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them that call good evil, and evil good ; light, darkness, and darkness, light:" so for lack of knowledge of God's holy word, of true and sincere preachers of God's holy Gospel, the people shall perish and hate their own salvation.
Therefore, I pray God, that high powers, ordinated of Almighty God, chiefly to set forth his glory, and to promote his word to the salvation of Christ's people, dearly bought by no corruptible price (as by gold or silver), but by the precious blood of the unspotted Lamb Jesus Christ (1 Pet. i.), that they would diligently look upon the health and salvation of the souls of iheir people subjected to them, yea, of their own health and salvation. For of them account shall be required to whom they have committed the cure of Christ's flock, and whether they were diligent in seeing Christ's people truly fed with the bread of life or no.
And if any of the spiritual pastors have been negligent, or have had evil ministers under them, as evil chancellors or officials, that neither know God's word themselves, nor be preachers of it, yea, scarce favourers of it, but rather adversaries and enemies to God's holy truth, and 'no setters forth of it, but hinderers all that they might: then it pertaineth to high rulers to reform such negligent bishops and prelates, and to command them to look better upon their cures, and see that they be such as Saint Paul (1 Tim. iii.) would have ; and to have chancellors, officials, and commissaries such as know God's word, be preachers of it, and setters forth of it under them. Or else, if they would not be reformed, and look diligently upon their cures, as they should above all things, to make the bishops or prelates, quondam : and to set in their steads such as both could and would teach and preach God's word sincerely, as did Titus and Timotheus, bishops ordained of Saint
Paul, which diligently taught their people wholesome doctrine, and were not negligent in their offices, and had servants accordingly, that were both sober, discreet, and learned in God's word, and also lovers of it; which things are greatly to be desired in our bishops and in their chancellors, officials, and commissaries.
At Philippi were not only bishops abiding and dwelling amongst them, preaching truly the doctrine of God, and who therefore had of the Philippians all necessaries abundantly, and were had in great honour and estimation for the word's sake, which they preached, and for the Lord's sake, whose faithful servants they were: but also there were deacons, whose office was to provide for the poor, that the poor should not want necessary meat, drink, clothes, or lodging. Such was the fruit of the Gospel that Paul had preachedamongst these Philippians, who were desirous of it, and so obedient to do that thing that pertained to the office of Christians, that they with great gladness kept bishops to teach thein, and deacons to provide for the poor people, for they regarded more the health of their souls than the cor-ruptible riches of this world. Yea, these Philippians, at their own cost, now kept many bishops, although at the beginning they had cast Paul and Silas into prison, esteeming them to be heretics and preachers of false doctrines. But afterwards God, by his word preached, turned their hearts, and made of them Christian men, who before were heathens; and lovers of his word, which before hated it worse than a dog. Such is the goodness of God, that maketh good men of evil men, and his servants of the scrvants of the devil; for the which God is to be glorified like as he was in Paul (Acts, ix.).
Also, of this place we may plainly see, that all bizkops or pastors were not such as Paul and Barnabas
were, having no place to rest in, bound to no church morethan to another, having necessaries at the will and pleasure of those to whom they preached : for these bishops were abiding at Philippi, and bound to the Philippians above others, and of them only they had all necessaries abundantly, yea, peradventure, a certain stipend assigned out for their livings. Or else how could they keep hospitality, and provide for the poor, as their office doth bind them, as saith Saint Paul ? (1 Tim. iii. Tit. i.)
And this thing maketh against all them that would that bishops and pastors should have no certain living or stipend assigned for their living ; but to live only of the alms and good-will of the people to whom they preach, which thing is contrary St. Paul (1 Tim. iii.), who requireth of bishops to keep hospitality, to provide for the poor, to have meat, drink, clothes, and apparel, according to their state and degree, to buy books, and all other necessaries required for students in divinity. No small cost it is to have books sufficient for study in divinity, and in all tongues necessary to be learned for that study; and that students in divinity should be without care and trouble, and quietly give themselves to their divine study. It is therefore necessarily required that they should have an honest stipend assigned for their living, and to have it quietly, or else few or none will be students in divinity and preachers of it.
And peradventure, some may move here a question, and ask whether it is better for God's glory and the salvation of man, that bishops and pastors should have a certain living assigned as due to them ; to require for their living, and to require no more; or to live of the only alms that the people would give unto true preachers of God's word, which God saith are worthy of their meat (Matt. x.): “ The workman is worthy his meat.” By meat he understandeth all necessaries for him to live, and quietly to study without care, for an honest living.
To this question I answer, that I think it more to the glory of God, for his word truly and sincerely to be preached, and more for the health and salvation of Christ's people, that bishops and pastors should have a certain living assigned out for their portion, than that they should have nothing certain.
The first reason that moveth me so to think is, that they should by that means preach and teach God's word more truly and more sincerely, more freely and frankly rebuke vice and sin, and not to flatter men in their sins, or to hold their peace, and wink at the faults of men to whom they looked for their living
For if they should live only of the good-wills of men, and should frankly and freely reprove the faults of some men, they should have a small living, they should go ofttimes hungry to bed, and have many poor dinners, and worse suppers ; yea, peradventure, be suffered to die in the street, for lack of necessaries.
Therefore, vice and sin should be more freely rebuked, that the danger thereof shewed, might frighten men from sin ; lest the plague of God, which is death, should fall upon such sinners, who would continue still in their sins, and provoke God to pour upon them his plague of vengeance for those sins which they should not know to be sin, or displeasing to God, if their preachers should flatter them, wink at their sins, and not rebuke them, nor yet shew the danger of sin, and the punishment of God to impenitent sinners that will not forsake sin and live a new life in virtue and godliness.
What was the cause why that begging friars did use so much flattery, and carried favour on every side? but because they lacked livings, and therefore they sang placebo, and preached pleasant things; nourish
ing men in idolatry, superstitions, false trusts, vain religions, preposterous judgments, and such like ; the which they perceived the people to be inclined to of their own nature, by the which every one is inclined to evil rather than to good and godly things. For to do or believe evil things, we have it of ourselves; but to do good, and to believe well, we cannot without the grace of God. And these things did the false flattering friars to get a cheese, or their quartergroat ; and yet for all their flattery, they could scarce get an honest living, killing spiritually their own souls and the souls of many other men and women deceived by them, to whom they promised life.
Secondly, if students in divinity be not quiet at their study, and have not their mind upon what they study; but be disquieted, careful for their dinner and supper, lack wholesome meat and drink, lack fire or warm clothes ; little profit they shall do at their books, they shall not be able to come to such learning, as is necessarily required for God's glory, and the salvation of Christ's people.
Thirdly, in ihe Old Testament, the living for the Levites that served in the temple, was certain, and appointed by Almighty God. That their duty should not be denied to thein, he commanded by Moses' law: how much more now should it be certain, what things should be due to the minister of God's holy word ; that he might have both to live on for himself, his servants, and his household, and also for hospitality to be kept for others that need!
And how can he keep hospitality except he have something whereupon he may keep hospitality, and feed others corporally, as he should do?
Fourthly, to assign a certain living to the minister of God's word for his living, shall be less pain and less trouble to the people than if every day or week they should be troubled to give to him. That thing