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ritance, promised to us of God, if we faithfully believe and walk in God's commandments, according to his pleasure.
He exhorteth men also to put away all bitterness, ire, wrath, malice, envy, hatred, railing, and cursed speaking one of another, and all blasphemy against God, and all other vices, with the affections and concupiscence of the flesh; and willeth, that we should put virtue in their places, as gentleness, meekness, mercifulness, and readiness, one to forgive another, that they might obtain of God, mutual mercy and forgiveness of their sins.
their place and willeth
CHAP. V. Ver. 1-2. Be ye followers therefore of God, as dear children, and walk in love, even as Christ loved us, and gave himself for us, an offering and sacrifice of a sweet savour unto God.
In the end of the chapter that goeth before, he exhorteth us to mutual forgiveness by the example of God the Father. Now, goeth he forwards with the same exhortation, moving us to be followers, not of this world, the flesh, or the devil, not of saints departed, but in those things, wherein they were followers of God; but that we should be followers of God, and follow his footsteps. This place reproveth all them that will not be followers of God, but of themselves, of their own mind, will, and pleasure ; followers of the world, of worldly honours and pleasures, and give themselves wholly to the world, and to worldly fashions and manners, or will follow the sensual pleasures of their flesh, and the lust or desires of it.
This place reproveth all them that will not follow God, nor his holy word, but will follow themselves, their will-works, their own good zeals, or intent, or works invented of themselves or of men, and leave the works commanded of God undone ; as many have done, preferring pardons, pilgrimage, painting of stocks or stones, above works commanded of God to be done. This place also reproveth all them that will not be followers of God, but will go before God, or else will be fellows, or check-mate with God. Some there are that go before God, that prefer men before God, or men's laws, men's decrees, traditions, statutes, religiousness, ceremonies, or otherlike ordinances invented by man; preferring these things above God's law, or God's commandment, and will punish much more grievously the breaking of man's law, man's tradition, a dumb ceremony, broken or omitted, than the breaking of God's commandment. All such do not follow God, but go before God.
There be some also that will go equal with God, and check-mate with him, which be they, that make men's traditions, laws, or ceremonies, invented of man, equal with God's law, and think themselves as well bound to keep men's traditions or ceremonies, as God's law. Such there have been many in religion, and I fear, there are as yet that so think, yea, that think it is deadly sin to omit any part of man's traditions, ceremonies, or usual customs. This thing mak, eth me so to believe, because there is more punish. ment for a tradition of man omitted, than for breaking of God's commandments, and more crying out of a man's law being broken, than for the breaking of God's law; and many that think man's law bindeth as well the conscience, as God's law, and all one thing to omit the one, as the other : all such follow not God, but make man equal with God: all such the Apostle here reproveth, and all them that will twine too much on the right hand or left hand, and will not follow Christ straight forth, declining to neither hand.
He willeth, that we should walk in love, as dear beloved children : it behoveth children to follow their father, and to shew their father in manners, con-: ditions, and in all goodness, and it is a shame for the son to shrink from the virtue of his father. In love, therefore, it behoveth us to follow our Father of heaven, which, of his great love to us, did give his only Son for us, to bring us to everlasting salvation; and also his Son Christ Jesus did shew the love of his Father towards us, which was obedient to the will of his Father, and willingly did suffer
death, to deliver us from death, hell, and eternal damnation, and brought life to us. And this same Christ did give himself, an oblation, and a thankful sacrifice for us to the Lord: by the which one sacrifice, he reconciled us to the Father, and made us well beloved to him.
Here is allusion to the sacrifices of the old law which pacified the ire, or wrath of God, as Noah pacified the wrath of God by an oblation or sacrifice, offered up to God (Gen. viii.) ; and this sacrifice that Christ offered up to God, was a full and a sufficient sacrifice to pacify the wrath of God, and to take away all the sins of the world once for ever, as Saint Paul sheweth (Heb. x.); " by one oblation, he hath made them perfect for ever, that are sancti. fied." Therefore they offend, that by other sacri. fices than by Christ Jesu, go about to pacify the wrath of God, and to take away sins, as by masses of the Holy Ghost, of the five wounds, of requien, or other like ways or means, or by any works of men, to be done to swage the wrath of God, to deserve the grace of God, forgiveness of sin, and life everlasting, by the virtue of the work in itself. For the which end, good works are not to be done, as I have shewed before.
Ver. 3–7. As for whoredom, and all uncleanness, or covelousness, let it not be named amongst you, as it lecometh saints. Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, neither jesting (which are not comely), but rather giving of thanks. For le ye sure, that no whoremonger, or unclean person, or covetous person (which is a worshipper of images), haih inheritance in the kingdom of Clirist and of God. (Let no man deceive you with many words;) for lecuuse of these cometh the wrath of God upon the children of unbelief. Be not ye therefore companions with them.
The Apostle shuweth here certain vices, that Chris. tian men should fee and eschew ; as whoredom, uncleanness, and covetousness, which be vices not to be named, much less to be done amongst Christians, that should be saints, and all holy in conversation and living. The Apostle would have both the names of these vices, and the vices themselves clearly abolished, and put away, that no man should do them, nor yet so much as name them once : for the vengeance of God doth come upon all fornicators, uncleanness, and covetousness. Example in them, that perished in Noah's flood, and at Sodom and Gomorrah,and of many other of the Israelites, that perished in the wilderness for those sins (Num. xxv.). The punishment of them may affray all others from these vices, lest they be punished, as those were, with the plague of God.
He requireth of us an holy conversation of life, as it becometh saints, i. e. faithful men in Christ Jesu, whom it becometh to be far from all whoredom, fornication, adultery, or uncleanness, in word or in deed. And here the Apostle reproveth all them that have great pleasure to talk and speak themselves of whoredom, fornication, baudry, or that delight to hear others speak, talk, or rail uncleanly, and so to make them merry, and their guests, to laugh at filthy and unclean words or songs, and it is greatly to be lamented amongst Christian men, that such sauce, displeasing to God, should please Christian men, and that the displeasure of God should be a laughter amongst Christians. But those that have pleasure in filthy communication, and delight therein, and will use it, or suffer it to be used where they may let it, they be whoremongers, and unclean in their hearts before God. Therefore, if they will not so be counted before men, whoremongers, or unclean, and laughers at God's displeasure, yea, and avoid the plague and punishment of God; let them leave all filthy com.