Page images
PDF
EPUB

TSE

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

mongers, such a multitude of impostors and flatterers; so many thieves, robbers, usurers, and murderers? It is unbelief in God that produces all these : because, men of this stamp, judge only according to human reason : and reason looks only to that which is present: but that which is out of sight, it cannot receive. And therefore, as it puts not its trust in God by faith, it must despair by trusting in itself: from which despair, there afterwards comes forth such a class of abandoned wretches as we see. And hence, as you see, when we commit the reins, not to faith, but to our own reason, we are driven

away from the right path. chine L

And now, as you have learnt what faith is, so now Band you must learn what love is. For Christ is set before us

in a twofold point of view. The one, of faith; that we might not be too careful. The other, of love; whereby we may learn, that as he takes care of us in supplying us with meat, drink, and raiment, and that with a free love, not with a view to his own profit, nor as a reward for our merits; so we ought to shew every kindness to our neighbour, and that gratuitously from an impulse of love only. And, in a word, that as Christ is toward us, so we should be a kind of Christ to our neighbour.

Hence we may learn, that all the works both of those he-monks and she-monks are both vain and damnable ; seeing that, they are not done to the end that they may serve their neighbour, but that they may thereby deserve the favour of God, for their own benefit. Whereas, the works of Christians whereby they would please God, are to be done only with a view to their neighbour's profit, but not with a view that they might thereby obiain great fayour from God, and set off themselves. All gifts are to be given indiscriminately with a bountiful hand, and, as it were, to be thrown down that any may take them : as God does, who freely scatters and throws down his doctrine, the word and eternal life, before the promiscuous multitude. And blessed are they who embrace this gift with a grateful

come!

[ocr errors]

er la

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

heart.

These things I say that ye may see, that the whole none of these things; but rather, with an undoubting confidence, my mind is to be settled thus ;--that God will freely give me grace and happiness, not because of my merits or works, but because of his PROMISE !

This is to cleave unto God with a sincere confidence, as is here beautifully set forth in this common and corporal description of the men in number four thousand, who, by a fixed faith alone in God, did not doubt that they should be supplied by him. Whereas, had they judged according to the capacity of their reason, they would have murmured among themselves and said, • We certainly are a numerous múltitude; we are in a vast desert; our bellies are empty and famishing ; and there is nothing here to satisfy our hunger. But they murmur not at all in this way; they conceive a steady faith; dispute not at all against God by human sense; yield themselves up entirely to the divine will; and, without any farther concern, commit unto him the supply of this urgent necessity of hunger.

But however, God, before this concern comes upon them, and before they begin to entreat of him, stands forward; being more concerned for them than they are for themselves, and he saith, “ I have compassion on the multitude ; and if I send them away fasting, there is danger lest they should faint by the way.” Here, I pray you,

behold what a God we have! How bountiful he is in goodness towards us! How he takes care even to feed our impure bellies ! Here the hopes of the men are raised, and the words of Christ are consolatory unto them, when he says, ' They are here lying down and have now been with me three days, and therefore they ought to be filled before they go away.' Here we may see, that all who cleave close to the word of God, are fed of God himself: for this is the power and nature of faith, which floweth from the word of God.

...Wherefore, my beloved, let us also begin to believe; for unbelief alone is the parent of all the sins and wickednesses which at this day reign in all the orders of men And why is it, that, which way soever you turn yourself, you meet with so many harlots and whorer:

[ocr errors]

CISI

[ocr errors]

mongers, such a multitude of impostors and flatterers; so many thieves, robbers, usurers, and murderers? It is unbelief in God that produces all these : because, men of this stamp, judge only according to human reason: and reason looks only to that which is present: but that which is out of sight, it cannot receive. And therefore, as it puts not its trust in God by faith, it must despair by trusting in itself: from which despair, there afterwards comes forth such a class of abandoned wretches as we see. And hence, as you see, when we commit the reins, not to faith, but to our own reason, we are driven

away from the right path. hing

And now, as you have learnt what faith is, so now Rol you must learn what love is. For Christ is set before us

in a twofold point of view. The one, of faith; thạt we might not be too careful. The other, of love; whereby we may learn, that as he takes care of us in supplying us with meat, drink, and raiment, and that with a free love, not with a view to his own profit, nor as a reward for our merits; so we ought to shew every kindness to our neighbour, and that gratuitously from an impulse of love only. And, in a word, that as Christ is toward us, so we should be a kind of Christ to our neighbour.

Hence we may learn, that all the works both of those he-monks and she-monks are both vain and damnable ; seeing that, they are not done to the end that they may serve their neighbour, but that they may thereby deserve the favour of God, for their own benefit. Whereas, the works of Christians whereby they would please God, are to be done only with a view to their neighbour's profit, but not with a view that they might thereby obiain great fayour from God, and set of themselves. All gifts are to be given indiscriminately with a bountiful hand, and, as it were, to be thrown down that any may take them : as God does, who freely scatters and throws down his doctrine, the word and eternal life, before the promiscuous multitude. And blessed are they who embrace this gift with a grateful heart.

These things I say that ye may see, that the whole

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

none of these things; but rather, with an undoubting confidence, my mind is to be settled thus ;--that God will freely give me grace and happiness, not because of my merits or works, but because of his PROMISE !

This is to cleave unto God with a sincere confidence, as is here beautifully set forth in this common and corporal description of the men in number four thousand; who, by a fixed faith alone in God, did not doubt that they should be supplied by him. Whereas, had they judged according to the capacity of their reason, they would have murmured among themselves and said, • We certainly are a numerous multitude; we are in a vast desert; our bellies are empty and famishing ; and there is nothing here to satisfy our hunger.? But they murmur not at all in this way; they conceive a steady faith; dispute not at all against God by human sense ; yield themselves up entirely to the divine will; and without any farther concern, commit unto him the supply of this urgent necessity of hunger.

But however, God, before this concern comes upon them, and before they begin to entreat of him, stands forward; being more concerned for them than they are for themselves; and he saith, “I have compassion on the multitude; and if I send them'away fasting, there is danger lest they should faint by the way.” Here, I pray you,

behold what a God we have! How bountiful he is in goodness towards us! How he takes care even to feed our impure bellies! Here the hopes of the men are raised, and the words of Christ are consolatory unto them, when he says, They are here lying down and have now been with me three days, and therefore they ought to be filled before they go away. Here we may see, that all who cleaye close to the word of God, are fed of God himself: for this is the power and nature of faith, which floweth from the word of God.

Wherefore, my beloved, let us also begin to believe: for unbelief alone is the parent of all the sins and wickednesses which at this day reign in all the orders of menu . And why is it, that, which way. soever you turu yourself, you meet with so many harlots and whore.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

mongers; such a multitude of impostors and flatterers ; so many thieves, robbers, usurers, and murderers? It is unbelief in God that produces all these : because, men of this stamp, judge only according to human reason: and reason looks only to that which is present: but that which is out of sight, it cannot receive. And therefore, as it puts not its trust in God by faith, it must despair by trusting in itself: from which despair, there after, wards comes forth such a class of abandoned wretches as we see. And hence, as you see, when we commit the reins, not to faith, but to our own reason, we are driven away from the right path.

And now, as you have learnt what faith is, so now you must learn what love is. For Christ is set before us in a twofold point of view. The one, of faith; that we might not be too careful. The other, of love; whereby we may learn, that as he takes care of us in supplying us with meat, drink, and raiment, and that with a free love, not with a view to his own profit, nor as a reward for our merits ; so we ought to shew every kindness to our neighbour, and that gratuitously from an impulse of love only. And, in a word, that as Christ is toward us, so we should be a kind of Christ to our neighbour.

Hence we may learn, that all the works both of those he-monks and she-monks , are both vain and damnable ; seeing that, they are not done to the end that they may serve their neighbour, but that they may thereby deserve the fayour of God, for their own benefit. Whereas, the works of Christians whereby they would please God, are to be done only with a view to their neighbour's profit, but not with a view that they might thereby obiain great fayour from God, and set off themselves. All gifts are to be given indiscriminately with a bountiful hand, and, as it were, to be thrown down that any may take them : as God does, who freely scatters and throws down his doctrine, the word and eternal life, before the promiscuous multitude. And blessed are they who embrace this gift with a grateful heart.

These things I say that ye may see, that the whole

« PreviousContinue »