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devil's majesty. But if lay-men and lay-women do not fight against the devil, and by the word of God do not drive him away, but give place to him, they shall be killed and devoured, and brought to eternal death.
Therefore, let not Christians be spoiled of their armour, that is, the holy Scriptures, that they may resist and overcome the devil and all his temptations, It is as necessary for lay-men and lay-women to have their armour, as for spiritual men, as they are called, seeing the devil doth tempt to sin, as well lay-men as spiritual men. Thus the Apostle hath given us weapons to fight against the devil and his temptations, and willeth us to take chastity for a girdle; justice for a breast-plate ; denying of our affections, and gladness to receive the Gospel for leg-harness ; Christ for an helmet ; faith for a buckler; and for a sword, the word of God, that overcometh and killeth the devil : and these are the weapons whereby Christian men should fight against the devil and overcome him.
These weapons, given to Christians to fight against the devil, do not take away from Christian princes and rulers the secular or temporal sword, as the Anabaptists think and say: which, so thinking and saying, do both think evil and say
evil. For Christian princes, and kings, and rulers may use the temporal sword upon malefactors and evil-doers, to correct them, to punish them, yea, to punish them with temporal death, to fear others from doing evil; if not for love of God and of heavenly reward, yet for fear of punishment. This St.
Paul plainly shewed to the Romans, xiii. saying : “ The rulers bear not the sword without a cause, and that princes are to be feared of them that do evil."
The Anabaptists are worthy to be reproved, that abuse this place of Paul, to prove their error and he resy; saying, that Christian men should use none other sword than the word of God, and that it is not lawful for Christian princes to use a secular or a temporal sword. By the which error they deny the powers and lawful rulers, ordained by God, to punish malefactors and evil-doers, as manifestly is written, Rom. xii. i Peter, ii. These Anabaptists in this point shew their blindness and ignorance in Scripture, and take away all order, all commonwealths, and quietness in the world ; in that they deny high powers, and lawful rulers, ordained of God, for the commonwealth, and take from them authority to punish by the temporal sword malefactors, and troublers of the commonwealth and peace.
What mischief should not be, if there were no rulers, none to punish malefactors : what
what quietness should be? Surely, none at all. Who should lie in his house sure from thieves and murderers? Who should keep his goods in safeguard ? Who should walk by the way, or by the street, sure of his life? Yea, who should not be killed at his own door, within his own house, if there were no rulers to punish malefactors with the temporal sword? Surely none should be in peace, quietness, or safety of his life. Therefore, let these Anabaptists read the 13th chapter to the Romans, and they shall clearly see that St. Paul condemned their heresy, as a damnable heresy ; and very hurtful for the commonwealth, peace, and quietness. And as for thiş place of St. Paul, it maketh nothing for the Anabaptists. For St. Paul here speaketh of weapons, that Christians should use to fight with against the devil and his temptations: and not of weapons, whereby secular rulers should punish malefactors, evil doers, or evil sayers, to fear all others from evil doing and evil saying.
Ver. 18-20. And pray always with all manner of prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watch thereunto with all instance and supplication for all saints, and for me; that the word may be given me, that I may open my mouth boldly to utter the secrets of the Gospel, whereof I am a messenger in bonds, that I may speak therein freely, as it becometh me to speak.
The Apostle hath shewed them with what armour they should fight against the devil. Now he sheweth, how they should get this spiritual armour, and of whom it must be required and gotten, and by what mean.
He saith it must be desired of God the Father, and obtained of him by making supplication and prayer for Jesus Christ's sake, and for none other sake; that all praise and thanks might be given to God alone for it. And he sheweth that we must ofttimes pray in the spirit for this armour, and be diligent and fervent in prayer, fervently desiring of God this armour.
He desireth all saints, that is, all faithful Christian livers, to pray for him. In the which he teacheth us to desire them, that be alive, to pray to God for us, as he desired these Ephesians, to pray for him to God.
For what thing Paul did pray, and desire these Ephesians to pray for him, he sheweth that it was, that God would open his mouth, that he might speak the word of God freely, with boldness, and without all fear : and that he might make open to all men the Gospel, which he preached; for whose sake he was in prison and in chains, as appeareth.
Finally, he desired that he might speak the Gospel, as it did become him to speak. And in this St. Paul giveth example to all preachers earnestly and fervently to desire of God these things, that God will open their mouth, that they might speak freely the word, not of man, but of God: and that they might speak God's word freely, frankly, and without all fear of man, contemning all persecution for God's word, that they might not dissemble in the word of God for pleasure or displeasure of man. We learn of Paul, that he preferred the free preaching of God's word above his deliverance out of prison, to teach us to do such like, and not to care for ourselves, so that by us God's word be promoted.
Ver. 21, 22. But that ye may also know, what case I am in, and what I do ; Tychicus, my dear brother, and faithful minister in the Lord, shall shew you all : whom I have sent unto you, for the same cause,
ye may know what case I stand in, and that ye might comfort your hearts.
Those things that were for the eternal salvation of these Ephesians, the Apostle sent them by writing. Those things that pertain to himself, and the case he was in, he wrote not to them ; but left them to be shewed by a faithful messenger, called Tychicus, a faithful minister to Paul in prison : which should certify these Ephesians of all things concerning Paul, which should comfort their hearts, hearing the Lord to be present with Paul in prison, and glad in the Lord, patiently taking his affliction, and also that more glory was given to God, and the word of God more promoted by Paul's imprisonment, than if he should have been out of prison ; and that few or none did shrink from the Gospel, by reason of his affliction or imprisonment ; yea, that many did receive the Gospel unfeignedly, seeing his patience and constancy in his afflictions. These things, with divers others, he left to be shewed by Tychicus, a faithful messenger, whom he greatly commended, by whom he sent his epistle to the Ephesians.
Ver. 23, 24. Peace be unto the brethren, and love with faith from God, the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them, that love our Lord Jesus Christ unfeignedly. Amen.