Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

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 Wolins' or many of them were destroyed by Nabuchodonozor and 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, O 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,

[ocr errors]

cannot please with gold".” And the best writers do witness, that it was better when the Lord's supper was ministered in wood and glass, and the priests were pure as gold and did preach, than when the priests were wood and the cups gold,—that is to say, dumb, unlearned, unpreaching prelates, and yet would minister the sacrament in cups of gold and silver. The riches and treasures of the church belong to the poor; and upon them should all the goods of the church be bestowed, which is remaining of the preacher's livings, and not to feed idle belly-gods withal, as monks, friars, priests, &c. Such a godly answer made the godly and true deacon Laurence, when as the emperor sent his man to spoil the church of the treasure that there was. He commanded Laurence in the emperor's name to deliver him all the treasure in the church: Laurence required a few days' respite to gather all the goods together; which being granted, at the day appointed he gathered all the poor folks in Rome together. When the emperor's servant came, thinking to have received the whole treasure, and calling for Laurence asked where the treasure was, Laurence shewed all the poor people, and said, “Behold the treasure of the church's" Thus was the goods of the church then bestowed, and not to maintain the pope, nor yet his carnal cardinals in their ruffian rout and idleness, &c. The peace which he promises to send, “in this place,” is not so much an outward peace, although they had that peace as long as they feared the Lord: but here is meant the peace of conscience, which Christ brought from heaven; as the angels sang at his birth, “Glory be to God on high, and Luke ii. in earth peace, &c.” And he is not only the peacemaker betwixt God and man, but peace itself, as St Paul calleth him, saying, “He is our peace, which hath made of both Eph. ii. one,” as was noted before. It is more to call him the peace itself, than to call him the peacemaker betwixt God and man, pacifying the Father's wrath for our sins, and purchasing

[* Quid enim dices? Timui ne templo Dei ornatus deesset? Respondebit: Aurum sacramenta non quaerunt; meque auro placent, quae auro non emuntur. De Officiis, Lib. II. cap. 28. T. iv. p. 61. Paris. 1632. Ed.]

[* See above, p. 144, and the note. Ed.]

John xvi.

John xiv.

[ocr errors]

Worldly peace is most grievous, and in persecution the conscience is quiet.

pardon for all our wickedness. The peace of conscience, when
we believe God to be our Father for Christ's sake, forgiving
all our sins, and bestowing all his goodness on us, is the
greatest comfort that can be, though the world rage never so
much against us; as our Saviour Christ saith, “In the world
you shall have affliction and trouble, but in me you shall
have peace:” and again, “I leave my peace among you, and
I give my peace unto you, &c.” And although the church
of God is often more forgetful of his goodness received, when
they have worldly peace, (as the prophet saith, “In this out-
ward worldly peace my bitterness is most bitter”,) and there-
fore necessary it is to be tried by adversity, heresies, impri-
sonments, death, and other cruelties; yet in the midst of all
trouble they shall find present comfort and peace patiently
to bear all such sorrow as shall be laid on them.
When as emperors were not christened, great was the
persecution, and yet could they not prevail. When heresies
began to spring in the church, then God raised up Augus-
tine and others to withstand them; and the more that they
were, the more was the truth tried out and flourished: but
after that the pope had conquered all, good learning decayed,
and the devil thereby had lulled all on sleep; then came this
outward worldly peace, where the most part submitted them-
selves to the beast, and his peace was the bitterest thing
that could be before God, and greatest trouble to all good
consciences. For then outward peace brought in lordly pride,
which harmed more than any persecution, as Bernard saith.
But now, after that the light appears again, with what peace
of conscience can and do men offer themselves to the fire,
though the pope and his clergy rage like lions or mad dogs'
What great learning hath God revealed in our time more
than before And chiefly it hath been done because of errors,
heresies, sects and controversies that be abroad, that God's
chosen people should not live in blindness still, and that his
goodness may be known. And although persecution be great,
yet God strengthens his to die for his truth in most quiet
peace to the shame of their persecutors. Where there is
no striving, there is no victory: where there is no victory,
there is no praise nor reward: therefore God of his great love,
that his people may have most noble victories and greatest

reward, suffereth them to be troubled by the devil and his ministers, but not to be overcome. Where the tormentors rage, because they cannot overcome the simple souls, holding fast the faith which they would pull from them, and for the which they strive; God so strengthens his, that they suffer all torments with more peace of conscience, than the tormentors do lay it on them, which devise the deaths for them. But not only this inward peace, but an outward also was given them, as long as they displeased not the Lord. God commanded that every man amongst the Israelites should come thrice a year to Jerusalem to worship him there: and Exodoxxiv. lest they should grudge, saying, ‘Who shall defend our country when we are gone so far from home? our enemies will invade and destroy us:” God promises that he will defend their country in the mean time, and that they should have no harm. Thus they believing God were bold to go to Jerusalem to serve God, leaving none at home to keep their goods and lands, but a few women and children. So we, if we would serve the Lord aright, and maintain his true religion, our enemies should not hurt us, but women and children should be able to defend us: if we will not serve him as he hath appointed, there is no worldly power able to defend us, but we and they shall perish all together.

v. 10. In the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, and the The text.

second year of Darius, was the message of the Lord
sent by the hand of Aggeus the prophet, saying,

11. Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Ask, I pray thee, the
priests the law, saying,

12. If any man bear holy flesh in the lap of his garment, and do touch with his lap bread or broth, wine, oil, or any kind of meat, shall it be made holy? The priests answered and said, No.

13. And Aggeus said: If he that is defiled in soul do touch any of these, whether shall it be defiled? The priests answered and said. It is deftled.

14. Aggeus answered and said: So is this people, and so be these folk before my face, saith the Lord, and so is all the work of their hands; and whatsoever they bring hither, it is defiled.

« PoprzedniaDalej »