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¶ An2 Homily concerning the Justice of God, in punishing of impenitent sinners, and of his mercies towards all such as in their afflictions unfeignedly turn unto him. Appointed to be read in the time of sickness.
The most righteous God, and the same our most merciful Father, abhorring all wickedness and impiety, and delighting in all righteousness and innocency, and willing that we his people and children should herein be conformed, and become like to our God and heavenly Father, that we might be also partakers of his inheritance and everlasting kingdom; in his holy Scriptures, containing the perfect rule of righteousness, and written for our learning and direction towards his said kingdom, both by great threatenings doth continually fear3 us from all impiety and wickedness so displeasant to him, and also by most large and gentle promises, like a loving father, doth provoke and entice us to righteousness and holiness so acceptable unto him; and so leaveth nothing unassayed, no way unproved, whereby he might save us from perpetual destruction, and bring us to life everlasting. To this end, all those threatenings of Gen. 12. d. temporal punishments and plagues, whereof the Scriptures be so full, are pal.7.12. to be referred, that we, for fear of temporal punishments refraining from 119. Esay 26. c. all unrighteousness, might also escape eternal pain and dampnation, Jer. 30. b. whereunto it would finally bring us, if we should not by repentance turn from the same, and return unto our God and most merciful Father, who would not the destruction and death of sinners, but rather that they Tob. 3. d. should convert and be saved.
Job 5. c.
2 Pet. 3. b.
But when he perceiveth that neither gentleness can win us, as his loving children, neither fear and threatenings can amend us, as being most stubborn and rebellious servants; at the last he performeth in deed that, which he hath so oft threatened, and of fatherly sufferance and mercy so long, upon hope of amendment, deferred, his longanimity and patience being now overcome with our stony hardness and obstinate impenitency. After this sort, we shall find by the holy Scriptures and histories Ecclesiastical, that he hath dealt with his people of all ages, namely, the Israelites, whom in sundry other places, but especially in the .26. of Leviticus, and .28. of Deuteronomium, as well by fair promises, as Levit. 26. by menaces, he laboureth to bring to due obedience of his law, which is Deut. 28. perfect righteousness. If (saith he) thou hear the voice of the Lord thy
[This Homily, composed for the occasion by Alexander Nowell, dean of St Paul's (Grindal's Remains, p. 258), was printed as part of the preceding Form. In the Form for the province of York it is divided into two parts, and somewhat varies in other respects: the differences of reading are noted in their proper places.]
[Fear: affright, terrify.]
[The chapters were anciently subdivided by letters.]
An Homily concerning the Just of impenitent sinners, and of his mercemar in their afflictions unfeignedly turn unt be read in the time of sickness.
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The most righteous God, and the sup* B burring all wickedness and impiety, an md innocency, and willing that we à beit be conformed, and become like to ko nu for we might be also partakers of his mentale, an in his holy Scriptures, containing
written for our learning and direction * * 11**p
threatenings both continually
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God, and keep his commandments, all these blessings shall come upon thee: Thou shalt be blessed in the city, and in the field. The seed of thy body, the fruit of thy earth, the increase of thy cattle, shall be Levit. 26. a. blessed. &c. Thou shalt have seasonable weather, fruitful ground,
victory of thy enemies, and after, quiet peace in thy coasts, and I will be thy loving Lord and God, thy aid and defender, and thou shalt be my beloved people. But if thou wilt not hear the voice of the Lord thy God, nor keep his commandments, but despise his laws. &c. all these curses shall come upon thee: Thou shalt be cursed in the city and in the field, thy barn, all thy storehouses shall be cursed, the fruit of thy body, of thy cattle, and of thy ground, shall be cursed, thou shalt be cursed going out and coming in. The Lord shall send thee famine and necessity, he shall strike thee with agues, heats, and colds, with pestilences, and all other evil diseases, yea, and with all the botches and plagues of Egypt. He shall make heaven over thee, as it were, of brass, and the earth which thou treadest on, as it were iron. He shall send thee unseasonable weather. &c. wars, and overthrow thee at thine enemies' hands, and thy carrion shall be a prey to the birds of the air, and the beasts of the earth, and there shall be no man to drive them away: and so forth, many mo most horrible evils and mischiefs, written at large in those two Chapters, where ye may see how lovingly on the one part he promiseth to the obedient, and how terribly on the other part he threateneth the disobedient, and how largely and at length he prosecuteth the matter, specially in the threatenings and menaces, most meet for the Jews, a people ever stiff-necked and rebellious. And in deed the whole writings of the prophets, and universally of all the Scriptures, be nothing else but like callings to true obedience, and to repentance from our transgressions, by like promises and threatenings, yea, and greater also, as by promise of life everlasting to the faithful obedient, and penitent, and contrarily, of everlasting dampnation and death to the stubborn, rebellious, and impenitent sinners. And to prosecute this matter, when the Jews were monished, remonished, prayed, threatened, so oft by so many prophets, and all in vain : did not the Lord at the last bring upon them all those evils which he had threatened, namely, famine, war, and pestilence, as ye may read at large in the books of Judges, Kings, and Chronicles, in the Lamentations of Jeremie, namely, the .2. .4. and .5. Chapters, and in other places of the Prophets and the old Testament, containing the descriptions of extreme famines, horrible wars and captivities, and dreadful plagues, whereby God punished and afflicted his people for their sins and rebellion against him most sharply? Yea, and
Jer. 20 . f. when all this could not amend them, but that they waxed worse under
and 5. a.
Esay 5. c.
the rod and correction: did he not at the last, which is most horrible, utterly destroy them with famine, war, and pestilence, and carried the rest into captivity, and destroyed utterly their cities and countries, according to the prophecy of Esay, and as our Saviour Christ likewise in the Gospel foresheweth of the miserable destruction and ruin of their cities and temple, so horrible, that one stone should not be left upon another? In like manner, the same immutable God proceeded aforetime
with the Christians of Asia, Affricke, and Grece; he sent them like Prophets, learned doctors, and holy saints, saint Clement, Ignatius, Tertullian, Cyprian, Origine, Gregorius, Basil, Chrysostome, Augustine, and many mo, who out of holy Scriptures likewise warned and warned them again, to turn from their sins, and to return to God; unto whom after, when they would not be warned with words, he sent them the swords of the Goths, Hunnes, Vandales, Saracens, and Turks, he sent Goths. them likewise famines, and pestilences, and finally, when neither threats nor punishments could amend them by those nations, and especially the Saracens and Turks, he hath either utterly destroyed them, or else made them most miserable captives of the miscreants' Turks, under them to be in all unspeakable slavery and misery: and that which is most horrible of all, where their forefathers worshipped Christ the Saviour of the world, to serve in his stead filthy and dampned Machomet, the deceiver of the world.
Now to come to our times (most dearly beloved in our Saviour Christ) hath not God likewise begun this order of proceeding with us Christians of this age? Hath he not sent amongst us his Prophets and preachers, who out of God's holy word have continually called us to repentance, continually denounced unto us, that he is the same immutable God, of the same justice that he will, and of the same power that he can, persecute the same wickedness and impenitency with like punishments and plagues? In the which also he hath used his wonted clemency, in denouncing evils before he bring them upon us, that by speedy repentance we might avoid and escape them. And hath he not, I pray you, prosecuted the same his proceedings with us also continuing in impenitency, by sending us sundry plagues at sundry times, wars, famines, exiles, horrible fires? And hath he not now at the last, after almost .xx. years' patience and forbearing of us, sent us the pestilence, which of all sicknesses we most fear and abhor, as indeed it is to be feared? Seeing we have so long despised his justice, requiring our innocency, he can not but visit with his justice, punishing our iniquity, and that he doth more justly execute upon us, than he did upon his people of any time before us: for that we, besides the warning of his Scriptures, and preachers of his word, by so many examples of the punishments of all former ages for like vices, have not been amended or moved to any repentance. Wherefore now at the last he hath sent to us, that could never in health by any means be brought to the obedience of him, horrible sickness, and the dreadful fear of death, present at our doors and before our eyes. We, that could never skill of compassion towards the misery of others, are now ourselves by his just judgments fallen into extreme misery. We, that have not visited and comforted the sick, according to God's will, are now fallen into such sickness, that the nearest of our friends refuse to visit us. We, that could never be brought from the love of this world, are now most justly brought in fear suddenly to leave and depart out of this world. We, that loved our
[Miscreants: infidels, unbelievers.]