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and subjects of them both, the way to conquer and compass
tering of justice, punishing sin, and maintaining the truth, delivering the innocent repenter, and condemning obstinates. So the ministers of Christ's kingdom have power spiritual to loose and bind, as they see the scriptures teach them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose sins you forgive, they John xx. are forgiven;” but not whensoever Sir John Lacklatin will | for money lay his hand on his head, whisper Absolutione et remissione, &c. in Latin, that neither he nor the other weak conscience understands, it is not, I say, by and bye forgiven; but unto them it is said, “I will curse your blessings,” and Mali. I will bless your cursings. If the absolution be not given to the penitent heart, oppressed with the burden of sin, and seeking comfort in Christ, it is no more profitable than baptism or the communion is to a hypocrite or unpenitent sinner. Yea rather, it is to the condemnation both of the giver and receiver, if it be ungodly done, because they misuse the good ministery of God. Therefore they that in absolving judge not, according to the commission of God's word committed unto them, be not saviours of the people, but deceivers. And where he says, “the kingdom shall be the Lord's,” he condemns all that teach any doctrine in the church, to set up any other king or kingdom, but the word of God, which be his laws, given to his people, that they may live according thereto, knowing them to be his subjects, and him their king; that so his kingdom may increase and be ruled by his laws, as earthly princes rule by their laws. Therefore the pope, teaching his decrees, setting up himself and his kingdom, as though he were lord of heaven and earth, purgatory and hell, and bringing the people to his obedience, as the chief ruler, is traitor to God and deceives the people. And to St Peter, whose vicar he says he is, he must needs The Pope is be proved most unlike, and a traitor to Christ for drawing golio men from him, and willing them to buy his pardon and forgiveness of sins at his hands, as though he were set to gather up Christ's tolling money; when St Peter teaches, “Ye be 1 Pet. i. not redeemed from your vain and false superstition with gold either with silver, &c.” If we be not redeemed with money, then the pope lies, saying our sins be forgiven, if we buy pardons to forgive sin. St Peter says, money does not for
272 Exposition upon the PRophet Abdias. [v. 17–21.]
give sins, but the blood of Christ Jesus: the pope says, Yes, or at least he will not do it without money. St Peter had his own wife; the pope will none, nor let his clergy, but whores as many ye will. St Peter said, he had neither gold nor silver; the pope will do nothing without gold or silver, as it is said, Quicquid Roma dabit, nugas dabit, accipit aurum: “Whatsoever it be that Rome will give, trifles it will give, but gold it doth receive.” St Peter was subject himself unto Nero, a wicked infidel tyrant, and teaches other to be so in civil matters; but the pope will rule all christian princes by rigour, depose them at his pleasure, and obey none, but his own lusts. Therefore it is plain to see, what is to be thought of his kingdom, and of such men as will rule with rigour over the flock of Christ, and will not feed God's sheep with his word, that the Lord may rule in his own kingdom by his own law and word, and his sheep hear the voice of their own true Shepherd, and flee from strangers, hirelings and wolves. It is not meet that God should be king, and the pope to make laws for him to rule by ; but God rules by his own laws. “Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will thrust out workmen into his harvest,” that they may work truly for the setting up of his kingdom, and pulling down the pope's; and that we may grow to good corn, to be laid up in the Lord's barns, and be not light chaff, blown away with every puff of doctrine; but grounded upon the rock Christ Jesus, may surely stand against all storms; that we be not cast into outward darkness and everlasting fire, but may enjoy that unspeakable joy that he has prepared for them that love him and look for him. Amen.
Most righteous Judge, God of all mercy and comfort, which by thy secret judgment and wisdom suffers the wicked to triumph and increase for a time, for trial of the faith of thy well beloved little flock, and the mortifying of their lusts, but at length to the utter confusion of the enemies, and joyful deliverance of thy people: look down, we beseech thee, on thy dispersed sheep out of thy holy habitation in heaven, and strengthen our weakness against their furious rages; abate their pride, assuage their malice, confound their devices, wherewith they lift up themselves against Christ Jesus thy Son, our Lord and Saviour, to deface his glory and set up antichrist. We be not able of ourselyes to think a good thought, much less to stand against their assaults, except thy undeserved grace and mighty arm defend and deliver us.
Perform thy promises made to Jacob, and stop the mouths of the cursed Edomites: call them to repentance whom thou hast appointed to salvation: bring home them that run astray, lighten the blind, and teach the ignorant: forgive all those that wilfully and obstinately rebel not against thy holy will; let thy fearful threatenings parse" our stony hearts, and make us tremble at thy judgments. Make the examples of them, whom thou hast overthrown in their own devices, to be a warning for us, that we set not up ourselves against thy holy will. Grant free passage to thy holy word, that it may work effectually in us the blessed hope of our salvation, to the eternal praise of thy majesty, through our Mediator Christ Jesus, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, three Persons and one God, be praise and thanksgiving in all congregations, world without end. So be it.
* Parse: pierce. Ed. p [* Jacobus Pilkington, Episcopus Dunelmensis. Ed.]