« PoprzedniaDalej »
monly use, Is not my money mine own? May I not spend it as me lust? who shall correct me? what would ye have me to do? Shall I build castles and towers with it? I have more than I can get spent: the next rent day is at hand. Shall I be a lout, and sit in a corner ? Nay, it becometh a gentleman to make merry and ruffle it. Shall I not make good cheer, that other may fare the better? Let me make merry when I am young: I will wax sad, wise,
and thrive, when I am old.' But thou which thinkest thus, Luke xvi. remember the evil steward, which when he was called to
account, and could not discharge his reckoning, gave away his master's goods that he might maintain his idleness. But he was put out of office, as all they shall be cast from God's face, which likewise unprofitably spend that portion which God hath given them. Thinkest thou that God will allow this account, if thou say, “Thus much is spent upon whores, this at cards, this at dice, this on masking, this on mumming, this at bear-baiting, &c.?' Nay, nor yet on massing, gilding of saints, painting of stocks and stones, setting up roods, buying of popish pardons, giving money to this cloister of monks, and that house of friars, with such like. Who would spend one penny so evil, if he thought that it should bear witness against him and condemn him at the last day! It is for lack of faith, that such unthrifts do misspend God's, their Master's money ; because they think it is their own, and not the Lord's, as the prophet saith here.
Thirdly, If this were believed as it ought to be, it would make us neither to grudge against God, that gives plenty many times to the evil men, and the honester sort lives more barely; nor we should not disdain to see one preferred before ourselves, in more wealth or authority. We should also content ourselves with that portion which God hath given us, not murmuring nor sorrowing that we have less than other. This thing hath often grieved Job, David, Jeremy, Abacuk, and other holy men, that they did see evil men in wealth, and good men in trouble; and they could never satisfy themselves in this, what should be the cause of it, until they entered into the sanctuary of the Lord, and there they spied that the riches of the earth is the Lord's, to dispose at his holy will and pleasure. And because it
Psal. lxxiii. Abacuk, and
pleases God to bestow so much or so little upon this man or that man ; it is just, and I should content myself therewith, knowing that whatsoever he doeth, it is good because he doeth it, and no man must grudge or disdain thereat. The will of God is the rule of all justice and righteousness : as because God will have it so, therefore it is good, just, and righteous. God's will is the first and chief cause of all things : so that, when we see that God will have it so, we To refer all must not ask, why he will have it so; but be content there- wisdom
stays the with, sit down and quiet ourselves, praising his goodness, and mind in all marvelling at his wisdom, that rules all things so well and wisely. And with that little portion that it hath pleased him to give us, we shall content ourselves, when we consider that he owes nothing to any man, but that which he gives, he gives it freely and liberally, and so much as he knows better than thou thyself what is meet for thee to have.
Thou which hast little, think thus with thyself: “My good God and Father, who hath ruled and doth rule all things at his own will and pleasure ; whose wisdom I am not able to perceive, aud whose unspeakable love towards me in giving his only Son to die for me I cannot understand; he that loves me better than I love myself; he, I say, knoweth that if I had more riches and wealth, I should be too wanton and so displease him; and if I had too little, I should deal untruly and blaspheme him. Therefore praised be his wisdom, which doth not overload me with more than he will give me grace to discharge; nor lets me want necessaries, that I fall not to any falsehood or untruth. How can I love him enough, that gives me all necessaries, and doth not charge me with superfluities? The evil men which have such plenty of all things, he would win them with gentleness, and by gentleness draw them unto him: but in thee that hast less, he will let all the world know that thou lovest him not for any great wealth which he giveth thee, (as evil flatterers many time do,) but even as duty, and that thou wilt bear the cross of poverty willingly, rather than forsake him.
What a misbelief is it, to think that God doth not give and dispose his goods so well and wisely, but that many can devise it better! And if we had once this faith rooted in our hearts, that he doth all for the best; it would make us
say, howsoever we ourselves or other have much or little, 1 Sam. iii. “It is the Lord that doeth it; let him do that seemeth good
in his sight.” And if we lose it by fire or robbery, we shall Job i, be content to say with Job, “ The Lord gave it, and the
Lord took it away; and as it pleases the Lord, so it is done: the name of the Lord be praised.” What a pride is this in man, to think that he could deal his goods better than God hath done; or that it were better for such men and such to have more or less than they have: as though we were wiser than God, and if things lay in our hands, we could do them better than he can or doth! Our Saviour Christ calls it lack of faith, when we mistrust the power of him that he cannot, or the goodness of God that he will not, provide necessaries for us, chiefly if we seek the kingdom of God and the righteousness thereof, and saith, “ Mark the birds of the air, how they neither sow nor mow, nor gather into the barn, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them: how much more will he do you, ye of little faith!”
There is nothing can grieve that faithful heart so, which constantly believes that gold and silver is the Lord's, but it would undoubtedly look and hope for all necessaries by God's
provision to be given him; and if ordinary means did fail, 1 Kings xvii. that the ravens should feed him, as they did Elias; the Exod. xvii. stones should flow out water, as in the wilderness ; or water John ii. should be turned into wine, as in Cana of Galilee; or that
little which they have should so increase, that it should be 1 Kings xvii. sufficient until plenty came, as the handful of meal of the
poor widow's; or else one slender dinner should strengthen The faithful them so, until they came where they might have more suffinecessaries. ciently, as Elias walked in the strength of one therfe cake
forty days, eating nothing else. For it is as easy for God
to provide for his people by some one of these ways or other 2 Kings vii. like, as by any other ordinary means; as in the besieging
of Samaria, where they eat their own children and dung, and the next day such plenty, a bushel for a groat. But
this is ever most sure, that those which be of God cannot Rom. viii. lack. For, as St Paul reasons: “He that hath not spared
his own Son, but hath given him for us all; how can it be, but with him he hath given us all things ;” and for his sake he will deny us nothing meet for us? How can he deny
us a piece of bread, meat, or a coat, that hath given his only Son Christ Jesus to die for us? Can a worldly earthly father, if he see his child want, weep, and ask him meat, deny him ? will he not rather spare it from his own belly, than see him weep or want? And shall we think that God hath less pity and love toward us, than one of us hath towards another? Which things all considered, they and all we, which have God's house to build, should not discourage ourselves for poverty or lack of ability: for the Lord of hosts saith, all gold and silver is his; and he will give sufficient to his own building.
And although many of them thought that this later house would be nothing so pleasant, gorgeous and costly as the first; and therefore they wept when the ground work was laid, as was said before; yet to comfort them with, that they should with better courage and stomach go about it, he promises them, that “the glory of this later house” shall be more than the first, and they shall not only have enough to build withal, but it shall be a more gorgeous house in the sight of God than the first was.
The first temple had in it the golden candlestick, the golden censer, the golden altar, the cherubins, the golden ark of the Lord, wherein was the tables of Moses, the rod of Aaron, and the pot of manna, the golden table: it had also Urim and Thummin, with divers other relics, which all What things or many of them were destroyed by Nabuchodonozor and temple to others which spoiled the temple : so that, although other jew- best. els and ornaments were restored by the good king Cyrus, yet we do not read, and the Rabbins also think, that these were not in the second temple ; and of Urim and Thummin Esdras seems to speak plain that they were not there, Ezra ii. What should make then this house more glorious than the first, seeing it wanted these outward glorious and pleasant things to the eye, and in such ornaments was nothing to be compared with the first ? Surely nothing but this, that we spake of before, that our Saviour Christ presented himself therein, preached his Father's will and the glad tidings of the gospel, rebuked the traditions and ceremonies of the scribes and Pharisees, healed all diseases. Therefore may we gather here this necessary argument upon these words of
the prophet; that the church is more pleasant in the sight of God, where the gospel is preached, God's majesty and his mercy declared, than where all the ceremonies of Moses or the pope do shine so gloriously to the sight of the world. Let the papists examine well by these words, whether their copes, chalices, vestments, crosses of gold and silver, their singing, ringing, censing, their images, relics, pardons, conjured waters, &c., be more pleasant service to the Lord our God, than where the trumpet of God's word sounds in our ears, to stir us up to the praising of God, and pulling down of our own crooked froward nature and stomachs. There can be nothing found in this second house, but it was all and much more to be had in the first, save the preaching and miracles of Christ and his apostles. For this point only therefore, wherein it did excel the first, it did please God more than the first : therefore must it needs follow, that those companies and churches please God better, where his lively word is preached, and the sacraments without great pomp commonly and purely ministered, than where they go about with dead ceremonies to serve him, though they be never so glorious outwardly.
Let us be ashamed then of these lewd sayings: What should I do at the church? I may not have my beads: the church is like a waste barn : there is no images nor saints, to worship and make curtsey unto: little god in the box is gone': there is nothing but a little reading and preaching, that I cannot tell what it means: I had as lief keep me at home.' This is a woeful saying, that because we may not worship God as we lust ourselves, we will not worship him at all. This is idolatry, to leave that kind of worship which he hath appointed us in his word, and devise a new sort of our own, which God shall either be content withal, or else be without. The heathen people would say, when they see the people so foolish to think that God would be worshipped with gold and silver, Dicite, pontifices, in templo quid facit aurum ??—which is to say, “Tell us, 0 ye bishops, what good doth gold in the temple ? Ambrose saith: “The sacraments look not for gold; and those things which are not bought with gold,
[Sce above, p. 129. En.]