sub 
ject to them that be in authority, kind unto others, and ready to 
do well unto them with all gentleness, although they be evil, 
blind, and in error, that we grudge not to bear these things, and 
as much as lies in us, endeavour to do them good, taking all in 
good part, considering that God hath so dealt with us, when we 
were evil and wicked, like unto them. 

This word, appeared, we have elsewhere declared to signify 
the revelation of the gospel, whereby Christ appeared in the 
world ; although the imskilfulness of ministers hath \vrested it 
to the carnal nativity of Christ. He useth not here the word 
grace which he used before, Tit. ii. 11, but instead thereof two 
other words of great comfort, (kindness, and love toward man,) 
which he attributeth to our God. The first is that kindness, 
gentleness, and sweetness of condition, wherewith we are with 
pleasure conversant, and greatly delighted in their company, so 


that they by their gentleness and kindness allure all men to love 
them ; for such can suffer all without grief ; they contemn no 
man ; they repel none from them with bitter and hard words ; 
access unto them is not difficult, but they are so open and ready, 
that every one dare resort unto them, and desire their help ; and 
to conclude, they are such men as the gospel describes Christ 
unto us, whom they declare to be gentle unto all, a despiser of 
none, which denieth no benefit to any, pliant, prepared and ready 
to do good to all. 

So God also, by the gospel, is preached and offered unto us 
wholly good, bountiful, and sweet, open to all, rejecting none, 
bearing all our sins and offences, repelling no man with exces 
sive severity ; for we read and hear nothing declared in the 
gospel but mere grace and goodness, whereby he most mercifully 
hears us, and most gently handles us, and not any man accord 
ing to his deserts. This is the time of grace wherein it is 
granted to all to go with great boldness unto the throne of grace, 
as it is written, Heb. iv. 16, and Psalm xxxiv. 5, " They 
looked unto him, and were lightened, and their faces were not 
ashamed;" that is, he will not suffer you to pray and come in 
vain, neither to return with confusion. The other word is 
(ptXavStywnrla (Philanthropiii), love of men, as covetousness may 
be called love of money, as David, 2 Sam. i. 26, calleth the 
desire of women, the love of women ; and the philosophers call 
certain living creatures philanthropy that is, loving toward men, 
as are horses, dogs, dolphins ; for these creatures are by nature 
delighted with man, they desire his company, and willingly serve 
him as though they were moved with some reason and sense 
of humanity. This name, and such love, the Apostle here attri- 
buteth to our God, which Moses also did, Dent, xxxiii. 2, 3, 
(: The Lord came from Sinai ; from his right hand went a fiery 
law. Yea, he loved the people." The meaning of the Apostle is 
this ; our God hath in the gospel shewed himself unto us, not only 
bountiful, kind, gentle, and sweet, which can bear and will 
receive all. but also he so loveth us, that of his own accord 
he joineth himself unto us, seeketh to have to do with us, 
voluntarily showeth and offereth his grace unto us, and most 
gently embraceth as many as only do not refuse his grace and 
love, and desire to draw nigh unto him. What should he do 
more ? Who cannot see why w r e count the gospel a preaching, 
joyful, and full of all consolation of God in Christ ? For what 



can be spoken more lovingly and sweetly to a sinful and afflicted 
conscience than these words ? 

Now let no man restrain these two words (kindness and love 
toward man) to the persons, for God is plainly without respect 
of persons, bountiful to all, and a lover of all ; otherwise, if 
we should here make a difference between men, we should ac 
knowledge that something is received through our merits, and 
not all things through his mercy: where it must be well marked, 
that God is said to be a lover of men, not of this or that nature 
only, not held with love of the person, and therefore these two, 
kindness and love toward man, must be taken after a general 
sort, that in all things the chief praise may be attributed to his 
mercy, that no man trust in his own merits, neither be terrified 
with sin, but altogether trust to his grace, which he voluntarily 
offereth unto us, with so great kindness and love toward us ; for 
if any respect of persons might be had here, it should surely be 
had of them who are rich in the works of righteousness; but 
Paul expressly rejecteth these, saying, " Not by works of 
righteousness which we have done." How much less then shall 
this love of our God toward men appear, because of any man s 
wisdom, power, nobility, riches, or any such thing, when no 
respect is had of works of righteousness? Great is the grace 
of God toward us, which appeareth in the gospel, yea, and no 
thing but grace, which admitteth no merit at all uf ours, utterly 
taketh away all boasting and glorying, and setteth forth the glory 
of God alone, who freely giveth it unto us, being unworthy. So 
in this text these two, faith and love, are taught to receive bene 
fits of God, and bestow them on our neighbours, which the 
scripture doth very often repeat, so that even the doctrine of 
salvation consisteth wholly in them, neither can one be sepa 
rated from the other ; for he that doth not firmly trust in the 
divine grace, cannot but be remiss, and slow to do well to his 
neighbour, and so witness the faintness and weakness of his 
faith, which is the fountain of all duties and benefits : on the 
contrary, the stronger faith that one is endued with, so much 
more dutifully, and with readier mind, he endeavoureth to de 
serve well of his neighbours. 

Therefore both doctrine and life, worthy of Christ, consist in 
these two, faith and love ; whereby a man is made, as it were, a 
mean between God and his neighbour, that he may receive of 
God from above, and give to his neighbours beneath, and be as 
it were a conduit through which the fountain of the divine good- 


ness doth continually flow to his neighbours. And such men are 
like unto God, which in Christ receive of God whatsoever he 
hath, and do again by their good deeds declare themselves as it 
were the gods of others, and fulfil the prophecy of the prophet, 
Psalm Ixxxii. 6, "I have said, ye are gods ? and all of you are 
children of the Most High/ We are children of the Most High 
by faith, whereby of nothing we are made the heirs of God; and 
\ve are gods by love, which maketh us beneficial to our neigh 
bour; forasmuch as the nature of God is nothing but bountiful- 
ness, and Paul saith, " the kindness and love of God toward 
man," which he doth with incomparable plenty daily pour forth 
upon every one, as we see. 

We must only endeavour, that every one do nothing doubt 
that these things are spoken to him, that the bountifulness and 
love of God to man ward is revealed and offered to every one, 
that by these words he may establish, exercise, and strengthen 
his faith, being certain that they are most true, and that God 
both undoubtedly is, and always will be, bountiful and loving 
toward him. If thoti canst believe this, it will assuredly so 
come unto thee ; thou mayest then with a full confidence pray 
and desire of him whatsoever thou wilt, and complain unto him 
of whatsoever doth grieve thee or others. But if thou want this 
faith, it had been better for thee never to have heard any thing 
hereof, for by that infidelity thou reprovest of falsehood these 
words, so precious and full of consolation and grace, making so 
light account of them as not believing that they be true, which 
surely is a great contempt and dishonour of God, that scarce a 
more grievous sin can be committed of thee. On the contrary, 
if thou be endued with this faith, it cannot be but that thy heart 
being thereby cheered, should even as it were laugh and leap 
for the holy joy in God, because void of all care and trouble, and 
be made above measure confident ; for how can any discourage 
ment, any whit of sorrow remain in that heart, which doubteth 
not that God is gracious and bountiful unto it, and beareth a 
singular affection of love toward it, that it is a delight and plea 
sure unto him to do it good, and enjoy it as a friend ? Surely 
the heart is necessarily delighted with this spiritual joy and 
pleasure, or undoubtedly it wanteth faith. Paul, in the epistle 
to the Galatians, calleth this, to receive the Holy Ghost by the 
gospel ; for the gospel is so pleasant a preaching of the grace 
and goodness of God, that while it is preached and heard, it 

i 2 


bringeth the Holy Ghost with it, in like manner as the beams of 
the sun do naturally bring heat with them. 

How could the Apostle use more pleasant and sweet words ? 
I dare say that 1 have in the whole scripture read none more 
pleasant, and so sweet words of the grace of God, as these two, 
2Cy,<7Torr;<r, (piXavSguTTLx, that is, kindness and love toward man ; 
in which the grace of God is so described, as whereby he doth 
not only forgive our sins, but doth also desire to be conversant 
with us, and is ready to do the part of a very friend toward us, 
voluntarily offering himself to help us in all things, also to bestow 
more benefits upon us than we can desire or ask, that we may 
presume of him no otherwise than of a most near and familiar 
friend, of whom we may obtain all things, in whose eyes we are 
most dear, and even delightful. Think in thy mind of a most 
perfect friend, which hath fulfilled all the parts of friendship 
toward thee, and thou shalt have after a sort a form, although 
yet far unlike, of the divine goodness and kindness, which is here 
attributed to our God, by the name of kindness and love toward 
man ; but when thou hast a sound faith in this kindness and love 
toward man, and thereby dost live in thy God, so bountiful, 
gracious, and gentle to thee, rejoicest and art full of all good 
things, being certain of his continual grace, what, shouldst thou 
do any longer in earth? what in this life? Thou canst not in 
this case be idle, as surely that love of God, and pleasure which 
thou enjoyest in him, will not, sutler thee to be idle. Thou shalt 
be inflamed with a marvellous study and desire to do what 
things soever thou canst know will be an honour unto thy God, 
so loving and bountiful unto thee, and will turn to praise, glory, 
and thanksgiving unto him. Thou shalt have no choice of works, 
thou shalt feel no compulsion of the law, having a most ready 
will and pleasure to do whatsoever things thou shalt know to be 
acceptable unto God, whether they be contemptible or noble, 
small or great, thou shalt count them alike ; but first of all it 
shall be thy desire, that this blessed knowledge of God be com 
mon also to the rest, whereupon, by and by, thy love will here 
shew itself, and will attempt all means to make this truth of 
salvation manifest unto all, it will publish and repeat it where 
soever it shall be able, rejecting and condemning whatsoever 
others teach or say, that agreeth not with this truth. 

Whereby it will come to pass, that Satan and the world, 
which hear nothing so unwillingly as this truth, and cannot abide 


that their things should be condemned, will rise against thee with 
all their might, will by and by trouble thee ; all the great, learned, 
rich, and mighty of the world, will condemn thee of heresy and 
madness, and will leave no means unattempted until, if they be 
able, they have dispatched thee of thy life. Thus with Christ 
thy Lord, thou shalt be persecuted, and suffer extreme ignominy, 
thy body, life, goods, name, friends, and all things being brought 
into peril, until they have thrust thee from them out of this life 
into the eternal and blessed life : In the mean time, thou must 
suffer all these things with a patient mind, and take them in 
good part, losing none of the spiritual joy which thou hast of 
Christ in thy God, and for thy part showing to thy persecutors 
all kindness and love, being always mindful that thou a little 
before wast not much unlike them, before God ; all which things 
thou shalt do through faith and love, although they exceed the 
strength of nature. And this indeed is a true Christian life, 
wherein thou dost endeavour to do so to others as God hath 
done to thee. " Not by works of righteousness which we have 
done." In these words the Apostle signifieth that which we 
have now said, and proveth it as it were, by rendering a reason; 
for if the bountifulness and love of God to man hath appeared, 
and hath saved us of his mercy, and not because of our own 
righteousness, yea, we being by all means unworthy, and subject 
to innumerable sins, it is meet that we also do good to them that 
have not deserved so much of us, and are unworthy thereof, 
for we which are become the sons of God, must resemble God 
our Father, and bestow benefits according to our ability, as well 
upon our enemies and persecutors, as upon our friends : whereof 
Christ also hath admonished us, Matt. v. 44, "Love your 
enemies, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in 
heaven ; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the 
good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye 
love them which love you, what reward have ye ? do not even 
the publicans the same ?" 

Now the Apostle doth not only expressly condemn us for 
evil works, but saith, "Not by works of righteousness," or, 
which we have done in righteousness ; where he also rejecteth 
those works which be counted righteous, and were thought both 
of us and others to have been done in righteousness, when they 
were so far from being righteous, that they made us unworthy 
of the grace of God, and more unfit to receive it, for they are 
deceitful works, whereunto we add this sin, that we think them 


righteous, and trust in them, whereby God is provoked to anger, 
more than can he said, even as our enemies are wont to move us 
to anger, when they will avouch those tilings to he just wherein 
they do unjustly ; hut even as God, when \ve, heing unwise, by 
error moved him to anger ; counting our sins works of righteous 
ness did not therefore reject us, but of his mere mercy delivered 
us from this error and sin ; so we neglecting the foolishness and 
dotage of our adversaries, whereby they contend that sins are 
to be counted for righteousness, ought nevertheless of mere love, 
having no respect of evil or good desires, to be beneficial unto 
them, and endeavour to do them good in all things, looking for 
fruit of our benefits, not to them, but of God alone. Let these 
things suffice to have been spoken, for a compendious and gene 
ral exposition of this text. 

Now let us jiNo briefly weigh the words, wherein he setteth 
forth and commendeth the grace of God. First, he so greatly 
extolleth it, that in respect of it he condemneth all our good 
works and righteousness; neither doth he condemn a small thing, 
when he condemneth our righteousness or righteous works, the 
most excellent thing that man can have in earth ; for if all men 
with all their might should labour and endeavour to attain to 
most exact prudence, wisdom, and liberty of mind and will, 
which we read that some philosophers and princes have done, as 
Socrates, Trajanus, and many others, whose fame the whole world 
hath long since spread abroad, both by word and writing ; never 
theless all such wisdom, and all such virtues, are nothing but sin 
before God, forasmuch as they are not done in and by the grace 
of God. Doers of such virtues are ignorant of God, and there 
fore they cannot honour him by their studies and endeavours ; 
they think they have all things of themselves, when no man can 
have any good thing at all, but of his grace alone, which the 
gospel preacheth ; so Paul glorieth that he, before he knew 
Christ, lived a blameless life, and was more /ealous toward the 
law than those of his age ; that he also thought that he did a 
thing acceptable to God by persecuting the Christians, who 
condemned that blameless life which he led ; but afterward, 
when he had learned Christ, he saith, that he counteth that 
righteousness to be but dung, that he might be found, not in 
such righteousness, but in Christ by faith, Phil. iii. 6. The 
same thing he witnesseth, and treateth of at large, in the Epistles 
to the Galatians and Colossians : Here therefore is condemned 
all boasting of free-will, man s strength, righteousness, and good 


works; and it is concluded, that they are all nothing but sin, 
and certain destruction, although they have a fair show ; that 
we are saved only by the grace of God, as many of us as believe 
and call for it, with acknowledging of our own vanity and 

Now we must accustom ourselves to the scripture, which 
maketh mention of two sorts of righteousness ; one human, which 
Paul here and in many other places hath mentioned ; the other 
divine, even that grace of salvation which justifieth us by faith, 
whereof he speaketh in the end of this text ; " That being justi 
fied by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the 
hope of eternal life," Tit. iii. 7- Here thou seest plainly, that 
the grace of God is our true righteousness, whereby we are 
justified, which is therefore called the righteousness of God, 
for that it is given unto us of God, and made ours, when we are 
made partakers thereof by faith. Of this he speaketh also, 
Rom. i. ij. In the gospel "is the righteousness of God re 
vealed from faith to faith ; as it is written, The just shall live 
by faith." And, Gen. xv. 6, Ci Abraham believed in the Lord, 
and he counted it to him for righteousness." Whereupon the 
scripture concludeth, that no man is counted righteous before 
God, but he that believeth, as the Apostle testilieth, where he 
reciteth that saying of Habakkuk, " The just shall live by faith." 
So it appeareth, that faith, grace, mercy, truth, righteousness, are 
all the same which God worketh in us by Christ and the gospel. 
Whereupon it is said, Psalm xxv. 10, " All the paths of the 
Lord are mercy and truth ;" for those are the ways of the Lord, 
in which we, observing his commandments, do walk, and he 
again in us ; now those ways must be directed by his mercy 
and truth alone, not by our strength and industry, forasmuch 
as our ways, being ordered hereby, are nothing but vanity be 
fore God, and do deserve his wrath, according to that which 
the Lord saith, Isaiah Iv. 9, " As the heavens are higher than 
the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways." As if he 
should say, Your. righteousness is earthly, and of value, where 
fore ye must bid it farewell and walk in mine, if ye hope for 
salvation. " But according to his mercy he saved us :" It 
is marvellous how the credit of these words can stand, wherein 
the Apostle affirmeth, that we are already saved, although living 
yet in earth, and therefore in continual misery. But he did so 
speak that he might more fully express the power of the divine 
grace, and the nature of faith against hypocrites, who, as 
though salvation were yet far off., do in vain endeavour to obtain 


it bv their works, for Christ hath already saved us ; he hath 
performed all things which are required hereunto, that we may 
be saved ; he hath overcome and subdued sin, death, hell, &c., 
so that he hath left nothing for any man to care for ; he hath 
also given all these tilings to us in baptism, that whosoever be- 
lievcth in Christ hath performed them, hath them together in 
the same moment, he hath need of nothing more unto salvation, 
but faith alone, that he may firmly believe that these things are 
so performed. Hut mark what incomparable riches of his grace 
God hath poured upon us in baptism, who hath delivered us 
even from those works, whereby those foolish holy ones go 
about to merit heaven, and to be saved : for we must have heaven, 
and be saved, before we can do any good works, so that works 
cannot merit heaven, but heaven being before given of mere 
grace, causeth us to do good works, and that for no hope of 
merit or re\vard, but only to the profit of our neighbours, and 
the glory of Ciod, until this body be delivered from sin and 

Wherefore, all the life of a Christian after baptism is nothing 
else but an expectation of salvation, and felicity to be revealed, 
Avhich they that believe in Christ do no\v possess, although 
hidden. They have all things now certainly, but they are yet 
hid in faith, which, when it is changed, knowledge being re 
vealed, all things as they now have them shall appear, which 
shall come to pass, when pleasant and wished for death cometh, 
according to that saying of John, L John iii. 2, " Beloved, now 
are we the sons of God, and doth it not yet appear that we 
shall be : but we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be 
like him ; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that 
hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure." 
Wherefore suffer not thyself to be deceived, and to be seduced 
from this truth by those hypocrites, which contemning faith, 
do falsely affirm that salvation is far from thee, and teach thee 
to endeavour in vain to attain unto it by thy works ; it is in 
thyself, if thou believe that all tilings are performed by Christ, 
even as he himself witnesseth, " The kingdom of God is within 
you," Luke xvii. 21. So that, all our life after baptism ought 
to be nothing else but an expectation that that should be re 
vealed which is already in us, and that we may apprehend as we 
are apprehended, as Paul saith, Phil. iii. 12, " But I follow 
after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am appre 
hended of Christ Jesus," that is, that I may at length see those 
things which are given me^ being as yet in the shut closet of 


faith ; he coveteth, and burneth with desire to see the treasure 
which by faith he received both given and sealed in baptism : 
whereupon he addeth in the same place, ver. 20, " For our con 
versation is in heaven,, from whence also we look for the 
Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ : who shall change our vile 
body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body." 
Herewith also agreeth that which he saith, Gal. iv. 9, " Ye 
know God," and by and by he doth as it were correct that 
which he had said, Yea, saith he, " Rather are known/ both 
which are true, although not after the like sort : we are now 
known of God, so that he comprehendeth us, and we indeed 
know God, but we do not yet comprehend, for that our know 
ledge is as yet hidden and closed up in faith. 

He saith moreover,, Rom. viii. 24, " For we are saved by 
hope;" that is, we are saved, although we see it not, " for 
what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for ? but if we hope 
for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." 
Christ confirmed! this, Luke xii. 35, 36, (e Let your loins be 
girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like 
unto men that wait for their Lord, when he will return from the 
wedding, that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open 
unto him immediately." In which words he only biddeth them 
that be his to be ready to look for him the bridegroom, as which 
are already saved;, being admitted into the number of his minis 
ters. Hereunto also pertaineth that which the Apostle saith, 
Tit. ii. 12, 13, " We should live soberly, righteously, and 
godlily in this present world ; looking for that blessed hope, and 
the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus 
Christ." In these and such like places, whereof thou mayest 
read many here and there in the holy scriptures, he witnesseth 
that we are already saved, and that it doth not behove that a 
Christian man should first seek to attain to salvation by his 
works ; this devilish doctrine blindeth the eyes of Christians, 
extinguished! the knowledge of faith, and carrieth men from 
the way of truth and salvation. 

We must cleave unto that which the Apostle here saith, 
" He hath saved us according to his mercy," arid which he 
addeth to the end of the text, u that we are heirs according to 
the hope of eternal life." We are now heirs, but that is hidden 
in faith, but we look with a certain hope, that hereafter it shall 
be revealed. And God will have us so to look for the revela 
tion of this inheritance, and to live a certain time after baptism. 


that he may chastise our body by our ministry, and declare the 
power of his grace in fin-lit against the flesh, the world, and the 
devil, but especially for this cause, that by us he may help our 
neighbours, and both by doctrine, and also by our life which 
lie livctli in us, may bring them to the communion of faith ; and 
although he can do this by angels, yet it pleaseth him rather 
that it should be done by vis men, that both the manner of 
faith may be the better known, and that all things may be done 
sweetly and lovingly ; for if angels should always have to do 
with us, there should not be so much faith, neither should it be 
so pleasant, as when we are taught and guided by them that are 
partakers of our nature, whom we do better know, and with 
whom we do more familiarly associate ourselves ; and so, that 
there may be some, by whom others also may be converted 
both by doctrine and good examples, it is not meet that we 
should by and by after baptism be taken into heaven, wherein 
notwithstanding we are already admitted citi/ens. Hereupon 
if one weigh all things rightly, it cannot be doubted, that it is a 
practice and miracle of Satan and Antichrist, that so much is 
spent for purgatory s sake, such faith as this being put quite 
out of men s minds ; for men are taught by their works to save 
themselves from purgatory, or at least to deliver themselves 
from thence, as though salvation were not yet given us, and it 
were necessary to come unto it by other means than by faith 
alone, which how it disagreeth with the scripture and a Chris 
tian life, there is no man that doth not see, but he that seeth 
nothing in the scripture ; for thus the holy scriptures do teach 
every where, that whoever doth not receive salvation by mere 
grace, through faith before all works, he shall never be partaker 
thereof; and that whosoever refer their good works, not to the 
profit of their neighbour but to their own advantage, being more 
careful of their own salvation than of their neighbours, have no 
good works at all : all the works of these are void of faith, and 
infected with pernicious error. 

It had been greatly to be wished that pureratory had never 
been invented, and no mention made thereof in the pulpit, for 
it hath been such cause of hindrance to Christian verity and 
sincere truth, as cannot be recovered ; for we see it brought to 
pass by the means of Satan, that almost all prayers are directed 
only to purgatory, with this ungodly and pestilent opinion, 
whereby miserable men think that they shall be relieved from 
thence, and obtain salvation by the works of men ; whereby the 


riches of baptism and faith are had in no reputation, and they,, 
at the last, of Christians are become heathens. O most per 
nicious abomination ! Christians should be taught as Christ 
and Paul teach them, that after baptism and absolution from 
sin they should so live, that they should be ready every hour to 
receive death, with desire looking for the revelation of salvation 
already received. Now by the opinion of purgatory they are 
made secure and slothful, so that they defer the study of godli 
ness even to their death, and think by contrition and confession 
they shall amend all things, as though there were some things 
remaining for which they must go into purgatory, they hope 
that by masses for the departed, and other bequests they are 
persuaded to make in their testaments or last wills, they shall 
be redeemed out of purgatory ; but these miserable men are in 
these things utterly deceived, and shall at length find them to 
be far otherwise. " By the washing of regeneration." He 
setteth forth the grace of God given to us in baptism, with 
words very full of praise and commendation : he calleth bap 
tism a washing, whereby not the feet and hands, but the whole 
man is at once washed, purified, and saved. 

There is need of nothing but only faith in this grace of God, 
that it may remain and be acknowledged the work of grace 
alone, that we are saved without all our works and merits, and 
so also there may remain in us pure love, praise, giving of 
thanks, and glory of the divine mercy, without all glory and 
and pleasing of ourselves in our own strength and endeavour, 
as it hath been often said and at large. Human righteousness 
is also a washing, but not whereby the whole man is so washed, 
but that Pharisaical washing, whereby only the apparel and 
vessels which are outward are made clean, whereof it is spoken, 
Matt, xxiii. 25. Whereby it cometh to pass that men seem 
unto themselves pure, but inwardly they remain full of filthi- 
ness. Therefore he called baptism not a corporal or outward 
washing, but the washing of regeneration or new birth, by 
which not those things that are outward are washed, and only 
the outward man made clean, but the whole nature of man is 
altered and changed into another nature ; that is, the carnal 
nativity is thereby destroyed, with all the inheritance of sins 
and perdition. Whereby he again witnesseth, that our salva 
tion is given us at once, so that it is not to be gotten by works ; 
for not one or two members are wont to be born, as the hands 
or feet, but the whole man, which cannot work this, that he 


may be born a man, but is first born that he may work. Like 
wise our works do not purify or save us, but when as before we 
are pure, justified, and saved, we work freely those things 
which may be profit to our neighbour and honour to God. And 
this is the simple and pure knowledge of the divine grace, 
whereby a man iearneth to know both God and himself; to 
praise God alone, to humble and east down himself; to trust in 
God, to despair of himself. This doetrine of salvation they 
marvellously hinder, which urge men with laws, precepts, and 
works, and teach them to seek thereby to be saved. " And 
the renewing." That this washing and new birth may be more 
fully understood, he hath added, li the renewing," that thou 
mayest understand, that he that is truly bapti/ed is become a 
new man and a new creature, endued witli a new disposition, 
which now is far otherwise affected, loveth, liveth, speaketh, and 
doth far otherwise, than he was wont or could before. So the 
Apostle sailh, Gal. vi. 15, " For in Christ Jesus neither cir 
cumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision," that is, no 
works of the law are of any value or importance, " but a new 
creature." As if he should say, salvation cannot be perfected 
by joining together certain good works, but the whole man 
must be at once renewed, and his nature changed, whereupon 
true good works will follow of themselves, not by piecemeal, 
but together with great plenty. 

Of this new birth, whereby the whole man is renewed, Christ 
speaketh, John iii. 1, " Except a man be born again, he cannot 
see the kingdom of God." Here again it manifestly appeared), 
that nothing is here done by our works, but that it behoveth, 
that man, how great soever lie be, must die, and be changed 
into another, which is done in baptism, if we believe. The 
condemned also shall be born again in the last day, but they 
shall not be renewed, they shall remain unclean, as they were 
here, and as they were born of Adam. Therefore that he might 
speak rightly of baptism,, he calleth it the washing of the new 
birth, whereby they that are born again are also renewed ; of 
this new birth many things are to be found here and there in 
the scripture, because of which God calleth his word and gospel 
a womb, as Isaiah xlvi. 3, i( Hearken unto me, O house of 
Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are 
born by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb." 
He therefore that believeth the gospel, is as it were conceived 
in the womb of God, and from thence born a new man, and like 


unto God ; whereof we will in another place speak more ; now 
it shall be sufficient to have learned, by these words, how our 
works are nothing in fulfilling the commandments of God, and 
that it is a mad thing to attribute here never so little to our 
own strength, seeing that it is faith alone, whereby man is at 
once born again, and renewed ; wherefore understand this, that 
good works must follow a new creature, but to attain unto 
righteousness and that new creature they are able to help 
nothing at all ; no otherwise is the grace of God wont to renew 
man, than as if God should turn some dry and withered block 
into a new, green., and flourishing tree, which may afterward 
bring forth fruit plentifully ; for the grace of God is a great, 
strong, very mighty, and marvellous effectual thing, it lieth not 
in the mind, as the schoolmen dream : it sleepeth not, or is 
born, as a painted table beareth a picture : it self-beareth, 
guideth, urgeth, drawetb, changeth, and worketh all things in 
men, so that every one may feel and have experience of it ; 
itself indeed is hid, but the works of it cannot be hid, but do 
witness of it, as the leaves and fruits do of the tree, of what 
nature it is ; wherefore the schoolmen Thomas and Scotus do 
ungodlily detract from it, who attribute no more unto it, than 
that it doth adorn the works of nature, and is a help that they 
be brought to perfection. For it doth not adorn or help only, 
but it alone worketh those things that be good, neither doth it 
work them only, but doth rather change and renew the person ; 
for it exhibiteth the washing of the new birth, and of renewing, 
not of works only, but much rather of the whole man ; he that 
shall preach these things of grace shall truly and fully commend 
it : which Paul endeavoured to do when he said, "he saved us 
by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy 

Nothing can be done here by joining of works together, the 
nature must needs be changed, whereupon it cometh to pass, 
that they that truly believe must suffer many things ; for grace 
worketh in them, and declareth itself present : Hereunto per- 
taineth that saying of the lllth Psalm, "The works of the 
Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure 
therein." What are these works ? We are they, by grace in 
baptism made the great, new, and regenerate works of God : is it 
not a great thing for a man by and by to be saved, and deli 
vered from sins, death, and hell ? Therefore he saith, " Sought 
out of all them that have pleasure therein ;" for by this new 


birth God hath found out, and done whatsoever men can desire; 

for what else do men covet and desire, but to obtain salvation, 
to be delivered from sin, death, and hell? 

" Of the Holy Ghost." Lastly, that he may the more ex 
press the greatness and virtue of grace, he attributed! this wash 
ing of regeneration, and renewing to the Holy Ghost; for this 
washing is so great, and of so weighty importance, that no crea 
ture but the Holy Ghost alone is able to perform it; but how 
much, most excellent Paul, dost thou condemn free-will, the 
great good works of the proud holy ones, that is, the merits of 
hypocrites? In how high a place dost thou set our salvation, 
and again, how dost thou bring it down to us, and place it near 
us, yea, even with us ? Mow purely and sincerely dost thou set 
forth grace in these words ? Wherefore work whatsoever and 
how much soever thou wilt, it is impossible for a man to be 
renewed, and the person changed (without which no works 
acceptable to God can be done), but by the washing of " rege 
neration and renewing of the Holy Ghost." We may plainly 
see in those hypocritical counterfeiters of works, that thou shalt 
find none harder, none prouder, none so rash and hasty spirits ; 
for they are broken, and not renewed, obdurate, obstinate, con 
firmed by continuance, covering indeed, and somewhat adorn 
ing that old Adam, but there doth not appear any change of 
nature in them, they continue still in the oldness of their cor 
rupt flesh. O what a pestilent people is this, and in how great 
indignation of God are they, whcnas in the mean time they 
think that they sit in God s lap ? 

Now whereas the Apostle attributeth this washing of rege 
neration and renewing to the Holy Ghnst, he saith the same 
which Christ doth, John iii. 5, " Except a man be born of 
water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of 
God." For that which Christ signified by water, the Apostle 
calleth the washing, so both make mention of a new birth, and 
of the Holy Ghost; and we must mark, that that which is 
spoken here of the Holy Ghost, both by Christ and the Apostle, 
must not be referred to that Papistical confirmation, as they 
call it, for both of them referred to baptism, that which is here 
mentioned concerneth the Holy Ghost, who when the body is 
washed with water doth himself work the new birth, and 
renewing by faith, which Christ calleth, to be born again of the 

We read in the Acts of the Apostles, that the Apostles did 


often lay their hands on them that were baptized, and that so 
the Holy Ghost came upon them by a visible sign, which the 
Papists also snatch to their confirmation ; but as that was done, 
that the believers might by a visible sign be endued with the 
Holy Ghost, to preach the Gospel in divers languages, so it 
continued only the time thereof, until the doctrine of the Gospel 
was commended to the world by sufficient signs, wherefore it is 
now long since worn out of use ; but that a certain ceremony 
hath come from thence even unto us, of laying hands on them 
which are ordained ministers or preachers, which is now brought 
into an ungodly and pernicious use ; but of these things in 
another place. " Which he shed on us abundantly." See how 
notably the Apostle setteth forth grace ; he saith not that the 
Holy Ghost was given, but shed, and not that only, but shed 
abundantly ; for he cannot sufficiently extol and magnify grace, 
and the works thereof, and we, alas ! count it vile in respect 
of our works ; it were a dishonour to God and to his Holy 
Spirit, if when he hath plentifully shed it upon us, there should 
as yet be something wanting, necessary to righteousness and 
salvation, which we are able to perform, as though the works 
of so incomparable grace could not be sufficient; and Paul 
surely might be reproved of lying, which had not spoken all 
things whereby we must be justified and saved, when he affirm- 
eth that he doth it, but as he writeth, so it is ; no man can 
attribute so great things to this washing and regeneration, no 
man can so much presume of them, but greater things may be 
attributed unto them, and thou oughtest to promise to thyself 
more things of them ; no man shall believe so great things, but 
he shall receive greater ; forasmuch as those good things which 
God hath given, are so great and so unspeakable, he would have 
them here come unto us, being included and hid in his words 
and faith ; for the nature of our present life cannot bear them 
being manifest, and therefore it must perish, when they begin 
to be revealed, that man may by these inestimable riches, which 
he now possesseth by faith, be as it were swallowed up, and vanish 
away; we are already abundantly justified by faith, without all 
our own merit, therefore Christ saith, John iii. 16, " For God 
so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that 
whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have ever 
lasting life." Behold, they that believe have already everlast 
ing life, and therefore undoubtedly are justified and holy without 
all their own labour or means, that thou mayest see that nothing 


but grace and mercy is plentifully poured upon us, and that our 
works could avail nothing hereunto. 

Thou wilt perhaps say, thou canst not preach sufficiently, 
that the grace and mercy of God doth work all things in us, and 
that no respect is to be had of our works, to the attaining of 
salvation ; and ho\v cometh it to pass then, that the Scripture 
so often witnesseth that they shall he saved which have wrought 
good works ? As John v. 129, " And shall come forth, they 
that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that 
have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." And Horn, 
ii. 7? &> " r ^ them, who by patient continuance in well doing, 
seek for glory, and honour, and immortality ; eternal life : but 
unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but 
obey unrighteousness, indignation, and wrath." We read 
many sentences here and there in the Scripture like unto these ; 
1 answer, as the words sound, so take them without all gloss, 
for it is even so, they that do well shall be saved, they that do 
otherwise shall be condemned; but herein many err from the 
truth of the Scripture, in that they judge works according to 
the outward appearance, contrary to the Scripture, which 
teacheth, that no man can do good, who is not himself good 
before, and by works no man can become good, but works take 
their goodness of the worker, and he becometh good .bv the 
washing of regeneration, and by nothing else ; this Christ meant, 
Matt. vii. 18, " A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit: 
neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Wherefore 
make the tree either good or evil, and it will bring forth like 
fruits ; hypocrites oftentimes do works like to the works of the 
godly, yea, sometimes have a goodlier show, for they diligently 
pray, fast, give alms, and pretend a marvellous holiness ; but 
Christ calleth these sheep s clothing, wherewith most hurtful 
wolves are clothed and hidden ; for none of them is of a true, 
humble, meek, and bountiful heart, which they chiefly declare 
when they are rebuked, then their holiness is proved ; for then 
bring they forth their natural fruits, whereby they are known : 
those are rash judgments, impatience, stubbornness, obstinacy, 
slandering, and such like ; it is true therefore, he that doth well 
shall be saved, that is, his salvation shall be manifest, but he 
can do no good at all, if he be not before regenerate by the 
washing of the new birth; for what good works can one work 
in the oldness of the flesh, and by the strength proceeded from 
Adam, they are the good works which Paid here condemneth, 


saying, " Not by the works of righteousness which we have 
done." They are indeed good works done in righteousness, 
but not before God, who first hath respect to the person, and 
then to the works, as we read, Gen. iv., that he had respect first 
to Abel, then to his sacrifice, as he first turneth himself from 
Cain, and then from his sacrifice, although according to the 
outward appearance it was as good a sacrifice and work, as the 
sacrifice of Abel. 

" Through Jesus Christ our Saviour." This he addeth, that 
he may keep us under the wings of Christ, as chicken are wont 
to be preserved under the wings of the hen ; for thus Christ 
saith, Matt, xxiii. 3/. " O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that 
killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, 
how often would I have gathered thy children together, even 
as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would 
not ?" And hereby the nature of a true and right faith is taught ; 
for it is nothing which some say, (l I believe in God Almighty," 
as the Jews and many others are wont, and do therefore receive 
corporeal benefits of God; it is a true and lively faith, whereby 
thou believest in God, howbeit by Jesus Christ. First, that 
thou doubt not that God is become a merciful father unto thee, 
which hath pardoned all thy sins, and in baptism hath adopted 
thee for his son and heir, that thou mayest certainly know that 
thou art saved ; again thou must also know this, that that was 
not done gratuitously, neither without satisfaction made to the 
divine justice, for there can be no place in thee for the divine 
grace and mercy to work salvation, and to give thee eternal 
good things, unless the justice of God be before most fully 
satisfied: for Christ witnesseth, Matt. v. 18, " One jot, or one 
tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." 

That which is spoken of the grace and goodness of God, can 
not come but to them which do most purely and exactly observe 
his commandments, according to that saying, Mich. ii. J. When 
as the Jews did presume of the goodness of God towards them, 
and did always promise unto themselves peace, saying, how 
can God be always angry, iC is the spirit of the Lord straitened ?" 
It is answered them \ " do not my words do good unto him 
that walketh uprightly ?" Wherefore it shall be lawful for none 
to attain unto the abundance of grace, unless he hath before 
most exactly satisfied the commandments of God. Now it hath 
been spoken at large, that our works are nothing before God 
whereby we cannot fulfil so much as the least commandment of 



God, how much less shall we be able so to satisfy the justice of 
God, that we may become worthy of his grace ? Moreover if we 
were able to fiiltil all the commandments of God, and in all 
things to satisfy his justice, notwithstanding we had not as yet 
deserved grace and salvation, neither should he therefore own 
it unto us, for that he may by the right of creation require as 
due service, all those things of us his creatures, created to live 
unto him ; wherefore it should yet come of grace and mercy, 
whatsoever should come from him unto us : this Christ de 
clared very well, Luke xvii. 7, 8, 9, 10, " Which of you 
having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by 
and by, when he is come from the field, Go, and sit down to 
meat? And will not rather say unto him, make ready where 
with I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till 1 have eaten 
and drunken ; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink ? Doth he 
thank that servant, because he did the things that were com 
manded him? J trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have 
clone all those things which are commanded you, say, we are 
unprofitable servants, we have clone that which was our duty to 
do." Seeing then that heaven is given of grace, and for no 
merit, even unto those, if there were any such, which have done 
all things that were commanded them, according to that pro 
mise, " If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments:" 
what shall we boast of our good works, which although they 
were most absolute, yet would they be unworthy of heaven,, but 
inasmuch as it is given us by the free and merciful promise ? 
Hereupon (for that we must so satisfy the divine justice, and 
yet notwithstanding our works are not able to attain thereunto, 
whereunto if they should attain, yet should they deserve no 
grace or salvation, for that they are before due) God first gave 
unto us a man, which should satisfy the divine justice, for us 
in all things. 

Again, he hath by the same man bestowed this grace and 
bountifulness upon us, that although we without our own merit 
and worthiness, yea, having evil deserved and being unworthy, 
receive grace, yet it cometh not unto us altogether freely and 
without all merit, for we have it through the merit and satis 
faction of Christ, whereupon Paul saith, Rom. v. 18, " As by 
the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemna 
tion : even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came 
upon all men unto justification of life." That is, as without all 
our merit, and own work we fell into sin, being born sin- 


ners, so again without all our merit and means, we are redeemed 
from sins, by the washing of the Spirit, born again the sons of 
God, partakers of grace and salvation ; and this is the cause 
why the Apostle where he speaketh of faith and grace, is wont 
to add, by Jesus Christ ; whereby surely he would give us to 
understand, that none should count it sufficient if he say, " I be 
lieve in God/* Christ being neglected : he that truly believeth, 
must acknowledge, that his faith cannot be acceptable to God, 
yea, that it can be no faith at all, if all the commandments of 
God be not before fulfilled, which seeing it is above thy ability, 
(and if it were not, yet notwithstanding thou have performed 
nothing, but that thou oughtest, and have as yet merited 
nothing, having fulfilled even all the commandments of God,) 
thou hast need of another, which in all things may satisfy the 
divine justice for thee, and may also merit heaven for thee ; now 
this other is our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath for 
thee fulfilled the whole law, and merited for thee, that God now 
according to his justice cannot but give heaven unto thee, and 
in all things acknowledge thee for his son and heir : and this is 
a true and sound faith, which trusteth in God by Christ, and is 
certain that by his merit it hath already received of God salva 
tion, which shortly after shall be revealed with blessed abun 
dance of felicity ; neither can any other be called Christian 
faith, but that whereby it is believed, that by Christ doth come 
unto us both satisfaction, which we owe to the justice of God, 
and the gift of salvation, which we ourselves by no means, if 
the law could even be fulfilled of us, can merit; whereupon 
Paul, Rom. iv. 25, saith, " Christ was delivered for our offences, 
and was raised again for our justification." 

That is, by Christ we have received not only remission of our 
sins, but also, that before God we are accounted righteous, 
and the sons of his grace : to the same effect also tendeth that 
which he saith, Rom. iii. 25, 6l Whom God hath set forth to 
be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righ 
teousness, for the remissions of sins that are past, through the 
forbearance of God." Where again we learn, that it is true 
faith, which trusteth in the blood of Christ, and believeth that 
thereby it shall obtain grace ; whereas thou believest he hath 
shed his blood for thee, thou receivest satisfaction ; in that thou 
acknowledgest him the reconciliation, thou confessest that by his 
merit the divine grace and salvation do come unto thee. We 
have all things without our own merit and means, but not with- 
it 2 


out the merit and means of Christ, who hath for this cause shed 
liis blood. Wherefore that we may allude unto the parable of 
Christ, we must retain ourselves under his wings, and not trust 
ing in ourselves flee out and contend to come unto God, other 
wise we shall be a prey to the hellish kite ; for as it hath been 
often said, our righteousness, our merits, yea, and our faith 
shall prevail nothing, without this our mediator Christ; and 
therefore he saith, St. John xiv. 6, " No man comcth unto 
the Father but by me." And in the whole gospel what other 
tilings doth he, but endeavour to take us out of ourselves, and 
to transfer us to himself under his wings, that we may trust 
only in his satisfaction and merit? The same the Apostle also 
tcachelh in the words following, Titus iii. 7> " That being 
justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the 
hope of eternal life." 

lie saith that we are justified, not by our own works, but by 
the grace of the same Jesus Christ. That is, we are therefore 
justified, for that Christ hath the grace of the Father, having 
fulfilled his will in all things, and thereby merited eternal life ; 
for seeing that he hath no need of this merit, he giveth it unto 
us which do believe in him, that before God all his things may be 
imputed to us, and by them we may receive salvation. See, how 
rich a thing sound faith is, and how great good things it bringeth 
wilh it ; see also how precious a thing the gospel is, and how 
great a treasure it is to have it purely preached : and on the con- 
trary, how great a disadvantage there is, where it is not preached, 
or not rightly preached, the inventions of men being mingled 
with it, or thrust in instead of it. Take heed therefore of such 
deceivers, and of their counterfeit faith, rest not in thyself, but 
get thee under the wings of Christ, keep thyself under his pro 
tection, trust that thou art heir of eternal life, not by thy own 
righteousness, of grace which thou hast received, but whereby 
he is righteous and acceptable before God : hereunto pertainetli 
this saying, Psalm xci. 4, " He shall cover thee with his 
feathers, and under his wings sbalt thou trust:" and in the 
Song of Solomon, ii. 14,, it is said, " O my dove, that art in the 
clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs," that is, 
in the wounds of Christ; and this indeed is a true Christian 
faith, which resteth not in itself as the schoolmen dream, but 
reposeth itself wholly in Christ, and as it trusteth in him, so it 
resteth in him, having received eternal salvation. Whereas he 
saith that we are made heirs of eternal life according to hope, 


besides that he proveth, that we without all our own merits, by 
only hope of grace are born again heirs of eternal life, and do 
not become heirs by working, whereof we have already spoken 
at large, he also teacheth this, that our salvation and eternal 
life is as yet hid, although if we believe, we do verily possess it, 
and this body being put off, and the kingdom of Christ revealed, 
all things shall appear manifestly. 

The text fighteth most mightily, and with most plain words 
against all righteousness and good works of man s reason and 
free-will, for the words are plain, " Not by works of righteous 
ness which we have clone, but according to his mercy he saved 
us, by the washing/ &c. All which words do utterly over 
throw our righteousness, attributeth all things to the washing 
of the new birth, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, to Christ 
and his grace ; how can there, notwithstanding, any presumption 
as yet remain in us ? Wherefore let all sacred and profane 
laws have a fair show ; let all sacrificing Priests, Monks, and 
Nuns, boast of themselves ; let all religious and honest men 
and women seem goodly in outward appearance ; let them 
even raise the dead ; if faith in Christ be absent, whereof we 
have now spoken so much, all these things are to no purpose. 
These most false shows do as yet deceive the whole world, and 
seduce almost everyone; they make the gospel obscure, and 
extinguish the faith of Christ \ all their works and orders, 
although they appear goodly, and they think them to have 
merited never so much, do avail no more unto salvation, than the 
works of beasts, or of artificers, whereby they do maintain 
themselves and theirs, yea, they do most hurtfully hinder it : 
therefore, that I may conclude, take heed, as much as thou art 
able, of these wolves, which under a fair pretence counterfeit 
themselves sheep, and learn and accustom thyself with a sound 
faith to cleave unto Christ alone. 

I.; I 01 ru i. i\ i N t; DOM 

sr.HMOM XI. 

I .n; v.Mrt n as there is ol ien made mention in the New Testa 
ment of these \\ords, the kingdom ot heaven, the kingdom of 
(iod, (he kingdom ol < luist, ami it r> \er\ profitable ami expe 
dient lor a I hrishan to kno\\ these, \\.., lhe\ are nothing 
cl-.e, l>ul remission ot sins, ami jM .u i- [irrai luul ami olVerecl hy 
tin 1 :;> |>el , li i in tin-- lvin: ,tlin\ thon shall li .ul iiittluu;; hut >;raei\ 

itinrsN, pauliMi, aiul U>i :;i\ euess ol sins, K>\ i- ami s;i v ut lem ss : 
I iheii tiu e thinlv it MUvl to treat somewhat at lar:;e ot the state 
viii:;li>iu, ami >l U>rj;i\eness i>l sins, llie l\ini;ili>m t dol, 

eteh\ he n-i-^nelh i>\i r all the tailhlul, aiul as a tailht ul Kini; 
tletv iulel h , punisheth, re\\aiAleth, :;uulelli, aiul ilivoetoth tliom, 
\i\, tlu-\ a",aui luun their heart trust m him. sutler his fatherly 
ehaslisemtMit aiul eMri % etuu \\itli a patient nuiul, ami al^. .Ns 
serve him t!uni:;h iiheilieuee. is iu>t \\iMltll\ 01 temporal, hut 
-puiiual; neither e>nsisteth in meal ami ihiulv, v>r m an\ oul- 
^^alll lliiu:;. hut ouU m pisl ilieat UMI , quieting ami eonsolaluMi of 
the heart aiul eonseienee ot man; \\hereiore it is nothing else 
hut tor:M\ eness aiul laUni:; a\\ a\ ot sius % \\\ which eiuseioncos 
aie iletileol. (ronhleil, aiul ilisi|meteii tor e\eu as a Wi>rlilly ami 
temporal Kui : >loui is oiolauu il to tln^eml, thai men may U\e 
ijmclU aiul peai - eal>ly oiu % \\ uh aiu>ther ; so the kingdom it (iovl 
.: these thin.-;-. ->puU nall\ , aiul ilestro\elh the kingdom of 
sin, aiul i^ noihiii; , v Ue hnt an aholishinj; aiul pai\lonin^ ot 
olVv-iu-e--. LoJ ieix;nelh in the hearts, inasmuch as he >vorkclh in 
them h\ lus \\nl, peaee, quietness, aiul consolation ; exeuas 
vr.i \\orketh the i ontrary, namely, vnujnieiness, anguish, aiul all 
Knul ot e\ ils. 

Herein i.ool slm\\elh his majest\ ami in this lite, that 
hv- lakcth a\\a\ and par\loneth n\en s sins; ami this is the k 
ilom v^t x;raee. \ON\, >\ henas sin \\ith his ^uaitl, that is Satan, 
death, anil hell, shall trouble i\\an i\v> more, then at last the 
kingdom ot ^lor\ , ami absolute felicity shall be. Hereupon it 
follow eth, first, that the kingdom of (Sod is ruK\l or governed 
by u^ law, no, not by the law ofluul, much less by the laws of 
men, but onl\ by the gospel, and faith in (Sod, by xvhich hearts 
me p\n itie\l, coiut\n % te<l, and Ojuietevl. whilst that the Holy Chost 


poureth out love and the knowledge of God into them, and 
maketh man, as it were, one tiling and one spirit, with God ; so 
that, his alVeetion is set upon the same tiling, he willeth and 
desireth the same thing, he seeketh and loveth the same thing 1 
tliat. God doth ; neither standeth the ease otherwise here, than 
it doth between t\vo friends, which hear good will to one another, 
and agree one with another in all things. Hereof it eometh, 
that, a man in this kingdom of God is perfect, merciful, pitiful, 
and bountiful towards his neighbour, seeing that he knowoth by 
the instinct of the Holy Ghost, that God is of the same affect ion 
toward him, and toward all men, and doth pour forth his good 
ness plentifully ; such atVection of God no man can know by the 
law. but only by the spirit, ami word of the gospel. None 
therefore shall attain quietness, comfort, and peace of the heart, 
or attain unto the kingdom of God by any law : and they which 
prescribe many laws, do withdraw men from the kingdom of 
God to the kingdom of sin, wherein is nothing else, but un- 
quietness, anguish, affliction, adversity, and all kind of evils, 
tormenting the conscience. On the contrary, in the kingdom 
and knowledge of God. the Lord Christ, peace, and consolation 
of hearts. 

Secondly, in this kingdom of God the Lord Christ rei^neth no 
otherwise than as a master of an hospital amongst the sick, poor, 
and diseased : for unto this kingdom none pertain, but sinful and 
miserable men. unto whom their sins arc fonriven. whereupon 
Christ saith in the gospel, Luke vi. 124, \Yoe unto you that 
are rich, for ye have received your vv.-.sohtion." But on the 
contrary, the poor, miserable, and suceouriess receive comfort 
and joy by the gospel : for Christ came to call sinners only, and 
not the righteous, that all glory may be referred to God alone, 
for he that forgivcth sins of his grace and mere mercy : such 
abolishing or putting away of sin, wherein Christ reiuneth as a 
King of the kingdom of God, is done of him after two sorts : 
first, thus, in that he remittctb, pardoneth and covereth sins, so 
that God will not regard, remember, or revenue them, although 
they bo in a man. As it is in Psalm xxxii. 1. *J. Blessed is he 
whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. B.essed is 
the man unto whom the l-ord imputeth r.ot iniquiiy. and in whose 
spirit there is no guile." And in Isaiah xliii. 25. God s;uth. "I 
ev*n 1 am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own 
sake and will not remember thy sius." Secondly, thus, in that 
he purgtth or rather scourgeth sins by divers crosses and afflic- 


tions ; for they arc two things, to remit sins, and to weaken the 
body of sin that it may not reign in us. If a man believe and is 
baptized, then all his sins are forgiven him; but afterwards sin 
must be scoured or abated by manifold affliction and mortifica 
tion, as long as he shall live ; sin sticketh in us, as long as the 
mortal body remaineth, but for Christ s sake it is not imputed 
in the wrath of God, but freely remitted, and the force thereof 
diminished by his fatherly chastisement : in such chastisement 
for their amendment, true Christians have great comfort, peace, 
and joy, as St. Paul saith, Rom. v. 1, 2, , 3, 4, f>, Therefore 
being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our 
Lord Jesus Christ : by whom also we have access by faith 
into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the 
glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations 
also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience : and patience, 
experience : and experience, hope : and hope maketh not 
ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts 
by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us." So thou hast 
two things to be considered : the first,, that in this kingdom of 
God we are justified. 

The second that by tribulation and affliction we are glorified, 
without which we cannot attain to glory. 

Thirdly, good Christians are not known by this, when any 
suffer manifold tribulation and chastisement that the body of sin 
may be weakened, and they brought to amendment ; for herein 
they do altogether differ among themselves, one suffereth this, 
another one is chased thus, another otherwise, so that even the 
very apostles did not love and suffer alike : but they are known 
in forgiveness of sin, or justification by faith, wherein God 
turneth his anger from them, and receiveth them unto grace, 
and counteth them for his dear children, and imputeth no sin to 
them unto condemnation. Herein are all alike, even as all live 
under one heaven. Wherefore they do most grossly err and 
stumble, which measure Christians by manners, works, and the 
outward manner of living, even as the Pharisees were wont to 
do, and did therefore find fault with Christ, for that he did not 
observe their ceremonies, but was a friend of publicans and 
sinners. As that Pharisee said within himself, Luke vii. 39, 
"This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who, and 
what manner of woman this is that toucheth him ; for she is a 
sinner." Here is now an example of those things which are before 
said : a physician which goeth about to cure the sick, doth first 


promise him health by the assistance and help of God, whereby 
he putteth him in great hope and comfort. Afterward he begin- 
neth to purge, cleanse, and strengthen, and such like things 
which make to recovering of health ; so God also when he hath 
remitted sins, and received man into the bosom of grace, doth 
lay on him all kind of affliction, and doth scour him, and renew 
him from day to day, in the knowledge and love of God, until he 
become safe, pure, and renewed, which then at the last cometh 
to pass, when this mortal body clieth. 

Fourthly, in these two partitions of the kingdom of God, two 
sorts of men are found, which abuse the same kingdom of the 
grace of God, and the gospel. Some become sluggish and sloth 
ful, saying, Well, if sins be pardoned freely of mere grace and 
be washed away in baptism, there is no need that I should add 
anything of mine own. Others think on the contrary, that they 
shall put away their sins by works, and so trusting to their own 
merits, they are proud and arrogant, and in respect of themselves 
contemn others, which do not so. The first of these contemn 
God s grace ; the others, oppugn it as not sufficient, and so 
they represent swine and dogs. Now all this appeareth by the 
gospel, by which Christ reigneth in the kingdom of God ; for 
some abuse it unto carnal liberty ; others on the contrary 
are persuaded, that it is not sufficient to salvation, but that 
their works also do help somewhat, and by this they deny and 
contemn the grace of God ; hereof thou mayest read more in the 
epistle to the Romans, wherein these two sorts of men are 
plainly set forth. 

Fifthly, this kingdom of God, or remission of sins, hath no 
bound or measure, as that place of the gospel doth very well 
show, where Peter asketh the Lord, Matt, xviii. 21, 22, il Lord, 
how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him ? till 
seven times ? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until 
seven times : but, until seventy times seven ;" that is as often as 
shall be needful. After this followeth a parable, which the Lord 
there putteth forth, wherein he most severely admonisheth us, if 
we will not fall out of the favour of God, that we forgive our 
neighbour his offences without all delay or grudging, forasmuch 
as God always forgiveth us innumerable sins. Our debt, whereby 
we are bound unto God, is ten thousand talents, that is so im 
measurable and great that we are not able to pay it with all our 
substance, all our strength and works ; for we can put away no 
one sin, although it be even very little. Seeing therefore that 


God doth remit so many sins of his grace in his kingdom, it is 
meet that we should forgive our neighbour a few offences. Of 
this kingdom of God, wherein sins are forgiven, the scripture 
every where maketh mention, and saith, that the kingdom and 
dominion of Christ doth extend from one end of the land to the 
other ; so saith David, Psalm Ixxii. H, " lie shall have dominion 
also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the 
earth." And a little after he saith, "All nations shall serve 
him." This also the Angel Gabriel declared to the Virgin Mary, 
Luke i. 32, "The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of 
his father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob 
for ever, of his kingdom there shall be no end." These and 
such like places do show that forgiveness of sins, wherein the 
kingdom of God doth especially consist, hath no measure or 

Sixthly, hereof we may sec how unchristianly they do, which 
bring forgiveness of sins to a certain measure, as they do, which 
measure out their indulgences fur prescribed years, with forgive 
ness of the third, fourth, or half part ; for hereby they bring the 
kingdom of God into a narrow and strait room, and are injurious 
to his mercy, forasmuch as there is no end of his kingdom, or 
measure of his mercy. i?ut whosoever shall in faith call upon 
the name of God, shall be saved, as often as he doth it. More 
over, when the sinner shall be sorry for his sins, the Lord will 
no more remember them, as it is in the prophecy of Ezekiel, 
chap, xviii. 

Seventhly, as this kingdom of God hath no measure or limits 
of forgiveness of sins, so also it hath no end, but endureth con 
tinually without ceasing; although the subjects of this kingdom 
do not abide in it continually, firmly and faithfully, but do often 
times forsake it. So the favour and grace of God were con 
tinually with Peter, although he denied the Lord, and revolted 
from him. To the same effect tendeth the parable in the gospel, 
whereof we have now spoken : for the servant, which would not 
have pity of his fellow-servant, did make himself unworthy of 
the mercy of God, did deprive himself of the kingdom of God, 
which consisteth in pardoning of offences, as it is above-men 
tioned. Here university divines of a pregnant wit, as they seem 
unto themselves, and puffed up with knowledge, have disputed, 
whether and how forgiveness of sins doth come again when man 
reneweth his sin, not knowing what they say. But follow thou 
the plain and simple words of the gospel, viz., that thy sins are 


so often forgiven thee, as thou dost forgive thy brother, whom 
thou must so often forgive as he shall oft end against thee. 
Wherefore in this parable, whereof I have even now made men 
tion, Christ doth admonish us all, that we pardon and forgive 
all them that have offended us ; as if he would say, As in man s 
affairs, he which is beneficial to another, hath others also bene 
ficial unto him again, so saith in Christ, the kingdom of heaven, 
which consisteth specially in forgiveness of sins, that is, in 
Christianity or among Christians, he which pardoneth another 
his offences, I also will pardon him his : and on the contrary, 
he that is not merciful toward another, to him I also will deny 
grace. I am over you as a Lord and King, and ye are fellow- 
servants and companions one with another : seeing, therefore, 
that I your Lord do readily forgive you, you also ought more 
readily to forgive one another. 

After the same sort also he hath commanded us to pray in the 
Lord s prayer, Matt. vi. 12, Forgive us our debts : which he 
would not have done, if he did not promise, and would not mer 
cifully forgive us. But nevertheless, he addeth a condition or 
sign to this promise, when he saith, " If ye forgive men their 
trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you/ The 
first is a sign, the other a promise. Mark that it is here enjoined 
us to forgive one another his sins and offences ; so that we must 
be merciful and bountiful toward our neighbours, if we will have 
the heavenly Father gentle and appeased toward us. And let us 
be most certainly persuaded hereof, when we shall interpret at 
the best, and excuse as much as equity doth suffer, the offences 
and trespasses of others, although they be even great and 
grievous, that we also shall have a bountiful and merciful Father 
towards us in heaven. Wherefore it is a thing to be abhorred 
in Christianity, and even blasphemous, when it is said, I cannot, 
neither will I forgive him that which he hath committed against 
ine, I will be revenged, &c. Surely those blind men are ignorant 
that they do take from God his glory, to whom alone vengeance 
belongeth, and challenge it to themselves, and so they give up 
to the devil their own souls, which they have received of God, 
and ought to render them unto him again, whereunto they are 
perhaps provoked even with some small or trifling matter : Such 
kind of men as these ought to set before the eyes of their heart, 
these words of the gospel, Matt, xviii. 32, (( O thou wicked ser 
vant, 1 forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me : 
Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow- 


servant, even as I had pity on thee ? And his lord was wroth, 
and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that 
was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do 
also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his 
brother their trespasses." 

Neither is it sufficient, if in gestures,, signs, mouth, or tongue, 
thou shew thyself a friend unto him, and forgive him, but them 
must do it from thy heart, otherwise God will not forgive thee, 
yea, thou shalt be driven out of the kingdom of grace ; where 
fore if, at any time, we have tried the mercy of God towards us, 
we must also readily pardon our fellow-brethren, which have 
offended us ; for in that respect the merciful Father forgiveth us 
our sins, that we also should forgive our brethren, and shew 
mercy towards them, even as he is merciful towards us, and 
remitteth sin, death, the fault and the punishment. When we 
shall do this, then are we received into the kingdom of God; 
for the goodness of (Jod liveth in our hearts, and maketh us also 
good ; Christ sitteth at the right hand of the Father, yet never 
theless he reigncth in the hearts and consciences of the faithful, 
so that they love, fear, reverence, and diligently obey him, no 
otherwise than obedient subjects do their king, and in all their 
doings are made like to him, even as he himself saith, Matt. v. 48, 
" Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven 
is perfect." Now God is perfect in this, that he taketh away 
and pardoneth our wickedness, defect, sin, and imperfection, 
that we also may do the like to our brethren ; but when we will 
not do the like, we are driven out of this kingdom, and are made 
subject to the kingdom of sin, death, and the devil, as disloyal 
and disobedient inhabitants of some country are thrust out : 
Which God of his mercy turn from us. Amen. 

All these things may be comprehended in the principal points 
following : 

1. Christ reigneth when, by faith of the gospel, he worketh 
the goodness and grace of God in our hearts, and maketh them 
like unto God. 

2. In such a kingdom the conscience enjoyeth peace, consola 
tion and rest, when it underslandeth and knoweth that God is 
merciful unto it, and imputeth not sins. 

3. Therefore man beareth all kind of tribulation and affliction, 
by which sin is scoured, and the force thereof abated : He also 
endeavoureth to be beneficial unto others, as he himself hath 
been as it were overwhelmed with the benefits of God. 


4. And so the Lord reigneth after two sorts : First, for that 
he maketh the faithful certain of the grace of God, and remission 
of sins. Secondly, for that he layeth the cross upon them, that 
the body of sin may be weakened,, and they brought to amend 

5. He that forgiveth his debtors pertaineth to the kingdom of 
God, but he that doth not forgive them, remaineth under the 
kingdom of sin. These things I thought good to speak in this 
present place concerning the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of 
God, or the kingdom of Christ, which is the same ; to wit, that 
it is nothing else but a kingdom, in which thou shalt find nothing 
but forgiveness of sins. Which kingdom is preached and offered 
unto us by the gospel ; God grant that we may so receive it. 



THAT prayer may be good indeed, and may also be heard, we 
must first consider that two things are necessary thereunto ; one, 
that we first meditate upon the promise of God, and do as it 
were advertise God thereof, and trusting unto it, be emboldened 
and made cheerful to pray ; for unless God had commanded us 
to pray, and had promised also that he will hear us, even all 
creatures could not obtain so much as a grain by their petitions. 
Whereupon it followeth, that no man doth obtain any thing of 
God for his own worthiness, or the worthiness of his prayer, but 
by the only goodness of God, who preventing all our petitions 
and desires provoketh us to pray and desire of him, by his gentle 
and bounteous promise and commandment, that we may learn 
how great care he hath over us, and is ready to give us more 
things than we durst enterprise to ask, and that we may also 
learn to pray boldly, inasmuch as he giveth us all things,, even 
in more ample manner than we do ask them. 

It is necessary that we do no whit doubt of the promise of the 
true and faithful God, for therefore he hath promised that he 
will hear us, yea, and hath commanded us to pray, that we might 


have a sure and strong faith that our prayer should be so heard, 
as he saith, Matt. xxi. and Mark xi., " Whatsoever ye shall ask 
in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." And in Luke, chap. xi. 9, 
" And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, 
and ye shall find : knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For 
every one that asketh, receiveth : and he that seeketh, findeth : 
and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. If a son shall ask 
bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone ? 
or if he ask a fish, will he for a iish give him a serpent? Or if 
he shall ask an egg, will he olTer him a scorpion ? If ye then, 
being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how 
much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to 
them that ask him ?" We must boldly trust to these and such 
like promises and commandments, and pray with true confidence. 
If one so prayeth, that he doubt whether God hear him, and 
maketh his prayer only at a venture, caring not greatly whether 
he be heard or not heard, he committeth a double olTence. One, 
for that he himself maketh his prayer frustrate, and laboureth 
in vain ; for so James saith, chap. i. G, 7, " But let him ask in 
faith, nothing wavering: for he that wavcrcth is like a wave of 
the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man 
think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord." Such a man s 
heart is not quiet and settled, wherefore God can give him no 
thing ; but faith maketh the heart quiet, and capable of the gifts 
of God. 

The other offence is, that he counteth the most faithful and 
true God, as a lying, vain, and inconstant man, as he which nei 
ther is able, neither will fulfil his promises, so by his doublings 
lie robbeth God of his honour, and name of faithfulness, and 
truth. Whereby it is so grievously offended, that even that 
offence being committed, a Christian is plainly changed into a 
heathen, and clenieth and loseth his true God, so that if he con 
tinue therein, he is damned for ever without all comfort ; and if 
any thing be given unto him, which he asketh, it is given him 
not to good but to evil, as well temporal as eternal, not for his 
prayer sake, but from the wrath of God, that he may recom 
pense those goodly words, which are uttered in sins, unbelief, 
and to the dishonour of God. Some say, I would trust indeed 
that my prayers should be heard, if I were worthy, or if I could 
pray well. Then, say I, if thou wilt not pray, before them shalt 
know and find thyself fit to pray, thou shalt never pray. For as 
it is before said, our prayer must not rest upon our worthiness, 


or the worthiness of itself, or be grounded thereon, but upon 
the immutable truth of the promise of God. If so be that it 
trust to itself or any other thing, and ground itself thereon, it is 
false and deceiveth thee, although thy heart should even burst 
by reason of the ardent affection of godliness, and thou shouldest 
weep nothing but drops of blood. For therefore we pray, be 
cause we are unworthy to pray, and hereby surely we are made 
worthy to pray, and fit to be heard, inasmuch as we think that 
we are worthy, and do boldly and cheerfully trust to the faith 
fulness and truth of God. 

Although thou be unworthy, yet have regard hereunto, and 
mark most diligently, that a thousand times more consisteth in 
this, that thou honour the truth of God, and not with thy doubt 
fulness accuse his faithful promise of falsehood. For thine 
own worthiness doth not further thee, neither thy unworthiness 
hinder thee : but infidelity doth contemn thee, trust and con 
fidence maketh thee worthy and preserveth thee; wherefore so 
behave thyself all thy life long, that thou do not at any time 
esteem thyself either worthy or fit to pray or receive, unless 
thou find thyself to be such a one as clareth enterprise the matter 
freely, trusting to the true and certain promise of thy merciful 
God, which will so show both his mercy and goodness unto thee, 
that as he promised to hear thee being unworthy, and having 
not deserved it, of his mere grace, moved with no prayers ; so 
he will hear thee being an unworthy asker, of his only grace, to 
the honour of his truth and promise, that thou mayest give 
thanks, not to thine own worthiness, but to his truth, whereby 
he hath fulfilled his promise, and to his mercy, whereby he hath 
made and set forth his promise. And this the 25th Psalm con- 
firmeth, where David saith, " Good and upright is the Lord ; 
therefore will he teach sinners in the wa} \ The meek will he 
guide in judgment ; and the meek will he teach his way. All 
the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, unto such as keep 
his covenant, and his testimonies." Grace and mercy are in his 
promise, faithfulness or truth in fulfilling and hearing. And in 
the 85th Psalm, he saith, * c Mercy and truth are met together, 
righteousness and peace have kissed each other," that is, they 
come together in every work and gift, which we obtain of the 
Lord by praying. In this trust and confidence thou must so 
behave thyself, that thou do not limit to the Lord any bound or 
end, day or place, neither appoint any manner or measure of 
hearing, but that thou do commit all those things to his divine 


will, wisdom, and omnipotence, that thou boldly and cheerfully 
look to be heard, and yet not desire to know how, and where, 
how soon, and how long, and by what means. 

For his divine wisdom shall find a better manner and measure, 
time and place, than we can think, even although that should 
be done by miracles. Even as in the Old Testament, Exod. xiv., 
when the children of Israel trusted that God would deliver them, 
and yet no possible means were before their eyes, or in all their 
thoughts, then the Red Sea opened itself, and gave them pas 
sage, drowning all their enemies at once. The holy woman 
Judith, when she heard that the citizens of Bethulia would after 
the space of five days give up the city, if God in the mean time 
did not help them, rebuked them, saying, tf What are ye, that 
ye tempt the Lord ? those are not devices and purposes, whereby 
we obtain mercy of God, but rather whereby we provoke him 
unto wrath and displeasure. Will ye set the mercy of the Lord 
a time, and appoint him a day after your will !" Hereupon God 
did help her after a marvellous sort, that at the last she slew 
Holofernes, and put the enemies to flight, Judith xiii. So St. 
Paul also saith, Eph. iii. 20, that the power of God is such and 
so great, that it doth far greater and better things than we either 
ask or think. Wherefore we ought to think ourselves more vile, 
than that we may name, appoint, or prescribe the time, place, 
manner, measure, and other circumstances of that which we ask 
of God, but we must leave all things wholly unto him, con 
stantly and boldly, believing that he will hear us. 



Luke xiv. 16 24. A certain man made a great supper, and 
bade many, t)T. 

As in the whole scripture, so in this text also we must endea 
vour, that according to our ability (as ye have oftentimes heard 
heretofore) we may understand the true and simple meaning, 
and thereupon settle our heart and conscience. For he that 
shall encounter with Satan, must not waver and stagger this way 


and that way, but must be certain of his cause, and instructed 
with many places of scripture, otherwise when the devil shall by 
an uncertain place of scripture, draw him to his fork, he will 
toss him this way, and that way, as the wind doth a dry leaf. 
Wherefore out of this text we must gather a certain meaning, 
whereby we may persist and stand sure. Howbeit it is not to 
be understood of the reverend eucharist, or the bread of the 
Lord s table, although Papists have miserably wrested it, as 
they have done many other authorities of scripture. But this is 
the scope, this is the sum of this text ; that the gospel is preached 
and published through the whole world, but few receive and 
embrace it; and it is therefore called a supper, for that the 
gospel must be the last word, which shall continue to the 
end of the world. Wherefore the supper here is nothing else, 
but a very rich and sumptuous feast, which God hath made 
through Christ by the gospel, which setteth before us great 
good things and rich treasures. And he sent his servants to 
bid men to this sumptuous supper ; that is, the apostles were 
altogether sent with one word into the whole world, that they 
might bid and call men to this supper, with one voice, with one 
gospel, with one embassage; after such sort, that if St. Peter 
had come and preached the gospel of God in that place where 
Paul had preached it before, yet had it been one word, and the 
same preaching, that the hearers should have been compelled to 
say, Behold he preacheth the same that we heard before of the 
other; they wholly consent and agree, and the thing that they 
publish is all one. 

That the Evangelist might insinuate this consent and agree 
ment in preaching, he saith, " He sent his servant," he saith 
not, his servants, as of many. Now this message the servant 
must do to the bidden guests. " Come, for all things are now 
ready." For Christ hath suffered death, and in his death hath 
slain sin and death, also was risen again from death, the Holy 
Ghost was given ; and briefly all things were prepared which 
pertained unto that great supper. All things were without all 
our cost. For the Father by Christ hath paid the price of all 
things, that without all our merit and labour we might enjoy his 
goodness, and be nourished and enriched. He sendeth his ser 
vant therefore first to the Jews, to bid them to this great supper, 
unto whom the promise was made of God ; for the law and all 
the prophets were directed hereunto, that they might prepare 
the people of God. As the angel Gabriel declared of John the 



Baptist to his father Zacharias, Luke i. 15, 16, 17, " He shall 
be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother s womb. 
And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord 
their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power 
of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and 
the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a peo 
ple prepared for the Lord." But what did the guest answer to 
the message of the servant ? The text following declareth, 
" And they all with one consent begun to make excuse." This 
is that whereof the Lord speakelh, Matt. x. 37, 38, " He that 
loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me : 
And he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy 
of me. And he that taketli not his cross, and followeth after 
me, is not worthy of me." Tor he that will be partaker of this 
supper, must put all things into danger for the gospel sake, 
body, goods, wife, children, friends, &r. 

Moreover lie must leave all things whatsoever they be, that 
separate him from the gospel, although they seem good, just, 
right, and holy ; neither think ye that these men which here ex 
cuse themselves, were guilty of grievous sins, or occupied about 
unjust matters and works; for it is not unjust to buy, to use 
trade of merchandize, to maintain himself honestly, to marry a 
wife, to be joined in matrimony. But therefore can they not 
come to this supper, for that they will not forsake these things, 
but will rather cleave to them in their heart; now they must be 
utterly forsaken and left, when the gospel so requireth ; thou 
wilt perhaps say, I would indeed willingly follow the gospel, I 
would cleave unto it, and do all other things whatsoever, but to 
forsake goods, houses, family, wife, children, &c., surely this is 
a hard matter; God hath commanded me to labour, to maintain 
my wife and children, c. Behold therefore this is the scope 
and sum, that the gospel is the word of faith and offence, be 
cause of which every faithful man doth bear offence willingly; 
indeed God hath willed thee to do these things, however he hath 
also commanded, that thou prefer him before all creatures, and 
love him above all things, and think him higher than all things 
which thou canst know, even as the chief and greatest command 
ment giveth us to understand ; " Thou shalt love the Lord thy 
God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy 
might/ Deut. vi. 5. Wherefore thou must forsake all things 
before thou suffer thyself to be plucked away from the love of 
him, or his words ; although indeed he loseth nothing, which 


forsaketh anything for the gospel s sake ; if for the gospel s sake 
thou lose this temporal life, God will give thee another far better, 
viz., eternal life, as Christ saith, Matt. x. 39, " He that findeth 
his life shall lose it : And he that loseth his life for my sake, 
shall find it." 

If thou be compelled to forsake thy wife, together with thy 
children, remember that God hath a care of them, he will be a 
better father unto them than thyself which undoubtedly cometh 
to pass, if so be that thou believe ; for we have very great and 
rich promises that he will not s ufter his word to fail, but will 
always fulfil ; if we can freely and confidently trust in him, and 
commit ourselves wholly to him ; Christ saith after this sort, 
Matt. xix. 29, " And every one that hath forsaken houses, or 
brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, 
or lands for my name s sake, shall receive an hundred-fold and 
shall inherit everlasting life." We have here his words and 
promise, what would we have more ? or what can we desire 
more ? Wherein therefore do we fail ? only in our faith ; 
whereof no man cometh to this supper, but he that bringeth 
with him a sincere faith, which God preferreth and loveth 
above all creatures ; but how doth the Lord recompense them 
which excused themselves that they could not come to the 
supper ? The text itself declareth, " Then the master of the 
house being angry, said to his servant, Go out quickly into 
the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the 
poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind." To go 
into the streets and lanes is nothing else, but that whereas 
the Jews made themselves unworthy of the gospel, and did 
refuse it, the disciples turned to the Gentiles : for it was en 
joined them of Christ, that they should not turn themselves to 
the Gentiles, nor preach the Kingdom of God in the cities of 
the Samaritans, but should go only to the sheep of the house 
of Israel, and should feed them only, as they did ; now the 
Jews striving against this sword, and by no means receiving 
it, the disciples said, Acts xiii. 46, 47, " It was necessary 
that the word of God should first have been spoken to you : 
but seeing ye put it from [you, and judge yourselves unworthy 
of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the 
Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of 
the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends 
of the earth." But what meaneth that which he saith more 
over to the servant ? 

L 2 


" Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to 
come in, that my house may be filled." This is to he under 
stood of desperate and weak consciences, which also pertain 
unto this supper, and are compelled unto it, but this compulsion 
is not outward, hut inward and spiritual, and is done after this 
sort : when the law is preached, sin is set before our eyes and 
revealed, that a man may come to the knowledge of himself, so 
that to compel to enter, or come in, doth rightly signify to drive 
sin into the conscience, whereby a man may know that he is 
nothing, that all his works are sins, and subject to damnation, 
and so suddenly his conscience may become desperate, and his 
heart faint and terrified, that all that confidence and opinion of 
help may depart, and man himself be able no where to comfort 
himself in any thing, and at the last be driven to despair of 
himself; if so be that one be once after this sort compelled, 
then do not long delay to let him come in, but deliver the man 
out of desperation ; that cometh to pass, when thou comfortest 
him by the gospel, and declarest that he is delivered from his 
sins, saying, .Believe in Christ that he hath made the free from 
thy sins, then shalt thou be delivered and free from sin. 

And this is the meaning of that which he saith, " Compel 
them to cume in." It is not to be understood of outward com 
pulsion, as some interpret it, that wicked and ungodly ones 
should he violently driven to the supper, for this prevaileth no 
thing, neither is it so meant in this place, wherefore it is to be 
referred only to the conscience, and is inward and spiritual. 
Now he goeth on to speak to the servant and the rest. " For I 
say unto you, that none of those men which were bidden, shall 
taste of my supper." This is the conclusion, that they which 
think themselves most certain that they shall come to the sup 
per, and taste of it, shall not taste of it : the reason ye have 
heard. Now hriefly the guests that are bidden and do not 
come, are they, which think that they shall obtain the supper 
by their own works, very much wearying themselves, thinking 
assuredly that they shall taste of it : but the Lord concludeth 
and saith, Not one of these men shall taste of my supper. 
Wherefore, most gentle Lord ? they have committed no wicked 
thing, neither have been occupied about unjust matters. Be 
hold this is the reason ; for that they have forsaken faith, and 
have not confessed it freely before every one, neither have pre 
ferred that rich and sumptuous supper before all creatures : for 
seeing it is sumptuous, it requireth those men that do judge 


it to be so, and do put any thing in danger, whatsoever it be, 
that they may be partakers of it. Thus ye have the compendious 
meaning of this text, which I have only briefly run over ; if any 
will expound it more at large, I am well content he so do. 



Luke vi. 36 42. Be ye therefore merciful us your Father also 
is merciful, fyc. 

THE works of charity which we must do to our neighbours in 
temporal things, and in corporal necessity, are described unto 
us in this text ; which the Lord then declared, when he said a 
little before in the same chapter, " Love your enemies, do 
good to them which hate you : bless them that curse yon, and 
pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that 
smiteth thee on the one cheek, offer also the other: and him 
that taketh away thy cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also," 
&c. All which he comprehending in a brief sum, saith, " Be 
ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful." Here 
ye see all good works summarily described, which we must ex 
ercise among ourselves, as our heavenly Father hath exercised 
them toward us. Ye have oftentimes heard, that it is not need 
ful to do good works toward God, but toward our neighbours 
only : God can be made neither stronger nor richer by our 
works, but man may be strengthened and enriched by them, 
unto whom also they are necessary, unto whom only they are to 
be directed, and not unto God, which ye have very often heard, 
and which is now in your ears ; but would to God it would at 
the last burst forth both into your hands and works. Mark 
therefore how perverse an order it is, when any deal with God 
by works, with whom notwithstanding they must deal only by 
faith, and when faith is directed unto man, whereas it is to be 
placed in God alone. Turn these contrariwise, and they shall 
be right, after this sort ; let us first repose faith in God alone, 
and let us then give ourselves to serve our neighbours, and to 
direct all our works so that they may turn to their advantage. 
We must deal before God by no other thing but by faith 


alone, because none is able to help us but God only, and what 
soever we possess either in mind or body, that cometh wholly 
to us from God alone, in whom we ought to trust, upon whom 
we ought to set our heart. Now some use such a preposterous 
order, that they repose faith, which ought to have respect to 
God only, in themselves and others ; they rest upon their tra 
ditions, and whatsoever their great masters have invented, in 
that they put their trust. Of .such God saith in Jeremiah, chap, 
ii. l. J, . to, " My people have committed two evils : they have 
forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them 
out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Yet thou 
sayest, Because 1 am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from 
me : behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I 
I have not sinned/ First he saith, that his spouse is turned 
into an harlot, and hath estranged herself from God the foun 
tain of life, from whom life, salvation, and every good -thing 
floweth, him they have forsaken. Secondly, they set up their 
own traditions, and dig unto themselves a fountain of their own, 
which can hold no water. So 1 api-ls trust to their own inven 
tions, to their founding of masses, to their fastings, prayers, 
and such like things, which appear to be as a fountain, out of 
which they would draw life, and blessedness of salvation, when 
notwithstanding it is able to hold no water; they forsake God 
the fountain of life. Afterward he saith, they dare rise against 
me, that I should not be angry with them, alleging that their 
works are just, and they will go to law with me. Behold this 
is another sin, that they go about to defend their works. Where 
upon God also saith, " I will plead with thee. Why gaddest 
thou about so much to change thy way?" So faith pertaineth 
to God alone, whereunto it bclongeth to obtain all whatsoever 
things are necessary, as well temporal things as eternal, and so 
to obtain them, that it think not that it hath merited in any 
thing. Also, it must again apply itself downward toward our 
neighbour, without looking for any recompense, not that blessed 
ness consisteth in that deriving of faith, to wit, charity, for 
neither cloth God require that, who will have the conscience to 
rest only in him ; even as the spouse must cleave only to her 
husband, and to no other, so also God requireth of us that we 
trust in him alone. These things Christ declareth, when he 
saith, " Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merci 
ful." Wherefore I must so order my conscience toward God, 
that I undoubtedly believe that I have him a bountiful and 


merciful Father, as I will afterward declare, and that I also do 
show mercy toward my neighbour ; which faith must be inward, 
and carried upward unto God, but works must be without, and 
derived downward to our neighbours. 

After this sort Abraham did, when at the mountain in the 
country of Moria, he ascended to God, he left his servants and 
asses below at the bottom of the mountain, taking only Isaac 
with him. The same must be done of us if we will ascend 
unto God, that we may come to him with Isaac only, that is, 
with faith ; servants and asses, that is, works, are to be left 
below. Thus much for the entrance of this text concerning 
faith and works, to wit, that faith must pierce inward and up 
ward, but works must go without and downward, whereby at 
length it cometh to pass, that we are righteous before God and 
men, for that we give due honour unto God, and believe ac 
cording to his word, and satisfy our neighbour in the duty of 
love. Now let us see the very words of the text in order. 
" Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful." 
How therefore is our heavenly Father merciful ? After that 
sort, that giveth us all good things, corporal and spiritual, 
transitory and eternal, freely, and of his mercy ; for if he should 
give unto us according to our desert, he should give unto us 
nothing but hell-fire and eternal damnation. Whatsoever there 
fore good things he bestoweth upon us, he bestoweth them of 
his mere mercy : He seeth us stick fast in death, therefore he 
hath mercy upon us and giveth us life : he seeth us to be the 
children of hell, therefore he, taking pity upon us, giveth us 
heaven : he seeth us to be miserable and naked, hungry and 
thirsty, it pitying him hereof, he clotheth us, and refresheth us 
with meat and drink, and maketh us full of all good things : So 
whatsoever we have either in body or in spirit, he giveth it us of 
his mere mercy, without any merit or desert of ours. Where 
upon Christ here saith, Imitate your Father, and be merciful 
like unto him. 

This is not simple mercy, such as reason teacheth, for that is 
greedy of her own advantage, \vhich giveth only to great and 
learned men, and to them that deserve it ; itloveth them that be 
fair and beautiful ; it giveth unto them, of whom it looketh for 
profit again, which is a mercy divided, begging, and as it were 
torn and broken in pieces : For if I shall give to him that hath 
deserved, or if I shall regard fairness or friendship, it is a bar 
gain or debt, and not mercy. Hereof Christ speaketh in the 


same chapter before his text, in this wise, u If ye love them 
which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those 
that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to 
yon, what thank have ye r for sinners also do even the same, 
And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank 
have ye ? for sinners also lend to sinners to receive as much 
again." But the mercy of Christians must not seek her own, 
but so behave itself, that, it be indifferent, that it regard all alike 
with open eyes, both friends and foes, even as our heavenly 
Father doth : And wheresoever this mercy is not, neither is 
there faith also ; for thy heart being >cttled in faith, so that 
thou knowest (Jod to have showed himself thy God, so gentle 
and bountiful without thy desert, and of mere grace when thou 
wast as yet his enemy, and the child of everlasting malediction; 
thy heart, I say, being settled in this faith, thou canst not con 
tain thyself, but that thou shew thyself again so to thy neigh 
bour, and that wholly for the love of God, and for thy neigh 
bour s good. Take heed therefore what difference thou make 
between a friend and enemy, between the worthy and un 
worthy ; for ye see all which arc in this text rehearsed, to have 
otherwise deserved of us than that we should love them, or do 
well unto them. And the same thing the Lord mcaneth, when 
he saith, Luke vi. 35, " Love ye your enemies, and do good, and 
lend, hoping for nothing again : and your reward shall be great, 
and ye shall be the children of the highest : for he is kind unto 
the unthankful, and to the evil." But how cometh it to pass, 
that a certain contrary thing to that which we have taught, 
seemeth to appear in this text, where he saith, tc Be ye there 
fore merciful, as your Father also is merciful." Again, "Judge 
not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall 
not be condemned : forgive, and ye shall be forgiven." 

All which authorities sound so, that we must deal before God 
with our works, and by them deserve the mercy of God, when 
notwithstanding ye have very often heard, that faith alone doth 
all ; and both Paul, and the whole scripture, do commonly say 
and affirm, that we must believe in God alone, and deal only by 
mere faith before him. It is requisite here to understand that 
good words are only a setting forth and commendation of faith, 
so that if I believe, I must be merciful, I must not judge nor 
condemn my neighbour, I must forgive, and give unto my 
neighbour. Wherefore set an example before yourselves, Gen. 
xxii. 12 : What did Abraham, being commanded to offer his 


son ? He obeyed the commandment,, and drew forth the sword 
to kill his son ? What ensued thereupon ? The Angel of the 
Lord stayed him, saying, f( Lay not thy hand upon the lad, 
neither do them any thing unto him : for now I know that thou 
fearest God, seeing that thou hast not withheld thy son, thine 
only son from me." Howbeit this is here to be known 
and marked of us, that we must first receive, before we give ; 
before we show mercy, we must receive mercy of God; we do 
not lay the first stone, neither doth the sheep seek the shep 
herd, but the shepherd the sheep. Wherefore so bestow thy 
works in every respect, that thou look for nothing at God s 
hand because of them ; for we obtain even everything of God 
without merit or desert, so God saitb, Isaiah Ixv. 1, " I am 
sought of them that asked not for me : I am found of them that 
sought me not." And in the end of the same chapter, " And 
it shall come to pass (saith God) that before they call, I will 
answer ; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear." For 
indeed before we seek him, he findeth us ; before we ask him, 
he heareth us. Likewise St. Paul saith, Rom. iii. 22, "There 
is no difference : For all have sinned, and come short of the 
glory of God; being justified freely by his grace, through the 
redemption that is in Jesus Christ : whom God hath set forth 
to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his 
righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through 
the forbearance of God ; to declare, I say, at this time his 
righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him 
which believeth in Jesus :" And in the chapter following he 
saith, " Now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned 
of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but be 
lieveth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted 
for righteousness. And if by grace, then it is no more of works : 
otherwise grace is no more grace," as he saith afterward in the 
eleventh chapter. 

Again, I must bestow my works so that they may be a cer 
tain sign, and as it were a seal graven with letters, whereby I 
may be assured that my faith is sincere ; for if I feel in my 
heart, that my works proceedeth from love, 1 am sure concern 
ing the integrity and soundness of my faith. If I forgive, the 
same forgiveness doth assure me concerning the sincerity of 
my faith, doth declare my faith, and certify me, that God hath 
also pardoned my sin, and doth daily more and more pardon me. 
So it fell out with Abraham, his work made his faith known 


unto him. God indeed knew that he did helieve ; but it be 
hoved that Abraham also should know, and shew forth his faith ; 
wherefore works following only freely as fruits of faith, are de 
clarations of such a faith ; for what should it profit me, if I had 
even a strong faith, but unknown unto me ? Even as if I 
should have a chest full of gold, yet I being ignorant thereof, 
should have no advantage thereby : but if any would show it 
unto me, he would do me as great pleasure as if he gave it me. 
So if I have faith, and yet be ignorant thereof, it is no profit 
unto me : wherefore it must burst forth, and be showed by the 
works that ensue, which are both signs and seals of the present 
faith. So St. Peter meaneth, when speaking of the works of 
charity, and the virtues of faith, he concludetli thus : " Where 
fore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling 
and election sure ; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 
For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly, 
into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ :" 2 Pet. i. 10, 11. He saith not, do good works, that 
bv them ye may he called, but that ye may assure yourselves of 
your calling. 

Accustom yourselves well unto the phrases and manner of 
speaking used in the scripture, that ye rush not upon them like 
blind moles, and confirm works in such places as this ; for works 
are to be rejected, if we think that we are justified by them ; 
but herein they are extolled and commended, in that they are 
profitable to our neighbour, and fruits and signs of faith. Be 
hold, it was meet that I should make this digression, lest I 
should confirm the meaning of the Papists. Now if it should be 
demanded why God oftentimes setteth down such contrary sen 
tences, and disagreeing one with another, as it seemeth to us 
and our reason ; 1 answer, that he ma} exercise us in reading, 
and that we should not think that we understand the whole 
scripture, when we scarce understand one place. Some sayings 
do guide the spirit, how we ought to behave ourselves toward 
God, only by faith, as this; " Being justified freely," Rom. iii. 
24. Again, lest the body should be sluggish outwardly, there 
are sentences also set forth unto us, which do guide and exer 
cise the body, as these which we have heard here rehearsed, 
" Forgive and ye shall be forgiven." Christ affirmeth that he 
will require works in the last day, and will say after this sort to 
the condemned, Matt. xxv. 42, 43, " For I was an hungered, 
and ye gave me no meat) I was thirsty, and ye gave me no 


drink ; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in ; naked, and 
ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not." 
Which sentences, while ignorant and light spirits labour to 
wrest and apply to works, they see not how great evil they 
commit. But spiritual men refer them to the very body only, 
they themselves standing before God in Spirit, which is both 
just and necessary. For there are two things in man, the spirit 
and the flesh. Hereupon there are some places which do guide 
only faith in the spirit : some which do direct only works in the 
lody ; for one place cannot direct both the body and the spirit 
together. We must so do with our substance, that we be will 
ing to part from it, to lend, and to give to our neighbour, when 
it shall be requisite. And if we see any not to have, wherewith 
to make restitution, we must release him, and forgive the debt 
according to the example of Nehemiah, as we read in Esdras, 
i. 5. For God hath given many things unto us, who is able to 
give us more things also if we believe. And thus we hear that 
if we will be Christians, we ought to lend, give, and to be will 
ing to part from that which we have, otherwise we shall not 
show the fruits of a lively faith. Wherefore lay up this text 
inwardly in your minds, that ye deal by no other thing before 
God, but by faith only, and refer and bestow your works to the 
service and profit of your neighbour. Thus much shall suffice 
to have been spoken concerning the former part. 

Now what is to be said more of this text, or what doth fol 
low, we will afterward consider. In the words following, the 
Lord interpreted! himself what kind of mercy he understand- 
eth, saying, after this sort, " Judge not, and ye shall not be 
judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned ; forgive, 
and ye shall be forgiven ; give, and it shall be given you." In 
this place the Lord divideth mercy into three parts, that we may 
not be ignorant what manner of mercy that ought to be, which 
it behoveth us to show to our neighbours. First, judgment and 
condemnation is taken from us. Then thou must forgive thy 
neighbour if he hath committed anything against thee. Lastly, 
thou must help the needy. These things this word (mercy] sig 
nified, wheresoever it cometh in the scriptures. And all these 
must proceed from a sincere heart, all colouring and flattery 
being taken away, that there be no respect had of the person. 
For if thou desirest to wish well to them, which wish well to 
thee ; or to hurt them, which hurt thee, thou art utterly de 
ceived. But Lhou must do so, as Christ saith a little before ; 


imitate thy heavenly Father, love thine enemy; do well to him 
which doth evil to thee ; forgive him that hurteth thee ; lend to 
the needy, and so of the rest. That therefore we may speak of the 
former part, that we must not judge or condemn ; we must mark, 
that God hath ordained the sword of the magistrate to the pu 
nishing of public offences, so that it be provided that it be not 
clone against the precept and commandment of God, as that the 
innocent be not executed ; for whereas the judge dealeth un 
justly, he is as well an homicide as another, of which judgment 
Christ saith nothing here. Elsewhere he maketh mention 
thereof, whenas he said to him which desired that he would 
bid his brother divide the inheritance with him, Luke xii. 24, 
" Who made me a judge or a divider over you r" For the care 
and governing of outward things do not belong to the kingdom 
of Christ. But Christ speaketh here of another judgment, 
namely, of that whereby one reputeth and countcth another 
good or evil, whenas notwithstanding he seeth no good or evil 
to he done of him. Which judgment belongeth only unto God. 
For it may be, that thou see thy brother offend to-day, whom 
notwithstanding to-morrow God doth receive, then may he both 
be, and also seem unto thee to be good, neither must thou 
remember his sins ; for that Christ hath forbidden ; there can 
not be either love or concord where this judgment and con 
demnation is usual amongst men. 

To judge and condemn another is nothing else, than to have a 
beam in his own eye, which all hypocrites do without doubt bear 
in their eyes. For they that judge themselves good, are offended 
at their brother, whatsoever others do, it displeaseth them, foras 
much as they will not acknowledge their own sin. But itcometh 
to pass, that when thou seest many sins in others, thou seest not 
the beam that is in thine own eye, and so fallestinto the judgment 
of God, Hereof it cometh, that thou which judgest another, art 
made worse than the most wicked woman, or the most unchaste 
harlot before God, who alone knoweth who is to be saved, and 
who to be condemned. Such hypocrites are of that nature, that 
it is a pleasure unto them, and they take no small delight thereof, 
if they reason and talk either of the sin or fault of another man, 
yea, they increase a small thing or trifle in their neighbour, and 
whatsoever others do, they interpret it at the worst, so that no 
man is able to do that which pleaseth or liketh them ; and 
though they themselves do not such things, yet they willingly 
hear that other men do them, whereas a godly man helpeth as 


much as he is able that these things may be covered and 
amended; but it many times falleth out,, that they are most 
filthy adulterers, even according to the flesh,, which do so judge 
and condemn others, howbeit they do not judge man only, but 
even God himself. Wherefore if thy brother be a sinner, con 
ceal his sin, and pray for him to the Lord, if thou reveal his sin 
and rejoice thereat, surely thou art not the child of the merciful 
Father, for if thou were, thou wouldst be merciful according as 
he is. 

This is a thing most certain, that we are not able to show so 
great mercy to our neighbour,, as God both hath, and doth show 
to us ; but that is the practice of Satan, that we do those things 
which are quite contrary unto mercy, which is an undoubted 
sign that there is no mercy at all in us. Of these judgers of 
others, Christ speaketh in the gospel, when he saith, Luke vi. 
39, 40, 41, 42, Can the blind lead the blind ? Shall they not 
both fall into the ditch ? The disciple is not above his master, 
but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. And why 
beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother s eye, but per- 
ceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye ? Either ho\v 
canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote 
that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam 
that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the 
beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to 
pull out the mote that is in thy brother s eye." As if he said, 
thou thinkest that thy brother is blind, and in thy mind doest 
find fault with another, that is, thou wilt guide another, notwith 
standing thou thyself art blind ; thou judgest him a sinner, and 
thyself an honest and just man ; what other thing is this, than 
for thy heart to be so affected, that thou count thyself better ? 
Which is nothing else, than that thou wilt lead and guide others, 
when thou thyself art more blind than a mole, so that he which 
followeth thee, doth fall with thee into the ditch. 

Of such as judge themselves to excel others, and think them 
selves to be followed more than the word of God, St. Paul 
speaketh, Rom. ii. 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, Behold (saith 
he), thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest 
thy boast of God ; and knowest his will, and approvest the things 
that are most excellent, being instructed out of the law; and art 
confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of 
them which are in darkness ; an instructor of the foolish, a 
teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge, and of the 


truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest 
thou not thyself; thou that preachest a man should not steal, 
dost thou steal ? Thou that sayest a man should not commit 
adultery, dost thou commit adultery ? thou that abhorrest idols, 
dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of 
the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God ?" 
Whereupon he also saith in the beginning of the same chapter 
to hypocrites : " Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, who 
soever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, 
thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest, doest the same 
things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according 
to truth, against them which commit such things. And thinkest 
thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and 
doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God ?" 
Lo, this is to speak the truth to hypocrites, who go about to 
show the way to others, which they themselves know not, lead 
ing other men into the ditch with them. Therefore the Lord 
saitli, " The disciple is not above his master, but whosoever 
will be a perfect disciple shall he as his master." This is a 
common proverb : I can learn no more of my master than he 
knoweth himself; wherefore doth the Lord speak this proverb ? 
because of two sorts of masters ; the one is blind, whom if I 
shall follow, I also myself shall become blind : he himself falleth 
into the ditch, and I follow. The other master is the merciful 
father of whom we must learn mercy, whom if we follow, we 
also do become merciful like as he is; if we were merciful daily, 
we should also become perfect, as lie is perfect, but that cometh 
not to pass, as long as we are in this life. 

The second part of mercy is, that we forgive them which have 
endamaged us, or hurt us by any means. A Christian can never 
be so hurt, but he ought to forgive, not only seven times, but 
seventy times seven times, as the Lord saith unto Peter, Matt, 
xviii. 22. Wherefore God forgiveth a Christian his sin or infir 
mity, that he may also forgive others their infirmity, which Christ 
setteth forth in a most goodly parable, which he concludeth in 
these words, ver. 35, " So likewise shall my heavenly Father do 
also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his 
brother their trespasses." And so we pray daily in the Lord s 
prayer, with an addition, saying, " Forgive us our trespasses, as 
we forgive them that trespass against us." Is this a hard matter, 
if I, a wretched sinner, do forgive my neighbour his trespasses 
and his infirmity, whereas the Lord will forgive me my sins and 


my infirmity ? If one had killed my father, what were this, 
compared to my sin, wherewith I have offended God, arid pro 
voked him to anger ? 

The third part of mercy is, that we give to them that he in 
misery and need, and that we help them, whereof John speaketh 
thus, 1 John iii. ]J, " But whoso hath this world s good, and 
seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of com 
passion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him ?" For 
where the love of God is, it is moved to show itself even in out 
ward works. Hereunto also pertaineth the saying of Christ, 
Matt. v. 7, (i Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain 
mercy." Wherefore the Lord addeth a promise in the gospel, 
saying, " Give, and it shall be given unto you, a good measure, 
pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall men give 
into your bosom." And continuing on his speech, he saith, 
" For with what measure ye mete, with the same shall men mete 
to you again." This much shall suffice concerning the parts of 
mercy which we ought to show to our neighbours ; unto which 
the special words of Christ ought to exhort us, who when in the 
gospel of Matthew, he had spoken much of a Christian life, and 
of love to be showed to our brethren, thus concludeth, saying, 
tc Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even 
so to them, for this is the law and the prophets," Matt. vii. 12. 
Now every one is so affected, that being cast down, and in dis 
tress, he would wish all the world to help him ; if I be a mise 
rable sinner, drowned in sins, bearing a burtheried and troubled 
conscience, I would that the whole world should comfort me, 
should help and succour me, should cover my sin and shame, so 
I also ought to behave myself toward my neighbour, not to judge 
him, nor condemn him, but to forgive him his offences, to help 
him, to provide for him, to lend unto him, and give him, even as 
1 would wish to be done unto myself, if I were driven into dis 
tress, necessity, exile, or poverty ; and herein truly Christians 
are known, if they love one another, if one do such works of his 
mercy unto another, as Christ said unto his disciples at his last 
supper, " I give unto you a new command that ye love one ano 
ther, as I have loved you ; by this shall all men know that ye 
are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." Thus ye have 
the meaning of this text, it remaineth that we call upon God for 
his grace. 




1 Timothy i. 5, 6, 7 3>~ow the end of the commandment is 
charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and 
of fait h unfeigned, fyc. 

IT is well known unto you, dourly beloved brethren, with how 
great severity God hath commanded his word to be heard and 
learned ; for he most highly esteemeth it, and hath bestowed 
much labour in defending and publishing it to the world ; he 
hath suffered all the prophets to come into perils and dangers, 
at the last also lie sent his own Son because of his word, whom 
lie suffered to die even the death of the cross ; and what perse 
cutions have not the apostles themselves bore for the word sake ? 
what afflictions have not all the Christians suffered ? unto some 
of which he hath committed the ministry of his word faithfully 
to be executed, and to others, hath enjoined the charge of hear 
ing the same. 

If there were no other cause besides this, whereby we might 
be moved to hear and learn God s word, but for that it is the 
good pleasure, will, and commandment of God, yet this one 
ought to be sufficient great and weighty ; for it is our duty as 
creatures to obey our Lord and Creator, and that with all readi 
ness of mind, inasmuch as he hath given us so many good 
things, and doth as yet daily give us more, for which we shall 
never be able to give him sufficient worthy thanks. llowbeit 
he is not content, only to have commanded us to do this, or to 
require it of us as bound in duty, but promiseth also that great 
fruits and advantages shall redound to us thereby, affirming 
that by this means his greatest and highest worship is given 
unto him ; for he is the great Lord, whom we serve, who hath 
many and divers kinds of service, and manifold manners of 
worship, and whom we may serve divers ways ; but this only 
service which is given to him by hearing the word, doth excel 
all the rest ; for if any where a faithful man of the country, or 
a citizen, or any which is otherwise in subjection doth serve his 
lord or master, he doth by the same service also serve God j 


likewise a child, a man servant, or a maid servant, if they be 
obedient,, and do diligently that which belongeth to their duty ; 
also a prince and parents if they govern well, and do their duty 
faithfully, they all do serve God ; for it is his will and com 
mandment which he requireth to be fulfilled of us. Of such 
services and kinds of worship the world is full. For to every 
one in his state his works are committed and enjoined of God, 
whereby he daily both ought and may serve him ; that there 
may be left no place for excuse unto any man, as though he were 
ignorant, how and wherefore he must serve God, neither that 
any seek after things, and invent peculiar manners of serving 
God, which he hath neither ordained nor commanded, and in 
the mean time neglect that which he hath commanded, as we 
have hitherto done in our blindness ; but before all other ser 
vices and doings of duties, he hath most highly esteemed and 
extolled this service both of them that hear, and them that 
preach his word ; and therefore hath ordained also a special 
day thereunto every week, in which we must apply ourselves to 
no other business ; although we serve God by other labours all 
the week, which he hath bound to no time or certain day ; but 
he hath chosen this day specially, which he hath severely com 
manded to be kept, whereby men may have time and leisure to 
perform this service, lest any might fly unto this complaint, that 
he hath no leisure by reason of his labours and business \ more 
over, he hath appointed special places also for his service, as 
among us temples and houses, where w r e do come together ; 
yea, he hath instituted and kept the whole order of ministers 
hereunto, giving also other things which pertain to the perform 
ing of the charge of this office, as the knowledge of many 
tongues, and divers gifts beside ; and briefly he hath com 
manded the whole world by a certain special precept, that it 
think this worship or service holy, and far more excellent than 
the rest; which he will have so to be delighted in of all Chris 
tians, that it may be manifest how much he doth esteem it, 
and how acceptable unto him the exercise and handling of his 
word is : these things I speak to stir you up, and to admonish 
you, why ye ought willingly to hear the word of God, because 
it is not only the commandment of God, whereunto we must 
obey, but we also have most ample promises, that it is a thing 
acceptable to God, and the greatest worship, whereby we can 
do honour unto him ; and it so far exceedeth other kinds of 
worship, as the brightness of the sun exceedeth the brightness 



of the stars, and the sabbath day, the other days, and in fine, as 
much as the heavenly kingdom excelleth the kingdoms of the 
world; for here all things are holy and especially chosen, the 
time, place, person, and that because of the word which sancti- 
fieth all things unto us ; wherefore we must earnestly endea 
vour, that \vc take heed unto ourselves, that we fall not into 
sluggishness, and slothfulness, neither that \ve he carried away 
with contempt and loathsomeness of hearing the word, as those 
delicate and cloyed spirits, which seem unto themselves already 
to be masters, and exactly to know all things, yea, far more 
perfectly than any can teach them, or as others also, which are 
soon cloyed with it, thinking, Why I have heard this very often, 
wherefore should I so often hear the same song ? they know not 
how great and marvellous a thing it is, also how great worship 
of Oi od they so greatly contemn, and neglect with so great sloth- 
fulness; wherefore they do after unspeakable means provoke 
Ciod to wrath, having his commandment so in contempt, and 
suffering his promise to he made void in them, and as much as 
is in them impairing and hindering by their example so com 
mendable a worship and service of God. 

But admit it to be true, which is not, that thou dost under 
stand all things perfectly, and art as wise and skilful as Christ 
himself: yet thou seest how earnestly he performeth the office 
of preaching, and applieth himself unto this work, whereof he 
was most skilful before, and had not any whit need thereof, as 
we do greatly need it ; so Paul also a prince of apostles, al 
though he was exceedingly well learned, and so excellent a 
doctor, yet going through many countries, did often and every 
where preach, neither was he wearied or cloyed ; whereof it is 
meet that thou be nothing at all weary of hearing this word, in 
asmuch as the aid and help thereof is exceeding necessary for 
thee, both against the devil and all other temptations ; and 
although for thy instruction thou shouldest not need it, yet 
oughtest thou not to be wearied or cloyed, that thou shouldest 
not bestow a few hours in a day every week upon this worship 
and service of God ; seeing that before, applying thyself to 
false worship, when thou didst pass the whole day in temples, 
and didst run from temple to temple, from altar to altar, thou 
felt no tediousness or weariness, neither didst say as thou 
dost at this day, O, I have heard no new thing, I have heard 
these things before ; but didst think thus : This day and yester 
day I went to hear Mass, and to-morrow I mind to go to hear 


it again ; how much oughtest thou to do this now, knowing 
assuredly that this is the right service and worship of God, and 
to say, Although I knew most perfectly, as I do not know, yet 
to give honour and show obedience unto God, I will do this 
service, and because of his love and praise I will hear his word, 
that my Lord may see by this chief worship, wherewith I am 
especially delighted, that I am willing to serve him ; for although 
no other fruit or profit come unto me thereby, yet I may rejoice 
that I have performed a most holy and acceptable work unto 
him, whereunto other kinds of worship and services being com 
pared are of small importance. 

Now, he that doth not care for these things, neither is moved 
with them, reverently to think and highly to esteem of the 
word of God willingly and earnestly to hear and to learn it, 
whensoever opportunity and means shall be offered, I will have 
nothing to do with him ; for neither may I, neither will I draw 
any man hereunto violently : he that contemneth let him con 
temn still, and remain a swine as he is, even until that day, 
when God will kill him and throw him down headlong to hell ; 
for such an one cannot be a good man, neither is it a human sin, 
but a certain devilish obstinacy, so greatly to contemn that, 
whereunto God hath appointed a place, person, time, &c. 
Moreover he moveth us by his commandment, lovingly pro- 
voketh us by his promises, stirreth us up and admonisheth us 
by his words, and offereth all these of his own accord, and to 
be bought with no price or treasure, which is to be far fetched, 
or hardly come by, the excellency whereof can indeed be coun 
tervailed with no gold ; and hereunto that it is a worship or ser 
vice very easy to be done, which may be performed without all 
labour or grief, but that thou must attentively hear the preacher, 
or apply thy mouth to speak and read, than which labour none 
surely is more easy ; and although it is to be feared, thou shalt 
bear the cross, and suffer persecution, yet the work itself is so 
joined with no difficulty, as no other labour is, no, not even that 
that is most easy. 

If so be that it be not grievous unto thee, to sit the whole day 
in a tavern or an alehouse, or otherwise with thy companions 
to trifle and sport thyself with filthy and unseemly jests and 
pastimes, also to sing and prate, and yet art not weary, neither 
feelest any labour ; thou mayest with a little pain sit in the 
temple, and hear the preacher, whereby thou servest God, and 
dost that which is acceptable unto him ; what wouldest thou do, 

M 2 


if thou shouldst at his commandment carry stones in quarries, 
or go armed on pilgrimage to St. James ? or if some other la 
borious and painful works should be enjoined thee ? as hitherto 
it halli been the custom among us, whenas we would do all 
things willingly, whatsoever was enjoined us, when we were 
deceived with mere trilled and most impudent delusions ; but 
so doth the devil blind men, in whom also he worketh a satiety 
and loathing of the word of God, whereby it cometh to pass 
that they have no regard what a treasure the word of God is, 
but live after a beastly sort, contemning all good doctrine. Let 
us therefore at the last delight in these things, thinking thus 
with ourselves, that as often as we read or hear the word of 
God, either privately or publicly, of whomsoever it be preached, 
we apply ourselves to the chief service of God, which pleaseth 
God exceedingly well ; after this sort thou mayest inflame thy 
self to hear, and God will inspire thee with his grace, that the 
seed of his word he not sown in vain, but may bring forth 
plentiful fruit ; the word is never taught without fruit, whenso 
ever it shall be diligently and attentively heard, neither can it be, 
but that by often hearing it, thou should become better; and 
although for the present time thou seest or feelest no fruit, yet 
in process of time thou shalt plainly perceive and feel it. But 
it were long here to rehearse the fruits proceeding of the word, 
nay, indeed, they cannot be all rehearsed. 

These things I thought good to speak instead of a preface 
before the words of St. Paul, to the intent to stir us up more 
diligently to hear the word of God ; and surely there is great 
need of such an exhortation daily in every sermon, which also is 
much pertinent unto the text which we have in hand : for Paul 
in this place reprehended curious spirits, which go about by 
their own wisdom to be masters of the word of God, and do by 
and by falsely persuade themselves, that they know it well, and 
that they need not any more the help of any teacher ; but turn 
themselves to trifling and vain jangling, that they may bring 
forth some new thing, which the common sort may be desirous 
to hear, presuming also to be masters of the scripture and of 
all men, labouring to teach every one, and yet not understand 
ing what they speak, or whereof they affirm, for this is a plague 
and calamity that followeth, where the word of God is not 
handled diligently and seriously the learners are weary of hear 
ing and the preachers slothful in preaching. 

Hence it cometh that so great companies of hearers slide 


away, and churches become desolate. Of which calamity vain 
talking spirits are the cause, which promise ixew things, that 
they may win the hearts of the multitudes unto themselves, 
boasting in that they are masters of the scripture, and yet are 
always such men as are ignorant, forasmuch as they have never 
tried what it is to teach others, which we now plainly see, and 
the wrath of God is at hand ready to punish our contempt and 
unthankfulness ; therefore Paul beginneth his epistle to his dis 
ciple Timothy so, that he should take heed, that such teachers 
do not arise, which can talk many things of the law, bringing 
many new questions and doctrines what is to be done, how 
righteousness is to be obtained, all which they do for osten 
tation sake, that they may be seen and praised, and seem to be 
more learned than others, and yet they never came so far as to 
teach any certain thing, or that which might be counted to be 
of any importance, but do all things confusedly and out of 
order : such babblers use only these words, that we must be 
honest, and good works must be done, and God must be served, 
&c., but they understand not the sense of these words, what 
they mean ; and being asked how we must do good works, 
now they teach this particular work to be done, another time 
another work, as offer so much sacrifice at this altar, get thee 
into this or that monastery, run unto this saint, here erect a 
chapel to the honour of such a saint, in another place found a 
mass, light tapers, eat fish, buy indulgences, &c., which being 
done, they by and by bring another work, and forthwith after 
that another. So they know not how to instruct after a constant 
and certain manner of teaching, much less can they say, this is, 
or in this doth the sum of a Christian life consist, &c., and yet 
in the mean time those things must be counted very excellent 
that they teach, so much do they boast, and promise almost 
golden mountains, as though they alone were doctors, that 
might not be gainsaid, and controllers and masters of all other ; 
but he is to be counted an excellent master, and highly to be 
esteemed, which teacheth the chief point and whole sum of doc 
trine,, viz., how the heart and conscience, yea, and the whole 
man must live ; they know nothing of that thing, though they 
be very full of words, but do altogether err from the principal 
point of the law. In the mean time, they intangle the minds of 
the hearers with such a confused company of words, that they 
know neither how to make a beginning or end of speaking, as it 
is uncertain whereunto that disordered company of words doth 


serve, whereby no man can be made better, much less can he 
confirm his conscience thereby, as we hitherto have enough and 
too much seen, and tried in the papacy among our preachers of 

What therefore is the sum of that doctrine which is to be 
taught to the people ? St. Paul answereth, " The end of the 
commandment is love out of a pure heart, and of a good con 
science, and of faith unfeigned." This is that "Helen, here 
thou hast the sum of Christian life most excellently and fully 
comprehended, compendiously and briefly uttered, and which 
may be not unfitly printed in thy memory ; thou must endeavour, 
if thou wilt not err from the law, but attain to the chief point 
thereof (that thou mayest kno\v what is to be clone and what 
is to be left undone) to have love proceeding out of a pure 
heart from a good conscience, and faith unfeigned ; if thy love 
be of this sort, then it is right, otherwise thou errest from the 
meaning of the whole law. Now these words are profound, 
and comprehend much matter in them ; wherefore we must 
partly expound them, that they may be the better understood, 
and that we may accustom ourselves to St. Paul s manner of 
speech. First, he attributeth to love the sum of the whole law, 
wherein it wholly consistcth ; and to love is nothing else (as 1 
think it is known to all) but to favour and embrace one from 
the heart, and to show, and perform unto him all the duties of 
friendship and good will. 

Now those jangling doctors also use such words, preaching 
and boasting many things of love, but all by piece-meal, and 
particularly applied to their own trifles and follies ; even as 
heretics, wicked men, and ungracious wretches have love also, 
but that which consisteth only among themselves, and them 
that are of the same sort with them, in the mean time, they 
hate and persecute all good Christians, whom they would wil 
lingly accuse of murder, if they could, c. But this doth not 
yet deserve to be called true love. If I choose one or two, 
whose conditions like and please me, whom I do friendly and 
lovingly embrace, and no man beside them, it is called a par 
ticular love, which proceedeth not out of a pure heart, but from 
an infected and filthy heart; for true love floweth out of a 
pure heart when 1 endeavour as God hath commanded me to 
pour forth my love toward my neighbour, and to favour all 
without difference, whether they be friends or enemies, even as 
our heavenly Father himself doth, who suffereth his sun to rise 


on the good and evil, and sendeth his rain to the thankful and 
unthankful, maketh the earth to bring forth many good things, 
giveth many, riches, fruits, cattle, and many times, especially 
unto them that are the worst of all others ; but from whence 
cometh the doing of these things ? truly from pure love, whereof 
his heart is most full. This he poureth forth abundantly upon 
all, omitting no man, whether he be good or evil, worthy or un 
worthy ; and this is called true, divine, entire, and perfect love, 
which loveth no one, neglecting the rest, neither cutteth nor 
divideth itself, but embraceth all indifferently. The other is 
love of thieves and publicans, if I love him, which is for my 
turn, and may do me a pleasure, and which esteemeth well of 
me, and despise him that contemneth me, and which is not on 
my side ; for that doth not proceed from the heart which ought 
wholly to be good and pure ; indifferently toward all, but he 
that, is endued with such love, seeketh his own things ; and is 
full of love to himself, and not of love towards others ; neither 
doth he love any man, but for his own advantage sake, regard 
ing only that which may serve for his own use, seeking his 
own profit by every man, and not the profit of his neighbour : if 
he be praised and honoured, he laugheth, but being looked upon 
with sour countenance, or an unthankful word being spoken unto 
him, he resisteth, curseth, and findeth fault, so that all friend 
ship forthwith ceaseth : on the contrary? he that hath a pure 
heart must be so affected according to the word of God, and his 
example, that he favour every one, and bestow liberal and 
friendly benefits upon them, even as God hath favoured him, 
and of his divine love hath bestowed benefits upon him ; but 
some men will say, he is mine enemy, and doth evil unto me. 
Surely he is an enemy also to God, unto whom he doth many 
more things displeasing unto him, than he can do either to me 
or thee : but my love ought not to be extinguished or cease, 
because he is evil, and altogether unworthy thereof; if he be 
evil, he shall at the last suffer punishment according to his 
deeds, but his wickedness must not overcome me ; but if I can 
through love rebuke and admonish him, or pray for him, that 
he may amend, and escape punishment, I must do it readily, I 
must not be an enemy unto him, or do evil unto him in any 
wise : for what profit should redound unto me thereby ? neither 
am I made better thereby, and I make him so much the worse : 
this therefore ought to delight me, if I shall favour him, and 
bestow benefits upon him, if so be that he will suffer them to 


be bestowed on him, and pray unto God for him, so I may 
enjoy peaee, and have no trouble or contention with any man, 
and perhaps I may so profit him, that he will change his life 
unto the better, and amend. 

Otherwise surely love being divided or separated, I have more 
bitterness and sorrow by them whom I hate, than I have joy 
and profit by them, whom I love and keep company with. And 
this is said to trouble the fountain or water, from whence pure 
love cannot flow ; as it is certain that the Jews also did, against 
whom Paul speaketh in this place ; for they loved them only of 
whom they were loved, whereby they defiled the sincerity of 
love with man s affections, and therefore their heart could not 
be pure ; but whereby is the heart purified ? I answer, it can 
not be purified by any other thing than by that sovereign purity, 
which is the word of God; receive that into thy mind, and 
order thy life according to the rule thereof, and thy heart is 
purified ; as in this place, sec thou set the word before thee, 
" Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself;" and follow that 
which it commandeth, and by and by thou shall see whether it 
purgeth and cleanseth whatsoever desire there is in thee of 
thine own profit, or whatsoever love of thyself; for command 
ing thee to love thy neighbour, it maketh exception of none, 
either friend or foe; although some man be evil and hath been 
oftentimes injurious unto thee, notwithstanding he doth not 
therefore lose this name, that he is not to be called thy neigh 
bour, but nevertheless remaineth thy ilesh and blood, and is 
comprehended in these words, Thou shall love thy neighbour, 
c. Therefore I say, if thou shall consider him and so behave 
thyself toward him, as the word teacheth thee, then is thy heart 
made pure, and love sincere, so that thou makest no false dif 
ference of persons, neither otherwise consideresl him, than 
another, which is good, and one of thy familiars. Indeed, we can 
not deny this to be true, that an honest man is more worthy to 
be loved, unto whom also every one doth more willingly apply 
himself by nature, than unto the conversation of wicked men, 
whose familiarity there is no good man that doth not abhor, 
howbeit flesh and blood is the cause thai true and Christian 
love is not amomg us; for a Christian must not derive his love 
from the person, as the world doth ; as some young man seeing 
a maid, is in love with her because of her fairness and beauty, 
and a covelous man taketh his love and desire of his money, 
a lord or prince, of honour and power, &c. : for all such love is 


said to be feigned and proceeding not from whence it ought, 
cleaving to the good things, wherewith he seeth the person 
adorned, neither doth it continue any longer than that which 
he loveth continueth, and as long as he may enjoy it; hut true 
love ought to be such as floweth out of a continual fountain, and 
proceedeth from the bottom of the heart, as a fresh and con 
tinual water always springeth forth, which cannot be stopped 
and is never dried up. 

This love saith after this sort : I love thee, not for thy honesty 
or dishonesty, for I do not derive my love from thy honesty, as 
from a strange fountain, but out of mine own fountain, that is, 
out of the word of God which is planted in my heart, which com- 
mandeth me to love my neighbour, from hence love plentifully 
floweth open to all which have need thereof, watering all both 
friends and foes ; yea, chiefly prepared and ready for foes, inas 
much as they have more need, that they may by my means be 
brought to amendment, I praying for them, and doing according 
to my ability that which I am able, that they also leaving their 
evil ways, may be delivered from sins, and the snares of the 
devil ; and this is said to be love flowing from the heart, and not 
derived from without ; for he that is endued with such love, 
findeth no such thing in him whom he loveth, from whence he 
should derive it ; but because he is a Christian, because he 
layeth hold of the word, which is altogether pure in itself, by 
the power of it his heart also is made pure and replenished with 
true love. Whereupon he poureth forth the treasures of his 
love toward every man, neither is he moved or turned away 
with the person of any whether he be good or evil. Behold 
thus should they preach, which will rightly teach love required 
of the law, whereof our babblers know nothing, neither have any 
regard thereof, although they talk many things of the law, and 
dispute much of love. They do not see, no they do not so 
much as once think, that love must be such, that it flow out of 
the heart, and that the fountain must be first pure and clean. 
This never descended into their heart, although they hear, read, 
and preach many things of it. They are occupied with very 
uncertain and unprofitable cogitations, yea, rather with dead 

Wherefore whatsoever is preached of works and of a good 
life, that only is well done which proceedeth from the word of 
God, a pure heart, and a true faith ; this thou mayest see in all 
states,, how every one ought in his calling to do the office 


enjoined him, and exercise the works of love. A servant labour 
ing, and thinking no more than thus, My lord or master payeth 
me my wages, for which only I serve him, otherwise I would 
not vouchsafe to look upon him, c., hath not a pure heart, for 
he doth not serve but for a piece of bread, or for his hire, which 
being taken away, his service also ceaseth. But if he were a 
rijjht and true Christian, he would rather be thus affected : I 
will not therefore serve because my master payeth me wages, 
because he is honest, or dishonest, &c., but because the word 
of God doth speak thus unto me : " Servants, be obedient to 
them that are your masters, as unto Christ," cScc., Eph. vi. 5. 
This service proceedeth of its own accord out of the heart, which 
layeth hold on the word, and greatly esteemeth it, saying, I will 
serve my master, and take my wages, but this shall be the 
chiefest thing for which I do this service, that I may serve my 
God and Lord Jesus Christ, who hath laid the condition and 
state of a servant upon me, which I know doth please him in 
me, &c. Here thou seest a true work, proceeding out of a 
pure heart ; so also let a lord or prince, and they which have 
the charge of governing the common weal, think thus : God 
hath committed unto me the office of magistrate, that I should 
be a ruler; now if 1 will have regard unto tin s only, that 1 may 
enjoy my dignity, riches, and power, it is certain that my heart 
is not pure, and yet in the mean time 1 do the work of a ruler 
so, that the world cannot complain of me, neither Caesar nor the 
lawyers can blame or find fault with me by their laws. Even 
as neither a servant serving only for wages can be reprehended 
of the world, whether he seeketh his own things or not. Surely 
the word of God is not regarded in the office of a ruler that doth 
so, but his own idol, his own glory, money, and power, &c. 
But if this affection be in his heart : Because I am occupied 
in this office, wherein God hath placed me, and the word com- 
mandeth him that beareth rule to be careful, it is meet that I 
do execute the same with all faithfulness and diligence, to the 
praise and glory of my God. The execution of the office of 
such a ruler, endued with such a mind, cometh out of a pure 
and sincere heart, wherewith God and good men are delighted. 
There is moreover in him love, which doth not cleave to the 
person or outward things, but beginneth in the heart, which the 
word of God maketh manifest, which forasmuch as it is pure 
and clean, doth also purify the heart; and so his government 
and works are the mere services of God, and for God s sake. 


But our talkers cannot teach this, neither are able to judge 
of it, only crying out when they teach best of all, that we must 
be honest. They bring a certain juridical sermon out of the 
laws of men, as Ceesar and his clerks teach : but how the heart 
is purified, they have not so much as understood or thought any 
thing thereof, or how love is to be derived to all states and con 
ditions of men, according to the word of God. Thus must thou 
say even in spiritual offices and states also : If I or any other 
shall preach to get some good benefice, whereas otherwise I 
would easily cease from doing this office, I may preach the gos 
pel, but my heart is not pure, but most plainly polluted. There 
fore although I do long and much affirm, that it is a good work 
and a weighty office, yet I do not perform it aright, forasmuch as 
I do it not from the heart ; but then only is it rightly done when 
the heart hath his affection : Although I should get my living 
thereby, yet this ought not to be the chief end thereof ; but 
because God hath called me unto it, and committed it unto me 
diligently to be done, it remaineth, that I do with all diligence 
labour therein, to the glory of God and salvation of souls, which 
I do also for the love of the word willingly and from the heart. 
Hereby I seek neither love nor friendship, nor honour, nor thank 
fulness of men, but my works come from the heart, which I first 
do, before I obtain any honour, glory, reward, money, or favour, 
although if those come and follow, I may have and receive them 
without sin. 

Lo, thus the word is the cause, foundation, ground, fountain, 
and spring of love coming out of the heart, and of all good works 
that please God, which he can by no means away with, if the 
heart be not pure before ; for neither are works acceptable to 
men, which are done without the heart, by dissimulation. Now 
if Caesar and men require the heart, although they cannot see it, 
of how much greater estimation is that heart before God, which 
doth all things for the word s sake. Therefore he also suffereth 
his word to be preached, that we may order all our life according 
to the prescript thereof; and let us not suffer ourselves to be 
hindered, frightened from it, or discouraged with -the let or 
hindrance of any thing, although for it we shall suffer all kinds 
of losses, unthankfulness, contempt, &c., but let us break and 
go through all brunts with a bold and manly courage, and say 
thus : We begin nothing for any man s sake, neither will we 
leave off any thing because of any man, but that we may do that 
which is acceptable to God, we will go on still, howsoever things 


fall out with us. They which do thus,, become men excellent 
and most highly to be esteemed, who lire ready to do all duties, 
and serve God with all readiness of mind, and love not feigned ; 
for the fountain and spring is good, not derived and brought in 
from without. 

These things I thought good briefly to speak of the first part, 
how the heart is purified by the word alone, and not as the monks 
have dreamed, by a fight taken upon them against evil cogita 
tions, and by feigning of good thoughts ; for what thoughts 
soever thou shalt feign, the heart shall remain unclean, if the 
word of God be not in it, although it pretend a great show of 
a godly life, as Paul witnesseth. But this pureness whereof he 
speaketh, doth extend farther than outward and corporal pure- 
ness doth, which the Jews did use, eating and drinking, their 
hands being often washed, which our religious men also use in 
their fasting, diversity of apparel, orders, and rites, 8cc., for this 
is called pureness of the Spirit, which we then have, when being 
instructed by the word of God, we know thereby how he is to 
be served in every state and calling, and endeavour to form our 
lives according thereunto. Now followeth the second part 
concerning a good conscience, whereof also we must treat, viz., 
that love must come from such a heart, as hath a joyful and 
quiet conscience both toward God and toward men. Toward 
men as Paul glorieth of himself, that he lived so, that he offended 
no man, troubled no man, was an evil example and burthen to 
no man, but all that did see and hear him must needs witness, 
that he indifferently served all, helped all, counselled all, and 
dealt friendly and gently with all. Such a conscience Moses 
also glorieth of against the seditious, Numb. xvi. 15, I have 
not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them. 
And Jeremiah, chap, xviii, 20, Remember that I stood before 
thee to speak good for them, and turn away thy wrath from them. 
Likewise doth Samuel, 1 Sam. xii. 2, I have walked before you 
from my childhood unto this day. Behold, here I am, witness 
against me before the Lord, and before his anointed : whose ox 
have I taken ? or whose ass have I taken ? or whom have I 
defrauded ? or whom have I oppressed ? or of whose hand have 
I received any bribe ? 

Such boasting and glory every Christian must attain unto that 
he do so live toward every man, and so exercise and show his 
love, that no man can worthily complain any whit of him, 
whereby he shall trouble or dismay his conscience ; but that all 


that will confess the truth, may be forced to say, that he hath 
so lived, that he hath been an example to every man of living 
well, which will only but follow him. And this is called a good 
conscience before men, or against the complaints and reprehen 
sions of men. And although such a conscience is not able to 
stand before the judgment of God, no, nor any pureness of the 
heart in the outward life and work of love (we continuing in 
sinning oftentimes before God) yet we must attain unto such a 
heart, that we may comfort ourselves before him also, and say, 
this God hath bidden and commanded to be done, therefore I do 
it with a pure heart and good conscience, neither would I wil 
lingly do otherwise, neither of purpose hurt or trouble any man, 
but whatsoever I say or do, that is willed and commanded of 
God. Let no Christian suffer such a confidence to be wrested 
from him, that he may boast himself by the word of God against 
the whole world ; for he that hath no regard how he leadeth his 
life, that he may stop the mouths of all blamers and accusers, 
and clear himself before all, and testify that he hath lived, spoken, 
and done well, he, I say, is not yet a Christian, having not in 
himself a pure heart and love ; for we will not presume of the 
doctrine of faith, as though that being had, every man may do 
what he list, whether it be profitable or unprofitable to his 
neighbour, that we must in no case do : otherwise that doctrine 
should have the name to give licence and free liberty for every 
one to do what he will. But we must so behave ourselves, that 
we may obtain love out of a pure heart and good conscience, 
that no man may accuse us of any crime. 

And although these things be spoken of our life and works, 
and a Christian is another manner of man before God, as we shall 
hear, yet we must earnestly endeavour ourselves in this also, that 
we may be without blame before God. And when we shall not 
attain thereunto, we must flee unto prayer, and say before God 
and man, " Forgive us our trespasses," &c., that at the least our 
life may remain without blame, and may obtain a good conscience 
before men ; and if this cannot be brought to pass by perfect 
love and pureness of heart, yet let it be done by humility, that we 
may pray for, and desire of all men pardon of our offences, when 
as we have not purely and perfectly done our duty, or are not 
able to do it, so that thy neighbour may be enforced to say, 
although thou hast greatly hurt me, or hast not done thy duty 
toward me, as it was meet, yet forasmuch as thou humblest thy 
self, I will willingly forgive thee, and take it in the best part, 


And for this humility s sake, I say thou art a good man, which 
dost not stand obstinately, as though thou wouldst advisedly and 
on purpose offend against me, but dost turn thyself unto love ; 
therefore that life is as yet said to be without blame, which 
although it was subject to reprehension, is with humility covered 
and reformed, that no man can worthily complain thereof. Thus 
the law should be expounded and handled, that both love toward 
every man may rightly proceed out of a pure heart, for Cod s 
sake and the conscience may stand before the world ; and this 
ought to have been practised of those vain talkers in their 
sermons, their cold trifles and vain follies being neglected and 
left off. 

But that all these things may stand and be of force before 
Clod also, there yet remained) one thing which pertaineth here 
unto, which is that that followeth. (And of faith unfeigned.) 
For as 1 have said, although 1 have a good conscience before 
men, and do exercise love out of a pure heart, yet the old Adam, 
that is, flesh and blood, remain in me subject to sins, whereby it 
cometh to pass that I am not altogether holy and pure. And as 
Paul saith, Gal. v.. "The flesh lustcth against the spirit," &c. 
And Rom. vii., he affirmeth that he must fight a daily fight against 
himself, because he cannot do that which is good, and yet he 
would willingly do it. The spirit indeed would very willingly 
live purely and perfectly according to the word of God, but the 
rebellious flesh resisteth the desire thereof, assailing us with 
many great temptations, that we should seek honour, wealth, 
riches, pleasure, and should become slothful and negligent in 
our state and duty. So there remaineth a continual fight in us, 
because of the impurity of our person, wherein there is not yet 
sincere pureness, nor a good conscience, and perfect love, unless 
there be perhaps somewhat before men ; but before God many 
tilings are found lacking in us, many things are worthy of blame, 
although all things be perfect before men. For example s sake : 
Although David can obtain that confidence before men, that he 
can be reprehended of no man, and the holy Prophets Isaiah, 
Jeremiah, &c,, do glory and are sure, whatsoever they have done 
according to their duty, is right and well done, seeing it is the 
word and commandment of God, wherein they have exercised 
themselves with a pure heart and good conscience, yet can they 
not stand by this conscience before the judgment of God, but 
are compelled to say, If we should strive with thee in judgment, 
then no man shall have so good a conscience or so pure a heart, 


which doth not dread thy judgment, and acknowledge himself to 
be worthy of reprehension and blame; for God hath reserved 
that prerogative unto himself, that he may contend in judgment 
with every one, although he be holy, and accuse him of deadly 
sin -, neither is there any so holy, whom he may not judge and 
condemn as worthy of destruction. Wherefore although both 
the heart be pure and the conscience good before men, yet must 
thou endeavour to attain unto this also, that the same may be 
likewise good before God, that he may not find fault with them, 
but that they may be safe and quiet from his judgment, as they 
are before men. 

Hereunto now pertaineth the third part, that is, faith ; and 
this is the principal part and chief precept, containing all the 
rest in it, that we may know, that where love is not yet per 
fect, the heart not sufficiently pure, and the conscience not 
quiet, and God doth yet find something which is worthy of 
blame, where the world can find fault with nothing, faith must 
moreover come, and such a faith which is not feigned, and de 
filed with confidence of a man s own holiness : for wheresoever 
this is not, there the heart is never purified before God, neither 
shall the conscience be able to stand, if they be examined by 
severe judgment and exact censure. Men indeed shall not justly 
blame me, although I glory that I have served them by preach 
ing, helping, governing, and by doing the duty of an overseer 
or ruler, &c., with all faithfulness ; and if I have done anything 
more or less than I ought, I am sorry at my heart, for I would 
very willingly have done all things that I ought. Wherefore I 
am quiet and already excused, neither have they any more, 
which they may rightly require of me, but are enforced to acquit 
and discharge me ; but here I must attain unto this also, that my 
heart be so pure, and my conscience so good before God, that 
he may not by any means accuse and condemn me. Howbeit 
we find not this in ourselves, although we may glory somewhat 
thereof before the world, I must therefore obtain some other 
thing whereunto I must trust, if I shall come into peril, and 
within the throwing of the dart, as it is commonly said ; and 
I must say to my fearful and terrified conscience, I have done 
that which I have been able, and who knoweth how often I have 
done less than I ought ? for I could not see and mark all things, 
as David also saith, Psalm xix. 12, " Who can understand his 
errors }" Therefore I can lay no foundation of trust upon mine 
own holiness and pureness. Well, I have the word, or live, 


love, and have good conscience, which is pure and holy ; but 
this I want, that I cannot conclude, that that is in my heart ; 
neither do I find so good a conscience in me as the law requireth 
of me : for there is no man living in the earth, which can say 
this truly, 1 know that I have done all things, and that I do owe 
nothing before God. But the most holy ones must say thus : I 
have done surely according to my ability that which I have been 
able, but I have offended much oftener than 1 know j therefore 
our own conscience doth witness against us, accusing and con 
vincing us, although before the world we are most free from 
reprehension or blame; for it must follow the word which saith, 
this thou shouldest have done, this thou shouldest have left 
undone. It cannot avoid the judgment of this, nor answer to 
the accusation thereof, but it is at the least enforced to stand in 
an uncertainty, being wholly wrapped in doubting ; but if it 
doubt then is it by and by convinced, for it stamleth not before 
God, but flieth and trembleth. 

Wherefore the principal part of our doctrine must here help 
us, to wit, that our Lord Jesus Christ being sent of the Father, 
did come into the world, and hath suffered and died for us, 
whereby he hath reconciled the good-will and favour of the 
Father to us, his wrath being appeased, and doth now sit at the 
right hand of the Father, having regard of us as our Saviour, 
and as a continual mediator and intercessor for us, making inter 
cession for us, as for them which cannot have and obtain of 
themselves such pureness and a good conscience. Therefore by 
his help and benefit we may say before God, Although I am not 
pure, neither have a good conscience, yet I cleave to him by 
faith, which hath perfect pureness and a good conscience, which 
he engageth for me, or rather which he giveth unto me ; for he 
alone is he, of whom we read written, as Peter and Isaiah, 
chap. liii. 9, <; He had done no violence, neither was any deceit 
in his mouth." And this praise belongeth only unto him, nei 
ther hath he any need to pray, li Forgive us our debts," neither 
of that article of the creed, " I believe the forgiveness of sins," 
&c., but he is free and quiet in perpetual, pure and perfect 
righteousness and pureness, unto whose charge none can lay 
anything, nor accuse his conscience of any crime, not man, not 
the devil, no not God himself; for he himself is God, and who 
himself cannot accuse himself. 

And this is called faith neither coloured nor feigned, which 
the conscience striving and trembling, dareth come forth in, in 


the sight of God, and say. Almighty God, I am innocent before 
the world, and quiet in mind, so that no man can lay anything 
to my charge, or find fault with me ; for although I have not won 
all things, yet I ask pardon of every one, that he will forgive me 
for God s sake, even as I again forgive all. By this means I 
have cut off the complaints of all, who have no more which they 
may rightly lay against me ; but before thee I must lay aside 
this trust and confidence, and must wholly acknowledge the 
guiltiness of innumerable sins, and say as David saith, Psalm 
cxliii. 2, (( Enter not into judgment with thy servant : for in 
thy sight shall no man living be justified " wherefore I cannot 
contend with thee, if thou requirest an account of my life, but 
I appeal from the judgment-seat to the mercy-seat; 1 do easily 
suffer, that I be dealt with according to law and right before the 
judgment-seat of the world, and I will willingly answer, and will 
do what I am able : Howbeit before thee I will not come into 
judgment, but I desire grace, which I take hold of on every side ; 
for thus the scripture teacheth me, that God hath set two seats 
before men, the one a judgment-seat, for them which are yet 
secure and untractable, and acknowledge not their sins, neither 
will confess and acknowledge them ; the other a mercy-seat, for 
miserable and fearful consciences, which feel their sins, dread 
the judgment of God, and do earnestly make request for grace : 
And this mercy-seat is Christ himself, as Paul witnesseth, 
Rom. iii. 25, whom God hath set forth unto ns, that we might 
have refuge in him, being not able to stand before God by our 
own power. Unto him I will apply myself, if I have done or 
do less than is meet -, and how great pureness and goodness 
soever my heart and conscience have before men, I will have 
it here to be altogether nothing, and hidden, and covered as it 
were with a vault, yea, with a fair heaven, which may mightily 
defend it, which is called grace and remission of sins. 

Under this defence thereof my heart and conscience must 
creep, and remain safe and quiet ; for so he commanded his 
apostles to preach and publish, that through his name all that 
believe in him shall receive remission of sins. Again, " He 
that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved," Mark xvi. 16. 
And John iii. 16, he saith, " God so loved the world, that 
he gave his only- begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him 
should not perish, but have everlasting life." Therefore God 
hath set forth the mercy-seat unto us, whereunto he leadeth 
as from the judgment-seat. Let us leave others before th 


judgment-seat, namely, those proud holy ones, contemners and 
persecutors of the word of God, where they shall hear sentence 
according to their deeds. We will suffer these to abide in their 
circle, until they have humbled themselves; but we will not 
abide in this circle, but will depart from it as far as we shall he 
able, into the circle of the mercy-seat, unto which we do ap 
peal. Neither have we invented this of our own brain, but it 
is the word of God himself, which threateneth horrible judg 
ment to them which come with their own holiness, and, trusting 
thereunto, do hope that they shall be able to stand before God 
the judge, neglecting the mercy-seat of Christ; for the sen 
tence standeth, that they shall be set before the judgment-seat, 
as Christ saith, John iii. 18, " But he that believeth not, is 
condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name 
of the only-begotten Son of God. He that believeth on him, is 
not condemned :" that is, shall not come to the judgment-seat, 
but to the mercy-seat, where there is no wrath or rigour, but 
grace and forgiveness of sins, all things being remitted which 
be not pure, yea, being blotted out and so consumed, as a drop 
of water is consumed of the heat of the sun. For where the 
mercy-seat rcigncth, there is nothing else but mere forgiveness 
and remission of sins. 

This being known, we must exactly understand the differ 
ence between the law and the gospel, whereof we often teach. 
The law draweth us to the judgment-seat, requiring of us in 
tegrity of life, love out of a pure heart and a good conscience : 
it maketh us also to exercise ourselves therein, and must go no 
further. But when it shall come, and accuse thee, and \\ill 
reason with thee, and have those things to be performed which 
it requireth, then shalt thou be greatly trembled. For although 
thou hast done them, yet art thou not able to stand before God, 
before whose judgment-seat, many things are yet found want 
ing in thee, which should have been done of thee, and thou hast 
left them undone, neither are they known unto thyself. Whi 
ther then wilt thou turn thee ? Here the law urgeth thee by 
all means, and thine own conscience, being witness, accuseth 
thee, requiring the sentence of the judge against thee. Then 
must thou despair, there is no council or help to be had, except 
thou knowest to fly from the judgment-seat to the mercy-seat; 
as for example, admit some bishop die in his own holiness, who 
while he lived was as it seemed of a good life, and acknow 
ledged Christ, no otherwise than a cruel judge (as hath been 
hitherto preached of him^ neither hath he been otherwise set 


forth, as he is also wont to be unto such, not of his own na 
ture, for, indeed, he is most gracious and comfortable, but 
because they esteem him for no other in their heart), behold this 
man is a hindrance unto himself that he cannot obtain any 
grace ; for he knoweth no difference of the judgment-seat and 
the mercy-seat, yea, he is altogether ignorant whether there be 
a mercy-seat, from which he so erreth, and must be bound to 
the judgment-seat. But we teach thus, that Christ is so to be 
learned and considered, that we be most certainly persuaded 
that he setteth before miserable and trembling consciences, that 
believe in him, not as an angry judge which commandeth forth 
with to carry violently them that be guilty into punishment, 
but as a gentle, loving, and comfortable mediator, between my 
fearful conscience and God, which saith unto me, If thou be a 
sinner, and astonished, and the devil laboureth to draw thee to 
the judgment-seat, then see that thou fly unto me, and fear no 
wrath or anger. Wherefore ? Even because I sit here, that, 
if thou believe in me, I may make intercession for thee to my 
Father ; that no anger and severity may hurt thee : for all anger 
and punishment shall be sooner laid upon me, than be borne of 
thee. Howbeit that cannot be ; for he is the only beloved Son^ 
in whom all grace and favour dwelleth, whom, as often as the 
Father doth behold, he cannot but replenish both heaven arid earth 
with grace and favour, and forget all wrath and displeasure; and 
whatsoever he shall ask of his Father, that he shall forthwith 
obtain without all repulse or denial. So by faith we are made 
wholly blessed and safe, subject no more to any damnation, yet 
not for our own holiness and pureness, but for Christ s sake, to 
whom we cleave by faith as to our mercy-seat, being assuredly 
persuaded, that with him there remaineth no anger, but mere 
love, and pardon, and forgiveness of sins. Thus the heart is 
purified before God, and the conscience made good arid quiet, 
not in respect had of mine own pureness or life led before the 
world, but by trust and confidence of that excellent treasure^ 
which my heart apprehendeth, which is unto me instead of a 
pledge and fulness, when as before God I am not able to pay. 

But herein the whole force of the matter consisteth, that we 
do again and again take heed, that our faith be not false, or, as 
St. Paul speaketh, feigned ; for if this err and deceive us, all 
things deceive us ; for there have been many in all ages, as there 
be also at this day, which can speak many things of faith, and 
will be masters not only of the law, but even of the gospel also. 

N 2 


Who say the same that we do, that faith performeth and doth all 
things, but that the law and good works arc also to be joined 
unto it, and that otherwise, if these be not added, faith availeth 
nothing, in which words they mix and mingle together our life 
and works, and Christ. But this is not purely and sincerely to 
have taught faith, but to have coloured, denied, and corrupted 
faith, so that it can no more be called faith, but a feigned colour 
and counterfeiting of faith, the trust and confidence of the heart 
standing not purely towards Christ, as the only mercy-seat, but 
being grounded upon our own holiness, as being able to stand 
before the judgment-scat. Wherefore doing thus, we are most 
rightly cast oil before God, and condemned unto destruction, 
whereof we are most worthy. For if faith must be pure and 
void of all counterfeiting and feigning, then these two things, 
Christ and my works, must be rightly discerned and severed one 
from the other. 

For this is plain even to him that is blind, that Christ and his 
works lire not my life and my works, but are separated from the 
law from the works of all men, yea, and that by the greater dis 
tance, than man is unlike or diilereth from man. For neither 
can 1 say that 1 and C;esar, or the Bishop of Rome, are the same 
thing, yet I am much nearer and more like unto either of them, 
than a mortal man and a sinner unto Christ the Lord, who is not 
only a pure and holy man, free from all spot and blot, but is 
moreover God also. Therefore let the law and the pureness of 
thy heart, yea, and thy good conscience, avail in earth only to 
ward men : but where the mercy-seat is, to wit, at the right 
hand of the Father, and the Mediator between thee and God, no 
man s works and merits ought to have access ; much less be they 
there of any force or value. Wherefore Christ is purely to be 
separated from all my life, deeds, and works, and we must with 
out exception conclude, that he is another thing than our life 
led before men with a pure heart and a good conscience, although 
it be led even perfectly and without blame ; for it being pre 
sented before God, and by the law brought to the judgment-seat, 
I am condemned and lost. But Christ is the mercy-seat, and all 
that cleave unto him by faith, cannot be condemned and judged. 
So the judgment-seat, together with the law and all my life, go 
into one part, but my faith must fly and leap far unto another 
part, and join itself unto him which is pure, and hath no sin, of 
whom the scripture speaketh, " He that believeth in him shall 
not be confounded," because he is present in the sight of the 


Father, and maketh intercession for me. Moreover he giveth 
me his own pureness and holiness, that being clothed and 
adorned therewith I may be able to stand before God, and all 
wrath and displeasure may be taken away, instead whereof I 
may enjoy mere love and favour. 

Lo 3 thus faith remaineth pure and free from counterfeiting, 
for it resteth not upon my works, that because of them it should 
behove God to be gentle and favourable unto me, as a false and 
feigned faith doth, which mingleth together man s merits and 
the grace of God, and although it hold the words of Christ, yet 
hath it the confidence and trust of the heart reposed in itself, so 
that it is certain, that it is only a colour which cannot long con 
tinue ; for the matter cometh at the last to this point, that be 
lieving that God is favourable unto thee because of thy life led 
without fault or blame, thou must despair and say. Who knoweth 
what I have done ? whereby am I certain that I have neglected 
nothing through carelessness, or that nothing is wanting in me ? 
in this doubtfulness of mind the foundation faileth, slideth away 
under thee like unto sand moved and stirred, and so faith is of 
no force or value at all: wherefore it is not unfitly called feigned 
and painted faith, through which one seeth as it were through 
a lattice or painted glass, through which the thing that is seen 
represented! the colour of the glass, and yet is not indeed of 
that colour ; so they believe that that affection is in God, that 
he vouchsafeth to regard our works and merits ; which they 
paint forth according to their own opinion and dreams, which 
are utterly false, rash, and unadvised. And so judging God and 
all things according to them, they see only as it were through a 
lattice or painted glass. But thou shalt only behold him with 
pure and clear eyes, if thou do well, separate the judgment-seat 
and the mercy-seat one from the other, that heaven with the 
stars thereof may remain pure to grace and remission of sins 
obtained by the Mediator, where Christ reigneth with his works, 
and the earth also with her trees and herbs, whither we must 
be referred with our works. 

The matter, I say, must be brought to that pass, if we will 
stand with a right and unfeigned faith before God, that we do 
purely distinguish and sever ourselves, our life, and Christ or the 
mercy-seat ; and he that will not do this, but presented! himself 
before the judgment-seat with a bold courage, shall feel the 
reward of his rashness. I myself have been in that danger, and 
as it were a mouse having tasted pitch have run away, rejoicing 


greatly that liberty was given to me to attain to the mercy-seat ; 
and now I am enforced to say, thai although I have lived very 
well before men, yet all things committed of me on the contrary* 
do remain beneath under the judgment-seat, to be punished 
according to the sentence and judgment of God. Now I have 
no other comfort, nor other help and council of my salvation, 
than that Christ is my mercy-seat, who hath never offended, 
hath deiiled himself with no sin, who died and rose again for 
me, and sitleih now at the right hand of the Father, and de- 
femleth me under his shadow and protection, that I need not 
doubt that I am In his benefit and intercession safe before God 
from all wrath and terror of judgment. Thus faith remaineth 
in all things pure, setting no other thing before itself, whereunto 
it may boldly trust, but Christ alone. Now he that knew this 
well should be a man of a resolute mind ; for all other have to 
do with a feigned faith, boasting many things of faith, but min 
gling all things logeihcr, like as vintners mix wine with water; 
by this they say, K tiiou live thus, God will be favourable unto 
thee, and they make the judgment-seat of the mercy-seat, and 
the mercy-seat of the judgment-seat, which by no means can 
be, for the judgment- seat shall remain, &c. Wherefore separate 
these two, one from the other, as far as thou shalt be able, that 
they come not together, namely, the life and holiness, together 
with the judgment-seat, into one place, which may drive and 
enforce thee to have a good conscience, and to lead an upright 
life before men. But ofYer thy sins to the mercy-seat to be trans 
ferred into another place, where God, lovingly receiving thee, 
will embrace thee as a beloved son, and will never remember 
more any wrath or sins. 

If such doctrine of faith were set forth unto men, then should 
it be excellently well done, and all other things should follow of 
their own accord, as pureness of heart, and goodness of con 
science, through right and perfect love. For whosoever is by 
faith quieted in his heart, and assured that he hath God favour 
able unto him, who is not angry with him, although he deserved 
his wrath divers ways, he doth all things with a glad and cheer 
ful mind. Moreover he liveth so also toward men, that he is lov 
ing and beneficial toward all, although they be not worthy of love. 
He is quiet toward God through Christ the mediator, who will 
not throw him down headlong into hell, but doth lovingly favour 
him, and lifteth him up into heaven. And this is the chief quiet 
ness, and principal point and foundation of our salvation. After- 


wards he doth in his life show himself dutiful also towards his 
neighbour, doing all the best things he is able unto him, what 
soever his state or duty commandeth or requireth; and when he 
doth less than is meet, he asketh pardon of his negligence before 
God and men, so that there is left occasion neither to him, nor 
the world afterward, to rebuke him ; power also to devour him is 
taken from hell, and to tear him in pieces, from the devil. Thus 
a man is said to be in all things perfect, toward men by love, and 
toward God, not by the law, but by Christ, whom he appre- 
hendeth by his faith as the mercy-seat ; which engageth his holi 
ness for the believers or rather giveth it to them, so that in him 
they have all things that are necessary to salvation. 

Now this is right and pure doctrine, which should be exer 
cised and taught unto men distinctly, that they might know how 
they may be able to stand both before God and man, that faith 
and love be not mingled together, or life referred both to God 
and men. This ought to have been performed of those glorious 
and arrogant teachers, seeing that they will be counted masters 
of the law, that the difference of the law and faith might be well 
known unto all. For although it be taught and repeated with 
never so great diligence, yet notwithstanding it is very hard to be 
well and thoroughly learned, especially to us which have been 
instructed and trained up in the doctrine of works, and led only 
to the law and our own works. To these may be added our 
nature also very prone and ready by itself hereunto, and now 
brought into a custom, whereby it is confirmed, and in con 
tinuance often turneth the heart also into exercise and use, so 
that we cannot abstain, nor think otherwise, but that God will 
be favourable unto us, which have done so great works, and have 
led our life so without blame or fault. Therefore we must strive 
against both our nature and custom. For surely it is a very hard 
thing to think or be persuaded otherwise, and so purely to put a 
difference between faith and love, the filth still hanging upon us 
and cleaving unto us, although we be now in faith, so that our 
heart can scarce rule itself^ that it say not, So long time have I 
taught the gospel, so I have lived, such great works have I done, 
&c. And we would very willingly have God to regard our life, 
and turn his mercy-seat for our cause into a judgment-seat. 
Thou mayest use this boasting toward men, I have done well to 
all as I have been able, and if anything be wanting, I as yet 
will endeavour to make a recompense ; but if thou be minded to 


go to God, I advise thee to cease from such arrogant boasting, 
and to think to appeal from judgment to grace. 

Let who will begin and prove this thing, he shall at length 
see and try how grievous and hard it is for a man that hath been 
occupied all his lifetime in the works of his own holiness, to 
escape out, and with all his heart by faith to cleave to this one 
Mediator. I myself have now preached the gospel almost twenty 
years, and have been exercised in the same daily, by reading and 
writing, so that I may well seem to be rid of this wicked opinion; 
notwithstanding, I yet now and then feel the same old filth cleave 
to my heart, whereby it cometh to pass that I would willingly 
so have to do with God, that I might bring something with my 
self, because of which he should for my holiness-sake give me 
his grace. And I can scarcely be brought to commit myself 
with all confidence to mere grace, which I should do ; for we 
ought to fly only to the mercy-seat, forasmuch as God hath set 
it before us for a sanctuary, which must be the refuge of all 
them that shall be saved. 

Wherefore it is not to be marvelled at, if it be grievous unto 
others, so purely to apprehend and lay hold of faith; but espe 
cially to such as be hindered and entangled of devilish preachers, 
of whom St. Paul speaketh, which cry out against the doctrine 
of faith, and in these words urge the works of the law, " Do this 
and thou shalt live :" also, " If thou wilt enter into life, keep the 
commandments," &c., which indeed are true and right, if thou 
didst also rightly understand them. Declare unto me the true 
meaning of these words, otherwise I know sufficiently already, 
that I ought to be righteous and keep the commandments. But 
how must I attain hereunto? or what is it to be righteous? If 
thou sayest that it is to have a good conscience and a pure heart, 
and to do all things that God hath commanded ; well, be it so, 
but hear ye then : go to, perform me that, or at least show one 
that dareth say that he hath performed it ; for thou shalt not 
yet so purify my heart and conscience with thy doctrine, that 
God cannot accuse and condemn me. 

But now the law (as it hath been sufficiently declared) re- 
quireth such a heart as hath a good conscience before God. 
How therefore do we obtain such a conscience 1 This is the 
question and the cause, whereof the controversy is. Truly it 
cometh not hereof, because thou teachest the judgment-seat, 
that is, the law, but from hence, for that we have a pure and 


unfeigned faith, which layeth hold of Christ, in whom it most 
fully obtaineth all things which the law requireth. So at length 
all things are brought to pass in me, having a good conscience, 
inasmuch as I am now made righteous and justified before God. 
For although that many things be as yet found wanting in me, 
yet he standeth on my side, who hath so much righteousness as 
wherewith he is able to supply both mine and all men s defects. 
Thus we show the way whereby we are made righteous before 
God, whenas they, when they teach best of all, show only the 
way to attain to honesty, and righteousness, which is of force 
and value before men, contending that it ought to be of force 
before God also, mingling together all things in one, inasmuch 
as they have no certain knowledge thereof, understanding not 
what they say or what they affirm. For to what end tendeth 
this thy immoderate cry ? "He that will enter into life, let him 
keep the commandments," &c., in which words thou shalt not 
show the way to attain righteousness ; for descend a little into 
thyself, and examine thyself diligently, then shalt thou find 
thyself to have been in time past conceived and born in sins, 
and to live in the same now, and not able to perform that which 
the law requireth. 

Why therefore dost thou seduce others with vain words, say 
ing, Be thou righteous, and thou shalt be saved, which is to no 
purpose, neither followeth there any fruit thereof, the way being 
not showed by which we attain to justification? I hear the 
words well, what things the law requireth, but how shall we 
attain unto ability to fulfil them ? Then speakest thou to me 
again, and sayest, Thou must do good works. But how shall I 
stand before the judgment of God, if I have long and much 
wrought good works, and am righteous before men, as thou 
teachest me ? How shall 1 be certain, that I seem such a one to 
God also ? For here my heart and conscience are ready to wit 
ness the contrary against me. Howbeit I should have been thus 
taught of thee, as St. Paul commonly teacheth, that righteous 
ness must proceed from faith unfeigned, and before all things the 
mercy-seat must be laid hold of, from whence all things that are 
wanting in us are to be taken. And so indeed these words, 
Keep the commandments of God, are rightly to be understood. 
For the law requireth perfect righteousness in thee, being of 
force as well before God as before men ; thou having obtained 
this, go forth into the company and assembly of men, and exer 
cise love, and do good works. 


By this order and means, something is brought to pass, and 
such sayings of the scripture are fulfilled. For so man doth 
that which the law requireth, first, before God, not by his own 
strength or virtues, but by Christ, without whom we can do 
nothing before God ; and, secondly, by his own endeavour before 
men, and he is now perfectly righteous, inwardly by faith in 
Christ, and outwardly also by his works, yet so that there is no 
place among men for mutual pardoning of offences. Therefore 
the righteousness of Christians doth much more consist in for 
giving, than in their own works. Those vain praters do pervert 
the order of this doctrine, and without preaching of forgiveness, 
do teach that works only are to be urged. Lo, thus St. Paul 
reprehendeth the error and ignorance of them which speak much 
of the iaw, and repeat it in daily sermons, and yet they themselves 
do not understand to show the way how the law must be ful 
filled, knowing nothing so well as to babble forth and often to 
repeat these words, that the law, the commandments are to be 
kept, if thou wilt be saved, good works must be done, &c. As 
they do at this day, till all books with such confusion of words, 
and in all sermons uttering nothing else, than such vain babbling, 
which they themselves understand not. But they never say a 
word of those things whereof St. Paul here speaketh, namely 
of the sum of Christian doctrine, how love must flow out of " a. 
pure heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned," they say no 
more, but <; keep the commandments." They, levelling at the 
true mark, do never hit it; therefore they corrupt and falsify all 
things, love, the heart, the conscience, &c. For the head of the 
fountain is wanting, that is, sincere faith, which if it be not right 
and sound, all things must needs be corrupt which shall flow 
and proceed from it. And whatsoever they teach, it is a conceit 
of their own imagination, and like to delusions, not unlike also 
to those things, that are seen through a lattice or glass, which 
resemble the colour of the clear glass, and yet indeed are not of 
that colour. They think that God will regard them, when they 
live so before men, as it seemeth good to their obscure opinion ; 
but if God were of that opinion, he might then have well kept 
still Christ and the gospel ; for what need or necessity should 
move him to send Christ from heaven, who should purchase 
that unto us with his precious blood, which we ourselves have 
before with us ? He surely should be the foolishest of all men, 
which would pour forth a precious treasure, which no man 


Thus thou seest how these men teach their own dreams, 
whereof they themselves know or have tried no certainty, neither 
do anything else but fill men with errors, being not able to de 
clare that which they teach is to be attained unto. They draw 
men unto works, whereby they confirm them in their old nature 
and custom, out of which they were to be drawn. These truly 
are grievous and odious men, and not unworthily sharply ac 
cused and reprehended of St. Paul : and it appeareth that they 
were of no small authority and estimation, seeing that he pro- 
nounceth of them, that they were called and would be counted 
doctors of the law, and far greater and worthier than the apostles 
themselves. Wherefore we must endeavour to lay up and print 
this text even in the bottom of our heart, for it is excellently well 
ordered, and is pure and perfect doctrine, teaching how we must 
be righteous before God and men, as the law required], that 
these three may be as it were conjoined in us, namely, a pure 
heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned; and that our 
life may flou 7 out of all these, and be occupied and led in 
them, then have we attained, and fulfilled the meaning of 
the law. 

Hovvbeit we must most diligently take heed, and endeavour to 
draw Christ into the law, who is the end and fulfilling of the 
law, and our righteousness and fulness before God, which we 
find not in ourselves, and without faith shall never find, although 
the law be taught and often repeated without understanding and 
knowledge : and these things may sufifice to have been spoken 
at this present for the exposition of this place. 



Matthew xxii. 15 22. Then went the Pharisees, and took 
counsel how they might entangle him in his talk, fyc. 

IN this text is set forth unto us, how subtile reason and man s 
wisdom agree with the wisdom of God, and how fully reason 
stumbleth when it striveth to be even most subtile and wise, as 
it here falleth out with the Pharisees, who notwithstanding were 


the best and most wise of the Jews, which even by this their 
subtilty they declare nevertheless their wisdom is here proved 
to be foolishness ; they could blame Christ neither for his preach 
ing 1 nor for his works, and yet would they willingly have had 
occasion to put him to death,, wherefore they thought to set upon 
him most craftily and wilily, propounding a subtile question unto 
him, the subtilty whereof was such, that man s reason was not 
able to comprehend it, than which a subtiler could not be in 
vented ; and thus they speak unto him: Matt. xxii. 16, 17, 
" Master, we know that tliou art true, and teachest the way of 
God in truth, neither carest tliou for any man ; for thou regardest 
not the person of men : tell us therefore, what thinkest thou ? Is 
it lawful to give tribute unto Cesar or not?" Here, think they, 
we shall entrap him, for he shall be compelled to answer that 
tribute is either to be given or not to be given. Jf he affirm 
that it is to be given, we have overcome him ; but if he deny that 
it is to be given, then he is guilty of death. Whereas they say, 
Master, they will thereby move him, and as it were constrain 
him to answer the truth. But whereas they say, <( W r e know 
that thou art true," they do thereby put him in mind of his duty. 
Whither therefore should Christ turn himself? for there seemeth 
to be no way for him to escape, yet he would not for all that fall 
into their net. Was not this a subtile question ? Do they not 
show themselves to have been sufficient crafty and wily ones ? 
for which way soever the Lord had answered, he had been taken. 
Was not this done also full warily and circumspectly ? for they 
associate to themselves the ministers of Herod, thinking no other 
but to entrap him with deceit, that he should not by any means 
escape, thus casting in their minds, now we will meet with him 
well enough, if he deny that tribute is to be given, the Hero- 
dians are present, which shall forthwith put him to death as a 
seditious fellow, and one that resisteth the Roman empire ; but 
if lie affirm that tribute is to be given, he speaketh against the 
liberty of the Jews, then will we stir up the people against him. 

For the Jewish people would be free, and have their king of 
their own stock, even as it was promised them both of Moses 
and God, that their kingdom should continue until the time of 
the true king, that is, of Christ ; even as the patriarch did pro 
phesy thereof: l( The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor 
a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come," Gen. 
xlix. 10. And therefore God did choose this people especially 
to himself and make a kingdom of them ; only for Christ s cause. 


Moreover, there were many sentences in the scripture which 
declared, that they should serve none, " For they should he 
the chiefest and not the lowest," &c. Dent, xxviii. 13. This 
and such like sayings the Scribes had beaten into the people s 
heads, wherewith they were greatly disturbed ; even as at this 
day it is put into the people s mind, that the church cannot err, 
hereupon the Pharisees thought thus : If he affirm that tribute 
must be given, he blasphemeth God, he shall be guilty of death, 
as one injurious to God, and then shall he be stoned of the 
people. For God hath granted and promised liberty unto this 
people, and they were all, even in the midst of captivity, the 
people of God. 

Howbeit at that time they wanted a king, as they do at this 
day, wherefore divers tumults, seditions, and uproars, were 
stirred up among them ; for they were taught by the law, that 
they should have a king of their own flesh and flock, as it is said 
before, wherefore they did incessantly strive against strange 
kings and governments, until not a few of them at times were 
beaten and slain ; neither did this happen seldom, for they were 
a stiff-necked, obstinate, and unruly nation, and therefore the 
Romans, which at that time did bear rule over them, did very 
circumspectly govern them, and divided the land into four 
charges of government, that being on every side kept in awe by 
the governors and presidents, they might not so soon flock to 
gether and move sedition, and that they might also be more 
easily resisted, if at any time they should rise against the 
Roman empire. Wherefore Pilate was appointed of the Ro 
mans, lieutenant of Judea, Herod, tetrarch of Galilee, and his 
brother Philip, tetrarch of Iturea, and of the country of Tracho- 
m tis, and Lysanias, the tetrarch of Abilene, as Luke rehearseth 
them ; and all this was done that they might keep the Jews 
under, whereupon the Jews were inflamed with anger, and in a 
rage and fury, but especially in the time of Christ, they would 
willingly have a king. Wherefore the Pharisees having found 
out this device, thought thus with themselves : Well, we have 
the matter now at a good stay ; the Romans challenge to them 
selves the government, now if he answer unto the question that 
tribute is not to be given, the lieutenant is at hand and ready to 
put him to death ; if he answer that it must be given, he shall 
stir up the people against himself, and so we shall assuredly by 
this means entrap him ; thus they supposed, that either they 
should find cause of death in the Lord, or at the least make his 
doctrine to be nothing set by of the people. As the Jews here 


do, so also do we : the chief and necessary things being left, we 
are occupied about other matters, not necessary. The Pharisees 
here move a question, whether they be free or otherwise ; for 
asmuch as they had the law and the word of God, they supposed 
that they ought to be subject to none, but to their own king, yet 
they were now compelled to obey Caesar, emperor of Home. 
They had scripture concerning the love of God and their 
neighbour, but that being left, they are occupied about other 

It was promised unto them, if they obeyed the precepts and 
commandments of God, that they then should be a free people; 
they disobey and neglect God s commandments, and yet, not 
withstanding they will be free, and have their own king. In 
like manner falleth it out with us : we earnestly challenge to our 
selves Christian liberty, and yet we think, that if we do those 
things that seem good in our own brain and fancy, we are 
thereby Christians, both faith and charity being of us neglected. 
But what dolh Christ, the Pharisees so subtilely setting upon 
him? he striketh them with their own sword, and entrappeth 
them in their own device, whereby they thought to have en 
trapped him. answering neither of those things which they 
hoped he would, as the Evangelist doth more at large de 
scribe, saying, " But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and 
said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites ? Show me the tribute- 
money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith 
unto them, \Vhosc is this image and superscription ? They 
say unto him, C;osar\s." Here thou plainly seest the wisdom 
and marvellous dexterity of Christ: he willeth the tribute- 
money to be showed unto him, and asketh of the image and 
superscription thereof; they answering that it is Cesar s, he 
very well and most freely inferreth, that they are under Caesar, 
unto whom they were compelled to pay tribute ; as if he said, 
If ye have so let in C;rsar, that his money is coined with you, 
surely he beareth rule over you ; as though he should say, It is 
come to pass through your own fault that Caesar ruleth over you. 
What should they say or do unto this question ? They marvelled 
and went their ways, they thought that they should notably have 
overcome him, but for all their subtilty and wisdom they were 

This is written for our comfort, that we which are Christians 
may know that we have such wisdom as exceedeth all wisdom, 
such strength and righteousness, as whereunto no strength and 
righteousness of man is like ; for against the Holy Ghost there 


is no council ; this power and strength we obtain through Christ, 
that we may tread sin under foot, and triumph over death. 
When Christ dwelleth in us by faith, we have him which 
bringeth to pass such things, howbeit, they are not thoroughly 
felt but in time of temptation. Wherefore when I stand in 
need, he is present, and giveth unto me strength, that 1 may 
courageously pass through. 

We must not therefore be afraid that our doctrine shall perish 
and be put to ignominy and shame. For let ail the wise men 
of the world rise against the word of God, yea, and be never so 
circumspect, and set themselves against it, yet shall they have 
the foil and be overcome. It may be that they bark and bite, 
so that it seemeth unto men, as though they would destroy the 
gospel, but when they have set themselves against it to extin 
guish it, they shall in no whit prevail, but in the snare that 
they have laid for others, they themselves shall at length be 
taken : as we hear in this text, and commonly in St. Paul, but 
especially in the history of St. Stephen, where we read how 
vainly his adversaries used the scriptures, yea, those that they 
used were against themselves. For the Jews did accuse St. 
Stephen, that he had spoken both against the temple and against 
God which commanded the temple to be built, bringing and 
alleging scriptures, whereby they thought to convince and con 
demn him. But St. Stephen being full of the Holy Ghost, 
showed them in order out of the scripture, how that God 
dwelleth not in temples made with hands : David would have 
built him a house, but God refused it. What was the cause 
hereof? A long time before David was born, God dwelt 
among his people. He surely should be a miserable God 
which should need a house, and so he connrmeth by many his 
tories, that God doth not dwell in houses or temples made 
with hands. What should the Jews do here ? they did mani 
festly acknowledge their own scripture, which they had brought 
against St. Stephen. So all shall be put to shame and over 
thrown which set themselves against the wisdom and word 
of God. Wherefore let no man be afraid, although all the wis 
dom and power of the world strive against the gospel, although 
it would extinguish it even by shedding of blood. For the 
more blood that is shed, so much more is the number of Chris 
tians increased. The blood of Christians, saith Tertullian, is 
seed whereof Christians grow. Satan must be drowned in 
the blood of Christians. Whereof it is not violence and force 
that are able to suppress the gospel; for it is like unto a 


palm-tree, which hath this nature and quality, that although a 
weight be laid upon it, yet it always riseth and lifteth up itself 
against the weight. Such a nature also hath the gospel, for 
the more it is striven against so much the more are the roots 
thereof spread abroad, and the more mightily that it is op 
pressed, by so much doth it more and more grow and increase, 
wherefore there is no cause that we should be afraid of power, 
but rather that we should fear prosperity and merry days, which 
are able to hurt us more than anguish and persecution. 

Neither let us be afraid of the subtilty and wisdom of the 
world, for they cannot hurt us, yea, the more that they strive 
against the truth, so much more pure and clear is the truth 
made. Nothing therefore can come better to the gospel, than 
when the world with its force and wisdom setteth itself against 
it ; the more vehemently sin and Satan do fight against my 
conscience, so much stronger is my righteousness made : for if 
sins do urge and disquiet me, 1 do then more ardently pray and 
cry unto (iod, and so my faith is more and more increased and 
strengthened. This is the meaning of St. Paul, 1 Cor. xii. 9, 
when the Lord saith, " My strength is made perfect in weak 
ness." Forasmuch therefore as we have so great a treasure, 
which is increased and strengthened by persecutions and adver 
sities, there is no cause that we should be afraid, but rather 
that we should with a cheerful mind rejoice in tribulation, as 
St. Paul saith, Horn. v. 3, according as the apostles did, who 
with great joy departing from the councils, gave God thanks, 
that they were counted worthy to sutler rebuke for the name of 
Jesus, Acts v. 41. If the devil were endued with such wisdom, 
that he would be quiet, and suffer the gospel to have free 
course, he should not sutler so much loss ; for when the gospel 
is not impugned, it is as it were wasted with rust, neither hath 
it occasion to show forth the virtue and power thereof. We 
live therefore here secure as yet, for no man striveth against us, 
wherefore we continue still as we were before, yea, alas ! we 
become worse and worse ; whereas some of our adversaries 
have set upon us by writing, that pcrtaineth to a few. Foras 
much as they have written against us, they have thereby done 
nothing else, but as it were blown the fire ; but if we had been 
thrown into the fire, or slain with the sword, the number of 
Christians would be greater among us. Wherefore this is a 
comfort unto us, if we at any time be tempted, that Christ is 
ready to help us, and reigneth among us ; yea, he is so near 
unto us, that always through him we may overcome, as long 


as we believe and trust in him : Howbeit when we are touched 
with no adversity, he doth little or nothing, but when we are 
fought against and oppressed, he is present ; and bringeth all 
our enemies to confusion. 

We have moreover to learn here that they which are wise and 
mightier than other, which are endued with the chief gifts of un 
derstanding and nature more than other, which excel in greater 
industry, learning, and readier capacity than other, which are 
fit to oversee other, and can govern all things best, that they, 
I say, do many times most of all other resist God and faith, and 
trust more to their own strength and reason than to God ; for 
they are carried so far by their venomous nature, that they nei 
ther can nor will use those things to the advantage and profit of 
their neighbour ; but trusting to their own gifts and ability, 
they hope that now they shall obtain this, now that, neither do 
they think that they shall have need of God s help also there 
unto : As it appeareth here in the Pharisees and Scribes who 
were certain, as they supposed, that if they so set upon the 
Lord, it could not be but that they should then entangle him ; 
for it is impossible, thought they, that he should here escape us, 
we shall here hold him as it were fallen into a net, whether he 
affirm or deny that tribute must be given. Mark how subtile and 
perverse the wit of man s nature is, which is here very lively set 
forth. There is nothing else in man but wickedness, delusion, 
guile, deceit, lying, fraud, and all kind of evil; yea, of nature, 
man is but lies and vanity, as the 116th Psalm saith. We must 
not trust any man in anything ; do not persuade thyself, that 
any man speaketh the truth unto thee, for whatsoever man 
speaketh is a lie. Why so ? The fountain, or spring head, 
that is, the heart is not sincere, wherefore neither can the rivers 
be pure ; and for this cause the Lord doth commonly call men 
the generation of vipers, and a brood of serpents. Is not this a 
goodly title of man ? Let any man now go, and glory of his 
own righteousness, strength, or free-will. Before the world 
indeed some man may be, and gloriously appear godly, righteous, 
and holy; but there is nothing else but a generation of vipers 
and brood of serpents, but that especially in those that seem 
most excellent, most precious, most wise, and of greatest under 
standing. If thou go through even all the histories of the 
Greeks, Jews, and Romans, thou shalt find the best and wisest 
princes of all, which have governed the affairs of their empire 
prosperously; thou shalt find them, I say, to have thought 


nothing of God, but only trusting to themselves, to have ac 
knowledged nothing as received from God ; hereupon it is 
gathered, that the less a man excelleth in wisdom before the 
world, so much less doth he commit against God ; for they 
that excel in counsel and authority before the sight of the world, 
do for the most part deceive and lie more than others, thinking 
that if they deal by delusions and deceit, their fraud and iniquity 
is not perceived, for they can after a pretty sort cloak their craft 
and subtilty. But the Holy Ghost hath a most clear and bright 
sight, which they cannot avoid, but they shall be espied. 

The scripture doth often call such, lions, wolves, bears, swine, 
and cruel beasts, inasmuch as they rage, devour and consume 
all things with their fraud and deceit; wherefore in the Old 
Testament the Jews were forbidden to eat of certain beasts, 
as of those already rehearsed, and of others, for this one cause 
especially, that it should be a type and example to us : whereby 
we may perceive, that there are some men which are strong, 
mighty, rich, witty, learned, skilful, and wise, which are to be 
avoided and eschewed as a certain unclean thing, and as such as 
seduce and deceive others with their fair show, might, and wis 
dom ; for neither shall they be counted for such, neither will 
any man think them to be such, as do so much as think any evil 
in their heart, much less do it. Wherefore thou must put no 
trust and confidence in any man, trust not unto him, for he will 
deceive thee whenever lie is able ; again, if thou trustest man 
thou art against God, in whom thou puttest not thy trust. It 
is written in the 1 7th chapter of Jeremiah, ver. 5, (e Cursed be 
the man that trusteth in man ;" and ver. 7 ? " Blessed is the 
man that trusteth in the Lord." 

Some man may now say, How shall we do that ? One man 
must have dealing with another, otherwise ho\v can the life of 
man continue ? We must buy, we must sell, we must utter 
and change our wares with men : Now if we should not 
trust one another, the whole trade of man s affairs should be in 
peril, yea, and perish. I say that no man can deny, but that 
there must be mutual dealings among men, and that one doth 
need the help and travail of another ; but this I will have, that 
whatsoever dealing thou hast with men, either in buying or sell 
ing, count it fora thing uncertain, which thou must neither trust 
nor build upon, for it is certain, that as soon as thou shalt trust 
to man, he will seek to deceive thee, forasmuch as the nature 
of man, as it is of itself, can do nothing but lie, and deceive ; 


yea, all things in man are uncertain, both his works and words, 
there is nothing in him hut lightness and inconstancy, which 
thou mayest boldly believe to be true. Wherefore all our hope 
and confidence must be reposed in God alone, and after this 
sort we must say, Lord, give thou me grace that I may direct 
and order my life, my soul, my body, my substance and goods, 
and whatsoever is mine according to thy divine will, for I be 
lieve in thee, I trust in thee, do not thou forsake me in so 
perilous dealing with this or that man : I put no trust in man. 
If thou knovvest that it is good for me ; make him to deal faith 
fully with me ; if thou knowest that it will be to my hindrance 
and hurt, help me to avoid it, for thy will only pleaseth me, 
which I wish always to be done. As soon as thou thinkest in 
thy mind, He is a good man, and one that will keep his pro 
mise, I am sure that he will not deceive me, but deal faithfully, 
even then hast thou fallen from God, and worshipped an idol, 
putting thy trust in a liar. 

Wherefore when thou hast any dealing with man, think 
boldly, If he deal faithfully, it is well, if he do otherwise, in the 
name of God let him go, I will commit all things to the will of 
God, he shall prosperously bring them to pass. Of such a false 
and ungodly confidence reposed in men, that evil crept in among 
Christians, namely, the worshipping of saints, whereby the 
Christian church, that is, the true congregation of the faithful, 
hath suffered exceeding great hurt, and in incomparable ruin ; 
for what other was the service and worshipping of saints but a 
devilish thing ? When as men used to reason after this sort : 
This man was very holy, that which he taught he did, whom 
we will follow, and do the like ; Hierome, Augustine, Gregory 
said thus, therefore it is true, and therefore will I believe it. 
Francis, Benedict, Dominick, Bartholomew, lived thus, they 
did this and that, I will imitate their life and works ; moreover, 
Augustine was saved by this rule, wherefore I also shall be 
saved by it. Fie ! how unstable and miserable a thing is this ; 
they are only lies and dreams of men, there is not in one word 
mention made here of Christ and his word, but they are only 
the vain inventions and trifles of men. I would utterly break 
the rule of Augustine, if he therefore ordained it, thinking to 
be saved thereby ; so blind and without understanding is reason, 
that it receiveth the dotages and vain inventions of men, whenas 
notwithstanding the word of God only is to be received in mat 
ters of salvation, as if Herod, Pilate, Caiaphas, and Annas, 


should preach the gospel, I ought to receive it. Again, if 
those that arc counted holy, should rise and preach lies, also 
rules, habits, shavings, ceremonies, and such like vain inven 
tions of men, I ought in no wise to receive them, for we must 
here have respect, not to the persons, but to that which they 
preach. Dost them presume to be wiser than all the fathers 
and saints, than all the bishops and princes of the whole world? 
Thus may some object against me. Far be that from me, for I 
do not contend to be wiser than they; but this without contro 
versy is thus, that whosoever is wise, great, liberal, mighty, and 
strong before the world, doth seldom or never agree with the 
word of God ; for so it fallcth out, that they that are such do for 
the most part persecute the gospel, and if they were not so 
great, the gospel should not so greatly shine forth and triumph. 
The Roman Emperors, Hadrian, Trajan, Dioclesian, were the 
most wise Ca-sars of all, whose government was so liked of, that 
it was praised of the whole world, yet they persecuted the gos 
pel, and could not abide the truth ; the same we find written of 
the kings of the Jews, as of Aha/ and others, which governed 
their kingdom very well, yet despised the word of God, and dis 
obeyed his commandments. We in our time had never such 
emperors or princes, as are comparable to them ; but it ought to 
be verified in these, that God would by foolish preaching con 
found the wisdom of this world, as Paul saith, 1 Cor. i. 1. 

All these tilings are showed unto us in this text, which we 
have in hand, which hath a simple and slender show and appear 
ance of itself, but it containeth many things in it most worthy 
the noting. Now how the Lord concludeth with the Pharisees, 
when they had showed him the tribute-money, and had an 
swered that it was Gesar s image and superscription, the Evan 
gelist declarcth, saying, " Render therefore unto C.esar the 
things which are C;esar s, and unto God the things that are 
God s." Although they had deserved no such thing of the 
Lord, nevertheless he tcacheth them the right way ; and in these 
words he confirmeth the sword and office of the magistrate : 
They hoped that he would condemn and resist him, but he doth 
nothing less, for he commendeth and praiseth him, commanding 
that they give unto him those things that are his. Whereby he 
plainly will have, that there be magistrates, princes, and rulers, 
under whose government we must live ; neither must w r e care 
whether they use and exercise their rule and authority well or ill, 
we must have regard only to their power and office, for their 


power and authority is good, inasmuch as it is ordained and 
instituted of God; neither is there any cause why thou shouldest 
find fault with power, if at any time thou be oppressed by princes 
and tyrants, for whereas they abuse the power given unto them 
of God, they surely shall be compelled to give an account 
thereof. The abuse of a thing doth not make that thing evil, 
which is in itself good; a chain of gold is good, neither is it 
therefore, made worse for that a harlot weareth it about her 
neck, or if one should put out mine eye with it, should I find 
fault in the chain therefore ? In like manner the power of the 
prince must be borne, for if he abuse his office, he is not to be 
counted of me as no prince, neither belongeth it to me to re 
venge or punish it in him, I must obey him for God s cause 
only, for he representeth the place of God. How grievous 
things soever magistrates shall exact, I must for God s sake 
bear them all, and obey them, so far as they be not contrary to 
God s commandments : if they do justly or unjustly, it shall in 
due time appear. 

Wherefore if thy substance, life, and whatsoever thou hast 
should be taken from thee by the magistrates, thou mayest say 
thus, I willingly yield them unto you, and acknowledge you for 
rulers over me, I will obey you, but whether you use your power 
and authority well or ill, see you to that ; moreover, whereas 
Christ saith, u Render therefore unto Caesar the things which 
are Caesar s; and unto God the things that are God s/ We 
must understand that unto God pertaineth honour, we must 
acknowledge him for the living, omnipotent, and wise God, and 
ascribe unto him what good thing soever can be named ; and 
although we do not give him this honour, he notwithstanding 
easily keepeth it, for nothing is either added to, or taken from 
him by our honouring. Howbeit in us he is true, omnipotent, 
and wise, when as we count him so, and believe that he is such 
an one, as he suffereth himself to be said to be. Now unto 
Caesar and the magistrate fear, custom, tribute, obedience, &c., 
are due ; God requireth especially the heart, the magistrate the 
body and goods, over which he executeth his office in the place 
of God, which St. Paul doth most notably in plain and manifest 
words declare, Rom. xiii. 1 7> " Let every soul be subject 
unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God : 
the powers that be, are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore 
resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God : and they 
that resist^ shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are 


not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then 
not be afraid of the power ? do that which is good, and thou 
shalt have praise of the same : For he is the minister of God to 
thee for good. .But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; 
for he bearcth not the sword in vain : for he is the minister of 
God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doetli evil. 
Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but 
also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also; 
for they are God s ministers, attending continually upon this 
very thing. Render therefore to all their dues : tribute to whom 
tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear ; 
honour to whom honour." And therefore also are magistrates 
ordained of God, that they may defend and maintain public 
peace, which alone exceedeth all worldly good things : We felt 
a little in the last commotion of the common people, what loss, 
misery, calamity, and grievous sorrow, conspiracy, and sedition 
bringeth in the world. God grant that it may so continue, that 
we try it no more. Thus much shall suffice to have been spoken 
for the exposition of this text. 



John vi. 44 51. No man can come to me, except the Father 
wJiicli hat It sent me, draw him : and I will raise him up at 
the last day, $c. 


1. CHRIST is known of none but of him whom the Father 
draweth, that is, except the Father teach us that knowledge in 
wardly in the heart. Therefore Christ saith unto Peter, Matt, 
xvi. 17, "Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but 
my Father which is in heaven." 

2. Christ is the wisdom of God, which is of more price than 
precious stones, and whatsoever can be wished is not to be com 
pared unto it, as Solomon saith in the Proverbs, viii. 11. 

3. The old heavenly bread, that is, the righteousness of the 
law, doth not justify ; but Christ, if we believe in him, justifieth 
for ever. 


The Exposition of the Text. 

This text teacheth us nothing else but Christian faith, and 
stirreth it up in us as surely. John, through his gospel, doth 
almost no other thing but instruct us how we must believe in 
the Lord Christ, and such a faith as is grounded on the true pro 
mise of God,, made unto us in Christ, shall save us, as this text 
plainly declareth. Also they are here all proved fools, which 
have taught us another way and means to obtain righteousness ; 
whatsoever man s mind can invent, although it be holy, although 
it have a fair show before men, it must needs utterly fall, if that 
he will have salvation to come thereby ; for although man is 
exercised with the duties of godliness, he shall not be able to 
attain unto heaven, unless God prevent him with his word, which 
may offer his divine grace unto him, and lighten his heart, that 
he may walk in the right way. Now this way is the Lord Jesus 
Christ, he that will seek another way, as the most part of men 
with their outward works commonly do, hath now erred from the 
right and high way ; for Paul saith, Gal. ii. 31, a If righteousness 
come by the law," that is, by the works of the law, " then 
Christ is dead in vain." Therefore I say, that a man must by 
the gospel be as it were bruised and broken, and humbled even 
from the bottom of his heart, as being frail and weak, which can 
move neither hands nor feet, but only lietli prostrate and crieth, 
help me, O omnipotent God, merciful Father, I am not able to 
help myself. Help, O Lord Christ, mine own help is nothing. 
That so against this corner stone, which is Christ, all may be 
broken, as he saith of himself, in Luke xx. 17, when he asked 
the Pharisees and Scribes, " What is this then that is written, 
The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the 
head of the corner ? Whosoever shall fall upon that stone, shall 
be broken : but on whomsoever it shall fall, it shall grind him 
to powder." Wherefore either let us fall upon it by our imbe 
cility and weakness, by denying ourselves, and so be broken, or 
else he will break us for ever in his straight judgment. But it 
is better that we fall upon it, than that it fall upon us ; upon 
this foundation Christ saith in the text, " No man can come to 
me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him ; and I 
will raise him up at the last day." Now he whom the Father 
draweth not, shall surely perish ; it is also concluded that he 
which cometh not to this Son, shall be damned for ever. He is 
the only Son given unto us, which may save us, without him 


there is no salvation ; if he help not, our case is most miserable. 
Of him Peter also speaketh to the same effect, in the Acts of 
the Apostles, chap, iv. 11, "This is the stone which was set at 
nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 
Neither is there salvation in any other : for there is none other 
name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be 

V\ hither would our divines and schoolmen turn themselves 
here., which have taught us, that by many works we must attain 
unto righteousness ? Here is that high master, Aristotle, con 
founded, who hath taught us, that reason endeavourethto do the 
best things, and is always ready to the better ; but this Christ 
doth here deny, for unless the Father possess and draw us, we 
shall perish for ever. Here all men must confess their imbeci 
lity and slowness to good things : if so be that any persuade 
himself that he is able to do any good tiling by his own strength, 
truly he hath reproved Christ of falsehood, and with great arro- 
gancy, presumeth to come to heaven, although he is not drawn 
of the Father 5 wherefore, where the word of God is in his course, 
and soundly preached, whatsoever things are high and great, it 
casteth them down, it maketh all mountains even with the vallies, 
and overthrowcth all hills, as the Prophet Isaiah saith ; that all 
hearts hearing the word may despair of themselves, otherwise 
they cannot come unto Christ. The works of God are such, 
that while they kill they make alive, while they condemn they 
save; as Hannah, the mother of Samuel, singcth of the Lord, 
1 Sam. ii. 6, " The Lord killeth, and maketh alive, he bringeth 
down to the grave, and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, 
and maketh rich : he bringeth low, and lifteth up." Wherefore, 
if a man be thus stricken of God in his heart, that he acknow- 
ledgcth himself such a one as ought for his sins to be condemned, 
he surely is even that very man whom God by his word hath 
stricken, and by this stroke hath fastened upon him the bond of 
his divine grace, whereby he draweth him, that he may provide 
for his soul, and have care of him. 

He could first find with himself no help nor council, neither 
did he wish for any, but now he hath found the special consola 
tion and promise of God, which is after this sort : "Every one 
that asketh, receiveth : and he that seeketh, findeth : and to him 
that knocketh, it shall be opened," Matt. vii. 8. By such a pro 
mise man is more and more lifted up in mind, and conceiveth a 
greater trust and confidence in God; for as soon as he heareth 


that this is the work of God alone, he desireth of God, as at the 
hand of a merciful Father, that he will vouchsafe to draw him. 
If so be that he be drawn of God unto Christ, undoubtedly that 
also shall come unto him, whereof the Lord maketh mention here, 
namely, that he will raise him up at the last day ; for he layeth 
hold on the word of God, and trusteth in God ; whereby he hath 
a certain testimony, that he is he whom God hath drawn, as John 
saith in his first Epistle, chap, v 10, " He that believeth on the 
Son of God, hath the witness in himself." Hereupon it must 
needs follow, that he is taught of God, and in verity now knoweth 
God to be no other, but a helper, a comforter, and a Saviour. 
Hereby is it now manifest, that if we believe, God will be no 
other towards us but a Saviour, helper, and giver of all felicity, 
who requireth and asketh nothing of us, but will only give and 
offer unto us, as he himself saith unto Israel, Psalm Ixxxi. 10, 
" I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the land of 
Egypt : open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." Who would 
not love such a God, which showeth himself gentle and loving 
unto us, and offereth so readily his grace and goodness ? They 
shall not be able to escape the severe and eternal judgment of 
God, who do unadvisedly neglect so great grace, as the epistle to 
the Hebrews saith, if they that transgressed the law of Moses, 
escaped not unpunished, but died without mercy, how much more 
grievous shall God punish them, which count the blood of the 
Testament as an unholy thing, and tread under foot the Son of 
God ? O how diligent is St. Paul in all his epistles to teach how 
the knowledge of God may rightly be conceived ! O how often 
doth he wish to increase in the knowledge of God ! as if he 
would say, if ye only knew and understood what God is, ye 
should then be safe. Then ye would love him, and do all things 
that are approved of him, thus he saith, Colos. i. 9, ff We do 
not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled 
with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual under 
standing, that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, 
being fruitful in every erood work, and increasing in the know 
ledge of God ; strengthened with all might, according to his 
glorious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joyful- 
ness ; giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet 
to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." And 
Psalm cxix. 34, David saith, "Give me understanding, and 
I shall keep thy law, yea, I shall observe it with my whole 


And thus ye have out of the first sentence of this text, that 
the knowledge of God doth come from the Father. It is needful, 
that he lay the first stone in our building, otherwise we should 
labour in vain. But that is done thus : God sendeth unto us 
preachers whom he haih taught, and providcth that his will be 
preached unto us ; First, that all our life and condition, although 
it have a fair show and be holy outwardly, is of no estimation 
before him, yea, is abhorred and loathed of him. And this is 
called the preaching of the law; afterward he makcth grace to 
be preached unto us, to wit, that he will not have us utterly 
condemned and cast oil , but that he will receive us in his beloved 
Son, and not simply receive us, but also make us heirs in his 
kingdom, yea, and lords over all things which arc in heaven and 
earth. This now is called the preaching of grace or of the gospel; 
and all this is of God, which raiseth up and sendeth forth 
preachers. This St. Paul signifieth, when he saith thus, Rom. 
x. 17, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of 
God." This also the words of the Lord mean here in the 
gospel, when he saith, * it is written in the Prophets; and they 
shall be all taught of God, every man therefore that hath heard, 
and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any 
man hath seen the Father save he which is of God, he hath seen 
the Father." Whereas we hear the first preaching, that is the 
preaching of the law, how we are condemned with all our works, 
then man sigheth unto God, and knoweth not what to do, his 
conscience is evil and fearful, and except help should come in 
time, he should despair for ever. 

Wherefore the other preaching must not be long deferred, the 
gospel must be preached unto him, and the way unto Christ 
must be showed, whom God hath given unto us a Mediator, that 
through him alone we may be saved by mere grace and mercy, 
without all our works and merits. Then the heart is made joyful, 
and hasteth unto such grace, as the thirsty hart runneth unto the 
water. David had a notable feeling hereof, when he said thus, 
Psalm xlii. 1, " As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so 
panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, 
for the living God." \Vhen, therefore, a man cometh to Christ, 
through the gospel, then heareth he the voice of the Lord Christ, 
which strengtheneth the knowledge that God hath taught him, 
to wit, that God is nothing else but a Saviour abounding with 
grace, who will be favourable and merciful to all them which 
call upon him in his Son. Therefore the Lord saith moreover, 


John vi. 47, " Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth 
on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers 
did eat manna, in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread 
which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, 
and not die. I am the living bread, which came down from 
heaven ; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever, and 
the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the 
life of the world/ In these words the soul findeth a table daintily 
furnished, whereby it may slack all hunger ; for it knoweth as 
suredly that he that speaketh these words cannot lie. Where 
fore if it commit itself confidently unto him and cleave to the 
word, it resteth upon him, and so departeth not from this goodly 

This is that supper, to the preparing whereof the heavenly 
Father killed his oxen and fallings, and hath bidden us all unto 
it. The living bread whereof the Lord here maketh. mention, is 
Christ himself, whereby we are so fed ; if we lay hold but of a 
morsel of this bread in our hearts, and keep it, we shall be satis 
fied for ever, neither can we ever be plucked from God. More 
over, such an eating is nothing else, but to believe in the Lord 
Christ, that he is made unto us of God, as St. Paul saith, 1 Cor. 
i. 30, " Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. 
He that eateth of this bread shall live for ever." Wherefore by 
and by after the text, when the Jews were at contention about 
his words, he saith, " Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye 
eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have no 
life in you ; whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath 
eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." Manna, 
which the fathers did eat in the desert (as Christ here saith), 
could not save from death, but this bread maketh us immortal ; 
if we believe in Christ, death shall not hurt us any thing at all, 
yea, there is no more death. This the Lord meaneth by these 
words in another place, where he saith to the Jews, " Verily, 
verily, 1 say unto you, if a man keep my saying, he shall never 
see death," John viii. 51 ; where it is certain that he speaketh 
of the word of faith and of the gospel. But some man may say, 
that the holy die notwithstanding, for Abraham and the holy 
prophets are dead, as the Jews said unto him : I answer, the 
death of Christians is only a sleep, as the scripture also com 
monly calleth it. For a Christian tasteth and seeth no death, 
that is, he hath the feeling of no death. For this Saviour Jesus 
Christ, in whom he believeth,, hath overcome death, that after- 


wards he should not feel or taste it, but death is unto him only 
a passage and gate to life, as Christ himself witnesseth, John v. 
24, " Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, 
and bclieveth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and 
shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto 
life." Wherefore the life of a Christian is happy, and on every 
side replenished with joy, and the yoke of Christ easy and sweet. 
But that it seemeth heavy and grievous unto us, this is the cause, 
for that the Father hath not yet drawn us ; hereupon it comctli 
to pass, that we take no pleasure thereof, neither is the gospel 
comfortable unto us. If so be that we would lay up the words 
of Christ well in our heart, they would be unto us an exceeding 
comfort. And thus ye have heard how we must feed on this 
bread which came down from heaven, that is, on the Lord Christ, 
to wit, by faith, which we then do when we believe in him, that 
he is our Saviour. 

The whole chapter out of which this text is taken, commendcth 
unto us nothing else but spiritual meat. For when the multi 
tude followed Christ, that they might again cat and drink, which 
the Lord himself signifieth, he taketh occasion of the corporal 
meat which they sought, and almost through the whole chapter 
speakcth of spiritual meat, as he said, " The words which I 
speak are spirit and life." Whereby he would signify, that he 
therefore fed them, that they should believe in him ; and as they 
did eat the bodily meat, so they ought also to feed of the spiri 
tual. Here let us weigh and mark this, that the Lord doth so 
gently and graciously apply himself to us, and offer himself in 
such gentle words that it ought worthily to move our hearts, to 
believe in him, to wit, that that bread was therefore given for us, 
inasmuch as it was behoveful that he should taste death and 
suffer hellish pains. Also should bear sins which he never had 
committed, as though he had committed them, and had been his 
own ; and he did also the same willingly for our sakes, and took 
us as brethren and sisters. This if we believe, we do the will 
of the heavenly Father, which is nothing else but to believe in 
his Son, and so be saved. As Christ himself saith a little before, 
" This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which 
seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life." 
It now therefore appeareth, that he that hath faith doth the will 
of God, and eateth of this heavenly bread, as St. Augustine saith, 
what dost thou prepare thy mouth ? believe, and thou hast eaten. 
Of this spiritual supper the whole New Testament speaketh, but 


especially in this place of John. The sacrament of Christ s body 
and blood is a certain testimony and pledge of this true supper, 
whereby we ought to strengthen our faith, and to be assured, 
that this body and this blood, whereof we feed in the sacrament, 
delivereth from sin, death, Satan, and all evil. But how may a 
man perceive and know, that he also doth pertain to this heavenly 
bread, or is called to this spiritual supper ? Let him consider 
the case in his own heart, which if he find so affected, that he 
doth as it were feel the sweetness in the promise of God, and is 
undoubtedly persuaded, that he is of the company of them which 
pertain to this supper, he is assuredly such a one indeed. For as 
we believe, so cometh it unto us. 

Such a man hath also by and by a regard of his neighbour, 
and helpeth him as his brother, careth for him, giveth unto him, 
lendeth him, comforteth him, briefly, doth no otherwise to him 
than he desireth to be done unto himself ; and all this proceedeth 
from hence, for that the bountifulness and goodness of Christ 
hath replenished his heart with sweetness and love, that it is a 
pleasure and joy unto him to do good to his neighbour, yea, and 
he is grieved if there be none toward whom he may be service 
able. And beside all this, he is tractable, and lowly towards all 
men, he doth not esteem the temporal pleasure and pride of life, 
he judgeth no man, he defameth no man, he interpreted! all 
things in (he better part. Whenas he seeth that the matter 
goeth not well with his neighbour, as that he fainteth in faith, 
waxeth cold in love, and that his life is not on every side approve- 
able, he prayeth for him, and is sore grieved if any commit any 
thing against God and his neighbour. In fine, the root and sap 
are sound, for they are in a nourishing vine, to wit, Christ, and 
therefore such fruits come forth. But if any be void of faith, 
and not taught of God, such a one doth not feed on this heavenly 
bread, neither bringeth forth these fruits, for where a right faith 
is not, there such fruits are always wanting. And therefore St. 
Peter teach eth us to make our calling unto salvation sure by 
good works : where he speaketh properly of the works of love, 
namely, that we do good to our neighbour, and be affected 
toward him, as toward our own flesh and blood. Thus much 
shall suffice concerning this text. Let us all call to God for his 




ROMANS xiii. 11 14. And that, knowing the time, that now 
it is high time to awake out of sleep : for now is our salva 
tion nearer than when we believed, fyc. 

THE apostle in this text teacheth, not of faith, but of works the 
fruits of faith, and showeth how the life of a Christian ought to 
be ordered and framed according to the flesh outwardly among 
men. For how we must live in the spirit and before God, faith 
doth teach, whereof St. Paul a little before this place hath at 
large and even apostolical! y treated. Yea, if we consider this 
text well, it doth not so much teach as provoke, exhort, move, 
and stir up them which are already taught, what they must do. 
For St. Paul divideth the oiTice of preaching into two parts, into 
doctrine and exhortation, Rom. xii. Doctrine is, when one 
teacheth that which was not known before, whereby men are in 
structed and come to understand. Exhortation is when the 
preacher movcth and provoketh unto that which is already 
known, and either is necessary to be done of him, who will 
Christianly perform the duty of preaching. Wherefore St. Paul 
doth very earnestly apply himself to both ; and that his exhorta 
tion may be more effectual, and may more acceptably enter into 
the minds of them whom he hath purposed to exhort, he useth 
certain elegant and figurative speeches, and doth, with an adorned 
manner of speaking, allure their minds unto him. For the words 
sleep, darkness, light, waking, armour, works, the day, the night, 
which he here useth, are all spoken figuratively, by which other 
things are signified than their nature and propriety do bear : for 
he speaketh not of the natural night, day, darkness, armour, 
waking, and sleep, &c., but he resembleth by these natural things 
a certain likeness to our mind, whereby he may more forcibly 
provoke and bring us to those spiritual things ; as if he said, ye 
see how men, to get the riches of the present time, which do 
soon perish, rise early, and, laying aside the works of darkness, 
apply themselves to the works of the day, after the night is 
passed and the day is come. With how much greater diligence 
ought we, shaking off our sleep, to rise early, and casting away 


the works which we did while it was yet dark, to apply ourselves 
now to those works which are agreeahle to our light, forasmuch 
as the night is now passed^ and the day of our salvation hath 
appeared ? 

By sleep he signifieth evil works which are void of faith : for 
sleep is a work properly meet for the night,, and that he 
meaneth thus, he sufficiently declareth, when he by and by 
after addeth, " Let us cast away the works of darkness." So 
on the contrary to awake and to rise, signify good works which 
come of faith. For as sleep pertaineth properly to the night, 
so to rise is properly agreeable to the morning and day. Where 
upon it is said, 1 Thess. v. 4 10, f( But ye, brethren, are not 
in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye 
are all the children of light, and the children of the day : we 
are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not 
sleep, as do others ; but let us watch and be sober. For they 
that sleep, sleep in the night ; and they that be drunken, are 
drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, 
putting on the breast-plate of faith and love ; and for a helmet, 
the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, 
but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for 
us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with 
him/ It is sufficiently manifest, that the apostle doth not in 
these words, forbid us the sleep of nature, nevertheless he 
draweth a similitude from natural sleep and waking, to spiritual, 
that is, to a good and evil life ; and to be brief, to rise out of 
sleep is here the very same thing that the apostle writeth, Titus 
ii. 11 13, " For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath 
appeared to all men ; teaching us, that denying ungodliness 
and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and 
godlily in this present world ; looking for the blessed hope, and 
the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus 
Christ." For that which he called in these words, to deny 
ungodliness and worldly lusts, he calleth in this text which we 
have in hand, to arise from sleep ; and that which he termeth to 
live soberly, and righteously, and godlily, that he called in our 
present text, to watch and to put on the armour of light 5 and 
whereas he saith, the grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath 
appeared, that he calleth here the day and light, of which we 
will hereafter speak more at large. 

Now let us see what likeness there is between natural and 
spiritual sleep. He that sleepeth naturally, neither seeth nor 


feeleth any of those good things that are in the world, but lieth 
among those things which are even next adjoining unto him as 
it were dead, serving to no use, neither regarding any thing at 
all. For although he live in himself, yet is lie as dead to all 
other. Again, instead of true things, he is in dreams wholly 
occupied with vain images and forms of things, which appear 
true, and is so foolish, that he embraceth those vain forms, and 
thinketh them to be true things ; but when he waketh, those 
images do together vanish away, and the man beginneth to be 
occupied with true things. After the same manner almost it 
is, when one is as it were swallowed up of ungodliness, for lie 
slecpctli and is like a dead man before God, neither sceth he, 
neither feeleth any of the good things, which are good things 
indeed, namely, those spiritual good things which are promised, 
and offered him by the gospel, although they be just by him ; 
for those things are seen and felt by faith alone, otherwise they 
are removed from all si<rht and feeling. \\ herefore so lonu; as 

i"> o O 

by reason of the sleep of his unbelief, he can have neither any 
regard or sense of true good things, which are very near him 
through the gospel, he busieth himself with the false good 
things of this world, as riches, promotions, and pleasures, which 
being compared unto eternal life, unto heavenly joy, and that 
perfect salvation which cometh to the godly, are altogether as 
dreams and as those vain visions, compared to natural things, 
whereof they are only representations ; but when a man 
awakcth, and hath received faith, all regard and desire of those 
false good things of this present life vanisheth away, and he 
acknowledged! that they are nothing else but mere vanity and 
falsehood, even as those visions do fade away quite as soon as a 
man awakcth out of a natural sleep. Hereof the JGth Psalm 
speaketh, ver. 5, " They have slept their sleep ; and none of 
the men of might have found their hands," and Psalm Ixxiii. 20, 
" As a dream when one awaketli ; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, 
thou shalt despise their image." And Isaiah xxix. 8, " It shall 
even be as when an hungry man dreameth and, behold, he 
eateth ; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty : or as when a 
thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh ; but he awaketh, 
and behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite ; so shall the 
multitude of all the nations be, that fight against Mount Zion." 
See how contemptuously and disdainfully the prophet speaketh 
of the chief pow T er, riches, and pleasures, and promotions of the 
world, arid likeneth them to dreams and most vain visions, 


wherewith they which are asleep are deluded. What other 
durst say, that the good things, riches, and power of these 
kings, princes, and rich men are nothing else but dreams, 
whenas for them men mingle earth with heaven, fire with 
water, raging without measure and end in the world ? but the 
cause hereof is, for that they yet sleep, therefore they do 
yet see nothing hereof, as they want faith, so also are they 
destitute of the light. 

" For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." 
What mean these words ? Did we believe before, and do we 
not believe now ? Here we must call to mind that which Paul 
writeth, Rom. i. 1, that God promised the gospel (e by his pro 
phets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son Jesus Christ 
our Lord," that all should by him be saved according to that 
which was said unto Abraham, Gen. xxii. 18, te In thy seed 
shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." This blessing 
promised to Abraham in his seed, is nothing else but grace and 
salvation in Christ offered to the whole world by the gospel, 
which Paul so interpreteth, Rom. vi. and Gal. iii. For Christ is 
that seed of Abraham, that is, as he is man, his flesh and bloodj 
by whom and in whom shall be blessed, as many as believe in 
him, and call upon him. This promise was afterward by the 
prophets continually more and more declared and preached, for 
they did all write of the coming of Christ, of the grace which he 
should bring, and of the gospel, which Peter also witnesseth, 
Acts iv. 

Tliis promise of God all the faithful believed which died be 
fore Christ was born, who by this faith were saved, and ob 
tained salvation in Christ and through Christ. Hereunto Paul 
now had respect when he said, 6C Now is our salvation nearer 
than when we believed ;" for that which he saith is this much in 
effect : We believe in time past, that the promise made unto 
Abraham should be fulfilled, now it is fulfilled, and those things 
that we believed should come to pass are now present : Christ 
is come, the gospel is revealed and published, and the blessing 
which we looked for is spread over the world ; all things which 
we tarried for and believed, being promised, are come. And 
hereby the Apostle signifieth the spiritual day, whereof he 
speaketh afterwards, which is properly the beginning and 
manifestion of the gospel, whereof we will hereafter speak. 
Now by this, that those things we believed should be fulfilled are 
now fulfilled, our faith is not any whit made void or frustrate, 



but much more sound or perfect ; for as they of the old time 
before Christ s incarnation believed the promise of God which 
should be fulfilled, so we believe that the same is fulfilled, and 
the faith is altogether the same in itself, but that our faith fol 
lowed theirs, as the fulfilling followeth also the promise ; for 
either faith trusteth in the seed of Abraham, that is, in Christ, 
theirs before his incarnation, ours after it. Wherefore he that 
should at this day believe with the Jews that Christ is to come, 
should make God a liar, as though he had not fulfilled his promise, 
which he hath fulfilled, and being fulfilled would have it pub 
lished and preached; so also should salvation be yet far from 
the believers which we should look for being as yet to come, in 
the time that shall hereafter follow. Of this double faith, Paul 
speaketh, Kom. i. 17, " Therein (that is, in the gospel) is the 
righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith." What 
meaneth this, from faith to faith ? Nothing else, but that although 
the faith of the fathers and our faith is the same, whereby it is 
believed in Christ either to come, or which hath already ap 
peared; yet the gospel doth lead from their faith to ours, so 
that it is now necessary not only to believe the promise that was 
to be fulfilled, but also that it is fulfilled, which it did not be 
hove Abraham and the other fathers to believe, although they 
had the same Christ which we have ; for there is one faith, one 
spirit, one Christ, one communion of saiuts, this difference only 
there is between us, that they went before Christ, we follow 
him. We have therefore believed, and we do also believe, viz., 
the fathers and we, with a like and common faitli in the same 
Christ, although not after the same manner, as it is said. And 
as by reason of this communion of faith which we have alike in 
the same Christ, we say, We have believed, or we did believe, 
whenas not we, but the fathers have believed, or did believe ; 
so they again did say, that they should hear, see, and believe in 
Christ, whenas not they, but we do live in that time. 

We read not in a few places of the scriptures, that they which 
were before the incarnation of Christ, took upon them the per 
son of them which are after it, and they which are after it, of 
them which were before it, because of the communion of faith, 
and the same Christ, which they have in common, and so there 
is as it were one company of believers. Now whereas the 
Apostle saith, that salvation is now nearer unto us than when 
we believed, that is, when our fathers those ancient believers 
did look for it to come, we must not understand it of the near- 


ness of possession, as though we now had it nearer and more 
certainly than they, for the fathers had altogether the same 
faith, as it is said, and the same Christ, wherefore salvation was 
as near unto them as unto us ; (< Jesus Christ the same yester 
day, to-day, and for ever :" Heb. xiii. 8. Christ continueth 
the same from the beginning of the world even unto the end, by 
whom all are saved alike. But Paul speaketh of the nearness 
of revealing, that whatsoever things were said before concerning 
Christ, they were now fulfilled; death being overcome, The 
Lord did sit at the right-hand of the Father, the gospel was 
preached abroad in the world, by which Christ did come unto 
all in the whole world ; for this cause Paul saith, that our sal 
vation is nearer than when it was hidden, and known unto few 
men because that Christ being not yet glorified, it was not 
meet that the preaching of salvation should be made public or 
common. Whereas therefore the Apostle saith, our salvation 
is now nearer us, he saith the same thing in the Epistle to 
Titus, chap. ii. 1 1, in other words : " The grace of God that 
bringeth salvation hath appeared," that is, hath sprung forth, 
and is everywhere commonly preached; although it was not 
hid before in any of the saints, notwithstanding it was not com 
monly known unto the world. 

After the same sort the scripture speaketh in many places^ 
when it sometimes saith that Christ is to come, sometimes that 
he is come, although he always hath been, and is in all the 
elect ; howbeit because he hath not before his resurrection come 
to all by public preaching, the scripture speaketh diversely of 
his coming ; for because of his public preaching he came in the 
flesh, being made man, for his incarnation had not been profit 
able to any, if the gospel had not thereupon been preached, by 
which he came into the whole world, and whereby it is com 
monly known why he was made man, whereby that blessing 
promised to Abraham is now published, and made common to 
all which by the gospel believe in Christ. Hereupon Paul saith 
very well, Rom. i. 2, that the gospel was promised of God, &c., 
as though he would say, although God hath promised every 
where in the writings of the prophets his Son in the flesh, yet 
forasmuch as all that should be done, that the gospel might be 
preached abroad in the world, whereby he cometh spiritually to 
the minds of the believers, (which coming only bringeth sal 
vation, and is far to be preferred before that coming in the 
flesh, inasmuch as it was done because of this,) I say rather that 

p 2 


God promised by the prophets in scripture the gospel concern 
ing his Son ; for God considered the gospel and our faith in all 
these things j for which he would also have him to be made 
man, that the gospel might be preached of him, that being made 
man, he hath saved us by his death, and that the salvation which 
he hath wrought, might go into the whole world and be made 
near unto all. Some have taught four comings of Christ, ac 
cording to the four Sundays in Advent, as they call it, but this 
coming of Christ by the gospel, which is most necessary of all, 
and of which all do depend, of which Paul here speaketh ; this 
coming I say they could not see, inasmuch as they are ignorant 
both what the gospel is, and to what end it was given. They 
babble many things of the coming of Christ, and nevertheless 
they drive him further from themselves, than heaven is distant 
from the earth : for what can Christ profit any man which doth 
not possess him by faith ; or how can any man possess him by 
faith, where the gospel is not preached ? 

c The night is far spent, the day is at hand." His meaning in 
effect, is, that salvation is at hand; for by the day Paul under- 
standeth the gospel, namely, that it is that day whereby our 
hearts and minds are enlightened ; therefore such a day being 
sprung, our salvation is certainly at hand, that is, Christ and his 
grace promised in time past to Abraham, hath sinned forth by 
preaching in the whole world, giveth light unto all men, raiseth 
all out of sleep, showeth true and eternal good things, wherein 
we may be hereafter occupied, and may walk honestly in this 
day. On the contrary, by the night all doctrine is to be under 
stood, which is not the gospel, beside which none can bring 
salvation ; but if thou do a little more exactly weigh the words, 
thou shalt see that Paul describeth that part of the day which is 
most delectable of all, and most full of all pleasantness, namely, 
the joyful and amiable morning, and the rising of the sun \ for it 
is the morning when the night is gone and ended, and the day is 
now come, whereupon all things are marvellously cheered and 
recreated, the birds sing, other living creatures do stir up with 
alacrity and joyfulness; men being as it were made alive again, 
do go forth to their labours ; all things, the day springing, and 
the morning shining, are so affected, as though the world were 
renewed, and all things restored to life again. 

Wherefore in many places of the scripture, the joyful, pros 
perous, and quickening preaching of the gospel, is likened to the 
morning, and to the rising of the sun, as it is here by Paul, who 


calleth the gospel-day springing or arising. Also Psalm ex. 3,, 
" Thy people shall be willing, in the day of thy power, in the 
beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning : thou hast 
the dew of thy youth." Here also the gospel is plainly called 
the womb of the morning, and the day of the power of Christ, 
wherein we are conceived and born the children of God, as dew, 
to wit, without the labour of men, by the only grace of the Holy 
Ghost from heaven : the most pleasant comfortable sun Jesus 
Christ maketh this day, whom the scripture hereupon calleth the 
sun of righteousness. God saith, Mai. iv. 2, ee Unto you that 
fear my name, shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in 
his wings ;" for as many as believe in Christ, do receive of him 
the beams of his grace and righteousness, and do obtain salvation 
under his wings. Whereupon it is said, Psalm cxviii. 24, " This 
is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be 
glad in it;" as though he had said, this corporal sun maketh the 
corporal day, but God himself maketh this day, even he is that 
sun, from whence those beams and that day come, wherewith 
the whole world is enlightened. Finally, hereupon he calleth 
himself " the light of the world," John ix. 5. And Psalm xix. 1, 
fi The heavens declare the glory of God," that is, even as these 
bodily heavens do bring the sun and the day, and the sun is car 
ried in them, so the apostles have in themselves, and bring by 
preaching, the true sun, which is Christ, &c. Whereupon it 
followeth : " In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which 
is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as 
a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of 
the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it : and there is 
nothing hid from the heat thereof." All this is said of the ex 
ceeding pleasant beginning or rising of this day, that is, of the 
gospel, which the scripture every where marvellously setteth 
forth ; for it is a word which quickeneth, maketh glad, willing, 
cheerful, and ready to do good works, and finally it bringeth with 
it all good things. Wherefore it is called the gospel or glad 
tidings, for that it is a pleasant and prosperous message of the 
grace of God, and of all good things ; but who is able to rehearse 
all those things, which this day revealeth and maketh manifest 
unto us ? For it teacheth all things, what God is, what we are, 
whatsoever is past, and to come, of heaven, hell, the earth, 
angels, and devils; by this lamp is showed unto us, how we 
ought to behave ourselves in all these things, and toward all, 
from whence we are, and whither we go. Yet nevertheless 


Satan hath deceived us miserable creatures, that neglecting such 
a day, whereby all things might be clear and manifest unto us, 
we seek the truth of philosophers and heathen men, who have 
not so much as by a dream known any whit of these things, and 
so we have sutlered ourselves to be blinded with men s tradi 
tions, and to be thrust back again into the night ; for it is not 
light, whatsoever is not this day, otherwise Paul and the whole 
scripture should in vain extol this day alone, and call all other 
beside it the night. Surely the burden of God s displeasure 
must needs be most grievous, for that, contrary to so plain and 
manifest places of scripture, we have sought another light, al 
though the Lord himself calleth himself the light and sun of the 
world ; and if other proofs were wanting, this one is sufficient, 
that universities do so impudently both set up and glory of 
Aristotle as a light unto them, in whom they exercise themselves 
much more than in Christ, yea, nothing in Christ, but altogether 
in Aristotle. 

" Let us therefore cast oil the works of darkness, and let us 
put on the armour of light." As Christ is the sun, and the 
gospel the day, so faith is the light whereby to see and watch in 
this day ; for it would not profit, although the sun did shine and 
make the day, if the eyes did not perceive the light. Wherefore 
although the gospel be begun and preached in the whole world, 
yet none are lightened, but they that receive it, and by faith being 
made capable of the light, do arise out of sleep ; but to such 
as yet sleep this sun and day bring no profit, of which they 
receive no light, no more than if no sun or day had shined. And 
this is that season and hour, whereof he speakcth ; " And that, 
knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of 
sleep," &c. It is a spiritual time and season, although begun 
in this outward time a as it doth daily also come, wherein we 
ought to arise out of sleep, and lay aside the works of darkness; 
whereby Paul showeth that he doth not speak to them which are 
yet void of faith, for, as it is said, he teacheth not faith here, 
but the works and fruits of faith, when he saith, we know that 
the time is come, and that the night being passed, the day is at 
hand ; they which believe not, cannot know these things. 

Now if thou object and say, what reason or cause is there 
that he should write these things to the faithful, inasmuch as 
they know that it is time ? &c. thou must call to mind that ifi 
the beginning of the exposition of the text of the Apostle, we 
have said that the office of preaching is of two sorts, one of 


teaching, another of exhorting and moving ; now a man cannot 
attain unto that knowledge, that it should not be needful that 
he be always moved, and kept in a continual and fresh medi 
tation of those things which he hath learned, lest the devil, the 
world, and the flesh, (which are enemies that never grant truce, 
neither slack their assault,) do make him weary and slothful, 
that he may at the last sleep, and become altogether negligent 
in good things ; for the devil, saith Peter, is such an enemy, as 
goeth about continually like a roaring lion, seeking whom he 
may devour. Wherefore he saith, 1 Pet. iv. 7 > Be ye therefore 
sober, and watch." Paul also will have us do the same thing here, 
for seeing that the devil, the flesh, and the world, keep no mean ? 
and make no end of fighting against us, neither must there be 
any mean kept, or end made of exhorting, provoking, and mov 
ing us to watch and work. Hereupon the Holy Ghost is called 
an exhorter, inasmuch as he inviteth and moveth us unto good ; 
for the same cause Paul also useth here chosen words. The 
works of darkness he calleth not armour, but the works of light 
he calleth armour, not works ; undoubtedly that he might show 
that there is a fight, that labour and travail is required ; and that 
it cannot be obtained without peril, to watch and live well, for 
asmuch as so mighty enemies, the devil, the flesh, and the world, 
do without ceasing fight against us, wherefore Job saith, " The 
life of man upon earth is a fight and temptation." Now it is 
not a small matter to stand all our life long in the battle, where 
fore there is need of very shrill trumpets and warlike drums, 
that is, of earnest admonitions and exhortations, whereby we 
may be stirred up and encouraged to persevere valiantly in the 

Hereupon now it appeareth, why he calleth good works 
armour or weapons, and calleth not the works of darkness so, 
which notwithstanding, if we consent unto them, are also wea 
pons, Rom. vi. 13, " Neither yield ye your members as instru 
ments of unrighteousness." Again, it is before said, that by 
light is here signified faith, which from the day of the gospel, by 
the sun, Christ shineth into the hearts, and enlighteneth them, 
therefore the armour or weapons of light are nothing else but the 
works of this faith ; on the contrary, darkness, infidelity, or un 
belief, which is by reason of the absence of the gospel as of the 
day, and of Christ as of the sun. This darkness the devil doth 
rule, which cometh from the doctrine of men, and the judgment of 
man s own reason 5 wherefore the works of darkness are the 


works of infidelity, for as Christ is the Lord and governor of the 
light, which we said to be faith, so Paul, Ephes. vi. 12, calleth 
Satan the prince of darkness, that is, of them which are without 
faith, and refuse to be obedient to God, as the same Apostle wit- 
nesscth, 2 Cor. iv. 3, " If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them 
that are lost. In whom the god of this world (namely, the 
devil) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest 
the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the itnnge of 
God, should shine unto them." But what both this armour or 
weapons of light, and works of darkness are, it is now taught of 
the Apostle, " Let us walk honestly as in the day." No man 
worketh those things in the day, which he is wont to work in 
darkness ; every one feareth another, and endeavoureth himself 
to live honestly. 

It is commonly said, the night is void of shame, which is 
true, and therefore men do those things in the night, which they 
would be ashamed to do in the day ; but the day is not without 
shame, and requireth an honest conversation. After the same 
sort ought a Christian life to be. A Christian ought to commit 
nothing whereof he may be ashamed, although the whole world 
should see his works and doings ; for he that livcth and worketh 
so,, that he is unwilling that all his works and doings should be 
seen and heard of all men, and his whole life be manifestly 
known unto all, liveth a life unworthy of Christ, according to 
that which our Saviour himself saith, John iii. 20, " Every one 
that doth evil, hateth the light, lest his deeds should be re 
proved. But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his 
deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God/ 
Hereby it appeareth how necessary it is, that we should be pro 
voked and exhorted to watch, and to put on the armour of light ; 
for what one is there at this day among Christians, which can 
abide that all his works should be published openly in the light. 
No\v what a Christian life is this, how hypocritically do we live, 
whenas we cannot suffer our life so much as to be disclosed 
before men, which now is disclosed before God and all his 
angels, and in the last day shall be disclosed before all creatures? 
Wherefore it behoveth a Christian to live so, as he desireth to 
appear in the last day, and before all. Hereupon Paul saith, 
" Walk as the children of light : the fruit of the spirit is good 
ness, and righteousness, and truth." And Rom. xii. 17, " Pro 
vide things honest in the sight of all men." And 2 Cor. i. 12, 
" Our rejoicing is this^ the testimony of our conscience, that in 


simplicity, and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but 
by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world." 
Howbeit such a life shall nothing at all appear, where faith is 
not, but where a lively, a cheerful, and a strong faith is, there 
such a life cannot be wanting, forasmuch as such a faith is not 
wearied with well doing, neither sleepeth ; wherefore it is no 
less necessary, to preach to them that have received the doctrine 
of faith, whereby they may be provoked and stirred up to go on 
in the good life which they have embraced, and that they suffer 
not themselves to be overcome by the assaults of the raging flesh, 
the crafty world, and most subtile Satan. Then it is meet that 
the doctrine of faith be preached to them that be as yet ignorant 
of Christ. 

" Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and 
wantonness, not in strife and envying." Here he rehearseth 
the works of darkness by name, one of which he named also 
before, to wit, sleep, according to that saying, 1 Thess. v. 6, 
" Let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober." 
Not that he forbiddeth natural sleep, but spiritual, which is in 
fidelity, whereof those works of the flesh proceed : howbeit, 
natural sleep also is a work of darkness, if it be used for plea 
sure, and through immoderate filling of the belly, so that it is a 
hindrance to the light, that is, faith, and to the armour thereof. 
Moreover, these six works of darkness which he here rehearseth, 
do comprehend all the rest; for Gal. v., and Coloss. iii., he 
reckoneth up more of tjiem, but we will divide those which he 
here rehearseth into two sides, the right and the left. On the 
right side these four fight with the spirit, gluttony, drunken 
ness, chambering, and wantonness ; on the left side, forasmuch 
as the left side in the scripture signifieth adversity, those things 
which proceed from thence do fight, as are wrath, contention, 
and suchlike, but the right side signifieth prosperity, and those 
things which ensue thereof, as delights, gluttony, drunkenness, 
and overmuch sleep, &c. Now it is sufficiently manifest, that 
Paul under two works of darkness here rehearsed, namely, con 
tention and envying, doth comprehend the rest also of that sort, 
among which are, " bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and cla 
mour, and evil speaking," Ephes. iv. 31. And those which he 
rehearseth in the Epistle to the Galatians, ; Hatred, debate, 
emulation, sedition, heresies, murders," &c. In fine, here 
unto pertaineth whatsoever come of evil, anger, either in 
words or deeds, all which cannot be numbered. After the same 
sort under those four, gluttony, drunkenness, chambering, and 


wantonness, he comprehendeth the vices of lust which are wont 
to be committed as well in words as works, which also no man 
is able to number. And so the present words of the apostle do 
show, neither needeth it any further declaration, that by these 
six works all things are to be understood, whereby they that 
are void of faith, and are yet in darkness, do live impurely as 
concerning themselves, and unjustly toward their neighbours ; 
whose whole life is disordered and out of course both toward 
themselves and toward others ; for there is no man that knoweth 
not what it is to be gluttonous and drunken, that is, either to 
eat or drink above a measure necessary for the body ; it is well- 
known what it is to sleep in chambers, and to be wanton, that 
is, to follow the pleasure of the body, both with sleeping above 
measure, and with other lewd and unchaste gestures and works, 
which are wont to be committed in chambers of full-fed, well 
tippled, idle, and slothful bellies, as well in the day as in the 
night, as well when they are alone, as in the resort and com 
pany of others. All which things do require even natural dark 
ness and secret places, and are signified of St. Paul, by cham 
bering and wantonness. 

t( But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ." In these words, as 
it were in fine, he showeth all the armour of light, whenas he 
exhortelh us to put on Christ. Now Christ is put on of us after 
two sorts; first, when we are clothed with his righteousness, 
which is done by faith, wherewith he that is endued, believeth 
that Christ for him died, and fulfilled all things. For not ours, 
but Christ s righteousness hath reconciled us to the Father and 
delivered us from sins ; and so to put on Christ pertaineth to 
the doctrine of faith, which teacheth that Christ was given unto 
us, and is unto us instead of a pledge. Whereof St. Paul 
speaketh, Gal. Hi. 27, " For as many of you as have been bap 
tized into Christ, have put on Christ." The other manner of 
putting on Christ is, when we weigh and consider that he is 
given unto us, also instead of an example, that we should show 
ourselves serviceable toward our neighbours, being endued with 
the same virtues, with which we by faith acknowledge that he 
being adorned, did serve us, that so we may resemble him in 
all points : and of this manner of putting on Christ St. Paul 
speaketh here. The same also he willeth us to do, 1 Cor. xv.49, 
when he saith, " And as we have borne the image of the earthy, 
we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." And Ephes. 
iv. 22, " That ye put off concerning the former conversation the 
old man, which is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts. And 


be renewed in the spirit of your mind : And that ye put on the 
new man, which after God is created in righteousness,, and true 

Now in Christ we see nothing but the armour of light, no 
gluttony, no drunkenness, but fasting, temperance, keeping 
under the flesh by divers labours, travelling, preaching, pray 
ing, and doing well to all men : in him was no place for slothful- 
ness or superfluous sleep, much less for wantonness ; but a 
marvellous chastity and purity ; he accustomed himself to 
watch, to rise early, to lie on the ground in the field, having 
neither house, chamber, nor bed ; in him was no wrath, con 
tention, or brawling, but altogether goodness, sweetness, meek 
ness, charity, mercy, patience, &c. Wherefore as St. Paul saith 
here briefly, " Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ -" it is as much 
as that we should set him before us as an example to follow. 
He teacheth the Colossians the same thing in somewhat more 
words after this sort, Col. iii. 12 : " Put on therefore (as the 
elect of God holy and beloved) bowels of mercy, kindness, 
humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one 
another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel 
against any ; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 
And above all these things, put on charity, which is the bond of 
perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to 
the which also ye are called in one body -, and be ye thankful/ 
And Philip, after that he had exhorted them to love one another, 
and that every man should esteem other better than himself, 
and seek to pleasure, and do for other, he also setteth Christ 
before them as an example who showed himself to us as our 
servant, and saith, Phil. ii. 5, tc Let this mind be in you, which 
also was in Christ Jesus ; who being in the form of God, 
thought it not robbery to be equal with God ; but made himself 
of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and 
was made in the likeness of men : and being found in fashion 
as a man," &c. 

The sum thereof is this : the armour or weapons of light are 
good works, contrary to those works of darkness, gluttony, 
drunkenness, chambering, wantonness, contention, and envying; 
such works are, to fast, to watch, to pray, to labour, to suffer 
hunger, thirst, cold, heat, to be chaste, to use modesty, temper 
ance, goodness ; and that I do not thrust in too many of mine 
own words, let us hear St. Paul himself rehearsing them in 
order, Gal. v. 22, " But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy. 


peace, long-suffering, gentleness,, goodness, faith, meekness, 
temperance." But he rehearseth them far more at large, 2 Cor. 
vi. 1, 2, saying, We beseech you that you receive not the 
grace of God in vain ; for he saith, I have heard thee in a time 
accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thcc : be 
hold now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salva 
tion ;" as if he said. Our salvation is now nearer unto us than 
when we believed, to wit, that it would come to pass, that these 
days of salvation, in which the gospel is preached abroad to the 
whole world, should appear. It is time therefore to arise out 
of sleep, verses 3, 4, &c. <f Giving no offence in any thing, 
that the ministry be not blamed : but in all things approving 
ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflic 
tions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, 
in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings ; by purcness, 
by knowledge, by long-suffering; by kindness, by the Holy 
Ghost, by love unfeigned ; by the word of truth, by the power 
of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and 
on the left, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good 
report : as deceivers, and yet true ; as unknown, and yet well 
known ; as dying, and behold, we live ; as chastened, and not 
killed; as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making 
many rich ; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." 
See what a plentiful and very golden stream floweth out of the 
mouth of St. Paul. Hereof I think we most plainly perceive, 
what is the armour of light, wherewith we must be fenced and 
fortified both on the right hand and on the left. Now this most 
fitly agreeth with the matter, whereas lie sctteth before us a 
most excellent and perfect example, namely, the Lord himself, 
saying, " Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ ;" for he is a sluggish 
beast, and not a man, who when he seeth his Lord fast, suffer 
hunger, labour, watch, and to be weary, yet giveth himself to 
gluttony, sleep, and pleasures. What lord could take these 
things at his servant s hand ? nay, what servant durst presume 
to do these things ? 

So it cannot be, that a Christian man should not be ashamed, 
when he beholdeth Christ, and seeth himself so unlike unto him, 
yea, occupied in quite contrary things. For whom the example 
of Christ himself doth not stir up, exhort, and move, who can 
bring or stir up him unto goodness ? What would the leaves 
of words do with their small noise, if these thunderings of the 
example of Christ do not move ; and surely for this cause, 


St. Paul of purpose adjoined this word,, Lord,, saying, " Put ye 
on the Lord Jesus Christ," as if he said, Count it no great nor 
burthensome thing, to stand and fight in this armour of light, ye 
that are servants, behold your Lord, who when he had no need, 
did notwithstanding, so well and valiantly use this armour, and 
fought in it for you. " And make not provision for the flesh,, 
to fulfil the lusts thereof." The apostle in these few words 
hath noted two cares of the flesh ; one is natural, whereby 
necessary food and apparel is provided for the body, that it may 
live, and be able to sustain his labour, lest that it be by over 
much abstinence weakened, and made unprofitable to work ; the 
other care is joined with sin, when the body is provided for to 
fulfil the lusts thereof, and that it may be delighted ; this care the 
apostle here forbiddeth, for it engendereth the works of darkness, 
so to pamper and make of the flesh, which is continually to be 
chastised, that it may be obedient to the spirit, and may not 
shake off the saddle, like unto an untamed horse, although that 
chastising is so to be tempered, that the body notwithstanding 
may do his duty and bear the saddle. For the ( fodder, a 
wand, and burdens are for the ass : and bread, correction,, and 
work for a servant," Eccles. xxxiii. 24. He doth not say, 
that thou shalt flea or slay the ass, neither that thoti shalt kill 
the servant, or cast him into prison ; so unto the body, the 
chastising and labour thereof is due, and necessary food is not 
to be withheld from it, St. Paul himself saith, " I keep under 
my body, and bring it unto subjection." He saith not, I cast 
it into sickness or I kill it, but I subdue it to the spirit, that it 
may serve, and be obedient thereunto. Moreover these words, 
" to fulfil the lusts thereof," St. Paul added because of two 
sorts of men, whereof the first, under a pretence of natural 
necessity, do satisfy their pleasure, and cover that practice 
under this false pretence. We are so prone and ready unto this, 
that even many of the saints have very much complained of this 
evil, and because of it, have oftentimes above measure afflicted 
their bodies : for the flesh is so crafty and marvellous subtile to 
prepare delights for itself, that no man can sufficiently take 
heed of it, yea, it is needful that a man here do never leave off 
to care and fear. 

The other sort of men are those blind holy ones, which think 
that the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof con- 
sisteth in meats and drink, and in chosen apparel, and do besides 
their own works regard nothing j when they have so fasted, that 


they have made their head diseased, and their stomach distem 
pered, and do bring unto their body some great infirmity, or 
sickness, they then think that they have been marvellous holy, 
and have wrought incomparable good works. But St. Paul 
saith, "meat commendeth us not to God, for neither if we eat 
are we the better : neither if we eat not are we the worse." And 
Colos. ii. he writeth thus much in effect : Beware of worship 
ping of angels, which have a show of wisdom, because of hum 
bleness and superstition, whereby they spare not the body, 
while they withdraw from it the measure of food due unto it, 
bestowing nothing upon it whereby it may be fed. This pre 
posterous worshipping of angels, yea, indeed superstition, did 
sd deceive Gerson, otherwise a notable man, that he praised 
the Chartreuse monks, for that they did so constantly abstain 
from flesh, that even when they were sick, they would eat none, 
although they might preserve themselves even from death thereby. 
But what if God should judge them as killers of their own body? 
For there can be none at all either ordinance or order, yea, or 
vow, contrary to the commandment of God, and if there be any 
such, surely it ought to be of no force, even as if thou hadst 
vowed adultery. 

Now God both here by St. Paul, and elsewhere, hath com 
manded that necessary provision should be made for the body, 
and hath forbidden, that we should procure the death of it : 
wherefore those things that are profitable to preserve it, whether 
they be flesh, or eggs, or any thing else, must be given unto it, 
in what day, or time soever, whether it be the sixth or first day 
of the week, whether it be in Lent or after Easter, in the mean 
season, whatsoever orders, laws, and vows, yea, even of the Pope 
being neglected. For it is not lawful for any man, no not for 
the angels to forbid anything against the commandment of God. 
Howbeit, this madness proceedeth from that darkness and blind 
ness, whereby miserable men do regard the work only, and think 
that they shall obtain salvation through the greatness and multi 
tude of works. But St. Paul willeth, that our fastings and other 
chastising of the flesh be the weapons of light, whereby the works 
of darkness may be overcome, and not the body destroyed ; 
wherefore there ought to be no other use among Christians of 
fastings, watchings and labours. As it is alone before God whe 
ther thou eat fish or flesh ; whether thou drink wine or water ; 
whether thou wear red or green garments ; all these are the good 
creatures of God, made unto this end, that we may use them, 


have regard only to this, that thou mayest use them with a mean 
and mayest abstain thyself so much from them, as shall suffice to 
overcome the works of darkness. Wherefore it is impossible 
that a common manner of this abstinence should be appointed in 
differently to all, for the constitution of all men s bodies is not 
alike, it is above measure to one, which to another is under 
measure ; one hath need of much, another of little, and therefore 
it is meet that every one have regard of himself, and govern 
his own body, according to the present doctrine of St. Paul, 
whereas he saith, "Make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the 
lusts thereof," that is, obey the wisdom thereof so far that ye 
deny not the necessary things which it requireth, but grant it 
not those things which it requireth to the fulfilling of the lusts 
thereof, more than necessity to pleasure only. If a better rule 
of moderation could have been given beside this, St. Paul would 
not have concealed it. 

Hereby thou seest, that the popish ordinances, which forbid 
the eating of flesh and certain meats, are quite contrary to the 
gospel: which St. Paul hath plainly foretold, 1 Tim. iv. 1, "Now 
the spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall 
depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doc 
trines of devils ; speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their con 
science seared with a hot iron ; forbidding to marry, and com 
manding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be 
received with thanksgiving." No man surely can deny that these 
words do briefly reprove the orders of Monks, and sacrificing 
priests, so clear and manifest are both these words, and also their 
preposterous religion. Moreover thou seest here also, godly 
reader, that St. Paul doth not teach that dotage and womanly 
holiness of certain, which choose unto themselves certain days, 
wherein to fast to certain saints, one to this, another to that, all 
which are blind proceedings, and buildecl upon their own works. 
True religion is without choice of meats and days, all the life 
long to use modesty and sobriety. For seeing that these must 
be the armour of light, and that it is requisite that our life be 
undefiled and chaste, it behoveth us surely never to put off this 
armour, but we must be found always sober, temperate, watch 
ing, labouring, and praying. But those doting holy ones, one 
day eat nothing but bread and water, and afterward three whole 
months they daily be drunken and eat excessively, even until 
they be not well in their wits. Others fast so that at the evening 
they eat no meat, but in the mean time they make themselves 


drunk with drinking. Who is able to rehearse all their dotages, 
and all their works of darkness ; all which proceed from hence, 
for that foolish men consider and regard the work,, and not use 
the use of the work, they make their armour of glass, they are 
altogether ignorant whereunto it is profitable to fast and abstain; 
they are like unto him which carried a sword, unto the end that 
he might look upon it, and knew not how to use it when he was 
beaten. These things may suffice to have been spoken for the 
exposition of this text. 





Phillippians iv. 4 7- Rejoice in the Lord alwny : and again I 
.vtfy, Rejoice, fyc. 

THIS text indeed is but short, nevertheless it doth most plenti 
fully abound with right Christian doctrine, instructing first how 
we ought to behave ourselves toward God, secondly, how toward 
our neighbours, saying, first, u Rejoice in the Lordalway." This 
joy is a fruit of faith, most certainly following it as St. Paul 
witnessed), Gal. v. 2 2, where he saith, " But the fruit of the 
Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, 
faith, meekness, temperance : against such there is no law." 
Neither can it be, that that heart should rejoice in the Lord, 
which hath not yet believed in him. Whereupon it cometh to 
pass, that where no faith is, there can be nothing but fear, trem 
bling, horror, and sadness, as often as such either remember 
God, or hear him named, yea, hatred and enmity of God re- 
maineth in such hearts, the cause whereof is, for that the heart 
void of faith, findeth itself defiled with sins, whereby it doubteth 
not but that it hath deserved the vengeance of God, that sins 
cannot be but hated of God, which is just, and so when it doth 
not believe that God will be merciful and favourable unto it, how 
can it not but detest all memory of him ? so far is it off that it 
can rejoice in the Lord> the revenger of sins. 


These two things, the knowledge of sin, and the vengeance of 
God prepared for sins, are in the heart of the unbeliever, which 
heart as it is unbelieving so hath it no hope of pardon, and there 
fore what other thing can these things work in it, but cause it to 
be troubled, cast down, always fearful, and greatly terrified, and 
to think that the vengeance of God doth every moment hang over 
it, that so that may be verified, which Solomon saith : (S The 
ungodly fleeth when no man pursueth him." And that which is 
said, Deut. xxviii. 65, "The Lord shall give thee a trembling 
heart, and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee." If a man 
will much persuade such a heart^ to have joy in the Lord, he 
shall do even as if he persuaded the water that it should burn 
like unto the fire, for it can taste none of this joy, it always 
feeleth in conscience, that the revenging hand of God is heavy 
upon it. Whereupon the prophet saith,, " Be 
glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous : and shout for joy, 
all ye that are upright in heart." For this joy in the Lord can 
not be but in the righteous and them that are upright in heart ; 
and therefore it is manifest, that this part of scripture was written 
not for sinners, but to the righteous and saints. Sinners must 
first be showed how they may be delivered from sins, and may 
obtain God to be favourable unto them, which when they have 
learned and so obtained, it followeth, that they do of their own 
accord rejoice in the Lord, being delivered from remorse of con 
science. But if any demand, how one may be delivered from 
remorse of conscience, and have God merciful unto him, that is 
declared before at large, and shall be hereafter copiously spoken 
of. He which seeketh to have a free and glad conscience, and 
God gentle and favourable, let him not begin at his own works, 
as the deceitful Papists teach, only tormenting consciences, and 
increasing the wrath of God, but let him despair of himself and 
of all his own works, let him embrace God in Christ, having a 
sure faith in the gospel, that he shall receive whatsoever it pro- 
miseth. But the gospel promiseth that Christ is given unto us, 
that he may take away our sins, and be our High Priest, Me 
diator, and Advocate before God, that so we may nothing doubt 
but that our sins through Christ only and his works are forgiven 
us, and that we are reconciled to God, and that by this means 
our conscience is delivered and comforted. 

When such a faith possesseth the heart, and the gospel is so 
received indeed, then God appeareth sweet and altogether 
loving, neither feeleth the heart anything but the favour and 



grace of God, it standeth with a strong and bold confidence, it 
feareth not lest any evil cometh unto it, it being quiet from all 
fear of vengeance and displeasure, is merry and glad of so in 
comparable grace and goodness of God given unto it freely and 
most abundantly in Christ. Wherefore there must needs forth 
with proceed from such a love, faith, joy, peace, gladness, giving 
of thanks, praise, and a certain marvellous delight in God, as 
in a most dear and favourable father, which dealeth so fatherly 
with us, and poureth forth his gilts so plentifully and in so great 
a measure, upon them that do not deserve them. Behold of such 
joy, St. Paul speaketh here, which truly where it is, there can 
be no place for sin, or fear of death or hell, yea, nothing is 
there but a joyful, quiet, and omnipotent trust in God, and in 
his favour. Wherefore it is culled joy in the Lord, not in gold 
or silver, gluttony or drunkenness, delicates or singing, health, 
knowledge, wisdom, power, glory, friendship, favour, no nor 
in good works, holiness, or whatsoever is without God. Of 
these thou shall take but a deceitful and vain joy, which cannot 
pierce the heart, or enter unto the bottom thereof, whereof thou 
mayest rightly say that whirl) is wont to be spoken as a pro 
verb among the Germans ; This man rejoiceth, but he feeleth 
not any joy in his heart. 

There is one full and perfect joy, which the believers take of 
and in the Lord, which is nothing else than to commit them 
selves unto him, and of him alone to rejoice, trust, and pre 
sume, as a most favourable and loving father. Whatsoever joy 
is not after this sort, the Lord doth contemn and reject it, 
whereof Jeremiah speaketh, ix. 23, " Let not the wise man 
glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his 
might, let not the rich man glory in his riches. But let him 
that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth 
me." And St. Paul saith, " Let him that rejoiceth rejoice in 
the Lord." He addeth, that we must rejoice always, where he 
toucheth them, which only half the time do rejoice in the Lord 
and praise him ; that is, when all things fall out according to 
their desire, but when adversity cometh, they change joy with 
sadness and sorrow, of whom the 48th Psalm speaketh, " So 
long as thou dost well unto him he will speak good of thee." 
But the prophet himself saith, not so: " I will bless the Lord 
at all times : his praise shall continually be in my mouth," 
Psalm xxxiv. 1. And he hath just cause so to do, for who shall 
hurt him, unto whom God is merciful j surely sin shall not hurt 


him, neither death nor hell ; wherefore the prophet saith in 
another place : " Yea, though I walk through the valley of the 
shadow of death, I will fear no evil," Psalm xxiii. 4 : and Paul 
saith, Rom. viii. 25, " Who shall separate us from the love of 
Christ ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, 
or nakedness, or peril, or sword ? For I am persuaded, that 
neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, 
nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, 
nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the 
love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." " Again I say, 
rejoice." This repetition of the apostle confirmeth his exhorta 
tion, and truly not without a cause, forasmuch as we live in the 
midst of sins, and therefore in the midst of tribulation, both 
which do move us unto sadness and heaviness. Wherefore the 
apostle purposing to comfort us against these, exhorteth us that 
we should always rejoice in the Lord, although we sometimes 
fall into sins. For it is meet, the more God with his goodness 
exceedeth the evil of sin ; so much more always to rejoice in 
him, when we are sorrowful because of our sins, which although 
by nature they bring sadness and sorrow with them, yet for 
asmuch as they cannot bring so much hurt, as Christ, if we 
believe in him, bringeth profit and safety, joy in the Lord ought 
always to have the first place with us, and go far to overcome the 
sorrow and sadness that cometh by reason of our sins ; for we 
must always think on that which John writeth : ft If any man 
sin, we have an advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the 
righteous, and he is the propitiation for our sins," 1 John ii. 1. 
(( Let your moderation be known unto all men." He hath 
already taught how men ought to behave themselves toward 
God, namely, that they must serve him with a cheerful heart 
and continual joy ; now he declareth in few words, how the 
believers ought to behave themselves toward men, saying, " Let 
your moderation be known unto all men.*" Which words are 
thus much in effect 5 be joyful toward God, always rejoicing in 
and of him, but toward men be of a patient mind, and pliant, 
applying yourselves to all, and so behaving yourselves, that ye 
be ready to do and suffer all things, and to yield in everything, 
as much as may be by any means without transgressing the 
commandment of God, whereby ye may approve yourselves to 
all men, and please all in that which is good ; not only hurting 
none, but also taking in good worth all things of all men, inter 
preting aright the sayings of all men, and accepting them in the 


better part, that men may plainly sec you to be them unto- 
whom all things are alike, which take in good part whatsoever 
betideth you, which stick in nothing, which would not disagree 
with any man for any cause, which be rich with the rich, poor 
with the poor, rejoicing with them that rejoice, weeping with 
them that weep ; and to be brief, be made all things to all men, 
that all men must needs acknowledge that ye are grievous to 
none, but agreeable, of a patient mind, pliant, and obedient 
toward all in all things. 

The Greek word S-TTIBI-^S (ejrietces), which the apostle here 
useth, meaneth the same which signifieth in our tongue a patient 
and pliant mind, whereby one doth so apply and show himself 
indifferent to others, that he is the same to one that he is to 
another, applying himself indilYeremly to the will of all, not re 
quiring himself to be counted for a rule, \vhcreunto the rest 
ought to apply and order themselves. An old interpreter trans- 
lateth it modesty, which, if thou understand it aright, and not 
for the only moderation and temperance of meat and apparel, as 
it is wont commonly to be taken, is not altogether unfitly trans 
lated, namely, if thou understand it to be a virtue ; whereby 
one thinking modestly of himself, endcavoureth to order n.ncl 
apply himself unto all, according to the capacity and ability of 
every one, ready to permit, to take in good part, to obey, to give 
place, to do, to omit, to suffer all things as he shall see it will 
profit his neighbour, although he must sulTer hindrance and loss, 
of his substance, name, and body, thereby. 

That these things may be made more plain, it shall be goou 
to declare them by examples ; St. Paul, 1 Cor. ix. 20, writuth- 
thus of himself: (f And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, thai. 
I might gain the Jews ; to them that arc under the law, as under 
the law, that T might gain them that are under the law ; to them 
that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to 
God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that 
are without law." Behold, thou seest here the patient and 
pliant mind rightly observing those things which are here com 
manded. For those things that he writeth of himself have this 
meaning ; sometimes he did eat, drink, and do all things as a 
Jew, although it w r as not necessary that he should so do ; some 
times he did eat and drink with the Gentiles, and did all things 
as free from the law ; for only faith in God, and love toward 
our neighbour, are necessarily required, all other things are 
free, so that we may freely observe them for one man s sake. 


and omit them for another man s sake, as we shall perceive it to 
be profitable to every one. Now it is contrary to this modesty 
or meekness, if one, having an impatient mind, trusteth to his 
own wit, and contendeth that one thing amongst the rest is ne 
cessary, which thou must either omit or observe, and so apply 
ing himself unto none, but contending to have all others to 
apply themselves unto him, he neglecteth and perverteth the 
softness and meekness which is here taught, yea, and the liberty 
of faith also ; such some of the Jews were, unto whom we must 
give no place, even as St. Paul yielded not unto them. We see 
the same example commonly in Christ, but especially Matt. xii. 
and Mark ii. , where we read that he suffered his disciples to break 
the sabbath, and he himself also, when the case so required,, 
did break it 5 when it was otherwise, he did keep it, whereof 
he gave this reason : " The Son of man is Lord even of the 
sabbath." Which is as much as to say the sabbath is free, that 
thou mayest break it for one man s sake and advantage, and for 
the sake and advantage of another thou mayest keep it ; so Paul 
caused Timothy to be circumcised because of the Jews, for that 
they thought that it was of importance to their salvation ; again, 
he would not have Titus circumcised, because certain Jews did 
unjustly urge it, so that the circumcision of Titus would 
have been rather a confirmation of error unto them, than have 
profited them anything. Paul therefore would keep circum 
cision free, that he might sometimes use it, and sometimes not 
use it, as he should perceive it to be profitable to every one. 

So, to come to other matters, when the Pope commandeth 
to make confession, to fast, to abstain from, or use this or that 
kind of meat, &c., and exacteth these things as necessary to sal 
vation, they are utterly to be contemned, and those things that 
are contrary to these, are most freely to be done j but if he 
should not command them as necessary, if any man might be 
helped or edified in anything by the observation of them ; surely 
they were to be observed, but freely, and of love only, as also 
they are to be omitted, if the omitting of them may be profitable 
to any. The reason of this liberty is this : the Son of man is 
Lord of the sabbath ; if of the sabbath, how much more of the 
traditions of men ? Whatsoever thou shalt observe upon this 
liberty, it cannot hurt any, but to observe them of necessity, it 
extinguisheth faith and the gospel ; likewise if one live, yet as 
in a monastery, if he observe the vows and ordinances of that 
life with Christian liberty, and of love to his brethren that he 


may edify them, and of no necessity, neither with the hindrance 
of his own or other men s salvation, he shall do godliJy for he is 
free ; but if those things be straightly required as necessary to 
salvation, then before thou suffer thyself to be brought into this 
error, monasteries, shavings, hoods, vows, rules, ordinances, 
and all such like must be left, and the contrary must be done, 
to witness, that only faith and love are necessary for a Christian, 
and that all other things are free, so that he may either omit 
or do them for the edifying and cause of them with whom he 

Whatsoever thou shalt observe upon liberty and love, is godly; 
but if thou observe anything o f necessity, it is ungodly. The 
same is to bo said of all other ordinances and decrees of men. 
which are wont to be observed in monasteries, that whatsoever 
doth not agree with the word of God, thou mayest, being free, 
either observe it or omit it, according as thou shalt know it to 
be profitable and acceptable to them with whom thou art con 
versant; but if they be required as necessary, reject them all 
utterly, and tread them under thy feet. Hereupon thou now 
seest what a devilish thing the papacy and monasteries be ; for 
whatsoever things be free, and to be permitted to free love only, 
they make them necessary, and say the keeping of them is of 
importance to salvation ; whereby truly as much as is in them 
they together pervert and extinguish the gospel and faith. I 
pass over with silence, that they hereupon set and sell the care 
of the belly instead of the service of God; for how many among 
them at this day do for God s cause, and not rather for their 
belly s sake, take upon them to be monks or clerks, do frequent 
the choir, sing, pray, say mass, or do any such thing, wherein 
they counterfeit and corrupt the true worship and service of 
God ? The common subversion of all monasteries was the best 
reformation of all these things, from which so much disadvantage, 
and no whit of profit, may be looked for. Before one monastery 
could be persuaded concerning true Christian liberty, infinite 
thousands of souls in others should perish: wherefore forasmuch 
as they bring no advantage at all, neither is there any need of 
them, and they are a cause of greater hindrance to a Christian 
commonwealth, than can be thought, and cannot by any means 
be reformed, what can be more profitable, than that they be 
utterly overthrown and abolished ? Moreover, that we may 
admonish here concerning the civil magistrate, when he com- 
mandeth or requireth anything, yea, if he compel thereunto, we 


must obey, for there cometh no loss of Christian liberty or of 
faith hereby, forasmuch as they do not contend that those things 
are necessary to salvation which they do ordain or require, but 
only to maintain outward rule, public tranquillity, and govern 
ment, and so the conscience remaineth free. Wherefore foras 
much as it doth nothing hinder faith to do those things which 
the civil magistrate cotnmandeth, but doth also profit the com 
monweal, it shall be without doubt a point of Christian obedience 
to endeavour to do them with a willing mind, that we may be 
such as are pliant and agreeable to all men, willing to do all 
things, ready to observe well of every one, and to gratify all. 

Howbeit if any should contend that those commandments of 
the civil magistrate be necessary to salvation, then, as it is said 
of the traditions of the Papists, the contrary rather were to be 
done, or at the least it were to be witnessed that thou dost them 
only for the commonweal s sake, because it is profitable to 
others, and not that thou mayest obtain salvation by them, which 
we have gotten by Christ Jesus alone, as many of us as believe 
in him. According to this doctrine, and the example beforemen- 
tioned, every one ought to behave himself in every thing and 
toward all men, as Paul here teacheth, that he stick not to his 
own judgment or right, and that he show himself pliant to 
others, and have regard of those things, which he shall know 
will be acceptable and profitable to his neighbours. When there 
fore it doth nothing hinder thy faith, and profiteth thy neigh 
bour to yield somewhat of thy own right, if thou do it not thou 
art without charity, and neglectest that Christian softness and 
patient mind that Paul here speaketh of; yea, if thou hast regard 
hereof, as he that truly believeth in Christ ought to have, thou 
must take it patiently even when any man doth injury unto thee, 
or endamage thee ; and so interpret it in the better part, and al 
ways think on that which that martyr, when all his substance was 
taken from him, said, " But they shall not take away Christ from 
me." So whatsoever chanceth unto thee, say thou, I have as 
yet suffered no loss of my faith; why should I not take it in good 
part, which my neighbour hath dune? Why should I not yield 
unto him, and apply myself to his will ? 

Thou canst scarce find a more manifest example hereof, than 
between two unfeigned friends, for as they behave themselves 
one toward another, so ought a Christian to behave himself to 
ward every one. Either of them endeavoureth to gratify other, 
either of them giveth place to other; suffereth, doth, or omitteth 
whatsoever he seeth to be for the profit and advantage of the- 


other, and that freely without all constraint. Either of them 
doth diligently apply himself to the will of the other, neither of 
them compelleth other to follow his mind, and if one should use 
the goods of another, the other would not he offended, but 
would take it in good part, and would not grudge rather to give 
more ; and that I may speak briefly, between such there is no 
exaction of law, no grudging, no constraint, no necessity, but 
liberty, favour, and good will. On the contrary, such as are 
impatient and obstinate, which take nothing in good part of any 
man, but go about to make all things subject to their own will, 
and to order all things according to their own judgment ; such, 
I say, trouble the world, and are the cause of all discords, con 
tentions, wars, and whatsoever difference there is, and say after 
ward that they did those things for the love of justice, that they 
endeavoured to defend that which is right. So that that heathen 
man said not amiss, Kxtrcme rigour is extreme injury. And 
Solomon also saith, Eccles. vii. 10, " He not righteous overmuch, 
neither make thyself overwise;" for as extreme rigour is extreme 
injury, so too great wisdom is extreme folly; which ais-o is 
meant by this common saying, \Vhcn wise men dote beyond 
measure, surely if God should deal with us according to right, 
we should perish in a moment ; wherefore, as Paul praiseth in 
him this moderation of right, and incomparable patience and 
gentleness, saying, 2 Cor. x. 1, " 1 Paul myself beseech you, 
by the meekness and gentleness of Christ," so it is also meet 
that we do observe a measure of our judgment, right, wisdom, 
prudence, and in all things apply ourselves to the profit of others. 
But let us weigh the words of the Apostle, for they are placed 
not without a spiritual skilfulncss ; he saith, " Let your mode 
ration be known unto all men." \\ here thou must not think 
that he commandeth thcc to be made known unto all men, or 
that thou oughtest to tell thy moderation before all men ; for 
he saith not, tell it forth, but let it be known, that is, endeavour 
to practise it toward men : I do not command that ye should 
think or speak of it, but that ye labour that it may be known 
indeed ; while all men do try and feel it, that no man say any 
other thing of you, than that ye be of a patient mind, and pliant, 
and applying yourselves to all men, being enforced so to say 
even by manifest experience. So that if any man were never so 
much bent to speak otherwise of you, his mouth might be 
stopped by the testimony of all other, witnessing of your patient 
mind and meekness ; so saith Christ, Matt. v. 16, " Let your 
light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, 


and glorify your Father which is in heaven." And Peter saith, 
1 Pet. ii. 12, " Having your conversation honest among the 
Gentiles : that whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they 
may, by your good works which they shall behold,, glorify God 
in the day of visitation." 

It is not surely in our power that our moderation should be 
known and acknowledged of all men, but it shall be sufficient 
for us, if we endeavour that all men may have trial thereof in us, 
and that no man may find it wanting in our life. Moreover (all 
men) it is not so to be taken, that thou shouldest understand there 
by all men which are in the world, but rather all sorts of men that 
we have regard to be of a patient mind, as well toward enemies 
as friends, as well toward servants as masters, small as great, 
poor as rich, strangers as them at home, toward them that we 
know not, as toward them with whom we are familiar ; for there 
are some which behave themselves very gently and patiently 
toward strangers, but toward them that are in the house with 
them, or with whom they always keep company, there are none 
more obstinate or froward than they. And how many are there, 
which at great and rich men s hands take all things in good part, 
interpreting every thing at the best, and most gently bear what 
soever they say or do, but toward the poor they show no gentle 
ness or meekness, neither take any thing of them in good part ; 
so we are all ready to do for our children, parents, friends, and 
kinsmen, and most favourably interpret and willingly bear what 
soever they have committed. How often do we even praise the 
manifest vices of our friends, or at least wink at them, and apply 
ourselves most fitly unto them ! But to our enemies and adver 
saries we impart none of this favour ; in them we can find nothing 
that is good, nothing that is to be borne, nothing that can be 
interpreted in the better part, but we dispraise every thing and 
take it at the worst. Against such imperfect patient minds Paul 
here speaketh, saying, u Let your moderation be known unto 
all men;" he will have our patient mind, and right Christian 
meekness, to be perfect and entire toward all, whether they 
may be enemies or friends : he will have us suffer and take in 
good part all things of all men, without all respect either of 
persons or deserts. 

And such without doubt will our patient mind be, if it be 
true and not counterfeit ; no otherwise than gold remaineth 
gold, whether a godly or ungodly man possess it; and the silver, 
which Judas who betrayed the Lord had, was not turned into 
ashes, but remained that which it was, as truly all the good crea- 


tures of God, whosoever have them, do continue toward all 
things that which they are. So a patient mind which is sincere, 
coming of the spirit, continueth like itself whether it light upon 
enemies or friends, poor men or rich. But our nature, which is 
full of deceit, and plainly corrupt, doth so behave itself, as if that 
which is gold in the hand of Peter, were turned into a coal in 
the hand of Judas ; and it is wont to be patient and pliant toward 
rich men, great personages, strangers, friends, and not toward 
every one, wherefore it is false, vain, vile, hypocritical, and 
nothing but deceit and mockery before God. Hereof now learn 
how far from being sound and entire, spiritual meekness, and a 
patient mind, is unto nature, and how few there be which mark 
this evil, by reason of that deceitful meekness and patient mind, 
though in outward show very goodly, which they show unto 
some, thinking that they do well and justly, in that they are 
more hard and impatient toward others; for so their defiled and 
filthy nature teacheth them, by her goodly reason, which always 
judgeth, and doth against the spirit, and those things that are of 
the spirit, because, as Paul saith, Rom. viii. 5, u They that are 
after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh." But to con 
clude, it is manifest that the Apostle hath comprehended in these 
few words the whole life worthy of a Christian, which he ought 
to lead toward his neighbour; for he that is of a patient mind, 
pliant, and meek indeed, studieth to deserve well of all men, as 
well concerning the body as concerning the soul, as well in deed 
as in words, and doth also bear, with a patient mind, the offences 
and malice of others. 

Where such a mind is, there is also " love, joy, peace, long- 
suffering, gentleness, goodness," and whatsoever is the fruit of 
the spirit, Gal. v. 22. But here flesh nmrmureth : if we should 
endeavour to be so meek and patient, saith the flesh, that we 
should take all things in good part of all men, it would come to 
pass, that no man should be able to keep a piece of bread safely 
and in peace, for the unjust which would abuse our meekness 
and patient mind, they would take away all things, yea, they 
would not suffer us to live. Mark how comfortably and abun 
dantly the Apostle doth satisfy this distrusting and foolish 
thinking even from this place unto the end of this text, u The 
Lord is at hand ;" as though he said, if there were no Lord or 
no God, one might fear, when by his meekness and patient 
mind he counteth all things alike, and taketh all things in good 
part, that that would be damage and hurt unto him ; but now 
there not only is a Lord, which governeth all things most 


justly, but he is also at hand, he cannot forget or forsake thee, 
be thou only of a patient mind and gentle toward all, let him 
have the care of thee, nourish and preserve thee. He hath 
given Christ the eternal good, how should not he also give 
things necessary for the belly ? He hath given far more than 
can be taken away from thee, and thou, forasmuch as thou hast 
Christ, hast much more than the whole world ; hereunto per- 
taineth that which is said, Psalm Iv. 22, " Cast thy burden 
upon the .Lord, and he shall sustain thee." And 1 Pet. v. 7 3 
" Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you." And 
Christ saith, Matt. vi. 26, " Behold the fowls of the air, con 
sider the lilies of the field," &c. All which agree with the 
present consolation of the Apostle, and have the same meaning 
which these words here have. " The Lord is at hand, be care 
ful for nothing. 7 That is, take no care at all for yourselves, 
let God care for you, who knoweth and is able to do it, whom 
ye have now known that he is good and gracious. 

The heathen have, not without a cause, care of this present 
life, inasmuch as they are ignorant, and do not believe that 
they have a God who hath care of all, as Christ, Matt. vi. 31, 
said, " Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat ? 
or what shall we drink ? or wherewithal shall we be clothed ? 
(for after all these things do the Gentiles seek,) for your 
heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." 
Wherefore let the whole world take from thee, and do thee 
injury, thou shalt always have sufficient, and it cannot be that 
thou shouldest perish with any adversity, unless they have first 
taken from thee thy God ; but who can take him from thee, if 
thou thyself dost not cast him off? There is no cause therefore 
that we should be careful, seeing that he is our Father and 
provideth for us, which hath all things in his own hand, even 
those which seem to take away those things that be ours from 
us, and to endamage and hurt us whereinsoever they are able. 
But we have exceeding great cause always to rejoice in the 
Lord, when we are of a patient mind toward all men, forasmuch 
as we are certain, if so be that we believe, that it can by no 
means come to pass, that good things should be wanting unto 
us, having Almighty God our favourable and careful Father; 
whom they that have not, let us suffer them to be troubled 
with care. It ought to be our only care, how we may be void 
of care, and be found always joyful in God ; and meek, and of 
a patient mind toward men. So without doubt we shall try 


that which David tried, Psalm xxxvii. 25> saying, " I have 
been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous 
forsaken, nor his seed begging bread ;" and that which he saith, 
Psalm xi. 40, " The Lord careth for me." "But in every thing 
by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests 
be made known unto God :" In these words the Apostle teacheth, 
how our care is to he casL upon God, and the meaning of that 
which he saith is this, not only be not careful, but if any thing 
chance which may make you careful (as indeed innumerable 
such are wont to come unto those that live in the world) so 
behave yourselves, that ye attempt nothing at all which you 
care, whatsoever that shall be which chanceth unto you, but 
casting off care, turn yourselves with prayer and supplication 
unto (jiod, and desire him that he will bring to pass and hnish 
that which yourselves otherwise should in vain have attempted 
with your care to accomplish. I lowbeit desire this with giving 
of thanks, forasmuch as ye have such a God as hath care of 
you, and unto whom ye may safely commit all care for you; but 
he that will not so behave himself when any thing happeneth, 
but will first weigh all things by his own reason, and order 
them according to his own judgment,, and so take to himself 
the care of his things, he shall wrap himself in innumerable 
disadvantages, he shall lose all joy and quietness thereby, and 
yet shall prevail nothing, but labour in vain, and plunge himself 
so much more in troubles and miseries, that he shall not be 
able to escape out of them again, which we learn daily both by 
our own and by other men s experience. 

Now that which Paul here admonishcth concerning prayer 
tendeth unto this end, lest that any man should neglect all 
things and commit them to God,, and he himself sleep and do 
nothing at all, no not so much as once pray for them ; for he 
that should use this slothfulness, although he were now quiet^ 
shall easily be wrapped in cares, whereof he shall not be able 
to rid himself ; we must do our endeavour and not sleep, and 
therefore it is that many things be incident, which are wont 
to bring carefulness, whereby we might be as it were compelled 
to pray unto God. Wherefore Paul hath not in vain joined 
together those two. (f Be careful for nothing : but, in every 
thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your 
requests be made known unto God." Nothing and every thing 
do indeed greatly differ, howbeit the Apostle therefore put them 
together, that he might signify that it cannot be but that many 


and innumerable things be incident, which are wont to bring 
care., but that in all them we ought to admit no carefulness, 
but always fly unto prayer, and commit them all unto God and 
desire of him those things whereof we have need. Now we 
must here see how our prayer must be framed, and what is the 
true manner of praying. The Apostle setteth down four quests 
or petitions. Prayer is those words or speech, wherein as 
sometimes something is desired, so also other things are de 
clared, as is the Lord s prayer and the Psalms. Supplication 
is when the petition is urged or made more earnest by some 
thing, as when one prayeth for his father, or for some other 
thing which is dear and excellent unto him, as when we pray 
unto God by his mercy, by his Son, by his promise, by his 
name, &c. As Solomon, Psalm cxxxii. 1, (< Lord, remember 
David, and all his afflictions." And Paul, Rom. xii. 1, " I be 
seech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God." And 
2 Cor. x. 1, <f I Paul myself beseech you, by the meekness and 
gentleness of Christ," &c. A petition or request, is, when we 
name that which is desired, and for which prayer and suppli 
cation is made, as in the Lord s prayer, all that composition of 
words is called prayer, but those seven things for which we 
pray, as hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, &c., are 
petitions according to that saying, Matt. vii. 7 > ( Ask, and it 
shall be given you: seek, and ye shall find : knock, and it shall 
be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth : and 
he that seeketh, findeth : and to him that knocketh, it shall be 
opened." Giving of thanks is when the benefits of God are 
rehearsed, whereby faith in God is strengthened, and stirred up 
so much more confidently to look for that which is desired, 
and for which we do pray ; wherefore prayer urgeth or earnestly 
asketh by supplication, but is strengthened and made sweet and 
acceptable by giving of thanks, and so by this strength and 
sweetness it prevaileth, and obtaineth whatsoever it asketh. 

This manner of prayer we read to have been used in the 
church, and among the holy fathers of the Old Testament, 
which were wont always in their prayers to ask with suppli 
cation and giving of thanks ; the same also we see in the Lord s 
prayer, which beginneth with giving of thanks and with praise, 
whenas even in the beginning thereof we confess God a father, 
unto whom the godly mind hath access by his fatherly love, 
and by the love of his Son, unto which supplication nothing may 
be compared ; wherefore it is both the best and most excellent 


prayer of all which may be had. Moreover in these words 
Paul hath very well expressed the mystery of the golden censer 
in the old Testament, whereof we read many things in the hooks 
of Moses ; it was lawful for the priests only to burn incense, 
now all we which believe in Christ are priests, wherefore it is 
lawful for us all, and for us only to burn the incense of prayers. 
The censer, that golden vessel, is the words which we utter in 
prayer, surely golden and precious, as those are whereof the 
Lord s prayer consisteth, the Psalms, and other prayers of the 
scripture ; for commonly in the scripture vessels signify words, 
for that our meanings are contained in words as in a vessel, and 
by words are uttered and received as out of a vessel, as wine, 
water, burning coals, and such like, are contained in vessels, 
and taken out of vessels ; so by the cup of Babylon, Apoc. 17, 
the doctrine of men is understood, and by the cup wherein the 
blood of Christ is drunk, the gospel. Furthermore burning 
coals, whereupon the frankincense was laid, of 
thanks, and rehearsing of benefits in prayer, which we are wont 
to do in making supplication ; for, that by fiery coals benefits 
are signified, it is manifest even out of the 12th to the Romans, 
where the Apostle reciteth the sayings of Solomon, Prov. xxv. 
21, " If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat : and if 
he be thirsty, give him water to drink : for thou shalt heap 
coals of fire upon his head." And benefits may be rightly 
called coals of fire, forasmuch as they inflame the heart with 
love, although it be cold. In the law it was prohibited to 
lay the frankincense upon any other coals but them that were 
of the altar of the Lord, which signifieth that we must not re 
hearse our own good deeds in prayer, as that Pharisee did, 
Luke xv., but only the benefits of God bestowed upon us in 
Christ. He is our altar, by him we must offer for the benefits 
received, by him we must give thanks, and make mention of 
them in prayer for the increasing of our faith. This St. Paul 
teacheth, Colos. iii. 17? where he saith, a Do all in the name of 
the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God, and the Father by him." 
For God cannot suffer that thou shouldest glory in any thing 
else in his sight, which he declared in type or figure, Levit. x., 
where we read that Nadab and Abihu the sons of Aaron were 
taken and consumed of the flame from the altar of God, because 
they burned incense, taking other fire than of the altar of 
the Lord. The works of Christ only are acceptable to God, 
wherefore for these only we must both give thanks and rejoice 
in prayer. 


The incense signifieth the petitions made in prayer; for 
petitions are whereof prayer consisteth, and which ascend unto 
God, according as St. Paul saith, (f Let your requests be made 
known unto God," wherein he seemeth to have considered and 
interpreted them as a savour ascending from the censer. As 
though he had said, when ye shall burn incense sweet and ac 
ceptable unto the Lord, make, that your petitions be showed 
unto God with supplication and giving of thanks, this incense 
and this savour as it is most sweet unto God, so doth it ascend 
straight unto heaven like vapours of smoke, and entereth even 
unto the throne of God ; and as burning coals do give a strong 
savour, and make it ascend upward ; so the memory of the 
benefits of God, which we rehearse by giving of thanks, and 
whereof we do as it were advertise God and ourselves both, 
make prayer stedfast and bold, which cheerfully and gladly 
ascendeth into heaven, without which, truly, prayer fainteth, is 
cold, and of no force. Wherefore whosoever thou art, before 
thou pray with faith and effectually, thy heart must be inflamed 
with the memory of the benefits which God hath bestowed upon 
us in Christ. But perhaps some men will demand how our 
petitions are made known or become manifest unto God, seeing 
then they are not only known unto him before we pray, but he 
also doth send us that which we ask? Whereunto I answer; 
the apostle adjoined this, that he might teach of what sort 
true prayer ought to be, viz., assured and having confidence and 
trust in God, which passeth not away into the wind, neither is 
made at adventure, as their prayer is, which pray, and have no 
regard whether God hear or not, yea, rather believe, that he 
doth not hear, which undoubtedly is not to pray or to ask of 
God, but to tempt and mock God. For if any man did desire 
money of me, whom I certainly knew, not to persuade himself 
that he should receive it, I should not suffer such an asker, of 
whom I might assure myself to be mocked; how much more is 
God offended at our much crying out and babbling, when we 
do continually babble much, and cry out, and do not think at 
all whether he heareth us. Learn therefore here, that thy peti 
tions must be showed unto God, that is, that thou must so ask, 
that thou doubt not that thy petitions be known and accepted 
of God, and believe certainly that thou shalt obtain whatsoever 
thou dost ask, with which faith if thou be endued, it shall so 
come unto thee indeed. 

For as we believe, so it cometh unto us. Wherefore, as the 


smoke carrieth savour upward from the censer, so faith carrieth 
the petitions of the believers into the sight of God, whereby we 
assuredly believe that our petitions shall come unto God, and 
that we shall undoubtedly obtain those things that we ask. St. 
Paul, by these words, a be made known," did undoubtedly mean 
that which is often in the Psalms ; " God hath heard my pe 
tition, Give ear, Lord, unto my prayer," and such like. Hereof 
Christ speaketh, Mutt. xxi. 22, and Mark xi. 24, " Whatsoever 
ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." And James 
saith, chap. i. 67, " Ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he 
that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind 
and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive 
anything of the Lord." Who may not now hereof perceive, 
that that much babbling, and crying out which is made com 
monly through the world in monasteries, is a mocking and 
despising of God ? The prayers of these, if they may be called 
prayers, are abundantly showed before men, for they cry out 
and babble too much, but there is no regard of them with God, 
they are not known of him, neither come they unto his ears, 
that is, he doth by no means hear them, for that they do not 
believe, or are assured, that their crying out or much babbling 
is heard of God, wherefore as they believe, so do they receive. 
It was time therefore long since, that those mocking and blas 
phemies of God should be abolished. But if we pray as we are 
here taught, there shall be nothing surely which we may not 
obtain. Now we pray for many things continually, and receive 
nothing, neither is it any marvel, seeing we pray so, that our 
petitions be not showed unto God, for that we do not believe that 
they be manifest unto him. 

Wo to our diffidence and incredulity. " And the peace of 
God which passcth all understanding, shall keep your hearts 
and minds through Christ Jesus." In how godly an order doth 
St. Paul here instruct a Christian man ? First, he teacheth him 
to be glad and joyful in the Lord by faith ; secondly, to show 
himself meek and gentle to all his neighbours. And if thou say, 
How can I do that without loss or hindrance ? he answereth, the 
Lord is at hand. If thou again object, But what if men per 
secute me, and even bereave me of that 1 have ? He addeth; 
" Be careful for nothing, but let thy requests be made known 
unto God." Where if the flesh again murmur, Whut if in the 
mean season I be oppressed and spoiled ? he concludeth that 
there shall be nothing less, the peace of God shall preserve and 


keep thee ; whereof I must now treat somewhat ; by the peace 
of God is not meant here that peace whereby God is peaceable 
and quiet in himself, but that which he giveth unto us, and 
poureth into our hearts, even as also it is called the word of 
God which he giveth us, that we may preach it and believe it. 
So when he giveth this peace unto us, it is called the peace of 
God, even because we have the same with him, when in the 
world, notwithstanding we suffer affliction. Now this peace 
passeth all understanding, reason, and knowledge of man ; 
which is not so to be understood, as though man cannot at all 
perceive or know it, for if we have peace with God, truly it must 
be felt in our heart and conscience, otherwise our hearts and 
minds could not be preserved by it, but it is thus to be under 
stood : when tribulation cometh upon them, which know not to 
fly unto God with prayer and supplication, but trust to their 
own wisdom and care, whereby they seek peace, but that which 
reason is able to know, whereby tribulation taketh an end, and 
is changed into outward tranquillity ; this peace doth not pass 
reason, but is agreeable unto it, inasmuch as it is sought and 
found out of it ; wherefore they that are void of faith are ex 
ceedingly disquieted, and troubled until according to the reason 
of the flesh they obtain this peace by hardly delivering or ridding 
themselves of adversity, not regarding whether they bring that 
to pass by force or by craft, as he that hath received a wound 
seeketh to have it healed, &c. 

But they that rejoice sincerely in the Lord, it is sufficient for 
them, that they know that they have God favourable unto them, 
and have assured peace with him, they abide willingly in tribu 
lation, being nothing careful for that peace of reason by the 
removing of outward troubles, but they endure them valiantly, 
looking to be strengthened inwardly by faith, taking no care 
whether the adversities which they suffer shall remain a short or 
a long time, whether they shall be temporary or continuing, 
neither are disquieted with caring what end they shall have ; 
they commit all things to God, seeking not to know when, 
how, where, or by whom he will give them quietness ; where 
fore God again showeth them this favour, that he maketh the 
end of their trial to be such, and so great advantage, as no man 
could either suspect or wish for ; Lo, this is the peace of the 
cross, the peace of God, the peace of conscience, true Christian 
peace, which maketh that a man outwardly also, as much as 
in him lieth, liveth quietly and peaceably with all men, and 


troubleth no man. This peace, reason is not able by any means 
to know or comprehend, that a man under the cross may have 
quietness of mind and joy of heart, and peace even in the very 
invasion of his enemies ; this is the gift and work of God 
known to none but to him that hath it, and hath tried it. 
Whereas St. Paul saith, " Now the God of hope fill you with 
all joy and peace in believing," Rom. xv. 13. That which he 
calleth in these words peace in believing, he calleth in our pre 
sent text the peace of God. Moreover, St. Paul signifieth in 
these words, that whosoever will rejoice in the Lord by faith, 
and be meek and of a patient mind toward all by love, the devil 
undoubtedly is against him, and will raise up some cross, that 
he may drive him from so Christian a purpose ; wherefore the 
apostle will have every one to be prepared against this assault 
of Satan, and to place his peace there where Satan cannot 
trouble it, namely, in God, and not think how he may cast off 
the cross, but suffer the adversary to take on, and rage as he 
list, he in the mean time patiently looking for the Lord, that he 
coming may make an end of adversities and trouble, for by this 
means his mind, heart, and conscience are preserved and kept in 
peace. Neither can patience endure, where the heart is not con 
firmed with this peace, for that he only which hath this peace doth 
thoroughly persuade himself thatGod is favourable unto him, and 
careful for him, and maketh no account what chanceth unto him 
from creatures. 

Moreover, let no man understand here the hearts and minds 
to be the will and knowledge of nature, but, as St. Paul himself 
interpreted), the hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, that is, such 
as we have in Christ, of Christ, and under Christ. These are 
the hearts and minds which faith and love cause, with which 
they that be endued, do behave themselves most godly towards 
God, and most lovingly and gently toward their neighbour; 
toward God they so behave themselves, that they believe in 
him, and love him with their whole heart, and are also most 
ready with their whole heart and with all their cogitation to do 
those things which shall be acceptable to God and their neigh 
bours, as much as, yea, more than they are able. Such hearts 
and minds the devil goeth about with the fear of death and other 
troubles to terrify and drive from this godliness, erecting a false 
hope, by the devices and imaginations of men, wherewith the 
mind is seduced, that it may seek to be comforted and helped 
of itself or other creatures, which, if it do, surely he hath drawn 


such a man from the care of God, and wrapped him in his own 
vain care. Thus hast thou, godly reader, out of this short text 
a most plentiful instruction of Christian life, how thou must live 
toward God and thy neighbour, namely, that thou must believe 
that God is all things unto thee, and thou again must be all 
things unto thy neighbours, that thou must show thyself such 
an one to thy neighbour as God hath showed himself unto thee, 
that thou must receive of God and give to thy neighbour ; all 
which are contained in faith and love, the whole sum of all 



Galatians iv. 1 7- Now I say, that the heir., as long as he is 
a child , cliff ere th nothing from a servant, though he be lord 
of all } fyc. 

THIS text toucheth the very pith of St. Paul s chief doctrine, 
the cause why it is well understood of so few, is not, for that it 
is so obscure and hard, but because there is almost no know 
ledge of faith left in the world, without which it cannot be that 
one should rightly understand St. Paul, who everywhere treateth 
of faith with such force of the spirit as he is able ; I must there 
fore speak somewhat, that this text may be made plain, and 
that I may more conveniently bring light unto it in expounding 
it, I will speak a few words in manner of a preface. First, there 
fore, we must understand that that treatise, wherein is treated 
of good works, doth far differ from that wherein is treated of 
justification, as there is very great difference between the sub 
stance and the working, between a man and his work. Now 
justification is of man, and not of works 5 for man is either 
justified and saved, or judged and condemned, and not works. 
Neither is it in controversy among the godly, that man is justi 
fied by no work, but righteousness must come unto him from 
some otherwhere than from his own works ; for Moses writeth 
of Abel after this sort : " The Lord had respect unto Abel, and 
to his oblation/ First, he had respect to Abel himself, then to 
his oblation, because that Abel was first counted righteous, entire, 

n 2 


acceptable unto God, and then for bis sake, bis oblation also 4 
was allowed, and not be because of bis oblation. Again, Gocl 
bad no respect to Cain ; and therefore neither to bis oblation, 
where again thou scest, that regard is had first of the worker, 
then of the work. Of this place it is very plainly gathered, 
that no work can be allowed of God, whereas be which worketh 
that work was not first acceptable to him; and again, that no 
work is disallowed of him, unless the author thereof be dis 
allowed before. 

1 think that these things will be sufficient concerning this 
matter in this place, of which it is easy to understand that there 
are two sorts of works : some going before justification, and some 
following it, and that these last are good works indeed, but that 
those others do only appear to be good. Hereof cometb such 
disagreement between God and those counterfeit holy ones, for 
this cause Nature and Reason rise and rage against the Holy 
Ghost ; this is that whereof almost all the whole Scripture treat- 
etb. The Lord in bis word deiinetb, that all works that go before 
justification are evil, and of no importance, and requiretb that 
man himself before all things be justified. And he proiiounceth 
all men, which are yet unregenerate, and have not changed 
that nature, which they received of their parents, with the new 
creature of Christ, to be unrighteous and wicked, according to 
that saying, Psalm cxvi, "All men are liars," that is, unable to 
perform their duty, and to do those things which by right they 
ought. And Gen. vi. 5, i( And that every imagination of the 
thoughts of bis heart was only evil continually/ whereby un 
doubtedly it cometb to pass, that he is able to do nothing that is 
good, which bath the fountain of actions, that is bis heart, cor 
rupted ; and if he do many works which in outward show seem: 
good, they are no better than the oblation of Cain. Against this 
cometb forth Reason, our reverend mistress, seeming to herself 
marvellously wise, yet indeed is unwise and blind, and is not 
ashamed to gainsay her God, and to reprove him of lying, she 
being furnished with her follies and very flimsy armour, to wit 
the light of nature, free-will, the strength of nature,, also with the 
books of the heathen, and with the doctrines of men. She dareth 
with her evil sounding strings make a noise against God, that the 
works of a man even not yet justified are good works, and not 
works like unto Cain s, (which God pronounceth,) yea, and so 
good, that he that worketh them is justified by them, for so 
Aristotle hath taught, that he that worketh well is made good. 


Unto this saying she leaneth and sticketh unmoveably, and 
wresteth the scripture clean contrary, contending that God will 
liave respect first to the works, then to the worker ; such very 
devilish doctrine beareth the sway now every where in schools, 
colleges, and monasteries, wherein no other saints than Cain was, 
have rule and authority. Now of this error another immediately 
springeth ; they which attribute so much to works and do not 
accordingly esteem the worker and sound justification, go so far, 
that they ascribe all merit and sovereign righteousness to works 
done before justification, making almost no account of faith, 
alleging that which James saith, " that without works it is dead: 
which sentence of the apostle, when they little understand, they 
attribute almost nothing to faith, they always stick to works, 
whereby they think they do merit exceedingly of God, and 
are persuaded that for their works sake they shall obtain the 
favour of God, and by this means do they continually disagree 
with God, showing themselves to be the right posterity of Cain. 
God hath respect unto man, these to the w r orks of man ; God 
alloweth the works for his sake that worketh, these require that 
for the works sake the worker may be crowned. 

Now God goeth not from his sentence, as it is meet and just, 
and these will seem nothing less than to err in any respect ; they 
will not have their good works contemned, reason to be nothing 
esteemed, free-will to be counted ineffectual, or surely, if thou 
dost here strive against them., they begin to be angry with God, 
and count it a small matter to kill their brother Abel. But here 
perhaps thou wilt say, What is needful to be done ? By w r hat 
means shall I first of all become righteous and acceptable to 
God ? How shall I attain to this perfect justification ? The 
gospel answereth, preaching that it is necessary that thou hear 
Christ, and repose thyself wholly in him, denying thyself, and 
distrusting all thine own strength ; by this means thou shalt be 
changed from Cain to Abel, and being thyself acceptable shalt 
offer acceptable gifts to the Lord. This faith, as it is preached 
unto thee for no merits of thine own, so is it given unto thee for 
no deserving of thine, but of mere grace \ and this faith justifieth 
thee, thou being endued therewith, the Lord remitteth all thy 
sins, and that by the contemplation of Christ his Son, in whom 
this faith believeth and trusteth. Moreover he giveth unto such 
a faith, his Spirit, which doth thoroughly change a man and make 
him new, so that now he hath other reason, and another will 
than before, namely, that which is ready unto good ; such an 


one worketh nothing but good works, neither can it be but good, 
which he being good before shall do, whereof I have spoken 
somewhat before. 

Wherefore nothing else is required unto justification, than to 
hear Jesus Christ our Saviour, and to believe in him, howbeit 
neither of these is the work of nature, but only of grace; he 
therefore that goeth about to attain hereunto by works, shutteth 
the way to the gospel, to faith, grace, Christ, God, and all things 
that help unto salvation. Again, unto good works there is need 
only of justification, which he that hath attained, doth work only 
good works, and beside such an one, none. Hereof it sufficiently 
appeareth, that the beginning, the things following, and the order 
of man s salvation, arc after this sort: First of all is required, 
that thou hear the word of God ; next that thou believe, then 
that thou do work, and so at the last become saved and happy. 
He which changeth this order, without doubt is not of God. 
Paul also dcscribcth this order, saying, Rom. x. 13, "Whoso 
ever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. How 
then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed ? and 
how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ? and 
how shall they hear without a preacher ? and how shall they 
preach, except they be sent?" Therefore Christ teacheth us to 
pray the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers 
into his harvest, that is, sincere preachers. When we hear these 
preach the true words of God, we may believe, which faith jus- 
tifieth a man, and maketh him godly indeed, and he now calleth 
upon God in the spirit of the sons, and worketh nothing but that 
which is good, and thus becometh a man saved ; which is no 
other thing, than if I say, "He that believcth shall be saved." 
Again, he that worketh without faith is condemned, as Christ 
saith : He that doth not believe shall be condemned, from which 
no works shall deliver him. 

Confer now herewith those things which are wont commonly 
to be spoken of, honesty and righteousness. Are they not wont 
thus to say ? I will endeavour, that I may yet become honest. 
It is meet surely that we study to lead an honest life and to do 
good works : Well, admit this to be so; but if one then ask them 
how we may apply ourselves unto honesty, and by what means we 
may attain unto it ? they answer, That we must fast, pray, fre 
quent temples, avoid sins, &c. Hereupon one becometh a Char 
treuse monk, another chooseth some other order of monks, 
another is consecrated a priest ; some torment their flesh by 


wearing of hair cloths, others scourge their bodies with whips, 
others afflict themselves after other sort. But these are even 
of Cain s brood, and their works are no whit better than the 
works of Cain ; for the man himself continueth the same that 
he was before, ungodly, and without all justification, there is a 
certain change made only of outward works, of apparel, of places, 
&c. Neither are these any other than very apes of saints, for 
they do preposterously imitate the manner and work of saints, 
whenas they think themselves nothing less than saints, they 
scarce think of faith, they presume only of such works as seem 
good unto themselves, thinking by them to come unto heaven. 
Of whom Christ said, " Enter ye in at the straight gate ; for I 
say unto you, many seek to enter in at it, and cannot/ 5 Why 
is this ? Because they know not what this narrow gate is ; for 
it is faith which doth altogether annihilate or make a man nothing 
in his own eyes, and requireth that he put no trust in any of his 
own works, but that he lean only to the grace of God, and be 
prepared for it to leave and suffer all things. 

But those holy ones of Cain s brood think their good works 
to be the narrow gate, and are not therefore extenuated or made 
less, whereby they might enter ; they do not leave confidence in 
their works, but gather them together in great cowls, they hang 
them about them, and so go about to enter in, being burthened, 
and as it were swollen big, which is as possible for them, as for 
a camel with his bunched back to go through the eye of a needle. 
When thou shalt begin to preach unto these of faith, they laugh 
and hiss at thee : Dost thou count us, say they, for Turks and 
Heathens, whom it behoveth now first to learn faith ? Is there 
such a company of priests, monks and nuns, and is not faith 
known ? Who knoweth not what he ought to believe ? Even 
manifest sinners know that. And being after this sort animated 
and stirred up, they think that they be abundantly endued with 
faith, and that the rest is now to be finished, and made perfect 
by works ; whereupon they make a small and slender account of 
faith, as I have said, because they be ignorant both what faith 
is, and that it alone doth justify. 

They call it faith ; when they believe those things which they 
have heard of Christ, which kind of faith the devils also have, 
and yet are nothing therefore justified ; but this deserveth to be 
called rather an opinion of men than faith ; for as we do often 
times admonish, it is not sufficient that thou mayest worthily be 
called a Christian, to believe those things to be true, which are 


preached of Christ ; which kind of faith they of Cain s brood 
also have. But thou must also nothing doubt, that them art of 
the number of them unto whom all those benefits of Christ are 
given and exhibited ; which he that believeth, must plainly con 
fess that he is holy, godly, righteous, the son of God, and certain 
of salvation, and thut by no merit of his own, but by the only 
mercy of God poured forth upon him for Christ s sake ; which he 
believeth to be so rich and plentiful, as it is indeed, that although 
he be as it were drowned in sins, he is notwithstanding thereby 
made holy, and the son of God. Wherefore if he should any 
thing doubt, he should procure exceeding ignominy and reproach 
to baptism which he hath received, and to the Lord s supper, and 
also reprove the word and grace of God of falsehood ; wherefore 
take heed that thou nothing doubt, that thou art the son of God, 
and therefore righteous by his grace, let all fear and care be here 
away. Howbeit thou must fear and tremble, that thou mayest 
persevere such an one unto the end : Thou must not, being in 
this case, be careful that thou mayest become righteous and 
saved, but that thou mayest persevere and continue ; neither 
must thou do this, as though it consisted in thine own strength, 
for all thy righteousness and salvation is only of grace, where- 
unto only thou must trust : but when thou knowest that it is of 
grace alone, and that thy faith is also the gift of God, thou shait 
for good cause live in fear and care, lest that any temptation do 
violently move thee from this faith. 

Hereunto pertaineth that which is written in the 9th chap, of 
Ecclesiastes, ver. 1, "The righteous, and the wise, and their 
works are in the hand of God ; no man knoweth either love, or 
hatred, by all that is before them. All things come alike to 
all," &c. For the present time every one by faith is certain of 
our salvation, but constantly to stand and persevere as it is the 
gift of the Lord, and not in our own strength, so ought we 
always to have care and fear thereof. When they of Cain s 
brood hear faith to be treated of after this sort, they cannot 
sufficiently marvel at our madness, as it seems unto them. God 
turn this way from me say they that I should confirm myself 
holy and godly, far be this arrogancy and rashness from me ; I 
am many ways a miserable sinner, I should be mad, if I should 
arrogate holiness unto myself. And thus they mock at true 
faith, and count such doctrine as this for execrable error, and go 
about with might and main to extinguish the gospel. These 
are they that deny the faith of Christ, and persecute it in the 


whole world, of whom Paul speaketh, 1 Tim. iv. 1, In the 
latter times some shall depart from the faith,," &c. For we see 
it brought to pass by the means of these, that true faith lieth 
every where oppressed, is not only not preached,, but also com 
monly disallowed and condemned, with all them that either 
teach or profess it. The pope, bishops, colleges, monasteries, 
and universities, have now about five hundred years persecuted 
it with one mind and consent; yea, and that marvellous and 
stiffly obstinately, and have done no other thing unto the world, 
but every where as much as they were able driven many unto 
hell ; which truly both hath been and is the last and most hurtful 
persecution of Antichrist. The Lord at the last bring it to an 
end. If any object against the admiration, or rather mad sense 
lessness of these men, that we do nothing but that that is meet, 
if we count ourselves even holy, trusting to the goodness of 
God justifying us, seeing that David prayed thus : " Preserve 
my soul, for I am holy," Psalm Ixxxvi. 2. And for that Paul 
saith, " The Spirit of God beareth witness with our spirit, that 
we are the sons of God/ They answer that the Prophet and 
Apostle would not teach us in these words, or give an example, 
which we should follow, but that they being particularly and 
specially enlightened, received such revelation of themselves, 
that they were holy. 

And after this sort they misinterpret and wrest whatsoever 
place of scripture amrmeth that we are holy, saying that such 
doctrines are not written for us, but that they are rather peculiar 
miracles and prerogatives as they call them, which do not belong 
to all ; which forged imagination we account of, as having come 
from their sick brain, who, when as they themselves void of faith, 
and savour nothing of the Spirit, think and contend that there 
be none which have found faith and the Spirit, whereby surely 
they believe themselves to be thorns and thistles, not Christians, 
but rather enemies and destroyers of Christians, and persecutors 
of the Christian faith. Again, they are of this belief, that they 
shall be righteous and holy by their own works, and that be 
cause of them God will give unto them salvation and eternal 

But here see the madness of men : in their opinion and judg 
ment it is a Christian thing to think that we should be righteous 
and saved because of our works, and to believe that these things 
are given by the grace of God, they condemn as heretical. 
They attribute that to their own works, which they attribute not 


to the grace of God ; they affirm that they do save us, and not 
this ; they trust to works, they cannot trust to God s grace ; 
which blindness worthily cometh unto them, inasmuch as they 
will not build upon the rock, let them build upon the sand, and 
so be drowned by their own means, that by their own works 
and satisfactions they may torment themselves even unto death 
gratifying Satan herein, for that they will not rest upon the grace 
of God, and serve the Lord with a gentle and sweet service ; for 
they that are endued with true faith and do rest upon the grace 
of the Lord, it is marvellous how they are in God by his good 
ness, of most quiet minds, and greatly rejoicing with holy joy; 
whereupon they do also with pleasure apply themselves to good 
works, not to such as these which Cain s brood do, as to feigned 
prayers, fasting, base and filthy apparel, and such like trifles, 
but to true and right good works, whereby their neighbour is 
profited, and from whence no small commodity rcdoundeth 
unto men. 

Moreover they are of most ready minds to suffer all things, 
inasmuch as they are certain that God doth favour them, and 
hath a care of them. These are right honest and profitable men, 
by whom both God is glorified, and men much profited; whenas 
those of Cain s brood serve to no use, either before God or 
before men, no, they are an unprofitable lump of earth ; yea, not 
only unprofitable, but exceeding pernicious and hurtful also both 
to themselves and to others : for inasmuch as they are destitute 
of true faith, they cannot give unto God his due glory, nor do 
those good works which may truly profit their neighbour; for 
those works that they apply themselves unto, are their own in 
ventions, consisting in gestures, apparel, places, times, meats, 
and such like trifles, whereby their neighbour can be helped 
neither in body, nor mind, nor in any thing else ; for what can 
it profit me that thy crown is shaven very broad ; that thou 
wcarest a grey cowl ; what profit bringeth it, that thou fastest 
to-day, and keepest holy day to-morrow; that thou abstainest 
from this meat, and eatest that; that thou remainest in this place; 
that thou readcst and mumblest up daily so many words ? 
Surely thou dost nothing else by these, but torment thyself to 
please Satan, and to be a pernicious and hurtful example to thy 
neighbour ; for there is no Christianity in thy life, being such 
thou believest not as it behoveth a Christian to believe, and 
therefore neither dost thou pray christianly. Thy fasting also 
is not true chastising of the body, but rashly taken upon thee 


instead of a good work. In fine, this thy service and study of 
religion is no other thing than, in time past among the Jews, 
was the religion of Moloch and Baal, in the honour of whom 
they did kill and burn even their own children. So pernicious 
and pestilent an example is this thy holiness, which seemeth so 
godly unto thee, which when it marvellously counterfeiteth a 
show of godliness, it draweth miserable men to the following 
thereof, and utterly extinguisheth true religion. 

Here perhaps some godly man will think, if the matter be so, 
and our works do not save us, but only to hear Christ and be 
lieve in him, who is given unto us of the Father to be our 
righteousness and salvation, to what end then are so many pre 
cepts given unto us, and why doth God severely require that 
they be obeyed ? The present text of the Apostle shall give unto 
us the solution of this question, and upon this tit occasion we 
will now enter into the exposition thereof. The Galatians being 
taught of Paul the faith of Christ, but afterwards seduced by 
false apostles, thought that the matter of our salvation must be 
finished and made perfect by the works of the law, and that 
faith only doth not suffice ; these Paul calleth back again from 
works unto faith, with great diligence, and words marvellously 
effectual, plainly proving that the works of the law, which go 
before faith, do make us only servants, and be of no importance 
to godliness and salvation ; but that faith doth make us the sons 
of God, and that from thence true good works do without con 
straint forthwith most plentifully flow. But here we must ac 
custom ourselves to the words of the apostles. He calleth him 
a servant that is occupied in works without faith, whereof we 
have already treated at large ; he calleth him a son, which is 
righteous and lively by faith alone, without works. The reason 
hereof is this : the servant, although he apply himself to good 
works, yet he doth it not with that mind with which a son doth, 
that is, with a mind that is free, willing, and certain, that the 
inheritance and all the good things of the Father are his; but 
doth it as he that is hired with a stipend in another man s house, 
who hopeth not that the inheritance shall come unto him. The 
works indeed of the son and the servant are alike, and almost all 
one according to the outward appearance, but their minds do 
differ exceeding much, and their hope is nothing like, even 
as Christ himself saith, " The servant abideth not in the 
house for ever ; but the Son abideth ever," John viii. 35. 
These of Cain s brood want the faith of sons, which they them- 


selves confess, for they think it a most absurd thing, and wicked 
arrogancy, to affirm themselves to be the sons of God and holy, 
therefore as they believe, even so are they counted before God, 
they never become the sons of God, or holy, nevertheless they 
are exercised with the works of the law, and are well wearied, 
wherefore they are and remain servants for ever. And they 
receive no other reward, but these temporal things, namely, 
quietness of life, abundance of goods, dignity, and honours, &c., 
which we see to be usual among the followers of the Popish 
religion, than whom there is none at this clay that liveth more 
pleasantly, more wealthily, more gloriously, and honourably. 
But this is their reward, they are servants and not sons, where 
fore in death they shall be thrust from all good things, neither 
shall any portion of the eternal inheritance come unto them, who 
in this present life would believe nothing thereof; so therefore 
it is that servants and sons are not much unlike in works, but in 
mind and faith they are most unlike. 

Now the Apostle endeavoureth here to prove (which indeed 
is the very matter) that the law with all the works thereof dotli 
make us no other than servants, if this faith in Christ, whereof 
we have spoken, be away ; for that alone doth make us the sons 
of God. Neither the law nor nature can give it, only the gospel 
bringcth it, when it is heard with an holy silence of mind ; it is 
the word of grace, which the Holy Ghost doth forthwith follow, 
as it is showed in very many places, and especially Acts x., 
where we read, that the Holy Ghost did by and by fall on Cor 
nelius and his family, hearing the preaching of Peter. Moreover 
the law was given for this, that we might learn by it, how void 
we are of grace, and how far from being of the mind of sons, 
yea, that we arc plainly of a servile mind, for we being left to 
ourselves, can in no wise be free from the law, neither if we do 
any good thing, do it willingly, forasmuch as that faith of sons is 
wanting, wherewith he that is endued, knoweth assuredly, that 
the eternal inheritance shall come unto him, and is of his own 
accord inclined and bent, with a willing and ready spirit, to do 
those things that are good. Now these men do willingly confess 
that they are void of this faith, and if they would confess the 
truth indeed, they should also plainly confess, that they had 
far rather be without all law, and that they are against their 
wills subject thereunto ; wherefore all things are amongst them 
constrained, and void of faith, and they are in very deed com 
pelled to confess that by the law they cannot attain any further j 


which one thing they ought to learn by the law, and know, that 
they are servants, and have nothing belonging to sons whereby 
they might be inflamed with desire to come from servitude to the 
state and condition of sons; and might take no account^of their 
own things, as indeed they ought to do, that God of his grace 
might advance them unto another state by faith. 

Now this were a sound understanding of the law, and the true 
use thereof, whereof this is the office, to reprove and convince 
men hereof, that they are servants and not sons, as many as 
follow the law without faith, and that they do exercise them 
selves therein plainly against their wills, and with no confi 
dence of grace ; for it causeth and maketh such to be offended 
at it, and learn by it how unprepared and unwilling they 
are to that which is good, inasmuch as they are void of faith, 
whereby it moveth them to seek help some other where, and 
not to presume of their own strength to satisfy it ; for it re- 
quireth a ready will, and hearts of sons, which alone can satisfy 
it, it utterly refuseth servants, and them that are unwilling. 
But these of Cain s brood do not only of their own accord con 
fess that they want this faith, which maketh the sons of God, 
but also they persecute it ; they feel and know also full well 
how unwillingly they bear the law, and had rather be free from 
it, nevertheless, they think that they shall become righteous by 
these their unwilling and constrained works. They will con 
tinue servants, and will not be changed into sons, and yet they 
would enjoy the goods of a strange father. They do all things 
clean out of order, whereby the law they ought to learn, that 
they are servants, and unwilling to do that which is good, and 
therefore should by faith aspire to the state of sons, notwith 
standing they go so far, that they seek to satisfy and fulfil it by 
their own works only ; and thereby they do altogether hinder 
the end of the law, and strive against faith and grace, whereunto 
if they were not blind, the law would direct and drive them ; 
and so they continue always a blind, blockish, and miserable 

These things St. Paul teacheth, Rom. iii. and vii , and doth 
freely pronounce that no man is justified before God, by the 
works of the law, adding no other cause hereof than this, for 
that the knowledge of sin only cometh by the law. If thou 
wilt know how this cometh to pass, consider well some one of 
Cain s brood, and thou shalt by and by see it verified. First, 
he worketh his works according to the law, with great grief and 


labour, and yet he therewith confesseth, that he is uncertain 
whether he be the Son of God, and holy; yea, he condemneth 
and curseth this faith, as the most pernicious arrogancy and 
error of all other, and will continue in his doubting, until he be 
made certain by his works. Here thou seest plainly, that such 
a man is not good or righteous, seeing that he wanteth this 
faith and belief that he is counted acceptable before God and 
his son, yea, he is an enemy to this faith, and therefore of 
righteousness also ; wherefore neither can his works be counted 
good, although they pretend a fair show of fulfilling the law. 
And thus it is easy to understand that which St. Paul saith, that 
no man is justified before God by the works of the law 5 for the 
worker must be justified before God, before he worketh any 
good things, although before men, which esteem a man by out 
ward things, and not by the mind, they are counted righteous 
which apply themselves to the doing of good works ; for men 
judge the worker by the works, God judgeth works by the 
worker. Now, the first precept rcquireth, that we acknowledge 
and worship one God, that is, that we trust and rest in him 
alone, which indeed is the true faith, whereby we become the 
sons of Ciod ; but how easy is it by this precept to know, that 
sin is both in him of Cain s brood, and in thyself, inasmuch as 
both of you want such a faith, even by your own nature, which 
thou couldest not know but by means of this law. And this is 
that which St. Paul meaneth when he saith, " That by the law 
cometh the knowledge of sin." Xow thou canst be delivered 
from this evil of infidelity, neither by thine own power, nor 
the power of the law, wherefore all thy works whereby thou 
goest about to satisfy the law, can be nothing but works of the 
law, of far less importance, than that they are able to justify 
thee before God ; who counteth them wholly righteous, which 
truly believe in him, for that they only acknowledge him the 
true God, are his sons, and do truly fulfil the law. But if thou 
shouldst even kill thyself with works, yet is it so far off, that 
thy heart can obtain this faith thereby, that thy works are even 
a hindrance that thou canst not know it, yea, they are a cause 
that thou dost persecute it. 

Hereupon it is, that he that studieth to fulfil the law without 
faith, is afflicted for the devil s sake, and not for God s sake, and 
continueth a persecutor both of faith and of the law, until he 
come unto himself, and doth plainly cease to trust in himself 
and in his own works, doth give this glory to God, who justifieth 


the ungodly, acknowledged himself to be nothing, and fighteth 
for God s grace, whereof he doth now know, being taught by 
the law that he hath need. Then faith and grace come and fill 
him being empty, satisfy him being hungry, and by and by follow 
good works which are truly good : neither are they now the 
works of the law, but of the spirit, of faith and grace, and 
they are called in the scriptures the works of God, which he 
worketh in us ; For whatsoever we do by our own power and 
strength, and is not wrought in us by his grace, without doubt 
it is a work of the law, and availeth nothing to justification, but 
is both evil and hated of God, because of the infidelity wherein 
it is done. Again, whatsoever he of Cain s brood worketh, he 
doth nothing from his heart, nothing freely, and with a willing 
mind, except he be as it were hired with some reward, or be 
commanded to do some such tiling whereunto he ought other 
wise to be ready of himself; even as an evil and unthrifty servant 
suffereth himself to be brought to no work, unless he be hired 
with a reward, or commanded, whereunto he ought otherwise 
to be willing of himself. Now how unpleasant is it to a man to 
have such servants \ but they of Cain s brood be plainly such ; 
they would do no good works at all, if they were not either com 
pelled by the fear of hell, or allured by the hope of present good 
things ; whereby again thou seest, that these have no mind to 
the law, they gape only for gain, or are moved with fear, 
whereby they bewray themselves that they do rather hate the 
law from their heart, and had rather that there were no law 
at all : wherefore it is plainly manifest, that they are not 
good, and consequently that neither their works be good : for 
how should evil men work good works ? Moreover those their 
works, which in appearance and show seem to be good, are 
either wrested from them by fear, or are bought with promises. 
An evil heart can do nothing that is good. But this naughti 
ness of the heart and unwillingness to do good, the law bewrayeth 
when it teacheth, that God doth not greatly esteem what the 
hand doth, but what the heart doth, which, seeing it hateth the 
law that is good, who will deny it to be most evil ? Surely it is a sin 
to be against the law, which is very good. Thus therefore sin is 
known by the law, according as St. Paul teacheth, forasmuch as 
we learn thereby, how our affection is not set on that which is 
good, which ought to terrify us, and drive us to cease to trust to 
ourselves, and to long after the grace of God, whereby this 
naughtiness of the heart may be taken away, and our mind may 


become such, as is of itself ready to do good things, and loveth 
the law, which voluntarily, not for fear of any punishment, or 
respect of reward, but because it doth of its own accord like the 
law, and love righteousness, and worketh those things which are 
truly good ; by this means only one is made of a servant a son, 
of a slave an heir; which mind and spirit thou shalt receive by 
no other means than by faith in Christ, as it is before spoken at 
large. Now let us come to treat of the text of St. Paul, verse 1, 
"The heir as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a 
servant, though he be lord of all." 

He propoundeth a similitude taken of the custom of men ; for 
we see that children, unto whom their parents have left some 
substance, be brought up no otherwise than if they were servants, 
they are fed and clothed with their goods, but they are not per 
mitted to do with them, nor use them according to their own 
mind, but are ruled with fear and discipline of manners, that so 
even in their own inheritance they live no otherwise than as ser 
vants ; after the same sort is it also in spiritual things ; God made 
unto the elect a covenant, when he promised that it should come 
to pass, that in the seed of Abraham, that is in Christ, all nations 
should be blessed, Gen. xxii. 18. That covenant was afterwards 
confirmed by the death of Christ, and revealed and published 
abroad by the preaching of the gospel ; for the gospel is no other 
thing, than an open and general preaching of this grace, that in 
Christ blessing and grace is laid up for all men, which so many 
only shall receive as shall believe. Now before that this covenant 
is truly opened and made manifest to men, the sons of God live 
after the manner of servants under the law, and are exercised 
with the works of the law, although they cannot be justified by 
them, inasmuch as they are servile and do nothing avail to jus 
tification, as it is said before ; notwithstanding, because they are 
even then predestinate to life, when they are after the manner 
of servants held under the law, they are true heirs of heavenly 
good things, that is, of this blessing and grace of this covenant ; 
although they as yet do not know or enjoy it, but are wearied 
with works no otherwise than others that are void of faith. So 
at this day thou mayest find not a few, which now having faith, 
as they are the sons of God, so do they also enjoy the grace of 
God in the liberty of sons, whenas a little before being drowned 
in works, they knew nothing at all of faith, being in all things 
like unto other hypocrites. Nevertheless, because they were 
before the foundation of the world appointed of God unto this 


faith and state of sons, they were even then the sons of God 
before, when they were as yet altogether ignorant of faith. 
There are some also which being, as yet, as it were, drowned 
in works, are like to servants and those of Cain s brood, who 
notwithstanding before God are sons and heirs, which shall be 
brought unto the faith of sons, leaving the state of servants, 
and shall embrace the liberty and right of sons, shall cease from 
the works of the law, and come unto the inheritance of justifi 
cation, that, being justified by grace, they may work freely those 
things that be good, to the glory of God, and advantage of their 
neighbours; being far from all fear, to hope, as well of justifi 
cation, as of all other good things ; for they shall then have and 
possess it by the covenant of the Father confirmed by Christ, 
and revealed, published, and as it were delivered into their hands 
by the gospel, through the only grace and mercy of the Father. 

This covenant, both Abraham and all the fathers, which were 
endued with true faith, had no otherwise than we have, although 
before Christ was glorified, this grace was not openly published 
and preached. They lived in like faith, and therefore they ob 
tained also like good things. They had the same grace, blessing, 
and covenant with us, for there is one Father, and the same God 
of all. Thou seest therefore that St. Paul, as almost in all other 
places, so here also doth treat much of faith, that we are not jus 
tified by our works, but by faith alone, whereby not certain good 
things by piece-meal, but all good things at once do come unto 
us, for there is no good thing, which this covenant of God doth 
not contain in it, it giveth and bringeth righteousness, salvation, 
and God himself; works cannot be done at once, but by faith 
the whole inheritance of God is together received. From thence 
also good works do come, though not meritorious, whereby thou 
niayest seek salvation, but which with a mind already possessing 
righteousness, thou must do with great pleasure to the profit of 
thy neighbours ; for thou shalt now have need of nothing, being 
endued with faith, which bringeth all things, yea, surely more 
things than one dare wish, much less can deserve ; wherefore it 
is no marvel if such work all things freely, and so do unto their 
neighbour, as they both believe and rejoice, that God of his 
goodness, and by the merit of Christ, hath doth unto them. 

What reward shall they hope for which already have all things ? 
the shadow whereof those most miserable ones of Cain s brood 
seek by their works, but they shall never find it ; they follow it, 
but they shall never come unto it, Verse 2, " But is under 



tutors and governors, until the time appointed of the father." 
Tutors and governors are they which do bring up the heir, and 
so rule him, and order his goods, that neither he waste his inhe 
ritance by riotous living, neither his goodness otherwise perish 
or be consumed. They permit him not to use his goods at his 
own will or pleasure, but sutler him to enjoy them as they shall 
he needful and profitable unto him. First, whereas they keep 
him at home, and inform him with good manners, what do they 
else but prepare and instruct him, whereby he may most com- 
modiously and long enjoy his inheritance ? Again, the more 
straightly and severely they bring him up, so much greater de 
sire they stir up and inflame in him to come to, and enjoy his 
inheritance. Tor as soon as he beu mneth to be of any discretion 
and judgment, it cannot be but grievous unto him to live at the 
commandment and will of another. After the same sort standeth 
the case of the elect, which are brought up and instructed under 
the la\v, as under LI master, to the liberty of the sons. First, the 
law pro(iteth them in this, that by the fear of it, and the punish 
ment which it threateneth, they are driven from sin, at the least 
from the outward work, lest that the liberty of sinning increase 
overmuch, and remove them from all religion of God, that hope 
of salvation being past, and God quite contemned, they should 
run headlong without all fear into all kinds of evil, as some 
desperate persons are wont to do. Again, the law is profitable 
to them in this, that by it they are brought unto knowledge of 
themselves, and learn how unwillingly they live under the law, 
and that they do no good at all, with a willing and ready mind, 
as it becometh sons, but with a servile and unwilling mind ; 
whereby they may easily see what is the root of this evil, and 
what is especially needful unto salvation, to wit, a new and a 
willing spirit to that which is good ; which surely neither the 
law, nor the works of the law, are able to give ; yea, the longer 
and the more that they apply themselves unto them, so much 
more unwilling shall they iind themselves, and with so much 
more grief to work those things that are good. Hereupon now 
they learn that they do not satisfy the law, although outwardly 
they live according to the prescript, rule thereof; for as they do 
pretend to obey it in work, so in mind they do hate it ; where 
fore in mind also they remain sinners, although they pretend 
themselves righteous by works, that is, they are like unto those 
of Cain s brood, and to hypocrites, whose hand, indeed, is com 
pelled to do good, but they have a heart, which, as it is an enemy 


to the law, so doth it verily consent unto sins, and is miserably 
subject unto them. To know this concerning themselves is not 
the lowest degree to salvation. 

Hereof also we may see how fitly St. Paul calleth such con 
strained works the works of the law ; for they flow not from a 
ready and willing heart, but are enforced by the law, the heart 
declining another way. Howbeit, the law doth not require 
works alone, but much rather the heart itself, that we might 
say, not only the works, but rather the heart of the law ; not 
only the hands of the law, but rather the mind, will, and all the 
strength of the law. Whereupon it is said in the first Psalm, of 
the blessed man, (S But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and 
on his law doth he meditate clay and night." Such a mind the 
law requireth indeed, but it giveth it not, neither can it give it 
of its own nature, whereby it cometh to pass that, while the law 
continueth to exact it of a man, and to condemn him as long as 
he hath not such a mind, as disobedient to God, he is in anguish 
on every side, his conscience is grievously terrified, and without 
all counsel and help. Then, indeed, he is most ready for grace, 
and this is that time appointed of the Father, when his servitude 
shall end, and he should enter into the state of the sons. For 
being thus in distress and terrified, seeing that by no other 
means he can avoid the condemnation of the law, he turneth 
himself wholly to pray to the Father for grace, he acknowledgeth 
his frailty, he confesseth his sins, he ceaseth to trust in works, 
and doth altogether, as it is meet, humble himself, perceiving 
now full well that between him and a manifest sinner there is no 
difference at all but of works, that he hath a wicked heart, even 
as any other sinner hath ; yea, it may be that such hypocrites 
do far more hate the law in the heart than those infamous sin 
ners which are even as it were drowned in sin. For while these 
are even wearied with the works of sins, and do try the filthiness 
of them, it oftentimes cometh to pass that they do, in some part, 
loathe and detest them, whenas those righteous ones do always 
think those things that they have not tried to be more sweet ; 
neither can they believe that there is so much gall in sins, 
whereof they are by nature inflamed with such a desire, and, 
therefore, as they do more earnestly love sin, so, consequently, 
they do much worse hate the law, which as a certain school 
master, is always against their desire. 

Moreover, forasmuch as the condition of man s nature is such, 
that it is able to give to the law, works only, and not the heart, 

s 2 


who doth not sec how greatly it is contemned of us ? An une 
qual division truly to dedicate the heart, which doth incompa- 
rahly excel all other things, to sin, anil the brutish hand to the 
law, which is nothing else but to otter chaff to the law, and the 
wheat to sin, the shell to God, and the kernel to Satan ! So it 
cometh to pass which is in the gospel, that the wickednesses of 
him, which is in thy judgment a desperate sinner, are counted 
as a mote ; and thine, which so playest the hypocrite, are counted 
as a beam. If this evil be added hereunto, that such hypocrites 
do not see a beam in their own eye, but, being blinded, do per 
severe in their accustomed works, not marking this their inward 
abomination of the heart ; they by and by burst forth to judge 
and condemn others ; they despise sinners, as he did in the gos 
pel ; they think themselves not like unto them; they are not as 
other men are; they think themselves alone godly and righteous ; 
whose ungodliness if one reprove, and as it is meet, bewray, 
they by and by are in a rage and fury, and stick not to kill inno 
cent Abel, and to persecute all those that follow the truth ; and 
they will seem to do that to defend good works, and to obtain 
righteousness; neither do they promise to themselves a small 
reward for this, inasmuch as they do, as they say, persecute 
heretics, blasphemers, them which be seduced and do seduce 
with mischievous error, which labour to seduce and pluck even 
them from good works. Here thou mayest see that that showeth 
itself, whatsoever the scriptures attribute to the>e men, being 
surely most pestilent spirits, to wit, that they are a generation 
of vipers and serpents. They are no other but Cain s brood, 
and so they do continue ; servants they are, and servants they 
do remain. 

.But they whom God hath chosen Abels and sons, do learn by 
the law how unwilling a heart they have unto the law, they fall 
from their arrogance, and are by this knowledge of themselves, 
which the law bringeth, brought even unto nothing in their own 
eyes. Then by and by cometh the gospel, and liiteth them up, 
being humbled, whereby the Lord giveth his grace unto them, 
thus casting down themselves, and endueth them with faith. 
Hereby they receive that covenant of the eternal blessing, and 
the Holy Ghost, which renewcth their heart, that now it is de 
lighted with the law, hateth sin, and is willing and ready to do 
those things that are good ; and here now thou mayest see, not 
the works, but the heart of the law. And this is the very time 
appointed to be heir of the Father, when he must be no longer a 


servant but a son, and doth now begin to be led by a free spirit, 
being no more kept in subjection under tutors and governors, 
after the manner of a servant ; which is even that that St. Paul 
teacheth in the words following, verse 3 : " Even so we, when 
we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the 
world." By the word elements, thou mayest understand here 
the first principles or law written, which are as it were the first 
exercises and instructions of holy learning, whereof it is spoken 
also, Heb. v. 12, " For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, 
ye have need that one teach you again which be the first prin 
ciples of the oracles of God." And Colos. ii. 8, " Beware lest 
any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the 
tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world." Again, 
Gal. iv. 9, 10, " How turn ye again to the weak and beggarly 
elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage ? Ye 
observe days, and months, and times, and years." Here, as it 
were in contempt, he calleth the law elements; he addeth, also, 
impotent and beggarly, both because it is not able to perform 
that righteousness which it requireth, and also for that it maketh 
men indeed poor and impotent. For whereas it earnestly re 
quireth a heart and mind given to godliness, and nature is not 
able to satisfy it herein, it plainly maketh man feel his poverty, 
and to acknowledge his infirmity, that that is by right required 
of him which he not only hath not, but also is not able to have. 
Hereunto pertaineth lhat which St. Paul hath left written, 2 Cor. 
iii. 6, " For the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." 

Moreover, St. Paul calleth them the elements of the world, 
for all that observing of the law, which men not yet renewed by 
the Spirit do perform, doth consist in worldly things, to wit, in 
places, times, apparel, persons, vessels, and such like. But faith 
resteth in no worldly thing, but only in the grace, word, and 
mercy of God, neither doth it make a man righteous and safe by 
any outward thing, but only by the invisible and eternal grace of 
God ; wherefore it counteth alike day, meats, persons, apparel, 
and all things of this world ; for none of these by itself doth 
either further or hinder godliness and salvation, as it doth the 
righteousness of those of Cain s brood, which is as it were tied 
to those outward things. Faith therefore deserveth not to be 
called the elements of the world, by which we obtain the fulness 
of heavenly good things ; and although it be occupied also in 
outward things, yet it is addicted to no outward thing, but doth 
freely, in all things, that which it seeth may be done to the 


glory of God, ;iml profit of our neighbour, always continuing 
free and the same, and yet is made all things to all men, that 
no the conversation thereof may want all peculiar respect and 

With those of Cain s brood it agreeth neither in name nor in 
anything ; one of them eateth llesh, another abstnineth from it; 
one weareth black apparel, another while; one keepeth this day 
holy, another that ; every one hath his elements, under which 
he is in bondage ; all of them are addicted to the things of the 
world, which are frail, and perish. Wherefore they are no other 
but servants of the elements of the world, which they call holy 
orders, godly ordinances, and ways to go to heaven ; again -t 
these St. Paid spcaketh. Colos. ii. <20 2o, k Wherefore if ye 
be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world ; why, as 
though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances ? Touch 
not, taste 1 not, handle not. : \\ hich all are to perish with the 
using, after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which 
thin;;-- have indeed a show of wisdom in will- worship, and humi 
lity, and neglecting of the body, not in any honour to the satis- 
lying of the llesh." Iiy this and other [daces above mentioned, 
it is plain that all monasteries and colleges, whereby we measure 
the state ol spiritual men, as we call them, do plainly disagree 
with the gospel and Christian liberty, and that, therefore, it is 
much more dangerous to live in these kinds of life, than among 
most profane men ; for all their things are nothing but rudi 
ments and ordinances of the world, consisting in the difference 
and use of apparel, place, times, and other present things; 
whereunto seeing they are so addicted, that they hope by them 
to attain righteousness and salvation, faith is made no account 
of amongst them, neither are they Christians but in name, where 
fore all their life and holiness is mere sin, and most detestable 
hypocrisy. It is needful, therefore, that they that are occupied 
in such ordinances should, above all other men, most diligently 
look unto themselves, that they trust not to these ordinances, 
that they be not too much addicted unto them, but that they do 
persevere in a free faith, which is tied to none of these outward 
things, but resteth in the only grace of God ; for the fair show 
of life and feigned holiness, which is in those ordinances, doth 
frith a marvellous and secret force withdraw from faith, more 
than those manifest and gross sins, whereof open sinners arc 
guilty, and doth easily make men such as St. Paul here speaketh 
of^ " When we were children, we were in bondage under the 


rudiments of the world," that is, when we were as yet ignorant 
of faith, and were exercised only with the works of the law, we 
did those outward works of the law, consisting in worldly things, 
but with an unwilling mind, and with no faith, hoping that by 
these rudiments of the world we should obtain salvation, where 
fore we were no other than servants. 

Now this false and servile opinion, faith alone taketh away, 
and teacheth us to trust unto, and rest upon the only grace of 
God, whereby at once is given freely that which is needful to 
work all things. For these works of the law, if that false 
opinion were away, were not ill of themselves. Verse 4, " But 
when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son 
made of a woman, made under the law/ Verse 5, " To re 
deem them that were under the law, that we might receive the 
adoption of sons." After St. Paul had taught, that righteous 
ness and faith cannot come to us by the law, neither can we 
deserve it by nature, he showeth him by whom we obtain true 
righteousness and faith, and which is the author of our justi 
fication. Now this could not come unto us without any price, 
for it cost a very great price, even the Son of God. The apos 
tle therefore saith, " When the fulness of time was come," 
that is, when the time was ended ; that time, I say, wherein 
it behoved us to live children and servants under the discipline 
of the law. Wherefore the master of sentences hath erred 
here, who interpreted the fulness of time, the time of grace, 
which began at the birth of Christ, plain contrary to the apostle, 
who whereas he hath written, the fulness of time, this man 
hath interpreted, the time of fulness ; for Paul speaketh of the 
time which was appointed of the Father to the Son, wherein he 
should live under tutors. Now as this time was full come to 
the Jews and ended, when Christ came in the flesh, so is it 
daily fulfilled to others, when they come unto the knowledge of 
Christ, and do change the servitude of the law, with the faith 
of the sons. And this indeed is that coming, whereby alone 
we obtain the liherty of sons, without which that corporal 
coming would avail nothing; for Christ even for this cause 
hath come unto us, that believing in him, we may be restored 
to true liberty, by which faith they of the ancient time also 
obtained the liberty of the spirit. 

And so whereas he should come to the holy men of old time, 
he came even then, forasmuch as by faith they felt him to be their 
true Saviour and Deliverer, howbeit he is not yet come to our 


Jews, although he is gone away again in body long since, 
for they do not believe in him. All, from the beginning of the 
world to the end, must trust unto the coming of Christ, whereby 
alone servitude is changed into liberty, but yet by faith, either 
in Christ being to come, as it was before he was born, or in 
him being come, as it is now; wherefore as soon as thou 
beginnest to believe in Christ, he cometh unto thee a Deliverer 
and Saviour, and now the time of bondage is ended, that is, as 
the Apostle speaketh, the fulness thereof is come. This place 
surely is very copious, and containeth in it divers things most 
worthy to be known, so that I greatly fear, that it shall not be 
handled by us according to the worthiness thereof; for it 
teacheth that it is not sufficient to believe that Christ is come, 
but that we must also believe that he was sent of God, is the 
Son of God, and also very man, born of a virgin, who alone 
hath fulfilled the law, and that not for himself, but for us, that 
is, for our salvation s sake. Let us weigh and consider these 
things in order : First, it is sufficiently taught in the gospel of 
John, that Christ is the son of (iod, and was sent of God, which 
he that believeth not is in a most miserable case, as Christ him 
self pronounceth, John viii. 2-4, " If ye believe not that 1 am 
he, ye shall die in your sins." And John i. 4, " In him was 
life, and the life was the light of men." For this cause the 
mind of man neither may nor ought to enjoy any other thing 
than that sovereign good, so that it should be satisfied with 
any other than with it whereof it was made, and which is the 
fountain of all <>-ood things : wherefore it is not the u ill of God 

o o 

that we should believe or repose our trust in any other tiling, 
neither doth this honour belong to any other, and therefore 
God himself joined himself to man, being made man, that he 
might more forcibly allure men unto him, and stir them up to 
believe in him. No good could come unto God hereby, but it 
was necessary for us that he should be made man, lest that we 
should believe in any other thing than in God alone; for if we 
should believe in Christ and not in God, as God should be 
deprived of his honour, so should we be deprived of life and 
salvation ; for we must believe in one God, who is the very 
truth, and we without him can neither live nor obtain salvation. 
Whereas therefore the Apostle saith, God sent forth his Son, 
it is thereby manifest that he was before he came, and was 
made man. Now if he be a son, he is more than a man or an 
angel, which, seeing they are the highest creature, surely he is 


also true God ; for to be the Son of God is more than to be an 
angel, as it is elsewhere declared. Again, seeing that he is 
sent of God and is his Son, he must needs be another person ; 
and so the Apostle teacheth here, that the Father and the Son 
are one God, and two Persons. Of the Holy Ghost it shall be 
spoken hereafter. 

The second thing which ought here to be considered, is, that 
Christ is very man and the son of man. This Paul teacheth, 
when he saith made of a woman ; for surely that that is made 
or born of a woman, is man ; a woman by nature bringeth forth 
nothing but very man. Thus it is necessary that we believe, 
as the Lord himself declareth, John vi. 53, " Except ye eat the 
flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life 
in you." But to eat and drink his flesh and blood, is nothing 
else but to believe that Christ took these upon him indeed, and 
did also yield them to death for our sake. This is that cove 
nant which was promised to Abraham, " In thy seed shall all 
nations of the earth be blessed," Gen. xxii. 18. Christ is this 
seed, and therefore the true son of Abraham, his flesh and blood. 
Hereupon it appeareth that they prevail nothing, which make 
a proper way unto themselves to God, by their own works and 
godliness, and neglecting Christ strive to come directly unto 
God, as the Turks and Jews do. 

This Christ alone is the Mediator, the blessed Seed, by whom 
thou must receive blessing, otherwise thou shalt continue for 
ever in malediction ; this covenant of God shall not be violated 
because of any. Thus Christ himself saith, John vi. " No 
man cometh to the Father but my me." The nature of God is 
otherwise higher than that we are able to attain unto it ; where 
fore he hath humbled himself unto us, and taken upon him that 
nature which is best known and most familiar unto us, viz. even 
our o\vn. Here he looketh for us, here he will receive us : he 
that will seek him here, shall find ; he that will ask here, shall 
be heard ; here is the throne of grace and the true mercy-seat, 
from which none is driven or thrust, which with true faith re- 
sorteth unto it. They which do here neglect him, as though 
he were made man for nought, and in the mean season do with 
out a Mediator pray unto God, who hath created heaven and 
earth, they shall pray indeed, but none shall help them ; they 
shall cry, but none shall hear them. The third thing which is 
here set forth unto us to believe, is that Mary the mother of 
Jesus is a virgin ; this Paul affirmeth, when he saith, that he 


was made of a woman, and not of a man, as others are wont. 
This is that one man, which was horn only of a woman : he 
would not, say, of a virgin, for that a virgin is not a name of 
nature, hut a woman signifieth a sex and certain condition, 
whereunto it belongeth to he with child, and bring forth, that 
is, to do the parts of a mother. Seeing therefore that Mary was 
a mother indeed, she is rightly called a woman; for she brought 
forth fruit unto us, which belongeth to a mother, and not to a 
virgin, although she brought it forth alone, without the means 
of man, wherein she was declared both a singular virgin and 
woman. But because it is of greater importance to the Apostle 
and unto all us, that Mary is a woman, and thereby the mother 
of Christ, than that she is a virgin, for that is only an ornament 
unto her, but in that she was a woman, she brought forth him 
which was salvation unto all ; for this cause, 1 say, the Apostle 
calleth her rather a woman than a virgin. Neither was it con 
sidered in choosing her, that she was a virgin, but that she was 
a woman ; for that she being a virgin became a mother, the 
cause was, for that it behoved that Christ should be horn with 
out sin, and therefore without the commixion of man ; for of 
the seed of a sinful man, nothing could be horn but that which 
is defiled with sin ; but it behoved that Christ should be that 
blessed seed, whose blessing should be poured forth upon all 
as the manner of the divine covenant required. Whereupon it 
is gathered, that Christ could not be horn of the seed of man, 


for that all men are by nature under the curse ; for how should 
blessing be promised to come unto all by Christ, if all were not 
subject to the curse ? 

Forasmuch then as the covenant of God promised to Abra 
ham, did require these two things, both that Christ should be the 
true son of Abraham, that is, his seed, his true flesh and blood, 
and that also he should be born pure from sin ; this mean was 
invented, that he should of Mary, being very woman and the 
daughter of Abraham, be born very man, and the right offspring 
of Abraham ; and that also he should be born without the com 
mixion of man, a virgin being conceived with child by the only 
means of the Holy Ghost, that being full of blessing, he might 
derive the same unto all believers. So was the covenant of God 
fulfilled on either side ; and it came to pass, that Christ became 
both the true seed of Abraham, and yet free from all contagion 
of Adam, and is also the author of eternal blessing to them that 
believe. Wherefore although Mary be holily to be reverenced 


by the name of virgin, yet by no comparison great reverence is 
due unto her than by the name of woman, for that her most holy 
members, inasmuch as she was a woman, were advanced unto 
this dignity, that they were as means toward the fulfilling of the 
holy covenant of God, and by them he was brought forth, which 
was to put away all curse from them that believe in him, that so 
he might be both the blessed Seed of Abraham, and the blessed 
Fruit of the womb of Mary. Unto which benefit the vir 
ginity only had not been sufficient, yea, it hud been even un 

The fourth thing whereof the present place of the Apostle 
doth admonish us, is, that Christ hath satisfied the law for us 
which he also witnesseth of himself, Matt. v. 17? " I Jini not 
come to destroy, but to fulfil." This also the reason of the co 
venant requireth ; for by this Seed of Abraham all men must be 
delivered from the curse, it is necessary that by it the law is ful 
filled ; for as men are by nature the children of wrath, and sub 
ject to the curse, so it must needs be accursed, whatsoever 
they do, for it is before proved at large, that he which is evil 
himself, can work nothing that is good, likewise that we can do 
nothing that God will approve, unless we ourselves be approved 
of him before. And seeing that the law requireth the heart, 
which cannot be performed by them which are not as yet re 
generate by the Spirit, it must needs be that all the sons of Adam 
are guilty of transgressing the law, and unless, whereas they 
themselves are not able, another, viz., Christ, should perform 
that which the law requireth, and so satisfy the law for them, 
they should altogether perish by the curse of the law. But when- 
as Christ, going about to show that the heart is required of the 
law, did condemn the works which proceed not from a heart that 
is godly and consenting unto the law, he was accused of the 
Pharisees, that he was come to destroy the law. Because there 
fore he would take away this false opinion of himself, he said, 
(6 Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets : I 
am not come to destroy, but to fulfil ;" yea, and I will give a 
spirit unto them that be mine, which shall justify their heart by 
faith, and incline it unto true good works. The same is usual 
with Paul also, who, Rom. iii. 21, when he had rejected the 
works of the law, and extolled faith, answering such an objec 
tion, saith, " Do we then make void the law through faith ? 
God forbid : yea, we establish the law." For we teach, that the 
true fulfilling of the law is by Christ. The like also is wont to 


be objected to us, as though we did forbid good works, when we 
disallow monasteries with their works, and teach that they must 
first by faith become good and approved of God, whereby they 
may afterward do true good works, by which botli their flesh 
mav be chastised, and their neighbours edified. Here we must 
note moreover, that the law can be fulfilled by no man, but by 
him which being free from the law is no more under it ; we must 
accustom ourselves also to the manner of Paul s speech, that we 
may know assuredly who is under the law, and who is not under 
the law. As many therefore as work good words, because the 
law hath so commanded, being brought thereunto either with 
fear of punishment, or hope of reward, are under the law, and 
are compelled to do good things and to be honest, being not 
brought hereunto of their own voluntary will. Wherefore the 
law hath dominion over them, whose servants and captives they 
are ; now such arc all men that are not yet regenerate by Christ, 
which every one may easily learn with himself by experience, 
every man s own conscience showing it unto him. \Yc all find 
ourselves so affected, that if no law did urge us, and both the 
fear of punishment and hope of reward were away, and it were 
plainly free for us to do what we list, we should do altogether 
those things that are evil, and omit the things that are good, 
especially either temptation moving us, or occasion provoking 
us ; but now, forasmuch as the law stayeth us with the threat- 
enings and promises thereof, we do oftentimes abstain from evil 
things, and do those things that are good ; howbeit we do them 
not for the love of goodness, and hatred of evil, but only for fear 
of punishment, and respect of reward ; wherefore being left 
wholly to ourselves, we are servants of the law, neither do we 
hear it any otherwise than servants do their hard and cruel 

But they that are not under the law, that is, are not so against 
their wills in subjection under the dominion thereof, they of 
their own accord do good works, and abstain from evil, being 
neither terrified with the threatenings of the law, nor allured 
with the promises thereof, but even for that they do of their 
voluntary will bear a love to honesty, and hate that which is 
dishonest, and are also from their heart delighted with the law 
of God, so that if there were no law made, notwithstanding they 
would desire to live no otherwise than the law commandeth ; as, 
to shun those things that are evil, and apply themselves to honest 
studies and exercises. 


They that are such are sons ; whom not nature, but that only 
blessed seed of Abraham, that is, Christ, could make such, 
renewing by his grace and spirit the hearts of them that believe 
in him ; wherefore not to be under the law, is not to be free 
from the law, that they may do those things that are contrary 
thereunto, arid omit those things that are good, but it is to do 
good things, and abstain from wicked things, not through com 
pulsion or necessity of the law, but by free love and with plea 
sure, even as if no law commanded them, and their own nature 
brought them hereunto, as indeed it doth, howbeit the new na 
ture of the spirit, not that old nature of the flesh ; for as there 
is need of no law for the body, which may compel it to eat, to 
drink, to digest, to sleep, to go, to stand, to sit, and to do 
the other works of nature, for that it is ready to do them of its 
own nature, when the case so requireth, and when it is meet, 
without all respect either of reward or punishment, and may not 
unfitly be said, as concerning these things, not to be under a 
law, notwithstanding thereupon nothing less followeth than that 
it doth therefore abstain from such works, unto which indeed it 
so much the more applieth itself as they are less commanded, 
and are more natural unto it. After the same sort altogether 
cloth the godly man behave himself concerning the works of 
godliness, he is carried to the doing of them by that his new 
nature of the spirit, although there were no law at all, and all 
both hope of reward and fear of punishment were away. This 
only is the true liberty of a Christian man, and the deliverance 
of him from the law, whereof Paul speaketh, 1 Tim. i. 9, " The 
law is not made for a righteous man." Which is as much as if 
he had said, a righteous man of his own accord doth good 
things, abstaineth from evil, having no regard either of reward 
or of punishment. The same thing also he meaneth by that 
saying, Rom. vi. 15, u We are not under the law, but under 
grace ?" That is, ye are sons, not servants. Ye live holily, 
being compelled or enforced with nothing, but of your free and 
of itself ready will. To the same effect pertaineth that saying 
also, Rom. viii. 15, " Ye have not received the spirit of bondage 
again to fear ; but ye have received the spirit of adoption," 
The law maketh a fearful, that is, a right servile and Cainish 
spirit, but grace giveth the free spirit of sons, like unto Abel s, 
by Christ the blessed seed of Abraham. Wherefore the 51st 
Psalm speaketh, " Uphold me with thy free spirit." Where 
upon, in the 118th Psalm, Christian people are said to be of a 


free-will ; moreover Christ hath so fulfilled the law, that he only 
of all mankind hath of his own accord satisfied it, being with 
nothing compelled or enforced thereunto, neither is any other 
able to do the same, unless he receive it of him, and by him. 
And therefore Paul saith here, " God sent forth his Son made 
of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were 
under the law." 

The fifth thing therefore that Paul here commendeth unto us 
to be believed, is, that Christ for our sake was made under the 
law, that he might deliver us from the bondage of the law, and 
of unwilling servants make us free sons; whereupon he saith, 
" To redeem them that were under the law," that is, might 
deliver them from the law. Now lie dclivereth from the law by 
the means aforesaid, not by destroying or utterly abolishing the 
law, but by fulfilling it, and giving a free spirit, which shall do 
all things willingly, without any respect either of the threaten- 
ings or the promises of the law, no otherwise than if there were 
no law at all given, and is carried thereunto of his own nature. 
After which sort Adam and Lve were all ected before they had 
sinned. But by what means is the spirit given, and liberty 
gotten ? No otherwise than by faith, for he that truly believeth 
that Christ came for this cause, that he might deliver us from 
the law, and that he hath delivered him already, he, 1 say, hath 
indeed received the spirit of liberty, and doth verily obtain that 
which he believeth ; for both faith and this spirit of sons come 
together. Whereupon Paul saith here, that Christ hath deli 
vered us from the law, for this, that we might receive the adop 
tion of sons ; both which come unto us by faith. Thus therefore 
we have those five things, whereof St. Paul admonisheth us in 
this so plentiful and fruitful a place. Hut here riseth a question, 
forasmuch as to be under the law is to be subject to the law by 
compulsion, and to obey the law no otherwise than unwillingly, 
so that none of them which are under the law are able to satisfy 
the law. Why Paul saith, that Christ was made under the law, 
I answer, that the apostle maketh a very great difference be 
tween Christ, who was made under the law, and other men who 
are born under the law. For whereas he saith, that Christ was 
made under the law, he would sig,nify, that Christ did put him 
self under the law of his own accord, and was with his will 
made subject unto it of the Father, whenas he might not have 
been under the law ; but we were under the law, being the ser 
vants of the law by nature, and bearing the dominion thereof 


unwillingly, as Christ was willingly, not by nature, and against 
his will. Wherefore there is as great difference between, to be 
made under the law, and to be under the law by nature, as be 
tween these, to be subject to the law of free-will, and to be 
subject to the law by servile constraint. It was free unto Christ 
to be under the law, or not to be under it, and he made himself 
subject to it of his own accord, that he might most diligently do 
all things that the law requireth ; but we were under the law, 
even against our will. 

Thou mayest see a resemblance hereof in Peter, and the 
angel which came into the prison to Peter, to deliver him. Both 
of them were then in the prison, but Peter was there being cast 
into it of Herod, not of his own accord, wherein he was also to 
abide, for he could not go forth when he would, but the angel 
went into the prison of his own accord, whereupon it was free 
for him also to go forth when he would ; he was there only for 
Peter s sake, and not for his own, and freely even at his own 
will, whom when Peter heard and followed, it was free for him 
also to go forth of the prison, whereas before it was not. 

This prison may be compared to the la\v ; Peter to our con 
science: the angel to Christ; Christ being absent, our con 
science is held captive of the law, and being unwilling of itself, 
is moved unto good things by the threatenings and promises 
thereof, and is tied and bound unto honest things with these as 
with two chains. The keepers of this prison are the teachers of 
the law, which declare the force of the law unto us. So we 
being bound in the prison of the law, Christ cometh unto us, 
and willingly maketh himself subject to the law, and doth the 
works of the law of his own accord, which we did bend our 
selves to do against our wills, yea, and doth them for our sake, 
that he may join us unto him, and also bring us out together 
with himself ; for he may easily go forth, who is held in the 
prison by no necessity. If now we cleave unto him, and follow 
him, we also do go forth. But this cleaving to him and follow 
ing of him is nothing else, than to believe in him, and not to 
doubt that he became man, and was made subject to the law, 
for thy salvation s sake : together with this faith cometh the 
spirit, he by and by maketh thee ready and willing to do with 
pleasure all things that the law requireth ; and so truly deliver- 
eth thee from the capacity of the law, those chains of threaten 
ings and promises fall off from thee, and thou mayest now go 
whither thou list; that is, thou mayest live according to thine 


own will, or rather according to the will of the Holy Ghost 
ruling all things in thee ; finally, what good things soever thou 
dost, ihou dost them from the heart, and with great pleasure. 
Moreover, that it may be made more plain, after what sort 
Christ made himself subject to the law, we must understand 
that he was made under the law after two sorts, both for that he 
did perfectly perform the works of the law, and also for that he 
suffered and overcame the curse and punishment thereof for our 
sake. For he was circumcised, presented in the temple, and 
the time of the purification being finished, was obedient to his 
parents. All which things he might have omitted, being Lord 
of the law, and over all. Howbeit he applied himself to these 
things freely of his own will, not being either compelled by any 
fear, or allured by any hope. In outward works he was in the 
mean season altogether like unto them which were under the 
law, that is, which did the works of the law against their wills, 
inasmuch as his free spirit was hidden from others, even as also 
the servile and constrained will of others is hidden ; and so he 
both was under the law, and not under the law. lie behaved 
himself outwardly in works, as they which are unwillingly held 
under the law ; whenas notwithstanding he was not under the 
law as they, but of his own free-will. V\ herefore in respect of 
his works he was under the law, but in respect of his will he 
was free from the law; but we, as well by will as by works, are 
under the law by nature, for that we do works according to the 
rule of the law, of necessity, yea, and we do them with that will 
which the law constraineth and urgeth, inasmuch as we do not 
endeavour to do them of our own accord. Christ made himself 
subject to the punishment of the law also for our sakes of his 
own will. He did not only perform those works which the law 
commandcth, but he suffered the punishment also which was 
due to us being transgressors thereof. The law comleinncth to 
death and the eternal curse, all those that continue not in all 
things, that are written in the book of the law to do them, as 
Paul, Gal. iii., reciteth out of Moses, Levit. xviii. 

Now it is declared at large before that the law is fulfilled by 
no man, but that all men are against their wills held captives of 
the law, wherefore every one is subject to death and the curse, 
so that there is no man subject to the law in respect of works, 
and will, which is not also subject to it in respect of the curse ; 
for it curseth and condemneth all that do not perform it with 
their whole heart. But here Christ maketh intercession for 


them that are his, and the judgment which we have deserved, 
he taketh upon himself; he suffered the punishment due unto 
ns, willingly making himself subject to death and the curse, 
that is, to eternal damnation, no otherwise, than if he had trans 
gressed the whole law, and had more than all deserved the sen 
tence thereof against transgressors, whenas he did not only not 
break the law, but himself alone fulfilled it ; yea, and fulfilled 
it, whenas he owed nothing to it, so that he suffered otherwise 
than he deserved in two respects ; both for that he owed no 
thing to the law, if he had not observed it, and also for that 
moreover he most diligently observed it, so that if the law had 
especial dominion over him, yet had he come in no danger 

But on the other side whereas we suffer, we suffer by double 
right ; both for that by the transgression of the law we have 
deserved all the punishment thereof, and also for that, if we had 
deserved nothing, yet being creatures, we ought to be obedient 
to the will of our Creator. Hereof it now plainly appeareth 
what this meaneth, that Christ was made under the law, that he 
might redeem them which live under the law ; for our sakes, 
for our sakes, I say, and not for his own he performed that, and 
that of no necessity, but of his great love towards us, and 
thereby he hath declared both his unspeakable goodness and 
mercy toward us, being made accursed for us, that he might de 
liver us from the curse of the law. He willingly made himself 
subject to the judgment of the law, and did himself bear the 
sentence pronounced against us, that as many of us as do believe 
in him might be free for ever ; whereby mark what an incom 
parable treasure faith bringeth unto thee, whereby thou enjoyest 
Christ and all his works, that thou mayest trust unto them no 
otherwise, than if thou thyself hadst done them ; for Christ did 
them not for himself, whom surely they could profit nothing, he 
having no need of anything, but by them he laid up the treasure 
of salvation for us, whereunto we should trust, and being made 
blessed might enjoy it ; with which faith also the spirit of the 
son cometh, which beareth witness with our spirit, that we are 
the sons and heirs of God. What should God now add unto 
these? How can a mind hearing these things contain itself 
that it should not love God again with the most ardent affection, 
and be most sweetly delighted in him ? What in any wise may 
come to be done or suffered, which thou wouldst not willingly 
take upon thee with exceeding joy, and most high praise of God, 



with a rejoicing and triumphing mind ; which mind if thou 
wantest, it is a certain argument of a faint, or surely a dead 
faith ; for the greater thy faith is, so much more ready also and 
willing is thy mind to those things, which God either sendeth 
or commandeth. 

This indeed is the true deliverance from the law, and the 
damnation of the law, that is, from sin and death, which deliver 
ance comeih to us by Christ; yet not so that there is now no 
law or death, but that they do not now trouble the believers any 
thing, that is, they are as though they were not; for the law 
cannot convince them of sins, neither can death confound them ; 
but by faith they most happily pass from sin and death to 
righteousness and life. Here monks, nuns, isrc., were to be ex 
horted, if there wore us yet k-l l anv place with them for counsel 
and admonition, that they would observe their ordinances, cere 
monies, prayers, apparel, and such like, as Christ observed 
the law, by which means surely the\ should bring unto them no 
damnation ; that is, that they would set the faith of Christ in 
the first place, and commit the rule of their heart unto him, ac 
knowledging that by that faith only they do obtain righteousness 
and salvation ; and that all their ordinances and works do avail 
nothing hereunto. Again, that they would make themselves 
subject to them of their own accord, in no other respect than 
that l>v them they might serve their neighbours, and subdue the 
arrogance of the ile.Mi. But now seeing they are occupied in 
them with this double erroneous opinion, as though they were 
necessary to salvation and righteousness, and if they did not 
observe them, they should grievously sin, they are unto them 
a most certain destruction, nothing but delusion and sin, where 
by with their great al lliclion they draw nigh unto hell, where 
they shall i\.!ly :-u:Ver vexations and torments under that abbot 
the devil, whLh being miserable and fool-ish men they have here 
begun ; for all their life doth utterly disagree with the faith of sons, 
and that which belongelh only to faith, to wit, to justify and 
save us, they attribute to their works ; wherefore these men can 
not both thus stick unto their ordinances, and therewith all have 
faith, \\hich suii ereth itself to be addicted to no certain works, 
but what things soever the Lord either sendeth or commandeth, 
or the necessity and need of our neighbour requireth it, suf- 
fereth and doth them with great willingness and joy. These, lie 
that is endued with faith, counteth his works, having in the 
mean season no regard of masses, or fasting, which some appoint 


to certain days, of choice of apparel, of meats, of persons, of 
places, and such like ; yea, he greatly disalloweth of these, in 
asmuch as they trouble Christian liberty. 

These things shall suffice to have been spoken concerning the 
exposition of this place of St. Paul, whereabout the matter itself 
required to spend so many words, forasmuch as the nature of 
faith is so unknown j for unless thou do well understand the 
nature of faith, thou shalt perceive nothing, or very little in the 
writings of Paul. 

Verse 6, " And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the 
spirit of his son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." 
Here we see very plainly, that the Holy Ghost cometh unto the 
saints by no works, but by faith alone, for Paul saith, " And 
because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit/ &c. Sons 
believe, when servants only work ; sons are free from the law, 
servants are held under the law, as appeareth plainly by those 
things that are before spoken. But how cometh it to pass, that 
he saith, " because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit," 
&c., seeing it is before said, that by the coming of the spirit we 
are changed from servants, unto the state of sons, so that the 
spirit must be first sent unto us, before we are sons. But 
here, as though we could be sons before the coming of the 
spirit, he saith, " Because ye are sons," &c. To this question 
we must answer, that Paul speaketh here after the same sort 
that he spake before. Before the fulness of time came, we were 
in bondage under the rudiments of the world ; all the elect, 
which are predestinate of the Lord, that they shall become sons, 
are counted in the place of sons with God. Therefore he saith 
rightly " Because ye are sons," that is, because the state of sons 
is appointed unto you from everlasting, " God hath sent forth the 
spirit of his Son," to wit, that he might finish it in you, and 
make you such as he hath long since of his goodness determined 
that he should make you. Moreover, he calleth him the Spirit 
of the Son of God, that he might continue in commending unto 
us this benefit of God, that he hath chosen us to be sons. For 
Christ is the Son of God, and that most beloved. Now if the 
Father give unto us his spirit, he will make us like to his only 
begotten Son, his true sons and heirs, that we may with certain 
confidence cry with Christ, Abba, Father, being his brethren, 
and fellow heirs with him : wherein the apostle surely hath 
notably set forth the goodness of God, which maketh us par 
takers with Christ, and causeth us to have all things common 

T 2 


with him, so that we live, and are led by the same spirit. 
Moreover these words of the apostle do show, both that the 
JJoly Ghost is another from Christ, and yet doth proceed from 
him, whenas he calleth him his spirit. The spirit indeed 
dwelleth in the godly, and no man will say that he is their spirit 
as here Paul maketh him the holy spirit of Christ, saying, God 
hath sent forth the spirit of his son, that is of Christ ; for he 
is the spirit of God, and eometh from God to us, and not ours, 
unless one will say after this sort, my Holy Spirit, as we say, 
my God, my Lord. \\ herefore, whereas he is here said to be 
the holy spirit of Christ, it proveth him to us God, as of whom 
that spirit is sent, and is peculiarly counted his spirit. 

Furthermore, Christians may perceive by this plaee, whether 
they have in themselves the Holy Ghost, to wit, this spirit of 
Sons, whether they hear his voice in themselves ; for Paul 
saith, that he crieth in the hearts which he possesseth, Abba, 
Father, according as he saith also, Rom. viii. 15, " \Ve have 
received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." 
Now tiiou hearest this voice, when tliou rindest so much faith in 
thyself, that thou dost assuredly, without any doubt, presume, 
not only that thy sins be forgiven thce, but also that thou art 
the beloved son of God, which being certain of eternal salvation, 
dareth both call him Father, and be delighted in him with a joy 
ful and most confident heart; thou must he so certain hereof, 
that thou canst be no more certain of thy life, and must sooner 
sutler death and hellish torments, than suffer this trust and con 
fidence to be taken from thee. 

For to doubt anything herein were no small reproach, and 
contumely to the death of Christ, as though that had not ob 
tained all things for us, and ought not far more effectually to 
provoke and encourage us to have a good trust in God, than all 
our sins and temptations are able to put us out of hope and fray 
us from it. It may be indeed, that thou shalt he so tempted, 
that thou shalt fear and doubt of thine opinion, and think plainly 
that God is not a favourable Father, but a wrathful revenger of 
sins, as it fell out with Job and many other saints, but in such 
a conflict this trust and confidence, that thou art a Son ought to 
prevail and overcome, or else thou shalt come into a miserable 
and desperate estate. When one of Cain s brood heareth these 
things, he is as it were beside himself, by reason of admiration 
and astonishment, Fie ! saith he, away with this arrogancy, 
and this most pernicious error, God turn this mind from me, 


that I do not presume to think that I am the Son of God, I am 
a sinner, most miserable and wretched, and will never esteem 
more of myself. But thou which desirest to belong unto Christ 
fly this kind of men, who are most hurtful enemies of Christian 
faith, and of thy salvation. We also know that we are sinners, 
and miserably wretched ; but here we must not weigh or con 
sider, what we either do, or are, but what Christ is, and what 
he hath done for our sake. It is not spoken of our nature, but 
of the grace of God, which so far exceedeth our sins, as heaven 
is higher than the earth, and the east is distant from the west, as 
the 103d Psalm saith. Now if it seems unto thee a great honour, 
that thou art the son of God, as indeed it is very great, consider 
that it is no less marvellous that the Son of God for this cause 
did come, was born of a woman, and made under the law, that 
thou mightest become the son of God. These are great benefits 
of God, and do cause in the elect a great trust and confidence in 
the goodness of God, and a spirit which is afraid of nothing, but 
is bold and able to do all things. On the contrary, the religion 
of those of Cain s brood, as it is a thing marvellously strait and 
careful, so doth it make hearts exceeding fearful, which serve to 
no use, but are unapt to all things, fit neither to suffer or do 
any thing, which tremble and are afraid even at the shaking of 
the leaf of a tree, as it was before spoken of them, Levit. xxvi. 
Wherefore thou must lay up these words of the apostle well in 
thy mind, thou must feel this cry of the spirit, which crieth so 
in the hearts of all the faithful. For how shouldest thou not 
hear the cry of thine own heart ? Neither doth the apostle 
say, that he doth whisper, speak, yea, or sing ; it is greater 
than all these which the spirit doth in the heart, he crieth out 
amain, that is, with all the heart. Whereupon it is said, Rom. 
viii., (( That he maketh intercession for us with groanings 
which cannot be uttered, and that he beareth witness with our 
spirit, that we are the children of God." How therefore can it 
be, that our heart should not hear this cry, sighs, and testimony 
of the spirit ? Howbeit hereunto temptation and adversity are 
very profitable, they move to cry, and do exceedingly stir up 
the spirit : notwithstanding we foolish men do greatly fear and 
fly the cross ; wherefore it is no marvel, if we do never feel the 
cry of the spirit, and do continually remain like them of Cain s 

But if thou dost not feel this cry, take heed that thou be not 
idle and slothful, neither secure ; pray instantly, for thou art in 
an evil case. And yet do not desire, that thou mayest feel 


nothing but this cry of the spirit ; thou must feel also another 
terrible cry ni:i !e, whereby thou mnyest he provoked and urged 
to this cry of the spirit, which happeneth to all the saints; that 
is, the cry of sins, which call most strongly and instantly unto 
desperation, hut this cry must be overcome of the spirit of 
Christ, by godly calling upon the Father, and crying for his 
grace, that the trust and confidence of grace may become greater 
than desperation. V\ lierel ore this cry of the spirit is nothing 
else, but to he with all our heart touched with a very strong, 
firm, and unmoveable trust of most dear sons toward God, as 
our most tender and favourable Father. 

Hereby we may see how far a Christian life exceedeth nature, 
which can do nothing less than trust in God, and call upon him 
as a Father, but is always afraid, and uttereth a voice which is 
a witness of exceeding fear. Woe is me, how cruel and in 
tolerable a judge art thou, () Ciod ! How heavy is thy judg 
ment unto me! As Cain said, Gen. vi. K), 1-1, " .My punish 
ment is greater than 1 can bear. Behold tbou hast driven me 
out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall 
1 be hid, and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth, 
and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me, >hall 
slay me," &c. This is a terrible and dreadful cry, which is 
necessarily heard of all such as be of Cain s brood, forasmuch 
as they trust to themselves and their own works, and put not 
their trust in the Son of God, neither weigh and consider that 
he was sent of the Father, made of a woman, made under the 
law, much less that all these things were done for their salva 
tion ; they are continually tormented in their own works, these 
miserable men do in vain go about by them to help themselves, 
and to obtain the grace of God. And while their ungodliness 
is not herewith content, it beginneth to persecute even the sons 
of God ; as it is always wont to do, yea, at the last, they grow 
unto such cruelty, that after the example of their father Cain, 
they cannot rest until they slay their righteous brother Abel, 
in whom they do also kill unto themselves Christ. Then the 
blood of righteous Abel crieth unto heaven against unrighteous 
Cain, neither ceaseth it to cry until the Lord hath revenged it. 
He asketh those Cains of their brother Abel, yea, of Christ ; 
but they deny all knowledge of Christ, which labour not to 
become the sons of God, and heirs by Christ, but to become 
righteous by their own works. In the mean time the blood of 
Christ continually crieth out against them, even nothing but 
punishment and vengeance, whenas for the elect it crieth by the 


spirit of Christ for nothing but grace and reconciliation. The 
apostle useth here a Syrian and Greek word, saying, Ahba, 
Pater. For this word Abba in the Syrian tongue signifieth a 
Father, by which name at this clay the chiefs of monasteries are 
wont to be called, and by the same name hermits in time past, 
being holy men, did call their presidents ; at the last, by use, 
it was also made a Latin word. Wherefore that which Paul 
saith is as much as Father, Father, or if thou hadat rather, as., 
my Father. But what is the cause why the apostle doth double 
the word Father, that is, the cry of the spirit ? I will by your 
leave bring forth my judgment and opinion hereof. Firs!, I 
think that he would hereby show the force and straining of this 
holy cry ; for whenas we call any with great affection and through 
necessity, we are wont often to double his name. 

Now because that sin, and Cain, do always go about with 
desperation to stop this cry of the spirit for the grace of the 
Father, it is needful surely to cry most strongly, and with a 
voice both doubled, and exceedingly strained forth, that is, the 
trust of the grace of the Father ought to be most strong, and 
not able to be overcome. Again, such is the manner of the 
scripture, to witness the certainty of a thing, sometimes to 
double or iterate the words, as Joseph did to Pharaoh, Gen. xli. 
32. So here also the spirit twice calletli upon the Father, 
whereby it may show the certainty of his fatherly favour and 
grace ; for the trust hereof ought to be no less certain, than 
great and unmoveable. Finally, it is meet also to persevere, 
which again this doubling of the name of the Father doth note 
unto us : for as soon as we begin to call God Father, Satan 
with all his band moveth war against us, and omitteth no means 
to wrest from us this trust of sons toward God our Father, 
wherefore the word Father must be diligently doubled, that is, 
our trust and confidence must be confirmed, neither must we 
ever cease from calling upon this Father, but must most ear 
nestly continue in this cry of the spirit, whereby we may obtain 
a certain sure experience of his fatherly goodness, by which 
our trust in him may be made most certain and safe ; and per 
haps Paul had respect hereunto, when he first set clown Abba, 
which is a word strange to them, to whom he wrote, after 
adding Pater, that is, Father, a familiar word and of their own 
language, meaning to signify hereby, that the beginning of so 
great trust in God is unaccustomed, and even strange unto men, 
but that when the mind hath awhile exercised it, and con- 


tinned in it although assailed with temptations, it becomcth 
even familiar, and almost natural, that we now enjoy God as 
a domestic Father, and do in every thing most confidently cull 
upon him. 

Verse 7? " Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son, 
and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ." Now, saith 
he, (that is after the coming of the spirit of the sons, after the 
knowledge of Christ,) " thou art not a servant." For as it is 
said, a son and a servant are so contrary one to another, that 
the same man cannot be both a son and a servant. A son is 
free and willing, a servant is compelled and unwilling ; a son 
liveth, and resteth in faith, a servant in works; and so by this 
place also it appeareth, that we can obtain no salvation of God 
by works, but before thou workest that which is acceptable 
unto him, it is necessary that thou have received of him and 
possess salvation and all things, that thereupon works may 
freely flow forth, to the honour of so gracious a father, and to 
the profit of thy neighbours, without any fear of punishment or 
looking for reward. This, that which Paul saith provcth, "and 
if a sou, then an heir." For it is said before, that we become 
the sons of God by faith, without any works, and therefore heirs 
also, as this place witnesseth ; for by nature they that are sons, 
the same also are heirs. But if this inheritance of the Father 
be now thine by faith, surely thou art rich in all good things, 
before thou hast wrought, anything ; for how should it be, that 
by faith thou art the heir of God, without any works through 
only grace, and that thou mayest again first merit it by works ? 
Wherefore the case standcth as I oftentimes say, To a man that 
is baptized and believcth in Christ, the heavenly inheritance of 
the Father is already given at once, that is, all good things, 
they are only hid as yet by faith, for that the manner of the pre 
sent life cannot suffer that he should enjoy them being revealed. 
Whereupon Paul saith, Rom. viii., "Ye are saved but by hope, 
for ye do not as yet see it, but do yet wait, when the posses 
sion of your good things shall be revealed." And 1 Pet. i., it is 
said, 4C Your salvation is reserved in heaven and prepared for 
you, to be showed in the last time :" Wherefore the works of a 
Christian ought not to have regard of merit, which is the man 
ner of servants, but only of the use and commodity of his neigh 
bours, that he do not live and work to himself, but to his neigh 
bour, whereby he may truly live to the glory of God. For by 
faith he is rich in all good things, and truly blessed. 


Now the apostle addeth, through Christ, lest that any think 
that so great inheritance cometh unto us freely, and without all 
cost \ for although it be given unto us without our cost, and 
without all our merit, yet it cost Christ a dear price, who, that 
he might purchase it for us, was made under the law, and satis 
fied it for us both by life and also by death. So those benefits 
which of love we bestow upon our neighbour, do come unto 
him freely, and without any charges or labour unto him, not 
withstanding they cost us something, inasmuch as we bestow 
upon him, although freely, and of mere goodness, yet those 
things that are our own, whether it be labour or part of our 
substance, even as Christ hath bestowed those things that be 
his upon us. And thus hath Paul called back his Galatians 
from the teachers of works, which preached nothing but the 
law, perverting the gospel of Christ. All which things are very 
necessary to be marked of us also ; for the Pope, with his pre 
lates and monks, hath now too long a time with intruding and 
urging his laws, which are foolish and most pernicious, inas 
much as they do everywhere disagree with the word of God, 
seduced almost the whole world from the gospel of Christ, and 
plainly extinguished the faith of sons, according as the scrip 
ture hath in divers places very manifestly prophesied of his 
kingdom, wherefore let every one that desireth to obtain salva 
tion, most diligently take heed of him and all his apostles, no 
otherwise than of Satan himself, and his chief and pernicious 



Matthew viii. 23 27. When he was entered into a ship, his 
disciples followed him, and behold there arose a great tempest 
in the sea, fyc. 

ACCORDING to the history, this text setteth before us an example 
of faith and diffidence, whereby we may learn both what a strong 
and invincible thing faith is, and that it must be exercised and 
tried even in great matters, and full of peril ; and also how des 
perate a thing on the other side diffidence is, and how full of fear 
and trembling which can never do any thing rightly or well. 


This doth experience most lively set forth in the disciples; 
they, when they entered into the ship with Christ, and whilst 
there was a calm in the lake, were nothing disquieted in mind, 
neither felt any fear. Then if one should have asked them 
whether they believed, they would have answered without doubt 
that they did believe ; for they did not know that their heart 
did trust in that quietness, for that all troubles were absent, and 
therefore did rest upon a thing visible, and not upon the invisible 
grace of (iod; which then was made manifest, as soon as the 
tempest was risen, and the waves did cover the ship ; by and by 
all their trust and confidence ceased, for that the quietness and 
calmness whereunto they trusted was taken away, and diffidence, 
which before, when all things were prosperous, did lurk in their 
minds, did appear ; for this is the nature of diffidence, that it 
believeth or knowelh no more than it feeleth. Forasmuch 
therefore as it had possessed the breast <;i the apostles, they felt 
nothing now but the fearful tempest, and the waves covering the 
ship, they saw the sea swelling and greatly ragiiiir, threatening 
nothing but death ; these tilings only did they think upon, these 
only did they consider, and therefore could there be no measure 
or end of fear and trembling in their minds ; the more 4 they 
weighed in their mind the peril, so much more were they terri- 

v> * 

lied, and seemed now to stick in the very jaws of death, hoping 
for no life or deliverance. And as they could not so much as 
think anything else because of their unbelief, so all comfort also 
was far from them ; for diffidence or unbelief hath nothing 
whereunto it may trust or ilee, wherefore when outward adver 
sity cometh, it admitteth nothing into the mind but it, and 
therefore it can never feel any peace or quietness, while it re- 
maineth. So in hell, where diffidence exerciseth full tyranny, 
there can never be any intermission of desperation, trembling 
and terror. But if the disciples had been then endued w r ith a 
sound faith, and if it had ruled in this danger, it would have 
removed from the mind the wind and all this tempest, and 
instead of these would wholly have thought upon the power of 
God and his grace promised, whereunto it would no otherwise 
have trusted, than if it had sat upon a most strong rock, far from 
the sea and from all tempest ; for this is the chief virtue of faith, 
that it seeth those things which are not seen or felt, and seeth 
not those things which are felt, yea, which are now sore upon us 
and do press and urge us ; as on the contrary, diffidence seeth 
nothing but that which it feeleth. 


For this cause those things are of God laid upon faith, which 
the whole world is not able to bear, as sins, death, the world and 
the devil, neither sufiereth he it to be occupied with small mat 
ters ; for who fiieth not death ? who is not terrified and over 
come by it? Against this, invincible faith standeth, yea, it 
courageously setteth upon it, which otherwise tameth all things, 
and overcometh and swalloweth up that insatiable devourer of 
life. So even the whole world is not able to bring tinder and 
subdue the flesh, but it rather bringeth under and maketh the 
world subject unto it, and beareth rule over it, so that he liveth 
carnally whosoever is of the world ; but fuiih subdueth this 
subdnerof all other, holdeth it in subjection, and teacheth it not 
only to be ruled, but also to obey. Likewise who is able to hear 
the hatred and fury, ignominy, and persecution of the world ? 
who doth not yield unto it, and is oppressed with it ? But faith 
even laugheth at all the iniquity, rage, and fury thereof, and 
maketh that unto itself matter of spiritual joy wherewith others 
are even killed : it doth no otherwise behave itself against Satan 
also ; who is able to overcome him, which practiseth so many 
crafts and coils, whereby he stayeth and hindereth the truth, and 
word of God, faith and hope, and soweth against them innumer 
able errors, sects, delusions, heresies, desperations, supersti 
tions, and such kind of abominations, without number ? all the 
world is to him as a spark of fire to a fountain of water, it is 
wholly subdued unto him, in these evils, as (alas) we both see 
and try ; but it is faith which troubleth him, for it is not only 
not made subject to his delusions, but it also discovereth and 
confoundeth them, that they are no more of any importance, 
that they are able to do nothing, but do vanish away, as we have 
experience at this day, by the decaying and vanishing of the 
papacy and indulgences : Finally, sin hath that force, that that 
which is even the least, cannot be appeased, or extinguished by 
any creature, that it doth gnaw and tear the conscience, yea, if 
all men should go about together to comfort the conscience, 
wherein sin hath begun to live, they should go about it in vain ; 
but faith is that noble champion, which overcometh and extin- 
guisheth every sin, yea, if all the sins which the whole world 
hath committed from the beginning were laid upon an heap, it 
would extinguish and abolish them altogether. 

Is not faith therefore most mighty, and of incomparable 
strength, which dareth encounter with so many and mighty ene- 


mies, and bcareth away the certain victory ? Wherefore John 
saith in his first Epistle, chap. v. 4, " This is the victory that 
overcometh the world, even our faith." Howbeit this victory 
cometh not with rest and quietness, we must try the fight not 
without blood and wounds, that is, we must needs feel sin, death, 
the flesh, the devil, and the world, yea, and that assailing us so 
grievously, and with so great force, that the heart of man do 
think that he is past all hope, that sin hath overcome, and the 
devil gotten the upper hand, and on the contrary, very little feel 
the force of faith. We see an example of this fight here in the 
disciples, for the waves did not only strike the ship, but did even 
cover it, that nothing could be now looked for, but that all should 
be drowned, especially Christ being asleep, and knowing not of 
this peril ; all hope was then past, life seemed to be overcome, 
and death appeared to have the victory. Hut as it fell out with 
the disciples in this temptation, so also doth it fall out, and 
must fall out with all the godly, in all kind of temptations, 
which are of sin, the devil, and the world. 

In the temptations of sin, we must needs feel the conscience, 
thrall unto sins, the wrath of God, and hellish pains to hangover 
us, and all things to be in that case as though we were past all 
recovery. Likewise when we have conflicted with the devil, it 
must appear as though truth should give place to error, and Satan 
should drive the word of God out of the whole world, and he 
himself reign for a (tod with his delusions and deceits : neither 
standeth the case any otherwise when it cometh to pass that we 
are tried of the world, it must needs be that it should greatly 
rage, and cruelly persecute us, so that it shall seem that no man 
is able to stand, that no man is able to obtain safety, or profess 
his faith ; that Cain only shall bear rule, and suffer his brother 
in no place. But we must not judge according to such feeling 
and outward appearance of things, but according to faith, the 
present example ought to stir us up hereunto, and to be received 
of us as a special comfort ; for we learn hereof, that although 
sins do urge us, death disquiet us, the world rage against us, 
and the devil lay snares for us, that is, although the waves do 
cover the ship, yet we must not be discouraged ; for although 
thy conscience being wounded doth feel sin, and the wrath and 
indignation of God, yet shalt thou not therefore be plunged into 
hell ; neither shalt thou therefore die, although the whole world 
do hate and persecute thee, and gape so wide to devour thee, as 


the morning spreadeth forth itself : they are only waves, which, 
falling upon the ship, do terrify thee, and compel thee to cry 
out, "we perish ; Lord, save us." 

Thou hast therefore in the former part of this text, the nature 
of faith set forth, how it is wont and ought to behave itself in 
temptation, also how desperate a thing diffidence is, and nothing 
to he counted of; the other part commendeth unto us love in 
Christ, whereby he was brought so far that he brake off his 
sleep, arose, and counted the danger that his disciples were in 
for his own, and helped them freely, asking and looking for 
nothing of them. Even as it is the nature of Christian love to 
do all things freely and of good will, to the glory of God, and 
profit of our neighbours, seeking to itself nothing thereby, for 
the exercising of which love, man, adopted of God, is left in 
the earth, even as Christ being made man lived in the earth that 
he might do for us, as he witnesseth of himself: "The Son of 
man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give 
his life a ransom for many," Matt. xx. 28. 

In this scripture Christ hath set forth the life of Christians, 
and the state of such as preach and teach the word of God. 
The ship signifieth the church, the sea the world, the wind the 
devil, the disciples of Christ are the preachers and godly Chris 
tians ; Christ the truth, the gospel, and faith. Now, before that 
Christ and his disciples enter into the ship, the sea is calm, and 
the wind quiet, but when Christ with his disciples are entered 
in, by and by ariseth a tempest. This is that which he said, 
" 1 came not to send peace, but a sword," Matt. x. 34. For if 
Christ would suffer the world to live after its own manner, and 
would not reprove the works thereof, it would be quiet enough ; 
but now seeing that he preacheth that they which are counted 
wise men, are fools ; they that are counted righteous, are sinners ; 
they that are counted rich, are not blessed, but miserable, it 
rageth and is in great fury. So thou mayest at this day find 
wise men of this world, which indeed would suffer the gospel to 
be preached, if the words of the scripture should be simply 
declared, and in the mean season the state of ecclesiastical 
persons not reproved ; but as soon as thou shalt begin to 
condemn by the scriptures all those things which have been 
hitherto brought in under a false name of religion, and teach 
that they are to be rejected as being of no importance, thou 
preachest seditiously, and troublest the world with unchristian 


But how cloth the present text pertain unto us? A great 
tempest did arise where that ship went, wherein Christ and his 
diseiples were. Other ships did pass the sea quietly, nothing 
tossed of the wind, this ship only must he tossed and covered 
with waves, because Christ was carried in it ; for the world can 
suffer any kind of preaching beside the preaching of Christ. The 
cause is, for that he condemneth all things of the world, and 
challenged] all righteousness to himself, according to that which 
he saith, Matt. xii. . H), " lie that is not with me, is against me." 
And again, the Spirit * e will reprove the world of sin, and of 
righteousness, and of judgment," John xvi. 8. lie saith not 
will preach, but will reprove; and not this or that man, but the 
world, and whosoever is in the world. Against this ship of Christ 
all this tempest is raised, and it is brought into danger ; for the 
world doth not suller his own things to be condemned, but 
Christ cannot allmv them, and if he should allow them, he had 
come in vain; for if the world were wise by itself, and did know 
and follow the truth, \\hat need had there been that Christ and 
his disciples should preach ? \Vhercfore it is not a small com 
fort to Christians, especially to preachers, that they are certain 
before, that as soon as thev shall begin to preach Christ to the 
world, they must sniVcr persecution, and that it cannot be other 
wise. So that is a sure sign, and therefore to be wished, that it 
is true Christian preaching if it he tried with persecution, espe 
cially of the holy, learned, and wise men of the world ; as it is 
an undoubted sign also, that, it is unchristian preaching, if it be 
praised and commonly honoured of the world, according to that 
saying, Luke vi. 22, " Blessed arc ye when men shall hate you, 
and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall 
reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of 
man s sake : for in the like manner did their fathers unto the 
prophets." Now mark how our spiritual men do behave them 
selves, and of what sort their doctrine is : They have got into 
their subjection the riches, glory, and power of the world, and 
they that praise them enjoy the honour and pleasures thereof, 
their case in all things agreeth with the case of the false pro 
phets, and yet they dare boast themselves to be preachers and 
teachers of Christ, and worshippers of God. 

The next thing whereby this scripture doth comfort and en 
courage the preachers of Christ, is, that it showeth where help 
is to be asked when a tempest is risen ; to wit, not of the world, 
for not man s wisdom or power, but Christ himself, and he alone. 


is able to help them. Him they must call upon in every distress 
with full confidence ; in him they must trust, as his disciples here 
did,, for unless they had believed that Christ was able to take 
away the danger wherein they were, they would not have awaked 
him, and prayed him to save them; although their faith then was 
very weak, and very much diffidence was in them, for that they 
did not confidently commit themselves with him unto danger, 
doubting nothing but he was able to deliver them out of the 
midst of the sea, and from death itself. Hereof therefore let it 
be acknowledged as certain, that as no judge or moderator can 
be given to the word of God, but God only, so there can be had 
no other maintainer or defender thereof; who, as he sendeth it 
out whither he will, without any merit or council of men, so he 
alone also will defend and preserve it without the aid or strength 
of men ; and therefore he that seeketh aid unto this word of men, 
shall without doubt fall, being forsaken as well of men as of God. 
Whereas Christ did sleep, it giveth us to understand that in the 
time of persecution he doth sometimes withdraw himself, and 
seemeth as though he slept, whilst that he giveth not strength 
valiantly to resist, the peace and tranquillity of mind being now 
disturbed, and suffereth us to wrestle and labour with our infir 
mity for a while, that we may acknowledge how we are alto 
gether nothing, and that all things do depend upon his grace and 
power, as Paul confesseth of himself, 2 Cor. i., that it behoved 
that he should be so pressed and troubled out of measure, that 
we should not trust in ourselves, but in God, which raiseth the 
dead. Such sleep of God David oftentimes felt, and maketb 
mention thereof in many places : " Arise, awake, O Lord ! Why 
sleepest thou ? Why dost thou forget us ?" &c. In fine, the 
present text offereth unto us two principal things, full of confi 
dence and godly boldness. The first, that when persecution is 
risen for the word of God, we may say, we knew that it would 
so come to pass. Christ is the ship, therefore the sea so rageth, 
the winds trouble us, the waves fall upon us as though they 
would drown us ; but let them rage and be furious as much as 
they may, it is certain the sea and the winds do obey Christ, 
which is the other principal thing which this text offereth. 

Persecution shall extend no farther, nor rage any longer than 
he will ; and although the waves do even overwhelm us, yet must 
they be ohedient at his beck. He is Lord over all, wherefore no 
thing shall hurt us, and he only endues us with his grace, that 
we be not overcome by unbelief, and so despair. Whereas the 


men marvelled and praised the Lord, as unto whom the sea and 
winds do obey, it signifieth that the gospel and word of God is 
so far from being extinguished hy persecution, that thereby it is 
spread farther abroad, and faith also is increased and becometh 
stronger. Wherein it appeareth how diverse the nature of this 
divine good thing is from the good things of the world, which 
decay by calamity and distress, and are increased by prosperity 
and successful affairs : But the kingdom of Christ is increased 
and strengthened by tribulation and adversity, but is diminished 
and weakened by peace and tranquillity. Whereupon Paul 
saith, 2 Cor. xii. 9, " Christ s strength is made perfect in weak 
ness ;" which God perform in us also. Amen. 



2 COR. vi. 1 10. We then, as workers together with him, 
beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in 
vain, $c. 

THIS is an admonition and exhortation to the Corinthians to 
apply themselves to those things which they did already know. 
The words sure are easy to be understood but hard to be done, 
and in use most rare ; for in such marvellous order and colours 
he painteth out Christian life, as it cannot be pleasant to the 
flesh to behold. First he saith, te We then as workers together 
with him, beseech you." He calleth the ministers of the word 
workers together, as 1 Cor. iii. 9; he also saith, " \Ve are 
labourers together with God ; ye are God s husbandry, ye are 
God s building." Which is thus much in effect : We preach and 
labour in the word among you by teaching and exhorting, but 
God inwardly, with the Spirit, doth bless and give the increase, 
lest that the outward labour in the word be in vain ; and so God 
is the inward and true master, which bringeth to pass all things, 
whom we serve in the office of outward preaching. Now he 
calleth himself and his fellows, workers together, lest they 
should contemn the outward word, as though they either had not 
need of it, or had already sufficiently attained to the knowledge 


thereof; for though God can by his spirit only, without the out 
ward word, work all things in the minds of the elect, yet he will 
not do it, hut rather will use together working preachers, and 
work by their word when and where it pleaseth him. Forasmuch 
therefore as it seemeth good unto God to give to preachers this 
office, name, and dignity, that they be counted workers together 
with him, it is not lawful for any man to challenge either that 
learning or holiness unto himself, that he neglect even never so 
simple a sermon wherein the word of God is preached, much 
less that he contemn it ; for we know not when that time will 
come, when God by his preacher will vouchsafe to accomplish 
his work in us. Secondly, the Apostle admonisheth of the dan 
ger of losing the light of the gospel, when he saith, " That ye 
receive not the grace of God in vain." Whereby he giveth us 
to understand that the preaching of the gospel is not a perpetual, 
continuing, and permanent doctrine, but rather that it is like 
rain that suddenly cometh and soon passeth away, when the 
sun and heat come by and by, and take away all the moisture 
that is left thereof, and afterward scorch and hurt all things. 
This very experience proveth, for no man shall be able to bring 
forth even one place in the world, where the gospel hath re 
mained pure and sincere above the age of one man, but conti 
nued and increased while those lived by whose ministry it be 
gan, they departing, that also almost wholly departed, and by 
and by after followed heretics and false teachers, with their de 
lusions and false doctrine, perverting and corrupting all things : 
so Moses foretold his Israelites that, by and by, after his death, 
it should come to pass that they should depart from the way of 
the Lord, and corrupt their own ways, which the book of Judges 
\vitnesseth to have come to pass. 

Moreover the same book saith, that as often as any Judge, 
which had called again the word of the Lord, did die, they fell 
again forthwith to their ungodliness, and made all things worse 
and worse ; so Joash the king continued in his duty so long as 
Jehoiada the priest lived, who being dead, he began by and by 
to be a king unlike himself, and left the office of a good and godly 
king. Neither fell it out otherwise after Christ had received his 
apostles to himself; almost the whole world was filled with 
heresies and false doctrines, which Paul pronounced before, 
Acts xx. 29, " I know this, saith he, that, after my departing, 
shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock," 
&c. So standeth the case at this day also; the pure and sincere 



gospel hath shincd unto us ; the clay of grace and salvation, and 
the acceptable time are present; but they shall shortly be ended, 
if the world stand. To receive grace in vain can be nothing else 
than to hear the pure and sincere word of God, whereby the 
grace of God is preached and offered, and, notwithstanding, 
embrace it with no diligence, neither be changed or altered in 
life. By this unthankful slothfulness we deserve to have it taken 
away again as being unworthy of it ; for we making so light of 
the gospel are undoubtedly they which are bidden and called to 
the marriage, but whilst being busied about other matters we 
despise this grace, the good man of the house is angry with u c , 
and sweareth that we shall never taste of his supper. The same 
doth Paul now here admonish of, that we take heed to ourselves, 
lest that we receive the gospel unthankfully and without fruit; 
yea, Christ also admonished us of the same, John xii. Jf>, (i \\ alk 
while ye have the light, lest darkne.-s come upon you. " It ought 
surely to make us more wary and heedful, even for that we suf 
fered so grievous and pernicious darkness under the Pope ; but 
we have now forgotten all such things; no thankfulness, no 
amendment is found among us; which, how greatly to our own 
heart neglect, we shall shortly feel, " For he saith, 1 have heard 
thee in the time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I 
succoured thec : behold, now is the accepted time." He de- 
scribeth here the marvellous felicity which is there where the 
gospel flourished! ; there is no wrath, no revengement; all things 
are replenished with grace and salvation, yea, it is unspeakable 
how great felicity these words do speak of. Where he first 
saith a time accepted, it is spoken by a Hebrew figure, and is 
as much as thou say, a gracious time and replenished with the 
favour of God; wherein God turneth away his anger, declareth 
nothing but love toward us, and a ready Mill to help us. 

Our sins are blotted out, not only those that be past, but 
those also which as yet stick in our flesh, and that I may speak 
in a word, the kingdom of mercy is present, wherein nothing but 
forgiveness of sins, and restoring of grace is showed ; heaven 
standeth open, the right year of jubilee is come, wherein all 
debts are remitted, and no grace is denied. Whereupon he saith, 
" I have heard thee in a time accepted;" that is, now I favour 
thee and am merciful unto thee, whatsoever thou wilt have, 
pray for it, and thou shalt obtain it, and certainly receive it ; 
only let not the fault be in thyself, pray while this time en- 
dureth, " Behold, now is the day of salvation, He calleth this 


the time and day of salvation, that is, of help and felicity ; for 
we are not only certain hereof, that God is merciful and favour 
able unto us, and we acceptable unto him,, but also, as we be 
lieve, and by faith are sure of his goodness towards us, so he 
declareth indeed, heareth them that cry unto him, helpeth and 
saveth them, yea, and maketh them plainly blessed. We there 
fore worthily acknowledge and confess this time to be the 
wished, prosperous, happy, and very day of salvation; for it 
behoveth that both be together, both that God favour us, and 
also that he declare his favour towards us by work or deed. 
That he favoureth us, the accepted time which is now our 
salvation, this other witnesseth, viz., the day of salvation the 
day of help. 

But as the state of the life of Christians is, if thou wilt judge 
according to the outward man, thou wilt judge it rather a time of 
affliction, wrath, and indignation, wherein the gospel is preached, 
and wherein they live, than a time of grace and salvation; 
wherefore the words of the Spirit must be spiritually under 
stood, so shall we easily see and perceive, that these noble and 
most pleasant names do most rightly and properly belong to the 
time wherein the gospel flourisheth ; that it is a time accepted, 
that is full of grace, and a time of salvation, whereby freely all 
the riches and felicity of Christ s kingdom are notably com 
mended and set forth unto us, " Giving no offence in any thing." 
Forasmuch therefore as there is so acceptable and gracious a 
time, let us, saith he, use it worthily, and not receive it in vain. 
First, endeavouring to give no occasion of offence to any man, 
lest that our office of preaching Christ be reprehended, whereby 
he sufficiently declareth what offence he meaneth, namely, that 
the doctrine of the gospel may not be stumbled at, as though he 
taught that which is not perfect and sound. Now there may be 
given a double occasion of offence, whereby the gospel is repre 
hended ; one, whereby the heathen are offended, whenas some 
under the pretence of the gospel, seek the liberty of the flesh, 
will not be obedient to magistrates, turning the liberty of the 
spirit into fleshly licentiousness. These do marvellously offend 
the discreet and wise sort of the heathen, so that they hate the 
gospel without a cause, which they think doth teach this licen 
tiousness ; and as it were with a certain force they do by this 
their insolence repel and drive them from the faith of Christ ; 
for they measuring all Christians by these, do detest them as 

u 2 


light men, and troublers of the commonwealth, and therefore 
not to be suffered. 

This offence therefore, and this reprehension^ or rather hatred 
and persecution of the gospel, we acknowledge to come through 
these preposterous Christians. Another offence is, whereby 
even Christians among themselves are sometimes offended 
through the unseasonable use of all Christian liberty, in meats 
and other indifferent things, whereat the weaker sort in faith do 
sometimes stumble, whereof the apostle hath given many pre 
cepts, 1 Cor. viii., Rom. xiv. He exhorteth therefore here unto 
that, whereof he admonisheth in other words, 1 Cor. x. 32, 
fe So behave yourselves, that ye give none offence, neither to the 
Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God. Even as 
I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but 
the profit of many that they may be saved." The same he 
tcachcth also, Philip, ii. 4, that every man look not on his own 
things, but on the things of other men, so all offence should be 
easily taken away, nay, none at all should be given, u That the 
ministry be not blamed." \Vho can bring to pass, that our 
ministry shall not be blamed, seeing that the gospel is necessarily 
subject to persecution, no less than Christ himself? Indeed it is 
not in us to make that the word of God be not blamed and per 
secuted of them which are ignorant of God, and do not believe ; 
for it is a rock of offence, Isaiah viii., Rom. ix , this offence 
cometh because of our faith, and cannot be avoided of us, and 
therefore the blame thereof ought not to be laid upon us. llow- 
beit there is another offence which proceedeth hereof, for that 
our love is not sufficiently dutiful, this cometh through us, in 
asmuch as our works are the cause thereof, because they do not 
so shine by faith, that they which are conversant with us may 
thereby be provoked to serve God, as it is meet. This offence 
is given through our fault, whom it becometh so to live, that 
the Jews, heathen, and princes of the world might have no oc 
casion to say, Behold how light and naughty these men are, yea, 
and very wicked wretches, the doctrine of life which they follow 
must needs be evil and pestilent. So our infamy and crimes are 
the occasion of offence to others, and of hatred and detestation 
of the most holy word of God. For whereas we ought so to 
know, preach, and follow it, that thereby both our neighbours 
might be brought unto God, and to the leading of a godly life, 
and also the glory of God set forth, so we by our naughty and 


slothful life bring to pass, that it doth not only bring no profit 
and advantage to our neighbours,, but is brought into hatred and 
made detestable through our means, bearing our ignominy and 
reproach. Now it is a most horrible sin and wickedness by our 
naughtiness to make the word of God which is most holy and 
bringeth salvation, to make it, I say, so odious, and to repel 
and drive men from it, to our own and their most certain 

61 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of 
God, in much patience, in afflictions," &c. Here he describeth 
in order the signs and proper tokens of a Christian life where 
with it ought to be adorned in outward conversation; not 
meaning that one is made a Christian and godly hereby, but as 
he saith, that by these as by proper fruits and figures of Chris 
tianity, we should show ourselves to be both., and behave our 
selves as the ministers of God, that is as Christians and godly 
men ; and mark well that he saith, " as the minister of God." 
It may seem very strange, that the ministry of God consisteth 
in these, in " afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, 
in imprisonments, in [tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fast 
ings/ &c. Among these he numbereth not masses, and prayers 
for the dead, or other trifles of feigned worship of God. He re- 
hearseth those things that pertain to the true and right service 
of God, whereby the body is chastised, and the flesh tamed. 
Which is well to be noted, lest that any neglect, fastings, 
watchings, and labour, and make no account of them for that 
they do not justify. They bring not righteousness indeed, yet 
are the fruits of righteousness being obtained, wherein thou. 
mayest be exercised, and whereby thou mayest keep thy flesh 
in subjection, and enforce it to do its duty. " In tumults/ 
He rehearseth tumults or seditions among the rest, not that it 
becometh us to teach or move them, who ought to obey magis 
trates, and with quietness to live obedient unto all in that which 
is good, as Paul teacheth, Rom. xiii., and Christ, Matt, xxii., 
" Give unto Caesar those things that are Caesar s/ But that 
we must bear tumults of others, as also necessities, distresses, 
stripes, and imprisonments, which we must cause or procure 
unto none, but suffer, being procured and laid upon us by 

Wherefore in the first place he setteth much patience, which 
surely moveth no sedition or tumult, but rather suffereth it, and 
appeaseth it if it can. But in the mean time, it singularly com- 


forteth us at this time, whenas tumults are commonly imputed 
unto us, for that this is incident to a Christian life, that for the 
preaching of the gospel it is accused to raise sedition, which it 
rather suftereth being raised of others against the word of God : 
for as in time past Achab accused the most holy prophet Elias 
of sedition, affirming that it was he that troubled Israel, whenas 
he himself indeed did trouble it ; so is it neither a shameful nor 
new thing for us to be accused of the same, when we preach the 
same word. Let us think when the enemies of (rod lay this 
reproach and slander upon us, that not only Elias, not only the 
Apostles, but Christ himself was counted of the Jews a seditious 
fellow, and crucified, a title being written in three languages and 
put on the cross., that he should of all be counted a seditious 
king of the Jews, which would have moved that people against 
Caesar, and adjoined them unto himself, who indeed by \vord 
and example of his life, taught nothing more than submission 
and obedience, and lived so that he was ready to profit and mi 
nister unto all. As for the rest whereof the Apostle here maketh 
mention as patience, affliction, necessity, distress, stripes, pri 
sons, labour, watchings, fastings, purity; it is easy to under 
stand how they pertain to the ministry of God, who truly dis- 
daineth to have slothful, idle, gluttonous, and drowsy ministers, 
and such as cannot abide adversity and trouble. But he espe 
cially provcth our delicate ones, which quietly enjoy revenues 
and rents, and take their delight and pleasure, thinking that it 
is an unworthy thing, that they should labour, for that they are 
shaven, wear long gowns, and cry out in temples, &c. Howbeit 
these shall not be able to approve themselves before God, who 
will have all to labour, and eat their own, and not other men s 
bread, as it is written by St. Paul to the Thessalonians. Who 
therefore teacheth here also, that God is served by labour, and 
not that only, but that we also are thereby proved and com 
mended to be the ministers of God. 

C( By knowledge." Paul taketh knowledge here for that which 
we call prudence or wisdom, whereby we use things with reason, 
behaving ourselves with discretion and comeliness ; of which 
knowledge the saying also of Paul, Rom. x. 2, is understood, 
" They have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge," 
that is, they bear a zeal to the law not prudently, not weighing 
and considering all things well, that they might do no indecent 
thing, wherefore he here expressly requireth knowledge in the 
ministry of God, and thereby admonisheth us, that we frame our 


life with reason, and order it prudently, in all things keeping a 
mean, and having an advised regard of our neighbours, lest that 
in any thing we offend the weaker sort, with unseasonable use 
of Christian liberty, and that we do all things to the edifying of 
all ; so we must labour, fast, watch, and apply ourselves to 
chastity, and such other things, not above measure., that either 
the body may be in danger by too much hunger and watching, 
or the true purity of life by over much abstinence from matri 
monial company, but we must use these things with knowledge, 
that is, with convenient wisdom and discretion, that they may 
not any whit hurt, but always edify. Whereupon Paul, 1 Cor. 
vii., expressly admonisheth married folks, that they abstain not 
overmuch from mutual company, lest that they be tempted of 

In all these therefore, in fastings, watchings, labours, chastity, 
&c., the apostle would prescribe and appoint no rule, law, or 
measure, which the councils of the pope and monks do, but the 
mean or measure to be observed in them he left free to every 
man s knowledge and discretion, that every one may consider 
with himself how much or how long he must labour, fast, watch, 
or abstain, to this end, that the flesh may be tamed and made 
obedient to the spirit. " By long suffering, by kindness, by 
the Holy Ghost/ What the two former are, the Apostle hath 
sufficiently declared, Rom. ii., Gal. v. But whereas he saith, 
by the Holy Ghost, it may be understood after two sorts^ 
either that he speaketh of the Holy Ghost, God himself, or that 
he meaneth by the Holy Spirit, the true force and manner of a 
spiritual life, as though he would admonish in this manner : 
beware of an hypocritical spirit, which will be counted for a 
holy spirit through a marvellous show and crafty counterfeiting 
of spiritual things, when it is indeed an unclean, prophane, and 
evil spirit, and bringeth in nothing but sects and heresies. But 
live ye in the true and holy spirit which is given of God, which 
giveth and maintaineth unity, one mind, heart, and affection, 
whereof he speaketh also, Eph. iv. 3, " Endeavouring to keep 
the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace." They therefore 
which persevere in the same true faith, mind and sentence be 
have themselves as the ministers of God in the Holy Spirit, 
being truly spiritual and living a spiritual life, which is led by 
the assistance of the Holy Spirit of God, is also led in the 
unity of minds, the hearts by faith being affected after the same 
manner. " By love unfeigned. By the word of truth." As 


he set the Holy Spirit against heretics and false prophets, so 
he settcth unfeigned love against slothful and sluggish Chris 
tians, who although they have the same meaning and mind in 
the true spiritual life, as concerning opinions of doctrine, yet 
are they remiss, cold, and faint in love so he setteth the word 
of truth against them which abuse the word of God, and inter 
pret it according to their own affections, that thereby they may 
get them a name and profit : for as false spirits do contemn the 
word of the scripture, and prefer themselves before it, so these 
do indeed boast of the word, and will be counted masters of the 
scripture, but by their interpretations do pervert the sense and 
meaning thereof. Against these Peter speaketh, " If any man 
speak, let him speak as the oracles of (iod," that is, let him 
take heed that he be certain that those words which he speaketh 
be the words of God, and not his own vain imagination. Now 
Paul calleth that the word of truth, which is the sincere word 
of God, not which is insincere and feigned, which forasmuch as 
it is ours, is falsely called the word of God. For that which we 
call the true and right word, the Hebrews call the word of 

" By the power of God." Of this power Peter also speaketh, 
1 Pet. iv. 11, " Jf an}- man minister, let him do it as of the 
ability which God giveth." And Paul, Colos. i. 29, " Where- 
unto I also labour, striving according to his working, which 
worketh in me mightily." Again, Kom. xv. IS, " I will not 
dare to speak of any of those things, which Christ hath not 
wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient," &c. Chris 
tians must be certain that they are the kingdom of God, and do 
nothing at all, especially in spiritual functions, and those things 
that pertain to the salvation of souls, whereof they are not cer 
tain that it is not they which work, but God that worketh by 
them. For in the kingdom of God it is meet that God alone 
do speak, command, do, dispose and work all things. This 
Christ meant when he said, Matt. v. 16, (S Let your light so 
shine before men, that they may see your good works, and 
glorify your Father which is in heaven," as the author of them, 
which doth them and not you, " By the armour of righteous 
ness, on the right hand, and on the left. By honour and dis 
honour," &c. This armour he describeth more at large in the 
epistle to the Ephesians and Thessalonians ; he rehearseth 
there the girdle of verity, the breast-plate of righteousness, the 
shoes of preparation to preach the gospel, the shield of faith, the 


helmet of salvation, &c. This armour of righteousness, he 
calleth in his epistle to the Ephesians, the armour of God ; both 
are to this end, that he may turn Christians from corporal and 
prophane armour, and admonish them, that they are a spiritual 
people, and therefore must be furnished with spiritual armour, 
wherewith they must always fight a spiritual fight with spiri 
tual enemies, which here he rehearseth, and showeth that they 
do assail us both on the right hand and on the left. On the 
left hand he setteth dishonour, evil report, and that we are 
accounted as deceivers, unknown, dying, chastened, sorrowing, 
poor, having nothing. For all these things come unto Chris 
tians, they are openly defamed, being reproached to their face, 
arid by infamy falsely accused and railed on, counted as de 
ceivers and followers of most wicked devices. 

They are as unknown, although noble, all refusing to be 
friends with them, because of the perilous confession of the name 
of Christ, yea, it many times cometh to pass, that they that 
were their most familiar friends are ashamed of them, for that 
they have so evil a report, and are very ill spoken of among the 
chief, richest, wisest, and mightiest of the world. They are dying, 
that is, as sheep appointed to the slaughter, they look for death 
every moment by reason of the great hatred and envy which 
the evil bear toward them, being always persecuted of the chief 
of the world. They are chastised, for it oftentimes falleth out, 
that they are stricken and beaten, and do by other disadvantages 
try how they are envied of the world, and how great indignation 
the mighty of the world bear against them. They are sor 
rowing, for all outward things are against them, and the whole 
world giveth many causes of griefs unto them j they are as 
poor, for there is no man of the world which will give them any 
thing, every man is ready to hurt and endamage them ; neither 
do they possess any thing, for although all things be not taken 
from them at once, yet are they in that state, that they daily 
look for it ; against these adversities and as enemies assailing 
us on the left hand, it is needful, that we be fortified and fenced 
with the armour of God, lest that we either despair or faint. 
Now this armour is a sure and invincible faith, continual 
consolation and exhortation of the word of God, and a 
lively hope and undoubted expectation of the help of God. 
When being furnished with these, we suffer all things patiently, 
standing stedfast in our duties, we declare ourselves the sincere 


ministers of God, which the false apostles and hypocrites can 
never do although they feign that they serve God. 

On the right hand he sctteth glory, praises, that we are 
counted true., known, do live, are not killed,, do rejoice, enrich 
ing many, possessing all things ; for it always falleth out, that 
there be some which make account of Christians, and reverence 
them, among whom they are well reported of, and counted 
true in doctrine, wherefore some are not wanting which join 
themselves unto them, and do openly pretend friendship with 
them, freely pronouncing them to he the ministers of God : 
neither do they die so oft as they are brought into danger, and 
being chastened are not always killed. Finally, it cometh to 
pass by the consolation of the Spirit, that they do then most of 
all rejoice, when they are in greatest affliction; for their heart 
rr-joicrtli in God, which joy burstcth forth, and uttereth itself 
in words, works, and gestures. And although they be poor in 
temporal substance 1 , yet are they never famished with hunger, 
but with the word of God do enrich very many in spirit, and 
stand not in need of any thing, although they have nothing, 
for all things are in their hands, for that all creatures must serve 


the believers, as Christ saith ; to him that believeth all things 
are possible. These things although they be the excellent 
gifts of God, notwithstanding, if the fear of God should be 
absent, even they should be turned into enemies unto us, and 
therefore it is needful that we be strongly fenced against them 
with the armour of God, lest that they make us wax proud, or 
insolently puff us up. A Christian man therefore is marvel 
lously free, and delights in nothing but God alone ; lie setteth 
God only before his eyes, he endeavoureth to come straight unto 
him by this middle and high way, between those things which 
assail on the right hand and on the left, so that he is neither 
thrown down by adversity, nor puffed up by prosperity, but 
useth both most rightly, both to the glory of God and profit of 
his neighbours ; w r e must, saith the apostle, live such a life, 
while it is the time of grace and of the lively light of the gospel, 
lest that while this day shineth we work not, and so that shall 
have sinned unto us in vain. This is the true ministry of God, 
which only he alloweth, wherein he grant that we may serve 
him, and that most dutifully. Amen. 




Matthew iv. 1 11. Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into 
the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil. And when he 
had fasted forty days and forty nights 9 he was afterward 
an hungered, fyc. 

THIS text hath therefore been appointed to be read in the be 
ginning of the solemn fast which hath hitherto been commanded 
for forty days, that the example of Christ being commended to 
Christians., they might thereby be provoked to keep that fast 
so much more religiously, which surely was nothing but a vain 
trifle. First, for that no man is able to follow the example of 
Christ, who lived without any meat forty days and so many 
nights ; Christ rather followed the example of Moses herein, than 
gave unto us any example to follow. Moses received the law, 
was forty days and forty nights in Mount Sinai without meat, so 
long time would Christ also fast, coming to bring and publish 
a new law. Again, this fasting is a perverse thing, inasmuch 
as it was ordained of men. For although Christ fasted forty 
days, yet have we no word of his, whereby he hath commanded 
us also to do the same. He did many other things besides, not 
withstanding he will not have us also to do them ; those things 
that he hath commanded us to do, those things, I say, we must 
endeavour to do, whereby we may obey his will ; but the most 
pestilent thing of all herein was, that we took upon us and used 
fasting as a good and meritorious work, not to tame the flesh 
thereby, but to satisfy for sins, and to procure the favour of God 
unto ourselves ; which wicked opinion made our fasting so foul, 
filthy, and abominable before God, that no feastings, banquets, 
gluttony, and drunkenness are so filthy and detestable before 
him, and it were better to eat and drink day and night than so 
to fast ; and although this ungodly and wicked intent had not 
defiled our fasting, but that it had been ordained for chastising 
the body, nevertheless, forasmuch as it was not left free, that 
every one might have taken it upon him of his own accord, but 
it was enforced by the laws of man, so that most which fasted, 


fasted against their -wills, and with a grudging mind, it could 
not be but vain and unacceptable to God. I speak not what 
other hurt it did to women with child, in young children, and 
in the weak and aged. Wherefore we will more rightly con 
sider this text, and see what manner of fasting it teacheth by 
the example of Christ. 

The scripture commendeth unto us two sorts of fasting which 
are laudable : one, which is taken upon us of our own accord, 
to tame the flesh, whereof the apostle speukcth, 2 Cor. vi., 
where he exhorteth us to behave ourselves as the ministers of 
God, by labours, watchings, and fastings among the rest. Ano 
ther, which indeed is not taken upon us willingly, yet is willingly 
borne of us, when by reason of need and poverty we have not 
whereon to feed ; whereof Paul spcaketh in the first epistle to the 
Corinthians, chap. iv. 11, "Even unto this present hour we 
both hunger and thirst." And Christ, Matt. ix. 15, " When 
the bridegroom shall be taken from them, then shall they fast." 
This fasting Christ teacheth us by his present example, who 
being alone in the desert, and having no meat, did suffer hunger 
and need patiently. The first of these two fasts, may, when 
we please, be left and broken with eating of meat : but this last 
must be suffered until the Lord end and break it. Now the 
cause why the evangelist did so diligently first declare, that 
Jesus was led up of the spirit into the wilderness, that he 
should there fast and be tempted, is this, lest that any taking 
upon him to fast of his own mind, and for his own profit sake, 
should in vain endeavour to follow this example of Christ ; for 
he must look for the leading up of the spirit, he will cause fast 
ing and temptation enough : for he that without the leading of 
the spirit should voluntarily bring himself into danger of 
hunger, or any other temptation, when by the blessing of God 
he hath what to eat and drink, and whereby to live quietly, he, 
I say, should plainly tempt the Lord. 

We must not procure to ourselves poverty and temptation, 
they will come soon enough of themselves, only when they are 
sent of the Lord, we must endeavour to bear them patiently ; 
Jesus, as the evangelist writeth, " was led up of the spirit into 
the wilderness/ he did not choose to himself the wilderness ; 
they are led by the Spirit of God, which are the sons of God, 
Rom. viii. 14. The good things which the Lord giveth, he 
giveth for this, that we may enjoy them with thanksgiving, not 
that we should neglect them, tempting him. Moreover, this 


history is written unto us both to instruct, and also to exhort ; 
to instruct, that we may learn hereby, that Christ by this his 
fasting, hunger., temptation, and victory against Satan did 
serve us, and furthered our salvation ; that whosoever be- 
lieveth in him may never need, or be hurt by any temptation, 
but rather shall abound with good things in the midst of po 
verty, and be safe in the midst of temptation, for that his 
head and Lord, Christ, hath overcome all these things for him, 
whereof by faith he is most certain, according as the Lord 
himself saith, John xvi. 33, " Be of good cheer, I have over 
come the world." And if God could without meat nourish his 
Christ forty days and so many nights, so he can also Chris 
tians. We are exhorted also here, that according to this ex 
ample of Christ, we suffer hunger, temptation, and other 
necessities when they come, and when the case so requireth, to 
the glory of God and profit of our neighbours, and surely if 
we do earnestly confess and stick to the word of God, these 
things will undoubtedly come unto us. 

The present text therefore containeth a marvellous consola 
tion and strengthening of faith against the filthy and incredulous 
belly, which being diligently and faithfully weighed, our con 
science shall be very much comforted and strengthened, that we 
may not be careful for living, but trust with a full confidence, 
that God will give us plentifully those things that be necessary. 
Now, that this temptation also is incident unto it is manifest ; 
for as Christ was led aside into the wilderness, that is, was left 
alone of God, angels, men, and all creatures, which might help 
him so also it falleth out with us, we are led up into the wil 
derness, we are forsaken and left alone ; and this indeed is it 
which especially grieveth us, to feel or perceive nothing where- 
unto we may trust, or from whence we may look for help ; as 
when it lieth upon me to prepare sustenance for me and mine, 
and I have nothing at all of myself, neither perceive any help 
coming from any man, neither know where to look for any. 
This is to be led up into the desert, and to be left alone ; I being 
in this case, am in the true exercise of faith ; then I learn how 
I myself am nothing, how weak my faith is, how great and rare 
a thing sound faith is, and how deeply abominable incredulity 
is settled in the hearts of all. But he that hath as yet a purse 
heavy with money, a cellar full of wine, a garden replenished 
with grain, he is not yet led up into the wilderness, or left alone, 
and therefore cannot feel temptation while these things remain. 


Secondly, Satan cometh, and tempteth Christ with this care for 
the belly, and diffidence of the goodness of God, saying, Ce If 
thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made 
bread," as if he should say according to the Dutch proverb, 
" Trust in God, and in the mean time neglect to bake bread, 
tarry till a roasted chicken fly into thy mouth." Go now and 
say that thou hast a God, who is careful for thee ; where is now 
thy heavenly Father, who hath so great a care of thee ? Hath 
he not fairly forsaken thee ? Eat now and drink of thy faith, 
and let us see how thou shalt be sufficed ; it were well with 
thee, if thou couldst feed on stones ; what a goodly son of 
(iod art thou? How fatherly doth he behave himself toward 
thee? He sendcth thee not so much as a piece of bread, but 
sutTereth thee here to be pined with hunger. Go now, and be 
lieve yet that thou art the son of God, and he thy Father. 
Surely with these and such like cogitations he tempteth all the 
children of God, which Christ also undoubtedly felt, for he 
was not a block or stone, but very man, although pure from 
sin, as he also continued, which is not given unto us. 

Now that the devil tempted Christ with care of the belly, 
diffidence and wicked desire, the answer of Christ doth suf 
ficiently declare : Man liveth not by bread alone :" which is as 
much as if he had said, thou wilt have me have regard to bread ; 
thou dealest with me, as though I ought to have no other care 
alone, but of meat and food for the belly. This temptation is 
very common, even among men that are of the most perfect sort, 
but they especially feel it which, when they are poor, have not 
withstanding a wife and children to nourish and maintain, and 
therewithal an empty house. Hereupon Paul called covetous- 
ness the root of all evils, for that it is the right offspring of dif 
fidence ; and what thing else, but this diffidence and care of the 
belly, is the cause that many are so loth to marry ? What 
else doth hold so many thousand men in whoredom and un 
chaste living, and detaineth them from matrimony, but this im 
moderate care of the belly, and ungodly fear, lest they should be 
pined and perish with hunger ? But the present deed and ex 
ample of Christ should be thought upon, who although he had 
been without meat forty days and so many nights, yet was he 
not quite forsaken and left destitute. But the angels at the 
last came, and ministered all things necessary unto him. 
Thirdly, we may see here how Christ meeteth with this tempta 
tion of the belly, and overcometh it. He seeth nothing indeed 


but stones, and that which cannot be eaten, therefore from 
those things that were before his eyes he removeth his mind 
to the word of God, thereby both strengthening himself, and 
overthrowing the devil. On which word, Christians, espe 
cially when poverty presseth them, and all things seem to be 
turned into stones, and the mind doth now tremble for fear of 
hunger, ought with a strong faith to lay hold, and answer the 
temptation that would quite discourage them, What if the 
whole world were full of bread ? yet doth not man live by 
bread alone, there is need of another thing, that is, of the 
word of God. 

Now forasmuch as these words are of marvellous force and 
efficacy, we must a little stand upon them, and endeavour to 
declare them, and not lightly pass them over. These words, 
therefore, Christ took out of the fifth book of Moses, Deut. 
viii. 3, where Moses speaketh thus unto the Israelites : The 
Lord thy God ee he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, 
and fed thee with manna (which thou knewest not, neither did 
thy fathers know), that he might make thee know that man 
doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth 
out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live." Which is as 
much as if he had said, Whereas he suffered thee to hunger, and 
yet thou didst not perish, thou mayest thereby easily know that 
it is God which sustaineth thee by his word, even without 
bread ; for if we did live and were nourished by bread alone, it 
were necessary that we should be always filled with bread ; but 
it is the word of God that nourisheth us, which he will have 
preached, that we may know that he is our God, and that he 
will show himself bountiful and gracious unto us. We are 
taught, therefore, by this answer of Christ and testimony of 
Moses, that he which believeth in the word of God shall un 
doubtedly have experience of two things. First, that when 
meat is wanting, and he is pinched with hunger, he is well sus 
tained and strengthened by this word, that he die not, or perish 
with hunger, as if he did abundantly enjoy meat ; this word of 
God, which he obtaineth in heart, nourishing and strengthen 
ing him without meat and drink ; and if he have but a little 
meat, he shall perceive that little, although it were but even 
one piece of bread, to feed and nourish him no less than if he 
did enjoy princely fare ; for not by bread, but by the word of 
God the body is nourished and preserved, like as by it the body 
was made, as also all other things, like as by the word they 


were created, so also by it are they preserved. The other thing, 
which we arc here taught that the believer shall have experience 
of, is, that at the length he shall assuredly receive bread, from 
whencesoever it come, yea, although it should rain down from 
heaven, as manna did to the Israelites, in a place where no 
other bread could be gotten. 

Let a Christian quietly promise to himself and look for these 
two things, his hope cannot be frustrate, either he shall have in 
hunger somewhat to eat from whencesoever it be given him, or 
his hunger shall be made so tolerable unto him, that he shall be 
no less fed than if he were fed with bread, the power of the 
word of God nourishing and sustaining him. Those things that 
I have said of bread, that is, of meat, are also to be understood 
of drink, apparel, house 1 , and all things necessary unto this 
life. Jt may be indeed that a godly man do need apparel, or 
an house, <Scc., but at length he shall have them ; the leaves 
falling from the trees shall sooner be turned into coats and 
cloaks, than we can be left naked, or surely those garments 
which we have shall not wax old, which the Israelites tried, 
whose clothes and shoes in the desert were not torn, as also a 
most wide wilderness was unto them instead of houses, places 
impassable passable, unwatcry watery, finally, the stony rocks 
fountains of water; for the word of God standeth sure and un- 
inovcable : the Lord he carcth for you ; and Paul saith, " God, 
who giveth us richly all things to enjoy," 1 Pet. v. 7> 1 Tim. 
vi. 17- Also Christ saith, Matt. vi. 33, " Seek ye first the 
kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things 
shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the 
morrow." Such words and promises of God must needs remain 
true for ever, and therefore no good thing can be wanting to 
them that believe ; this even daily experience may teach us. 
We see commonly poor folks and their children to he better 
liking than many rich folks and their children, for that the use 
of their small sustenance is by the blessing of God increased, 
and cloth much more feed and nourish them, than all that most 
abundant sustenance doth feed and nourish the rich. Now, 
whereas the wicked do sometime suffer need in the time of fa 
mine, some do even die through hunger, that is, the special 
vengeance of God, as is also the pestilence, war, and such like ; 
otherwise it plainly appeareth, that not meat, but God doth feed 
and sustain us. 

Howbeit, whereas God feedeth the world with bread, and not 


with his word alone without bread, he therefore doth it, that he 
may so hide his work, and exercise our faith ; so he commandeth 
the Israelites, that they should prepare themselves to battle, 
and yet he would not have the victory to be gotten by their 
sword and labour ; but he himself would by means of their 
sword and labour overcome and vanquish the enemies. Here 
also it might be said, that the soldier doth slay and overcome 
the enemies, not by his sword alone, but by the word which 
proceedeth out of the mouth of God ; whereupon David saith, 
Psalm xliv. 6, " I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my 
sword save me." And again, ee Hedelighteth not in the strength 
of the horse : He taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man," 
&c., Psalm cxlvii. 10. Nevertheless God useth men, swords, 
horses, and bows, howbeit not by the power and strength of 
them, but by them as by certain means and instruments he him 
self fighteth and overcometh ; this he hath sufficiently declared 
oftentimes, when he hath overthrown the enemies and delivered 
his people, which surely he daily doth, when the case so re- 
quireth. After the same sort God useth bread also, by it, 
forasmuch as it is made for that use, he feedeth us, howbeit 
when it is wanting, he nevertheless feedeth them that be his, 
even by his word, without bread, as he doth at other times by 
bread, so that bread doth as it were work under God, as the 
apostles and preachers of the word in spiritual and evangelical 
meat serve under him, as it is mentioned, 1 Cor. iii., for as 
God useth their ministry to teach men, he himself by his Spirit 
speaking in their hearts through it, and doing all things alone, 
which he both is able to do, and oftentimes wont to do, without 
the ministry of the preachers of his word, although he will not 
in the mean season have the ministry of his word to be despised, 
and so himself tempted ; so to the nourishing of our outward 
man, he outwardly useth bread, although he doth make by his 
word inwardly, that we be nourished and strengthened, which 
he can as well do, as he is wont to do when bread is away, that 
all our nourishment may be attributed to the word and not to 
bread, which he useth as an instrument, but yet of no necessity. 
That I may speak briefly, all creatures do as it were serve under 
him, and are his instruments, without which notwithstanding 
he is able, and oftentimes wont to work ; by this means pro 
viding, that we may depend on his word alone, neither trusting 
more unto him, when we have bread and other things which 
our life useth, neither less when we want them, but may use 



them with giving of thanks when he bestoweth them upon us ; 
when otherwise, we may patiently he without them, heing cer 
tain, nevertheless, that we shall live and be nourished in both 
times, both when we have them, and when we have them not. 
And by this faith that vain and ungodly care of the belly, greedy 
desire of tilings, and carefulness of life are overcome. 

" Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city," &c. This 
temptation is quite contrary to the former ; he assaileth us with 
such temptation also, whereby he goeth about to move us to 
tempt God, even as he willeth Christ to cast himself down from 
a pinnacle of the temple, and so tempt God, when there were 
ladders, by which he might dex-eml ; and that this temptation 
provoketh to tempt God, it is manifest even by the answer of 
Christ, who answereth Satan in this manner: u It is written 
again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." Hereby he 
signifieth, that the devil would provoke him to tempt God. 
Now this temptation doth not amiss follow the former : for 
when the devil perceivcth the heart, that in poverty and neces 
sity it trusteth in God. he by and by maketh an end of templing 
by care of the belly and desire of things, as being weaker than 
that by it he may overthrow one so strong in faith. 

He thinketh therefore with himself, If he profess himself to 
be of so religious and assured a mind, I will on this side also 
give occasion to sin ; and so he setteth upon him on the right 
side, affirming that that is to be believed which the Lord hath 
neither spoken, nor commanded to be believed, as is this : If he 
should bring thee to such madness, that when thou hast bread 
at home given thce of God, as he of his goodness giveth unto us 
every day, thou wouldest not use it, but wonkiest procure to 
thyself necessity and hunger, saying, I must trust in God, I will 
not feed on this earthly bread, I will tarry till God give me 
other from heaven. This were to tempt God ; for he doth not 
command thee to believe, that that thing shall come unto thcc 
whereof thou hast need, if it be already come of his liberality ; 
for why shouldest thou believe that he will give that which thou 
hast already of his gift ? Thou seest therefore that the devil 
doth here object a certain necessity and need unto Christ, where 
there is none ; for there was a sufficient mean to descend from 
the pinnacle of the temple, neither was it reason to attempt 
this new, unaccustomed, and unnecessary mean whereunto Satan 
persuaded. Moreover, allegorically, we may by this doing of 
Satan perceive his craft and subtilty. The devil taketh him/ 


saith the Evangelist, " up into the holy city, and setteth him 
on a pinnacle of the temple/ By this temptation he reple- 
nisheth men with cogitations that seem most holy, that they 
may think themselves most plentifully endued with faith, and to 
stand in a very holy place, whenas notwithstanding they are 
set, not in the temple, but on the temple, that is, not in the 
sincerity of faith, but in a vain outward show of faith ; never 
theless he is in the mean season in the holy city, because that 
this kind of men is wont to be nowhere but among Christians, 
where the word of the Lord and the preaching of faith is daily 
heard, who also like unto Satan have sentences of scripture in 
readiness, as concerning the words, although they always per 
vert and wrest them to their own error and false imaginations ; 
so Satan recited here unto Christ, out of the 91st Psalm, that 
God doth command his angels concerning his children, that 
they keep them, lifting them up with their hands. But the de 
ceiver concealed that which is added, that is, in their ways. 
For thus hath the Psalm xci. 11, " For he shall give his angels 
charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways/ So that the 
custody of angels is not by the commandment promised unto 
us, unless we walk in our ways which he hath prescribed us. 
If we walk in them, we shall assuredly be kept of angels ; how- 
beit the devil saith nothing of the ways of the Lord, but pro- 
miseth, by corrupting the saying of the Psalm, that it is com 
manded to the angels, to keep us in what ways soever, whereof 
the Lord hath commanded nothing. And this is Satan s se 
ducing, and persuasion to tempt God. But this temptation 
doth not easily happen in these outward things, as are bread, 
apparel, houses, &c. 

Thou mayest find indeed some rash heads, which for no cause 
do put their life, goods, and good name in great danger, as they 
do which go on warfare of their own accord, which leap rashly 
into most deep waters, or go voluntarily into other no small 
dangers. Of whom Jesus^ the son of Syrach, saith, " He that 
loveth danger, shall perish therein," Eccles. iii. 26, whereof 
the Germans have a proverb, e< Self do, self have," what every 
one followethj that he cometh unto. So it is almost usual that 
none are oftener drowned, than they that are most exercised in 
swimming, and none fall more perilously than they which use 
to attempt high matters. But he shall be hardly found, which 
having a false and overmuch confidence in God, attempteth any 
sucli thing, or useth not the things present, as bread, apparel, 

X 2 


house, and such like, looking with peril, while God provide 
otherwise for him hy miracle. We read of a certain hermit, 
who because he hud vowed to take bread of no man, brought 
himself into peril by hunger, and so perished, and undoubtedly 
went straight to hell, because of that false faith and tempting 
of Cod, which he learned no other where but of the devil, so 
that his madness was altogether like that whcreunto Satan here 
persuadeth Christ, viz., that he should cast himself down from 
a pinnacle of the temple ; howbeit thou shalt find very few 
which do follow this hermit, and do defer to enjoy temporal 
things present for that they hope that Cod will give them other 
from heaven. 

But in spiritual things which concern the nourishment, not 
of the body, but of the soul, this temptation is wont to be both 
mighty and often ; in these Cod hath appointed a certain man 
ner whereby the soul may be fed, nourished, and strengthened, 
both most commodiously and also most blessedly, so that no 
good thing at all can be wanting unto it. This nourishment, this 
strength, this salvation, is Christ our Saviour, in whom the 
Father hath most abundantly offered and given all good things. 
But there are very few which desire him, the most part seek 
some other way, whereby their souls may live and obtain salva 
tion. Such are all they which seek salvation by their works. 
These are they whom Satan, having set on a pinnacle of the 
temple, biddeth them cast themselves down, and they obey him ; 
they descend, whereas it is no way, that is, they believe and 
trust in Cod, yet so, as they trust also in their own works, in 
which is no place at all for faith, and trust no way or path unto 
Cod, wherefore throwing themselves down headlong, they 
break their neck, falling into utter desperation. Now Satan 
persuadeth miserable men unto this madness, as also he per 
suaded Christ to cast himself down from a pinnacle of the 
temple, by places of scripture perverted and misapplied, wherein 
works are commanded, whereby he maketh them believe that 
the angels shall keep them, that is, that they shall be approved 
of Cod, whenas indeed they can by nothing so offend him, as 
by that mad trust and confidence in works ; for they acknow 
ledge not that the scripture doth nowhere require works with 
out faith, or that it doth everywhere require a sound and lively 
faith from which works proceed. We have at large declared 
who are such, namely, incredulous hypocrites, which are given 
to works without faith, which falsely boust of the name of Chris- 


tians, challenging to themselves to be chief in the flock of 
Christ ; for this temptation must be in the holy city. Now 
these two temptations,, and the causes of them, do greatly dif 
fer. In the former cause why men do not believe, is need and 
hunger, for they are thereby moved to distrust God, and de 
spair of his goodness. In the latter the cause why they do not 
believe, is overmuch abundance, for that miserable men are 
full of most plentiful and abundant treasure, so that they loathe 
it, coveting to have some other special thing, whereby they may 
procure the salvation of their souls. So our case standeth ill 
in both respects : if we have nothing we despair, and distrust 
God ; if we have plenty of things we loathe them, and require 
other, being then also void of faith. Concerning the first, we 
fly and hate scarcity and seek plenty ; concerning the latter, we 
seek scarcity and fly plenty. Howsoever God dealeth with us 
we are not content; our incredulity is a bottomless pit of ma 
lice and ungodliness. 

" Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high 
mountain/ Here he tempteth with vain glory and power of 
the world, as by the words of the devil doth plainly appear, 
who showing Christ the kingdoms of the world, offered them 
to him, if he would worship him. By this temptation they 
are overcome which revolt from faith, that they may enjoy 
glory and power here, or at least do so temper their faith that 
they lose not these things : in the number of these are all he 
retics and troublers of the church, which do therefore either 
live, or oppugn the sincerity of faith, that being exempted out 
of the common number they may be extolled on high. So we 
may place this temptation on the right hand, as the first assail- 
eth us on the left ; for as the first temptation is of adversity, 
whereby we are moved to indignation, impatience, and diffi 
dence, so this third temptation is of prosperity, whereby we 
are provoked to delights, glory, pleasures, and whatsoever is 
excellent and delectable in the world. The second temptation 
is altogether spiritual, whereby Satan, by deceit, and marvellous 
and secret subtllty, goeth about to withdraw man from faith 5 
for whom he cannot overcome with poverty, scarcity, necessity, 
and misery, them he tempteth with riches, favour, glory, de 
lights, power, &c., and so he assaileth us on either side, yea, 
when he prevaileth by neither way, he goeth about, as Peter 
saith, and attempteth all means, that whom he can overcome 
neither by adversity, that is, by the first temptation, nor by 


prosperity, that is, by the third temptation, lie may overcome 
cither by error, blindness, or false understanding of the scrip 
tures, that is, by the second temptation, which is spiritual, and 
therefore most hurtful ; by which, if he prevail against any, they 
are also overcome both on the left side and on the right ; for 
whether they suffer such poverty, or enjoy plenty of things, whe 
ther they contend, or yield unto all things, both is nothing while 
they are in error, either in patience in adversity, or constancy in 
prosperity, can be of no importance. 

For in both even heretics oftentime do notably excel, and it 
is a practice of the devil oftentimes to feign himself overcome in 
the first and third temptation, that he may reign victor by the se 
cond; he can be content, that they that be his, do oftentimes suffer 
poverty patiently, and do also contemn the world, although they 
do neither of them with a simple heart and sincere faith. Every 
one, therefore, of these three temptations is grievous and very 
hard, but the middle one is most perilous of all, for it absaileth 
the doctrine of faith, and is spiritual and wont to deceive in 
spiritual things. The other two also do assail faith, howbeit in 
these outward things, as adversity and prosperity, although they 
do also urge us very sore ; for it cannot be a little grievous to 
suffer poverty, to want bread, and such other things necessary : 
again, it is no less grievous to neglect, and wholly to deny, 
favour, glory, riches, friends, companions, and other commodities 
which we have ; but an entire and sound faith in the word of 
God can perform both notably, and if it be a strong faith, they 
seem very easy and delectable unto it. \Vc cannot certainly 
know the order of these temptations which happened to Christ, 
for that the evangelists have not described them after one order ; 
for Luke hath set that last, which Matthew hath set in the 
midst, and that which Matthew hath set last, Luke hath placed 
in the midst. But they do not so much consist in the order ; 
notwithstanding, when any will teach the people concerning 
these temptations, it were better to follow the order of Luke ; 
for he may fitly say, and thus rehearse, that Satan doth first tempt 
us with poverty and adversity, whereby if he prevail not, then he 
tempteth us with prosperity and glory, which if he do in vain, 
then he assaileth us with all his might, and tempteth us with 
error, lies, delusion, and other spiritual subtilties j yet neither 
is this order always observed of Satan ; but he tempteth Chris 
tians sometime with the first, sometime with the third tempta 
tion^ as he hath and seeth occasion. Matthew was not careful 


to rehearse them in that order, which they have almost hy their 
own nature, and which may be commodious for him that shall 
teach of them. Yea, it may be that they happened not unto 
Christ by any certain order, but that he was assailed of Satan 
one day with this, another day with that, during the space of 
those forty days,, as Satan thought it most convenient and meet 
for his purpose. 

" And behold angels came and ministered unto him." This I 
think was done corporally, that they having taken bodies ap 
peared and ministered unto him meat and drink, as his servitors 
at the table, and ministers of all other things necessary for his 
life. Yea, and I think that the devil also appeared unto him in 
corporal form, perhaps as an angel; for in that he took Christ, 
and set him on a pinnacle of the temple; also whereas in a mo 
ment he showed him all the kingdoms of the world, he suffi 
ciently declared that he was more than man, and such a one 
surely he showed himself openly, when he offered that he would 
give unto him those kingdoms, and required that he would wor 
ship him ; and undoubtedly he did not appear like a devil when 
he did these things, for he loveth to appear after a fair sort, 
especially when he will lie and deceive; for then he transformeth 
himself into an angel of light,, as Paul witnesseth. Now this is 
written chiefly for our consolation, that we may not doubt that 
many angels shall minister unto us, when one devil tempteth 
us, if we fight valiantly ; for if we stand fast in faith, God will 
not suffer us to be troubled and pinched with poverty more than 
is meet ; that he will sooner send his angels to minister unto us, 
to be our butlers, our cooks, and to help us in all our necessities; 
neither are these things written for Christ s cause, whom they 
cannot profit, but they are Avritten for us, that we may learn to 
believe that, if the angels ministered unto him, they shall, also, 
when the case so requireth, minister unto us, his brethren and 
members. The Lord give us faith to believe this. 



EFHES. v. 1 9. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear 
children ; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and 
hath given himself for ?/.s, an offering and a sacrifice to God 
for a sweet-smelling sai ttur, $c. 

Tins text is exhortary, wherein Paul, according to his manner, 
and accustomed care for the brethren, exhorteth Christians not 
to leave or slack the study and care of godliness, and give them 
selves to slothfulness, but to declare by their works the word 
that they have learned of him, that is, to show it forth by the 
fruits of, and make it plausible and honourable, to the 
edifving of the heathen, lest that by the vices of them which 
profess the doctrine of the gospel, they take occcasion to hate 
that doctrine, and so be olVended by them, whom it did behove 
to win unto Christ. " Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear 
children." First, therefore, he exhorteth us, forasmuch as we are 
by Christ made the sons of God, to imitate such a Father, as 
dear children ; marvellous gently and alluringly he speaketh 
unto us, calling us dear children, that by the love of God our 
Father toward us, he may provoke us to love him again, and 
them whom he commandeth us to love, even as he hath loved 
us first ; but ho\v hath he loved us ? Surely not after that com 
mon sort alone, whereby in this life he nourisheth and sustaineth 
iis being unworthy, together with all the ungodly ; making his 
sun to arise on the good and on the evil, and sending rain on 
the just and unjust ; whereof Christ speaketh, Matt. v. 48, " Be 
ye perfect as your Father is perfect." But he loveth us also 
after another special manner, in that he hath given his Son for 
us, John iii. 16. For he hath abundantly bestowed upon us all 
temporal, and also eternal good things, yea, his own self, and 
hath, as it were, poured himself, with all that he is, hath, and can, 
into us who were sinners, unworthy enemies, and servants of 
Satan, so that he could not do and give unto us more and greater 
things. Now he whom this divine fire of love, which filleth 
heaven and earth, and yet is not comprehended, doth not kindle 
and inflame to love likewise his neighbour, whosoever he be, 


friend or enemy, he, I say, will neither by law, precepts, doctrine, 
threatenings, and force, be ever moved to godliness and love. 

Walk, saith the apostle, " in love/ whereby he signifieth, 
that our life should be nothing else but mere love. Howbeit he 
will not have us walk in the love of the world, which in love 
seeketh those things which are his own, and loveth so long as 
there is anything, whereby it looketh for profit and lucre. There 
fore he saith, " As Christ also hath loved us," who neither 
sought nor could look for any profit or advantage of us, and yet 
he loved us so greatly, that he gave himself for us, and not 
only his other good things which he giveth us daily, and he so 
gave himself for us, that he might be an oblation and sacrifice, 
to obtain the good will and favour of the Father toward us, and 
to bring to pass, that we might now have God a merciful and 
favourable father, being become his true children and heirs, &c. 
So also it behoveth us to give and lend, not only to our friends, 
but also to our enemies ; neither to count this sufficient, but to 
be ready also even to die both for friends and foes, thinking 
nothing else, but that we may serve and profit our neighbours 
both in body and goods, as long as we shall be in the pilgrimage 
of this life, seeing that we possess all things, being given unto 
us by Christ. " And hath given himself for us, an offering and 
a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour."" This manner 
of speech Paul borrowed out of the Old Testament, wherein 
those corporal sacrifices are written oftentimes to have yielded 
to the Lord a sweet savour, that is, to have been acceptable unto 
him 5 notwithstanding that was not because of the work and 
sacrifice in itself, as the Jews falsely thought, and therefore were 
very often reproved of the prophets, but for Christ s sake, who 
was to come, the one and only sacrifice of a good savour, whom 
all those sacrifices of the law did shadow forth and represent : 
wherefore that which Paul here saith, is as much as if he had 
said, All the sacrifices of the Old Testament have an end ; they 
can now be of no price; Christ himself is the only sacrifice which 
yieldeth unto God a sweet-smelling savour, that is, is pleasing 
and acceptable unto him, whereby we are assured that we are 
acceptable unto God, and do please him ; wherefore there is no 
other sacrifice in the church which may be offered for us, beside 
this only sacrifice^ which, being once offered, hath at once satis 
fied for the sins of all the elect ; and although we, after the 
example of this sacrifice, do offer our bodies to God, as Paul 
teacheth, Rom. xii. 1, yet we offer them not either for ourselves 


or for other, forasmuch us that is proper to Christ, the only 
sacrifice whereby the salvation of all is obtained; wherefore 
those things smell most stinkingly before God, whatsoever men 
offer with this mind, as though they would satisfy for their own 
sins, or for the sin of other; whereof we both have and will 
elsewhere speak more. 

" .But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it 
not be once named amongst you." ]$y the name of uncleanness, 
beside fornication, he understandeth all lust and lewd iilthiness, 
which is committed out of matrimony, which for the filthiness of 
them he doth not vouchsafe to rehearse by name, as Rom. i. he 
speaketh very grossly of them ; although in matrimony also a 
mean may be exceeded, and it is the duty of Christians so to 
moderate the use of marriage, that they require and perform due 
love and benevolence only for avoiding fornication, but we are 
fallen so far, that they are most rare, which come together only 
for procreation of children, and to avoid fornication, which surely 
were best, and should very well become us. 

Now the apostle saith, " Let it not be once named among 
you," that is, bo so far from these evils, that they may not so 
much as be spoken of; although it will never come to pass in 
this exile, that none among Christians be weak, and do not often 
times fall, yet true Christians will never wink at those things ; 
they will reprove, amend, put away, cover, and cure whatsoever 
such thing shall burst forth amongst them ; that the heathen may 
not be offended and say, See what vices the Christians suffer 
among themselves, how unclean and lewd a life do they lead, 
thinking that all their whole iife is defiled with like vices as is 
their own ; we must needs confess, that among Christians some 
do oftentimes fall, which we must needs bear ; it is well if only 
the better part liveth well, and winketh not at their sins, neither 
teacheth them, but rather reproveth and amendeth them. So 
Paul exhorteth, Gal. vi. 1, that they which are spiritual will 
restore them that offend, with the spirit of meekness ; and he 
sharply reproveth the Corinthians, for that they did lightly pass 
over many sins, of certain persons. For sin being reprehended 
and punished, is now counted as no sin, neither can the church 
be blamed because of it : after the same sort heed must be taken, 
that covetousness be not named among Christians, that is, that 
they become not infamous by the name thereof, which they shall 
bring to pass, if w r hen it chanceth that covetous men be amongst 
them, or one useth deceit tow r ard another in their business and 


affairs, or some contend in judgment for those outward things,, 
if, I say,, they do not wink hereat, but do reprove and correct 
such, that the sincerity of the doctrine of the gospel may obtain 
due estimation among the people, and there may be no cause 
openly to dispraise our ministry, 2 Cor. vi. These things have I 
spoken because of them, who as soon as they see that all things 
do not resemble and show forth a holiness among Christians, 
and that some do stumble and fall, do think that there is no 
Christian left, that the gospel is to no purpose, and that all 
things are taught and -done in vain ; as though the life of Chris 
tians were now without fight, victory, and due triumph over sin 
being obtained, whenas rather it is a warfare and a continual 
fight ; whereas therefore they do now fight and are in the camp, 
it is no marvel if some fly away, and some be wounded, if some 
fall, yea, and be even slain outright; war is not made without 
peril and hurt, if it be earnest war. 

" As becometh saints." This he addeth to his exhortation, as 
a reason and cause showing why it lieth upon Christians to take 
heed that they be not defamed by these names 3 for they are 
saints, now it becometh such to be chaste, bountiful, and ready 
to give, to teach and do the same ; thou seest here, that Paul 
calleth Christian saints, while they remain yet in this life, and are 
pressed with flesh and blood, from which nothing cometh but 
sin, which he doth undoubtedly not for their good works, but 
because of the sanctifying blood of Christ, as he witnesseth, 
1 Cor. vi. 11, " But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye 
are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of 
our God." Forasmuch therefore as we are saints, it is meet 
that we should show the same in our works, and although we 
be as yet weak, nevertheless we must daily endeavour to live 
purely? and far from covetousness, to the praise and glory of 
God, and edifying of our neighbours, even the heathen. " Neither 
filthiness." All unchaste and obscene words, uncleanness, and 
lewd matters, he calleth filthiness, of which words abundance is 
wont to be poured forth in inns and victualling houses, in the 
time of eating, drinking, and playing. These the Grecians used 
very freely and accustomably more than others, as their own 
poets and other writers do sufficiently witness ; but he especially 
reproveth here those lewd and wanton words, which are spoken 
openly without shame, which stir up wicked and unchaste 
thoughts, and are cause of many offences, especially being 
spoken among youth, according to that saying, " Evil commu- 


nications corrupt good manners," 1 Cor. xv. 33, as the apostle 
writeth to the Corinthians ; and if any Christians should be so 
careless of their tongue, that such words should come from 
them, such must he chastised of the church, and if they do not 
amend, they must not he suffered, lest because of them the whole 
church he ill reported of, as though these things were either 
taught among Christians or suffered to he unpunished, as it is 
wont to be among the heathens. 

"Nor foolish talking." Fables and other trifling speeches 
and jests, are called foolish talking, which the Grecians also were 
wont to use more than other nations, being very witty to invent 
such vain speeches. Of this sort arc those tales which our 
women and maidens are wont to tell, spinning at the distatY, also 
the terms and verses of jugglers and such like fellows, and many 
common songs, which are partly even filthy, and partly contain 
other trilling and vain things; but especially it is unseemly and 
inconvenient for Christians to use such foolish and trifling talk, 
when they come together to hear the word of God, or to read 
and search the scriptures, and yet notwithstanding almost even 
such folly happeneth among them, when many come together; 
for although they begin with serious matters, nevertheless they 
are marvellously easy brought unto trifles, from earnest and holy 
matters, to ridiculous and vain speeches, wherewith both the 
time is spent in vain, and better things are neglected ; so have 
they been wont certain years hitherto, at every least of Easter in 
the time of preaching to tell some ridiculous tale to stir up the 
people from sleep ; they did not unlike at the feast of the nativity 
of Christ, using songs or carols, wherein they said they made 
discourses of the birth and infancy of Jesus, howbeit ridiculous 
metre and words, moving rather laughter than devotion, as they 
called it : also they sang many feigned fables of the wise men, 
whom they made three kings ; of the passion of the Lord, of the 
punishment of Dorothea, and many others, all which were nothing 
but foolish talking and vain inventions, altogether unworthy of 
Christians. To the number of these I might well add those his 
tories of saints, which they call the legends, and that flood of 
lies, of miracles and pilgrimages to images, and monuments of 
saints, masses, and worshipping of saints, indulgences, and innu 
merable others, not so much foolish as ungodly inventions, which 
in the assemblies of the church were wont to be chiefly extolled 
in the pidpit, which were so contrary to godliness, that they 
deserve much rather to be called the wicked inventions of Satan, 


than foolish imaginations of men ; for they did not, as ridiculous 
lies are wont to do, corrupt good manners only, of which Paul 
speaketh especially here, but they did wholly overthrow faith, 
and put out of place the word of God, so that they did not only 
not beseem saints, but did plainly abolish all saints. Those 
former therefore were fables and tales of men, which are not 
believed, neither esteemed any thing of, but rather laughed at, 
although in the mean time they corrupt good manners, withdraw 
Christians from serious matters, and make them slack and 
slothful : but these latter are devilish fables, which are believed 
for a truth,, and counted for serious, yea, and heavenly matters, 
whenas, notwithstanding, they be nothing else but feigned 
devices of Satan, whereby he with his angels deludeth and 
mocketh us. 

" Nor jesting." Hereby he understandeth all pleasant speeches, 
which they whom they call jesters are wont to use, to make men 
men 1 } , which by pleasant discourses, and merry terms do move 
laughter and stir up men s minds to mirth and cheerfulness, 
which is wont to be usual in civil banquets, and when civil com 
panions meet together. This jesting the heathens counted for a 
virtue, especially Aristotle ; but Paul among Christians giveth 
it place among vices ; for Christians have other speeches, 
whereby they may recreate and cheer themselves in Christ, which 
also do bring some profit with them, although it easily happeneth 
that many Christians do offend oftentimes herein ; but they that 
are true Christians do never praise it, neither do suffer that any 
should give himself to this jesting, and study to excel therein, 
but they reprove and prohibit him, especially in the church, in 
the time of preaching and teaching; for Christ hath witnessed,, 
that we shall in the last day give an account of every idle word j 
it is meet indeed, that Christians be an elegant and amiable 
people, but therewithal grave, that there may be seen in them a 
severe gentleness, and a gentle severity, as the life of Christ is 
described unto us in the gospel. 

" Which are not convenient, but rather giving of thanks." 
This comprehendeth all idle words which want a proper name ; 
now I call those idle words which make neither to the edifying 
of faith, nor to the use of our temporal life ; for there be things 
enough both profitable and pleasant, which when it pleaseth us 
to speak, we talk of in the short time of this life, as of Christ, of 
love, and other things either necessary or profitable : whereof 
Paul admonisheth, when he saith, " But rather giving of thanks ;" 


for our daily speech ought to be the praise of God, and giving 
of thanks to him, as well privately, as publicly in sermons, for 
such infinite good things as he hath given unto us in Christ, even 
unspeakable; but such is the manner of our reason and nature, 
thai necessary and profitable things are neglected, and foolish 
and frivolous things are chiefly regarded. Now mark here, if 
Paul doth not suller in Christian s speeches that be only pleasant 
and tending to mirth, what thinkest thoti would he say of that 
pestilent backbiting and slandering, which reignetb now in all 
companies of men ! Yea, what would he say of them which 
openly in sermons do as it were bite and rend one another with 
reproachful words, and maliciously accuse and speak evil of one 
another ? " For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean 
person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inherit 
ance in the kingdom of Christ and of dod." In these words 
he doth very plainly pronounce against them which are infected 
with such vices, that they are heathens under the name of Chris 
tians, how many soever do not bring forth the fruits of faith ; 
this is a brief and certain sentence : lie that is a fornicator hath 
denied the faith, an unclean person hath denied the faith, a 
covetous person hath denied the faith, all such are apostates, 
perjured and traitorous toward (iod, as Paul writcth also unto 
Timothy of him that neglccteth them that be of his family. 
"But if any," saith he, "provide not for his own, and specially 
for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is woi>e 
than an infidel," 1 Tim. v. 8. How could he more severely and 
terribly affright us from vices ? For he saith, " For this ye 
know," as if he said, Do not so much as doubt, count it not a 
play, neither let it be sport unto you, neither comfort yourselves 
with vain hope of a Christian name, and for that ye are counted 
Christians, these things shall profit you no more than it profited 
the Jews, that they were the children of Abraham, and disciples 
of Moses, that was spoken to all which Christ saith, Matt. vii. 
21, ic Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter 
into the kingdom of heaven ; but he that doeth the will of my 
Father which is in heaven." There is need of doing, and our 
faith must be proved by works ; whom therefore that great force 
of heavenly fire shall not inflame unto godliness, that is, the 
admonition of the incomparable love of God toward us, which he 
set in the first place, him let these horrible threatenings of hell- 
fire move, viz., whereas he witnesseth, that as many as will not 
follow God, and walk in love, and show forth their faith by their 


works, are neither the sons of God, nor heirs of his kingdom, 
whereupon it followeth, that they are undoubtedly heirs with 
Satan of hell-fire. 

Whom therefore these two so mighty motives shall not stir 
up to the fear of God and godliness, with all diligence to the 
duty of a Christian, he is plainly a block and a stone, having a 
heart harder than the anvil, as Job saith. Paul particularly re- 
proveth a covetous person, and pronounceth him an idolater or 
worshipper of images, whereby surely he declareth how greatly 
he is displeased with them that are infected with this vice ; and 
in his third chapter of his epistle to the Colossians, he saith also 
the same thing of him ; the Cause hereof I think to be this : 
other sinners use only that thing, wherein they offend, and 
make it serve their lust and desire ; so the fornicator and un 
clean person use their body to pleasure ; the proud person 
nscth riches, learning, the favour of men, and such like, unto 
glory ; only this miserable idolater is a slave to his money and 
riches, and his sin is, that he spareth his money and goods, 
keepeth and hoardeth them up, dareth not apply them neither 
to his own use, nor to the use of others, but doth plainly serve 
and worship them as his god, and so much esteemeth them that 
he would sooner lose and suffer to perish the kingdom of God, 
than he would spend his money, or give the value of a rush 
toward the maintaining either of a preacher, or an instructor of 
youth, whereby the word of God and his kingdom might be 
furthered. Forasmuch as all the trust and hope of such a man 
is reposed in money, and not in God alone, who giveth him 
abundantly whereby to live, money is worthily called his god, 
and he himself said to be an idolater, and hath no inheritance 
in the kingdom of heaven. What can be invented more filthy 
and pestilent than this disease ? Woe unto thee, incredulity, 
how abominable and hurtful an evil art thou ! 

" Let no man deceive you with vain words." These are the 
vain words of them which extenuate and make light of fornica 
tion and such like sins, as though they were not greatly evil, or 
did so much offend God. There were not wanting philosophers 
and poets among the heathen, which counted all lewdness, 
beside adultery only, lawful, as a thing natural, as is to use meat 
and drink ; so saith Terence, " It is not a wickedness, believe 
me,, for a young man to follow harlots," &c. But this is to be 
ignorant of God, and to live according to the evil of concu 
piscence, as the Gentiles were wont to do. Moreover such 


vain words arc those, which although they have some likelihood 
of truth, yet indeed are trifling, and shall not excuse any ; so 
covetousness doth not want a cloak and pretence for itself, for 
him that seeketh his own with the disadvantage of others, they 
call a good husband, industrious, one that looketh to his busi 
ness, although in the mean while the poor perish with hunger, 
or are otherwise afflicted above their strength. Wherefore 
such speeches are prophane and heathenish, by which love is 
extinguished, and they which give ear to them and believe them 
are deluded with a vain hope : " For because of these things 
cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience." 
This is another light which we ought to follow, leaving the 
obscure light of reason, which doth not greatly condemn forni 
cation, uncleanness, covetous-ness, &c. This our light witness- 
cth, that for such things the wrath of God cometh upon unbe 
lievers, whom he culletli the children of disobedience, and there 
fore cannot abide to believe the word of God, and to give them 
selves to the obedience of faith. This Paul declareth, J Cor. x. 
by many examples, where he saith that a great part of the 
people was slain for fornication ; of which deed is spoken iilso, 
Numb, xxv., and for violence also, covetousness, and unclean- 
ni-ss, the whole world was destroyed by the Hood. Wherefore 
a sufficient sharp, yea, aiul a certain vengeance abideth them 
that arc infected with these wickednesses ; now he calleth them 
the children of disobedience, that is, of incredulity, which is as 
much as if he had said, Of them that have revolted from the 
faith; and have renounced Christ. 

Hereby we see and learn, that he that doth not approve his 
faith by works, is no better than a heathen, yea, worse, inas 
much as he hath renounced Christ, and denied the faith once 
received ; for this cause the vengeance and wrath of God shall 
come upon them that are such, as we Germans do now try, 
unto whom God sendeth abundantly the pestilence, famine, and 
cruel war. Let men take heed they give no ear to those de 
ceivers, which with vain words promise that those sins shall 
escape unpunished. Let those slack and slothful Christians 
beware, who although they be not blind heathen, but know 
well that uncleanness and covetousness are sins, and think or 
teach no otherwise, do nevertheless live wickedly, resting upon 
faith, whereby they hope that they shall obtain salvation with 
out works, forasmuch as works do not save ; yea, although they 
very well know, that faith without works is a feigned faith, and 


that worthy fruits and good works must needs follow, where a 
true and sound faith is, yet notwithstanding they live securely 
in their sins, presuming of the grace and mercy of God, nothing 
fearing God and his judgments, when notwithstanding it is 
certain, that God doth require the mortification of the old Adam, 
and good fruit of good trees. Although perhaps Paul speaketh 
not here properly of these, but of them which think and in vain 
words teach, that fornication, covetousness, and such like, are 
not sins, as the blind heathen did, and many do at this day under 
the name of Christians ; yet it is not to be feared, seeing they 
live no better than the heathen do, and be themselves forni- 
cators and covetous persons, that they shall feel the like ven 
geance of God with them, yea, so much more grievous ven 
geance, as they do know more certainly that those are sins, 
according to that saying, Rom. ii. 3, " Thinkest thou this, O 
man, that judgest them which do such things, and dost the 
same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God ? Or de- 
spisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and 
long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth 
thee to repentance ? But after thy hardness and impenitent 
heart, treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath, 
and revelation of the righteous judgment of God," &c. ; Eph. v. 7> 
" Be not ye therefore partakers with them ; for ye were some 
times darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord : walk as 
children of light." So Peter also saith, 1 Pet. iv. 3, " The 
time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of 
the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness," &c., but from 
henceforth should have nothing common with them, but spend 
the rest of our life in the service and worship of God. 

When we were Gentiles, we knew not that these were sins, 
we were so blinded through incredulity and ignorance of God ; 
but after that we were made light in the Lord, that is, lighted 
by Christ, we do not only well understand what God is, and 
what he requireth of us, what sin is and iniquity, but are also 
able now to be in stead of light unto others, and to teach them 
those things which we have learned. Such Paul said the 
Philippians were, chap. ii. 15, ee In the midst of a crooked and 
perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world." 
So before we were not only dark, but darkness itself, inasmuch 
as we were not only ignorant and erred, but did also bring 
others into the same darkness, both by words and deeds. Let 
us be thankful therefore to him, which hath called us out of 



this darkness into his marvellous light, walking as the children 
of light, which Peter also admonisheth us to do, " For the fruit 
of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth." 
Forasmuch as he hath here spoken of light, it had heen more 
agreeable to have added, " for the fruit of light," as the Latin 
editions have, than " of the Spirit," as it is read in the Greek. 
Who knoweth whether the Greek copies were here changed 
upon this occasion, for that Paul in the Epistle to the Galatians 
treateth of the fruits of the Spirit ? But this skilleth little ; of the 
Spirit and of light, are all one in this place. Goodness there 
fore is a fruit either of the Spirit or of light, contrary to cove- 
tousness, whereby a Christian man is good, that is, profitable 
and beneficial to others, ready to gratify and do well to his 
neighbours. Righteousness, being a fruit of the Spirit, is con 
trary to covetousness ; for it maketh that no man doth take 
away from another that which is his, either by violence, either 
by craft or guile, but that he endeavour rather to give unto 
every man that which is his own. Truth is a fruit of the Spirit, 
contrary to hypocrisy and lying, which requireth that a Chris 
tian be true and uncomipt, not only in words, but also in his 
whole life, that he do not glory in the name of a Christian, 
without works, that he be not called a Christian, and yet live 
after the manner of a heathen, in fornication, uncleanness, 
covetousness, and other vices, &c. 



Luke v. 1 11. And it came to ^;ass, that as the people 
pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the 
lake of GennesaretJi, fyc. 

To them that believe, this text is most easy to be understood, 
which setteth forth two things unto us, namely, faith and tem 
poral good things. First, it declareth unto them that believe in 
Christ, that they shall have sufficient wherewith to sustain 
themselves even in this life; which Christ showeth by this, 
when he giveth so many fishes to Peter and his companions, as 
they durst not so much as desire. So that Christ is careful 


even how to feed the belly, if that cursed incredulity be not an 
hinderance thereunto 5 for behold Peter,, and consider his heart 
aright in your mind, then shall ye find, that he did not so much 
as think that he should take so many fishes. 

God therefore is present, and causes fishes to come into the 
net, even more than they would have wished ; by which ex 
ample we are admonished that they shall have sufficient of those 
things that are necessary for the sustenance of this life, which 
do believe, but they that do not believe can never be satisfied, 
whereby they fall into all kinds of vices. Hereunto pertaineth 
that which Paul saith, 1 Tim. vi. 6, " Godliness with content 
ment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, 
and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food 
and raiment, let us be therewith content. But they that will 
be rich, fall into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish 
and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 
For the love of money is the root of all evil : which while some 
coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced them 
selves through with many sorrows." This place of Paul plainly 
declareth what followeth our unbelief, viz., that it travaileth to 
get substance, and laboureth to be rich, and falleth into the 
temptation and snares of the devil ; but we cannot see that, 
forasmuch as it is spiritual. If we could as well see the hurt, 
which it bringeth to spiritual things, as we can see the hurt 
which it bringeth to corporal and outward things, then were it 
an easy matter to preach unto us ; for we see plainly in out 
ward things, how he that is given to the desire of money 
scrapeth and gathereth together, doth injury to all men, that 
he alone may gather together and heap up many things, where- 
unto he may trust and say, Well, now have I goods enough. 

Whereby we may gather how unkind and unmerciful a co 
vetous man is ; for he doth good to no man, he showeth himself 
gentle and kind to no man, he giveth nothing to any man, but 
looketh unto his own lucre and advantage. 

Now this is a cursed thing, that we cannot so much as trust 
unto the Lord, that he will feed our belly, thinking always that 
we shall perish with hunger, when notwitstanding we shall have 
things necessary, and that which is sufficient for us, as Christ 
saith, Matt. vi. 25, " I say unto you, Take no thought for your 
life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink ; nor yet for your 
body what ye shall put on : Is not the life more than meat, and 
the body than raiment ? Behold the fowls of the air : for they 

y 2 


sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns ; yet your 
heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than 
they ? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto 
his stature ? And why take ye thought for raiment ? Consider 
the lilies of the field how they grow ; they toil not, neither do 
they spin. And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his 
glory, was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore if God so 
clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is 
cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of 
little faith ? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we 
eat ? or what shall we drink ? or wherewithal shall we he clothed ? 
(for after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly 
Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek 
ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these 
things shall he added unto you. Take therefore no thought for 
the morrow : for the morrow shall take thought for the things of 
itself: suflicient unto the day is the evil thereof." Ye see in 
this place, how God hath a care for the fowls and flowers, and 
doth adorn them after a most goodly sort ; how much more 
will God give unto us those things that be necessary ? And yet 
we cannot put our trust in him, so that the devil entangleth us 
in his snares. 

When one cometh so far, that he is not content with that he 
hath, neither trusteth in God, then charity must needs suddenly 
cease, so that he doth good to no man, but only provideth that 
his own heap he increased. Hereupon came the spiritual state 
of sacrificing priests and monks, that they might only help them- 
selveSj feed their belly, avoid labour, enter into monasteries, 
that thereof did arise a true proverb, (( Desperation maketh a 
monk." Yea, not only a monk but sacrificing priests, bishops, 
and popes ; for they trust not in God, that he is able to feed 
them, but they study upon this only, that they may be delivered 
from all misery and infirmity, which is altogether to live in in 
credulity : they never trusted in God, that he is able to give 
them nourishment and things necessary, if any of them should 
marry a wife and remain without that state of Antichrist. 

Here is an example set forth unto us, which provoketh and 
allureth us to confidence, and first that we commit our belly to 
God ; for he hath a care of us, even in temporal things ; which 
sufficiently appeareth in Peter, whereas he took such a great 
multitude of fishes, which ran by great companies into his nets, 
whereby it plainly siguifieth that God will forsake no man, but 


that every one shall have enough, if that we shall only trust in 
him, as the 37th Psalm affirmeth : " I have been young, and 
now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken nor his 
seed begging bread." Things necessary shall not be wanting 
unto us, if faith be not wanting; for before we should want, the 
very angels should come and minister unto us food, whereas 
men are commonly oppressed with so great misery, only unbe 
lief is the cause thereof. But although God be with us, not 
withstanding he requireth yet of us work or labour, and hope, 
if he at any time defer somewhat to help us. He commandeth 
Peter here, that for the taking of fishes, he should cast forth his 
nets, (< Launch out into the deep, saith he, and let down your 
net for a draught," as if the Lord had said, do thou that which 
belongeth to a fisher, cast thy net into the deep, and commit the 
success unto me, leave the care unto me. God leaveth not the 
care unto thee, but the work and labour ; howbeit we, after a 
clean contrary method, study to commit the care to ourselves 
and the labour to him. Whereby it cometh to pass, that every 
one for himself applieth his mind earnestly to gain, and to gather 
money unto himself, that he may not be enforced by any means 
to take pains and labour. 

But if thou wilt live a Christian life, leave unto thy God to 
care how the fishes shall come into the nets, and go thou and 
take upon thee the state wherein thou mayest labour. Howbeit 
for the most part we wish such states of life, as in which there 
is no need of labour, which is altogether a devilish thing. And 
therefore have we been consecrated monks and sacrificing 
priests, that we might live only like gentlemen, without labour. 
And for the same cause parents have set their children to school, 
that at last they might live merry days, and to serve God, as 
they thought. Whereby it came to pass that they did not know 
what a good life was ; forasmuch as God especially commendeth 
that, and that indeed is acceptable unto him, which is gotten 
with the sweat of the brow, as he commandeth Adam, Gen. iii. 
19, " In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." And the 
deeper thou art occupied in that law, in so much better case thy 
things are, wherefore follow thy work, labour, and trust in God, 
all carefulness being cast off. 

Now some murmur, and say, If faith be preached, that we 
must trust in God, and leave the care unto him, I might long 
enough, say they, believe or trust before I should have where 
withal to be fed and sustained, if I should not labour. Yea, it 


is plain enough that thou must labour, forasmuch as labour is 
commanded thee ; howbeit suffer God to care for thee, believe 
thou and labour, then shall thou assuredly have those things that 
be necessary for the sustaining of thy life. And this is another 
thing, that we must hope notwithstanding, though God deferreth 
for a time, therefore he suffereth them to labour all the night, 
and to take nothing, and showeth himself to be such a one, as 
will suffer them to perish with hunger, which might have come 
into the mind of Peter, when he had fished so long and taken 
nothing, so that he might have said, now God will suffer my 
belly to perish with pining and famine. Howbeit he doth not 
so, but goeili on still in his labour, he plieth his work and hopeth 
that God at the last will give him fishes, although he deferreth 
a time. God therefore is present, and giveth him so many 
fishes in one day, as he could scarce take in the space of eight 
days. \\ here fore those things are to be learned well of thee, 
that thou labour and hope, although God deferreth his blessing 
a little ; for although he deferreth a while, and suffereth thee to 
labour sore, so that thou now think thy labour to be lost, yet 
must thou not therefore despair, but repose thy hope in him, 
trusting assuredly that he will at the last give thee prosperous 
success ; for he will certainly come and give more than thou 
didst need as he did here unto Peter. Wherefore if God de- 
layeth with thee a little, think with thyself, he delayed also with 
Peter, and yet afterward gave unto him abundantly. Commit 
thyself therefore to his good will and pleasure, and leave not 
off thy work, but hope still, and then shall not thy hope be 

Thus much concerning the former part of the text, now let 
us hear the latter. After therefore that they had taken fishes, 
and tasted the fruit of faith, their faith is increased and aug 
mented. \Ve therefore must go so far, that we may commit our 
belly to God ; for he that cannot commit so much as his belly to 
him, will never commit his soul unto him. How r beit that is only 
a childish faith. Here we learn first to go by benches and 
settles ; here we do feed on milk as yet; but we must likewise 
learn by these to commit our soul also to God. The Evangelist 
so meaneth, when he saith, " When Simon Peter saw it, he fell 
down at Jesus knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful 
man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with 
him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken." Let 
Peter be here a type or figure of them which believe eternal good 


things, and count him as one verily looking for and seeing the 
good things to come. A sinful conscience is of that nature, that 
it so behaveth itself, as Peter here did, whereas he flieth his 
Saviour, and thinketh, Lord, I am more unworthy than that I 
should be saved, and sit among thy saints and angels ; for that 
good is most exceeding high. Here straight conscience is not 
able to comprehend such great good things, but it thus thinketh : 
If I were as Peter and Paul, I could easily believe ; which is 
altogether a foolish and vain thing. For if thou wouldst place 
thyself according to thine own holiness, thou shouldst build 
upon the sand. Thou must not do so, but behave thyself like 
unto Peter, for in that he esteemed himself vile, and judged him 
self unworthy of so great grace, he rightly became worthy. And 
therefore, whereas thou art a sinner, thou must trust in God, 
and dilate and open wide thy conscience and heart, that grace 
may enter in. After thou hast now known God, thou must re 
ject none of his gifts, that is, whenas thou seest the great good 
things, thou must not despair. It is good that we know our 
selves, so much the better. But that grace is not to be refused 
because of thy sins : For when thou shalt find thy conscience to 
tremble so that it would drive away sins, then art thou most 
fit to receive grace, then shalt thou find comfort in thy con 
science, and say with Micah, " Who is a God like unto thee, 
that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the 
remnant of his heritage ?" Micah vii. 18. Whosoever take not 
away sins, they are no gods, but idols ; whereupon he saith 
rightly, that none is like unto our God ; for other Gods will find 
and not bring godliness, but the Almighty God doth not find it, 
but bring it : wherefore thou must not forthwith despair, if thy 
conscience trembleth and feeleth sin ; for the more defiled that 
thou art, so much the sooner doth the Lord pour in his grace, 
if so be that thou be repentant and thirstest after it. 

A great part go so far that they say that they merit grace 
whilst they dispose themselves thereunto, which is, as they in 
terpret, whilst they do that which lieth in them, and also that 
they do satisfy for their sins. But it is not so. The scripture 
teacheth us, that it is God that taketh away sin, and casteth it 
into the bottom of the sea. We shall not put away sins by our 
works, neither shall we be j ustified of ourselves. God himself, and 
none but he shall do the thing, of his mere grace, as Isaiah saith, 
chap, xliii. 25, u I, even I am he that blotteth out thy trans 
gressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins/ 


And so must thou believe, otherwise thou shalt never obtain a 
joyful conscience. Wherefore, \vhenas Peter said, I am a sin 
ner, he said right. It is true indeed, there were causes why he 
might be afraid of himself, and humble himself, but he ought 
not to refuse God, but most willingly receive him. Wherefore 
when thou shalt feel thy sin, like as Peter did, and shalt perceive 
that thou wouldst now fly from God, then it is need that thou 
do forthwith turn thyself, and come more and more unto him. 
For if God should go away, and would not take away sin, would 
not come unto thec, nor seek thee, yet the more thou perceivest 
thyself a sinner, the more oughtest thou to make unto him, 
which see thou mark well, and lay it up in a mindful memory. 
For as Peter doth here, so all consciences do, which are terrified 
of sins, and would fly from God, and seek another God ; do not 
thou leave so, but come boldly, and join thyself nearer unto God. 
Otherwise if one go away to seek works, and help of another 
God, he is then found like the foolish virgins, which, while they 
go to get themselves oil, arc in the mean season shut out. But 
what doth Christ, when Peter so humbleth himself, and by reason 
of his great fear and terror, desireth the Lord to depart from 
him? did he leave him in such desperation of himself? No, 
truly; but he comforteth him, saying thus, <e Fear not, from 
henceforth thou shalt catch men/ This is a joyful word, whereby 
weak hearts receive comfort. Now, therefore, that God hath a 
care for us, yea, even in those things that pertain to the body, 
ye see by this, that lie giveth Peter so many fishes ; he maketh 
him also full and rich in spirit, that he ought to bestow some of 
his plenty upon others. He maketh him a fisher both in body 
and in spirit : in body, for that he taketh many fishes which he 
may sell; but in spirit he is a fisher of men. For he hath the 
gospel whereby other men must be brought to God by him, and 
the kingdom of Christ be increased. Lo ! it cometh to pass, 
where men believe, the Lord giveth so much as succoureth and 
helpeth all men. The faithful man outwardly helpeth the needy 
with his substance and goods ; and from within he breaketh 
forth, teacheth others, and enricheth them also inwardly. For 
such a man cannot hold his peace, but is enforced to declare and 
show to others how he is dealt with, as it is in the 51st Psalm, 
" Create in me a clean heart, O God ! and renew a right spirit 
within me. Cast me not away from thy presence ; and take not 
thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salva 
tion ; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach 


transgressors thy ways,, and sinners shall be converted unto 
thee." And in another Psalm, also, David saith, " I believed 
and therefore will I speak." Which is thus much in effect : 
when I believe, I know God, and taste of his goodness, then I 
consider the case of other men, and go and declare such know 
ledge and goodness of God unto them. We see therefore in this 
text, how careful God is for them that be his, and that he doth 
sustain them both in body and in spirit ; but if he doth some 
time defer anything, without all doubt it is through the fault of 
our incredulity, or because we have now new begun to believe ; 
for where faith is new and little, there is sometimes small and 
slender help that we may learn to know the Lord, and to trust 
in him : but when we have gone so far that we trust strongly in 
God, then nothing can be wanting unto us, then God poureth 
upon us both temporal and spiritual good things, and so abun 
dant treasures, that we may be able to help others. This indeed 
is to enrich the poor and fill the hungry. This much shall suffice 
concerning this text. 



Mark viii. 1 9. In those days the multitude being very great, 
and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, 
and saith unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, 
because they have now been with me three days, and have 
nothing to eat, Sfc. 

I HOPE, dearly beloved, that ye do well understand the meaning 
of this text; for your understanding is sufficiently well grounded 
in these mysteries, so that ye do easily perceive what good is to 
be looked for in the gospel, and what is prescribed unto us 
therein, namely, the true nature and quality of faith. And this 
is the cause why Christ is, of all the evangelists, set forth to be so 
loving and gentle ; for although the doings and works described 
of them do oftentimes vary, nevertheless the simplicity of faith 
remaineth always alike. Moreover this text doth so lively set 
forth Christ unto us in his colours, that it may be manifest and 


well known unto every one of us what we ought to promise our 
selves concerning him, to wit, that he is merciful, bountiful, 
gentle, who succoureth all that fly unto him for help. And such 
ought to be the image of faith ; for the scripture setteth before 
us a double image ; one of fear, which represented! to our eyes 
the horrible wrath of God, before which no man is able to stand, 
but rather we are all enforced to be cast down in mind, when we 
see it, unless we be strengthened by faith. Howbeit, against this 
is set the other image, namely, grace, which faith doth atten 
tively behold, and take from hence principles of comfort, and 
conceiveth trust and confidence in the favour of God, having this 
hope, that man cannot promise to himself from God so many 
good things, but that he hath infinite more treasures in readiness 
for him. 

Ye have now oftentimes heard, that there are two sorts of 
good things, spiritual and temporal. The gospel by these tem 
poral good things teacheth us the faith of children and they are 
unto the weak as a certain mean or help, whereby they may 
learn the goodness of God, how bountiful lie is in bestowing his 
riches upon us, and that we ought in spiritual things also to 
put our hope and trust in him ; for if we be now instructed by 
the gospel that God will give food to our belly, we may there 
upon account with ourselves, that he will nourish and clothe our 
souls with spiritual good things. If I cannot commit my body 
unto him that he may feed it, much less can 1 commit my soul 
unto him that lie may always preserve it ; or if I cannot be 
brought to believe that a crown of gold shall be given unto me 
of him, how, I pray you, shall I hope for ten crowns of gold of 
him ? From whom I dare not promise to myself so much as a 
piece of bread, truly much less shall I be persuaded to believe 
that he will give a farm unto me, or his whole inheritance. 
Now he that is not able to attain unto this tender, as it were as 
yet a sucking faith, to him surely it is very hard to believe that 
God will pardon his sins, or preserve his soul for ever. Foras 
much as we are persuaded, that the soul is by infinite degrees 
to be preferred before the belly, toward which, notwithstanding, 
he is touched with compassion, as this our present text teacheth; 
wherefore Peter hath rightly admonished, 1 Pet. ii. 2, " As new 
born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow 
thereby." For it is not enough that the infant, being put to the 
breast, do suck> but he must also wax greater, and gather 
strength, that he may accustom himself to feed on bread and 


stronger meat. Now to eat milk is to taste of the favour and 
grace of God, which is then tasted of, when a trial thereof is had 
in our life ; for although I should preach a hundred years of the 
bountifulness, favour, liberality, and gentleness of God toward 
us, it would profit me nothing unless I have a trial and taste of 
those commodities, neither could I learn rightly to trust in God 

Hereof thou mayest conjecture how rare a Christian man is ; 
there are many which say that they commit their belly to God, 
but that sticketh only in the tongue and lips, whenas rather it 
ought to pierce the heart. Let us now consider an example, 
teaching us the quality and nature of faith : the apostle, Heb. 
xi. 1, hath written thus " Now faith is the substance of things 
hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Which is thus 
much in effect ; faith is the foundation whereby I look for that 
good thing which is neither seen with the eyes, nor heard with 
the ears, but which I must only hope for; even as in our present 
text it plainly appeareth ; wherein we read that there were about 
four thousand men, who, together with their wives and children, 
had now suffered hunger three days (was not this a notable kind 
of fasting?) yet were not famished with hunger, being far from 
their houses, and destitute of those necessaries whereby the body 
is sustained. Now Paul saith, that faith is a thing whereby a 
man hopeth for those things which appear not to the eyes ; such 
a faith had this multitude, which, although they see no meat, 
nevertheless they trust in God that he will feed them : what 
doth Christ here ? he is moved with compassion ; he demandeth 
of the disciples with what victuals, or with what thing their 
hunger may be taken away ; to whom his disciples answer, 
Whence can a man satisfy such a multitude here in the .wilder 
ness ? Here you see how a man s reason and faith agree toge 
ther, that the wiser reason is, so much less can it submit itself 
to the works of God. For this cause, therefore, did he ask his 
disciples, that every one of them might try their own reason, 
and learn how much the capacity of man and faith do differ one 
from another. 

Here it appeareth unto us how reason is blind, and how, when 
faith cometh, it ought to give place; whereof let this be an 
example : if I were a married man, having a wife and a family 
of children, and had nothing wherewith to nourish them, neither 
would any man give me anything, yet should it be my duty to 
believe and hope that God will provide for me j but whenas I 


see my hope to be in vain, and that I am not succoured by and 
by with nourishment and clothing, then, if I be faithless, I yield 
unto desperation, and go and purpose another thing with myself. 
1 apply my mind to dishonest trades, that I may get somewhat 
thereby, as theft, deceit, and other such practices, and by all 
means that I am able, I pass through the storms of adversity: 
see what filthy incredulity bringeth unto man; but if I be endued 
with faith, I shut mine eyes and say, Most gentle Father, I am 
thy creature, and thy work; it cannot be denied but thou hast 
created me, I will put all my trust in thee, which hast greater 
care of my welfare than I myself. Thou wilt well nourish, feed, 
clothe, and help, where and when thou shalt know best. So 
faith is a sure foundation, whereunto I trusting, do look for those 
things which I see not, and that J may speak at once, it. shall 
not want those things that be necessary ; surely the angels them 
selves should come down from heaven, and give bread digged 
even out of the earth, unto such a faithful man, that he might 
be nourished, rather than he should be pined with hunger, yea, 
heaven and earth shall pass before God will suffer a man endued 
with such faith to want either clothing or any other necessary 
things. This singular trust and confidence in God, the com 
fortable and effectual word of the divine promise doth require ; 
whereof David glorieth, Psalm xxxvii. 25, " I have been young 
and now am old ; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, 
nor his seed begging bread." And again, " (iod knoweth the 
days of the righteous, their inheritance shall continue for ever. 
They shall not be confounded in the perilous time, and in the 
days of dearth they shall have enough/ But if we shall ask 
counsel of reason, it will forthwith say (as the disciples did be 
fore), this thing is impossible, for it looketh for nothing, it trusteth 
to nothing, when nothing is present. Of like diffidence were the 
disciples, who thought thus with themselves how r can it be 
that such a great multitude of men should be here refreshed with 
meat ? Truly it exceedeth our capacity : if they had seen a heap 
of money, store of bread, and shambles full of flesh, they could 
then have easily believed respecting this present necessity, they 
could have put all in good hope, and fitly have disposed all things 
according to the capacities of their reason. 

And thus much shall suffice to be spoken concerning the 
faith of temporal good things. Now we will treat of spiritual 
good things, which shall come unto us when we shall die : then 
shall we see death set before our eyes, whenas notwithstanding 


we would willingly live, then shall hell appear unto us, when we 
rather desire for heaven, then shall we behold the judgment of 
God, notwithstanding his grace would be more acceptable unto 
us ; in fine, whatsoever we would desire to see, shall be taken 
out of our sight, yea, and no creature shall help us against 
death, hell, and the judgment of God. But if I believe, I say 
thus unto myself, Well, faith is a sure foundation ; herewith I 
being stayed up, shall attain unto those things which are very 
far out of my sight, although those things be horrible which be 
in my sight, yet shall they not hurt him that believeth ; although 
therefore I do presently see nothing but death, hell, and the 
judgment of God, yet must I consider none of these, but rather 
my mind is to be confirmed with an undoubted trust, that God 
by the virtue of his promise, not in respect of my merits or 
works, will give unto me life, blessedness, and grace. This 
indeed is to cleave unto God by sincere faith, which is here very 
well painted forth in this gross and bodily image of four thou 
sand men, who cleaving to God only by faith, did not doubt 
that they should be refreshed of him; if they had judged ac 
cording to the capacity of their reason they would have mur 
mured, and said after this sort : Surely we are a very great 
multitude, we are here in the wide wilderness, we have empty 
and hungry stomachs, here is nothing that is able to fill them. 
Howbeit, they murmured of none of these things, but conceiv 
ing a sure confidence, reasoning nothing against God after the 
affection of men, they commend themselves wholly to the good 
will of God, and commit unto him this urgent necessity of 
hunger, they themselves being quiet from all care ; then God, 
before this care cometh upon them, and before they begin to 
ask of him, is present, being more careful for them, than they 
are for themselves, and saith in this sort, " I have compassion 
on the multitude, because they have now been with me three 
days, and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away fast 
ing to their own houses, they will faint by the way." Behold 
how gentle and bountiful we have God toward us, who hath 
even a care to feed the unclean belly. Here now our hope is 
built up, and the words of Christ are comfortable to a man, 
when he saith, they have now continued with me three days, it 
now behoveth me to give sufficient unto them to eat. 

Here we may see, that all that do stick diligently to the word 
of God, are fed of God himself ; wherefore let us, dearly be 
loved, at the last begin to believe, for diffidence and incredulity 


only is the mother of all sins and vices, which at this day reign 
in all sorts of men. How cometh it to pass, that everywhere, 
whithersoever we turn us, there are so many lewd women, such 
plenty of cleluders and deceivers, so many thieves, pilferers, 
usurers, robbers, simonists, as they call them, and sellers of 
benefices, all these diffidence toward God bringeth forth unto 
us ; for such kind of men do judge only according to human 
reason, and reason looketh unto that which is present ; but that 
which it seeth not, it is not able to comprehend ; wherefore, 
while it doth not repose her trust by faith in God, it is enforced 
to despair, which desperation afterward causeth such naughty 
and wicked men. Behold thus it goeth out of frame with us, 
when we commit ourselves to be ruled, not by faith, but by our 
own reason. Moreover, as ye have now learned faith, so must 
ye also learn love; for Christ is set forth unto us in a double 
form, in one, of faith, that we should not be over careful ; in 
another, of love, that we may learn that he hath care of us, 
giving us meat, drink, apparel, and that of mere and bountiful 
love, not for his own advantage sake, or because of our merits ; 
so also we ought to do well to our neighbour, and that freely, 
only love moving us thereunto, that as Christ is to us, so we 
may be to our neighbour. 

Hereupon now we may perceive, that all works of monks and 
nuns are vain and to be utterly disallowed, when they are not 
directed to that end, that they may serve their neighbour, but 
are ordained only unto this end, that they may merit much at 
God s hands by them ; for the true works of Christians, which 
they desire to be accepted of God, must be done so, that they 
tend to the profit of our neighbour, and not to this end, that we 
should think that we shall merit many things of God by them, 
they must be cheerfully and freely bestowed upon all, even as 
Christ hath done, who hath spread abroad and freely bestowed 
his goodness upon all. These things have I briefly spoken con 
cerning this text, that ye may thereby learn that God requireth 
this especially of us, that we do firmly and constantly trust in 
him, and that we freely do good and be beneficial to our neigh 
bours, according as God hath of his mere goodness and mercy 
bestowed infinite benefits and blessings upon us ; the prophet 
saith, Psalm 1. J, " Hear, O my people, and I will speak ; O 
Israel, and 1 will testify against thee ; I am God, even thy God. 
I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices, or thy burnt-offer 
ings, to have been continually before me. I will take no bul- 


lock out of thy house, nor he-goats out of thy folds. For every 
beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. 
I know all the fowls of the mountains ; and the wild beasts of 
the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee, for 
the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh 
of bulls, or drink the blood of goats ? " After the same sort 
he saith unto us : Behold, Israel, that is, thou faithful man, I 
am thy God, thou art not my God, I will give unto thee, thou 
givest nothing to me, I will not be angry with thee, for that 
thou offerest not many things unto me ; for whatsoever is in 
thy stable, in thy house, in thy court, it was all mine before, 
for I have sent it thither : whereby he briefly reproveth the Jews, 
who did marvellously please themselves in their sacrifices. Now 
because he rejecteth these sacrifices, what will he have to supply 
the place of them ? truly even that which followeth in the same 
place : " Offer unto God thanksgiving, and pay thy vows unto 
the Most High. And call upon me in the day of trouble ; I will 
deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." That is, I will have 
thine heart, give over thyself to me, and account me for a 
gentle, favourable, yea, and for thy God, and it shall suffice 
me. Wherefore place thy faith, trust, and hope in him, count 
him for a gentle and loving God, cleave unto him, and in ex 
treme anguish fly unto him for succour, and to none beside him ; 
believe and look for help of him, that he will help thee, thou 
needest not any whit doubt ; afterward do good to thy neigh 
bour with a cheerful heart and freely. These two things are set 
forth in this our text, as also in many other places beside. 



Luke xix. 41 48. And when he was come near, he beheld 
the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even 
thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto 
thy peace ! but now they are hid from thine eyes, fyc. 

THE sum and scope of this text is this : The Lord is troubled, 
and lamenteth for the evils which were to come upon the con- 


temners of the word of God. Ye have oftentimes heard what 
the word of God is, what is the fruit and advantage thereof, 
also what disciples it hath, of which nothing is said or done ; 
but the punishment and misery only is showed, which was to 
come upon the Jews, for that they knew not the time of their 
visitation. Which thing let us well consider of, for it pertain- 
eth unto us also. If they he punished which know not the time 
of their visitation, what shall come unto them which perse 
cute, blaspheme, and reprehend the gospel and word of God ? 
Howbeit he speaketh here only of them which know not the 
season of their visitation. The contemners of God are preached 
against after two sorts : first by threateninffs, as Christ threat- 


eneth them, Matt. xi. 21, (t Woe unto thee, Chora/in, woe unto 
thee, Bethsaida : for it the mighty works which were done in 
you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have re 
pented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it 
shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judg- 
inent, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, (which was his 
own city, wherein chiefly lie wrought miracles,) which art ex 
alted unto heaven, sluilt be brought down to hell ; for if the 
mighty works which have been done in thee, had been done in 
Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto 
you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, in 
the day of judgment, than for thee." These are the threaten- 
ings wherewith he territicth them that they should not so neglect 
the word of God. The other way the Lord here showeth when 
he sheddeth tears and is touched with pity towards miserable 
and blind men, he dotli not terrify or threaten them, as being 
indurate and obstinate, but is rather wholly moved with love, and 
taketh pity on his enemies, and would willingly call them back, 
but that he could prevail nothing with them, and the means 
which he used to reclaim them were in vain. Before, in 
Matthew, he sharply rebuketh them, he dealeth not by love, 
but by rigour, but here is pure love and pity, as we shall after 
wards see. 

First, when he drew near to the city, some went before him, 
and some followed him, with great joy, singing and saying, 
" Hosanna to the Son of David." They spread their garments 
in the way, they cut down branches from the trees, and strowed 
them in the way, and all things were done after a goodly man 
ner ; but in the midst of this joy, Christ beginneth greatly to 
weep j he suffereth all to rejoice, notwithstanding his eyes 


gushed out with tears when he beheld the city, and said, " If 
thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the 
things which belong unto thy peace ! but now they are hid from 
thine eyes." As if the Lord should say, O, if thou knewest 
what belongeth unto thy peace, that thou mightest not be de 
stroyed, but stand still, thou wouldest yet at this day consider 
of it and beware. Now it were time for thee to know that 
which would be the best for thee, but thou art blind, and wilt 
neglect the time, then shall there be no place neither for help 
nor counsel. As if he said, thou standest here adorned with 
sumptuous and goodly buildings, and there are in thee mighty 
citizens, which are both secure and merry, thinking that no 
danger hangeth over them, but after the space of forty years 
thou shall be destroyed. Which the Lord plainly foretelleth in 
these words : 

" The days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall 
cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep 
thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, 
and thy children within thee ; and they shall not leave in thee 
one stone upon another : because thou knewest not the time of 
thy visitation/ Now the Jews, as they supposed, stood un- 
moveable and safe, resting upon the promise of God, so that 
they thought no otherwise, but that they should continue so 
for ever ; they were secure, and thought thus with themselves : 
God will not send such things unto us j we have the temple 
wherein God himself is resident, we have also plenty of ex 
cellent men, money, and other things. Who can do any hurt or 
harm to us ? Moreover, the emperor and people of Rome hav 
ing taken the city, seeing it furnished with so many excellent 
buildings, marvelled greatly, and confessed that it was impos 
sible that so great a city should be taken, unless it had been 
the special will of God. Their boasting therefore and confi 
dence in their false opinion deceived them ; howbeit the Lord 
did more earnestly and deeply consider the matter than they, 
when he said, O Jerusalem, if thou knewest those things that 
are known to me, thou wouldest have a care of thy peace : 
(peace in the scriptures is, when the matters and affairs of any 
have good success :) thou thinkest that thou hast glad and merry 
days, that it is w T ell with thee, and that thy affairs are in a pros 
perous state ; but if thou knewest how thine enemies shall by 
siege afflict thee, keep thee in on every side, and bring thee 
into such distress, that they shall lay thee even with the ground, 


destroy all thy buildings, and leave not one stone upon another, 
thou wonkiest surely conveniently receive the word, whereby 
thou mightest enjoy both true peace and all good things. 

The reading of the history of the destruction of this city doth 
help much to the right understanding of this text. God had 
plainly so ordained, that at the feast of .Easter, at which time 
they came to Jerusalem out of all quarters, the city should be 
besieged, and there were then gathered together, as Josephus 
reporteth, about thirty hundred thousand men, upon whom the 
Lord would show his grievous indignation and wrath. All the 
apostles and Christians were departed and gone into the country 
of Herod, not far from Jerusalem. The Lord took out the 
wheat and put the chaft* together on an heap. Now there was so 
great a multitude of people, that they might seem to exceed 
not only a city, but even a kingdom. And they were driven 
into so great calamity, that all their victuals were spent, and 
none at all left unto them, so that they were constrained to eat 
the strings of their bows, and old shoos, dressing them in such 
manner as they could, yea, through the exceeding famine, they 
were driven to kill their own children : the soldiers took the 
ilesh of children roasted from the mothers, smelling the savour 
of the roasted flesh two streets oil : pigeons dung was unto 
them instead of salt, and was also very dear: finally, there 
was so great misery, so great slaughter, and shedding of blood, 
that it v. ould not have been marvellous for a stone to have been 
moved with pity. He that had seen it, would have thought 
that Ciod could not have been so grievously angry, and so 
greatly have atllicted a people. Both houses and streets were 
filled witli carcasses dead through famine; notwithstanding the 
Jews remained still so obstinate and without understanding, 
that they gloried of God, and would not yield themselves, until 
the emperor set upon them with his whole power and took the 
city, which they were able to keep no longer. And whenas 
some of them were so crafty, that they devoured gold that it 
might not be taken from them, the Roman soldiers thought that 
they had also so done, whereupon they slew about two thou 
sand, and having ripped their bellies sought for gold. There 
was such a slaughter made, that it seemed a miserable thing 
even to the Gentiles; wherefore Caesar commanded that they 
should not be so slain, but led captive and sold. The Jews 
were then sold so cheap, that thirty were bought for a penny ; 
they were then dispersed through the whole world, and were 


counted the most abject people of all other, as also at this clay 
they are the most contemptible nation on the earth. For they 
live spread here and there without cities and countries of their 
own, neither can they again be gathered into one place, so that 
they shall never be able any more to erect their priesthood and 
kingdom, as they hope they shall. Thus God revenged the 
death of Christ, and all the prophets, thus were they recom 
pensed for that they knew not the time of their visitation. 

Wherefore let us be here admonished, for it belongeth not 
only unto us, but even unto all Germany, it is no jesting matter 
of sport, neither is there any cause why we should persuade 
ourselves, that it will fall out otherwise with us. The Jews 
would not believe that evil should come upon them until they 
had sufficiently tried it. And we at this day are visited by the 
goodness of God : he hath opened unto us a treasure, his sacred 
and holy gospel, whereby we know his will, and sec how much 
we were subject to the power of Satan : but no man will receive 
this gospel, yea, we contemn it, and that which is more miser 
able, we persecute and blaspheme it : God is patient, it plcaseth 
him to try us awhile, if we be not watchful, so that the word be 
again taken from us, the same wrath and indignation which was 
poured forth upon the Jews, shall also be poured forth upon us. 

For there is the same word, the same God, the same Christ, 
at this day, that there was at that time, whereupon undoubtedly 
the punishment shall be the same, or at least as grievous botli in 
soul and body. We make a sport and trifling matter of the 
gospel, for no man embraceth it from his heart, no man frameth 
his manners according unto it, which is a manifest argument of 
blindness ; a thing surely most miserable ; I fear the matter 
will shortly come to pass, that all Germany will fall together on 
an heap ; which, alas ! in part of the commonalty hath already 
had a lamentable beginning : we have lost a creat multitude of 

O O 7 o 

people, almost an hundred thousand men have been slain only 
between the feast of Easter and Whitsuntide. It is hard work 
of God, and I am afraid that the war begun is not yet at an 
end ; this is only a forewarning and threatening whereby God 
would terrify us, that we might diligently take heed to our 
selves ; it was nothing but a foretaste ; if he come again with 
his whip he will scourge us more grievously : but we will be 
have ourselves as the Jews behaved themselves, until there be 
place for no succour or help ; now we might prevent it, now is 
the time to know what should be best for us, and to receive the 


gospel with peace, for at this day grace is offered unto us, 
whereby we may live peaceably, but we suffer day to pass after 
day, year after year, applying ourselves less to the gospel than 
before : no man doth now pray unto God for the increase of his 
word, no man receiveth it in his heart ; if so be that the time 
shall pass, no prayers shall any more help. We \veigh not this 
matter in our heart, we think ourselves safe, we do not 
thoroughly perceive the great misery already come to pass, 
neither do we consider in our minds how miserably God 
punisheth us with false prophets and sects, which he on every 
side scndeth unto us, which preach so securely, as if they had 
wholly received into their breast the spirit the comforter : those 
which we counted best of all do go away, and bring men into 
such a perplexity, that they almost know not either what is to 
be done or not to be done. 

But this is only the beginning, although sufficiently horrible 
and cruel ; for there cannot be greater affliction and misery, 
than if the Lord send among us sects and false prophets, which 
are so rash and bold, that it is greatly to be lamented ; notwith 
standing the time of grace is now present : Christ hath been 
sent down into the world, hath been born man, hath served us, 
died for us, is risen again from the dead, hath sent unto us the 
Spirit, the Comforter, hath given unto us his word, hath opened 
heaven so wide, that all good things may be obtained of us, 
moreover hath given unto us rich promises, whereby he pro- 
miseth that he will preserve us both in this short and frail time, 
and in the eternal time, in this life, and in the life to come, 
most plentifully pouring forth his grace upon us. Wherefore 
the time of grace is now before our doors, but we despise and 
neglect it, which God neither will, neither can pardon : for 
when we contemn his word he threatened] punishment, and 
will at the last pun ^h us, although he should defer it even an 
hundred years, but he will not defer it so long. And the more 
purely that the word is preached, so much greater shall the 
punishment be. But I fear lest this punishment require the 
subversion of all Germany : God grant that in this thing I be a 
false prophet, but I fear exceedingly that it will come to pass, 
God cannot leave this wickedness unrevenged, neither will he 
defer long, for the gospel is so abundantly preached, that it was 
j:ot so manifest even in the apostles time as it is at this day, 
thanks be to Christ therefore. Wherefore I fear much, lest that 
all Germany be spoiled, yea, and quite destroyed, unless we 


otherwise apply ourselves to this matter. We which have long 
heard the gospel ought to pray God from the heart, that he 
would give us longer peace. The princes go about to bring all 
things to pass by the sword, whereby they go too rashly and 
rigorously to work ; wherefore it is exceeding needful that we 
should pray unto God, that his gospel may spread farther abroad 
through Germany, even unto them which have not yet heard it. 
For if punishment come suddenly upon us, our case shall be 
miserable, then many souls shall be in danger to be lost before 
the word shall come unto them ; I would wish, therefore, that 
we would not so cruelly despise the gospel, that precious trea 
sure, not only for our own sake, but also for their sakes which 
are yet to hear it : a scourge is a little begun, God grant that 
it may so stay,, that neither the princes nor the commonalty be 
stirred up to greater rage and fury ; for if that civil war should 
begin again, it were to be feared that it would have no end. 

We do like as the Jews did, who took greater care of the 
belly than of God, having more regard how to fill the belly than 
that they might be saved, wherefore they lost both, and that 
worthily ; forasmuch as they would not receive life, God sent 
unto them death, so they lost both body and soul : they pre 
tended the same cause that we do : we would willingly indeed 
embrace the gospel,, if there were no danger of body and goods, 
wife and children. If we shall believe him, said the Jews, the 
Romans will come, and take away both our place and nation, 
which nevertheless came unto them ; for that which the wicked 
man feareth falleth upon him. This was a let and hinderance to 
the Jews that they would not believe the words of God, neither 
have regard to the rich and large promises made unto them : so 
also do we, we regard not the mighty and comfortable promises 
which Christ hath made unto us, as where he saith, Matt. xix. 
29, " He shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit ever 
lasting life." Leave thy wife and children, I will preserve 
them, I will restore them, so as thou goest to work boldly in 
my name. Thinkest thou that I cannot build thee other houses ? 
countest thou me so simple, who will give unto thee heaven ? 
wilt thou not put thyself into danger for my sake ? if thy goods 
be taken from thee, heaven and earth are mine, I will recom 
pense thee abundantly. These and such like sayings we pass 
over, yea, and also contemn, having diligent consideration only 
what we have laid up in our chest, and that our purse may be 
full; neither do we see that even that which we have God hath 


o-ivcn unto us, and will as yet give us more, if we believe and 
trust in him ; neither do we mark if that we lose God we shall 
lose the belly also. 

Howbcit they that believe in God, do not avoid peril if it 
come for his sake, but commit all things to his divine power, 
that he may order them according to his will, and thus they 
think : The Lord hath given me both a house and the furniture 
thereof, wife, children, &c. I have not obtained them of my 
self; forasmuch then as they are God s I will commit them unto 
him, he shall best preserve them ; for even otherwise I must 
leave them, wherefore I will refuse to suffer no peril, and to 
leave whatsoever I have for his sake, if the case so require. If 
he will have me so to do, he can give me other things, for lie 
hath promised that he will give sufficient to them that believe, 
both here and in the time to come. If he will not have me to 
live here, I o\\e death unto him"; when he shall require me, I 
will be ready for his word s sake. He that shall not do thus, 
denieth God, and is notwithstanding compelled to lose both 
this frail life and eternal life. The stinking belly which we 
make our god, is the cause that we do not cleave to the word 
of God : for 1 will iir>t be certain how 1 may feed myself, and 
where my goods be. The gospel saith, u Trust in God," but 1 
provide for my belly, and if I have one noble in gold, 1 think I 
have sufficient to sustain and nourish me for ten days, and 
trusting to that which 1 have laid up, I trust not in God, that 
as he hath hitherto fed me, so he will nourish me still. Is not 
this a detestable thing, that I trust to one piece of coin only, 
whereby 1 look to have my food and sustenance to-morrow ? 
Fie! what a cursed thing is such care for the belly? Shall a 
vile piece of coin be more esteemed of me than God himself, in 
whose power are heaven and earth, who giveth unto us air and 
water, maketh grain to grow unto us, and sendeth all things 
necessary ? It is more detestable than that it can be expressed 
by the voice of man, that God is not esteemed of us so much 
as a little money. Why dost thou not think, God who hath 
made me will nourish me, if he will have me live. If he will 
not, well then shall I have no need. But saith the belly, I find 
no god in my chest. Thou dull beast, who can assure thee that 
thou shalt live till to-morrow? Is it uncertain whether thou 
shalt keep thy belly till to-morrow, and desirest thou to know 
where food and sustenance is ? If this did pierce our heart, we 
should sec how devilish a thing incredulity is. Is it not a hor- 


rible thing that I do not make so great account of God, who 
feedeth so many mouths, as to trust in him, that he will nourish 
me, yea, that I do make more account of one noble in gold than 
of God himself, who poureth forth his good things so abun 
dantly ? The world is full of the blessings and words of God, he 
is on every side with his good things, notwithstanding we do 
not yet commit ourselves to him, to receive his visitation. O 
cursed world, which cannot trust to God even one day, and yet 
trusteth to a piece of gold ! Thus we see, as I think, of what 
sort the world is, how it despiseth God for the belly s sake, 
which notwithstanding it is compelled to lose. O how great 
contemners of salvation are we ! We ought rather to detest the 
world, but we are deeply drowned in old Adam. 

The world is as it were a figure of hell ; yea, a very devilish 
kingdom, and an entrance to hell ; wherefore Christ with weep 
ing eyes exhorteth us to know our salvation, and to receive his 
visitation, lest that a plague and scourge follow, which un 
doubtedly shall come upon them which, thinking themselves in 
safety, do not believe and trust in God. God give us his grace, 
whereby we may know him. It followeth moreover in the 
text, ver. 45, " And he went into the temple, and began to cast 
out them that sold therein, and them thut bought, saying unto 
them, It is written. My house is the house of prayer : but ye 
have made it a den of thieves." This is the second part of 
this text, wherein is declared how the Lord going into the 
temple, beginneth to drive out the buyers and sellers therein. 
The former part was nothing else but an exhortation and inviting 
to faith, but here the Lord insinuated! what the temple of God 
is, and bringeth a place out of the scripture hereunto appertain 
ing, namely, out of Isaiah, where he saith, chap. Iv. 7> " My 
house shall be called a house of prayer for all people." This is 
a strong saying, whereas the Prophet saith, " for all people/* 
against the Jews, who trusting unto that temple at Jerusalem, 
thought that this house made with hands should continue for 
ever, supposing it to be impossible that God should either de 
stroy this temple, or leave the city desolate, because the word 
of God cannot lie. Wherefore they stoned Stephen, for that he 
spake against that holy city, and affirmed that Jesus would 
destroy it, and change the ceremonies given by Moses ; for 
they said, The prophets have greatly praised this house, and do 
you apostles preach that it shall be destroyed ? Howbeit this 
saying is thus to be understood, that the city Jerusalem, the 


temple, and the people should continue until the time of Christ, 
whereunto all the prophets tend, which referred all things unto 
Christ, that as he should do, so it should he, and so it should 

Wherefore the place of Isaiah extcndeth no farther than to 
the coining of Christ, which all the prophets also witness, 
affirming 1 that there should come a kingdom which should ex 
tend far and wide over the whole world, as it is in Malachi i. ] 1, 
" From the rising of the sun, even unto the going down of die 
same, my name shall he great among the Gentiles, and in 
every place incense shall he ollered unto my name, and a pure 
offering ! for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith 
the Lord of hosts." Here the prophet speakcth of the spiritual 
kingdom of Christ, who would build unto himself an house of 
prayer in the whole world. It is true that CJod himself did con 
firm and sanctify the temple at Jerusalem, not because it was 
furnished with precious stones and goodly buildings, or hal 
lowed of the priests, which manner of trifles and dotages we 
use at this day, but because he had consecrated and hallowed 
it with his word when he said, This house is my house ; for 
his word was preached in it. Wheresoever the word of Cod 
is preached, there is his true house; where the word of Ciocl 
hath his course and proceeding, there undoubtedly God dwelleth 
with his grace : where his gospel is, there is the holy house of 
prayer, there prayers both may and ought to be made unto God. 
God also will hear us, as Christ saith, John xvi. 123, " Whatso 
ever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. 
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask and ye shall 
receive." On the contrary, where the word is not, there is 
Satan wholly. Now, whereas we, imitating the Jews, have 
builded so many temples, it were tolerable if we had therefore 
so done that the word of God might be preached in them, for 
where God s word is preached, there is he present, and poureth 
forth his grace. 

Christ saith that the Jews had made the temple at Jerusalem 
a den of thieves. They were resident in the temple which sold 
oxen and sheep, that they which came might buy to offer and 
worship God: why therefore doth he call it a den of thieves ? 
Surely he giveth unto it a foul name, which came to pass upon 
this occasion ; for that it was not any more counted of them for 
the house of God, but for a house of merchandize, that is, the 
priests had no care how the word of God was preached there, 


and did negligently and carelessly sing, babble,, and read Moses 
and the prophets. But God doth nothing esteem that mumbling 
of many words, which is only vain and childish. They behaved 
themselves like as our sacrificing priests and monks do,, who of 
temples and monasteries making dens of thieves,, preach poi 
sonous doctrine, and therefore they only celebrate mass, that 
they may thereby get unto themselves money, and fill the belly, 
killing and destroying silly sheep with their traditions ; which is 
the den wherein souls are slain ; which title is to be given to all 
temples wherein the word of God is not preached : for there they 
mock God, kill souls, expel the true word, and set np thievery. 
O how foully have we been deceived in this point ! But God at 
this day is highly to be praised, that his word reneweth and 
quickeneth us, driveth away thieves, and teacheth us to pray 
aright ; for a sincere Christian must pray, not in mouth only, 
but in heart also. Thus we have the second part of our text, 
how Christ casteth out the sellers, that is, them that served the 
belly, and maketh place for his word. It were very good if 
monasteries were scoured after this sort; that either Christian 
schools, or places wherein the word of God might be preached, 
might be made of them ; which if it come not to pass, they are, 
and do remain dens of thieves. If Christ calleth his house a 
den of thieves, how much more shall our temples, which God 
hath not consecrated, be proved to be dens of thieves ? I have 
oftentimes desired you, that ye would devoutly pray unto God 
that he, turning away his indignation, would bridle the devil, 
who now rageth in the world ; for ye have heard of a great 
calamity how many thousands have been slain, it is to be feared 
that they are all damned. God requireth obedience of us, and 
he hath pronounced the sentence, that he that taketh the sword, 
shall perish with the sword. They were besieged of Satan, 
who knoweth whether the same shall come unto us ? Let us 
pray God therefore that his kingdom may come unto us, that 
Christians may be multiplied, and that he will send wise and 
meek preachers, whom the people may receive ; and let him that 
knoweth the gifts of God pray for others which have not yet 
heard the word of God, for it is high time so to do. 




Luke x. 23 127- Ami he turned him unto his disciples, and 
said privately, IHcsscd arc the cues ic/t/e/t see the things that 
ye see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings have 
desired to sec tho:;e things tc/iie/i ye see, and have not seen, 
them ; and to hear those things icL teh ijc hear, and have not 
heard them, ^e. 

\ IIOVK well that ye do no\v rightly understand this gospel, for 
asmuch as it is preached every year ; notwithstanding, because 
occasion is now again olVered, we must again treat and preach 
of it. First, the Evangelist saith, that Christ took his disciples 
aside, and said unto them secretly after this sort : <; Blessed are 
the eyes which see the things that ye see. For I tell you, 
that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things 
which ye see, and have not seen them ; and to hear those 
things which ye hear, and have not heard them." To see and 
hear is to be understood here simply of the outward seeing and 
hearing, vi/., that they saw Christ come in the flesh, heard his 
sermons, and were present at those miracles which he did 
among the Jews. The Jews saw the same according to the flesh, 
yea, and felt them also; yet did they not truly acknowledge 
him for Christ, as the apostles did, and especially Peter in the 
name of all the rest did confess him, saying, " Thou art Christ 
the Son of the living Ciod." We grant indeed, that there were 
some among the Jews which acknowledged him, as the apostles 
did, but the number of them was very small, wherefore he 
taketh his apostles here severally unto himself. 

Many prophets and kings have seen Christ, howbeit in the 
spirit, as the Lord himself saith to the Jews of Abraham, John 
viii. 56, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he 
saw it, and was glad." The Jews thought then that he had 
spoken of the bodily seeing, but he spake of the spiritual seeing, 
whereby all Christian hearts did behold him before he was born; 
for if Abraham saw him, undoubtedly many other of the prophets, 
in whom the Holy Ghost was, saw him also. And although this 
seeing saved the holy fathers and prophets, yet did they always 


with most inward and hearty affection desire to see Christ in the 
flesh also, as is commonly showed in the prophets. Wherefore 
the Lord saith here unto his disciples, which saw him both in the 
flesh and in the spirit, "blessed are the eyes which see the things 
ye see." As if he said, Now is the acceptable year and time of 
grace. The matter which is now in hand is so weighty and 
precious, that the eyes are worthily said to be blessed, which see 
it } for now was the gospel preached openly and manifestly both 
by Christ himself, and also by his apostles, whereupon he here 
calleth them all blessed which see and hear such grace. Of 
which grace I have preached much and a long time to you ; I 
would to God ye did keep that which I have spoken thereof 
fresh in memory. 

When the Lord spake these things, a certain lawyer started 
up, showing himself as though he had been something, who, 
tempting the Lord, saith, " Master, what shall I do to inherit 
eternal life ?" This lawyer was endued with wisdom, and not 
unskilful in the scriptures, which even his answer doth declare, 
yet in this place he is proved a fool ; yea, he is brought unto 
shame and ignominy ; for Christ taketh away all his glorying 
even in one word, lie was of this mind, that he had observed 
the whole law, and that he was a certain chief, one in respect of 
others, as undoubtedly he was, and thought himself sufficiently 
worthy, by reason of his godliness and learning, to be conversant 
with the Lord. But what doth the Lord in this case : the text 
following declareth, verse 26, "He said unto him, What is 
written in the law ? how readest thou ? And he answering, said, 
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with 
all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind ; 
and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast 
answered right : this do, and thou shalt live." Methinks that 
the Lord gave this good man a hard lesson; he dealeth very 
straightly with him, it may seem to some that he should have 
spared him a little, he putteth him to shame openly before all ; 
he proveth that he had done nothing, who notwithstanding 
thought that he had done all things. He asked what he should 
do ; but I think he had enough and overmuch to do, if he had 
been able to do more than he was. 

If I had time, many things might be spoken of the two com 
mandments ; for they are the chief and greatest commandments 
in Moses, on which the whole law and all the prophets do hang, 
as Christ himself saith in Matthew, chap, xxii. 40. Notwith- 


standing we will treat somewhat of them. If we consider the 
commandments of Moses, they have respect altogether unto love; 
for this commandment, Exod. xx. 3, " Thou shalt have no other 
gods before me," we can no otherwise declare or interpret than, 
thou shalt love God alone ; so Moses expoundeth in Deuter 
onomy where he saith thus, Dent. vi. 4, 5, " Hear, O Israel, the 
Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy 
God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy 
might." From whence the lawyer took his answer. But the 
Jews understand this commandment so, that they think it to 
extend no farther than that they should not set up nor worship 
idols. And if they can say and witness in mouth, that they have 
one God only, and do worship none hut him, they think they 
have observed this commandment. After the same sort did this 
lawyer understand it, but that was an evil and a wrong under 
standing thereof. llowbeit we must otherwise consider and 
understand this precept, "Thou shalt have no other gods before 
me." Thou, it saith, with all that thou art, but especially it 
reqnircth all thine heart, soul, and strength. It spcaketh not of 
the tongue, not of the hand, not of the knees, but of the whole 
man, whatsoever thou art and hast. That no other god ma} be 
worshipped of me, it shall be necessary that I have the true 
and only God in my heart, that is, I must love him from mine 
heart, so that I do always depend on him, trust in him, repose 
my hope in him, have my pleasure, love, and joy in him, and 
daily remember him ; even as otherwise if we take pleasure in 
any thing, we say, it doth me good inwardly at the heart. And 
if any speaketh or laugheth, and doth it not in good earnest, 
neither from his heart, we are wont to say, thou laughest indeed,, 
but it cometh not from thy heart. 

The love of the heart in the scriptures signifieth a vehement 
and special love, which we ought to bear toward God ; they 
which serve God with mouth, hands, and knees only, are hypo 
crites, neither hath God any care of them; for God will not have 
part, but the whole. The Jews did outwardly abstain from idol 
atry, and served God alone in mouth, but their heart was far 
removed from him, being full of diffidence and unbelief. Out 
wardly they seemed to be very earnest in serving God, but within 
they were full of idolatry, whereupon the Lord said unto them, 
Matt, xxiii. 27, " Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypo 
crites ; for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed 
appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men s bones, 


and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righ 
teous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." 
These are those wicked ones, which glory of the outward thing, 
which go about to justify and make themselves good by their 
own works, after the manner of the lawyer. Consider how great 
the pride of this silly man was : he cometh forth as though he 
could not be blamed, or rebuked of the Lord; he thought, yea, it 
seemed unto him, that the Lord would here commend and praise 
his life before the people; he thought not to learn any thing of 
the Lord, but he sought only his own commendation ; he would 
willingly have had Christ set forth his praise, toward whom the 
eyes of all were bent, and who was an admiration to all. So all 
hypocrites do : outwardly they pretend excellent, great and 
weighty works ; they say that they have respect neither to glory 
nor praise, but within their heart they are full of ambition, and 
wish that their holiness were known to the whole world, showin- 
a goodly sign of their religion, by the biting of their lip, if they 
hear any speak thereof. But our Saviour Christ showeth here 
no kindness or gentleness to this lawyer, inasmuch as he putteth 
him to shame ; that great holy man notwithstanding continueth 
still in the same mind, and supposeth that he shall receive great 
honour and singular praise because of his precious life, thinking 
that he had fulfilled the commandment, whereupon also he look- 
eth for a joyful answer, that the Lord should say, Good master, 
your mastership hath done all things. But Christ answereth 
him, " do this," which indeed is as much as to say, Thou art 
altogether a sinner, thou hast never in all thy life fulfilled so 
much as one letter thereof; so showing unto him how evil and 
sinful he was. 

Like unto this lawyer are all they which do most grievously 
o fiend against the first commandment, and think that God is to 
be loved no more than the words sound for, and that thereby it 
is fulfilled ; the commandment therefore remaineth in their mouth, 
and doth as it were float above the heart, and pierceth it not ; 
but I must go much farther than so. I must love God so, that 
I can be content to forsake all creatures for his sake, and if it 
shall seem good unto him, my body and life, I must love him 
above all things, for he is jealous, and cannot suffer that any 
thing be loved above him, but under him he permitteth us to love 
any thing. Even as the husband can suffer that his wife love her 
maids, the house, household things, chattels, and such like ; 
howbeit he suffereth her not to love any with that love wherewith 


she is bound unto him, but himself, yea, he will have her leave 
all such things for his sake. Again, the wife requireth the same 
of her husband. After the same sort God can suffer that we 
love his creatures, yea, therefore they are created and are good. 
The sun is a goodly creature, gold and silver, and whatsoever by 
nature is fair, procureth us to love it, which maketh it dear unto 
us, neither is C.iod offended thereat. .But that 1 should cleave 
unto the creature, and love it equally with him, that neither will 
he, neither can he suffer; yea, he will have me both to deny and 
forsake all these things, when he requireth it of me, and 
will have me content, although I never sec the sun, money, 
riches, cvc. 

The love of creatures must be far inferior to the love which 
we musl bear toward him. As he is the sovereign good, so will 
lie also be chielly loved before all other good things ; if he will 
not suffer that I shall love any thing equally with him, much le.^s 
will he suffer that I shall love any tiling above him. Thou seest 
now 1 think, what it is to love dod with all thy heart, with all 
thy soul, witli all thy mind. To love dod with all thy heart, is 
to love God above all creatures, that is, although creatures be 
very amiable and dear unto me, and that 1 take great delight in 
them, yet must I so love them, that 1 do contemn and forsake 
them, when my Ciod and Lord requireth that of me. To love 
God with all the soul, is to bestow our whole life and body at his 
pleasure ; if the love of creatures, or any temptation assail thce, 
or would overcome thee, th.oti maycst say, I will rather part from 
all these, than 1 will forsake my God, whether he cast me oil , or 
kill me, or drown me, or whatsoever, through his permission, 
shall come unto me, I had rather leave all things than him, 1 will 
depend on my Lord, rather than upon any other thing whatsoever 
it be. Whatsoever I have and am, 1 will bestow, but him will 1 
not forsake ; the soul in the scriptures signifieth the life of the 
body, and whatsoever is done by the live senses, as to cat, drink, 
sleep, wake, see, hear, smell, taste, and whatsoever the soul 
worketh by the body. To love God with all thy strength, is for 
God s cause to renounce all the members and limbs of the body, 
so that one will endanger whatsoever he is able in his flesh and 
body, before he will commit that which is against God. To love 
God with all thy mind, is to enterprize nothing but that which 
may please God, whereby he understandeth the thought which 
is in man, that that also be referred to God, and all things that 
be acceptable unto him. Thou pcrceivest not what this com- 


mandment of God containeth in it. Thou shalt love God, thou, 
thou saith he, and that wholly, even every part of thee, not thy 
hands, not thy mouth, not thy knees alone. They which do 
these things, as it is said, do truly fulfil it ; but no man liveth in 
the earth which doth so, yea, we do all otherwise. 

Wherefore the law doth here make us all sinners, so that not 
so much as the least jot or point thereof is fulfilled of them that 
are most holy of all in the world. For no man doth so cleave 
with all his heart unto God, that he can leave all things for his 
sake. We, alas ! are gone so far, that we cannot suffer so much 
as a little word, nay, we will not forego the value of a halfpenny 
for God s cause. How can it be that we should love God, when 
his will is not settled in our mind ? If I love God I cannot but 
love his will also. Now if God send sickness, poverty, shame, 
and ignominy, it is his will; whereas what do we ? we murmur, 
we grudge, our mind is carried hither and thither, we take most 
impatiently, and yet is this the least ? what would we do, if we 
should leave our body and life for God and Christ his sake ? then 
would we show ourselves after another sort. But in the mean 
time we do like unto this pharisee and lawyer ; we lead an honest 
life outwardly, we worship God, we serve him, we fast, we pray, 
and behave ourselves in outward appearance, justly and holily. 
But God doth not require that of us, but that we should bend 
ourselves to his will with pleasure and love, cheerfully and 
lovingly. Whatsoever the Lord saith to the lawyer, he saith to 
us all, to wit, that we have yet done nothing, but that all things 
do yet remain to be done. All men therefore are guilty of 
death and subject to Satan. All men are liars, vain, filthy, and 
whatsoever they pretend, it is nothing worth. We are wise 
in our own matters, that we may scrape together money 
and goods, and we can speak most sweetly and fairly before 
men, and cunningly propound or set forth our matter. What 
doth God care for these things ? he require th of us that we 
love him with our whole heart, which no man living is able to 
perform ; whereupon of this place is inferred, that we are all 
sinners, but especially they whose life hath a goodly outward 
show only. 

This is the former part of this text, namely, the preaching of 
the law : now followeth the other part, which is the preaching 
of the gospel, which declareth how we may fulfil the law, and 
from whence that fulfilling is to be taken, which we shall learn 
of the Samaritan. What doth the lawyer after that the Lord 


had thus dealt with him ? He, saith the Evangelist, willing to 
justify himself, spake unto the Lord, and asked him as fol- 
loweth, " Who is then my neighbour?" he asked not who is 
my God ? as if he said, I owe nothing unto God, neither do I 
want anything before God, yea, it seemeth unto me, that I do 
neither owe anything to any man ; nevertheless I would wil 
lingly know who is my neighbour. The Lord answering him, 
bringeth forth a most goodly similitude, whereby lie deelareth 
that we are all neighbours one to another, as well he that giveth 
a benefit, as lie that receivetli and needeth one ; although by 
the text it seemeth to appear, that he only is a neighbour, which 
bestoweth a benefit upon another. But the scripture maketli 
here no difference, sometime calling him our neighbour, which 
bestoweth a benefit, sometime him that receivetli a benefit. .By 
this similitude the Lord inferreth in these words, " Go and do 
thou likewise," so that the lawyer had offended not only against 
(Jod, but also against man, and wanted not only love towards 
God, but also love towards his neighbour, unto whom he had 
not done that good which he ought. This wretched fellow is 
brought into such a case, that lie is found wholly evil, even 
from the head to the feet. How came it to pass that he, being 
most skilful of the scripture, could not beware of this ? So fell 
it out ; he led a pharisaical, hypocritical, and counterfeit life, 
which had not regard unto his neighbour, and to succour and 
help others, but sought thereby only glory and honour before 
men, and so looked by negligent and dissolute living to come to 
heaven. .But ye have heard very often, that a Christian life 
consisteth in this, that we deal with faith and the heart in things 
that pertain unto God, but use our life and works towards our 
neighbour ; and that I must not look while my neighbour scck- 
eth a benefit, and requireth something of me, but according to 
my duty, must prevent his asking, and of mine own accord offer 
my liberality unto him. 

Now we will see what the parable containeth in it. The 
Samaritan in this place is, without all doubt, our Lord Jesus 
Christ, who hath declared his love toward God and man : toward 
God, in that he descended from heaven, and was incarnate, and 
so fulfilled the will of his Father. Toward man, for that by and 
by, after baptism, he began to preach, to work miracles, to heal 
the sick, neither was there any work that he did, which did con 
cern himself only, but all his works were directed to his neigh 
bour, being made our minister, notwithstanding he is above all, 


and equal to God ; but he did all these things, for that he knew 
that they did please God, and that it was the will of his Father. 
When he had ascended to the height of the commandment, that 
he loved God with all his heart, he left and committed the life of 
his body, and whatsoever he had, to the pleasure and will of his 
Father, saying, Father, behold all things that I have ; my life 
and soul are ready at thy will ; I leave for thy sake the glory 
and honour which I have had among men, yea, and all things, 
how good soever they be, that the world may understand how 
greatly I love thee : my Father, let for thy sake my wisdom be 
contemned, that the world may count me for the foolishest of all ; 
now make I myself most contemptible of all other, who was 
before praised of the whole world ; now 1 am as a wicked 
thief, who before was liberal, profitable, and beneficial to the 
whole world : my Father, I make no account of all these things, 
that I may be found obedient to thy will. This is that Sama 
ritan, who being desired by no prayers, came and fulfilled the 
law with his whole heart; he alone hath fulfilled it, which praise 
none can take from him ; he alone hath deserved it, to him only 
it appertaiueth. But whereas he is touched with care of the 
wounded man, hath compassion on him, bindeth up his wounds, 
bringeth him with him into an inn, provideth for him, and per- 
taineth unto us. The man which lieth half dead, wounded, 
beaten, and spoiled, is Adam, yea, and all of us. The thieves 
which spoiled us, wounded us, and left us half dead, as yet a 
little panting, are the devils. The horse and his rider do here 
fall down, we are not able to help ourselves, and if we should 
be left lying so, we should die through great anguish and distress, 
our wounds would become festered, and our affliction miserable 
and exceeding great. 

This excellent parable is set before our eyes, lively painting 
forth unto us what we are, what is the strength of our reason 
and free-will. If that wretched man had gone about to help 
himself, his case would have been made worse, he would have 
hurt himself, he would have opened his wounds with moving, 
and so would have fallen into greater calamity : Again, if he had 
been left lying, it had been all one. So it cometh to pass when 
we are left to ourselves ; our studies and endeavours surely are 
nothing, whomsoever we set upon the matter. Hitherto sundry 
ways and divers means have been invented, whereby we might 
come to heaven, and amend our life ; this man found out this, 
another that, whereupon have increased innumerable sorts of 

2 A 


orders, letters of indulgences, pilgrimages to saints, which did 
always make the state of Christianity worse. This is the world 
which is painted forth in this wounded man, he being wholly 
laden with sins, fainteth under so heavy a burden, and is not 
able to help himself; but the Samaritan who hath fulfilled the 
law, and is perfectly sound and whole, cometh, and doth more 
than either the priest or Levite, he bindeth up his wounds, 
poureth in oil and wine, setteth him upon his own beast, bring- 
eth him with him unto an inn, maketh provision for him, and 
when he should depart, diligently commendeth him to the host, 
and leaveth with him suil .cient for expenses,, none of which 
cither the priest or Levite did. 

BY the priest the holy fathers are signified, which flourished 
before Moses, the Levite is a representation of the priesthood 
of the Old TeMament. Now all these- could do nothing by 
their works, but pas>ed by like unto this prie>t and Levite ; 
wherefore though 1 had all the good works of Noah, Abraham, 
yea, and all the faithful fathers, they would profit me nothing; 
the pricM" and Levik- saw that mi-erable man lie wounded, but 
they could not help him anything ; they saw him lie half dead, 
but what was that to the purpose ? They could not give him 
any remedy ; the holy fathers saw men drowned and plunged in 
sins, even up to the ears, they also felt the sting and anguish 
of sin, but what could they do hereunto ? they could make the 
case wor^e and not better ; and those were the preachers of the 
law, which show what the world is, namely, that it is full of 
sin, and lieth half dead, and cannot even any whit help itself, 
with its strength, reason, and free-will: But Christ is that true 
Samaritan who is touched with as great care of that miserable 
man, as of himself: neither doth the Samaritan call him unto 
L .in, for he hath no merit, but enjoyeth the mere grace and 
mercy of Christ, who bindeth up his wounds, and having great 
care of him, poureth in oil and wine, that is, the whole gospel; 
he poureth in oil when grace is preached, when it is said, be 
hold, O miserable man, this is thy incredulity, this is thy con 
demnation, thus art thou wounded and sick; but stay, 1 will 
show thee a remedy for all this : Behold, join thyself unto this 
Samaritan, Christ the Saviour, he will best help and succour thee, 
and beside him nothing. The nature of oil, as ye know, is to 
make soft and mollify, so the sweet and gentle preaching of the 
gospel maketh my heart soft and tender toward Ciod and my 
neighbour, so that I dare bestow my body and life for Christ 


and the gospel, if God and need so require 5 sharp wine sig- 
nifieth the holy cross of affliction, which forthwith followcth ; 
neither is there any cause that a Christian should look far about 
and seek the cross, for it sooner hangeth over his head than he 
is aware of, as Paul witnesseth, 2 Tim. iii. 12, " Yea, and all 
that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution." 
This is the cognizance and badge of this king ; he that is 
ashamed of this cognizance, pertaineth not unto him ; moreover 
that Samaritan putteth this wounded man upon his own heast ; 
this is our Lord Jesus Christ, who beareth us, w r e lie upon his 
shoulders, upon his neck and body ; there is scarce a more 
amiable and comfortable history in the whole gospel, than where 
Christ compareth himself to a shepherd, which carrieth again 
the lost sheep upon his shoulders unto the flock; the inn is the 
state of Christianity in this world, wherein we must abide for a 
little time ; the host is the ministers and preachers of the word 
of God, and of the gospel, whose charge is to have care of us ; 
this therefore is the sum ; the kingdom of Christ is a kingdom 
of mercy and grace, where is nothing else but always to be 
borne and to bear; Christ beareth our defects and infirmity, he 
taketh our sins upon himself, and beareth our fall willingly, we 
daily lie upon his neck, neither is he wearied with that bearing 
of us. 

It is the duty of the preachers of this kingdom, to comfort 
consciences, to handle them gently, to feed them with the 
gospel, to bear the weak, to heal the sick ; moreover they ought 
fitly to apply the word according to the need of every one 5 this 
indeed is the duty of a true bishop and preacher, not to proceed 
by violence and injury, as it is the custom of our bishops at this 
day, which vex, torment, and cry out, Go to, go to, he that will 
not willingly, shall be compelled to do it against his will. We 
must in no wise do so ; but a bishop or preacher ought to behave 
himself as a healer of the sick, who dealeth very tenderly with 
them, uttereth very loving words unto them, talketh very gently 
with them, and bestoweth all his endeavours about them ; the 
same must a bishop, or minister of any particular parish do, 
and think no otherwise, but that this bishopric or parish is as an 
hospital, wherein are such as are cumbered with divers and 
sundry kinds of diseases. If Christ be thus preached, then faith 
and love come together, which fulfil the commandment of love. 
Now as the knowledge of the law and the gospel, and of the 

2 A 2 


difference between them, is very necessary, I will treat of them 
somewhat more at large. 

Of the hnv and gospel. 1 have very often admonished your 
brotherly chanty, that the whole scripture divideth itself into 
two parts : into the law, and the gospel. The law is that which 
teach eth what we must do, what the will of God requireth of us. 
The go/pel teacheth where that is to be received, which the law 
commanded). Ji^ven as if 1 seek to take physic, it is one art to 
tell v, hat the disease is, and another to minister that which is 
good and wholesome to remedy it : so standeth the case here; 
the law revcaleth the disease, the gospel ministereth the medi 
cine, which is manifest even by the text, whereof we have already 
treated ; the lawyer cometh, and being very desirous of eternal 
life, askeih he must do; the law declareth this unto him, 
saying, Thou shalt love the Lord thy dot! with ail thine he ;;1, 
and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy 
min.;, and thy neighbour as thyself." lie that readeth these 
woi\is after a hare and slender sort only, as the lawyer did, nn- 
deivlandclh them not; we must pierce into the law, and every 
one behold his face and heart therein ; Clod must be beloved of 
me from the bottom of my heart: Again, I must love him with 
all my soul, that is, from the depth of my soul, so that I 
thoroughly feel in myself that I love him ; for to love with the 
soul signiiicth in the scripture such love as a young man beareth 
toward a maid, which he ieeleth thoroughly in his mind ; more 
over,, with all my strength, that is, with all my members, also 
with all my mind, that is, all my senses, cogitations, and thoughts 
must be directed unto God : Now ! find in myself that 1 do none 
of these ; for if 1 must love God with all my heart, soul, strength, 
and mind, it is requisite that mine eyes show no angry twinkling 
or motion, that my tongue speak not any word, that my feet, 
hands, cars, &c., show no sign of wrath ; that my whole body, 
even from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet, and all 
things belonging thereunto, do walk in charity, be as it were 
ravished with love and pleasure toward God, and always serve 
; i;d worship him ; wherefore, who is he which by the pleasure 
love of virtue is chaste and righteous ? There cannot be one 


such found in the earth ; for we always find ourselves readier to 
wrath, hatred, envy, worldly pleasures, c., than to meekness 
and olhcr virtues. I find in me not only a spark, but even a fiery 
furnace of wicked lust; for there is no love in my heart, no, not 


in all my members ; wherefore here in the law, as if it were in a 
glass, I see whatsoever is in me, to be damnable and cursed ; for 
not one jot of the law must perish, but all must be fulfilled, as 
Christ saith : " For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth 
pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till 
all be fulfilled," Matt. v. 18. Now thou findest not this in thee, 
that thou doest with all thy soul and heart, with cheerfulness 
and pleasure, whatsoever the law exacteth and requireth of thee^ 
hereupon thou art damned and under the dominion of Satan. 

The law therefore serveth us thus far, to teach us, that we are 
condemned ; for by it we find all wicked desires in us, and yet 
not so much as a spark of them ought to be in us. Howbeit, 
our schoolmen not marking this, have taught, that if one do ac 
cording to his ability, God doth give his grace unto him. They 
are blind guides. They grant themselves, that a man is carried 
with no pleasure or cheerfulness to that which is good, and yet 
do they also teach, if one worketh, although it be with grief, 
difficulty, and slothfulness, that it is well with him before God ; 
but Christ hath taught otherwise in this place, that we should 
work that which is good with pleasure and love, readiness, and 
facility ; whom therefore shall we rather believe, Christ, or the 
schoolmen ? But I leave that to your judgment. Of such cor 
rupt and evil understanding of the law, monasteries afterwards 
came, whereby entered this opinion, that it was thought to be 
sufficient to salvation to live in a monastery,, and to follow the 
orders thereof, although that were done even with grief of mind 5 
so they taught ; but Christ will have us to work with pleasure 
and cheerfulness, so that if any thing be done with burden or 
grief of conscience, it is sin ; remove thyself therefore quickly 
from such a work : wherefore thus it might be said unto them; 
Behold, O man, thou miserable creature, thou oughtest to be 
carried with a certain delight to the doing of the law of God, 
but thou comest with no pleasure or cheerfulness hereunto ; now 
see that thon show thy pleasure and love herein, otherwise thou 
shalt be the enemy of God, and the friend of Satan ; thus men, 
leaving their own rashness, might come to the knowledge of 
themselves, and might then say; Therefore, O God, am I con 
demned, and that not unjustly. Hereupon it followeth, that we are 
all under Satan, as long as we feel in us this difficulty and hard 
ness to do that which is good. Wherefore if I should speak the 
truth, I should say thus : I find indeed something that is good in 
the law of God, but it is my death ; and if it could be, I would 


wish that it were not; so are all men affected in their heart, as 
Paul plainly teacheth, Romans vii., If we should remain in such 
condemnation, we must needs perish for ever. 

There is therefore another part, that is, the gospel, which 
bhowclh comfort and salvation, declaring where that is to he had, 
whereby the law is fulfilled; when therefore I know hy the law, 
that 1 am a condemned man, then lie I half dead among thieves, 
Satan halh spoiled my soul, and hath moreover in Adam taken 
away all faith, all righteousness, and hath left nothing hut bodily 
life, which is also quickly extinguished. Then come Levites 
and prkvts, which teach this and that, but can help nothing, and 
so pass by ; but when the Samaritan cometh, he helpeth, that is, 
when Christ cometh, lie showeth his mercy unto us, saying after 
this sort; Behold thou oughtest indeed to love (iod with all 
thine heart, but thou doest it not, now believe only in me, and 
thou slialt enjoy my obedience as thine own, this only helpeth 
me; then he pulteth me on his own beast, that is, on himself, 
and carrieth me into the inn, that is, into the church of the 
faithful, then he by and by poureth his grace into me, that is, oil ; 
that I may feel myself to be laid upon his shoulder, that at the 
last makcth me to be of good cheer, and quiet and well affected 
in conscience, afterward he poureth in wine also, which with its 
sharpness may abate and tame the force of old Adam ; and yet 
am I not so wholly restored unto health ; health is indeed poured 
in and begun, but not yet wholly finished; then Christ hath care 
of me, and by his grace poured into me, doth purify me, that 
from day to day 1 may become more chaste, meek, gentle., faith- 
fid, &c., until 1 wholly die, for then 1 shall be altogether made 
perfect ; so when we shall come to God the Father, and be 
asked of him, whether we believed in God, we love him, &c., 
the Samaritan Christ our Lord, who hath laid us on his own 
beast, will come forth and say, Lo, Father, although they have 
not wholly fulfilled the law, yet have I fulfilled it, suffer thou 
that to turn to the profit of them that believe in me ; so it is 
needful that all the saints, although very holy, be laid upon the 
back of Christ. If so be that the holiest of all, as the priests 
and Levites, could not satisfy the law, how shall we go about 
with our feigned works, what is shaving, habit, &c., to fulfil the 
same ? O wretched and miserable calamity. These things shall 
~o\v suffice to have been spoken concerning this text; let us 
pray unto God, that he will give us his grace. 




John iv. 46 54. And there was a certain nobleman whose son 
was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come 
out of Judea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought 
him that he would come down, and heal his son : for he was 
at the point of death, 8>c. 

AN excellent example of faith is set forth in this text, of what 
sort it is, of what nature and quality, namely, that it is not a 
resting or idle thing, but lively and void of idleness, which goeth 
not back, proceedeth on, and still more and more increaseth, 
which if it be not done, it is no faith, but only a dead opinion of 
God in the heart ; for a true and sincere faith, which the Holy 
Ghost poureth into the heart, cannot be idle; which I say for 
this cause, that no man be therefore secure, although he hath 
obtained faith, neither that he stay there. It is nothing to begin 
unless we increase by continual going forward, and come to 
greater knowledge of God ; for, on the contrary side, it is the 
nature and quality of our adversary Satan, not to be idle, as 
Peter saith, Satan sleepeth not, but " goeth about as a roaring 
lion, seeking whom he may devour;" if so be that the devil is 
neither idle, neither sleep cometh upon him, neither shall it be 
meet for a Christian to be idle or put his hands in his bosom, 
forasmuch as he hath the devil his enemy, who is stronger than 
himself; for he is called the prince of the world. " For we 
wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, 
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, 
against spiritual wickedness in high places," Eph. vi. 12. This 
prince governeth the world furiously, and fiercely rageth, and 
cannot suffer the prosperous success of a Christian ; neither is it 
to his profit to be suffered of him, for an entry being made 
hereby, his kingdom is burst in two, and his net torn in pieces, 
out of which, as much as he is able, he suffereth no Christian to 
escape; moreover when the fire of faith is kindled, and the flame 
fostered, and Satan trieth and marketh that, by and by he prac- 
tiseth deceit against it, for he knoweth how much hinderance his 
kingdom shall take thereby : wherefore as earnestly as he can, 
even with all his power, he defendeth his kingdom, and laboureth 


to keep all in obedience to him. Wherefore it is most certain, 
that when a Christian hath begun to believe, by and by tempta 
tion and persecution \vill assail him ; \vhicli if it come not to 
pass, it is a sign that his faith is not yet sound, and that he hath 
not as yet truly received the gospel ; for wicked Satan hath a 
very sharp sight, he by and by spietli out where is a true Chris 
tian, wherefore lie applicth himself wholly unto this, that he may 
enforce him to fall, may besiege him, and assail him on every 
side : for he cannot sufiVr that any should revolt from his king 
dom, it is perilous therefore for a man to believe, for the devil 
is ready that he may set upon him, and overthrow him, which 
sometimes chanceth even to very holy men, which understand 
the word of God well, when they stand upright, and think them 
selves safe, that privy wicked fiend cometh upon them by little 
and little, and wrestleth with them so long, till he overthrow 
them, and cast them to the earth. Set beibrc thine eyes Mo.-ed 
and Aaron who were guides of the Jews ; they had an excellent 
faith, when they brought the people out of Kgypt, and all the 
people iu faith passed through the Ked Sea, death, the wide 
wilderness, ;md many other marvellous things, whereby they 
showed their faith, but at the last they fell grievously, they fear 
that they shall perish with hunger. 

Is it not a thing most miserable, thai, by so grei.l 
show their faith, they go into death and through death, wrestle 
with it, and overcome it, and yet while they think themselves 
surest, they fall and sulier themselves to be overcome of the 
belly, murmur against God, and are so grievously tempted, that 
they fall altogether? wherefore it is not certain and sure, if one 
begin to believe, and doth not always more and more increase 
in faith. Yea, that godly man Moses, who had so great and 
strong a faith, did fall also when, as he should bring water out 
of the rock with a staff, he doubted and talked thus to the 
people, Come let us see whether we can bring water out of the 
rock. That good Moses, who had shown so many and so 
great signs, falleth into reason and carnal understanding, fear 
ing lest the incredulity cf the people would hinder so great a 
miracle and sign ; but it had behoved him to cleave fast to the 
word of God, and to think it higher, greater, stronger, and 
mightier than the unbelief of the people : that great man w s 
tempted, he stumbled, and was overthrown. We have like ex 
amples in the New Testament. Peter was hardy and firm in faith 
when he beheld Christ upon the water; he said unto him with a 


strong faith, Lord, suffer me to come unto thee, committing 
himself to the water even as to the ship, he thought assuredly 
that the water would bear him ; then was there an excellent 
faith in Peter and great courage, which durst commit himself 
wholly unto death in the midst of the sea, reposing his hope 
freely and boldly in Christ; but when he thought himself most 
safe, a storm and tempest ariseth, he forgetteth the word, suf- 
fereth his faith to fail, and he himself also falleth, suffering 
Satan to pluck faith out of his heart ; faith truly is a subtle 
and delicate thing, a small thing maketh it to stumble and 
fall ; Satan is always watchful and circumspect, and doth by 
and by obtain his purpose, if we do not diligently watch. How 
earnestly did the common people follow Christ ! they thought 
that he was a prophet,, and did so cleave unto him, and so de 
fend him, that the princes of the people were made astonished, 
neither durst they so much as lay hand on him ; but when they 
apprehended him, proceed against him, fasten him to the cross, 
the people all forsake him, and come no more to him. A pro 
phet is present, and no man any more assisteth him, but they 
rather cry out against him, Crucify him, crucify him ; and that 
which is most detestable of all, his own disciples revolt from 
him; what is become now both of their faith and holiness? So 
is it at this day in our time ; at the first when the gospel began 
to shine, the preaching thereof was acceptable and pleasant, 
then many seemed willing to embrace it, but when monks and 
sacrificing priests,, nuns, &c., began to be spoken against and 
the mass to be confuted, all (a marvellous thing to be spoken) 
fell away as leaves off trees. 

Again, when princes also were touched, the gospel suffered 
greater persecution, and did by little and little daily decrease. 
Moreover Satan is not idle, whereupon he stirreth up heresies 
and schisms, for how many sects have we hitherto suffered ? He 
sleepetli not, he will stir up greater mischiefs, also he never 
resteth, but looketh about, and trieth every way, that he may 
bring the matter to that pass, and prevail so far that no sound 
doctrine may remain in the church, but that if all Germany be 
diligently viewed, a sermon may no where be found, wherein 
the word of God is truly preached, as it was before. He goeth 
about to extinguish and abolish all the doctrine of Christ now 
increasing^ for he cannot bear it, it is not an easy thing to 
avoid so great an enemy, he lieth in wait, and vieweth all 
places,, and so diligently bestirreth himself, that even the 


learned fall, and the elect, and stumble, as Moses, and Peter, 
with the rest of the apostles. We think ourselves safe, and 
live securely, no man considereth, no man hath a care of the 
word. \Ve should pray and beseech God, that he would vouch 
safe to preserve the gospel, and make his holy name to be 
spread and published more abroad, but no man is touched with 
care hereof, no man prayeth that it may have good success; 
wherefore it is to be feared, that at the last it will come to pass, 
that God will sut ier Satan and us to run together into one, then 
shall we be in a desperate state, for he will easily throw us to 
the ground, when we are come into so great miserv by our own 
slotlifulness and default. Satan moreover can so set forth the 
matter by seditious spirits, that men shall think it to be just; 
as the Arians were persuaded, that their opinion was sound, 
but the Christian humbleth himself, taketh nothing rashly upon 
himself, but with an humble heart saith thus unto (iod: JNlost 
gracious (iod, although 1 know that the cause uhich I favour is 
just, yet without thy help 1 am not able to maintain it, thou 
therefore help me, otherwise 1 I shall be cast and overthrown. 
He is indeed certain of his cause even as Peter was on the water, 
who could not be surer, when the water did bear him; for he 
knew no let or hinderance ; but when the wind was great, and the 
water troubled, he perceived what was wanting in him ; which is 
thoroughly to be received into our mind, and considered of us ; 
for although the certainty of our cause be confirmed, strength 
ened, and ratified with plain sentences of the scripture, A T ct it 
is by the might, counsel, and power of (iod, that we are de 
fended, and Satan our chief adversary and enemy repressed ; 
which is therefore done that God may stir us up to watch, and 
keep us in awe, that we may always be watchful, and cry unto 
him : Lord, help us, and increase our faith, for without thee we 
are able to do nothing. 

Our heart must be always so disposed, as though we began 
to-day to believe, and always so affected, that we desire and 
labour to go more and more forward ; for that is the nature, 
force, and quality of faith, that it always increaseth and waxeth 
stronger : Satan, as it is a little before mentioned, neither is 
idle nor resteth ; if he be once overthrown, he riseth again ; if he 
cannot enter in by the door, he endeavoureth to steal in behind, 
and if this be not permitted him, he breaketh in through the 
roof, or entereth in through a hollow place digged under the 
threshold, for he doth earnestly follow his work, until he 


come in ; he useth many deceits and practices ; if he prevaileth 
not by one, he taketh in hand another, and doth that so long 
until he hath obtained his purpose. Man is a weak and miser 
able thing, as Paul saith, 2 Cor. iv. 7, " We have this treasure 
in earthen vessels," &c. I am more frail than a pot compared 
to the potter, and a pot is a very weak thing, inasmuch as it is 
easily broken, and whatsoever is in it is spilt. Now Satan when 
he knoweth how great a treasure faith is, kept in a frail pot 
(that I may so speak) he is in a great rage and fury, and saith 
thus unto us ; I will touch thee, I will break thy pot, thou hast 
a great treasure, which I will spill ; so God settcth the silly 
pot in the midst of his enemies, which should utterly perish, 
even in a moment if he did not defend it, for it may quickly be 
shaken and broken in pieces, yea, if it be but bitten of a viper 
it perisheth. And it is not hard for Satan even in one moment 
to waste and destroy a whole country. Wherefore that vexeth 
him, that God dealeth with him so simply, setting a silly pot 
against him, when he notwithstanding is so great a prince, and 
the most mighty ruler of this world. 

Now it would grieve me, if I being strong and valiant, any 
man should set upon me with a reed ; surely I being moved with 
anger would break the reed in pieces ; for I had rather that he 
would set upon me with a spear, sword, and armed on all parts. 
It grieved stout Goliah, that David durst come unto him un 
armed, only with a staff; so it greatly grieveth the devil that 
God will suppress him by flesh and blood ; if some stout spirit 
should resist him, it would not grieve him so much, for that 
troubleth him above measure that a silly worm, a frail pot, should 
come to despise him, an earthen vessel against a most mighty 
prince. God hath laid up this treasure, saith Paul, in a miserable 
and weak vessel ; for man is a weak creature, by and by moved 
to wrath, to covetousness, to pride, &c., so that Satan may easily 
shake and break the vessel ; for if God would permit him, he 
would forthwith break it all to pieces. Now all this is done, 
saith Paul, that we may know that not by our own power but 
by the power of God, we are preserved from all evils, and espe 
cially from the force and fury of Satan, who goeth about like a 
roaring lion, desiring to bruise and break the weak vessels and 
frail pots ; and that we may hereby also be stirred up to be 
watchful, and to lift up our eyes toward heaven, and pray unto 
God, that he will vouchsafe to increase and defend our faith, and 
preserve the vessel by his strength. 


Thus have we an entrance unto our text ; it rcmaineth that we 
now consider the same in order. The Evangelist saith thus : 
" There was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Caper 
naum." It falleth out with many other men also, that they have 
their children sick ; but that which he saith afterward is to be 
marked : " When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judea 
into Calilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would 
come down, and heal his son : for he was at the point of death." 
Here faith beginneth and trusteth in Christ. Xow that he had 
faith the gospel declareth : for lie heard of Christ how he healed 
the sick, thereupon his heart was set upon him, and he resorteth 
unto him, thinking- thus : If he helpelh all men he will also help 
me, and will heal my son. He counteth Christ for such a man 
as is able to help men, and hopeth and promise! h to himself all 
goodness from him ; and that indeed is a true Christian heart 
which cleaveth fast unto Cod. If that this ruler had stood in a 
place or way having two paths, doubting with himself, he had 
not gone unto Christ, but his heart would have been thus 
affected: He hclpeth others indeed, but who can tell whether 
lie will help me also ? Uowbcit he doth not thus doubt of Christ, 
but riseth ami maketh haste unto him. 

This is the beginning of faith ; now yc shall see how Christ 
mecteth him on the other side, and answereth otherwise than he 
thought for, that his faith might be tried, and thus he saith unto 
him : " Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe." 
Christ said also to Peter, Matt. xiv. 1*1, " O thou of little 
faith, wherefore didst thou doubt ?" Peter undoubtedly had faith, 
and did believe in Christ, whereupon he committed himself to 
the water, but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and began 
to be drowned ; so in this place, that good man hearcth a good 
report of Christ, that he helpeth every man, which he believed), 
and therefore resorteth unto him. But when he heareth that 
Christ denieth to come, he stumblcth, and his faith faileth, fear 
ing that Christ would not come unto him. This is as it were 
an assault and sore blow, here his new begun faith beginneth to 
be tempted. It was a hard saying, " Except ye see signs and 
wonders, ye will not believe ;" which saying doth so tempt him, 
and bring him into doubt, that he almost falleth. Satan standing 
at his back, saith unto him: Get thee home, look to thy busi 
ness, for he will not help thee; notwithstanding the ruler did 
not by and by leave off, but prayed the Lord, " Sir, come down 
ere my child die. Here his fuith began to be in clanger and 


fail, but God doth not forsake him, but lifteth him up again and 
saith unto him, fi Go thy way; thy son liveth." If the ruler 
had not had faith, he would not have requested Christ to come 
to his son ; what therefore doth he want ? Even this ; he be 
lieved if Christ came to his house, he could then help his son ; if 
he did not come, he could not help him. Neither did his faith 
extend so far, as to believe that Christ even being absent could 
heal the sick ; but it behoved that he should have a higher faith. 
Wherefore Christ lifteth him up, and setteth him in a higher state, 
and saith unto him, " Go thy way, thy son liveth." Here he 
first ascendeth from his former faith, whereby he believeth that 
Christ could heal being present, and cometh to a higher faith, so 
that now he believeth the word : for if he had not believed the 
word he would not have left Christ, neither would have departed 
from him, until he had come with him to his house. By having 
laid hold on the word, he clcaveth unto him by faith, for his son 
is at home, and Christ is with his father; wherefore the father 
receiveth this word in his heart, and thinketh with himself after 
this sort. My son is sick, but I shall find him whole ; which 
faith was contrary both to reason and experience. Reason would 
have thought thus : when I came from my son he was sick, as I 
did leave him, so shall I find him. But faith saith otherwise ; it 
resteth only in the word, and trusteth wholly unto it, neither 
doubteth it that any thing will fall out otherwise than a word 
speaketh, (i Go thy way, thy son liveth." This is a right and 
strong faith, when a man leaveth sense, wisdom, reason, and 
trusteth wholly in the word of God. Christ saith, " Thy son 
liveth;" and he saith within himself, Without doubt it is true I 
shall so find it. So faith remaineth not idle, nor resteth, but 
increaseth, and goeth forward. 

Thus Christ dealeth with us also ; he suffereth us to be 
tempted, that we may increase in faith ; if in the end of our 
life, when we must die, we shall have but a spark of such faith, 
we shall be in a good case, as Christ saith unto his disciples, 
Matt. xvii. 20, " If ye have faith, as a grain of mustard-seed, 
ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place, 
and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." 
A grain of mustard-seed is but a small thing, but he that hath 
faith agreeable to the smallness of this grain, shall be saved. 
Neither must we so much consider this, that our faith is little, 
but we must look unto this, we must have regard unto this, that 
the grain of mustard-seed do remain, and be not eaten up of 


the birds ; that Satan pluck not faith out of our hearts. We 
must not look how little the faith is, but we must regard and 
take heed that fuith be not taken away. Peter had faith upon 
the sea, and therefore was he carried by the water, that he 
should not be drowned ; if he had so persevered in faith, he 
might well have walked a, hundred miles upon the sea, but when 
he failed in faith, he began to be drowned. So Moses had a 
strong faith, but he fell from it. It consisteth not in the strength 
or slenderness of fuith, that we do stand, but in persevering and 
remaining faithful. It may be that he shall persevere in faith, 
which hath but a slender faith, and he that hath a strong faith 
shall fall and doubt. Moses and Peter had an excellent faith, 
so that Moses by faith did lead the people through the midst of 
the sea and death, and Peter without doubting went down out 
of the ship into the sea; but they fell from their faith, howbeit 
(iod raiseth them up quickly again. But the thief on the cross, 
having once laid hold of faith, continued constant. 

Now dod therefore sulTereth it to be thus, that he may bring 
down rash arrogancy, that we do not gloriously extol ourselves, 
but always remain in tear and awe ; lor when temptation cometh 
upon us, we do forthwith fall into error if God do not assist and 
strengthen us, of which thing we may see a very goodly simili 
tude in a tree, which in the spring-time buddeth and openeth 
itself, so that it doth as it were become white by reason of the 
blossoms. A shower falling upon it, many of the blossoms are 
shaken on , and the frost also doth much more consume them ; 
afterward when the fruit beginneth to spring forth, some great 
wind blowing, much of it being newly come forth, fulleth down, 
and when it waxeth ripe, the caterpillar cometh, which wiih 
other worms gnaweth and spoileth it so much, that scarce the 
twentieth part, yea, scarce the hundredth part, many times 
remaineth. The same cometh to pass with the hearers of the 
gospel : in the beginning thereof every one coveteth to be a 
true Christian, every one liketh of it very well, and the first 
fruits thereof are very pleasant ; but when wind, a shower, or 
temptation cometh, all fall away from it by companies ; after 
wards sects and seditions arise, which like unto worms and 
cankers gnaw and infect the fruits of the gospel, and so many 
false opinions spring up, that very few do persevere in the true 
profession of the gospel : we have here, thanks be given to Al 
mighty God, the word of God plentifully taught ; we are delivered 
ouLol the deep and great darkness; but we, forgetting the word, 


are made weak, we live, having no care of the word, for it is not 
savoury unto us : but when hereafter false prophets shall break iu 
with their corrupt opinion, and Satan also shall violently assail us, 
finding us idle, and the house swept and garnished, he will bring 
with him seven other spirits worse than himself, and the end shall 
be worse than the beginning : which things, if they do so fall 
out, let us not therefore be quite discouraged, but let us rather 
instruct one another, that we may learn to cleave unto God, and 
pray unto him, and say, Merciful God, thou hast given unto 
me to become a Christian, give unto me also that I may per 
severe, and become daily richer in faith. Although the whole 
world did resist, and every one conspired to destroy the gospel, 
yet will I be nothing moved, but, by thy divine help, will de 
pend on the gospel. But, to return again to the ruler : ye have 
heard that his faith was very notable and excellent ; he heareth 
the word, " Thy son liveth;" he believeth it and goeth away 
giving honour to God ; lie receiveth the only word, he trusteth 
wholly unto it : hereupon God dealeth so graciously with him, 
that he restoreth health unto his son, raiseth him up, and 
strengthened! him in faith, neither suffereth him to stick in 
doubt or infirmity, but established! him, and maketh him strong, 
and causeth him to go forward and increase : neither doth God 
delay until he cometh home, but declareth unto him, being yet 
in his journey, the health of his son, sending his servants to 
meet him 5 that they might bring him good news, and say, thy 
son liveth ; for God cannot defer or delay. Where there is a sin 
cere heart, which trusteth in him alone, all other things being 
left, looking only unto the word of God, there God cannot hide 
himself, but revealeth himself, and cometh unto such a heart, 
and maketh his abode there, as the Lord saith, John xiv. Now 
what can be more joyful than for a man to give credit to the 
word of God, and to be plucked from it by no affliction or temp 
tation, but to shut his eyes against every assault of Satan, to 
lay aside human sense, understanding, reason, and wisdom, 
and to say daily in his heart, God hath spoken it, he cannot 
lie ? I say nothing is more joyful than such a faith; for what 
soever we ask of God with such a faith, we receive it more 
abundantly of him, than ever we desired it, and God is sooner 
present with us, than we had thought. Hereupon the Evangelist 
useth so many words, even unprofitable, as it appeareth unto 
us, as these : " And the man believed the word that Jesus had 
spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now 


going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, thy 
son livcth. Then inquired he of them the hour when he began 
to amend ; and they said unto him, yesterday, at the seventh 
hour, the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the 
same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, thy son liveth." 
All which tendeth unto this, that we should know, that if we 
believe in the Lord, he will give us abundantly whatsoever we 
shall pray unto him for. 

The conclusion the Evangelist maketh as followcth, l( and 
himself believed, and his whole house." He so increased in 
faith, that he did not only ascend from a low state to a higher, 
but he brought others also unto faith ; lie had surely an effectual 
failh, which did not rest idle and {slothful in the heart, but did 
break forth, so that whosoever were in his house were brought 
unto faith ; for this is plainly the nature of faith, this is the 
quality of it, to draw others into it, and burst forth, and apply 
itself even unto the work of love, as Paul witnesseth, Gal. v. 
That faith which workclh by love is effectual, for it cannot keep 
silence or be idle, as David sailh, Psalm cxvi., which place Paul 
applieth to the faithful, "2 Cor. iv. lo, " 1 believed, and therefore 
Lave 1 spoken." Faith can do no other, for it is enforced to 
speak, neither can it keep silence, inasmuch as he that is en 
dued with it endeavoureth to profit his neighbour ; this ruler 
had faith for himself, but it doth not remain in him alone, but 
breaketh forth. For without all doubt he declared to his family, 
how he came unto Christ, and received comfort of him, which 
they also believed ; so we also, when we believe, must open 
our mouth and confess the grace which God hath showed unto 
us ; which is the chief and most excellent work of faith, thai 
one instruct another in the word ; for Paul saith, Rom. x. 10, 
" With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with 
the mouth confession is made unto salvation." If we be ashamed 
of this word, it is a certain argument of a very light and uncer 
tain faith. We see therefore that there is no difference with 
Christ between the strong and the weak in faith, for a little faith 
is faith also. He therefore came into the world that he might 
receive to himself, bear, and sustain the weak. If he was so 
impatient as we are, he would by and by say unto us, Get thee 
from me, I will none of thee, because thou believest not in me : 
but this is greatly to be commended, when one can handle the 
weak gently, and do not deal rigorously with them, and repel 
them by impatience ; for although they be weak to-day, the hour 


may come when they shall receive the word more abundantly 
than we : thus we ought to instruct and teach one another, that 
we may depend on the word of God ; for if we continue sticking 
on in the word, we shall be strong enough for the devil ; for we 
glory of the word, although we are but weak. Unto Satan, who 
is able even in one hour to overthrow us all, all men should be 
even as a feather, which he would be able to remove away, how 
and when he will, yea, even with his breath : but if we believe, 
that feather is made more heavy unto him than the hill Olympus ; 
for a Christian beareth Christ in himself, and Christ is heavier 
than heaven and earth. Thus much may suffice concerning this 



Matt, xviii. 23 35. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven 
likened unto a certain king which would take account of his 
servants., and when he had begun to reckon, one was brought 
unto him ivhich owed him ten thousand talents, fyc. 

CHRIST brought forth this parable unto that answer which he 
had made to Peter, unto whom he had before committed the keys 
of binding and loosing ; for when Peter asked him how oft he 
should forgive his brother his offence, whether it were enough to 
forgive him seven times, and he answered, not seven times, but 
seventy times seven, he then added this similitude, by which he 
inferreth, that his heavenly Father will do likewise unto us, if 
we do not forgive our neighbour, even as the king did here unto 
the servant, which would not forgive his fellow-servant a small 
debt, whenas his lord had forgiven him so much. We have 
oftentimes taught that the kingdom of God, wherein he reigneth 
by the gospel, is nothing else but such a state or government, 
wherein is mere forgiveness of sins, so that where such a govern 
ment is not, wherein sin is pardoned, neither is there the gospel 
nor kingdom ; wherefore those two kingdoms are to be sepa 
rated, one wherein sins are punished, and another wherein they 
are forgiven, or wherein the law is exacted, and wherein that 
which is due by the law, is remitted. 

2 B 


Tn the kingdom of God, where he reign eth by the gospel, 
there is no exacting of the law, neither any dealing by the law, 
but only remission and forgiveness, neither wrath nor punishing, 
but brotherly service and well doing one to another ; notwith 
standing the civil law or magistrate is not taken away, for this 
parable speaketh not any thing of worldly government, but of 
the kingdom of God only : wherefore he that is yet governed 
only by the regimen of the world is yet far olT from the king 
dom of heaven, for worldly government pertaineth wholly to 
inferior things. As if a prince govern his people so, that he 
suiTer injury to be done to none, punishing offenders he doth 
well, and is therefore commended ; for in that government this 
sentence ilourisheth. Pay that thou owest ; which if thou do 
not, thou shalt be cast into prison : such government we must 
have, l.owbcil we come not to heaven by it, neither is the world 
therefore saved, but this government is therefore necessary, 
that, the world do not become worse, for it is only a defence 
and fortification against wickedness, which if it were not, one 
would devour another, neither could any man keep in safety 
his own life, wife, goods, children, <S:c. That therefore all 
things should not iall, come to ruin, and perish, (iod hath ap 
pointed the sword of the magistrate, whereby wickedness may 
be partly repressed, peace and quietness among men maintained, 
and one may not do another injury, wherefore this is in any- 
wi>e to be kept : but as I said, it is not ordained for them that 
are in the kingdom of i>Tace, hut therefore only, that men be 
not more deeply plunged in wickedness, and become worse. 
V. herefore no man that i:- only under the regimen of the world, 


ought to glory that he doth therefore well before God, before 
whom all is yet unrighteous ; for thou must come so far that 
thou do resign that which is just before the world, and yield of 
thine own right. This the gospel doth here require, which on 
cither side setteth forth unto us only forgiveness. First, the 
lord forgiveth the servant all the debt, then he rcquireth of 
him, that lie forgive his fellow-servant his, and remit his offence : 
these things God rcquireth, and so must his kingdom be ordered, 
that no man be so wicked, neither suffereth himself so to be 
moved, that he cannot forgive his neighbour. And as it is a 
little before this text taught of the gospel, if he should provoke 
thec to anger even seventy times seven, that is as often as he 
can offend against thec, thou must yield of thine own right, and 
cheerfully forgive him all things ; why so ? because Christ did 


the same ; for he set up and erected such a kingdom, as wherein 
is only grace, which must at no time cease, so that if thou repent 
all things will be wholly forgiven thee, as often as thou sliult 
offend, forasmuch as he hath ordained the gospel, that it might 
preach no punishment, but only grace and forgiveness of sins. 
This kingdom standing, thou mayest always rise again,, how 
deeply soever thou fallest, and so often as thou faliest, so as 
thou repent ; for although thou fallest, yet this gospel and 
mercy-seat always continueth. As soon therefore as thou hast 
risen again and returned, thou hast grace restored : howbeit he 
requireth this of thee, that thou also forgive thy neighbour all 
things, which he hath committed against thee, otherwise thou 
shalt not be in this kingdom of grace, neither shalt thou become 
partaker of that which the gospel preacheth, that thy sins may be. 
forgiven thee ; this briefly is the sum and meaning of this text. 
Moreover we must not here omit to declare who they are that 
receive the gospel, and unto whom it is acceptable ; for surely 
that kingdom and government wherein Cod reigneth and ruleth 
by the gospel, is most excellent and gentle, forasmuch as in it 
mere forgiveness of sins is preached, howbeifc it pierceth not into 
the heart of every one ; neither is it considered or esteemed of 
all ; for thou mayest find many light and inconstant men who 
abuse the gospel and lead their life dissolutely and loosely, 
doing what they list, who think that they should be rebuked of 
none, seeing that the gospel teacheth nothing but forgiveness of 
sins. The gospel is not preached to these who do so vilely 
esteem a precious treasure and deal lightly with it : wherefore 
neither do they pertain to this kingdom but to worldly govern 
ment, that they may be stopped from doing whatsoever they 
like and list ; to whom then is it preached ? To them that 
thoroughly feel such misery, as this servant did here. Where 
fore consider what happeneth unto him j the lord taketh pity of 
his misery, and forgiveth him more than he durst desire ; but 
before this is done, the text saith, the lord first took account of 
his servants, and when he began to reckon, one was brought 
unto him which owed him ten thousand talents, and because he 
had nothing to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, his 
wife and children, and all that he had, and the debt to be paid : 
which truly were no pleasant words, but even exceeding severity 
and terrible judgment ; then is he brought into so great per 
plexity and distress, that he falleth down on the ground and 
asketh mercy, and promiseth more than he hath or is able to 


pay, saying, Loi d, refrain thine anger toward me, and I will 

pay thee all. 

Here is set forth unto us, who they are unto whom the gospel 
is acceptable ; for so cometh it to pass between God and us; 
when God will take an account of us, he scndeth forth the 
preaching of his law, whereby we learn to know what we ought 
to do: as when God saith to the conscience, thou shalt worship 
n:> other (Joel, but shalt acknowledge me alone for God, shalt 
love mo with all thine heart, and repose thy trust in me only ; 
this is the book of accounts wherein is written what we owe, 
which he taking into his hands, readeth before us and saith, Lo, 
this thou oughtest to have done, thou oughtest to fear, love, 
and worship me alone; thou oughtest to trust in me alone, and 
from me to promise to thyself all good things : howbeit thou 
do^t otherwise-, thou art my adversary, thou believest not in me, 
but rep c?st thy trust in other things, and, in line, thou seest 
here that thou dost not observe so much as the least point of 
the law. When the conscience hath heard these things, and 
the law hath touched one well, he seeth then what he ought to 
do, and what he hath not done, and iindeth that he hath not 
kept so much as a letter of the law, and is compelled to con 
fess, that he hath not performed that obedience and duty which 
God justly requireth of him; what doth the lord now? when 
the conscience is thus touched, and feeleth itself condemned, 
and is distressed with exceeding great misery, lie saith, Sell 
him and whatsoever he hath, and let him pay the debt. This 
is the judgment which forthwith followeth, when the law hath 
revealed sin, and said, This thou must do, that thou oughtest to 
have done, thou hast done nothing thereof; for to sin is re 
quired punishment, that man may be compelled to pray ; for 
God hath not so made his law, that he doth not punish them 
that transgress it. It is not sweet and pleasant, but bringeth 
bitter and horrible pain with it, it delivered] us to Satan, it 
casteth us down to hell, and leavcth us wrapped in temptation 
until we have paid the utmost farthing : this Paul hath notably 
well declared, Rom. iv. 15, "The law worketh wrath:" that 
is, when it revcaleth unto us that we have clone unjustly, it 
sccmeth nothing before vis but wrath and indignation : for 
v, hen the conscience seeth that it hath committed evil, it feeleth 
that it hath deserved eternal death, after which followed! 
punishment, whereupon it is compelled to despair. 

This is that that the lord commanded this servant together with 


all his substance to be sold, forasmuch as he is not able to pay ; 
but what doth the servant say ? the foolish fellow thinketh yet 
that he shall pay the debt ; he falleth down and prayeth that he 
will have patience with him. This is the wound and cross of 
all consciences, that when sin biteth them so, that they feel in 
how evil case they are before God, there is no rest in them, they 
but run hither and thither, seeking about, that they may be 
delivered from sins, and rashly take upon them as yet to do so 
great things, as wherewith they shall pay God, as we have 
hitherto been instructed, whereupon came so many pilgrimages, 
collegiate houses, monasteries., masses and other trifles ; we 
pined ourselves with fasting, we scourged ourselves with whips, 
we were made monks and nuns, for that we went about to lead 
such a life, and to do such and so many works, as whereunto 
God might have respect, and thereby be pacified, thinking so to 
appease and make quiet our consciences, so we committed the 
same things that this foolish fellow did. Such a heart as is 
touched with the law, and thoroughly feeleth its own misery 
and calamity, is humbled truly and indeed, whereupon it falleth 
down before the Lord and craveth mercy, howbeit it is yet 
defiled with this vice, that it striveth to help itself, which 
thing cannot be taken away from nature, whenas the conscience 
feeleth such misery, it dareth presume to promise more than all 
the angels in heaven are able to perform ; then it is an easy 
matter to persuade it to apply itself to do whatsoever can be 
required of it ; for it findeth itself always in such a case, that it 
hopeth that it is able by works to satisfy for sins : consider those 
things which have been hitherto of long time done in the world, 
then shalt thou find these things to be so ; for thus was it 
preached, Give somewhat to the building of a church, get thee 
to be admitted into a holy monastery, institute masses, and thy 
sins shall be forgiven thee. And when consciences were urged 
in confession, they would not stick to say, whatsoever was 
enjoined us ; we have admitted nothing of it, yea, we have given 
more than we were commanded : miserable men rejoiced that 
by this means they might provide for themselves, and therefore 
they minded and afflicted themselves, that they might be un 
burdened of their sins, yet did it prevail them nothing ; for the 
conscience remained in a doubt as before, that it knew not ho\v 
it stood before God : but if it were secure and quiet, it fell into 
that which is worse, to think that God hath respect unto works ; 
neither can reason do any other but depend on works; the 


Lord therefore is touched with affection and mercy toward that 
misery wherewith the servant so entangled and snared with sins 
is holden, and taking pity upon him, doth forgive and dismiss 

Here is now set forth upon us, what is the special office and 
quality of the gospel, and how God dealeth with us ; when thou 
art so drowned in sins, and weariest thyself, that thou mayest 
deliver thyself from them, the gospel coineth to thee, and saith, 
})o not so, dear brother, it prevaileth nothing, although thou 
afllict and torment thyself even till thou be mad, thy works do 
not profit, but the mercy of God shall deliver ihee, who is 
touched with thy misery ; for lie sceth thee wrapped in calamity, 
wearyi f, that thou inayest deliver thyself out 01 the 

mire, and yet art not, able; he, I say, hath regard unto this, 
that thou :;rt not able to pay, whereupon he forgiveth thee all, 
and lhat of bis mere mercy; for he doth not forgive thee the 
del)!, either for thy works or merits, hut for that he taketh pity 
upon thy cry, complaint and mourning, and thy falling down 
before his knees, that is, (iod hath respect to an humbled heart, 
as the prophet saith. Psalm li. 17, " The sacrifices of (iod are 
a broken spirit : a broken and a contrite heart,, O (iod, thou 
wilt not despise." Such a heart, he saith, as is broken and 
humbled, which is not able to help itself, but craveth the help 
of (ioci, and rejoiceth in it, such a heart is an acceptable sacri 
fice to (iod, and he that hath it, is in the right way to heaven. 

Now (iod having showed his mercy unto him, and taken pity 
on his misery, ceaseth to follow his right, and abrogate it, and 
saith no more. Sell whatsoever thou hast and pay the debt, 
although he might go forward and say, Thou must pay for this, 
my law ixquireth, which I will not have abrogated for thy sake ; 
yet will he not deal with him by the law, but changeth the law 
into grace and favour, taketh pity on him, and dismisseth him, 
with his wife, children, and all his substance, and doth also 
forgive him the debt. This is that which God suil ereth to be 
preached by the gospel : unto him that believeth is remitted not 
only the fault, but also the punishment, and that of mere mercy, 
not for any works sake ; for he that preachcth, that by works 
the fault and the punishment may be put away, hath even then 
denied the gospel, forasmuch as these two cannot agree together, 
that God hath mercy on thee, and yet that thou dost merit 
something; for if it be grace, it is no merit, but if it be merit 
than shall it not be grace, but debt; for if thou pay the debt, he 


showeth thee no mercy, but if he showeth thee mercy, thou dos 
not make payment ; wherefore we must needs acknowledge his 
mercy towards us, we must receive of him, and helieve in him, 
which the gospel here requireth. After that this servant is thus 
humbled with the knowledge of his sin, the word is exceeding 
comfortable unto him, wherein the Lord pronounceth him free, 
and forgiveth him both the fault and the punishment ; whereby 
is also declared, that it toucheth not sluggish hearts, that feel no 
sin, neither those that are carried with rashness, but only such 
afflicted consciences as are pressed with the heavy burthen of 
their sins, which do desire to be delivered from them, on them 
God hath mercy and forgiveth them all ; wherefore it behoved 
this servant to receive the word, for unless he had received it, 
forgiveness had profited nothing, nay there had been no forgive 
ness at all. 

It is not therefore enough, that God suffereth remission of 
sins, and a golden year full of grace to be preached unto us, but 
it is necessary that we receive and believe it in heart ; if 
thou believe, thou art free from sins : this is the first part of a 
Christian life, which both this place and divers others in the 
gospel do teach us, which consisteth properly in faith, which 
alone hath to do before God ; whereby also is showed that the 
gospel cannot be received but of a troubled and miserable con 
science. Hereupon now may be inferred that they are plain delu 
sions, whatsoever things are any otherwise taught concerning 
our works and free-will, viz., that they put away sins, and obtain 
grace; for the divine majesty alone, beholding our misery, hath 
pity upon us ; for the text showeth manifestly, that God 
pardoneth and forgiveth them that have nothing, and concludeth 
that we have nothing left wherewith we may pay God : howso 
ever therefore thou hast free-will in temporal matters, yet thou 
nearest here that it is nothing before God ; wherefore if thou 
desirest to be delivered from thy sins, thou must cease to trust 
in any of thy works, must plainly despair concerning them, fly 
unto Christ, pray unto God for grace, and finally receive the 
gospel by faith. Now folio weth the other part, wherein the 
fellow- servant also is dealt with : this servant now hath enough, 
he saveth his body, goods, wife, children, &c. and hath his lord 
favourable unto him, wherefore he should be surely very foolish 
if he should now depart, and do what he is able for the recon 
ciliation of his lord, for his lord might worthily say that he is 
mocked of him. He hath need therefore of no work, but that 


he receive such grace and favour as is offered him, so may be 
of good cheer, giving thanks to his lord, and dealing so with 
others as his lord hath dealt with him. After the same sort it 
is with us ; for when we believe, we have God favourable and 
merciful unto us, neither do we need any thing more, but now 
it were time that we should forthwith die ; notwithstanding if 
we must as yet live still in the earth, our life ought to be ordered 
so, that \vc seek not to obtain the favour of God by works. 
For he that doth this doth mock and dishonour (iod, as it hath 
been hitherto taught, that God is to be solicited by good works, 
prayers, fastings, and such like, until we obtain his grace and 

We have obtained grace not by our works, but by mercy; now 
if them must live, thou must have what to do, and wherewith to 
occuny thyself, and it is meet that all this be referred to thy 
neighbour. The servant went out, as Christ saith, and found 
his fellow-servant, whom he taketh by the throat and dealeth 
rigorously with him, and will be wholly paid of him, showing 
him no mercy or favour at all : I have said elsewhere, that 
Christians must burst forth by works, and by their deeds before 
men witness that they have a sincere faith. God ncedcth no 
works, but faith sufficcth him, howbcit he therefore rcquireth 
them to be done of thec, that by them thou mayest show thy 
faith, both before thyself and also before the whole world, for 
he knoweth thy faith very well, but thou thyself and men do not 
yet thoroughly see it. Thou therefore must direct such works 
so, that they may profit thy neighbour. Now whereas this 
servant should thus have done, what doth he ? even the same 
that we do, who seem unto ourselves to believe, and partly have 
faith and are glad that we have heard the gospel, whereof we 
can dispute and talk many things, but no man goeth about to 
express it in his life. We have brought the matter so far, that 
the doctrine and trifles of Satan are somewhat abated and laid 
aside, that we do now see and know what is just and what 
unjust : that we must have to do with God only by faith, and by 
works with our neighbour. But we cannot bring it to this pass, 
that love may begin, and do that to another which God hath 
done unto us, as we ourselves complain, that many of us arc 
become worse than they were before. As therefore this servant 
refused to remit his neighbour the debt, and dealt extremely 
with him ; so also we, saying, it is not meet that I should give 
that that is mine to another, neglecting mine own right. If this 


man hath provoked me to anger, it is his duty to pacify me, and 
to labour by entreaty to put away mine anger. 

Truly thus the world teacheth and doth, for it affirm eth it to 
be just and right. Neither will any prince or magistrate enforce 
thee to give that which is thine unto another, but will suffer thee 
to do what pleaseth thee with thine own goods. The magistrate 
indeed restraineth thee from doing what thou list with the goods 
of another, but he constraineth thee not to give thine own sub 
stance to another, for that is against the law of nations, which 
even reason pronouncing it, giveth to every one that which is 
his own; wherefore he doth not unequally or unjustly which 
useth his own things at his will, and taketh not away wrongfully 
the goods of another. But what doth the gospel say ? if God 
also had held his own right, and said, I do well in that I punish 
offenders, and take that which is my own, who shall let me ? 
What I pray you should become of us all ? We should be thrust 
down to Satan. Wherefore he has left his right toward thee,, 
he will have thee do the same toward others, and therefore thou 
abrogating thine own right think thus with thyself : If God hath 
forgiven me ten thousand talents, why should not I forgive my 
neighbour an hundred pence ? God might have exacted his own 
right, nevertheless he doth not so, but becometh a favourable 
Lord unto thee, taketh pity upon thee, and forgiveth thee : why 
therefore shouldest not thou do likewise to thy neighbour ? 
Wherefore if thou wilt have to do in his kingdom, thou must do 
as he doth, but if thou hadst rather remain in the kingdom of 
the world, thou shalfc never enter into his kingdom. Hereunto 
pertaineth that sentence, which Christ in the last day shall pro 
nounce upon the unbelievers : " I \vas an hungered, and ye gave 
me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink," Matt. 
xxv. 42. But if thou contend here, ami say. that God will not 
have respect unto works, neither will save any because of them, 
I say he will have them done frankly and freely, not that we 
may merit any thing thereby, but that we may do them to the 
profit of our neighbours, and witness our sincere faith by them; 
for what hast thou that thou mayest give him, and whereby 
thou mayest deserve that he should pardon whatsoever thou 
hast committed against him ? or what doth he get thereby ? 
Nothing truly, but that thou givest unto him praise and thanks. 
And this is the other part of a Christian life, the name whereof 
is Love. 

They therefore that show not their faith by the works of love 


are such servants, as will have themselves forgiven, whenas they 
notwithstanding do not forgive their neighbour, neither yield of 
their own right, with whom it shall likewise full out as it did with 
this servant. For when the other servants (that is, the ministers 
and preachers of the gospel) shall see it, that God hath forgiven 
them all, and yet they will not forgive any, they are troubled, 
that they are compelled to see such things, and it grieveth them 
very sore, that men do so indiscreetly apply themselves to the 
gospel, and not rightly receive it. What do they then ? they 
can do no other but come to their Lord, and complain unto him 
of such things, and say, Lord, thus it is : thou forgavcst them 
both the fault and the punishment, yea, pardonedst them all 
things, and yet we cannot bring them so far, as to deal so with 
others as thou hast dealt with them. This is the complaint : 
the Lord therefore will cause them to come 1 before him in the 
last judgment, and will lay those things against them, saying, 
when thou wast aiHicted with hunger, thirst, mi.-ery, &c., I did 
help thee ; when thou didst lie drowned in sins, I having mercy 
upon thee, did forgive thee. ilast thou done the same to thy 
neighbour? I hen lie shall pronounce this sentence on him : Thou 
wicked one, I was touched with mercy toward thee, yea, 1 yielded 
of mine own right, but thou wouldest not take pity on others, 
nor forgive them their oilence, wherefore thou shalt now pay the 
debt. Jlcre is no grace and mercy, but most grievous wrath 
and eternal condemnation, then no prayers help, wherefore he 
is compelled to hold his peace, and is thrown headlong into pain, 
until he pay the uttermost farthing. This is that which Peter 
hath spoken of them, 12 Pet. ii. 21, which after they have heard 
the gospel, notwithstanding go back, it had been better for them 
if they had never acknowledged the way of righteousness, than 
after they have acknowledged it, to turn from the holy com 
mandment given unto them. Why had it been better? because 
while they go back, it becometh worse with them than it was 
before they heard the gospel, as Christ saith of the unclean 
spirit, Matt. xii. which taketh unto himself seven other spirits 
worse than himself, with which he cometh, and dwclleth in that 
man, out of whom he before had gone, and so the end of that 
man is worse than the beginning. 

After the same manner cometh it to pass with us, and shall 
hereafter also be usual : so also hath it fallen out with Rome. 
In the time of the martyrs she was in her best flower, but after 
ward she fell, and abomination was there erected^ that Antichrist 


might reign there, yea, she became such a one, that worse she 
cannot be. The grace of God, which is revealed and preached 
by the gospel, was hidden, that men might not attain unto it : 
wherefore it could not be but a great and grievous scourge and 
plague should follow. So we shall also have that great vengeance 
to come upon us, for that we do not believe nor obey the gospel, 
which we have and know. For as often as God would send an 
horrible scourge and plague, he hath first set up a great light; 
as when he would send the Jews out of their own country into 
captivity in Babylon, he first raised up the godly king Josiah, 
who should again restore the law. that the people might amend 
their life, but when they did again revolt, God punished them 
according to their desert. So when he minded to destroy the 
Egyptians, he made a light to be set up, and preached unto them 
by Moses and Aaron. Moreover when he would drown all the 
world by the flood, he sent the Patriarch Noah ; but when men 
did not mend, but became worse and worse, such a sore and 
grievous plague did follow. Likewise the five cities, Sodom and 
Gomorrah, together with the rest, were destroyed, for that they 
would not hear Lot, who feared God : wherefore a sharp ven 
geance shall light upon them also, which hear the gospel, but 
do not receive it ; even as the servant here in the gospel is 
delivered to the tormentors till he should pay all the debt ; 
which is as much in effect as that he is compelled to suffer 
punishment for his fault, and is never saved ; for unto sin is 
required death, and when he dieth, he dieth always, neither is 
there any help or deliverance remaining ; wherefore let us 
receive these things for our own admonition : as for them that 
will not hear, being hardened and indurate, let them beware of 
the evil that hangeth over them. 

This is a very comfortable text, and sweet to troubled con 
sciences, inasmuch as it containeth in it mere forgiveness of sins. 
Again, it setteth forth terrible judgment to the unmerciful and 
hard-hearted, especially seeing that this servant is not an heathen, 
but had heard the gospel, in that he had faith ; inasmuch as the 
Lord took pity on him, and forgave him his offences, without 
doubt he was a Christian : wherefore this is not the punishment 
of Gentiles, nor of the common sort that hear not the gospel, 
but of them that with their ears hear the gospel, and with their 
tongue talk of it, but will not express it in their life : we have 
here the sum of this text. Whereas the schoolmen dispute here, 
whether sin. cometh again^ which was before remitted; I let it 


pass, for they are ignorant what remission of sins is ; they think 
it is a thing that cleaveth to the heart, and licth quietly, whenas 
notwithstanding it is plainly the kingdom of Christ, which en- 
dureth for ever without ceasing ; for as the sun nevertheless 
shineth, although I shut mine eyes, so this mercy-seat or for 
giveness of sin standeth always, although 1 fall. And as I again 
behold the sun when 1 open mine eyes, so I again have forgive 
ness of sins, if I rise again, and return unto Christ ; wherefore, 
let no man bring forgiveness into such a strait as these madmen 
dream of. 



Matt. ix. 18 26. Wlrilv tic snake tJiese things unto thcin^ hc- 
hohl, there mine a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, 

Mij daughter /.v even note dead ; but come and lay tin/ hand 
upon her, and she shall live, i*$r. 

DEARLY beloved, ye know that the gospel is nothing else but a 
treasure of the only person, whose name is Christ. And although 
there be extant many books and sundry treatises concerning 
divers men, as well of the (i entiles as Christians, yea, and of 
the mother of God, St. Peter, the angels, and of many other 
saints beside, yet be they not gospels, but that only is the sincere 
gospel, which setteth forth Christ unto us, and what good we 
must hope for from him ; sometime in the gospel there is men 
tion made of St. John the Baptist, Mary, and the apostles, how- 
beit this is not properly the gospel, but therefore it is written 
of them, that it might be more perfectly declared from whence 
Christ should come, and what is his office : so Luke describeth 
the history of John the Baptist, even from the beginning, what 
was done both in his conception and in his nativity, he writeth 
also of the Virgin Mary ; all which things were committed to 
writing, not because of their persons, but because of Christ s 
person only. In the epistle of Paul, there is nothing committed 
to memory of the saints^ but all things sound plainly of Christ ; 


for God hath so ordained, that all must depend on that one man 
Christ, must hope in him, must repose their trust in him, if they 
desire to be saved, for he alone is set forth of God to be a recon 
ciliation for us, as Paul saith, Rom. iii. Hitherto one hath 
cleaved to this saint, another to that ; one chose to himself St. 
Mary, another St. Barbary ; and divers sects and sorts of religion 
did flourish ; but Christ was in no price, for his name only 
remained : we had many intercessors, all which being neglected, 
we ought to have cleaved only to Christ. Hereupon Paul saith 
that the gospel was promised of God by the prophets concerning 
his Son : he reduceth and bringeth it into such a strait, that in 
the gospel nothing is of any importance which concerneth not 
Jesus Christ : he that knoweth this, let him give thanks to God 
that he knoweth where he may seek for consolation and help, 
and in whom he may repose his trust. 

Christ, in this day s gospel, is set forth unto us that he is con 
versant in the midst of the people, and draweth all the world 
unto himself with gentleness and sweet doctrine, that they may 
cleave unto him in their heart, that they may commit themselves 
to his goodness, and hope that they shall obtain of him both 
spiritual and temporal good things. Neither doth he receive 
anything of them upon whom he bcstoweth benefits ; nay, he 
obtaineth nothing of them but ignominy and scorning, as is de 
clared in this text. A benefit proceedeth from him, for which 
he receiveth a mock and reproach. Now the gospel is preached 
and offered to the whole world, that we may learn to know this 
man well, and how we must be made Christians, and not how 
we must be made good ; other treatises, beside the gospel, teach 
those things whereby men may be made good, as the writings 
of the philosophers and the rulers of the civil law; the lives also 
of the saints have especial respect unto this, that men may 
imitate them; it belongeth not to the gospel to make good men, 
but to make Christian men ; for it is far more excellent to be a 
Christian, than an honest and good man. A Christian can say 
nothing of his own goodness or righteousness, for he findeth in 
himself nothing either good or righteous, but he must fly to the 
righteousness which is in another, and which cometh unto him 
from another. Hereupon Christ is set forth unto us as a conti 
nual fountain, which always overflowed! with mere goodness and 
grace, for which he receiveth nothing of us, but that the godly 
do acknowledge so great goodness and grace, do give him 
thanks for the same, do praise and love him ; others in the mean- 


time mocking him, such reward he rcceiveth of them: Where 
fore one is not therefore called a Christian, for that he worketh 
much, for there is another thing, which is cause thereof, namely, 
that he receiveth and draweth from Christ ; if one rcceiveth no 
thing from Christ, lie is no more a Christian, so that the name 
of a Christian cometh only by receiving, mid not by giving or 
doing; if thou think that, because of thy works and deeds, thou 
art a Christian, thou hast even then lost the name of Christ. 
Good works, indeed, are to be done, counsel thereunto is to be 
given and received, but no man is therefore called a Christian, 
neither is any therefore a Christian; wherefore if any will more 
inwardly weigh this name, in this respect only a Christian is to 
be acknowledged, inasmuch as IK- receiveth of Christ alone, even 
as one is called white of the whiteness that is in him, black of 
the blackness, great of his stature ; so a Christian is called of 
Christ, whom he hath in himself, and of whom he receiveth that 
which is good. 

Now if one be named a Christian of Christ, lie taketh not 
that name of his own works ; whereupon it plainly also follov.-elh 
that no man is made a Christian by works ; which, if it be true, 
as it is true and certain, it shall follow that orders and sects do 
nothing pertain to the name of Christ, neither do make a Chris 
tian ; wherefore they which preach or teach in the church, and 
ordain precepts, works, and decrees, are deceivers, who although 
they pretend a Christian name, yet profit they nothing, for under 
the colour of that name 1 , they endeavour to burthen and oppress 
vis with commandments and works: of works, giving thyself to 
facing and prayers, thou inayest be called abstemious and tem 
perate, but by no means a Christian; for although thou didst lay 
all thy works together, yea, and joincdst the works of all others 
to thine, yet neither so hast thou Christ, neither art thou there 
fore called a Christian : Christ is a more excellent thing, than 
either the law or man s tradition ; he is the Son of God, who is 
ready to give only, not to receive; when 1 am such a one that I 
do receive of him, I have him also, whom if I have, I am by good 
right called a Christian ; moreover, the gospel preacheth Christ 
also to be the greatest and most highly exalted person in the 
world ; not that lie doth terrify men, but that he poureth forth 
all earthly and heavenly good things, so that all men must trust 
in him, must have their hope reposed in him, and always receive 
only of him. If any sin terrify me in my conscience, and the 
preachers of the law endeavour to help me with their works, they 


shall prevail nothing with me ; for then Christ alone can help, 
and none beside him, yea, others make the case worse, whether 
it be Peter or Paul, or the blessed Virgin Mary herself, the mo 
ther of God ; for Christ only performeth all things, who in his 
word declareth that, if I believe, my sin is forgiven me freely, 
without either work or merit, by pure grace through faith, in 
Christ. Which word when I shall receive, I receive also com 
fort, that my sins are forgiven me as well before God as before 
men, and I therefore give thanks to God through Christ, which 
giveth the Holy Ghost and his grace unto me, that sin may not 
hurt me, neither here nor in the last judgment. If I fear death, 
and would not die willingly, in this Christ I shall find comfort 
and remedy, that I shall not greatly fear death : if because of 
the wrath of God I am afraid, he is my Mediator; and, to be 
brief, he that hath not this Christ, the wrath of God always 
remaineth over him, and in that state he standeth ; wherefore he 
that desireth to have a glad conscience, which is not afraid of 
sin, death, hell, and the wrath of God, must take heed that he 
repose his trust in this Mediator Christ, for he is a fountain 
abounding with grace, which giveth both temporal and eternal 
life ; endeavour thou to think and feel him even in thy heart to 
be such a one, then shalt thou obtain all things, for he aboundeth 
and overfloweth; neither can he but give, flow, and abound, if 
that thou canst believe ; then also shalt thou be a right Chris 
tian, howbeit by receiving only of Christ, and not by giving ; it 
is a very rich and precious word, which Paul praiseth so greatly, 
neither can he ever praise it sufficiently, whereby God so gently 
offereth his Son, that he may pour forth his grace upon all which 
do not refuse to receive it. 

Hereupon it moreover followeth ; if so be that a Christian 
doth good works, whereby he showeth love to his neighbour, he 
is not therefore made a Christian or righteous, but he must needs 
be a Christian and righteous before ; he doth good works indeed, 
but they do not make him a Christian ; the tree bringeth forth 
and giveth fruit, and not the fruit the tree ; so none is made a 
Christian by works, but by Christ. 

Hereof now ye may understand what kind of people Christians 
are, namely, that they are a company which cleave unto Christ, 
and are of one spirit and gift with him. Hereupon it is that 
all Christians are alike, neither hath one more of Christ than 
another ; St. Peter is not better than the thief on the cross ; 
Mary the mother of God doth not excel Mary Magdalene the 


sinful woman : there is indeed u difference in outward things and 
doings, so the work of the holy Virgin Mary was greater than 
the work of Mary Magdalene ; Peter had a greater work than 
the thief, if thou consider the works, but we are not therefore 
Christians ; the holy Virgin Mary is not a Christian, because of 
her great work, for that she did bear Christ, so unspeakable a 
treasure in her womb, as Christ himself suith to the woman, 
which cried unto him from among the people, Luke xi. 2J> 
" Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou 
hast sucked : But he said, Yea, rather blessed are they that 
hear the word of God and keep it." Jn which place thou secst, 
that he preferreth the fai