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instruct his childern in the same, that they maye come to the true knowledge of Christ.
Thys generall begynnynge muste go byfore euerye sermon of the Crede.
THE FYRST SERMON OF THE CREATION.
TO thentent good children that you maye the better vnderstande the true Christian faythe and doctrine, you
muste fyrste of all learne and knowe that God is a spiJohn iiii. rituall or gostly substaunce, as Christ sayth John the. iiii.
God is not a bodily thing whiche maye be sene and felte. He is presente in euery place, he seeth and beholdeth all thinges, whiche we do, speake, or thynke, and yet he is not measured with any ende, tyme or place. And forasmuche as mannes witte coulde not serche or fynde out the knowledge of thys highe misterie of the substaunce of God, Christ himselfe the Sonne of God dyd open to vs that beleue in hym what God is. That is to say, that there is God the Father, God the Sonne, and God the Holy Goste, three persones, and yet one true and euerlastyng God. And it is your bounden dutie (good children) diligently to learne thys lesson. And although these thinges passe all mennes capacities, and is a doctrine harde for you to learne, yet in tyme to come you
shal heare more of this matier. In the meane season beare awaye (I praye you) thys one lesson, that there is one true and euerlastyng God, and yet three persones, the Father, the Sonne and the Holy Gost. And thys we call the Trinitie, because these thre, the Father, the Son and the Holy Goost are one godly substaunce. And it is a great shame for you that be Christen children, not to learne this lesson. For all you were baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Sonne and of the Holy Goost, and therby you were made Christen and the children of God, and obteined remission of your synnes. Wherfore it is your dutie to learne and knowe, in whose name you ar baptised, that so you maye truly know God and your Father which you haue in heauen. And this doth playnly and shortly teache vnto you the Crede. For in the Crede wherin we saye thus: I beleue in God the Father Almightye. And I beleue in Jesus Christ his onely Sonne, and last of all we saye. I beleue in the Holy Gost, these thre sentences be asmuche to saye, as I beleue in God, whyche is the Father, the Sonne, and the Holy Gost. Infidels and vngodly people do not knowe this, nor can vnderstande the same. But Christen men haue this mysterye so openly declared vnto them, in the worde of God, that babes and yong children may heare and learne this lesson, almost as sone as they be able to crepe out of theyr cradell. Wherfore we are bounde hartly to thanke God, which hath opened vnto vs so great wisedome and mysteries.
Hereby you perceaue (good childerne) that in this shorte treatice called the Crede (as I said before) we be taught what God is, that is to saye, God the Father, God the Sonne and God the Holy Gost. Also herby we learne what great benefytes God hath gyuen vnto vs, and howe tendrely he loueth and fauoreth vs lyke a moost gentle and mercifull Father. In the whiche knowlege, consisteth our felicitie, and blessednes. For yf we
did only knowe, what God were, and dyd know nothing of his wil towarde vs, whether he were our frende or foo, fauourable or angrie, pleased or displeased with vs, then oure conscience beyng other waueryng and doutful, shoulde be destitute and voide of comforte. Wherfore lysten to me dilygently good childerne, that you maye knowe what benefites those be which God hath
gyuen among you, what loue he beareth towarde you, and what is the hope of euerlastynge lyfe to the which we be called. The benefites of God towarde vs be infynite and innumerable, yet neuertheles as God himself is thre persons, the Father, the Sonne and the Holy Gost, so there be thre speciall workes whereby he hath declared his singular loue towarde vs. The first is, that God the Father hath creat and made vs of nothing, and gyuen to vs bodye and soule, and all thinges necessarie to the maintenaunce of our lyues, and hath made vs lordes ouer al erthly creatures. The seconde is, that whan we were all borne in synne, God the Sonne dyd redeme vs from our synnes and wicked lyfe. The thirde is, that the Holy Goost doth renewe our hartes, sanctifye vs, and make vs the temples of God. And in these thre benefytes, gyuen vnto vs by the thre parsons of the most blessed Trinitie, consisteth the matier and effecte of the hole Crede. For this is the briefe summe of the Crede, to saye. I beleue in God the Father, whiche did creat and make me. I beleue in God the Sonne, whiche did redeme me. And I beleue in the Holy Gost, whiche hath sanctifyed and halowed me. For the whiche consyderations we entende to deuyde this our exposition made vpon the Crede, into thre partes, of the which the first shalbe of the Creacion, the second of the Redemption, and the third of Sanctification. And first we will entreat of the Creation, which is expressed in these wordes. I beleue in God the Father Almightie, maker of heauen and earth. Where note good children, that this worde (I beleue) signifieth asmuche in this place, as I trust. So that this sentence I beleue in God the Father, is asmuche to saye, as I trust in God the Father, and loke assuredly to receaue all good thinges at his hande. Wherefore this is the meanyng of the forsaid artycle that we ought to put oure trust in no creature, but in the true and liuyng God only. For no creature can do vs any good or harme without the wil of hym. We oure selues made not oure selues (as it is writen in the Psalme) nor we can nether saue our selfes, nether delyuer vs from any perrell. Therfore we ought to put our trust in God only, sticke fast to him, hang vpon hym, and to loke for al good thinges at his hande. They therefore that trust in men, in their fauor or frendship, they that trust in their awne learnyng, wysedome, riches, power, frendes, or ani suche thing, they do not trulye beleue in God, truly and holly trust in him, nor loke for all good thinges from him, but rather dyspise him, and worship for their God and make an ydole of that thyng, wherin they put theyr trust, and so greuously offende God. Wherfore it must nedes be, that at the length they must be brought to confusion and ruine that they may lerne by their awne fall and decay, that those wer but vayne thinges, wherin they put their trust and confidence, and that onely God is the sure rocke and stay, vpon whom whosoeuer leaneth, shall not be deceaued nor confounded. For it is the Lord God, which dayly poureth vpon vs infinite benefites, which, giueth vs al thinges that we haue nede of, and defendeth vs from all thinges that may hurt vs ether in bodi or in soule. And this is the fatherly loue which he bereth toward vs, to do all goodnes towarde vs without oure merites or deseruynges. Wherefore we ought to trust in him, yelde our selues holly into his protection to loke for all good thynges at his handes, and with a mery harte and constant fayth to cleaue to his goodnes in all thynges. And this is the highest and chiefest sacrifice wher with
God is pleased and worshipped. And whosoeuer beleueth in him after this sorte, those he taketh for his welbelouyd children and in all thynges he declareth to them, that he is their louyng Father. Wherefore (good childerne) let vs not put our trust in any creature, or in any worldly thing, but at al tymes let vs fasten our sure trust in our Lorde God. So we shal be made his children, and enioy lyfe euerlastynge.
Nowe considre good children what a God he is, in whome we beleue, and in whom we put oure trust. He is God the Father, the almyghtie maker of heauen and earth. And these woordes good children ought not slyghtly to be passed ouer, for they be of greate weight and importaunce. Wherfore I pray you as it were in balance to wey them diligently and learne to vnderstande theym. For these wordes conteine not in them worldly philosophie or mannes sapience, but heauenlye and godly wisedome. Wherfore I praye you gyue good eare whiles I do declare them to you.
First this article teacheth vs that God is almightie, that is to saye, that he hath power to worke and do al thinges what soeuer pleaseth him, and no creature in heauen or earth is able to let or withstande him, and that no thinge is vnpossible vnto him. And this is the foundacion and begynnynge of Christian knowledge and faith, to beleue that God is almightye. The which many men do not beleue, and yet neuertheles they wyl be counted Christen men, or rather great clarkes. In this number be they, that do not beleue the bodye of Christ truely to be gyuen in the Lordes supper, to theim that receaue the sacramente, althoughe Christe hymselfe sayeth playnely. Take, eate, this is my bodye. And why do they not beleue this? verely because they dyd neuer trulye beleue thys article, that God is almyghtie, but they thynke that God is not able to work or do that thing, which they can not compasse with their awne wit, and reason.